Categories
Life

My Theme for 2024: Energy

So, 2024 is now here and while most people come up with resolutions for the new year, I’m a big fan of CGP Grey. And I’m big on things like “themes” for a new year. So, my big theme for 2024 is going to be… energy.

I’m not getting sleepy, I am sleepy.

You see, one thing I struggle with is sleep apnea. I’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea for years now and I think on balance, I tend to wake up tired more often than not. This problem also impacts a number of things in my life, including weight loss. Namely, I feel like I’m not able to exercise effectively because I’m too damn tired. Also, I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.

So, I’m going to get treatment for sleep apnea. I recently got off the waitlist for primary care doctors in Whitehorse, so I’ll bring this up to them. I know my GP back in Calgary recommended surgery to treat my sleep apnea and that seems to make sense. After all, C-PAP didn’t work for me and right now, given my situation in life,

I waste a lot of time, and energy, with idiots.

Whether it’s social media or focusing on harmful idiots like Kent Hovind or Kevin J. Johnston, I do tend to waste a lot of time with idiots. The way I justify this to myself is the desire to charge ahead and debunk their nonsense. Whether it’s Kent’s rejection of biology and one of its central cornerstones, evolution by natural selection, or Kevin’s refusal to understand what a vaccine even is, I have wasted quite a lot of time on idiots.

For a person with limited energy, this isn’t a great idea. Maybe I should abdicate this task to another person who has more energy. Instead, I should focus on improving myself. I should spend my energy wisely instead of squandering it on idiots.

So, why do I need this energy?

I’m back in the Yukon, after a few months away in Alberta. I need to make the most of my time here. To do this, I need to both increase the amount of energy I have to get things done and be selective on what things I’m getting done. To wit, I will delete my Quora account within the next month or two. Last year, I also deleted Twitter.

But what, pray tell, am I going to be using my energy on if not social media? To put it simply, I’m going back to school. I’ve enrolled in a Biological Sciences diploma at Yukon University. After I earn this, I will transfer to earn a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I’m hoping to earn both with honours. Afterwards, I’m going to go to medical school so I can provide transgender people with the care that we need.

Frankly, I find this to be a more useful and noble expenditure of energy than battling jackasses online.

I’m also hoping that I can use this energy to put the finishing touches on a novel or three that I have in the hopper. This way, I can finally launch my writing career while I’m in university.

Categories
Life Writing

Writing Romance During a Breakup

person holding red lipstick
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

So, I’m working on a fairly big romance novel and honestly, it ebbs and flows. I’m currently just a bit over 30,000 words in. What’s been the most challenging thing for me is writing the sex scenes. And now, I have a new challenge: I just had to break up with my partner of 3 years.

Now, I can already hear the criticisms coming at me. Especially since, from the outside, the relationship looked good. I thought so too. His friends and my friends would see our pictures when we would see each other and talk about how happy we are together. I’m not entirely sure that’s altogether true, though. I was in love with someone else. I was in love with the man I thought he was. Not the man he actually was.

I choose hope, authenticity, and true love. I’m willing to wait for it. I’m willing to fight for it. If there’s one thing I learned through my divorce, it was that I don’t want to be stuck in a relationship where I’m not loved.

Categories
Writing

On Writing Sex Scenes and Reviewing Masks are Bullshit

So, this last week, I’ve been in the process of a big move and as a result, I haven’t finished this week’s refutation/review of Chapter 3. While it is true that I can push out something half-baked and poorly cobbled together, that’s what Kevin does and I don’t want to do that to my community. My refutation of Chapter 3 is coming out next Saturday and the refutation will resume as normal. However, I’ve also been a bit distracted with something else.

How my writing is going

Take a look, for example, at my writing stats on my Freewrite for the last week:

I’ve been stuck on writing a sex scene between my two main characters in my current novel. In fact, it was only yesterday when my word count added to the novel exceeded 200. And it’s only because I decided to shelve the sex scene and continue with the narrative.

Only problem is that the heat level of this story is supposed to be burning/melting. While I’m fully aware that I’m no longer writing this to be part of a collection/series, I’ve already started the novel with this heat rating in mind. And, like my characters, I don’t want to go off half-cocked.

I know full well that these scenes need to exist, and I’m trying to write them. But the most important thing is to get words on the page. Or, in my case, the e-ink screen.

So, why do I have to delay Masks are Bullshit?

Put simply, I had other shit to do.

Boxes to pack, cans to take to the bottle depot, I’m moving to the middle of nowhere. Partly because the job market in Alberta sucks ass. Partly because the isolation should make it easier for me to focus on my novel.

So yeah, I’m hoping to get better at writing these scenes. And, of course, I’ll rebut chapter 3 of Kevin’s shitty, shitty book next week. I also reached out to Kevin about a copy of his other book, Lacrosse is Dead, and I have yet to respond. I’m aware, I also know that he wrote back to me. I’m not ignoring this, I’m just busy.

Categories
Reading

In “Masks are Bullshit”, Kevin J. Johnston is Obsessed With Justin Trudeau

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Masks Are Bullshit

In chapter 2, Kevin J. Johnston purports to describe what a coronavirus is. Honestly, I think if you really want to understand viruses, I’m going to recommend a course at Khan Academy. Specifically, intro to viruses. This will help me keep this post shorter and skip past most of his chapter and focus on the wrong or slightly interesting bits. But before we start, we have to get into a bit of admin work. Because he’s now aware that I’m debunking his nonsense.

Categories
Uncategorized

Why I Cover Kevin J. Johnston

So, Kevin decided to post a video on Twitter about why millennials cover/talk about Kevin J. Johnston. He likens not paying attention to his shit to “changing the channel” and other such idioms. Here’s the one simple thing he forgets though:

He runs for public office frequently.

Seriously, Kevin. You want to be our Mayor in this beautiful city you and I call home. As far as I know, you ran for Mayor thrice. And you run on the most batshit insane platforms that one can run for public office on. You run your campaigns with hate and division against muslims, trans people, women, and other minority groups that you happen to despise. You fearmonger about things that would improve the lives of Calgarians. These include:

  • Wearing masks during a pandemic.
  • 15 minute cities (because heaven forbid we have walkable cities)
  • Mosques
  • Taxes. (Because heaven forbid government is able to pay for services we can all enjoy).

Shortly after your last run for public office, you went to Dawson Creek, British Columbia to participate in an anti-mask superspreader event. Then, after the event was done, you went into NoFrills without a mask, stole a bar of soap, and punched the manager.

However, you didn’t stop your criminality there. Your mayoral campaign featured harassing and threatening Alberta Health Services employees. The mayoral candidates all had to agree to band together and support Elections Calgary in denying every candidate elector data so that you couldn’t get your hands on it. So that you couldn’t find the personal details of your personal enemies and harass them.

But you’re upset with how people talk about you? Honestly, fuck you. You put your bile out onto every social media network that’ll have you and you think you can dictate the rules of engagement? The hell you do!

People died because of your misinformation, asshole.

Categories
Tech Writing

My First Month With the Hemingwrite

So, a month ago, I received one of those smart keyboards. Specifically, the Freewrite Hemingway Special Edition (a/k/a the “Hemingwrite”). Yes, that includes shipping and the 2 year warranty but no, not GST. Had to pay for that separately at the CBSA office.

At first, I was not open to the idea of the Freewrite Smart Keyboard. Mostly due to my hesitance towards products like this that have a keyboard and whether or not I can use the Dvorak keyboard layout. When I learned that I could, this definitely made the Freewrite line of products more attractive.

So, was it worth it? I think so. I think this distraction-free writing environment is helping to increase my word count. The most important thing is to get ideas out there onto the screen. That way, I can edit it.

How I’m Using My Smart Keyboard

Put simply, I’m using my Hemingwrite to draft new work. I’m using all three folders. Folder A is being used to draft a serial story I’m working on. It was originally going to be the first in a series of novels. However, I feel that this story is going to be better as serial fiction. I’m hoping to start releasing episodes next summer.

Folder B is where I’m drafting novels/novellas. Right now, I have a romance novella about two cheerleaders who fall in love with one another. I’m currently planning it, including a framework and some character details. I’m hoping to finish drafting it by end of October and work on the next novel for NaNoWriMo.

Folder C is where I’m working on short stories. Specifically, I’m working on a submission for The First Line’s winter edition. So far, it’s going really well. Though, I am thinking about also drafting blog posts in the Smart Keyboard. I also have a couple of short stories I’m working on that have yet to be finished.

Put simply, the Smart Keyboard is where I keep work that I’m actively drafting. It’s definitely not a device for editing, which I do in Scrivener. However, I find it very useful to just sit down and write. And when I commit myself to just sitting down and writing for a period of time, I feel the words flow out of me and on to that e-ink screen.

What I love about my Hemingwrite

https://www.tiktok.com/@getfreewrite/video/7279155237196238123?_kx=xpFZE6uIs4VG6ySIJZKPRL0NoxSjHqhynI-qTah2v5A%3D.sCU8C3&lang=en&triplesource=klaviyo&utm_campaign=Draft%20in%2013%20Weeks%20%2B%20ASMR%20%282023-09-17%29&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Klaviyo

First, the satisfying clacking of the keys. Seriously, there’s something psychologically satiating about that. This special edition was rather decadent. It has a really nice aluminium casing on the device that is supposed to develop an unique patina. It also comes with a leather carrying briefcase and a cleaning cloth. Is it pricier than their other offerings? Absolutely. However, I feel that it’s an investment in my career as a writer.

Second, the fact that I can take it anywhere without internet. As long as I know what I’m writing, I can get down to it. Makes me wish Calgary Transit’s LRT trains have those kinds of work tables you’d see on European trains. I’m also thinking that once I get my transition paid for, I can write and travel. I’d like to experience what it’s like to write in St. Pierre et Miquelon, les Îles-de-la-Madeline, or Prince Edward Island.

Having said that though, my Freewrite is definitely coming with me to Thailand, South Korea, Mexico, Spain, and the UK as I work to finish up my transition.

Social encouragement with writing

Finally… it’s actually helping me to put more words down on the screen. If you take a look at my Postbox profile, you’ll see that I have been adding about a thousand words a day over the past couple of weeks. This has been fairly consistent over the past couple of weeks since I got my Hemingwrite. Seriously, if you read my review of Sprinter, you’ll see that I recently earned the 1K words achievement. In the first two days of having my Hemingwrite, I got enough words down to push myself above the line to get the 10K words achievement.

I’m hoping that soon, I can earn the 100K words achievement, which comes with a physical badge. The profile is also helping me to build a daily drafting habit, which is definitely going to help me bring more novels to the draft stage so I can work on editing them.

What can get irritating about this Smart Keyboard

The thing that irritates me the most about my Hemingwrite is that it doesn’t work with all wi-fi networks. For example, if you have to sign in using a web browser, you can’t connect to that network. Which means I can’t use my library’s wi-fi. However, it does mean that I can use the wi-fi network at more local businesses. It does mean more patronage for them and thus, more work discovering new places to write.

I’m also not entirely sure how good the battery life is. I know that I’ve been told that the battery life should get you two months of use. However, I wonder what basis they’re using for those figures.

Also, the screen updating is rather slow. This is a slight irritation, but I would be remiss by not telling you what my experience has been. I think it might be a limitation with the e-ink screen. Having said that though, the same can be said of WordPress’ Gutenberg editor when you have a particularly long post you’re working on.

Furthermore, the shortcut configurations can be a bit convoluted.

Finally, I know I’ve hit the “Send” button accidentally one too many times. Though, I am considering setting up a system where I can draft future posts on this blog with the Freewrite. Then, I can send them to a special e-mail to have them brought into WordPress for editing.

In Conclusion: The Hemingwrite is Worth It

Put simply, if the objective is to get words on the screen to be edited later, the Hemingwrite is worth it. If you want to be an author, the most important things is to get writing. Will it suck? Absolutely. A lot of the words you’ll write will be inartful and will need editing. But if you waste a lot of time second guessing yourself, you won’t get much done. The point of drafting is to create a rough draft that you can go back and edit later.

Categories
Reading

Kevin J. Johnston Warns Us: “Masks Are Bullshit” Is Full of Shit

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Masks Are Bullshit

In covering the two introductions “Masks are Bullshit” has, is it any wonder that there is MORE front matter1? Kevin titles Chapter 1 “The Warning”, but the more I read through it, the more it reads like a half-assed attempt at a trigger warning combined with a thesis statement. I thought right-wingers were supposed to be against trigger warnings?

Categories
Reading

Seriously? Part 2 for the Introduction to Masks are Bullshit?

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Masks Are Bullshit

Last week, I made a poor choice in choosing to review “Masks are Bullshit” for my new segment about crazy books to get this blog going. I think I wrote nearly 5,000 words taking down his personal attacks and bullshit arguments in his book. However, we’re not quite done with the introductions yet, since Kevin wrote two separate introductions.

Categories
Reading

Reading Masks Are Bullshit: The Introductions, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Masks Are Bullshit

So, I saw that Kevin J. Johnston was offering his e-book, Masks are Bullshit, for free on his website. It is full of his COVID denialist nonsense, hastily written to try to jump on the right-wing grifter gravy train that made a lot of hay out of demonizing measures to control the spread of COVID-19. And I’ve decided to start a new thing called my Crazy Book Club, where I write deep-dives of crazy books by right-wingers.

Categories
Tech

Expressing Yourself On the Web: Jekyll & Github Pages

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Expressing Yourself on the Web

Yesterday, in my series about expressing yourself on the web, I talked about Neocities and the expressing yourself in an old web way. Today, I’m going to write about using Jekyll & Github Pages to build a website.

What is Github Pages?

Github Pages is a service run by Github that allows users to launch web pages for free. It was launched to help open source projects have a place to communicate information about their projects.

Github has limited preprocessing. Namely, processing Markdown and Jekyll projects. Hence why I’m recommending Jekyll to go along with Github Pages.

What is Jekyll?

A screenshot of the homepage of Jekyll.

Jekyll is a ruby-based system to facilitate pre-processing static content written in Markdown. It allows you to use a command-line interface to compile a site into static content. Alternatively, you can use Github Pages to avoid the command-line interface and have Github compile the site for you.

If you have a Mac, you can install Jekyll pretty easily using the Terminal. And I’ll explain how.

What you’ll need to know to use Jekyll & GitHub Pages

Honestly, you’ll need the HTML & CSS knowledge I mentioned in the Neocities review, but with this, you’ll also need to understand concepts related to Git and some Ruby knowledge wouldn’t hurt. So, if Neocities seemed a bit challenging for you, I wouldn’t recommend this approach either.

How to install Jekyll on Mac and set up a website

First, go into the Applications folder. Then, go into the Utilities folder. There should be an app labelled “Terminal”. Open it. You’ll need to copy and paste the following command into your terminal:

gem install bundler jekyll

Then, once that command has finished running, you’ll need to navigate to where you want to install the Jekyll site. For example, if you want to put the folder in your Documents folder, you’ll need to run this command.

cd ~/Documents

Then, run the following command, changing the text in bold into the name you want to choose for a site. No, you can’t use spaces in this version of the name so don’t ask.

jekyll new my-awesome-site

There you go! You’ll have a new Jekyll site on your computer. All you’ll have to do is commit it to GitHub with every change. You could do so through the command line, but you can also use the GitHub Desktop app.

If you found this a bit too involved, the next option will probably be more your speed. If you found it too easy, then Thursday’s entry would probably make you happy.