Anniversaries, Ray Bans, Chronic Migraines, a Little ENDWORLD and the Awesomeness that is Spotify

Happy October 15th, everyone. Incidentally, October 15th just so happens to be my wedding anniversary so before I write anything, let me first take a moment to wish my words-can-not-describe wife Nicole a Happy 6th Anniversary. For some of you reading this that have been hitched longer than that six years might not seem like much of a milestone but for me it’s monumental. Pre-Nicole the longest relationship I’d ever been in was roughly seven months and most of my relationships averaged between one night (with the occasional breakfast thrown in for good measure) and four months. Amazingly enough, when you factor in the amount of time we’ve dated (or, if you’re more of a traditionalist, the amount of time we’ve “courted”) we’ve been together for 10 years this November 11th. Despite our proclivities towards a more casual, laid-back lifestyle now she still keeps things interesting on a daily basis. She’s about as good a mother as I’ve ever encountered and as phenomenal a spouse as I could ask for. Nicole, I know you’re reading this. I love you with all my heart and always will. OH! And thank you again for the Ray-Bans. I’m nervous as f*ck to wear them (I have a knack for breaking expensive things, sunglasses especially) but I’ve always wanted a pair. In the words of William (remember, friends: No longer Roland) MacNuff: “‘You ‘done good, kiddo.”

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for me. I’m not going to lie. One or two people inquired recently why, in mid-September, I seemingly paused… at least publicly… all activity related to the writing of ENDWORLD. Fact is I did. Reluctantly. I ‘kinda had to. Shortly after I returned from vacation I had an… an incident I guess you could call it. I was beset upon quite suddenly by something that I had suffered from as a child but had, at least to my knowledge, kicked in the subsequent years since: Chronic Migraines. I actually ended up in the hospital for a weekend because of them. While I was released that Sunday afternoon and allowed to return home the damn things didn’t stop. In fact, they became more consistent albeit not as severe as they had been that weekend. I was forced to give up caffeine because the doctors considered it to be the trigger. I was asked to limit any stressful activities (also, they determined, a trigger) temporarily until I could meet with a Neurologist and work up a treatment plan. I was told to start going to bed earlier which sadly meant the end of my late night writing sprints… at least for a time. I followed all of this advice to a tee because no one should have to live with what I had to live with that week or two after I returned from vacation and continued to deal with in the two weeks after I was discharged: Constant pain is not a welcome companion on mine or any one’s journey through their own, subjective universe and if you are reading this and suffering from something similar you have my sympathies. I… truly… feel your pain.

So I did as was requested of me. I finally got to see a Neurologist who helped get me back on my feet via meds and a few recommended lifestyle changes and here I am. I’ve been virtually caffeine-free since mid-September (I am allowed to drink the occasional soda now but energy drinks, sadly, are no longer permitted), have been sleeping better (no more middle-of-the-night migraines, thank God, Allah, Buddha, or whatever deity/deities you worship), and… now that I’m feeling more like a reasonable facsimile of myself again, I’ve decided over the last few days that I am long overdue to return to the one thing that I have been holding off on, i.e. finishing ENDWORLD. So finally–as those of you that follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are aware–I finished up my read and revise of Parts One and Two and started Part Three (appropriately subtitled “Deceived”) yesterday. And after a five page writing jog (definitely not a sprint) over the course of about six or seven hours yesterday, things appear to be moving along (albeit somewhat less-frantically than before; I guess that’s what a limited caffeine intake does to you). I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can finish this thing by the end of this year. While that’s a significantly longer time frame than I had originally anticipated (the end of August and the end of September have both come on gone as you are all well aware) I’ve come to understand something vital over the last few weeks’ experiences:

I’m not under any pressure to finish this by a set date. No publisher is hanging a deadline over my head and while I hate keeping my editor waiting (I’m sorry, Amy, but I promise: When I’m done it you’ll be the second too know (right after Nicole)) I hope she understands. As for those of you–my friends and my family–that have been waiting for something to “Beta Test” if everything goes the way I hope it will you should have something in your stocking by this Christmas. That’s my new goal. ‘Cause to be completely honest with you? I want to finish this. Why? Because I’ve got some really cool ideas for the re-write of the sequel that I can’t wait to put on paper and because I owe it to myself and to the people that have most supported me to make this happen. That’s pretty much all I’ve got right now on the ole’ book. Thanks for your continued encouragement and advice. Specifically, I’m looking at not only you, Nicole, but you, Matt, Tom, Steve, Pat, Kim, Amy, Renee, Emily… all my “peeps” that have given me feedback and if I neglected to mention your name I’m sorry. Booyakasha. Respect. 

All that said, an unrelated topic: Spotify. Who reading this uses it and who loves it as much as I do? I read about it in the tech mags a few months ago when it first rolled out to the us here in the states and I never thought much of it. After all, I’ve got a couple thousand songs on my four year old iPod Classic. Who needs streaming music for $10.00 a month? Let me tell you something, folks: I finally gave in and downloaded the free service this week with the 15 day trial of the Premium service (the one that you can get on your mobile as well as your PC, iPad, Tablet or whatever you’re using) and in all honesty? I had no idea what I was missing. Pandora? Slacker? Shazam? Move aside. I have no doubt that when my 15 day trial of the Premium service is up I’m subscribing to it. I’m writing this from work right now and before you detractors out there reading this question why I’m blogging when I’m supposed to be working understand that I was working all morning. Now that I’m caught up and have some time to kill I’m blowing time so THPT! (much love). I’ve only created three playlists so far and the one that I’m listening to right now–entitled “The State Pen Years”–is loaded with music from the artists I used to listen to while I was in college. 335 tracks so far ranging from old-school Soundgarden to The Prodigy. Throw in a little Primus, Marilyn Manson and a dash of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones for good measure (shout out, Billy D) and I’m in audio heaven. Half the stuff on this playlist is music I used to own on either tape or CD. If on tape said music was simply lost over the subsequent years since I left school and multiple moves, and if on CD said music was likely sold for beer money back when I was in college or stolen by one (or more) ex-girlfriends. But now? For a couple of bucks a month I have all those songs back in mu possession. Consider the last five songs I’ve listened to while I was writing:

5. Rob Zombie, “More Human Than Human.”
4. Soundgarden, “Face Pollution.”
3. Smashing Pumpkins, “X. Y. U.”
2. The Prodigy, “Smack My B*tch Up.” (I apologize to those of you with sensibilities. Please note: I don’t condone, it’s just a cool song)
1. Soundgarden, “Superunknown.”

Now playing: “Save Yourself” by Stabbing Westward. All in all a well-rounded collection of tunes whether they are your cup of tea or not. Is it wrong of me to presume that this and similar innovations (like the iCloud) are going to eventually kill iTunes and MP3s? Feel free to debate that question if you so desire to do so but as far as this music-lover is concerned? I’m all in on the awesomeness of Spotify. Well done, Sweden. This may be perhaps the best thing you’ve given the western world since the watch. Or perhaps the utility knife. Every so often you come up big. Booyakasha. Respect. 

And with that, I’m about done, everyone. My boss has finally given me the green light to go home for the day and I plan to. I have a sixth anniversary to celebrate, a daughter to play with, a book to write and a soda to drink (I’m due for one: Haven’t had one since Tuesday PM). So with one, final salud and just one more Booyakasha for good measure I’m going to slip on my brand new Ray-Bans and roll. Thank you all, again, for your continuing attention, advice, support and friendship. I thrive on it more than you can imagine. Peace.

11:30 AM; 10/15/11

 

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