Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Advent Post

Crazy dreams lately.  I'm blaming the Tiger Balm I've been rubbing on my back.  The most amusing one involved the local bookstore diversifying into a cannabis distribution center.  

On the writing front, I jotted down some long-hand ideas for the Wordos Holiday reading coming up in about ten days.  We're all going to try to write on the same theme; in the past the themes have diversified into a swarm of ideas.  I've also made a flash submission to a market; I'm trying something different with the flash piece and I'll be interested to see how far it gets through the submission process.

Mark's away on a business trip.  I'm hoping that he gets back before the predicted Winter Storm hits so he doesn't have to travel on slippery roads surrounded by Oregonians who don't know how to drive in snow and ice.

I've been easing in to the Christmas season with a stray carol here or there.  I tend to like old-style carols with krumhorns, boy sopranos, Latin verses, finger cymbals, Maddie Prior, bag-pipes, and Annie Lennox.   This isn't Mark's favorite combination, which makes the easing into things easier.

No gym visits; I keep waiting for my sore bits to stop feeling so sore and they aren't obliging.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Friday With Tiptree

This is my, typing in the parking lot.

Friday was the Tiptree Symposium, but the organizers moved the schedule up a day, and all the interesting panels happened when I work.  Unfortunately, work is really busy at the moment, and I couldn't justify taking the day off.  It's also early-release Friday at The Child's school, which also puts a crimp in things.  

I had consigned myself to being a shrewish house-frau and re-reading old notes from previous Tiptree Symposia when I got an e-mail from JS inviting a bunch of Wordos to join him at a Tiptree reception.   So I did, and had a pleasant evening listening to other local authors talk about what they did.  Probably the most interesting stories were about running a hot-spring resort, how being naked simplified certain social interactions, and having to speak with the local sheriff with no clothing on.  

And now, onto the flash fiction I'm working on... which I should send out.

Working out:  I've pulled something, so I did not go to the gym over the weekend.  I may do an elliptical run Monday afternoon to try to loosen things up.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Pre December Musings

Went to the gym Monday night:  About 250 calories on the elliptical.  3x13x60lbs on the pec fly.  3x13x80lbs on the lat pulldown.  2x8x10lbs side crunches.  3x12x40lbs barbell curls.  I did five reps on the triceps pulldown at 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 lbs.

I'm in a spin about what sorts of craft to make for the holidays.  I'm under the impression (from Mark) that the paper cutouts, while neat, are essentially holiday clutter that the recipients don't know what to do with.  I suppose I could do wood things... but that just shifts paper clutter to plywood clutter.   I thought about making little plastic toys, which might go over well, but that means I need to get cracking and design something to put together in about three weeks.

On the writing front... Oh yeah; writing.  Stories have been rejected, so I need to get them back in the submission piles.  I'm currently working on a short list-story that's probably more therapeutic than anything.  The trick will be making the list have some narrative tension.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gay Pride Dreams

Cicero  the kitten was sleeping with his paws in my face, which I'm thinking gave me so much recall -- however, the order and sequence is really disjointed...

I went to a kind of wooded dormitory where I met a 20-something woman who was going to teach me meditation and psychic techniques.   The structure was fairly well lit, and wooden, with lots of towels and blankets hanging everywhere.  We had to keep moving around because the place was chaotic with other residents' activity.   The setting didn't become Arcosanti, although I have the feeling it could have; instead it mostly was a large communal dormitory or fraternity house.

We started out in a black-and-white tiled kitchen, but then someone started dancing; there was an argument about where one could dance and we moved to a sleeping hall.  There was another man and possibly another teacher.  At one point, as I sat meditating and staring at the woman, a blue cube of light appeared around her head, and then her head disappeared (sort of like when you stare at something long enough and your eye gets tired and everything fades to a grey).

There was a kind of music video tribute to Eugene.  There was a group of us, I think Jai L was there.  The music was like "We Are the World," but the lyrics were about how moldy, and muddy the place is.  There was a scene where we were all running through muddy pine fields in a downpour.  And the song moved on to eco-hippies or something.... probably involving pedestrians stepping out into traffic and cyclists running stop signs.

Mark and I kept meeting gay couple friends and relations.  I think we were meeting them at an amalgum of our parents' houses.  There was a party going on, and I remember mixing drinks and putting together hors d'oeuvres.  At one point, we were climbing over city building roofs and avoiding security cameras.

I ended up with a group in a Judy Garland style farm yard.  George Takei was there.  I was standing next to a stand of corn, working a wisteria vine (or else a thick bind-weed) out of the corn stalks.  The vine was hairy and velcro-like, and it kept wanting to twist back up into the stalks.  I managed to get the majority of the vine out.

I looked up into the sky, and a rainbow was forming.  The colors became more saturated and a faint double rainbow appeared inside.  It was shining, almost a full circle in the sky.  I felt myself lifting and my toes dragged along the dusty ground.  I might have said something to the crowd with George Takei, and then I was flying low over the ground under a triple rainbow.

I flew into a pine or fir forrest, and I caught glimpses of the rainbow circle through the boughs.  A Jean-Micheal Jarre siren song, undulating between two piercing notes, echoed through the trees, and I rose higher into the growing green.

I've left out the id-driven bits.  Which were fun.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Post Thanksgiving

Working Out:  Went to the gym Saturday.  25 minutes and 250 calories on the elliptical.  3x12x60lbs on the pec fly.  3x13x70lbs on the lat pulldown.  3x12x10lbs side crunches.  3x12x35lb barbell curls; I should see if I can level up to 40 lbs.  3x12 hanging curls.

Helped my folks clean their house for the Thanksgiving celebration.   My my sister's family and my mother's sister's family came for dinner.  The Child and I stayed over night to help my folks with their monster artificial Christmas tree.

Back home, we'll resist Winter Holiday decorating for a few more weeks.  In my head, December 12 is about when I want to decorate.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Other Side of Stress

I'm still stressed out a little by the election.  On one hand it's still the same America (it's just that folks on the right came out to vote more than folks on the left).  On the other hand, OMG it's a bunch of phobic white supremacist.   On the other hand, there's lots of republicans and democrats and the ACLU and the CSPLC and the cast of Hamilton standing up and saying, "protect all Americans."  And back on the other hand OMG it's a fascist autocrat; believe his threats -- your institutions cannot save you.  And back on the first hand there's the right-leaning Archdruid saying, "calm down, just because we voted for jobs and an appeal of the Affordable Care Act doesn't mean we're jack-booted brown-shirts and KKK members."  And then back on the other hand, the transition team and the future of SCOTUS.

Still, I'm catching myself exhaling a little less than last week.

Spent the weekend not scrolling through Facebook, playing with Blender, making (and eating) chocolate chip cookies,  and reading "Startide Rising."   This week I need to donate to the ACLU and contact my representatives.  (Note to self: make a web page with contact info so you only have to look it up once...)

The Child's Kung-Fu place has a new exercise that seems good for grounding a centering; it's called "climbing the mountain," I think.  The first time the class did it I felt the energy of the room move down. I've decided that it will be a good thing for The Child and me to do for a few minutes in the morning.

Working Out:  Went to the gym Tuesday (and also last Thursday).  150 calories on the elliptical, 3x12x60lbs on the pec flies, 3x12x70lbs on the lat pull-down, 3x10x10lb side-crunches, 3x12 hanging curl-ups, 3x12x30lb barbell curls.    I've been trying to do five push-ups (at least) on days I don't go to the gym to try to keep my muscle tone up.

Writing:  Received a short story rejection (Wednesday) and another one last week.  Wheee!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Post Election Meditation

The last few days I've been taking a moment to imagine myself before the Door of the Day and asking myself four questions:

When you find a problem you can fix, will you fix it?
When you find a failure that deserves a second chance, will you grant it?
Severity ungrounded in Mercy leads to destruction; will you be a sower of discord?
Mercy ungrounded in Severity leads to chaos; will you be a permitter of evil?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Post 2016 Elections

I'm discouraged by the election results.  I keep repeating to myself "it's never as bad as we feared and it's never a good as we hoped."  And I'm thankful I'm a gay man living in a liberal city in a liberal county in a liberal state (at least the western part of the state, that is).

Writing:  Submitted three stories last Saturday; received a rejection this Friday morning.  While it's not completely unexpected, I had hoped that the particular story was a better fit with the market's feel (the editor told me it wasn't).

Working out:  Went to the gym Monday and did stuff.

Cicero continues to want to be aggressive toward Smokey.  It's a pain, because we have to shut one or the other of them into a room to keep them segregated.  The cats' uneasy relationship seems to be a metaphor for so many things.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Election Nail Biting

Click the map to create your own at
Whew. I've cast my ballot in Oregon's mail-in voting system.  ... and I'm still a little stressed out by this year's election.  It's probably not the best idea, but I'm leaving this links here so I can find them more easily and just look at them once in the morning or something.

NYT Upshot: 


Princeton Election Consortium Electoral Map:

Real Clear Politics:

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween Decorations

I love Halloween. And I love carving little pumpkins.
This year we finally found the perfect spot for the string of skeleton lights: the mantle.  In previous years we've hung them over the front or back windows, where they haven't been as effective.  They need to be next to a background, not hanging next to glass.
The little pumpkins strung up out front.
A spooky picture of Smokey.  Usually he looks much more laid-back.  I think he was annoyed that the camera was interrupting his nap.
Mark found the firework "flashers" from the Fourth of July, so we'll probably put those inside these guys on Halloween night.  Maybe I'll soak some newspaper in isopropyl alcohol and....

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pre Halloween

The Wordos Halloween Reading was last Tuesday.  It was a lot of fun; folks are encouraged to write 1000 word stories and then read them aloud.  Usually there's a really funny story, a really powerful story, and a really creepy story.  This time around, we had less funny and more powerful and creepy.   I wrote a kind of ghost story set on Venus which was received well.

Halloween has come to our house:  the long table is in the window with pumpkins, the haunted carousel, skulls and the gargoyle on it.  Cicero the black kitten also likes sitting on the table; if there wasn't a fear of him dashing out the front door when Trick-or-Treaters visit, I'd keep him there Halloween night.  Mark prefers decorating for Christmas, but The Child and I are into it.

On a different front, I've been using an iPad for about four years, and it's too old to take the latest iOS update, which means that it's vulnerable to the latest JPEG security flaw that was uncovered a few days ago.  I've been looking around for news, but everything I'm seeing indicates that iOS 10.2 is the only fix for the problem.    I suppose this means that I'll have to uninstall various applications that could display malicious JPEGS (Facebook, Safari, Pinterest, Twitter, e-mail, )  On one hand, that means that I could leave the blog app, SimpleNote, and Scrivener and probably boost my productivity.  On the other hand, arg... my iPad is not _that_ old.  

Working Out:  Went to the gym Saturday (Oct 29).  30 minutes and 300 calories on the elliptical.  3x12x60 on the pec fly (my right shoulder's been bugging me and I figured I should try a lighter weight).  3x12x70 on the lat pulldown.  3x12 hanging curls.  3x12x35lbs with barbell curls.  My back has also been bothering me, so I did some random situp type things on a yoga ball.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Weekend Report

My weekend report got deleted ... so I'm experimenting with other tools. I'm curious how this post will be formatted [edit: well, the line returns didn't go through, so all the paragraphs got mushed together].

Friday was electronics-free reading night at our house. I'm finishing up Foundation's Fear. Saturday was visit with the folks in Corvallis day: We played "Sushi Go!" a card game with rotating hands, with my sister and niece; later we visited my folks and caught up with them. Sunday The Child and I put up the Halloween Decor; Mark helped clean because he's not as into the holiday as we are. 

Working Out: Sunday I went to the gym. 20 minutes and 210 calories on the elliptical. 5 minutes and 50 calories on the rowing machine. 3x12x70 lbs on the pec fly. 3x12x80 lbs on the lat-pulldown. 3x12 hanging curls. 3x12x35 lbx with barbell curls. 2x8x10 lbx oblique curls. 3x12x20 lbs triceps curls.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Kitty Wars

Earlier in the week...

I had a strange mash-up dream involving Carleton College and Scooby-Doo.  I think.  Between Cicero tearing around the house, various cloud-bursts, and probably too much tea yesterday, I didn't sleep as soundly as I would have liked.

Cicero is being a typical kitten, I guess.  He's the only cat I've met who likes to chew on paper, and we're at the point where The Child could say, "The cat ate my homework" and it would be plausible.  Just this Tuesday morning, the wicked little Visigoth chewed the corner off of my copy of Fowler's "Modern English Usage."  

Unfortunately, this also means that he bounds up to Smokey, wraps both front paws around his neck, and gets into Smokey's face.  Or decides that Smokey's tail is a kitten toy.   Smokey's been extremely good natured about all this, but it means we can't leave them alone in the same room.  With the turn in the weather, Smokey shouldn't stay out, with the result that one or the other spends some time locked up in a bedroom.   Our latest strategy -- which Mark is better at that I am -- is to sequester Cicero in our room whenever he gets into Smokey's face.   Cicero seems to be responding to this conditioning... until he's wound up and wants to kitty-wrestle.

I think it will be easier wrangling them when we can let Cicero outside.  He has to finish his immunizations and then get fixed (during which he'll get chipped) and then Halloween has to be over.  We have let him go on supervised jaunts in our back yard; his barn kitten past comes to the fore, as he likes to spend lots of time under our deck.  And zoom in and out of the patio door.

Smokey has been handling this fairly well, but we're pretty sure he's been going over to the neighbors to stress feed.  

Wednesday Workout:  20 minutes on the elliptical for 205 calories.  3x12x70lbs on the pec fly.  3x12x80lbx on the lat pull-down.   2x8x10lbs oblique curls.  3x12x30lbs barbell curls.  3x12 hanging curls.  3x12x30lbs triceps pull-downs.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Workout Report

Sunday Workout:  Virtuously went to the gym Sunday morning.  35 minutes on the elliptical for 320 calories.  3x12x60lbs on the pec fly.  3x12x80lbx on the lat pull-down.   2x8x5lbs oblique curls.  3x12x30lbs barbell curls.  3x12 hanging curls.  Umm.. a bunch of 12.5lb curl-lift-overhead curls.

Mostly cloudy and rainy today.  The high winds and inches of rain didn't materialize, so most of the leaves are still on the neighborhood trees.  We have had a lot of rain, and some of the fallen leaves have clogged the street drains.  But no animals two-by-two yet.  

Friday, October 14, 2016

Storm Prep

The big news locally is that the first of several storm systems blew in last night (Thursday, Oct 13).  There was between a quarter and a half an inch of rain.  The house and the cats got through the night without any mishaps (aside from the garage screen door swinging into something, I think).  One of my friends lost electricity... I'm not sure where in town he lives, so I don't know how widespread the outage was.  The streets weren't too bad, maybe some extra leaves and occasional spots of small twigs.  Mark went for a quick walk this (Friday, Oct 14) morning, and said he say Orion.   As I'm typing this, it's partially cloudy, with the morning sun painting the eastern clouds yellow-orange.

That didn't prevent thunder and lightning later Friday afternoon.  I think our lights flickered once.

An even larger system is blowing in Saturday.  People are stocking up on basics, and I need to go into the store and get things like eggs and cat food (and bacon).  The weather-folks keep invoking the Columbus Day Storm of 1964.  If I remember some story research I did correctly, fifty years ago a huge system swept in, and the air pressure differential set up a kind of funnel effect that had damaging winds blowing through the entire valley.  This (Friday) morning, NOAA reported some places (I'm guessing the Astoria Tilamook area) on the Oregon coast saw winds of 100 mph Thursday night.  And two water-spouts turned into tornadoes on the coast.

Looking at the NOAA site earlier Saturday morning (Oct 15) it looks like Florence weather is hitting Corvallis, and Newport weather is sweeping over to Salem.  I think that means Eugene is getting North Bend weather.  It's hard to tell from the radar images, because they're based out of Portland, but it looks like Portland is getting hammered by the gulf stream.  I suppose if the storms' paths shift south, Eugene will get higher winds and more rain than we have been so far.

Working Out:  25 minutes on the elliptical for about 240 calories.  Jumped onto the rowing machine for five minutes and 50 calories.  3X13X60lb pec-flies.  3X12X80lb lat pull-downs.  3X8 oblique curls on some funny machine, followed by inclined sit-ups and back-curls, mostly to loosen up my lower lumbar.  3X13 hanging curls.   Mark was appreciative later on.