Saturday, October 23, 2021

Vacation Is Over!

I'm back home after taking a little vacation to see my father and stepmother in Alabama. I enjoyed the trip. I was scared to actually fly because I hadn't been on an airplane since February of 2020 (before COVID). My flights weren't long and everything went well. Still, I think it'll be a while before I get on another flight. Another issue was Alabama itself. Because the state has such a low vaccination rate, I was even more concerned about traveling there, but I hadn't seen my father in two years, so I wanted to see him. He and my stepmother are fully vaccinated (as am I) which helped alleviate some of my concerns. I just wore a mask when I went into any stores or anywhere else enclosed with other people. I did eat in restaurants, but that's about the most contact I had with non-family members. The weather was nice and I did get to spend some time at the beach on the gulf while I was there. Aside from seeing my family, I also went to Alabama to take over my father's time share since he and my stepmother decided they didn't want to deal with it. I plan to use it now that I own it.



Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Late to the Squid Game

I admit, I was late watching the Squid Game series on Netflix, but I binged all 9 episodes over a weekend about two weeks ago. I really enjoyed the series because it made me think about what I would do if faced with a situation where I had to possibly kill or be killed. When you have to put your life above anyone else's in order to save yourself, can you do it? 

On a lighter note, I loved the costumes (that I'm sure will dominate this Halloween) and the set designs. I really loved the Front Man character (and I thought his mask and ensemble looked great). 

I read that the creator of the series pitched it about 10 years ago, but no one would give him a deal. He said he believed he was able to get a deal for the series recently due to COVID. The situation of the world has changed a lot since 10 years ago and Squid Game came right on time. It's definitely the kind of must-see TV we can relate to now as we deal with and try to stay alive during the pandemic.

My only complaints (and these are minor) that I have with Squid Game were (SPOILERS) when the players attacked and killed each other. I understand why this happened. It was a way to eliminate a lot of people and get down to the core players to finish out the game. However, I thought this shouldn't have been allowed. Let the players get eliminated through the games! My second complaint was with the VIPs. These guys were so camp and a waste of space. Again, I understand why they were introduced (because the story of the undercover cop needed to move forward and they helped to do that), but their presence slowed the show down. 

Sunday, October 3, 2021

The Bee Gees

When I had free HBO last weekend, I watched a documentary about the Bee Gees that was interesting. I didn't really know much about the band other than that they were brothers from Australia. I had no idea that they'd had a career before the 1970s and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. I also didn't realize their younger brother, Andy Gibb, had died so young due to drug use. Watching the documentary, prompted me to get back into the music of the brothers Gibb. They really had some good songs back in the day. "Love You Inside Out" is one of my favorite Bee Gees songs. Everyone focuses on the songs from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, and I love those too, but the band also made some great songs outside of that album. And I'd totally forgotten about Andy Gibb's songs. "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" and "Shadowdancing" are great. In the 1970s, the Bee Gees knew how to make funky music that people wanted to hear. Were they overplayed? Certainly, but that didn't mean their music wasn't good. It's unfortunate that there was such a backlash against them at the height of their career, but their music lives on because it was good. 




Saturday, September 25, 2021

Must-See TV

I watched two interesting series over the past couple of weeks (because what else is there to do when there's a pandemic going on).

1. LuLa Rich: Whoa, boy. This one was a doozy. An MLM (aka a Ponzi) scheme that relies on primarily white stay-at-home moms who sell ugly leggings? Oh, and the company behind this is a family of Mormons? Sounds crazy, right? It is! I had never heard of the company or its leggings before I read about the documentary and finally watched it on Prime. But the again, why would I have? I'm not a white, suburban, stay-at-home mom, which is the demographic recruited for this scheme and the group who bought these leggings. I was shocked at the sheer amount of money the company made and the crazy bonuses they were giving out in bonuses to the women who recruited even more women to sell leggings. Fronting more than $5,000 to start your own "business" selling leggings out of your house? Yeah...no. A lot of women got sucked into this though under the guise of working part-time and bringing in full-time pay while being able to set your own hours. I totally see how so many stay-at-home moms got sucked into this and it's sad. But what's even sadder is that so many people are so gullible. As I watched this series, I kept thinking, This is why we had four years of Donny T. 

2. White Lotus: I know I'm late to the White Lotus series but, as I've said before, I don't have HBO. I saw the first episode for free and just binge watched the rest of the episodes over the last two days since I've got free HBO this weekend. Armond: I enjoyed watching Murray Bartlett self-destruct in each episode. He was great. He finally got some ass and it blew up in his face (no pun intended). I also thought the dynamics between some of the people were interesting. Tonya/Belinda: Belinda should have known that Tonya wasn't going to be the great white hope she initially claimed to be. Stevie Wonder could see Tonya was a hot mess and not reliable to go into any kind of business venture with. Paula/Olivia: What a couple of assholes. Paula found out the hard way that she would always be the outsider and Olivia played her like a fiddle. And who ended up getting the short end of the stick with these two silly broads? Kai. Shane/Rachel: Did Rachel not realize who she had married? Shane didn't become a totally different person after the wedding. He was the same asshole she met, went out with, and got engaged to. If she had wanted to run, she should have done that before she let him put a ring on it. Mark/Nicole: I didn't care enough about their relationship to pay a lot of attention to it, but if Nicole was such a tech bigshot, she should have been able to afford an extra room at the resort for her kids.

Messy people makes for good TV!


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Driving the Bus

I made the mistake of going to my local Walmart yesterday and when I go to big box stores like this, especially on the weekend, I try to park at the far end of the lot for two reasons. 1. I prefer parking away from the majority of folks and COVID has made me even more likely to do this. 2. I figure no one will park close to me if I park really far away. Well, when I came out of Walmart yesterday, there was a huge SUV parked beside me and it was parked crooked. The driver didn't even try to straighten up his/her vehicle. It was so crooked that I had trouble backing our of my space. I did manage to get out and avoid hitting anyone (although I was tempted to leave a note on the offender's windshield that said "Learn how to park, asshole!"). I didn't leave any notes, but I drove away thinking that some people who buy/lease these huge SUVs don't seem to be able to park them and there's a reason for that: they're too big! Many SUVs on the roads now are huge. They're like little buses. The DMV should require a CDL to drive one. These huge SUVs don't fit comfortably into regular parking spaces either and many of the drivers can't be bothered to try and make the tight fit required to stay within the parking line. I understand why some drivers park in the hinterlands of the parking lot so they can space out with their minibuses. Then again, some folks just can't drive and they can't park regardless of what kind of vehicle they're operating. A lot of kids don't seem to learn how to drive as teenagers anymore, so the instruction happens later in life and that leads to less time behind the wheel. Chicago has been having a lot of car jackings since COVID and many of the carjackers are kids...kids who can't drive. Driver's training isn't offered in the public schools anymore and you have to pay for this kind of instruction here and it shows. 


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Struggle Is Real!

It's been a year and a half since I've been working from home and my body is proof of that. I've certainly put on extra weight during the pandemic and I'm trying to get rid of some of it, but it's hard. The struggle is real! Once I was fully vaccinated, I started going back to the gym, but then the Delta variant hit and that has stopped me from going to the gym as frequently as planned. I still go, but only one or two times a week. I've got to either pick up the pace or supplement my non-gym days with some other kind of physical exercise. I used to be a member of my local YMCA, but I had to drop that place because there are too many kids hanging around the gym. I didn't want to take the chance of being around a bunch of kids who are not and/or can not be vaccinated right now. I hate to say it, but I look at kids under 12 and think of them as COVID super-spreaders. (Sorry, not sorry!)

Another thing I'm doing to try and drop some pounds is eating dinner via a meal delivery service: Freshly. So far, so good with that. The meals are generally around 400-600 calories and that's good for me. If I cooked dinner myself, it's highly unlikely that I'd stay under that calorie threshold. And the meals taste pretty good. There were a few I didn't care for, but I like the bulk of them. 

The older I get, the harder it is to lose weight and then you add COVID on top of that and you've got a recipe for disaster. One of the main reasons I got vaccinated was because I figured I'd be one of those people who ended up in the hospital on a ventilator if I got COVID and I wanted to try and avoid that. Some people look at the pandemic and figure they'll be okay if they get it. I don't feel that way, so I'll do what I can to try and protect myself from being hospitalized. I often think of the worst case scenario when it comes to my health. Am I paranoid? Probably, but like a guy told me once (during a job interview, of all things): the paranoid have enemies too!

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Sugar

My new short story, Sugar, is coming out October 6. Here's the long blurb:

Fourteen years ago, while Caleb Thorn was a junior at the University of Michigan, he had a relationship with a thirty-eight-year-old wealthy (and closeted) auto executive named Alex Hale. When Alex contacts Caleb fourteen years later to meet, Caleb finds himself experiencing a flood of memories about Alex.

At the start of their relationship, Caleb was enamored with Alex and enjoyed having a secret relationship with a sexy older man who bought him expensive gifts, but the college junior soon came to realize that those gifts came with a price. Alex controlled every aspect of their relationship and Caleb often found himself on the receiving end of Alex’s insults and hurtful behavior. Caleb quickly realized that having a sugar daddy can be both sweet and sour.