A carefully considered replacement post

Happy Tuesday (said no one ever). I’m still in the middle of a day long headache-a-thon, which is really fun because it’s fulfilling my life-long dream of feeling like someone is playing the drums on the inside of my skull. That’s the power of positivity, people (says the guy who tried to cure a monstrous headache with a two-hour nap that failed miserably).

On the plus side, there’s a new episode of Face Off tonight, and I’m already quite emotionally invested in this season. It’s also Taco Tuesday, a statement which translates to me going to Taco Bell and buying a big order of spicy regret (it’s a guilty pleasure I just can’t quit, people, and also I love Baja Blast too much). Lastly, I worked up the nerve to write my first fan letter! I put words to paper in what I hope is the least crazy way possible to thank Amy Poehler for writing Yes Please, which isn’t a book so much as a reasonably-priced treasure chest filled with wonderful things. Also, since I’m taking forever to write this: there was an episode of Gravity Falls waiting on the DVR, which made tonight even better.

This post was supposed to be about something else, actually, but then I decided that idea would better serve me as a short story…which means I had to switch gears. The fan-letter thing got me thinking, too. Here’s a fun story about fan-mail.

Once upon a time, I binge-read a bunch of books by Kurt Vonnegut. Breakfast of Champions was the gateway to Cat’s CradleSirens of Titan, and A Man Without a Country (I’ve not finished that one yet). I feel like I’ve read more by Vonnegut, but I also confess that his prose, while delightful and entertaining, had the ability to put me into a particularly dark and gloomy mindset. Probably because there was more than a measure of uncomfortable truth to everything he wrote.

One night, in a moment of bravery, I decided I would write Kurt Vonnegut a fan-letter to tell him how much I loved his writing and how I hoped to one day be as wonderful and beloved a writer as he is. The anxiety was very real; I could feel my heart yo-yoing between my chest and my throat. The cursor in Microsoft Word remained lonely, a blank page staring back at me in mockery of the fool’s errand I had embarked on. Instead, perhaps, I thought I would look up the address I would need to send this hopeless letter off to. A quick Google search later gave me multiple options, all viable, and some suggestions and criticisms about fan letters.

There also happened to be a shitload of articles about the life of Kurt Vonnegut, citing how he had passed away earlier that very day. I stared at the screen, a mix of heartbroken and shocked. In hindsight, my knee-jerk reaction was probably entirely appropriate. “Are you fucking kidding me?” I asked my computer, fully expecting a response.

I have since interacted with two of my favorite authors on Twitter (on multiple occasions, actually), and that’s been fun. There’s something about interacting with the people who inspire me that is probably far more thrilling than it should be.

Who do you folks idolize so much that you’ve sent them fan-mail/tweets/whatever? Any luck with responses? Was it terrifying, thrilling, or both?

There should have been more to this post, but I have the most vicious goddamned headache I’ve experienced in a while so I’m going to throw in the towel for the night. Apologies there.

 

A day of recovery

I’m going to focus largely on the good here, as today was actually an excrement sandwich sprinkled with shards of broken glass and used hypodermic needles of questionable origin. There may be a touch of hyperbole there, but to be fair I also just realized my next post-vacation day off is fourteen days away from when my vacation occurred (with some of those days involving multiple shifts). It makes me tired to even think about it, so I’m going to shift my focus elsewhere.

The stuff – After work, I headed over to Walmart to pick up some ingredients for dinner. I had no actual game-plan in mind, but I figured I could probably mange to make something relatively edible without too much effort. Keeping in mind I didn’t want to do more of the usual, I picked up some chicken (off to a poor start on avoiding the usual) and I wandered around a bit. The end result was I bought some yellow and orange bell peppers, some sugar snap peas, and some baby carrots (which didn’t end up in the dish anyway). I wasn’t quite sure how I’d prepare the chicken until I walked by a display of dressings and spotted a bottle of raspberry balsamic vinaigrette. The dressing, which I’m not ashamed to say I’m actually too lazy to type out repeatedly, ended up being a marinade for the chicken. Tossed it in a bag and let it hang out in the fridge for a bit while I took a nap. Brianne had a very busy day with a doctor’s appointment followed by work followed by one of her grad courses, so I had some time between thinking up dinner and making the actual meal.

Bragging that isn’t really bragging – I managed to get into a Looking For Raid iteration of The Dread Approach after minimal waiting. I was probably one of the lowest DPS players in there, but I also managed to not die. Something about half of the people in our raid couldn’t say about themselves, unfortunately, as people seemed pretty intent on standing in the fire whenever possible. This was my first time really doing any raiding in Mists of Pandaria (ignoring that I did get into an LFR group right at Sha of Fear last week; that was fun). I nabbed a good few pieces of gear and generally enjoyed myself. The best part, however, was that my queue for Terrace of Endless Spring popped right after I completed The Dread Approach. As I’ve not gotten anywhere in my Legendary cloak questing, I was pretty happy to get to 4 of each…er, Mark I guess. Marks of Wisdom and Power? I’m not looking it up. The point is I got to kill things I’ve never killed before, and if that’s not what raiding is all about then I must be doing it wrong. Note to self: I still need to try my hand at getting the other Thunderfury binding before next Tuesday (damn it).

Dinner turned out really well. It’s Brianne-approved, so that’s a plus. It was absolutely awful to look at, but it was a nice and healthy sweet meal I’ll have to try my hand at making again soon.

The best part of tonight is that I feel pretty rejuvenated. It’s a bit surprising, actually, as I ended work and shopping feeling very stressed out. A lot of it is a matter of accepting things that aren’t presently within my control and moving along with the things I can handle in the present (shocking, I know). The nap certainly didn’t hurt.

In closing – Here’s wishing everyone a relatively insanity-free next fourteen days, and in doing so sending the same wishes to myself. Victory is just ahead, right?

Pumpkin spice season has (almost) arrived

At some point or another, September apparently showed up. Or every single calendar I’ve encountered since Sunday has been telling me horrible, cruel lies. I’m slightly more inclined to believe the former is true, however, because I’m not all that big into outrageous conspiracies on most days. This summer provided many opportunities for hilarious misadventures, but it also somehow managed to be entirely draining. From the work-related madness to the life-related madness (with a friendly reminder there was a goddamn bat in my house not too long ago), this summer has felt less like a season of vacation, rejuvenation, and fun in the sun, and more like a time of frustration, bad news so bad it bordered onto comedy, and both minor and major setbacks. That’s not to say all of the summer was bad, of course. I won a book contract, which I then over-thought to the point of making it a good and a bad thing (if you missed that you should count your blessings and move along). Brianne and I have found a new place to live, which I’m quite excited about (save for now having to cut the grass, which is far from ideal). I could probably go on for a dozen more posts about my trip to Chicago, but it’s probably for the best I don’t. You were all right, Summer of 2014, but you certainly tested me. For that I should probably be thankful. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Forty-Eight

There seems to be a storm a-brewin’ in them thar hills just outside. Or something that one day aspires to be a storm. It rained for a solid thirty seconds or so, just a proper and sudden downpour, and then nothing. I hear the occasional rumble of thunder here and there, but I’m not sure it’s not one of the neighbors making a bit of noise.

Okay, it's definitely thunder. Also: holy crap, look at these beautiful, wild and crazy clouds.

Okay, it’s definitely thunder. Also: holy crap. Look at these beautiful, wild and crazy clouds.

All of this, of course, is being posted from the Chicagoland area (specifically Plainfield). That means I survived my first-ever long road trip! I am a weird blend of highly enthusiastic and road-lagged, the latter being slightly exacerbated by woes of a non-vacation variety creeping in from one time zone away. Thankfully for everyone, those woes are not what this post will be about. Instead, let’s talk about my adventure, and it certainly was an adventure, from Carnegie to Plainfield. And how the end of the trip involved Mother Nature making an attempt on my life.  Continue reading

This Week in Misadventures

It’s been a mostly-exciting, somewhat headache-inducing week. Let’s just leap into the actual post. I’m entirely too tired for this early, which is embarrassing, but I want to finish this post before I fall asleep on my Surface 2.

Writing

Do tweets count here? They still don’t, do they? Damn. Ignoring that, there’s “The Maskmaker’s Apprentice”, “Another Starstruck Misfit”, the cannibal story I still haven’t officially named…something else. My brain’s gone a bit soft. I need to get back into setting goals for myself in terms of weekly writing, which sounds mildly suicidal since I’m working on my One Hundred Days of Blogging posts as well. “The Maskmaker’s Apprentice” doesn’t count towards the goal of twenty stories posted, by the way, because I’m apparently challenging myself to write and rewarding myself by making it as punishing as possible. On the plus side, I’ve received so many new commenting readers. Mostly spammers writing comments in Russian, but I’m not too picky when it comes to comments.

I’ve got no particular plans for writing in this coming week, but I might just be lying there. We’ll see.

Reading

So many books, so little time. I’m rereading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), and I picked up The Long Mars. You may be saying “Phil, you buy a lot of books and you should probably read them instead of buying even more books,” to which I say I will never stop buying books. I should, however, get working on reading them. I think a great starting point would be to start over on The Long Earth, move on to The Long War, and then get to The Long Mars. I’m impatiently waiting for Bryan Lee O’Malley’s new graphic novel, Seconds, which sounds like it’ll be a terrific fun read.

Important Miscellany

Car inspection happens this week, which is important for my planned Chicago adventure at the end of August. I’m anxious that something will go horribly wrong, but when am I not? Don’t answer that, anyone. It’ll be the longest road-trip I’ve ever taken, and I’m going solo so it’ll be something else. We’ll see, once all is said and done, what something else turns out to be (good or bad). I’m considering a travel journal to post on here, as there’s still enough time for me to actually plan it out. Or put off planning it and just haphazardly meandering through it like I do with many other things.

The plans for this week include writing, reading, and a little recovering from last week. I’m more excited, I’ll admit, for the week after this one, as I work three days (thanks to a couple leftover paid holidays). Making a trip home to see my family, and I’ll have plenty of time to work on getting some additional writing done. None of which will be spoiled here, of course.

Here’s to a pleasant, hopefully peaceful week for everyone, and remember to keep the Kaiju population under control by getting your Kaiju spayed or neutered.

PS: I’m sorry, but I refuse to see this post linger just beneath five hundred words. Nope. Had to fix that.