Saturday, May 18, 2019

In A Hurry

I saw this at the local Walmart the other day, and it made me chuckle.


I guess the person labeling the clearance items was in a bit of a hurry.

The Mayflower?

I think I'm past due for another writing update. You might think that I'd given up on it, considering that it's been two weeks since the last update, but I haven't. I'm still going. I could probably kick it up a notch...



But I haven't quit, and when we're talking about me, that's saying something.

I'm going to skip the day by day round-up, mostly because it's been long enough that I don't really remember what was going on from day to day anymore. I do have my chart, and I'll post that here.


You'll notice a couple of red days with big zeros in that word count column. Those are going to happen.

The first one was last Saturday, when my son had his first swim meet. My wife has been looking for some kind of sport for him to participate. He's done soccer, and hated it. He's done basketball, and hated it. This year, she heard that all of his school friends are on the local swim team, so she signed him up for that. I was all for it, until I found out what kind of time commitment swim team insists upon. Parents have to volunteer a bunch of times over the course of the season. So, last Saturday, I was up at 6:00 AM to get to the pool by 6:45 and get my son registered for his events, and then help run the snack bar all morning. The swim meet took all day too. We got home at 2:00 PM. I was so worn out that I spent the rest of the day in a kind of a stupor, and went to bed at the end of the night without having writing once cross my mind.

It wasn't until the next morning that I even realized that I hadn't written. Not to worry, I just picked up as though nothing had happened. I think that is the real key. Writing every day is the goal, but it's not a streak or anything. It's not like I have to have thousands of unbroken days, never messing up once. If you think like that, then the first time you mess up is the last time you'll bother doing it. And you're bound to mess up sooner or later. It's guaranteed. So, if you think that way, it's a guaranteed failure.

I went back to writing the next day, and didn't miss another day until yesterday. I decided, for some reason, to see if I could get caught up on my personal blog. I send it out to family so that they can know what's going on with us. My family is pretty big, and as time goes on, we get further and further dispersed around the continent. That goes doubly for me, now that we live several states away from our closest relatives. I'm pretty notorious for letting the posts pile up for weeks, then writing them all at once, which totally defeats the purpose of trying to help our distant family members keep up with the goings on of our local family. But I had allowed that to happen again.

So, yesterday, instead of writing on my treatment for The Gauntlet, I wrote a bunch of backlogged family blog posts. I figured I'd write on the gauntlet when I got home at night. However, I totally forgot to do anything of the sort when I got home at night. Instead, I went to bed, and wrote nary a word.

It's okay though, because today, I wrote again. It is not the end. The streak doesn't have to remain perfectly unbroken. It just has to continue despite any setbacks.

I have to admit that I do find it challenging. I feel like I should pump it up a bit. Writing should be my number one priority. Back in 2017, I made it to the point that I was writing at least 1,000 words a day, and I wrote about 30,000 words a month for two months in a row. I finished writing an entire novel in that time, and wrote deep into its sequel as well.

If I want to be a writer, that should be something I should be aspiring for. But there are other things going on as well. Of course, I have a full-time job, and that always has to be a top priority, or I will end up getting fired from it. I have a family, and they have to be THE top priority. I have a podcast, and I need to keep that as a relatively high priority. I have a YouTube channel that I've been running for the last few months, and I want to keep that as a high priority too. I have my health problems that I've been dealing with since I was diagnosed with diabetes three years ago (jeez has it been three years?) and I need to keep those as a high priority too. I've been considering a YouTube channel in which I document my struggles to get my health back as well. How do I keep all these balls in the air, all these plates spinning, without letting one of them fall to the ground and shatter? That's what I need to figure out.

But the writing is the top priority of all those secondary things, you know after the job and the family. The podcast, the YouTube Channels and so forth are supposed to work synergistically with the writing goal. The other things help bring attention to my writing, help bring fans that might want to read my writing. So, if I don't keep the writing going at full steam, then the rest is for naught.

I did get really excited the other day when I was talking with Rish on the phone on my drive to work. It takes me 45 minutes more or less to get to work each day. Another 45 minutes to get home. That's an hour and a half of my day. I was lamenting not being able to make good use of that time for writing. I've tried recording myself as I try to plan out stories, which is how I worked out a lot of the details of The Gauntlet, but going back and listening to those recordings and trying to transcribe them is very tedious. I've tried using my iPhone's text-to-speech function to have it transcribe what I say, but it has a very short time span that it will do that. I want to say a minute is as long as it will go before timing out. I would have to continually look at my phone while driving to restart the transcription, and that just isn't safe.

I decided to put the question out to the writers that are my Facebook friends, and got several responses. It looks like Dragon Anywhere is probably my best bet. It transcribes, has no time limit, and steadily improves its ability to understand you the more you use it. The downside, is that it has a subscription fee of $15 a month, but if it works as described, it will probably be totally worth it to me. The app has a free trial period, so I'm going to try it out and see how it goes. As well as check out a couple of other options that were suggested to me. I'll report back to y'all when I'm done. I'm pretty excited about the prospect.

Anyway, that's my writing update for the past few weeks. I'll be back again eventually to let you know how it's going, and I promise that I will keep it up.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The End of April Powers


I was doing a post more or less every day about my writing adventure, but I got a little behind, and I let it pile up. Now it's been more than a week, and I have a lot to catch up on. First of all, April came to an end several days ago. How did I do? Let's see.

Previously on April Powere: I was having trouble figuring out what to write when I last posted. That was all the way back on April 23rd. I'd finished my Christmas story, and it was time to move on to something else. I flailed about for a project to jump into. I wasn't ready to go back to Sunny & Gray book 2 just yet. I hadn't re-familiarized myself with it. It's been two years since I wrote a word on it after all. So, I decided to write on the prologue for The Gauntlet, because I knew I had a good plan for that, and I could write it as is. I did that, but the 23rd was the day that I finished it.

Usually, I don't count outlining or pre-production as writing. To me it doesn't feel like it should count, because it's not words that count toward a final product. But I decided that I probably need to change that. So, on Wednesday the 24th, I started trying to get some planning done for The Gauntlet. After all, I came up with the idea years ago. If I'd written back when I first came up with it, it'd probably be getting its own movie by now starring...well, starring Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, so I guess it would be in the same place as it is now after all.

I struggled with the outlining, however. I couldn't get really into it, so I scribbled down some half-hearted words.

Words Wednesday: 331
Words Total: 13780


I continued to struggle for several days. I decided that I would just tell as much of the story that I knew, including background, world-building, odds and ends, anything like that. Thursday was actually pretty good. I got 566.

Words Thursday: 566
Words Total: 14346


But that was my best day. My heart just wasn't in it. I would open up the file each day, and then peck out a couple of words and quit early. If I even did that. A lot of times, I didn't even write on my lunch break like I had been doing all month, and then I had to squeeze it in when I got home late at night. That's what I did on Friday. I got 230.

Words Friday: 230
Words Total: 14576


Saturday was even worse, but it almost always is. The weekend seems to be the hardest for me to work. Maybe that's why people don't traditionally work on the weekend. It just sucks. I only got 156 words on Saturday. That's not even a paragraph, I don't think.

Words Saturday: 156
Words Total: 14732


Sunday, I tried a little harder to get some actual stuff down. I told some of the background stuff that may or may not ever matter in the actual book itself, but I can totally feel all J.K. Rowling-like by saying stuff that I know about the characters that never made it in the book, and I'll convince people that I'm smart because of it. I'm not at all, but It would be neat if somebody thought I was smart.

Words Sunday: 792
Words Total: 15524


The cool thing was that I made it over the 15,000 mark for words in the month. That's a kind of a milestone. And now there was only two days left in the month. I'd written every day for four straight weeks. Things weren't exactly rolling, but I was tenaciously holding on at least.

Then came Monday. I didn't even think about writing my words at lunch. How had I blown my habit so bad already? I was going to have to do them that night at home. I had a prior engagement, however. Avengers: Endgame had come out over the weekend, and we were podcasting about it on Monday night. I realized, as I was setting up my microphone that I still hadn't written. I considered taking a moment and writing a sentence or something, but I didn't have time for it. Renee Chambliss called right at that moment, and we started with the recording. I was going to have to wait until we were done. However, by the time we were done, I'd completely forgotten. My mind was all wrapped up in Avengers and not in The Gauntlet.

I went to bed, and didn't even realize that I'd missed writing until halfway through the next day.

Words Monday: 0
Words Total: 15524


I blew it. There was only two days left in the month, and I blew it. Way to go. I didn't get too down, though. Sure, I missed a day, but it was never about a streak of unbroken days. It was about getting actual writing done, and making a habit. So, I told myself that I needed to get back to it, and that I needed to make sure not to miss at my lunch break anymore. I finished out the month with 218.

Words Tuesday: 218
Words Total: 15742


Not a great total or anything, but I was still going, and that was important. The month was over, and I even think I managed to get more words for the month than Rish did, amazingly enough, considering how lamb-like I finished out the month. Here's my final chart:


I admittedly was still feeling a little uninspired. What I was writing had evolved into a sort of story treatment, as they call it in the film industry. I was going scene by scene, trying to plan out this book. I was struggling with issues in the story, however. I wanted certain characters to do certain things, but there wasn't a good reason for them to happen that way. I kept thinking about those Screen Rant Pitch Session YouTube videos where the producer would ask the writer questions about his inconsistent story, and the writers only response was, "Because I need it to be that way for the story." I didn't want my story to be that way.

I'm pretty sure that it was either Tuesday or Wednesday, when I decided to call Rish on my way to work, and ask his advice on how to get through the issues that were plaguing me with the story. This was a very beneficial conversation for me. Not only did he have some good suggestions for my plotting problem, but he also expressed amazement about just how much of the story I did have worked out in my head.

"I can't believe you know so much about this story...and yet it's not completely written already," he said.

I guess that's a backhanded compliment, but it worked all the same. I realized that I do really know the story well, and should be able to breeze through the problems that I was having pretty quickly. It got me excited about the story for the first time since I started working on it out of desperation for something to move on to back when I finished the Christmas story. Each day, as my lunch break arrived, the story would flow as effortlessly as Easy Cheese from the spigot:




So, on Wednesday, I got 591.

Words Wednesday: 591
Words For May: 591
Words Total: 16333


A new month, and a new invigorated outlook. On Thursday, I got 406. If I'd had the chance, I probably would have kept going, but I couldn't...alas.

Words Thursday: 406
Words For May: 997
Words Total: 16739


Friday, I did good too. I made it to 599. A record high for the month. How long could that record stand?

Words Friday: 599
Words For May: 1596
Words Total: 17338


Saturday, I really got into it. I wrote for extra time, late into the night. I finished the day with 1097 words. I guess the record didn't stand for long. Maybe this one will last a little while more.

Words Saturday: 1097
Words For May: 2693
Words Total: 18435


The treatment is really flowing like that aforementioned Easy Cheese, and I'm excited about it. I'm tempted to set it aside and start writing on the story proper, but I don't think I will. I think I'd like to know the whole plan from beginning to end before I go past that prologue, so that I can drop in hints, allusions, evil foreshadowings, and Easter eggs all along, rather than having to go back and try to stuff them into prose that was written to flow in a certain way. That tends to work like dropping a huge boulder into a stream. The flow always diverts around, and goes in a new direction that I never wanted and that I hate.

So, there's the report. Two weeks worth almost. Too long, really. I don't mind not posting about it every day, because, after all, I'd rather be writing story words than blog words. But I shouldn't wait so much between posts, because it gets a little cumbersome when I do that. So, in other words, I'll see you again soon. Here's my new chart for May so far:


Now I better go and get my words written for Sunday, before I blow it again.

New Toy Show Episode - Cheap Toy Hunting 3

Just put out a new episode. Check it out if you're interested. I detail some more of the good deals I've come across for toys, including a great one on an Obi-Wan Kenobi figure. I also talk very briefly about a story idea that I had that made me want to make a custom toy. Hope you enjoy it.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Shazam! On That Gets My Goat

Rish and I got together the other day after having watched the new DC movie Shazam! and talked about it's pluses and minuses. If you haven't yet, head over and check it out.


Hopefully, you'll enjoy yourself.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

New Toy Show Episode - Cloak and Dagger Part 1

Just finally finished part one of my Cloak and Dagger three-parter. Check it out.



And get ready for part two coming soon about season one of the Freeform TV show.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Powering Along


Monday was kind of easy, because I was about halfway through a scene that was going to run approximately 1,000 words. I wrote the other half of it...well, most of the other half of it. I was a smidge shy of being done, which was probably wise, because I was going to need that smidge later.

I finished Monday with:

Words Monday: 554
Words Total: 13251


Then on Tuesday, I didn't do anything to prep for going beyond that prologue. Back when I first came up with The Gauntlet story idea, I spent several of my commutes talking into a microphone about ideas for the story. I'm pretty sure I talked about what the main characters were going to be like, what the world would be like, and so on. I found those audio files, and loaded them onto my phone to listen to them during my drive to work now, so that I could be ready to keep writing. But for some reason, I felt confident in my ability to remember things well enough to continue the story, and never did listen to those files.

Tuesday, when I sat down to write, I quickly finished up the prologue, and then sat there, unable to continue. I needed a scene or two to introduce my main characters of Sebastian and Ramona Jones. I was frozen though. I remembered having a scene in mind where I demonstrated how amazingly studly Sebastian was, but it didn't seem right. I tried to remember what I had planned back in the day, and it wouldn't come to me.

Eventually, I ran out of time, and all I wound up writing was the last small chunk of that prologue. It's writing, but it's not enough to achieve the goal that I'd set for myself a week or so ago where I said 500 words per day, no less. Well, I didn't make that. I only got:

Words Tuesday: 198
Words Total: 13449


That kind of makes me feel bad. I think today, I'm going to see if I can do some serious outlining work. I'm going to listen to those files, and really see if I can get the story and characters ironed out so that I can plow forward like I did back when in 2017 when I wrote book one of Sunny & Gray. Maybe I'll even count the words that I write on the outline as words written. It goes against everything that I've ever believed, but I'm man enough to say that I might believe in something incorrect.

Here's my chart. I managed to get it pulled together today:

Monday, April 22, 2019

Starting Over In April


Yesterday was Easter, and we did Easter Basket Hunts and all of that stuff, but it was actually more chill by far than Saturday was.


It was utterly beautiful weather here in Houston, warm and breezy, and I sat in the shade on my hammock for hours...but I wasn't at peace that whole time. I had this worry in the back of my head bugging me. I had to write today, and I didn't know what I was going to write.

I've found that once I get into something, I can write on it and write on it without too much trouble, but what do I do once I'm done? Before starting a project, I usually spend a lot of my free time thinking about it, working out details of characters and plot. But I didn't prepare myself to be done with my story that I finished on Saturday. I hadn't started planning, or working out details on anything.

I have Sunny & Gray Book 2 sitting in my Google Drive, laying fallow for almost two years, and I thought I could go back to that...but it's been such a long time since I last wrote on that, that I don't remember all the details. I wouldn't want to jump in, and write a bunch of crap that contradicts everything that I've said so far. I need to read it again first, before I dive in.

What could I write TODAY? Because I have pledged to write every day. I have to write something TODAY. I guess I could do planning for something, and call that writing, but I never have in the past. To me, it has to be words toward a final word count of a story or a novel. Otherwise it's not writing. Am I wrong to think that? Do I need to change my thinking?

I suppose I probably do, but it's pretty ingrained and I'm not sure how to change my mind.

So, all day long, I cast about, trying to come up with something that I could work on this very day. It's weird, because in the drawer in my mind, I have a ton of ideas that are waiting to be written. See my story "The Battle of the Ideas" that we ran on the Dunesteef. That's based on my reality. But for some reason, none of those ideas were clamoring to be let out of the drawer. Again, it usually takes me at least a few days of thinking about some idea to plan enough and get excited enough to start working on it.

All the way to 11:00 PM, I wondered what I would write. I remembered that I'd had a silly, little simple idea for a super quickie of a story a month or two ago. It was good enough that I could remember it a week or two later, but now that I needed it, it was gone. I couldn't remember it at all. Maybe it'll return someday.

I sat down to the computer and pondered my options, and went through some old files. I came across my notes for my book series idea called The Gauntlet, and I realized that I had done enough planning for the prologue of that first book that I could totally write it. So, I did. I put 5 words down, and got most the way through the prologue before calling it a night. Interestingly, I've done enough thinking about The Gauntlet over the years that I could certainly keep going after I finish the prologue. I don't have to quit there. I think I know it well enough that I could proceed from there. Maybe it's finally time for The Gauntlet to be written.

I don't have enough time to get a picture of my chart, but I'll put the word count down here for you:

Words Sunday: 573
Words Total: 12697

Sunday, April 21, 2019

How Could We Have Missed It

My daughter wanted to go to a bookstore that she'd heard of from her friends at school. It is called Half Price Books. It's pretty close to our house, and I've driven past it probably dozens of times but never noticed it before.


I don't know how I could have missed it, because it is actually a very large store, especially considering that it is a used book store. It's as big as a Barnes & Nobles inside. It's pretty impressive. I've never shopped in such a large store dedicated exclusively to used books...well, not completely exclusively. They have a used music sections, and a spot where they sell Funko Pop figures (of course). But I was stoked to find it. Not only is it big, but it is also very well organized. You don't have to sift through every single book in the store to see if there's something you want. The whole place is completely alphabetized like a real bookstore would be.

I managed to find something that I'd been hoping to add to my collection for a while.


My daughter found several books she wanted to. It was great. We'll have to stop in every few months and see what else they've got. You know you've finally moved in all the way when you find a used bookstore that you love. I guess I'm now officially a Texan.

That Was A Close One


The night before Easter meant that I had certain responsibilities to attend to. Taking care of those almost caused me to completely forget to write.

At ten thirty, Rish sent me this text:


Each night this past week, I've been texting him my word total when I finish writing, but I hadn't yet this evening. His text had a period at the end, not a question mark. I'm not sure if he was reporting issues that he was having to me, or questioning me as to my progress, but accidentally used a period instead of a question mark. He's pretty precise with language, however, even in texts. He is a writer after all. He doesn't do bullshit like using a letter U to signify the word You. So, I assumed it was his report rather than a question.

It didn't really matter. Either way, he had reminded me that the day was slipping away, and I hadn't written yet...like a chump, I was about to blow it. I texted him back:


I finished up my preparations for the next day, and sat down at the computer. At first, I wasn't really feeling it. I was planning on just getting my 500 words and giving up the minute I passed them. It didn't work that way though. I think that's the brilliance of the 500 word goal. It forces you to write enough that you get into the story, and often you put in way more words than you expected to. By the time I was done, I had 1262 words--1264 if you count The End.


That's right, I am done with "The Christmas Creature." And, as of now, I am really happy with how it turned out. I'm sure that later I'll go back and read through it and realize that it is actually complete shit. But for now, I'm going to bask in the joy of finishing something that I feel I can be proud of.

The story finished up at 14011 words. Quite a story in the end. Just a thousand shy of landing in the novella category. It'll have to satisfy itself with being a novelette instead. Considering that I was expecting to write something that would clock in under 5000 words...well, I don't know. Is it good that it was long? Is it bad? Personally, I don't care. As long as it is good. That's what matters to me. In this day and age of everything being digital, it will probably never matter how long the story is. Nobody is going to insist that I shorten it to save them money on printing costs. Hell, I may expand it a little bit still, to try and emphasize the Christmas setting a little more.

Anyhow, here's my chart for the month so far:


Not sure if I like being done with the story though. Now I gotta figure out what I'm going to write tomorrow.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

April Powering On Along


I let it go several days without giving an update, but I didn't go several days without doing the writing, so that's good, right? Tuesday was a while ago, and I've forgotten how it went. I did make it to 500. I think it was like every day since I made that goal of 500. I write, then I think I'm ready to quit. I hope I've got enough words, so I check, and I'm usually about a hundred short or more, but sometimes it's less. That probably happened on Tuesday, but I don't remember for sure. That's why I'm not supposed to wait so long for the update.

Words Tuesday: 545
Words Total: 8322


Wednesday was definitely that way. I wanted to be done but was at 350, so I had to get back at it. The next thing I knew, I was at 676. Also, I was on the edge of my story's climax. It was time to burn this motherf***er down.

Words Wednesday: 676
Words Total: 8998
(So close to 9000. That is why you fail).

When I got into that climax on Thursday, I just couldn't stop. I probably should have. I should have been paying attention to what was going on, but I didn't. I just went all out for it, and I wrote the last words, finishing off that big finale to finish off my day's writing. All I had left was the denouement now. Oh, and I got a pretty big number too.

Words Thursday: 1351
Words Total: 10349
(Yeah, baby! Over 10000 for the month. Who cares about 9000 now?)

Today was denouement time. I needed to wrap it all up and finish the story off with those two special words...The End. Except that I really wasn't feeling it. I wrote for a bit, and then checked the word count. Damn, only 350. Always 350. I wrote for a bit more, and checked the word count. Aw, come on! 498? So, I wrote one more sentence, and finished out the day at 513.

Words Friday: 513
Words Total: 10862


I'm still not done with the story, but I'm only a paragraph or so away. I'm actually a little worried about where I will go once I've finished it. I can hop back into Sunny & Gray book 2, but it's been such a long time that I wrote on that that I can't remember a lot of what I've already done. I don't want to write a bunch of stuff that contradicts what happened before. Crap. I better do some refresher reading so that I'll be able to pick it back up.

But anyway, I'm still going. Now at eighteen straight days, and feeling good about myself.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

April's Humpday


Yesterday was the 15th in a month with 30 days. Does that make it humpday, or do I have to wait until today. Math isn't my strong point, but my guess is that when midnight passed me by last night while Rish and I were recording our podcast about Shazam! that was when I got over the hump. If so, then I am on the downside now, and it's all smooth sailing from here on out, right?

Of course not. It's never smooth sailing with writing, especially with me. But I'm doing good so far. I've written every day since I started. Unfortunately, I started on the 2nd, so I haven't written every day this month, but I've written fourteen straight days. That's two whole weeks. Weeeee!

Yesterday, I followed through with my new stipulation of writing at least 500 words. I would have stopped at 350 if I hadn't made that stipulation, but when I checked my word count, I realized that I couldn't be done for the day. So, I kept at it, and finished off with 681. My story, "The Christmas Creature" is about to tick over the milestone of 10,000 words. It wasn't supposed to be so lengthy, but I don't think it would work better if it were shorter, so I think I'm doing it right. You may disagree when you read/hear it though. I guess we'll see.

I may be over the hump, but I gotta keep it going, so I'll stick to it tonight.

Words Monday: 681
Words Total: 7777
(Whoah! that total word count is kind of crazy)

And here's my chart so far:

Monday, April 15, 2019

Who Is This April Powers Woman You Keep Talking About


After all this, I'm thinking I may have to name a character April Powers. Probably need to keep her out of any superhero type story, though. That might be a little too on the nose as they say.

Weekends are tough for me to get the writing in. My wife is home, as are the kids, and either my wife will have chores that she wants me to do or my seven-year-old will want me to play with him all day. Saturday, the chore was working in the backyard. My wife decided, back when we moved into this house, that she was going to put a pond and a waterfall in. She'd always wanted one, and this yard had a great spot for it. It's been in various states of creation ever since. Each time we think it's done, we discover that there's another problem with it.

Our issue these days, is that we can't manage to get the waterfall to stop leaking. The water keeps escaping out crack in the sides somewhere, and seeping down into the dirt. If we run the waterfall for more than a minute or two, the water level of the pond quickly lowers. We've got some fish in there, so we can't just let all the water flow out into the dirt.

We worked on the thing for a long time Saturday, but the problem is still not fixed. Another Saturday at least will be required to get that thing in order.

Writing waited until late in the evening, after everyone was asleep. I did manage to get 452 words in on "The Christmas Creature" though. Not an amazing total, but respectable.

Words Saturday: 452
Words Total: 6584


Sunday was a similar situation. My wife had invited her friend over to dinner at our house. That always means that we have to do a thorough clean up of the house. She's not going to let people come over and see the state that our house is usually in. So, we all cleaned all morning and afternoon. I also had to go out and get the lawn mowed and trimmed.

Then her friend arrived, and the cleaning stopped, but now the entertaining commenced. It was, again, late in the evening when I finally got around to writing. I wrote until I was super tired, and wanted to go to bed. When I checked the word count, I was at 488. I couldn't just leave it at that, though. I was so close to 500.

Back in the day, being February of 2017, I began my most fruitful writing streak of my life by pledging to do 500 words a day that month. This time around, I hadn't pledged to any particular word count, but 500 always glows in the back of my brain as the minimum that I should be achieving. Sometimes, I don't care, and I quit at 452. But I tend to feel a little shame if I do. This time, I was so close. 488? That leaves only twelve words to make it to 500. So, I forced myself to go back and write another sentence or two. A few minutes later, I checked the word count and it had flipped over to 512. Now, I was twelve over instead of twelve under.

Words Sunday: 512
Words Total: 7096


There's the weekend. A respectable performance, and after my Sunday experience, I think I'm going to set a word count goal of 500 per day. Most days, it wouldn't take much effort to get there beyond what I have already put in. Without even making it a goal, I've managed to surpass that total more than half the days of the month. So, I'm going to go for it. We'll see how it goes.

I remember back in 2017, I used to post a chart each day that showed my progress, so I looked up that particular spreadsheet, made a new one for April 2019, and here you go, the month so far:

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Metal Militia

Despite the title, I'm not going to mention Metallica at all. Just stuff that makes me think of them. I think it's probably some kind of Gen X thing, but I love classic rock and metal, pretty much all of it, but I love a specific style of it most of all. I think it's best demonstrated by Steve Vai's 1990 album Passion and Warfare. Here's a great example, the first song off the album called "Liberty":



Anytime I hear stuff that sounds like it, I can't help but like it. I'm sure there are tons and tons of people out there that find it cheesy and awful. I think one guy I used to work with said that when Steve Vai plays his guitar cheese comes out of it instead of sound. That's a fun visual. Imagine some kind of Cheese Wiz flowing out of the speakers and splatting into your ears as you listen to it...an all new and exciting form of synesthesia.

Anyway, I saw a video the other day (I tried to go back and find it so that I could embed it here for you, but I couldn't. Sorry. If I come across it again, I'll come post it, but that won't help you, because you will have already moved on with your life) that said that studies have proven that the music you listen to around the time that you are fifteen or sixteen is the music that you will like the best throughout your life. You'll listen to and enjoy other stuff, but you'll always love that stuff that you were listening to at that age. It must be some kind of magical time. Ask anybody what their big guilty pleasure tune is, and it'll probably be some New Kids On The Block (or similarly cheesy band) song from the time they were about fifteen or sixteen.

Anyway, guess what age I was in 1990 when Passion and Warfare came out, and I listened to it about three times a day for three months or more? That's right, I turned sixteen a month after the album came out.

What does this rambling prologue have to do with anything? Why am I telling you all this? Well, the other day, I was thinking it would be cool to hear a rock version of Star Wars soundtrack music, so I did a search for it. The first thing that came up was this video, which almost made me cry it hit the spot so perfectly:



And to me, it sounds so much like the sound of Steve Vai's Passion and Warfare that I'm basically hardwired to like it. I have no free will in the matter. If there were some sort of subliminal message hidden in it, it couldn't control me any more than it already did.

So, I spent the entire day listening the guy do music from tons of different soundtracks, and this is where I overwhelm you with embedded video of his songs. First there's the Star Wars stuff, a bunch of lovely John Williams tunes getting that metal treatment that they always deserved.

Revenge of the Sith's "The Battle of the Heroes"


A medley of imperial songs:


"Rey's Theme" from The Force Awakens


And my other fave from The Force Awakens, "The March of the Resistance"


But it didn't stop with Star Wars, he's done dozens of songs from Marvel movies too:





He has tons more of these, those were just two of my favorites.

He also does other random things like the Game of Thrones song:



And the opening song from the X-Men cartoons from the 1990s:



And much more. All of it kicks ass, and I guess what I'm saying here is that you should check this guy out. I bet there's other guys out there who do similar things. I think I might have to see what else I can find. I may not be able to get my writing done today after all...

Catching Up With April Powers


It's been a few days since I gave an update. I need to start doing them each night before going to bed or something. Anyway...

Reporting on the rest of the week. Wednesday was a little more busy than usual, so my lunch break was a little shorter. I only managed to get 275 words that day. So, the total was:

Words Wednesday: 275
Words Total: 4988


Thursday, was a little better. I sat down, expecting to take the story in one direction, but I thought I needed to have Macee talk on the phone to her mom, it would be weird if she didn't do it soon. Then, that conversation ended up being an interesting plot point that I hadn't planned on having at all. It's cool how stuff like that happens. On that day, I got 522. So, the total was:

Words Thursday: 522
Words Total: 5510


Now it was time for some shit to go down. Chaos and mayhem is always easier to write, so I managed to get in 622 words, despite having no more time than any other day. Now it's time to put Brand and Macee through the ringer. But it's the weekend, and I always have a hard time finding a chance to write on the weekend. So, We'll see what I can manage. My total so far is now at:

Words Friday: 622
Words Total: 6132

Loquat, Not To Be Confused With Lobot

A nice dad joke for a title there, eh?

Today, we went for a walk on the greenbelt trails around our neighborhood. It was a nice walk, and it was about time I got out of the house for something other than going to the store or going to work. Along our walk, we found a tree that had a bunch of small yellow fruits on it. We tried to guess at what it might be, and with the help of our phones and the Google machine, we discovered that they were loquats.

We broke one open, pulled the seeds out and tried it. They were unexpectedly excellent. The tree wasn't on anyone's property, so we had no compunctions with filling our pockets with a bunch of these loquats, and bringing them home.


On the way, my son asked what the name of the fruit was again, because he'd forgotten the name. It's not like they were apples or something like that with a name you would remember. I tried to be funny, saying that I couldn't remember, it was cumquats or loquats or lo mein or chow mein, something like that. Terrible, I know. I'm especially good at bad jokes. It's a gift.

The funny thing was that the conversation turned from loquats to chow mein, and then to chow mein noodles, and how good those noodles are in the dinner dish known as Hawaiian Haystacks or Chinese Sundaes. Next thing you know, that's what we were having for dinner. So, be careful when you drop a dad joke, you never know where it might take you.

Anyone had Hawaiian Haystack or Chinese Sundaes before? How do you like them?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

April Powers ®


Yeah, I've got an official branded logo for this thing now. I like to at least put some kind of picture with every post that I do, and now that I threw this thing together, it will make these daily writing updates a little easier.

Now, I missed my update that I should have posted yesterday. I wrote on Monday, let me see just how much...293. Yeah, not great, but at least it was something. I think I've made it a whole week now, right?

As of Monday, my total looked like this:

Words Today: 293
Words Total: 4040


Then on Tuesday, I continued my dominance over apathy and sloth, and wrote again. It went a little better. I had more time to devote to the writing. So, I was able to get in 673 words. So, at eight days of writing, my total looked like this

Words Today: 673
Words Total: 4713


This whole thing is coming along nicely. My Christmas story, "The Christmas Creature" is coming along nicely. I think the finale is getting close. It's time to blow some shit up and burn some shit down, amiright?

Maybe I'll post it here on my blog as a preview for all y'all who are the die hards that might actually consider reading it. What do you think? Should I?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

April SHOWERS!


Weekends are hard for writing. There's no routine on the weekend. I barely managed to eke out 71 words on Saturday. Could Sunday be better? Would there be less distractions? Nope. Instead, there was a storm so big it turned into a tornado warning. Now that's what I call April showers.

I found other things to do rather than write the whole day long, and at about 11:30 PM, I finally force myself to sit down and write. I expected to be as uninspired as I was the day before, but it started to flow instead. I thought I'd written enough, and was going to quit, when I checked my word count and saw that it was at 493.

When you're that close to 500 words, you gotta go and add in one more sentence to get yourself over the top. When you give a mouse a cookie, though...

I wrote a few more sentences on top of that. And when I finally quit for real, I was at 808. So, much more respectable than yesterday. Pretty much couldn't be worse, unless I didn't write at all or something. So, there you go. The report for day 6 in a row. I'm going to keep at it, I think.

Words Today: 808
Words Total: 3747

Sunday, April 7, 2019

April power, With A Small P


Okay, I did write yesterday. So, I can say that I wrote every day so far. But it was a pretty bullshit attempt. I didn't really feel like it yesterday night, so I sat down, typed out a couple of sentences, and then said, "Eff it!" and quit for the day. Pretty weak sauce. My word count for the day was, I'm embarrassed to even say it, it was 71.

Maybe I can do better tomorrow, but I'm still doing it, and that matters, right?

Words Today: 71
Words Total: 2939

Creative Solution

My son got a checkerboard/chessboard at a garage sale the other day. It's nice, all made of wood and stuff. Only problem was that it didn't come with any pieces. I told him we'd have to pick some up at the store some time. They're easy to come by, and usually really cheap. But he didn't like that idea. He didn't want to wait. He was going to find something to take the place of the real checkers.

His first idea was to use Nerf darts. He'd also bought a huge bag of them at the garage sale. He had plenty for both sides of the board.

"That won't work, Little," I said, "they'll fall over all the time. Besides they have to be different colors. They're usually red and black. They can't all be blue."

A few minutes later he came back with the perfect solution.


They're the right size; they slide along the board nicely; and, when you need to make a king, they stack better than any checkers ever have. Oh, and they get an extra point because they're toys. I like Legos.

He's played a whole lot of checkers since yesterday. He's challenged everyone in the family, and some of us twice. He'd never played before this, but he's starting to get the rules pretty good. Soon, he might start winning.

You Ain't Nuthin!

Rish has been complaining a lot over on his blog about the crack in his windshield, and how big it has gotten. It grows by leaps and bounds every day. The Google machine tells me that cracks in windshields grow because of temperature changes. Cold caused the glass to contract and warmth causes it to expand. Mix the two together, and you get even faster growth in your window crack. If you're lucky, the crack travels to an edge of your windshield and then stops. If not it can go all the way across your windshield.

I am here to make a claim for the worst windshield crack. Rish says his is bad...get a load of this:


That's right! I have the best crack! It's the biggest crack! What? Why are you shaking your head?

Like what happened to Rish's car, the crack in my windshield grew quickly until it reached that size, then it stopped. It's been like that for a while. I don't have to register my car again for a few more months, so I'm just going to wait until then. I'd be super pissed if I replaced it now, and then a rock flung by a semi dinged it again, and I had to replace it twice in the same year.

I wonder what would happen if the crack traveled all the way across the windshield. Would the window just fall apart? Or maybe it would just wait until I got in an accident, and then it would explode into a million knife-like shards flying at my face. Hmmm...I guess only time will tell.

Tornado Warning

It's still raining outside, but I think the storm has mostly passed. We just went through a tornado warning here. I don't think I've seen so much rain since Hurricane Harvey passed through town. I took a video of the rain at its highest point:



Pretty crazy stuff. I stopped the camera just a second too early, because when I did, a boat came floating by with a bunch of animals in it.

I was trying to shut down my computer, so that any potential surge didn't fry it. I just had a couple of things processing that I wanted to let finish first. But the power dipped out for a second, taking care of that for me. Luckily, there appears to be no lasting damage from it, which is good, because I'm still re-acquiring a bunch of the stuff that I lost when my portable hard drive keeled over on me in 2017.

Storm's gone, and we're still alive. I guess it's time to head out and watch me some Shazam!

Little Thief

We put out a bird feeder a week or two ago, but in all that time, we've never seen any birds in it. We could, however, see a bunch of seed shells on the ground around it, so we assumed the birds had found it, and had been helping themselves.

Then, today we saw this:


Can you see it? I know it's not a great picture. The focus isn't quite on. Here's my second shot:


Yeah, that's a squirrel hanging from our bird feeder stuffing his face with the sunflower seeds and other stuff that was supposed to be for the birds.

We've got a lot of squirrels that live in our trees, I guess we should have expected them to go after our bird food. We used to think there was only two of them...we named them Pete, and Repete. It's pretty obvious there's actually more than two of them now...though maybe they've been building themselves a little family, and the other squirrels are their kids. Who knows.

I didn't like the angle I was getting the squirrel at, so I tried to get a better, more oblique angle to get a picture from, but, when I moved, the squirrel saw me, and moved away from the bird feeder.


Then he scrambled up the branch, and disappeared. This bird feeder might be a bad idea. I don't know that we need to further encourage the squirrels to reproduce. We don't need a full on colony to install themselves in our trees.

A Walk On The Wild Side

As I mentioned in my sunflower post earlier this week, I've come to really appreciate the beauty of flowers, and it doesn't stop with the cultivated and curated ones. Here in Texas, we've got tons of wildflowers. I noticed them the very day that I drove into town. Coming down I-45, the roadside was blanketed in dozens of varieties of wildflowers. It made for a really pleasant drive.

We have a lot of trees in my area, but anywhere that the trees have been cleared, the wildflowers flourish. That means that the roadside is a riot of color everywhere I drive. These past few weeks, the wildflowers have bloomed. Today, I couldn't help but stop in a parking lot on my way home, and get out to get some shots of the decorations that Mother Nature set out for me to enjoy. Hope you like them.


These pink ones are called Pink Evening Primroses. They're everywhere around here, and I really like them. They tend to fill every last inch of roadside available to them.






This yellow flower in front of the primroses I believe is a Texas dandelion.


As they say, everything's bigger in Texas.


Better too. These are much prettier than a regular dandelion.

These white ones with the yellow center are known as Coreopsis.


Although I might be wrong about that. I saw something else called Coreopsis on a different website.





I think these are crown tickseed.



That's my wildflowers for today. I'm sure I'll take more pictures before the season is over.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Completing The Circle


"The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but a learner, now I am the Taskmaster."

Full Power


Yesterday, I just had a lot of time available to me to write. Since I did, I went ahead and wrote more. I kept sending Rish updates of my word count throughout the day, as he sent me updates about what characters he was killing off in his story. First it was 425, then 893. Next I was at 1,388. I wrote on my lunch break, and that finally put an end to my writing time for the day. I finished off at 1,509. That's a high for me so far. In fact, my word count today outpaces all the rest of the days of the month put together.

I wish I could say that "The Christmas Creature" was close to coming to a close, but it's not. It's going to be a longer story than I really wanted it to be. I kind of worry that it might be boring as well. I hope not. Bringing things along slowly seems to be a tactic that isn't appreciated much in this modern age. It's not time for things to start exploding and burning down yet, but will people hang around until the spectacle starts? Who knows. I wish I did.

Anyhow, my word count so far:

Words Today: 1509
Words Total: 2868

Friday, April 5, 2019

Cheap Toy Hunting 2

Just posted the newest episode of Cheap Toy Hunting over on my channel Big Anklevich on Toys. Today, I've got a Titan Heroes Deadpool; a set of 3 3/4 inch Star Wars Black Series figures, General Lando Calrissian and Admiral Ackbar; and a Metals Die Cast Wonder Woman. Check it out if you dare.

New That Gets My Goat Episode Up

I've slacked off on posting about these on my blog like I swore I would. Not that it likely matters. There's all of zero people who read my blog that don't also listen to the show, so you all know already. But here it is anyway. Just did a new TGMG episode about my trip to New York. I did a blog post about it a while back too. You could use that to supply some visuals to go along with the podcast if you'd like. Check out the show here.