Monday’s Meatballs

  1. My wife is feeling guilty. I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Because I live in Oregon now, I’ve also adopted the Seattle Seahawks to watch. That’s mostly because their games are frequently broadcast in the area (wonder why…). Anyway, back when Russ was cooking and the Steelers were 11-0, my wife started cheering for the two teams. Everything went downhill from there… She blames herself. Doesn’t help that she’s also a Patrick Mahomes fan. She was cheering for him. Then yesterday, during the playoffs, he hits the ground and is concussed and out. Yes, she blames herself. Says its bad luck for her to cheer for any team or person. Hmmm…maybe she should stop rooting for me to get published…
  2. Got a message from a FB friend. I didn’t know the name. Message just said, “Hi.” I thought, bull; you’re not my friend. I checked their FB page. Nothing there, you know, except a photo who I think is Paul Hollywood from a few years ago.
  3. We’ve been receiving spates of calls from our area code. They’re numbers that we don’t recognize. From years of conditioning, we don’t answer the phone unless we know the number. Going further, I’ve assigned family members specific ringtones so I know it’s them when the phone rings. When we check out these numbers doing reverse look up, they often turn out to be foreign numbers. They seem to be linked to a new scam going around.
  4. It seems like there’s a new scam on the phone, net, or in politics every week.
  5. Speaking of politics, I’m not going to write about it. I’m weary of this mess that’s arisen in the U.S. with normal people believing outlandish things. Then there’s the things that outlandish people believe. They really stretch sanity’s perimeters. I think such people are searching for a force to give their lives meaning. I do the same with my writing (and posting). It’s a structure for my existence; I wouldn’t be surprised if their deep hold on crazy ideas and its supporting community (or tribe) isn’t the same for them.
  6. This week’s soup is again the root soup — roasted broccoli, carrots, potatoes, and garlic put into a mushroom broth and simmered with seasoning. Awesome for winter. Just add good bread.
  7. We picked up some VitaCup infused coffee on sale during a ninja shopping venture last week. We’re both surprised how good this turmeric and cinnamon coffee concoction is. It’s become our go-to choice. That’s especially startling for me; I’ve always been a French or Italian roast sort of person, dark with no sugar, cream, milk, etc. I will acknowledge that I was/am a mocha drinker. When I did them, it was four shots of espresso, then add a little chocolate, and steamed milk. Quit doing those; bad for my prostate.
  8. Still averaging twelve miles per day walking, according to Fitbit. I’m dubious.
  9. Over in streamland, we’re enjoying “Snowpiercer” (the series) and “Doom Patrol”. Both are on HBO Max. I especially like “Snowpiercer” as it fleshes out things in better ways than the movie did. I’m a train fan, and this idea appeals to my sci-fi infused imagination.
  10. On WordPress, it always bugs me that when Post comes up on the right, there is a red button that says, “Move to trash”. It’s like they’re making a suggestion about what I’m writing to post, you know?
  11. I’m also watching “The Wire” again. Been years since I’ve seen it but the characters (and actors), storylines, and plots (and twists) all remain clear in memory. I still enjoy it because it has great values and terrific acting. The characters all have sharp human edges and avoid being stereotypes (although McNulty is pretty close to one as a functioning alcoholic who cares), and we care about them all, good people and bad.
  12. Got my coffee (yes, it’s the infused stuff). Time to write like crazy, at least one more time. Almost ready for the characters to put Arsehold into the rearview mirror. Fingers crossed, you know?

Monday’s Theme Music

Monday in Ashland arrived with thin but all-encompassing fog and a thermostat hovering around 37 F. Sunrise was at 7:39 AM, evidenced by growing light but no visible sun. We’ll see if it shows before sunset, expected at 5:04 PM.

Looking out at the fog, I thought about what a gray day it was. No immediate gray songs leaped into the mental stream, but the 1978 Foreigner song, “Blue Morning, Blue Day”, filled the space. This song about lovers growing apart doesn’t fit anything about today, unless I stretch it as a metaphor for the United States and its political positions growing apart. Or, taking it further, I can apply it to a growing gap between the U.S. and the rest of the world. Or — stay with me here — the song can be about people losing touch with reality, getting swept out of their heads by conspiracy theories.

Naw, doesn’t really work. It’s just about lovers.

Still, the song is in me head, so I’m putting it out to you. Be positive, even when the weather is gray and cold, test negative, and wear a mask, now more than ever as these COVID-19 variants rise and spread. Hey, that’s an intriguing book title: Rise of the Variants. Someone should go write it.

Here’s the music.

Sunday’s Theme Music

Today is Sunday, January 17, 2021. Four percent of the new year has passed. Sunrise in Ashland was at 7:39 AM and sunset is expected at 5:04 PM. We creep toward the longest day of the year. The cats have been outside and report that although the temperature is 44, the sunshine is endless and warm to the fur.

Our 1985 Mazda RX-7 was featured in my dream. My wife and I bought it new when we returned to the U.S. after serving four years on Okinawa. With that in mind, I trawled memories for a song that might work today. I came up with Tears for Fear, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. Yes, a lot of people want to rule it for various reasons. I’m not sure I want to rule anything.

Sometimes, when I think of this song, I substitute words. Recurring themes are, “Everybody wants to pet the floof.” Especially so if an animal is around. I’ve also been known to sing, “Everybody wants a glass of beer.” Wine and cake have been subbed there on occasion. Another variant is “Everybody wants a piece of cake.” It’s a versatile song.

The weather is a quick-change artist. I sat to type and lo, the sun has skidded behind full-sky cloud covers. Showers dampened the street and walks, and a wind has launched.

Checked our toilet paper supplies this morning. Sixty rolls on hand. There are two of us. We average eight days per roll per bathroom, so we are, relatively, rolling in TP.

Stay positive, test negative, and eat healthy. Oh, and wear a mask. Cheers

Friday’s Theme Music

Todays sunrise in Ashland, OR, was 7:40 AM. Sunset is 5:04 PM. A light gray overcast sky keeps the sunshine at bay. The temperature is 42 degrees F but a high of 56 is projected, along with light rain.

Today’s theme music is “Animal I Have Become” by Three Days Grace, 2006. I chose the music on behalf of the United States and the nation that it’s become. Torn by division, rhetoric and activity turns more violent and urgent. As blacks have been killed by police, people took to the streets to protest the deaths. Many of them were senseless, but officers were exonerated. Several particularly infuriating people, like Breonna Taylor, unarmed, in bed, innocent of everything but being black, killed by police in their zest to ‘serve and protect’. There was also George Floyd, killed by an officer who was busy serving and protecting, by kneeling on his neck until he died while his fellow officers, serving and protecting, looked on. This was apparently for a report of a crime of passing a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. Numbingly, those are just two examples that fueled the anger and protests that swept the nation on behalf of justice in 2020.

Meanwhile, on the right, they got busy protesting those protests, screaming in response, “Blue Lives Matter”. That blue lives really didn’t matter to them became apparent (as if we weren’t sure) as Trump supporters, who are quite right wing, conservative, and white supremacists, battled with the police in support of a coup attempt, beating many police officers, killing one. On the right, they believe that the 2020 election was stolen by ‘the left’. They think that there was all sorts of fraud, uncounted ballots, and thrice counted ballots that helped propel Biden to his landslide (in Trump’s words, as Biden won the EC by the same number as Trump did in 2016). Trump himself, and GOP cohorts, continue feeding this lie. They insist that evidence exists.

This evidence has never been shown.

On the right, they claim the evidence will be shown, and we’ll all change our tune. What’s keeping them from showing this evidence anywhere is the response given by the rest of us.

One note that has everyone (outside of the people who believe that the 2020 election as stolen) shaking their heads, is why would this all-powerful election-stealing apparatus only steal the presidential election? Why would they not steal the Senate and House? Why wouldn’t they also steal the state elections? They use the same ballots. Apparently, though, while the right believes this election-stealing apparatus is all-powerful, it’s not powerful enough to steal those elections. Yeah, SMFH.

With Trump impeached again, Trump unwilling to concede, little change to police policies and practices, and FBI reports that the right have violent plans to change the results of the 2020 election, “Animal I Have Become”, a song about a man struggling with drug addiction, seems right.

On a WordPress note, they appeared to have fixed some issues, in my experience. The site published properly yesterday. Of course, today when I went to post, I couldn’t bring up a page. Took three tries, and the whole ‘post/block’ sidebar had vanished and needed to be called up.

Stay positive, test negative, moderate your drinking, and wear pants (and a mask) when appropriate. Cheers

Stuck In Arsehold

I was stuck in Arsehold for the last two weeks. You may have experienced the same.

I’ve been writing a novel while locked away. That’s not so different from my normal life, where I’m always working on a novel. Many people think I’m working on one novel forever and a day, but I’ve finished many. I shrug them off; I enjoy novel writing.

I think under ordinary circumstances, this would have been finished a few months ago. These aren’t normal times, at least for me. I’m assuming a lot with those words. It’s sadly probably normal for quite a few people to stay locked up in one place, with limited contact for other people. I think of prisons. Nursing homes. Hospitals. Yeah, getting downright depressing, isn’t it?

Some say that such solitude is a gift. I’m not one. While I’m a solitary person, I like outside stimulation. (Sounds a bit naughty, doesn’t it?) Like to walk to clear my mind, shift into writing mode, and slip into the noisy solitude of a good cuppa coffee in a coffee shop, hunch over my laptop, and tap away.

All that normal-for-me isn’t available now. Coronavirus lockdown, you know. Although I have coffee and space, I also have wife and cats. They struggle with my writing boundaries. My wife tries respecting them, but news of the world sets her off. I also don’t try enforcing my isolation with her, as she’s in the same situation as me. She’s much more verbal, however, and craves other contact. While she’s dancing and exercising Monday through Friday via Zoom, and meets with her book club once a month with Zoom, and Zooms into a coffee klatch almost every week, she likes expressing her opinions and insights vigorously and out loud. There’s usually a lot of swearing involved, too. She’s quite passionate about social justice, equality, human rights, and women’s rights. She also hates Trump and has little respect for most other Republicans. So I try to indulge, but then I suffer. Either way, one of us must suffer in our situation. We get over it, but it’s not ideal.

The cats, however, don’t give a damn that I’m writing, reading, playing a game, sleeping, eating, showering, or sitting on the toilet. Three cats share ownership over me. They have their own secret agendas, which surprisingly, often involves me. Part of that is which cat owns the most of me, and whether that’s acceptable to the other cats.

Between wife, news of the world, the coming and going of the muses, and the cats, novel writing progress has been uneven.

But I persevere. Sometimes, the worse interruption is by me to myself. Self-doubt. Imposter syndrome. General malaise. It struck hardest in Arsehold.

Arsehold is a place in my novel, wholly made up. I came up with the name months ago, a whim that made me laugh. I stuck with it, creating the setting around the name, devising the history of how it came to be. Yet, my characters struggled to get through Arsehold. I naturally responded, per my proclivities, to overanalyze what was going on and why, attempting to seek the root of my issues. I thought it might be the general tone. Perhaps some of the introduced characters weren’t clear enough. Maybe, maybe my characters shouldn’t be in Arsehold. And what happens after Arsehold?

Writing helps me think by creating a funnel through which I must focus. With all this mental flaying, I did a lot of writing about the novel in progress, addressing the concept, characters, story, plot, locations and settings, etc. Eventually, I took all the assembled material of the novel in progress, one hundred twenty-five thousand words, and began reading, editing, and revising, putting the story into the order that I think it’ll be in published form.

That helped. By the time I’d reached Arsehold (almost sounds like a song lyric — I can hear CCR doing stuck in Arsehold instead of Lodi), I’d discovered that the errors that I thought I was seeing weren’t there. It always scares me to think or say, hey, this is pretty damn good, about what I’m writing, but that’s what I concluded. Of course, it’s my work; if I didn’t think it was good, maybe I should be working on something else, right?

Anyway, I think I might get through Arsehold this week (knock on wood, he said, tapping the side of his head). Got my coffee; time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Today is a repeat. Used this song a few years ago, but it’s a satisfying song and worthy of being the theme music today.

“Think” by Aretha Franklin came out in 1968. While I love that version, the Blues Brothers version (1980) is a tad stronger. According to Wikipedia, the thing about the movie version is that Aretha had to lip sync the song for the movie. Aretha isn’t used to lip syncing so a number of takes were required. The movie clip also features people no longer with us – John Belushi, Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy, Carolyn Franklin, and Margaret Branch. Technology lets us enjoy them again.

The song arrived in me this morning while I was thinking about dreams. But after reflecting on its words, it’s a good song for this era of lies and insurrection. Think. Think about what you’re trying to do. Think about the consequences. Apparently, many of the insurrectionists didn’t think about the consequences of sedition, and didn’t take it well when they were arrested and put on no-fly lists. Should’ve thought about it. Of course, it starts with the outgoing Prez, who does little thinking about what’s going on beyond the little circle of his ego.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and enjoy the music! Cheers

Sunday’s Theme Music

Attacking issues head-on has always been my preferred style. It doesn’t make me popular with many but to avoid doing things because you don’t want to upset others doesn’t often work. Likewise, fearing of the outcome isn’t a good reason for not doing the right thing. Defining ‘the right thing’ can be quarrelsome. Recent example: Trump supporters are screaming ‘stop the steal’. They think they’re doing the right thing because they’re feeding on false information. Their dear leader, aided and abetted by Fox News, OANN, Newsmax, and spineless Republican politicians at multiple levels, keeps barking about illegal votes and election fraud. Matters have been addressed in court; the evidence has never been found nor presented. That doesn’t stop the mad dog and his followers.

With all of this in my head this AM, my brain tied it up with the Incubus song, “Drive”, the 2000 song all about resisting fear and standing up.

[Verse 1]
Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I, I can’t help but ask myself
How much I let the fear take the wheel and steer

[Pre-Chorus 1]
It’s driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I’m
Beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel

[Chorus]
Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there
I’ll be there

h/t to Genius.com

*PAUSE*. I know that there are some out there that’ll respond, well, isn’t that a reason not to wear a mask, lockdown, and practice social distancing? I reply, “No. That’s not the same at all.”

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and get vaccinated. Also, keep up with the facts. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in lies and fear. Cheers

Friday’s Theme Music

A classic song by The Beatles, “Revolution” (1968), crashed my mental stream this morning with the intensity of an asteroid hitting Earth.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out

Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re all doing what we can

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait

h/t to AZLyrics.com

Yes, I’m not happy with D.C. status quo. Its BAU approach doesn’t address needs quickly enough. I want change but I don’t want destruction.

Meanwhile, reading of the assault on the capitol the other day and the aftermath, it’s Kabuki theater. While photos of identified Trump supporters spill over the news and social media, and they crow about what they’ve done, some who’ve identified and called out claim their innocence despite the overwhelming evidence that says other. They left behind a swath of evidence. Despite this, right-wing media and supporters have also attempted to blame antifa. The disconnects with reality would be hilarious except for the seriousness behind their willingness to casually trample democracy and abuse freedom. Going back to the song — and Trump — there are always claims, but where are the plans? Where is the thinking? And that extends to his base. There’s nothing concrete there, just vague notions of what they will ‘do’.

Stay positive. Test negative. Wear a mask. Enjoy life as you can. Cheers

Wednesday’s Theme Music

I was vacuuming yesterday and writing in my head when a song, “You Got Your Troubles”, plugged into the ol’ mental stream. Although I knew the lyrics and melody, looking up the year and artist was required. I guess it was the 1960s but that’s a broad range. Wikipedia informed me that the performing artists were The Fortunes, and it was a hit in 1965, when I was nine. The Fortunes had two other hits that I recognized, so I’m pretty embarrassed that I didn’t know who they are.

“You Got Your Troubles” is a song despairing a romantic breakup. Those words, though, you got your troubles, I’ve got mine, slip nicely into the 2020/2021 maelstrom. ‘Bout the only folks who don’t seem to have troubles are the super wealthy, who are becoming superwealthier as others cope with their troubles. My troubles, of course, aren’t deep. I’m more like a cat who’s dissatisfied with the treat offered to them, or a writer disappointed in how a story is going. Nothing deep or serious, other than irritation that we have an outgoing POTUS living in an alternate reality attempting to drag more in with him. There are trombies who eagerly swim along with him, exclaiming, “Yes, let’s go to the alternate reality and everything will be happy! Give me more Kool Aid.”

Stay positive (as I do, ha, ha), test negative, wear a mask, and vaccinate. Here’s the music.

Saturday’s Theme Music

Today’s choice came from a post read online. The old line, “We’ll have to agree to disagree,” was used in closing. It’s used so often when you can’t see eye-to-eye. Its usage now was in conjunction with election fraud accusations and the lack of evidence. The one saying “Well have to agree to disagree” w as insisting evidence was there but nobody was being permitted to reveal it.

Really. SMFH.

Anyway, from that, an old Dave Mason song, “We Just Disagree”, roared into my head. Although it came out in the 1970s, you may have heard it, as others have covered it. Hope you enjoy it. Stay positive and test negative. Wear a mask. Get vaccinated. Keep your fingers crossed. Cheers

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