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August 2nd miscellanea

Highlights from the last 24 hours:
  • Called out Sonic over their lousy app and they couldn't care less.
  • It rained like crazy.
  • I deleted my micro.blog account and the Wordpress account I had set up to use with it.
  • I updated my special.fish profile again although I think my days left there are numbered.
  • I am trying to prepare myself mentally for returning to work after vacation tomorrow knowing I have no days off in August. 
I think August is going to involve a lot of ondoing things I did over the last few months, like diving in and trying micro.blog. I gave it a good try and realized I have no interest in it. Beyond the little design issues I don't like, there is a lot of technical talk in the feeds that I don't find interesting and most involve micro.blog itself.

I also cleaned up the blogs I read and am down to a very few. 

One good thing about returning to work tomorrow will be getting back into a routine. 

Welcome to August

The excitement of a new month is in the air here in Armpit. 



I am back after a few days off post-Camp NaNoWriMo which, at least for me, was a good exercise. It kept me writing even a bit beyond that 20,000 word writing goal I had set for myself.

Today also marks the winding down of my vacation and I have very little to show for it. I was going to read a lot. Nope, haven't done it. I was going to rest more. Well, I'm up at 5:54AM on Saturday writing this. I did get the garage cleaned up a bit and I finished digitizing the round of videotapes I was working on. I mowed during a driving rainstorm. 

I am not sure how hard I'm going to work on documenting the upcoming month here. I like the idea of coming by and posting little updates here and there but my 1000+ word missives are probably not going to happen. Also, special.fish is again feeling quite pointless and no amount of stubbornness is going to keep me going over there much longer.

July Write-O-Rama 26: Project Complete!

Welcome to the final entry of the July Write-O-Rama 2020. I’ve decided that since I am on vacation for the upcoming week, I should also allow myself to take a vacation from writing this document which you have seen divided up with my daily writing and also just crossed into page 35 of a Microsoft Word document on my writing laptop. I made my goal of 20,000 words a few days ago so I think this is as good a time as any to bring this project to a close.

Speaking of my writing laptop, some Dell update blew it up this morning so instead of going through all of the hassle of trying a bunch of little fixes, I just blew it away and reinstalled Windows from scratch. It’s all on the cloud anyway. It was easy peasy and now I am back to having a full functioning laptop. I think it was a BIOS install that must have goofed things up but who knows. As long as it is back up and going, that is all that matters to me.

For vacation, I have zero plans. I’ll be here doing a lot of what I did during the last vacation minus all the corgi meds. I am hoping to spend more time reading and also getting back into copying the big box of videotapes.

Will I continue to write? Well, yes, I hope so. That was the point of this laptop right here but what I write now will be for me and for my eyes only unless something gets refined and purified and suitable for sharing. It’s time to seriously consider what I wrote about back on day 23 and the contents of the article (“Revision Is My God” by Meaghan O’Connell) that got me thinking.

So, I probably won’t post anything else on here until August. Until then, you can find me over at special.fish still playing around with the HTML on my profile (some commands work, most don’t!). I’ll do my best to ignore all over sites and apps. I also had a book recommended to me by @heavydishongry and the library actually had it so it’s now on my Kindle and I’ll be starting that later this evening.

Thanks to all of you who have popped in and read some of these posts since Canada Day. I end Camp NaNoWriMo with 24,339 words!


July Write-O-Rama 25: Too sleepy to keep writing

It is early, early – 5:44am now as I begin this but I’ve been up since 5AM and the sleepies are catching back up to me. I might have to return to bed. I’m up because daughter #1 had to be at work at 6am and I try to be up for those early morning departures. I think I have been every time but once. One time I slept right through it until 9AM, I think. I must have been super tired.

Since I got up, I ate breakfast and took my longevity pills. I goofed around with my special.fish profile which obviously allows very basic HTML functionality. Isn’t it weird how quickly I went from shuttin’ ‘er down to turning my profile into a work of art? It won’t be long until other people are doing the same thing on their profiles but right now it looks like it’s only me.

Yesterday was a good day for the purge project – the name I right now decided to give my  never-ending goal of getting rid of everything in this house that no longer has a purpose and is just sitting around wasting space. We had a pool we used only during the summer of 2018 that has been taking up space in the garage ever since. I tried to give it away in our neighborhood with no luck so my wife put it on Facebook Marketplace for free and we had a taker almost immediately. This person came and got it yesterday for her grandkids along with a badminton set and a cornhole set that I offered up.

My next big goal in the purge project is the attic. I have some furniture and other odds and ends up there that need to go but all of that will wait until cooler weather, probably toward the end of October.

Wow. Eyes burning! I could lay down and be out like a light almost immediately!

Currently listening to Jazz 24 on my Amazon Echo Show 5.

I always try to add in what I’m listening to in case you, valued reader, want to duplicate the mood.

I listen to streaming jazz radio a lot and I always try to keep it turned down to the point that it is background music and not distracting. I want it to be like a jazz bar with the music low enough that a conversation could happen over it without having to raise your voice. I would also like a neon martini or palm tree flashing on and off in the window behind me in order to complete the setting but that might be going a bit too far and the wife will only put up with so much of my crazy.

It’s going to be hot again today and possibly rainy again. We have had a ton of rain over the past week and I would complain but I remember how much it sucks when we have no rain and everything dries out so I am going to keep my mouth shut.

Oh, wow. So tired. I’m going to have to stop here before my face falls onto the laptop keys.


July Write-O-Rama 24: Look at how awesome this bag is!!

One person can’t do it all. I have to get up early, early to get a shower first so I can start working with no interruptions but also the corgi gets up early, early and needs his food and pill along with the oldest dog who gets up early, early, early and is just plain annoying. She’s like a rooster. I’m up, she whines, so everyone should be up!

It’s impossible to do all of these tasks at exactly the same time so what happens is I get up earlier and earlier or I just sleep right through it all and have to fit in my shower sometime after 8am when it is already getting busy at work so sometimes that means I don’t get in the shower until 8:30 or 9 or even 9:30. And this is the difference between getting up at 5:45 and getting up at 6:30. Get up at 6:30 and the whole morning turns into catch up. Not catsup or ketchup (however you spell it) since French fries might be involved and I enjoy French fries.

Now it’s almost 90 minutes later (7:22AM) and I have finished getting ready, starting the work day (catching up last night’s emails and tickets), eating breakfast, fixing coffee and other tasks. I am not as grumpy now but these paragraphs capture a typical day here. Dogs. To do’s. General morning chaos. If I get up at 5:30AM, I’ll have plenty of time to DO IT ALL but then no one should complain if I am sleepy at 8:30PM.

Listening to WBAA Jazz streaming as I write this.

Today is my last work day before another week of vacation, a use it or lose it week since I am going ahead and taking the week off due to not needing to divide out days for band stuff this fall. It looks like there will be no Friday night away games so no need to take off early to get to the school and start loading the truck. No Saturday contests either. Plus no community band. I still have more time off scheduled for September and then additional days I haven’t scheduled yet just in case I need them before the end of the year.

Today will be a day of reports (week end and month end) and delegating since I won’t be at work next week to follow up on items. That means it will be an oddly quiet Friday for me. I’m hoping to spend some quality time with a book and maybe be out on the deck with that book if it does not rain this morning. So far, it looks great outside but that has been quick to change over the last few days. The high today in Armpit will only be 92 so that’s more like it. It’s 94 and over that really stinks.

I got an email last night from special.fish about incomplete profiles being purged and this made me think a bit more about my declaration on the podcast that I was done over there. Now I’m curious to see what will happen since activity has jumped since that email went out so I will probably stick around and see how all of that plays out. I like the idea of the site but I am not exactly sure that what I am doing there has value and I AM ALL ABOUT THE VALUE, as you know.

CORONAVIRUS is out of control. I was just reading a Facebook post from someone we know, barely older than me, that finally got to come home from the hospital. No health issues. Non-smoker. Nearly died from COVID-19. You just don’t know how it will hit you and you don’t know if maybe you already had it and the symptoms were so unremarkable that you thought it was something else. I had a weird few days in February when I was sick and even missed community band which has not happened before. Who knows if that was a cold or a bug or COVID-19? I remember the cough being almost uncontrollable and then one day it was all gone, back to normal. Weird.

Speaking of weird, I am weird.

Final thought today – I got an email from NaNoWriMo about a 40% off sale in their store and I typically donate something each time I do it so I ordered this bag (like I need another bag but look at how awesome this bag is!!) and donated $2. I’ll do more in November.


July Write-O-Rama 23: My cart has been out in front for years

Welcome to day 23 of the Write-O-Rama. I’m coming to you on the BIG laptop this morning in from the home office where I just edited and posted episode 501 of the podcast shabang that comes out every week like CLOCKWORK! CLOCKWORK, I PROCLAIM!

It feels good to create and unleash something and the podcast and these posts and most everything I do ends up being done completely on the fly with little or no notes, a stream of consciousness release of what is up in this brain.

As @altmilan said in the Discord today: you're just like those film directors that can do those long tracking shots. No edits needed.

Oh, if that was the truth, especially when it came to writing. This is my big hang up about the real November NaNoWriMo. It’s easy for me to write like this and dump out everything on my mind and sometimes even seem to have a point. It’s very difficult for me to write any fiction and especially challenging to try to make an even barely coherent first draft of a story that runs 50,000 words in just 30 days.

The supposed point of NaNoWriMo is to produce a draft that you will then come back and edit for the next eleven months or however long it takes to clean it up and make it publishable. Nothing I have created in my years of NaNo have been worth looking at again past November 30th and last year I deleted all of my terrible projects so that this return to Camp NaNoWriMo writing 30 days of personal posts would be a reboot. I named this project You Have to Start (Again) Somewhere in honor of this new start.

Yesterday, Austin Kleon shared an article – “Revision Is My God” by Meaghan O’Connell which completely turned my method of “long tracking shots” on its head especially when it comes to my writing. Sure, proofing and revision is something that must be done in order to be a REAL writer and get stuff actually published or at the very least worth publishing. I never turned in even a junior high paper without serious revision. Why should I think I can bang out the next great American novel in one fail swoop? What does NaNoWriMo’s 50,000 words in November accomplish if we wear ourselves out writing 1600 or so new words every day and then we end up with a pile of unsalvageable crap? I need a little expertise and direction to make that month of writing worth my time and I know I am very conscious of how I spend my time.

Camp NaNoWriMo works for me because I can set my own goal and my own project parameters. NaNoWriMo doesn’t work as well for me because of the 50,000 word goal and the need to write fiction – to come out with a novel. Even if we wrote non-fiction and even if I have a non-fiction book such as a memoir inside of me, would it be worth my time to try to make that fly out of myself in just 30 days or will it frustrate me to the point of not wanting to write? And if I was the Municipal Liaison for our region in NaNoWriMo in the fall, how would I guide our writers in a direction to where they would get something useful out of all of this time they will dedicate to writing?

Regardless of all of this, the article Austin Kleon shared was a big wake-up call for me, highlighting a lot of what I have been doing wrong and a lot of what prevents me from being a REAL writer. I have a lot of work to do if being a REAL writer is my actual goal!

Back to the article:

“It’s not like I hadn’t heard of the concept of multiple drafts, or editors, but subconsciously I must have been imagining everyone’s writing process to be like mine: typed along with an inner monologue, rapid fire. I didn’t understand yet, in a real way, that these writers were coming to their drafts over and over again, over many months or, more often, years, with new insights, new ideas, new metaphors, and new verbs.”

Sounds simple but I never do it. I do reread blog posts some of the time and make corrections after I have already hit publish. Ugh.

I needed this article because I have been doing this for years:

“How did they make their brains work so that a joke or a cutting insight or a clever turn of phrase occurred to them every other sentence? I imagined their writing process was like mine at 23 and 24 and 25, when I sat down and expelled a single meandering draft, except that theirs was in The Paris Review, and mine was posted to Tumblr at 1 a.m. without reading it over once.”

I have been posting to Blogger instead of Tumblr but it’s the same deal and I do the podcast a lot in the same way but I’m not trying to be a professional podcaster. It would be nice to be a decent writer though and if I am going to do that, I will have to A) get to writing and then B) get to revising. Notice that neither A or B say “get to posting” since that would be putting the cart before the horse. My cart has been out in front for years.


July Write-O-Rama 22: A short post from the couch

Good morning from the couch! I was walking through the living room to start the dishwasher and I am caught up on work for the moment so I thought I might as well grab the writing laptop and not wait until the end of the day for this post. I don’t have a word goal today so I’ll just stop when I run out of fuel. Speaking of fuel, I have a nice, hot cup of coffee in front of me just waiting to be consumed. It needs to cool down just a tad first.

It’s going to be a bit cooler today so I have taken down all of the shades out of the windows and let all the light in. Having shades up in the windows might seem a bit odd and who knows what the people who live sort of behind me think if they can see then but it certainly does help on keeping the house cool. What we really need is some huge trees behind the house for shade but then you have the potential for storm damage so no thanks. The woods behind the house are far enough away that they give us a bit of privacy but also don’t provide any shade whatsoever and would not be a danger in case the weather goes completely nuts and around here you never know when that might happen.

It’s already midweek and that means three days including today until another week of vacation! I have ZERO plans for next week so I am definitely looking forward to it. I hope to read and to sit here on the couch a lot. Those are my primary goals. I’m sure other things will happen also but primarily, I am keeping my fingers crossed for a big fat week of nada.

My Echo Dot podcast listening setup is working fine except for the lack of physical buttons that pause the podcast. So I might swap in my Google Mini which I believe has a tap gesture for pause. I am going to look into this a bit more. Sometimes I need to quickly pause when the phone rings or when some other interruption happens and most interruptions are dog-related.

Congrats to Ken on 800 episodes of dicksnjanes podcast this morning! The misshapen head segment is now one of my favorites. 800 episodes in and still producing gold for us!!

I am trying to get daughter #1 up and going so we can early vote this morning so I am going to end this one here today. Yes, a short one but it’s all gravy on top of the biscuit from here until the end of the month!