It was an absurdly quiet day at the office, with summer hours back in swing for most everyone (but not me) after last week’s holiday break. By two o’clock, it seemed like there were less than a half dozen of us still left in the building.

Inspired, perhaps, by Heather’s recent cubicle exposure, or perhaps simply by the boredom of a very long day at the end of a pretty long week, I started snapping photos of my work area.



I swear, it’s only carefully chosen camera angles that make my desk look remotely neat. I lucked into one of the larger cubicles maybe about a year ago, and I really do like working at it. Which, I swear, usually keeps me too busy to be snapping photos left and right.

Anyway, that was Friday. Had a spicy seitan burger from a local food truck, which proved to surprisingly tasty for vegan food. Had time to kill before living for the end of the day. No big plans for the weekend beyond writing, which I am determined to do some of tomorrow.

Everything is awesome

I had a pretty good day.

I’ll admit, I’ve been ignoring this blog somewhat of late. Since the beginning of June, some twenty days ago now, I’ve only posted here five times. And three of those posts were lyrics quizzes. While those are (relatively speaking) my most popular posts, they’re not exactly personal or content-heavy.

But there just hasn’t, frankly, been a whole lot of content going on in my life right now. There’s lots to do at work, but the mad rush that marked the beginning of the year has slowed down, as I’ve handed books over to production, and I’ve even managed to take a couple of days off this week. (Today, Friday, marks second day of my four-day weekend.) I expect lots of small crises to continue between now and the fall, but I’m hoping it won’t start getting really hectic again until sometime in October. (I’m going to Banff for two weeks at the end of September, so it had better got get hectic then if it knows what’s good for it.)

I’ve been writing some, but struggling with it, knowing where I want to go with a couple of stories but not really sure how to get there, and struggling also with that thing I always do, editing too much as I go along. (This is why I have too few finished first drafts, but it’s a hard part of my brain to turn off.) My weekly free-writing group didn’t happen last week, hence the lack of a sixth post here for June.

But again, today was a pretty good day.

I woke up around six o’clock and took the dog for a walk, then decided instead of going back to sleep, I’d finish reading Caliban’s War by James A. Corey. (The version on my Kindle said I only had about ten percent of the book left.) The Expanse books have really been terrific so far, and I have to thank Heather for recommending them. (I believe she’s already well into the just-published fourth book in the series, so no spoilers please.) I may take a short break, just to re-orient my brain and read something else, but the third book, Abbadon’s Gate is high up on my to-read pile. (Not literally; it’s on my Kindle. The way the second book ends, there was no way I was not going to immediately buy number three.)

I went for lunch this afternoon, indulging in a local sushi and Japanese buffet place I really like. Between the spicy tuna rolls, raw ginger, and wasabi, my sinuses have never been so clear. But I think I settled that I don’t care for raw octopus. The texture is just…no. Still, it was a good meal.

Then I came home to fold laundry and watch The Lego Movie. You know, as one does on his day off. The movie was a lot of fun, pretty clever, and I say that as somebody who’s never really be a Lego kind of guy. (I mean, I played with them, a little, when I was a kid, but Construx were always more my jam.) If you haven’t seen it, it’s where this post’s title comes from. (If you have seen it, sorry for getting that stuck in your head again.)

And I wrote. Of course, it wasn’t any of the short stories I’ve got percolating, but the silly fake advice column I’m revisiting for Kaleidotrope, but it felt good to get my brain working like that again. And though I’ve had no feedback on the two fake advice columns I’ve written so far — last spring and summer — I’m actually strangely proud of them. They, along with the horoscopes — which are surprisingly tough to write — represent the kind of thing I was to do more of with the zine.

Anyway, it was just a really relaxing yet productive day and I enjoyed it. I don’t know that I’ll have a lot more to post here tomorrow, but we’ll see if I can’t get at least a couple more posts in before the end of June.

“You never know what’s comin’ for ya.”

It’s been a pretty ordinary handful of days lately. I decided a little while back to take this coming Monday off, so this has been a three-day weekend, and I still have tomorrow off. I’ll work from home on Tuesday, and then travel to a local campus on Wednesday, so hopefully it shouldn’t be too rough a week. The part of me that gets to sleep in a little late in the morning certainly doesn’t think so.

Last night, my parents and I went out to dinner for my upcoming birthday, and except for dessert, which was decent but unremarkable, it was a very lovely meal. I had duck gnocchi with wild mushrooms, pine nuts, golden raisins, and pancetta to start, and then possibly the best sea scallops I’ve ever tasted. (With roasted cauliflower, toasted almonds, and more golden raisins.) I was ridiculously stuffed afterward, but it was a very good meal.

This evening, I watched the first episode of the new Bates Motel television series, which wasn’t very good, and then later The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which surprised me because it was.

I think the AV Club is right about the series that “[t]he problem, then, is that Bates Motel is simply overburdened by the reason it exists.” It fails to work, at least in part, because it winds up having to be a Psycho prequel. (It’s the same thing I thought seeing the trailer for the upcoming Hannibal TV show. It looks strangely interesting; I just really, really wish it wasn’t an adaptation/prequel/remake of Manhunter/Silence of the Lambs.)

And earlier today, in my weekly writing group, I came up with this based on some prompts we picked out of Scientific American Mind magazine:

“I can kill you with my brain,” she said, “and with just a glance. But let’s pretend for a moment that we’re both civilized people and there’s maybe a better solution?”

He frowned, but then nodded, holstering his weapon, and sat in the wing chair opposite her. “Agreed,” he said — and she realized with a start that in all these years this was perhaps the first time she had actually heard his voice. And after he had killed how many of her sisters?

“So we are at an impasse,” she said. “I have no desire to kill you nor any desire to die, but that seems to be where fate has landed us.” She tried to smile; she would not betray herself with a showing of fear, not to this man, damn his eyes. “Tea?” she said, lifting the pot.

Again, the nod, and almost a hint of a smile himself. A trained killer, she thought, and completely ruthless, but not wholly above the social niceties. For just a moment she wondered which of them both she was thinking of.

“Two sugars,” he said. “No lemon.”

She poured the tea and handed him the cup. He let it cool for a moment in his hands, blew gently across its surface, but then drank the tea without hesitation. He knew you wouldn’t stoop to poison him, she thought, and then just as quickly regretted that she hadn’t. She sipped from her own cup and stared at him, letting the silence settle between them, counting up all the room’s exits in her head.

“What I propose is a bargain,” she said finally, returning her cup to the tray on the table in front of her. “Or perhaps more accurately a trade. My life — “

He stared, but said nothing, still sipping his tea.

“ — for information. I know things that you don’t, things even my sisters didn’t know. If you killed me now — or rather, if you tried to kill me now — that knowledge would die with me.”

He nodded — so calm, damn him, even now — and leaned forward in the chair to place his own, now empty cup upon the tray. Then he sat back, actually crossed his legs, and this time did smile. There was more good humor in that look than she would have thought possible; this was just a job to him, one he took great pleasure in, but he did not hate her. And suddenly she hated him all the more because of that.

“You have no information that I want or need,” he said, a great finality to his voice. Even seated, relaxed, almost laughing, she knew he could reach his gun before she could act. Only his own doubt of that had saved her this far. “You don’t know anything.”

“I know who sent you here,” she said. “I know your employers. And I know how to kill them.”

He stared for a very long minute, and she braced herself for the shot, that final bullet with her name on it, and then he said:

“All right. I’m listening.”

I dunno, I kind of like it.

And that’s been most of weekend. Still one day of it to go, however, thank goodness.

Gone fishing (or, I’m on a boat!)

I went to bed last night at ten o’clock, which is not something I tend to do, even on my most exhausting of Fridays. But I was expecting to be up the next morning a little before five am, so it seemed like the prudent thing to do.

I should maybe explain. For Father’s Day, my mother wanted to surprise my father with a fishing trip. He used to fish a lot when he was younger, and with me when I was a boy, but it’s probably been at least a decade and a half since he’d last been out on the water with rod and reel.

We’d been researching local fishing boats and coordinating behind the scenes — which was tough, since the person whose input would probably have most been helpful…was the very person we were surprising with the trip. But we finally settled on a place and worked out this as being the best weekend for it, when all five of us — me, my parents, my sister, and her husband — could all go out on the ocean.

Of course, the plan changed slightly when my father got involved. He talked to a coworker who goes fishing a lot, did some research online, and picked a boat running out of Point Lookout that seemed best, fishing for seabass and porgies.

And that boat left the dock at 7 in the morning. Meaning we had to be there at 6. Meaning we had to leave the house a little after 5. So bed at 10 o’clock.

Except around 5 this morning, my father wasn’t feeling too well, and it was still pouring rain, so we decided to go back to sleep and maybe try the second of the half-day trips, this one setting out from Point Lookout at 1 pm.

So instead of just barely getting a reasonable 7 hours of sleep, I got a much more pleasant and weekend-ly 9.

By later in the day, my father was feeling better and the rain had completely stopped. And so we drove out and got on the boat and went fishing.

It was fun. The boat was super-crowded and a very tight fit with everyone else aboard. At times, you couldn’t even fish for fear — no, the certainty — of snagging your line on someone else’s instead of a fish. And I personally only caught one very small sea bass — which jumped from the line before I could pull it aboard, saving me the trouble of unhooking it and tossing it back — and a sea robin, which are a little like spiky catfish and would have been tossed back even if we weren’t all five of us going the catch-and-release route all day.

So it was fun. The weather was gorgeous, the fishing was decent, and even if it was a little over-crowded on the boat, I think my father had a good time, which was really the whole point of the day.

After that, we all came home for some quick, much-needed showers, and then went out again for dinner, at a local Latin place we’d been to once before.

All in all, and despite the less than usual start, not a bad day.