Sunday, September 15, 2019

Vancouver Vacation and Washington Sunshine

Behold, the 32nd longest cable suspension bridge in the world!
Flying to Vancouver, then driving down to Washington, we passed over the Alex Fraser Bridge. A fine bridge with adequate lane space and no gaps in the roadway. All I ask for in a bridge. Despite the rain, and crappy airlines, we enjoyed ourselves and the favorable exchange rates currently available in Canada.

In Washington, we were fortunate to experience a sunny day. I went out for a short run—my first in the state since 2008—and observed the fabled Mt. Rainer.

In between the pole and some trees. Not much, I know. 
Better, more photogenic, views arose later but my camera was not available. Great to see the cousins and relax after a hectic time in Vancouver. Before leaving, my weight was down to 245 from a high of 271 in March. But I fear vacation eating has edged the scale back up. Then I'll start again, by heavens. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

9/11 Recalled 2019

K called from Florida, "Planes crashed into the World Trade Center and one of the towers just fell." Unemployed in Los Angeles and half asleep at 7:30 AM, I shuffled downstairs to the TV, past Joy as she prepared for work. At first, all I saw was a dirty cloud obscuring southern Manhattan. Then a stunned announcer said the second tower had just collapsed. Joy joined me, work forgotten as we learned of the attack.

Other friends phoned throughout the day. Paul Rugg speculated about the pilots of the doomed aircraft, certain they weren't Americans forced to crash. TJ, a Vietnam vet, was incensed at the footage of jubilant Palestinians with their candy and AK-47s. He wished he could gift them with a nice buttering of napalm. In a grim mood, I agreed.

Watching TV and power-chewing Nicorette, I mostly felt numb — except when the subject was jumpers. Then I felt horror. Go to work, sip coffee, joke with your pals, then decide whether you'll suffocate, burn alive, or leap a quarter mile to certain death. Questions of etiquette arise: jump solo or hold hands with a co-worker? Perhaps several of you link arms and form a chain, finding courage in numbers. Or do you clutch a table cloth and step into the air, desperately hoping it slows your fall?

The journey takes ten seconds.

Air velocity rips away your shoes.

You explode on impact.

I will always be haunted by the jumpers of 9/11.

Oceans of paper were blasted from the towers, filling the New York sky like the Devil's ticker tape. Invoices and wedding invitations floated down to gray sidewalks.

My friend Cathy, who worked in D.C., reported chaos as the government sent everyone home at once following the Pentagon attack. One jammed intersection turned scary as a man leaped out of an SUV brandishing a pistol and attempting to direct traffic.

Being murdered is not a heroic act, though it can be. Flight 93 passengers fought back and died, saving many more in their sacrifice. North Tower Port Authority employees rescued over 70 people before perishing.

There were many heroes that day.

My sister Mary Pat and I had dinner at a coffee shop. She was passing through town, leaving a job in Mountain View, CA to return to Phoenix. Depressed by the day's events, our meal was not jolly.

Later, Joy tried to give blood, but the hospital was overwhelmed with donations and refused.

Vulnerability, grief, dismay, anger.

Such a beautiful morning with a sky so blue.

(Photos from: Little Green Footballs.)

Repost: Sept. 11, 2008

Update: Strange to reread this. TJ died in 2009 and K passed away just over a year ago. My wife, Joy, and I are doing well, as is Paul Rugg who now rides the train

Repost: Sept. 11, 2013

Update: I had cancer surgery last year, but recovered. My wife is doing well and my sister battles her own health woes. I have not heard from my friend Cathy in a few years.  Paul Rugg continues riding the train in addition to being a voice over machine.

Repost: Sept. 11, 2015

Update: Paul Rugg's daughter was not quite two years old on 9/11/01. Now she is a freshmen in college. I have retired from TV animation writing, though, as stated elsewhere, I find retirement to be indistinguishable from unemployment. (Save for a small annuity.) And very soon, I shall ride the train to see my sister. (Explanatory post t/k.)

Repost: Sept. 11, 2017

Update: Ten years have passed since I composed this post, 17 years since the incident. Alas, the greatest hit to our nation continues to be a colossal security apparatus that can't seem to function without monitoring everyone's communications, then lying about it. I'd rather not comment on airport theater. Still, my wife remains gainfully employed and I'm racing to complete a dystopian thriller by Christmas. Amidst the great events, the little things carry us forward.

Repost: Sept. 11, 2018

Update: About to publish a softcover version of my prostate book. Meanwhile the Afghanistan Forever War continues. I refuse to believe that for almost 20 years, there's been no better way of fighting the Taliban than sending billions to Pakistan to provide hiding places for them while they infiltrate Afghan government forces and assassinate our advisors. The Byzantine Empire lasted over a thousand years battling multiple enemies on different fronts, employing a combination of diplomacy military prowess, and strategic alliances. With the entrenched, consequence-proof dimwits we have infesting Washington D.C., we'll probably end up surrendering to the Taliban.

Repost: Sept. 11, 2019

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Sunday, September 01, 2019

JP Mac Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Running
My tale of murderous witchcraft in a Hollywood apartment building has been selected by Soteira Press. "Mark of the Bruja" will appear in an upcoming anthology of stories themed around horror in California. Keep an eye out for publication updates. A lot of water under the old author bridge since I last published a short story. Nonetheless, no better promotion for a writer.

"Prostate" inches toward publication as a softcover. The PDF should be finished by tomorrow and, hopefully, the back cover and spine by Tuesday. Possibly a dummy copy will be in our hands by week's end.

On the running front, my knee has been tender since early July. I've still been going out 3x a week, but taking it easy. Yesterday, I put in 3 miles, but failed to arise early and suffered from the late summer heat. Slow on the running front, but speeding across the literary veldt like a cheetah on the keyboard.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Griffith Park Luau 5k: Thoughts, Insights, Ruminations

Back with yet one more huge 5k medal.
I loath 5ks that allow strollers and dogs. Especially when the women pushing the strollers are faster than I. Also, it's not a grand idea to run 3.1 miles along Griffith Park bridal trails on a Saturday morning, which is a peak usage period. People training for marathons and sundry other races bolt through the pack and around the runners with dogs stopping to talk to non-runners with dogs. For the second 5k in a row, I felt a slight lactic acid buildup at the start, followed by fatigue, and the desire to quit and walk the race. Fortunately, such thoughts, if unentertained, turn listless and meander off.

On the upside, this was home ground. I often train on these very trails during the week when no one is about. On mile three, I was passed by a woman pushing a stroller and talking on the phone. This was too much. But I knew something she didn't. The final .1 mile featured very loose soil. Tricky for runners, especially those pushing wheeled conveyances. I passed her in the home stretch. But she found a patch of solid ground and came on strong. I gave it the gas and almost reinjured my knee, but extended myself enough to keep from being picked off at the finish line.

Thanks to this woman and child, I achieved my modest running goal for the race. (Sub 36 minutes, if you must know.)

Oh, Chi

Back in May, I noted different features of Chi Running. Today, I did quite well staying with cadence and leaning forward. But I lacked a speed burst. When stroller woman kicked, I fell out of chi running form and tried to race old school. This resulted in a tortured hybrid style that inflicted a sharp knee pain—the signal that I'm doing something wrong. This week I'll mark out 200 meters or so and practice sudden accelerations. In case I encounter more strollers.

Hallow Mass Volume II Outline  

Sloppy, scattered, but underway. I need to set solid deadlines if I hope to publish by Christmas of this fine year. I reread the original and was pleasantly surprised it didn't offend me with as many errors and poor writing as I'd feared. But onwards to December. 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Running and Prostate

Maximum Performance
A lonely ebook seeking softcover company. 

Both are doing well, thank you. Ran 4.4 miles today in new Brooks trainers. (Maybe not so new. I've had them 11 years, ever since injuring my knee.) Reading old 2008 posts, I was quite an optimist. Even with a known tendency to push myself and get injured, I always recovered eventually. The idea that my marathon days were a memory only registered very slowly.

And finished those days may be. But I'm game for one more go. After all, this time I have a book to write. Speaking of which, another marathon possibility might be my old target of the California International Marathon.

On the subject of books, I advance at a glacial pace in formatting my prostate ebook for softcover. Niggling details of a fraction here added to a fraction there. Such exacting trivia. I'm considering adding artwork, but if it looks like too much effort, I'll put it off for another edition. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

A Marathon for Me?

What's happened since July 4? Steady progress and early morning runs to beat the heat as I continue my plan of running a monthly 5k. In addition to augmenting a considerable technical tee-shirt collection, the races keep me focused and motivated to pick up the pace a bit on my 3x a week training runs. Coming up in August: the Luau 5k in Griffith Park.

Was a Marathon Mentioned in the Post Head?


Yes, good catch. I have set a goal: to RUN a marathon. Not soon. Not in 2019. Possibly in 2020, or so. But that distance will be target as I intend to chronicle my running comeback with a book detailing the decade of injuries, operations and dashed hopes that upended my dream of completing the Boston Marathon. The attempt to once more cover 26.2 miles—locally—will be the scaffolding upon which I construct a tale of defeat and . . .? Time, effort and a bit of luck will write the ending.

Who Are the Fine Contenders? 

Van Garner suggested I shoot for the all-downhill Ventura Marathon. A solid choice. Another selection might be the Surfers Point Marathon, a flat ocean-front course. In fact, my wife shall be joining me this November for a 5k along a portion of said marathon. Courses fast and flat or all downhill lack terrain variety and can stress your leg muscles through repitition. But I wont' be breaking any records. To finish an upcoming marathon, is to wear victory laurels—from a writing standpoint.

Hopefully, I don't end up like Pheidippides.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Santa Clarita 5k 2019

Back home and safe in time for the earth to move beneath my feet.

(Wow. Hot little earthquake just rocked the house as I sat down to write this. On it shook. But everyone is okay and the Internet didn't cut out.)

Back up in the foothills once again for a 5k. Super running weather: overcast with temperature in the mid-60s. I've run this race in 2007 and 2010. As you may note from the picture to your left, Santa Clarita has succumbed to the giant 5k medal bug.

No goodie bag, but a nice technical shirt.

I slept poorly last night, hated getting up early, and almost walked the whole thing, but I stuck it out for a 36:57 finish. That's seven minutes off from my January 5k.

Like '10, there are no more mile markers. Many people now run with phones in hand, listening to apps like Runtastic. Not me. I focused on my goal: finishing before anyone with portable oxygen.

Glad I went and did what I did. Happy July 4th! The grand experiment continues!


My official finishing time and pace.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Raise My Ranking During Hot Smashwords Sale


Raise it! Raise it high in the rankings, I say. For here is a reading bonanza awaiting you in the sultry month of July. I'll let ebook seller Smashwords explain more about their 11th Annual Summer/Winter Sale:

Are There Discounts of Some Kind?

"For the month of July only, thousands of Smashwords authors and publishers will provide readers deep discounts on ebooks. Discount include 25%-off, 50%-off, 75&-off and FREE. 

Explain More in Your Curious Way

At one minute past midnight Pacific time on July 1, the special Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale catalog goes live on the Smashwords home page. Readers can browse the catalog and search by coupon code levels [Indicating discount amount] and categories. After 11:59pm Pacific time on July 31, the catalog disappears. 

And Then?

The coupon codes are exclusive to Smashwords and will not affect prices at other retailers. There’s no need to remember coupon codes. Readers will receive the discount automatically by adding [a} book to their cart.”

Might I Suggest?

But don’t just add any book. Starting tomorrow through July, might I implore you to add one of mine? Yes, a plug, a pitch, a request, but, then, to do less would be to betray this very blog page as well as Smashwords noble summer sale.

I won’t do that. So stock up on your summer reading starting tomorrow. And read well this month. I’ll say no more on the subject.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Running, Writing, Vital Jake Plug

In Motion

Running consistently the last few months. My weight slowly trends down. With a 5k race approaching in three weeks, I'd like to work in some speed—a relative term when you're fat and slow.

No Story Like a Short Story

I'm hurrying along to finish another tale with a June 30 deadline.
T.L. Schreffler
Cohesion Press craves stories combining military and horror with an emphasis on last stands. I just so happened to have an unsubmitted story from last year that can be arranged to meet said criteria. Plus, I'm employing a new proof reader, which has forced me to advance my deadline. But we're talking upscale problems. 

"Prostate" eBook Selling Well

Very consistent sales, with a few purchases in the UK, Canada, and Australia. I welcome my English-speaking brothers in prostate cancer—and assorted side effects. I'm told this is Men's Health Month, a period dedicated to heightening the "awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys."

Back to Golf

In keeping with the spirit of the month, author Janet Farrar Worthington has been kind enough to excerpt part of my post-op cancer story on her VitalJake blog. Janet is a tireless booster of men's health in general and prostate cancer in particular. She's been a proponent of my book and I'm grateful for her promotion. 

With all the above in mind, I'm announcing the softcover version of They Took My Prostate: Cancer-Loss-Hope will be available August 9. I'll put up a pre-order page on Amazon for those who'd like to gift a guy facing this particular challenge. 

And a pleasant Sunday to all. 

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