Monday, September 28, 2009

Important PSA

h/t: Moe Lane

Happy B-Day, Keeper!

A search engine, an email, some form of web crawler has informed me that it is Keeper's birthday today. Let the rag time ring out (as much as rag time can ring) to the man who plays upbeat piano and isn't afraid to sing like Elmer Fudd.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Torrid Riverside and a Lost YouTube Opportunity

Is Riverside County really that warm? I'll find out as we are scheduled to visit my cousin out that way this afternoon. With triple digit temperatures around home, they must be four or five digits out in the desert. In any case, I'm going. So that's settled.

I was hoping to post a fight video from last night, but the parties involved never got past the yelling stage. A guy cautioned a driver speeding down the street to slow up as there were kids playing. The driver didn't like being lectured. Harsh, non kid-friendly words were exchanged. But by the time I got my camera, the driver blinked first and drove off. Just as well. Still, I had excellent position for a great down angle shot.

There's plenty of high-drama in the neighborhood. Something active will occur soon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Magazine Mania

Various magazines have been arriving lately: sample copies of publications I'd like to place a story in. What a wonderful excuse not to spend so much time online. Unfortunately, I'm still online. So are you. Well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dr. Lee Plays It Safe

Dr. Lee said no matter what I did, he wouldn't recommend running or walking for exercise anymore. This was his official, legal response. Then he acknowledged that someone in my condition might, in a month or so, cautiously begin testing his knee on a soft surface such as a local all-weather track.
Things to Do:
A. Lose weight - maybe 20 pounds.
B. Strengthen left glute and quad - weakness there contributed to the injury.
C. Learn to race walk/run with my foot landing under center - no more overstriding.
D. Once I begin, limit myself to three run/walks a week with cross-training in-between.
Dr. Lee and I parted with the understanding that I'd be guided by my body and would back-off or retire should there be any persistent pain.

A murky athletic future, to be sure. But if I do all the above and still have knee pain, I can release running secure in the knowledge I did my best. God bless marathon running. It arrived in my life at a time when I needed something. If it is departing now, I wish it well and hope the marathon lands with favor on someone new looking for a good test. Or sore feet. They'll get both.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tough All Over

Report: Growing Ranks Of Nouveau Poor Facing Discrimination From Old Poor


Working on the Da Vinci Code satire; more accurately, the outline for the satire. Tedious work. I've gotta put my head down and finish a draft so my partner and I can work out the story. I want to hurry up, since Dan Brown's latest book is hot. But if you get the foundation wrong, the building collapses. Then your stuck in rubble trying to finish an outline.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gym Dandy

Ran into my friend Ernesto at the gym today. We worked out on the ellipticals and talked History Channel for 40 minutes. I was telling him my big meeting with the doctor is next week. (My guy at the physical therapy clinic said he'd write me up a good progress report.) I'm thinking of telling the doc I don't want to run yet. Maybe just walk 3 miles, three times a week for a month and see how that goes. That'll help convince him I'm not gonna bust out my knee sprinting. I couldn't anyway. I'm the heaviest I've been in four years. I can barely sprint to the door for a Dominos pizza. But I got a haircut, so that helped. Plus I still have hair to cut, so that's encouraging. Good things everywhere.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Anamalia Emmy Celebration

Producers, actors and writers at Tom Ruegger's soiree for Chris Elves, Aussie Emmy winner for music composition on Anamalia. Based on an illustrated book by Graeme Base, this CGI series aired internationally from 2007 - 08 on BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Network, Network 10 in Australia, as well as Nickelodeon and Discovery Kids.

That's me kneeling in the foreground, flanked by Tom Ruegger and Deanna Oliver. Chris is behind us in black. He's the guy smiling and holding the gold statue. Standing to the left of Chris is anime voice over ace Kate Higgins who played Allegra the Alligator. Everyone got home safely.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Write Away

Busy working on outlines and short stories. The advantage of satirizing a popular book is that you don't have to worry about setting up things. Just fire away, though right now my partner is doing most of the firing.

I'm watching 300 on TNT and feel like working on my abs.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dirty Old Thoughts on Writing

Bukowski may well have written this way. For all his boozing, the man was a word machine and really cranked it out. He never even kept copies of his early poems, just sending out the originals back when submissions were via snail mail. I've written stream-of-consciousness and I've written drunk. And I've written in large houses and small apartments with lots of money and none. I don't know how he did it without rewrites, though I suspect there may've been a few.

h/t: opchidexo
Nevertheless, as a challenge, I sat down yesterday and cranked out a story of 1492 words - about six pages - exploring facades and the importance of respecting them when you have little else. I let the words pour out, typing as fast as I could, with no side trips to the Web. I did read it over and rewrite small sections, mostly trimming unnecessary words. Then I sent it out to an anthology. The whole process took about five hours.

I haven't read it over today and I'm not going to. Let's see how this one sails. Alas, I learned how much I can get done if I don't procrastinate. And I'll explore that lesson some day.

Eight Years Ago...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Booked Up

My friend Dutch and I met to outline our Dan Brown parody. We'll follow Da Vinci Code story elements, but the question remains: what are the shadowy organizations behind it all? So far we've auditioned PETA, the Kiwanis, the Knights of Columbus, and the National Hockey League. Nothing sticks just yet. But we're just warming up, swinging the bat around, getting a feel for the pine. This'll be good.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Physical Therapy Jam

Many people, few work-out stations. But I talked to my main guy and he said keeping building up the weaker muscles on my left side. I've been so down in the dumps - as well a heavy writing schedule - that I haven't been doing my "homework." Time to start again.

Meet tomorrow with my co-author on a book satirizing Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. We need to hammer out an outline and complain about the state of American letters and how we might hasten its decline while making a few bucks.

Monday, September 07, 2009

A Year Ago Today

I injured my knee on an eighteen-mile run and have yet to resume the activity with any consistency. Now I know it was only a matter of time before that knee folded. Nevertheless, it's been a long, frustrating 365 days with lingering soreness from the operation and gnawing doubts that I'll run again. But there's no direction but forward.

Much writing, fleshing out on old story. When I finish this one, I'll double back and polish two shorter pieces, hopefully submitting them this week.

Happy Labor Day. Whatever you do, don't celebrate by working...or rioting as it disrupts barbecues.

h/t: Bolshevism

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Scandanavian Jazz

This is a Swedish family performing Dixieland jazz 25 years-ago. Dig the nine-year-old girl on slide trombone.

h/t: erwigfilms

Friday, September 04, 2009

Master Advice

Cranking out a rewrite on a story I wrote five years ago. Close-but-no-prize on getting it published, but I'd send it out, wait, get a rejection, forget about it, send it out again, get another rejection then start on another story and abandon all efforts in favor of the new shiny thing. Now I'm committed to selling this sucker. (Or getting it published for free - number two on my list but it opens so many more markets.)

Actually, I'm not rewriting so much as laying in elements to add tension and underscore the theme of destructive self-absortion - something that has gotten me everything I lack today. Not bad as writing goes, but tricky since I don't want to scuttle the old stuff that still works.

From a neat 5k, I suspect the new version will top out in the novelette range of 7500 words. This reduces my shot at free, online placements, but does leave me well-situated for the prestigious, ill-paying, anthology route.

Every story needs so much space to be told. I've got four sub-3k pieces that should place easier than a mini-whale like my current assignment. But I like this mini-whale. I think all it lacked before was a theme, change in perspective, and a higher body count. I believe it was Dickens who once said, "Good Heavens, if a story doesn't sell kill a character with a wasting disease. Kill several and make them good ones. Then beat a begger with a cane. But not in print. Do it for real and your problems will evaporate while his will increase exponentially."

I may not do all of that, but its good to know what the masters thought.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Occupational Hazard

Re-writes all day on a short-story, cutting out much, putting in more, and ending up with about the same word count. Sent out one story yesterday and the same story today to a different market.

But what is my job when compared to this:

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sunsets, Stories, and Randy Beaman's Pal at War

Smoke turned sunset into a fiery red ball, peeking out from behind a grayish wall of cloud/smoke. I was in Saigon a few years back, one of the pollution capitals of Asia. Sunset was similar - a huge ball of red, like an immense corporate logo, filling the sky. It seemed to take forever to set. Nothing like particulate matter to give the sky a little variety.

I remember setting some writing goals a few weeks back, but missed them all. Instead, I've opted for Ten-in-Six. I dug out ten short stories and have given myself six months to publish all. That includes rewriting, having them read, polish, lining up at least three markets to start, and firing them off. I wrote out a plan and it's really kept me jumping the last few days - which is what I need instead of focusing on the lousy fire. (Which will be with us at least two more weeks.)

Talked with Deanna Oliver on Sunday. Son Colin is now on patrol in Afghanistan in one-hundred and thirty degree heat. His unit works with the Afghan Army, who are particularly keen at spotting IED (improvised explosive device) booby traps. Thick dust is a problem for men and weapons, along with staying hydrated. Colin made sure to call his mom and say: "Don't believe anything you hear on the media." In general, a good idea. All the best to Colin and his pals and may they return home safe.

Third World Auto Club Video

Don't leave the first world without them.

h/t: Friend Ken