Seeking friends for funny/dangerous situations

Safety Not Guaranteed: "Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel."

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World: "As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Accompanying him is a neighbor who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan."

I guess there's no classified ad in the Steve Carrell one, but the title is phrased like the start of an ad.

Dreamed I was a half-assed realtor

I dreamed I was visiting at somebody's house, acting as a middle-man between them and a friend of mine who was looking to buy a house. Maybe this house was supposed to be near mine, so it was easier for me to contact them? I wondered for a moment why my friend wasn't doing this for herself. My dream-logic probably forgot about the existence of phones.

The house was on a lake, back yard looking out on the lake. A low A-frame design. After I had knocked on the front door and they let me in, I realized that there was no front wall on the house, just a sheet draped over it. I figured my friend wouldn't want to buy a house this small or add a front wall and front door to it. There were two small rooms, hardwood floor, maybe a basement. A man and woman, two small boys. The man was tall and thin (eventually revealed to be about 8 feet tall when he stood, but seemed normal while sitting for the first part of the dream). Brown hair a few inches long, mustache. The wife looked a little like Lili Taylor, but a little thinner in the face.

I sat with them in the back room for a moment. Tables and desk were crowded with knicknacks and papers, not as cluttered as my house in real life, but cluttered to the point that most average people would be embarassed. They offered me something to try. A big transparent tupperware container with a smaller jar inside. I opened the smaller jar thinking it was something to eat or maybe flavored toothpicks, but a label said it contained pieces of the True Cross. Strips of metal with different colored alloys. The True Cross was metal? I hesitated. Would they really give away sample pieces of the True Cross to visitors? Is it supposed to be something else in here? Some of them looked like matchsticks with tiny ceramic resistors on top. The man said something like, "They don't agree with everybody. You don't have to try one if you don't want," which still seemed like it was a kind of food.

They offered something else, or maybe the original tupperware and jar just transformed in the way that things do in dreams. This time it was a bunch of crickets or insects on sticks. One of them was a frog, which I picked. I'm pretty sure they were supposed to be food samples this time, but also they could tell my future, or the kind of thing I picked out would reveal something about me. I didn't eat it.

I mentioned that a friend of mine wanted to set up a time when she could check out their house. Asked what time they're available. Can't remember their response. They seemed to be friendly and hospitable throughout, but I was aware that they were politically conservative and we wouldn't get along if I started explaining the unfairness of capitalism and the benefits of worker-run cooperatives. Some of the cheesy tchotchkes had slogans written on them. In the bottom track of the doorwall looking out on the back yard and lake were a stack of little plastic signs, red letters on white background like humorous warnings, "Beware of Owner". They were stacked together so I could only see the first one, but I assumed/knew the rest were vehemently pro-gun slogans.

At some point I dropped or lost the frog, which was escaping into the back yard, and one of the boys had to go after it. The wife offered me a cookie from a cookie jar (which should have seemed weird after those first two offers, but at least she specified this time it was a cookie jar). I walked into a small kitchen off the side of the front room. Couldn't tell which of the many cheesy ceramic tchotchkes was supposed to be a cookie jar. She came in and helped me find it. Normal chocolate chip cookies this time. Can't remember if I took one.

As I had walked past her, she said, "I noticed this thing you do and I want to talk about it. As you walk past, you pull away from me like you're afraid to touch. It looks kind of girly."

I don't remember doing that in the dream, but I'm conscious of doing this sometimes in real life. I said some people think you're being aggressive or clumsy if you bump into them, so I try to avoid it. Seemed reasonable to me.

This is where the guy stood up and entered the kitchen (maybe to get a cookie for himself). I realized the woman was my height or a little taller, and the man towered over us. Like I couldn't even see his face, just looked at his shoulders up above our heads.

Then I woke up.

[Insert INCEPTION joke here.]


Dystopian Enforcers Gone Native

I recently watched Repo Men (2010) (my review: meh), a story in which the main character starts out as an enforcer for some bad powerful men, later becomes a target of his fellow enforcers, has a change of heart and begins defending other rebels and dissidents. Seems like one of those fairly archetypal plots, so I tried to think of an appropriate label and began to obsessively catalog how many others could fit this category. (Some of them have a change of heart first that turns them into a dissident, others are more or less unfairly targeted and only have a change of heart because it's happening to them for a change.) Here's what I came up with so far:

Dystopian Enforcers Gone Native
Repo Men (2010)
Avatar (2009)
A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Equilibrium (2002)
The Bourne Identity (2002) (other betrayed spies I'm forgetting?)
Robocop (1987) ?
Blade Runner (1982)
Logan's Run (1976)
Zardoz (1974)
Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

Robocop starts off fighting bad guys, but turns against OCP when he discovers they've gone bad. He's not as much of a jerk at the beginning as the Firemen or Sandmen or Repo Men. He doesn't have a change of heart and doesn't join or start defending street thugs.

The Bourne franchise doesn't fit the usual picture of a dystopia, but that's just because we don't recognize how much of a dystopia we currently live in. Political assassinations and functioning democracy don't mix, yo.

THX 1138 - Not an enforcer
Dances with Wolves - Gone native, but neither dystopian nor an enforcer
Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now - Past Enforcers Gone Native

Any others you can think of?

The Postman
Running Man
District 9
Dune (not dystopian?)
Minority Report
Sleep Dealer
Source Code
Universal Soldier
Fantastic Four #48-50 (1966): the Silver Surfer betrays Galactus and sides with Earth.


Leave Them All Dirty: Just-in-time logistics applied to washing dishes

The advantage of "Just-in-time" inventory and logistics, I gather from zero research, is that you don't have to keep a bunch of product sitting in a warehouse. You can reduce or eliminate the costs of building, maintaining and staffing warehouses. Some goods have a limited shelf life, so the less time they spend in storage or in transit, the better.

If you wash dishes as soon as possible after dirtying them, they sit in the cupboard waiting to be used again, like products waiting in a warehouse. Washing them takes time, energy and money. There's no way to eliminate washing entirely, except for using paper plates. However you can reduce it slightly.

Someday, you will die. The last time you washed dishes before dying will be a waste, because you'll never reap the benefit of using them again. Maybe your dishes or silverware are fancy enough (or your heirs desperate enough) that someone will inherit and continue to use your dishes after you die. Or while still alive, you may buy new dishes and donate the old ones, or give them away or sell them at a garage sale. Either way, the new owner will probably wash them before eating off them*. Your final washing will be wasted.

Here's another scenario. Let's say you quit drinking coffee because it gave you heartburn or migraines or kidney stones or higher blood pressure or because your doctor recommended it. The only one who still uses your French press is your daughter. She gets hit by a bus. No one in your house will ever use that French press again. No one in your house will benefit from the final time it was washed. Another wasted wash.

Or say your house burns down. Or gets presented on a list of suspected terrorist hide-outs, which the president approves for drone strike. All the time, energy, resources and money you spent on the last washing of all your dishes was wasted. You could have done something more pleasant with those final pennies and final moments before the AGM-114 Hellfire missile hit.

One way to prevent wasting your time is to wash dishes and pots and pans and silverware right before you use them. Leave all of it dirty all of the time until the moment you need it. Then if you die, or for some reason decide never to use those dishes again, you haven't wasted a final washing.

Now that you're convinced, you'll need to make a few changes in the way you prepare food and organize your kitchen. For one thing, you'll need to add the time for washing cookware, dishes and silverware into your food prep time. It doesn't take more time -- you're just scheduling it before the meal instead of after.

Second, this strategy doesn't mean you can drop all dishes and cookware where they lay as soon as you're done cooking or eating. There's still some minimal clean-up needed so vermin won't be attracted. Also some level of mold accumulation could be hazardous to your lungs, even if you always wash them before cooking or eating off them. If you're not saving leftovers, throw them out along with cooking by-products, like bones or used cooking oil. (Or compost them or recycle as appropriate.) That might seem like an aspect of "pre-cleaning" that could be a potential waste of time, but the thing that will make it worth while is not having rats.

Lastly, you will still need to store dirty dishes somewhere, if you have more than enough to fill your sink. They should all fit in your cupboards, the same as they did when you followed the old-fashioned washing strategy. You might consider caulking or sealing the cupboards to make it less likely that vermin will be attracted or able to reach them. And you'll definitely want to warn any of your wasteful-washing visitors about your switch to the improved strategy, to prevent confusion and revulsion and botulism when they take a dirty mug out of the cupboard and pour themselves a glass of sickness.

Go, my children. Spread the word. Enjoy your extra moments of leisure, and the knowledge that you're saving money and resources and making the world more efficient.

* Advice to anyone buying or inheriting dishes or pots or flatware, whether they're new or used: wash it before using. You don't know where it's been. The person who owned those dishes might have read this and taken it seriously.