Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Elowah Falls

Sore and tired today.

We went on a hike to the Bonneville Dam area.

Elowah falls.
 Wild columbine.
Rusted out pipe with something slimy falling through a spider's web.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Music Box Dreams

I dreamed Mark, The Child and I were staying at a Bed and Breakfast, possibly owned by Christine Lavin.  I don't recall how we got there, but I was mostly lying in bed watching cartoons and educational TV.  I was being very lazy, and was wearing my PJ's.

The cartoon I was watching was about a mutant otter or some other furry mammal humanoid.  It a kind of Thundercats twist, the young mutant rushed an old Chevy car retrofitted with blasters that popped out of the hood, the sides, and the back of the car (it's the sort of car The Child would like, and in the dream I remember a parental frown at all the guns and the violence in the cartoon).   Actually, now that I'm remembering.. the Chevy was backup for the big boss character, who was tall, dressed in dark leather armor, and had Wolverine-esque hair that was parted down the middle but perked up on either side to look like pointy ears.  I think the big boss was supposed to be a middle-aged, ninja panther or something.  In any case ninja-cat batted aside otter-boy effortlessly.  Otter-boy tried a few more passes, and was nonchalantly batted aside some more.  Otter-boy ran back to the advancing phalanx of other otter-boys rushing up a slop, turned around and tried a mass-attack, which ninja-cat mostly ignored, only pausing to block and smack otter-boys behind his back as he walked toward the aforementioned gun-Chevy.

There was another show, I think, but I'm not recalling it.   My parents' German Shepherd may have put in an appearance.  In any case, The Child was suddenly in the room; he had crept in through a kind of back fire escape.  A moment later, Mark walked in through the apartment's front door with a sack of groceries.  

We had a discussion of sorts, with some walking from room to room, and what I remember be was that in one sort of back bedroom there was a wooden, 1880's Victorian style vanity or writing desk.

"Oh!" I said, "I love old jewelry cases!"  (This is what I get for looking at furniture and laser-cut patterns on Pinterest before going to bed).  The box changed shape a little during the dream, but it was mostly about three feet wide, two feet deep, and two feet tall.    A dark stain made the wood dark brown.  The chest had a shallow compartment with a pull-up lid on the top, a wide middle section that I think at first had a roll-up front, but later the front was top-hinged and opened that way.  A third drawer, shallow like the first, was on the bottom.  I opened the top compartment, which was empty; I was a little disappointed, because it's always fun to see what's inside (especially if it's shiny), but I wasn't too surprised.  I opened up the middle, and I heard a small chime.  It was also empty.  I opened up the bottom compartment, and there might have been a very plain letter opener or something in it.  I remember I was able to lift up an inner, flexible bottom.  

Somehow, I want to say by opening and closing drawers, I wound up an inner mechanism and a music box started playing music.  I don't recall the tune, and I don't remember recognizing it in the dream.  The middle section held machinery (which poofed into place with a puff of dream-logic).  It was about the size of an old mechanical type-writer or pull-crank calculating machine.   There were a lot of rusty gears, the same dark brown color of the wood.  The machine's frame stood on button-sized metal wheels which ran along a metal track set on either sides of the box.  There was a lot of metallic tinking going on in addition to the music, and the machinery slowly rolled forward out of the box, and then rolled back in.  

As I'm writing this, I'm realizing the more the dream progressed, the more the jewelry box took on the configuration of my mobile army writing desk.  In the back of the box, behind the machinery, there was a little flame; the machine had sparked it into place as part of its function.  There was now a side compartment, which was a kind of water reservoir.  I perceived now that the top of the box had a kind of metallic seat in it, which was warmed by hot water.  

There was a break of some sort, and the dream took on an Agatha Christie turn. A young English woman, the owner of the box, was having a diamond letter opener appraised.  During, or shortly after the appraisal, the diamond letter opener was stolen.  The woman and her older, slightly bumbling but well-meaning cousin were discussing the theft in an old stone lighthouse, set near craggy cliffs over a slate-colored and turbulent sea.  Somehow, the woman went down to the base of the lighthouse.  The cousin decided to burn some papers, and one flew out of the lighthouse window and the woman noticed.  

"Reginald!" (I'm giving him a name in waking) she shouted,  "What on earth are you doing?"  She snatched the papers near her and ran up the lighthouse stair where Reginald stood sheepishly with a match and the remains of the letters he was burning.  

"I wanted to put this whole horrible business behind us," he said sheepishly.   I don't recall much else, except that Hercule Poirot appeared in the dream and deduced that the woman had stolen her own diamonds for the insurance, and needed the papers her cousin had tried to destroy.  (No, we haven't watched any Poirot in about a week and a half).

Somehow the dream continued ... there's a continuity break.

The Child and I were walking to watch turned out to be my folks' church, except that it was surrounded by a grassy park on all sides (in real life it's on the corner of two busy streets).  We had an interaction with two men who were walking in our direction toward the church... it was mildly unpleasant; I think I invited them to join us in what was rapidly turning into a NeoPagan gathering, and they rudely turned me down.

The event seemed to be run by a twenty-to-thirty-something woman with long straight dark hair (who was doing the administrative stuff) and a similarly aged, man, who seemed one part shaman, one part social worker, one part environmental activist, and one part hipster (wrong word, maybe I mean social-butterfly-hippie).  There was a complicated process for entering the church (at it's single-wide south door, next to the kitchen), and somehow The Child and I found ourselves one of the few people admitted in.

We went upstairs to a lofty, but stuffy, room that doesn't exist in real life.  (The educational wing of the church is single story.)  The dream turned into a kind of encounter session, and I said something about being in a situation like when a Capricorn and an Aries butt heads.  And then the room became so stuffy and hot that we all had to leave.  I was suffering from a slight bit of heat prostration, and hippie-guy gave me his card and asked me to call him tomorrow so he could be sure that I'd be OK.  It was one part real concern, one part condescending, and one part pick-up line.  

Then I was wandering around in the Social Hall.  I had to pee, and so I walked up to a garbage bin standing in the middle of of the hall, unzipped my fly, and suddenly noticed there were people in the hall.  A sort of goofy, plump, twenty-something woman appeared at my elbow and was peering at me. There was a conversation of sorts, that went "Excuse me, I'm trying to pee and you're in my personal space," and concluded with me saying, "Oh, never mind; I'll just use the men's room."  

I think I woke up here to an alarming vision of a pudgy toddler in a bright red jump-suit, sort of like a Telly-Tubby--only without the deely-bopper on the top of his head--grinning maniacally at me and levitating (his legs were crossed and he was sitting "Indian-style") at the foot of the bed, near the corner.  As I watched, I was startled, I had a sense that the maniacal grinning levitating toddler was insubstantial, and the image slowly faded away, revealing the books on the shelf behind it.  

I heard a noise in the kitchen, (the cat, the fridge and the computer all make sounds that sometimes wake me) and the thought went through my head that maybe someone really was in the house and that someone had been staring at Mark and me as we slept.  Or it could have been a shape suggested by the books.  I realized that the books were fuzzy and out of focus (since I wasn't wearing my glasses) but that the toddler's maniacal face had been sharp in my vision (and now that I think about it, bright red insetad of dark brown in the dark); so it must have been one of those hypnopompic images I sometimes wake to about once a year or so.  

And I went back to sleep (as much as the cat would let me).

Tuesday Night Dream


Very long, mish-mash dream.   it started out with me in our car.  I was driving The Child to a class or appointment or camp.  Oddly enough, we started out from my folks' house in Corvallis, looking down off of their hill at Corvallis in the valley.  

Right away I took a wrong turn.  "Oh well," I said, "I can take this road and it will join up further along."  My sense in waking was that I had mashed together Oak Creek Drive, Walnut Drive, and 9th Street and Walnut in Corvallis with Highway 99 and 53rd Street (In Corvallis) with the Pacific Expressway and parts of 6th Street and Perl in Eugene.  I came to the intersection (sort of like Walnut and 28th) where I wanted to turn, but the road was closed for construction (I'm reminded in waking life of the work they were doing that closed 24th off of Willamette in Eugene). 

"Darn," I said.  "Well, I guess we'll just have to go downtown a slightly longer way."  The Child was fairly passive during this drive, and continued to sit in the back seat.  I don't remember if we had a conversation or not.

I finally got around town (which felt like 9th street beyond the Corvallis Bi-Mart), and I turned down a one-way street... which was blocked by a white and orange barricade, around which were walking a zillion girl-scouts.  It was some sort of walk-a-thon, and most of the streets were closed so they could do it.  

"What!?"  I was furious.  I eased the car forward to where there was an opening in the barricade; it was too small for our car, and in any case, a bevy of girl scouts kept streaming through it (in waking life I'm reminded of when particularly clueless undergraduates stroll through the parking lot where I work, wearing white headphones, in the middle of the lanes, s-l-o-w-l-y, and completely oblivious to the fact that there's someone in a 5 ton metal machine behind them who wants to try to squeeze into the compact car stall that's between two undeserving SUV's taking up the compact car stalls on either side.).  

There was a narrow turn-around on the right, and I turned into it so I could make a T-turn and go the other way.  Immediately, girl scouts swarmed behind the car, I was annoyed and worried that I'd back over one.  

There's a break in the recall.  A bunch of us, (Mark might have been there) were walking along a sunny concrete promenade.  It was like the concrete walkway above the beach at Seaside, Oregon... except I don't recall a beach.  We walked along; I don't recall who was in the group -- it might have been Wordos, it might have be Arcosanti folks.  I was near the lead and I started to go down some steps.  The steps became thinner and thinner.  I or someone yelled, "Hey, don't retract the steps," but they kept retracting.  The stairs became narrower, and the stairway steeper until the edge of the bottom-most step was flush with the others, and we stumbled off of a concrete cube.  Everyone else was about sixteen feet above us.

"Look out for the tines," a construction circus worker said (who definitely felt like an Arco Resident).  I hadn't noticed it (since I was busy sort of not-falling) but I'd landed on either side of forklift tines, which rose up the edge of the concrete cube stairs.  There may have been warning beeps.  

We were in a kind of open pit.  The ground was sandy, and everything felt like it was made of sandstone.  

There is another recall / continuity break.

I was in a large crowd at the base of a stage.  It was a kind of rock crowd, but there was only one man on the stage, and he was a kind of prophet.  The stage was shallow and very broad, and the man was was walking in front of dioramas of anxiety and guilt.  I don't recall his face other that it was clean-shaven.  He had a mane of shaggy brown hair.  My sense was that he wore a motley coat of brown patchwork. 

The people in the crowd were drawn to whatever part of the diorama drew them.  I only remember the part that was dark trees and plastic bits and the man said something about environmental sins.  I thought the scene was distasteful, with too much emphasis on sin and not enough on fixing stuff.  But everyone else seemed to be eating it up.

Another break.

Somehow, I'd gotten invited to the Brown Patchwork Man's house or domicile.  The room was dark.  There was a metal branch object d'art on the wall.  In the corner was a kind of stringed psaltery, the metal strings over a kind of star zillij pattern.  

There was a walking stick insect in the room, except it didn't look like a typical walking stick.  Its legs were much wider and flatter, sort of like a Christmas cactus's, and in waking life it reminded me more of a relation of the sea horse called a sea dragon.  It scurried around more quickly than I think walking sticks do (I always think of them as moving slowly).  

Somehow, instead of travelling with Mark or The Child, I was now in charge of a boy and a girl, brother and sister.  They were very much like the kids in "The Cat in the Hat."

They were working with Brown Patchwork Man, who was helping them to paint ceramic objects with various canned latex-based paints with widish paint brushes.  I think the boy was painting a white ceramic car with red paint.  (The Wordos are painting their new white ceramic piggy bank, which is replacing the one they've had since before I joined in 2002, but which has a broken and sharp ear.

What I remember better was that the Brown Patchwork Man was helping the little girl to paint a mask.  This was also white ceramic, but as they added a purple coat to it, the mask became like a grinning theatre balloon mask.  It also became animated and scurried backward and forward around the contents of the dark room.  I'm trying to remember if it said anything... I'm afraid my recall is not so good.  My sense was that there was a mild sense of menace from the Brown Patchwork Man, more so than if I were the Fish and he were the Cat in the Hat... more like he wasn't quite safe, and beginning to slide into The Joker territory (in real life, The Child has an obsession with The Joker that I wish he didn't have).

There was an interlude with the walking stick and a white cat, which I suspect may have been prompted by our cat playing with something in the house.

And then things took a really dark Tim Burton type of twist.  I think the purple mask started spitting green glowing clay at people, and I don't recall exactly how, but we were in a dark, day-glow conveyor room of clay.  Some of it was figures (like the mask), some of it was more squishy blobs, and all of it was spitting green glowing clay everywhere.  The Brown Patchwork Man was now in much darker clothing (and more Joker-like).  He sang a song and walked along the glowing purple clay and dodged (mostly) the glowing green stuff.  

There's a bit more, but I've forgotten it.  I managed to scoop up the brother and sister, announced, "Time for your piano lessons!" and we got out of there.

There was another break and I was skateboarding along a mashed-up Corvallis; first I was on something like Polk and 20th Street, near the old Harding Elementary School, and then I was on top of the hill where my folks live and I skateboarded into a torrent of water cascading down the hill.  Insert electrical hum and electrocution anxiety here...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pointy Furniture

I had a dream over the weekend, but the only thing I remember was that I was trying to balance a marble on a table-top that was tipping up and down because someone was underneath it.

On the writing front... not much actual writing.  I've had a very heavy critique load this week, so I've been reading six manuscripts (some of them very long).  I moved my chair and mobile desk around so that the desk and the end table it sits on aren't jutting out into the middle of the living room.  My chair is in a corner, underneath a hook we hang things off of; currently, it's a decorative copper bowl (now dubbed "The Bowl of Damocles"), but in the past we've hung a decorative but sharp brass lamp cover from India or Pakistan or where-ever it was my parents got it when they were traveling overseas in the 1960's.  Since I really don't want to write while sitting underneath a metal spike, I think we'll hang that particular object d'art somewhere else.  I arranged a throw rug over the desk, so it looks much less martial;  I will have to go to the Episcopal Thrift Shop and find a suitable altar cloth.

I've also had two less-than-thirty-six-hour rejections.  So. Yay?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Laser Unicorns

Eugene Has a Maker Space with a laser cutter.  It's a pretty cool machine that can cut acrylic and quarter-inch thick wood.  One of these days I'm going to have to cut cardboard stock and see if I can use it for various paper projects.

Alas, I missed the time two weeks ago someone used it to burn an image of their face into toast.
Last week I cut out an Eye of Horus.  That project mostly worked, except that for whatever reason, the cuts didn't go all the way through.  One theory is that the birch-ply I used has some uneven spots in it where the laser hits glue or a knot or something.  I spent a lot of last weekend with various sharp, thin tools prying at charred wood.

The Eye was good for giving me an idea of how close I could place cuts to each other without becoming too fragile (about a sixteenth of an inch) and what to expect using a laser to cut wood.
My niece has a birthday coming up, so I thought I'd make a birthday night light for her.

It took me a while thinking how to put box sides together, but I came up with a mortise and tenon design that would allow cuts from a single piece of wood.

Since the cuts were mostly straight lines, the design took about twelve minutes to cut.  I did a double-cut to insure there were no spots where the laser didn't make it all the way through.
When I opened the lid, there was the design.  I hadn't masked the wood with tape, so there were some burn marks (which I expected).

For the most part, it was a clean cut.  There were a few places where the bottom veneer was still uncut; I'm not sure if this is a focus problem or maybe places where the wood doesn't vaporize and so soot or ash is blocking the laser's beam.

The tips of the unicorns' horns were a bit charred.  I managed to hit the bottom limit to how small I can cut unicorns without damaging them (hey, what do you know:  it gets really hot between the acute angle a laser traces over wood).

I'd also assumed that the laser beam was one or two photon's wide, and that the sides' mortises and tenons would fit snugly into each other.  It turned out that (hey, surprise!) the vaporized cut is about thirty thousandths of an inch wide, which meant the quarter-inch cuts I'd made for the mortises were noticeably deeper than the quarter-inch thick tenons.  The difference wasn't too bad, and it gave the box a Frank Lloyd-Write or medieval appearance (especially since the mortise and tenons had a distinctly charred look to them).

I think for a more snug fit, I'd have to cut each side separately (so that the mortise from one side no longer form the tenon of its adjacent neighbor) and then scale them down about 99 percent.

"It looks like a puzzle," Mark said when I brought the box home to assemble.

I daubed wood glue between the sides.
My original plan was to have unicorn-shaped holes that an LED could shine through at night.

I went back and forth between wanting to leave the unicorns in their unicorn-shaped holes, or taking them out and gluing them on the plain sides.

Night-light functionality won out, and I left the holes open.
In this picture you can see where some of the veneer hasn't burnt all the way through.  I had to use an exacto knife to clean up spots like this.

I also wanted a picture of the side design, because rotating the sides in my head to figure out if they would mesh with the bottom piece and other sides was really hard.
I had cut out two square-shaped pieces of wood.  These became the box's lid; the smaller square fits in the rim, while the larger piece sits on top.
I held the box together with rubber bands while the glue dried.
At one point I was straightening up and I put one of the unicorn cut-outs on top of the box's lid.

"Oh!" I said, and so did Mark.  He convinced me that one of the unicorns should go onto the lid instead of the side.
"Serendipity" would make a good unicorn name.
Later, I put a LED candle into the box and nearly died from the squee! factor.

We're still debating a finishing.  When I asked The Child what he thought about it, he said that the burn marks made the lamp "look like it had been in a fire storm."

Also, it does smell a little bit like a campfire, which isn't the sort of thing parents like to smell in their children's bedrooms.

It's possible that glow-in-the-dark paint is in a unicorn's future...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Journal: Gym Saturday

Went to the gym Saturday.  I felt a little sore and tired; I'm not sure from what exactly.  So this wasn't a power workout.  25 minutes on the elliptical for about 250 calories.  10 minutes on the rowing machine for about 105 calories.  3X12X50 lbs on the pec fly.  3X12X80 lbs on the lat pull-down.  3X12 hanging crunches.  3X12X10lbs Arnold Curls (or whatever they're called) with dumbbells, alternating with some shoulder shrugs.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dreams of Animals and Gods

Lots of long, disjointed dreams...

Mark and I were travelling along a highway which was raised over a rocky crag.  I can't remember if we were at the coast, or in the woods.  It was dark.  The highway was raised a little, with concrete barriers on either side.  It might have been raining or snowing.  I think there was a cabin involved somehow, and a fifty-ish man with short grey hair in plaid who was a caretaker (the goofy, crazy/eccentric rural bachelor in the fashion of strange Scooby-Doo characters who know something).

The dream turned into a fantasy animal quest of epic proportions, with about ten clans of various animals, each with its own agenda... it went on for some time, but all I can really recall

A travelling cat (who is reminding me of our cat, Smokey) and mouse had encountered a mesmerizing... ?rat? who lived in a big city apartment.  The rat had mesmerized them into reliving a particular instant, sort of like a memory loop, and had abandoned them in a city intersection.  The cat was reliving something scary, as it was all puffed out.  The mouse's memory loop wasn't so bad, but he had to continually talk his way out of a situation of some sort.  They were rescued by go-cart driving chipmunks.  The cat managed to fit behind his chipmunk rescuer by sitting behind him, and the mouse sat next to his rescuer.  The go-carts scurried down a street.

A band of wolves slunk across a shadow valley.  They saw the fires of humans gathering in a grove for a party and closed in to attack the revelers.  Insert cries of surprise, pain, and fear here, superimposed over an artsy water-color panning montage of red flames, shifting dark tree branches, sinuous dark wolf bodies, teeth, raised arms, and shocked faces.

A 30-something woman was categorically reciting entries on various deities.  I wish I could remember what she said, because there were at least ten, and I'd never heard of them before (although they sounded familiar and typical).  I want to say one of them was a blonde dancing god that was somehow associated with the Pleiades.   This is almost certainly what I get for reading about Sappho's poem about the setting Pleiades and then stumbling into a Pinterest board featuring various gods.

Working Out:  20 minutes on the elliptical for 210 calories.  10 minutes on the rowing machine for 105 calories. 3x12x50lbs on the pec fly.  3x12x80lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 hanging crunches.  3x12x12lbs inclined Arnold curls with dumbbells.  3x12x40lbs on a triceps pull down.  I managed to do one pathetic chin-up and a half of another one before I went back upstairs and used the assisted chin up machine to work my way up to about 12.  I guess if I want to do unassisted pull-ups like my hero, the 60-something guy who is really in Shape, I need to push myself some more.

Writing:  After chipping away at comments I got on a magical urban fantasy family Halloween story, I managed to get paper-and-pen re-writes into a Scrivener document.  It's gotten about 700 words longer, and I'll have to check to see if it's under 5000 words or not.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Art, Working Out, and Fumes

Friday night I went to the Eugene Maker Space and used the laser cutter there to cut out an Eye of Horus design out of 1/4 inch birch plywood.  It was like using the Silhouette paper-cutter at the art shop, except with a tool that could burn your eye out if you looked at it the wrong way.

Actually, it was pretty cool... although working with the laser cutter was sort of like working with the paper cutter in that an intricate design takes longer to cut, and the unevenness in the materials (in this case plywood) means that not all of the cuts went all the way through.  I spent a long time with various blades working around the incomplete cut before I managed to pop out one of the Eyes.  The other one is a very deep etching.

Working out:  Went to the gym Sunday morning.  30 minutes and 310 cal on the elliptical.  3X18 assisted dips (no chins) at 14.  3X12 at 50 lbs on the pec fly.  3x12 at 80 lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 hanging crunches.  3X12 at 12 lbs uh, Arnold lifts? on dumbbells, with 3X4(x2) shoulder shrugs, followed by some overhead triceps curls.

When I got back home, I discovered that Mark had done something with an old can of paint thinner (Xylene, Acetone, and Methyl-ethyl-ketone).  I smelled it the instant I walked through the door.  I retreated to the showers, but it was still wafting into the house when I was done and the sides of my tongue started tingling.  So I scooped up The Child and fled the house.

When we returned several hours later, the fumes had aired out.  On the plus side, The Child and I had a fairly pleasant brunch.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Bad Air

Alas, there's something going on in the building I work in.  Intermittently, I'll smell a floral bouquet, and then taste a chemical on the side of my tongue.  On particularly bad days (only two since May 2), I'll get a headache at my temples and feel nauseated; those are usually the days when I want to rinse out my mouth with water.

Anyway,  I'm not the only one noticing whatever it is, but I think I'm the most sensitive.  I suspect some one is gluing together PVC piping near the building's air intake system or something involving MEK.  Or fingernail polish.

The folks at Environmental Health and Safety came by Wednesday afternoon with a sniffer box, which was apparently very loud, but they were unable to find anything.  

On the down side, I felt so crummy Wednesday from the fumes I skipped the gym.

Thursday I had several "Am I smelling something, or am I psyching myself out?" moments.  Followed by "Is the side of my tongue really tingling, or am I just super-focused on it right now" moments.  But there were no headaches or anything, for which I was grateful.

Writing:  Writing in the morning is not working out as well this year as it was last year.  I don't know if I'm more tired, the bed is softer, or what, but getting up is more of a struggle.  It's easier if I'm extra vigilant and set up the tea stuff and the manuscripts the night before.  It's easier if I go to bed before 9:30 (looks at floor).  It's easier in someways when I'm getting up to edit a final draft; although it can be harder if I'm tired of story and am beginning to loathe the characters.  I might have to resort to photo prompts or something.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tuesday Journal

Working out:  220 calories in 20 minutes on the elliptical.  104 calories on the rowing machine in 10 minutes.   1x12x50lbs plus 2x12x60lbs on the pec fly.  3x12x80lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 curl-ups (vertical crunches).  3x12x35lbs on the barbells.  Some assorted triceps curls.  I've read that if I want to work my obliques, I need to do some crossed sit-up things.  

Gah.  Tuesday morning, I put some hair stuff into my hair to try to keep it out of my face and it smells like shoe polish.  On the plus side, my hair is out of my face, especially those not-quite-as-long upper sideburn wisps.  On the I'm not sure side, Wednesday morning, my hair is still mostly in place....

Dream:  I've been salaciously saying "Are you ready for your herbal treatment?" and laughing, because I dreamed Mark told me that I had said that during particularly hot sex (which I didn't recall any of).

Writing:  I've been putting in edits on a manuscript to make motivations clearer and make the whiney teen male protagonist a little less whiney and a little more (understandably) hurt.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Gym Unicorn: Sought by Many, Tamed by Few

The pollen is officially here.

Working out:  I found some exercise videos on-line and applied them to my routine.  What I noticed was that my posture slips unless I'm thinking about my rhomboids and that some of the rowing motions I do probably work a little better if I imagine that I'm pulling back with my elbows instead of my hands.  Went Saturday:  About 210 calories in 25 minutes on the elliptical (I'm noticing my left hip gets a cramp if I start up too quickly).  100 calories in 10 minutes on the rowing machine.  3X12 at 15 on the assisted dip and chin machine.  3x12 at 50 on the pec fly (with a wider setting so I'm starting out a little more stretched out than I had been).  3X12 at 80 on the lat-pull down (being careful to pull from the rhomboids and not move my torso so much).  3X12 curl-ups (which I guess are really called vertical crunches or something).   3X12X35 lbs barbell curls.  An assorted number of overhead dumbbell triceps curls until I had to flee the gym to avoid something horrific over the stereo.  

I've been using a calendar app to remind me to go to the gym, and I think it's helping.  On the plus side, I think I'm getting rid of some flab.  On the minus side, I'm feeling sore; sometimes I think it's from when storms roll in, but other times my joints feel a little worn.  I guess that's the peril of being over 50.

I saw an internet picture of a shirtless buff guy in a kind of unicorn outfit (rainbow lighting unicorn pants, fluffy white hat thing with a thick golden unicorn horn, and rainbow leg warmers).  I'm having a moment of ambiguous body goals, because I'd like to look like that; but on the other hand, unicorn guy isn't an ectomorph; but back on the first hand, I think I could get obliques like that; but back on the second hand is breaking down my body into various sets of -oids a dismembered way of viewing myself; but back on the first hand "and I'd be as hard as nails / and they'd only want me more / if I was a folly girl ... (and continuing Dot's song, '...nah, I wouldn't like it much / married men and stupid boys / and all the smoke / and all the noise...").

Dream: By the Light of the Night

Dreams:  Friday night.  I was riding my bicycle to Philomath.  I think it had started out day when I began, but it was night when I noticed the shadow of a police car in front of me. (waking, I'm not sure how I could notice the shadow of the car on the ground in front of me unless there was a light behind it).  I knew that it was a police car because the shadow had boxy flashers on the top.  I realized that I hadn't put a head or tail light onto the bike.  My recall is a little muddy here, because I took a short cut up a cliffy hill and the policeman followed me.  (I have the feeling I might have dreamed this spot earlier, because the place was very familiar to me.)  I stopped at tricky to navigate cliff at the top of the hill because it was getting dark, the path was narrow, and it kind of wasn't the place to ride a bike.
There was a conversation about tickets and trespassing and what are you going to do? that I don't recall precisely.  There was a kind of apartment just below the peak, and I became MacGyver and started rooting around through the toiletries.  I mixed together something like Vaseline, potassium, and a third ingredient, rubbed it on my chest, and the chemicals combined with the movements of my muscles into a photo-electric gel that turned my entire torso into a giant LED.  

Nighttime bike riding problem solved.  

Then the dream got very weird, in a bad 80's disco kind of way, with MacGyver posing awkwardly in Saturday Night Fever poses and glowing.  And then it turned into some kind of gothic horror show/ripoff of Rosemary's baby and Mark came in and asked me why I was watching bad TV.



This is what I get for looking at videos of how to exercise your rhomboids just before going to bed.  In related news, I'm probably doing my lateral pull-downs wrong, as I shouldn't be moving my back during the pull-down (and I"m probably breathing out when I should be breathing in).

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Dream: Between The Magic Shop and the Prisoner's Craft Fair

This morning I had a highly  visual dream.

The cat woke me up, and after I threw him outside, I went back to sleep.

The first part of the dream was muddled and involved giant magical snow creatures.  They glowed with purple light. Some of them had gotten boulder-sized holes blown through them by an errant snowball.  This was more surprising in a Warner Brothers cartoon sort of way than it was painful for them.  

Each snow creature was a different story that followed people home.  In one case, a couple got pulled into a ghost dimension.  I think they were named Rachel and Bill. 

I was in their apartment for some reason (I was staying with them?).  They were there as ghosts (they may have been ghosted by the snow creature that followed them home), but I couldn't see them.  They were a little confused about what was going on.  There was an old wooden cabinet radio on, and when I poked a counter top with a silver arrow,  Rachel said, "ouch" over the radio as if I were poking her.   I switched to feathers, trying to figure out where they were, but feathers weren't that much more pleasant for them because they tickled too much.  

I had a sense of simultaneously being in the dream and controlling it, and I didn't want it to turn into a dark poke-fest where I was harming Rachel unwittingly.

There was a break; I tried to demonstrated the effect for A.B. and the dream turned into a talking dream about high drama people who fake drama.  

There was another break and I was driving my old Chevy Impala station wagon along Corvallis.  I was trying to get to work (at my current job in Eugene), and navigating heavy traffic on 4th Street.  (Waking I realize the traffic was from West Amazon and 35th, and the subsequent wrong turn I made was like the too early turn I made off of the Pacific Express Way onto North Park instead of Park).)  I turned right, realized I'd turned too early, and turned up a kind of wooden ramp.  There was a moment of not being able to make the break work, and worrying that I would crash into the cars ahead, but I managed to get the car out of control.

The car ramp went up about fifteen feet and I was looking over the square walls of a penitentiary.  The wooden road went around the prison, and I could see the wide, flat roof surrounding a large square courtyard.  (It feels very "Four of Pentacles" to me in waking life.)

Then I was in an administrative office of the penitentiary above the enclosed square courtyard below.  An inmate was firing something (marshmallow bullets? or maybe real bullets) at us -- "us" being me and two officers.  (I guess this was a prison riot of one?)  The inmate somehow climbed up the wall and tackled one of the officers.  I managed to hold down a stray arm and after a struggle, we handcuffed him and the crisis was over. 

Then I was walking with my parents and their friends in a park or outdoor mall.  I think there were fountains, and everything was green in the bright sunlight.  I was in my grey and green cloak.  We came up to a kind of Norwegian stave church, or pyramid, or hill.  (In waking life it was like the Enchanted Forrest meets a Viking Gift Shop meets the old Geological Museum at Oregon State University's Gill Coliseum.   The building was an odd mixture of old oak, concrete, and ski chalet.   The steeply sloped roof met at a sharp peak, and there were dormers opening up the very top floor.

We wanted to visit,.  There were two women inside, an older one with longish grey hair and a middle-aged one.  They were sort of unkempt, with lose brown robes and fly-away hair.    "Come in, come in," they crooned.  

It wasn't clear how to enter.  I climbed up some stairs; it seemed to enter you had to climb over the base of the building and half-way up the side.  The two women were in an upper loft, and I made it to a funny kind of dutch door with  a glass window set into it.  

"How do I get in?" I asked,

"Just push the door open," they said.  "Yes that's right, push, just push."

There wasn't a knob that I remember, but I pushed the door forward and it slid forward on a kind of track. I walked into the building along a narrow wooden walkway.  It was like walking though book shelves.  They walked backwards until we were all in a kind of wooden loft with me on one side of the door and they on the other.  They started talking about the history of the building and its contents.

I realized that I was standing on a kind of a plank, and that I was suspended in air somehow.  As long as I held onto the door, I didn't have to worry about falling off.  The plank moved around the shadowy interior of the shop while the lecture continued.  I was sort of flying around the inside.

At some point the middle-aged woman noticed my cloak, and commented on how soft it was.

I think the theme of tour was "Myths and Gemstones of the Norse" or something.  I hovered over a gift display of small gemstones, still standing on the plank and holding onto the edge of the door.  One of the women gave me a very small magnifying lens to look at them, but the platform lifted away on the tour before I was through. 

I was swinging around the shop, over the heads of the other customers.  

The final stop was day-glow rocks under a black light.  One of the displays was a kind of glowing crystal geode which was a haunted light-house diorama that had a toy car (with working headlights!) come out of a tunnel, and the car skidded out of control and drove off the cliff.  I couldn't exactly see the metal rod moving the car, but it zoomed behind the glowing crystal outcropping and came out of the tunnel again.  The whole set-up had a "spooky 1950's" vibe to it.

There was a break, and I was walking in a kind of park.  I may have been trying to get back to Rachel and Bill's apartment.  A kind of shabby Saturday market was in my way, and I tried to go around it.  It seemed like it was the prisoners' craft fair, with various craftsmen in dusty, shabby, over-sized grey coveralls.  (Now that I think about it, they looked like a Maurice Sendak drawing)   And the outdoor booths set up felt extra sketchy.  More and more booths seemed to be in my way, and I became more and more hemmed in as I continued. 

I walked past some young people playing a version of street baseball.  Something brushed against my cloak (which may have turned into my black and purple cloak), and I kept walking.  

Shouts of "Hey! He stole our ball!" sounded behind me, but I kept walking.  Then there was a gaunt, dark, dirty 20-something confronting me.  He had sort of dread-locked hair, was clean-shaven, and he was wearing baggy clothes; for a cloak he had tied a long, dusty grey blanket around his neck.  He might have had a stick or rod.  

I said that I didn't have his ball, but I shook out my cloak on the off-chance the ball had gotten caught up in the folds.  I was worried that the ball had been planted on me, and that I was being set up for a mugging or something.  

The ball player said something vaguely threatening, and followed me as I walked.  The way became more labyrinthine, with doors opening up on hallways of doors and difficulties opening one door blocking another.  Somehow I got away from the man and ended up in the Norwegian Magic Rock Shop.

The middle-aged woman, out of her frumpy witch outfit and in a kind of knee-length sheath dress with some sort of piping or plaiting on the front, came out from another door and we started talking about imagination and magic.  A large flat-screen (which I don't recall from the earlier scene) lit up and she started singing a song about how the early Disney movies and the fairy tales first sparked her imagination.  The screen became like Fantasia, and the woman sang about watching a country western, and sure enough there'd be the spirits of the people and land in the mesa.  On the screen the rocks and cacti became whirlwind spirits of horses and cowboys and cowgirls and danced a hoe-down.  There was more cartoon pantheist imagery of objects and spirits turning into each other.   Her song felt like one of those 1970's After School Specials; she didn't have the best voice and the tune was kind of hokey.

And then I woke up with one of my arms asleep.



Last night Mark and I had a discussion about houses, finances, and writing spaces -- which I think may be driving the dream.

Dreaming about prisons is something unusual.  There was a lot of square imagery which makes me think it was a dream symbol about being constrained by boundaries.

The dusty, dark, shadowy ball player seems like a shadow self or guardian figure.  The more I look at Maurice Sendak pictures, the more the ball player seems like a more thuggy Max from "Where the Wild Things Are"

I wonder if "prisoner craft fair" is a symbol for the writing and marketing process.  You can Google them... and coincidentally, the Spring Street Fair started on campus today (I had no idea...)

The Labyrinth of Doors seems a fairly straight-forward, "If you want to do something, you've got to do something else first" message.

I have no idea what the two witch figures in the Norwegian Magic Rock Shop were doing, unless they were the opposite end of "Prisoner Craft Fair."  No, I have not been listening to Varttina lately.


Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Work Out Journal

Working out:  200 calories in just under 20 minutes on the elliptical.  1x12x50lbs plus 2x12x60lbs on the pec fly.  1x12x70lbs plus 2x12x80lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x12 curl-ups.  1x12x30lbs plus 2x12x35lbs on the barbells.  Some assorted triceps curls, and a quick 12 at 15 assisted dips and chins.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Portable Writing Desk

One the writing front, I finished re-working a piece that I'd originally written for the Wordos Halloween reading and changed the POV character from the older, wiser character to the younger character who makes a mistake.  Now to find some beta readers for it, because it's made the rounds at the critique table.  I also polished up a pre-existing story--minor character name change for clarity and little tweaks in dialog--and sent it out (fingers crossed).

After mulling it over in my head for several weeks, I cleaned out a 1944 World War II campaign desk I've had forever.  I had been storing a combination of art supplies,  random rocks, old wind-up toys, veils, incense and ceremonial ritual tools in it.  The idea was that I'd use it as a portable altar, but instead it lived in our garage.  Before that it was a kind of costume case.

The Child was very interested in some of my old buttons, and an old koosh, and a few other items that I let him have.  I threw away a few things, and consolidated the rest with other collections.  Then I vacuumed out the dust and washed off the random grime from the outside.  

The idea is that The Child needs his closet back, so I need to figure out some sort of office solution.  Also, Mark appreciates it if I don't leave a zillion manuscripts lying around the house.  I think throwing a cloth over it would help disguise the fact that it's a slightly battered piece of World War II mobile army furniture... but I'm still not sure where in our house it would live.

I think it will be handy to use, if I can find a place for it.  Aside from the martial exterior, its only downside is that it's heavy.  I'll need to find a suitable stand for it if I want to use it as a desk.  Actually... I think two stands for it would be more practical, as lugging it around and a stand will be difficult.   I might re-paint it so it's brighter; but on the other hand it's seventy years old and I think it's an original paint job (maybe I can change the US in black stencil to jUStice.  Or bUSted.  Or jUSt Write!)

Ideally, during the sunnier months, I could sit with it outside and not have to worry about manuscripts blowing away.  We'll see...

Monday, May 02, 2016

Dream: Hiding from the System

Dreams... have been vaguely unpleasant.   Friday night both Mark and I had unpleasant dreams, so I wonder if something in the environment hasn't been agreeing with us.  I don't know what Mark dreamed, but I dreamed we had a big fight.

Although, now that I think about it, Sunday/Monday I almost had a lucid dream when I caught myself flying and Mark asked, "What are you doing that for?"  We were at Reed College.  You needed a student or alumni card to get in anywhere, and they'd paved over Eliot Circle and replaced it with a concrete plaza and fountain.  The dorm I lived in seamlessly turned into a retail mall and I commented on it to Mark (this is what I get for reading a critique of NeoLiberalism in academia and the Digital Humanities before going to bed).

Earlier in the dream, a bunch of us broke into some kind of campus office, maybe a museum office.  J.G. (a professor from work), D.K. (dressed as a computer executive), and others were there.  I think I had managed to shimmy through a window and let everyone in.  We were looking at an exhibit (or something) when we heard a ton of folks enter the building.  "Hide!" someone said. 

D.K. and I managed to avoid some folks, but then there were too many, so I said, "You're my boss," and I started talking loudly about needing to lock doors.  We blended in with the horde of folks checking each room and re-locking offices.  There was a complicated exchange with a rotating deadbolt mechanism on a chain that allowed you to pull a deadbolt after you when you locked a door (which would be like laking the door from the inside, but I didn't realize this in the dream).  

There was more about needing a card to get through an electronic gate at all the Reed buildings, and something about someone who dropped a USB RAMstick... and then Mark was talking to me about flying.