Did I really do that?

I have not been sleeping well lately. I wouldn’t call it insomnia, but I have been waking up in the night, for no apparent reason. I can usually turn over and fall back to sleep, but not sleeping the night through is new and annoying to me.

I have still been dreaming, though. One theory of mine is that waking in the night makes your dreams more vivid and memorable. So far this has not really been the case. My dreams have been as indistinct as ever, and even less memorable than some. 

But last night I dreamed that I was posting a poem to this blog. I have no idea why.
And I am not posting a poem to this blog, so it wasn’t prophetic.

Dreams and dreaming fascinates me. I would have, in the past, said I was “pretty good at remembering my dreams” but that was before I met many friends who are excellent at both remembering and influencing their dreams via lucidity. Lucidity eludes me; at least, it eludes me 99% of the time.

If you are interested in lucidity I suggest checking out lucidity.com Your results may vary. From my own experiences with it, I have decided that really trying to improve your dream recall takes as much concentrated effort and time as anything else in life that you are trying to improve, so be forewarned. I do not really keep a journal, though I usually write it down if I have a truly interesting dream.

I do not put any stock in dream “meanings” since I know that most of the time the things I dream about are the things I have encountered during the day mixed with fantasy adventure. If I see a dragon in a dream it’s not going to be a metaphor for something I have to battle – because I really like dragons. And flying is not necessarily escaping anything, it’s just how I prefer to move.

Feel free to recount any dreams, hints on better dreaming, jounalling ideas, etc. in comments. And if you want more information and links, let me know that too.

The Art of Itchiku Kubota

Today I wanted to sleep in, but couldn’t go back to sleep. Instead I actually exercised on the stationary (stationery? erm.) bike. I have been trying to exercise this week – so far so good.

Then my parents went with me to see an exhibit at the Canton Cultural Center for the Arts on the Kimono landscapes of Itchiku Kubota. Here is a link: http://www.kimonoexhibit.com/ 

The kimonos were amazing. There was an installation comprised of 3A Kimono by Itchiku Kubota0 larger-than-life kimonos, sleeve to sleeve, and the intricate dyed and inked art spanned across all thirty, depicting the change of seasons from fall to winter. It included oceans, mountains, sunsets and snow storms. Each one took nearly a year to make. I never expected that I would be so awestruck by a display of kimonos. I have certainly never felt this moved by “modern” style art: give me something gloriously representational!

After touring that exhibit, there was a display of Taiko drumming that happened to be beginning. It was also stunning to watch! I had no idea how interesting it would be. I am not sure I want to run out and buy a lot of CDs full of Taiko Drumming music, but it was fascinating. The choreography was stunning and beautiful.

Here is a fuzzy camera-phone photo, because it’s all I had with me.

Icho Daiko Taiko Drummers
Icho Daiko Taiko Drummers

Guard Your Heart

This past Saturday was the Hebron Youth Conference for 2009, entirely put together by the associate pastor of my church. He was simultaneously going through a rough spot in his family, so I am awestruck that he put so much time and effort into this as well. God definitely blessed his efforts!

I went as a chaperone, for the youth from my church. The theme was Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” The main point being that we, as Christians, are to be holy – which does not mean “off in a monastery” but it does mean “set apart”. We need to keep out of the grime and sin of the world and culture. It’s a hard thing to do, but when the fruits God promises are things like love, joy, peace, etc. it does seem like there are good rewards. (And it is your “reasonable service.”)

I am not going to go over every thing every speaker said, but I will point out a few things that struck me as interesting takes. When you have been listening to sermons since birth sometimes it is amazing and refreshing to hear something that seems new.

  • Holiness is supposed to be as desirable and enjoyable as a sunny day vs. a cloudy rainy dark day.
  • We are not to “pursue victory” and be “defeated by sin” – that puts all the emphasis on US. In reality we are to realize that sin isn’t just a “struggle” within us; when we sin, we mar God’s reputation, as God’s children, and show the world that being a Christian doesn’t make us any different. That should be one of the motivations not to do it. And so it isn’t a victory/defeat issue, it is a “you are being disobedient” issue.
  • Sometimes our ATTITUDE is what determines whether a thing is beneficial to us or not.
  • When you have daily devotions, the object of your devotion is God. Even your time of prayer should focus on God and not just on “God help me X, Y, Z”
  • Keep having daily devotions even if you have no desire; the desire will come later.
  • Since the Bible is inspired, when you open it, by definition you take the the very breath of God!

Penultimately, I want to add a list of “Five things we want the Lord Jesus to be able to say to us if the Rapture should occur today” – as listed by Dr. Michael Peck. (I was even more struck by these since I knew the two other chaperones sitting next to me were going through such family trials that these were heart-wrenchingly relevant – and still nodding and amen-ing along with this. I was humbled and awed.)

  1. You obeyed Me even when you didn’t understand why. (Mt 4:18-20)
  2. You trusted Me even when it was hard (Ps 125:1)
  3. You worshipped Me even when your heart was breaking (Job 1,2)
  4. You loved Me even when others walked away (Jn 14:15)
  5. You accepted My will even when it was not what you would have personally chosen (Ps 40:8, Ps 143:10)

Finally, in the border of my notes during the sermons I ended up with this little character. I drew her once during each message, and so this was message #5, the final version. (We did have a 6th sermon but I didn’t draw her again.)


Sketch – Harpy

Not all harpies are screaming, bird-woman hags.

But since most are, Heldra felt very alone. She tried so hard to find companionship in the lost travelers of the waste – but none would go near her; all fled when they saw the shadow of her outstretched wings. Her sweet voice did nothing to allay their fears: all knew that harpies and sirens were kin, and so many had heard the (true) tales of folks ripped to shreds.

She still sits often in a dead tree, singing to wyverns and birds. Occasionally a faun or dragon. But for the most part, she has the wilderness to herself – and her terrible kin.

Until she met the wizard.

The Beautiful Harpy
The Beautiful Harpy

[I won’t tell you how old this sketch is. It’s really old.]

Old Art and Not Much Else

The quest to find copper sheet continues. Home Depot (or at least the one I tried) says they don’t carry it. So I did buy some copper paint (made of ‘liquified copper particles’ so it should look authentic). I will eventually have to go back to that first craft store, but it’s in an inconvenient location.

Finally, here is a bit of old art I just dredged up. It is really from 2005, don’t tell. But I hadn’t posted the silly thing yet so I’ll sneak it into here. It’s a lot like the Garjubble. My style hasn’t changed very much. Which is not necessarily bad, but I do always say I should work at doing more life sketching.

Behold the Thunderous Ossiput
Behold the Thunderous Ossiput


I promised JB that I would add a post tonight, “with art or something,” because this page lacks content. Actually this was predicated by the fact that my web hosting plan is ending so I need to renew. This seems to cost a lot, when I think of how much this site has done for me over the last two years. Then I realize that for about 20 of those months I left the site blank and I realize that I’m just a doofus.

So, for your entertainment, I have captured and sketched the elusive Garjubble, a chubby little fantasy fish of the warm shallow seas.

The Elusive (and cute) Garjubble
The Elusive (and cute) Garjubble


In more disturbing news, I was about to buy some copper sheet (to attempt to make something Steampunk-esque) and discovered that it is being stolen from local craft stores, so I had to ask at the back for them to bring the stash of copper out from the storage area.

That definitely seems like something from a novel.

Steampunkery will be in the works even without the copper (I am too cheap at this time, due to buying my web hosting, see above. And I bought a cabinet, while we’re at it.); I will just resort to making it “copper colored” instead of “copper covered”.  Oh, also I just discovered the exciting and informative contents of Instructables. I named myself Nickleplate there, to further confuse the fact that I use too many online names.  

Also I have decided that Doctor Gestalt is just too masculine to use from here on out, so that blog is not likely to be resuscitated with that name.

Yet a Few Games More

(The title was a riff on the delightful podcast of Paul Tevis, that you can find here.)

As mentioned in the last journal I bought a card game, called Rage. I also bought Farkle, and played Save Doctor Lucky. (Note: not Kill. You lose points if you accidentally say Kill.)

Now, Rage was very fun, even though I don’t like trick taking games. The fun part was the company I played with. Farkle was less fun, because I lost, and I’m not always a good sport – and it was so hard I had to make a house rule to add an extra die. We also tried it with two extra dice, but that made it too easy. Save Doctor Lucky worked surprisingly well, considering we only had 3 people. I used a chunk of glass that looked like an ice cube for Doctor Lucky’s meeple. I didn’t think about how ironic that was, on the Titanic.

I was playing with my family. And it turns out that shorter games work better with them. Much as I wouldn’t have minded buying a copy of Wealth of Nations or Pandemic, I can’t see many of my local friends playing it. (Not counting my game group – they are actually an hour away so I don’t consider them “that local”.)

Here are some more fairly-quick-to-play games on my radar screen. If you have any experience playing these I’d love to hear about it. (Also I shall be checking out BoardGameGeek.com)

Tuesday I began a game of Spirit of the Century, a storytelling game of pulp action heroes! Let me just say that any game that involves crazy scientists with explosives (note: they were not the enemy!), and fighting ninjas on a train in 192- is 100% supreme in my book. The game play may be podcast, and I apologize in advance for my own voice and annoying (to me) laughter. But I do not apologize for picking on Chance Random, the Improbable Man With The Strange Arm Of Living Wood That He Inexplicably Got From Mysterious Druids Under Cardiff* Being a woman of [mad botanical] science (in this game, especially), that bothers me to pieces. The next time we play won’t be until April, but I’ll be working on my maniacal laugh.

 *Perhaps that is not his official title.