Is a stolen quince still fancy, or can I eat it with my pinkie down?

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Mornin’ all.

Kitty did something new this morning. Normally if she wants me to get up, she bursts into my room like a furry dust devil, dons lead boots, and pounces on my chest. While I struggle and gasp, trying to get both my breath and my bearings, she whips off the lead boots and becomes my tiny cat again before rushing to give nose bumps and purrs as if nothing nefarious just happened.

That’s not the best way to wake up, but at least I get nose bumps. And I’ve grown accustom. It’s pretty much the status quo.

This morning, though, she bucked the system. Instead of jumping on my chest with her leaden Feet ‘O Doom, she got on my chest without me even noticing. She must have just tiptoed up on me, because I never even noticed that.

No, it was the repeated soft paw slapping across the face that woke me up.

*Bap*. *Bapbap*… …*BAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAP*

Still got the nose bumps and purrs, but damn was that disorienting. I wasn’t sure if I was waking up in my own bed or if shit went down in the night and someone was trying to bring me ’round to rally and lead my people to victory.

I suppose if that were the case, it probably wouldn’t have been a cat waking me, huh? Or, at least, I hope not. If shit gets so desperate that a CAT has to be waking me up, I’m fairly certain all hope already jumped ship.

Right now, Kitty’s currently sitting on the back of my chair, purring, yet flicking me in the face with her tail. I guess it’s just going to be one of those kitty days. Lemme just go move all the breakables to lower shelves.

Who am I kidding? I’ve got 3 teenagers and a 9 year old I’m convinced is part firecracker. All my breakable stuff broke YEARS ago. Do your worst, Kitty.

Driving the youngest to school the other morning, I noticed that one of the houses near the school appears to be completely abandoned. The yard has really grown up, the dirt drive is mostly weeds, no lights, no cars. Unfortunately, that’s nothing new. I’m guessing it might be a foreclosure…there certainly are many of those around town, even on that particular street. That is the Desirable Neighborhood.

I don’t know how things work where you live, but around these parts, we don’t have sales tax or state income tax. To make up for this deficit in budgeting, we have inSANE property tax. The tax rate is set by the town, and assessors come ’round once in awhile to check the property and make sure that either your hunk of shit is still a steaming pile, or your epic mansion is still quality enough to put dollar signs in the budget committee’s eyes.

I personally live in a section of houses that used to be factory homes. For a lot of years, there was a huge leather tannery right down the way that employed a lot of folks and wanted to keep those folks beholden to the company (translation: they employed immigrants fresh off the boat and took advantage). Many companies did this before the government and unions said, “Uh, you can’t force folks who work for you to turn around and give you their entire paychecks. Pretty sure that’s called slavery, and fairly certain we don’t want that happening.”

If you go into any older town in New England and head toward the local river, you’ll find remains of an old factory or mill that’s either gone to Nature or has been turned into a quaint little antique shop. In the direct vicinity of the defunct factory or mill, you’ll also see a neighborhood of older looking, similarly styled, not-at-all fancy homes with small front yards and an overall utilitarian appearance.

And you thought suburbia was a new concept!

Anyway, we live in one of those old factory houses. It’s probably around a hundred and fifty years old…somewhere in there. Since these homes were built to hold as many poor people as possible, they were not maintained very well. Turns out, poor immigrants who worked their fingers to the bone and breathed in the combo of rotting animal carcasses and harsh tanning chemicals all day didn’t really have that Martha Stewart urge once they clocked out. These homes weren’t built to look nice. Or, really, to last. It’s why ours has a half-assed foundation that needs frequent attention to keep the whole house of cards from collapsing.

My neighbor’s house is quite similar. All the houses around are quite similar. We’re directly on the main road, because that would have made it very easy for the Polish immigrant employees to find their way to work every morning, and also close enough to the factory for the land we’re on to be considered crappy.

In a nutshell, I most certainly do NOT live in a Desirable Neighborhood.

Even though we’re pretty much the Clampetts before they struck black gold…

*classic TV fist bump, y’all*

…the landlords still pay a mint in taxes. The yearly property tax on this rundown joint comes to around $2500. That’s every single year.

In fairness, it’s a duplex, so the assessed value is higher than it really should be. It’s considered an “income property”. If it was just a one family, it would be a tad lower. Maybe around $2,000. Still, a lotta money every single year for a rundown row house.

Now, to give you an idea of just how unfair property assessment is, the Desirable Neighborhood is made up of two blocks in one straight strip. The first block is made up of factory housing. About a half mile away from the factory, it would have been for higher level employees. Managers, overseers, that sort. Folks who had earned the right to live far enough away from the factory to get clean air in their lungs at night.

But not too far. Gotta get to work at sunup, ya know.

The second half of the street is comprised of Fancy Homes. It’s been years since I’ve studied the survey maps the Historical Society keeps, but if I remember correctly, the Fancy Homes belonged to the town business owners. You can tell, too. They’re Victorian in style, have large yards with statement piece trees. Though still too shabby to belong in Beverly Hills by any stretch of the imagination, they truly are some of the best homes in town.

They’re right near a school. They’re across the street from the town’s community center. The police/fire station combo sits at the beginning of the street and there’s even a classic old white church that plays bells every evening at 5.

Majestic.

All of these things mean that the assessed value of ANY of the homes on that street is way higher than the assessed value of the same style of property anywhere else in town, even for the row houses that are boring with no front yard and, at best, statement shrubs, not trees.

To give you an idea, if the house we lived in were picked up and moved to the Desirable Neighborhood, our taxes would go from $2500/year to around $5000/year.

We looked into a couple properties on that street because nearly all of them are on the market at the moment. The one we were interested in had a smaller lawn, less overall property, same square footage in the home, same level of run-down-ness…and the house was valued so high that the tax would have been $5,300. Once again, that would be essentially the same thing we’ve got now (minus the duplex “income property” designation) not even a mile away.

Is it any wonder more than half the damn street is for sale right now? It’s insane.

So, seeing a house for sale, or even abandoned, on that road is nothing new. However, what struck me about this particular house wasn’t the home so much as what was in the yard.

Several years ago, the property was purchased and the owners had a dream of making it into some niche orchard. They planted and maintained a few apple, quince, and peach trees. They planted berry bushes and built an impressive box garden. They shipped in bees so they could produce honey and it looked to me as if they were in the process of turning their barn into one of those quaint “New Englandy” shops that pull in all the snotty cheese eaters who can’t wait to see the foliage every year.

Not knocking snotty cheese eaters. We NEED snotty cheese eaters. It keeps the owners of our New Englandy shops in business.

It was clear that someone was trying something new in this town.

The first thing that happened was “concern” being raised by the folks about the bees being so close to the school. As human nature has proven time and again, science and fact were no match for het up rhetoric in that debate. It wasn’t more than a year before I think the owners just got sick of the hostility and the idiots, and took down the cute “Fresh Pressed Honey” sign.

No more bees.

But, they still had the fruits. I talk like it’s an orchard. It’s not. It’s only six trees. However, what those folks managed to cram into the small space was amazing. They also chose their trees carefully. These trees are epic producers. It’s a veritable bounty, folks.

Maybe the taxes got to be too much. Maybe the townspeople got to be too much. Maybe the dream they clearly had wasn’t worth the battle it took to realize. They left. Someone else moved in, someone who did not have the same dream, someone who did not care about peaches and apples and quince.

And now it appears as if even that someone is gone.

The trees are heavy with fruit. They are sitting there, loaded. Kids walk by those trees every day, some of them hungry, some of them itchy to have a juicy bite of the dream that’s been abandoned.

I’ve had my share of apples this year. I can’t even LOOK at those. But the two quince trees…that’s a different story. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking of stepping slightly off the public sidewalk and nipping a stray quince of two.

They aren’t wanted. They’ve been abandoned. Beautiful, top shelf quality food sits on forgotten branches to rot. No one wants them. The custodians of the property, probably some vague yet menacing secret foreclosure society, have ignored the very existence of the bounty. The fruits sit there, alone, unwanted, destined to never live out their purpose in life.

When viewed in that light, I’d be doing the world a favor by taking some of the fruit. It’s noble, really, sacrificing my morals to lift up another life form, to give meaning to the hollowness of their current existence, to make their hard work and devotion COUNT in this crazy, mixed up world, to…

“Bethie.”

…what?

“Do not steal the fruit.”

But…

“.no.”

*sigh* Fine. I’ll leave the fruit. It can rot. Go to seed. Fall to the ground in a poetic allegory that the majority of folks who walk by won’t stop to ponder. I won’t steal the fruit. I promise.

But you have to admit, I almost swayed you, didn’t I?

Thus concludes a disappointingly quinceless Musing for Saturday, September 12, 2015. I mentioned last time that I’m gearing up for writing. I’m not sure if that’ll be this week or next. If you don’t hear from me for a bit, that’s what I’m up to. And if you DO hear from me, you know I’m procrastinating and you should yell at me to put away my toys and get to work. I’d do the same for you.

I’m sure it’s absolutely normal for rain to dissolve concrete…

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Mornin’ all.

“Myriad” is a weird word. It’s a thesaurian swap-out for such great words as “multitude” and “horde”. As a noun, it’s used the same way.

A myriad of scarabs scuttered with haste over the rapidly decaying carcass.

Nice word.

However, when it’s used as an adjective, things sound awkward.

There were myriad calculations to be done in order to determine the origin of the alleged alien communication.

See what I mean? You take away the “of”, and that just doesn’t sound right. You don’t take away the “of” from “multitude” unless you spiff up the word.

There were multitudinous calculations…

Doesn’t that sound so much better?

Why do we “multitudinous” but not “myriadinous?” Doesn’t “myriadinous” just sound impressive?

Today shall be a great day of feasting. Myriadinous meats and multitudinous meads shall be consumed by princes and paupers alike!

Why is this not a thing?

Two a.m. thoughts, folks.

Odd night of sleep. I woke up at 2, wide awake. Eyes popped open, brain kicked into gear, and there was not one single comfortable position in my bed. Apparently my mind NEEDED to assess “myriad”. Clearly I couldn’t rest until I had come to terms with the bad side of a good word and reconciled my appreciation in spite of the flaws. When I finally did drift back to sleep, I had a rapid succession of swiftly morphing dreams.

It was like…

…hm. Well, perhaps a drug binge maybe, though I’m not really sure what those feel like. The closest I ever got to anything worse than weed was when doctors shot me with something during the child birth hell of my first kid. The world was blurry, the voices were fuzzy, and I’m fairly certain I took a swing at my mum when her breathing coaching was different than what was going on in my head. If I did, sorry, Mum. Blame whatever it was the doctors shot in my ass.

I just considered whether it was like flipping through tv channels, and no, that’s not right, either. When you flip from channel to channel, there is no in-between. You’re either watching some ridiculous lady try and sell you a kuh-wall-ity Diamel necklace, or listening to some boring dude drone on about finances, or trying to keep up with a riveting telenovela even though your grasp on Spanish is rudimentary at best.

What? Oh come on. Don’t act like you haven’t been there.

Last night wasn’t like flipping channels. There weren’t clear breaks between scenes. One dream would start, then something in the dream itself would be a catalyst to morph the rest into a different dream. In your mind, picture a family barbecue. Auntie Phyllis brings you a hamburger, but as she hands it over, you look at the plate and find that it’s a squirming alien baby. Alarmed, you look up to find that you’re no longer at a family BBQ, but in a delivery room trying desperately to save the offspring of a poor alien that crashed to Earth. Phyllis is gone, replaced by Dr. Carson who is begging you to perform CPR. You look back down, ready to bring the limp alien fetus to your mouth to try and find some orifice you can blow into, only to discover that you’re holding a wrench at the top of a huge building, trying to fix an antenna and save the world…

There must have been fifty short stories in the span of about an hour. Imagine the ones I can’t remember! What a trip.

Instead of waking up tired and groggy this morning, I got up feeling rejuvenated in spite of the brevity of my sleep.

I don’t know if you’re a creative person. I am, and I don’t think that’s any mystery, or something to feign coyness over. I like to make things. The quality is up for debate and personal taste, but I do, in fact, make many things. I like to have weird ideas and bring them to life. I do it in writing, sure, but also crafts, art, music… I just like to take the tangled knitting bag of yarn that is my brain and make something real out of it all.

As anyone who is creative can tell you, sometimes you reach into your knitting bag and find nothing to work with. You pull and pull, hoping to find an interesting snarl or a funky-looking tangle that’ll spark an idea, but all you get is straight, brown, boring yarn.

To anyone who is of a creative mind, this brown, neatly sorted yarn is the kiss of death. If a creative individual can’t create, they feel stifled, stranded, and strangled. Every day without a spark feels beige; like they got up, put on sensible shoes, drove their tan Hondas at a reasonable speed to get to their 9-5 inside a cubicle maze with other beige-y folks who spent the morning staring at the loudly ticking clock looking forward to the watery coffee and stale bran muffins in the break room, the brightest moment in their monotonously lethargic day.

Any day without a creative idea feels so barren and bleak that the anticipation of a stale bran muffin is the highlight.

Pathetic.

So when I have a dream series like last night, no matter what it took to get my brain there, it feels wonderful. It puts a pep in my step and makes my fingers twitch to type, or paint, or burrow into clay, or… It feels like a day of possibility.

No wait! I can do better.

It feels like a day of myriadinous possibilities.

It’s raining, too, so that means I’ll actually get a good chunk of time to work on projects. On my grown up “To Do Before Autumn” list are a bunch of outdoor chores. Boo. Boring. I need to pour a cement stair (just one…it crumbled during a rain burst. The other two in the case are fine. Yeah…I don’t know, either.), mow, trim bushes, prep the apple field…

“Don’t you mean orchard, Bethie?”

Only on days where I want to sound uppity. Those are also the days when I talk of the acreage of my berry patches (er, maybe 1/15th of an acre?) and my vineyard (wild grapes that popped up outta nowhere to cling to my falling down redneck garage). On THOSE days I’ll go on about my orchard.

There are only three trees, though, so anyone who knows me in real life would roll their eyes if I waxed too eloquent. The trees were never properly trimmed and trained when they were young, so they’re far too tall to belong to a proper orchard. I’d say they’re easily thirty feet high. Not exactly idea for pickin’. There are two McIntosh trees and one Cortland, and sometimes they grow respectable sized apples. Sometimes, they grow jack shit. Last year between the three, they grew one. One apple reached ripeness. And a worm got to it first.

This year, the super high branches are positively laden with the biggest apples I’ve ever seen on the trees in the 12 years we’ve lived here. It’s a bumper crop.

….waaaaaayyyyy above my head.

Way up high in the apple tree,

Two little apples smiled at me.

I shook the tree as hard as I could,

Down came the apples; mmm were they good!

My mother used to say that little poem for us. I always remember it when I stare up, up, up into the impossibly high branches trying to figure out how in the hell to get those apples that taunt me.

*sidenote: You know, thinking about that poem now, maybe those apples just wanted to be friendly? “Oh, look! A person! Hello, friend! Here’s a smile to brighten your day!” And then what did the person do? “Are those apples…SMILING at me?! Oh NO they di’int! I’ll show those little bastards! NO ONE smiles at ME and gets away with it!” And then he eats them. He eats them for spreading sunshine and kindness. *sniff* The world is an unjust place.*

I’ve tried everything from using a crossbow to shoot a rope over the branches so I can shake the apples loose, to extending grabby-claws on the end of poles to try and pluck the fruit individually. Getting the apples has become a “thing” here. This year, my man thinks I should weld together a grappling hook. The teens want to pepper the trees with BBs, and can’t understand why I think that’s a monumentally bad idea.

See, I don’t have a tree shaker. I could hire one, but there’s no way it could safely get to the trees. A ladder is positively out of the question. I have too much mass, and as much as I’ve begged my molecules to go quantum, I can’t get said mass to ignore gravity.

Pfft. Traitorous slave to physics.

No matter what I come up with, I’ve got to clear the grass out there. Apples are turning red, and soon the tree will start dropping perfectly good fruit. I’ll cut the grass, maybe set up some tarps, and gather the dropped fruit every morning before Nature can send hordes of animals and bugs to feast. Those apples will be bruised from the fall, but they’ll make great applesauce to freeze. Nothing is better on a cold evening than warming up some homemade applesauce to pour over pork chops. Applesauce cake. Applesauce donuts. Applesauce…applesauce. No need to muck it up. Applesauce is delicious on its own. *sighs thinking about autumn food*

I don’t just want applesauce, though. I also want apples for snacking, so I have to get some before they fall. I will create an apple contraption, and I most certainly will tell you all about it, no matter how much of a failure it is (and let’s face it, we’re all secretly hoping I end up with a few apple-sized lumps on my head because that makes for a much better read than if everything goes to plan). That will be a different story I tell on a different day.

Today is for painting. Today is for writing. Today is for listening to music that inspires, and hearing words written by other creators that will twist and gnarl the strands of yarn in my own head until the threads twine into something beautiful and moving. Or maybe something ugly, yet equally moving.

This burst will not last. This wave of rejuvenating creativity will peter out as it always does. There will be a day in the not so distant future when I wake up to a beige world and stuff my feet into sensible shoes, my eyes and ears hungrily seeking another muse as I go about the drudgery of everyday life.

But today, I sit here stretching my unbound bare feet in the thick, fluffy carpet, surrounded by a world of greens freshened by the shining drops of life that fall from the roiling, riotous clouds.

Today there is no beige.

Thus concludes a Morning Musing for Tuesday, August 4, 2015. I’m off to dip my brush in paint and see what happens. I hope you all have an equally verdant day.

Like stars, novels are born from deep, dark spaces that are best left alone…

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Mornin’ all.

I’m off to a late start today and am already on my second cup of coffee. If the text starts getting jittery by the end, apologies.

I had a series of weird dreams last night, and woke to find my man did as well. Any of you coupled up ever have this happen? There seems to be a vibe some nights. While there’s probably a perfectly logical scientific explanation (my restlessness and physical signs of unease are picked up by his subconscious, which in turn forms his dreams accordingly…blah blah boring blah…), I’d much rather believe in some sort of nebulous shared mind field theory.

i.e.- I’ve got him whipped even in sleep. *evil cackle of glee*

His dreams were a mash up of people and places from his past all confused in space and time. We’ve all had dreams like this, where you mother is now the president of Uganda and orders you to join that kid you used to play with that summer you were five and haven’t seen since, so the two of you can go repair the gaping pot holes on I-91…or some shit like that. These kinds of dreams are odd, and make you chuckle and say, “Huh. What the hell, brain?” It’s as if your mind takes tons of snippets of memory, sticks them in a Boggle shaker, and then tells you to try to make sense of the jumbled mess that results.

Anyway, he had dreams like that last night. Snippets mish-mashed with others snippets to produce one of those Hollywood “insider” films that no one really understands.

I had two dreams last night that I distinctly remember. In the first one, I led a team of scientists on a mission ordered by the government to study and observe all forms of the undead in the wild so Congress could finally get a definitive set of standards of classification and terminology in order to create better protection laws. Those were the parameters of my mission, and it seemed the main focus was to be on determining the scientific differences between “zombies” and the more general “undead,” because in creating laws designed to protect them in their natural habitats, Congress was divided on whether or not zombies truly died first, or simply went into a dormant state from the living virus inside until the virus could multiply enough to control the flesh and make it walk.

A very compelling argument, indeed.

The second dream I had took place in a butcher shop. We were butchering lambs and joking around, when one of the butchers cut into the skull and a disc-like parasite jumped out and landed in his eye. He started sweating and when we asked what was happening, he said, “I saw this back in Canada in ’06. Looks like it’s come to the states!” …I clearly remember that because it was a total horror movie line and you really don’t forget when your brain is that fricken awesome. The parasite began to take hold of his body, and we scrambled to decide the best way to stop the infestation. Alas, I woke before I found out if he made it. Judging by the tense music, odds didn’t seem to be in his favor. Poor Canadian Ralphie.

So, when we woke, my man told me about his dream and how odd it was. I nodded and kept my dreams to myself. I mean, it’s Sunday. And I’m looking forward to a relaxing day wrapping up a video game. I don’t really want to be committed to the psych ward on such a lovely, lazy day.

Let’s see what happened this week in the news. Surely there are things there to discuss that won’t get me a fancy white coat to wear in a padded room!

Some parents of the Newton victims are suing the estate of the shooter’s late mother. This one, this gets me. I understand the parents are still trying to get adequate public blame placed on the event. It’s not about the money, it really isn’t. They want a court to say, “Yes, that mother was a bad mother and failed, and because of it, your child suffered.” But that won’t give the parents the peace of mind they’re looking for, and I can’t help but feel furious at the lawyer leading the charge. That lawyer IS doing it for personal gain. That lawyer has rounded up hurting parents and promised them the first restful night of sleep since the tragedy occurred for personal profit. Sometimes there is no closure. That mother died, too. Lanza’s mother paid the ultimate price. If she was a shitty mum, her son already exacted every possible revenge. There is a time to stop. And greedy lawyers egging these hurting families on is just shameful.

I could go on. The Lanza story hits me in so many ways, especially the handling of the aftermath by the press and public at large, that I honestly could write a book on it. Maybe I will…but not today. Let’s move on to other news as we get back to placidly sipping our third cup of java.

Apple unveiled a watch and Hillary Clinton unveiled emails. Does anyone really care about either of these stories that have ridiculously taken up 90% of my newsfeed headlines this week? With everything else going on in the world, these two stories bombarded all the other stuff. They even had “updates”. Updates? For what? I just literally told the entirety of these two stories in one sentence. No updates necessary.

I don’t want to be angry and sad, and I don’t want to be bored. There’s got to be a story we can really sink our teeth into. I know…video game news!

“Ugh, Bethie. Not more stupid video game stuff I don’t care about.”

Actually, it’s more a business story. Gaming is simply the business involved.

“I feel like this is another trap to discuss Bow-somebody taking power mushrooms…”

*…twitch…twitch…spasm…* *deep, patient breath*

No. I promise I won’t get into any actual gaming details. Need a pot sweetener? It makes a multi-billion dollar international company look like assholes.

“Sold!”

Sony is a thing. They own PlayStation, a gaming console. Wanting to keep hip with the youngsters, they created the PSN, or PlayStation Network. It’s a service that allows PlayStation console users to download demos, games, ads, videos… Think of it like gaming Netflix.

“Okay, I’m with ya…”

It’s been around for quite some time now and is wildly popular. They have millions of global users signed up for the service. And of course, that’s not free. People link a credit card to their account to pay for the games, movies, and subscription fees. Because it’s so huge, with so much cc info stored, it’s a major target for hackers. It’s a bug zapper on an August evening at the swamp.

Classically, Sony has done their level best to keep the hackers at bay. There’s only so much a company can do, though. If there is a piece of technology that is controlled by even a single line of code, then it CAN be corrupted. It’s just the nature of the beast. It’s a challenge. With every new safety feature a tech company adds, the hackers’ jaws set in firmer lines of determination. Now add to that potential billions of dollars unsuspecting users throw into the tempting pot, and the hunger to crack the codes and corrupt the programming only grows.

Hacks happen. In the past, I sighed or chuckled when PSN has gotten hacked, but I’ve never blamed them like some folks do. There is no way to plan for crazy, and there is no way for anyone to know every possible weak point until they are breached. I can’t blame Sony for hackers getting lucky from time to time.

However, the problem with this particular story is how Sony decided to handle the situation when one user with the handle “Kadjar” had his PSN account hijacked and discovered that $600 was charged to his linked bank account. Kadjar noticed the situation almost immediately and contacted Sony’s customer service for help.

So how did egg-on-their-face Sony handle the situation?

By threatening Kadjar, refusing to refund his money, and blackmailing him into dropping any idea he may have had about legally pursuing the thief.

This is how Sony decided to make things “right” with Kadjar. He was told that he couldn’t get his money back. That was gone, even though Sony told users their information was secure on their servers. Kadjar could, however, get a $150 credit in his PSN “wallet” that was good for only buying Sony games and services. Sony said they would then launch a full investigation, which is good, but at the end if Kadjar was, in fact, determined to be a victim and not a scammer, any “refund” would be in PSN wallet credits. When Kadjar protested, he was told that if he tried to contest the charges with his bank, his PSN account would be erased.

“Well, isn’t that a good thing? Doesn’t sound like he should want to be a member anymore to me.”

Right, except that how PSN works is that when you download games that you legally purchased, sometimes for upwards of $60 a pop, the digital rights are stored on the PlayStation Network. It used to be that all games came on a physical medium…cartridge, disc, whatever the hell they call those ridiculously tiny handheld things. Those physical games contained the digital rights within their code. It’s a way to make sure people aren’t pirating games. There’s a unique ID assigned to each and every game that’s needed to play it. If the game system can’t see the code, you can’t play the game.

What Sony was saying was not that he just couldn’t be a member of the PSN anymore, but that he would lose any and all rights that he already legally paid for. Forever. He would have to get a new PlayStation, since his PS ID would be banned, log on with different information, and re-purchase all of the content.

Just to be clear, Sony point blank told poor Kadjar that if he took any further steps to get his OWN MONEY BACK, they would steal EVEN MORE from him.

Now, Kadjar posted a screen grab of his first interaction with PSN customer service on his Reddit account. He contacted them through their live chat. The info in it is sort of vague and unclear, so Kadjar not only called customer service to get clarification and posted his breakdown of that convo, he did a little digging and found three other similar user stories that supported his own experience. Sony ass kissers are quick to point out that it’s a Reddit user and we have no way of knowing the actual facts. Sony haters are quick to ignore some of the ambiguous language in the original chat.

My point is that either way, it does not at all look good for Sony. As I said, hacks happen. There’s a valid point that in these types of situation, the company is also a victim and shouldn’t be expected to be held responsible. I can see that POV, and actually could agree with it in this case IF Sony didn’t tell the dude he had to stop legally pursuing refunds through his bank. That’s where they totally crossed the line into Assholeland, in my opinion. You can’t threaten to suspend a user’s account for doing what he’s SUPPOSED TO DO when he gets robbed simply because you’re afraid it’ll make your company look bad.

Bet Sony’s rethinking that choice themselves at this moment! This made mainstream news. It’ll be interesting to see if there is any type of investigation into their business practices, or if this, too, will be swept under the rug alongside Kadjar’s $600.

And lest you think I’m simply a Sony hater, I’d just like to state, for the record, that I don’t think Microsoft, Nintendo, Steam, or any other similar networks are any different. In fact, they probably ALL handle hack victims the same way. I’m not fan-girling for one or the other. I think they ALL handle hacks poorly. Sony just did it in a way that kind of sums up every individual complaint into one pile of shittery.

It’s about time stories like this make the news, especially with the industry shift away from physical copies of games into downloads and cloud-stored rights. As embarrassed as Sony might be, this is actually GOOD for the gaming industry. If the future of gaming is going to rely on cloud services, then these issues are the next big hurdles the industry as a whole MUST start to get a handle on. Hacks aren’t going away, and the more people sign on to use cloud services, the more faith they put in these servers. If the industry doesn’t get its act together and offer some better level of protection, and satisfaction when their safety nets fail, they’re GOING to start losing customers. That WILL happen and then the industry is going to find themselves scrambling against the demand for…

“…*snore*…”

You put up with it longer than I thought you would. *shrug* Guess I can’t complain.

Thus concludes a gamy Musing for Sunday, March 15, 2015. I’m leaving you with my favorite quote from my favorite author who shuffled off this mortal coil this week.

“They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it’s not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.”

Sir Pratchett, you will be missed.

Dreams are your brain’s way of flipping you the bird…

Standard

Mornin’ all.

*sniff*

Sorry if I sound funny. I’ve got a head cold working. I think it’s because I’m finally clearing out some of the hoard and boy is it dusty. I hate dust. But apparently, I hate dusting even more. I took a cold pill and swilled it down with plenty of coffee. We’ll see if that clears the hazy fog.

I had the weirdest dream last night. We had that yard sale this past weekend, which went way better than I expected. In last night’s dream, a guy who bought something for a buck brought it back and demanded a refund. I told him I couldn’t give him a refund on a yard sale purchase, and he got really angry and told me I’d be hearing from his lawyer. I woke up legitimately afraid and could not get back to sleep because I was worrying over getting sued.

…over a used bracelet purchase gone awry.

No, for real. I laid in my bed and really worried that I’d be hearing from a lawyer, if not from the bracelet then from something someone bought that they didn’t like. I still have the nervous stomach from it.

See folks, sometimes having an active imagination is wonderful. It lets me create entire universes I can then write down and share, and it keeps the teenagers groaning and rolling their eyes, something every mother of teenagers MUST strive to accomplish. However, sometimes having an active imagination keeps you awake at 3 a.m. churning your stomach up and ruining any hope you had of a peaceful day, over a lawsuit that will NEVER HAPPEN.

It’s not like I don’t get the ridiculousness. It’s not like I don’t totally understand that all of it is completely made up. No one is going to come demanding recompense for junk that turned out to be slightly junkier than they thought when they stared at it under the hazy afternoon lighting. It’s just not something that will ever, ever happen. The logical side of my brain knows this. And yet, the imagination machine only takes a little spark before the briquettes start to glow and refuse to be doused.

Besides, it was a very pretty bracelet. Silver with an opal. Needed cleaning, but certainly it was worth the buck. I mean, if you want to shop around for silver and opal bracelets, I’m sure you’ll find that…

“Bethie, you’re getting yourself going again.”

*ahem* Oh. Uh, right.

You know, the real pisser is that if I had started having that thought in the middle of the day, if my brain said, “Hey, Bethie, what if that dude brings back that bracelet and threatens legal action if you don’t give him a full refund?”, I’d realize the absurdity and laugh my ass off at the mental image. The thought of the judge’s face, the whole ridiculous scenario. It IS absurd. If it popped into my brain while I was washing dishes, I’d giggle, shake my head, and probably tell myself to write up a funny little story about it and move on.

But it didn’t hit me in the day. It hit me during the night, in a dream, while I was asleep.

Why is it that nocturnal thoughts can’t be reasoned with?

Even now, with hours and coffee between me and the event, I still feel that niggle of apprehension. There is absolutely no way in hell I’m getting sued over a dollar bracelet, nor anything else people bought this weekend. It was a yard sale, for crying out loud! Who demands a refund for cheap junk they buy cheaply knowing it’s junk?? No one. Absolutely no one, that’s who.

I KNOW THIS.

And yet, even now, the feeling of fear when I bolted awake with the thought that someone would is still with me.

In this time of crisis, I turned to the Great Keeper of Knowledge, my Google overlords. I wanted to get a sense of what dreams really are. Everyone has their theories, ranging from spiritual wanderings to chemical processing. It’s hard to say what a dream actually is, because they are not only individually subjective, but nearly impossible to accurately describe. Many people don’t remember their dreams, and very few people remember even a majority of the little scenes the mind plays out during sleep. Some people dream in color, some in black and white. Some people dream in smells and sounds instead of images. And some people dream in the full spectrum of touch, taste, sight, and sound, with the added bonus of emotion.

How can you convey your experience to another and make them understand all the things you can’t think of the words to express? It’s such an all-encompassingly personal experience that you simply cannot describe every aspect in a way that someone else can ever understand.

Kinda makes it hard to study, eh?

So, with that in mind, the study of dreams really has two distinct branches. The first is the scientific study called “oneirology.” This is the science part, the quest to figure out how dreams happen at all, what creates them, what part the brain plays, the chemicals involved. Oneirologists are the ones that put the little sticky pads and wires on peoples’ heads and tell them, “Okay, now, close your eyes and have a dream,” then sit and stare at a little computer that tracks brain activity. They don’t care what your dream was about beyond the periphery of any physical links. I’m sure they love it when they get a sleepwalker, because then they can see the “sleeping” brain light up and go haywire. Plus, Subject 2273 doing a chicken dance while talking to thin air has got to liven up what is probably a painfully boring job. Other than the randomly hysterical physical outburst, they don’t care what thoughts and images are floating through your dreamy head, only that there are some.

The second branch of the quest to understand what the hell our brains are doing to us through the night is “dream analysis”. Also known as “dream interpretation”, the focus here is the psychological aspect, the content of the dream itself. The dream analysts don’t care a fig about the physical forces that must combine to create nighttime cranial movies, they just care about why we have them on an emotional level. What is it in our psyches that need dreams, what purpose do they serve in our lives and mental health, why we see what scenes when. As you can imagine, the amount of conjecture involved in this branch of dream study makes is just one step up from quackery in the eyes of the “real” scientists. It’s like walking into NASA and saying, “I’m an astrologist.”

However, this is the branch we’re interested in. I don’t care which chemicals combined in what part of my brain. I just care about why the hell it is I’m still glancing nervously at the door wondering when the man is going to serve me with court papers.

Unfortunately, a search on the Master’s website for “why the hell did my dream scare the shit out of me” yields first a suggestion to use “outta” instead of “out of”, then pages upon pages of terrifying images. You know, just to make sure I NEVER sleep.

…you’re googling right now, aren’t you? *sigh* Okay. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

There. Now we’re BOTH going to have nightmares tonight. Happy?

Back on track. I did some more legitimate searching and found…nothing.

Oh, that’s not true. Of course I found a lot. A ton, in fact. Way too many different opinions to really be useful. See, in a field that studies not only subjective material, but studies it subjectively, there can’t be a concrete answer. Was it a message from the dearly departed? Unlikely, though many out there say it was. How about a Freudian twist, that it’s really a repressed fear from childhood surfacing. Yeah, because when I was a kid hot doggin’ down the hill on my Huffy, I really worried about being sued. Besides, my parents were never sued, so I doubt this is a Freudian mommy issue. I’m discounting both ghosts and repressed fears.

More reasonable approaches would be the suggestions that I’m nervous about an unsure future in general and my brain picked a fresh memory to tweak to highlight those fears. Yeah, probably. I can get on board with that. But is that why it was SO scary?

I’m talking cold sweats here, people. Over a one dollar lawsuit.

After scouring through the annals on Google, I’ve decided that I am now as much of a dream analysis expert as anyone else. So I’m going to analyze my own dream here. Ready for my first official case as a dream analyst? *cracks knuckles* Here we go.

First, I do believe that I am feeling nervous and apprehensive about the future. I like to know everything. I like to have the feeling of control over life that only knowledge brings, and I hate unanswered questions. The man buying the cheap bracelet represents me getting rid of the old, comfortable, familiar life and jumping into something completely new, and his demand of return is really my own fears that things in the next phase will not be what I want them to be. He is actually me in the future, wishing I could get back to the safety of my hoarding hovel of complacency.

Now, that alone is frightening. Let’s look at why it was so physically terrifying, and why I still can’t shake it hours later.

In the earlier scenario I mentioned, if the thought popped in while I was doing dishes, I would have other distractions. I’d have my hands in the dish water, the ambient noises and sounds of my household, the side thought that we’re almost out of dish soap, the feeling of my bra strap digging into my back, the hum of a bug flying by, the sudden memory of the time my friend fell off a chair swatting at a fly during one helluva good kegger… I’d have distractions on every level. When you are awake, your mind and body are constantly pulling input from the world around you and processing it consciously and subconsciously.

When you are asleep, your body is still pulling in input, but with a greatly dulled focus. Your body receptors largely shut down, the body’s physical way of healing wounds and resting tired muscles, etc. Though the ambient everything is still present in your world, your brain ignores most of it, leaving itself free to focus on just the one scene playing out inside. I think dreams feel so more real because to us, in that dream state, they are truly the only reality. I think they hit so hard because there’s nothing else in our world to temper them, to remind us that our feet are securely anchored to the ground. Of course they carry such a punch; they’re all we have to remember for that stretch of time.

*ding*

What was that?

“Your hour’s up, Bethie.”

What?

“Dream therapy. Your session is over. You need to get up off the couch and pay the receptionist on your way out.”

I do?

“Yes, that’s how therapy works.”

But…if I’m my own therapist…who do I pay?

“Oh, Bethie. *long suffering sigh*”

Heh-heh. Uh, I guess I didn’t think this one through, did I? Perhaps more planning is needed before I become a dream analyst. Ah well. It was worth a shot. Besides, I babbled long enough that I’ve shaken the willies. Still stuffy, but I think the cold pill is starting to work.

I suppose that means I’ll have to dive back into the hoard. I got two rooms completely done, the two easy ones. Now, it’s time to tackle the first corner of the dining room. I bet there’s crap at the bottom of the pile that hasn’t seen daylight in damn near ten years. If you don’t hear from me for awhile, you can safely assume that the pile has gained sentience and exacted revenge. Should this be the case, please remember me fondly in the epic ballad you write in my honor.

My kids are going to hear it, after all.

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for Wednesday, August 6, 2014. I know…I’ll tie a rope to my waist and knot the other end around the doorway pillar. That way all the rescue crew will have to do is tug…