Archive for April, 2010

Shoulder, Shoulder

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2010 by Jaym Gates

Seems like I posted something like this about a year ago. Geez. Well, apparently its the time of year for me to bitch about shoulder pain.

I’ve had relatively minor pain for the last year or so. No really bad days, thankfully. After some of the ones that I’ve had…I’ll take relativity.

When I took a header off a horse about 9 years ago, I landed on the top of my shoulder. Knocked a rib loose, tore the muscles up pretty badly, I guess. It does screw with the rest of my back a bit, but the actual problem areas are pretty black and white.

Today, it feels like someone popped the shoulder apart, bone by bone, and kind of glued it back together. I can feel a difference in the shape of my back. The area is swollen, because the muscles around the shoulder blade are all knotted up. My range of motion isn’t affected, thankfully. It just sits there and burns constantly.

I didn’t do anything to it. I’ve worked myself harder in the past. It just flared up.

Time for a new chiropractor. This one is only treating my spine, and those issues are simply the result of the shoulder. *sigh*

Bad-Girl Blogfest: Kasiris

Posted in Uncategorized on April 22, 2010 by Jaym Gates

Bad Girl Blogfest

My bad girl is Kema, the Reaper. A powerful shaman, sacrificed by her brother, she overcame Death and took his place. Her plans are bigger than just conquering Death. But first, she has to find the Warrior of God, and take his sword from him.

There are two pieces here, from the same story. Both show vital aspects of her character.

Excerpt: To Write a New Name

“Leave us,” Kema commanded her servants, kicking Kedar away from her, handing his leash to Anfim. “Return when I call, prepared for war.”

White velvet, thin as a shroud, hissed through the air and her discarded cloak settled gently to the throne behind her, stirring not a bit of dust as she stepped away. Venatore stumbled away from her, turning his eyes from the invitation of her body, barely camouflaged by the sheer gown and veil she wore in mockery of modesty.

“I knew you would come to me lover,” she taunted, and her eyes shone in triumph.

“Away you demon!” he said, fumbling for the sword that had been taken from him.

Kema smiled and picked up the gold-chased weapon from beside her throne, ignoring the burning of it in her cold hands. The purity of the blade hurt her, though not beyond bearing, for it had been dimmed, and weakened in its master’s defeat. She did not allow him to grasp it, but unsheathed it a bit, and studied the diamond-bright blade.

“I once feared this, knowing you were coming to bring me to justice,” she said. “But you are just like all the others, weak and foolish and swayed by sin, and so I will be victorious at last.”

“Why did you bring me here?” he cried, sinking to his knees as the import of his folly finally struck him.

The Reaper’s smile caressed him with the ardor of a lover, and he knew he could never have loved the power of that sword as she would. In her hands, Truth would be used against him, against his people, showing them the things they did not acknowledge, their own weaknesses and follies, and in their moment of doubt and fear, justice would claim them. Oh, she would be a grand Slayer, and would only kill those who had brought it on themselves, in her hands, all would deserve it, for all had sinned, and there was no mercy in her.

…………………………

My name is Death, and Vengeance, and Justice. It is written across the skies and in the sand. Let the new era dawn and let evil know that I will not tolerate its presence.

My name is Judgment and Wrath.

Erasing the Monster

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2010 by Jaym Gates

I tend to have pretty coherent, weird, vivid dreams. That’s kind of an understatement, but we’ll go with that.

Last night’s dream, however, was one of the stranger ones that I’ve had. Logically, it made more sense than most of them, and it wasn’t as flamboyantly weird.

The first part is fairly vague. I had a run-in with three men. It seems like they were law-keepers of some kind. I was with friends, and my (nonexistant-in-real-life) girlfriend. The men were hunting us, chasing us down, and my girlfriend got badly injured.

There was a lot more than that, but that’s what I remember about that portion of it.

So, my girlfriend had to have surgery. For some reason, the three men were standing at the bedside. If I recall correctly, they were hunting me in particular, but wouldn’t attack me as long as I watched them. Their aspects were monstrous.

At some point, I went off on them about injuring her when they were after me, and they apologized. Like I said, strange. My girlfriend kept begging me to hold her hand, but I told her that I didn’t dare turn my back on the men.

Finally, I gave in, turned my back on them, and held her hand in both of mine. One of the most vivid images was of pressing her hand to my face, effectively blocking out the rest of the world and making myself completely vulnerable.

Her diagnosis was bad, and it flipped some switch.

The final part of the dream was the strangest. Their faces were outlined in pencil. I grabbed an eraser, told them that I wouldn’t stand for monsters hurting people I cared about, and started erasing their monstrous aspects.

I think that I looked in a mirror then, because my own face was a frightening as theirs, and I started erasing. At that point, it was almost a voice-over, telling me that many things hid behind monstrous faces.

The strangest thing was the absolute coherency and the ending. Almost like I was being incorporated into a movie for a little morality lesson.

But dammit, I forgot to read the cover blurb first. I have no idea why that got shoved into my dreams!

Easy as Quiche

Posted in Food on April 20, 2010 by Jaym Gates

I’ve never made a quiche before last week. Always thought that they were pretty hard. Then work asked me to come up with something that would be easy enough for our food demo program to do, and still understandable and delicious for the public.

I was supposed to find a recipe. Predictably, I forgot, and ended up experimenting. The resulting recipe is nearly foolproof, takes about 10 minutes to throw together, and turns out delicious. This recipe is for a crustless quiche, but you could easily throw it into a crust for something even better!

4 eggs
1 cup milk (2% for lowfat quiche, whole otherwise)
1 cup shredded cheese
Salt
Pepper or seasoning blend
Additions of your choice

Whisk eggs, add milk, salt and seasoning. Stir in cheese and additions. Pour into greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 until set and golden on top.

That’s it!

Suggestions for additions: Asparagus, goat cheese or swiss and ham. Spinach, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, olives. Green chilies, cheddar or pepper-jack, cilantro, tomatoes. Mushrooms and swiss. Broccoli and cheddar. Anything you want!

Language

Posted in Uncategorized on April 19, 2010 by Jaym Gates

Language takes as many forms as there are cultures. Pictures, tone, sounds, gestures and symbols combine to shape our communication. We all see each element of language a little differently.

I’m working on Hero and Three Unexpected Encounters right now, a weird novella. In it, the history of the world is carved on the gigantic teeth of a woman-mountain, and my hero has to read it to find her next goal.

She’s never learned to read, and expresses this frustration to the librarian. His response is that she doesn’t need to read. The histories are visual.

I’m basing this on a sort of cultural synesthesia, where music manifests as a sort of internal, visual pictograph. Looking at the first tooth, Hero can see that same sort of pictograph on the tooth, and realizes that the histories are composed of thousands of individual songs, each representing an aspect of the whole.

In a way, it is similar to the ‘tapestry’ concept, where each person is represented by a thread in the whole, or a collage of images forming a super-image. However, this is far more complex, as each song is the complete life-story of each individual on the face of the earth. Not just people. Animals. Gods. Rocks. Air.

It is huge, and intended to be so. Originally, I’d had Hero interacting directly with the Mother-Mountains themselves, before scale introduced itself to my logic. Hero’s a giant, but the Mother-Mountains are the size of Mt. Hood, in their own way.

I love the idea of music as image as language. But, my question is, will non-synesthesia people understand it?

Curiosities

Posted in Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 by Jaym Gates

One blink, and a snort, the beast reared its neck skyward and coughed a gout of flame high into the air, showers of sparks and steaming rain falling around her, and for a moment the clouds flared with lurid orange light. Finder stared, then scrambled away, running for her life, tripping and flailing in the mud.

A hiss, the head snaked forward and she ran into the steaming snout. With a crackle of thunder, wings flared from the creature’s body, sticky as a newborn. Blood dripped from them, and membranous viscera.

“W-what are you?” cried Finder, sucking her fingers into her mouth. They had burned on the heat of the scales. “Why are you here? Why me?”

“You woke me,” the creature answered.

I wasn’t expecting to trunk a story. Especially not a story that is so intrinsically…me. My motto is rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

But I’m trunking my most beloved story tonight. Pale Fire She Snatches From the Sun will not be sent on submission again. Unless some strange circumstances come to pass, it won’t see the light of day for a very long time.

I wrote Fire last year, right at the start of my short-story binge. It was the first time I’d gotten serious about the shorts, about my voice and letting the weird elements flow. One scene of it was inspired by one of the most beautiful, chilling dreams that I’ve ever had. From there, it just flowed.

I finished that story in a week…easily. I got good feedback on it, so I started submitting it.

Six markets later, it hasn’t found a home.

No big deal, right? For any other story, no. For this one, yeah.

See, I wrote the Aether Age stories on a prompt, to someone else’s world. Yes, they are my voice and all that, but they aren’t entirely mine.

Fire, Climb and my newest project, Gifts, are entirely mine. And, of all of them, Fire is the most mine.

Of course, the latest rejection comes after a frustrating, stressful, even frightening day. The last few weeks have kicked the crap out of me. With the issues at work, the ex, fights with people who mean more to me than they really know, being under the weather, and every single bloody simple thing turning into some huge ordeal, I’m not at my best right now.

So, I deleted the paragraph that was originally here, and I’m going offline for the night. I need time out. Even from writing, for now. Hopefully, by tomorrow, I’ll be able to go back to Nightmare. I’m leaving Gifts alone for a while, too.

I suppose that normalcy is still the way to go. Wish me luck on that one, eh?

Pretty Things

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2010 by Jaym Gates

I’ve been avoiding this for…months. *sigh*

I make jewelry. For fun. Lots and lots of jewelry. I’ve sold a decent amount, for as much as $50 on commission. I’ve been getting requests to photograph and post pictures of the stuff for a while now.

I finally bit the bullet. I’m going to try to remember to take a picture tomorrow of the mounds of jewelry on my dining room table.

Anyways, the first half is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/49087931@N02/

I’ve used up my space limit for the month however, so the rest will go up somewhere else, or just later.

Here’s the deal: Everything I make is one-of-a-kind. I use beads, rocks, charms, bits and pieces that I’ve found all over the United States, Ebay and the web. So there is a lot of variety, a lot of different styles and moods.

A lot of the pieces are not for sale. However, if you see something that you really like, I will work with you to make something that is just for you. Earrings range from $15 for 3 sets to $15 apiece. Necklaces range from $15 to $60, depending on the pieces used.

Ideally, I’d like to create pieces for an individual. If you give me the colors you want, and shapes that appeal to you, I can make something that is unique to your style. A photograph is even better, as I take a lot of cues off of a person’s shape and skin-tone.

Let me know if you want something made!

Hero and the Three Mother-Mountains

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2010 by Jaym Gates

The tall flame detached itself from the wall and came to her. Fire dripped from her fingers, great wings flared from her shoulders. Sparks burned in the black caverns of her eyes, and her lips were the red slash of a tree-trunk eaten from the inside by fire, the outside charring to black.

She reached into the pool and wrapped her hands around Hero. Steam rose in billowing clouds. Hero cried out again, certain that she could not bear more pain, when Wildfire lifted her free from the water.

“All that you must do, if you cannot bear my touch more, is cry enough, and I shall set you back in the pool to reawaken in your world,” said Wildfire, and sparks flew from her lips when she spoke.

“You are a queen,” said Hero, touching the blankness of Wildfire’s face, where only the cavernous eyes and cracked mouth broke the expanse of fire.

“I am a queen,” agreed Wildfire, “and my Lord of the Forest has hidden behind the humans for many long years. There is no one to love me now.”

Autobiography

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2010 by Jaym Gates

If I were ever to write a memoir or biography, I would have to learn a new language. The language of music.

From the earliest memories of singing hymns and cantatas in choir, to the classical music which regulated my moods when nothing else would, to the comfort of IAMX and the blood-pounding rhythms of NUL, music has shaped and defined my life. While words provided direction, hope and dreams, music filled my blood and kept me alive.

I would say that I am addicted to music. If I go without it for too long, it affects my mood. Once it comes back, I can handle nearly any emotional upset.

I have synesthesia. I experience the world a tick off from most people. I sense moods as colors and shapes, words as human movement, time as an empty box with visible walls and invisible beginning and ending. Taste, touch, sight and scent are jumbled up. I do not simply feel emotion, but visualize it as a landscape inside of my head.

Music? Music is blood. Life. It is what moves my limbs, soothes my fears, releases the tension in my body. Music is my heartbeat. If I am tired or distraught, music will restore me more than sleep or food. A live concert, with the right band, fills me with palpable energy and an emotional high beyond words.

My memoir would have to be a piece of music. Not a musical, not an opera, but a single piece of music. Elements of Pachelbel’s canon, Rachmaninov’s pianos, Liszt’s Hungarian Dance would mix with IAMX, KMFDM, The Clash, Cattletruck, Bella Morte, Ego Likeness, Angelspit, NUL, The Lord’s Prayer, Eisbrecher.

The holy and the profane. The music that glories in purity, skill, resonance and construction, alongside the music that relishes pain, anger and the desire to survive at the most basic level. The two foundations of my life, and what has shaped me.

And that is why only music could summarize.

Incompetence: The aftermath

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6, 2010 by Jaym Gates

I can honestly say that only two things get past all of my controls and shells: intentional weakness, and me (or someone close to me) suffering because of someone else’s incompetence.

And the incompetence really gets under my skin. I’ve got thick skin. Takes a lot to actually get a rise out of me. On top of that, I’ve got my temper nicely portioned into various responses: Irritated, frustrated, annoyed and angry.

Frustrated means that I shut up. Annoyed? I typically get snippy. Angry is when I get very sweet, very quiet, and very, very thoughtful.

Irritated? Oh, that’s when the legendary temper comes out. See, my mother’s parents both come from families infamous for their temper.

The Careys: Irish/English/Native America bootleggers, outlaws, ranchers, rednecks, conspiracy theorists, gun nuts. There are legends about their tenaciousness, hair-trigger tempers, and violent reactions. I kid you not.

The Gates family: Heh. Hehehe. Temper? Them? Noooo. More…pride. And the fury of annoyed aristocracy. Grudges and deep feuds are pretty common here.

Plus, I’m a red-head. I inherited my family’s temper…and then some. Lots of ‘some’. Let’s just say that I can, rather easily, make big, violent men back away. Or horses. I’ve back a young stallion down an arena because he pushed just a little too much. All it takes is body language and the right tone.

I’ve also learned how to have reaaaaaally good control, because it’s considered something of a fun game to try and piss me off. The fact that it doesn’t happen just makes them try harder. I’ve gotten to the place where I play back, just because, if I don’t, I WILL do something I regret. (The fact that these ‘games’ are played at work is the only reason that I haven’t ended them. I can’t afford to, when its people with more titles than little ol’ me.)

My irritation-meter is in the red right now. Way up on the red. The crap at work, the aftermath of family visits, travel, editing battles, a truck that is trying to bankrupt us, the potential of having to move next month…a little stressful.

And then the optometrist turns what should be an easy thing into an ordeal. I paid to not have my eyes dilated. He dilated them, thus liberating me of three useful hours on Deadline Day. He barely bother to examine my eyes. He was rude.

And then he gave me the wrong prescription. I’ve been suffering from that for a week. I’m seeing double, I can’t read, it’s causing headaches.

So, being the gentle soul that I am, I call to ask if I can get my prescription changed. I HAVE to do it with them, because I went ahead and bought a year’s worth of contacts so that I wouldn’t have to see them again. Heh. Yeah.

“Oh, you have to come back so that he can reexamine your eyes!” Bullshit. Stay the hell away from my eyes. Touch my eyes again, I’m calling the insurance agency and complaining about you. Give me crap, and I’ll call the BBB. I’ll stand for lots of things, NOT having my eyes screwed with.

“Oh, he’s here Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.” Oh, awesome. I WORK FOR TWO OF THOSE DAYS! And given the ridiculous amount of time that I spent sitting, waiting, last time, I can’t risk doing this before work. I wouldn’t make it to work on time.

“What’s the latest appointment you have?” 3:20. Oh. Awesome. Right in the middle of my day. The day after I get back from an event in Greensboro. Oh yeah, there’s the other lovely thing: I have the Writer’s Meetup event, and I’ll barely be able to see. This doesn’t bode well. (I have glasses, but they are strictly for indoors use. My eyes are almost vampirically light-sensitive.)

Ok, I’ll go in next week. And the good doctor and I are going to have a talk. He didn’t feel the need to examine my eyes last time, he just gave me the prescription that I thought I’d had. Therefore, logic states that he doesn’t need to examine them this time, either. The old ones worked just fine.

Did I mention that when I’m irritated, I develop definite mule-like tendencies? And that, when I’m irritated, I almost always get my way, rather quickly?

Hell, this might be kind of fun.