Tuesday, October 27, 2020

My Sketch "Tell Me Once Again Who's Bad" on DoG

If you like my Star Wars fandom or my sketch comedy, you might like them both, in this month's "Star Wars: Delusions of Grandeur" podcast.  Marshal and I talk about the calm before the Mandalorian storm, then run my sketch about an Imperial officer answering his two children's questions about what he does for a living.  

It's called "Tell Me Once Again Who's Bad," and you can check it out HERE.

Monday, October 26, 2020

October Sweeps - Day 266

I slept like the dead last night, bundled up in an extra blanket, and not waking up a single time until my phone went off.

I got up, not hitting Snooze or Dismiss because it stopped playing its alarm before I could get to it.  Then I went and got a shower to start my day.  A few minutes later, I came in here, waiting for the alarm to go off again, but it didn't.  I didn't get it until I noticed that I had a missed phone call.  And then I saw the time.

Oh, it hadn't been my alarm waking me up, but somebody's wrong number, early in the morning, that was enough to get me out of bed.  Funny, I guess.  That means last week's record of getting up early on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday might get beaten this week.

Sit-ups Today: 150
Sit-ups In August: 3881

Push-ups Today: 79
Push-ups In August: 1743

Because it was Monday, which is usually pretty busy for me, I didn't leave a great deal of time for myself to hit the library before it closed (at least it closes at seven instead of six now, though that's not quite like last year, when it closed at nine), but I got it into my head to run over there and see what I could accomplish in an hour.

Last year, around December, I read an article on the internet about a woman who drank a gallon of water a day for a month, and she talked about how much it impacted her life.  I was so blown away by the article that, no, I didn't decide to drink a gallon of water a day, but to write a short story about it.  Mine would be a parody of what I had read, because the woman's account was so remarkable, that it felt like a slap in the face when she celebrated at the end of the thirty days, knowing she'd never have to drink water again.

So, my story would be about a guy--namely me--who drinks a gallon of water a day* and gains all sorts of spectacular benefits, such as losing weight, becoming more attractive, and gaining five inches of dong in just thirty days.

But I never wrote it.  I don't write even a third of the ideas I have, even when I've sketched them out or started them (though my stats have improved in the last couple of years . . . probably 50% now).

But Big Anklevich had been doing his 75 Hard bullshit lately, and had been blogging about it, and complaining not about the ninety minutes of exercise required a day, but about having to read, and worst of all, drink a gallon of water daily.  Poor guy.

So, when I noticed him complaining in his blog about it, I decided to go to the library, and write my idea into a little story, in epistolary format--ie, as a blog.  I thought I'd even go as far as write it from a female perspective, and get a female narrator to do it for my podcast, even though that meant the aforementioned dong-measuring scenes would have to go.**

I checked out a computer, feeling pretty confident I could do the whole darn story in an hour or less.  But I was not only wrong, I only made it to Day 7 (of thirty).  It was plenty of words, though, which leads me to believe that this might be a more substantive project than I gave it credit for.  

Still super fun to write, though.  I think it's because when I write in my blog, it's like a kid writing in his journal, and uses far less energy than the usual fiction writing does.  And doing a fake blog is almost as easy.  We'll see where this goes, especially since, had the library not closed, I'd have just kept going, maybe until the darn thing was done.

Words Today: 2232
Words In August:  24,549

I also did my evening run, and while it was not quite as miserably cold as the night before, it was still below freezing out.  I did my run as best I could, but decided to cut it just a little bit short, turning one block earlier than I usually turn, which my math told me would lower the run from 1.6 miles to 1.4.  I was able to hold my head up high, though, because I knew I hadn't made it that far the night before, and had turned back a couple of blocks earlier than tonight.

EXCEPT . . . I ended up running past the same lit-up Halloween decoration house in the middle of the block that I had passed the night before, telling me, no, I had turned back at the exact same moment the night before.  In other words, I'm not tougher today than I was yesterday.  I'm no better than you are, darn it.

*I have found, over the last 48 hours, that I cannot spell "gallon" to save my life.  I always--ALWAYS--spell it "galoon," and then have to change it.  ALWAYS.

**Can I just substitute Day 17's wiener extension with boobs?  Would that work?

Sunday, October 25, 2020

October Sweeps - Day 265

So, it's day 265.  That's a hundred days short of a full year.  Not really a milestone, that, but a bit of mathly trivia.

Also, Today is winter.  It's miserable cold outside.  Too cold for me to think, let alone go for a run.

But hey, I've said in these pages that maybe the test of a writer (or an exerciser) is to write when he/she doesn't feel like writing, when he/she is tired, when she/he is uninspired, when she/he is fat and lazy and underendowed.  Maybe the test of whether I am serious about exercising is when it's twenty-seven degrees out with a wind and I haven't much desire to go out in it.

But I did, and it was really, really rough.  For the first time, I wore long sleeves on my run, and my hands were cold enough I stuffed them into the sleeves, and just forced myself to carry on.  Strangely, though, by the time I got home, I was pushing myself hard enough (trying to keep warm) that I was still a bit sweaty by the time I came up the stairs again.  That's kind of neat.

Runner's high?

Push-ups Today: 78
Push-ups In October: 1665

Sit-ups Today: 111
Sit-ups In October: 3731 

Writing turned out to be even harder than my nightly run.  I sat down and did one more (mediocre) chapter of "My Friend of Misery," but that only got me 97 words.  I would've done another chapter, but I was no good to record anymore, and that's the lesson I learned this summer--if I record when sleepy, the audio will be unusable anyway, so I might as well stop.

But I was still supposed to write (Magic Spreadsheet doesn't even count it as writing if you produce fewer than 300 words).  I was so tired, I found myself falling asleep at the computer, my head dipping and my eyes closing for a minute or two.  But I made myself get up, walk into the other room, and type something on the computer there, away from my bed.  

I'm actually quite pleased with myself.  I now get to go to sleep knowing I worked hard and earned a good night's rest.

Words Today: 713
Words In October: 22,317

Saturday, October 24, 2020

February Sweeps - Day 264

Okay, Saturday.  As is a semi-tradition, I might hit the library today, once I finish my . . . what am I supposed to be doing today?

Sit-ups Today: 111
Sit-ups In October: 3620

Push-ups Today: 77
Push-ups In October: 1587

Still wanting a project to work on, I emailed myself the full "Hatchling" document, and drove over to the library to work on it, format it, look it over, and see how close to the magical 40,000 words that ostensibly make up a novel.

Well, it was in pretty bad shape.  I assembled the daily writing sessions into a fair timeline, and went about making it all fit.  There were innumerable ____ (blank lines) where I was supposed to fix things or fill in the appropriate word, and that can sometimes be impossible without the context of "what was I thinking when I wrote this?"*  

There was one section where the main girl--Talia--was suddenly referred to as Katianna, who I believe was the main character in the Halloween decoration story I started writing around that time, and I was embarrassed about that.  Also, Talia's dad did indeed have a name in a scene I hadn't noticed before--Doug--and I had to decide whether to leave it as Bert (as I wrote on Thursday) or change it to Doug (as I wrote in August).  And there were parts where the hatchling was referred to as "it" instead of "him," so I tried to swap those out too.  

Even worse, there was one section that appeared twice in the book, and I thought I was losing my mind, because the wording was different from what I had just typed.  This is what an editor does for a living, I suspect.

To my surprise, they announced that the library would be closing in ten minutes--I had been formatting and working on this manuscript for nearly two hours, and had only gotten two-thirds through it.  So, I quickly went through the last chapters and at least formatted them to be the same as what had come earlier, and tried to fix any new typos I could find.  When I finally closed the document in case they killed my computer again, the document was sitting at 37,326 words.  

That's creeping closer to novel length, though not quite there yet.

And then I'll have to start planning the cover art.  Sigh.

Words Today: 1405
Words In October: 21,604

*I much prefer when I write something and then (BETTER WORD) after it, as I explained yesterday.

Friday, October 23, 2020

October Sweeps - Day 263

Guys, I imagine you're pretty sick of me by now.  I'm sick of me, sick of blogging each day, sick of saying the same thing over and over and then worried if I have said the same thing over and over.  Sick of push-ups, and sick of smelling my shirt after I've gone for a run and thinking, "Dude, this smells like Ian McNeice slept in it!"*

But I have to keep going, just in case we're not sick of it entirely.

Having finished another story yesterday, I have to decide what to do today (writing-wise).

I enjoyed looking over "Hatchling" yesterday and writing that new scene.  I feel like a big chunk of the story was missing, though.

I think the explanation is that for a stretch in the summer, I would create a new text file each day and do my writing in it, to make it easier to chart my word count.  Then I forgot to copy and paste the writing into the master file for the story.  We'll see if that's correct, though.

Sit-ups Today: 111
Sit-ups In October: 3509

Push-ups Today: 76 (missed one again)
Push-ups In October: 1510 

I ended up sitting down and recording Chapters 9 through 13 of "My Friend of Misery."  It's certainly not getting any better, and I think the problem is, like "Hatchling," the story is ostensibly about something supernatural, but the mundane events keep getting in the way.  I think, truth be told, I'm more interested in the mundane events (like the blooming/fading love affair between Rick and Talia in "Hatchling," and Brielle's heartache over her first boyfriend and jealousy of her brother's career in MFOM).  

I don't know if that means the book(s) will suck, but my subconscious will inevitably use that as an excuse to delay releasing them.  But the work goes on.

Words Today: 700
Words In October: 20,199

Oh, following up on something I wrote yesterday: turns out that ABC sitcom with the piece of shit title "Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place" was NOT unsuccessful after all.  It went four frigging seasons, from 1998 to 2001, and Nathan Fillion was a series regular, before appearing in the MUCH less-successful "Firefly."  Whoops.

*I originally had Louie Anderson as the fat guy in this joke . . . but decided to go more obscure, in a Dennis Miller SNL joke sort of way.  Then, I couldn't remember Ian McNeice's name, and that kind of ruined the whole gag.  Sorry.

Rish Outcast 185: The Night Clerk I

 It's almost Halloween, so I'm going to post this now (hey, it's only a year late!).

Originally planned for last year's Halloween show, I present the first half of the Dead & Breakfast story, "The Night Clerk."

You don't need to have listened to any of the other stories in the series to enjoy this one (presuming enjoyment is actually possible).

Hey, download the show directly by right-clicking HERE.

Or support me on Patreon by clicking HERE.  You may be glad you did.

Logo by Gino "The Night Jerk" Moretto.*

*This may seem unnecessarily harsh, but my first version was "The Shite Clerk."  

Thursday, October 22, 2020

October Sweeps - Day 262


I have accomplished so very little today.  My regular alarm just went off, and now it's after ten, and I'm sort of at a loss where all the hours went.  I woke up super early again, the sky still dark, and like last time, I only woke up long enough to make sure it wasn't freezing in here (the fire had gone out during the night, and there was still an unburned log in there--the fresh ones I stacked the other day are too fresh, and they even hiss when they start to burn, if I can get them to burn at all), then I went back to sleep.

Still, I woke up early, took this picture of the morning sky:

and started my day.  I ate two donuts, showered, finished editing chapter 5 of "My Friend of Misery," then I started looking at my Documents file to see if there was anything I wanted to write on, like an abandoned project or something.

I dug up my Little Caesar's Pizza story from earlier this year (which I did finish, but needs a polish, and none of the characters have last names (right now it's just Brandon ___ and Kenna ____ and Meeshelle ____ and Sanford ____ and Eli _____).  I just gave Kenna the last name Phillips, but the others are still blanks.  I ought to come up with something, but I'll probably never put the story out there, even though I read a couple of pages this morning and really liked the dissolution of the boys' friendship.  A bigger deal than the last names (which really could be anything) is that I don't have a title for the story.

Big called his--rather brilliantly--"Little Caesar's Ghost."  My working title was "Pizza! Pizza!" (which was--and may still be--the slogan to Little Caesars) but I ended up changing it from being a LCP to being Fat Ian's Pizza, the chain I refer to in a dozen of my stories, having named it after my friend in college, who was super offended by that detail.  But now that it's set in a fictional pizza place in a fictional town, the only thing that's coming to me is that it's about two guys, a girl, and a pizza place.  And I ain't going there.*

The family of deer that hang out next door are back again.  I don't know that I've seen them literally every time I've been here, but I practically have.  In fact, the two fawns are now double the size they were the first time I noticed them, and that's pretty amazing.  There are only three that I see now, though there are usually four.  

I got up to take a picture, but the click of the door lock unlatching was enough to send them running.  It is deer hunting season right now, but it's a very rare year when a hunter would shoot a doe or a fawn.  Although dude, I don't know.  Sometimes people just want to shoot things, regardless of the rules or whether they want a trophy or the meat.

I finished editing Chapter 5 of "My Friend of Misery," and then saw I had no more chapters recorded.  Nothing more to edit there.  I should've planned ahead and done a couple more chapters for this trip.  Now all I have to do is write or read.  Poor poor pitiful me, as the man said.

Darn, that remind me: I still haven't done my Zevon episode.  Okay, today I'll do it.  Maybe.

Everything is yellow and brown out here.  There was a mile or so stretch where everything had turned various shades of those two colors, even the mountain, and I thought about pulling over and trying to do a song in front of it.  But the sound would be terrible beside Highway 89, and I'd end up chickening out before I'd even gotten my tripod set up yet.**

It's cold outside, even though the sun is shining, and I figured I'd make a fire and finish reading my book sitting near it (I've got one chapter left).  But first, I decided to go outside and gather up as much kindling as I could, so I'd have plenty for the next visit, when it might be much, much colder than today (it's supposed to get down to well below freezing this weekend, with a low of eighteen degrees in the city, and I think that would put it in the single digits out here).  I filled the box (and even took a picture of it, because I'm stupid that way--like the Instagram girls that take pictures of what they had for lunch.  Don't they know we're there for half-naked selfies?), and tried to start a fire, but it promptly went out.

I don't look forward to next week, when my hands will be shaking hard enough to not be able to light a match.  But at least I'll have plenty of wood.

I finished reading my book, started on a new one, and fell asleep partway through the first chapter.  I slept hard enough that I dreamed, and it is pretty vivid to me now, even though they always fade, with me in some kind of condo or apartment, attempting to do a Storage Unit Serenade, but getting interrupted as more and more people showed up as I was trying.  Eventually, I broke something--it was in my mind a minute ago, a remote control train or helicopter--belonging to my nephew, and I took it upon myself to fix it, and it became a destructive farce like THE MONEY PIT, as I kept bumping things, scratching things, and breaking things in the apartment, while trying to repair the toy, and more and more kids (including my Uncle John's children) showed up to tell me I was doing it wrong.  Eventually, my Uncle Jerry, who can fix anything, took me aside and said, "You are not helping.  The repairs are going to be extensive.  Just buy a new train."  And I told him no, that I could fix this, that I could fix everything, and then backed into a china cabinet, just hard enough that one of the shelves gave way, and they started crashing down behind me.

So, I got up, and moaned because I knew I had wasted hours asleep, only to discover that it had been a half hour or less that I had been sleeping, and there was still plenty of day left.

I sat down here to start editing a short story or two (this is one I had written for a contest, and recorded, knowing I could use it in a collection, or an Outcast if it didn't win), and as I was waiting for it to open and noise reduce, I reflected on the fact that, just a month or two ago, I mused about the nature of love, and that, if Lara Demming ever found a boyfriend who seemed too good to be true, how could she ever trust that it was real, knowing that she had magical abilities, and lived with a witch so powerful, she could probably cause Mike Pence to fall in love with a leather-clad abortion doctor.

And here we are, the week before Halloween, and I've written it.  There's a third "Lara and the Witch" story, a fifth "Sidekick Chronicles" story, and a fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth "Dead & Breakfast" story, all written this year.  And now I've started a third Will Choner story . . . part of me never wants to stop doing this.*** Oh, and "Hatchling" is in the upper thirty thousand word range, which would make it a novel, if I felt like spending a couple of months turning it into an audiobook (and why wouldn't I?) . . . so that's pretty neat (did I honestly never do a word count before?  I should have--it feels good to see those numbers).

I also looked over "Never Let Him Go," the next-to-be-published story in the haunted bed and breakfast series.  It is the least consequential story I've written, dealing mostly with Mrs. Bice's decision to fire Mason Bradley, and the obstacles--almost supernatural-seeming--obstacles that keep preventing her from doing so.  In it, there's a female day clerk without a name that has to tell Bice that the man she was interviewing to replace Mason has canceled his appointment, and that sort of surprised me, as I had never established a female day clerk between the hot European twin (I think her name was Trudi) and Meeshelle, who is hired in the next story, "Meet the New Clerk."

After opening the "Hatchling" document, I was reminded that I always intended to write a scene where Rick, the teenaged protagonist, talks to his new girlfriend Talia's father.  That was the character I had based on me, rather than the rather studly, popular Rick (after all, his name is Rick.  Can you believe that?  I might have first named him that as a placeholder, the name is so cringe-worthy, but it just stuck, using it three hundred-plus times in the story [I know, the word counter told me]), and I tried to imagine what kind of father I would be, to a teenaged daughter, especially one that was just starting to go out on dates.

So I decided that Talia's dad would be the friendliest, most supportive father you could imagine, who wants his daughter to find joy and experience life, more than he wants her to stay a little girl forever.  And so he's totally welcoming to Rick and the relationship, and gives his daughter money so they can buy condoms, rather than give the whole "don't you ever look at my baby as anything other than a lady" speech that I think we've all heard, either in person or through the grapevine.

And I always meant to write a scene where the two of them talk, and Rick expects the hostile, almost threatening lecture, but instead gets warmth and compliments, which is exactly what he needs to hear, since his own dad is out of the picture.  If this were a novel instead of just a lengthy short story, I'd have him go to Mr. Giller for advice while the romance blooms, and then be unable to do so once he and Talia have broken up, and that's a double heartbreak.  It just seems like a neat little subplot, in a story that has one or two that don't really go anywhere.

So, I sat down and wrote that scene just now, and I'm tempted to put a later reference to it, or at least to the man's first name, which I had to invent for the scene, and will never be mentioned again.  It was Bert (short for Hubert, though I never reveal that).

Writing is fun, but it's also pretty nuanced.  I have criticized the Orson Scott Card book I just finished enough (or I will when the episode I talk about it airs--it's the show with my story "Gatekeeper" in it), but his unrealistic-as-fuck dialogue really took a toll on me in this one.  There was one sentence spoken by a fourteen year old girl that was so dense, I had to read it aloud, remarking that my buddy Jeff, a middle-aged man with a 190 IQ, would never manage something like that.

I was skimming through the manuscript (of "Hatchling"), trying to fill in all the blank lines that I found.  Sometimes, when I'm in the middle of writing, and I can't think of the perfect word, I'll write a word that is like the one I'm looking for, and in all-caps, will put (BETTER WORD) after it in parenthesis.  Or other times, I'll just put a blank line there and go on with the writing, because you can ruin your momentum looking for the perfect word or reaching for a thesaurus (although, cards on the table, I haven't need a thesaurus since college . . . not because I'm that smart, but because computers and the internet have made them obsolete).

In this case, Talia is telling Rick they can sell the hatchling to a museum, then she says, "Or, if you're too ____, you can just donate him."  Then she insults him, because all he is is a horny teenager.  Oh, this is when they're at the end of their relationship, so there should be some kind of cold judgement in her comment.  I wanted a word like "honorable" or "righteous," but didn't like either of those.

I realize that this may be supremely boring to you, but I'm blogging about something, every day for nearly a year, and I need the content.  So, I walked around the cabin, cleaning things up (there's always tons of ash coming out of the stove when I throw more wood or paper in, and I'm much more tidy here than anywhere else, even though no one's going to see it), trying to figure out the perfect word for Talia to say.  See, she is smart and Rick is less-than, so I wanted it to be a pretty good word.

I remember, back in 1998, when "Dawson's Creek" started up (at least I think that was the year--I didn't watch it when it started) that Kevin Williamson explained the way that he had his characters talk on that show.  He said, and I'm paraphrasing, "You know how you'll have an argument with someone, and afterward you say to yourself, 'I SHOULD have said this,' or 'I should have said that?'  Well, my characters actually say those things, in the spur of the moment, in the middle of their conversations."  I never forgot that, and I have to admit that it does affect my writing, from time to time.

Though, in my defense, I often try to purposely dumb down my characters' dialogue, putting in "you knows" and "likes" and having them get the references wrong.  The first time I did this was in "Round and Round," when I have the main character mistakenly refer to Stevie Nicks as a man.  I liked that so much, I've done it a hundred times since, with no signs of stopping.

Anyway, I was folding sheets when it came to me: principled.  It gave me a little thrill to run over to the laptop and fill in the blank, like I had found the answer to the last space in the crossword puzzle.  Despite it taking me two months to get there.

Well, the time has come to leave once again.  This has been pretty amazing--two trips to the cabin in a week (although it's no different, technically, than the weeks before, since I didn't come up on last Wednesday and Thursday), and lots of reading, writing, editing, and recording.  I can pack everything up with my head held high, knowing it was another productive visit, and I'll still have time to do my sit-ups and run tonight before it's time to record a Dunesteef with Big.

I hope you have productive days and weekends ahead, and that you can feel good about yourself, even if you accomplish less than I do, hard to believe as that sounds.

Push-ups Today: 76
Push-ups In October: 1434

Sit-ups Today: 111
Sit-ups In October: 3398

Words Today: 1299 (now that's strange, I had 1299 words on Wednesday.  I'm tempted to add a single word just to make it different)
Words In October: 19,499

*You see, if your life has been better spent than mine, you wouldn't be aware that there was a sitcom on ABC in the late Nineties (maybe it was in 2000) called "A Girl, Two Guys, and a Pizza Place" or something brazenly similar to that.  It was not successful, though I do vaguely recall that one of the guys was a pre-fame Ryan Reynolds.  In a way, it would be clever to call it "Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place," but I just can't make myself go there.

Gosh, I wonder what was on NBC Thursday nights at this time.

**And I'm reminded of people like Abigail Hilton, who always seemed to accomplish what they set out to do, or that Brandon Sanderson, writing another over-long Epic Fantasy novel I will never, ever touch, in just the period between it getting dark at seven but getting dark later and it getting dark at seven but getting dark earlier, and how jealous I was of that.  But now I see how they do it--they commit to it, and they do it every day.

***So, I got a new tripod the other day--it's much lighter aluminum than my big one, and has a slot in the top stand it which I figured would fit my phone (that's why I bought it, really, because last week, I had replaced the glass cover over my screen, making it look pretty good--except for the crack that's permanently on there from the day after I got the phone and dropped it getting out of the car--and when I was trying to do my song, it fell right off the tripod and landed on the one hard object on the ground: the corner of the dry-erase board I had written the lyrics to the Rembrandts song I was doing . . . and cracked the new glass).

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

October Sweeps - Day 261

I know I've said this before, but I keep talking to people who love the fall, and who love the winter, and one who loves all the seasons and everything in the world except me.  And I have tried, I've tried to have a better attitude about the changing of the seasons and the promise of winter.  My mom complains about it just as much if not more than I do, and I wonder if that irritated my dad.  Seems like it would have . . . but everything irritated my dad.

Maybe I shouldn't be so thrilled I haven't lost my hair yet.

The thing is, I hate to be cold.  And I hate to be reminded that soon, the snows will come and I won't be able to come up here--one of literally three things I look forward to each week (or four if you count my mad obsession with going running, which always sucks for the first half mile anyway, and doesn't become enjoyable until I've suffered through that)--and the roads will get dangerous, and I'll have to scrape my windshield before I go somewhere, and the bastards will start playing Christmas music again.

November is usually pretty grim, but at least we always had Thanksgiving and Black Friday to look forward to.  Now, it seems unlikely I'll participate in any floods of consumers waiting outside Target or Best Buy or Walmart (a couple of years ago, I went the day before Thanksgiving, and they had their Black Friday deals out, but you couldn't buy them, so I took two and hid them in the bicycle department, so I could come on Black Friday and there would still be two there for me to snag), and my mom just told me we're not doing a big get-together for Thanksgiving this year, but it'll just be like a regular Sunday dinner.

And that's too bad.  I always enjoy getting together with my cousin and his family, even though he has to alternate between his side and his wife's side of the family each year, but because of COVID fears, we're not doing that in 2020.  And who knows, maybe the prognosticators will be right, and the virus will be so bad this winter that nobody would want to get together.

Oh, so I was complaining about the onset of winter.  Yeah, I am trying to be more positive, and know that some of my sadness about the unpleasant half of the year is just psychological.  When it starts getting dark at four and you can't just take the trash out in your bare feet or there's that smoggy smell in the air when the clouds roll and we get what they call an inversion here . . . well, it's hard for me to see that as anything but a negative.  

But I'm going to try not to be sad about winter this year.  I'm going to try to keep the spirit of summer within my soul, and keep exercising, keep doing outdoors things, and make it through with the strength to bear whatever comes my way.  

This is the second time I'm writing this blog post, so forgive me if it's not all that eloquent.

At one point, I was finishing the "Delusions of Grandeur" episode for this month, saving it, but everything had gotten unforgivably sluggish.  Like you'd press the Save or Open button and nothing would happen, and you'd press it three more times, then all at once it would try to open four or five times and the laptop would make an angry sound.

The music I was listening to started to lag too, and my Task Manager said my disc usage was at 100% (whereas normally, it's between 1 and 3%, sometimes right at zero).  I tried closing a couple of open files, but they didn't want to close, and then suddenly, nothing happened at all.  The music stopped, the mouse wouldn't move, nothing.

And a minute later, the laptop made an error beep, and the beep just kept going.  And going.  And going.  It was a steady hum that I knew was bad, but I figured the CPU would catch up and fix, so I went upstairs to do sit-ups, hearing the beep continue as the seconds became minutes. 

I was super hesitant to restart my computer, because I didn't want to lose all the writing I had done today--not that it was a ton, but it was close enough to "the end" on the third Lara/Holcomb story that I could, if I continued for but ten minutes or so from that point, be done with it.

Well, after a few minutes of the laptop still frozen, still bugging, I went ahead and restarted.  Just like with human beings, restarting can solve a lot of problems.  And when everything booted back up, I re-opened my text file with baited breath . . .

. . . and found nothing missing whatsoever.  I must have saved it the last time I worked on it, about ninety minutes ago.

However, the blog post I was writing about coming to the cabin again, getting older, and wishing I could appreciate the changing of the seasons like certain people do was completely wiped out.

A bit irritating, but not that big a deal.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In October: 3287

Push-ups Today: 75
Push-ups In October: 1358

Before I left, I re-recorded Chapter 5 (maybe I blogged about this already).  The original file (with the crappy sound) was 20:33, and the new recording (with better sound) was 21:44.  I'll edit it now, and it'll be sad how much shorter the finished chapter will be.  But I'm trying to get in good, semi-professional shape, and that's what I have to do.  I did discover one reference to the main character as "Lara" once in Chapter 5, instead of Brielle, and I know I wouldn't have caught that mistake the first time through.

8:37, Chapter 5 ended up being, after the editing.  Hmm.

Words Today: 1299
Words In October: 18,200

*I checked, and it's about sixteen thousand words, which is fine.  I feel like I might have skipped writing the scene where Lara first meets cute with Scott, the boyfriend character, so I'm not technically finished (plus, I have to plug in the scenes from my gmail document that I work on at the library), but I imagine when it's done it's about twenty thousand words.  And that feels, if not too long, then just about right.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

October Sweeps - Day 260

I meant to hit the library today, but I didn't.  It's Tuesday, and I got a full two hours more today th--no, even longer, I got nearly three hours more of consciousness today than I usually do, and . . . nothing.

I did get my push-ups done, at least.  That's something.

Push-ups Today: 73 (and not terribly hard.  Maybe the later in the day I do them, the harder they are?)
Push-ups In October: 1283

Marshal Latham ran the first chapter of a novella or novel-length writing project on his podcast recently, and I have to admit it was bold.  It was bold because it was all he had written on the book, and it was from before he even got married (I think he's been hitched for seventeen years).  So, running it on his show was only going to frustrate his listeners, knowing there was no more where that came from.  But even so, perhaps his listeners will pester him to complete it now, and he will . . . and he never would have had he not shared the work-in-progress with people.

It made me wonder about my own projects like that, and if I might dare share those on my podcast, to see if people will urge me to complete them.  Or is that just cruel?  And what if nobody says ANYTHING, what if they just don't give a crap, and I never end up finishing the story at all?  Well, food for thought.  I have so many in-progress stories that I could spend the rest of my life simply finishing old ones, not writing anything new.  

Would that make me happy?  Oh, hell na, but it's interesting to think about.

Sorry for using "hell na," folks.  But blogging two hundred and sixty-one days in a row has taken its toll on my vocabulary.

And my taint, sadly.

I found the animatronic The Child figure/doll at Walmart with my cousin tonight.  It was amazing, and both lifelike and impressively cute.  But it was damned expensive ($59), and I didn't know what to do about it.  Either it will be completely gone from stores a month from now, or it will be everywhere, with each Target or Walmart ordering a hundred of them.

But it was so cool that I think I'll take the chance.  I asked my cousin, "What if we never see these again?" which is a fair question, but pretty hard on my wallet.

Sit-ups Today: 111
Sit-ups In October: 3187

Push-ups Today: 73
Push-ups In October: 1283

I did sit down and write for a little while today--it felt like a lot more words than it apparently was--and am very, very close to finishing the third Lara and the Witch story, which I had a title for just last week, but have already forgotten.  I think that one of my goals for October was to finish it or figure out how to finish it, and during my run today, I decided to end the book with the section I was writing today, then to have an Epilogue which ties up the romantic plot, and sets up the next book.  In fact, if I didn't have to go to my cousin's house, I might've written that scene too today.

Fiddle-dee-dee, though, tomorrow is . . . you know.

Words Today: 1075
Words In October: 16,901

Storage Unit Serenade 32

The ones with two (or more) parts never quite work right.  I've got to figure out a way to do them better.  

Either that or make a friend.


Pre-Eighties Songs: 8
Eighties Songs: 10
Nineties Songs: 7
Aughts Songs: 1
Teens Songs: 6

 Next up is my favorite one ever.

Monday, October 19, 2020

October Sweeps - Day 259

I talked to Big Anklevich today about his daily exercise and diet regimen . . . and he screwed up one day, forgetting to read from his non-fiction book (one of the prerequisites).  And that was it, all she wrote, fat lady starts in on her song.

To my shock, he just quit the whole seventy-five day marathon, despite having kept it up for a month or so.  I just plain didn't understand that, telling him that when I missed my push-ups on Friday or Saturday, I just did twice as many the next day, and I still consider myself on track.  But Big doesn't work that way.  He told me his wife said the same thing--"Just read two chapters in your To Serve Man book"--but he said he wouldn't do it, that you had to do all the things for seventy-five days straight or you couldn't consider yourself a success.  

He had to start back at zero, and now he's discouraged enough to take a few days binge eating and soiling himself beside the swimming pool before he even considers starting it up again.  That made me plenty sad.

But to each their own.  We've all heard the inspirational tales of people with great integrity that find money in the street, or the answers to next week's quiz, or a parking meter with half an hour left on it, or a passed-out Jessica Simpson in the guest room at a party, and they have the strength to say, "Nope, I'm just going to leave it there, because even if nobody else in the world would ever know what I'd done . . . I'd know."

Those were almost exactly the words Big used on the phone with me (except it was Josh Gad from FROZEN passed out at the party), and that's pretty impressive.  Because when I lived in L.A., I celebrated when I found a parking meter with time left on it.

But like Darkman said, "I'm learning to live with a lot of things."

The knowledge that my life is more than half over and I've accomplished practically nothing, that I'm going to die alone, and if I crashed my car I could never afford to replace it . . . well, those are daunting thoughts, middle of the night thoughts, depressing thoughts.  Yet I have to continue.  I have to keep writing and exercising, keep living my life with just a little hope, because otherwise, everything i2 Edvard Munch's The Scream again.*

Sit-ups Today: 111
Sit-ups In October: 3187

Push-ups Today: 72
Push-ups In October: 1210

Not much writing accomplished today, but every bit helps.  Also, I sat down and re-recorded Chapter 5 of "My Friend of Misery," and re-recorded the "Delusions of Grandeur" podcast I accidentally deleted last week.  It's not a tremendous amount, but it gives me stuff to edit on Wednesday.  And isn't that what every growing boy needs?

Words Today: 749
Words In October: 15,826

*Little bit of trivia for you.  Munch's "The Scream" is the most expensive painting ever to sell at Sotheby's auction.  It went for $120 million in 2012.  I dunno, seems pretty overpriced.  I wouldn't pay over thirty-five million for it myself.

What about the Outcast?

So guys, we're now five weeks behind with the Rish Outcast episodes, between the Patreon feed and this one.  Blogging every day has taken its toll.

So, since I'm now dropping the Halloween episodes of my podcast, I'm going to have to either: 

1) Post all my delayed Outcasts right now,
2) Skip to the Halloween shows and then post the summer ones afterward,
3) Just leave the missed/delayed episodes for only the Patreon supporters.

I'm not going to do the first one--even writing this post is taking up time I should be doing something else--and the third option might disappoint one or two of you.

So, I'm going to go with the second choice.  I'll post the Halloween shows next, and then get the earlier ones posted in November.  That way, the Christmas show(s?) will still drop in December.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

February Sweeps - Day 258

Today, I'll have to leave the cabin--the one time I got to be here for three days instead of two.  I woke up when the sun was still low in the sky, but laid there for a few minutes trying to go back to sleep.  The fire had gone out (indeed, I never really got it burning last night--I kept having to re-light it and put more kindling on--perhaps these logs [the cursed ones] are just too fresh), but it wasn't at all cold in the cabin.  In fact, after the fire from the night before went out yesterday, I kept waiting for the temperature to drop, and even brought in more wood, but it never did.  Even at nine or ten o'clock at night, the temperature in here stayed the same, while it got colder and colder outside.  I can't explain that, since the stove had gone cool again.  Maybe it was a Chanukah miracle.

Now I sit here, typing, and the sun is just rising over the top of the mountain.  All is quiet outside--with no construction equipment, big trucks roaring in the distance, or little four-wheelers making their wasp-like buzzing.  Last night, I heard a car alarm go off (albeit briefly), and wondered just what use setting your alarm would be out here.*

Of course, I imagined Bigfoots or bears or monsters disturbing somebody's truck so the owners would come out and investigate.  The delicious owners.  And I thought about the monster in Shyamalan's THE VILLAGE.  It wasn't a great film--the end of his streak of excellent films, I suppose--but the monster in that was truly terrifying, and an excellent design.  As I sat on the back deck, reading my book, the family of deer that always congregate next door were sitting in the weeds, basking in the setting sun . . . and I imagined looking over at them, and finding a family of those VILLAGE monsters.

It wasn't a scary thought--after all, it was still daylight--but I thought that was a pretty great visual for a movie or a story.  You know there are people or dogs or animals about, and when you look again, they have been replaced by something else.

I spoke too soon about the temperature in here.  Somehow, it dropped eight degrees in here since the sun came up, which shouldn't really be possible.  My hands were getting so cold I couldn't type properly.  I went over to the stove and cleaned off all the ash from atop and around it, then burned all the paper towels, just sticking my hands over them until they were too hot to stand it.  Now I can type again, but I'm sure the fire is going to go out again in a minute.

I ran out of stuff to edit, if you can believe it, so I grabbed my story for the Christmas podcast and wasted twenty minutes getting it down to the allotted ten minute runtime.  Big Anklevich, who loves to criticize me when I do this, would have told me just to read the story over, much faster this time, and yes, that would have been a lot easier than taking out breaths and deciding which lines were expendable or not.  Somehow, I got an eighteen minute story down to ten, and now that I saved it, I'll probably forget to submit it for the show.  You know me.

I grabbed an episode I just recorded last week and edited it through to the end, so it looks like I've got three more episodes ready to go.  That's nice.  You know, I keep thinking about all my daily writing, and that when I finally miss a day, it'll be a relief because I'll focus on publishing, putting out "Dead & Breakfast" stories and publishing "My Friend of Misery" and "A Sidekick's Errand," and "Underdecorated" and "Podcatcher" and "Hatchling" and "That's the Spirit!"

But just now, I couldn't help but think of the next Will Choner story, and how I wanted to start it, with him getting a phone call while he's at his fat buddy's house, and she's only ever called him once before (and that was to find her cousin's engagement ring), but she's at a party and a guy started getting hot and heavy with her and she had a panic attack and went in the bathroom, and called Will to come and get her.  This will reintroduce Beth Vance back into the story, and lead in to her convincing him to help her help people that need to find things they've lost--she does it as a form of therapy, and he does it because he'd do anything she says.  

I am very tempted to just sit and start writing that right now, despite being super close to finishing the "Lara and the Witch" story, because the muse is kind of like the bowels: when you gotta go . . .

Sit-ups Today: 150
Sit-ups In October: 3076

I went out on the back deck and felt the sun on my face, and it was nice--even though it's cool outside and the wind can be positively chilling--and thought, "This might be it.  The last time I get to do this this year."

I feel sorry for myself quite a bit, as you know.  Or maybe you don't know.  Maybe I don't mention it every single day because, hey, my family has a cabin that's only an hour away that I can use for free, and nobody ever uses it.  I brought the giant Walmart t-Rex over here a month ago, thinking it would be fun to paint it green instead of orange, and I could've just set up all my paints on the table and left it as a work-in-progress, and nobody would've touched it, complained about it, or even seen it but me.  Here's a photo of how it looks so far (I think one more trip down and it'll be done):

Push-ups Today: 71
Push-ups In October: 1138 (hey, the same as that awful George Lucas movie!)

I fell asleep for just a couple of minutes (might have been ten), and worried that I got a sunburn, and that too is kind of remarkable.  It's nearly time to pack everything up and try to make sure this place is tidy for . . . well, the nobody who will come to visit it between now and the next time I'm here (I might even be back on Wednesday, if I can push myself to sit down and record a bunch of new chapters and give myself plenty to edit), and that always feels sad, like the last days of summer vacation as a boy.

I am lucky to have this place, and if I had friends, I'd be happy to bring them here or let them take it for a weekend or two (I always try to get my cousin to come out, even if it's just one night, where we could stay up watching "Seinfeld" DVDs or play boardgames or something, but he hates it literally as much as I love it up here, and neither of us have ever been able to convince the other he's right).  

I watched the BBC remake of THE 39 STEPS as my movie last night, and it was pretty good.  It's set right before World War I, set in the UK, and had a female spy set up for the British Secret Service, which seems wildly anachronistic considering they didn't even have the vote yet, but I know virtually nothing about WWI, so there may have been loads of them.**

I ended up writing the first few paragraphs of that Will Choner story (I'm tempted to call them "Lost & Found" stories, but Orson Scott Card's book ruined that for me, and I just now discovered that "The Case of the Missing Turtle" was actually titled "The Case of the Runaway Turtle."  Whoops), and I could go on, just start writing it and seeing where it goes (I excel at writing boys-in-love-with-girls-out-of-their-league stories, for some mysterious reason), but I think I'll get everything cleaned up and go, before it gets too late in the day.  I haven't stayed here three days in a row this year, and I don't know what to expect when I get home (if there's no work for me to do, that's a relief, but if there's no work, there's no money coming in either).

Words Today: 1130
Words In October: 15,077

*Of course they did it out of habit, just like I always lock my car out of habit, whether I'm in a city, at the post office, or out here in the middle of nowhere.  My mom's car (she has a Toyota Camry) locks on its own, which has infuriated me before when I've gone out to help her unload groceries or retreive a book from the back seat.  A car that locks all by itself--at the most inopportune moment--is great Horror movie fodder as well. 

**At one point, the news arrives that Germany has invaded Belgium, and that England will declare war, and I wondered, Oh, is that how it happened?

Saturday, October 17, 2020

October Sweeps - Day 257

So, besides all the dead flies, the other thing I discovered as soon as I came into the cabin yesterday, was mouse droppings back on the counter and stove.  After my debacle with the mouse last week (which, gratefully, there's no sign of anymore), I thought I was free of rodents, but mice are, apparently, like white supremacists . . . mighty fine people.  No, what I meant to say was, there are always more than one of them, always more than you think.

So, I laid out a trap as soon as I noticed the droppings, putting it on the floor this time (that horror that awaited me last Wednesday would've been better on the floor), and figuring, I could catch it during the night, and there'd be no time for putrification (the original title of the last Pierce Brosnan Bond movie, by the way).

So, I woke up this morning--not insanely early for a change, although I did wake up around five, just out of habit, checked that the fire was still going, and then went back to sleep--and noticed the mousetrap had not been sprung . . . but the peanut butter I'd put on it was all gone.  Clever girl.

I laid down two just now, and we'll see if the mice dare come out during the day, or if they wait until tonight.*

So, the movie I put on today was 1953's IVANHOE, a swashbuckling Technicolor adventure I had never seen before, but was referenced in THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD two weeks ago, and, to my surprise, actually featured Robin Hood (though I believe he's only referred to as Locksley).  It starred Robert Taylor and Joan Fontaine and Elizabeth Taylor, who was really radiant, but seemed to be the only American in the bunch.  I have to admit to laughing a couple of times at the action and stunts (the arrows are particularly amusing, since they seem to be thrown from offscreen, harmlessly bouncing off walls and people), but the story itself held up remarkably well, and I think I'll seek out other adaptations, to see how the tale is told in more recent productions.
I think I'd even welcome a 21st century version, if anybody would dare make a film with that title now that the "ho" part sort of makes it impossible. 

I continue to edit "My Friend of Misery," doing Chapters 6 and 7 today.  Chapter 6 was, edited down from fifty-four to about eighteen minutes, and that probably took me two or two and a half hours.  Chapter 7 was four minutes and thirty seconds, edited down to two minutes.  A two minute chapter, kids.

I wonder how I can live with myself as a writer, when chapters can be that inconsistent.  Still, I'd rather not know how to write at all than have to write every single one of my chapters the same length, like Robert Parker did.**

I worry, as I keep saying, that "My Friend of Misery" is just no darn good, and yet I keep finding lines or bits in every chapter I edit that I really, really like.  And the premise is solid.  And the performance, unless I'm way off the mark, will be a good one too.  But you never know what the finished product will be like.  When I watched ED WOOD a month or so back, he honestly didn't think he was making bad movies, despite those around him seeing their all-too-obvious flaws . . . and I'd wager more people today know who Wood is than George Cukor or Vincente Minelli.

I'm also super slow in getting MFOM out there.  One of the things I was going to do while up here this weekend was draw up what I wanted the cover to look like, so see what Gino could do with it.  Damn, I guess I'll do that right now.

Ugh.  I used to fancy myself an artist.  Yikes.

Oh, and I checked on Chapter 4, to see how long it was . . . and I hadn't finished editing it.

Push-ups Today: 69 and 70
Push-ups In October: 1067

So, while I was typing this, a little after it got dark, I heard a snap (startling me pretty good) across the room.  A mouse had come back to the same trap it had taken the bait from before, but triggered it this time.  Ostensibly, a mousetrap is supposed to break the neck or back of a mouse instantly, or at least quickly enough that death occurs very promptly.  But it hadn't quite worked, and this was a very large mouse.  

So what happened was, the mouse started to run around, dragging the mousetrap with it.  It had become, essentially, trapped in the trap, but not killed by the trap.  And it started to go under the cupboard, pulling the trap with itself.  Now, me being a coward, I didn't want to pick up the trap with my hand, so I tried putting a 2 liter soda bottle on top of the trap to keep the mouse from escaping . . . but to my surprise, it pulled hard enough to tip over the bottle, and start to get away.  So, I bent down and grabbed the end of the trap that DIDN'T have a mouse in it.
It was struggling to break free, and I think it might eventually have succeeded in getting out, since its back and legs were not broken and it was essentially just pinned under the mousetrap bar.  So, my choices were--take the mouse outside and crush it with a rock or stomp on it (I think my shoes were off by this point, though), take it out and try to spring the trap and release it into the wild--which I would've found difficult because I didn't want to get bitten, or . . . well, kill it another way.

My brother would've had no compunctions about squashing it or slamming it down, but what I decided to do--and feel free to call me a bastard, if you like--was to put the mouse in the toilet, so it would drown.  Which I did.

But it didn't work like I thought it would.  The mousetrap floated instead of sinking, and the mouse swam around in the water from side to side, still trying to shake off the trap.  I didn't know what to do--flush?  Hit it with something?  Weigh it down so it sank?--so I simply watched it swim around for a moment, starting to really feel guilty about this.

Look, a mouse is a pest.  It is vermin.  They get into our food and chew holes in fabric and tear up books and drawers and boxes.  They also leave droppings everywhere, like were all over the counter, sink, and stove.  BUT . . . they are living things, and worse, this was an extremely cute living thing, with great big oil drop eyes.  A mouse can make for a good pet, just like a rat or a hamster.  However, I once had a pet rat that attacked my little sister, tearing two holes in the bridge of her nose that bled in two directions at once . . . and it didn't matter that it was cute anymore.

The mouse kept swimming, using the trap as a floatation device, but after a moment, it capsized the trap . . . and that was that.  It had no way of flipping back over, since the trap was attached to its back.  So, within a few seconds, the mouse drowned.  I then took it out on the deck and dropped it into the rocks there.

I originally didn't type this in such detail.  I just said, "the trap just sprung, and caught me a mouse.  Hopefully, that's the only one."  But that's less interesting than what happened, if it is interesting at all.

Sit-ups Today: 300
Sit-ups Total: 2926

Once again, I got very few words written.  I got to the big falling out between Lara and Holcomb . . . and I didn't write it.  Instead, they sort of agree to disagree.  And that just sucks.  This was supposed to be a divide between them, where Lara's essentially good nature can't co-exist with Holcomb's essentially bad one, but instead, I gave them common ground.  The witch has been changed by her time with the girl, and isn't the monster she started out as.

Of course, I plan to switch her right back in the epilogue of the story, with the girl none the wiser, and if I do that, then I get to have my cake and eat it too.  Which might be fun.

Even better, I could have Lara find out the truth at the beginning of the next book, and they can have their big falling out then . . . only to have the villain I only referred to in this story show up when they are most vulnerable.  Perhaps that will be the final story in the series, and that works just fine.

Words Today: 675
Words In October: 13,947

*That reminds me, about thirty years ago, my friends and I went to a Burger King where there were mice running around on the floor.  My buddy Rhett, who is cleanliness-obsessive, told the employee that we'd seen one, and the employee said, "Yeah, there are lots of 'em."  Rhett stormed out in a huff, and vowed we'd never go to that restaurant again.  And we didn't--it closed soon after.  It was not a traumatic experience for me whatsoever, and I never think about it, but Rhett brought it up on Wednesday, telling the story like it was still fresh in his mind.  I wonder what he'd think of the squalor I live in.

**It was Robert Parker, right? Now I'm unsure.

Friday, October 16, 2020

October Sweeps - Day 256

So, the fall is rapidly giving way to something else, and when I came into the cabin this afternoon, I was greeted by dozens--if not hundreds--of dead flies at the bottom of every window.  It's gotten too cold for them, I suppose.  And to be honest, too cold for me.

I've put up with people bitching about the heat for, oh, five or six months, and now it's my turn.  I do not welcome the return of winter--not today, not ever.  Complain all you want, no matter how weak it sounds, that it's eighty-five at nine pm . . . nobody's fingers and toes ever dropped off because of the heat, you bastards.

Along those lines, I spent just a few minutes gathering wood for the fire--most of the wood I had stacked up against the house last week was still there, with nobody else coming to visit--and collected the logs from a tree my brother cut down in May or June.  It had been a young tree, but last year's rainfall had eroded the ground around it and it was starting to tip . . . toward the cabin.  Both he and I had noticed it and when the two of us were here together, he tied a rope to it, which I was in charge of pulling away from the cabin while he chainsawed it down.  Since those logs were closest to the house, I decided to stack those this trip.

But as I carried them down to the deck, I discovered that people had carved their initials into them--my brother-in-law Dave, my Aunt Barbara (I assumed that's what BC'13 meant).  And I wondered: is it wrong to burn logs that have people's carvings in them?  Like, is it disrespectful . . . or bad luck?

Of course, I thought about writing a story about it--about the misfortune that befalls someone whose carvings go into the fire.  And I left those two on the ground where I'd found them.*

I got to work editing our October episode of "Delusions of Grandeur" this afternoon, and it went swimmingly . . . except I seem to have deleted my half of the show.  I even remember it happening last night, when I was (I thought) transferring the file to my Dropbox, and then deleting a file I had already edited.  A moment later, I discovered that file I'd just deleted was still there, and I wondered what had happened.  Well, now I know.

I do not look forward to wasting my time trying to recreate that recording.  And I wish I could say this was the first or second time I've done this (I still have the audio of a That Gets My Goat that Big and Marshal sent me about the Avengers, that will never see the light of day), and even more so, that it'll be the last.  But nope.

Sit-ups Today: 500
Sit-ups In October: 2626

Push-ups Today: 0

Darn, I blew it.  I forgot the push-ups.  I had such a fun time doing sit-ups during the movie I was watching (I just put the laptop beside me on the couch and did fifty at a time, over and over), that I forgot the push-ups.  But hey, I'll do twice as many today.

Not as much writing either.  I did some editing--next Outcast episode is ready to drop as soon as I go home--and I started on the next one, but was unable to do anything on the "DoG" episode other than stick on the intro and outro.  

Words Today: 427
Words In October: 13,272

*Of course, it begs the question: wasn't the bad luck already incurred by having cut down a tree with initials on it?  What's the difference between burning a log and leaving it to get covered in snow all winter?

Thursday, October 15, 2020

October Sweeps - Day 257

I would normally be at the cabin today, and it threw off my whole week.  It turned out that I didn't even have all that much work to do so I could afford to spend time on whatever I wanted, but the day flew by just the same.

I managed to go over to the library right before it closed.  I got some more words done on the "Lara and the Witch" story, and that should have been finished by now, unless I need to have it be about something other than Lara falling in love and finding out if it's real or not.  I had this idea of bringing in another villain, somebody from Holcomb's past that has been mentioned before, but I can't decide.  Right now, I think I'll bring up the idea, and pay it off in a future story.  But that would make this one a story roughly the length of the first tale, and I can't say whether that works or not.

Ah, eff it.  I just want to get to "the end" on this one and go on to the next project.  I have already started to feel my motivation wane, and my muse has grabbed her coat and gloves and will be heading out the door any time now.  Then all this writing, all this exercise, all this truly pointless yearning and creativity will be in the rear-view mirror, and it will seem like a minor diversion I had one time, before going back to what I was before . . . what I always am.

But hey, it was a damned good run while it lasted.

Sit-ups Today: 150
Sit-ups In October: 2126

I guess I'm doing horror movies this month, because I watched another one.  Oh, back in my day, there wasn't a week that went by without me watching a horror film . . . or two, or three.  But now, I pretty much only watch them when Jeff comes to visit from Germany, or when Jordan Peele puts out a new one in theaters.  This time, it was READY OR NOT, from 2019.  

It was pretty good, really, and I enjoyed it quite a bit, with a moment or two absolutely delightful.  But it wasn't perfect, and when I saw how high its Rotten Tomatoes score was (and read one reviewer that gave it a 10 out of 10), well, I have to say that I liked it a little bit less.

Push-ups Today: 68
Push-ups In October: 928

Boy, the push-ups sucked today.  I only managed forty before I had to stop and rethink my life.  I did manage to resume them a few seconds later, but the work was hard.  What happens when I'm doing eighty, or a hundred of these a day?  Crazy.

I enjoyed my run tonight, even though it was the coldest night since before summer.  I was thinking about another writing project, and one of the things I dug in the past was attempting to re-imagine Western stories as Sci-Fi stories (much like you get OUTLAND which is HIGH NOON in space, or BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS which is THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN in space, or AVATAR which is DANCES WITH WOLVES/POCAHONTAS in space), and I got it into my head to try and transplant George Armstrong Custer to a space setting, and turn the Lakota-Cheyenne into aliens.  I'm not sure if that's an exercise worth doing, since AVATAR really did the aliens-as-Native-Americans thing already, and one day there's supposed to be a ton of sequels coming out.

Words Today: 528
Words In October: 12,845

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

February Sweeps - Day 256

Okay, I keep breaking my own record.  Record for push-ups or number of Taylor Swift songs I dare sing along to?  Yes, both of those, but more applicably for today: breaking my own record for the latest in the day I still haven't written yet.

Today's was 2:05am.

There was a get-together at a friend's house tonight with a bunch of folks from high school (one of which I hadn't seen in nearly three decades), and as usual, I was inexplicably afraid to go to it.  I mentioned it in a podcast once, and I think I said so just the other day, but I get this unreasonable dread whenever my old friends have a get-together, and always worry about how it will go, whether I will be accepted or not, whether I should even attend.

It was at the house of a guy I knew early on in high school, but then he moved away before we could become good friends.  He'd stayed in touch with the other guys, though, and the one road trip my friends and I took together was to go to his high school graduation, a couple of days after mine.  He and his wife now live in a huge, gorgeous home right next to the lake, but on the other side of it, so that, when I went out on their back deck, I could actually see the streets and businesses on my side I go to every week.  It was a magnificent house that was so clean you'd think they moved in yesterday, and reminded me that I live in the kind of squalor they usually make reality shows about ("Oh my dear Lord, what are all these tampon boxes doing in here?!").*

(not my room, but it might as well be)

I went, though, and even though there was a long stretch of discomfort when people started in on their religious beliefs (until, that is, it was revealed that one of the wives, from Bangladesh, was Muslim).  That was an interesting conversation, in that everybody has their little thing, the thing that's most important to them, the thing they can't let go of and have to bring up at every opportunity.  I guess it's sad that for me it's Star Wars, but hey, everybody has their thing.

I guess writing is a thing for me too, though I sure didn't get a lot of it done today (or this month).  

So, it was a bunch of my high school friends and their wives, and I was the only solo party.  I also seemed to be the only one who didn't want to talk about religious subjects--I just can't tolerate it, kids, any more than you would enjoy listening to my "Huzzah, abortions for everyone!" or "Women are inherently bi-sexual" diatribes.  One of them, however, did lose most everybody else in the room when he started in about the entire nation of China doing Satan's work for him (poor guy must hate being put out of a job like that).

I am not a people person, as you know, Bob, but I do enjoy asking people questions about their jobs or their childhoods or their fears or being parents or their sexual disfunction or their brushes with nature--practically anything but their religious views.  My old friend Dennis's new wife works at a ski resort and encounters celebrities and the ultra-rich, and she spoke--rather fascinatingly--about their exploits and entitlement, and I could've stood to listen to her stories for an hour or more.  

Also, there was the girl from Bangladesh, who said almost nothing throughout the night, and for the first hour, I worried that she didn't speak English at all.

But I got to talk a lot myself, telling embarrassing stories and asking for details from everyone else (very few of the wives said anything throughout, and I wondered if they were just less comfortable with their husbands' friends, or if the role of a wife in a traditional conservative marriage is to sit there contentedly and say little).

Oh, and at one point, my buddy Dennis said the funniest thing of the evening, which really surprised me, because it was totally something I would've said.  One of the guys, Kyle, was telling about the last time he'd wet the bed, and he said, "Oh, this was twenty or twenty-five . . ."  "Days ago," Dennis filled in, before Kyle said, ". . . years back."  

I got a huge laugh--bigger than I ever have before--from telling the story from two years ago about my brother and his encounter with a skunk at our house.  I had meant to podcast about it, but got scared off by somebody who threatened to rage-quit the show over stuff like that, so I never mentioned it (though I do tell the story in "A Sidekick's Errand"), but dang, if it was that funny, I really should have told it.

My buddy Rhett's wife, who hates Disney with the burning passion I pretty much only hate The Orange One with, started bitching about UP, WALL-E, and TOY STORY 3 (all movies she hates), while estoling the virtues of, get this, TRANSFORMERS 2.  That's right, REVENGE OF THE FALLEN.  I did find out, from both of them, that their son thinks I am really cool, despite me snapping at him the last time he was around when I was trying to have a conversation with his dad.  

Her antipathy toward Disney should be amusing, because she's so consistent about it, but since that company brings me more joy than any other (all they'd have to do is start manufacturing Pepsi and boobies, and they'd be the only organization I would need for happiness), it's pretty tiresome.  I have talked about her before, though not in much detail, but she's staunchly anti-feminist, more so than anybody I know (even my uncle with his MAGA hat collection), and it's super hard for me to get my head around that.  It was like that scene early on in "Downton Abbey" when you find out the Dowager Countess is against women gaining the right to vote.

Anyway, because everybody in the room had to get up early or deal with complaining, needy children, we ended the night quite early (it was a weeknight, of course, and maybe that has something to do with it).  Everyone had a long drive ahead of them.  But it is a testament to how wrong I was to be hesitant to go that I would have enjoyed staying just a little while longer.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In October: 1976

Push-ups Today: 67
Push-ups In October: 860

Finally, at a bit past three, I quit for the day, having outlined the next scene and its aftermath, but only getting three hundred or so words total that qualify under my super-strict definition as writing.  But I don't feel ashamed, not in the slightest.  There are days when I'm going to be busier than others, and that I forced myself to write a couple of paragraphs before allowing myself to go to sleep is something I am more than willing to pat myself on the back over.

Words Today: 326
Words In October: 12,317

*Just the night before, my cousin had grimaced while looking into my car, which looks worse than the ones you see by freeway overpasses where homeless people live in them.  Yes, it's quite horrific, as everything is in my life.  And I was reminded of that line at the end of DARKMAN, where the bad guy says, "I know you too well!  You could never live with yourself!"  To which, Payton Westlake says, "I'm learning to live with a lot of things."

Twilight Groan 11: The Hitch-hiker

Rish and Cathexis take a look at Season One's "The Hitch-hiker," and talk about hitch-hiking in general.  Going our way?

Download the show by Right-Clicking HERE.

Feel free to support me on Patreon HERE.

While it appeared that this was our last episode (I considered calling it our season finale for 2020), looks like the show WILL continue . . . if we find time enough at last.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

October Sweeps - Day 255

I've got nothing to share with you today.  Nothing of note happened, and I can't manage to even try to be entertaining today.  Thing is, I stayed up awful late last night getting work done, even though I knew my alarm would be going off sooner than normal (Tuesdays I always get up early, because I am an idiot).  But wouldn't you know it, sleepy or not, I woke up ten or fifteen minutes before my alarm went off.

Sit-ups Today: 150
Sit-ups In October: 1876

Push-ups Today: 66
Push-ups In October: 793

I did try to be ambitious, and went to the library in the afternoon.  I managed to get a thousand words written--unfortunately, almost all of them supremely lame.*

Words Today: 1599 (what, I couldn't muster up one more word?)
Words In October: 11,991

Around nine pm, I went to my cousin's and we finished the season of "Star Trek: Lower Decks."  The final episode was quite excellent, and featured two legacy characters as well as the deaths of everybody aboard a starship, both of which were nice surprises.

Afterward, we watched "Seinfeld"--we've been going through that series (which my cousin owns all of) from the first episode--I think we're on the fourth season now (around the time when it became a huge hit for NBC).  I've only seen about half of the shows, so a lot of it is new to me, and it has been really enjoyable to see them all.  I always felt that George was a kindred spirit--a character I really related to, despite the enormous amount of sex he somehow managed to have--and in revisiting it, I've appreciated more and more just what a tremendous talent Jason Alexander was.**

Anyway, because it's a Tuesday and I didn't get a nap in the afternoon (I usually don't, frankly), I fell asleep earlier than usual--during the second "Seinfeld" episode we watched.  "Do you sleep, Chima?" he asked me, as he always does.  I had to admit that I did, and he asked me how much of the episode I remembered, and I only recalled the first ten minutes or so.  

As tribute to my cousin's coolness, he replayed the episode and watched it through a second time, just so I could see how everything worked out.  I usually kick this guy under the bus, mostly because of his many, many attempts to murder me over the years, but that was pretty darn noble...especially when we went ahead and watched it a third time immediately after.

What can I say?  I'm nothing if not a zzzzzzzzzz...

**I used the past tense because, well, I haven't seen him do anything in years.  He may just not have the starpower of Jerry Seinfeld or the appeal of Julia-Louise Dreyfuss.  

*I did double-check just now, and the few words that were not lame were "blonder," "alpacas," "practically," "bureau" (a word I couldn't spell correctly if your life depended on it), "pre-menopausal," "Chicken Broccoli Cheese," "barring," "zillion," "Barring" (the second time, but not the third time), "Gordian," "wheel well" (technically two words), and, oddly enough, "Montana."