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.

Writing Powers


Still going on the writing thing. I managed to only get in 271 words today, but that's nothing to sneeze at, I am told. It is better than nothing, which is what I usually do, so there is that.

The story I'm working on is one that I started back in December. If I remember right, and I probably don't, Rish challenged me to write a Christmas story that we could use for the show. He was going to do the same thing.

I thought maybe we could make it a Broken Mirror kind of thing. I had an idea of what I wanted to build my story around...I tried to take the idea back to a really basic, generic starting point, and submit it to Rish as a story prompt. I just scrolled back through my text messages and found the (admittedly crap) story prompt that I gave him:

He/she considered himself/herself a deal hound, a master at finding high value at a low price, and couldn't help but jump at the chance to get this particular Christmas item at such a low cost, but when he/she got home with it, he/she realized that something was wasn't right, and soon, he/she wished he/she had never seen that deal at all.

Okay, it's a little too long, probably. And the constant he/she thing is a bit irritating, but I wanted to make sure not to force his thinking in any particular direction for the character. Maybe I could have said they instead. That seems to be the generally agreed upon colloquial gender neutral pronoun these days. Let's see.

They considered themself a deal hound, a master at finding high value at a low price, and couldn't help but jump at the chance to get this particular Christmas item at such a low cost, but when they got home with it, they realized that something was wasn't right, and soon, they wished they had never seen that deal at all.

I don't know. It's less cumbersome, for sure, but it also makes me think that there has to be multiple main characters instead of just one. Also, spell check informs me that themself is not a word. I suppose I am expected to write themselves, but that definitely makes it into a plural main characters situation.

Anyway. That was my suggestion as we started into writing these stories. Rish finished his months ago...but still not in time for a Christmas episode of The Dunesteef. I am presently 3,220 words into my story. 1,359 of which I have added in the last three days. So, this is definitely a positive experiment when it comes to this story. It shouldn't take too many more days to finish the story off at this pace. And then you will be able to look forward to my story, The Christmas Creature, this December. That'd be cool, right?

Words Today: 271
Words Total: 1359

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Bring May Flowers

Back in 2010, my wife decided we should plant sunflowers in our front yard. I didn't care. I was never super into landscaping. I've always been nothing more than the grunt when it comes to landscaping. I'm always the shlub pushing the lawnmower or pulling the weeds, and never the one making the decisions, so hearing the word landscaping, or planting, or gardening always brings thoughts of hours of thankless work to my mind. I can't say why, but the sunflowers changed that for me.


Man, I loved those things. We grew them again the next year, partially on my behest. I wanted them again.


I really love the things. I loved how tall they were. I loved how big impressive they were. I loved taking pictures of them. It may also have been due to the sheer size of the things.


In 2017, though, we moved to Houston, and arrived there in the middle of the summer. It was way too late to plant anything. Then again, last year, I forgot to plant some sunflowers until really late in the year. Nothing came of the seeds that I ran out to the backyard and stuffed in the ground at the last minute. The seeds may have just been crappy and cheap, unlikely to actually sprout, or they may have sprouted only to be burned to death immediately by the scorching Texas sun. I don't know. What I do know is that it's been several years since I've had any sunflowers in my yard...in my life.

But it's a new year...It's a new dawn. It's a new day. It's a new life for me, and I'm feeling good.


We bought some new seeds from the store the other day. My wife was buying vegetables and the like, but I saw the sunflowers, and bought several different kinds. I even managed to get my youngest daughter to come outside of her own free will and help me plant them. She's invested enough in them because of that, that she went out and watered them all on her own. She wants to have some plants that she can call her own, I guess. There's nothing like having a stake in something to get you to care.

It's been ten days since we put those seeds in the ground, and sprouts are popping up all over the yard!


We're gonna have so many sunflowers this year. It's gonna be awesome.

You can expect some follow-ups to this post, with progress reports of my plants...I hope. I hope they don't inexplicably die off on me or something. I'll try to keep them watered...or make sure my daughter keeps them watered anyway. Heh heh.

I suppose all those sunflowers should inspire me to get the Sunny & Gray saga written too.

April POWERS!

Okay, it was day two, and I managed to write again. I think I would have all on my own, but Rish made sure to keep on my back about it. This was his text to me yesterday:


Ain't he a punny guy?

Anyway, I wrote on my lunch break again. Two days in a row, and this time around I got in 778 words. That's twice what I got last time.

We'll see how it goes today.

Words Today: 787
Words Total: 1088