Well you waited for it, and finally is here! We have now been gifted with Part IV of the most recent story circle, and this time it is authored by none other than the story circle host herself, Cameron Garriepy. Cameron has been extremely busy recently with a new job, the publishing of her Twelve Days ’til Christmas, her short story From the Earth To The Moon, and so many other ventures that it makes me feel like a serious under achiever.
But, she took time out from her schedule to write the last part of the current story circle. The first part was penned by Shannon Gooding, the second part by the one and only me, the third part by Amanda Holling, and now we wind up with the talents of Cameron. So, here is a taste of the beginning of the end, and you can continue reading on her site. And trust me, you want to continue reading – she has produced an excellent and unexpected conclusion.
The Jaguar wasn’t built for the road it met at the end of the ramp. Sully bumped along a half a mile of broken asphalt and mud road through deep evergreen forest. She kept her eyes ahead. Behind lay madness, that much was clear.
Ahead, through a mist which lay, thick and creeping, along the forest floor, the soft pale light beckoned.
Sully felt silence pressing against the outside of the car. This silence had weight. She imagined it with hands to press against the glass and steel, but the vision brought on another bout of nausea. She swiped her clammy hands on her jeans and steered the car around the worst of the potholes.
She’d awoken drenched in sweat and tears in the hotel bed, two time zones from home, from an endless dream-loop of pursuit — prey to an unseen, all-seeing predator. Like a night-blind animal, she’d obeyed a primal instinct to flee the evil that was the box without stopping to consider that the box had chosen her.
That whatever the box contained had called to her from its table in the little shop.
As some of you already know, I am kind of nuts. Yes, I admit it. I am not going to say I am alone in this condition, but I will say that I need to spend some time and effort straightening out my head. It is time for a change. So, to that end, I have come up with some goals. I have lined them out below and would love to know what you think.
- Spend less time on FaceBook. Starting with a FaceBook diet of only 15 minutes, once per day. I would say the same for Twitter, G+, and the others too, but I don’t spend much time on those anyway. Plus, unlike FaceBook, they don’t seem to be as soul sucking and bad mood inducing.
- Spend at least one hour per day on a pure “me” activity. This is not work. Not even my own work for my own business. This is something like working on my model trains, writing, futzing with my old cars, or reading. This could be goofing with my family too – as long as it isn’t in front of the TV or anything like that.
- I am going to attempt to say “no” to, or delegate, projects that I don’t have time for and/or that someone else should do. I spend too much time taking on everything trying to make people happy – and it leaves me feeling ragged. And it leaves many of those project not being completed with the quality they deserve.
- Quit browsing shopping sites, like Amazon and eBay, for stuff that is appealing but that I don’t need. If I need something I will go find it (or have someone else find it) and buy it, but no more virtual window shopping. This goes hand in hand with the next one …
- Avoid unnecessary expenditures like phone upgrades I don’t need or additional toys and projects I will never get to. It is time to finish a few things and make use of what I already have.
- As much as possible buy and eat local. Additionally, when eating I will aim for fresher, healthier, less fried, less processed foods. I will aim for local flavor, quality and color instead of fast, faceless, fixtures.
- And finally … resume my walking exercise. This was the best thing I had done for myself in a long time and I need to get back into it. Walking dropped my weight, lowered my blood pressure, helped strengthen my back, and gave me time to listen to podcasts and see the world around me. So while it is last on the list, it is a very valuable item on the list.
So there you have it – some goals I am setting for myself. Some will be harder than others, and I know I will slip from time to time. If you see me slip I would appreciate a gentle nudge of a reminder. No need to beat me with a stalk of celery or anything, just help me back on my path. And for that help, I will let you know how it all goes.
What do you think? Is something on the list ridiculous? Have I forgotten something critical? We are always a work in progress, so I can always make revisions.
Wow, it is Wednesday again! And do you know what that means? Yes, it means it is time for the third part of our story circle. Or really the third part of Cameron Garriepy’s story circle. Two weeks ago the story of Sully running from … something … was kicked of by Shannon. And then last week your’s truly, that would be me, picked up part two with my addition. And now, in week three, we have Amanda Holling of librarian fame picking up the trail. This story is a fast-paced good read, and I can’t wait to see where it ends up next week with part four. So start reading below and then head on over to Cameron’s Story Circle to read the rest.
Sully – Part III
Sully clutched the steering wheel hard in both hands and swallowed down the sharp taste of bile at the back of her throat. She knew that couldn’t stop to be sick. If she slowed down long enough to open her car door and vomit onto the pavement, the terrifying blankness might catch up with her. She didn’t want to think about what that might mean. A tingling chill curled around her neck once more, clinging to her skin like a slender hand with too-long fingers. Her stomach lurched as the road in front of her seemed to slide upwards and to the right. She struggled to see clearly enough to keep the car on the road. Her foot involuntarily pressed the brake, but the dizziness began to fade almost as soon as it started and she was able to speed up again.
She topped a rise and saw something coming into view on the side of the road. It was one of those blue signs that always promised food, gas, or lodging, or so she thought at first. The reflective lettering glowed in the headlights and ordered the passerby to “Turn Here For Help.” Sully blinked once in confusion and squinted at the sign. As she drew level to it, she realized that it actually read “Tourist Information 740 AM.” She decided that it must be the lack of sleep finally beginning to show itself.
Are you a closet inventor? Have you heard about the strange new thing called 3-D printing and would like to try your hand at it? Do you believe you could create electronic devices to solve problems around the home or office? If any of these sounds like you, then you may be a “maker”. Makers are those among us who dream of better ways to do things and creative uses for the objects around us. They are the tinkerers and programmers, the hackers and explorers. If any of this sounds appealing to you, then the book “Zero to Maker: Learn (Just Enough) to Make (Just About) Anything” by David Lang is a good place for you to start.
“Zero to Maker”, published by Maker Media, starts with an overview of the maker phenomena and then gets down to the hands-on nitty-gritty. In contrast to general business style books like “The Maker Movement Manifesto” by Mark Hatch, which stays at a higher more theoretical level, “Zero to Maker” goes in depth with some of the projects and problems that face today’s creators. From the various types of people that you will come in contact with to the different ways of handling specific product problems, the advice given her is concrete and actionable. The next step from here would be actual user manuals for hardware or programming tutorials for system development languages.
When it comes to the maker scene, I am definitely into the computer side of things. I am into the Raspberry PI, the Arduino, and TI’s Launchpad. I guess that makes sense since I am a programmer by trade, but I also like the hardware side of these devices. But, since I have been so preoccupied with software for so many years, my knowledge of basic electronics leaves something to be desired. That is where a book such as this comes in. It doesn’t necessarily tell me everything I need to know about electronics, but it helps lay out a path of where I should go to learn more.
I found Lang’s style easy to read and almost conversational, without become too casual. Making is an area where the excitement of discovery should show through, and it does in this book. Of particular interest is his relating his own journey with the OpenROV project. The path of that project, dealing with underwater robots, from discovery through fruition is one that all makers hope to enjoy.
I would also recommend “Zero to Maker” to parents or teachers who are interested in getting kids interested in engineering, science, or other STEAM fields. (STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) This book might give some ideas on how to motivate those kids and also how to deal with the types of personalities that will be encountered.