Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goals and Accomplishments 100228


Sunday, February 28

It is the time of the week to report my goal successes and failures. At times, I wonder if I set myself up for failure by making so many goals. Actually, I make my goals list so long that when I accomplish all of my important goals, that I have something else to work on that needs my attention. Anyway, I look at my goals list as a challenge.

First, I shall reveal my accomplishments for the week. Last week's goal numbers four (10,000 words) and five (10+ scenes) pertaining to my writing. I wrote over 14 scenes containing 11,450 words. This surprised me in that I didn't realize I had typed that much into the computer.

The reason I thought this is because I found myself progressing at the rate of 250 to 400 words per session while doing 45-minute sprints. I knew I broke the 1,000 word mark on a couple of days but didn't think I did it every day.

As for the other six goals that I had set for myself, the old adage "out of sight, out of mind" fits in here. Since I do not have my list in front of me every day, I didn't get to them as often. On goal numbers 1, 2, 3 pertain to finding new blogs, reading old blogs, and leaving comments, respectively, I managed to do part of them, but by Tuesday, they fell to one side. I didn't have the list of what I wanted to do in front of me so they didn't get done.

Now it's time for me to list my goals for this week. Please note that I am placing them in order of importance. I will endeavor to accomplish the top of the list first.

Goals for this week:

  1. Go to the NOLA STARs Written in the Stars Conference on Friday.
  2. Build a packing list of things to take with me to the conference -- subject of a future post.
  3. Build the March/April chapter newsletter for Nola Stars
  4. Write 10,000 words toward novel
  5. Build article "Email to the Rescue - Saving your data via email and your server."
  6. Build article "The Backup Schedule - What needs to be backed up and when"
  7. Visit five new blogs for this week
  8. Visit five blogs listed in my bookmark folder
  9. Visit five Web addresses on my "websites to visit list"
  10. Work on my basic 'link' page for my website
  11. Complete five posts to my blog

There are other goals that I could probably put up here but they are very trivial. These are the goals that I don't know if I'll actually have a chance to work on.

Last week I mentioned that I had started to it new exercises to my routine. I am happy to tell you that I completed my goal is working out at least five out of the seven days. One thing I will add to my list of exercises for this week is walking 4/10 of a mile. This may not seem like much, but with my back muscles supporting so much weight, I probably would not be able to make it further than that. My goal is to walk every day. Then again, this depends on whether the day it's cold or not.

As I lose weight and time passes, I intend on increasing that up to a mile. Currently I am looking at repairing my father's bicycle, so that on warm sunny days, I can take it out on a spin.

I hope your week has been as fruitful as mine even though I didn't reach all of my goals. I did get to the important ones. Until later, have a nice day -- Clark Stone


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Exercise

Saturday, February 27

Last Sunday I mentioned that I would discuss my exercise plan. I am glad that I looked over last Sunday’s blog because I had forgotten about this.

So far, I have managed to keep on schedule except for one day (yesterday). I know it is too soon to expect results but I do feel better. My legs are looking better.

Now, to describe my exercises, I think everyone knows what a pushup is. Me, I have to do them from my knees instead of my toes. Yes, that may be cheating but at my weight, I am unable to do more than three from my toes before my left arm gives out. Doing them with my knees touching the ground is not easy.

Now, the leg exercises I do are essentially what we call leg or thigh blocks. I do 20 of these (ten each leg) in each set. I try to do at least one set a day but will increase that to three to four sets a day. The best description of the leg block is that one brings the leg up to the front until the knee is even with the hip. This exercise involves me executing the leg block and putting it back down in quick succession. It looks and feels like I am over-exaggerating the process of stomping grapes.

I do four sets of figure-4 leg stretches. This stretches my leg muscles as well as my lower back muscles. My legs do feel so much better afterward.

With the dumbbell curls, I do ten reps on each arm with a 5-pound dumbbell. If I do them fast, I can get 25 reps in without stopping. I’ve heard if you execute them slow taking 2 to 3 second to pull it up and the same going down, you build muscle faster. I do not know if this is true but I find it a challenge.

Like I said earlier, I’ve met my goal for exercising this week. I have not decided what I will add to my routine tomorrow. For now, I think it is time for me to post this, and get off my duff to exercise.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Aaayiiieee


Thursday, February 25

I don’t wanna do this today. By golly, I am not going to do it. Aaaaaaah! Let me out of here. Click, click. Eeerricc, slam!

Uh, do to technical difficulties, the post planned for today will not be written. With bright sunlight and blue skies outside, I, Stone’s Computer, suspect that he has been infected with a case of spring fever. Even dangling the reward of a game of Spider Solitaire or Freecell did not tempt him to write the post. It does not matter that spring has not sprung yet.

Others are out looking for him and they have nets. We may not be able to get him back in time to write a post today. This may mean we have to pull out the chocolate bars to get him to write tomorrow’s post.

Thanks for your patience and sorry for the absence of Stone’s post. – Stone’s Computer and Friends.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday

Wednesday, February 24

A couple days ago, I decided that I would make Wednesdays' blog post about writing. In particular, the post will be dedicated to writing ideas. I really can’t tell you how these ideas pop into my mind. Yet, I am willing to share them with you.

The two words that would describe this process would be “free association.” My definition of this term is where an item (object, story, event, conversation, etc.) triggers an idea or thought that may be associated or not with that particular item. This may not be the true definition but I associate the term to those movies where they show an ink blotter and the patient gives an unfettered response.

This is pretty much the way my mind works at times. Whether I am watching television, reading a newspaper, talking to someone, eavesdropping on two strangers talking in a line, I find myself in a situation where story ideas are popping up in my mind. I try my best to document every one I come across but sometimes they do escape. Now, here is an example.

What does space junk, a ghost, someone who doesn’t know how to drive and a police investigation have in common? In the real world, they have nothing in common. But to me, they are the basis of a story. Whether it be a short short, a short story, a novella, or a novel, that would be hard to say.

Where did these ideas come from? Well, let me tell you. From a wide spectrum of places. Here they are

  • A ghost – from a writer friend’s blog post about a ghost cat.
  • Space junk – from a story off of Yahoo! News yesterday.
  • Someone who doesn’t know how to drive – a comment my mom made this morning about a friend.
  • A police investigation – from a story in The Times of Shreveport, yesterday morning.

Time to put them all together. The story is about a mischievous ghost who accompanies a police detective with psychic powers after they get a report of space junk coming down in a wooded area. Every time the detective goes to his car, the ghost insists in driving it. The detective nixes the idea for two reasons: the ghost doesn’t know how to drive and it usually does something stupid on purpose and gets pulled over.

The last time the ghost drove; the detective had a hard time explaining to the highway patrol officer how come the car sped by him at 100 miles an hour. Especially since the detective sat in the passenger seat. If the car had not taken off on its own and disappeared around a curve, the guy would have hauled the detective in. He heard the patrol officer retired the next day.

Granted, this is not much to work with and I hope I can come up with better ideas to share in the future. But think of the possibilities. Then again, it sounded better in my mind than after I put it on paper.

It is at this point that we writers start asking our favorite question: What if… What if the space junk contained another ghostly figure that turned out to be more malevolent than his invisible companion? What if this ghostly figure had it out for the detective? What if this piece of space junk was actually a spacecraft full of mischievous Martians? Mainly, what if….

Now, what if I left this up to you to come up with more “What if…” situations. What would you come up with. Have fun.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Yesterday - V01


Tuesday, February 23

Yesterday, I started on writing new material for my book. It felt good to be creating again but I still have to tie up that doggoned internal editor after I wrap its mouth with duct tape.

There are times I can start my music playlist which would drown out the editor’s screams to go back because he wants something changed. Then there are times that he screams so loud that my fingers disobey and traverse back to the spot it wants to change.

But all in all, yesterday turned out to be a good day. I got three scenes written and one edited. In word count, I got over 1500 words written which was 500 below my goal for the day.

Today, I plan to build at least 1500 words again. If I can just keep the interruptions from kicking in, I can do it. I noticed that I managed to write around 100 words every five minutes yesterday. This I discovered while participating in 45 minute sprints with some online friends. During the break between sprints, I figured that I should get close to 900 words during per 45-minute sprint.

Yet, a phone call here, a question or another distraction there, and a "Man, visitors. Where did they come from?" pulls me away from my work. At times, I feel that I need to pick up my computer and go to my room so that I can get away from these distractions. When the weather warms up, I may do just that.

For now, I plan to participate in four to six sprints today to see how far I can get. I will let you know if I made it anywhere near the 900 words in a sprint.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Movie Quotes


Monday, February 22

Another day has dawned and I continue to think about ideas to use in my blog. Boy does my brain hurt. BG

Trying to write with the boob tube on does not work well with me. It is the one distraction that I can’t pass up. I managed to get one scene written and another two edited.

So happens, the movie mom chose to watch turned out to be The Green Mile. An idea hit me as the movie passed the midway point. I know I missed a few of them but I did catch a couple. The “them” I refer to is quotes. I found a couple quotes from the movie that I liked. There would had been more if station that showed the movie hadn’t cut out segments in order to show more commercials.

Quote One: Paul Edgecome (Tom Hanks) said, “The big man’s ripping your ears off, Percy. I’d do as he says.” This occurred during the scene that Paul and Brutus Howell (David Morse) planned put the straight jacket on Percy Whetmore (Doug Hutchison).

Quote Two: “I think this boy’s cheese slid off his cracker.” One investigator said to another about Percy Whetmore after he shot Wild Bill.

There were other quotes I liked but did not think to write them down. I found a few more at http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0002954/quotes

I liked the first quote in that the scene was humorous. The second one reminds me of the insults my friends and I would use on each other. Some of them are,

  1. “Your elevator does not go all the way to the top.”
  2. “One brick shy of a full load.”
  3. “Several french fries shy of a full Happy Meal.”

In the future, if I come across more movie quotes, I will post them. Then there is a quote off of the local news this morning. “Ed, I knew you were good for something.”

Jennifer Gray, Meteorologist, said to Ed Walsh after he helped her say a name of the “Color the Weather” winner on February 22, 2010 morning newscast on KTBS Channel 3.

Have you heard a quote that you like? Let me know.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Goals and Accomplishments 100221

Sunday, February 21

Instead of spending time on my blog schedule this weekend, I found myself working on my novel. Once I get into something, it is hard for me to change gears and work on something else. To do so will require me to set time limits on certain activities.

Yet this morning, I found myself thinking about what my blog schedule. On Sundays, I think I will report on what goals to complete for this week. I also may report on my successes for the week.

Now to my goals for this week:

  1. Seek out and visit five new blogs during the week
  2. Read five blogs every morning
  3. Leave a comment on at least two of those blogs per day
  4. Write 10000 words this week toward my fiction
  5. Edit 10+ scenes this week
  6. Write an article pertaining to data backups
  7. Review my web page for possible changes
  8. Build a basic 'links' page for my website

As for my accomplishments this week, my major accomplishment has been finishing up editing 36 scenes to my book. Now, I can start building on the story line. This is a major accomplishment in that it allowed me to refresh my memory on my story. I had to do this because I had stopped working on it this past summer.

Another achievement, I succeeded in my commit to doing exercises during breaks in writing. At the present time, I committed myself to doing two exercises (30 pushups and some martial arts leg blocks) in my exercise regimen. I will add two exercises to that list today (figure-4 leg stretches and curling dumbbells). I will blog on this subject later this week.

One final success, I designated Sunday as my Goals and Accomplishment day. Now, to figure out at least two more days. I guess this is another goal to shoot for this week.

Now tell me what are you planning on doing this week?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Huh, What?


Friday, February 19

Hi, I’m sitting here trying to figure out what to write about. While going through some emails, an idea popped up and smacked me on the forehead. Several people remarked that they will post a particular subject once a week. For instance, once a week they would have an article about writing.

The idea that hit me: I can build a schedule of what I need to post when. That way, I would not be where I am now wondering what I should write about. This really isn’t a big revelation on my part in that I tried to keep that in mind when I work on my blog. What I have not thought to do is to make a particular schedule of when I will write what.

This weekend will be dedicated to figuring out this little dilemma. To help in doing this, I may look up a scheduling program that I can use to assist in keeping this straight. I can also use it to work on a blog in advance. This could come in handy when expected interruptions in my plans for the week appear. Like a doctor’s appointment or relatives visiting.

I will let you know what I come up with. Have a fun and happy day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Whoa! Not Again!


Wednesday, February 17

Thump, thump, thump! Sorry, just kicking myself. Have you ever had one of those days in which you are happily typing along on your novel believing you had corrected a major mistake? Then to find out that you had not made a mistake in the first place?

I ran across that yesterday afternoon. Thump! In an earlier post, I noted that I found a major contradiction in my story. I thought I was mistaken but I was wrong. (Yea, I know. A cliché. Don’t ya just love them.)

Several days went into rewriting this scene in my attempt to correct the perceived contradiction. My problem: I did not want to change what I wrote. It fit the story, but in my mind, I had to change it because I liked the other scene better. Then there are the subtle changes I had to make in the two or three scenes that followed.

While I edited, I stumbled across the other scene and realized my error. Now the fun part: How to get the original material back. For me, that will be easier than you think. You see, when I make a major addition or change to my work, I save it under a new filename.

Actually, I just change one part of the filename. For instance, if the filename for my working document is Book-20100217.doc, the next version would be named Book-20100217A. My current filename version ends with a “Y.”

So, to return that scene back to its original form, all I have to do is to pull the information from an earlier version of my work. Now, I will more than likely paste the original back into place but then make some subtle changes.

My panic attack is over and I can look forward to wasting one more day on this major boo boo of mine. Still feel like kicking myself but I will get over it. Thump!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Family Story - Nephew

Tuesday, February 16

Everyone has heard that life is usually stranger and funnier than fiction. Most of the entertaining stories I have heard have usually been based on a true story.

As a writer, I love to hear these stories because it gives me new fodder for my writing. This just re-enforces the saying that an author writes about what s/he knows. This usually involves the person’s life experiences, news stories, stories told by friends or family.

In today’s blog, I wish to recount a story told to me by a nephew. It is not very long story but I thought it was hilarious. This will eventually make its way into a future short story or novel.

As the story goes (as I recall it), my nephew said that he and his little brother had gone to visit an aunt that lived around the corner from his grandmother’s house. They found that the aunt was not home but they had decided to stick around for a short period.

While they are waiting, the phone rang. My nephew picked up the phone and it turned out to be a salesperson. When the salesperson asked for his aunt, he told her that she was not there. When asked what time she would return, he responded by telling her that he did not know when she would come home.

Now, his sarcasm came out. My nephew proceeded to tell the salesperson that he did not know the woman whom she was talking about because he was a burglar. Then he promptly apologized for having to hang up the phone. He had to collect the television and stereo system before the police arrived and hung up the phone.

According to my nephew, he did not think about the call again, but they got tired of waiting on his aunt and they left. They walked through her back yard over to a neighbor’s house to play with a friend. Soon the police showed up and they just watched what went on from the other side of the fence.

So happens, his aunt came home while the police was there. He said that he did not want to go back over there so he went back to his grandmother’s house. As far as he knows, his aunt never did find out who triggered her interrogation with the police. All this because he was sarcastic to a salesperson on the telephone.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Nola Stars Meeting


Monday, February 15

This weekend went too fast. I attended a meeting of my writer’s group, Nola Stars or North Louisiana StoryTellers and Authors of Romance. Being one of two men in the group makes things interesting. I always come away energized and ready to write. Also, even if I have heard the topic before, I learn something new.

As a 19-year member of the organization, I never have come away from a meeting without feeling ready to write or learning something new. Plus, the members are such a fun-loving group that I can’t help enjoying socializing and networking with them.

Though, I have not gotten around to reading all of our published authors’ books, but of the ones I have read, they are excellent. Another goal for this year: Read at least one book from each of our published authors and write a review for each book.

Being a writer, not many people have the same enthusiasm about writing as I do. When some asks “What do you do?,” I tell them that I am a writer. They then would ask “What kind of horse do you ride?” When I tell them again, “Writer,” their eyes glaze over and change the subject. Sometimes, I get the “deer staring at headlights” look from them.

So for now, I am energized and ready to tackle my writing projects. Do you belong to a writers’ group, either physical or online? Do you communicate with other writers on a regular basis, either in person, chat rooms or email? Let me know.

Wait! What was that? Sorry for the interruption. My characters are calling for me to stop playing around and get back to their stories.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow, Snow Everywhere

Friday, February 12

Friday. Is it a special Friday or an unlucky Friday. That depends on how you looked at the event that occurred overnight. We got four inches of snow during the night.

To school children, today is a lucky day. They got a snow day thus no school. One child on television has said he wanted to throw a snowball at his sister. When ask if that was mean, he said, “No.” (He smiled.) So, they get to make snowmen and have snowball fights.

To those adults who have to work or be out, today is an unlucky day. The roads are covered with slush that makes them slippery and hard to drive on. (Passed one accident on the way to town.) Then there are the sidewalks or steps. Several people slid and busted their prides. Then they become targets for those children to throw snowballs. Tree limbs fall taking out an electrical line or landing in the road. Finally, their feet and other parts freeze.

To me, today was a little of both. On the unlucky side, I took my nephew to town for a scheduled event that he was required to attend and they did not cancel. I traveled across those slushed filled roads hoping I would not hit a spot of black ice and run into anyone or run off the road. Then cleaning the snow off of the truck gave me frozen feet and hands. A tree limb fell across a power line thus no electricity.

On the lucky side, I get to see snow on the ground in Natchitoches for the first time in over ten years. We got over four inches of snow on the ground. The photos I took may not show what I see but I did attempt to take some. Took a photo of my nephew with a big snowball. The trip to town did allow me to see several fields of undisturbed snow. The electricity did not stay off too long - less that 30 minutes.

Then there is the one treat that I have not eaten in over 20 years. I went outside and collected a bowl of snow. Purpose: make snow ice cream. It tasted great but it cooled me off so that I needed coffee to warm back up.

So, snow can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the person’s point of view. Now, have you ever tried snow ice cream? My recipe: a bowl of snow (collected from the top layer of snow), several dashes of vanilla extract (from 1 to 2 teaspoons), a packet of Sweet-n-Low or Splenda, and milk. Mix them all together. You need to add the milk in increments until the mixture is no longer powdery. And for the chocoholics out there, you might spoon in a couple teaspoons of Ovaltine or some chocolate syrup.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gremlins Strike Again

Wednesday, February 10

Those little monsters are at it again. Mom went out to use her truck and soon came back in saying the truck would not start.

Not only would it not start, it does not even click an indication that the relay wasn't getting enough power. A couple weeks ago, I replaced an end to the battery cable. I just figured that it somehow vibrated loose. That was not the case. When I measured the voltage across the battery, I got 8 volts from a 12-volt battery. Then mom turned the key and the voltage dropped to 4 volts. This usually tells me that there are bad cells in the battery.

Mom is worried that it is the alternator because it happened to her and dad years ago. At the present time, we have a charger across the battery. If it starts, then I will measure the voltage across the post. That will tell me if it is the battery. If the voltage reads 13.5 volts or thereabouts, then the alternator is working.

The only other thing that this could be is that the switch for the ignition managed to stay engaged after the key is removed. Since we had the switch replace, it allows us to remove the key without it being in the off position. If this happened, it meant that the ignition switch caused the battery to drain.

All this really does not bother me. What bothers me is that this gremlin decided to show up on one of the coldest days here in Louisiana. The air sitting at 30 degrees and a 5 mph wind. Trying to work on a battery with Popsicle hands is not my kind of fun. The cold seems to magnify the pain of bumping my hands against anything.

Well, it is time for me to go out and check on the charger. As for that gremlin, I will get my hands on him eventually and when I do, I’ll… Oops, this is a non-violent site. At least for now.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Oh, Man - What Happened Here?


Tuesday, February 9

Today’s dilemma: what to write for my blog. An idea came to me but then it disappeared just as fast. Man, those suckers are fast. I could not recapture it and it drives me nuts sometimes.

Then while transferring files from my voice recorder over to my computer, I somehow deleted a file. The thing is, I did not find it in my recycle bin so it never made it over to my computer. Like most memory sticks, my voice recorder does not have a recycle bin on it.

This can’t be me causing this so I suspect the gremlins are out in full force today. I wonder where they hide.

Now the fun part. As long as I had not recorded any new messages or transferred any data into the voice recorder’s memory, the message file still exists. I had this happen once before. That time, I went on the Internet to look for software that would find my deleted files. I found quite a few. All of them found my missing file but then came the stickler. Though they gave a 30-day trial period, I would have to buy their product in order to recover the file.

Then I found a program called PC Inspector File Recovery. Their web site (http://www.pcinspector.de) has the download but everything is written in what looks to me to be German. My original download came from the PC World web site (http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,23069-order,1-page,1-c,utilities/description.html). The program is not hard to use but it is not easy either. But, I did find my deleted file and returned it to life and stored it on my computer’s hard drive. This program is supposed to work with most USB flash drives as well.

And to those gremlins, “Na, Na, Na, Na, Na.

Uh, now where did I put those car keys?


Monday, February 8, 2010

Who Dat?


Monday, February 8

Who Dat? Who Dat say they beat dem Saints?

Something happened last night that most of us in Louisiana thought we would never have seen. Not only did the New Orleans Saints make it to the Super Bowl, they won it.

To tell the truth, we do not watch much football during the season. But last night, mom and I watched a good part of the game with great interest. I must admit that I would change channels when some of the commercials came on. To me, they seemed to come on more often than the ones during the regular season. We did not see too many of those national commercials that everyone raved about. Most of the ones we changed away from looked to be local in nature.

But the last 8 minutes of play, I did not take it off of the game. We watched the game to the end to see the Saint make history once more. Four history making events during the first part of 2010: Making it to the NFC Championship game, winning that game, going to the Super Bowl, and winning the Super Bowl.

All I have to say after that is “No Dat! Kno Dat no one beat dem Saints."

What a night!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Editing Fun?


Sunday, February 7


To this writer, fun is when I realize that I do not make many changes while editing my novel. (in other words, it was already perfect. BG). Though I am nowhere near finishing the novel, I decided that I needed to get reacquainted with it since I put it down for about 6 months.

Then came yesterday. After zipping through five scenes, I hit a big ravenous ravine of a problem when I started the sixth scene. I found a passage in my book that conflicted with a later passage. Conflicted may be too tame of word. Contradicted does fit though. With no way of making either one match the other, I have no choice but to eliminate one of them.

That is my major problem. I like both scenes of the book and I do not know which one I want to keep. Tried flipping a coin but the thing bounces and rolls between the stove and refrigerator. (small gap exists between the two). Attempting to get the quarter out with a broom handle, it slides under the refrigerator. Now, I still do not know which one to choose and it cost me a quarter.

Note: The last three lines are a work of fiction. I don’t think I could resolve that problem that easily. Nor would I allow that quarter to stay hidden under the refrigerator. Had that happen once and managed to get it out using a clothes hangar. A quarter is a quarter.

Now, back to my dilemma. I thought on it all night and may have come to a conclusion. In a way, I will sacrifice a scene or two but it is for the betterment of my book. It increases the external conflict between the protagonist and antagonist. It actually caused the antagonist a bit of trouble. He was forced to look for a way to save his life.

It will involve having the observer of an assassination believe that an assassination occurred as planned. The event will be staged for this creature’s benefit. Thus giving the antagonist’s henchmen the wrong information. This leads up to him finding himself surrounded by enemy troops.

Now, it is fun again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cutting up the Newspaper


Saturday, February 6

On most mornings when I get up, I normally go through the previous day’s newspapers. This morning, I went through the newspapers for the last two days. Since on most days we get two newspapers, I had four papers to peruse.

“Two papers a day?” you say. Yes, on most days, I get two papers a day. One, a local paper that is published five times a week and covers local news and events. The other, a regional newspaper that is published daily and covers more regional, state and national news. It also has a bigger comics section.

The reason I wait to read the paper is so that my mom can read them first. You see, I have this bad habit of destroying the papers as I read them. This does not bode well with others in the household who wish to read the paper.

Question: why do I destroy the paper? The smart aleck in me wants to say, “Because I want too. Nnaa.” (Big Grin) Actually, the answer is simple. When I find an article that catches my interest, I cut it out. At times, story ideas will jump to mind when I see a headline or article title. Sometimes the titles are humorous.

Today, a story in the Natchitoches Times caught my eye. It pertained to rose gardening. Out of The Times, which is out of Shreveport, La., I found something in the Local/State section labeled “Blotter.” It contained five news stories involving the police/sheriff office. Not all of it was about criminal activity.

The article that caught my eye was “Authorities search for loose horse owner.” This makes me wonder if they searched for the horse owner who had gotten loose or if they searched for the owner of a loose horse. The story showed that it was the latter. But the unusual wording caught my eye. Also, I could use the other articles to spur on a story at a later date.

So, today, four more papers bit the dust. They will eventually be rolled up into paper logs and burnt in the wood burning stove. Now, I need to catalog the articles and stick them in the appropriate file folder.

The newspaper is just one source I use to find my ideas. I plan to describe other methods I use in future blogs. They include magazine articles, local and national TV news, the Internet, etc. What do you think? Do you collect newspaper articles?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Voice to Text


Friday, February 5

Goody, Goody, I get to use my voice-to-text program today. I love using my Dragon NaturallySpeaking program to write because I can speak faster than I can move my fingers. This just means I increase the number of mistakes per minute by two- or three-fold. More, if I start stuttering. Big Grin.

Mom left to go to the story. That leaves me all by my lonesome so I can use this program. I am unable to use this program very often because it is not often that I am by myself. There is this malady called “being too self-conscious” that prevents me from being able to speak my thoughts this while others are around.

On two or three occasions, I managed to force myself to use this program when working with my book. With my books being science fiction based and mom not caring much for science fiction, I am able to use my microphone because she ignores me. Yet, there are times I am still self-conscious about what I am writing. Especially if one of my characters apparently begins using colorful language or appears in the nude.

I remember how my grandmother put my father on the spot years ago by asking him what is the difference between male and a female plugs for electrical outlets. Even though my father was an electrician, I could tell he had not expected this question. The answer he gave was along the lines that “the male plugs into the female.” I do remember my grandmother enjoying putting him this situation. I just don't want to get into the same situation.

Another part of my voice-to-text program that I don't care much for is that sometimes the program does not enter what I speak into the microphone. There are times that I have to speak like a robot in order to get what I want on the screen.

All-in-all, I enjoy using my Dragon NaturallySpeaking program. It allows me to get quite a bit done otherwise. Yet, in order to get things done, I have to get that duct tape out and tape up the internal editor to keep him quiet.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dentist Visit


Thursday, February 4

Yesterday, I came close to making a bonehead move. On Tuesday, I called my dentist office to make an appointment to have my teeth cleaned. One day last week, I felt something foreign in my mouth. Thus I wanted to make sure I did not crack a filling or tooth. The dentist had an opening for Wednesday morning at 8:00.

The bonehead move - I did not remember this appointment until 7:51 a.m. Getting up was not the problem, because I normally get up at 6:00 every morning. I had focused my attention on my email program as well as reading a few interesting blogs.

Yet, in the back of my mind, this little voice kept calling out. By the time I finally heard this voice, I knew I was going to be late. I called the dentist office and then went in.

Then I thought of how could I use this for one of my stories. What about a character that has to leave notes to himself/herself in order to remember what they are supposed to do. Or, he/she can be easily distracted from their task thus he/she forgets something important that can get him/her in trouble.

Then while sitting in the dentist’s chair waiting for the local anesthesia to kick in (she found a small cavity), I wondered if I could use a dentist on my alien space station story. When many different races and species mingle, would one dentist be knowledgeable enough to handle them all. The dentist may have to handle all types and shapes of teeth - human, fanged, etc. Another thing to think about is what the dentist can do to one character may be deadly to another character of another race or species.

This idea intrigues me in that I know a few people who are afraid of dentists. A friend of mine has to take anti-anxiety medications before going to get his teeth worked on or he would freak out.

In this particular story, I needed to flesh out more detail of my main character. He would not have a second thought about taking on a band of armed bandits or several assault ships. Yet, when it comes to getting his teeth worked on, his doctor friend has to slip him a Mickey Finn to knock him out in order to get him into the dentist chair to fix a tooth or do dental work.

That is my take on this subject. Do you have any ideas that you wish to share?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Resolutions Update - February


Tuesday, February 2

Oh, rats. I forgot again. I told you that I can get trapped in that Nation of Procrasti. Intentions are good but not good enough. They do not get the posts written. If I do not write them, I can’t post them on my blog. This time I missed six days. That is six chances to either impress someone or to make someone laugh.

This blog had originally been slated for yesterday. This is my “State of my Resolutions” address. Currently, that's in a sorry state right now. Let me address each of my resolutions that I posted in my January 2 blog post.

On the first one, I failed in that I have not kept up with making a blog post at least five times a week. My goal this month is to honor that resolution, but I may have to scale back to four times a week.

On the second resolution, I made progress, but I do not know how much. I know I have lost weight. My snacks are celery sticks, cabbage wedges, or dill pickles with an occasional apple thrown in the mix. Yes, on one or two occasions, I cheated but not by much, honest. (Looking out the window checking for electrical activity in the sky.) BG

On the third resolution, I have gotten back up to 4 miles a day when I get to ride. I have made it past 40 miles on the exercise bicycle. I added a few more items to my routine as well. These include assist teaching a martial arts class, stretching my legs and some weight lifting. Granted, I am using 5-pound dumbbells, but I intend to build it up to at least 20 pounds and eventually do multiple sets throughout the day.

As for resolutions four, five, and six, I have not put too much effort toward them at the present time. I worked a little on resolution 6 in that I wrote down ideas that I can use toward the observations.

On resolution seven, I have been putting quite a bit of time toward my first novel. I don't know if I will get the first draft completed by March 1, but I think I am well on my way to do so.

A resolution I thought I added sometime during January covers writing an article on backups to go into a tip sheet planned for an upcoming conference. I have planned that article out and will begin writing on it sometime this week.

Now, how did you do on your resolutions so far this year. Let me know.