Wide Awake in Wonderland

We’re only dancing on this earth for a short while

http://www.wideawakeinwonderland.com December 6, 2008

Yep. It’s official. There’s a new blog post, but you can only find it on my all new website:

www.wideawakeinwonderland.com

Effective very soon, this space will be just a skeleton of what it once was. But all the old posts and happy memories will live forever on the new blog site. (let’s note it again, shall we? http://www.wideawakeinwonderland.com)

So please, update your favorites file and your RSS feed (and if you don’t know what that is, it’s the link on the bottom of the new site that will allow you to receive this blog automatically whenever I write it. It’s like I’m spamming you, but you asked me to. Cool, no?)

So don’t delay, and I’ll see you on the other side!

http://www.wideawakeinwonderland.com

 

Special special needs December 4, 2008

handicappedI was musing to myself that it would be nice to have a little income stream during this intermediary period. Rest assured, I have some (I think) good ideas in me noggin, and I’m getting some irons in the fire, so things should start to shape up and some cash rolling in by spring. However, seeing as I left my job rather than wait to be laid off (which I now very much wonder if I might have been. I don’t know how much demand there would’ve been for our boutique banking consulting services), I’m not eligible for unemployment.


Then it occurred me to me: I’ve been paying into the system for a good, long time. Maybe a little disability wouldn’t be too much to ask for? Admittedly (and happily), I’m healthy and (I think) mentally stable, but I do have a few unique flaws that I believe should be taken into consideration by the fine folks at the disability claims area:

Stove Dyslexia – This is the kind of thing that destroys families. I cannot turn on the burner I intended to turn on, and it is not my fault. This disorder has caused me considerable pain and trauma: Meals have been late, caffeine fixes unnecessarily delayed, several dish towels have burn marks on them, and I have even suffered the unspeakable – yes, I have lost arm hair. The smell torments my dreams to this day.


Irritable Howl Syndrome (IHS) – my dog has innovated this horrific banshee scream cum wolf howl noise that he’s very proud of. He will go out onto the back porch and let out this blood curdling sound until I go and drag him inside by the the collar. Nine times out of ten, he runs downstairs, goes out his dog door, and resumes again within two minutes. It drives me crazy, and if crazy isn’t grounds for disability payments, I don’t know what is.


Verification Word Blindness – For some reason Yahoo thinks I’m a spammer, and it constantly makes me type in the secret word it generates to confirm I’m a real human being. And I can never get the word right. Never. I have been known to try and fail five, six, seven times…until I finally have to call someone else in to help me. This is as embarrassing as it is emotionally crippling, and leads me to fear I may be a robot or android and no one has let me in on this yet.


Obsessive Compulsive Spellcheck Disorder (OCSD) – Yes, I am the obnoxious friend who notices you wrote ‘too’ when you meant ‘to’ or that you used the wrong their/they’re/there or that you’re a bit, shall we say, apostrophe ‘s’ happy. Also, the rumors are true: The dish is broken, not broke and irregardless is illogical, and thus not actually a word.


Curlyhairophobia – I have naturally curly hair, but I am not a fan. At all. And I have invested hundreds if not thousands of dollars into lotions and potions and straighteners and other accoutrement to fight my Irish genes. Possibly also related (to the genes more than the hair), I’ve also been known to go a little berserk if I get caught in the rain in my recently straightened hair. Okay, not a little beserk. A lot beserk. This no doubt speaks to some kind of rage disorder worthy of a little income.


Chronic Fashionista Syndrome – I’m obsessed with clothes. I’m driven to read each and every page of Elle, Lucky, In Style, Latina, Essence, or whatever you’ve got in search of tips, tricks, and the latest styles. This in turn manifests as an insatiable need for new stuff, adorable stuff, sexy stuff, any stuff…so long as it’s more stuff. This disorder speaks to my inner sadness and unquenchable emptiness, as well as a desire to look cute.


Cash deficit disorder (CDD) – See Above.

Syphilis – I’m just kidding. I don’t have syphilis. And I hope not to. So if you have it, stop looking at me and stay on your side of the bar. That is unless it’s grounds for a monthly stipend. Then I might consider actually allowing my bare ass to touch the rim of a gas station toilet seat and seeing what Mother Nature has up her sleeve.


I’m certain by now you agree. I am more than deserving of a cash influx…stat.

 

Construction Zone December 2, 2008

Today has been one of major frustration, mostly around the migration of this blog to its new (hopefully beautiful and perfect, but thus far not so much) web site and due to the fact that I’m packing for a two-week trip to the east coast. I am a super neurotic packer. As a result of far too many business trips where I found myself with too short of pants and too high of heels or too much pink or inadvertent belly shirts or excess cleavage or one of a hundred outfit mishaps, I am now compelled to try every combination on before packing it. And that, my friends, is some time consuming behavior.

Nonetheless, never one to leave you high and dry, allow me to pass on a holiday tip sent to me in my e-mail. For those of you that give gift cards (and PLEASE give me gift cards. At least there’s a bat’s chance in hell that I could use it for something I might actually want or need), you may want to rethink it in a few circumstances.

Apparently, some businesses that will be going into bankruptcy or closing local locations in 2009 are still selling gift cards. There is no law preventing them from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as ‘Bankruptcy Planning’.


Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about.

  • Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
  • Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide closing
  • Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine’s to close 150 stores nationwide – (I find this amazing because I have a couple plus-size friends and they tell me Catherine’s is pretty much the ONLY place they can buy clothes. Where will these women shop now!?!?)
  • Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
  • Cache will close all stores - (I’ve never been in a Cache, but through the store window everything always looked so tacky that this does not surprise me)
  • Talbots closing down specialty stores
  • J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots)
  • Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)
  • GAP closing 85 stores (GAP was getting a little omnipresent, anyway)
  • Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January
  • Wickes Furniture closing down
  • Levitz closing down remaining stores
  • Bombay closing remaining stores
  • Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January
  • Whitehall closing all stores
  • Piercing Pagoda closing all stores – (Dammit! My master plan to give everyone on my Christmas list Piercing Pagoda gift cards has now been shot to sh*t)
  • Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.
  • Home Depot closing 15 stores
  • Macys to close 9 stores after January
  • Linens and Things closing all stores (This is true. If you need knives or a whisk or a new toaster, get in the car immediately and go to your nearest Linens and Things. It’s a serious “Everything must go!” fire sale price slash extravaganza in there)
  • Movie Galley Closing all stores
  • Pep Boys Closing 33 stores (Can you imagine a crappier Christmas gift than a Pep Boys gift card? “Thanks, Grandma. Manny, Moe, and Jack… How’d you know?”)
  • Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores
  • JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
  • Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
  • Wilson Leather closing down all stores
  • Sharper Image closing down all stores (Their website implies something really cool will be happening – http:www.sharperimage.com – since when does ‘something big’ = bankruptcy?)
  • K B Toys closing 356 stores
  • Loews to close down some stores
  • Dillard’s to close some stores

Happy shopping!

 

Global Gloom and other encouraging word combinations December 1, 2008

2356411353_74c4a3912fSo I have these moments where I come up with a thought that makes me think I may be really smart. Crazy smart. Einstein smart. And then I hear a cricket chirping and forget what I was thinking about.

Seriously though, I have a line of thinking going, and it seems pretty good. For starters, what better way to get the masses into ‘herd think’ and control their actions than to scare the crap out of them?  All these headlines we’re battered with daily are an excellent case in point:

  • “Economic downtown has folks stashing their cash”
  • “Short selling declines as US stocks scrape new lows”
  • “No 401K worries in the afterlife: More people consider suicide a ‘viable option’”
  • “Stocks fall sharply on consumer spending worries”
  • “Treasurys rally, yields slide, on gloomy economy outlook” (this really is an actual headline – all weird and badly spelled like this. Or maybe that’s good grammar at the school Nick Godt of Fox News attended?)
  • “Miami protesters to new parents, ‘What kind of selfish jerks bring a baby into this horrible world?’”
  • “As unemployment rises, work-at-home scams flourish.”
  • “Manufacturing crash adds to global gloom”

(Okay, I admit it. I made a couple of those up. I like to make sure you’re paying attention.

Meanwhile, to the good folks at The Onion: My rates are steep, but you need me. And you can’t put a price tag on quality like mine. Actually, on second thought, you can, and it’s in the six figures.)

So back to my big idea: A friend loaned me this Tony Robbins CD I listened to last weekend on the way to Seattle. In it, he was talking about how money is always in motion and movement and constant flow. What you put into the bank is given to a business who spends it to create something that someone else buys and it goes on and on like this. That is, unless someone hoards it up and stops the flow and causes the smooth cycle to grind to a halt – otherwise known as a recession.

Wikipedia defines it similarly as, “A recession is a contraction phase of the business cycle, or “a period of reduced economic activity.” The U.S. based National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) defines a recession more specifically as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP growth, employment (non-farm payrolls), industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.” A sustained recession may become a depression.

So, in short, a recession is when people panic and sell their stocks and put the money under the mattress and don’t buy anything so the people making stuff have no one to sell it to and have to raise prices and close stores and lay people off or otherwise compensate for the lack of income until the whole thing becomes a spiraling self-fulfilling prophecy of doom.  (And imagine that sentence delivered all breathless and urgent, like any good conspiracy theory must be.)

But seriously, think about it. That first headline alone caused me pause and ponder, “Maybe I should take what little money I have and cling to it like a dying man, adrift at sea with only a raft?” All this negative input and fear mongering in the form of ‘news’ is making people panic more. And recess more (so to speak).

Imagine the following thought experiment (proposed by my clearly genius friend Cheryl):  Instead of these kinds of headlines about how it’s all going to hell in a hand basket, what if the only feedback people got was that stocks were set to rally tomorrow, and the U.S. is doing better than it’s ever done, and the world is poised to reach new heights and greater widespread abundance and peace than we ever thought possible by 2010? If people were told to resume buying stocks and buying things and living without fear and moving confidently and happily toward tomorrow and basically acting like they did before being badgered by images of ‘global gloom’, then the wheels start slowing turning again. And then, before you know it, the recession is over.

And when you step back and see how it all works and how this is actually 100% plausible, how totally spooky is that?

One more point for Team “What You Believe Is What Becomes Real.” And I rest my case.

 

 
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