Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Chew!

I wish I had more visitors, because otherwise, posting this would actually do some good, but this site is actually pretty sweet, and if it takes off, could be really convenient to both authors and readers. So, here it is...Book Chew.

Basically, it's a site where authors can post parts of their work for the sake of previewing/promotion. Again, I think it's a splendid gives readers a good idea of what the rest of the book might be like. You know, post a chapter here and there, and it could turn out awesome. I really hope it takes off, myself. Check it out!

(Half) of My Experience with Reddit Secret Santa

Throughout the month of November, Reddit posted ads all throughout their website advertising their "Secret Santa." And, when they included a note about wanting it to beat the record for the world's largest Secret Santa, I decided to sign up, mostly out of curiosity.

After I got my match, however, I started perusing Reddit's r/secretsanta forum, I admittedly became a little nervous, almost to the point of regretting my decision to sign up. Why? Well, when you see people getting things like Bass GuitarsKindles, and Laptops, it's hard not to feel...small.

And honestly, I had a tough time thinking of something for my own Secret Santa, so honestly, I put it off for about a week. It was almost to the point where I forgot about it, actually. That is, until I received an email message announcing that my gifter had sent off the first part of my gift.

At this point, I once again started snooping around my own Secret Santa's profile. First off, I quickly figured out that my Secret Santa was a man working on his PhD in Chemistry, specifically physical chemistry. I despised my own Physical Chemistry class, so I once again felt the same intimidation I had felt before. What kind of gifts do you give a chemist...beakers? Honestly, that was my first thought - I'll give him a set of beakers! (Don't worry, that idea only lasted for about three seconds before I decided that somebody who has seemingly dedicated their whole life to chemistry probably has all the beakers they need.)

However, as I dug deeper into their comment history, I did begin to gather some steam - particularly, when I saw they they were pretty active on Reddit's Minecraft subreddit. Finally! I was beginning to gather some clues. Yeah, sure, it still didn't tell me a lot, but it gave me something to work with. And naturally, my first instinct was to type "Minecraft" into Amazon's search bar, just to see what would come up. Lo and behold, what did I find? Naturally, "The Periodic Table of Minecraft".

I ordered the shirt, send my SS a message requesting that he fill out this little questionnaire, and simply hoped for the best.

The shirt actually took awhile to arrive here - I was originally going to send the package itself to his house before sending an additional second package (because when people were getting Kindles and Laptops, sending just one item seemed pretty lame) with cookies or something, though quickly decided against that. And when he mentioned in his questionnaire that he liked 70% chocolate, I went out, bought a couple of bars (they were much cheaper than I expected), and included those. And when the shirt did come, I basically tore off the shipping label, opened the box, and threw in the chocolate. Oh, and tons of Whoppers, Pixie Sticks, and Tootsie Rolls/Pops, since we happened to have a ton of extras lying around the house.

I really wish I had taken a picture of the package before I sent it off, too, because it looked absolutely ridiculous. When it came time to actually seal the box shut, I was looking around for some tape. I was pretty sure we did not have any packing tape, and the closest alternative happened to be purple duct tape. Except, it was purple duct tape from Walmart, and when I pressed the tape over the box, the tape seemed...flimsy, to say the least. So, I put tape over the tape. Then I put tape over the corner edges of the box. And, at that point, so much of the top of the box was covered in purple that it seemed silly NOT to cover the box in purple duct tape. But, only the top of the box - none of the sides (what?). Looking back, why did I not dress the rest of the box in purple? It's not like I don't have plenty of purple duct tape.

Also, before sealing the box shut, I wrote a quick note to my SS, and when the note only took up about half of the page, well damn it all, that just didn't seem good enough, so I included a l33t (read: awful - who says "1337" anymore?) drawing. Thankfully, my SS DID take a picture of that (why didn't I take a picture of that, either?!).

I sent the package off on Monday, December 12th. At this point, all I could do was wait to hear something. 
To be one-hundred percent honest, I expected to hear nothing. However, today, when I logged into Reddit, I received a very nice Thank you from him, that admittedly, totally made my day.

I just wanted to thank you for the great secret santa gift it was heartily appreciated! This was my first reddit gift exchange so I didn't know what to expect but you exceeded all of my expectations! Not only did you find a way to combine chemistry and Minecraft (difficult) but I also loved the drawing of electron cafe! I may feature it on the blog if you don't mind.
Also I ate ~20 pixie sticks as soon as I opened the box... I swear I haven't had any of those since middle school or something like that.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday break, good luck with all your finals! (I feel your pain on the O-chem - bleh!).
~ electroncafe

Did I mention that this message made my day?

Also (now for the creepy part), he has a pretty sweet blog about science and chemistry that's worth checking out if you're into that sort of thing -

Also, here is a blog post that sums up Reddit's Secret Santa very nicely.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Taken from Reddit's TwoXChromosomes Subreddit.

To all three (?) of you: what are your thoughts?

See, I have a very weird opinion about this sort of it okay to dress like a slut?

Actually, I think I'm going to make a poll about that, after I proceed to quickly jot out my thoughts on this one.

First off, what is the problem, really, with women dressing "slutty"? What's the problem with a female choosing to dress herself in, say, a skirt that falls "a little north of the knee" rather than a pair of jeans or a longer skirt? 

Technically, nothing.

The problem is, that's not what I was told.

The problem is, even though it was never a defining problem during my teenage years, there was always a definite message of "don't wear skirts too short" or "that top is too low cut - pick something else". And, even without being told explicitly why, it wasn't difficult to infer the reasoning behind the "modest" ideal.

Naturally then, as I grew up, I started negatively judging other girls around my high school who violated these unwritten "rules". Why do her shorts have to be so damn short? Who is she dressing for? Who is she trying to impress with that skirt? 

As you can see, for some reason, dressing "slutty", in my mind, became, "somebody's trying to impress somebody else". This applied mostly towards the male sex.

"If he really likes you, he'll like you no matter what you wear."
But nowadays, the attitude seems to be changing, and changing rapidly. Or maybe it was always this way, and I was just too deluded to know it.

But now, the more time I spend time online, the more I read, the more apparent it becomes that these women, these "sluts", usually aren't dressing this way to impress other males. Usually, it seems, they're more likely dressing this way for reasons other than just, "I want to impress somebody". Actually, it seems to be somewhat of a confidence booster.

The funny thing is, I remember doing something similar in middle school. I remember wearing this knee-length black skirt for my quarterly choir concerts. I also remember rolling it up underneath my shirt, so that it would rise a little further above my knee. I certainly did not go overboard with this - it probably only rose and inch or two at the most. However, at the fragile age of fourteen, this little "fashion adjustment" seemed important to me. Why was it important? If you had asked me then, I probably couldn't have given you much of an answer. The fact is, I probably couldn't even tell you why I did it now.

Honestly, what do these outfits make you think of?
The first time I heard of the "Slutwalk", I thought the idea of women dressing up in "slutty" clothes and parading around with signs, most of which basically stated "I'll Dress How I Want" seemed slightly ludicrous to me. Sure, ladies, dress how you want, but why are you having a parade about it? However, after reading that it was more or less a movement to change how rape, rape victims, and victim-blaming were viewed, I did warm up to the idea a little more.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a "Slut Walk", the basic idea is this: nobody "invites" rape. Nobody encourages others to rape them in any way, shape, or form. No action, whether it be a flirtatious move, a conscious choice to drink, or a particular style of dress, is, or should be viewed as, an invitation to rape. Slut Walk New York City's Website sums this up the best:

No matter who you are
No matter where you work 
No matter how you identify 
No matter how you flirt 
No matter what you wear 
No matter whom you choose to love 
No matter what you said before: 
NO ONE has the right to touch you without your consent. SlutWalk NYC is part of a worldwide grassroots movement challenging rape culture, victim-blaming and slut-shaming, and working to end sexual and domestic violence.

And so, with reading so many posts and stories about Slut Walks, and coming more to terms with "slutty dress", I did become somewhat more accepting. I tried to remind myself of these ideas whenever I saw somebody wearing a less than modest outfit. I tried not to vocalize those "I have underwear longer than her shorts!" thoughts. Did they still cross my mind? Absolutely. A few months of scouring the internet does not change many years of upbringing - it just doesn't happen, whether we like it or not. I still find myself conflicted when I see somebody wearing Daisy Duke-like shorts - I still question whether it's "right" or "wrong". Is it right or wrong? Actually, it's neither - in my mind, it's simply just "okay". 

The fact is, almost nobody is ever going to see me dressing "slutty". The fact is, whether it's right, wrong, or just okay, it's not who I am - I am just not comfortable with that kind of outfit, that kind of dress. I don't like wearing shorts so short that the pockets stick out. I hate worrying that my shirt is too low cut and my cleavage is showing. I really dislike worrying about how my legs are positioned when I'm wearing a short skirt or dress. I'm sorry, ladies, but it's just not me. It's not comfortable. But to all of you women who do prefer that style of dress - go for it. Just do it. Why? Because it's your body. If you're comfortable with dressing that way, if you're comfortable showing skin, and if you like showing off your girls, than who am I (or anybody else) to say no?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Photography!

To all the people who I'm trying to "cater" to who are looking for me to write about a single specific topic: I'm sorry.

Chemistry, creative writing, photography - what is all of this? I'm supposed to be narrow-minded and just choose one, am I right?

Sorry, but I'm a person of many (or at least some) interests. Just wait until I start geeking out on Physiology and  Psychology (which might happen soon, or it may never happen).

"One Way"
Even though this particular photo isn't terribly exciting, for whatever reason, it is a favorite of mine. Trains are not only awesome, but the colors in this photograph turned out splendidly.

If any of you were in Colorado during the summer of 2009, you might remember that there was a very large ladybug population that year. They were EVERYWHERE. I happened to be working at a daycare during that summer, and the children were pretty much able to sit in one spot in the grass and catch a handful within minutes. Here's a photograph of one of them.

This was the most popular photograph on my deviantart (which I almost never use anymore, but if you're interested: The photograph itself is okay I think, it's certainly a beautiful location (Medicine Bow Peak in the Medicine Bow National Forest), but looking at it now, there are so many little flaws I would go back and change (which I might, someday).

Two Possible Covers, Perhaps?

Yeah, are they perfect? Of course not. But considering I did it all myself? Not terribly awful, I would say.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Guess I Do Like Rage Comics

Another Brief Glimpse at "Family History: Part I".

           “William wants you to have a nurse,” Josephine sighed, failing to explain her husband’s reasoning, “I know you’re not even sixty, Joel, but the doctor said…” 
            “I don’t care,” he cut her off irately, “I don’t need anybody taking care of me, especially when it’s his idea.” 
            “William is only doing what’s best for you…” 
            “My stepson,” Joel interrupted, “thinks I killed his father. He’s certainly not going to look out for me.”
            “My father is just taking the doctor’s advice, I think,” Edward Alexandre shrugged in an attempt at helping his frustrated mother. “I don’t think he’s trying to kill you, if that’s what you’re implying.” 
            “Well, I’d like to kill me,” Joel snapped. 

In this scene, Josephine, the wife of William Thalo, tries to convince the rapidly aging Joel Barrett to consent to having a caretaker.  Joel, relentless and miserable, only fights the idea.

(Note: William Thalo is Joel's stepson, and Joel Barrett is the grandson of Collie Barrett. The scene in question takes place in 1885, seventy-three years after the first scene.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Took this Photo at a Car Show about a Year and a Half Ago...

One night, I started playing around with Photoshop, where I suddenly became interested in "retrofying" pictures. This is one I took at a car show in a small town in Colorado during the summer of 2010. How did it turn out?

Monday, December 5, 2011

When It Comes Out, Don't Read My Book (Because Nobody Likes Desperation).

Desperation = Unappealing


We all know it - nobody likes the person who keeps trying to win the heart of their love - that person is always seen as "creepy", and he might even be a "stalker".

Nobody likes the "grade grubbers" - the people who NEED to be at a B-, because they're "going to med school" or they need satisfactory grades to play sports, or whatever.

"I totally deserve this."

And, most importantly, nobody likes the person who posts the link to their blog everywhere, as well as the links to their Kindle book, Facebook page, official Twitter accounts, and what have you.

So really, don't read my book. Or blog.

Or do. I don't care.

Friday, December 2, 2011

And Now, Why I'm Here - A First Look at "Family History".

Family History.

What is it?

Put simply, and without much explanation, it's a project I worked painstakingly on for about 2-3 years.

And now, it's just "gathering dust" in my hard drive, because it's a 180k word monstrosity that I was sure was pretty much unpublishable.

Well...okay, so I didn't really try that hard, I'll admit, because reading so many "We don't like stories that are over 100k words unless you're Stephen King" was pretty daunting to me.

But, I kept it around while simultaneously working on my other (and current) project, The Night Life, thinking that I would one day do something with it.

And now, I think that day has finally arrived.

With the latest e-readers becoming so popular and self-publishing becoming more relevant, I figured that I might as well take this project and put it online. Hell, maybe I'll make $10, whereupon I could treat myself to a nice cheeseburger.

More importantly: maybe somebody would read it!

So, what's it about?'s about a lot of things.

But namely, it's about a family, and how they cope with an old curse.

But rather than attempt to type out a boring old synopsis, here's a preview:

Pressing the pen to the paper, Calvin Connor Dowling Deland began his last words: “It was the beginning of the end…”
            He paused to think, contemplating everything that had happened throughout his too-short life. He thought of Amber Ozzly, of Henry Austin and Marie, and of Northgate. He thought about all of the pain and suffering his ancestors endured and of the horrific consequences of fate’s twisted sense of humor. He thought of Jamie, time travel, and the limitless supply of drugs; Thalopolis, sex, Joel Barrett, and his mother. Though of course, nothing occupied more space in his mind than Collie. Picturing her face, he continued to write.
            “She was the beginning, and I was the end. She was the matriarch while I was the last loser at the end of the line… yet how could I possibly be the end when I’ve completely given myself over to the beginning?”
            “Because,” he scribbled, “I am not the end. My family line is not a line at all, but a circle. Because when you take a piece of string and connect the two ends, they will inevitably meet. Thus, like a circle, like Joel Barrett’s love for his wife, and like my enduring love for Collie, Family History does not end. In fact, it’s only beginning…again.”
            When he finished scribbling his last thoughts, Calvin gently placed Family History on the floor and replaced his pen with a small pistol containing a single bullet.

Yesterday, I Saw Somebody Use the Phrase, "That's So Gauche". Admittedly, this was all I could think of...

"That's so Gauche."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Welcome to "Predicted Hindsight!"

"Predicted Hindsight" - what does it mean?

After coming up with the name, I actually Googled it, seeing what I would find. For the most part, the text description yeilded the following result:

"...predicted. Hindsight..."

So, in this case, it seems to be the end of one sentence and the beginning of another.

In this case, it might actually be quite fitting.

So, to all of you one or two future readers, welcome to "Predicted Hindsight."