alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
At a science fiction convention, I ducked my head into the film room. They’re showing a classic Hammer vampire movie, with Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and… Ernie Kovacs? Specifically, Kovacs in his character as Percy Dovetonsils. Sadly, I didn’t stay long enough to figure out whether he was a Renfield, a vampire Hunter, or what.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
I had an interesting dream experience a few nights ago. In the dream, I was testing out a game I was working on. It was an immersive VR horror game, with monsters that were approximately “slow zombies”. In this run, the only “weapon” I had managed to acquire was a sharpened pencil; theoretically viable if you can stab a “zombie” in the heart before it gets you. I was trying to sneak past an un-alert zombie, when I accidentally alerted it. I quickly tried to stab it with the pencil I was holding in my left hand, and here’s where the interesting thing happened. Since I knew I was in a VR game, but did NOT know I was in a dream, I actually tried to make a stabbing motion with my real arm! Sleep paralysis prevented my arm from more than twitching, which was so frightening that it woke me up. The zombie wasn't nearly as scary as the sudden loss of control.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Evening naps clearly make for interesting dreams, though this one isn't nearly as good as the last.

A sitcom set in a world where all religion and mythology is true. Emphasis on ALL – not just that which is accepted by official dogma. Our viewpoint into this world is a set of gossip tabloids, all competing to get the juiciest details of the latest drunk divinities before anyone else. Sort of a triangulation between American Gods, Fables, and Thorne Smith.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
"Hey man, I was just tryin' ta help."
"Do you know how many people I have had to KILL because of your 'help'? TWELVE! Twelve people! So far..."


Nov. 9th, 2014 10:10 am
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Tomorrow, I go in to get a neck injection that may help with my chronic pain issues. But in the biting irony department, for 48 hours beforehand, I have to stop taking ibuprofen. Last night did not feature much actual sleep. And what sleep I did get was punctuated by dream featuring such restful topics as "wandering around awake because I couldn't sleep from pain" and "watching really bad Star Wars sequels". It's gonna be a looooong weekend, and not in the good way.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
In my dreams, I often am still living in Worcester, hanging around downtown and attending Worcester Academy. Except they’re not quite the same as the real places I grew up in, and they have a continuity all their own. For instance, I’m pretty sure I never saw The Horse in waking life.

If The Horse has a proper name, I don’t know it. I presume he lives somewhere near downtown, and escapes and wanders off from time to time. He’s a large black stallion – mostly. Sometimes he is partially or completely purple. Perhaps there is some sort of dye factory within his range of wandering?

On the rare occasions I’ve been close to him, The Horse has been docile and friendly. I once tried to track down his owner when he turned up actually at my house (rather far from his normal spaces). He followed me downtown, but once he was back on familiar ground, he took off again.

This all by way of prologue. The *really* notable thing about The Horse is not his color or his independence, but his acrobaticness. He likes to wander up walls and over rooftops. Perhaps he is part mountain-goat? You don’t see him by looking around; you have to be looking *up*. Or perhaps you will see him poking his nose in an open window, despite that window being three stories up.

He goes places that seem impossible for any non-bird to get to. His jumping ability is astounding. I’ve never seen him flub a landing. The closest was once when he jumped down to street level from the roof of a seven-story hospital. There were a few feet of snow on the ground, but even with that cushion, a drop of that length seemed to stun him for a moment or two. Only briefly, though; he didn’t fall over, and was moving again in a moment as though nothing unusual had happened.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
I dreamt I was watching a movie based on a pulp-crime novel written by James Nicoll[1]. The protagonist was a professional poker cheat who was *very* skilled at "shuffling" and "dealing" cards in a thoroughly non-random fashion. What I found neat was how they represented this in the film version: All the cards were face-up, and the actors other than the card sharp just pretended that they were typical face-down hidden information.

My subconscious seems to have conflated him with Mike Ford. In this dream-reality, James had written about a dozen novels, but mostly in different genres, so all of them remained fairly obscure.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Last night I had a dream that was a "kid detective" story, with a bunch of kids working to solve an old mystery. One of the kids was actually the ghost of a young girl, a murder victim. At the climax, the kids pulled down a false wall that concealed the girl's body, along with some treasure and other evidence. The ghost-girl happily flew over to see that it was, in fact, her body. She then pulled out her ghostly notebook in which she had been keeping track of clues and mysteries.

Ghost Girl: "Well! that's..." (disappointed face) "...*almost* everything. But we never did find out what the gargantuam was."
Live Girl: "I think you wrote that down wrong. "Gargantuan" has an "n" on the end. It's just an english word that means "very large", or "extreme".
Ghost Girl: (happily) "Oh! Then I *can* go!"

And the Ghost Girl happily fades away, since the mysteries are all solved. The live kids miss her a little, but are happy for her.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
"He was a man of catholic tastes. That is to say, he thought of them as wide-ranging and universal, but there were vast territories which they never even approached."
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Had a lengthy and complicated dream sorta-based on Finder last night. Most of it was lost on waking, but I remembered bits of the setting that seemed interesting enough to write down and share.

It was set in a city on the west coast. NOT one of the domed cities. This city was placed upon a large ceramic disk that was, in turn, atop a large tower. The tower was inhabited by (and probably built by) giant ants. Those who lived at the edge of the city were engaged in perpetual warfare with the ants. The city drew most of their power and heat from the ant-mound, but the ants would mindlessly attack the edges of the city.

The inner regions were largely unaffected by this warfare -- the tone of the overall story was light British comedy. No one now remembered whether the city was parasitizing a natural insect mound, or whether the ants had been genetically engineered to create the conditions for a city -- and control over their aggression had broken down. It was just part of life that if you were poor enough, you had to fight ants at the city's edge.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Dream snippet:
"Elizabeth Warren is clearly courting dockworkers in the new Labor bill she just introduced, which would outlaw the growing use of zombies summoned from the ocean floor as dock-side laborers. The ban applies only to business use, use of zombies as personal assistants would still be permitted. Nor are dockworkers the only group getting such protection: while the bill specifically allows the general use of "holiday-themed zombies", it prohibits the specific use of "zombie Santas".

[Some days I just love my subconscious.]
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Nasty dreams last night. Did rescue one good line into consciousness, which I offer up in case any of my readers who are writers want to make use of it:

"I've seen him beat a man to death with his bare hands for rhetorical effect. It is a rather compelling argument."
alexxkay: (Default)
This comes from a dream, followed by some lucid free-association to explain where the imagery came from. It seems to be set in Charles Stross's Laundry-verse, where Lovecraftian horrors lurk behind higher mathematics, and are the business of shadowy government bureaucracies.

Hammerspace is a well-known concept, dating back at least a century. Take a weapon, hide it in a higher-dimensional space (typically linked to a small talisman you can carry around with you). When you need the weapon, you can pull it "out of nowhere". Any conventional search will fail to find the weapon until you pull it out, so it was originally a great tool for covert agents. Eventually, however, spells were developed that could easily detect the low-but-constant level of Dimensional Stress caused by the link between the talisman and teh hammerspaced-weapon, so if your enemies had any halfway-competent sorcerers, this was no longer a covert weapon at all. Still useful in some circumstances, but it generally fell out of favor.

During the Cold War, some American Mad Scientists came up with a new twist on the concept, Hammerspace2. Instead of storing an *actual* weapon in Hammerspace, they could link a talisman to an abstract *description* of the weapon, and create that weapon de novo when the talisman was invoked. Or even just the parts of the weapon you cared about: Point this pen at an enemy, press the stud, and a stream of machine gun bullets emerge at a suitably high muzzle velocity from a point in space just in front of the pen-tip, no actual gun required.

This had several advantages over the old model, but some huge disadvantages also. On the plus side, the lack of a 'real' weapon being stored meant that the Dimensional Stress of the talisman (when inactive) was *much* smaller than the old-school model. It would take a skilled sorcerer to detect, and could even be 'disguised' as some other sort of talisman. When you actually *use* it, however, the sudden appearance of all that mass and energy violates all sorts of local Conservation Laws, leading to huge amounts of Dimensional Stress.

I've been tossing around the term Dimensional Stress, so let me now actually explain it a bit. For one thing, it equates to visibility. If you start firing a Hammerspace2 weapon, even an untrained person with a bit of Sight will notice something going on in senses that are normally dormant. Worse yet, it can be detected by Horrors From Beyond Space, so there's a non-trivial chance of a random demonic incursion from every firefight (either during, or shortly after). And just to put the cherry on top, Dimensional Stress has unpredictable effects on other magic spells and constructs. In game terms, chance of critical failure for magical operations at least doubles around this stuff.

So Hammerspace2 weapons are a weird mix of extremely stealthy, and about as UN-stealthy (and irresponsible) as you can get. Naturally, American secret occult agencies started using them. There were two main use cases.

1. Issued to long term deep-cover agents as holdout weapons to be used only in *extreme* emergency, after their cover was aleady blown. Almost none of these actually get activated.

2. Issued to James Bond style infiltrators whose missions are specifically designed to end with the bad guy's secret lair going up in an impressively large fireball. In this context, the significant chance of random demonic incursion is actually seen as a plus (with typical short-sightedness).

The Mad Scientist who created Hammersapce2 continued to refine and develop the technology. His ultimate creation was a one-off, and mostly kept off the official record books. It was discovered posthumously, and only fully understood after a lot of searching of his private papers.

It looks like (and in many senses IS) a comfy chair. It's linked to Hammerspace2 descriptions of a fighter jet, and an assault helicopter, so it can fly at huge speeds, or hover, or do pretty much any kind of maneuvering that you might want. The H2 decriptions of the vehicles include their weapon systems, so the flying comfy chair can emit heat-seeking missiles, and/or bullets in massive quantities. One of the innovations of the comfy chair is that it includes a sort of invisible force bubble around the chair, so that the user is not buffeted by high-speed wind (or bugs!). This also acts as armor to a limited degree.

This comfy chair is the ultimate expression of Hammerspace2; utterly innocuous in appearance, but ludicrously destructive when used. The vast amounts of kinetic energy released just by its flight create *vast* amounts of Dimensional Stress, practically guaranteeing demonic incursion to any battlefield it was used in. The inventor never actually used it. It was believed to be part of a paranoid contingency plan. If he ever needed to sever ties with his government sponsors, he had the capability of doing so in such a way as to completely destroy the facility he was fleeing from, sowing maximum confusion, and then putting a lot of distance between him and the disaster site. Presumably he had somewhere to flee *to* arranged, but that remins undiscovered. While the chair would leave a very easy-to-follow trail behind it, it would dissipate before long, and he clearly envisioned causing enough noise that no one would actually have the attention available to start *looking* until long after that.

This morning I dreamed of flying around in this chair, blowing shit up. Then my brain filled in the backstory behind it. Story concepts are hereby released into the wild. If you want to use 'em, feel free.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Last night, I saw a kestrel in a dream. Neither the bird kind, nor the one I'm married to. You know how "raptor" is a word both for some types of bird, and also for some types of dinosaurs. Similarly, the word "kestrel" (in my dream) could apply either to birds, or to a not-quite-extinct non-flying beastie.

The kestrel-beast's body is similar to that of a tiger, though longer and leaner. Sort of the proportions of a ferret, but scaled up to tiger-size. It is a sort of tan/brown color. Its head is its most unusual feature, and masses almost as much as the rest of the body. It is tall, broad, and roughly heart-shaped. It reminds me of the old Looney Tunes monster with the heart-shaped body. The eyes are located near the top bumps of the head, and are fairly small. The kestrel-beast can rear up on its hind legs briefly, and see for a *long* way.

In the center of the head is its maw. I use that word instead of 'mouth' to try and emphasize its oddness. It doesn't have upper and lower jaws, but rather a round hole lined with teeth, something along the lines of a moray eel. Only six teeth, but quite big. 3 on top, one to either side, and a huge single tooth at the bottom. When the maw is fully closed, that tooth takes up about half the total area.

The kestrel-beast hunts in a manner similar to a trapdoor spider. It digs a shallow burrow to curl up in, then lays its head flat on the top to form a new 'ground' surface. When unsuspecting prey wanders by, chomp! Smaller prey is swallowed whole. Large prey usually gets immobilized by those teeth, while the body whips around and claws it to death (excepting the rare case of trying to chomp on something tough enough to fight back successfully).

Given its unusual shape, and its deadliness, it seems likely to me that it comes from Australia.

I have no idea why I dreamed of such a thing, but it came through in vivid detail, and I thought those details were interesting enough to share.
alexxkay: (Default)
Had a pleasant birthday at home. Spent much of it reading to [ profile] kestrell. We've been going through the latest Bujold, and are now most of the way through. I got all teary-eyed during the romantic scene in the bunker. Kes likes to tease me about my romantic not-so-secret heart; I can't deny it.

There was a party in the house, and I got involved in a game of Betrayal at House on the Hill, where Kes and I played as a team. The Haunt turned to to be a Ghost Bride. The heroes, due to frankly astonishing luck, put her to her rest in a mere 3 rounds.

Also got in a bit of playtesting for Card Hunter, an indie game being made by some old friends and colleagues of mine. It's already enjoyable, even at this unpolished stage; I really hope this succeeds for them.

Had a weird dream last night. It was, in retrospect, a very disturbing nightmare, though it didn't feel like it at the time. It was a few days out of my life at my present age, but a life where I was still active in the SCA, but had no girlfriend, no job, no... direction or focus. I wasn't starving, or afraid, or anything like that. But there was an emptiness... As I wandered back towards wakefulness, it suddenly occurred to me: "This is my life if I had never found Kestrell." I got up and went to get a hug from her, told her about it, and how much she meant to me, and had a good, cathartic cry.
alexxkay: (Default)
This morning, I found a message from mom on my big, boxy, cassette-tape-based answering machine. It was reminging me of the date of our next get-together, in a few weeeks, with a subtext of "I never get to see you any more." There was also a message from so me old codger, but I couldn't tell what he wanted because he spent all his time complaining about these new-fangled answering machines.
alexxkay: (Default)
I just woke up after reading (most of) an excellent book. It featured, as an important (but not viewpoint) character, a minor Trickster god. He began life as an apotheosis of Errol Flynn, literally stepping off of the silver screen during a Sabatini pirate epic. In recent years, with classic cinema going into decline, this particular avatar had grown old and decrepit. He now searched and schemed for something -- or someone -- to trade for a restoration to his former power and glory. In the novel's climax, he found such a person, who may have formerly been the President of the United States.

There was much more, but the Librarians of Dream are jealous, and do not let much of the works under their care escape. I remember that the protagonsit was a woman, and that by the end of the book, she was on her way to becoming a goddess-avatar herself, but all the details about her have faded back to shadow.

I remeber the book had a cover blurb by Neil Gaiman, but that he hadn't written it. I'm pretty sure it was by Mike Ford, though writing somewhat in the mode of Tim Powers. Nice to know he's still writing, out there in Ideaspace.
alexxkay: (Default)
1. "House of Leaves -- the Musical!"

2. Non-dream context first: I have been slightly creeped out by the way Google+'s list of suggested people includes at least one person who is dead. eradicated, so they are treated like any other contact. I hadn't yet talked to anyone about this, so it was sort of hanging around in the back of my head.

Dream: I was thinking about this while walking around outside. I happen to see a couple SCAdian friends talking together (doing some sort of ritual 'patrol' thing?). I decide to go up and chat to them about this whole 'echoes of dead friends' thing -- when I notice that one of them *is* my dead friend. This creeps me out big time, as I've never seen a ghost before. I decide that talking to her about my reaction to her death is probably inappropriate, though...
alexxkay: (Default)
(from a few nights ago)

I'm part of an archeological expedition (more Indiana Jones than realistic). There's a big hole in the ground, through which we can see ancient ruins. Shining in a light, we can see thatthe floor is about 50 feet down. There are some golden vases or bowls on pedestals, and part of the floor also shines golden. "It shines like a dragon's hoard..."

The head of the expedition is worried about safety issues, but I volunteer to go down. Accompanying me (for no obvious reason) is my friend E ([ profile] 43duckies). We look around the big chamber for a bit. E spots an opening in one corner. We go look, and see multiple passageways, including one that slopes down deeper into the earth. I get a strong feeling of recognition (like this was somewhere I visited in a game?), and tell E that I am quite sure there are Bad Things down there, and that we had better retreat at once. E starts heading back, and I follow.

Not wanting to leave completely empty-handed, I grab one of the golden vase/bowl thingies on the way out. As I reach the surface, I am stricken by a horrible realization, and begin apologizing incoherently to the other members of the team. They don't understand why I'm so upset.

I'm upset, because I've just realized that I'm inside a myth of a particular sort. I've stolen the golden cup from the dragon. That means that I, personally, will survive the story -- but a lot of innocent people will die due to my actions, including the head of my expedition.


alexxkay: (Default)
Alexx Kay

September 2017

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