Thursday, July 20, 2017

Writing and Wind-staff

Working on a short story which is turning into several short stories in the same setting.   Currently there are three scenes that could turn into stand-alone 1500 to 2000 words short stories.  We'll see how this works out; I'm writing for On The Premise's theme, "community," and what I've got so far seems out of focus.   I've got about 5000 words currently, and after culling the rough bits, it's at about 4000.

Gym:  Went to the dojo for a Windstaff Session.  I remember the form a little from a few years ago and can really use brushing up on it.   Followed by a 20-something minutes on the elliptical for 250 calories, and 10-something on the cable-row machine for 100 calories.  I can tell the difference between when I do three times a day in a five day period with a weekend rest and when I do maybe Sunday and Thursday sessions.

Monday, July 17, 2017

There Will Arise a Slayer...

I'm not sure if painting various bits of the house counts as going to the gym or not.  Mostly trim, uh, I don't know how many reps of paint-brush motions.

This (Sunday) afternoon, Cicero appeared outside with a dragonfly in his mouth (henceforth he shall be known as Cicero Dragonfly Slayer).  The dragonfly (probably at Common Whitetail, Plathemis lydia)  was buzzing to get out of feline jaws, which of course, was Very Exciting for the feline involved.  I called him a Wicked Thing and he dropped it.  This is the second dragonfly Cicero has caught in nine days.(Mark thought he'd caught a humming bird at first).  This one, alas, had a large hole in the middle of its abdomen -- I'm not sure if Cicero put the hole in there, or if a bird pecked at it or what.  

I put it, still quivering, on our phlox, thinking that while it wasn't a bug that a dragonfly might eat, that maybe a flower would seem more familiar than a table or the inside of a cat.  And then Mark and I went on to scrape and paint various parts of trim on our house.

I came back a few hours later, and the poor thing was still hanging onto the phlox flowers and being batted about by the breeze.  I unhooked it from the flowers and it latched onto my finger in what I thought was some sort of rigor mortis death-grip, but later realized was animal force.  I can't imagine how the insect was managing to respire, and it did seem rather confused.

So... I seized the opportunity to take macro-lens photographs of a semi-live dragonfly that was unable to fly away.  I did flick tiny drops of water over it in the hopes of reviving it, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to make it through the night on the branch of the camellia.  While my camera is not exactly the best device for astro-photography, it shines when it comes to photographing bugs.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Photographing the Moon

Managed more writing yesterday (Thursday) afternoon (about 600 words)  and again this (Friday) morning (about 300 words).  I actually did get up at about 4:55AM -- but I realized that I was in that funny pre-verbal pre-awake state.  So... I photographed the waning moon though the telescope (all of the photos came out fuzzy), opened the house to cool it down, and then crashed on the sofa.

I thought about the human ship and the alien ship in my current story, and a couple of scenes suggested themselves.  I was in a kind of day-dream lucid-dream state.  I'm not sure if the cats' antics were a bad thing that interrupted my dream-train-of-thought or a good thing that woke me up enough so I'd remember stuff.  It's possible that Spencer the neighbor cat (and Cicero's brother) was in the house, because Smokey (who has never done this before) was reaching out and batting me on the face.

 On the astronomy front, I cut out a cardboard tube that fits on the end of the telescope and over the lens of my camera:  this lets me butt the camera lens up against the eyepiece, with the result that I can snap photos of the moon.

 I was hoping to be able to use the telescope as a zoom-lens for photographing the eclipse... but after watching how easy it is for my camera to be confused about what to focus on during day-time shots of the moon, I'm almost certain that that is going to not work.  The process works well for photographing the moon, but so far I haven't gotten it to work for stars or planets.

The best photos happen when the sky is still fairly dark, when I put the camera in its almost-but-not-quite-full telephoto focus, and if I let the camera choose the F-stop.  When I've tried to open up the F-stop, the camera can't seem to focus on the moon (although this would let in more light).  Going full telephoto confuses the auto-focus, and I haven't had much luck getting the camera to auto-focus on the moon during the day.

Gym - went Friday night.  25 minutes for about 300 calories on the cable row machine.  Downstairs, 3x12x60lbs pec fly.  3x13x80lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x12 Roman chair curls, plus some 2x6 side curls.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mid July Update

Last week the Internet went out at our house, which made for a quiet evening of reading and compass work.  The family put in a DVD and watched an old Disney movie instead of streaming something.

I've been reading recreationally more this week:  I just finished "Tales of Earthsea," which I'd never read before, and I'm in the middle of "The Ship in the Hill."  One of the first stories in "Tales" seemed oddly prescient of the current political climate, given that it was written in 2001... but now that I think about it, it would have been written during the GW Bush administration.  "Ship," is fun, combining two parallel tales of Vikings and 1901 archeology.

The Fourth put a crimp in my gym work, and the last visit was Sunday.

Went to the gym Monday (7/10) 20 some minutes on the elliptical for 200 calories; 3X12X60lbs on the pec fly; 3X12X80lbs on the lat pull-down.  3X12 Roman Chair curls, with 2X5 side curls.  3X12X40lb barbell curls.

Went to the gym Wednesday  (7/12) 25 some minutes on the elliptical for 250 calories; 3X12X60lbs on the pec fly; 3X12X85lbs on the lat pull-down.  3X12 Roman Chair curls, with 2X5 side curls.  3X12X40lb barbell curls. 2X8X40lb reverse curles.  Assorted 12lb shoulder shrugs.

Tried to write Thursday.  Getting up and awake was a chore because Cicero wouldn't come in last night and I finally just went to bed about forty minutes later than I'd originally planned.  Wrote maybe 200-300 words of garbage.