Wednesday, January 20, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 350

Joe Biden was just sworn in as President of the United States, and it feels like a turning point in the life of this country.  Opinions have varied over the last five years concerning the man who's been the face of America, ranging from "the greatest man ever to be born of woma--ngggggh!" and "the most evil person we've ever had in politics, much less as President."

History will, of course, decide how Trump is remembered, but I have never cared so much about who our leader was and the ripples his actions created as I have been the last year.  It's been such a lie and hate-filled last four years, that I must admit I have given into despair and unthinking hatred.

It's not you I hate, Cardassian.  I hate what I became because of you.

It was with admiration and hope that I watched Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony this morning, and listened to his words optimism and desires for unity, in a country that feels more divided than we've been since Lincoln's day.

Watching the man urge us to embrace our better angels made me want to be a better person, and put away the disgust and resentment I've carried with me these past twelve months, if I can.


And yet, the anger creeps back in when I hear people say that both sides are just the same, and encounter people in my own family that embrace the conspiracy theories and venomous rhetoric that has been chanted with the gusto of torch-wielding villagers since Obama was in the White House.

My mom once told me that she wanted me to be a leader of the people, that she hoped I would stand out and be a strong individual that other people could get behind.  And of course, I continue to be a great disappointment, to her and pretty much anybody I've ever interacted with.  But on days like today, I want to stand tall and do what's right, even if it's the harder path to take, and fulfill the potential that was within me long, long ago, before I became mired in despair and embraced cowardice in the face of minor adversity.

I saw in that recently-elected old man, his white hair blowing in the January breeze, the potential of us all to find the strength within to stand up and make changes in the world, not for greed, self-aggrandizement, or intimidate our enemies, but so that, in a few short years, when our time on Earth is up, it's a better place than it was because we were on it, for our oh-so-brief time in the spotlight.

Of course, those are just words.  And now it's time to sit down, in this hour and five minutes before the library closes, to write something down and get some words chalked up, on the three hundred and fiftieth day in a row of writing.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In January: 2339

Push-ups Today: 60
Push-ups In January: 1747

I asked Gino if he'd do another cover for me--I really take advantage of the dude more than I ought to--this one for "podcatcher," which I've decided is going to have a lowercase title.  I took five to ten minutes to sketch out what I wanted, trying my best to translate what I had in my head to a pencil and paper.  I wanted it to be a rough black and white image like Edward Gorey or Tim Burton would do, where most of the detail was hidden by shadow (or pencil strokes).

But I just couldn't get it to look like what it was in my head.  I initially had it naked, then tried to draw a trenchcoat (too small) on it.  Then I erased the legs and made them longer, trying to convey that they bend the wrong way.  This was the best I could manage:


Almost immediately (despite him living so far in the future that he can tell you about the Downey cameo in BLACK WIDOW), Gino did his own version, just as a proof of concept:


It's great that Gino will do this stuff for me, over and over (and over and over) again.  Cue Jane from THE NAKED GUN.



Words Today: 637
Words In January: 13,753

*I get why those that hate him would want him to fail.  I really do.  I didn't want Trump to build his wall or to kick the Muslims out of the country or drill for oil wherever he wanted or appoint sleazeballs, toadies, thugs, and fratboys to high government positions or to be able to have intercourse with his daughter.  But when Biden says he wants us to unite, regardless of our race or political affiliation, to eradicate the Coronavirus, to improve the quality of life for the poor and middle class, and see if we can't do the same for our planet . . . well, there's a certain self-destructiveness in longing for him to fail.  Of course, there are many (too many) that don't see a difference.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 349

I finished up the audio edit to "Bad Trip" (strangely, there was one minute-long section that was just silent, and then the sound continued as though I'd read the previous paragraph in my head or something) and sent it to Big to see if it should be an episode or not.  Tis in the Big's hands now.  

Next on my to-do list was to finish recording my story "Podcatcher."  I know I hemmed and hawed about "Bad Trip" (even the title sucks), but man, "Podcatcher" is up there with my favorite stories ever.  I started it at the end of 2019, then picked it up again in May of 2020, when the George Floyd outrage was all over America*, and that ended up changing the story's direction.  I was just going to have the cop character be Officer/Sergeant Rushtin (my go-to policeman), but I changed him to Alberto Harrell, a middle-aged black man who became a cop because of the racism inherent in law enforcement.  And then, to my surprise, he becomes the main character of the story, instead of Patrick, the dude it was all supposed to be about.

I was thinking of running "Podcatcher" on the show, but now I'm thinking it should be two episodes (I can't imagine how long the finished product will be, but the recording is over three hours long).

Today's the nineteenth of January, which means I only have a dozen or so days left to write.  Although, when I mentioned this to Big the other day, he reminded me that it has traditionally been February when I challenge myself to write every day.  That gave me pause, until I remembered that the writers conference I look forward to every Valentine's week isn't happening this year, so who knows if my impetus to write will even exist a month from now.

All I know is, I gotta get to the library tonight and get some work done, having not worked on that D&B book since Saturday.

Push-ups Today: 124
Push-ups In January: 1687

Sit-ups Today: 175
Sit-ups In January: 2239

I did write a bit, and when the library lights started to flicker, I had less than a thousand words.  But words is wordz.

Words Today: 911
Words In January: 13,116


*A girl I worked with, who the character of Marin in "Journey Into Another Dimension" was based on, got so up in arms about the movement that, to this day, her Instagram is just Black Lives Matter quotes and protests.  She had been so demure and quiet--boring really--that I suspected she would die an old maid (despite her attractiveness to me), surrounded by cats and fangirl thoughts of Jesus.

Storage Unit Serenade 41

 


These are soooooooo far behind.  By the time the winter ones start to show up, it'll be shorts weather outside again.

There were three takes of this one, all interrupted by mosquitos swarming all over me, causing me to forget the lyrics. Yeah, THAT'S why I kept forgetting them.


Stats

Pre-Eighties Songs: 9
Eighties Songs: 13
Nineties Songs: 9
Aughts Songs: 3
Teens Songs: 7  

Monday, January 18, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 348

Today is a holiday, and I chose to spend it (or some of it, at least) editing, sitting around, watching "30 Rock" (okay, one episode), and eating (okay, I spent a lot of yesterday eating too.  Food is good).

It's not that I deserved a day off (and I spent a few hours at the end of it working), but I took it, and didn't much concern myself with responsibilities.

I watched TOLKIEN, the 2019 Biopic about JRR Tolkien's youth.  It was . . . well, I don't want to say it was bad, but . . . it was head-scratching, puzzling.  It deals with his childhood and young adulthood, bookended by him in the trenches of the first World War.  But, is that why anybody would want to watch a movie about the man?

I enjoyed THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS, about Charles Dickens eventually writing "A Christmas Carol."  And I am the world's biggest fan of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, which details (fictionally and brilliantly) his writing of "Romeo & Juliet."  There are other Biopics I've enjoyed too, about famous people.  But among them all, I have never seen a single one that's not about what made their subject famous.*

It just doesn't make any sense.  WHY do we revere JRR Tolkien?  Because he was an orphan, right?  Or a friend to other boys?  Or a romantic who fell in love with a nice girl and won her heart?  Or a soldier?  Yes, that must be it.  Oh, it's because he really enjoyed languages, and made up his own.  That must be the reason.  Not anything else.

What?  He was a writer?  He created the most influential books in the history of the Fantasy genre?  Well, that must have been covered n TOLKIEN 2, because it's not here.  In fact, he sits down to write "Once in a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit" in the last fourteen seconds of the movie, then it fades to black.

Then, of course, text comes up to tell what happened with his book, and his children, and his life, his death, and the book of poetry his dead friend wrote.  No mention of "The Lord of the Rings" whatsoever.  I . . . I just don't get it. 
 
This poster is much more accurate than the U.S. and British ones.

I could come up with a better comparison, but let's say there was a biopic made of the musician Sting, all about his childhood in Newcastle and his struggles with his father and schooling, and him enjoying music with some pretty girl, and then, at the end of the movie, he says, "I'm going to start a band," and a friend of his says, "Ah, I know a bloke named Summers that's looking to start a band too."  And Sting says, "Is he any good?" and it fades to black.

Now, that's an oversimplification--TOLKIEN at least shows glimpses of what inspired him during the war to create Sauron and magic rings and a Balrog of Morgoth, but it honestly feels like the first half of a miniseries about the man, and all the writing and publishing struggles and fame and influence are coming in the second episode . . . which never comes.  I guess wrong-headed is the word I'd choose to describe it.

It was not a badly-made or -acted film, but it was immensely frustrating.  And just as bad (?), it was super forgettable.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In January: 2064

Push-ups Today: 50
Push-ups In January: 1563

My brother-in-law was watching football yesterday, and I discovered that they get completely different "Jake from State Farm" than I'm used to seeing.  You see, his are about buff black guys having a good time with Jake, and cool, manly white guys sharing a laugh with Jake.  When I watch "30 Rock," I see the one about the pierced, tattooed lesbian stacking up raw meat for Jake, or the dorky, mouth-breathing beekeeper offering honeycombs to Jake.  I guess that's the difference in target audience, isn't it?

You got Jaked.

Bet you football-watching a-holes never get to see the Taylor Swift "Cardigan" Capital One commercial, though.

Anyway, I guess that's it for today.  I hope yours was a good one.

Words Today: 260
Words In January: 12,205

*Seems like I saw parts of a movie many years ago about the childhood of Jesus Christ, Him playing with other kids, studying with the Rabbis, bringing dead animals back to life, being inspired by his saintly mother, trying out for Little League, helping Joseph in his carpentry shop.  I guess that's the closest I can think of, but that was an interesting experiment, with a built-in audience that probably wouldn't be disappointed they didn't get to see the three documented years of Christ's life.  Not like this.  Not . . . like . . . this.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 347

If you're super tired of reading these posts, then imagine how I feel, having done 348 of 'em in a row.

It's Sunday today, and I woke up super early in the morning (having passed out again last night two hours earlier than I usually do.  See, this is what comes of getting up early).  I spent the time before my alarm went off editing podcasts, then started my day around the regular time, deciding that, if the weather permitted, that I would take my first hike of the year today.

One of the goals--in fact, the first goal on my list--for 2021 is to go on a hike every month of the new year.  

I mentioned recently that I was never able to find the hiking trail that I went up last year--fairly early in the year--where I took a picture of an AT-ST and sang the David Bowie and Icehouse songs.  I looked every time I went back to the falls, but never could find it.  This time, however, I parked way down at the mouth of the canyon--almost a mile from the falls--and took the long way up.  When I go running at night, I have two pairs of shoes to choose from: one run-down pair where all the tread is worn down, and one newer pair I only wear when there's snow or ice out (since the tread is still intact).  As luck would have it, I put on the newer pair that morning, otherwise I would've simply had to turn around and go home, or walk twenty feet, slip on the ice, and then turn around and go home.

You see, everything up in the canyon was still either completely frozen or half frozen.  You saw trails like this one:

And it was hard enough to keep my footing with the newer shoes on (I slipped, if I had to guess, four or five times).  But man, there were SO many people there--mostly youthful and attractive student-types, but also a absolute metric tonne of Hispanic families out with their young (or very young) children.  It was easily as busy as I've ever seen the trail during the past year, and I was surprised to see a bunch of hikers (maybe 15 to 20 percent) wearing masks on the trail.  That's probably what you're supposed to do, but I'm a jaded, selfish tool now (well, more so than before), and even told my mom she could go visit her brother in California now that she's already had the virus and recovered.

It is January, which is traditionally pretty miserable (I remember driving home from Big's house one night, and seeing that it was negative seven on my car's thermometer.  I even took a picture of it with my primitive phone camera to mark the "occasion"), but has been very nice.  It was in the upper thirties this afternoon, and as long as I kept moving, I didn't get cold.

As I walked along, I looked up on my right, and there appeared to be an upper trail much, much higher, running parallel to how I was walking.  I suspected that, were I able to get up there, that would be the long-lost trail I'd been seeking.

Turns out, it was only accessible if you went a certain way, on the bike trail rather than the walking/stroller trail.  Since it's winter and all covered with ice anyway, there was no need for a bike trail in January, and that's how I chose to walk to the falls (I walked back on the other one--which turned out to be way slipperier).  And to my surprise, I found the trail where I'd sang "Space Oddity" last year, a trail with absolutely no one on it.

I made my slow way up the hill, happy to have found it again after almost a year (I believe it was March the last time), and excited to explore it . . . but it was pretty steep, and I worried (just a little) that it would be a lot harder coming back down than it was going up it.

I didn't see a solitary other hiker on this trail (which is to be expected--it's almost a Brigadoon-type location, one I could never find when I wanted to), and after a while, I found the overlook where I recorded "Electric Blue" (forgetting the lyrics pretty completely that time, ultimately having to redo the middle verse in the summertime to make it work).  I had been unable to find my tripod (turns out it was in my mom's car, which I took to the storage unit right after Christmas to unload all the Christmas decorations and tree), so I just put my phone on my selfie stick and sang a song.

Well, about 85% of a song.  My phone announced its memory was full as I was nearing the final chorus, and shut down.  Luckily, instead of in the summertime where an entire trip would have been wasted due to this (and it was, again and again and again and again*), Big Anklevich had explained to me how to empty the trashcan on my phone to free up space.  I did so, deleting half a dozen photos and the video I'd just done, then set up the selfie stick again to do the song, this time going just a little bit faster.


And this was much better . . . I made it to 97% of the song before the memory was full.  All it cut off was the last line of the last chorus.  And that's how it'll have to go out.  I'll stick a still picture or something there and redo that bit, I dunno--I won't get to it until May or so.

My song done (or mostly done), I put my phone away and turned back, still wanting to see what the waterfall looked like in January.  Like I had feared, going down was much harder than going up, and as slow as I went, it didn't save me.  

One of the four times I slipped was on the decline coming back from my song, and I not only landed hard on my butt, but I slid down another ten feet or so in a sitting position.  The positive to that was that nobody saw me fall, but that too could've been bad, had I slid all the way off the trail and down the mountain (although I'd have hit or caught a tree, preventing me from really getting hurt).

There's a little stream that goes alongside the hiking trail, and it was not only frozen over, but the ice was six or seven inches thick, which is more than enough to hold a person's weight.  Right before you get to the main falls, there's a secondary, smaller waterfall up on the mountain, and this one was completely frozen over.  It looked pretty amazing:


I took two pictures of it (despite having to delete other, older pictures to make room for it), because I discovered that there were people climbing up the side, using picks and climbing gear.  Crazy people.

That yellow splotch is a person!

I trudged over to the main falls, and found . . . nobody there.  I can't really explain it, since there were so many people on the trail and so many people congregating around the frozen falls (taking pictures of the suicidal dudes on the ice, or selfies of themselves) . . . but nobody at the destination.  I went out on the ice and took a couple of pictures.


The falls were still coming down, and it wasn't nearly as impressive-looking as the iced-over one.  I did take a step and hear the ice crackle a bit under my feet once, but it was still too thick to worry over.

Oh, and I ruined this picture here:


While I was standing there, a young couple showed up and took pictures of each other, making me feel all sad and unattractive.  I headed home after that, taking the wider path, and slipping and sliding all around it.  There were so many other people also on the trail, some intentionally sliding as though ice skating, and I didn't see a single other person fall, or even stumble.  It was just me.

But hey, I got a hike in, and it was cool to look at and be around.  Hopefully, you'll get out and enjoy nature a day or two this month.

Sit-ups Today: 200
Sit-ups In January: 2064

Push-ups Today: 123
Push-ups In January: 1513

Words Today: 747
Words In January: 11,945

*No exaggeration: we'd be on Serenade 80 or so if not for those wasted weeks.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 347

Last night, after finishing the audio edit for my story "Z-Day Report," I opened "Bad Trip," the story I recorded solely to do an episode of the Outcast with it, before promptly deciding it wasn't good at all and changing my mind.  Even if the story wasn't a great one, it had been produced and edited, and would go in one of the two upcoming story collections* I've resolved to put out in 2021.

I laid back, just to rest my eyes, and when I opened them again, it was four am, my light was still on, and somehow I hadn't knocked my laptop off onto the floor since falling asleep.

Today, I took an hour to started editing "Bad Trip," and there was one line about an elderly second grader that made me laugh.  I had decided against releasing it as an episode of the podcast, but now I'm wondering if I shouldn't send it to somebody and ask what they think.  Since the story was written (in part) to amuse Big Anklevich, I might ask him if he'll listen to it and let me know his judgment.

That episode is in his hands, kids.**

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In January: 1864

I know I complain a lot that I have no leisure time . . . but really, what is all this time I spent writing stories no one will ever read or editing podcasts three people will listen to (maybe more than that once the Feds discover all those girl scout bones under the crawlspace)?  If I stopped doing those two things . . . heck, I could watch craploads of television!

Plus, I took at least two naps this week, maybe even three.

Push-ups Today: 123
Push-ups In January: 1390 

Dunno about you, but there are forces constantly trying to drag me down (down, under the floorboards, where those same skeletons lie), mentally, emotionally, and make me give up on myself and the world.  It's like how you always hear about how models and advertising making girls feel fat and unattractive.

But my point is, you can't do everything, you can't be "on" twenty-four hours a day, and you can't give in to those chanting voices.  Take your victories where you can find them, no matter how small, and forge ahead.  You're doing SOMETHING right.

Words Today: 964
Words In January: 11,198

*Which reminds me, I spoke to Big yesterday about his efforts to get his stories recorded and put out in an audio collection, and he's chugging along just fine.  He reminded me of what Dean Wesley Smith said about putting out various collections of stories--he said, every time you have three stories complete, put them out in a collection.  When you have five or six or seven stories, put those out in a bigger collection, which contains the three from the first collection.  When you get a dozen or more, put out an even bigger collection, which includes everything from the other two-five collections you've already put out.  The man may or may not know what he's talking about, but when I was recording short stories his wife had written, she eventually put them out in a collection, and all I had to do was record a new introduction and copyright.  So I imagine he knows what he's talking about.
I have not taken the man's advice, but if I ever focus on publishing again, maybe I'll do that: put out collections of five stories, a dozen stories, thematically-similar stories, stories in the same series, and stories where teenagers nearly get to have sex but it is yanked away like Lucy with the football.  We'll see.

**Immediately, an inner voice says, "Are you daft?  Just put out the bloody story as a sodding episode, mate."  My inner voice is British, for some reason.  It tells me, rather than leave it in Big Anklevich's hands, just put it out there, whether it's good or not, because, "You get a few quid for it that way, and keep the bangers well away from your mash, know what I mean, know what I mean?"  A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat, wouldn't you say?




Friday, January 15, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 346

I woke up early again today, which makes three days this week, and sat down to finish my podcast (I was about 98% done with it, just needing to put in the Creative Commons license and paste in some outtakes . . . but then I remembered that I'd lost all my outtakes earlier in the week when every file I had open disappeared without the usual backups being made.  So I just went ahead and saved it and published it with no outtakes--probably the first one in five years), and seeing that it was already a few minutes before lunchtime, allowed myself to close my eyes, just for a minute, you know?

Zzzzzz.

Just like yesterday, that screwed me up for the next couple of hours.  But I HAD been smart enough (this time) to drink a half a Coke before starting on the editing, for just such an occurrence.  Now, it's late afternoon, and I'm able to sit down and see if I can pound out a few words, with two whole hours before the library closes.

School (college) is back in session this week, and the library has been so much busier than I remember it being in the last year or so.  Instead of writing, I dicked around on Wikipedia for a while, looked at emails, and changed a reference in "Only Have Eyes" from a wedding dress to a prom dress.  I also looked around at the people near me.  I've done this a lot since I stopped using the library's computers and started bringing my own.  I've mentioned that I tend to stare a lot harder at people now that they're (mostly) wearing masks, but I don't know if that's true or not.  I think I tended to stare at pretty girls pretty hard in 2019 and earlier.

But the new twist is, you don't see their faces anymore, just their hair and eyes.  And that, my friends, has got my imagination thinking that every woman I see is probably a Russian model under that mask.  I pay so much more attention to eyes now, and wouldn't have guessed a year ago that you can tell if someone is smiling or not just by their eyes.  

Photo of an extraordinarily ugly person (I'm guessing)

Directly across from me on this table is a middle-aged man (he could be anywhere from 45 to 60, it's hard to say), and he keeps taking his mask down and wearing it under his chin.  I can't really blame him, my hint of a headache keeps coming back probably due to me taking a nap in a sitting position today, but still, why can't one of the college girls in the kiosks around me take off their masks?

Dang, I should be writing instead of blogging and staring at studying students like some kind of pervy . . . well, Rish Outfield-type.

Push-ups Today: 60
Push-ups In January: 1267

Now the dude is sleeping.  I shouldn't judge, since I passed out today too.  Still . . . he just put his face (maskless) on the table and is actually snoring rather loudly across from me.  People are glancing over, but ah well, what can you do?

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In January: 1764

In yesterday's writing, I introduced a medium character that comes to the bed and breakfast on the request of Meeshelle, one of the clerks.  I had considered it being a priest, a Mormon missionary, or a professor at Boise State University, but I ultimately decided on a heavyset black lady who'd speak with a Caribbean accent, which is dropped once she realizes there are really ghosts to be found there.

Yeah, well.  I worried that priests were overdone, a Mormon missionary would head for the hills as soon as evil spirits were mentioned (they're usually about eleven years old), and a college professor would end up sleeping with both Natalie and Meeshelle.  So, even if you are rolling your eyes at the thought of yet another black lady psychic . . . I get it.

I decided to name her Renatta, after one of the two ghosts that apparently feature at the Haunted Mansion in Florida (but not the one in Anaheim).  Originally, it was going to be Carlotta, who is the twin sister of Madame Renatta at Disney World (or whatever the devil they're calling it now--I hate being out of the loop).  According to the internet, the two ghostly sisters sometimes come out and tell park attendees how they died and bicker about whose fault it was . . . and that's just about the most delightful idea outside that urban legend about the college sorority that has to seduce guys with big noses to get into the club.

I was of two minds about the medium/exorcist character.  When she was a he, I was going to have him be an exorcist-type that casts out ghosts and demons every ten years or so.  When I recast her, essentially, as Whoopi Goldberg in a movie in 1990 about a ghost--I forget the title--I was torn as to whether she should be a charlatan or legit.  


So, I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too: usually, she just puts on a show for the paying customers ("I'm sensing a presence . . . starts with an A or a J . . . could be K.  Maybe has an E in it somewhere?"), but when confronted with an actual paranormal encounter, it might test her resolve (and her sanity?).  I don't know how I got to this point--the character didn't even exist a week ago, and now I'm depending on her to solve the main problem of the narrative.  Seems like something a pantser would do (and brag about it).

Bloody pantsers.


Words Today: 1221
Words In January: 10,234

Rish Outcast 190: Stay Positive


So, I got sick.  Was it Coronavirus?  Well, I'm pretty positive.

Feel up to downloading the episode?  Right-click HERE.

Feel down to support me on Patreon?  Left-click HERE.

Logo by Gino "Way Positive" Moretto.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 345

I had agreed to take my sister up north to have lasik eye surgery today (actually, it was in December we were supposed to go, but the family got COVID, so that appointment went away), which necessitated getting up quite early in the morning.  It took quite a while, then she had to be helped out of the clinic, both blind and nauseous, and driven home, which threw my whole schedule off.  I fell asleep shortly after, while trying to finish a podcast, and when I woke up, it was past lunchtime and my head was aching due to not having any caffeine all day.

By the time I got up, got some work done, and had the time to hit the library, they were closing in an hour.  But I went anyway.  I wrote for another half hour or so on the big "Dead & Breakfast" story today, and I'm close enough to the end to predict that, unless I get lazy, I can have it done by February 1st.

The ghost that people see the most at Noble Oaks Bed & Breakfast (this is during the rest of the year, not on the 2nd of July, where the ghost people see the most . . . is your mom) is one known as the Lonely Bride.  The story goes that her husband-to-be died right before their wedding, and she mournfully wanders the lower floor of the B&B, either because this was where they were going to celebrate their honeymoon/wedding night, or because she killed herself there.  

I was thinking today of writing a story about Meeshelle, the day clerk at Noble Oaks (well, one of them, anyway.  I keep thinking there has to be several of them, because one person simply couldn't do that job five to seven days a week*), and her investigation into who the Lonely Bride was, and an attempt to maybe put her soul at rest.  

Funny, now that I type this, I feel like I had this idea once before, maybe even wrote about it on here.  Dang.

Don't get old, kids.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In January: 1664

Push-ups Today: 122
Push-ups In January: 1207

I did pretty well with the writing, introducing a medium character that I've got to give a name to.  If I can finish this book soon, I think I'll put away all of my story ideas for a while and just focus on polishing, formatting, recording, and releasing the pile of stories that 2020 helped me produce.**  

Words Today: 1157
Words In January: 9013

*I introduced a new one in "Only Have Eyes" who was not aware of the ghosts that haunt the place, but he's only served as being another body (he tries to get Mason to cover his shift while he goes to a wedding or funeral or something), and his name is, so far, _____.  I'm thinking maybe of calling him Rafferty.  I met a guy back in June or so with that (rather unfortunate) first name, and when I saw him again recently, he was amazed that I remembered his name.  He (of course) did not remember mine, but I'm not named after the guy who sang Baker Street.  I'm leaning toward calling the new clerk Rafferty; at least I wouldn't forget what I'd named him.

**Lest I get a big head about my accomplishments over the last eleven months, one of my Facebook friends posted her 2020 writing achievements, and according to her, she wrote seven novels and sixteen short stories in the year that was.  Nope, no big head for me, not at all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 344

We had an insanely warm day today, not just for January, but for any winter month.  It would've been a day to go on a hike, or sit out in the sun and read a book, or dance naked out in the woods wearing only a gym sock and a Snoopy hat.  I did none of those things, but my cousin and I did go out and eat lunch together, and we ate outside, though the wind blew, as if to say, "You know January is the coldest month of the year, right?  Hey, why are you ignoring me?"

I suppose, as the years go by, we'll get more and more "unseasonably warm" and "record temperature" days, until it's just accepted that that is the way the world works now, and only Christian fundamentalists will deny that we did this to our planet.  

Of course, I drove a hundred miles today, and it was nothing unique or special, so I'm a contributor to the destruction of our planet.  I also got one of those blood tests that tell whether you have Covid antibodies or not . . . and once again, I seem to have skipped those.  Sigh.

Push-ups Today: 50
Push-ups In January: 1085

Just two more weeks and a day or two, and this whole experiment can be over.  It's only 6:11pm, but I haven't written or exercised, and all of the audio editing that I did Monday and Tuesday has somehow been lost (the laptop restarted during the night, as it is wont to do, and instead of losing my writing, as I am wont to do, I had saved all that, but the editor that always backs up everything I edit, whether I want it to or not, backed up nothing.  Lame and a bit frustrating . . . much like Rish Outfield himself), and who knows whether I'll get to it or not.

I have very little money and even fewer prospects.  My future looks bleak.  But here I am, still trying, still getting up in the morning, and hoping that, somehow, it'll work out in the end. 

Sit-ups Today: 150
Sit-ups In January: 1564

Along those lines, Gino Moretto created me a cover for "Three Time Visitor" that conveyed exactly what I wanted from the temp image I was using.  This was my mock-up:

And this is what he sent me today:

Apparently, he combined two royalty-free images to make it, and even though it's less obviously a ghost than the temporary image I was using, I think anyone would agree that it looks better.  

I really can't say enough about Gino.  To quote THE NAKED GUN, everybody should have a friend like you!

Words Today: 303
Words In January: 7856

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 343

If you read this blog, you know that I'm like a broken record, saying the same thing over and over again (and over and over and . . .).  I had a friend that was like that, telling the same exact jokes and stories so often that you could sometimes quote them along with him, and it got old fast.  So you've heard me, day in and day out, say that I wrote something, and in looking over it, was bummed to find that it wasn't that good.  I said it this week, in fact.*

But today, I was copy and pasting the writing I did the last two days into the master file of "Only Have Eyes For You," and I started reading one of the MANY scenes with Mason Bradley and Natalie Whitmore on their overnight shifts together, just having conversation.

I got to a bit where Mason asks her, "You ever have a bunch of your friends doing something on a Saturday night, and it sounds fun and exciting, but you can't be a part of it because you work here weekend nights?"

She says, "Yeah, all the time.  It drives me craz--"

And Mason says, "Well, some people feel that way every single day.  Life is their Saturday night, and it's going by, faster and faster, and they're missing it, and the worst thing is that they're not stupid or oblivious: they realize they're missing it.  And it tears them up inside.  Life is going by, and one day it's going to end, and what will they have to show for it?  And that eats at them, jumping into their heads at inopportune moments, reminding them that they're on the outside, and while so many people out there are having a great time, or at least participating in life, they're on the bench, waiting for a chance to play, but seeing the game clock running down right before their eyes.  Tomorrow is Saturday night for you, but for them, it's today, and yesterday, and today, and oh, tomorrow too."

I ended up burning half an hour, just reading through parts (adding "he saids" and such where I felt they were needed), and I really liked what I saw.  I enjoyed the dialogue, I thought the funny parts were funny, and I thought the romantic wistfulness was real rather than sappy.  It pleased me to read it.

Sometimes it's hard to keep going, especially when it seems like there's no reason to push a boulder up a hill.  But it's nice when you can look back and say, "Oh yeah, that particular day pushing on this rock wasn't at all bad."


Push-ups Today: 121
Push-ups In January: 1035

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In January: 1414

Words Today: 799
Words In January: 7553

*And it wasn't.  I wish to Bossk that it was.  But ah well.

Monday, January 11, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 342


To reward myself for good behavior, I ended up watching the Leap Day episode of "30 Rock" last night between two and two-twenty-four am.  

I remember, about eight years ago, calling Big Anklevich after I'd seen the episode for the first time, going on and on about how everybody in the world of the show celebrated Leap Day like it was a real holiday, and that it ended with this truly effed-up moment when the old man narrator turned into a CG monster and hissed at the camera . . .

. . . but I knew that that hadn't really happened, that I had made it up to impress upon Big Anklevich just how effed-up the ending of the episode was.  I do that sometimes, my mind will embellish things that I've seen, and I will tell them as I wish they had been, rather than how they truly were.  It's a habit that bugs the people around me, but like a certain reprehensible President, I am mentally ill enough that I could pass a lie detector test that that's how the "Leap Day" episode ACTUALLY ended.

So, imagine my surprise when, while the credits rolled, the old man played by John Cullum leaned into the camera and his teeth went sharp, his eyes turned white, and gills appeared as he let out a nut-shriveling hiss.  

It actually DID end that way.  Double-you Tee Eff.

I rewound it and watched it again and again, shocked--and a little disappointed--that I had been vindicated.

In an attempt to find an image of monster Leap Day William, I discovered that plenty of people out there seem to observe the made-up holiday, by dressing in blue and yellow, giving out candy, singing carols, and saying "Real life is for March."  It's truly inspiring.


Well, in my high and low searches, there weren't any pictures of the nightmare-inducing version of the old man, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  I've been saying for years that it should be an international celebration every time we get a February 29th, like we did last year.  And even if most don't agree with me . . . Leap Day William lives in the Mariana Trench and rises up every Leap Day to trade candy for children's tears.  And don't you doubt it.

Push-ups Today: 50 
Push-ups In January: 914

You've heard this before, but it was after two am, I had an early morning the next day, and I still forced myself to get up and get my sit-ups done before I allowed myself to sleep.  And STILL, my father is not proud of me.

Sit-ups Today: 111
Sit-ups In January: 1314

But you know, tomorrow is another day and all that.  If you're reading this, yesterday is gone, but you can still work today, and strive to work again tomorrow, maybe harder.  I believe in you, and so does Leap Day William.

Words Today: 517
Words In January: 6754




Sunday, January 10, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 341

"They told me the dead come here for different reasons: to connect with loved ones, to talk with someone who will listen.  Some come for resolution . . . some for revenge."

I set aside an hour today to edit audio.  Half of that time was dedicated to "Three-Time Visitor," which is kind of pointless, since it's too short for a solo release and will have to be part of a Dead & Breakfast collection (although I'm thinking six stories is probably enough).  It takes place in the fictional Vernon, Idaho, and I don't really know the state.  There's a character from Coeur d'Alene who talks about her body being found in a river, but I didn't decide which river it would be, so I wrote both Snake and Salmon, figuring I'd decide in the future.

But editing the audio file is that moment, when I HAVE to decide, and I think I'm going to say . . . Salmon.  

Oh, and I've already published "Three-Time Visitor" in text, so I guess I'd better make the decision and fix it.*  

Because Marshal Latham lives in Idaho, I asked him a year or so back where Vernon might be, and it seems like I picked a spot on the map where Vernon is located, so that I could refer to it when people were driving there, or shopping around it, or had to go to the hospital in a nearby town.  Unfortunately, I no longer remember where it was on the map (and neither does Marshal--not that he ever saw the map).  Now, it's giving me a headache, since in the scene I wrote yesterday, Rowan is driving west on a road toward Vernon, and Mason asks exactly where she is.  And I ought to figure out what the road would be, since I just keep on writing these stories.

The quote at the top of this post is from Melina, the ghost in "Three-Time Visitor."  She's supposed to be a sexy ghost, and when I did the voice on the audio version, I imagined Kathleen Turner in BODY HEAT, specifically the moment when she says, "You're not too smart.  I like that in a man."  Turner had a breathy, low-for-a-woman voice, and I can hear myself trying to sound female, but also lowering my own voice when I do her lines.  That may not amuse you, but it's funny to hear me try.


I have always had a thing for female, sexy ghosts.  Maybe because of that scene in GHOSTBUSTERS (you know the one), not due to having encountered them before, darn it.  But I've written a couple of stories about them.  It seems like the opposite of the super frightening, hellish ghost: the kind of thing where you wake up, knowing there's a presence in the room, but when you open your eyes, you are glad that you did . . . instead of the kind that makes you turn your bed into a waterbed.

You hear me say this a lot, but I'm not sure how good the story is.  It's long, that much can be said for it (it's an hour long edited, and we're only on the second visit).  I like the bit where the ghost tells her story, and then the tale takes a bigger turn that carries it to the end of the narrative.  

I looked back at when I was recording the audio of this (was it really back in June?  It's taken me seven months to edit this thing?), and I mentioned on these pages something very similar: that I wasn't sure it was working or that anyone would like it.  The more things stay the same, the more things stay the same, huh?

I get discouraged pretty often, which is a sad state of affairs for someone as old (and near to death) as I am.  But I feel good when I stretch myself on stories like this one, writing about subjects I really know nothing about.**

Sit-ups Today: 200
Sit-ups In January: 1203

Push-ups Today: 121
Push-ups In January: 864

I got some work done tonight, like I try to do every Sunday night (something has to pay for that new Star Wars book that just came out and I'll never get to).  The end of the night, when only I was awake, arrived, and I hadn't written a single word.  But I was determined to.  I also hadn't had anything to eat since lunch.  So, I told myself to sit down and if I wrote a thousand words, I could eat some rice and beans (hey, I like 'em) and watch my favorite episode of "30 Rock," the one about Leap Day.  As a reward.

I drank some Coke-Zero to keep myself awake (meaning I'll surely still be up at three) and typed the payoff scene to what I set up a half-dozen "Dead & Breakfast" stories ago, not having any idea how it would resolve.  And it went well.  I even did an extra hundred sit-ups during commercial breaks on "30 Rock" (sadly, the Taylor Swift Capital One ad did not play, but the same two State Farm commercials I've seen every episode did play).

Words Today: 1207
Words In January: 6237

I didn't say much about the new Wonder Woman movie when it came out.  Mostly, I was surprised by how vehemently against it people have been.  I thought it was quite good because they give Diana a bit of vulnerability and physical weakness.  Basically, she's a god, right?  And what, exactly, would happen to a god if the U.S. and Soviet Union annihilated each other with nuclear weapons?  Would it muss her perfect hair, maybe cover that skin of hers with a layer of ash?

Or maybe she was losing her powers at that point and could've been wiped out, I dunno.

Along those lines, I've always wanted to write a story from the perspective of a Steve Trevor, or a Jerro the Merboy (the Atlantean that was in love with Supergirl), or a Jane Foster (or the way Lois Lane used to be written, I suppose), a regular human that is in love with a god.  I finally saw I saw the frankly pretty awful SUPERGIRL movie from 1984 around this time (circa 2001), where Hart Bochner's character falls in love with Kara, and I think this prompted me to want to write the story . . . which I never did.

The thing that fascinates me is that two different worlds thing. The idea is that you are a mere mortal, with all the flaws and imperfections and banality of ordinariness . . . but you meet this creature that has none of that, that seems like a higher being of beauty and grace and power beyond what us mortals experience every day.  How can she look at you as anything more than a pet, or a collection of weaknesses, or at best, a little brother that she has to look out for, but could never be on the same level as?  

And even though you know all that, you feel what you feel, and knowing it could never work out (would Kara and Diana and Thor and Captain America even age like a normal person would?), you can't turn off your heart.  It's something that I've felt, to a lesser extent, and maybe someday I'll give writing about that a shot.


*I checked, and indeed, I had both Snake and Salmon still written there.  I doubt anybody noticed, if anybody's actually read that story.

**Which reminds me, I had the ghost refer to I-95 in the story, and when I was editing it just now, I felt like that was too modern a reference for someone who died in 1960.  So I changed it to US-95, which sounds more like what my grandfather would've called it.


Saturday, January 09, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 340

I'm at the library again, and it's closing in an hour.  I think I can get some words, as I've finally reached the point in the Dead & Breakfast novel where Mason gets to use the words the ghost of Old Man Teklits gave him nearly two years before.  I set that up with no idea how it was going to pay off, but like George Lucas, I'll tell people that I always had it planned out before I even started writing these.

If . . . and it's a big if, I manage to pull it off, it should be a pretty powerful moment, although I originally thought the conversation would be in person, and now it's turning out to be over the phone, and I'm enough of a screenwriter to realize that'll work much less well.  We'll see if I can make it work.

Oh, another thing: my brother-in-law was watching a football game this afternoon, and a Geico commercial came on that said the name of the Lara and the Witch story I wrote in the fall.  It's the "Fencing Problem" ad, where a bearded dude and his chillingly attractive wife complain about their neighbors' fencing . . . and then said neighbors enter the frame with foils and fencing gear on.  


The above is a longer version than the fifteen second one I saw, but I couldn't find the cut-down one.  

It's really, really dumb, but it ended with the voiceover guy saying "Bundling Made Easy," which is what I titled the story where Lara falls in love with a basketball player named Scott, who I never gave a last name to.*  It made me laugh, even though it's a gross pun, but made me feel inspired, as far as my story title goes.  I hope somebody out there likes the narrative as much as I like what I named it.

Okay, I started the scene, and got 185 words into before I started surfing the internet.  The dang library is about to do it's "Please take your purchases to the registers and thanks for shopping at Toys R Us" message.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In January: 1003

Push-ups Today: 60 (I think today I was supposed to do my big set)
Push-ups In January: 743

Words Today: 933 (I had intended to get to a thousand, but I have reached the tipping point--the climax, if you will--and I'll to give some thought to what happens next)
Words In January: 5030

*Over and over in the story, it's written as Scott ____, because I enjoy giving full names in my stories, but was too weak to give him a full name.  Any suggestions?

Storage Unit Serenade 40

As the weather improved, and I made a weekly trip to the family cabin, I only recorded two of these at the storage unit, preferring nature's grandeur over . . . whatever this is.  Also, I soon got a new phone, so I could see when I was out of frame or too far back.*



Stats

Pre-Eighties Songs: 9
Eighties Songs: 13
Nineties Songs: 8
Aughts Songs: 3
Teens Songs: 7  

*If I ever found a spare four hours, I should put together all the clips from songs that I wasn't able to use, due to the space running out, the camera falling, the image turning on its side, or my head going up out of the frame.  Maybe for SUS 50.

Friday, January 08, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 339

So, I spoke to Big Anklevich today.  He told me he felt it was time to run our fabled "Final Episode" of the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, which we recorded around 2010.  The reason is financial more than emotional, as he is the one who pays for the hosting and domain name, and despite our recent Christmas productivity, the donations he receives aren't going to cover what he'll pay in 2021 (he even had to pay extra in December since we ran five episodes on the feed, exceeding our bandwidth).

We would still podcast together, from time to time, appearing on one another's solo shows, and maybe return to That Gets My Goat (one of my New Year's Resolutions is to put out the lost episode from 2019 we did with Marshal), but he would no longer have to pay to maintain Dunesteef.com, and LibSyn, which hosts the shows.  I told him to mention this to his fans before he goes forward with it, but I didn't try to talk him out of it.  

When the two of us went our separate ways in June of 2017, him moving to Houston and me staying in a puddle of my own filth, we vowed to stay in touch, and we have done so, texting every day and speaking twice a week.  But the topical podcast has never recovered, and the short story podcast was already on life support.  We now only do the show on special occasions, and another of my resolutions for the year is to get together with him to do one of our stories on video (a trial run I did last year with my story "Rest Stop"), and he told me, Why not have that be our final story on the show?


Time will tell what we decide on that front.

In other news, I hit the library again the way you'd hit your local pub, and had a much easier time writing, even though it was right before closing.  I'm back working on "Only Have Eyes," and I'm going to have to figure out how much of it can be left unresolved at the end, as I had three subplots going in it--Mason's romance, Natalie's brush with a new, terrifying spirit, and Meeshelle's suspicions about her boss.  It seems natural to combine the Natalie and Meeshelle plot at the end, but I don't know how one goes about getting rid of a particularly nasty spirit in a place that is as haunted as Noble Oaks is.  Can you bring in a preacher or Mormon missionary and have them cast that specific ghost out of the building, or would it send the other, less malevolent ones packing too?  I guess I'll have to ask Marshal about i--

Wait, ghosts aren't real, are they?  I can have whatever I want happen.  Hmmm.  That should make things easier, but it doesn't.  Anyway, I guess I'll just focus on Mason and Rowan and cross the other bridge when/if I get there.

Push-ups Today: 50
Push-ups In January: 683

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In January: 903

I closed out the evening with my sit-ups, a few warm-up push-ups, and my run around the neighborhood, but as I was jogging, I remembered the story I had been planning to record the last two nights (I think it's called "Bad Trip," but I don't much like that title), so I cut it short a block early, turning to go back home the street before I normally turn (which I don't tend to use because, if I've gone all that way--.80 of a mile, why not just go to the next block?), and ran east . . . until I reached an entire street with no streetlights, or any houses with their porchlights on.  

It was surprisingly dark, since there was no moon out and the major street I usually run on has streetlights on both sides of the road.  It was good and spooky, like the little farm town where I grew up, and I have to admit that I slowed way down, afraid that I might slip on some unseen ice, or just trip over a crack in the asphalt.  And as I was passing a fence, a dog started barking ferociously on the other side of it, scaring me quite excellently.  It made me think I should be writing horror stories instead of Romance, Christmas tales, Westerns, and contagion tales set on a space colony.

When I got home, I once again wanted to just press Pause on the world so I could get my editing done, record a story, finish my blog from the day before, and write up my New Year's Resolution list, so I could record an episode about it, which would necessitate deleting files off my recorder, which I couldn't do until I'd edited them and knew they were fine, which I can't do because I have no time (not to mention the two library books that sit beside my bed, unread, every night, which I probably won't crack until it's time to take them back a month from now).

I chose to sit down and record "Bad Trip," since I could use it for a future episode . . . and it just wasn't very good.  I disappointed myself, because the premise was so amusing, and I couldn't wait to share it on the podcast, offending my listeners with five full minutes of dick talk.  There was only one line that made me laugh (so I had to do it over) in a story that was meant to be darkly hilarious.

So, I won't be doing an episode about "Bad Trip" (which I retitled "Afield Trip," and then changed it back).  But I will put it in my fifth audio collection, and maybe Big will have something nice to say about it.

Words Today: 374
Words In January: 4097

Thursday, January 07, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 338


You heard me say this on Wednesday (or rather, you saw me type this), but I wasn't particularly keen on writing yesterday.  Luckily, I did pick a file ("Only Have Eyes") and wrote half a thousand words on it, which isn't a lot, but was more than I wanted to, what with the chaos in our nation's capital, and actual, genuine interest in what would happen with the election certification.

Today, I have no such excuse.  I haven't written a single solitary word, and it may not happen at all.  It's not anything wrong with me, to be honest, it's just a repeat of what I was feeling in 2018 at this time: I don't particularly care about writing, and it seems like a waste of time to me.

I mean, it IS a waste of time, kids.  Nobody cares.  The only person with a vested interest in these stories and these characters is me, and I've frankly done enough.*  Don't believe me?  I've written 368,194 words since February first.  That is more than could reasonably be expected of me.  That's some Sanderson-level shit right there.

So forgive me if I haven't a damn left to give.

This is what I think of literally every time I hear someone use the term "cops out."

Instead, I'm going to sit down and work on my list of New Year's Resolutions, and maybe see how I did with last year's.

I wrote up a list and started to record my episode, but wow, it was loud.  The kids are having some kind of sleepover in the living room with the neighbor boys, so I may not be able to do sit-ups today, or get some recording done, which I really wanted to do (and it would count as at least SOME writing words, even if I'm still actively against it).  While running, I was thinking about stories I could present on my show, and I remembered one that I wrote around 2017 when I took my nephew to a school field trip and texted Big the whole time about how much worse it could be.

I thought it would be really, really fun to run that story (currently called "Bad Trip," although "Afield Trip" or "Trip Afield" might be better), but I'd warn people about its offensive content beforehand.  But with the TV blasting through the (closed) door, I guess I won't be doing that today.

After the kids had gone to bed, I ended up doing a podcast with Marshal, and then Big called and the three of us did a Star Wars show for February, and by the time that was done, I hadn't done sit-ups or push-ups, or had anything to eat, and I had used up 99% of my recording space (I'd had to stop recording and switch to the ultra low-quality audio setting at the end so I could finish the show), so I made myself some soup instead of recording the story for the show ("Field Trip of Dreams?"), which would've garnered me some words for the day at least.

In the end, it was nearly two o'clock, and I had to be up at eight-thirty the next morning, and I had, like, fourteen words written for the day.  So I sat down and forced myself to at least get to a hundred words, so that I'd have SOMETHING for the day, instead of nothing.  And that's the best I could manage.  

And it'll have to do.

Push-ups Today: 120 (wow, that was actually one extra)
Push-ups In January: 633

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In January: 803

Words Today: 181
Words In January: 3723


*So much so that I'm willing to do a great deal of math right now instead of write.  MATH. 

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

January Sweeps - Day 337


I did go to the library today, eager to make up for yesterday's (and really, the last few days') lack of writing focus.  It was very difficult to want to write, despite having gone to the place where my brain has been trained is for writing.

Wow, "The New Model," the Natalie Whitmore-centric D&B story I wrote in the summer is over 23K words.  That's double what I would've guessed it was.  Meanwhile, I have managed 68 words today.

Today, as you may remember, was the day that the election was to be certified in Washington DC, and Joe Biden finally "officially" proclaimed the next president of these United States.  And so, our current president, Donald J. Trump, held a rally of his die-hard supporters, and encouraged them to storm the Capital . . . which they did, breaking in, smashing windows, defacing property, and taking selfies the whole time, while members of Congress hid in underground shelters.

Here in the library, it's hard not to want to watch (though wincing throughout) at what is happening in our country.  We have become, in just four short years, one of those far-off lands where mobs hold sway and violence is a constant thing.

This was a dark, dark day in America . . . but I can't really say how it was any darker than the last few weeks, and if I want to really get depressed, I might extend that to the last few years.

I recall sitting on the subway in Chicago (this would've been 2018) and seeing a sticker on the back of one of the seats that said "Such Tiny Hands, So Much Blood."


The world has been watching.  That was never more evident than today, when I hear from my friend in Germany and my friend in New Zealand, who of course know what's going on.  The world is watching . . . and it's us at our worst.

Makes writing a story about ghosts or superhuman teens feel less than vital, you know?

Push-ups Today: 50
Push-ups In January: 513

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In January: 703

My little sister had a long shift at work tonight, and my big sister is still sick with COVID, so I was chosen to take my nephew to his basketball game.  It was at the rec center, which I hadn't been to in several months, and I have the lovely memory of someone calling the police on me at a couple of years ago (the cops were friendly and apologized, but it wasn't extremely pleasant.  Guess that'll teach me to grow a beard).

The rec center was absolutely loaded with people, many of whom were there to work out . . . in leggings.  Up on the second floor, there were exercise bikes, and I could see them cycling away as I sat there watching my sister's kid's team get humiliated for an hour.  Well, at least we were wearing masks.

Anyway, my nephew was on a team of kids, playing against a team of, well, whatever you are when you're between kid and men.  These boys were all taller, a couple of them were quite muscular, and even though they couldn't make a basket for shit, they could still play b-ball better than my nephew's team.  It would have been funny, if I were the kind of person that enjoyed seeing elderly people fall down stairs or motorcyclists get hit by trucks (there are plenty of people like that out there--my uncle regularly "Shares" videos of people violently impacting walls, vehicles, or the ground--and let's not even mention 4-Chan).  Before my nephew even got off the bench, the score was ten to zero.

He got into the game, and I watched him run up and down the court, but it was unpleasant to say the least.  Soon, it was 21 to 2.  23 to 2.  25 to 2.  26 to 2.  29 to 4.  Finally, as they reached halftime, somebody decided to turn off the scoreboard, which I vaguely remembered was a rule in these sort of things, but was still surprising to see.  And the thing that was most disheartening, in my view, wasn't the score, but that the opposing team could simply not sink a basket: they would shoot and miss, then get the rebound, then shoot again and miss, then grab the rebound, then shoot again, and rebound, and shoot until it finally went in.  Kayden's team was just incapable of getting the ball until it was handed to them after a basket was eventually made.

I had brought a book with me, and I hardly ever read, despite wanting to, so I must admit that I spent most of the last half with my head buried in it.

Words Today: 557
Words In January: 3542