Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vicky’s hidden talent…

I feel it’s my job to post at least one complaint about my wife online each year, so people don’t think she’s too perfect… or… just perfect…

Vicky has this gift of being able to turn on every light source (and sometimes more) in a room before leaving it. She is completely oblivious to the idea that electricity costs money. In her world, it’s not only free but an affront to the power company if you don’t use it.

So, I end up following her around, switching off light after light after light. She’ll go downstairs; I’ll turn off the lights (and sometimes more) upstairs. She’ll go upstairs; I’ll turn off the lights (and sometimes more) downstairs.

This is how it works in our house.

Thank God for this flaw – however incredibly large and annoying it may be – in Vicky’s character. Without this, she may appear perfect in my eyes.

… there is that chance…

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another step towards vegetarian

I like to read "news" stories on Yahoo. I know that these stories aren't really news and are mostly just entertaining, but I read them all the same.

Today, a story about how our food is making us (Americans) fat caught my attention. Now, in case you don't know, I've been working hard on improving my eating habits. I still have my bad days, but they are fewer in number. I am eating more whole foods (you know, then non-processed kind) and I feel great when I do. It makes such a difference.

Back to my story, so I read this article about how our food is making us fat, and came across this in the article

Most fast-food hamburger patties begin their voyage to your buns in the hands of a company called Beef Products. The company specializes in taking slaughterhouse trimmings—heads and hooves and the like—that are traditionally used only in pet food and cooking oil, and turning them into patties. The challenge is getting this byproduct meat clean enough for human consumption, as both E. coli and salmonella like to concentrate themselves in the fatty deposits.

The company has developed a process for killing beef-based pathogens by forcing the ground meat through pipes and exposing it to ammonia gas—the same chemical you might use to clean your bathroom. Not only has the USDA approved the process, but it's also allowed those who sell the beef to keep it hidden from their customers. At Beef Products’ behest, ammonia gas has been deemed a “processing agent” that need not be identified on nutrition labels. Never mind that if ammonia gets on your skin, it can cause severe burning, and if it gets in your eyes, it can blind you. Add to the gross-out factor the fact that after moving through this lengthy industrial process, a single beef patty can consist of cobbled-together pieces from different cows from all over the world—a practice that only increases the odds of contamination.

Now, I already can hear Ken talking to back to my post...you know that I've been telling you this for years now!

Don't get me wrong, I love a good steak. I've been a meat eater my entire life and except for the past few years, with never a second thought. Now, my desire for a burger has just plummeted to negative 100. Really now, eating meat by-products that have been treated with ammonia just turns my stomach.

On criminals, pot holes, and global warming…

On Christmas Day, Vicky and I stayed at home. Vicky put a beautiful pork roast in her slow cooker and settled back with me to enjoy a few movies. As dinner neared, the “slow” part of slow cooking lost its allure and Vicky suggested we go out and pick up some bread, for dipping and for sauce once the roast was done.

We drove down to one of our local stores and, as we pulled into the parking lot, we witnessed a guy drive his truck into a parked car. Then, he backed up and smashed his truck into the car again.

Vicky parked safely away and we decided she’d go pick up the bread while I watched the car. (I didn’t want someone running into our car.) As she left, I watched the guy get out of his truck and look at what he’d done. Then, he drove his truck to a nearby spot, got out, and inspected his damage. Several spectators walked away and I wished I could have been that close because they had probably seen his license plate number. (My angle wasn’t right.) I thought about how I might get the number. I got out of the car and walked around a bit – when I saw Vicky.

She hadn’t gone into the store. She’d stopped at the entrance, where she had a great view of the number, and had called the police. She was giving them all the details! I was going to go to her when I saw the driver get in his truck and drive – I thought he was driving towards Vicky but he took off for the street and drove away.

I gotta hand it to Vicky for her bravery – but I wish she’d have a little more self-preservation, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, Vicky and I agreed to wait for the police. They arrived nearly right away and we both told them what we saw. In minutes, they received word that police caught the guy getting home and we were asked if we could identify him. Vicky and I didn’t hesitate. We rode in the back of separate vehicles (my first time for that) and identified the guy from within the car.

We got back and continued to give our statements. As we did this, we learned that the car that was struck belonged to the sister of one of the store’s supervisors. She was using her sister’s car. This hit awfully close to home because Vicky’s car had died the day before and we were using her sister-in-law’s car. The supervisor had no idea why her car had been struck. Vicky and I were glad we could at least show her that there were people in the world who cared, especially after all the other witnesses had just taken off. It turned out that the driver of the truck was out on parole and no one had any idea why he was hitting the supervisor’s car but it clearly did not look good for him.

Hitting a car is one thing. Hitting is twice and then driving off – another.

Vicky and I talked a lot about cynicism that night and how awful it is that so few actually care about others. This reminded me of the pot holes. The streets in our city have become riddled with potholes of late. This is mostly because voters have so short-sightedly voted for tax cuts and the politicians who support tax cuts that even simple road repair can no longer be done, leaving us with third-world streets.

It made me wonder how we’ll ever get people to care about their future, to take care of things like global warming, when they’re too selfish to pay money to have their roads fixed. The results of global warming and climate change will kill a great deal of us – and if it doesn’t get you, it’ll get your children and theirs and theirs – but if you won’t even help someone being violated on the street, if you won’t even call the cops when some thug is smashing their car into the one somebody borrowed from their sister, if you can’t be bothered to pay for simple things like decent roads or schools… what hope is there?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Someone should have asked…

Let me preface this by saying I am fully in support of equal rights for all. I think all of my brothers and sisters should enjoy equal rights be they straight or gay or transgendered or anything in between. That said, here’s the exception that proves the rule.

What the hell were they thinking with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?

Listen to this hypothetical: World War Three breaks out – or any other war, we have so many – and everyone is drafted to go get killed in war. Prior to today’s signing of DADT out of the books, anyone could have said, “Oh, sorry. I’d rather not get killed. I’m gay.” No homosexual or bisexual or transgendered individual ever had to fight or die in a war. Ever.

That shit won’t fly any more.

The one loophole homosexuals (et al) had in their favor they threw away. They actually protested to have it taken away!

Could have been marriage. Could have been insurance rights. Could have been any number of a thousand other things, but the one thing – the thing that kept them alive and gave them the out no straight man (or woman) has ever had – that’s what they asked to have taken away.

I love my brothers and sisters out there, no matter their color or faith or proclivity.

… I’m just saying… that was a really stupid choice, guys.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The best Christmas story… until…

Vicky and I were at a Christmas brunch the other day, held by one of her employers. (All comments to the effect that I’m a lazy bastard for not working when my wife works two jobs – duly noted.)

The folks running the brunch were having everyone stand up and tell a story about themselves, one at a time, which was a great way of getting to know one another. When my turn came, I told the story about how Vicky and I chose out wedding date.

I said, “Vicky and I were on the phone one night, just talking around the subject of marriage. Not talking about it, just circling round and round. She said, I wouldn’t want to get married in the summer. Too hot. I said, I wouldn’t want to get married in the winter. Too cold. We agreed sometime in between would be nice, such as September or October. But I wouldn’t want to get married in October because my birthday’s in October. Vicky said we couldn’t get married at the beginning of September because that would conflict with labor day. It would have to be sometime in between, say the third week or so. Sure, Vicky agreed. Like the weekend of the 25th, for instance. Then, we both stopped talking and there was a long pause. I asked, Did we just set a date?”

It’s a great story. People love it and it really shows how much Vicky and I wanted to be together.

Just one problem, though.

Vicky stood up and said, “Ken tells that story really well… except our wedding date is on the 24th, not the 25th.”

Friday, December 17, 2010

Where there’s smoke, our alarms won’t catch it…

Vicky was cooking several weeks ago… okay, maybe it was a month. Anyway, not to call my wife a bad cook but she kept setting off our smoke alarms. (She's really not a bad cook! Please don't stop cooking, Vic!)

Rathan than stand there with a magazine, waving the – let’s call it “smoke” – away so the alarm would stop, I just took them down out of the reach of the smoke.

I haven’t put them up since.

I’m sure that it probably would have been wise to put them back up. They could probably, I don’t know, warn me in case of a fire or something… but I get so busy…

Today, they started chirping their “Hey fucko, I’m outta battery power” chirp. I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason for the chirp but I’m very busy… or something. Anyway, I popped the battery out of one to shut it up but I couldn’t get the second one open.

It’s still down there, chirping.

And I’ve realized I’m the laziest man ever to walk the face of the earth. Thankfully, I still have the energy to blog about it…

Monday, December 13, 2010

Marketing…

Last night, Vicky and I went to Jeff’s housewarming party for his new apartment… apartmentwarming, I guess?... Anyway, it was nice. Jeff had decorated the place beautifully and the company was nice and he liked the gift we bought for him.

Jeff had a bunch of desserts and finger-foody stuff laid out. On the way home, Vicky realized we’d eaten plenty of… well, crap… but we hadn’t eaten any real food. She said she felt like she needed to put something real in her stomach and, so, we decided to stop by Denny’s.

There should be a number you can call when you decide to go to Denny’s… to talk you out of it.

We were seated and looked at menus. Both of us decided to get the “Super Bird” sandwich. I realized they call it the “Super Bird” sandwich because “Fried Turkey” sandwich sounds gross. Turns out, it is gross. It’s a fried turkey sandwich. What the hell did I expect???

Friday, December 10, 2010

For those of you keeping track…

The big story out of Washington this week has been President Obama’s caving to the Repugs, the rich and powerful, the special interests, call them what you will, to extend Shrub’s tax bonanza on the riches 2% of America. I had previous stated that I would stand by Obama as long as he conducted himself in the upright manner with which he had conducted his campaign of 2008. Now, there have been plenty of opportunities to say he veered but never has he gone so straight off the map than now.

It doesn’t take any courage to stand up for the rich. It takes no strength of character to defend people who can make you rich and do you favors. Turning your back on the helpless is not that hard. It was Obama’s mandate to defend the helpless and to stand up against the powerful. By granting the richest 2% more money they don’t need, Obama has lost my support.

Worse still, however, have been the craven mutterings from his administration, suggesting that if we don’t back up a windfall of money for the rich we’ll all suffer a worse recession than the one we already have. Somehow, the suggest, that if we don’t keep doing favors for the wealthiest and most powerful we will be smitten by their ire.

Oh really? Well, fuck off.

We deserve a man with character and back-bone in Washington. Someone who is not afraid to fight for the good of all Americans and not just the powerful few. I’m sorry, Mr. President, but you have lost my respect. I might be alone on this, but somehow I don't think so.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Here Comes The Apocalypse… All Over Again!...

Turns out the Rapture has now been scheduled for May 21, 2011, so it looks like we only have so much time to mock these idiots…

1) See you on May 22!
2) I knew my first wedding anniversary foretold some horrible event but I just thought it was my first wedding!
3) Good thing it’s on a weekend so we can celebrate!
4) Is there still time to buy a dress?

Now, for those of you who don’t understand sarcasm, the point is this: For as long as mankind has been around to foretell it’s future, there have been men (and women) who’ll fall for such nonsense. Religious texts should never be read as fact because, as shown here, it can be misinterpreted so stupidly. Bullshit, as it turns out, is easy to misinterpret.

If you buy into religion, you’re buying one of the world’s most profitable lies. Wise up and Rise up.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Priorities...

Funny how the Repugnicans are insisting the Wikileak guy get caught... They're so up in arms about the truth getting out...

But they were just fine letting Osama bin Laden get away...

Friday, December 03, 2010

I can hear Alacrity...

For those of you who don’t know Alacrity, he’s my cat. I got him a lifetime ago – well, very nearly a lifetime for cats, at least – in 1995! He was once a cute, little white puffball. Now, he’s an old man with an attitude.

Every morning, he sits downstairs and meows and meows. He’s the feline equivalent of the old man who sits on his porch and yells at kids, “Get off my lawn!” And I’m the human equivalent of the old man who yells at his cat to shut up… because I yell at my cat to shut up. Doesn’t work, though. He keeps on howling.

We’ve ruled out any health issues. He eats and runs and scampers about most of the rest of the day… but once the wee small hours of the morning hit: Meow! Meow! Meow! (How cool would a dyslexic cat be? “Mewo! Mewo! Mewo!”)

I can’t get too mad at Alacrity. I know he’s old and just a pain in the ass. He’s outlived Bandoo and Othello – yeah, our house was a fun place during their passing… But I sure wish I knew what he was saying.

Vicky thinks he wakes up in the middle of the night, after all the people and the other animals have gone upstairs and to bed, and his meowing is his way of asking, “Where is everybody? Where’d everybody go?” It’s the feline equivalent of a “senior moment”…

Yeah. That fits.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You’re only as good as the last friend you lost…

I’m going to write about friends today. Before I do, however, I want to tell you about this wallet I found.

I was out walking the dogs a few days ago and, just about where Shipoopi was about to poop, there was this wallet in the grass. Nobody was around and there weren’t any signs as to who it might belong to, such as being in front of a car. I knew if I didn’t pick it up someone would, so I did. The wallet had no money in it, very little actually. It did have some ID, membership and credit cards. There was a letter inside, which I didn’t read. There was also a list of phone numbers, like a list of co-workers.

The first thing I did was to look up the addresses on the ID cards. Neither panned out. One belonged to a high school and the other, which I only learned after I drove to it, was an apartment manager’s office address. Dead end. The folks on the phone number list didn’t know the owner of the wallet so that was out, too.

Finally, I Googled the name. It’s a fairly unique name and I was fortunate to hit a Facebook page right away. I emailed the person and, sure enough, I found my lost wallet owner.

I’m supposed to meet the person sometime today to return the wallet.

I say all this because I feel it’s important to show at least one way in which I’m not a complete prick. Vicky would probably tell me I don’t need such an example, that I’m a good person and those who think differently are the pricks.

Maybe.

But I recently lost my best friend and, for the second time in as many years, I had someone I thought would be my friend for life tell me I was a total louse. Things like that tend to get to me. I try not to be a louse but I know I’m human and, therefore, could be a louse without knowing it.

My immediate response is to rationalize this with the knowledge that anyone who thinks I’m a louse is obviously not a friend, thus minimizing my loss. And yet, I can’t help wonder what it is about life that turns those I once loved against me. I could say it’s the other person. I could say it’s me. I think the truth lies somewhere else, kind of like the way divorces end up – or, at least, the way mine did.

There’s just no explaining it. You find someone who doesn’t think you’re a louse.

And you do things like returning lost wallets to remind yourself that, despite what others may think, you aren’t the bad person they think you are.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't ask, do tell?...

I would think that repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would be as simple as calling it the "Kill All The Gays in War Provision of 2010". How could the neo-cons argue with that? After all, isn't that what they want?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Recovering the Self, the Slide-Show...

It was a privilege to see publication of something this personal and meaningful to me. I hope you enjoy it. You’ll see my familiar face on page 4. If you’re interested and able, please pick up a copy at Amazon or from the link on the slideshow. Be sure to drop a note or comment if you enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hangover… over…

It’s nice to finally feel like myself again… you know, to no longer be hung-over. It’s especially nice given that I did it to myself on Saturday and today’s Wednesday. (Crap…)

The time has come to take stock, to reassess, to be honest about things and… yeeesh.

First up, I did not need to smoke on Saturday. That’s four days ago and I can still taste it. (And, yes, I’ve brushed my teeth many times.) It left this disgusting, awful… I can’t describe it. It’s a feeling like I should just as well be dead, basically. I’m glad I stopped and wish I’d never picked up those two – yes, just two – cigarettes. Yick.

The other thing that comes to mind is how infernally fat I am. I say “infernally” because it burns me up! With all the cycling and jogging and walking and whatever else, I should not be fat. Fortunately, I have a physical coming up (when I told Sean this, he asked, “Rubber glove physical?”) and I can talk to my doctor about it. It’s not that I’m active… so I’m thinking it might be because I’m a pig. That might have something to do with it; I’m not entirely sure.

Next, if I haven’t said it already, I am so lucky to have Vicky. Let me tell you, she took such great care of me – and I’m not the kind of guy who likes to be in that position. Oh, I like to be pampered, just like any guy, but I hate completely falling apart. I’m not a fan of that. Vicky was so wonderful, though, and just stepped up in a way I know I didn’t deserve. Lucky = Ken.

I’ve also come to realize that the last two years for all of their awfulness have been incredibly beneficial to me as a writer. I have grown demonstrably, significantly… and lots, too. If it wasn’t for the past couple of years and the incredible support Vicky has given me, I would never have had the opportunities to grow that I’ve had, and I am so very grateful.

And so, I come out of this hangover with a sense of relief, yes, but urgency as well. I want to kick the tires and get back in gear with my health and my life. A detour in debauchery was enough. I don’t need any more of that.

Not to mention, the impression Vicky does of me vomiting violently is enough to last her years…

Monday, November 22, 2010

Today we lay to rest…

The drinking career of Ken “the liver” La Salle. It was a good run, exceeding 25 years of serious drinking. Heck, the drinking career may show up for an appearance now and then, but it will never see the kind of drinking it once enjoyed…

So… here’s what happened.

Vicky and I were on our way to Justin’s 40th birthday party Saturday night and I was… just not feeling it. Have you ever been there? On your way to a party and you realize you’re just not up to it like you thought you were? So, we got there and I thought, “Maybe I’ll have a beer and that will loosen me up.”

Before I take another step, I want to mention something I didn’t realize until much later. I’ve been out of work for nearly two years. I’ve been on dozens of interviews that just haven’t worked out. I’ve worked several shitty temp jobs but the worst one is the one I’m doing right now, because I’m having a hell of a time getting them to pay me. That’s right; I might not see my money. On top of that, I can’t get anything going with my writing career – even the book deal is in limbo at this point. I just don’t know where I am.

Put this all together and, in hindsight, I realize that drinking might not have been the smartest thing to do.

And, I was hanging with Paula. Paula, for those who don’t know, is one of those people who are so much fun to hang out with until you realize she’s talked you into donating both of your kidneys to a neighborhood kid with a rusty knife and a strange hobby. We refer to what happens with Paula at a party “the Paula Vortex”. Those who get sucked into the Paula Vortex generally don’t get out undamaged.

So… two beers, a bottle of wine, and many glasses of Jack Daniels… and cigar and two cigarettes (that I know of) later… it occurred to me that I might have done some damage to myself.

And then the puking began.

At the party.

On the street.

In Vicky’s car as she drove me home. (The words "I don't know what I would do without Vicky" do not scratch the surface...)

Never in my life have I experienced this level of blind, stinking drunk – nor will I ever again. I'm 45. It's time.

Besides, I’m still hung over today.

So, we lay to rest the drinking career of one Ken “is that my foot I’m barfing” La Salle. We wish it well and hope for fuck’s sake that we never see it again…

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why I’m up this morning…

I woke up this morning with an overwhelming certainty in my head. Now, I’ve done this before and every time I’ve been wrong. Rather than get out of bed and follow that feeling of certainty, I felt it would be prudent to weigh the certainty with a bit of caution.

I couldn’t have dreamt this all up out of whole cloth, I thought. Certainly, some of what I was so certain about had to be true.

Rather than beat around the bush of certainty, I guess I should just tell you what I was so certain about. I woke up in my house, with my stuff moved into the spare room upstairs – as it has been for months now – and realized that with my brother, Keith, staying with us that was pretty darned rude. After all, where would he sleep?

In my half-asleep brain, I rationalized that I probably hadn’t moved everything into the spare room overnight. Still, I reasoned, it was rude to make him sleep on the sofa downstairs, the only other place he could sleep. So, I got up. I got dressed. I went downstairs to apologize for…

This is when I realized that not only was Keith not on the sofa, Keith had never stayed with us. Not only had I dreamt it all up out of whole cloth, I had dreamt up the rationalization and had sleepwalked (yet again) because of it.

There’s nothing more disturbing that knowing that you can function at your rational best and still be completely irrational. After all, what is sleepwalking if not irrational?

I just thought I’d share this story for anyone out there who thinks sleepwalking is somehow goofy or made up. No, it’s real and it’s seriously disturbing. It’s enough to keep you up at night.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You normally have to wait until Christmas before you hear this kind of crap…

“I got you three Christmas gifts,” Vicky told me on the phone the other day. I hadn’t bought her any. This was because I’m still out of work and out of money. Stupid money!

This is what I was thinking about when I woke up this morning: stupid money. And then, I turned to Vic and began considering all those years when I had stupid money but didn’t have Vicky. There were those years when I was chasing after my ex. There were those years when I had the occasional date but, pretty much, no one special. Then, Vicky came along.

We often joke about how rotten her luck was to marry a guy who has been perpetually out of work. My luck has been about as rotten as you can imagine; it seems that as soon as I get a job, the company goes under!

I spend some time looking over at my bride this morning as she slept and considered how lucky I am – and what a dope I am for not being able to buy her anything she wants. That’s just how I am. If I had stupid money, there’s nothing I wouldn’t get Vicky.

But I guess her best gift to me is how understanding she’s been through all of this, that somehow she considers herself the lucky one.

… which makes that four gifts.

Shit. I gotta score some cash and get her something nice!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Moncure…


I don’t think I’ve really mentioned Moncure on this or any of my other blogs. Without rehashing a lot of ancient history, Moncure was an adult male at a time when so few adult males had a positive influence in my life, my teen years. He was the person who became my goal as an adult, my template for what an adult man should be.

Then, I grew up.

Life turned out a whole lot messier than anyone had ever so much as suggested and now I’m 45, unemployed, overweight, and without a whole lot of accomplishments beneath my belt.

So, when I found Moncure on Facebook about a year or so ago, I thought (in that neurotic way I do), “What have I done with my life? How is my life significant enough to be worthy of speaking to him again?” I thought that I had to achieve great things to fit that mold of what an adult man should be… and I hadn’t.

Then, Myth of the Cubicle was produced in Hollywood. My first book is being published next year. (WORMFOOD ISLAND, coming in summer 2011 from Northern Frights Publishing!) Somehow, it didn’t feel like enough.

I woke up at 2:30 this morning from the most vivid dream. Another one of my novels, No More Blue Roses, had been published and turned into a movie. Vicky and I were attending the premiere at a small art house cinema in LA, we were getting out of the car, when who got out of the car parked in front of ours but Moncure and his wife.

I said to Vic, “Hold on. This could be significant.”

Somebody mentioned to Moncure as we shook hands that I was the author of the book the movie was based on and Moncure mumbled through, “The patterns of history weave in lines that are difficult to comprehend but nonetheless meaningful.”

And I said “Hi,” using his first name and gave a big, cheesy grin.

He smiled as well. “Ken La Salle, you miserable son of a bitch.”

The four of us hurried to the premiere but it had already started. The theater was filled with a girls’ volleyball team and an overflow of rowdy kids; we could only see the movie through the doors. It had been filmed in black and white and spoken in French – not dubbed, a French filmmaker had made it in French… and in the 1940s, for some reason.

It was all very confusing.

I got out of bed and thought, “Ken, your mind is trying to tell you something. Just go to Facebook and send him an email.” And I did.

I’m too old for “should have beens” and if I keep trying to measure up to me every expectation, my life will be filled with nothing but “not good enough.” I’m glad I finally found the courage to give myself a break.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Friends… this is what happens…

  
Vicky put a comment on Facebook the other day about how much my friends suck.

 
They do.

 
She wasn’t talking about Facebook friends, either – there’s a contradiction up there with “military intelligence”! No, she meant the real, live ones.

 
This past year has been a bitch when it comes to friends, I’ve lost nearly all of them.

 
And, you know what? I don’t care.

 
Before I go on, here’s what happened…

 
  • One Tim decided he didn’t like me anymore or something. I’ll never know because he cut off contact without so much as a “piss off”. 
  • Another Tim turned his back on me while insisting he was my best friend all the while. Finally, I got sick of it and knocked him off my list. 
  • Rich can’t be bothered with me.
  • Rob hasn’t had the time of day for me in years. 
  • The only friend I have left is Sean, and he’s married to a psychotic FOB who can’t let him off the leash for a second.
How’s that for a list. Vicky thinks it’s crazy. I think it pisses her off. But, as I said, I don’t care.

 
Well, I mean, I do care. Of course, I care. It’s sad and I acknowledge that but I suppose what I’m saying is I don’t let it bother me. I don’t let it get to me.

 
Why? Well, let’s start with all my other sources of stress: a) out of work for nearly two years, b) struggling to get anyone to pay me as a writer, and c) first book coming out next year, first book coming out next year, first book coming out next year! (WORMFOOD ISLAND from Northern Frights Publishing – pick your copy up Summer of 2011!) That last one has been totally stressed. I have no stress left for other people… I’m sorry.

 
But there’s another side and this is why I’m writing… that and I feel that Vicky’s going to explode if I don’t come out publicly about it. Listen, I’m 45 years old. I know that as you get older people grow apart. It happens. Everyone has their own lives. I’m sad about losing the people in my life but I can’t let it eat me up – those who know me saw what happened during my divorce. (Those who don’t can read My Side!)

 
So, Tim decided he didn’t like me anymore. Oh well. That just happens. The other Tim turned his back on me. Yep. People do that. People move away. People get busy. It’s just how life works out. And, yes, people marry psycho spouses who can’t let them off the leash – the other Tim did, too.

 
It’s okay. I don’t with any ill upon them… well, not much, at least. They have their journey and I have mine. I’m not friendless. I have Vicky and Jeff to hang out with, Eric to bounce writing ideas off of, and Sean still shows up every now and then. Sometimes, things aren’t exactly how you’d like them to be. That’s okay. There’s always next year.

 
… until you die, of course.

 

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Sick week…

I got sick this week.

Okay, it’s not really much to write about but the thing is… I’m going to anyway.

This began Halloween night as we were giving out gifts. Now, I hadn’t slept an entire night’s sleep in around two weeks so I figured I was due for “The Great Crash” at any time. The Great Crash is what happens when you don’t sleep for a while… You crash. Your body says “To hell with you” and just shuts down. Sometimes, it comes as a relief. Other times… well…

It began with the shakes and my body got wobbly. We started running out of candy and Vicky was going to go out and get more but – well – she was enjoying giving the candy to the kids so much. I didn’t want to ruin that for her. So, I went. I dashed to the store, picked up some candy, came back… and there were no more trick-or-treaters that night… the little bastards…

Anyway, I started to feel like hell and I knew I was crashing. So, I went to bed.

That was Sunday. Now, it’s Wednesday and I’m just beginning to feel a little better. Vicky, meanwhile, has been certain that I have more than sleep withdrawal, or whatever; she thinks I have some full-blown disease. She got me juice and she’s looked after me. (I’m pretty sure she would have picked me up some ice cream, but I didn’t want to push it.) She’s wonderful for taking such good care of me but I’ll be fine. This is just part of being me.

Oh… one other thing!

Election day was yesterday.

Now, before I start mentioning how this was the year of the idiot, I think I’d rather mention something about Vicky. You see, I’ve recently become far too cynical to enjoy elections. I use to. I use to be a political animal and always watch the returns and analysis every year. Vicky, on the other hand, just did her duty and went on with her life, wondering why I watched politics like a sport.

Well, something has changed this year. As I mention, I’ve become too cynical. I watch the American people vote against their best interest (such as poor people supporting candidates who spout off against the “death tax”… morons…) and, as you can see, I get pissed. But not Vicky. Last night, she became the political animal. “Turn on the news,” she said as she came in from work. “We gotta watch the results.”

Times like this I couldn’t love her more.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The most important thing…

“You may need to do a signing where I work,” Vicky said. (Actually, she said the name of where she worked but we’ll let her keep her privacy this once.)

Sometimes I have a tough time deciding which blog to post to. I mean, there’s the writing blog and the personal life blog (and don’t think I haven’t been tempted to bring back MY SIDE as a political blog). In the case of this entry, I’m writing about both my writing and my personal life – Vicky in particular. And Vicky always trumps everything, so…

When Vicky and I first started dating, I told her all about my artistic background, my writing and my acting. She told me about her ex, the musician, and how well that worked out… no, it didn’t. She said, “Just don’t ever expect me to be a fan. I love you for you, not for what you can do.”

But if there’s one thing a guy needs – especially a writer guy – especially THIS GUY – if there’s one thing I need is a woman who loved what I do as well as who I am. So, I was very disappointed by all this… but I hoped…

So, the years passed and I wrote book after book and play after play and Vicky read them or saw them on stage (the plays, not the books) and slowly she came around as a fan. Not only is she a fan but she’s become a very important part of what I do. She proofreads my work, which I need very much! She’s my biggest booster. She’s become my partner in ways nobody else has ever been. And I’m grateful for that.

So, when Vicky said, “You may need to do a signing where I work,” it was because she has so many people she works with looking forward to reading Wormfood Island that they don’t just want the book; they want a signed copy of the book! Of course, I told her I’d be happy to do a signing anywhere she’d like. Heck, I’ll be travelling up and down the west coast!

But it means so much to me that she’s become an ardent fan, someone who loves my work and is looking forward to what’s next as much as I am. That’s what sharing my life means to me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Job for now…

I’m just as surprised as anyone to hear me announce that I got a job… so let’s not overdue it. I got a temp job, a contract job. Wooooo… uh, I guess…

I’m not complaining, nor will I. I’m working part-time as a tech-writer, redesigning manuals and quick start guides. It’s not a mental marathon but it is a semi-steady paycheck and I’ll take it.

I really should have more to say at this point…

… so, let me see… In keeping with the theme of the new job, I should also mention I got my free copies of Recovering The Self today (see the side-bar to order yours TODAY!). One copy goes to me and the other to my mom (order your copy of Recovering the Self TODAY!). I’m probably going to bring hers over this weekend (but you can order your copy of Recovering the Self TODAY!).

(… too much?)

This coincides with some muchly-needed house cleaning I’ve been doing lately. Actually, it’s not house cleaning. It’s in-box cleaning. I am what you might call an email packrat. You might also call me a slob; isn’t that right, Vicky? (Don’t get her started!) I’ve been holding on to emails for nearly a decade and, liking round numbers, I thought 2010 would be a good year to clear them out.

So, I’m reading them as I clear them… divorce in 2000… near-suicide in 2002… I’m just finishing 2002 and thinking, “Geez, Ken… don’t ever do that again.” By “that”, I’m referring to the horrible depression I was in… and all the horribly depressed emails I sent out. I couldn’t believe how – let’s just say it – pathetic I sounded.

But, you know, I’m proof that things get better… for some people… others die – but nobody wants to hear about your crap in the meantime!!! Since those bad days, I’ve tried to refocus my life on the positive aspects: my lovely wife, the things my talent allows me to write, a good bicycle ride now and then. Sure, there are days when disappointment gets the best of me and then I realize how much worse things could be.

And then, I get a job. And then, I get published. It ain’t bad… for now, at least…

Friday, October 22, 2010

Little Victories…

Any time you get something published, it’s a little victory. In this case, though, there’s a bit more to the story.

Little Victories is about the work I’ve done in cobbling my life together in the past decade. For those who haven’t bought into the mass-delusion that there’s no such thing as regrets, I discuss how you actually learn to live with them.

Initially, I had not considered writing anything like this. I had sent my book on success, Climbing Maya, to Loving Healing Press. While they like the book, they’re not sure – so they asked me to write for their magazine, Recovering the Self, instead.

So, here’s the plan. Recovering the Self (volume 2, number 4), featuring Little Victories, is now on sale at Amazon as well as other Internet money-suckers. If you buy it, I thank you. I also ask for you to drop the publisher a note, either through the magazine or whatever website you purchase it from, telling them how much you liked my article and would like to see Climbing Maya in print.

I thank you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Let have a holiday for gay teens who kill themselves!...

Today is Gay Teen Suicide Awareness Day.

I’m going to repeat that so the fuckedupedness can sink in.

Today is Gay Teen Suicide Awareness Day.

You have your Arbor Day. You have your Independence Day. And now, you have your Gay Teen Suicide Awareness Day.

Listen, I’m all for equal rights and I don’t think anyone should be offing themselves but this business of having a holiday and this business of wearing purple shirts is the biggest load of shit in an already shitty situation.

People should look after each other every day of the year. Bullying should not be tolerated by or towards any group – not that I honestly think it can be stopped. And no color clothing can stop anything. Pink can’t stop breast cancer. Purple can’t stop suicide. Periwinkle Blue cannot stop people from acting like idiots, which is why I’ve decided to throw away all of my periwinkle blue underpants.

… I’m just saying…

Monday, October 18, 2010

Birthday this weekend…

I was trying to think of what to call this when a great song by Steve Forbert, Autumn This Year, popped into my head… so blame him…

I turned 45 this year… only a couple of days ago. Vicky says I don’t look a day over 44 11/12s, but I feel the age, believe me. I feel it when I go jogging and my bad leg says, “Remember all those good times you had abusing the shit out of me?” There’s my mistake. I didn’t know legs held shit. I feel when I look in the mirror and realize it’s the brown hairs I can start counting… backwards…

But most of all, I felt my age this weekend as we spent it up in wine country around Paso Robles. We made a great excuse for not being amongst friends and family, taking off and staying in Cambria, one of our favorite little towns. We had a wonderful time – no so wonderful that I didn’t want to get home and start working on a new book but, still, a wonderful time.

As we often do with long drives (we drove to Cambria and back), Vicky and I had selected an audiobook to listen to and this time it was A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. I love the movie but had never read the book. Always one to outdo me, Vicky had read the book and also loved the movie. Still, we both wanted to listen to it and it was a treat the whole weekend.

But then came Saturday evening. We had spent the whole day winery-hopping amongst some amazing hillsides and some of the prettiest country you could ever wish to be in and Vicky was returning us to Cambria – I was far too drunk, I mean, relaxed to drive. We made a stop at Jack Creek Farms for some cider. I have to link it because we just love this place. It’s nothing, really, but that’s what makes it so wonderful.

Then, Vicky kept driving. She hadn’t really been drinking because she was the designated driver this time out. Hey, it was my birthday! But all that wine turned my mind to a darker place, a place that made me feel a lot older than my graying head or limping leg ever could.

I thought, “So… 45, huh?” I thought about some of the people I’ve lost and wondered where they were and why they couldn’t celebrate with me. Particularly, I thought about one reader up north… my ex… and I pondered for the millionth time how that went wrong – because it’s a celebration, why not fuck that up by being morose, right?

And Vicky drove on.

We came to a country rode we knew would wind well out of our way and give us some great scenery before taking us back to Cambria. I suggested Vicky take it and she did. We left this four-lane road for what could only very generously be called… well, a road. It took us through hillsides and meadows and beneath the bows of some great, old trees. It also took us by a lot of farms, ranches, what have you – and there were cows.

Now, Vicky loves cows… seasoned just right… but, no, she loves living cows. She gets excited when we see them and I always threaten to take her to a petting zoo. So, we’re driving next to all these cows and Vicky is going, oh, two miles an hour, saying, “Hello, cow!” And, when one looks at her, she giggles with glee.

And that totally fucked up my morose mood… the bitch.

It didn’t stop me from reflecting on the past, people in the past, and where they are in the present… but I had to admit to Vicky that she takes a lot of shit from me in the form of baggage. I came loaded with more issues than – well, we were in an antique store this weekend that had literally boxes of old Playboys but let’s not stretch the analogy, okay? – and, so, I had to thank Vicky for that.

And for being my best friend.

And for letting me get all saucy while she was the designated driver.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another reason why I’m not a children’s book author…

I’m considering packaging all of these together as a book of post-post-post-nursery rhymes, with appropriately inappropriate artwork to go with it…


Three Magical Ice Cubes


Three magical ice cubes were rolling down the road one day


Two of the ice cubes were having lots of fun at play


The smartest of the ice cubes said, “Crap, we’re gonna melt!”


And then the sun killed them – killed them – seared their flesh with agonizing pain until ice cube blood and ice cube entrails (which looks very much like water to you and me) were splattered, evaporating on the ground…

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another thought about what makes Vicky so great…

So, Vicky and I were out driving last night. We’d just seen the Long Beach Symphony play. Fantastic show. Vicky was craving Pinks, so we were on the freeway for a while. And I was telling her what I decided to write next.

My next project is going to be a return to some very personal writing for me. From my first book, I’ve developed this style where I will take truths and characters and feelings and reflections on my own life and put them in a reality of my own choosing. This often makes for some really good story telling and I enjoy it.

The problem with this kind of writing, though, is where I often find my best stories. These are usually drawn from the part of my life that has caused me so much pain, and the provider has universally been the memory of my ex-wife. If there’s one thing I hate telling Vicky, it’s that I’m going to do that. I fear that she thinks I’m pining for something I had, when in reality it’s another opportunity for me to turn this horrible loss into… well, into cash.

I fear that Vicky will think this means I don’t love her.

But what I realized last night (I’ve been up all night working on rewrites to a new play, in case you’re wondering) is just how much Vicky really gets it. In fact, this realization has kind of blown me away. I mean, for the longest time, I didn’t get it! Just thinking about writing anything in any way related to my ex sent me running for the hills. It took me time to understand that the thing I do well is to take my pain and use it. It’s what I call “using your loss without reliving your loss”.

The last thing I want to do is hurt Vicky. And it means so much to me to know that I won’t.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Where I’m at right now…

This is something I don’t talk about as much as I used to and, honestly, don’t think about as much as I should. Being unemployed, I guess I assume I should have plenty of time to do that but as it turns out I’m working harder than I did at my last “real job”. (It didn’t help that nobody knew what they were doing there…)

So, where am I right now?

I just got another unemployment benefits extension. That comes with mixed feelings. At once, I’m relieved and disgusted. I’m happy to be able to provide a little money (while Vicky does most of the providing) but I wish it didn’t have to be this way.

I actually had a great interview yesterday – but I’ve had so many of those in the past couple of years, I know it could mean nothing.

More than that, though, there’s a part of me that thinks, “This gives me ____ number of weeks in which to keep working at selling my writing.” My life has really become about my writing. I don’t play video games or watch movies or TV. Most days, I spend the majority of my time working on my writing. And I’m not complaining about that; it’s really kind of a dream… but I hate getting unemployment checks to support it.

I ran into a friend at the store the other day (Paula) who, I guess, just assumed I’d collected a fat advance on my royalties. Sadly, that’s not how it works. I’ve got to get some books sold before I start seeing those royalties.

So, I keep working and working at selling other things. And, now that my PC is working, I’m ramping up towards starting another new project – dog only knows what.

Of course, none of this would even be possible if not for Vicky. Heck, she’s even going to start proofreading my new book, Sleepwalker, for me so I can start working on selling that, too! We’re an industry over here! But, more than that, I know she’s got my back and that she’s my biggest fan and that feels good. It helps me breathe a bit.

Where am I? I guess, in a way, I’m a place I’ve always wanted to be. I’ve got a book coming out next year. I’m doing work I love.

… I just need the money… always the tricky part.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

On the money and the wasting of the money…

I’m no stranger to wasting money. (There’s an understatement. Remind me to tell you about my old comic book collection someday.) But the wasting of the money that I’ve been wasting… no… hold on… but the money of the wasting that I’ve been money… no…

… I’ve been wasting a ton of money lately and it’s driving me crazy!

Here’s a good example: the PC I’m writing on right now. Because my PC got a virus, I had to buy a bunch of new software. Actually, that’s not true. You see, I tried to save a buck on Windows and Office and I ended up being without the proper disks to reinstall the software if I ever needed to. (You’ll find that the biggest wastes come from trying too hard to save a buck.) So, I was without Windows when my PC got a virus and, thus, screwed. And I didn’t have Office so I couldn’t reinstall that, either.

Thankfully, my dearest, darling, goodest friend in the world – JENN – helped me get Windows 7 and Office 2010. (You bet, I’m sucking up! I haven’t sent her the check, yet!) When it finally came in, I realized that the money I’m spending on that could have all been saved had I not tried so hard to save a buck in the first place… dammit…

But not every waste comes from trying to save, sometimes sheer stupidity steps in to help me out.

Case in point: my gym membership. I was out on the SART (Santa Ana River Trail) this evening for my evening jog (which I did because it was too damn cold and wet to cycle), and I realized that between the cycling on the trial and the jogging on the trail I haven’t seen the gym in nearly a year! Nearly a year!

And this is what a great scam gyms are. They have us convinced… okay, they have me convinced that I need to keep paying even if I don’t go because I’ll never get such a great deal on membership again! Think about it. I’m paying money every month… for something I never use… because I may never get such a good deal ever – IT’S JUST CRAZY!!

Mind you, I’ll have to talk to Vicky about this when she gets home. She’s the financial brain in the family… she’s also the one who keeps telling me not to cancel my gym membership…

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Computers and the not working of… them…


My computer is still broke.

That’s pretty much my whole life right now. I can look for work on Vicky’s Mac, which is very helpful, but when it comes to doing any research for writing or working on submitting my writing or just plain checking out my favorite sites… um, no.

It got worse yesterday, too. It didn’t need to but it did. Suddenly, I couldn’t print, either. GREAT!

Vicky’s been positively enjoying it. It’s either the “watching me squirm” part or the “rubbing in how superior her Mac is” part… I’m not sure.

This has opened up an enormous amount of time – because I haven’t heard anything on any jobs no matter how many I’ve applied for… dammit. I find myself watching a whole lot of TV… and hating it. I take naps… and hate it. I would go out and get some exercise but the temps have been in the thousands of late so that is right out.

So, when Vicky comes home tonight and asks how I ate the rest of the ice cream… well, now you know…

Friday, September 24, 2010

The journey…


Today is the fifth anniversary of the day Vicky and I got married.

Happy Anniversary, Vic.

Every year, I try to express how I’m feeling at the time about my marriage. Every year is different. This year, I think about the strain I’m putting on things by not being employed and all I can think is… shit…

And then, I think about the journey.

In five years, Vicky and I have been through a lot and I’m happy to say we’ve gone through it all together. We always have each other’s back and we’re always looking out for each other. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have Vicky with me on this journey.

And when I start thinking about the journey, I realize how my lack of employment is only a small part of it. After all, this year I saw my first play produced in Hollywood. I’m having an article published next month. My first book is being published next year. Vicky's been a huge part of this. Thanks to Vicky’s encouragement and support, I’m constantly producing more books and plays and things get a little better all the time.

No, they’re not great. Unemployment sucks. But it’s all part of the journey.

I feel very fortunate to have a wife who supports me at times like this, when things pretty much suck. And who’s to say that in the coming years things won’t get better as a result?

It’s only been five years. The next five could hold any number of things. They might be great and they might suck; it’s probably going to be a mix of both. That’s just life. Either way, I’m glad I’ll have Vicky there by my side.

Happy Anniversary, Vic. I love you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Digging out…


PCs never just stop working. It seems they tend to die slow deaths that have you wondering, wondering, wondering, until… it’s kind of like cancer…

My PC, for instance, had a pretty bad worm about a month ago. Though I caught it, it never seemed to work the same after that. The web browser would take flights of fancy by itself. It would direct you to pages you never intended to go to – not interesting ones, either! Eventually, it got to be rather difficult to surf the web without the browser crashing. First, it was Internet Explorer. Then, it was Firefox. Then, it took out Windows Explorer with it!

Finally, just this week, I called in a friend of mine who knows a thing or two about PC more than I do and we put our heads together. Fortunately, there’s no virus, worm, Trojan condom, or anything like that. So, that’s good. Sadly, the worm I had did so much damage that it pretty much wiped out my ability to surf the web.

“It’s simple,” he said. “Just run the XP Repair on your Windows disk and that should fix it.”

But things ain’t simple around here. You see, Vicky and I both bought our PCs from (the now very defunct) PC Club. When we bought them, I asked if we would get our Windows software and we were assured we would. When Vicky’s PC went earlier this year, we found out that what they gave us was disk one of a multi-disk Windows install. That’s right. Disk One!

So, using my Windows disk is not even an option.

It’s not as if we can run out and buy a copy of Windows 7, being unemployed and all. But I need the Internet to do most of the work I do, including looking for work. Time to get creative.

We know someone who can get us a huge discount on Windows 7… but not until next week. That’s fine. We can wait. In the meantime, I’ve split my work between my PC and Vicky’s MAC. I just walk back and forth, from one computer to another, from one room to another… For instance, I wrote this on my PC and am posting it on Vicky's MAC! (I need my ergo keyboard for writing...) Oh, it’s a weird way to live.

But, hopefully, in about a week or so, things will be back to functioning and not quite so strange. Strangeness is just a part of life when you’re digging out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Morality is Unethical…

(This is by no means my final word on this topic but I was inspired to get a little of it off my chest today...)

In a time when political candidates, usually on the wingnut right, continually advocate “legislating morality” it seems bizarre to me that any ethical person would abide such lunacy.

Morality is a school of behavior, a behavioral structure, taught by a religious belief. You won’t hear morality discussed outside of a religious framework. There’s Christian Morality, Muslim Morality, and on and on. This, it is not universal and sets anyone who believes differently as “immoral”. It teaches to a specific group, not for the common good.

So, why would you want anyone legislating something that isn’t in the common good?

One example is abortion. Religious groups teach it’s immoral without ever considering the individuals involved. An ethical view would consider everyone. This goes on to prayer in school and holy wars and restricting the rights of those who belief differently, all supposedly moral.

Tea partiers right now talk about “cap and trade” (that being legislation to help prevent global warming) as being immoral. Somehow, they have cooped their religious beliefs to benefit their corporate interests. So, morality becomes corrupted. Why? Because you don’t need reason to be moral any more than you need reason to be religious. Any batshit crazy person can advocate anything because they have morality on their side.

Don’t fall for it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Scanners…

If you think I’m going to write about that 1981 Cronenberg spectacular about telepathic/telekenetic/tele-something freaks… I am.

Vicky and I watched about half of Scanners last night. I say half because I had started watching it about 15 minutes in and Vicky was nice enough to watch the rest with me. I hadn’t seen it since renting it on video (tape!) back in the mid-80’s.

And I loved it! It was absolutely horrible – but it was a wonderful kind of absolutely horrible. Just how bad it was can be summed up in what Vicky elegantly dubbed “eye acting”. Because the film has it in spades! Eye acting! They couldn’t come up with special effects to show how mental powers worked so they had to rely on the actors to… you know… eye act.

… You need to go watch it now to understand what I’m talking about.

It’s really an awful film and I think it would be tons of fun with a room full of people… or stoned… or both…

You’re welcome.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Better left unsaid…

This one goes out to the men reading this blog because I want to know if I’m the only person who has seen this guy.

What guy?

The “inappropriate in a public bathroom” guy, that’s who!

Vicky and I were at Costco yesterday and, thanks to normal bodily functions (hey, when you’re in your forties you learn to be thankful, okay?) I had to make a detour into the public bathroom. There was a line in the men’s room – there’s something you never want to have to wait through, a line in the men’s room. Men’s rooms are built to stink, it seems, and when there’s a line the stink just gets worse.

That could be the most disgusting thing about my story… but it’s not. Because “inappropriate in a public bathroom” guy was there! Now, I’ve seen this guy a few times in my life and, believe me, once is enough. First, picture this: four men standing against a wall waiting in line while against the opposite wall stands the row of urinals. “Inappropriate in a public bathroom” guy steps up to the urinal. You really don’t know who he is until he steps up; up until that point, he’s just another guy like you or me… if you’re a guy, I mean.

But then, he begins. It starts with the moaning. Now, I’ve had to pee so bad that I’ve felt like moaning before, sure, but NEVER in a public bathroom – ever. You just don’t. You especially don’t when there’s a line. Okay? But he did. And his moan wasn’t your garden variety, two-seconds of “I’m glad that’s out”… no, it kept on going… and going… louder and louder.

Your first instinct is to look away – but then you notice both of his hands are in his pants and they are moving faster and faster…

Fortunately, I got a stall before he was… um… finished…

There’s a lot that’s pretty fucked up about our world… this just makes me want to burn out my eyes…

Friday, September 10, 2010

Roadwork…

When I was young, I could run. Boy, could I run! I was just about the fastest kid I knew. In high school, I was on the track team and won quite a few races without even focusing on what I was doing. (Hey, I didn’t focus on much when I was young, believe me!) (Girls don't count.)

Of course, then I started smoking and drinking and getting fat. After far too many years of that, I made it a point to cut it the fuck out!

So, now I jog. I’m not fast. I’m not even close to fast. My stride is really impaired. But I do what I can.

This is what I do: I bargain with myself. I say, “If you run from here to the next power pole, you can walk to the one after that.” You see, I jog on the Santa Ana River – where I also cycle; it’s like my gym. The trail is bordered on one side by a long line of power lines, running up and down the trail.

And this is how I started. I’d jog one length and I’d walk one. Jog one. Walk one. Jog one. Walk one. That worked great. Then, I jogged two and walked one. Two – one – two – one. Then, three. Three – one – three – one… over and over.

This week, I started jogging five and walking one. It’s nice, knowing I can jog a pretty good distance – at least a quarter of a mile – without a break. I doubt I’ll ever run marathons but it’s good for me. And that’s all that matters.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

My breakfast with Sean-dray…

The life of a playwright is tough…

Sorry, I couldn’t help quote the movie I alluded to in the subject line. Sue me.

Sean and I met for breakfast this morning. It’s our normal Keno’s slop. You know, cheap greasy food. But you don’t go there for the food so much as for the company. Sean’s probably my best friend these days and I’m lucky to have him.

We talked about the sale of the book – Wormfood Island coming from Northern Frights Publishing in Summer of 2011 – as well as how other things are progressing. You know, I really am in a situation where I have to knock one out of the park to get my life in order. I mean, the odds of me finding a job just keep slipping and slipping and slipping. Yet, as I continue to network and get things published – read Little Victories in the October edition of Recovering the Self, on sale soon – the odds of me getting published again go up… if only slightly.

Okay, no more plugs. I promise. (I have nothing else to plug, so you’re safe.)

So, I’m telling him all of this and I get overwhelmed by this sense of gratitude for all the people who have helped me get this far. When I say “this far”, this is not to imply I’ve gone all that far at all. Rather, I mean that whatever small success I’ve been able to achieve I owe to so many different people. (Of course, those who think it’s them… it probably isn’t.)

It might sound crazy to say I’m lucky but I really am. Maybe I’m not as lucky as I’d like. Maybe I’m not as lucky in the things I’d like to be lucky in – like getting a job, for instance. But in this dream I have for the life I want to live, in this journey called “Being a Writer”, I’ve been pretty lucky so far. And for people like Vicky and Sean and Eric and so many others, I am grateful.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Upstairs/Downstairs…

We each have our job in life… well, except for me. I’m unemployed. Anyway…

Lots of work news these days. Here’s just a bit.

Vicky began painting the downstairs of our condo this weekend, which is basically the living room and dining rooms. I should have seen it coming. Vicky hasn’t tackled a home-improvement project in some time – and Vicky LOVES home-improvement projects. So, when she asked me to go to Home Depot with her “just to look at paint”, I knew there was much more to it. Armed with this knowledge, I decided not to fight it. Vicky said she wanted to go with something neutral for downstairs. Neutral? The woman whose apartment had a purple room? The hell you say! I told her to go bold!

So, here’s what we’re going to do – in as far as you can get this without a picture to go by. Vicky’s painting the two main walls downstairs “Serene Peach”, which is fairly neutral but pretty. The stairwell going upstairs, she’ll paint “Green Tea”. The last wall, the bit closing off the rest from the kitchen and the first thing you see when you enter the house, she’ll paint “Harvest Plum”. It’s going to look pretty awesome. In typical Vicky fashion, she got all excited and ready to go… and now complains about every little imperfection. (Cause she’s a perfectionist that would give perfectionists the willies…)

Now, I know what you’re asking. You’re wondering why I’m not pitching in. I would, honestly, but I learned long ago not to butt into Vicky’s projects. Vicky’s such a perfectionist that if you don’t do everything exactly as she’d do it, it’s not good enough. Hell, when she doesn’t do it exactly as she’d do it, she complains! No, I’m better off leaving Vicky’s project to Vicky.

Meanwhile, I’m upstairs working on the new book, which I’d tell you all about but I should save that for the writing blog (Ken La Salle, folks!). I just banged out 1,500 words and am closing in on the end of this new book. I can’t wait!

Meanwhile (part 2), I have a job interview lined up for tomorrow. It’s only a contract job, and part time at that, but I’ll take it if it means I can bring some money in, believe me! Not to mention, as I always say, good interviewing requires practice so the more interviews you go on the better off you’re going to be. Let’s hope I’m not completely full of shit.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Breaking News...

Hey folks,

Yes, it's time to direct you over to the new blog: Ken La Salle. There, you will find the official press release for my summer 2011 novel, Wormfood Island!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Ken La Salle… Novelist…

Yes, you heard that right. Would you like to learn more?

Go, check out my new blog – Ken La Salle – and find out about my first published novel!

It’s party-time, people!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Can you really ever go home?

Someone once said that you can never go home or at least someone said something like that. So, who am I to listen to that someone. This past Saturday Ken and I made the drive to my hometown, Lancaster. We had two reasons for that visit. First, visit my parents. Mom gave me some shoes, made us lunch...all in all a good visit. Second, the reason why I picked last weekend was to go to the Antelope Valley Fair and Alfalfa Festival. Yes folks, that's right, I grew up in a town that celebrates Alfalfa each and every year. You have to understand, I grew up going to this Fair so when I moved to the city (aka Orange County) and went to the Orange County Fair, well let's just say that I was thoroughly disappointed. There is nothing fair-like at the Orange County Fair, it's just a little to city for me.

So we were off to the AV Fair. It moved to a new location about 7 years ago, so it would be a new experience for both of us. As we walked in the gates, I looked around and took it in. The new location lacked the character of the old place, but I was determined to remain open to the experience. First stop, a Henna place where I got a really cool, if fake, dragon "tattoo." Then we were off to the barns. Being that is was the second to last day, most of the animals were gone, either sold or taken home. I did get to see some chickens, turkeys, goats, llamas, sheep, cows, and pigs.




Ken didn't enjoy the smell much, but to me it brought back some great memories of being a kid and walking through the animal pens with my dad.

Next, we were off to the beer booth. I didn't enjoy the beer booth much when I was still living in Lancaster, since I wasn't 21 for most of that time, but we took the opportunity on this day. We sat with my dad and a couple of his friends, drank our beers and watched the people walk by. Always a good time.

Now it was time for the Rural Olympics. We didn't stay for all of it, but the best event that we saw was the haystealing contest. Unfortunately, I was too much in awe of the event to remember to record it.


I must admit, while walking around the Fair that afternoon and evening I scanned the faces in the crowd to see if I recognized anyone. I did not recognize a single person. It has been about 20 years since I lived there, so it really shouldn't be any surprise but I kept hoping I would recognize someone. I gave up my hunt, got a bag of carmel kettle corn and we left the Fair behind. I am now filled with my quota of cowboy hats and small town fun for awhile and am safely back in Orange County.

You can go home, it may not be the same as you remember . . . but then neither are you.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Charley Chase…

This is just one of those things my brain goes goofy about.

Charley Chase is a star from the age of silent films. He even made quite a few talkies with Hal Roach’s studio. I recently caught a series of his films on TCM and especially appreciated his proto-Alan-Alda-esque style.

So, I decided to Google him.

Which is when I discovered that Charley Chase is also a porn star. A hot female porn star. A really hot female porn star. An especially hot female – well, you get the idea. Hers was the first link to pop up (no pun intended) when I Googled “Charley Chase”.

And this got me to thinking… Does Charley Chase the porn star know who Charley Chase the silent film star is? Is there any connection there? I mean, doesn’t she owe him something seeing as how she’s benefitting from his good name?

I’m just saying…

Monday, August 30, 2010

Getting the word out…

Hey folks!

So, it’s been about a month and you wouldn’t believe everything I’ve been through. To start with…

Hold on. I can’t tell you everything in one post. That would be cheating. How about this? How about I give it to you in a series of posts? I’m going to tell you all about the book and the article and the book and the cycling and the crap… mostly the crap… both here and in the new blog…

Huh? New Blog, you ask?

Yes, there’s a new blog. (See? Over in the links?) It’s called Ken La Salle – I know, very original. Basically, I have decided it’s time to set up a blog that deals with just my writing. So, if you’re interested in how things are going with my novels or plays or just what it’s like to pursue the life of a writer that’s the place to go.

In the meantime, you can also stay here to hear about lots of other stuff… and Vicky may post something, too… no, really… I’m not kidding… wait… come back…

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The big 15…

The other day, Vicky made a comment about my constant cycling. “It’s just the way you are. If you do something you like, you want to do it a whole lot. Smoking. Drinking. Now, cycling.” She makes a good point. I have that addict mindset that wouldn’t understand moderation if you broke it down into five two-letter words…

That said, if you have to be addicted to something, it’s good to find something healthy. Mind you, I am using the word “addicted” and not “proficient”. There are still so many cyclists out there who just blow me away on a daily basis. I’m not talking about Lance Armstrong; I’m just talking about the guys on the Santa Ana River Trail. Even in my little corner of the world, I have a long way to go.

After riding my first century a few weeks back, I went out for my second. And it really was amazing. This time, I took fewer snack breaks and actually found myself hurting a lot less. I combined the century with a metric in the same week!

That century was on Friday. Yesterday, I was back on the road for a 75 mile ride. I wasn’t going to do another century but I wanted to get some distance in there, still. And this really has me surprised. In the years since I’ve taken up this sport, I’ve never been this aggressive. The first year, I got in some 40 milers but stuck with 10-15 mile rides normally. Two years ago, I brought my maximum ride up a metric, which is 100 kilometers (or 62 miles). I did it completely by accident, just overextending the hell out of myself. Again, my normal ride was closer to 25 miles. Last year, unemployed, I decided to really push it and set a goal for myself of two metrics. I did it, if barely, and increased my daily ride into the 30-40 mile range.

This year, I set a goal of three metrics. I also decided that to improve my distance I would ride longer distances on a daily basis. So, I set out riding 30 miles from the very beginning, when the “season” began in March. (The “season” is determined when it’s not too cold or wet for my whimpy ass.) I was able to put two metrics behind me before the beginning of July and, when the Tour de France began, I set out on my very first century.

It feels great to set goals and not only meet them but blow them out of the water. I have lost track of how many metrics I’ve done this year. As a result, I’m changing my cycling focus from single rides to weekly totals. For example, rather than planning on a single century, I set a weekly goal. This week, my goal is 200 miles. I’ve already put 75 miles in the bank.

The best thing about this 75 mile ride, though, was that it helped me decide on a different goal: speed. The distance of my rides doesn’t mean much if I’m just cruising along at 10-12 miles/hour. Recently, I’ve been testing my speed and have found that I can get pretty close to an average speed of 15 miles/hour. I’ve hit 14.8 and 14.9, but I never hit 15. As I was riding yesterday, I decided that rather than focusing on the distance I was riding, I would focus on keeping an average speed of 15 mph.

And I did it. I’ll tell you that the difference between 14.8 and 15 mph is a whole lot greater than you might think. It really killed me to maintain that speed.

And now, I’m craving another ride. I took today off to get some work done but have three back-to-back rides planned after that. Each ride will be about 45 miles in length and I’ll be going into some hills for a change. The key is to keep testing my limits and setting new goals, to keep this new addiction going…