Before Coffee: Summer Tired

June 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

We’re at the halfway point of our summer vacation, the wife and I. If you recall, I said we planned to do a whole lot of nothing.

If you want to hear the gods laugh, tell them your plans.

We had a nice schedule of fun things on the docket, with nary a chore in sight. Saturday and Sunday went well with the whole doing-nada plan. One small hiccup was that Tracy found a tiny hole in the vinyl liner of the pool, above the water line, so not much of an issue. We decided to pick up a patch kit at the pool store the next day.

We should have realized it was a warning. We did not.

Monday, we planned to see the first of two movies—X-Men: Apocalypse—at the CineBistro near us. (Warcraft was the other movie, by the way. We haven’t gotten to it yet.)

If you’re not familiar, CineBistro has fancy recliners and tray tables and you can order really good food and eat it while you watch. You can even order beer and booze. It’s pretty much everything I wanted in a movie theater since I saw Pulp Fiction and learned you get get a glass of beer in Amsterdam.

We bought out tickets online in advance, then Tracy went to take out the trash … and the garage door jammed in the up position. We tried to unjam it ourselves to no avail, so I called the garage door company while Tracy cancelled the movie tickets.

Of course they couldn’t come out that day. So we attacked the problem again, managed to get the door down (after moving a car outside), and still had time to see the flick. It was a pretty good movie. We got the pool patch on the way home and a ten-foot length of galvanized conduit to be used as a pole for a windmill mole repeller I bought a month ago.

Yes, we actually bought a ten-foot pole.

Tuesday was a wash. Tracy took the cat to the vet for a schedule checkup while I waited for the garage door company. The repairman came, he saw, he conquered … maybe. The door works now, but he couldn’t figure out why it broke in the first place, so it might happen again. We ran some errands that needed running.

Tuesday night, we went to see the “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Reunion Show,” which was really more about RiffTrax than MST3K, but it was still a blast and we had many much-needed laughs.

At some point, we realized we’d double-booked Wednesday. We bought tickets to a Reds game months ago and forgot about them, so we planned our annual zoo trip for yesterday. We were going to reschedule the zoo and go to the game, but the only open days left are Saturday and Monday, and I’m not going anywhere near the zoo on a weekend or a national holiday. I’m not suicidal.

So we tossed the baseball tickets and hit the zoo yesterday. Six hours of near-constant walking and standing. I have only pain below the waist now.

Today, I have a lunch celebration of a friend’s retirement, and then I think we’re going to Kings Island. Tomorrow, we celebrate a friend’s birthday with drinking. Sunday, we are going to a party.

All of which is to say that, as usual, our plans to “do nothing” resulted in us doing most of everything. Except writing. That novel I was going to dust off and take a look at? Haven’t. Maybe tomorrow? Or Friday? Possibly Saturday?

Let’s face it; the odds are long I’ll even glance at it, even if I have the time. This week has wrung me out.

I’m summer tired. Fortunately, I’ve discovered a cure.

summer tired


Before Coffee: The Beast and Norsefire

June 27, 2016 § Leave a comment

It occurred to me yesterday that American politics looks an awful lot like the Warren Ellis series of graphic novels, Transmetropolitan, while England seems to be marching toward the future Alan Moore laid out in V for Vendetta.

We have The Beast, they have Norsefire.

I’ve never met Ellis nor Moore, but I’m nevertheless fairly confident in saying that neither man intended their work to be a blueprint for the fucking future. 

But here we are, on the cusp. The US will flip the coin in November; the UK already lost their toss, and are calling for a do-over. In both countries, racist shitbags have already come crawling out of the sewers to vomit their hate on passers by.

I’d apologize for talking about politics, but it’s hard to watch two once-proud beacons of freedom become the mob torches of ignorance and fear. 

Growing up, I was taught America was a “melting pot” of races and cultures from around the world. And that was what made America strong and unique. We took in the wretched refuse of foreign shores, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. They were the ore, and America was the fire, and together we forged a great nation. There were imperfections and mistakes, but we reworked and corrected and progressed.

And then we stopped progressing. We slowly started reversing course. Suddenly, we started to look down on the science and education and intellect that put us on the Moon and led us to many other amazing advancements in technology, in politics, in human rights. 

We started doubting hard evidence like the fossil record, in lieu of ridiculous ideas like the farcically named “intelligent design.” We started believing celebrities’ asinine claims about vaccines instead of trusting doctors and health experts. We listen to talk show hosts claim that 99% of the world’s climate experts are wrong when they say that man is fucking killing the planet we all live on.

In short, we stopped listening to the smart people because we didn’t like what they said. And now we’re so deep in a shitstew, it’s creeping up our nostrils. Some of us are choking on it. 

Others fucking love the smell; it reminds them of home.

Before Coffee: Gone Writin’

June 25, 2016 § 1 Comment

Today’s the first day of vacation. My wife and I took the upcoming week off, as we usually do this time of year.

We have some fun things planned—a trip to the zoo is mandatory—but mostly we plan to be very lazy. Or, rather, we don’t plan on doing any chores.

I have work I want to get done, but it’s all writing-related. I’m putting the sci-fi novel on hold and spending this week on an old, unfinished novel that I really enjoyed writing. I’ll take a look to see if I can figure out why I abandoned it, and maybe try to finish it up.

I may write a few blog posts, I may not. It’s vacation.

I also plan to watch this, which my friend Aaron pointed me to.

So maybe you’ll hear from me, maybe not.

Keep writing.


Before Coffee: Stupid Hurts

June 24, 2016 § 1 Comment

After just slightly over half the Brits showed appalling ignorance yesterday, the words of George Carlin come to mind:

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

If you’re one of the deluded fools who think Donald Trump couldn’t possibly be elected in November, this is your wake-up slap in the face.

In a related note, if anyone can tell me how to move my 401k into a shoebox before the market opens and eats it all, please let me know in the comments.

storms coming

Before Coffee: Stuck in the Middle with You

June 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

I woke up to Stealers Wheel this morning, so it must be my brother Steve’s birthday.

Those of you who’ve seen Reservoir Dogs have a different association with the song:


My association is with a dimly lit blue-collar bar, wall to wall with people 15 years younger than me on average, cigarette smoke hanging over us like a massive gray sponge. You could’ve cut that cancerous haze if you had a knife sharp enough—something forged by Wayland the Smith.

We were there because my niece, Maryann, was going to sing karaoke, and I’d never heard her. She performed Patsy Cline’s Crazy, and it was worth the cancer risk and inebriated kids. (Yes, kids, because anyone ten or more years my junior is and will always be a kid to me.)

Somewhere around the I-don’t-know-how-manyth beer, Steve disappeared for a few minutes, and came back with a grin on his face.

I knew that grin. I still know that grin. That grin means trouble.

He told me he’d signed us up to sing, and we were going to do it, and fuck you, that’s why. So when they called our names, we got up and performed “Stuck in the Middle with You.” Steve in the lead, both of us on the chorus. Steve even did the fucking dance, because he’s a fearless madman.

It was the first and only time I’ve ever sung karaoke.

Later that night, some punks started hassling Maryann, and Steve looked at me. No grin this time, which meant worse trouble. We ended up between Maryann and the assholes, arms crossed, me doing my best to look like a badass. Steve told the punks to fuck very far off, and after a moment’s drunken consideration, they did.

We all left not long after that. It was the first and only time I’ve even come close to getting in a bar fight.

Steve’s a man of adventure. Very rarely, I get to go along for the ride.

Happy birthday, brother!



Before Coffee: Bellend

June 15, 2016 § Leave a comment

The brain is on random and the nose is just on. As in dripping like a leaky tap.

It’s day two of what I’ve discovered (thanks to Dr. Google) is “nonallergic rhinitis”—hay fever without the hay. I had a “procedure” on Monday that involved sedation and oxygen, and apparently the O2 dries out the sinuses and causes all the symptoms of an apocalyptic allergy attack. Watery eyes, sneezing, and a never-ending stream of fluid dripping from the nose.

The fun part? Because it’s “nonallergic,” allergy medicines don’t help. Sudafed does a bit, and Rhinocort helps long enough to get about six hours of sleep, but you can only use that once every 24 hours. Otherwise, I’d be huffing it like Lloyd Bridges sniffing glue in Airplane!


Anyway, Dr. Google says it lasts about four days, so I’m going to be miserable the rest of this week. Fun!

As for the brain being on random, the British slang term “bellend” popped into my head this morning, and I began wondering about its etymology. I guessed that it originally meant a “loud, obnoxious person,” and the comparison was to the bell end of a trumpet.

Um, no.

My Brit friends are sniggering at me right now, and rightfully so. It’s decidedly more vulgar than that, referring to the glans of the male member. Ha.

The pool is still cloudy, but getting clearer at a staggeringly slow pace. Added some words to the novel last night, in between the sneezing and dripping.

Still waiting for that head transplant, which apparently isn’t too far off in the future. So at least I’ve got that going for me.


Before Coffee: Flopping

June 14, 2016 § 1 Comment

Had a busy weekend, which extended into Monday. No new words in the novel, but knocked a few stress-causing things off the list, so I’m okay with that.

I found a—I’m going to say “treasure trove,” but “box of raw sewage” is probably more appropriate—in the form of 20 or so 3.5″ diskettes recently. For those of you too young to know what a 3.5″ diskette looks like, it’s this:


Yes, it looks just like the Save icon. Also, although many people call it a “three and a half inch disk,” it was originally called a “diskette” because it replaced the larger 5.25″ floppy disks, which looked like the blue thing on the left:



And yes, that’s the actual storage medium visible in that gray oval, and if you touched it you would fuck up your data. Which is why some genius added a sliding metal protector to the 3.5″ diskettes. And also gave them a hard plastic shell; the 5.25s were literally floppy, and if you bent them or creased them, it would also fuck up your data.

Here endeth the history lesson, youngsters.

My pile of diskettes were tucked away in the back of a closet, and I found them because I went looking for the first novel I completed.

(I’m using “completed” loosely, here; it was revised several times and has a beginning, a middle, and an ending, but it probably needs serious revision before it can be considered truly “complete.”)

The novel was among them, but I also found old short stories, a couple of aborted novels I’d forgotten about, and several disks of photos. I jumped on Amazon and found a plug-and-play drive for the ancient things, which I bought. It’s mind-numbingly slow (were floppies always this slow?), but I’ve been able to recover some of those odious old stories. The photo disks seem to be corrupt, but I’m wondering if the drive just can’t handle them or what; it seems odd that all of the disks with photos would be corrupted, while none of the disks with text files gave me problems.

The first novel was as bad as I thought it was. It might be salvageable enough to put on Amazon as a 99 cent ebook, or maybe I’ll serialize it here a chapter at a time, just for shits and giggles. Mostly shits.

In other news, something yesterday triggered a massive allergy attack. My nose won’t stop running, eyes watering constantly, and Claritin, Sudafed, and Rhinocort have all failed me. Has science perfected the head transplant yet, and if so, can I have a new one?



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