Category Archives: life

general posts about my life

Some Random Thoughts While Recovering

This week has been a rough week. Every single of the week I have suffered a migraine attack. Individually each one has been a mild to mid-grade headache, not enough to keep me home but severe enough to seriously reduced my productivity and enjoyment. This morning I awoke with another migraine and after yesterdays I decided to take the serious step to break the cluster. That means staying home from the day job and taking two does of my medications about four hours apart. This nearly always stops a cycle but leaves me fog-headed and a little unsteady. Right now, for the first time in a week, I do not feel like a headache is about to explode.

 

The Republicans have released the Senate’s bill for repealing and replacing the ACA with their own version. It is cheaper, skimpier, and will result in lots of people losing their coverage. If they pass it and Trump signs it, not a certainty as the man’s alignment is Chaotic Greedy, I think they this victory will serve them as well as Imperial Japan’s victory at Pearl Harbor. They will have won a battle but plunge into a war that looks far worse for them. This will have taught the Democratic party two very valuable lessons. First that it is futile to consider the conservative position on health care. The attempt at a mixed mode or public and private systems produced no benefits at all. Second that reconciliation is the method to achieve their goals; that there is no penalty paid for shutting out the other party. In addition to those lessons further making the ground worse for the conservatives the conversation on health care has changed in a very basic manner; the population in general believes that more people should have access to health care and that it’s a proper role of the Federal Government to make that happen. One of the few consistencies in the Trump campaign was his promise to make healthcare cheaper and covering more people. Trump is salesman and he was telling people what they wanted to hear. It is what they want and the GOP plan does the opposite of that. They might make that sale with a fast talk roll and a quick vote but once implements there’s no three-card monte way to hid the results. Let me close out the political thoughts with one more observations. Conservative positions are a package deal, they are all sailing on the same ship. If the GOP sinks the ship over healthcare it will take down everything else that conservatives might care for, tax cut, ‘pro-life’ policies, gun rights, all of this I think is imperiled in the long term. Is that a trade you really think is worthy? Is this the hill to kill your movement on?

 

I’ll wrap up with an artistic observation. I am quite happy with the releases of Mad Max: Black & Chrome and Logan Noir. After the advent of cheap and easy color film, remember The Wizard of Oz and The Adventures of Robin Hood were 1939 but common color films didn’t come about until the late 1960s, B&W film were for only art house releases and the odd film released wide in B&W generally did not do well. Seeing the special editions in the theaters give me hope that we are seeing a generation of general theatergoers who are more open and interested in artistic expressions that go beyond just the basic entertainment.

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Not Very Productive

Between migraines and software issues today has been a day where I have gotten very little accomplished. No blog posts of note, no editing on the novel in progress.

The good news is that the headache appears to have responded to mediation and after 23 hours has broken. The software now looks to be backing up properly so maybe later today I can get back to work.

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Mostly over Submission Anxiety

Well, it has been nearly a week since I submitted my application to the current class of Viable Paradise and I think my emotional state if almost back to baseline.

I will admit that yesterday did not feel good, but I had a mild migraine start up while I was at the day-job and it turns out the supply of medication I kept in my desk had been exhausted. I suffered through the entire shift finally making it home to grab the needed pills to banish the pain.

Given the level of pain, enough to disrupt my thinking but not severe enough to send me home, I was unable to compose new text for my novel in progress but I did manage to edit two chapters so work has progressed.

Here’s hoping that today will be a more productive day.

 

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A Cold War Movie Marathon

I have been considering hosting a ‘Cold War Movie’ marathon in the not too distant future. It would be a simple affair, a few friends, a few pizzas, and three films focused on the struggle between the USA and the Communist world. Here are the films I am considering, the order I’d play them, and why.

The Manchurian Candidate: This is a terrific movie and one that I think captures the sense of paranoia, otherness, and hidden dangers that helped fuel the tensions. As a movie, particularly for people who may not have lived through the Cold War it would help capture the feeling that the enemy is everywhere and vastly committed to our destruction.

The Eiger Sanction: Hailing from the mid 1970s this movie is about an assassin forced out of retirement in order to both protect a national secret and avenge the death of a friend. Starring and directed by Clint Eastwood tit is a movie steeped in cynicism with the lines between the good guys and the bad guys nearly invisible. I think it reflects the mood that the Cold War was corrupting and how adapting your enemy’s methods is at best problematic.

Dr. Strangelove or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb: One simple does not address the Cold War without speaking about the existential threat of all out nuclear war. I could go for something dark and depressing such as On The Beach, or I could metaphorical and play something that symbolizes that aspect of the war such as The Bedford Incident, I think lightening the mood with a comedy, made by one the masters, is the perfect way to end the marathon. Strangelove, which started out as a dramatic film, highlights the absurdity of nuclear war. Filled with memorable characters, three of which are played by the incredible Peter Sellers, quotable lines, “You can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!” and filmed in bleak black and white is a classic of cinema and of the Cold War.

 

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This is Different

I was going to do a political posting but last night changed my mind.

What happened last night? I finally put together all the materials needed and submitted to the Viable Paradise Writers Workshop.

I have written about the workshop before but for those who do not know what it is here’s a quick run down. Viable Paradise is a week-long workshop taught my industry professionals. That have 24 slots so getting into the workshop is a competitive processed where prospective students are judged on submitted writing samples. If selected you go to Martha’s Vineyard, the same island where JAWS was filmed, and spend a week in the hotel with the others students and the instructors. In addition to making through the selection process there is also a matter of tuition and hotel expenses. After watching the process for years I am finally in a position to hopefully go.

The writing sample, the application letter, and the entry fee were all paid last night and as soon as I hit that submit button, man I love electronic submissions, my heart raced. Unlike submitting stories to a magazine, a novel to a publisher, or samples to an agency, this has gotten me unsettled and nervous.

Scoring a posting into the workshop will be a good thing for me and my writing, I believe that, but it is also frightening. There are a number of factors feeding into my fears.

Social Anxiety – Put me on a panel or even by myself in front of a room of people to do a presentation and I am just fine. The sort of public speaking and presenting that many find terrifying does not bother me. However, one on one and in small social situations I lock up and I suffer anxiety. I have been described as a shy extrovert and there’s quite a bit of truth to that. At the workshop it’ll be a small group of people and while i know I can adjust there’s the fear I will not.

Performance Anxiety – Oh, The idea that I am not as good, or talented as the other students is not an anxiety that is just mine. I know that most people in the situation would be feeling the same thing, but it still grip my heart and powers my doubts.

Separation Anxiety – I have a deep support network of friends and of course my sweetie-wife. We do not take separate vacations and our day-job do not require us to go on trips away from each other. If selected for the workshop it will mean a week away from my friends and from my sweetie-wife. This too fuels my anxiety.

And despite all this anxiety I am excited and hopeful. It will be a nerve racking two weeks as I wait to find out if I am selected and then the nerves will continue if I am.

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Working Weekend

My routine in approach to my fiction writing is to work Monday through Friday, treating the output like a normal job. I then take the weekend off, while my brain can’t be shut down and will continue to turn over characters, scenes, and plots, I do not edit or compose on Saturday and Sunday allowing myself a rest.

It is during the weekend that I’ll spend time playing games with my friends and my sweetie-wife, or on the computer, go out to the movies, and just make some popcorn and watch a film late at night. These work free times are critical to my productivity.

This weekend was the exception to the rule. While I certain spent time with friends and my wife, I also spent a number of hours working on the current novel in progress. The deadline for applying to the Viable Paradise Writers Workshop is the 15ths and part of the application process is a writing sample. I decided on submitted chapters from one of my novels, but now the question becomes which one.

There are two contenders since the sample can’t be from a piece that is currently under consideration for publication. One novel is finished; it’s just down to catching the typos and the like. That one has gotten a strong positive reaction for its first chapter from my agent. The problem is that should I be accepted to the program by the time I fly out to join the workshop and get feedback on the piece submitted, it will already be long finished and in my agent’s hands, making feedback a little pointless. (Though always useful for future projects.)

The work is progress is new. (Albeit a sequel to the novel my agent is currently shopping.) I spent the weekend giving it a close edit, taking it from a rough draft to polished. If I submit that by the time October rolls around I should be close to and eve just finishing the project, a perfect time to get feedback. But is this piece strong enough to win me admission? It is untested. I haven’t even read a single scene to my local writing group.

I am handing the edited chapters of the work in progress to my wife so she can review for typos and grammar, plus having worked on both she can give me her opinion on which is stronger.

However, the decision is mine and I need to make it tonight so I can submit tomorrow.

 

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No Blogging Today

I am suffering a fairly painful bout of arthritis and so no essays today.

I am also not going to my day job or writing.

Today is watching TV, taking painkillers, and icing the finger joints.

 

 

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Memorial Day

Today we remember our fallen soldiers but one aspect I want to mention is that not all fall in combat.

It seems decidedly strange thing think that we now have an entire generation that is rapidly approaching adulthood that have never known a time of peace. 2001 to present has ben continual war for the United States, some times hotter than others but always there. Before the present and enduring crisis there was the peace for the Cold War.

I served, briefly for I was a terribly sailor, and I saw no combat, took part in no exchange of gunfire and never sailed under the direct threat of attack, but still I knew servicemen who died while on duty.

I sailed on one WestPac, a cruise of the Western Pacific, and two men were killed while another was maimed for life during that voyage. One was a marine who fell from a helicopter during on exercise and the other was a crew chief lost when a helicopter crashed and went over the side, vanishing beneath the Pacific’s uncaring surface.

The military in all its branches is a dangerous profession, filled with men and women who for a variety of reason have chosen to place their lives on the line for our greater good.

War, peace, training, or combat all who serve do so at great personal risk and not all survive. It is our duty, our responsibility to make sure those lives were never lost in vain.

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Logan Noir

Last night I took a little time of from writing to head up to the local Arclight theater and watch Logan Noir. This is last year’s film and swan song for Hugh Jackman as the character Logan/Wolverine but presented in black-and white.

The film remains a power story about family, friendship, and frailty. The B&W presentation was simply gorgeous. I am happy to see this trend of films being re-released in B&W. For the longest time the mass opinion was that a monochrome movie was inferior to a color one, but that is not the case. B&W presents images in a stark format and for some stories that conveys an entirely different set of emotional undertones.

I ran into an old friend at the theater. Someone I had not seen in decades and that was very nice. We chatted briefly before and after the film.

I have to say I am somewhat saddened by the loss of the 800-1200 words I would have written last not but I do not regret going.

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Final Birthday Celebration

Yesterday to close out my birthday celebrations I and two pal went to Universal Studios Hollywood. We had not hung out together as a trio in over 30 years and this was a day I had log looked forward too.

Nothing was forgotten before the trip. I brought everyone’s tickets, and sunscreen was applied when we got to the park. The day was bright, sunny, and hot, but we had a great time.

I did not take photos because I was too busy simply enjoying the company of good friends. We saw the shows, rode rides, shared meals, and ofter 8 hours all returned home tired and happy.

Now to start serious dieting again…

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