Thursday, September 28, 2017

Wednesday Gym

Went to the Gym Wednesday night:  Half and hour and about 300 cal on the elliptical.  Hardly anyone was in the gym, so I did a circuit of 3x12x60 on the pec fly (middle setting) and 3x13x80 lbs on the lat pull-down.  Since there was still maybe two other folks, I continued to circuit:  3x12 Roman Chair curls,  3x12x40lbs barbell curls, 3x12x20lb triceps pull-downs,  3x12x40lbs reverse barbell pulls.  Some 5lb shoulder crunches.  Something is still a little off with my right clavicle (I'm thinking it's an old person thing and not an actual injury), but I think I managed not to make things worse.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Writing Venue Review: Starbucks

It's official, I've stepped down from the Wordos and handed over keys and passwords and old documentation.  I will miss the fellowship of the critique table.

Which brings us to a review of the local Starbucks Cafe as a Writing Venue.  It's main draw is that it is open until 10 PM, unlike most other Eugene establishments, which close at 7 or 8.  On the plus side, it's relatively clean, and has nice little tables.  The large tables tend to be monopolized by study groups or individual patrons with laptops and book-filled backpacks.  

A friendly wait-staff served me caffeinated mint tea.  And a bagel; this is the second or third time they've been out of poppy-seed bagels.  Later I got a chocolate donut (they were out of brownies), and I regretted it later as it had a lot of grease or maybe butter in it, which upset my stomach.   

Surprisingly, unlike previous visits to this establishment, the music wasn't horrifically grating, and there were no cell-phone wielding drama-queens sharing their worldly and health problems with the entire shop.  As usual, the difficulty in choosing a spot was finding a table that wasn't directly under a stereo speaker.  I chose a high table and high stool with a nice view of the half-moon in the sky (and probably the least distracting view of a weight-lifter showing off his sculpted guns with a black tank-top at the next table over).  

A creative, if cramped, use of the small table space and the window allowed me to have both an open file folder and my mobile out.  I managed to work through some critiques and edit them in.  About the time I wanted to move away from the more mechanical aspects of manuscript to the creative, the music shifted from some relatively innocuous Ella Fitzgerald to distracting covers of "Glory Days" and "The Sisters of Mercy."  

I'd give this about 3 Pencils.  The small tables and loud sound system make this not the most conducive writing place, and the food is over-priced for the quality; but on a slow night, it's dry, clean,  and friendly.  Good for editing, not so good for distraction-free creative work.  

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fall Beginnings

(Monday) Ah, the first day of classes and the commute becomes more annoying.  The traffic is a test for me to practice compassion and patience, and I'm afraid that I usually fail at it.  Some of my irritation stems from the parking stall scarcity and the "hunting license" I have in lieu of a reserved parking spot.  I suppose when I get a whole lot older, I might splurge.   Until then, I'll have to work on swearing less as I invent whole new circles of Hell for people driving SUV's erratically. 

Yesterday I went to Eugene Pagan Pride.  It was about what I expected, but I was surprised that it was about the third of the size of The Gay Pride event.  There were a lot of merchant booths with jewelry, inscence, soap and some ritual items for sale.  There were about five or six local groups, and a few Portland-based groups there, too.  I didn't see any Radical Faeries; it's possible some of the guys selling books or crystals were gay, but I didn't see any pink triangles, either.  Now that I think about it, there weren't any men's groups at all.  This wasn't too surprising, as Eugene is the Lesbian Capitol of the World; so we have a lot of first- and second-wave Goddess Worshipers.  

I suppose Mark is right:  if there's a NeoPagan group I want to hang out with, I'll need to find one in Portland, which is larger and more diverse and more likely to have something.  Oh well, maybe I'll make some ritual flags for around the house or something.

On the gym front:  went to the gym for the first time in about seven days.  My intention for this week is to actually go Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; if I get back on a roll I'll continue the every-other day thing next week.   30 minutes and 300 calories on the elliptical (reading about Miracles and Belief in Medieval and Early Tudor England).  10 minutes and 100 calories on the cable rowing machine.  3X12X60lbs on the pec fly (medium setting).  3X12X80lbs on he lat pull-down.  2X12 Romain Chair hanging curls.  3X12X35lbs barbell curls (down from 40lbs, I figured I'd ease back to 40 on Wednesday).  3X12X20lbs triceps pull-down.  Some assorted shoulder shrugs.  My stupid right shoulder, or more accurately, my right clavicle, was extra clicky -- I suppose I should start taking some sort of joint supplement.

Friday, September 22, 2017


Friday Sept 22

Happy Equinox!  We've a typical Autumnal Day at the moment (8:30AM): grey, overcast sky, damp ground from yesterday's rain, yellowing leaves on the trees and orange leaves on the ground, and 55F.  It might clear up, or it might rain a little first.

In Writing News, I've stepped down from Wordos.  I'll miss seeing everyone every week, and I'm thinking that I'll be able to redirect some energy to writing (longer or non-fiction) pieces that weren't a good match for the group.

Mark's gone this week on a spur-of-the-moment, personal retreat to Yellowstone.  Despite having four inches of snow bring his tent down on him while he was sleeping one night, I can tell from his voice over the phone that he's had a rejuvinating time.  The cats, The Child and I have managed to get through the week without him.

Between the university school year ramping up, Mark's absence, and other things, I havn't been able to get to the gym and I've done only a marginal amount of writing.   The writing lecturn is nice, and I'm having to be mindful of how it makes my lower back sore -- I'm currently using my hexagonal dumbbells as a foot bar, which seems to help.  Maybe some sort of raised stool is in order, although I'm not sure where it would live when I'm not sitting on it.

This afternoon, I used the magnifying lens to capture the equinox sun and light some candles.  The flames kept going until after 9 PM.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dream: Breakfast Production

The dream had been going along a while, but here's what I remember:

Various Fragments:

I was waiting at the point of a harbor, watching tourists pull in on their boats.  I think there was a lake or river-side cafe involved.

There were "interesting" people and I was following them around making little notes for character sketches for my writing.  There was a discussion of some sort around a large, rectangular, wooden table.

I was at a hostel or lodge of some sort, lots of rough-hewn wood (which in waking I'm going to attribute to a discussion with Mark about Yellowstone).

There was a dream about parking.  I had parked my car in a weird angle because someone else had parked their largish truck lengthwise across two spots.

The dream imagery I recall the best:  I was watching a well lit raised, proscenium stage.  The walls were white.  A group of about ten couples were on the stage, they were dressed in night gowns and pajamas and bathrobes.  At stage right a group of women in tableau held back another woman, who reached beyond them with outstretched hands, a plate or shallow bowl in her hands.  They were standing still, as if they were in a kind of ballet.  A small knot of women stood watching the center stage.  Lots of diaphanous, grey and white robes hung from outstretched arms or flowed over still bodies.

All the men stood in a line, or maybe a shallow V, parallel to the stage.  In the center was a 30-something man.  There may have been low tables or modular counters on wheels or something.  They were all in bathrobes (and in waking life, I'm thinking everyone looked like a 30-something extra from the 90's sit-com, Frasier,  which we've been watching).  The man at the center, assisted by the other men in the line, was baking some sort of small cake or muffin.  There were lots of bowls and stirring motions from the baking chorus.

My viewpoint kept popping around from omniscient to audience member watching the performance.  Once the muffin was finished, it was presented to the woman (who I'm thinking was the man's new wife) who took the pastry in her outstretched hands, and as all of the women who had been holding her back watched, she took a bite and proclaimed, "perfect." (which may have been pronounced "poi-feckt").

Somehow, I found myself on the stage; I got a hold of a muffin, which I then crumbled through a course screen or grater.  The crumbs fell into a shallow white bowl, and I shoved a handful of into my mouth and said "perfect."

The newlywed wife was annoyed that I was poking fun at her.  The dream gets a little out of sequence here, but the husband and wife and I were sitting at a kind of up-scale Shari's booth when a producer/host appeared, camera-men in tow, and starting asking me how I came up with the ingenious idea of de-constructing a muffin.

"Well," I said, "it makes a great crumble, and you can use it as a layer in a breakfast fruit bowl."

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Gym and Standing Desks

I was virtuous and went to the Gym Saturday:  Half and hour and about 300 cal on the elliptical.  3x12x60 on the pec fly (I tried one set on my usual setting and it felt wrong, so I went back to the extra-wide setting).  3x13x80 lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 Roman Chair curls.  I felt a little tired, and my clavicle and upper trapezoid is feeling a little sore/weird, so I took the barbell weight down from 40 to 35.  3x12x35lbs barbell curls.  3x12x35lbs reverse barbell pulls.  

Smoke has rolled back into the Willamette Valley and everyone is waiting for Sunday's rain to come and clear the air and put a damper on the forest fires still burning.  When I was at the lat-pulldown machine, I thought a truck or ambulance was backing up against the gym because the 7:30 sun cast ruddy light through the windows.  Walking home, the sun completely disappeared--whether because of clouds or smoke I couldn't tell you.

On the writing front, I re-arranged the home computer so that it's elevated.  I'm standing as I type this, with my hands at elbow level, which I hope will help with my back and shoulders.  I don't have a desk so much as a kind of raised lectern.  I'd toyed with the idea of getting an office somewhere, but at the moment it's prohibitively expensive.  I'd considered maybe reconfiguring the attic as a writing office, but Mark pointed out that no amount of wishful thinking was going to help it stay cool in the summer or warm in the winter.  

We'll see how this works; I've yet to work out a system for dealing with a large number of physical manuscripts, but maybe I can rig up some hanging clipboards.  I'm also not sure where I'm going to put tea.  On the plus side, after I moved the computer and the portable army desk from the bookshelf, I was able reconsolidate my library of archeology, poetry, architecture, reference, and NeoPagan history collections (in the previous configuration book size dictated where books would be shelved).

Friday, September 15, 2017

Thursday Gym

Went to the Gym Thursday:  210 cal and 16 minutes on the cable row machine.  3x12x60 on the pec fly (on extra-wide setting).  3x13x80 lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x12x40lbs barbell curls.  2X8X40lbs reverse barbell pulls.  My right clavicle muscles were feeling tight, so I did some pool noodle roles along my upper back.  No Roman Chair curls because I would have been staring straight at Mr. Tattooed-Grunty grunting loudly on some other machine.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sunday Gym

Went to the Gym Sunday:  250 cal and 20 minutes on the cable row machine.  3x12x60 on the pec fly (on extra-wide setting).  3x13x80 lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 Roman Chair curl-ups.   3x12x40lbs barbell curls.  Half-hearted attempts at an overhead dumbbell thing...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Gym Report and Air Quality

Went to the Gym Thursday:  200 cal and 15 minutes on the cable row machine.  3x12x60 on the pec fly (on extra-wide setting).  3x13x85 lbs (my usual machine was in use).  2x13 Roman Chair curl-ups.  3x12 half-windshield wipers (back flat on ground, arms straight out on floor, knees pent, while you rotate them from side to side).  3x12x40lbs barbell curls.  2x12x40lbs reverse barbell pulls.

Friday I was sore.  I think the row machine is hard on the balls of my feet.  And maybe my hands (although the weather changed).  And possibly the pec fly setting bothered my shoulder.

The skies here have been smokey for the last six days (9/1-9/7).  Fires rage around the state and the Air Quality Index has been off of the charts.   Everyone was checking to see how bad it got... although building fire alarms going off because of the smoke outside should have been clue.   It got better last Thursday, but the forecast is calling for higher temperatures and increased particulate counts.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Air Quality and Gym Report

Went to the gym Saturday (9/2):  320 cal and about 35 minutes on the elliptical.  3x12x60lbs on the pec fly.  3x12x80lbs on the lat pull down.  3x13 Roman Chair curls (I was doing a side motion to try to work my lats, but it seemed to be making my lower back sore, so I stopped).   3x12x40lb barbell curls.  2x12:40lb barbell reverse pulls. 3x8 half-windshield wiper twists, 2x8 full windshield wipers (man, I am so unlimber it's difficult to keep my legs straight for those).

Labor Day Monday (9/4):  The gym was really full because it was only open 8AM to Noon.  Also the air quality here has been in the unhealthy range, with particulate indexes in the 300 -- so everyone was wondering how much the gym's air-handling units filtered stuff out and reminded everyone else to take it a little easy.

300 cal and 30 minutes on the elliptical.  3x13x60lbs on the pec fly.  3x12x85lbs on the lat pull down.  3x13 Roman Chair curls.   3x12x40lb barbell curls.  I did a number of 10 lbs dumbbell shoulder shrugs,

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Art Trying To Imitate Life

When I went to the MET last, I got a book on pop-up paper construction.

It goes through various types of folds and cuts one can make to create three-dimensional sculptures (for lack of a better word) out of paper.

I've been experimenting by cutting and folding blank 3X5 inch cards.

Last weekend when we went to Silver Creek falls, I thought, "I know, I'll try to make some pop-up designs of the falls."

So I tried.

I think I got some fairly Art-Deco water, which tends to look more like hair or snakes than water.

 And I also think I got something that looks not so much like water cascading over basalt layers but rather a stage set for an absurdist 60's play.

Oh well.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Chapter Two in The Chronicles of the The Slayer

While we didn't catch him in flagrante delicto, we're pretty sure Dragonfly-Slayer Cicero damaged a Paddle-tailed Darner, (Aeshna palmata) late this afternoon.  I'd seen him pawing at something (I'd assumed a mouse) in the tall grassland next door, and discovered the darner on the walkway by our house a few minutes later.

At first I thought it was dead, but it had a very strong grip on the concrete.  I offered a dry twig for it to crawl on, and it pulled itself up onto my hand.   I didn't see any holes it its body, but I noticed as I was photographing it that it wasn't moving its lower wings.

The unrepentant monster was fairly certain I had carried off his prize, but wasn't exactly sure where I'd placed it.  Also, he didn't want to be photographed.

We're growing some corn, and I placed the dragonfly onto a stalk, flicked some fountain water onto it, and took some photos.

I checked on it after dusk, and it had climbed up under a fold in the corn leaves, so I'm hoping it will rest the night out and fly away in the morning.