National Apricot Day…


Today is National Apricot Day, which is when the Americans (because who else really?) celebrate their collective love for the apricot, one of the most overlooked of fruits.

Full disclosure here – I have never eaten an apricot. I’ve had apricot purée, and the odd piece of dried apricot, but I’ve never consumed an entire fruit. And I’m sure I’m not alone.


Because let’s not pretend here – the apricot is probably a third or fourth tier fruit at best.

At the top of the tree you have the apple, the banana, and probably the orange. Just below that comes the pear, the grape, and the strawberry. Maybe you could throw raspberries in there too.

But after that you get into things like tangerines, plums, peaches, nectarines and melons… amongst others. Somewhere below that you’ll find the apricot, treading water with the kiwi fruit and the pineapple, and the reason it’s a bargain basement fruit is that nobody eats them. People will jump in the car just to pick up half a dozen Golden Delicious, but nobody is taking a trip to their local greengrocer because they forgot to put apricots on the weekly shopping list.
So, eat up, and enjoy!

Night Shift #14 – Quitters Inc…

619i-4slsfl645695221..jpgWord count – 6,600 words

Quitters Inc tells the familiar tale of one man’s desire to stop smoking, and the lengths he goes to in order to do just that. On the recommendation of a friend he speaks to a very shady man who promises he can ensure he never smokes again, although his methods are a little… questionable, to say the least.

There is a campy quality here which is a little reminiscent in execution to The Ledge, from earlier in the anthology, which is certainly not a bad thing, although this has not been afforded quite the same level of skill and care.

Quitters Inc has a good story at its core, and although it is not as polished as some of the other entries in Night Shift there is enough good stuff in here to be counted as one of the better entries in the collection.

Recommended ⇑

Running Like God…

…well after eight hours and far too much coffee for a comfortable sleep, I split last night’s poker tournament three ways for a very healthy profit.

Admittedly, I got my fair share of luck along the way, but that’s the nature of the beast. I’ll debate anyone who tries to deny the skill that is clearly involved in the game, and required to progress, but I’ll never dispute that you need a bit of good fortune too.

Anyway, work tomorrow, so that may be my casino adventures for 2020!

When the Chips Are Down…

I used to play a lot of poker, and I do mean a lot. Back in 2015 and 2016 I played cash poker every weekend, almost without fail, and most of the other nights I’d be sitting playing a tournament. This went on for many months.

I was pretty good too, relatively speaking. I made money most weeks, and when the end of the year rolled around I was up by thousands of pounds.

I’m not saying it to boast – I very much doubt I could have maintained it as a career path – but more to compare and contrast it to right now. I’m off work tomorrow so I decided to take the opportunity and play a tournament.

It’s my first time for a long while behind the baize, and I’m probably doing all right… considering. I’ve reached the first break, so that’s something. But these are shark-infested waters, and I feel like they are hungry and I have forgotten how to swim.

What I’ve Done This Week #52…

Well, I promised three short stories by Christmas Day but only managed to deliver one by the end of the year. I finished Last Chance Lagoon just in time to close out the year on a high note.

I think it was always going to be the one I finished first, but at 1400 words it’s a little longer than I had originally expected. It’s good – I like it – and I did enjoy presenting it to my captive audience, who seemed quite taken by being the star of the show.

This is my final post of the year, but I have big ideas for 2020. There are many things I want to accomplish in the next twelve months and beyond, and I’m going to get on them right away.

Happy New Year, folks!

Resolutions…

I try not to make them. If you want to change something in your life, just do it. Don’t wait for the arbitrary flip of the calendar to stop smoking or eat healthier or go to the gym.

Just do it now. Be a better person today.

Still, it’s good to have a definitive jumping off point, so I gave myself something to aim for.

I’m going to make a real effort to bend at the knees – you know, like they teach you to do all the way through your adult life, in those manual handling videos. We all watch them and shake our heads, and yet most of us still bend at the waist like we can’t wait for that back pain that’s coming for us in our later years.

So… I want to do my best to avoid that.

What I’ve Done This Week #50 (and #51)…

First of all, Happy Holidays. I hope you all had a good time, and got what you wanted and deserved.

Unfortunately, I didn’t finish any of those short stories that I had tasked myself to do. All three of them are in the home stretch, and I reckon if I had put down the chocolates and the turkey I may have found the time to have completed then over the last couple of days… but alas, the call of the festivities was much too great.

While I may not have met my self-imposed deadline, I have manufactured a few decent tales that I otherwise would not have created. I think they will turn out pretty well – it’s just finding the inclination at this time of year to put a bow on them.

2020 is just around the corner now. I aim to make it a good year for me and mine, and I hope you all do the same for you and yours.