Monday, January 11, 2016

And Now, the Hard Part

Hi-deli-ho, neighborinos! How’d you do at Powerball? Not well, I’m guessing, because anyone who won a substantial amount isn’t on the Internet. Around about now they’re waking up with a hangover in someone else’s bed. Hope they signed the backs of their tickets. You should always do that first.

Did I win? Yes and no. I bought two tickets Saturday morning. I had one number right on each of them. One of those numbers was the Powerball, so I get my $4 back. It’s not $900 million, but I consider breaking even a win.

I don’t think I’ll be playing on Wednesday. Look at the odds. The millions of people in the US and Canada—hell, around the world—who played, and nobody hit the jackpot. I heard somebody somewhere in Pennsylvania got five of the numbers and won a million. Maybe others did too. Good for them. I was disappointed when I checked the payout schedule. Powerball doesn’t pay out on percentages. Five numbers, no Powerball gets you a million. Four plus the Powerball is $50,000. Four and no Powerball = $100. It drops even further after that. Screw this.

Besides, it’s gotten surreal now. The jackpot’s at over a billion dollars. I can’t even conceive of that much. Wonder how big of a chunk the government demands? Hell, for a billion bucks you could buy the government. You could buy Trump. Start your own country, claim hardship, and apply for US government aid. Let me know how that works out.

Personally, I’ll be ticked if someone who’s not an American citizen rakes in the jackpot. All right, I’ll give Canadians a pass. Canada’s okay. They gave us William Shatner. But if some Middle Eastern terrorist turns up with the winning ticket, I will be quite perturbed. Wouldn’t that throw a damper on lottery fever. If that happens, you’d better believe laws will change in a hurry.

# # #

So how are my weekly resolutions going? So far, so good. It wasn’t always easy, but I found ten minutes per day to fit in a walk and/or stretching exercises. A couple of times I did laps in the house. On weekends I walk around malls. That’s led to an interesting sidebar. Malls sure have gone downhill in the last twenty years or so. The four I’ve hiked around in the last six months, both pre- and post-Christmas rush, have been pretty dead. In the one I hiked last weekend they had five cell phone stores. All of them have at least two or more empty stores. In the one yesterday, they’d lost one of their big anchor stores. I know of at least two malls within driving distance that have been torn down and replaced with separate stores, like way back in the old days.

Too bad, because malls are great for us old folks to take walks in, especially in harsh winter weather. Except, of course, for Lancaster County’s premiere mall, Park City. Most malls are built in a straight line, perfect for an easy hike. Park City’s a wheel. You go to the hub and walk up and down the spokes. Lancaster’s geared more toward outlets. Plenty of walking room, but it’s all open air. Not so much fun in 30-degree temps and wind chill.

I’ll probably be doing my indoor hikes in the trailer, or in the KMart, which is closer to where I live than the WalMart. Or the grocery store, though that tends to be counterproductive. Too much temptation to grab a candy bar at the end of my walk. Exercise is not supposed to make you gain weight. Spring and warmer temps better get here soon.

# # #

That was Week 1’s resolution. Now comes the challenge of Week 2: write a thousand words per day. Every single day. Yes, you heard me correctly. Every. Single. Day.

I can hear you, you know. If you don’t stop laughing, you’re going to get this ballpoint up your nose. Or a lot farther down.

I can do this. I’m doing it right now. This blog post should top out at about a thousand words. Most of my posts do. Sometimes they’re longer, sometimes shorter. I write two blogs per week. See? It can be done.

Only I’m not talking about blogs. I’m talking fiction. One thousand words of fiction per day. New fiction, not just retyping longhand stuff. I’ve got the sweats already.

If you’re a fast, prolific writer, a thousand words is nothing. A lot of writers shoot for 5000 words a day, hit it and surpass it. Those writers are successful professionals, with a typing speed you wouldn’t believe. I am not a fast, prolific writer. If I want to become a successful professional so I can pay the rent, I’m going to have to become one.

This should be easy if I have a project I’m hot on, but what do I do once I’ve finished it?

Here’s where the cheating comes in. Up until now I haven’t counted blogs in my daily writing tallies. That just changed. Right now I’m in the prelim stages of plotting out what I hope will be a long-term continued story for my other blog, Shapeshifter Seductions. Each chapter will be a separate post, about a thousand words. I want to stockpile about a dozen chapters before I start posting this muthuh, to make sure I don’t run into any serious plot holes or run out of steam halfway through. If I do a thousand word rough draft every day, goal achieved. Several goals at once, in fact.

In addition, I can combine both weeks’ resolutions and plot out the day’s writing while I’m taking that ten-minute walk, then come home and write it down. Mission accomplished!

I’m not sure what Week 3’s resolution will be. Probably “cut down on junk food.” There go the walks through the grocery stores. Good luck to you Powerball players for Wednesday. If you win the billion, I’ll split it with you. Sounds like a fair deal to me.

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