Inspired To Write

Growing up, I loved writing. I’d come up with a premise, invent summer characters, get them in interesting situations, and then see how they got out of it. The words would flow from my fingers as if the characters and story itself were alive and guiding me. I wasn’t so much the writer as the conduit for the story to escape into our world.

At some point, I stopped writing. It might have been after I submitted a story to a science fiction magazine and it was rejected. I didn’t handle it well and to shield myself from future rejection I figured that writing wasn’t as important a thing to do.

Over the years, I’ve caught the writing bug off and on, but never for too long. Recently, though, I’ve gotten hooked on writig again and it’s thanks to JSL.

JSL, like me at a young age, loves writing. He also loves drawing and will write/illustrate his own books.  I was inspired by him and decided to write one of two stories that have been kicking around my brain for a few decades.  Unfortunately, those stories are going to be extremely long tales and I figured that – much like stretching before you exercise – I should start on a shorter tale. Once I had the smaller story under my belt, I could take on the longer story.

Luckily, one of my tales was ripe for side stories featuring different characters. Not only did I not have to invent a new world, but I could make this short story a lead in to my larger tale.

In the past, my writing was limited by my computer time. I could bring a notebook with me but I write better on a computer than with pen and paper. Luckily, technology has advanced and I can use Google Docs to compose my story.  I can make quick edits on my smartphone while waiting or whenever a story idea strikesinterested component of writing is editing your own works. You write some text, revise it, change it a dozen times, and then take it out entirely because something else flows a lot better. One of the best ways to do this is to read your work aloud. Luckily, when JSL heard I was writing a story, he begged me to read it to him. Reading him the story helped me to fine tune my words.

At this point, my story is getting pretty long. I originally figured it would be ten pages tops, but my “character gets into the main situation” section took a good eight pages alone. Now he’ll need to deal with it before I can even think about a resolution. At this point, it might be up to fifty pages when I’m done.

As far as publishing goes, a lot has changed since my college days of submitting to a magazine. I could release the whole thing online for free or I could publish a portion and charge for the rest of the tale. Self publishing had never been easier.

Has anyone else written stories before? What process do you use when writing? How do you publish your works?

Star Wars Excitement Building To Critical Mass

VR-TechyDadIt’s no secret that our family loves Star Wars. I’ve been a Star Wars geek for as long as I can remember. Some of my first actions, upon discovering the Internet, was to join a Star Wars Usenet group.

NHL is a fan also, but JSL is a super-fan. He will often break into Yoda speak and demanded to see the film immediately after seeing the trailer back in February. (Sadly, I doubted I’d have been able to contact JJ Abrams, much less convince him to show us the movie early.

Still, our wait is almost over. We’ve been whetting our appetites with the trailers, but in two weeks the main course will arrive.

Some might fear that the new movies will repeat the mistakes that the prequels made. If Yoda taught us anything, though, it’s that fear is the Dark Side and should be avoided. Still, I’ve been secretly praying that the movie will be more Empire Strikes Back and less A Phantom Menace.

Besides the trailers, I’ve indulged my Star Wars appetite by reading some fan theories about the movies. My favorite involves the much despised character, Jar-Jar Binks.

According to the theory, Jar-Jar was originally supposed to be an evil figure hiding in plain sight. He would have been a mirror image to Yoda’s first appearance as a crazy hermit. All of his "dumb luck" moments would really have been subtle uses of the Force. The theory actually is week thought out and I could see this having been the original plan before Lucas chickened out and kept Jar-Jar as pure comic relief.

Our latest Star Wars indulgence involves a piece of cardboard. Google Cardboard, to be exact. Google Cardboard is a virtual reality headset that is made of (you guessed it) cardboard as well as lenses and Velcro.  You can ride virtual rollercoasters, travel to distant lands, and dive under the water to swim with virtual fish.

I picked up a Star Wars/Verizon Wireless branded Google Cardboard viewer on Wednesday.  After downloading the Google Cardboard app, I launched the Star Wars app.  I’ve previously used the app to take selfies of myself with Vader and Yoda.  I even got frozen in Carbonite and tried on Leia’s locks.  With Google Cardboard, however, I was able to launch the Jakko Spy feature which transported me to a desert world.  The Millennium Falcon flew right overhead pursued by two TIE fighters.  After I stopped ducking, BB-8 rolled up to deliver a message.  Needless to say, I enjoyed this immensely.  Being able to be immersed into a Star Wars planet was amazing.  The boys fought over who went next and thoroughly enjoyed their off world trips.  Even B got into the act, cheerfully saying "Oh, hello there!" as BB-8 approached her.

More Star Wars Google Cardboard features are due to be released leading up to the movie itself.  If you didn’t get a Google Cardboard from Verizon Wireless, you could always buy one from Amazon or build your own.  Either way, one thing is for sure: Star Wars excitement is just going to build more and more here until we see the new movie.  A Jedi might not crave adventure and excitement, but we’re sure looking forward to those two things on the big screen when we see The Force Awakens.

Beach Day At Great Stirrup Cay #CruiseLikeANorwegian

Today was beach day on our cruise. As we approached Great Stirrup Cay, we dropped the boys off at Splash Academy – Norwegian Cruise Line’s kids camp – to have some fun while B and I had some couples’ time away from the kids.

While walking around, we saw the island we were heading to later.


We were amazed at how blue the water was.


Soon, it was time to get our tender tickets. You see, the ship is just too big to dock at the Cay. So you need to board smaller vessels which take you to and from the Cay.

Unfortunately, everyone couldn’t go on the same boat so they gave it numbered tickets.  We were given number 11, but this still meant needing to wait. At last, our time came and we got to head to the Cay.


At the Cay, there was food, music, games, shipping, and, of course, the beach.



All too soon, it was time to head back to the ship. As much as I like the ship, part of me wished I could just remain on the beach – having lots of fun without any cares at all – for the rest of my life.

Our day didn’t end there, though. More about our cruise another day..

Cruising Like A Norwegian On The Gem

At the moment, we’re on the Norwegian Gem for a seven day cruise to Cape Canaveral and the Bahamas. Internet access is limited, but I’m taking a lot of photos to share later. For now, though, here’s are a few shots from our first two days.

First, we arrived at our ship and we’re amazed by how big it was. It’s one thing to HEAR how big it is, but it’s another thing to see it.


We got on board, dropped off our bags at our room and went for a walk around the ship. We also decided to start using our Ultimate Beverage Plan:


That’s a nonalcoholic strawberry daiquiri.


That might just be my new profile picture.

The boys said hello and goodbye to Lady Liberty.


We had dinner in a restaurant at the back of the ship. My fresh mozzarella and tomato was phenomenal. (It looked so good that I tore into it before taking a photo.) The eggplant was amazing and the chocolate volcano was incredible. The view out the rear window was great too. (Mental Note: Photoshop someone water skiing behind the boat.)


Today, we went to the pool and the boys and I had a blast on the water slide and splashing around.


More photos will definitely be coming and it looks like plenty of great times are ahead.

It’s The Geekend!

Today marks the start of a few days worth of events that fill my geeky heart with anticipation.

Friday – Avenging and Toons

Starting today, Avengers: Age of Ultron is released in theaters. My boys and I are big superhero fans. Specifically, we’ve loved every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. (Nitpick: With TV offerings like Agents of SHIELD, Peggy Carter, and Daredevil joining the MCU, can it really be called “cinematic” anymore?)

Also today, our cord cutting lifestyle is going to get a lot better. Cartoon Network is releasing a lot of their shows on Hulu. I look forward to watching Adventure Time and other fun shows with my boys.

Saturday – Comics For Free

Saturday is Free Comic Book Day. My boys and I look forward to this every year. We take a trip to our local comic book shop and walk out with a bunch of comic books completely free. Geek is great, but Free Geek can’t be beat! (We may or may not buy a comic book or two while there.)

Sunday – Play More Games?

Honestly, Sunday doesn’t have many geeky activities planned. Perhaps we’ll fill this gap with some tabletop gaming. Munchkin or Pandemic would be a great geeky addition to the Geekend.

Monday – Star Wars Day

The Geekend extends to Monday with Star Wars Day on May 4th. As in “May the Fourth Be With You.” While we don’t have anything specific planned, maybe we’ll indulge in some Star Wars related activities after work/school.

How are you celebrating the Geekend?