Stick To It

Are you familiar with the Gorilla Glue Girl’s hair-mix-up fiasco? Out of a needed product, she made a decision that didn’t work as planned. The mistake earned her time as the web’s focus. Her fortunes spilled over into an SNL skit last Saturday.

I feel for her. Making bad decisions and mistakes is a human trait. The worst I’ve usually done is grabbed the wrong keys or the wrong sunglasses. Although there was one time when I was carrying one thing for the refrigerator and another for the trash and was about to put the one in the other but then caught myself.

I’ve had moments of panic when I thought I did the wrong thing. Once, when I was sixteen, I boarded a Greyhound bus to head south. I’d been up visiting Mom in Pittsburgh, PA. Now I was traveling south to southern West Virginia, where I lived with Dad. I don’t know what the deal is. It was late, like after ten PM. I may have fallen asleep. Next thing that I know, the bus was moving and the driver was talking about stops in Florida.

Florida! Man, I didn’t want to go to Florida. I was going home. But a little later, he announced, like an afterthought, “We’ll be in Charleston, West Virginia, in about three hours.”

Some time was required before my breathing returned to normal and the sweat dried on my body. I did not go to sleep again; I stayed awake, fearful of ending up far away from where I wanted to be.

No, wait; the worst was when I was checking out of an Atlanta hotel. I’d been there for a week on business. Now it was time to roll for the airport. Part of my travel routine is to slip my retired military ID into my shirt pocket for easy access when I’m going through security. I also think it saves time identifying me should the plane ever crash. My photo ID would be right there in my shirt. It’ll work if I still have my shirt on after the accident, if the ID isn’t thrown from the pocket, and if my face isn’t mangled or burned past the point that a photo ID would help.

Anyway, on this day as I headed out of the hotel, I dropped my plastic hotel key card into the box for that purpose and headed for the airport. Then I arrived there and found, oh, shit, you guessed it: I’d dropped off my military ID instead of my card key.

Well, I immediately called the hotel, explained it all, and asked them to overnight it via FedEx on my company’s account, so problem solved.

What about you? Do you have a story to share that shows how you commiserate with G3’s predicament that you’re willing to share?

Saturday’s Theme Music

A new Saturday has arrived. (Momentarily, The Who sing, “Meet the new Saturday, same as the old Saturday… I haven’t had my coffee. Forgive me.)

Sunset came at 7:35 AM and we expect sunset at 5:14 PM here in Ashland. It’s rained through the night and morning, leaving us with gray clouds competing with blue skies and a 37 degree F temperature. The low temp is going to be 29 and the high is expected at 48 on this 23rd day of January, 2021.

Today’s music is “Torn” as covered by Natalie Imbruglia in 1997. First, a side note: some female co-workers in 1997 really disliked “Torn”. “She’s lying naked on the floor,” one would say with vehemence. “That’s disgusting.” She didn’t think about the song and that symbolism; lying naked on the floor was too much.

Reading about QAnon members reaction to President Biden being sworn in last night after Biden’s predecessor went into hiding in Florida, those conspiracists seemed torn about what was going on. Many were asking, “What’s going on? I don’t understand?” Others, with anger displayed in caps and multiple exclamation points and sharply chosen hateful words, were torn with emotions, claiming they’d been betrayed. Others tried calming them down by urging patience because there’s more to come.

Myself, I was torn about getting out of bed this morning. Caught in that wondrous place where I’m neither fully asleep nor awake, moving seemed like a gross violation of the moment, never mind leaving the warm bed. But the cats, torn about fighting one another, jumping on me, and pawing on the pet door to be let out, finally made me open my eyes and worm out of sleep.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and get a vaccine, if you haven’t already. Here’s the music.

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

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.

Friday’s Theme Music

Feels like I’m in a rut. Feels like either dreams, cats, politics, or news (or some Satanic mashup of these influences) push my theme music choices. Today, the wheel turned, and stopped on politics.

This is driven by the Texas lawsuit to throw out the election results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. There’s no evidence of fraud, mind you, (Trump and his supporters have lost over fifty cases regarding election irregularities, winning one) or that the law was broken, but law, order, and justice means less and less to the GOP these days.

And this is driven by GOP governors and U.S. Representatives joining in this farce. It’s driven by another absurd declaration by Pat Robertson and God’s will. Driving it, too, is the terrorism that Trump supporters are employing to overturn the election results, showing up armed at the Michigan’s Secretary of State’s home to threaten her. Very classy. Very democratic.

Reading summaries and stories on these matters this AM had me shaking my head with growing irritation, culminating in the growl, “One of these days.” You know, as in, one of these days, karma will react and strike all those people down. One of these days, these people will come to their senses or rejoin reality (but can they ever be trusted again?). One of these days…

Well, I don’t need to hammer that nail any more, do I? The gist is driven home.

This led my mind to invite a Foo Fighters 2012 song, “These Days”, into the active stream. “These Days” is not political but is more about love karma, you know? But it works for my purposes. So here’s “These Days”. Remember, stay positive (unlike me…you know?), test negative, and wear a mask, please.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

It’s a cold, wet, chilly, dull, day. Yeah, I know that cold and chilly seem redundant. I think the day calls for it.

Like, where is the sun? Out there somewhere, I surmise from ambient lighting. Just not breaking through. Not warming us up.

We’ve been wanting rain, so complaints are moot. We’ve been enjoying an October and November warm spell. I like that expression, ‘warm spell’. It was in the low seventies here last week, down into the mid forties at night with, as Alexa puts it, “a lot of sunshine throughout the day”.

Of course, we needed rain and wanted rain. Actually need snow to build up our Cascades snowpack. The snowpack is our summer water supply.

But I’m a ranter (which reminds me of the ol’ Dr. Pepper commercial, “I’m a ranter, he’s a ranter, she’s a ranter, wouldn’t you like to be a ranter, too?”). With that done, naturally, my head turned to music. What music speaks to me from this weather and this rant?

Why, the Rascals with their 1968 song, “People Got to Be Free”. Yeah, that makes total sense. Who else do you think of when all the leaves are brown and the sky is gray, right?

I think the Rascals song arrived via a Venn splice in my mental stream, where dreams, current events, and music came together. One dream featured a 1968 Camaro. I had one, once, pushing the nostalgia buttons. That may’ve called the song up on the mental shuffle.

Politically speaking, the song fits the times.

You should see, what a lovely, lovely world this would be
If everyone learned to live together
It seems to me such an easy, easy thing this would be
Why can’t you and me learn to love one another
All the world over, so easy to see
People everywhere just wanna be free
I can’t understand it, so simple to me
People everywhere just got to be free
Ah, ah, yeah . . . ah, ah, yeah
If there’s a man who is down and needs a helping hand
All it takes is you to understand and to see him through
Seems to me, we got to solve it individually
And I’ll do unto you what you do to me

h/t to Metrolyrics.

These are, of course, socialist thoughts that progressives like me push, that so many others fear. Helping others? Everyone equal and free? Why, how barbaric.

Have you read this far? Then, thanks. Have a good one. And wear a mask, please. For all of us. Merry Christmas.

What, too early?

Saturday’s Theme Music

Former Vice-President Joe Biden has been declared the winner over Trump. Mr. Biden will become the next POTUS.

Many have cried, “At last, the four-year-nightmare is over!”

Yeah, no.

I’ve seen this movie before. Just when you think the Terminator was dead and Linda Hamilton was safe, here he comes again. When you finally believed John McClain had vanquished the terrorists, one more shows up with a final effort to shoot and kill him.

That’s where we’re at in this election scenario. It’s not time for the credits yet.

Trump embraced America’s worst ideals and created a nasty legacy. Raising conspiracy theories and outlandish challenges to science and common decency to new levels he’s enabled the same in people who would otherwise be mostly decent, friendly, capable members of society.

He wasn’t alone, no. Fox News remains out there amplifying the trumpshit. Trump’s GOP enablers, like Mitch McConnell, were re-elected. The slug who screwed the United States citizens countless times during Mr. Obama’s terms, who has stonewalled legislation, remains in office.

Trump and his minions will be out there on Twitter and Facebook, continuing their shameless litany of absurdities and outright garbage. And Trump is still in office for a few more months. As petulant, petty, hateful, cruel, and shallow as he is, I don’t expect these next few months to go without incident. He’s also not likely to accept the results, but continue going to court, demanding recounts, and posting lies about the situation. And his supporters will lap it up and amplify it. So, no, it’s not over.

Chris Rea had the perfect song for it, though. Here’s his 1978 hit, “Fool (If You Think It’s Over)”.

Fool if you think it’s over
‘Cause you said goodbye
Fool if you think it’s over
I’ll tell you why

h/t to Metrolyrics.com

(Yeah, it’s not really the perfect song for the situation, but it’s what came to mind, okay? Okay.)

Cheers

Thursday’s Theme Music

Today’s theme music is “Unbelievable” by EMF from 1990. This song has always sounded like an INXS product. That’s not a bad thing at all. I think “Unbelievable” still has the beat to get people out of their seats.

“Unbelievable” was an easy choice for me. Checking on election updates for the presidency in the U.S., unbelievable is a word that springs to mind multiple times. Unbelievable that the election hasn’t been called, that it’s so tight. Unbelievable, too, the efforts that ConDon is making to stop every vote from being counted. And probably staggeringly unbelievable, former Vice President Joe Biden set a new record for most votes received by a presidential candidate. It’s over 70 million, and they’re still counting. Yet, he might lose.

Unbelievable, no?

More personal reasons for unbelievable are there, but I’ll spare you and keep it short (if you’ve read this far). (Yo, as if you can’t just skip all the text and go right to the music, right?)

Here it is. Feel to dance and sing along. Out.

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