Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Another Saturday Night of Wild and Reckless Abandon.

So it's Saturday night.  Across the globe, couples dance and drink in seedy bars, go to sporting events, throw parties, take in movies, go on wild crime sprees that always end in a Tijuana prison cell, lying on the floor with a nude Barbie doll.  And I?  Well, I'm at Half Price Books.  Typing away.

Why Half Price Books, you might ask.  Well, two reasons.  One, they have free wi-fi, though half the time I'm not able to get my laptop to talk to it (ie, tonight).  There are also lots of tables in the common area, and some of them face the aquarium.  I'm big on aquariums.  I miss my fish.  There's also a little coffee shop that sells fine Italian sodas and decadent sweet things that I'm not supposed to have.  But most importantly, Half Price Books isn't my house and doesn't have a ten-week-old kitten gallumphing at high speed around corners and down hallways, causing hiss fests with other cats and occasionally launching herself at my feet in a brutal takedown attack that's evidently supposed to render me footless (no luck there so far).

Besides, Starbucks is too pricey and when I order something as mundane as a regular coffee, all the overdressed rich women who apparently have nothing better to do than hang out there look at me like I'm crazy.

Mainly, I just like to get out behind my desk and go out into the wild.  You know.  Libraries.  Bookstores.  Coffee establishments.  Anywhere I can sit, look busy, type fast and deflect curiosity.  I used to do my blog posts at Afrah and then one night this like 18-year-old waiter tried to pick me up, not realizing I was old enough to be his mother (which was nice, if a little awkward).  I still go to Afrah sometimes, but tonight I'm at Half Price.  There's no pita bread here, unfortunately.

And how's the writing going, anyway, you ask.  Well, it's been better.  I've been kicking around a small thing that I'll probably go back and work on in a few minutes here, and I've got another thing that's basically done but needs some major slash and burn editing, and there's another one that's almost done but I think I'm going to have to go back some 80 pages from the end, just chop them the hell off and make it all happen differently.  Which I'm not up for at the moment.

The truth is, I haven't been very excited about anything I've written since I finished the increasingly inaccurately named Mindbender trilogy.  (Quadrology? Quintology?)  I've been able to get angry enough to write something Serious (the thing that's basically finished), but I'm not sure I hit the point I'd been trying to make and I'm equally not sure I can make it hit that point, regardless.  I also have a major time crunch that I didn't have during the Mindbender era (swimming) and very little time in the evenings to sit down with a keyboard.  Most of the thing that's basically finished was written on the fly, longhand, between appointments, in waiting rooms and wherever else I happened to be when I had a few minutes.  Which is one way to go about it, I guess.  Transcribing it was a lot of fun, though.  You should see my handwriting.  No, you probably shouldn't.  You've seen what happens when you whack a bug and splatter its guts all over the wall, haven't you?

(By the way, whacking a bug is a big Buddhist no-no.  It's better to usher them outside.  I usually scream for Joan, which is sort of outsourcing my violations of the First Precept.  You know, like the United States exports its industrial pollution by manufacturing goods in countries that don't have the strict environmental laws we have here.)

So I'm here, and I'm gonna try to write something, but in the meantime, I just made a modest proposal that might lead to yet another project.  I hope so.  I'm probably going to shut off my Internet connection now just to avoid having to read whatever comes back, but let it be known that I proposed it.  Whatever it is.

And I hope I get to tell you whatever it is very soon.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

No News

Yes, I know it's been a while since I've posted.  I'd claim it's because the kitten's not sleeping through the night, but she is, finally.  And how.  She does this thing where she runs through the house at full tilt, chases a toy, pounces on one of the other cats (much to their displeasure, but that sure doesn't stop her), and tears around until suddenly she stops, just wherever she happens to be, keels over and falls asleep.  It's pretty amazing. I mean, like 60 to zero in two seconds.  Oh, and for the record, the kitten now has a name, which is Artemis. I think she knows it because her ears prick up when someone says it, but they also prick up when someone says "kitten" or "food" or "toy" or "treat."

No, mostly it's that there's only one thing anybody's allowed to write about right now. and I don't wanna write about it.  So I'm not writing about anything.  Well, except for the stuff that starts out, "COMES NOW Plaintiff GOODGUY and complains against Defendant WEASEL, as follows..."  You probably think I'm talking about what went down in Orlando, but actually, I'm not.  What went down in Orlando will be The Only Thing To Write About for another couple of days, maybe, but then everyone will lose interest, and we'll all go back to our collective digital cocoons, communicate only with people who think exactly the same way we do, and do absolutely nothing about it, just like we did with Fort Hood and Aurora and Virginia Tech and Columbine and San Bernardino and...

No, what I'm talking about is The Election.

Yeah. That Election.

Now, you have to remember here that I'm Not Supposed To Watch The News.  I'm actually under doctor's orders not to watch the news and to stay away from Web sites like CNN and Huffington Post and Yahoo News.  Why?  Because Watching The News Upsets Me.  If I go into my doctor's office and he asks me how I've been and I say I've been a little down, the first thing he wants to know is if I'm watching the news.  And if I cop to maybe hanging around the Yahoo comments section longer than it takes to determine that it's an absolute sewer, he will get this very doctory sort of look, peer at me over his glasses and say, "Don't. Watch. The. News."

So, by definition, it would be hard to write about The Election, or anything else I know nothing about.  Unfortunately, I do know a fair amount about The Election, and I didn't get it from watching the news, either.  For example, I'm on Twitter (and you can follow me around at @jenstrikesagain if you ever feel like it).  Plenty of people tweet about The News on Twitter.  They may only say it in 140 characters, but that's really all you need; anything more is bombast and rhetoric.  Plus, people talk about newsy things at the office.  I've more or less got my colleagues convinced not to talk about bariatric surgery, but darned if I can get them to avoid chatter about The Election.

Anyway, I don't have to know a lot about The Election.  I pretty much know what I need to know.  There's a seasoned public servant who has been in several major national and international roles, and has done very well, up against--well, that other guy.  You can probably guess who I'm voting for, even if it won't matter because my state is going with Ted Cruz (and never mind if he's actually still running).  So I know what I need to know.  And I'm not.  Repeat not.  Going to write. About. It.

So that's my story and you won't see it on The News.  And since posts about The Election are both boring and depressing, I'm going to close out this blog post with a picture of Artemis, who has tripled in size in only three weeks.