Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All Couples' Blogs Are the Same

Can you spot any differences between the following blogs?

Jake & Marissa
PB & J
Mitch and Jessica
Adrian and Emily

Neither can I.

I normally try not to break away from my normal formula of posts (videos/audio/graphics/dreams) but felt that, since I haven't posted in a couple weeks, I ought to put SOMEthing up, and announce that from now on I will select ONE couples' blog to read and use that as an update for all couples that I know.

The young, married readers of this post are probably scoffing by now, but if any given couple asks me what I know about their current goings-on, I can say, "One of you just graduated and the other is not far behind. You also just moved to a new place, and you love remembering your wedding day. You talk to family members all the time." This is all information that's been redundantly fed to me through separate blogs on the Interweb. Surely I can increase efficiency by limiting this feed to ONE.

In the spirit of Silence Dogood:

A Receipt for a Couples' Blog by
The Shark

  • A title and/or URL that includes the names of both subjects
  • A husband who doesn't post as much as the wife
  • References to the wedding day in approximately every other post
  • Mention of recent/impending relocation
  • Updates on extended family members
  • One blogger who is still in school, the other a recent grad
  • Wedding and/or engagement photos in the title bar or profile square
Note that when the couple begins to bear children, the blog evolves into one of the following:

Wilson Web
My Sanity
The Meanest Mom

The formula changes slightly to allow for more diversity, but generally here is the resulting recipe:
  • The mother must do the bulk, if not ALL, of the writing.
  • Where the mother is NOT the sole contributor, the blog's title/URL includes the surname.
  • Where the mother IS the sole contributor, the blog's title/URL makes reference to her being a mother, and usually a comparison between maternity and prison.
  • Tons of baby photos.
  • Mention of recent/impending relocation
  • Updates on extended family members

The Randle family follows the recipe with a bit of role reversal, in that Bryce generally writes more than Nancy. Most everything else is the same, although he throws in a lot of updates on his video projects and other creative endeavors, which are refreshingly interesting:

Randle Re-Runs

Thank you, married people, for giving us bachelors a template to follow in the future. :)

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dreams: My Dad, President Palmer and "Sister Act 2"

I'm living in Southern California, walking to a Mexican restaurant a few blocks away, but the streets are overly-crowded with pedestrians and there is no direct street or walkway that will get me where I want to go. Fed up with the headaches of traffic, I leap in the air and fly up and away from the hassle, making a direct course for my destination. However, just before I'm out of earshot, my ears pick up an insult casually thrown at me by one of the people below, so I quickly return only to spit out some quip in retort, causing the rest of the crowd to point and laugh at the perpetrator, and then I zip away, back on path.

Eventually I run into my manager from my job, who asks me to be careful about where I am when I shoot into the air, because not many people in the world can do it yet and she doesn't want me to get kidnapped by the government to be studied and tested. I ask if it would be better if I found an obscure part of the neighborhood, or maybe a wooded area, that I could use to take off. She is a little confused, and makes it clear that she thinks I mean that I need a runway. After I awkwardly tell her that really I just need a place where I can jump straight up without any obstruction, she changes the subject by bringing up a book I've been reading in dreamland. I don't recall the title of the book, but I do remember that the next installment in its series was a novelization of "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" -- and no, the book I'd just finished was NOT the first "Sister Act."

Sometime later, I end up back at home, which reminds me of the condo we moved to in real life when I was 16-years-old, but it's not the actual place because I know I'm still in So Cal. My dad comes home from a new job he's just acquired at a Nike outlet store in a strip mall so far away that it requires him to live in a hotel during the weekdays. He looks tired and ready to collapse, and as I ask him about his employment, he tells me that he's basically a sales manager AND analyst, and that he has to take frequent breaks from his shift in order to go back to his hotel room and lie down for a bit. When I ask if he enjoys his job, he is too tired to respond, but my mother is in the room and I catch a glance from her that tells me, "He doesn't think he enjoys it, but it's good for him."

Another hazy passage of time occurs, and I next find myself at home again, but this time home is a large, lobby-like area with marble floor and walls, and granite desks lining the circumference. Again, my dad comes home, but this time my dad looks nothing like my real-life father, for in THIS instance of my dream, Dad is played by Dennis Haysbert, known for his role as President Palmer on 24. As soon as he walks in I realize that we are living in a bank that he has just acquired in a business transaction. The security guard goes outside to do a sweep of the premises, and "Dad" begins to systematically fire all the tellers, who have begun swarming him and pestering him with issues that make him realize that he doesn't NEED them there. After a moment he steps outside to find the security guard just standing around, and he tells him that his sweep might be more effective if he actually walked around the building. For some reason this whole experience evokes from me emotions of pride for my "Dad," and I put my arm around him and tell him how I feel. He smiles, and we walk back inside.

I then realize that I am actually watching an episode of 24 on a TV that's been specially set up for me, but that I'm still in the lobby of the bank. Tears are streaming down my face and I'm becoming quite emotional as I begin explaining to those around me that President Palmer is such a beautiful Messianic figure, as if I just had the most wonderful spiritual affirmation that this was so.

I get up, head down a hallway, and soon find myself in a bedroom that I assume to be my own, though it's not very comfortable -- there is no carpet, just a grayish blue floor and similarly-colored brick walls with a small window and no decor. There are two beds against either side of the room, and I recognize that the one on the left belongs to my brother Cabeza, though I can't, for the life of me, understand why Joe, a guy in my real-life ward at church who looks an awful lot like Michael Hitchcock, is sitting on it, packing his stuff from what appears to be a multiple-night stay. I inquire as to his doings, and he explains that he was spending a few nights there while Cabeza and I were absent.

Then I wake up.

Analysis (only of the elements I understand):
-Flying dream again! The difference between these latest flying dreams and ones of old, though, are that in the past I begin flying as a realization that I'm dreaming, consciously taking advantage of the absence of boundaries in dream state -- as if I'm in the Matrix. In this and my other recent dreams, I'm not aware that I'm asleep.

-My dad has battled health issues for quite some time and was forced into early retirement. I don't consciously dwell on it a whole lot anymore, but the whole experience is definitely something that has made me who I am today, and although it probably does influence how I think of my dad, I can't say that it makes me think negatively of him, which perhaps explains my viewing him as an authority figure (albeit a dramatized one) and my expression of confidence in him.

-A few weeks ago I finished watching 24 Season 2 for the first time. As a side note, I must say that anyone who has told me that they were "hooked" on 24 from their first time sitting down to watch Season 1 has lost serious credibility with me. There have been enjoyable moments in each of the first two seasons so far, but there has also been a lot of awful writing and acting, enough that I find the show to be mediocre so far, at best -- definitely nowhere near "helplessly engaging". I am going to watch seasons 3 and 4 eventually, though, as I've been told they are the best two seasons. I'd much rather watch Lost.

-My emotional response to 24 in this dream is, to me, representative of my natural tendency to read into texts of any sort and take away something profound, even if it's unintentional. Admittedly, crying over the spiritual beauty of a melodramatic prime time TV show is over the top, but I think the symbolism stands.

-The Mexican restaurant mentioned at the beginning of the dream is probably a result of my endless search for decent Mexican food in the DC Metro area. It's really hard to find.

-Whatever is going on in life that's making me fly, it's still happening. I love my dad despite his trials and afflictions. I am an active viewer of art, even when art is pop culture or commercialism.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Stat Chat

I sometimes delight in the rhythm of words. So much that sometimes (but not ALL the time) I read the status messages in my Google chat and see the potential for a toe-tappin' beat. This is very much an experiment in redundancy, an attempt at demonstrating the rhythm in status messages, or, as my friend Megan has come to call it: Stat Chat.

See if you can recognize which one belongs to you!

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Dreams: Super Powers

Let's face it, reader: you and I BOTH know that my dreams are the weirdest, and maybe the influence of comic books in my life makes you think I have an odd mentality (by the way, if you do, I urge you to drop your hypocrisy for just a few hours and read this book), but nobody can deny that whatever makes up the Shark's subconscious provides an excellent gateway to realms that relatively few others chance to visit. In other words, I love the scenarios my mind puts me in and the ability my imagination has to take over when I'm asleep -- and you do too.

Flying seems to be the theme as of late. Last night's dream was more involved than I can immediately recall, but here's what I do remember: I'm following my coworker, Mark C, around an open, giant mound of gravel and dirt. The sky is gray and overcast. He gets a ways ahead of me as I'm distracted by something, and as soon as he's almost out of sight I find myself confronted by two other young men, standing about thirty feet away from me. My instincts tell me that they're about to attack any second, so I immediately take flight (literally) in a defense maneuver.

The attackers are shocked by my ability to defy gravity, but soon display their own super powers in an effort to bring me down. I don't remember what exactly these powers entailed, but they were weak enough that, without much difficulty, I managed to swoop down, grab one of them at a time by the collar, and fly toward walls at amazing speeds, using the momentum I'd built to slam the villains into the obstruction, rendering them unconscious.

I really wish I could better remember all of the details of the rest of the dream, because there was a gradual, "logical" procession of the plot as I found myself allying with other good-intentioned, super-powered beings who were preparing to fight against a larger group of bad guys. Eventually I found myself in the middle of a giant battle taking place in a large, enclosed corridor of an unknown building. I caught sight of one of my friends duking it out with a horned, firey-eyed demon, and I was trying to avoid the fangs of a creepy jerk with snake-like abilities. Not all of the opponents were as devilish as these two were, but they are the only ones who I specifically remember.

I don't know how it ended, although I did hold my own in the fight.

-Mark C's cameo is obvious, as I see him on a daily basis. He has been working at my company much longer than I, so I often find myself "tagging along" with him, letting him lead the way during group lunches and such.

-I think one reason I may be flying more easily and frequently than usual is because I've been reading "Ender's Game" lately, whose main character spends a lot of time in zero-g battles.

I'd be a lot tougher if gravity would cut me some slack.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Dreams: Quack!

I had a pretty brief dream last night that I was in a fancy restaurant, waiting at my table for my date to meet me there. The host walks in and seats a woman next to me, but it's not the girl I was waiting for. However, she's gorgeous, so I decide to acquiesce and I begin chit-chatting. In a move that can only happen during a night that I'm utterly exhausted, I begin dreaming of sleeping. The stranger at the table throws her legs into my lap and lays her head on my shoulder. My head leans against hers, and we soon find ourselves fast asleep in the middle of the restaurant.

Suddenly, I wake up and look at the girl. "Wait a minute," I think to myself, "She's not pretty at ALL!" Perhaps revealing a little too much about my subconscious, I slowly repel myself from the girl, leaving her asleep at the table as I run out of the restaurant.

The dream ends with me jumping off a wooden deck outside the restaurant that overlooks a small river/large creek full of ducks and other birds. As I jump, I actually begin to swoop toward a large gathering of ducks, and just before I hit the water I actually begin floating mid-air, and then take off soaring through the sky. I make repeated dives at the group of ducks, doing my own imitation of quacking simply to see how they react, chasing them out of the water as they flap their wings in panic. Some ducks are so freaked out by my ability to follow them a hundred feet in the air that they tuck in their wings altogether so as to dive-bomb back into the water in hopes of escape.

Then I woke up.

-I've got nothing, aside from a sense of giddiness from having a flying dream. I've read stuff that says those who dream about flying have a strong will, but I don't think anything really accounts for the specific scenario in my little fantasy here.

-If you somehow gain the power of flight, don't bother the ducks. The last thing they need is to be harassed by some jerk with superpowers.

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