Thursday, January 28, 2016

So Much Business! (So Little Naps)

I have been wanting to sleep for about five days straight. Sure, I sleep about four hours each night, but it's not enough!

The last couple of weeks have been a constant flow of waking up, working at Moorpark, driving back and forth, eating some lunch, walking the dogs with Cheri, and then going to the Theatre.

Bullshot Crummond opens tomorrow. We didn't have an actual dress rehearsal because the set changes are slow and technical problems arose... Tonight we will hopefully fix all the technical troubles.

In other theater news: Cheri held auditions (with assistant director Keri and humble playwright me by her side).

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Yagotta List

First day of spring semester. It's off to a good start. In fact, I didn't make my traditional mistake during class. Almost every first class starts with some sort of goof -- and to my knowledge that did not happen. 

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I'll be teaching a 10am class... And that's it until the late start class begins in March. 

When I teach English 1B I have my students do an ice breaker activity. I call it the Yagotta List. 

It's a list of things "you got to" experience, more specifcally a list of things that you love, that you don't feel has gotten enough exposure, and you want other people to experience and celebrate it.

Here are the categories:

Yagotta Watch:

Yagotta Read:

Yagotta Hear: 

And Yagotta Visit:

I encourage students to choose subjects that are on the more obscure side. It's pointless for me to answer with Star Wars or the Beatles, since those are already incredibly popular. 

However, I might say... 

Yagotta Watch a film from the 1980s called Birdy, directed by Alan Parker -- nobody talks about it in critical circles today, but for me it was groundbreaking, weird and beautiful, haunting and sometimes even hilarious. 

Yagotta Read a book called The River Why, it's about a young fly fisherman who longs to be by himself, doing nothing but fishing in solitude... And then something terrible happens, his wish is granted. Be careful what you fish for. 

Yagotta Hear a podcast called Welcome to Nightvale.... This is incredibly popular in podcast circles, and probably doesn't need any help. Yet, since there are many people unfamiliar with this strange new genre of storytelling, it seems like I could use the Yagotta list to continue to get the word out. 

Yagotta Visit a place in England called the Chatsworth House... It's the world of Pride and Prejudice come to life. We went there back in 2008, and we went into a frickin' hedge maze for the first time in our lives -- and we survived! 

So, what's on your Yagotta List?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Getting Ready for Spring 2016

The semester begins tomorrow. Spring 2016. The only thing standing in the way of my summer vacation!

Seriously, though, I'm looking forward to this semester. I've got one English 1B (Intro to Literature class) with at least ten return students. That means they liked my freshman composition class enough that they've come back for more!

I'm also teaching two 1A courses -- and one late start course (Eng M02). So, my semester is a bit lighter than the Fall schedule.

Today, I've been getting mentally prepared by making a list of things to do in my iPad "To Do App" -- it's practically the only app I still use on a regular basis, besides Boggle.

Hopefully, I'll get a good night's sleep (despite this residue ache from my root canal operation) and be ready to present my best teacherly self to a new batch of college students.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Trouble in Duck Town!

The villains are starting to stomp around Duck Town...

But don't worry -- our heroes will save the day!

I'm in the middle of Chapter Seven, and hope to finish the graphic novel before the end of winter. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Year's Resolutions - 2016

I am keeping my resolutions pretty simple (and hopefully attainable) this year:

Finish Graphic Novel
Develop / Strengthen / Broaden my Fan Base
Take more pictures / video of family

Word of the Year: ARTISTRY

Cheri's Word of the Year is: Reach

Do you have a word of the year? 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Day #365: The Final Total

Day #365: Last Day of the Challenge

Well, yesterday I sent off the contract for my latest picture book... So, it's a fitting end to my one year challenge. 

For those of you just joining this blog, I gave myself a goal to earn an extra $20,000 to put into savings and pay down credit card debt and a car loan.  Like I said at the beginning of the blog, our debt isn't anything extreme -- we live within our means for the most part -- but I was hoping to edge my family closer to prosperity. 

The Final Score was: $9,757.70

And the majority of the was due to that book contract I mentioned, which means that my agent saved the day. 

Although I didn't make my goal, I had fun trying. And it motivated me to blog much more often, a habit I will continue to develop. 

For 2016, the blog will be changing a bit. I won't be numbering the days anymore -- since I'm not doing another challenge (at least not in the immediate future). I'll still be blogging about my writing projects, but I'm also going to add more personal reflections, journal/diary entries, and memoir styled material.

Here's to a prosperous and productive New Year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Day #364: Back to "Bullshot"

So, yesterday at the dentist.... Ugh...

They worked on a cavity, then they sent me to another dentist to get half of a root canal done. (More UGH...)

So that went until 6pm... Then I had to be at rehearsal by 8. Surprisingly, despite the numbness and then the soreness, I felt pretty good, and we had a great rehearsal, the first one since Xmas break. I know most of my lines for Act One, but I'd like to do much better with my waiter character.

I blew out my voice a bit; it's still ravaged by the last lingering bits of illness. But in spite of the miserable hours spent in the dentist chair, it was a good day, and it feels good to get back on stage.

"Bullshot Crummond" is a wonderfully ridiculous show, and it opens at the end of January!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Day #363: Feeling Better... But...

Yes, I am well rested from yesterday -- a day spent mostly in bed and on the couch. I woke up around 8am. Showered. And now I'm at the computer getting a few things done, sending off belated new year's gifts to gracious and deserving editors.

So, I am feeling better... But... I do have a dental appointment today, so that kinda sucks. A couple months ago, I dreaded the idea of going to the dentist. For some reason, today, it doesn't seem like a big deal. Maybe because I still feel rather crappy, so the discomfort of the dentist doesn't matter. Or maybe it's because I had an irrational fear of dying in the dentist's chair before being able to watch The Force Awakens.  

Today is Monday, and thus begins my last week before spring semester begins. I'm looking forward to going back to work. (And, more importantly, I am looking forward to the summer vacation that is now only five months away!)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Day #362: The Thing About Sick Days

My moral code regarding sick days is apparently very flexible, given my history. In my current career, as an English teacher, I do my best to NEVER call in sick. Even when I am ill, I show up to teach class. It seems that once a year I lose my voice as a resukt of a cold or allergies, but even that doesn't stop me. for such occasions, I have a lecture prepared in pantomime.

I don't like the thought of having someone from the office post a CLASS IS CANCELED notification on my classroom door. It would fill my students with far too much joy.

But there was a time when I called in sick as often as I was able to... that was during my Disneyland Days. Before then, I worked at a movie theater called the Grand Cinemas (read my novel "Enjoy Your Show" for more misadventures). I called in sick once in a while, usually when i was completely healthy. If a good friend wanted to run off and do something fun, I had little qualms about calling in and lying about the flu or a stomach ache. most of my friends worked at the theatre, so this deception didn't happen very often.

but Disneyland was differrent. I had no close friends as co-workers, so the Magic Kingdom was not the center of my social world. The other thing about D-Land is that they gave you an allotted number of days you could call in sick. the Grand never had such a policy. If you called in sick too often they would start grumbling. But at Disney, you could be absent twice a month, and it was perfectly fine. So, I took advantage of that far more than I should have. If I felt like watching a movie by myself, I'd use a sick day. If I wanted to run off to Vegas for the first time in my life, I'd use two sick days.

During my school days, I was more cautious about sick days -- most children probably are... obviously if I was actually sick, I would stay home. But every so often something dreadful was happening at school, an assignment was due or a test was coming up, and so I would lie to my mother about having a sore throat. (Sorry Mom!) During those days, which were actually quite rare now that I think about ot, perhaps twice a year, I didn't utilize the time as well as I should: I don't think I studied or completed assignments on those days. Instead, I played Atari, led my army men in deadly battles, and watched a whole lot of PBS. And if I was really lucky, there was something cool on them11 o'clock movie. That local tv station must have catered to boys playing hooky because that's where I saw shows films such as Sinbad the Sailor and A Man Called Flintsone.

The house is a different realm when you are sick (or pretending to be so). It's strangely, wonderfully quiet and private, yet there's also something creepy about the late morning loneliness. With your parents away at work, any stranger could break down the door and kill you. All the more reason for me to hide away in my room with my Star Wars figures, my Lester ventriloquist doll, and one of my prixed possessions: my Merlin electronic game. As I got older my prized electronica would become an Atari 2600, then a Vic 20 computer, and finally a Commodore 64.

Today, I am 44 years and a few months. It's a Sunday. No work today, or even tomorrow. We are still on winter break. I am sick. Not pretending. It's not a terrible illness, just a cold. I did my best to ignore it yesterday, and took down the Christmas lights and walked he dog, like I was some kind of healthy person. When I woke up today, my body said, "Wade, let's give the illness its due."

And so I have rediscovered that feeling of staying in bed when part of your mind feels, "Hey lazy, you've got stuff to do." I've been a little productive, learning my lines for an upcoming play, and inking illustrations for my graphic novel. But mostly have been lying in bed or slumping on the couch. I've been watching my healthy family members go about their business, and I've said several small prayers to somehow help the odds go in their favor so that they don't get what I got.

But if they do, I will try my best to make them feel as rested and relaxed ad I do now.

Day #361: I'm Sick

When I went to bed on New Year's Eve I had the sneaking suspicion that I was coming down with a cold. When I was still awake with a sore throat at 3am, I knew that I was sick. So I slept on the couch, hoping to keep my germs to myself.

I spent January 2nd feeling under the weather. Not terrible. Not completely inactive. In fact, I still walked the dogs around the neighborhood with Cheri, and I worked on inking some Duck Town pages, practiced my lines a bit, and even took down the Christmas lights. But by four o'clock I was feeling pretty wiped out. I sat in front of the television for a few hours, watching a screener of The Hateful Eight. then I went to bed, couldn't sleep, and so I watched a couple episodes of Daredevil on Netflix. 

It's the morning of January 3rd, and I'm still sick. So I guess 2016 is off to a slow start. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Day #360: Happy New Year!

I did my best to be productive on both New Year's Eve and New Years Day. Yesterday (the last day of 2015) we traveled at the crack of dawn from Seattle to Burbank. We ate at Chipotle, walked the dogs (who were so happy to see us again!), and watched two Christmas movies to seal the holiday season (Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story). But that's not all... I wrote the first draft of a new picture book. It's tentatively titled: "The Seven Lies of Bobby Lee Blake."

Today (the first day of 2016), we each selected something we would do as a family.

Cheri's Activity: Hike up to the waterfall in Placerita Canyon.

Wade's Activity: Assemble the new family robot. (It's a Roomba vacuum cleaner. His name is Charles.)

Mack's Activity: Play her new board game: Doctor Who Risk -- Dalek Invasion! (Emily defeated us, but Kenzie came close... I sucked... I only had three countries by the end of the game!)

Em's Activity: Watch two Matt Smith episodes of Doctor Who.

Afterwards, I wrote a second draft of "Seven Lies." Now I'm sleepy because I'm full of two child meals of Pei Wei teriyaki chicken.

Good night, and may your New Year be bright.

Day #326 - 359: Where Did the Days Go?

seriously, where did the days go? I'm missing about forty of them. When I started this Blog Challenge back on January 6th, 2015, I hoped to create a blog post for every single day. I even wrote a bunch ahead of schedule and stored them in the Blogger Queue. But as the weeks past, I fell behind, so every once in a while I would create a blog post that said Days #x thru y, and I figured that I was technically back on track.

That's not he case. Somewhere along the way, I lost track of the days and posts, and now we're just a few days from the one year mark, and we've got about a month worth lf post missing.

Oh well.

I have a feeling that he lapse occurred during Fall semester. Work left me very busy, resulting in very little creative time/energy.

Things will be changing a bit once this blog reaches Jan. 6th. I've enjoyed keep track of my challenge total, but I don't think I will be continuing to focus on how much money I generate (or fail to generate). When I started the challenge, I was interested in gaining new income by any means necessary -- but I quickly realized I was much more interested in investing my time wisely. i didn't want to spend precious time grubbing for money on Ebay or getting a second job. That's partly because I am lazy, but it's also because I'm more interested in being creative rather than just making money for the sake of money.

I expect that my blog of 2016 will be more about memories and journaling. I hope whoever is out there will keep on reading. If so, what do you want me to blog about? Drop me a comment sometime!