Wide Awake in Wonderland

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

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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Catastrophe in real time: Canine road trip November 21, 2008

Sleeping in the car

Sleeping in the car

So after three weeks at home, it was time to get back out there and do some traveling. However, poor Dozer (my soft hearted Alaskan Malamute) suffers from residual mental duress caused by losing his sister and then me in a week’s time back in July. Whenever he’s given a bone or a toy since Pixie passed, he roams around with it crying and crying and crying. It distresses the hell out of me. So effectively both of us suffer.
Anyway, when an opportunity to go on a little journey arose, it didn’t seem right to leave Doh behind. So I decided to drive and take him with me. On paper (or screen), this might actually sound like a good idea.


However, truth be told, Dozer has led a pretty sheltered life, and it doesn’t take much to move his cheese. In fact, throw a coat over the back of a chair, and he’s liable to be spooked for half the day.


Moreover, and in light of some previous trips that ended with unexpected and unfortunate violent explosions out of both ends, I decided to see what gems the internet had to offer. I found a couple sites offering up road trip tips, and below you can find the condensed highlights:

A Month Before

Ummmm? What? A MONTH before? Oops.

  • Create the expectation. Even if your animal is accustomed to riding in a car to the vet or groomer, take her on some short trips to other destinations. Walk her around some new places, and let her sniff and explore at her leisure. New smells and new places are highlights in a critter’s life — almost as good as treats! These little warm-up road trips can create the expectation in your pet’s mind that a car trip will be fun — not just a ride with a rabies shot at the end.

  • Ask and ye shall receive (another picture of the beautiful boy)

    Ask and ye shall receive (another picture of the beautiful boy)

Hopefully he’s picked up some of my optimistic attitude and presumed a car trip would be fun, because there was no expectation setting beforehand. Oops #2

  • Get a first aid kit for your dog. It comes in very handy if you need to remove any ticks. The kits are usually available at a pet store, a veterinary office or on the Internet.

Oops #3. Hopefully we don’t need one these cause we don’t have one!

  • If you do not already have a dog harness for riding the car, consider purchasing one for your dog’s safety. They are usually sold at pet stores or on the Internet.

Ditto. Oops #4.

Several Days Before (hopefully morning of’ is good enough)

  • Make sure you have enough dog food for the duration of the trip. CHECK

  • If your dog is on any medication, remember to bring it along. CHECK

Road Trip Day

  • Remember to pack all of your dog’s necessities: food, water, dog dishes, leash, snacks and goodies, several favorite toys, brush, towels for dirty paws, plastic bags for cleaning up after your dog, doggie first aid kit, possibly dog booties if you are venturing to an especially cold or hot region, and bring any medicine your dog might be taking. CHECK

  • Before you head out, put on that doggie seat belt harness. Hard to do when you don’t own one. Oops #5.

  • Bring a current color photograph of your pet. If something happens you can easily show other people what your errant buddy looks like. If need be, you can easily make copies of the photo to assist in the search process. Hmmmm… Under the law of attraction this seems like a bad idea. I could get my hands on a picture if I had to. But I won’t have to.

  • Some hotels are so pet-friendly that they have treats waiting when you check in. We recommend that you not give these treats to your critters, having found from experience that it is much better for them to eat as consistent a diet as possible when they are on the road.

And in conclusion, oops #6. I’ve let him eat everything offered by friendly humans. Hopefully this does result in an explosive outcome that I have to clean!

Although I managed to mess up most of the tips, we made it here in one piece, and without much ado. By and large, I listened to motivational Tony Robbins CDs loaned to me by a friend, and Dozer slept with his face smashed up against the back window.

Meanwhile, we’re learning some new things about each other. Like that I can’t sleep through the sound of a dog whining. And that there is pretty much nothing more gross than walking around carrying a steaming bag of poop. And that he has some separation anxiety if left alone in strange places, that manifests as loud crying and howling and a concerted effort to beat down the door until I return. In hindsight, I wish I had some doggie downers or a tranquilizer gun, but I’ll make a note of that tip for next time.

Caspar the Friendly Ghost

Casper the Friendly Ghost

On the other hand, the more things change the more they stay the same: Doh remains consistent in his easily spooked and high strung ways. Walking down the street we passed a Washington Mutual branch with a large stuffed toy horse visible through the window (presumably some kind of a Christmas decoration and nice to see the government bailout funds are going to such good  use) and he went into complete and total shock and alarm. “It’s stuffed,” I told him. “It’s not real,” I continued, not at all concerned that talking aloud to a dog might be perceived as sad or even crazy by those passing by. Alas, it was for naught and he remained riveted on the vision of this giant white faux fur creature attempting to determine whether it was friend or foe and sizing up how to get inside the branch to fight it.

***sigh*** Reasoning with Dozer is like talking to a dog.