Star Trek: Disappointment

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come not to praise Caesar but to bury him.” — Mark Anthony in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Let that serve as notice to the tone of all that follows.

The long awaited Star Trek: Discovery premiered last night and it was a mixed bag, at best.

From a purely aesthetic view, it was beautiful. The special effects are nearly flawless, with a high budget movie quality to them. They are almost too detailed and overwhelming on the small screen.

The show takes place 10 years before Captain Kirk. Why the Trek braintrust insists on going back in time versus going forward, is an enigma.

But they did and that causes a whole slew of continuity issues.

Start with the Klingons. It was hard enough to explain how their species evolved from the Asiatic human-looking villains in the original series to the ones with the ridged foreheads and mullets in Next Generation, but now how do they explain that they looked like demons just a decade earlier?

Still, it’s nice to have the Klingons as villains again instead of allies, as they became in Deep Space Nine.

And they didn’t even try to backwards retrofit all the tech in order to give the series a look and feel older than TOS, as they at least attempted to do with Enterprise.

One example is the phaser pistol Captain Philippa Georgiou (sadly, Michelle Yeoh is only a guest star and not the main character) holds on the traitorous First Officer Michael Burnam. It looks more like something that would have come after the TOS phaser. They should have made it look more rounded and bulkier, something more akin to the pistols from the TOS’ pilot episode, The Menagerie.

And the bridge itself looks far more advanced than the one from TOS or even Next Gen. And that makes you wonder why the design would change from this very high-tech, spacious bridge to the more cramped one on the TOS’ Enterprise.

And personally, I like the character of Captain Georgiou, which is disappointing because she is not the focus of the series, nor is her ship or crew.

The focus is on the First Officer, the mutinous Michael Burnam, who I think should be keelhauled, but I guess they don’t do that in the future. Seems traitors and mutineers aren’t drummed out of the service to spend the rest of their lives rotting in a brig. Instead, she’ll be demoted down to First Mate on the starship Discovery.

I don’t like Burnam, which is a shame because it seems she will be the series main focus. Of course, my prejudice against her came the moment she assaulted her Captain and tried to commandeer the ship. I don’t mind hot-headed characters or the take charge sort or even ones who bend the rules at times, but what I don’t like are hot-headed, irrational characters who are so inflexible and narrow-minded in their views they commit violent acts of treachery to get their way.

And what’s with the Vulcan Nerve Pinch. I understand she was raised on Vulcan by Spock’s father, went to the Vulcan Learning Center and then their Science Academy, but she’s still only human. Even Kirk never learned how to do the neck pitch and as Spock said, “I tried to teach you.”

To me, this sets bad precedence. Now we’ll always wonder why no one else ever learned the neck pitch, which was an invaluable tool in deescalating so many situations.

Something else I didn’t care for: ending on a cliff-hanger. What I liked most about Star Trek overall was an absence of cliff-hangers, but even more than that, each and every episode was self-contained. I can turn on any episode of any Star Trek series and can watch it without needing any prior knowledge of what happened previously.

I understand we dodged a bullet when the original director quit, his plan had been to make it like Lost, with an overreaching, continuous story arc. I am not a fan of those kinds of shows. I wasn’t happy with some of Deep Space Nine’s story arcs. It forces you to watch every episode in order and if you miss a few, you just sit there confused.

Another thing, as much as I loved the look of the show, it was the feel that left me lacking. It didn’t feel like Star Trek. There was no sense of wonder. No sense of hope. No sense of Mankind aspiring to become better. There was no Roddenberry, child-like sense of awe.

Instead, it felt like a set-up to a mindlessly violent military drama. No sense of space exporation, no seeking out new life, or new civilizations, no going boldly where no one has gone before, just a sense of forboding and doom as we prepare go to war.

Which brings me to my overwhelming judgement that this series seems too dark for Star Trek and that saddens me.

Its possible the series and characters would have grown on me over time, but CBS isn’t giving me that chance because this is the only free episode CBS will show.

This was a teaser, my friends. CBS is like a blackmailer sending you the severed ear of a loved one and demanding payment if you want to see them alive and whole again.

This is nothing more than extortion, forcing Star Trek fans pay for their stupid subscription service, CBC All Access. Star Trek should be accessible and affordable to all fans, not just the rich.

I’ll wait for the series to come out on DVD, or possibly when the entire season is finished I’ll subscribe to CBS’ seven day free trial and binge watch.

But paying $10 a month to watch one show — which is what I’d be doing because I can’t name any other shows CBS does, or has ever done — is fiscally irresponsible.

I don’t negotiate with terrorists, CBS. Fuck you.

-30-

Advertisements

Friday week in review

A Friday Haiku

First day of Autumn

Someone needs to tell Summer

Ninety-five? Really?

Edited to Add: Milwaukee reached 95 degrees Fahrenheit today. Broke the 1937 record of 92 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here we go, Brewers, here we go!

Only 10 games left and the Milwaukee Brewers are still in the thick of the National League playoff race, despite losing two crucial games that would have tied them with Denver for the final Wild Card berth and brought them a game closer to the Cubs.

Win or lose, if they make the playoffs or don’t, this is already one of the Brewers’ most exciting seasons.

For one thing, no one expected this (except us true blue fans). Every so-called experts predicted the Brew Crew would be cellar dwellars, battling it out with Cincinnati for last place. After all, they had that fire sale, getting rid of all their star players, except for Ryan Braun, and filled their roster with farm club no-names. The Brewers were essentially fielding a Triple-A team, or so the experts claimed.

Did the Brewers even see the script for this season? It’s doubtul because they immediately surprised everyone by jumping into first place in their division from the very beginning and didn’t let up until the All-Star Break. Not only that, they led the league in home runs, RBI, and several other stats. For a time, they were the best team in baseball.

In other words, this lowly small-town team of Triple-A ballplayers dared to disrespect the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs as well as the perennial playoff contending St. Louis Cardinals by beating the pants off of them.

And here we are, on the final lap of the baseball season and the Brewers are still in the thick of it. Second place in the division and still within reach of a Wild Card.

True fans couldn’t be happier and even if they miss the post-season, we can’t complain. They did more than exceed expectations, they knocked them out of the park. They’re a very young team and as they’ve shown, very talented with a lot of heart. They have fun and are just plain fun to watch.

Brewers tear off Erik Thames’ shirt to celebrate his walk off home run against San Diego in June 16, 2017.

This season was all about team-building and gaining valuable experience, especially on how to deal with the intense pressure of a playoff race.

Whatever the outcome of the season is, this team is no longer is a bunch of no-names. In a short time, everyone now knows Domingo Santana, Zach Davies, Eric Thames, Travis Shaw, Josh Hader, Corey Knebbel, Manny Pina (Lucroy who?), Orlando Arcia, nerd boy Eric Sogard, Keon Broxton, Brett Phillips with his 80-grade arm and they’ve put the rest of the league on notice. These guys are going to be contenders for many seasons yet to come.

It’s a great time to be a Brewers fan.

Weigh-In Friday

I’m up again by a couple pounds. Sometimes a little cheating is fine, but losing track of how much you cheated isn’t. It’s like trying to keep a mental tally of your finances instead of writing it down in a ledger, then veing surprised when you get an overdraft notice from the bank. “I could have sworn we had more money!” Our minds like to play tricks on us.

I take some solace in the fact that despite gaining weight, my fat percentage still went down and my muscle percentage went up.

The never ending edits

You’ve heard of the Never Ending Story? Well, I’m trapped in the never ending edits.

I would have hoped I was past the creation stage and well into the pokishing stage of my manuscript, but that isn’t the case.

As my editor side goes through my story to correct flaws in tense, fix passive sentences, and so on, my writer side is also going, “Hey! I have a great idea to add here! How about if…”

And it isn’t just one or two scenes the writer side is considering. It’s every crucial scene. New ideas for dialog, for subplots, and setting as well. Some minor, some major. Not edits, but actual rewrites.

Shut up, writer side, you aren’t helping.

Worse, now I’m worried I might have fallen down the research rabbit hole, that never ending time suck where you go to verify one thing only to have that topic lead to another topic and another and another. None related to what you started out researching, but all addictingly interesting enough to draw you in and hold you there. A prisoner to your own desire for more knowledge.

Help me.

The GOP wants to kill us

There is a lot of buzz going on about how scary the recent release of the remake of Stephen King’s It is. But there’s something even scarier on Capital Hill. It’s a two-headed monster called Graham-Cassidy and it wants to kill us all.

Millions will lose their health insurance. Many due to pre-existing conditions (which they say are covered but they really aren’t), necause the bill has no guarantees they can get coverage.

States that accepted Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, would lose their funding, but more importantly and scarier, there will be complete changes to how Medicaid is funded to all states. This is the GOP saying “Fuck you” to the elderly and disabled.

This is the worst of the Trumpcare repeal and replace bills yet!

Call your Congressperson. Complain. Give them an earful that we’re tired of their conservative bullshit. Save the ACA.

Unless you want to die.

TheRump wants to kill us too

If there is one thing this week has shown, it’s how much of a divide exists between the deplorables and the rest of the world.

The great orange turd addressed the United Nations in his own inimitable style. In other words, he appalled all civilized people everywhere with his ignorant and bellicose rhetoric, threatening to destroy another nation.

But not everyone was shocked or appalled by TheRump’s insane patter. On the contrary, my Twitter feed exploded with praise for King Cheeto. “It’s about time we had a real President who stands up for Murica!” They want him to destroy a nation. Any nation. Do they look different from us? Speak some funny language other than English? Kill ’em! Kill ’em all! They think going to war should always be our first option in negotiations. Diplomacy is for wimps.

It should come as no surprise the trumpettes admired his angry posturing, his childish namecalling, his chest pounding and threat displays and saw them as something to be proud of. And that’s why Hillary appropriately named them deplorables.

Currently reading

Last night I was digging through my To-Be-Read pile of books and came across “Weird Tales: The Magazine That Never Dies,” an anthology of short fiction that had appeared in that magazine over the years, edited by Marvin Kaye. I picked it up and started reading and couldn’t put it down. I’ve always enjoyed pulp fiction and Weird Tales had some of the best by some of the great writers of the day, like Ray Bradbury, H. G. Wells, Fritz Lieber, August Derleth, L. Sprague de Camp, Robert Bloch, Tanith Lee, H. P. Lovecraft, and Richard Matheson to name a few.

I leave you with a song

For your listening pleasure, a song with which to start your weekend and also to ring in Autumn.

So fell Autumn rain, washed away all my pain, I feel brighter somehow, lighter somehow to breathe once again

So fell Autumn rain, washed my sorrows away, with the sunset behibd somehow I find the dreams are to stay

So fell autumn rain

From “So Fell Autumn Rain” by Lake of Tears

-30-

Cat scratch fever

“Those who’ll play with cats must expect to be scratched.” — Miguel de Cervantes

Our white cat was limping and when she sat, she’d favor her right front paw by holding it up. We checked to see what was wrong and found that her index finger nail (for lack of a better term) had grown so long, it was cutting into the digital pad or toe on her paw, causing a bleeding laceration.

After running to the store for a clipper, we attempted to trim it. She wasn’t having any of it. She was fine until I had to retract her claw, which only caused more pain, then she’d become a little demon, biting and clawing us.

To be honest, I didn’t want to pay someone to do something I should be able to do, so I did a little online research. All the how-tos on claw clipping said the same thing: start when they are very young so they get used to it. Great. Our cat is 9. That window of opportunity closed long ago.

A sidebar here:

We’ve never trimmed the nails on any of the cats. And I only trim our Jack Russell’s nails, because he’s a metrosexual and likes being pampered, but our dalmatian won’t let me touch his oaws ever since I tried trimming his and cut the quick (that vein in their claw). He took off whining and howling like he was being murdered and left the house looking like a gory scene from a slaughter flick.

We have experience trimming our ferrets’ claws, but here’s the thing: you grab a ferret by the scruff of the neck and they go completely limp, offering no resistence whatsoever.

Cats aren’t like that. They resist. Factor in that our white cat was a rescue cat, who had been abused. When we brought her home, all she did was moan and yowl all the time while hiding under our bed.

That’s why she’s named Moana Lisa.

It took several weeks before she began to roam the house (I’m not even sure if she ate or relieved herself during that time). She was still one angry bitch and she’d hiss at anything that came near her. Our poor dalmatian always got swiped at by her and to this day avoids her.

She didn’t come near any of us and when she was in her tower, she’d hiss, and moan, and try to claw and bite us if we came near, much less attempted to pet her.

In order to get her used to us, I forced my affections upon her. I figure it was like exposure treatment used to treat phobias. I flooded her with stimuli, in this case, me. For months, my hands and arms were clawed and scratched. But it worked, sort of.

One day, months, maybe even a year later, she actually climbed into our lap and purred. That is, until we tried to pet her. Then she was all hissing and angry and like, “How dare you touch me!” She then jumped off and hissed at anything that moved as she slunk away.

We’ve had Moana for four years now and it’s taken all that time to earn her trust, still on her own terms. She climbs in our laps, cuddles and purrs, and let’s us pet her, if only for a few moments, then she’s like, “That’s enough,” and off she goes. At least she isn’t hissing and moaning and biting any longer.

Another thing about Moana is she’s always had one or two claws that don’t fully retract. Not sure which ones, but when she walks, they click on the floor, which makes it sound like she is wearing high heels. That’s part of why we call her a diva.

Now you have a better understanding of what we were up against in attempting to clip her. She still doesn’t like being picked up or held and we had to do that and more to clip that wayward nail.

Finally, I had an idea. Leather work gloves! Brilliant!

My wife held Moana by the scruff of the neck and used a work glove to hold her hind legs. I wore a work glove on the hand that grasped her injured paw.

As soon as I pressed on the pad to expose the nail she became a white hot ball of scratching claws and biting teeth.

Good thing the work gloves were thick enough. Still, with her struggling like a demon, clipping the nail wasn’t going to be a precision job. I didn’t have the luxury of looking for the quick. I just dove in and snipped, hoping for the best.

Success! And I didn’t cut the vein.

Before releasing her, I applied a small amount of A&D Ointment to the wound on her pad, which she promptly licked off.

She still limps a little, but the pad appears to be healing. And now we know what to do if it happens again.

-30-

Writing Wednesday

I finished the first draft go-through of my urban fantasy fairy tale I’ve been writing since February.

I must say, I still don’t hate it. (Although I do need to work on a great punch line ending.)

I still find it a very fun story. The characters all click for me. The love story, although it happens quickly over a period of only three or four days, doesn’t seem too rushed to me. But, what do I know? I have trouble with time relationships as part of my ADHD.

Sometimes I’ll think something happened a long, long time ago and someone will say, “That was just last week,” while other times I’ll run into someone and think I just saw them recently, but they’ll let me know its been months (often rather angrily if I had said I’d get back to them about something and I never did). “You sure it was 6 months ago?”

Sorry, went off on another tangent.

This first go-around I just read it for content to see if anything glaring jumped out at me. First thing I found was an entire section that said, “[fill in with more detail].” (I often use brackets to highlight things i need to go back and do.) So I did. One character’s eye color changed. I also found in the beginning I used the word faerie for both the creatures and as a term for a clan of faeries. And sometimes Faerie the clan was capitalized and other times not. Then, in the last quarter of the book, I started using the word fae, capitalized and uncapitalized, as the word for a faerie clan. I also spell the word faerie when characters who know about the supernatural refer to them and fairy when regular people talk about them. I wonder if that will confuse the reader?

Other than that, there weren’t any glaring continuity errors that I saw.

Now comes the fun edits. OK, I lied. These are the boring edits. Where I search for, then try to replace a series of words that need to be removed or rewritten.

For example, I’ve always had a big but problem. It seems to be part of my writing style, to write sentences in such a way that I have a but conjunction in far too many of them.

To me, but appears excessively, like at least once every paragraph. Maybe they don’t really, but it sure seems that way.

(Ok, I did a search. I have 465 buts in a 99,000 word novel contained within 3,649 paragraphs. Is that a but to paragraph ratio of 12%? How would I know? I’m a writer, not a mathemetician.)

Another thing I’ll search for are words ending in ly. Not that I am anti-adverb, like a lot of writing advice seems to be, mind you, after all, an adverb is just another spice in the writer’s spice rack. You can use it sparingly for effect or use it too often and it becomes overpowering. For myself, in some cases, a sentence can be rewritten better without the adverb. In other instances however, an adverb can work perfectly.

Next, I’ll look for observation or sense words (not sure what the actual writing term is, intransitive verbs?) like think, feel, see, seems, appears, and so on. These words point out an activity, instead of describing the sensation itself. The story is in first person and it isn’t necessary to say, “I feel …” something. I do need to describe what the MC is feeling. In other words, I need to show, and not tell.

In a related search, I’ll look for all the to be verbs. Was, have, can, could, would, etc. do have their place, but often these sentences can be rewritten to give the meaning more punch or immediacy. Many times these words indicate a sentence that is in passive voice instead of active voice.

And finally, I’ll search for crutch gestures, such as, “He shrugged,” “She raised an eyebrow,” “They laughed,” or “He smiled.” Filler phrases that are cliched cues about a character’s behavior and can become tedious with repetition if everyone’s heads are nodding and their eyes are winking. This is more show, don’t tell.

Here is a short tally of excessive words appearing in my novel:

  • But appears 465 times
  • Ly words appear 1,025 times
  • Was appears 1,708 times
  • See appears 347 times of which 47 are Seen
  • Look appears 297x
  • Have appears 452x
  • Can 314x, Could 352x, Tries 48x, Think 222x, Would 259x.

Do you think I’m obsessing over nothing?

After I’ve gone through my lists of Find and Replace words, then I’ll give it a very thorough read-through again.

Now I’ll take a few questions from the audience.

“When do you run the grammar checker?” I don’t. I will probably run the spell check when I’m nearly done to see if I introduced any errors during my edits, but I simply don’t trust most grammar checkers.

“What grammar books do you refer to most?” Usually Strunk and White’s Elements of Style before they added a third name to the title. Also English 2600: A Programmed Course in Grammar and Usage (I also have English 3200). I’ll reread S&W and English 2600 as a refresher before I do my final read-through.

The programmed course is interesting, starting off with a simple sentence like, “Birds fly” (What is the subject? Birds. What is the predicate? Fly.) and progressively getting more and more informative and difficult. I’ve relied on those books for almost 50 years.

“Do you read your writing out loud?” I do not. I understand why some authors do, because hearing the sentences helps them catch rhythm issues, like too many short sentences, or clunky sounding phrases that a writer may miss reading silently. But I have two reasons for not reading out loud. 1) I can’t stand the sound of my own voice. It’s also one reason I have never used a tape recorder to write with when pen and paper aren’t available. 2) I’m a horrible out loud reader. I think, for one thing, my tongue might be too big for my mouth, but beyond that, there’s a disconnect between my eyes and my mouth when I read. My eyes will be wandering a few words ahead while my mouth is still trying to comprehend the words previous, this making it sound like Yoda is reading it. I will also admit, I had to go to remedial reading classes when my elementary teachers discovered I had been faking my ability to read. I wasn’t reading phonetically, which was the thing then, I simply had a monstrous vocabulary and had all the most common words memorized.

Whatever the reason, I stumble and stammer when reading out loud, just as I always have, so there is no benefit to my reading out loud — everything sounds clunky, and in Yoda’s voice.

Somewhere around here is a blogpost of me reading Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” one Halloween several years back. It took me innumeral takes before I got it to where I thought it wasn’t too embarrassing to post. If it hadn’t been part of a challenge by fellow blogsters at the time, it never would have been posted, ir even recorded. My reading of it is atrocious. Find it and have a good laugh.

“Would you consider paying for a real editor?” No.

“When will you send it to beta readers?” I don’t know. The reason I packed away my trunk novel is despite several positive critiques, I received one particularly scathing critique that absolutely deflated me and I gave up writing for several years. Pretty sure I don’t want to go through that again.

“When will you start to write the synopsis and query letter?” Shut up. Never say those words to a writer unless you’re prepared for violence.

“When do you anticipate sending it to agents?” I don’t know. Looking at the calendar, I doubt I’ll make it before NaNoWriMo and I’d hate to start subbing it after, since that’s when all those NaNo-novels start filling up slush piles everywhere. So, most likely early 2018.

“Are you thinking of self-publishing?” Only as a last resort, after I’ve been rejected by every literary agent there is

And it looks like we’ve run out of time for further questions. Thank you all for your time.

-30-

Adventures in ADHD episode 162

After work, I had to stop at the pediatrician’s to pick up my son’s prescription for ADHD, then I ran it over to Walgreen’s. All that extra running around and gas is thanks to the U.S. government and their pain-in-the-ass laws about ADHD meds, which they classify as a controlled substance.

By this time, my own ADHD meds had worn off, which means unlike what amphetamines would do to normal people when they wear off — and that is crash and zonk out — when ADHD meds wear off all that pent-up and suppressed hyperactivity comes out full force like a rocket. In other words, I’m like Taz.

I dropped the prescription off and they said it be 15 minutes to fill. In reality, it turned out to be almost half an hour. I wandered around, looking at merchandise, picking things up, playing with them, turning on Halloween decorations and a few early Christmas decorations.

Finally, they paged me. I went up and that’s when the fun started. I had to hand over my driver’s license to prove who I was. My distractability was at an all time high. I’m looking everywhere except at the pharmacist. I think I was looking at a advertising display for something, it probably had interesting colors, or I was reading the text, whatever. He was trying to hand back my license and I didn’t notice until he finally waved it in my face.

Then he started ringing everything up and I got to play with the debit card reader thingie, whatever they’re called, and I had to put in my pin several times because I kept making errors. When I finished, I started drifting again, and didn’t notice the process was complete or that it was beeping for me to remove my card. He again had to tell me to do that.

And all this time, I never made eye contact, I’d just sort of pass over him as I talked as if I couldn’t focus on him.

I left embarrassed and worried he thought my erratic behavior came from abusing my own son’s ADHD meds, maybe even alerting authorities, when the reality was, I was off my own meds.

Nevertheless, I was very proud of myself. Why?

Because this:

20170915_161912_Film1

They had a display of toy cars and it was the first time I’ve ever saw a Fiat 500, however, I exercised a fantabulous amount of self-control and did not buy the car even though it was only $5.99 and even though I walked around the store with it in my hand until they called my name.

And that’s the truth.

-30-

 

Wrap a wrap a wrap

A Friday Haiku

Another week gone

Where do they go? I don’t know

To join dryer socks?

Exercises come and go

If you’re anything like me (and if you are, I apologize), you tend to hate certain exercises and quickly get bored with others.

Running, I’m good to go, even if I sometimes take more days off between runs than I should; I still look forward to my runs and enjoy them (well, except for those first several minutes where you question your own sanity and wonder why you torture yourself so until the endorphins hit, the sun comes out, and the birds sing).

But other exercises I’ve always hated.

Stretching has always been my ultimate nemesis. I could neven touch my toes in grade school (and still can’t). So any stretching regimen I start ends quickly in pain and frustration. I don’t need such negativity in my life. I get it, I’m a failure at flexibility.

Push-ups are another. Loathe them. I don’t know what it is about them, but I really have to force myself to do them. Bench presses, on the other hand, I don’t mind and in fact, when I can feel the burn in my chest, shoulders, and triceps, I become motivated to do extra reps. But push-ups, I just collapse on the floor and give up.

Sit-ups and crunches I hate as well, and not because they sometimes hurt my back. I always need something to hook my feet under or I just sort of thrash away like a turtle on its back. In high school gym it was very embarrassing.

And that must be the reason for my dislike of certain exercises, there is some sort of psychological association with high school gym where all the other boys were towering over me, muscles rippling (think The Crusher from Bugs Bunny), and they could pound out dozens of push-ups, sit-ups, as well as the dreaded chin-up, and throw in an iron cross for good measure, while I’d struggle with my skinny spaghetti limbs trembling and flailing around, never accomplishing anything.

Now that I think about it, high school gym class was exactly like that for me.

Anyway, I meant to talk about how I start doing some exercises, but then quickly forget to do them, but I got off on a tangent on why I skipped gym all the time.

I was noticing a pain or weakness in my hamstrings and buttock the last few weeks when I step up onto something, like curbs or stairs.

Running was causing a strength imbalance and the stretches I attempted weren’t helping.

I realized I had gotten away from doing hamstring curls on my Weider Crossbow and doing rows on my CardioFit. I call them rows, but the machine is like the Tony Little Healthrider (see below).

These machines were all the rage back in the 80s, so I picked mine up at Sears after our stairstepper died (and Sears wouldn’t do anything so I wrote the CEO, then got a whiny letter from the store manager. “Why didn’t you contact me first?” Because I wanted you to squirm). The Healthrider seems more aerobic, with little resistance. My CardioFit has an adjustable piston to increase the resistence, making it more anerobic, although I’ve rarely dialed it past 2 (it goes up to a muscle- and joint-punishing 9).

Sorry, I did it again. The point is, after a week of this cross-training, my hamstrings feel much better.

And I apologize for taking forever to make that point.

Writing and editing and sex

I’d say I’m about 80 to 85% done with my first round of edits for my urban fantasy fairy tale.

This is the first time I’ve read it through. Strangely, I’m still very excited about it. That must mean it’s horrible.

Right now I’m editing for flow and continuity. I see where I called one character Bill, when his name is Benton. That’s what happens when you grab scenes from a trunk novel and don’t do a thorough read to catch things like that.

I’m back to a concern I mentioned several weeks or months ago about the relationship between two of the characters. They’ve known each other for less than a week and they’ve already fallen in love. Yes, I know such things happen in real life, if infrequently. And yes, I’ve read some urban fantasy romances and it seems the characters are jumping in the sack almost immediately. And therefore, I shouldn’t be that worried, but I am.

I’ve never written anything romantic before. I’ve never been concerned with the love lives of my characters. But beyond this being my first attempt at romance, its also my first attempt at writing a sex scene. To be honest, I haven’t even read very many sex scenes.

And this one has two so far. Scenes that, lacking any literary experience in the matter, I don’t know if they come off as hokie, or cliched, or downright boring.

I wonder if I should pass it to some beta readers to get outside reactions?

Weigh-In Friday

Despite only running on Monday, although I did do some weight training, and eating more than my fair share of my wife’s Dairy Queen ice cream birthday cake, my weight is down below 200 pounds at 199.7. Woot!

Designated Driver

For you couples out there, when you go somewhere together, who drives? The man or the woman?

I grew up in a time when men were the drivers and women were passengers.

Lately, I’ve been noticing more women driving with men as passengers and it still looks out of place to me.

Not for any sexist reasons; I certainly don’t believe gender innately makes someone a better or worse driver. Nor do I believe men are somehow ordained to rule over or control women.

In my case, I drive because for one thing, I get carsick as a passenger. For another, I drive my wife crazy because I don’t know what to do with myself as a passenger. I can’t read or play on my phone because of the motion sickness. So, I fidget, tap my feet, or drum my fingers, play with all the dials and switches, and constantly change the radio station. Being a passenger magnifies my ADHD.

So, very early in our relationship, my wife realized it was better for everyone all around if she let me drive.

Then she could read and play on her phone and ignore the fact that I wait until the very last second before applying the brakes.

Finally nearing the end

Since I spent most of this blog going off on attention deficit fueled tangents, I’ll spare you any political rants for the week.

TheRump is still an orange turd though. Never forget. Never normalize his hatred, bigotry, or incivility. Resist.

Enjoy your weekend. Here’s a song to send you off with:

-30-

What Happened really

Hillary Clinton has another memoir out. This one titled, “What Happened,” where she whines about why she lost the election.

I haven’t read it, nor do I plan to. I don’t need an entire book to know “What Happened.”

Nor am I interested in her blame game. Hillary’s going to accuse James Comey’s last minute surprise for her loss. She’ll blame the media for their unwarranted emphasis on her emails, for their lack of coverage concerning her stand on the issues, and for their wall-to-wall genuflecting of Trump.

Let’s clear the air on one thing, Hillary won the popular vote, a fact everyone seems to forget when they discuss the election. Hillary earned 3 million more votes than Trump.

How then, did Trump win the election?

The truth of the matter is, and she continues to attempt to debunk this, Hillary ignored the midwest.

She claims she didn’t, that she went on some sort of Rust Belt Tour. I don’t recall any tour. I do know Hillary lost four key states and those gave Trump his Electoral College victory.

I can’t speak for the other three states, but I can surmise that the reasons she lost Wisconsin apply equally to those others.

There is only one reason Hillary lost and that is, Hillary literally ignored Wisconsin. Completely. Totally. She visited our state once in 2016 and that was back in February. Just once.

Voters have poor memories and eight months is an eternity. Voters want to know what you did for us lately. What Hillary did was ignore us.

Voters want to be wooed. They want to know someone cares. They want to know someone is going to work hard for them, represent them, fight for them.

As much as Trump is a bigot, a misogynist, a homophobe, a hateful asshole, he understood the need to woo those same types of people to his side.

While Hillary treated Wisconsin as a flyover, Trump was here spreading his message of hate to the back woods rednecks. Hillary however, had an even larger pool of potential voters from which to draw from, but she ignored them.

Arrogance was Hillary’s downfall. Hillary, and her campaign arrogantly felt because Wisconsin hadn’t voted Republican since Reagan, and that Trump was no Reagan, that she was a shoo-in here.

She arrogantly took polls showing she was ahead by a good margin in Wisconsin, and those three other key states, as gospel.

But Wisconsin did vote Republican and the polls were wrong. Why? For one thing, the deplorables lied. They didn’t want to admit in public they were supporting a white supremicist who made fun of the handicapped, so they lied. For another, many of the voters polled as supporting Hillary never showed up to vote.

We could blame Voter ID laws and Republican attempts to suppress voters, which played a minor role, but the real reason no one showed up to vote was because they felt voting didn’t matter.

Neither candidate went to the inner city of Milwaukee. Trump visited Milwaukee, but mostly white areas. His message of hate and blame wouldn’t have gone over very well on 6th and Walnut.

And yes, Hillary was head and shoulders the better and more experienced candidate, as well as a better human being. Period.

But she never came to woo the key voters: the inner city minorities. One criticism leveled against these non-voters is Trump’s win is somehow their fault, they should have voted even if just to prevent a bigot from winning, but people don’t think like that. Voters shouldn’t have to think in terms of preventive voting or voting for the lesser of two evils.

Voters want a clear cut choice. They desire someone to vote for, not against.

Hillary should have campaigned in Milwaukee. Hillary should have walked the streets. Shaken hands. Told them she cared. Offered them hope. Explained how she planned on helping them economically. How she’d bring jobs. Make neighborhoods safe. Improve schools. How she could make their tomorrows brighter.

All Wisconsin voters wanted someone they could rally behind. Someone to get excited about. Someone who made them feel like human beings instead of polling statistics.

Had Hillary campaigned in Milwaukee, she could have drawn upon those voters who overwhelmingly put Obama into the White House twice.

But Hillary didn’t do anything. She never came to Wisconsin in the months and weeks leading up to the election. She never showed her famous “it takes a village” compassion.

And because she showed no interest in us, she received the same amount of interest from us and potential voters stayed home in droves.

In “What Happened,” Hillary will probably blame everyone else for her loss. What she needs to do is take a long hard look in the mirror.

Hillary has no one to blame for her loss other than herself.

The 2016 election is long gone now. Dwelling on it does nobody any good. Instead of books that dredge up the past, what we need to do is move forward and do everything in our power to resist and obstruct the current fascist regime, and work toward the ultimate goal of removing TheRump from office.

-30-