Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2009-04-29 Dream:  Sanctuary Bees

New variation on the "I have a loose tooth" anxiety dream -- "I have mouth cancer." Not sure where that one came from, although I did get to fly into my dentist's third story office.

(recall gap)

Making a cameo apperance was a Seattle friend, Dario. I'm not sure why the dream was set in Salem, but Dario had driven his white convertable ?Jaguar? (which I think he only owns in dreams) from Seattle to Salem to check out a restaurant / bar.

(recall gap)

I was on a scaffold tower. Many tall sunflowers grew at the base of the tower. I had to bring one back to the tower top -- I think -- in any case, I had to cut down a sunflower.

I climbed down the tower to where the sunflowers grew in a patch. In waking life I have a strong sense of the tarot card the Four of Wands -- the image I remember has more than four sunflowers growing in the patch, but there were also four Cardinal Sunflowers. I think I might have had a small silvery knife with which to harvest a sunflower from the center of the patch.

Many Very Large Bumblebees hovered in the flowers and along the tall green grass where I walked along the tower's base. They were the size of a spoon's bowl. Thick bands of bright yellow and ebony striated their fuzzy bodies. I had a hard time stepping around the bumblebees on my way to the sunflowers. I have a sense of walking in a narrow area between the tower and a fence, and of the grass impeding my steps.

I'm not sure if I harvested a sunflower and was walking back to climb the tower, or if I turned back because of the bees and brush, but the next thing I knew, I'd stepped on a bee. The squooshed bee put out danger scents which alerted and attracted the other bees, I slipped and fell, and woke up yelling as large fuzzy bumblebees swarmed and stung my body.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend Dream

Not much in the dream department.  I did dream that I had made a mix of tequila and ranch sauce, which allowed me to have flaming french-fry dip.  

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cherry Blossoms

Here's our cherry tree. I probably lost some Good Partner points because I kept rushing out of the house to snap photos and Mark ended up rescueing the pasta.

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Mountain Photos

The day started out perfect and foggy.

The mountain flowers poked out of the ground.

My camera takes better close up shots than distance shots.

This is the time for . . . white flowers!
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04-24-2009 Dream: Childhood Animals

...yesterday's Nazi Mountain Camp dream continues... sort of...

The setting was a low hill or mesa. Or possibly the side of a basalt quarry. The sun shone, and the day was relatively green and bright. I was a small animal of some sort -- like a ferret or an otter -- think slinky, furry, and small. There were other small animals with me, and I think possibly we were small "dentist animals." (In real life my childhood dentist handed out small rubber animals, I think they might have been erasers. My sister and I amassed a small army of them -- and if I look hard enough, I probably have them in storage somewhere next to Freakies Cereal figurines and my old D&D miniatures).

On the top of the cliff was a circular chessboard. The center circle was divided into four, the next circle out was eight segments. Next was sixteen, and the forth and final must have been thirty-two. In waking life I'm reminded of an old circular chess game I had as a young teen called "Time War" or something.

In the dream, placing the pieces in a certain way teleported one. In this case, we could teleport back and forth between the top of the mesa where the chessboard was to the green valley bellow. In an omniscient moment, I saw myself as if from the valley, sticking my head over the side of the cliff and yelling down to the others that I'd discovered a shortcut. (I have a vague sense we had to use dark tunnels to get to the mesa top.)

Back at the mesa, we started looking around. The turf on the mesa top had little pockets in it and at one point turned into a carpet or astrograss. I was back in my normal body and I lifted up a section of the ground, and underneath was "Batty," a black-construction paper bat I'd glued together in the sixth grade (also part of the Dentist Animal Menagerie). In the dream, I was really excited and happy to have found Batty's little cave.

But in real life Batty reminds me of Batty's genesis in the classroom of my crazy sixth-grade teacher -- the sort of "artsy-fartsy" teacher who would encourage you to be creative in one breath, but would publically deride your efforts if they strayed too far from what she thought your art should look like. And now that I think about it, being in her class was like being in a kind of group-therapy.

. . . and the dream moved on . . .

Thursday, April 23, 2009

2009-04-24 Dream:  Nazi Campground

Muddled recall:

I was a female Allied Agent, working in Nazi Germany.  Hitler shot himself at a kind of mountain camping retreat.  The setting was dark, there was a two story wooden bunkhouse structure -- the wood was dark, with some dingy whitewash between rough timbers.

Hitler's office was about eight by eight.  I'd heard a gun fire, and I slowly crept up stairs and looked into his office window.  Through dream logic, he'd been dead long enough for his face and hands to turn dull blue (sort of a coper patina color).  "Yep," I thought.  "He's dead alright."

I went downstairs, in my double-agent role as a German beurocrat, to inform the next-in-command (whom I'm thinking in waking life looked a little like General Hoffsteader from Hogan's Heros).  

There's a gap... The office and military staff at the German Mountain Campground went for a dip in the local pool.  They didn't bother to take off their clothes or put on swim suits, they slogged right in.  

It was a moonless night.  I think the pool was also an airfield because I have a sense of aircraft floating in the dark water.  Every now and then, methane bubbled up, and in a case of dream-wishing, I hoped that it would catch on fire and it did.  The smale flame hovering over the water was dim and blue. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Family Blossoms

We join the dream in progress... it was a wandering the highways dream... something about someone crawling into a metal culvert and getting swept up in a snowy avalanche. And running from a big dinosaur. . .

A large contingent of my extended family from my Dad's side congregated at a hotel or a church -- we walked through a nice, carpeted hall to a conference room. I think it was night or late afternoon as lighting was dim.

The meeting room was fairly packed, and we squeezed around folding tables arranged in a square. For some reason, I was chairing our family meeting (I'm guessing that I'm splicing in a Shrewsbury or Wordos meeting, which I do chair, into a family gathering). There were some friends of my folks (mostly through the church) at the meeting standing in the corners.

I tried to start the meeting. I started to say, "We're here to discuss the Burridge-Miller Holiday Gathering..." when my Mom broke in and wanted to thank me. The next thing I know everyone's singing "Thank you, John" and a Very Tall Glass Vase of cherry blossoms is being passed to me. The blossoms were on branches about two feet long, and the vase, which was clear glass in swooping Art Deco style, was lit from below and within (it was the brightest thing in the room) so that white light shown upward onto the pink blossoms.

I thanked everyone for the flowers, then started the meeting. By pointing fingers, everyone elected my cousin Molly to be the hostess of the next family gathering.

[I'm going to guess that this dream is what happens when I spend way too much time trying to catch the magic light of the sunset in the branches of our backyard cherry and then go on to read various relative's Facebook entries. Don't know where the thank you came from... unless this is me reminding myself to thank Mark for cooking while I ran inside and outside and inside and outside with a camera...]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ghosts and Hot Weather

Not too much on the dream front today.  I had a kind of ghost story dream, but all I really recall about it is that it took place in a spooky cabin in the woods and the ghost was my old Great-Uncle Olaf (or possibly Great-Uncle Conrad).   

The cabin was in the woods.  It was night.  The pine trees rocked in the wind.  And a ghost lived in the cabin -- a scary ghost who didn't like people much.

In the weather department, it's almost 80 F here.  As long as it's not 85 before June I'll be happy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

2002-01-08: Review of "Fellowship of the Ring"

Warning: some spoilers.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring joins the growing list of films adapted from books ranging from The Wizard of Oz, to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. For a movie adaptation, The Fellowship of the Ring does a fairly good job of compressing the first two books of JRR Tolkien's six book saga (plus the Silmarillion and The Hobbit) into a three hour movie.

It is a very difficult job adapting to movie a story that set the genre for fantasy in 1954. Since Tolkien, there have been innumerable variations on the theme of "Little Unknown Person races on behalf of the Free World to Deliver the Power Artifact so that the Great Powerful Evil may be overthrown." To adapt such a tale to the movie screen is a daunting task. On one side there are legions of book-quoting Tolkien fanatics waiting to pounce on any element that departs from the books; on the other side are hordes of movie-goers who have never cracked a page of Tolkien in their lives trying to digest a back-story that spans at least 3000 years. The Fellowship of the Ring does a good job of balancing the needs of the audience, but not without some cost to the original plot and characters.

The Rest of the Story

Tolkien was a professor of linguistics and medieval literature at Oxford. He worked on a large body of stories, myths and legends for over thirty years detailing the creation of Middle Earth by an omnipotent deity and his archangels; the genesis of the races; and everyone's trials, tribulations, loves, betrayals, families and wars. The central conflict is over three holy jewels, or Simarils, within which are locked the light of the sun's and moon's precursors. This work was published posthumously by his son Christopher as the Silmarillion.

By the time he began work on The Hobbit, he had been writing about the conflicts of Elves, Dwarves, Men and various Dark Lords for some time. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are the final chapters of the Silmarillion's vaster tale. The amount of back-story Tolkien amassed allowed him to make subtle references to past histories, which gave The Lord of the Rings rich landscapes for complex characters to act and react in.

Because the format of film limits the amount of expose and back-story, the film's director has had to present the characters less subtly. Some of Tolkien's intricate plot has been simplified, and some of the dialog has been sacrificed for action scenes or substituted by visual metaphor --often computer generated.

Of the Elves

Tolkien's Elves are a central theme in his stories. Tolkien despised the diminutive, butterfly winged Flower Fairies. Elves for Tolkien have to partake of Faerie -- they need to have an awesome (in the original sense of the word) combination of ordinary attributes that makes them extra-ordinary and transformative to encounter. In his essay On Faerie Stories, Tolkien cites the Green Knight, men without shadows, and shadows without men as examples of citizens of Faerie. Tolkien's Elves have three attributes:
  1. by existing simultaneously in the material world and spirit world, they are granted an epoch-spanning immortality,
  2. they desire communion with all living things,
  3. they are artisans and crafters.

In the books these attributes make the Elves creators of wonder, but also weary preservers of beauty -- beauty that is not like Miss America, but beauty that is terrible, enchanting, and potent in its power to change hearts forever.

Unfortunately, the film Elves miss the mark. Focusing on the spiritual side of Elvish nature, whenever the Elves or their homes are on the silver screen, a boy soprano is singing hymns accompanied by Enya choruses (yes, Enya). Elven architecture consists of white painted, gothic arched arbors, with a sprinkling of Catholic-looking statuary; this was too bad, since elsewhere in the film Tolkien's watercolors guided the sets and costumes. The Elves habitually, albeit randomly, communicate with telepathy. During the film's Elvin scenes I felt like I had stumbled into a commercial for a New Age Bookstore -- the 1990's version of the Victorian Flower Fairies.

The overstressing of the supernatural nature of the Elves may make them accessible to a Tolkien novice, but led to some disappointing scenes and character interpretations for Tolkien enthusiasts. However -- more importantly than the altering of a character in the translation from book to film -- the departure from Tolkien's elements of Faerie changes the nature of the story from a piercing Tale of High Faerie in which the relationships between Good, Evil and Power are explored, to an adventure-race epic to see who can shoot the most Orcs with control over a trinket of mass destruction as the prize.

Of the Fight Scenes

And speaking of shooting the most Orcs, the director's experiences filming Hercules and Xena showed in the fight scenes, which were as well choreographed as they were ludicrous. All that was needed was a reduction of the number of bad guys to maintain a willing suspension of disbelief. As it was, one character is able to take on all Nine of the Nazgul at once (in direct conflict with Tolkien's books), and it seems whole legions of Orcs were dispatched by the ninja-precision blows of the good guys (a foreshadowing to the toe-curling snowboarding scene in The Two Towers). The really great fight scene, though, was the flashback to the First War of the Ring -- if you're going to have hordes of Orcs running around, you might as well have an infernal army of them.

Of the Good Guys

Gandalf the Grey is portrayed brilliantly by Ian McClellan, who is able to show both Gandalf's serious and humorous sides. Although some of his dialogs have been moved around a bit, much of his character as lore master and mover to deeds has been preserved.

Most of the Hobbits -- with the exception of Bilbo Baggins -- seemed to have been dumbed-down, probably as a result of having their dialogs exchanged for action scenes. Frodo Baggins is played as a simple young hobbit instead of a country scholar. Much of Frodo's character comes off as convincingly earnest. Sam, who in the books is a common Hobbit farmer, is portrayed in the movie as simple and tenacious. Merry and Pippin become comic relief, going on the quest more by accident instead of through their friendship and devotion to Frodo.

Unfortunately, the friendship of the hobbits and their relationships to each other are lost with their dialog. The director will really have an interesting time with Frodo's and Sam's relationship in the next two movies. Some have noted that Frodo's and Sam's journey to Mordor is very similar to Tolkien's love-tale of the journey of Beren and Luthien into Angband (which in turn is similar to the Orpheus and Eurydice tale). Without the dialog and back-story it will be tempting to American audiences -- who are unused to deep but un-macho male friendships -- to read in homoerotic motives.

Elrond Halfelvin comes closest to being a Tolkien Elf (with minor rewrites to his role in the first war against Sauron and some odd-sounding dialog). His hairstyle is an appropriate mix between Native American and Viking warrior, reflecting both his status as an Elven lord and his connection to the natural world.

The Elven Lady Galadriel is very disappointing -- as is most of the Lothlorien segment. Gweneth Paltrow imitates a prophetess-in-a-box instead of portraying a Elven Queen and Seeress who has been resisting evil for 3000 years. The Mirror of Galadriel scene was over-simplified, changing from revelation of the Ring's power over others' psychologies to a two-dimensional "aren't-I-noble" computer image enhanced pageant. In the books, the Lothlorien chapters convey the sense of Faerie through the dialog of Sam the Hobbit; as much of Sam's dialog has been excised from the movie, the film is unsuccessful in connecting the audience with the Elves' transformative wonder.

Arwen Halfelvin, the daughter of Elrond Halfelvin, departs from the text in an interesting way. By giving her the actions of the excised Elf-Prince Glorfindel, and making her responsible for a flash flood that sweeps the Nazgul away (the second time all nine are vanquished single-handedly), the film makers have changed her character from a trophy princess to kind of police-elf character. Given the mostly male cast Tolkien wrote, Arwen's film character is a refreshing, updated look at a female role.

Aragorn, a.k.a. Strider, is portrayed well, especially in the opening scenes, but the director couldn't help put in some drivel about him renouncing his heritage. Because a letter from Gandalf and a feast have been excised, Aragorn's genealogy as King of Gondor has to be substituted with something.

Boromir of Gondor is played convincingly, but I wanted him to be more of a macho bore than he was. In the book he tended to burst into discussions; the movie focused more on his fighting skills. At least they made him concerned for the city he would someday rule as stewart (although his stewardship was only briefly touched on). Because dialog has been reduced, the film has had to use other routes to reveal Boromir's character.

Legolas Greenleaf and Gimli son of Gloin are delegated to minor characters. Since they are introduced in the Council of Elrond, which is presented in a very abridged form, we aren't really quite sure who they are, why they are there, or why they are chosen to become members of the Fellowship of the Ring. The two characters develop more in later books, so further insight to their characters will have to wait.

Of the Bad Guys

Wow, they got Sauron right on. Master of Evil, Sauron is represented by an infernal red cat eye floating through the spirit world. The translation from textual description to movie image works very well.

The Nine Black Riders, or Nazgul, were portrayed wonderfully. Other than the way they could be single-handedly vanquished, the movie hit these dark servants on the mark.

Unfortunately, the wizard Saruman is almost as divergent from the book as Galadriel is. Again, in order to simplify things for the film, they have changed Saruman from a fallen good guy who has come to admire evil by studying it too closely, to a cowardly traitor who would rather choose life and service under a rule of evil than risk death by resisting. The textual Saruman wants to become the ruler of the world; the cinema Saruman is simply a powerful yes-wizard to Sauron. The wizard fight between Galdalf and Saruman was just plain silly, reminding me of the wrestling octogenarian sorceresses from the movie Willow. We'll have to wait for the next movie to see if Saruman's character develops any more (editor's note: it doesn't)

Other bad guys include the Balrog, who provided a great climax to an otherwise confusing Mines of Moria sequence; and Gollum, who made only brief cameo appearances, shuffling out of dark places to shine his pale green eyes at the audience. Gollum, the twisted first finder of the ring, has his character revealed more clearly in the later books.

In case you haven't noticed a trend, Tolkien's great evil characters are revealed as evil because of what they do or because of their high evil imagery. Tolkien's good characters are revealed as good because of what they do and their inner struggles to choose to do good as revealed by narrative or dialog. Action scenes and special effects work well for portraying Tolkien's evil folks, but not so well for his good (or fallen) characters. In fact, in at least three points the movie uses cheesy special effects to make up for excised dialog to show the audience a good character's temptation.

If It Were My Film

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring will probably encourage folks to foray into the writings of Tolkien who wouldn't otherwise. This is a good thing. They will be in for some pleasant surprises. As for those of use who are dyed-in-the-wool Tolkien fanatics, we'll have to wait for a movie that opens up with an Oxford professor sitting in an armchair, reading aloud from a great red book, his voice enchanting our hearts and minds as he describes images of Middle Earth.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

2009-04-15 Dream: Bounce the Wolf Away

...we joint the dream in progress... I am running through woods -- lots of generic deciduous trees, green shadows, and underbrush. At times I'm not sure if it's just me and a small root child or if I'm also with a 50-something Geppetto character. A wolf is chasing us. The wolf seemed like a puppet most of the time; its legs were boneless and its flapping hide was brown, synthetic fleece. His head lead the rest of his body, it was long and narrow like a furry arrowhead. Although he had an artificial quality to him, his rows of long, white sharp teeth were efficient and effective. And the wolf was always hungry.

Before we could get to the cottage, the wolf ate someone. The eating was sanitised in the dream -- the wolf opened his toothy puppet jaws and engulfed someone, starting with their trailing leg. There was screaming, but only a mental impression of blood.

Geppetto, the root child, and I made it to a cottage. The cottage was typical fairy tale: yellow thatched roof, Blackish brown Tudor/Elizabethian timber and white wattle walls, latticed windows of round-pane glass. Inside the walls were whitewashed, but it the interior was dim. The windows were pretty useless at keeping things out.

The root child was an infant, but it was also a stick or a root wrapped up in a blanket. Geppetto put it in a high, black wood crib with square bars.

The wolf jumped in through a window. I/Geppetto (at some point we merged or he dropped out of the dream) destracted the wolf by talking to him. As we were conversing the goal was to keep the wolf out of the nursery and supply him with things to eat other than ourselves. The wolf wasn't very bright, but he was determined. And there was a horror about his mouth because it was a dangerous yawning void (insert black nothingness stretching forever on the other side of the needle teeth). I tricked him into eating a shirt (insert vaccuum like imagry of the shirt dissapearing over the wolf's sharp grin). He didn't like that much.

I kept the wolf in a sitting room / living room while I ran back and forth to the kitchen for more food. The trouble was there wasn't much in the larder. I fed him an apple. It was better than the shirt, but he still didn't like it.

We started to talk. I don't recall the conversation precisely, but reconstructed it went something like...

"Now look," I said. "You don't want this food."
"I don't?" asked the wolf, in a kind of dim-witted cartoon character voice.
"No, you want the cheese in the sky," I said.
"Here, I'll show you." I led the wolf outside and showed him the waning moon in the afternoon sky. (At least the golden green light of the forest lit everything, and the moon hung in the sky.) There was something more about the stars being good to eat, too, but I don't recall it.

The wolf started jumping. With each jump he got a little higher, and his jumps got a little longer. I have an impression of a kind of earthen ramp, and of trampolene sounds each time the wolf started a new bounce. We were saved, the wolf bounced his way to the moon.

... or so I thought. (insert impression of Bugs Bunny warning that the wolf would be back)

More later.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2009-04-14 Dream:  You Are The Eagle On My Head

We join the dream in progress...

Insert typical driving in the old Chevy Impala station wagon / returning to College sequences here. I had moved into a dorm room. By some luck, I had a single room. It was L-shaped, with a greenhouse window bank, as if the room had once opened out on a roof, but was now glased in.

Half-empty boxes littered the floor, and I have a strong image of clothes waiting to be hung up (in waking life, looks guiltily around the house).

The dream narrative breaks.

I have the impression I was on a family excursion to a zoo or garden. At some point the setting transitioned from outside to inside a very large building.

We were looking into an animal pen. The walls were about seven feet high and made of concrete. The pen was about ten feet by twenty-five feet. Most of the animals were birds, but there was no netting or cage on the top of the pen.

Most of the family went onto the rest of the displays. I was sitting on the edge of the wall, with my legs dangling into the pen, when a cat-sized bald eagle (mature, gold-brown wings, white head, yellow hooked beak -- and they're normally much bigger) flew up to me. Then it hopped onto my arm, and walked up to my shoulder (sort of like a parrot). At some point it may have been on my head (if this had been in real life, my arm would have been a cut-up bloody mess, as eagles have very strong, very sharp talons). I was very aware that the eagle's face was very close to my face.

I sat on the wall with an eagle on my head for a short while until Mark came back and said, "Everyone wants to go."

"I've got this eagle on my head," I said, "And I can't get it off."

"Here," said Mark. He lifted the eagle off of me and it flew into the pen.

... and the dream continued...

Tsunami Books Calls for Customers

I got this e-mail from Scott Landfield, the president of Tsunami Books, who said it would be okay for me to post here:


Hello Folks

I've been wondering what to do, and who to talk with about Tsunami Books. It struck me a few moments ago that all of you have asked to be on our email list, specifically to stay abreast of our schedule of events. This email is the opposite of a schedule of events. What this is is an announcement that there may not be any schedule of events beginning very soon, because Tsunami simply cannot continue the way it is going.

A brief overview of what brought me to this un-businesslike email: Tsunami Books has been at the same location in beautiful South Eugene for over 13 years. David Rhodes and I built this place with a lot of energy, zero money, and a modest amount of debt, which quickly grew out of (our) control. Along the way Tsunami has sold over 2 million dollars worth of mostly used books, hosted between 1500-2000 events, and afforded many of us one heck of a special time. We have always tried to offer a fair deal, be of good service, and be an integral part of a unique literate, artistic, and political community. But there has also always been the specter of no money, and growing debt. In 2005 the pressure was such that we called it quits. The day it hit the newspapers 30+ members of this wonderful community stepped up. A closely-held shareholder corporation was formed. The plan included a 20% (non-working) community shareholding; I would retain a 40% shareholding; and Dave, who was ready to move on, would sell his shares to an individual from out of town, who would then move here and take over Dave's position as a working co-owner. The details were such that Dave could leave with a fair buy-out, and Tsunami would for the first time become financially secure. As it turned out, the out-of-towner got "cold feet" after all papers were signed, first demanding part, then all of his money back. Though our case was legally sound, we--that is to say, the newly formed "Cabal"--decided to not spend our energy fighting, but instead get him his money back, and focus our energies on continuing to build Tsunami.

The point here is that our efforts in 2005 were not completed as planned, and did not make Tsunami Books financially sound. In fact, the '05 effort to secure Tsunami Books was to an extent spoiled by the shock of the pull-out of the out-of towner. Tsunami is still recovering from that. It is only a long day's work and the very special community shareholding that has kept this place going. On the bright side, the '05 effort reduced our debt load, which has since remained stable, though with no room to grow. Dave remained at work on a part-time basis through September '08. He and Caban are presently farming in Hawaii (Dave is still looking to sell his 35+% shareholding). I am presently managing the business alone, working the usual 75+ hours necessary to keep the place afloat.

A very good new staff is being trained. At this hour I am surrounded by thousands of unique volumes. The Tsunami Books Schedule of Events for the next two months looks great. Unfortunately, sales the past two+ months are down about 20%. With a maxed-out line of credit, there is no room to breathe. Unpaid bills are quickly accumulating. The present shareholders here at Tsunami have been of tremendous worth, both for the advice they offer, and the dollars they have invested. But they have done more than enough.

This in part is an inexpensive way to advertise that now, more than ever, is a good time to shop your local, community centered businesses.

Also of note: there are still 13 (out of 460) shares, at $500.00 per share, outstanding. We, the shareholders of Tsunami Books Inc, have decided to look to the community, for those interested in purchasing these shares.

It will help. As will this simple spreading of the word.

Thank you very much,
Scott Landfield, President, Tsunami Books Inc.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

2009-04-12 Dream:  Myself, the Stranger

...we join the dream in progress (a car-chase / get to the airport dream).

It is a dark, gothem setting.  A car careens downhill and crashes at a dead end.  The father [played by me], who is dead (I'm not sure if he was a ghost, or a zombie, or dead in a "I'm really dead but I've got a small window of time within which I can act in the world of the living" dead), carries his infant son [also played by me] out of the car and places him at a street corner a half-block away from the burning wreck.  Then the father returns back to the car to die all the way.  

The process of moving the infant from the burning wreck has created a split.  Part of me is alive on the street corner.  Part of me is also a small wood button (who grows into a real human)  taken in by a mouse and a cat.  

There's a gap in my recall.  I've grown up raised by a mouse and a cat in a metal dumpster or some other urban metal-and-concrete venue.  I don't recall how, but I come face-to-face with the saved-infant me (the "real" me, who has my waking history).  

We're in a bank or office building.  It's sunny outside, but the building's windows are polarized and the room is dark.  "Real" me is wearing a business suit (a rare occurance in real life).  Button-self is looking at real-self and on one hand I'm looking at a stranger, but on the other hand, I know his history.   

I'm thinking that if we touch, there will be some kind of quantum-event or a matter-antimatter reaction.  But there isn't; we're two people with twined but separate histories.  A feeling of reversed déja vu fills me.

... and the dream moves on.

Amazon and LGBT

It appears that Amazon is pulling Gay-Lesbian-Queer titles from their ranking lists.  It's possible this is part of a plan to generate buzz for the Kindle.   Links here:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Briallan Dreaming of Myrmidons

I was born at the beginning of the faerie feud. They say on the eve of my natal day, two stars -- a red one and a white one -- fell to the earth from the heavens. Bright flashes glanced between them and they trailed glittering sparks as they fell. The white star descended over the foothills to the west and the red one raced across the night sky and came to rest east to the lowland fens. My mother said the court astrologer was in a dither about it for months.

In the following days peasants appeared in my father's court with tales of cattle disappearing and of fruit trees and crops strangely blighted. Dazed travelers were discovered wandering far afield who told confused stories of abductions to hollow hills. Even Father Connor returned from his circuit to report of strange unholy beasts with powers unconfounded by cross or prayer.


I can hear you chopping through the thicket. Lying in my flower canopied bed, I can hear you. The rattling of the briars has pulled me from my dreams, again. I always wonder how long the dry rattling of the rose canes will go on before the cries for help start.


The first fey visited my father's castle about a fortnight after the two stars' appearance. News came that there was a faerie riding with a string of seven strange horses in broad daylight on the old road. The excitement on the castle walls doubled when the fey outrider came into view. She was a twiggy, elfin maid in billowing skirts, not much larger than a seven-year-old child. A silver bracelet with flashing jewels adorned her wrist. If her dragonfly wings and antennae had not marked her as a faerie, her pinched features and impossibly thin waist would have.

The elf halted her trotting string at the gatehouse and gave an outlandish salute, which made her bracelets jingle. She had other worldly eyes: large silvery orbs without iris or pupil. They say there was a scent like rosemary or lemongrass in the air where she stopped. The elfin horses were strange white beasts, six-legged, like the horse of the wild northmen's god, with fuzzy horsehide and a slender white horn out of a narrow forehead.

Father Connor charged through the gatehouse and said a psalm to try to drive the elfin maid away. She chittered to the horses and they chittered back. Then she turned to the priest, who was reaching for a vial of holy water. She held her bracelet up to her face and said in a high, bird-like voice, "Be at peace, I am neither angel or devil, but a messenger of Queen Gloriana. I would speak with your queen."

By this time my father had reached the gate. "I will see that the queen hears your words," he said to the fantastic stranger. "What message shall I give her?"

The elf maid and the horses held another brief, high-pitched conference. Then, raising her bracelet to her face again, she said, "Queen Gloriana sends her greetings and hopes that our neighboring realms may have a peaceful and cooperative relationship. As a token of her good will, I am bidden to tell you that a hand full of borage and nettle steeped overnight in apple vinegar is a potent proof against wicked faeries who have established a domain about half a day's ride from this hive." The maid gestured with her free hand towards the boggy lowlands where the red star had fallen. "I also am bidden to ask her permission to ride through her territory, and to ask for aid in bringing the wicked faeries to justice."

They say my father stood very still. "I will bring your words to the Queen," he said. "And since you are an outlander, I will give you this counsel. This realm is ruled by a king, and it is his lands you ride through."

The elf bowed, then spoke over her bracelet. "I crave your pardon, for I am a stranger to your language. The leader of your ruling clan is called a king?"

"I am Edward, son of Edmond," said my father. "And I am king of this land."

There was another chittery exchange, and then with a short hop the faerie threw herself at my father's feet.

"Forgive me, Edward-son-of-Edmond," she said, dragonfly wings quivering. "As you are the ruler of this place, my words were for you -- please, what answer shall I have for my Queen?" The herbal smell grew stronger as the emissary lay prostrate at my father's feet, her antennae brushing his boots.

"Tell your queen that I thank her for her counsel," he said. I will ponder her offer of alliance. And you harm none, you are free to pass though our lands."

The fey outrider rose, bowed, flew up to her horse's back. With a final salute, she turned her string with a whistle and rode off.

The following day an emissary from the other elfin court came with one of the white horses' heads on a pole. This faerie knight was hairy and green, with large eyes that were a nacreous white. Its beetle-like steed was clad all in dark green segmented armor. A single thick tusk, like a giant rose's thorn, curved skyward from this faerie horse's snout. The knight planted the pole an arrow's flight from the castle walls and bellowed in a voice as deep as a well, "Queen Titania says to the queen of this hive: 'Do not involve yourself with our oppressors.'" Then he rode away. They say horses and other beasts were loath to approach the place where the green faerie knight had issued his warning.


I can still hear you. You must be stronger or cleverer than the last one. He was quite the screamer, I think he lasted three days in the thorns. For both our sakes, be quick and merciful. Just start screaming now, please, and be done with it.

I can not hear you now. Ah well, I never hoped you would get to my tower. Please do not take this the wrong way; I stopped hoping after prince number twelve. I guess the thorns -- Is that you in the water? Did you make it to the moat? Clever. Most never make it that far. For the love of God, do not drown before you make it to the portcullis.


For several weeks, emissaries from both elfin courts visited my father's castle. Gloriana's slender messengers always brought gifts: advice about the weather, faerie dust that protected apple orchards from pests, or a bolt of fine silk. Titania's messengers -- short, with pine green fuzz showing between dark armor plates -- brought gifts as well, a green crystal bottle of colorless, odorless, tasteless poison; a wondrous plant that caught flies in its hinged leaves; a clear glass sphere which displayed a family of robins in their nest. Both envoys made overtures of alliance. My father accepted the gifts and avoided words of committal.

Somehow the faeries found out about my christening. Three child-sized, wasp waisted ladies from Gloriana's court rode with a whole herd of the white elf horses to the gatehouse and asked for the privilege of gifting me. So far the faeries had visited us with gifts and words only. My father and mother hesitantly agreed to admit them to the ceremony.

The smallest faerie was the first to creep up to my cradle. Her dragonfly wings trailed over her voluminous skirts. Stroking my face with one long slender hand, she brought her silver bracelet to her face and chittered, "I give the baby queen Briallan the gift of flaxen hair that will last throughout her days." Then she brought her elfin face close to mine and kissed me.

The next largest came up and also stroked my face, kissed me, and spoke over her bracelet, saying, "I give the baby queen Briallan the gift of increased constitution, so that no winter cold or ague may find purchase in her body."

She crept away to make room for the third -- who was the most bejeweled fey yet to visit -- when an evil faerie dropped from the ceiling like a dark green beatle, bit me, and shouted above my shrieks, "before Briallan matures she will die of an all-consuming canker!" Then it lifted its skirts and let loose a fart that stunned the guardsmen and set the dogs howling. "Thus will we treat all who side with our oppressors!"

Some of the guardsmen swore they saw four stick-like legs under the skirts before the evil faerie flew out the window, the first two faeries in pursuit.

The third fey exuded a scent like lavender that calmed all -- both men and dogs -- in the hall. I stopped my cries. "Peace," she said, using her bracelet like the others, and came slowly forward to address my mother. "What Titania has done today is a small taste of what she could do if left unchecked. In this hour I must declare myself; I am Gloriana." The faerie queen made another bow towards my parents. "I cannot undo the poison of the wicked faerie's kiss, but I can soften the blow. The baby queen Briallan's canker will be benign. She will not die, but the healing may require a treatment of many, many years. Thus will we redress the crimes of the fugitive, Titania." Then she picked me up in both of her stick-thin hands and kissed me. It was the first of many healing kisses I would know.


Sometimes I dream I am truly awake instead of this dark half-dreaming; not this floating like a frog just beneath the water's surface. I will slide out from my dreams and remember that I am a princess Gloriana placed in a tower. "Your people will blame me," she said before she shaped her spell. Now my eyes are locked shut in a protective slumber; seeing only my dreams or the dull red of the insides of my lids, half-waking, unable to move, to hear kings' sons thrashing through roses. Then I dream I open my eyes and walk down the stairs, and there's my father and my --

Thrashing through roses! You have gained the portcullis. Do not fail there! At least two -- maybe more -- have. Do not be a fool! Just because you have made it through the moat, you have not won. It is just a little way through the outer ward, but let the bones of the others remind you to have care.


My father threw in our lot with Gloriana's court in earnest. There was a great ceremony in the castle inner ward, where the faeries planted the first of their strange elfin roses. It was a plant of great virtue, able to confound Titania's sprites. The rose was a wondrous bloom, for its pedal-wrapped center was a bee made of flower parts. The flower-bee was so life-like the castle gardeners thought they were actual insects constrained somehow, but Gloriana's faeries told them they were there to attract the real bees.

Assured that Gloriana's blooms would protect the castle from Titania's sprites, my father sent his soldiers into to the fields east of our home. Now that they had mortal allies, Gloriana's amazons -- the very elf women who had visited us from the beginning -- forced Titania's court to entrench in the fens where the ground was treacherous to walk on. Tracks and paths through the bogs became even more perilous places to travel. At night people told stories of beams of green and blue faerie lights flashing from hill to hill.

As the feud played out we learned that both courts were small in number by mortal reckoning and that the faerie warriors were physically fragile -- once their soft spot was known. For every faerie amazon of Gloriana's my father had ten fighting men. But the faerie queen's magic could not take my father's warriors to Titania's boggy fortress, a sodden mound of strangling plants and noxious air. The wondrous white elfin horses were bread for speedily bearing faerie raiders, but could not endure to carry a full-grown man, let alone an armored warrior.

Titania's sprites were hardier, but less gainly and fewer. They had powers that were strangely potent, but as often as not they relied on surprise, stealth and magic more than brute force. We were harassed with illness, blighted crops, or hexed cattle. Our people smashed the elfin webs of Titania's sprites when we found them, and used certain plants we were told had virtue over Titania's brood to protect our kith and kine.

Over the years, Titania's sprites were seen less and less out of the fens. Even with my father's people's help, Gloriana's retainers were not able to drive the wicked faeries from the bogs. The stalemate between the two elf houses lasted until my sixteenth birthday.


Sometimes I think you princes are part of my dreams. I have learned not to trust what I can see. When I dream, I dream of Gloriana's kisses, only somehow they become Father's kisses. Or I dream of the hollow hills. Or of the faerie roses with their insect centers. Or of anthills.


I was a frequent visitor to the faerie domain in the western foothills. It was a place of winking jewels, brightly polished silver, and many labyrinthine passages. My father would accompany me in the early days, but I think the elfin customs and healing arts of Gloriana's hollow hill disturbed him, especially the leech craft. My mother was always cool towards the faeries; she never went.

The faerie queen herself tended me. She was adept at healing childhood scrapes, and once even mended my broken arm in less than a week. Titiana's venom was a more difficult knot to unravel, however, and required many long sessions. First, Gloriana would would sniff and kiss me, for the faeries could divine much from a kiss. Then, she would test the progress of my healing. She had me breathe on white faerie blooms or urinate onto a blue magic wand. "As long as Titania's venom is working in your veins," Gloriana said, "the bloom will stay white and the wand will stay blue." Some times the charms would change hue, but never permanently.

I became used to lying naked on an underhill bed while enchanted ants carpeted my body, searching it for clues to Titania's poison. On some visits Gloriana would remove strange growths from my neck or gut. At the end of the sessions, my women, bodyguards, and I would feast inside the hidden hall and Gloriana would feed us elf grains and amber honey.

She was kind; it was she who taught me the whistles and clicks of her tongue. She always spoke to me as if I were already queen. When I was nine years old, during one healing session we discussed my father's forces, switching between our two languages.

She said, "Briallan, the magic of Titania's hill keeps my amazons from approaching it too closely. We are trying to train your fighting clan -- and it is not my wish to cause offence -- but some are more easily trained than others. How do you choose the best fighters?"

"They have tournaments," I said. "And the knights fight and the best one wins the prize."

"What do they win?" the queen asked.

"An iron crown," I said, thinking, "or sometimes gold or a horse."

"And then the victors breed?" she asked.

"I suppose everyone does," I said, laughing. Boys were stranger creatures to me than Gloriana's amazons. "Father Connor is always warning the ladies of the court to be virtuous when knights visit."


I am damned, you know. Even though I lie here asleep, I know I am. I listen to princes curse me as their bodies and blood feed the briars circling this castle. I have pieced together the stories they have heard about me. They moan that my red lips and white skin and fair hair of gold have drawn them here to die. But it must be this way if I am to bring about Titania's fall.


"Look," said Gloriana during my last visit. "I have something to show you." After sixteen years I could read her moods -- her antennae perked up and she smelled happy. She brought out a faeire bloom. It had changed from white to red during my last visit -- and it was still red. "I have found a check for Titania's poison. When her sprite bit you, the venom turned your glands against you, using your womb to coordinate the illness. I can check the toxin; now I have to set your womb's workings to rights to effect a full cure."

The lights dimmed suddenly and a loud whine startled us. The door opened and Gloriana's servants carried a bedraggled elf amazon into the chamber. Through buzzes and clicks she told us Titania's creatures had overrun Father's castle.

Titania had made use of her enforced exile in the fens, lying low and biding her time until she could gather up sufficient force to break her siege. She sent a firedrake -- a wingless, writhing worm of flame -- to climb our castle's outer walls and burn the faerie roses within. The blooms were torched, but the amazon thought the roots were unharmed. The firedrake was a new beast Glorianna's warriors had never encountered before, and they were sorely pressed to stop it from setting fire to the whole castle. Many of the faerie horses and three of Gloriana's amazons fell bringing the firedrake down. The rest were soon overcome by Titania's sprites, who blew a white elf dust into the air. Men and elfin warrior on both sides died. Titania's remaining forces were bringing the battle to Gloriana's hollow hill. They would attack soon. The amazon thought the invaders were no more than an hour behind her.

Gloriana whistled shrilly, and instantly her underground realm was like a swarm of hornets when their nest is threatened. She turned to me and said, "Briallan, as you trust me, leave your bodyguard to defend this place and let me guide you and your women to a secret hall in the hills."

The captain of guard made his youngest fighter ride with us. The defending faerie band numbered a half a score of winged amazons. The addition of my bodyguard brought their number to fifteen.

Gloriana's child-sized form flew ahead of us, alighting from time to time on hillock or boulder. Our horses were sorely pressed to keep up with her flight as she led us higher into the hills. After a half-hour, she stopped at a rough cliff face and touched it. A hidden door, wide enough to emit our horses, swung open. As we passed through the entrance, a sound like a thousand thunders shook the air and a flash momentarily blinded us.

When I could see again, I looked back at Gloriana. She was looking at her silver bracelet. Its jewel was dark. Silently she swung the door closed. I never saw her wear the bracelet again.


We stayed in the dim stone hall for what seemed like half a fortnight. The first night, I held my tears and comforted my women. Only while the others slept did I slink off to a far chamber to weep. My home was destroyed by faerie malice. My father and mother and all I knew were dead.

Gloriana did not have the proper resources for her healing arts. She was remote, and spent many long hours sitting on the floor in her skirts, silent as a carving. And she refused to open the door until she felt it was safe.

It was like being in hell. We had too much time and too much confinement. The days slid into each other in a dull procession. I could smell my women fretting in the stone rooms, my bodyguard trying to fathom the door's working. We didn't lack for food or water, but even I grew weary of the store of grains and honey.

At last Gloriana stirred. She walked to the entrance. "Briallan and I are returning to her castle," she said, easing the door open a crack. "The rest of you should head further west."

I was surprised as my retainers. "Gloriana," I began, "my mother's people in Gwynedd would --"

"-- watch you die." She cut me off. "I promised I would heal you and the only way to do it is at your castle."

"But --" I began.

"And I swore to bring Titania to justice. Imagine a whole faerie world -- its people poisoned a hundred times worse than you -- and you would have only a small portion of the magnitude of her crimes."

"Gloriana," I said.

"I need you, Briallen," she said. "I have a plan to bring her down; but I need you cured and the only way to do that is at your home." I could tell she was trying not to use her scent to soothe me. "Trust me," she said.

"Like at your hollow hill?" asked the guard. He smelled angry and frightened.

"Do you challenge me, warrior?" Gloriana said, inhaling.

He drew his blade.

She spit in his face, and he fainted into a sleep.

"This is my plan," she said, and told it to me. "Do you want to live?" she asked when she had finished, holding out her slender hand.

I chose revenge.


Gloriana pronounced the castle free of Titania's white dust. It had become a deserted place of scorched earth and stone. The twisting body of the fire-drake, now a raven's larder, lay near the inner north wall. I tried not to look too closely at the other forms on the ground. In most of the outer ward the timbers had burnt, but a good portion of the inner ward was still whole. At least from the outside.

If I could have, I would have ridden to Titania's fortress and run her through with a sword right there. But it would take more than one to bring her down. Instead, I slapped my mare's flank to send her away. When she wouldn't leave, Gloriana bit her and the horse bolted.

Withered shoots of the flowers that once protected the castle poked up through the ashes. This was good, without the plant our cause would have been hopeless. Gloriana fed the faerie roses honey, making them burst into a riot of waving briar overnight. Questing tendrils curtained my tower window the next morning. She continued training the plants with kisses and honey. The sudden appearance of the clinging vines with their sharp thorns discouraged looters and the curious even more than rumor of the faerie sickness.

The third morning, Gloriana knocked on my bedroom door. "It is finished," she said. "The blooms are ready -- you need not lack for anything as long as the root mass lives."

I nodded, knowing what was next.

"Briallan," said Gloriana, "I wish I could stay with you through your ordeal, but if any of Titania's brood survived and find me here, all is lost and I will have failed. I hope my last kisses will explain all."

She hefted up her skirts then and I saw her four insect legs, her womb of glass, and the wriggling grubs within. She reached back and massaged the space between her hindmost legs, her hand came away with the amber Faerie honey. Kiss by sticky kiss, she fed it to me, preparing my body for what was to come. When she was done, the world seemed to be far, far away.

I do not know if I closed my eyes. I remember Gloriana's nails -- gently, painlessly -- parting the skin on my flanks and her grafting a shoot of the faerie rose growing through the window into my side. I remember Gloriana above me, crouching on all six limbs as she kissed me with honeyed lips one last time. I remember her flying, naked, out of the window, her womb clear and empty.

She left me lying on the bed in a hazy half-slumber.


I cannot hear you anymore. Make some noise. My father used to tramp about making a martial jingle. Make some noise -- a thump, a mutter. Or start screaming; I want to return to my dreams.

I can hear you again! Come closer. I want to see what you look like -- will you be fair to look at? Come up the stairs. Will you have scars on your arms? Not that door, my room is at the top of the tower. Why must I be woken by a stranger's kiss?

Yes. You are rattling my door. Open it. It's not locked, just unused. Just push it open. Push it.

Thank God, I can smell you. You have to be real, you smell like leather and sweat. I can feel my heart pounding in my ears. Your leather boots creak closer. Kiss me. Kiss me.

Why have you stopped? Am I naked? God, I must be one hundred years old. Kiss me. I still smell you. I hear your breath.

That's it. Breathe! I can smell the faerie roses opening, spreading their scent. Through the graft in my side I can feel the false bees stirring in the blooms' centers.

And now I understand, for your sweat has unlocked the message in Gloriana's last kiss. The roses' smell has beguiled you since you entered the briar; but you have survived the grasping thorns in spite of the floral glamour. I can hear you step closer, your breath making my heartbeat skip like a spring lamb; making the faerie roses stir. When you kiss me, I will open my eyes and smile, and the rose scent will enflame us both with passion.

For I can smell that you are the one. The one Gloriana's kiss said would come; the one clever enough and strong enough to win through Gloriana's briars. The other princes had to be culled, their remains rooted through for imperfections and flaws in heredity.

When we make love, the faerie roses will move about us, enclosing us in a cocoon, sustaining us. My kisses will spur you on and on for days. For I am the center of the faerie bloom, and you are the bee. When they have learned all they can from you, the avenging myrmidons within me will have all they need to overthrow Titania.

# # #

end image

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Photo of the Day

Door detail from the Cathedral of St John the Divine.Picture of the day: Detail from the front door of St. John the Divine Cathedral. I'm not sure who this is, I don't see a shield and cross, so I don't think it's St. George. It may be St. Martin. What I like about this panel is how the horse and rider fit comfortably within the circle, especially where the horse's head slopes and it's back legs.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

2009-04-08 Dream:  Palm Reader

I was looking at my hand this morning and, in a flash, I remembered I dreamed a palm reader told me my fortune.  

I was in a wooden room; the lighting was dim, but not dark, with a yellowish wood tone.  I'm not sure if we were on a stage or a narrow, railed walkway.  (I suspect that setting is a dream distorted Tsunami Books).  The palm reader was a tallish woman with waist-length wavey hair; she wore a pleated brown and yellow dress with an abstract floral or paisley pattern -- which in waking life reminds me of Mesopotamian carvings.  

(Close up of my hand -- I have an impression my palm was projected onto a screen next to us).  "You have many triangles and stars on your hands," she said, "but they are incomplete.  This denotes great ability, but also feelings of great frustration." 

... and the dream moved on 

(editorial note:  I have had my palm read at a psychic faire in Tsunami Books.  The person who read my palm said my palms were interesting, but I remember my dream palmist's words more clearly than the real one's.  I know next to nothing about palm reading, and frequently confuse my life and fate lines.)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

2009-04-07 Dreams of Virtue and Flame

We join the dream in progress... I was at a gathering or folk concert.  Things were winding up.  A forty-something man with a beard and long hair was leading a kind of standing meditation (the concert was very Eugene).  He was doing a secular chackra clensing, and as he spoke, I saw patterns in the air around him as if rotating circles of polarized glass (centered around his head) were slowly spinning.  

The crowd broke up and a young dream guy (probably an alalgam of the shirtless guys I saw playing basketball yesterday) propositioned me. I told him I was in a monogamous relationship and he got really mad (I must have been giving mixed signals)....

Partial mish-mash of travelling dreams... a scene about lab test results and a spilled folder of papers...

A really smart high school senior had either blown something up or started a large fire.  He was off-stage for most of the dream, except for flashbacks.  He had a clubhouse or treehouse in his parents' backyard where he would experiment with fire and devices.  

Early in his pyromanic career, he "borrowed" and broke, a catalytic converter-sized dental tool (I'm not sure how a dentist would use a large metal box).  "He was a good kid," a male neighbor said, "no one could figure out why he'd steal [the box] and break it.  (pause) But I guess he wanted to take it apart to see how the fire was managed (graphic view-over of the box opening to reveal a small acetylene flame).  

A small group of us were staing in the clubhouse.  The wind outside was blasting and it cold.  I was leaving, so I told some newcomers how they could hang quilts over the worst of the gaps in the walls to keep the wind out.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Word Collage Usage Tool

Not much in the dream department lately. I did dream about wandering around in a pet store.

In the writing department I managed to send out five stories yesterday. I should have fifteen or more out at any given time.

In the blogging department, a friend of mine visited a web site which arranges words into a collage. The words you use the most are bigger. Plugging my blog into the tool showed me that I use 'really,' 'something,' 'somehow,' and other vague words on my blog. A lot. I'm going to have to do something (aarg!) about that.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

2009-04-04 Dream: Smooshed Trilogy

We join the dream in progress... this is probably three or more dreams smooshed together...

The setting was very bright and kept switching. I started out in a hallway outside a school gymnasium.  I saw Peggy Hinsman playing basketball with a teen girl, and I wanted to see how they were going to do it because we were supposedly on a space station and I didn't get how gravity would work (Peggy and the girl seemed to have on-again-off-again gravity).  

The scene changed slightly, and we were all sitting down on a kind of bleacher with our feet hooked under bars beneath the seats to keep from floating away.  Peggy said that she was really excited to be on the station and was going to stay for ten years.  I was part envious, part worried for her bone density, and part sad that she'd be away for so long.  

There was something around here about putting together clear plastic triangles and squares and pentagons into a icasadodecahedron -- possibly for use as a greenhouse.

There's a break. I'm outside on a sunny day at a baseball diamond in a public park. There are aluminum bleachers and a very tall chain-link backstop.

I'm drinking ?Pepsi? out of a metal cup or cauldron, and I realize that it's a little dirty (like the paint is flecking off ?). So I pour the remains of the drink into an old painted/rusty metal trash can. Shining in the bottom of the can are a few dimes and quarters. So I reach in (the trash can is mostly empty except for dirt and some generic dream trash) and get them out. The drink is washing away some of the dirt and dust and more coins are showing up. I pick up the trash can (which seems to have changed to a manageable size) and start pouring the ?Pepsi? and scuzz out through my hands to get the coins.

Either I or some onlookers realize how gross this is, but I think I manage to get something like three bucks.

Continuity / memory break

I was in a house that was an amalgam of my and my parents' houses. I think I wanted to go to Portland for a conference but A) it was expensive and affording it would be dear, and B) the conference started at 3 PM, it was 1 PM, and I should have left earlier to get there on time.

Some nondescript hippy ?Arcosanti? friends, a man and a woman (both with longish hair), asked to borrow my car (which I have the impression was my old Chevy Impala Station Wagon), so I let them.

I have a sense the dream continued, but I'm not sure how the time passed. My Mom appeared and asked, "Was there any gas in the car you let [so-and-so] drive?"

"Yeah," I said. "At least a quarter tank."

"Well, they called and they've run out of gas."

I remember thinking along the lines of "why the hell did they let the car run out of gas?" and my folks and I piled into their car to go get my friends. My mom was driving, she pulled out of the (dream) driveway and onto a five-lane street (neither of us lives on such a street); the problem was that she was in the far left lane, so we were heading against traffic.

"Mom!" I said, "You're in the wrong lane! Go right, go right!"

(Backseat driving my Mom is a change from twenty years ago, when I would have started out driving and then suddenly either my Mom would be or else the steering wheel would switch over to her side.)

Anther continuity break.

I must have made it to Portland after all, because I was walking down long hallways and stairs in a shopping mall complex. I wound up in a bakery. I think I started out with my folks, and I have the impression we were traversing the mall looking for the hippy friends who'd run out of gas.

The bakery layout was an equal-armed L. The bakery floors were red tile, and I have the impression of wide strips of stained fir. There were picture view plate glass windows looking out on small mall trees. The large Hobart mixer and white flour sprinkled prep counters were in the corner of the L, with a eating area on the other side of a wooden rail (in waking life this appears to be an amalgam of the Arcosanti bakery and the Sweet Life Patisserie).

There was a discussion with the two bakers, but I don't recall the content.

Yet another break.

Mark and I were sitting or walking along the side of a park. The park was up on a berm, raised above the surrounding street and sidewalk.

Victorian-style houses were across the street. On one of them, there were various colored (crimson, pale blue, yellow) hoop skirt dresses. I'm not sure how they were standing up on the porch, but there were about five of various sizes (adult and child), in a kind of disarray.

Large black crows flew down from the rooftops and under the dresses. They flew up high with the dresses and then dropped them onto the ground. Mark said something about them trying to break them apart for food, or using them to break walnuts. The dresses landed in the street and on the sidewalk near us. There was a non-distinct crowd acting as Greek chorus and the general tone was "look at those crazy crows."

Mark and I picked up the dresses and took them back to the house. The house was mostly a dark brown on the the outside. We somehow knew the (mostly) women living there (?they were the bakers?), and they invited us inside.

Inside was dark and cluttered in a college student way. I have an impression of a desk fountain tricking somewhere, and candles. All the housemates seemed to be home and we started chatting. Someone invited us to play music. The next thing, I'm feeling something on my toe, and I can't move my right foot because Mark has opened a folding organ pedal rack over it. "My foot is there," I say, and we manage to get it out. Somehow 'my foot it there' is a kind of joke.

The housemates also own an old bulbous ceramic flute; sort of a cross between an ocarina and a bassoon and a flask. It had a drone string inside tuned to the resonant frequency of the flute.

Mark picks up the flute and plays this mellow Japanese style -- it's slow and beautiful. I pick it up and play raucous Klezmer style, which sounds totally corny and sophomoric.

"Oh, that's so beautiful," one of the residents says and I'm revealed by her kindness (but at the same time wondering why she liked it).

Inside the flute, next to the drone string, is a small metal rectangular medallion of bronze. The bronze looks very old, and I turn the flute around and somehow know that it's from Tel Aviv. "Is that a Sumerian depiction of Marduk?" I ask.

"No," says the only male housemate. "It's a Phonetician for the wolf tree."

The dream ends....

Friday, April 03, 2009

World Buiding Out Loud

I'm up against a world-building wall.  

If I want a world where magic works and their is/are diety/dieties and there are aliens... then does magic on Earth work on Alpha Centari?  And if the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, what was the divine doing before then, and why are they hanging around now?  And what is the magical and symbolic meaning of the Neanderthals (symbology is important in a world where magic works and diety can intervene -- there's a lot of philosophy around the image of an ape, a man, the perfect man (Adam Kadmon), and God on accending rungs on a ladder) ? 

So... if magic is manupulation of the cosmos through manipulation of symbols, and if magic is the same on Alpha Centari as it is on Earth, then it would follows that aliens on Alpha Centari use the same kinds of symbology. . . BUT if white in Asian cultures is the symbol of death and white in Western cultures is the symbol of purity. . . 

And if "everything is the goddess" (to use Sir Colin Renfrew's paraphrase of the Gimbutas hypothosis), then everything is everything and how do you focus magical force that way?

I think I won't get started on the dinosaurs. 

And, um, yes -- prayer is different from spells (at least in this made up world).

Strangely enough, I think I've almost  got the aliens figured out. . . and (aha!) that's what happened to the Neanderthals.

Yes.  I know.  I'm the writer.  I can make it all up -- but I want to get all the made up parts lined up before I start writing. 

Dream 2009-04-03 Disjointed

I think the dream started with a Harry Potter trial. The room was full of dark wood carvings. I haven't read the books, I've only seen maybe two and a half movies. Somehow The (second) Master was playing the Snipe character; he was the prosecution, and one-by-one he called Harry, Hermione, Ron up to the stand. Using leading questions and subtle spells, he got them to look like they'd been involved in some sort of crime. The only thing I remember clearly is that he gave Ron a basketball and led him around (outside? to a stone alley?) -- the basketball had a spell on it, which compelled Ron to make a basket. This was somehow incriminating.


This might have still been in the Potter Universe. I was sitting next to a woman (Hermione? Susan Ivanova?) at an ice skate rink. I don't remember well, but someone from the rink came up to her (our seats were right at the edge of the ice), a spotlight shone down on them, and there was some sort of "I'll wait for you forever" exchange. All I remember was that this was The Most Romantic Scene I'd Ever Seen and so I had a Moulin Rouge reaction and was inconsolable for the next chunk of dream.


I didn't realize it at first, but the setting was Arcosanti. I was on a mesa setting up a tent. Or else I was on a platform made of two-foot long pipes. Or both. The camp where a bunch of us were sleeping was on a flat area. It was late afternoon and bright. And putting the tent together was complicated. At one point I was trying to snap two parts of the tent together, but I was mostly hanging off of the edge of the pipe derrick.

I was feeling a little anxious about the height and the parts I was on started to sway a little. Then I noticed a one-year-old crawling toward the edge. Between me shouting and various campers rushing forward, we saved her from tumbling over.

Somehow, the tent turned into a small car. My camping mate and I discovered (after sleeping in it for many days) that there was a roof release that popped up as a taller sleeping tent (like those old vans, only this was a Subaru or something).

Then the car/tent turned into the long narrow attic of a house. The setting seemed less Arcosanti-like and more generic college campus-like. My roommate was leaving, so our housemates were going to the cafeteria for a last meal. I was mildly sad.

There's a gap in my recall. A group of us were singing in a plaza, and somehow the waveforms of our voices were projected, screen saver like, onto the concrete walls of the area. Maybe because my voice was so low, I got the feeling that when I sang, instead of round spiral-graph patterns, I was making linear sin-wave patters.

Another gap... I found myself at some kind of fair, it felt like a state fair, but I was at a booth taking a career test. The job counselor running the booth was a skinny, thirty something man with a beard wearing a checkered flannel shirt. We were talking about why I liked computers and I said I liked computers because they helped me remember things, I liked to use them to find patterns, and I enjoyed demonstrating how I could make them work.

There's another recall gap. I think I'd lost the ability to fly. ?Heather Franek? was trying to help me, and Starhawk was admonishing me that it was my responsibility to eat right and not to force some woman into an unwanted role as my mother.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

2009-04-02 Dream:  Time Motel

Lots of highway driving, broken glasses, and other personal imagry... We join the dream in progress....

A group of us were in a kind of inn, motel, or dormatory.  One split story, lots of white sheetrock walls, ugly tile floors, and an air of dusty unuse.  We had, I think, dream-transitioned from a church.  The only person from real life whom I recongize in waking was Candee Cole.  

At the terminus of the building was a large garage or machine shop.  

It was a sun-filled day time, but the tone of the dream was  "Crew of the Enterprise encounters disabling phenomenon which drives them a little crazy."  

The air thickened menacingly -- the sunlight became hazy and pale.  I think we got into some sort of argument about which rented video tape we were going to watch.  I remember trying to lock folks into seperate rooms for their own good.  And then the entire building began to time-sift (this was Bad).  

About four of us, including a dream guy named Martin, were standing around outside the machine shop.  Over the duration of about five seconds, a large semi-truck tire faded into existance.  And another, and another, until a rectangular area where a semi-truck would be was defined.  Martin did the classic red-shirt thing and stood there watching as a very large dump truck full of hay bales materialized.  It dumped about forty bales on him and then dematerialized.  

Surprizingly, Martin was relatively unhurt by the haybales, which had not dematerialized with the truck.

. . . and the dream continued . . .

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Gilded Bronze Griffin

Picture of the Day: A griffin. This one lives at the MET and is gilt bronze. The process of creating it involved melting gold and mercury together. In a closed room. Yes, the artists went a little crazy from the fumes. This griffin is a candle holder, and if you look in the back, you can see part of a water spigot.

Griffins are one of the creatures I go to when I visit the MET to try to trace their development over the centuries. Very probably stories of Griffins came from China, where there are dinosaur bone deposits (and gold).

Dream 2009-04-01:  Pirates!

Let's see... the only problem with writing down these dreams is that I'm waking up at about 4AM to remember them, but not actually getting out of bed to write them down.  So today's recall is a little muzzy.

I dreamt about a ring.  It was golden, with diamond chip pavé in triangular areas around it, sort of like a Zuni wedding band.  

There was also something about a sheet of ice.

And pirates.  We lived on a rocky outpost near the shore.  One day, a Really Big Pirate Ship sailed up to where we lived.   This was a Bad Thing.  I'm afraid I don't remember too much other than the woman who owned the inn on the outcropping was trying to make a deal with the head pirate (who turned out to be Don Lewis).  Her daughter was going to stay behind and run the inn, while the mother went on board as a kind of hostage -- but there was some sort of conflict of allegiances so that people were planning to double-cross everyone (I wish I could remember more, because it's the sort of thing that would make a good story).

As a part of somebody's plan (I was with the shore folk), I was swimming from the shore to the pirate ship and I had to negotiate around a Creature of the Black Lagoon Pirate who was also in the water.