Dream On

There are a couple of things on my mind this morning. First, I feel like my computer is punishing me for the essay I posted yesterday about zero-day problems. I normally write directly into my WordPress blog site Grumpajoesplace.com. Today I am forced to write in a word processor because when I opened WordPress it asked me for a password which I could not remember. I am traveling, and left all of my password card files at home. I have tried so many times with failure that I’m sure WordPress has locked me out for my own good. This is why I hate passwords and security features. I, the owner am locked out, but any hacker can bypass those same barriers and get into my site to pillage and steal. I will post this article later today, even if it means cutting my respite short to do so.

The second thing that I need to write about is a dream I had in the wee hours of this morning. In this dream, I found myself wandering around inside the massive manufacturing building of my former employer. The owner was paranoid about security and had all departments compartmentalized and secured with locks. Only those with properly coded pass keys could enter the compartments. If you needed to be in a specific department to do your job you had access. If you didn’t need to know the information generated therein, you were locked out. Information was granted on need-to-know basis. Over the years I told people that the biggest secret we kept inside our company was that we didn’t have any secrets.

I wandered around the shiny floored hall between departments skating along in my stocking feet. I love doing that even when not dreaming, skating that is. I used my pass key to open a door and found the cell empty, I mean completely empty, void of all furniture, people, paper anything, but the lights were on. Strange I thought, and skated to the next cell which I remembered as the cafeteria. There was a steam line with food, and a few people behind the counter serving, but there were no other people there. Something distracted me and I left to go to another cell. I encountered the same strange phenomenon, it was empty. I decided to return to the cafeteria by another entrance and much to my surprise it was empty, whereas a few seconds ago it had a steam table and some staff. I left in a panic and found the entire fifty-acre complex was empty. Then in my sleep I was overcome with sadness. The sadness was real and I felt like the world had abandoned me. I couldn’t shake the sadness by remaining in the dream, so I woke up to go to the bathroom.

The strangest thing about this dream is that I have been gone from this job and this building for over twenty years. The building itself has been removed from the site. The only vestige that remains is the cyclone fence that surrounded the property and the concrete slab floor. Why in heavens name did my brain do this to me? What provoked such a vivid experience in the subconscious mind? I’ll never know. I do know that once I woke up the sadness disappeared thank God. I never felt such a real sadness in my life, conscious or not.

I’ve been thinking about that world which was so integral to me for forty years. The many people I worked with, some who became genuine friends, but more who were acquaintances only. I have lived without them for half the years I lived with them and the building which I watched grow to the size it was. All gone, with only a few tenuous connections remaining to the few I call friends. This might be a good source of a theme for a story about being left alone, the last man on the planet. What would I do, how would I cope, or have I been experiencing those exact emotions all along? At what point have I passed from one life into another? I left the company and lost my life partner almost at the same moment, and I know that life experience forced me to begin anew. Fifteen years later I lost my second life partner and I found myself alone again. Now, I am on a journey to another new life with a third life partner. This time the journey is quite different. My partner is grieving the sudden loss of her only child, and I find myself being drawn into her sadness. That could quite possibly explain my dream. As I experience these new lives I find myself drifting further and further away from a reality that formed me as a person. My life feels like me in the dream skating from room to room, to find them empty, but still I continue to search for a single soul I can call friend. How many more new realities will I be forced to live through before I finally find the one that is God? I am sad again. 

Dreams

My pillow wrestled with me all night long while I dreamt sad dreams. I couldn’t believe the sadness that overwhelmed me even though I was in a deep sleep. The dream was about my former place of employment. Mind you, I retired in 2001 and yet I dreamed about the dismantling of the manufacturing plant where I spent a huge part of my life.

There was a lot of confusion that didn’t make sense as in most dreams, but the theme dealt with ending the life of a very successful manufacturing plant that began in the 1950’s and continued producing until sometime in the 2010’s. The product line consisted of two items in various sizes. One was a plastic duct for routing wire, and the second was a plastic tie to bind loose wires together. These products evolved into a catalogue of the same in various material, colors, lengths, and accessories to enhance the finished product of electricians who used them in their work. As most successful companies do, ours grew. By the time I left the company our product line was merely a section in a large catalog and a department within a larger division. The products still have life, but no longer merit the attention they once did. They still produce profit and therefore they continue to live, but at the sign of a decline the business will change the model and eventually they will be sold or dropped.

Throughout his life the owner re-invested his profits to make more stuff. Out first plant (the one in my dream) became one of eight around the world. Eventually, the product I spent my life designing, improving, and making became a Division. Each of the manufacturing plants had their own product specialties, and they also grew. Of the seven domestic plants in the towns of Tinley Park, New Lenox, Romeoville, Cummings, Burr Ridge, Lockport, and Orland Park four have been moved to foreign countries. Three of the plants were sold and repurposed by the new owners. Only one, the one I toiled in, is gone from the face of the earth, and now I am having dreams about it.

I don’t miss being there anymore, and I am forgetting the names of the people with whom I worked, but I still recognize their faces although with an extra twenty years on them it takes a few seconds to register who they are. Why my brain decided to play this movie about the dismantling of the Tinley Park plant makes no sense to me. The second thing that makes no sense is the feeling of sadness that overwhelmed me. Maybe it is because four of my former bosses have passed as well as the owner, and their souls were uneasy last night. What did I do to poke my mind into this confusing whirlwind of disconnected stuff being removed, sold, destroyed, or sent someplace else?

All day, I’ve been feeling down because of this dream. Maybe it was because I took a bike ride yesterday instead of a walk. My entire body might have gone into automatic as it did for the many years that I commuted by bicycle to the office. I didn’t drink anything unusual, nor did I over eat. I will never solve this mystery and once this post is online I will put the whole affair to bed.

I enjoyed the fire fly display the night before much better.

Recurring Nightmare

Often I awake at night from a  recurring nightmare. I am leading the next American Revolution and I have thousands of people behind me. We march on Washington to get our message through and this happens . . .

Don’t believe for a moment that Uncle would allow another take over as happened in 1776. The man in power, no matter who, will respond the same way. Why? Because he can and he has the entire military behind him.

Starving Artists

In my recent post “Horn Man” I went into an overly long essay on how I went about creating an original piece of art. I’m positive I could have done a better job on a photo essay with clever captions. During the sixteen week period during which I made four Intarsia pieces I thought a lot about the business of selling art. Could I make a living doing this? Could I even make any money at all doing this?

I thought about Michelangelo and Da Vinci  and the remarkable work they did. How did they survive? The simple answer is they had patrons who supported them in return for their work. Michelangelo’s sculpture of David took him two years or more to complete. It is not easy chiseling a larger than life-size man from a single block of marble. I wonder if he had any “oops” moments during that time. I had many “oops” moments during the making of Horn Man, but glue and more wood made it easy to either fix the “oops” or to remake the part. Da Vinci had a list of patrons as well. He lived with them while he learned the trade and then worked for them afterwards. When a patron lost his place in society, and could no longer afford to patronize an artist both Michelangelo and Da Vinci found themselves new patrons. While unpatronized they took part-time work by doing commissions for the wealthy.

Getting back to my thoughts about selling Intarsia art I pondered the value of my work. Would I charge by the hour and if so, what is the value of one of my hours? I know what I made while working as an engineer, would I use that value? If  not charging by the hour, then charging by the piece would be the next way to sell. I have seen Intarsia artwork at craft fairs but never at art fairs. The pieces I see are very simple and flat in form indicating that the crafter did not put much effort into the work. I have never been satisfied with the flat style of Intarsia. My pieces become three-dimensional and sculpted. That is why they take me so long to make. If you look at my bass, or the Blue Jay you will see that these pieces are more lifelike than a flat work. The value I see on Intarsia pieces at fairs ranges from twenty dollars to one hundred dollars, unless the picture has hundreds of discrete parts. In cases where a customer commissions a complicated work the value  can jump to thousands of dollars.

StrippedBass-1780845_10201407376251910_722702533_n

Stripped Bass

Blue Jay

Blue Jay On Apple Blossoms

Largemouthbass

Large Mouth Bass About to Eat

When I completed Horn Man I had logged one hundred and five hours on the project. At the current minimum wage of $9.80 per hour I would have to charge  $1039.00 for the Horn Man. If I use my hourly rate as an Engineer the price is $6300.00.

Horn Man

Horn Man

Let me assume I sold each of these four pieces at one fair, and I charged the minimum wage; I would have netted twenty-seven hundred dollars. Divide that by sixteen weeks of time and my gross salary is $169.13/week which extrapolates into a whopping $8794.50/year. No wonder people would rather be on welfare.

The reality of doing something I like loses to what I have to do to make a living wage.  Some of the latest spin by Liberals about why we need the Un-Affordable Care Act is that a person would be free to pursue his dreams if he didn’t have to worry about paying for health care. I recommend reading two recent articles, the first by Avik Roy who wrote a piece published by Forbes and a quote by Nancy Pelosi on Redstate.com

The idea of forcing me to pay for someone else’s dream smacks of slavery. It is different if I choose to patronize that person. Neither Michelangelo nor Da Vinci had healthcare benefits but they followed their heart’s desire to become experts in their field of art and invention by getting a job working for a patron.

Obama is transforming America into a socialist Utopia(Utopia is a place where pigs fly), and to do that he has to make the middle class worker like you and me into a tax-slaves who pay for those who follow dreams without a job. I don’t know about you, but I sure as heck would rather be free to work my ass off as I see fit, and to spend my wages the way I want to.

Cloud Gazing

There are days when all I want to do is to sit and gaze upon the clouds. They make me want to dream. Sometimes, they put me in a stupor, and at others a state of euphoria. At other times, they make me sad, and depressed.

It is fun to search for something to see in the shape of clouds. That one looks like Mickey Mouse, or gee, today they are strips of cotton floating along in rows to infinity. Yesterday, they were massive mountains of white billowy gobs of whipped cream sitting on top of a blue sky reaching for heaven. This morning they were a shapeless gray cover blanketing the earth.

Clouds are scary when they are green, dark grey, black, and swirl around from place to place in a fury. Sometimes they unleash their swirling energy and sweep the countryside in a rage. Other times they are generators of electrical charge that release energy in a giant flash of light that zigzags to mother earth to explode anything in its way.

Ah yes, clouds, they are many things.

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