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Archive for April, 2011

Questing in Des Moines

While in Des Moines this week, I was tasked with a holy crusade – to become the “hero vendor!” Well, I’m a title-whore, so I had to take the challenge.

Hold on a sec – are you my wife? If you are my wife, you must stop reading now. Compromising pictures are to follow, and you cannot know what I did behind your back in Iowa.

Not gone yet? No, I’m serious – leave now!

Dammit, why are you so stubborn?

Alright, let’s partake of a little background. My mother-in-law once doubted I could finish off the last pound of mashed potatoes at some family function. Silly mother-in-law. She was unprepared for what followed – a gorging she hadn’t witnessed in many years, since she raised 2 girls. At any moment in time, I can consume an unlimited amount of potato-material. It’s just a fact.

Likewise, I can usually polish-off any quantity of cheesy macaroni. So, when I was challenged this week to finish an entire bowl of macaroni gratin at some floofy french restaurant, I rose to the occasion.

Armed with my furnace-stomach and unhealthy love for the macaroni, I eyed the bowl as it was placed before me:

The enemy. Human hand is in there for reference. It's larger than it looks! (the bowl, not the hand)

Ahhh… heart attack in a bowl. My favorite.

Let’s elapse some time here:

Halfway there! Ugh...

Did I mention there were large bits of bacon waiting inside as well? Who knew the french could make such hearty food!

I was surprised to learn I would be the first to pass the challenge. Now, I’m small of stature, so this fact surprised me. As the end neared, I knew I was going to taste victory, even if the Marriott bathroom would be soon declared “ground zero” after the attack upon my system.

Fin!

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Okay, okay. There weren’t any snakes on the plane this time. I just wanted a catchy title. Or something.

Life is all about change. How we react and adapt to our changing lives is, I believe, what molds us into the human beings we are. Resist change and we risk stagnation. Change too much and we soon don’t recognize who we are. Find the perfect balance and we can become extraordinary.

What the frak does this have to do with a plane? (or snakes?)

Okay. So, I know writers all have their little habits, superstitions and preferences. And no preference is greater than our “place to write.” Be it a quiet desk, back porch, room with a view, basement or cabin in the freakin’ woods (yeah, right) – most fiction writers have a favorite. Some writers cannot even function unless their requirements are met.

For me, I wrote Eden in my basement, with no outside noise/interruptions. From what I hear, this is a common scenario. Quiet & solitude.

Well, life has a way of trampling all over your good intentions sometimes. I mentioned in my post about “professionalism” the idea that we make time for the things we want to do. Fuck excuses – you aren’t allowed any when it comes to matters of the heart. If something means enough to you, chances are you *can* make time for it. You can change.

Life has been crazy for me over the past 6 months. It would be easy for me to say “I’m too busy!” and hang up the pen for a while. I’m sure we all feel that way sometimes. Maybe we consider quitting school (again) because it’s just too difficult with the job, kids, whatever. Maybe our relationship is just becoming an inconvenience. Perhaps we aren’t following that dream because we aren’t making progress.

If you know what you’re trying to do is the *right* thing for you, then don’t let the excuses mount a resistance. Find a way to make it work.

Now, I’m no time wizard, but I changed my habits to still fit writing into my life. It sure as hell wasn’t easy, nor did it happen overnight. I just kept attempting to produce words despite less than perfect environments. And now I can write anywhere. Kids watching TV in the same room? No problemo. No elbow-room typing on the iPad in an airplane? Easy peasy. Quick-session writing bursts in-between other activities? Sometimes!

Would I prefer to write with nice 6-hour blocks of uninterrupted silence? Hellz yeah. But that isn’t life right now. So, I needed to get creative. It’s all about adapting to your “normal” and fitting everything together… with a sledgehammer if necessary. (these 2,000 words brought to you from my iPad)

I may be talking a whole ton more about *change* quite soon. It’s on my mind as I continually make changes to improve my life and my family’s life. I’ll also have some Babylon and Eden graphic novel updates! (all good stuff)

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Some Geek Stuff

 I’ve been meaning to do a “geek post” for some time now. This prompted me to finally get off my arse and do it:

No, those aren't my shit stains. I'd *probably* never snap a pic of my poo and share it with y'all. Probably.

 How awesome is this toilet? You wave yer hand over the sensor and a new strip of plastic coating slides over for your hairy ass! Score! The human race wins! Game over! We have conquered all there is to conquer.

I’m pretty sure I snapped this pic at JFK. Just in case you wanted to visit the BEST TOILET MADE BY THINKING ORGANISMS.

Moving on…

What’s next? Oh yeah – check this out. Ready for some useless tech? Ladies & gentlemen, I present to you the  iWallet.

Carbon fiber casing? Check!

Bluetooth to yer phone? Check!

Biometric fingerprint reader? Check!

Apple-worthy price tag (which could feed an orphanage for a week)? Check and Mate!

Heavier than leather, heavy price tag

I haven’t spent $600 on wallets throughout my entire life. Hell, I don’t think the entire Plourde line of men has spent that total on wallets. So, what’s the point here? I’m just not seeing the value…  

Last but not least… let’s talk about computers. You know who rocks? Fuckin’ Commodore rocks!

You can now buy a “classic” looking Commodore 64 (and Amiga models) with modern bits inside (Ubuntu OS shipped, but Windows is possible). The classic Commodore64 shell is also available on the machine, in case you wanted to make some games or something (did a ton of that in my time). The machine comes with a slightly underpowered processor dual-core for today’s high-end games, and the same goes for the graphics card (only half a gig of video RAM). You can opt for the 4GB memory upgrade (from 2GB) and other options include: Wi-Fi, DVD, Blu-ray and up to a 500GB HDD. Seeing as the Commodore helped launch computer gaming, I’m not sure these specs can cut it with todays games.

Bonnnng!

The price tag isn’t too bad for our nostalgic twitch. $250 for a “barebones” model up to $900 for an “ultimate” model. Since I can get an i7-based gaming rig for about $1,000 off the Dell Outlet, that higher end price tag may seem steep for the hardware you get. 

Ahh, the days of Commodore64 gaming. I didn’t have one, but my friend did. We would play SimCity until the wee hours of the morning together. There’s nothing quite like watching blocks grow slightly bigger because we smartly placed roads and rails near them… sigh. Good times.

What the frak are you waiting for? Go buy one!

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Well, it’s been a harrowing few months:

– Selling our house, buying new house

– Thyroid trying its best to keep-up despite not enough meds

– Traveling like a maniac

– Writing the Eden Graphic novel script

– Surviving 2 days of medical tests

– Publishing the Antaran Legacy

– Trying to hit a nasty curveball from Babylon

With my updated meds waiting for me at home, and a new regimen of light exercise, I’m feeling motivated again! Work on Babylon has continued and I’m past my first bout of “block.” I’ve never encountered Writer’s Block before, so this was a new experience for me. I knew where Babylon needed to go, but I was floundering and second-guessing everything. I had a re-write planned. I agonized over the direction it had taken so far. I was stumped.

I know I’ve always recommended blowing past barriers like a rabid platypus – just get that first draft done! Well, I had difficulty following my own advice this time. While I still advocate running stop lights when it comes to word choice and structure (you can fix that crap later), I’m not so sure I recommend that tactic any longer for serious blockage. While I believe every writer gets through it in their own way, here’s what I did (get out yer plunger):

I let it sit. Yeah, I usually like to just bang out that 1st draft like a teenager on prom night – speed and my own satisfaction are all that matter! This time, I slowed things down during my dilemma. I analyzed the beginning from many different angles. Some stuff got reworked, and then I let it collect dust for a few weeks. Coming back to it with fresh eyes helped immensely.  I found that things weren’t as dire as I first thought. Stepping back gave me the wide-angle lens I needed to realize that fact. After that, it’s been smooth sailing and I cannot type fast enough! Babylon is again back on track for a late 2011 release date (yeah, yeah – maybe I’ll update the blog banner someday).

Work on the Eden graphic novel is coming along quite nicely!

Artwork by Jordan Saia

Jordan has been a pleasure to work with and I think y’all will be surprised by the quality and content we plan to deliver. I’m also scheming to include a scene unique to the graphic novel, so stay tuned for more news on that front!

What else? Oh yeah – I recently joined forces with the Literary Underground. My beautiful face/bio are here. Not only did I want to be a part of something larger with a few fellow wordsmiths, but I am interested in supporting the self-publishing movement. I’m happy to share my thoughts and experience with them. Check out the site – we have a neat bunch of writers there! 🙂

Gosh, what else? I think that’s all for now. Off to the pool, then Babylon!

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