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Showing posts from July, 2020

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!


July Write-O-Rama 21: GOOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!!

For this glorious edition where I will pass 20,000 words written this month in the first 200 words I type, I am on the couch with the writing laptop and Stan Getz playing on Pandora (Exact song: Desafinado – Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd). Special music for a special occasion.

In the realm of not-so-special things that happened today, my iPod Touch died. This was my second iPod Touch. I bought it a couple of days into my mother’s ICU stay back in October of 2015. My previous iPod Touch that had replaced my Zune has next to no battery life left and was no longer supported so I went to Walmart and bought the new (at the time) model with the blue back because I wanted something a bit different than plain old chrome or whatever the back of most of them are.

That iPod Touch became my constant companion for what ended up being my mother’s nearly one month stay in ICU and then trips to various hospitals and rehab facilities for the next six months. Podcasts and music carried me through it all and I was certainly grateful to hear well wishes from others in our podcast community at the time. Apple stopped supporting this iPod Touch last year and today the case cracked due to a battery fault, I guess. It just popped – poof!

Oh, well. It lasted nearly five years and I was not going to buy another one. I had always listened to podcasts on a separate device so I would not be interrupted by calls to my work phone (my iPhone) but now I am over that hang up plus I don’t listen to as many podcasts as I used to so I stay pretty caught up. (I passed 20,000 74 words ago. Yay me!)

Saying goodbye to the iPod is a reminder of how long my mother has been gone, of course. She comes up in conversation from time to time with my wife and kids and my father and parts of those final months still seem almost unbelievable. Cancer is relentless and every step forward quickly brought two steps backwards and now all of the time has passed although sometimes it seems fresh in my mind but I guess we all have a few events like that in our personal histories.

Speaking of personal history, I’ll be recording episode 501 of the podcast possibly tomorrow, maybe the next day and I was tempted yesterday to record a bit and create segment one of the podcast and then create segment two later in the week thus making a two segment podcast. But then I changed my mind and started seriously thinking about why I have to sit down, record the whole thing in one run and put the episode out as quickly as possible.

Three points came to mind

First point, if I record earlier in the week, I typically can’t remember what I said so I will probably end up repeating myself. I don’t take notes and I’m not going to go back and listen to segment one and not a whole lot happens around here in a given week so repeating the same stuff again is a likely outcome.

Second point, I think my podcasts are like Taco Bell. They spoil if they sit out too long. What if I say something on Monday – make a prediction about what dumb thing Trump will do next or where a hurricane might go and then I am proven wrong! Do I still put that out there and make myself look foolish or spend most of segment two correcting myself and explaining why I don’t have a clue? I think not!

Third point, I start to second guess myself if I have a segment “in the can” and I especially would second guess myself if I had a segment in the can that I recorded on the can. To clarify, I have never recorded while sitting on the crapper. But I do start to second guess myself if I record and don’t post it immediately. I start to think about the things I said and I have found that thinking is a great way to derail creativity so I definitely recommend against thinking. I guess I am pretty self-conscious when I have time to be self-conscious so I try to post the episodes as quickly as I can.

Before I depart, let’s get back to the tale of the iPod Touch real quick and I will update you on my new setup. As I said, no more iPod Touch’s for me. I decided to remove my iHome Lightning Dock and put my Amazon Echo Dot on my home office desk. It takes up much less room. I can connect either my iPad or iPhone to it via Bluetooth and listen to podcasts through that. I’m going to give it a try for the next week at least and see how that works. Doing this means I don’t have to buy anything new and this is good since I just bought two new (to me ) items this week.

First, I bought a pencil sharpener that Austin Kleon recently recommendedthe CARL Angel-5 Pencil Sharpener in blue. I got it renewed for about $17. My old electric pencil sharpener came from Walmart many years ago and it has gotten dull so I’ve been needing a replacement for about a year and have just dealt with it, usually resorting to using a tiny manual pencil sharpener instead. The CARL Angel-5 sharpens pencils perfectly. I still use pencils all the time and it is perfect so should out to Austin Kleon for the great recommendation.

Second, and this is completely embarrassing, I bought a backpack. I KNOW, I KNOW!! I was at TJ Maxx over the weekend and I got sucked into the backpack section which has tons of backpacks for crazy good prices right now thanks to Back to School now known as Maybe We’ll Go Back to School But We Might End Up Being Remote From Home Again Thanks to Coronavirus. At the time, I did not see anything that I just had to have. Nothing there was better than the ones I saved from the help center but also none of the bags I still have are absolutely perfect.

One big thing I always want in a bag is easy to operate zippers. My High Sierra bag has zippers that stick. It’s a great bag but those zippers are terrible. Also, the Orben backpack that I got back from daughter #1 is an awesome bag but it also has goofy zippers.

So, I decided to run back down to TJ Maxx and take one more look and right before I was about to leave the backpack section satisfied that there was nothing I needed, I saw a Solo New York Region Backpack in black with burgundy accents with a clearance tag for $25. The zippers are like butta! The bag is slim but big enough for the writing laptop and the big Esquire short stories book I am reading. It has a proper place for pens, pencils and a notebook. And it’s super light. This bag retails for around $70 so getting it for $25 is quite the deal.

This bag also puts me down to just two backpacks, my Swiss Gear backpack for work and the Solo New York Region Backpack for personal stuff. I’m not getting rid of the others I saved from the help center donation box just yet in case the kids need them for something but I am pretty content with just the two backpacks plus the Targus slim briefcase I mentioned a few posts back and my Outdoor Master sling bag in blue that is my out and about town, corona bag.

OK, so this is still too many bags and I don’t think I discussed any of these when writing about bags was a regular feature on the blog and I continue to have a huge stack of bags in the closet partly just in case the kids need them and partly so I won’t get donation remorse and give away something I stupidly feel the need to repurchase. Been there, done that more than once with bags and radios and other things also.

Buying your feelings is a lot like eating your feelings and I think the happy pills have helped me come to grips with this and a lot more. To get down to 3 main bags is quite a feat compared to where I was just two months ago with a couch full of bags staring back at me.

Well, I think that’s it for this entry into my month of posts. This has been a long one. Once I get going, the momentum takes over. Thanks to anyone and everyone who has read any of these over the last three weeks. Although I have hit my goal, I plan to I keep going until the last day of the month. Maybe the rest of the posts won’t be as long as this one!


July Write-O-Rama 20: Uneasy and Bored

Woke up this morning uneasy and bored. I am not sure why. Then, I thought I might be able to tweet that I woke up uneasy and bored and maybe get that state of mind off of my mind – sort of toss it out there to the internet and move on from it – and that’s when I realized that’s probably what most people do. It’s a purge. It would explain a lot of tweets, especially the angry ones. But then I decided that I didn’t want to do that. What good would such a tweet really do? It would leave the few people who saw it scratching their heads and then no one else would see it so it would probably be just as effective to walk out on the deck and tell a passing butterfly that I woke up uneasy and bored. The butterfly might have some advice for such a thing.

I’m already getting over this feeling after just pounding out the first paragraph here on the writing laptop so doing this is much more effective than tweeting or involving insects.

However, I also thought of going out to special.fish and adding the uneasy and bored information to my log there but I am pretty certain only one person reads that (Hi, @altmilan) and again, there would be little point to placing such an update there when it is no longer an accurate description of how I feel now. Our tweets and posts and even these long entries on the blog are always capturing the past. With every word, I have moved on to a better or at least a different state.

I need to mow but I’ll be darned if I get on the mower when it’s over 95 degrees. Not only do I not want the mower or myself to overheat, but I also don’t want to kill all the grass by mowing it down so what’s left bakes and dies. Right now it looks like a fashionably messed up Hollywood haircut but at least it’s still green while most of my neighbors cut yards are turning brown.

In the weird world of dreams, the only thing from last night I remember is being in a department store and going up the escalator to the second floor only to find that the second floor had been closed and there was a some sort of small wall built over the exit to the escalator so you could get off the escalator but you were stuck in this small space between the where you came off the escalator and this small wall. I climbed over the wall – it was that small – because the only other choice I had was to go back down the moving escalator.

I am not sure what this dream means and I probably don’t want to know. Why was the escalator on if you were not supposed to go to the second floor? On the first floor, everything looked normal. There was no sign saying that the second floor was closed. You didn’t discover this until you were at the end of the escalator looking at the small wall. I recall walking around this dream department store second floor which was dimly lit and filled with still stocked abandoned departments and all sorts of items that looked like they had been hastily brought up for storage.

Maybe everyone dreams about messy stores. Maybe the point of this dream was to remind myself that I need to sweep and mop the kitchen at some point today. This task is now on my to do list so I don’t forget to do it.

Let’s all sing Sade’s song Smooth Operator as Smooth Mashed Potato. I would write up lyrics to this but the original song is a bit complicated now that I look at it and this would take some intense thought to tackle and I haven’t had my first cup of coffee yet but I have plenty of work to tackle today.

And, we’re back. It’s afternoon now and hot as a firecracker. I can feel the heat building in the living room also. Darn these high ceilings we thought were so cool back in early 2000’s!

I am finally over my uneasiness and boredom and it took taking a drive at lunch to really do it. I needed to get out of the house for a bit and I’m glad I did. Nothing detours a day that looks like it might be headed down the crapper like breaking your routine a little bit and getting a breath of fresh air even if it is through a mask.

I think I will stop right here and save the glorious 20,000 word mark for tomorrow.


July Write-O-Rama 19: Embrace the Crazy

It’s 2:10PM. 97 degrees. Too hot to sit outside and almost too hot to sit inside. The air conditioner can only do so much with 97 degree weather especially with most of the house facing the sun. Today should be the hottest day of the week but not by much. The average high this week is 95 so not much relief is in the forecast. We need a pop up rain shower to knock this heat down but it’s not happening here. It’s happened all around us even within a couple of miles of the house over the last two days but not right here at the house.

Last night, I sat outside for no more than 10 minutes and got attacked by mosquitos. I won’t make that mistake again.

Today was the deadline to decide between traditional, in-person high school or remote online high school and daughter #2 decided on remote online high school since she gets to stay in marching band either way. I hope she made the right decision. Time will tell. I think she’s more over the traditional high school scenario than she is afraid of the coronavirus but who could blame her. She’s been home since March. It would be tough for anyone to go back to the classroom especially with freedom looming in a few short months. She also has only a couple of required classes left before graduation so why not do them at home. All school will probably end up remote anyway since the numbers here are terrible. The positivity rate here is over 12% while New York has to down to about 1%. Not a good sign.

I just heard Year of the Cat on the radio right before coming in here to the kitchen to write this. 

Year of the Cat reminds me of a Chinese restaurant, House of Choy, my mother and I would go to when we were visiting my grandmother. This was YEARS ago since my grandmother died in 1978 and it’s possible that we continued to go down to House of Choy to eat for a few more years after 1978 but we didn’t keep doing it long. House of Choy is long gone now. Three things about House of Choy stick out in my mind. First, it was a dark, completely 70’s fashioned restaurant. There was a lot of red. Red  carpets. Red booths. I want to say red on the ceiling tiles even. But it was also somehow still very dimly let. Second, when we would go to pay, they have American Express brochures with the name and address of the restaurant on them. I guess this was so the restaurant would get some sort of reward if someone applied for a card using one of the brochures they had. Third, Year of the Cat seemed to always play over the speakers while we were there. They must have had the same music looped to play over and over. It’s weird what we remember, eh? I haven’t driven through there in five or six years but the last time I did, I remembered all sorts of landmarks on the way to where my grandmother lived back then.

This brings me to another story I keep meaning to share here on Odd Storytime. I don’t know why I have the urge (pun intended) to write about this. I have told the story before on the podcast, I believe.

I think it was in 1999. I was at a mall here in the greater Armpit area and I had to go to the bathroom. I went to the bathroom. Urge relieved. I go to the sink to wash my hands and as I am walking to the sink, this giant of a man is walking in and past me toward the stalls. He was tall and wide. Big, big guy. So tall that the crown of his head stuck up over the top of the stall. I would not remember that fact if it was not for what happened next.

I am washing my hands when suddenly I hear this man laughing, like loud, hysterical laughing. I pull my hands back from the faucet and the water stops. I guess it was one of those sensor things. That is when I hear not just the laughing but the sound of what I think for a second is pouring water until I look toward the direction of the laughter and the “pouring” and that is when I see that the crown of the head and the shoes in the stall are both rotating in a circle.

That’s right, giant of a man is peeing in a circle all over the stall, wall and floor while laughing like this is the funniest thing ever. I did not dry my hands. I got out of there as quickly as possible.

I did not stick around to see this guy emerge from the bathroom so I do not know if he came out with whiz-covered shoes.

So I ask, dear reader, does everyone not have similarly weird stories? Is it just me? I have tons of stories, some almost as weird as this one (the guy with the mohawk pooping in the sink, the kid humping the bathroom floor, etc.)  but this one is my weirdest one.

I tell people some of these stories and I get to hear other weird stories every so often (the guy that got his hair cut and immediately took off his shirt and started shaking the hairs out before walking out of the barber shop), but it does seem like I have a fondness for weirdness so I either remember the stories more vividly than most people or I have no internal mechanism that gets me away from situations where weirdness might occur. Maybe normal people don’t pee in department stores so they avoid encounters with peeing giants.

Some situations get so weird and so crazy that you just have to laugh. It’s like this whole coronavirus thing. The world is just about turned upside down and what choice do we have but to embrace the crazy and keep going. In my mind, this is the perfect time to embark on writing as a serious new hobby even if it just turns out to be an outlet for my thoughts versus something I do more publicly. I did write for the newspaper in college for a year and I took a journalism class before becoming concerned that the internet might destroy the newspaper industry so I better not do that and that was way back in 1992. I also wasn’t as much of a creative person back then so getting ideas on what to write about was quite the struggle for me. Now I am full of ideas. You might say full of other things. Maybe I am full of both.

But dreams have expiration dates so I have to step on the gas on this one. That’s why I write every day. I keep pounding out the words hoping that somewhere deep down inside of myself there is a story to tell and if that story involves peeing giants and pooping guys with mohawks, that’s fine by me.


July Write-O-Rama 18: Rambly

For the first time, I am starting today’s writing away from the house. No, I’m not at Starbucks or at the library. I am at my in-law’s house after supper. If it wasn’t for coronavirus, I might have gotten out and done this at one of the coffee shops but those days seem to be over for a while. This also marks the first time I have taken the writing laptop out of the house since I brought it home.

Today started off super early. I woke up around 4AM after another night of crazy dreams and I almost pulled out the laptop so I could get the details down but sadly I did not and now the memory of those dreams have completely faded out. I don’t think it was as odd as the Cheers dream so you aren’t missing anything.

I woke up with a sinus headache thanks to our crazy weather and the emergence of ragweed which I am very allergic to. So, I got up and ate and watched a bit of TV, sat out on the deck for a bit, and also finished another short story in the Esquire book. I think I went back to sleep for about 45 minutes sometime after 6AM but I still didn’t sleep as well as normal and now I am losing energy here at 6:55PM.

The official high today was 95 degrees with a heat index topping out at 103. It’s still 93 as I write this. Earlier out in the sun, it was miserable and it was especially miserable when we went out shopping to a couple of stores to get things we needed and we had to wear masks the whole time. I sweat in places on my face I don’t think I’ve ever sweat from before. It was weird. But, it’s merely an inconvenience. We’ll get through it. Soon we’ll be wearing our masks in cold weather and that will be nice.

I also started my re-read of The Artist’s Way today. This will be my third full re-read of it and I’ll be going a week at a time, highlighting different passages to discuss on the podcast and/or here maybe. This morning while I was reading the introduction, I kept getting ideas for things to write here and in other places. The text was already fueling my creative energy so it works. I can’t say anything I thought of was earth-shattering good but it was something.

I haven’t had to charge the battery in the writing laptop in three days and now I’m eyeing the battery level wondering how far I will make it in this before the battery goes kaput. It’s weird having a laptop with a decent battery again. I replaced the one on my main laptop earlier this year but it still sucks the battery down fairly quick since I didn’t buy the extended battery which sticks some sort of appendage out of the back of the laptop. No need for that. Like I said yesterday (I think), the main laptop rarely leaves the house. It will be six years old next month and I’m on hard drive #2 and, of course, battery #2 now, but overall it’s been a great machine.  I think I’ve got 16GB of RAM in there now so it moves along quite quick and processes podcast files with ease.

In local news, the mask mandate goes in at midnight tonight and most people we saw today were wearing them which is a good thing. I am sure there will still be plenty of idiots out there complaining about it. Daughter #1 called my attention to a Facebook post today from a greeter at our local Walmart saying not to cuss her, she is only the messenger. Some doofus posted a reply that this was America and in America they had the right not to wear a mask. I would like to have posted that since this is America, Walmart also has the right to not let you into their store if you don’t wear a mask. Rights go both ways. But, I am not a member of the group where this was posted and I don’t want to be and stupid posts like that are the reason.

As bad as Facebook is, Twitter seems to be a bit worse but they are all bad because they are a reflection of the people who are on those services who are the loudest and least self-filtered. So most of the time, I don’t participate in the conversations and I also mute certain people and accounts so I am not pulled into the conversations in the first place.

I think that’s all I have for today. This one is a bit more rambly meaning ramble-filled, I guess, since Microsoft Word has informed me that rambly is not a word. It should be. It perfectly describes this.


July Write-O-Rama 17: A tape recorder hidden in my right flip-flop

Tonight’s writing music : https://poolside.fm/

Finally, at 7PM central, I am in the recliner with my awesome writing laptop. It’s a giddy joy just pulling it out of the Targus SlimBriefcase which I promise you has the best zippers of any bag I’ve ever had. It’s so weird how smooth they are.

How did today go? It was super hot again and it’s going to stay super hot for a while (Microsoft Word flags super hot as not being grammatically correct but I can’t think of a better description) so I kept all of the windows here shaded and pretty much sat in the dark all day. It’s odd to run the lights during the day but it seems to have worked nicely. The house is still nice and cool now as it finally gets dark outside.

I got up early to work on all of my reports and after that I started working on editing podcasts in between everything else going on. By the end of the day, I had finished three episodes of In Your Earholes which gets me to one month from today editing-wise. It’s nice to have it all knocked out and also to go into the weekend with nothing really pressing. Tomorrow I will stay inside where it is cool and hopefully will have time to read and rest and write for this, of course.

On special.fish this morning, I shared a summary of last night’s weird dream:

Instead of waking up 10 times overnight, I slept straight through and the dreams were super weird. I travel back in time to winter 1997 and find our podcasting friend Ken in the Cheers bar talking to Frasier Crane. I record this conversation on a tape recorder hidden in my right flip flop meaning that I have to put that flip flop on the bar while I sit there recording and all through the dream I walk around holding the recording flip flop and walking in one shoe. I also travel to summer 1998 for more recording. Finally I return to 2020 and integrate the recordings into my podcast and no one is surprised at all. Ken comments “That’s cool” but no one is amazed or concerned by my ability to time travel.

Weird, huh? I wrote that at 5:11am right after I got up so it was still fresh on my mind. Another weird part of the dream is how, like the airport dream, it seemed to go on and on for hours. I remember ending up in this bar and there is Ken but I had no idea what day or year it was until I found a newspaper showing that it was indeed 1997. I time travelled back to 2020 and then ended up going back to 1998. Everything seemed to happen in real time. I was moving around this bar, recording and listening, but never interacting with anyone and no one seemed to know I was there. Was I a ghost? I guess we’ll never know.

Another odd detail of the dream was that this was not the Cheers bar after all. It was the Cheers bar but it was in the front of a real house, like that old country song I’m Gonna Hire a Wino to Decorate Our Home. That song is a classic.

I was able to walk all around the home to the kitchen and the patio. But the front of the house was a working bar that was almost identical to Cheers. At one point, Ken is out on the patio talking to Frasier and Sam Malone.

I didn’t even have spicy food last night so I am not sure why this happened. It’s pretty rare for me to sleep through the night and when I do, this is the kind of dream I have. Is it a blessing or a curse?

In local news, the rest of band camp, which had already been reduced down to a few hours a day, was cancelled. We knew it was coming. Only a few programs in the area were still trying to keep running camp knowing that most contests had already been cancelled. I am glad they all got to go this week and get to know each other and start the basics. No matter what happens this year, they will be prepared for next year when normality is back, hopefully.

The coronavirus situation here seems to get worse by the day. Masks have been mandated here which makes no difference to me since I never leave home without a mask but it is a shame at A) this is what it takes and B) certain people will still be defiant and cause scenes at stores and other places, I guarantee it. All of these freedom lovers should support wearing masks and keeping things open vs. not wearing masks and having everything close up again which seems to be the Coronavirus task force recommendation for our state and 17 others.

The hospitals here are filling up and there are plenty of horror stories of what other people and families are going through. Luckily, no one in our immediate family has been impacted yet but you just never know. I certainly don’t want to end up in the hospital for days or worse.

Did I mention that this laptop also has a touch screen? I have a touchscreen on my big laptop also that I rarely use but it’s a nice to have.

It’s 7:22pm now and I’ve been thinking, final thought here, about how I will keep writing once Camp NaNoWriMo is over. I will hit 20,000 words (my self-set goal) next week if I keep doing what I am doing but I am still planning to keep writing daily for the whole month. It’s been a fun experience for me and I hope it’s been at least an OK experience for anyone that happens to be reading these.

I think that’s it for today. Have a good evening, all. Back tomorrow!


July Write-O-Rama 16: Sit down and dump it all out

It is finally time to sit down and dump it all out here onto the page or more precisely the Word document. I copy what I write each day and paste it into Blogger while all of these posts live in one huge document on the writing laptop.

Today started out with a corgi checkup. Daughter #1 took him and I’m glad she went today since they are closing for two weeks starting tomorrow due to someone there having coronavirus. We got a month’s worth of allergy pills so we should be good there. Corgi – Allergic to Everything – Get One Today!

At lunch, I went to the YouTube TV and found that I am now completely through the TV show Emergency! – all six seasons plus the TV movies. I am done and that last season and those tv movies were not great. At least the first five seasons were pretty good. For me, that’s all the TV I can stand for now. It may take months for me to be ready to watch another show. I’d rather be reading or writing or sitting in the corner of the room staring at the ceiling.

I tried to watch part of one of the movies I had recorded on TCM and it was so bad that I happily deleted it. I have a few others saved that I might come back to. And, now that I typed this, I don’t know if the movie was bad or if it’s just my tastes that have changed or if television fatigue spoiled the movie for me. It might be a combination of the two.

It is crazy hot today and it will get even worse next week with no end in sight, at least in the forecast. The torture days of summer are here early this year. Normally you have to wait until August to really bake but not this year. Maybe this means August will be unusually cool instead. As I write this, it is 93 degrees F with a heat index of 103 degrees F. No fun.

The back of our house is in full sun from about 12:30PM to 6PM so anytime it may be 94 or over, I put shades up in all of the back windows. Light still gets in – it’s not totally dark – but it does seem to help keep the house from heating up as much. I wish we had real shutters out there or even inside shutters like we had back in the 70’s. Those would be a lot more effective in keeping the house cool.

I recorded and posted episode 500 of the podcast today. As I stated in the last few episodes, aside from me rambling a bit more than usual and planning the songs a bit further in advance, it was no different from a typical episode and I’m content with that. I don’t want podcasting to turn into a to do or a production. I want it to be easy peasy and an accurate reflection of my thoughts at the time of recording. It felt like a worthy 500th episode to me so I am pretty happy with it.

As part of moving into the 500’s, I updated the theme that will be heard in each episode moving forward and I changed the template of the website that no one looks at anyway. It looks better to me so I’m happy with it.

I have two books in front of me on the coffee table that will be occupying my time tonight after we run an errand in a bit. The first is the Esquire short story book I mentioned in previous posts. The second is The Artist’s Way because I am finally going to start a weekly re-read on that and my thoughts as I go through it will most likely bleed into the podcast. Once upon a time, I had a separate podcast for deep dives into The Artist’s Way and the two books that followed it. Now I am far too lazy to have more than one podcast/site/feed/etc. so no more of that. It would have never happened that way before if I had the same attitude about things that I do now. I have my green highlighter ready to go and I expect some of what I deem “highlight-worthy” may end up in these daily writings also.

This Word document just entered page 23. Holy smokers.

Dr. Disrespect was banned from Twitch and no one knows why and he claims to not even know why. Discuss.

**Crickets**

You may not know who that is. Once upon a time, I used to have Twitch running some during the day when I was working and out of podcasts and Dr. Disrespect was a streamer I watched because the whole persona was fairly entertaining and he never hid the fact that what he was doing was a character. And then one day at the end of a stream he was shown the door and has been MIA from streaming for several weeks. I stopped watching all of that over a year ago but I still find it interesting that Twitch/Amazon/Jeff “Satan” Bezos would ban one of their most popular streamers. I assume it will come out eventually. Everything else does.

This is not one of my longest posts but I have things to do. I have to brush my teethies and get ready to go grab supper and then I have an official band-related thing to do and after that I plan to be back home here on the couch in the same spot where I am sitting now.


July Write-O-Rama 15: But about these men I cannot make pastry

As I mentioned yesterday, I started reading Great Esquire Fiction: The Finest Stories from the First Fifty Years (1983). The second short story is "Little Miss Universe" by William Saroyan – published in December 1934. In this story, I found a gem of a quote:

It is impossible for me to lie, even though Mr. Kipling has declared that writers can never lie, that even when they do so, they unconsciously reveal even more profound truths. But about these men I cannot make pastry.

I love "But about these men I cannot make pastry." I already know that will be the title of this entry when it ends up on the blog.

It sounds like something Damon Runyon would have his characters say and it makes sense since this short story is about betting on horses. I also like how Saroyan repeatedly breaks the fourth wall and addresses the reader head on

This book is easily the best 10 cents I ever spent. What a lucky accident to stumble upon it.

I am coming to you, faithful reader (I might as well address you also if Saroyan can do it), from the kitchen table. I have my hot cup of coffee. KKJZ radio is playing over the Google Home Hub on the shelf behind me. The dishwasher is chugging along. After the dishes, I’ll start loads of clothes. I am caught up at work for the moment while still putting off those reports. I need a rush of energy to dive into them. I have three months to complete them before the next round but I do like to finish them in the first month. Once I get going, I will make quick work of it.

I looked into checking out The Artist’s Way from the library to read on my Kindle and there is a huge hold list, of course. I could buy a copy but I already own the physical book. I was hoping to do a re-read and capture my highlights in Goodreads so I would have quotes I really like organized there which is, I think, the best feature of Goodreads. It pretty much sucks as a social network. But, I have been thwarted and will probably pull out the book and start with week one and a highlighter even though it is probably already full of my highlighted notes.

I am glad to be reading anything at this point and to be reading at my own pace. I don’t care how long it takes me to finish the Esquire book (almost 600 pages) or what I do with The Artist’s Way. No more turning reading into a To Do. I think it was burning me out. It’s time to slow down and enjoy some things. I even had a shortwave radio outside with me for a bit after dark. It’s been months since I powered one up.

We have no choice but to slow down, I guess. We had another band meeting last night, this one a parent meeting. It was all remote but I was on it and I said my part. I ended up taking 5 minutes instead of the 2 I thought I could say it all in but that’s ok. We all tried to be optimistic although I know we all feel discouraged even though we keep trying to move forward and figure out the best way to give the students a good year of learning while all of the events we normally attend are cancelling. My argument is that just teaching the basics and having to time to spend together as a band family, even in small pods of people, is worth the effort. I don’t look back 30 years and remember the contests or games. I remember the people I was in band with and how much they meant to me. That’s the priceless part and if we can provide that, we’re preserving the best part no matter how COVID changes the rest.

Fast forward and it’s after lunch now and I am out on the deck in the little bit of remaining shade (currently 90 degrees) and this here writing laptop, my Dell Inspiron 7347, a 13.3 inch laptop from the year 2016. I don’t believe I have told or written the story of how I got this laptop so here it goes.

A year and a half ago, I think, I was on the hunt for a writing laptop and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. My regular personal laptop is a bit large and heavy. It works great for everything but it is a beefier machine so I edit audio and do all kinds of stuff on it and it rarely leaves the house. After searching all of the stores and seeing nothing decent under $200, my wife suggested the pawn shop not far from here. Well, that pawn shop was laptop heaven and I found an HP laptop with a 64GB SSD for $90 that had been bought and pawned so fast that it was still under warranty. It was a great deal but pretty soon, my daughter needed a laptop for college classes so it became and still is hers. I doubled the RAM in it and she loves it.

Last summer, Acer stopped updating our old Chromebook and it only had a 16GB SSD so I decided to start looking for a replacement since Chromebooks are still used at the high school with all of the Google stuff and, guess what, the pawn shop had a year old Lenovo Chromebook with a 32GB hard drive for $99 that is still under the Google updates through 2026

So, when I got the itch to once again look for a cheap writing laptop (something bigger than my Asus Transformer which is a good machine but a bit too tiny), I headed back to the pawn shop but this time, OH NO!, the laptop shelf was empty. Totally bare! I asked what was going on and they said because of school going to remote learning last semester, they were bought out completely. But, well, not completely – they had one laptop left that they could not sell because they could not get the pawner’s personal information off of it. I asked to see it and VOILA! This perfect Dell Inspiron 7347 with a backlit keyboard that looked brand new.

And, it is basically brand new. The guy pawned it about a year after he bought it and it has been in the back of the shop ever since because no one could get the data off of it. That’s three years of sitting. It’s a really nice machine. I instantly offered to get his data off if I could use the front counter for a bit. It took me almost 30 minutes (there was an error in the Windows 8 OS preventing a wipe) but I finally did it and I got this fantastic machine for $150.

I brought it home. Updated to Windows 10. Doubled the RAM. Upgraded the wireless card to the latest version so I can use my AC wireless speed and I ordered stickers to personalize it as mine, mine, MINE!

So, you might say, why waste the money? You already have a laptop and more bags and gadgets than you know what to do with. And then I say that this machine (and the new Targus bag I mentioned in an earlier post) has been responsible for my new found dedication to doing this right here – writing every day. I have long stumbled in my desire to write and now I feel like, even if it is in the form of probably boring daily blog posts, that something is happening. I don’t focus on grammar and I do no editing. I just get the words out, very Morning Pages, as I’ve mentioned before. Investing in yourself for something creative has really given me a boost. Investing in things that were not creative at all like backpacks and bags that truly served no purpose did absolutely nothing for me.

Lots of changes happening this month in my attitude toward myself and not just my own creativity but also my own health and these are all good things. I don’t know what will come of it all but I am enjoying the journey so far.


July Write-O-Rama 14: Freedom-loving, mask-hating, who-knows-whats

It’s 7:44am and I am starting this one early, making it a priority to write, instead of waiting until the end of the day and thinking that oh, no, this might be the day I don’t get my daily writing done. That would be a letdown since I’ve come so far this month. My goal is only 20,000 words and I have already passed 12,000. So, I’m going to leave my trust Asus Transformer open on the kitchen table all day and write whenever I have something I feel like adding here.

I have two things on my mind to start the day, really three now.

First, I hate the word things. I use things when I can’t think of a better word. Maybe I should write that I have three topics on my mind but that sounds too stuffy. Three ideas? Three subjects? I don’t know. It just always feels like a letdown when I give up and use the word things.

Second, I think I am abandoning yesterday’s idea of moving from special.fish to micro.blog. The more I think about micro.blog, the less excited I get about sharing microthoughts. All I would be doing is moving from one service to another (Twitter to micro.blog) thinking that the move would change something. It looks different so it must be better! I still have very little to contribute to that format. I need to create things (there is that word again!!) that make me feel like I am contributing something and sharing my microthoughts just doesn’t do it for me. Of course, I will keep pondering this whole idea.

Third, in the Even Bolder Moves Department, I returned the book I was reading, Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami. I usually enjoy Japanese books that have been translated to English but I felt like I was forcing myself to read it. I keep talking about taking a reading break when I think I need just a break from novels. So, I returned the book 25% of the way in and also cancelled my remaining holds. I have the copy of Great Esquire Fiction: The Finest Stories from the First Fifty Years (released in 1983) which I found at the help center for 10 cents and I am going to dig into some short stories instead and clear the mechanism for a few weeks or longer. I’ve read a lot of books this year and I want to start reading on the basis on quality more than quantity for a while.

Now it is the afternoon, 2:39pm to be exact, and I am back at the kitchen table to possibly finish up and post today’s mess.

Since the morning post was written, I’ve continued to tweak a few things. I went through my Todoist and got rid of as many tasks as I could. Tasks that I do daily or that I want to do daily but are optional and I may or may not get to them are done. I want Todoist to just be about time sensitive items I need to remember and I don’t want to turn daily, normal activities into To Do’s. I already have too many to do’s and too many to do’s is doo doo, ya know?

I did tackle some tasks I have been putting off so I punted away my reports until tomorrow. They take up too much time to dive into them today. There are too many steps and I hate them. See, I said it. Why beat around the bush?

I reinstalled Twitter on my phone, as I noted on special.fish (the site I stubbornly update each day when I know of only one person that reads what I write): Reinstalled Twitter on my phone. micro.blog’s select a message and tap conversation made me realize that conversations are the one thing Twitter gets right. I just have to never hit the Twitter search bar so I am not exposed to the garbage within.

Sounds simple enough, right? Just avoid the search. My trends have been in another language for a long time and that’s great on laptop browser Twitter but mobile Twitter got smart and put some customized trends for you crap as the default view in search on mobile and you can’t change it so you click on that and see what dumb people are saying instantly. 

Don’t look, Ethel!!! But it was too late. She had already seen that Will Smith’s marriage is trending again.

I think I’m trying to reduce the noise in my life. Oddly enough, this is why I reinstalled Twitter vs. diving into micro.blog further. I can organize Twitter in a way with lists and muting that minimizes the noise. As I noted above, conversations work better there also. I can jump in and out of the app faster. Sometimes in micro.blog, I feel like I’m trying to solve a puzzle of what was said back and forth in the conversations. Still, the conversation is in some ways better at micro.blog so I will keep my account there and use the app to keep up with some people. Using it just won’t become a regular habit.

Less is more, so they say, and less time spent on any one particular app leaves more time to, well, stare off into space if that’s what I want to do.

I guess I’m trying to remove a bit of the structure from my life. Structure and concrete plans are great and all but they don’t leave much room for improvisation and look around at the crazy world we live in now – structure and concrete plans are going out the window left and right as we deal with the new COVID world find ourselves living in now.

I wonder what Americans in 1945 would say if they knew that people in 2020 are mad about having to wear masks when a potentially deadly virus that may kill them or people they care about is circulating with no cure or vaccine. I pick 1945 because Americans were finally nearing the end of World War II in July of 1945 and many people had to completely change their lives because of it. Maybe they did it complaining and kicking and screaming but they still did it. Now, we can’t get people to wear a mask. It’s pitiful and sad and gross that we have so many stubborn and selfish people in our society. I wonder how this happened. I didn’t raise my kids to be stubborn and selfish. Does it just happen naturally or do other parents raise their kids to be freedom-loving, mask-hating, who-knows-whats?

I don’t know. I shake my head at this and most everything that is happening these days. And we thought the early-80’s were bad. Holy crap.

I think that’s it for today. I have a band meeting tonight. It is remote but I have to speak for two minutes so I will mask up and go to where the camera is for that and tell over a hundred families Hello, no I have no idea if we are going to need any of you or not for anything this year, but here’s what we do in a normal year when we are able to do things. This will be fun.

July Write-O-Rama 13: Variety Tonight

Here is a song that is your soundtrack for this one. I don't know why. I was trying to think of a title for this post and I remembered the old REO Speedwagon song, Variety Tonight. This post is full of variety and it was written tonight so there you go.

A DAY IN THE LIFE: It is Monday again and finally at 8:09pm I get to sit down with the laptop and type this out.

This day was crazy busy. I was back at work after being off Thursday and Friday and today coincided with starting on some reports that I work on, one that comes along every six weeks and another one that comes along every three months. I finished the six week one. The every three months on will take a few weeks of work to complete but I got a good start on it today and tomorrow I will start isolating and comparing data. That’s about all I can say about that.

I made one trip to the high school and I have to go back there tomorrow night for a meeting. I made two trips to the storage space the band rents and finally got a few totes full of band stuff out of our living room and into the storage space so our living room is starting to look like a living room again.

I put gas in daughter #2’s car. I also drove to Home Depot to drop off two cheddar biscuits for daughter #1.

I washed three loads of clothes and cleaned both showers. I started the dishwasher this afternoon but wife #1 emptied it so I didn’t have to do that.

I packed up some old pool stuff and moved it all to the garage and started feeling out the neighbors to see if any of them want it all. My days of putting up a pool are over. OVER! It’s too much work for too little reward.

I didn’t get to read any of the book I am currently reading, Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami but I hope to have a bit of time to read after I get done with this.

I did file away a couple of weeks of paperwork including paperwork for my daughter’s hit and run and my father’s monthly benefit statements.

I did not have time to look up daughter #1’s classes to see if there are any books we can go ahead and hunt down cheap before everyone starts looking for them. That task is number one on my list for tomorrow.

MORE ON MICROTHOUGHTS: In Discord, I sent a message to @altmilan about how I’ve been using micro.blog and that I am considering leaving special.fish and going there but the more I looked at micro.blog today, the more it felt like a blur of microthoughts (see yesterday’s post) and the replies on there are overwhelming with conversations not exactly easy to follow so I will be making no immediate decision on that. For now, I find that I am not contributing to micro.blog or Twitter but I am still keeping up my daily special.fish log updates each morning so maybe that’s I sign that I need to stay put. It’s amazing with all I am writing here that I have anything left in my brain to write anywhere else.

PODCASTING: This week, I will be recording episode 500 of the podcast. I think this will happen either Wednesday or Thursday but who knows. I know I will be too busy tomorrow to even consider doing it.

I found a new podcast on micro.blog so I did accomplish something there. Call it a personal journal podcast or unprofessional but it is a lot like what I and others do. You should give it a try. It’s called Get on and Shine with Holly Honeychurch. The feed is at https://blog.hollyhoneychurch.com/feed.xml and the podcast site is at https://blog.hollyhoneychurch.com/categories/podcast/

TOMORROW’S WEATHER: It’s going to be crazy hot tomorrow. It was hot today but tomorrow is crazy hot. We typically get just a handful of crazy hot days each year and it’s a bit discouraging to be getting them in mid-July since we usually get them in mid-August. At least it’s going to be dry for a few days. We need a break from the barrage of rain we’ve dealt with lately.

FITNESS CORNER: I need to be out walking again. In fact, I WANT to be out walking again. I’ve made a point of doing two things. First, I turned on all of the fitness features of my Apple Watch again after they have been off for months. I was brainwashed by the step counting of my previous Fitbits and was having a hard time getting used to how the Apple Watch hides steps but tracks Calories, minutes of exercise and standing each hour instead. Now I am giving it a full try and today, just from what I did around the house, I exceeded my calories burned goal. Like I said, it was a busy day. I am always doing something, it seems.

Second, I am going to start tracking my weight closer, hopefully weighing in daily. I was happily surprised this morning to discover I’ve lost even more weight since winter than I expected but I have a long way to go.

CORONANEWS: Corona is still spreading, of course. This is not going to change any time soon. Aside from the employees and one other customer, I was the only one wearing a mask tonight. Two guys, probably in their late 20’s or early 30’s, were returning something and laughing it up and acting incredibly immature for their age sans mask. Double gross.

I am hoping we can have a semi-normal year at school. I know it won’t be anywhere close to normal normal but semi-normal is enough. I just have a feeling that it’s probably not going to happen.

CLOSING: In closing, that’s it for tonight. There is so much I could comment on here such as what is going on in the world and in politics but I won’t. You get enough of that in other places, don’t you? I know I do.

July Write-O-Rama 12: Feed fatigue

Waving to you from a very rainy Sunday evening here in Armpit. I am awake probably thanks to the Red Bull slush I had this afternoon at Sonic. Hopefully I will stay awake for the 700 or so words I am about to type out on the ‘ol writing laptop. As I write, I am in my recliner (purchased at the now gone local K-Mart on Thanksgiving night probably ten or more years ago) with the laptop on my trusty red lapdesk and my trusty red lapdesk propped up on a pillow that is horribly ugly and completely falling apart but perfect for propping things up on so it will continue to be used until it does completely fall apart or I give in and beg someone to sew up the holes so the stuffing stops falling out.

No, I do not know how to sew. I can change out the guts in a toilet and digitize VCR tapes but I cannot sew. Maybe I need to take up sewing and sew this pillow myself. Hmmm. Will need to add that to my Todoist.

Hold on – I need to get the attention train back on the track. I was trying to completely set the mood so you can duplicate my writing environment if you want to. Sure, with K-Mart mostly gone, you can’t get the exact same chair and this exact same laptop is only available used now although you can buy the new version of it for $700, I think. But you can listen to the music I am listening to yet again, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEvM-OUbaKs, also known as Coffee Jazz Music – Chill Out Lounge Jazz Music Radio – 24/7 Live Stream – Slow Jazz. It’s perfect for getting in the zone and typing like crazy and probably sounding like I’m crazy when you read this.

I do have a topic on my mind tonight and it partly has to do with my love/hate Twitter relationship that I have been beating into the ground for years. Twitter is filled with ads and the trends suck so I decided to start looking around for a better yet similar service, a service with less ads and trends and suck. I found that service over at micro.blog but I am still not on a paid account there. I am supporting special.fish on Patreon which is completely unlike both Twitter and micro.blog.

And, I feel like I should be supporting micro.blog on the opening tier, $5 a month, because the service really is like Twitter without all of the suck. The conversation is so much better because these people want to be there and most pay to be there. There is a free way to be there (self-hosting) which, as I noted in an earlier post, is not exactly simple. I am going the free way for now because as much as I like micro.blog, my problem with both Twitter and micro.blog is that micro thoughts are starting to wear me out. I have feed fatigue. Scrolling down endless pages of micro thoughts is overwhelming. I want to spend time at a site. I want to get to know whoever is writing. Being an avid book reader, I am happier reading something with a bit more substance.

What micro.blog gets right is how longer messages are allowed, you just have to click the link at the end of the message that pops up on the feed to read them. The messages can go on and on and the micro.blog site (or self-hosted site) allows you to write as much as you want. Only the feed is limited in characters. And, I’ve found some really cool stuff at micro.blog so I am keeping my account active and, who knows, I might plunk down the money one day and even start blogging over there full time. It’s possible. But for now, I am just uncertain about not only absorbing more micro thoughts but also contributing my own. Isn’t the world busy enough as it is?

This is why taking Twitter off of my phone has been so enlightening. I am out and about during the day and I reach for the phone instinctively to share something on Twitter before I realize that I cannot since the app is not there and then I think about how dumb and pointless what I was going to share was and how I just saved myself from contributing to the noise which we have too much of anyway.

So, aside from the suck on Twitter which I have pretty much learned to live with and ignore, it’s really the feed fatigue from the infinite number of micro thoughts that I realize is truly the issue especially now that I have experienced the same feed fatigue on a different and improved take on the same type of service. And I realize it doesn’t do any good to quit Twitter and join another service that creates the same level of fatigue.

But I do still enjoy Twitter to a certain point and I think micro.blog is great. I will continue to use both but in moderation and I believe I will use micro.blog more and more and Twitter less and less.

Enough about that. BAG UPDATE!

After getting rid of bags and finally thinking I had tackled the bag habit, another bag has entered the house but this one feels like a logical, correct decision  instead of the desire to buy another bag when I already had bags that would perform the exact same function.

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a slip case for the writing laptop which is a 13.3 inch laptop. I have a couple of 15.6 inch slip cases which are way too big so I ordered a 13.3 inch slipcase off of Amazon. When it arrived, the AmazonBasics 13.3 inch slipcase was about 3 millimetres too small for the laptop. It would almost zip shut and would zip shut if I forced it but I didn’t want to do that. I returned it and then found the Targus TCT027US Classic Slim Briefcase. It was $13 more than the slipcase but had great reviews and it looked like a bag where the writing laptop could permanently live so it can be transported to the library and the coffee shop in 2022 or so when coronavirus might have a vaccine and enough people might actually take it.

I was most intrigued with the front pocket which expands out from the briefcase when you unzip it. It arrived and wow, what a great bag and that front pocket is perfect for the laptop power supply and any other small items you need to carry around. The bag is very compact and light and one day in the future I will share some pictures of it. I am very happy with the purchase and am almost considering getting a similar Targus backpack and replacing the other backpacks I have which would take me down to just three laptop bags – my work backpack, a backpack for personal stuff and this slim briefcase. Wouldn’t that be something? It’s tempting but I’m still pondering over it.

I feel like between this laptop, the stickers I covered the laptop lid with and the Targus bag, I have made serious, concrete investments in writing and so far, it seems to be working. I am more motivated to write than I have been in a long time and it doesn’t hurt that I am not trying to write fiction I have no business writing but am instead writing about who I am and what I know. For me, non-fiction seems to be the way to go.

I think that’s enough words for tonight. In case you missed it or didn’t miss it but have forgotten since the world is on fire with terrible news, the Write-O-Rama is a daily writing exercise I am doing this month as part of Camp NaNoWrimo.

July Write-O-Rama - Falling asleep while writing

7/11/2020 9080

How will this turn into work for me?

The topic of today’s post, at least to start, is a question I ask myself a lot. When the phone rings. When someone needs something we have in storage in the hot attic. When the neighbor is going to be out of town for a week. When a package is scheduled to arrive. How will this turn into work for me?

It alway somehow does turn into work for me. Earlier today, I was in the super hot attic pulling down a tote containing a cheap pool that someone is going to borrow for the week instead of going out and buying their own cheap pool that they can store in the attic for whenever they might need it. I am not even sure how this pool was offered up. Was this person talking about their stay at home, corona ruins everything vacation and then this person said, “You know what would make my vacation acceptable? A $15 dollar, one year old pool that has been in a tote in someone’s attic since last summer!” and then my wife hit the buzzer of turning this into work for me. BBBBBBBBBUUUUUUUUUUUUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Winner!

If my phone rings at an odd time of the day and my father is on the caller ID, I know this call is most likely going to lead to work for me. A commercial on tv for something that mentioned the VA (I know it was not the VA themselves because they don’t have commercials) leads to months of applying for VA benefits even though he financially does not qualify for them. Or, the toilet won’t stop running! Or, every store here is out of daily shower cleaner. WORK FOR ME!

Today, I finally mowed after putting it off for as long as possible and I decided I would go right to the couch for the remainder of the night once the mowing was done and any other outside chores were complete and I went up into the attic for the cheap pool and then I took my shower and then I ate supper and after that, to the couch! I am writing this on the couch on the sticker covered laptop (see last post) resting on a red lap desk I’ve had for ten or twenty years, who knows and I was just now interrupted and informed that the tote I brought down from the super hot attic is in fact the incorrect tote and now I get to go back into the super hot attic again and look for whatever pool might be hiding up there and how many pools could possibly be up there? Five? Ten? If our garage was bigger, I wouldn’t have to store stuff like this in the attic. If the shed had more shelving, I could keep all of this kind of stuff out there.

An attic is an enabler. It enables you to store a huge room full of crap that you can’t figure out what to do with or that you only use one time a year. Pools – summer. Christmas decorations – Christmas. Halloween decorations – we stopped pulling those down three years ago. Same for Easter decorations. I look forward to not pulling down the Christmas decorations. Christmas is the most stubborn of holidays. If you don’t decorate for Christmas, you are a Grinch. If you don’t decorate for Halloween, no one notices or cares. If I didn’t put up the Christmas tree or a line of lights down the driveway, what would people think?!?

I am the only person that doesn’t care what people think? OK, I lie, I care what a few people think but not rando strangers that drive by my house. I don’t care in the slightest if they are offended by my lack of decorations. I mowed today in super hot heat, not because I cared what the neighbors would think if I kept letting it go but because the mower might not make it through the grass without choking if I kept letting it go and it’s supposed to rain tomorrow.

You may wonder if I wonder what people think of these posts. I don’t. There is your answer. These are merely an exercise in writing and doing it regularly for at least the month of July. I don’t care if anyone reads them. My goal is to have 20,000 words of posts by the end of July and I’m ahead according to the stats if I maintain consistency. I would rather finish up early than take a few days off now and start to get too confident about my writing ability.Last night and tonight I almost took an evening off but here I am pushing through anyway because I know I need to keep this up even though I am so tired that it is hard to hold eyes open and it’s only 8PM.

Wouldn’t it be great to not be sick and to go to bed at 8pm? I’m not sick, just tired and I could close the laptop and go in the bedroom and be out within minutes but then I would probably wake up at 3am unable to go back to sleep and that would big time stink. I mention sickness because sickness seems to be the only time we can expand our sleep schedules and that is a shame. I think we need sleep vacations. Sleep all you want and have the concierge or someone else order up food.

I just sat starting at  word counter for a few minutes when I was at 9,999 words so far in this document. My goal is 20,000 words for the month and I am halfway there and it’s only 7/11/2020. Remember when 7-11 used to celebrate this day with special sales and events? It was a pretty smart tie-in and now I am really falling asleep so I need to save this document, close it in Word and go from there.