A Good Dog

Yes, I’ve said this before and I’m saying it again. Luci is indeed the best dog ever.

Yesterday, while I was doing yard  work, I noticed the gate in the picture was bent back and there was a wide gap between the cuff and the post it grips. Because the cuff never gripped the post very well, I have big rocks, one on each side of the gate, so it won’t open inward or outward.

So, the gate was still closed, but the way it was bent yesterday, the gap was wide enough that Luci could have easily slipped out. For a moment, I thought she had. But then I looked behind me and saw her lying on the patio. I was so proud that I immediately told her, “Good dog, Luce.”

I don’t know how long the gate was like that. Definitely more than a day, possibly more than a week. Luci has been spending a lot of time in the backyard. She could have gone out through that gap anytime and she didn’t.

I shouldn’t be so surprised. She doesn’t even follow me out through the front gate unless I tell her, “C’mon, Luce.”

I managed to straighten the gate a bit, and then my dad came over and helped me straighten it better. But I’m still WTFed about it. How can this gate get bent like that? It was like folded down and back. I don’t think the wind could have done that, so I’m suspicious.

I think someone bent the gate on purpose. Why might they have done that? Possibly so they can cox my dog out and steal her. My friend Megan’s dog was recently stolen and my friend Brooke’s dog was stolen a couple years ago. Also, someone stole two dogs from my mom and dad about ten or fifteen years ago.

Dognapping is a reality. While I hope that’s not what this was about, I don’t have anything else of value in my backyard that isn’t locked up in the shed. I ought to hang BEWARE OF OWNER signs on the fence.

I’m not one of those gun owners who will shoot to kill anyone who enters their territory. But, if I ever see someone trying to steal my dog, I won’t let them leave until the police take them away.

Rage Against the Machine is Going to Make Me Completely Deaf

This was a very productive day. Not only did I write 2,283 new words into the novel, I did some more edits on that finished short story and I submitted one of my previous novels to an agency. I also got all of my must-do chores done.

I blast music while writing because it boosts my ability to create. It also wards off distractions. But sometimes when I finish a writing session and turn the music off, my ears are ringing.

The Tigers are playing the Diamondbacks right now. It’s the top of the 5th. Miggy just got a good hit and tied the game, 3-3. Man on second and third, One out. Castellanos is batting.

Hating on Mike Rowe?

Are people hating on Mike Rowe because he’s telling us that there are a number of jobs out there that don’t require expensive college degrees and there’s no shame in doing dirty jobs? Or is there some other reason that people are hating on him? I never saw Mike Rowe as particularly conservative or particularly liberal. To me, he always seemed evenly balanced between both of these mindsets.

ETA
I scrolled Mike Rowe’s Facebook page and I see what it’s about. He responded.

The Last of the Venison

Just ate the last of the deer I shot in October. Steak. It was good. Hope I get more meat this coming fall.

Not sure if I’m done for the day, but I might be. In my earlier post, I told you I was using the stopwatch on my phone to time how long it takes me to get each page down and that I was trying to beat the previous times. In that post I told you that the latest time was 00:19:30:02 and that was for one whole page. Since then I got down three more pages. Here’s the times.

1st page – 00:19:30.02
2nd page – 00:17:01.76
3rd page – 00:16:20.42
4th page – 00:13:37.41

I successfully beat the previous time every time. Each of these were full pages. I would say the writing quality is fair, but probably will be cutting out a bit when I go over the finished rough draft and there are many typos. But the story is getting down and that’s the important thing at this point.

I would like to get it down to ten minutes per page, so I’m still striving for more speed. But that 13 minutes and 37 seconds time is a new record for me.

Also, I need to take shorter breaks after completing a page.

In any case, today’s work was fun. Think I’ll be doing it like this for a while. It’s real sporty.

Tigers at 10.

Mornin’

Been up since 6 AM. Though I don’t normally drink coffee, I have coffee supplies in the kitchen so my brother, or anyone else,  can have some when here. But to assure I stay awake this morning, I decided to make myself a cup. Since my dad recently gave me some pointers on how a cup of coffee should be made, my coffee isn’t as terrible as it used to be.

I’m trying to pick up speed on the novel. I can often get a whole page down in under twenty minutes. I’ve been using the stopwatch feature on my phone to confirm that. I know that’s not bad. Any writer would be proud of that score, and I am. But. I. Need. More. Speed.

I know of writers who can nail down around 2,000 words, about ten pages, in an hour. I would love to be able to get my projects done that fast. Sure, they’ll be messy rough drafts  But that’s what the clean up process is for. I have a lot of projects planned and I want to get them done.

So, I’m working on that. Trying to beat my old time every time. The latest time on the stopwatch is 19:30.02. That was for an entire page of exactly 266 words.

Jay Lake once said, “Writing is an endurance sport.” I’m trying to build up my ability to endure high speeds like Jay did.

In other news, my cousin Josh just finished medical school. That’s a huge accomplishment. If I’m understanding correctly, he’ll soon begin his practice as an orthopaedic surgeon. I might have to  see him about the finger Mr. Ed tried to eat thirty years ago.

Buttstock Shell Holder

Since my old New England .20 gauge shotgun is a single, I figured it ought to carry extra rounds. So, I bought this Allen 5-round buttstock shell holder. I like it, it’s holding the shells good.

A Life In Parts, by Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston is best known for his role as Walter White on AMC’s Breaking Bad. In his book, A Life In Parts, Cranston recounts his life from childhood to his time after Breaking Bad. We learn about his struggles with anxiety and his pain, and we learn about his work.

Although Cranston didn’t actually say so in these words, I felt that many times he was saying the same thing I’ve been saying: “Do the best you can, hope for the best and see what happens.” It’s been kind of a motto for me.

Cranston didn’t expect he would be a success. He didn’t know Breaking Bad would be the hit that it was. He just gave it his all and look what happened.

Another thing I came away with is that people at the top of the ladder, no matter how much experience they have, they are often wrong. Directors and networks, and so on. The people who sit at the long tables and make the big decisions. There were times they didn’t feel Cranston was right for the role or that his work sucked. But he got the part because someone would believe in him and fight for him.

Once in the role, Cranston would prove the higher-ups wrong. This was the case with Breaking Bad and it was the case with Malcolm in the Middle. Cranston showed those who didn’t believe in him that he was the best man for the role.

I apply that to writing, and pretty much anything else too. Some editors might think your work is terrible, but other editors might disagree with them. In the past, I would feel that if one editor didn’t like my work, the work was shit and no one was going to want it. I threw away a lot of stories that were probably fine. These days I keep my work on the market until it sells, because editors ain’t always right, just like directors, networks and producers ain’t always right. Not even doctors are always right.

The message I get from Cranston’s book is, if you want it, work for it and you just might get  it.

Don’t give up.

is on the wrong train.