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Since I'm going to be going to NYC in three weeks, I suppose I should write up the Amsterdam->Berlin travel stuff.

Managed to have just enough cash on my OV-chipkaart to get to AMS Centraal, although I was worried that I was going to be cutting it a bit close. (The DB train was 10-15m late in departing; in retrospect, I should have gotten better food at one of the little shops in the station. The restaurant car was a joke, sadly.) The train to Berlin was pleasant and pretty quiet, although the PA system did warn about pickpockets a few times. And lo, I arrived at Berlin Hauptbahnhof, to encounter my first challenge: the BVG (Berlin-Brandenberg Public Transit) ticket machine! Yes, it had English - but it's not obvious which tickets are for what, and it refused to take my US credit card (with chip). Thus started my experience with the German love of cash over plastic.

I got to my East German-themed hotel, the Ostel Hostel Berlin in Friedrichshain (where Lenin greeted me every morning) to find that they only take German credit cards, and could I please pay in cash? (I later found out that quite a few businesses in Berlin - and presumably elsewhere in Germany - are only set up to take debit cards from Maestro networks. I don't think I've seen an American ATM/debit card on Maestro in 20 years, so be prepared to bring cash if necessary.) This led me to the wonderful world of scummy ATMs: some of them offer to give you a special selected exchange rate instead of worrying about what your bank will give you; this was almost always about 10% worse than what my credit union pegged the USD/EUR rate at. So, yeah, always withdraw directly in euros.

The choice of hotel (selected on a whim by a pal on Facebook casually mentioning it) was actually pretty fortuitous: they only did housekeeping when you specifically requested it, it was all of 150m from Ostbanhof, there was a grocery store 50m away, and it's extremely convenient to central Friedrichshain. The area reminded me a lot of 1990s San Francisco: lots of murals and graffiti and street art everywhere, punks of all ages (including those my age!), funky little shops and bars and restaurants, tons of nightclubs, and fairly cheap rent. There's a former railroad workyard, RAW, that has a ton of little tiny galleries, a water tower converted to a climbing gym, and art as far as the eye can see. I'm told that it's getting gentrified pretty quickly, though, so I don't know how long it'll last - but it was an immensely refreshing sight. Alexanderplatz was nearby, too, and had some decent shopping and is close to Museum Island.

There's the Topography of Terror and "Remains of the Berlin Wall" in Kreuzberg; the ToT chronicles Hitler's rise to power in a methodical, structured way, and the remains have crumbling bits of walls, buffeted by black and white photos expressing the gravitas of the whole situation. But - they both seemed pretty removed from reality, not like they were actual artifacts that people dealt with. The East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain, on the other hand, has a continuous stretch of The Wall where it stood - maybe a kilometer long - decorated by various artists with their takes on the Wall, Berlin, and unification. I found it infinitely more compelling and personal than the coldly pristine and graffiti-free sections at the ToT.

It turns out I spent most of my time in the former East Berlin; I also stayed in Charlottenberg, which was nice enough, I suppose - but didn't have the sense of vitality or urgency that East Berlin had. This isn't to say that there aren't pleasant, quiet parts of East Berlin; up by the Stasi museum is pretty and unhurried, for instance. It still had a difference in atmosphere, though I can't say quite what the difference was.

Speaking of the Stasi museum - if you've read up on the history of the Stasi, you're not going to learn much of anything new. Seeing the 1970s office furnishings was interesting, but they didn't put much into context. The tour guide didn't note that the statues of Dzerzhinsky and Marx in the front office area had their plaques in Russian (although they did offhandedly mention that the Stasi was based on the Cheka), or how under the thumb of the KGB the Stasi was. They also didn't mention much of anything at all about the storming of the building, the destruction of documents, how much of the Stasi infrastructure was quietly absorbed by the FRG, etc. I think my tour guide might have been about 30 and raised in the DDR - but still seemed oddly ignorant of it all. On the other hand, if you go and tour the Stasi prison at Hohensch├Ânhausen, they really know their stuff, and gave much better insights as to not just the mechanical workings of the Stasi, but why they did what they did. Unsettling, but well worth visiting.
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Last night I dreamt that I was a blonde woman who was trying to get together with some sort of vaguely Norse demigod type person - and to help things along, I hired a "forensic accountant" who dressed entirely in black with his face in shadows and who only spoke in whispered short sentences. I was advise that the demigod needed to take the wooden sword from the display case - something which said demigod had wanted to do all along, but needed an excuse - while another demigod stood by and mused about how they were never able to grow that kind of wood on Earth for some reason.
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I spent a lot of time going around to various thrift shops in A'dam and Berlin; here's what I found out. But first...

European sizing. Oh god, it's fucking awful. Some clothes are nice and have a listing of D/NL/IT/FR/UK/USA sizes; many do not. Some don't have tags at all. It's worse for women's clothing than for men's, but still pretty uniformly awful. I have no idea if the euro sizes have undergone the same inflationary measures that US sizes have, where 16 from 1970 is 10 or 12 now. Some tips for dealing with sizes and labels:

* get or bring a tailor's tape measure (in german: Schneider-Ma├čband); several of the Euroland (continental equivalent of dollar stores) or discount stores have them, but I wasn't able to find a retractable one anywhere.
* Bookmark/PDF/whatever a good conversion guide; I found this one to be the most helpful.
* baumwolle = cotton. Most of the other textiles are either easily guessable or almost the same as in English.

There aren't all that many out-and-out charity shops (e.g. Oxfam, Goodwill) that I saw anywhere; most of the businesses were commercial. The Oxfam stores in Berlin were rubbish. In both A'dam and Berlin, "clothes by the kilo" were much more common, had better selections, etc. Some of the flea markets/other open air markets had some decent stuff for really really cheap, but results were mixed at best.

Amsterdam:
* Waterlooplein open-air market had all sorts of interesting stuff, and is open during the week!
* Albert Cuypmarket had a bunch of cheap stuff, but it looked mostly like the same crap you get from China as anywhere else in the world.
* IJ-Hallen is a once or twice a month huge flea market type thing; it wasn't open when I was there, though.
* The "Episode" chain was mostly crap, IME. Overpriced, small, etc.
* Kiloshop was a very good 'clothes by the kilo' chain; the one near Waterlooplein was good, the one down by the Pijp was OK. But....
* If you're willing to go somewhat afield, there's a Kiloshop outlet by the Electric Tram Museum that's even cheaper than the rest and had a good selection. And furthermore, it's right by...
* Mevius, which was a giant thrift shop of... stuff. All sorts of random shit which changes a lot. When I was there: a lot of clothes, a bunch of housewares, random liquors (??), a gigantic box of leather pants for EUR5 each (!!), a bin full of booty shorts (!?), a huge rack of crappy tourist souvenir T-shirts for EUR5 each. It was cool to wander around in, if nothing else.
* And if you're going to the previous two, you may as well also go to the Butcher's Tears brewery nearby; great, reasonably priced beer, and a nice view of the tram yard. (You do have to go back and around, past the museum, and down Karperweg to get there, though - even though you can see it from the Kiloshop, you cahnt get theiya from heiya.)

Berlin:
* The Oxfam stores are crap, alas. Tiny and overpriced. The few items they had seemed nice enough, but also quite pedestrian.
* The Humana shops are generally pretty good; they seem to be roughly equivalent to Goodwill, in both the good and bad aspects. (I've seen some criticism that they pay their leaders too much, don't give back as much as they should, etc - almost exactly the same things as I've heard about Goodwill. Caveat lector.) The one at Frankfurter Tor is particularly good (and near Friedrichshain, an all too cool area), as is the one by Alexanderplatz. Some stores are tiny and meh, though.
* Picknweight seems to be the dominant per-kilo chain in Berlin, although I think they tend to be somewhat overpriced. Alexanderplatz has a cluster of three shops all pretty close to each other which are decent. The best one is south of Merhingdamm off of Bergmannstr.; not only is the regular per-kilo part large and pretty good, they also have fixed-price and bargain-basement sections in the back which are generally a *lot* cheaper than their regular inventory.
* The RAW Flohmarkt in Friedrichshain on Sundays is particularly good; not only is it just a cool area to wander around, but it's a lot of people selling their own stuff as opposed to a standard retinue of professional sellers. Good idea to brush up on your German if you're going to go there, though.
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I am coming the the end of my month-long vacation to Amsterdam and Berlin. I fly out tomorrow, and while I had sorta wanted to go out with a bang and drink and club the night away, I still have some shit I want to do tomorrow before my flight; so instead, with a whimper, I am eating salami, smoked cheese, and mustard sandwiches and drinking incredibly cheap beer in my hotel room and writing this.

Amsterdam was fun. It was my second time there, so I had a better idea of what to expect. More and more, it reminds me of a European version of Las Vegas, where loads of chavs and Europeans go to smoke pot and gawk at the hookers and generally make asses out of themselves. The vast majority of shops seem centered around the tourist trade, and I didn't meet anyone at all who didn't speak excellent English. (Still some interesting gaps; I asked what the 'turnover' was for businesses in the area, and that was a word that they hadn't encountered before.) I also got to meet up with my erstwhile coworker Peter and his wife, which was really quite nice; I hadn't seem them for at least five years. Didn't get to talk to them for nearly long enough.

I'm still trying to get to grips with the population distribution of Amsterdam - i.e. where do the native a'damers actually live? There were far more grocery stores than I expected around in such a small area, so I'd guess that more of them are living near the city center than you'd think - but the city only has a population of around 900k, about the same as SF. Some of the other larger cities - e.g. Haarlem - are only about half an hour away by train, so it forms part of a larger conurbation; I'd guess that the people who don't live in A'dam itself are those who don't want to, not those who can't.

Hotels in A'dam are usurious, even in the shoulder season (i.e. when it starts getting cold), but it looked like most other costs - transport, food, etc - weren't that bad. The food was OK, but I wouldn't call it a gourmet wonderland. Having easy access to Belgian beer for cheap was really quite nice, though.

Overall, the people seemed generally pretty nice, if a bit blunt; the big exception is when they got on their bicycles, where many of them turned into gigantic flaming assholes. I didn't get to chat to many native Dutch folk, but they were pretty warm once they got into the conversation and had more of a sense of who you were. (After a nice conversation about San Francisco, amongst other things, one of the shopowners said to come back for a coffee if I were in the area again.) I also got the impression that - again, like Vegas - very, very few people asked about what it was like to be in a so amazingly tourist-heavy area. One of the barkeeps said that many Dutch folk will initially speak to most waitstaff in English, as they don't expect that they'll necessarily be or speak Dutch.

So, overall, A'dam was nice; I liked Arendsnest for beer, the Van Gogh museum for Van Gogh, and the the Stedelijk museum for modern art. (I wouldn't bother with the Rijksmuseum unless you really, really like Golden Age Dutch portraiture or reaaaallly want to see Rembrandt's Night Watch in person.)
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I dreamt that there were vampires with various supernatural powers; one of them had the ability to cause spoken words to be exchanged with each other. In this case, they swapped 'tennis' and 'rabbit', so I could only say 'rabbit racket' or 'what a cute tennis'; I could still recognize what the correct word should have been, but it was intercepted at the subvocalization level and replaced. I thought this was really neat and told the vampire so, who was slightly taken aback and weirded out by my enthusiasm.

Also, my flight for AMS/BER leaves in twelve hours, and instead of packing I am farting around on the internet.
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Two weeks from now, I'll be in Amsterdam for a week and Berlin for three weeks. Any suggestions for what I should see or do while in either place? (I was definitely going to go back to the Van Gogh museum, but that's about the only definite plan I have thus far.)

I should write up a 'state of the moof' post, too; it's been a while.
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I was going to write about my concern over my Dad's behavior being increasingly worrying - and how his Asperger's is either getting far worse, is partially masking initial signs of dementia, or maybe both - but that's too depressing, so instead I'll talk about furries.

What if there were anthropoid, sentient four-toed sloths, and they were *really* into primates? What would they define as being the essence of ape-y-ness? What would be the edges of the uncanny valley for them? "The Naked Ape" is written from a human point of view, but what would be the quadrobradypodidal differences?
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I have now been without internet for six days. AT&T has been utterly fucking useless in terms of telling me what the actual issue is, what the estimated time to resolution is, issuing consistent trouble ticket numbers, and not living up to the Lily Tomlin quote, "We're the phone company. We don't care; we don't have to."
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I went out twice this weekend! Two days in a row! I think that's a new record since.... Japan, maybe? I probably did something in SF two days in a row, but I can't remember anything for sure. Unfortunately, both times were kind of lackluster; petting a cat just wandering around was probably the highlight of the weekend. Not only am I trying to get used to Chicago again, but the sorts of clubs and events and gatherings and whatnot I'm used to from Tokyo and SF either aren't here or are hiding more successfully than my searches have revealed. There seems to be a lack of weirdos around, or perhaps more accurately the culture surrounding weirdos; everything seems more mundane or homogenized. I suspect part of this is due to the rent being so damn high; despite empty storefronts everywhere, commercial rent continues to climb and those are shitty conditions for renting out a warehouse and just doing crazy shit.

I also realized that in wandering around that not only did I have anhedonia, where I don't really get a lot of enjoyment out of doing stuff, I also have a tremendous lack of satisfaction from doing many things - and that's probably one of the deeper causes of the former. Although the klonopin makes me sleepy as fuck, it's also been really helpful in making the emotional monkey in the back of my head clanging its cymbals nonstop to slow down or occasionally be quiet, making it easier to figure out wtf I'm actually feeling other than anxiety or panic.

The biggest problem I face is "What now?"; I feel like Buridan's ass. Small bits of gardening and enjoyment at seeing the fireflies at night ain't cutting it.
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I was training to be a psychiatrist for vampires and other supernatural creatures, and I had this handy wristband I could toggle so I could appear either vampirelike or human. When I was a normal human, all the vampires looked pale, deformed, and/or crazed, circling around me madly and cackling and screaming gibberish; when I toggled myself to vampire appearance, though, they became perfectly ordinary looking, dressed in normal clothing and not their usual rags or outlandish costumes, speaking in a normal tone of voice and in a relaxed, friendly manner about perfectly reasonable topics. On the other hand, humans who saw me as a vampire began to panic, run around, and shriek, causing an undue fuss. Since I didn't know the neighborhood well enough to know which grocery stores were for humans and which were for vampires, I had to be very cautious and hide until I could be sure who was what.
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Depression and meds stuff )


In good news, though, I've gotten to see fireflies in my backyard for the past three nights, I finally got to meet someone in person that I'd been talking to on the internet for the past decade, and made it out to a club on my own for the first time since moving back here in August, so that has been nice.

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I went into the city to see an exhibition ("Trace") by Ai Weiwei; it consisted of Lego portraits of various political prisoners/dissidents. It was originally part of a larger installation at Alcatraz, and the parts on display were kept exactly the same as it was there; there were empty spaces where the concrete beams were at the prison. They also had little kiosks explaining wtf all those people were and why they were being held. It was nice enough, I suppose, but I was underwhelmed; I think I spent all of 30-45 minutes there, and a lot of that was dawdling and/or chatting with the docents about the exhibit. Chatting with the docents was the most interesting part - although I'm a little surprised that I was able to engage with them, much less carry on a conversation. Perhaps the klonopin is helping.

After that, I wandered around Clark street and up to my old haunts on Belmont - which have almost completely been replaced with big box stores (Target, DSW), utterly generic and interchangeable restaurants, or utterly twee boutiques. The local punk store, The Alley, which used to be the place to go for body jewelry, band T-shirts, leather clothing, and insane platform shoes... has moved across the street to a nice little storefront where there's a coffee bar on the first floor, and a small, curated selection of band shirts, jewelry, leather wristbands, and shirts featuring the former store's logos. Had a latte and chatted with the barista there about the neighborhood and technology, encouraging to look into the tutorials and material out there and to not get suckered in all starry-eyed by big corps with the lure of being able to make videogames. So that was nice.

After my nice little two hour jaunt, I got back to the car to find the battery was completely dead. Reading the manual, I found out about the following purported features: the key will not release from the ignition lock unless there's power, the battery is in the trunk/rear of the car, there is a jump-charge point in the front but it consists of a well-protected plus terminal (good!) and a random rusty as fuck seemingly-arbitrarily-chosen bolt as ground (baaaaad.) Also, according to the manual, if you pop out a plastic insert in the bottom of the steering column there's a plunger you can press to release the ignition key; I was completely unsuccessful in finding/engaging it. Similarly, if you happen to have a 3.5in/10cm or longer screwdriver, there's a panel in the back of the liftgate you can pop out, wedge in the screwdriver, and release the gate. That didn't work, either. When digging around in the back to try and find the panel, I found the hidden storage compartment! Where helpfully, my dad had put.... two pairs of golf shoes. And no jumper cables.

Two random people had come by to offer their help, but neither of them had jumper cables or could assist me with the random wacky bullshit features of this oh so wonderful 2007 Chevy HHR. If I had been able to get the key out, I would have walked up to the WalMart a half mile away to get jumper cables or a jump kit... but given the neighborhood, I also wouldn't have put it past people to randomly lock the doors and make the car completely inaccessible. (Another fun fact - there is precisely one entry keyway, on the driver's door. None of the other three doors or the liftgate have key entry.) Time to call the parental units, whose car this was and who I had thought would have had tools and supplies in the back.

Dad answered their landline and cleverly avoided my question, "Do you have towing services included with the car insurance?" by saying I should call AAA [The American Automobile Association, providers of roadside assistance, maps, etc]; I tried rephrasing this two or three times, but no dice. So he read off 9 digits of AAA account number and hung up. As he failed to give me the actual phone number and I was somewhat irritated at him already, I tried finding the number online; no dice. Called my sister, who I knew would actually answer my questions in a correct and timely fashion, and got the phone number. Called them up to find... AAA account numbers have sixteen digits and Dad had neglected to give me the first seven.

Called Mom on her cellphone and explained what was going on this time around. She read off her entire account number and verified the phone number for service. Mom also revealed that she had moved the car that morning, and got confused as to which levers were for the windshield wipers and which were for the lights; she had set the lights to manual on and not in the automatic position in trying to turn off the wipers. We theorized at the time that was what had caused the battery to drain, and she was extra apologetic on the phone. I told her I wasn't mad at her, it was an understandable accident - but I was kind of pissed at Dad. She gave me a sigh of understanding, and offered to come and get me if need be. I told her I didn't think it would be necessary. Ho ho ho ho.

Called AAA and was told somebody would be there to jump the car in ninety minutes. I ate a hotdog from the nearby place, sat on the front bumper because it was 90F and all the windows were rolled up (and were, naturally, power windows with no manual override), and stewed. Guy finally showed up with his power kit, and while he was nice enough, he seemed like kind of a dimwit. He didn't have any sandpaper or wire brushes to clean off the contacts; instead he seemed to think that just moving the jumpers around would eventually provide a good enough connection. Eventually, there was enough power for the dashboard indicators and headlights to come on, and I could turn on the radio! But the windows didn't work, the ignition wouldn't turn over, and none of the locks unlocked. Sad trombones played in my head, and the battery guy said he'd call the tow truck.

AAA SMSed me to say that the estimated arrival time for the tow truck was 11:58pm; as it was only 9pm, this was a rather unpleasant surprise. I figured, fuck it, I'll go drink in one of the local bars to pass the time. It was a surprise when the driver called 20 minutes later to say he was about two blocks away - when I was about five blocks away from the car - and I hustled on back. I arrived just in time to see the tow truck driver start to pull out of the alley where he had been turning around, and some asshat park his car right in front of mine with maybe a foot of clearance. Both tow truck driver and I were decidedly not happy; he said he could either call out the flatbed, or try to winch the car up by one wheel and angle it out so he could get the tow bar fully engaged. I opted for the latter, as I didn't want to wait another couple of hours, and after nine or ten iterations of pulling forward and backing up on the rather narrow street that was parked up on both sides, success! The car was angled out, the tow bar was fully engaged with both wheels, and we could head back towards the house.

It does not sound like the life of a tow truck driver is a happy, jolly one. He said he'd been working for sixteen hours, hadn't eaten for eight, and his asshat co-manager was being particularly useless that day. I told him that if he wanted to stop and eat, that was fine by me, but he waved it off; I asked him if this was a normal occurrence for him, and I got to learn further sordid details of the towing life. He said that he was part of an independent towing company, and that AAA jacked him around quite a bit, making him drive across town several times a day and not giving enough time for that or for finishing the tow. In addition, he sometimes did car repossession; he's been shot at, stabbed, had the windows of his tow truck attacked with a baseball bat, all sorts of exciting stuff - and even the normal tow jobs seemed to bring out the craziness in lots of people.

Anyhow - we got to the gas/service station a few blocks from the house, Mom arrived, we paid the nice man, and went home. The next day, we found out that it wasn't the headlights that caused the battery to die, but the starter went kablooey and shorted out as well as a short or two elsewhere. Oh, and that the shocks in back were so dead that both the springs had broken. And the front brakes were pitted and needed repair. And one of the tires was bad. And there might be other things, too.

Thus ends my little story of going out on a nice summer day, having two hours of leisure and five hours of car issues. I think this illustrates part of why I have trust issues with Dad, really strong urges to check on or fix things myself instead of relying on others, or for asking for things in general.
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Armed with my shiny new klonopin rx and upped cymbalta meds ruminating in my tummy, on Saturday I successfully made it out of the house, into the car, and off to Anime Central - although even before I arrived there were anxiety alarms going off in my head. I had wanted to go Friday night, perhaps, but Mom wanted to finally clear some of the stuff out of the upstairs, and I didn't want to turn her down. As it was, Mom wanted to do more cleanup on Saturday, too, so I didn't arrive until 6-ish. Got through registration, to find... they were closing the main hall at 6:30pm. WTF. I dashed around the vendors, didn't get to see the artist's alley at all, and then tried to figure out wtf everything else was.

(Note to con organizers: do *not* just fill out your schedule in Excel with times like "07:00:00pm" waaaay on the left, completely in black and white so that there's no easy visual time cue for items way on the right, or just shrug and claim that the Guidebook App will take care of all your problems. Especially if the teeny tiny physical map has a purple background and white lettering in a tiny font size, and there are almost no signs anywhere indicating "panel room A this way!")

The videogaming area was impressive, and I got to use some of my terrible Japanese skill to explain to some people wtf the table flipping game was about and doing. Found the tabletop gaming area, where there were a lot of people busily involved with various (large, complicated, multi-hour) boardgames. It all seemed nice enough.

I just couldn't get into it, though. The crowd was heavily skewed to the 18 and under crowd - I'd say at least 70% of the attendees were minors - and there was an astonishingly tiny amount of later-night or adult/mature programming other than the standard yaoi or shipping panels. I could tell that while the klonopin helped, the cymbal-banging monkey in my head was going crazy and I couldn't stand to stick around and try and engage with people or attend the possibly-interesting programming that was happening in an hour or three. (Even just writing about this is inducing forwards-and-backwards rocking motions.) I didn't luck out and see any of the three people I knew were attending but haven't met, and even the notion of DMing them to ask if they were interested in meeting a rando was enough to make my anxiety monkey's head look like it was ready to explode. So I drove home, tried to be as quiet as possible as to not have to deal with anybody in the house, and crawled into bed at 8:30pm. I woke up around noon; the cymbalta has been making it extremely difficult to stay asleep, so the depression-induced hypersomnia was actually quite welcome.

I was still amazingly depressed when I entered the kitchen; mom picked up on something not being right - but with dad there, I didn't want to get into it. She and I talked later, after I broke down and cried on her shoulder. This is something I would have expected as a teenager, but not in my mid-forties. But there's a lot of things lately - self image, gender and sex identity, what I want to do with my life, feeling like there's lack of personal agency - that seem more teenagerish than middle-age-ish.
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I awoke to find myself in Canada and as a skinny, gangly teenage blonde girl. This was a dark, spooky Canada, though; there were spooky eldritch things lurking everywhere. The ATM that appeared after the proper incantation that let you deposit and withdraw mojo looked interesting, but I didn't get to see it up close. I may have been a magical being myself, possibly a shapeshifter, but I spent most of first my time trying to find something decent to wear and to figure out how to get enough cash to buy a train ticket back to Michigan.

At some point, a werewolf started monologuing at me, talking about how werewolves were the only supernatural creatures accepted by society, mostly because they had such a long history in popular media, and because they could shed their animal guises at any time they wished. At that point, it switched to a video presentation showing the various types of werewolves (cyborg werewolf, virtual werewolf, old-school werewolf, witty and urbane Tex Avery-ish werewolf) and how various werewolves reacted when discovered. Some claimed it was just cosplay; some said it was shooting as part of a movie. One unfortunate said, "This is just a costume! Let me show you!" A voice off to the side said "oh no, man, don't do that, it's a bad idea" - but the first guy just closed his eyes, grunted, and concentrated. And what do you know! The werewolf head popped off to expose a baby head. "Seriously, man, don't do it!" warned the other guy, but after more grunting, the entire six feet lower body of the werewolf popped off to show the torso of an infant, followed by a triumphant "See! I'm a perfectly normal... baby...." before keeling over. At that point, the video presentation paused; an overlay appeared showing an internal diagram of the 'baby' and the werewolf body. All that the baby contained was the brain, about 100 cc of lung, and no other organs (e.g. a heart) or digestive system - all of those were still in the werewolf body.
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Apparently, I cannot do vector calculus in my head when I'm asleep. (Or more precisely, trying to describe to someone how i-, j-, and k-hat are the bases of Cartesian coordinates and what cross and dot products are necessary is beyond me when I'm dreaming.)
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Man, am I glad that I've had recreational pharmaceuticals; I don't know whether it's my brain chemistry, my stomach chemistry, the coating on the extended-release bits, or some other combo, but getting a massive rush, lessened focus, slight hypomania, and mucal membrane weirdness/dry tongue six to seven hours after taking my daily dose of duloxetine would probably have freaked me out a fair bit otherwise. Mostly, I find it annoying that I have to schedule "lay around and be inattentive and hyper yet derpy" time that much in advance.
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Looks like I'm sensitive to SNRIs in general; after starting duloxetine, I got teeth clenching, weird visual effects when trying to sleep, mild hypomania, and now I have stuck in my head Neil Sedaka singing "I love my little tentacle girl! Squiiiirming tentacle girl! I love my sweet tentacle girl! And each and every leg on her rear!"
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I was standing in the coordination center, and the captain told me that it was time to unlock my advanced powers. Because I had sequence-broken and skipped a lot of events I was supposed to have seen, I knew I didn't have the materials I needed to do it - so, I opened up the game console and gave myself the items I thought I needed directly, and used them. There were remarks about whether I'd grow a mouth on my belly to be able to eat people's heads, like most people do - but instead a gash formed across my neck (which also seemed a lot longer than it should be) and a shark jaw formed there, all pointy and white. "This feels really weird," I said, opening up my throat-jaw, before I woke up.
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I was standing cheek to jowl with two others - Autumn on my left, don't know who on my right. "It's merging time, woo!" was exclaimed, and three triangles were formed with our fingers - each person creating a half with the two others. When we finally got all three triangles to overlap, the physical merging started; as I could feel my cheeks starting to adhere to the others, we intoned "We have our mouth!" As the cheeks melted away and we grew closer, I marveled at wiggling my tongue in the now-cavernous area, not being able to touch the sides. Again we intoned, "We have our mouth!" There was a flash of light, and the combined entity was revealed - lying on the green riverbank, looking up at the stars.
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I was at a party or some other social event, when I spied an engineer pal's purse and was reminded of something I should immediately look up right then and there. I unzipped her bag, pulled out her iPad, and opened up Safari to look up whatever that all-important thing was. She saw what I was doing with her tablet and purse and came over; she said, "I see you've been doing something naughty!" in a kiddingly chiding tone with only a vague undertone of unease at her stuff being violated. I was consumed by overwhelming guilt, shame, and embarrassment - not only for the act of violation, but that I had done so completely unthinkingly and without considering people's boundaries. I started to go fetal and make that weird bi-tonal screeching thing I do at times of extreme distress, but didn't actually do so because I was also waking up. I think I'm still vibrating from the adrenaline, half an hour later; the rush is as unpleasant as always.

I don't know whether it's the lamotrigine I've started taking, overexposure to Dad (although I don't think even he would just randomly go through people's stuff without asking), or something just out of the blue.
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