What a Day!

April 16, 2018

It’s been a horrible week for me, so a day like yesterday was very helpful. I had been coming off of two days of stomach problems, having made myself sick from worrying about a decision about an apartment that was out of my hands. On Friday, I found out I didn’t get the place which sucked, but at least the waiting stress was gone. Before that I couldn’t eat anything except apple juice, and was weak and dizzy for most of the day. But Friday was the stat of the Cambridge Science Festival, and Saturday was the robot zoo and main fair. Was so looking forward to it. Luckily I woke up not woozy and significantly pain free, so I was able to get up and get out of the house for the day.

It was too cold outside so we stayed in the Cambridge War Memorial Recreatiion Center which was turned into the convention area for all groups in attendance. We got to look at various human cells through microscopes with viewing screens (like an iPhone for an eye piece!), learned a little too much about probiotics, and got to have ice cream made from liquid nitrogen (used way too much strawberry syrup accidentally). Coolest thing was we got to see actual brains  pig and human are the onlyh ones I remember being mentioned, but there were at least four actual brains. Sophia got to hold the human brain, so that was really cool. They had a more extensive robotic section than I remembered, though they had some LEGO engineering stuf that was pretty nice.

After the fair, since we were near Harvard Square, I took her to one of my favorite places: Pinocchio’s. It’s a pizza place tucked in just before the main square and they specialize in Sicilian slices. I used to go there all the time when I worked at WGBH (when it was just across from the business school), and I love their stuff. I got to show Sophia the place and their work with pizza, although because of the stomach issues I went for simple cheese—I LOVE their tomato and basil slice best; spnach a close second.

For an added benefit, I got to politely tell the landlady to fuck off. She called me durcing the carnival part sometime after she showed someone my apartment and wondered why I hadn’t packed anything yet. I told her that wasn’t any of her concern and I will when I move. She was still upset that she would have to clean up a big mess and before she could start in on what I should be doing, I said I pay you rent but that doesn’t give you the right to tell me how to live. I told her things will be clean, now butt out, leave me alone and hung up on her.

That was definitely a feel good day.


Life Off the Grid

April 14, 2018

Dropping off the grid is more routine for me than usual. It’s part of growing older I guess. Actually it’s growing older without learning good time management and organizational skills along the way. If I did I’d have time to stress out and write. As such, that which is least urgent suffers.

Coming back from Vegas, a few things immediately popped up. Food stamps required another review after I seemed to have a review last week, and there was another section 8 inspection of the house which also seemed too recent. SNAP always needs a six month review of finances and they try to get it a couple months ahead of the cutoff date; so I always feel like I’m saving paystubs in batches of four weeks at a time just for them. The section 8 inspection was a surprise. The last inspections was our two year inspection with a new inspector who is nice guy and a thorough inspector. He found a bunch of problems that needed to be fixed before he would certify it. Most of it was regular wear and tear on an old building and the rest I blame the cat (yes, I’m sloppy but I don’t damage walls). But I think failing the two times triggered an early inspection in mid-January. So I did what I could, cleaned up the house did the paperwork, mailed off what I could to SNAP and waited for the inspections.

The inspection cae first. As usual he found new wear and tears to the place—mostly to normal usage but stuff that caused another failure on the inspection. One thing was mine and the rest the landlord had to fix. This got the landlord (honestly her daughter) mad that she had to keep spending money on repairs to the house. That and the fact that I “wasn’t keeping the place like she remembered it”—whatever that meant; it was sort of a wistful remembrance of the place as it used to be. Either way, it led them to ask me to leave the apartment. I was a little stung but not surprised. It seemed to be brewing for a while, and I hate to be living under ambiguous assumptions so I took it a time to move on. Oh, and the food stamps were taken away as I was over my monthly allowance; I’m not making a lot of money, but I won’t miss $15 a month.

Finding an apartment is usually pretty simple, but now I had a section 8 voucher. Believe me it helps with the rent and I know I can afford a place to live, but finding a place was a new ball game. There’s a whole process to go through before I could start looking and then trying to find a place that was affordable, within Sophia’s school district, and took section 8 made this an uphill climb; made all the worse by the landlady saying at the end of Feruary that I had to be out by March 31. I took over the lease in late April and thought I had until then to move, but their lawyer was going by the lease as it was originally stated at the time of Sophia’s mother’s death, which was the end of March. I told her I would need until the end of Arpil to move out, but she didn’t really listen to me. First it was “We can give you a little time, but not much,” then it was we need to reinstate the termination date to section 8 so they can pay her for April. Luckily because of an accounting error, I was owed $2200 by section 8 which they were forwarding to the landlady who would supposedly pay me back. Knowing getting them to be that honorable was a bigger battle than it was worth, I told them to keep the money and use that as the rent for April so we can forgo the bureaucratic stuff. I was worth my piece of mind to let that money go to where it was needed.

I thought I had a place, but today I found out I lost it. I think there was enough problems with my credit (which needs work) and an eviction from 2012 that did me in. The realtor who tried to get me that place, which was walking distance from Sophia’s school, is trying to work with me and section 8 to find something by April 30. I’m glad she’s helping out because I can use someone in my corner. I sent out a call for thoughts and prayers, and only recently upped to to offerings and animal or human sacrifices. Either way, I need a back up plan if I can’t find anything. The stress has gotten to the point that my stomach cramped up for the last two days. Not the flu, but it still sucks to try to work with pain and exhaustion. Hopefully I’ll be able to blog more regularly, starting with an announcement that I found a place to live.

Marquee Humor

February 24, 2018

I know it’ s been a LONG time since I’ve done one of these, but this was worth the time.

Seen at the Lexington Venue Theater:

Phantom Thread  Jedi

“Luke… I drink your milkshake.”

Wait? What? WHAT???

Time with Friends

January 5, 2018

Funny little vacation. We went to Vegas because two of my best friends live there and I saved enough last year to visit them. While the one friend we stayed with has known me and Sophia for at least 14 years, the other friend I wanted to see has been my best friend since freshman year of high school some 34 years. When we were both about 35, I bought us both tickets to Vegas to celebrate 20 years of friendship and our birthdays. It was a formative trip—despite constantly getting lost while driving—and it impacted him enough to move there when he left NYC. However I never realized how much that trip impacted me until I got there with Sophia.

A lot of the places we went to 14 years ago are gone, and the strips have changed enormously. I know this because I kept telling Sophia about it every place we went, and wouldn’t shut up. I’d talk about all the things we did, the places we went, and where they used to be. When we did meet up with Will, it was like old times for both of us, except for meeting Sophia for the first time, and we got a local’s eye view of the area.

But going to Red Rocks Canyon sealed it for me. Originally, I was going to take Sophia to either the Grand Canyon or Zion National park. When I realized it was four to five hours traveling time to get there and back, it was going to be Zion. When I woke up with the cold my daughter had and I was fighting to keep from getting, Red Rocks was a happy substitute. Will and I went to Red Rocks that trip 14 years ago. It was fun—eventually, in time. We hopped around a bunch of the rocks on one of the trails, then got seriously dehydrated and delirious trying to hike back to the car without water. This time I made sure we had extra water and not stay out in the sun too long.

A lot of ghosts were playing with my head as Sophia and I hit a short trail further up from where Will and I were years before. I was so happy to be climbing on rocks and steppes with her, more cautiously in my age but still out of both our comfort zones. I could feel the past reverberating through th present, very conscious that I was reliving an old adventure with a new partner in tow. Reminiscing made the new time even more special.

When the New Year rolled around on the West Coast, I was saturated with nostalgia. I used to always go to New Years with the friend I was staying with in Vegas, but this would be our first New Years together in at least 5 years. Getting both of them together for the first time in person, even though they’ve been Facebook friends for years, was a real trip. Two friends I’ve spent many times together with my daughter welcoming a new future. Rarely do past, present, and future intersect so vividly and I hope we have more like them.


It’s one of those times when I can’t complain about things. Work is good, Sophia is doing fine in school, writing is slow but steady, I’m sticking to my meds regularly, getting sleep, and making gym a habit. Things aren’t bad. So why do I feel like my head is about to explode from stress?

For the last few days, I’ve been anxious for no obvious reason. Nothing is going wrong but I’m under this overwhelmning feeling of dread. At church, they had kids (and any willing adults) to light a candle of gratitude for something. I fought off the urge to go up and light a candle to be grateful for Ativan.

I honestly can’t think why I’m on edge. Ages ago, my therapist told me I’m always waiting for the next shoe to drop. While I’m not waiting for a shoe to drop, I still am dreading something and have no idea what or why. Maybe I’m nervous that I’m doing okay. Maybe it’s because I think I’m not doing enough—even though I’m doing plenty. Maybe it’s the nature of mental illness and how it ebbs and flows from dramatic heights to stiffling depths. Maybe it’s a lot of things. Either way, I feel off.

I hate it, I’m used to it, and I hate that the only thing I can do sometimes is ride it out. My anxiety isn’t a curse or a gift, but it’s an ever present source of annoyance. It doesn’t stop me completely, but it slows me down considerably. Still I move forward one step at a time. It feels like molasses but I’m moving.

10-Word Story Challenge #3

November 14, 2017

I’ a little behind (okay WAY behind) in getting these out, but I’m still doing them. These are published here as posted on my Facebook page. All stories are credited to the author; unmarked entries are my works.

Blind Dates

“Her rusty blonde hair matched her seeing eye dog’s.”

“Is this her?” He thought. “Please, not him.” She thought.–Gregory M. Bruce

“Oh, great! Short in stature and on manners. Cheap, too!”–Gerri Hancock

“After creepy intimacy, neither knew the other’s name, nor asked.”–Heather Munn

“Through dinner and drinks, we never glanced past our phones.”

“I like red”. “I like green”. “We complement each other”–Rod Cummings

They didn’t say another word. They knew it was over.”–Gregory M. Bruce

Their love was truest because neither could see the other.”–Rod Cummings

Dad! You’re my Tinder Date?!?!?!”

It was a blind date, but I needed the blindfold!”–Marc K’urlii Eytina

As she gazed upon his face, rage swelled within her.”–Joel Araujo

It was clear that he could turn heads and stomachs.”–Gerri Hancock

“Exactly what made you think she was MY type?”

“The lobster and wagyu surf and turf, please” “Goodbye ‘–Rod Cummings

She turned the corner. Was blind, but now I see.”–Scott Will

“Cousin Jenny! Why are you–?” “I think I’m your date?”–Rod Cummings

“The waiter, in an act of pity, comped my meal.”–Gerri Hancock

“She was cute, but her mother was HOT.”

NaNoWriMo, Hmmmm?

October 23, 2017

It’s that time of year again when I need to figure out if I’m going to take part in the National Novel Writing Month­—or NaNoWriMo—at all this year; and if I am, figure out what I’m going to do. This year it’s a fairly easy answer to the first part, Yes, and I know what project to work on.

For the last few years, I’ve been trying to turn an old web series video project into a full length theatrical play. I had enough of the series started to give me pat of the first act, and I had to get the rest done. For the better part of a year, I’ve been stuck on the first scene of the second act, making very little headway. I went back to look over some of my original notes (SUPER helpful) and, since I now have a better idea of where to go with the play, I decided to jump start the process by committing to at least one page a day for the NaNoWriMo. It’s there to spur on creativity and the writing process for millions, so I might as well take advantage of it. Is it a novel? No, but a good play reads like literature and I’m moving ahead with that.

Actually, I didn’t know about Script Frenzy for screenplays and plays back about ten years ago. They do their writing for April. At the time I wasn’t in the state of mind to take that on, and it has now been defunct since 2011—pretty much near the height of my mental collapse. The NaNoWriMo is still going strong and any writing is good writing, so might as well take advantage of it while I can. I will be avoiding the NaNoBloMo—National Blog Posting Month, same November month—as I don’t want to overload myself.

We’ll see how all this goes. Not going to post updates or page/word counts as many do, but I will definitely assess things at the end of the month.

This was my Facebook status last weekend:

To ALL African-Americans out there,
I voted for Jill Stein in 2016,
and it didn’t matter because
it didn’t help Trump get elected.

Some Background: We all know the events of last year’s presidential election. Hillary Clinton got 65.9 millions votes to Donald Trump’s 62.9 million yet lost the electoral college by 77 electoral votes. I didn’t vote for Clinton, voting for Jill Stein hoping to get the Green Party to 5% to get matching funds in future elections. That never happened as she only got 1.6% of popular votes and no electoral votes at all; yet that still hasn’t stopped many on the left from blaming her and/or those that voted for her for costing Clinton the election and giving Trump the presidency. If the 2,395,271 voters–or 1.7% of popular vote–had cast a vote or president had gone to Hillary, she would have won. Or if the 46% of eligible voters who stayed home instead cast a vote, she might have won. There are many more ways Clinton could have won, but somehow it’s the Green Party voters that did it.

But this election has been analyzed and as depressing and bruising as it was why bring it up again now? Because Hillary wrote a book about the campaign. Titled “What Happened” Secretary Clinton recounts, in her estimation, why she lost the presidency to Tiny Hands Trump. According to the review in the New Republic, “this book is precisely what her critics predicted it would be…When Clinton does discuss what went wrong, it’s mostly to point fingers.” From the leaked pages criticizing Bernie Sanders, it was pretty much how I thought it would go. With the release of the book, a lot of unhealed wounds from 2016 were ripped fresh and people were arguing like it was the day after the Democratic Convention.

To that end a friend of mine put up a Facebook post defending Clinton in that progressive men were berating her for writing a book, asking “if you wanted Clinton to stop Trump, maybe you should have voted for her?” So with my own hackles admittedly up and unnerved, I commented “I’m berating her for blaming everyone but herself for her own loss. And that’s when the trouble began.

My friend had a “troll”/friend–a liberal “progressive” who got on my case for supporting and voting Stein over Clinton. It went back and forth for a while, but I got pissed when he said I wasn’t a “real” progressive while implying I also wasn’t a real “Negro.” I know, I know, I should have cut my losses at the word “negro” (his word, for real), but he caught me WAY off my scheduled meds, so the full Brooklyn experience was in full effect. When he countered that no one in the African-American community would agree with my decision, I put the headline above as my Facebook status. It was a middle finger to his challenge, even though I really should have taken a few deep breaths and walked away. I got some support and some arguments on the post, but one good point made out of all of them: why are we still having this debate when we should be working on fighting the current administration?

My friend is absolutely right (as she usually is). I got sucked into a blame game when there’s more important work going on or that needs to be done. It doesn’t even matter how many of my friends are with me or not, as long as I’m arguing with internet trolls whose opinions are meaningless to me, I’m wasting my time. Rather than bother with it, I’m writing it out of my system and letting it go. I couldn’t care less what he was trying to prove, I don’t care what others I’ve never met feel about my choices, the fact is the election is over and we need to get to work and fix things. Everyone wants to hold onto grudges because it’s easier to look backwards than it is to move forwards.

Consider this: my status headline soon after the first one was the following:

Ten Things the Drumpf Administration has done while We’ve been talking about Hillary’s Book.

The comments included links to things Trump did from the Tuesday when the book pages were leaked to the Tuesday after the book was released (see the links below). Granted more has happened since I posted the links, but that’s why we need to pay attention. Clinton’s book should be treated for what it is: another big distraction keeping our minds off of real problems.

I can’t guarantee this will be my last troll battle on the internet and it’s not our first, but each time it gets easier to ignore the insects and keep moving forward. Haters are gonna hate and I can’t do anything about that except remember not to make their drama yours.


What Trump Has Done While We’ve Been Arguing About Hillary’s Book.

White House to Lower Refugee Quota Below 50,000 

Trump Ends DACA

Trump Pushes Tax Reform After Response to Hurricane Aid

UN Pushes Sanctions on North Korea

State Department to Close Guantanamo

State Department Approves $3.8B Sale to Bahrain

DeVos to Scrap Campus Rape Protections

Hurricane Harvey “Toxic Soup” in Houston

DOJ Won’t Charge Police in Freddie Gray Case

Trump Election Commission Setting Up Road to Voter Restrictions


10-Word Story Challenges

August 30, 2017

Lately the 10-word story prompts have been really spurring on my creativity. Trying to get a story in ten words or less is pretty fun and can be challenging (for a real challenge, try the 6-word Science Fiction challenge). I was doing this with friends on Facebook with a theme to follow. I will in the future post one theme only per post, but since I was late getting this together and as one challenge had more turnout than the other, I’m listing two themes today. Most entries are written by me except where indicated. Hope you enjoy these from me and my friends.

School Experience:

One year older, new grade, new school, same old target.”

Two jobs to afford private school. He’ll appreciate it later.”

Learning would be fun if it weren’t for the people.” –Scott Will

When the day finally came for her ascension, she panicked.” –Marc Eytina

Screenwriting Bachelors. One sale kills debt. Who ordered venti frappucino?”

Birthday Party:

Robert cried at the ‘Happy birthday Roberta’ cake.”

Surprise!! Happy birthday Jim! Jim? Someone call 911.”

Blood. Placenta. Screams. Yup. Just like my birth day.” –Rod Cummings

Why are you naked? I thought it was my birthday.” –Antonio Jacobs

““Candlelight dinner. Two hours waiting. Solo birthday toast again.”

Things were fine until the piñata. Emergency rooms suck.”

Birthday wrapping without Biggie here ain’t no rap at all.” –Gregory Bruce

Cake was never the way Josh celebrated. Not after Copenhagen.” –Marc Eytina

I said I’d THINK about a puppy. I did. Enough!”

“Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to-” sigh. Click. BANG.” –Rod Cummings

Birthday shopping for someone with nothing and doesn’t want anything.” –Gregory Bruce

Make a wish. Poof! Things look different through your eyes…” –Antonio Jacobs

‘Quick! Open mine next!’ ‘No thanks, Schroedinger, I think I’ll keep it closed for now.'” –Rod Cummings

The cake. The bloody knife. Nobody singing. Bobby’ last birthday.” –Gregory Bruce

‘Surprise!’ They cried! ‘Wrong house!’ I replied” –Rod Cummings

Why does this sparkler candle say ‘dynamite’?” –Rod Cummings

Seriously, what’s a baby going to do with myrrh?”

Marquee Humor

August 23, 2017

This is currently showing at the Venue in Lexington, MA:

The Big Sick Lady MacBeth

Just a little on the nose don’t you think?