Friday, March 31, 2023

Squadron Of Eight

I talked about my Lightyear ship squadron that I am building up in a previous post. Today, I got another ship. It was available on Amazon for less than $5, that was my ceiling, so I picked it up.

It's the XL-09. It was on my list of ships that I didn't have yet, so I grabbed it, but it's probably my last. There's four more ships that I don't have, but from what I can tell, those ships are just plain impossible to find, so I suspect this will be the extent of my squadron.

That's a lot, however, so it's not like ending my collection here will be a problem. Eight ships makes a pretty good bunch. Let me give you a better look at them.


Which is your favorite? I'm thinking that the new one might be my favorite. It's got a really cool look. Besides that, I love the XL-03, the XL-07, and the XL-14. Pretty cool bunch of ships. I need to make that space station so that I can put them somewhere.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Growing Traffic Collection

My collection of traffic pictures is growing. Last week wasn't even that bad, but I still added several pics to my collection. I even missed it once, because I forgot to take the picture where the traffic stopped me. It's always the same place every day.





If there is traffic in the same place every single day, then something probably needs to be done about it, right? I'm pretty sure the fix will be put in place sometime around 2050. Then again, it may not take that long...if I move out of town before then, then they'll implement the fix the day after I leave. That's how it always works.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Sepia Tone Prison (Part 1) On The Anklecast

I just posted the newest episode of the Anklecast which includes the story "Sepia Tone Prison" over on Patreon.

If you're not a patron, then it will show up on the regular feed in a week or so...I often forget to post them after a week, so I make no promises...or you could come over to Patreon, join for as little as a dollar a month, and get the episodes ahead of the hoi polloi. It's up to you, but as I mention in this month's show, that's less than you pay for a candy bar or for any single item that you can buy at the dollar store, because those have all been inflated to $1.25 these days. It's quite a bargain.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Rising Out Of Complete And Utter Defeat

I went to bed early last night because I was tired, but if you hit the sack three hours before you normally do, you can expect to also wake up in the morning three hours before you usually do as well. Laying in bed with nothing but your thoughts can be strange. It can be enlightening. It can be difficult. It can be frightening.

I finally couldn't handle it anymore. Even though it was very early in the morning, I got out of bed and came in here to write up a post about the things that had been tumbling around in my mind while I waited for the sun to come up and the others in the house to begin stirring.

Life is a bitch. It's a constant struggle, and I'm not so naive as to believe that it should be any other way. I realize that I have to head to work every day whether I want to or not, because I don't want to live the kind of life I would have if I didn't. Is my job fulfilling or satisfying? Do I feel like I've reached my full potential by way of it? Not really, but I don't necessarily expect that. I like it enough that I can keep at it and keep earning that paycheck, and hopefully it will continue to be enough to pay the bills.

I don't expect my career to fulfill me. Instead, I try to get that fulfillment outside of work. That's why I do podcasting. 

That's why I write my stories.


That's why I love to travel to places like national parks with my family.

That's why I collect toys.

That's why I like making arts and crafts.

...and so forth.

Except, I often let things get in the way of that enjoyment and fulfillment. Sometimes it's laziness, sometimes its disorganization, and I think it might surprise you to hear that it's often my addiction to sugar and carbs that keeps me from being happy.

That last one is pretty stupid, and yet here I am. I'm about as defeated as I could be, and it really sucks, because I know what to do, but I just can't seem to manage to do it.

For a little bit of history, I was really active as a child and a young adult. I thought I was healthy, because I was thin and athletic. That didn't last very long into my adult life. I started putting on weight, and I assumed it was because of my own moral failings. I was unable to control myself and just eat one.

Once I popped, I couldn't stop.

And so on. Before I knew it, twenty years had passed and I'd been overweight and unhappy the whole time. I struggled against it, but it always won. Then the doctor told me I had type-two diabetes, and I would be on meds for the rest of my life, never actually controlling it, but rather slowly declining until I died much younger than I would have if I hadn't had that problem.

But then the heavens parted, and I learned that I didn't have to be depressed and fat, barely surviving on pharmaceuticals until I died.

Seeing this video from Sarah Hallberg started me on a journey of discovery that completely rewrote the "knowledge" that I had relied on my whole life about health. Turns out that pretty much everything the government had told me about health was wrong...not only wrong, but pretty much the exact opposite of what I should actually be doing. There was a reason I was 100 lbs. overweight and constantly tired and depressed. I was abusing the hell out of my body with the things that I eat.

I set about changing that, first going Keto, then incorporating intermittent fasting. Then realizing that even Keto wasn't good enough, and taking it all the way to a nearly zero-carb carnivore. 

I did pretty well, lost a lot of weight, and was in a really good spot when my dad died at the end of 2019. I allowed my first cheat in, and I've never been the same again.

I fell off the wagon, and gave in to my addiction, and discovered just how bad my addiction was. I tried to restart over and over. This blog has been a record of many of my attempts. Every time, though, I wound up going back to sugar and carbs like the worst alcoholic or drug addict.

So, here we are in 2023, five years after I first started this process, and I'm no better off than I was to begin with. In 2019 when my dad passed away, I would never have guessed that I could be in this situation. In fact, you could say that I'm not only no better off, but possibly a little worse off that I was when I started in 2018. A lot of that is bound to happen. If I'm not taking care of my diabetes well, then I'm going to deteriorate.

And oh man have I deteriorated. I'm in such crappy shape. I have really hit rock bottom. Well, not quite rock bottom, but as far down as you can go before the permanent problems begin...or become apparent, they've probably begun already.

So, yeah, I'm feeling super crappy, and I want to change that, but I just can't manage. Every time I try, I fail. I wake up and say, "today's the day." Then I go out to the kitchen to make breakfast, and find that there's cake in the fridge and I eat that instead of what I should, and then it's on, and at least for the rest of the day, I go hog wild.

Back at the start of March, Marshal and I were doing things right. Eating carnivore in the healthiest way. I was getting relatively freaked out, because I decided to break out my blood sugar meter, and found it in an unacceptably high state. I checked it day after day, and even though I wasn't eating any carbs, it stayed high. Was I past the point of no return?

If someone was in a state of worry like this about their health, you'd expect them to stick to the no sugar eating plan like glue, but not me. Soon I fell off the wagon, and started eating garbage again, despite the certain damage I was inflicting on myself.

That's the main thing that makes me feel so down in the dumps. I'm just at a loss. The addiction seems to be unbeatable, and I'm going to eat myself into an early grave.

So, I failed, but I didn't know if Marshal had similarly failed. We'd texted about it back and forth when we'd started, but those texts had dried up, and I hadn't heard from him in a few weeks. So, I decided to check up on him.

His response:

That was what I thought. I always disappear and stop communicating when I'm doing poorly, so it doesn't surprise me that he did the same. My response:

Marshal's a religious guy, so he's not going to agree with me there...although he kind of did.

Yeah, that is exactly what we are doing. Sugar is killing me softly with his smile. Except it's worse, and I couldn't help but point that out.

It wasn't disguised.

That started a really good discussion between the two of us, and I think we've developed something that might work. I feel good about it anyway.

Here's my video that introduces the effort:

I'm excited, and I believe this might actually work permanently. We'll see come 2024.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Clearance Has Finally Arrived

My local Walmart put a few things on clearance at the end of January or so, but it wasn't much of a clearance. In fact, I think they went back and marked everything up to the most expensive price that had ever been asked for each item and then marked it down 10%.

There were several items that I thought I would be willing to buy on clearance, but when I saw the price, I just laughed out loud and walked away. I could have gotten those things for ten bucks cheaper the day before they put them on clearance.

Everybody else felt the same as me, because these things stuck around for a long time. They marked things down another level, and all of us turned up our collective noses. Then they took them down another level, and I said, "Maybe if they drop one more level, I'll finally be willing to grab one of those."

Well, that day finally arrived. This ship from the Lightyear movie dropped all the way down. It used to be $40 and now...

It's made for five inch scale figures, but I think it will work just fine for the four inch figures that I've been collecting to make a space station for.


The cockpit will need a little bit of modifications to work. It's made to fit one five inch figure, but it should easily be adjusted to a two-seater for four inch figures.


My nephew, who is a huge collector of the original 1980s GI Joes, told me that he has a box filled with broken vehicles for use in just this kind of situation, so maybe I'll hit him up for some cockpit seats that will work with this ship. 

It'll be fun to customize this ship. Over at Empire Toy Works, he customized the five inch scale Lightyear Armadillo, and it looks pretty rad, so hopefully this one of mine will be just as cool.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Get Away From Me

Some bumper stickers age better than others. I want to say that this one is more out of date than the Brendan Fraser Mummy sticker from my earlier post.

Then again, there are some people who want to stay masked and apart for the rest of their lives, so maybe this isn't out of date for this person.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Star Command XL Series For The Valkyries?

I decided the other day that I would go back to the Marshall's I mentioned in my earlier post and get the two Lightyear ships that I hadn't bought the first time I saw them there. Then, by chance, I saw that two other Lightyear ships were on sale on Amazon for $3.50. That was even cheaper than what I paid at Marshall's, so I ordered them too. Now, here's what my collection of ships looks like.


They're all numbered. XL-something-something. They are numbered for each of Buzz's flights that he made trying to save the folks of his planet. So, I've got XL-01, XL-02, XL-03, XL-07, XL-12, XL-14, and XL-15. They have numbers on them, and you can see the number on several of the ships.

There's something fun about collecting all these different ships. Up until a week or two ago, I had no idea what each of the ships looked like. Now, I'm compelled to try to get them all if possible. 

My book, A Fire at the Center of a Million Universes, which I wrote last year, has been coming to mind. In the story, there are a group of mercenaries called Valkyries that have spaceships they use to fight off the imperial forces. Up until now, I had the Valkyries using Colonial Vipers as their ships, but now I'm thinking it might be fun to change it up to the Star Command XL series.

The various Valkyries could be like gearheads here on earth, fighting with each other over their preferences for various models, customizing their ship with its own paint job, or possibly even tricking them out with the stabilizers or guns or engines from different models, and so forth.

I have to go through and do a second draft soon, and I think it's a change I'll make on that next pass. Maybe by then, I'll have one of each of the various ships, although I'm thinking that will be unlikely. I haven't checked at the regular stores yet, but I haven't seen even a hint of the ships that I'm missing elsewhere. Ross only ever had the XL-01. Marshall's only had the XL-02, XL-12, XL-14. The others I had to get from Amazon, and even Amazon, the world's largest collection of commercial products, don't have most of the ones that I don't have yet.

I refuse to buy them at full-price though. If they're not at least $5 or less, then I won't bother at all. So, It remains to be seen if there's any possibility of getting them all. It won't really matter if I do or not. If I never got another one, I'd still be happy. I'm going to go in and add weathering and dry-brushing to them all so that they match the other ships on Ankletown Station, and we'll see if we can't do some customizing on them as well. That should be a lot of fun when I get around to doing that. 

I'll see if I can't make Dawn's ship...although we never see her get to fly one in the book. Maybe I could make her best friend Naz's ship as well. There's something really satisfying about making a physical representation of something from a story you invented in your mind.