Monday, August 23, 2004

Dream # 49

Scarlett O’Hara Goes Antiquing

recorded May 6, 2003

Two nights ago, I dreamed that I was in Darmstadt in the American military housing area. I was on my way to the home of David and Margaret Hall to tutor their son, Clayton. (In the dream, I was 26, while Clayton was still 12; in reality, he’s in his early 20s, married, and has a kid.)

When I arrived at the Halls’ apartment, Clayton was going to let me in the door. But Margaret got upset with him, because they had just sold most of their furniture, and no one was supposed to know about it. I could see that their apartment was nearly empty. I thought it might be better if I weren’t there, so I left.

When I got outside, my friends Randy and Bri joined me, and we started walking through the apartment complex. We came to a building that had an empty apartment on the ground floor. We looked in the windows and saw that someone had left some antique furniture inside. We opened a window and climbed through to get a better look at the furniture. I thought, “I wonder if I can get at this furniture before Larry does.” (Larry is really into antiques in real life.)

When we finished looking around, we climbed back through the window. Then, the dream shifted, and I was in a recording studio. I was supposed to be doing a voice for a cartoon. The cartoon was of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler from “Gone With The Wind,” and I was doing Scarlett’s voice. But the story was different from GWTW. Scarlett and Rhett were in a hot air balloon, and she pushed him out because she wanted to kill him. When he fell, he dropped a really fancy ring that was some sort of family heirloom.

Then I left the recording studio and went to a family reunion. Everyone from both sides of my family was there. We were sifting through old belongings of our ancestors, trying to divvy up the loot. It was strange because a lot of the ancestors were present, and they floated around the table like ghosts. There was a box full of old jewelry that I really wanted, because it included some beautiful antique rings. Some of th rings were transparent, too, as though they were ghost rings. Rhett Butler’s fancy ring was one of them. I was trying to think of ways to get those rings before anyone else could. Then, the dream ended.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Dream # 36

Run! It’s Eugene Victor Tooms From The X-Files!!!

March 8, 2003

Last night, I dreamed that I was someone else, though I don’t know who. I was vacationing at some kind of ski resort. Strange things began happening, and it turned out that one of my fellow skiers was really a monstrous creature bent on killing and eating me and the rest of the resort patrons. (The creature looked like Eugene Victor Tooms from the “Tooms” episodes of The X-Files.)

The other skiers and I were running toward the ski lodge, trying to get away, but the creature came after us in some sort of sailplane. He killed a great many of the other skiers. While he was eating them, ten of us managed to reach the lodge. We gathered up a few supplies and headed for the back of the lodge, because we knew the creature would be after us in a minute.

The lodge was built into the side of the mountain; at the back of it was an access panel leading to the ventilation system and a deep ventilation shaft. By climbing through the shaft, we could reach the old abandoned mines in the heart of the mountain.

As we climbed into the shaft through the tiny access panel, we could hear the creature coming after us. I felt jagged rock scraping my bare stomach as I pulled myself into the ventilation shaft.

When we reached the mines (which, strangely enough, were well-lit with fluorescent lighting), we tried to hide behind some equipment. But as I lay on the ground, trying to stay as still as I could, the creature caught sight of me and came after us again. We ran into another section of the mine, but the thing ambushed us. Eyes glowing and mouth frothing, it tried to reach us and bite at us. One of the guys managed to pull a gun on it.

Everything became very still as the guy confronted the creature. It glared at us and growled. We all yelled at the guy to shoot it, but for some reason he couldn’t. I grabbed the gun from the guy, but it was some kind of high-tech laser gun, and I couldn’t figure out how to fire it. I yelled, “Somebody tell me how to shoot this thing!”

Stupidly enough, one of the other women stepped between the gun and the creature. I guess she wanted to show me how to work the gun; but she left herself unprotected. The creature immediately attacked her, knocking her to the ground and raking its claws down her back. She screamed and passed out; I knew she would be dead in moments.

The creature ran off, and we pursued it; but somewhere in the mines, it found allies: a large, bald man with a mustache, and a dark-haired woman in a skin-tight, red leather bodysuit. Between the three of them, they began killing off everyone in our small group.

I smeared someone else’s blood all over myself and lay on the floor, pretending to be dead. Four of my companions did the same, so we were able to escape with our lives. But the three evil creatures sang bloodthirsty songs as they slaughtered the rest of our group. Then they left, and the five of us still living picked ourselves up out of the carnage.

Someone at the resort had brought along a pair of greyhounds on vacation, and the dogs had tracked us through the mines. They could now lead us further in, aiding our escape. We began the next stage of our long journey. Then the dream ended.

When I woke up, I had a hard time convincing myself that the Tooms-creature was not in the room with me.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Cute Ed, The Former Bookstore Man

Woo hoo. How consistent I am! I said, "Let the pic-posting begin," and lookit me, I've posted a grand total of 1 pic so far. Posted by Hello

So here's a pic of Ed and me in a pseudo-Texmex restaurant in Prague. Sounds like I'm saying that tongue-in-cheek, but really the food was excellent. No, it wasn't the gen-yoo-ine Texmex we prefer...but it got the tastebud-pleasing job done. Yay for cultural diversity in food! ;o)

Plus, since I already narcissistically posted two pics of myself, I figured I should let people know what my sweet husband looks like. So here y'all go. ;o)

libera me

To see what we have never seen,
to be what we have never been,
to shed the chrysalis and fly,
depart the earth, kiss the sky,
to be reborn, be someone new:
is this a dream or is it true?

Can our future be cleanly shorn
from a life to which we’re born?
Is each of us a creature free—
or trapped at birth by destiny?
Pity those who believe the latter.
Without freedom, nothing matters.

--Dean Koontz
The Book of Counted Sorrows

Friday, August 20, 2004

my most random blogpost to-date

I’m bored. What a perfectly terrible state to be in. Also, I’m extremely tired and unable to think straight, yet strangely reluctant to go to bed. I have this irritating feeling that something else is supposed to happen today, although I don’t know what that could be.

Maybe this mix of weird emotions and physical exhaustion simply means that I did a lot but didn’t quite accomplish everything I needed to today.
I haven’t a clue.

In the meantime, some Random Thoughts By Courtney, Accompanied By A Few Quotes From Other People:

I’ll bet my hands would look a whole lot nicer if I could rid myself of this compulsion to pick at my cuticles.

I don’t think time travel will ever be possible via any sort of machine. If we ever figure out how to do it, it’ll be something more along the lines of “mind travel,” an entirely mental process that somehow relates to Einstein’s theory of relativity. (Anyone who has read “Dune” by Frank Herbert will know what I’m talking about; see: “Navigators” and “foldspace.”)

There’s nothing like the dusty, exciting smell of an old book.

The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.”

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
--Edward Everett Hale

Art for art’s sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants.”
--Author Unknown

I heard a fantastic German tongue-twister yesterday:
Der Zweck hat den Zweck, den Zweck zu bezwecken, und wenn der Zweck den Zweck nicht bezweckt, dann hat der Zweck ├╝berhaupt keinen Zweck.
Roughly translated: The purpose has the purpose of purposing the purpose, and if the purpose doesn’t purpose the purpose, then the purpose has no purpose at all.
I think it makes more sense in German than in English.

Ignorance is bliss. Knowledge is power. Power corrupts. Cheese corrupts. Therefore, knowledge is cheese.”
--Author Unknown

I think I’m done for now.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Atoms, Quarks, and the Meaning of Light

This one's gonna be a doozy. My admiration goes to whomever has the patience to read this entire entry and actually comment on it. These are some of the typical things that go through my mind at random times. And people wonder why I have a hard time sleeping. ;o)

‘…It’s what you said about atoms…what is it you can’t cut into smaller pieces? And then I thought—why, if it’s got any size at all, it can be cut. So an atom, it’s nothing more than just a place, one exact place, with no width at all.’

‘Euclid’s geometric point.’

‘…if it’s got no size, then it’s nothing. But it isn’t nothing. It’s a place. Only then I thought, it isn’t a place—it just has a place. If you see the difference. An atom can be in one place, one pure geometric point like you said, but then it can move. It can be somewhere else. So, you see, it not only has place, it has a past and a future. Yesterday it was there, today it’s here, and tomorrow over yonder.

…‘See, I start thinking, if this atom’s got no size, how can anybody tell where it is? It’s not giving off any light, because it’s got no fire in it to give off. …Just suppose this atom’s got no size, but it’s still got some kind of mind. Some kind of tiny little wit, just enough to know where it is. And the only power it has is to move somewhere else, and know where it is then.

‘…Say you got thousands of them just lying around, just going any which way. How can any of them tell where they are? Since all the others and moving any which way, nothing around it stays the same. But then suppose somebody comes along—and I’m thinking about God here—somebody who can show them a pattern. Show them some way to set still. Like he says—you, there, you’re the center, and all the rest of you, you just stay the same distance away from him all the time. Then what have you got?’

…‘A hollow sphere. A ball. But it’s still composed of nothing.’

‘But don’t you see? …(E)verything’s mostly empty. That anvil, it looks solid, don’t it? But I tell you it’s mostly empty. Just little bits of ironstuff, hanging a certain distance from each other, all patterned there. But most of the anvil is the empty space between. Don’t you see? Those bits are acting just like the atoms I’m talking about…’

‘You’re saying that what we see as solid objects are really nothing but illusion. Little nothings making tiny spheres that are put together to make your bits, and pieces made from bits, and the anvil made from pieces—‘

‘Only there’s a lot more steps in between, I reckon. Don’t you see, this explains everything? …

‘…The point is that everything is alive. That everything is made out of living atoms, all obeying the commands that God gave them….

‘…The atoms were nothing, just places that didn’t even know where they were. It’s God who put them all into places so he’d know where they were, and so they’d know where they were—and everything in the whole universe is made out of them.’

--Orson Scott Card
“Prentice Alvin”

“For by him all things were created: things on heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

--Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ
Colossians 1:16-17 (emphasis added)

My thoughts on these things:

Everything we see is composed of atoms. Atoms are composed of neutrons, protons, and electrons. And protons and neutrons, which form the nuclei (centers) of atoms, contain smaller “particles” called quarks.

Keep in mind, my comprehension of this stuff is very limited. But from what I’ve read, it seems that scientists aren’t really sure exactly what quarks are; in fact, some might say that quarks don’t actually exist. They seem to be nothing more than particles of light.

To the Christian, this begs the question: If through Jesus, all things hold together, and quarks--particles of light--are the smallest particles of everything that exists, then quarks are……?

From a scientific standpoint, I know I’m oversimplifying. But the thought fascinates me. The power of God infuses everything that exists. Whether you believe in God or not, you carry his power around with you, inside the atoms that make up the cells that make up your entire body. Your physical body is held together by the power of his will.

And what if his will is materialized in a particle of light that science doesn’t know how to define?

Kind of gives a new meaning to the phrase “light of the world.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

"The Passion of the Christ"; Love; and What Matters

We just got back from seeing “The Passion of the Christ” for the second time. First time was back in March, and tonight we went to the German version of the dollar-theater: the 1.50€-theater.

I’m not sure what I’m going to write about this. All I know is, I have the urge to write about it, so I’m just going to say whatever is in my head.

The first time I saw the movie, I started crying during the first scene and didn’t stop until the whole film was over. My thoughts as I watched provided quite the paradox: Through the whole thing, as the film depicted Jesus’s being beaten and flogged and spat upon, I remember thinking, Please don’t do this. Please don’t do this to him. Please stop. I call those thoughts a paradox, because in my mind I was speaking to people who’ve been dead for two thousand years, about brutalities that were done then and are in the distant past. It’s a paradox to ask someone in present tense to stop something from being done in past tense.

One of my main reactions the first time I saw the film was to acknowledge my own responsibility. I had an overriding sense of my own guilt. Some of you will accuse me of being too hard on myself; of tormenting myself with my own failures; of making myself into my own martyr. But I honestly don’t believe that was the case. And it still isn’t. I simply acknowledge that everything Jesus went through (my words are inadequate, so I won’t try to describe it), he went through for me. Every moment of pain he suffered, he suffered for me. In every moment that he chose to endure those horrors instead of allowing himself the release of death, he made that choice for love of me. He did all of that because he loves me, and he didn’t want me to suffer.

That’s not my guilt talking. That’s my unending and wholly inadequate gratitude.

Tonight, as I watched the film a second time, the tears were still there. If I can ever watch that, knowing that it really happened and that Jesus, my innocent savior, truly went through all that two thousand years ago…if I can ever watch that and remain dry-eyed, I’ll know my heart has grown cold and hard. Tonight, the tears were still there, and the paradoxical thoughts surfaced once or twice.

But right now, I’m dwelling on the final scene, the moment in which the stone is rolled away from the tomb and we see what happened next. Without the resurrection, the crucifixion is meaningless. And right now, I have an overriding sense of gratitude that God designed his plan in such a way that his son came back from death. I know myself to be so very blessed to have Jesus in my life, to have Jesus as my life. I mean this in the sense that I know that because I participated in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection through baptism, when God looks at me, he sees his son. That means more to me than I can express. When God looks at me, he doesn’t see my soul stained with sin—he sees his son. I have life because he has life. To me, that’s the most amazing fact in the universe. I can’t imagine anything more amazing. Or wonderful.

I think that when Jesus first sat up inside that tomb, as he opened his eyes and took his first breath as a living being again, as he realized that he was breathing and alive…I think he smiled. I think he smiled as he stood up, and I think he smiled as he walked out. I would love to know what he was thinking in those moments….but I imagine that he was excited. Because he knew something new and extraordinary was beginning—the worst was behind him, and this was the start of God’s new relationship with humanity. Finally, the bridge was built, the gap was closed. Everything God had ever done had finally culminated in Jesus’s death and resurrection, and now the new era could begin. From that point on, Jesus could call his followers his brothers and sisters and truly have communion with them. And I can well imagine that knowing this made him so happy and so excited, he walked out of that tomb with a great smile on his face.

How can I not tell people about this? How can I not tell people about him? How can I not let them know that he loves them so much, he allowed humans to torture him to death? How can I not let people know that he loves them so much, he stood up and walked out of a grave, smiling at the prospect of being with them in heaven forever?

I can’t remain quiet about this. If I tried, it would burn me up from the inside out. If I shouted it from the rooftops, it wouldn’t be loud enough, the sound wouldn’t carry far enough. I can’t not talk about this. It’s emotionally, physically, spiritually impossible for me not to talk about it. Nothing else matters.

There have been times in my life when I wanted to die. I wasn’t suicidal—I would never condemn myself by taking my own life. It’s not mine to take. (Another nifty paradox, but I like this one.) But there have been times when I looked around me and saw the pain of those around me, and I just didn’t want to see it anymore. I was sick of seeing people I love get hurt. And my reaction was that I wanted to die. I decided that the best solution was for me to be in heaven with God, where I could receive comfort and wouldn’t have to watch people suffer anymore. I was tired of seeing pain, and I wanted to be in heaven where I’d find rest.

I still want that. I still long to be in the presence of God forever, where I’ll find complete rest. But I add this to my reasons: I love Jesus, and I want to be with him. No love can equal his; there’s no personality more attractive; there’s no presence that gives more comfort. I love him, and I want to be with him more than I want to be with anyone anywhere else.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Telepathy; Or, Love: How Far Are You Willing To Go?

To approach telepathy, you start with empathy and crank that up as high as you can. You care about each other. You feel each other’s joy and pain. You make each other laugh, and help each other cry. You work hard at trusting each other, so that it’s safe to dismantle the fortress around your ego. You forgive each other anything that stands between you, and try to bring out each other’s best, you work very hard at hosing all the [junk] out of your head so that it’s clean enough for guests, silencing all the demons in your subconscious so that it’s quiet enough to hear somebody thinking at you, and most of all you finds ways to make that work so much fun that you keep on working. You stick together and love each other and keep on growing.

--Spider Robinson
The Mick of Time
in “The Callahan Chronicles

“The Callahan Chronicles” is a collection of Robinson’s science fiction short stories all based around a bar where “shared pain is lessened and shared joy is increased.” Robinson’s stories are some of my favorite writings ever—not because of the sci-fi element, which always fascinates me, of course…..but because the basic message and principles behind his stories are essentially godly--in the same way that J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and C.S. Lewis’s “Narnia” chronicles are essentially Christian works. I’m not sure what Robinson’s beliefs are—actually, a dim memory of something I read tells me he doesn’t necessarily believe in God. However, just based on the message behind his stories, I can say this: He gets it.

And regarding the quote above: I firmly believe that if we humans could ever figure out how truly to “love one another,” we would accomplish the kind of telepathy Robinson is describing.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Dutch lawmakers mull banning toe licking

Isn't the world a fun and zany place??!!?!?!?!??!?!!?!??!!!!!! LOL

Sunbathers bothered by toe-licker, but man not charged

The Associated Press
Updated: 1:11 p.m. ET Aug. 6, 2004

Toe-licking could become a criminal offense in the Netherlands after a man who licked the toes of several women was released by police without charges. The toe-licker, whose name was not released, was arrested in Rotterdam earlier this week after a woman who had been sunbathing said he unexpectedly licked her bare foot.

Other women had also complained, and the 35-year-old man has reportedly been pursuing his fetish for years, but prosecutors in Rotterdam said they are powerless to stop him.

“A lick over the foot doesn’t qualify as a crime: there has to be some kind of objective sex act committed,” said prosecution spokesman Cees van Spierenburg in the Rotterdam Daily newspaper. “That’s the way the law is.”

Lawmakers Peter van Heemst and Aleid Wolfsen, members of the leading opposition Labor Party, asked Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner in a formal complaint to change the law.

“How can you explain that we can prosecute someone for throwing a cigarette butt or soda can on the ground, but not for this kind of misbehavior?” the men wrote.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

yeehaw! let the picture-posting begin!

Well, this is my first attempt at using this Hello software. As is usual when I start using a program that's new to me, I have no clue what I'm doing. Ah, the story of my life. ;o) Anyway, assuming this works, here's a recent picture of me. ;o) Posted by Hello

EDIT: 08:15 p.m.
Hey, whaddaya know, it worked! Wow, that pic is way huge. I'll have to scale 'em down a bit in the future.
And wow, somebody sure was smart to invent software like this. And wow, I bet somebody's makin' a ton of money off it, too. Somehow. Even though it's free for the user. Hmm.....

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Dream # 65

Things That Make Ya Go……What The ?

February 22, 2004

Last night, I dreamed something that’s going to be very difficult to narrate, but I’ll give it my best shot. The dream started out with this man who had recently been in all the news reports and papers. He was accused of kidnapping or murdering his 1-year-old daughter—at any rate, the baby was missing, and nobody knew what had happened to her. The man was out on bail, and he was proclaiming to one and all that while he and his daughter were at the zoo one morning, he turned his back on her for just a second. They were standing in front of the lion cage. When he looked back, one of the lions had stuck its head through the bars and swallowed his daughter whole. There was no blood, and nobody saw it happen, so the man couldn’t prove this accusation. Nobody would listen to him, and although he tried to sue the zoo, the judge had thrown the case out.

So this man had decided to take matters into his own hands. He was crazy with grief and anger and the need for revenge. I was some sort of neutral observer, and I watched the man as he snuck into the zoo late at night and waited for the security guard to pass by the lion exhibit. Once the guard was gone, the man climbed into the lion pit carrying a huge butcher knife. I guessed he was planning attack the lion with it, or try to cut his daughter out of the lion’s stomach or something. He was muttering nonsense as he passed me, and I couldn’t understand anything he was saying.

Then the dream shifted to the path leading away from the zoo. The man with the knife came out of the zoo. I thought he must have been successful in whatever he had wanted to do, because he was still alive and was also covered from head to foot in the lion’s blood. By now, it was early morning, and the man started across the city, back toward his home. I followed him. In the distance, I could see someone jogging. The man recognized the jogger as a friend of his, so he hid, because he didn’t want his friend to see him with blood all over his clothes.

The dream shifted again, and now I was a woman whose name I don’t know. I was talking to Melanie, the mother of the baby girl who was missing. Melanie was sitting in a park, resting against a fallen tree and reading a book. When I asked what she was reading, she showed me the book. I couldn’t make out the title; and now I don’t remember what the book was about. All I know is that when I read a small section of it, I was horrified. Something about the book was deeply disturbing. Somehow, I knew that whoever read this book cover-to-cover would end up completely and irreversibly insane. I said, “There is something seriously wrong with this book!”

Melanie just sat there looking at me with this horrible, ear-to-ear grin on her face. Her lips and gums were bright red, as though she had been eating raw meat and her mouth was full of blood. I asked her if her husband (crazy lion guy) had read this book, too. Melanie didn’t answer me, but I already knew that she and her husband both had read the book and gone insane. I was sure that the little girl was dead somewhere and that these two crazy people had killed her.

I started to feel really disoriented, and I knew it was because I had read a small portion of the book. Suddenly, I remembered that a dozen copies of this book were lying around at my school (which one, I have no idea), just waiting for unsuspecting students to pick them up and read them. There were also a few copies at the church building. (?) I started running, trying to get to those books so that I could destroy them before anyone else read them. Then the dream ended.