Journal Entry Type #90: 15 Questions

I got my second COVID shot a few days ago. I ended up with a sore arm, headache, dizziness, and mild fever. I’m still getting acclimated to my new job. There’s a lot to learn. I’ve been watching movies and TV and working since the last time I wrote a blog entry. I’m still in the training mode. I’ve been watching late night talk shows more. I recently saw Jimmy Kimmel with George W. Bush and Jimmy Fallon with James Spader. The 15 questions comes from Stephen Colbert as he calls it the Colbert Questionert (because he doesn’t pronounce the T in his last name). There honestly isn’t much else to say except my answers. I will find ways to express myself this month, I suspect, through my flash fiction, poems, and whatever else I write. I’m still not feeling the same way I felt before COVID happened, but I’m getting there. Slowly day by day like the world is opening back up.

  1. Best sandwich? BLT which is bacon, lettuce, and tomato with fake bacon
  2. What’s one thing you own that you really should throw out? Pants that no longer fit me from 20 years ago
  3. What is the scariest animal? Centipede
  4. Apples or oranges? Any kind of crispy apple but if only red delicious exist then blood oranges all the way
  5. Have you ever asked someone for their autograph? Once and that was Henry Rollins
  6. What do you think happens when we die? Depending on what we did and what we rectified or not, we will come back with a new set of tasks and/or some of the same ones
  7. Favorite action movie? The Fifth Element
  8. Favorite smell? Carbon copy paper
  9. Least favorite smell? Diesel gasoline
  10. Exercise: worth it? Yes but my body doesn’t show it right now
  11. Flat or sparkling? Water that is filtered with my Brita
  12. Most used app on your phone? Facebook
  13. You get one song to listen to for the rest of your life: what is it? We Built This City by Starship
  14. What number am I thinking of? I can’t really answer this without looking stupid
  15. Describe the rest of your life in 5 words? I have no freaking idea

Journal Entry Type #89: It’s Been a While

It’s been a while due to starting working again and feeling the full effects of the wind. I sometimes think Sin City should be called The Windy City or at least a sister city to Chicago. When I was driving on Friday my car moved from the sheer force of the wind on the highway. I remember some nights driving where I hardly saw through my window and had to pull over because I had no clue where the car in front of me was and not being able to see the road clearly tends to freak people out.

The Academy Awards is tonight. I haven’t watched them in full since over five years. I guess I lost interest in them since I removed myself from Hollywood slowly over the years and especially now that I no longer live in LA. Honestly, while there is no evidence the Oscars are rigged although I’m sure cocaine is still being snorted among the rich and famous parties. I bring this up because I saw an episode where a drug dealer had to go to the Kodak Theater, now the Dolby Theater, to drop off an actor’s precious cocaine to fulfill his habit. Let’s just say, favors in Hollywood can mean the difference between the short or long road.

The same goes for UFC fights. I unsubscribed to ESPN+ because I was just wasting money. I can see the highlights after the fights anyway. If you didn’t see Chris Weidman break his leg in the first round and Uriah Hall win his fight without ever throwing a punch, I warn you it’s graphic. A leg shouldn’t bend that way. Jorge Masvidal and Zhang Weili fights ended in an unexpected fashion. Basically, the center of my life has changed rapidly since mid 2020 and definitely in 2021.

I’m internally trying to weed through the muck and really think about the possibilities of my future. I’m not quite there yet. Changing from working in one hospitality industry to another has been interesting and exciting. I’m learning new things, which is good for me. I went to the LV Strip today and even since 2018 there have been many changes and maybe even 2020. Anything and everything is possible regarding LV Strip and is a city that usually has something for everyone. If you’re wondering, prostitution/brothels is not legal in Clark County where Las Vegas and the strip reside or bigger counties. On the other hand, a smaller county like Nye (Pahrump) it is legal but only in licensed brothels.

The outside of Linq is different. Resorts World is opening in June of this year. Drew, Convention Center, MSG Sphere is under construction. There are a handful of casino/hotels in the planning process but haven’t broken ground yet. RW has 3,506 rooms. Compare that to the 6,852 rooms at MGM Grand. Every casino owner wants a piece of the pie. I usually start at the south end and work my way toward Circus Circus. I was able to take a photo of the Drive Carefully Come Back Soon sign instead of Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada. Until I moved here, I never knew the strip is located in the towns of Paradise and Winchester and not Las Vegas.

Poem: The Aftermath

Living takes courage. Yes, it does. A little bit of humor too.
There was never less of me and more of you.
Living to the fullest can't be seen from far away.
Only close up. Definitely closer is better.
We taste the bitter pills doctors give us to be strong.
What is strength? What is her strength? What is his strength?
What strength are you speaking of? I want to see now. Show me.
There is little pupil movement in your eyes.
They remain still. I'm clearly not important to you.
Don't pretend I don't care as you did the others.
Who gave you the right to be powerless? The right to be hidden?

Survival takes skill. Yes, it does. A little bit of faith too.
There is not more of you and less of me. 
Survival of the fittest doesn't belong in our space. 
Not anymore. Definitely, not anymore.
We hear of the physically fit species dying before their time.
What is time? What is his time? What is her time? 
What time are you referring to? I want to know. Tell me now.
There is no answer coming from your mouth.
Your lips don't move. I'm uncertain if you hear me.
Don't shut me out like the ones before me.
Who gave you the motivation to be silent? The motivation to be insignificant?

Death takes all. Yes, it does. A little bit of reality too.
There was neither more or less of them around us.
Dying to the end isn't the plan.
Only known to a few. Definitely later than sooner.
We feel the remedy no longer working.
What is fear? What is our fear? What is their fear?
What fear hides behind our bodies? I want to invest. Heal me.
There is saturation in our shadows.
They remain dark. I'm wondering if you are truly gone.
Don't act as the truth is pointless.
Who gave you the expectation to be invisible? The expectation to be no one.

Poem: Broken Book

The book arrived and beyond excited to smell the cover,
To open the book to the middle and gloss over the page.
Those masterful written words by a masterful writer.
His name was Ernest Hemingway. He was a jerk too.
Mental illness ran in his family including suicidal thoughts.
I can put his negative traits out of mind, out of sight.
His penchant to never stop until his mind could go no further,
The stories he created is something to aspire to.
Even though my body does not look like his and I am of the opposite sex,
I too have great visions of success although on a smaller scale.

The book must be returned and brings me annoyance and sadness.
How much my fingers wanted to turn the pages.
My eyes waited patiently to swallow the words whole. 
I wanted to get to know Ernest Hemingway in another way,
Not as a maladjusted grown child who treated women poorly.
Although it seems he truly could not help it, for he loved women too much.
This does not excuse his actions, but clearly he did not abide by the standards 
Of living most able bodied men achieve.
Sometimes I see him as a hurt child, not able to get past the nightmares.
Other times I see him as a stubborn man not able to get past his pride.

If he was so affected in his youth, why did he not try harder to overcome it.
This question will probably never be answered.
He is now dead as many writers before him. Most go peacefully into silence.
Ernest Hemingway took his own life and is not surprising.
Most roads lead back to your childhood. It is a reality adults can't escape.
I identity with him in some ways, in others not so much.
My body does not crave liquor or being in the thick of battle and war.
If you glimpse into my brain, crack it open a little, the right scientist will see
parts of our brains are not so different.
Writers love the struggle, even if they tell you otherwise.

Wonder Woman (2017) Vs. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

I wanted to see for myself if the reviews were justified. I’m not going to go so far as giving WW1984 a green splat (Rotten Tomatoes). It’s incredibly hard to have a second film be better than the first one. This franchise is similar to many other franchises. It is the repeated story over and over like Mission Impossible or Fast and Furious. This one is different as it is based on a comic and it seems the diehard fans tend to be pickier about these films. I will give a quick synopsis of each one and give reasons why I overall liked both movies and why one edged out the other.

Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984 star Gal Gadot as Diana, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta, and Robin Wright as Antiope. Both are rated PG-13 for action and violence and directed by Penny Jenkins. The WW script was written by Allen Heinberg and the WW 1984 script was written by Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, and Dave Callaham. Wonder Woman is about the evolution of a Amazonian princess named Diana. She is raised and trained by her mother and aunt, Antiope. As she grows, her fighting skills improve and become beneficial during WWI. Wonder Woman 1984 is about Diana trying to live a normal life as an archaeologist at the Smithsonian. She encounters an unstable entrepreneur named Maxwell Lord. This meeting sets off a chain of events where she must once again use her lasso and shield for the greater good.

I thought both movies were worth watching. Because it was the first movie in this “new franchise,” Wonder Woman had the advantage. Before WW, Gal Gadot was best known for her role in Fast and Furious movies. I had seen her previously on Conan when he visited Israel. She killed it in this role as Diana. She was the perfect actress to play her. It wasn’t only her previous experience in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), but her beauty doesn’t hurt either. Previous to getting into acting, she was a model. The first movie opens up with strong women teaching strong girls to become better than themselves. This is the lesson Diana learns and keeps as a warrior. She expects the best from others and herself. This is quickly forgotten as she sees the effects of war and how her influence isn’t what it seems. As the war rages on, the battle of all battles presents itself and Diana must fight against Ares hopefully for the last time. Wonder Woman 1984 takes place in, you guessed it, 1984. If you haven’t noticed already, there has been a huge revival of this decade. This sequel begins with Diana learning a valuable lesson that she carries with her. It is that cheating even if you think it is justified only hurts yourself. Since this lesson and about forty years after WWII, Diana meets Barbara, who was recently hired at the Smithsonian. They both take interest in a stone with magical powers. If it falls into the wrong hands, it can do great damage. As Diana and Barbara learn more about the magical stone, Maxwell Lord has other plans. To make things more complicated, this stone sets off a chain of events where another war could begin, only this time nuclear.

Both of the WW movies were entertaining but because of the newness of the first one, I preferred it over the second. I could not see any character that weakened the story. The scenes were amazing to watch especially the fighting scenes. The enemies to Wonder Woman were creepy and disgusting. There was the notable sacrifice throughout and up until the end. The second one had a great opening scene with the horses. While all the scenes can’t be this exciting, the strength of the movie weakened as it progressed. I have to say Kristin Wiig was not my first pick as Cheetah. My personal preference was more along the lines of Anne Hathaway. While her role was not as powerful as Wonder Woman for obvious reasons, she was severely handicapped. I wanted to see her as more equal. Her outfits should have been less furry and not as subdued in their colors. She gave up all her smarts for dressing provocatively and became a power hungry woman. For what? She wasn’t going to end up with Maxwell. He was on his own collision course of crazy. The bottom line is the reasoning behind Cheetah turning so quickly should have been a little longer and more pronounced. I will hand it to Pedro Pascal as Maxwell because his character was down right creepy. The winner between Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984 should be a no brainer.

Mid-April Quotes

Journal Entry #88: Nostalgia for the 90s or Anything

I recently downloaded Jezzball and DX Ball for my computer. I’m more than a little psyched. I’m also moving my photos and files from my iMac that is ancient to my laptop. Needless to say, since I formatted my external for Apple, I can’t use it to transfer my stuff. It’s been a long process. I’m feeling sort of the excitement of getting back into the swing of a having a routine of work, exercising, writing, and other things. I’ve been looking more at my future opportunities out there for me in terms of ascending the ladder. There’s not much more else to say except this is definitely not the year to feel stable or settled. It’s been the opposite for me. I’ve been doing too much web surfing and reading about famous people dying. I have to say hearing Helen McCrory dying was a gut punch. I loved her in Peaky Blinders and will miss her dearly as Aunt Polly. She was much too young. I suppose with everything going on I’ve been less concerned about being in my best shape (not that I ever was) and less motivated to be the go-getter I sometimes am. I recently asked someone do you think it’s harder to paint a good painting or write a good book. He said paint a good painting. I tend to agree with this one. You aren’t given too many chances for a redo unless it’s an oil painting because acrylic dries so soon and forget about making a mistake on water color. This will probably be the last week of not working and while I should’ve used it to plow through my final rewrite of my first novel or write as much as I can on my second novel, I have done neither. I’m semi-okay with this because 2021 is my regroup year. I end with a few quotes.

That’s why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.

-George Carlin-

We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.

-Roald dahl-

He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

-George Bernard Shaw-

Trifecta #58

More You Know: Top Billboard Single from Each Decade Starting at 1950

Pop

1950 single = “Goodnight, Irene” by Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers

1960 single = Theme from “A Summer Place” by Percy Faith

1970 single = “Bridge over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel

1980 single = “Call Me” by Blondie

1990 single = “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips

2000 single = “Breathe” by Faith Hill

2010 single = “Tik Tok” by Kesha

2020 single = “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd

R&B/Soul/Hip-Hop

1950 single = “Pink Champagne” by Joe Liggins

1960 single = “Kiddio” by Brook Benton

1970 single = “I’ll Be There” by Jackson 5

1980 single = “Let’s Get Serious” by Jermaine Jackson

1990 single = “Hold On” by En Vogue

2000 single = “Let’s Get Married” by Jagged Edge

2010 single = “Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)” by Alicia Keys

2020 single = “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd

Country

1950 single = “I’m Movin’ On” by Hank Snow

1960 single = “Please Help Me I’m Falling” by Hank Locklin

1970 single = “Hello Darlin'” by Conway Twitty

1980 single = “My Heart”/”Silent Night (After the Fight)” by Ronnie Milsap

1990 single = “Nobody’s Home” by Clint Black

2000 single = How Do You Like Me Now?! by Toby Keith

2010 single = “Love Like Crazy” by Lee Brice

2020 single = “I Hope” by Gabby Barrett

Flash Fiction: Lennixx

The photo I took has nothing to do with story I just like the fact it says Twain.

I haven’t written or rewritten much of anything since I was laid off. I’ve been headstrong on trying to find a job. I consider this job a stepping stone and will take it from there. I have no choice and in the hearts and minds of everyone struggling, I will keep it upbeat (at least this precursor to my flash fiction story). Actually, this is the first chapter of one of my novellas. It has been in the background stewing in my mind for quite a few weeks and while I have to finish my final polish on my first novel and continue adding 200+ more pages to my second novel, this needed to be written. I call it garbage needing to be polished so it doesn’t stink up the place anymore. If you don’t share your writing, then why write. I just hope people will buy my books too. I’m also needing to get in the habit of only putting one space in between periods. For over 40 years, I’ve put two spaces because that is what I learned. Changing this habit has been difficult. I’m sure every writer out there knows rewrites must be done and so this is a working first chapter that I will probably not go back to in a while. In the meantime, it’s something. Enjoy.

*******

It was still light out when Lennixx heard the owl. He imagined the owl was adorned with brown and white feathers. The brown would be the outer layer and the white could congregate under and around the wings.  When the owl lifted his wings to fly, Lennixx wished he had night vision goggles. If the owl actually did have that kind of coloring, he might notice the difference. The problem was he had the find the owl first, goggles or no goggles. 

These people were the ones he secretly wanted in his corner if he ever found himself in need of help. These were the people who often became doctors not lawyers or auditors not fraudsters. He did not think all lawyers were short in the attention to detail department, but he had seen more than enough to know money trumps specifics. 

Sure, he understood the desire to describe lawyers in a positive way. Everybody wants a fair representation of him or herself, but he was talking about professional reality. The reality was not everyone is given a fair shake.  Sometimes, the best person for a job gets shafted because he was not, she or vice versa.

People were great at displaying fictitious displays of principles such as hard work and results. Put in another way, these were the brownnosers. Lennixx called them  ass-kissers. The reality was he had seen many people not selected for no other reason than a combination of laziness and stereotypes. These unfortunate people could do nothing about it or could they. 

This was the million-dollar question everyone asked themselves when they filtered out of the front entrance and the doors to their company closed forever. He could see the bewilderment on their faces: their arched eyebrows, scrunched up noses, and lips parted enough to signal the reality had not set in yet. 

He knew because Lennixx was one of them. He asked himself the following: Should I have recognized the signs? How much in control of my life do I really have?  What do I do now? If I am in control of my life, why haven’t I gotten the things I most desire? What the fuck happened?

These desires were those things he had not told anyone about because it sounded stupid. He was not talking mentally stupid, as in IQ range, but courageous stupid where he is too afraid to stick his index finger through the bubble he was living in for fear of failure.

People like to say we have all been there and done that. We have all felt disappointment, heard anger, and seen madness. We know what reaching the bottom means. When our arms are not able to paddle to the top because they are broken, and our hands can’t possibly be strong enough, it is over.  Lennixx felt the only option was to drown. No one was coming to his rescue.  There was no life preserver. There was no rescue buoy thrown in his direction. There was simply nothing but a night sky above him and the owl that never flew away. It hooted all night long. Even if he had wanted to sleep instead, he would not have been able to since the owl was insistent on keeping him company in his misery.

And here he was and so it went, one man with little purpose and no dream left to his name. He had nothing to live for, his life was empty and would be forever pointless, but then someone interrupted Lennixx by talking to himself in the woods. In this dire moment, the intruder came across Lennixx and shined a flashlight on his face.

He wouldn’t find out the intruder’s name until the next morning. The owl had stopped hooting and was replaced by forest birds chirping. Lennixx never cared about the particular species. They all sounded the same. He paid no attention to detail or wondered why the cardinal bird was named that way. None of this mattered when death was the only option.

The moment he decided to get into his Volvo and pull out of the parking garage was when Lennix knew his life was officially over. As a promise to the countless writers before him who never made a penny while they were alive, he drove to the woods nearby and plotted a revenge on life.

This was how death was going to be. He was sure going to show life how stupid it had become. Taking his life meant every bad thing that happened to him was pay back. If God really did exist, he was going to make God pay for his shitty life. As a bonus, he would haunt those who wronged him while they were sleeping once gone. This was his grand plan.  His master of a plan that failed and all because Mr. Wonderful had to celebrate in his own way, outside and alone, on the same night Lennixx decided to kill himself.

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