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Dead people in backpacks

I had a really weird dream last night and could use some amateur psychoanalysis to help me figure out what it means, if anyone wants to give it a shot. Here's the dream:

As the dream begins, I am Grace from the TV show "Will & Grace." Instead of a New York City apartment, Will and I live in a small house on a beach somewhere. Karen (the show's drunk rich woman) starts off the dream by making fun of me because I've recently adopted a pot-bellied pig as a pet.

One of the quirks of owning my pig is that he likes to drink a lot of orange juice, but he can never quite finish a carton. Rather than saving the leftovers in the fridge or dumping them out in the sink, I've taken to just setting half-empty cartons of juice out on our front porch. Will gets mad at me regularly, because the juice has started attracting bugs.

During one argument, I finally decide to go out to the porch and investigate Will's complaint. When I get there, I find our porch crawling with insects that look like oversized earwigs. They're all over the place, and just off the porch there's a pile of them the height of a person. It was all kinds of gross.

So, I go back into the house and that's when I realize the bugs are getting inside, too. They're crawling up through cracks in the floorboards and I can't take a single step without stepping on a whole bunch of them.

Now the dream flashes to the beach. I'm not Grace anymore -- now I'm some beach patrol person, walking around with my two partners, one girl and one guy. We come across a woman who is lying on the beach and not moving. It turns out she's been bitten by one of the earwigs, and they're poisonous. We try to revive her, but she only wakes up long enough to throw up a bunch of blood before she dies.

For some reason, we don't seem particularly distressed that there's a dead woman on the beach, but we do decide that we need to take her into town. So we unroll this body bag that we just happened to have handy and we put her inside. The body bag conveniently folds up into a backpack, and I volunteer to carry it, mainly because one of my partners -- the girl -- just got bitten by one of those bugs.

So now we're in a hurry. We have to get our partner into town quickly so she can see a doctor. The problem, though, is that I don't have any shoes to wear. My guy partner happens to have an extra pair of tennis shoes and he lets me borrow them. I put them on and they're way too big for me, sticking out several inches from the ends of my toes like a pair of clown shoes. So now the three of us are walking along the beach, with me carrying a dead woman in my backpack while trying to walk through sand in enormous shoes.

Once we get closer to town, the ground is suddenly covered in snow, making walking in the clown shoes even more difficult. We discover that it's pretty easy to navigate small hills just by sliding down them. The clown shoes help because they act kind of like skis.

Eventually we wind up in a neighborhood and now we're all wearing real skis. I'm having some real trouble with the skis because, although I've lived in Colorado most of my life, I've never been skiing. And now my annoying partners are trying to convince me that, really, it's very easy to cross-country ski, and they're getting ahead of me. Maybe that's because neither of them has a person in their backpack.

So we get to the top of a hill on a neighborhood street that's lined with houses. The hill's pretty steep, and as we're approaching it, I notice that there's a sign labeling this a black-diamond hill and suggesting that people proceed with caution. According to the sign, people must start down the hill one at a time, waiting at least five seconds between people.

I start down the hill, and two or three other people leave at exactly the same time as me. I get really worried, because this is exactly what the sign warned against.

Then I woke up.

Analyze away.

Making Rob kill zombies

Let me tell you about the worst, most despicable thing that happened to me today. Rob and I went to the mall to wander around and not buy anything -- a typical Saturday afternoon. As usual, Rob wanted to go into Babbages, the video game store that's received at least 25% of our income for the past year and a half. Normally I just sort of stand around and glance idly at games and nothing really grabs my attention. I do like some video games, I just don't drool over them the way Rob does. But today was special. I wasn't aware of it, but Silent Hill 3 is coming out pretty soon, and that makes me very very excited. I have really happy memories of playing that game with friends when Rob and I first started dating. There's just something about watching your boyfriend beat zombies to death with a two-by-four that makes him irresistible -- or something.

(Ok, I have to confess something to those of you who don't know what it's like to watch me try to play a scary video game. Here's the confession: I can't do it. I'm always so afraid that I'll turn a corner or open a door and a ghost or a zombie or a man with a chainsaw will jump out and kill me, that I just sort of sit there frozen. Case in point: I spent two hours playing through the first section of the best scary game ever, Fatal Frame -- a section that Rob managed to get through in about twenty minutes. That's how bad I am. So when I say I'm excited that I get to play a new scary game, what I really mean is that I'm excited Rob gets to play a new scary game while I sit on the couch next to him and screech every time a ghost appears.)

Anyway, back to the tragedy of this afternoon. We were looking at Playstation 2 games when Rob pointed to a box on the "coming soon" shelf. It was, of course, Silent Hill 3, and it had a big "Reserve it now!" sticker on it. This had me just about jumping up and down in anticipation. One of the more exciting aspects of this game is that the main character's name is Heather. So it's almost like I'll be the one actually beating zombies to death -- except of course that Rob's the one playing the game. I picked the box up with a squeal of glee (a quiet squeal, though, since we were in public) and I turned it over to read the game's description. "James Buchanan was devastated by his wife's tragic death. Three years later, he received a mysterious letter from her..." Wait a second, James is the guy from Silent Hill 2, and there's no mention of a Heather anywhere on the cover...

Those bastards! They just made a mock-up of a game box for Silent Hill 3 and copy and pasted the text from the Silent Hill 2 game box onto it. I flew instantly into a rage (a quiet rage, since we were still in public) and denounced Babbages forever ... or at least until Silent Hill 3 comes out.

Obviously, I had a pretty decent day if that's the only thing I can find to bitch about. Although, it does make me a little teary-eyed that I've become enough of a geek to get all mad about a video game screw-up. Thanks, Rob. I'm pretty sure that's your doing.

This is my story...

I celebrated my independence today by sleeping in until 2:47 p.m. I then exercised my constitutional right to drink wine coolers and play Final Fantasy X until 10 o'clock at night. It's great to be free.

I would write more, but as I said before, I've been drinking wine coolers since this afternoon, so I think it's best that I stop talking now to avoid embarrassing myself.

Munchkins under water

Jamie and Laura and I took Rob and Hope to Joe's Crab Shack on Friday night to celebrate their birthday. (Rob turned 26 and Hope turned 1.) Rob appreciated the gesture a little more than Hope, since Hope was a little freaked out by the flashing lights, the loud music and the freaky clowns making balloon animals. To be honest, the clowns scared me a little, too. Ok, really, Hope didn?t even notice the clowns, but it was all I could do to keep from cowering under the table.

Anyway, any of you out there who have ever been to Joe's Crab Shack probably know that birthday boys and girls are always likely to be humiliated by the waitstaff. When my family took me there last year for my birthday, I was taken to the middle of the restaurant and made to stand there while a waiter serenaded me with "Love Me Tender." I got off easy.

We knew that Rob was in for some fun when we saw our waitress approaching the table with a silly hat, a lei and a grass skirt. They decided to sing "underwater Happy Birthday" to Hope, while Rob wore his classy outfit and did the hula. (By the way, underwater Happy Birthday involves holding a pitcher of water over the victim?s head while using your finger to flap your lips to make you sound like you're under water while you're singing Happy Birthday.) Rob got very into his hula dance, and Hope looked around at everyone like they were insane. It was all very cute.

On Saturday morning, Jamie and Laura held a birthday party for Princess Hoppy. After breakfast, we all surrounded Hope while her parents tried to get her to open her presents. She was a little too preoccupied by all the people staring at her to really care about her toys, but we all got a kick out of it. The best part, though, was when they put Hope in her high chair and set a small cake in front of her and let her go to town. It wasn't long before she was totally covered in icing.

Hehe, frosted babies are cute.

* * * * * * * * * *

Footnote: As I write this, I'm also watching "Paradise Hotel" on Fox. Just when I thought Fox couldn't get any more horrible. And yet I'm watching it. God help me, the Fox Network is stealing my soul...

Things I've learned lately

I would like to make an announcement. As of approximately two days ago, I am officially cultured.

While Rob and I were on our honeymoon (which we got home from at about 6 a.m. today), we went to "The Wynn Collection" in Las Vegas. This is a group of paintings gathered by some controversial hotel megamillionaire and tastefully displayed smack in the middle of The Strip. Actually, the building they're displayed in is very pretty, with all kinds of columns and shit.

Anyway, on Monday, we went over to the Wynn Collection and paid $20 to go into the gallery and listen to a recorded tour narrated by none other than Steve Wynn himself. There are eleven paintings in the Wynn Collection, by such artists as Manet, Picasso, Van Gogh and Renoire.

Let me say now that I know pretty much nothing about art. But good God, that stuff was cool. More than anything, I think Rob and I were most struck by the realization that we were standing in front of paintings that Van Gogh and Picasso actually touched. They actually put the paint on those canvasses. I stood there and looked at a work of art that Picasso put his soul into, even if only for a day or two. Wow. Picasso. Holy shit.

All of the art was very very cool to look at, and I learned a lot of interesting facts about the artists. But, best of all, I now get to be one of those snobs who says, "Well, the prints are nice, but the real painting looks so much better." I hate people who say things like that. What I hate even more is that they are so right.

* * * * * * * * * *

So, Rob and I have now been married for exactly one month. Here are my thoughts on marriage so far (some of them are derived from life before marriage, but are nonetheless important):

1. If your husband wants to go into a Best Buy, bring a book. You're going to be there for awhile.

2. No matter how quickly you think you're going to get your name changed after the wedding, you won't be as ambitious as you think. Before you know it, a month has gone by and you've only managed to change your social security card. The credit cards and driver's license may take a few more months.

3. Clean out your fridge at least once every three months. Four-month-old milk is pretty rank.

4. It is possible to watch an entire season of Friends inside three days.

5. Reading one Harry Potter book can take a year and a half.

* * * * * * * * * *

On our way back from Las Vegas, Rob and I listened to a lot of talk radio, which I've never really listened to before. In those fourteen hours, I learned that listening to crazy people rant can be very addictive. It's like reality TV -- you know it's making you dumber by the second, but you can't quite make yourself turn it off.

Take Dr. Laura for example. The vast majority of her callers have truly asinine questions that probably could be resolved with a conversation or a few minutes of actual, clear thinking. Rather than take a moment to chat with their loved ones, they turn to a gay-bashing conservative talk-show host who somehow magically has all the answers to how they should live their lives. Don't know whether or not to go to your niece's theme wedding? Call Dr. Laura so she can interrupt your explanation of your problem to insult your family and your intelligence and give you a simple solution without taking all factors into account.

My favorite was a talk show hosted by a guy named Roy who claimed to have all the answers to all the health problems in the world, but never gave much of a hint as to what his miracle cure was. He berated the populace of Philadelphia for not calling in to support his radio show and ask questions, all the while forgetting to give the phone number so they could do so. He mentioned once that Jesus' secrets had been somehow given to him, and that he had all the answers to making the world a better place. "Just log on to my Web site and pay the membership fee, and you can have all the answers too!"

I really like the way Rob responded to that. "Can you imagine how far Christianity would have made it if Jesus had been a salesman?" If Jesus had offered to turn water into wine at the low, low cost of $19.95, we wouldn't even know his name today. Prophets who practice profiteering don't get far, I think. Good luck, Roy.

Anyway, I'll probably be a faithful listener to talk radio from now on, if for no other reason than to yell at the radio when it annoys me. My only fear is that I'll get so hooked that, a year from now, I'll be calling Dr. Laura for advice.