Dream analysis

I had one of those weird dreams last night/this morning.

Apparently I was somewhat aware I was dreaming. I was analyzing a dream in this dream. I reached the conclusion that it was about feelings of guilt. Or perhaps more precisely, it was about regret. Two related but different things. You can regret things or moments you feel guilty about. But can also regret things you have or haven’t done haven’t done and looking back, wish you had done differently.

Maybe a career choice. Plenty of regrets there. Maybe failing to pursue a potential relationship. A regret or two there. Seafood or steak? Or something more adventurous. Ah, maybe a regret or two there. They come in all sizes.

I don’t remember specifics of this particular dream (or was it a series of dreams? Not uncommon). But I’m pretty sure it was about regret.

And to quote the Butthole Surfers: “The funny thing about regret is it’s better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven’t done.”

To enjoy this fine video in full, click here (I promise, no Rick-roll)

 

The dream about the jalapeno in my foot

With insomnia seeming to have a tight grip on me, this seems like an opportune time to write about a recent bizarro dream because, well, it’s what I do best.

So the other night or early morning, whatever, I notice a wartlike bump on the heel of my foot. Of course I pick at it a bit and it starts to scratch off, but something keeps tugging at it. So scratching some more, I manage to pull some kind of string out, continuing to tug at it until it meets some resistance. Something bigger pops out of the bottom of my heel, and while it’s not exactly painful I think, “That’s gonna leave a mark.”

It reminded me of the time I had a bout of plantar fasciitis, and I worried about triggering another episode of that. Plantar fasciitis is a relatively minor but painful condition at the bottom of the heel where the plantar fascia ligament becomes inflamed (hence the “itis” in the condition). It hurts like heck to run, and even getting out of bed can be agonizing for the first few minutes. There, your medical term lesson for the day. You’re welcome.

Ahem. Where was I?  Oh, yes.

jalapeno

May or may not be actual size

So I keep pulling, and now I can see some odd spherical things attached to some sort of fuzzy, wiry string, like beads almost, then POP! Out comes a pepper, a jalapeno, I’m thinking. And the pepper seems to have some sort of scanner code stamped on it, as if I could check it out through the local Giant Eagle store. “Hang on a sec while I run my foot past the scanner, OK? Ninety-nine cents?? But I grew it in my foot!” “I’m sorry, sir, that’s our policy. You must foot the bill.” (Insert groan here)

So, you might be wondering, what are all these objects doing in my foot and why are they coming out now more or less intact? I’m wondering the same thing.

All you armchair psychoanalysts, what do you say?

What was all that stuff doing in my leg to begin with? How did I not notice it before? What does it represent, if anything? Some impurity that I need to get rid of? Is it a latent desire to begin a backyard garden again? I should note that one of the few things I successfully grew in the past were peppers.

Then time seemed to move forward and I couldn’t find this mystery thing I had pulled out of my foot. When I woke up, I actually checked my heel to make sure there wasn’t a gaping hole it it. Nope. All clear.

For now.

As a side note, I just noticed that I’ve tended to hop back and forth between present tense and past tense in this post, but I have decided that it’s not important in this case. So deal with it.

Sleeps with Wolves

Here’s another chapter in Weird Dreams I’ve Had.

So the other night I was fighting through a bout of insomnia when sweet slumber finally came.

Then came the dream in which I was basically nose-to-nose with a wolf. A big wolf, either black or dark gray. I think they’re all basically grouped as gray wolves.

gray wolf

from howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

Anyway, for reasons that now escape me, I thought it would be a good idea to make friends with the wolf. A wild wolf. So I reached out to pat him and he bared his teeth (I assumed it was a male, though I didn’t bother to raise its skirt to be sure). That’s pretty much all I remember of that.

I think there were at least two more dreams involving the same wolf.

The last Wolf Dream I remember was me and Wolfie inches apart again. Again I thought it was a good idea to make friends. I think I offered a morsel of food, perhaps to distract him from the notion of eating me (in fact, wolves rarely attack humans except in self-defense or perhaps extreme starvation, or so I’ve read. Grizzly bears are extremely dangerous. Mountain lions pose a threat and have been known to stalk humans. But I digress).

Instead the wolf started barking (National Wildlife Federation says wolves actually do bark as warning – I did not know that; I thought my dream was just being loopy), baring its teeth again. So at some point I became aware of another animal, possibly a bear, behind me, which led me to believe that this was the real threat. The wolf came forward, straddling over me, which seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the f@^# outta there.

So I stared crawling backward, scrambling as quickly as a could before either animal noticed I had gotten away.

I woke up at that moment, still scrambling backward in my bed. I didn’t get very far or I’d have been on the floor. Shaking off the grogginess, I thought to myself this sounds like blog material.

Dream interpreters out there: any ideas? I have a couple of possible interpretations, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.

When the military-industrial complex bubble pops

There’s a reason why they call it complex.

In the aftermath of Lockheed Martin’s announcement of massive layoffs, there has been a ton of hand-wringing, gnashing of teeth and finger-pointing. It’s starting to resemble a circular firing squad in some ways.

lockheed02cut

Most of Lockheed Martin’s operations in Akron are scheduled to be shut down by 2015. Some work will continue at the Airdock (that big domey thing in the foreground). Source: Google/Ohio.com.

In one corner: Peaceniks and (some) fiscal conservatives who believe we’re spending entirely too much money on the U.S. military, lining the pockets of billionaire fat cats and wasting money on $600 hammers, funding unnecessary wars in far-away places that many Americans (still!) can’t find on a map.

In another corner: Conservatives who refuse to budge on Capitol Hill regarding the sequester, which slashed funding to many sacred cows, including the Pentagon. They blame Democrats for not budging on the budget.

In another corner: Liberals who refuse to budge on Capital Hill regarding the sequester. They blame Republicans, particularly the Tea Party, for not budging on the budget. (See a pattern here?)

In another corner: The military-industrial complex itself, which has a lot at stake when military funding gets chopped. Especially vulnerable is Lockheed Martin, a vast military contractor, much of it in aerospace, which expanded dramatically in the 1990s. A lot of people, including its own employees, say the company simply got too big to be sustainable.

The bubble popped.

In yet another corner: Roughly 4,000 workers, including about 500 in Akron, whose jobs are on the chopping block. These include machinists, welders, assembly workers, software engineers and more. Them’re some good paying jobs, hard to replace in an era of crap service industry jobs. This is not the first time Lockheed Martin has experienced major reductions. Since 2008, it has cut its workforce by 30,000.

Still another factor is the slow scaling back of the Great War Machine of the past decade. We’re all but out of Iraq, and Afghanistan is not far behind. Barring some misadventure in Iran or Syria (or God forbid, both), there’s not a great deal of urgency to gear up for another costly (yet profitable for contractors) war or two. After two bloody and (eventually) unpopular wars, they’re all on their own. Unless Israel picks a fight with Iran, or vice versa, but that’s another matter altogether.

So, what to make of this?  Where do we go from here?

Akron officials are looking for a silver lining in all this (See Akron link above). A lot of prime real estate is suddenly available, and local bigs say there are potential suitors lining up to grab it. But replacing 500 jobs (not to mention 4,000 nationwide) won’t be easy, especially jobs of that caliber.

There are precedents of other communities rebounding from traumatic losses of military entities. Akron has bounced back before.

And I experienced first-hand the closing of the air force base in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in the early ’90s as part of a widespread reduction in military base operations. Yes, the initial impact was devastating. On the flip side, I was able to buy a house on the cheap. But by 1995 the local economy experienced a phenomenal boom fueled in part by the availability of cheap land (this was far from the only factor; Myrtle Beach has long been a boom-and-bust town). But I turned around and sold the house in 1996 at a tidy profit. This was before “flip that house” was a common concept, and selling was really precipitated by my move to the Akron area, which is neither here nor there, to quote a former colleague.

I digress.

So, again, what to make of all this?

As much as I resent some of the excesses of the M-I complex, simply shutting it down or cutting back drastically has far-reaching consequences.

Jobs are lost. Suppliers and subcontractors and their employees take a big hit. Local real estate also takes a hit. The local tax base takes a big hit. Hundreds if not thousands of families are hurt.

Lots of national pundits have had their say about the standoffs in Congress over the last few years.

But as the old chestnut goes, all politics is local. Nowhere is that more true than here and now.

Some knucklehead set my fence on fire

Last night the trash bin for the apartment/office building next door caught fire, which in turn set the fence and climbing vine at my property line on fire, which caught my daughter’s attention, which led to us calling 911 to report the fire, which brought a crew of firefighters over to put it out.

Somebody – I’m not naming names mainly because I don’t know them – apparently put a grill with still-live charcoal embers in or on the Dumpster™, thus igniting the overflowing trash bin. The chain link fence that separates the parking lot and said trash bin from my property melted, the lattice caught fire and so did the climbing vine I planted there some 15 years ago, leaving a gaping charred hole where the fence used to be.

Luckily the thorn bushes that surround almost my entire backyard did not catch fire, or it could have threatened my house. And as dry as it has been around here lately, I’m surprised the hedge didn’t catch fire.

This was an intense fire while it lasted.

That pickup was a little too close to the fire for comfort.

Ah, the warm glow of a trash fire …

There goes the lattice …

I wish I’d thought to throw those hedge clippings in the foreground onto the fire.

The scene of the crime.

The likely culprit.

The morning after

The landlord next door is going to hear from me tomorrow, and so is the city. I’m not paying to replace the fence. They are.