Amphibious swimming holes and fingers crossed

The waterfall is continuing – on a surface level and seemingly – to not leak. A frog made it its swimming hole this morning, an event which I will take to be a postive review most likely apropos of nothing while, in non-amphibious news, the wait continues for pre-authorization of the pre-whatever for prescriptional mood-enhancement; my loathing of the American medical / insurance processes and workflows continues unabated.

Working on notes and research this morning for tomorrow’s SOCIALIZED RECLUSE interview with UNFLATTENING creator Nick Sousanis. Shaping up to be an intriguing and in-depth conversation; then again, with a mind like Nick’s on the other end of the phone, anything but an intriguing and in-depth conversation would be proof that I’m a terrible interviewer and conversationalist. Fingers, toes, and any and all other appendages capable of being crossed are and will remain crossed that the P4 delivers a usable recording. In testing, so far, so good – but I won’t feel good about it until the recording is in the iPad. And even then.

I am back writing in this space because I like writing in this space. In-lawn, more waiting, and general lifestuff await.

When you ask yourself, “What the fuck is this becoming?” while working on a story, odds are that you’re on the right track… (This is what I’m telling myself.)

Spent much of yesterday repairing and rebuilding the koi pond waterfall. Turned it back on this morning and, so far, no leaks. 🤞

Kirby is running back and forth across the kitchen, squeaking his favorite toy, which can mean only one thing: I’ve subjected him to the indignity of having to wait an additional 30 seconds for breakfast.

Recalibration, continued

Never mind Saturday’s post: after a few days, decided that I prefer, at least for a bit, the daily churn of these. That said, THE GROUND LOOP remains either retired or on hiatus, but I’ll make a final decision by 11 August. For the time being, slammed with a short story deadline (seven years for the last one, two weeks for this one) and SOCIALIZED RECLUSE preparations (research and prep for five episodes, including an interview this week). Will post these at end of morning worktime, as usual. On with the day, see you tomorrow.

Morning pupper-tummy rubs.

This month’s MacroParentheticals dispatch, featuring title and cover reveals - and a stab at a release schedule for the next year - will be on its way to subscribers shortly. You can sign up here, if so inclined.

Revisiting the first arc of Brubaker and Phillips’s CRIMINAL (“Coward”): it’s just as good as I remember it being when it was first released. Still one of my favorites.

Backyard, 24jul2021


The town is alive with sirens, terrible country music, and honking horns all proceeding SLOWLY down the main street, led by some guy with a pot on his head. Come one, come all, to the annual local celebration of who the fuck knows. “Goat poop bingo” is involved. Send help.


Finished the final season of BOSCH: excellent, save for a.) the rushed wrap of plotlines that deserved more space; b.) a marked drop in quality of dialogue throughout; and c.) an unecessary coda to set up the new show that diluted what would have otherwise been a fitting sendoff. (UPDATE: thanks to discussing this with a friend, we both agreed that a not-insignificant amount of this was a result of filming during COVID.)

Interview maps and paths

Success: the Zoom PodTrack P4 is, until it proves otherwise, the answer to my pod-recording dilemmas in this, the era of shift to the M1 iPad. Fewer cables – TRRS and XLR all –, a physical intermediary before editing in Ferrite and the next workflow to be discerned.

Tried something new with an old technique and will continue to do so moving forward: instead of a text-based question sheet, I’ve put everything into a mindmap (using MindNode) and use it as my guide through the construction of both the interview and the first chat. Can export in markdown to iA Writer, so I might – with a healthy dose of editing – use a text document for the actual interview, but, for gathering and capturing, mindmapping seems to work best. Also lends itself to a little bit more of a freeflowing interview style, though that may change based on the guest and whether or not I use the mindmap or a text document for the recorded interview itself.

Speaking of: sometime in the next month, I might release a list of topics I want to talk about and, if you’d like to join me to discuss that topic, we can make that happen.

Doctors’ appointment today, for what I hope will be the start of bringing my brain back to itself on a more regular basis. I’ve dealt with the depressive waves (mostly) on my own for 25 years via exercise, meditation, and CBT (which I’ve found to be helpful in acute episodes but useless in ameliorating the chronic varietal of which I partake), but it’s beyond time to up my defenses in pill-based form. I’m tired, hopeful, and approaching this step with a not-insignificant amount of trepidation, but it’s clear that something needs to change. With any luck this is that start of that.

Finished Rushdie’s JOSEPH ANTON – finally – and, while his track record of irritating me by page 300 of any book of his remains intact, ANTON was nonetheless an excellent memoir which I wholeheartedly recommend. Keeping this phrase on my wall:

“If you can’t come with me, I’m sorry… but I’m still going this way.”

Happy Friday.

(K told me the name of this one but I can’t remember it, so I’ll go with my name for all non-weed flowers: Pretty.)


Hearkening back in the name of pod mindpeace

New pod equip arrives today: a Zoom PodTrack P4 recorder. After Friday’s disaster of a recording session and implementing many of the fixes my exceedingly generous and understanding guest suggested, I couldn’t wrap my head around one issue: that I couldn’t hear the recorded version – had I been able to do that, I would have caught the level/clipping issue while it was happening and fixed it - as it was being recorded.

In a callback to my documentary / video days, I remembered, fondly, the joys of having a physical intermediary (in this case, my still-beloved DV tape) between capturing and processing. That the Zoom records on an SD card which can then be transferred to the iPad for editing adds a layer of mindpeace: at least I know what’s going on on the recorded version – and have a hard backup copy in the event that something goes wrong in the DAW processing.

This is my working theory, anyhow – a working theory about to be put to the test this afternoon: first call with my next TSR guest. Hopefully, by recording the first, initial chat, I can get a better idea of levels, capabilities, and workflows before the actual recording; the dress rehearsal, as it were.

Apologies for multiple deletions, repositings, and etc yesterday: trying to find the new rhythm of the day and it wasn’t gelling. Think I’ve got things figured now – in theory, of course.

Listening: BREAK STUFF, by Vijay Iyer Trio.


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Changing Frequencies / Retiring THE GROUND LOOP

Efforts at quieting things down are afoot and, after much (over)-consideration, I’ve determined three basic components to be foundational to this switch.

One, starting this morning – or, really, starting the last few months – I’m returning full-time to my daily posting routine to make it once more the head-clearing, interstitial ritual that it used to be and as I hope it can be again.

Two, I’m retiring THE GROUND LOOP as I want to focus, in my non-fiction podcasting efforts, entirely on THE SOCIALIZED RECLUSE and being a better interviewer. Hopefully I will increase the frequency of episodes as I move forward with it. Over the last several weeks, the purpose of THE GROUND LOOP’s existence, that of practice, has subsided – especially as everything I’ve learned had to be thrown out with the equipment changeover to the M1 iPad – and, with the return of the daily pieces, I don’t really need to talk to myself in public; I’d rather type to myself in public. Thinking out loud in public.

Three, my primary focus at Parenthetical Recluse will be additional stories, novellas, THE SOCIALIZED RECLUSE, long-form essays, and transforming it even further into my jazz club. Aiming to release a new story exclusive to newsletter subscribers by my 40th birthday, 07 August.

(Are all these changes related to that impending birthday? Probably, at least somewhat. Evolve, evolve, evolve…)

Anyhow, these are the changes as I see them at this point. More are probably afoot, but I do think that this switch is, currently, the best way to focus on what truly gives meaning and purpose to my days.


First bookstore visit in a year and a half:


Slowly coming around – and by slowly, I mean it’s taken ten years – to the truth that I will not be able to accomplish much of anything in the summer: it’s the time of year that the Writer must fade into the sanctity of the early morning hours.

Taking Cal Newport’s notion of treating each role one plays as a part-time job to heart – particularly the bit about the import of timeblocking (which I’ve done for ages) in ensuring that one part-time gig doesn’t start resenting the other part-time gig’s hold on the day’s limited brain-time; to each full-time gig, then, its own part-time block – The Writer, The Podcaster / Interviewer, The Husband/Son/-In Law – and a begrudging acceptance that, in order for the summer dominance of the Husband/Son/-In-Law part-time gig to not result in jailtime, either the Podcaster/Interviewer or The Writer must recede a bit.

(Current solution: the pre-breakfast sanctity of The Writer will remain undisturbed – for my day to not devolve into a melange of depression that sanctity is required; the post-breakfast, pre-run chunk will be dedicated for pod/interview writing and research – as well as these pieces – and general Parenthetical Recluse stuff; afternoons, when not engaged in Husband/Son/-In-Law duties, will be the domain of recording and editing shows.)

Might venture out today, first bookstore in a year and a half. Cover and title reveal of the upcoming novella in this Sunday’s MacroParentheticals newsletter. On wth the day.