Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-09-29


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hello, again. I do apologize for missing the last three posts. I went on a mini-vacation to a martial arts event in Des Moines, Iowa. I will cover this in a later blog post.

But I am back. Today is Writer’s Wednesday. Topics for today are my note cards and my quarter sheets of paper. I covered these topics a little in the September 15 Writer’s Wednesday. In this post, I will expand on my uses of these items.

The reasons I use note cards and quarter sheets of paper because they fit in my shirt pocket and easy to use. When I need to take notes, I pull out a note card or piece of paper and start writing my thoughts down. The cards are easier because I do not need a hard surface to steady the writing surface like I do the paper.

The one thing I do is to put the date at the top of each card or sheet of paper I use along with the page number. I restart the numbering of the pages for each date. This is because I try to enter the information into my computer as soon as possible. At the least, I will place them near my computer or in a folder for later entry.

The date and number scheme comes in handy when I drop my cards and they get jumbled up. I first arrange them by the date and then by page number. I have found cards from the past that somehow got misplaced that I could enter into the computer in the proper locations because I used this scheme.

Lately, I have been using a glue strip device that uses a temporary adhesive to place these cards or papers in my steno book. When I get to enter the information, I just remove the note and dispose of it.

I know you have read this before but I hate losing ideas because I did not write it down or record it on my digital voice recorder. So, I suggest that one keep multiple resources available to record those fantastic thoughts that pop into one’s mind.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lost Conveniences


Monday, September 20

Sorry for missing yesterday’s post. Have you ever started to work on something and then get distracted. It seems to happen a lot with me these days. But I digress. Let me get to the true topic of this post: Lost Conveniences.

I do not know what luxuries and conveniences I have got until I no longer have access to it. What brought is thought about is on Saturday we had an electrical storm pass through. We lost power for about 30 minutes which turned our trailer into an oven.

That was cured quickly enough when mom and I went outside to sit on the porch. The air outside felt cool especially when the wind blew. I could have used my laptop since I had a full battery charge but decided not to.

The one convenience I missed was the Internet. The power came back on about 40 minutes later, but the Internet did not. I did not worry with Saturday night, because in the past, it took a while for the Internet to restart.

Yesterday morning, I reset the modem, my router and my computer communications program. The computer indicated that it had access to my router, the router’s lights flashed in a normal fashion and the modem showed proper activity. Yet, my net browser kept giving me that stupid look. You know; the one that says, “What page? No one is talking to me?” or “Yes, what do you want?”

This definitely interrupted my need to search out answers to a few questions that demanded to be answered. The next question I had to answer is what is the phone number to my Internet Service.

Finally, I had to break down and open up the phone book. After giving the technician a call, I saw more activity over my modem. Actually, after I called them, my cable modem locked up. I guess they tried to access it. So, I reset it. After modem came back up, I had Internet. Now, I was happy.

I believe that they had to reset some of the repeaters that may have been locked up due to the static electricity in the air. I have seen printers and other items lock up due to excessive static electricity. So, I know it can happen at times.

All of this makes me appreciate all of my conveniences that we have now. I know the one thing that would be the perfect punishment for someone who has access to all of the modern amenities. This sounds like a perfect time for a time travel. Have someone who is used to cell phones, mp3 players, CD players, television and the like and have them travel back to the old west.

With this scenario, how would s/he react to this situation? A hunter carrying a modern rifle and packing a 9 mm handgun with limited amount of ammunition for both. How does he prepare himself when he realizes that he is no longer in the future? Go ahead, have fun with this thread.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Laughter 2010-09-17


Friday, September 17

I do not have much to talk about today. I love humor and I think we are better off with a good sense of one. All I know is that laughter makes me feel good. Whether I am laughing or it is someone else who’s laughing, I get the same great feeling.

With that being said, I wish to share this video that someone sent me. I found it on You Tube and have embedded here for you to watch. Please enjoy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-09-15

Wednesday, September 15

Today, I wish to expand on note taking. Past topics of voice recorders and composition notebooks are just the tip of the iceberg.

The rest are note cards, steno pads, reporter’s notebooks and spiral notebooks. Included in this are the loose pieces of paper that I recycle from my printer. With the exception of note cards, I use the rest as temporary storage locations of my ideas that pop in my mind. I currently use note cards, steno pads and loose pieces of paper most of the time.

The paper is the one I use most often in that I cut it into quarter sheets and then fold them so that I can stick them in my shirt pocket. I write small so I usually can fill these quarter sheets with quite a few notes. They are real handy in that I can get to them at any time. The disadvantages to the quarter sheets are that I can easily misplace them when I get home and that I usually have to be near a hard surface in order to write on them.

My note cards offer some of the same advantages and disadvantages as the quarter sheets of loose paper. One exception is that the cards are rigid enough to take notes on without placing them on a hard surface for support. The same feature that gives the rigid-ness of the card also can be a disadvantage. The thickness of the card means I half to carry fewer cards.

When using both the loose quarter-sheet pieces of paper and note cards, I prefer them to not have lines on them. I know I do not write straight but I can cram in more lines of data. Again, this is because I write so small at times.

When I carry my book bag, I tend to use my steno pad for my notes. It is easier to keep up with and I can use it without having a hard surface because of its hard cardboard backing. The chances of losing the notes drop as well. I used a reporter’s notebook on occasion for the same reason.

Mainly, I use anything and everything I can get my hands on to keep from losing an idea. I hate the idea of losing a great idea. Yea, sometimes those ideas seem great at the time, but when I look at them later, I wonder why I thought that. More often, I would come up with a solution to a writing problem, and if I write it down, it fit my needs for that part of the project.

Yes, I do have more ideas than I can really use. But I can’t afford to let one slip away just because I may or may not need it. The ideas I do not use, I place in an idea file so that I can possibly use it in a later work. I can’t guarantee that the idea will ever be used. Yet, I will have it available if I do happen to need it.

How do you keep up with those ideas that pop into your mind while waiting for an appointment or watching that Little League game?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Thoughts - 2010-09-12


Sunday, September 12

Today my thoughts will be on times we have dreams and what they can do. The reason I picked this particular subject is because I just woke from a nap in which I had an almost nightmarish dream. Usually after breakfast and before lunch, I take a short nap.

Today for some reason, this nap brought with it dream that I was to move out of my home of over 30 years. I was to move back to a location we stayed in the past that was absolutely horrible. This should have been the first clue to this being a dream. I would have never chosen to move back this location.

As for the location, I will not disparage it. Because I did not like it there does not mean other people don’t like it. I am quite sure that there are many people who love living in this town and vicinity.

In this dream, I found that I had a hard time waking up. When I did wake up, I finally realized that I was not living in the trailer that was supposed to had been moved up there. All my stuff was still in Natchitoches. To tell the truth, that was where I wanted to be.

The only thing I managed to bring with me was my camera. But at this point, I was not in the mood for taking photos. One thing led to another that led to even other events.

In short, this dream made me realize that I am happy with what I have now and I do not want to change. That, I don’t care what other people have. Though I do not have loads of money in the bank, I do have my riches around me. My main one being my mother followed by my two brothers.

I have my camera and computer. Then there are the roof over my head, the floor under my feet as well as the walls about me to protect me from the weather. Indeed, I am rich in that I do have access to amenities of water and electricity as well.

But, I feel that if I had been deprived of my toys and my shelter, that I will be able to make it through life. In the dream, I refused to give up my hopes and desires. In my awaken state, I feel the same. I will survive. I see no other choice but to survive. There are too many things out there that I want to do.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-09-08


Wednesday, September 8

Hello, today’s topic will expand some my topic from the last Writer’s Wednesday, which was on voice recorders and taking notes.

Today, I wish to concentrate on the subject of composition notebooks. The ones that have thick cardboard covers and are actually stitched together instead of using a piece of spiral wire to hold it together. To me, they are a bit more durable than the spiral notebooks.

I take one with me wherever I go, so I can write notes. Thought that was what the voice recorder is for. Yes and no. The main purpose for the voice recorder is to capture my thoughts while driving.

Now, there are times when ideas pop into my mind and I am not driving. Places that require me to take notes using a notebook and pen. Places that have people walking around that would probably call for those guys with the white lab coats requesting that I put on a jacket with these extra long sleeves. Especially, if I get into one of my ‘What if?’ sessions.

One reason I use composition notebooks in public is that I am too self-conscious of speaking into my voice recorder around others. The composition notebook fits these situations perfectly in that I can let my imagination bust loose on paper.

At times like this, I would like to pull out my computer. Maybe if it were one of those small netbooks, I would have, but mine is a 17-inch laptop. Though portable, I do not want to lug that thing around.

I usually go through two or three a year. Sometimes, when I am in a location where I am bored, I try to challenge myself to build scenes involving those around me and their antics. Sometimes, story ideas may already inhabit my mind and I need to unload them before I explode. Whatever the reason, I usually carry this notebook with me.

Again, I hate losing good ideas because I did not stop to record or write it down. Once an idea escapes my grasp, I rarely am able to recapture it. All I remember is that I had a good idea and feel frustrated.

Do you carry around paper and pen? What other devices or implements do you use to keep up with your ideas?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Thoughts - 2010-09-05

Sunday, September 5

Last Sunday, I said that I would think over and make a decision. Well, I thought about my conundrum on my Alien Journal, and I have decided that there are other projects I want to complete first. I still may work on it some.

I have made it through another year of life and looking forward to see what my 51st year will bring me. I am getting close to complete my first book but I still have times that I run away from it. I just have to force myself into work mode to get it done.

Now, in a couple weeks, I will be going to Des Moines, Iowa with a friend. This is a shindig that involves my martial arts that happens every four years. Plans are to enjoy myself and learn what I can. The networking is similar to that of writer’s groups. One comes away fired up for the marital arts.

There are other events I would like to get into that are coming up. I have a Nola Stars meeting that I will attending. I hope to come away fired up about my writing. That way, I hope I can get this first novel completed.

One other event I would like to attend is one involving my alma mater: Bossier High School. They are going to have a Fall Flashback in about two weeks. This is where the alumni from the years 1970 through 1990 get together to socialize. I only heard about it two days ago.

Well, I have things I want to do this year and plan to enjoy it the best I can.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Exercising


Saturday, September 04

Today, I wish to discuss my venture into exercise. Someone asked in their blog if we writers have superstitions. I really do not believe in them but I do avoid doing certain things because I’m afraid I would jinx it.

How does that relate to exercise? Well, in the past, when I announced that I was going to do exercises, I find that soon thereafter I stopped. The only reason I am venturing out on it today is because I believe that I have started something that I find that I can continue doing.

It is a simple exercise in that four weeks ago or more I started doing 15 squats but without weights. Since I am overweight, I figure that I am lifting enough weights for the time being. Though there are times that I do hold a 25-pound dumbbell in my hands while doing the exercise.

I use a chair under me in part as a gage of how far to go down and in part to keep me from falling if I happen to lose my balance. So far, I have not lost my balance. (knock on wood - BG) I also do multiple sets of them throughout the day. My goal is to do a minimum of four, but I have made five and six sets a day more often.

After two weeks, I added doing some multiple sets of 10 simple curls using that 25-pound dumbbell. My arms are feeling much better as well.

I know that these exercises are doing some good. For one thing, the legs on my shorts are starting to get tight around my thighs. Plus, I feel stronger and my blood pressure has dropped even though it was not high in the first place.

My blood pressure being lower has caused some drowsiness between 2:30 and 5:00. I found my blood pressure sat at 115/55 during that time period. It has allowed me to decrease the use of one of my medicines bringing the lower pressure up to 60-65. At those levels, I can function with being drowsy.

This past week I found myself increasing those squats to 20 reps per set. I have also started doing 25 pushups. Yea, I know; doing them from the knees is cheating but I am unable to do them at all from my toes - at least not yet.

So, with that being said, I hope to keep this up and slowly add more exercises to the mix. At least, I am getting some exercise in that I had not been doing before.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Writer’s Wednesday - 2010-09-01


Wednesday, September 1

Well it is that time of the week for me to express some thoughts on writing.

This week I wish to expound on the virtues of a voice recorder. I got my Panasonic digital voice recorder when I ordered the software Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred Version 9. It has literally taken the place of my tape recorder. I still have my tape recorder but don’t have any need to use it as of late.

The digital voice recorder came with a program that converted the compressed audio file to a .wav file that my computer can play using Windows Media Player. Also, Dragon NaturallySpeaking can convert it to text if I happen to record my notes in a non-noisy location.

Its sensitive microphone can pick up almost anything which in turn drives the Dragon NaturallySpeaking program nuts. I will talk about that in another post.

The reason I bring this particular item up is that there are times when an idea pops to mind and I am unable to write down that idea. My handy voice recorder usually sits in my shirt pocket along with a couple of ink pens. When I am driving, I can’t just pull over to find a notebook and write the thought down. Well, I could but by the time I pull over and get the notebook out, I would have forgotten what I wanted to write down.

There are times when I see something on the road that triggers an idea. I hate losing ideas because they can come in handy at times. This is when I pull out the voice recorder, turn it on, and record my thoughts.

Sometimes when I go on a road trip, I make three to five general notes on index cards about a story. Then before I start the car, I look over the notes and start playing the ‘What if…?’ game as I drive. I usually can’t talk the whole trip but I usually can come up with a good many questions and answers along the way.

I sometimes include observations of the types of vehicles that pass me, follow me or lead me on the interstate. Then I observe conditions along either side of the road. On one occasion, I passed a spot where someone lost one of those 750 pound bails of hay that broke apart on the shoulder of the interstate. On another occasion, I passed a spot that looked as if a vehicle caught fire.

Now, before you accuse me of not paying attention to what is going on outside while I am dictating, I always keep my eyes open for obstacles ahead of me and trouble coming up from behind me. That is probably why the recording does not sound smooth.

But the main reason I love my digital voice recorder is because it is small and easy to use. Most of the time I have to transcribe my notes due to excessive background noise. I do hate the sound of my own voice as well.

The car is not the only place I use the thing. I have taken a handful of notes and the recorder and go someplace quiet. As long as there is no one around, I can look at my notes and start dictating my story. I have done this a half-a-dozen times. When I do this, I just allow my speech-to-text program to transcribe my notes. When errors pop up, then I go through and correct them.

I do use other forms of items to keep notes when I am out. But that is a subject for another post. Do you use any type of voice recording to keep notes? What do you do to keep from forgetting an idea that sounded good?