Embrace the Chaos

When I was a child my parents took me to a local book fair held inside a school gymnasium. I was so excited because even at a young age, and despite the fact that I wasn’t a very good reader, I loved books. They told stories. Stories that would fill my imagination with wonderful heroes, dark lands, and far-off adventures.

So as I wanted into the book fair and saw the gym filled with book vendors of every kind, standing behind folding tables decorated, and piled high with books, I could barely contain my excitement. I had every intention of finding a story to read.

At the time I was really into “choose your own adventure” books and had my heart set on finding a few new ones to add to my meager collection, but as I walked along the rows and rows of book vendors a book caught my attention. I was a white journal with Yoda on the cover in a cartoon image. I had not intended to get a journal, and truth be told I had never written in a journal before, but there was something about this book that drew me to it. So with the small allowance I had saved, I purchased my very first journal.

I had grown up watching my father write in a journal regularly, and I was excited to be doing something that emulated him, so when I got home I took my journal to my room, sat down at my little desk, a desk that used to belong to my father as a child, and began to write my first page…

I don’t remember what I wrote, to be honest, but I remember hating it. It wasn’t right, it didn’t look like my dad’s journal pages, my handwriting was messy, and my thoughts were dumb. The bottom line…it wasn’t perfect.

In a frustrated fit, I remember ripping the 1st page out of the journal, because if it wasn’t perfect it didn’t deserve to exist. So I crumpled up the paper, tossed it over my shoulder, and turned back to the journal to try again. Again and again, I tried to write, and again and again, I kept ripping pages out, all because I was under the misguided idea that if what I created wasn’t perfect it didn’t deserve to exist.

After doing this over and over again for some time I now had a new problem. I had ripped so many pages out of the journal that the inside spine was now scared, damaged, and clearly missing pages. The journal no longer looked nice. The journal was no longer perfect.

I tried to fix it, but the damage was done. In my quest for perfection, I had destroyed the very object that just a few hours before had brought me so much happiness and excitement. This idea of perfectionism and the notion that if it wasn’t perfect it didn’t deserve to exist would follow me for many years to come, and many more journals fell to this misguided idea.

But it wasn’t just journals, I threw away photos I had taken, stories I had written, song recordings I had done, and so much more. If I couldn’t be “perfect” in a certain class, I would just stop trying. If I couldn’t be perfect at a new skill I just wouldn’t learn.

Over and over again I would lose out on so many things because in my mind anything that wasn’t perfect didn’t deserve to exist.

Thankfully, I eventually learned that I was wrong and that perfectionism is nothing worth striving for. Perfectionism is a myth. A myth that doesn’t really exist. No one can achieve perfectionism, in any aspect of their life or talent. And while it may look like people can, from the outside looking in, there is always room for people to grow.

The trick is to abandon the idea that you need to be perfect in anything and instead embrace the chaos that is this life. Life is messy, disorganized, chaotic, and so much more, but it is within that very chaos that real beauty, real art, and real impact actually live.

So to whoever is reading this… in regards to whatever you are trying to be perfect at, regardless of if it is just living life like being a good parent, child, teacher, or student or a form of art like photography, painting, writing, makeup, acting, and more, or a discipline like academia, science, mathematics, etc. Remember this…

Perfectionism has destroyed more good things than it has ever created. Embrace the chaos. You deserve to exist.

3 Book Series EVERY Man Should Read

Growing up, we are often bombarded with societal expectations of what it means to be a “real” man. We are told to be strong, stoic, and always have it together. I myself grew up being told over and over again “When I was a child I thought as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things.” The first time I can remember my Father telling me that was shortly after I turned 8 years old. But let’s face it, life is messy, and sometimes we need to let loose and have some fun.

When I was younger, I had this idea that being a man meant I had to be serious all the time. I thought I had to let go of my childhood hobbies and interests and focus on “mature” activities. But the truth is, being a man is not about conforming to outdated stereotypes or what society thinks we should be. It’s about being true to ourselves and embracing the things that make us happy.

For me, that meant embracing my inner geek and diving back into my love for Dungeons and Dragons. It also meant allowing myself to indulge in my favorite movies and books, no matter how silly or childish they may seem to others. And you know what? It felt good. It reminded me that being an adult doesn’t mean we have to give up the things we love.

So, to all the men out there who feel like they have to conform to society’s expectations, I urge you to let go of those notions and embrace the things that make you happy. Whether it’s playing video games, reading comic books, or watching cheesy rom-coms, do what makes you happy. Life is too short to live it according to someone else’s standards.

And on that note, here are a few book recommendations that I believe every man (or anyone, really) should read:

  1. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – This science fiction novel explores a future where humanity has colonized the stars and follows protagonist John Perry as he joins the military at the age of 75 to fight for the future of the human race.
  2. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – As you mentioned, this urban fantasy series follows Harry Dresden, a professional wizard and private investigator in Chicago. The series is action-packed, full of humor, and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
  3. The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne – This fantasy series follows the adventures of Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, as he navigates through supernatural dangers and encounters gods, goddesses, and other mythical beings.

Remember, reading is a personal and subjective experience. Don’t let anyone tell you what books you should or should not read. Instead, focus on finding books that you enjoy and that make you happy.

Ultimately, I learned that being a man is not about adhering to rigid stereotypes or societal expectations. It’s about being true to yourself and embracing the things that make you happy, even if they involve wizards, dragons, or spaceships. And let’s be real, who wouldn’t want to ride a dragon into battle or blast off into the galaxy with a motley crew of misfits? So go ahead, embrace your inner geek, and revel in the wonder of fiction and fantasy. After all, life is too short to take ourselves too seriously!

Chapter Two – Harold The Zombie

Read Chapter One

Doctor Igor Frankenstein arrived quietly in the night 24 hours later, and it was raining hard when his taxi pulled up to the hospital.  As he stepped out of the taxi a flash of lightning revealed he was a tall man wearing a dark trench coat. In his hand he held a large leather doctors bag, and a small suitcase in the other. He made his way quickly inside where Doctor Mills was waiting for him.

“Doctor Frankenstein thanks for coming on such short notice.” Doctor Mills said.

“Where is the child? I need to see him immediately. I assume you have been unable to feed him, and anything he does actually eat he eventually will throw up….yes?” Doctor Frankenstein said.

“Umm yes Doctor that is correct. The child is only two days old, but he looks like he is on death’s door. I have never seen such a decline in health. When I delivered him he was healthy as an ox I assure you. I had him moved to the ICU 24 hours ago as a precaution. I never expected such a rapid need for him to be there. Anything you need just let me know, the hospital’s resources are at your disposal.” Doctor Mills said.

“Thank you Doctor, as a matter of fact there are some things I will need. I need full access to the hospital’s blood bank supply. I will also need the child set up in a private room away from anyone who might have wandering eyes. Oh and I will also need a list of the recently deceased in your morgue who are donors. I appreciate your hospitality, and understanding in this sensitive matter.” Doctor Frankenstein said.

Doctor Mills just nodded his head. Over the last 48 hours he had hardly slept, and spent most of his waking hours researching information on Zombies. Most of what he had found he was sure false, and superstitious nonsense, but some of what he had found had to be truth. The information on diet was what frightened him the most. From what he was able to gather Zombies lived off the flesh and blood of dead humans. For unknown reasons this seemed to sustain their bodies, and keep them alive. Several sites even suggested that brains were a popular favorite of the Zombie race. Reading that helped Doctor Mills understand why many Zombie infants were killed. He was ashamed to admit to it, but even he had thought about ending Harold’s life. If Harold was going to grow up to kill and eat humans, would it not be better to stop it now before he was overcome by hunger and hurt someone?

“You’re welcome. I will be happy to arrange all these things for you. Now if you will follow me I will take you to the child.” Doctor Mills said.

As the two started walking down the hallway of the hospital Doctor Mills couldn’t help but wonder what Doctor Frankenstein’s plan was. In his entire medical career he had never come across something like this. The idea that he had delivered a Zombie both frightened and excited him. He had so many questions he wanted to ask, and so many questions that he feared the answers to.

“Doctor Frankenstein, would you mind if I asked you a few questions about Harold?” Doctor Mills said.

Doctor Frankenstein stopped dead in his tracks, and turned to face Doctor Mills.

“Harold? His parents named him?” Doctor Frankenstein said.

“Yes sir. They named him after one of their fathers. I don’t remember which one, but his parents are very concerned about Harold. Since putting him in ICU George, that’s Harold’s Father, has hardly left the observation window. His mother Louis has made it as often as she can, but she is still recovering from the birth, and with the transfusions of blood, her body is just not strong enough yet. She needs her rest.” Doctor Mills said.

Doctor Frankenstein looked stunned. “Did you tell the parents what he is?”

“Yes sir. They took it as well as one would expect, but after an hour or so of thought all they could think about was the well being of their child Zombie or not.”

If Doctor Frankenstein had looked stunned before now he really looked stunned. He had been studying Zombies for most of his adult life, and never had he run across a couple that cared about the child after they discovered what it was. Most had succeeded or tried to kill the child, given the child up for adoption or in some cases just abandoned the child somewhere. Never had he run across a couple that, even knowing what the child was, still cared about it.

Shaking his head he snapped himself out of the shock, and focused back on the task at hand. He needed to get to Harold, and fast. Two days without food for a Zombie newborn could not lend itself to good things.

A half hour later Doctor Frankenstein had Harold in a private room, fresh blood, and was working on a list of body parts he needed brought up from the morgue immediately. Doctor Mills had no idea about the list, but he was watching anxiously to see what Doctor Frankenstein planned on doing. After a few moments the list was finished.

“I need this list taken down to the morgue immediately. These items are to be taken from donors, and brought up as soon as possible. No questions are to be answered about why or where. Is that understood?”

Doctor Mills looked at the list, a kidney, 2lbs of brain, an arm, and a leg, one eyeball, and finally a heart. “What are you planning on doing with all of these things Doctor Frankenstein?” Doctor Mills said.

“My dear boy, I thought you said on the phone that you had knowledge of Zombies?” Doctor Frankenstein said

“Well I do, a little. Everything I know I learned in the past 48 hours. I read a lot on what a Zombie eats. But Harold is only a child. Surely you don’t think an infant could eat all this do you? It is your intention to feed this to Harold, isn’t it?”

“My good doctor, there is so much about Zombies we simply don’t know. With only a few documented cases, and most of them dead it’s hard to say what our little Zombie infant here is capable of. For now I know one thing he needs food. Blood should get him back to health, but after that it’s going to be a wondrous adventure into the unknown and only so far theorized.”

The impact of that statement hit Doctor Mills like a baseball bat. “You mean to say Harold could be the first recorded Zombie ever to be studied…ALIVE?!”

“Yes! Yes! Now you understand. I have traveled the world studying Zombies. Every lead or even hint I would follow. I have found dead Zombies and studied their anatomy, I have researched far into the legends, and superstitions, I have even gone as far as studying the occult and necromancy to try and understand these wonderful creations of nature. But despite all my searching, studying, and travels, I have never been able to come upon a live Zombie. Now Doctor I need to work. Please see to getting me the items on that list. There isn’t a rush, but I will take them as soon as they are reasonably ready. No need to tick off the morgue staff.”

Doctor Mills hesitated in the doorway. Doctor Frankenstein turned and saw Doctor Mills still standing there. “What are you waiting for my dear boy?”

“With all due respect Doctor, I would like to stay and see you work. I delivered Harold, and he is still in my care. I want to know that he is ok. You may have not found anyone who can care about a Zombie, but Harold’s parents are not the only ones who would like to see that child live!”

“So it would seem. Come doctor you may watch, but stay clear of me. I need room to move.”

Doctor Mills hesitated for only a second before coming into the room, and setting himself on the far side near the window. Doctor Frankenstein pulled a small knife out from his back pocket, and sliced through the top of the first bag of blood. Slowly he poured the blood into a small metal bowl. Reaching into his bag he pulled out a small dropper, and placed the tip of the dropper into the blood. Using the suction of the dropper Doctor Frankenstein pulled the blood into the dropper. He then turned his attention to Harold.

Harold looked sick and dying. Only 48 hours ago he looked, and sounded like any other new born. Now his skin was pale and ashen, his lips were cracked, and he hardly made sounds past whimpers. Doctor Frankenstein gently tilted Harold’s head back and placed the dropper of blood to Harold’s lips. Slowly drop by drop Harold started to feed on the blood. It took a few minutes, but it seemed that with each new drop Harold started to seem more active. At first it was just a hand or finger twitch, and then it was a leg raise, but slowly Harold started to move. After 30 minutes the entire first bag of blood was gone, and Harold was sucking the dropper dry in a matter of seconds. Doctor Frankenstein looked up at Doctor Mills and said “We are going to need more blood, and Doctor you better get me a bottle.”

An hour later Harold had gone through 5 bags of blood, and was looking healthy and alive. Harold was even smiling. Doctors Frankenstein and Mills sat back and laughed.

“Doctor Frankenstein, how on earth did he do that? He was on death’s door step, and with a hour and a half we seem to have brought him back from the dead.”

“Yes it does appear that way doesn’t it my dear boy. You see the answer is within Harold himself. Zombies are incapable of producing their own blood, much like vampires. Zombies need the blood to survive; they are born without a stomach or a heart as you and I are. Instead they are born with a hybrid heart and stomach. The two are linked, and helps the Zombie transfer fresh blood directly into their veins. Further this stomach heart combination helps the Zombie digest flesh. Flesh that is so desperately needed to rebuild, grow, and repair its body. It really is very fascinating!”

Doctor Mills swallowed a nervous gulp of air. “Did you say Vampires?” Doctor Mills had always been afraid of Vampires, ever since his older brother had scared him wearing a vampire outfit when he was younger.

“Is that all you absorbed from my previous statements Doctor? Of everything I said the ONE thing you focus on is there are Vampires in this world! Good God man, get some perspective. Of course Vampires are real. You stand in the same room as a Zombie, and you really have to wonder if Vampires exist. You call yourself a Doctor. You see there are a lot of things about this world that many people don’t know, or choose not to know or to believe. Zombies and Vampires are just two examples. Honestly!”

Doctor Mills looked like his entire world had just been shattered. Never had he really thought that these things could be real. And now Doctor Mills was right he was standing in the room with a Zombie, and a Zombie expert. He had so many questions he wanted to ask, but since most of them were about Vampires he decided to hold his tongue.

“Doctor you still have not explained why Harold was on death’s door only a short time ago, and now seems healthy as any baby his age should be.” Doctor Mills said.

“Ah that’s right! I do apologize I have a tendency to run off on terrible tangents. Now where was I? Yes, I remember. You see when a Zombie drinks blood the blood is then immediately transferred into its veins which distributes the blood to the whole body, the body then absorbs the blood helping it to create new cells and grow. Now while a Zombie could very much survive on blood alone, which is why many may be confused with Vampires I suppose, Zombies require a varied diet of fresh blood, human flesh, different kinds of organs, and above all brains.”

“Brains, why brains?” Doctor Mills said.

“That’s a very good question. We are not really sure. Keep in mind that Harold is the first living Zombie anyone has ever been able to study. Perhaps Harold holds the key to unlocking many of the great Zombie mysteries. What I do know is that many believe that without a rich and balanced diet the Zombie will suffer some terrible side effects. Rotting flesh, decrease in memory and intelligence, slurred speech, and above all cravings.”

“What do you mean cravings.” Doctor Mills said. “Well you see Doctor without a balanced diet a Zombie will start to feel cravings for those things he is missing in his diet. It’s very animalistic I suppose, and theory is that eventually it will drive the Zombie mad causing the Zombie to seek out and find the thing his body is craving. Unfortunately this generally means that someone will have to die in the process.”

“I guess it’s hard to reason with a Zombie if they see you as food.” Doctor Mills said.

“Exactly!” Doctor Frankenstein said.

“So what do we do now? What happens to Harold now?” Doctor Mills said.

“Now we talk to the parents. I am very interested in meeting these fine people who care for their child despite the fact that they know what he is. Remarkable, simply remarkable.” Doctor Frankenstein said.

Read Chapter Three HERE


3 Fantastic Books To Read In April

I saw something on Pinterest the other day that said something like “Just bought some new books, and immediately wants to buy MORE new books.”  I tried to find the meme, but alas I have been unable to locate it, or anything like it.

That being said if you are like that phrase then you and I have something very much in common.  I love books!  I have three bookshelves full of books.  Some I have read, some I haven’t, but I am always adding to my collection.

So if you are like me, and looking for a few new books to add to your collection, allow me to make some suggestions on books you should read in April.

51v+14pkkTL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Vagabonding is a fantastic book about travel, the way we live, and the way we see the world around us.

A Favorite Quote – “In this way, we end up spending (as Thoreau put it) “the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it.” We’d love to drop all and explore the world outside, we tell ourselves, but the time never seems right. Thus, given an unlimited amount of choices, we make none. Settling into our lives, we get so obsessed with holding on to our domestic certainties that we forget why we desired them in the first place.”

I recently read this for a second time, and I am so glad I did.  I picked up details I never saw the first time I read it. Granted the first time I read Vagabonding was on the floor of Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, OR.

TRICKED-cover-178x300Tricked – If you are not familiar with Kevin Hearne or his writing allow me to take this opportunity to introduce you.  Kevin is a fantastic author, and his Iron Druid series is one of my all time favorite fictional stories.

Favorite Quote – “He didn’t want to know what I was going to do with those granny panties. Surprisingly, Granuaile did. “Sensei, what were you going to do with those marshmallows and panties?””

Kevin is also very active on Twitter, and I have had the pleasure of having a back and forth conversation with him a time or two.

4115ZJVBGFL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Bliss: Writing To Find Your True Self was a very interesting read/project.  The book itself is written in such a way as to be more a workbook then a sit down and read kind of book.  However Katherine Ramsland does an excellent job.

I initially picked this book up because it was such a different kind of writing to Katherine’s usual. As an author of thrillers, and psychological books on serial killers, it seemed out of place that she would write a book on bliss, but as I mentioned above she did a terrific job!

Favorite Quote “The truth is, finding our bliss is not automatic, in part because our culture discourages us from paying attention to our inner voices.”

I hope you like my suggestions for April reading.  What are your reading suggestions for April?

Weekly Wishes #1

weekly-wishesI mentioned this on Facebook earlier this week, but one of the things I love about social media is being able to connect, and share ideas with creative people.  This week I was introduced to “linkups” through blogs by the wonderfully talented Emily Ryan. She shares in her post her wishes for this coming week. An idea inspired by Melyssa. These beautiful and creative women have inspired me to write my own “Weekly Wishes” list, and I have decided to make it a regular post here each Sunday.

  1. Listen to music for 10 minutes each day uninterrupted  – I have always loved music.  When I was a little boy I tried out for a solo singing edelweiss in my elementary schools music review.  I got the part.  When I got home to tell my parents, they were kind, but they didn’t believe me, and thought I was making it up.  My Mom tells me she was very surprised when I stepped up on stage and sang a beautiful song that put her in tears as she listened.  I have always loved music, but as an adult I have noticed I have not really been listening to music.  Sure I have it on in the car, or while I work, but how often do I just listen to music?  So this week I have a goal to listen to just 10 minutes of uninterrupted music each day.  No phone, computer, internet, TV, or any other distracting activity.  Just me and the music!
  2. Write 4 new blog posts – I really enjoy writing.  There is something soothing about writing, that frees your soul.  So this week I want to write 4 new posts.  They can be for this blog, or for Geek and Gamer Fitness.
  3. Read 70 pages of a good book – I recently read that too many books can be a distraction.  How many of us have read an amazing book cover to cover, put it down, and picked up the next book on our reading list?  When we find a book with thought provoking ideas we should read it over and over again, studying its words.  So this week its my intention to read 70 pages of only one book, and learn from it.
  4. Make progress on my new puzzle I bought a new puzzle in Seattle a few weeks ago.  Its beautiful and I want to glue it together and hang in on my office wall.  The problem is its a VERY hard puzzle, and I am not very good at puzzles.  So I want to just make progress on it.
  5. Write 1000 words in my Dragon Riders novel
  6. Paint my office a new color – I have been slowly organizing my home office again, and want to paint it a new color.  I am thinking a calming sea blue.
  7. Clean my car – Trust me when I say its filthy!  It really needs it!
  8. Go on three 30 minute walks with my wife – Terra and I went on a walk the other day, and it was wonderful.  No phones, computers, or other distractions.  Just me and her.  I really enjoyed talking to her, and holding her hand.  Plus we live in WA so I should take advantage of the nice weather before the rain returns.
  9. Stick to my diet 100% – This includes logging everything into myfitnesspal
  10. Complete 7 workouts this week each lasting 30 minutes or more

92: Book Update

Project: The Return
Current Words: 5383
Words to Go: 94,016

With the writers group tomorrow I finished editing and adding to chapter 2. I rewrote an entire section as a dream sequence that the main character is having. I wasn’t originally going to do that. My original idea was to have two story lines going on a switching from one story to the other each chapter, but I decided against it and decided to bring the second story to the main character. I think it works better, and allows that the story doesn’t get complicated and lets the reader keep track of one story line instead of two.

81 Book Update

Project: The Return
Current Words: 3,825
Words to Go: 96,175

Got the first chapter finished (I think). I thought I had it finished before, but I took it to my writers group and they made a ton of good suggestions, so I made a ton of changes. Started working on a new chapter, and got about half way through before my sister called. She was driving through NE in the middle of a hail storm and needed some help with weather.com. So I put the book up and helped her. Now I am enjoying some ice cream and Star Trek. Will finish the new chapter tomorrow.

77. Book Update

So a few weeks ago I attended my first writers group, and read the first chapter to my book. I was really pleased that they liked my intro, as I had enjoyed writing it a lot! They did have a few suggestions on editing which I am making now. They also suggested that I add more detail to the first chapter as some of my back story was not clear. So I have started making the editing changes and will write that way from now on, and I am adding a great deal of detail to chapter one about the main characters past. All in all I am excited.

Words to Date: 3316
Words To Completion: 96,684

19. Leviathan

I just finished reading Leviathan and found the story to be very good.  While they have two seperate stories going on teh eventually come together (a type of writing I am not fond of) it was a very entertaining light read.

In an alternate history, Europe is headed towards a Word War. The Germanic Clankers, with their advanced machinery, face off against the British Darwinists, with their crossbred animals. The Darwinists have a new weapon, the Leviathan, a flying whale ship. Deryn Sharp is new to the service and is on the Leviathan for her first assignment. But only males are allowed to be in the service, so she must hide her identity from everyone, and disguise herself as a boy.

Meanwhile, Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand is woken in the middle of the night and forced to flee his home. With only a small group of men, Aleksandar faces foes at every turn. When the Leviathan lands near Aleksandar, he meets young Deryn, and their fates intertwine.

In this latest young adult novel from Scott Westerfeld, he has created an alternate history in a steampunk version of World War I. It’s a fantastic world of elaborate machines and bizarre, unnatural animals. In addition to the unique world and fascinating story, the characters are just as absorbing and are the driving force behind the story. Aleksandar is spoiled, but very bright and capable. And Deryn is brave, talented, and humble. The two are from different worlds and seems as if the reader is viewing to drastically different stories, until the two worlds collide.

There is no lack of suspense and action in this steampunk adventure. As a growing niche in the science fiction genre, this novel is sure to be popular amidst youth and adults alike. With events culminating in a climactic ending, there is room left open for a sequel, which I certainly am hoping for. It’s a fun, fresh and decidedly unique tale. Don’t miss this one.