Stranger on a Train XXIII

I was planning to nap, but my brain really won’t power down. I blame NASA and this incredible photo of Christina Hendricks I saw Facebook.

It still blows my mind that we are on Mars. Again. This time, using a means of entry that resembled something the Coyote (Eatibus Anythingibus) purchased from ACME in order to catch the Road Runner (Hotrodius Diggus-Outtus). When I saw the animation on how they were going to get Curiosity on the Red Planet, I thought “That’s nuts!”

Put one in the WIN column for Super-Geniuses.

This week Pip and I head for New Orleans. Not necessarily planned, this trip; but then again, 2012 hasn’t really gone to plan. I feel very much in transit, particularly with other friends hitting crossroads in life. Things could be worse, sure, but if you were to ask me to describe the year in a word: uncertain. I don’t know what it is about this year, but there it is in a nutshell.

NASA however taught me last night a whole new degree of uncertainty. Think about it: The reason (okay, ONE reason) they went nuts early this morning was on account of uncertainty. Beyond the insane amount of time and precision in the entry, there was the fact that Curiosity would get to Mars and fail hard. A camera could have jostled out of whack, a board could have failed on touchdown — even if you got redundancies in place, a thousand and one things could go wrong, and still you have to worry about that other variable that could make it one thousand and two. NASA faced their uncertainty with incredible resolve, and now we’re back on Mars with a probe that is state-of-the-art and ready to rumble in the Red.

This is what we all have to do: face it. Face it head on. We do that, and we will come out the other side. Stronger. Wiser. Ready for more.

If you were expecting the shot of Christina, that’s on my Facebook page. This one’s for NASA.

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Stranger on a Train XXII

It’s still the grey of twilight, but here I am, on the train, heading in…

Trying something a little different this time — using the personal hotspot instead of the phone itself to blog. Yeah, it dawned on me the last time I did this segment (which, I admit, has been a while…) that I could do this and why not? After all, I got that ability, why am I suddenly limiting myself to the screen of my smartphone.

I blame the lack of coffee in the morning. Gets me every time.

You know what else gets me? Bad dreams. And lucky me, they like to hit me just within the hour before I wake up. I then hit the morning routine wondering “What brought that on?” It tends to make for a distracted morning, something I really can’t afford. This week, August commences and it’s going to be one of those months akin to May where time will be fleeting, book events will be upon us (me and Pip, that is), and I’m still trying to sort out the mechanics of a life.

What does that mean? Come on, you know this segment — completely off the top of my head. Also, I can’t elaborate because I know as modest as this blog may be, I’ve got people watching and reading. I need to pay attention to what I say, and all I can say at this point is that nothing feels set or secure. I need to make some judgment calls in August. That is crystal clear to me. So right now, I am what I am. Like Popeye, only without the squint, pipe, and unnatural spinach fetish.

And next week, Pip and I hit Authors After Dark. Let the mayhem commence.

This weekend, I kicked back with Sonic Boom and the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. I think that show gets more epic each time you watch it. I blogged a few months ago about Kenneth Branagh and my man-crush on him. So nice when he appeared in the midst of this spectacle. I nearly wet myself when he recited from The Tempest. He’s been there and back again, it seems; but watching him at the Opening Ceremonies?  Oh yeah, he’s still got it.

Kenneth Branagh. Working the Olympics. Like a mill boss.

Stranger on a Train XXI

Heading home, and I’ve got 21 for this entry; so Double Down if you can.

Yesterday was a day I want to put behind me, but I admit it was a crossroad kind of day. Revelations. Lapses of reason. Manning up. And as pissy as I felt, I find out I have a friend — you know, one of those best kinds — facing a shut storm that reduced my day to just a chocolate drizzle. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?

Something tells me you’re reading this, bro. Don’t go stealth on me. You were there for me. My turn now…

Today, I was dealt a few pleasant surprises. Discovered more folks in my corner. Got validation on a few things gnawing at me. And then there was the writing. It just feels great being back in this world, and I am planning to go farther. I was in full stride today, and now I have to wonder if I can pick that stride up tonight.

I’m not worried about it. That surprises me a bit. I don’t know. Should it?

Getting ready for work this morning, I purposefully chose this shirt. Part of me was worried it would send the wrong message, but I wanted this message for me. I needed some reassurance, and Kal-El’s never let me down, sour sequels and a heartless reboot not withstanding. Maybe Supes was the boy scout of the JLA…but he was the boy scout that you could always count on. Today was my facing down of dragons. I’m good.

Superman or Raiders of the Lost Ark — which one has the more iconic fanfare, you think?

Whatever. Both kick ass.

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Stranger on a Train XX

I don’t believe in coincidence.

I do believe in God.

And this morning, I got a talking to through the radio…

And when you wake up in the morning 
With your head on fire 
And your eyes too bloody to see 
Go on and cry in your coffee 
But don’t come bitchin’ to me 

Because you had to be a big shot, didn’t ya
You had to open up your mouth 
You had to be a big shot, didn’t ya, 
All your friends were so knocked out 
You had to have the last word, last night 
You know what everything’s about 
You had to have a white hot spotlight 
You had to be a big shot last night

Billy Joel. Pre-Uptown Girl. Shit don’t get more real than that. Thanks, God. I needed that.

See, last night I got what had to be the weirdest, most conflicted feedback I’ve ever received on any of my endeavors. In turn, I’m feeling conflicted about it. It all comes on the heels of a tiny rant I had concerning The Janus Affair book trailer. Yeah, I know — you’re probably think I’m obsessing over it, and maybe I am. A bit. Look, the point is I got this complete curveball right before hitting the sack and I’m asking myself “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?” even the following morning. There’s a bigger blogpost in here, I think, for another time; but there is a lesson learned here: Be careful what you wish for.

Sometimes, being a Big Shot isn’t easy.

This isn’t a rallying of the troops, mind you. It’s been a week, safe to say; but I got a groove with By Dawn’s Early Light and an audiobook in the can. As the conductor just said, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the ride.