Friday, April 29, 2011


OK, so I just started writing on my story some more and I looked down and saw this:

I honestly didn't see the story going past 50,000 words and I'm still not done.  I've written over 26,000 of those words this month which is close to a 30% increase (of course I had basically deleted two of the older chapters and rewritten this last week, so that would increase the total weekly written).  It would've been more but I had an inspiration/motivation issue this last week or so.  I feel like I have less and less time each day to write with things at work gearing up and chores at home piling up.  But I'm so close, and I'm still lost on what's going to happen in the end. 

I did print off the first 25 chapters so that my wife could start reading through it and giving me her thoughts.  She pointed out a grammatical error last night, even though I was thinking it would be helpful if she could tell me the areas that felt flat, or confusing and let me know the parts that she really liked.  She is only like a page into it though so I can't expect much from her yet. 

And of course once I finish this one I can move on to another story.  Can you tell I'm trying to convince myself to get back to writing?  Well I am.  So maybe I should stop writing here and write there instead....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Things I've enjoyed reading...

I think I might start making lists of 'things' on wednesdays...I'm not sure how creative I can be in doing this, but it might be fun.  Feel free to recommend a 'thing' you might like me to list.

This is not an all encompassing list of things I've read, but a few of the standouts (in no particular order) in the fiction realm...
  • Sphere by Michael Crichton-  I'm not a huge Crichton fan but I've read several of his books and i have to say none of them captured me like Sphere did.  I read the entire thing in a day which is no small feat if you read as slow as I do.
  • Chronicles of Narnia-  These are the very first books I ever read, if you don't count bernstein bears and company. I read them in seventh grade and devoured them.  I loved them.  They are the only books I've ever re-read.
  • To Kill a mocking Bird by Lee Harper-  This is another one of those I read in one sitting.  It was an assignment for class. I was suppose to read the first chapter. I laid down at night and nearly forgot the assignment.  Grabbed the book before going to sleep and forgot to fall to sleep.  It was done and then I bombed every quiz on the book because I couldn't remember all the little details in each chapter that the teacher quizzed us on to make sure we read it.
  • Drizzt Do'Urden series of novels by R.A. Salvatore- The Narnia books were what lit the flame that is my interest in books.  The Salvatore Forgotten Realm books are what fanned that flame.
  • Mars by Ben Bova  Loved this book.  It is the best imagined piece of fiction on what it would take to get to mars and what it might be like that I've found.  Of course I've tried reading Bova's other books and he seems to get on this anti-God, pro-environmental kick that gets boring and redundant in all the other books.  Even in the second book in this series he seems to forget the characters that were crafted in the first and then gets bent on propoganda that further's his own agenda.  I'm not knocking him for his beliefs. I just don't like re-reading them in every single book.  Its kinda like having multiple stories with the exact same character and conflict, only with a different name and scenery. 
  • The Traveler series by John Twelve Hawks-  It feels kinda like the matrix, but in a good way.  fun and entertaining just like I like my books.  These are also the most recent books I've read so the freshest in my mind.
  • The Time Machine- its the original time travel book by the guy who termed the phrase Time Machine!  I love time travel stories...usually.  This one didn't let me down.  It doesn't hurt that my mom introduced me to the original movie when I was a kid and between that and the original War of the Worlds, I found my passion for Sci-Fi.

These were just the books that were easy to think of because they are the ones that still stick out in my mind.  I am about twenty pages from finishing a book....Do you have any recommendations?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dear Hyvee...part 2

I hear you are making some changes.  Your stepping up to my call out.  Sure its not like a david and goliath type of a match, but you listened and decided to try and win my loyalty.  I like that.  I look forward to the changes you are proposing and I'll be seeing you soon!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dear Hyvee...

...your store sucks.

Now I don't say that to be mean or rude, but as constructive criticism.  I'm not perfect, and I don't expect my grocery store to be either.  But I do expect for it to be better than what you have created.  My wife and I discovered you last spring and we were tempted by the glowing reviews of friends and family who told us of how nice you were.  Then we were lulled in by a sale you were having when we finally moved to the area in august.

We grabbed the items of interest and went through the checkout and we were happy until the total price rang up about twice as much as we expected.  We stopped by the front desk and talked to the manager who walked us around the store and showed us how every item we had grabbed hadn't been the one on sale.  Then he did a half smile and said sorry.  Okay so we were idiots and thought since one sign was placed directly below the product, that meant it was on sale for that price.  It wasn't.  The product a shelf above it was.  I've been to stores who apologize for sloppy labeling and offer the lower price.  This didn't happen but that's not a deal breaker.  The other items weren't mislabeled.  They were just poorly labeled in my opinion.  The manager just shrugged at us as if there was nothing he could do as we left the store.

That was my first experience with you and today was my second and possibly last.  My wife sent to me to grab some things while I was in town and I did so on my lunch break.  Since I'm still considered a noob when it comes to your store, I have no idea where most things are.  I walked around the fruit section looking for bananas until I decided I was fed up and wanted to leave.  As I turned towards the door there was a shelf of them that are hidden from view when you enter.  I don't know how you could fix that, but I know when I went after diapers it was easy to see the huge sign saying 'baby'.  Maybe make the bananas visible for either side of the stand they are on.

Then I was in search of some $0.99 fresh baked rolls my wife saw in your ad.  I walked around.  I looked lost.  Six employees walked by as I looked lost and I was neither helped nor found what I was looking for.  Maybe my wife imagined the sale, or you advertised it and did follow through.  Either way, I went to your competition to get some.

Then I went in pursuit of some marshmallow creme.  I looked above the aisles for the signs telling me the contents of each aisle so I wouldn't have to walk up and down each one. The only problem is that I had to crane my neck quite a bit in order to look directly up at the signs placed high above my head.  I got tired of looking straight up while nearly running over a couple older ladies and just started walking up and down aisles.  This put me behind schedule but saved my neck.

Next I went in search of a frozen pizza.  I don't know if there are signs above the frozen food section, but the stores I frequent have tiny signs just above the sections for veggies, pizza, burritos and what not.  You have conserved resources  by refraining from such a practice and tried my patience.

Then I saw that I had to get some canned veggies on my list so I had to walk back across the store and started looking for the canned veggies that were on sale.  It was like going to the circus with all the large postcards telling me what was on sale.  I had to search for what exactly I wanted, and then once I did I had to double check the product with the price as the manager informed me at my last visit.

I was tired and ready to leave.  I went to the first available checkout and realized that when the cashier gave me my total, it was the first time they had spoken to me.  I go to your competitors and sometimes I hear an entire life story in the the few minutes it takes to buy my groceries.  At your store all I get are the grand totals and shrugs.  Then as I leave the store, I'm finally greeted by someone. Only it was the guy washing the windows above the exit with a power washer.  The spray of water that hit the top of my head was a little refreshing and I felt good to be released from the store.

I don't write all this in the hope of spiting you.  I'm hoping that you will hear me and make changes so that your store can thrive in my area.  Customer service and the ability to quickly find what I'm looking for are all I'm looking for in an ideal store.  I'll be back someday in the hopes that you will have bettered yourself.  I look forward to that!

***Update***  I got an email from Hyvee.  Kinda surprised they responded.  I've made suggestions a couple times in the past about poor experiences to other places.  Only one time did I get a response and that was for a free treat from the restaurant, even though nothing had changed at the restaurant.  Hopefully this will be different!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


...that's the state of my brain. 

I think the stress from the weekend and then the busyness of work today has fried my noggin.  I've written a whole sentence in the last hour.  I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm down to only one or two chapters to go, and I don't know what's going to happen. Even in my outline of the story that I made about three years ago (which I've departed from greatly, in a good way), I didn't know what would happen at the end.  There's this girl and she has been kidnapped and then had evil things torture her and then lost her brother and then had the remaining companions with her die at sea to arrive at the fortress of her antagonist and I don't know what happens to her.  She's broken and beaten and angry and I'm not sure how she'll feel about the man who put her through it all. 

It has me stumped. 

The rest of the book has written itself, but I also knew that she was going to get to this point.  Now, where is the next point?   Can I just say blegh and not sound like that is my natural state of mind.  I always seem to blog when I'm feeling or thinking blegh.  So it's no surprise that I type it a lot.  When I'm not blegh, then I'm usually writing on the story and enjoying it.

I thought maybe if I blogged, it would help.  I don't think it has.  Maybe I'll go and finish rewriting the last section that I wrote a couple years ago when life was different, and the story was too. 

it's out of head...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ugh, I hate home ownership...

...most days.

I'm sitting here watching Chad, from roto-rooter, snaking our drain and for every second that I hear is whirling machine spin, I hear the coins plummeting from my bank account.  And I think that is the root of my stress.  I hate things that cost me money, money that I could spend on buying orphans shoes, friend's dinners, goats for third world countries, a decent book, gas for the car.  Money stresses me out.  I know we owe the bank 122 grand for my house and we owe another 14 grand on our last student loan and well thats all the debt we have, which is considerably less than other people but I hate debt more than home ownership.

If I weren't in debt, I could tip this guy an extra $100 and just say God bless ya man!  But no, I decided to tell the bank I would rather tip them several hundred dollars every month for the next thirty years, down to 29 almost, and if I walk into the bank they have no idea that I contribute in some way to their salaries (of course I know that everyone who pays their taxes contributes to mine, so I shouldn't be bitter on this point).

If I weren't in debt, DaNae wouldn't have to work and we would still be able to live comfortably.  But I don't want to just live comfortably.  I want to give.  I was somewhat sarcastic at the beginning about giving to orphans and third world countries, and ministries. But I have a serious heart for that, but the debt grips my heart and I stress! Then I just say Ugh and maybe throw up a little, and wish I were the kind of person who could drown their sorrows in boozes.

But I'm not that kind of guy.  I realize I surrender my will to God, and trust that even though I made the mistake of taking on debt that is seriously hard to overcome at the moment and which prevents me from giving the way he wants me to, his grace will overcome and provide.  And now that Chad is almost done, I will be able to sleep tonight rather than trying to keep one eye on the floor drain to make sure it doesn't flood the basement, which aid me in having a happier heart tomorrow.  Thank you God for your grace and for Chad!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


65k words written, over 45000 of those this year!  In just over 4 months no less.  Thats kinda crazy to think about.  And my story is drawing closer to the end.

I just finished the part of the story that got me thinking about the story to begin with.  It has to do with this forest which is broken up into all these various times and traveling between the times causes you to age or grow younger depending on the time in that 'time zone'.  So if you went into one that contained a time 30 years before you were born, you would cease to exist.

When I first thought of the story I tried to design the entire thing around this concept, but then a new story formed and this was but a small part of it.  And the more I write the smaller it becomes.  The main character only stayed in it for a chapter or so and now is left alone in a marsh and i'm not sure where she goes from here.  I'm stuck.  Bit of a block.  And I still have about 1200 more words to write to meet my quota for the day.

All in all though, I feel good. She is almost to the end of the journey now, which means I'm almost to the end of the story, at least this portion of it.  I'm excited to see what happens and then to travel onto the next story and get out of this world for a little while before jumping back in to start book two in the series...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Some advice...(a.k.a. squirrelly lady!)

...supposedly good advice is hard to come by.  So does that mean that all the normal advice is bad or just not up to par?

I can make it through the entire day without anyone speaking to me (this isn't a good thing).  My wife on the other hand walks out the door and is greeted by all the neighbors.  

She took a jog this afternoon and met a lady down the street for the first time.  The lady then told her that we really need to get a cap for our chimney.  I asked DaNae if she or the lady brought it up.  She said the lady had just asked if we had a fireplace and since we did, she thought we really ought to get a chimney cap.  

The reason for her advice?  Squirrels!  Yep, her daughter or some near relation had a squirrel come down their chimney and out the glass doors on their fireplace and trash their house while on vacation.  Great timing squirrel.  

Then the lady herself had one that came down and died in her fireplace insert.  Wow, wonder if it was the same squirrel.   I'm not against chimney caps, but I don't know how a squirrel would get in the house with the flue closed, and if it died in there, I guess I'd have to dispose of a dead squirrel then.  I don't see why you need to spread such fear over such things.  People do that a lot.  Give you advice because once something bad happened to them.  I guess its okay to be informed, but if I heeded every bit of advice people gave me because something bad happened to them, well I would probably be broke and paranoid, maybe institutionalized.  

I talked to a guy who said that on two separate occasions he had a squirrel crawl down through the sewer gas pipe for his toilet and came into his house via the toilet.  Our homes were just not built to be squirrel proof....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New month, New goals...

...for real this time.  

So I didn't post yesterday like I said I would, because I was lazy.  That's it.  Pure and simple.  Its a trend I'm trying to overcome this year, as you might've picked up if you've been reading this blog.  

Last month was less than stellar for meeting my goal.  I made it through two weeks of the couch to 5k plan and then got sick and am feeling almost back to 100%.  So I'm starting that over at week two tomorrow.  Hopefully by this time next month I'll be ready to start week six of the program.  I have lost like 6 pounds this month, though most of that happened when I was sick. But it's progress all the same!

That is goal one for the month.  Goal two is to write on my story during the weekends.  Its been hard to discipline myself into doing something creative when I wake up and want to do nothing on my days off.  The attached image shows what Word shows me right now when I load my story.  It told me just a second ago that I have over 245k characters in the document.  I was wanting to be done with the story by now and on to another one, but no, Laziness strikes again!!  (BTW, that's single spaced small font, which is why the page count might seem low.)

Along with that goal, I'm setting a newly daily goal of 1500 words.  Combine that with the weekend writing and I'll double my weekly output and hopefully finish the story before the end of April.  I think to enforce this though I am going to have to work on a rewards system.  Such as, if I want to fire up the xbox, I'll have to have my word count finished.  It should be fairly simple thing to do, 1000 words comes pretty quickly now and once 1500 becomes simple I can jump up from there.  

And my fourth goal for the fourth month of this year is to mud and tape the sun room.  My dad might be coming for easter, so that would be a nice incentive to getting that done.

A taller order than previously, but I think I can reach them or die trying, which is really the important part of any goal...

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Month, New Goal...


Yes, its april fools day, so rather than commiting to something and then saying that I was just joking later, I will post my new month goal tomorrow.  I had thought about posting that my new goal would be to run down my street naked once a week without getting caught or photographed.  But honestly, what is the point in doing that and not getting caught or photographed.  So new goal will be posted tomorrow as I already said.  Happy April fools day and stay tuned...

p.s.  I've been thinking since my last post that I might have to get more creative with my post titles.  The last post had over fifty hits, which is about forty more than any previous one and I'm assuming its because I mentioned topless women in the title...hmmmm....