#Weeknotes S01 E07

Another short one, since I haven’t been feeling great this weekend.

IRONS IN THE FIRE. I’m not really trying to be coy by not explicitly naming online the things I’m waiting on. Just superstitious. And while the needle moved on one of these irons a couple of weeks ago, last week it was the other iron’s turn. And now I’m in that “hurry up and wait” phase of things. Frustrating but at least the odds are (the way I see them, anyway) at least one out of these two things will go my way.

WORKFLOW EXPERIMENTATION. This is the time of year when I usually field test some kind of personal workflow change so I can start the new year off with new systems in place. Last year, it was Weeknotes (which didn’t work out so well, but that was for reasons) and keeping everything in the Google ecosystem (which worked too well). This year, I know I don’t have all the necessary information to know what changes I might need to make — it kind of depends on how the two irons I have in the fire turn out.

IN THE WILD. I guess there’s no point complaining about holiday merch in stores anymore this year.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

#Weeknotes S01 E06

Sad news and not-so-bad news this week. I had to say goodbye to one of the best cats in existence last Wednesday.

Two days after though, I went to a Visit Day event run by the graduate program I applied to. It was a little weird for me, because the visit was geared toward the resident students; however I applied for the Executive program (i.e. mostly online classes geared for people who are already professionals in my field). But I figured if there was ever a time to shove my natural shyness aside, it was Friday, and it paid off. Made some cool connections with current students, alums, prospective students for the residency program and, like me, another “Executive” prospect who’s also looking to take advantage of this as a university employee.

The event did what it was supposed to do–make the program appealing to prospective students. I’m still waiting to hear whether I got in, but I have to admit, I want it more than ever now. Which isn’t a feeling I revel in particularly but hey, it’s not the worst thing.

Of course, this is going to be murder on the fiction writing. Maybe. I’m just not going to stress about that now. Only thing I’m worried about–even over the other iron I currently have in the fire that I’m not quite ready to talk about yet–is getting into this program! And besides, I’m not ready to give up on the writing just yet, as you might be able to tell from what I’ve started reading last week.

FEEDING MY EYES. With two books to add to the creativity section of my library along with Lynda Barry’s SYLLABUS and WHAT IT IS…

  • EMBRACE YOUR WEIRD by Felicia Day
  • IMPROV FOR WRITERS by Jorjeanna Marie

These books brought Barry’s books to mind because Day’s and Marie’s books have similar themes around why and how to get out of your own creative way. The root of all my creative problems is staying stuck in my head. Okay, creative problems and maybe more than a few life problems, if I was being perfectly honest.

FEEDING MY EARS. As if I don’t have enough of a podcast backlog…

  • In SCENE BY SCENE WITH JOSH & DEAN, cartoonists Josh Neufeld and Dean Haspiel break down, scene by scene, the 2003 film AMERICAN SPLENDOR. And we all know how I loves me some Harvey Pekar, right kids? That was reason enough to check this out but what’s even better is that Neufeld and Haspiel have several pieces each in the AMERICAN SPLENDOR comic. I didn’t even know this podcast existed until it’s second to last episode. Actually, I don’t know if Episode 30 is the last one, but it’s the one about the End Credits. Either way, I’ve started at Episode 1 and it’s just awesome.
  • The HEALTH CONSCIOUS podcast is run by a group of students in the field of Health Administration, discussing the state of the U.S. healthcare industry, how it works, some key challenges, and what can we do about them.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

IN THE WILD. Big mood this week…

Goodbye, Little Buddy

I’m having a harder time with having to let him go yesterday than I thought I would. It still feels like I took picture the other day.

Goodbye, Duma. I wouldn’t trade the last four months with you for anything. You’ll always be our Little Buddy, our Chonky Boy, our Absolute Unit, and our Sweetums.

[Edited to add: background for anyone who didn’t know]

#Weeknotes S01 E05

Short and sweet, because I’m not in the mood to get bogged down sticking to a structure right now.

IRONS IN THE FIRE. One of the irons in the fire I mentioned last week was this: I was offered an interview for the graduate program I applied to. Yes, I’m finally taking advantage of a dayjob benefit. Look, I even wore a jacket and commandeered a conference room for it!

It’s been a long time coming–maybe too long–but I decided to shoot my shot anyway. Truthfully, I don’t know what I’m more scared of: not getting in or actually getting in.

I’m still waiting on the other iron in the fire I mentioned; I don’t want to mention it yet for fear of jinxing it.

NEW HOTNESS. I couldn’t really afford to upgrade my old Google Pixel, but with the deals going on right now for the Pixel 4, I couldn’t really afford not to. So I went for it!

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Fal-tor-pan is in progress!

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My old man critique centers mostly around a lack of headphone jack and the removal of a fingerprint scanner. In the end, though, so what? I’ve got Bluetooth headphones and all things considered, it still does everything I need my smartphone to do in 2019. I even went back to the XL size phone because of my nostalgia for my old Nexus 6. That might’ve been a mistake, but I’ll deal.

FEEDING MY EARS. I’ve listened to this episode of the Ezra Klein Show podcast, “Neoliberalism and its discontents.” It’s so dense (or, I’m so dense?), that I couldn’t absorb it after one listen.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

Catch you all next week!

#Weeknotes S01 E04

I know this should be entry number 40something by now. What can I tell ya, it’s got a “4” in it at least.

You know how it is when you’re away from your blog for a while. You spend too much time thinking about how to make your next post something with a bang in it. But I have to give myself permission to just ramble if I feel like it. It is my fucking space after all.

It’s been a trying couple of months for me emotionally and as usual, I didn’t notice just how hard I get hit until the fog started to lift. You know, the fog of, “Wow, not only have you not made much writing progress for the past few weeks, you really haven’t felt much like making progress at all at… life in general.”

I could rehash it all but if you skip the #GhostHunters tweets on my feed, you can pretty much figure it out: sick feline family members, absent friends, new medication, etc. On top of that, I’ve got a couple of non-writing career-related irons in the fire–I feel like I’ve already jinxed them by saying even that much.

DAYJOB. As I write this, 2019’s Viable Paradise is happening right now. Also I have friends talking about World Fantasy Con next week. It’s a little bittersweet because if the irons I have in the fire right now pan out, I don’t know when I’ll be at an SFFH event or con again in the near future. So, I’ll either make some potentially career-altering moves in a positive direction at the (further) expense of my writing and involvement in the writing community or… well, maybe see you at Boskone or 4th Street Fantasy next year!

Yeah, as worst case scenarios go, I’m doing pretty well, I’d say.

WRITING PROGRESS. The longest Writing Chain I’ve had for the past couple of months hasn’t gone past 3 days at the best of times. I’m cutting myself some slack, though.

FEEDING MY EYES. I haven’t been doing much of that either until the past couple of weeks. Since then, I’ve added to my overlong reading queue:

  • ECHOES: THE SAGA ANTHOLOGY OF GHOST STORIES by Ellen Datlow (ed.) because as we all know, I’ll buy anything sight unseen with new M. Rickert in it.
  • FLY ALREADY by Etgar Keret, because what applies to Rickert applies to him, too.
  • THE ANTIDOTE: HAPPINESS FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN’T STAND POSITIVE THINKING by Oliver Burkeman
  • Tim Alberta’s, AMERICAN CARNAGE
  • Judith Hannan’s THE WRITE PRESCRIPTION, which I got after taking an impromptu writing workshop that referenced it.
  • Steven Pressfield’s THE WAR OF ART — can’t remember where I got it in my head that I needed to read this. From the workshop maybe? It’s not in my notes, though. Oh well.

FEEDING MY EARS. Aside from the audiobook for John Waters’ MR. KNOW-IT-ALL: THE TARNISHED WISDOM OF A FILTH ELDER, I’m burning through the usual spate of podcasts on my commute to and from the dayjob. The thing that’s stuck out lately is Marc Maron’s WTF podcast interview with Rachel Maddow (which I think will expire after a bit if you’re not a subscriber). At about 1:09:10, they start talking about their experiences with depression and I’ll be damned if a lot of my internal self-talk sounds like what they say goes through their minds sometimes. Things like…

Anytime I’ve ever felt joy, I’ve been misled.

or,

Remember that nice thing I once said to you? I didn’t mean that. I was trying to be apologetic.

I swear, from now on I’m going to hear all my negative self talk in Maron’s and Maddow’s voices.

IN THE WILD. Happy Halloween, folks!

Quickie Review: SWORD OF TRUST (2019)

B for effort, B- for execution. It met my barest expectations, namely watching Marc Maron play a version of himself as he did on his IFC show and on GLOW. And while the Maron snark shown in the trailer might’ve been my primary draw, SWORD OF TRUST teases me with the unspoken parts of his character Mel’s story. Of course, his story wasn’t the film’s story.

Writers Lynn Shelton (also the director) and Mike O’Brien compensate for what was lacking in Mel’s story by fleshing out almost every other character. Not completely, but enough for the story’s purposes. And I think the improvisational aspect of the film elevated the them above what could’ve been an utter trainwreck of southern stereotypes. SWORD OF TRUST’s biggest positive, I think, is how it (thankfully) baited and switched on anyone looking for a lazy, self-congratulatory endorsement of those stereotypes. Don’t bother seeing it if you’re expecting to just laugh at “dumb Southerners.”

“And if you need an Xscape for now…”

I love these newer tunes that make me reminisce…

I think I’m in the Ruff Endz, now
I seen her throwin’ up H-Town
You was livin’ off of Dru Hill
Wasn’t Ready For The World but baby, who is?
Know you prettier than all the El Debarges
Never worry ’bout the Total of the charges

–“Anywhere” by Anderson .Paak (feat. Snoop Dogg and The Last Artful, Dodgr)

Please Pardon the Mess…

Thank god I have the urge to consistently blog at certain times of the year, like Good Friday for instance. Otherwise, I would never know how to come back from long hiatuses.

To be honest, life hasn’t been great for me over the past several months. Keeping up with a Weeknotes habit has been the absolute least of my concerns. I do plan on going back to them eventually, but right after some changes that I’ve put in motion start to crystalize. Basically, I just needed to empty out my head and replace it with things that make me happy… or at least happier in the long run.

Maybe I’ll develop the stones to talk about it in a little more depth. Suffice it to say that the two videos below pretty much spell out what’s happened to me over the past 5 or so months.

Here’s the before picture…

And here’s the after…

It really is amazing what you can do with the support of people who care about you, and the proper therapeutic interventions!

“I Will See You On #GoodFriday…”

Happy Good Friday from the land of my ancestors!

Prior to the reenacted crucifixions, dozens of barefoot penitents beat their bare backs with sharp bamboo sticks and wood. Some had their backs with razors cut to keep them bloody.

Sterilized nails are used in the rituals, and after they are lowered from the crosses, the devotees are checked by medical workers to make sure they are no complications from their injuries.

Painter Ruben Enaje, 59, was nailed to the cross for the 33rd time as part of giving thanks after surviving a fall from a building.

ABC News