eating glass

I'm walking through a country valley sometime in the early 19th century. There are no cars and only a few horses ambling through fields of green grass. I seem to be an investigator of sorts, trying to collect recipes from the famous glass eaters of this valley.

I observe as an eldery matron demonstrates how she bakes glass in her open until it is hot and snappish. It breaks apart in my mouth as I bite it and burns me with its searing hot shards.

An older gentleman explains his technique for sauteeing glass in a fying pan with soy sauce. The glass is stained brown, and the salt of the soy sauce finds every cut crevice in my mouth. The glass breaks just the same and cuts my throat as I devour it.

I can feel the glass working its way through my guts. It catches and cuts, bloating me with gas and blood. My stomach protrudes in its fullness yet I hunger for more because of the lack of nutrition. I am starving to death with a full stomach. I think of those poor birds who starve because of ingested plastic.

When I wake up, my stomach is twisted in knots. I think the dream caused the ache rather than the ache the dream.

mine was 97 percentile verbal

Today the Educational Testing Service announced additional errors in this year's scores for the SAT. The number of test-takers involved: a perfect 1600.

You couldn't make this stuff up. :)

Eurypterids and sharks

So the dream goes like this:

There is an amusement park, like Marine World, that has rides and animals intermixed. One of the rides is available only to people with amputations. They swim in a large tank while a Great White shark is introduced. The shark doesn't eat them--to the contrary, they are harassing it.

But even stranger is the petting zoo. For there, intermixed with running children, are extinct animals. Eurypterids, sometimes called sea scorpions, were a fearsome predator of the Permian. They grew up to six feet in length, were armored, and bristled with stingers and spines.

In the petting zoo, a large eurypterid scuttles along snapping its claws at the children. It is a pale brown; color is always a difficult question in paleontology, and I'm quite pleased to now know the color of a living specimen. I let it touch my leg, which it does as if trying to get my attention.

I am not as scared as I should be.

Later I am in another part of the park, where a Great White is nuzzling up to a whale. They are both in shallow water below a bridge. My sister and I can reach down from the bridge and touch them, and we do, although my sister is much less fearful than I. I have touched the dried skin of a Great White before, but in my dream I forget this and think that this is the very first time.

The skin of the shark is sticky and laden with mucus. As I am touching it, the shark transforms. It is now no longer a Great White, but another kind of shark that looks like a Goblin shark.

It wasn't quite a Goblin shark, as it had several noses on the top of its head, flapping wetly as the shark breathed in and out with great effort. Was it breathing air? It could have been.

Its head became triangular as I touched it. It reminded my of those Star Destroyers from the Star Wars movies.

I have no idea what this dream means. :|

Fear and Self-Loathing

There is a tacit agreement: You work at a place part-time and temporary for less than half the wages of a full-timer, no benefits, and they might reward this loyal internship with at least an interview when a full-time position does open. Alas, the community college system continues to shock with its betrayal and treachery.

So I've been working at this school for three years. Steadily. Every term getting work, as if they think I'm doing a decent job. After all, with zero semester-to-semester security, they can fire you by simply not hiring you. If you raise a complaint--fired. If you protest some decision--fired. You glance at an administrator the wrong way--fired. So my continued work from term to term made me think that I was actually doing something The Powers That Be liked, such as showing up on time and not taking sick days.

A full-time, permanent position came up. I figured that after teaching there three years, I would have some sort of leg-up for getting an interview, if not the job itself. After all, I've always been told that you cannot get a job at place where you do not already work.

Once I received some sage advice from an old geologist. He told me that not until he was 65 did he actually win a job that he had applied for cold--meaning, he didn't already work for the company, didn't know someone on the inside. By the age of 65, he had earned the reputation that allowed him to actually win a job cold. Otherwise, he said, you have to already work at a place in order to work there.

I have gotten a number of interviews at other community colleges, and have scored second interviews at all of them. But not the final offer.

At the school where I'm working, I don't even get an interview.

I am, therefore, completely fucked. It's like some vicious game designed to be impossible for me to win. Where I am not working, I can interview, but not get the job. Where I am already working, and could get the job, I cannot get an interview. Is this system designed to make my mind crack, to push me over the edge?

Oh, God, why the hell do I feel drawn to this terrible "profession" of teaching? Why can't I feel a similar passion for something such as accounting, where this sort of unbelievable bullshit wouldn't happen? I'm wasting my life, one day at a time. I am still waiting, after all these years, to begin my life. Everything is on hold. I can't buy a house, I don't know where I'm going to live. I'm in this sick limbo...and it looks like it's destined to continue longer.

I am such a fucking waste. I'm a reverse Midas--everything I do turns to shit. I know what I must do...but I don't have the courage to do it. I don't know where I got so far off track. This is just a complete mystery to me. I'll never understand the failure of my life.

The People's Republic of Google

Google's recent decision to offer a censored search engine to the government of the People's Republic of China is only the latest in a shameful procession of American companies eagerly participating in political and social repression.

Google's ostensible reason justification is that local Chinese law prohibits discussion of certain topics, such as 1989 Tiannamen Square massacre, the bloody and horrific Cultural Revolution, and Mao's murder of perhaps as many as 70 million of his countrymen during his long reign. If Chinese law forbids discussion of this, Google argues, then who are they to violate Chinese law?

Let me argue with an example from the past. In September 1935 Germany imposed the Law for Protection of German Blood and German Honor. This entirely legal statue, put into place by the legitimately-elected Chancellor Hitler, barred Jews and non-Jews from marrying. It banned sex between Jews and non-Jews. The Nuremberg Laws, which were imposed on the same day as the German Blood decree, stripped Jews of citizenship and the right to vote.

Would Google comply with these laws if such an act were put into place today? If their standard is to obey all local laws, then logic dictates that they would.

Google's complicity with the PRC government is morally bankrupt. Google has done many great things in the Internet Revolution--this is not one of them. Let us hope that Google someday provides a "backdoor" in its engine that will allow information to flow into China right under the noses of the authorities.

Driving in Sand

This is how paranoid I am about my car:

I had the car in for a minor alignment check, but the dealership screwed me and couldn't finish it that day, so I was without it for a night. All last night I'm having dreams about driving. As I race down steep curves, I find myself unable to make the turn. Again and again I have that rush of fear when you realize that you're not going to make it, that you're going to go off the road.

No matter how hard I pulled on the wheel, I couldn't turn properly. It was like driving in sand. Perhaps this is a metaphor for my life right now.


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