Sunday, November 23, 2014

NaNoWriMo: Third Week Update

Three weeks into my first attempt to write the first draft of a >50K word novel, and things are coming along nicely.  I was worried that this week would end up being unproductive due to this week being my on-call shift at work - if the pager is busy it can suck my energy to do other things.  Fortunately the pager was quiet, and I only have 18 hours left in my shift, so it ended up not being much of a factor for my writing progress.

Actually I have had a great weekend. I've written over 6K words this weekend (with a couple hours of prime time writing left tonight) which as brought me from being 2 days behind when I started this challenge to being 2 days ahead of schedule. Not to shabby.

Part of my speed up is having a decent outline to follow.  Part is getting used to slipping into my universe quickly, and staying there longer.

Being at 42K words is a good feeling.  I definitely have enough story to get over 50K. I am writing the climax now so the writing is exciting.  So I am going to end this and get back to writing.

Stay tuned for my final report next week!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Phraseology Pt 2

A while ago I suggested a new phrase for the term used for your non-geocaching significant other.  On Tuesday I was asked what phrase you should use for the opposite situation.  This is my suggestion.

Cuddle Cacher noun \ˈkə dl  kaSH-er\  A term for a geocaching spouse, or "significant other", of a geocacher.

Update:  Tricia Groeneveld, over on Facebook, suggested Geo-Mate, which I like a lot more.  Especially since that means the kids can be Geo-Mate Jr.

Monday, November 17, 2014

NaNoWriMo: Second Week Update

So this is a slightly delayed second week update on my first attempt at participating in the National Novel Writing Month.

I am starting to get into the writing process.  I am starting to be able to sit down and get down to the act of writing more quickly and easily.  This has allowed me to catch up from missing 4 days of writing, and catch up to the daily writing goals.  To complete the 50K one has to write an average of 1,666 words per day. At the exact middle of the month, I was at 25K words, putting me write on schedule - I've written more since then.

One issue I have is that I completely used up my entire outline at around 20K words.  So I have begun writing more back story.  The story I am writing is set in modern times, but has references back to events in the 1800s.  I was originally going to simply make subtle references to the past, however in the interest of adding content, I decided to write the entire back story.  I started with a fresh outline, and am now filling in the details.  This is actually proving to be a good idea in that I have been able to refine the original story with some better, flushed out details.  I may cut a lot of the backstory if I ever decide to polish and publish my novel, but the act of writing it is making the core of the story better.   I am starting to see now why Tolkien wrote so many back stories for Lord Of The Rings.  It helps.

Speaking of Lord Of The Rings, I have discovered that I write best while listening to an instrumental score.  I have been using the complete Lord Of The Rings soundtrack on constant repeat.  Combined they are 3 hours and 40(-ish) minutes long, and I've listened to it almost nine times now, so that should give you an idea how much time I've put into this so far.  Pro Tip:  I sometimes put (basically thunderstorm sounds) in the background and play music over it  The combination of the two layers of sound is really effective at blocking out ambient noise. It is great for isolating oneself from this reality and immersing into the stories universe.

On the advice of another NaNoWriMo participant, I have started keeping a story bible (, in which I keep the details of my story for easy reference.  It has made keeping track of details much easier.

So I am two weeks(-ish) in, and I am at 26.5K words.  I am over the half-way mark! If all goes well, I should finish during Thanksgiving break.

Lets hope all goes well.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Geocaching Milestone: Geocalendar Filled

It is universally true (sometimes) that if you give a geek a statistic with empty spaces, and he will do his best to fill those spaces in.  In this case that empty box was a stat on that lists every day of the year that I have found a cache.  Today, while attending an event in Charlotte,  I finally filled in all those boxes.  My geocalendar now looks like this:

I have been consciously working on this for a while now.  Two years ago I had 165 days without cache finds.  I knew I had no chance of completing in in a year - my schedule simply would not allow it, but I planned my geocaching trips to hit as many as I could.

In January of this year I looked at my progress and noticed I had knocked the empty days down to 41. So I marked those on my personal calendar, and resolved to find caches on each of those days.  Many of them fell on days I would have cached anyways, like during Geowoodstock, Going Caching, and Canadian trips. However many involved waking up really early in the morning to drive out and grab local caches (local being a misnomer as most where 10-20 miles away) that I had saved especially for that purpose.

I am now done and I can now swear off all "find a cache on this day" challenges (my least favourite kind of challenge), and get on with the business of exploring the world on my own schedule.

Have you completed your calendar? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Geocaching Adventures; Reedy Park

Last Saturday we had no plans.  None at all, and it was going to be glorious.

Then my wife suggested Ikea, and it was no longer gloriously plan free.

However Ikea is not a store that makes me want to instantaneously slit my wrists by spending a couple hours shopping in - and it has edible food - so I agreed.

To be fair, I had a good time.  But still, I am a man, and real men don't shop, unless its a hardware store.  We purchase things, but we don't shop.

So after we escaped the commercialize hell that is the semi-enjoyable Ikea shopping experience, I needed a place to unwind and clear my aching head and delicate sensibilities.

This is all to say I ended up finding a pretty cool little park in the middle of Charlotte North Carolina, called Reedy Park.    This is the story of our time spent geocaching in Reedy Park.

It started with a family photo at the sign of a bird.  Note that Zeke isn't screaming.  He is simply posing for a photo with his mouth wide open because... he's five.
The first cache was located in a humming bird feeder (hummingbirds not included).  The kids traded for some swag (a ring with a fake jewel in it, and a baby Shrek figure). We also grabbed a couple travel bugs, which is (vaguely) interesting for reasons I will get into later, at the appropriate time.
Basking from the success of our first geocache find, we headed off to the next one, a mere 528ft away.  However, we also immediately took the wrong trail (for reasons I can only describe as "Ikea Fatigue"), so that 528ft hike ended up being well over a mile.

Here is a picture of my wife and daughter to distract you from the previous illogical sounding statement.
Now you may be asking yourself why it took a mile to correct my oversight.  I will tell you, but first I will distract you with a photo of my children climbing rocks along the trail, having a grand old time.
So the trail was a large loop, and we planned on doing several caches along one side of that loop (the other side being annoyingly geocache free), so we simply walked the loop, and tackled the short series of geocaches from the far side.
I hope you are as satisfied with that explanation as my daughter was by sitting on this rock.  Sitting on rocks is fun, especially when you are two years old, and the rock is gigantic in comparison, because you are the size of a two year old.
Along the way I learned something new.  There exists an animal called the worm snake.  Which is exactly as it sounds: a snake that looks like a gigantic earth worm.  The one we found was dead, but we looked at it anyway, because nature is awesome.
At the last geocache we ran across two cachers at ground zero, who were also hunting for the cache. We joined in, and Zeke actually made the find.

So remember those two travel bugs we found at the first cache?  It turns out that the cachers we met at this cache dropped the travel bugs in the first cache.  So it was kinda like completing a circle, literally and figuratively (I wasn't kidding when I said 'vaguely', eh?)
So that is my post-Ikea-pocalypse escapades with the family to a cool park in Charlotte.  The staff of Only Googlebot Reads This Blog appreciates your reading this post. We know you have a choice in the blogs you read, and we thank you for choosing ours.

There will now not be a test to verify you were paying attention.

There are many more trails, and many more geocaches, in the park, so the odds of us returning are high.  If we do, you will read all about it here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest We Forget

On this Remembrance Day, I join all Canadians, in fact most of the western world, in pausing in remembrance of all the sacrifices made in the horrors of war to keep the true north strong and free.

If you served in the Canadian Armed Forces, or in the armed forces of any of her allies, I pause in remembrance of your service, and your sacrifice.

Thank you.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

NaNoWriMo: First Week Update

I am one week in to the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge.  The challenge is to write the first draft of a novel in November, where a novel is defined as 50,000 words.

This is my first year attempting this challenge. Despite having started 2 days late, I am well on my way.  I have a rough outline, and today I passed 10,000 words.  Also today, during the sermon (sorry, reverend!), I flushed out the climax of the book.  Now I just have to write it down on paper, and flush in the details.

I also have the cover art done - it served as a good distraction while waiting for my muse to kick in.

I have already learned a few things about myself, and my writing style (tho maybe not a surprise to frequent readers to my blog).  First is that I am inconsistent with tenses, often mixing them in the same sentence.  It was is quite confusing to read back.

The second is that writing a novel length work is a lot harder than the blog posts I am used to.  I have become accustomed to terseness,  but novels require a lot more detail to keep the story flowing.

Third, it can be quite annoying to keep all the minor details in my head, so I keep referencing back to the things I wrote. This process gets longer with every word I write.  The major details are easy, but the bits that are important to keep consistent, but rather arbitrary (street and city names, for example), can be quite tricky.  Keeping good notes is becoming vital!

This is definitely turning into a learning process.