Sunday, February 28, 2016

How to Distract/Entertain a Cat

Sunshine and Warm in Iowa
The weather outside has become increasingly awesome lately.  Today it is currently 60 degrees out!   The warms temps and sunshine pose a threat to me in several ways.  

First:  I want to be outside!   This causes me great distress when I'm supposed to be inside working on my novel.   Seeing and feeling the pleasant weather makes my comfortable writing set up feel more like a prison.  It requires all of my will power  (and lots and lots of chocolate snacks!) to not cave to the temptation.    

Cheryl plans her Distraction
Second:  Cheryl wants to be outside!    How is this a problem for me?   Well,   She wants to be outside...with me!    I can't blame her.  I want to be with myself all the time...and I am!   It's a Great feeling.   However,  I can't be in more than three places at once. Partitioning out a section of my life  for her can be a distraction when it is not the designated time.
Forget night,  what about during novel time?

Now you may be asking about the cat.   It is true that Hiro tends to bug me as much as Cheryl...sometimes even more.   However,  recently I have discovered a way to keep him occupied that does not require sacrificing a small rodent.   Behold!   The YouTube Videos  FOR cats!  
The Answer!  Cats love HD

Did you know they make videos simply to entertain your cats?    Just when I thought YouTube only made videos OF cats FOR people!  Hiro loves these things.   Now he can sit and become the couch potato  Cheryl always wanted without bothering me.  We can finally eat a peaceful dinner without Hiro meowing like a crazy person.   The down side is that I have to have the Television plugged into my computer for the videos to work. 
They also love birds...mostly live ones. 
  And thus,  I can't type on the same computer while Hiro is catching up on his latest bird videos.   So,  Hiro's video time is limited to any time I am not on the computer...which is seldom.   Luckily,   the nice weather has also brought the birds back to the bird feeder in the front he can watch them while I punch away at the novel.  
Even with the time,  Writing can be a challenge.
Before I forget,  I'm almost to 45000 words!   I have been trying to average at least 1000 words a day.   I had a pretty good day Thursday,  But yesterday was slower.    I'm thinking the novel is going to go  a ways above the minimum of 50000 words....and that is not so bad.   I feel like it s a race against time with the scoring season ramping back up soon.   I wanted to make some serious strides before I have to dedicate 40+ hours to a scoring project.  We shall see

February in Minnesota...Yikes!
Hope it is a warm and awesome February day in your part of the world.   One of the perks of living in Iowa, ( also a possible disadvantage as well) is that you have such varied weather this early in the year.   Previous years were bitterly cold,  but now it is warm and wonderful.   In Michigan, Minnesota, and could pretty much guarantee sub freezing temps  up until April or May.
Being this far south seems to be growing on me.   And most old people end up migrating to Florida anyway.  Guess that seems logical.  Enjoy the day! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cheryl's New Tokyo Racers.

Brooks Launch Three Dragon...RAAAR!
Being confined  to a wheelchair causes runners to lash out occasionally.   For Cheryl,   the reality of being unable to run out her problems is dealt with by purchasing new shoes.    And today....they came.

Green Scales!
Brooks Shoes paired up with the Tokyo Marathon to kick out these green, scaly monsters:.   The Brooks Launch Three Dragon!   Cheryl loves them already....
Can't read Kanji, But looks COOL!

Dragons on the tongue
Note the green ( OK, chartreuse.... The perfect shade in between yellow and green.)  scales and Red Kanji on the toe;  The Dragon in the tongue and in-sole;

Aglets with Words written on them....
Dragon pictures INSIDE!
the Words on the shoe lace binder;  ( called: Aglets....Note that next time you play Trivial Pursuit.) And the way  Cheryl and the Cat both react to the new item and you will understand how Japan is able to make things that shoppers find irresistible.

With my story being about dragons,  I was bound to note the irony.  How could the price of a shoe possibly matter when it has the theme of a Dragon?  I love all things dragon,  And all things Japanese.  Cheryl's method of distraction and slight of hand worked!   I'm now  bedazzled and enchanted by the colors and embroidery, rather than the empty bank account.  Well played Cheryl...well played.
Who Wouldn't Want this?

Looks a lot like Love to ME. 
Brooks shoes do tend to be on the higher end for focused running shoes.  And although I may pretend to be dubious about the cost of quality shoes,  I have run in "cheap" shoes enough times to understand where the money goes.  It is difficult to put a price tag on comfortable running.    Running with blisters or shin splints is no matter to chuckle over.   Add in the fact that Cheryl is trying to recover from a hamstring pull and having good shoes becomes very important.

So that is all today.   I'm having a difficult time trying to write this afternoon,  so I'm procrastinating with this blog post.   Even now, I'm having difficulty trying to make the words sound right.   Maybe I should take a little break until my mind becomes unclouded.    Perhaps I can work out something on the other blog.   We shall see.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Breaking the 40000 Word Barrier!

Cheryl says I should celebrate after I pass 40,000 words.   I decided with beer!   Tonight is beer night and we are trying some new brews to see if the craft brewing industry is worthy of all the legislation that is being undone.   But before I make this posting about political intrigue....Lets talk about the good stuff....ME!

Ok,   so 40,559 words total.   I still have a ways to go, but I'm getting close.   I was just happy I was able to squeeze out 2000 words over the last two days.  Hiro,  When not bothering me with his constant "Play with Me!" meowing,  sometimes actually provides moral support in the form of a soft and cuddle cushion.

I have been contributing to the other blog.   Probably anyone who is not a runner would find it boring.   Heck!  Maybe even runners will find it boring.   I really do not say anything that is ground breaking.   And if you read this blog,  you will probably recognize several topics and discussions that sound familiar.  There was bound to be a little overlap and redundancies.

So there it is....   Over 40,000 words on the novel and I'm finding a certain level of material in the well each day.  Tonight is Beer night with some fun new flavors.    We enjoyed some Sake that was infused with Fuji Apples.   The addition of fruit flavors is intriguing,  so we decided to see how it will work with beer.   I'm sure we will at least find it interesting, if not addicting.  We shall see if we end up sampling them all.   It is a Monday, after all.   Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Warmer Weather Brings Out the Running Shorts in Iowa!

 45 degrees?  Break out the shorts!
All of the snow and ice is GONE!
As in Attire...not people of short stature.   The weather is topping out at 54 degrees currently here in Wellman, Iowa.   Weather like this brings out those feelings of an early spring...and what better way to celebrate than to wear your shorts on a run.

Wearing the Des Moine Marathon shirt.
Cheryl wasted no time in rummaging through her summer gear and dusting off a suitable pair of shorts.   She also saw a guy a few weeks ago who was sporting his Des Moines Marathon 13.1 Half marathon shirt...and she became so jealous.   What better way to show off her achievement than to wear the same shirt on her run this morning.
Finally!  Sunshine AND warm weather.
So we only ran a little over 3 miles.   We had a long run of 7 miles a couple of days ago,   when the weather was still pretty cold.   Cheryl felt great  about that, but later felt the old injury pain flair up again.   As a precaution,  we walked yesterday and backed off the running for today.  The problem will arise tomorrow when the awesome weather will continue and she will be forced to run another easy day.   We shall see how it goes.

Mango Banana Sushi?
Victory!  3.5 miles
In other news,   Cheryl's scoring project wrapped up an entire week earlier than expected;  giving her additional time to sit around a mope about her physical disability. I only hope that she does not bother me with her depression.   It's bad enough she is letting team Allenbrite down by not working.  But add in that she may disturb my "Ethan time" and things could get ugly.  It's bad enough that the cat refuses to leave me alone.  What do all these people want from me anyway?
Mango Raspberry?

Is this her secret to weight loss?

Luckily,  she had found a bit of an outlet in her "Sushi Experiments."   Like a Mad Scientist,  she tries to think 'outside the wrapper' to create various Sushi creations that look pretty....but may be inedible.  Case in point:  The Fruit Sushi.    Cheryl recently discovered Mango... and now the bright yellow fruit has to be on everything. Hey!  I'm just happy she did not break the Shun Knife again trying to cut through the inner pit!

Looks good,  Right?

But how do they taste?
After Mango,  She has been exploring the possibilities for Chocolate.   Now I personally feel Chocolate tastes great on EVERYTHING!   ( Even Mashed Potatoes!)

Too Much Temptation!
 But I was disappointed in just how awesome it is on a fruit-filled Sushi rice ball.  I say "disappointed" because I will ultimately end up eating ALL OF THEM!   This form of temptation is not a welcome addition to my diet struggles.  Cheryl, on the other hand,  is at an all time low of 99 lbs!  She even had ICE CREAM today!   I guess you can get away with it if you run and only eat fruit and drink tea all day long.

So that is all.   Wish me luck as I attempt to continue my writing with an annoying Cat and Wife that demand play time and affection from me.   What about ME?   What about MY needs?  Perhaps I can buy a live mouse and a treadmill to distract them for a few hours while I work out the kinks in the story...or blog....I forgot about the other blog!   Better hop too!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Over 38000 Words. Time for a preview?

Not that anyone cares.   But I finally reached a place I feel might make a decent teaser to  grab someone's interest.  And besides that,  This was the most "G" rated chapter I could find.   I mean   people are being eaten and killed and forced to do things that are  kind of bad.    I guess I have some pretty dark thoughts sometimes...but I digress.

So,   a little over 1000 words today.   The lead up:   The main character just lost a friend and has had his world shattered because the people who were thought to be helpful,  turned out to be destructive.  He is also going through a bit of withdrawal from his addiction.   This is the moment he finally meets a dragon.   I'll leave it at that.   Hopefully it is not too long...and the first draft writing is slightly better than a high schooler's.  Looks like the formatting did not translate very well to blogger either.  Ah's only one small section.  Enjoy!

I’m not sure how long I laid there, but something eventually came to shake me out of it.  The voice….of the dragon. 

I never knew dragons could even speak.  I should have been shocked! But at that moment, it seemed there was very little that could shock me anymore.  I just watched someone get beaten to death by people who were thought to be protectors.  Why would a talking dragon be so strange?

“Are you awake?”  The dragon asked.  

I looked up and could see the blue and silver scales shimmer dully in the dim light.  It did not seem as large as my first impression, but it still towered over me.   I nodded in affirmation.

“Can you stand?”  It asked. 

I slowly stood up on my wobbly knees, and then forced myself to stand up fully.  My entire body shook as if I were struggling with hypothermia.  I hugged my arms around my body as I shivered.   I figured this was the end.  After seeing the dragon drag Tom into the darkness,  I concluded that I was its next meal.  Why not?   The Enforcers said that this is how all dragon hunters eventually end.  I had never given it much thought about my last moments.  The pain that was ricocheting across my body was so powerful, that it seemed only death could cure it anyway.   I stood there and waited for the inevitable.

You can imagine my surprise when the dragon offered me an egg.   He held it out with his clawed talons, as if offering it as a gift.  I stood there staring at it, but not reaching for it.

“It looks like you are going through a tough time.   Perhaps this will ease things up a bit for you.”  If offered.

I continued to look at the egg.  My heart beat faster with every passing second.  My body needed it and began to act on its own, but I summoned all of my will power to resist.  Even then,  I knew I was about to give in to the urge.  I tried to speak, but my voice was dry and weak.
“You’re giving me a whole egg?”  I asked weakly.
  The dragon nodded.
  “Why”  I asked.   At that moment, I realized I really didn’t care.  I’m not even sure why I asked.   I was about to jump at the egg no matter his response.   Nevertheless,   he responded

“This egg will help you out.  And I need a man like you to help me out.  Think of this as a ‘good will offering’.” He answered.  

I reached out for the egg and took it out of its outstretched arms.  I began licking the outer surface, trying to avoid looking desperate.  The dragon stood back and smiled widely,  keeping his teeth hidden. 

The pain relief was immediate.  It was as if the bullets that had been bouncing around inside my joints suddenly stopped.  My chills evaporated and I felt a warm flood wash over me.  My anxious mind suddenly found focus once again.  I felt as if I had been… saved.

After a moment,  I stopped licking and looked up at the dragon.  “So what does a dragon need help with?”  I asked incredulously.
“Ah, you see.  I need someone to disperse eggs.   It’s a chore!  And I can’t keep them all in one place.   I need to disperse them for an equal distribution.”  The dragon swept its arm around as if to demonstrate a farmer sowing seeds.  “Think of them as seeds or nuts off of a tree.   You would play the part of, say,  the squirrel.”  It looked back down at me.  “You would have access to all the eggs you want, and I would have them dispatched around the caves to places I can’t go.  And, like a squirrel,  you can indulge in an egg from time to time.   Think of it as part of your payment.”
I thought about the offer for a moment.  “I know what happens to the eggs after they hatch.”   I said without thinking.  I should have been more tactful.   I was talking to a dragon after all.  However, I had no interest in being lunch for one of its young. 

The dragon stood back without even a moment of hesitation. “Of course!”  It announced in a booming voice.  “That is the business I’m in, after all.  I can’t have hungry hatchlings breaking out of their eggs in close proximity.  They will eat each other!”   Its eyes widened with shock.  “I can’t have that.  How am I supposed to be a good parent if I allow that to happen?” 

“So it’s better if they eat the humans that are surrounding them?” I asked skeptically.

“They don’t just target humans.  They will eat just about anything at first.  It’s just that humans seem to like to gather around the eggs so they end up being close by.  It doesn’t have to be that way.”  The dragon’s expression changed to concern.   “If it bothers you, just make sure you are not around when it hatches.  That’s all.   See?  Simple!”  It sat back and folded its arms with a satisfied look.

It made sense….somehow.  I really did not know why I was actually arguing with it.   The job seemed lucrative and simple enough.  I would be in charge, so I could dictate who would get to enjoy the egg and who couldn’t.  I could control the location and how it was managed so we could all enjoy it safely. I’d make sure everyone was clear of it before it hatched.  The job kept sounding better and better. 

Besides,  wasn’t this what I was after all along?   I was tired of the sex business and I wanted to get Sara out of it as well.  I could charge an admission to the egg as a form of income.  And I would always have access to the eggs, so I would not have to go through the pain I had just endured.  My mind raced with the possibilities! It seemed like the perfect job for the caves,  and I was positive that this offer did not come around for just anyone. 

“So, all I have to do is pick up an egg and find a place far enough away; and leave it?”  I asked.

The Dragon nodded. 

“And I can do whatever I want with it until it hatches?”  I clarified.

“As long as the eggs are far enough apart,  you can invite your friends to enjoy the outer shell all you want.”   The Dragon confirmed. 

It really was not a difficult choice.   What the hell else was I supposed to do?  Compared to the alternatives, this job seemed like the obvious answer.  “Ok, I’ll do it.”   I agreed.  I paused for a moment.  “So how will I find the eggs?”   I asked.

“No need to worry about that. I’ll make sure you find them.”  The dragon explained.  “So that’s it.   Think of that egg you’re holding as your first job.  Take care of it, and I’m sure we will have a long and prosperous symbiotic relationship.”   The Dragon backed up into the shadows.  Its body and head disappeared, leaving only its green eyes   glowing and visible.  “I’ll be seeing you.”  It whispered as if its voice were mist in the air.  And then it was gone. 

I stared after it, holding the egg in my arms.  To say the sudden turn of events was unusual would be an understatement.  Mere moments ago, I was prepared to die.  Only to be reborn and given another chance to live.   I felt as if I could not fail at this one.  I would not fail!  I would do anything within my power to make success assured.  For the first time in a while, I felt as if I finally had a direction I could follow.  A way to make everything I desired come true. I was not going to let that opportunity slip away.  I tucked the egg under my arm and headed back to the darkness.  Back to find Sara.

OK!   That's it for today...Now off to the other blog to see if I can continue the writing  mojo.   We shall see. Perhaps I should not have thrown in the pictures, but that would make it seem "out of place" in my blog.  What can I say, I love pictures!  I also love it when I can actually find pictures that are close to my description. Hope you enjoyed it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

36000 words! YEAH!

I'm not sure what got into me, but today I was very productive in my novel pursuits.  I can't remember the last time I wrote almost 3000 words in a sitting.  I guess that would explain why I can't seem to finish the running blog post today.   I must have reached my limit on the number of words.

OK,  news from the home front...   Cheryl is back to running every day now.  She seems to be over the injury and is hoping to increase the mileage.  The weather here is warming up, but not before dumping a new blanket of snow on the we have to deal with slippery and wet conditions once again.   I guess it beats the alternative to running in the cold.

I'm burying more nuts than Cheryl!
After the run,  Cheryl scores and I write.   She has been very good at not bailing on the scoring after only three hours.   You see...we got our W2's a couple of weeks ago and she found out I BURIED  her in the Pearson income bracket.    She now has made it her goal to try to actually make some money at Pearson by staying on LONGER!   So Note to all:  Pearson pays by the hour...not by how awesome you are as a person.  Oh,  They do throw in the bonuses....something Cheryl is FINALLY able to get because she stays online long enough to get them....But hey.  What do I know?  
Hope everyone is having a great day today.   The warmer weather is moving in and hopefully it will take down some of that snow on the trail.    Otherwise, look for a posting on the other blog soon.   See ya then.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

33500 Words!

As with all things, I believe practice and routine are key to success.  (Except when it comes to things that actually pay money.)  Cheryl runs a little every day so she can eventually run a Marathon...and I try to write something every day so I can finish a novel.   None of those things actually pay any money, by the way.   But  since when it human fulfillment defined by wealth?  ( OK,  probably more often that I think.  Money does come in pretty handy from time to time. )
But where is the money???

That lead up was to brag that I have crossed the 33000 words barrier.   It helps to actually have a computer to write with.  I have been stuck at this point for a while, and it was a difficult scene to trudge through.   But now that it is over, I can now proceed to the next scene that I have been excited about.  ( The part where the enforcers are shown to be something they are not....)  I'll stick to vagaries because trying to explain a story as weird as this would probably take...well.... over 33,000 words I suppose.

 So another cold day in Iowa.   Temps were in the single digits, but with no wind.   Cheryl was able to run three miles and I was able to ride along side with my bike without freezing my face off...much.   It must be comical watching us run/bike together.   Cheryl looks like a running Ninja and I look like a bear riding a bicycle.

 Overall,  a typical day here.   Cheryl continues to score while I write my current progress.   Who knows,   perhaps I will even add to the other blog later.   We shall see.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A New Blog?

Why would I try something so crazy as to upkeep two blogs at the same time?   Do I really think I can write that much?   I can barely get over 32000 words on my novel!   Why start such an endeavor?

Well,   Truth be told,  this happened on my three week purgatory off the internet.   Cheryl and I discussed ways I could release my creative outlet without carving, folding, painting, drawing, or dismantling complex electronics.  We put our heads together, and after the initial pain and hollow coconut sounds, we came up with a blog about her running.   She is such a narcissist!

It may be true that I complained a bit that her running hobby was taking up valuable space on my blog.    A blog about the most important person in the world....ME.   So we settled on this compromise that should satisfy both parties amiably.  Except I still have to write it.

If you don't mind a bit of redundancy,  Check out the new blog here:
This may begin to feel like a two-timing love affair.  I could never keep up with two women,  what makes me think I can keep two blogs? ( and write a novel.....32000 words!)   Hopefully I'll share the love and hope they both don't leave me.   As for the novel...Well,  I should think of a better analogy before people think bad things.   I'm not sure comparing writing to intimacy may be understood by very many people.  We shall see.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sony VIAO goes bye-o.

Sony Dies!
The "Old Computer"
It happened so suddenly.  I have known of this issue for a while, but I unwittingly turned off my Sony computer (named: RED...after my favorite cat of all time) ...and it has never come back on.  Sad, isn't it?   When you lose a computer.   Like losing a friend...or worse...a really cool cat. 

But,  as with all things,  a Broken Heart is healed with Time.  Lots and Lots of Time... BUT, even faster with....a REPLACEMENT!
However, similar to cats,  Computers are difficult to just substitute in a new one.  Cats have peculiar behaviors that you may find either endearing...or annoying.   Place new computers in that same category...without the hairballs and litter smell. 

The "NEW" computer
Cheryl,  having lots of luck pretty much everything,  suggested that we try to find a new and improved laptop that fit our budget of nearly zero dollars, while performing above and beyond the Sony Corporation's best and brightest.  Add in that it came with no taxes and free shipping from AmazonPrime, ( because Cheryl is a "Preferred Customer") and I was all over it.  Call me a sucker for a bargain!

Three weeks later!...Really,  should I even say more?    THREE WEEKS LATER.....  we finally receive our computer....and it is the wrong one. By Wrong...I mean NOT the one we purchased!  (different model number all together!)
May take some getting used to.
Half the memory, No CD drive,  No windows 10, Blue Tooth, No HDMI! ...basically the one that was WORSE than old RED, the Sony VIAO.  The Computer we paid for ( with the time ticking.. Hurry! "only 7 left!")  was now  resupplied  AND almost $100 more than the price we paid.  The one that arrived had none of the features we we sent it back the same day and headed to BEST BUY.   Currently, I'm wrestling with a similar model that we wanted and it cost $100 LESS than what we paid for on, Best of ALL.... I have it NOW!   The three weeks of waiting, instead of healing,  caused me Great Irritation!

Sure, it has it's bugs  and hiccups that I have to figure out.   Even now as I type this, the keys feel funny compared to Old RED's   But I'm sure I will get used to it.  Perhaps I will even grow to like this one.  Similar to the Outside Cat that rummages through our Garbage. 
 I thought I could "fix" the Sony, but things look pretty bad.
My invasive surgery on "Red"
I admit I really worked that computer hard.  I'm not even sure if I can save the RAM from it. (Perhaps it is a good thing I never entered the field of Medicine...)  I have already upgraded the RAM in this computer, so hopefully I will see a noticeable improvement.  We shall see.

Another successful failure!
So what have we been doing for the last three weeks with no access to Porn , er... I mean Anime, News and Blogger?  Uh,    Well,   The weather has been pretty bad, but we managed to get in a walk on most days.  
For ONCE we captured the Eagles from the car!

Sometimes we even see an Eagle or two....or 8!   Check out these guys on this Deer Carcass.   This deer was possibly one of the bucks we saw during  early December.   ( He was only about an 8 pointer in the same location where three crossed the road that day.)

Meal time on an 8 point!
Just as the group flew away!
They come back after we pass by.
The Baldies pretty much picked him clean as the next day there was only a ribcage left! I guess Eagles replace the scavengers during the winter months.

Cheryl back to running...a little.

Not the safest running conditions.
At times like these,  Best to Walk around
Cheryl is finally able to run again.   10 WEEKS after her injury she is back to taking the slow baby steps of a newbie runner.   Well,  It is ridiculously cold outside this time of year,  so speed and traction were never going to be in the cards.  Best to play things safe and take them slow.  With warmer weather about a month away, I'm sure that will be the perfect time to get back on track for the upcoming Marathon season. 
As for me,  I was up to 32000 words when the computer died.   I have not written anything since.   With three weeks of mind numbing time on my hands, you may think I have accrued a decent cache's  worth of material.   But alas....I have to rethink things over.  Inspiration is like the wind;   Fierce and powerful one day,  Soft and still the next.  With Cheryl busy scoring, I'm sure I can get things back to operational levels soon. 


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