Realization, Writing is Necessary

Hi everyone! Did you guys miss my posts? Of course you did!! Well, I’m very happy to be back. I am hoping that I can post for each day to hit all of my categories, Monday Musings, Top Pick Tuesday, you know the rest, but I am still pretty darn busy at work, so my goal is to post at least 3 times, well to begin with and work up from there.

So, today is Thursday, but do I feel like throwing a virtual tantrum at you guys? Nope! I feel like being slightly philosophical.

Recently, I stopped by GameStop to meet up with my friend, David. We chatted, he traded in his Kinect, Justin bought Professor Layton and the Magical Mask and then we headed to Del Taco. While We all ate and David’s son demanded french fries that were way too hot for him, David asked me why I was not writing posts. I explained my work situation and he countered with, “but what about after work or on weekends?” I told him how drained I felt and again he countered. “There will always be things that get in the way of doing what you want to do, you just have to do it.”

And I thought about that.

David is right.

There will ALWAYS be reasons to not write.

So, the answer lies with how bad do I want it? And really, for a lot of writers it’s, “how bad do I need it?”

Writing needs to be apart of my life. I feel better when I write. I need to suck it up, because as crucial as my job is for money and stability, writing is as crucial for my well being, my soul.

So, I must change my outlook on writing.

Writing is not what I want to do.

It is what I must do.

Writing is not a hobby.

It is a lifestyle.

It is my dream, my passion, my key to a happy and fulfilled life. It is just as essential as eating, breathing.

Not writing is not an option.

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Workout

Sore, sore muscles and I’ve just begun. Justin and I decided to start a workout plan. We both already eat fairly healthy, so no real change in diet is involved, except we are drinking some power powder stuff. It’s not protein, so it’s not supposed to help you bulk up. Instead, it supplies energy for your muscles. Plus, we are using only a small amount.

We both have a different approach, since he wants larger muscles and I just want mine toner and elongated, but its still a similar plan.

Day 1 – we workout legs
Day 2 – cardio
Day 3 – we rest
Day 4 – workout arms
Day 5 – cardio
Day 6 – rest

And start over. Each day we workout we also do core, yay sit-ups!

How our workouts differ is the amount of weight and repetition we perform.

For Justin, he does heavy weight, low rep. So he begins with let’s say 45 pounds, and he does 5 reps. Then he does 60 pounds 3 reps and finally 80 pounds 1 rep. (Btw, I have no clue how much weight he was doing so those numbers are probably way wrong) That’s how it goes for each exercise. So on arms day, he bench presses increasing weight for about 9 reps total. Then he does curls, again 9 reps total. Then another arm exercise, 9 reps.

For me, I do low weight, high repetition. So, I begin with 8 pounds, and do 10, then I do 10 more, then I do 10 or 15 more (basically as many as I can do), until I’ve done as many as I can do, basically. Unlike Justin, who increases weight, I increase reps each time, so in a couple weeks my 40 reps will turn to 60 and my 60 to 100.

At least that’s the goal.

Then, sit-ups. Currently I’m using an 11 pound weight while doing them and it hurts. A lot! But that’s a good thing. Justin meanwhile uses the 22 pound weight.

Then I do yoga for a couple minutes, just a quick stretching and relaxing the workout. It’s a great way to warmup and cool down the workout.

So last night, we did legs. I did about 50 or 60 leg lifts and then 40 squats. I followed that with as many sit-ups and laying down leg lifts as I could. Today I feel it, but I also feel more energy than I’ve had in awhile.

Cardio is tonight, and cardio is my enemy, so I’m not sure how it will go. Since running is the worst, I might do Kinect Adventures or Disneyland, or something, anything but run. And bikes, I’d don’t like riding bikes either. But I might invest in some rollerblades. I love skating.

Also, since it’s related: I read an article about a survey that concluded that watching a scary movie can burn up to about 200 calories.

So maybe I’ll just watch some really scary movies.

Some Axel, Some Writing and Some Frosty!

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Today I have a couple things for you.

First off this picture of Axel, he is such a monster.

Second a fun little exercise to get that pen moving!

In stories, many characters have something very particular about them, a signifier. It’s something that reminds the reader who they are or what they do. As I was reading some Stephen King I realized how often he uses these signifiers as character names. “The Yellow Card Man” from
11/22/63 never had a name, he was just always the yellow card man because of the yellow card on his hat. By naming him only with his signifier King accomplishes several things; the reader never has to try to remember who the yellow card man is, the reader gains a very distinct image of the character by one phrase and the author cuts out a lot of descriptive language otherwise used to tell the reader more about the character.

I’m not sure whether it’s the choice of names or the contents of the books, but I always get the “vibe” of the character, and usually it is not nice, but really adds a richness to the text. So, for tonight choose a character and replace their name with a solid signifier.

In my book right now I use the name “red hard hat” for a fireman. The character who sees him is a little boy and he does not initially realize that it is a fireman. Giving the term I add some liveliness to the word choice and still tell the reader what is going on in the story.

I’m excited to use this method as a way to continue bringing life to the characters without paragraphs of detail that would otherwise be lost within words.

Lastly, a tiny rant for the day!

I have yet to use a very awesome free Wendy’s frosty card! Glad it’s free frosties for a year and its only February!

Writing Fever!

Hey there! Goodness this week has flown by and I have skipped a weeks worth of blogs. I would apologize for this lack of presence here, but I am too excited because I finally have that writing fever back in my veins. I have spent the past lunch breaks and even my 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon working on fine tuning the first 12 chapters of Alphaeus. I also keep trying to get those dang graphs to work in Createspace… I changed my Word doc to a PDF like Dan Harris suggested. I think that was probably what I needed, however, it was not uploading. By this I mean that Createspace started uploading it, it said “working” the loading bar with blue and white stripes moving across letting me know its doing the job. Then half an hour to 45 minutes later it was still “working.” I figured, ” okay tech difficulties, I’ll try again.” So I tried again. And again. And tonight I will try again. I will get this to work. Graphs will not be my undoing! I am good at graphs. I love graphs! They will be in the zombie book…. They wiiiiiiilllll.

Slight hysteria aside, I am extremely happy to be moving along with my work now 🙂

Now to figure out the delicate balance of work, blog, books, boyfriend, family, friends and if so lucky a little me time. (How do people do it??)

Also, happy valentines!

Article from EW

I read an article today in Entertainment Weekly, titled Under the Gun, about gun violence and its relation with movies, television, and video games. I was impressed that the writer was able to put the article out while maintaining a solid voice that took a stand against the violence, but did not divert the anger in different directions.

Often times, arguments regarding highly emotional issues tend to become saturated with those emotions to the point that the argument is lost. For example, someone who feels so passionately about an issue often tries so hard to persuade others to see their side that they do not balance what they say. Others who hear this passionate argument take offense and drive fast the other way. So what happens is you end up with two extreme views while most people sit somewhere in the middle.

I think some of the actors and other Hollywood industry people had some very intelligent comments on the issue. Whether they thought that violence in entertainment was a valid blame for violence in real life or not, their comments made sense and were well thought out.

My big disappointment with the article was the section devoted to video games.

I love video games, I grew up with video games, and video games have always been a thing to blame acts of violence on. So when the article was able to only gather 2 video game industry people (not for a lack of trying) to comment, I was disappointed.

I understand that the video game industry is a very secretive one because of how their products are made and sold and maybe it is a good thing for them to keep their mouths shut, because the industry is known for being the punching bag of many parents, educators, and others looking to place blame on anything but the individual, but it is highly disappointing to have people from the other corners of entertainment stand up and start intelligent conversations about the connection of violence and entertainment, while another corner, one that so many people are involved with, who have very strong fan bases, sits out.

(I know very long sentence, breathe)

Anyways, like the writer of this article noted, many games actually show the consequences of violence, are saying very “interesting things.”

It’s a shame that those creators are not giving their say as well.

Abuse of the System

I work hard. I pay bills and buy food. I buy food after I pay bills, which means I budget. I try to determine how much I am allowed to spend for food every two weeks or once a month depending on how it goes. It can be stressful sometimes because I get paid the 1st and the 15th, which means not all pay checks are the same amount. When there is a 9 day pay period it sucks.

Anyways, I usually allot between $40 and $80 to buy groceries about every two weeks. Now, those groceries feed 2 people, Justin and myself. (We have roommates who eat with us some nights and sometimes we eat what they’ve bought and sometimes we eat what we’ve bought. So, I think it generally evens out.)
Which means on a very tight budget I can feed myself for $20 for 2 weeks. That’s pretty awesome.

Here comes the rant

If you are homeless the government allows you food stamps (I fully support) they have recently allowed these food stamps, now managed by a card so food card, to be used at fast food places (I see no problem with that, in fact that’s great because if a person is homeless where are they going to store groceries?) But I recently learned that one person, let me stress ONE person ( no dependents, no children, not married) is given $200 for a month.

200 dollars. 5 times the amount I give myself on a tight budget.

You want to give $200 to a person with one dependent? Do it. I support. You want to give someone $200 for food and clothes for a month? I support. But that is a lot for one person for food.

I don’t think that money should go to anything else, we need to help the homeless and the unemployed. I just think a portion of that money could be spent more wisely. Perhaps building shelters.

By using a portion of that money in other ways you limit the amount wasted, sold and abused and guarantee that that money is used for what it is intended, to help.

Meanwhile, I’ll work my a$$ off to provide for 2 people for $40 (at best) BELOW what is given by the government.

I’m not mad that that money is available to help people, I’m mad because people abuse the system and we do not implement ways to better manage that abuse.

To Run an Errand in this Era -A Rant

Errands. The mission of driving somewhere to do some small task, that you feel doesn’t really warrant the effort of driving all the way there just to complete it.

Here’s the thing: I think that because most tasks can be accomplished online (we are used to online bill pay, shopping for items other than groceries, etc.) these small tasks that actually require more effort really annoy us now.

I used to not mind so much stopping by the bank or post office or dry cleaner or whatever, but now I absolutely loathe it. That’s right, not dislike, not hate, I LOATHE it. Why? 2 things happened to instigate my loathing.

First, every company became Internet friendly. My bank literally charges me a fee if I visit in person, in a branch or talk to a real person, even on the phone… Because I belong to the online club. Honestly, that’s not a real problem. I prefer talking to machines or just doing everything online, until I run into a problem. I had an issue with a withdrawal, it withdrew twice, so I called. Only, there is no machine option 7 to help out, so I talked to real person. We discussed the issue, got it settled and then the person says, “I see you are in the online club, so this call is going to charge you $5.” I was shocked, so I said so and the lady was nice enough to just waive the fee.

The second thing that has happened is the economy went down, down, down. The drop has resulted in companies that we still need to visit shortening their hours. If you have a 8-5 job, forget about visiting any government maintained building, no post office, no banks, (who all now work Mon-Fri 8:30 – maybe 5 and Sat 10-3) conveniently on your way to or from work. I’m the type of person who has always attached errands to other obligations or planned outings, because I hate making Saturday “Errands Day.” (It doesn’t happen all the time but its very annoying when it does.) So here is the really annoying part: these shortened hours means anyone who works my schedule must either take time off work, go during the lunch hour, or make “Errand Saturday”exactly at 10am. Limited hours for many people means the hours your able to go is the same for so many others resulting in lines like Disney with a bunch of irritated adults with no ride at the end, only a small sense of satisfaction that your task is done.

I understand companies needing to shorten hours and reduce costs, but I really think they should think about the time they are open. I think any company who’s current hours are so conveniently a half hour after I start work and close when I get off should make a decision; either elect to open an hour before so that your hours are from 7 – 4 or shift an hour later 9 – 6. If they really want to be helpful (which will never happen) they could do a 2 hour shift; either 6am-3pm or 10am-7pm. They still cut costs and shorten their operation time while maintaining hours that help people actually complete errands through the week.

I also understand that it’s impossible to make everyone happy, and I guess since I live in a city where so many people work night, swing or various other shifts I should be less loathe-full about the subject because their decisions may be based off that -I doubt it though. Come Tuesday during the lull of office hours, right before their shift starts at 4, people working these irregular hours can walk straight in, no line and be out. Apparently, they get fast passes.

Agree? Disagree?