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All posts for the month January, 2016

Strange World

Published January 28, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

It’s a little bizarre out here in the First World.

I was raised Catholic, complete with Catholic School K-12 and I have received all of the Sacraments except for Matrimony and Holy Orders. (Long story with lots of standing and sitting.)

This background means that I have a glitchy and permanent guilt button installed snugly in at the base of my throat, right where my Miraculous Medal can give it poke.

That being said, I get a bit twitchy when I complain about something that is a non-problem. I am fully aware that my complaints pale in comparison with, oh say, the struggle for food, shelter and clean water.

Complaint the first: My electronics are conspiring to keep me from watching the reboot of the X-Files.  I am an X-Files fan and I even have a baseball jacket that my father gave me that commemorates the X-Files Expo  and I have seen not one, not two, but three different homeless people wearing that jacket.  I had to point out that they were separate occasions so no one will think that somewhere there is a street performance of Jersey Boys. Which, come to think of it, would probably be pretty terrific.

Anyway, I have been trying to watch the first episode of the X-Files for over a week. Every time I try to watch, Hulu encounters a glitch and won’t let me reboot so that I may watch it.  Now I’m two episodes behind.

Complaint the second: Since I have been surviving by subbing and side-gigging (alliteration always available), I am a bit foggy on what is happening in the regular, work-a-day world. Every morning I watch the previous days news via The Daily Show and The Nightly Show and Good Morning America.  This can be tricky since it lends to general feeling of having been abducted by Time Weasels.

I woke up this morning fairly certain that it is Thursday. I know this because I teach my theatre class on Monday’s and Wednesday’s.  I have no idea what the date is until I look at my email. So this morning, I sat down with my banana and giant glass of water (I make myself drink 32 oz of water before I commence to guzzling coffee.)  Then I turned on my computer and pulled up Hulu so I can start listening to the recap of news while I begin my day.  The Daily Show said Thursday January 27th. It took me five minutes to determine that it was a mistake on their part and should have said Wednesday the 27th and that today is Thursday the 28th.  For several moments I didn’t know if I had completely missed a day or if I was watching news from the future.

I wonder if this is a time weasel prank or just my tenuous hold on reality. Perhaps I should just drink some coffee.

First World Problems.

It’s not working

Published January 22, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I did not get called in for a specific job today; my plan was to write and start the tidying journey of the room I lovingly refer to as Mt. Crapmore and here it is nigh on to noon, CST, and I have gotten as far as reading my email.

My Amanda Friend says that I should listen to my conscience and subconscious, both of whom are on in blanket fort on the couch, and rest and nap.   It’s tempting.

A bazillion years ago my brother answered a Myspace posting asking what he thought my job would be if I wasn’t involved in theatre. He said, “True Crime Novelist.” (I know, how can it be both True and Novel? Truman Capote and Erik Larson are masters of the genre. My copy of In Cold Blood is  staring at me right now.  It would definitely be a good day to catch up on my reading.)

I think that is definitely a good job for me. I am interested in research and True Crime and after listening to what is meant to be spooky, crime drama podcast that somehow made cult murders sound droning and boring, I know that the genre need a specific voice.  I’m just not doing very well at the writing without a real deadline thing.

I think I may  have a severe case of the crummies. I don’t feel 100%.  Maybe if I had something that would drag the muse out if its cage and get it going, I would be able to jump right into it. How do I find a worthy story?

Well, check the crime articles on Huffington Post (because I have no other source of information)

  1. The actor who voices Squidward on  Spongebob Squarepants has been arrested for DUI. Interesting, but I don’t want to read a whole story, much less write one, about it.
  2. Coco Austin shares a bikini picture. How is that a crime?

With stories like this to chose from, I went to cold case button. The one that grabbed my attention for the longest amount of time is the case of four bodied found encased in steel drums and burked in New Hampshire.  The deaths occurred over 30 years ago and have been ruled homicides. (because no one dies of natural causes and is ceremoniously sealed in a barrel)  The bodies are of an adult woman and three female children between the ages of 1-11. The adult and two of the children  are linked by mitochondrial DNA, so they are related, but the nature of the relationship, as is the identity of the third child is unknown.

Advances of forensic science may lead to finding the identities of these people.  (You will note I do not explain the process. My math skills make my science look great.)  Article Details here.

In my opinion, the story is in the third child; who she is and how she wound up with the people that caused her to be killed.   There are stories in the whole event, the circumstance and the identities. I think the mystery is in the most obvious unknown. (I’m not dead sure what I meant by that.)

 

Low on spoons around here

Published January 21, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Jenny Lawson is amazing. I have both of her books on audiobook and I listen to them whenever I need a boost of awesome.   She explained a person’s daily energy as being a set number of spoons, and that number varies on a person’s age, medical history, etc.  Listening to her absolved me of any guilt I feel about having to stop myself before I drop (myself).

After a full night’s sleep, I somehow managed to wake up with one spoon. It wasn’t even a big spoon. I’m not really sure if it was an actual spoon, it might have been one of those little wooden paddles you sometimes get with ice cream cups. (That has always confused me, why wood? Has anyone ever gotten a splinter from one of these?)  I have been lugging around that spoon as if it were a ladle full of lead all morning.

Yesterday I had a great day. I covered a first grade class in the morning. (Math, mass and handwriting, lots of wiggling and tattling.) In the afternoon, I held my first after school theatre class and although the class was full (16!) and super high energy, it was amazing!

I was a little concerned as to how it would go; the principal told me that my lesson plans were a little more structured than they were used to.  (This impressed me. I am very laid back and I wondered if perhaps the other teacher simply used static electricity to control her students.)

I outlined clear expectations and kept them on a tight schedule. They did a great job and they were disappointed that class was over too soon.

Now I’m exhausted. But with both jobs and a freelance editing thing I managed to make exactly enough to get by this week.

Snaps to the NY Daily News.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

Conspiracy? Coincidence? Calamity?

Published January 15, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

As I have proclaimed, pontificated and pronounced, I have the short story that begins a series up for sale on Kindle Both Sides. Now, available for a mere ninety nine cents. It begins a story that is part speculative fiction, part YA and part perpetuating conspiracy theory because what am I, an archeologist?

The two protagonists of the series, Casey and Cassidy, live on different planes of existence.   Casey is mostly involved with the Now portions of the story and Cassidy is involved with the Then and the conspiracy portions.

The research for this series is actually kind of fun, because I’m a nerd that way, and even though it is speculative fiction, I can’t just make crap up, although there are many, many writers that do. (I ain’t going to name no names)

The current history bit I am examining is the Titanic. It may seem that particular subject is oversaturated (I couldn’t help it.) with speculation, it seems that particular disaster is one of the major watershed ( I can not be stopped.) moments in our cultural history.

In my research I have become aware that there are many conspiracy theories surrounding the sinking of the Titanic. Just by using that phrase, I have automatically implied that there was a human force behind the disaster.

One of the theories is that the great ship was sunk as an elaborate insurance scheme.

Another or part of the same theory is that the boat that sank was actually a sister ship the Olympic. 

Now the Olympic was in terrible shape, having undergone serious damage and was said that even if fully repaired would be listing to one side. The White Star Line could not  afford to lose the Olympic, especially since they were just finishing the Titanic, so they switched the ships. It was the Olympic that set sail not the Titanic.  The plan was that the captain of the Titanic would wreck the ship and the Californian would save everyone and the White Star Line’s insurance would help them out of the financial problems.  The theory goes on to say the actual Titanic didn’t sink but sailed several times successfully while its sister ship is on the floor of the Atlantic.

I don’t know if this thread will be the one I follow, but I thought it was interesting.  And just enough of a dick move to actually be possible.

I know, I know. It is an excellent use of my education and training to sum all of that up in slang phrase. But it is an accurate way to assess its.

I think we as human beings don’t want to acknowledge that other human beings can do such ridiculous and horrible things to each other, for any reason

I think that’s why we see conspiracy in the calamity.

Or it could just be the fault of the Time Weasels.

 

what crawls out of a tired brain

Published January 15, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

It has been an interesting day.  I covered a Math class this afternoon and I made it abundantly clear to the teacher of record that I could be of absolutely no assistance to her students and, in fact, I could possibly make students lose knowledge they previously had in regards to her subject.

I managed to get through the afternoon without screaming and falling in a dead faint.

I’m exhausted.

Not just from the teaching. I am trying to pick up some freelance writing works so I have put out a few bids on editing. I got a trial position changing a first person narrative into a third person. It wasn’t difficult, but it did wear me out.  I am kind of a perfectionist as far the written word goes, and it usually takes a minute or two to get used to a writer’s voice and style.

But a word about punctuation.  Every single time I see an exclamation point I ear a little scream in my head.  The genre I usually edit is filled with a huge forest of little screams.  It’s deeply disturbing.

As far as my own writing goes, I’ve been stuck on several different tracks, waiting for the train to run me over. (Terrible, terrible metaphor, but I’m tired.)

I don’t want to talk about politics; I didn’t follow the live tweets during the State of the Union because I didn’t want my house or my head to explode from all of the various sources of streaming. (Every time I have to adjust one of the circuit breakers I say a little prayer that I don’t get exploded.)

I am still working on the new projects, my weight loss memoir, The Sound of Two Thighs Clapping, I’m in the final edit of Circumstance, and, of course I’m continuing the research on the next part of Both Sides. Now. (and then). Looking at it all spread out like that it’s no wonder that I’m so befuddled.

There is a theory (or it may be a proven fact by now, but as I have mentioned anything in that is not in the are of humanities makes me panicky) that when someone has suffered and survives a serious brain injury emerges with a burning desire and need to create.

I get that. But I don’t ever want it to be said, “Well that’s story was good, but who gives a crap?”  I think that’s why I self-edit as I write. (Imagine would come out of my head if I didn’t censor as I go along.)

I think there would be many, many more moments like the one I just had, watching the latest episode of American Horror Story: Hotel.

“What in the hell was that?”

Ziggy Stardust and Professor Snape, we’ll miss you.

Thinly veiled

Published January 12, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I really try to stay calm. (I know there is ample evidence to the contrary. I am nothing if not self-aware.)

I had an incredibly productive day yesterday and had a lot of nervous energy this morning.  Now I’m trying not to bite at the air like an angry puppy.  So to divert vehemence from what is really bothering me, here is a list of things that can crank me up:

  1. Jennifer Lawrence. Why, dear God why, are we allowing her to get away with poor behavior. She is turning rudeness into cute, when she is really just a mean girl.
  2. Actor Boy is in Farmington. This is a real life pearls before swine situation; if Hell is a giant farmyard
  3. In spite of having no discernible talent, the Kardashians are still a thing.
  4. We still have Justin Bieber, but no more David Bowie
  5. ISIS is blowing things up all over the place so why do we care what was in Hilary’s email?
  6. Donald Trump
  7. Teachers who don’t want to teach and abuse their power and position and tenure.
  8. The fact that there is so much weird crap going on in the world that I sat here with my mouth hanging open in disbelief as I scanned news articles.

I’m going to go read a book with my cat on my lap

Possibly the most apt description ever

Published January 11, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

CNN will only let me listen to five minutes of breaking news at a time.

After that I have to log in with my television provider.  I’m pretty sure they won’t accept Netflix and Hulu as an answer.  Am I not entitled to news?  I could go on a big scary rant right now, but I don’t really care that much,because I know that if something truly important happens, someone will alert me.

RIP, David Bowie.

So, as per usual, I am left to get my news online from various news sources. I regularly consult MSN, Huffington Post, Cracked, The-Line-Up, and Feedly, and then I do my own gleaning and processing.

Buzzfeed has an interesting article/commentary about 2015 being the hottest year on record Here’s the link.  It goes a long way towards explaining how and why forests are bursting into flame and why we spent a balmy Christmas.

One direct quote resonated with me “Normal is a moving target.”

That actually is a good way to describe many of my days.  (My Amanda Friend helped define my life and personality the other day when I mentioned that I am practically a cartoon. She commented, “Reinflating after an anvil falls on you.” )

I don’t have an average day. Even when I was teaching full-time, average was difficulty to grasp.  Today, I made a list of goals. I find the word “goals” is less threatening than the phrase “to-do”. “To-Do” looks like it’s bossing me around and I just don’t need that kind of pressure, especially not from a piece of paper. My computer screen and Weight Watchers tracker are already giving me the fish-eye.  I have no idea why; I am certainly working hard in both areas.

I have the list and I have met three of the seven goals. I’m not quite at the mid-day crash.  But I am confident that it will happen (It’s not on the list; it’s expected.  I am not going to start an “expectations” list because I do not want a nervous breakdown. )

I create weird around me.  After forty-six years, I am at the point of grim acceptance.

Case in point: I went to the dealership to pick my the plates and registration for my new Kia. (!) I was told to just pull into the service bay and that someone would put the plates on my car. I told the service people what I was there for and that I had to go inside to actually sign for the plates. I stopped off in the Ladies Room (long drive, too much coffee.) And so I didn’t pop immediately back out to the car.  I heard someone announce:

“Who left their Soul in the service bay?”

This was before noon.

Inspire to greatness

Published January 10, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

As I have mentioned, I usually suffer from Writer’s Balk, not Writer’s Block, meaning that I usually know what I want to write about, and usually have a project or three going, but can’t get moving.

It is rare that I can’t find something to I feel needs my personal brand of snark and emotion (World’s worst body splash, created by the maker’s of Love’s Baby soft, especially for teens.)

There is plenty going on around me. I just spent 244 dollars to get the shower in the front bathroom fixed so Big Kid doesn’t have to bathe on the lawn (Although the destroyed pool in the backyard could be converted into a cold, extremely cold mud bath, but then he would have to be hosed off on the lawn.)

I could write a running commentary on the dearth of destruction surrounding me, but really it’s too depressing and I can’t blaze out on Klonopin; I have things to do. My Amanda Friend, AOG, and Tall Boy are coming over to help organize things. I am going to try not to super stress about it.

I tried, and it sort of worked. I didn’t super stress, and things got done. I know I needed to have someone who wasn’t attached to the things and the level of stagnation that exists in various spots in my house. My office is now clean, and the only thing I really stressed about and continue to stress about is the pool. Every six minutes (I’m not kidding) I went outside and restarted the pool pump, because for some reason I don’t want to start my own strain of the West Nile virus in the back yard.

And then there’s the right now: I’m sitting in my really clean office listing to the Indigo Girls while scanning an article about TV reunion shows. Like how the cast of Gilligan’s Island got rescued and hated it. The only thing that makes me think of is how I was married for five years longer than the castaways were stranded.

I totally did not mean for that to be a metaphor or anything. (My Freudian slip is NOT showing!)

I think it best that I not let my casual observations inspire me. Except for characters. I have no idea where they come from.  The just appear.  Any other time I let the mood grab me, I write “Gate” instead if “Cat” Which of course makes me wonder if my cat, Samantha, is secretly a portkey into another dimension.  That would explains why she jumps and stares at shadows and is suspicious of everyone. Can you imagine? You are just hanging around living your catly life and someone scoops you up and suddenly they and you are somewhere else. HMMM Samantha does hate being picked up and it would explain how that obscene t-shirt got into my office. Along with the other random crap that populates my house causing me to need a while team of detached personages to help my tidy-up.

And we’re back.

I’m just a shill . . .

Published January 8, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

The professor who taught me the proper spacing of an ellipses turns 80 today.  She is a hilarious woman with a sketchy memory who agrees that I probably should have gone to clown college instead of grad school.  Well at least I could hit people with a big inflatable hammer.

My brain is kind of tired today and I officially have no idea what’s going on in American Horror Story: Hotel. I am, however, really enjoying Inbetweeners. I have laughed out loud at least twice in each episode.  Meanwhile, my cat is asleep in my purse, which is amusing because she is not a small cat.

I wrote 2000 words on the upcoming book.  I am planning to release The Sound of Two Thighs Clapping, my weight loss memoir as soon as possible, which means next week sometime.  As soon as that is up, Circumstance will also finally make its appearance.  Meanwhile, sales for The Classic and Both Sides: Now are sluggish, as are the sales for Valerian’s Route.

I am doing some research for the next part of Both Sides. Now and Then. The bit that’s up on Kindle is the first of the series.  The stories from this point on will alternate between Casey, who is in the Now and Cassidy who is in the Then.  The first bit will be a Then and focus on the Titanic.  I’m not sure yet where it will go, but I know where it won’t go: to the Affluenza teen. As much as I am trying to distance myself from that, a huge part of me wants to slap him and his mother.  They also caught Drug Lord El Chapo, maybe they could put him and Ethan Couch in the same cell. I shudder to think of the possibilities.

I have read a lot of news feeds and followed a variety of threads here on the intrawebs.  I think everyone would be a lot happier if they took a break and sat down with a beverage and a good story.

Might suggest something from Kindle? Writer Chick’s Kindle Books.

 

I’m not sure what that says

Published January 5, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

As we kick off the new year, I am facing some serious truths about myself.

I am cheering myself up by watching “To Catch A Predator.”

I am a little down today, and for some reason watching Chris Hansen confront clueless men makes me, not really happy, but better.

I don’t know why this sting keeps working.  Law and Order SVU even did a “ripped from the headlines” episode based on the show.  Debra Messing was in it.  It’s a well known cultural reference.  So why do men keep showing up? Are people just that stupid?

Don’t answer that.

What does it say about me that I feel any level of delight and comfort watching this?

Does it mean I have an unstable character and I like watching other weirdos get reined in?

Possibly.

I do have a little bit of a smile thinking about what a Boner Shrinker seeing Chris Hansen emerge from the hallway, not to mention the boom mikes.

It’s a guilty pleasure, especially since I’m not allowed to ask people, “What are you? Stupid?”  That would not be a good attitude for a teacher to have on record.

Speaking of teaching I’m going a little stir crazy. I have worked once since Thanksgiving.  Subbing is seasonal work. The kids go back to school tomorrow and I am poised to swoop down and scoop up a job. I have been watching a lot of TV.

I sat down to watch a few episodes of Nurse Jackie on the Netflix and wound up watching the entire series over the weekend.  Then I started on In-Betweeners.  I laughed out loud several times watching the latter. I have read a bit, too, not nearly as much as I hoped to, but you know, things happen.

I also have been writing a lot and as I may have mentioned, I have three things up for sale on Kindle The link to stories published by me and by all means check them out. They are quite entertaining and such a bargain for you.  In a few days I will also have my weight-loss memoir  The Sound of Two Thighs Clapping available, also on Kindle.  If you do purchase and read, please review. That will make me happy .

Chris Hansen can only do so much