Category Archives: life

general posts about my life

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival

This weekend is the 8th annual Horrible Imaginings Film Festival. Last year was the first year I had the ability to attend and I had a blast. The quality of the films was quite impressive. The festival is made up of mainly short subjects, with each evening having one or two feature length films to round out the day. The films are presented in themed blocks, such as monsters and things that go bump in the night, or killers and other human horrors.

This year I will not only be attending the full festival but I will also be participating on a panel discussion about horror literature and the coming century. That will be on Saturday afternoon.

If you are in the area and have an interest in horror, you should make time to attend the festival. This year there will be a spotlight on local film talent and that should be interesting.

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Going on Vacation

Soon, Saturday, I will be heading out on vacation to see my family. I do not know how often I will update this blog. I will try to stay on top of it but there are no promises.

Given that flying coast to coast will be a five hour affair and that I am traveling solo for this trip I should at least be able to get some writing completed. (There are few vacations from writing.)

One project I hope I might get started and finished during the trip is a new horror short story. I shared the central premise with some of the writers of my writers group and it was well received, giving me encouragement that the conceit is new enough to be worth pursuing.

If I do get that story completed I’ll do a public reading of at the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival next month. I will be attended as part of the literature horror panel along with a number of horror authors.

I am also working a big blog post, something else I may compose on the flight, going into detail as to why I find Star Trek: Insurrection the most offensive of all the Star Trek films.

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A General Bob Update

Sorry that there was no blog update yesterday but Tuesday turned out to be an interesting day. For several days I have been experiencing a decidedly odd symptomology. Sporadically I would have the strong sensation of smoke in the back of my throat, as though I had been in a club full of tobacco users and coughing nearly always followed the smoke sensation. It was worrisome and I decided to make an appointment with my primary care doctor. That appointment was yesterday.

The x-rays showed that I have the early stages of walking pneumonia, a small section in one lung on the frontal lobe. The doctor has prescribed two antibiotics to run over the next ten days so recovery should be completed and rapid.

By the time I got home yesterday from work – because the doctor had not ordered bed-rest — I was pretty ragged and as the evening wore on that only got worse. I decided that it would be best to take a couple of days off and spend as much time as possible resting. So that’s where I am today, home, coughing, and taking drug. (Not the fun kind those have never been a part of my general lifestyle, but you like it knock yourself out.)

I shall endeavor to continue working on my novel but we’ll see how well that works out.

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Quick Comic-Con Post

Of course I am referring to the San Diego Comic-Con and I did not attend. My preference for conventions are for the smaller cons where there is a more social vibe. That is not to diss Comic-Con, I have friends who love and I hope it stays in town big, and messy, and wonderful. It is just that for my happiness the ideal size is usually under 10,000 people.

The best thing about thins years Comic-Con from a personal perspective was that I did get to have dinner with my friend, her SO, and my sweetie-wife. We had good food, good conversation in a nice little place well away from the con.

Now, it’s Monday and it’s time to revise a short story and do more work on my novel.

 

I hope your coming week is fun and happy.

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Rejection is not Failure

This year was the first time I applied for the Viable Paradise writers workshop. There were a number of factors that held me back from submitting in years past, primarily the financial aspects. A week off, a cross-country trip, the tuition, and room and board expenses were all great enough to present a considerable challenge. This year things are looking well enough that those considerations were now manageable.

Yesterday, while I was home nursing a minor sinus cold, the email came in letting me know that I had not been accepted into the Workshop. I was informed that there are only 24 students and the competition had been unusually tough and the number of applications high. The rejection did also say that the readers had enjoyed my sample writing and that it showed promise but had not won a consensus to get that coveted slot.

Of course not getting in provoked sadness. I wanted in. Even with all the expenses and the anxiety I had applied in hopes of winning, but this is the nature of the beast. Attempted traditional publishing means not just courting rejection, but marrying the old girl and living with her forever. However, rejection is not failure.

Failure is not attempting.

Failure is not learning.

Failure is not dreaming.

Rejections are reality and it is a harsh one. Even harsher is that acceptance does not preclude rejections it merely changes the nature of it. A manuscript is accepted by the agent, but still rejected by a publisher. A manuscript is accepted by a publisher, but rejected by award committees. A book is sold but rejected by readers. A book fails to gain a second printing. The list is nearly endless.

There will also be someone rejecting your work, even if it is just the one star reviews on Amazon. (That’s if you get reviews, and form of rejection, no one even bothers to comment.) Live with the rejection, embrace it, learn from it, but never let it stop you.

To my fellow writers who made the cut and are going to spend a week on Martha’s Vineyard, all my best to you; have fun, learn a lot, and do not let the fear of rejection ever stop you.

I will continue working, sending material to my agents, and if conditions are right next year, I will try again.

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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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