the dream of a pregnant unicorn

This morning I dreamed that I was talking with Dana, who was presenting as a ten year old girl. She told me she was pregnant and challenged me to guess who by.

I woke up as I was starting to explain why I was ruling out her husband.

the dream of my first home, crumbling

Now and then, I dream about the house I grew up in. It’s been happening less often over the years; I lived there for the first twenty-five years of my life, but it’s been about twenty years since I left for good. I don’t think I was ever inside it again; my mother moved out into an apartment before I came back from California for my first visit.

Last night, it was falling apart around me. I tried to close and lock the back door and the lock halfway sheared out of the door. The ground beneath the place was clearly shifting and it clearly wasn’t long for this world. Clearly. Nothing else of import happened in that dream; a lot of the time when I dream I’m there I’m afraid of Something coming to get me and need to make sure the doors are closed, draw the blinds in my room lest They see me. But this time? Just an old shell of a place, falling apart.

Which is a thing it did already. When Marie-Jeanne sold it, there were cracks developing in the ceiling between one corner and the other of the house, as the concrete slab it had been built on was sinking unevenly. Not a good choice for building in a swampy city at all, really. I visited it when I came back the first year after Katrina, and it was still standing, but somewhere between then and now it’s been torn down and replaced with a two-story building. The trees in the front and back are gone, too – the little ones my family planted when I was a kid out on the servitude, the pine in the front yard, and the big sycamore tree that dominated the back yard. The only remnant is a bent line of wire fence between that plot and the one behind it; I think it’s probably the same one left over from when I was a kid.

The house on the plot behind it, and the one next door, are still the same houses that were there my whole life. But the single-story mustard-yellow one I grew up in is, indeed, gone, and has been since at least 2007. Street View won’t go any earlier than that, when it shows the lot with the two big trees but no house; the next image is 2011, when the new place is starting to go up.

The last time I dreamed of it, Mom was there, but we kinda knew she was really dead. This time it was just me. Me and entropy. I wonder if I’ll ever dream about the place again.


oh god the little strip mall up on Chef Menteur Highway is a Wal-Mart now.

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shower thoughts: Robin Hood, 2017

This is of course completely just some brainstorming on ideas for an exciting near-future thriller plot and not at all a thing I would ever do, or encourage anyone else to do.

1. Acquire as many identity databases as possible. Experian, etc.
2. Filter for CEOs, politicians, banksters, other members of the 1%. And of course everyone who’s reaping the financial benefits of hoarding all this identity data with garbage security in front of it.
3. Apply for spurious loans/mortgages/etc in their name. Automate this process if you can, but be very careful to cover your tracks. Don’t do it for long.
4. Don’t be greedy: distribute what you get around the community, anonymously. Put boxes of $100 bills in homeless encampments with notes (that you didn’t print on your own printer) encouraging sharing. Use the grey economy to launder it. Whatever. Steal from the rich, and give to the poor. Do not keep enough in your possession that you now qualify as “rich”.
5. Publish guides to doing this.
6. Never speak of this in front of any device with a microphone. Consider destroying any devices involved in doing this on a regular basis.
7. ???
8. Enjoy watching the ensuing chaos. Possibly from another country under another name.

There are of course many details to be worked out in this. Made for a pleasant shower fantasy, though.

one of those “gee I haven’t written here lately” updates

Well. That was a night. Yesterday, Nick threw out his back while cleaning the toilet; we ended up going on down to the emergency room in an ambulance because I was all “insurance covers stuff, we can afford it, let’s make sure it’s not anything much worse”. In part because I started getting flashbacks to how one day I came home to find the front door of the house wide open and my mother nowhere to be found; she’d kept on ignoring back pain until it got to the point of a slipped disc. She ended up needing surgery. Luckily Nick is not at that point and has a few days of painkillers, and doctor’s orders to work on his core strength, damnit.

Which is a thing I’ve been intending for both of us to work on anyway. I even got us a couple memberships at the local Y late last month but I was putting off integrating that into my daily schedule until after I got that short story out. Now that’s done and I can make that start happening, damnit.


Oh – short story? I don’t think I’ve written about that here either. I got asked to be in “Twisted Romance”, a four-issue anthology series that Image will be publishing this February. Four stories by Alex DeCampi, with art by various people, and backup stories by other people, one of whom is me. And prose pieces as well.

I get to be a backup to Carla Speed McNeil holy crap. So that should be fun. The whole package should be pretty neat, here’s more about it.

My story is about one of the important turning points in the backstory of two characters from Parallax, that SF cartoon pitch I’ve been kicking around with Nick for a year or two now. It should stand alone; I know damn well nobody knows who these folks are besides me and Nick yet. Bug your local comics store to get it if you’re curious, I won’t be posting it on here for quite some time.


I have also been feeding the local birds, which makes me happy. There are assorted tiny birds in the tree near my window, eating the seeds in the feeder I hung from the underside of my upstairs neighbor’s balcony, and I think the crows are starting to realize that I am the nice person who puts out peanuts for them on the stump in front of my door most mornings.


And finally: this morning I unwrapped the boxes that have been sitting near the door for the past half a month while I was in crunch mode on the Twisted Romance story, and folded up twenty-one of them. This happens to be exactly as many copies of Rita are sitting under my desk, with signatures and drawings in them. I’m finally almost done with this project and that feels pretty damn good.

dragon lewds

So I spent the last couple of weeks in the final crunch for a comic deadline. It was worth it, it’s for a weekly anthology coming out this February from Image, called “Twisted Romance”. But I needed to unwind after getting that done today. I ended up sitting at the computer, wanting to draw stuff, with no desire to pick up a Big Project and work on it. And, as usually happens when I draw with no particular aim in mind, I ended up drawing one of my characters being sexy.

And then I drew multiple layers of boob sizes. And then I dumped that all into Flash to sequence the drawings. And then I colored it. The shadows on the tits don’t animate smoothly but I really don’t care enough to fix it right now.

The image is here and is NSFW.

I kinda want to put this together in After Effects and try animating it in there. I have too many unhappy memories with Flash to want to really get into animating this in that. Though animating something entirely mine might be a nice antidote to some of those memories…

ringworld, at twilight

Slowly, the dapples of light beneath the trees become half-circles. The sun dims.

The stars begin to appear – but there’s a black bar with one end where the sun used to be. Massive shadow squares, sliding across the sky, giving you the semblance of night.

Perhaps you can see the faint glints of the sun-side of one or two of the shadow squares giving night-time to places widarsins and deosil of where you are. Perhaps not. Model the situation in a 3D program if you want perfect accuracy; I’m going to go with the option that lets me wax poetic about the way the Sun’s rectangular companions take a little bit of it through the death of the night, and give it back every morning.

One might even craft the shadow squares with different shapes. Every night is a differently-shaped eclipse. Perhaps even a second ring that rotates a little slower, slowly precessing against the world-ring on a year-long scale, rather than days. Dim the light a little, create some seasonal variance. If you want to. Watch the wolves drift inexorably across the sky to eat the sun and shit it out again.

How To An Illustrator: sharing stuff across files when cut-and-paste breaks down.

Sometimes, when you want to copy a complex appearance between two documents, Illustrator will decide it wants to expand the effect instead. This is rarely a thing I want – one easy-to-edit path can become many complicated paths.

Here’s a way to work around it.

  1. Open the document with the path whose style you want to clone into the new document.
  2. Select that path and create a new Graphic Style from it.
  3. Save the document.
  4. Open the document you want to bring the troublesome style into.
  5. Hit the ‘library’ button at the lower left of the Graphic Styles palette; choose “Other Library…” at the bottom, then use the file requestor this invokes to select the file from step 1.
  6. Double-click the style to bring it into your document’s Graphic Styles. Or just select it and draw a shape, that works too.
  7. Keep on drawin’.

 

You can use this trick to clone brushes, palette swatches, and symbols from other files. Maybe for some other stuff, too; Illustrator has a ton of palettes and I might be forgetting something! For multi-file projects it can be very useful to have one central file where you store all of these kinds of things.

You can also make your libraries show up in the ‘User Defined’ submenu by putting them in a certain place in the filesystem – check the manual for that, it’s a different place for each class of palette on OSX and Windows. The “Libraries” palette is, I think, supposed to make this easier and to sync between computers, but I’ve never played with it.

another year older

I turned 46 today.

Nick and I went out to a place in Fremont called “Simply Desserts” for a couple of slices of really, really good cake. And then we wandered around and found a coffee shop to open up our laptops and poke at stuff for a while. I got some decent progress done on the eight-page Parallax story I’ve been working on.

When we came home, I opened up Twitter, and saw that the person running the anthology that story’s gonna be in was talking about it, so I retweeted her tweets about it, and then went over to dragon.style and wrote about it there.

I am pretty excited about this thing: it’s an anthology I got invited to be in, versus one that was a general call for entries that I got accepted to; it’s also going to be my first appearance in a floppy* distributed to comic shops all over the country. It’s called “Twisted Romance” and you can read about it here – bug your local comic shop to order it if it sounds cool!

It was an interesting challenge to do this. Romance is not my usual genre but I think I managed to achieve a decent story about a crucial moment in two people’s relationship to each other. And do it in a mere eight pages. And deliver it on a deadline**.

I thought about buying myself some kind of birthday present but I really couldn’t think of a single damn thing I wanted. I guess announcing that will do. That and the weed we bought on the way home. Time to order a pizza, curl up in the living room, and get stoned off my ass.

 


* “floppy”: a single issue of a comic book

** Well okay I haven’t actually delivered it yet, the deadline’s the end of the month. If I add up all the pages that are halfway done then I’ve just got about two pages of eight left to do, plus the sketched-but-not-colored cover, and I can do that easily.

the dream of being rescued

A brief snippet of dream from last night: I was trying to get into a room whose door was closed; it was as if there was someone inside holding it shut. Then it slightly opened and as I put my hand in to turn on the light, I was pulled inside into the darkness. And suddenly this became a nightmare.

Then Nick charged in and started to pull me out, and I woke up with a start. And I smiled, and snuggled into the bed next to him, and went back to sleep.

That’s all. There was some stuff beforehand but I can’t remember it and I’m pretty sure it was another narrative.