Saturday, October 31, 2015

Brotherhood and Clones

Working Out:  I've been lazy.  I was going to work out yesterday (Wednesday) and I wound up taking a nap instead.

I had a dream this morning, but I don't recall what it was.  

Lately, The Child has been watching the CGI show, "Star Wars:  The Clone Wars."  The writing is fairly good, and in many places better than episodes I, II, and III of the Star Wars movies.  I think the most interesting characters are the clones themselves because they are people who know that they've been manufactured to be soldiers.  The show has written them as individuals who choose names for themselves and who differentiate themselves with tattoos and various hairstyles.  Since they're all clones, they consider themselves brothers, and the theme of brotherhood between brothers is a reoccurring one in the show.  

I have to admit that the brotherhood theme sometimes eludes me.  As someone who only has a sister, the places where the characters deliver an impassioned "brother" in dialog seem a little over-the-top.  The only experience I have are watching Mark retaliate with "the youngest brother preemptive nuclear option" when we tease each other (which, I don't do that often because of said option).  I have three brother-in-laws, but I don't think that counts.

I'm trying to think what it would be like growing up with 100,000 copies of me.  On one hand, that would be pretty darn cool... but on the other hand, I can see us being super-competitive.  But I don't think we'd work out as a battalion.  I think it would turn out more like when Calvin duplicated himself. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Falls, Dreams, and the Wordos Reading

Last Sunday we went on a hike to a fall near Silverton.  It's a smallish creek, but it flows over a tough basalt lip.  Softer soil underneath the basalt has eroded out, so the trail makes a crescent through a cave behind the falls.  A maple grows near the bottom of the fall, and twines around the basalt lip, a natural bonsai twisting to trap as much sunlight as possible.  Within  the wide cave, there's a bench, and it's dry.  Sitting in the shadow of stone, the sunlight flows through the falling droplets of  the spray. I imagine that it would be the sort of place to sit and write haiku.

Tonight (Tuesday) is the Wordos Halloween reading.  As usual, my story is about 300 words over the thousand word limit, so I have some trimming to do.  

I had a very weird dream Tuesday morning.  I think it started out with men in a hott-ub or something.  Then I was at a kind of book fair.  Then I was introducing Mark and The Child to K.W. at her house, who was much more harsh Southerner than I've ever encountered her.  Then we were trying to beat a storm home, and I had to drive the car through some water.  There was a break, and I was staying with a Mexican family and at first the very traditional father thought I was having an affair with his daughter, but then the dream shifted and they thought she was a lesbian.

The short story for the Halloween reading was received well.  By changing the POV from a whiney teen (essentially) princess to a self-possessed kung-fu instructor, and making the teen character a sullen boy, I side-stepped narrative summary whine to the plot.  People seemed to appreciate the teen's "whatever" voice.  (Although there was a discussion of whether teens say "whatever" or something new).

There were thirtteen stories in all, and they spanned the range from funny to creepy to interesting.  A number of stories addressed the changing traditions of Halloween, lamenting how the holiday has gotten tamer.  Some alumni-members returned and read their stories, and it was nice to catch up a little with them.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Autumnal Soreness

Working Out:  Wednesday afternoon gym:  25 minutes on the elliptical for about 200 calories and 130 steps/minute.  Rowing machine: 110 cal, at about 680 cal/hour for about 12 minutes.  Assisted dips: 3X12:at 14.  Assisted chin-ups: 3X10 at 14.  Pec-fly: 3X12X40lbs.  Lat pull-down: 3X12X80.  Curl-ups: 2X13.

I'm not sure how or what I did... but my trapezoids on my left side are sore enough to make my left pectorals tight.  Not sure if it's a back thing, or a twisting thing, or a sitting too much thing.  

The morning Friday is foggy and cold.  The leaves are well on their way to turning from green to yellow, orange and red.  I was lucky enough to see the conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Mars before the fog rolled in.  The big dipper was upside-down over the northeastern hills.

I've been sort of ennui-ish.  This morning a kind of malaise sat on my chest, like the Nightmare painting usually gracing Freud's "interpretation do Dreams"...  What were the French Diseases of the Soul from "The Lathe of Heaven" again? (Looks it up: pique, umbrage, and ennui.). Maybe it's ennui.  Maybe it's existential angst.  Maybe exercise isn't combating the seasonal reduction in light as well as I wish it would.  Maybe it's the humming of the refrigerator.  Maybe I'm just sort of tired.  (Maybe I had a psychic reaction to a rejection that I discovered via Twitter the following day...)

More Working Out:  Went to the gym Saturday.  25 minutes on the elliptical for about 210 calories and 125 steps/minute.  Rowing machine: 110 cal, at about 680 cal/hour for about 10 minutes.  Assisted dips: 3X12:at 14.  Assisted chin-ups: 3X10 at 14.  Pec-fly: 3X12X40lbs.  Lat pull-down: 3X12X80.  Curl-ups: 3X13.  Barbell curl 3X13X35 lbs.  And some vague sit-ups on a medicine ball and a swimming noodle to try to straighten out my back.  There's been a knot or something where my trapezoids connect to the left side of my spine; the elliptical helped loosen it up,  and I tried ironing it out with the ball and noodle -- I might be leaning to the left too much when I sit.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dreams of Halloween Tea

Working Out:  Tuesday I felt twitchy -- I'm assuming it was endorphin addiction -- and so I went to the gym for what I guess I would call a cardio work-out.  I spent 25 minutes on the elliptical (200-something calories, 135 steps/minute, and a heart rate of about 135).  Downstairs I did the pec fly 3 sets of 13 at 30 lbs and barbell curls (because I keep cutting those out lately): 3X13 at 35 lbs.

For a while my weight plateaued at 172, but the last two times, I've dropped down to 168.  I thought there was something wrong with the scale at first.  I'm not sure if I've reached some sort of tipping point in terms of general muscle mass, or if I've managed to eat less junk or what.  

The other day I saw a Facebook post where one of my friends had gone to a Halloween Witch's Tea.  There were lots of photos of women in dark dresses and pointy hats and gauzy material and leaves and purple.  It looked like a lot of fun, and I thought how enchanting it would be to have a tea party with table linens, bat-shaped cookies, and black tea, and spiced cider, and maybe even snacks like pumpkin cake and chocolate -- and possibly Tarot cards, or maybe something more laid back like looking at tea leaves or a scattering of maple leaves or a playful wheel of fortune.  With Scarlatti or Purcell harpsichord playing in the background.

Probably what I want is something like an old Carleton College Druid Ritual.

Anyway, now I'm wistful, and sitting in the dark listening to "Dead Can Dance," which is probably not the best choice for a snappy mood....

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Journal: Wildlife and Critiquing List Stories

Working Out:  I've been lame this last week; I've only done a few stray push-ups and some free-weights here and there.  I can feel muscles in my back and legs and arms all twitching and missing the workouts.  I'll have to hit the gym this (Monday) afternoon.

Writing:  I got a rejection yesterday (Sunday) evening.  This morning when I remembered it, my reaction was a kind of mental "phft" and then the DJ in my head played "Nothing" from "A Chorus Line."  On one hand, I suppose that's good and I'll just send the piece someplace else. 

The other week I was critiquing a list story.  List stories are difficult for me to critique because they're usually humor pieces and I have an odd sense of humor, and I'm not sure how to apply the five-point try-fail cycle to them.  Also, I think they are a sub-set of the epistolary form, which I've found is difficult to pull off without deflating character and plot tension or raising questions of why the reader is reading a stranger's letters.  

I've decided that if I approach list stories as if they were Twitter stories--which I've got a better understanding of--then I've got a handle on how to look at their structure.  

Working Out:  Monday afternoon I hit the gym.  Elliptical: 160 cal, 20 minutes, 130 steps per minute, 130 heart rate.  Rowing machine:  110 cal, 10 minutes, about 650 cal/hour average.  Assisted dips: 4 reps of 12 at 14.  Assisted pull-up: 3 reps of 10 at 14.  Pec-fly machine: 3X12 at 40.  Lat-Pulldown: 3X12 at 75.

Writing:  Pretty much finished up folding in edits and crits from a 2000 word mom-scientist piece.  I'm doing a final run on paper to catch any stupid things that I miss on the screen.  Then I'll have to see where I can send it out.

Yesterday (Monday) afternoon as I was picking up The Child, a crow fluttered across the road in front of my car.  It was at about foot level, flapping its wings and half-flying, half-walking across the street.  A yearling dear -- it seemed to big to be a faun -- followed it.  The deer's head was down, as if it were playing follow-the-leader with the crow.  I slowed down to give the deer time to cross.

Of course a crow leading a deer across a street from left to right seems like A Sign.  I'm not sure what of, and, recalling how crows will sometime drive rabbits across highways, I wondered if this crow was hoping for roadkill venison.  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Angsty Dreams

I guess I'm not as fully recovered from the weekend as I thought I was; I was pretty tired yesterday (Monday) and I had a very slight case of vertigo (my ears must be congested or something).   Anyway, I thought I'd be more productive than I was.

Dreams lately have been angsty .  In one, I was two twin boys, until I was the twin caught in an evil doctor's office (lots of screaming and yelling in that one).  In another, Mark and I were wandering around, lost -- I think we were lost on a hike, or lost in a building, but it was the usual stuck in a labyrinth motif.  The latest was discovering that The Child was trying to feed Smokey our cat and another mystery cat, and he'd opened two cans of cat food and plopped them in water bowls and filled the bowls with five cups (at least) of dry kibble, and the both bowls were turning into a soupy mess which the cats were mostly tracking around the kitchen.  And then The Child did something like smear the cat food all over the walls and himself... and I'm standing in the kitchen thinking, "Why the hell don't you have any common sense" and trying not to lose it.

Tuesday Night.

I dreamed that I was in a parade or something.  It was vaguely Renaissance Faire.  Mark was there, and at one point I was reclining in a rectangular fountain basin.  The fountain was the backdrop in a circular amphitheater setting (very Soleri-esque) with ramps spiraling around the seating area.  At various parts of the dream I would either be in shorts, or naked, or else wearing a kind of merfolk tale (which might have been a artfully twisted green blanket).  

A procession of horns ... no that's not right, maybe it was a procession with just one singer singing  Greensleeves came down the ramp, and the costumed people standing in front of the fountain couldn't quite hear the words or the tune.  I started singing because I could hear what was going on, and some robed people in front of me picked up the tune.  

There was a break... and a fine, fit man had joined me in the fountain.  He ran a hand over my merguy tail and made a comment about the fabric, and I thanked him for the complement and told him that I was in a monogamous marriage.  

There was something more about getting out of the fountain and finding mark in the outside mall surrounding the fountain in order to find some clothing.   And someone in a really large plush sun mask.

There was another break, and I was in an audience with Fer Horn.  This may have been after the fountain... A bunch of Renaissance performers were up on a stage, but the sound system wasn't working, and we couldn't hear them.  I noticed a rack of mics...   And then the duct tape in my socks started to crinkle very loudly (I don't know why there was crinkly duct tape wrapped around my feet under my socks), which Fer thought was very funny.  

Then there was something involving lots of wandering and swimming through or flying over a river... and something a family finding a lost puppy underneath a terra cotta flower pot during an outdoor garden performance.

So... stages and audiences, sexual tension, quests, and being heard or not.   I guess the next step is to ask myself who I'm not hearing, or what it is that I'm trying to tell.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Flu Weekend

Over the weekend I caught a 24 hour bug that gave me the chills and a fever.  It also made me tired; so this weekend was one of enforced relaxing and I didn't get a whole lot done.  I didn't go to the gym, and I only sort of re-arranged the stack of manuscripts needing work (however, I do have a list of which ones to work on first, so that should keep me busy).

During my more lucid moments, I read an article on commencement speeches, in which the author listed some of their favorite sayings.  The one that struck me the most was "Do what you are doing."  I'm going to remind myself of that one for the week and see what happens.  The author also extolled folks to read the old classics, like Plato, which also seems like a good idea.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Laughing Prophet, Broken Wheel

The other day, when I was walking from the parking lot to where I work, there was a twenty-something man walking away from campus loudly reading some Old Testament scripture about smiting in God's name (I've tried to find the scripture he was reading, and it might have been Jeremiah 29:21, but it could have also been Isaiah 11:15 or Ezekiel 30:21 or some other grumpy prophet).  He was about five eight, with medium-long, think, dish-water blonde hair like a proto-dreadlock halo around his bearded face.  He wore army pants, a camouflage T-shirt, and carried a heavily-packed backpack on his back.  A smallish, triangular green tattoo was above his right triceps.

His voice was strong, and echoed for a half-block off of the office and apartment buildings on the street, and down the empty streets and over the parking lot.  "...and go into Egypt, and in my name  scatter the armies of Pharaoh.  And--" here is voice rose into a hoarse pitch "--the Lord God said,"  he voice returned to a sea-shanty voice, "and go and raise your arm and smite the King of Babylon, and do this... "his voice returned to its maniacal pitch " the --hee-hee-- name -hee-eee-eee-ee of Jee-hova, your God..."

It was like God--or something--had driven him mad.  If he was acting, he was good at it; as he walked by he projected that super-focused "I must intone Bible verses" vibe, and the hee-eee-eee seemed like a real stutter of Jehova.  I felt sad for him, because it seemed like his religion had broken him, like a cart after it's carried too heavy a load, and now he was meandering through the streets with a squealing axle.

He walked away from campus, and his voice was lost.

Dancing and Working Out

Workout:  Sunday morning I managed to get to the gym.  Mark calls it "The Old Folks Gym," and he's kind of right.  This was my first time in on a Sunday morning, and the folks there weren't necessarily old, but they did have a kind of focused earnestness about them that folks who are there for their health (as opposed to being there to look good naked) have.  I quite freely admit that I'm there so I can look good naked.

200 calories on the elliptical in about 20 minutes.  100 calories in 9 minutes on the rowing machine.  10X3 assisted dips and chin-ups on the 13 level.  Downstairs I only did 12X3 at 40 lbs pec flies, 12X3 lat pull-downs, and 12X3 35 lb barbells.  I would have done some more, but I had to get back home in time for us to go on an excursion to pick up The Child.

Saturday afternoon Mark and I had an impromptu early dinner at a sushi restaurant located in the old Savoré space.  I haven't been in the place for about nine years, and my memory of the old layout kept intruding on the current one (I suppose that I should just lay the reminiscences aside ...  J'ai déjà passé un bon moment autrefois).  Mark ordered bento, which he liked, and I ordered a yummy crunchy sushi roll.  The musac was very soulful saxophone, but otherwise the restaurant was very nice.

We went home, took a disco nap, and then went dancing at the new local queer bar, The Wayward Lamb.  The front area is open to the street, and had some charming hinged windows for airing the place out during the summer.  The bar is more generic and less raunchy than Club Arena was; Club Arena played a lot more disco and had gay male porn clips playing on the video screens.  The Lamb is new and clean, with a kind of clean Scandinavian Design feel to it.  The single flat screen TV over the bar was showing a football game.  It felt more energetic and brighter than the old Neighbor's bar, which always felt like a run-down high school cafeteria.

Since it's downtown and on the same city block as Titan Court, a student housing complex, the crowd there felt young.  I joked that Mark and I probably doubled the average age of the room when we walked in.  The clientele felt fifty-fifty split between the genders; I couldn't guess the breakdown of orientations, but it seemed like the whole spectrum was represented. 

The music didn't start until about 10:30.  When we were dancing, they played a lot of very distorted rhythms--the latest style seems to be mashing together 90 second long song clips of eclectic styles: I'd just be getting into something with a good dance beat when suddenly something funky-hip-hoppy or something would jar me out of the rhythm ("The reason you can't dance to this," Mark said, "is because you're white.").  Mark thought the (concrete) dance floor was about the same size as Club Arena's, but with less club table space.  We thought it was a converted kitchen, because there seemed to be grease-trap covers set into the floor (insert obligatory "on the manhole" joke here).  

I had fun dancing (when I could).  [Edit- Oddly enough, music hasn't really changed in twenty years... Although I couldn't understand what was being sung over the distortion. Our dance moves became "Little Bunny FruFru" and "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" when ever the music devolved into the musician using a synthesizer key as a percussion instrument.] Mark and I haven't gone out in an age, and my favorite part of the night was dancing with my head on Marks shoulder, my left hand on his back, and my right hand on his heart; I closed my eyes and felt us moving together as we danced.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Journal and Retrograde Mercury

Working Out:  Tuesday night (last week) after Wordos, I had a pick-up workout.  200 cal on the elliptical (and critiquing), then 100 cal on the rowing machine.  I did 10X2 chin-ups and dips at 16.  Downstairs, I did reduced weight routine.  3X12 at 30 lbs on the pec-fly.  3X12 at 70 lbx on the lat pull-downs.  12 curl-ups.  3X12 30lbs. on the bar-bells

Wednesday (last week).  I did 200 cal on the elliptical (and critiquing).  The rowing machine was in use.  10X3 chin-ups and dips at 14.  Downstairs, I did 3X12 at 40 lbs on the pec fly.  3X12 at 80lbs on the lat pull-down.  3X12 curl-ups.  3X12 35bls.  bar bells.

Writing:  I have been getting up at 5:30 or 6 and writing.  Obviously, I get more done when I arise earlier.  This week has been difficult, but I've managed to write, finish up and edit the short story (5500 words) that I started at the Ken Scholes workshop.  I'm hoping to have it critiqued by the Wordos next Tuesday (on track for that).

Thursday was a retrograde Mercury morning from Hell.  I couldn't find my work key (which I'd had to do without the day before).  Then I couldn't find my car keys, which I think were moved either by Car Key Gremlins or The Child.  

I managed to get The Child to school.  Then I got to work and realized that I did not have a valid parking tag, nor did I have the Office Birthday Snack for one of my office-mates.  I drove back home, got the parking tag and thought... I wonder if my work key is at the gym.  I tried to look up their number, but as soon as I did, the internet on the home computer went out.  Not even ipconfig \renew * would fix it (which pretty much assured me that it was there). 

I zipped over to the store and got the supplies I'd need for the day.  I wound up driving by the gym, and picked up the key that had in fact, fallen out of my pocket (or something) Tuesday night.  Surprisingly enough, there was a parking stall open when I got to work (I can only assume that Retrograde Mercury caused one of the undeserving SUV drivers to have a flat tire).