Day 1113

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Up at 6:30 to write until 8:30.  Took a quick shower, then went to Costco and Trader Joe's with Alice.  We were back at 11 and after that I wrote all day.  FaceTimed Jill for 30 minutes which was great.  We had a good mutual pep talk.  I wrote until 6, then called it a night and spent the rest of the day hanging out with Alice.

Day 1112

Saturday, January 30, 2016

I picked up a few items at Arizmendi and drove to Alice's, arriving at 8:30.  I wrote in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon. Alice did laundry and Austin, who arrived home from China and Korea last night, studied for an online test. 

Austin went out with friends and then to his dad's for the night, so I won't be able to hear about his trip until tomorrow. 

Around 4 or so, Alice and I watched the latest installment of Real Time with Bill Maher, then a couple of documentaries on Netflix. 

The first doc we watched was Meet the Patel's.

I enjoyed this doc very much.  There's something endearing about Indian parents trying to marry off their kids.  I'm glad Ravi went back to Audry.  I wish them the best.

After the Patels, we watched two episodes of Street Food From Around the World.

We watched two episodes, Paris and Bangkok.  Both were good.  After Bangkok, it was off to bed at 11.

Day 1111

Friday, January 29, 2016

Racquetball, writing until 11, haircut, then more writing until 6:30.  I probably should have worked on chapter 11 today, seeing as this is the 1111st day I've been at this.  Instead, I worked on chapter 10 and will continue to work on this chapter through the weekend and most of next week.  After this, chapter 11, then another pass at the various chapters before combining all the chapters together into one file and treating the manuscript as one large project instead of 12 small projects. 

At 7, I went over to Richard and Lisa's, met up with Rossana and Biff, then joined them, Richard and Miles for an evening at the Grand Lake Theater and Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful 8, which I enjoyed very much.  It reminded me a little of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, since most of the story takes place in a cabin.  The entire cast was exceptional and the story, as always, was inventive and strong.  I enjoyed this film, though it did run a bit long.  I like how Tarantino creates the feeling of an epic western from the 70s

Day 1110

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A full day of writing, working on chapter 10.  A lot going on in this chapter and I'm changing things up.  No time for much else.  Worked a few hours in the morning and sent off some applications for full-time work that I'll need to begin once this novel is finished.

I watched the GOP debate tonight with Trump not in attendance and Jeb Bush had his best night as a result.  I think it was a mistake for Trump to miss the debate, but pundits are saying he was wise to miss it because Cruz suffered so badly as a result.  I guess we'll see on Monday.  At any rate, the GOP field seems weak and out of touch, though they believe they speak for the majority of Americans.  They don't.  That party seems very much out of touch with the contemporary world.


Day 1109

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Beginning work on one of two chapters that weren't really finished, chapter 10.  Thinking through how to structure this.  Lots happening here.  I have 5k words written, but no order, no flow.  I looked over what I have.  I see possibilities. 

Racquetball in the morning, then a few hours of work, then home.  Talked to Chris in the evening.  I read his Little Priest story again and gave him some notes.  I like this story.  He should send it out after one more pass. 

In bed by 9:30.

Day 1108

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Up at 5:15 and started writing, revising ch. 9, section 1.  I spent all day on this chapter and finally finished around 7 p.m.  I still need to go over it again, but will wait a while and work on other chapters.  In the meantime, I read Chris's story and a draft of a picture book, both good.  I'll speak with Chris tomorrow night.

I'm applying for jobs in the legal field.  There aren't as many word processing jobs as there used to be, but plenty of corporate legal assistant/secretarial jobs out there.  I can do those, but they involve so much work and lots of programs I've never used.  The pay, however, is very good.  Now that I have four novels written, my focus can be directed on getting them out into the world, which, while just as hard as writing the manuscripts, is so much easier on the mind.

I did a load of laundry in the evening and cleaned up.  I will miss my life at home writing books.  It's been such a glorious 1100 days in so many ways.  But first things first, finishing a draft of La Stravaganza.

Day 1107

Monday, January 26, 2016

Racquetball in the morning, then a full day of revisions on chapter 9.  It was slow going for some reason, but I managed to revise section 2 and parts of section 3.  I hope to finish this chapter tomorrow.  I like this chapter.  Lots of drama.  Lots of craziness.  Poor Mindy.  

Day 1106

Sunday, January 24. 2016

Alice and I woke up at 7 and got ready for our flight back to Oakland.  Neal's migraine was gone and he was in much better shape than last night.  We had breakfast and chatted about Mozart and music and perhaps getting together one day on a cruise to Alaska (now that would be fun!) until 9:30, when it was time to leave.

Neal and Karin drove us to Sea-Tac and we said our goodbyes.  A very enjoyable 48 hours with them.  We went through security, hung out at the central food court for 50 minutes, then went to Gate B10 and boarded our plane back to Oakland.  The flight was a breeze and reasonably empty, so Alice and I had our own aisle.  We landed at 12:30 and drove back to my place by 1:30.  I ordered Lin Jia for lunch and watched the final half of the Broncos/Patriots game (caring about as much as the last few debates of the GOP undercard).  Broncos won and good for Payton Manning, though Tom Brady almost got the job done again (what an amazing player).  Alice left at 3:30 and I unpacked and started writing, revising the end of chapter 9.  I'm going to squeeze out as much revision time as I can to get a solid readable draft of this thing.  I'd like to try for Valentine's or maybe the week after Valentine's.  I know these things have their own energy, but if I can push myself maybe I'll find a way to get these chapters done.  I have 12 chapters total and 39 sections that are anywhere from 700-2200 words long.  They mirror the movements of La Stravaganza to some degree, which is kind of fun.  I like how chapter 9 ends.  Chapters 7-9 are my favorite chapters in the book.  I like my sidekick characters, Colette and Sonja.  They're interesting.  There's a lot about this book that interests me and I can't wait to hopefully get an opportunity to promote it because all I have to do is talk about Vivaldi's Opus 4.  That's the secret sauce here, those amazing concertos that have been around for 300 years and never feel old.  They're timeless. 

Day 1105

Saturday, January 23, 2016

We stayed at the house all day as Neal suffered a migraine that left him debilitated the entire day.  He's always had headaches as long as I've known him, poor guy.  We took it easy all day, chatting, reading, taking naps.  My kind of day.

We went to Coho Cafe for dinner before attending the Seattle Opera's performance of The Marriage of Figaro.  I'd never seen the opera before.  It was wonderful.  Great singers and that second act is second to none.

At Coho Cafe with our Crab Wasabicado Tower

Great cast!

Awesome seats!
We also attended the after talk in the conference room on the third level.  Sussana's Nuccia Focile spoke to us about Mozart, singing, her role, the cast, all sorts of things.  She was fantastic!

We arrived home around midnight and went right to bed.

Day 1104

Friday, January 22, 2016

I played racquetball for an hour before Alice drove over at 7:15.  We picked up some goodies at Arizmendi, then headed to the Oakland airport.  We parked at AirPark, which is so efficient.  They're great.  We went through security (a breeze), then hung out at our gate for 90 minutes.  I went over my manuscript while Alice used the internet to send texts on WeChat.  Our flight was uneventful and easy.

Neal and Ryan picked us up and we went to their house and hung out in the back yard around the great fire pit for a few hours.  It was very relaxing and nice.

We went to dinner later at Jak's in Issaquah.  The wait was over an hour, so we hung out at a bar across the street.  It was chilly that night but not raining.  The food at Jak's was tasty and plentiful.  I liked the mac and cheese side dish.  So good.  We all had steaks, which were huge.  We all took leftovers home.

Inside Jak's

Back at Neal and Karin's, we watch Bill Maher's Real Time, which was a treat.  They watch Bill religiously every week, just like we do.  After Bill Maher, it was time for bed.

Day 1103

Thursday, January 21, 2016

I printed out and read chapters 7-9.  These are good chapters.  I like how Nathaniel turned out.  There are scenes that can be developed a little more, but the overall progression of the chapters works.  After the weekend, I'll begin work on chapters 10-11, which are still pretty rough.  I worked a few hours in the morning, then took care of bills and tasks from 12:30-3, then wrote from 3-9. 

Day 1102

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I finished my revision of chapter 5 today.  I'll go through the process again in a week or so.  This is a challenging chapter...lots of stuff to cover.  I made section 3 a little more confrontational.  I wrote all day today.  The time flew by. 

Day 1101

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Back home and a full day of writing, working on ch. 5 which took the entire day.  I finished around 8, then picked up The Castle, by Kafka, which I've never read.  After reading the first chapter, I'm hooked. 

Day 1100

Monday, January 19, 2016

I wrote all day at Alice's until around 6 or so.  I'm revising chapter 5, which has its issues.  This is the chapter that turns the music in a new direction.  It makes sense to me what happens to Mindy and captures why Mindy is a special, maybe even gifted, listener.  She picks up on things that most 16-year-olds wouldn't be aware of.  The Largo section of ch. 5 is a challenge.  It spent most of my time today on the third section.

Day 1099

Sunday, January 17, 2016

This was the matchup I wanted, but perhaps I should be more careful what I watch for.  Wow, this game was hard to stomach right out of the gate.  Now I know how the Broncos feel when the lost the SuperBowl to the Hawks two years ago.  The first half was so atrocious I really saw no point in watching the game anymore.  Down 0-31 at the half, it was time for me to regroup and start focusing on my book.  Alice was curious about the new Michael Caine film Youth, so we went to a 1:45 showing at the Clay St. Theater. 

It's always a treat to see Michael Caine, Harvey Kaitel and Jane Fonda together, and I certainly enjoyed the composition of this film, its creativity and quirky imagination; however, I'm not sure it's as captivating as it wants to be.  I'm a little unclear how all the themes tie together.  Perhaps that's an art film's prerogative, to be mysterious and enigmatic enough to leave the viewer wondering, much like life.  I don't go to movies much anymore, since it's so easy to watch them at home, but every time I'm in a movie theater I'm happy, especially when the lights dim and the movie's about to begin.  At least this film made for a wonderful transition away from football and back to stories. 

We came home in the late afternoon and had a wonderful dinner, watched Slingshot, a documentary about the inventor of the Segway, Dean Kamen.

Day 1098

Saturday, January 16, 2016

I was able to write for a few hours in the morning and early afternoon, then at 4 we left for Walnut Creek to spend the evening with Chester, Rose, May, George, Jay and Cecilia.  We had a wonderful hot pot dinner and played our ukuleles for 90 minutes before closing out the evening at 10.  We were home by 11 and off to bed shortly after. 

Day 1097

Friday, January 15, 2016

Racquetball in the a.m. with lots of contentious games, then a morning and afternoon of wrapping up chapter 3.  It's at a good place now, so on to chapters 4 and 5.  At 4, I left for the city and met Alice for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant on 11th and Irving.

We were home early and watched a documentary on Netflix before going to bed. 

Day 1096

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I worked in the morning, then wrote in the afternoon, wrapping up chapter 3 and beginning revisions to chapter 4. My energy is good and hope to finish these chapters by the weekend.

Day 1095

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Dorian and I won all our games this morning, a first in a long time.   He's playing well and can still hit the ball with tremendous power.  It's amazing to watch.  We've been on a roll since the new year. After the gym, I went home, had breakfast,  then went to work for a few hours and came back home in the afternoon.  I spent two hours updating my health care, paying bills, going over my dental plan details, then continued work on chapter 3, section 3.  I'm changing all of it except for the soccer scene.  I wrote until 9, then crawled into bed with another TC Boyle short story.  He's so good. 

Day 1094

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Revising ch. 3, worked for a few hours, talked to Chris at 8, then read two T.C. Boyle short stories to keep me motivated.  He's such a creative force of nature, like Lee K. Abbott, only more prolific.  Ch. 3 isn't where I'd like it to be just yet, but perhaps tomorrow I can pop a few paragraphs into the mixture to give it the effervescence it needs. 

Day 1093

Monday, January 11, 2016

Racquetball from 5-7:15, then writing until 3.  I'm revising the middle section of chapter 3.  Oh my God, it's in rough shape.  I may be working on this section forever.  Whenever I deal with sections like this one, my confidence plummets, only to be brought back to the surface again two or three days later.  Ugh.

Picked up Alice at BART around 3:15 and brought her to my place.  At 5:30, we picked up Murry and Lillian for a nice dinner at Michel Bistro on Lakeshore.  It's always so great catching up with them!  We'll have them over to Alice's one day for baby back ribs.  Yum.

Alice and I went back to the City and finished a documentary we'd watched earlier on Netflix about the best steaks in the world, but I fell asleep around 9:15 or so.  That seems to be my thing these days, bed before 9:30.  How old is that!

Day 1092

Sunday, January 10, 2016

We left Alice's around 7:30 to drive Austin to the airport.  He's flying to Beijing and Seoul for three weeks through Saint Mary's.  It's a wonderful experience for him.  It reminds me of my wonderful study abroad semester in Copenhagen so many years ago.  We met Austin's roommate Mark and the instructor coordinating the trip.  They're visiting several companies and colleges.  It'll be a wonderful experience for him.

Alice and Austin at SFO
After we left the airport, we took care of a few chores at Lowe's and Sprouts, then went home for the Wild Card Seahawks game against the Vikings.  It was a brutal, defensive game in the third coldest weather in NFL post-season history.  The Seahawks were down 0-9 in the fourth quarter, then on a fluke play they managed to get the ball on the 4 yard line, then punched it in for the score two plays later.  With a field goal that came after an Adrian Peterson fumble, they were ahead 10-9.  They got the ball one more time, but could not get a first down.  With only 2 minutes left, Minnesota got a break on what I thought was a questionable pass interference call.  Then they reached the Hawks 14 yard line with 25 seconds left.  It was a simple chip shot, shorter than an extra point, but the Vikings kicker missed it, pulling it wide left.  It was an incredible miss.  I mean, how does a professional kicker miss one like that, so close and so crucial.  It's a funny game.  Anyway, on to Carolina.  Go Hawks!

I watched a the Golden Globes with Alice before Downton Abbey.  I love Ricky Gervais, but I thought the jokes were a bit stale, sort of like tea biscuits in the back of the cupboard that were forgotten about but somehow discovered and served on a plate.  Award shows are strange and this one was one of the strangest.  

Day 1091

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Mom's birthday today.  I studied annual reports, wrote for only an hour, and in the early evening attended a dinner with Alice, Austin, Cecilia and Jay at Mark and Roberto's house.  Very nice and delicious food, though Mark wasn't feeling well and retired early.  It was a really nice evening before Austin leaves for China and Korea tomorrow.

Day 1090

Friday, January 8, 2016

Up at 4:40, racquetball until 7:30, then an entire day of chores, dropping off our E-Force demo bag to Barry, picking up Austin from school, having lunch at Star Pizza, and driving to Alice's around 2, arriving at 2:45.  In the afternoon I wrote for an hour, wrapping up spots in chapter 2, then spent two hours reading all the annual reports of MGM Resorts International from 1998 to 2014.  I read the 2009 report a few years ago when Alice and I were in Las Vegas and walked through City Center and Aria.  The massive project came at the worst time in the real estate crash and seeing a company survive has been something of an education, as its stock price went from $89 in 2006/7 to $1.50 in 2008 to around $22 today.  Reading annual reports is fascinating.  There's so much detail inside them. 

In the evening Alice and I watched episode one of season six of Downton Abbey.  Always a treat to experience the work of Julian Fellowes.  He's the best. 

Day 1089

Thursday, January 7, 2016

I like how the Largo section of Chapter 2 came out.  I read it today for the first time in two months and to me it works.  It's satisfying to read something I've written and like enough to think, "Gee, I wish I'd written that...oh wait, I did."  That rarely happens anymore, so it's nice when it does.  It's a boost.  I remember revising this section back in November.  I had to rewrite the entire section because the first draft wasn't working.  I remember how long that took.  I'm glad I put in the time.

I worked for a few hours in the morning, then wrote in the afternoon and went over to Richard and Lisa's from 7:30-10.

Day 1088

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Up at 4, took care of a few things, then racquetball from 5-7, work until noon, then home to spend some much-needed time on all my mutual fund and stock investments.  I've been neglectful of this for far too long.  I spent a few hours reading up on my Hennessy Focus fund and Royce Micro Cap fund.  My Hennessy fund has been performing magnificently for several years now.  I love their investment strategy of choosing a few dozen stocks with little churn.  My Micro Cap fun, however, has not been faring so well.  I may dump it in exchange for more Hennessy.  My Fidelity Growth Company and International Diversified have also been performing well. On the Roth IRA side, my Google, Microsoft and Boeing and Amazon continue to shine, though I do need diversify.  I wrote for three hours in the afternoon and early evening, then finished reading the last 60 pages of Atonement.  I'm all set to read everything by Ian McEwan.  He's excellent.

Speaking of excellent, I must write a review of M.T. Anderson's Symphony for the City of the Dead.  Wow, I loved this book.  It's so detailed and rich with history.  It's interesting that it's positioned for young adult readers.  I'm not sure how many will appreciate the history and heaviness woven into this book, but I sure did. Shostakovich's 5th Symphony has been playing in my head for the past two weeks.  The Leningrad Symphony not so much, but maybe that's because the 5th is a masterpiece and the 7th is something different.  What a read...reminds me of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, only ten times more graphic and devastating.

Day 1087

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

It rained most of the day and I stayed inside writing.  I spent all day on chapter one.  I could probably spent all week on this chapter and maybe all month.  It's coming together, slowly but surely.  It's certainly different from the other books I've written.  Along with writing, I took care of a few chores and tidied up a bit.  I wrote from 6-6 with a few breaks in between.  I spoke with Chris from 8-9 and that was great catching up with him.  I talked to Alice afterward, then went to bed. 

Day 1086

Monday, January 4, 2016

After a two-week break from my regular routine, it's nice to be back.  I played racquetball this morning for the first time in two weeks and was stiff but managed to make a few good shots.  It'll take a week or so to get back to where I was.  I spent the rest of the day writing with a few hours to reading time.  I jotted down so many notes over the holidays that now I'm trying to figure out where all the ideas, descriptions and embellishments should go.  I'm going through everything, juggling twelve objects in the air, and hoping to reach a readable draft by the end of the month.  I wrote from 9-6 and went to bed at 9:15.

Day 1085

Sunday, January 3, 2016

I drove to Alice's in the morning and went with her to Costco for gas, beef, paper towels and other supplies.  We were home around 12.  I spent the afternoon reading the internet, a stock book, and gearing up for a heavy week of writing (must finish La Strav this month). 

In the evening, we headed downtown to R&G lounge where Uncle Bill invited everyone to celebrate Vicki's birthday.  The whole gang was there and the food was fantastic!

 I drove Austin to St. Mary's afterward and reached my place around 9.  I went to bed shortly afterward.

Day 1084

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I spent the day at home unpacking, organizing, and gearing up for a month of writing and a year of work.  I hope I have the energy to tackle everything on my plate.  If I think about it too much it's daunting, so best not to think about anything and just work (and play racquetball!).  Up at 5:30 and in bed by 10.

Day 1083

Friday, January 1, 2016

Alice and I went to the new outlet mall in Livermore and checked out deals and bargains from all the stores.  I really don't need a thing so I didn't buy anything, but Alice found a great pair of black Nike's that she loves for only $24.  I forget this mall is only 20 minutes away.  I should visit more often.

Day 1082

Thursday, December 31, 2015

I spent the day with Alice.  It was so nice to be with her and do our thing.  We had a quiet dinner and new year's eve together.  It's the best when it's just me and her!