The Fitbit Chronicle

Illness hacked into my Fitbit progress.

  • The latest weekly average (steps and miles): 15,611 / 6.99
  • The three month averages are lower, eaten by travel and then sickness: 12,310 / 5.78

But those weekly averages please me. Buoyed by the fine weather, I’d increased my target miles to six per day in the second half of May. This week, I increased the target to seven miles per day. We’ll see how it progresses.

Thinking about getting out the bicycle, too.


Of Fitbits & Porters

Eight of us were in attendance at the weekly BoBs to toast Q (our late founder) and Harold Schlumberg. Of those eight, three were drinkers on the dark side. On that day, we were partaking of Caldera’s award winning Pilot Rock Porter. It’s great to be able to support a local business.

The three dark drinkers were arrayed together on one side, not by plan to sit with the other dark drinkers, but by choice about where we preferred to sit. Then, it was noticed that the dark drinkers all wore Fitbits. No one else had one. Further, all the Fitbits were the Charge 2 models.

Coincidence? What is the probability of the three dark drinkers sitting side by side wearing Fitbit Charge 2s while the five light drinkers, imbibing the Amber Ale, did not wear Fitbits?

Hell, I don’t know. You do the math.


Kitgo (definition): a very fast, energetic kitten or small cat.

In Use: “Onyx may have been ten years old, but she moved like a six-month-old kitgo, sprinting across the room, leaping up onto chairs and off again, before dashing down the hall to the bedroom.”

Today’s Theme Music

Here we are, cruising the quirky oceans of life. It’s relatively calm waters for me today, slight swells. Faint, high clouds and a spring blue sky don’t presage any tempestuous weather, but I haven’t read the news yet or checked the emails. That’s where my weather indicators arise.

It’s Wednesday. Used to be the “hump day,” as in get over this hump in the middle of the week, and the downhill slide begins toward the weekend. That was when I was a standard Monday through Friday nine to fiver. Now I work for myself, writing and editing. Any day can become a hump day. It depends on what I encounter. For now, I’ll take up Bobby McFerrin’s musical advice from nineteen ninety-eight to, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” He was following Meher Baba’s poster advice.

Chill. Don’t worry. Be happy.


The Vision

He permitted his small train of cars to scrub off speed until it was almost stopped, and then gently pressed the brake pedal, encouraging a full stop.

Because he’s cautious, he opened several surveillance systems. Cameras and ground radar went up, scanning the remnants of I-5. Nothing else is untoward in this wasteland, but he picked up the AK-47 and looked around, watching his rear view mirrors and cameras as the engine idled. Selecting neutral, he set the hand brake and observed.

One of the packages moved again. It’s something that was alive or remained close to alive, or a ploy to invite him to stop and investigate. The wreckage was mostly cleared here. Rust, decaying plastic and rubber, and vegetation cracking through the pavement attested that more than a few months have passed since this crash or battle took place. Something alive is out of place. Manipulating a camera, he focused on the two packages. They appeared human, maybe females, adults.

Debating options and running scenarios through his head, he drummed his fingers on the console. He’d felt like Noah, building this vehicle. Sometimes he thinks of it as the vehicle, but other times, he calls it his train, an engine without a track, towing five cars. The instructions and scheme to build it reached him through nocturnal visions. He rejected referring to them as dreams. They were too cogent for dreams. The project, as he called it, trying to keep it abstract, ended up consuming money, energy and relationships. His marriage had already terminated, Mom and Dad were dead, and the children were forging their own paths of mistakes and successes, so it was pretty easy to burn those ties.

The thing was, though, the visions had never explained why this was being built. It seemed incredibly ridiculous and impractical to him, this “land train,” an absurd expression, since trains ran on land. People kept after him about why he was building it. He couldn’t explain it, not wanting to explain those nocturnal visions, falling back to weakly saying, “It’s just a whim.” He knew they thought he was crazy, an opinion he’d shared most of his waking hours. Then the sierra slathered the spinning fan blades onto a new wreck of a world, and here he was, a man alone with two cats and a dog, traveling destroyed America.

That’s what must have been behind the nocturnal visions, right? Why else have him build this thing? He was impressed that something had reached out to him with such guidance, even though it also scared him shitless about his sanity. Okay, but now, here he was, alive and on the road as the rest of humanity, at least in America, as far as he could discern, completed the cycle, dust to dust.

Yet, two people on the road, apparently needing help, were before him. How did that fit? As he watched, one progressed through the jerking motion of standing, confirming, it seemed to be a woman, small and white. He pulled his binocular to his eyes for a better image. Swaying, she straightened her back and squared her shoulders. Stooping, she pushed and pulled the other one, also a woman, until she stirred and rose to her knees.

The nocturnal visions hadn’t included others. Yet, he’d always wondered why his train was five cars. It was overkill for one person. Cursing cowardice and indecisiveness, he checked the time and watched the two. Holding on to one another, they minced across the road with staggered steps. Only two in the afternoon, it would be hours before night. Hours before his nocturnal visions came, unless he could close his eyes and sleep now. But if he did, they could leave. They could die.

The vision had brought him here. Now he needed to decide who he was. None of the others remained. These were the first living people he’d seen since he left his home after the fall.

Maybe their vision had brought them here, to meet him. If so, shouldn’t they be looking for him? They seemed oblivious to his vigil, even though the engine’s rumble probably carried to them.

He didn’t have a choice. The vision had brought him here.

It was up to him to finish the vision.


That first phase of writing fiction for me is collecting the raw materials. I have a concept and an idea of the story, characters and settings. All the elements enlarge, becoming illuminated, as I write the tale and finish the first draft. The first draft is always so raw. I’m not one of those who thinks the first draft is almost the final draft. It’s just raw material. Now it’s ready for shaping and carving. Sometimes I’ll add stuff, but mostly I add by removing material.

The work pace shifts into a smoother, more contemplative, and relaxing process. It’s like your dream house is being built. “It’s finally happening,” you keep telling yourself. “I almost stopped believing it would ever happen.” But tangible progress is visible. The foundation has been laid, the walls have been erected. Doors and a roof are in place. It’s less a collection of material and more like the place you dreamed. I feel the same with this novel in progress.

Time to write, edit and revise like crazy, at least one more time. Looking ahead, it appears there will be many more of these subjects to come. I embrace the pleasure of the work.


Catainer (definition): any box, bag or suitcase deemed attractive for a cat to use as a nest, fort, or bed.

In Use: “Emptying the box, Debby set it aside, intending to recycle it, but Laser demonstrated another use, recycling it as her personal catainer.”

Dreams of Dishes, Numbers and Highways

Dreamed of doing the dishes last night, along with being on a highway and trying to help others find their destination, and having a pair of fours and eights.

In the dishes dream, I was washing fine china in a gray plastic tub. The china had a pretty, delicate pink flower motif on them. The water in the tub was clean, warm and soapy. Filled to the brim, it was outside. There was a bit of crud on the china, so I was using a nylon pad to try to scrub them clean. That wasn’t working, so I went for a walk to find a better solution. While doing that, I eavesdropped on young people around the neighborhood. I became confused when a young woman called her dog, because his name was Michael, which is my name. Why is she calling me? We had a good laugh over it.

The highway dream featured a heavily traveled highway. I was in an open-air car, as most of us were. Small, the cars weren’t important and were barely noticed in the dream. I heard some others talking behind me. Realizing that they sought information on different topics and were lost, I understood that I could help them.

The dream became a little strange, then. Traffic started moving. I pulled off at a split where the congested highway headed into the desert. Traffic stopped behind me. As I hurried to explain to the others where to go, I flipped through scenes of information. None of it was technologically advanced. Some, for example, were flip-charts tied together by twine. Barely held together, the scenes came alive whenever I stopped on one. In this way, I tried to help them to the information they needed. But I was wrong about what they needed. One in particular was searching for information on whittling but I’d presented him with information on something else. I also kept getting distracted by other interesting pieces of information I saw. Then I noticed that the highway traffic was backing up. Knowing it was my fault, I apologized to the others and took off, seguing into the third dream.

In this final remembered dream, I was first shuffling cards, then looking at cards, and then being dealt cards. All I know is that I kept discovering that I had a pair of fours and eights. That same combination kept coming up, red fours and black eights, although I don’t recall the suites.

The dreams are enough to keep me wondering for the rest of the day.

Today’s Theme Music

This is the only song I’m familiar with by this artist.

His name is Tom Cochrane. The song is “Life Is A Highway.” The song came out during the last century, in nineteen ninety. I like writing, saying and thinking expressions like, “the last century.” Of course, for some, this has been their only century, so far. We don’t know how far they’ll get. They might be looking back on these times while thinking, “Remember two hundred years ago? Wow, I was only seventeen but I thought I knew it all.”

Or, maybe not. Oregon’s oldest woman on record died recently. One hundred ten years old, Birdie Johnson still only knew two centuries, yet consider the significant changes she witnessed in her lifetime.

On the other hand, advances don’t always progress as expected. The SF Chronicle recently addressed predictions they’d published back in nineteen ninety-nine. Flying cars again made the list. We keep expecting flying cars. Those cars still rolling on the ground were expected be getting seventy to eighty miles per gallon by now, so that was a strike. It was predicted that the wealthy would be living to one hundred fifty years old by now. That was considered a miss.

Too many cars and not enough houses for the SF Bay area was predicted back in ninety ninety-nine. That was considered on target, so they weren’t all misses. Yet, for all the predictions made that missed, humans still surged ahead in many areas that we didn’t expect. Yes, life is a highway. We start with birth and end with death, but the stuff in between might not be as predictable as we think.

Let’s just ride it.


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