300 Seconds Episode 92: “Needless Things”

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You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 92, “Needless Things,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!

Now that the Texas weather has taken a turn for the slightly cooler, I’ve been talking walks around the neighborhood to get some exercise, fresh air, and sunshine.  Some days I walk in the morning, and some days I walk in the evening.  As I go around the neighborhood, I’ll often see people outside, watering their lawns, playing with children, tending to plants, or sometimes cleaning out their garages.

The garages intrigue me; they are nearly always packed to the gills with all kinds of stuff: Bicycles, tools, lawn mowers, children’s toys, exercise equipment, and, of course, boxes.  Stacks and stacks of boxes, oftentimes nearly piled up to the ceiling.  Cars, SUVs and trucks are often relegated to the driveway or to the street.  No room at the inn, as it were.

Seeing all of those garages filled with boxes made me think about all the stuff that I kept in my house;  I’m not that bad, I reassured myself. After all, I had    enough room left in my garage to use it for its intended purpose, so I’m not one of those people.

That notion got thrown out of the window when I sold my house.  I got a realtor and began moving out in anticipation of the house being shown to potential buyers.  The realtor drilled it into my head that I had to make sure to remove or secure anything that was ‘stealable’ from the house before the showings started.  Right or wrong, I interpreted that as ‘get all of my DVDs, Blu-Rays, video games, comic books, books-books, music CDs and nearly all of my computer stuff out of the house.’  As my storage unit slowly began to fill up with boxes, I began to realize, that yes, I did have quite a bit of stuff myself.

By the time the house went on the market and the showings began, I had done a pretty good job of minimizing the amount of stuff that was inside, by either putting stuff into storage or giving stuff away to charity.  In many cases, I had two of the same thing that I either didn’t need anymore or I didn’t see myself needing in the future because my next residence will probably be an apartment. One computer went into storage.  The second television set that was kept in the bedroom for guests, I sold for cheap to a relative and I did the same with the second living room sofa.

It felt odd to see my house without a lot of the stuff inside of it that made it, well, mine.  As a concession to myself, I left the artwork hanging on the walls, as if to say: This house might be up for sale, buster, but until you sign a check, it’s still my house, dagnabbit.

I lived with less stuff for a few weeks as the sale of the house went through, and except for a few moments when I wanted to watch a particular movie, I didn’t really miss the stuff all that much.  Granted, I didn’t get rid of everything, I still had my Xbox for entertainment.  I moved in with some friends after selling the house, and most of the stuff that I had kept in storage, remained there.  The experience made me realize that I can do without quite a bit of stuff, so maybe I’m not doing that bad, after all.

I think we need find a new word to describe the storage units that garages seem to inevitably become.   Instead of being a place to store a vehicle, garages have become a place to keep the needless things in our lives; old things that will likely never be used again and yet, they are the things that we just can’t bear to part with.   I won’t lie, though.  Once I get life squared away and I’m back at my own place, those needless things will be back in my life, taking up space.  Or maybe not.  After all, I probably won’t have a garage to keep them in, and paying somebody to keep my needless things stashed away kind of sucks.

This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after I make a run to my storage unit.  If you’d like to hear or read more of my words visit Eduardo Soliz dot com.  Thank you for listening!

Super Short Storytime: “Where Credit is Due”

hieee
Art by Chris Holm

As the writer in this story is about to learn, just because someone else has a different job than you do doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easier. Featured in Fuzzy Words, this furry fracas is titled “Where Credit Is Due.”


The weasel’s tail swished back and forth rapidly as he paced back and forth in his living room with a cell phone held up to one ear.  “The script is done, Mark, but I can’t seem to get the songs down, and well, you can’t have a musical without music, right?”  He joked in a feeble attempt to appease the angry producer he was speaking with.

Mark was not pleased at William’s attempt at humor, and he let the nervous weasel know: “This is not the time for jokes, Will!  I am going to be out several thousand dollars for your advance, not to mention a lot more if you don’t give me a script to put on!  It’s been nine months!  What’s going on in that head of yours?  Are you homesick?  Girl trouble?  Guy trouble?

William hesitated before answering.  “Do you really want to know, Mark?”

Mark regained some of his composure and eagerly replied, “Well.  Yeah, Will.  This delay isn’t doing either one of us any good, so…so let’s talk it through and figure this thing out for both our sakes.  What’s eating you, man?”

William let out a heavy sigh before answering: “Well, it’s that, uh, I haven’t seen my Muse lately, and, well, I’m pretty useless without her.”

This time, a flabbergasted Mark hesitated briefly before speaking.  “Whoa.  I did not just hear that.  Did you say your Muse?” he asked with a nervous laugh.

“Yeah.  My Muse…”

“WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN SMOKING, WILL?  That has to be THE nuttiest thing I’ve heard in all my years working on Barkway!  Have you lost your mind?  You know what?  Don’t answer that, ‘cause I think I already know.  I need a finished script by the end of next week, or you are finished working in this town, do you understand me?  FINISHED.  Nobody will touch you with a twenty-foot leash after I’m done.  Get some help and get it done, Will!”

Even the beep that William heard as Mark ended the call sounded angry.  William collapsed onto his living room sofa, closed his eyes and let out a heavy sigh.  My career is over, William thought as he dropped his cell phone onto the carpeted floor and contemplated the dreary future ahead of him.

After a few moments, he opened his eyes to find her there.  His Muse.  She was a short, sprightly thing: a mink almost completely covered in brown fur except for her muzzle, which was white.  She stood over him and looked down at William with a big goofy grin on her face.  William stared back for a few moments before the Muse finally broke the silence.

“Hi-eee!” she cheerfully said as she waved a hand in front of William’s face.  In response, he groaned and rubbed his eyes before sitting up on the sofa.  This was not the reaction that the Muse was expecting, and she began to pout: “Hey, I thought that you’d be happy to see me, Willie!”

“It’s William, and just where have you been?” an agitated William answered.  “I need to finish this play because I’ve got a producer breathing down my neck, and if I don’t get it done, he’s going to want his advance back.  You know, the one I already used to pay my rent.”

The shocked Muse took a step back.  She opened her mouth to speak, but William cut her off:

“What is it with you, anyway?  You’re never there when I need you.  You pop up at the worst possible times, or at the last minute, like now.  You can’t show up whenever I’m sitting at my laptop, you know, WHEN I’M TRYING TO WRITE.  No, that makes too much sense.  Instead, you pop up whenever you feel like it, like when I’m in the shower, or when I can’t sleep at two in the morning, or when I’m out on a date.  I then have to drop whatever it is I’m doing so I can jot something down because I have NO DOGGONE IDEA when you’re going to decide to grace me with your presence again!”

For a moment the Muse looked as if she were about to burst into tears.  Instead, she regained her composure, took a deep breath, stepped towards William, and unleashed a tirade of her own:

“Oh, so you think it’s so easy to do MY job?  You think you’re the ONLY so-called ‘creative’ person that needs a little extra help every now and then?  Well, let me tell you, Buddy, you AREN’T.  Every day, I have to help loads of people just like you finish their books or their poems or their scripts or their songs or their paintings or their sculptures.  Every. Single. Day.  It never ends: ‘I’m on a deadline!’ ‘My assignment is due next week!’ “My mom’s birthday is tomorrow!’  ‘Help me!’

So I show up, inspire somebody, and what I get for my trouble?  Nothing!  Nada, zero, zip, zilch.  When people say: ‘Oh, what a wonderful work of art,’ does the artist ever mention me?  No.  Do you ever hear somebody say, ‘Thank you, Muse,’ in an acceptance speech?  NO!  I-I don’t even get residuals!

A bewildered William interrupted her.  “But you’re a Muse…what would you even do with money?” He asked.

“SHUT UP!” she snapped back.  “It’s the principle!” she said, turning away from William.

William started to approach the Muse, but since her long fluffy tail was in the way, he walked around to face her.

“So you’re just looking for some recognition, huh?” William asked.

“Just a little would be nice.” The Muse said coyly.

William thought for a moment, and then his face lit up. He enthusiastically asked the Muse, “What if, I were to write a play with you in it?”

The Muse pointed a finger at herself before speaking. “With little old me?” she said with feigned modesty.

“Sure.  It will be…” William took a step back, assumed a dramatic pose and spoke as if he were narrating a movie trailer:  “The inspirational tale of a guy who’s down on his luck.  He can’t get a break, and just when he’s hit rock bottom and things can’t get any worse…” he stopped to point at the Muse with both hands, “His Muse appears out of the blue and saves his tail!”

“Yay!” chirped the Muse in a delighted tone, clapping her hands as she excitedly hopped up and down on both feet.  “I’d like that, Willie. I really would.  Have you thought of a name for it yet?”

William stifled a laugh before answering: “What else could I call it?  Un-a-mused!

With a smile and a wink, the Muse replied, “Yeah, I think I’ll let you take the credit for that one, Willie!”

THE END.


Inspiration is where you find it, Dear Listeners, that is, assuming it doesn’t find you first. For more super-short, super-silly stories, visit Eduardo Soliz dot com.  This has been Super-Short Storytime, and remember, listeners; always cite your sources!

51 Things I Noticed at San Japan XI

San Japan is probably my favorite convention, bar none, and this year was great! As always, I noticed a few things…

  1. BEFORE – I’m guessing “Magical Universe” means there will be a lot more Sailor Moon crossplayers.

    badge
    #17 Yay?
  2. They’re going to have to try pretty hard to top Okashicon for: “Con with the most pinks and pastels” prize.
  3. Between this and Furry Fiesta 2019’s ‘Roll Fur Initiative” theme, I’m not feeling a lot of love.
  4. As a nerd who’s old enough to have owned an Atari 2600, I’m not exactly the target audience, so yeah.
  5. I’m getting a new fursuit and this will be my first time wearing it. It’s just the thing for MID-90 DEGREE WEATHER.
  6. In addition to the usual con prep, I’m also looking for a new job and getting my house ready to be put on sale the Tuesday after. No rest for the weary! >.<
  7. I guess I can’t awkwardly refer to San Japan as a ‘Comic-Con’ anymore to normies for fear of being sued by SDCC.
  8. Staying at the nearby Tru by Hilton, which apparently is a more modern hotel, which means it annoys me somewhat.
  9. Thing I forgot (again): Aftershave.
  10. Chili’s seems to have become our San Japan Thursday dinner go-to.
  11. Looks like my fursuit won’t be ready for the show. Given the temperature outside and my lack of experience, it’s likely just as well.
  12. Had a funny moment with a friend when I had to remind him that he wasn’t working on Labor Day the following Monday.
  13. Dave: “You can have ambience or you can have a butt-load of arcade games.” I’m glad he went with Door #2.
  14. Maybe they should change the name to ‘Sign Japan.’
  15. I find the lack of security on Thursday nights to be just a little concerning.
  16. FRIDAY – Nothing like waking up early to go feed the meter; a small price to pay for cheap parking!
  17. I was happy with my badge art until I saw the volunteer badges have the same art and now I’m less happy.

    signjapan
    #14 The signage was YUUGE!
  18. Yay escalators!
  19. Yay, I forgot about the escalators and took the scenic route down to Artist Alley!
  20. Furst World Problems: I quit wearing my ears because the hairband kept digging into my head.
  21. I got a haircut the other day so there is less hair to cushion it now.
  22. The uneven lanes the Artist Alley are just a little weird.
  23. No panels to run on Friday: HOW DO I HAVE FUN?
  24. Retro Game Museum might be better off being called “Pong Museum.”
  25. Might need to put together a video game history panel, made better because I WAS THERE FOR MOST OF IT.
  26. The arcade was cool, though the sound on the music games wasn’t always loud enough.
  27. You know the competition between the three(!) Chinese joints at Rivercenter Mall is crazy when someone tries to hand you a sample WHILE YOU’RE IN LINE FOR THE PLACE NEXT DOOR.
  28. SATURDAY – I didn’t have enough change to feed the meter for the whole day, so I decided to live dangerously.
  29. Old hotness: Annoying music over Bluetooth speaker. New hotness: Watching anime subs on your phone with the volume turned up
  30. Sign of the times: Sriracha at the breakfast buffet
  31. Thanks for the retweet, Dave. Be nice if your Twitter account wasn’t protected, but such is life.
  32. I had an unfortunate situation with the light switches before Furry 101…maybe not for me, but the dance contest people next door likely hate me now.
  33. Very happy with the turnout and participation at Furry 101 this year, thanks for the help, San Antonio furries!
  34. I always have to buy a paleta from the vendor in front of the Henry B…BECAUSE REASONS
  35. It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to lose fursuiters at an anime con!
  36. There seem to be more people wearing ears and tails this year, hmm.
  37. Chili’s again for supper.  I’m okay with that.
  38. SUNDAY – Good trend: Vendors playing 80s music
  39. I’m still having difficulty finding cool stickers for my my laptop, though I did buy a chibi Bender.
  40. I’m pretty much forced to stay all day thanks to having a panel scheduled at 530 PM.
  41. Decision time: Carry my laptop around all day or return to my car to get it at 500 PM. I went with door #1
  42. Luckily, there is less me to carry around this time so it wasn’t a big problem.
  43. Dunno if anyone is going to be at “How to Panel,” but the show must go on.
  44. laptop
    #39 Bite my shiny chibi ass!

    Maybe I’ll use the setup time to take a nap.

  45. Mental note: Add a “Finish on time and clear the room” slide to the presentation because the group before me didn’t.
  46. Yay, people showed up…including one person with REALLY weird questions.  Sometimes you get ‘that guy’ at a panel, and he definitely was THAT GUY.
  47. Overall, the panel went well. I learned some stuff and made notes to add stuff to the presentation to make the next one even better!
  48. I took one of those Lime-S rental scooters back to the car, it was pretty cool!
  49. I was relieved to not find a citation on the my vehicle when I returned to it.
  50. I really can’t find anything major that went wrong this year, it’s gonna be a boring post-game Con Talk episode.
  51. San Japan XII: Sports?! Finally, a theme I can get behind!

A “Real” Book

My first paper book: “Fuzzy Words: The Con Fluff Collection,” is now available for purchase on Amazon!

It has always been my goal to create a paper book.  Thewriting problem with doing so is that my short stories are so short that I had to accumulate a pretty good number of them (27 in all) in order to have a book of reasonable length printed.

Naturally, I encountered a bit of a learning curve in publishing something physical.  In the digital world, there is no concern about margins and fonts and all of that stuff, because the screen that your book is going to be read on may be of any size and the reader can adjust the text font and text size to their liking.  In the print world, you have bleeds and gutters and covers and inches and all sorts of things that need to be done the right way.

Things have certainly changed for the better:  Way back when, if you wanted to print a paper book on your own, you had to go through a vanity publisher, which meant paying to have a few hundred (or thousand!) copies printed.  This meant that you took a big risk of being stuck with boxes of books that nobody wanted to buy.  Thanks to modern print-on-demand technology, paperbacks can be printed as they’re ordered, so just like in the e-book world, your cost of entry is nearly zero, save for the purchase of proof copies.

I gave both CreateSpace and NookPress a try, and ended up going with CreateSpace because of their expanded distribution options.  Also their books seemed to be of higher quality and they offered a better discount to authors purchasing their own copies.

A funny thing happened as I showed friends my print proofs; I repeatedly got this ‘so you’re a real writer now’ vibe (and a comment or two) from them.  Never mind that I’ve published quite a few digital ones.  Oh well, what can you do?

In any event, now that I’ve finished my first one, I can’t wait to do another!

Greetings From Texas Wonderland!

madhere
I’m mad, I say! MAAAD!

Hello and welcome to my little corner of the web, where you will find lots and lots of words!  Blog words, short story words, list words and even spoken words!

I recently returned from Texas Furry Fiesta 2018: “Lone Star Wonderland,” where I had a ball hanging out with my fellow fuzzers.  Check out the pictures I took over on Flickr, scroll down for the customary ‘things I noticed’ list, and listen to “Con Talk-Texas Furry Fiesta 2018 Post-Game!”

Stay tuned for the return of ‘Con Talk’ next week!