I’m going to break the Primary Unspoken Rule of Writing right now. Why? Because I had this dream last night that woke me up. Instead of it being one of those cold sweat, terror induced exercises in heart stopping I was in fact awoken by self-induced paroxysms of joy. Seriously!
Retro Futuristic City by HTECORE
The dream, as best as I can recall, centered around the idea that I had started a gym. People would come to my gym to swing around like Tarzan or Spiderman. Sort of a city sized exercise in parkour in which no one ever missed a leap or came down hard in a fall. And I was the *best* at it.
The setting was rich, luxurious. Somewhere between the vast darkness of Los Angles in Blade Runner and the vertical richness of The Fifth Element, and the whole time I was flipping around this place like a trapeze artist operating outside gravity.
Like I said, I awoke from this dream, and a huge grin was plastered on my mug. I felt elated and I spent the next hour or so contemplating all the “whys.” “Why was that dream so good?” “Why did I wake up from feeling so satisfied?” “Why can’t I do this on command in my waking life?” “Why don’t I have the words to describe this amazing experience inside my dumb skull on the page?”
Fast and furious followed by complete silence. The kind of silence you’d only find at the bottom of a dark and deep cave. Yeah, that’s how things have been around these parts since I’ve had to turn my laptop, a highly portable writing utility, into a desk potato.
The top row of keys on my laptop’s keyboard (the one built into the computer) stopped working. I tried troubleshooting using a shop and their solution was to replace the whole upper deck of my computer (late 2013). Not just the keyboard. Not clean out the notoriously dirty and potentially clogged fans or ventilation passages. Just the whole top deck. A >$800 part apparently so capricious in repair that they couldn’t even give me an exact estimate.
So yeah, there’s no way I’m going to do that. I bought a $20 USB keyboard and began to learn how to use a ‘desktop’ productively for the second time in my life.
Okay, so then July happens. The ‘E’ key (third from the left in the top row on most laptops) apparently becomes stuck. I take the whole key apart all the while mumbling something like “I thought you were busted? Why can’t you remain busted?” After hours of looking for any reason the ‘E’ would show up as depressed every 1.5 seconds I give up on repairing the borked keyboard. “I’m going to pull the case and disconnect the keyboard.”
Easy enough right? I’ve invested in a pentalobe screwdriver specially built for this specific purpose and I can nudge connectors with the best of them. So I turn it off, disconnect the power supply and begin surgery. It’s delicate work, like microscopic knitting for a ham-handed lout, but I persevere. When completed, I reassemble my increasingly Frankenstined MacBook Pro, open it and press … the … power … button … on … the … keyboard.
“Oh, good grief!” Hands involuntarily covers my eyes
It’s a wonder I didn’t transform it into a frisbee and chuck through a window in that moment.
- Step 1: Open Laptop
- Step 2: Attach keyboard
- Step 3: Take deep, cleansing breath and pray to various electronically inclined deities
- Step 4: Power on computer
- Step 5: Detach keyboard
- Step 6: Reassemble computer
The words are still happening, just slowly.
I’m living proof that while you can go to the place where you grew up, you can never go back home. Situational distance, temporal dissonance, or the relentless march. I tried to go back home and what I found was a place “almost, but not quite entirely unlike tea.” This is the way of things, a truth from which we cannot escape.
This morning I woke up to clearing clouds beyond my cliff-side abode to discover that a critical element of my youth has been resurrected just in time for Independence Day celebrations. That’s right folks, it’s been more than 30 years since the threat of nuclear annihilation hung over our collective heads. Not just the specter of death that we all deal with in one way or another, but the extinction of it.
And he sat. He told the Nutro-Matic about India, he told it about China, he told it about Ceylon. He told it about broad leaves drying in the sun. He told it about silver teapots. He told it about summer afternoons on the lawn. He told it about putting the milk in before the tea so it wouldn’t get scalded. He even told it (briefly) about the East India Trading Company.
As their last hurrah the Baby Boomer Generations, aided by a select proletariat from Generation X, have performed a sort of necromancy upon our time. They’ve elected a madman who’s never done anything in his life but sin against his brothers and sisters and given him the temptation of the ultimate sin; destruction of his enemies through the use of the ultimate weapon.
Make no mistake, Kim Jung-Un saved his test of their latest iteration of ICBM — designed to pressure the United States and subsequently South Korea into capitulation over our collective and long-standing war — for July 4th. This is an example of pro-level political saber rattling. And the first response from the ass-clown in our chief office is a series of tweets which abdicate American responsibility in the region and discommode our allies who live under threat already.
This, my young friends, is what it felt like to live with duck-and-cover exercises. Welcome back to the life and times of your ancestors.
Yeah, so all has been quiet on this front for some time. The reason for this is pretty straightforward, I’ve been experiencing intermittent issues with the keyboard on my laptop which became catastrophically worse late last week. Look at yours right now. See all the letters between W and P? None of them on my laptop’s keyboard work any longer and most of them get used all the time to write simple sentences.
Today, after much hullabaloo on the phone with Apple, I drove to the mainland specifically to get it repaired. I’ve watched the surgery necessary on YouTube, and it’s pretty involved, so I sought help. Help, it turns out, cost considerably more than the laptop is worth.
“So there he is, banging away at this post,” you’d rightly point out. “How the hell is doing it?” Well, I bought a cheapo keyboard and turned my very expensive Macbook Pro into a desk potato. This may become my new mascot or something.
“What’s next?” you ask when informed of my clever and inexpensive workaround? Well, obviously a lot less portable computing. When I work away from my desk, I’ll necessarily be doing so on a tiny device like my phone. This is slower and considerably more prone to borkage, but possible.
Right now my big project is a Space Opera retelling of Shakespear’s Romeo and Juliet which I’m very glad to be working on once again. If I do anything to improve my workspace, it will be to add a bigger monitor to this potato setup. However, unless and until I’m able to sell some stories, this is going to remain an aspiration since it lacks funds.
This is Matt. He’s got a pile of books he purchased last January that no one picked up. Matt is sad because books without readers are indeed a depressing fact of life. But there’s a silver lining to the cloud that hangs over Matt’s troubled head.
You can pick up one of these excellent reads. Doomsday Chronicles is an anthology of short stories that reads like a laundry list. That’s if your laundry is, in this case, some of our time’s best genre writers.
You can click on the picture of the book or here and pick up your free copy on Matt’s dime, while they last. All he asks for is a) that you follow him on Twitter and b) that you leave a review when you’ve finished reading the book.
Because everyone is doing it: Ten wilderness areas that I’ve been to and one that I have not.
- Alpine Lakes Wilderness
- Norse Peak Wilderness
- Pasayten Wilderness
- North Cascades National Park and Stephen Mather Wilderness
- Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness
- Goat Rocks Wilderness
- Flat Tops Wilderness
- Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
- South San Juan Wilderness
- Okefenokee Wilderness
- Passage Key Wilderness