Jul. 19th, 2017 09:58 am

Dreamlike

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I don't know what's happening to my sleep. It's no longer that I can't drop off or that I wake up and can't fall back to sleep again. I used to wake up for the first time around 4 a.m.; now I'm just as likely to sleep through until 5, 5:30, or even later. But it isn't good sleep. I force myself to get up at 7 to start my routine when all I can think about is going back to bed. I take micronaps in the afternoon now, sometimes in a meeting, sometimes on my commute home, and sometimes I slip off to Periodicals for a bit.

One direct consequence of this is more dreaming. Mostly it's the typical jumble of work and travel anxiety or strange vacation and living arrangements, but last night's was a bit different. I don't even remember exactly what Monshu and were doing together, but I 'woke up' from that and I was in a conversation pit with longtime friends like [personal profile] keyne and [profile] kcatalyst who were hatching a mad plan to head out and drive down or catch a redeye to a place called "Kindred City" for some demo or other. But I was thinking of the dream and fighting back tears, so I begged off much to everyone's disappointment.

And then I woke up for real. And for the umpteenth time it hit me that he's gone, that he's never coming back, and that these snatches of dream are the only real taste I'll have any more of what it felt like to have his constant active presence in my life. And before long, I was really fighting back tears and asking myself why the hell do I have to go into work oh right there's an event today that I helped planned and share responsibility for making succeed.

I've gotten used to the constantly drowsiness--I was already used to it this time last year--and it only really bothers me when I notice myself doing something I never remember doing before, like colliding with a doorframe or smacking my hand on something I always would have noticed and avoided. I also struggle to remember names and facts and references in a way I didn't used to before, but that could just be part of the natural process of growing old and forgetful.
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In my dreams, [livejournal.com profile] monshu is always dead. Or I should say "has died". A couple weeks ago, I dreamt that I found him sitting up in a corner of the kitchen, frail and wrapped in a blanket, and I wondered how to break it to him that he couldn't keep on using that body since we'd cremated it. Last night was more positive: he had the robust physique of the days before the NET. It occurred to me while coming downstairs to find him lying supine on a cot or window seat on the landing of the grand staircase where he'd slept the previous night, that he could have died again after coming back to life, so I was joyful to find him alive and kicking. I had a question about what had been going through his mind during the last moments before he died that I was anxious to ask, but I discovered the timing was inopportune: he'd just finished wanking. Maybe there was an exception last week, when I dreamt we were making a return visit to a skerry in Scotland. I don't remember being particularly conscious of him being restored to life then, but I woke up with the notion in my head of saving a handful of his ashes to toss into Kilbrannan Sound.
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[livejournal.com profile] alcippe thinks I have interesting dreams, so I feel a certain burden now to prove otherwise. Here's what I remember from last night:

I was in a club. A DJ (who I know in real life) was going to perform, but it was still early. So I looked up a song I like and played it over the speaker system. Then I looked up another song. I figured there was probably some way to make a playlist, but I was too lazy to figure it out. I started asking people who were with me (like my sister) for suggestions, but they were also picking song from our youth and I was worried the mix was too dated. Then things started to go wrong. I tried to find a certain Camper Van Beethoven song but couldn't type their name correctly. I wanted to play a song called "Louder" by a newer band (LCD Soundsystem?) and couldn't even type that correctly. As I fumbled with the device, ads started playing instead and I started to feel like a fool. It kept morphing until it had the form of my old boom box from the early 80s and then I couldn't find it at all and started abusing [livejournal.com profile] monshu and my older brother for hiding it from me. I woke up filled with anxiety.

I'm not sure where I was at first, but I was sitting with my family. A song started playing and I told them it was "My Girls" by Animal Collective, but I started having doubts. I definitely had the song wrong and begin to wonder if I had the band wrong as well. At this point, we were definitely in the outdoor seating area of a cafe since I saw someone walking toward us with dark clothing and a heavily asymmetrical hairstyle. I realised it was one of the band's two lead singers, and that he was miked. "They're doing a live version," I informed them. He looked fatter than I remembered and his voice was reedier. He turned at the corner and we followed him with our eyes through the plate glass. Then he turned back and was joined by the other singer, who had a lower voice and resembled Kevin Smith. They stood there together and serenaded us.

Then at last we came to the call-and-response chorus and they tried to get people to sing back, but no one wanted to. Finally one guy did, purposely singing the first words badly and then nailing the ending cadence. The guy holding the mic, who now had the appearance of a skinny fratboy type (think young Matthew McConaghy) said, "Yeah, the hard part isn't the singing it's that it's kinda fag." I yelled out "Not cool!" and we got into a debate about the appropriateness of making a remark like that at a public gathering.
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I'm not a big fan of pseudoephedrine. Sometimes it's the only thing that works, though, and last night I was desperate after a coughing fit that woke me up shortly before one and wouldn't quit even after a couple spritzes of Chloraseptic. (Yech!) But those little crank eggs charge me up, which is the very last thing I need at night. I actually slept all right, considering, but I had more ultraviolent dreams.

This time, it wasn't zombies like the previous night, it was my own family. Or rather people I understood to be my own family. The only members who were really recognisable were my sister, mother, and grandmother. But it was the menfolk I was actually fighting, and they were so generic I couldn't keep their names straight. (At one point my mother used "Jim" for the guy I'd been calling "John"; only later did it occur to me that I'd originally been calling him "Ted". At least we all agreed his wife's name was "Mel".)

I have to say, they brought it on themselves: one of them (or an evil priest working in concert with him) led all my younger cousins to a disused chapel in the lower level of the family church. To what purpose, I dunno, but I had no choice other than to crash the Christmas mass going on upstairs. The uncles prevented me from reaching the altar, but I was close enough to scream things like "What's the Hebrew for hostage?" loud enough to disturb the congregation and throw the priest off his game.

It all ended in a mêlée from which I emerged victorious, but still my outraged ranting fell on deaf ears. The cousins clearly escaped on their own and, after that, no one wanted to talk about it. I resorting to taunting them about the asswhippings I'd given out just to get some sort of response. Then Uncle Ted collapsed and began bleeding from his nose and mouth and suddenly the concern became about getting him into an ambulance before it was too late.

So yeah, going to try to make it through the night without resorting to any more little red pills. I have to say getting a second nasty lingery cold barely a month after the last is only fueling my folk theory that warm winters are the worst for illness. But here it is, above freezing again and predicted to stay that way at least through Saturday, though next week we may see some relief.
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The one thing I can say for my disturbed sleep these days is that it's yielding some memorable dreams. Last night, for instance, I had a three-parter about [livejournal.com profile] vianegativa's next RPG, which was a space game. I was a little late to our meeting spot, which seemed to be a poorly-lit quarry somewhere, and as I approached I overheard everyone speculating about what had become of me and wondering if they should send out a search party. "Or you could just, you know, call me," I thought. Then I looked at my phone and saw 65 unread text messages. Oops.

The oddest aspect to the whole affair is that we were LARPing with whole-body holograms. Somehow I'd missed a make-up session and arrived in media res to a surprise inspection of our Serenity-esque spaceship by this universe's answer to the Alliance. On top of that, [livejournal.com profile] vianegativa was introducing two new players into the group. One was easily the ugliest woman I've ever seen in my life and her hologram wasn't working because she'd left it on too long in a game the day before. She was supposed to be playing an alien character of Hobbit-like cuteness.

And this was a game with a heavy slash element. From the start, two of my fellow players were already poised to make out. So I nervously made the rounds trying to establish the hierarchy of the ship. I knew I was the engineer and VN was the captain, but I knew we didn't have enough members to fill all the usual roles so I was trying to figure out who was doubling up as what. And the more I asked, the more confused I became.

The last part of the dream was a kind of epilogue during my last half-hour of sleep. I don't remember much beyond the realisation that [livejournal.com profile] vianegativa's character was Trotsky to our friend JB's Lenin, and that made me Stalin. So I naturally began wondering who I should select as my Beria.
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Ugh. Was it that little nip of Redbreast that gave me such disturbed sleep last night? Or perhaps was it following that with a little buttermilk? Was it just a matter of eating too much coddle and soda bread? Too much arguing on the Internet too close to bedtime? Whatever it was, at least I was paid in phantasmagorical dreaming.

Read more... )
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muckefuck: (zhongkui)
I'd rather sleep well, but if I can't, I'd at least like something to show for it, like interesting dreams. Last night I got those. There were some good sex dreams I can no longer remember because I was concentrating on recalling other things, such as a book I was leafing through that seemed to be a Catalan answer to Lord of the Rings. The midsection was stuffed with a sheaf of full-colour maps, some of which showed parts of Middle Earth. Others we clearly of our world, notably a map of the North American continent which showed a large irregular territory called "Spirit" centred roughly on St Louis.

Maybe I should've jotted down some of the other toponyms because the only one I can still recall is the Egyptian-looking "Seneb". I made a mental note to look up "neb" when I woke up to see what the name might decompose to. It means (as I should've remembered) "lord". Sen is "son", so seneb could plausibly be regarded as a contraction of sen neb "lord's son", but it's actual attested meaning is "health" or "healthy". It's also, much to my delight, the name of a court official during the time of the Pharaoh Djedefre, successor to Cheops, one of the most high-ranking dwarfs in Ancient Egypt.
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Last night I dreamed that someone I knew introduced me to two publishers (from the eponymous firm "David & Greene") who told me they wanted me to write a book for them. They suggested a title (it may have been The big book of Da) but when I asked them who they thought the audience would be, one of them asked me, "Well, who do you think you could sell the book to?" Then I got suspicious. I asked them if they'd ever published a book by anyone I'd ever heard of, and they managed to produce one famous name. Then I got a little slyer and asked for the names of four mid-list authors who were still selling so I could look them up in BookScan--both things I learned about from reading [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid. They gave me two different names, one of them repeated three times, and I accused them of being a vanity press--and accusation they did not deny.

Saved from imaginary exploitation due to the little bit of learning I picked up here. Thank you, LJ!
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It was another quiet Halloween in. The Old Man made pesto-stuffed pork tenderloin (pot-roast style, which was a little odd) and surprised me with a new Max Raabe CD. When I saw it had a cover of Nena's "Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann", I knew I had to play it immediately. That track was so tailor-made for [livejournal.com profile] danbearnyc that I was reminded how much I miss him even after nearly three years. But, again, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] monshu there was candy corn and chocolate with which to drown my sorrows. (I complained that since we don't keep candy in the house any more I've lost much of my resistance to it.)

Then I went downstairs and watched Guillermo del Toro's Cronos, which had arrived via Netflix. (How retro, I know.) It's actually a pretty run-of-the-mill old school vampire film; the only really novel aspects are the etiology of the infection and the urban Mexican setting. It's even a little embarrassing to hear del Toro explain his heavy-handed Christ imagery on the accompanying interview. (In English, disappointingly. I mean, his command of the language is excellent, but I know only too well that you're always somewhat handicapped when it comes to expressing yourself freely in your non-dominant language.) I was frankly more horrified by one of the extra features, a lurid amateurish short film in the style of Mario Bava. (Del Toro even dubbed all the dialogue into Italian!) Unfortunately the "twist" ending doesn't work, being not only telegraphed but tipped (a problem presumably avoided in the Frederic Brown short-short story which provides the plot).

After that, I wound down with an M.R. James short story. (If you guessed that it was the one where some professorial type dies mysteriously from being pursued by some unseen horror, you're right.) Proof that I hadn't tried nearly hard enough to spook myself came in my humdrum dreams, which prominently featured work annoyances--not even anxieties, just ridiculous frustrations. Very different from what happened the night before, when the movie and the conversation afterwards became tangled up together and I ended up dreaming about using Korean Daoist techniques to keep the evils outside our cozy cottage at bay.
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"I got something for you," said [livejournal.com profile] monshu, and with once glance I knew what it was. A couple days earlier I'd made some idle comment about wanting a New Testament in Greek, so when I saw something book-shaped in a black-and-grey plastic bag, I thought There it is, straight from Amazon. There was another larger bag which had the contours of a framed pictured; it was very uncharacteristic of him not to have gotten around to wrapping either gift.

The Bible was thick and bulky, with lots of glossy pictures. They were photo illustrations of various incidents, but done with a minimum of set and costume as if by amateurs in someone's bungalow in the Hollywood Hills. The models were young, smooth, uninked, and mostly nude. Some had dyed hair, or it might've just been from coloured spotlights. I thought the pictures were poorly done and I wanted to ask [livejournal.com profile] monshu if he'd saved the receipt, but I didn't want to look ungrateful.

The text seemed fine, but the annotations seemed sparse. Some were in Latin and I realised that I'd rather have had an edition with the Greek side-by-side with the Vulgate and a faithful English translation. I kept leafing through and saw that it got worse: the entire last section of the book was glossy pages, some apparently left blank for notes, others given over to Evangelical nonsense, and several straight-out advertisements for lighting fixtures and such.

I flipped to the front and saw that it wasn't just the New Testament, it was a complete Bible. In the Old Testament section, the illustrations were tasteful reproductions of paintings and sculptures with Biblical themes. Tasteful, but not particularly distinguished and often not appropriate to the passages they were nestled between. Some were textured, as if carved. I kept wondering how long was seemly to wait before telling [livejournal.com profile] monshu I wanted to send it back. Meanwhile, I saw that the pile of gifts had mushroomed with the addition of many smaller packages, all wrapped in dark plastic bags.
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For the second time this week, my night's sleep felt like a midnight movie marathon. I woke up often, always with some complex series of improbable events fresh in my head. The most disturbing seemed to take place in an art museum in Germany. A wall of floor-to-ceiling glass overlooked the sidewalk with a line of transom windows running along the bottom. One of these was open to the outside air and I was reclining along it when a scary bum reached through and grabbed me. I struggled to get away but he had me by both ankles; I knew he couldn't pull me through the transom, but I was worried what damaged he could do to the parts of my body he could reach.

Eventually I fought him off and rushed to close the window. But in trying to lock it securely, I ended up throwing a switch that caused the glass to swing open, exposing a screen through which the man could make non-verbal threats. I scurried away as he began to shove through the spaces in the screen some grainy material that I soon realised was some flammable substance. I also recalled that this was not our first encountre and that he must've followed me to the museum. The docent who came up to me must've suspected this as well, as he accused me of "helping" the old man under the cover of fending him off. I made a half-hearted attempt to defend myself, knowing it wouldn't really cut ice with him and that any minute the bum was going to set his growing mound of black powder alight, thus providing a diversion.
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Last night I dreamt I was joining friends at a restaurant that was offering both Easter and Passover dinner specials. I came late and two of them had independently ordered the passover special, which was a multicourse affair. The waitress kept offering them the maror and charoset course but they were still struggling with the gigantic portions of karpas. It seemed to include rhubarb and some large dark red block of something that they were slicing bits off of.

In any case, it occurred to me that they were essentially dishes of crudités and would make a terrific appetiser, but I could see no point to ordering my own when there was still so much on the table already. Instead, I decided to order a dish to barter with. I asked the nearer of the two what he'd like to be eating and he said, "Potatoes!" so I asked the server for two baked potatoes with the intention of swapping one of them for veggies. I said I'd hold off on ordering a proper entree because I wanted to make sure I had room for dessert.
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Last night I dreamt that I was a sous-chef on a televised cooking show. I chopped up some elephant garlic for the chef, but when he told me to add it to the dish without peeling it first, I said, "I've had enough of your bad boy cuisine!" and walked off the set.
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I kan di Schbroche ufzelle, wu i drin han gdräumd: s Englisch, s Franzesich, s Deidsch, s Schbanisch, s Kadalanisch, s Irisch un vornächd--zuem erschde Mol--s Alemannisch! S hätt e Schar vu schwiizersche Wandrfründe gää, wu a mi Hus vorbi gströmd isch, wil ihr Zug eini Banne ghaa hätt. Zersch han i si dummerwiis uf Schbanisch bigrüeßt, aba i han min Irrduem verliggerd, soball i n-ihr Banner gluegd han. Di hän gärn mit mr uf Dialägd gschwätzt un (do seller e Traum gsi hätt) i han fasch jedes Word verschdande! Eini hätt mr rächd hefli druff glupft, ass i e paar Schbroochfehler ghaa ha. I han ere ägschbliziird, ass i kei Schwiizerdeidsch schwätz sonder Badisch. (Tatsächli han i gsait, "Eigendli räd i nur Schwäbisch." I weiss wirkli nit, warum i "Schwäbisch" statt "Badisch" gsait han. Aba heisse nit alli Deidscher "Schwobe" fir di Schwiizer?)
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Last night I dreamt I was in the new wing of my old high school. Walking through the immaculate, nearly-deserted halls, I came across a well-dressed man of about my age. He looked at me, and I thought he seemed vaguely familiar. Later, when I was sitting at a desk in the front row, I saw him again through an open doorway. He was holding his head and shoulders parallel to the ground. At that moment, I realised two things: that this was my youngest uncle, and that it couldn't really be him since he'd died a year ago.

Then I dreamt that I was awake and sitting on the couch telling my brother this dream. As I did so, we both turned away from the others in the room so they wouldn't see us cry. I was still crying when I dreamt I was in bed, now hugging my dog to me. But at the same time, I realised that this couldn't actually be my dog since she had died when I was sixteen. Finally, I woke up for real and found that the cat was sleeping on my left arm, and that was the source of the warmth I felt coming from my dog.
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Some intense dreams last night, including a torrid clandestine affair with a renowned gay scholar. One minute we were making out in his car during the pouring rain, the next we were sitting with his friends calmly chatting at a sidewalk café. I remarked upon a French textbook sitting in front of one and she reminded me that she was attempting to learn the language. "T'as un chameau?" I asked her by way of practice conversation. When she didn't know what to say to that, I suggested, "Non, c'est trop grand. Il y a pas de place pour ça dans mon appartement."
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In my dream, I was scrambling to find five ten-sided dice. The party were facing their first encountre with my younger brother as GM, and somehow I'd never gotten around to rolling up my character. The only skill listed on my sheet was "Dodge +1". I thought to myself Maybe I should figure out if he's even got decent dexterity before I spend my points on that. The method for generating scores was: roll five ten-siders, drop the lowest, and add the total to 19. I quickly reckoned that this would give PCs and average score of 41 in every trait. My attempts to scoop up five ten-siders kept netting me a few six-sided dice. I was thinking about giving my character animal-training skills because he had a companion mastiff, but my older brother was already playing something of a beastmaster and I didn't want to overlap. I was thinking of my character as "Viktor", but then I remembered that I'd found that too generic a name and wanted something different. Something more German. In my half-awake state, I considered that "Sigo" would make a good choice, sit it could be an abbreviated form of any Old High German name beginning with the element Sig- "victory". "Sige" is the setting demanded Middle High.

Six years since I've played a role-playing game of any sort and I still have dreams like this.
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Is it possible that I haven't had a dream where I spoke Catalan before this morning? I certainly don't remember one. I was part of a team that was interviewing musical performers from around Spain. My partner, who handled the Spanish, was complaining that, of the "Catalan" pop group we were interviewing today, only two of the members spoke Catalan and they weren't even "los mas importantes". (I wish I could remember the group's name, because it was long and florid.)

What I found most interesting is that, in keeping with the official policy of the Generalitat, he spoke Spanish to me and I replied in Catalan. This all worked well until I shrugged off his complaint with "Què fer?" It took a couple reformulations to hit upon one which said anything to him, namely, "Què farem?" I suppose it's a lot easier to discern the relationship between this and "¿Qué haremos?" than it is to connect ['kɛ'fe] with ['kea'θeɾ].
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Here's a dream entry which--if it interests anyone--should be of particular note to [livejournal.com profile] princeofcairo, who's Chicago-based Unknown Armies campaign has clearly scarred me in ways I'm still just beginning to uncover.

I dreamed that I was in a rundown neighbourhood of Washington, DC. Or maybe Baltimore? No, definitely DC. Two thugs were peaceably escorting a white-haired gentleman to the site of an abandoned Catholic church. The old man was the mystic king for that year, and they had to imprison him in a location that would neutralise his power, presumably to protect their own candidate.

At first I thought he was to be the lone prisoner behind the high walls of churchyard. But then I saw a vision of him sprawled out in the summer heat contentedly reading which widened to reveal dozens of other men, mostly of a similar age, in all states of activity and undress. And not just older men, but children, the offspring of their liaisons with women who were also present in what was beginning to bear a resemblance to some crazed commune.

A knot of the women, tired of only being able to visit their lovers within the bounds of the church, marched up to the altar and began raising a fuss. This prompted the thugs to lock the doors and I saw them in the vestibule readying machine guns. Unfortunately, they saw me as well and I was forced to dash for cover. Fortunately, I remembered that I had some supernatural abilities. I summoned up my magical energies and forced the lock on a door, then leapt to the roof of the church.

It was a maze of low walls which I ran along, hoping to find among the coffered cells an entrance to the nave. In desperation, I made a complete circuit, finally ending up near the rear of the structure where a tremendous pile of rubbish forming a ramp down which I followed. Now I could hear the voices of rowdy young people coming from just beyond a rise and panicked. I scoured the wall for a door, but the only one I found was bricked up. Again, I gathered a charge in order to force it, though with little hope so soon after expending my power. I pushed at the wall...

And to my surprise, it opened. I realised that what I found was a jubilee door, which had only yielded to me because it was Easter Sunday. I stepped into what might have been the sacristy; the two thugs ran in after me...and underwent a mystical conversion. Suddenly, they had no hostile intentions and I knew I would be able to open the doors and let the throng depart unmolested.
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In light of the short shrift I gave them in my earlier entry y'all could be forgiven for thinking that the treats [livejournal.com profile] monshu picked up from Pasticceria Natalina for me were nothing to rave about when really nothing could be further from the truth. As much as I love the zesty taralli al limone I'll never again be able to view them as anything but poor relations next to the...um...

How embarrassing that I still don't know what they're called! Obviously they're a type of Italian almond cookie but if they're a type of amaretti then they're completely different from any other species I've encountered hitherto. In texture they most closely resemble pignolate but there's not a pine nut to be seen. I would describe them as buttery marzipan rolled in a token amount of sugar before baking, but I've been calling them "three-dollar cookies" in honour of their terrifying price tag. (Don't get me wrong: Any businessperson who can make a go of it by charging premium prices for premium products gets nothing but respect from me.)

We all eat a lot of awesome things these days, but how often do they invade our dreams? The sugarplums were dancing as I snored in bed. I tried some frutte di Martorana-type confections given me by an imagined [livejournal.com profile] foodpoisoningsf; "Almost Phoenix" was the nonsensical name of the (California-based, natch) purveyour. Then some surprising good Irish product labeled "Navan & Cadogan" which spurred in me the (false) memory that Navan is the home of the best Irish marzipan. (In truth I'm not sure if marzipan has ever been produced commercially in Ireland.) But after each one I kept thinking Can't compare to those cookies from Natalina.

It was all I could do not to wolf down the last $6 worth at breakfast. But I'm nothing if not measured in my indulgences. The first night, I had a biscuit and half and gave the rest to the GWO. The next night, it was one each. Tonight I think we're splitting one.
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