COVID-19, Writing, and Edits

April 2021 will always be the lost month, as I was hospitalized with double pneumonia due to being infected with the South African variant of COVID-19. I was hospitalized for 13 days at the Rockyview hospital here in Calgary. It gave me time to think about my priorities in life.

I will be doing more writing, pushing myself to find ways (grants/online work, other) to live as a writer, even though I may have to work part-time at other jobs.

There is a casualty to this – the whole “Alone Plague” journal I was writing (and then – nervous cough – abandoned) will be removed from my website and Podcast pages over the next few days. It seems…juvenile now. That’s not to say it won’t come back, but as the writer I’ve decided this needs to be removed for the time being. True, nothing’s ever gone from the Internet, and I don’t hate the work, it’s just been superseded by life.

Cannabis 102 Potcast: Medical vs. Recreational

A new “potcast” on medical vs. recreational cannabis is now available here (or on the Podcast) page. I’ve been distracted by other things in life, and like everyone else living through a pandemic, I’m NOT fine, but I am here and pushing to continue walking forward. If you want to support me, besides following me on social media, you can tip me on my Ko-fi page. Thanks, remember to dance once a day, and keep moving forward.

Weird Halloween Stories

New story – a couple of Weird Halloween Stories. Click HERE for the podcast, and if you’re old school, text version is here. I got a new webcam and this time I recorded the podcast using the microphone from the webcam. Sound quality is okay, but I still prefer using the microphone from my headset. I found it picks up a bit more ambient noise and when editing the sound afterwards, it’s a bit noticeable for me.

And in Halloween related news…I thought about going as “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski but I don’t think my hair’s quite long enough and I don’t have the funds to buy either a beige nightgown, or a Cowichan sweater. Although a few friends have helpfully suggested I go as the “I’m not saying it’s Aliens….but it’s Aliens!” guy. That’s a nope for me. So when I’m at work, in a mask, I’ll use my fallback costume of a homicidal maniac. They’re scary because they look just like everyone else.

Short Theatre Stories

So, while I was posting these short theatre stories on another site, I thought “Ummmmm….maybe put this on your website?” So here are a few short Theatre stories from my youth:

Theatercraft
Our instructor for Theatrecraft 101 was a real easygoing guy, probably about 35. This course covered the basics of creating a set, lighting, costuming, sound, etc. And he had a lot of stories…from an insane stagehand who made a large set piece (house roof) come screaming earthward for shits and giggles to an incompetent assistant who nearly electrified the instructor. But the one that is relatable is on X-acto blades. As we were working in foamcore to build set dioramas and cutting it with X-actos, he made sure we were careful and used cutting surfaces. Because when he was in school (back when X-actos were a lot sharper and unsafe), a classmate was cutting foamcore with his jeans, skin and muscle as a cutting surface. Idiot Classmate finishes, stands up, notices his jeans are shredded, notices the blood starting to seep out, and then notices the pain. Blades back then were surgical sharp. Ouch.

Oh Apollo!
Theatre History 101. Our instructor, Alex, was a big bear of a man, 6’3″ and a little chunky. He’s got this deep baritone voice, and one day while studying an ancient Greek Tragedy, he mentions how sometimes a translation can miss the subtle directing cues the original work has. He describes a scene from Oresteia (an ancient Greek tragedy by Aeschylus) where Cassandra cries out in despair to the Greek god Apollo as she knows what’s going to happen to her. The English translation is essentially “Oh! Apollo!!” and Alex said this is where the translation fails. So – picture this bear of a man, a professor, mid-50s, inhaling in such a way it felt like he was trying to devour the air, then a split second later:

oooooOOOOOOOOOO!O!O!TOOOOYTOOOYYYYY!!​!! APPPPOLLLOOOOOO!!

Cue the class in shock, people in the front row with their hair blown back, and the DudeBro Frat guy in the back flicking his Bic lighter like he’s at a concert.

Drying or in character?
An actor can forget their lines (or “dry”) for various reasons…but the weirdest situation is when they forget the line because the actor is no longer there but their character IS.

So, theatre school, final project. We stage The Sport of My Mad Mother. I play the naïve American tourist. The rest are members of a London Cockney street gang. V—-, playing one of the gang, has a scene with me where we are comforting the female lead. I’d just said my line, and was waiting on V—-. And waiting.

Now to be fair, actors performing operate on stage-time (where every second for the audience is 10 seconds to the actors) and I have ADHD which is hyped by my adrenaline from the performance, I’m operating on a level of Matrix-like Bullet-Time.
I look over at V—-.
I realize V—- isn’t here anymore.
I then think “ohshiatnowwhat…hey, do I need to pick up milk later? No, no, I’m good…could do with some butter….okay where are we in the play again?” I mentally page through the script to his line, and quickly reword it so I can say it. The next actor picks up her cue, and the play goes on as normal. Afterwards, I ask V—- about it and he says “No, I said the line” to which everyone else in the green room says “Nope”. He genuinely did not remember. I’m glad it happened in a quieter moment, not in the middle of a fight scene.

Bonus Theatre “Cool Story Bro”: Accidental transposed line from Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas at the Walterdale Theatre in Edmonton. This play has a cast of dozens along with about 5-6 stagehands and crew. The original line spoken by the First Voice is “Heads are picked, noses are wiped”. Unfortunately, (and you should NEVER DO THIS TO ACTORS OR PEOPLE SINGING SONGS unless it’s Weird Al Yankovic or someone similar) during rehearsal, someone in the cast jokingly made parody scenes and lines. The actor had heard the joke version, and that night transposed the nouns in that sentence. The First Voice caught her mistake and paused for a split second. Meanwhile, the entire cast and crew backstage and onstage are quietly exploding in laughter. But we continued on with no issues other than sore abdominal muscles from clenching them to prevent laughter.

Taste the Memories: new fiction!

Alrighty. NEW PODCAST! “Taste the Memories” click here for podcast, or for the text version, click here.

What else? Oh, yes, a Table of Contents (TOC) for my Library of Stories. After installing the widget and poking at it for a few weeks, being generally afraid of the work I suspected was involved, when I was posting the text version I saw there was a toggle button for a table of contents. One click later and “ta-da!” You can click on the icon on the top left of the TOC to expand or collapse it. For my next trick, I may do pages, or some sort of “back button”.

Other than that, as I peer out the window, it appears the snow squall forecasted has arrived. Music that might help: 1960s Jazz Music.

I was listening to some Lalo Schifrin and Jerry Goldsmith movie soundtracks from the 60s/early 70s. There’s something about the music of that time…yes some of it verges towards elevator music, but there was a lot of good stuff like the background music for the 1967 Spider-Man animated series. Yes, really. Or to get a really good idea about the energy of the music, try Herbie Hancock’s Cantaloupe Island.

NEW! Cannabis 101 “Potcast”

In conjunction with the Cannabis Education Company (CEC), I’ve launched a new podcast series devoted to information on Cannabis. Click HERE to go to this podcast where you’ll also find CEC social media links. Our website will soon be launched but in the meantime, feel free to comment on CEC social media sites, on my social media sites, or even on this post!

You can’t always get what you want…

First off, some music by the Rolling Stones to set the mood.

Today, even though it was smoky, I decided to walk to the East Village Superstore for some groceries and also to get some physical activity. In preparing for it, I contact two friends to see if either they want to go for a walk there and back, or if they are at home (one lives nearby).

Unfortunately, both were busy/unavailable. As I’m walking downtown, I remember I’m walking by ANOTHER friend, and call him. He’s not home. So I get to Superstore, and I see my neighbor shopping. We chat, he offers me a ride home, we get our groceries, chat further, and I get a lift home. Wasn’t necessarily looking for a ride, but strangely enough the company.

Now, whether or not you believe in magic or synchronicity, coincidence or the Power of Attraction…I wanted to talk to someone, didn’t necessarily want a ride, but after buying a few things…I needed a ride (lots of stuff was on sale). Or in other words…

…But if you try sometimes, you find you get what you need.

Ducks & Airports – Two short flash fiction

So this week – as things are getting busy for me – I recorded two short fictions to my podcast channel. One was inspired by a Gary Larson “Far Side” cartoon on the irrational fear that somehow, somewhere, a duck is watching you. The other was a futuristic “slice of life at the airport” scene.

So. Links are as follows:
Click here: Text version of “Watch the Waterfowl”
Click here: Text version of “Just another Airport Story”
Click here: My Podbean page and this episode with both stories

Or just regularly visit my Podcasts page, and if you like what you see, follow me here or on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook hyperlinks) and please donate to my Kofi page to help keep me sane and writing (or at least the right kind of benevolent crazy and writing).

Both Sides of THE End – flash fiction

Well, I finally got off my ass to post this. Reading it and the actions that occur, I hope you end up thinking “what…wait, why?” and wanting more. That’s the essence of #flashfiction – it’s a quick snapshot. The difference? A novel would be the equivalent of describing a house, the property it’s on, and the contents of a house. A short story is describing the contents of one room. A flash fiction is essentially you walking by a room and looking in at what’s happening as you walk by. Text of the story is available by CLICKING HERE or if you prefer to hear it as a podcast, go to my Podcasts page, or to my Podbean site.