Lockdown: Airbag airhead

I slept okay Saturday night, mostly I think because I was so tired from Ging so much SD. Woke up early to check the last-minute NFL news, then went back to bed. The Raiders had the early game, but not on TV, dang it.

Got back up around 10:30, read the news, watched some football, ate the leftover BK chicken sandwich, and headed for the office. I had some tedious housekeeping stuff, updating our archive of completed proposals as a reference for development officers working on their own. It took a while. Also updated some software on my work laptop.

Walked across the street to Choi’s Family Restaurant, one of three restaurants named Choi’s within two blocks of the office, none of them associated. It’d had been on my list for some time, since I know people who love that spot, but this was my first time. Got a chicken katsu / meat jun combo, and a tofu spinich salad. The combo was good, not great, but you know how it is when you get a familar dish that’s slightly different, especially if it’s one of your faves? Yeah, I get Korean food probably more often than any other Asian cuisine, but it’s been feeling a little tired lately, even while I love it. Apparently the key is to get it somewhere else, because I went to town on that plate.

And the tofu spinach salad, which I got because Yelpers seem to love it, was amazing. I didn’t eat as much of that, saving it instead for Monday.

I brought a bunch of Christmas gifts for coworkers, so I spread out in an unoccupied cube and wrapped them. It wasn’t as fun as usual, but I wrapped pretty well, and gift wrapping always puts me in the Christmas mood.

I got home around nine and got to writing. Did a little bit of house cleaning, then stared numbly at my phone for a couple of hours and went to bed.

Ali and I texted most of the day about a lot of stuff. It was nice to spend the time with her. That was pretty much all my texting except sending JB a little message in response to the last thing he texted a few days ago.

It was a mellow Sunday, the sort I prefer these days. I would have liked a little swim, but I’m trying to deal with car stuff first so I can do that sort of thing without stressing. Still have some of that blasted adhesive foam rubber to take off, and next on the list is the stupid airbag recall, which I hope to take care of Tuesday on short notice. I counted my letters and it’s like six or seven. We’ll see what happens.

Eighteen days until Christmas. Don’t spend them disconnected. Leave a comment if you’d like my contact info. Texting, DMs, IMs, or other digi-alpha-type communication.

Lockdown: She’s not bad; she’s just maintained that way

the small white squares littered about the car are the peel-off wax paper for the double-sticky squares

It’s weird what a to-do list will do for your sense of accomplishment and purpose in life, even if you don’t actually jot it down. When my life was a lot busier, as a teacher and before that as a student, my daily list always began with “write this list,” so I could complete the list, then immediately scratch off the first item. There’s something about ticking boxes.

I’ve been down about my car. It’s showing old-car symptoms, which of course isn’t a surprise. It’s fourteen years old, and while it was taken very good care of by the guy who had it before me, there are things not meant to last much longer than this on even a well-cared-for vehicle.

There are other things, though. An old college friend pulled a very cool prank on me, November last year, sneaking into our parking garage at work while I was in the office, and sticking about a hundred shiny round takeout container lids all over. He used small double-adhesive squares for almost the whole job, which were a pain to take off but came off easily. However, he also used this double-sticky adhesive black foam rubber that did not come off easily.

It was a great prank, and very well executed. The hassle of getting it all off the car, I swear, was just an inconvenience and I harbor absolutely no ill feelings. A good prank is worth it, whether you’re on the receiving or giving end. And goodness knows I’ve been on the giving end enough to deserve more than I got here.

Adhesive stuff isn’t a problem. You just need something that gets that stuff off. My go-to is rubber cement thinner. For getting price-tags (and similar) off stuff, it’s practically undefeated. I have a one-quart tin of it somewhere. Rather than look for it, I just went to Long’s and got a spray-bottle of a product called Goo Gone. Recommended by a friend’s BF, who owns a towing business on another island.

I picked that up in January or February but never put it to use.

There’s that. And I can’t drive my car through a car wash because it leaks from the roof in heavy rain. And I park it on the street, beneath a tree that drops all kinds of garbage on it, as do the tree’s sometime occupants. So it needs to be actively cleaned once in a while, but the car doesn’t even get gas more than once every three weeks, so I seldom think about it now that we’re in lockdown.

It needs an oil change. It needs to go to an authorized service provider for an airbag recall. It needs body work. It’s going to need a transmission pretty soon. I want to have the tires and brakes checked. The safety inspection was due in February, but I need to get a new sideview mirror and a new headlight. I know she’s running a little hot, and lately the steering’s been bad. Very simple stuff (except the body work and the tranny) but it’s piled up and it’s been a downer.

Engine still runs like a very noisy dream, though.

I got up Saturday morning at around ten with several tasks in mind, and with the afternoon reserved for the car. But first: Taco Bell for breakfast. Geez it’s good.

During the trip, I dropped stuff in the drop-box at the post office and picked up a money order at 7-Eleven for the rent. Errands, baby.

Ate breakfast while reading the news and doing some crosswords. I even tidied up my desk area a little.

Then I checked under the hood for the usual stuff. Jessica needed steering fluid — it was very low — and coolant. Everything else looked good, but she needs an oil change. I cleaned up a gross amount of compost that accumulated in that space atop the firewall but under the hood, and filled the window washer reservoir.

Then I got to work with that bottle of Goo Gone. It did the job but it required a bit of elbow work, and two passes with the spray bottle. First to loosen up the foam rubber part so I could scrape it off with my thumbnail, then to loosen up the adhesive so I could rub it out with a rag. It was messy and tedious, but it worked. I didn’t quite finish the job, leaving one section on the passenger side to finish Sunday. The sun was going down and I was getting hungry and I needed to wash up and then order coolant and steering fluid for pickup from the auto parts store.

I ordered the stuff and paid online, less than twenty bucks, and waited for my pick-up email, which hadn’t come even two hours later. Ugh. I was getting hungry, and some kind of takeout was the dinner plan when I got the stuff. I called the store; they had no record of my order, and now the stupid website wasn’t loading, so I think there was a system problem. I drove to the store, grabbed the stuff off the shelf, paid, filled up the steering fluid right in the parking lot, and hit the drive-through at Popeye’s. Um. And then the drive-through at BK.

The stupid steering fluid made an immediate difference. I mean, it’s a relief that the fix was so easy, but it’s weird that such a little fix makes such a bit difference the very second you start the car.

I got the chicken sandwich meal from Popeye’s, and was going to get a small order of wings but the wait time was ten minutes and I just didn’t have that in me, so I went through the neighboring BK drive-through and got two more chicken sandwiches, way more food than I wanted, but there was a deal.

The Popeye’s sandwhich, for a takeout fried chicken sandwich, is very good. Meaty and flavorful. I didn’t care for the bun at all, but whatever. I don’t think I ever had Popeye’s fries, but they were pretty good. I only ate a few and put the rest in the fridge. I ate one of the BK sandwiches and put the other in the fridge. It’s no contest: the Popeye’s sandwich is superior by miles. They could both use a few slices of tomato, though.

By the time I sat down to write at nine, I was feeling pretty productive. The only two things I regretted not getting to were mailing the rent (I needed stamps, which I picked up on my way home from the drive-through) and taking a nap. That last one, though. Ugh.

I did the speed-writing again for the new blog content and it worked again. I’ve found that when I have less to say about something, it’s probably better not to stress it, and simply say less. I think it’s okay. And when I have more, I’ll just say more.

Ali and I texted a lot, starting off with interesting conversation about Kim and Kanye’s bathroom sink, but then talking about Christmas trees and a few other things. It was nice. There was a bit of group texting with Grace, Penny, and Reid about a Zoom hangout. I said I’d join if I wasn’t doing something while they met, but I was: I was taking care of business at the auto parts store. They finished right when I got back to my desk with dinner.

I think that was it. I have a few to-dos for Sunday but I’m not going to stress about them much. The feel-good from Saturday will coast me into the new work week, I’m pretty sure.

Leave a comment if you want someone to connect with. I’ll send contact info and we can keep each other company through the to-dos and to-don’ts as the holidays leap upon us.

Lockdown: We’ll have a barrel of fun

I dropped off to sleep Thursday night at 3:30 or so, then woke up Friday at 8:00 to check my work email (on my phone, flat on my back in bed). If the draft I’d submitted a few hours earlier was okay with my boss, I wanted to forward it right away to the DO who was waiting on it. It was okay with my boss, and I did forward it, and then I went back to bed for a couple more hours.

Did a few tasky things, then my boss emailed me to ask if I’d submit an invoice for her. I’ve never done it, and I’m terrible with money and with administrative paperwork, but I did sit through the training in May for the new system, so I figured I’d learn to actually do it. Anything that makes me more useful is good.

It took two hours for what I think most people do in five to fifteen minutes, but now I know how to do it. Now it will take me only half an hour, I think. Yeah, paperwork takes me extra extra long, something I’ve told all my bosses since I got hired at Assets. I know what I do quickly and well. I know what I do slowly and poorly. You gotta communicate that stuff.

I also worked on my monthly report. No actual writing, even though I still have one late story. It’ll wait until Monday. The wounds on my wrists where I slit them open for the last story still haven’t healed.

Watched the news, did the crossword, listened to music. Got writing at close to nine, then made a chocolate mug cake, something I haven’t repeated since I first did it in April or May. At about 9:30 one of the other Skypers asked how I was doing, and we agreed to a fifteen-minute word war.

My new idea for finding my review voice? Write as much as I can in ten two fifteen minutes. I’ll find my voice by writing a bunch of these, and I’ll write a bunch of these if I turn off my internal editor and just write. NaNoWriMo-learned skills, but for something different.

I wrote kind of a lot in fifteen minutes, and it absolutely did not suck. There’s something there. It felt good to realize. Needs editing and thinking, of course, but not yet. I’ll write some more and see what emerges, the same way: sprinting.

Called it a night half past midnight or so, then did a few chores and went to bed around two.

Breakfast and lunch was some cold tofu, cubed, with kimchi and blanched bean sprouts. It was delicious. I could eat like that every day if someone else would make it for me.

Dinner was leftover hapa rice with corned beef hash and a couple of eggs. It didn’t fill me with the remorse it did the last time I made this.

I texted with Crush Girl a little about weekend plans. Texted with Sharon about work stuff, but it turned into some casual chat about one of our former coworkers. We were good friends but when she left I lost touch with her. So I emailed her, finally, after almost a year and a half, chatting about the Bachelorette (which she’s a huge fan of) and how much I miss her. I do not think I’ll hear back from her, but I had to try. This is why I texted Sharon, actually. She knows how it ended and she knows I’m unlikely to hear back from her and she knows how I’d really like to. It felt good not to have the ball in my court anymore.

Jennifer texted me a photo of these Japanese Kit Kats aged in old whisky barrels. It makes sense. Some of Scotland’s venerable distilleries are owned by Japanese companies now, and Japanese scotch is excellent. Ali texted me from working at home and we had a little conversation about what that’s like for her. And I wished her a happy weekend.

Before bed, I watched a little bit of the first episode of The Morning Show, that Apple TV+ program with Jennifer Aniston. So far so good, but the episodes are an hour each, and I had to get sleep.

Comments are down there. Leave one if you’re not connected sufficiently as the holidays barrel upon us like barrels full of Japanese Kit Kats rolling down a hill.

Friday 5: Up and away

sunset on lanai and the pizza we had for dinner shortly after. good pizza! october 2019.

From here.

  1. What most recently made you feel elated?
    Thankgiving afternoon, jumping into the cool water and having the ocean mostly to myself. It was one of the best feelings I’ve had in this entire lockdown.
  2. Where is the slowest elevator in the universe?
    When I was in grad school at Hawaii Pacific University, I was in an elevator in one of the downtown buildings. HPU sooooorta has a proper campus now, but before it bought the Aloha Tower property, it was spread out in buildings all over downtown Honolulu. I was in the verrrrry slow elevator in the building where the library was, and as I and my fellow passenger arrived at the library floor, I said, “This is the slowest elevator in the world.” She said, “No, it’s not. Have you been to the Hawaii Loa Campus?” Yes, of course. Most of my classes were at that campus, in fact, and I knew exactly what she was talking about. “You’re right,” I said. “That one is even slower than this one, by far.” We smiled and went in different directions.
  3. When were you most recently in an airplane?
    October last year. Two coworkers and I flew to Lanai to work on a project. The other two stayed overnight; I flew back late the same evening. It was a good trip, and the thing we worked on is still being considered.
  4. With what have you had it up to here?
    I’ve been neglecting my car since I spend so little time behind the wheel and all my trips are very short. Now certain things remind me every time I get in the car that I haven’t been taking good care of it, and I hate myself. So this weekend I’m doing a bunch of car maintenance stuff, as much as I can do myself, and then I’m taking time off next week to have done the stuff I can’t take care of, like the stupid airbag recall. I saw a headline a couple of months ago that read something like, “Nissan says it sent man sixteen letters about defective airbag before he was killed by his in an accident.” Yeah, that man is going to be me if I don’t do this. Except I’ve only received six or seven letters.
  5. What’s a good song whose title contains the word “sky?”
    “Blue Skies” by the Choir. My easy number one. Others I love are “Bullet the Blue Sky” by U2 and “Crack the Skye” by Mastodon. Also, shout-out to a band I really like whose name has the word: Harakiri for the Sky.

Hey Siri? Play anything in my library.

Start 1:53 PM Friday.

  1. Blackfoot: “Teenage Idol” (southern rock, 1983)
  2. * The Neal Morse Band: “A Momentary Change” (progressive rock, 2019)
  3. Thoughts Factory: “The Burden” (progressive metal, 2020)
  4. The Neal Morse Band: “Beyond the Borders” (progressive rock, 2019)
  5. Bob Dylan: “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” (folk rock, 1974)
  6. * Lost Dogs: “Bad Indigestion” (Americana, 1993)
  7. Lost Dogs: “Whispering Memories” (Americana, 2006)
  8. Lost Dogs: “Get Me Ready” (blues rock, 2006)
  9. Lost Dogs: “Rocky Mountain Mines (rough mix)” (folk, 2019 this release, 1993 original)
  10. The Neal Morse Band: “Long Ago” (progressive rock, 2019)
  11. Cake: “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” (alternative, 2001)
  12. Bush: “The Chemicals Between Us” (alternative, 1999)
  13. Lost Dogs: “Pray Where You Are (live)” (folk, 2019 this release, 1993 original)
  14. Billy Joel: “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” (rock, 1976)
  15. Bruce Springsteen: “Hungry Heart” (rock, 1980)
  16. Lost Dogs: “Eleanor, It’s Raining Now” (Americana, 1993)
  17. Bon Jovi: “Runaway” (pop metal, 1984)
  18. Lost Dogs: “No Ship Coming In (brow beat mix)” (folk, 2019 this release, 1993 original)
  19. The Brothers Cazimero: “Kawika” (Hawaiian, 1991)
  20. The Neal Morse Band: “Child of Wonder” (progressive rock, 2019)
  21. Lost Dogs: “One More Day” (country, 2006)
  22. The Neal Morse Band: “To the River” (progressive rock, 2019)
  23. Angelique Kidjo: “Djin Djin” (Afropop, 2007)
  24. The Neal Morse Band: “Vanity Fair” (progressive rock, 2019)
  25. Angra: “Acid Rain” (power metal, 2001)
  26. Lost Dogs: “Swirling Besties” (inter-track studio conversation, 2019)
  27. Thoughts Factory: “Elements” (progressive metal, 2020)
  28. Black Sabbath: “The Mob Rules” (metal, 1981)
  29. Lost Dogs: “Precious Memories” (folk, 1993)
  30. The Neal Morse Band: “The Dream Continues” (progressive rock, 2019)
  31. The Alan Parsons Project: “Games People Play” (rock, 1983)
  32. Bonnie McKee: “American Girl” (pop, 2013)
  33. The Avett Brothers: “Live and Die” (folk, 2012)
  34. Blondie: “(I’m Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear” (new wave, 1977)
  35. The Neal Morse Band: “The Great Despair” (progressive rock, 2019)
  36. Lost Dogs: “Riding on the Devil E. Lee” (inter-track studio ad-libbing, 2019)
  37. The Neal Morse Band: “I Got to Run” (progressive rock, 2019)
  38. The Neal Morse Band: “A Love that Never Dies” (progressive rock, 2019)
  39. Lost Dogs: “Red, White & Blue (live)” (country rock, 2019)
  40. Lost Dogs: “Raul Ries Vs Senor Gomez” (inter-track studio chatter, 2019)
  41. Lost Dogs: “Rocky Mountain Mines” (folk, 1993)

Stop: 4:4-something PM Friday.

* Christian artist

It looks like Apple’s Music app favors songs stored on your phone, which makes sense. The Neal Morse is a double album, and it’s not on Spotify, my streamer of choice, so I ripped it from the CDs and synched it to my phone. The Lost Dogs 1993 album, Little Red Riding Hood is a re-release, funded on Kickstarter, and it came with a bonus disc of outtakes and alternate versions, so that’s two CDs’ worth of stuff I also synched to my phone because I got the stuff before it was on the streamers. I also added another Lost Dogs albums, one of only a tiny few I didn’t already have.

The Thoughts Factory album: same story. Wasn’t available on Spotify yet so I synched it to my phone. The rest of the tracks are songs I purchased on iTunes but are not on my phone, so they streamed.

I wanted to see what Siri would do in response to this command. It was a good afternoon of music, even if it skewed toward two specific artists. I love the Lost Dogs material so it wasn’t an issue there. I don’t think this is Neal Morse’s best work, so it was an issue there.

HUGE disadvantage, though: I listened to 41 songs and none of them scrobbled to Last.FM, so they won’t contribute to my 2020 year-end listening summary. Super annoying. It’s why I have the Last.FM scrobbler app on my phone. It has access to your iTunes library and it scrobbles. This is also one reason I haven’t moved off of Spotify: it has built-in scrobbling if you turn it on in your settings, something Amazon music and the other services don’t have.

I may try this again in the near future with the Last.FM scrobbler and see if it does a better job of mixing artists.

Ohhhh you know what I could do? Spend a few minutes adding these 41 songs to my queue in Spotify and just play it through there, maybe while I’m watching TV or in bed, so I won’t actually have to listen to them again while adding them to my scrobbles.

“If you listen to fools, the MOB RULES!”

Lockdown: Sticky situations

In Friday’s issue of Thursday’s mundania:

  • Waking up
  • Dragging myself to the desk
  • Staring at static words on a field of white
  • Breakfast and lunch (the turkey’s bad)
  • A Zoom meeting and some editing — tiptoeing
  • Stickers!
  • Dinner: Everyone needs a can to hold onto
  • December writing project one: rougher seas
  • Opening a vein
  • Too much snacking
  • “I like to give joy away for free”
  • Do ya think I’m texty?
  • I wanna text you up

Not the worst sleep in the world Wednesday night but neither the best. I think I got five good, solid, uninterrupted hours, and was shocked to discover it when I awoke. There are mornings when I wake up and I just know I slept so soundly that a succubus could have visited me in my chamber and had its way with me and I wouldn’t have stirred one bit. Well maybe ONE bit, but that bit, as we all know, is completely disconnected from my brain.

In the world of writing for a nonprofit: nothing meaningful happened for several hours. Words sat there on the page, stubbornly refusing to budge. Whiteness surrounding them refused to be sullied further with my clumsy attempts at poetric prose or anything resembling meaningful exposition.

The solution to my illoquacious, half-hearted attempts was of course to take a break for breakfast and lunch. I used up the last of my turkey broth, some fresh hapa rice, rosemary, garlic powder, salt, vinegar, and a couple of eggs some delicious turkey jook. I had a few pieces of turkey left for this last Thanksgiving memory, but they had turned, so I threw them in the trash, tearfully.

Still a great bowl of soup. I don’t know why I thought Tuesday that a great bowl of soup would be made better with bean sprouts.

We had a good weekly Zoom meeting with the department, during which I shared my struggles with sleep and productivity, not to mention my difficulty getting to the beach for some fresh air and salt water. Others shared similarly, ‘though on the whole, nobody was especially talkative. I think my boss was disappointed. I know she likes spending the time with us.

I got some stickers in the mail from a vendor on Etsy. I really just wanted the dart sticker, but what the heck. She does good work and I had $20, so I got these. One favorite quote from the series I have yet to see on any third-party merch is, “I like to give away joy for free.” My phone case is transparent, so the dart sticker went right in there after I snapped this.

I was sorely tempted to get takeout from somewhere. Or anywhere. I just couldn’t get interested enough in anything to make the effort. And I still had a bunch of fresh rice. So I opened a can of whoop-ass on a can of chili. It was lovely. I added ketchup and extra-sharp cheddar and read the news.

When it was time to write (that is, 8:30 or 9:00), I had a short list of stuff I wanted to get done. I wrote the week’s Friday 5 questions, my journal entry for Wednesday, and a quick review of Haunt’s Mind Freeze. Only it wasn’t very quick.

I’m trying to prepopulate my metal blog with content before I unleash it upon the foolish and the damned, but geez. I couldn’t settle on an approach or a voice, and it was frustrating. I want the writing to be sharp and clear, and I do want to inject my personality, as honestly as I can, because you know how it is when you write about certain areas: you want to establish some cred, and maybe you want people to know you’ve been listening to this music since you were fourteen, and that was a miiiiiiiiiillion years ago.

Except that the “honestly” part involves admitting what I don’t know and what I haven’t listened to. Yeah, I can name metalcore bands but I honestly don’t know what separates them from certain other -core bands, and post-metalcore is still a mystery to me. Yeah, I really enjoyed the Winterfylleth album this year, but black metal, as it grows on me, is still a little bit of a mystery to me. I don’t know yet what I like and why I like it.

This is the stuff I want to communicate because I’m not writing it for an audience. I’m writing it as an exploration of a music I love, and if the writing isn’t candidly reflective enough, it doesn’t serve its primary purpose.

I didn’t figure out until I was brushing my teeth before bed that I have to write a bunch of these before I find the voice I want. This may involve going back later and re-writing some of these early reviews, but that’s cool. I revise for living anyway. Onward. Let’s write a bunch of bad, schizophrenic reviews in order to learn to do this well enough for my intentions.

I saved the most pressing for last, one of the two stories for work I’m late with. I didn’t begin with the most urgent because I knew I’d take as long as I had. I finished at about 1:45 in the morning. If I had begun with it at 9:00, I’d still have finished it at 1:45 in the morning and wouldn’t have finished the other stuff. It sucked to be working so late, but I was determined, and moonlight is very slimming on my prepositional phrases. I opened a vein and bled myself onto the page, stopping periodically to lick the tip of the quill so as to save a few drops for my vampiric self.

When I’m in the middle of a ton of writing I’m not especially enjoying, I eat like a maniac. I’m a hundred percent sure it’s the sensory stimulation I want, something that doesn’t distract me from my work but makes me feel something besides the strain of squeezing transitions out of an already wrung-out brain. During my evening writing, I had a small bag of chips, three clementines, a large bottle of hard cider, and a Diet Pepsi. I caught myself several times wandering to the fridge just to open it up and see what might ignite one of my senses without taking me off my task. I very nearly made a tofu-kimchi salad, and I considered making a small pot of penne with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated cheese. Ugh. It was frustrating, but I’m glad I didn’t go too far overboard.

Writing is unhealthy, I tell you.

Then instead of going to bed, I re-watched a few of my favorite Ted Lasso moments from the “Diamond Dogs” episode. The darts scene. The “I like to give away joy for free” scene, and its subsequent “You, with the effing eyes” scene. I think I watched them three or four times each.

There was some silliness in the Cindy-Suzanne-Julie group text, which I stayed out of. I sent Ali this photo of my Ted Lasso stickers, which led to a short conversation. Crush Girl and I talked a little about one of my favorite coworkers who’s leaving next week. A real bummer, and she’s being mysterious about what she has lined up. She mentioned some things she’s lining up for the holidays. Good conversation, if a bit brief.

Here they come. The holidays. Are you ready? Are you connected? Are you drifting with the flotsam, hoping to be left by the receding tide with the rest of the jetsam? Don’t float alone. Leave me a comment if, like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, you could use a little tethering.

Lockdown: The way we wash our clothes

Got up Wednesday at 2:30 after a 2:15 alarm. Filled the water jugs, went through the McD’s drive-through, and had the laundry all to myself until I was just about done.

I hadn’t had enough sleep, but I still felt okay to head for the beach when my wash was washed. I was really tempted. I just had this feeling, though, that I should get home. So I picked up a few things at Safeway (including eggs so I wouldn’t have to make jook without them anymore) and got home and back to bed for a couple of good hours.

I was super unproductive at work. Tried to finish the two late stories but ugh. I just couldn’t make things connect. The big pieces are on the page. I just couldn’t knit them together into stories. Didn’t complete anything.

After work, I mostly just listened to music. I’m going through all the 2020 albums I spun in order to make my year-end best-of list. It was kind of fun. Haunt, Sons of Apollo, Odious Mortem, Mark Morton, and Ryte, new albums in January this year, the days of innocence. Before the fall of man. I was mostly surprised by how much more I liked the Odious Mortem album than I did eleven months ago. Listened to it twice through, in fact.

Met with the NaNoers in the Skype. Nobody was in the mood to write, but I was committed, so I wrote an album review while chatting with the others. I know one of the others was writing, the one who Skypes from South Korea, but you know. It’s so soon after one month of wringing a novel out of our brains, I don’t blame anyone for wanting more time off.

I kinda hoped to go to bed early, then wake up early and finish those two stories. I soooooorta did the first part but not the second. “Early” is relative, and I was in bed by midnight. Baby steps, I guess.

Breakfast was a Big Mac combo in the laundry. The fries were a little disappointing. The sandwich was very good. The two large Diet Cokes with extra ice were kind of amazing. I only really like Diet Coke when it’s from McD’s with extra ice.

Lunch was a bowl of jook, this time with a couple of eggs. Good but not great. I added a splash of vinegar and some bean sprouts. The bean sprouts did not make it better. I was annoyed with myself.

For dinner, I got takeout from Liliha Bakery. You know, considering how close I live to Liliha Street, it’s kind of weird that I don’t go there more often, although I remember a period about a year and a half ago when I stopped there two or three times a week on my way home from work just to get a doughnut. I don’t drive home on the freeway, so I kind of go right through Liliha twice a day when I’m working in the office.

The good old days.

I got the meatloaf plate. Used to be a once-a-week special but it’s on the regular menu now and it’s the second-best thing on the menu. The pancakes are the best.

Meatloaf is one of my favorite things my mom used to make. I’ve seen some decent recipes for IP meatloaf. Maybe I’ll make one. I’ve made a few over the years but haven’t really gotten it right. In fact, I bought a silicone loaf pan specifically for meatloaf, but I’ve only used it for that once.

After all that writing, I ate the glazed doughnut I also brought home, for dessert.

I sent Sharon a link to this great Match.com commercial where Satan and the year 2020 hook up through the dating service. It’s hilarious. It led to a short talk about dating apps. She’s encouraging me to try one. She’s the second female friend in a month to suggest it.

Crush Girl texted me to talk about a power outage, and how she opted for a different store (not Target) and it was quiet. Safer. I also had a long text conversation with Ali about stuff I can’t really record here. It started with some talk about some people at work, and how she misses working with us.

Wednesday was kind of a blah day. And this week feels like it’s speeding by even though it has no reason to feel this way. I’m stuck in slow motion on seemingly everything, but pages on the calendar keep turning.

Leave a comment if you need more connectivity than you’re getting. These are dark days for us all, as I wrote in a comment on a friend’s blog. If you need a little bit of bonding, let’s do it.

Lockdown: Do you love me (now that I can dance)?

Uggggggh. Crawled out of bed at 9:45 and punched in (figurative) at ten. Immediately put in for a half day’s vacation so I could catch up on a few things left unfinished over this last weekend of NaNoWriMo. Not enough sleep by far, but I did get more than five hours uninterrupted with Darth Vader, so it was the best sleep I’ve had in weeks.

I took a little while to get warmed up but worked steadily on the website thing they asked me to put up. This one was a little interesting because I worked closely with two DOs on the proposal, then they did their thing with it, and we raised the targeted amount (more than a million dollars). My boss wrote the press release, and I posted it on our website. Circle of fundraising life.

This shouldn’t have taken my entire half day of work, but I worked too slowly, and then there were late corrections, one of which took me a lot longer to figure out than it should have. Yeah, my brain is a long way from mossy these days.

I didn’t check out as early as planned because of it, but it was enough time to take care of my laundry night prep, and I had time to make dinner and watch The Bachelorette which continues to be stupid but I can’t take my eyes off the star. She’s beautiful.

I do believe in the possibility of love at first sight. A colleague once expressed his believe in it such that I could see it happening while I doubted I could ever experience it myself. I mean, not love. It’s one reason I think this show and others of its ilk are ridiculous, because even if you could fall in love in this setting, which I doubted, would you want to?

My feelings are evolving on this as I have now watched three episodes. These people are all physically attractive, and most of them are personally attractive too, although competition certainly doesn’t bring out the best in some. As we all know.

Here’s the thing, though. The bachelorette and her wooers get pretty handsy, and there’s some intimate kissing going on, the likes of which I’ve never done before knowing a person for years. Yeah, I know I’m not typical, but I think I’m naive, too. Is this the kind of making out people do on first dates when they’re into each other? It’s pretty steamy to these innocent eyes.

If you put me in this setting, where I exist solely to gain the favor of an incredibly beautiful woman, I think I present as my best self, or at least my best self away from a classroom. Which means I’m present, confident, focused on others, sensitive, and that thing I have where I know the right thing to say at the right time (whose flipside is knowing the most hurtful thing to say at the wrong time as well). This version of me kissing a woman like that in this way has a pretty darned good shot at believing he’s in love, and I don’t know. Maybe believing you’re in love is a step.

My experience believing the ineffable would indicate that you could slide right into true love, although I doubt you could be certain of it. Still, not being certain doesn’t mean it’s not real.

Anyway I can’t wait for this program to be over so this bachelorette can leave and I can be free.

I slept but not well. Kinda dropped off before closing any loops. Left my dinner dishes on my desk, unwashed and just about every light in the house on, so I forced myself up at about midnight to put stuff away and brush my teeth, then of course it took me a while to get back to sleep. I was going to go to the beach Wednesday morning, another reason for my taking that half day off, so I could reset my sleep schedule, but it’s not going to happen now. I’m at the laundry typing this now and I think it would be irresponsible to show up for work on the bad sleep I got.

For breakfast I made a small pot of turkey jook with hapa rice, lots of rosemary, and a little bit of garlic powder. It was yummy, but I didn’t have eggs, and I love to put an egg in my poultry soup. It was filling enough to cover lunch, too, so I skipped that and had a bag of chips for a snack. Dinner was a bowl of pasta with jarred sauce. I made the sauce with garlic flakes, tequila, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes, then topped the dish with extra-sharp white cheddar. It was quite good, although tequila’s not as good as vodka in red sauce.

Got a text from Crush Girl. We talked a little about Wednesday’s surf forecast and whether or not this evening was a good time to try Target. JB texted to talk about some spiritual stuff. Good conversation. Jennifer sent me another photo of some of her recently framed movie art. It’s nice. I questioned whether she had enough wall space for it all. Tiger sent me and those classmates in the Zoom call more info about her MLM.

A few of the NaNo Skypers did chat for a while Tuesday evening, but I stayed out of it. Laundry nights are going to be my no-writing nights this month. I think that’s going to be only a couple of times, though, because I think every other week is going to work well for me, especially during these holidays.

Someone left a Bible here in the laundry. I’m going to flip through it to see if there are interesting notes in margins.

Don’t go through pandemic days in a pandemic haze. Minutes hours and days run together in these times, and if you’re not doing what I’m doing — journaling the meaningless trivialities of daily existence — you can get lost. If you need someone to connect with, please leave a comment and I’ll send you some contact info. Especially if you’re watching The Bachelorette.

Lockdown: NaNoWriMo ends; let sleep begin

tried this brand. couldn’t really taste a difference.

Sunday night. It’s such a mood. I stayed up far too late for no good reason other than dreading the weekend’s end. I was up until past five in the morning. Yeah, I’m a doofus.

So I got up at about 9:20 to check in at work at 9:30. I had stories I was behind on and website content to put up, but I wasn’t looking forward to any of it. Then a development officer needed help formatting a proposal. She’d done all the writing; just had some trouble with pictures and text and alignment and stuff.

It’s not her fault. I have the same problems with Word and layouts. It’s just not built for that kind of thing. I must prefer InDesign, as anyone doing this kind of work prefers it, but then the DOs I work with can’t do their own editing, which means lots of back and forth as they tweak it and I follow directions. When I get a little more juice around here, I’m going to urge very strongly that we get MS Publisher for the DOs who more actively build their own proposals.

While I had it, of course I gave it a little bit of an edit.

The rest of the day was pretty much working similarly with this DO on similar proposals, three in all. It was good work, good problem-solving without having to cut open my own vein for creative thinking. Late in the day another DO sent me copy for a case statement and asked me to do my thing.

I like editing. And the people I work with seem to appreciate it. And I got to procrastinate longer on those stories I’m behind on.

After work, I rewatched some of my favorite Ted Lasso moments and did some personal writing. In the middle of it, I got an email from Reid inviting me to a Zoom call, which I normally would completely ignore but a few of my other classmates were in the same email, so I figured I’d drop in and say hi.

It was nice to see the classmate, including Reid. But the call was just an hour, which was about all I could take. We talked sports, and then I encouraged my classmate Tiger to give one of her MLM pitches. Muahaha. I figure if I don’t spend money with her maybe someone else will. I’m trying to honor everyone who’s got a side hustle.

By the time the NaNo Skype got going, everyone who was going to get across the finish line had already crossed it. A couple of us weren’t going to make it, but we gave it a token effort. Mostly we just chatted about writing. It was a good way to end it.

We also talked about continuing the sessions. Not nightly, but at least weekly. This a good indicator that we had a good month.

I wrote 383 words, not exactly pulling in at the gate, but definitely landing the plane and taxiing a good distance.

It was trash night, so I took an hour for a little bit of decluttering, mostly throwing out stuff that’s been waiting a really long time to be thrown. I did not fill the bin, but the bin was very heavy as I rolled it to the street. Decent progress for the last week of NaNo, a holiday weekend, and a sleep-deprived few days.

It was around 1:00 in the morning when I was finished cleaning up. I don’t know what I did for the next four hours but it wasn’t going to bed.


I got a short text from Sharon about her BF meeting my friend Jeff for his job interview. That seems to have gone well. Also texts from the panicking DO about one of the proposals. I put that fire out quickly. Sylvia sent me photo of her dual monitor setup at home. Pretty nice. Also a photo of her dinner from JitB. She hates that place and swears she’s not going back. I stuck up for it. Ha.

Julie sent me a Christmas card even though I told her not to. I texted the Julie-Suzanne-Cindy group text a thank you, then Cindy sent a photo of the card next to her cat. That doofus Julie. She didn’t send the usual family photo of everyone in red jammies. She sent a selfie of her missing a front tooth. Kind of brilliant. I opened my card and declared her the victor.

Crush Girl texted to ask if I bought anything on Cyber Monday. This led to some nice conversation about stuff she had her eye on and stuff she bought. I said I was pretty much done with my Christmas shopping except for a few things I was getting in local stores, but I dropped a ridiculous sum on Prime Day this past summer so it was okay.

Breakfast was a fresh pot of hapa rice with some canned mackerel. Very good. Lunch might have been a slice of custard pie and small bag of chips. I definitely ate those and nothing else but I’m hesitant to call it lunch because what does that make me? Dinner was a bowl of canned chili with hapa rice.

I’m pretty sure there was another slice of custard pie for dessert.

You need more connection? Leave a comment. Pandemic sucks. Don’t be alone.