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:


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!



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.


I’m afraid of the iPhone November 19, 2008


Have you seen the ads about the apps for the iPhone? How about the one where if you don’t know a song, you hold the phone up to the source and within seconds it tells you what’s playing and where to buy it? And I don’t mean you hold the phone up to your iPod or some other device that the iPhone is designed to ‘talk’ to. I’m saying you hold it up to your car radio or TV or the ceiling of the Gap and it figures it out. It’s call Midomi, and it scares me.

I think this could be the beginning of one of those ‘end of days’ scenarios where the computers take over and we’re just hanging out in liquid-filled cocoons providing them battery power.

Don’t panic just yet though. There are still plenty of harmless (if not a little stupid) apps out there:

Sonic Lighter – although there are apparently almost a dozen free lighter apps, people can’t wait to pay $.99 for Smule’s Sonic Lighter. Apparently they’ve built in social and viral features such as the option to share your geographic location information with the application, and when you light it you show up on a virtual earth-like globe. The longer you leave it on, the more “kilojules” you burn, and now teams are competing to be the brightest on the globe. Someone needs to get France and Japan some more entertainment, because they’re apparently leading the pack at this. Oh, and you can blow on the microphone and extinguish the flame, which I must admit is beyond cool.

Ocarina – the same company has now introduced Ocarina, which apparently allows you to be a one-man Peruvian band with just your phone. It’s named after an ancient flute-like wind instrument, and lets you play those haunting, South American-esque tunes by blowing into the iPhone microphone and hitting the virtual buttons. Moreover, you can hit a button and listen to what other Ocarina users are playing around the world. It’s social music, and probably the beginning of a whole new arm of the virtual connectedness that marks this century.

zw0upsil9e062ry4uijqKoi Pond – This is a virtual fish pond where you can change the water color, amount of fish, lily pads in the pond, the different animal sounds you hear, and switch it from day to night. You can shake the iPhone and feed the fish, tap the pond to scare the fish, or leave your finger in and watch them eventually swim up to you. Nothing else happens. You don’t get smarter. You still have no idea what string theory is. You don’t make business contacts. But who doesn’t love koi?

Oh, and get this! Remote turns your iPhone into a remote control for your computer. This app lets you pause, fast-forward or rewind anything you’re watching or listening to, or switch to a different playlist. It also operates the ‘Apple TV’, a device that sends music, photos and movies from your computer to your television. Wow.

And last, but not least, Shozu. When you take pictures with the iPhone’s built-in camera, Shozu links the phone with sites like Flickr and your blog and posts them right away. This would’ve been a lifesaver on my backpacking trip, when I never had enough bandwidth to get the pictures loaded in under an hour. I may just have to start a blog-based fundraiser to finance one of these before the next big trip!

So as it happens, all this talk about these apps makes me want an iPhone. Bad.

I don’t care that the phone is transmitting information back to an unknown source and that it’s occasionally scary and may signify the downfall of the human race. Bring on SkyNet and the rise of the machines! As long as I can play my electronic pan flute, I don’t care!


Bring on the thought police November 18, 2008

fp938openb So yesterday someone was telling me about a doll that allegedly spouts pro-Islamic messages. My friend was meeting with a customer, the father of young girls, who had a doll in the office that kept repeating a ‘subversive’ message.

What’s that you say? Color me intrigued. Are the good people at Fischer Price actually Islamic fundamentalists!? The same people who created the beloved “Little People” of my youth!? Did anyone else have the Sesame Street set seen here? I seriously just had a a portion of my life flash before my eyes just looking at this picture.

Anywho, so as not to prime you into hearing something (because if I tell you what you’re listening for, you’re much more likely to hear it), go ahead and see what you think:

If you ask me, I really can’t tell what the doll is saying except “light” or “night” or “right” or something like that at the end. Otherwise, it sounds like babble. Annoying babble. And I think maybe she told me to rob a bank and send half the money to the NRA, but I could be imagining that part.

However, a lot of people think the doll is saying, “Islam is the light,” and they are FREAKING OUT. A small sampling of the reactionary knee-jerk (and poorly spelled) insanity from YouTube brings us such nuggets as:

  • “This doll obviously says “Islam is the light.” I can’t believe people aren’t fighting to get this trash out of America!”
  • “It definately says “Islam is the Light”!!! This is disgusting and outrageous! They startin to poison our children’s minds with this bullshit!”
  • “Well, it definitely says “Islam is the light”. Obviously another form of jihad. Outrageous.”

As for the comment about America, aren’t we a melting pot where everyone is welcome? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble….etc.”

Personally, I think a nice heavy dose of tolerance is a good idea. If I had a kid, I’d run right out and buy them one of these. In fact, what I’d like to see is the “God – in whatever form you perceive Him or Her to be – is great” doll, which perhaps features a series of phrases like:

Islam is the light

Hinduism is hot

Rasta is remarkable

Buddhism is brilliant

Judaism is joyful

Christianity is cool

Shintoism is the sh*t

Paganism is powerful

Why not give atheism a try?

and then back around again to “Islam is the light.”

This idea you can have for free. I’ve got more important projects to work on. Like deciphering the Satanic messages in Stairway to Heaven (played backwards, of course).


Semi-random thought: I wonder if you played some kind of intentionally dark, Satanic death metal backwards if you’d get a hymnal or part of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians?    😉


Your dreams may toss and turn you now November 11, 2008

So I woke up this morning with Cat Stevens playing in my head (just in my head, not on the radio or anything), which is kind of weird really. Nonetheless, seeing as it was out of nowhere and strangely apropos, I took it as a sign and decided to update the tag line on this blog. And the ‘about me’ was adjusted too. And even my outgoing voicemail message on my cell phone. Reality has settled in. Although I still haven’t fully unpacked my backpack, I also haven’t strapped The Beast on in over a week. It had to happen sometime. Elvis is back in the building.


Meanwhile, I’m still grappling with a serious case of jet lag. Thus, 7:00 this morning wasn’t the first time I woke up. I also woke up at 4:00 in the middle of a dream that I was hooking up with George Clooney. If you’d asked me yesterday, I’d have described that as pretty much the perfect dream, and one I’d be sorry to see interrupted.


However, it turns out having it cut short wasn’t as bad as it sounds. First off, in the dream I was dismayed to find that I was only wearing a sheet, and I was concerned that might send George the wrong message about what kind of girl I am. But that wasn’t all. You see, George had some rough breath. Dumpster meets outhouse meets rotten egg rough. And after I got over the shock and dismay, I was desperately trying to figure out how I might get him some Altoids or even just a TicTac (and maybe a pair of panties for myself). A dab of toothpaste. Some floss. Anything.


And I think my duress at the ultimate opportunity turned gross situation caused me to tune into the fact that my sleep hypnosis CD had gone nuts and in the real world, a male voice had been saying, “Anything is possible” for almost five hours.


You see, I somehow got my hands on a couple sleep hypnosis CDs earlier this summer. They open with this guy with a strange accent talking you through how your feet are relaxing and your shoulders are relaxing and then once you fall asleep, he rattles on about how “Anything is possible” and “It is. You know it. You accept it.” This I know because I had it on my iPod during my trip in Europe, and it was one of the only tracks that didn’t get wiped out. It was my hope that it would help me fall asleep or fall back asleep when the general ruckus that is a hostel dorm room competed with my beauty sleep. However, sometimes it had the opposite effect. The droning voice itself would keep me awake and I would lay there and listen to the parts you’re supposed to sleep through. Anyway, the point is that the positive affirmations are only to go on for an hour, but somehow my CD got stuck on the phrase “anything is possible” and repeated that until it wormed its way into my conscious mind.


But maybe in a way that was the endless repetition I needed? Because I woke up again a couple hours later ready to work and ready to write and feeling energized and excited and enthusiastic and like, well, anything is possible.