In need of a Plan


The university in the city where I live held graduation recently. That makes it the busiest time of the year for the restaurant I work at. This translates into longer, harder work hours for me, meaning even less time/ energy for my family and practically no time for myself.

Every year I plate and send who knows how many hundreds of meals through my pass. It seems that every year we go through this ordeal with a less and less experienced crew. Almost every year there’s some set of minor, yet absurdly frustrating complications with the scheduling of either the staff or reservations, or both. Every year there is always some inane last-minute problem with inventory. Nearly every year half of the staff shows up late for their shifts. And every year there is some melt down between coworkers resulting in yelling matches, hurt feelings and possibly someone quitting or getting fired.

Every year I swear that this is going to be the last one of these weekends I’m going to work.

It was a long week, and I’ve been in a rotten mood to begin with, so I just decided that when I had a couple of days off I’d just spend it hiding under my blanket and trying to come up with a plan.

Part of this plan involves me finding a new job, but I think that’s been the plan for about eight years now and I see how that has worked out. I needed to figure out my deal with the writing thing, get back into reading more, and get more exercise.

I guess the plan here is that I want to focus on specific writing goals instead of just pushing myself to publish stuff here as often as possible. I need to finish the serial that I’ve been working on, maybe finally giving it a tittle (though I see no pressing need for that) so I am going to make that a priority. This is mostly just to prove I can finish the damn thing really. Following that I have another piece of flash fiction that the consensus among people whose opinions I value needs to be expanded out. So I think I am going to work hard on that. I haven’t decided yet whether to make it an actual  short story or to write a series of related pieces. Right now the latter seems more feasible, we’ll see what happens.

I used to read a lot more than I do now. The problem is that I drank a lot while I read, and largely when I read it makes me think about drinking. Thinking about drinking makes want to drink. That makes me me angry, so I haven’t been reading much. This sucks because I liked reading. I’ve been working on it, slowly. I have a back log of stuff that I want to read so I am going to be doing that as well. I have to do this because I am trying to raise a child who reads. My reading list at the moment is as follows:

  • Under the Empyrean Sky by, Chuck Wendig. I started following his blog for the flash fiction challenges he hosts, which are very entertaining, and I thought in fairness to myself I should read at least one of his books. I’m only about 130 pages into it and enjoy it so far but for the aforementioned reason it has taken me a considerable amount of time to get there.
  • The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind the 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry by, Lance Dodes, MD, and Zachary Dodes. As an alcoholic I am not a fan of  12-Step programs for my own reasons. When I heard about this book on NPR it caught my interest. I have not yet started this book.
  • Screenwriting for Dummies by, Laura Schellhart. No real reason. I saw this on the reshelving cart when I took my daughter to the library, and thought, “Now there’s something I don’t know anything about.” so I picked it up.

I’m giving myself a generous six weeks to read those three books. I’ll let you know how it goes.

As for exercise, I’ve been spending too much time moping in my bed lately and I need to force myself to get out in the sunshine and what passes for fresh air these days. So I am dusting off the bicycle again and re-installing Ingress on my phone and seeing what mayhem I can get up to. Largely this is in hopes that some no work related physical activity will help improve my mood, and perhaps straighten out my sleep issues.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been thinking about this past week.

Happy Monday.



What I Read While Recuperating | A supplemental post of Fall

When you can’t get around very well on your own, hopefully, you spend quite a bit of your time reading. In my case most of it was role-playing game stuff as I am a very much a geek. I avoided reading news papers and magazines as I wanted little to do with the current events of a world that it felt like I could interact with so seldom at the time. I would like to talk a little bit about  the other reading I engaged in while I was recovering from my broken knee, a lot of which was done while I traveled the bus back and forth to, and in the waiting rooms of, my various medical appointments.

I greatly enjoyed reading All Tomorrows Parties  and Pattern Recognition, both by William Gibson. Gibson’s novel Count Zero was my introduction into the dystopian, corporation dominated, futurist world of literature known as Cyberpunk as a teenager; a genre that my budding gamer mind latched on to and had a lot of fun with throughout the years. His works are well crafted with a good blend of just enough technical jargon to set the background of his world and rich character development. During this time I also started once again to read The Difference Engine, a book that Gibson co-authored with Bruce Sterling. I enjoy my attempts at reading this particular work but for some reason I always seem to put it down about halfway through and forget about it until the library sends me an overdue notice.

I managed to get through a short story collection by Richard Matheson, which included I am Legend, It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t that great either  I think I liked the other less well-known stories; perhaps that is because they seemed a bit less tired, since there haven’t been film adaptations of them.

I, for some inexplicable reason, actually read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larson. By the end of that book I decided that, where he not already dead, I would have organized a posse to fly to Sweden and lynch him for ever putting pen to paper.The real puzzler about it is that he managed to publish two more books with the same characters. Seriously I spent the entire novel waiting for it to engage me, or get me to even remotely care about his dispassionate and irreparably dysfunctional characters; and it never did, it was even boring when the protagonists lives were in peril yet some how all three of the books in this series spent weeks, nay months on the best seller lists. I suspect it has something to do because he tied it into Nazis, sexual deviance, and computer hacking. The first installment was such a chore to read that I can’t fathom making an attempt at the others. But that is just my opinion and I am allowed to be wrong.

I reread several of the Discworld novels, a series which will never get old for me. I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett and if you haven’t been reading his work then you are missing out on some of the  greatest satirical fantasy literature. I especially recommend any of the books that involve the characters of Samuel Vimes and the Ankh Morpork city watch. 

The worst book for me to read while going through something like this is Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson. First off despite the narrator staring off being a less than moral person that spends the better part of the book convincing you of what a giant turd he is, he is suffering an injury and a resulting ordeal that was so much worse than mine it made me even more angry when I was trying to properly feeling sorry for myself. Second My timing of reading this book is that every time he mentions anything about physical therapy or recovery, it managed to be the very thing that I wound dealing with either later the same day or the following one, immediately after I read it; this resulted in some very disconcerting feelings of deja vu and mild paranoia that was made worse by opiate pain killers. And third it is a smarmy story of love that can never be physically consummated and is told through a series of mildly aggravating asides involving past lives. Setting aside the fact that this is basically just a romance novel with a twist, it is very well written; especially the very rich and detailed descriptive in the opening chapter. I firmly, will file this book under one that was a guilty pleasure to read.

There were others to be sure but these stick out in my memory after the past couple of years.