Waking Dreams and the Art of Natalie Belikova

Diary 6/14 to 6/16/22: Books; periodic table; happier as a chemist; women’s ribs debunked; beet juice and ED; writing fiction; Natalie Belikova and her paintings; Power & Health on Link TV; two “waking dreams.”

Natalie at Dagny’s

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved


Dr. Hill today at 10:00 am.  I told her about …? [Stopped in mid-sentence, not intentionally.]

I also sent Pablo a text saying that I was going to Food Maxx at 11:30 or noon.  We ended up shopping together and talking.


Hamilton Books includes with their shipments a statement of what they’re sending; on the back is a list of “Popular Titles that May Interest You.”  With Theodore Gray’s Elements Trilogy I received such a list, and one item only did interest me, Eugenia Bone: Microbia: A Journey into the Unseen World Around You.  I went to the HB website and looked up the book to get the ISBN; I copied that and went to Amazon to see their reviews (I no longer shop at Amazon).  It turns out that Microbia is not the textbook I half expected, rather, in the few pages made available by Amazon, I found an entertaining story of how Ms. Bone, wanting to write a book about microbes, returned to college at age 55, and her experiences there.  I mention all this to point out that the griping is both understandable and was avoidable, if the publisher had only chosen a more appropriate title.  If you’re curious, here’s a link to the Amazon page.  I won’t be buying the book, though it’s only $4.95 (plus tax and shipping) at Hamilton.

I bought Gray’s Elements Trilogy because I found the first volume, Elements useful and interesting enough, and wanted to get the full set in hardback ($17.95).  Turns out I received boxed paperbacks (large format), so I assume that I misread or misunderstood the description in their catalog (in any case I’m not going to complain to them).  I’d like Elements more if the pages weren’t black—it might show fingerprints dreadfully, though I’m not going to test it to be sure.  Otherwise, I recommend the book highly if the periodic table is of interest.  Each element gets a two-page spread with photographs of the element and alloys and such; I opened the new copy just now to prepare this description and found that “copper” gets a four-page spread, and this edition adds details for each element, such as density, atomic radius, and crystal structure.  I can imagine finding a use someday for the density of an element; the other stuff, not so much, but it’s good to know that it’s there.  I haven’t looked into the other volumes (Molecules and Reactions) much, just a glance-through when the package arrived a couple of weeks ago.  Included with the package is a sheet of bookmarks, one for each volume.

A side-note:  I memorized the period table (just the names, in order by number) while I was in quarantine for Covid.  When I wake up in the middle of the night and want to go back to sleep, I try to recall the list; if I can stay focused on the task, it usually does result in further sleep.  What happens is that I stop recounting the list, not wanting to stop but fixating on one name, until the oblivion.

I’ve occasionally thought that I would have been happier as a chemist, or at least working in a lab, than I was in the various office jobs I’ve had.  Of course, original research would likely have been a long shot, unless it was for cosmetics or paints or WMDs, I suppose.

Nog told me that women have two ribs more than men have.  I was dubious, so I put the question to DuckDuckGo and went to MedicalNewsToday.com to check what they had to say.  They said it was a myth that women had more ribs, though some people have more and some have less (the difference being mostly cervical ribs, i.e., in the neck).  Seeing an advertisement for ED pills, I checked the site for general ED information and was put onto the possibility of help from beets.  Easy enough to add beets to my smoothies, which I’ve been wanting to do anyway.  Here’s the link to the beets article, “Can beet juice help treat erectile dysfunction?

Writing (fiction) is going well, so it’s taking me away from the diary and other pursuits—not a great deal, because between yesterday and today I doubt that I’ve spent more than three hours altogether on it.  But I’m happy.

Talked to Natalie [Belikova] on the phone, a rare occurrence.  [She is much concerned about her parents in Ukraine; she’s heard from them within a week, but they have neither Internet nor telephone presently.] She also sent me about a dozen photos, by phone, of her recent paintings, generally quite attractive—as I’m fond of telling people, she is “my favorite living artist.”  Which is literally true because she’s the only one I know.  Regardless, I like her work and her.  Unfortunately, these recent files are all quite small, so viewing them on the laptop is no better than viewing them on the phone.  Here are the four I like best of the new ones:

More of Natalie’s artwork is available for viewing and purchase online at FineArtAmerica.com (link).  The one titled “Life” is hanging on my living room wall and is the background for the home page of my blog.

Watched a dynamite documentary on Link TV (channel 375 on my DirecTV “cable”), titled “Power & Health.”  The general idea is that your life expectancy and health depend heavily on where you live, and that depends heavily on your race (your “race” is defined by how others see you and treat you).  This hour-long documentary will be rebroadcast several times over the next few days.  Lots of food for thought regarding health care, the environment, and of course, race and racism in America. [It appears to be the first of a new series.]


Two waking dreams, the second first:

1. I am watching television in black-and-white, it’s in my bedroom.  I am watching through half-closed eyelids.  A man is in a yard and there are piles of trash around, like at the base of a surrounding fence.  He rummages in one and pulls out a mannikin, half-dressed, and it has a rope attached somehow.  He drags it across the yard and fumbles with some clothes, and the mannikin is now fully dressed, he pulls the mannikin erect and pulls the rope and then he walks away from the camera, the mannikin following as though it’s a live man.  He pulls the mannikin to another pile of trash, and fumbles there or falls into the pile, and soon there are three figures, struggling together, and I don’t know what’s going on.  I can no longer tell which is the man and which are mannikins, they’re all alive.  Then I see that there are four, all stuck together as though fighting, and they move to the base of a very tall, narrow pillar of weird construction—it looks like a pile of rubbish that was melted, like a heap of slag accumulated over months or years.  Together they are climbing this pillar.  Throughout the whole dream I know that I am awake and dreaming, but now I know that the dream is going to stop because I am more fully awake.  I strain to keep watching, my eyes are dry, they are climbing higher and higher and the “camera” is pulling back and back, and nothing:  it doesn’t end, just fades out as they’re climbing and I can’t tell how far it is to the top.


2. This happened about midnight.  I didn’t think I had been asleep, but I hadn’t checked the time.  I’m lying in bed looking at my dresser, and the knobs of the dresser are behaving strangely, changing shape, disappearing and reappearing, it’s like they’re melting or some invisible hand is mashing them, erasing them, and they reappear again irregularly.  I know I’m awake and I know that my dresser is not doing this, but I watch and watch, puzzled.  This goes on for a minute or more, and finally I half-open my eyes and it stops.

My (cheap) dresser IRL

An orgy of writing this morning, but it’s only been an hour and already I want to quit. I’m referring to fiction writing, I wrote at least two pages, which for me is highly productive, and now I want to quit. Maybe after breakfast.

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s