Are You A Freudian Or Jungian Dream Analyst?

I woke up from a dream a few days ago where I was riding a train and typing away on a manual typewriter before being thrown off the train and the typewriter being drop kicked behind me.  That’s a weird dream.  Dreams that I want to remember tend to slip away like ether into the nothingness.  Dreams that I don’t want to remember tend to linger about like Chinese food left in the kitchen wastebasket over a hot weekend.  The train dream decided to stay.

Naturally, I posted that summary to Twitter to start off my day.  I was then invited to post my dream on Freud-It, a Twitter-related dream analysis website where people can offer their own opinions.  The nice thing about the Twitter community is the niche websites that can tell you something about yourself (TweetPsych and Twittascope, for example).  I didn’t post my dream on Freud-It because I got my own blog for dissecting my dreams.

This dream was inspired by the Christmas Day terrorism incident where a wannabe terrorist tried to set off his underwear explosive on a plane arriving at Detroit.  (First the shoe bomber, now the undie bomber, and, since I have seen too much Tokyo splatter movies, the bra bomber will be next.)  The initial reports said firecrackers were lit on the plane.  I can imagine a string of Lady Fingers firecrackers being lit by some prankster.  When I was a little boy, my brother threw firecrackers at my bare feet to see me dance, and was soon in a world of hurt with our mother coming out the front door and a sheriff patrol car pulling up behind him.  (This was in the early 1970’s when the sheriff deputies would take people behind the local convenience store to beat out a confession and were regard as more dangerous than the Hell’s Angels living down the street.)  When I told my family about the plane incident, they immediately expressed the desire to toss the guy off the plane without a parachute.

I have never flown in a plane.  I have taken the Caltrain commuter train between San Jose and Mountain View, and the Amtrak train between San Jose and Sacramento.   When I took Amtrak to Sacramento, I would take my laptop with me for the 3.5 hour trip to either write or watch movies.  These days I travel light with a notepad and pen to write and my iPod Touch to watch movies.  When I had my dream, I had a manual typewriter.

Typewriters weren’t unusual for me.

I fell in love with an IBM Selectric typewriter when I was in the principal’s office at kindergarten, watching the little gray ball spin to put black letters on the paper.  (This was the meeting where my parents were informed that I was mentally retarded and I would spend many years confounding my special ed teachers by blowing out the evaluation tests at the college or genius level.)  Long before computers started showing up in the local stores, I was checking out the various models of typewriters.  I had a half-dozen typewriters when I was growing up and later gave them up when wordprocessing became practical in college.

After my mother died of breast cancer in 2004, I went through a period of reclaiming my childhood by possessing objects that would trigger positive childhood memories, like Lava Soap and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo.  When I decided to get serious about being a writer, I ordered a manual typewriter from Amazon.  My Dad thought I went off into the deep end when he asked what was in the box that we picked up at the post office.   But being the writer of my childhood meant having a typewriter.  I later got an electric typewriter that I still use to compose the rough drafts of my short stories and novels.

If you’re on a train with a manual typewriter, the repeated click-clack sound of the keys striking the ribbon to put ink on the paper could be mistaken for firecrackers and perhaps more annoying than a crying baby.  Today’s train conductors will not physically throw people off a train—moving or not—for fear of a liability lawsuit.  I was coming back from on Caltrain one Friday afternoon when a young couple were drunk like stunks and wanted to get naked to have sex on the train.  They didn’t get that far but they were crawling all over the seats and each other.  The train conductor called ahead at the San Jose downtown station to have the police waiting to arrest them and physically remove them from the train.  The train conductors of yesteryear wouldn’t hestiate to manhandle someone off a moving train into the wilderness or murder outright if that was necessary.

What does my dream mean?  Who knows.  Or, as the second rabbi explains in A Serious Man, “Who cares?”

On a related note, “The Red Book” by Carl Jung is becoming a surprise bestseller this holiday season.  Handmade and printed in Italy, the 416-page book weighs in at nine pounds and has a $195 sticker price (available for 37% of at Amazon).  This book of dream interpretations has been never been published until now.  What’s the difference between a Freudian and Jungian dream analysis?  I have no idea.  When I took psychology in college, I got an “A” for the course because I was interested in applying psychological principles to the user interface design of software.  I was never interested in what made people tick or why they loose their marbles.  Although as a fiction writer, I’m not above poaching a Freudian/Jungian metaphor for my own purposes.

Teabagging The Credit Card Companies

Over the last few months, I been getting notices from the credit card companies that they are planning to raise the interest rates on my three cards to 30% in 2010.  What made me see red was a patronizing paragraph on one notice that stated if I was a good little boy and made my payment on time for the next six months, they will drop my interest rate by one percent.  Last week I cut up my credit cards and sent them back with a request to close my accounts at the current interest rates.  This week I decided to teabag the credit card companies with my own notice that I’m restructuring my finances on terms beneficial to me.


Due to the fact that I been out of work since Friday, February 13, 2009, I have seen my savings dwindled and my debt payments increased.  The debt payments, in particular, has been annoying since the credit card companies are determined to make me pay for their mistakes during the GREAT RECESSION.

I had reorganized my finances to increase my savings and decrease my debt payments until such time I have a job and six months of living expenses in savings.  Then, and only then, will I resume regular debt payments to pay down my outstanding debts.

If my account isn’t already closed, please do so now.

Thank you for your cooperation.

My monthly payments for all three credit cards will now be $50 per month instead of $500 per month that I been paying for years.  The extra money will go towards paying for my car insurance, smog test, and vehicle registration that is due next month, and the taxes on unemployment benefits due in April.  Beyond that, everything goes straight into savings.  The key advantage of taking charge of my financial priorities is that I’m no longer being stressed out by how I’m going to pay my bills.  I’m dictacting the terms, not the credit card companies.

I still have a credit card for my writing business (which is still collecting rejection slips and contributor copies) and a personal loan with the bank that has my checking and savings account.  The bank haven’t tried to stiff me and I can’t stiff the bank without jeopardizing my rent check.  That’s the downside of having linked accounts at one financial institution.  These accounts will be on my priority list to pay down first.

The plan is to prepare for the next layoff that might come sooner rather than later.  I’ll continue living with my reduced budget when I get a new job to use the extra money to build up a six-month cash reserve and start paying down debt.  I expect the economy to have wobbly legs for the next few years and I need to protect myself against the possibility of not having any unemployment benefits during that time.  If I’m debt free the next time I do draw unemployment benefits, I’ll be able to put money into savings since I’ll be living within my means.  An important lesson I’m learning from the Great Recession.

My credit record will take a serious hit for the short term.  All kinds of spurious fees will be added on to the debts I owe.  I’ll get nasty letters and phone calls from the credit card companies, but that’s all they can do if I continue to make regular payments on the accounts.  If they force me into bankruptcy, they can get in line behind the bank.  If they repossess my car (which they won’t since the insurance, registration and smog test is more than the Kelly Blue Book value), my commute costs will quadruple for public transportation, limit my chances of getting a new job, and I’ll have no money at all.

In short, the credit card companies will have no choice.

When I read that charge cards requiring full payment each month are becoming popular again, I applied and was approved for a basic American Express charge card.  I’m planning to use the charge card for gas and vehicle-related emergencies.  This is the only area of my finances that I need a credit card for.  I also upgraded my AAA membership for the 100-mile coverage since I been looking for jobs outside of my typical 10-mile commute range.

Talking to my extended family on Christmas Day, I’m not alone in this outrageous behavior by the credit card companies.  Everyone else had to cut up their credit cards.  My Dad in particular was angry about the percentage spread between interest being paid for savings and being charged for credit cards.  My niece was more explicit about getting a phone call on Christmas Eve: “Eat [expletive] and die!” We have all seen our rates jacked up, our credit limits hacked down, and suffered the snotty attitudes from the credit card companies.

For the record, the definition of teabagging that I’m using is: “The act of protesting certain fiscal policies[.]” Credit card companies are determined to maximize short-term profits by any means possible, including destroying relationships with their best customers.  Teabagging also refers to a certain sexual position.  (Remember that when a politician proudly announced being supported by the teabaggers.)  That’s what Wall Street and the financial industry are doing to their customers and the taxpayers, expecting everyone to respond like Oliver Twist by saying: “Please, sir, can I have some more?”

Not anymore.


Merry Christmas 2009

One of my all time favorite Christmas songs is “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” by Dr. Elmo that came out in the early 1980’s, which became popular on the country radio stations before breaking out into the mainstream.

My mother hated that song because she believed that everyone thought the song was about her.  We told her that wasn’t true.  If the song was about grandma drinking too much beer, that would’ve been a different story.  Rarely did my mother drink the eggnog that was spiked with either brandy or rum.  Merry Christmas!

OUAA Website Changes – December 2009

I mentioned last month about redoing this website over the New Year’s weekend.  Out of a pique of boredom last weekend, I redid the entire website using the Default template from JoomlaPraise.  Having recently redone my author and business websites, doing one more website wasn’t that difficult.  After finalizing all the changes and chasing down all the annoying details today, the redone website is now up.

There are probably some broken links lurking about.  Those will be taken care of later when I review the existing content.  Adding legacy content between Christmas and New Year’s Day is next on the agenda.  I have 100+ items from the last 12 years that need to be converted over.  Check the change log to see what is being added.

I’m planning to resume regular blogging this week.  With all the programming, website redesigns, and writing that I been doing for the last three months, I haven’t had much enthusiasm to be blogging two or three times a week.  The New Year will not be any less challenging.  If everything goes to plan, I’ll be shopping around my first novel (two volumes) and two short story collections, and finishing the rough draft of my second novel.  The rhythm of working on longer projects should make blogging easy.


The Divorce Ban Initiative Continues

I’d earlier blogged about the California Divorce Ban Initiative that’s being qualified for the 2010 state ballot.  This turns out to be a satire on the absurdness of the initiative process.  (Then again, maybe not.)  The group behind the 2010 California Marriage Protection Act had put out a video.

Your reaction to this may be laughter, cheering or crying.  I find this funny from the perspective of an anarchist throwing a Motolov cocktail or two into the California political process.  I’m deeply intrigued by how this would play out and will vote to accept the consequences of a ban going into effect.  California is still America’s future according to a recent cover story by Time Magazine.  Think about that but not too hard.  Your head might explode.