The Actors’ Workshop

“My agent called me and said that I got the part,” Greg said to his best friend while they were sitting at a Starbucks. “I feel like I just won the lottery.”

“That’s great, Greg,” Adam texted back. “I guess that thousand bucks you spent on the acting workshop paid off, huh?”

Greg dunked the end of his biscuit into his coffee and took a bite. “Actually, that workshop got cancelled when the leader of the workshop got arrested.”

“Arrested?” Adam said. “What for?”

“He was accused of sexually assaulting several of the females in the class,” Greg said.

“No shit,” Adam exclaimed. “Wow.”

“Yeah,” Greg said, “it was quite the calamity.”

Written for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (agent), MMA Storytime (friend), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (lottery), Word of the Day Challenge (workshop), Ragtag Daily Prompt (biscuit), and Your Daily Word Prompt (calamity).

Thursday Inspiration — Words Matter

When I first started blogging way back in 2005, I wrote long, rambling, meandering posts. My average post length back then probably ranged from around 1100 to 1400 words. To say that I was verbose would have been an understatement. I was never at a loss for words.

I enjoyed writing those long winded posts, but no one — other than me — ever seemed to read them. I put a lot of time and effort into my posts and I thought most of them were pretty plum.

So I asked myself why I wasn’t getting either traffic or traction on my blog. Was I on the wrong blogging platform? Was I letting my words runaway with me, resulting in boring, meandering posts? I decided it was time to set in motion some fundamental changes to the way I blogged. If I were to continue blogging, I needed to give my blog a shot in the arm, kind of like a vaccine.

First, I moved my blog to WordPress. Then I decided to write more concise, focused posts. No more rambling, multi-topic posts. I was going to keep my posts short and simple. Ideal for the short-attention-span blogging community.

The results of these adjustment were illuminating. My shorter posts — rarely exceeding 300 words — published on WordPress began to get read. They started receiving likes. And comments. And followers. I started interacting with people from all around the globe via our blogs. Woo hoo!

Lesson learned: words matter…and apparently so do word counts.

Written for Jim Adams’ Thursday Inspiration prompt, where the word is “why” and the musical inspiration in Del Shannon’s song, “Runaway.”motion never verbose plum vaccine illuminate
Also for these daily prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (verbose) , The Daily Spur (never), Ragtag Daily Prompt (plum), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (motion), Word of the Day Challenge (vaccine), and MMA Storytime (illuminate).

Acapulco Gold.

Mark slowly opened his eyes. He looked around the small room, but nothing looked familiar. He sat up, heard a groaning sound to his left, and saw that there was a girl sleeping next to him, but he had no idea who she was.

He tried to remember how he got here but the whole night was a blur. He got out of the bed and hunted for his clothes, which were strewn around the room. He quickly dressed and took one last look at the girl in the bed. Whoever she was, she was still soundly sleeping.

Mark opened the bedroom door and heard the sound of laughter coming from downstairs. He still couldn’t remember whose house this was or how he ended up here sharing a bed with that girl.

He made his way downstairs, following the sound of the laughter, which led him to the kitchen. “Ah, sleeping beauty has finally stirred,” the male sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee said. “How was your repose last night?” The guy asked, a sly smile on his face. “Coffee?”

“Do I know you?” Mark asked.

“Oh, sorry, dude,” the guy said. “I’m Alex and this,” gesturing toward the girl seated across from him, “is Sarah.”

“Who is that girl upstairs?” Mark asked.

“That’s Cindy. The two of you really seemed to hit it off last night.”

Mark was still confused. “How did I end up here?”

“You really don’t remember?” Alex said.

“The last thing I remember was sitting at the bar at Lou’s Tavern eating a bacon cheeseburger and drinking a beer.”

“So you don’t remember Cindy sitting next to you and inviting you to party over here at our place?”

Mark shook his head. “Not really. Hey, I’ll take that coffee now.”

“Take a load off, dude,” Alex said, pointing to a kitchen table chair. As if on cue, Sarah got up, poured some coffee into a mug, and asked Mark how he takes it.

“Black is fine.” Sarah set it down in front of Mark, who took several sips, hoping it would refresh his memory of the night before.

“Anyway,” Alex said, “after you and Cindy left Lou’s together, the two of you drove here and we all passed around a bong with some fresh from the farm Acapulco gold. It’s, like, cannabis on fucking steroids, dude.”

Mark shook his head again, trying to clear out the cobwebs. A little of what happened started to reach the surface. “That shit must be really potent,” he said. “I still can’t remember much of anything.”

Cindy, wearing a robe, walked into the kitchen, leaned over, kissed Mark on the cheek, and said, “Last night was amazing.”

Alex broke out laughing. “Maybe for you, Cindy. This guy doesn’t remember a damn thing.”

“That’s a shame,” Cindy said. Then she walked over to a kitchen cabinet, pulled out the bong, opened up a jar, and put a small amount of cannabis into the bowl. She placed it on the table in front of Mark and said, “Hair of the dog, sweetie. Take a toke and then let’s do an encore that I will make sure you won’t forget.”

Written for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (blur), Ragtag Daily Prompt (laughter), Your Daily Word Prompt (repose), Word of the Day Challenge (fresh), The Daily Spur (gold), and MMA Storytime (steroids).

The Grand Opening

“Crap,” said Mitch.

“What’s the matter?” Frank asked.

Basically, we’re in trouble,” Mitch said. “The health inspector came by and said that our bar has too high a percentage of bacteria and he gave us a failing grade and is closing us down until we disinfect this whole joint.”

“Dammit,” Frank said. “We haven’t even had our grand opening yet. We can’t afford to shut this place down before we even open up our doors to what will no doubt be great acclaim. Can you grab me some cleaning supplies from the back room so we can use it to swipe down the bar?”

Mitch went to the back room and came out with a couple of bottles of Barmecide disinfecting cleanser and some rubber gloves and set then down on the bar.

“We’re gonna get this place spotless,” Frank said. “I’ll set up an appointment for the inspector to come back tomorrow so we can pass and get approval to be open for business this weekend for our grand opening party.”

“Let’s do this, Frank,” Mitch said, donning the rubber gloves.

Written for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (basic), MMA Storytime (trouble), The Daily Spur (percentage), Hour Daily Word Prompt (acclaim), Word of the day (batmecide), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (cleanser).

A to Z Reflections

So the sponsors of the A to Z Challenge have asked us to reflect upon our experiences participating in this year’s challenge and to post our reflections. But before I begin, I want to thank those of you who ran the show. You put a lot of time and effort into it, and I’m sure those of us who participated in this year’s challenge appreciated your work.

Anyway, here are my reflections.

For my challenge, I posted each day in April — except Sundays — about mostly vintage or classic TV shows in alphabetical order, from “All in the Family” to “Zorro.” I had a lot of fun doing it and the response I got from readers was mostly positive. Many remembered watching the shows and appreciated the trip down Memory Lane.

Is that true? Did you like reading about those old TV shows? Do tell!

One aspect that surprised me a little was that my blog’s traffic didn’t pick up this April as it had in April in past years. In 2019, I had 12.4% more views in April than I had in March, even though March has one more day than April. In 2020, I had 10% more views in April than in March. But this year, I actually had 1.6% fewer views in April than in March. Well, it’s no biggie. I’m not about to start bawling over it.

I certainly can’t blame the drop in traffic to people spending more time at the mall because, due to the pandemic, haven’t most malls closed? In fact, even though restrictions have eased up a bit since last year, my guess is that most of us are, like me, still spending more time inside of our own houses than we are being out and about. Right?

I did get a glimpse at a lot of other bloggers’ A to Z posts, but most of those bloggers whose A to Z posts I read were bloggers that I’m already following. Hey, there are only so many hours in a day. Right?

That said, I did enjoy this year’s challenge and this makes it four years in a row that I’ve participated. I enjoyed being a part of the A to Z Challenge and encourage others to do so in the future.

See you back here next April.

Written for the A to Z Reflections post and for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aspect), Word of the Day Challenge (traffic), Your Daily Word Prompt (bawl), The Daily Spur (mall), MMA Storytime (house), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (glimpse).