Phone it in Friday XXX: Blog Updates and Writing

Ah, yes—the bleak midwinter.  A time for eating frozen pizzas and warm soups, washed down with hot, black coffee.  A time for turning in early at night, indulging in the warmth and comfort of fleece sheets and heavy quilts.

I see why bears hibernate right now:  ’tis the season for coziness, to embrace the hygge.  I certainly eat like a grizzly preparing for a few months of hibernation, but I don’t sleep off the excess fat stores.  It just gets added on until another round of gastrointestinal self-denial kicks in after I gaze at my double chin too long.

It is with the spirit of the hibernating grizzly that I write this post.  I love writing, but like most writers, that love is sometimes coupled with hate—or, in my case, weary indifference.  It comes in waves, most of them brief, but I’m currently riding one at the moment—or flailing about frantically amid it, my head occasionally dipping below into the briny deep.

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Open Mic Adventures XVII: “L’il Divertimento in C major”

It’s been a bit since I’ve been able to get back to an open mic, between school, Christmas, and illness.  Belting out the tunes is pretty tough when your voice is a froggy mess of croaks and squeaks (although I’m sure some people are into that kind of thing).

As such, I decided to cast about through the Portly Video Archives and pull out some golden chestnuts from yesteryear—or, in this case, something I recorded about eleven months ago.

Readers might recall my modern classical piano project, P​é​ch​é​s d​’​â​ge moyen, which I released on 4 March 2022.  It was a frivolous and fun little project that, like most such things, was born of “an absurd, self-indulgent inside joke,” according to the album listing on Bandcamp.

The recordings were pretty lo-fi, but some of the pieces are actually quite good (others are self-indulgent experiments in multimeter quasi-tonality).  I also loaded the digital Bandcamp album with tons of extras—including the video you’re about to see—like scans of the handwritten manuscripts and scores for each piece.

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TBT: The Hermit’s Life

I’ve been writing this blog for so long now, it’s amusing to see how cyclical life is.  Apparently, I was running a low-grade fever right after Christmas 2021; this year, I was running a higher-grade fever around New Year’s 2023.

I’d completely forgotten that I rang in 2022 by going to bed at 10 PM after nearly a week of puttering around my house in a sickly fog.  My Christmas Break in 2022-2023 was much more action-packed, but that just meant the “slow down there, sport” illness hit right when I was supposed to go back to work.  D’oh!

That said, I do enjoy—in limited doses—the life of a hermit.  I’m very thankful to have a supportive family, and a strong support network of neighbors and friends nearby who can help me out in times of trouble.  But there is something appealing, especially during this dark, cold months, about holing up in my warm little house, eating frozen pizzas and watching horror movies.

For those that read my Tuesday post, here is a quick health update:  I think I am on the mend.  I went back to work Wednesday, as my fever broke.  I’m still coughing a bit and have some gnarly congestion, but my voice is back, which makes teaching possible—hurray!  Here’s hoping that as my health improves, I can use some of this slower wintry time to get crackin’ on several long-delayed book projects.

With that, here is 4 January 2022’s “The Hermit’s Life“:

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It is My Birthday

Today is my birthday.  I’m thirty-eight today, and on the downward slide towards forty.

Growing up, school always started back on my birthday, and this year is no different.  I’ll be ringing in my thirty-eighth year with a long day of mind-molding, followed by a few after-school lessons.

I’m also sick, with the same mysterious respiratory malady that struck me last year.  I can tell that I am on the mend—at least somewhat—at the time of writing, and I hope to wake up today breathing free, but I’m thinking it’s going to be a long day of popping cough drops and chugging water.

^Since writing that earlier on the day on Monday, my fever worsened.  Here’s hoping it breaks overnight and I can get to work, but it’s possible yours portly will be sick on his birthday—and at home.  I hate missing work if I can’t help it, so for me to contemplate taking a day off is a huge deal.  An at-home test for The Virus came back negative, but I’m running a fever of 102.5-102.9 degrees Fahrenheit (Ponty, convert that into Celsius).

I was going to write a bit more about goals and aspirations for my thirty-eighth year, but I’m going to stop here.  It’s time for a hot shower and some Vick’s Vapor Rub.


Arizona and Christmas Travels Preview

My (perhaps disappointed) readers will know that I fell woefully behind on posts earlier this week, delaying both my Monday Morning Movie Review of 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life (which should be live by the time you read this post) and my Tuesday post.  My intent Tuesday was to write a bit of an overview of my travels the week before Christmas into the Christmas weekend.  Ironically, those travels, as well as family get-togethers and being a hardworking (if grumpy—from lack of rest, I promise!) uncle created delays in my writing.

That said, I want to make good on my daily posting commitment, so consider this short preview of my recent travels a make-up post for Tuesday.  After starving earlier this week for portly content, you might find yourselves soon o’er-engorged with the meaty, chubby goodness of my self-indulgent, navel-gazing posts.

Before launching into the preview, I’ll note that I’ll be dedicating the next two or three editions of SubscribeStar Saturday to more extensive overviews of my travels, complete with loads of pictures and other goodies.  If you want to read all about my adventures in Arizona and beyond, subscribe today!

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December 2022 Bandcamp Friday

Ah, yes, December—Christmastime.  A time for merriment with friends, families—and Bandcamp Friday!

The first Friday of December 2022 (today, if you’re reading this on Friday, 2 December 2022) witnesses the return of this pro-indie music observance, a day on which Bandcamp waives its usual 15% commission on sales.

In other words, when you buy my music, almost 100% of it goes to me, instead of almost 85%.

While I haven’t released any new music lately, I managed to release two short collections of music in AprilPéchés d’âge moyen II: One Week in March and The Lo-Fi Hymnal II.  All of my releases are just a buck each, though you’re welcome to pay more if you’d like to help out yours portly.

Currently, my entire discography of ten releases is $6.50, a savings of 35%, which is not bad for ten releases.  That’s $0.65 per release—not too shabby!  To purchase the full discography, click on any release, and you’ll see the option to purchase all of them.

I’m also selling all of my paintings for $10, with free shipping in the United States, regardless of how many you purchase.  They’re one of kind, so once a painting is purchased, it’s gone.

Finally, my book The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot is $10 in paperback, and just $5 on Kindle.

And the paperback version is the perfect gift!  Why give someone a boring, predictable gift, when you can give them a collection of unsolvable, absurdist noir detective stories to read around the yule log?  Enjoy egg nog-enriched guffaws as your friends read mystifying tales of hyper-sleuthing.

Give the Gift of Weird this Christmas!

Well, that’s it for this month’s sales pitch.  There’s been a lot of them lately.  Thanks again for your support!

Happy Friday!


Memorable Monday: Cyber Monday Musings

It’s Cyber Monday here in the United States, yet another day to hawk my wares to my unwitting—uh, I mean “loyal”—readers.

Here’s the big one:  the Kindle edition of my book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot, is on sale for just $0.99 through midnight (EST) this Thursday, 2 December 2022!

And the paperback version is the perfect gift!  Why give someone a boring, predictable gift, when you can give them a collection of unsolvable, absurdist noir detective stories to read around the yule log?  Enjoy egg nog-enriched guffaws as your friends read mystifying tales of hyper-sleuthing.

Give the Gift of Weird this Christmas—like crudely painted primitivist artwork!

While you’re at it, why not head over to my SubscribeStar page and subscribe for $1/month to unlock all of my SubscribeStar Saturday posts.  For $5/month, you get fresh doodles every Sunday, as well as other random bonuses.

Well, you get the idea.  Support yours portly on this feast of savings!

With that, here is 2 December 2019’s “Cyber Monday Musings“:

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Flashback Friday^4: Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break

It’s another Black Friday here in the United States, the day when retailers are finally in the red after convincing everyone to storm the commercial Bastille and buy flat-screen televisions at rock-bottom prices.  It’s intriguing to consider that our entire retail sector hinges on the successful execution of one day of sales to shore up an entire year of losses and (I will recklessly assume) corporate mismanagement.

I vastly prefer teaching music lessons, which put me into the black pretty much from the beginning of the year and throughout.  Of course, there are lots of other ways you can help me stay in the black, such as…

Seriously, my whole marketing tactic this Christmas season is “Give the Gift of Weird.”  Why give someone another scented candle they’ll shove into a drawer and forget about?  You can totally win your White Elephant gift exchange with a self-published book of unsolvable, absurdist detective stories.  Or help an oddball relative celebrate with a painting of a demonic-looking beast sword.

Release yourself from the shackles of predictable gifts that no one wants or needs!  Don’t risk setting fire to your house with some crappy candle.  Instead, be fire on Christmas morning with some wacky, one-of-a-kind gifts from yours portly.

You’ll also be giving those schmucks at Target a break, which they desperately need after sacrificing Thanksgiving to fulfill your insatiable lust for plastic knick-knacks.

With that, here is “Flashback Friday^2: Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break“:

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TBT^256: It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!

I’m continuing the time-honored tradition of Thanksgivings past (2021, 202020192018, and 2017) with the annual reblogging of “It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!”  I wrote the original post (on the old blog) back in 2017, just a few days after I fell from a ladder and broke my wrist.  It was my lowest point in a number of ways, but I was grateful to be alive.

I’m thankful this year, too, although I am similarly in a bit a slump personally.  No matter—I’ve got a good family, a good house, a good dog, and lots of private lessons to tide over my insatiable lust for frozen pizza and LEGO sets.

My pastor has been working painstakingly through Philippians for some time now, and has been hammering home the idea of finding joy amid our situations, no matter how difficult they might be.  If the Apostle Paul could rejoice in a Roman prison, we can rejoice in the far less trying times of our daily lives.

Good stuff, even if it’s hard to live out.  At least today I’ll get to eat some turkey.

With that, here is “TBT^16: It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!“:

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