This Afternoon’s Dream

Wow. I’m totally failing at Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I wrote 267 words on the first and no words at all yesterday.

I have four hours left in the day, so let’s see if I can cook up a couple thousand words in that time.

This morning, Evelyn brought Mila by for the day. She came really early, so I ended up leaving her in my bedroom while my dad and I had breakfast. She barked quite a lot while I was eating, but I knew she was safe and had food and water, so I just waited it out. She stopped barking just about the time that I finished eating, so I stayed at my computer and read for a while before I went back in.

Then the thunder started. Mila was pretty distressed by the thunder, so we stayed in my bedroom. I decided to take a short nap of about an hour or so, then I slept for more than three hours.

This is what I dreamed.

I was living in a foreign country with my dad and maybe Alex. It was a very nice country, with some kind of guy ruling it (a king? a prince? dunno) and everyone seemed to have a good standard of living.

However, U2 (the band) had written a song about how poor and downtrodden some of the people of that country were and so I went to track them down and found a family living in the tunnels by the water main. That water main was their only source of water. They had one of those big wheels that shuts off a water valve, only it was designed to reroute water into a trough that they could drink from. They had tunneled one wall into a room that had three beds in it and was where the family lived and the walls of the tunnel and room were covered with some kind of gray fluffy material that may have been asbestos.

I’m not sure what order things went in. Either I met the king/prince or there was some kind of calamity that destroyed everything.

My home was destroyed and my dad disappeared, presumed dead. He’d left a lot of expensive photographic equipment behind and so I set out to figure out how to use that equipment in order to document the destruction and what was left of the former beauty of the country.

I met some people in . . . a bar? who were helping me learn how to use the camera.

And I went around photographing buildings that used to be beautiful but now weren’t. At some point, a car that was driving in front of me slid off the road and into the water and I was afraid to leap into the water myself because expensive camera equipment. I found some other people just down the river who’d seen the car go in and I offered to watch their valuables if any of them would go in and help. Two men took off their jackets and jumped in and so did a little girl. The men got the people out and the girl emerged with a bottle of something that looked like juice.

This may be when I met the king/prince and he explained that he knows he isn’t a very good king/prince but he’s the only choice the country has. He promised to raise his kids to have good values and judgment and to abdicate as soon as a kid with good judgment and values was willing and old enough to take over.

At some point there was some kind of national superhero and I ended up at Union Station in Los Angeles. My dreams have a pretty good throughline on story but I can’t explain all of them.

Somehow we managed to end up making the country better than it had been before and I moved back to my home, where it turned out that my dad had been evacuated, and he wasn’t dead at all. They also were repainting my living room, which, both in the dream and in real life, is yellow, to have a burgundy accent wall.

We fast forward about twenty years at the end of the dream to where the superhero is flying towards a boat anchored off the coast. I know that the boat contains the current ruler. The hero takes off their helmet? Cowl? and long hair spills out from underneath it the heroine walks over to a sort of covered chaise longue or something, where the current ruler sits. I see that the ruler is a queen/princess and can tell that she’s good and wise and the heroine kisses her on the lips and . . . I don’t know. I don’t really remember much more than that.

When I woke up my first two thoughts where, “What time is it?” and “Why didn’t I suggest some kind of representative democracy?”

The time was a little after 3 pm. I don’t have an answer to the other question.

For today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link, I have the currently-last book Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series, Games Wizards Play. In this volume, there is a worldwide wizarding competition called The Invitational and far from being competitors, Nita, Kit, and Dairine are appointed to be coaches for two of the competitors. I really enjoyed this one and, most of all, this book is how I discovered Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray celery-flavored pop. Nobody else I know likes it, but I love it.

Home from My Errands

November 2, 2020 4 of 8

I went to the seamstress’s shop and dropped off my purse. I’m getting a new lining with the internal pocket and everything for a very good price. I hope her work is as good as it looks like because I will promote her services to all and sundry if it is.

Then I went for a walk and played Pokemon Go for a couple of hours. I also started a new (slightly imperfectly implemented) project. As I think I mentioned earlier, when Evelyn and I went walking with the dogs this summer, it was hot. Like hot-hot. Like “surface of the sun” hot. And the dogs weren’t fans.

So we’ve been looking for the most shady paths to take. It’s all pretty subjective, though. I mean, “Hey, that place we went walking last week was pretty shady.” So we go there and it takes X amount of walking in the sunshine to *get* to the shady place.

After I dropped off my purse, I hit the Leon Creek Greenway. While I was walking, I took a picture every 10-ish minutes (I missed one and took it three minutes late, so the picture before that was 13 minutes before and the next one was 6 minutes after). I stopped right after my sixth picture and the next time I have time to walk on the greenway (mid-November, probably), I’ll start from where I took that picture and then take pictures every 10 minutes.

This was the most shade I photographed on this outing. We’ll see what happens in future trips.

Then I’ll do the same thing on the Salado Creek Greenway and make movies of each greenway and see which areas of each seem to have more shade and next summer (if there is a next summer), Evelyn and I will take the dogs here.

Now, as I said, this is imperfectly implemented. Ideally, I’d take these pictures from, like 11 am to 1 pm or something, but I enjoy having a job. I don’t have the time to visit the greenway every day during that two hours in order to get a perfect view.

So, the shadows will be longer in some pictures and shorter in others. Maybe if my dad wins the lottery, I can buy a drone and zip the drone down a greenway at noon on a weekday during the summer when there aren’t many people on it and get one perfect shot of exactly what the shade on the greenways look like at noon.

But for now, as long as I’m doing this with shoe leather and a cell phone camera, we’ll get what we get.

For our Gratuitous Amazon Link this time, we have The Authenticity Project, by Claire Pooley. Julian Jessop, a fairly well-known artist, decides that most of our problems stem from an inability to be honest about our true selves. So he writes his truth in a notebook and leaves it in a coffee shop, inviting the person who finds it to do the same and leave it somewhere else. In the course of the book, six people find the book, and then they find each other and their lives become more intertwined. I really enjoyed this one and hope that by putting this here, someone else will also find it and enjoy it like I did. This is the Kindle edition.

New Theme. Is it a Keeper?

I stuck the picture that Alex liked better in as my header image. I think it’s kind of busy, personally, but it might grow on me.

I’m working on getting a good picture of the Arsenal Street Bridge with the Pioneer Flour Mill in the background to see how he likes that. He liked this image because it wasn’t just a bridge and thus is more “travel”-y.

I think that I’m too short to get the picture I want, though. Maybe I can get Alex to drop me and the stepstool that we refer to as the “fish stairs”* off there and go around the block while I take a picture from a slightly higher elevation. Or, even better, maybe we could find a place to park and we could walk down there together, so he can keep me from getting so wrapped up in getting the perfect picture that I fall off the stepstool and break my leg or, worse, fall off the stepstool and into the river.

Will I be able to do this before the end of the COVID-19 outbreak? Will I need to wait until the outbreak is over? I look it up pretty much daily and everything I read says that outdoor recreation is still acceptable, even for people in the most locked-down areas of the US, like in San Francisco, just as long as you don’t get too close to strangers. Going out with people in your family is still acceptable. I guess that if I could get Alex to go with me during a work day or very, very early on a Sunday when we’re not likely to bump into strangers we could do it.

Of course, both Alex and I are “essential workers” right now. This means that we both have to go to work until we get infected. Alex is working for a restaurant with a drive-through, so he’s providing people with food. I’m a pharmacy technician and providing people with medical care. So I guess we’ll see if/when we get this thing.

Oh! A new-today discovery about COVID-19! It seems that one of the first signs of the illness is a decrease in ability to taste and smell. This may also be a symptom of a subclinical case (one that never develops really obvious symptoms). So I guess I need to keep something with a strong taste or smell around and test myself daily just in case. I had Indian food for dinner and could taste and smell it just fine, so yay!

Crap. I’m not sure what to do about my Gratuitous Amazon Link. Amazon has announced that they’re going to stop accepting non-essentials in their warehouses. I still want to hopefully be able to make a few cents (and maybe someday dollars) from this, so I hesitate to skip the Gratuitous Amazon Link. However, choosing an “essential” might not work long-term. And what would I pick? N95 masks? That might be useful for anyone who stumbles across my blog right now (and can wait until April 14 for it), but long run, maybe not. Maybe an electronic delivery. A downloaded music album, maybe? A Kindle book? Is clothing an essential? I’ve got it! Lupin Leaps In, by Georgia Dunn, the creator of the Breaking Cat News comic strip. Hers isn’t really the sort of small business that is likely to be affected by COVID-19, but a small business it is, and we really should support it.

* I had to stand on it to take care of Alex’s aquarium when he was little.

National Geographic April 2016, Part 3

Ghost Lands, by Paul Salopek, photographs by John Stanmeyer

We return to Salopek’s Out of Eden Walk series for the first time after a pretty long hiatus. The Out of Eden Walk was originally supposed to take seven years, but it looks like it may take longer. The last time I checked the map showing where he was expected to be, he was a little bit behind schedule. I found the map and he was supposed to be in India in 2015 and then in China at some point in 2016.

So far he’s made it to the border between Turkey and Armenia and in this article he shares with us some of the fraught history between those two countries. During the last days of the Ottoman Empire (which lasted until 1922), over a million Armenians were killed in what Salopek says that “most historians” say is “the modern world’s first true genocide.” The official Turkish version is different, of course; they say that 600,000 were killed and that they were more along the lines of “collateral damage” than an attempt at extermination.

Salopek shows us the remaining damage to both the land and the people as a result of the deaths of these Armenians. The border between the two countries is closed and there is basically no way to get directly from one country to the other except for one airline that flies out of Yerevan. By land, the only way to get from one to the other is to go hours out of the way through Georgia.

93 Days of Spring, by Jim Brandenburg

Brandenburg shares with us his project to take one photograph a day in Minnesota during the spring. Brandenburg didn’t choose Minnesota randomly; it’s his home. The photographs are beautiful, as one would expect from a professional photographer. They also show a love of his home that, hopefully, will inspire other photographers to take pictures of their own homes.

As an aside, taking pictures close to home is a particular interest of mine. Some of the important things from my childhood and youth are no longer there and I never got to take a picture of them. I’m always after Alex to photograph the things and places that are important to him because you never know what may happen in the future and he may want to share these things with his own family someday.