Oahu Vacation Wrap-Up

We’re home. Our tans are fading, our wounds are healing, the sand is almost out of our shoes. The current feelings seem to be mixed: some of us are glad to be home and back in our own beds; whereas, I’m already looking forward to the next trip. I could have used another week.

Man-O-War SignWe spent our last days mostly snorkeling. On one of the last days, we figured out the tide situation in the beach behind our house and realized we had an amazing snorkeling location a few steps from our backdoor. We also spent a day at Hanauma Bay State Park. This beautiful beach is well-maintained and requires a small entrance fee. It’s very popular and thus somewhat crowded, but they do control the number of people allowed on the beach at any given time. The wind and surf was strong the day we went and we didn’t end up seeing a lot under the water (the reef areas were a bit too crowded for me).

My nephew was swimming near me when he announced that a Portuguese man o’ war was near him. I told him to try to get away from it, but as the words were coming out of my mouth he shouted, “It stung me!” I urged him to head towards shore and I followed. He swam extremely fast. He reached the beach and the lifeguards there had already figured out what was going on. They met him with a spray bottle of vinegar. They sprayed it on his hand where he had been stung and cracked a few jokes with him to keep his spirits up. The wound began to really sting and swell up. They told him there really wasn’t much that could be done, he just had to wait it out.

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

Portuguese man o' war

Portuguese man o’ war

The next day, we were snorkeling at our beach. These man o’ wars were ubiquitous on the beach, apparently an unusual outbreak owing to strong trade winds. My nephew took a stick and drew big circles around them in the sand, pointing them out to anyone unaware. Still, he would not be deterred. We swam and played on bodyboards. Then he felt something bump him. “I think I got stung again!”, he shouted. He got out of the water and I noticed what had hit him. It was a beautiful white jellyfish, the top of it about the size of a quarter with thin ghost-like tendrils drifting behind it a couple of inches. He waited around to see if this would start stinging like the man o’ war. A decent-sized welt appeared, but he didn’t seem to be bothered too much by pain this time around. He was the only one that managed to be stung, and he got stung twice by two different species of animals. The seas might be out to get him.

man o' war stingI was seriously regretting not having a waterproof camera. In the Hanauma Bay gift store, my wife found a contraption that allowed me to use my phone underwater. It’s basically a plastic case that’s clear where the camera lens is and half-inflated with air to ensure it floats. The plastic allows the touchscreen to be used even while underwater.

Back at our beach, I was able to use it properly and captured some decent video clips of the world below the sea’s surface. The photos aren’t that great, but the sun was setting and it was getting dark quickly. I wished I had had it earlier in our trip, especially when I was swimming with the turtles.

I apologize for the crappy photos below (cellphone in a bag, what do you expect?), but hopefully you get an idea of the wonders I found below.

Underwater photo of reef fish.

Underwater photo of reef fish.
The video turned out a little better:

We had a fantastic time on our vacation. It was relaxing and exciting all at once. There were some things that I had hoped to see but we ran out of time: Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Waimea Canyon, etc. I’m already looking forward to planning the next trip.

Master of None

Master of None LogoI don’t take the time to watch a lot of television or movies, but I’ve been vacationing lately and have had more time for recreation. I started scrolling Netflix for the first time in who-knows-how-long? and saw a recommendation for a Netflix original show called Master of None, created by and starring Aziz Ansari. I’m a little familiar with Ansari’s comedy, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I was hooked instantly.

The first episode in the series started with a hilariously awkward scene involving a broken condom and an Uber trip for some emergency contraception. Dev (Ansari’s character) and Rachel (played by the adorable Noël Wells) have this brilliant duality in their chemistry; they’re great together until Dev does something to revert all of the progress that their relationship has gained. Still, he gets chance after chance to set things right.

I binge-watched the first half-season and will have the second half finished by the end of the weekend. So far, my favorite episode is Indians On TV. Ansari tackles the inherent racism in Hollywood, ironically using more than two Indian actors to illustrate how no show can get away with more than one Indian character. I created a .gif of my favorite clip from the episode:

Clip from Master of None

What’s wrong with Short Circuit 2?

They got a white guy to play an Indian guy.

What the ro… the robot movie? With Johnny Five?

Wait, you don’t know this?

Wait, which Indian guy are you talking about?

Dude. That guy’s a white guy.

The robot, or the Indian?

The Indian guy, is a white guy. That’s Fisher Stevens. They used brown face makeup.

Wait, what?!

Yeah, they got a real robot and a fake Indian.

Ansari actually contacted Fisher Stevens after this episode aired, which Ansari wrote this article about.

So far, the show has covered a broad range of relevant issues: in addition to racism, he explores the overlooked-by-males female perspective, dealing with bad dates, the challenges and rewards of raising children, and struggling to relate with parents. The show is comedic genius with characters you instantly fall in love with.

There’s a few days left in the holiday season; if you find yourself with some time to binge-watch some television I highly recommend giving Master of None a chance.

Snorkeling

Oahu's North Shore at Laie

I can’t believe I’ve never been snorkeling before now. Well, I guess it’s sort of understandable considering I spend most of my time in Alaska. But seriously, the snorkeling I’ve done over the past few days has changed my life and I nearly regret not experiencing this sooner.

I’ve floated above countless species of angelfish, rainbow-colored wrasse, and various tangs. I’ve swam beside trumpetfish, puffers, and butterfly fish. I’ve even been up close and personal with Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a (pronounced: who-moo-who-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-ah-pooah-ah).

But by far, the most remarkable experience has been within the presence of the green sea turtles. Referring to what these amazing animals do underwater as swimming feels like an understatement. They fly, soar, and glide through the ocean. Their motions defy effort, as they slip through the sea. They slowly flap their flippers, propelling themselves through the undercurrents. They appear to defy gravity, friction, or any sense of resistance. It’s almost as if they travel through an unseen dimension and we’re only perceiving their supernatural reflection.

I swam nearby, giving space to the creatures. I watched, and they watched me. They were fearless; I felt like they knew how I felt about them. One swam to the surface next to me. I lifted my head out of the water just in time to see one of these amazing animals break the surface just mere inches away from me, pulling in a breath of fresh, salty air, before returning to the cosmos beneath the ocean’s glistening surface.

I don’t yet have a camera capable of surviving these underwater encounters, so unfortunately I can’t share these wonders with you as well as I’d like. I’ll be better prepared for my next trip.

But for me I’ll have these images in my mind for the rest of my life, as the magnificent world under the sea fills my dreams and memories.

Sea Turtle graffiti

Kailua Beach and Pineapples and Waves

We spent the previous couple of days exploring the nearby attractions. We spent a day at Kailua Beach Park, a gorgeous sandy beach with warm waters and a gentle surf. Here, we could bodyboard without fear of running up against sharp rocks. We brought our snorkeling gear, but there wasn’t much to be seen at the particular part of the beach that we were camped at. We all were in the water for hours: trying to bodyboard, snorkeling, swimming, and just floating around in the warm, buoyant water. The beach is a popular vacation haunt for President Obama and the First Family, and it’s no wonder why. (In fact, he’s slated to be in town for his Christmas vacation starting tomorrow.)

Alexis returns to the sea as Terry returns to the shore.

Alexis returns to the sea as Terry returns to the shore.

The next day, we toured a few spots on the North Shore on our way to Dole Plantation. We first stopped at a seemingly-unnamed beach near Kawela Bay. The beach here features rocky reefs right near the shore. The surf pulses through here, filling depressions into large pools before pulling the water back out to the sea. Alexis was taken a bit off guard as a big surge of water rolled in and rose up to her waist. We explored the small tidepools and admired the large waves that crashed just off shore.

Tide pools

We continued on the Kamehameha Highway around the North Shore. The Billabong Pipe Masters surfing event is in full swing, apparent via the endless line of vehicles parked along the highway and people in beach attire walking along the road. We found a parking spot and headed down to Pupukea beach. Massive waves pummeled the beach. We were all mesmerized by the size of the waves, rising higher than our heads before crashing down in front of us. A rocky outcropping that separated our beach from Sharks Cove was full of small pools that the kids loved to explore. Huge walls of foamy sea crashed over the wall of rock, refilling the pools.

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Alexis watches the North Shore waves.

Alexis watches the North Shore waves.

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We then headed over to Dole Plantation, the place where many of the pineapples you eat come from. The main attractions at the plantation are a guided train tour of the pineapple fields, and the proclaimed world’s largest maze. We ate lunch in the cafe: the usual fish sandwich, chicken strips, cheeseburger type fare. A few cats were on the patio dining area, adorably begging for food. The kids marveled at the size of huge snails browsing the foliage surrounding the dining area.

After lunch, we rode the Pineapple Express train tour. The little train chugged us through a sample of various plants and trees, some I had heard of and others I’ve already forgotten the names of. We passed by various machinery used to harvest pineapples while overheard speakers fed us bits of trivia. Did you know it takes 20 months for the first pineapple to grow on a plant? Then, a second one follows 15 months later before the field has to be replanted. 

We then entered the Pineapple Maze, which apparently holds a Guinness World Record for being the largest maze. You get a small map and are challenged to find seven stations within the maze. Each station has a slot you put your map card into to trace that station’s icon onto. The idea is once you find all seven stations you can exit the maze and consider it completed. We split into groups. Terry and Drew were the only group to find all seven stations. The rest of us settled for five or six. We spent about 45 minutes in the maze. By this time, the place was shutting down but we had just enough time to go back into the cafe for cups of Dole Whip, which I believe is just pineapple-flavored ice cream with pineapple chunks on top. Whatever it was, it was good.

Aboard the Pineapple Express

We headed back past the North Shore towards our house. We made a final stop at Waimea Bay Beach Park, where we watched surfers and bodyboarders attempt the waves. Jett chased some of the wild chicken, one of which took flight to evade him. This effectively ended an argument we had a couple of days ago, where he insisted chickens can’t fly.

“Hey Jett… What’s that chicken doing right now? Huh?!”

 

“Shut up.”

My rambunctious nephew Corvin was doing his best “JOOOOHHHNNNNN CEEENNNA!” impression and wrestling with his siblings and cousins. Apparently, Alexis managed to get the best of him when she introduced him to ‘The Peoples’ Elbow’.

Little John Cena

Little John Cena

We ended the day with margaritas and play on the beach in our back yard.

 

 

 

Oahu – The First 24 Hours

FlightOne should never take for granted, the technology that allows one to go from somewhere near the top of the planet, where the air burns one’s face with cold, to somewhere closer to the middle, where the air envelopes you in a warm embrace, by climbing into a winged cylinder with engines that suck, squeeze, bang, and blow you there in a mere six hours. It’s a fantastic time to be alive.

My family and I landed in Honolulu just before 7pm last night. My wife’s bag didn’t make the flight (the flight apparently was overweight and her bag was one of the lucky few that were held for the next day’s flight). This meant that as soon as we grabbed our rental car our first experience with the local shopping scene was a quick trip into Target for some of the essentials that were supposed to arrive with us in her suitcase.

Famished as we were, we ate at the first restaurant we could find: a joint I had never had been to before called Ruby Tuesday. Their smokehouse cheeseburger is a seriously good eat, but we all agreed that my wife’s Chicken and Broccoli Pasta was the best dish on the table.

We were excited to get to our house, so we hit the road. From Honolulu to Laie–the town we’re staying at–the highway cut us through the middle of the island towards the eastern coast, which we then followed north to Laie. It’s a one-hour drive, but that’s only because most of the drive has a speed limit of 35-45 miles per hour. Much of it was two-lanes winding along the coast. It was dark, so our views were limited. Occasionally, the road skirted close enough to the beach that streetlights illuminated the water. I think I even saw some turtles, but I’m the only one that believes me. Before we knew it, we had arrived at our home for the next week plus.

We rented a large, five-bedroom house right on the beach. We’re sharing it with my brother-in-law and his family who are arriving a day after us. After a most brief tour of the house, we went out back to check out the beach. Apparently, some of the beaches on Oahu are seasonal and we were expecting ours to be one of them. To our good fortune, a most quintessential sandy beach is just outside our back door and ready for our enjoyment. It was too dark to see much, but from what we could make out by the light of my LED headlamp (which I never leave home without!) we had quite a space to enjoy as soon as the daylight showed itself.

The stars were magnificent. Fortunately, the light pollution here is very minimal and I had a limitless view into the heavens. Stars and planets glistened brilliantly above the crashing surf below. The Geminids meteor shower peaking, it was almost too much to believe.

Jupiter rising above the Pacific.

Jupiter rising above the Pacific.

After a long day of traveling and the extra fatigue that always accompanies 3,000 miles worth of flying, we were all exhausted. The wife and kids went to sleep, but I was too excited to follow suit. I was up until nearly 2am sitting in the back yard, photographing the stars and watching meteors streak across the sky. Some of them brilliantly shot below the eastern horizon, appearing as if they were landing in the ocean. I sat out there on the wet grass and breathed humid air until Jupiter had climbed well above the horizon. I finally came inside and let the ocean lull me to sleep.

The next morning our plan was to get the rest of the things we needed for our stay: a trip to Costco, acquiring our snorkel gear, and arranging the delivery for our missing bag. My son and I swam in the ocean while waiting for the other two to get ready to go. The current is remarkably strong on our beach, almost impossible to swim directly against. It was fun letting the current pull me along the coast while I floated.

My first daylight view from our home in paradise.

My first daylight view from our home in paradise.

Everyone ready to go get our shopping out the way, we hopped in the car. We skirted the north shore on the way to the Costco in Waipio, driving past endless roadside shops, fruit stands, food trucks, and surfers. We passed myriad fields, growing coffee, sugar cane and pineapple. We stocked up on groceries and then made the return trip back. We stopped at a few places along the way. We bought fresh fruit and a few trinkets (I got a wooden beaded bracelet for $3.50 from a store that had the most docile cats lounging around. I thought being a cat in Hawaii might not be a bad reincarnation.)

Alexis taking in the roadside sights.

Alexis taking in the roadside sights.

Back at the house, the kids and I went to play in the water. I had warned my daughter about the current and had her experience it for herself as I swam nearby. Eventually, my son wanted to try out the bodyboards that came with the house. The waves, at that time, weren’t the best for bodyboarding but it was fun floating around on the things. I paddled out near a reef that’s just off shore and tried to ride the current back onto the beach. As I neared the beach, I came upon a shallower spot with jagged rocks below me. I scraped the top of my foot against one of the rocks. I tried to stand and wade away from the potential danger but it was too late. A larger wave crashed over my head and pushed my body down onto the razor-sharp rocks. I received a couple cuts on my wrist, one of my fingers, and my foot. Nothing serious, but enough to reinforce the potential danger to my kids. Unfortunately, they seemed less concerned with my wounds and more excited by the fact that my blood might attract sharks. “Stay in the water, dad! I want to see the sharks!”

The first battle scars of my war with the Pacific.

The first battle scars of my war with the Pacific.

We cooked tacos for dinner and sat around watching movies. I cracked my bottle of Laphroaig, which paired nicely with the sea breeze flowing through the beach house.

Jett absorbs paradise.

Jett absorbs paradise.

Consider Audiobooks

Audible Logo

I listen to a lot of audiobooks. I enjoy them for a number of different reasons:

  • I can ‘read’ on the go. I listen to audiobooks while I’m commuting, out walking the dog, or doing chores around the house.
  • I enjoy high-quality, professional narration. I let the narrator tell me how to pronounce certain names, or to give me a feel for a character’s speaking voice.
  • I like to read while listening to the narration. I find myself immersed in the story when I’m listening and reading at the same time. Kindle apps on my phone and tablet make this seamless. (The narration pace is normally slower than my reading pace, so I have to expect my books to take longer this way.)

There are three primary (legal) ways to acquire audiobooks from Audible.

Adding Narration to a Kindle Title

Audible is the largest retailer for audiobooks. Like Kindle, it is owned by Amazon, which is good news for those of us that are Kindle addicts. Amazon offers the Audible audiobook narration for many Kindle titles at a greatly-reduced price once you own the Kindle ebook. An audiobook that might be $30 from Audible.com can often be found for just a couple dollars on Amazon if you have already purchased the Kindle ebook. In my experience, most of the time I can purchase the ebook and add the audiobook narration for a fraction of the price of just buying the audiobook on its own. This is how I built the majority of my Audible library. In addition, Kindle’s ‘Whispersync’ service keeps your place across devices and formats, so when I get in my car and start playing the audiobook it will pick up right where I left off with the ebook.

Buying the Audiobook

You can purchase audiobooks at both Amazon.com and Audible.com. You’ll pay full-price, which most titles seem to be in the $25-$30 price range.

Subscribing to Audible

Another way to purchase audiobooks from Audible is by subscribing to their service. They offer multiple plans, the most common and basic being $14.95 per month. For this price, you get one free audiobook credit per month (almost all titles require a single credit) and significant discounts on additional titles. For $22.95, you can get two credits per month. You can have a free 30-day trial by clicking the link on the right. You get a free title and can cancel before your trial is up and keep your book free of charge.

Recommendation:

I’ve done all three options. Currently, the first one–adding narration to my Kindle titles–is the right plan for me. I read almost exclusively on my Kindle, so adding narration for a few extra dollars makes the most sense for my situation. This also depends on my rate of consumption, which currently is about one book per month. If I was going to read more than I do now, I might consider other options like Kindle Unlimited (which I’ll write about in a subsequent post). If I were to listen to more audiobooks that I weren’t also planning to read, or if I came across a title that didn’t have a reduced price for owning the Kindle version, I might reactivate my premium Audible membership.

Round-Up: Sci-Fi and Real-Sci and Some Girl

Rodeo RiderHere’s a few things I recommend reading this week:

First, go check out Naomi’s blog, Some Girl’s Words. She just recently started publishing there and has already posted some pretty powerful stuff. I highly recommend her article about being kicked out of her church. The comments that it has provoked shows that her experience is troubling, and far from unique. Her writing is straight from the heart and she doesn’t pull punches.

On a more scientific note, the Japanese space agency JAXA received an early Christmas present. 5 years ago, on my space blog I wrote about the agency’s failed attempt to put an orbiter around Venus. At the time, I thought they would have to wait six years for a second attempt, but it looks like it was only five before things aligned just such that they could send the commands to the craft to try again. This time, it was a success. JAXA’s Akatsuki craft is now in orbit around Venus.

I‘m currently re-reading Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson. I take advantage of Amazon’s reduce price on audiobooks when you own a Kindle title of the same book. I switch to the audio version when I’m driving, out walking, or doing things around the house, but also like to listen to it as I’m reading along. The narration for this particular title is very well down. The narrator has a voice that I would call a cross between Martin Sheen and Tom Waits (yeah, that’s going to be a tough one to imagine, I know).

Finally, I’m heading to Hawaii in a few days so expect to see a more tropical slant to the site in the immediate future.

Barber Cabin

Barber Cabin, in Chugach National Forest

The Barber Cabin is a public-use cabin located in Chugach National Forest, on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Nestled in the forest just off-shore of Lower Russian Lake, this rustic cabin is a well-built retreat and a wonderful place to go for a time-out. The cabin rental features a floating dock and a canoe to enjoy the lake with (life-vests are provided). Just off shore you can look south to an awe-inspiring view of Skilak Glacier and the icefield above it. If you explore the southern edge of the lake, you might even catch a glimpse of the crashed remains of an amphibious aircraft from a bygone era.

Skilak Glacier from Lower Russian Lake

Skilak Glacier from Lower Russian Lake


The cabin features a traditional wood stove, two bunk beds that will comfortably sleep 4 people (or more, if you’re friendly), a table and benches, and plenty of counter-space for meal preparation. Outside is a woodshed (with tools for gathering firewood but I highly recommend dragging in your own) and a surprisingly-well-maintained outhouse. Access is by an ADA-accessible trail approximately 3 miles from the trailhead in the Russian River campground.

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The rental fee is currently $45 per night. The Forest is proposing raising that to $75 over the next three years, so you might save some money by going sooner rather than later. Still, at $75 it will still be quite a value.

Save Money on Spotify

Spotify logo
Where do you get your music? I personally have been using Spotify for the past few years. I was a user of the free plan until I realized I could use a student discount to get the premium service for half the price of a normal premium subscription. That worked great until I took my perpetual hiatus from school. My account began renewing at the $9.99/month price instead of the $4.99/month price that you get as a student. I was too hooked on the service to go back to the free plan. For the past few months, I’ve been happily paying my subscription.

My wife also uses Spotify. She had her own premium account that she was paying for. I wondered if there was something we could do to consolidate our accounts and save some money, and that’s when I learned that Spotify offers a family plan. Under the plan you pay full price for the primary subscription, but each additional account is priced at only 50%.

Set-up was easy:

  • I went to the [Spotify Family](https://www.spotify.com/us/family/) page.
  • Clicked upgrade.
  • Updated my payment info (I didn’t get charged right away; they’ll charge me at my next regular billing date.
  • Then, my family account was active and I was able to invite my wife to join my plan.
  • Finally, she needed to log in to her Spotify account settings and switch back to the free version before accepting my invitation.

Voilà! Now we both continue to have our premium plans but we save 5 bucks a month.

NaNoWriMo 2015

I did it. I successfully completed National Novel Writing Month 2015. For the unaware, National Novel Writing Month is an annual creative writing challenge in which participants try to write a minimum 50,000 word novel entirely within the month of November. It was founded in 1999, by freelance writer Chris Baty. I’ve personally attempted the challenge for most years since 2011. 2015 is the first year in which I can proudly wear my winner badge with pride.

2015 NaNoWriMo Winner Banner

2015 NaNoWriMo Winner Banner

For 2015’s challenge, I wrote a science fiction novel titled “The Century”. The story takes place on a generation spaceship on a 100-year orbit around the Sun. To make it interesting, while the ship is in space humanity becomes enveloped in a nuclear war, someone escapes the ship, and a couple is united in a most dramatic way. Although not intended at first, the novel eventually became a love story (for whatever reason, most of the fiction I write ends up like this).

But that’s enough about the story for now. I mentioned that I have been attempting NaNoWriMo for four years and that this was the first year in which I was successful. I took some time to think about what made this year different.

I Planned

All of my previous attempts have occurred with me having some idea of a story in my head and just writing by the seat of my pants (what many writers refer to as being a “pantser”). This has always been enough to get me excited about writing a story but has never translated well to actual words on a page with a clear road-map for how to spend the month writing. This year I spent October fleshing my story out and breaking it down into a list of scenes. I didn’t actually write any of the scenes, but came up with one- or two-sentence synopses for each scene. I started by writing them on actual paper index cards but ultimately loaded them all into my writing program, Scrivener. (If you’re serious about writing a novel, Scrivener is a remarkable piece of software. It won’t write your novel for you, but it gives you the tools you need for a productive writing environment.) I also wrote down some brief character sketches. When November 1st rolled around, I had a list of scenes to begin fleshing out. I never had to stop and think about where the story needed to go next, I simply clicked on the next scene and began writing it. Having my writing organized in scenes also let me jump forward and backward in my novel to rework certain elements or to start on a new scene if I hit a temporary block.

I Wrote, Consistently

I wrote every single day of November until I finished my novel, generally shooting for a minimum of 1,667 words, which is the average you need to write each day to hit 50,000 words in 30 days. There were one or two days I wrote fewer words than this, but for the most part I wrote somewhere around 1700-1800 words per day. On November 27th, I finished my novel, writing the last 4,000 or so words in a single sitting. During the month, I spent about an hour per day writing split between two sessions. I would write during my lunch break for 20-30 minutes, and then in the evening for about another half hour. Before November, I worried about finding the time to write but it was surprisingly more easy find an extra hour during my day than I had expected. I really didn’t miss out much by skipping a bit of mindless Facebook scrolling.

I Was Comfortable

I’m a bit of a space enthusiast. In fact, I have an entire blog about space: 46BLYZ. I’ve taken college courses in astronomy and have spent a lot of time learning about the space sciences. Due to this foundation, I had a strong enough understanding of my setting (aboard a spaceship in solar orbit) that I didn’t have to spend a lot of time researching the science. When I came across things I needed to have happen, I was generally quick to come up with a way to make it happen that was not only physically possible but believable.

In addition to me writing a story that had a setting that I felt at home in, I personally was comfortable when I wrote. I wrote on my laptop in a somewhat dim room, with some instrumental electronic music, and a beverage (coffee, tea, or an occasional rum and Pepsi). Creating a distraction-free environment was key to my success. I even monitored some of my writing sessions to gauge my productivity. I was exponentially more productive at home than I was when trying to write on a lunch break.

I Had Inspiration

My final key element to my success this year was having the right inspiration. I read two novels during November that kept me inspired and full of ideas: The Martian, by Andy Weir and Rendezvous with Rama, by the legendary Arthur C. Clarke. (I recommend both books if you have any interest in science-fiction novels.) I borrowed ideas from each of the novels but they helped most by keeping me in the right mindset that left me motivated to write.

Success

And that’s all it took. Dedication, the right tools, inspiration, and motivation. People ask if they can read my book or if I have plans to publish it. For now, I’m not sure. I’m going to take some time reading and writing some other things and give the story time to rest. In subsequent months, I will probably pull the The Century back out and begin rewriting it to see if it’s something I think is worth sharing. For now, I’m satisfied by my own personal sense of accomplishment. I was able to tell myself a story, and that was just enough for me.