A Week in Busytown

I guess it’s nice to know I can still handle weeks like that.

MONDAY: Story meeting with group I alluded to last week. Results, not terrible. Hope to have finished module by, um, yesterday the 17th. (That almost happened.)

TUESDAY: Live broadcast of joint City Council/Planning & Zoning meeting. Call @ 5:00. I am not put on camera, which I suppose is for the best – I’m a mediocre cameraman at best. I’m taking care of technical details, PowerPoint presentations on a projector, the microphone for public outcry. Everything I am told is wrong, but I am used to that, so I actually manage to do most everything right. except for the microphone, which is not occupying the exact geometry needed, so I must suck.

This is the first of these I’ve been involved in that actually had citizens come forward to address the pols. Usually, when the Mayor calls for public input, we cut to a camera set up to capture anyone at the mike and get a wonderful shot of empty seats. As if to intimidate anyone daring to speak out against the “controversial” new planning ordinance, the meeting goes on for nearly two hours before public input is called for. This gambit does not work. Things are repeated over and over. Finally, at 11PM, there is a bathroom break.

Someone once likened watching the wheels of government grind to the process of sausage making, but this is totally unfair to sausage makers. There was a whole lot of sausage made that night, and its contents were composed of dead horse, beaten to a runny pulp. After the bathroom break, the citizenry was gone, so it was time for some gratuitous in-fighting.

I get home after 1:00AM.

WEDNESDAY: Rehearsal for re-mounted Mystery Cafe show. Me, the new guy, and two others are all that make it. This is going to sound egotistical, but I’m not the one that needs the rehearsal, folks. I’ve been doing this gig for 15 years now. AND THAT REALIZATION CAUSES MY SOUL TO SHRIEK IN HORROR.

THURSDAY: Writing, writing, writing. Trying to finish by Monday, remember? Writing passages with genuine emotional impact (I hope). Oddly, this sort of thing takes longer.

FRIDAY: Second story meeting of week. Emotional stuff passes muster. I am gratified. I also have to leave the meeting early to make my call for the Friday show. It’s a typical Friday audience: too tired from the work week to be really responsive, though by the end of the second act they are really into it.

SATURDAY: I am up at 7:00AM, stupid Circadian rhythm. Fall into coma-like sleep about Noon. Family has a meltdown while I sleep the sleep of the dead. The clichéd Teenager Abuse of Trust has finally happened, and must be dealt with. That’s bad enough, but while dealing with the trauma from that, my wife finds out one of her friends has advanced cancer. I hate it when the Universe gives you perspective – it usually seems to give somebody cancer to achieve that end.

Then there is The Saturday Show. I am more depressed than anything, and not certain I will be funny at all that night. As you might predict, I fucking killed that night.

SUNDAY: Up at 7:00AM to perform at Church. This is hilarious on many different levels. I’m not a Christian, but my wife is; I generally don’t mind when they ask me to do these things, because, you know, we’re the resident actors. This one, though? Anybody could have done it. But they hadn’t asked in a long time, so I agreed.

Of course, the capper to an exhausting week is a suddenly-booked private show Sunday night. At this point, you shrug and soldier on. Besides, the clichéd Teenage Abuse of Trust had a serious financial hit attached to it, and the extra money was needful, especially since I had requested a portion of my  writing paycheck Friday, and instead of letting me pick it up at the Friday meeting, it was mailed to me. No mail delivery Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. You do the math.

MONDAY: Never received an e-mail about the next story meeting. Really, should have written the few bits remaining on current module. Fuck it. I need some me time.

Instead, I crunch numbers. Mortgage and checks still outstanding. The way the Day Job pay is structured, I had one week’s pay on Friday, plus the three-show weekend, carry the three… I have about $50 to go buy groceries on. I can do that. I’ve dealt with worse. I can get enough to tide us over until the writing check finally arrives.

Then we get word that the estranged husband of one of my wife’s friends has committed suicide.


Hi Diddly Dee

In the rather long list of Things I Wish I’d Said, is a quote whose attribution I’ve shamefully forgotten. Possibly it’s Stephen King. But it is: “No writer has ever been able to convince his spouse that when he is looking out a window, he is working.”

That right there is a prime aphorism. Witty and true. Of course, you can expand it to family, children, in-laws, etc., but why complicate such elegance?

I had a corollary to that aphorism bite me on the butt yesterday.

I want this on my business cards.I’m engaged in a writing contract right now – I think I alluded to that earlier. Can’t say much about it, of course, but it amounts to another writing-by-committee venture, in which I bring my work to the table and I am informed of every aspect in which I am wrong, wrong, wrong, and my lively and likable main characters are ground down to bland, inoffensive placeholders. It’s not fun or necessarily rewarding, but it is a paycheck, and after a couple of years of scraping by on a part-time job and half, the money is more than welcome.

Anyway, said part-time and a half jobs, after shutting down completely for two and three weeks for the holidays (without pay, which makes the income from the writing gig even more welcome), suddenly gearing back up and demanding more of my time than usual, I am finding myself working hard on my time management, at which I’ve never been that adept. Setting aside blocks of time for writing. I’m told this is how honest-to-God writers operate, they keep office hours. Mine tend to fall in the evenings, from 4 to 8. It’s just the way it worked out – that’s when I have a block of free time, with an option of expanding into the 8-10 range, as necessary.

This scheduling is complicated by the fact that I generally prepare dinner in the evenings, as I’m the one who has – or had – the time to do that.

So yesterday afternoon, I am a couple of hours into my writing – I had started an hour early, yay Sundays – when I realize I am very hungry. I’d had a late breakfast, and had powered my way through without lunch. So I left my sanctum and called down the stairs, “Has anyone considered dinner yet?”

“What were you thinking?”

There was some pre-fab chicken parmigiana, pasta and garlic bread I had picked up the week before, so my family would have something to heat up and eat when I was in town for meetings to puree my writing. They never used it, though, and I suggested it.

“No, I don’t want that. I think you should go get us some fried chicken.”

“Um, I’m writing to a deadline, here.”

“Well, we’re watching Dispicable Me.”

“I fail to see the equivalence there.”

Will Rogers: God, we need you now.But, there are some things it is useless to argue about. I wound up dressing more warmly, leaving, stopping by the bank (which admittedly I needed to, anyway), getting the chicken, returning, and eating.

Net sum: about an hour of writing time lost.

It did give me a little time to consider, and construct a list of things I needed definitive answers about from the clients, to avoid the “wrong, wrong, wrong”s. That limited what I actually could write about, and I finished that in good time, and e-mailed it out to the various recipients. Was feeling pretty good and full of chicken, until I got an e-mail, saying it was all great as usual, but would it be possible to have three more pages done by tomorrow?

Sure, I sigh, Why not. I’ve still got the 8-10 slot.


8 Ways to Get Rich With Blog Stats

You know me, I strive to, when there is nothing to be said, not to say it.

Now there were times, last year, when I was trying to post something every day, Monday-Friday, that I violated this central tenet. Violated it hard. I didn’t like the results. And since there’s no money to be had in this, I stopped doing it. Felt if there was nothing of interest, it served no one to blather on about it. There are plenty of blogs like that.

So I find it a little amusing when I find an e-mail from WordPress in my inbox, informing me that my blog is “on fire”, at least according to the Blog Health-O-Meter, which is trademarked: 2010 in Review.

Thereafter follows some numbers to prove this claim, including the fact that I had enough readers last year to fill eight Boeing 747s. All this is a bit bewildering to me, as I realize this blog amounts to a road hump on the info superhighway.

I derive some mordant amusement from the fact that my most-read post was 7 Bizarre Ways Google Chrome Can Kill You Instantly, which is a post I deliberately titled with a newfound toy called the Linkbait Generator. I have to admit that it worked, so LOL, as the kids say. I used it again today! Can you tell?

Of course, the blow-by-blow on crapfests and other film festivals ranked well. I should hope so, as they’re most time-consuming to put together, not to mention the  time spent in Fleshspace actually experiencing the events. There will be more crapfests, and there will be more writings about them.

I could have complained how busy I was during December, but you know what? I was too busy to do that. Trying to get everything squared away at the station before I was booted out for a two-week unpaid vacation, multiple shows per week at Mystery Cafe (which helped with the unpaid vacation problem) and a long-stalled writing project got the go-ahead (which is helping the aftermath of the unpaid vacation).

I got everything I asked for Christmas. I got my wife everything she asked for. The Boy did not get everything he asked for (sorry, Alienware computers and fully-functioning lifesize Mazinger Zs are bit outside our operating budget at present), but was happy with what he got.  Then he dropped my old laptop which I had refurbished for him, destroying it, and rendering half my presents to him useless. There is a heartwarming Christmas lesson in there somewhere, but I have not been able to find it yet. All I know is I have schedule time on my own damned computer again.

The writing project continues, despite losing a writer over the holidays. I had forgotten how wearying this sort of writing-by-committee can get however, and it is rather rubbing my nose in the fact that I should be writing for myself, not others. Although the writing for others brings in a paycheck. And paychecks are good.

Boom Headshot

"But Dad, I'm about to wi - OH CRAP!"

It also means I have primary ownership over my computer by fiat. “I am working to buy you Pop-Tarts and orange juice by the gallon,” I tell the all-consuming moose in my office chair “You can blow the heads off perfect strangers at 3 in the morning, just I had to when I was your age.”

That is a lie, of course.

His mother buys the Pop-Tarts.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 109 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 314 posts. There were 141 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 13mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 28th with 55 views. The most popular post that day was 7 Bizarre Ways Google Chrome Can Kill You Instantly.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, welltuncares.wordpress.com, healthfitnesstherapy.com, and Google Reader.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for pokeball, keyboard face, chrome pokeball, jazeel bullet, and drfreex.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


7 Bizarre Ways Google Chrome Can Kill You Instantly June 2010


Gettin’ all Sherlock Holmes on ya June 2010


Badmoviefield Earth June 2010
1 comment


While you’re making other plans, pt. II June 2010


Info Dump: Thanksgiving Crapfest November 2010