No Fans

This morning, I was informed that fans are no longer acceptable curbside trash. To say the least, this was utterly shocking and turned my worldview upside down. Granted, it was early and I hadn’t taken down any coffee yet, but still.

I usually don’t meet up with the garbage man at the curb. Not because I have anything against garbage men, but because the chances of me being at the end of my driveway for the roughly 90 seconds they’re also there per week are relatively slim. And I’d also like to say that I have nothing against garbage women either. Fine people all the way around and no gender assumptions are being made in terms of the overall composition of the trash collecting workforce. The person who picks up my trash is a man. Yours might not be and that’s fine too. I think what we’re all most concerned with is whether they pick up the trash and where they leave the buckets afterwards, aren’t you?

Which is the issue I experienced this morning while dragging out the recycling to the curb and met up the garbage man as he was pulling a fan out of the bucket.

A word about this fan… We’ve had this pedestal oscillating fan longer than either of our vehicles and it’s served us well. Probably too well. We’ve now reached the point in this particular fan’s life when it doesn’t always start up right away. Instead, it’ll hum for a few minutes and eventually kick over. I could deal with that if it did what it does half the time, which is go about it’s business soundlessly. However, there’s the other half where it makes this awful screeching noise that, if it happens when one person is sound asleep, will cause them to jump out of bed into a karate-esque crouch ad bump their heartbeat somewhere into the hummingbird range. It’s not pleasant or conducive to getting back to sleep any time soon.

So it was this fan’s time to go, I wanted it to go, and yet here was this good gentleman seemingly refusing to let it go.

“No fans,” he said.

“No fans?” was my quippy reply.

“Nope. Gotta take it to the transfer station.”

Which means putting the thing in the car, driving across town, and delivering it to the transfer station and more than likely paying them for the privilege of taking my busted fan. I’m sure it has something to do with the motor or some other component that shouldn’t be tossed directly into a hole somewhere and I’m okay with that. Although it does seem a little redundant considering that I’m sure his truck will be going past the same place.

I would’ve liked to ask more questions and perhaps tried to persuade him to take my fan, but somehow, I don’t think he would’ve been much of a fan of that.

Kicking It Outta The Nest

Normally, I spend some time at the beginning of the year coming up with some new goals for my new spin around the sun (I resolved to give up resolutions years ago and it’s so far been the only one I’ve managed to keep successfully), but this year, I picked up another one along the way. Sort of a goal hitchhiker if you will.

About 18 years ago, I had an idea for what I thought would be a novel. After spending a bunch of time writing out the opening few pages and getting overly frustrated, the thought occurred to me that maybe this wasn’t a book after all. Maybe it was a movie. So I downloaded a free copy of CeltX, learned a (very) little about screenplay formatting, and re-typed my opening scene. Still wound up frustrated and set it aside. This dance continued for a long time.

Two years ago, I decided to actually learn about the craft of screenwriting. I watched interviews with writers, read a couple books, and read dozens of scripts all while taking copious notes. I went back to my original screenplay and added a little here, a little there. Almost like I was building a rock wall, but only after digging the rocks up in my backyard. The script that I finished was based on a friend’s idea, and in spite of being the longest piece of sustained writing I’d done since college, we couldn’t quite agree on where it should go and I set it aside. In the meantime, I still had this other script waiting for me.

A few months ago, I realized it was pretty lame to have this script that had started it all just sitting there, unfinished. So I went back and gave it a read, surprising myself with how far it had gotten. Even more surprising was that I’d sketched out the remaining scenes before setting it aside – something I’d completely forgotten. I had the first two thirds of it written, knew the ending, and had an outline of how to get there. Now it would be tremendously stupid not to finish, so I got to work. Typing “fade out” after a few days was very satisfying.

Then came the hard part: revising. I’m not a fan. Not at all. But, much as I’m not a fan of flying but love travel, it’s something I’m willing to deal with if it gets me where I’m going. In this case, I wasn’t trying to find a warm spot in the sun, but a finished script that I’d be happy with. I was well aware that the first draft was a mess and that the second would be better, but nowhere near good. That’s not fishing for compliments or pick-me-ups, that’s just being realistic about my level of inexperience. I told myself that a finished third draft was the soonest I’d show anyone.

Last week, I got there. Now that I’d been staring at this thing for a couple months, perspective had been somewhat lost and there wasn’t any other good excuses to keep it from anyone else. So I showed it to my first reader and got a pretty solid thumbs up. It’s now in the hands of a person who worked in the industry doing script coverage as well as a fellow writer.

It’s an interesting mixture of curiosity, giddiness, and terror handing over something like that. But hey, what can you do? Then little bugger has to learn to fly at some point, right?

And you’ll definitely forget all of it within a week…

As I’ve mentioned rather recently, I’ve been trying to stay the hell off Facebook as much as possible and enjoy life outside of a screen. While I’ve done rather well and curtailed my usage to what could be deemed only “moderately unhealthy” instead of my previously held “festering brain rot” level, there are times when I’ve done the odd scroll down the timeline. There’s been the usual assortment of crap ads, posts by people that make me wonder if dolphins wouldn’t be a better dominant species choice, and cat photos – but there’s also been the occasional bright spot.

I don’t know much about Tim Minchin except that he’s funny and delivered a pretty nifty graduation speech that has echoes which I found interesting. The video is embedded below, but there’s also a transcript for those who’d rather read than watch.

For no other reason, the video is worth a watch if only to see Minchin looking over for the reaction of the older gentlemen over his right shoulder.

I can’t say I agree with everything he says regarding meaning or life in general, I think there’s something to be said to the overall tone of his message. That maybe by taking life so seriously, many of us humans miss the fun, creativity, and absurdity that makes life actually worth living.

Free Range Idiocy Podcast

You Gotta Love A Nice Deep Geek

For a little something that started out as a good excuse for a conversation every couple weeks, this thing here is starting to get some legs! After spending the better part of the first three episodes of Free Range Idiocy finding some way to turn the conversation towards Battlestar Galactica, we’ve decided to go full-on deep geek and talk about our favorite episodes from each season. This past #TGIFRIday, we posted the first episode: a 3-hour marathon discussion of our personal top five lists from the first season of BSG.

Yes indeed, folks… After cursing podcasts that ran for 3 hours, we’ve managed to record two podcasts of that length in a month. As The Good Doctor’s friend Bob Braudis once said, “Life is a gradual release from ignorance.”

Originally, we’d planned to do an episode focusing on each season. After wading through this one, we’ve altered things a bit and will be proceeding with half seasons (as they were originally aired) and cutting down our lists to 3 episodes each. I mean, we’ll still wind up around 2 hours, but it’s an improvement of a sort. Right?

If this is at all interesting to you, then feel free to download and subscribe on Podbean or iTunes. You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Enjoy!

Time Suck, Thy Name Is Facebook

I’m not sure exactly when I joined Facebook. I just tried to check and wound up spending 10 minutes checking on a bunch of other stuff.

This is what my life has become.

At some point in the last 10 years or so, I joined Facebook and immediately got into the “who can get more friends” contest with my wife. It was fun to make contact with people I’d hadn’t seen in person since high school graduation, find some college friends, and generally putter around the site. But at some point, things took a turn. Continue reading →

Bill McElaney, 1956 - 2019

In Memoriam

Bill McElaney is the type of person that I hope each of you has in their life. That person that you find yourself saying something along the lines of “If it wasn’t _______, I wouldn’t believe it.”

On more than one occasion, I heard Bill advise someone to learn to play guitar because it could take you around the world. This much I know is true. Bill traveled the world as a musician. And now that he’s passed away, he’s had memorials in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and more than likely in Ireland in the near future. If it wasn’t Bill, I wouldn’t believe that someone’s ashes could go on tour. But here we are. Continue reading →

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Some writing wisdom from Neil Gaiman:

“You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.”


In reference to the article as a whole, guilty as charged. I was totally searching for writing tips as a way to put off writing. In fact, writing this post is just another way to put off writing the thing that I actually want to write but am scared spitless that I don’t really know how to write. But the catch is that I’ll never really know unless I… you guessed it… actually write the damn thing.

Excuses stripped away, guess I’ll be off to my word processor window now.

I Did It Right

Often times, when I’ve been asked to head out on either New Years Eve or St. Patrick’s Day, I politely decline.

Partly, it’s because these days have become Amateur Hour Serious Bummers and I’ve hit what I refer to as “The Murtaugh Point” in my life, where’s I’ve become (and openly acknowledge that I’ve become) too old for this sh**. There are people who should never drink and there are people who should never drink seriously. Unfortunately for the rest of us, both of those groups are in full bloom on those days and the shift from “bystander” to “collateral damage” happens quickly.

However, the other reason is because once upon a time, I managed to do both those days right and feel no need to try and improve at this point in my life.

I believe it was 2002 when I took the day off from work to dedicate an entire 24 hours to St. Patrick’s Day. My favorite band (Revels’ Glen) would be playing at my favorite pub (Biddy Mulligan’s) and I figured this was as good a chance as any to enjoy it.

I opened the pub with the bartenders, had lunch, a couple pints, and spent a lot of time listening to house music and writing in my journal. It began to fill up in mid-afternoon, but I already had my turf staked out and the band was showing up for an early set. Guinness was being served in plastic cups in order to keep up with demand and, I imagine, keep projectiles and breakage to a minimum. By early evening, friends began showing up and a couple pints were had with the band.

By the time dinner was done, the party was in full swing. I have no idea how much Guinness was in my system at this point, but I was openly dancing so we could easily classify that amount as “too much”. At some point in the night, I had a shot of peppermint schnapps – more as a breath mint than anything at that point. The night ended with us having pints with the band and gently being ushered out the door right as the lights were turned out.

Aside from one of the mightiest hangovers I’ve ever encountered, I escaped that night unscathed and with a smile on my face. Personally, I don’t see a reason to tempt fate by trying to top it.

I Don’t Suffer From Insomnia, I Enjoy Every Minute Of It

All right, so that’s not entirely true… There’s definitely times when I’d like to be asleep when my brain and basic body chemistry seem to be conspiring against me. However, by and large, I don’t “suffer” from insomnia in a traditional sense.

Back in the day, I used to survive on a couple hours of sleep for months at a time. It became a regular thing for me and I found my own ways to deal with it. In high school, it was watching the local PBS marathons in the hopes of catching a block for 2 or possibly even 4 episodes of Red Dwarf or maybe some Red Green. Remember, this is back before streaming, DVDs, and widespread TV-on-VHS. Cue the old man voice, but we had to actually wait for things to show up on TV!

To this day, I don’t “suffer” from insomnia. It’s a part of my life that I deal with and try to account for. Times when I need sleep, I’ll do everything possible to make myself conducive to being ready for bed – sleepy time tea, reading, and melatonin are fast friends at this point. It doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it’s better than nothing.

However, I’m not scared to be awake late at night (or early in the morning). As I type this, it’s half past midnight and I have no regrets. Of course, being self employed, I have the chance to account for this and adapt my schedule. It’s a luxury, but it’s also one that I pay for too – go ahead and ask me about my health insurance and pension plan.