Another Update on the Site Rebuild… and Some Thoughts

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Since I haven’t posted any old content to the blog yet, I’m making a new post. I have several articles almost ready to go, but I’m missing a whole set of articles, particularly many chess games and some articles about my writing, so I’ve been doing a deep dive on my hard drives and server to find those files. No luck as yet. Which is eerie. I don’t ever delete anything…

…which is both a good and a bad thing. Good, because you never know when something might be useful again, or you’re in the mood for some nostalgia. Bad, because sometimes you should just clean out the clutter. Cleaning out the clutter is a discipline, at least for me, as I am loath to get rid of anything, digital or physical.

Sometimes, it is the right thing to do. Bear with me as I get spiritual here. Sometimes we need to ditch bad habits, bad influences, laziness, a desire for comfort, and the slightest hint or shade of impropriety to turn around and be what God wants us to be. That’s hard, especially the part about comfort. We crave comfort, we long for it, whether it is a big house, a large salary, a nice car, a regular nap on Sunday afternoon, or just the right comfort food. Not to say that these things, in and of themselves, are necessarily bad, but to put them in front of our family, our health, our relationships, or God, turns them from innocuous nice-to-have things to idols. That’s when we need to get rid of them. That’s when our little comfort things turn into huge obstacles to our walk with Christ.

I’ll admit that a house is a big thing for me right now as my family looks for a new home. The pressure over the search looms larger and larger as the deadline to move approaches. God will show us the right house, at the right time.

I love my Sunday afternoon nap. Can I survive without it? Yep.

Comfort food, to me, is sometimes the only kind of food, and it is awesome, until I realize that I’ve consumed WAY too much of it. I’m working on it.

But I’ve digressed…where was I?

Yes. Here I am. Sometimes we need to clean out the junk and clutter, and anything else that gets in the way of us following Christ. Do you have anything you need to clean out? Start doing that today!

More posts coming…


Writing, writing, writing

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This was originally posted November 21st, 2011, the first year I attempted to write 50,000 words during National Novel Writing Month. It is here mainly for historical purposes. I started late and didn’t get 50,000 words done that year, but have every year I’ve tried since then.

I am 10,000 words into my book now, oh… I didn’t mention my book before?  I know, I haven’t mentioned it, sorry, but I had to open this post with something interesting.  I signed up for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) event about halfway through November, which was kind of silly, since the goal of the event is for people to craft 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.  Yes, that is 1,667 words a day, a somewhat challenging goal for anyone who is not a professional writer or seasoned veteran of journaling (my spell-check tells me that is not a word, but I know some of you do it).  The idea is not so much to have a “finished” work by month’s end, but to have that pile of 50,000 words to mold and shape into something potentially publishable.  The event is in its 13th year if I count correctly and has produced many published novels including Water for Elephants, a best-seller.

I am not so egotistical that I think that I will have a best seller (although that would be ultimately cool).  I realize that probably 7,500 of those 10,000 words are either passively rendered, misspelled, repeated too often, or just bad prose, but I am plugging on in hopes that I can at least say I tried.

So, I am 10,000 words into my book/novel/whatever.  I have pieces of several chapters, but no completed chapters.  My goal for the end of the month, since there is no way I can achieve the 50,000 word goal of NaNoWriMo is to have at least once chapter completed with all scenes in place.  As I am a complete beginner at this and have no real idea what I am doing, the book I am writing is constantly morphing.  I see where I am overly descriptive and bog down in details.  So I edit and move and cut and modify so that the novel fits my new mental framework for it each day.  If I don’t finish the manuscript it will be because I never quit editing or I get so tired of editing that I finally give up the goal of writing a book.  My attention span is not my strongest character attribute, so I hope that this project gives me a challenge and teaches me to stay with a task until it is complete.

No sneak previews of my book right now.  I will tell you the (working) title is “Opposition” and it is a suspense, thriller, action novel (not sure how much of each will survive the edits) set in present time.  Maybe I will post a snippet of one of the chapters in December.  That is pretty dangerous to do since it could all change before/if it gets published!

So wish me luck on my book if you don’t mind.  I will need it.

A Vacation (from vacation), please!

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This was originally posted on May 26th, 2012. I actually changed the title (adding an “A” at the beginning), but nothing else. I repost it only to place it back onto the Internet…there’s no lesson to learn, soapbox to get on, or hidden meaning. Just a touch of humor.

Well, I am a fan of the saying that “you need a vacation from your vacation”.  My family and I had a great week at the beach in Florida, but the drive home was enough to tip my sanity scale towards “totally insane”.

Checkout time was 1PM, and we actually left the campsite, everything packed and camper in tow around 12:45PM.  As we were approaching the gate of the state park where we had camped, our son reminded us that we had not purchased any souvenirs of our trip, so we turned around to go back to the gift shop at the other end of the park.  Driving from the gate of the park to the gift shop takes about fifteen minutes, slowly winding down a road canopied by overhanging trees just dripping with Spanish moss.  Beautiful, but seemingly endless.

After we purchased souvenirs we realized had been at the beach for a week and not eaten at a seafood restaurant, so we decided to try and find one of the many we had seen.  We apparently imagined one of them, because we drove several miles in “the wrong direction” to find it, but could not.  As we were attempting to possibly try another one that did exist, we got stuck in the sand and it took the combined efforts of several kind and VERY helpful people to get us out.

Once out, we decided that we were done with sand for a while and found a fast food restaurant that was completely surrounded with pavement at which to enjoy lunch.  We had left the campground at 12:45; it was now sometime between 3PM and 4PM.  So we headed north this time to try to make it home.  Around 6PM, we had to stop to replace a tire on the camper that had completely failed on only its second trip.  The other tire was within minutes of failing also so we stopped at a Wal-Mart to buy a replacement.  Once we had done that it was after 7PM, and we had over five hours of driving left.

We finally pulled into our driveway just before 1AM and I was tempted to kiss the nasty blacktop of the driveway, but instead I simply thanked my Lord that he had gotten us and our stuff home safely. We grabbed essential items from the van, went in to take a shower and then fell into bed.  I had driven for twelve hours, minus the hour or more getting unstuck from the sand, and the hour and a half spent replacing and buying new tires for the camper.

There were many memorable and exciting times during our trip, but right now the fog of insanity caused by the drive home obscures them.  Once I remember them I will write them up here – complete with pictures.

For now, I need a vacation (from my vacation)!!!

25,000 Words and Other Milestones

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This post was originally published June 6th, 2012. While Bradbury actually died on June 5th, I didn’t actually post until after midnight.

The same day that I pass 25,000 words in writing my book, one of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, dies.  It is interesting that I reach a (very minor) milestone the same day that Ray Bradbury reaches his last.  “The Martian Chronicles” was one of the first books I ever read.  I have a paperback copy almost as old as I am.  The pages are yellowed and dog-eared, the spine is disintegrating and the cover art is fading into oblivion.  It started a journey in reading for me that covered other giants of science fiction, including Heinlein, Asimov, Clark and Pournelle.  It stirred my imagination, even though I already knew that the events of the “Martian Chronicles” were as much fantasy as the C.S. Lewis Narnian Chronicles I also read around that time.

How many books have I read?  I have no idea.  How many books have I loved and re-read?  A small exclusive group, most of which are science fiction and fantasy – “Stranger in a Strange Land”, “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Chronicles of Narnia”, the Foundation Trilogy, the list goes on and on.

I loved losing myself in the imagined worlds of others so much that I want to bring that excitement to a new group of readers.  I aspire to only a fraction of the greatness of the authors I have mentioned and if I reach that goal I will be truly blessed.

The world of sci-fi and fantasy will miss you, Ray Bradbury.

An Update on My Site Rebuild

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As mentioned in my previous post, I am completely rebuilding this site and restoring old articles. I will probably skip my political rants, as they mostly refer to “The Great Divider’s” time in office. I’m referring to Obama, by the way, not Trump. Trump has his own issues, and I’ll probably address some of them once I start posting new blogs. I don’t think any president has done more to erase progress in race relations than Barack Hussein Obama, but I’m not chasing that thread right now, or ever again, if I can avoid it.

This site will not be primarily a political site, but I may have helped you decide whether you will continue reading my blog or not with that last statement, and that is OK. I don’t want you to continue reading under any illusions. I want you to know where I stand, and not just on politics. If I don’t, this blog is pointless.

I’ve posted a variety of articles over the years, writing about politics, writing, music, chess, religion, current events, and other topics. I’ll put the more interesting ones back on this site and let the others disappear into the digital dustbin. I plan to post more, and hopefully I can overcome my history of not updating this site. We’ll see.

I’ll present the articles I decide to repost in chronological order, putting the original post date at the top of the article. I know I can simply change the post date, because WordPress is awesome, but I don’t want to exactly recreate the old blog. I want to pull the best of it to this new site. I may scatter some new content in amongst the old posts, so bear with me as I cull through my old writings and repost the best.

Stay tuned.