Being a writer and person who takes care of just about everything around the house with a bum arm (getting better each day) is frustrating. I’m not that person to sit and do nothing. On a typical day before noon I have cleaned the house, done the dishes, run to the store, painted a miniature or two, and written a blog post. For the past week I have slept in late, watched a lot of TV (there isn’t much good on Netflix, Amazon, or any other form of electronic media), and tried to find a comfortable way to sit.

Watching the house get dirtier and more disorganized by the day frustrates me. Barb and the kids are doing what they can, but they don’t have the time to take care of the day to day stuff like I do. A good sweep, a good mop, a good vacuum, a good dusting, and a good dose of tidying up, nothing major but enough that I am bothered by it.

Not being able to buckle a seat belt or drive is also frustrating, thankfully this week everything is working out so a friend can pick up the kids from school. The ache and pain, constantly trying to find a comfortable position is also frustrating, I don’t enjoy sitting around for long periods of time. I can read, but only if the book is on table, because holding a book while my arm is in a sling is…yep, you guessed it frustrating.

I cannot cook. I could cook if someone else did all of the prep. Due to schedules that hasn’t worked out well. I also cut myself trying to cut a steak into slices for a sandwich. I stopped counting how many times I dropped the fork each time I made a cut.

Most frustrating of all is the writing. I can somewhat write in a notebook provided the notebook lays flat, I can find a way to prop my bum arm up without undo stress, and the background ache doesn’t, which is almost always does, force the writing out of my head.

I’d love to be able to sit down for a lengthy period of time to bang out more Puddles and Whiskers and Menagerie. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to. The ideas are there. The voices are there. The other arm required for fast typing is not. To give you a scale, each paragraph of this is followed by 5 to 10 minutes of rest and massage.

Hardly a way to create a flow of writing. Like I said things seem to be improving in small steps. I would prefer larger steps and a lot less frustration.


Less Posts, But More Focused Posts

Research MonkeyHello, I am your Research Monkey, PHD. The boss, due to what he describes as “weather one day away from mandatory ark building” has been under the weather. At least that is his public excuse.

However, since I am the voice inside his head for you, I will tell a different tale. He is having a crisis of sorts, nothing major unless you happen to love this blog. If that is the case then you two may be having a crisis in a second. Hmmm…that was alarming sounding. Allow me to start over.

For five years this blog and few others were his hobby while at school. In fact, he started blogging shortly after starting school. Each blog has been during a time of change in life. Life has changed once again and as usual, especially during this month, my boss is being introspective and looking towards the future. Normally, this passes, but a few days ago he realized he was not posting because he wanted to post, but because he felt he had to post.

That doesn’t work for him. When a hobby becomes work or feels like work, it is time to take a break from the hobby. That is what happened yesterday, he took a break. He spent his time doing whatever he wanted or life demanded. Today, he is working on his projects again. What does this mean?

For now less posts, but more focused posts. He is not going to close the blog or say goodbye, he enjoys writing and sharing to much to do that, but for…well I have no idea how long…he will not post every day unless he wants to. Since he is mentally elsewhere, I thought you would like to know.



Pulling Everything Together

If there is one skill from college that I am putting to use it is transference of notes from one media to another. Now that I have identified the notes I want to work with I am taking them from the various, over a dozen, notebooks and one very full vanilla folder, to a file on the computer.

Another skill being put to use is creating an organized document. I could have typed in notes without any organization or thought to the future, but thank you classes, I have been creating headers and pages, and so on; essentially creating a publishable/printable/searchable document on the fly. Very nice.

I have to say I am surprised by some of the things I am finding, there are extensive notes on each of the species, such as herg or cymean. I knew these things, as a concept, but I forgot how much I wrote and drew. There are pages of notes on culture, language, religion, iconography, and even a few notes on entertainment. A long time ago when I was actively working to write my own role-playing game these notes would have been what set my system or at least setting aside a different from other who still use bare bones descriptions.

Today, the notes are being put to use towards fleshing out characters, work on the setting book, and giving me a lot of ideas of other stories and characters I can create. Speaking of characters, I am not a good character namer…yeah, I wrote that…I found tons of unused names, character descriptions, illustrations (doodles but I wanted to sound fancy), and plots. Strange how much effort I put into something.

Going over the notes I can see where one idea lead to another and where separate spin-off ideas came from; always interesting to see how my mind works (or in this case worked). I can see a lot of ideas were one-shot ideas with a definitive start and end point. These have been fun to read over. There are ideas that never seemed to get beyond the page they were on and ideas that were just that ideas for…something.

Pulling it together is nice. Pulling it together with a greater understanding of writing, publishing, selling, organization, and other skills learned over the past five years, great.

Here is a sample from my notes


General Notes

  1. Information is easy to access, search, and obtain. Privacy and security are two different concepts for people, privacy is something many assume they have as they post information constantly. Security is something corporations and the government strive to have complete control over.
  2. Stroud is always in motion, there is no “down time,” at a minimum electronic and holo ads run non-stop all over the city, especially around businesses and hot spots.
  3. Cyberware or mechanical augmentation is common enough to go unnoticed. Nano-augmentation is latest tech and not in hands of any other than corps and military for testing.
  4. Information access is in every device and easy to use. This does not mean people have access to all information, but the trending/popular/quick searches are what most people get and use as information/knowledge. Deep searches still take time.
  5. Vehicles are “smart” self-drive, collision avoidance, accident survival systems, ground-hover-flight capable (most are one or two modes at most).
  6. Magic does exist…to what extent is to be determined


A Million Little Projects

The best laid plans of mice and men.

I have been trying with help from people around me to get all of the little projects around the house done so I can get to work. What is my job, why writer and I would like to write and if everything works out become a paid writer once again. However, before that can happen, the million little projects that are not important on their own, but add up into a giant distraction need to get done.

And that was were I was all day, a million little projects…

  1. Move the microwave, yes I bought one to heat leftover efficiently, to make room for the fryer which required moving the spice racks.
  2. Find new home for spices
  3. Continue organizing the pantry, an ongoing project as the pantry is a walk-in closet with a lot of shelves
  4. Build the fryer
  5. Hang rope lights, we are using rope lights in place of standing lights to reduce energy costs and because they look cool
  6. Move excess games from shelf in the dinning/living room onto shelves in the office/library
  7. Hang up remaining picture frames and mirrors
  8. Organize the master bedroom into something resembling a place  you want to sleep and have sex
  9. Organize the silverware. The silverware has been tossed into one drawer while organizing everything else, now silverware is somewhat more organized
  10. Kitchen equipment that is used less frequently needed a new home
  11. Take a tap light back to store for a new one
  12. Take back bottles
  13. Spend an hour online and on the phone with Amazon to learn where a charge came from
  14. Pick up children from school
  15. And so on…

What was not on that list?




Did you say writing? If you did, you are correct. I did no writing at all today, other than this post and a list of things I wanted to get done. If you did not say writing, you are way more hopeful than I am or have a very high opinion about the amount of stuff I can get done in one day, thank you. 🙂

So here I am at the end of a very productive day, but I have not done the one thing I should be doing. However, looking for the silver lining, a lot of the distractions that have kept me away from writing are now done. That is a good thing.

Hopefully, after I finish this post, make dinner, clean up dinner, and watch the news, I will put paper to pen creating and fleshing out characters for the stories. Then I can share with you how I create characters, probably not that exciting, but if I am to revise old writing into something better I need to take the time to address the issue of bland characters.

Dinner calls.


500 Words At A Time: As A Teacher, Part 20

A short day, but eventful for me day as a teacher. As I wrote yesterday, I am seen as less than an expert by the students. Possibly an accessory to the teacher, but not an expert. I could go on about how odd this is especially when there is plenty of evidence that they have seen and touched, albeit some of them only touched my print portfolio with the tips of their fingers like adults holding a soiled diaper, but I won’t.

I wasn’t sure what to expect today, as yesterday left me with a sour taste in my mouth to assist, but I did let two of the students know that if they brought in their material I or PK would look at it and do what we could. Both brought their stuff.

Color me surprised and pleased. A pleasant surprise, if you will.

The design issue I passed onto PK, as he is more design oriented than I am. While he ran Cutthroat Chopped, a resume challenge, I worked on the other student’s issue. This student had been presenting some odd looking print documents and we didn’t know why and do not ask me why it never occurred to ask this student what was going on, but it finally happened (lesson learned for me, ask). The student had been using Power Point instead of Word. Explaining that Power Point was easier to use and get the results the student wanted. Makes sense, except when attempting to create a book-like object.

Step One, discover root of issue. Check.

Step Two, the student copies and pastes all Power Point slides into a Word document. Check.

Step Three, I marvel at the “interface” between two Microsoft Office products. Check.

What should have been a quick lesson on resizing images, text wrapping, and then onto a small discussion on font choices quickly turned into a two and three person operation as we, meaning the Professor, PK, and I, marveled at the various conversions.

One of my favorites was taking a sentence, converting it to a header, and watching the results. For example: Bob Has Lunch converted from Power Point to a Header in Word, became bob HAS lunch. Awesome. Just awesome.

Keep in mind, my plan was to teach the student the basics of Word. That way they could work on the document at home, creating what they wanted, but the conversion process took up enough time that I was not able to teach as much as I wanted. In fact, I am not sure I taught anything. Time limit meant that it was more important to me that the student see that they had the start of a print portfolio than teach them information that might not improve moral as much as seeing what they have.

In the end, the student left with a 5 page document that looks a lot more like a print portfolio than before. The student also got some suggestions and advice. Hopefully, the student listens. With some additional assistance from myself and PK, I can see this being a good portfolio.

What about the design issue? PK knocked that out the park, went on to run Cutthroat Chopped and the winner (forgot a pic) was a student who I offered some suggestions to as I walked by. Not bad at all.

500 Words At A Time: As A Teacher, Part 11


There is something about a student who takes pride in their work that stands out to me. Even if the work is wrong, incorrect, or not up to my standards, a student who is willing to say, “This is my best work or close to my best work,” that gets me to work harder for them. I’m this way with people outside of class as well, make a good faith effort and I will go farther for you than someone who tosses in the towel, does not try, or wants other people to do the work them.

Which is why when confronted with conflicting evidence I get disappointed. I shouldn’t be disappointed, after all these are not my children nor my students, I am an observer with some expertise to share. However, I have seen good and bad work. If I had only seen the bad then I would not think anything of what I have seen.  But I have seen the good and when I see the bad I wonder to myself, what happened?

Being a student myself I understand not wanting to do an assignment. There are more assignments than I can count that I wanted no part in. Yet, I put forth some sort of effort. More so, when I put forth effort even if it was not the effort expected of me, I stood by my choices. And when offered a chance to do better, I took most of those opportunities. I have pride in my work.

My work represents me. My work also represents a lot more than just me.

There are people who read this blog and form all sorts of opinions on a wide variety of topics other than who I am as a person. This is one of the reasons I put forth the effort that I do. This is why I apologize when late or a post is filled with errors or hard to read. This is why I take the time to go back and re-read old posts and correct the errors I do find. I have pride in my work.

It is odd to me to see students who don’t care about their work. I know it when I see it, the “I did it because the teacher assigned it,” look. What’s odder to me and slightly disconcerting are students who when offered a chance to redo an assignment with assistance who don’t take that opportunity. Perhaps this is an age and experience thing, where I have learned through many hard knocks that opportunities to fix mistakes are few and far between.

I don’t know. I understand being swamped with school work at this time in a semester. I understand wanting to spend time with friends, family, and being outdoors after winter. I get all of that. Still when the time comes to do work, put forth your best effort, even on the stuff you don’t want to do. Don’t do this because someone has told you to, but because you believe in your work. You have pride in your work and want to represent yourself the best you can.


Cooking With My Boy & Other Stuff

I am attempting to use the new keyboard with the ipad WordPress interface. Part of the problem I have been having and the unusual number of errors, mostly spelling (not that I don’t have spelling errors normally, but using this keyboard there have been a lot more than usual), is that I type really fast on this keyboard. So fast that the words do not appear as I am typing them. Being a good typist I am not really looking at my hands or the screen, just focusing on typing. Thus, I will look up and find a jumble of a sentence, where letters that start a word become the end of another word and so on. As I get more experience with this keyboard-interface I am slowing down and reading what appears on the screen closer. Unfortunately, I have a pattern to my writting where reading while doing is not a thing or at least not as big of a thing as it may be with other writers. 

All of that was me saying, “Please bare with me as I work out an acceptable pace between the keyboard and WordPress interface on the ipad.”

Part of the chore charts is cooking dinner. Cooking dinner is worth a lot of points. Not because I want the points, but to encourage other people-in particular the children to give cooking diner a try. Until today, this has been a dud. I and the other adults cook dinners; typically me 5 days a week. I have a lot of points. Yesterday, during the weekly this is how many points you have earned family meeting, our boy announced that he wanted to start cooking more. More? Was he cooking when I wasn’t around? Nope.

Turns out he wants something from the store. Of course he does, that is his primary motivation to do chores. What does he want? Some $30 Lego kit; not even a cool one in my opinion, but if he is willing to do the work, then I am willing to put him to work and pay him later. That is our economic system, right?

Economic theories aside, today the boy worked in the kitchen. You’d think this was a momentous ocassion, but I have been teaching all of the kids how to cook for a while now. They just don’t cook. Our girl will help, she is a great sous chef. I can put her on dinner prep and focus on cooking. Her knife skills are pretty passable for her age. Our boy? Not so much. But he can cook. Yes, I know that is odd to be able to cook, but not be passable on dinner prep.

This may explain why he likes to cook food with a low dinner prep ratio, such as tacos. He loves to cook tacos. Taco meat needs to be browned and seasoned, but he doesn’t have to grind the meat. Cheese comes in a bag. Lettuce needs to be cut, but he gets someone else to do that for him. Beans, open a can and warm. Taco rice, a term I use very loosely, comes pre-seasonsed in a bag; add water and wait. See where this is going?

So on one hand I am glad that the boy is willing to do some chores around the house on the other I am hoping that he starts expanding his dinner options. A few more months and his sister will be making sushi with me…he will still be making tacos or spaghetti tacos.