Showing posts from 2019

Creating a Comic Book - Dungeon Buddies - Part 2 of ?

What should we work on first? There are three main options: the first scene, bringing the two other main characters into the story, or working on the whole plot.

Exactly how the whole plot will come together hasn't been worked out yet. I think I have some good ideas for introducing Brute and the girl. Our two main characters will need to travel through something that they don't want to because it would be dangerous, like a dark forest. They find a way around this, an airship/zeppelin/dirigible balloon/aerostat, whatever you want to call it. Chuck wants one included because his company is Aership Interactive. The problem is that this airship is parked on top of a castle. This isn't horrible because the castle doesn't have too many guards. But, there is one - Brute. There is a whole history that goes with him and his race, and an absent king. That's for another time. Somehow they are able to recruit Brute to their side, they steal the airship and take off. But, the a…

88.9 Hey Radio, Collision of Innocence, and Me

Today we have a band that is quickly gaining popularity. Lucky for us they were helpful enough to give me some insight into their inspiration for a specific song.

Collision of Innocence was formed at the beginning of 2018. Bill from 88.9 Hey Radio messaged me and wanted me to take a look at their song "The Void". It's an excellent song, but I wasn't able to find the lyrics anywhere. So, I messaged the band on Facebook. Not only did they send me the lyrics, they also told me that the inspiration for the song had come from a message by Billy Graham. I have all of that for you, then I'll dive into the song myself and see what I pull out of it.

You can listen to the song on Youtube here:
And, here is their Facebook page:

Ever wonder about the secrets of making connections like these? Here's how I do it, in a straightforward manner. No matter what happens there won't be complications t…

Creating a Comic Book - Dungeon Buddies - Part 1 of ?

I'm writing a comic book.

Here's how it happened. I was at a 5X5 meeting in Muskegon, Michigan, that's a uniquely structured venture capital seed fund. It's fun to go watch the presentations. I saw a few people that I know: a guy that I used to work with at Muskegon Community College who I found out was an original founder of the Muskegon Inventors Network, a guy that I went to a political training course with in Grand Rapids a few years ago, and Michelle.

I know Michelle through Toastmasters. She thought it was funny that I was an English teacher and writer and that I would write the shortest notes when I gave feedback on speeches. She was a judge at the venture capital fund meeting and asked me how my writing was going. I told her about the stories I'm editing for "Horror Without Borders", the weekly article I'm writing for 88.9 Hey Radio, the speeches I'm writing for the Potter in the Park festival, and a few more things I'm working on. She…

Making Speeches for the Harry Potter Festival - Part 1 of ?

I'll be giving speeches at Potter in the Park this year. That's a Harry Potter festival held in Sparta, Michigan. I'm the Professor of Muggle Studies. It's awesome! (Muggles are non-magical people.)

How did I get this position? I wrote a couple of articles on Harry Potter, which is an interest of mine. One of them was noticed by Rebecca, the woman that organizes the event. She contacted me and asked me if I wanted to be involved. Of course I said yes! Then we had to figure out how I would be involved. There were really only two good options, I could either do writing or public speaking. She had been wanting to have a Professor of Muggle Studies for a few years anyway. It worked out perfectly.

We worked out that I'll be speaking from the main stage. I've stood in that audience before and it's possible that it gets into the hundreds of viewers at a single time. Presenters on things like owls who have participated in previous years will have priority, so I'…

Political Math and Creative Accounting

Amazon recently had to abandon a major construction project in New York City because of various political protests. It's a great illustration of how politicians do math.

We have to get a few basic viewpoints and then we'll look at how the math is done. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo posted an "Open Letter From New York State Budget Director Robert Mujica Regarding Amazon" on his website last week. Here are a few pieces from it.

- - - - - - -

"In my 23 years in the State Capitol, three as Budget Director, Amazon was the single greatest economic development opportunity we have had. Amazon chose New York and Virginia after a year-long national competition with 234 cities and states vying for the 25,000-40,000 jobs. For a sense of scale, the next largest economic development project the state has completed was for approximately 1,000 jobs."


"Incredibly, I have heard city and state elected officials who were opponents of the project claim that Amazon wa…

The Compliance-Agreement Matrix

Last year I gave a presentation titled "Why Some Meetings Work, and Some Don't". I used a lot of great concepts from other people. I adapted a few. And I invented one because it needed to exist. It's simple, but useful.

Here's a quick rundown of the topics I covered, then I'll dive into the Compliance-Agreement Matrix.

The Semantic Triangle and Square - a concept about communication, understanding, and misunderstanding.
The Pyramid of Abstraction and Concretion - a concept about how vivid or how general to make descriptions.
Aristotle's Rhetorical Triangle - about how to persuade using ethos, logos, and pathos (ethical appeals, rational appeals, and emotional appeals).
Personality Traits - the Big Five personality traits: extraversion, openness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and agreeableness.
Jim Lundy's Subordinates Lament, Supervisors Lament, Mushroom Farm Lament, and the four most important questions that a supervisor should answer for a subordi…

I Went to a Writing Group Today - February 27th, 2019

The writing group was a full table today, and great as always.

The prompt today was to write a story about a door. There were six pictures given, along with descriptions at the bottom. It's amazing what people come up with, but I'll go into that after my story.

It's so hard to capture what I'm thinking while I'm writing fiction. So much is occurring subconsciously that it's hard to be aware of it. I thought it would be cool to have an observer looking out of a window and something mysterious about the door. Then, I thought it might be interesting if he was watching a kid kick around a ball, and then involve a door somehow. Then I thought it might be interesting to move through character viewpoints throughout the story. It's risky, it could go bad, but writing exercises are a place to experiment. That experiment didn't work out. I was thinking about writing that way, but it just wouldn't go that way for me. So, it turned out differently. Here it is, …

The Legal-Moral Matrix

This is a simple framework that allows us to think about what is ideal and what is not in our system of laws as a society, and our actions as individuals.

We all know that what is and what should be are not the same thing. It's easy to get lost when evaluating complex things or making complex decisions. These decisions can be especially hard when it's your moral system struggling with the legal system. Both individuals and societies have this same problem. These decisions and actions can fall into one of four categories. Thinking through this may help us to understand our situation and what we should do about it.

Legal and Moral

The first is the ideal. An ideal is not always achievable. That's not even the purpose of an ideal. The purpose of an ideal is to set the direction. We want to be moving towards the right thing and having an ideal helps us to do that. Ideally, everything we do is both legal and moral.

Legal and Not Moral

We can all think of things from history that w…

Bad Advice From Yoda?

I shouldn't write this article. I'm going to anyway.

Yoda and Darth Vader are the most quoted characters from "Star Wars". I think Yoda is probably quoted a bit more. His most famous line is "Do or do not. There is no try." I'm proposing that the way most people use it is bad.

By itself "Do or do not. There is no try." is just wrong. There is trying. When a child is learning how to stand they don't "Do or do not. There is no try." Rather, they try and try and try. Without the trying there can't be the doing. The statement by itself doesn't incorporate time. It takes time to learn. So, the statement eliminates the ability to learn. If there is no room for failure then there is no room for improvement.

The key here is that the advice is taken out of context. Let's look at what was really happening when Yoda said this. Many of Yoda's most famous quotes come from this scene in "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire S…

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