AN UNUSUALLY SERIOUS POST (or maybe not, after the Hell posts)
This is the first time I'm writing about a dream here on the blog without logging it in my dream journal first. This morning I dreamt that I offended some large organization (either a government or a religious authority or both) and was sentenced to be executed. Without any ceremony I was immediately led to the place of execution, an indoor spot in a large hallway or some such place, informally designated for that use (in the dream I had previously witnessed another execution in that very spot). I stood facing my executioner, only a few feet across from him, as he held a handgun at eye-level and took aim at my forehead.
Even as I stood dreading the shot I would never remember, I was also glad that the method of execution was mercifully quick and (probably) painless. In fact, if I were the arbiter of fatal justice in waking life, this could well be the method I would recommend -- quick, cheap, efficient, and with little fuss. And above all, painless (again probably), since it's over in an eyeblink.
[I really don't think the supposedly humane method of drugging a person to death is all that humane -- I mean, the person has to go through a lengthy period of preparation, full of dread and anxiety, and once he's strapped down and the needle is inserted, he lies there for some time, terrified of what's happening to him; is that really all that humane? Just because there is little physical pain, that doesn't mean it's not cruel -- mental anguish matters, too. Of course, one might justifiably object that someone who committed a crime terrible enough to land him on death row SHOULD suffer. After all, we all have had murderous thoughts about certain people... or is it just me? But I digress]
I stood there staring at the gun muzzle, wanting to close my eyes but also compelled to keep looking at it -- as much out of curiosity as a sense of bravado. A Filipina colleague once told me that when Jose Rizal, a national hero of her native country, was executed for rebelling against the Spanish colonial regime, he was stood facing away from the firing squad, but at the last moment he turned around and faced the guns, so that he died facing his killers. Perhaps I was inspired by the memory of that story. And I certainly wanted to know what, if anything, was going to happen after I was shot dead.
Unfortunately, as I stood there waiting, I began to wake. I knew the dream was about to end, and I actually became impatient, wondering what was taking the executioner so long. And that's how it did end, with a disappointingly unresolved non-outcome. I hope I have this dream again -- I really am very curious as to what I would have dreamt next.
The skies around the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels are turning out to be quite productive in interesting imagery, and not random images, either. Last year I posted a photo taken near the church, of a cloud that hauntingly recalled a standing female figure in a full-length cloak (image). Then just the other day, in more or less the same area I saw this wonderful display:
A standing nude female figure this time -- possibly headless, in the best Classical tradition. In fact, one might consider the figure to be a statue and the shell-looking cloud to the immediate right as the mold the figure was cast in (granted, a bronze statue is not very likely to be found headless, but it's possible) -- or perhaps it's a dress trailing a magnificent train, which the figure has just cast off. It may even be that this is the very same cloud from last year (see the link above -- and click here to see another case of a cloud found much later), and she has just doffed her cloak, revealing herself to mortal eyes in all her glory. I heightened the contrast a little for the detail below, not that it really needed it.
A great follow-up indeed. This is reminding me of the Titian painting known as 'Sacred and Profane Love'
I believe it's the nude figure that represents Sacred Love; Profane Love is represented by the richly-dressed, worldly-looking lady. However, in the case of my cloud figures I don't see anything profane about either of them. They both are lovely and mysterious to me.
MAYBE SOMEONE IS TRYING TO TELL ME SOMETHING -- IN KOREAN-WRITTEN-IN-JAPANESE
Lately I've been making an effort to memorize the Japanese syllabary (my Japanese-fluent parents never taught me... they reserved Japanese for themselves as a kind of secret code^ -- but I got them back by taking Esperanto lessons^^) and this morning I finished making a set of Hiragana character flashcards. I had them stacked in order, with the character あ ('A') on top. Just now I happened to randomly cut the deck, twice, and the characters に ('NI') and よ ('YO') came up in succession. It so happens these three syllables form the Korean phrase 'Aniyo' (아니요), which is a polite 'No'.
There are 48 of these characters (just the basic ones; there's a whole bunch of additional characters formed by modifying or combining the basic 48). I know absolutely nothing about statistics, but since the probability of any particular character coming up is 1 in 48, I guess for two specific characters (since the first one was already there) the probability is 1 in (48 x 48), or 2304 to 1..? I don't know how, or if, the order in which they turn up figures into it (after all, あよに / 아요니 is gibberish in both languages), but even without that part the likelihood of あによ / 아니요 / NO turning up purely by chance looks fairly impressively small.
Interesting. Is this the answer to an unasked question I've been mulling over in my unconscious? Or will I soon be facing a Yes/No choice of some kind?^
Edit: I just came back from a short walk during lunch break. A dragonfly and a hummingbird streaked past me, one right after the other -- a tad unusual in late October..? And one went left, the other went right -- I may be stretching it, but together their pathsdescribedan X, like this(click) -- for another 'NO'.
I was considering the alternate title 'Another Almost-Story', but decided to go with the scare factor, just because I found it more exciting than non-scary, regular drama and grandeur (maybe it's all the early Hallowe'en decorations I've been seeing around). And it is pretty ominous-looking, to be sure; if someone had told me this cloud was following me like the Crawfordsville Monster, I would have been pretty spooked, despite myself. And I KNOW I'm not the only one who found the rapturously rhapsodized 'Pillars of Creation' photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope creepy beyond words.
It reminded me of William Blake's 'Angels
Guarding Christ in the Sepulchre'.
Actually, this is the second pair of angels
I've sighted -- my first sighting was in Jeju-do, South Korea, in 2008.
Check out the photohere and see the old paintings are correct; only angels in the west have wings -- angels in East Asia fly without wings (although they may have fluttering drapery that kind of looks like wings).
Edit: It occurs to me that with all this talk of Angels, Devils, Souls, Heaven and Hell... I may have begun to sound like something I'm not :)
Just now (about 8:30 PM), I was watching the K-drama 'You're Beautiful'/미남이시네요 on DVD. In episode 13 there is a scene in which the Bad Girl barges into the home of three Gorgeous Guys and demands that they make lunch together. They are soon joined by the Good Girl Who Must Pretend To Be A Guy (with whom all three Gorgeous Guys are in love, naturally -- but only two of them know she's really a girl; the third Gorgeous Guy thinks he's fallen in love with another guy, but can't help himself). As they eat, the Bad Girl snaps a photo of one of the Gorgeous Guys looking at the Good Girl with a yearning gaze, and begins to suspect something is going on between the two of them. Anyway, the click of the shutter button on-screen was immediately followed by a real flash of light outside my window. I'm on the 6th floor, so I only saw the reflection off the facade of the building across the street, but it sure looked like a camera flash. Hmm...
[K-drama = Korean (South, that is^) television miniseries, usually lasting 16 to 20 episodes, two per week. 'You're Beautiful' from 2009 remains popular with fans in many countries; a Japanese remake called 'Ikemen Desu Ne'/美男ですね recently completed its run]
It occurs to me a significant portion of these Synchronistic Events have occurred while I was watching K-entertainment. Wonder if that means anything -- like guilty pleasures can put a person into an altered state? LOL
I came home from work, pulled into the underground parking garage, and left the car for the valets to park as usual*. As I was walking toward the elevator I spotted this sinister image on the garage floor. I passed it by at first, but then I changed my mind and went back to take a picture of it. As I took this shot the valets became curious and came around to see what had attracted my attention. Immediately one of them remarked, "Diablo!"
In fact, I think it bears more than a little resemblance to some of the devils in this unfinished project from waaay back. It's my take on the Fall of the Rebel Angels.
[*No, I don't live in a fancy luxury building. Quite the opposite -- there aren't enough parking spaces for all the residents in the building, so the valets are there to shuffle the cars around]
Just a couple of cool-looking photos that have nothing to do with anything -- they do kind of look like Damned Souls though^. In James Blish's novel The Day After Judgment there is a scene in which a magician summons a devil for the purpose of interrogation. If I remember correctly (it's been a long time) he does this by looking intently into a pool of water in which the face of the demon gradually appears, as if arriving from a great distance. The top photo reminded me of that scene. And I think the bottom image, which shall hereinafter be known as The Shattered Man^, could serve as an image of mental illness or torment -- perhaps of the self-imposed kind.
I rearranged the panels slightly for neatness. The new addition is the lower right one. It contains 79 cranes.
Edit: This happened back on Tuesday, but I kept forgetting to log it. There was a decent amount of rain in the forenoon, and it was nice to take a walk out in the rain. Except when I crouched down to get this worm off the sidewalk the lower half of me got soaked.
In a previous post I referred to people making up maps of imaginary lands. Well, yesterday I took this photo of some massed clouds that looked uncannily like a map of the world.
So I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a try myself. I cleaned up the photo somewhat to make the edges of the 'continents' a little less hazy, added a direction thingy in the corner like some maps have, and finally a bunch of made-up names.
(click on the image to check out the result)
By the way, here's my pet peeve with imaginary words and names in science fiction and fantasy -- they're supposed to belong to exotic characters and things, but so often, they just sound like unfamiliar but possible words in the author's own language. Some of the authors I have read made valiant attempts to at least break out of the Indo-European rut -- Poul Anderson, for example, had extraterrestrial characters named Chee Lan and Adzel; but even those names are only exotic because they belong to nonhumans (Chee Lan was described as sort of a cross between a monkey and a cat, and Adzel was a huge, armored, six-limbed dinosaurid) -- the names themselves are quite familiar-sounding; in fact, I'll bet anything there are actual people named Chee Lan and Adzel living in China and wherever, at this moment.
I suppose it's inevitable; after all, even fantasy does not spring out of a vacuum. Imaginary bestiaries from olden times listed all sorts of weird creatures, but they tended to be conglomerations of parts of other animals. The manticore was a lion-man; the chimaera, a goat-lion-snake; the harpy, a woman-bird; the cockatrice, a dragon-rooster. Fantasy is ultimately based in reality.
And so I knew it would be impossible to come up with totally strange yet plausible-sounding (and consistent with each other so they would sound like a single language) place names for my cloud map. Still, to help make certain my made-up names would be 'fresh', and not sound like curses or body parts in somebody's native tongue, I did a quick internet search for each name I came up with -- and in doing so, acquired a more charitable attitude toward fantasy & SF writers, because it's maddeningly difficult to make up a name or word that isn't already in use somewhere! Staying within the bounds of ordinary rules of vocalization for most languages (nothing like an FZTRPSK combination, for example, unless you happen to be Georgian or something), I would say that for words up to three syllables long chance favors the made-up 'new' word already being in existence.
I noticed this cool cloud while driving down Main Street on my way home; it looked like a flaming river up there, so I stuck the camera out the window and clicked away. Only then did I notice there was a whole big crowd of people with picket signs on the left side of the street and a bunch of news vans on the right. I don't know what it was about, but I'm sure some of the demonstrators thought I was trying to photograph them, only with very bad aim.
While perusing NASA's astronomy photo website I came across this photo of the Cocoon Nebula (aka IC5146). Looks like a hot coal rolling across a dusty floor. Not that it means anything (except maybe that I compulsively draw parallels between all sorts of unlikely things), but it reminded me of this cloud photo I took last year. Just sayin'.
*The title of this post mirrors the title of this previous post in another instance of the improbable pair-up.