RT @MinaMarkham: And then the…

And then the murderer turns out to be you.


I am not always very…

I am not always very attached to being alive via @outline


One half of my brain…

One half of my brain is telling me to write something today. The other half doesn’t have a clue what to write. Sitt…


Home again. Excellent little vacation…

Home again. Excellent little vacation while the kids were at camp.

Life Happens

Zen and the Art of Car Maintenance

I missed posting yesterday because I spent five hours driving and five hours waiting in a Honda dealership service department.

The backstory: our 2016 Honda Fit’s check engine light came on several weeks ago. Since we live so far away from a dealership, I took it to my local mechanic to have it checked. It was a non-specific code, so they did the easiest of the many repair options.

Minutes after leaving the mechanic with this fix, the light was back on. I took the car back and had another repair done.

Guess what?

The light came back on before I got home.

At that point, my local mechanic said the next repair would be expensive. I opted to take it to the dealership to see if the repairs were under warranty. (Admittedly, my first instinct was to trade the car in, or blow it up.)

The dealership determined that the fuel injectors were bad. This would be a $2,000 repair. Luckily, the majority of the cost was covered under warranty.

Yesterday, I sat in the dealership and waited for the warranty work to be done. We also needed new tires, an oil change, and a state inspection. I decided to just get all of this done while I was already waiting, rather than making myself spend another day in the future waiting at a mechanic’s shop.

Low and behold, the service manager comes out to tell me the car isn’t inspectable. Apparently, between the time I was in their shop for diagnosis (two and a half weeks ago) and yesterday, one of the shock absorbers on the car… Exploded?

Needless to say, that one isn’t covered under warranty and would cost me $600 or so.

So  now, I set at home with an uninspectable car, wondering why I don’t live in a city where I wouldn’t need a car (spoiler: agoraphobia is why).

That was my day yesterday. Now I have to go call a mechanic and find out what a non-dealership cost would be for these shocks.

Pet Peeves

Dialogue-less Books

Here’s a pet peeve of mine: dialogue-less books.

What triggered this post is the novel Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli. However, a popular example of this is Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. The Road is science fiction dressed up in literary snobbery (another pet peeve for later), but it eschews the traditional dialogue format.

Here’s an example:

Note at the end of the paragraph, there’s a “he said.” There’s a least a gender assigned to the speaker, though it isn’t unique. There’s a “he” and “the boy.” Given the paragraph, I would assume father and son, or at least adult male and young boy.

Then a paragraph break and (apparently?) more dialogue. But no indicators of the speaker. It is easy to assume this is a back-and-forth, and in this very short snapshot, it becomes obvious which person is speaking when.

However, for me (and remember this is a pet peeve, a personal vexation), I’ve already spent too much time trying to ensure I understand who is speaking that I’m bounced out of the story’s reality and into my own. Which is not where I want to be when I read; I want to be in the story’s world, not mine.

To me, this is lazy writing. It leaves the characters as stiff, cardboard cutouts, rather than real, living beings. I don’t understand what this brings to a story, other than tripe snobbery, an attempt to take what should be an excellent, post-apocalypse story and “dress it up” for the literary, “genre-writing isn’t real writing” snobs.

Reviews TV

Thoughts On Netflix’s “Black Summer”

I’d like to talk about Netflix’s latest zombie show, Black Summer. Here’s a quick plot summary:

Black Summer stars Jaime King (Hart of Dixie) as a mother who is torn from her daughter and embarks upon a harrowing journey, stopping at nothing to find her. Thrust alongside a small group of American refugees, she must brave a hostile new world and make brutal decisions during the most-deadly summer of a zombie apocalypse. 

via Hollywood Reporter

Here be spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.

Health, Physical & Mental

Feeling Better

About three weeks ago, I had another medication change. This is probably the latest in a dozen or more over the last two years. Up until now, my medical professionals have been trying to directly treat bipolar type two disorder.

Three weeks ago, we started trying to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, with a focus on the obsessive aspect. (I don’t really have compulsions in the Hollywood-style.)

This change has been incredible. Usually, we change a medication and I have, roughly, a two week period where I feel better. Then things go back to my “normal.” Normal for me is very, very depressed with no motivation.

The last three weeks or so have seen me without depression. When I say without, I mean near zero. I get a depression questionnaire whenever I go to the doctor (called a PHQ-9 questionnaire). This week is the first time in over three years that I’ve been able to say “Not At All” on most of the questions. Even the ones I can’t say “Not At All” on have been dramatically reduced.

The added bonus is my physical pain has also been reduced. My wife thinks this is tension-related, as in I’m holding myself in a more relaxed manner than usual. I agree with her, as I find I’ve had fewer tension headaches and less jaw pain.

This all leads to: I’m feeling better. More motivated. I’ve been writing more, planning more, thinking of new projects to do.

I’m planning on writing here more often. I’ve been inspired by this interview with Austin Kleon. In particular, the method he uses for a pocket notebook, logbook, diary, etc. I’m going to try to start doing something similar, both to minimize how much I carry on my person day-to-day, and to increase the amount of material I have to use here.

That’s all for now.


RT @DelilahSDawson: An experiment: RT…

An experiment: RT if you would buy a small hardcover edition of #borkbook with poems and artwork. Like if you would…


RT @JanetSteen1: Thank you @longreads…

Thank you @longreads for publishing my essay on pain and @migraines and the maddening mystery of it all.