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15-Nov-2014: Toilets

November 15, 2014

Wouldn’t it make much more sense if the standard color of toilets was brown? That’s all I’ve got. Thanks.

10/31/2014

October 31, 2014

Gimme Some Sugar, Baby

sugarSo, my latest attempt at healthy eating is to avoid any foods with added sugar (at least, as much as possible). On Monday of this week, I had a glass of wine, which has some sugar. Aside from that, I went Monday through Thursday without any foods with added sugar. There is plenty of sweetness to get from fruit. For the most part, I’m moving towards more whole foods, which I tried to do anyway. Peets

As a treat for myself, I decided to go to Peet’s Coffee and Tea this morning (Friday 10/31). I ordered a Large Sugar-Free Vanilla Latte with Soy Milk, as it had the lowest sugar content. I was going to go with the Almond Milk, as it does not have added sugar, but the Peet’s website stated it had more sugar than the Soy (it occurred to me they probably use sweetened Soy and Almond Milk). So, with tip, it cost $6 for the coffee. Is it worth it? Not at all. After not going to Peet’s all week except for today, I think I can easily break that sugary product. Not only will it be healthier to avoid it, it will also save me some cash.

Aside from avoiding sugar, I’m also going to try avoiding artificial sugar, as well, most notably, Diet Soda. For me, Diet Soda is a main constant in my life. So far this week, I started out well on Monday but have bought a bottle each day since. Hopefully, I will avoid it today, but we’ll see.

How is it making me feel? To be honest, I’ve been fighting a cold since before I started this, so it’s difficult to tell, especially since breathing has been a difficulty from time to time. Due to this, I put off exercising this week, hoping to really get into this starting next week, especially since the congestion seems to only be hanging on by a thread now. I’m hoping to be able to see the results after next week. I do know that drinking the Latte did not make me feel all that great. Also, it is Halloween tonight. I have a feeling there may be some cheating going on…

Run, Fatboy. Run.

fatboyI continue to run, even though I had a disappointing year in that department. My training was lacking. I did a couple half marathons, but I did not do as well as I had hoped when I signed up. I also did a couple smaller runs. Hoping to turn that around. The better diet (limited sugar) + exercise will hopefully get me on the right path.

I have one more race planned for this year to hopefully end on a good note, which is the Cleveland Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. It’s a 5-mile run. A few weeks ago I had started up running again (just doing a mile) before I took off this past week. I think that weight loss will greatly help my stamina and speed. With only a few weeks until Thanksgiving, I know there won’t be much loss before the next 5-miler, but I’ll see what I can do, hoping to still have a respectable time. The mile run hasn’t been bad, completing those even quicker than planned. If I can get a longer run or two in before the Turkey Trot, I think everything should go well there, mixing it with some cross-training (bike, elliptical, weights, kettle bell, cardio, etc.). The problem I had with training so far this year is that I was running a bit before the first half marathon but didn’t do much, if any, cross-training. I never got far, distance-wise, with the running. For the second half, I did more cross-training but barely ran leading up to the race.

I’ve also signed up for the full 2015 Cleveland Marathon, which is in May. With the weight loss I should be able to achieve prior to the full if I stick with my plan, the running plan I’ve set up for myself, and the cross-training I’ve scheduled, I should have a successful marathon. Let’s see if I stick to the plan this time. I figure I’ll also do one race in between the Turkey Trot and the Marathon as training (most probably the St. Malachi 5-miler in Cleveland).

Pretty Music

prettyThe latest album by the best band to ever grace this stinky planet, The Dead Milkmen, have released its newest album, Pretty Music for Pretty People. The 17-track album is available on CD through the band’s site, Amazon, and all the other usual places. The album has also been released on vinyl under the name Pretty Music for Pretty Special People. The vinyl release, however, does not contain all the songs from the CD. Why the Hell would they do that? you may ask. Well, during the recording process, the band was releasing 7″ singles (2 songs per single). They released four of these, so, since those songs were already available on vinyl, they were omitted from the LP release. I believe a record has time limitations. A double album probably would’ve been too expensive to produce and sell (especially to those of us who already bought all the singles already).

The Dead Milkmen continue to put out quality music, perfectly blending the different genres of music that the four bring to the table. They are functioning very well as a group. When I heard the songs individually on their singles, there were a couple songs I really enjoyed. A few of the songs, I thought they were okay. Hearing them all together on the CD, it all flows very well and makes sense. The album, as a whole, has elevated each of the songs for me. As was the case prior to the album’s release, my favorite is still “Streetlamps – Walking to Work.” The great thing about the band is that, yeah, you’ll hear songs that may be reminiscent of others they have recorded, but it never sounds like they put out the same album twice. They are constantly growing and evolving, staying fresh. Their take on life and the world is usually a little skewed, sarcastic, and dark. Much of what they do comes off as humorous, but they don’t seem to be setting out to be a humorous band. You don’t get the feeling that they are sitting around trying to put jokes into their songs. If it comes out humorous, then so be it. If the song is straight out humorous, then they won’t shy away from that either. I have a lot of respect for the band and love what they do. I guess they wouldn’t be my favorite (been so for nearly 30 years now) if I didn’t feel this way.

I loved the album before this one – The King in Yellow. I think I need to listen to them in succession, but I think this one may even be better than the former, and I thought King in Yellow ranked right up there as one of their best records. “The King in Yellow/William Bloat” may still be the best song they’ve ever recorded, though. If you ever liked the Milkmen, I’d highly suggest checking out these latest releases (the nice thing about modern technology is that you can actually listen to some snippets of the songs before you buy). I’d definitely give this album 5 milk jugs out of 5.

Musicians Anonymous Cleveland

SongForDale_PromoMy personal musical front has been pretty non-existent. I keep having ideas and want to go back and re-record a lot of my songs. Having recorded and then tried recording with others, I think I finally understand what I need to do during these “demo” recordings. For instance, when I first started, I played guitar and I sang. Once, I tried to later add in bass and drums with a couple friends. They did an admirable job with it. However, I didn’t play to a specific beat when I recorded my part, so my timing kept varying, from faster to slower, etc. It was really difficult for them to add their parts because of this. I also had done this on another song that my friend added bass to. He did a great job, but I think my lack of timing made things difficult on him, as well. At least, now, I know that if I’m going to record a base track first that I at least need to play to a beat so that I keep myself on a steady pace. I recorded a base track with this philosophy, recording my guitars and vocals to a drum beat from my Casio keyboard. However, the recording itself does not have a drum track on it. When the bass was recorded, I was told that it would be easier to play the bass if the drum track was included in order to better know when the changes were coming. Makes sense. I haven’t recorded since then, but, the next time I record, I will definitely be doing this. It will also be beneficial because, since I’m just doing demos now, if I don’t get drums recorded, then I will still have a drum truck to get a flavor for the song.

So, I am currently sitting on a demo for a song that I need to finish. The song is just guitars, bass, and vocals. I need to add some finishing touches to the song. I hope to put the songs up on bandcamp when I finish – making them available for free download, if it lets me. I can’t see charging for the music unless I’ve had the songs professionally recorded (which I would love to do sometime in the near future). If they are free, I also won’t feel bad if the songs are rough and in need of work. I may also put up different versions of the same song – try to get a feel for how it works best before it is officially recorded. Anyway, new ideas continue to filter through my brain, and I hope to start recording some new demos soon and also re-record demos for some older songs. With the garage cleaned out, I may be able to move into the garage at night to start recording (since my in-house playing seems to be heard throughout the house).

Writing

Well, I am no longer a writer. Have I given it up? Well…..no. I’ve decided to use a pen name going forward. The writing is going a little bit better than the music but has been going pretty slow lately. I thought I’d have this latest draft completed before the year is up. I’ll really need to bust ass to make that happen. It’s going to be difficult because I’m just finishing up the part of the book that I’ve written in previous drafts. The rest of the book will be new material, which always takes me a little longer to write. I was also hoping this would be the “final” draft before just needing to fine-tune some things, but there are enough new elements that the next draft will definitely be more than just a fine-tuning. I also know I will need to tighten the story. I’ll see when I read it over, but it may be a bit too talky right now. I’m also trying to write a screenplay.

Reading

Been reading This Book Is Full of Spiders by David Wong for what seems like an eternity now. Kind of like writing and playing music, my reading time seems to come in spurts. The book, so far, is excellent. Slightly more than halfway through. I think I may be enjoying it even more than its predecessor, John Dies At the End.

Until Next Time

Until next time….

bird photos

May 11, 2014

bird photos.

May 6, 2014

May 6, 2014

Duty vs. Desire

It’s easy to look back on your life and analyze the decisions that were made, trying to find where you may have slipped up. It’s not as easy to look back on your life and analyze the decisions where you think you slipped up but maybe lead to some of the good things in your life that appear unrelated.

I write. I enjoy to write. I am working on a book right now (right around 120 pages written). Writing is something you can do on your own whenever time permits. Sometimes, I wonder what would have happened if I pursued looking into writing groups when I was at Cleveland State University (assuming they had them) or hooking up with some film students and been the writer on some film projects or some theatre students and attempted to put together some theatrical productions. Maybe, right now, we’d still be struggling to get by, but my actual profession would be one that I loved.

Instead, sitting here at 40, I’m working in an office. I have no desire to do a single thing. I can’t get motivated. Maybe it’s the typical feeling of starting a new job. Once I’m here for a while and get into a rhythm, then everything may work itself out all right. Maybe it’ll push me even harder to get that novel finished and push me harder yet to get that novel published.

I wonder – what if I really pursued a career doing some sort of writing? How different would my life be? Then, I think of things that seem unrelated but may have a direct correlation with the choices I have made.

If I didn’t get this corporate job, my wife and I may not have felt comfortable enough to start a family, so I may not have the two boys that I couldn’t imagine living without. If I didn’t get this corporate job, my wife and I may not have felt stable enough to buy the house we are currently living in. If I didn’t get this corporate job, who knows, maybe my wife would not have stuck with me (I don’t think that’s the case, but things could’ve changed).

I need to keep providing for my wife and kids. I can’t suddenly stand up from my desk, gather my belongings, and head home so that I can do the things I really want to do. I read and hear all the time that life is short and people need to do what they really want to do, but there’s a duty involved with all that. Yes, I could quit my job and decide that I’m going to try being a writer full-time. Set up an office in the basement and work on the book 40 hours per week. Unfortunately, it’s not going to pay for my son’s insulin or blood testing strips. It’s not going to pay the mortgage, buy food, or buy my kids their school supplies. It’s great to say and to think that life’s too short, so you should just follow your heart and desire, but you get to a point where you have a duty to those around you.

Yes, I sit here now and dream about winning the lottery. I use my one hour lunch to try to write a page or two of the book. I dream that I somehow am given a million dollars (even in my dreams – I take out 40% for taxes) so that we would be debt-free.

Sometimes, I feel stuck. However, I’d rather feel stuck than not have my wife and kids around.

Although they make all this worth it, it does not help get me motivated while I sit at my desk, staring at the computer monitor, and reading emails that I really could care less about.

April 7, 2014

April 7, 2014

It’s been just over 4 months since the last blog entry. I figured it was more like 6 – 8. I decided to create all these “focused” blogs so that, if someone had a particular interest, they can just read the blog that made the most sense. What has happened? I have updated none of them. Maybe we’ll get this going again. So – what’s been happening the previous four months? We’ll start on the lighter side of life…

Musicians Anonymous Cleveland

The “band” is nothing more than a hobby of mine, and I haven’t been dedicating much time to it, even though there are lots of ideas at the forefront of my brain. I am a frequent visitor to Clive Barker‘s website, and, as a fan, it would be frustrating to hear all these ideas the man has but never seemed to get around to doing anything about, whether it was his ultimate Hellraiser sequel, The Scarlet Gospels or his follow-up to Cabal or the third and final book of The Art. Seems like he would always tease these ideas, and then they disappear. I understand it now. Creatively, you have to go with what wants to come out. I feel that way with the “band” because my creativity trends towards the written word. If I do not have time to write, I most likely will not have time for music.

So, what’s going on? I’ve had quite a few songs in different stages of development and even recorded a couple home-made EPs. I’ve scrapped everything and am starting over. I have a song recorded (guitar/vocals) with bass hopefully shortly to follow. Finally, I will get some percussion added. Then, there may be some film clips added in as well. My hope and dream is to put these demos up on the web for free download. I will need to see if that works out or not. After a while and after some money is saved (probably a few years away), I am hoping to go into a recording studio and record the songs. My plan is to release the album digitally and hopefully on vinyl (or maybe I’ll put the best couple songs on vinyl – haven’t decided). If I could re-coup my costs (not likely), I’d be more than satisfied.

Anyway, I’m hoping the first demo will be online somewhere in the coming months.

Books

I’ve really been into Joe R. Lansdale for quite some time and have been blowing through some of the Hap and Leonard books (also read a lot of his non-Hap and Leonard books). They are fun reads. While traveling for work, it really gives me a chance to read. Haven’t had to travel anywhere for awhile. I took a new job, and travel will be part of the job (international travel, actually), so, once the travel starts, I know I will be reading aplenty. Also, we just packed up all the books because we are re-painting our living room, which has a built-in bookcase, so I only have two books not packed away at this time: David Wong’s This Book is Full of Spiders (sequel to John Dies at the End) and Douglas Clegg’s Neverland (heard nothing about it or its author – just felt like picking up something fresh). I am trying to decide which one to read. May be a good thing that I haven’t “had time” to read since I haven’t made up my mind. After spending a book or two away from Mr Lansdale, I plan to return to Hap & Leonard with Captains Outrageous.

For my own personal writing, I thought I’d be done with the second draft of my book at this point, going through it, and deciding how I’m going to tighten it up. The second draft has me writing everything and anything. Seems to be a little slow in sections (the writing, at least, so I assume the reading of it would be slow as well). The book isn’t progressing as quickly as I thought, but it’s going all right – been writing a lot more lately. I thought of making it a two or three part story so that the first book would only be 150 pages or so. With the way I’m writing, I think it would be too little payoff at that point, so I think I’m going to write the full story or, at least, more of it in this first book than I had originally intended. It also gave me the idea for a trilogy of sorts. The trilogy will not be one in story but in style. I think the first three books I write will all be kind of slow builds, building up characterization, and will then get into the creepiness. They may all have similar set-ups, even though the stories will be different. I think I have the basic story lines for all three ready to go. I’m still going to try my best to have the final draft of this first book completed by the end of the year. We’ll see…

Fitness

Not doing much in this area this year – or not as much as I’d like. I’m running the Cleveland Half Marathon in May. It’s my only big race planned for this year, although I plan to run Bay Days on July 4th and the Cleveland Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Those are both 5 mile races. The Half Marathon is under 5 weeks away now, and I haven’t had a good run yet. I haven’t been doing any cross-training (elliptical, bike, etc.). I’m gaining weight, as I’ve let my diet slip. I need to buckle down, get in all my exercise, and start eating more healthy. I think I could have a good race, and there’s still time to get back on track.

Demolition

Part of the reason why the writing is suffering is because we are trying to purge ourselves of unneeded items in our home. We really want to clean up and reduce the clutter. Most of the clutter is out of sight, but we know it’s there. There’s a room in the basement that I’ve taken over, which will house my music, horror films, and some collectibles. I think it was a work room, as there are built-in cabinets and a long counter that made a long L shape in the room. These cabinets made what I wanted to do tough. I just recently destroyed part of the cabinets – now it’s an l instead of an L – and it felt really good to do so. There is just something calming about demolition.

Diabetes

My oldest son (Ethan, 7) was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes around Valentine’s Day. It was a shock and probably the worst 2+ days I can remember ever experiencing. Sitting in a hospital with your beautiful 7-year-old child and having him tell you to let him die because he doesn’t want to have to go through the finger pricks and insulin injections is as heart-breaking as it can be. Kids have a way of saying things where you know they don’t really know what they are saying. He was saying this with conviction and honesty. At that point in time, I know he truly wanted to be left for dead, and it still breaks my heart and brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

Just under two months later, and Ethan is doing really well. He is a champ when it comes to taking his blood sugar and insulin. He is injecting himself now (with assistance) and will take his blood sugar from time-to-time. From what we are hearing, he is adapting and progressing very quickly, especially for someone his age. He is awesome and continues to impress everyone around him with his control over the disease.

The Diabetes is making itself a part of our routine, and I think we are all doing a great job with accounting for it but not preventing him from being a kid. He is allowed to have treats and pretty much act like a kid. We are making sure he is not held back because of the disease. It will be a little different for him. For instance, he is going to play baseball for the first time this year. I cannot drop him off and go. I will need to make sure he is monitored so that he does not get too high or low with his sugar. Still, the important thing is – he can play baseball.

For those who have interest – the easy version – Type 1 Diabetes pretty much just means Ethan’s pancreas doesn’t work. We need to inject insulin that his pancreas cannot produce. We are manually performing the job that most people’s pancreas performs for them. Although it is suggested he does not regular soda or syrup or anything too concentrated in sugar, he does not have any restrictions. We just need to account for everything he is going to eat and counter-act that with insulin. Type 1 Diabetes also has no cure at this time. Whereas Type 2 Diabetes can be regulated through diet and exercise (insulin is not always needed) and could even go away over time, Type 1 Diabetes does not go away. Ethan will always need to take a shot of insulin before his meals and another shot of insulin that acts as his base (lasts 24 hours). At this time, Type 1 is also very much like the Big Bang. Doctors and Researchers can only go so far but do not know exactly what causes the disease.

The positive note – there has been lots of progress on finding a cure or, at least, making the disease easier to live with.

  • They are testing out an insulin that is injected once every couple years and will act just like the pancreas is producing it. Instead of 4 shots per day, Ethan could be down to 1 shot every couple of years.
  • They are testing out an artificial pancreas. If the artificial pancreas works and he eventually gets a transplant, it may be like he never had the disease.
  • I think they are also working towards trying to heal the pancreas itself.
  • Today, he is going to get a trial “pen” which should make getting his insulin much easier (we will be testing it out). Instead of dosing the insulin into a syringe, he can “dial” it digitally to the correct amount (his biggest complaint is that it takes too long to get his insulin before lunch, so he misses out on some “down time” with his friends).

Overall, like I said, he is mentally doing all right, and I think Christine and I are in a pretty good routine with it. It is “cute” to be overhearing Ethan talk with his younger brother (Drew, 4), and Drew says “Ethan, I wish you didn’t have to have Diabetes.” Ethan replies, “That’s sweet of you to say, Drew. And, one day, I won’t have Diabetes anymore.”

See you in another 4 months?

December 4, 2013

December 4, 2013

So long since I’ve posted….  Seems like I’ve been avoiding WordPress like the plague…

Writing

Maybe my lack of blogging is due to my increase in fiction writing. November was Novel Writing Month. For fun, I decided that I was going to attempt to write something in my novel each day of the month, whether it was one sentence or one page. I ended up writing something all 30 days of the month, which ended up being over 50 pages of prose. Probably my greatest output in such a small window of time. I always thought that forcing myself to write something would lead to crap. Not that everything I wrote was brilliant, but writing the book consistently seemed to help lead one thing into another and has really helped me shape where the story is headed, when I was completely in the dark before (my writing time was usually one day on the weekend…maybe). Also, I’m currently focused on one project, instead of trying to juggle multiple projects (the thought process there was that I will hopefully be inspired to work on at least one of them at any given time). Anyway, I’ve finally gotten some momentum going and would love to take a month or two off work to write. If I’m making the progress I’m making on lunch hours and the occasional hour in the evening, I think I could make a lot of progress if this was my full-time job. Well…that’s the dream. You can “follow” this project here (although, like this blog, I have been neglecting that one as well).

Running

Another reason this blog may have suffered was my training for the Chicago Marathon, which I participated in on Sunday, October 13th. I hurt my foot around Mile 9 or so (maybe it was a little later), so I walked much of the 26.2 miles. But, I finished. That’s all I was hoping for. Since the marathon, I started running on the track inside the rec center. Feeling good but haven’t run for a few weeks now. I keep telling myself I’m going to get back on schedule, but it just doesn’t happen. Like this morning, it was supposed to be mid-40s before work, so I wanted to get a run in. I woke up about 30 minutes AFTER I should’ve left for work. Oops. Well, I’m sure I’ll get it started again sometime.

Fitness

Also – the plan has been to put myself on a nice, healthy diet. As I sit here on my lunch (sesame chicken, veggie fried rice, and mixed veggies from a Chinese takeout shop downstairs), that’s obviously not happening yet. Also, it should be a money-saving thing as well, as I will just buy what I plan to eat that week and avoid takeout/restaurants. So many reasons to do this, yet I don’t.

Music

Been dormant. Talk of a former band of mine getting together next year. Once my availability opened, I haven’t really heard anything from the others. That’s par for the course, I guess. I haven’t done anything with my current project lately, either. I’m thinking of just recording a song or two here and there and putting it on the bandcamp page for a free download (if bandcamp allows that). Or, maybe I’ll take the bandcamp page down for now and see if I can allow free downloads through the Facebook page. If I ever get into a studio or do a more professional recording, that’s when I’ll start charging for the music. Thought it may also be fun to do some solo acoustic shows, combining songs from Musicians Anonymous Cleveland (that’s the new project) and Pudding & Fruit (that’s the old project). But, we’ll see.

The Dead Milkmen

The greatest band in the land. So, they had a show booked in Cleveland on November 2nd (a free show sponsored by local college station WCSB). It was a costume party – lots of really cool costumes there. Three bands (who were not very good) played and then the Milkmen came on stage, tuned, and were standing there. It had been 20 years to the day since their last Cleveland performance. Crazy. They were supposed to start playing at midnight. At 11:59, the lights go out. We go nuts. Just waiting for the opening of one of their songs. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Turns out the lights didn’t go out for dramatic effect. The electricity on the whole block actually went out. The rest of the show was canceled (The Dead Milkmen being the only band not to play). They ended up going over to the radio station and, at 2 or 2:30 in the morning, they played their entire set over the airwaves. Really cool of them to do. They felt so bad that they couldn’t play. They do have new material out. Check out their website. They are great guys and a great band (in fact, Rodney was at the door saying bye to people as they left, apologizing).

Miscellaneous

  • Don’t know if I posted this on here or not, but I started a movie review site. I did this while I was traveling frequently to Indiana. My movie watching has curtailed since then so there are not as many reviews posted now as had been before.
  • My oldest son sometimes has boundary issues. He can get into people’s faces and be a bit handsy. There is a child in his class that could almost be his twin, and that’s the person he is all over. Haven’t heard that he really has issues with any of the other kids. Anyway, I was at a school function last night, and I was with my youngest, while my oldest went with his age-appropriate class (1st graders) – all the kids were separated out by grade. Afterwards, there were cookies in the cafeteria. I’m in the cafeteria with my youngest, and we were going to get up to see if my oldest was ready, when I see him walk into the cafeteria. His twin is sitting there and calls him over to sit by him (so, they get along – my son just annoys this kid when he can’t keep his hands to himself). I’m sitting next to the kid’s father, who tells me that his son is always telling him that my son is always pushing him. How do you respond? The father seemed to think that my son was just trying to play. I explained he has “personal space” issues sometimes and get a little overzealous. It ended with his father suggesting play dates if our sons were actually friends. It must not be a big deal. But, you never know what goes on when your child gets into a new environment. It can be a little nervewracking, especially when your kids are as crazy/weird as you.
  • My kids have become Star Wars nuts pretty fast. This is because of Angry Birds tying into the film franchise. Now, they are into it without any birds attached. My wife and I said that we would keep them firmly in line with the original trilogy and raise them as if the prequels never existed. Well, thanks to Angry Birds and books, they kept asking questions about all these other characters they were seeing. I finally broke down and bought the prequels for them. Although they are just as bad as I remember them, I did get some extra enjoyment watching their excitement. Every time a big lightsaber duel would happen, they would jump up from wherever they were, rush the tv, and start jumping around or acting it out. Really cute to watch. In that respect, I guess it isn’t all bad. Besides, while they are watching, I can just write or keep myself occupied some other way.

August 15, 2013

August 15, 2013

So Many Projects, So Little Completions

So, I think I missed my calling. I should have somehow gotten myself a job where I kick off projects, get everything settled and ready, and then hand them off to other people to complete. I think I would’ve been perfect at something like that. Does a job like that even exist? Sounds like the US Military, right? We’ll go in, overthrow your leader, start to rebuild, and then leave it in your hands to finish it off and maintain it.

I have quite a few projects going on, and it never seems like I finish anything before I have a new idea that starts to take up a decent amount of my time. Not to mention – I have a full-time job that has nothing to do with these projects and also try to be a good father, husband, and supporter of the Cleveland Indians. I don’t have the necessary free time to be juggling a bunch of different projects, so it should not be a surprise that my projects also sit in different states.

Being a writer, it makes the multi-project thing even worse. If I hit a stumbling block or some sort of writer’s block, then that project gets put on hold. In that time, I may think of a new project, which will start taking the majority of my time. To be honest (and I’m sure this is different for different writers), starting a book is the easiest thing in the world because, at least for me, it involves building up some characters, and you don’t even need to know what the plot is yet. You just need to know the type of character you want to write about, and you can be vague and mysterious about the rest of the details. Or, I get a new idea for something completely different, don’t want to lose it, so I start working on that, just to get the general idea down, which turns into me abandoning a previous project and working on this new idea, until the wheel completes its latest rotation and starts up again.

It’s not just with writing. I try to clean and organize the house. Clean one area. By the time I’m halfway through with area #2, Area #1 is already in need of another cleanse. Like with writing, it seems like I keep working and working and working but never get to a finished product. Maybe that’s just part of life. I don’t know.

The New Project

I also have an interest in Music. Music is one of two things that I can think of that I do where there is “instant” gratification and completion. I am doing a musical project called Musicians Anonymous Cleveland. I have recorded and released a couple of EPs. I barely play shows. I have no intention of making money at this but do it purely for fun. When I release an EP, it has the feeling of completing something. Now, if I take a step back, I could tell myself that I’d like to flesh out the songs with other musicians and create a more professional recording. Still, the “Demo” EP is out there, and songs have been written. I rarely play a live show, and it’s truly something that’s done for fun. I think that keeps me going.

As a musician, to be honest, I’m not very good. I play three-chord songs that all pretty much sound alike. The lyrics usually go towards the “humorous” side – at least, that’s my intent. Since my musical skill is on par with an adolescent, I have decided to try to record a children’s album. I had one song that I had written for Musicians Anonymous Cleveland that was written with my kids in mind (in fact, they have, in the past, asked that I play the song when I’ve had my guitar out). I figured I could migrate that song over to this new project and record others with kid-themed lyrics. The music between the two musical projects will probably be pretty much identical since I just write the same song over and over and over. The difference: the new project (currently going to be called Mr Keith or Mr Keith’s Music – haven’t decided yet) will deal with things I think kids would like, as well as creating some learning songs. Musicians Anonymous Cleveland, however, will continue to explore more adult themes: relationships, adult humor, and telling certain people to fuck off.

I just thought it was funny that I was starting yet another project. Who knows? Maybe one of these things will hit some day, and I will be able to be creative as a full-time job. Not expecting it, though.

Oh – the other thing with “instant” gratification is running. I put instant in quotation marks because it is a long process to prepare for a half-marathon or a marathon (which is what I’m currently doing). But, eventually, the day will come where the starting gun will be fired, and I will eventually cross the finish line. So, it’s nice to know that something I’m working towards will come to fruition. If I ran like I wrote, I’d get halfway through the training and then decide to run a different race instead and then start the training all over again.

Odds n’ Ends

  • I skimmed through the latest Full Moon Entertainment movie, Unlucky Charms. When I was growing up, Full Moon was a big part of my entertainment. When I knew a new movie was supposed to be released, I would make a trip to First Run Video to see if they got it in (and if it wasn’t rented yet). They had the Puppetmaster series (still running today), Dollman, the Trancer films. Some films were hits; some films were misses. For direct-to-video, they were high quality. Subspecies is still my favorite vampire film. I thought The Pit and the Pendulum could have been released theatrically and held its ground against any film made for the big screen. I also thought Puppetmaster III: Toulon’s Revenge was big screen quality. Yes, the films were definitely low budget. The acting and effects usually were a little off. But, they were fun and brought high quality items straight to the video store shelves. Throughout the years, a cheaper way to make films was discovered, and Full Moon has exploited that. Now, there is CGI or other digital effects, instead of using make-up or practical effects. Many low budget films will input blood digitally instead of using squibs, etc. Full Moon is no different. The quality of their films have gone downhill over the years, looking like they were filmed using a standard at home handycam. The story and everything association with the film has just been awful. I can’t remember the last movie I had seen, but I think I said it would be my last because they were complete garbage now. However, probably because of the great memories of youth, I still follow Full Moon and keep abreast as to what they are producing. I started reading how Unlucky Charms looked like it was a step in the right direction for Full Moon. I was intrigued enough by the reviews to go make my first Red Box rental. I didn’t have time to watch the entire film, so I skimmed through it. Make no mistake, it is a low-budget b-movie, but it works here. It’s a fun little film, and it looks like something they could build a series off of. It’s not of the caliber of Subspecies, Pit, or Puppetmaster III, but it’s a lot better than the crap I have seen over the recent years. The digital effects are still obvious but are blending in a little better. The acting is not great but passable for the type of film it is. It is basically an America’s Top Model show where the host (a Tyra Banks-ish personality) is killing off the contestants in order to use their souls to keep looking young. Some ancient “monsters” or whatever they would be considered are being called for whatever reason. Lots of comments on how the people of Earth are no better now than they were back when they last visited. These things do the bidding of whoever possesses the magic (four little stones). It is not up to them to decide if the bidding is for good or evil. However, they start to get a conscious and no longer want to help out a person who wants to use the magic for selfish, personal gain. Overall, not bad. Lots of times, Full Moon will go off the deep end with their ideas. If it works, then you have something great that you’d never expect to see. Usually, they don’t work, and the film comes off as crap. This idea, in my opinion, was a lot more “normal” and something you’d think would’ve been done many times. However, it works. Restores my faith in Full Moon a little….until the next crapfest comes out.
  • Decided to do a week of vegetarian meals in hopes of righting my poor food choices. I am getting in decent shape but am still 15 pounds heavier than my height would dictate and have not been losing any weight for quite a few months. I have still been snacking and making poor vegetarian food choices. I need to stick to the plan I create for myself instead of veering off with unhealthy foods.
  • I was at a recording of a talk show hosted by Ramon Rivas in Cleveland, where I heard about this website, which is all about making promises and keeping them. It sounded like a positive idea. You send your promises into the site and they get published as a public record that you are vowing to do whatever it is you said you would do. I assume it could be a promise to help someone, maybe a promise to yourself, whatever. I haven’t fully looked through the website yet, but it sounds like an excellent idea.
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