Dreams & other things

A friend on Facebook brought up the topic of weird anxiety dreams a while back. It made me think about how much I enjoy the heck out of my dreams even when they’re full of awful occurrences. Here’s the most recent memorable addition to the collection.

This ramble through the wilds of my subconscious took me to one of my regular locations: a HUGE university campus that grows and changes depending on how recently I’ve visited my alma mater and other factors in my life I haven’t pinned down yet. I’m always new on campus, I’m always clueless about where anything is, and I never know anyone. Signs and maps are ubiquitous though, and I do a lot of research.

In this dream I’m supposed to assist with a medical procedure in one building, but I get trapped by a doctor who doesn’t like me in a classroom building on the other side. So I come up with a clever escape plan involving a cat and a clock (details were vague, but I am *sure* it would work and it does.)

Then I have to thread my way through all the back paths on the campus I don’t know yet to get back to my new dorm to change clothes so I can properly help with the Important procedure (the nature of the medical issue was never made clear/important to me, nor did I ever grasp the specific need for new clothes. I just know I need them. )

And of course I keep getting lost in weird places like a grotto with pine trees and glowing mushrooms. And I steal a bicycle at some point, one with multi-colored glittery streamers on the handlebars. (Important detail)  Also, there was rain, but not on me. All this made perfect sense.

On the advice of the mushrooms I find my way nearly back, but I have to dodge through a food fight in the dining hall to get to the right quad. I get out the door to find that the whole place is unrecognizable because some frat boys have covered all the buildings in big colorful building wraps like bouncy houses designed to look like psychedelic replicas of Roman landmarks.  ( my dream university does not have fraternities or sororities, by the way. Yet there are frat boys.)

And they’re doing it all  for some big unnamed festival so everyone on campus is out and about celebrating and getting in my way.  Given I don’t even know the names of all the buildings or the normal layout, I have no chance of ever finding my dorm in that mess.

Even in my dream I was thinking, “okay, but this is beyond absurd,” and I was persuading one of the frat boys to reveal which building was mine when I woke up.

Objectively I would expect that dream to be jam-packed with dread and worry, but it wasn’t. It was honestly a good bit of fun.

That’s all for now.


Not tired of my words yet? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on my website on this page 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon. 

Extraordinary books2read.com/u/4N19e6
Powerhouse books2read.com/u/3kZ1VW
Nightmares books2read.com/u/3yPExv
Lockdown books2read.com/u/3GM2Xn

The things & nothing but the things

Short and simple. Doings & opinions.

Books:

Still working on the Grace Burrowes ouvre, because I heart it.  I’ll be at this a while at roughly 3-5 books a week. She’s written a lot.

The Soul of an Octopus. More non-fiction for the year!!! Both the book itself and my continuing a non-fiction book completion streak are worthy of multiple exclamation points (in all defiance of Proper Grammar)  What’s the book about? Cephalopods, the Universe & Everything. But mostly cephalopods. Lots of fascinating facts beautifully wrapped in the personal story of the author’s relationship with several octopuses on exhibit at the Boston Aquarium.

Movies:

Edge of Tomorrow. Entirely decent action SF saddled with a baffling name and trailers that didn’t do it justice. If I had to pitch it, I would call it Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers by way of Full Metal Jacket, but it’s too complex to lend itself to soundbites or easy explanations or anything except saying, “No, seriously, it’s damned good stuff.” It got a little too “hey, kids, let’s-MEGASIZE-the-action” near the end, and the inevitable hetero pair=romance issue wasn’t handled adroitly, but it also didn’t devolve into gooey absurdity. And it had a damned fine ending. So, then. TL;DR review: I liked it.

Yellow Submarine. One of my workmates is a huge Beatles fan. We got to talking, I decided I had to re-view the movie. So trippy. I’d forgotten how trippy.  Forever fab.

Genius. A movie about the editor Max Perkins and his protege Thomas Wolfe in the 1920’s and 30’s, not the series about Albert Einstein. Very romantic look at “How Publishing Used To Work”  Beyond that it was not memorable despite solid performances by Colin Firth and Jude Law.

Warcraft. A somewhat murky animated fantasy epic. The animation nearly climbed out of  the Uncanny Valley and nailed some great action scenes. I’m sure it was fabulous fun for its target market  (World of Warcraft players, past players, and readers of the novels to name a few groups.)  Okay by me.

Guardians of the Galaxy. Had to prep for Volume 2, didn’t I? Still haven’t seen the second one. Maybe next week. Something tells me it’s going to be a round a while.

The Help. I was underwhelmed. Yes, important topics and historical period handled in a fine dramatic fashion. Yes, phenomenal performances, all the awards definitely deserved. And yet…I would have preferred lots MORE about the people whose stories the protagonist was trying to tell and less of the racist white folk caricatures. I know, I’m oversimplifying, but for me the presence of racist straw figures easily defeated by spunky defiance and clever opposition detracted from the power of the story.

Television:

Not much.  Feud ended beautifully, but it’s over, other shows are on mid-season break, and I don’t have the cable channels I need to watch American Gods or Handmaid’s Tale or other shows I can’t recall at the moment. The important thing is that I’m spending more time on creating and less on consuming things that don’t inspire creating. So hopefully it’s an everyone-wins scenario.

On the other fronts:

There was travel to Seattle to visit Spouseman’s mom and other relatives, hence the picture of Mt Rainier adorning this post.  Physically exhausting for him, stressful and emotionally draining for us both, and yet wonderful and invigorating and tremendously needful for both of us. SpouseMom is in her middling nineties, so…yeah. Good to visit and hug and listen to family stories.

My hair is short again and also blue. No longer blue enough to stain towels, clothes or pillowcases, but still a deep, vibrant shade I love spotting in windows as I walk past.

I have a new audio for one of my not-new novellas, and I’m working on that print edition of my story collection. BECAUSE PRINT LIVES!

The dryer died and I fixed it, the stove died, and we’re getting a new one. Given the ages of our other appliances, I really must stop referring to them as the “new” ones and bump up the saving for inevitable breakage. Hard to believe, but come Memorial Day, we’ll have been 20 years in our first little house.

Upcoming: a trip to Pittsburgh for the SFWA conference and much learning about writing and publishing stuff. And hanging out with friends.

That’s all there be for now.


Not tired of my words yet? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on my website on this page 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works…so many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon. 

Extraordinary books2read.com/u/4N19e6
Powerhouse books2read.com/u/3kZ1VW
Nightmares books2read.com/u/3yPExv
Lockdown books2read.com/u/3GM2Xn

 

MASSIVE SFF Paperback Giveaway

s a gibson

SAGtitleWin 52 Science Fiction & Fantasy Paperback Novels

This May a giveaway contest runs where entrants have the chance to win prizes including fifty paperback books. Also, each person will receive two free ebooks just for entering. Additionally, the winner will receive 2 Amazon gift cards, they can share with friends. Enter now: http://dreamingrobotpress.com/giveaways/massive-sff-paperback-giveaway/

50 authors of Science Fiction and Fantasy have combined to build a package of books to send out to one lucky winner. Each entrant to the giveaway enters their email address, which will be shared with the authors in contest. Contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada, and each person, who enters, receive two free ebooks. Within a week after entry.

Some books included in the paperback package are Asante’s Gullah Journey, The Chronicles of Aurion, Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus: Beginnings, Configured, Before the Luck Runs Out, Teeth of the Gods, Maliha Anderson 1-3 (one volume), and many more!

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Quick Cat Update

Before I get to the feline details, I am ecstatic to report good news about my very own superhero Spouseman.  He’s checked off one full year since surgery, and got a thumbs-up on the first checkup test since the radiation regimen. So we’re moving into the “Dealing With All the Side Issues ” phase of recovery after cancer treatment. Building up stamina, testing new physical limits, designing new workouts in the Danger Room…okay, I might be making up that last bit. Or not.

Let’s talk about the cat.

Our grumpy old fur-baby Scootercat has been struggling with “idiopathic digestive issues” for nearly a year. That’s a fancy way of saying  “the poor cat’s insides are wearing out.” It translates to ten months of watching the cat vomit up food, hair, and/o bloody phlegm on a daily basis–sometimes three or more times a day.

We still don’t know what caused the upset or what made it last so long, but we do know he didn’t have any bacterial infections, urinary crystals, tumors, esophageal strictures, or bowel obstructions. He just horked up whatever he ingested and then some.

Ruling out horrible conditions was all well and good, but knowledge didn’t keep food inside the cat or clean up the disastrous results of rejection. And anyone who says animals don’t understand cause and effect has never watched a sick pet contemplate his food dish with equal parts desperation and disgust. Poor Scooter started grumbling at his food while he ate, as if warning it to stay down this time.

I am relieved to report Le Petit Chat Noir is finally feeling better. He still has arthritis and gets anxious when he can’t find us because he’s too deaf to hear us moving and too blind to see us across the room, but he’s eating like a high school athlete and is back to yakking at birds from window sills and chasing his nemesis the iPad reflection along the walls.

What miracle cure did the trick? No idea. Various remedies were applied as suggested by Reliable Veterinary Experts.  After multiple unsuccessful attempts we landed on a boring sensitive-stomach food Scooter could keep down, then added tuna flakes to encourage extra feeding.

Indulging the little monster’s love of being scrubbed with a wire brush after meals seems to help too. I think it distracts him long enough for the food to get from his stomach into his short little carnivore’s gut.

In any case, here be more photos of our happy, elderly feline.



Not tired of my words yet? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on my website on this page 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon. 

Extraordinary books2read.com/u/4N19e6
Powerhouse books2read.com/u/3kZ1VW
Nightmares books2read.com/u/3yPExv
Lockdown books2read.com/u/3GM2Xn

Can I call you friend?

Can I call you friend? It’s a curious little question, one apparently more complicated than I thought it was.

Here’s the article that sparked this musing:  Only half your friends actually like you.

This study bugs me for many reasons. First and foremost, the assumptions and value judgments floating around the margins were not addressed in any way, and the conclusions have been rolling around in my brain ever since and bumping into other thoughts.

These studies didn’t define friendship for the participants. The study administrators used a word they assume has the same meaning for all participants. That’s a big assumption. Huge. Big enough to bury the methodology in muddied responses. If you want to compare opinions of a fruit and half your subjects think they’re rating oranges and half think they’re rating grapes, are the results meaningful? I say no.

Nasty, tricksy things, assumptions. But, okay. Lets say we accept the (absurd) premise that everyone was operating with the same criteria when they rated their “friendships.” The conclusions still baffle me.

These studies found that perceived affection was unequal, and also that people are lousy at predicting the affection levels of others towards themselves. In other words, people overestimated how much other people liked them in ways related to how much they liked the person they were evaluating.

Let’s put this another way: studies show that if Beverly likes Ginny at a level of 10, she assumes Ginny likes her at level 10. But the reality is many of the Ginnys of the world only like their Beverlys at a level of 4. Okay, fine so far, right?

WRONG. The studies conclude that this is A Problem.  The horror! People like some of their friends more than they’re liked back? The inequity! /sarcasm

The conclusions–that unequal affection is inherently bad–reduces the value of a friendship to  a binary. Their conclusion is that anything other than full reciprocity of affection means the friendship itself is flawed.

I find this an immensely puzzling conclusion. It runs counter to my entire experience of friendships. It seems reductive and devaluing.

Friendships come in as many different shapes and varieties as humans do. The conclusion itself — that friendships are a singular type of relationship which somehow cheats one side if it’s not evenly mutual like a simple business transaction…it bugs me.

I like a lot of people. I consider them my friends if I like them. I  don’t ever expect to be liked back. (when it happens it’s a perpetual surprise and pleasure.) Why can’t I call someone friend simply because I like and respect them?  Why should my appreciation obligate them to hold me in precisely equal regard?

That whole idea seems silly to me. It even smacks of blackmail.  Consider this statement: “I like you, therefore you must like me back just as much, or else we aren’t friends at all!”

Does that sound odd to anyone else? It puzzles and itches at me, and so I shared it here.

(Note: I am not looking for anyone to “explain” the study to me. I understand its point I simply disagree with it on a visceral level.)


Not tired of my words yet? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on my website on this page 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon. 

Extraordinary books2read.com/u/4N19e6
Powerhouse books2read.com/u/3kZ1VW
Nightmares books2read.com/u/3yPExv
Lockdown books2read.com/u/3GM2Xn