Friday Free-for-all

Ah, Friday at last! Huzzah, huzzah!

The New Books

I heard from the editor about my two new books. Seems he took a look at the competition and realized NO ONE is publishing introductory books on HTML5 and CSS3 separately… just like I said. So now he wants to combine the two into a single baby-steps book. Good. NOW you’re talking. Of course, that’s going to HALVE my money. Dagnabit.

Still, it’s something. I want to pitch him a OneNote book, too, and see if I can get Fal to work on it with me. She’s fallen madly in love with OneNote, and I have to tell you, I knew it would happen. I tried to get her to use it back when I wrote the first of my technical books, and I tried to pitch it to the publisher then. But she’s way better with it than I am and I bet we can make it look exciting to the publisher now.

Whattaya think, babe?

The Job

Something amazing happened with my job and the programming side of things. I don’t know why other than the Lord just blessed me, but I looked at some code I’d looked at a thousand times before and it not only made sense, I’m about 80% finished with something I’ve been banging my head against fruitlessly for the last two and half months. I’m so excited I could just puke.

I also got to set up a new SharePoint site for our business group, develop a template for collecting data (I actually had a form designed but it wasn’t flexible enough for our needs and I don’t have time to research it), and maybe, just maybe, things are starting to fall into place. Maybe.

Thanks, Lord. The prayers of my wife and children seem to be having a positive affect.

Fitness

Yeah, not so much. I still haven’t started. I want to pick it up on a Friday when I can sleep in the next day and recover, then keep on my progress and develop a head of steam going into Monday.

Someone at work suggested maybe it’s like a lot of other things. When we think about it, it’s easy to make a big, scary dragon out of it when really it’s not much at all. We psych ourselves into being sedentary this way. I know I do, for sure.

But this ends this weekend. I have nowhere to go, nowhere to be. I’m going to do this.

Dieting

Since I’m not exercising, I figured I’d better be extra diligent in my diet. So far, so good. My loving spouse and I have been on it for about two months now, and I’m starting to see – and feel – the difference. My clothes aren’t so constrictive, I’m wearing shirts I haven’t worn in a couple of years, and maybe more like three or four.  They’re not stretched taut over my gut either. So that’s something.

Yeah, it’s working. And you know what? I don’t miss the things I’m giving up to do this. I really don’t. Whether or not it’s realistic remains to be seen, but my goal is to get myself from where I am to under 10% body fat. I’ve never been that lean before, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be now.

I hope.

Miscellany

I’m way happier with our TV. We took the one with the bright spots in it back and bought another one somewhere else. It’s a couple inches smaller, but I think it’s a better size for our room. And the picture is MUCH better because I got the HDMI cable to go with it. We got a PS3 for a Blu-Ray player and the kids absolutely adore Little Big Planet. Thanks to Onyx Nightingale for that recommendation! Great call sweetie. Now… any others? ‘Cause Little Big Planet 2 is way too expensive. 😉

The Wii has been relegated to what it actually is – a basic game machine. My son loves his Mario, so those games see action. Who says you don’t need more than one game system? XBox 360 Kinnect, here we come. 😉

I don’t know whether to buy the kids a new computer for their little games and stuff or get myself a really nice one and give them this one. There’s nothing wrong with the one I have, but it’s not the best thing out there either. I saw a triple core machine I liked, and I think I saw a quad-core too, but I don’t know if I want to drop a grand on a PC. At the same time, I do want a bigger HDD and more RAM, and having higher processor speeds wouldn’t be a bad thing. I haven’t decided, but then, I don’t have my mad money yet either. When I get it I guess I can decide.

What’s up with all of you? Any plans for the weekend? Sound off and let me know, y’all.

Have a good one whatever you do.

God bless!

-JDT-

Copyright 2011 DarcKnyt, All rights reserved

Groundbroken

Okay, so I started that new novel, right? Great news. Then I got stuck right out of the gate.

I mean, I am RUSTY, people. I had NO idea I was so weak. I have to go back and revamp the first thousand words for Pete’s sake! Tweaks, I guess, but come ON! These are rank amateur mistakes I’ve made. These are the mistakes of someone who’s working on the first thing they’ve ever written, not someone who’s started at least three novels, finished one, and written hundreds of thousands of words. I really feel poorly about what I’ve done to this point and have to get back into it.

Also, having a structural plan didn’t help with motivation at all. And execution. Only with the path the story will take. So I need some motivation and inspiration and HOLY COW, practice practice practice! (Which I thought I was getting!)

Guess what my weekend plans are? G’head, guess.

What about you? What are your plans for the weekend, and if you’re a writer, how do you “find it” when you’ve seemed to “lose it” – the knack, the savvy, the suave?

Have a good time whatever you do. 🙂

-JDT-

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Moving Forward

Last night I decided I’d shut down my deviantART account. (See? Didn’t even link to it.)

I’ve kicked this around for a long time. I have the option of deleting my account, and having no presence there at all, but I decided I’d just remove all my writing from the public area (deleting them would have taken forEVER) and store them where they’re not visible. Then I’d leave a goodbye note to friends and loved ones there and just let it go.

If you’re not familiar with it, deviantART is essentially Facebook or MySpace for artists. Originally founded to showcase visual art, it also has a thriving photography and literary community too. Discussion boards and chat rooms too. It’s a thriving community.

It’s also just not the sort of place I want to be anymore.

Things started going south for me in 2008. I am a conservative surrounded by short-attention span liberals and that mixes like oil and water. I’m not a politico by any means, but I also won’t be told how I should feel or act or vote. So there were fallings out with “friends”. Of course they weren’t really friends, were they? Just people I knew from dA.

Something happened with a person I don’t associate with anymore. I’ve alluded to it before, and things between us soured. I went away shocked and angry, and in a couple of days I was just snarky. I don’t have the energy to hold a grudge so I didn’t. 2008 was the last of the really bad years for me. I lost not one but TWO dA friends that year over ridiculous, stupid things. I never bothered reaching out because, honestly, who cares? Those weren’t people I’d ever see in person anyway, and not being in contact with them only left me more time.

FAITH-BASED, BELIEF-SYSTEM ORIENTED CONTENT WARNING!

Click away NOW if you don’t like hearing about Jesus, or think it’s your place/job/duty to argue, insult or demean me and my faith. /Disclaimer.

Over the course of the past eighteen months, I’ve grown in my Christian walk. I’ve come to realize Christ’s living relationship with me is more important to me than any other relationship I have now, or will ever have. I realize with each passing day the influence He has on me and my thinking, how He works in the hearts of those who follow Him, and how He shifts my views. I don’t see things the same way I did a year or two ago. Not even close. And as I seek His face every day, every time I get on my knees and pray, I realize more fully how insignificant some of the things I held important were.

One of those things was being right all the time. I can read about how someone on the Internet thinks my faith is for morons and laugh. I can see statements from others which conflict with how I think and believe and recognize how trivial a disagreement can be. So if someone isn’t my “friend” anymore because I said Barack Obama was elected SOLELY on the color of his skin and NOT on the content of his character, well … I guess we can’t be friends then. *Shrug* Based on the level of incompetence this entire administration has shown I don’t retract or feel embarrassed by ANY of the statements I made shortly after the election of ‘08. One “friend” down? Yeah, guess so.

I had another disagreement with someone who thought I was “psycho” and the use of that word “offended” me. (No, it didn’t. I was lookin’ for a reason to step in her face because I felt she’d stepped in mine.) I look back on how THAT “friendship” fell apart and realized how the two of us weren’t friends in the first place. But I did appreciate her helping me down the road toward improving my prose. She was the first very honest critic I had, though I’ve had much tougher and more honest ones since. I didn’t react as well as I should have, and that put her on tenterhooks. When I joked about how she never said much of worth to me after that, she got upset and before that day was out she’d thrown me off like so much dirty underwear.

Ah, well. Enter Jesus again, Who took my hand and showed me how unimportant it was, how harmless it was, for me to be soft and gentle in my response instead of harsh and looking for excuses to fight. Being pugilistic didn’t get me anything except down another friend (this actually happened first, in May of ‘08 I believe). Which is exactly what happened. I wouldn’t budge, and while I thought she might have extended an olive branch several months ago, it was not in my scope of ability to recognize it OR respond appropriately to it. Goodbye, friend number two.

Finally, in October of ‘08, someone I cared a lot about basically went stone-cold nuts and chose a psychological time-bomb to side with over me in a disagreement which didn’t have to be anything more than a simple misunderstanding left alone to straighten itself out. Two people working on a written “apology” (which said, in effect, I’m sorry I reacted to you being such an a$$hole) didn’t do much to move me toward reconciliation, and I wanted nothing whatever to do with the pathological liar and manipulator I saw on the other side of the triangle. My “friend” felt otherwise, joined to their cause and left me down “friend” number three.

That last one stung. I sided with that person over her own church and tried to encourage her when she felt attacked by the very faith community she tried to be part of. My wife, innocent of all wrongdoing, was also mistreated. This angered me more than my own mistreatment by far.

Yet, the Lord has gotten me to see that, my wife wasn’t really injured in it. It was a lousy thing to do, but honestly, she didn’t have her integrity insulted or her dignity stained. Her reputation was intact. Nothing happened. Not really. It was a slight but nothing more.

So here I sit realizing I’m complicit in each of the disasters befallen those relationships. I knew to stay out of political things. Why did I do what I did? All I needed to do was keep silent. I felt, at the time, I didn’t have to do that, I had as much right as anyone to speak my mind on the subject. I did, and do, and all that’s fine but politics – and the election of 2008 more than any other in my memory – polarizes people and views. If I had no wish to disrupt the status of my relationships all I had to do was say nothing. It was after the fact anyway; what difference did it make? None. It just drove someone away I cared about. Or thought I did anyway. And why not an apology to those who, whether rightly or wrongly, felt slighted by me? Who would be harmed by that? The cry of “But I don’t have anything to apologize for!” is the cry of the lonely person sitting alone in a wilderness, abandoned by all would-be companions. Seldom do those who want to be right ever recognize when they’re wrong. SOMEONE must be the grown-up in such situations.

Last night, I decided I would be the grown up in these cases. I would, in my parting notice to those who have called themselves “friends”, humble myself enough to apologize for the perceived wrongdoings. I couldn’t apologize specifically – after all, I don’t know what they feel offended about or by – so I threw up a generic “I’m sorry for what happened between us and what I did or said that hurt you.” Notice I didn’t say “MIGHT have hurt you” – it’s a forgone certainty I did, in fact, inflict real or perceived injury. So I made no bones of my apology and didn’t cap in any disclaimer in any way. I simply apologized. Not to all three of them, but to two of the three. (I have specific reasons for not apologizing to the third person, and yes, they’re unrelated to feeling I had nothing to apologize for. I think I probably do, but won’t because that would be hypocrisy. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.)

And almost immediately I received notice that one of the two persons I’d apologized to had commented on my goodbye note. Only to say they missed me and I should email them, but contact nonetheless. I answered no, I wouldn’t email; I don’t know what else to say and it’s late. They responded AGAIN saying they felt they owed me a long explanation and they would, in fact, send an email.

What I got wasn’t “long” – which is relative, at any rate – and it rambled to the point of almost being indecipherable, but basically this person wanted me to know how they had, for months, considered apologizing, reaching out, explaining things, yada yada yada…

All blather, of course. If they’d sincerely meant to do that they’d done it, just as I would have had the spirit moved me (or is that the Spirit? hm) to do so. It’s only very recently I find myself longing for people of like mind, of like faith, of like interests. I want to share with conservative Christian writers and move in their circles, but I know in my heart they could never embrace my work. But it’s hard for me to fit in to any group, so I stay where I am, hoping someone will be at least similar to me somehow. It hasn’t happened yet, but the world is big and despite how full the Internet is of denizens, it’s a lonely place when you feel you belong with no one.

No, I said my apologies and meant them as best I could, and don’t expect reciprocity either in word or deed. All I want to cleanse my conscience of the stain of my own inequities in the matters, and move on.

I don’t know if blogging will or won’t be the next thing to go for me. I’ll have to even wait and see what the ramifications are for leaving dA. I spent so little time there and found so many things I once held interesting to be annoying, it can’t be a mistake. But where on the Internet CAN I go to find people who believe as I do and share my interests, worldview when appropriate, and more? One of the two to whom I apologized felt that way to me through the haze of memory and yet, the email response I got indicates to me perhaps I’m again alone in the most important aspects I sought companionship about. Strangely sad to know that bridge didn’t exist anymore.

But then, in many ways and in many topics, we can never go home again, can we? Time moves in one and only one direction and I am not the same man I was before. I will never be him again. While I’m interested in finding out who I am now and what I want, I can say with assuredness not finding it will not surprise me, neither disappoint me. I don’t expect to discover it.

What I will discover remains to be seen. Isn’t that what life is about?

-JDT-

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Monday Meh

I don’t have much to say. I was going to continue the eBook publishing series but I’ve been Slurping all weekend and didn’t write it up. I’ll have to get back to that some other time. Plus, I wanted to touch base with you regulars again and see how you’re doing.

Back to basics…

I’ve been watching some back pain videos. I learned a couple of things. First, did you know 80% of the population has back pain at some point? And did you know your doctor expects you to:

  1. Ignore it and work out to “help” it
  2. Not bother him with it because he cant’ diagnose it or pinpoint it
  3. Not self-diagnose because you don’t understand the “art and science” of medicine
  4. Not expect to be pain-free

Isn’t that great? Get used to living with pain. We can get you to ignore it. You can learn to tolerate your pain.

I also learned Yoga seems to offer many postures and routines which are good for back pain, especially lower back pain (my kind). I wonder if anyone’s made that “Yoga for Manatees” video yet.

Yogi: Smarter than the average…

Speaking of yoga, why do so many yogis bald into their ponytails? Get a haircut, guys, it’s really not helping you. All their harmony and balance with out of control egos, and yes, that IS scalp showing at the back of your head. Still, I’m intrigued. The moves are close enough to the martial arts that I caught myself turning some of the postures into strikes and defenses in my head. But if it helps with back pain, I’m for it. It’s definitely low-impact too. That’s a plus when you’re plus-sized like me. The sound of my bones shattering under my bulk doesn’t excite me all that much.

I guess there’s a conditioning program too. I know one person on deviantART who’s lost 24 pounds doing yoga, AND got her fibromyalgia pain under medication-free control. Pain management and weight loss? I’m there!

No more pic-a-nic baskets…

I’m giving up fast food. I’ve been to every fast food restaurant I can find, eaten everything I can get my lips around, and you know what? I hate it. I can’t choke it down anymore. It’s just … over for me. I guess my grown-up taste buds have kicked in. You know what’s floating my boat lately? Salads. A good steak is always going to have a home here too, but salad’s been awesome for the last couple of days. I’m about to shovel some fruit down my gullet too and see how that sits.

Are you ready for some…?

Football time again! Woo! My team won. How’d yours do? If you were the visitors, you probably lost. Only three visiting teams won (up to tonight’s games, anyway). But the season’s young and there’s a lot of football to be played. Are you in a fantasy league? I’m not but got invited by one of the #fridayflash writers I follow. But … y’know. No TV still.

And Slurping all the way…

Well, I sent the first chapter to the publisher and editor yesterday to see if they approve of how I’m doing it. If I get green-lit (or is that green-lighted? I never know), I can race ahead. And I shall, indeed, have to RACE ahead. I’m way behind on this one and what I thought was plenty of time, isn’t. *GULP*

If you pray, pray for me on this one. It’s harder to get motivated for some reason.

So … how’s it goin’ by you? What were you up to this weekend? What’s new with you? Sound off, y’all. I want to hear from you.

-JDT-

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Weekend Round-up

It’s Monday morning everyone, and I’ve been sort of busy over the weekend. I hope you all had a happy and safe time away from work and are facing your workday challenges and acquaintances with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.

Or whatever.

Without further adieu:

  • I finished editing and polishing (such as it is) my eBook document over the weekend. Without additional excuses available, I published on both Amazon.com and Smashwords.com. The results were mixed. With Amazon’s Kindle store, looks like all I need is for them to approve the book (wtf?) and then we’re finished. It’ll go live. That’s the big one. Smashwords gave me fits. They said something about not liking my TOC, so I have to check out what they want from me on that before that will be available in their “Premier Catalog” listing. *Yawn* We’ll see. Most Kindle authors are saying they publish on Smashwords and make about a fifth what they do on Amazon, so meh. Amazon’s the main thing right now, and they’re looking good to go.
  • This is the last weekend I’ll have off of work. From now on I’ll have to spend every weekend, whether I get a job or not, writing my non-fiction book. I have so much research to do it’s daunting, and I need at least one or maybe two sample Word documents from people who’ve already written one of these to use as a template. I’m excited about it, but it’s also a lot of work, and I hope the deadline (mid-November) is doable. I think so.
  • Of course, as soon as I can’t do it because of time commitments to paying things, I get a bunch of clever ideas from J. A. Konrath’s blog about eBooks and what they’re able to do. *Sigh*
  • And of course, as soon as I can’t do it because I’ve committed to the paying gig, I get another idea for a novel. You know what the best inspiration is for me? Not being available to write. As soon as I have free time to write the ideas dry up like the Mojave in August. But if I can’t because I’m working on something else or FOR someone else? Idea smorgasbord. *Sigh*
  • Any suggestions about marking the eBooks is appreciated. If you have a Kindle and would like to buy it, please let me know, although I don’t know why you would do that when it was up on my fiction blog for free for a long time. Still, I appreciate any and all support. Give it a nice review while you’re at it, will ya?
  • I’m thinking of making a Facebook page for it. Please join it. Be a fan if you’re on FB, okay? Please? Oh, and if you know how to do this, let me know. I need all the help I can get. Thanks!

So I guess that’s not that much after all, but I felt as busy as a three-legged cat with diarrhea all weekend. Hm. All about perspective I guess.

How was your weekend? Sound off, all!

-JDT-