Sunday, February 01, 2015

Dream: Yesterdays Mall of Tomorrow

Feeling a little under the weather the last few days.  It's a pain, because I feel a little hungery, or else I feel a little bloated.  I did a little bit of working out at home, but mostly I sat around writing and web surfing.

Writing - working on a new story for On The Premises.  It's a science fiction story with aliens.  It was fun putting together the basic parameters of the planet and thinking about aliens.  I'm about 2000 words in and I've strayed a little from the prompt, which is characters trying to learn something.  But I've got a good feel for the world and the aliens.  

Dream - We were watching an Original Series Star Trek that I had never seen before.  Although it was one of the last third sesaon episodes, the episode was in black and white, and the crew wore the sweater-style uniforms of the first season.  

The Enterprise was travelling back in time to the 1950's to build a futuristic shopping mall for starships.  Captain Kirk and Lt. Urhura were standing at a large table next to an architect's model of a really nice geodesic dome.  The dome had a gentle slope on the top, which became more curved near its edges, and in the graduated greys of the black-and-white format, it made a pleasing combination of tessalated morie patterns.   Underneath the dome was a plain, boxy mall building, and a parking lot with a model of the Enterprise in one of the parking stalls.

The Jim Kirk woman in the show was (I'm going to make up a name here) Jane McKenzie, head of construction security.  She had an all-woman squad of security officiers in perky "Yesterday's Tomorrow", Wilma Deering style body suits.  Jane had a little white dog, who supposedly was indiffrent to peole, but which I started playing with using the "let's play!" head-down, arms-out gesture.  I'm not sure when I transitioned from watching the show to being in it.  There was some campy inuendo with tangerines and the women's costumes.  By this time we'd gone back to color.

Then it turned into a 50's "Let's Put on a Show!" movie.  Jane was talkiing her girls on tour, and they were all lodging in a dormitory or hotel.  Jane got a little meaner, in a jail warden kind of way.  There was only one phone, so the women had to line up to use the phone, which was in a ciruclar lobby at the end of a hall.  

"Hello," said one woman, "I'd like to speak with Jim Smith.  Tell him this is Kate Jones.  Isn't he there?  He said to call him and that he could be... oh.  Well, could you take a message?"   I'm supposing this was one of the minor love-interest sub-plots.

There was a shift and I was a hardware store owner.  I might have been a tennant in the Shopping Mall Captian Kirk was building. I was also a rocket scientist.  We'd worked out a rocket design which was actually a folding, hinged uber car mechanic's skateboard.  It was supposed to be able to travel in a straight line, but there was a design flaw that made it turn one way or the other.  

Jimmy on the design team, thought he'd found the problem, and they wanted me to give a second opinion.  I got on the rolling wooden construction and after a few experimental rolls across the shop floor saw that there was a loose hinge that took the wheels out of alignment.  

There was a break of some sort, and I was riding in the back of a wagon at night.  The police women / show girls were singing a song, and I fell asleep, rocking in the wagon as it rolled underneath the stars.  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dream: Driving Through Floods

Dream:  I was driving in the family car in Eugene.  I was driving down a street like Chambers street from 28th.  I was going to meet Mark at a movie theatre, probably at Gateway Mall, and rather than traverse a diagonal through downtown Eugene traffic, I was going to zip along Chambers until it met something like the Beltline and then zip along the Beltline until I hit the Mall.

It didn't work out that way.  I zipped along Chambers, which became more and more rural (almost like Greenhill Road).  The road became more narrow, and weeds and tall grasses began to sprout up on the shoulder.  I was driving through fields.  The day became more cloudy and rainy.  I zipped around a long curve in the road, and the road was flooded.

I started to drive through the water, but somehow turned back.   Then I decided to try to get to the underpass on the other side of the flood.  So I gunned the motor and drove as fast as I could through the deepening, surging, swirling water.  Brownish water frothed around the wheels and half-way up the doors.  I think in real life the engine would have been flooded or car would have gotten swept off the road.

I made it to the other side and parked the car.  The dream shifted, and I was waiting with a bunch of other folks for a bus.  There was a woman who was a bus representative who was taking customer's money and answering route questions.  The stop was under an underpass, and the roiling flood was near-by.

An older lady in a white convertible drove through the flood and parked her car next to the queue of folks waiting for the bus (to take them to the mall?)  The next thing I knew, I was in the white convertible with the lady, and she backed us into the torrent.  She tried to drive us forward, but we were swept back and into a kind of dark culvert with iron grates.  It almost was like being in a lock.  The bus lady was shouting instructions to us, and the car floated under the road and into a dock of sorts.

There was a break, and I was Tsunami Books.  This dream version was in a large Victorian house in a rural area.  Lots of wooden porch, wooden stairs, and segmented rooms.  I was letting people in or somehow in charge of a craft fair.  I was looking for an ink stamp to stamp people's hands and someone else was looking for a cash box...   There was something about waiting in line for a bathroom... but at one point I told Connie Newman "I dreamed the car got caught in a flood, and we floated into this dark culvert.  I need to write down the experience so I can use it in a story."

...And then the dream went on to other things, and all of us were on a flat-bed truck, and a youngish woman was in a speed boat on the river aside the road, yelling at us, "Have you seen [I'm gong to make up a name, Dexter, a large white horse]?  He was supposed to be in the paddock behind the house..."

It occurs to me that there were mostly women in this dream.

Driving a car through a flood is an anxiety motif I've dreamed since I was four.

I'm not sure why I would mash up being in charge of Tsunami Books (I lock the place up after Wordos meetings) and running a craft fair (Mark has run a holiday craft fair at his work for the last several years).  Oh, wait.... flood = Tsunami?

Crossing a river to an otherworld, frequently with a white horse, is another dream motif I have... although I'm reading "The Two Towers" to The Child and Shadowfax is carrying Gandalf between the Ents and  Helm's Deep.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Throwback Friday: Snow

Here's a picture from Jan 27, 2008, when it snowed.  This is to contrast the 65F weather we had the other day, complete with blooming camellias and hummingbirds.

More alien dreams last night; Mark's taken to firing up Dr. Who before bed, so that's probably why.  The only thing I really recall is that I dreamed about aliens.

Writing:  Finished the Queers Destroy Science Fiction story and polled some friends for beta reading.  Critiqued two 4000 word stories.  Received a glowing (probably form) rejection for a fantasy story; I know you're not supposed to, but I'd imagined this one would find a home.  Next up is writing a Sword and Sorceress candidate manuscript.  Trying to ignore the self-hater.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sushi Dreams


I was at Arcosanti, only I was leaving the very next day.  G. L. worked there (which is the first time I've spliced someone from Eugene into an Arco dream) and he seemed kind of sad and surprised at my announcement.  I was at a Manager's Meeting, I think, in what used to be the library underneath the main business office.  Jeff Manta (whoa, haven't thought about him in 20 years..) came in with a roll of a kind of clearish gelatin which he had just mixed up out of plant sap and common kitchen chemicals.  He went around with the cylinder and cut hockey-puck sized disks for everyone.  

Cool! I thought, because the pucks were kind of bouncy (the substance was a mix of silly putty, those white drafting erasers, and clear glycerin soap).  Then I realized they were soap, because everyone else began washing the small rectangular desks they were sitting at. It was really good soap, and it took up the pencil, ink and dirt stains.  

I'm not sure what the Arco dream with Eugene people in it is about... maybe I'm feeling stuck with the ending of the current story not working right.  I'm pretty sure watching a sushi chef last night is where the roll of bouncy cleaning pucks came from.


In the other dream, I was a detective of some sort, closing down extraterrestrial con-games.  I don't have good recall on this dream, which seemed long.  The aliens, who looked mostly human, were working for a human boss.  I think they were stuck on Earth.  The mark would bring thousands of dollars to the alien to see more aliens, and then the aliens would re-neg somehow.  They might have mind-wiped the mark, or they simply may have laughed and said, you've already met the alien (me) but whose going to believe you?  Or it might have been something else.  I'm not sure why they were working for a human boss. 

I'd gotten to the con-man aliens' HQ, an old theatre of some sort made of brick, and I'd let them think they'd fooled me but, I was prepared for their trick (and immune) and my money self-destructed so they didn't have the payment for their boss.  "This looks pretty bad," I said, pointing to an empty suitcase.  "You told him you had the money, and now you don't.  He's going to be pretty mad.  But if you tell me who he is, I can help you out."

Thre was something more about new construction, but I only have an image of a bunch of new, brick buildings going up; they were middle-range, Olive Garden type, fast food places.

Working Out:  150 calories in 14 minutes.  I did the free weight stuff, but I should do some more at home because I had to skip the dumbbell bit.

Writing:  I feel like that cartoon where da Vinci spends days painting and repainting the Mona Lisa's lips because something about them isn't write.  Endings are hard.  The action is done, but the conclusion-twist is wrong... and it's possible the solution is to  chop off the conclusion-twist.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sunday Writing

Sunday I had a writing day.  I set up Scrivener in the kitchen, where I can sit without craning my neck or holding my arms out at a funny angle and I put on my older glasses (which don't correct so well for distant objects, but which don't require me to peer at the computer screen through the bottom half of the lenses) and I wrote.

Actually, I edited.  I started out with a rough draft of a space story.  I should have used a timer to see how much time out of the twelve hours I had for writing, but I think that would have been a little distracting.  Also, sometimes when the writing is editing, it's difficult to do things like word count.  

I did take little breaks for snacks, shopping (for tea!), and laundry, but I mostly kept at it for about twelve hours.  I'm going to guess that I was writing/editing for about seven of those hours.  At the end, I synced the story with SimpleNote so I can work on it from the iPad.  At the end, the story came in under 4000 words, which surprised me -- I guess I'm getting better at cutting out the bits that are lyrically descriptive but which don't move the plot forward.  I'll credit Scrivener for making it easier to keep the scenes divided into pieces, and thus easier to focus on scene arc.

I've decided that I like writing to the music of Antonio Scarlatti.  It's interesting music, but not so distracting as Bach can sometimes be, but at the same time it sinks into the background.  It's perfect for keeping the part of my brain that likes to put splice songs like "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" together busy without distracting the part of my head that's writing.

I like the beginning of the piece; I want to submit it to Lightspeed, and I think the first half, at least, has the right voice and strong character interactions.  The second part works, I think.   But I have a feeling I need to do another pass and make sure the characters are doing what they should, and not what the author needs them to do.   

Later:  Yep.  The ending is totally wrong.  Everything up to the very last scene is mostly working.  I know how I want things to go, it's that final stretch that's not working.  Oh well....

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Shadows and Light

This morning I have the house to myself, and I'm working on a story set on Tau Ceti.  It really needs to be a character-driven plot, since it's primarily a relationship story (instead of being a milieu, mystery, or status-quo story).  I wrote the original Very Rough Draft a few months ago, and I'm seeing the parts where I started to lapse into "Tolkien Hiking Porn for Space Station Tech Enthusiasts."  The mantra to repeat has been, "Advance the plot, reveal character."

On a completely different note, here's some photos from last weekend, when it was much less foggy.

I'd recently seen some back-lit photos of plants Pat Kight did, so during the Mt. Pisgah hike I was on the lookout for light shining through leaves.
 I like the contrast between the pale lime lichen and the orange leaves.
 Western Oregon trees have to support a lot of lichen.
 Some times the lichen is so thick, it's hard to know where a tree ends and the lichen begins.
 The sun came out about a third of the way through our hike.  The earlier rain gave everything a silvered sheen.  My camera is not capturing the brilliant greens everywhere.
The only macro-lens shot I took.  I would have taken more, but that would have required a hike about six hours long instead of two.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Power Lines and Briars

 The other day as we were hiking Mt Pisgah, we came across the power lines.  They dominate the trail, and this time around we were in the right place at the right time so that the lines gleamed golden with sunlight.

The combination of looking through the viewfinder, which doesn't use the same optics as the camera lens (I didn't want to drain batteries with the LCD screen) and trying to shade the lens with my hand to cut down on sun flare meant that I took a lot of shots in the hope that one or two might work.

There were briers growing along the trail, and some of the branches framed the lines -- it seemed like a cool compare-and-contrast and I liked the idea of thorns and high voltage lines. 

Writing:  About an hour's worth of re-working and tweaking a scene.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mt. Pisgah Trees

The other day we took a hike on Mt. Pisgah.  For once I wore too many layers.  It was about 50F out, and we managed to miss getting rained on.  I think it's been something like two years since I've been last (I'll have to look that one up).

I like taking pictures of the trees, and as we're only about a month after the Winter Solstice, most of the afternoon is filled with magic light.  Also, although we missed getting rained on, there was a lot of mist in the air, which made photos gauzy and almost too bright at the same time.

Early on on the hike it's easy to point and click at every tree.  In any case, I managed to not take too many of the same sorts of pictures I always take (and not slow the hike down too much).

We went through the Incense Cedar trail first, then worked out way up.  I like walking through the cedar grove because the lighting is dramatic and mysterious.

Three trees growing together near their bases looked like conspiring spirits, and as I snapped their photo, I recalled the line from MacBeth:  "The weird sisters, hand-in-hand / posters of the sea and land..."

Writing:  I'm re-working a short science fiction story which was originally a photo prompt story with spooky toy animals.  Got about forty-five minute's worth on it this morning.  I'm hoping to get it into Queers Destroy Science Fiction, and it needs a stronger voice.

Working out:  Wednesday (a week since I last went to the gym) I managed to keep the cal/hour at about 770, and got 180 calories in about 16 minutes (which apparently is good).  I was trying to think about the science fiction story, but it was difficult to work out what I wanted to do and keep my rate up.   I managed to get in a full routine with the free weights (dumbbells, pec flies, weighted lunge, lat pull, triceps pull, and two other free-weight things I don't know the names of...)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bridge Arches

The Willamette River runs along the north part of Eugene (and the East part of Springfield).  There's a new(ish) bridge over it, which Mark says will be the one that's safe to cross after The Big Earthquake.  I just like the way the arches look together.
The underside looked like an accordion.  

The forces on the bridge arches and spans must be interesting because the road above curves a bit at one end.

Also, it occurs to me that this is a typical grey Oregon January day.  
What surprised us (and which shouldn't have) was how many encampments we saw on the opposite (South) shore between the river and the train tracks.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tree and Wires

Last week we went for a walk along the Willamette River, near where I-5 crosses over it.  I managed to notice some broadcast antenna guy lines framing a tree.  It was so arty it demanded I take a photo, so I did.

In honor of the New Moon, I received two story rejections in about five hours.  Thank you, universe.   I suppose since I send out stories in batches, it's not too surprising that I receive rejection letters in batches, too.   It wouldn't be so bad if only all my rejection letters didn't start with "Dear John."  Oh -- wait...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Still More Pat Kight Photos...

© Pat Kight, 2014
I think this is the most whimsical photo Pat took.  I was standing in front of a bowl of mist, but it wasn't really misting so much.  Once Pat got home, she zapped the bowl with some Photoshop magic.

© Pat Kight, 2014
 Obligatory Crystal Ball shot.

© Pat Kight, 2014
I was going for goofy (on purpose) in this one.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

This is Me...

© Pat Kight, 2014
This is me ready for my Bollywood Dance Number!

© Pat Kight, 2014
 This is me, swearing on all that's holy that I never took my clothes off at all during any part of this photo.

© Pat Kight, 2014
This is me pretending to by your kindly grandfather sending you a psychic message from another time.

Photo Shoot

I'm not sure what to think about this series.  I was going for rugged and I think it came out goofy. This is not Pat's fault.

© Pat Kight, 2014
I'm a simple Renaissance Man, in a simple wooden frame with straight lines to contrast the simple folds of my unconstricting poet's shirt.  Oh.  And I was a dog in a previous life.  Did you say you had some chocolate?  I can stay right here if you have chocolate.

© Pat Kight, 2014
Help, I've wandered into a play structure, and I can't get out!  They promised me a poet's cottage with glass windows, but this is all they have got.  And there's no tea.

© Pat Kight, 2014
Look at me.  Now look at my hand.  Now look back at me.  Wait!  Don't look at me.  OMG! This is a Drunk J Crew session, isn't it?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Evil Bambi Eyes

This morning I cleaned my office.  It wasn't quite the archaeological excavation I thought it would be thanks to actually using a filing cabinet the last time.  Mostly, it involved recycling odd notes and flyers, and clearing out some space in the rolling file that's supposed to house works in progress instead of finished manuscripts.  The take-away from this morning is that I have too many unfinished projects, and I don't have an excuse to not pick a manuscript and either finish incorporating Wordos critiques or else polish a manuscript for critique soon.

Pat Kight, 2014
© Pat Kight, 2014
On the picture front, here's another Pat Kight photo.  In most of the pictures, Pat used a narrow field of focus and managed to focus on my eyes.  She also Photoshopped some of them, mostly to darken or blur backgrounds.

I'm not sure what I was thinking when this picture was taken.  My hair looks like it's got a Dorothy Hamill bob, but it's merely escaping a hair tie.  I think I was trying to look coy or impish or something.  This photo is making my eyes look bigger... I think.  I've decided that black and white photos paradoxically make my hair look darker.

In thinking about this a little more, I've come to the conclusion that this photo is capturing my "Evil Bambi" look.  Maybe I'll use it for author biopics for romance novels.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Smiling Thespian

© Pat Kight, 2014
Continuing in the Pat Kight Summer Photoshoot series.  I like this photo because I look like I'm having fun, but not too goofy (What? Me? Goofy?).   I didn't realize it at the time, but in some of the other photos I've done the Fabio Open Shirt thing a little too much -- in this one, my shirt front is staying as closed as I thought it would.

Also, while I'm rocking the Grizzly Adams Beard, I don't look too wrinkly.  Not that wrinkles are bad, I'm not quite ready to embrace them.  (Yes, it's true, some days I look in the mirror and sing to myself, "The sun when it's shining on your face really shows your age...")