Which got me thinking about readjusting my life schedule. Not so much getting rid of the writing schedule I have in place -- that's working just fine -- but just being a little smarter about it. You know how I am...I like switching things up every now and again, keeping it fresh. Try a few things, put a few older things aside. Maybe return to a few things I'd put aside in the past. That sort of thing.
It also got me thinking about if this is age related. I'm 46 as of this writing, and while I still feel young and nimble enough, I know and have accepted that I'm getting older. Both my knees are shot so I doubt I'll be doing any sprints any time soon. I probably shouldn't give into temptation and snarf down endless packages of Zingers and bottles of Mountain Dew. I really should follow up at the doctor about my somewhat high blood pressure (which has always been higher than average to begin with). As fun as all that was, I probably have to move on from them. Mind you, I'm still nimble. I can still bounce around if need be. Just that maybe I should finally think of my health a little more seriously than I have.
That said...maybe in the next few weeks I'll start shifting my daily habits around. Not just for the health reasons, but just to keep things interesting.
No, seriously, the Fuckwit has angered one side and emboldened the other that I've found myself getting exhausted by the reactive moods of Twitter and Facebook over the last few months. I won't complain that the platforms are going down the crapper, though. Both of them are what they are, with both good and bad points to them. They have good days and bad days.
I'm finding myself editing my online words a lot more than I used to. Mind you, it has nothing to do with censorship at all. It's more about a personal debate as to whether it's worth getting in to a conversation. It's funny; sometimes I'll be typing a response on Twitter, but if it takes me more than a minute to type it out because I'm trying to word it right, then I'll just delete it. No online argument is worth that much of my time. Same with Facebook -- I'll join in on an argument now and again, but most of the time it's on someone else's timeline, and I hate hijacking someone else's feed, so I'll hold back unless necessary. [On a side note, this works to my advantage, as the immediacy then causes me to lose a few filters. Beware when I have no fucks to give for someone's bullshit.]
In a way I've been trying to rebalance the writing platforms I use. I'm happy to be back on a social blog platform like this one, because I can take my own time to get the words right. There's no forced immediacy. More personal writings stay offline. Playground words are in the 750 Words. And this gives me enough energy to work through the new writing projects.
Maybe the thrill and the amusement of instant social media has worn off for me a bit? Could be, because I rarely go online to say 'hey, let's see what so-and-so is up to' as much as I used to. A lot of friends I follow aren't superconnected as they used to be -- they've got more important things to do. And I'm trying not to turn into an obsessive 'let's go watch a car crash' internetter. Because *I* have more important things to do as well.
I'm trying to be more creative, more positive about these things. It's hard sometimes, but it can be done.
Balance is always a good thing.
Part of this optimism was because I'd really gotten sick of being that moody bastard that felt sorry for himself. My long-distance relationship was kind of rocky at the time, very on-again off-again, and I'd gotten so exhausted by being the living embodiment of a Cure song that I needed to rectify that. I was bored by the unrelenting pathos of my writing, and I was REALLY bored by my own irascibility, and I need a change, STAT.
A lot of that new energy was channeled into new writing projects. The Infamous War Novel was set by the wayside for the time being so I could focus more on songwriting, practicing on my bass (and a dorm neighbor's acoustic guitar), smaller creative endeavors (mainly my Murph drawings and a hell of a lot of maps drawn in the margins of my notebooks), and my creative homework. I was finally taking a few film production and writing classes, and though I would soon realize I was a better wielder of words than cameras, it was a blast to finally be experimenting with the visual medium.
Oh, and starting the summer of 1991, I'd stay in Boston instead of heading back home. I'd be broke as fuck most of the time, but I still had my music and my writing! And a really enjoyable day job at the school library that would keep me busy and entertained until I graduated.
This is the mood I'll be trying to mine while writing Meet the Lidwells. I hope I can pull it off! :)
Lately I've been reading Peter Hook's Substance -- his book about being a part of New Order -- and it's quite an interesting read. Let's just say that I can summarize it into one sentence: Who the hell thought this was a good idea? Between Hooky being "off his face" for most of the 80s (his phrase), the amount of illicit substances partaken by most of the people involved, and the fiances of both the band, the Hacienda night club they owned, and Factory Records (the label they were on), it's amazing how anything and anyone lasted as long as they did. It's a hilariously told story, but it's also a story of what NOT to do businesswise, EVER. Heh.
OH! I finally officially started Meet the Lidwells the other night! WOOT! Yeah, I basically just did what I always do: tell myself to STFU, stop finding ways to distract myself, and just WRITE THE DAMN THING. Getting just a few hundred words the last few days, but hey, that's better than nothing. As long as it's going in the right direction, I'm happy with that.
Writing tunage lately has centered around the 1990-1991 era, aka my first couple of years in college and living in Boston. A mix of latter post-punk, early Britpop, early grunge, and a bit of holdover 80s-style pop. There's a lot fun music that came out around that time that gets pushed aside because of the bigger scenes that came before and after -- Jesus Jones and EMF, Dream Warriors and Naughty By Nature, 808 State and The Orb...not to mention Chris and I reviving the Flying Bohemians as a duo and writing some of our strongest songs at the time. It's probably when I was the happiest during my college years as well. That's the feel I want for The Lidwells' discography: full of positive energy, danceable and fun.
Hope everyone's having a good weekend! :)
There's this shtick that Hulk Hogan used to do that always cracked me up, and it was what I call the One Hit Too Far. Whoever was in the ring with him would be beating the snot out of him, hitting him with chairs, forearms, face slaps, and so on, but that One Hit -- he'd just stop cold, eyes wide, glaring at his opponent like something in his head had just cracked. That would be the 'oh shit' moment where the bout would flip and he'd fight back, unrelenting and unforgiving, until the other guy was out cold for the count. We loved watching Hogan's bouts, waiting for that moment. It was always pure entertainment.
Interestingly enough, this is the point I'm at with conservatives right now, in the political arena.
Sure, it's a silly comparison.
But I'm at that moment when the conservatives have been saying shit about my friends and family and my neighbors, treating them as less than American. Less than human. [Oh, and calling us names like Libtards, Antifa, Cucks, and so on.] And hitting them relentlessly with one hurtful Executive Order and one obviously slanted cabinet fill after another. And then hiding behind the flag and free speech and the Constitution whenever we call them on it.
I seem to be at that One Hit Too Far point, where I'm fucking sick of it and want to hit back. [Which of course leads them to calling us more names like Thugs and Fascists and Anti-American.]
It's a brutal, abusive relationship, and I'm really fucking tired of it. I'm tired of being the abused one in this relationship. I'm tired of turning the other cheek, taking the high ground, and shrugging because Free Speech Reasons.
When is it free speech to call someone a b*tch or a n***er or a f*g without reprisal? Is it the name-calling that is protected? Or is the line when those "in charge" (a term I use loosely, considering the current administration) start rewriting the rules and attempting to change reality to fit their own? Is the line when I can no longer tick off all the requisite boxes that makes me American in your eyes?
Where is that line to you?
And what do you expect when you've crossed it so many times that we're starting to fight back?
In other news, still adjusting to the new glasses. They definitely help for clarity's sake, but I'm still getting used to the slight prism correction with the new prescription. After a few hours I barely notice the difference, which is good.
In other other news, this Saturday is Indie Bookstore Day, which means A and I will be walking to Green Apple to celebrate, have some of the free beer, and spend far too much money on books. I expect all of you to find your local indie bookstore and let them know how awesome they are. Hop to it! :)
[Other other other news has been redacted.]
That's all I got for now. Hope everyone's having a spiffy week!
Suffice it to say, mah dogs is barkin' something fierce. I'm even at the point where I don't want to do the laundry today, even though the machines are open at the moment. [I usually do it Monday or Tuesday during Day Job hours anyway, when most everyone else in the building is out.] I walked down the street for some coffee, and that's about as much as I'm doing physically for the rest of the day.
Writingwise, I've gotten caught up with outlining the original 750 outtakes for Meet the Lidwells and at this point I'm just filling in some gaps. I had a lot of holes in the band's discography (which I'm using as the chronology anchor to the plot), not to mention the barest of endings in mind. BUT! I've gotten those squared away for the most part. The only big thing I need to lay out is the timeline -- in particular, the ages of the band members, when the music was recorded, that sort of thing. It's not set in stone, but it does make for better continuity.
In other writing stuff...as much as I'd love to pick up the 750 Daily Words again, now is not the right time. At least not when I'm trying to get a new project off the ground. It's annoying, yes, but I must be patient. Once I get into the groove of the Lidwells project, then I'll be able to set aside some time and brainspace for it. That doesn't mean I can't play around with some new ideas, though. My hardback moleskine is starting to gather a bit of dust with the lack of stuff being put into it. Again -- I just have to be patient. Soon enough.
In the meantime, going to enjoy the lovely weather we've been having lately! Slight breeze, but it's nice to be able to have the windows open to let in fresh air! This is the time of the year when San Francisco has the nicest weather -- mid-60s, sunny and clear, slightly breezy. Just how I like it. :)
I've imported all my old LJ posts to this here DW account, which means that I'll be closing the old one soon enough. I got a good thirteen years out of it, so yeah...I definitely got my money's worth out of that Permanent account.
I looked at my calendar today and thought two things: it's one of my sister's birthdays today, and OH CRAP APRIL IS ALMOST DONE AND I'M NOT EVEN
I was this bad when I was a kid in high school. I'd have the best of intentions to finish off my homework early so I wouldn't have to worry about it, but Best Laid Plans and all that. I'd get distracted by my obsessive radio listening, my wanting to write whatever story I was working on at the time, or I'd want to hang out with my friends instead. It's not that I didn't want to do the homework. It's just that it bored the hell out of me and I'd rather have been doing something more fun or creative. I'd put it off until last minute, or it would be late, or I'd write something half-assed and be done with it, just to get it over with.
I was the same in college, sadly. The prerequisite classes bored me to tears (this includes the film classes...I wanted hands on, not boring theory), and my grades were usually average, just low enough to keep me from being able to sign up for internships or missing out a semester being on the radio crew. I was craving hands-on experience, which I quickly realized is where I learn a trade the fastest and most successfully, but I couldn't get at it, not without having to jump through hoops first. Suffice it to say I have a love-hate relationship with my alma mater for that reason.
So what does this have to do with today? Well, I'd made a goal to have the outline for Meet the Lidwells! ready to go by the end of April, and here we are, already on the last half of the month, and I have this dreaded feeling that I haven't even made a farking dent. That's not entirely true, to be honest, considering I 'm looking at my notecards right now and I can see I've got quite the collection already that's ready to be put in some semblance of order.
Part of me is just nervous because I'm thinking of all the time wasted futzing around on Twitter and elsewhere on the internets. All that time lost, and when I do get work done, it's rushed and sub-par. And oddly, another part of me is just as eager to shut down the internets anyway. That's part of what I was trying to say in my Bridgetown blog this morning...I feel the need to change my habits and get my act together. Changing over to DW has been partly successful...posting here not only means less time spent reacting to or bloviating within the Twitterverse, but more intent and meaning is put into whatever I type.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I'm doing what I can to be organized, but I'm sure I could do a hell of a lot better.
Of course, the writer in me screams: You should be using this time to work on the new project! Or new words! Or something else! Time's a-wasting!
On the other hand, Real Life Me bites back: Just chill and let me enjoy this fesking coffee, damn you. I've earned this weekend relaxation.
The eye exam yesterday went well. I'm amused that the usual tests haven't really changed all that much over the years...the progressively smaller lines of the eye charts, the 'which is clearer, A or B?', the 'can you see this? how about now?' and so on. I'm still not a fan of putting things in my eyes (I don't mind eye drops, but I still get squidgy about it), but it's a necessary evil. That said...it looks like my vision hasn't changed all that much since my previous exam a good four or so years ago. My prescription is kind of weird...I'm not quite farsighted, but not quite nearsighted either, plus I have a prism issue which means that sometimes my eyes don't focus on precisely on the same object. I can see just fine with or without glasses; I merely use them for adjustment when writing/reading/driving. Anyhoo, other than that, my eyes are just fine. I ordered a new pair of fancy glasses that were mostly covered by our vision insurance.
The fun part, of course, was walking back home in bright sunlight while my eyes were still dilated. :p
So...anything planned for this weekend? Not really...heading over to the Sunset for brunch and a bit of shopping. It might be raining tomorrow, so we'll most likely stay in and do our usual house errands then. Yay relaxing weekend! :)
Anyhoo, Friday is here, the Day Job volume has subsided considerably, and I plan on making today an 'I'll work at a relaxing pace' day. Oh -- also, I get to have a long overdue eye exam today! That should be fun. The last time I had one of those they did some light shining and dilating and when I walked over to the corner store for some needed stuff afterwards, they must have thought I was high or something, considering I couldn't focus or keep my eyes open that long. Heh.
In other news, I think I'm slowly approaching a breakthrough on the Lidwells project...right now the story is still a string of events but it's still in need of a strong theme that ties it all together. I'm on the verge of figuring out just what that is (read: I have a few ideas already, I just have to decide which one and run with it and see if it works), and once that's down, I'll be able to get to the main writing. Woohoo!
Do we have anything planned this weekend...? Not that I can think of. Maybe that's a good thing. :)
There's also the fact that, thanks to the way I've tagged my mp3 collection, I can listen listen to music chronologically down to the month if not the date of release. I've listened to various years of music this way to get a better understanding of the state of popular music back then. I'd like to look past those same ten Big Name Musicians (Springsteen, Elton, Joel, Aerosmith, Led Zep, etc) and find some of the stuff I'd forgotten or hadn't heard since I was that little kid. Move past that expectation of feeling embarrassed when listening to Neil Diamond, Captain & Tennille or Barbra Streisand ('cuz y'know, they were the epitome of UNCOOL when I was growing up). Sure, some of the pop during that decade was in fact quite milquetoast and/or horribly written, but there are some gems out there. There's especially some great soul, R&B and album rock out there that I've overlooked for one reason or another.
This should be an interesting endeavor.
On one of the side streets there were craft vendors of all kinds, and we stumbled upon one called Ukiyo-e Heroes that made absolutely stunning giclée prints...we ended up buying a Spirited Away print and a Kiki's Delivery Service print. A bit expensive, but they were so worth picking up. You have to see these up close...they're gorgeous.
Speaking of art, on Saturday we went to the de Young Museum in the park to check out their Summer of Love exhibition, and I have to say it was FANTASTIC. It was quite neat to look at the prints and the clothes and the pictures of the history that took place less than a mile away (the Haight-Ashbury District is a short walk through the park from there). I'll be honest, I didn't really grok the whole hippie/summer of love thing until we moved out to SF (and only then because it's fun to read history books about the places you live in), but now I'm fascinated by it. There's even a bit of local radio history worth checking out too, which had a few mentions at the exhibit -- look up KSAN, which was one of the first FM stations in the US to play rock music exclusively. Suffice it to say, I'm sure we'll hit this exhibit again before it closes.
And to to top it off, after we returned home yesterday, the rain had cleared and the sun was out, so we took a walk down to Baker Beach, which isn't that far from our apartment. It was a lovely if quite windy day and a lot of great pictures were taken. And we ended the day with our Netflix copy of The Five Doctors (a rather silly but fun Dr Who episode, considering they shoehorned everyone in there, including the Second Doctor's yeti).
So yes...a busy weekend, but a fun one! :)
To be honest, my Weekend Update posts over at LJ were fun but mindless filler. It's like I was posting there out of a sense of duty, even as my readership there dwindled. I did the bare minimum required though, a short What I Did This Weekend (or alternately, What Is Jon Writing This Time?).
A fresh start does sound like a good idea.
I've been thinking about trying to find a different speed to write at. What I mean by that: I've never found trying to stay on top of the latest trending topics all that enjoyable. It half feels like I'm jumping on a bandwagon, whether I'm prepared for it or not. The other half feels like I'm doing it more to stay caught up than I am riding the flow. I get entangled in the maelstrom of whatever indignation or Latest Hip Thing is going on.
Most of you have already heard me talk about this in previous blog posts.
My WordPress blogs have helped me detach myself from that, as has my personal offline journaling. I find my own pace, my own topics. I'm writing about what I'm thinking about, what I'm not reacting to. So perhaps this newly-minted account here might provide me with a similar avenue.
So what would I post about? Well -- good question. All sorts of things, really. This is my personal blog, separate from my writing blog or my music blog. I'd talk about what goes on in my personal life. Possibly where I'll post my photography (when I'm not uploading it to my Instagram feed). Whatever happens to be on my mind, at my own speed.
Let's see where this goes.
It was bound to happen sooner or later. I'll spare you the LJ-griping, because we know we all left for the same reasons. ;)
Anyroad, I'll be making it a point to do my Weekend Updates here at DW from here on in, maybe showing up a bit more often during the week as well if time persists. (After all, I've got two other blogs I update twice a week in addition to this.) This blog will continue to be more on the personal side of things, just like before. Stuff that doesn't quite fit the writing blog or the music blog.
[On a side note, I'm also going to hold to my previous rule of hitting politics as rarely as possible here. Y'all probably remember why I've backed away from that anyway.]
So! Pull up a seat, have some coffee, and enjoy!
I wanted to stay with you for as long as I could. I've been with you since 2004. It's been a good run, but we seem to have drifted apart. A large number of my LJ friends have moved on to other platforms big and small, and it's been pretty quiet here.
And even though I'm not as annoyed about the latest ToS/server switch as some may be, I'm really not all that thrilled that you've made it 'accept the new ToS or log out, your choice'. It's felt like a slow death for a few years now, and I'm not entirely sure what your thought process was here, but it certainly wasn't about making it usable or pleasurable for a lot of longtime users.
["Now you're just some platform that I used to know..."]
I've rejoined Dreamwidth and I'm under jon_chaisson if you'd like to connect.
I'll keep my posts for a bit until I decide what to do with them. I've got most of them backed up offline anyway, though I won't be too worried if I lose some of them. I had a permanent account, so I've definitely more than gotten my money's worth over the years.
The Weekend Update posts will continue over at my Dreamwidth account. And hopefully I'll be a little more active over there.
And for what it's worth, I can't resist going against the new political ToS rule here, so I'll end my run with this little hidden track: Go fuck yourself, Donald. :D
So! These last few weeks have been quite exciting in terms of Big Changes. Well, not OMG excitement, but more like It's High Time We Changed Things changes. After the fesking nightmare that was dealing with AT&T, we finally got rid of them and changed to a New Kid in Town called Sonic for both our internet and landline. So far the change has been quite noticeable. The internet is a hell of a lot faster and more reliable, for one. And Sonic's customer service is MILES better. We also got new cell phones recently; after having Androids for ages, we now have Google Pixels, and we're quite happy with them as well--the quality and usability are both quite the step up.
We've also had some really nice weather this weekend so we got a lot of walking in...we had a nice long walk through Golden Gate Park on Saturday (with a side stop at 9th and Irving in the Sunset for ice cream and lunch -- in that order), and today we headed to the other end of Clement to shop at our local farmer's market. And it's supposed to be nice the rest of the week, so I'm sure I'm going to need to get off my duff after work and get outside!
Speaking of work, I've thankfully gotten past some heavy deadlines I had to deal with, so hopefully I can now take things a little less frantically. I've been meaning to adjust my writing habits as of late, so with all that stress taken away, perhaps I can finally focus on that more. Woo!
One last thing -- I'd completely forgotten that April is A to Z Blog Challenge month, so I found myself completely unprepared for it. I'm okay with that, though...I've decided to skip on the blog challenges this year and keep my options open. Take a year off and relax, take things at a normal speed. I do like doing them, I just want to keep my schedule open and easily accessible for a while. It's not often that happens!
Hope everyone had a good weekend!
The Bridgetown Trilogy project is winding down to post-production and marketing now...the other night I finished the formatting of the trade, which I will make available by the end of the month. I'm going to be playing the long game on that project, to be honest; I'm not looking for huge-and-consistent sales right out of the gate, but longevity and availability. The focus now is to share it more proactively with the public. That includes advertising as well as going to cons and other things.
Which completely opens up my schedule for my new project, Meet the Lidwells!. A non-genre, lighthearted litfic story about a musical family and the ups and downs of fame. I've got a very loose story already written for it, but I need to tighten it up considerably. Which means....index cards! This is a new process for me, one that I avoided in the past for whatever reason, but this time out I want to see how organized I can be when it comes to working on a novel project. I'm also giving myself a strict deadline: instead of just writing it and saying "it'll be done when it's done", I'd like to try getting it done on time. I actually work pretty well with deadlines when I put my mind to it. So far I've laid out that I want to get the outlining and index carding done by end of April, spend the summer writing and revising, and putting it out by early to mid-autumn. Will I make it? Who knows...but it's worth a try!
So, what's up for this weekend? Not much, I think. We might go see Sword Art Online which is playing around the corner. Food shopping, maybe some housecleaning...and that's about it! Boring ol' us. :p