Sigh… And the harrassment begins. Snide comments from Beth in bed, imploring comments from Jim in — well, in the comments section, more snide comments from Beth on the phone: “We need a new entry, we want a new entry, feed us a new entry!” Dammit, people, this is why I resigned from my position as a columnist with the L.A. Times in the first pla– Oh, wait. Never mind, I was in subscription sales, not a columnist. Nevermind…
Anyway, new entries are requested. So fine, here ye be:
What’s cooking? Pecan Pie. Which I guess is more an answer to “What’s baking?” but who’s counting. So, yeah, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so I’m whipping up my traditional Thanksgiving Pecan Pie from my own personal side-of-the-Karo-Syrup-bottle recipe. It’s in the oven right now,
cooking baking, and it’s been in there for the last hour and 15 minutes. Which concerns me, because the recipe only calls for 50 – 55 minutes — or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean.
WTF? What the hell does “clean” mean? Spotless, as though it just came out of the dishwasher? A-in-the-restaurant-window clean? Clean by my standards? The way it’s been coming out for the last fifteen minutes: coated with clear Karo syrup so it kinda looks clean if you ignore the clear coat? How the hell are you supposed to know when this shit is done?
I set the alarm for 55 minutes and checked it then and got the wet/coated/maybe clean version, so I’ve been sticking it back in for “another five minutes” with the same results each time for the past 20 minutes. Screw it, I just took it out; I don’t think the crust could take any more. If the middle ain’t done I’ll just feed it to the relatives.
Yes, this pecan pie is my holiday tradition and I go through this every year, and every year I forget how it turned out last year. So I guess I’m right on track.
What else is cooking is me not working. I still haven’t found a job yet. Please hire me. If you’re looking for a kick-ass corporate/technical trainer, please hire me. Or dishwasher. Whatever.
What else is cooking is writing. I try not to talk too much about my writing here because there are few things more boring or more precious than a “writer” babbling on about their writing, and I don’t want to be that guy. Also, because I frankly haven’t been doing much lately. At all. None, really.
But I’m back in the saddle again now, or at least I’m trying to get my feet in the damned stirrups. I’ve actually been outlining a screenplay idea I’ve been stalling on forever and writing some pages and at least doing more than getting ready to get ready to do it. Which for me is progress. I haven’t written anything new in a really long time. That bothers me.
So I’ve been trying to be productive and sort of halfway succeeding. I feel like I’m really unfocused and spinning my wheels and pinballing from one thing to the next (Outline! No, character sketch! No, write! No, outline!), but at least I feel like I’m in some kind of motion.
And that old ass-in-chair ailment started rearing its ugly head again. This whole internets thing is a real distraction, you know? And the TV. And the fridge. And the internets. Etc. When you’re having to work to get something down on paper everything else seems really, really attractive. Who knows, maybe Jim updated his blog since 15 minutes ago. Let’s check!
I realized that I can’t work at home, at least not right now when I’m still trying to get back into the flow again. Fortunately, I have my own personal 8-year old laptop with ScriptThing on it that I can pose with at Starbucks. Unfortunately, I can’t find it.
And how sad is that, that I can lose a friggin’ laptop? Unbelievable.
Anyway, after searching everywhere and not finding the laptop, I decided to just get a new one. Or, because I’m such a cheap-ass (and out of work), get one that’s new to me. Used, in other words. So off to Craigslist I went and found a nice little PIII 500 Mhz Dell for $300 that’s half the size of my old work laptop, came loaded with XP, and works just fine. Sweet.
Except the battery won’t hold a charge. And the batteries go on eBay for between $50 and $130. The laptop works fine as long as I’m plugged in, but that limits me to posing stands with power outlets. I needed a battery so I could be truly portable and impressively untethered at my Starbucks unveiling. So I bid on one on eBay and somehow won the auction for $.99. Yes, ninety-nine cents. I haven’t seen one of these go for less than $49.95 but somehow I was the only bidder at $.99. Sweet. The shipping was 10 times the battery itself. Ha. So for a $301 investment I’m mobile again and Starbucks ready.
But you know, I’ve always hated that whole Starbucks thing. It’s just coffee, people, get over it. The few times I’ve been in there (for beans, not for a tall mochachino grande latte with half caff decaff and a vanilla bean twist) I’ve just been baffled by the crowds and the laptopped people “working” and the whole “Ooh, I’m at Starbucks” thing. It’s pretentious and annoying and it’s SO not me.
Fortunately, we live two blocks away from Valley College here in, well, The Valley, so I figured I’d set up in the library there. Nice and quiet, no poseurs, and best of all: no internet connection, no TV, no phone. So I packed up and went there and found a little cubby with an electrical outlet I could work in and got all set up and it was oh so nice and quiet. Really quiet. No, I mean really quiet. So quiet that I was the annoying one with my clicking keyboard. So much for that idea.
I moved on. Oh look, the cafeteria. I gave that a shot and it worked out really well. Well, as long as you ignore the circle of kids hacky-sacking just outside the window I was sitting at, the hacky-sackers who had zero control of their hacky and kept slamming into the wall and smooshing their faces against the window next to me and basically acting like college kids at lunch. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
So today I tried the Starbucks thing. And, damn it, I liked it. Somehow all the music and hustle and bustle and noise and people there didn’t distract me. In fact, it helped. I normally can’t write with music on (which bugs me because it seems so natural that I should and I’d really like to), but the music there and all the activity somehow blended together into a background buzz that actually helped me focus. Weird.
It also pissed me off that I had become one of the poseurs that I so love to rail against, but whatever. It worked … so it worked.
And finally, in closing of a rambling stream of consciousness type entry, gloating: On tap for tonight is a concert: Tears For Fears.
Can I explain how much I love this band, how much their music has meant to me, and to Beth? No, I can’t. But I’ll try.