Sunday, December 26, 2010

in excess

Oh wow, I’ve just been having a blast the last couple of days.

This Christmas season has touched off all the right nerves in me I guess. My daughter also mentioned that this was her best Christmas too.

But, I’ve also eaten too much despite my iron will to stuff in less than one metric tonne of treats per day . . . I’ve failed there.

And last night was the crowing touch on consumption. We had a couple of our long time and just plain awesome friends over for dinner. I made (with our guests copious help) my famous (well, in my mind anyhow) perogies complete with crisp bacon, savory onions, salty salt pork and masses of sour cream.

What can I say except . . . jeans do not stretch nearly enough . . . bring back the eighties and spandex pants, please. There were tasty greens as well in the form of a salad our guest brought with an incredibly tasty dressing.

Dessert . . . um, not so much.

This is not to say there was not a lot to choose from, more to say that most of us were so stuffed from perogies and greens that the thought of eating dessert was just silly . . . even if some of them were wafer thin. I did notice a few hands reaching into the Popycock crock later on, but they were not my hands.

Afterwards we played a few games of Pandemic . . . and had our diseased butts handed to us in a Petrie dish, every time. Is this game supposed to be winnable?

So, since yesterday was taken up with food prep and guests I never really got a chance to goof around with my Christmas presents which include Music Maker 16, my new music creation tool.

Yeah, today I’ll be grooving with the new computer toy, and reading the new books I received, and hanging my Harry Potter calendar up . . .what? . . . Emma is Hot! . . .

Since this is the last post of 2010 I must conclude that I did not reach my writing potential in 2010, but I did finish off the short story I was working on last week and it’s in the final stages of massage. As a matter of honour I will have it sent off before 2011 to find a magazine to live in.

And next year should see me getting a move on more shorts and maybe I’ll have some publishing credits to share with you, just like in the old days. My plan still holds at one short story and one tune per month . . . though this month, with the learning curve on the new music creation toy, I may not produce a musical creation.

Well I have so much fun stuff to get to I’ll just leave off now and proceed to indulge in my hedonistic orgy.

I must be careful not to get too excited though for fear of a heart attack . . . yeah, I’m getting to that age and last night’s feast blew the roof clean off consuming safe levels of cholesterol, fat and calories.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, December 19, 2010

crazy time

Yup, Christmas is just around the corner and things are swinging into high, crazy, gear.

The shopping is mostly done, but the baking remains and I’m doing daily exercises to get in shape for the huge batch of perogies I’ll be whipping up for ourselves and guests on Christmas Day.

I believe there will be quantities of bacon, onions and salt pork involved as well as many dollops of sour cream . . . oh man, I should have died from a coronary years ago . . . but Yum!

So, with all the preparations and Holiday rush, my writing has taken a beating, but I managed to do some quality editing on the short story this week. And I will be sending it out to find a home in some magazine before the end of the month, so don’t’ worry.

I got to thinking that I should be creating a song a month too. So, I still have another to do for December and I may even be able to do it with the new software if family obligations don’t suck away too many days post Christmas.

I’m putting together enough songs to make an album. It’s called “Under the See” and will feature aquatic named instrumental tunes. So far “Whale Dance” is it. There may be a Dolphin Disco, a Squid Shuffle . . . okay, I’ll stop before you hurl.

Anyhow, as this year winds down I find myself thinking ahead to 2011 and what I want to accomplish with my time.

The high level plan consists of producing one story (which will be sent out for publication) and one song (made for fun not profit) per month. That in itself will be a huge load of work. Also, I want to keep transforming the interior of our house into something adults live in and not a collection of odds and sods you would find in a university student’s apartment.

Yes, this will mean many more trips to the auctions to find those great (and inexpensive) treasures to help make our house into a real adult home. And soon (next Spring) we will be ditching our two vehicles and going to one.

The one will likely be a van . . .I know, I swore I would never get one. I also swore I would never have kids, get married or sing in the shower . . . my word is mud.

As the years go by, and times change, I find that a lot of the things I said in my youth come back to laugh in my face, complete with a fine spray of spittle . . .

Funny how, at my advanced age, I still find myself feeling like a twenty year old . . . at least in my head. The body has other ideas though. Bad, bad body.

However, my change of lifestyle has me finding myself in far better physical shape than ever before, so the twenty-year-old analogy isn’t too far wrong.

Well, since I slept in this morning (I really hate that) I’m behind on the day’s self-appointed assignments and need to rush off and get to them.

Lastly, isn’t 2010 supposed to be the year we make contact, with aliens? . . . I did encounter a few Mexicans in town this year during strawberry picking season . . . maybe that counts?

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, December 12, 2010

snow big deal

Well I woke up this morning expecting the outside weather conditions (based on ominous and persistent forecasts) to resemble a white out happening in the Himalayas . . . what I saw was light drizzle/snow and the square root of not much in the way of accumulation.

Yeah, okay then.

I’m sure a ton more is on the way . . . yawn.

So, reading night with our writing group was a success last night. There were plenty of high calorie and surgery goodness snacks and the stories I heard were up to the high standards I’m really getting used to hearing from our group.

My own story seemed to go over pretty well though I thought I projected and possibly gave away the ending a bit too much. Not so, said the listeners. Huh, said I. But that response from them was a good one and means I won’t need to agonize to much in subsequent re-writes before sending it off to be published.

The only recurring criticism, and I do take criticism well don’t get me wrong, was that I need to use pronouns more and lay off the given names a bit. It makes sense since the story only has two characters and they are of opposite sex. SO, a more liberal use of he and she will not produce any ambiguity.

Looking forward to tidying it up and sending it on its way this month.

And I need to say a few words about my LCD television. It has a built in DVD player which has a built in USB plug. I received a few episodes of a TV show via a thumb drive from a friend. They were in hi-def avi format.

Eagerly wanting to see these episodes I plugged the thumb drive into my computer and opened up Media Player. I got great sound, and absolutely no picture. It would seem the codec for avi was not loaded. I screwed around for a while (I’m on dial-up) and soon gave up the idea of a quick fix due to limited time.

Then I recalled that my TV has a USB plug in it. Hmm, I wondered and proceeded to plug the thumb drive directly into the TV’s USB port. In astonishment the TV read the thumb drive and displayed the video files for selection. I played the first episode and it came out crystal clear (since they were hi-def files) on my TV looking as good as any DVD I own.

Yes, I really am from the stone age since this technological magic had me mentally fist pumping the air and praising the age I live in.

Of course my daughter's reaction was, “ho hum, yeah Dad, like what’s the big deal?”

I had to give her the “in my day” speech again, but it was lost to her. She is definitely growing up in an age of wonders.

Well, back to the writing board and some needed revisions to my story.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I am finished

That is it.

Absolutely done . . .

. . . with writing my latest short story!

WooHoo for me, and all that rot.

It’s been like seven years I think . . . well, okay, maybe seven months since I last finished a short story.

You see what trying to re-write a novel does for you when your heart and soul belong to the short story gods? So, now that I have it all written down, and have it partially edited, I’m raring to get down to the nitty gritty polishing, then send it on its way to a publishing house.

And how can I get so excited and all worked up without a master plan? . . .

. . . I know, I know, I’m always coming up with “another or revised” master plan long before the old one has gathered dust. Still, new master plans get me motivated, and so a new master plan it is.

My new master plan is simple. Write and send out one short story per month, starting this month, and running right through to the end of next year. Yup, that would be a total of 13 short stories which just happens to be the perfect amount for a short story collection . . .

But where does the music making fit in then? I’m sure you are asking that right about now . . .

. . . or, maybe you were thinking something else . . . like why doesn’t he stop changing his damn plans and just get something done . . .

Ahem, well then, about the music . . .

The music creation is more a noodling around fun thing for me to do and comes after my writing sessions are complete each day. When I get a new tune assembled I’ll post it up on the site and let you listen to it, share it, even send it off to the Pope, you know, if you so desire. Hell, he may even like it.

On the family fun front, today is put up the tree day. My daughter always loves this part of the year, even more than the presents. Go figure. It is fun though, I must admit. We usually play the Charlie Brown, Elvis and Bing Christmas CDs while we do it.

Well, there is much for me to get done this morning, thne I’m off to visit a sick friend this afternoon to try and make him feel a little better . . . by bringing over my board game “Pandemic” for us to play, of course.

Somehow I find this funny . . . maybe he won’t.

Until next Sunday . . .