• Ending 2022

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    Do different things.

    The simplest New Year’s resolution I could come up with for as long as I could remember. Last year was a life changer. Up until the holidays, it felt like it was the day after the move. Some insidious Groundhog Day in my subconscious. Visceral. A constant tick on my neck. It never went away, no matter how many times I meditated or practice yoga, or crank the music up to dislodge the constant worry from the outside world. It never settled for a few months.

    Cabin fever went up several notches for the second half of the year. I found ways to manage it. Talking about them will take some time to share.

    For Thanksgiving one weekend, then a company Christmas party and a broadway show with Mom another weekend, I drove from my new home to my Mom’s place in Seal Beach. In the dark. Driving through southern Nevada and California desert has a different feeling than daytime driving. The landscape was pitch black with no moon in the starry sky. Only the car head- and taillights on the highway lit the way. Towns and rest stops turn into havens in the darkness. It takes about four and a half hours to travel on average. For any stops at rest stops, gas stations, roadside attractions, major cities, or sudden road work, the arrival time varied. If I leave home right at 3:10PM. Arrival time is between 7 to 9 at night. Best to bring music, podcasts, people, or a radio station.

    After all the traveling, I got sick. A royally bad sinus flu overcame me two days after coming home. I turned into a mouth breather for two weeks. The number of tissues in my waste basket was horrible, yet somewhat impressive in a weird way.

    Then my Mom came to visit.

    This was pre-planned she’d spend Christmas weekend with me. We stayed off the strip at The Orleans. And this was new territory for both of us. Our family never traveled on Christmas to major destinations, let alone go anywhere with huge crowds during the holidays. We adapted quickly by going to old restaurant haunts, showed her places I frequented, watched Blue Man Group at Luxor, slept a lot, and discussed some stuff.

    The annoying bit was before I picked her up at the airport, I discovered I had a pack rat attack. The little bugger chewed through one of my ignition cables and attempted to work on another one while packing around them with furniture foam from somewhere I do not know. Luckily the EV motor wasn’t affected and I drove it to the dealer to repair the damage. $700 out of pocket. I didn’t let it bother me since I had savings AND rented a Camry for a night.

    With all the craziness of that plus the whole year for both of us, I appreciated having Mom with me.

    So here’s what I’ll have to say about 2023: yes, do different things, but stability is number one. Starting with my living situation. I need a permanent place to live. A true home base. Wood fireplace, balcony/patio, garage, and a big bathtub. Oh, and cable or fiber internet. But prices and interest rates are still high. Some say it might be in the middle of summer or late in the year for prices and/or rates to finally balance to affordable levels. I wish that to happen.

    Ain’t gonna let another living situation-related panic attack happen to me ever again. Ever.

    So, big goals this year, among other long-standing goals after this decade of depression. Hopefully, find a woman to be with me. Who knows, but I’ll make an effort.

  • Screw Cabin Fever

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    Hello, all.

    So uh… it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

    I will say this: living in a desert-only community than a coastal/desert community is a big difference. One I had to adjust to very slowly.

    Since I last spoke, the heat became bearable, but I became an A/C hermit for the rest of the summer. Yoga and meditation kept my sanity in check. I pushed out chapters, but the lifestyle change held my writer’s block high.

    I spent like ten to fifteen minutes a day in 100 to 110F heat (high 80s or low 90s during the night) just for going from house to car, car to grocery store or drive-thru, car to the coffee shop or cafe, and car to yoga studio. Any movement I made while the A/C stayed at 78F made me sweat. The summer months are also the monsoon months here. There will be like a day or two of rain and thunderstorms, which I loved, and enjoyed the ten-degree drop and moisture and lightning in the distance, but was aware of the floods. It’s all bare bedrock here so water doesn’t soak into the ground. All of it turns into raging rivers in certain places, which flood channels around the valley to control and collect the water.

    It’s also known that Lake Mead’s water level is dropping. That’s worrisome for me when I visualize mass migrations when the Colorado River fully dries up and puts six states in jeopardy. Las Vegas has the most advanced water retention programs in the U.S., but I still have deep seeded doubts. I lived in Big Bear. Seeing the lake dry up isn’t easy to forget.

    Not visiting the Las Vegas Strip a lot is okay with me. I think I did three or four drives just to see what’s changed, which is not much from my usual haunts. The Pinball Hall of Fame moved next to the airport and the Las Vegas sign. A rooftop brewery is opening across the Park MGM. A lot of concrete guard rails on the sidewalks. One or two new hotels I don’t see myself visiting. How much they charge parking, especially for Nevada residents, still turns me off from walking from Mandalay Bay to the Wynn in the cold after New Years. Plus years living in the hospitality business made me…spoiled, but not in a splurge kind. Just an “I’ve seen it” kind of spoiled.

    With that, I picked my usual haunts. I visit Boulder City every weekend or a day off early morning to sit and read or write at a coffee shop/bookstore, then later have breakfast at a famous cafe down the street. I visit one coffee shop in Henderson occasionally, filled with nerd memorabilia. I’m a Trader Joe’s fan now, going for some groceries and during my lunch break. I sometimes visit The Writer’s Block bookstore in North Las Vegas (I never EVER visit North Las Vegas unless it’s something very important.) I visit three restaurants every week, for having a margarita or a hearty breakfast. Seriously, I think I drank more margaritas here than ever before moving here. I found a great yoga studio ten minutes from the house, but it’s still shocking that most studios here offer hot yoga. During the summer. :/

    Now, what I was very psyched about was the weather change. Heavy winds happened in late October and all that heat just disappeared in two days. Thirty to forty-degree drop. People were telling me to understand the change, but really, I know what 40 and 50F temps felt like. I’ve visited Alaska and grew up in mountain winters. I’m built for cold weather.

    Mt. Charleston and Zion National Park are the closest camping places to visit, but I’ve yet to pick and weekend for that, not to mention go out for a hike. I’ve noticed the mountain just got snow.

    I have more stuff to say but I’ll save that when I can share it.

    As for writing, yeah, writer’s block is still high. Haven’t written much since I’ve been so busy with work. One thing after another to keep tabs on. And YouTube and social media getting worse. Twitter’s umpteenth midlife crisis and DA’s art AI screw-up is make me develop more trust issues. Just started poking around and reviewing Mastodon but haven’t pulled the trigger to use it. I’ll have to talk about that in the future. Not sure when, though.


  • Mana Pool – The Ghost Factor – Chapter 7

    New chapter is now available. Click the link below.


  • Mana Pool – The Ghost Factor – Chapter 6 (Updated)

    Just a quick update for all of you, I’ve added a third scene to Chapter 6. This scene has been in development hell for a decade, right when this book was being outlined, among other things, and countless drafts. It’s a small bit of what I have wanted to share for a long time. One day I’ll talk about the over-arching narrative with this reveal, but not right now.

    Go check it out. Now.

    I’m taking a week off from the novel before I work on the next chapter. I have to take a wider stance on my habits and motivation before I dive back in.