Saturday, December 04, 2021

Rish Outcast 210: Cry Uncle

In this TMI show, I talk about my Uncle Len, who passed away.  I drone on about his funeral, and then share a new story in his memory, "Here With My Childhood Friend."

Note: The story is a sequel to "Who Can It Be Now?" which was presented in Episode 170 of the show. 

Download the episode HERE.

Support me on Patreon HERE.

Logo by Gino "My Adulthood Friend" Moretto.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

November Sweeps - Day 670

Are you familiar with that Gospel song that says, "I don't give a f**k, I don't give a f**k, I don't give a f**k?"  Come to think of it, it might have been a Rap song.  But regardless, we've reached that point of the year.  So, I appreciate you coming along on this voyage.  

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In December: 200

Push-ups Today: 100
Push-ups In December: 200

Words Today: 314
Words In December: 501

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

November Sweeps - Day 669

Another month is over, a new one just begun.  And the best that you can hope for, Is to die in your sleep.

All three of my nephews were home today (one was sick yesterday, one was sick today [with a headache AND with braces, which are apparently unbearably painful], and one was four).  It was not fun.

Sit-ups Today: 100

Push-ups Today: 100

Words Today: 187

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

November Sweeps - Day 668

I tried, I really tried, to get these push-ups and sit-ups done to achieve my goal.  But just like the kid that starts his term paper the day before it's due, it's simply not possible to get it all in at the last minute.*  It's pretty late at night, and I'll do a few more of each, but then I'm going to bed, to heck with the goals.

Sit-ups Today: 248
Sit-ups In November: 3214

My cousin and I watched two episodes of the Marvel Studios "Hawkeye" series tonight, which I quite enjoyed, and finished the third season of "What We Do In The Shadows," which didn't thrill me near as much.  

The scene in "Hawkeye" where his son calls him and he can't hear what he's saying ranks up there with the second-to-last episode of "Loki" in my favorite Disney+ Marvel stuff ever.  If I could write something that good before I die (which is coming up, I realize), I'd consider myself proud.

Push-ups Today: 300
Push-ups In November: 3537

I'll say one thing for the end of the month, it sure gave me a push to do a little bit more under the wire.

Words Today: 1079
Words In November: 20,327

*I was assigned to review "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in college, and tried reading the whole book the day before the paper was due, and to this day, have no memory of ANYTHING in that book.  

Monday, November 29, 2021

November Sweeps - Day 667

I sat down to finish watching the Beatles documentary from the night before . . . and it was gone.

Somehow, the episode had been removed from Disney+, so I never found out why George left the rehearsal sessions (and presumably the band).*

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In November: 2966

I gave myself an extra hour at the library today, so I could really get some work done (it's possible that Big and I will record later tonight, but if we don't, I still have about ninety minutes of free space on my recorder).  And what do you know, the second I got here, I looked something up on Wikipedia . . . and there went nearly all of my extra hour.

And now I'm blogging.  Sigh.

But once I buckled down and got to working, I did alright.  The scene I worked on yesterday was lost (it's a long story), but once I got past it, I was working on a chapter that had a good flow and pace to it.  In the story, it's basically COVID-19, but with a nearly 100% mortality rate.  So I imagine the tale will grow grimmer as I go along.  I've got, I think, two or three more chapters written before I abandoned it, so I hope to just forge on after that, and get this sucker done.  Then I'll do it with another story.

I briefly mentioned this yesterday, and didn't want to talk about it, but I somehow lost all the work I did yesterday.  In order to get an accurate word count, I select a section of my manuscript, copy it into a new file, and go through it, making little additions and deletions as I go.  Then I count the words, subtract the amount still highlighted in the original document, and paste in the new version.  It's worked for me so far.

But I went online to find out the German word for "pass," and when I found it, hurrying to get the document saved before the computer logged me out (I was at, like, thirty seconds left when I was emailing it to myself), I somehow pasted the word "Passierschein" into the entire highlighted section--OVER the highlighted section.  These things happen, and they suck, but I couldn't let it beat me.  I just grabbed the saved file from Saturday (the one without Passierschein) and went through that bit again, then continued on from there.  Believe me, I've wasted way more time for reasons even more stupid than that.**

They're kicking us out now, so I guess I'll head home.

Push-ups Today: 120
Push-ups In November: 3237
Sadly, the month is over tomorrow.  Which means I need to do MORE push-ups and sit-ups in November than I did in October.  By my math, that means I still have to manage 283 sit-ups tomorrow and 409 push-ups.  Good luck, kid.

Words Today: 985
Words In November: 19,228

*Apparently, this was always their plan.  Two days later, the second episode had dropped off the service, and soon, night must fall.  That is the way of things, the way of the Force.

**Like the time all the computers rebooted for no reason a year ago--the last time I came in and used their systems, before bringing in my laptop instead--losing everything I had been working on that night.  Crazy that I would ever come back and do this again after that, but you know what they say Einstein said about the definition of insanity (which is one of my least-favorite sayings, right below "I could care less").
By the way, Albert Einstein never said that.  The quote was first attributed to him in the 80's, which otherwise was a pretty good decade.  Except for AIDS and that movie Stallone did with Dolly Parton, I mean.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

November Sweeps - Day 666

I'm pretty sure my math is wrong (it always is), but according to the above, it's the six hundred and sixty-sixth of these in a row.  A special number to me (and the Dark Prince, of course), and the number Big Anklevich told me would be great to stop with the daily blogging.  End on a high note, in other words.

Unfortunately, I haven't stopped.  But let's agree, just between us, to pretend that I have.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In November: 2866

I considered going on another hike today (I wish I had, really, before the real winter weather begins), but I was reading Abbie's novella, and when I looked up, it was already getting dark at 4:15pm.  I'm NOT blaming Abbie for not exercising . . . I'm blaming whoever's idea it was for the sun to go down before five pm.

Push-ups Today: 100
Push-ups In November: 3117

I started watching that new Beatles film/documentary Peter Jackson put together, "Get Back."  It was fascinating (I used that word yesterday about the crow, but hey, lots of things are fascinating to me), and while I consider myself a fan of the Beatles, I'm not an expert by any means.  They play snippets of songs, trying to figure out what to perform at their live show, and I don't know their work well enough to identify which songs make it onto albums and which songs we're hearing for the first and only time. 

At one point, we watch them developing a song, a few lines at a time, and it's just magical, watching how the harmonies and drumming and baseline come about.  I was loving it . . . and then George says, "But this just sounds like old shit to me."  It kinda rains on your parade there, I'd say.

I fell asleep on the couch while watching it (the second night in a row for me), but I'll try to go back to it soon.

Words Today: 417
Words In November: 18,243

15 Goals For 2021 - November Update

1.  Go on one hike a month.
Sure, even considered going on two this month.

2.  Finally write the "Bossk PD" sketch.
Only begun, never finished.

3.  Collaborate on a story with Big Anklevich.
I'd still like to, but no.

4.  Put out Christmas collection I was supposed to put out in 2020.
Haven't done a damn thing on it in months.

5.  Put out Audio collection I was supposed to put out in 2019.
I asked Gino for another cover.  If he sends it, I will go to town on this.

6.  Go to the Salt Flats in central (northern?) Utah.

7.  Finish "Only Have Eyes For You."
Yep, yep!

8.  Publish "Hatchling." 
I've got eleven chapters recorded, only eight of them mediocre.

9.  Publish "Underdecorated" AND "podcatcher" AND "A Sidekick's Errand."
I got it!  Here's "Underdecorated," "podcatcher," and "Sidekick's Errand."

10.  Record "Know When To Walk Away" With Big.
I'd still like to do this, but it takes two to lie, Marge: one to lie, and one to listen.

11.  Put out two "Tales of eBay Horror" episodes.
Damn, this is never going to happen.  That series has joined the Storage Unit singing clips in having been a little to hard to edit, once too often.  So forever they may sit.

12.  Finally finish "Balms & Sears."
Dang, this is highly unlikely.  The thing is: I COULD do it.  I'd just have to email the file to myself and say, I'm going to read through this, making little changes along the way, and when I reach the point where it cuts off, I'm going to continue the narrative through to the end.  I could do it in a week of library trips--less than that if I actually went there before the closing hour.

13.  Put out lost TGMG Thanos episode.

14.  Continue to exercise.  Why not?
I nearly missed a time or two.  Last night, I fell asleep on the couch, and woke up at 4:21am.  I headed for bed, then turned around and made myself do a hundred sit-ups, because I had forgotten them for the day.  If I can do that, I can do anything.

15.  Maintain a positive outlook on life.
Well, you don't get much more positive than quoting the second-greatest movie of all time, BTTF, kids.*

These are my completed writing projects in 2021:
1.  Only Have Eyes For You (D&B . . . novel-length)
2.  Jake From State Farm commercial (sketch)
3.  Heads Up (Horror, longer version and short version)
4.  Testing Anxiety (flash)
5.  The Bad Man In Room 2 (D&B)
6.  The Company You Keep (Lara & the Witch)
7.  The People We Touch (Lara & the Witch)
8.  Rookie Mistake (sketch)
9.  Twin Novella (Unidentical Twins?)
10.  The Python-Free Zone (sketch)
11. When You Need It Most (Lara & the Witch . . . novel)
12. The Case of the Missing Bracelet (Will Choner story)
13. Walk of Death (short story)
14.  Here With My Childhood Friend (short story)
15.  But Now I'm Found (Will Choner story)

*After 1987's MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, of course.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

November Sweeps - Day 665

This was an early start day.  After my father died, my brother (traditionally) would go to the cabin at the end of the season and winterize everything by himself.  But three years back (I think), when I started staying there on my own, I volunteered to go with him to learn how it was done and see if I could help.

So I've gone every year since then, and he told me on Thursday that today, Saturday, would be that day.  My nephew really wanted to go, because he thought he would see a badger, and I told him to bundle up, because it would be between sixteen and twenty degrees up there (hence me not going back the last two weeks).  But to my surprise, it was forty degrees out, above freezing, and the road had almost no snow on it.  In other words, I could've gone another two times this year, if I'd been brave enough.*

We went to the cabin one last time this morning, to do the end of the season winterizing.  My brother had seen evidence of another badger, so he'd baited some traps near the hole it had dug, but instead, it had a crow in it.

I thought the crow was really fascinating to look at up close.  It was not a very large bird, but its beak sure was, with a hook at the tip, and it had these big black eyes with grey eyelids that closed from the side rather than the top--that was super interesting.  It had pretty much torn its tail feathers all off scraping them against the bars of the trap, and when my brother finally opened the trap so it could fly away, it was only capable of hopping around.  The first thing it did was run over to where there was snow and scoop some up in its mouth--thirsty, I suppose.

My brother and I went up to the top deck and stapled thick plastic all around the balcony, hoping that it would keep (most of) the snow out, and we wouldn't have to re-stain the wood again for a while.  He admitted, though, that the wind would probably tear the plastic out (despite the dozens of staples we held it down with) by the next time we go up there in the spring.

Meanwhile, my nephew was outside, hacking the life out of a few trees, which my brother (rightly) took him to task over.

We drove home about lunchtime, and I took the boy to Del Taco, where he ate his weight in tostadas and habanero tacos.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In November: 2766

As it stood, I had no time to go to both the post office and to the library after lunch.  So I chose the library first.  I hate that it closes so early, but what can you do?

Push-ups Today: 100
Push-ups In November: 3017

Last week, I watched an Amicus production with Vincent Price and Peter Cushing called MADHOUSE.  It was fairly good, really, until the end (and I don't think I'd ever seen those two together before, except in HOUSE OF LONG SHADOWS, which I haven't seen in more than thirty-five years), but made me want to watch more Cushing stuff.

So, I found a Hammer film called THE GORGON (with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee) from 1964.  I really love the Hammer horror flicks, mostly because they were on permanent rotation on television when I was a boy.  This is one I've never seen, and technically, I still haven't, as I fell asleep relatively early on, had to rewind it, then fell asleep again.

Words Today: 354
Words In November: 17,826

*I could totally have gathered firewood during the day, so I'd have some at night when it got below freezing.  But I've been there when it's in the teens outside, and the cabin never gets warm--heck, I think it was that way in the twenties (could be my fire-making skills just suck, though).

Friday, November 26, 2021

November Sweeps - Day 664

Nothing much to share today.  Oh, I'll give you one little thing: because a bunch of relatives were in town for Thanksgiving, there was a family gathering at a Mexican restaurant we've gone to for nearly forty years, and there were about twenty-five of us.

I chose to sit next to my four year old nephew.  But that was a mistake.

My sister sat across from me, we ordered our food, munched on chips and salsa, and I drank a Pepsi.*  Just as the food started coming, my sister's eyes went big, and she said, "Get up, get up, get up!"  I was a bit slow in processing that, but looked over at my nephew, and SPLOTCH! the boy started vomiting.

It went all over the table, the seat, and a bit on me and the boy.  Well, that was a learning experience.

I went back to the kitchen staff and asked for paper towels, and they gave me washcloths and a garbage bag to dump them in when I was done.  My brother-in-law took the boy to the bathroom, and when he came back, he'd turned the kid's shirt inside out.  That was a good idea, but I had no such freedom.

That's it.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In November: 2666

Push-ups Today: 50
Push-ups In November: 2917

Words Today: 270
Words In November: 17,472

*I'm afraid I've gotten almost up to my pre-pandemic weight, mostly because I eat ice cream, rarely go running anymore, and have broken rules like this one, drinking regular soda instead of the sugar-free kind.  But what can you do?

Thursday, November 25, 2021

November Sweeps - Day 663

Happy Thanksgiving!

I like Thanksgiving a lot, even though I complain.  We did a big family get-together at the conference room at a motel a couple of towns south of me.  

I was in charge of taking pictures, so I took a ton of them.  I'm not a photographer, despite the kick-arse camera my uncle gave me (I did look for the big SD card I bought to record videos with--that I never use--so I could use the nice camera, but I couldn't find it), but I took about fifty or so photos, just hoping to get some good ones, and catch everybody that was there (except for myself, I suppose).

My aunt had brought a slideshow she had put together of 499 pictures ranging from her childhood in the Fifties to just this past year (when people had masks on).  It was really cool to watch throughout the afternoon, though I told her I thought it would be a good idea to caption the pictures, to spell out who was in each one (there were lots of babies, and lots of old people back when they were young that I couldn't identify), and it seems like I may have volunteered myself for the job.

My cousin's family had gone to his in-laws' place for Thanksgiving this year (they alternate), and it would have been nice to have him around to talk to (my niece made fun of me, saying, "Oh, boo hoo, your Cousin Ryan didn't show up, so now you're all alone."  I'm not sure she was joking there), and at least ten of the people there were strangers to me.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In November: 2566

I tried to get pictures of everybody, and took between fifty and sixty of them.  There's nothing worth mentioning there, except that at one point, I asked my Aunt Blanca if she'd take a picture with my cousin Taylor.  He said, "Really?" and got next to his mom, and I took the picture.  My aunt said, "You know, I'll bet that's the first time we've ever gotten a picture together."  I thought that was weird . . . until I realized that she wasn't his mom at all, he's my Uncle Ali's kid.  Whoops.

Push-ups Today: 105
Push-ups In November: 2867

Okay, even that wasn't an amusing story.  How about this?

So, my sister got her kids' hair cut yesterday in preparation for Thanksgiving, and this morning, as we were getting dressed for the activity, she exclaimed, "Where did all that hair in the sink come from?"

Well, I had shaved before my shower this morning, and I thought I'd forgotten to wash it down, but no, it was an extraordinary amount of hair, and I hadn't shaved off my whole beard.  Wait, where was the four year old?  Why was he hiding?

Turned out he had grabbed a pair of scissors and gone to town on his head, just as the barber had with him yesterday.  I guess every kid has done that at one time or another*, but she had to call around to see if someone could give the boy another haircut, to try to salvage it.  My Uncle John's wife did the best she could to even out the damage, but it looks like what it is: a kid with a mostly buzzed head.  My sister is sad because she'd wanted to do family photos for Christmas, and I suggested they put a Santa or elf hat on the four year old.  We'll see if she takes my advice, or just skips the pictures this year.

I had this idea today--came to me in the shower--of writing a Star Wars Thanksgiving sketch.  It's as bad as it sounds: either the Emperor or Grand Moff Tarkin is throwing a holiday banquet, and everyone around the table, including Darth Vader, has to say what they are thankful for.  In my head, it was pretty funny (I had this twisted idea that one of those sick, pale Imperial Dignitaries from JEDI is there, and what he's thankful for is so gross and bent that Admiral Motti does a spit take).  But alas, it came to me on Thanksgiving Day, so if I write it, it'll have to be for next year.  I dunno.

Words Today: 479
Words In November: 17,202

*My mom told us that my little brother tried cutting off all his sister's hair when he was four or five himself, a memory I'd completely forgotten.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

November Sweeps - Day 662

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, which isn’t a holiday, but might as well be.  I went to three different Walmarts today, and all three were busier than they usually are, especially the last one, which is often unusually busy.  It makes me remember back to the early days of the pandemic, when there was no toilet paper or bottled water or soup or adult diapers, and the line outside Costco went off into the horizon.*  Good times.

Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In November: 2466

So, here I am at the library—three nights in a row—with about an hour left before closing.  I haven’t written a word, but I did attempt to read an article about the first-ever female prime minister in Sweden, and how she resigned after seven hours . . . but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.  Either it was incredibly badly-written, or I am even dumber than usual.

I changed my mind about the gender-swapping I did of two characters on Monday, and changed the boy to a girl and the woman to a man.  You’d think it was a major waste of time, but it gave me more than five hundred words, going through and rewriting the scene yet again.  I also changed the character’s name to Suspiria, "Speer" for short.  I will consider this a minor triumph in 2021 if I finish this story.

Push-ups Today: 100
Push-ups In November: 2762

I got an email from Abbie Hilton, telling me she had a novella for me to narrate.  She wasted no air asking if I'd do it, just said, "Here's the file, here's what I'll pay you, can you have it done by New Year's?"  In some ways, I admire the heck out of that (that's the major league chutzpa that would've made me a success in life--and I've never used that word in all my days**), and in others, it's pretty scary.  But I'll buckle down, read through the story, find a typo, read the dialogue aloud, and sit down and get this sucker recorded . . . and it will turn out excellent, I just know it.

That's some low-level chutzpa, at least.

Words Today: 610
In November: 16,723

*And people have already forgotten all about that.

**Which means I'll encounter it half a dozen times in the coming week.  That's The Baader–Meinhof Phenomenon, fellas.