Under Pressure

There are many different types of pressure in life such as money, work, and being human in general.  I just found a new type of pressure tonight.

I was hanging out with my daughter (15 months old) this evening when I smelled something funky.  It was the dreaded #2. It was upstairs for us.  On the way to the changing table I grabbed three wipes and got to work.  Unfortunately, staring back at me was a six wipe bum.

Now I like to think of myself as cool under pressure.  In this case, I had to improvise. With beads of sweat forming on my brow, I carefully used my three wipes, cleaning the area as much as possible without any stuff to skin contact. Then, I grabbed one of the cloths we have under the changing table, and finished the job. My daughter was laughing at me on the inside, I’m sure.

Crisis averted.

The response I just received from my wife as I told her this story was,”You’re doing the laundry this week.”  I get no sympathy around here. I guess having to do this four times in one day may have hardened her a little 🙂 .

Speaking of poop, I’ve started my entry for the writing contest I mentioned the other day.  This one was started the old fashioned way, with pencil and paper (a scrap piece of paper I had laying around rather than the Moleskine).  I’m happy with it so far.

Writing Contest

You all remember the writing blog I mentioned the other day, Words, Words, Words, the one with the post about writing a fight scene? Anyhow, they had a link to a writing contest over at Small-Town Big-Shot. The contest is a 750 word short story contest. The prize is a $20 Amazon gift certificate. Here is the challenge and the rules directly from the site:

Challenge:
Write a comedy story involving at least 2 out of the following:
exorcism
mermaid
angry mob
black box
banjo

Rules:
Story must be at least 750 words (no maximum)
Stories must be your own original work
You must actively use at least 2 of the items listed
Try to keep it somewhat appropriate for this site
I will judge only on humor and creativity
You may submit as many entries as you like

For those of you who have read any of my work, this is totally in my sweet spot. Most of the stuff I write tends to be on the funny side. Check out some of my Ficlets if you don’t believe me. The only downside is the deadline is September 1. Anyhow, check out the contest and let me know if you plan on entering. We’ll see if I enter.

Potter Finally

Well, my wife finished up the Harry Potter book last week, so I am finally able to read it.  I’m about 100 pages in and it has been excellent so far.  I actually haven’t read all the books, but read the first and saw the movies.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to follow the story, but I’ve been sucked in. My wife tells me that things only get more stressful with the story.  We shall see.

The only bad part is that I am only to read for about a half hour each night, with helping take care of my daughter (which is a ton of fun lately, reading books, making her stuffed animals chase her, etc.), blogging, and occasional fiction writing taking the rest of my time.

I’ve even avoided most of the spoilers thus far, which is amazing. Let’s just hope I can keep it that way.

I started a short story, in the fantasy genre, last Friday.  I think it will turn out to be a nice little tale.  I’m aiming for around 1000 words. I may even try to submit it places. If so, I might wait to post it here and instead ask for some beta readers.  I have to finish it first, of course.

A Night at the Park

A couple weeks ago, a close friend of mine from home called me up and wanted to know if I wanted to go to a minor league baseball game with him and his wife. I hate saying no to people, so I immediately said yes. Plus, it’s always fun watching a ballgame in person.

Well, the day we picked happened to be last Friday, and I spend most of the day worrying about/dreading the game. Part of me was worried about taking my daughter there, as she has never been to a professional sporting event and being 15 months old, I wasn’t sure how long she would be able to take sitting in one place. Secondly, the game was about an hour drive from my house, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to drive all that way. Finally, my friend had the tickets and I knew it would be almost impossible for me to get there on time, so I worried we somehow wouldn’t get into the game.

It turned out my fears were unfounded. We had a great time. Here is a picture taken of right field. As you can see, there is a roller coaster (a 100+ year old wooden coaster) directly behind the wall.

daycoaster.jpg

When we got to the game, we picked up some food and headed to our seats. It turns out we had excellent seats, only three rows from the front on the first base side. I could almost reach down and touch the dirt. Here is a picture of home plate, to give you an idea of our view:
homeplate.jpg
Our team was losing most of the game, but tied the game in the ninth inning to send it to extra innings. They wound up losing by one run, but we still had a good time. After the game they had fireworks:

fireworks.jpg

Anyhow, we had a great time and my daughter really behaved well. She even fell asleep in the seventh inning in my wife’s arms. I hope to get to a few more games before summer is over. We’ll see.

The Endicott Studio Journal of Mythic Arts

I’ve been on a Fantasy/Fairy Tale kick lately, what with Stardust and all. While doing a Google search I came across an excellent web site called The Endicott Studio. The site contains art, articles, poems, and short stories with a myth, folklore, and fairy tale theme. It also contains a quarterly (?) online magazine. As far as I can tell, all the content is free although they encourage donations. Here is a link to their Summer 2007 Issue.

In my brief perusing of the site I came across a few poems written by Neil Gaiman: Boys and Girls Together and The Fairy Reel. In searching for this, I see he actually has four poems in their poetry index. Check those out.

In addition to poetry, they also have short stories there. I particularly liked The Man Who Owned the Moon about an old man who had the moon in a jar and placed it on his windowsill each night.

I don’t know why I’m so interested in these types of stories lately. I guess the world we live in is so drab, and dark, and brooding sometimes that it’s nice to read about magic, and fairies, and old men who have the moon in a jar.

Endicott has been around for 20 years so I am just scratching the surface of what is there. Look around.

Enjoy!

Brett Dennen – You Need to Hear This Guy

I was listening to Starbucks XM Cafe (XM Radio) at work yesterday and came across this excellent artist named Brett Dennen and the song “Darlin’ Do Not Fear”. Very folksy and upbeat. I’m gonna have to download that on iTunes. It’s amazing how much good music there is out there outside the mainstream, if you just listen. Anyhow, here’s the song. Let me know what you think:

Moleskine Anxiety

I have a condition, a condition so stupid I’m afraid to even mention it.  I have Moleskine Anxiety.  I love the feel of the paper in the Moleskine notebook, the texture of the cover, and the solid construction of the binding.  Even though they cost around $12 per notebook, I have several of them and fight the urge to purchase more every time I see one in the store.  Good stuff.  My problem, though, is they are too nice.  I sometimes feel afraid to write in them.

I don’t know why I feel this way.  Part of me doesn’t want to sully the clean, blank pages with my horribly messy scribbles.  Another part of it, I think, is that I usually write my first drafts in my Moleskines, and well first drafts aren’t supposed to be good.  However, when I write in the notebooks I feel those words will last forever.

I have gotten around  my Moleskine Anxiety, telling myself they are only notebooks and really they were made (and purchased) to be written in.  Now and again,though, the Anxiety does return.

I know a few of you write in Moleskine notebooks as well.  Have you experienced anything like Moleskine Anxiety?

New Theme

As you can tell, I’m experimenting with a new theme. I’m not sure if I like it yet. I like the new header, but I’m not sure about the rest of the layout. I think I’ll keep it this way for a bit. Let me know if you have any strong feelings either way. Thanks to those who have already left comments.

Update 

Kaitlyn made a good point in the comments that the font of the header doesn’t really match the words “struggling writer”.  Thoughts?

Speed of Light Broken

I’ll have a writing post up here later today. In the meantime, The Telegraph is reporting that two German scientists are claiming that they have broken the speed of light. From the article:

“The pair say they have conducted an experiment in which microwave photons – energetic packets of light – travelled “instantaneously” between a pair of prisms that had been moved up to 3ft apart.

If this is true, which is an enormous if, then we will be exploring the far reaches of space in no time. I’m sure scientists across the world are rolling their eyes at this. However, I guess you never know. Was Einstein wrong? We shall see.

I guess if you start noticing strange things, you swear you did something but it turns out you didn’t, I guess this was true and time travel is now possible.  Actually, these guys just create a new universe. Thanks.

Rite in the Rain Notebooks

One of the newsfeeds I subscribe to is of the excellent site Cool Tools, which is a web site about, well, cool tools. They had an item featured the other day that I think would be of interest to all of you who prefer to write in notebooks, or those of you who have an addiction to pens and paper, like me.

The notebooks are called Rite in the Rain Notebooks, and are touted as waterproof notebooks that you can take anywhere without the fear of losing your precious words to the elements. The notebooks come in a variety of sizes.  One of the notebooks mentioned in the article is 3.25 x 4.625 in and will cost you around $2.00 (24 pages).  They also have full size journals which will cost you around $16.

If I wasn’t so poor I’d order one of these and check them out.  Actually, I may order one of the small ones and try it out.  I’m such a sucker for stationary.

Anyone else ever try/heard of Rite in the Rain Notebooks?