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The pull to go to the beach is super strong this weekend. Maybe it’s because it’s the Memorial Day weekend and we had originally planned to go around this time before all this COVID-19 mess. And when I say strong, I mean I can feel it in my bones like a fire. I need to go to the beach each year, the more times the better. It’s part of my soul. I’ve been pulling up webcams but it’s not the same as digging your toes into the wet sand and feeling the waves crash against you. I need to breath in that salty air and listen to the seagulls cry. But as much as I want it, I have self-restraint. It’s clear that many others don’t have it.

I was thinking about what I wanted to cook this weekend and my answer came in the form of a poem. I had to laugh. I clearly have food issues.

Missing Eating Out
Months ago, I would have said I eat out too much,
After prolonged quarantine I now wish for such,
I love homecooked meals and all,
But at this point it’s driving me up the wall,
I’m tired of cooking and want something new,
There’re only so much Pinterest I can go through,
I keep trying out new recipes each week,
But how about some Chinese, Italian, or Greek?
Hot french fries and a greasy burger would do,
Maybe a shrimp boil or a hearty Irish beef stew,
I miss being able to go out and eat,
What once was boring would now be a treat,

Mood: A stressed green star. Restless

Music: Sisters of Mercy – “Dominion”

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Not Social?

Here’s the thing. I’ve got plenty of social networking accounts. I made them because writers are always being told to build their platforms, because without it agents and publishers aren’t going to work with you. Truth be told, these are probably the fourth or fifth iterations of such social networking accounts. The previous ones were deleted. I keep getting caught in this cycle of trying to build a platform and then deleting the accounts because I absolutely hate the platforms, abhor the fact that I’m sharing with strangers, and detest that I get addicted to checking feeds that I really don’t care about but make me feel like crap after looking at them. Was that too honest?

I’m an introvert and a private person. I don’t like sharing unless there’s some kind of benefit from it and even then, I’m uncomfortable doing it. That’s why I’ve repeatedly taken down content I’ve posted on this website in the past, as well as on social networking sites. Even now, posting my journal entries like this one weird me out but I’ve found that it’s something I need to do for me. And if people get enjoyment out of what I post publicly, great. But the truth is, not many people are going to see what I write here. There’s a weird sort of comfort in that. This is my little corner of the internet where I can say what I want and express how I feel. I don’t feel that way when it comes to social networking sites.

To me, this site is like a conversation with a friend in a public cafe. What’s said might be overheard by the folks sitting around us but otherwise, it’s more or less private. But social networking sites? That’s like yelling through a bullhorn in the middle of Times Square while being on a stage and having cameras trained on you. It feels very attention seeking, which I don’t like. Just take a look at Twitter’s #writingcommunity. If you pull up the hashtag, you’ll immediately see a stream of #writerlift tweets and random engagement questions. People just want more followers and more engagement, not friendships. It’s a numbers game, not a community. I feel no desire to participate in that garbage.

I would honestly love to delete all my social networking accounts permanently. I think they’re unfiltered cesspools of toxicity and ideologues. But for all their inherit evils, I’ve found that I can keep up with places and topics of interest in a way I couldn’t before and enables me to keep in communication with friends that aren’t otherwise accessible. Do those positives outweigh the negatives? I doubt it. But since they serve a purpose, as an instant messenger and an RSS feed reader for my interests, I begrudgingly keep my accounts. That may change later.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, but I’ve finally come to understand that I don’t have to post to my accounts. I can use them how I want; they’re mine after all. That means I don’t have to follow someone because they followed me first. I don’t have to fret about engagement. I don’t need a content strategy. Nor do I have to sink endless hours into trying to grow my platform and my connections. I can focus on what matters: my friends, my interests, and my writing. That might mean getting rid of my social networking accounts all together. Time will tell.

I guess I’m no social butterfly!

Mood: A pensive green star. Contemplative

Music: Emilie Autumn – “Opheliac”

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No Soup for You!

Oh, Starbucks. You don’t miss me. Be honest. You merely miss my money. Sorry, Starbucks! You can send me a ton of push notifications and e-mails saying that you’re opening back up or that your summer drinks are here but I’m not coming back yet. I don’t go for your beverages or food; I go for the atmosphere. Given that your lobbies are still closed, there’s no reason for me to return yet. And even if you magically reopened them tomorrow, it’s not safe to return yet. According to my app, my stars don’t expire until September. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll see me around that time but not before.

I’ve been thinking about getting a traveler’s notebook, a kind of leather cover that holds several notebooks at one time. I’ve been looking at the big names in the traveler’s notebook business but there’s not a lot of people doing that size. The ones that are really aren’t producing true traveler’s notebooks in that size but more padfolio style covers that only hold one notebook. That’s not what I’m looking for. I want one that can hold at least four notebooks, about what it would take to hold a whole handwritten novel at one time.

I tried ChicSparrow, which as far as I can tell is THE place for traveler’s notebooks, but they no longer make traveler’s notebooks for that size. They used to! Sadly, they don’t do custom orders. I reached out to them to see if they were going to be making that size again anytime soon, but they aren’t. They were lovely folks though and even answered my e-mail with a personal response video, which I thought was brilliant.

I did see where Galen Leather offered a version that held two notebooks at one time but that wasn’t quite what I wanted either. From what I could tell, they don’t do custom orders. Innovative Journaling offers a two-notebook version as well. I took a chance and contacted Innovative Journaling, since I liked their style better, and asked if they could make a version that held four notebooks.

They wrote me back rather quickly saying they could do that and wanted to confirm a few details before giving me a quote. I replied with the details and got excited. But here I am two weeks later and there’s been no quote or further communication. I’m disappointed. It’s possible they got busy, but I find it more likely they decided they didn’t want to do a custom job after all. I’m not going to chase them down to have what I want made. They either want the business, or they don’t.

Yesterday, my wife had hand surgery for what we thought was a tumor. Turns out it was just inflamed tissue and some bone growth. It had been hurting her for months so I’m sure she’s glad to have it gone. The downside to all this is that I’ll have to do everything around the house for the next month. I don’t like the idea of less me time, but you got to do what got to do. Life is a joy that way!

I took this morning off work so that I can take my son to his school one last time. He’s supposed to get his actual diploma today and a refund for some of his senior dues. It’s hard to believe his high school career is over. He’s starting a new phase of his life and I guess by proxy, me and my wife will be starting one soon too. We’re not empty nesters yet but we know it’s coming in the next few years. That’s just a weird thought!

Mood: A sad green star. Disappointed

Music: Professor Elemental – “Everything Stops for Tea”

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