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Last Monday night, the 2011 college football season officially ended (the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game notwithstanding). Perfectly, as my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide took home the BCS Championship after absolutely destroying previously unbeaten LSU. Saturday, however, was the most depressing day of the year for me. Saturday is COLLEGE FOOTBALL. With the season over, it was the first of 32 or so that do not have any college football. No joke, I seriously get depressed this time of year for that very reason.

To that end, I will be attempting to remain positive this year. No football means more time to write. More time to write increases the chances of ever actually finishing my novel exponentially. That’s a good thing, right? I was able to write 7500+ words this weekend, despite taking a break to watch plenty of basketball. The fact that I have something that at least approaches a bit of a social life will help stave off the depression, too.

I have some hopefully good news for you guys, as well. I am actively working (albeit slowly–the novel and the short story I want to submit to places takes lot of my writing time) on another short story for you guys. You all seemed to like the first one (100+ views in 2 days), so I want to give you another one as a thank you of sorts. It will be in much the same vein as the first one, although I hope to be a bit more descriptive this time around…and maybe no one will possibly die this time; although I really enjoyed the ending of the last story I wrote.

I leave you all with a fair warning: I will go crazy in regards to march madness as we get into February and March. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I have never been a big risk taker. If you’re coming here from a link Twitter or from Facebook (which most of you will be), you may have noticed that on Monday I tweeted/posted a status claiming that this is the year I take risks. A few of you have asked what I’m talking about, correctly surmising that I had something specific in mind.

If you look at my bio on Twitter, I call myself a “wannabe author.” I want to change “wannabe” to “published.” That means I have to take some risks, and probably get rejected. A lot. Maybe forever.

Nobody likes being rejected, right? It’s been relatively rare in my life (the great 0-for-all-of-2011 slump notwithstanding) that I have been. I don’t know that my “fragile” psyche could take having a manuscript rejected countless times. At the same time, I think my giant ego needs somebody out there to tell me, “your writing sucks.” Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that several of you have read some of my writing and enjoyed it–without it I would not even consider doing what I’m about to do.

What the heck am I doing, anyway? I’m writing another short story/flash fiction and submitting it to the Georgia Review. They publish quarterly. I think to have any shot to grow as a writer, I need someone that has no biases towards or against me to read something I’ve written and tell me that it isn’t good enough for them. Hopefully, they’ll give some tips for improvement, too. I don’t know. Taking a chance is something that is very out of character for me, but, holy cow, what if my writing actually goes somewhere? I owe it to myself to grow as a writer and learn as much as I can about the process, right?

I’m a bit of an accomplished poker player, trying to look at this in a way that makes sense to me. The way to play winning poker in the long term is to know your odds and fold/play based on either expected value or pot odds. If the expected value of a play is positive, you play. It doesn’t mean you win every hand, or every session, but over the long term, you will. What exactly do I have to lose by doing this other than the cost of a couple of envelopes and a couple of stamps? That’s a positive expected value, in my book.

I’d be a fool NOT to….

Right?

*my apologies if I rambled and stopped making sense — it’s 6am and I haven’t even had any caffeine yet.

Happy New Year!

Hi everyone, I hope that your 2012 is filled with love and happiness.  Mine has gotten off to a great start; I had a great time at the New Year’s Eve party that I went to, and made it home safely.

 

One of the things many people do this time of year is make a set of New Year’s Resolutions.  Obviously, I wouldn’t mention this if I was about to share my personal list this year.  Here they are:

 

1. I will finish the first draft of my novel.  I do worry that when I sit down and read it from the beginning shortly after finishing it (which, for the record, I will not count towards resolution 2, heh) I will think, “OMG, THIS IS CRAP!” and burn it.  I’ve done that before after writing 70+ pages.

2. I will read 50 books this year.  By 50 different authors.  I have quite a few published authors that follow me on Twitter.  I will be picking up a few of their books.

3. I will blog more. (hard not to, as I’ve posted, what, 12 blogs total?) They will not be all about Sports, though a lot of them will be. 🙂

4. I’m going to be on time more.  I am notorious for literally sprinting into work at 3 minutes and 50 seconds after I’m scheduled to be there trying to clock in before the time clock hits the dreaded 4 minutes late mark (when we are officially counted as late).

5. I will write SOMETHING every day.  Besides just tweets, as I do that a lot.  Even after the first draft is completed, I will write something, even if it’s a short story or a poem or SOMETHING.  This will be very difficult for me to do, as I often forget my notebook when I go home to BHM.

6. I WILL ABSOLUTELY GO TO SCHOOL SOMEWAY SOMEHOW THIS FALL.  I will skip any night class I may be taking on August 30th and 31st, however, as that will be the day of the first college football games in 2012. 🙂  I’m 31.  I’m pretty darn intelligent.  It’s really stupid that I do not have a degree.

7. As a Christian, I will attend church more.  I already missed this morning’s service.  Left my phone in my living room, so the alarm did not wake me up. I will also be sure to read my Bible every day.

8. I will not worry about things I cannot control.

9.  I’ll actually organize my bookmarks in my browser.

 

This is at least a good start.  We’ll see how long some of these last.  I worry, especially, about #4, 7, and 8.  What are your resolutions for 2012?

 

 

Hey everyone,

Today is National Short Story Day, apparently.  In honor of that, I am posting this one.  I would love feedback, even if you want to say I completely suck at writing! Bonus points if you’re a published author providing the feedback. 🙂

 


 

“Carrie, you look amazing,” and she did.

“Thank you, Chris,” she replied, “Shall we?”

We left. Carrie, it seemed, had always been a part of my life. We had been friends for almost 10 years, and after years of all of our friends giving us grief about being so close but never dating, or so much as a single kiss going on between us, had decided to go on an actual date. I was scared to death. She had always been the one person I told everything to, and we had gotten each other through so many major life events. I needed her. I was afraid of losing that if this didn’t work.  When I asked her out, she first called me a liar.  I assured her I meant what I was asking, then we pinky-swore that no matter what happened, we would be friends for the rest of our lives.

I had decided to keep it nice and casual for our first date. I figured it was going to be a little awkward, especially at first, so I thought a nice cliched dinner and a movie date would be perfect. I really just wanted to give myself as small an opportunity to make an idiot of myself as possible. If I could get through dinner, I’d have to shut up during the movie.

“How’s your mom?” I asked her, slightly annoyed at my feeble attempt at small talk.

“She’s much better, thanks. Can you do me a favor and relax? We’ve gone to dinner many times. We’ve seen many movies. Breathe.”

“I know. I’m sorry. You know I’m an idiot. I just want everything to go perfectly.”

“I’m on a date with the one person in the world who knows me better than anybody. It already is.”

With that, she rested her hand on top of mine, which, as always, was on the gear shift. My pulse quickened. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I just tried to concentrate on driving. She had never affected me, though I had always known she was an incredibly beautiful girl. I guess since I had always, until recently, thought of her as my best friend only, I had been immune to it. Now that I was at least exploring what feelings I may have had  for her, I was more attuned to her charms and beauty. Like how cute her little grin is when she’s shocked me in some way. She’s wearing it now. It’s driving me nuts. I really want to kiss her. Never thought I’d say that in a million years. She knows me. She probably knows what I’m thinking right now. I need to say something…

“So how about those Braves? That was a great game last night.”

“Yeah, Mecklenburg pitched a beauty. Can’t believe he carried a nohitter into the 7th against the Cardinals.”

“Yeah, he has absolutely stepped it up this season in a major way. 14-3, started the all-star game. He may carry us to a division title if he stays healthy.”

“It’s a contract year for him. I just hope he sticks around next season.”

“He will. He’s from Marietta, and went to college at UGA. This is home for him.”

At least we were having what was, for us, a perfectly normal conversation. Sports. She loved them almost as much as I did, and she knew what she was talking about. This conversation carried us all the way to dinner. I hadn’t lost the awareness that her hand was still resting on top of mine. She still had that cute little grin on her face, too, and she smelled like a little slice of heaven. Whatever perfume she was wearing, she had never worn before. It was incredible.

We sat in relative silence for a few moments as I drove us to Sal’s, a local Italian joint we frequented and loved.  It had been open for around 40 years; the owner had recently retired, with his son taking over.  The food never disappointed.  When we arrived and got out of the car, Carrie slipped her arm in mine and we walked into the restaurant as such.  I couldn’t help but smile like an idiot when she did that.

Business was pretty slow, and we were seated quickly.  We exchanged small talk over the menus and each ordered a glass of wine.  The wine served to loosen me up.  Conversation flowed, and I was certain that things were going better than I ever dreamed.  I don’t know if it was because we were actually on a date and I was paying more attention to her as a result, or what, but I was noticing things about her I never had before.  Like the way her eyes just sparkled whenever she smiled.  For that matter, I had never noticed how breathtakingly beautiful she was until tonight.  With easy, casual conversation, we finished our dinner and I paid.  When we left the restaurant, she slipped her hand into mine for the walk to the car.  It seemed to be the most natural thing in the world, almost uncanny how her fingers intertwined so perfectly with mine.  When we got to the car, I thought, “why in the world did we wait basically 10 years to do this?”  We left for the movie theater, which was a short drive down the road.  She immediately put her hand back into mine when I started the car.  I pulled it up to my lips and kissed it.  She sighed, a sound I recognized.  It meant she was happy and content.  It completely eased any lingering nervousness I had.  I was really looking forward to kissing her good night.

Just a couple of blocks from the theater, we came to a red light.  I didn’t really mind, as I was basically on cloud nine.  Things were going well.  The light turned green and I went.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get that kiss good night.  I never saw the other car.  At least we kept our pinky-swear.

 

Bowl Season is here!

It’s that glorious day of the year once again when college football’s bowl season begins. We get it started today at 2 with Temple taking on Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl. I’m going to attempt to pick them all right now. Last year, I got 28 of them correct. Hoping to improve to 30-5 this year. 🙂

Saturday, December 17th

New Mexico Bowl: Wyoming over Temple   15-37 L

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio over Utah State 24-23 W

New Orleans Bowl: San Diego State over UL-Lafayette 30-32 L

Tuesday, December 20th

Beef O’Brady’s Bowl: Florida International over Marshall

Wednesday, December 21st

Poinsettia Bowl: #18 TCU over Louisiana Tech

Thursday, December 22nd

Las Vegas Bowl: Arizona State over #7 Boise State

Saturday, December 24th

Hawaii Bowl: #21 Southern Miss over Nevada

Monday, December 26th

Independence Bowl: Missouri over North Carolina

Tuesday, December 27th

Little Caesars Bowl: Purdue over Western Michigan
Belk Bowl: NC State over Louisville

Wednesday, December 28th

Military Bowl: Air Force over Toledo
Holiday Bowl: #24 Texas over California

Thursday, December 29th

Champs Sports Bowl: Notre Dame over #25 Florida State
Alamo Bowl: #12 Baylor over Washington

Friday, December 30th

Armed Forces Bowl: Tulsa over BYU
Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers over Iowa State
Music City Bowl: Mississippi State over Wake Forest
Insight Bowl: #14 Oklahoma over Iowa

Saturday, December 31st

Texas Bowl: Texas A&M over Northwestern
Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech over Utah
Fight Hunger Bowl: Illinois over UCLA
Liberty Bowl: Cincinnati over Vanderbilt
Peach Bowl: #25 Auburn over Virginia

Monday, January 2nd

Ticketcity Bowl: #22 Penn State over #19 Houston
Gator Bowl: Florida over Ohio State
Outback Bowl: #16 Georgia over #17 Michigan State
Capital One Bowl: #9 South Carolina over #20 Nebraska

Friday, January 6th

Cotton Bowl: #6 Arkansas over #8 Kansas State

Saturday, January 7th

BBVA Compass Bowl: SMU over Pitt

Sunday, January 8th

GoDaddy.com Bowl: Arkansas State over Northern Illinois

BCS BOWLS

Monday, January 2nd

Rose Bowl: #5 Oregon over #10 Wisconsin
Fiesta Bowl: #4 Stanford over #3 Oklahoma State

Tuesday, January 3rd

Sugar Bowl: #13 Michigan over #11 Virginia Tech

Wednesday, January 4th

Orange Bowl: #23 West Virginia over #15 Clemson

Monday, January 9th

BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: #2 Alabama over #1 LSU

If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook, you should be certain of 3 things about me:

1) I love Jesus.
2) I love sports, especially college football.
3) I love women.

This weekend was one of the most fun, yet exhausting weekends of my life. It began Saturday at 12. I had seen on Friday that Southern Miss’ moneyline to upset Houston was +415, which to me was very attractive. I believed that they would pull the upset, and immediately did two things: called my Dad and told him this, and then called my bookie and put 50 bucks on the game. Dad knows that I have a knack for calling upsets, and his response was to call his bookie to put a couple hundred on Southern Miss as well. As we know, Southern Miss went on to be victorious.

Up next, was the SECCG. LSU annihilated Georgia, 42-10. Then, we had the final games of the evening. The de facto B12CG between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and the ACCCG between Clemson and Virginia Tech. I’m a big Alabama fan, and I had a suspicion that Oklahoma needed to beat Oklahoma State for them to make the BCSCG. I also wanted Clemson to take care of Tech just to leave the voters no choice but to put Alabama in the game.

OSU took a 10-0 lead after 1. OU has a pretty good team, and I wasn’t too worried. It only got worse from there, however, as the final score was 44-10. Oklahoma State. I was so worried for Alabama’s chances that I did something I haven’t done in 10 months: I had a shot. Of vodka. With Clemson also destroying Va Tech, I was certain Alabama was heading to the Sugar Bowl instead of the BCSCG.

I woke up Sunday morning so unbelievably forlorn and distraught that I didn’t go to church. I knew two things going in: Oklahoma State would take 5 of the computers, and it would come down to the Harris Poll.

Here’s the timeline for the day (I will be using my FB posts as most everything I posted was FB only):

9:38am: I sadly project Alabama as #3 in the BCS

9:45am: Jeff Sagarin updates his computer rankings. Alabama is #2. No surprise. Knew that was coming.

9:56 first known Harris voter publicly reveals he voted Oklahoma State #2

11:12: rumor surfaces: Peter Wolfe’s rankings has Alabama #2.

11:55: I see the email confirming Wolfe’s rankings. Glimmer of hope.

12:00: Richard Massey’s ratings that include margin of victory released. These are not official BCS ratings, but suddenly talk of a split in computers ramps up.

12:17: I finish crunching some numbers, realize Massey will indeed go Oklahoma State.

12:31: Coaches’ Poll released. Alabama is #2, by 32 points. Knowing 2 of the 3 variables to the BCS formula, I begin solving for the other, to see what must happen for Ok State to pass Alabama.

12:38: I finish crunching the numbers, realize Ok State must be #2 in Harris Poll by 5 or more points.

1240: Jerry Palm, CBSSports BCS guru, comes up with the same number I did, above.

12:51: I confirm the votes of 9 more Harris Poll voters. 7-3 Ok State.

1:03: ESPN guy tweets Harris will come out at 2pm ET. This was wrong, as Harris is contractually obligated to hold the vote until ESPNs BCS Selection Show

1:07: I officially project Alabama as the #2 BCS team, based on 34% of Harris voters being in SEC states

1:30: Jerry Palm updates his projection to say Alabama #2

2:16: Brad Edwards, ESPNs BCS guru, projects Alabama #2

2:53: I do a bit more number crunching, announce that, in case Wolfe did not put Alabama #2, Alabama must win Harris vote by 53 points

6:30: Samantha Steele tweeets she’ll be on the sidelines for the Poinsettia Bowl, and TCU is there

6:32: I realize that means the official BCS #s are known, and TCU didn’t crack top 14.

6:33: Michigan to Sugar surfaces.

6:35: Jerry Palm announces sources tell him that the rematch is on, officially.

6:41: Virginia tech to Sugar surfaces.

6:55: I go NUTS AND INSANE WITH JOY.

7:17: I have announced all 5 BCS bowls. We are still an hour away from the BCS Selection Special

8:19: Official BCS Standings revealed. Harris Poll revealed. Alabama won the Harris by 69 points. This means, even if Wolfe and Sagarin computers had gone Ok State’s way, Alabama still would have gone to the BCSCG.

8:35: I smoke a victory cigar.

This may be incredibly boring to you all, but I think the way the day began so bleakly, and then more and more hope forced its way in as the day went on is interesting to read. 🙂

Have a great Monday 🙂

writing

For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed that seemingly all of a sudden I’ve been tweeting a lot about writing in general, and specifically about a little something called NaNoWriMo.

What the heck IS this NaNoWriMo, anyway?

It’s November. National Novel Writing Month. Apparently, for a work to be classified officially as a “novel,” it must be at least 50,000 words. The good folks at nanowrimo.org have, for the last several years, ran a “contest.” Always said you wanted to write a book? Do it. 50,000 words. In a month. That’s 1667 words a day. Don’t edit, don’t revise, just write.

There are a few rules, of course. You can plan all you want to beforehand, but the first word cannot be written until November 1st. The work must be fiction.

Here’s the best part about it: no one is going to actually read what you write. You upload your work to, basically, a computer that counts spaces. It gets to 50K, congratulations. You win. A certificate. That you print off yourself. that’s not really what nanowrimo is about. Your reward is that you did it. You finished a novel.

I’ve always kind of wanted to write a book. I’ve had some grand ideas about a story on time travel with a Biblical passage as its starting point. I quickly learned I know nothing about time travel, and it would have taken way too long to do the necessary research to write at all intelligently about time travel. I never even started to write the book. This year, I am determined to “win” nanowrimo. The first idea I had involves a poor guy buying an engagement ring then the girl pre-emptively breaks up with him. This spirals him into a depression before he is ultimately pulled out of it when Miss Right comes along. Not necessarily an original story, but some of the ideas I have had will be fun to write about. Even if no one else is remotely amused or entertained by it. I don’t even know that I’ll let anyone read it.

I was also hit with an idea a couple of days ago that I thought was so interesting that I immediately started writing. I was afraid that if I didn’t at least get something done, by the time nano finished it would be gone. It is a story of a couple on a date. There’s an accident, and one of them dies. Most of the rest of the book is that person’s life flashing before his/her eyes. I actually think this one has more potential than the previous mentioned idea, as I got downright emotional over some scene planning.

It’s funny to me that I’ve been struck with all these ideas lately. Maybe I didn’t mention this earlier, but: I AM NOT A WRITER. Seriously. Read some of my blog posts. It’s all drivel. There’s nothing good in my writing. Nothing good at all. Why in the world do I actually think that I could write a novel in the first place? Much less one that people may be interested in reading?

Happy Halloween, every one. 🙂

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