Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June Sweeps - Day 151

Today is the last day of June.  If I'm going to come out on top, I have to really put in the work today. 

I can do it, no worries.  The problem is just how much I WANT to do it. 

And really, maybe that's the difference between those who succeed and those who don't, how hard people are willing to work, push themselves, and keep on keeping on when the point of it all seems in question.  Sure, there are other factors, but hey, I can't control my skin color, education level, natural charm, people skills, national origin, inborn talents, or attractiveness (though I really should cut my hair).

I finally heard back from Audible today, after nearly nine weeks of silence.  The audiobook for "The Calling: Reunion" didn't pass again.  There were two files with problems (one was too quiet . . . again, and the other "appeared to have unedited outtakes" in it.  So, I checked, and sure enough, there are like twelve takes in there, along with a bit of typing as I rewrote a line.  That's so embarrassing, I'm almost glad it didn't get published back in January*), which I was able to fix pretty quickly.

But then I thought I'd go through all my files, just looking to see if they were loud enough . . . and dammit, I noticed another one with a gap of typing and relines in it.

My nephew couldn't find his phone, and so when I told him I was going to the library today, he wanted to go too (which is a first.  Going to the library for him is probably what going to church would be for me).  We went, and they wouldn't let him use a computer without a library card, so I got him one.  They aren't lending out headphones because of COVID-19, so he had to sit in silence (we even went to the second floor which is the quiet floor) while I wrote.  I got to one of the good parts of my Halloween decorations story (I had been calling it "Undecorated," but today I thought I might try "Exterior Decorator" as a title . . . which now that I've said it aloud, sounds really really lame).

Sit-ups Today: 150
Sit-ups In June: 3947

Words Today: 1774
Words In June: 30,635

And there you have it.  Will I write tomorrow?  Probably . . . but I won't like it.

*I'd like to think that somebody like Tom would've bought it and let me know, then I could've fixed the tracks before anybody else bought it.  Or, I could not be a dumbass and have somebody listen to every one of the chapters before I submitted it to Audible.

Monday, June 29, 2020

June Sweeps - Day 150

If you've read every one of these February Sweeps posts, you have been with me for a hundred and fifty days.  I don't know how you stand it, really.  I can hardly bear it, and I've been with me for decades.  Saturday morning I woke up and went in to have a shower and didn't recognize the guy in the mirror there.  He was no longer fat, and he looked, frankly, different than the person I've seen in that mirror for the last dozen years or so.

Not bad, I thought, and had my quick shower.  But when I got out, the mirror was not yet fogged up, and when I looked, it was the same guy from the day before, and the week before that, and the year before that, and ten years before that.  I didn't get it.  Gone were the muscles, gone was the tone, and in their place was both flab and skinnyness.

Sunday morning I got up, went in, and looked, and it was Skinnyfat.  This morning, it was Skinnyfat again.  I can't explain who that was I saw on Saturday morning.*

One hundred and fifty days. 

Sit-ups Today: 220 (what, I couldn't muster up two more?)
Sit-ups In June: 3797

Words Today: 300
Words In June: 28,861 (dropped below a thousand a day again)

*Of course, Biggie Anklevich once wrote a story called "The Mirror Sometimes Lies," so he may be familiar with this phenomenon.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

June Sweeps - Day 149

Sunday today.  I spent the first three hours of the day in bed, editing, blogging, publishing a Twilight Groan episode that, to my horror, had never been uploaded, despite being finished in April.  I finished another one, the only 2020 episode pre-pandemic, which, if I ever put it out there (at this rate, Patreon will get it in July, and you guys in August) will catch us up on all the old, unaired episodes.

My niece and I got together twice last week--once to podcast and once to go to the cinema, so it's probable that I can start putting these out more regularly soon.  Of course, who knows what will happen with COVID-19, and how many steps backward we'll have to take after our steps forward.

Yesterday afternoon, I went over to the storage unit to drop off four boxes.  Honestly, I should take a photo of what my storage unit looks like,* so you could see the horror of it all.  Imagine the end scene of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, but instead of crates going as far as the eye can see, it's piles upon piles of toys, some in bags, and some just haphazardly stacked, like the ravine next to Big Anklevich's flooded-out Toys R Us.

Even that is romanticizing how awful it looks.  Not that anyone is lining up to go out with me, but if any female ever saw that storage unit, they would clear out faster than they would if they discovered it was filled with various cutting instruments and photos of naked women with their faces scratched out.

As I was pulling down the door, a man drove up--and older guy, probably in his late seventies--and proceeded to put something in his own spot, a unit two down from mine.  He was friendly, overly so, and asked me who I was and where I came from.  I told him, and he asked where that was, and then . . . jeez, I don't know what happened.  He started in on a guy he went to high school with who had lived near me, and then proceeded to tell me about where he had grown up, what he did for a living before he retired last year, and started in on story after story about the music industry (his wife had been a singer/songwriter, who'd been part of Barry White's touring company and wrote songs for him when they were first dating [she and the guy that owned the storage unit, not Barry White], and he'd gone all over the country and met all sorts of famous singers and some not-so-famous and isn't it strange that young people don't know who Olivia Newton John or Andy Williams or The Letterman or Paul Revere and the Raiders or Art Garfunkel or Herman's Hermits or Barry White himself were?).  This guy was insanely personable, but every time I jangled my keys and began to walk to my car, he started in on another story, about being a sessions drummer or organizing concert venues or being on a plane with Pat Boone and his family or getting stuck in an elevator with Rick Springfield right before he hit it big.  I started getting uncomfortable, because I had been standing there a half hour, just being talked to by a stranger, and there was no end in sight.  His wife-to-be had not wanted to go on tour with Barry because she wanted to get married (this was back in '66 or '68), and so Barry White had hired Roger (the stranger) to play drums on the tour so the girl would come.  Roger had installed a stage and sound system at a water park so they could have free concerts every night in summer, and had done so for twenty years, until last year, which ironically, was the last time anybody was having concerts because of the virus.  He just went on and on, talking about the dissolution of Barry White's marriage, and how his ex-wife and son got nothing when he died. This guy reminded me of my father, in age and hair color, but he was so extraverted that I think I spoke to him longer than I EVER did my dad.

Finally, I told him I had to go, and he started to simply wind down his conversation, rather than just say, "Oh, okay.  Well, it was nice to meet you."  I wonder if I would be a happy person if I were like this guy, treating somebody I'd just met like we had been friends for twenty years.  I wonder if people are annoyed by his personality, or if the majority just interrupt him and say, "I have to take off now."  Or maybe he's just lonely; I can relate to that.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In June: 3577

I usually go hiking on these days (Sundays), and I might have, except I discovered my sister and her family were going on a road trip, and they didn't invite me.  As they were loading into the car, I invited myself, and jumped in, not sure how long they'd be gone, but wanting to be away from myself.

Turns out they were driving to the Great Salt Lake in Utah, where the City gets its name from.  I've been to Salt Lake several times, but have never been to the huge body of salt water that's just past the airport, heading west toward Nevada.

My dad used to tell me about the GSL, that it was so salty that you could go out in it and not sink--you'd just float, though I had heard that that hadn't been the case in decades, since they've been desalinating it all these years.  I asked my mom if she had ever been there, and she said she went in 1968, with a bunch of friends, and described the same phenomenon.

As far as sight-seeing goes, we were pretty much on our own.  We got off the I-80 freeway, and drove around a side road, looking for whatever struck our fancy.

First we went out in a nature preserve, looking for bullfrogs in the marshes.  We saw and heard none, and my nephew kept asking his phone where we could find frogs, and the answers were very vague ("in the wetlands near the Great Salt Lake" was all it would say).  We found a lot of bugs--the tiny, buzzing, pest kind--and I found a bunch of old Campbell's Soup Cans, abandoned in the mud, not even opened, but boy, why would you ever open them now?

There were no sign of frogs, so we loaded back into the car and went up the road until we got to the old, abandoned Salt Air (Saltair?) pavilion, where the movie CARNIVAL OF SOULS was shot more than half a century ago.  It's all fenced-off now, and my sister says they still have outdoor concerts there (well, not in 2020, of course, but she had seen the Jared Leto band there once . . . 50 Seconds To Mars?  30 Seconds To Mars?  20 Seconds?).

There were some tourists there, some cars, but the area was frankly so huge and so underattended that we didn't interact with people a single time except for at the parking lot.  So, it was me and my sister and her husband and kids, and we walked down toward the water, which was half a mile away (I got the feeling that the water level is sometimes way up and sometimes way down, and today happened to be a down day, because there was a sort of low-quality beach area pretty much from where the vegetation ended all the way to where the lake began, but it took ten minutes of walking to get to the lake).

My mind, as it always does, went to how nice it would be to take a girl to a place like this . . . but I was dissuaded of that notion by the unpleasant saline smell, and the even worse discovery of hundreds of dead birds (seagulls?) half-buried in sand, in various states of decomposition (that, with its frankly, horrible smell).  Why were all the dead birds there?  What killed them all?  Why were they just left out there to rot?  Where are the coyotes or carrion birds that would normally clean up something like that?  And how long before my own dead body joined them?

Once we got past that rather disturbing barrier--which would be a deal-breaker for some, I reckon--we reached the actual water, which was a sort of grey color, and so very shallow that it was warm.  I took off my shoes and socks and waded out ten feet, and the water didn't get any deeper.  Another ten feet out, and it actually got shallower.  My nephew and I (the nine year old) went out together for fifty more feet, then a hundred more feet, and it never got any deeper than my calves.

We were walking, barefoot, in sand, which was a neat grey, almost black color, but was not mud, but sand like you'd find at the ocean. There were no fish in the water (I'd read that the salt content is so high as to kill any kind of fish or wildlife, and all that can survive in it are tiny brine shrimp too small to catch or eat), but there were also no sharp rocks or broken glass, like you normally would find in a place by a city.

It was an overcast day, the sky hazy and threatening to rain, but my brother-in-law and the others enjoyed playing in the water, so we kept walking.  In the distance, you could see what appeared to be an island, but in the other direction, there appeared to be nothing for as far as the eye could see, as though this were the ocean.

I took a couple of pictures, but it wasn't all that impressive to look at, and while my mind is always going there, it hardly seemed like a romantic scene if you were there with The One You Love.
But then . . . the clouds parted for about five minutes, and heaven's light shone down, and suddenly, the gross grey water looked a little bluer and the sand looked silver.  I grabbed my sister's family and made them stand together, just before the sunlight went away, and took a couple of really wonderful pictures like this one:

My nephew and I discovered what we thought were flat grey rocks beneath our feet, half submerged in sand, but what it turned out to be was sand itself, some kind of shale, that you could break if you wanted to, but more fun, were perfect skipping stones that we could toss ahead or behind us, and then go retrieve, since the water was clear enough to find them again.  We did this for a good long while, and I got one to skip seven times, while my nephew only managed four.

The twelve year old had wanted to catch frogs, and he started complaining early on about us wasting our time (or more specifically, his time), so after an hour or so, it was time to go back to the car.  As we made our way through the water toward shore, it did start to rain, but it was just a light sprinkle, not the downpour that would come soon, and I meandered quite a bit, both physically and mentally.

Oh, what I would have given to walk around there with The One You Love, even though she/he belongs to you, and I'm sorry for sharing an intimate moment with your beloved like that.  It would've been worth the bad smell and the fact that the salt stained my shorts and shoes and left a gross residue on my skin and hair.

When I got to the shore, my nephew told me that my shoes and socks were covered with tiny black flies--so much so that the white socks now appeared to be black socks.  He chased thousands of them away, but there were still enough of them for me to take a picture before I banged them together and put them back on.

We got to the car and the plan was to drive up the road a ways, toward where the world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats are.  I had never been to the Salt Flats before, though I knew they shot scenes from INDEPENDENCE DAY there, the third PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, and that Anthony Hopkins-doing-a-Kiwi-accent movie, THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN.  The Salt Flats are this ultra-romantic, almost sacred place to me . . . and still out of my reach, because once it started raining in earnest, nobody wanted to go walking anymore.

Not much more to tell beyond that.  Just lots of driving, though we did stop and get Chinese food right before it got dark.  There was a slightly gross smell from the water on all of us, but I do remember there being a smell when we played in the Pacific Ocean last summer, so it must just be a saltwater thing.

I fell asleep, and missed a moment where a truck hit one of those orange traffic barrels ahead of us and knocked it into our path.  But I was awakened when we slammed on the brakes to avoid it--still striking it--and I hit my head on the seat in front of me, crushing the 7-11 cup I'd had sitting in my lap.  That was kind of amusing to those around me, and there was no damage to the car from hitting the barrel.

And that's about it.  I was happy to have gone along and had a mini-trip, though I sure would have liked to see the Salt Flats, which Big Anklevich said he had visited often on his way to Sacramento over the years.

Words Today: 1030
Words In June: 28,561

*Whoops, I originally typed, "I should take a photo of what my unit looks like," but felt that it needed some kind of clarification.  Don't you agree?

Saturday, June 27, 2020

June Sweeps - Day 148

This morning, some workmen came over at seven to work on the roof, and were so loudly pounding and sawing that even my nephew woke up, and he's slept through me picking him up and trying to carry him down the stairs.  At one point, one of the guys dropped something, it shook the whole house, and it rolled off the roof and onto the front lawn, whatever it was.

I couldn't sleep through that, so I checked Facebook and posted yesterday's blog bit, and finished editing (most of) the next Delusions of Grandeur show.  But it was still early, and for something to do, I tried to find the notes for my Halloween decoration story, which were nowhere to be found.*  But what I did find, when I did a search through all my emails, was an excerpt from a Christmas story I wrote so long ago I couldn't remember writing it.  In the excerpt, Benedict Cumberbatch comes to a couple's house and has dinner with them, then kisses the wife before leaving.

It was delightful to read, since the main character, Tom (named after Tom Tancredi, who had just flown me to Chicago for free when I wrote it) is more than aware his wife is totally smitten with the odd-looking British celebrity.  I read the whole email, including all my notes for the story (which were so extensive, I figured I could sit down in a single afternoon--today, perhaps--and flesh the notes out to a full novella), and it took close to an hour (now it's 9:26am).  By this point, I began to remember the story, and its twists and turns, though I didn't remember how it would end.

What a shame I hadn't finished it, since it could be another Rish Outcast . . . or worse, a Dunesteef episod--

To my surprise, at the end of the email chain (to myself), was the full edited story, beginning, middle, and end (only seven thousand words, but still complete).  And I thought, since the workers are still stomping, banging, sawing, and dancing, that I'd read it through all the way.  It's good stuff, and I realized I could run it as this year's show . . . maybe in installments, since it takes place over five days.**

In looking closer, I actually wrote it in December of 2018, and sent myself the finished file in early January of 2019, so it's no wonder I'd forgotten about it, huh?

As I was reading through, I noticed that the ending bit sort of comes out of nowhere, with a character we've never met delivering the "God bless us every one" analogue, so I sat down and wrote a scene to stick in earlier, setting up that character.  I've gotten some words in before my alarm even went off, all thanks to the bastards that are clog-dancing right above my head right now.

It was a very lazy Saturday.  I took my mom to the store (she had a unsane amount--unsane is like insane only more so--of items to donate to the thrift store, filling up her trunk and back seat), grabbed a burger with her at Burger King (we sat on the grass outside the restaurant to eat, not minding the 93 degree heat, since she's from Mexico and I must have inherited that high tolerance for the sun), and then I spent an hour or so sitting in the yard with a huge container of ice water, blogging and editing and trying to motivate myself to write (oh, and cyber-stalking people on Instagram.  Can't forget that, kids).

So, I did type a couple of paragraphs on my Halloween story, and out curiosity, I did track down the original notes.  I discovered that the protagonist of my original idea was a teenaged boy, whose little sister took the Halloween decoration ban particularly hard, so he made some of his own, using a Marilyn Manson t-shirt, a box of Count Chocula, and a picture of Chewbacca.  Since the story never went anywhere, I can't rightly say whether it would've been better or worse than the version I'm doing now, but I sure like the protective older brother aspect.  Maybe I'll still do that, but with the genders switched, I dunno.

I feel like my priorities should be in publishing and finishing stories-in-progress, not starting new stories (though this one is technically an old one), but it is hard to work on the same darn project day after day, like Big does.  It's hard, because it's what you're supposed to do.  Guess I'll have to set a goal in July to finish one of them.  Again.

I did my nightly run, and as I was coming around the first corner, I saw a girl running up ahead in some kind of neon workout gear.  That was a surprise, because it was around eleven, and you don't see people running at night, much less attractive females.  Since I had just started my run (at that point, it's the quarter-mile stretch where my body says, "I've got a bad feeling about this, StarWarsCharacter," but I really have no excuse to be lagging), I put on the speed, thinking I could catch up with her . . . and she had vanished.  She'd gone around the corner, I'd gone around the corner, and the girl--who I'd only seen for a couple of seconds--had faded back into the aether.

Now, I'm not saying the fellow jogger was a ghost . . .

Except that she was.  My uncle would be proud.

Sit-ups Today: 166
Sit-ups In June: 3477

Words Today: 1140
Words In June: 27,531

*I'm now thinking it was something I wrote in my notebook, and right at the beginning of one, so I see the idea every time I open it.  Hmmm.

**I've already recorded the holiday story I wrote last year, and edited it, either to run on my show or waste on the other one, so I'm a bit more ambitious than I give me credit for.  Plus, I published it on Amazon.  Maybe I'll do the same with this one (It's called "The Twel--Five Wishes of Christmas," if you're interested).

Storage Unit Serenade 21

I've recorded so many of these that I don't really care if anybody watches them or not (though there's one I did a couple weeks back with a background so beautiful I want to put it out now--my niece said it looked like a greenscreen--and I hope people do watch that one, my singing be damned), but there have been a couple that I haven't put out, including the one that somehow recorded vertically and the one I did with my nephews where they clearly didn't want to be there.

There's also been the ones with framing problems (last week's installment was a June redo of that one--as you can see by my much-longer hair), and then there are the ones where I just plain forget the words.  What do I do?  I went all the way out there, got the camera set up, sometimes in the mountains or by a waterfall, should I use the file or not?

This is one of those, where my singing and my memory are both faulty.  But why not?, as the man used to say.

Pre-Eighties Songs: 7
Eighties Songs: 6
Nineties Songs: 5
Aughts Songs: 0
Teens Songs: 3

Logo by Gino "Only Makes You Cry" Moretto.

Friday, June 26, 2020

February Sweeps - Day 147

I've done no writing today. (I wrote that at ten)

I've still done no writing (and now it's 1:34).  I was doing laundry, which is a bit of a chore for anyone, and the whole time, I was thinking, "When I'm done with this, maybe I'll ____."  In this case, the blank was, insanely, "go for another run."  It SHOULD have been "write."  I honestly don't know what's wrong with me (besides the usual laundry list).

While I was folding clothes and matching socks, I put on YouTube on my phone, and the gorram thing just reset Autoplay again, so I was subjected to whatever it decided it wanted to play next.*  And it decided to start playing Ben Folds songs at random, and before I knew it, I was crying.  Thanks, YouTube (I started to type, "Thanks, Obama," just out of habit there).

I just typed a couple of paragraphs, but that was it.  You know, I did sit-ups three different times throughout the day, but I just cannot be arsed to write anymore today.  I didn't go to the cabin on Wednesday, so I feel I got a lot less writing, reading, and editing done.  I'm pretty sure I'll go again next week (filled up my gas tank today, with that trip in mind), and it would be neat if I grabbed a Post-It note and wrote down five or six things, like reading, writing, sleeping, twerking, sit-ups, and kept track of how many times I did each one while I was there.  Okay, not neat, necessarily, but something to do.

This year has been remarkable.  And I mean that in the most literal way possible--what with the Coronavirus and political unrest, but also with my change in behavior and attempt to change my own mental state.  The year's half over, and I will miss this madness when it's gone (well, not all of it, but you know what I mean).

Sit-ups Today: 111
Sit-ups Total: 3311

Just as the sun was going down, I decided to to do my nightly run--I had energy as I often do on Tuesdays and Fridays--and it took me so long to get started that I almost missed the sunset.  As I ran, I thought, "Man, I ought to go to the storage unit and record a song, before the magic hour is over."  So, I pushed myself to run harder and faster, to get home so I could get in the car and get to the unit and get a song recorded. 

Unfortunately, that also got me insanely sweaty, so I grabbed a clean shirt, and put it on while I drove across to where I do my songs.  It was practically dark by then, but I was determined, trying to comb my hair with my fingers, which was all messed up from changing my shirt in the car, and when I got to the aisle where my unit is . . . there was a black car parked there, right there where I typically record.

I had encountered the owner of this car once before--a decent old guy who just wanted to chat and was curious what I was doing.  I had told him I was doing a song for my mom for Mother's Day (which was a lie, but made true when I went back the next week and actually did one for her--which didn't come out right for some reason), and took off, figuring I had what I needed.  He had been one of those "COVID-19's a leftie conspiracy" folks, and I wasn't eager to hear about it, especially with eight or ten minutes of sunset left.

So, I just drove over to the next aisle, where all the junked cars are, and parked next to one, pulled out my camera, and tried to get it recorded before the light was completely gone.  I did a test shot, and the dart skinny-fat guy with the messed up hair and sweaty face was out of focus.  So, I deleted that, set up the phone again, and did the song as fast as I could. 

I did alright, but messed up the ending of the song and decided I should do it again.  By this point, it was full dark, so I turned on my headlights and did the song a second time, trying as hard as I could to be both good and earnestly heartfelt (which is impossible, unless you're Adele).  It's an emotional song (I chose a Tracy Chapman track I didn't realize I didn't know the words to until today), and I was focusing so hard on getting it done . . .  that I screwed up the ending EXACTLY the same way as the first take.  Sigh.

I looked at the video to make sure it was in focus.  Ugh, the background, with all these wrecked cars on one side and a line of storage units on the other, is uglier than anything I've ever recorded before, but you can still see a tiny bit of magic light on the mountain, and it'll have to do.  The things we do for love.

If I have found the strength to exercise (I did push-ups today too, weird), could I not find the strength to force myself to write a few more words before I go to sleep (it's now 2:21am)?

Words Today: 783 (sorry, I just can't stay awake any longer--it's now 2:49)
Words In June: 26,391

*How does that work?  Is it an algorithm, or does everyone get the same next song/video in the rotation, like a radio station?

Thursday, June 25, 2020

June Sweeps - Day 146

I went to the park again today, this time with a pizza and my laptop, with the intention of a) writing and b) finishing reading my friend's screenplay.  And, I guess I accomplished those two things--big deal, right?--but at one point, I opened the pizza box . . . and it was infested with ants.  You always hear about ants ruining a picnic, but I'd never seen it happen before.  I mean, they were inside the pizza box, not to mention crawling atop the pizza.  It made me sad.

Guess I'm an easy mark.

Sit-ups Today: 130
Sit-ups In June: 3200

So, as far as writing goes today, I had an idea for the story I came up with about two years ago, of a girl that moves into a town where Halloween is not celebrated, and decorations are against the law.  It's similar to a story I wrote a decade or so back (still one of my favorites) about a small town where everybody believes in some kind of local boogeyman, and was possibly inspired by one of the HALLOWEEN sequels that established that the holiday is no longer observed in Haddonfield, Illinois because of the Michael Myers murders.

I'm trying to remember which writer it was that said it, but there's an idea Big Anklevich agrees with that says that story ideas come and go, they pop into your head all the time, and if you forget them, then they probably weren't very good ones . . . but if they stick in your head, keep coming up again and again, then those are the good ones you should pursue.  And this story, which I believe I was going to call "Undecorated" when I first came up with it, has never really left my imagination.

So that's what I sat in the ninety-three degree weather and wrote on while the ants were making their way into my lunch box.  I like the idea that the main character, a teen girl, doesn't even care about Halloween all that much, but when she's told she can't celebrate it, and the neighbors actually come over and physically TAKE DOWN the decorations she put up . . . well, she decides Halloween is the hill she's going to die on.  I like this character, which I haven't named yet, but I saw a business card in my drawer today (actually Friday) for an artist that had an interesting name, like Katianna or something, and I figured I'd use that.  This story will be unique in that it's the first one I'm writing in 2020 not inspired by the Mid-Life Crisis Girl.*  Don't worry, I'm still naming the town after her.

When I went for my nightly run, I tried to come up with a good ending for this story--because you absolutely know the girl is going to put up Halloween decorations anyway, right?--and the one I came up with is somewhat close to what it needs to be.  It just needs some slight massaging.  Don't we all?

Anyway, I liked the idea that the whole town is complicit in this no-Halloween thing, but they are forbidden to explain it to outsiders, but a boy at Katianna(?)'s school decides to warn her anyway.  I guess maybe my muse inspired this character after all, because she immediately thinks this boy is trying to "get with her," and when he explains that he's got a girlfriend, she doesn't believe him.  It's actually a pretty amusing scene, and I would love it if I finished the story and put it out there.  It would win no awards, but it would still make me proud.

Words Today: 1019
Words In June: 25,608

*Oh, there was the Lara and the Witch sequel I started writing (and abandoned), but since that's part of a series, I'm not sure if it counts.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

June Sweeps - Day 145

I didn't have to wake up early today.  But I woke as soon as the sun hit my face, and it was over a half hour earlier than yesterday, when I DID need to get up early.  Sigh.

I didn't go to the cabin today, since I felt restless and unfulfilled there last week.  It may have just been too much of a good thing, or too much time by myself, which is probably not healthy.  We'll see what happens when I skip a week.  It would be nice if I was really chomping at the bit next Wednesday to get up early and get driving south so I can read and write and edit and prance about in a loincloth I fashion out of a Ziplock bag and a foot of twine.

Shoot, there was something I was going to blog about today . . . but I've forgotten now.

Sit-ups Today: 116
Sit-ups In June: 3070 :)

The day is done and I've not written a word.  Furthermore, poor Big Anklevich did rather poorly with his writing yesterday, and I believe he gives way more effs than I do.  This may be it, sweetheart.

Well, I've decided to at least try to write.  I had an idea a week or two back for a really vulgar (perhaps even obscene?) sketch I'd write for me and Renee Chambliss to do.  It'd be a sort of companion piece to the one I wrote last week, where there are two male parts for me and one female part for her (this one being the opposite).  We'll see if it's funny first.

Words Today: 1166
Words In June: 24,589

P.S. Well, eleven hundred words in . . . it wasn't funny.  I guess I'll have to think about it before I finish it or abandon it, maybe talk to a psychologist.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

June Sweeps - Day 144

I spoke to Big A. the other day, and he was struggling with unhappiness, perhaps due to the fact that it was grey and cloudy and raining.  I feel for the guy.

But hey, I feel for me all the time (but not too much . . . you'll go blind).

Today was my early day again, and I set my alarm to wake me up.  Did it work?  Nope, of course not.  That makes three Tuesdays in a row.  I did, however, wake up about a half hour before the alarm would have gone off, and chose to snooze for "a few minutes more."

After having mentioned it weeks ago, I finally gave up on the audiobook I was listening to.  It wasn't that it wasn't well written or narrated, but I just wasn't engaging, and would only listen to it on the Wednesdays/Thursdays when I was driving to/from the cabin.  I've got another audiobook in the car (and have since they re-opened), and in a few short days, they're going to start charging late fees again, so I swapped.  It's one of those gargantuan Epic Fantasy books (Patrick Rothfuss), so I'm sure to still be listening to it at the end of the summer, if I'm still breathing then (but more about that later).

I also stopped watching the video I'd been inching my way through this week.  My sister recommended Clint Eastwood's 15:17 TO PARIS, so I got it, and was really struggling with it.  I'd been told that it gets super good once the action starts, but the entire movie is made up of flashbacks leading up to the action, and I was miserable with it.  Part of the problem (other than that format) is that Eastwood, after having originally cast three actors for the main parts, uses the three actual people who lived it to play themselves, and they vary in quality and the strength of their performance.  Still, I knew the film was earnest, and I like Clint as a director . . . but I just kept thinking, "Man, this flick is not for me."  Finally, I took it out, and out of curiosity, checked on Rotten Tomatoes to see if others felt the way I did. 

Apparently, they did.  It got a 23%, and the main summary said ""The 15:17 to Paris pays clumsily well-intentioned tribute to an act of heroism, but by casting the real-life individuals involved, director Clint Eastwood fatally derails his own efforts."  Vindication.

My nephew and I went to the mall yesterday because he dropped his phone while riding a bike and cracked the screen.  I was surprised to find phones so affordable, since everyone warned me it would be like buying a car to get a new one.  The sales reps showed us some cheap ones, then some slightly less cheap ones, and then some nicer ones, but none of them were as cripplingly expensive as my sister or my cousin told me they'd be.  But in their defense, the salesguy did ask me what I'd be using the phone for, so if I'd told him gaming or streaming instead of taking pictures and making phone calls, it might have been a different story.

I could have bought a phone right then and there, I suppose, but I'm worried about losing all the stuff on my current phone (I lost about half of my photos when my old phone died in February, and have taken hundreds since then).  The child selling the phones told me I could transfer one phone to another through bluetooth (even if there's only one account between them), and he said it as though I was an old man being explained that you didn't have to dial a number to use the internet anymore, but it can't be that easy . . . it just can't.*

Tuesdays are when I go to my cousin's house, so in order to get my running in, I'm going to have to stop typing this and do another one of those daytime runs that get me all sweaty and self-conscious.  But you gotta do what you gotta do, for absolutely no reason, right?

And speaking of enormous wastes of time, I went to the park today with my laptop, to doing my daily writing and to read the screenplay my friend asked me to check out.  It was ninety-three degrees out, so not entirely the best weather to be writing in, but I will not complain about the heat EVER.  You have my word on that.  See if you can do the same, you little pansy-arse porcelain vase (rhymes with boss).

I wrote a little bit on my endless, pointless, hopeless "Dead & Breakfast" novel, and wish I had never started on it.  Why couldn't it have been three or four short stories?  Why would I let this happen.  And then I started reading the script.  Like I said yesterday, it's not bad, it doesn't seem to be poorly-formatted, and though I found two typos, I don't think they really matter.  But it's not really my genre (it's a family Christmas movie with teenaged protagonists), and I honestly have little to contribute to it, or even suggest.

"You're hanging on by a very thin thread, and I dig that about you!"  

That quote from JERRY MAGUIRE just jumped into my head.  My cousin asked me the other day what my favorite football movie was, and that's what I said.  In fact, it's the only football movie I own.  I think about that film all the time, but it's never the bit where "you had me at hello" or "show me the money" or "help me help you" or even "the human head weighs eight pounds."  No, it's the part where Tom Cruise is feeling down, and Kelly Preston tells him he's gonna be fine and says, "You are NOT a loser!"  And then he blinks and says, "Wait, what?  Who said I was a loser?  Where did that word come from?"  He's then suspicious that his girlfriend does indeed think he's a loser.

I'm paraphrasing of course, but that scene has always stayed with me.  You can imagine why I keep thinking about it, but yeah, I relate to a Tom Cruise character.  Who knew?

The other day, the Star Wars Celebration got canceled (due to Coronavirus--"Thanks, Obama!"), and the convention is giving all the ticketholders three options: 1) a refund (minus a "service fee"), 2) merchandise credit with a slightly higher value than the ticket cost, and 3) tickets to the 2022 Star Wars Celebration instead.  When I mentioned it to my cousin, he said the same thing I was thinking: "By 2022, you'll probably be dead!"

And it's true, LeFou.  It feels awfully likely that I'll no longer be kicking around by August of 2022.  The way I feel right now, it's possible I'll be pushing up the daisies by August of 2020.**

Sit-ups Today: 120
Sit-ups In June: 2954

Words Today: 1150
Words In June: 23,423

*For example, to post a photo on this blog, I have to take it with my phone, then upload it to Dropbox, then wait for Dropbox to deliver it to this laptop, then upload the picture through blogger, then publish the page.  And that's relatively straight-forward.

**And just yesterday, I posted a "I Will Die Old" picture . . . irony?

Monday, June 22, 2020

June Sweeps - Day 143

No writing done today.  I did blog for a few minutes, which is nice.  Maybe I'll start counting it, since these posts I actually publish.

I mentioned the other day that my friend's wife wrote a screenplay and he wanted me to read it over and maybe come onboard to punch it up.  I read the first two pages today during lunch, and all I can say is that the formatting is really well-done (better than the one I turned in last night).

Unfortunately, I can't remember what else I did today, because it's after one am, and I have nothing to show for it.  I did just save the next episode of the Outcast, and I suppose I took my nephew to the mall, but other than that . . . it's a blur.

Oh, I did go to the library for only the second time since it reopened.  I returned a bunch of books and videos, got my mom some Harlen Coben books, and sat down at the computer to try and write some words.  I had to wear my mask, and I think I liked it even less than last time, because after an hour, I just logged off and got the hell out of there.

Now it's after one am, and I have spent the last hour blogging (mostly yesterday's post), and since tomorrow is my early day, I don't want to write anything more.  I wish I had forced myself to write just a little bit more, because I sure as hell ain't gonna do it now.

Instead, I'm going to mention that I saw a "Rick & Morty" shirt today with this message on it:

Now, I don't really know the point of the shirt (apparently, there was some kind of Reddit meme involving it a few months back, but kindly eff Reddit), though I do remember the episode it references.*  But let me just say this: it is literally incredible how much I relate to the fourteen year old protagonist of that super-dark cartoon.

Crap, now I wish I had bought the shirt.

I did sit-ups today, but ouch, they were painful again.  No hemorrhoidal flare-up today, just a backside I fell down on yesterday complaining about more weight on it.  Sorry, you old ass you.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In June: 2834

Words Today: 755
Words In June: 22,273

*Morty discovers a possible future where he dies an old man being told by the beautiful Jessica, "I love you, Morty," and proceeds to ruin his life trying to end up in that possible future, even killing his grandfather in the process.

June Sweeps - Day 142

Dang, another day and another zero words.  I talked to Big today, and he seemed to find it easier as the months go on to write his thousand words every day.  I don't even have that as a goal (simply writing each and every day), and I can barely find the energy to do it.

So, today was Father's Day, and I had intended to put out my Rish Outcast episode for the story "Father's Day In August," which I wrote in 2005.  But I didn't.  I had it all edited, except for putting in the music, so I could still have had it done today, had I wanted to, but just like writing yesterday (and today, to be honest), I decided to simply let it go.

Thanks, Elsa.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-Ups In June: 2734

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a woman about hiking (this was the same really cool lady who just got married, having her special day with pictures and flowers and relatives and bridesmaids, COVID-19 be damned), and she mentioned that she's a huge hiking enthusiast, and asked me if I had gone to various places around the area.  I hadn't been to many of them, and she suggested I check out a place where a river comes down a mountain, going into a circular hole in the rock, and becoming a waterfall in the cavern below the hole.  She said it was, essentially, a donut waterfall.  I couldn't stop thinking about it, combining two of my favorite things like that, and joked to Big that the only place more tempting would be called Pepsi Breasts Donut Falls.

I never went there, though, because I knew it was relatively far away (and my sense of direction is notoriously horrible, which guarantees I get lost anytime I go anywhere).  But after going hiking two days in a row last week, I decided to head off in the middle of the day and see if I couldn't find this donut waterfall.  I gave the address to my phone, and told it to guide the way.

Well, it didn't.  Believe me, the f-word got a lot of exercise as my phone would tell me my destination was eight minutes away, and a minute later would say the same thing.  Eventually, I discovered that the phone kept losing its GPS signal, and when it would get it back, it would tell me I had missed my turn and now the destination would involve a U-turn.*

Finally, I got to my destination, got out of my car, and looked around.  I was about an hour from home, in a town I hadn't been in since 1987 (it might have been '86, I dunno, but my mom had brought me and my friends to The Haunted Old Mill, and there it sat, abandoned and covered with graffitti and crumbling cinderblocks).  I wandered around trying to find the hiking trail, and wondering how there would be a waterfall in the middle of a neighborhood.  I turned on my phone's GPS again, and asked it how far I was from my destination.  Now it said twenty-six minutes, despite me having gone where it told me.

Eventually, I realized that there were two streets with the same name in two bordering towns, and one was Big and one was Little.  I had gone Little.  So I got back in the car--now two full hours into my drive--and let it guide me into the canyon, which it had sent me to a half-hour before, then told me to do a U-turn as I started to go up.**  The phone said, before it started to lose the GPS signal (again) that it would be nine miles up the canyon, so I reset my odometer so that I'd know when I neared my destination, even if/when the phone stopped giving me directions.

Up, up, up I went, and it was some really beautiful country with breathtaking vistas (and tons of people out and about, hiking, biking, and taking pictures), but I was too angry at my phone to appreciate any of it.  Sure enough, the phone stopped GPSing, and I only pulled off the road when my car said I'd gone nearly ten miles.  I was way up in the mountains where I had never been before, but there were so many tourists, you'd think the Coronavirus was all a myth like my uncle's radio shows insist.  I parked in a lot there where every space was filled, and a truck was pulling out.  But when I looked at my phone, it said my destination was still four miles away.  If I walked from there to the waterfall, that's eight miles, and it would surely be dark (even though it was the longest day of the year).

I don't think I mentioned that there were dozens of hikers running around the lot, but because I'm male, I didn't think to ask them if I was in the right place.  So I started my car again, and took it down a small, one-lane trail deeper into the canyon.  No other cars were around, so I finally rolled my window down and asked a couple people walking my way if I was going the right way.  They said I was, and I asked if we weren't supposed to drive cars in.  He said, "Yeah, you can drive in."  So I did.

The road was narrow and overflowing with hikers, but eventually, I found other cars parked along the side of it, and encountered vehicles coming down the dirt road toward me, where we could barely squeeze past each other, and had to crush two or three pedestrians to not scrape paint.  I saw a sign pointing the way to the donut falls, and parked my car behind some others in a spot where the road widened (at the narrowest points, there were always No Parking signs, because that would've blocked the road completely).

I got out, grabbed my water (I'd prepared this week, even filling it to the brim with ice), and started up the road, listening to Campfire Radio Theater's latest episode on my phone.  Eventually, I found an entire parking lot--complete with empty spots--right at the base of the hiking trail.  Whoops, but it gave me that much more exercise for the day (anything to keep from writing).

I cannot overstress how many people there were on this little trail.  If I had to guess, I'd say, over a hundred.  Some of them were young, fit adults, but several were fat, a few were old, and oh so many of them had children with them.  Speaking of children, there were all these squirrels (and one chipmunk) along the trail, and kids were always holding out potato chips or fruit or nuts to them, and the rodents would eat out of their hands.  I took a picture of one that just stared at me tamely, but you can't see the squirrel, so it must have been a hallucination.

Like most waterfalls, this one became a river at the bottom of the gorge, and the hiking trail went up alongside it, but occasionally crossed the water entirely, and you had to carefully hop from rock to rock to get across.  The water was ice cold, even on a ninety degree day like today, and when I lost my footing and splashed into the water, it was chilling.  But there were so many people either going up or coming down, that we had to take turns going across the rocks, and worse, one place where a fallen log had been placed over the water and only one person at a time could go across it.

Then it was a rocky incline.  If you see this picture (which I admit isn't the greatest resolution), you can see just how many people are trying to get up the rocky embankment, where there was hardly room for one or two:

It's not a perfect picture, but it does show the river, the angle of the rocks going up, and the scattering of hikers making their way up and down the ridge.

I passed a thirty-something dad and his four year old son, trying to get his boy to come down the hill, when the child, who seemed afraid, was having none of it.  I pressed on.

I've gone on multiple hikes this spring/summer season.  The one all the way up on the mountain above the city was the biggest workout, the one to the lover's lane where I will never go with a pretty girl or a drunk man was the longest, the one where it was snowing that I could never find again was the most mysterious, but I'm going to peg this one as the most dangerous.  There was a sign, and I wish I had thought to get a picture of it, posted right below the falls that said "Danger, No Climbing Beyond This Point," and I normally would have turned around there and slunk back home like an Outfield on a Friday night . . . but there was a line of hikers climbing the rocks beyond it, maybe twenty or more.  One of them was a heavyset lady and I distinctly remember looking at her and thinking, "Wait a minute, is she wearing shoes?  No, she's not.  That plump lady is going up the hillside barefoot.  There's no way I'm turning back now."

So up I went.  And it was a struggle, to be honest.  The rock face was pretty sheer, and I thought of that awful YouTube remix of Bill Shatner saying, "Captain Kirk is climbing a mountain, why is he climbing a mountain?" as I pulled myself up by my own arms.  And I wondered if I would have been able to manage a year ago, when I wasn't running every day and doing push- and sit- and throw-ups all the time.  I followed the barefoot lady all the way to the top of the hill, where a group of twenty-somethings were on their way down.  I heard one of them ask her, "Is the waterfall this way?" and she said, "Yep, almost there, boys."

Wait a minute.  "I'm sorry, what did you say?" I asked the barefoot fat lady.  "Almost there," she said.  "But . . . they're going down the mountain," I said.  "What about the waterfall?"

She looked at me to see if I was joking or not, and saw that I wasn't.  "You passed it about halfway back there."  "No, the donut waterfall.  I saw pictures of it online.  It was a cave with water pouring into it.  It was . . ."  She interrupted me.  "You must've walked right past it."

To my surprise, the group behind me exclaimed, "What?  When did we walk past it?"  They had been right on my heels as I made it up the rocky embankment, a young guy and a half-naked girl.  I had been following barefoot lady and they had been following me.  The barefoot woman told us she was just exploring, and on she went.  Suddenly, I and this young couple were brothers ("Don't you see . . . ?"), and I felt like I had been tricked somehow into pulling myself up there by my (remaining) wits and determination.

So, the three of us turned around and started back downward.  And it was hard, a lot harder than going up had been.  The places where I had climbed up using my arms didn't work going down, and I had to either jump from perch to perch, or simply slide down on my backside (the unfortunate half-naked girl behind me probably fared worse, poor thing).  Once the rocks got closer to the water, though, they became slippery, and yep, my feet just flew out from under me once and I fell on my butt (as I did last week, and a couple weeks before that when I found the phone).  Weird thing is, I just got up and kept on making my way down.  I'm not old yet.

But get off my lawn anyway.

So, right beyond the "No climbing" sign, there it was, surrounded by people, and going into a cave that's so tiny, Big and I wouldn't be able to fit our remaining Dunesteef listeners into it.  There it is, going into a hole in the ground.  Guess you can see how we missed it:

I imagine I missed the falls because I was watching where I was going.  I did record what it looked like, but the footage of the water entering the hole (sexy) was so blurry that I deleted it.  Now I wish that I hadn't, because I'd have liked to do a little audio commentary over the top of the two clips, like Big and I did the other day with his bat video.

The dude with the half-naked girl got in line (yes, there was a line) to go into the cave and take a picture, and came out dripping wet and complaining about how freezing it was.  His girl said, "Hell no," to the disappointment of all of us standing around, and I figured I'd get in the line too.  The cave was not only very very shallow, but you had to wade into calf-deep water to get to it.  Because the water was so cold, I turned on my camera and only did one take, going inside and looking up at the "donut," being sprayed with icy water the whole time.

In the end, I was glad I had gone inside, but not entirely glad I had gone on the trip, you know?

I made my way down, no longer trying to balance on rocks or keep from stepping into the river--I just stomped right through, since I was soaked anyway.  I came down, sloshing water and rubbing absently at my backside, and passed the thirty-something dad and his little boy, maybe a hundred feet farther down the mountain, still going through the exact routine of "You can do it, just jump down, I'll catch you!"  "No, I'm scared!"  I imagine that they're still there right now, just a few more feet down, even though I'm typing this a full day later.

Once I got to dry land and the regular trail away from the river, I sped up (still having to weave through and around various other hikers, always with children, making their way up or down), and once I reached the road, I just ran to my car, figuring I'd get a little exercise that way (not that climbing up a fairly sheer rock face and using my arms to pull up the rest of my body wasn't exercise, but running downhill is the fun kind).

I checked my phone and was shocked to discover there was cellphone service all the way up there, so I called Big and complained to him that I went hiking alone (again, naturally), but if I had had a girlfriend and took her to the donut falls, she would have broken up with me because of it.  He was upset that we didn't go hiking together in the eleven years that we lived in the same state, but my love for hiking is a mid-life/pandemic development.

Luckily, the drive home was easy and I didn't have to depend on the GPS to get me there, but I had to pay for my outing by now having to catch up on my daily words.

So, somehow I utterly failed yesterday when it came to writing (I did some work on the screenplay--which is due tomorrow--but I didn't count that as words . . . maybe I should, though they will be very few), but as I said, I had a lot going on then.  Same thing today, as I worked on the script this morning (I was kind of horrified to discover, when I reached The End, only about a five hundred word difference between the second draft and the third), and while I think it's in even better shape now than it was on last Tuesday's table read, it's still too long, even if I only listened to the one producer who (crazily) said to cut two pages.

Hmm.  So, what I'm going to do is count the difference between the two drafts as of right now as yesterday's writing, and any difference after that as today's.  It's not perfect, but it gives me a chance to salvage the 208 words I had written down for yesterday.

Whoops, guess it was far less difference than I gave myself credit for (you see, I added a new bit in, making one of the characters who wasn't significant in the last draft significant in this one, and somehow, that only made the story longer.  So, when I cut here and there, it didn't do much to bring the script down in length).  I may have to go through with a bit more brutality, just crossing stuff out as I go, without trying to rephrase or combine sentences like I did before.

Well, I stayed up, going through the whole script again, and managed to cut another two and a half pages from it.  By then, it was after three, so I emailed the script (saved it first--good idea, no?) to the three producers, and went to sleep.

Words Today: 1092
Words In June: 21,518

*Honestly, I'd say this happened between five and eight times throughout the drive.

**I have to echo what Al told Sam on "Quantum Leap," that while he wasn't sure there was a God or not, he was absolutely certain there was a Devil.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Storage Unit Serenade 20

You know, I wanted to do something special for the twentieth show, but I discovered the nineteenth show was framed so badly that I couldn't use it, and went out and re-recorded it, only delaying that one a week.  Of course, when I went to re-do it . . . it started to rain.

Pre-Eighties Songs: 7
Eighties Songs: 5
Nineties Songs: 5
Aughts Songs: 0
Teens Songs: 3

Logo by Gino "He Shall Be A Good Man" Moretto.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

June Sweeps - Day 141

You know, it occurred to me that if I hadn't set this utterly pointless and inutil (as the Spanish say) goal of writing every single day, I could take some time to record the rest of "Three-Time Visitor" and publish a thing or two.  As it stands, the darn writing always has to take up whatever free time I have that's not already taken up by exercise.  For Bossk's sake, I wrote another Ben Parks story this year that I could put out there, and earn as much as six or seven dollars with!

But no, Write Every Day, I told myself, and here I am (well, not writing, exactly, but blogging, and that was another of my goals, made back in January, and still hanging on, like an STD that just won't go away), sitting in front of my computer, not wanting to do it, and watching the time click away on the bottom right corner of the screen.

I worked until lunchtime, and then my mom told me she was going to my niece's to bring her to town, so I made sure to run over and try and steal her away for a couple of episodes of "The Twilight Zone."  I had mentioned that Cathexis and I had only been able to get together to watch the show twice this whole year, but she was happy to sit down with me for a new episode.  We watched one of my favorites, and one that I didn't think was all that good, and that ate up a full two hours.  Then I left her alone to spend time with her grandmother.

So, now here I am, finishing up the sketch I came up with yesterday, and that was only a hundred words or so.  My cousin's going to come up again tonight to try and watch RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK with me,* so that means I have only a couple of hours to write or blog or edit or do actual paid work.  Hmmm.

Whoops, according to my wordcounter, this was my worst day since I started this whole thing.  Wish I gave a crap about it, but boy, oh boy, do I never.

Sit-ups Today: 150
Sit-ups In June: 2634

Words Today: 403 (whoops)
Words In June: 20,426

*Gosh, I'd really like to blog or podcast about seeing RAIDERS again, nearly forty years after the first time.  But I just don't have the time.  Might do it anyway after I send in my script, though a friend of mine has asked me to do some rewriting on a feature script he sent me, and I really ought to look at that as soon as my deadline's behind me.

Friday, June 19, 2020

June Sweeps - Day 140

I got an idea for another sketch today (a Star Wars one), which I thought might be amusing, so I texted Renee Chambliss first thing, before I even started writing it, to see if she'd be onboard.  It's reeeeeeeeeeeeeally similar to the one I did a month or three back, "Daughter Death Star Day," but I don't care.  I produced another SW sketch this month that I'll release in the next episode, and my dream is that someone will one day make an animated version of it (or my other SW sketches) and put that out on YouTube.

I had quite a bit of my day free today (got most of my work done last night before I went running), but all of that was thrown out the airlock when I looked at my car and noticed one of the tires was really low.  So I took it to the gas station to put air in it, but as I was doing so, I saw a nail jutting out of it, and changed my mind, not bothering to refill the tire when I'd just have to get it patched.

I took the car to Big O Tires, and they told me, oh, that tire is too worn for us to repair it, you'll need to get a new one.  I said, "Fine," knowing they would upsell me, like they always do.  Furthermore, they said they had no open appointments until two o'clock, so I said, "Alright, I can hang out until then," but when I went in to actually make the appointment, they said they were booked up until 3:15.  I know what you're saying: "So?  Go do work or enjoy yourself until 3:15."  But kids, I had a flat tire, I could only do stuff within walking distance.

Which look, is fine.  The world is not going to end because I lost a few hours in the middle of a Friday.  I actually sat down and started writing the Star Wars sketch, for want of something to do (I nearly said, "For want of a nail," but I had one of those), and that's good.  Counts as writing, doesn't it?

I think, but I'm not sure, that I'll be calling this sketch "Who's Bad?" or some other variation on the Michael Jackson song lyric ("Tell Me Once Again, Who's Bad?" maybe).  I wrote the whole darn thing in one day,

I did very little revision on the script, though I did make the change I talked about in this week's podcast (which really just adds one more joke, but not at the expense of anything that was previously there).

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In June: 2484

My cousin and I decided to go to the movies today, because the theater opened again yesterday, and it's showing so many flicks I'd love to see again on the big screen (the other two theaters in town don't open until July, but both of those will have MAD MAX: FURY ROAD at their opening, and I'd rather see that again in theaters than anything save the Star Wars Trilogy).  I invited my uncle Len to go with us, but he couldn't make it, and the two of us drove out there, only to find that all the seats were taken.  That's not to say it was sold out, but that the screenings are set up in such a way, with only half the rows available and then each seat that's sold surrounded by empty seats for social distancing, that it only took a few customers to make it virtually impassable, like when you're playing a Tic Tac Toe game and if you choose the wrong space, it guarantees a tie every time.  So, we got turned away, and every single movie starts at the same time (for some reason), so we couldn't go into, say, JURASSIC PARK, or BATMAN BEGINS, or LA LA LAND instead.*

That was surprising, as was how many cars were in the parking lot as we approached.  I understand that they're just figuring out how to re-open, and that things will change in the coming weeks, but my cousin all but insisted that we get tickets for tomorrow, and even offered to pay for them (which is nice, since they charged full price for them, instead of way less than before, as I had understood theaters were doing in an attempt to get people to come back to the movies).  Then he dropped me off, and we'll go through all this again tomorrow evening.   Which is fine, since I don't have anything else I'm doing, other than sit-ups and supposedly writing.

I typed up the bit of my sketch I wrote in my notebook, and adding it to what I typed on the sketch, I've got a good, healthy number today.

Words Today: 1709
Words In June: 20,023

*Not that my cousin would enjoy seeing LA LA LAND, though I sure would.  It's one of two movies I ever bought on Blu-Ray, despite not having a Blu-Ray player.  The other was AVENGERS (2012).

Rish Outcast 174: 'Til Death Do We Podcast

Rish talks to Marshal Latham about the "Dead & Breakfast" series, and specifically, Marshal's entry in the series, "Til Death Do We Meet" (which is available at the Journey Into... podcast).

Oh, and Fake Sean busts a bit of a move.

To check out Marshal's story, go right HERE.

To download the episode, Right-Click HERE.

To support me on Patreon, Left-Click HERE.

Logo by Gino "'Lil Death" Moretto.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

February Sweeps - Day 139

Still at the cabin.  I woke up twice in the night with bad dreams.  One was that I was accused of a rather sordid crime and everybody around me was eager to believe it (pretty realistic dream, that), and the other was that somebody had come to the cabin to kill me, and was lurking right outside the door, which I'd forgotten to lock.  It was odd because I became convinced that I had to kill him first (I had a shotgun with me), and I had the element of surprise since I knew where he was and he didn't know where I was, but should I do it, since I had no idea WHY he wanted me dead and it could've been a misunderstanding?

My experience with dreams is that these thoughts occur in the blink of an eye, and both dreams could have been within minutes of each other.  But I woke, and the light was still on after the first one, and I turned it off, and it was still dark in the sky after the second.  I then woke a third time--the fire had gone out and I was getting cold, and it occurred to me that, with the sky grey rather than black, I could get up then and start my day and have HOURS of extra time to write and read and basically not sleep.

But I didn't.

As it stands, I woke up early (early for me--seven-something--not early for you, I'm sure), edited for a few minutes on the next Outcast episode (Father's Day is Sunday, and I recorded the sucker in March for release then, and it looks like I'm not going to make it), and then did go back to sleep under the pretense of reading my book (which I managed about a page of).

I have tried three times to start the fire going again today, and it just goes out.  No matter how fast I type, my fingers are still getting cold.  Guess I could do some more sit-ups.

This was a really strange trip for me, because unlike the last two, I started to get really bored early on.  Part of it was that I had brought a movie from the library that I wasn't enjoying at all, and didn't even bother to finish after struggling to reach the halfway point.  And the book I brought (which I started last week) couldn't hold my interest, and I'd nod off every time I opened it (like reading my blog, right, kids?).  By noon, I was thinking of what to do for the rest of the day, maybe go for a hike?  Maybe do more sit-ups?

I edited another Rish Outcast through to the end (which makes two this week), and maybe I could've continued my EMPIRE STRIKES BACK episode from last week, but I just didn't want to.  I guess this is just too much of a good thing.

The cabin right next to ours has people in it, for the first time in living memory.  I remember my dad being friends with the couple that owned it, but they went out of the country for a couple of years, and were gone when he got sick.  I've never been over there (well, I buried a skunk right there where they're parking their cars one time, but that shouldn't count), but they seem to have two living rooms side by side, with two doors that each lets out onto the deck, as though these are cabins at the Bates Motel.  And unlike this one, which my brother set up for solar power, their electricity runs on a generator, which is so loud, you'd think the world's horniest woman is over there getting off all day long.

Sorry about that.  Sometimes I forget that strangers can read this blog.

At one point yesterday, I heard a loud buzzing (not a generator and not vibrator this time) here in the cabin, as though a bumblebee or big wasp had gotten in.  I tried to figure out where it was coming from, but never had any luck.*  But today, I came in from outside (I was gathering up kindling for if I needed to build a fire next time--and I'm sure I will, since I use the heat stove to cook my soup) and saw a huge, fat wasp flying around right by the window behind me while I type this.  I grabbed the flyswatter and squashed it in my very first attempt.

But then I looked at it, and for maybe the first time in my life, felt bad about killing a wasp.  Wasps are evil, hateful things (in the voice of Craig Ferguson, "Wasps are the skinheads of the insect world!"), and this year we're living in a world with creatures called Murder Hornets buzzing around, but there was something unspecifically beautiful about this one . . . and I had killed it.  It hadn't stung me or anything, but I had killed it simply because it had gotten indoors.

That was vexing.  Like I said--skinheads, and a universally-hated animal (heck, we've all met somebody who keeps cockroaches as pets, but NOBODY would keep a wasp as a pet)--but it seemed like a bad thing that I had done, killing it.  Like when John Huston was reported to have said, "It's not a crime to kill an elephant . . . it's a sin.  And that's why I want to do it."

But I must be mentally ill, because I've no respect for people who say don't smash stinkbugs, or that animals are people too, or that dipshit centuries ago that said it was immoral to kill rattlesnakes even if they're threatening your children, or folks that think that you should flagellate yourself when a cat darts under your tires** . . . so maybe I just need to pack up and get out of here, or I'll start talking to Wilson the Volleyball, and weep like a child when he washes away.

Man, that was a good movie.  Remember how the trailer gave it all away, even that he gets rescued at the end?  Bastards.

I did some writing, mostly on "Only Have Eyes," because I don't know where the egg story is going . . . but I did come up with an ending last night for "Podcatcher."  I dunno, maybe I blogged about that already, but I thought I had a solution for the ending, and jotted down my notes for it, though I don't count those as writing words unless it's actually writing prose.  Big feels the same way, so that's our rule, and hey, don't kill that poor rattlesnake that just sank its fangs into Marybeth, you sinner.

I did end up leaving early, which the me from the last two weeks would simply not have believed.  I was just too bored there, I suppose.  There was, of course, work waiting for me when I got home, and I did a bit of it, went running, and am even going to bed seven minutes early.

Sit-ups Today: 300 (see, I told you I was bored)
Sit-ups In June: 2384

Words Today: 1286
Words In June: 18,314

*It was almost like it was playing with me--when I'd come close, it would stop buzzing, and when I'd give up and walk away, it would start up again.

**I once ran one over driving home from my shift at McDonalds in the town I call McKay in my stories, and I stopped, right there in the middle of the street at night, turned on my emergency blinkers, and got out on my hands and knees to see if it might be alright.  I was thinking, "I'm going to have to tell one of these families I killed their cat, even though it's 1:30 in the morn--"  And then the cat jumped out, horror movie fake scare-style, with a yeowl, and took off across the road, seemingly unharmed.  Scared me pretty badly, so . . . lesson learned.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

June Sweeps - Day 138

So, I went up to the cabin again today.  Just like yesterday, I set my alarm to wake me up early, so I'd get a full day at the cabin after I got my work done (I had gotten most of it finished yesterday afternoon, so I knew I'd be okay if I could just wake up early) . . . and again, the damned thing didn't go off.  I thought yesterday that maybe I had pushed a button and cleared it right before I fell asleep or something, but nope, it still said it was going to wake me up . . . a full half hour before.

So, I don't know what's wrong with that.  My regular alarm goes off at the same time every day, so it still works.  I wonder what I would've done if I had had to be somewhere, like on a film set or an appointment, and the thing failed me like that.  Count my blessings, I suppose, that it was just my weekend that was screwed over by the alarm.

Last week was quite cool (temperature-wise), and I had only brought summer clothes, so I grabbed the I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK & LARRY jacket I always keep in my car (there was a caption-writing contest I entered right before the movie came out a decade back, and I won a hat, the jacket, a duffle bag I still take on road trips sometimes, and a Ziplock baggie filled with Adam Sandler's spittle) and put it on.  I ended up wearing it the whole day, and slept in it because I couldn't get the fire to stay lit.

Today is supposed to be even colder, so I made sure to grab long-sleeved shirts and am wearing long pants, but it's warmer right now than it was last week, except for a chilly breeze that's making all the leaves outside the windows flutter in a delightful way.  I love it up here at the cabin, but I can hear guys just over the ridge behind the cabin (where I like to sit and read) doing some kind of noisy construction, involving shouting and backing up beeps and chainsaws, and that's a step down from the last two visits.

There are a number of things I look forward to when I'm here.  One of them is just pleasant solitude (rather than the other, unpleasant kind), the chance to read, the chance to do what I want for as long as I want*, a few moments to write, a few longer moments to edit audio, and maybe watch a video from the library.

I thought I'd alternate between activities, like I normally do, and made myself do some sit-ups just now.  And while I don't necessarily need to go to the emergency room afterward like last week, it is a super hard wood floor, and absolutely no fun to do them there.

I recorded and edited a little piece to go on the end of my "Writing To Please" episode, which still has the worst title of any of the episodes I've put out.  Since I've already released it for my Patreon supporters, they will get a bonus podcast that's just today's addition.

This is going to sound super complainy, but it was terribly cold today, and when I went out to the lake to do the song (the highpoint of my day, I guess it's sad to admit), it was so cold that after a while, I couldn't get my fingers to press the button on the phone.  Isn't that bizarre?

The wind prevented the reflection from last week.
I have learned (the hard way) to always check the video before I leave the storage unit (or the lakeside, in this case), because I've had a couple turn out totally blurry and one where the picture was vertically on its side (which is useful for nothing), and when I checked this particular one (only took me two takes to get through the song), I discovered just how weird my hair looked.  Now granted, the wind was blowing icily along the water, messing with my hair, but it's at a length where I guess it just looks BAD, and maybe I'll have to get it cut soon.**

"You don't believe me?  You will, Doctor Jones . . . you will become a true believer!"

I built a fire in the fireplace, and it blazed pretty well for an hour or so, which enabled me to cook some soup and warm up the room.  The thermometer says it's 38 degrees outside and 68 degrees inside, which is great, but the fire seems to have gone out again.  I did some more sit-ups, and am going to go for a record today before I sit and read and once again, fall asleep long before I planned to.

I feel we've pretty much reached the end of all this--the blogging, the daily writing, the self-improvement, the exercise--because there's just no point to it all.  Last night, I hung out with my uncle and his ex-wife, and both of them were really supportive of my singing.  Len's always impressed by my writing, which is nice too.  I try to be a positive person, but it flies in the face of my nature, whereas Len is always in pain because of his back, which flies in the face of his cheerful, positive nature.

I wrote quite a bit today, on the egg story (the new one I started this week), "Podcatcher," which may actually have some light way off at the end of the tunnel, and a wee bit on "Only Have Eyes," which is just tunnel all the way down.

Sit-ups Today: 150 (dang, I was gonna try for a record)
Sit-ups in June: 2084

Despite the really high number of sit-ups, I didn't manage any running today.  I was scrambling to get my song recorded before the sun set, and was so darn cold that I managed to run about a thousand feet before I thought, "Eff this noise," and walked the rest of the way.  It wasn't even dark out yet, and I could see my breath.  Since it doesn't matter in the slightest whether I go running or not, I hope you will forgive me.

Words Today: 1302
Words In June: 17,028

*Right now, I'm blogging, sitting at the table with a blue Mountain Dew next to me, thinking I could grab a book and go outside, or I could just sit here, or I could take a nap, or I could listen to music and exercise, or I could do all of those things, in any order.  Nice.

**The Hispanic lady that's cut my hair for years closed up her salon when the pandemic hit, and within a month, it was for sale.  And now it's a bloody dog grooming clinic (though they will technically groom dogs that don't have blood on them too).  I wonder if the haircut lady still works somewhere I could track down, or if I have to go looking for a new one.