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Blog Update – Somehow I have returned

I am going to start posting more here on my own website in the future. This was meant to be my big return/update post but I’ve already posted a couple of things so it’s not quite as big a deal.

I am going to start posting more here on my own website in the future. This was meant to be my big return/update post but I’ve already posted a couple of things so it’s not quite as big a deal.

My last post before my impromptu hiatus was a promo for my “new” podcast Quiet of the Night Podcast. I published one more episode on July 1, 2020, and then burned out for a while due to everything happening in the world and my personal life.

Earlier this year, I tried to restart my podcast as a review and discussion podcast of the Repairman Jack book series. Between review episodes I had planned to do “special topic” exploring the real world weirdness that was adapted into the books. This lasted four episodes before I had technical issues that caused delays and stressed me out enough to stop.

Besides my podcast, I’ve been working on handcrafts. I’ve been trying to sew some of my own clothes, mostly skirts but I’m working my way to shirts. I learned to crochet a few months ago and have made two pairs of slipper socks. I’m currently crocheting a purse. I haven’t done much knitting recently. I may make a dump post with some pics.

I’m trying to rebuild a writing habit. I have a story idea my brain has been gnawing on for a few months. Also I’m going to work on more personal blogging (not so much about my personal life but about things I’ve watched, played, or read).

My main reason for wanting to revitalize this space is the potential implosion of social media. Not everything is going to go away but somethings are getting unstable. It will be nice to have a online home to retreat to when these social media islands sink.

I can watch the sunrise if I want

Over the past month, my sleep schedule has been all over the place. Between not being able to sleep when I usual sleep and feeling like passing out when I should be awake, it has been terrible. But finally I think I have been able to stabilize my sleep schedule.

Before this disruption, I was a night owl, waking around noon and going to sleep around 5am. I’ve lived by this schedule for more than a decade. My manager allowed me to only work afternoon or evening shifts because of how sluggish I would be in the morning. I literally could not fall asleep before 4am.

At the beginning of the month, the store I work at did it’s yearly inventory scan. We do it early in the morning starting around 4am. For most people this is just an early morning; for me it’s dead center of my sleep period. In the past, I’ve managed to get a little sleep before hand and take a nap afterwards.

This year, I tried that but in the days following, my sleep became restless or impossible. I alternated between sleeping for only an hour or two and laying in bed for hours trying to sleep. Even reminding myself that just laying there was better than nothing didn’t help. During the day, I was tired and started taking almost involuntary naps in the afternoon. Since I work in the afternoons, this was not a tenable solution. Slowly I came to realize my body wanted to wake up at a different time than I was used to, which meant I had to go to sleep at a different time.

For last couple of weeks, I have woken up close to 7am. My body is now forcing me to be a morning person. I hate it. I’ve been actively fighting against it. However I have given in and to accommodate my new waking time I have been going to sleep around 11pm. The last three days I’ve followed this schedule and it seems to be working.

I went to bed “late” last night at 2am. What used to be an early bedtime is now a late night? I feel like I’m losing my identity as a night owl.

Podcast update

Last March, I stressed myself out about making my podcast, Quiet of the Night Podcast, to the deadline(that I created), instead of just making it. (the enemy of done is perfection etc etc) As I am now working on reviving the podcast, I went looking for the files from the last episode I didn’t complete. I was hoping I had recorded all the segments and just not edited them together. Unfortunately, I only recorded a couple of segments, not nearly enough to assemble into a full episode.

So, I’m starting from scratch which means I really should reread the book since it has been almost a year. That’s not really a chore since I do like the books I’m reviewing but it does feel like a setback.

Untitled flash fiction – (Manager of Dirt)

Based on a prompt from writing-prompt-s on tumblr (prompt reprinted at end)

I wasn’t leaning on the counter when they came to my register. My elbows were merely distributing  40% of my weight to the counter but I wasn’t leaning. I certainly didn’t not see them until one made a choked hissing cough. As I straightened my spine, the only straight thing about me, I affixed my standard customer service smile and began to greet the customer. The greeting died in my throat as I focused on the ‘customer’.

Now, I can just say I saw a trio of guob’nkrs but that doesn’t convey the confusion of seeing one in person for the first time. Most people will never see one in person only on tv or online in pictures. Even then they’re prepared to see an alien. I was expecting a person, a human person. Their roughly humanoid shape clashed with their blue green skin. Then as I examined their face, my eyes followed the line of their forehead back and back; skull curving into a bright red crest. My first thought was they were cosplayers but the extra joints in their arms and legs, which bent the wrong way quickly disabused me of that thought. The one closest to me coughed hissed several words and gestured with tripodal hands.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Can you repeat that?” I said reflexively defaulting to my customer service scripts.

Again it made sounds that resembled no language I knew.

“I don’t understand what you’re saying, sorry.”

The alien’s shirt opened and a second smaller set of arms emerged holding a box. As the alien pushed buttons and turned knobs on the box, I realized they were wearing casual button down shirts and khaki pants. No shoes on their inhuman feet. The clothing bunched in odd places around their bodies and legs. The alien suddenly smacked the side of the box and I heard a fragment of a sentence, “… working junk.”

The alien bobbed their head and spoke again. As they cough hissed, the box spoke in English, “Greetings non-combatant … take me to …  manager.”

I could have asked if they meant the mayor or the governor or the president but honestly I’m not paid enough to correct aliens trying to initiate first contact in the first discount store they walked into. Plus the customer is always right.

I turned away, thumbed the talk button on my walkie talkie and said, “I need a manager to the front registers, please.” I turned back to the aliens, “He’ll be here in just a few minutes.” They glanced at each other and bobbed their heads.

Over the aliens’ shoulders I watched Bob power walk up the main aisle, around the queue, and past the trio of aliens to stand next to me.  He did a quick scan of the register screen before asking me, “Anna, what seems to be problem?”

“They wanted to speak to a manager,” I said gesturing to the aliens.

Bob glanced over the register, did a double take back to me, and settled on staring directly at them. “About what?” he asked.

The lead alien spoke, “Greetings manager of dirt. We come to talk … nuclear war … stop.”

Bob sighed, “I’m not paid enough for this.”

“Bob, I’m really not paid enough for this,” I said.

Bob sighed again, “Yeah.” He stepped out from behind the counter, put on his manager smile, and addressed the alien group, “Ok, follow me to the office where you can sit down…” he had just noticed their unconventional leg joints, “or something and I will call … someone to talk to you.”

That was the last time I saw them in person. Several days later I saw them meeting world leaders on tv. Bob was interviewed as the person the aliens ‘chose’ for first contact. I didn’t even get a mention.

(The first aliens to visit Earth rushed development of their  universal translator and it’s still not out of beta. “Take me to your  leader” comes out as “I want to speak to your manager.” It gets wackier  from there.)

Quiet of The Night Podcast – Episode 2 – Alex Browning

In 2000, four students and one teacher from Mt. Abraham High School died in unrelated accidents. However they did have several connections to each other. The Quiet of the Night Podcast is a fictional true crime podcast that draws its case-files from supernatural and horror tv shows and movies.

In 2000, four students and one teacher from Mt. Abraham High School died in unrelated accidents. However they did have several connections to each other. The Quiet of the Night Podcast is a fictional true crime podcast that draws its case-files from supernatural and horror tv shows and movies.

The second and last fictional “true crime” episode of the podcast.

This episode originally came out July 1,2020, a few months after the pandemic really began effecting my area. Also a couple of months after I had moved. The stress from everything happening in the world and my personal life shut me down for a while. I had some plans for more episodes but those notes were lost with the death of my laptop hard drive.

Currently I have no plans to do more fictional “true crime” episodes but I’m not against doing more at some point.

2022 freeze incoming

It’s a pleasant 64F right now but in a couple of hours the temperature is going to start plummeting. By sunset it will just above the freezing point. The low will be 17F with a wind chill of -4F. Obviously not the worst weather in the country but but it is very unusual for South Texas. Although it has been less than two years since the last freeze like this so maybe this is becoming more common.

I’m expecting the power to go off at some point. In Feb 2021, the power went off but came back periodically. Also despite leaving a tap dripping the water froze. This isn’t an issue because the trailer park manager has preemptively disconnected the water from the trailers and wrapped the faucets.

I have jugs of water for drinking and washing so I should be ok. On my last grocery shopping trip, I grabbed extra sandwich fixings incase I lost power for an extended period of time I would still be able to eat without cooking.

I am isolating to my bedroom and have plenty of blankets to keep me warm. During the last freeze, I did the same and made it through the cold nights in relative comfort (no excessively cold body parts).

Tw street harassment and stalking

(This happened on Dec. 9. I originally posted on tumblr but as I am trying to return to blogging, I am reposting it here.)

So when I was walking home tonight, someone in a truck passed me and blasted his horn. It scared me and I turned and shouted, “Fuck you!” A couple of minutes later the same truck passed by me and again blasted his horn. I was still keyed up and shouted again. A few minutes later, I see the truck approaching. I step well off the road and watch it. As it passes, he blasts his horn but because I’m expecting it I don’t yell or shout. I think he passed me one more time but there was another car so maybe that stopped him from blasting his horn.

This isn’t the first time some asshole in a pickup truck has honked his horn at me or yelled something as they drove by. But this was the first time they came back and came back and came back. It really scared me.

I know I’m not to blame but if I had just stayed silent… But also if I had left work five minutes sooner or later… However ultimately and most importantly, if he was just a better person none of that would have happened.

Quiet of the Night Podcast

I’ve started working on a podcast. It’s a fictional true crime radio show that draws its case-files from supernatural and horror tv shows and movies.

The idea came to me while watching an episode of a tv show where several people died of unexplained causes. At the end the episode, the heroes of the show just left town without covering up or hiding the deaths. I started wondering how would someone who was completely outside the supernatural goings on view these events? How would they be reported?

You can listen to a short trailer here:

And the first episode here:

Worlds within Dreams

I had a stress dream about shopping for food. My (dead) sister showed up a couple of times. Usually seeing her ejects me from dreams. This time the dream continued. I was confused and thought, “This must be a dream but I’m not waking up. Is this real?”

What can you do when faced with the possibility that reality is a dream but you can’t wake up? I accepted it as reality and lived in it.

But then I did wake up. The dream hadn’t lasted too much longer but I was ready to accept it.

How can I be sure this world isn’t another dream? I can’t.

But until I wake up again I have to accept it as real.

Worlds within worlds. Each as real as the previous. Each a dream in the next.

Distanced Parties

My daughter skips down the stairs and pauses at the big mirror in the hall to preen. Her fashion, like the fashion of most her age, makes my skin crawl. Bare arms, exposed neck, no gloves. I know skin contact isn’t a direct infection vector but a careless touch of the face is all it takes. I stifle my concerns; my daughter has grown up disinfecting her hands, avoiding touching her face, and keeping her distance from people. It’s my generation that still struggles with the new culture of distance.

Even with the exposed skin she’s well prepared to keep herself safe; her face mask already on and sealed, a sanitizer pack clipped to her collar, and a wipe package strapped to her thigh.

“Going out tonight?” I ask as casually as I can. Becky usually tells me or puts it on the family calendar when she goes out.

“Yeah Arya is picking me up. We’re going to a party.”

“A party?” I sit up straighter a look expectantly at her.

“Mom. It’s not a big deal. Just ten kids hanging out talking.”

“Ten including you and Arya?”

“Yes. Adam has a big living room. Everyone will have their own chairs, no touching, food and drinks are single serve packs. We aren’t wild infectors like you were.” She’s seen the old movies where parties were a few dozen teenagers standing shoulder to shoulder talking faces inches apart. Nowadays it’s irresponsible to gather in groups larger than ten and sit closer than double arms length.

“I know honey. I know it’s just I remember when this all started. The panic and people disregarding warnings about large groups.” I pause collecting myself. A car horn beeps once outside. Becky glances at the door but looks back at me; her eyebrows knit together worried that I’m still worried. I smile as broadly as I can. “That’s Arya, better go before she gets worried.”

“Are you sure? I can cancel; no big deal.”

“No, no. Go have fun. I’m just being a worrywart.” I hold out two fingers. She presses two fingers to mine for a second. We disengage, touch our sanitizer packs, and rub our hands clean.

Another car beep comes from outside. Becky laughs and runs to the door. Before it closes she looks back and waves. It’s her world now. A world of brief contact and small gatherings but not one without friends.

***

Author’s Note: After reading an article titled “Will Corona virus Happen Every Year Like The Flu?” which discusses the factors that cause the flu to be seasonal and how covid-19 might or might not have those same factors, I ended up thinking about a world where corona virus was always waiting in the wings to cause an outbreak. I didn’t want to write a depressing story about a society on the brink. So I wrote about a new society that is cautious about touch and large groups but not afraid to live.