- 1 cup butter softened
- 2/3 cup confectioners sugar (I use a little less because I don’t like them so sweet)
- 1teaspoon vanilla
- Blend above together until smooth
- 2 Cups Flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt and blend until flour is completely mixed
- Mix in 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- Take about 1 Tablespoon of dough and roll into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. (I fill the cookie sheet because these cookies don’t spread,)
- Bake 300 degrees for about 20 minutes or until bottoms begin to get a little color.
- Roll in confectioners sugar twice while warm. (I only roll once, again because of the sweetness.) I actually like this cookie without the sugar coating. They’re just not as pretty.
This was a huge dream that I was happy to remember when I woke up:
- I think it started off in a water park or something, and an entire group of people finds themselves at the end of the ride and at the beginning of a new one called “The Game”
- The Game is a problem-solving game, and only those who find the solutions advance to the next room. Advancing to a new room is called “getting older” in the vernacular of The Game.
- It starts off very easy and everyone makes it to the next room.
- This next room was a little harder and required you find a lever or something which they saw you find and would usher you through to the next room.
- It becomes clear at this point that the participants are being observed by the people running The Game.
- In this next room there are only ten or so people, and there are two glass walls. One looks out into the “next” room that we are trying to get to, and another looks back into what appears to be the previous room. In the previous room is a single girl who looks confused and perhaps frightened because she is alone. She is clearly trying to find her way out.
- We bang on the glass to try and get her to realize where we are and give her a hint to where she needs to go.
- We realize we have guns (aren’t dreams great) and start shooting through the glass to make holes in the glass and noise. The girl in the other room sees/hears these and runs over to start pounding on the glass.
- Meanwhile, everyone else in our room is trying to get to the other, “next” room.
- I am eventually able to get the other girl in to this room, and it turns out that’s what you needed to do in order to advance. The observers are about to send someone else into the room but she speaks up, “No, it should be him that gets older, he brought the other girl here.”
- I am ushered through a door and into the next room where there are six or seven other people.
- Everyone is wearing headphones, and I am given a pair. There is some sort of soft music playing in the headphones. I realize there is a bar where everyone else is sitting so I go over and sit down too.
- Sandwiches are placed in front of us and we all realize we’re starving because we’ve been playing this game for a long time now. The food is devoured.
- The headphones come alive with a voice telling us to move through a new door that opens in the wall. We all walk through and find ourselves in what appears to be a standard room of a house with a fireplace at one end, a couch, and some other features. It’s decorated like an old Victorian house.
- We are all milling around for a while, unsure what to do.
- Three of us sit down on the couch, a guy on my left, me, and then a girl on my right.
- A skeleton, perhaps two and a half feet tall appears on the floor of a side room to our right. It is writhing around and lit up with some sort of internal glow. When it finally stops I nudge the girl next to me and say “You should go pick it up.”
- She does, and as she does it comes back to life and starts writhing around again.
- She screeches and throws it into the corner of the room where it lands and then stands up.
- It says something like “congratulations, you may all proceed to the next room.”
- Everyone leaves except me. I walk over to inspect the skeleton and see that it’s made of plastic with little lights inside. I then decide to inspect the fireplace and realize it is also not real. What appeared from a distance to be ashes inside of it was really thin sheets of tracing paper. There is a hole in one of them and I can see something through it.
- I tear the paper away and see that under the fireplace is another room with corridors and railway tracks. I am about to jump down in when a man appears behind me.
- “Congratulations,” he says as he guides me through a door in the wall that is not the one the others went through.
- The door closes behind me and I realize the girl who grabbed the skeleton is there, but not anyone else.
- We are atop a giant concrete platform on the edge of a body of water, and in the distance is the sound of a rumbling diesel motor.
- I walk over to the edge of the concrete platform and look over the twenty foot drop. I am trying to see if we are floating or if everything else is. Before I can find out the girl grabs the back of my shirt and pulls me back. “You could fall over!” she yells.
- We are wondering what to do next when three actors come up a gangplank. At least, we assume they’re actors because we don’t recognize them but they seem to be directing their play towards us. This goes on for a few minutes and we watch trying to gather clues about this challenge.
- Suddenly the platform jolts to the left – we are floating apparently because now it is separating from everything else in the room. The girl gives me a look that indicates “if you had been looking over the edge when that happened you’d be at the bottom.”
- Water from somewhere is rushing around the base of the platform. Walls come down and doors start to close around this giant room. The actors are gone and we are left alone in a room that is rapidly becoming a death trap.
- We begin running for a door at the far end that is closing from the top down. The girl is in front and it becomes clear that she’s going to make it and I am not.
- She slips through and lies down on the ground to look back and plead that I crawl through too, but there’s no way, I would be crushed. She’s crying. The door closes and I am left alone in the room.
- I look over off the platform and see some rubber boats floating in the churning water.
- I run and jump for one and land in the water next to it.
- I swim to it and easily slide on top of it – I am surprised that I was able to get onto it so quickly.
- From inside the boat I look around and see that the water in this basin has begun to drain. There are bubbles everywhere and there is one place where it looks like what could have been a stairwell made out of cage and tube metal, but is now more like a waterfall that descends downward to some unknown
- Seeing no other option, I decide it’s my only choice and direct my boat towards it. I crash down through the structure and water, flipping my boat a couple times but managing to right it.
- After numerous turns the boat is spat out onto a sidewalk where there are cars and people walking around.
- I look towards the road and see a tractor trailer towing some sort of eqipment made of pipes and pumps and stuff. I see that it has the same logo as the company running “The Game” so as it passes I run towards it and climb up the back.
- I find a spot to nestle myself in and find that it’s very comfortable and end up falling asleep.
- When I wake up were are in a larger city. At one point a tour bus full of Chinese people drives by and they point out the windows at me laughing, pointing, and taking pictures.
- I turn away from them and look at where I am laying down. I am wrapped up in my Top Gun towel and blanket. “That doesn’t make sense” I think to myself, “Where did i get those?”
- I look to my right and see we are entering a huge city. The colors are super-saturated making everything look like one of those crazy HDR pictures. It’s like everything is made of the color of sunsets.
- “I wonder what city this is?” I think to myself, “Maybe Gotham?”
At this point in the dream I realize I am dreaming and start to get worried that I’ll wake up. No, this is too cool, don’t wake up! If I could control it maybe I can make it even better! Of course, the super-vivid colors of this city start to fade to grayscale and then to black….and I wake up. I am unhappy that I didn’t get to see what happened. But magically I am able to fall back asleep, and the dream continues which NEVER happens. Unfortunately this “part two” of the dream wasn’t as vivid, I was still aware I was dreaming and had trouble controlling it.
- I am dropped off in front of a hotel and realize I need to go inside if I’m going to find the girl.
- I search through the hotel lobby to no avail but see an exit towards a mall.
- The mall is a big courtyard with shops along the edge and people milling around.
- Suddenly someone shoots at me and I dive out of the way.
- I see one of the stores is selling antique guns or something, so I make my way over there and steal a couple of them.
- I return fire to the people shooting at me and I think manage to hit one of them.
- I run to the other side of the courtyard to escape and continue my search.
I know there was more to that second part but I can’t remember it. As a note, “The Game” is a similar movie with Michael Douglas so I’d have to change that if this became a story somehow, but the “plot” of this dream is certainly not the same.
- Sitting in a bar waiting for friends.
- Girl arrives and sits Indian style in the seat next to me.
- She pulls out her phone (which I can’t see yet) and says “yeah, it’s not a flip phone”
- I look over ans see it indeed is not a flip phone, but is also not a “smart phone”, just a mini phone about half the size of a large spice bottle.
- I laugh and pretend to be talking like I’m talking to someone else but I’m really talking to her (the thing where you cup your hands over your mouth): “Oh my god, look at that, it’s not even a flip phone.”
- She laughs and says “Yeah, not even a Razor”.
- I continue, “Yeah, it’s not even a Razor….I think she’s from even farther in the past than that…or perhaps the future.”
- Scene cuts forward to a nearly-empty bar/restaurant and we’re still talking. I’m showing her pictures from this book I happen to have of all my travels. I show her a picture from a pool in Las Vegas where you go down a water slide adventure and then are floated into a room that has only a couple to a few feet of water in it and explain how you could sit at a swim up bar, swim over to do some gambling, walk up to a platform where there are bathrooms, etc.
I think this could be a story about Lucid dreaming where the main character is so infatuated with the girl he meets at the bar he tries to get back to her. He can’t, until he learns about Lucid dreaming. He trains himself to be able to do it, and then starts reconstructing her, the scene, an entire world perhaps. But then something bad has to happen, not sure what…maybe she starts to realize she’s not real and attempts to deconstruct the dream herself. He of course can’t understand how this would happen because he created her…something like that.
- Skiing down a mountain at nearly night, I’m the last one on the mountain.
- Get to the bottom and get on a lift that takes you to the parking lots
- I see a phone blinking blue LED in the snow below.
- I get off at the mid station which is a ski rental shop. I notice that if someone wanted they could rob the store (it is closed).
- I walk out of the store and there are people everywhere.
- I turn around and make my way back to the area under the lift.
- I pay a hotel bellboy $0.25 to help me look for the phone
- For some reason there are drunk French tourists also walking around – I realize they are walking back to the hotel where I found the bellboy
- I find the phone which is a broken Motorola Razor (the top part of the flip has broken off)
- Somehow (because it’s a dream world), the phone still works.
- I walk back to the top of the parking lot and there are even more people
- Somehow I realize that there’s about to be an attack with a “pumpkin bomb” (did I look at the phone and see their plans?
- I see a truck drive past me on the road but realize it’s actually two
- The second one is a contraption of two parts, one which is pulling another.
- I realize the second one is the “pumpkin”
- I start running away, and am almost run over by another truck.
- I look to my left to follow the truck and see it has stopped in the road — blocking a fire truck’s access to the rest of the area.
- Fire truck can’t move
“What was it about the rice?” you say.
“Ah yes,” I reply, “the rice was what made me realize this entire situation.”
“The situation?” You have been traveling yourself, and haven’t had time to inspect the surroundings. But you have seen your fair share of hotels, and from what you have seen this one bears no special differences from any other mid-tier hotel you have been in before.
“Yes, the situation,” I reply, “Have you not seen the paintings on the walls?” I motion with my head towards the art on the wall, “Do you see anything off there?”
You turn your gaze in the direction of my nod and see two paintings on the wall. “I see nothing special about those paintings except for the fact that they are unexceptional,” you turn back to meet my eyes and in them you can see that you have missed the point. “Well,” you continue, “perhaps if I look again?”
“Yes,” I reply, “take another look and tell me what you see.” I take a sip of my red wine while waiting for your second inspection. After setting my glass down on the table I twirl the thick stem of the hotel glass in my fingers. The wine has no legs, it’s the kind a hotel provides for free at their evening social.
You look back at the two paintings hung on the wall, trying desperately to see what I am trying to lead you towards. The frames are black, cheap bulk industrial frames no doubt. Between the two paintings is a TV that is blaring tonight’s Wheel of Fortune, but that is just a distraction. What could it be about these paintings? And then you see it.
“The matting!” you shout too loud for this lazy hotel lounge.
“Yes, so you’ve seen it too now,” I lean in closer, “why so much on the bottom? It seems intentionally off doesn’t it?”
The paintings are being dragged visually to the floor by an over-abundance of matting. There is the print, and then as much unused matting under the print as the print is high. Perhaps an artistic choice, or perhaps some frame shop’s idea of a joke. In any case, it’s unattractive and looks annoyingly out of place. Once you see it you cannot stop seeing it, the giant white blank spots of matting scream out at viewers from across the room.
“So,” you ask turning back to me, “that’s the situation?” You give me an incredulous smirk, “that’s why you distracted me from my buffet salad?
I have to think now, how to explain the oddness of this place, how to best explain it, and then I remember what first made me realize the ridiculousness of it all. “No,” I say, “it was the rice.”
“The rice. You mentioned that before but I didn’t know what you meant,” you nervously nudge your glass of white wine a millimeter across the table with your finger.
“It was what I noticed before everything else. This buffet we both ate at tonight, they had rice, cream of mushroom soup, Italian-type sandwich-sized bruschetta things, salad fixings, and more. But two people,” I pause to make sure you’re still with me, “two people just had rice,” my voice trails off as I point out that last detail.
“Just rice?” You’re unsure how to respond except by reiterating my last words in the form of a question.
“Yep, a giant bowl of rice and nothing else. Big mounds of it in a bowl. And they just dug right into it like it was perfectly normal. Like it was the best bowl of Cheerios they ever had!” I can see now that you understand and my own voice has risen above the din of the hotel’s makeshift dining room.
You correct my eagerness by continuing softly, “Well, perhaps it was perfectly normal for them?”
“No, I think it was something else,” I say, “I think they just have no clue how to put food together, as in seriously no idea at all. So instead of risking putting the wrong thing in the wrong place, they just ate an entire bowl of rice because it was safer that way.”
“That sounds horrible,” you say.
“It is!” I stop and point at your plate, “Look, you put salad on top of your rice. Right? And I put the broccoli soup on top of my rice. Both perfectly reasonable things to choose. Something any normal human would know to do.”
“Yes,” you say, an unsure frown forming on your lips.
“Neither of us in our wildest dreams would have thought that filling up a large bowl with plain white rice and eating it was a reasonable thing to do!”
“No, clearly not,” you say.
“So why them? Why would they do that?” I ask, “To say nothing of the pool. Have you seen that yet? That’s even worse.”
I entered the hotel restaurant leaving the noise of the lobby behind the slow swoosh of a large glass door. Inside the restaurant it was dark, like all upper crust restaurants seem to be. Standing at a small podium were two young people, probably in their early twenties.
“Table for one, sir?”
“Yes please.” I said.
The hostess removed herself from behind the podium, grabbed a sheet of thick paper that I took to be a menu, and marched off through the sea of mostly-empty tables. I followed.
Soon enough she stopped and pointed towards an unremarkable table, “Will this be acceptable?” she asked?
“Yes, thank you.” I replied.
She handed me the menu. “Justin will be with you shortly.”
“Thank you.” I replied.
I scanned the menu looking over the short list of available items. That’s another thing about fancy restaurants, small menus. I immediately discounted the fish options, not my cup of tea. Some of the other dishes looked good but had at least one ingredient that ruined it, there always is in fancy restaurants. In addition to chicken and potatoes, they feel the need to add pine nuts and water chestnuts. Or instead of beef and potatoes they decide that it would be better with edamame and fish sauce. At least small menus make the decision easier. I picked the braised short ribs. They sounded like they hadn’t been too bastardized. There were Brussels sprouts, but I felt I could eat around those if I had to. I placed the menu on the table in front of me ti indicate to the staff that I was ready to order.
Another young person walked towards me. It was a male, and looking right at me while he quickly closed the distance. This must be Justin.
“Hello, my name is Justin. Can I start you with a drink?”
I had prepared the response in my head even before he asked the question. Before he had arrived actually.
“Yes, and I’m ready to order as well.”
“Ok, great! What can I get started for you?” I find his enthusiasm slightly off-putting.
I broke eye contact and stared at the far wall instead of the eager eyes of the waiter in front of me. “I’ll have a Tanqueray and tonic, and for dinner the braised short ribs.”
“Ok, excellent choice sir! I’ll bring some bread out for you too.”
That would be great, thank you.” I said.
As Justin left another nameless waitstaff appeared. He filled my water glass and removed the wine glass that I would not need. As quietly as he arrived he left. Never said a word. I was fine with this.
While waiting for my meal a couple arrived. An older woman and a younger lady. I watched as the same hostess who had led me through the dining room now led these two. To my surprise she sat them directly across from me. Odd choice I thought. I was sitting facing the windows and street, their table was turned ninety degrees from mine and about ten feet in front of me. They faced each other, and I faced them. With nothing else to look at I decided I would watch them.
The younger of the pair was also the fatter of the two. Modern society I figured, too many french fries and too much ice cream. She was easily less than half the other woman’s age. Mother and daughter I assumed. They both had that southern look, it’s hard to put your finger on it but you know it when you see it. Lips that stay pursed except when speaking and a little squint in the eyes, this latter an artifact of too much sun I supposed. Jewelry on view, big rings and large necklaces. All of this on display over draping clothes that could also double as curtains.
I watched as the younger of the two began to cry. How unexpected! My gin and tonic arrived just in time for the show. I squeezed the lime into the clear drink and took a sip. I placed the drink down in a couple places on the table, trying to decide where it should go. The fat girl was still crying, but was also buttering a second slice of bread in between sobs. I wished that I could hear better.
The older lady buttered bread too, but with much less emotion. No emotion in fact. Those pursed southern lady lips only parted to allow the bread to enter. The bawling girl two feet in front of her was having no effect. I decided that the fat girl probably cries a lot and the old lady is tired of it.
My meal arrived and I barely noticed. It was a good thing that the meat was “fork tender”, I had mentally checked into the conversation in front of me, a knife would have been beyond my ability.
Once the fat girl turned her head towards me and me made eye contact. Yes, I thought to myself, very awkward. I allowed my lips to form a smile, not a I just won ten dollarssmile, just enough to say yes, I am aware of your presence in front of me and I can do little else but watch you such is our proximity and the angle of our seating arrangement, I’m sure you can understand.
As I finished my meal Justin returned. We went through the paces of him asking if I want desert, me declining desert but ordering another drink, and him saying very well sir, I’ll bring your check but please stay as long as you would like.
I watched the couple a while longer, the fat one stopped crying eventually and I never did get a clue what it was that set her off in the first place. As I was getting ready to leave an old Japanese man arrived who walked hunched over due to some old person’s debilitation, like his skeleton was folding in on itself. He sat on the same side as me, facing out the windows towards the street. I thought to myself that this must be where they put the single guys. Me and Japan Man sitting facing Fat Girl and Old Lady.
The Man entered the restaurant leaving the noise of the hotel lobby behind the swoosh of a large glass door. He crossed the dimly-lit entranceway to where two young twenty-somethings await his arrival. Both were fine arts majors at the local community college, they had chosen this restaurant to work at due to its proximity to the museum. Tonight however they were waitstaff at this upscale hotel restaurant. It was Jenny’s turn, so as the man approached she said the same thing she would say a hundred times tonight, with minor variations, “Table for one, sir?”
The Man seemed distracted and responded with something that Jenny couldn’t quite understand. She didn’t think he responded in the negative, so Jenny grabbed one of the thick paper menus stored at the hostess station and began walking towards the line of tables. The man followed her, they always did Jenny thought. She looked good tonight and she knew it. The hotel required that restaurant staff wear black, but they didn’t say what that had to be. Jenny had long, straight, black hair and she was wearing black everything else tonight: eyeliner, form-fitting dress that ended at her thighs, black tights, and black platform heels.
She stopped at a random table and gestured towards it, “Will this be acceptable?” she asked knowing full well what he would say in return.
“Yes, thank you.” the man replied.
She handed him the menu. He was dressed differently from most of the men who came into this restaurant. He didn’t look like the normal business men who came down from their company-paid hotel rooms to get whiskey drunk with their friends and make lewd comments towards her. Those men were easy to spot with their business-casual sport coats, tan khaki pants, and slicked-back hair. He also wasn’t a family man, too casual were his gestures, too empty was his finger, and too reserved his mannerisms. It didn’t matter, she supposed, she was a hostess tonight and her job was to put him at a table, she had done that.
“Justin will be with you shortly.”
“Thank you.” he replied.
Jenny walked back to the hostess kiosk wondering if the man was watching her go. She hoped so. Not because she found him especially attractive, but just because she liked the feeling of being watched. When she reached the kiosk she turned quickly, flicking her hair in an arc away from her face as she did. That usually did it. To her dismay the man was not watching her at all, instead he appeared to be lost in thought gazing out the window. Oh well. His loss. Jenny grabbed the stack of menus and straightened them like a deck of cards. They made a satisfying thump on the table as she did so.
Jenny watched as the waiter Justin made his way slowly over to the man’s table. Justin had asked her out on multiple occasions and every time she had giggled and said she was sorry but she was busy. She didn’t mind Justin, but he was too geeky for her. He was an engineering student, there was no way he could understand the things she did about fine art, it just wouldn’t work. Better to let him down easy by leaving the door open instead of a flat out refusal. She was of course aware of the effect she had on men of all ages, but she couldn’t bear to completely shut them down. Besides, you never knew.
Jenny was interrupted in her thoughts by two women who had arrived at her podium and were waiting for her to say something. The older of the two was clearly in charge, so Jenny directed her question to her. “Table for two?” Jenny asked.
With the negotiations complete Jenny went through her ritual of picking a table. How about another table for Justin’s section? She led the couple over to a small table by the window. She asked if it was ok and it was. She told them Justin would be with them shortly and made her way back to the hostess station. She giggled at the thought that perhaps one of the women was watching her leave like the men usually did.
After arriving back at the hostess station she turned and gazed out over the sea of tables. From here she could see nearly every table in the restaurant. It was still early, and most of the tables were empty so she resigned herself to watching the two tables she had just sat. The man had a drink now, something clear. Vodka tonic perhaps? Or maybe a gin and tonic? She couldn’t tell if there was a lemon or a lime in the drink, that would certainly help to narrow down the options of what else might be in the glass. What was it one of her professors had said about art? Form, space, color, line, and texture. She unfocused her eyes and attempted to see the whole room at once. How many colors were here? Brown wood paneling, amber lights, blue from the glass candle covers, and black shadows. Outside the sky was on its way through the blues, about to descend into the ultra-dark blue of night.
Motion brought her back to her senses. It was one of the waitstaff bringing the man his meal. From here she could tell it was the short ribs, the white bone sticking up in the middle of the plate was a giveaway. Jenny watched as the man picked up a fork, the wrong one, and began to eat. She noticed as he was eating he seemed to be watching the two women in front of him. Perhaps it was a bad idea to set them so close together like that. The women might complain, and then she would have to find them another table. If the manager found out then she would get a talking to about personal space, and how the customer is always right. Which is bullshit, of course.
Jenny watched the man watching the women. Most people who ate alone in the restaurant looked at their phones the entire time. Sometimes this happened with tables full of people too. Maybe he knows one of them? Or, maybe he knows both of them! That was much more exciting to think about. Jenny began concocting an elaborate story in her head of a love triangle that was sure to erupt into a finale in front of her. The man with two lovers who sees them both in a restaurant eating together. If the movies she had seen all her life were true, there would be a perfectly reasonable explanation for the whole thing but the shouting matches would start before anyone had a chance to explain. To Jenny’s dismay this didn’t happen. Instead normal life continued on in its dogged pace. The man kept eating, the women sat at their table, and an older gentleman was now standing in front of her at the hostess station.
“Table for one?”
Ahh Justin, what are you doing? Your’e supposed to be studying for your fluid dynamics exam but instead you agreed to work a double shift tonight. You had to look at the crew roster didn’t you? And you had to notice that she was working. Her. Jenny. You think she’s wearing that short dress again tonight?
You exit the kitchen to enter the dining room and have your question answered. Just as you exited the swinging double doors, the kind with two round windows in it, she was there walking some dude to a table. And yes, of course she was wearing that short black dress. She probably did it on purpose. Of course she does you idiot. She seats the man at one of your tables. Well, you think, the solo guys usually tip pretty well. At least it’s not one of those bible thumper groups, they are always the worst. Once you worked a table of five of them and when you looked at the receipt nothing but “God loves you” was written on the tip line. That’s great, you thought at the time, but God’s love doesn’t pay for my textbooks.
After an acceptable amount of time, you make your way over to the man’s table. You wonder on the way if she might be watching you. Maybe you should ask her out again tonight? AS you get closer to the table you wonder about the customer. Will this be Mr. Important, or Mr. I’m Too Busy To Look At You? Maybe it’ll be Mr. I’m so Lonely Will You Please Talk To Me. Looks can be deceiving, you’ve learned your lesson there after three month of being a waiter at this hotel restaurant. Okay, here we go Justin, show time.
“Hello, my name is Justin. Can I start you with a drink?” Ugh, how many times will you say that tonight you wonder.
“Yes, and I’m ready to order as well.” This customer is looking up Justin. Probably going to be one of those eats quick, tips well and gets out guys.
“Ok, great! What can I get started for you?” You hate that you have to say that, but the management has made it clear that what they order is always a good idea. It might even beone of your favorites.
“I’ll have a Tanqueray and tonic, and for dinner the braised short ribs.” the man replies.
“Ok, excellent choice sir! I’ll bring some bread out for you too.” Did you put too much emphasis on the excellent choice part?
“That would be great, thank you.” the man says. He doesn’t seem to have noticed whether or not you over-sold your enthusiasm. So much the better. You make a note of his drink and dinner and turn to return to the kitchen.
There she is Justin. Standing there at that hostess station. Yes, that settles it, you’ll ask her out tonight again. There’s a new movie coming out with superheros in it, she’s artsy so she probably likes movies. You think back to the other times you asked her out. She never said “No” did she? No she didn’t Justin, you’ve got this, you’ve got a shot.
You make your way to the kitchen trying not to look at her on the way. This is impossible of course. You settle for looking but not looking, a skill you’ve mastered since you hit puberty.
Back in the kitchen you enter the order into the computer system. You briefly wonder at the slight magic of it all. You enter the order here and printers across the restaurant spring to life with whatever the customer has ordered. The bar gets one for the drink, and the kitchen gets one for the meal. In the office the main computer records the sale, updates the expected quantities of alcohol that should be at the bar, updates the sales figured for the night and who entered it. That would be you Justin.
It’s a slow night so you go back to the double doors to look at Jenny again. If she turned she could probably see you looking out the window at her. If she did you would have to push through them like you were on your way out anyway. Always planning ahead Justin, that’s the engineer in you.
You can’t see your table from here, but you don’t care. There are runners for the food and drinks, you only have to take the order, check up once during the meal, and then arrive somewhere towards the end to ask about desert and coffee.
She seems to be looking out over the dining room and you can’t help but wonder what she’s thinking of. Certainly not math equations and physics. The engineering girls think about that, but the engineering girls don’t look like Jenny. What does a girl like Jenny think about? You asked one of the other guys in the kitchen about her once but he only laughed at you. “You think you have a chance with that?” he had said.
You return your gaze to her. Be careful Justin, there’s that line. The line between gazing affectionately and staring. Just a little bit more you think. She would have said no right? You’ve been over this a thousand times in your head but still cannot come to a conclusion. She would have said no if she wasn’t interested. She didn’t say “I have a boyfriend”, she didn’t laugh and go “ohmygodno”. She had only said she was busy. That’s basically a yes, right? You’ve got this Justin. Now you just have to think of what to say. Maybe if you look at her again something will come to mind.
Upon opening the shower curtain I saw it. At first I assumed it was a piece of lint, or perhaps a torn bit of cloth from a towel. But when it began to move towards me I realized my mistake. Aha! It is A Dot! It was too far away from me to see what kind of Dot, so I cautiously exited the shower and toweled off while keeping a periodic eye on The Dot. After reaching a satisfactory level of dryness I turned my full attention back to The Dot. I stooped over and inspected the creature. The Dot is a Spider Dot.
There is a set of rules I have created between The Dots and myself:
- You do not live here, I do.
- You live outside.
- If you accidentally find yourself inside do not surprise me.
- If you surprise me I will most likely kill you through pure instinct.
- If you do not surprise me I will take you outside.
Since The Dot did not surprise me (he was marching across the bathroom in plain sight), it had earned a free trip outside. I informed it of its impending travel plans and told it not to move because I would be back soon to provide transport.
I went off to the kitchen to find a suitable Container, and after a few short seconds found a small plastic Tupperware Container with a matching Lid. Perfect! With Dot Transport Device in hand I returned to the bathroom to find The Dot waiting patiently for me. Still wrapped in my towel I crouched down low over The Dot and set about my work.
Being closer to the dot revealed more about him (I do not know how to tell male Spider Dot from female Spider Dot, but I have decided this is a he, perhaps because he is travelling alone across the empty desert that is my tile floor). He was black, with legs extending perhaps as wide in diameter as a penny. Examining his legs closer I realized a problem. The Dot had four legs on one side, but only two on the other. Spider Dots are supposed to have four legs on each side.
Now I felt bad for The Dot. Somehow he had managed to lose his two front-left legs. For a Spider Dot this must be a major inconvenience, I thought. But he seemed to be walking alright to me, so perhaps my logic was faulty and Spider Dots do not need all their legs as much as I imagined. I continued with my plan to move The Dot into my round Transport Device.
Each Dot is unique in the way they let themselves be ushered. Some Dots seem completely oblivious to the events going around them, they go about their business without a care to what you might be doing just inches away from them. These Dots are the easiest to usher. You just put a Transport Device in front of them and they walk right into (or onto) it. Beetle Dots seem to be in this category. The Dot was not a Beetle Dot.
Other Dots will take a more regulated approach. They will walk up to your transport device and stop just short of it. They will commence an inspection of it, feeling around the edges, perhaps trying to identify the plant that this strange new object is made of. More often than not, after this short inspection is complete, they will march ahead and into (or onto) the Transport Device and put their faith in you to get them to a better locale. Ant Dots seems to be in this category. The Dot was not an Ant Dot.
The Dot was a Spider Dot, and you never know how Spider Dots will react. Sometimes they act like Beetle Dots, and sometimes like Ant Dots, but The Dot acted like neither of those. The Dot approached round my round Transport Device, which was now on its edge in front of The Dot. He inspected it quickly and then brought a leg up onto the rim. He wanted to get in, but could not make the final climb over the rim due to his missing appendages. I used the lid in an attempt to help The Dot (sometimes Dots need a final light encouragement to enter the Transport Device). This worked, but his remaining legs found no purchase, and he slid back onto the tile floor.
I imagined The Dot’s eight eyes (Spider Dots have eight eyes too, did you know that?) looking up at me, annoyed with my choice in Transport Device. I tried again, but this time with the Transport Lid instead of the Transport Container (this Transport Device came in two pieces). This had much the same result – The Dot was able to get onto half of the lid, but when The Lid was raised he slipped off to the tile floor, tumbled once, righted himself, and then resumed his annoyed glare at me.
I had it! The round Transport Bowl needed to be flattened to create more of a ramp for The Dot. I pressed down on the Transport Bowl and created a much better loading zone for The Dot. With some encouragement from The Lid I was able to coax The Dot closer to The Container. Much the same as last time he began with his front-most leg. This he followed with the leg right behind that one (his second right leg if you are having trouble visualizing it). He scrambled with the rest of his legs, nearly over the round edge and almost fully into the container now. He just needed one last push to get in. I brought The Lid behind him and positioned it so it would provide the lifting action that The Dot so desperately needed to get into The Container.
That’s when it happened. I’m not sure exactly how it did. Maybe The Dot was startled by The Lid, or maybe he slipped and fell back to the tile floor. It didn’t matter exactly how it happened, the reality was that he was no longer in a position to be lifted by the approaching lid. Instead he was directly between wall of The Container and the approaching Lid. There was the most faint ‘snap’ sound I have ever heard, and The Dot was no longer spread out like a penny, but instead curled up on himself like a fist.
Spider Dots don’t have muscles like you and me. Instead Spider Dots use hydraulics, like the kind that the big tractors have. Like us, Spider Dots have hearts though, and it is their hearts that provide the pressure to control their legs. Without the pressure of their beating hearts, Spider Dot legs curls up underneath them, just like The Dot did.
I hoped he was pretending, but if I was being true to myself I knew he wasn’t. The Dot was no more. I scooped him into the Container, and lightly placed The Lid on top. Now that he was inside the Transport Device I granted The Dot his trip to The Outside – he had certainly earned it. I placed him in The Planter on my porch which holds the Basil in the summer months. I hope he likes it there.
I don’t know why I remember him but I do. I first noticed him in the produce aisle. There was something about the way he pushed his cart – perhaps slightly unsure of himself. He was old, the kind where you can see all the veins in his wrist, and discolored blotches of skin appeared in random places along his exposed forearm. There was also frizzy, thinning white hair trying to escape from under his baseball hat.
As he picked through peppers I watched him for a few seconds; he would pick one up, study it as best he could with shaking hands and then put it back. He’d select another, look at it inquisitively, and then place that one back on the shelf too. Picking through produce is normal, but the way he did it indicated inexperience in the exercise. After watching for a few seconds I left him to his peppers and continued on to the next item on my list.
Later, I saw him again in the transition between the hair products aisle and the one with paper stuff in it. I probably would not have recognized him again if I hadn’t been so intrigued by his pepper-picking before. I was following behind him as he pushed his cart when he and another woman passed each other going different directions. At the same moment two bottles of shampoo from a supermarket display fell to the floor. The woman was closest to the display, and she picked up one of the bottles and put it back. The old man picked up the second bottle, and with a wide grin as if to say “Ha! Isn’t this a hoot!”, handed it to the lady who was still standing in front of the display case. The lady returned his good-natured smile with a scowl, grabbed the bottle from his hand and put it back on the display. She pushed her cart off in a hurry, and left him standing there with his smile fading. Finally he turned back to his cart and continued on to the juice aisle.
As I watched him turn into his next aisle I felt I understood his story. He was inexperienced at this. Very inexperienced. He had been married for sixty years to a woman he loved. She always did this part while he was away at work. Now she was gone and he was left to fend for himself. What’s a “good pepper” look like? Who knows? He knows they tasted good when she made them, that’s for sure. Now he lives alone in the house they built together, mostly reading his favorite books or maybe watching some TV.
The only time he really gets out and has some human interaction is when he has to do the shopping, and that was the smile I saw when he handed that lady the shampoo bottle from the floor. It was interaction, it was life, it was a chance to strike up a conversation about the weather. Maybe he was about to tell her she looked a little like his wife, at least until she gave him that I’m Too Busy For This Shit snarl. Not then. Nope. She grabbed that bottle from his hand and unknowingly threw something away. He might not have a whole lot left to give the world, but he had a little bit that day, and she didn’t want it.
I was interviewing at a company and they gave us (many people were interviewing at the same time) giant transparent sheets with questions on them and you were supposed to sketch out your solutions on the transparency.
One of the questions went something like “Provide a mobile solution for caching geographic results on the unpolluted side of the moon.”
After staring at it for a while I realized the “unpolluted” part was a red herring but I was still perplexed as to how to answer the question. Finally I decided that some sort of caching system would be required, or at least a “2 part lookup”. So I went with a grid-based system where you would carve up the area into squares – this part could be stored on the device which would be better than server caching even.
The idea was first figure out which square the device was in, then you would ask the server for details for that square (and probably the 8 around it). It seems like it would work better than querying the large database for results between lat/lon points if you only have to ask for results in a grid number (which would index well)…dunno lol.
I was in my grandmothers kitchen with my mother using the oven to dry out a guitar neck for my dad.
It was an old gas oven that had burners on both the top and bottom. We were using it more as a furnace than an oven, with the flames licking out at times to the wood of the guitar neck. Too close I realized.
I went over to the oven to adjust the flame level. We had found the guitar that the neck belonged to in the mud, and there was still some of the mud visible caked to the frets. I turned to say something to my mother, as I did I looked out the window and realized time was running backwards outside because there were planes flying tail-first through the sky. When a plane passed close enough to us to see I would try to point it out to my mother, but each time she turned around it would be too late, the plane would no longer be visible.
I was facing the window, and I knew that outside there were three airports, so I waited for a plane from the closest one to come into view, to “return from landing” so to speak. One did arrive, some sort of straight-winged single engine prop plane. I tried to call this one out too but the same thing happened, it had disappeared behind the trees before she had a chance to turn around and see it.
We decided to leave and go to a festival down the road (apparently time was running forwards again outside). Upon arriving we ordered tacos from a taco shack. I saw something interesting and decided to try it. It was a large roasted poblano pepper that was used as the wrapping. This was stuffed with chicken, cream cheese, onions and some other seasonings. It was fantastic.
In another earlier dream I had arrived back to my parents’ house in Rhode Island after a long drive south and getting lost by missing an exit on 95. I looked up at the sky and saw a satellite going through the sky, something that’s always cool to see. Then I saw another, but it was moving much faster, at least twice as fast as the original. For a while I pondered what altitude it would have to be at to be able to go that fast and maintain orbit. Soon there were more and more of these fast-moving things in the sky. Now I wondered if they weren’t satellites but some sort of meteors instead. They didn’t disappear like a meteor though, so I was confused even more.
While still staring at the sky something new showed up, a steady stream of five “lines” of what looked like tracer fire, all moving in a straight pattern together across the sky. i realized now that there was some sort of battle going on in space directly above earth. Immediately after this another line of fire appeared at a ninety-degree angle to the first
- This “world” is made up of many different ones that you jump to by going through portals.
- Each portal is guarded by a different “animal” which you need to befriend and understand before you can go through the portal.
- There is one girl who knows the entrances and exits to all the portals, but she is rarely seen.
- One day this man is stuck in a world and doesn’t know how to exit it. He sees a girl ride up on a horse.
- He asks her, “How is it that you are able to ride that horse?”
- She replies, “It’s easy, you just need to understand them.”
- She turns the horse and begins riding towards a portal, it is guarded by horses (or had pictures of horses or something)…in any case, it’s clear it is the Horse Portal.
- The man does not follow and she stops her horse, and turns around to speak to him again.
- “Aren’t you going to follow?”
- “I’m afraid not.”, he replies. “I have not yet conquered horses.”
- “You don’t even know horses? And, conquered? Well, I can see why you haven’t. You have much to learn.” She replies with a chuckle.
- In the lake behind the man a giant water beast rises out of the water. Its mouth is huge with tendrils of flesh hanging from it. It looks like a slug crossed with a catfish, crossed with some sort of alien creature.
- The beast makes an ear piercing roar as it moves towards the man who is currently halfway between the beast and the horse portal.
- Meanwhile, the girl on the horse has a look of terror on her face. Could it be that there is a creature she does not yet understand? One that, given the chance, would consume her without a second thought?
- She turns and motions her horse towards the portal to exit, but then reconsiders. She takes a long whip-like thing from her side and with a long overhead arc like a fly fisherman, she snaps the tip of the whip at the beast. There is a claw on the end of the whip which takes a sample of the flesh from the open mouth of the beast.
- She then looks down at the man who is now only a few feet from death. Trapped between this water monster and the portal that he does not know how to cross, there is nowhere for him to run to.
- She takes pity on him and calls out, “You may ride with me through the portal. Quick! Run!”
- He runs to her and she motions for him to get on the horse behind her.
- With seconds to spare they make it through the Horse Portal, leaving the water beast to bark at them through the window of the portal. Clearly the beast does not know how to cross, which for our two characters (and the horse they are riding) is a good thing.
- “What was that thing?” the man asks.
- “I don’t know.” she replies.
WEDNESDAY, 23 OCTOBER
We leave the slip at Belle Viu Marina, in Wakefield, RI bound for Charleston, S.C,. Most likely we will pull into Chesapeake Bay for the inland route around Cape Hatteras, but if Neptune were to grant my wish for favorable wind and seas – unlikely given the forecast – we will round the Cape on the outside, something I have yet to do.
It is a cold, gray morning with an unfavorable wind and the predictions are it will go down hill from here. Joe Hitchery has “signed on” again as has Ray Xavier. Both have done a northbound leg from Tampa to Charleston. Larry and I round out Archie’s crew.
Joe Ray Larry
We head out past Montauk Point and down the south shore of Long Island for the 50 hour passage and by the time we finish dinner (the first of Larry’s masterpieces) we encounter rain, increasing west/southwesterly winds and building seas. It continues to slowly build and by the time we are furthest off passing NYC and Delaware Bay we are in 5-7′ beam seas. Larry gets thrown from his windward bunk and covered with an avalanche of books from the shelf. Ray spends most of the night in the navigation station swivel chair but gets little sleep between our 4 on – 6 off watch schedule. As for me, comfortably settled in my sleeping bag on the leeward settee it is sweet dreams. To plagiarize a comment Ray made later – “It was cold, windy and rough all night but there is nowhere else I would rather be.”
Friday morning’s offshore forecast for Hatteras is no better so in we go, up the Elizabeth River, past Norfolk, through the Great Bridge lock and settle in at a rear dock at Atlantic Boat Yard. These are the docks behind the marina, up a short canal where boats are stored in large sheds with metal roofs. No shore power and not much in the way of conveniences but it is quiet and the boat is not rolling. The shower facilities don’t get much in the way of reviews so I shower aboard – no sense wasting all the hot water the engine has been generating.
After a round of beers, and a couple of rums, we grab a ride to a new restaurant with the bartender they sent for us. She is a hot ticket, and gives us her suggested favorites on the way. The place is called the Court House Restaurant and the menu is formatted as a Subpoena – much to the delight of our two lawyers Archie and Joe – and also to Larry who it seems has been on the receiving end of perhaps one or two
Anyway, the food (I had fried oysters, prime rib with beans and greens) was outstanding. When our waitress Channa “You can call me Donna” asked if she could get us anything else I said “Sure, the recipe for those greens”. Five minutes later there it was nicely written out on a scrap piece of paper. So – well fed and happy we were driven back to the boat for a nightcap and a long, uninterrupted sleep – well except for Ray who can’t seem to get settled.
Saturday, 26 October
I wake up early and go on deck with my camera. The sun is just about to rise and there is fog rolling up the canal and I anticipate getting a picture Andrew will covet. As I walk to the bow I suddenly find my feet zipping out from under me. WTF?? there is ice on deck! The old adage “one hand for you and one for the boat” served me well and I swing back up using my grip on the stay. But I grabbed the shot, and several others in the ground fog as we make our way down the ICW passing some rowing teams out for practice.
Referring now to my 2 year old notes it appears Joe’s Lone Ranger joke was the only excitement of the day. I don’t recall the complete telling of it but remember the Lone Ranger and Tonto make camp and Tonto wakes him up in the middle of the night and asks the meaning of what he sees. The Ranger waxes eloquently about the multitude of stars and infinite space to which Tonto replies “No dumbass, someone steal our tent”. The other excitement is that the chart plotter decided to take the day off.
SUNDAY 27 October
My notes are really sketchy now but I assume we made it to Coinjock, N.C. The following morning we depart and take the route around Roanoke Island comforted by the information I obtained from the Oregon Inlet Coast Guard Station that the channel had not silted in. Larry provided additional narrative on channel depths that he miraculously obtained from Google Earth images on his I-pad. We anchored in Adams Creek at 0200 with a full moon rising while we dined on Larry’s Chile and a rum chaser (for me).
MONDAY 28 OCTOBER
We awake to a wonderful sunrise, and make our way to the Moorehead City. I text Andrew and find out he’s leaving for work in Austin, TX as we we head out the inlet to sea.
NOTE: anyone who wants to complete this log is welcome to since I have no notes on the offshore trip to Charleston.