Badass Butter

I just thought that today, you should see the most badass butter packaging of which I am aware. Continue reading

“That Friend” and FOMO

Okay, I’ve seen a number of people post this now. Many are people who don’t know each other. And I’ve seen the sentiment echoed from all demographics, people getting student discounts and people getting senior discounts. It’s everywhere. Here’s the thing:

I'm that friend that has to walk behind the group when the path isn't big enough. I'm that friend that gets cut off in the conversation. I'm that friend that gets left behind when I asked for them to wait for me. I'm that friend that doesn't get invited to hang out a lot. I'm that friend that if I want to go tot he mall or some place with a friend I have to be the one to invite people to make sure I get included. I'll always be that friend.

 

And I’m going to step into the Old Ben mentor trope for a moment and pontificate, because it seems there’s something critical being missed.

Guys, this is not “that friend.” This is EVERYONE. Continue reading

Writing Games

Being a writer is easy. It's like riding a bike. Except the bike is on fire. You're on fire. Everything is on fire and you're in hell.So I came across an interesting game premise recently.

Well, not a game, per se. There’s no gameplay and no storyline and no final boss battle. There’s no leveling and no skill-building and no farming. No gold, no XP. Instead, it’s just a virtual environment to be explored like an open-world game, for the purpose of prompting would-be writers to actually write.

Lots of people want to write but are then intimidated by the blank page. And traditional writers’ adages don’t necessarily help.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. - Earnest Hemingway

Enter Elegy for a Dead World, a game to encourage novice writers to shut off the self-doubt and just write. Continue reading

More Mowing & Murder: Autumn Maze

I’ve mentioned previously that I cut an annual autumn maze. What I didn’t mention is that the last couple of years, I’ve used a secret theme.

It’s hard to invent a wholly new labyrinth each year without being repetitive, so one year I chose an usual word from a book title, a word I figured no one would recognize, and used it as the basis for my maze. It seemed to work pretty well, the maze was reported properly twisty — the word was kitsune — and no one realized they were actually walking through connected letters.

That became my private joke. Half of the maze was bizarre swirls and winding paths, meant to draw out the younger kids but not lose them, and half was a series of interlinked passages based on some personal literary reference. But last year, I was found out, thanks to Google Earth. My mother, who with my father owns the field in which the maze is cut, was looking up her property’s aerial view for some reason and realized the map had been updated after I’d done my maze. Continue reading

Title of the Post

Oh, how I hate titles.

At least in my own case, if a title presents itself early in the process, it’s generally a good title. If I don’t have one by late in the story or, God help me, by revisions, I will never come up with a title I like, and there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Sometimes you just get lucky. Last week, a perfect title presented itself for a story which doesn’t even have a proper premise yet. Oh, and the perfect title even brought along a friend for a potential sequel.

Old Spice guy nodding, wearing towel in bathroom

Aw, yeah.

But that’s not typical.

For this present story, I’m getting dangerously close to just wallpapering a room with pages of a thesaurus and bringing in a blindfold and darts….

 

How to Hear an Underwater Earthquake

English: An aerial view of Minato, Japan, a we...

An aerial view of Minato, Japan, a week after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated the area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a story in progress (now available!), I was doing some research on infrasound and sea animals and hydrophonics, and I happened across this amazing and terrifying recording.

The March 11, 2011 Tōhoku earthquake off Japan, which produced a devastating tsunami killing perhaps 16,000 people, was recorded by a hydrophonic array in the Aleutian Islands, more than 900 miles away. Despite the great distance, the recorded seismic disturbance is the loudest they’ve ever captured, even louder than the nearby underwater volcanoes.

Listen all the way through to the end, when the sound simply buries the microphone. It’s terrifying. Continue reading

“I Can Only Do This Once”

This entry is part 2 of 16 in the series GDB & Route 66
Portrait of a male tabby cat

Portrait of a male tabby cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I checked into my Winnemucca, NV motel last night, I asked if a service dog in training could stay for free like a working service dog, instead of me paying the pet fee. (She could.) Upon learning that I’m a professional trainer, the desk clerk realized that I obviously needed an education in what service animals do. (But if I’m a trainer there with a service dog in training, wouldn’t I probably already know what service animals…. Never mind.) It included this exchange:

Clerk: “And there are even service cats! And do you know what they do? When a person is dying, a service cat is trained to get up on their chest and die with them.”

Me: “Um. /awkward blinky moment/ But they can only do that once.”

Clerk: “Right. But it happens.”

Continue reading

Toilet Poetry

So on the final stop of my trip home, I went into the women’s restroom at the train station in Indianapolis. I found this on the wall.

handwritten text on a bathroom wall

He told me he was afraid of commitment with 13 tattoos on his body.

I confronted him.

He said:

“but I don’t have to worry about these tattoos leaving my body.”

/snap snap snap snap snap/ Rock on, restroom poet. Rock on.

Snow Ribbons & Other Winter Things

Winter brings us pretty things. While the north apparently got some good accumulation, the Great Winter Storm turned out for us to be largely rain and slush — actually, I would have much preferred the snow — the mild temperatures did at least create some fun snow effects.

Snow sliding down the windshield, but still cohesive, coiled and then formed ribbons!

Snow sliding down the windshield, but still cohesive, coiled and then formed ribbons!

Like on this windshield, where the snow melted just enough to slip and slide, but not enough to come apart, resulting in some pretty cool snow ribbons.

I kinda wanted some heavy snow, though, so I could feel totally justified in holing up at home by a fire and catching up on blog posts, accounting, and other gets-pushed-back tasks. But I guess clear roads are better for the majority…. But for anyone else missing snow, hop over to the Yuki-Onna photos to get a chill.

In other news, I sold two short stories in January and hope to be able to announce them soon. And in other news, the groundhog apparently says we’ll have six more weeks of winter, so stock up on hot chocolate and a few more books of your favorite variety. I’m still holding out for my snow day!

The Monumental Marathon 5k: Go, Me!

Totally just an achievement post.

Last week I was traveling, spending much of my days on a bus. In the evening I found a hotel treadmill or, one lucky evening, a great trail by a river. I wanted to lift weights, but hotels don’t always offer weights. But all hotel fitness centers have a treadmill.

One night on a treadmill, I bumped up the speed to a jog. And when I was able to maintain that pace for a solid five minutes, I felt ridiculously proud of myself. (I know, I know. Go ahead and laugh. I’ll even laugh with you.)

Where I’m going with all this is, while high in a fit of optimism and fitness enthusiasm, I stumbled across a tweet warning of the imminent closure of registration for the Monumental Marathon. I hadn’t even known it was happening, but it offered a 5k. I signed up. Continue reading