Friday, July 31, 2020

July Sweeps - Day 182

It's the last day of July, and man, I wish I had something inspiring and profound to say.  I wish I were a bigger person* and had one of those personalities that delights and encourages others.  I wish I were somebody else . . . but since I can't be, I wish I could be the best me possible.

It's not that I'm particularly sad or anything right now.  I'm just aware of my many shortcomings and the fact that, when it's all said and done, I've been unhappy more than I've been happy.  If it all ended tomorrow, I doubt they'd kick up any fuss.  Not for an old crook like me.

My three year old nephew insisted on "helping" me mow the lawn tonight, and then wanted to tell me goodnight just now, and honestly, that is something.

Two things, writing-wise: 1) I have to write just over 1400 words to make a thousand words a day average for July and 2) If I write today, it will have been fully half the year of writing every single day.

Well, it's ten pm, and I have only 334 words done.  Quite a whimper to go out on.

Luckily, I stay up until two every night (and maybe later, if I have to).  We'll see what I manage (Big said he's done twelve hundred words today, and that he won't die alone and unloved).

I talked to somebody today who revealed to me that they got COVID-19 back in March, and didn't tell anybody.  "Yeah, my whole family got it."  It was, anecdotally bad-ish, but not as bad as we've all been fearing ("My mom has asthma, and she was fine").**   Now, every day since then is apparently Disneyland (but hey, between you and me, it already was--and I love Disneyland).  "There was no throwing up.  I'd rather have COVID again than the flu."  The conversation was brief, but the point of it was that now that the disease is in the rear-view, it's a tremendous load off the mind, and having the antibodies are kind of like a superpower.

That conversation has echoed around in my head for the last nine hours.  I cannot believe that I am jealous of somebody for having gotten sick.

I went on my evening run, and I decided not to stop or slow down, and though it made me a sweaty mess when I got back to the house, for those few minutes, I was the pilot of my own destiny.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In July: 4967

I considered sitting down and starting a new audio version of one of my stories tonight, but I made the mistake of looking at my word count for the month again, and thought I'd at least try to reach a thousand words today.  I took a break at nearly two am, because I felt like everything I was writing (I somehow created a new potential lesbian love interest for Rick with absolutely no idea why or where it might be going--except as an excuse to break up Rick and Talia as a couple, which makes no sense because that's not what "Hatchling" was supposed to be about) was pointless and probably deserved to be cut out of the manuscript.

Writing can be hard, whether you plan out your stories or make them up as you go along like this one.

So I decided to write a scene that definitely WOULD be in the finished product, where Talia and Rick decide to let Kimono go, like the ending of every single boy-makes-wild-animal-his-pet movie you've ever seen.  I wrote until two-thirty, pretty pleased with myself, and found I was only a hundred words away from making my goal.  So, I wrote a couple more lines of dialogue, including the line "He agreed, deferring to her superior intellect," which sounds like I stole it from WRATH OF KHAN.  And that took me over my thirty-thousand word goal.

So now, I can sleep.

Words Today: 1643
Words In July: 30,187

Oh, shit . . . there were thirty-one days in July.  I still fail.

But only barely.

*Right, right, I'm eighteen pounds smaller than a year ago, but that's not what I mean.

**For some reason, I felt somehow slighted that I didn't know about this--since I could have had months of telling people someone I knew had contracted the virus, instead of waiting for my Cousin Jacob to get it in June and my Cousin Starlynn to get it in July.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Storage Unit Serenade 24

Sorry about the delay (or you're welcome, you decide).  Honestly, it has been so long since I edited one of these that I was horrified to see my face again.  I hope I can get over it someday soon.

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

I don't intentionally avoid songs from 2000 to 2009, but they just keep not happening.

July Sweeps - Day 181

I didn't get much accomplished here yesterday.  I recorded my Patreon address, did some sit-ups, and drove to the top of the mountain where my Uncle Ali always claimed there was cellphone service.  I'd never driven up there before myself, apparently.  The road is a rocky, rutted, terribly un-level, un-stable winding thing, and I worried about my little car getting high-centered, or stuck in some of the grooves running water has made. 

The road was so narrow that, had I encountered another vehicle coming down, there'd have been no room to scrape past each other, and when I finally found a cell signal, there was no place to pull off until I got to the top, where the road forked, and I just parked my car on the dirt road going still higher up the mountain (or to the other side, I'm not sure).  There was indeed cell service, which is pretty amazing, and I exchanged texts with Big Anklevich, and sent one to my mom telling her the bad news.

I really do feel bad about this--not so much because this whole trip up here was for nothing (I did about twenty minutes of writing at about seven-thirty this morning that's more than I have in days), but because my mom will have to get new credit cards, a new ID, new checkbook, etc..  And you always wonder where the stuff actually is, if you'll stumble upon it at some point soon.

I went down the hill toward the sunset to take some pictures (didn't get much, just a couple of shots standing on a slope filled with yellow and purple wildflowers), and at one point a truck did come along, so I ran up to ask them if they were going where I had parked (they were going the other way).  Up here is so remote, that no other vehicles did come along, though I could hear voices coming from somewhere, and I'm sure they heard me singing, and hopefully thought it was ghosts that happened to know Adele and Elton John songs.

As I often do, I thought it would've been pretty spectacular to come up here with a pretty girl, get some pictures of her with the golden light of sunset on her face and hair, maybe take a couple with the orange sky behind her.  I wonder if that would ever get old.  Probably for her, but you never know.  But alas.

I took four pictures from this angle, and all of them had the red swath down the left side.  I'm going to chalk it up to forest spirits.

By the time I went back down the hill, going as slow as I possibly could over the rocks and bumps, it had gotten dark.  Virtually all of the beauty of this place disappears in the dark (which is, ironically, the opposite of me), and I worried about popping a tire or damaging the undercarriage of my car (neither of which happened).  When I got back, there was little to do but make a fire and cook some soup (I have about four fires' worth of cardboard packaging from Marvel Legends figures which I brought up here for the specific purpose of taking them out of their boxes and using the rest to warm my Campbell's with (although I think last night's fare was Progresso).

While I was typing this, three deer walked by the window--two adults and a fawn.  I went out back to see if I could see any, considered sitting out and reading,* but it's still too cold this early in the day (I checked, and it's fifty-six degrees out right now).  I think I'll have a donut and read on the couch for a few minutes--but I better not fall asleep again, or I'll have wasted the gift the early morning gave me.

Heh, heh, I DID fall asleep again, and not only once, but twice more throughout the day.  That's the bad news.  The good news was, I did find my mom's stuff, just not where she said it was, and at the end of the day when I was packing up my own things.  So, silver lining, I think.

Sit-ups Today: 500
Sit-ups In July: 4867

I really did try today to do as many sit-ups as I could.  Doesn't make a difference in the mirror, but hey, maybe they will make a difference in my mind.

Words Today: 1128
Words In July: 28,544

*I brought a big R.A. Salvatore book of his Icewind Dale Trilogy, and have been enjoying it, though it sure cribs a great deal from Tolkien.  I suppose a lot of 20th Century Fantasy does, but I've not read much of it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

July Sweeps - Day 180

At the cabin again, though not really by design.  Going to try to make the best of it--but coming here twice in five days is really excessive.

There's only three days left in July, and one of my goals was to publish "Three-Time Visitor."  I know that, had I not come up here, I could've managed it.  But would I have?

Probably not.  Though I could have finished recording the audiobook, and focused on doing a cover before putting it out there.  Tomorrow I'm going home, so I suppose I still could achieve that goal, if I really put my mind to it.  If I did, then I'd have managed every goal I set for myself in July.

So, I looked all over as soon as I got here, and I couldn't find my mom's pocketbook and credit cards.  I searched all over where she said she thought she'd left them, but no go.  After typing this, I went up and lifted up mattresses, checking in drawers and in garbage cans, but they're simply not up there.  That was the whole point of coming up here, and I feel surprisingly bad about it.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups in July: 4467

I was deleting old pictures off my phone this afternoon, and I came across this one I took a year back.  It's a fairly-plain Toyota Camry I saw in a Walmart parking lot when I was driving to the cabin in July, except it had a large sticker across the rear bumper that said "One Less Lonely Girl" on it.

Unremarkable, except that I thought about it for a while, and before I left, I took a picture of it, because I wanted to imagine what it meant and who it might belong to.  Maybe there's a story there--not that I ever wrote one--but I wish I could've asked her, because there's something Happily Ever After about it, probably because of the word "Less."

I wonder what I'd put on my own bumper (although I've had stickers over the years, including "You May Say I'm A Dreamer, But I'm Not The Only One," and "Hang Up And Drive," and one I made myself that said "Magneto Was Right."  But I don't know how mysterious and touching those are, not compared to "One Less Lonely Girl."

Also, when I was in Vegas last week, I saw a bumper sticker on a car that said "TRUMP 2020: Re-elect the mother-f**ker."  Without the bleeps of course.  I found it amusing, but the more that I thought about it, the more I thought it was a pro-Trump sticker rather than an anti- one, and probably the worst kind of his supporter: the type of personal that revels in his worst qualities, that takes his lies and childish behavior and bullying and profound lack of thoughtfulness and holds those up as reasons to like him.  We all know the type.

I sort of wish I had taken a photo of that sticker.  But I didn't.

Words Today: 1052
Words In July: 27,416

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

July Sweeps - Day 179

Tuesdays are my busiest days, and this one was no exception.

I got up early and got some work done, then the family headed to the reservoir two towns south of here, which I haven't been to in a couple of years.  Because there are relatives visiting from Las Vegas, everything is thrown into disarray and we keep going on outings (quite literally every single day).  It reminds me of when I visited my friend Dave in Los Angeles, and how we went to touristy places like the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater and some paranormal store called Hellhouse.  I asked him how often he went to those places, and he said, "Only when somebody's visiting from out of town."

I went to the reservoir with the family, and took my canoe out and had to inflate it again.  I took it out on the water a couple of times, but the water was really only for kids--splashing, yelling, laughing, crying kids.

Like this one:

There were just too many people there, and my uncle was spouting off about his conspiracy theories way more so than usual, and I sort of wish I hadn't gone at all (I could've shipped out a few more toys and gotten work done on my audiobook).  But you live and learn.

I seem to remember mentioning that I was going to take this week's Wednesday/Thursday trip to the cabin off because I had just been there on Saturday/Sunday.  Unfortunately, my mom had left her pocketbook up there, with her ID, her credit/debit cards, gloves, and masks in it.  So I said I would head up again and grab it for her.  She told me I didn't have to, but I pretended I had already planned on going, so it would be no inconvenience.  We'll see how that goes tomorrow.

I didn't manage to go for my nightly run because I ended up flooding the kitchen after getting distracted in the middle of draining the turtle water.  I wish it were only the first, second, or third time I have flooded that floor . . . though it was the worst time.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In July: 4367

I tried to get some writing done too, and went to my cousin's and tried to stay awake (to very little avail).  I have considered turning Mondays into my early day, but Mondays are always crazy busy anyway.

Words Today: 820
Words In July: 26,364

Monday, July 27, 2020

July Sweeps - Day 178

Things have not quite gone back to normal yet, but may once the cousins and aunt and uncle head out of town.  Or they may not.

Friggin' month is already over.  Guess I accomplished one of my goals, but still, it's sad to see another month pass with so little to show for it.  I was curious how long "Hatchling" is, so I pasted it into WordCounter.  So far, it's around fourteen thousand words.  If I could finish it in the next day or two, I'd count that as a success too.  But ah well, baby steps.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In July: 4267

I'm at my nephew's baseball practice right now, which seems to be a perfect opportunity to write.  We'll see if I take it, though.  Big Anklevich texted me to say he had 17 words for the day so far.  That's seventeen more than me, but I could try to pass it by.

We were told to socially distance and to wear a mask, but of the eighteen adults I can see to either side of me, the only one wearing a mask is an old lady, and the only one socially distant is the dude standing suspiciously close to me right now.

The coach (of the other team) just shouted, "Hey outfield, make sure you grab those balls the second you see 'em!"  And it took all my strength not to say, "Never been a problem before, coach."

In today's writing--which turned out to be quite a bit, using my nephew's practice and most of my other nephew's game to work on--I introduced the main character Rick's mother.  I hadn't featured her whatsoever up to this point, and now I feel like I ought to go back and retroactively put her in an earlier scene or two.  She's a single mom, good-looking, and a pretty smart cookie, but I haven't decided what she does for a job (I considered waitress, considered nurse, and considered someone who works at a women's health clinic).

I know other, better writers (and probably other, worser writers too) will write up little bios of their characters so they know all sorts of things about them, such as astrological sign, job, deepest darkest secret, musical taste, education level, fears and aspirations, physical description, personality quirks, and genital girth, but I've only ever done that two or three times, and I can't remember when the last time would've been (probably a screenplay).

I still don't know where the story is going--which should be terrifying, but hey, I write every day, and gotta work on something--but it may be that the cool mom and the dad that is based on me will get together (which is interesting), or become enemies (ditto), or never be mentioned again (that one, not so much).

Words Today: 1259
Words In July: 25,544

Sunday, July 26, 2020

July Sweeps - Day 177

Morning came awfully quick.  My monstrous cousins awakened, and as far as sleep goes, like Bruce Springsteen sang, Man, that was all she wrote.  My mother tried her best to shush them, but the sun was up, and now we were too.  Some of the group managed to sleep through the screaming and laughing and banging (and holy shit, somebody dropped Cathexis's cellphone from the top level onto the floor here*), and got to snooze until nine or so.

I suppose I am lucky, since I crashed after everyone else had gone to sleep (got about ten minutes of audio editing done, and only a tiny bit more of writing**), that I have needed so much less sleep lately, which I assume is due to my exercise regiment and less weight around the middle.  Still, it's no fun to get awakened by screeching children, no matter how much sleep you got.

We went out on the lake both today and yesterday, which is rapidly emptying, more than I ever remember before.  My brother said it goes down twenty feet or so every week, but even that may be an understatement.  Check out how much "beach" there is in this photo (beach being a fancy euphemism for drying mud):

But wow, it was as beautiful as ever on the lake, and people like my uncle and cousins had never been up there before, and seemed to totally appreciate something that I admit I've begun to take for granted.

For this trip, we got our inflatable canoes out of storage for the first time in a couple of years and went out on the water, and I found that both relaxing and exhilarating.  It never got up past seventy-five degrees this whole trip, and only my cousin could complain about that.

I did a lot of rowing, which is physical exercise--something pretty alien to me in past years--but I never got tired, and first went out with my sister in the boat with me:

After she got sick of rowing around, I went out by myself, and got fairly sunburned (okay, that was yesterday, but I got burned on top of being burned today--despite actually putting on sunscreen).  But there's something about it, about just letting the water take you, watching the fish jump all around, and feeling the warmth of the sun on your arms and legs, that I heartily recommend.

Sit-ups Today: 111
Sit-ups In July: 4167

My uncle's daughter has Down's Syndrome, and she jabbered on and on to me about her favorite movie, SPIES IN DISGUISE (which was originally called PIGEON IMPOSSIBLE, and I can't decide if it's a better or worse title).  She has this absolute fixation on the character, Lance Sterling, that Will Smith voices in the movie, and ever since puberty, she's done this thing where she obsesses over some unattainable guy (last year, it was Miles Morales in SPIDER-VERSE) and it's all she thinks about and all she talks about, to anyone who will listen (which turned out to be me this time).

This morning, she brought out her framed photograph of the CG animated character, and stared at it for a solid half-hour.  And I thought to myself, Am I any different?  Am I any more healthy than she is, with my--

No, of course I'm not.  Probably far less so.

Yet here I am, writing again, and if I die, you can put one of these stories out every other month or so, and have a good ten years of posthumous releases.  Not that anyone will buy them . . . but hey, I'm an optimist.

Words Today: 386 (guess I know less about sex than even I thought)
Words In July: 24,285

*How the deuce does that happen . . . accidentally?

**So, the love scene.  Something nobody has ever taught me in school (except for that "Abstinence is the only reliable form of birth control . . . and every other method will produce sores like the ones in the following eighteen slides . . .") was how explicit and how detailed should your sex scenes be, and how long should you dwell on them?  Guess it's just instinctive, because everybody has their own mores and tastes (for example, I LOATHE the technical terms for genitals, and would never use them in any capacity, because they are clinical, repellent words, and exactly what words an invading force of insectoid aliens would use to describe our inferior anatomy (of course, their species would have twenty-two different words for cloaca, some vulgar, some quite affectionate).
That reminds me, a friend of mine who will remain unnamed (a pretty big friend, truth be told) once used the word fornicate in one of his stories to describe the act of pairing off sexually with another human being . . . and the word was so abhorrent to me I had to swear off ever reading anything from him again.  Of course, these many years later, he claims he chose that word just to get a rise out of me, but sadly, the damage was done.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

July Sweeps - Day 176

I felt a little more positive yesterday after doing my run.  I thought about it, and figured that my nightly run is something that I have control over--it costs me nothing, I feel good afterward, and it's a mile and a half of listening to only songs I like (I turn it on Random, and running's like a box of chocolates).  So I'll continue to do it, at least until I don't.

The whole family went up to the cabin today, and I had the option of going with them or staying home by myself.  My cousin and I were planning to go to the movies tonight, so I was tempted to skip the overnight outing, but ultimately, I chose to drive one of the cars up and call him from the road.  Turns out my cousin feels like sun-baked garbage today, so it looks like I made the right choice.

There were a lot of people on this weekend getaway.  I have complained about the shrieking, screaming children next door or on the hill, but wow, I had no idea how good I had it.  Isn't that one of the big lessons everybody learns in life: you don't know what you got till it's gone.  Wish I knew the next line of that song, but it's hard to think at all with the kids running around, throwing things and/or fits, leaving the doors open or slamming them, making messes, complaining, crying, demanding food, or pretending that the room is filled with revenants.

My niece and her boyfriend came down as well, and at one point, they inflated my big canoe and took it out on the lake.  After they came back to shore, I hopped in and rowed with Aaron (Cathexis's boyfriend) for a while, talking about the various Thomas Harris Lecter books.  And when Aaron was bored of it/tired, I took the canoe around by myself, rowing to my lil heart's content.

Jeez, that reminds me: I haven't done any sit-ups today.  Guess I'd better, considering literally everybody else here at the cabin has gone to bed, and it's only a matter of time before I start to yawn.  You see, I got mighty sunburned out on the lake, as is not evidenced by this picture:

This photo, however, shows it a little better . . .

. . . and also shows something terrifying, if you look at the reflection in the window:

Yeah, it's just my niece yawning, but my Uncle Len would be sure to identify her as Old Mighty Satan himself.*

Anyway, I went out on the water for a while, then just laid back and closed my eyes, letting the lake's waves push me wherever they wanted.  If I weren't absolutely miserable in my own skin, I think I would've really dug that moment, basking in a sunny July sky.  Eventually, I rowed back to shore, and using an oar is a different kind of exercise, flexing different muscles than sit-ups or push-ups or sausage-stretching does.  But probably in a good way.

There were so many people here at the cabin today: my mom and me, my sister's family, my brother, my niece and boyfriend, my Uncle Len and Aunt Virginia, my Uncle John's family, and my Cousin Chad and his daughter.  Maybe not the biggest gathering we've ever had up here, but it's gotta be in the top two.

After it got dark, a bunch of us went out on the back deck to look up at the stars.  I'm sure I've blogged about it before, but it is a spectacular view of the night sky up here with the only light pollution being campfires and other sporadic cabins.  My Uncle John had an app on his phone that you could point at a section of sky and it would tell you what the constellations were, as well as stars and planets (both Jupiter and Saturn were visible in the sky at the same time!).

I was in awe of it, looking at how the Big Dipper became a bear on his phone, how you could see Perseus and Cancer and Taurus and Pisces and Clint Howard and other star formations.  Of course, my Uncle Len started talking about Satan again, and those in the group that buy into that sort of nonsense decided the party was over.  To spite them, I stayed out by myself for a couple of minutes more, listening to the sounds of the insects and birds, feeling the cool breeze, hearing the music of the night--Night time sharpens, by the way, it heightens each sensation.  I find that darkness wakes and stirs imagination--until I too turned around and went back inside again.

The cabin is all made of wood planks and beams, so sound carries quite remarkably, whether that sound is someone walking around, someone filling the toilet, or a kid refusing to go to sleep.  That being said, there are no excuses right now to keep me from writing or blogging or editing, all of which I should be doing right now.

So, this is gonna sound strange, but the whole day's writing is the love scene between Rick and Talia, the two teenaged protagonists of "Hatchling."**  I stopped working on the story yesterday with Talia making some kind of veiled reference to tonight being The Night, and Rick being like, "Uh, really?  Just for the sake of me being an idiot like Rish Outfield, you are talking about doing it with me, right?"

That's what you get after your ten thousand hours of writing, kids.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In July: 4,056

So, it's only 12:04am, but my head is starting to loll on my neck.  I could close my eyes and be out in one minute.  Part of it is the sunburn, but a bigger part is going with very little sleep Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  So, I think I'm going to do fifty more sit-ups, then either write a hundred more words, or just go to sleep.

You know, seven hundred words in one day doesn't seem like a lot, but when I'm sunburned, lonely, and tired, seven hundred words is quite an accomplishment.

Words Today: 722
Words In July: 23,899

*Shoot, I kid you not: I showed him the picture to see what he'd say, and he said, "Oh wow, it looks like Satan!"  One-track mindboobs that guy's got.

**The same ones I described to you last week as thirteen and twelve.  Yeah.  I guess I'm one of those dudes that likes them pretty young, but even so, I can't imagine writing a sex scene between a twelve and thirteen year old.  Ask me again in five years.

Friday, July 24, 2020

July Sweeps - Day 175

So, yesterday was easily the hardest writing I've done since I started this that first day of February.  I drove all the way back from Vegas, unloaded, tried to get some work done, did my sit-ups, did my nightly run . . . and then it was time to do my writing if I was going to get it done.  It wasn't all that wise, since I knew I'd have to be up early the next morning to unload the U-haul truck we had packed the day before . . . but I tried my best to write.

But wow, it was hard.  I could not stay awake, no matter how I tried.  I wrote a little bit involving the hatchling, and thought, "Okay, is this enough?"  It was about 182 words.  The Magic Spreadsheet doesn't even consider that as writing (damn you), so I pressed on.  But my head was dipping, and I'd not be able to think of words, and I'll bet, if I read through it now, it will have sentences like "Rick didn't have the answerboobs to that questionboobs, but he knewboobs what he wanted to say: boobs."

I only had five hundred or so words, so I got up, splashed some water on my face, and tried it again.  But here's the thing: just like when I'm doing audio recording, once you're that tired, you aren't doing good work.  It's better to just stop, because the time is going past--by now it was one am--and it's not being put to good use trying to keep your eyes open.

Today was the day to go unload the U-haul, and there were so many people helping, that it only took ninety minutes or so.  But dang, my day was pretty much shot, I discovered, because I got no work done after, and then it was later, and my nephews needed someone to drive them to the lake.  I took them . . . to the wrong lake, in the wrong town.  Now they're fishing, and I could write, but whoops, the time went by, and I didn't get a single word written--only this blog.


Sit-ups Today: 111
Sit-ups In July: 3906

Today too was pretty miser--  No, let me rephrase. 

I was pretty miserable today.  Another one of those "What a wasted life, why do I go on, whoa is me" kind of days.  I am wholly (to keep up the W words) unhappy, and wish (to keep up the W words) I had never been born.

However, it may just be chemical (and several decades of utter worthlessness, to keep up the W words), so I think I'll change into my running clothes and do a jaunt around the block and see if it makes me feel any more positive about my life.  It is possible.

I'll talk to you after.

Words Today: 553
Words In July: 23,177

Thursday, July 23, 2020

July Sweeps - Day 174

Today I left Vegas and spent most of the day in the car (though I did stop a few times along the way). 

Now that I've fallen behind on my blog (though I did jot down notes and counts each day), I don't really want to spend hours typing it and such.  I hope you will understand.

Last night, I hung out (briefly) with my cousin Jacob.  I hadn't seen him in years, and he's recently gone through a bad divorce and/or bad breakup, so he had been pretty depressed.  Still, he seemed cheerful when I talked to him and way more friendly than he had any need to be.  Afterward, my uncle marveled that he had been more bright and social with me than he had in a long time.

My thought is that in seeing someone worse off than he is reminded him that things might not be so dire after all.  But I dunno.

When I was a teenager, and a girl broke my friend Dennis's heart, I would tell him, "Hey, it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."  And he would turn around and say, "Ignorance is bliss."  It was a battle of the platitudes (which was called "G-Force" in some iterations), and there was never a clear winner in the argument . . .

. . . because Dennis was right for him, and I was right for me.  I still believe I was right, right as rain, right as might, right as a right triangle, and Tennyson knew damn well what he was talking about.  Your mileage may vary, of course . . . but I'm still right.

Sit-ups Today: 111
Sit-ups In July: 3795

I drove home, by myself, and at one point, stopped at a Walmart.  As I was walking by the pharmacy, I saw something strange: a robot moving slowly down the aisle, rolling quietly, a garbage can-shaped creature with a long post coming out of it, with cameras on top and a glowing screen in front and in back.

Because I'm middle-aged, and have never seen this sort of thing outside of a Star Wars convention, I stopped and stared at it.  Nobody else gave shit one.

Is this where we are in the world?  Is this a thing?  Was it cleaning the floor?  Was it checking for empty shelves?  Was it plotting the deaths of the inferior organic life it was observing through its optic ports?

I looked around.  People paid the damned thing no mind.  All of us were wearing masks*, but that's no excuse to ignore a robot.  Finally, I got out my camera, to prove to the world that I was looking at this thing.

When I did, a Hispanic man said, "No pude creerlo yo mismo.  !Es un robot!"  Thanks, buddy, my feelings exactly.

Words Today: 388
Words In July: 22,624

*So, everybody in Walmart is expected to wear a mask now, and you only take note now when a) you see a really attractive set of eyes and hair and wonder what the rest of her looks like, or b) you see somebody NOT wearing a mask, and wonder, "The hell's this guy's deal?"

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

July Sweeps - Day 173

So, you won't get much of a blog post from me today.  I woke up all sweaty, hearing the others in my aunt's house awake and loudly talking, so got myself up and showered around the time my mom was texting me to see if I wanted anything from McDonalds for breakfast.  When I didn't answer, she got me a Egg and Sausage McMuffin (at least that's what I think it was), which was nice.  Then we spent the next several hours disassembling dressers and beds and electronics, and carrying it all outside to load into a U-haul truck.  I feel like I helped as much as I was physically able, doing as much heavy-lifting as I could, and pretty much all of us ended up sweaty and/or dirty by mid-day.

This is my Uncle Len, who helped load the U-haul:

This is my Uncle John, on Len's motorcycle (with the Keiser's motorcycle, apparently):

It got up to 108 degrees today (though my Uncle John insisted it never got past 104), and I mostly hung out with my Uncle Len, who was super excited about a store that just opened here called Nightmare Toys--which is essentially a collectibles shop for Horror fans.  He took his sons when it first opened (and took a ton of pictures to send me), and once we got the U-haul filled to the absolute brim with about 90 percent of the contents of this house, we drove to downtown Vegas and checked out the store.

It had a sign out front that said "Due To Governor's Orders, You Must Wear A Mask To Enter This Store."  But that's fine--we should wear masks all the time, and should've been doing so for months now.  When we went in the store, I wondered if I should've been wearing a Michael Myers mask.  It reminded me of when my buddy Jeff and I went to our first horror convention in Pasadena, California.  We were both big fans of Horror . . . but we discovered there that we were NOT big fans of Horror.  Not compared to some.

I've been to a couple of collectibles stores, and a score of comic book stores, and this was just like that, a small place dedicated to my favorite genre.  But I knew almost immediately that there was nothing there I would want to buy, from insanely overpriced action figures to an astounding collection of masks (of everybody from Gizmo the Mogwai to Captain Spaulding, from characters as common as Jason Voorhees to those as obscure as Leslie Vernon and the maggoty zombie from the poster for ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS.

The only thing there I was tempted to buy was an action figure of Sam from TRICK R TREAT, but I remember Toys R Us having one of him years ago, and seeing them fairly cheap, and never getting one because as much as I like that movie, I just have no need of a toy of him.  My uncle really wanted to buy me a t-shirt, but there were none that I was tempted by.  It's weird--I thought I was a pretty big horror fan.  Guess not.

They do have an event in a week where Kane Hodder and Danielle Harris are coming to town to sign autographs, and while I'm a bit tempted by that (I quite like Danielle Harris, and my buddy Jeff absolutely loved her), a) it's just too far to drive, and 2) we're in a pandemic, and it's just not a good idea.

But after that, we went over to where Len's son and ex-wife live.  He was on a Horror bent and really wanted to watch a scary movie with me.  I mentioned a couple I had never seen, including HEREDITARY.  We'd had this conversation before, but Len said, "You've never seen Hereditary?"  So, that's what he put on for us to watch (or as my aunt called it, Hereditario).

It was an immensely disturbing film, by the same writer/director as MIDSOMMAR (the last movie I watched with my buddy Jeff), and while I felt like it was about twenty minutes too long (maybe more) and I didn't understand the ending,* it struck me as super scary and very well made.

Unfortunately, Len's ex-wife did not appreciate the movie on any level, and I felt bad because she would have to sleep alone after watching that, and while that's to be expected for one Rish Outfield, I don't know that I would have inflicted that on her had I to do it over again.

BUT . . . it did make me think of another idea for (another) Lara and the Witch story.  I thought about Lara trying to help somebody at her school (or maybe during summer vacation) get over a family tragedy, and the results--of course--are not at all what she intended.  I like that she is learning magic, and trying to do good with it, but since her teacher is inherently evil, the spells Lara casts end up going in a very dark direction.  This one, unlike the one the other day, doesn't exactly write itself, but it is an interesting idea.

Today I got some good news for a change: Audible actually accepted my audio for "The Calling: Reunion."  I submitted it in January, and did battle with them even through July (or was it June?).  So now I can post the Outcast episode I did for it, but having missed two (or was it three?) weeks without episodes, putting the still-untitled "Calling 2" episode out next week (maybe I could call it "Answer the Calling?), would delay the turtle episode till August, then "Now Do It A Million Times" to the second week, then my "Journey Into" episodes into August and September.

Well, I might as well mention that it might have come out weeks ago had I asked for volunteers to listen to the audio and make sure there were no errors or bad files or outtakes left in there.  Ah well, live and learn--anyone volunteer to listen to the next one BEFORE I submit it to Audible?

Sit-ups Today: 111
Sit-ups In July: 3684

So, now I'm at my aunt's house again--all but empty, except for cleaning supplies and the stuff they're going to donate or take to the dump.  I got here around eleven-thirty, and told my mom I still needed to do sit-ups and write, and she did all she could to dissuade me.  I told her that I had been doing it a hundred and seventy-nine days in a row (which was off by a few, I now realize), and if I miss a day I start over at zero, and she was not swayed by that.  I considered telling her, well, you've gone seventy-three years without running over a child playing in the street with your car, it's fine to break that record today, don't you think?  But she would not have responded well to that.

Now I'm lying here on the floor of the guest room (they did inflate a mattress for me, so it's not as uncomfortable as all that), only having done 66 sit-ups (the floor is hard, my friend), and only having written about one hundred words.  But I'll do one more session of both, then I think I'll allow myself to pass out.  We're leaving awfully early in the morning tomorrow to miss the heat of the Vegas day, so you understand.

Words Today: 804
Words In July: 22,236

*Of course, you may lie and say you understood it fine . . . we both know you're lying.  The same as the idiots who claim to understand what the last shot in INCEPTION means--nope, you don't understand it any more than I do.  Lie if you want, but the damned thing is spinning, and then the credits roll.  That's it.  There's nothing more to get than that.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

July Sweeps - Day 172

So, we drove to Las Vegas, me, my mom, and my uncle in a car together.  I got out "Know When To Walk Away, Know When To Run" to read, since it seems fairly innocuous to read in front of my mother (well, there's drinking, and I think there's a reference to cleavage and/or breast implants in there, but still...), but since I was the one driving, they didn't hit me too hard about narrating it.

My mom brought a book with her and read most of the time, so that left me and my Uncle John in the front seat together, to make conversation for several hours (at least until the point where he took over driving--I think this was at the four or five hour point--and I grabbed my laptop and did my best to get writing).  There was a lot to talk about, and John is a great storyteller.

I think I've mentioned before on my podcast that I had an uncle who was married to somebody famous (or at least famous back at that time--not so much anymore), but a song came on the radio by somebody MUCH more famous, and John told me that the marriage broke up over that singer.  I had never heard this before, but my Uncle Len said the same thing the next morning.  One of my favorite singers when I was a kid, and I never knew that.*

At some point, Uncle John started giving me life advice, and I became seventeen years old again, with him doling out his philosophy and making everything seem so easy.  And maybe he's right--maybe it is easy.  But not for me, it ain't.  Though he was my hero when I was a little boy and teen, my uncle is just about as far away from me in personality as you can be.*

And while I'm tempted to complain about him and his Alpha Male attitude--his mentality and his nature completely fly in the face of my life-view--let me say that I would much rather be like him than like me.  And if I could trade away who I am to be more like him, believe me, I'd trade up in a heartbeat.

Crap, I haven't written any words today.  I really ought to work on that rather than keep blogging.  Darn.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In July: 3573

I wrote more on the egg story ("Hatchling") and then went to bed, knowing I would be tired the next morning.  Probably the most words I'd get done the whole trip.

At one point, we stopped for gas, and I noticed a great big bat--maybe the biggest I'd ever seen--flitting around one of the light poles.  I tried to film it with my camera, but you couldn't really see it.  I can't decide whether to post that video here or just delete it.  Either way, I guess it would be a waste of time.  Sad, isn't it?

Still thinking of Lara Demming stories.  Today I had the idea of her, when she's still young--say twelve or thirteen--seeing an unpopular girl at her school and deciding to help her.  So, she charms the girl to be popular . . . with disastrous results.  Lara finds out--as does her former friend--that being the school's favorite daughter isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Jeez, the story almost writes itself.

Words Today: 1094
Words In July: 21,432

*Doesn't change my feelings about those songs, though.  It's just strange.

**He actually has quite a bit in common with that girl that I was so interested in: they're both super-cool and super-confident, super-popular and super-powered, and the high opinion I hold of them is only matched by the high opinion they have of themselves.  Oh shoot, did I say "was" so interested?  Sigh.

Monday, July 20, 2020

July Sweeps - Day 171

No cabin today.  I'm home, did some work, had an appointment, and took my nephew to his baseball practice.  So I'm sitting on the grass, hoping to take advantage of the hour (now 48 minutes) to focus.

I will mention, though, that the figure I sold last week for a hundred dollars has not arrived, and the buyer has already begun to whinge.  Not only did I put a tracking number on it, but I required a signature confirmation, and that may be the problem.  If nobody's home to sign for it, then it wouldn't get delivered, would it?  Of course, I can tell that this guy's not going to accept that explanation (if that's the reason it hasn't been delivered) because my asshole detector came back from the shop, and has been buzzing regularly.  Ah well.

I will further mention that this sort of thing rarely happens with cheap figures (or if it does, I guess I don't care so much).

So, I was going to write on my egg story, but I opened the file just now, and discovered, to my horror, that I had written that the female protagonist is twelve and the male one is thirteen.  I say "to my horror," because I was writing a love scene with the two of them yesterday, and mentioned that her dad gave the boy five bucks for a box of Trojans.  Furthermore, there was conversation I wrote yesterday where she reveals she's a year older than he is and about to be a Senior in high school.

It's not a big deal, really, except that twelve and thirteen are not seventeen and sixteen, and I'll probably have to rewrite their initial interaction so it doesn't sound like they're a couple of Rish Outfields in their awkwardness and inexperience.  Ah well.*

One of the coaches keeps shouting "Outfield!" behind me, and I can't help but turn.  I have a total of zero words written so far.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In July: 3473

My cousin told me that Christopher Nolan's TENET was removed from the schedule altogether, and the theater we've been going to doesn't have any more showings beyond this week.  I guess we were lucky to have had it so good for so long.  It also makes me wish I had gone to more movies in the window that I had (didn't see BACK TO THE FUTURE, JAWS, or the second two LORD OF THE RINGS and INDIANA JONES flicks), just assuming that we'd have more and more options as more and more theaters opened.**

Tomorrow I'm going to Las Vegas to help my aunt and uncle move out of their house.  It's me and my Uncle John doing the heavy lifting and I worry about the 110 degree heat.  Knowing Vegas, we'll all get up at four in the morning so we can get everything done before it gets too hot, though I recall it being eight-five or ninety even at four am when I lived there.  I will take my laptop and still do my writing, but I pity the fool that has to go for a run in Las Vegas.

My uncle told me today that he expected me to do some kind of reading of one of my stories as we were driving, to entertain our party.  I hope he was joking, because if he wasn't, I have no idea what story I should share.  I suppose I can claim car-sickness.

Words Today: 745
Words In July: 20,338

*Went ahead and rewrote the initial description of their ages.  Hey, it counts as writing!

**I think that was a premature statement, as the theater started scheduling showings again a couple of days later.  There was probably a cool story behind why it would've closed for two days . . . but it's surely better if the story gets told a year or two from now.

July Sweeps - Day 170

The group of kids I was semi-complaining about yesterday decided to camp out outside their cabin last night, which meant there was chatter, giggling, and the occasional whoops until surprisingly late at night.  That's no big deal--again, I wasn't trying to sleep or record, though I have thought about going down to my dad's room in the basement and recording something when I'm here sometime, since it's closed-off, windowless, and always an icebox, even in July (which is why I never go in there, regardless of whether it was my dad's room or not).

There's a very high chance I won't be coming back here until August, so it's nice I got a full weekend here as I never manage coming on a Wednesday and returning on a Thursday.  It's just surprising that nobody in the family would've come here in the three days, in the middle of summer (in a plague year, no less, when one might want to go somewhere where they'd not having to wear a mask or be around strangers--or as it is when I come in the middle of the week sometimes, see another living soul).

I often ask my cousin why he doesn't come here, since his kids enjoy it, and it's available for anybody in my and his family, not just me and my brother and brother-in-law.  But he doesn't like the outdoors, he's addicted to video games, and the prospect of being cooped up somewhere surrounded by his family is absolutely unappealing to the guy.  He needs Twitter and Minecraft and Netflix and podcasts to keep him from self-reflection and his own thoughts.*  Oh, and he would not have appreciated the mosquitos and seventy-three degree temperature yesterday.

Gosh, why doesn't George R.R. Martin have a place like this he can go, to isolate himself from whatever distractions have kept him from finishing his book, what, nine years in a row?

Does anybody remember what it was that sparked the Murder Was The Case drop I used to do on my podcasts?  I stumbled across that Snoop Dogg track, and I honestly couldn't remember why I used to use it.  But I'd like to do it again.

So, we talked about my goal of 3333 sit-ups in July, and 1000 sit-ups this weekend, and today, it looks like I might reach both.  But just one would be fine.

The wood floor of the cabin is really hard on my tailbone (almost said taint there), so I sometimes toss a blanket or throw pillow on the floor before I do my sit-ups.  And I pity the fool that uses that throw pillow for a pillow one day, for they are not going to have good dreams.

Yesterday, I thought it would be fun to try to do sit-ups every hour, just fifty at a time.  I counted in my head that, if I did it a few times throughout the day, I'd reach my goal easily, and fifty sit-ups isn't going to get me sweaty or exhausted.  I should have set a timer, because I did let a couple of hours go by without doing any, but I managed quite a bit--probably what I got in the first week I started doing the sit-ups.

I brought three cans of soup, a loaf of bread, a can of fruit cocktail, and one of green beans (they just struck my fancy, even though they're the only thing I haven't touched).  I also brought two whole boxes of Marvel Legends action figures, to take out of their packages, and use the cardboard to cook my meals with.  I made it through about a dozen boxes, but it was actually too warm for a fire one of the days, and I had to open the windows, which let in all the noise from next door.  I've heard no crickets or frogs this entire trip, and certainly no owls or coyotes (which are way rarer).  But I have heard the generator buzzing next door, which should be incentive to only do this on Wednesdays in the future.

Even so, it has been a fairly good trip.  Lots of time by myself, lots of exercise, some editing, some writing, almost no reading (fell asleep again today when I tried), but plenty of time to think and reflect on life.  If it's nearly reached the end, I'll die with a ton of regrets (not quite a metric tonne, but certainly the American version), but I don't think coming up here so often will be one of them.  My dad used to say, "The worst day fishing beats the best day working," and this is something like that, I guess, even though I haven't fished in a year or two.

Come to think of it, maybe it was Travis Tritt that said that, not my dad.

I got a bit of editing done just now (got half of a two-part Delusions of Grandeur episode edited), then decided to do some more sit-ups.  I thought I'd count them up to see how many more I need to do to reach my goal--and I've already passed it.  That's kind of cool.  I wish I were that way with writing, like I was in February.  But I was on fire that month, feeling inspired, floating around on a cloud, going to the library to write and only leaving when my time was up (I even paid for an extra two hours a couple of times), and eager to start on a new project even before the last one was done.

This morning, I thought about Lara Demming, and where I left her back in May or so, when I had broken her heart and was about to have her fall in love again, with some boy who may or may not be too good to be true.  I really like Lara Demming, and oddly, I really like Old Widow Holcomb too, and was thinking it would be a blast to write one or two other stories like "Remember the Future," where Holcomb curses somebody who is unkind to her "daughter."  Maybe a bully who becomes clumsy at the most inopportune times, maybe some kind of prom queen type whose boobs get a little bigger each and every day until she becomes something out of a sideshow (or a Japanese comic book), maybe a teacher who makes Lara feel dumb in class, who starts to feel dumb himself in inopportune times.

If I were a real writer, these prospects would excite me, and I'd get to work--RIGHT NOW--at writing them.  But instead, I sit here blogging, hearing the neighbor kids shrieking over and over (and over and over and over and over), debating whether to cook those green beans or continue watching JANE EYRE, or to just pack up and go home five hours early.  Don't think I'll do that last one.

Sit-ups Today: 343
Sit-ups This Weekend: 1102
Sit-ups In July: 3473

Only a fully-trained Jedi Knight, with the Force as his ally, can conquer Vader, and his Emperor.

Let's see.  What was I saying?  Oh yes, so I jotted down some thoughts about love, about Lara Demming grappling with what she's feeling for this boy--is it real?  How do you know?  And I gave her a new best friend--Kayla--who she's having this conversation with, and that seems to open up the door of: what happens when Kayla finds out Lara lives with a witch?  And what happens when she finds out Lara is herself a witch?

It doesn't exactly write itself--otherwise, why the devil am I blogging right now--but it makes me want to write it.  Maybe I am a real writer, just not a very good one.  Anyway, I've got 585 words on it for today, which isn't a lot, but is more than some days.

My imagination, which I never tire of talking of in my podcasts, has been both a tormenter and a comforting friend to me.  Two days now without speaking to another soul, but I imagine that someone else is upstairs, walking around, making the occasional noise, perhaps using the sink or the balcony . . . and I am forbidden to go up there.  I can hear her footfalls on the wooden planks, know that she's agitated about something, but I can't speak to her, and she's not about to come down here where I am.

I imagined Victoria Holcomb, having traded her only son away to an evil, evil man decades ago, discovering that that son is out there, full grown, and what has become of him?  Is he cruel and spiteful, like his parents?  Or is he gentle and decent, like Lara is?  Like Holcomb might once have been, a hundred years ago, before absolute power corrupted her?

I also wrote quite a bit on my egg story, which I'm thinking of calling "Hatchling."  Good title, n'est-ce pas?

Words Today: 2381
Words In July: 19,593
(and with that, I'm up to a thousand words a day again)

I put on the acoustic version of Foo Fighters' Everlong while I was eating a sandwich, and the song hit me really hard.  It felt good to be so moved by a piece of music.  It made me wonder if I could ever create something that would so reach and speak to another human being, that my own art could be as powerful as And I wonder when I sing along with you,
If everything could ever feel this real forever,
If anything could ever be this good again?

Guess I've got to keep at it, keep creating, keep putting things out there, in hopes that one day I can get there.  Or just get lucky.

Rish Outfield 7-19-20

*That reminds me, though: I was walking on the far side of the lake last night, trying to get my video done, when my phone beeped.  "Oh no, its battery is dead too?" I thought, but I looked down at it, and I had just gotten a text message from my friend Jeff in Germany.  "What the--?" I next thought.  I looked it over, and I had just gotten a text from my cousin, a text from my sister, and one from Big Anklevich.  Somehow, way out here in a place remote enough that nobody commented on my singing, there was cell service.  Except when I tried to text my sister back, it wouldn't go through. No Service, my phone said.  I found that a little strange.

Marshal & I Talk About Hitchcock's ROPE

Over on "Outfield Excursions," where Marshal Latham and I talk about movies, we recently talked about Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 film ROPE, discussing its plot and the single-take style.

I hope people get a kick out of these episodes, because Marshal really works hard on the production, including fun bent Creative Commons licenses at the end.

Check it out HERE!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

February Sweeps - Day 169

July's almost done, and it started just five minutes ago.  The blisters on my ankles are giving me serious grief this morning, as I see to scuff them against everything from chair legs to each other.  I did not wake up at dawn this morning--which is highly unusual, here at the cabin--but I did wake up before my alarm went off.  Last night, I finished my thousand words, started editing a podcast, then put on a DVD which I watched until really late at night--it was one of those British historical epics that was over three hours long.

This morning, I ate a little bit, grabbed my book and read it through to the end (I only had two chapters left), and finished editing my podcast (which means there'll be at least one Rish Outcast come August).

What does "perforce" mean?

It's fair to say this is the laziest day I've ever had here at the cabin.  My brother was supposed to come up today to work on the solar panels, and I was going to help him, but he texted me right before I left and said he might not be able to make it.  Now it's getting to be late afternoon, and it looks like he's a no-show.  So, except for emptying out the ashes in the stove (which was a pretty dirty job, and when I dumped them outside, the wind blew them right back into me), and eventually hiking around the lake again in three hours or so, I'm just sitting, reading (made it exactly one sentence into a new book a little while ago before falling asleep

Outside, the cabin next door has been a flurry of activity.  Many family members and scampering kids, and because it got hot in here, I had no choice but to open the windows and let the noise in (even so, these kids are way less obnoxious than the ones from up the ridge who bothered me last week while I was out on the deck, even pointing me out like I was the sole fat guy at a Guess model convention).  But much worse than that, are the chainsaws going a lot down the way.  Yes, two chainsaws buzzing in synch, as though it's a competition, or the world's lamest musical instrument (besides the banjo, I mean).  It's dueling chainsaws out there, and I can't help but imagine two Volkswagen-sized wasps getting it on under the trees.

But those distractions would only really bother me if I was trying to sleep (which I did an hour ago) or trying to record.  In audio editing and writing, that cacophony is only a bother if I let it be.
I wrote a little bit on the egg story, and what I need to do is get my recorder out and take a long walk, trying to work out where the story is going to go.  So far, there's absolutely no antagonist, and if this were a movie you could expect to see a scientist or military operation as a bad guy, which is about as imaginative as a porn movie where a girl says, "There must be some way I can get a better grade in your class."  Which makes me wonder if my buddy Dennis, who is a high school Math and Science teacher ever fantasizes about that sort of thing.

Did I mention my attempt to get a thousand sit-ups in this weekend?  If not, hey, I'm mentioning it now.

Sit-ups Today: 377
Sit-ups In July: 3130

I went outside, briefly, and was surprised to see it getting dusk-like at five o'clock.  Dark clouds had come in, covering the sun, and as I started my book, raindrops began to fall when I was only on page seven.  The author is R.A. Salvatore, who I've never read before (except for one Star Wars novelization), though I once sat next to him at an airport, waiting for a plane back to Los Angeles.  We chatted a bit, and he was very friendly, even though I had never read any of his books.  We'll see if this is but the first of many of his tomes I pick up, or if it's not to my liking.

I think about my own writing, of course, and the many, many, many stories I have begun and then abandoned.  Some of those were probably mediocre, or even bad stories, but I'm sure that some of them would have been good, and pleased somebody out there, even if it were just the seven listeners to the Rish Outcast.  I think of the story I mentioned yesterday, where the couple is forced to raise an alien together even though she doesn't love him, and I wish that I had written it, just to find out how it ended.

I suppose, since I'm writing every single day--and we're only thirteen days away from me having written every day for half of a year--that I could resurrect the tale if I wanted to.  Better to finish the stuff I'm currently working on, but even if I finished only one story every three weeks, that would still be eight more by the end of the year.

Of course, I won't be able to manage this daily thing for the rest of the year.  One day, I'll simply declare shenanigans, and that'll be it.  But that doesn't mean I won't still be writing.  I would enjoy meeting up with the Rish of six months from now and ask him what stories he's working on, maybe have him share a completed one with me.  I hope he'd be a little bit contented with the work that he's done, and with life in general, but part of me shudders to think of the Rish of the future, who keeps on getting older and less and less what he sought out to be when he was young.  Poor guy.

Oh, that reminds me: I did get an email from Accounts Payable of the script I turned in the third draft of last month, having me send them a payment request for that last draft.  To my surprise, they were apparently paying me double what they had agreed upon.  That was good news, so I filled out the form and sent it in the same day.

Unfortunately, I got an email back mentioning that the amount was wrong, and I needed to submit a request for half that total.  No big deal, I know, but still, it was with a little bit less gusto that I sent in the second form.

But money is money, and it makes the world go round, as I dunno, Mother Theresa said.

Words Today: 1175
Words In July: 17,212

I ran down to the lake again, about an hour earlier than I had yesterday.  I had charged up my phone, and went for a walk in the woods as I waited for the sunset to arrive. 

I stopped a time or two to take pictures, but something you could only see in video is the sheer number of mosquitos that were swarming around me.  I did stop and do a song in this location:

But it would cost me.

I walked around as the sun started to dip in the sky, then set up my tri-pod in the same place as yesterday (well, more or less), but there were lots of clouds covering the sun and we didn't get the spectacular colors from the day before.*

So, I set up the phone (the old one), did a test recording, then did my song . . . and it started to rain.  But the sun was still up, technically, so the only way you can tell is by watching the water behind me, where the various droplets rippled.

I finished the song, really belting the darn thing out (and sometime, I ought to make a mini-documentary on how I pick a song, try to learn it, and then screw it up in literally every Serenade that I do), and went over to stop the recording . . . and it was already stopped.  So, I checked to see at what point the space ran out on my phone, then deleted a file, and ran back (before the light was gone) to finish the song.  I did fine, I think, but we'll never know, because the phone was full again at the twenty-eight second mark.

I went ahead and did the song again, using my new phone, but by then, the light was gone.  I wish I could have turned around and redone the end, but now I might just have to finish it someplace else.  I cannot explain why I care about such things, but I do.

*Did I not mention that?  I can't remember now, except to say that the first song I recorded on my phone had almost scary seconds-before-darkness colors, which I will probably never be able to replicate, including (somehow) turning my hair and beard into the orange of a Weasley sibling.

Friday, July 17, 2020

July Sweeps - Day 168

Why have I never taken a picture of the cabin from the hill leading up to it?  That could be my art every time I do a blogpost from there.  Hmmm.

It may be selfish, I don't know, but I packed up as early as I could today (around two pm) and headed on up to the cabin.  I've not been here on a regular weekend since the day my sister and I drove up on the Sunday morning before Memorial Day.

Condolence Card-Ready

I've really got to be more responsible with my money, as I've been spending it left and right this past month, right when I was getting closer to paying off my credit cards.  Every day I'm away from home is less money coming in, when I barely make anything at all compared to most folks my age.

Of course, I get paid a little bit for every Rish Outcast I put out, and I haven't managed one of those since June.

So, I'm going to force myself to write good and hard while I'm here, and I'm gonna be a real self-slave driver with the sit-ups, just because I'm sick of seeing no difference in the mirror, despite being in the best shape of my adult life.

(see, I look fat here too)

So far, I'm doing really well with them (my goal is a thousand sit-ups this weekend).  But we'll see how I feel after a night or two on the couch up here.

Sit-ups Today: 382
Sit-ups In July: 2753

I'm also doing writing, with the goal of at least a thousand words each day (right now, I'm at 886).

Back when my buddy Jeff lived at the top of a hillside community, I would go to his house and visit him every Wednesday.  It was a standing get-together for about ten years, but another tradition was driving home alone down the very steep road, my knuckles white on the steering wheel in winter, and my imagination engaged the other months of the year.

One time, a herd of elk were crossing the road as I drove down it and I had to stop in my tracks to let them pass.  To my shock, these animals were gargantuan things--the size of horses rather than the size of deer--and I watched them go with more than a little awe.  After that, I'd often imagine running into some kind of supernatural creature while driving down that road, and I always wanted to write a story with that sort of premise.

An idea I got in my head that I simply couldn't shake was a young man taking his girlfriend up on the hill at night to propose to her, and she turns him down.  Then, stewing in silence on the drive back down the mountain, they encounter something that should not exist, and are forced to stay together because of the secret they share.  It was a story idea I really liked, and even though I jotted down notes for it, and even did a couple of sketches of what their "child" would look like, I never wrote the story, mostly because MAN OF STEEL came out and, as loathsome as it was, it had a very similar bit in there that I couldn't help compare it to.

But now I'm writing my egg story, and to my surprise, it's becoming something very much like that story from a decade ago.  A teen boy and the girl next door find an egg and hatch it together, and then . . . well, I guess we'll see, since I don't know if it's going to be a Romance, a Fantasy, a Tragedy, or a Horror piece.  Knowing me, it'll be tepid amounts of all four.

As is my tradition every time I come up to the cabin now, I drove down to the lake--the rapidly-diminishing lake--to take some pictures and do a song.

Last week, I wore some beat-up old shoes of mine that I'd left here at the cabin because they got muddy, and this week, I brought a new pair of beat-up shoes (where the soles are almost worn through on one one of them) to replace them.  But I decided to wear the old pair one last time, since last week I got them very muddy, and I knew I'd be here again tomorrow and didn't want to possibly have my shoes wet and smelly (or at least more so than usual).  Because the brackish water that leaked into the shoes ruined a pair of socks last week, I foolishly took off my socks this week, and trudged the quarter mile or so to the far side of the lake where the myriad fishermen would not be bothered by my singing.

Heck, they may still have been bothered, but they were so far away that I didn't hear their complaints.  My feet were also complaining, though, and I ended up with a pair of lovely blisters as parting gifts on the backs, just as my socks thanked me for not sacrificing them.

The sun was just going down, turning everything into an amazing golden color, and as I topped a ridge, I saw a field of yellow flowers going off into the distance.  This was where I would sing my song.

I set up my tripod and turned on my old phone (as I explained last week, I decided to keep using the old phone to do recordings and take pictures in situations where my new, oversized phone might get damaged--even though I now have a case for it my sister gave me for Harrison Ford's birthday on Monday), and discovered that the battery was very low--only at seven percent.  So I quickly started it recording and moved as fast as I could through the foliage to do my song.

One thing I have promised myself never to do again, though, is record a song without doing a little test footage first.  That way I can see whether my head's getting cut off, like it did the first two times I did Elton John's Levon at the storage unit.*   I walked back to the phone to see how it looked, and the phone, whose screen was so dark I could barely see it, said the battery was too low to open the Camera app.

That meant I'd either use my new phone or that little hike out around the lake had been for nothing.  So I set up the new phone--the case has a metal ring on it designed to stand the phone up with, presumably for streaming, but I realized I could hook the ring on the knob of the tripod, and it would stay on there, at least until I tried to adjust it and it fell into the grass.**

I had played around with the video feature last week here in the cabin, doing a couple of hand-held tours and trying a song while I walked from upstairs to downstairs, but I really didn't know what to expect for using it to take over my weekly singing session.

The yellow of the flowers and the magic hour of the sunset created a totally surreal and impressive color palette, and if I ever release today's song, it should be visually pretty stunning.  I also wandered around the little ponds (that had all been part of the lake before thousands of gallons drained out each day so farmers could water their crops or folks could keep their lawns green) and practiced taking selfies, discovering that the phone has a feature where the shutter will click if you say "Cheese!" or "Smile!" or "Epstein Didn't Kill Himself!"

Except that it only does it about every other or every third time, so I stood there holding the phone saying, "Cheese!" over and over, and it would sometimes take a picture when I was frowning or frustrated that it didn't work.  Maybe I should've tried a British accent, as that worked the one time I was in South America, since the English speakers didn't understand our filthy Yanqui ones (but had been taught the propah way of speaking).

It was explained to me that the lovely people down there believed Yanqui was a vile, offensive term vaguely meaning "circumcised, murdering cocksucker."  To me, the word Yankee had always meant a baseball player from New York, but what do I know?

Words Today: 1404
Words In July: 16,037

*It was actually the first three times, but one of them I did just holding the phone before I'd ever invested (a whole one dollar) in a selfie stick.

**That makes three tumbles total that phone has experienced since I got it, but only the first resulted in a cracked screen.