Thursday, January 17, 2013

Library Reality Slips And Giant Bugs

Late this afternoon—it is early Thursday evening as I type this—three strange things happened to me.

First of all, I want to set up these little things by saying that this time of year I often try to get by on very little sleep. The Australian Open tennis tournament is going on in Australia and that is half-way around the world. There is a seventeen hour time difference between here and there. When it is six o’clock in the evening here, it is eleven o’clock tomorrow morning over there. The Australian Open evening matches begin at seven o’clock in the evening over there when it is two a.m. in the morning over here.

So this time of year I’m often up at very strange hours watching tennis over the internet and then I’m often very tired during the day, here. And after a few days (and nights) of this kind of schedule I get to feel a little out-of-sync with reality.

And the tournament goes on for two weeks. So I get spaced.

I find myself thinking things like: What day is it? Is it today Australia time, or yesterday Chicago time?

And little unexpected events can seem bizarre because they sort of grab me and pull me back to the present when my consciousness—such as it is—is sort of half way around the world either getting ready to concentrate on something over in Australia or trying to recover from concentrating on something over in Australia.

Today/yesterday was a kind of case study of this kind of mental mish-mash of awareness and fatigued walking dream-state.

Last night or early this morning—I mean last night Chicago time but it was screwed up Australian time, too, because it was their second evening matching going almost into pre-dawn hours over there—the evening match in Australia was very exciting. A young British player, Laura Robson, pushed a very accomplished European player, Petra Kvitova, former Wimbledon champion, into a third set and then into extended play after everything became tied up at six-all. At the Australian Open they play tie-breakers in the early sets but not in the final deciding set. Laura Robson, the young player, hung tough, played aggressively, and won an incredible victory at eleven-nine in the third set. It finished up at something like, our time, I think, around five or six a.m. in the morning.

Then I had to get my head together, here, and go about my normal day. I didn’t even have time for a nap.


So after my normal day here, late Thursday afternoon I was pretty tired but I stopped at a library. I had to ask a librarian to help me find a particular book which was new and in a special section, and over-sized and in a special section for that, too. When the librarian found the book for me, I went over to the check-out desk. That librarian scanned my library card, scanned the book, and then looked at her computer screen and frowned. She immediately picked up her telephone.

In my fatigued—up all night with no nap—mind, my first thought was: Oh my God, is she reporting me to someone for taking out this book? I wonder if it’s too late for me to just put it back on the shelf and go home?

But in fact the check-out librarian was just phoning the other librarian twenty or thirty feet away who had helped me find the book. That first librarian had kept the computer record for the book displayed on her screen and the check-out program wouldn’t work until that first librarian cleared her screen.

So I wasn’t getting reported to anyone! I’m still a free citizen!

Then, as I was leaving the library I held open the door for a senior citizen woman. She thanked me and walked out ahead of me. We walked into the parking lot together. Then the senior citizen woman took out a set of car keys, stepped in front of me, and walked over to my car and inserted a key into the driver’s side door of my car.

In my fatigued—up all night with no nap—mind, my first thought was: Oh my God, am I living out one of those freaky science fiction stories where now my car isn’t my car any more and my apartment won’t be my apartment any more and nobody I know in my life will recognize me any more?

But I just said, “Umm, that’s my car.” And the senior citizen woman looked startled, and then looked at the car parked next to mine which was also a little silver car. She just laughed and pointed and said she had gotten the wrong car. She went over and let herself into the car parked next to mine and my own keys worked fine on my own car.

So I went home and laid down and took a nap. I figured my mind is tripping out a little and I better get some sleep while I can because at two a.m. tonight Maria Sharapova takes on Venus Williams in the first big-name confrontation of the tournament so I probably won’t get much sleep again this evening.

I laid down, napped, and a couple of hours later I opened my eyes—boom—and I felt rested and refreshed but I felt—boom—instantly awake with absolutely no sensation of having slept, no sensation of having been out of touch for a few hours, and even though I hadn’t bothered to cover myself with a blanket, I didn’t feel chilled or stiff-jointed or anything. No waking up lost feeling, either.

Waking up from a nap like that—I mean with an instant-on kind of awareness, no chills, no ‘What time is it?/Where am I?’ sensations—felt as weird as the other two things.


And, oh yeah, look, I bought some big bugs today:

Little Plastic Doll and Rubber Lizard have always wanted to do a monster movie with giant insects. Now I’ve got a whole selection of the critters. Giant grasshoppers, praying mantis, and also spiders, scorpions and a bunch of other things, too.

I’m working on a script now. I think it’s going to be one of those things where Little Plastic Doll and Tina are scientists—that’s one of my favorite kinds to write—like Dinosaur by Moonlight and Creatures of Darkness and Light. But it is still very early in pre-production. Lots of stuff can change between now and filming.

The little hand-held synthesizer, the Korg Kaossilator 2, is very, very good at making science fiction sounds. I’ve never used it in a stop-motion video yet, but my plans are to use it for this new one. And it does really great random synthesized sounds, too, like I talked about way back in February Ketchup.


So that’s what my Thursday was like so far: Science fiction reality slips at the library and science fiction giant bugs doing screen tests with beautiful actresses here at the studio.

And I’m probably going to be up for another twelve hours still, between here and Australia!

The bugs may be writing my post by the time tomorrow rolls around.

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