Posted by: Michael Kingswood | March 27, 2015

More Reading and a General Update

It’s been a month since my last post, and I figured I’d give an update.  Got some more writing done; almost finished with a story I’ll be submitting to Writers of the Future in a few days.  Participated in some cool operations, but of course I won’t go into that here.  Maybe some other time, and someplace else that’s not so public.  :)

I’ve been working out, of course.  I’m one week from finishing Insanity for the second time this deployment.  That’s been fun, and of course, the workout is no joke.  Once I’m done with this round, I’m going to focus on weights and the exercise bike (I hate treadmills or I’d run.  At least the bike we have has videos of various routes on the Tour du France, so it’s not completely mind-numbing).  Earlier in the deployment I had been working hard on my pull-ups, but I got tendonitis in my elbows so I stopped for a while to heal.  It’s been a couple months now and the elbows feel 100%, so I re-started my pull-up regime yesterday.  Obviously, I’ve lost some of the progress I’d made before, and I went with sets of two (before I was doing sets of 3 or 4) so as to not press too hard too soon.  But I’m back on the horse again, which is good.

And of course I’ve been reading and listening.  Here’s what I’ve finished over the last month.

Audiobooks:

  1. The Legend of Drizzt – R A Salvatore
  2. The Telltale Heart and Other Stories – Edgar Allan Poe
  3. Eternity Base – Bob Mayer
  4. The Gripping Hand – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
  5. Jumper – Steven Gould
  6. Dead in the Family – Charlaine Harris
  7. The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

Written Books:

  1. Totaled – Kary English (it’s a short story, but it counts.  And, it’s awesome)
  2. Fiction River: Moonscapes – Various
  3. The Black – Paul E Cooley

Of course, the next question would be what did I think of these various books?  Well, you can look to Goodreads for that.  But suffice it to say I enjoyed all of them, to one extent or another.  Can’t say any of them left me disappointed or pissed off, and most left me grinning.  So that’s a good thing.

I’m currently reading the following.

Audiobooks:

  1. The Sam Gunn Omnibus – Ben Bova

Written Books:

  1. Colonel Roosevelt – Edmund Morris (going slow on this one)
  2. Monster Hunter Vendetta – Larry Correia (I was just starting this as of last post, but got distracted with other books first, obviously. I’m about 1/3 done now)
  3. Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman (After all the whining from the continually offended over the title, I HAD to get this book and read it.  I’m about 2/3 done)

So…what’s next up?

Audiobooks:

  1. The Damnation Game – Clive Barker
  2. A Canticle of Leibowitz – Walter M Miller
  3. The Bourne Identity – Robert Ludlum (I keep meaning to come back to this one.  I started it about a year ago but stopped a couple chapters in.  Not that I don’t like it, but for whatever reason I just felt like moving on to other things)

Written Books:

  1. Darkship Thieves – Sarah Hoyt
  2. Running From The Night – R J Terrell
  3. Monster Hunter Alpha – Larry Correia
  4. The Disappeared – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  5. On Basilisk Station – David Weber

Yeah, I know.  My list of upcoming written books is different than it was last month.  And I read some things this month that weren’t even on the upcoming list last month.  What can I say, I’m flighty.  Or something.

So that’s what’s up over here.  Deployment’s still fun, but I’m getting to the point where I’m ready to be done.  Just one more month to go.  :)

Posted by: Michael Kingswood | February 24, 2015

Deployment Reading

I’ve been getting a lot of reading done on this deployment.  By reading, I mean both reading reading and audiobook listening.  They both count, because hey it’s the ingestion of books, right?

Right.

I haven’t gotten as much writing done in the last month and a half or so as I thought I would, partly because this time has been operationally more busy than the previous two months, but also because I shifted my focus away from getting words down to other things for a little while, reading included.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  It is what it is.  But I’m getting re-started on my writing habits again.  If all goes well, I’ll have at least two more books finished by the time I get home at the end of April.  Or maybe one and a half.  ;)

But anyway, I figured I’d take a couple minutes and list all the books I’ve gone through since I left home at the end of September, both because I feel like sharing and because I know there’s been a lot but I’m not entirely sure how many and I’m curious to count it up.

So, Audiobook first:

  1. The Dummy Line – Bobby Cole
  2. The Gravy Train – David Lender
  3. The Mote In God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
  4. Gabriel: Zero Point – Steve Umstead
  5. The Accounting – William Lashner
  6. World War Z – Max Brooks
  7. Watership Down – Richard Adams
  8. The Passenger: Surviving The Dead – James Cook
  9. From Dead To Worse – Charlaine Harris
  10. The Jester: A Riyria Chronicles Tale – Michael J Sullivan

Written books:

  1. Decision Points – George W. Bush
  2. Monster Hunter International – Larry Correia
  3. Warbound – Larry Correia
  4. Writers of the Future, Vol 30 – Various
  5. A Dance With Dragons – George R R Martin
  6. Winning Low Limit Hold ‘Em – Lee Jones
  7. The Theory of Poker – David Sklansky
  8. Hold ‘Em Poker for Advanced Players – David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth
  9. Dead Money – Dean Wesley Smith
  10. The Chaplain’s War – Brad R Torgersen
  11. Big Boys Don’t Cry – Tom Kratman
  12. The Big Ship and the Wise Owl – Sarah Hoyt
  13. Freehold – Michael Z Williamson
  14. One Bright Star To Guide Them – John C. Wright
  15. An Answer From The North – Sarah Hoyt
  16. Smilla’s Sense Of Snow – Peter Hoeg

That’s a pretty good list.  I’m currently listening to:

  1. The Legend of Drizzt – R. A. Salvatore

And currently reading:

  1. Colonel Roosevelt – Edmund Morris
  2. Monster Hunter Vendetta – Larry Correia

On my plate for future audiobooks:

  1. Dead And Gone – Charlaine Harris
  2. Eternity Base – Bob Mayer
  3. The Damnation Game – Clive Barker
  4. The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
  5. Jumper – Steven Gould
  6. The Bourne Identity – Robert Ludlum
  7. The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Stories – Edgar Allan Poe

Future written books:

  1. Flow – Arlan Andrews, Sr
  2. Veil Of Lies – Jeri Westerson
  3. The Legacy of Heorot – Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes
  4. The Disappeared – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  5. Swarm – B V Larson
  6. In Hero Years, I’m Dead – Michael A Stackpole
  7. Awake In The Night Land – John C Wright
  8. The Nelson Touch: Ark Royal II – Christopher Nuttall
  9. Darkship Thieves – Sarah Hoyt

There are many others in the TBR corner of my Kindle, but those are the ones I intend to get through first.  I’m actually surprised; I thought I’d listened to more audiobooks than that.  But then, I also listen to a lot of podcasts too.  That’s how I keep my mind entertained while I’m working out, or during my evening cigars on the weatherdecks, or if I’m just roaming around on deck working on my tan (yes, for the first time in my life I’ve actually been able to grow and keep a tan, and without becoming a lobster first!  I’m amazed and trilled.).

So that’s what I’ve been up to.  Not a bad four months’ work, I think.  Tell you what, I’ve enjoyed all of these books, to one extent or another.  Can’t say any of the books on the “have been read” lists did not agree with me, to one degree or another.  Hopefully, those on the TBR lists will as well.  Not sure if I’ll get through all of them before I return home in two months (probably not), but I’ll definitely make a big dent in the stack, that’s for sure.

Later, folks.  Go read lots of books – some suggestions are off to the right.  ;)

Posted by: Michael Kingswood | January 29, 2015

Pattaya Beach – or – The Coolest Russian Girl I’ve Ever Met

So I’m in Thailand now.  More specifically, Pattaya Beach.

Dude.

*long pause*

No.  Seriously.

Dude.

*even longer pause*

You know, I’ve heard over the years about how awesome Pattaya is.  Being in the Navy, I’ve heard the stories.  And being in the Navy I know that, however ridiculously overblown those stories may sound, they are in all likelihood 100% true.  Because everywhere else I’ve been that had stories that sounded too good to be true – *cough* Australia *cough* – ended up living up to their reputations completely.

But even knowing that…even being mentally and physically prepared for this place through the hard-won experience of myriad sailors over the decades…the reality still blows my mind.

Completely.

Allow me to share an anecdote to elucidate.

For what it’s worth, my wife will very likely NOT approve of said anecdote, and for that, I beg her ever-indulgent forgiveness.

*pause*

Right.

*clearing throat*

Ok.  So there I was, and this is a no-shitter.

(As an aside, it is generally held to be true that whenever a Navy guy starts off a story with that phrase, it is a either 1) a complete lie or 2) something so awesome he could not have thought to make it up if he wanted to.  This story shall forevermore be filed under the latter category.)

I started out the afternoon with several other fellows who are on the ship with me.  We wandered the beach area of Pattaya, checking out various shops and what have you, for a while.

(Another aside.  One can get custom-tailored suits for ridiculously cheap here.  I knew that when I deployed, but I didn’t realize HOW ridiculously cheap they are until I got here.  Considering I’ll need some good suits for job interviews in a little less than two years, when I’m preparing to retire from the Navy, I intend to pick up a couple.)

However, events and people being how they are, one way or another I, one by one, lost the fellows I was hanging with, until I found myself, alone, on Walking Street.  At night.

Anyone who has been to Pattaya can tell you how precarious a situation that can be.

This fellow approached me, flyer in hand, asking me to come to the bar he was hawking.  The flyer announced things like “Girl-on-Girl Show” and “Boy-on-Girl Show”.  Being in a semi-inebriated state already, I shrugged and figured, why the hell not?  Sounds amusing.

(Yet another aside.  It is my experience that East Asia contains sights of that variety that shame just about anything else one can find.  Anywhere.)

As I walked into the place, I figured it would be just another Buy-Me-Drinkie bar, but maybe with some nifty shows to make it worth the while (most Buy-Me-Drinkie bars suck…more on them later).  Turns out, the place was pretty much empty.  Just me, a small group of dudes, and two girls were present.

I took a seat to the girls’ right.  The dudes were to their left.  Seeing as the dudes were talking amongst themselves, I engaged the girls in conversation.

(I will admit here that part of the reason I did this is because one of the girls was, to my standards – hell, probably to anyone’s standards who has any sense – ridiculously attractive.)

Turns out the girls were from Russia.  Moscow, to be exact.  They told me a sob story about how they’d blown a big chunk of money on something (I can’t remember what at this point), and I, being the sap – *cough* gentleman *cough* – that I am, I bought them both a drink.

We sat in silence after that, as the bar’s show began.

Now.  I have been to the Far East many times.  I’ve seen a number of shows where ladies (I use the term loosely here) do various things using their private parts that one would only think Superman could do with four arms had you not seen it done before.

(Trust me on this.  It is 100% possible for a woman to pick up coins and then deal out exact change for any denomination of dollar bill without ever using her hands to do any of it.)

(No.  Seriously.  Trust me.  I’ve seen it done. One word: Kegels.)

Anyway, this show was nothing special, as far as those sorts of shows go.  There was nothing going on that I hadn’t seen done before.  Mind you, it was still cool, but it wasn’t anything new.  Now, the dudes on the other side of the ladies were loving it.  Turns out they were all Marines, and this apparently was most of their’s first deployment.  So they were all suitably amazed.

Reminded me of my mis-spent youth.  Or it would have, if I were no totally engaged in mis-spending my adulthood too.  At least, this week, anyway. ;)

So time went on, and the girls left the stage.  I spoke with the barmaid, ordering another beer.  When I turned back around, the hot Russian girl was up on the stage, twirling around the poles (of course the stage had poles…duh) like she was born to it.  I did a double-take, then turned back to her friend.  “You said you two were studying law, right?”  The friend nodded.

Ok.

Well, who am I to judge?

I watched, appreciatively, and a minute later, the girl (her name was Julia) sat back down with her friend and the bar’s show went on.

At this point, I began to be suspicious, because when does a random girl just get up and dance on the stage at a bar/burlesque/whatever you want to call it?

But whatever, Julia and friend went back to being chill, and I figured she had just let off some steam.

A few minutes later, though, one of the bar girls was up dancing (to at best mixed attention from the crowd, which by now had expanded to quite a sizable group).  And then, all of a sudden, Julia was up with her.  The two of them started grinding together, and then they split up and Julia began her pole routine.  And then the bar girl pulled Julia’s shirt off.  Her pants followed, leaving her in just her panties and bra.

And then the bra went.

By now, I was sure she had been playing us all for saps.  She clearly was working at the bar the whole time, and she and her friend had been using the whole “I’m a just a tourist, and woe is me I’m low on cash” bit to get us to buy them drinks (because girls at Buy-Me-Drinkie bars get paid based on how many drinks dudes buy for them….and on how many dudes pay their bar fines so they can bring them home with them…but that’s a whole other topic for another day).  And it had worked, because I bought them both a drink and so did the dudes to their left.

But right then, watching her prance around, showing off her body in all its glory (and let’s be honest, it was glorious), I didn’t really care that I had been a sucker and fell for her scam.  Because damn.

Except that it wasn’t a scam.

No.  Really.  It wasn’t.

Once she got back to her seat (after she got dressed again), after slapping high fives with everyone around, she started talking with the Marines and me.  (The Marines and I had struck up a conversation at some point.  Turns out we were both in town for the same exercise, and so we hit it off easily.  Of course, being in the service, we probably would have hit it off anyway, but every little bit helps, right?)  One of the Marines asked her and her friend – and me too – if they wanted to come pub crawling with them to the next bar.  I said I was down, and Julia and her friend agreed too.

So we went to the next bar.

It was an even more blatant “Buy-me-Drinkie” bar.  The kind that advertises its bar fines, and where the girls are blatant about it too.

And those two Russian girls were just hamming it up with the Marines, and with the bar girls, and having a good old time.  And I was left with the inescapable conclusion that, in fact, they had not been putting on a scam.  They were, in fact, just tourists like the rest of us, and Julia had, God bless her, decided to dance on stage and show us her goodies (and Holy Smokes were they good) just because she felt like it.  For fun.  Not for her job.

I left the bar a short time later, completely amazed.  I’ve since come back to my hotel room.  I called my better half, and am now bound for bed.  But I felt I had to relay this story because it sums up the weird, yet awesome, place that is Pattaya quite nicely.

You know, I’ve met a lot of people from a lot of places.  I’ve met a bunch of Russians, and a bunch of Russian girls.  But tonight, this Julia girl has officially topped the list as being the single coolest Russian I have ever met.

And let’s face it.  She’ll probably never be bumped off of the pedestal.

Certainly not by any man, anyway.

;)

Hot damn.  Pattaya, man.

Jesu Cristo.  What a place.

Posted by: Michael Kingswood | January 24, 2015

Pericles Re-Covered

I’ll keep this one brief, because it’s a busy day.

For a while, I’ve thought The Pericles Conspiracy needs a new cover.  The original one (that I made) is ok and looks nice but doesn’t really portray the genre and theme/tone of the book correctly.  So a few months ago, I hired Trevor Smith  to make a new one.  For those of you who may not know, Trevor is the artist who won the grand prize in the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contest for 2013.  So yeah, he’s well beyond good.  :)

Anyway, long story short, the job is done and the new cover is here.  And it is much, much, much better than the old one.  To wit,

The old:

The Pericles Conspiracy Cover

Pericles Paperback cropped

 

The new:

Pericles Ebook Cover (700x1132)

ThePericlesConspiracyPaperback - Reduced

Pretty awesome, right?  :)

The cover’s been updated everywhere the book is available, with the exception of the print version. Just waiting on the proof copy’s arrival to finish that step.  Good times, good times.

Posted by: Michael Kingswood | January 18, 2015

Singapore

Way back in days of yore, in 1999, I went on my first Navy deployment.  On that deployment, we pulled into Singapore twice.  I loved it.  Absolutely LOVED it.  One hell of an awesome place.

So you can imagine my joy when we actually came back here again on this deployment.  Score!

For your viewing pleasure:

IMG_4197

IMG_4219

IMG_4237

IMG_4196

Pretty awesome, right?

Man, it’s been good being back here.  Alas, we’ll be leaving soon.  But it’s been a fun time.  Definitely need to get back again, sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, writing’s going pretty well.  I finished a 4th Glimmer Vale book and am well on the way toward finishing a mystery.  I can hear you guys now.  OOO!  Mystery!  Wow!  *eyeroll*  Try to contain yourselves.  I’m a bit behind on actual word count toward the deployment goal, but that’s ok.  I can still get there.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Just a quick update, to say hi.  Hope all y’all are doing well out there.  :)  Until next time.

Posted by: Michael Kingswood | October 10, 2014

Deployment Goals

A couple weeks back, I mentioned I was going on deployment, and that I’d talk more about that later.  Well, now is later.  :P  I am no longer in San Diego.  Shoot, I haven’t been in San Diego for two weeks.

As those of you who have read the “About Michael” tab above, or who have gotten to know me through other means, know, I am an active duty officer in the US Navy.  About four months ago, word came down about a need for a guy to fill a job in a task force in the Westpac.  Now, as a submarine officer I’ve worked with SOF (Special Operations Forces; spoken SEALs) guys before.  I recall they were a lot of fun, and this particular job involves doing things that support them.  Since that sounded wicked cool, and since it’s been a while since I’ve been on a real deployment, and since the Admiral at home keeps saying she doesn’t feel like a real Navy wife because we haven’t done a deployment since we’ve been married, I raised my hand and said, “I’ll go!”

And they looked at the list of volunteers and said, “Sure, come on over.”

Consequently, the Admiral at home said, “Cool, get the f*(k out of here, you slacker.”

So two weeks ago, I left San Diego.

First stop was Hawaii, for a week.  Good thing about that was 1) it’s Hawaii and 2) I had enough frequent flyer miles on Southwest to fly the Admiral’s parents out to San Diego (so they could watch the kids) and enough frequent flyers miles on American (from flying to Japan all the time for the Navy) to fly her to Hawaii with me.  :)  She’s been wanting to go to Hawaii for a while; in fact one of our West Coast bucket list items was to get out to the islands again (I say again because my first Navy assignment – before I met her – after my initial training was on a submarine based out of Pearl Harbor.).

Promise fulfilled!   :)

It was a great week.  For reference, here’s the view from one of my favorite bars on Oahu, Duke’s.

IMG_3442

Doesn’t suck.   :)

I checked in at the command on Oahu and did some in-briefing stuff, but not too much.  The rest of the time, I showed the Admiral around the island, and a good time was had by all.  But alas, as with all things, that good time came to an end, and she flew home while I flew to Guam, where I currently am.

Again for reference, this is the view out of my hotel room window.

IMG_3527

Also doesn’t suck.  :)

I’ve been here for a week, doing some training with the unit here on Guam, learning things I need to know so I can do my job properly when I get out west.  Some parts have been pretty grueling, though.  For instance, the other day I had to endure small boat handling training.

Small Boats

IMG_3568

It truly sucked, as you can see.  :)

But that’s all done now (thank God! <snark>) and pretty soon I’m going to push further west to do things in support of operations.  I hope that’s vague enough for you, because that’s all you’re going to get from me about that.  ;P

But I know what you’re thinking.  What does that have to do with writing, Kingswood?

Not a damn thing, except for this.  I’ll be deployed on a ship out west for six months, not to exceed 180 days.  I’ll have operations to do, admin to keep track of, and PT to exercise.  But I’ll also have time to do other things.  So I figured I’d set some writing goals for my time out there.

Now, let’s be honest.  I set goals for 2014 way back in January.  I haven’t talked much about them in a while.  That’s because I’ve totally screwed the pooch this year.  Completely.  I know, I know.  I suck at life, I should be drawn and quartered, blah blah blah.  *shrug* Whatever.  I just didn’t git ‘r done. No big deal.  But it seems to me this is the prime time to reset and refocus so I can get fully back into the writing game.

So here’s the deal.  180 days.  2,000 words/day (that’s about 1.33 hrs/day at my typical writing speed).  360,000 words.  That’ll do two things: get me back into the rhythm of writing consistently, which I haven’t done lately, and get me over the mythical 1,000,000 word mark.

So that’s the goal.

To break it down, that comes out to about 12,800 words/week if you count all the weeks between now and my expected return date.  Seems totally doable.

So what projects shall I work on?

First, I’m going to finish the novelette I’ve been (ridiculously slowly) chugging away on since…June?…that I intend to submit to Writers of the Future.  Then, back to novels.  The novel goals for this deployment:

1) Finish Dawn of Enlightenment 2

2) Finish Glimmer Vale 4

3) Get going on The Penitent – that’s a project I got inspired to do about 3 years ago, got about 8,000 words written on, and have since done nothing with.  It’ll be wicked awesome if I ever hunker down and finish it.  Looks like now’s the time.

4) If there’s time (depending on how big The Penitent gets…I think it’ll be pretty big) get started on and/or finish Glimmer Vale 5

And of course, I will get back into the habit of “penning” short stories and;or novelettes for Wotf and general dissemination.

I also have some non-writing goals

1) Get below 200 lbs, as talked about before

2) Work up to doing 20 pull-ups in a row

3) Finish Insanity.  This will take a reset, because between drinking all the time on Oahu with the Admiral last week, more traveling between then and here, generally screwing off here, and more travel to come between here and Westpac to come, I’ve not kept up with Insanity well.  In fact, I got one day done last week.  In response, this week I decided to re-do Week 7.  And got three days done.  So, next week I’m going to re-do Week 7 again, and proceed on to the finish from there.  Then, I think I’ll go back to the Week 5 recovery week and then re-do month 2 again, because consistency and continual improvement.  And masochism.  Or something.  ;)  After that, the Admiral suggested I mail her back the Insanity discs so she can to them, and she’ll mail me the P90X discs.  I’m down, but we’ll see how that works out.  Not sure how long it’ll take mail to get between here and there on a routine basis.

So that’s the deal.  I’ve set up my usual project and goal-tracking spreadsheets to monitor my progress.  Time to make a go of it.  Who wants to back me up, nag me on, and keep me honest about it?

Wish me luck!

Posted by: Michael Kingswood | October 8, 2014

Star Trek: Axanar

About a month ago, I was on Facebook (Yeah, yeah….I know) and I saw a post, I think from George Takei, linking to a Kickstarter for a Star Trek movie.  I was like, “Star Trek?  In Kickstarter?  I HAVE to check that out.”

That’s how I discovered Star Trek: Axanar.

When I saw the video that was posted on the kickstarter page, I was floored.  This is FREAKING AWESOME!

See what I mean?

Of course, that left me wondering.  Why was it up on Kickstarter?  Paramount/CBS had been producing Star Trek movies for a while, and they’d been doing well.  Why go to Kickstarter?  Was it sort of like the Veronica Mars thing, where the creators wanted to make a movie but the studio wasn’t sure and said if they got enough movie from fans the studio would back it?  And then the Veronica Mars fans completely CRUSHED the studio’s requirement?  But that didn’t make any sense at all.  Why would Paramount need to do that?  They have confidence in Star Trek, obviously.

Then I scrolled down the Kickstarter page and saw the was a freaking fan film!

Now, I’ve known for a while that fans have been making their own Star Trek episodes, even entire series, and putting them out on the web.  As a life-long Star Trek fan, I’ve checked in on them from time to time.  But I’ve never really taken a shine to them.  Yeah they’re cool, but…  I dunno, I guess partially I was busy and had a lot of other things that caught my attention.  But mostly those fan things did not.

But…Axanar…

Come to find out, Alec and Christian, the guys behind this, ran a previous Kickstarter to get funds to make the Prelude (the video posted above, the one that’s on the main Axanar Kickstarter page).  They asked for $10k and raised $100k.  The prelude video cost them about $75k to make.

Yes, that AMAZINGLY AWESOME totally professional-looking, with WICKED COOL special effect sequences, short film cost only $75k.  Holy shitballs, Batman!  And look who’s in it: Richard Hatch, of Galactica fame, Tony Todd, the rest.  Turns out Alec and Christian have been working in Hollywood for a while, and they got other top-shelf people working on it, too: their makeup guy won an Academy award!

So holy smokes, if these guys could do that.  On their own.  For that little money…

I totally had to back that Kickstarter.

But alas, I couldn’t.  Because it had already finished.

They asked for $100k, so they could book a sound stage and get started on pre-production, with the notion that they would do more Kickstarters to get the rest as they showed they were making progress.  They got over $600k (which is about what they estimated it would cost to make the entire thing)!

And I couldn’t donate!  ARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!

But wait!  Turns out I could!  On their webpage, they have a donate button, and if you donate there you get the same rewards as if you’d backed the Kickstarter to begin with!  Sweet!  I’m there!

And so I am.

Why do I bring this up?  Well, obviously because I think it’s awesome.  And because I think if any of you folks out there are like me and love Star Trek (or even just like it….or think it doesn’t suck), or if you just appreciate what they did on that prelude movie, you totally should go and donate some cash.  With all the extra money they’ve gotten they’re ramping up their plans for the film (which is now in pre-production for a scheduled 2015 release), and obviously the more $ they get the more cool it will be.

But the best part?  The freaking studio’s not involved.  Dude, this is true indie film-making.  Yeah, they have to be careful not to actually use any CBS-owned IP so they don’t get in trouble, and from all appearances they are.  But how cool is this, that people who love a thing can just decide to make a movie about it, and that they can raise the money from fans so they can make it happen (and really quickly too)?  I think it’s awesome, which is why I’m backing it and why you should too.

If I were a CBS studio exec, I would totally be calling these two guys to make Axanar a fully-licensed piece of work.  But I’m not.  And I guess I’m glad I’m not, because just as going with a big publisher can more often than not be a really bad move for a writer these days, I wonder if going with the studio wouldn’t be a bad call for Alec and Christian, too.  It might end up ruining the entire thing.  Maybe?

Regardless, CBS isn’t involved, so it’s moot.  And the project’s awesome.

Go give money!

Now!

Posted by: Michael Kingswood | September 23, 2014

Max Interval Destruction

It’s Week 6 of Insanity, which means it’s time for another fit test.  Behold, the results:

Insanity Fit Test 9-22-14Pretty good.  Making progress still.  I’m pleased.  :)

However, after the fit test, the workout had to go on, and here’s where it gets painful.  Going into it, I heard that the Insanity world totally changes in Week 6.  What had become a difficult workout just gets taken to a whole new level.  And I believed it, because that just makes sense to do.  All the same, I wasn’t quite ready for the reality of it.

Put it this way.  By the end of Week 4, I won’t say the workouts had become easy, because they hadn’t.  But I had definitely become used to them.  I knew what to expect, where the real ball-buster parts were, and I’d gone through all of the various workouts enough so that I was comfortable with them.  And then last week, the Recovery Week, the workouts pulled back a step or so in intensity, which made me even more confident.

Tonight was Max Interval Circuit.  The first thing that stood out was its length – a full hour, as opposed to 37 minutes for its equivalent in the first month.  Add to that the fact that the Fit Test took 25 minutes, and I was already fairly tired at the beginning.  Not to mention by the middle.  Nkechi Kwenu, who I mentioned before is my favorite of the people who documented their Insanity experiences on YouTube, said at the end of this day’s workout, “Shaun T is a murderer.”  I’m not going to go that far.  But it was pretty intensely challenging.

Great fun!

This next month is going to be pretty interesting, looks like.  I’m looking forward to it.  :)

 

Posted by: Michael Kingswood | September 2, 2014

Fit Test

Two weeks into this Insanity bit, and tonight’s task was taking the program’s fit test for the second time.  Now, fitness tests are nothing new for me; I have to take one every six months in the Navy.  But let’s face it, the Navy PRT is pretty easy.  2 minutes of sit-ups, 2 minutes of pushups, and a 1.5 mile run.  You would have to TRY to not pass it.  But yet, somehow, I know of people who have failed the dang thing, multiple times.

Anyway, rolling into the fit test on Day 1, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I also wasn’t too terribly intimidated by it.  And yeah, the exercises are different than what I’d been used too, but it was not too bad. I had a harder time with some of the exercises than I thought, and an easier time on others.  You know, the usual.

Tonight, knowing what to expect, and with my previous scores in hand, I wasn’t nervous per say but I was mindful of the desire/need to show progress, if only to myself.  So how’d it go, you ask?

Insanity Fit Test 9-1-14

 

So yeah, showing some improvement.  The only areas that didn’t go up were the Globe Jumps and Power Knees.  Globe Jumps – I just hate them and I think they’re a little silly, and I suck at jumping.  But still, that should have gone better.  And the Power Knees…I think the reason for that is I did it with my right leg for the first test, and the left for this one.  Dumb – should have kept it consistent and my left is my weak side.  But it is what it is.

So already seeing some good effects from the program.  Hard to argue with raw numbers, eh?  Although amusingly enough, you wouldn’t know there’d been improvement from looking at the scale.  *shrug*   Oh well, no doubt that will come.

Ok, time to hit the rack.

Posted by: Michael Kingswood | August 27, 2014

Too. Much. PT.

As I stated before, I am totally ramping up the amount of PT I’m doing, because Hooyah.  But even considering that, the last few days have been…strenuous.

A little background.

On Saturday, we decided to splurge and order out for dinner (we don’t do that very much – budget, dude.  Budget.).  We had some Olive Garden gift cards, so what the heck right?  ;)  So I roll on out to pick up the yummy vittles, and on the way to the restaurant, I came down HARD on a dip in the road that I didn’t see coming until it was too late.  Didn’t think much of it though, because these things happen.

Fast forward to Monday morning.  The car starts up just fine, but will not shift out of park.

Crap.

So I rode my bicycle to work.  It’s 23.6 miles each way.  I’ve done it before; in fact many weeks I’ll ride to and from at least once.  But typically I’ll drive in one morning with my bike on the rack, ride home in the afternoon, then ride back to work the next morning and drive home.  Used to be, when I lived closer to work, I’d ride my bike there every day.  Not so much these days.

Anyway, you can do the math – I cranked out 47 miles on the bike on Monday.  Then still had to do Insanity Monday evening.  It was very tempting not to, but of course I couldn’t skip out.  Because what am I, a slacker?

Yesterday, I drove the Admiral’s minivan to work because she had a light day, and I had to pick my Mom up from the airport on the way home and that would be tough to do on my bicycle.  :P  I was freaking tired last night, and the hustle and bustle around the house didn’t really die down until about 2245, but hang it all I did my Insanity.  Last night was Pure Cardio; that one’s a grinder, too.

Today, I rode my bicycle in to work again, and I’ll ride it home.  So another 47 mile day.  And no, I’m not going to skip tonight.  Probably going to do the same tomorrow.  Thankfully, Friday is a day off at work, so I’ll get a little break there.

Long story short, I’m getting a metric butt-ton of PT this week.  95 Weightwatchers activity points worth so far, and it’s only Wednesday (by way of comparison, I’m allocated 45 points of food a day, and last week between Insanity, Pull-ups, and running a few times I only generated 73 activity points).  That’s pretty awesome.  Feels good.  :)

I know what you’re thinking, though.  Kingswood, what’s up with your car?

Well…  I didn’t anything done with it until this morning.  I figured it was a transmission problem or maybe an interlock sensor issue (you know the brake-transmission interlock; if the brake ain’t depressed the gears won’t shift.  If the brake sensor dies…).  Now, the car’s 10 years old, but I have an extended power train warrantee that I bought when I purchased the car last year.  Normally, I don’t go for those sorts of things, but I may end up being happy I did this time.  Problem was, I couldn’t find the information the policy until last night, so I only just this morning called USAA to tow the car to a service station.

Interestingly enough, when the tow truck lifted the car up, the driver found a ton of transmission fluid on the street beneath.  Which has me thinking maybe that dip in the road from Saturday has something to do with this.  Which could make it an insurance claim as opposed to a warrantee claim.  So looks like either way I’ll avoid a HUGE financial hit.  It still sucks though.

So that’s the latest around here.  Go buy some books, will ya?

;)

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