Lockdown: Beaching on Sunday

Sunday was good. I got up at about 3:30 and got to Kewalo right at 4:00, where ten cars were already lined up to get into the still-gated parking lot. A security truck drove in at around 4:15 and let us in.

Parking in this lot is a dollar an hour, so I put four hours on my card, thinking I might want to linger a while.

I wasn’t going to do a repeat of the 10,000 steps I did Tuesday morning, but I thought walking to Starbucks for a latte was reasonable. But I forgot this Starbucks opens half an hour later on Sundays, at 5:00, so I wandered around the parking lot for half an hour, and then for another twenty minutes because that’s how long it took the staff to realize they’d forgotten to unlock the door, despite one man standing right in front of the door nearly the whole time.

Frustrating, especially when my phone informed me at shortly after 5:00 that my latte was ready.

It wasn’t cold by the time I got it, but I didn’t have a lot of time to savor it. Annoying.

By the time I got back to my car, I’d taken close to 10,000 steps again.

The water took away most of the frustration my morning inconveniences brought on, and I swam a bit further than usual. It was a good, strenuous time, and the water was delicious. There were more swimmers than Tuesday, some of them coming ridiculously close to me. Even one standup paddleboarder came super super close to me as if practicing tight turns around a buoy. I gave a sarcastic, “Good morning” as I stopped in my own wake to let him go by.

I took a little longer in the beach shower than usual, since nobody was waiting behind me, and got out of the parking lot with forty-five minutes left on my ticket. Ah well. You can’t by partial hours, so whatever.

I got a very few groceries at Foodland Ala Moana, then breakfast at Makiki Zippy’s, and went to the office for a few hours. Updated sofware and did some housekeeping, basically emptying my snack drawer since it doesn’t look like we’re going back to the office regularly until after the new year. I even brought back the can of apple cider, the mini bottle of Patron tequila, and the shot glass I keep in my desk just in case.

Took a very short nap. Watched the news. Then attacked the beast. I got a decent amount done for a couple hours’ work. I’ll do a little more Monday before bed.

Breakfast (Zippy’s) was a surf pac (deluxe). It was too much food, but my body burned most of it as soon as it went in. Lunch was some English muffin pizzas. I had a slice of lemon chess pie somewhere in between. I didn’t have dinner, unless the pie was lunch and the pizzas were dinner.

Not much messaging. Ali and I traded some photos. Julia texted to say she wasn’t going to make the Hawaii Stories deadline.

I got to bed a little later than planned, but still before 11:00, I think.

Hit me up in the comments if you’d like my contact info for a little bit of SMS connectivity. I’ll do DMs and IMs too. Here’s to a sane week and beginning of (eek) September.

Lockdown: It’s chess a slice o’ lemon pie

Saturday I just didn’t have it in me to head for the beach. I don’t know why. Not quite enough sleep for one thing, but I also got up a little late, like around 4:00, which I thought was too late to snag parking.

I gave myself a little more time in bed, which my body and brain were most grateful for. Took my time waking up, then got on the road at about 8:00. I was supposed to pick up my mom’s birthday gift at the Rice Factory (Japanese rice), but when I got there the store was locked. Checked my email verification, and it said pickup would be at the Kakaako Farmers Market.

I had actually considered going to the Kakaako Farmers Market after my errand, but I messaged Melissa Friday to ask her how crowded it was. I think I wrote about this yesterday. She talked me out of it, and I had my sights set on the Pearlridge Farmers Market instead.

But there I was at Kakaako, and Melissa was right: it’s a lot of people. I was really stressed. The sad thing is that everything I saw as I searched for the Rice Factory booth looked great. Fresh produce, locally made food and condiments, some crafts, even. I could also see this cloud of viruses hovering overhead, ready to swoop down on me like angry bees and carry me to heaven. No thank you.

I picked up my order and lugged the 35 pounds of very expensive rice to my car. Put a nice dent in my car pulling out of the stall, scraping the wall in the parking structure. Yay.

The car doesn’t bother me too much. As I’ve said, I’m planning on having some body work done anyway. But the stress of all those people took my Pearlridge resolve right of me. Instead I stopped at 7-Eleven to get a money order for the rent. I had time to kill before my pickup at Hawaiian Pie Company, so I had a convenience store sandwich. I’m such a sucker for those things for some reason. And a Diet Pepsi. That was breakfast.

I guess a slice of lemon chess pie was my lunch. For dinner I had some English muffin pizzas, with a new batch of sauce. It isn’t just that I really like these things; it’s that when a single guy buys half a dozen English muffins, it’s a race to get them consumed before they go bad. And I bought two half dozen. If I can get two more muffins eaten and leave just two for the mold, I’ll consider it a good deal — ten out of twelve is okay by me.

Along the way I watched the first four episodes of season two of Halt and Catch Fire. It’s not nearly as compelling, but it’s still pretty engaging. I was sixteen when the events depicted (and fictionalized) here took place. Sixteen, and two years into teaching myself BASIC. I’d already stumbled through sprite creation and motion, but the motion was programmed, not directed by a keyboard commands or a joystick. I’d learned one-dimensional arrays for single-voiced music, but three-dimensional arrays were too tricky to teach myself. I still don’t know how to do them.

It makes me wonder what might have happened if I’d gone a different way.

I did the Saturday NYT crossword in 14 minutes even. I was pleased.

Not many texts. I sent Crush Girl and Ali (separately) a photo of a funny t-shirt I think both could wear to work and get some laughs. Messaged Melissa to tell her I wasn’t going to make it to the Pearlridge Farmers Market (and why). F5 Girl and I traded some texts about Bob Uecker again. So odd.

The Chagall Guevara Kickstarter campaign hit its second stretch goal ($125K) with just over a day to go, so I’m in the hole for a ridiculous amount of money for three CDs and the same albums on LP. I’m also on the priority list for concert tickets in Nashville. Fly to Nashville just to see a concert? I’m not ruling it out.

I get to reserve two tickets (for purchase) and the only other person I know who’d appreciate it is R, who loves Steve Taylor almost as much as I do. I don’t think she was as fond of Chagall Guevara as I was, but she definitely appreciated it. Dammit.

This means I need to find a GF before then. Applications taken in the comments below.

Just kidding. But hit me up down there if you want someone to trade messages with. I promise not to bore you with much Chagall Guevara talk. Because I could talk about them all day and it would never be boring!

This is “Murder in the Big House,” live in 1991. Christians just didn’t sing about global warming in 1991. Except Bruce Cockburn. And here they are. Brilliant and wonderful and ignored.

Lockdown: I must be in the front rooooow!

I woke up early enough to hit the beach but I slept so terribly that I just went back to bed Friday morning. Got up an hour before work and goofed around a little.

Work was a little better, if slow. I did the background on three new stories and got them rolling, asking for email introductions to some peope I’m interviewing. Nobody got back to me, so I couldn’t set anything up, but it felt good to create the new folders and start my note-taking.

Someone initiated a new meeting to talk about my new way of doing proposals. I don’t know why it caught me off guard, but it did. I wasn’t expecting new meetings with my boss and my new tutor’s boss. It’s a lot more formal a consequence than I was hoping for. I am just not at my best in meetings; I feel like I’m at a huge disadvantage, like the blind person brought into a meeting heavy on PowerPoint slides. I can manage; I can even contribute. It’s just such a mental strain on me that it exhausts me.

Plus, if you’re the blind person in these meetings, the dread you feel anticipating the meetings is also a strain. I don’t think it’s very understandable to people who thrive in meetings, but it’s real. Yes, I can do them, just as I do my administrative paperwork and just as I did all those report cards, once upon a time. But at least with paperwork and grading, I did it on my turf, generally on my terms, albeit on someone else’s timeline. These meetings are always someone else’s turf and someone else’s terms. It’s tough for a guy whose work is mostly staring at a computer screen.

I was determined to hit the beach Saturday morning, so I spent most of my after-work time doing some chores and getting ready for bed. It was an abbrevited day. I expect a lot of them will be this way as I try to get swimming back into my life the way it was before all this.

Okay, breakfast was some English muffin pizzas. Once I start enjoying these they are a difficult habit to break. Lunch was a couple of quick burritos. If the ground beef I still have in my fridge from last weekend is still good, I’m making some more filling this weekend. Dinner was Korean instant ramen with a mountain of bean sprouts and two eggs. I don’t think there was any snacking.

I FB messaged Melissa to ask some questions about the Kakaako Farmers Market. I told her crowds freak me out nowadays, so she steered me away, saying if I go later in the morning to the Pearlridge one, it’s a lot more sparsely attended. It’s her job to hype anything Pearlridge related, but she also never gives bad advice. I also FB messaged F5 girl, who lives in Wisconsin, to see if she’s okay. This led to some strange conversation about Bob Uecker.

Traded a few small texts with Crush Girl. That was it.

This weekend: more podcast prep. A little bit of work on the Beast. Halt and Catch Fire season two (the first four episodes). And a bunch of reading, I hope.

Reach out if you’d like someone to connect with. I’m here.

Lockdown: Thrashing about for some theme music

Thursday work was busy if not the kind of productive I’d have preferred. There was a bit of proofreading and editing for the staff newsletter. It’s kind of a big deal, and putting it together is one of my favorite parts of the job. Otherwise, it was a lot of finishing touches on stories I’ve psycically moved on from.

Strangely, I got started on laundry an hour later than usual. I usually set the alarm for 2:00 or 2:15 in the morning, then get to the laundry between 3:00 and 3:15, but for some reason I set the alarm for an hour later, throwing everything off and making a beach stop impossible. I didn’t finish my laundry until around 6:00, which is far too late to hope for parking at Kewalo.

So I stopped at Safeway for just a couple of things, including some tomato sauce and tomato paste. For pizza sauce. Didn’t stop anywhere for breakfast since I wasn’t getting any swimming, and just went to bed for an hour before work.

After work, I got ready for bed early after a few chores and then fell asleep without putting myself properly to bed. Argh. I was waiting for some ice to freeze so I could fill my thermos, and of course I lost it and just dropped off. I woke up around 1:00 in the morning and finished things up before getting back to bed. It took me pretty long to get back to sleep.

The nice thing about my work tasks Thursday: they enabled me to listen fairly attentively to some music. I went through twenty songs or so, looking for music for the podcast. I took notes, jotting down stuff that interested me about each song, and what each song might be used for. I was sort of pleased with the candidates in the “metal” genre on the service I’m looking at, but when I switched to “thrash metal,” the very first song made me say aloud, “That’s what I’m looking for.”

It was a productive project, but I left it hanging at that first thrash song. Now I had a great place to start sometime this weekend, for a second search.

Not many texts Thursday. Crush Girl sent me a photo of her dinner, asking me if I could guess where she got takeout from. I got it on the first guess. She was impressed. It’s a spot where Grace and Penny and I often stop to pick up food on our way to Reid’s house. Then I told her a little bit about my dinner.

Wow. That looks like it.

Breakfast may have been a slice of pie. Lunch was some English muffin pizzas with my own pizza sauce. Much better. I cut the tomato sauce in half for this, and it came out pretty great. For dinner, I had one more slab of meat in the fridge I had to cook before it turned. When I was at the supermarket last weekend, I splurged on a ribeye. I almost never spend that kind of money on steak, but my experience has been so good lately, I went for it.

Delicious. Seriously. Probably could have cut it with the edge of my fork. I ate it with the leftover veggies from Wednesday afternoon (oyster mushrooms, tofu, baby bok choi, bean sprouts). A great dinner and I hardly noticed the absence of rice or potatoes.

If you need someone to trade some conversation with, leave a comment and I’ll send you my contact info. Hawaii’s numbers keep going up and they’re going to get worse. It’s going to be a long time getting through this, so reach out if you need to connect.

Friday 5: Consumption

From here.

  1. What would you consider your most recent major purchase?
    Chagall Guevara is a band who in 1991 released one of my favorite albums. The lead singer is Steve Taylor, whom I idolize, but guitarists L. Arthur Nichols and Dave Perkins are also musicians I think very highly of. They recorded just the one album, despite excellent reviews. Early this month, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to release a new concert album, recorded in 1991. I jumped all over it, committing at the $75 level, which includes the live album on LP and CD, plus a t-shirt and a CD of unreleased studio songs — including a couple of new things the band is recording now! The rabid fans took the campaign past its $40K goal in twenty-two hours! Then when they were nearing $60K midway through, they set some stretch goals, offering fresh vinyl of the original album and all kinds of other cool things if they hit $100K, which I really thought was too large a stretch. I was wrong — they hit that mark, and are at $114K from 1754 backers, with three days to go. I’m in it for the music only — I don’t need guitar picks or turntable slipcovers or whatever, but what they are offering music-wise was far, far too good to pass up. So now I’m in for $150 for all three albums on CD and 180 gram vinyl. Plus the shirt. It comes to $172 bucks with shipping. Ridiculous, but when it comes in the mail, the pain will have been forgotten and all I will feel is love. And for these musicians to see how beloved they are? That’s part of what I’m paying for, and they are already talking about the possibility of reforming (or maybe I’m making this part up). And they set up another stretch goal they will never reach, but if they get to $125K or 2000 backers, they’re going to have a concert in 2021 in Nashville. Even if I don’t go, I’ll love that I helped it happen. No, I do not own a turntable. Why do you ask?
  2. On what are you hoping to spend a good chunk of change in the near future?
    Car stuff. The transmission’s getting ready to go, and I really like my car, so I’m going to spend more than its value to have it done, and then since I’ll have invested so much in it, I’ll have some body work done. Yikes.
  3. When did you most recently resist the urge to splurge?
    I put a new ukulele in my cart and then moved it to “save for later.”
  4. When did you most recently experience buyer’s remorse?
    I wasn’t pleased with myself when I had that second Taco Bell breakfast whenever I had it.
  5. What’s something interesting you consumed this past week?
    I watched The Banker on Apple TV+. Listened to a lot of Rush music. Ate a nice veggie stir-fry with a ribeye. Oh, and those Lay’s Nashville Hot Chicken potato chips. Really good. They taste just like fried chicken skins.

Lockdown: A rough type o’ day

Got up around eight. I felt pretty rested even though I didn’t have great sleep. Probably carryover from my couple of days of vacation. I had a 9:00 meeting to prep for, but it turned out that my coworker scheduled something else for 9:00 (weird, since she’s the one who suggested 9:00, but then this meeting was not at all urgent).

So I went through emails and finishing up the tasks they suggested. It’s part of the job I pretty much don’t mind, and a good way to ease into the workday. Can I send you a copy of what? Sure! Typety typety click *send*. You need me to add who to the proposal? Okie dokie! Clickity clickety tap *send*. It’s at the same time kind of robotic and not absent a decent amount of brainwork to get all the gears and levers in my cranium warmed up.

Then it got terrible. I mean not tragically terrible, but terrible enough because of a spelling error I made on someone’s name. A donor was very displeased. This was actually last week, but when I corrected the misspelled name, I corrected it incorrectly and the donor was livid. That was today. Oops.

The day ended with my supervisor on the phone figuring out where to go from there. Rough day.

My goal was to be asleep by eight, so when my workday ended at six, I got started on my pre-laundry day tasks. I don’t disinfect my water jugs every time I refill them; I’ve found it unnecessary, as far as I can tell, but I do it every three weeks or so. This time it was four. This takes some time, as I’m working with one-gallon jugs (five-gallon bottles were impossible to find on this island when the lockdown began in March). I’m up to ten jugs now, and there’s bleach involved, so it takes a while to get everything taken care of.

Ate lunch, did the dishes, and took care of the getting-ready-for-bed stuff. Conscious sleep preparation the way I’m supposed to do it. Got to sleep sometime after nine. Dang it.

I had a steak to cook (a cheaper cut than last time) before it got bad. I was going to prepare it, along with a large stir fry, and have it for breakfast and lunch. But two morning phone calls threw off my timing, and when I had a moment to have a bite, I only had the steak ready. I didn’t mean to have the entire steak — and only the steak — for my breakfast meal, but oops (again).

It was pretty good except for a little bit of stringiness on the outer edges. I think I’m learning a way to prepare steak that works for me, even with inexpensive cuts.

I stir-fried the veggies (oyster mushrooms, tofu, bean sprouts, and baby bok choi) and ate half of them for a late lunch. They were pretty great. I’m less likely to miss rice when cubes of firm tofu are involved, and I mean enough tofu that I’m not pacing myself so I don’t run out before I’m through with the meal. It’s a problem I’ve had with tofu-involved dishes when I dine out.

The mushrooms also add some nice substance. I don’t think they’re especially nutritious, but they make me happy, especially when they’re on sale.

I had a slice of pie for a snack before bed.

Dinner is the quarter-pounder combo from McD’s I’m enjoying right now at the laundry.

Not a banner day, but maybe all that rest prepared me for it, because I was unstressed all day long, and even kind of looked forward to doing the laundry, something I haven’t felt in a few weeks. I didn’t still feel that way when the alarm went off, but oh well. I’m here now and it’s fine.

I sent a little text to Julie telling her I’m working through the back episodes of Judge John Hodgman, the podcast she turned me on to a few years ago. The archives go back to November 8, 2010. I’m up to October 26, 2011. A ways to go. This podcast’s earliest episodes have been good listening while I do household chores, especially those weekly attacks on the Monster and the Beast.

I got one text from Crush Girl responding to some little, unimportant thing I asked the night before. Then the Julie-Cindy-Suzanne group text lit up just before bed with a meme I didn’t recognize.

Not a lot going on there, but the day was busy anyway, so it was okay. If you want in on all this exciting conversation (well not all of it; or not any of it, really, but we can start our own), just leave a comment and I’ll send my contact info. Weird days continue, and you don’t need to go through them separated from human interaction.

Lockdown: Always ourselves we find in the sea

Tuesday soundtrack: Presto by Rush (1989). I somehow had forgotten about this song “The Pass,” one of three singles released from this album, but wow. Midway through, I said aloud, “What in the world is THIS?” Amazing song. Great song. I did a little bit of reading and learned it’s one of the band’s favorites as well. Rush’s stuff post-1987 (the year I graduated high school) is all kind of a blur to me, despite their being maybe my third favorite musical acts. So this has been fun.

Tuesday was a bit more like a good weekend day off than a vacation day, but since I didn’t really have a weekend, I’ll take it.

I woke up at 3:00 in the morning, took a while to get up, and was finally rolling at around 4:00. The drive to Kewalo was really quick — maybe ten minutes, and I caught red only on three lights. The way I go, that’s kind of amazing.

Pulled into the lot close to 4:15 and it was already approaching capacity. I locked the car and immediately wandered around the pier for a little while and then *bing* it occurred to me that I haven’t had a latte in a million years. Checked the app to see if one of the two Starbucks within walking distance was open, and the one on Ward Avenue was. Helllloooooo vanilla latte. I wandered around the area in javanated bliss, then walked around the pier some more, took some photos of the pre-sunrise beach, and by the time the sun was up, I’d walked 7500 steps. It’s a little more than half of my usual goal but also far more than I’ve been walking at all lately.

And then I hit the water and it was glorious. Beautiful. Lovely. And very sparsely populated. Totally worth having to wake up at 3:00.

I had to change the way I kicked, because I could feel it in my knee, but it didn’t take long to adjust. Swimming is weird; it’s generally much easier on your joints than running or walking, but the motion is also less bidirectional. You don’t notice it when your joints are healthy. You do notice the weird twisty motions you subject them to when they’re ailing.

I stopped at one of the breakfast spots in the hood on my way home. Picked up a shrimp and bacon omelette and a side order of something it calls “boom boom chicken.” Hard pass on the chicken, which was a boneless, spicy chicken fried in something like cornmeal. It wasn’t bad; it just wan’t great, and it was ten bucks. There are better things to spend the money and calories on. The omelette was pretty good, just not as good as that Veggietopia omelette I had a couple of months ago.

Read the news. Did the crossword. Snuck a peak at my work email. Took a nap! Goofed around on my phone. For lunch I had some English muffin pizzas. They were okay. I need to stop using canned spaghetti sauce for my pizza sauce. I have a good, easy pizza sauce recipe based on my mom’s old recipe that works much better for bready pizzas like these. It’s not as saucy, so it doesn’t seep into the bread. I wish I’d picked up the ingredients the last time I was at the supermarket.

I wasn’t exactly hungry, but I did get the munchies around bedtime, so I ate a few potato chips and had a slice of pie. Then it was to bed shortly after midnight. Later than planned but rested. A day off I needed. My brain felt clear and my spirits were pretty good.

Ali and I texted a tiny bit about my being at the beach. I sent her a short video I took for her of the waves on the sand. Jenny texted to ask if I was interested in leading a little online seminar on writing appeal letters, for the local association of fundraisers. I said I would speak to my supervisor. Then we talked a little about some of the funny stories I could share. Cindy texted me to ask the Mac keyboard shortcut for emdash, but by the time I looked at my phone she’d already figured it out. Sylvia and I talked a little about the new Lay’s chip varities. Crush Girl and I texted a little bit about some cooking she did over the weekend.

My knee howled at me all day, so maybe 7500 steps before a swim just won’t work. If I can get in the water four times a week, which will kill my arms and shoulders for a while until I get used to it again, I might not need to do the walking, or I could just do a lot less. Must think about this.

In this spot every day, I offer to connect with anyone who needs it during these mad times. Here it is now: just leave a comment. I’ll email you my contact deets. You may get a photo of Ala Moana at dawn.

Lockdown: Baskin in leisure (not Robbins my employer for once)

I was up late Sunday night, far too late to enjoy my Monday off as fully as I’d hoped. It’s my fault; I know. I let that stupid article kill my long weekend and my envisioned five days off in a row. I got to sleep close past 5:00 and didn’t get out of bed until 10:00 or so Monday. Sleeping in was definitely part of the plan anyway, so I didn’t feel too bad about that, but I didn’t have it in mind to wake up at 10:00 sleep-deprived. I was supposed to wake up at 10:00 rested and relaxed.

I’d set my alarm for 10:00 so I could run to the stripmall and drop my Netflix DVDs in the box before the 11:00 pickup. I thought if the place wasn’t teeming with my Kalihi neighbors, I might get a few things I’m sure I didn’t need, but it looked like any weekday in any month in any year, but with masks. It was stressful and alarming.

The Korean takeout place had just opened (a lot of joints are opening later in the day now), so I got a BBQ chicken and meat jun (it’s a Hawaii thing) plate with bean sprouts, shoyu potatoes, kim chi, and choy sum. I was the only customer in there except someone who came in while I waited. She breezed past me and picked up her order and left.

The Baskin-Robbins was empty too, and I suspect it was the real reason for the errand. Ice cream and vacation go together. I had a scoop of Jamoca and a scoop of cookies and cream in a cup, which I enjoyed in my car.

Got back home to finish watching The Banker while I had half the Korean food. That was breakfast or lunch. The rest was lunch or dinner. There was a slice of apple pie somewhere in between.

I did crosswords. I watched some YouTube videos, something I almost never do. Listened to podcasts. Took a short nap. Watched and read the news.

I took care of those loose appendages of the Monster. It was the same task, but not as much of it. It was almost exactly half what had been my usual chore, quantity-wise, so it took just over half as long. It was equally disgusting and unpleasant.

There are still tiny little stray pieces of the Monster to deal with, but they won’t be the same task, so I’m not dreading them as much.

I had enough energy to do what would be half a week’s worth of attending to the Beast, my now-directed, focused decluttering project. Threw out some old hardware, mostly, stuff that was taking up ridiculous amounts of space in very inconvenient places in my home. Sweat the big stuff first, they always say.

That was a rewarding, sweaty way to end my vacation day. There were all kinds of things I meant to do but did not. Perhaps I’ll take care of them Tuesday.

I meant to put myself to bed by 9:00, but didn’t get to sleep until 11:00.

Not that many texts Monday. Crush Girl knew I was taking a day off, so she asked if I was enjoying it. We traded a few messages about some new TV she’s watching. I mentioned Halt and Catch Fire, not really expecting it would perk her ears up. A description of the series doesn’t really sound interesting to anyone, and it wouldn’t have sounded that great to me either, if I hadn’t heard some people on the Ringer talking about it during its first or second season.

Julia told me about her job interview. I sent AJ a link to a Washington Post article about advice for people renting RVs. That was it.

It was a decent day. I was productive in menial ways which had positive psychological payoff. Maybe Tuesday will be about being creatively productive instead. Here’s hoping.

And here’s hoping that if you, in these days of staying home, staying safe, and staying away from others, need to connect with someone, you’ll reach out in the comments. I’ll delete your comment after I send you my contact info, if you wish. I’ve done it for others, whose texts I don’t mention in this space. I’m here if you need some witty banter and lame photos of Korean food.

Lockdown: The writing life?

Sunday soundtrack: Rush’s a Show of Hands (1989). It’s the next Rush album after Hold Your Fire, and it continues the band’s long tradition of releasing a live album after every three studio albums. It’s a killer live album, probably the group’s second-best to the date of its release, after Exit…Stage Left. I had it on repeat most of the day.

Sunday was pretty much a repeat of Friday and Saturday, with me sitting at my desk trying to write the stupid story and getting through it one painful character at a time. But it’s 3:53 in the morning and I got it done about an hour ago. Not done-done, but first draft done. I have no confidence in it, so I’m prepared for major revisions, but at least it’s a completed draft. A start.

I also wrote my monthly one-minute writing tip for the staff newsletter, and I’m working on my monthly film review for the same newsletter. Got midway through The Banker (2020, depending on how you mark these things), which is an Apple TV+ exclusive. So far, so good. Samuel L. Jackson does a surprisingly restrained job, and ohhhhh Nia Long, my sweetheart.

One of my sweethearts.

It’s been a long, frustrating, three-day weekend. Sometimes the writing is just impossible. Sometimes it’s like opening a vein, I swear. Sometimes it’s like I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. Sometimes it takes three whole days just to write eight short paragraphs.

I’m off for the next couple of days, though, so I guess Monday and Tuesday will be my weekend. I’m considering taking Friday off as well. Somebody’s got a lot of vacation saved up, and somebody’s brain is pretty fried.

For breakfast, I had a slice of pie. I didn’t mean to; I just wanted to get through the crossword quickly and have an easy breakfast so I could get to that story. Ha. Ha.

At lunch, I took a break from staring at the same two paragraphs all morning, and made burrito filling. It came out great. I had a couple of burritos for lunch, then whenever I got the munchies during the day, I picked up a spoon and had a bite of the filling. Maybe not the healthiest thing, but I guess better than Oreos or chips. I had a couple more burritos for dinner because it was convenient.

The negative consequence is that now I probably don’t have enough filling for a week’s worth of breakfasts or lunches, which is what I had in mind.

Mostly short text conversations today. Ali and I talked about Ahn Trio. Or really we talked about talking about them. Sylvia and I mused about whether or not it’s a good idea to have so many potato chips in one’s residence at one time. JB gave me a War and Peace update. Jenny and I had a long conversation about Bloody Wednesday, about layoffs in general, about passive-aggressive emails, and about learning to be a Super Bitch. She was a development executive for a couple of prominent nonprofits, and now she’s running her own consultancy, so we’re in the same business, probably $100,000 apart.

I’m exhausted. I’m going to bed. Hit me up in comments if you want my contact info so we can trade texts or DMs.

Lockdown: I let my past go too fast

Saturday soundtrack: Rush’s Hold Your Fire (1987) on endless repeat. It’s been one of the more forgettable Rush albums for me, which I think comes mostly from not listening to it enough. It’s not bad — there was one semi-hit, “Time Stand Still” with Aimee Mann, and one track I’m super-familiar with for reasons I cannot remember, “Turn the Page.” It’s definitely sticking now, though. There are some great songs here.

Today was all about getting that story done while also not getting the story done. I made progress; I’ve got three decent paragraphs and need three or four more. I’m at the pivot now, where I write about the thing the article’s really about, then give another example and then wrap it up. So I’m in the homestretch, but the words come very slowly. I’m going to finish it Sunday morning.

For breakfast, I had leftover chili and rice. I’m almost done with the chili, thank goodness. This was actually leftover leftovers. I served myself too generously for dinner Friday night, and I only ate half of the bowl I heated up. So I just put the whole bowl in a zippered plastic bag and threw that in the fridge. Warmed it up for breakfast.

Lunch was my fresh bread and some tuna fish. I didn’t make sandwiches; just spooned the tuna onto little slices and ate it that way. Yummy.

Dinner was McD’s Chicken McNuggets and fries. I was feeling lazy.

I did a few small chores. Goofed around on my phone. Watched the news. Continued to clean out the old fridge. Didn’t take a nap, ‘though I kind of wanted one. I told myself there would be no naps until the article was finished. Ha. Aaaaand I never got there. I also watched The House Bunny (2008), finally. Anna Faris, Emma Stone, Rumer Willis, Colin Hanks, Kat Dennings. It’s terrible. Likeable, but just really stupid. I dig the be-who-you-are and accept-people-for-who-they-are messages a lot, but wow. The trip there is painful.

Half an hour before it closed, I hit the supermarket. I bought a lot of veggies. And some canned things to add to the hurricane stash. I bought a few steaks, too, because I was so pleased with those steaks the other week. Oh, and burrito filling stuff. Not just for lazy burritos (which I know I still haven’t explained), but like for real burritos. My something different for this trip were a head of cauliflower, which isn’t that different but I’ve only purchased it once before in my life, so it counts, and a tray of oyster mushrooms, which I’m calling different from those king oyster mushrooms I got a few weeks ago.

Jennifer texted me a link to a fairly well-known local blog reviewing junk food; she said my IG posts remind her of it. The guy who writes it is nice enough — we’ve even played a few word game apps against each other at the urging of his wife. It’s just a little awkward for me because his wife is one of my former students, a wonderfully nice forty-year-old mom who I still remember as a seventeen-year-old student in my speech class.

I texted Ali kind of late to ask her if she’s ever heard of Ahn Trio, a group I for some reason think she might like. I texted Crush Girl to tell her something about a traffic situation I thought she might be interested in. Then I texted JB to ask how War and Peace is coming along. But that was a little late too, and he’s in Virginia. Oh, then I FB messaged a friend in Hilo to ask how her Hawaii Stories submission is coming along. And I FB messaged my friend Wendy in Manila. She posted an FB story showing her Kindle. I didn’t know she had a Kindle so I sent her a link to my loanable books list. We talked how-are-you-coping and stay-safe. People in her immediate neighborhood have tested positive. Ugh.

I let my past go too fast
No time to pause
If I could slow it all down
Like some captain
Whose ship runs aground
I can wait until the tide comes around

Hey, if you need some connection or to share some introspection in these crappy days of stay-at-home insanity and mundanity, hit the comments and let me know; I’ll send my contact info so you’ll know where to go.