Tues. Nov. 8, 2022: Dumfungled

(image courtesy of Mohamed Hassan via pixabay.com)

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Full Moon (and Lunar Eclipse)

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and Windy

Election Day

Will this be our last election? We’ll know in a few days. Let’s hope not.

Pull up your favorite beverage and we’ll sit down for our regular longish Tuesday natter.  

Today’s post is titled thanks to Melissa Amateis, who shared “Dumfungled” with me yesterday. According to Melissa, SCOTS MAGAZINE, and Susie Dent, it means “mentally and physically worn out” and “used up, in a near state of imbecility” to which I can relate right now. According to the Urban Dictionary, it can also mean “being unproductive, hitching a ride on the back of an assumption” which fits the current situation in so many aspects. But I choose the first definition as the title for this post.

See, Melissa? I kept my promise to you!

If you didn’t see the post over on the GDR site yesterday, you can hop over now.

I got a lot done on Friday: 2223 words on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH for Nano, an episode and a bit for LEGERDEMAIN, caught up on some email, turned around two scripts. I was tired by the end of it, and read for pleasure, rather than doing the other reading I should have done.

The paper I ordered from Staples arrived; but it was the wrong kind. Regular paper, not 3-hole punch. I’m not going to fuss. I’ll keep it, invest in a new 3-hole puncher (I can’t find the one I own; it might be in storage) and punch the holes myself. I draft on 3-hole punch paper, so I get it in by the case. Usually.

I spent far too much time on Twitter, upset at the way Yegads Muskrat is intentionally destroying it. Lilith St. Crow calls him “Melon Husk” which is another good handle for him, What a disgusting human he is. Destroying something people value because he can afford to do it.

Stayed up way too late reading Ann Aguirre’s EXTRA WITCHY, which was a lot of fun.

Saturday morning, I slept later than expected, because the cats tried to roust me early, I refused, and fell asleep again. Got in 2412 words for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. I’m having a lot of fun writing Rita’s youngest son, Doug.

Once the words were out of the way, I went to Big Y and did a big grocery shop, restocking a bunch of staples that we used up, and getting the fresh stuff we’ll need for the week. Came home, put it all away, and off we went, gallivanting, because it was a beautiful, sunny day, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s.

We drove up through Bennington and over into NY through Hoosick Falls (which is an interesting little town) and to Hoosick, and our favorite Treasure Hut, which we hadn’t visited all summer. We didn’t find any of the furniture pieces for which I’m looking, but I found an Inkberry Pfaltzgraff platter that matches some of my other dishes, a tiered silver serving tray (Irwin ware), vintage glass poinsettia ornaments, a cute ceramic piece of two kids getting ready to skate, and yes, another brass trivet. You know me and trivets. I think I have 20 now?

On the way back, we stopped at a favorite thrift store in Bennington. We found 2 dinner plates that match the soup bowls we bought last year, a lovely blue and green bowl, another little figure of a kid walking dogs for Christmas, and a gorgeous tapestry runner for spring.

Picked up a pizza on the way home and had a late lunch. Washed what needed washing, and put the rest away, after doing some research on maker’s marks.

Hung out and read a bit. Turned the clocks back before we went to bed.

Tessa tried to get me up at 5, insisting it was breakfast. I thought my phone hadn’t fallen back yet, so it was really four, and rolled over, not getting up until 6. Tessa didn’t speak to me for the rest of the day. She tried going to my mom for comfort. By accident, my mom called her “Charlotte” and Tessa, insulted, stomped off and wouldn’t have anything to do with either one of us all day.

It was raining and kind of yuck, so instead of being out and about again, we stayed home. I wrote the next chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, at 2938. A character repositioned himself in the story earlier than I expected from the outline, but it worked, and I can cut some info dump out of the first chapter, because it’s actually integrated here. But it took damn long to write those words.

I’m fighting the book’s natural rhythm to make word count. It wants to grow at around 1000-1200 words a day. But I need to push it to make the Nano wordcount, to meet my expectations for myself for participating. So I’m forcing it at an unnatural rhythm, which will bite me in the ass during revisions. The chapters are also very uneven, which is a problem, Because structurally, it does matter in the genre.

I spent too much time mourning Twitter in the afternoon instead of reading or doing something worthwhile. I also wasted too much time struggling to set up an account on Mastodon. The first two servers I tried wouldn’t send me the confirmation email, no matter how many times I requested. I finally got an invite from a screenwriter on Twitter who set up his own server, and that went through. Once I was in, setting up is pretty easy. Finding people is harder, because of the different servers, but it’s possible. I was also invited to a screenwriters’ Discord group, and, much as I dislike Discord, I like the person who set it up, so I’ll give it a go.

But if you want to find me on Mastodon, I’m at @devonellington@bbq.snoot.com.

Roasted a chicken for dinner, so the whole house smelled wonderful. Made stock from the carcass.

Went to bed ridiculously early.

I had some sort of bad dream, from which Charlotte woke me up around 3. It fled as soon as I woke up, but the adrenaline spike was nasty. Tessa was all like, “well, since you’re awake” but I ignored her and fell back to sleep.

I dreamed about going to listen to jazz at a place with wonderful food and interesting people. No COVID in the Dreamscape, and I have quite a good social life there, so it will have to do until I can actually socialize when I’m awake, if the pandemic is ever under control.

I was all set to sign up for an in-person yoga class the Sunday after Thanksgiving and realized everyone there would have been unsafe all weekend and shedding virus, so I think I’ll pass.

Up at a reasonable time on Monday. Wrote 2337 words on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. It was a fun chapter with good dynamics and finally, FINALLY, I’ve dropped the first body. I usually drop it much earlier. And I had to change a relationship from cousin to brother-in-law to make the logic work. But it was fun, and I’m feeling more hopeful.

Posted on the blogs and made the SM rounds – which took two damn hours. But I need to establish myself on the platforms and interact and build different communities. Some I’ll phase out. Others I’ll continue to build. Different platforms work for different things. As someone who makes a living in the arts, I don’t have the LUXURY of not MAKING the time to find out which platforms do what best, and I don’t have the LUXURY to whine that’s too hard and I don’t have time. I’ll lose my livelihood if I don’t do it. Getting my work out to the widest possible audience is part of my job. I don’t get to whine (okay, maybe I’ll whine a little bit, but you know my rule: pity parties can’t last longer than 15 minutes). Most importantly, I don’t have the option of not learning and changing and growing as the industry does.

Tribel is about branding and marketing, so even though I’ve met the largest amount of creepy dudes sending me inappropriate messages there thus far, I might have to stay. Cohost talks about being “cozy” but so far, it seems like a platform for hobbyists rather than professionals. There’s no reason a platform can’t support both, but if Cohost gets squiffy about me linking to projects that pay the bills, they are not the right platform for me.

We’ll see.

It’s exhausting.

Necessary, but exhausting.

Twitter dystopia was a hellscape, and I spent very little time there. Yegads Muskrat is openly telling people to vote Republican. Bite me, asshole.

It was a glorious, sunny day, so I walked to the post office to mail some bills.

Only turned around one script in the afternoon. Had trouble concentrating.

Took Jeremy Rock Smith’s virtual cooking class. He’s doing a soup class for the next few weeks, and I love it. He has such joy in both the cooking and the teaching that it makes every day better.

I also learned where I can improve my technique on several things, so my upcoming soups will be even better.

Went to bed early, because I was so exhausted. Between the full moon, the eclipse, the retrogrades, the election, and Twitter’s destruction, it’s a lot.

In the Dreamscape, I taught a class, did a reading/book signing at an adorable library, and baked a ham. It was a busy night. There are no Republicans in my Dreamscape (along with no COVID), so it’s a nice place to spend time.

Tessa woke me up at 4. I refused to get out of bed until nearly 5, but then went to start my day. I went onto DystopTwitter, which was a mistake. In addition to the destruction, there are people boasting about not voting. Of course, that makes it easy to unfollow/block them. Some of them are people I’ve interacted with for a long time, and didn’t know they were that stupid. But when people show you who they are, believe them. I’ve always lost respect for people who choose not to vote; in the past few elections, that’s turned into genuine loathing.

I’m too old and tired to argue with people. The great thing about social media is that it’s easy to cut off contact.

I tried to sit down and write, wondered why I was struggling, and then realized I was still in my pajamas. Changed into writing clothes, and there were the words, waiting for me.

Wrote Chapter 8, coming in at 2118 words. Lots of dialogue, so a typical chapter length, but fewer words. It looks like I’ll break 20K tomorrow instead of on Thursday; if that’s the case, I will feel like I’m really on track.

I have to do the rounds to promote the episode of Legerdemain that drops today. And, you know, do some work on Legerdemain itself. By the end of next week, I need to put up the episodes through the end of the year, and then, hopefully, by mid-December, I can get all of the second arc up and scheduled. I’d like to get another chapter of ANGEL HUNT adapted today, too, before I have to switch over to script coverage.

No post on Ko-fi today. With Election Day chaos, it makes no sense. I’ll do a tarot post next weekend, and I’m working on a weird little flash fiction piece for Thanksgiving week.

Fingers crossed things get better after today, not worse. I want to be hopeful, but I’m afraid to be.

Take care my friends. VOTE.

Tues. May 10, 2022: Off To Yet Another Mechanic

image courtesy of Peter Gottschalk via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto & Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

This is scheduled to post, since I had to leave the house very early to get the car to the mechanic, and I have no idea how that will go.

I made sure I had a quiet weekend.  Friday and Saturday were all about finishing the contest entries.

First thing Saturday, though, I went to the Farmers Market. This is the last time it’s indoors; starting in June, it will be outdoors every Saturday until November. What adds a sense of festivity to the market is that you buy wooden tokens (yes, I’ve considered the wooden nickels jokes) when you go in and pay with the tokens.

The woman who made the amazing baguettes wasn’t there this time, which was a shame, since I’ve been fantasizing about those baguettes since last month! But I made a stop at Bohemian Nouveaux Bakery and had a good chat with the baker (who was a theatre major in college), and stocked up on the espresso coffee cake muffins, some cocoa bites, and a loaf of challah bread. I bought a cranberry pecan loaf from Cookies & More. I bought a big bag of spinach, a big bag of mixed Asian greens, and a lovely head of Bok choy from Red Shirt Farm. I bought a camembert-like cheese from Cricket Creek, and a bottle of maple syrup from Senecal’s Sugarhouse.

Filled up my bag with goodies!

And all through that, it was about chatting with the vendors and the other customers at the market, everyone in a good spirits and eager to share their favorite things.

It reminds me of the best of the Union Square Greenmarket, when I lived in NYC, rather than the markets in my previous location, where the vendors usually acted like they were doing you a favor by selling something, instead of it being a mutually beneficial transaction.

I wasn’t there very long, but I was tired when I got home, even from positive socializing! The joy of being an introvert. But I’m glad I did it, and I’m glad I’m meeting people slowly. Most people are still masking; everyone’s as vaccinated as they can be.

Once I put away the bounty, I took a rest, and then went back to work on contest entries.

For dinner, I used the whole head of Bok choy with the rest of the leftover chicken to do a stir-fry from one of my favorite cookbooks, CHINESE SOUL FOOD by Hsiao-Ching Chou. It was delicious. I also made more vegetable stock.

Saturday was also the Kentucky Derby. I lost all respect for those running Churchill Downs when I learned that the Narcissistic Sociopath was in attendance.

It was pretty exciting to see Rich Strike, who wasn’t even in the race two days ago, win, at 84-1. My baby Epicenter came in second. Tiz the Bomb decided this wasn’t worth the effort that day (very much like his grandfather).

When I used to cover horse racing (more years ago now than it seems), I quickly found out that the Derby was the least fun of the three races, in spite of being the start of the Triple Crown, where everything is possible. And that’s because it’s stopped being about the horses and focuses more on the audience who wants to see and be seen. The Preakness became the most fun for me. It’s raucous, less pretentious than any of the others, and there’s still a lot of Triple Crown possibility. The Belmont was at my home track, and, while I always loved the race and the site, the crowds and the tension were exhausting.

As an off-site observer, for years before I started writing about racing, the Preakness was my least favorite; but, once I started getting more involved, it was the most fun to actually be onsite of the three races, in spite of all the chaos in the infield.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. We had the espresso coffee cake muffins for breakfast. I made salads for lunch, using the spinach, Asian greens, carrot, cranberry, Canadian bacon, and hard-boiled egg, with an Italian vinaigrette. My mom asked for bangers and mash for dinner, so that’s what we had. And, of course, cheesecake.

I read for pleasure on Sunday, instead of logging entry scores, although I made a list of my top picks.

I read BOSS WITCH by Ann Aguirre, which I really liked, and CLAWS FOR SUSPICION by Deborah Blake, which I also loved. It was nice enough to sit out on the porch, so I read out there for a good portion of the day.

I went to bed very early on Sunday, because I was tired. In the third year of the pandemic, with the right wing Christofascists openly telling us they’re planning to murder us, after packing the courts so they can get away with it, and the DEMS SIT BACK AND LET THEM – it’s exhausting. Trying to live my life and also fulfill my responsibility as a citizen is exhausting, even if I don’t write about all the details of it here.

There is NO such thing as “not being political” anymore. If you make that claim, it means you agree with the rightwing extremists and think you’re safe from their hate. The thing is, they always need something and someone to fuel their hate, so no one is safe.

Up early on Monday.  Worked until 2 PM finishing the paperwork on the final category of contest entries, and sent it in. It was accepted and invoice requested. I sent the invoice at 7 PM and it was paid 39 minutes later. That’s how you show your freelancers you appreciate them!

I stress-painted the garden frog we bought when we first moved to the Cape house. I didn’t have the dark pink paint the petals on his back used to have (yes, he’s a frog, but his back is full of flowers), so I used a lighter pink, and then the yellow for the centers. He’s a bright, happy frog again who can sit amongst the plants on the front porch.

Read for pleasure (a mystery set in Venice, and then started reading a biography of Ngaio Marsh).  Spinach and cheese omlette for dinner.

Neighbors across the street are building a garden in front of the house, with all kinds of cute little plants and hanging baskets. Only. . .they plant but don’t water anything. I’m sure they will learn.

Finals at the college across the way must be done, because the students started playing music and hanging out in the street and blowing off some steam. Yes, they’re still masking. Even though they’re all vaxxed. Good for them (and us).

I am off to the mechanic. Let’s hope this guy will actually fix the car and not put me off another month. I’ve basically been without a car for six months now. I want to get it done.

Have a good one, and hold a good thought for the car and me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold
International Women’s Day

Yup, here we have it, International Women’s Day. I wish I’d been able to put together a project this year like I did the year my friend Avonne and I set the creation atmosphere for MOON TRIBE TALES. I say “set the creation atmosphere” because the actresses who spent months developing material for the piece are equally a part of it. It was a wonderful experience for both those participating and those who attended, and I wish I’d been set up to seek funding for it to be an ongoing project. When I look back at the script, little has changed in the intervening years. If anything, women’s rights and progress are regressing.

Actress Allison Scagliotti, whose work I throughly enjoy in WAREHOUSE 13, has a great piece up here about looking for role models in her industry. It’s difficult to find strong, complex female characters in media right now, although I think there are more of them on television than in film. Too often, they simply behave like men would, but they’re played by women. While to a point, a strong person is a strong person no matter what the gender, since biology influences a lot of how we deal with things, I’d love to see a wider range of representations in film and television.

I think women are making inroads behind the scenes — although probably not enough. You look at writers like Jane Espenson and directors like Kate Woods, and there’s progress.

I think the rise of urban fantasy in literature has created some great female characters. Look at Diana Bishop in A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES — she doesn’t fit any mold but her own and is fascinating and complex. Look at Camille, Delilah, and Menolly in the Otherworld Series — along with most of the female characters Yasmine Galenorn writes. They don’t fall into cliche, they’re certainly not perfect, but they’re strong, intelligent, and interesting. Or the characters like Ann Aguirre’s Corinne Solomon. These women are all very much women, not girls acting the way men might act in this situation, and they are very resourceful and approach the world with unique viewpoints.

To me, that’s part of what a feminist is — a woman who is strong, intelligent, and interesting, and who won’t keep anyone — male, female, Republican or alien — from allowing her to fulfill her potential to its fullest. Can a man be a feminist? Yes, if he’s willing to support the choices of the women around him to be the best and most they can be, even if it’s inconvenient to him personally! 😉

Got out the write up for Confidential Job #1 and that’s off, and got out my column. Got word this morning that they’ve already sent the next assignment. Caught up on commenting on the student work — some of the comments have been helpful, and they are diving back into the material with fresh enthusiasm, which is what I’d hoped.

MA Dept. of Revenue emailed me my quarterly vouchers, the little dears. Considering the NY State Tax Dept. could never be bothered to provide correct paperwork, nor have they ever posted a payment correctly in the years I lived there, and they generally feel they can remove any money they want from anyone because they don’t have to answer to anyone, the MA attitude is quite refreshing.

Responded to student work. They have a deadline today, so there will be a lot of work on which to comment. Also received materials from a partner for the tele-seminar, so I need to go over that. A big stack of errands to run today, but then they will be done, and I don’t have to worry about them later in the week.

Had a good morning’s work on the play — I’m having fun with it. It wants to have more characters than I’m allowed, so some of the actors may have to double. Or, I just have to keep it lean and cut them in the rewrite. I’ve written for a finite amount of characters before — I know I can do it. Want to do some more work on the play before I switch back to everything else that demands attention. Fortunately, the company wants a piece with high verbal dexterity, and those are the kinds of characters I enjoy writing.

Devon

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy, foggy, cooler

I feel like I’ve done nothing but sleep this weekend. Well, I’ve read and cooked,too,but that’s about it.

Saturday morning, I went to Reading Terminal Market, which far exceeded my expectations. The food stalls are wonderful, fresh, and reasonably priced. I found both Herbiary and Spice Market and stocked up on herbs and spices I used to get at Aphrodesia, but can’t because they went out of business. I think I’ve got enough to get me through until my next trip down in July. I’ll keep a running list and re-stock then. I got a few things I don’t really need, but want to play with in recipes, too. I got some lovely baked goods at one of the organic baking stalls and an iced coffee for the walk home at Old City Coffee — which was really, really good. Philadelphia has lots of small, independent coffee brands, and most of them are very good.

I finished THE QUEEN IN WINTER — Sharon Monette’s novella “A Gift of Wings” was lovely and I definitely want to read more of her work.

I wandered over to Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Square in the afternoon, picking up Ann Aguirre’s HELL FIRE and the anthology WINTER MOON, which has novellas by Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, and CE Murphy. The Ann Aguirre book was supposed to be my treat for finishing the next assignment for Confidential Job #1, but really, who am I kidding? I read most of it on Saturday afternoon and evening, and finished it Sunday morning. It’s the second Corinne Solomon book, and they’re both just fantastic. I’m really looking forward to the third next year.

Pizza for dinner, more reading and some yoga in the evening. To bed fairly early, and slept in on Sunday.

I don’t understand how Comcast can get away with sucking as badly as they do. I couldn’t get online at all on Sunday morning. I finally managed a bit in the afternoon.

Wandered to Borders to use my “bucks” that were only good this weekend — and that I didn’t find out about until AFTER I got back from B&N! Had a hard time finding something I wanted, but finally settled on DANCE OF DEATH by Douglas Preston and Lawrence Child. Started it — instead of the assignment for Confidential Job #1. The multiple (and I mean MULTIPLE) POVs get tiring sometimes, especially when it’s a character in whose POV we only are for a single chapter. There’s a LOT of plot — supposedly, it’s a stand alone, but I get the feeling it would make more sense if I read the earlier books.

It got me thinking, though, that I’ve been submitting/pitching TRACKING MEDUSA in the wrong genre — in spite of the many trappings, ultimately, it’s a mystery, not a weird hybrid I’ve been trying to slot.

Okay, LOST. (SPOILER ALERT). My big response was, “Really?”

The ending was what I expected, although how they got there wasn’t. As usual, I enjoyed individual scenes and the actors, and whole didn’t add up for me. If I’d remained emotionally invested for the whole six years, I would have been angry. Fine, so the whole thing is Jack’s death fantasy/search for redemption in his final moment of life after the crash so he goes “into the light” instead of elsewhere. Okay, fine, it’s not like we hadn’t figured that was the probability years ago. But the way they got there basically negated the season. They spent so much time with Jacob & his brother, going on and on about good and evil butting against each other, and,the whole series, they played with the idea that both are slightly ambiguous, and we need both in order to survive. Too much evil OR too much good and the balance is lost (no pun intended) and it’s all over. And then they just dropped it. Jack anoints Hurley — without the incantation? Really? The whole Dharma Initiative subplot is simply dropped. And, while I’m glad the characters “found” each other and “remembered” in the sideways line, it got a little treacly for me. I spent a lot of time eye-rolling. The whole ending in the church filling with light, frankly, I found offensive. They spent so much time debating the power of Nature and end it in an effing church. They pretended to be philosophical and open-thinking and alternative and then descended back into the same old claptrap. Negated so much of what was unique and wonderful about the show. Looked like the church scene out of HAIR.

Several years ago, the creators promised it wouldn’t be like the really bad season of DALLAS, that turned out to be a dream. This may not have been, technically, a dream, but it was close enough to prove they lied and jerked us around yet again.

I’m glad the dog was there with Jack for the last moment, though. A lot of people have criticized that, but I liked it.

I think, for the actors, it was satisfying, and I’m glad, because they poured a lot into this. And it was the creators’ vision, not mine,so, oh, well. They broke my trust in the 3rd season and never won my trust back. I watched, piecemeal, since, and watched this season, and fine, it’s over, let’s move on, and I hope the actors and creators find many fulfilling projects down the line. This will always be special to all of them, and they’ll be earning residuals for the rest of their lives.

BITCH had an interesting essay on how the writers failed the character of Kate, which I think is very well done. i hadn’t entirely thought of it from that perspective, but it articulates a lot of my frustrations. Of course, now that we know it was all Jack’s perspective on Kate, not Kate herself, it makes more sense. And Gawker has a very funny rant.

Anyway, I’ve got laundry to do, packing to finish, and, hopefully, some writing to work on. I leave in the early afternoon and will be home tonight. I don’t know whether to laugh or sigh at the fact that it takes longer to get from Penn Station to my apartment than from Philadelphia to NY.

Devon