Fiction Friday: The Mongers, Part 4. Now On Patreon

Part 4 is now on my Patreon page. It’s only a dollar for the whole month. Check it out here.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/21424192

Or wait a week, and I’ll post it here. I could really use the support.

Sorry. No Posts This Week

Hey guys. I’m really sorry about this, but I’ve already missed What’s Up Wednesday. There won’t be a Flash Fiction Friday either. I have a pinched nerve in my back and I’m having trouble concentrating on anything but the pain. Hopefully I’ll be back to work next week. Send your healing energy my way. I really need it.

Not Another Lame New Year’s Resolution

First things first. As the title says, this isn’t some lame new year’s resolution I have no intention of keeping. I don’t believe in them. The timing is purely coincidental. Consider this my letter of intent.

I have failed you. I haven’t written much since early October. For once I at least have a good reason. At the beginning of October, I took a trip back to my home state of California. Ostensibly, to visit friends and family. But I had a higher purpose. I wanted to bathe myself in my beloved Pacific Ocean and let it recharge me. As for that part, it was a successful mission. I felt refreshed and ready to take on the world. Sadly, all that energy was soon taken from me as my appendix chose that moment to burst and put me in the hospital. Then came the complications which I won’t go into.

I’m not going to lie to you and claim I couldn’t do any writing because of it. I did write some. Unfortunately, I just didn’t really feel up to doing much other than recuperating and wallowing in self pity and worry over medical bills as I fought my way through the infection.

By the time I did feel somewhat back to normal, we were well into the holiday season and I let my old friend procrastination talk me into putting off any writing until after the holidays. Now that the holiday season is over, (No, I don’t count New Year’s Eve.) I have run out of excuses. It’s time to get back to work. It’s time to turn this hobby into a real career.

That being said, here is my pledge. First and foremost, I will write every day. This includes weekends. Some days it may not be much, but I will write at least some. Secondly, I will update this blog on a regular basis. I haven’t decided how often just yet. It probably won’t be daily. Truth be told, I just don’t have that much to talk about on a daily basis. It will probably be weekly or perhaps twice a week. Of course, if I have something to talk about I might post an occasional bonus update. Lastly, I am hoping to occasionally put up some free short fiction. I have come to realize that although I tell you I am a writer, most of you have never read anything I have written other than this blog.

Now I want to ask you for a favor. I need you to keep me honest. If you notice I haven’t posted anything new for quite some time, please call me on it. Sometimes I need someone to crack the whip on me.

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Which One Of You Did It?

Okay, confess. Which one of you did it? Who was it? Who put the jinx on me? Over the weekend the heater in my house went out, then the heater in my mother’s house went out, then the heater in my car went out. Now my refrigerator is making funny noises. I know things break but come on, all at once?

Other than everything I own falling apart around my ears, things have been good. Writing is, well, progressing. Still haven’t come up with an idea for a screenplay yet. Let me rephrase that. Haven’t come up with a GOOD idea for a screenplay. At least nothing that hasn’t been done a million times before. I’m working on a short. Once it’s done I have to decide whether to try to publish it or put it up here. I know I’ve been promising you original stuff for a long time now. What do you think?

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Oh Magoo, You’ve Done It Again

Yes, this is what you think it is, another apology post. I know I said I planned to update at least five times a day. Unfortunately the really real meatspace world must take precedent from time to time.

I won’t bother with excuses. Yes, things have been hectic lately but there’s no reason I couldn’t have taken a few minutes out of my life to shoot a quick hello to my loyal readers. The truth is, I’ve just been lazy lately. This is my first step toward recovery. So whaddya say? Forgive me?

In other news, I’m tinkering with yet another new writing project. Well, I guess you could say I’m in the pre-tinkering phase. It’s been years since I’ve done it, but I used to love writing screenplays. I wasn’t ever much good at them but I had fun with them and isn’t what life is all about? I don’t have a story in mind yet, but I picked up the latest edition of Final Draft and am currently playing with it. 

No, I’m not giving up the novel or the short stories I keep promising you and not delivering. I will still be working on them, this is just another thing I want to do. Blame it on an undiagnosed case of ADD. Notice I left the H out of that. Nobody could ever accuse me of being hyperactive. Hopefully I can find a way to divide my time between all my projects and more importantly, keep myself from getting confused as to which character belongs in which story. 

Anyway, that’s all for today. Hopefully I won’t be lazy tomorrow and will talk to you again then.

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Thoughts On The Oscars

I love the Academy Awards. Every year it’s the one awards show I absolutely have to watch. I watch others but the Oscars are my Superbowl. Maybe it’s because I still have hope of someday standing on that stage and accepting an award for best original screenplay. There was a time when I was all set to move to Hollywood to write screenplays with an eye toward monster making as a fallback. Unfortunately, as John Lennon sang; “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Overall, I thought Seth MacFarlane did a wonderful job as host. I did feel the “We saw your boobs” bit was a bit much. Don’t get me wrong, I know that’s his style of humor and I usually enjoy it. In fact, I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me laugh. However, and I know this probably makes me sound like a prude, it just felt out of place at an event like the Oscars. I have always felt the Oscars were a somewhat classy event. We are bombarded with toilet humor everywhere else. Can we just have one event where we keep things classy? I know Mr. MacFarlane is capable of being classy and actually quite enjoyed his other numbers. Overall I liked him and hope he returns next year with just a bit of polish.

As for the winners, I must admit I can’t speak much to that. Truth be told, I was rooting for one film to take everything but I can’t complain too much considering that rather than see any others, I went to see Les Miserables three times. What can I say, I’m a straight man that loves musical theater. I grew up in a theater family and while I haven’t had the opportunity to see this particular play on stage, I thought it was done very well.

And now, I’m probably going to offend some of you. I was very disappointed at the best picture award. Again, I’m not talking about the winner. Argo may be a great movie and I look forward to seeing it on video. What disappointed me was the appearance of Michelle Obama to present the award. Again, I try not to get political on this blog and this isn’t about politics. I would have been equally disappointed had Laura Bush done the same thing. I just don’t believe politicians and those around them should be made into celebrities. More importantly, the whole thing just felt forced and out of place. I suppose I’m just not a fan of politicians in general and feel they should be behind the scenes instead of constantly in our faces. (Yes I realize the first lady isn’t technically a politician but it’s close enough.)

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Why The Valentine’s Hate?

First of all, I would like to wish everyone a very happy Valentine’s day. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, I’m sending you my love.

Now that that’s out of the way I have a question for the single people. Why so much hate for Valentine’s day? Is it really that bad? I spent many many years single and it just never bothered me. The only difference from most other days was the knowledge that my friends that were in relationships wouldn’t be able to come over for a beer. It never even occurred to me to begrudge them that one day.

Maybe it’s because Valentine’s day just isn’t that big of a deal to me even when i am in a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, my girlfriend will be getting the usual flowers and candy and such. Because of our work schedules we will have to wait until the weekend to do dinner but still, we will do something. It’s just that I try to make her feel special every day so it’s not so important that I go crazy on V day.

So I suppose my message is this; If you’re in a relationship, try to show your loved one they’re special every day so there’s not so much pressure on this one day. If you’re not, why not show the most important person how much you love them? Yourself. That’s right, go crazy. Eat what you want, pamper yourself, watch that T.V. show you’d never admit to any one you watch without guilt. After all, you can’t love someone else until you love yourself. Besides, chances are you don’t show yourself how much you love you nearly as much as you should.

P.S. Sorry about the lack of posts this week. Monday and Tuesday were pure laziness that I blame on my birthday having been on Monday. Yesterday however was a different story. I wrote a post and thought I uploaded it, but when I checked this morning it was gone. It’s probably for the best anyway. It was mostly me whining about how much my birthday sucked, mainly because of my job. Point taken, no whining or the gods will delete my posts.

And Now For A Little Tech Talk

Don’t worry, this post has nothing to do with Ke$ha. I said tech TALK.

Yesterday I decided to do something smart with my tax return before I blow it all on things best left to the imagination. I decided that the time had come to buy a desktop computer specifically for my writing. I use a laptop as my daily computer and my tablet when I’m at work but I have a nice desk that is the perfect writing station save for the fact that it didn’t have a dedicated computer. It had a monitor, keyboard, etc. so I could hook up my laptop whenever I wanted. Unfortunately, I’m a lazy person so I rarely ever wanted. Thus, my desk mostly just collected dust and clutter.

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My desk in a rare state of unclutteredness.

So, as I left work yesterday morning I was on a quest. After stopping by several places and not seeing much, I finally found it. I wish I could say I bought the biggest, most powerful beast available and the male in me screamed this was exactly what I must do.

Reality, on the other hand, dictates that at this point in my career I need to save money whenever possible, at least until my writing starts paying for itself. If I was truly being honest with myself about why I wanted this computer then I didn’t need some monster. What I really needed was the cheapest computer that would do what I needed it to. The one I found fit the bill perfectly.

I bought the HP p2 1322. It has 4 gb of ram and a 500 gb hdd. Truthfully, I was hoping for something with just a bit more power but at $250 OTD I just couldn’t resist the price and it should be plenty for basic word processing and research.

I rushed home with it and couldn’t wait to start playing with it. The computer I mean. Pervs.

The first thing I did was remove the side cover so I could take a peek inside. The case is almost empty. Motherboard, HD, DVD drive , and plenty of air. It almost looks as if someone gutted a laptop and put it into a tower.

No matter. Time to set it up. One problem. I had to go back out and buy an internet cable long enough to reach.

Finally I got everything set up and turned it on, just itching to start playing with windows 8.

I was decidedly underwhelmed.

While I’m not completely against the idea of apps on a computer, I think they are unnecessary and in this case, need a lot more development. Apps are great on a phone, but why bother with them at all when you can run full programs? I quickly shut the apps window or “start” menu as they call it and went to the desktop.

“Ahhh,” I thought “Finally something familiar. Wait, where’s my start button?”

I guess I’m old fashioned, but I prefer to have a menu to access all my programs rather than cluttering my desktop with icons for everything I use. More importantly, why would you leave something like that out after getting people familiar with it for the last twenty years? Luckily, after a little help from google, I discovered several third party add-ons that let you add something resembling the old start menu. It was easy to do but I just don’t understand why I had to.

Also, every time you download a program it adds an icon (or twenty, depending on the program) to the new “start menu” which then has to be unpinned from the menu. Again, not a huge deal, just a PITA.

In short, while it’s usable, windows 8 is completely counterintuitive for someone who has been trained to do things a certain way for the past twenty years or so.

Oh, a couple more gripes regarding the apps. Why no intuitive way to close an app when you’re in it? You have to bring up the popup menu and select the start menu. Was it too hard to code in a little red X?

Also, why would you force me to merge my Skype with MSN messenger to be able to use it? There’s a good reason I stopped using messenger in the first place. I was tired of constantly getting invitations from fake women who want to let me see them naked and probably give me a virus in return. (Reminds me of that trip to… uh, never mind). Anyway, that’s the end of this old man ranting about new tech. I’m sure I’ll get used to it but I definitely don’t consider it an upgrade.

On a side note, I was considering doing Tech Talk Thursdays (or maybe Tuesdays) but the fact of the matter is that while I love tech and would love to do regular reviews, I just don’t have all that much of it, nor do I have the money to buy it and what I do have is outdated. However, if any of my readers work for tech companies, I would be happy to review any free samples they want to send me. ;~}

Let Me Tell You A Secret

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said; “Writers aren’t exactly people… They’re a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.”

Boy is that statement ever true with me. Growing up, it seemed most of my friends knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. Most of them were wrong. Still, they knew. Me? It seemed I changed my mind on a daily basis. Some days I wanted to be a scientist. (Physicist actually but back then I didn’t know there were different types). Other days, I thought it would be awesome to be a katate master, or a fighter pilot, or a race car driver. I think I even once wanted to be a lumberjack. And that’s okay. I just couldn’t decide.

And so, I became a writer. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Most of my protagonists, (hell, most of my characters,) are versions of me. Being a writer lets me step into the shoes of a spy, or a soldier, or a barbarian warrior. The decisions my character makes are the decisions I would make. I put my character in mortal peril so I can figure out how I would get out of it.

Even now, I go back and forth about who I really am. Sometimes I’m a biker, some times I’m a hippie, sometimes I’m a jazz singer. But through it all, I know what I really am.

I am a writer.

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