Tag Archives: Olympics

I have a complaint

Welcome to America, where complaint posts seem to get the most attention. That’s not the goal here, but I want to air some things out. I even researched my archives, and it seems like I’ve noted similar issues in passing years ago, but never a dedicated post.

What am I talking about?

I know most people are not happy with NBC’s Olympic coverage. Count me among them. I’ve been around a while and seen it done better back when ABC had the contract.

ABC only had three prime-time hours available to them each night. NBC has 24 hours per day, and about seven channels at their disposal, and somehow the coverage feels less.

Way back then, it felt like ABC covered everything. We got to see sports we didn’t usually have access to. They bounced from gold medal event to gold medal event, worked in some great bios, and even dedicated a bit of air-time to a travelogue of sorts. We got to know something about the country or city hosting the games. They taught us about the obscure sports so we could understand the scoring.

NBC seems to cover every unimportant racing heat while gold medal events never even get mentioned. They show every qualifying round of some sports, and none of the others. Some of it was probably available, but I never saw a baseball game, weightlifting, fencing, kayaking, most throwing sports, wrestling, judo, karate, boxing, and none of the shooting sports.

I did see two guys throw a discus, some pentathletes throwing the shot, a couple of softball games, and two arrows hitting bullseyes. That’s not a lot of coverage. I had to google the baseball results.

I heard the national anthem one time. It seems the award ceremonies were cut and with all the hours they had at their disposal, I don’t understand it.

NBC did go out of their way to push various agendas. This might earn me some hate comments, but I’m tired of hearing about, “The first_____ to ever win______.” I’m glad they won, but I cheer for everybody and would rather see some kid win in an obscure event than worry about race, sexual orientation, or even nation. I enjoyed seeing the Kenyan win the marathon with nobody behind him for many blocks. Allyson Felix is my new hero. Mad respect for Suni Lee who had to compete under some unfavorable conditions.

I suppose, I’d like to make it about the sports, the hard road to earn a position on the team, and the thrill of victory. Oh, wait, that was an ABC line.

Where is the next Jim McKay to ramrod the broadcast? I’d even take Howard Cosell back if they could do a few things differently.

Maybe they just need a good editor. I have no idea what the answer could be, but it sounds like people avoided the broadcasts in droves. Advertisers are asking for perks or replacement advertising, because NBC did not deliver the traffic.

I love the Olympics, both summer and winter. I searched the alternate channels frequently, but had a hard time finding anything other than the mainstream stuff.

My wife just told me she’s glad they’re finally over. I’m sorry to say, I feel the same way.


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Saturday Efforts

I wound up left to my own devices today, for the most part. I went through social media and push feeds while my wife was still here. After she left for a few hours it was time to get with it on my list.

I worked on a short story until I needed to do some minor research. I used my critiques to give my mind a breather. The guys want me to add some more world building to The Yak Guy Project. It isn't a lot, but subtle things seen in passing. I kind of like those things. This isn't our world, and tiny reminders keep the reader curious. There were a few typos and sentences that needed to get reworded. There always are.

My research wound up being pretty quick. There are things you just know, but want to check out anyway. In one instance I knew there was no rule what dugout belonged to the home team in Major League Baseball, but I had to check to be sure. This short story is part of The Enhanced League. Whereas my Experimental Notebooks could have stories set anywhere and at any time, The Enhanced League will be a book of shorts all set during the same season in one environment.

This individual story is going to be a big one. I added 3000 words to a story I'd already started. This is one of the only games in the book, and I have nine innings to cover. I'll skip ahead and cut the long boring parts, but the setting and the first inning help build tension. I haven't written that many words in one day for a long time. It isn't massive, but it felt great.

Other stories will cover trades, deals, careers beginning, or ending. I'm having a great time with it so far.

Otto and I played fetch and a little tug-of-war while I watched a heartbreaking women's soccer match. (Heartbreaking for the USA, if you live elsewhere.)

I didn't get to the reading or publishing part of my list, but there is more weekend left. I got another Lisa Burton Radio sheet today too. Maybe I'll work on it tonight.

The best news of all, the first pumpkin beers are in the stores and I'm about to have one right now.

This is the first gif I've ever used on this blog. I hope it adequately expresses the joy of pumpkin beer. Have a nice evening everyone.


Filed under Writing

The Rest of the Weekend

We watched the Olympic opening ceremonies Friday night. We both knew that Rio couldn't put on quite the show some of the recent venues have, but we're disappointed in what they did present. Their preaching about the environmental issues seems disingenuine when thinking about the worries of water quality in all the venues. Nobody may ever top the Bejing opening ceremonies, but I expected more. Maybe something involving Carnival and some dancers. Parts of it were cool, but it kind of fell flat with us.

We had date night last night. A simple dinner and a few dark beers at the Backstage Bistro. This is adjacent to the theater where we watched Suicide Squad last night. This movie is a ton of fun. It has a few unnecessary characters, but those in the forefront carried the show. Will Smith has the chops to shoulder the acting work, and he did.

I've grown tired of all the Harley Quinn costumes, pinups, and various other artwork. I got over it in a hurry last night. Harley is a great character, and her love for the Joker comes across as dangerous and genuine. Margot Robbie did a great job with her character. This has to be tough, because so many people have expectations for Harley. More so even than Batman and Superman.

Smith and Robbie worked together a year or two ago in Focus. It was a good movie too, but it wasn't a super hero movie.

Harley Quinn, yeah – I want one.

I managed a few words again today. I tried my hand at a specific micro-fiction that I've been thinking about, and don't like the result. Maybe by typing something out, it will occur to me how to fix it. I also added about 1500 words to a short story I'm writing. I have no idea how long this one will be, and it might approach novella length before I finish. I've said before, they need to be as long as they need to be. I'm not going to change that theory now.

I also worked up a couple of critiques for my meeting next week. These are good writers, so I find myself treating them more and more like a beta reading project. If I don't get back to work on The Yak Guy Project, the guys are going to be all caught up in a few months.

I find myself better suited to write micro-fiction and short stories when there are distractions. With the Olympics and other Summer activities going on, it may be October before I get back to Yak Guy.

I wound up cutting down my Seckle pear tree today. It got a dose of fire blight that I just can't get rid of. I've pruned and pruned, and it just keeps spreading. I left a couple of feet of stump and sacrificed the entire crop. If I got ahead of the spread, it may still make a nice bushy backyard fruit producer. If not, I'll completely remove it and won't replace it. I spent two years getting my hands on this variety, which is my favorite. If it's going to be a needy baby, I have better things to do.

Back to the paycheck job tomorrow. I hope all of you had a great weekend. Did you write anything? Did you see the movie? What did you think of opening ceremonies?


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Writing today

I managed about 2000 words of short fiction today, but I really don’t know how I pulled it off.

Otto let me sleep in until about 4:20 AM today. Hey that’s about ten minutes longer than my alarm clock demands the rest of the week. I took him outside to potty, then insisted we go back to bed. To my surprise, he was okay with the idea. He woke me up again about 6:30, and that was all I got.

He went outside a few times, then came in all swollen up. All of the dogs have gone through this since we moved to Idaho. They decide bees or wasps are fun to catch. They’ve all learned after one, but I’m not so sure Otto will. He was pretty needy after that, insisting on getting in my lap.

It’s hard to see, but his left lip is much larger than his right. I felt them both and it was about a half inch thicker and very tight. You can’t tell from this photo, but this is in my lap. There isn’t much room for my keyboard. I actually waited for him to fall asleep and left him in my chair. Being portable allowed me to keep working.

Otto is at the stage where he’s all puppy in mind, but not a baby in body. I really don’t need a sixty pound lap poodle, so we have some work to do. Still, new words are new words, so yay.

I chose to work on short stuff because I knew there would be interruptions. It’s easier for me to work on short stuff than to keep all the story arc and character arc in order on a novel. I need to work on the novel, and will when the situation allows.

In other news, I have two new Lisa Burton posters to promote the second Experimental Notebook. She will share these on my blog and other blogs depending on the invitations she gets. I also have a professionally formatted book, thanks to the efforts of Jo Robinson.

What a pleasure to work with her. She’s affordable, fast, and easy to get along with. If you need some help with your book you really should click that link.

I’m shooting for release on the last day of August. This is when my book club visits on our blog tour, and I intend to take full advantage of the extra traffic. I really don’t know if I should do another pre-release type of sale. I made sales every time I’ve done it, but who wants to wait for a 99¢ book? I’m open to suggestions here. If I do it, it will probably be a short time period.

Now it’s time to check out the Rio Olympics. Otto is un-swelled now, and pizza just came out of the oven.


Filed under Writing

Wednesday efforts, robots, sirens, the works

I wanted to make it out to the writing cabin once more before going on vacation. The puppy saw to it that I got a good early start.

I found Lisa doing her nails in the front office. “What are you doing? I told you I was coming today.”

“I expected you later. I have a show to do tomorrow, and need to look my best.”

“It's a radio show.”

“I don't care. I do my best work when I feel confident. What's our plan today?”

“No plan, really. It's summertime, and I only want to keep the projects moving forward. I'll grab coffee and be in my office.”

I struggled with ideas for Halloween themed stories. For some reason, my Muse (Lorelei) hasn't been sending me much stuff along those lines. I finally gave up and started making a pass through The Yak Guy Project. I haven't done much with it, and wanted to get back in the swing. I need to completely rewrite one character to avoid him resembling the other characters. Anyway, my idea was to study the previous characters.

This story is based loosely around The Fool's Journey, from the major arcana of the tarot deck. The character I want to repair is the heirophont character. Yak Guy Ted (the fool) meets a lot of mentors along his journey. I have too many of them sounding like Miyagi.

It's probably poor planning, because at 50,000 words, there was no way I was going to get completely through it today. Then there was the idea of going on vacation for ten days.

I surrendered and went back to short stories. I wrote two of them. Word count came in at about 2700. They are too big to call micro-fiction, but too short for my determination of a short story at 5000. Whatever, I wrote 2700 new words, and one of them might deserve to be a little bit longer.

These are stories for my baseball project, called The Enhanced League. This is proving to be a challenge, because there is a lot of world building going on. Each story is supposed to stand alone, but support a longer book of short stories. This means my normal twist endings don't apply in every story. Like I said, a challenge. Actually writing them helps me with the clarity.

Does anyone out there still enjoy a tale with gobs of world building? They used to be pretty popular.

I looked up and stroked my beard. “Lisa, do you know where Wiki is hanging out these days?”

Lisa came into my office all in a flurry. “Don't even think about it. You remember how mad Lorelei got when you hung out with the Sirens.”

“It isn't like Lorelei's been around a lot lately. Probably hanging out at some Olympic beach party, or getting ready to go to the actual Olympics. Now answer my question.”

Lisa's eyelids fluttered ever so slightly as she checked the tracking data. “Wiki is hanging out at a coffee shop about thirty miles away.”

“Is she alone? She's more dangerous with her sisters.”

“She's alone, for now.”

“Pull the old Land Rover around. You can provide security.”


We found little hipster Wiki in the coffee shop hiding behind a huge mug and her iPad mini. She wore a long tee-shirt with a skull pattern over black leggings, with army boots. She had a cluster of colored string friendship bracelets on one arm, and two watches on the other. I have to admit, she looked adorable, but all of the Sirens do.

Wiki jumped up and squealed. “Hi you guys. What brings you here?”

“We're looking for you,” I said.

Lisa simply crossed her arms, lifted her chin, and said, “Wiki.”

I turned to Lisa, “Are the others nearby?”


“Wiki, I want to do some baseball research. Stuff like bullpen carts, city populations, pitch velocity, left handed catchers, all kinds of stuff.”

“Easy- peasy.” She typed on her iPad and showed me an image of the Mr. Met bullpen cart. “This kind of stuff?”

“Exactly that kind of stuff. When did they quit using them?”

Wiki made a few more keyboard strokes. “Looks like the last one was a Harley Davidson with sidecar, in 1995.” She made a few more keystrokes. “Check out this kitty on one of those Roomba vacuum cleaners.” She wrinkled her nose in that adorable way she has.

Lisa slipped her hand inside her purse and stepped forward. “I don't think so.”

“Can't blame a girl for trying,” Wiki said.

I grabbed a large Americano while Lisa stood guard. Wiki found me stuff on PEDs, ways to throw the curveball, how domed stadiums can move the grass outside for natural sunlight, and much more. I thanked her, and she hugged me with Lisa looking on like a prison guard.

We left, and I waited until we pulled away from the curb, before asking Lisa, “Is your gun in that purse?”

“Yup, sure is. The Research Sirens are supposed to trap you in an endless research loop. They wreck careers on the cliffs of cute kitty videos.”

“But she's only one.”

“Right, but she's a Siren and knows how to flirt with you. Thank God I captured Libraria's and Consultia's cellphone data when they came to the cabin. Now I can track them. All three of them could be deadly.”

“You aren't going to tell Lorelei, are you?”

“Heck no. We're friends and all, but you're my employer. This is like confidential business data.”


There are several new followers at Entertaining Stories. This tale involves quite a few recurring characters, and it's easier to explain this way than with a simple asterisk and footnote.

Lorelei is an actual Greek Muse who sends me an endless stream of ideas. They aren't always what I'm looking for, and a Halloween idea or two would be appreciated.

Wiki is one of the Research Sirens. She is the youngest, and more internet based than her sisters. The sirens are dangerous, but one at a time they aren't quite so bad.

Libraria and Consultia are the other Research Sirens, and you can guess what their individual focus is. They are mentioned, but do not appear in this story.

Lisa is my robotic personal assistant, and the official spokesmodel for my writing career. For more of Lisa, come back tomorrow for another episode of Lisa Burton Radio. Apparently, she'll have cute nails, but I have no idea how you'll see them over the radio.

Special aside: Lisa is always looking for more characters to appear on Lisa Burton Radio. If you'd like one of your characters to appear, drop me a note.


The Enhanced League is going to be science fiction of the near future variety. It has no deadline and will be a collection of short stories and micro-fiction. I wrote one about the umpires, and another one called Banned in Salt Lake City today. SLC is known for doing this on occasion, most famously with Olivia Newton John's song, Physical. The stories need some work, but they exist now.


Filed under Muse, Writing

Saturday Update

I went to the writing cabin at 5:00 AM today. I reviewed the last chapter of Will ‘O the Wisp, and it was off to the races. It involved sending Patty on a bus ride, and a lot of internal thought.

Patty has been through some bad things and went on a road trip to get some answers. It’s a good way to imply some stress. A stranger in a strange town; she winds up alone in a group of more strangers.

Lisa* moved quietly around my new writing room. She wore a green corset dress, and high heeled button up boots. She was totally into the whole witchcraft theme. Her strawberry blonde hair was brushed down over her shoulders. She filled my cup and left me alone.

Doubt** made a Kruk Kruk noise at a couple places, but I ignored him. I know I could amp up the stress, but I wanted to forge ahead. I could revisit it all later.

Just when I got the key information in front of Patty, Lorelei*** showed up. She wore a Greek Olympic warmup suit. She tossed Lisa a bag of USA warmups, and me a USA hockey shirt.

“What’s the deal?” I asked. “I thought you wanted me to write.”

“You wrote,” Lorelei said. “The games are on, and they’re important too.”

I stopped at 38,060 words, so I made a little progress.

I shut down and carried my iPad to the main writing room. Lisa hacked the television broadcast into my Mac, and we watched the men’s skeleton. What a great sport! It was nice to see an American on the podium, even if it wasn’t gold.

An emotional interview followed the race, and I wound up with a tear in my eye. I caught Lorelei watching and knew what this was about. She never does anything without a reason. Emotions are important, and expressing them in writing would help me along my journey.

I edited my way through a chapter of Lisa’s story, and it wasn’t good. There was more telling than I can sell. I wrote this four or five years ago, and I’ve improved since then. It’s going to take some work to whip this into shape, but it’ll be worth it.

I folded up my iPad and told Lisa, “Be ready tomorrow. We need to work on your story. Scenes I described years ago need to be lived through your eyes. It needs more feelings and thought.”

Lisa put both hands to her heart and bent her knees. She smiled from ear to ear. “Do you mean it? Really?”

“Of course. We know it’s a good story, but we want readers to feel it more. Maybe we can weave in some of that emotion we saw in the Olympics.” I glanced toward Lorelei; she cast her eyes down and smiled.

I left the cabin shortly after. I promised my wife, old what’s her face****, we could go out. We skipped Valentines day because of the crowd, and it was our turn. We had a nice Italian dinner at Asiago, then went to Old Chicago to work on my beer tour… Well, I worked on my World Beer Tour, old what’s her face went into the mall. We decided what to get my mother for her birthday, and she picked it up. I wound up drinking enough beer to deserve a nice heavy bottle opener. Mom will be so proud.

Tomorrow is all about editing and rewriting Lisa’s story, Wild Concept.

* Lisa is a character from the story Wild Concept. She’s a robot, and helps me at the cabin.

** Doubt is a raven. He was a gift from Lorelei, and is supposed to be helpful.

*** Lorelei is my Muse.

**** Not my wife’s actual name.

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Filed under Muse, Writing

Project Updates

This is my two day weekend, so I wasn’t overly productive. I really wanted to skip the whole darned thing and have a bit of fun. The checkbook said I had to be good, so I stayed home.

My reading was a total failure. I managed a bit on Wednesday, while my wife watched American Idol. I retreated to an empty room and started the next book in my six pack. It amazes me to see acclaimed authors get away with things my critique group won’t tolerate. The current tale starts with six chapters, introducing six characters. It gets boring waiting for the story to start. I’m a believer in the slow start, but jeez.

The Olympics are preventing most of my reading for the next few weeks. I figure they’ll end and the books will be waiting. Still, how about that Sage Kotsenburg? He’s even an Idaho kid.

One of the fellows from critique group asked to read The Cock of the South in its entirety. This means a lot to me, and I owe him for that. Thanks, Jim. I hope you enjoy it.

I managed to put 2596 new words on the page for Will ‘O the Wisp. This was over two writing spells. That’s low for me, but I’m in a transition in the book. My character, Patty, knows something’s after her. She knows what to beware of, and where to get more information. I’m dedicating a few paragraphs to pouting and worrying, then she needs to make a road trip.

I tried to avoid the writing cabin this weekend, because I’m making another edit on Lisa’s story, Wild Concept. If she see’s what I’m doing, she’ll bug the crap out of me.

I wrote Wild Concept over four years ago. It’s nice to see the progress I’ve made since then. There are plenty of filtering phrases to clean up. It’s a good story, and it will go on Amazon this year. I promised Lisa that much.

I managed an acceptable loaf of sourdough bread with a bit of whole wheat and rye. The house smells wonderful today.


I also decided my mental vacation has to go on my bucket list. (See my last blog post.) Someday, I want to cast net for shrimp and cook them on the beach. I have no idea where to go, or how to make it happen. (Or how to afford it.) My lovely female guide will probably have to remain a fantasy. I don’t think my wife would support that. Maybe we can find a swimsuit beach to enhance the scenery.



Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

Some Days are Rocks

I’ve been listening to Tom Petty. You might guess that from the last few titles.

After my Wednesday marathon, where I wrote 6600 new words, today was inevitable. On Wednesday, I moved my plot forward using the outline. Today spent a large number of hours fixing all the crap I wrote.

Now that I’ve taken such a large detour from the outline, a change must be made. This is the big secret about being an outliner. You don’t delete the good stuff – you change the outline.

The characters develop minds of their own. They have a certain way of reacting to the world around them. Think of it this way, a dark and broody woman isn’t going to turn all sugar and spice, just because the outline needs her to. Change the outline.

My outlines are just beats that I want to hit. Sometimes I go directly to them, and sometimes I take the long way around.

There is a writing site that I love. It’s very popular, but I never hear bloggers talking about it. It is the Absolute Write Water Cooler.

Deviation: I see we’ve updated the WordPress App and the ability to link is impaired somehow. It is absolutewrite.com If I can figure it all out, I’ll make a hotlink somehow.

I usually just lurk at the Water Cooler, but today I had a question. I got a dozen helpful answers in the scope of an hour. If you’ve never checked it out before, you should.

Since it’s February, I changed my wallpaper again. I’m an Olympics junkie, so that’s what you get for a month.

I’ll probably post something from the writing cabin this evening. There were a few new words written today, but not what I expected.

Edit: This is all bullshit. I’ve added links to my posts before, and I cannot add a link now. If anyone’s smarter than me, would you mind sharing your decoder ring? All I had to do before was touch the symbol, but now it’s lighter and does nothing. I switched to text mode, and it works there – but it doesn’t display after I update. Then I tried visual again and highlighted a word. I hit the link button and the small menu opened. I added the data and updated. It just vanishes.

Edit X2: after about three hours of trying the same things over and over, I finally added the link. On about the tenth try of highlighting the selected words, it worked. Originally, I was able to do this in the app, without highlighting anything. Any tips are still most welcome.


Filed under Blogging, Writing