Dear Readers, send money.

June 8th, 2012 No comments

Trains.  Two tracks, northbound, southbound.  Twilight bleeding into the horizon.  Incredible noise, screeching, squelching, all-encompassing sound.  Side-by-side.  I’m standing in the middle as they fly by on each side of me; burr whizz, whizz burr, creaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak.  I can’t reach my ears to dampen the sound, can’t see the end (or is it the beginning?) of either.  It won’t end.

The description can go either way, what I’m setting out to talk about I’m not quite sure yet… art and commerce, vacation and weight loss, right and wrong, up and down.  I’m just not sure.

I guess perhaps since it’s the biggest thing on my mind I’ll start here: in twenty minutes I’ll be on vacation.  Just what the hell is a vacation?  A week away from work?  A full week spent with my “family” having fun, getting annoyed, being stressed and spending too much money?  A week of anxiety of what I’ll return to on my desk two weeks 10 days from now?  It’s a question I intend to answer and I’ll let you know what I came up with.  As some of you might know our plans changed dramatically.  I’ll spare most of the details, since I can’t guarantee that some eyes won’t see this, but I can still say I’m effing pissed about it (for those same eyes, you know who you are).  As I said in the past some of my new drive and purpose in getting my, ahem, life together was to get on the zipline in Tennessee, to ride a roller coaster at DollyWorld without fear of seat buckles not reaching around me and being able to take a hike in the Smoky Mountains without losing my breath in 30 seconds.  And of course all those other things I wanted to keep at bay, like diabetes, heart attacks and general mortality and quality of life things; being able to get into a swim suit in better shape is just plain better for EVERYONE near me as well.  So that all fell by the wayside, but some creative measures have ensured the “replacement” vacation will be just, well maybe even better, than what was on tap.  We’ll be spending 5 days on Put-in-Bay island in what looks like amazing weather and we’re saving a lot of money to boot, so it appears to be a win-win-winner-chick-dinner scenario.  So there is still plenty to look forward to and away from and reconciling some the pain I have for the way things have gone down recently will be part of the agenda.

Since we’re on topic an update.  I’m 3 pounds from having dropped 50 since Feburary 8th.  Averages swelled a bit, but there was a definite depression I went through when the Tennessee trip fell apart and I’ll blame it on that.  So, as of today it’s been exactly 4 months since starting on this journey and the numbers break down like this: 11-3/4 pounds a month, nearly 3 pounds  a week.  I was in a size 58 suit jacket two years ago, I was able to get into a size 50 last night, although with a tape measure my chest measures a 48.  I was sporting size 44 pants, and even had a few pairs that were 46’s that were obviously more comfortable.  Today I can easily get into a 40 and have my eye on a 38.  I’m noticing and feeling tone in my arms – even throughout my high school football days I have never truly had developed biceps and forearms and I do today.  My legs, while always strong, are defined and just powerhouses… I’m very proud of my legs.  I have a log way to go on the jolly old middle section and that’s fine – gives me something to do from now on.  And while I feel great and am a generally smaller person, I’m still a big dude with a lot of work ahead of me… and that kinda troubles me.  I’ve gone through a lot and worked pretty hard and I still look like some fat ass to regular onlookers.  It’s not that I want everyone to applaud me or anything it’s just strange to think about that I still look no different to people who don’t know more or see past the physical.  The biggest question I have is what happens when this vacation is over and we’re back to real life?  I can already tell I’m getting burned out and I’m definitely not going to work as hard toward a goal like I did to get on the zipline (err parasailing maybe?!) so I need to find a new goal and a new routine and maybe even thi vacation will help me away from this burned out feeling I have – isn’t that what a vacation is supposed to be anyway (or so Roget’s tells me).

On this vacation, since I was going to be in the Smoky Mountains for a whole week and with only four days of activities, I was looking forward to looking over the trees and valleys and doing some reading and writing.  Yes, dear readers, I was going to get back into my habit, my passion, my form.  I need to get back there – I have so much to say!  Since we’ll be on an island for a far less time I might not be able to do that but I still like to carry the thought and I’d like to build a goal for that as well.  And with that being said I’m sure many of you have heard about kickstarter and programs like that.  Well, there is one for authors.  In short I post my novel, or rather some sample pages, the synopsis and all that jazz and if 1,000 people pledge to buy said novel they will publish it for me.  Sounds like a good deal and one of those that might be too good to be true, but it’s something I think I need right now.  Considering I have 2 self-published books “in the wild”, one more on my Skydrive, and another 200-odd pages in, it would be the kick I need to go where?  Again, that is the question… this was a passion I had because I had things to say and no one to really say them too.  So I built worlds and characters and worked out emotions and desires and things of that nature… and then it crossed over.  It turned into something that actually was fun; it was something I looked forward to doing on weekends and evenings and still those worlds and characters followed me and we all did things together.  And the prospect that these words could lead to a better real world life and who doesn’t that appeal to?  So yes, I would like to see my “art” become income and yes, I would like to make my “art” become my job, because I still think it would be fun and I still have plenty to say and do and still some feelings to reconcile.

And with that I’ve run out of time.  Vacation starts now and I’m off to find a good definition…

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I couldn’t finish a Chipotle Burrito!

May 9th, 2012 No comments

I started this process back, in earnest, on February 8th.  It’s now May 9th, and rudimentary math indicates it’s been 3 months, a quarter of a year, and I’ve lost 40 pounds.  13 pounds a month.  3 pounds a week.  It seems like so little to me for as hard as I think I’ve been working… but maybe that’s just my disappointment talking.  I originally set out on this quest to be able to ride a zip line, with a strict weight limit, while on my first family vacation, to an actual destination, in 6 years.  It’s going to be a much needed break and I went into the waiting period between planning the trip and leaving for the trip by becoming more active and shedding some unneeded poundage, which would keep me active and obsessed with something else instead of watching the clock tick away, toiling for this longed for vacay to begin.

I guess this story starts earlier than that though… late last year I’d felt like crap for such a long time.  I think I nursed a cold for 2 months straight.  I was starting to feel what I thought was the on-set of diabetes or high blood pressure and any other numbers of ailments I’d rather not have to deal with, so the seed was planted and this trip coming together made it take hold.  So, again on February 8th, I found a new priority in my life… no more excuses I was just going to do it and so I have.  At least 4 times a week I spend a minimum of 30 minutes a night working the EA Sports Active 2 program on the PS3.  I will opt to take steps instead of elevators.  I will walk around the block.  I will jog.  I will use the treadmill.  I will count calories and I have changed my eating habits and thereby my life.  But everyday it just gets harder; I figured at this point it would be simple.  I’d be able to do push-ups like a Marine.  I’d be able to do a full set of Mountain Climbers without falling to my knees at the mid-point… I’d be able to do reverse crunches without resting my legs every third lift.  My body, with every bit of progress I’ve made, continues to adjust and fight me back.  These aren’t plateaus or survival mechanisms kicking or any of that non-sense they warn you about in Woman’s Magazines (that I just happen to see in line at the grocery store, ahem), but it’s a real thing I haven’t navigated my way through yet.

Looking at the positives… I haven’t had a heart palpitation in 3 months.  I can jog sustained distances and run without gasping for my dying breath anymore.  I no longer need sugary foods or empty calories just to not feel off.  My clothes are getting baggy and I’m squeezing into shirts I long ago put in a box that has been in the bottom of my closet.  I am lighter and generally feel better about myself even though I still have ailments and sore muscles nearly every morning.  Hunger pangs, in a weird way, feel good to me.  I’ve found some will power and can resist temptations in most cases (as long as they don’t involve cheesecake).  Even though I might not qualify for the zip line next month I should be able to ride a roller coaster or two at Dollyworld without that embarrassing spectacle of them telling me I can’t be secured and won’t be able to ride or them needing to get the extension belt.  So those are all good things, very good things, and maybe it’s time to rid myself of this whole goal and desire to ride the zipline anyway and start to focus on maintaining these lifestyle choices and habits and get myself to a permanent and sustainable healthy weight and find a new goal… I hear marathons can be fun.

(post script: Never one to give up hope, to be able to get on the zipline I will need to lose an average of 6 pounds a week for these next 5 weeks.  In a perfect world that would simply mean doubling my efforts, two-a-days and cutting calories even further which I’ve already started to experiment with.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted.)

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February 17th, 2012 No comments

There is nothing that can top the feeling you get when you see your children realize a goal or accomplish something you knew they could do all on their own.  Seeing that light explode in their head when they do it and watching that confidence that has been quietly simmering just suddenly boil over, it’s very tangible and you can almost touch it and ride that wave with them.  It’s just such a great, great feeling and I find myself getting choked up and feel the tears well and they become definitive moments that will forever be cemented in your very being.  They become markers, landmarks, on this journey that you can always look back to and see that that was where this was born or that started… when they began to realize who they will become.  I can’t truly put into it words… if you are a parent I’m sure you know what I’m saying and if you don’t your moments are surely to come.

I have 4 amazing children, all of them 3 years apart and bouncing back and forth girl, boy, girl, boy.  My eldest hit the last shot of her basketball game a few weeks back, a high arching beauty from 12 feet out, over the outstretched arms of her defender… I knew it as soon as it left her fingers, it was good and it was nothing but the bottom of the net.  The oldest boy has taken to studying You Tube and learning and he fashioned himself one of these Beyblade top things out of the bottom of a pop can,  some paperclips and wood shims and a second one solely out of Legos.  The youngest girl dragged me along to a father/daughter dance recently and I watched her command her group of friends like she was tending sheep, leading them on the dance floor to the Cha-Cha Slide and shuffling along with LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem.  And the youngest, he just shocks me to death how he can jump into a game of Call of Duty Black Ops: Zombies and nearly wipe out as many flesh-eating Nazi’s as I can.

They are all small things sure, but they are things that make me realize what I have and how precious it is… and they have become milestones.  And as I reflect on them I see something in myself and that is a huge amount of pride.  I am very proud of each of them.  More on the topic of pride is the fact that a few weeks back I declared that I was going to change my life in terms of weight and here I am several weeks later and there has been progress.  I’m averaging 5 pounds a week and I’ve got a routine and a plan to go along with my goal and as long as my average stays where it is I will reach my goal and this also brings a bit of pride along with it.  And to wrap this around to being back on topic… I’ve read through most of When the Wall recently and I’m still quite proud of it… but I do find myself in the fashion of George Lucas in wanting to tinker.  Which I guess to be completely technically it’s still allowable because it hasn’t been officially published in any mainstream capacity… don’t get me wrong I’m not talking about making Cyndi shoot first or anything, but maybe she’ll get a hair coloring or something.

The bigger meaning to me reading through the back catalog – next comes To Better Parts which again in an effort to bring it full circle has plenty to do with children and being proud, so could it be possible that I will finish this opus in 2012?  I think it is!

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Thoughts echo…

January 25th, 2012 No comments

My subconscious mind has been supremely active as late… lots of echoes going on in the old cranium.  Been surprisingly physically active as late as well, seems there is a definite change happening within and I won’t (can’t?) complain.  I think some of this is from that awakening I mentioned last month.  I’ve been riding that wave and paying attention to myself and doing things for myself.  A couple major things are definitely attributing to these changes… I’ve been more conscious than I ever have in my life of what I consume; from food intake to what TV shows I invest time in and everything in between.  I’m no longer a passenger in my head… I feel like I have control.  I’ve also been working out (there is no “GTL” here though, still as white and pasty as ever!).   I also mentioned a few months back I’ve been coming to terms with my own morality and I’ve decided I have a lot more to do and see and I’m going to continue to do what it takes to prolong the time I have, so naturally I need to and have decided to start taking better care of myself.

This part requires a somewhat intimate back story to frame the reference… I’ve spent 35 years pretty much not denying myself anything and because of it I have the will power of an ant in a sugar bowl.  I’ve done my share of taking over the years and not worrying about consequence.  I just got the feeling in the last year that my body has been trying to tell me something and I’m starting to listen and pay attention to it.  I’ve always been a big dude… I’ve been told that it’s in the genes and I’ve also been told I was as “skinny as a bird” when I was a toddler… so something isn’t adding up.  If it was genetic, dontcha thing I would’ve never been as “skinny as a bird”?  I do… maybe I’m misquoting someone too, but time has come for me to see what is actually up the old family tree.  I feel I also have to do this for my children… I see now that I need to set a better example.  And I know it is a fact that in not too many more years I could soon be looking at grandchildren and I do want to be able to play catch with my great grandchildren.  Yes, all of this does stem back to the fact that I am getting old.  My kids are getting old.  Everyone around me is getting old, it is life… and I’m seeing generations (plural!) coming up behind me and I’m starting to become wise.  I typically fall asleep before 11pm now!  I find myself disliking what is on popular radio more often than not!  I’m beginning to reach for the Crispix before the Cocoa Pebbles!  It’s all so foreign, but it’s also so right and falling into place now.  It is what it is and I’ve accepted it and I will continue on gracefully.  I think I’ve finally become and maybe even embraced that I am a grown-up… I say it a lot in a lot of places but I’ve definitely been an adult longer than I was a child at this point and here is where I am.  As a self-proclaimed big dude I always fought what I call perception issues… I always felt smaller than I was, pictured myself a completely different way, even thought I could do things I probably had no business doing… I think a lot of this stems from a feeling of insignificance I’ve always battled.  So many times I felt I didn’t have a voice and being afraid to speak up or out… so many situations could’ve been different and molded a completely different person if I would’ve gotten to this point so many years ago… but then the journey wouldn’t have been what it was and I won’t trade a single second of it.

Gawd, I realized this is reading like a eulogy!  So, let’s just break it down like this: I’m approximately 6′ 2″ when standing straight and I’ve recently tipped the scales at 340 pounds.  This is sadly probably not the most I’ve ever weighed, but it is pretty close.  There is a line in To Better Parts and Other Places when Carlos is describing Lenny:

He hovered around 285.  When the currents were warm, he’d rise, topping out at about 300; when the currents were chilled, he’d bottom at 275.  He was, when standing erect, slightly less than six-feet, two inches, when sitting; less than half that.  He was beginning to bald above the temples, and all that remained was a thick mane down the center that thinned out around the edges and his facial hair just enough to smooth wood.

In most circles people would say this actually describes me… until you get to the part about stealing cars (err, wait – j/k) and the rest of the story, but I remember in writing those lines at over 340 ten-plus years ago I had that image of myself.  That my weight would fluctuate that drastically in even a single day.  It’s absurd, yes, but that is the mind of someone in denial I guess.  So this is the year I take over, I will shed some pounds along with some mental blocks and denial!  Oh yeah!  Obviously this is a marathon and not a race (although I feel like I’m going to be racing until June 1st – more on that in another post) and it has been a slow go.  It’s taken me a week just to get up enough wind, to get the old lungs inhaling properly, to be able to go a mile on the treadmill without taking breaks.  I figure it’ll take at least one more to bump it from 3mph to 5mph with regularity… don’t get me wrong, I can go for several seconds in a full sprint over 6mph, but I won’t feel like I’m getting anywhere until I can do that full mile at a sprint and not slowing down to catch my breath every minute… I’ve interspersed this with some dumbell play.  I actually, about 7 years ago dropped a good 60 pounds over a summer, due to a lot of stress and lack of appetite, but then one of things that caught my fancy was what I’ll call shadow-boxing with weights… so I have two 20 pound dumbells, one in each hand (duh!), and I just pretend I’m going toe-to-toe with Tyson (pre-face tattoo)… this is by far the best workout I’ve encountered and it does a lot for the mind too!  It’s not a pretty thing to look at and I can’t do it for more than a few minutes, but inter-mixing uppercuts with lunges and jabs and then some posing makes for a helluva full body work exercise – give it a try!

The hardest part of this new outlook is on the food front.  I started counting calories but that became too much of a chore… I did become enlightened in the fact that someone my size should be having about 2700 calories a day and on that pace alone, with no other exercise and maintaining that intake, I could naturally lose about 2 pounds a week.  So that was a good thing, but I quickly realized that when I sit down to have a home-cooked meal, that my gorgeous and loving wife prepares, there is no way for me to count those calories, so I’m guessing and then the guessing begats misery because the guesses are huge and incomplete (yes there are significant calories in a slice of bread and a glob of ketchup that I would always forget about).  So, I will remain conscious to not overindulge but actually counting calories was futile.  My weakness has always been sweets, chocolate in particular… so we have to keep that out of the house to keep temptation at bay right now.  Once I get through these first few months I’m sure it’ll become easier to resist and once I start seeing results I know I will no longer be a slave to a Twix bar.

So, I’m trying my damnedest to make improvements… and some of those improvements also include dealing with my mind.  So all this thought going on is helping me file away some of my issues… the boxing is helping me with some of my anger… the day job is keeping me compelled and home life is keeping me relaxed.  I think I mentioned that Sandy Claws brought me one of these tablets and I love the little guy… I’ve actually finished a book on it (not just my Walking Dead comics!) – The Whore of Akron by Scott Raab, a mighty fine read.  I’m deep into my second one, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith.  So far it has captured me like no other book in recent memory (but not close to the greatest book to ever capture me, Michael Crichton’s The Lost World, I actually read that book in one Saturday in my tween-years).

Having an eReader/tablet has made me more conscious of all these devices and of course now with the latest news from the brain trust in Cuppertino (read: Apple [for the uninitiated]) comes iBook 2 or whatever it’s actually called.  At first I was very much intrigued by this and even selling myself on the idea of actually owning a Macbook of some sort.  But the more I think about it, the more I don’t like it.  I’m trying to blaze my tiny trail out here and get my inexpensive and AWESOME(!) books onto eReaders all across the land and here comes Apple having 600,000 people to-date downloading it and thinking they can also write a novel and publish it out to the masses… and frankly I’m now firmly against it.  I’ve invested a lot of time and energy into my writing (in the past anyway) and at the time it got me through some trying patches and became a passion but somewhere deep in my mind I always craved some sort of attention and some compensation… I’m come to see the value in my work and recognize I do have tremendous pride in them.  I also have realized that while I was fragile and didn’t want to see any negativity stem from that and no press was better than bad press, I think I’m in a 180 position now.  I want 8 million people to order my eBooks and I want 8 million people to enjoy them and I don’t think asking them to spend $1 is too much to do that… but this is where it comes full circle.  Just as I have decided that I’m becoming conscious of what I consume, getting 8 million people to choose me over John Grisham or Stephanie Meyer is damn near impossible… so if anyone has any thoughts, spew them below.  Joining one of the 600,000 to have iAuthor or whatever it’s called doesn’t seem like much of a solution, but I need to find something.  I need to generate traffic and I need to grab attention… I need to get the word out because someday I want to, with all this longevity I’m going to buy myself this year, be able to travel the world, eat one-bite fancy-food entree’s in exotic locations, see every football stadium and live out my golden years with 8 million people to thank.

And this is just an awesome picture of an alterna-Luke Skywalker that my 9-year-old drew:


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Merry holiday and to all a good night…

December 28th, 2011 No comments

The season is upon us and well for some is over already, as NYEve is such an overrated holiday and un-celebrated by many anymore… it’s almost the “in” thing to not go “out” for New Year’s Eve anymore.  So, the wife and I will most likely be sitting at home, playing Farkle or some variant thereof, sipping some Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato or the remainder of our Christmas Ale stash and trying out fondue for the first time, from soup to nuts.  We’re holding out hope that we’ll see the clock strike 12:20 before our eyes completely go bloodshot and beg us to fall into the old Sealy.

It’s been in most ways a non-stop holiday season for myself, but at the same time both remarkable and uneventful.  I’ve realized a lot this year… mostly how grateful I am to be surrounded by the people I am, and how others seemingly continue to show true colors and melted away from sight… and as anyone who knows me, I like it that way.  I like it simple, I like it true and honest and I enjoy the company that I enjoy and I won’t apologize for it.  I have opened myself up and I find nothing wrong with it, but I also find myself rearranging and ordering that mental list, that pecking order so to speak, of importance in my life.  Along with those thoughts have come some more harrowing ones… ones that I probably shouldn’t talk about, but this is what I do, talk about them, get them out, let them ruminate and hopefully walk back to me to help me understand and find the meaning.

I found myself feeling rather blessed these past few months, not in the religious sense, but maybe more of just an awakened feeling.  I might dare to say I felt complete and happy, and that’s strange to me.  I felt like I was on the right path finally, I was doing and living the way I’d always envisioned and wanted.  Unfortunately, with those feelings ALWAYS come to other side, the waiting for that other shoe to drop because those feelings are never sustained in my life.  They are fleeting and I know to savor them, enjoy them, get caught up in them when I can, which  leaves me paranoid and skeptical about what comes next, what penance there is for having those laughs and smiles, those memories that will forever be cemented into the scrapbook of life.  While I still wait for the inevitable to sneak up on me and punch me in the gut, I’m hopeful that maybe, just maybe, it could be different this time – maybe the worst had already come and this is the payment… there is no more paying it forward.  So, because of this somewhat irrational way I have of thinking, I found myself on more than one occasion thinking about mortality and potentially that I could already be halfway through my life and that makes me horribly sad… it also brings me to realize that I have to capture these times with my children, because they are growing and soon will find themselves moving off on their own and doing their own thing and what if their plans involve me as little as some members of my extended family are involved in mine.  I know the relationships are different and I know I will never be that way with my children, but I can’t help but not think about it.  I think about how I was close with grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and now, not-so-much.  I realized that moments are special, and you should appreciate and enjoy the time you have with people, whatever time that may be.  Plans are never definite and people are never the same.  I guess ultimately what all this comes down to is a real fear I have anymore of not putting my time and energy in the right places… it comes down to me taking care of myself and those most important to me and “cutting the fat” out of my life.  I need to streamline and continue to focus on the things, the what’s and the who’s  that made me giggle and get choked up this holiday season.  I need to continue to strengthen those bonds and let others completely fray.  Realizing this, well maybe that alone will be the other shoe and I’m going to be okay with that.

Just because we have to enter the commerce vein in some fashion, you know with the season and all and how you got a new Kindle, Nook or any other device that will run the Barnes & Noble or Amazon software, including iOS devices, I do still have my novels and books available for just about anything you have (save for iBooks, still can’t crack that shell).  Anyone interested in “side loading” an ePub into their device, I can definitely help and you will foremost inspire me to get my ePub files right!

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I missed a month… sorry.

November 18th, 2011 No comments

So yeah, I missed a post in October, but you should know my world sometimes spins out of control and I lose track of the site unfortunately… that’s really the reason I incorporated the Twitter feed over there so you can catch a glimpse if you don’t already follow.  Anyway, I’ll digress and won’t apologize for it… I will however apologize because it looks like I will not stay to my word on the pending completion of To Better Parts.  That just ain’t gonna happen.  I mean it will happen, but it won’t happen by the end of the year as I imagined.

So, in other realms, my Browns suck again… so much apathy coming from me on that topic.  And it’s sad, and it bothers me, so that in and of itself means the apathy isn’t real, true or permanent, so it is what it is.  If they become fun or interesting to watch again, I’m sure it’ll spark an inferno again.

Cleveland Music… do we really have a burgeoning scene here that will burn bright and then taint everything much like flannel did in Seattle?  Admittedly my radar screen isn’t huge, but I have been introduced to some good people and great tunes lately and it’s hard to believe they are being produced in basements and garages that are within running distance of where I currently sit.  Not only do we have the recent Bad Boy Machine Gun Kelly, there are up and comers like Aaron LaFette, iPhonic, Britni Elise, Jackie and Hawkeye.  I think myself something of a music enthusiast and I fancy myself with decent enough taste and when I say each and every one of these bands is good you should believe me.  The magnesium is going to be ignited soon… If you haven’t already, check them out – most have mix tapes available for free download and you can find much of their music on their website or links from that social pages.

In other forms of entertainment, I find myself very much taken by American Horror Story.  This is building to something I’m really, really enjoying.  Of course Kurt Sutter has been killing it on Sons of Anarchy this season, but I expect no less.  Dexter has been building slowly and I think I like where it’s going, the addition of Mos this year had me captivated, sucha great character and what he brought out of Dex was fantastic, he will be missed and I would welcome him to the fold as a passenger, much like Harry and <spoiler> his brother have been, at some point… and Walking Dead had disappointed during the early going, but I think it’s going to start standing up this week.

And that’s it for now… Turkey Day and Black Friday are on the horizon, two of my favorite days of the year.  I’ll post some stuff next week for sure… hold me to it!

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Nook available…

September 16th, 2011 No comments

At least I’m kinda keeping to my pledge… here it is mid-September and I’m posting – that makes it four in a row!  Yay.

My other pledges, well, not doing so hot there.  Haven’t touched Better Parts again yet… I will get there.

I’m mostly writing this update to let everyone know that I’ve got the eBooks up on Barnes & Noble for their Nook Reader now, you can find me here: .  Still working on Aldiko and iBooks however; look for those next month perhaps.

And I’m writing as well to test some new features here.  First, you’ll notice below the posts that you can now Share content.  So please do so, early and often.  Second, all of my updates will fire off to Twitter when i post them so anyone who follows will see that the are news things from my brain, to my fingers, and to your eyes quicker.  There is also a feed on the right to show you all the dribble I re-tweet on said Twitter (and in a bit of redundancy, I wonder if the tweet of this update over there will open a a black hole when someone clicks on it).  Lastly I have something new on the back-end that attaches the site to all sorts of fun goodies that will begin popping up here, there and everywhere (eventually – everything is eventual)…

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Another month, another update…

August 1st, 2011 No comments

So, I pledged a bit ago that I would finish and publish To Better Parts and Other Places by the end of 2011.  Maybe I was being insanely optimistic and maybe I’m being insanely pessimistic right now but that isn’t going to happen.  You see, as the world turns another new hurdle has been put in my path… before I get to that I will make a new pledge and that is to keep writing here, on this wonderful blog of mine, at the very least, once a month.

So, my beloved Cleveland Browns have entered training camp and with the exception of some beat up wideouts they are looking crisp and ready for the season.  To say my expectations for this season are high is a bit of an understatement, but they are rather high at the start of every season.  Maybe this could very well be the season magic happens, or maybe it’s just another year I get to share $5 tickets with friends and family toward the end of the season… we’ll see.

I’ve taken to trying out Spotify.  Now, the concept was something I wasn’t too keen on because the sales model doesn’t make sense… but I have to say after using it for a day I can see some of the appeal.  Just barely though… the potential is definitely there, but there is a lot of garbage to weed through.  The ability to play a new album the day of release is very nice and I’ve already found some music I wouldn’t have heard otherwise.  So the free option will be a part of my listening habit for the near future.  For the curious, the band I found was “Fink“.

So, that hurdle I mentioned… there was a fantastic storm the evening on Saturday, July 23rd.  I mean it was a great show… light crashes every few seconds, pounding thunder, torrential rains.  I was outside grilling up some ribeye’s when it all happened, and the idea of holding an umbrella while the sky lit up became scary so I dropped said water-protection device and just let it pour over me and that’s what it did until I pulled everything off the grill into a shallow dish and took the water logged meats in the house.  As I changed and others began eating I noticed the yard started getting soggy.   We have what was once an in-ground pool in our yard and the debate since buying the house and figuring out that it was a pool is whether or not they busted up that form before filling it in with dirt and a horrible medley of grass and weeds… so naturally I expect a little water in that area, but the other side of the yard was starting to pool and my shed was starting to look like an island in and ocean.  It was about this point that the kids were running upstairs laughing because someone slid in the water in the basement and I knew we had an issue.  So, I went down to check it out and sure enough a small trickle of water was coming in the east wall.  I frantically started picking up anything I could on the floor while tell the kids to take their food upstairs… seconds later I started hearing a gush and the rest is a blur.  Gallons and gallons of sewage and water began coming up from the toilet and drain in the basement… then the floor cracked open and water gurgled up from any crevice it could find… 40 minutes later, a couple conversations with neighbors and watching a crazy amount of water flow down the block turning yards into ponds something was awry.  Nine inches of sewage and rain water filled my basement… my Cleveland Browns lounge would never be the same and I was just starting to really pimp it out and fill it out just the way I wanted.  As I type this the bottom 3 feet of all of the outer walls are now exposed, all of the interior walls have been turned into dump filler and all of the floor coverings have been removed and it looks rather dungeon like.  So devastating to find out that the optional flood insurance wasn’t purchased and there is no neck to choke, considering the city will only help the less fortunate, if you could even call us fortunate.  My story isn’t the worst and no one was hurt if you exclude the “cold” I picked up afterward, no doubt from wading around in poo-water.  So, anyway, that is the newest hurdle dropped in my path that will prevent me from opening up the laptop and adding some more words to the novel.

With all that being said I wanted to share the direct links to my books on Amazon for the Kindle and let you know that I’m still working on and hoping for additions to Aldiko and iBooks to come before the end of the month.

Enough Shorts

Root Beer Kid

When the Wall…

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When the Wall… gets a makeover.

July 8th, 2011 No comments

Here be the new cover for When the Wall Came Tumbling Down… and it too should be on Amazon sometime tomorrow now.  :)

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July 8th, 2011 No comments

In a theme that isn’t foreign to anyone I know, cbj and his productions, (otherwise known as me) need to make some money… I don’t want to use this forum to whine or complain, although it is my forum to shout at the world, I choose to try and keep it positive and whimsical as often as I can.  That being said you might notice, right over there to the right, a Google box with some adverts in it.  Hopefully this will drive a few pennies my way every week and those pennies can help me do what I do the way I do it.  If they become gaudy, annoying or anything else, maybe I’ll kick them to the curb, but maybe, just maybe you’ll find something over there useful and will click on something and that’ll make my pennies grow even larger.

In another effort to grow some revenue (and keep to my word, as pitifully tardy as it is) I’ve finally published The Root Beer Kid and Enough Shorts for a Wardrobe through Amazon’s Kindle.  Yes, indeed, they will be available for Kindle and just about any other device with a Kindle app tomorrow, July 9, 2011.  For only $2.99 you can have them with you everywhere you go…

In other more exciting news, When the Wall Came Tumbling Down will be getting a slight makeover and will also be available to Kindle users I hope by the end of next week.

In even more exciting news, I am also working on getting them added iBooks for all of you iOS/Apple holders out there.

And in the most exciting news… To Better Parts and Other Places will also be available through these avenues by the end of 2011.  Yes, I just typed that and I’ll be held to it… it will be completed and released this year!  Production will then move to the third book in the trilogy that will flesh out the center of the Carlos Rich story… (that may actually be the first time I’ve let that cat out of the bag).  So, here’s to getting some revenue rolling around here.  Cheers!

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