Category Archives: hobbies

Blowing Wind Up The Kilt – A Podcast on Podcasting

Many years ago (nearly five? Really?) I tried starting a podcast on podcasting, Podcasting: Under the Kilt. It released ONE WHOLE EPISODE!!! I really tried to do way too much. This will probably shock 0% of you. At Balticon this year Thomas Gideon mentioned that he wished someone would relaunch Podholes or do something like it. Essentially, it critiqued individual podcast episodes, requested by the podcaster, and it offered hints and tips. I think that sounds brilliant.

Am I going to do it? I’ll be honest, and maybe this is a sign of maturity, I’ve got an AWFUL lot on my plate. Thomas’ suggestion was to crowdsource it. I think that’s the only way to go. So, here’s what I need to make it happen.

Host – I am totally willing to do this. I can set aside time every other week at first to host and record that week’s topic and review.

Co-host – I need someone to sit in the chair opposite me. Ideally this would be many people over the course of time. I’d like to have a pool to chose from.

Audio Monkey – I am more than capable of being the audio monkey. I’d much prefer to hand each episode’s audio off. Basically I give you the interview, the bed audio, and the Podcast Moment of Zen/Golden Shillelagh for the week and you give me an encoded, tagged MP3.

Vict– Podcaster To Be Reviewed – I need people willing to have their podcast taken apart (constructively). I want us to be honest but not brutal. We’ll grade on sound quality, execution of concept, and any other relevant criteria.

Comment on the post if you’d like to help!

Operation Healthy Writer

Scott's BellyFor a while I was tweeting with the hashtag #OperationHealthyWriter. It was my way of letting folks know that I’d made the decision to both write more and be more healthy. As a writer and an IT professional, I’ve had a very sedentary lifestyle. I also like the occasional beer and love sweets and carbs. As a result I’d get winded just climbing the stairs at work. I also had more around my middle than I cared to. This was made plain by a picture that my cousin took of me at Thanksgiving.

The healthy part of Operation Healthy Writer has taken various forms. For me it’s been running and lifting weights. I plan on doing a 5K later this year and be in shape to do a 10K and perhaps a half marathon next year. I’ve also spent the last several weeks lifting weights and doing body weight exercises like push up, planks, and squats. It’s been hard. I have a new job and that means if I really want to exercise the best time to do it’s at 5:00am. Turns out it’s still dark that early. I don’t like getting up and working hard before it’s light out. I don’t like being fat more though.

The writer part of operation healthy writer is almost as difficult mentally. Like working out, getting those first words out takes an incredible effort of will. I have to make time to do that. I can crank out thirty words a minute when I’m in the groove, so I don’t need a lot of time. I do find that if I start with the intent of writing for fifteen minutes, I usually go longer. Also, as is the case with exercise, it’s good to have a goal. I’ve cleared some of the backlog of works in progress. I’m in the process of finishing the first draft of Ginnie Dare: Blockade Runner. I want to have that done and out by the end of the year. I want to write two novels next year and add one a year after that.

ShoesGoals are good for both and I’ve seen results. Another thing that helps keep me going is the positive feedback I’ve received. My wife tells me that she can really tell the difference in how I move and how I look. I also have an appreciative audience for my work. Those things help, but I’m pretty sure that those things don’t, and perhaps shouldn’t, sustain me. The drive to be healthy and stay that way and the drive to write more both have to come from a strong desire inside me. Even when Operation Healthy Writer becomes habitual, I’m sure the temptation to slack off will be there. When it does I’ll think back to the picture, and how much better I feel. I’ll think back to a time when I wasn’t creating new and interesting characters and tormenting them. And I’ll keep going.

If you’re a writer or create other things and you face the struggles of staying healty, whether its your weight or something else, drop me a comment below. If you’re interested in sharing your struggles via a guest post, let me know.


People often ask creators where they get their ideas from. Some of mine just seem to spring forth from the void. Others have a much more mundane origin. I see something in life and it makes me want to create. Keep your eyes open and no matter what your creative bent is there’s plenty of fuel out there for you.

As an example I give you Count Sporkula by Peter Atwood

He created this:

Inspired by this:

Taking something as disposable and overlooked as the wooden ice cream spoon and turning it into a titanium work of art capable of spearing your salad, scooping your chili, and opening a cold brew is awesome.

Where do you find your inspiration these days? What’s inspired you to create something awesome? Sound off in the comments. Link to your latest project and crow about it a little.

November Plans

There are two nearly sure things for me every November. That is, if you don’t count Tryptophan overdose. One is NaNaWriMo and the other is Movember.

For the uninitiated I will explain. No, that is too much. I will sum up. NaNoWriMo is the (dis)organized effort by many worldwide to write a fifty-thousand word novel in a month. Now, of course, some will tell you that this is a useless effort. Others will say that 50K does not a novel make. To those people I have some unkind words better not printed here. For my part, I plan on finishing at least fifty thousand words worth of what will likely be a one hundred thousand word novel. How good it will be when I finish the first draft is… not good. But better a bad first draft than none.

The second, is an effort to raise funds for men’s cancer research. Click here to donate! I shaved my luxurious “wooly bear caterpillar” ‘stache off this morning and will be re-growing it throughout this month. I haven’t settled on a style yet, though I am open to suggestions. I am considering a “Lemmy” or perhaps something I can wax and sculpt.

So there you have it. I will be a busy little bee this month. I’ll also be putting some mental cycles into Monte and Molly’s first adventure so that we can have something to tease you with come December. Wish me luck!

Balticon Wrap Up

This is the final Balticon audio I had. Some of my recordings were teh suck due to windiness. There’s a little bit of that here, but it needed to be posted. Enjoy!

Channel 37
Viv’s breast cancer anthology
Jim Keeling
Paul E. Cooley
JC Hutchins
Ginnie Dare
John Anealio’s Sci-Fi Songs – A Review
Ditched By Kate
The Seekrit Projekt

Balticon Day Zero

I had a great time at Balticon. I recorded an update each day, but was unable to edit/upload them. I figure I’d share them anyway.

Day_Zero_Update, Thursday May 26th. Apologies for the pops. I hope future updates won’t have them.

SiglerFest – A mini con for and by horror/sci-fi author Scott Sigler
Ravenwood – An excellent podcast by Nathan Lowell
Paul Cooley
J.C. Hutchins
Mur Lafferty
Cooley’s New App! – Video coming soon!!!
Jim aka Synaptic Jam

Week One Updates

So here we are at the beginning of week two of November/Movember. I figured I’d do a little update here to let you know where I am in my various endeavors (anything to duck writing on my NaNo novel I guess).

Thing One, Movember – As you can see in the picture, I am growing a mustache. Why am I growing a mustache? Well so fair it’s made my kids giggle. Reason enough to a degree, I suppose. But that’s not all. If you’ve been paying attention to ether my Twitter feed or my Facebook posts I hope you’ve seen a like to my Movember page. What the heck is all that about? Well, I and a bunch of other people around the world are raising money to benefit prostate cancer research. I hope that you’ll donate. As of today, no one has. I know things are tough and so while I’m tempted to let that get me down, I won’t. If I don’t raise any money I will be disappointed, but it’s early days yet. It’s important to raise awareness so even if you don’t or can’t give, go here and learn what you (if you’re a dude) and/or the men in your life should be doing to stay healthy.

Thing Two, NaNoWriMo – I’m (in theory) writing a novella this month. My progress on it, thanks to familial illnesses and helping to get issue three of Flagship out, not to mention some laziness, has been less than I had hoped. This time last year I was at 12,857 words. My plan was to be at 14,000 both this year and last year. If you’re on target you should be at 10,002 by the end of day seven. My word count is at 6,585. Again, the temptation is to be frustrated/worried/annoyed. I’m working really hard not to give in to that. I have a good plan and I like my story so far. I just need to work it. Now that issue three has been put to bed and everyone is healthy I think I can surge forward.

So that’s what’s going on. Thanks for reading and feel free to kick me in the butt when you see me around the net or in real life!

Twenty Solid Beers

Instead of ranting on the state of work, publishing, or why the anti-Mosque movements are so dumb I think I’ll list my top twenty “go-to” beers. These are solid performers that I tend to enjoy while I’m not chasing the newest micro/nano/femto brewery’s efforts.

This was inspired by Billy Brew’s list (flawed though it may be in some ways) and Geistbear’s list (which serves a different purpose but is no less awesome for that). These will be beers that so far as I know are widely available since I can get them in the state of NC (where we still have a cap, though a much more reasonable one).

Fruit Beers – Yes, beer and fruit go sooo well together. Nothing wrong with that.
Blue Moon’s Harvest Moon
Sam Adams Cherry Wheat
Arbita’s Purple Haze
Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

Stouts – You’ll notice one that’s missing.
Sammy Smith’s Oatmeal Stout
Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
Duck Rabbit Milk Stout
Sam Adam’s Cream Stout

Witbiers – Unfiltered, spiced, heaven. Perhaps one of my favorite beer styles.
Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat
Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier (okay so this is also a fruit beer)
Blue Moon
Shocktop (Yeah, I know. But it’s decent.)

IPA – Not my favorite style, but there are some good ones.
Harpoon Leviathan (A BIG boy, this might not be widely available. If not their regular IPA is good.)
Sierra Nevada
Dogfish Head 90 Minute

Other – A catchall for some of my favorites.
Pipeline Porter
Fat Tire (This one’s become REALLY popular apparently.)
Old Chub Scotch Ale (Good beer in a can? YES!)
Boddington’s Pub Ale

ht to Atilla1000 for the pic