alexandraerin: (Default)
So, the current book of Tales of MU has been dealing a lot in dream-stuff, the dynamics of dreams. I have no idea if anybody finds it as interesting as I do, because I'm going through one of my comment-averse phases.

But the basic foundation for it is my dissatisfaction of the way dreams are usually treated in fantasy. I.e., it's often taken for granted that there's a realm of dreams in which dreams are real, that exists outside and beyond our heads, etc. The idea of lucid dreams that one can exert perfect control over is presented as a simple and unavoidable consequence of being aware that one is dreaming. Sometimes -- more rarely but often enough for it to be a trope -- the idea that one can't experience some kind of sensory input in dreams becomes a turning point. Actually, now that I think about it, that's not rare. It's rare that it's anything other than pain ("pinch me, I'm dreaming".)

It's not that you can't tell a story about a world of dreams, it's that nobody ever tries to do anything else. I frequently realize I'm dreaming in dreams without the dream as a whole becoming more coherent or sensible of under my control... last night I dreamed that somebody mailed an embarrassing compilation of my internet activity from 1995 till today to my parents, and when I became aware it was a dream because of inconsistencies I wasn't suddenly able to control things or banish the feeling of creeping dread that permeated the whole thing.

The most I could do was resolve to check the mail before they did when I woke up, because I was convinced that the document was real. Never mind that I haven't lived with them for over a decade and that my internet activity is all public anyway.

That's just how dreams work. It's not just that we dream things happen that don't, we dream knowledge that doesn't exist. And it's compelling within the scope of the dream.

Anyway, today I'm taking a trip down to Lincoln for [profile] s00j's concert, so this will probably stand as my status post for the day. Dreams: I have thoughts and feelings about them.
alexandraerin: (Default)
...but I wanted to transcribe what I remember of my wild dream from last night while it's still halfway clear.

In this dream, I was a left-leaning farm owner in Weimar Germany, who was concerned about the growing influence of the National Socialist party and Adolf Hitler, who was my childhood friend that I'd shared a deep bond with on the basis of the fact that we both have alliterative names. (Spoiler warning: this is not true of either of us, but it was in the dream. I don't mean that our names were different, but in my dream, they met the requirements of alliteration).

I was trying to organize opposition, but was constantly warned by my compatriots about the dangers of going too far in the other direction. There was a well-known saying that was quoted at me: "In trying to stop Mr. Hitler, be careful that you do not become Mr. Stalin." In my dream, it was like "Hitler" and "Stalin" were concepts that everybody knew about before people with those names ever did anything notably bad. Also, people talked about Stalin as a hypothetical, like there had yet been no Joseph Stalin coming to international prominence. (This is different from real life, where there was at least two Joseph Stalins, that good friend to the United States and our great ally during World War II, and that other asshole who was an opressive mass-murdering despot.)

To make a long story short, we ended up staging an attack on Hitler during some sort of appearance he made at an opera house that was in the gymnasium of a local school. It was successful, though some children tragically died in the crossfire. With Hitler dead, I returned to my farm as my friends warned me about the dangers of becoming Mr. Stalin. As an insistent musical score began to pulse and the end credits started to roll (yes, my dream had end credits), I walked away from the camera while musing aloud about the possibilities of collectivizing my farm, a dark look on my face.

Subconscious, your efforts to pen a historical drama gets a B+ for drama, but an FFFFFFFFFF for history.
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In it, Sarah had a china hutch that she was using to hold her pet, which was a thing that looked like a semi-bipedal (like a bear or ape) skinless rabbit that was identified as a capybara. In my dream, I had walked past the capybara hutch many times but it had never been moving so I'd assumed it was stuffed, and the time that I saw it moving, it was moving because it was feeding. The capybara ate small snakes, which it strangled using its muscular forelimbs. I watched it partially eat one snake, then another one unfurled a hood and started biting the capybara in the stomach with wicked curved fangs, pulling a flap of flesh away. I freaked out and alerted Sarah, who responded by removing the capybara from the hutch (leaving the door open) and putting it on her bed, where she just cleaned the wound and held the flap in place. Meanwhile, the snake slipped out and went under the bed.

I was the only one who was concerned about this. Sarah said that this snake and the capybara were friends, and it had just been riled up and would need to calm down on its own and we'd know that happened when it came up onto the bed and started cuddling with the capybara for warmth again. But in the meantime it was darting all around the room and every time it slipped behind something it seemed to get bigger when it re-emerged. When it was the size of a small dog, it popped four pairs of clawed limbs out and started skittering around on them while Sarah explained it was actually a rare type of salamander. She said the claws were highly venomous, as were tiny barbs that protruded fro all its joints.

It started very obviously stalking me, and it chased me out of the house and into a lake. Being amphibious, it only became more efficient a predator in the water. It kept swiping at me and brushing against me with its barbs, which contained a paralyzing venom.

Fun dream, right? The really fun part is waking up covered with painful scratches all up and down my legs because I had an allergic reaction right before going to sleep, and the Benadryl evidently hadn't completely kicked in by the time I fell asleep.
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Cartoonist Winsor McCay's best known creation is Little Nemo in Slumberland, also known as In The Land of Wonderful Dreams. Most people alive today who have encountered Little Nemo did so through an animated adaptation or the NES game that reached U.S. shores ahead of it. That's how I first became aware of the character, but it happens that Little Nemo is far older than that... old enough that the entire original run of comic strips is in the public domain.

Though they broke from the established slapstick dynamic of strips that were popular at the time, the Nemo comics were a fairly formulaic affair. Within that formula, though, any number of wonders were depicted.

To quote Wikipedia:

Although a comic strip, it was far from a simple children's fantasy; it was often dark, surreal, threatening, and even violent. The strip related the dreams of a little boy: Nemo (meaning "nobody" in Latin), the hero. The last panel in each strip was always one of Nemo waking up, usually in or near his bed, and often being scolded (or comforted) by one of the grownups of the household after crying out in his sleep and waking them. In the earliest strips, the dream event that woke him up would always be some mishap or disaster that seemed about to lead to serious injury or death, such as being crushed by giant mushrooms, being turned into a monkey, falling from a bridge being held up by "slaves", or gaining 90 years in age. The adventures leading to these disasters all had a common purpose: to get to Slumberland, where he had been summoned by King Morpheus, to be the "playmate" of his daughter, the Princess.

Sometime during early 1906, Nemo did indeed reach the gates of Slumberland, but had to go through about four months of troubles to reach the Princess. His problem was that he kept being awakened by Flip, who wore a hat with "Wake Up" written on it. One sight of Flip's hat was enough to take Nemo back to the land of the living during these early days. Although at first an enemy, Flip went on to become one of the recurring heroes. The others included: Dr. Pill, The Imp, the Candy Kid and Santa Claus as well as the Princess and King Morpheus.



Even more bizarre and obscure than Little Nemo in Slumberland, though, was the comic strip that preceded it. It seems Nemo was a spin-off of an earlier McCay project about a series of anonymous dreaming adults who suffer similarly bizarre (if often more pedestrian) nightmares and, upon awakening in the last panel, invariably blame the experience on having eaten a toasted cheese dish, mince pie, or mince pie with cheese before retiring.

The strip is called "Dream of the Rarebit Fiend", and if you don't think I'm pulling your leg you probably aren't reading closely enough.

...

But I'm not.

Read on... )
alexandraerin: (Default)
So, after I laid back down I had a dream that involved Gotham City as represented in the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises... I was put into the role of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, the Tom Hardy Bane with the personality and motivation of Tommy Elliot/Hush (my subconscious passing judgment on his casting, I suppose), and Christian Bale's Batman was running around.

(For once, the casting department dug up some A-listers for me... usually I only get name actors as cameos in subplots)

The plot of the dream was that Talia al Ghul (whose presence in the movie is only rumor at this point) had acquired some Ice-9 and was plotting to release it through a sewage treatment plant. We managed to stop her (Banehush was helping because he didn't want Gotham destroyed by someone else, or saved by Bruce Wayne) from doing more than dropping her Ice-9 crystal into this thing that was like a drip pan that would -eventually- put it into contact with the rest of the water supply. For some reason no one had anything to melt or destroy the resulting patch of Ice-9, so our plan was to each take a different exit out of the treatment plant and seal it off from the outside world. (Mostly using explosives and things that would have been really handy for getting rid of the tiny amount of Ice-9.)

My escape from the plant involved going up through multiple levels of sewers and then a townhouse that had been purchased and renovated by Talia in order to get access to the plant. For some reason, everything in the townhouse... all of the appliances and many other furnishings... had been retrofitted into exploding robots that responded to intruders by starting a countdown at anywhere between five and ten minutes and then slowly following them around. The lower levels of the townhouse were too fortified against intruders to break out of when being followed by an ever-growing horde of soon-to-be-exploding household robots so I went up to the top floor and got out through a skylight.

I was hampered in my escape in that I was being accompanied everywhere by my faithful but not particularly brave or useful cat Mr. Dorian, played by himself. Despite being exceptionally large and strong for a domestic feline and almost always coming when called, he's not really terribly useful as a sidekick.

We did make it out of the townhouse eventually, and found out that Banehush had pointedly sacrificed himself destroying the plant by growing to massive size (apparently my dream's version of a gritty/realistic version of the venom supersteroid is it's Pym Particles) and crushing it. Not sure how that melted the Ice-9/kept moisture from getting into contact with it/killed him, but the sight of his giant corpse atop the collapsed building was very moving and made everybody love him instead of Batman.

(Which isn't really Hush's motivation, but it's approaching Hush levels of petulance.)

Thursday

Jun. 30th, 2011 11:40 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

The news for today is that I'm really not a fan of apartment living. All day yesterday there was hammering and pounding, and today I had to deal with a lock that likes to chew up keys and spit them out sticks... I suspect it might need lubricating. It's kind of a scary experience to be home alone in a place you don't actually live, step out for five minutes, and then face the prospect of not being able to get back in. I had the thought that I'd have to call Jack at work to call the apartment office so they could let me in and then I realized I hadn't brought my phone with me because I was only stepping out for five minutes. What's Jack's number? I don't know, my cell phone remembers things like that.

In other news, Cracked has once again managed to post an extremely useful article. This is part of why they make a great humor site... there's more than just entertainment value there. I'm not saying they're the most insightful or trustworthy information source out there, but they kind of fill the same interesting/obscure/useless trivia niche in my life that GURPS sourcebooks and Uncle John's Bathroom Reader has filled, and then every once in a while there's an article like this one that aids introspection.

State of the Me

Profoundly lethargic. I woke up today and Jack told me I looked exhausted, even though I had a restful night's sleep. I attribute this to being keyed up most of yesterday because of the hammering.

Dreams From Last Night

Long and complex and involved. Okay, first of all, my older brother had put together a consortium of artists/animators and wanted to make a cartoon, and he wanted me to write a story about a group of immortals cursed by God/some cosmic God-equivalent who came from different past civilizations and banded together to fight crime to try to find out where they came from and why. In my dream, I called the story "The Wandering Few", a play on the not-at-all-a-little-bit-anti-Semitic legend of the "Wandering Jew", and in my dream, this seemed very clever.

Also in my dream I was playing a video game based on the Doctor Who episode "A Good Man Goes To War", only it had David Tennant's Doctor and his allies instead of being a mix of Doctor Who characters from across time and space were all the non-Mario characters in Super Mario Crossover. In two dimensional 8 bit form, and pretty much the same size they appear on a typical computer monitor.

And at one point in the dream I asked Jack if we could go out for milkshakes at the local ice cream parlor and he said he'd rather have fried ice cream, which he was pretty sure he could make at home using the end of the Edy's Girl Scout Cookie flavored ice cream we have at the apartment and a common kitchen frying pan. (Spoiler Alert: Of course this wouldn't actually work. Fried ice cream relies on using a big industrial strength deep freeze to freeze the ice cream very deeply and industrially, and a commercial fryer to fry the coating very quickly.)

Plans For Today

Primarily focused on Tales of MU, though there may be some random blog posts. I'm developing a bit of a headache so I don't want to make too many grand plans.
alexandraerin: (Default)
So, last night while I slept beautifully I had two very long and detailed dreams.

In the first one I was one of my little-used superhero characters. She's one of the more powerful ones with more complex abilities, so I can't remember if I've ever even mentioned her in Star Harbor Nights but I've certainly never based a story around her. She's more of an idle daydream kind of character. Her name is Technica, and she's something like a cross between the T-1000 and Plastic Man. She can transform her regular organic (though super-resilient) body into gleaming silver technology things, with few limits. In her "normal" superheroing form she makes armor and weapons for herself while looking relatively normal, but when increasingly pressed she'll do things like sprout additional limbs (often ending with a tool or weapon instead of a hand) and becoming all metal. She can alter her shape and size quite a bit, to form vehicles and the like.

In this dream, parts of the earth had flooded and I/Technica was going around the ocean over what had been Nebraska, mostly while in boat or submarine form, taking care of a baby. It had been apparently been a few hundred years since the cataclysm that flooded the world and I found the baby in an otherwise abandoned drifting houseboat.

The climax of the dream was a fight against the supervillain who had been responsible for the flooding, during which I revealed that I'd spent the past two hundred years doing little more than being a boat and avoiding him while practicing my other abilities in secret so that he'd forget I was capable of doing so much more.

The second dream was very violent. It was sort of a mash-up of Dragon Age (the battle near the beginning where the king is betrayed) and Assassin's Creed (when the Templars lay siege to the assassin fortress, also near the beginning), only the attackers/besiegers were vampires ranging from the pale-pretty-people-in-evening-dress to the horrifying-twisted-rat-faced-monster-type. I was trying to broker a diplomatic solution between the humans in the castle and the vampires trying to get in. But I kept getting bit on the arms by the moral feral vampires, and also kept (somewhat embarrassingly) finding myself fidgeting with moderately sharp wooden things (like chopsticks or a tent peg) while in the company of vampires.
alexandraerin: (Default)
So, last night I dreamed about a little girl (played by the one from Little Miss Sunshine who was an aspiring supervillain and was following the plans for a catapult-driven death trap from a booklet she got from the fan club of her idol, Wile E. Coyote. (She wasn't very good at picking role models, I suppose, though given that pop culture villains tend to lose a lot I suppose it's sort of academic.) She was making a tabletop model out of folded paper to test it out before building a full-scale one. I wasn't sure how the paper version was supposed to translate to a full-scale model made out of diverse materials like metal, wood, and rubber, but it was a dream.

And the problem was that her family wanted to go somewhere but she didn't want to leave the table in the library where she was working on this until the paper catapult delivered its paper target onto the x, and it never did. It was always to the side or too far or it got hung up on the edge of the paper model of the building it was supposed to be hidden behind.

Yeah, the whole point of this trap was to launch a deadly weight over a building so it would land on a target just on the other side of the building. Seems that if you want to kill someone standing next to a building with a heavy weight, the catapult adds a few unnecessary steps.

Anyway, finally, her grandmother convinced her that the catapult was unnecessary, but not in that way. She moved the folded paper catapult off the model and did a finger-flick, paper football "kick" style, to get the paper weight (note: not paperweight) over the paper building, and told the girl the valuable lesson that if she wanted to be a real villain she should rely on herself rather than gadgets. The girl was impressed by this, but I'm even less sure how the finger-flicking version would translate to a full-sized version of the trap. Perhaps freeing her mind from the idea that she needed the catapult will inspire the girl to realize she can just drop things on people.

Hmmm, now I have an idea for the laziest supervillain ever, who does that and calls it "the gravity ray". Given that I've just learned you can rent the country of Lichtenstein, I think I have the makings of something here...

Anyway, this wasn't even my main dream. It was just the "B" plot it kept flipping back to. Once again, my B-dream had better casting than my A-dream. Most of the girl's family were just extras, but the grandmother? Played by Helen Mirren.

Whoever does the casting for my B-dreams doesn't make nearly enough.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

In order to inject a little excitement into the fundraiser going into the second half of the month, I'm going to try a little something called Fundraising Friday, where all contributions made today count double.

As an important psychological note, I've found from comments and emails that the close race over a long period is having the exact opposite effect it did over the short period: people are leery of donating because they're afraid of seeing the impact "erased". A double impact day doesn't necessarily address that but it does give an incentive to do it now instead of waiting until later.

All told, I don't think I'm going to do a month-long fundraiser again. I believe this one will match my expectations, but the disadvantages I'm perceiving seem to outweigh the advantages. It seems like to keep people aware of it for the whole month I'd have to flog it as much as I did the roommate derby... and the primary reason I decided to make it longer is so I wouldn't have to flog it as often for it to be effective.

Lessons learned.

Personal Assessment

Slept pretty well. Feeling okay.

Dreams From Last Night

I was at a (now, in real life, defunct) drive-in theater with my (now, in real life, ex) roommate, and we'd brought dinner from a midscale restaurant's curbside to-go service as we often had, but there was a massive spider crawling around on the windshield. I watched my roommate use the back of the spoon she was eating with to go after it, but instead of smashing it she kind of gently transferred it from the windshield with the intention of flicking it out the passenger door... i.e., the one on my side.

The spider had a string of spider web attached to it, though, and so she had to flick the spoon a bunch of times to get it loose. During one of these times it brushed my cheek and ended up grabbing one. I flicked it off and smashed it, but not before it bit me... before long my cheek was swollen up like a golf ball where it had bit.

Plans For Today

It's Friday, which means I'm not home alone today, but it's nice and cool upstairs in my room so I can "work from home". Getting chapter 5 ironed out and posted is priority #1. Getting the Mageterion story finished is priority #2, so I can have it up this weekend without violating my weekend policy. (Not that I'm not going to have to do work-related stuff this weekend, and considerably less pleasant than writing. Rendering unto Caesar, and all that.) Finishing up the chapter for Monday comes after that.
alexandraerin: (Default)
(At least since I started tracking my mental and physical condition from day to day.)

My bad shoulder is acting up. In a big way. At least I think it's the shoulder that's the cause... the pain is not exactly in the neighborhood of the socket itself but is in the area of the upper arm just beneath it. It hurts to move the arm, especially to try to lift it any. There's a very "bruised" feeling about it, for lack of a better term. I'm typing right now by having the keyboard and elbows sitting on my pile of blankets (I haven't gotten up yet) in such a way that my arms don't have to be raised at all. Thank heaven for a giant pile of blankets. I'm having to mouse with my left hand, though.

I just woke up so it's much to early to say whether this pain will persist or swiftly fade. I'm hoping for the latter. If it doesn't, today might end up being a light writing day instead of a heavy technical one. I can navigate windows and type without moving my arm overmuch, but the sorts of things I had in mind to do today will be difficult without a mouse. Well, I guess I'll still be able to read and research what I need to do.

I'm going to post the Fantasy In Miniature for today and then probably draw a hot bath. At least we have a bathtub here where soaking one's shoulder is an easy exercise.

Also, since I'm in a comfortable typing position and don't want to forget: last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again that I was traveling around in a big blue van for high school Quiz Bowl competitions with a team of people from central casting. The Flabberghast (from [livejournal.com profile] csecooney's The Big Bah-Ha was the team sponsor/coach, and after we won our last tournament he announced that I and my co-captain would be rewarded with a trip to Disney World and we could each invite one other person from the team. This was a five person team, so another way of saying this would be "Everybody on the team gets to go to Disney World except one person and you have to pick who." It was a very awkward reward.

Separately from all this, I got to introduce Jack to my family in the dream. The Flabberghast was there, too.

It's very odd. Before I came upstairs last night I said to Jack "I wonder if I'm going to dream about Baba Yaga again tonight." The Flabberghast just had to be the combobreaker, I guess.

On a final note, [livejournal.com profile] meeksp painted this in honor of the start of volume 2:

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alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

Tentative WisCon programming stuff is out now. I am on the Shakespeare Got To Get Paid, Son panel on Saturday, one on self-publishing and one on cross-promotion on Sunday. I've put myself forward for the Long Tail panel, which was listed as needing volunteers. That's also on Sunday. If I'm not placed on that one I'll still use the SGTGPS panel to share my "there's more money for each individual writer who writes for smaller audiences" theories with the world. That's one panel on Saturday, two or three on Sunday. That's probably good. There are a lot of panels I might like to be on but these are ones that I feel I have a lot to offer on.

I also just scored my plane ticket to Madison. $79. Hell yeah. I haven't bought my flight back yet because I AM NEVER COMING BACK FROM WISCON!!!! No, actually, it's because I'm going to be flying out to Hagerstown for Jack and Sarah's wedding reception and since we're all going to be at WisCon together we're going to try to get the flights home coordinated.

Also: Volume 2 starts today.

Personal Assessment

Feeling okay. Slept six-ish hours. After reading a peer-reviewed paper in a noted medical journal this morning, I've decided to add deep breathing exercises to my repertoire of techniques for both diminishing anxiety and reducing bodily fatigue.

Dreams From Last Night

Very strongly inspired by Deathless (holy shit, Amazon's almost sold out... way to go, Cat!), involving Baba Yaga. Also, I was building and selling bicycles again. WTF? I think this is my subconscious's way of saying "Fuck you!" after all those times I said that I don't put much stock in the whole dream metaphor symbolism thing because after having a noticeable pattern in my dreams involving something so random and unrelated to my life or interests I can't help waking up thinking "BUT WHAT DO THE BICYCLES MEAN?"

Plans For Today

Obviously for volume 2 launch day that's my primary priority. I'll do the whole work days thing for the rest of the week.
alexandraerin: (Default)
So, Livejournal's been up and down so much that I'm not going to take chances with a long post. I'm still doing the "short sleep" thing I mentioned in the previous post. But now that sleep in general isn't so big a problem, I'm starting to get a handle on what else needs attention.

Diet's a big one. I'm not getting enough protein. This is largely a function of having been too tired to do any real grocery shopping. We have meat in the house... a freezer full of it, really... but I need stuff I can just eat at need during the day. Beef hot dogs, sandwich meat, etc. I'll get that taken care of soon.

The last chapter of volume 1 has been going well today. Ish. Livejournal's decided to misbehave on the day I decided to make Livejournal integral to my work process again, and I had to go have a lie-down in the middle of the day already. Technically I can write even if I can't view and update the construction post, but... well, the whole thing is psychological anyway. Knowing I can't get to Livejournal is a distraction when I'm trying to write. I'm fortunate that my first hour of work was so productive.

If Livejournal goes down again, I'll deal with it... I'll put up further draft revisions as a note on Facebook or something, as a preliminary.

And just so I don't forget it: this morning I had a dream that was a very Heinlein-esque space story involving a hand-built custom bicycle shop on the moon. Details are sketchy at this point.

Things to do today:


  • Chapter 496!
  • Send out orders for The Gift of the Bad Guy... they've been fairly brisk the past two days.
  • Pick a second writing task when done with 496, depending on what appeals as a palate cleanser.
  • Do two more chapters of MU classic.
alexandraerin: (Leahy)
Okay, so I just woke up after laying down I don't even know when... and I had a dream that Charlie Sheen had been cast as Batman in a modern Batman TV show and that was the job he got fired from. All the anticking that led up to it was the same. I was a writer on the show, and we were all scared and pissed about the fact that our jobs were endangered. Batman creator Bob Kane was also a cast member, because in this dream he'd played someone in every adaptation of Batman ever. It wasn't a cameo thing like Stan Lee, he was a working actor because he made so little royalties from Batman from DC.

I haven't even really followed the Charlie Sheen drama that closely. I don't know why it's pervaded my subconscious on the same level as Batman...
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

Big news item in preceding post: The Gift of the Bad Guy delayed a week.

There are two days left in the run-off voting for the Rose and Bay award.

The first copy of the first Tales of MU book auction continues through Friday.

Personal Assessment

Sleep still very uneven. I tried and failed to sleep during the night portion of last night. I got some sleep this morning. I've also been having a lot of random cramping in the past few days. I've been eating a lot of dairy so I should be potassium'd up, so I suppose it is really random. My right arm was not usable for typing for a large portion of the weekend, but now it's okay in most positions.

Dreams From This Morning

Oh, man. So many of them and they all sort of ran together. What I remember is this: the seven dwarfs (Disney version) having a falling-out because Grumpy got a girlfriend, a zombie attack with zombies that combined features of the Half-Life headcrab zombies and the zombies in the Borderlands Zombie Island expansion, and I was abducted by a demon/genie thing and made to answer four riddles about things that all mortals must taste and it turned out it was air, water, earth, and fire. (Genie/demon things have interesting ideas about how mortals experience existence.)

I don't know, I just don't know.

The thing that was especially horrifying about the zombie dream is there were all these weapons lying around (again, a combination of things from Half-Life 2 and Borderlands) but none of it was effective at all on the zombies. One of my clearest memories of the dream is picking up a Combine pulse rifle as a small horde of zombies shambled closer and then watching as concentrated fire right in their faces did nothing.

Plans For Today

Having pushed back The Gift of the Bad Guy a week, I'm taking the rest of the day off from it. I've already done work/research related to it between the hours of midnight and six this morning. Tales of MU is my priority for the day. Though I did have a flash story pop into my head while I was taking a bath a minute ago (thought I'd posted this before I got up, but I guess I didn't), so I suppose I'll do that first.
alexandraerin: (Default)
So, I'm just waking up now... I did wake up a little bit around noon and close the pre-sales, then I fell back asleep for three hours. I guess my recent insomnia bout is over and now I'm paying back the interest on it. If my body's into sleep mode, then I'd like to get away from the falling asleep in the wee hours and waking up at noon and towards something like a real grown-up people schedule.

I'm not sure if I'm actually awake for the duration now or if my body just woke me up because it needs me to go to the bathroom, but I'm going to take this opportunity to write down what I can remember of the dreams that I had.

One of them might very well have been MUniversal (that's really a pretty rare occurrence that I have a dream that fits into one of the worlds I created), as it seemed to be modern life but there was nothing explicitly technological around and there was magic and dragons. Three of them, in fact, and we (I'm not clear on who I or my companions were) had to get them to put on cursed necklaces that were attuned to the individual dragon and would force them to sleep for a few hundred years, because they'd just woken up and were fighting over territory that now included a city. There was a red dragon, a gold dragon, and a very outmatched but devious green dragon.

Ack, and in the course of writing that out I've completely forgotten the one I just had. Darn. No inkling what it was about.
alexandraerin: (Default)
I keep having a weird Human Target (the TV show, not the comic that nominally inspired it) themed dream where I'm in the Christopher Chance role and am among a handful of passengers (sometimes only one, my client) trapped in the "rear cabin" of an airplane, that because it wasn't intended to be used on a flight isn't equipped with seat belts and worse, for some reason the rear door (which is basically a hatch that is the entire back of the plane) is going to open as the plane touches down and we're all going to be sucked out and fly out onto the tarmac.

The resulting scenario and its improbably solution are basically a mash-up of the crisis resolution from the pilot (with the California bullet train) and an airplane, and the first time I had this dream it really followed that formula pretty well: only one other person, we made an impromptu parachute and made it out with little more than scratches.

I've had the dream a few times since then, though, and it seems like each time the situation spirals more and more out of control. In the version I had last night, the hatch was going to blow while the plane was just beginning its descent, there were too many people trapped in the rear for making an impromptu parachute to be a plausible solution, and I'd just got done arranging people into the most survival-optimal configuration when I turned around and most of them had moved back to their original seats against the rear of the plane because they didn't believe I was telling the truth about the danger. As a result almost everybody got sucked out when the hatch opened.

I subscribe to the theory that really quite often a cigar is just a cigar. These dreams have been occurring and recurring during a time of my life when I'm pretty anxiety free, and none of my anxiety has to do with the thought of others depending on me or an inability to inspire trust or anything like that. I have had dreams that I'm pretty sure were triggered by anxiety, and they're all a lot more straightforward and less allegorical, and tellingly, I wake up from them feeling all the more anxious. This is just a weird, random mash-up of things that are in my head.

But it's happened at least five nights in a row at a time when I don't happen to be making status posts, so I wanted to get it on record.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today:

Today's news, like the bit about being on Kindle (P.S.: Fantasy In Miniature is up there, too, now, though I'm not going to push it until it's had some regular updates again.), is something to be filed under stuff I should have gotten on top of sooner but didn't really know about.

My plans for The Gift of the Bad Guy involve selling the e-book for about a dollar. Lulu.com is no longer a viable solutions for one dollar e-books, as they charge a 99 cents base price for them and tell you with a straight face that this is to pay for bandwidth and such. Maybe the price of such has shot up a lot in the past few years, but bandwidth just doesn't cost that much. When I learned that, I Googled micropayments and microtransactions to find out who could give me a transaction fee rate that wouldn't eat as much of $1 as PayPal does (which was like $0.33).

And I learned that PayPal will give me such a rate.

I'd seen people mention PayPal's micropayments option before, but when I went looking for it in their back end I couldn't find it. I figured I'd just misunderstood and they were talking about the fact that you can take micropayments with PayPal. Well, it turns out that they do have a separate micropayments option, but the reason I couldn't find it is it isn't even there. You have to go to a separate site (note: this site doesn't work with some browsers, such as Chrome and reportedly Safari) and ask for them to switch your account over. It takes up to two business days for approval. I sent my request over the weekend and found a positive reply waiting for me this afternoon when I woke up.

What does switching my account to micropayments do? It makes every transaction I receive in U.S. dollars from a person in the U.S. cost me a flat $0.05 + 5%. International rates vary the base fee but have the same basic idea of making small transactions affordable. This means on very large transactions I will pay a few dollars more than I would have if I hadn't switched... like a $300 transaction will cost about $4 more in fees... but for every transaction not over $12 or so, I'll be making more money.

Like a dollar transaction. Instead of taking home 67 cents every time someone sends me a dollar, I'll be pocketing 90 cents. And everybody who buys a one dollar e-book for me, I'll be getting the equivalent of a 90 percent royalty. As the size of the transaction increases, the advantage over the regular rate decreases, but the percentage I'm paying out from the occasional large transaction is going to be way outweighed by the savings on all the little ones.

This is big news. My income--both potential from the e-books and actual money I'm making now--just went up today.

Other people doing the crowdfunding dance on your own websites: if you don't know about this already, get in on it.

Other news:

  • My housemate got herself a Sony e-reader yesterday, so I've got another platform to test e-book formats out on.
  • I'm officially setting the release date of The Gift of the Bad Guy, which is book one of the Gifters Saga, for March 14th. That's later than I intended to, but I want to take the time to get this right as it's my first one. It will give me time to solicit feedback on the formatting (after the free sample goes up) and make adjustments based on it.


Personal Assessment

I slept a lot, and am pleased to find myself feeling pretty normal today... not groggy and dead to the world, but also not so crackling with energy that I couldn't sit still or sleep.

Dreams From Last Night

I was barefoot in a park after a rainstorm, at a picnic/cookout with my family. My mother couldn't believe I was barefoot and kept asking me if bugs weren't biting my feet, which they were, but only when she asked about them. A bunch of people (including me) had devices that were very clearly electronic books but which were supposed to be new MP3 players in the dream. After I got tired of being bitten by bugs, I went home, which was just up the street. Neither the street nor the house was actually familiar to me. It was like one of those single-developer neighborhoods where all the houses are built from stock plans. Once home, I danced around the kitchen to music from my Kindle iPod until my mother came home and told me she was glad her children were there.

Tasks For Today


  • Write a flash story.
  • Do some more character tags for Tales of MU.
  • Work on the next chapter of Tales of MU.
  • Apparently spend over an hour of my own time compiling and formatting a post that lists all the nominees for the Rose And Bay awards, links to their works, and links to the individual voting posts because it didn't occur to anyone to do this before for some reason?


Item removed: big dent in last TGotBG chapter. Got bogged down in other things. Productive day, still.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

Well, the derby closes tomorrow and it's been a runaway success. I guess it's the magic combination of audience participation, competition, rooting for a favorite character, and supporting an author. Like most good magic it probably would not bear repetition lightly or well, but there just aren't that many parts of the story I'd be comfortable selling in this way. In this case I had no clear preference and I could see things going any of a few different ways while still being true to the story and the characters. That doesn't happen very often, and even less often with this kind of lead time and importance.

Personal Assessment

I was woken up once in the middle of the night by the grand dame cat of the house, Princess, being strangely affectionate... by which I mean she was being affectionate, and that was strange. When I got back to sleep I slept a good long time. Yay for generic Ny-Quil knock offs. I've woken up with no more than a touch of the sniffles, like what I had when I first reported them. Good sign, I suppose.

Dreams From Last Night

I was living at the dollhouse (my current domicile) but it was my family's house. i woke up and was in a hurry to find a clean (men's dress) shirt and a tie to go to work at the business that I worked for the last time I lived with my folks. I found a shirt, but the most I could find was a "tie cork", which is an object that existed in this dream that looked almost exactly like a tie but it was meant to go in back of an actual tie and hold it in place. It was not made out of and did not resemble a cork in any fashion.

While I was trying to figure out if I could pass off two tie corks as a properly corked tie, my mother came home and started arguing with me if i I still worked there or not, since it's been so long since I'd gone in. I told her that was why I had to go in today, and she told me they were closed today anyway. So we went out to breakfast, and I forgot to lock the side door after we went out and felt anxious about it the whole time. When we got back, the house had indeed been burglarized, but the burglars were conscientious enough to only take my desktop computer from the downstairs room, as a sort of object lesson.

Plans For Today

I'm a bit more than halfway done with chapter 486, and feeling better/more clear-headed than I have been all week, so finishing that up is job one.

Status 2.0

Jan. 29th, 2011 10:10 pm
alexandraerin: (Default)
I had a looooong nap this afternoon. Apparently I was still on a sleep deficit. Quite by chance, I fell asleep with relaxing music playing, something I haven't done for some months... I have to add that to my routine, as it really does improve the quality of my sleep.

I had a very odd dream, the second one in recent history involving George W. Bush as president. I don't get it. In this one he was on vacation and could only find solace in carelessly (and destructively) reading rare books, comics, and manuscripts. If I put more stock in dream analysis, I'd say my brain has labeled him the embodiment of conservative political impulses and this was about austerity measures threatening public libraries and arts and education, but I really don't think the human brain actually works that way.

I woke up with a sore throat. Not great.

The roommate derby, as I've found myself thinking of it, is going really well. I didn't expect to see much of a response before Monday, as even when I update the story very late on Friday the site tends to be quiet over the weekend. Some people are attaching comments in the "Purpose" field of the PayPal form, and some of them are quite heartening and/or entertaining.

Hazel's supporters seem to feel that her role as Two's friend should be taken into account. The biggest recurring theme among Steff fans seems to be that she'd be most entertaining. The most commonly cited reason for Dee, who has taken on a lead due in large part to support from monthly sponsors, is that her presence would be beneficial to the others... though one person rather perceptively noted that Two's presence might be beneficial to Dee.

It'll be really interesting to see how this all turns out.
alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

I submitted a couple of programming ideas for Wiscon, a panel on living in the long tail and a discussion on Impostor Syndrome. No, I didn't leave it until the last minute or anything... only the last day.

Personal Assessment

My sleepiness wanted to delay itself and I let it because I needed to go grocery shopping with my housemate Angie when she got home from work in the morning. So I've slept all day, but I did sleep all all day. Eight hours. It was good sleep in that it was deep enough for vivid dreams, even if they weren't good dreams.

I have sniffles and a bit of a sore throat that I'll need to keep an eye on.

Dreams From Last Night

Oh, man, did I ever have dreams... first, I was hanging out with my family down in Florida, only the part of my parents' Florida place was being played by the second house we lived in growing up. There was a lot more inter-family bickering than we are usually wont to get up to, including my older brother and I arguing over whether accessibility laws are an unfair burden on businesses or a result of society having too narrow a definition of "normal" levels of mobility and sensory acuity in the first place.

This part of the dream culminated in a car accident as we were all arriving at a restaurant, where one of my brothers hit the car that my parents, my sister, and I were in, and then my other brother and his wife rear-ended him. No one was hurt but it was very scary. And then I had to hurry off to get to WisCon.

I know where that came from... last year, I flew directly to WisCon from my folks' place in Florida, so my brain sort of has that association in it, I guess. But in this dream, WisCon was at a hotel in Florida (I just typed "a florida in Hotel"... the joys of not being fully awake yet) and my whole family was going. My brain conflated WisCon and the sorts of academic competitions my siblings and I attended in high school in all sorts of hilarious ways. I was in a hurry because I was late to meet up with Jack and company and I didn't even know what programming I was on... my brain was very aware that they had just had the deadline for programming idea submissions (it's today, this dream took place one day in the future) and didn't think it was normal at all for them to be notifying people of what panels they're on without actually announcing the panels and letting people volunteer for specific ones. I had the sense that everybody else knew what was what and had coped with the short lead time but I was stuck trying to get a chance to read the schedule while rushing to meet Jack. The whole thing was very Willow in 4x22: Restless: "I think they're really just doing things in the proper way, and now I'm in a play, and my whole family's out there, and why is there a cowboy in "Death of A Salesman", anyway?"".

I was supposed to meet Jack on the second floor of the hotel, and since I am excommunicated from the stairs at WisCon I ended up getting in an elevator and hitting "12" instead of "2". And then I woke up before I could almost inevitably be stuck in the elevator.

This was a very anxiety-driven dream, obviously... I feel a lot of anxiety connected to anything like a con, or a public appearance, and that's a big part of why I want to have a talk about Impostor Syndrome because I know I'm not the only one.

Link For The Day

Steam Powered, Lesbian Steampunk Stories is a story collection that somehow managed to cram a lot of awesome people between two covers including N.K. Jemisin, Shweta Narayan, Amal El-Mohtar, Shira Lipkin, and Mikki Kendall, who is the only person besides me to have written a canon MUnivere story.

You can hear Amal read her contribution here for free.

Plans For Today

Finish up the chapter for tonight.

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