The Great Lawn Mower Rambling

When it rains, it pours or some other cliché that indicates that when life takes a dump you had better not be underneath. We were, unfortunately, underneath the dump again. I swear, while this has not been the worse year on record, this is heading for a place in the top five and there is plenty of time for things to get stupider and worse.

However, most of you are not hear (ha) to read about our ups and current downs. You are here to read about…well, I ‘m not sure. Before this weekend I would have said a mix of things, but mostly life and games. This weekend was all about the games. A link to a year old post, which was recently updated, lead to a flood of traffic I have not seen since the days when I wrote about bondage (Bondage for Beginners) and other aspects of human sexuality.

Thank you mysterious linker. I appreciate the traffic to a post I was happy with and then updated. Funny thing I noticed is that only a few people followed the link in the old post to the new post. Makes me wonder why some people follow links and others do not. Especially when the link indicates a new version is available. Odd is all.

For those hoping the week would start off with more Puddles and Whiskers, have no fear. While working on the latest revision I started world building and story adding to the revision. Thus the delay. I am trying to illustrate a point and at the time follow the adventures of two characters who I happen to like a lot. While dealing with life and first day of school.

No, no. Not first day of school for me. I am done. At least I assume I am done. Grad school is MIA. Oh well. Today was the first day of school for everyone else I know-students and professors. Thus, I was supposed to go to bed early to be wide awake to take our kids to school. I did not go to bed early. Guilty pleasure, plus interest in a local chef on Great Food Truck Race kept me up late. Thankfully, for me, he is out of the race (first one, but when you hit two trucks what did you expect), so I won’t be staying up late for that anymore. Most Food Network stuff bores me anymore. Too many reoccurring chefs, seriously how many times can I see the same chefs on a different show? The answer, one and done (see there is an instance of one and done). 🙂

Lastly, as indicated in the title, there was a lawn mower. As stupid as this sounds, because we were totally fucked by the house disaster, we moved here without a lot of necessary equipment. I mean I can live without a microwave and fryer, but when your place is on just short of 2 acres of land some sort of lawn care device is necessary. I thought goats or lamas, but was vetoed because someone thought that I would end up cooking them at some point while someone else was excited for some pets. Thus, a lawn mower. Cutting (ha) to the chase, ours arrived today in a box. I have never seen a lawn mower in pieces and I hope to never see one in pieces again. My hand ache from putting it together and I am waiting for the rain to pass to mow the lawn or should I say jungle.

 

 

Rain, Rain Go Away and Take My Headache Away

I went to bed with a plan to continue the “Writer Series,” (start here) even made notes, but woke up with sinus headache this big…trust me my hands are held wide apart. I hoped that the headache would go away when the rain fell and moved on. The rain has neither fallen nor has the front moved on. Just ouch.

However, there are plenty of people who are having worse days than me (I know at least two personally) So I acknowledge that my headache while inconvenient to my writing plans, is by no means huge, despite how far apart my hands are; amazing I can still type with them this far apart. 🙂

What do you do when bright lights, turning your head, and looking at the monitor hurts the eyes. If you are me, you write in notebooks. Some of you may remember a recent post where I talked about all of the notebooks with one or two pages written in them and then nothing, sure you do, if not here is a reminder. Well, this writing is nothing like that…so far. What I have been working on all day is taking notes from other notebooks and putting them together in one notebook.

Creating a master notebook. That sounds really lame. But trust me this is much more useful than I initially thought. I was working on a story and needed some names and creatures. Flipping through notebooks, I found names and some creatures from another project. This happened a few more times before it hit me to comb through the notes in an effort to put old ideas to use and to bring a lot of unfinished thoughts and ideas together into something new.

I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this earlier, say pre-move. I know my back would have appreciated that. Ah well, at least I am doing something with the mess now. Speaking of mess and writing, having a desk (two now) has allowed me to look at projects started pre-college and during college. There is stack of papers with sticky flags for each one of them.

I honestly believe, that FU! Slowcooker is dead as a book. With that in mind, I am going to pull out the last few that are mine and publish them here. After that, who knows, I come up with a few new recipes (is there really such a thing as a new recipe) each year, maybe down the road I will have enough for a pocket sized cookbook. 500 Words looks great. I got a lot of work done before the move. Now, I am picking up where I left off. I doubt I will reach my original goal of by Christmas, but I might be able to hit early next year. The fiction and gaming stuff, is being handled in a new way, nothing definite yet. Writing has commenced. 🙂

Transitioning to something different, despite being a recent graduate and looking forward to having nothing to do with school or classes, seems I forgot that I have children and they do have school and classes. Ugh. Never ends.

Now That Exposure Has Been Exposed, What? (Edited)

You want to become a famous writer or at least a profitable writer, what should you do?

Develop a thick skin. While you are writing and dreaming of better days, develop a thick skin. People will criticize your work. People you know and don’t know. People who are writers and people who are not. Learn to listen to the advice (actually learn to filter through the advice). Learn to let the garbage go. The sooner you develop a thick skin the better you will be.

Get over writer’s shyness. There are writers who like to share and those who don’t. If you want to see your writing in print/published you are going to have to show your writing to a lot of people. Which means that you will have to be able to present your writing and yourself in a professional (or as close as you can get) manner. This does not mean suit and tie, but does mean being able to put thoughts together in a coherent fashion, being able to explain why you made the choices you made, and if necessary defend your work.

Go to school and get a degree. Yes, I wrote that. Speaking as an older individual who went to college thinking he knew enough, there was plenty that I learned. One of the things I learned was how to write in several different styles and forms, valuable experience. I am not saying go only for a degree, although a piece of paper that says you are indeed learned and knowledgeable in your field does help. I am saying go for the knowledge, the degree will be the by-product of going for knowledge (provided you pass your classes). Writing is a skill and there is a lot to learn about writing that goes beyond noun, verb, and adjective.

Okay, let me tone that down. First, college is not for everyone. Second, college is expensive and time consuming (don’t believe me, hit up my 500 Words posts). Third, there are other ways to learn about writing. I believe that a writer will gain more from some form of structured lessons versus self-taught, but I understand that everyone is different and has different levels of resources. While, I suggest attending college for a degree, if you cannot attend college do yourself a favor and find other ways to learn about writing.

Do not focus solely on writing. A writer has more skills than putting words together. What skills? Layout, design, font, pictures/images, color schemes to name a few. A writer, needs to more than putting words together.

How could you learn about writing without attending college? Off the top of my head:

  1. Online courses. Paid to free. There are all sorts of resources online for writers.
  2. Read. Good writers write. Great writers, read a lot and write. Read anything and everything. When you find a writer who you want to write like, do just that, copy their style. Trust me, eventually, your voice will shine through and you will have your own style.
  3. Writer Groups. Find your local writer group. Hopefully there are one or two people who have and are willing to share their knowledge. I know, sharing your writing is tough. Get over it. If you want to see your words in print/on-screen you are going to have to share and you will have to get used to commentary from anyone who reads what you wrote.

Practice. What does writing practice look like? You are reading some. Write as often as you can, but whatever you do, try to write on a regular basis. I know, schedules suck and word counts are for chumps. I know, I know. I have had this discussion/argument many times as part of the “what is a writer” conversation. Here is what I know, the best writers, the writers you enjoy, who you want to be like, write often.

Have a goal or three with your writing, but do not write everything with the plan of it getting published. To many writers, at least the ones I knew, plan from word one that whatever they are working on will get published. When this falls through, for whatever reason, they get into a funk. You will start more writing projects than you will ever finish, just the nature of the beast. Be happy you were writing, consider that practice, set the project aside and maybe one day you will be finish the project.

Good goals are realistic, something you can do and attain with a reasonable chance of success. When you complete a goal, you feel good and are encouraged to try again. Bad goals are unrealistic, such as “everything I write is for a book and that book will get published.” When you do not complete a goal, you feel like a failure and are less likely to try again. Set reasonable goals, such as “Rough draft of Chapter X by end of week” or “Submit to X publishers/websites” or “Self-publish X by the end of X.”

Alongside having goals, have a plan. Great, you can sit down in front of the computer and bang out 3,000 words a day. Can you after a few days or weeks of doing that keep everything in order and together in a coherent fashion? If you had a plan, even something as simple as a rough outline drawn out on a post it note (my preferred method), keeping all of those words consistent becomes easier.

Find someone who is not family to read and edit your writing. A writer should be able to edit a rough draft into a good draft, but writers should not final edit their own work. Just an observation, writers are too close to the material; often so used to seeing their work that they do not see the flaws or they see flaws where there are none.

More thoughts to come.

See here and here.

 

 

Now With Reservoir Grease Catching Tip

“I shot that turtle in the face!” Our boy shouts with glee.

No, he is not a budding psychopath or torturer (killer) of animals. He is playing Pixel Pirates and a turtle attacked him. Call that self-defense. Why a turtle attacked him, I have no idea, I was elbow deep in jennerit in Battleborn. Suffice to say you can tell what we are doing with our day off. If you guessed, enjoying it you would be correct.

With no grill, we cannot grill. Sorry, George, but no matter how much your “grill” seals in the flavor it is not a grill, it is a counter top food flattening cooking device (ctffcd). That does not sound nearly as marketable as grill, now I get it and I thought it was because of the ridges which are not for my food’s pleasure…ha condom joke in the middle of a food thought…although if someone had thought along the lines of a condom then maybe the “grill” would have come with a reservoir tip to catch all of the grease instead of the plastic trough that isn’t suitable for catching the sweat from my brow as I put myself in a mental mindset of “one day I will have a grill and they will see the geyser of flame and smell the food miles away.”

According to the calendar summer started today. Not that I mind other than the kids have a few more days of school, which somehow translates into a week and a half of my time spent getting up early to take them to school and picking them up. I wouldn’t mind so much, except they are not going to be in school over the last week. Field trips galore. I would rather have them out early and take them on field trips of my own. Nothing wrong with field trips other than when they are wedged into the last week or so of “school” and I have to get up early everyday so they can go off and have fun? Where is my fun?

If you said grill or condom you maybe correct. I’ll let you guess which one I fill up with paint and throw at things. Science baby. Although the nice thing about them being on field trip, see I cannot even bring myself to type school anymore, is that I will have time to have lunch with friends and continue to stress out over our living situation which has not changed….wait….yep, still here. Still here with a “grill” that isn’t a grill and angry turtles.

At least the turtles our boy can deal with. Now what to do with the keyboard that continues to take a shit with each day of typing? I could buy a new one. I could post writings with missing letters and odd spacing and turn it into a game for you, “Guess what this says and win a prize.” Hint, the prize is a cookie and the missing letters or letter keys I have to punch are space bar, C, D, Y, and A so far.

Ah, I dream of different days than now.

 

Just Another Day, Only With Mail

If I was in my early 20’s writing something like “Welcome to the First Day of the Rest of My Life” might seem clever…to me. However, being 20 x 2 + X amount of extra years I know better. So what did on my first day of freedom from college? Nothing special.

Took the kids to school.

Went grocery shopping. Tonight is Mexican night and while I was hopeful for shredded chicken enchiladas, the chicken is being a pain in the ass. There is still time for the chicken to cooperate, but I remain skeptical of enchilada. I remain positive for tacos, rice, corn cake, and other related food including mango salsa.

Took Barb to her first day of school, sorry work…so used to typing school. I would have sent her with a bento, but being a first day we did not know if she would have a place to store her lunch, who might be the lunch thief (don’t get shocked, there is always a lunch thief or food toucher at every job), and how long she her first day would be. Turns out still no word on lunch, but she will be at work for a while. This is a good thing.

Then I came home to pack some more stuff. Unfortunately, I wanted to pack books. Books are heavy and I do not like to pack large boxes full of books unless I know I have help to move them or don’t care if the bottom falls out of the box or the people moving them throw out their back. I like to pack books early because nobody notices they are gone. They may notice an empty shelf or three, but when push comes to shove most cannot tell me what books were packed away. Books are read and unless referenced a lot, put on shelves to be forgotten…until move.

I was thinking that I would sell off a lot of books, but it turns out that most of the books I purchased while here are cooking books and those are going with me. I have a lot of food to cook and I may need to refer to that obscure book on Thai food or some variation on American cuisine that does not involve cheese food. 🙂

So instead I went to the Post Office where I hoped that our lost forwarded mail would show up…some of it did. See, in preparation of our impending move we thought it would be a good idea to have a PO Box to intercept any mail sent here while we moved and for those first few weeks of the move. Also, I am really sick and tired of dealing with Housing to get my packages…long story, but instead of bringing packages to our door or putting them in larger mail box they are sent to the Housing Office where a student logs them in…most of the time…thus we got a PO Box.

Long story made short, for three weeks we have been waiting for boxes and mail. I shit you not, for a week prior to forwarding taking effect we got mail and then one day BAM all of our mail went to forwarding. Forwarding, in Post Office parlance, is both a place and process. Where is forwarding? I don’t know and neither did anyone we asked at the Post Office for the past three weeks. No lie, we started asking where our missing mail was and got “forwarding.” Forwarding seemed to be like the Cloud; you know what it is, you know what it is supposed do, but you have no idea where it is other than waving your hands in the air in that vague way that indicates maybe over your head or over there or there…

And today, some forwarded mail showed up. I would love to say it was a huge pile, but it was not. On the plus side, while I do not know where forwarding is, I know that it works.

 

500 Words At A Time: Last Words

Last "borrowed" Office Supplies
Last “borrowed” Office Supplies

The last 500 Words about my college experience…sorry undergraduate non-traditional college experience. And I haven’t even gotten to the juicy stuff…SEX! 🙂 Just kidding, there is no sex talk on this campus, except in class.

I don’t feel this is the end. This is why, if you have bumped into me, I have not said anything even related to “Goodbye.” I have a feeling I will be back on campus. I don’t know, but I have experienced plenty of ends before and this does not feel like the end, thus no goodbyes. Plus, everyone I know who is a professor is here and I can come back and visit them. Like a persistent rash, I never really go away.

My life be like Ohh Ahh…

So here we are at the end of one Chapter and I feel I should have something pithy to say, but I don’t have anything. I exceeded expectations of most of the people who knew me before I started here. So, there is that and screw you if you didn’t think I would finish this out. While I used to have the soul of a clown and blow it at the last second, that clown is dead. Wow, angry much? Why, fuck yes I am.

Ten fucking years of busting my ass to make sure that this three wheeled fucked up car limped over the finish line and I stomped across it like a champ. So yeah, for my final words there is an element of fuck and you in there. For everyone else who knew I could do, hoped I would do, watched me do it, and assisted me in doing it, THANK YOU.

I cannot accurately thank everyone who has been there along the way because I will miss someone and make them feel bad. Thus, a

HUGE HONKING FUCKING WITH MOST GREATEST HEARTFELT (yes I have one) AND SINCERE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO…*

  • Knew I could do it
  • Hoped I could do it
  • Watched me do it
  • Assisted me in doing it, because without you people I would never have done it, many a time I was talked off that ledge of walking away and shown a new way to look at something I “knew” or “felt.”

College has been a transformative experience. The person I walked in is as is not the same person I am stomping out as. I am thankful for the opportunity afforded me and the luck that I have had over the past five years. People only wish that they could have the college experience I have had and I say to them, STOP wishing and get out there and do.

So if this isn’t the end what is? I have no clue. I have done what I can to make the next step happen and I wait. Get used to waiting if you choose to go to college. Waiting well is a skill that no one but you can teach you. Waiting well means being able to put the shit you are waiting on in the background and go about life. You will wait for financial aid, class schedules, grades and so much more. Get good at waiting well.

Last Day 2
Last Pop in Last Class

My final word…Thank-you…I hyphenated that so it was one word, but then I wrote this so I guess my final word is at the end of some sentence below.

* That sentence is horrible, but sincere and not an accurate reflection of my education, but my feelings and you cannot put a price tag on things like that…school you can apparently. 🙂

P.S. 500 Words will return later with a new subject. Was that the last word?

Writing is Fun…(w)Right?

“How is writing fun?”

What is wrong with that statement, beyond the obvious?

Our boy as part of the daily, “I’m bored” routine, our boy asked that question when I said to him the various things he could be doing instead of being bored. Of course, everything was not what he wanted to be doing, but he did not know what he wanted to do. Only a laundry list of reasons why he didn’t want to be doing anything and then the question.

Have I done something wrong as a parent? I have shown him the power of words to get things done, to create new worlds, to create games, and so much more. And yet, despite sitting with me and creating a game of his own devising yesterday, he wanted to know how writing is fun?

Maybe, he is rebelling. You know how kids do the opposite of what their parents do, just because? I can understand that…yet, he writes all of the time. On his own. Without any prompting. Hell, he has spent over a year creating a video game world. That his video game world borrows heavily from games he has played and places he like to eat is not relevant. He created his own world in words and picture.

He will take the time to tell anyone who will listen about his video game; walking them through each page of notes and pictures. Paul, after listening to our boy over lunch asked questions, gave suggestions, and homework, writing homework, to expand his game. And our boy did it and continued to do it.

There is a “CCG” floating around here. Each card, a quarter of a sheet of cardstock with a hand drawn image, and game text. The last time I counted the cards and tried to help him write down the rules, there were over 200 cards. Each card has a story, in addition to game function. He wrote all of that down.

And yet, “How is writing fun?”

I see the writing that comes home from school, what little there is. There is very little writing in school and what writing he is doing is note taking. Nothing creative at all. I guess creative writing is not an important skill to learn. If all of the writing he is doing at school is not fun and that writing occupies a lot of time, maybe I can see where that question might arise.

Still, as much as I think he was giving me yet another excuse why he couldn’t do something while angling for what he wanted–he wanted to play Xbox, but knew if he asked I would say no, thus he tried to ensure that there were no other options for him not to be bored–there is part of me worried that he does not find writing as fun as it is and as it can be.

Hopefully, he is learning through me that writing is fun. Writing can do a lot more than put words to page or screen. Writing is more than writing down notes that you will not care about once the class is over, because as creative as he is, as science oriented as he is, writing is in his future.