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Archive for the ‘Hobbies’ Category

Nothing is much better then a day off after a long stretch at work. Especially if there is absolutely nothing that has to be done and I am free to relax and enjoy the day. Much of this glorious down time has been spent reading and finishing up a good book from an author I have never read before. I have spent hours searching online for other authors to try to get my teeth into. I want stories and ideas that tend to challenge my mind and spin a different reality then what I am currently living. To really break it

Terminal World - Alastair Reynolds

down I look for ways to escape and occupy my mind. So generally this is a task of either using amazon or Barnes and Noble to search through authors and books and like authors and books, reading reviews and excerpts hoping to find something that tugs at me. My most recent conquest was by a new author, new to me that is. Alastair Reynolds is a british author of sci-fi novels and tends to hang out in the space opera realm. He has a popular series out but I went for one of his stand alone novels Terminal World. It was a very pleasant surprise and I truly hope there is more to come of it’s characters and world. It revolves around a central figure named Quillon who lives and works on what is the last great city of earth known as Spearpoint. A giant spire that climbs high into the earth’s upper atmosphere into space. The world has seen tragedy and is now divided into zones where only certain technology will work. High upon the spire there are far evolved humans known now as angels for they have grown wings and can fly. Below where there is less technology normal humans dwell. One can only live comfortably in the zone they grow up in. The main character is an angel who has removed his wings and lives among humans as one of them, an outcast of the society above until one day he is targeted by his past and forced to flee. A great journey ensues.

 

I won’t go any further but to say this was a very good read and I enjoyed the way Reynolds created his unique characters. The world is something that is fascinating but never really fully known. He does not belittle the reader by thinking he needs to fill in every little blank and I enjoy that. I enjoy being able to let the world develop in my head using the guideline he gives us. I will most likely be checking out some more of his works and perhaps a series now that I know it is worth the investment of time. Even with this new discovery I am always on the look out for more authors and books to keep my attention. Any recommendations are always appreciated. I will never stop looking for the next thing to catch my imagination and draw me into another reality.

 

*******

So enough with the miniature book review, now a little update on life as I currently live it. Life has become a little thing of routines for me. This is not a bad thing in my mind but more a sign of normalcy. Life generally consists of work and then living a quiet life at home with occasional side bars with family and friends. This might be terribly boring for many but for me it is a sign of returning to more comfort with who I am. I find that it is easier for me to have fun with my life again. Laugh and try not to take things to seriously. Things are always there though, still in the back of my mind but they are not as prevalent as they once were. They do not control what I do or how I feel as they once did. I can only hope that this is something that will continue because to be honest I don’t want to return to living the fake life pretending like I am okay while I scream inside. that is far too tiring a way to go about your day.

For now I have my life, relative health, a job, a place to live, friends and family. There is not a whole lot more that one can really ask for unless they are greedy beyond their needs. Anyways, I don’t want to chance losing what I do have.

Till another day,

Dan

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So often I become involved in a grand idea. Whether it is a new past time, hobby or any other means of distraction. I put so much effort into it that eventually I am burned out by it and lose all interest. This really is a regular cycle for me. One that I truly despise but have come to expect that it is part of who I am. Last night I finally accomplished something that is more of a personal victory than anything else recently in my life. Too many people it may not be a big deal or may just be another crazy idea that I am putting all of my heart into. To me though this is something I can finally hang my hat on. Last night at around 10:45 pm I reached the monthly target of 50,000 words, which roughly translates to a novel of about 175 pages. This is the goal of the National Novel Writing Month better known as NaNoWriMo.

This is the first time I have been successful at it, having only really competed one other time. That time I gave up on it like I have with so many other things in my life. I even had a good start and a good idea for a story as was told to me by a good friend. I still have this partial first draft and may revisit it in the future. This is a big thing to me. One of those moments I want to shout from the roof top, if not for the fact that people may believe me to be losing my mind. Now I have to refocus myself on completing my novel in the time frame of the month, which is my personal goal I have set for myself. I do not know how long my story will end up being but I have twenty days to reach that goal.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am holding back on the ideas of grandeur. I know that this is not something I should inflate my hopes too much with. It is still and will always be a dream to be published some day. To be honest though i don’t know if anything I am writing is any good. I will say this though. Some of the characters are feeling more and more alive to me. The character of LC Everett, my private detective seems to ring the loudest with me. There is something about his honesty and drive for the truth and the way he wants to protect his friends that has me drawn more into him than anybody else. It is becoming easier and easier for me to write the chapters that ivolve him because the words come to life inside my head and I just have to do what I can to transfer them to my fingers.

Anyways I just wanted to share in my jubilation. Nanowrimo, check. Novel completion, next on the list. Time to keep plowing ahead.

Dan

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(unedited, don’t care about errors)

The old man began to stir in the chair he was now prisoner too. The sentry sat in front of him and a little off to the side into the darkness beyond the light of the overhead bulb that lit the area near the beam. Sentry sat still and quiet, just watching as awareness began to creep into the old man’s eyes. He shook his head apparently trying to clear the haze from the hit he had taken earlier. He had been out for nearly an hour, no doubt he had already sustained a concussion. The doctor began to blink and look around the room, his head bobbing and swaying slightly in the slowly returning consciousness. Sam coughed a few times and winced at the pressure it applied to the wound on his head.

“How nice of you to finally wake up, such a rude host to stay asleep for so long.” Sentry said from the shadows and the doctor immediately turned towards the sound of the voice. His vision was no doubt still blurry as he blinked hard trying to clear his eyes.

“Who are you?” Sam coughed again, wincing “What are you doing in my house and why do you have me tied up down here.”

“You sure ask a lot of questions being the one who is tied up with nowhere to go. Don’t think you can set the tone of things.” Sentry rose from the shrouded chair and stepped into the light. He was an imposing figure, dressed all in black. Black pants that looked suited to someone in special ops. A black jacket, full of pockets and zippers covered his torso, it looked like something a pilot would wear, maybe just a little different. He had on his black sunglasses, horned rimmed, his hair slicked back tight and neat. He still had his black leather gloves on and a pair of black combat boots. Even wearing them he still made no noise as he he approached the prisoner and knelt down before him. “I will be the one asking the questions here Doctor Samuel Greggory.” He reached a gloved hand to the bounds mans chin and squeezed it firmly. “Do you understand that?” Sam spat in the mans face, a smear hung against his sunglasses. “Now that was a mistake.” Sentry patted sam’s cheek mockingly and stood up.

“Screw you… Let me out of here” Sam began to struggle against his bindings but failed to make any headway. The dark figure took off his glasses and withdrew a handkerchief from his pocket to clean them, and then his face. How disgusting he thought as he replaced the glasses and went to the old end table that housed his tools. Sam began to shout and yell at the top of his lungs. The noise echoed around the basement. Sentry picked up the straight edge razor blade that was on the table and held it up to the light. Sam instantly froze, staring at the item as it glinted in the light. Its clean stainless steel surface shining brightly.

“Do you really think that anyone is going to hear you down here? I don’t think so.” He shook his head and looked at the tool in his hand and then back at the tied up man. “If I were you I would save your strength. You are going to need it.” Sam’s eyes grew big as the captor stepped towards him. Realization filled the spaces that were not held to terror.

“You!..you are the one that shot LC!” He tried to struggle against the tape and bindings again but it was as futile as the first attempt.

“Ahh, so you know about that. Maybe this will go a little easier than I thought, but that really isn’t any fun. I like to have to work for it a bit. What has Mr Everrett told you his recent endeavors?” He began to reach the blade out towards the man’s face. He grabbed his hair with his other hand and held on tight so that the man could not thrash his head about.

“He hasn’t told me anything. What do you want? I haven’t done anything!” Sam yelled looking at the man, his eyes flitting back and forth to the blade.

Sentry pulled his head back “Not good enough Mr Greggory” The blade sliced across the man’s cheek causing a gaping wound. Crimson blood instantly began to flow from the slice. The man screamed. This time with more gusto than he had before. Sentry turned and grabbed the cotton rag from the table and shoved it forcefully into the man’s mouth. HE mumbled and cried from behind it, gurgled noises tried to make their way out.

The captor began to circle around the old man. Sam’s eyes were trying to pop their way out of his head, the terror that filled them was a little joy to the man as he circled around the chair, like a bird of prey circling what was to be its next meal. This was much easier than any conflict in nature though. There was no chance that his target was going to find a way out of this one. The trap was already closed tightly around the poor prey.

“If you want this to be as easy as it can be you will tell me everything that I need to know.” The man in black stopped in front of sam and in a slow methodical motion reached his armed hand towards the man. Sam’s eyes remained transfixed on the blade. Sentry held it in front of his face, tormenting him. In a quick motion he sliced across the man’s forehead opening a new wound that soon bled into the prisoners eyes. Gurgled pleas came from behind the cotton cloth. Sam’s face was now a mix of crimson red and ashen white. All the color drained from the unbloodied flesh, or what was left of it. Sentry brought his other hand in quickly to the man’s stomach and punched hum forcefully. Sam began to struggle to breath. Sentry went to the table and placed the razor blade down and picked up the hammer that was sitting neatly on its top. He walked over and tore the gag from sam’s mouth as he struggled to breath. He gasped, sucking in air through ragged lungs. He coughed and choked as he tried to find his voice. “Now if you scream again the rag goes back in, and you might not be able to breathe. You don’t want that now do you?” He asked with a menacing smile on his face. Sam shook his head and looked down at the hammer in the mysterious man’s hands.

“What do you want?” Sam, slowly began to catch his breath, the gasps grew less forceful. The dark clad man stepped forward, dragging the small coffee table behind him. The sound it made as it scraped against the concrete floor was similar to nails on a chalkboard. Psychological warfare was something that Sentry enjoyed, not as much as actual physical warfare, but it was all part of the bigger picture. He placed the table in front of sam and pulled his bound hands to it. He held his wrists there with one hand and held the hammer out at his side.

“I want you to tell me the truth. I want you to tell me everything that you know about LC Everett…. You lie and you pay. If you satisfy me, I may just make this quick.” He slammed the hammer down against the older man’s hand. The sound of fingers breaking from the force could be heard. Sam screamed and then cut the noise out quickly, too afraid to anger the man. His fingers were a mangled mess of twisted flesh and bone. He sobbed, his tears mixing with the blood that stained his face. “Now that I have your attention we can continue”

 

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My mind is a machine that is never at rest. It rarely stops moving or flashing from thought to thought, memory to memory. For the most part this is not a good thing. There are times though when this can be used to my advantage if I am able to focus those thoughts in a certain direction. Nanowrimo has given me that oppurtunity and it really is amazing how quickly things can change.

I know this is only day number 5 but I have already noticed a few things. Once I started to think of a story to write it seemed that all of my free time is spent thinking of where I am headed and working out different possibilities. Usually I am filled with depressing thoughts and so many “what ifs” and “Could have done betters” that I want to scream and pull my hear out. It is the nature of my mind. Having something positive to focus on is a wonderful relief. The empty moments are filled with somthing constructive now. When I think of these things I just feel better that I am trying to accomplish something and not just dwelling on things that I can no longer change. These thoughts are centered more on a future that I am still building and creating, even if it is only in a fictional world.

Granted, I realize that I don’t even know if what I am writing is any good, to be honest I don’t really care. I just want to keep working on it, and I desperately hope that I can maintain this even after nanowrimo is done. Nano may have been the catalyst that started me on writing again, I need to take the initiative though to keep fueling the fire that is my creativity. So many times I let an obsession and new task take me, only to let it sit on the back burner a few weeks down the road. I cannot do that any longer. I have to stick with something and see it through. This task brings me peace and it keeps one of the last dreams I have alive. the dream of one day finishing a novel.

Here’s hoping I can see it through.

Dan

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I have very few close friends in my life. They can be counted on one hand with a few free fingers to spare. My life has always been this way, I don’t know why it is this way but it is and as the years tick away it seems like it is going to stay that way. Some of the friendships I had became more difficult following my divorce as the friends I had made came with the package. We have not hung out or done anything in a long time, mainly since the split. Much of this is because of the feelings that are brought up when I see them. I know this is silly but my mind only needs a small catalyst to drag me into a dark place.

Tonight though we got together and were able to spend a nice evening together. George and I chatted and hung out for a bit then we all had dinner together which was nice and more then a little humorous. I miss moments like this. Camaraderie. Just being with others and letting go and having fun. I have not laughed so much in a long time or made others laugh as much either. We had a great dinner and then George and I brainstormed and talked about our NaNoWriMo stories. It was nice just to discuss things and talk about where I thought my story was headed. We are two very different styled writers. George is the plotter and storyliner. I usually just get an idea and set a stage and plow ahead from there without looking back. It is fun to compare. We both also were able to get some writing done which was a plus. It was a great night overall.

There are a few things that I realized tonight. I have few friends and I need to stay in contact with the ones I do have. Secondly I can’t let the past always get in the way of living my life and enjoying the things I do have right now. There are always going to be rough memories and that is something I cannot escape, but I do have some people to talk to and many of them know where I am coming from. This couple is among those people.

We agreed to get together a few more times during this month to work on nanowrimo and just hang out.  I am looking forward to it.

By the way, Nano update I surpassed the halfway mark of the goal of 50,000 words. This is a pretty good feat considering it is only day number 4. The story is coming along nicely as well.

Good Night

Dan

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Being that I am hopped up on cold meds and caffeine to counteract the drowsy effects I have no idea if what I am writing is any good. I don’t plan on rereading anything till the month is up though, so I may be pleasantly surprised or horrified.

Yesterday I was off, which was a blessing for two reasons. First I was able to get a head start on my writing for NaNoWriMo. I put in more than 9000 words which is roughly a little more than five days of writing. This is great because I never know when life is going to get in the way, even though that thought is funny if you know my life and how little comprises of its daily tasks. Second I am sick as a dog so it was nice to be off. Unfortunately I am just as sick today and have to go back out into the working world. I am sure that it will prove to be a long day of blowing my nose between helping customers. I would call in if I could but I don’t think they would appreciate that.

Regarding my story I am happy with where things are going write now. The characters are taking shape and my direction is changing as I go. I am enjoying writing about the private detective in my story. This is the kind of thing I have never really done before. MY writing in the past has always been in the sci fi and fantasy genre, sometimes even horror in short story form. It is fun to be creative in a different way. I was told though that mysteries can be difficult especially the way that I right, which is making a lot of it up as I go. I am sure there will be some trying times, hopefully though I will be able to work through them.

Anyways below I have included an excerpt from the story so far where the private detective is revealed. Let me know what you think.

 

Private Detectives Location

(unedited)

The office sat in the middle of a rundown strip mall just off of the highway. Half of the stores were shuddered up, signs of a small town bending under the weight of an economy that could no longer support it. Only two other businesses were left in business inside of its cookie cutter store front space. One of them was a used book store specializing in four for a dollar specials and where no real gems could be found or were already picked through and sold for much greater profit online. The second of the three occupied spaces held a cramped asian market that held all sorts of oddities and aromas that could not be deciphered, nor did many really want to know what they really were. The third little shop held an office. Nothing special about it. Plate glass out front read LC Everett PI. He was a rare breed in these woods. A detective trying to make his own way and not officed in a larger city. He would work there of course but drew the line at having to reside there. Everett enjoyed the slower pace of this area and was just fine with the slow business as long as he could always pay the bills, which was most months that is. The front room held two chairs and a receptionist desk that was never manned. The two chairs supposedly for if he ever had more than one client in at a time. Lc could not remember if that had ever actually happened. In the back office LC made his home among the file cabinets that held his years of work. Mostly spouses trying to catch their cheating significant others. And most of the time their hunches were dead on. He did not enjoy that part of the job. Confirming to individuals that there marriage truly was over and it was time to hire a lawyer instead of a private dick. There were good moments though, which were few and far between, and then there was the grey area that filled everywhere else.

LC was upper middle aged. Balding and big in stature. Not out of shape by any means but the kind of country big that one would find on the farm. In his youth he was the town hero. Football star in highschool. Promise and all that until an injury ended his playing days and he decided to take up law enforcement. He was a good cop. Honest and tenacious when it came to finding the truth. Many times at the cost of the law that he felt shielded criminals far too much. He left, on who’s terms he never says and started his own path to finding the truth where he would have the leeway and freedom to use the means necessary. He had regrets about the past, but those are just it, the past, now he deals in other peoples pasts.

Before him scattered on the desk were a few files. These files were not of the typical types that he saw come through his office. There were two names on the files. Each of them a case of a missing loved one. In each case there was no evidence of foul play and in each case the police never opened an investigation. These two cases were his hobby. The things he worked on during his own time. Cases that occupied him as a puzzle he could not solve. He was preparing for his weekly update. It was a task he felt obligated to complete even though he knew that it was not necessary. He looked over the first file and dialed the number having committed it to memory. He cleared his throat as the line rang. On the other end an elderly woman picked up the phone.

“Mrs. Harris?” he waited for her reply knowing already that it was the 70 year old woman he had spoken with weekly for almost two years now. “Yes Mrs Harris, its LC Everett…. Yes Mrs Harris” Her voice was distant and quiet as she spoke “No Mrs Harris, unfortunately I don’t have any good news. I have not found anything new yet…. I am sorry” She paused on the line and for a moment no one spoke “I will keep working to find your son mrs harris…” He looked at the picture of the 46 year old scientist. He looked like any average decent person. Missing for two years now and no new information. “Mrs Harris you do not need to worry about sending me any payment. We talked about this already” He paused to let her say she insisted. “If you want to send me anything send me some of that cranberry bread I love so much. We will call it even then…. Alright Mrs Harris. Have a good night”

With that he hung up the phone and set the picture back on the desk. He rubbed his fist into his eyes trying to relax away some of the strain. Not having the answers was the toughest part of the job. Not knowing, when knowing was what he did. He had spent thousands of his own money on these cases and could he say he was any closer? He sighed and picked up the second folder. “Angela Beal” This was a call that he would not have to make again. He was too late for this one. LC picked up the news paper on the far end of his desk and flipped it open. He set it down flat and looked in his desk. Rummaging for an item until he found what he was after. Withdrawing a pair of scissors he began to cut into the paper. Methodically he clipped out a small article the size of a common coupon. On it was the picture of a man. He found a pin and stood up walking over to the cork board on the far end of the room across from his desk. He pushed the pinned article into the board and stood there reading the obituary for the fifth time that day. The picture was that of Thomas Beal, loving husband of Angela Beal. The obit failed to state it but LC new the facts. Thomas Beal was found in his garage by a neighbor with his car running. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning. LC was too late for him. He failed Thomas and Angela too. He vowed to continue his search for answers.

He shook his head and grabbed his wool jacket off of the rack by the door as he headed from his office and locked the door. He had to touch base with the facts again. Or try to start from the beginning. It was a good thing he never married because if he was any wife would obviously think he was out cheating and would soon have another PI out investigating him. All they would find would be a man obsessed with his job and answers. This was his life, and it was his passion. At the moment he did not need anything else, except maybe for some black coffee, the kind of stuff that would raise the hairs on your neck. He knew just the place and smiled as he got into his dinged up Cadillac. It wasn’t pretty but atleast it was roomy and reliable. That was what he needed. He started the car and quickly pointed it in the direction of the Route 42 café.

He drove along the back roads and side streets, taking his time, taking in the surroundings. As always watching and observing. He loved the lifeblood of small towns and cities. They were always alive if not on as big a scale as the big cities, but here you could more easily pick out the character that completed the city as a whole. Every place this size had a living breathing life of its own. He could always feel its pulse and knew exactly where to get the most current information if you knew how to weed out the facts from the gossip. In LC’s mind gossip always had some truth in it. That is what would make it juicy.

(works copyright of the blog owner)

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I woke up this morning with that dreaded surprise. The feeling that I had been run over by a truck and then small gooey creatures invaded the cavities of my head and took up residence there. It was so bad that I actually had dreams in which I could not breathe, made more interesting by the fact that this was a real life feeling. It was bound to happen as it seems everyone around me has been suffering or is currently recovering from some form of common cold ailment.

I have been feeling pretty good the past few months so maybe it was just my time. The thing that dissappoints me the most is that it is making it much too difficult to concentrate on thinking when I am in the most need of free flowing creativity. I wanted to get home tonight and work on some notes for my story but my body was telling myself to go to bed at 7 o’clock, much too early. So I decided to lay comatose on the couch and fade in and out for a few hours. Clarity seems to be coming to me now at the worst time though when I really should start winding down for bed. I really need to hammer out the notes for atleast a few chapters or broad ideas for where I want the story to go. I don’t think it is going to happen tonight though. I work tomorrow but also get done by 4pm so hopefully I will be able to come home and get some work done. I fear though as this is the first day of feeling infirmed that tomorrow will most likely be the worst day if this is truly a common cold. I pray that is not the case.

One thing that being sick irks me is the fact I hate that you have to get pseudoephederine from the pharmacy. Seriously, I swear I am not trying to make meth in my cupboard of an apartment. Really, the thought has never crossed my mind, even if I love watching breaking bad, I only watch and do not take notes. It is the only thing that helps me feel any better and brings any relief from the congestion. The knock off stuff works about as well as a placebo though I still dumbly try it in the sake of cheapness and convenience. Just a little thing that annoys me even more than feeling like crud.

Well here’s hoping that I get my but in gear tomorrow and hit the ground running on monday. My goal is to reach 5,000 words on the first day of NaNoWriMo. I want to have a good start so if I miss a day it will not put me behind the eight ball. I will say that I am excited that a friend of mine is doing it as well this year again and that our stories share some similarities in genres. Hopefully we can get together and bounce some ideas off of each other.

One day I will attain this dream in my life. One day I will share a story of mine with the world.

Dan

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