May 20th, 2013
|01:21 am - Escapers|
I have perhaps embarked upon a new writing project. While I consider it a novel, others may believe it's more like an anthology. I'm not too big on labels so you may believe it to be whatever you wish. Hopefully you won't believe it to be crap.
We are all trying to escape. Some of us seek freedom from physical barriers, while others wish to shed mental or psychological limitations. But escape cannot be allowed to become the end in itself, merely...and I choose that word carefully...a connection to a new road leading way from disaster and towards something better. How much better is always an unknown.
In any case the plan is this: After an introductory chapter written in first person, there will be a series of chapters dealing with a series of characters confronting different issues. Some may be successful, while others may not. I have no idea about who and what. There is no plan for an "ending." In any case, here is the introduction to one character.
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May 19th, 2013
|02:58 pm - Somethings new|
While, the daughter is now married and all that stuff. Great fun, nice service, and a decent time was had by all...well, I guess everybody. One I don't know about, but I don't care either.
For a few days, after a couple of very sleepless nights, I've kicked around an idea for a new book. It's sort of a novel, but with a structure more like an anthology. The subject is escape, and the real foundation is fighting against depression. In any case, I scribbled out one character, actually two, and their initial story while somewhere in the air between Denver and Minnesota. Then yesterday, starting completely from scratch with nothing more than a name, I managed to create another character and her situation while flying from Chicago back to Portland. I'm thinking I'll type up that latter section and post it here. It's a cliffy ending at the moment, but that's likely the way the book will be constructed...with a chapter about A, then a chapter about B, then a chapter about C, and then maybe an update to A, etc. I'm debating about bringing all the characters together at the end, but at this point that seems nearly impossible since they live in different worlds. Their individual escapes are sometimes physical...although none of them (thus far) are in jail or whatever, and sometimes mental/emotional/psychological. I'm not sure all the escapes will end positively, but real life doesn't work that way anyhow. I guess we'll see, but this is writing that simply "happens." I haven't planned much of it, at least plotwise, so it pretty much just comes out as I try to put myself into the picture and then see where it leads me.
On a different note, the ACt IV libretto is all done except for translating some sections into the appropriate languages. About time to crawl over to the piano and start putting notes on staves.
May 13th, 2013
Didn't sleep well last night, but slept long. Lots of short naps, mostly REM, with the plot for a new book unfolding in many of them. It's an interesting idea, but no one will care, so I'll just keep it to myself, even if I decide to start writing it.
May 11th, 2013
This is likely to get too long, and I'd normally insert a cut just so it doesn't clutter up somebody's page, but, of course, the "new, improved" LJ interface doesn't allow you to put in HTML code any more, so I guess cuts are just a thing of the past. Too bad, because I personally thing they provided a valuable and reasonable service to readers. Such is life.
Pretty down right now, for a whole variety of reasons, coming from all directions.
I've been working in the yard, trying to get in a minimum of at least a couple hours every day. Now don't get the idea that's going to make much difference, because there are thousands of hours of stuff to do, at least I thought I'd try to do something. Last year I clearer out one entire area that's never been under my control since I built the house over 40 years ago. I didn't quite get all of it clean, but I did manage the bulk, and if I spent a few hours there this year I could maintain that. I'm going to try to do that, although it's not the first priority this year.
This year I decided to re-claim or just plain claim another big chunk, which covers nearly half of the lot...which means it's a bit more than 3/4 of an acre or so. It's steep hillside, with a bunch of invasive ivy, some blackberries, and a lot of ferns that I do want to keep. The work is about 70% trying to find footing and 30% actually doing any productive work. This area also happens to comprise about 90% of the road frontage, which means that I'm working right next to the street...in an area that has never had sidewalks or curbs...just the edge of the pavement (sorta like a country road except on a significant slope and with a really nasty hair-pin turn. Some of you may not know what a hair-pin is, but that's okay.
Anyway, I decided to start on the inside of the corner, which dried out faster from the seasonal rains and was actually "easier" to do since I've cleared it before. Since I'm usually working on that in the early evening, it means my "neighbors" are driving by often, and that means two things happen. The first is that the turn is a tight corner, the pavement was never properly super-elevated, and taking the turn at any speed causes vehicles to lose traction. For some, that's just an invitation to take the corner, lose traction, and then slam the accelerator to the floor and smoke the tires. Dumb, but it's what people do. I can hear them all the time from my office/bedroom, but it's tougher to take when you're within a few feet of them doing it. I guess they think I should be impressed. In truth, I'm impressed that they're such terrible drivers and still received a license...but then nobody asked for my opinion.
The second thing is a bit tougher. I get really tired of the negative comments and gestures. I'm trying to make the place look better and they're busy dishing out the crap. There's the guy who drives by, slows, drops the window and yells out "sucks to be you" every time he passes. Personally, I think it sucks to be him, but he didn't ask for my opinion...not that I asked for his. Then there's the guy who stopped and asked me why I didn't just pay somebody to do the work (I'm sure, judging from his car, that would be his approach to anything remotely physical). Before I could respond, his next line was "What's the matter, too poor?"
Then there's the folks...several in fact...who simply say I ought to just spray the area and kill everything. When I've explained that the runoff would go straight down the hill and into the river, the response is usually some variation of "so what." Then, when I point out that spraying wouldn't remove anything, just make it dead and brown, I get the "pay somebody" routine. Of course, they aren't interested in the idea that maybe, regardless of anything else, I don't want to kill "everything." The answer is "spray it, kill it, and then pay somebody to remove it all and spray barkdust all over." Ah, the simplistic approach. I live at the fringe of a wealthy area so all day long I see gardeners and their trucks in the neighborhood, and we probably employ more hispanics than the rest of Portland together.
So...between the actual work, and the attitudes, it's pretty much a lose-lose situation. I don't much care, but it's not a lot of fun.
New topic. A couple months ago I began sharing a daily music posting on FB. I thought it might be fun, and maybe I could steer my friends into something they didn't know. In Portland that's known as "expose yourself to art" and there's a long history of that phrase, with a former mayor doing exactly that. In fact, there's a statue of him doing it. Portland is a funny art town...in a few places.
Anyway, I started doing it. The music has been all over the map...Opera, early rock, even some heavy metal ( a genre I know nothing about). Initially there were a few comments on a few postings, and an occasional "like." That's pretty much dropped off to nothing...except a "I really don't like this crap" comment on a few. Okay, that's fine. Not everyone likes everything, and I didn't expect they would. I had hopped that somebody liked something, but, sadly, that's proved to not be the case, so....whatever. Tonight I signed out of that program with the Dies Irae from Verdi. A fitting way to end I think. Entering the gates of hell seemed appropriate.
Crap in the shop moves slowly. Too slowly. I"m trying hard, but it's just a lot of fiddling time to assemble the TARDIS transformer. Maybe when the first one is done the others will benefit from all the trial and error, but it seems like one step forward and 50 steps back. Spring Garden Overpass is almost finished, but it's nothing special. I pulled out another old, half-completed piece entitled Piece of Cake, so that's the next one to get some effort. The work on it isn't really hard, it will just take some time, which I can fit in while the TARDIS things are drying and setting.
My daughter's wedding is just a week away, and while I'm glad to be going it seems like the trip isn't going to be near as much fun and relaxation as I had hoped. Maybe once I'm in the airport it will feel different, but I just don't know.
Oh, one more thing about the yard. A few years ago the neighborhood association suddenly stuck a "Welcome to" sign in my yard. They never talked to me about doing it...it just appeared. When I happened to confront one of them about it, they claimed the city told them they could put it there, but, of course, the city never talked to me either. I booted them off the property a couple times when they came down to do some "gardening" around it...since it is my property. They didn't like that. I didn't much care.
Anyway a couple years ago they pulled out the sign and I assumed the whole thing was over. Nope! Some lady was up tearing up my yard again the other night. When I confronted her I got the same story and the same crap, and apparently they're planning to put another sign up. I told her clearly that NO, that wasn't going to happen. It got pretty ugly, and she kept saying "the city said it was okay" to which I said, I will call the police and file trespassing charges for anyone who tries. It's not so much that I object to the sign...well, if it was done remotely tastefully. It's more that nobody has ever bothered to talk to me about it and just assumed the could do what they wanted. I told her I could come up to her yard and install a sign of some sort and how would she like that. Hmmmm...yeah, that wouldn't be real cool "So, why to you think that sort of thing is automatically acceptable when done to others?" Where the hell did common courtesy and manners good? We'll see what happens next, but if the sign shows up I'm tearing it down.
There's more to this rant, but I"m probably nearing the limit for words from LJ, and I've now taken up too many pages for my few friends, so...screw it. I think I'll go write more lousy music.
April 23rd, 2013
|02:09 am - Stupid musings|
Well, since LJ no longer allows the use of the "old" interface, this post will be somewhat different than my past entries. Gone are the days of coding in Bold or Italics or other typefaces, so this is all just plain old whatever font. Gone is the ease of linking to pictures or other images, so there won't be any of those either. I suppose I can talk about things in the shop, but they can't be shown any more, at least not just with the click of a mouse, and I'm not going to take the hours necessary to figure out some way to do what LJ no longer wants users to do easily.
In any case, there's just a few thoughts I thought I'd mention in passing, none of which are terribly significant. In no particular order....
If this were a traditional year, I'd be writing this from Germany. Of course, that tradition is now gone, so I'm just sitting at home in the usual chair. I've actually thought about digging out the trilogy again and filling in the remaining holes. I think about that a lot. From time to time I even mentally work on some of the holes, considering the things to include, the history that is important as opposed to simply interesting, the things the characters would know...or discover...and the things that weren't known until much later. I shut out the outside world and return to the sights myself, remembering walking into a very cold Zionskirche where there are still holes in the shell from WWII damage, or walking into the otherwise vacant crematorium at Buchenwald and discovering that the spirits of those who were burned there have never really left. Maybe I relive the dark spring night when I re-traced the steps of Gerhardt as he escape from the Flakturm at the zoo and dodged both German patrols and Russians on his way back to his home, threading through the streets of a destroyed Berlin, watching at every step for men prepared to hang him as a traitor or kill him as an enemy. I can trace my steps down Bernauer Strasse, looking up at the windows of buildings long gone to watch as people jump to escape the East German regime. All those things are easy to relive.
In less than a month I'm heading to Minnesota to watch my daughter get married. I was thinking it would be a typical spring wedding, but it seems more likely it will be a middle of winter wedding. I can't say I've ever worn a kilt in winter. Should be an interesting experience. Hopefully TSA won't go ballistic about my carrying a sporan. It's just a man's purse, but they get excited when the magical X-ray machine shows the chains that hold it around the waist. I'm not really sure why that is, because a woman's bag that had chains as a part of the style of the carry strap aren't all that exciting. Oh well.
Congress has done so many idiotic things lately that I don't think I'll even mention them. The list is too long. Depressing.
For what it's worth (not much) the backlog in the shop is starting to clear out. The four-panel Japanese print is done, and although I have now been through at least two ideas for the frame, I think plan C will actually work. I'll know more about that tomorrow. The original plan...bloodwood...just didn't work. Plan B was also bloodwood, but during my trip out today I discovered there is none to be had locally, so I decided upon wenge instead. That likely would have worked visually, but the piece I picked up (not cheap either) has so much tension in it that I'll never be able to pull the pieces straight enough to use. You can never tell about that until you start cutting. Oh well. So, plan C will be some leopardwood that I already have. It's generally pretty straight and untense (not sure about that word)...however, it is a complete bitch to machine. Every cut chips out chunks and then the sanding takes forever. I'll just have to see how that works out. Visually it's not as striking, but at this point I just want it to work.
The great TARDIS project is getting nearer completion too. I have a couple modules to finish up (X10 units) and then it's on to assembly. Despite these being a "production run" each one will require a fair bit of handwork to finish, but I think I've finally identified all the problems, and dealt with almost all of them. I'll be back working on them again tomorrow, cutting and installing the fixed back panels and trying to figure out how to hold on the removeable back panels. Then it's on to the final design of the electronics.
The Spring Garden Overpass ver 2.0 is making good progress, although I'm not really concentrating on it. I'll add a bit more tomorrow, and that will likely take it to about 30% or so. It's not difficult work, just takes time. I cleaned off the workbench from airbrushing fog, so I have a bit more space now, and that's dedicated to the spring collection.
In the meantime, I'm back working now and then on the last holes in the Opera libretto. It's really about time to sit down at the keyboard and start seriously composing, taking all the scribbled notes and turning them into actual "music." I've also tossed around another idea for the final section of the Requiem, not that I'm actually working on it much. It's just an idea that I kinda like, and since the blend of two tunes has worked well, I'm thinking of adding yet another. Might make it really interesting...or just a disaster. Dunno.
Well, that's enough data dump for now.
April 8th, 2013
Wow, it's been more than two months since I posted anything. I sorta knew that, but it's been longer than I thought. Partly that's because I just plain got tired of having to upload pictures to photobucket and then cross-link them here and hope they might show up. It's easier to put pictures on FB in one step. Also, there aren't many people here who wouldn't see them on FB...I do know of at least one though...and I was getting tired of the crap comments anyway.
I'm debating starting a new blog, but I'm not sure what platform I want to use. I might even charge a slight fee since I could use the money and I should make something for sharing my thinking...or whatever it is I do. I don't really know what I'm going to do on that score, but I'm considering multiple options.
Speaking of thinking, I entered the Great American Think Off again. That makes 7 years in a row. I won in 2008, so...we'll see. I like the essay, but it's hard to know what they like. Would be fun to go back there again, and I think I could win the debate again...it's the essay that's the issue. The last trip proved one simple thing: Sometimes people who can write can't speak worth a damn. They certainly can't think on their feet.
Now, I'm done in the shop for the night, so I think I'll open up Act IV and try to fill in some of the blanks. There are, I think, about four scenes left to write, one of which is written in English that I need to translate into German...and still maintain the rhyme. That's always a challenge. Act V is only one scene, but it's done, so there's that. I could also wander over to the piano and start scribbling some ideas for music, but...we'll see about that. Sophie has never heard the piano so I'm not real sure what she'll do. THAT will be interesting.
January 22nd, 2013
Not really news, just stuff.
The factory is running at about 10%. I've cut lots of parts, but there are still hundreds to be made, with many unanswered questions remaining. I also started gluing up some sub-assemblies. There are bunches of those, and times ten means bunches of bunches. The shop is going to be overflowing with them in short order. A couple have been completely designed, so I started with them. Tomorrow I'm going to try to work out another one, and then it can be started too. Most all of them require glue/sit/glue/sit sequences, so nothing happens real fast.
After making some additional gears, I've now had to return to the face and continue laying up the veneers. The problem is that I need to mount...more or less permanently...some of the supports for the works, and if I do that I'll no longer be able to easily attach and sand down veneer pieces. For the most part it's not really a problem, it just doesn't seem like progress in the conventional sense. However, it all needs to be done, so....whatever.
I really need to get back to doing some writing. On the weekend, while I was pretending to be awake at Costco, I mentally worked out some enhancements/changes/problems with Devon's situation, so I have some revisions to make and also some more chapters to write. I really need to get my head back into that book and punch it out. Between that and my occasional thoughts about Berlin, I should be working more on that stuff. Of course, I also have thoughts about the opera from time to time too, so...yeah, a bunch of things are being ignored.
Well, I guess I'll put on some music of some sort and try to write for a bit. Slowly my hands are recovering, and work today in the shop didn't seem quite so bad. However, it's damn cold right now and the shop is never a really warm place, so that's not always fun.
Current Mood: melancholy
December 24th, 2012
Just for Kimmie!
December 19th, 2012
Progress, I guess.
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December 13th, 2012
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Current Mood: blah