Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rish Outcast 84: Sleeptalkin' Episode 2

So, here's the squeakquel to the last show, finishing up "Sleeptalkin' Gal."

You know, I really expected "squeakquel" to catch on as a saying . . . but it didn't.  Huh.

Actually, I don't know that this show is a sequel (squeaking or otherwise).  Is the third part of a mini-series a sequel?  Or the second part of a two-part "MacGuyver" episode?

Wanna download the episode directly?  Just Right-Click HERE!

Wanna back Rish's Patreon fund?  I just recorded two stories for just Patreon supporters.  HERE?

Wanna see a pic of Rish with Neil Patrick Harris?  Click HERE!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Mid-September Update

Man, I suck.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Rish Outcast 83: Sleeptalkin' Episode

Rish presents most of his story "Sleeptalkin' Gal," then goes for a walk around the block to talk about dramatic beats.

I made the (rather arbitrary) decision to split this into two parts, so feel free to curse me in the comments below. Or hey, don't. Up to you.

Here's a link to the full story, if you wanna check it out.

Oh yeah, download this episode by Right-Clicking HERE!

And there's always Patreon.  And the sun.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

September, Remember?

Shoot, am I still doing this accountability thing?  You realize that was a mistake, right?

Well, I do.

I think it's fair to say that I wrote every single day in August, because I tried to remind myself every night before I slept.  But that doesn't mean I wrote a great deal every day.  I believe the technical term for it is "half-assed."

Also, I was supposed to edit audio every single day.  And I did get a Dunesteef, a That Gets My Goat, two short stories, a Delusions of Grandeur, a Far-Fetched Fables, and three episodes of the Rish Outcast done (one of which is the longest, most dreaded episode since I started doing this thing, so that oughtta count for two).

I could have done more.  But if you don't feel the same way about your accomplishments . . . I am your mortal enemy.

Okay, I really don't know what to do in September.  I ought to write, I ought to edit, I ought to publish (and how), but I couldn't seem to find the gas in the tank to write this blog post, much less set any worthy goals for boring old September.

Wait, was there a band called September Death?  Am I remembering that right?  I don't know what that means or where it comes from, but what a cool name for a band.

So, I got this idea last weekend that I would drive up to the family cabin, sit down, and write five stories.  Five whole stories with beginnings, middles, and whatever comes after.  And they'd be done on that trip, by me, Mister Ambition.  Just stay there and force myself to write them until they were done.  I couldn't come back to civilization until--

Well, I didn't.  My brother showed up at about eleven in the morning, and I pretty much wrote the trip off on my taxes after that.

But I did write down four IDEAS for stories, and I started one of them that same day (the one that seemed easiest to finish, as I knew the ending beforehand).  I could choose that as a goal for the month: write all five in September, and be proud of myself . . . but to what end?  It's not like I'd actually do anything with these stories, and I do have those damn novellas in mid-progress.

But what the hey.  In September, I'm going to finish five stories.  May the Force be with us.

Rish Outf . . . ah, forget it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Rish Outcast 82: To Thine Own Books Be True

Rish presents two episodes spliced together (one 2016 and one 2017) talking about only doing his own audiobooks from now on.  Part cautionary tale, part confession.

Warning: just a smidge of TMI.

Oh, I could have called this episode "Where's My Line Anyway?"  You're welcome to tell me where yours is.

Feel like downloading the episode directly?  Just Right-Click HERE.

Feel like supporting Rish with his Patreon?  Just go to this link.

Feel like taking your own life?  These guys can help.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August Check-In 3: The Last Stand

So, I did drive down to the family cabin again, and while it was nice, and I'd gladly do it again, I didn't get nearly as much done this trip as I did the last.  Last time, I started on a secret project (am I still keeping that a secret?) and was quite proud of myself, writing three or four thousand words on it.  This time, I opened up that document (literally on the same scene where I left off), and wrote about two hundred more words before deciding to do something else.

I did edit audio for a few hours, and I did read a great deal--which made it feel like a vacation rather than a writing retreat--and I did record an episode for the Greatest Day of the Year(TM), but all in all, it felt like I did less with more time.*  When I went down in July, I only brought one DVD with me, and when it was finished, I forced myself to write and edit again.  This time, I had planned ahead, and had a lot more to watch when that single DVD ran out.

Even so, I could have done worse.  I have still written every day this month, and edited audio every day as well.  I just need to do it more.

So, in my last check-in (and probably every podcast and blogpost for the past eight months), I mentioned the episode of The Rish Outcast I most dread.  Well, I spent a good long time working on it at the cabin, and it's nearly ready to go.  In my mind, it'll drop next month, in between "Sleeptalk" and "Romantic Interlude."  But wow, I am so not wanting to put it out.  Do I dare charge my Patreons for something like that, or do I have to simply turn off my brain when it comes to that and automatically charge for episodes, whether they're full of encouraging words and poor impressions or not?

This is apropos of nothing, but I took my nephew to a small town festival last month, and while I had a good time, it was a hundred degrees out, and he liked it less than I did.  The one thing he was impressed by, of all the crafts and costumes and wares being sold and at least one Goth chick with lots of pale cleavage, was a booth where they were raffling off a Nintendo Switch, and if you entered, they'd give you a free fidget spinner.  So, I tossed the guy a buck, filled out a ticket, and, ignorantly gave the guy my email address (he said it was necessary to let us know if we'd won the Nintendo).

My nephew was pretty thrilled with the fidget spinner, and I'll admit that I found it pretty darn fascinating as well (about on the same level as pale-college-student-dressed-as-vampire-cleavage, at least at first) . . . but then, a couple of days later, I started getting spam in my email box.  And not just one or two, which is forgivable, but I just looked, and there were five in my box today, and it's only 9:35 in the morning.

I'm half tempted to write a scene where Lara Demming's sister does this, keeps getting spam, and Lara complains to Old Widow Holcomb about it.  So Holcomb teaches her a "harmless curse of inconvenience" that the girl casts on the spammers.  Later, Lara sees on the news that a local businessman, who sets up booths at town celebrations obtaining email addresses and then selling them overseas, has drowned himself in his own toilet.  "I wonder if he flushed first," the anchorman's partner asks, flashing white teeth.

Lara feels uneasy about this, but chalks it up to a coincidence, or something totally unrelated . . . not knowing that over a dozen others in Bangladesh also drowned themselves in the crapper.


Rish Outfield, Chalupa Guy

*I had made a point of arriving earlier and leaving later than I did the time before, but the only really efficient use of my time is when I fell asleep at one-thirty, and woke when it was still dark, trying to go back to sleep, and ultimately giving up and turning on the light (it was four-twenty-one) to read my book again until I feel asleep.  And when I did, I still woke up as soon as the sun hit me, despite setting my alarm for what I consider to be pretty darn early.  I don't know why the cabin does that to me.  Maybe the bed is just that uncomfortable.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Rish Outcast 81: Have It Your Way

Rish (and Fake Sean) present the short story "Have It Your Way," which Rish may have written (he doesn't remember).  Narrated by Special Guest Star Tena Kolakowsi.  

Be a sport and download the episode by Right-Clicking HERE.

Oh, to purchase Rish's first collection of audio fiction, go to this link.

And to purchase Rish's second collection of audio fiction, go to this link.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Nothing Much To Say, Nothing Much To Say

So, this is the first week in a long time (maybe months?) that I haven't posted an episode of the Rish Outcast (either for the Patreon supporters or on my blog).  I guess that I was busy, going to the cabin and driving out of state to see the swallowing of the sun (not to mention taking time out of each day to feel sorry for myself), but that's not really an excuse.  Ostensibly, I could be in a full-body cast and still post episodes for a month at least.  Sigh.

Anyway, yesterday I worked on a film project with Kevin Costner.  I've been a fan of his for many years, and was sitting around talking about his career, like DANCES WITH WOLVES, and WATERWORLD, and FIELD OF DREAMS, and ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES, and somebody even brought up OPEN RANGE (which I dragged my poor buddy Matthew to on opening night*).  

Then, of course, somebody brought up THE UNTOUCHABLES, and I was suddenly tempted to walk up to Costner and say, "You wanna get Capone, here's how you do it.  He pulls a knife, you pull a gun.  He puts one of your men in the hospital, you put one of his in the MORGUE!"

But I was too much of a coward.  

He seemed like a very nice dude, and thanked the extras when he went home (directors rarely do that, let alone the stars), but you never know how the star of FANDANGO would would react to a stranger approaching him to do his Sean Connery impression.  He might find it hilarious, but he might find it creepy, or worse, an invasion of his privacy.**

Heck maybe it would sound creepy, no matter how good my Connery is.

I mentioned this to Marshal Latham and he reminded me that Costner also played Pa Kent in MAN OF STEEL, and it all came tumbling down.  It's a good thing Marshal hadn't been around to talk about that, because all my admiration for Mr. Costner would've turned to bitterness.

"Thanks," Marshal.

Rish "That's The Chicago Way" Outfield

*He was the only Jewish black guy in the whole theater.  Or pretty much anywhere we went, come to think of it.

**Like that time I was on the Sony lot in 1998 and asked Tom Bosley if I could shake his hand and he told me to go eat a bag of (uncircumcised) dicks.  Oddly specific, in retrospect, that request was.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August Check-in 2: Freddy's Revenge

You are all my children now!

I have continued to write every day, but I've had no impressive, marathon writing sessions to boast about.  I went to the library twice last week and once this week, but I use that time to type up my novella (and today, the craptop froze on me, and when I restarted it, found that I had lost about a quarter of the stuff I'd typed), so it helps you not at all.

Wait a minute, NONE of this stuff helps you.  Whoops, I had my priorities way off.

But good old Taco Bell, I did go there on Sunday and force myself to write after I had eaten my Double Chalupa (I was the only customer), and I did manage to finish a short story I've been meaning to write since 2015.  It ain't good, but I had to do it now, or I knew I'd never write it.*

I booked work on a TV show last week, and was looking forward to it, not only because I've always enjoyed that kind of work, but because I knew I could use it to write for an hour or six.  But I ended up losing the gig three days later, to much bitterness and self-recrimination.  I had a second chance booking to do it again this week, and then never got a text or a call about it, and no response to my emails . . . which makes me think it's not me, but that the casting director is, how you say in English, part of donkey what makes urine?

But I might drive up to the cabin and sequester myself again, see if that might not be productive and/or enjoyable.  We'll see.

My other goal this month has been to work on audio every single day, and I honestly don't know if I've missed any days.  I think not, since I worked on a Dunesteef episode, a That Gets My Goat, a Delusions of Grandeur, and the most dreaded of the Rish Outcasts, all in the last week.  I've also nearly finished recording my silly Fantasy story with the ridiculous title.  In fact, that's what I was about to work on when I started writing this blog.  I'm not sure if I'll do it now.

Ah well.  At least I did this.

Rish Outfield

*I heard that a project very similar is coming out in the fall, and I'm not sure if I'd forgive myself if I waited until that was out there without at least having TRIED to write my own version.  I probably ought to record a podcast about that sometime, about where the line between "Influenced By" and "Ripped-off" is.
For example, I started reading a book a couple of months back, and something about it reminded me about an idea kind of like it I had had a couple of years ago, but abandoned it after writing the first couple of pages.  So, I unearthed that, and started writing it again (this the YA project I keep mentioning).  It's not going extremely well, but I'm still working on it.
Unfortunately, this week I started reading the second book in the series, and it is so very similar to my YA book, that even I am wondering if I'm just writing a third-rate knock off of it.  It's a little discouraging, whereas reading the first book was quite encouraging.  I wish I could be one of those people who writes a book that's just "Raiders of the Lost Ark" but with high school students (straight down to mathletes as Arabs and football jocks as Nazis), and never even blink an eye.  But I'm not, you know what I mean?
Or "Star Wars" with teenagers, or "Harry Potter" but with American (teenagers), or "The Last Starfighter" but with American teenagers, or "The Silence of the Lambs" but in middle school, etc..

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Rish Outcast 80: Abigail Hilton Interview

Rish sits down with author Abigail Hilton to talk about her recent book, "Jager Thunder," which Rish had a swell time narrating.

Do you wanna download the episode?  Right-Click HERE.

Here's a link to Abbie's Patreon page and the book over at Audible and iTunes!

And of course, here's a link to my own Patreon page.  But you probably already have that on Speed Dial.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

August Check-In 1

So, I have not been too brilliant with this blogging thing this month. Sorry. Although it's more "sorry" with air quotes around it.

Thing is, I don't want to blog about how my writing is going, or my audio work, because then there's some kind of accountability, and who wants that?

Yes, I have written every day this month (though I very nearly missed it yesterday, and forced myself to write last night at about quarter to three, just so I could say I did), though most of the time, it's just a few words/paragraphs here or there.

I did go to the library again on Saturday and stay there until I had "A Mark on the Sky" all typed up. In the end, it looks to be 25,445 words long. That's not too shabby, though it's nowhere near novel length, and apparently that's what you need to make money out there.

Still, in audio, it'll be over four hours long (unless my math is way off, and it might be), and that don't suck. I look forward to recording the audiobook version of this one, though of course, not the editing.

So, speaking of audio, the second goal for August was to work on audio every single day, and that I've also kept up so far. I recorded a short story and an episode to go with it, I began recording "Journey Into Another Dimension," and sadly only got through about twenty percent in the first sitting. I edited a story, "Romantic Interlude," I edited a two-part Rish Outcast story presentation (which was, shame on someone, originally intended to be only a single part), and I finally started editing the episode I most didn't want to run, because it's going on a year now. Oh, and I am nearly done with a That Gets My Goat, and nearly started on a Delusions of Grandeur.

On the writing front, I started on yet another new story on Monday, one that I feel I HAVE to write right now, or I'll never do it (time is sorta of the essence on this one), and I've decided that, unlike my short stories that become novellas (or novellas that become would-be novels), this is a novella that I'm paring down to a short story, because of the time constraint.

More on that later.

I went to the family cabin twice so far this month, both times to do some painting/varnishing, but managed a few pages in my notebook while I was there. I keep trying to figure out a time when I can drive down alone again and really buckle down on my writing and editing, but it's not just MY cabin (in fact, it's not MY cabin at all), and there are other people wanting to go there on any given weekend. Maybe next week.

So, there's my status report for the first week of August. I'm sure the month will be over before I can summon a healthy fart, but I hope I do something (or other) to be proud of before it is.

Rish Outfield, Wankle Rotor

Sunday, August 06, 2017

My Second Audio Collection Available on Audible

So, every once in a while, I try to put out my audio recordings in collections, so people can buy them.  A novel idea, I know.  This was my first one.

Well, the second volume is out there, just waiting for some fool--er, someone discerning enough to buy it.

I got my pal Gino Moretto to do the cover art for this collection too, and while it's not the same as the first one, I feel they have a relation, a thematic consistency.

So, this particular collection consists of:

1.      Introduction
2.      Say Uncle
3.      A Slight Delay
4.      Touching
5.      Unique Combination
6.      All Night Gas
7.      The Awful Tale of the Minnesota Diarrhea Ghost
8.      New Year’s Day
9.      Unpleasant Sensation
10.   Dead Letter
11.   Subtext
12.   Quiddler’s Menagerie
13.   Rest Stop
14.   Overtaken
15.   Leap of Faith
16.   Last Call
17.   Discovery
18.   On Dusty Wings
19.   Greetings from the Ninth Sector

A lot of these stories you have heard (or heard of) before, but with stuff like "Greetings..." it's an extended version than has previously been podcast, and there are a couple flash fiction pieces not available anywhere else.

I already have a story or three in mind for a third collection, but it'll be a while, unless I find some ambition in my travels. 

It'd be cool if you purchased a copy.  If not, hey, you're still cool.  Scoop it up at this link

Friday, August 04, 2017

Rish Outcast 79: You've Got To Want It More

So, Rish goes for an extra long drive, thinking about the recent writers' conference, the people he saw there, and the encouraging/discouraging things people said in panels.  So he gets kind of inspirational too.*

Can we be frank, kids?  I think this is my best episode ever.  Yeah, I said it.

Your mileage may vary.**

Go ahead and Right-Click THIS LINK if you want to download it.  I dare you.

*Warning: a bit of language and a bit of "La La Land" in this one.  So, double-warning.

**I made some kind of promise in this episode, so here's the link to that story I vowed to not only write, but to publish.  Me and my big mouth.

Oh, and feel free to Patreon me.  Nothing's stopping you.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

July 30 & 31 (the end)

July 30th.

This was another of those cases where, right before bed, I figured I'd jot down a few words, and wrote more than I had intended.  Which is fine.  You see, I have three projects I've been working on the last week or so: 1) typing up "A Mark on the Sky" from my notebook to the laptop, which sometimes involves writing new bits, 2) my YA novel/novella/short story in my notebook, which is not well-organized, and I just write random scenes for, and 3) a new project I just started on the laptop, but am much more interested in than the other one, and am writing linearly from the beginning.  This writing was on that third project, and what can I say, it's more fun.

Words Written: 533
Total Words: 16,381

July 31st. 

My favorite summer month has ended.  I was planning to go see DUNKIRK with that friend from work, but it fell apart, so I ought to write instead, right?  Salvage the night, maybe at the library?

Alright, damn you, I went to the library, and stayed until they did their obnoxious announcement and flashed the lights.  I really wanted to get all of "Mark on the Sky" typed up, but I didn't make it.  I still have five or six notebook pages left to get down, but it's never just a matter of typing up my handwritten stories; there's always revising, expanding, and occasionally trying to figure out a better line or joke than what I originally wrote.*  Sometimes it's just trying to make heads or tails of my handwriting.  I really ought to work on that.  But I won't.

Words Written: 316
Total Words: 16,697

And there you have it, the end of July.  I wrote every single day, never cheating, never completely failing.  And that's something.  Still, look at those total words.  Not particularly impressive.

And if we look at the total words in February, we got 23,969, and the total March words were never tabulated, so, I guess that gives me a little perspective.  Or half a little.  Why I was so much more dedicated in February than July is hard to pin down.  Maybe I've been working more in July, maybe the hot weather kept my ambition in the shade, maybe the projects I'm in the middle of now are less compelling than the ones from a couple of months ago.

Nevertheless, I don't think I'm going to quit there.  Not entirely, anyway.  I plan on going to the family cabin for another night in a Friday or two, perhaps staying an extra four or five hours longer (or a second night, if I really want to stretch myself).  And yes, I'm going to write every day in August, and I'll TRY to keep up a word count, though I don't think I'll blog it every other day like I did this time.  Unless that's entertaining, I dunno.

Regardless, the month of July was a writing experiment that wasn't wholly unsuccessful, and there will be more to come.

Rish Outfield, Writer.

*For example, in the notebook today, I had a character exclaiming, "Holy god."  I had to decide whether or not to capitalize God (I did), and then I wondered if there wasn't a better expletive for the character to say.  I am ashamed to admit I wasted an inordinate amount of time on this, first changing it to "Mother of God," then changing it to "Jesus wept," and then trying to figure out a clever variation on "Jesus wept."  Jesus slept?  Jesus leapt?  Jesus swept? (that's the one I picked).  But then I thought, why not having it be something totally absurd, like "Baby Jesus' dirty diapers."  Was that funny, or just a mouthful, or more blasphemous than even I had intended?  I changed it back to "Jesus swept," but ended up dissatisfied with the whole thing.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 28th & 29th

July 28th.

This is strange.  I think I went to the library again on this day, but now I'm confused.  Did I really go two days in a row?  I--

Yeah, yeah, I did.  The day before, I'd gone right before closing, sitting on the first floor, and the second day, I went a couple hours before it closed, and went to the Quiet Floor, where the only interruptions would be in my pants.*

I didn't get a ton of new words written, but I did get very close to having all of "Mark on the Sky" typed up.  Only one more session ought to do it.

Words Today: 433
Total Words: 15,079

July 29th.

Saturday was going to be a difficult writing day, because I had to get up very early and drive down to the family cabin with my mom and brother, where we were going to stain/varnish/paint the outside walls/paneling.  I'm not sure what the word is where you put on a coat or two of brown glossy stuff, and then a layer of clear-coat over it.  But that's what we did, and with three of us working, we managed to get quite a bit of it done with zero casualties.

Although, technically, my writing might count as a casualty.  I did bring my notebook with me, and sat down at the table while my brother was mixing up the clear-coat, and tried to get some words in.  My mom kept coming over and talking to me, mostly about the flowers outside or the amount of cobwebs inside, or the amount of people that could stay at one time or where did all the paper towels go?  I think she may have just been talking to herself some of that time, but because I was there, trying hard to focus, I appreciated it less than I should have.

Not a lot of words.  On the drive back, she asked me to tell her about what I was writing.  I basically told her the entire story, at least all that I have, and she asked a couple of questions I don't know the answer to, and seemed to think this was a book series instead of a single YA novel.  She may be right, but if I was intimidated at the idea of writing a novel, how much worse would writing a series of novels be?

There was a get-together of old high school friends that evening, so I had enough time to get home, get showered (I was very dirty from all the painting, and I still see brown varnish on my elbow and fingernails), run over to Walmart to buy "a side" for people to eat (I got chips and salsa; I don't know what a side dish is, let alone a side), and get there only a half hour late.  I hobnobbed with some of the guys I knew in high school, but I was literally the only person there without kids, and that made me a bit of a third wheel (if not fifth or seventh).  It was kind of an eye-opening get-together, a reminder of just how old I'm getting, and also of how much less grown-up I am than the people I went to high school with.  It was still good to see them, but I have a lot less in common with those guys than I did decades ago.

I got home and felt like I should try to write just a little more, but I was too tired.  And in counting up the words in that terrible notebook, I suppose I did get a lot more writing done than I thought I did.  Maybe I wrote some of it in my sleep.

Words Today: 769
Total Words: 15,848

*Sorry, that's a bit of an overshare, yeah, but I sat down, got my notebook and my craptop set up, and then suddenly, had to run to the bathroom, if you know what I mean.  In the past, I've been savvy enough to take all my belongings with me to the restroom, because you never know, but this one was indeed an emergency, and I didn't really decide to leave my stuff on the desk, but was rather forced to.  I made my way, as fast as I could without drawing attention to myself, to the nearest toilet, and thank Bossk there was no one already in there . . . things would have ended badly.  Or worse, anyway.
When I came back to the cubicle, everything was as it had been, except for the note on a 3x5 card that said, "I kNOw wHaT yOU dID," that was put there by a librarian.  That was unsettling.

Friday, July 28, 2017

July 26th & 27th

July 26.

I don't know where the hours go.  I had some time to myself today, and even though I posted two episodes of the Rish Outcast, mowed the lawn, and sat down to perform a Fake Sean Connery song, the hours of the day were not enough, and it was night by the time I checked what time afternoon it was.

I did manage a little bit of writing, during lunch, and hopefully tonight, but I'm just as undisciplined as one of James Cameron's Colonial Marines.

But as I've said (what, ninety times now), maybe July was just a jumping-off point, and August can be truly productive, at least by comparison.  I'm not in a race with you, I'm in a race with mys . . .

Oh, I just checked.  It IS you.  I'm sorry, I didn't realize.  I'm a race with you.  Sorry.

Words Today: 659
Total Words: 14,502

July 27.

Today, I decided it was time to head back to the library and force myself to write for an hour or two.  After all, it is the end of the month, and though I did well three or four days this past week, I'm still pretty far from where I wanted to be.  I thought I could write a whole novella this month, or a short story and part of a novel.

Well, I was on my way to the library when I ran into what I guess I have to consider the only friend I have left.  I chatted with him for a few minutes, figuring I'd hit the library immediately after.  But as the minutes became an hour, I started to wonder if I would miss my chance to hit the library and write*, and the bigger question occurred to me: is hanging out with my friend more or less important than going and getting my writing done?

I'm something of a recluse and a misanthrope, and living on my own in the big city showed me that I'm at least partially capable of being alone and just fine . . . but dude, it would be nice to have a friend or two, you dig?

So, I went to the library, and it was closing in just under an hour, and I sat at the first empty desk I came to and tried to make the most of it.  I had made the mistake of stepping into the audiobook section and catching the eye of a helpful young man who, despite not being a library employee, asked me what I was looking for.  I glanced to my left, saw the Veronica Roth books, and said, "Oh, there's a book by Patrick Rothfuss I've always meant to read.  Just checking to see if it's here."  The young man nodded.  "Is it The Name of the Wind?"  "That's right.  But it's never here."

I went and sat down, booted up the computer, and managed just a few words before the helpful young man walked up to me.  "Well," he said, "I looked it up in the computer, and there's no audio version."  "Excuse me?" I asked.  "The Name of the Wind.  The library does have eight copies of the paper version of the book, but they're all checked out."  Apparently, the chap had gone through the aisles looking for me to let me know.  "Well, thanks, man," I said, still puzzled as to what was happening here.  I suppose attractive young women get this kind of reception all the time, but for me, it's baffling.  "You can put a hold on it," he said, ever helpful, "and when the library gets a copy in, they'll set it aside for you."  I considered explaining that I never manage to read physical books, that I fall asleep, and that's why I wanted the audiobook, but instead, I just said, "I'll do that.  Thanks again."

He walked away, ostensibly looking for old ladies to help cross the street, and I resumed writing.  Or attempting to write, because despite having very little time before the building closed, the blind Japanese guy who seems to live there has some kind of device where you push a button and it screams, "THE TIME IS EIGHT TWENTY-ONE PM!!!!!!!!!" which, I suppose, is to help him know how much time he has left, but he just kept pushing it, and the machine announced it to everyone in a two-block radius.  It just bothered me, that he'd push it, and two minutes later he'd push it again.  And then the library did their actual announcement, and I guess their policy is, after they do the audio announcement, they flip the lights on and off, in case, I dunno, the Japanese blind guy has a Japanese deaf best pal with him.  The second time they toggled the lights on and off, I actually said, "Fuckers!" out loud.

It's okay, I wasn't on the Quiet Floor.

Words Today: 144
Total Words: 14,646

*At one point, I mentioned my library intentions to him and he said, "Why don't you just go to Starbucks and write, like the rest of the jagoffs?"  He may or may not have used the word "jagoff" (okay, he didn't; I just like the sound of it), but it was a good question.  Why does it HAVE to be the library?  Back before my laptop became, first a craptop, and now a gigantic piece of shit, I used to be able to take it to the park and write, or heck, just into the backyard for an hour or so, but now it constantly needs to be plugged in, so my options are limited.
Although I did take it to Arby's once, and that wasn't an unpleasant experience.  Maybe I will again (though I'll definitely have to start donating plasma to afford to eat at Arby's.  Either that or donate a kidney.  That ought to cover my meals there for a good month or so).

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July 23rd, 24th, 25th

July 23rd.

Well, I be a back-slider.

After two days of really good, solid progress (no, not compared to YOU, Your Highness, but for me, Friday and Saturday kicked ass), I got very little writing done.  Guess I should've stayed another night at the cabin.

But in my defense, Your Honor, I was working a big chunk of the next two days, and that is kind of important, due to having a dollar sign attached to it.  Heck, I should be working right now instead of writing this.*

Just managed to jot down a paragraph or two in my notebook at lunchtime.

Words Today: 88
Total Words: 11,636

July 24th.

Another day just like the one before.  Except that, at the end of the day, I sat down and wrote a little bit, just so I didn't feel like the loser who only wrote eighty-eight words.

Which reminds me: I've been sort of revisiting a story I abandoned with a teen protagonist, and I keep struggling with how to expand it from a short story to a novel, and one of the additions I've made is to have a love interest in the story, someone who notices our guy, and because she's paying attention, sees that he has a secret nobody else can see.

Unfortunately, I already had a male character, a new best friend kind of thing, who served that purpose, and it makes me question the purpose of the love interest character.  Is she just there so that there's the potential for kissing?  Is she just there because I fear someone saying, "Why are there only male characters in this??"  Is she sort of tacked on and worthless, just because I'm not talented enough to do something with her?

Don't answer that last one.

Anyway, I was able to call Big Anklevich after work and talk to him about this quandary, and he gave me some suggestions.  Maybe there's something I can do with the love interest if I make it a quartet of teen characters instead of just a trio.

There's also a female antagonist that shows up on or about the midpoint of the story, and she sort of throws everything our main character knows into question.  I wondered, is it stronger if she's his long-lost sister, or just his cousin?**  And then I got the "brilliant" idea of, what if I combine this cousin/sister character with the love interest, and that way she's definitely got something important to do in the story?  Yay!

Of course, a lot of folks find incest slightly distasteful, them not having written a sequel to "The Calling."  And I dunno if I want to tackle that subject again . . . so soon, anyway.

Big told me not to worry about people thinking I'm repeating elements from previous stories, by asking if there's really anyone out there that's a big enough fan to have read everything I've written.  It's probably okay to have more than one story about a family with supernatural abilities, where some of them are good and some of them are evil.  Just talking through it out loud is helpful, as I have discovered when doing the Voice Recorder feature on phones and mp3 players (go ahead and look up what those were), and I think I'm in a better place having spoken to him.

So, while the conversation with Big doesn't count as writing (and neither do these blog posts), I think it might encourage me to write more tomorrow.  And the day after.

Words Today: 993
Total Words: 12,629

July 25.

I did work a little harder on this day, especially THINKING about writing the YA book.  I don't really know how to do it, but I keep coming up with scenes I want to put in the book, and I've been writing those.  That may end up being a disaster, but to me, it's kind of like I'm writing little connected short stories, and that may be what I have to do to get a novel written.

I sat up late tonight, meaning to jot down a few notes, and ended up typing quite a bit.  And those words add up.

Words Today: 1214
Total Words: 13,843

*That reminds me, there was this podcast (which shall remain nameless, but it's similar to a line in the attached sentence, which I kept trying to listen to, but had the most godawful theme song in the history of music (and I ought to put "music" in quotation marks, that theme was so unlistenable).  The content of the podcast was solid, and would have helped me, but every time I heard that theme song, I had to turn it off.  Sad.
Then one day, a friend of mine sent me an email with an episode of that podcast attached.  "You'll get a kick out of this, I bet," he wrote.  I listened to the attached episode (it was from months or years after the point I'd stopped listening to the show), and right at the beginning, the host comes on and says, "You may notice that, starting with this episode, we have a new theme tune for the podcast.  This was because of the endless complaints we would get here about it.  I personally thought the music was charming and it made me smile whenever I heard it, but due to the constant stream of angry comments, we have retired it.  Enjoy."
And I did.

**Originally she was going to be a cousin he had never heard about, but I thought, what if she's his sister, and like Luke and Leia, one was taken by one parent figure and one was taken by another?  But I don't know if that works as well as it just being the daughter of his mother's brother he didn't know existed, rather than the daughter of his mother he couldn't remember.  I still don't know.  Hmmm.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rish Outcast 78: Remember the Future

So, a year or so back, Rish went into the woods and recorded this episode in front of a campfire. He shares the story "Remember the Future," about a teenage girl who receives a rather unfortunate gift (with an appearance by a character or two from past Rish Outfield tales).
Warning: A bit of TMI.

Do you really want to download this episode?  Okay, just Right-Click HERE.

Do you really want to support Rish?

Do you really want to hurt me?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 21 & 22

Alright, I really did it with these two.  Sigh.

I packed up a bag, got some lunch and my laptop, and drove down to the family cabin.  I'd never gone down there by myself before, and except for a run-in with a ginormous woodchuck (and perhaps a ghost*), it wasn't particularly terrifying.

Could've been, though.  I kept imagining people standing outside the windows (or inside the room with me), and there were noises I sort of had to convince myself to ignore (including one that sounded remarkably like some fingers tapping on the window behind where I sat reading).

I intended to go rowing, get some exercise that way, as well as podcast, edit audio, watch a video, and write.  I managed all but the first one.

July 21st.

After talking to Abigail Hilton, I started a new project, sitting down and sort of forcing myself to write an entire prologue before I would allow myself to watch the DVD I'd brought along.  That made me feel pretty good.

I would've been fine to hang out at the cabin, but I did force myself to drive over (a real man would've walked, but what you gonna do?) to the lake and watched the sun go down.  Just me and my only friend.  Took a picture or three.

Words Today: 1332
Total Words: 8375

I take a lot of pictures, but I rarely share them.  It'll make me seem like I'm ninety years old, but it's just so much work to plug the camera into the computer, find the photo, transfer it over, and then find it again on my PC.  Where's my Geritol?

July 22nd.

Then, amazingly, I awoke nearly two hours earlier than I normally do, and more than a half hour before the alarm I'd set went off.  I wrote for a while before breakfast, made myself some sandwiches, went outside and recorded a Rish Outcast, then came back in and sort of forced myself again, this time writing until the end of a chapter of the YA novel I called "Balms & Sears" back when it was going to be a short story.

I'm pretty proud of all I accomplished, though of course, I could've done more.  If I had planned Friday better, I might've gotten an extra hour or more in at the cabin (instead, I drove a half hour out of my way so I could buy sandwich makings and a couple peaches that cost what a watermelon should), but Saturday was pretty productive.  I even had time to sit among the deer, hummingbirds, and squirrel-tarantula hybrids and read my book, which was nice.

I think I should do this again in August, just head down on a Friday, and come back sometime on Saturday.  In fact, I might have simply stayed the night tonight, had I brought another change of clothes and another DVD.   We'll have to see.

Words Today: 3173
Total Words: 11548

*I never did figure out what closed the door when I first arrived.  Let's just put it out of our minds.

Friday, July 21, 2017

July 19th & 20th

July 19.

I wrote close to nothing, choosing to write a blog post during my lunch hour, which the judges have decreed, does not count as word writing.

Guys, this is really hard.  I can't even say why.  Maybe it's the project I'm working on, maybe it's having taken a couple of months off, maybe it's the 100 degree weather outside (and in my pants). but I just can't motivate myself to REALLY buckle down and write.

I dunno.  July is, crazily, nearly done, and it looks like I won't even have ten thousand words accomplished this month.  Which, again, is better than five thousand or no thousand, but it just doesn't feel like it did in February and March, where my novellas practically wrote themselves, and I had the strength to throw in short stories between them.  It may be that "A Mark on the Sky" and "10,000 Coffins" were better stories than "Taste the Blood" and "Balms & Sears," both of which are stalling on me.

I dunno, a real writer would just finish both of them and do better next time.*

I heard my nephew screaming outside today, and went out to see what was the matter with him.  He had fallen down and his brother said there was something wrong with his arm.  Turns out the child had broken his collarbone.  That was pretty awful.  He's a good kid; should've happened to me instead.

Just think how much writing I'd get done then.

Words Today: 192
Total Words: 6523

July 20th.

Okay, we're hitting the last third of the month now.  I do hate counting words, so the last few "writing" sessions have all been on computer. 

Today, I went to the library again, and made myself sit and try to work out the logic/time flaw I found in "Mark on the Sky."  It MAY have been as easy as just having one conversation happen on Thursday and the other conversation happen on Friday.  I imagine I'll have to do one more revision, once it's all done, but for now, I think that solves most of the problem.

Due to that, I did get quite a few words in today.  Happy about that.

All day today I was thinking about my dad's cabin in the woods, and how I always wanted to go there, by myself, and write and edit audiobooks and maybe podcast.  At this moment, I'm about 60% determined that I will do that tomorrow afternoon: just drive down, spend the night, and come back at some point on Saturday.

I think, if I were a real, dedicated writer (what I keep hitting on this whole damned post), I would do that.  It won't cost much more than a half tank of gas, and I'd probably also get a hundred pages of reading done.

Alright, I'm now 65% sure I'll go.

Words Today: 520
Total Words: 7043

*I was editing the interview I did with Abigail Hilton tonight (instead of writing) and I got to the part where she mentions, pretty casually, that she wrote a 80-90 thousand word novel in three weeks recently.  And I seem unlikely to reach a tenth of that.  It makes me pretty disgusted with myself. 
I had a conversation once with someone about the future, where he was talking about how much money there was to be made selling on eBay, and that one day he would quit his job and just do that, instead of just selling things in his spare time.  I was impressed.  "How many items do you have on eBay right now?" I asked, thinking the number would blow me away. 
And it did: he had zero items up for sale at that time.  He just never got around to it, he told me.
Who's the real monster here, I have to ask myself.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 16, 17, 18

Sigh.  I'm getting tired of this whole blogging thing.  Yeah, I've been writing every day.  No, I haven't been writing a lot. 


I wrote a tiny bit in my notebook during the day, and that's all I managed.

But . . . this was another case of insomnia being my friend.  I woke up around five am, and couldn't go back to sleep.  I was just laying there, like a beached whale, thinking about how I ought to be writing but I was too lazy, and finally, I forced myself to get up and grab the first thing handy (an envelope), and wrote on it until it was filled.  By then, the sky was going from black to blue, so I went to sleep, happy I'd done more than just be a beached whale.

Words Today: 1301
Total Words: 5855


I sat and typed for a little while today.  Not a lot.

Words Today: 389
Total Words: 6244


Nothing so far.

Got a rejection letter from a magazine for a story (one I wrote specifically for them, so that's either supremely sad, or a supreme waste of my time).  It hasn't totally bummed me out, just a little.  If I were a tougher, more balanced human being, I'd be thinking, "Well, now I can self-publish the story, and make a buck or two on it."

Glass is halfish empty-ish, I guess.

Words Today: 87
Total Words: 6331

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

R.I.P. George A. Romero

I went to the Beverly Center mall in 2004 with my friend Matthew after work one afternoon. We weren't going to buy anything--we had no money--but wandering around the mall was a good way to kill a couple of hours, look at girls, and talk. Up on the third floor was a movie theater--a fairly crappy one I think I only ever saw one film at in all the years I lived in Los Angeles. But eventually we went up there, and I saw a familiar face walking around.

"Is that George Romero?" I asked.


"George A. Romero. He's the director of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD."

"Uh, how the heck would I know?" (Matthew tended not to use profanity)

I watched the old guy a moment. The same super-thick glasses, the same tan vest, longish grey hair. Yeah, I was pretty sure it was him.

The man basically had a costume that made him recognizable.
So I went up. "Mr. Romero?"

He turned. He didn't acknowledge that that was him.

"What are you doing here?" I asked.

"Just visiting. Seeing a movie." He had an assistant with him, standing impotently by (after all, Romero towered over a skinny-fat kid like me), jarred that someone knew who his boss was.

"I wondered if you saw the remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD."

He nodded. "Sure."

"And what did you think?" I was genuinely curious. It was a pretty good film, but it was no 1978 version.

He paused, shrugged, and said, "Why would you care what I think?"

I don't know if that meant he hated it and didn't wish to say so, or had been asked that question too many times, or what. But that's my big George Romero memroy--actually running into him in a mall.

Romero is the creator of the modern zombie mythos--now a billion dollar industry. Director of CREEPSHOW, THE CRAZIES, NOTLD, DAWN, and DAY OF THE DEAD (all remade in the past decade or so?), I saw Romero speak once, on Fantasy in a series of lectures at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Hollywood, where he spoke about his career and influences.  And you know, he stayed afterward and signed autographs for everyone who wanted one.

 He'd always sign "Stay scared, George Romero."  I've got it on a couple DVDs and a poster, and saw him recently at a San Diego show where he was promoting a comic book series about, you guessed it, the living dead.

As recently as this year, I went to a comic-con panel and asked if Romero would be ever recognized, (during his lifetime or after) as the creator of the modern zombie.  The panelist said, "Fuck yeah!  He totally is!" which was exuberant, but didn't answer my question.
Well, now the man is gone, and it's hard not to make some kind of comment about that fact and his greatest creation.

There was not much media coverage of his death (at least to me)--he was seventy-seven, died of lung cancer, and it's too bad. If not for the unfortunate snafu causing NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to be declared in the public domain, he might have had some kind of recognition (and dollar signs) as the father of the ghoul/flesh-eater zombie, and I always wondered if he'd be one of those guys only appreciated after he was gone.

Maybe I'll find out now.

Here's George signing my CREEPSHOW poster.  He laughed when I told him I was too young to see it, but my mom rented it because it looked like a comic book movie.
Stay cool, George.  We'll stay scared.

Rish Outfield

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Podcast That Dares 19: The Big Goodbye

This is my essay about the parting of the ways between Big Anklevich and me, in podcast form.  Also, Fake Sean both helps and hinders.

As always, Right-Click here to download the sound file.

What follows is the text/blog post version of the above podcast, which should be close to word-for-word.


June 5-7th, 2017

So, there may be a bit of T.M.I in this one, but probably not a great deal.  I may have to ask Sir Fake Sean to assist me on a couple of points, but then, he may not be necessary.  Is he ever necessary?  Tee hee, now he knows how it feels.

So, this has been an interesting year for me, 2017.  I was a real writer (ie, I wrote every day) for a couple of months, and was blown away by how much I accomplished.  I've been making weekly trips to my childhood home to work and maintain it, which has been kind of surreal, though sometimes enjoyable.  My friend Jeff went away to Germany, then came back to attend his son's high school graduation, left again, came back to attend his other son's college graduation, went away, then came back, collected his wife and daughter, and actually left for good (though the yo-yoing had had the effect of making it never seem particularly real any of those times).

And now, Big Anklevich, my podcasting partner and cohort, has loaded up the truck and moved to Bever--Houston, moved to Houston.  And that's a bit more abrupt, since he quit his job on Friday, on Monday I helped him move boxes, and on Wednesday, he was driving into the sunset.  Although the sun sets in the west, according to my Travis Tritt collection, so he was driving away from the sunset when he went.  I dunno, maybe he took the scenic route.

It's strange to lose two friends like that in so short a time.  Jeff, I imagine, I'll still see from time to time, since he left his parents and two sons here, and we never did finish watching "Supernatural."  Big's wife got a job at the Houston-based wing of her company (a promotion, I do believe, which is nice), and while Big was worried about not having a job in Texas, he did apply for a Houston TV editing job, and I hope that he gets it.*

Big was here when I moved here, my tail not only between my legs, but partially run over and hanging by messy tendons, my attempt to make it in Hollywood not only a failure, but a cautionary tale told in every institution with a film program and held up as the anti-La La Land when young people dare to dream beyond their little backwoods upbringing and middle-class origins.

While Big and I met in college, we didn't really become friends until after (he was one of those guys who would corner me in the hall, and slap me with my own flailing arms, going, "Don't hit yourself, don't hit yourself!" until I proclaimed him king (or queen) of the school.  You know, I don't know that I ever got an apology about that.  Through emails we achieved some sort of weird friendship, and when I became persona non grata in Los Angeles, he told me he could get me a job at his TV station.

Of course, when I became persona ditto non grata there, he was the one who told me I could either quit or possibly serve jail time for inserting a shot of raw meat during a story about Jared Leto.  But after that, we stayed close, started a podcast together, and aired an average of three episodes a year ever since.  It became a tradition to go over to his house on Sunday nights to hang out and record, and then when his wife got a crazy night job, it became Monday nights, which continued up until this week.

This Monday, I went down to my ancestral home (I like saying that even though it was built in 1977) to mow the weeds, then I hopped in my dad's old pickup truck and drove to Big's house, volunteering to fill it with trash I'd take to the dump for him, and ending up staying a while to help him move furniture (including a massive, unwieldy treadmill that not only refused to go where we wanted it to, but dug a huge divot in the wall of the stairwell as we were trying to get it from the basement to the moving van--unsuccessfully, despite the destruction, I might add).**  Big had four piles of items from his house: stuff to give to his sister, stuff to take to Houston, stuff to donate to the thrift store an hour away, and stuff to throw out.  All of the latter stuff we loaded into the bed of my dad's truck, including all the food Big's wife emptied out of their freezer, and covered it with a big mattress so it wouldn't blow away.

We were sweaty and dirty, and my back hurt just from the couple of hours I helped Big carry and load stuff . . . I can't imagine how bad his hurt, since he had been doing that all day, and the day before.  I meant to get back to my hometown right away, to make it to the junkyard before it closed (I texted my brother asking what time it closed and he still hasn't gotten back to me), but knowing this was the last time I'd be seeing Big Anklevich, I hung around longer, until the buyers of Big's house were coming over to look at the place (I wonder what their reaction was to discovering a huge hole in the wall of the stairs that hadn't been there before), and his family had to vacate it.  So Big and I went over and got dinner, talking a little more, before I finally decided I needed to head home, realizing it was too late to go to the dump and I'd have to another day.

The old country road I took to get to his house I hadn't driven in more than a decade, during the visit to his house when there was the terrible snowstorm that inspired my story "Stormy Weather, and it is basically a forty mile stretch of road alongside farmland and empty rolling hills on one side, and a lake on the other.  There is Big's town (now ex-town) and then nothing until you get to the village next to the village where I grew up.  About a third of the way through the drive, there was an insanely loud boom under the truck, and not having experienced that before, I guessed it had either been an aerosol can exploding or one of the big garbage bags from the freezer popping.  It freaked me out, but there was no change in the truck, so I shook it off and kept driving. 

About ten minutes later, there was a bit of seizing in the truck's engine, and then a second loud boom, this one only turning half my hair white, since I was a bit more prepared for it than the first.  It felt like it came from underneath the truck, not from the engine or the bed of the truck.  My dad's Ford is a 1971, and he had it my whole life, changing out virtually every single part of it over the years, but I was getting nervous now.  That sound could not be normal, could not be right.  I decided to slow down a little, just in case I was overworking the truck, but the temperature gauge (which was a new addition in the last five years) claimed the overheating was not the problem.

I was halfway home now, and while I was nervous about it, I kept on driving, worried that I might not make it back.  Of course, the fact that the truck kept lurching every minute or so, as though there was no gas in the tanks (which there was, I was pretty sure), kept me from enjoying the no-radio, no-air conditioning, no-scenery drive through no-man's land.  The jerking of the truck increased in frequency, and I started shifting it into Neutral any time there was a downhill slope, hoping that it wasn't the transmission trying to go out.  I slowed down even further now, having discovered that the lurching only occurred in fourth gear . . . but soon it happened in third gear too.

And second.  Every minute or so, there would come the loud boom under the truck (though none were as startling as the first two were now), and once I could only go about twenty miles per hour, I decided I should pull the truck over and let it sit a while, just in case I had overtaxed the old Ford.  I had entered mosquito country, and what can only be described as a swarm of them filled the vehicle and I was forced to roll up the windows and spend my breaktime smashing them.

By now, the sun was setting and I should have made it back, even going under the speed limit.  The back road was fairly untraveled, with, I believe, only two vehicles passing me in all the time I was driving/coasting so slowly.  My dad's truck has two gas tanks, so I did switch from one to the other, just in case that was the problem (doubtful as that seemed, though I thought that kind of seizing of the vehicle could be due to air bubbles in the gas line, that guess based on nothing and no experience).

I got the truck started just fine, pulled out of the little entrance to a ranch where I had parked it, and got back on the road.  I got it up to about fifteen miles per hour before it began seizing and booming, reminding me of a non-charming version of the noises a Model T made when it was starting up in old TV shows.  Now there was no chance of getting it up into fourth gear.  Unlike the times before, the engine actually started to die on me as I was driving.  I'd shift into Neutral, turn the key again, and get it started, only to have it die on me again a block or two down the road. 

I pulled it over into the soft-shoulder, probably a mile or less from where I'd last pulled it over.  I didn't know what I would do, because there is no cellphone service in my little town, let alone out in the boonies where I was currently stranded.  But I flipped on my phone and . . . weird, there was a signal.  Maybe like the singer of "You Sexy Thing," I too believed in miracles.  I called my brother, asking his advice about the truck.  He didn't know (which vexed me, as I had assumed my brother inherited my father's knowledge of all things mechanical), and suggested I call my aunt (who lives less than a block from where I grew up) and see if she would come and pick me up.

As I hung up, my phone began to ring.  You see, my sister had driven down to the ancestral home to steal gas*** and seeing my car there, had wondered what became of me.  She had left and driven to where there was cellphone service, and called me, worried that maybe Dad's truck had broken down on me.  You see, she told me, that truck used to break down on my dad all the time, and he'd either have to walk or hitch a ride back to town (the man did not believe in cellphones, unlike the singers of "You Sexy Thing," not that there was service in our part of the county).

Well, I tried the truck again, got it to drive a hundred feet or so, seizing and booming, until I pulled it off onto the soft shoulder in a place where I thought a tow truck could fit (not that I had much choice).  My sister was turning around, going back to where there was no cell service, and would call me again once she reached that back road where, amazingly, she would be able to call and look for me.  It was full dark now, and I sat in the truck with the hazard lights on, swatting mosquitoes and pondering what I would have done had there been no cellphone service.  Guess I would have walked, hoping someone would come along, being sucked dry by a zillion bloodthirsty insects, or if nobody picked me up, knocked on the first house I found, hoping they'd let me use their telephone.

My sister found me eventually, and we called a tow truck, choosing to have them come the following day instead of at night when the rates were higher.  My sister drove me to the ancestral home, where I was a bit too exhausted to do much more than edit Abbie's book before falling asleep on the couch, but setting my alarm to wake me up after half an hour.

I woke and got in my car and drove home, arriving a little after two am, when I had intended to be home by seven pm or so. 

I told my mom about the truck, and she was worried about how much it would cost to fix it (and really, at this point, is any amount low enough to fix a 1971 Ford pickup truck?), I was worried about all the garbage in the back.  My worry increased when the temperature rose to 98 degrees the next day, and to 100 degrees the day after.   Yikes, to say the least.

Big was having car troubles of his own--he'd had a van in the shop pretty constantly over the last two weeks--and the most recent problem didn't look like it would be fixed in time for them to leave for Texas with it.  He talked to the mechanic--the same one he'd been paying to fix his vehicles for what seemed like a month--and that guy told him he was too busy to work on the van . . . but he still expected to be paid for taking a look at it.

Big told me that, because they couldn't very well leave without one of their primary vehicles, we might get together again, just to go to a movie or eat something good and greasy (in another life, we'll open a restaurant together called Good 'n Greasy, and get the same kind of glares from the tofu crowd that I give that creepy business called Fetal Fotos.  Shudder.

Ultimately, though, the new mechanic wanted so much to fix the van that Big and his wife decided to just abandon the thing and look for something better when they got to Houston.  So he drove off, family in tow, and sent me a text to let me know he was on his way.

Oh, and he also sent me a text a day later to mention that their other vehicle broke down and they were stuck in Albuquerque trying to get it fixed.  Seems like neither of us has a way with our four-wheeled friends.

This has been a bit of a ramble (this particular blog is the place for it, though, wouldn't you say?). I don't know what will happen with Big living in Texas and me . . . well, does what I currently do count as living?

Big has assured me that the podcasts (Dunesteef and That Gets My Goat) will continue, and that we will re-commence our traditional Monday night get-togethers, except now via Skype.  I'm not sure how that will work, since we always met somewhere convenient after he got off work, ate some food, and talked before even considering recording anything.  And we had, for the last few weeks, forced ourselves to write, side-by-side, which was practically the only writing either of us got done on some weeks.  I doubt we'll do that via Skype.

It will be interesting, I guess.  Big is sure to make new friends and me, well, that's pretty unlikely for me, but I may focus on my writing or get loads of new audiobook assignments.  Either one might be nice.  Regardless, this is the end of an era, that point where things are changing and you romanticize what came before, regardless of how bright the future is.

So, there you go.  A bit of a ramble, I realize, but like I said, this is a place for ramblings.  And, like I said, who knows what's around the corner?

Handjobs for everyone!

Rish Outfield

*Aside One.  So, I've talked about the pseudo-term I've named "Fradenscheude," where you are displeased by the success of your friends, and applied it to my one-time roommate Chris writing two widely-released movies in two weeks last August.  But I can apply it to Big as well.  I thought he was not appreciated and/or treated well by his job here in non-Texas, and I think anybody would agree with me, considering he put thirteen years of his life into it and never got a promotion or an award or a single handjob, but if he went off to the Lone Star State and suddenly, people recognized his talent and hard work, and he became a huge success . . . I suppose I would resent him for it. 
I dunno.  I like to think I'm bigger than that (no pun intended), but I've talked about my work friend Austin, and his immense talent as an artist before, right?  Well, almost from the moment I discovered he could paint, I encouraged him to put his stuff out there, to get a booth at a comic-con and sell copies of his work, or at least make a few prints and sell them on eBay, and it was hard enough to get him to finish a painting, let alone put it out there for people to buy and/or judge.  But finally, as of this week, Austin is doing it.  One of the little cities around here has an annual art festival (which, aside number two, once showcased a drawing I did of a sasquatch molesting my Great Auntie Gretchin, but my artwork was so bad, they just thought it was a hunter shotgunning a grizzly bear [true story]), and Austin bit the bullet and got a booth to sell prints of his mostly Lego-related paintings.
Aside Number Three.  I hate it when people refer to "Lego" as the plural form of lego rather than "Legos."  It's just one of my pet peeves, and I don't care if that's the way it works in Danish or Swedish or Romulan or whatever language-speaking people invented the Lego.  Oh, and before, when I said "true story," that totally wasn't a true story.  I did a drawing of my dad shooting a deer, not a sasquatch, and I never had a Great Auntie Gretchin, though I refer to her often.  Sorry.
So, Austin set up his booth and I was proud of him, and told him to mark my words, he'd sell so many prints he'd have to send his wife to make more copies while he manned the booth, signing prints and making change and fending off handjob offers.  Oh, that's my second handjob reference in this essay.  By comedy rules, one more will be coming, though I'll have to switch it up.
I took my nephews to the carnival and celebration yesterday, partially so I could excitedly try to get them to ride the Zipper with me, the world's greatest carnival ride (if my summer 1992 memory is correct, that is)--which they refused to do, by the way, sigh twice and shame the devil--but also so we could check out Austin's booth and give him a little moral support.
And the poor guy had only sold one print that whole day . . . to a guy from work who only did it out of pity.  How terrible, especially since I had been the one to push Austin on, practically begging him to take the plunge of selling his work.  Oh, and another lie I just told, I know Ben, the guy who bought the print from Austin, and he is literally incapable of pity (or any positive emotion, unless self-righteous pride counts), so I don't know why he bought the print.  Regardless, Austin may or may not make enough on his art to pay for the booth, let alone end up knee-deep in twenty dollar bills and teen girls' phone numbers.
Which is a roundabout way of me saying that I want Austin--and my buddy Big Anklevich--to be successful, I just don't know how I would feel if it happened.  One more aside: I went to a panel at the last writers conference where a woman talked about mentoring a young writer with their first book, giving tons of notes, introducing the writer to an agent, only to have that first book scooped up and bought by a major publisher for a six figure pricetag.  The woman told the story with a smile on her face but not in her eyes, expressing that that sort of thing will happen, and you have to be tough enough to keep on keepin' on even if it's not you that gets the book contracts and/or handjobs.
Boy, I really like using and/or, don't I?

**Aside, what, eleven now?  Somehow Big and I were able to carry this gargantuan thing down his stairs when he first moved into the house, only gouging the walls twice.  This time, however, we simply could not get it up those stairs, either hitting the railing, or smashing fingers, or actually embedding it in the aforementioned hole in the drywall.  I once wrote a story ("Don't Tread On Me?" I may have called it, though that title sucks . . . let me go check.  [Okay, Aside Twelve: it was called "Run Into The Ground," which is a much better title.  I'm proud of you, boy]), about a woman who buys a second-hand treadmill, only to become possessed by the spirit of the previous owner.  That evil treadmill was only slightly more malevolent than Big's own.  Heck, I was probably inspired by the Anklevich treadmill to write the damn story in the first place.

***Okay, last Aside.  This probably sounds mean to say, especially since she's my sister and she rescued me.  But my dad had these big tanks of Unleaded gasoline in the backyard just waiting for the day when Barack Obama came to take everyone's guns away, and my mom had decreed that they could only be used for when people came down to do work on the house.  My brother announced that, if my sister drove down with the sole purpose of filling up her gas tank for free, that that would be considered stealing the gas, hence my use of the term.  My apologies.