Things I have learned this week:

#1: It does no good to wear headphones at the dentist if he’s drilling inside your mouth, because the drill is basically inside your ear, closer than the headphones are. The dentist already knows this, which may be why he recommends listening to whale sounds, the idea being that the whale sounds and the drill sounds will mix together.

#2: Graphics apps for the Mac are expensive. But you can do cool things on your phone for literal pennies. The long version of that story is — well, actually, too long and too boring. But the short version is that I’d like to be able to make simple covers for short stories so have been experimenting with apps. In my imagination, I take a photo, use a graphic filter to turn it into something that looks like art, add text and make it a book cover. In reality… yeah, I probably need to pay for covers. But I’ve had fun with some phone apps, including one called Popsicolor. For 99 cents, it turns photographs into pop art.

The Giz. He’d be a cute book cover, I bet.

#3: Self-help books that say you can manifest your success by believing in it (with the implication that if you’re not successful, it’s because you don’t believe in yourself enough) make me grumpy. Also, I believe that I choose my emotional responses and so I know I am choosing to be grumpy about such books, not being “made” grumpy, and that words are important. However, that said, I still feel grumpy.

#4: It’s a good idea to pay estimated taxes. Sigh. I was really sure that the combination of lousy book sales in 2019, plus various expenditures on advertising, marketing, covers, and production, was going to make taxes a moot point for 2019. I’m trying to convince myself that the good news is that I actually did earn a little money in 2019. That’s good news, right? Right. I wish I’d paid my taxes as they were due, though.