Sunday, May 31, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 121

This is an indication of how big a geek I am.  I've loved the number 121 for more than thirty years because Amazing Spider-man 121 was the issue when Gwen Stacy was killed.  And yet, the number 122 (ASM 122 is when the Green Goblin meets his demise) holds no special meaning for me.

Today is the last day of May, and I didn't get a great deal of writing done.  I feel like I achieved quite a bit: I recorded my Patreon address, did a little editing, recorded a song at the storage unit, bought some groceries, ate tacos with my family, went for a hike, did a shortened jog, managed a record number of push-ups, recorded the rest of Abbie Hilton's story, and used up the last ninety-eight of my paid-for listings on eBay.  I also answered emails, got my clothes out of the laundry, and spoke to Big Anklevich.

I didn't get that much written, but it was more than nothing, and every bit adds up.

Sit-ups Today: 150
Sit-ups Total: 1,888 (in June, I'll set the goal of 2000, which should be as easy as--you know what, I'll set the goal for 3000.  Because that will be hard)

I did my weekly hike today, and still couldn't find the place I went in March.  So I just parked a couple of miles down the road and walked all the way to the head of the trail. 

I have little to say, except that I decided, "What the heck," and climbed up to the waterfall again.  I mean, I was there anyway.
It was 94 out, and the water was still cold.
SOOO many people were there, taking pictures or getting wet or both.  I actually climbed up the mountain a ways and sat on a rock reading for a few minutes, just to be away from people.
You can see how steep it was at the steepest point below (and also just how many people were climbing at the same time).
There were a couple of places where the trees had overgrown the trail and created a leafy ceiling, and that was really cool.  I didn't find any cellphones or sticks this trip, though.

Just to say I did it, I decided to jog back to my car.  All this exercise is so out of character, it would be like me purposely waking up early on Tuesdays.

Words Today: 655
Words In May: 31,735

That's nearly two thousand words less than in April, but it still comes to a thousand words a day, and that's just fine.  We'll see if I make it to the library tomorrow, and if I do, what I can manage while I'm there.  Oh, and I have to see how I did on my May goals (probably not great).

Saturday, May 30, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 120

I took the laptop to the park today for a late lunch (I worked until two, then I'll go back and get a bit more done), and there are a couple of young men (around twenty, probably forced home from their missions early) standing in the stream, picking out the biggest rocks they can throw up onto the banks.  I've watched them do it, first with curiosity, now with mild disdain, as they toss the big
rocks out of the water, move along to the next one, and do it until there are many rocks alongside the stream.  Then they get out and pick each rock up and toss it further up the bank.

My assumption is that this is exercise.  The gyms are all closed, they aren't allowed to have sex, so they're doing what they can to keep themselves occupied and in shape.  Except that they--

Oh, I get it now.  I watched where they were tossing the rocks, all in the same place, and now I understand: they are damming up the stream.  They're using the biggest rocks to stop up the waterflow, I presume just for the fun of it.  Maybe they're younger than I thought.  But no harm done, I think I value what they're doing more now than I did.  Plus, it's keeping me from writing, and that is the most important thing.
The dam-in-progress
Despite the unseasonal heat of the day, there is a strong wind blowing that is making this all pretty pleasant.  I am one of approximately seven people here, in the whole park.  To put that into perspective, when I'd come here in the wintertime, there would usually be five or six people jogging or milling around.  On a normal weekday afternoon, there will be thirty to forty, but for there to be practically nobody on a Saturday, something is going on I'm not aware of.  Maybe it's a protest somewhere.

There are a bunch of protests going on across America right now.  Half of them are Trump supporters up in arms (literally, the fucks actually take weapons to these protests because they know they'll not be bothered, even by police) about the phony left-wing COVID-19 hoax the Democrats invented to tank the economy and try to trick good old boys into wearing facemasks.

The other half of the protests are about a man who was killed while being arrested by Minneapolis police.  He was a black man, unarmed, who expressed "I can't breathe" as one of the cops knelt on the back of his neck.  It's one of, I dunno, a thousand cases of this sort of thing happening, but it both happened to have been documented and occurred in a time when tensions are super-high, so there has been a huge outcry about it, with marches, vandalism, messages on social media, and looting.  The response to these demonstrations has been very different, and that has only enflamed the tensions.

Tensions between the races have been high for my entire lifetime, and I don't know what the solution is.  I used to think that one day, the racists would die out, and we'd enjoy a more golden age as people, but racism is taught and passed on, like religion or storytelling or language, and there's always a new generation willing to say that "____ aren't like the rest of us.  They're not really people."

The black voices have been very loud in all this, because they're sick to death of this sort of thing continually happening.  Being a policeman is hard (my cousin started out as a deputy and is now part of the local equivalent of the Special Crimes Unit, and he sees the worst mankind has to offer), but there are people who get a little power in them and it seems to increase their racist or violent tendencies, as much as a gang or prison does.  I do understand that being around criminals all the time can make you think that everybody's a criminal, but it will always be hard for me to fully grasp the plight of the black man in this country.

When I lived in L.A., I became friends with several African Americans (only one of which, sadly, I still talk to all the time), and they did have an innate sense of Us versus Them when they got together, which I often found myself on the outside of.  I always wanted them to know that I liked and respected them, regardless of race, but it just wasn't possible for me to blend in with them like it was on the rare occasions that I spent time around Latinos (where at least I had the language as an advantage).

My friend Matthew once told me, "You have no idea what it's like to feel eyes on you every time you walk into a 7-11, because the clerk is afraid of your skin color."  And he was right--the only comparisons in my experience have been when somebody came after me and my cousin at a Walmart one night to make sure we weren't shoplifting, or a time when I got pulled over (again, with my cousin) by a cop who said, "You just couldn't help yourself, huh?  You thought you'd drive by one more time."  I didn't know what he was talking about, and said so.  He accused us of being the guys who were driving around, making trouble, getting chased by the cops all night (or several nights, maybe).  But I explained we'd just come from Taco Bell, and I hadn't been in town until just now.

And he took our word for it and let us drive away.  But you hear stories ALL THE TIME about black guys getting pulled over and harassed like that because they've got dark skin, or because their car is too nice, or because their grandparents wouldn't ride at the back of the bus.  Would that policeman have just let me go my way, if I hadn't been a dorky white guy?  I do try to understand, try to empathize, but I admit that I don't know what it's like, and the few glimpses I've had--somebody locking their doors in a parking lot as I walk past their car, for example--are almost always the exception rather than the rule.

I remember telling Matthew, "When you and I are older, we'll get together and your kids will play with my kids, and we'll raise them to believe we're all the same and they'll look at us, white and black, as best friends, and their lives will be better."  It seems charmingly na├»ve to repeat it now, but it was heartfelt at the time, because I had found in him a brother (not a brutha, but somebody who I loved like he had always been there, part of my family), and I thought that would last forever.  My friendship with him changed me, for the better, as a human being, but not everybody has that kind of relationship, and like the Cash song says, everyone I know goes away in the end.

I've heard some of the protesters say they don't want whites on their side, that this is our fault, so we should save our tears and expressions of support.  And I sort of get that, or at least I'm trying to.  But They win every time we're divided against one another instead of against Them, you know?  The best I can do is try to do what I can in my small sphere of influence, open my mind up a little more than it has been, and see if I can't make myself better.

Once again, I'm blogging when I should be writing.  If blogposts counted as daily words, I'd be over 200,000 by now.

Since I sat down here, the rock-dammers have stopped and gone home (leaving their job only half-finished), a small group of about ten came and sunbathed for a little while (too far away with my eyesight to really ogle), and a boyfriend and girlfriend went over to the baseball diamond and practiced batting with each other.  Such a dearth of activity I again wonder what I'm unaware is happening elsewhere that everybody is so focused on.

I just checked yesterday's post, where I was at a park with a swimming pool and it was filled to the brim with people (if I had to guess, I'd say two hundred, maybe three), and it was just as hot as today, only a day different.  I can't explain it.

I got VERY little writing done as I sat on the blanket under the tree in the empty park.  Well, I did the word count, and it was six hundred words, so maybe not so very little.  I may have mentioned this, but Monday, the library reopens.  I feel like I did talk about this, but I'll reiterate that, you have to wear a mask to go into the library, and you have to ask permission to use their computers (after which, they'll wipe down the mouse and keyboard, and probably the seat).  No one is allowed to stay longer than two hours, apparently (my guess is that this rule--and the mask one--will not last beyond June first, just because of human nature).  My plan, if I can get my work done in time, is to go there and sit and write like I used to, but REALLY focus my time--no surfing the internet, no messing around on Wikipedia.

Shoot, I just remembered I have to do a Patreon address this weekend.  I will be embarrassed to admit I haven't even started recording "Three-Time Visitor," which was a goal for both April and May, if I recall.  And I can't make it a priority tonight, because I haven't gone running, and I need to sit down and record Abbie's story, which is called "Lucky."  She and I spoke for a good while today, and I regret mentioning that we butt heads in yesterday's post.  She's good people, and have a couple of profoundly similar things in common.  I must just be intimidated by her intellect.

Sit-ups Today: 82
Sit-ups Total: 1738

I got no more writing done at night.  I sat down and started recording "Lucky," and before I knew it, I was falling asleep.  It takes a tremendous amount of concentration to get all the accents, words, and performances right, so I stopped and went to bed.  Tomorrow I will try again.

Words Today: 607
Words In May: 31,080

Friday, May 29, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 119

I turned in my script today (two days late, but ah well).  I went to the park, sat at a table, and read through it all before sending it in, and I was amazed at how many people (young people, one and all) were out and frolicking in the pool next to the park.  It looked pretty fun, except I'd feel both fat and grandfatherly were I in there with them.

I'd much rather go on a hike, though it doesn't look likely tonight.  I had plans to go hiking with two high school friends (the same ones referred to in my upcoming "Round & Round" episode*), but they fell through.  We'll try again next week.

As far as the script goes: is it perfect?  Oh, hell no, Big Anklevich!  But was it something I worked hard on and did my best with?  Absolutely.  And that's something I can use to get me through the night.

I also took an hour to read through Abbie Hilton's new short story (for her Patreon supporters, and an eventual anthology) which I'll start recording, I dunno, tomorrow probably.  What can I say, her penchant for cats notwithstanding, she can really craft a tale.  I do wish we didn't butt heads all the time, but I am always grateful when she sends me stuff to narrate.

Sit-ups Today: 83
Sit-ups Total: 1656

It has been unseasonably hot the past two days.  Tomorrow it will be ninety-six**, which is close to a record high for the end of May.  I care not if I alienate all of you in saying that I don't mind the heat, and much, much much prefer it to the cold.  I took the laptop outside to get a little sun and try and write someplace with a breeze, but the glare makes it hard to see the screen.  Even so, I typed a couple of paragraphs on my Mason/Rowan story.  I made a joke early on that there's a Marvel character named Ronan, and now I inadvertently type it as "Ronan" nearly every time.  Joke's on me, as it usually is.

Big Anklevich and I have in common this tendency to write huge, sprawling epics that stretch out of control and we never, ever publish (the only difference is that I consider 30,000 words as epic, and he considers 100,000 words the equivalent).

Words Today: 833
Words In May: 30,473

*Going to publish it today or tomorrow for my Patreon supporters.  That means they did get three episodes in May (and charged for four, tee hee hee), which was one of my goals.

**That's not a prediction, I actually added that bit tomorrow.

Rish Outcast 172: Interesting Times

So, I got another quick episode out in a (vain) attempt to make my goal this month.

In this one, I talk about what's been up the past weeks, Mother's Day, a couple more stories about being an extra, and wax nostalgic (or revolting) about the Carousel ice cream parlor.

To download the episode, Right-Click HERE.

To support me on Patreon, Click HERE.

Logo by Gino "Interesting Crimes" Moretto.

Twilight Groan 7: The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street (1960)

In this one, Rish and Cathexis talk about the first season's "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street."  I do hope you can forgive the terrible sound quality on this one.  But maybe the monster is you.

To download this episode directly, just Right-Click HERE.

To support me on Patreon, go to THIS LINK.

Next up, we'll look at "Perchance To Dream."

February Sweeps - Day 118

Well, I missed my deadline, and I feel pretty bad about it.  Spoke to one of the producers today, and told him I had two hurtles to overcome: the lack of a narrator makes the action semi-impossible to depict, and one of the character's motivations don't exist yet.  I told him I would keep working on it, but said that I was less confident in this draft than in the first.  Surprisingly, he was not thrilled to hear that.

I don't know why I ever thought that I could write for pay and work for other people.  Big Anklevich never lets me forget that, when we were in college, and shooting a student film I wrote, that I exploded at all the other guys, "While every single one of you was either sleeping last night or out having sex, I was in front of the computer until four am trying to get this written!"  I guess that was pretty funny for him to hear, since the front of his pants were still moist when I was having my little outburst.

But that's how it is.  It's oh-so-easy to see that the story falls apart in the third act, sitting in a comfortable executive's chair (which cost more than I was paid to do the script), but it's far less simple to write something in the first place, or try to figure out how it won't fall apart, or fix it when it does.

Man, I look forward to oblivion.  Like I said when that car zoomed past me last night, "Sweet death, is that you?"  Then I sulked for another block.

Maybe I should be done with this daily writing thing.  It doesn't help that it's now a competition between Big Anklevich and me (although hey, maybe it always was, and it certainly didn't bother me when I was the one in the lead, did it?), and he seems to have found his muse, while I am increasingly despondent that I ever thought I could be happy, when everything leading up to this moment should have clued me in that I won't be.

Where's that Smiths song when I need it?

So, I opened the screenplay.  The two main characters are Nat and Alec, and I realized that, if I had Alec intuit that something was a big deal to Nat, that was motivation enough to get him where I need him.  Not too bad.

I dedicated most of my afternoon to it, and got through to the end.


Rish, bathed in the glow of his new laptop, lets out a RELIEVED SIGH.

But it just occurred to me, I didn't keep track of my words the whole afternoon--changing lines here and there, adding new bits, trying to condense dialogue, replacing Nat's angry father with his more pleasant one, etc..  How do I manage, then?

Sit-ups Today: 130 (is that a record?  If not, I'll do a few more before I go to sleep)
Sit-ups Total: 1573

Speaking of exercise, my Uncle John came over today.  He used to be more into exercise than anybody I knew, actually being a high school wrestler and part-time body builder.  At his peak, his arms were as big as my tendency toward self-loathing.

Anyway, he's been trying to lose weight lately and dedicate himself to exercise, and talked to me about my nightly routine.  I told him how my body always wants to quit at right before the half-mile point in every one of my runs--except for the few times it wants to give out before then.  He speculated that that was my body's way of trying to get me to stop, and that I only get the endorphin rush afterwards by pushing past that point of surrender.  He then demonstrated his recent regimen of push-ups by doing, I kid you not, 150 of them on the floor in front of me.

He then wanted me to feel his wrists, biceps and chest, but I'll not go into that.

After finishing the screenplay, I got some exercise of my own, nearly posted an Outcast episode, considered publishing a story on Amazon, and wrote just a bit on "Only Have Eyes."  I feel a bit less worthless today than yesterday.  Funny that.

Words Today: 1637(ish)
Words In May: 29,640
Words Total: 150,869

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Storage Unit Serenade 17

So, this one should be kind of interesting. It's the first one I've done in two different locations, the first in March, the second in May. Unfortunately, the results were mixed, but it does have my favorite backdrop of any of these I've done.

Pre-Eighties Songs: 5
Eighties Songs: 5
Nineties Songs: 4
Aughts Songs: 0
Teens Songs: 3

Logo by Gino "All Over You" Moretto.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 117

My story "Only Have Eyes For You" is up over thirty-four thousand words now.  It feels to me like one of those projects I'll never be finished with, like "The Wolves of Winter."

 I really need to focus on this screenplay.  Why did I tell them I'd have it done in a week?

Well, today was pretty bad, I guess, as far as writing goes.  But wow, it's another day where I cannot muster a shit to be given.  I worked on my script for as long as I could stand it, and even though it's nearly done, I fear it's also worse than it was a week ago.  The point of the story was to be a small, heartwarming story for one person.  I can't make it mean more than that.  Oh, I'm trying, but I fear I'm actually taking it farther away from what the producers want with this draft.

And that can only lead to more drafts.

But who knows, maybe I'll look at it again tomorrow, and it will all come together, or I'll be inspired on how to fix it, or it'll just look better because of magic.

Regardless, I'm pretty disappointed with myself today, and when I went running, with every car that passed me by, I cynically hoped I'd be run over, just to show the universe how pointless this all has been.  So, so pointless.

Like my sit-ups.

Sit-ups Today: 118
Sit-ups Total: 1443

Words Today: 891
Words In May: 28,003

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 116

My sister got home from work at six-thirty again today, and the sound woke me up.  There was about thirty seconds where I thought, "You know, if I got up right now, I could accomplish way more than if I waited for my alarm to go off."  I let myself fall back asleep, but then woke up not long after, thinking I had wasted the chance my body was giving me.  But no, it was still pretty darn early, and I decided just to get up and get to work.

I'm very glad I did, because I feel like I accomplished something, and the whole day just FELT different with some extra hours in it.  I genuinely will try to get up early next Tuesday as well.*

Today I got an email that the library will be reopening June 1st.  Customers have to wear masks, we're not allowed to grope or lick the librarians, and computers will be wiped off after each use, but other than that, it sounds like business as usual.  I wonder if my word productivity will skyrocket with both the cabin and the library open again.

No words today . . . yet.  I had so much work to make up from the weekend (only took one day off, technically), that part of me feels a little bit guilty having left town on a day when the post office was closed anyway.  There's something pathological in that.  But of course, you don't read my blog to get a paragon of mental stability, do you?

Wait, why DO you read my blog, anyway?

The other day, I think that I told you that I spoke to an attractive woman, found out her name, and was very tempted to shake her hand, despite the pandemic.  Well, I had wondered why she was so friendly, and the next time I saw her, she brought up her husband right away (like, within the first thirty seconds of our conversation), and I guess that was why.  I know a couple of women who are engaged or married, and they interact with me in a completely different way than the single ones do.  It's quite remarkable.

The reason I mention that today (despite it being last week when the lady talked about her husband first thing) is that I started chatting with a girl/lady I know today, and she absolutely lit up in a way she hadn't done before.  We ended up talking for twenty minutes or so, and I gave her the opportunity to break away at least once, saying, "If you need to be someplace . . ."  And she just kept talking to me.

That was so odd, so frankly unusual, that I'm almost willing to believe she got engaged since the last time I spoke to her.  Congratulations, miss.

Sit-ups Today: 60 (whoops, I really ought to run out there--despite it being 2:21am--and do a few more)
Sit-ups Total: 1325

Today, I had to go running before it got dark, because I was meeting my cousin for dinner at nine.  I am usually pretty self-conscious about it--can't say why--but I did my usual routine today, and the only difference was that a) I saw a lot more people out and about (some dude made fun of me from his backyard.  Is "Run, Forrest, run!" really funny anymore?) and I ended up much, much sweatier by the end of the run.  Makes me wonder how July and August will be . . . if I'm still aliv--er, running at that time.**

As far as writing goes, who really cares?  I did get some done today, but not enough.  I was writing a policeman character, and I decided to base him on a coworker friend of mine back in L.A. (called him Detective Harrell).  It occurred to me that there are certain people who get name-checked again and again in my writing.  And yet there are a couple of people I grew up with or know that never get mentioned.  I don't know why that is (except for, as I've said, I've almost never had somebody appreciate/enjoy having a character named after them), but I just had an idea for a bit in my "Dead & Breakfast" novel where Rowan wants to know who Adelaide is, that she made such an impression on Mason Bradley that he co-wrote a song about her.  That's fun.

Anyway, tomorrow is the deadline for the second draft of my script "The Comics Trip," and there's no way in hell I'll get it done.  So, my question to myself is, "Do I email the producers and tell them I'm going to be a couple of days late, or do I just not turn it in tomorrow, but get it to them on Friday or so?"  I guess the third option is to sequester myself tomorrow and just write the damned thing through to the end.  In which case, I'm counting every single word of the second draft, not just whatever parts I write tomorrow.

Aw, who am I kidding?  I couldn't live with myself if I did that.  It would be cheating.

Words Today: 1228
Words In May: 27,112

*Unfortunately, I know myself pretty well, and there's virtually no chance I'll set my alarm and make myself do this again--despite it being 7:26pm and me not yet being tired.  Of course, a year ago I would not have believed that I'd go a hundred days in a row not only exercising, but enjoying a lot of it.  So, who knows?

**Because sometime this all has to end, right?  I mean, Big Anklevich writes every day because he's getting older and he's lost his fuggin' mind.  But in a good way.  I do all this stuff out of some deluded idea that if I work hard every single day at one or more aspects of my life, I will be happier, and maybe someday I'll be loved.  Wait, I think we've both lost our minds.  Don't you see, Big . . . we are brothers!

Monday, May 25, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 115

Today is Memorial Day.  My brother-in-law's brother was at the cabin with us, and he got up and left at seven.  Something about this place lends itself to getting up early.  I am, most decidedly, not a morning person.  But even I have a tendency to rise early there, occasionally before the sun comes up.  Can't explain it, since I can't even blame the uncomfortable bed this time or the kids running around making a racket.

The cabin is great.  It's packing everything up to leave it and coming home (and unpacking everything again) that's not-so-great.

I mentioned the other day that I wanted to get a new phone this summer, one that has a good camera to take pictures on my hikes and to record (even) more songs at storage units, yes?  Well, I told my sister this and asked how much something like that would cost, and she floored me by saying, "Probably around eight hundred dollars."  I found that to be so high as to be obscene (that girl I like boasted in December that her phone cost over a thousand dollars and I felt like taking her over my knee . . . which is kinda appropriate, since I'm nearly sixty years older than her), but took comfort in the thought that my sister was probably out of her mind.

So I asked my cousin the next time I spoke to him how much a phone with a good camera (that could actually run apps on it) would run, and he said, "Oh, about eight hundred dollars."  Guess I'd better sell a lot more Star Wars guys.  Sigh.

Anyway, back in the mountains, the kids thought it would be fun to dig a cave through the mass of snow that was piled on the western side of the cabin (all the cabins had snowpiles there, which I assume was from their roofs, and it doesn't melt because that side gets less sun?).  They dug it about three feet deep, so I used a shovel to get another foot or two in there, and the kids were fine crawling into it, but when I did, I found it cramped, cold, and only when I was in there did I discover that the two year old had used it as a urinal.

Not as pleasant as it looks.
I suppose that will all melt soon, but it would've been fun, as a kid, to dig a big tunnel through it, from one end to the other, since the pile was about twenty-five feet long and about five feet high.  My nephews are slightly less ambitious, I guess.

I was talking about music yesterday.  Today, in the ten minutes they played the radio while we swept the floor and packed up our bedding, I heard the same Harry Styles song, that tuneless Tik Tok-bait Doja Cat garbage, and the "when the bones are good, the balls don't matter" song I complained about yesterday (said I would never listen to it again, and now I am a fat, big-nosed liar).  These were the same three songs that played yesterday when we were approaching the cabin.  How in the PLUCK does that happen?

Ah, I know what you'll say: It's corporate radio, Rish.  They have a list of songs they are supposed to play, and they do as they're told.  

That don't make it right.  Same station played the Weeknd "Blinded By The Light, Revved Up Like A Douche Another Runner In The Night" song twice in ninety minutes . . . but because I love that song, I didn't change it.  Still, they narrow their minds every day, and we fall back.  They do this no-attention-span-shit and we fall back.  Not again!  The line must be drawn here!  This far, no further!

Also, while we were still on that earlier station, they played the new song by Dua Lipa, and it was super obnoxious, somehow intentionally-dissonant, designed to make oldsters like me try to kick it off their lawn.  But I liked it, Bossk help me.  There's just something about that woman and her songs.  Sex still sells, I guess.

As I mentioned yesterday, I opened my "Podcatcher" work-in-progress, started last October or November, and then abandoned after Abigail Hilton didn't like my story "Murder Maze."*  I had it all outlined pretty darn well, up until the "should it end here, or should I try to come up with something better?" note that was inspired by my conversation with Abbie.  Well, I still don't have an answer . . . except that I'm not going to end it as I originally planned . . . but I did get a lot of words written on it.  And that counts, unlike yesterday's work (which I did count 400 words of, which may or may not have been accurate).

I went for a walk and recorded yet another Rish Outcast episode today.  There were some spring peepers frogs that were going absolutely nutmeg with their songs, and I was worried that it would ruin the audio of my podcast, so I recorded some of it, spoke a few words, then played it back to see how loud the frogs were.  Problem was, the real frogs were so loud that I couldn't tell how loud the recorded frogs were.  But I heard my own voice on the recording, so I went ahead with it.  We'll see in June if the file is unlistenable or not (like that Doja Cat song).

I also sat down under the sun and read for an hour or so.  It was great--one of my favorite parts of going to the cabin--and while I was sitting there, four different kinds of birds flew down and picked at the mud, trying for worms that were dumb enough to poke their . . . heads(?) out: a robin, several sparrows, a woodpecker (it had a red head too, cool-looking bird), and a pair of finches.  That was enjoyable, but I stayed out too long and now my forehead, nose, and cheeks are all sunburned.

Oh, and I mentioned the not-so-great part of leaving the cabin earlier.  Apparently, everybody and their truck was out camping for Memorial Day, because the canyon road was like the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles on Tuesday.  It took over an hour to get through the canyon--which is usually a ten minute breeze--but I rolled the windows down and we enjoyed all the greenery and the breeze and the Oldies station on the radio (which now plays music from the Eighties, trying to convince me I am as old as everybody else--but me--keeps saying).  

The two year old eventually had had enough of the traffic jam and began to wail in the back seat, wanting to be held, and if he'd been my kid (or my sister hadn't been in the car with me), I totally would've gotten him out of the carseat and put him on my lap (we were, after all, speeding along at a brisk six miles an hour).  But that's just me . . . and I've learned from experience that other people, upon seeing me with a nephew on my lap, will call the police and give them my license plate number.  Leave your laws off my body, asshat.

I didn't do any more running up in the mountains, after the disaster that last night's run was.  So that means I need to put on some shoes and do it right now.  Will you excuse me?

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups Total: 1285

So, I did my run, and it was a heck of a lot easier than last night's, so it must have been the elevation, right?  While I went, I was trying to figure out this plot detail on a script I'm rewriting.**  The deadline's Wednesday, and I knew that if I could just figure out the action beat (and its consequences), I'd be able to write it easily.

Well, I think I may have it, so I sat down for twenty minutes and wrote that part out.  It may not please the powers that be, but it feels pretty good, and it counts as words.  Wow, a lot of words.

Words Today: 2380
Words In May: 25,884
(that actually brings me back up to a 1000 words a day average)

*Okay, that's not 100% accurate.  I also was too afraid to write it the last time I was at the cabin, meaning to resume work when the sun came up . . . but I never did.  I'll ask the judges if I can legally blame Abigail Hilton, or if that's just me making an excuse.

**I finally had a meeting with them the other day, and while they claimed to have liked my first draft, they wanted to change its tone, raise the stakes, as they always say in the biz, and that felt like I'd have to start from scratch.  But now, with just altering a little bit at the beginning, putting in this new scene in the middle, and replacing the ending with what I just wrote, I think it might let me keep the majority of what I wrote, but still give it more action and consequences.  We'll see what they say when I hand it in.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 114

Hey, it's Memorial Day weekend, and my sister got home from work at 6:15am, so it was time to head to the cabin.  I am not a mornings guy,

Last Sunday, I was anxious to go on my hike, but the canyon I was heading to is so inaccessible, it takes nearly an hour to get there, despite it not being that far away in miles.  I spent most of the day in the car, and for some that reason I forget now, I decided to turn the radio to the Country stations (oh, I  remember, I finally gave up on the audiobook I was listening to, since I just couldn't get into it, and I didn't like the narrator).

When I moved to Los Angeles, I was horrified to discover just how terrible the radio stations there were, in the music capital of the world.  It was all such garbage that I started listening to the talk radio station, the Oldies one, and after a while, I gave Country a try.  What I found was a less calculated, more heartfelt kind of music, and it really spoke to me.  It was--except for Garth Brooks and Shania Twain--all new to me, and there were tons of memorable songs I still love today from that stretch of time.

Of course, I eventually discovered that there was a crassness to Country too, once I started hearing bullshit references to God, beer, the flag/America, and trucks in every song, thrown in there as insincerely as any singer saying, "It's great to be back in Des Moines--home of the best fans in the world!" at a concert (in Des Moines, of course).  Once I heard those themes, often really cheaply inserted, I couldn't unhear them.  And I moved on to different stations, never to return.

But that day, I drove around, sick to death of the channels I usually listen to (and on Sundays, literally a third of them become religious stations . . . it's the law.  And that limits your options, son), and went to Country.  And I discovered a couple of really cool songs, no different from a Rock song except for the twang of the singer or a steel guitar (I think the ones I liked could be considered "Bro Country," but I'm not much of a music snob).  I have heard two Country songs in the past year that made the crossover onto the Pop stations.  One of them--the Dan & Shay one--I adore enough to try to learn it for a storage unit visit.  The other--the one they're playing constantly on all stations, surely the Christian Rock ones included--I will never listen to again.

I'd missed the cabin.  I was the last one to be here in the late fall (I made two visits after we had shut down the water, using the ground as my toilet ("THE WORLD IS MY TOILET!"), and I remember like it was the day before yesterday how much I had enjoyed coming here and forcing myself to write, read, and lay around from August to November.

There's still snow on the western side of this cabin and the one next to it, and once my nephews went fishing, I sat down beside the snow and recorded myself reading that short story (my phone could only record about half or less of it, and I didn't even think to bring my Faux Pro camera, but I'm fine with only having video bookends on a video . . . again).

I also opened my story-in-progress "Podcatcher" tonight, the finishing of which is one of my goals for 2020.  I worked on the Lara and the Witch sequel (not much), did some rewriting of an old story (one I don't even have a date on, maybe 2010 or so?)--which will be impossible to count the words on, since the original was in a notebook.

I discovered two things with my exercise today.  The first was that the wooden floors of the cabin are quite unpleasant to do sit-ups on (I finally grabbed a sleeping bag and did the sit-ups on top of it, but still struggled).  The other was, when I threw on my shoes and started my nightly run (doing so just as the sun had disappeared over the horizon, worried that it would be too dark at actual night to run and I'd end up breaking an ankle or something) . . . I just couldn't do it.  At home, I have this ritual where I just go with the first song that plays on my phone, and cannot stop (even to tie my shoe) until that song is over (this, you may recall, came back to bite me when I chose American Pie as the first song on one occasion).

But we're up in the mountains, and I'm jogging on dirt (and mud), and I was gasping, heaving, and praying to Shiva, "Let me die," by the halfway point of the first song.  I was practically crawling by the song's end, and had to stop--not just slow down--and try to get air, before selecting the second song.

Unless I gained three hundred pounds since running last night, I'm chalking it up to the elevation.  While I was red-faced and unable to adequately fill my lungs, I saw an entire . . . flock of deer that were startled by my presence, and watched them do that amusing hop-run they have as they (quite literally) headed for the hills.  Despite not making it even a mile, I got back to the cabin feeling like I had accomplished something, because it had been so difficult.

Sit-ups Today: 60
Sit-ups Total: 1185

I guess deer move in herds, not flocks.  But they still jump around like a Chinese ghost.

After my run, my sister and her kids wanted to watch a movie.  They'd brought their Xbox 360 and a projector, and we all watched THE BLACK CAULDRON together on the floor of the bedroom.  I had never seen it before, but remember when it came out in 1985, and the one or two kids in school that saw it talking about Gurgi and how cute he was.

Well, I disagree, thirty-five years later.  I won't go so far as to say that BLACK CAULDRON sucked, but it was decidedly not good.  I remember hearing that story about Jeffrey Katzenberg getting put in charge of Disney and watching the work-in-progress and demanding all sorts of changes, and the animators telling him, "You can't make edits to animation, dumbass."  I'm sure those guys enjoyed their unemployment insurance until Richard Rich started making endless SWAN PRINCESS movies.

I never read the book BLACK CAULDRON was based on, but I wonder if it was a good one.  I found a first edition at a thrift store last year sometime, but never put it up for sale.  Not that I want to read the book myself, but I am curious.  Filmmaking fascinates me, especially the way different visions for projects affect the final product, the way things change and evolve and compromises make things better or worse.

After the movie, I mostly did audio editing tonight instead of writing.  I'm fine with that.  I don't feel like I wasted my time (Pseudopod gave me another story to narrate, and I got that one done rather quickly).  Abigail Hilton also sent me a story to record, but I haven't read it yet.  I think of myself in 2013, believing I would be an audiobook narrator, and just how dedicated I was to that . . . at first.  I no longer consider myself to be an aspiring audiobook narrator, despite having done one for Angela Townsend just last year.  And my royalty checks agree.

But ah well.  You can't be everything in life.  Or, in my case, anything.

Words Today: 820
Words In May: 23,504

Rish Outcast 171?

Just a reminder: Rish Outcast Episode 171 is a Patreon-only show, wherein I present my Dead & Breakfast installment "The Old Man and Me."  Thought you ought to know.

Feel free to support me on Patreon by going to THIS LINK.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 113

This is Memorial Day weekend, and my sister mentioned that she wanted to go to the family cabin (which has been snowed in up to this point), but has to work tonight (Saturday) until six am.  But I told her that I would wake up and drive down with her at six-thirty, and we could at least spend Sunday and some of Monday there.  It means I won't get to go on my hike, but it might mean I can finally sit down and record "Rest Stop" in the snow like I somehow forgot to do when there was snow around here.

But it got really cold last night, and rained all night (my nightly run was, honestly, the hardest one I'd had to endure in weeks, because the wind was blowing and the icy rain stung my face for more than half a mile . . . but I forced my way through it, and even managed to somehow get sweaty by the time I got back home), and if it rains here, that means snow at the cabin.  My brother was going to go down today, but he thought there would be a foot or more of new snow, and had no desire to slog through that, especially when it's supposed to get up to the nineties next week.

But my sister still really wants to go, so we'll be up before the sun, and I may enjoy a day and a half away.  I really ought to pack, do some sit-ups, write a few more words, and do my run, because six is going to be here really soon.

Sit-ups Today: 80
Sit-ups Total: 1125

Gonna go ahead and publish like this.  Probably won't get any more daily posts until late Monday.

Words Today: 1029
Words In May: 22,684

Friday, May 22, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 112

The sky is grey and corpse pale today.  It must be affecting my mood.

I went out and tried to sing a melancholy song, but wow, the world was against me.  I either forgot the words, or the camera fell over in mid-line (I at least kept that one as an outtake), or somebody started drilling next door (finally, I just went home after that continued).  And then, I tried to watch it to see if it was acceptable, and I still had a hard time looking at my face.

Part of it is that I'm used to seeing myself straight on in a mirror, and seeing me from other angles is always jarring.  The other part of it is that I've never liked to see myself.  I'm highly critical of my posture, the set of my mouth, and various scars and such that are visible at certain angles.  And another weird reason is that because my brother and I have really similar features (the poor guy), I always feel like I'm looking at footage of him instead of myself.  Strange, no?

I got plenty of sit-ups in today, doing them with my nine year old nephew, doing some myself, and then sitting down to do some with my twelve year old nephew.  If every day was like this, I think I'd enjoy seeing myself in the mirror a little more.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups Total: 1045 (reached my goal)

Anyway, I still have time to write, but I haven't done it yet.  I did finish editing a story of mine for an upcoming Outcast episode, and that's always nice.

Aw, fudge it.  I'm going to go ahead and upload that lil blooper here, just to reward you for hanging in there.  Hope it was worth the half hour it took to get the darn thing up here (file size exceeded?  What?).

My birthday's in a few weeks and I thought I might get a new phone then, one that can take selfies and run apparently-cutting edge apps like Zoom, eBay, and Discord.  But the above seems to want to speed the timeline along.

I did end up writing a little bit, updating Big over texts every hundred words or so.  He was quite the cheerleader, urging me on until I reached a thousand words.  He had fifteen hundred words today, though, so I don't quite compare.  But ah well.

Words Today: 1235
Words In May: 21,655
Words Total: 142,884

By the end of the week, I should be at 150k, which is halfway to Big's goal, and well beyond any I ever set.  Not bad, for a cold, grey, miserable day.

Storage Unit Serenade 16

Fancy a little Meat Loaf?  Or have you just eaten?

I like the acoustics in this spot best of all, but I've only ever recorded there twice.

Pre-Eighties Songs: 5
Eighties Songs: 4
Nineties Songs: 4
Aughts Songs: 0
Teens Songs: 3

Logo by Gino "Baby, We Can &%#! All Night" Moretto.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 111

One-hundred-eleven.  I like the look of that.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK turned forty today.  That movie is better every time I watch it.

Anyhow, I'm still pretty tired of writing, but I've found that I wake up before my alarm nowadays no matter how late I stay up, so I haven't any excuse for not writing as much as I should.

On the other hand, I got lots of exercise today, including a three mile bike ride at ten, and my normal run at 12:30pm.  I also got some writing in.

Sit-ups Today: 50
Sit-ups Total: 945

Mostly, it was on this project that I had abandoned last year* where I flooded the dining room and went downstairs and found water dripping through the ceiling.  I loved the idea of discovering something hidden in the ceiling that had been left by a previous tenant, but I never got any feeling about what it should be the guy discovers.  Well, while I was mowing the lawn, I started thinking about a guy that gets a rather life-changing superpower, and decided to combine the two ideas.  So I wrote up most of what was on my mind.  I despaired to Big Anklevich, though, that I couldn't count it as writing, and he said, "I talked to the judges, and they said you could count it."  So I did.

I appreciate those judges.  Except my mother, disguised as an East German judge, gave me a 5.6. Must have been the dismount.

Words Today: 1202
Words In May: 20,420

*One of my goals for May was to work on an abandoned story.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 110

It was gross and overcast today, with temperatures in the fifties (and about forty now with intermittent rain and cold winds).  I'm trying to force myself to write right now so that I don't feel worthless when the day is over.

I recorded a podcast last night (don't know where/if I'll use it, though) where I thought about trying to explore romance in the two stories I'm currently writing (the first is the overlong "Only Have Eyes For You" piece, where Mason may or may not get it on with the girl that likes him, and the other is the "Lara and the Witch" story I came up with the other day, where she falls in love with a boy and everything goes swimmingly . . . but can she trust it?  Can she allow herself to be happy?), and I thought it would be good to stretch myself with these two different-but-same romantic subplots.

Well, the day ended, and I did take my laptop outside for a few minutes to try to write.  I thought it would be fun to watch the sun go down while I worked, but it really was chilly, so I only got about three hundred words in before I turned tail and fled.

I was recording a podcast with Marshal tonight concerning the story he wrote in the "Dead & Breakfast" series, so I made sure to get in a run and sit-ups before that time came.  I even sat back down and wrote a little more, and before I knew it, I had a thousand words.  Big Anklevich got nearly 1200 today, though, so he's pulled way ahead of me.

Sit-ups Today: 90
Sit-ups Total: 895

Words Today: 1158
Words In May: 19,218

P.S. This marks the last of my seven weeks of posting these:

Day 50.  Well, obviously, "Everything I Wanted" by Billie Eilish.  How could it be anything else?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

February Sweeps - Day 109

Nothing to see here.

This day ended up somewhat busy.  I went to an appointment, recorded another podcast, drove to my cousin's and spent several hours there this time (we finished "Picard," which everybody else finished weeks ago), and I didn't get a chance to run, unless I chose to do it after two.  And I didn't.

And writing?  Even worse.  But ah well.  Tomorrow will be better.

Sit-ups Today: 80
Sit-ups Total: 805

Words Today: 370
Words In May: 18,060 (actually dropped below a thousand a day with this one)

P.S. Guess this is just about it for these:

Day 49. "Royals" by Lorde.  I've heard that song incessantly played on the radio for years now, and though I've tried (on more than one occasion) to figure out why people like it so much, it just doesn't speak to me.  At all.

Monday, May 18, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 108

This MIGHT be it.  The day I just throw in the towel.  I don't much feel like writing (what else is new?) and I don't have any ideas (I thought it would be cool to sit down and just try to write a flash fiction piece, all in one sitting . . . and I didn't even make it to the sitting before I realized I had nothing going on between my ears), and once again, we're past midnight with zero words in the bank.

But . . . and here's the thing: I'm aware I haven't written, and I'm actively thinking about it, which seems like not the time to break my streak.  Instead, it should be on a day that I'm busy or tired or distracted, and I don't even realize I didn't write until the day is gone.  To deliberately give up is somehow more of a sin than to accidentally miss my one hundred and eighth day in a row.

So, I'm going to try.  That's why I'm typing this, to get my mind leaning toward writing.  I got this idea for a Lara and the Witch story yesterday, and I have thought a bit about it.  It would be a high school Lara who gets her heart broken by a boy (or girl--yeah, I haven't forgotten about you sweet, sweet lesbians out there.  You're number one in my heart, ladies), and then, what does Holcomb do about it?  The joy of writing that character is (and I'll keep on saying it) that she's legitimately evil, and if you are loved by someone both powerful and amoral, you're apt to have a very interesting life.

My thought is, a boy breaks poor Lara's heart, and then . . . well, something happens to him.  What that something is depends on how horrific I want this story to be, but my attitude is that it's probably going to be pretty awful, considering that Victoria Holcomb cursed a girl with the inability to ever look someone in the eye after making fun of Lara Demming in front of her classmates.*  And when something inappropriately ghastly happens to a guy who, say, felt Lara up in a booth of an all-ages discotheque . . . well, Lara's going to suspect this was not just a freak accident.

So, she has some harsh words to say to her new parental figure, and absolutely forbids her to interfere with ANY of her relationships, good or bad, in the future.  Holcomb can roll her eyes--it's one of the things she's best at--and Lara, not being based at all on Rish Outfield, can continue her life, both flirting with and being flirted by cute boys (OR girls, you smooth Sapphic angels), and maybe fall in love again.

But . . . what happens when she does?  Can she trust it?  Will she, metaphorically, look over her shoulder with every kiss, every sweet whisper in her ear, every date that ends with the possibility of more to come?  Hell, the scene pretty much writes itself:

Old Widow Holcomb could sense the girl's wariness as she came into the room.  She smelled like suspicion, doubt, fear, and misgivings.  "Anything I can help you with?" she asked, so sweetly it instantly made Lara upset, which was much preferred to nervousness and worry.
"Hope so."  Lara's nostrils were flaring, and this made the old woman amused, which only served to anger Lara more.  "I need to ask you something."
"I'm sure you do."
"What do you mean by that?"
Holcomb shrugged slightly.  "I mean, you obviously have something weighing on your rapidly-developing little mind, the way you came barging in here, pink-cheeked and hyperventilating."
Lara wasn't sure what hyperventilating was, but she wasn't about to do it in front of the witch.  "Yes, I do have something on my little mind.  And I want you to answer me truthfully."
"Of course," the witch replied, as though she didn't lie every single day by her very nature.
"Scotty.  You know about Scotty."
"Oh, yes.  The boy you're always on about with your friends on the phone.  Seems you even deigned to bring him up with me once."
"Did you do something to him?  Cast a spell or something?"
"I've never even met this junior Adonis, Lara."
Lara ignored whatever obscure devil-related reference the witch had just made.  "Never?  You've never seen him before?"
"I haven't a clue what he looks like, except when you told Sadly that his blue eyes sparkled."
"Hadlee.  My friend's name is Hadlee."
"Oh, right.  'Sadly' would be ridiculous."
"So, you've never met him or seen him?  You promise?"
Holcomb shrugged again, a move designed to show the girl just how little she cared.  "I may actually have seen him at one of your school functions or around town, but I wouldn't know it.  As far as I am aware, though, no, I've never met the man."
"Boy.  He's a boy.  He's seventeen."
"I stand corrected."
"And you've never cast a spell on him, or one on me, to make him like me, or treat me good, or tell me I'm special?"  Lara's eyes were big now, and expressing of just how vulnerable she was at this moment.
Holcomb sighed.  "Could it be, young lady, that he likes you naturally?  And that you are special, and he's simply noticed it?"
Lara's eyes--amazingly--got even bigger.  "Is he?  Am I?"
"Well, I certainly think so.  But what do I know?  I'm only a century old and smarter than anyone you have ever encountered in that scant lifetime of yours."
Lara's smile was one of relief and bliss, but she squelched it.  "Did you promise?"
"Did I promise?"
Lara showed her teeth.  "I need you to swear.  Swear by . . . your mother's soul, or the life of your only child, or by the devil's pitchfork or something."
"The devil's pitchfork," commented the old woman, "that's the most sacred vow a witch can make, going back through known history all the way to the one killed by that awful Hansel and Gretel."
Lara was surprised she had identified something so deeply significant in the life of her--  Oh.  She was being made fun of.  Again.  "Swear to me that you didn't use magic on Scotty or on me."
"I've used magic on you practically every day since I met you, girl.  You'd have died on four occasions without it, and been put on a respiration device for the rest of your life in one other."  Lara opened her mouth to say something, but the witch put up her index finger.  "But in regards to your oh-so-important lovelife, I have cast no spells, planted no suggestions, hexed or entranced no souls to your benefit.  I swear it on my mother's soul."
Lara watched her, looking--ostensibly--for some kind of tell from a woman who could teach deceit to a lifelong politician or hypocrisy to a religious leader.  She found none.  Because the girl had very little guile in herself, she accepted the woman's word.  "Okay."
Holcomb smirked.  "Sadly, you seem to have won the heart of blue-eyed Scotty and his burly worm all on your own."
"Burly worm?" Lara repeated, then scrunched up her face in understanding.  "Ew, yuck, no.  It isn't l . . . we're not there yet."
Now Holcomb looked surprised.  "No?  I thought your generation traded bodily fluids first, and telephone numbers second."  She chuckled, though nothing she'd said had been remotely funny.  "Well, get out there, then, start making beasts with two backs.  Three, if you're curious."
Lara nodded, happy this conversation hadn't ended with her in tears.  But again, she studied the witch.  "You wouldn't use magic to help me with boys, right?"
"Bathory's bathtowel, girl," swore the witch, "didn't I just answer that question?"
"But I mean, you won't do it, ever, in the future, will you?"
Holcomb leaned in.  "I am starting to doubt you'll believe me when I tell you this, but . . . my whole world does not circumgyrate Lara Demming.  I don't concern myself with your dalliances or flirtations.  I have better things to do than weave spells to keep you from adolescent malaise."
A lot of big words, only some of which Lara comprehended, but she understood the tone, and the character of her foster mother.  Basically, the old lady was saying she didn't care enough to interfere.
And that hurt to hear, while at the same time, reassuring her that her boyfriend was really her boyfriend, and that felt pretty great.
Lara surprised them both by throwing her arms around Old Widow Holcomb's shoulders and hugging her tight.  "Thanks," she said, "but I care about you.  And your own opposite-of-adolescent mayonnaise."
Holcomb didn't quite hug her back, but one of her hands rose and touched the girl's back.  "I think that would be geriatric malaise.  Or venerable.  I really wish you'd read a book once in a while."
Lara slowly released her from the embrace.  "I just read The Crucible for History, remember?  It was very funny."
"Agreed."  Holcomb gave the girl a smile.  A brief one.  "Now, get out and do whatever it is you do on Saturday afternoons.  But be sure to use protection, you dense, winsome child."

Okay, that's over a thousand words right there.  Guess there was gas in the tank after all.  Or maybe it's like my dad's old truck (my brother's now, I suppose), where you flip a switch and the engine gets fed by a second gas tank.

As a reward, yep, you guessed it: I'm going to run around the neighborhood.  Oh, and I'll do ten more sit-ups, just to make it a record.

Sit-ups Today: 106
Sit-ups Total: 725

Words Today: 1026
Words In May: 17,693

P.S. I am nearly finished posting these.

Day 48. Gonna go with "Shout" by Tears For Fears. Boy, I loved that when it was new, but boy, do I hate it now.

*Look, I know that story wasn't all that wonderful, and that I may actually (there's the word, kids!) not be all that talented of a writer, but I describe "Remember the Future" with those words, and it just seems like a tidy little masterpiece to my ears.  And it was that story that got me back in the Lara/Holcomb business, so I'll not naysay it any further.

I Narrate "Like A Bird From The Sky" on StarShipSofa

Didn't think it would happen either.

So, I perform the story "Like A Bird From The Sky" by Alexis Ames.  A cool name.

I like this story quite a bit.  It takes place during The Great War, and I wasn't sure whether to do the main character as American or English (so I did it both ways, and decided that, technically, he should be English).  The only American character is a man who died the year before, and I tried to do a very distinctive voice for him, pressing a wheeze into my down-home country accent, speaking a little bit like my father did after his surgery, right before he died.  Audio enables me to create a whole array of characters--it's kind of a superpower.

Anyway, check it out at this LINK.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 107

It's nearly midnight, and I just barely started my writing.  You know the spiel: I don't feel like writing, I'm tired of this, I don't know why I ever signed up for this gig.*

I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to sit down and record myself reading one of my stories, and I read through the first one.  I grabbed the second one today, and looked it over.  It's "Rest Stop," which is good for a one man show, but would work best if I could film myself in the winter, reading the whole thing while surrounded by trees and snow.  Maybe the cabin still has snow (I'll bet it does), and I can do this thing the first trip up there.

For the past six weeks, I've gone on a hike every Sunday.  I should feel proud of myself for finding something active and healthy to look forward to every week, but I'm actually pretty ashamed that I am so utterly alone.  Every other person I saw hiking or taking pictures or just sitting and vaping was with somebody else.

If you're so very entertaining, why are you on your own tonight?

I went up the trail that I got rained out of two weeks ago (was it only two weeks ago?), and admired the bright yellow rock formations as I went.  There was a nice, refreshing breeze blowing too, which would have played hell with any audio I tried to record up there, but I didn't try to do a song this trip.

I got up about half a mile before I reached a closed padlocked gate, which told me the hike was over.  Honestly, it had taken me a bit more than a half an hour to get to the canyon, so I was pretty disappointed that it was all over. 

There are caves up at the top of the trail, but there was no way to get past the gate.  Unless, I suppose, one wanted to go straight up.  And hey, that might not have been an impossible idea.  A stupid one, probably, but not impossible.

I weighed my options.  I had taken along an old Podcastle episode (I've been listening to all the Tim Pratt Christmas shows, looking for inspiration, though I've long since finished the story I was needing inspiration for**), so I climbed up onto a big rock and sat there listening until it was done.  And not a single soul came by.

This was my view from the rock.
In the canyon itself, there were a lot of people out and about--it was a very nice afternoon--but I only saw three groups on the whole trail (two coming down and one going up), which should've told me something was wrong with the trail.  I took a leisurely stroll back down, never running (I was still listening to the podcast), and then wondered why not.  At least it would have been exercise.

As selfies go, I don't really mind this one.

Of course, once I got to the bottom (the locked gate was only a quarter of a mile or less from where I turned around last time because of the rain), I saw a sign with a bunch of prohibited activities (like alcohol and skateboards), and one said "NO RUNNING/JOGGING."  So there's that.

I followed a sign marked "Nature Trail," and walked for a few minutes, but there were tons of people out camping or BBQing (and vaping), and I must admit it wasn't hikey enough for me, so I turned around and went back to the car. 

I drove all the way back home, and though I tried to get some writing done, this was probably my weakest day in weeks.  I started getting sleepy, and didn't know what to do.  So, for the first time since this started, I went for my nightly run despite having also done my weekly hike.

And I paid for it.  It was harder than usual, even though it was just the same route around the neighborhood I take every night.  My side started to ache and I was gasping and lurching more than I typically do (since it's always the middle of the night when I go on my runs, I only see my shadow when I pass under a streetlamp, and I'll often watch the way my shadow looks--usually like a feeble old man, to be honest--and this night, my shadow was too close for comfort).  But I made myself do it, and tried to concentrate on other things: trying to figure out what to do for cover art for my story "The Many Faces of Christmas Eve," which is ready to go, if I could only come up with an image for it.

I was surprised to find other people outside--walking, jumping on their trampoline, doing unlicensed medical experiments in their front yards--despite the late hour.  And when I finally dragged my bones into the house, I felt like I had accomplished some small thing.  I guess I say that all the time, but after all these decades of hating running, it'll take me a while to get used to liking it.

I did some sit-ups, which I should really do more of, but we'll see.

Sit-ups Today: 40
Sit-ups Total: 619

Words Today: (a pathetic) 384
Words In May: 16,667 (shame about that extra word.  Maybe I should turn a have not into a haven't)

P.S. Why, oh why, do I post these every day?

Day 47. Probably "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers. (a hard one--who made up these questions?)

*That reminds me: Pseudopod asked me to do another story for them.  At least somebody's got taste around here, despite my brown shirt and grey pants.

**It did make me think of a Lara & the Witch story I could write, where Lara first falls in love, but is worried that Holcomb will interfere . . . or worse, what if she already has?

Storage Unit Serenade 15 (Extended)

I warned you.  This one, I'm going to explain why I like the song before I sing it.

Try to contain your excitement, Brent.

Pre-Eighties Songs: 4
Eighties Songs: 4
Nineties Songs: 4
Aughts Songs: 0
Teens Songs: 3

Saturday, May 16, 2020

May Sweeps - Day 106

Today was Saturday, and I don't feel like I accomplished much of anything (besides working until early afternoon, I mean . . . but I do that anyway).

I got it into my head to sit down and record myself performing a story and upload it to YouTube, so I went to the park and got out one from 2013 or so.  I was never happy with it, so I looked it over to see if I could somehow fix it.  Well, I couldn't (did add a few bits to it which certainly make it longer), but I thought maybe I'd get Big Anklevich on the phone and see if he wanted to record it with me and it could be a Dunesteef episode instead of just going up on YouTube.  Or both.

He said he was willing, but his son's in town this week, so they'll be hanging out for a while.  Maybe I could do another story on my own this week.  Hey, that's two performances for you, and only twice the work for me!

I told my nephews I'd watch a movie with them, and the twelve year old suggested TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT, which I flat-out refused to watch with him (bottom-of-the-barrel Michael Bay 'formers movie *plus* Mark Wahlberg?), so then they put on, of all movies, DADDY'S HOME 2.  I never saw the first one, but I was willing to sit and at least start watching it with them, based on the strength of the trailer (I really liked the bit with John Lithgow as Will Ferrell's dad and Mel Gibson as Mark Wahlberg's dad).

And you know what?  I watched the whole thing, and I really enjoyed it.

And yes, I cried.  You may say, "Rish, you cried watching DADDY'S HOME 2?  Perhaps you deserve to die alone after all."  To which I reply, "Well, maybe I'll die alone *because* I cried during DADDY'S HOME 2.  How do you like them apples?"


Sit-ups Today: 40
Sit-ups Total: 579

Words Today: 1009
Words In May: 16,283

P.S. I'm about to stop posting one of these each day.

Day 46. "Head Like A Hole" by Nine Inch Nails (basically anything by NIN).