Bloomsday

Today, we pause to celebrate the writings of James Joyce as on this day in 1904 was when his novel Ulysses took place. I started out my Bloomsday watching a live reading at Shakespeare and Company and now have a live reading from Dublin on in the background as I write this.

Is there any other day quite like this one? It’s nice when it comes around to pause each June 16th and take time to consider a book. I think any excuse to consider a book is a good excuse just like any excuse to buy a cake is a good excuse. We could combine these and have readings and a cake today, I guess.

In local news, it is getting a bit warmer outside and I am writing this inside although I do hope to step out to the deck with lunch and a book in a few minutes if a little shade is still available.

More meaningful and less meaningless

It’s the first day it’s been nice enough to be outside on the deck doing anything in almost two weeks. After a week of rain, we got multiple days of heat and humidity but finally today we have relief with clear skies and a cool north breeze. It reminds me more of September than June out here at the moment.

I’m coming to you once again from the Chromebook with one of the YouTube channels that somehow get away with streaming music as my soundtrack. I am not sure how they pull this off since I can’t play commercial music on a podcast but I’m glad they can. The music is perfect. I would rather listen to music like this while writing or working than anything else because I get caught up in the memories associated with hearing songs I grew up with and distracted by listening to the lyrics of newer songs.

I’ve done my best to continue to distance myself from social media lately but I’m not doing a great job of it. I still get lazy and when I get lazy I turn to Tik Tok or Instagram and these sites are perfect for soaking up time that I could be wasting in other ways. I waste a great deal of time on Tik Tok which has probably the best algorithm in the business. It really keeps you watching video after video tailored for your specific tastes which for me is funny videos with a mix of dog videos sprinkled in for good measure.

I also have a bad habit of going out to eBay and Facebook Marketplace. Instead of browsing real thrift stores, I get lost in the endless aisles of virtual ones where everything you don’t really need is available at the click of a mouse or tap on a screen.

I do find time to read books and I started a new one yesterday (“My Father, the Pornographer” by Chris Offutt) and another one of my holds (“Whereabouts” by Jhumpa Lahiri) came in today. I track what I read on Goodreads but I see no point of actively sharing that information anywhere else.

As summer is about to begin, I know I need to spend more time reading and being outside walking and doing other nature related activities and spend less time on my iPad which I would love to just erase and put up but I know I don’t have the courage to go off the apps cold turkey!

Yikes, how I just made the internet sound like cigarettes and alcohol but how true it is.

I guess it all comes down to more meaningful and less meaningless. I think I will make that the title of this post.

Hot Saturday check-in

My goodness, it is hot.

Maybe I should go north in the summers and south in the winters to escape Tennessee’s grab bag of weather.

In the last few days, I’ve spent most of my free time working on chores like dusting the ceiling and moving appliances and mopping under them. Since it has rained here every day this week until today, I haven’t been able to do any outside work and the humidity is insane so I don’t want to be outside anyway.

So I’m sitting in my recliner with a fan pointed at me typing this out on the Chromebook. We have supper plans so we have to get back out in the crazy heat but that means I can go by Sonic on the way back home and get a huge slush.

In other news, I watched these movies this week:

  • This is My Life (as discussed in the last post)
  • The Big Picture – a crazy film from 1989 directed by Christopher Guest and co-written by Michael McKean who has a minor role and is just fantastic. I am a big Michael McKean fan. He’s super talented. The film stars Kevin Bacon but it was Jennifer Jason Leigh that surprised me the most. I had no idea her character was played by her until I looked it up after the movie.
  • The Goodbye Girl – this is a classic from 1977 which earned Richard Dreyfuss the Academy Award for Best Actor and yes, he is that good as is Marsha Mason and Quinn Cummings. I had forgotten that Paul Benedict is in this one and he is amazing. Add in the main song by David Gates from Bread and this is a movie I still love although I wish Neil Simon had written the female characters to be a bit stronger but I guess that is a symptom of the times. I just discovered there is a 2004 remake of this movie featuring Patricia Heaton and Jeff Daniels so maybe Neil made changes for that. Who knows.
  • Diner – I started the first few minutes of it, got distracted and will get back to it at some point.
  • Million Dollar Mermaid – I am halfway through with this one starring Esther Williams. It is so overacted and feels so fake I want to cringe but I will probably fast forward to the excellent choreographed routines that come later in the movie.

A prisoner of my nostalgia

A note to the reader: this post was copied word for word from the file on the Chromebook I use for my daily writing and meant for an audience of one, me, and possibly my schnoodle if he can read.

I closed the Chromebook just now instead of writing a post for the blog – I can call it a blog here in private – because the post was going to have no meaning. So, I watched Nora Ephron’s This Is My Life last night and it wasn’t that great and that was going to be the whole post.

Movie poster for This Is My Life (1992)

So what? They all can’t be winners. And she was adapting a book. Not much you can do there to rebuild what is already built. There were a few funny lines but most of the movie was just not believable. Who becomes a big star that fast? Why can’t I get the idea that I am watching Rhoda’s sister out of my head? Why are they so unnaturally tan in that movie poster? What does it all mean?

But no wonder I missed that movie in 1992. Mad props to past me for skipping it. Mad props to current me for only renting it and not spending the extra $7 to “buy” it although buying streaming rights leaves you with squat in real life.

We don’t need material things like that anyway. I got rid of almost all of my DVD’s. I was thinking all of them and I just realized I saved a few in a small organizer. I am not sure which ones I saved. I will have to go look.

I have only one CD left – the soundtrack to “When Harry Met Sally…” that I bought when the movie came out. I never take it out and play it. I could since I still have a DVD player and a CD drive in my laptop but I don’t. It is packed away, a prisoner of my nostalgia.

All of my cassettes are gone also. I never listened to that stuff and I would rather listen to random jazz most of the time versus songs on cassette tied to old memories. 

Wow, the words really flow when I am in a Google doc and not on the WordPress site. 

I should just copy this exactly as-is and paste it right over there. What difference does it really make? Shouldn’t I be just as comfortable writing here as I am there? So, why did I have WordPress open and then close the Chromebook before I came back and started writing this?

Because when I think of WordPress, it’s a POST – it’s out there – it’s something that can occupy your valuable time. I feel a responsibility with your valuable time because I don’t like to waste mine.

When I write privately, I am only using my time. 

I’m really starting to feel a Mr. Hand vibe now.

I missed a day…

…but that is fine. I won’t let it throw me off. Writing here is not about quantity. I guess it’s not about quality either! It’s just about writing and some days, there is nothing to share or it’s too busy to come here or the creek of creativity is running low and my emotional needle is pointed more toward the E or all of the above.

So I decide to sleep on it knowing that the next day will probably be better and look at this – here I am.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

It is better! How did I know! I fixed a big pot of coffee this morning and started working early and keep getting things done.

Even though there was no post here yesterday, I still wrote in my daily 5 year journal and I wrote in my private Google docs file so words did hit the pages, real and virtual. They just didn’t hit this one.

They WILL Write!

About this post: I still have many posts from 2007 to 2020 archived off (some were lost in a backup drive incident) and this one is one I think about quite a bit. I wrote this on July 25, 2018. My father recovered from his surgery that I mention in this post and is doing well to this day.

I spent most of my Monday at the hospital (and yesterday and today, of course, and this will go on for a few more days) waiting while my father was in surgery. To pass the time, I listened to Tom Snyder interviewing Harlan Ellison over the years on old Tomorrow Show clips posted on YouTube.

I watched one a few weeks ago after Harlan Ellison died and I was just blown away. There is so much good stuff that he says, great stuff in fact, that I think people need to hear.

Of course, only a very few people listen to my podcast but I decided for the benefit of those folks that it was important enough to go interview by interview and write out the starting and ending times of certain clips so I could go back at my earliest convenience and edit them into one nice, consumable audio file.

That episode is right here (reposted on 6/6/2021):

https://anchor.fm/upinthisbrainthepodcast/embed/episodes/They-WILL-Write-e1299uk

It’s probably in the top 5 of the most important episodes of the podcast I’ve done in 388 episodes. Maybe it’s even in the top 2.

I keep returning to this quote. It opens the podcast. I’ve been feeling guilty about not writing ever since I heard it.

“It’s a very simple philosophy. Anybody who can be deterred from writing should have been. People who want to write really want to write and they WILL write.” – Harlan Ellison

I have not been writing. It’s not that I don’t love writing. Maybe it’s that I am distracted by life lately and maybe I shouldn’t be letting life distract me. Maybe it’s laziness. Maybe it’s lack of focus. Maybe it’s all of the above.

Whatever it is, the wheels are turning in my head and my fingers are moving across the keyboard again. I’m writing and it feels good.

Now, if I could just harness one percent of Harlan Ellison’s confidence and conviction:

“Are you loyal to the United States of America or are you loyal to your writing? Forget it, jack. The country could sink into the ocean for all I care. I only care about the integrity of the work. That’s really all I give a damn about and I’ll kill to keep those words that way. I spent twenty years of my life doing what I do and I think I do it very well indeed and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let people mess with it. That’s my religion. That is precisely where I am.” – Harlan Ellison

Coffee cups of the dead

That sounds like a downer of a title to the post today but hang in there. I think it works.

I was sitting here in the kitchen just now thinking about the history of the coffee cup I am using today. It was given to me many years ago by a friend’s dad that passed a few years back and I think of him each time I pull it out of the cabinet.

The handle is getting a bit loose but I’m not worried that one day it will come off and hot coffee will go all over me and everything around me. Hopefully that won’t happen.

Oddly enough, I can remember being gifted with this cup, I am guessing around thirty years ago, but I realize that a lot of what has happened between then and now is lost. A lot of days blend together with milestones here and there but the vast majority of the details of all of these years got overwritten in my brain.

Is that normal or did I just not pay close enough attention?

The coffee cup and other knick knacks around the house remain as connections to people and places of the past and I guess that’s good enough for me.

I wrote the post before the title and then hit Publish before creating a title

Where I write and when I write are things to fuss about to keep me from actually writing. I’m trying to put the brakes on that. One change – I am no longer writing these from the Chromebook but switching back to the laptop I used to call “The Writing Laptop” (my trusty old Dell 13.3 inch laptop) before I decided that NaNoWriMo frustrated me more than it motivated me so I quit doing it.

I am not a fiction writer and at my age, I don’t think I have any new tricks up my sleeve to resolve that unless I join a writing group or something.

I’ve thought about that but since I just ended a four year volunteering stint, I am trying not to jump right back into something else. I’m wanting to see where the natural ebb and flow of life takes me versus me running down the beach scaring all the seagulls.

I’m sitting back in one of those expensive rental chairs under an umbrella, eyes closed, listening to the waves, waiting….

Proof of my age – here are one of the pictures I found in my mother’s boxes of pictures that I assume were taken for insurance purposes. This one shows my TI-99/4A on my desk. The desk holds my father’s desktop computer at his apartment now. The TI-99/4A and that old television are long gone.

I didn’t have a printer so I did no writing on the Texas Instruments. That wouldn’t happen until I got an IBM PC compatible in 1988 and I finally ended up with a dot-matrix printer that died a couple of years later and I did some writing on the PC and it was horrible and those files are still backed up around here somewhere.

I moved the files from the original floppies to a backup flash drive when I had an IBM laptop years ago that had a floppy drive, a CD-ROM drive and a USB port! It was running Windows 98 and it was high tech!!

And unfortunately, aside from hundreds of online posts over the years, I have not written much for myself or much that aspires to be any more than this, a few minutes of writing that will be forgotten not long after I click the Publish button. That’s my fault, of course. I’ve made many excuses on why not to write and busied myself with the idea of finding the “perfect” writing tool so I wouldn’t have to write.

This new site is for me to try to go in a different direction but it’s turned into a week of distraction, self-created busyness and hesitation until last night when I walked in with the Chromebook and thought, how dumb. Why am I forcing myself to use this little machine? And why did I have to wait until just the “right time” of the evening to sit outside on the deck and write something?

I think I would do just about anything to not write. Weird, huh?

A Short Memo from the Chromebook

I tried to take a picture on the Chromebook to share in tonight’s post and the first picture does not look great and then the camera app crashed and I could not take photo #2. Hmmm.

Then I realized that photo #1 didn’t even save. So I tried again.

That’s looking up from the Chromebook over my head as I duck for the picture.

There are too many bugs out here so I am not sure if I am going to stay outside much longer. I hoped to be out here long enough so the new lights I put on on the deck would come on but I am not sure I am going to make it for that.

I’m also down to 25% battery after leaving this thing off the charger in sleep mode since Saturday so that’s pretty good, I guess. My Windows laptops can’t do that.

In good news, it is Thursday meaning tomorrow is Friday and I am glad because a 4 day work week feels like an 8 day work week. I’ve been messed up all week and I’m ready to get back on my normal schedule of counting the hours until Saturday on Friday, trying not to think about work on Saturday, getting the stomach pit of dread about Monday on Sunday and then getting back to work on Monday.

Clearing the dust and flipping on the open sign

This is the Seedlet theme. It’s the fifth or sixth theme I’ve tried here since I started this thing. I wanted a theme that is fairly simple but also shows the dumb tags I set with each post.

I’m still trying to keep out of the B word mindset (B*og is as much of a hint as I can give you) because the B word seems so antiquated. It was cool twenty years ago. It’s not so cool now.

Since I have the template chosen and have tried to figure out the reasons for needing to go back to writing on the internet, I think I can move forward focusing on writing about whatever it is I want to write about here. I haven’t completely figured that out yet so days may pass by without a peep and then an avalanche of posts might pop up in one day. I really don’t know what the future holds for this.

I just know that I wanted to give this another try and I wanted to use WordPress to do it. Aside from that, we’ll all have to wait and see what comes out of this.