Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Journal: Working Out Pronouns

Working Out:  I managed to make it to the gym Sunday and Tuesday.  Even though I'm trying to ease back into the routine, I still had sore legs Monday and Tuesday.  It also appears that I've pulled my right lateral muscle, so I've given up twisting exercise on the weights-on-strings machine.  Sunday I managed to do about 150 cal in 15 minutes (I'm always surprised when keeping a 750 cal / minute rate is easier when I think it should be).  Tuesday I managed 120 in 10 minutes.   One benefit of working out seems to be that my feet don't bother me so much afterward; I'm guessing my leg muscles must be limbering up and pulling on my big toe less.

Writing:  Working on a short story that's got a deadline for next week, at about 3500 words.  Tuesday, managed about 800 solid words  in about 90 minutes.  The piece I'm working on felt distant because I was writing in an epistolary style, so I'm adding (and reworking) sections to be in the POV of an alien, with the idea that I'll alternate.  The challenges are that the aliens are non-humanoid and require three sexes to reproduce and the POV alien is a zhe, so I'm writing "zhe waved zir arms" instead of "she waved her arms."  Which is difficult to remember to do... and properly, zir arms are really tentacles, but zhe wouldn't call them that.  OK, and the other challenge is figuring out time sense, since the alien's planet is a "blue moon" about the size of earth rotating and tidally locked to a gas giant:  this means that noon to noon takes about seven days' time (and at noon on the gas-giant side of the planet there will be a period of time where the gas giant eclipses the local star, and.... did I mention that I have to do all this in about 4000 words?

Dreams:  I did have a dream about my upcoming procedure, but all I remember about the dream was that I was uncomfortable and on an operating table.  I have a sense that the last few days I've been partially waking up around 2:30 AM and then processing stuff, which results in more "credo statement" dreams.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More Double-Plus Good Equal Than Others

Lately I've been seeing a lot of posts about authors in social media that have lists in them.  They remind me of Cynthia Eller's comments in "The Myth of a Prehistoric Matriarchy," where she talks about lists associated with "Cakes for the Queen of Heaven," that go something like this:


Okay, so the lists aren't quite that bald, but the implication is there.  The lists that I'm seeing are a little more nuanced, because they all start straight-white-cis-male, so there's more of a matrix to play with, but they have that same feeling to them that the lists academia had in the late 1980's of old-dead-white-European-males (who are obviously a waste of time to read) .  

As a gay male Neo-Pagan who comes up against the heteronormative narrative in most of the Neo-Pagan literature I've read, I'm all for raising awareness and expanding the repertoire of voices heard in the stories we tell.  But having had the "you can't be a real pagan unless you're a woman" card played on me several times, I really hope we can leave judgments of "good" and "bad" writing untethered from an author's gender, gender-expression, and orientation.  (And yeah, I did submit to Queers Destroy Science Fiction, but I want my story to be published there because it's a good story, not simply because a gay man wrote it.)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Moon, Venus and Mars Conjunct

Last night I watched the conjunction of the Moon, Mars and Venus.

I tried to take a photograph of them through Mark's telescope, but I couldn't get the lens of my camera close enough to the eyepiece of the telescope (somewhere I've got some cool pictures of Pacific birds and sea-lions taken through a telescopic viewer).

I ended up taking a photo of them with the regular lens, which doesn't do astronomy pictures so well (you can sort of see the moon to the left of the tree).   It was too bright to see Mars without a telescope, and by the time it got darker, Mars wasn't visible.

I had better luck with the lens on my tablet, which was able to get closer to the eyepiece.  By this time the trio had set a little, and trees and wires were getting in the way.  Also, some clouds were rolling in.  If you look at the second shot, you can make out a dot (Venus) about 8 o'clock from the moon and below the wires.

Raccoon Eyes and Processing Dreams

Sleep:  I've been tired the last few days, and Thursday morning I woke up with raccoon eyes.

Friday morning, the cat wanted out, so I escorted him out around three AM.  The last couple of nights The Child has woken up at hours between 1 AM and 4 AM and has been active.  I don't mind the reading, but the historical podcasts wake me up.

Writing:  I wanted to finish a story I'm working on, and I was awake enough to want to write, but also tired and sleepy enough to want to stay in bed.  So I did some sleep-writing.  The nice thing about it is that I just write, and edit later. The just writing part is refreshing, and it forced me to keep going and not get distracted by editing or research.  The down side is that I sometimes loose focus on what I'm writing if I drift off, and words and sentences can get loopy.  

Dreams:  More processing dreams.  I  though I was over something, but apparently my dreaming self isn't, as I had a pretty direct dream where I uttered short statements about who I was annoyed with and why.  I can't say that I'm proud about my emotional response, as it's kind of petty, in a negative Capricorn kind of way.  Oh well, now that my dreaming self has formulated a succinct statement, I'm hoping I can move beyond this.

In another dream,  which had a lot of Dwyer l relatives in it, I was in some rural Oregon town and they had a gigantic art installation.  Towering shelves of books.   As I wandered through the installation, it suddenly hit me that it was really a library with the walls and ceiling removed and the books left behind on massive, free-standing bookshelves.  I had a "Cry for the Children" Horta moment, as I walked up to the stacks of gigantic Egyptian art coffee-table books and saw blue mold spores growing along their tops.  The library had lost funding and the stacks were left out, exposed to the elements until they decomposed completely.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Credo Statement Dreams

This morning, I dreamed that I was going to high school and it was the first day.  I walked over to the CHS Annex (a "temporary/permanent" out building on the south west side of the building) and was waiting for Rick X's class to end (I was never a big fan of his) and for Jim Dort's class to begin (now that I'm recalling this, in high school, Jim Dort once appeared in a dream and said, "I'm an authority figure, and as such, I'm here to tell you that you're dreaming and I give you the power to lucid dream.")

Rick's class ended and some other folks for Jim's class entered the room.  We started talking and I said that I liked the old Mission Impossible shows (actually... I never was much of a fan).  When someone made a face, I clarified, "No, not the remakes, the original series."

Then we were watching a show (I'm not sure how... there was something about posters, so maybe the show appeared on a poster).  The show was in black-and-white.  It was set in Montana, I think, on a farm in the country.  There was a slow stream, and a canyon, and a tall oak, and a forrest.  There was no dialog, just a slow montage of two men walking and being domestic.  

At one point, somebody in the classroom said, "Man, this is slow."
"They're setting up the story," I said.
"Yeah," said a young woman, "Don't you believe in character development?"

There was a break in the dream narrative.

I was at a meeting in a kind of park gazebo or Japanese Garden.  A bunch of mostly women were sitting in a hallway or long room in comfortable chairs, introducing themselves and saying what brought them to the Eugene area.  When it was my turn, I said that I'd come to Eugene to be with my partner, Mark.   A Christian woman said something mostly positive about marriage, I said something about Neo-Paganism, followed by a short declaration.

When I woke, I had better recall of the last few days' dreams, and they've been like this:  meeting with people and then reciting short definitions and credo statements.  I must be working something out in my sleep.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Writing, Workouts, and Dreams (Sort Of)

Mark has been away, so it's me and The Child.  And the Cat.

Workouts:  Between various bodily things, I haven't made it to the gym as much as I should.  The latest diagnosis is that I've pulled a fan-shaped set of muscles in my side, probably from a rotational exercise I do with the weights on strings.  This is on top of whatever is making me effervescent.  I'm going to do some free weight stuff this afternoon, and I think the rowing machine should be okay to use because it's just bending, not twisting.

Writing:  I was stressing out about the story I was originally going to send to Queers Destroy Science Fiction.  I realized I was going to rush it, and found a humorous science fiction piece that's been making the rounds (and which I haven't sent, yet).   I'm working on another piece for On The Premises, which is about three-fourths of the way done.  I'm been chipping away at it for the last few days.

From a few days ago:  One of the writing questions on my mind -- when I haven't been scrambling to try to do a major re-write -- is how to navigate the boundaries between writing what you like, writing to spec, and trying to write to a market.

"Read past issues to get an idea what kind of stories we publish" is a common instruction.   "Don't try to write what's 'hot'" is another.

Dreams:  I should have written the last two dreams down, because they were weird and visual, in a Technicolor Light At The End of The Tunnel kind of way.  They've also been about people I know in real life transposed as other people I know in real life.   I was sort of hoping that I would dream about the current story I'm working on.  Oh well.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

In a Funk

Antonio Salieri is doing a cover of the Eurythmic's "I Need You" in my head.

Grazie Signore.  Grazie.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Why, You Might Be Selling Tribbles,Too

Let's see... things have gotten busier.

Writing:  The manuscript I thought was kind of ready is kind of broken.  Once again, John succumbs to pretty images, cool world building, and snappy dialog at the expense of characters with shallow, confusing motivation.  Oh, and a focus on the wrong details.  Anyway, I've got a few days to re-work the story so it's good enough to send in to Queers Destroy Science Fiction.  Luckily, Scrivener makes it easier to wade through the broken parts and keep the working parts.

Working-out.  I actually went for a mini-workout Monday night.  My stupid body has been bugging me the last week and a half, so I had been not going to the gym.  My doctor thinks I have a food allergy, the only thing I can think of is that it might be raisins.  In any case, since this seems not to be my liver or my kidneys, and I just turned fifty, I get to have a colonoscopy sooner rather than next fall.

On The Child front, this morning we had a fun moment on the way to school.

J:  (In William Shatner voice):  Why. Can't.  The English.  Teach.  Their.  Children.  How.  To Speak."
A:  Why are you singing that like Captain Kirk?
J:  I thought you wondered what "My Fair Lady Meets Star Trek" would sound like.
A:  I said, "Star Wars."
J:  Oh.  But it would still be funny.  (As William Shatner) "If you. Spock. Spoke.  The way.  She does.  Instead. Of. The way. You do.  Why, you might be. Selling.  Flowers.  Too."  (Dang, I should have said, "tribbles".)
A:  (Using Leonard Nimoy voice):   I fail to see the logic in your argument.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Simplenote Woes

Well.  Darn.  SimpleNote is crashing a lot.  It seemed to be working fine earlier this morning.  I'm suspecting that it doesn't like being without a network.  This is a new development that will make writing in the car before The Day Jobbe begins, or writing in any place where I don't have WiFi access more difficult.  Thank you, Retrograde Mercury.

Dream: City Mashup

Various bits of dream recall:

There was some dream where I was concerned about being cavalier about being naked.  It wasn't that I was worried about being naked in front of various people, it was that I hadn't really cared. 

More clearly.... I was in some sort of steampunk radio play, which I'm sure is a mix up of a Wordo manuscript, Casablanca, and a Victorian murder mystery.

The play ended with the heroine tricking the bad guys into a room, throwing a switch, and locking them in.  The folks producing the play gave the writer an award.  The chair of the production company was kind of goofy, and was making up some sort of goofy award song.  Then everything shut down, and we had to pick our way out of the darkened theatre.  I grabbed my boots or something, and I have a sense that everyone was trying to find various articles in the dark.  (In real life this is very so much like when I turn the lights off at Tsunami Books after a Wordos meeting.)
In another segment, I was  a caretaker at a house.  I was gathering slatted boxes, the kind you keep fruit in, to construct an outside partition or windscreen.  I'd found a whole bunch of them, and I was looking for particular boxes that were old and sun-bleached white.  I wanted to make a long straight partition with two openings  or walking through.   I had a conversation of sorts with an older couple, who might have been the owners.

In the part I remember the best, Mark and I wandered through a small town.  It might have been Northfield, downtown Eugene, or the campus district of Corvallis.

We walked by an old brink church where CC (from UUCE) was presenting.  Surprisingly, MH (from Seattle) had a gay ministry there (he's not a minister in real life), specializing in a gay mens chorus and special burial.   Mark and I commented on the church and kept walking.  

We came to a corner, which in real life reminds me of the five-way intersection of Monroe, Arnold, and 26th street in Corvallis.  The Beanery and Superette there had been remodeled.  The white stucco front was mostly the same, but the new owner, a man, had partitioned off the art curio section with accordioning fabric screens of yellow fabric with a leaf and star pattern running down them.  The store was a pleasant mix of art shop, book store, and cafe, and instantly filled with all ages having discussions.

I think Mark and I bought some food, but we kept touring the small time.  

(I'd woken up some, and the cat was sleeping on my foot.)  I followed Mark around and somehow found myself in an alleyway.  There were some homeless folks there, and a social worker.  The worker said to another woman (who was clinically angry) something about moving her stuff so it wouldn't get rained on, but the homeless woman replied, "Shut up."  There was some more walking, and somehow I wound up back with the homeless.

"Excuse me," said the social worker, "But you'll need to move.  You're blocking the entryway.  This is a shelter and people need to be able to get in and out"  (I had stopped and was trying to eat a take-out meal Mark and I had bought).  The woman was bossy and brusque, but was effectively dealing with the homeless.  I had somehow wandered into a shelter area spanning an alley between buildings.  

The nature of the dream shifted.  I probably was partially awake, because everyone was lying down along the long, narrow edges of the shelter we were in (as if we were in bed) and I was a little stuck under bedrolls (the blankets in real life had gotten bunched up).  'Excuse me," I said to everyone in general and to the angry shut-up-lady specifically, "oh, I need to move my foot." (The cat was using my foot as a pillow).

I got out of the shelter through a square opening in the floor.  It was a kind of styrofoam bridge and cocoon.  

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Dream: Otherworld Reversals

I was in a very large house with relatives.  I think they were the cousins on my dad's side.  There were a lot of empty rooms, and it was almost as if we were staing in a half-empty hotel.   The house had three stories.  Some of us were staying on the second story, which was a bunch of rooms connected to a central kitchen or dining room area.  I remember the sun was rising (I think) and the ruddy light came through some of the windows.

Then J. N. (not a relative) was there and she was complaining that she was stuck in one of the room on the brick third story.  "Oh I know nobody will believe me," she said.  "But the stairwell to my room is haunted."  She was going on to no one in particular.  "One night I got stuck.  I was on the stair and I couldn't move."  

I'd say half of us believed some supernatural force had rooted her to the stair, half through she'd somehow hypnotized herself or something, and half though she'd dreamed the whole thing.


There was a break.  The house was an old monastery.  The setting had changed to England.  The haunted stair / room was the room that the monks, who had been doing inner-city work, would store confiscated guns from the youth they helped.  One night there was a terrible shoot-out in the monastery, and (at least) two monks were killed.

A voice-over narrated while a lone monk, standing by the back-side of the house, pensively looked at black smoke rising from an industrial complex across a dark river.  "...After that, the brothers were forced to make a living at the very same nuclear power plant they despised."  The monk turned and began climbing either stairs or an embankment.  It was dark, and his hands glowed green.  

"Oh, come on," I said out loud to myself.  "Glowing green hands?"  And I was watching the monks on TV.


There was another break.  A famous actor, like Hugh Grant or Beckham, was noticing that young girls were in an area where there was a gun deal or a drug deal going on, and he got them away.  This might have been a prelude to the monk section.  


There was a break.  I was standing on the corner of Willamette and Broadway in Eugene.  Only it was a junction where gleaming, silver, double-decker trains/subway cars converged.  Four story department stores stood on every corner.  

I got onto a car, which had a layout like a bus, and had wide benches to accommodate three or four people.  The train pulled away and onto a looping turnpike, as if it were travelling on an interstate highway.  There were a bunch of other commuters in the car.  We went over some marshland, and had somehow gotten to the outskirts of New York City.  Suddenly, a policewoman appeared at the head of the car on a big black horse.  The horse slowly clomped down the aisle, and stopped at my seat, and began to sniff my up-reached hand.  Then it wanted its nose rubbed.  

The policewoman got off her horse and sat down with some people behind me.   She pulled out a small round flask, the size of a pocket-watch, and took a sip of something alcoholic.  The she passed it around to the passengers next to her, explaining that it was an herbal extract (chamomile, I think) and that it helped her condition (or to feel better or her cold or something).  


I'm not sure if I got off the car or if there was another transition.  I was in a castle or small European village.  I think it might have been a documentary, because the narrator would say some short small fact about the season life of a medieval / renaissance village.  


The Child and I had gone for a short walk along a path which ran through the woods and by a stream.  In waking life it was very much like the Reed College canyon, especially the more wooded east end.   I had a slight sense of something malicious in the slow, stagnant stream.  I also had a sense that I was lying under the quilts and blankets on my bed, and the carpet of small, red-brown leaves underneath the trees took on a dual, blanket appearance.  

"Let's race back home," I said.  "I'll give you a 30 second head-start."  He ran along the curving, wooded path while I stayed behind at the water.  (In waking life, I'm not sure why I thought splitting up would be a good idea... although I wanted to make sure nothing was coming up behind us.)  Then I quickly and cautiously followed.  I thought I'd catch up to him, but when I got back to the castle, The Child wasn't there.  I went back along the path, carefully looking for small arms or legs under the leaves or the water plants, thinking I'd have to save him from a Kelpie at any moment, and kicking myself for letting him get away from me.  

A bunch of other folks were also searching, but then the dream shifted again, and the narrator said, "In late October, the villagers set out at night with small lights."  I and the other searching villagers were scrambling around a hill with three-inch diameter pumpkins stuck on our index fingers.  Insert grinning, finger-sized jack-o-lanterns floating in a dark forest here. 

It was dark.  I was climbing a hill with a lit finger pumpkin.  At the top of the hill, there were a bunch of people standing in a line in front of a bright light.  One of them was the policewoman, only now she was a a policeman.  I rushed up the hill with a sudden desire to kiss the policeman.  Just as I reached the crest of the hill a furry head interposed itself between me and the policeman -- at first I thought it was the horse, but the horse had turned into a kind of black panther.   (Possibly the cat, who sleeps with us, was nuzzling me in real life, but I don't know.)

We'd come to a concession stand at a train station or a highway rest stop.  It was Halloween night, and the policeman was selling snacks.  


I'm not entirely sure what's prompting this dream.  I've been having some stomach issues, which typically give me anxiety dreams -- but I've been careful to remind myself as I sleep that I've had an upset stomach and not to respond with a Never Reaching the Airport Anxiety Dream.  I'm guessing it was several dreams, and I've scrambled the sequence a bit.  

There were lots of reversals in this sequence.  Meeting my cousins in a labyrinthine house isn't new, but usually it's my mom's side of the family who meets, not my dad's.

The horse and crossing a river is a typical motif, usually signalling that I'm operating in an otherworld.  This is the first time that I've had any interaction with the horse's rider, usually it's a knight, not a New York Horse Policewoman.  And usually the horse is white, not black.  This is also the first time the horse has transformed into the black panther, which is usually associated with erotic desire and thoughts.  

I'm guessing the monks may be related somehow to the techno-monks in Girl Genius, but aside from being monks, the similarity ends, as these weren't train-running techno-monks, but rather, inner-city monks working with troubled youth (and nuclear power plants as construction workers)

The Child in Peril is a typical anxiety dream, although this is the first time The Child has been in supernatural peril from a Kelpie; usually, it's physical danger, like falling out a window or over a railing.  

Watching the dream on TV is a typical dream shift motif, but this is one of the few, if not the first, times that watching hasn't been literally "and then I was watching it on TV" instead of a narrator's voice-over providing summary.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015


I managed to get a two-volume copy of the OED.  It was a bargain!  It's got a little magnifying glass and everything (which is good, as the typeface is something like 5).  I've wanted one since about 2000, when I used to read the one the UO English Department had on a lectern in the Booth Lounge (it's gone somewhere, probably shelved).  What I loved about the OED was that you could read the history of words, and the contaminant learning from going on to the next entry was addictive.  OK, and the magnifying glass is fun,too.

"The Effervescence" is not quite as bad today as it was yesterday; at least I no longer feel as if a cowboy boot is nudging my right ovary.  I'm trying to decide if it will keep me from the gym today or not.   I haven't been since last Wednesday, and I hate it when I loose ground because I've only gone once a week.  I'm thinking this is part of the aging processes, and I'm not amused.

I guess I'll have to look up the word gerontology.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015


Ug. I must have synched with the moon, because it feels like it's my time of the month.  I feel like someone with pointy cowboy boots is nudging me in my right side just above my pevlic bone.  When I don't feel hungry, I feel kind of bloated; and I want to apogize to everyone in advance for what I'm going to call "my effervescence."   On the up side, I don't have a fever, so it's probably not the flu.

No workout since last Wednesday.

Some writing on a short story.

Lots of sleeping.

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.