A Shameless Plug

I’ve made some changes over at my other site, Taradiddlesoup.com. First and foremost is that I’ve updated the layout a bit, making it much easier to navigate the site. There are some really nice things about this. First of all, the Home button is now a Home/Categories button complete with a dropdown menu.

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So as you can see, there are three immediate categories and one sub-category. Along the top next to the dropdown menu, you will see other more defined categories that are much more specific projects than others.  Let’s go over some of these.

Five Sentence Horror is more of a writing exercise for me. The purpose of that is to write a horror story and constrain me to precisely five sentences. It’s a way to keep my creative juices flowing when I am in a spell of writer’s block or just not in the mood.

Dreams is a new section. I recently found an old dream journal, and I’m transitioning them over to the blog. Most of these will be presented exactly as they were written so many years ago, only updated for spelling and maybe some grammar mistakes. Don’t expect them to be literary masterpieces, but just a peek into some wild stories.

Letters from Unsung Heroes: The Train should be familiar to anyone who’s visited my site before. The funny thing about that is that it shouldn’t have gone on as long as it has. So far, it’s one story that’s been going on for just over five years now. What has become something of a mystery told through letters of people trapped in a tunnel was initially supposed to be a comedy series of absurd letters written from people in various situations. You can see a little bit of that humor in the first post, Johnathan Millowsborough, and later Fieldcrest R. W. Wallace the Sixth. Now it’s become this mystery that I need to solve, and I have no idea how long it will take. I’ve written enough letters at this point that I feel I may need to come up with a training chart so I can take note of where all of the passengers are and not cause continuity issues.

The last section is a project of mine that I’m honestly not sure how long it will take. Modern Vampyre attempts to write a present-day vampire story while getting back to, or at least very close to, the roots of the vampire mythos. None of this turning into a bat nonsense. Garlic doesn’t repel vampires. How would vampires from the old tales fare in a modern setting? We’ve updated the vampire to fit in our world, but what if we didn’t? How would the vampire hide today? One of the challenges with this is stuff I’ve already written and posted may need to be updated and changed from time to time. One of my plans is should changes need to be made, I will create new posts to replace the old ones, but have them accessible from the Modern Vampyre page so people will have the ability to go back and compare the changes.

So there’s my shameless plug. Go check out https://taradiddlesoup.com/ and see what you’re missing. I assure you, there are some fun tales to be had.

Changes for the New Year

Last year I resolved to read a book a month. I failed that resolution as is tradition. However, I did manage to read seven or eight books which is better than I normally do and that figure is not including audiobooks, so it’s definitely an improvement over attempts to keep resolutions in previous years.

The day after Thanksgiving, I resolved not to have anymore alcohol for the remainder of 2019 and I have succeeded at that. In fact, I still have not had a drink and don’t really have a desire to. Joanna has stated that she has seen a definite change in my personality for the better. Knowing and achieving this has given me confidence to making real change in 2020.

In November, I decided that my main goal for 2020 was to get down to 14% bodyfat. At the time I made that goal, I was sitting around 24-25%. Since then, I’ve managed to get it down to 22-23%. That’s with putting in little effort and no exercise. Now that the new year has begun, I’m going to get more aggressive with it. My wife and I are kicking it off with a No-Junk-January. That means no white bread, candy, chips, crackers, ice cream, etc. The only “cheat day” would be her birthday for obvious reasons. We just need to make sure we don’t gorge.

I also plan to give up tobacco completely with only the occasional cigar on special occasions. I had my last smoke on New Year’s Eve. Sorry, Black & Mild. It’s for my own good.

Another health focus goal is something I call GOWAD. It’s a play on GOMAD which stands for Gallon Of Milk A Day. It’s somethings some bodybuilders use build their bodies. In mine, the W stands for Water. I don’t expect to achieve this everyday, but by shooting for a GOWAD, I hope to have an overall healthier body. Better hydrated. Less hungry. Peeing a lot. Goodness there will be so much pee.

All of these combined I’m hoping will get me in a better mental state. The lack of alcohol has already shown improvement. With this better mental state, I expect to be more calm, less easily agitated, more focused. This in turn I hope will make me more productive as well as a better husband and father.

I see a lot of up for this new year and I’ve already shown I can accomplish my goals if I put my mind to it. Here’s to a new me.

Books of January

I was never one for New Year’s Resolutions, mostly because I know full well that I won’t keep them. But this year, I decided to do one I thought I could keep. See, when I was a kid, I used to read all the time. Around six or seven years old, I was reading thick epic stories like Mossflower which were well over four-hundred pages. Considering it’s been thirty years since I’ve last read it, perhaps I should read it again. I still have my book from nineteen-eighty-whenever. Anyhow, somewhere along the line, I stopped reading so much; I think it must have been somewhere in high school. With the exception of a story here or there, I almost never read anything.

So the resolution that I made was to read one book a month for the year of 2019. This resolution was actually inspired by a PewDiePie video. I don’t even watch his videos, but for some reason, that was one caught my eye. After watching, I was inspired to get back into my own reading ways and with the month of January now over, I can say I have completed four books.

Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota by Chuck Klosterman

A friend from church gave me a copy of this book. Having read it himself and know that I love ’80s metal, gave me a copy. The book was hilarious, insightful, and constantly entertaining.

Naked by David Sedaris

This hilarious memoir from David Sedaris is laid out like a collection of essays, each detailing what I can only describe as a messed up chapter of his life. I’m not saying he’s messed up, just that messed up stuff seems to happen to him. He covers strange topics such as that time he was hiding in his parents closet and watching his mom come in, put on a wig, and go to sleep. Or the time he lived in a nudist camp. Or his misadventures in hitchhiking.

In Broad Daylight by Henry N. MacLean

So, this one I listened to the audiobook instead of reading the actual book, but it’s still a book nonetheless. In Broad Daylight tells the true story of Ken McElroy, the town bully of Skidmore, Missouri and his murder right in the middle of the day with nearly fifty witnesses. And none was prosecuted. To this day, the case remains unsolved. The narrator did a fantastic job and I would listen to this book on my way to and from work, many times not wanting to exit my car upon arrival so I could hear what happened next. Not a wasted word anywhere, this book was fantastic front to back.

Apparent Danger: The Pastor of America’s First Megachurch and the Texas Murder Trial of the Decade in the 1920s by David Stokes

Goodness, I haven’t seen a title that was such a mouthful since The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. That said, this was quite a fascinating book. I could give you run down, but the title really says it all. Literally. One of the incredible things about this book is that all the dialogue was taken from actual court transcripts, newspapers, magazines, etc., so you know everything that was said in this book was actually said. I read the Kindle version which doesn’t appear to be available anymore, so it appears you may be stuck with hardcover. That said, it’s definitely a great read and a very interesting piece of Church/Court history.

That’s all I have for January, but I’ve already started another audiobook and plan to start reading another tonight or tomorrow. I’ve left links to the four books I read this month in my brief descriptions of them if you are interested in any of them.

Tender Wings of Desire

Every once in a while, a book so magical comes out that it seems to defy it’s very own existence. Enter Tender Wings of Desire. Written by “Colonel Sanders” and copy written by YUM! Brands (yes, the company that owns KFC), Tender Wings of Desire tells the story of a high class young woman Madeline Parker who is to be wed to Duke Reginald, a man with whom she has no romantic interest. On the night before she is to be married, she flees her home on horseback and ends up in an English fishing town working as a barmaid.

She soon falls in love with a young sailor named Harland who can only be described as Sexy Colonel Sanders. This is a fun little romance novel that actually contains no smut, but leaves you completely amused at the entire concept. For the most part, the story plays it straight, but with gems like “I think it’s time for you to put aside your childish sailing and come back to take up the mantle of Colonel Sanders” and “The hills of Kentucky miss you, as do all of us” written into the story, it’s one not to be missed.

Sadly, it probably will be missed as the book was only available for a few days around Mother’s Day. It was free, however, and if you can find yourself a copy, I surely recommend reading it. It’s quite short (roughly a hundred pages or so) and something to behold. If I had one complaint on the story it would be this; it did not end with everyone eating a bucket of fried chicken. In fact, there was no fried chicken to be found anywhere in story. The only fried chicken to be found is on the cover of this amazing book. A book you need to read.

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This cover tells you everything you need to know about the story and what you need to know are the words written inside of it.