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2009 into 2010

This is going to be fun, trying to remember all the shit that happened the last few days. But guess what? I probably can't.

New Year's FunCollapse )

Thinking about last year... part of it, quite frankly sucked! I wanted to be out of the jewelry store by the end of the year (didn't happen), wanted to get the manuscript for Here Is The Wonderland finished (I didn't, but I almost am), didn't get any other writing other than stuff for TGML finished, and I missed out on seeing Morning Musume's American debut performance! Considering that the year pretty much started with Ron Asheton dying, that should have been a sign right there!

This year, on top of the forthcoming nuptials, I have the following goals:
  • Finishing the manuscript's first draft.
  • Knocking out the second draft in a miniscule fraction of the the time I spent writing the first draft!
  • Getting some other serious writing out of me and getting stories sent out and published.
  • Getting an agent and, subsequently, getting a deal for this damn novel.
  • A strong option: A non-fiction project that I was originally going to do in 2008, only I'm going to look for a more established and appropriate publisher rather than risk it with a start-up.
  • Posting on TGML much more often than I did last year. I need to keep my name out there as a writer, and that's one of the reasons why I have the fucking blog in the first place.
  • This is a more personal one: Improving my guitar skills - specifically my lead guitar skills, as that's where I am at my absolute weakest. I need to get a whole bunch of different songs under my belt along these lines as well.

That, in a nutshell, is what I need to accomplish this year, for myself and for my soon-to-be-wife.

Enough of my yakking though. I should get ready to call it an evening.

Oct. 29th, 2009

Finally saw Tara for the first time in a little over two weeks on Tuesday - between various complications in both of our personal lives that had nothing to do with the state of our relationship and more to do with life's little interruptions (like following LVP to the Kia dealer for her 3,000-mile service one night, then taking her back the next night) We had dinner at Five Stars Chinese, bummed around a couple of stores (I found two Coca-Cola pint glasses at a dollar store Tara likes, picked up a Megadeth double-CD anthology for myself and a couple of manga), and we went to see Paranormal Activity. OK movie, although some of the shaky camerawork still had me thinking, "Blair Witch", and very admirable that they made the movie for about $15,000 but still not my kind of movie.  

Today, my computer decided that it wasn't going to cooperate with me any longer, so I had to get a new one. I got an HP Pavillion. I have had the old computer in Safe Mode and have been transferring files (primarily my Microsoft Word files, my music files, and my desktop wallpapers) from that one to the new machine all evening with flash drives. Then at some point in the near future I am going to look into having the old laptop fixed so that I can pass it on down to LVP. Getting the new laptop was a bit of an adventure - LVP and I first went to Staples but I think the guy there was more interested in selling us a warranty than a computer and was telling us that without it, they only had a 90-day warranty on their puters, etc., so we bailed and headed for Best Buy. When I was discussing what I was looking for in a laptop with one of the more helpful sales clerks there, he asked me what my previous laptop was (a Dell XPS) and I told him. He felt rather sorry for me - apparently Dell laptops have been problematic lately. After telling him what I was looking for (specs that matched the Dell Inspiron we almost bought at Staples - 4GB and a 500MB hard disk) we had two firm choices, a Toshiba 16" and this HP 15.6" inch. This HP was cheaper and faster so we went with it.

I had a rather amusing dream on Monday night, but I shall have to share it some other time and get back to transferring files to this laptop. This is actually going to take me a day or two since I have 100+ GB on the old computer, but as long as I can get the old puter into safe mode to rescue my files, I should be fine and dandy.

Oct. 22nd, 2009

These past three days have been a bit on the tiring side. I didn't get anything in the way of writing done partly because of it. I was out of the store much of the day getting a rush job back and forth to the store plus picking up spray adhesive for the store (for redoing our in-case flats). I got back to the store on Tuesday, and when the bossman does to do something with the same ring something fell apart or whatever, so I had to run back to our other repairman again early Wednesday morning. Traffic sucks both of these days. When I got back to the store on Wednesday, my choice of breakfast meal (Sonic's Super Breakfast Burrito with Jalapenos) proceeds to disagree with me. Empty stomach plus jalapenos is not a good combination. After work, I had to follow LVP to the Kia dealership in Wilkes-Barre (3rd time in two days I will have been there) to help drop her car off for its 3,000-mile service, and this evening we went back  to pick it up. Needless to say, my ass is dragging. 

Also, unfortunately, thanks to all of these insane evenings and some weird scheduling, I have not seen my fiancee in almost two weeks, save for when I stopped over on Sunday to pick up some peanut-butter brownies she made me. 

To give you an idea of how worn out I feel right now,  I am going to log off and then call Tara good night after I hit send on this. Even though I would like to at least attempt a little writing, I can't see myself sitting up straight at this laptop for much longer tonight. So, goodnight for now....
A few interesting times lately. The other day Tara and I had an impromptu dinner date (OK, most of them seem to be impromptu lately but fuck it) followed by a stop at the library and a trip to Wal-Mart where, in the process, I broke down, said fuck it and bought the new Kiss album. Tara picked up a box set of the Harry Potter DVDs and I forget what else, and I only really mention this because I had handed the Kiss CD to her to hold onto while I grabbed drinks for us. She looked at the CD and asked me something to the effect of "Why did you buy an album of old stuff?" I said "It's not, it's their new album that came out yesterday." Tara: "Oh my god, these guys must be 100 years old by now." Ah, Tara... one of these days our future kids are going to go through their daddy's music, find his old Kiss albums and his Morning Musume and Stooges CDs and think/realize that this is some of the coolest shit ever. I mean, jeez, look how many kids less than half my age are wearing Led Zeppelin and Kiss and Misfits shirts. Hell, look at the one time several years ago when I was walking down the street, a bunch of kids who had to stopped me on the sidewalk to tell me how "cool" my Clash shirt (cover of their first album) was - kids who weren't even conceived when that first Clash album was recorded! 

Yesterday (Saturday) we went to New Jersey to hang out with some friends of ours (much of the same crew that we hang with at New Year's, concerts, Memorial Day, and elsewhere) on the occasion of one of their birthdays. The whole day was planned for bowling, a Japanese hibachi dinner, and a showing of Paranormal Activity. Tara and I left around 1 and chose to not rush to the bowling alley, letting us buy some time before the dinner. A good thing, because we had a bastard of a time trying to find the restaurant, even with a GPS - we couldn't find the restaurant  in the GPS's listings, so I had to text traciebee  and get some help finding where the restaurant was from where we had stopped. Once that was straightened out, we got there just in time to meet everyone else at the restaurant, all of whom were pulling in around the same time! Always good to see the old gang again.

Now, although there are three restaurants in mine and Tara's area that have Hibachi's, I have never eaten at the hibachi part in any of them, strangely enough. Also, the only other time I was in a hibachi was in 1978, at a place in Providence, Rhode Island. The restaurant was Imperial 46 in West Paterson, NJ and let me say, the food itself was worth the drive. I had hibachi-style salmon and folks, I think this is the only way I want my salmon from now on. The place does not serve alcohol, but there is a liquor store in the same shopping center as this restaurant so a couple of the crew picked up some things (sake, beer, and Captain Morgan rum). Alberto, the birthday boy, proceeded to get slowly crocked. Not as bad as Tara when she overdid it on New Years Eve, but crocked enough to cause at least some concern. Fortunately he was NOT driving (his girlfriend was) and he was still walking upright and speaking relatively lucidly. When the check came, we all started to divvy up the check evenly until one of the crew, John, took the check, pulled out his credit card, and told Tracie to give everyone else their money back! We tried to compensate him and he refused. 

Finally, we all headed for the AMC Clifton Commons to see Paranormal Activity. At least, that was the plan. First, we had trouble finding a parking place but managed to after about 20 minutes or so. Tara and I go to the front of the theatre to wait for everyone else. As we are making our way over there, I am noticing quite a few out-of-state plates (Maryland, Virginia). A few minutes later, we meet up and start to go inside and head for one of the automated ticket machines. Unfortunately for everyone, every showing except for the 12:10 AM showing was sold the fuck out. There is some debate as to what to do next but one general conclusion is that seeing the movie so late is not such a good idea, especially with at least two people (me and Tara) who still have a drive ahead of them! I was reminded of when my then-girlfriend and I attempted to see The Blair Witch Project on its opening night on what was my last night in Calgary, only even the midnight showings were sold out! Granted, there is quite a bit of hype about this movie and it isn't even in wide release yet, which no doubt accounts for the out-of-state plates and the difficulty in finding a place to park - which should have been our first two clues as to how much of a hard time we'd all have seeing this movie.

In a somewhat nostalgic mood, I've pulled out most of my old Kiss albums (everything from Hotter Than Hell to Creatures of the Night - I never owned the first album on vinyl, and all of my pre-Dynasty albums are with the "Filmworks") as background music while I work on this manuscript. Typing this journal entry was just the finger warm-up! 

Writer's Block: Concert mania

What band are you dying to see live in concert that you've never seen before? Would you travel to a different city or state just to see them?

The icon says it all...


 I made a little progress on the manuscript this week. Sadly, not much, but I'm still on a roll of sorts. Last night I was too tired to write anything after hanging out with Tara and doing some birthday shopping for my mother ('twas LVP's birthday on the 5th), and really didn't feel like it today either. Tomorrow and Monday I'll get a bunch more in. 

What really killed me this week for writing was Sunday. My dipshit boss wanted me and LVP to hang out with him at Best Buy while he looked for a 52" TV for his newly furnished basement. He didn't get much from me - I was bored shitless and growing disgusted with the fact that I had to have my time wasted there. Even more disgustingly, he was convinced that the clerks he was dealing with were all out to rip him off by trying to sell him an HDMI cable (never mind that without this cable, you won't get a high-definition-quality picture and sound). Stubborn and stupid - that's what I have to put up with five days a week! The punchline? He didn't buy the TV there - he bought it at Boscov's for $100 less - and the dimrod who sold it to him didn't mention an HDMI cable at all. And he wonders why he was complaining the rest of the week about how "the picture isn't as good as they say"? Dumbass. 

Today (Labor Day eve) Tara and I (and for awhile, LVP) were at her sister Tiffany's place for a cookout. It was OK, save for one disaster caused by their dog Toby. At one point he was trailing a harness that he had been hooked up to, and somehow the harness got caught around the metal picnic table that Tara and I were sitting on the opposite side of. Toby is a huge dog, so once the harness wrapped itself around the table's opposite legs, Toby proceeded (unknowingly, because he's a dog) to drive the fucking table into my knees! That stung for quite a few minutes. Thankfully, no damage done - not immediate damage, but with the occasional time when my knees feel like they're going to give out when I'm climbing steps, its certainly not going to improve their present condition - my knees hate me sometimes to begin with! More tomorrow night, I'm going to rack.

Writer's Block: As the Cookie Crumbles

If you ran the fortune cookie factory, what message would you make sure gets put in a cookie?
I'd add the phrase "...in bed" to all of the fortunes. Most people tend to do that when they read them, anyway ;)
Been up late. Tried to write for the novel and can't. Entire Sunday blown to shit in a way I will have to detail later, as right now I need to crash. I'd rather pull an all-nighter, though... 

Aug. 27th, 2009

Today was a little interesting, to say the least. I woke up, went through my morning routine, and headed for my garage to discover that some motherfucker had parked his car right in front of my stall. I was far from amused. I did the only thing I could do at that point - I called the police and reported it. Unfortunately, on this occasion I get not a ready-to-help cop but a very disinterested female dispatcher who immediately put me on HOLD for two minutes when she answered. Suppose someone was breaking into my house, or getting assaulted or murdered across the street? I wasn't amused. Her disinterest continued when she forgot to ask me for the car's license number (which I had the foresight to photograph with my BlackBerry), just what the car looked like. Um, OK. Now, all the local cops can do is ticket the asshole, which they did. As of this writing, the fucking car is still in front of my stall. Not my idea of fun by a long shot. Tomorrow, if the car is still there, it's being towed.

Tara called when I was starting to get settled in at home and we ended up ordering pasta bowls from Domino's. As we're finishing up, Tara asks if I would like to go to the library with her. I say yes, because I had applied for a new library card several weeks ago and hadn't received it in the mail yet. Now, I had told Tara about my situation with the car blocking my driveway while we were having dinner, so when Tara had asked me to drive her, my first question to her was "Sure, but why do you want me to drive you in your car?" I've driven her car a few times before, so no problem there. Tara replied, "What's wrong with your car?" and I reminded her that thanks to the aforementioned neighborhood asshole, I couldn't get my car out of the garage. So, Tara drove. We get to the library and while Tara heads for the fiction upstairs, I head for the front desk and inquire as to the status of my library card. The girl at the desk directs me right downstairs (where the computer lab and research materials are) to the woman who processes the orders. I go there, give her my information and find out... that there's no record of me having applied for a card at all this year. Um, what? I go back to the desk, reapply for a card, and this time they make damn sure it gets sent downstairs to be processed! Sheesh. I checked out Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow and Slash's autobiography; I'm already several chapters into the latter. 

Writingwise, last night, I completely rewrote a specific scene for the mss. There's one other major scene that needs to be completed before I can finish the rest of the manuscript; It's going to be a little tricky, but I can do it. I want to get as much done before the end of the month as possible, although right now it's likely that it'll be Labor Day until this is finished. Sigh. 

Aug. 27th, 2009

I'm a little behind on the manuscript... the last couple of days I was kinda tired, last night especially so because Tara and I went, impromptu, to a fair in Girard, PA (about an hour away and in a different area code), and walked around, occasionally eating and checking other things out, for about an hour and a half at least. By the time we walked back to my car, my feet were aching a little, and as a result I came home, checked out e-mail, Facebook and MySpace, then grabbed my iPod and relaxed a little listening to Mike Hale's first solo album - and passed out in the middle of it. Tonight I rewrote a scene that was bugging me - this scene had been in the book since about the first month or so of work, and as the story progressed, it became clear that a rewrite was needed. I had pegged the scene for a rewrite back in January or February when I started going through what I had written up to that point, but apparently needed to get a lot of story out of me before I could tackle that scene all over again. Now, there's one other major scene I need to finish/overhaul for an earlier part of the manuscript that really needs to be gotten out of the way, and a few more to write. I am a couple of hundred words away from the 175,000-word mark.

The music intake has been increasing a lot lately. Heard Shohen Knife's new album (excellent), Queen Latifah's new album (jury's still out), Ace Frehley's new single (great), AKB48's new single (great), Buono!'s new single (great), and Flyleaf's new single (no verdict yet). Played a couple of things I haven't listened to in ages as well. Need to get a couple of these things written about for TGML as well.


Reina Tanaka 'Hello Internet!'
CJ Marsicano (CJマルシカノ)

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