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Ramps and Jumps

As a child of the 70s, one of the most interesting things to do was watch stunt men on TV doing death-defying stunts. They didn’t always go well. Probably why I was a nervous kid when it came to doing stupid things.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t do stupid things.

When I was really young, probably 4 or 5, I had a Big Wheel. If you know, you know. I would get going fast, pull the hand brake and slide to a stop. If I was feeling adventurous, I’d get going really fast and go over the speed bump in our apartment complex. Jumps weren’t high enough to do anything.

When we moved from the cities (that’s what you called Minneapolis/St Paul when you lived in Minnesota) up to McGregor, I got a bike. Took me a long time to get my training wheels off. I was never very coordinated or agile or smart. I was pretty much a scardey-cat kid who avoid pain as much as I could.

That didn’t stop me, once the training wheels were off, from riding down the dirt roads and jumping through all the little pot holes in the road.

Growing up, there were two kids that lived nearby, Dan and Jodi. I had an older brother and an even older step-brother (Jon and Doug), Jodi had an older brother and Dan also had an older brother. There were sisters for both Dan and Jodi, but we’re not talking about them in this story.

The other brothers decided to take a 2×8 we’d found and put a cinder block under one side. We each took turns going over our makeshift jump. Many times the board would slip and many crashes happened.

One time we took a sheet of plywood and two cinder blocks and put a ramp at the end of a dock where we’d go swimming in Big Sandy Lake. I was the most nervous about this. So, unlike the other kids who jumped their bikes into the lake at full speed, I went a little slower. The front tire went over the end of the ramp and I flipped over the bike into the lake.

Yeah, not very graceful.

We had a surprise ramp appear one day on a trail we would sled down. A tree had fallen across a path during the fall and gotten covered over with snow. We’d go down the hill and SURPRISE! End up in the trees, flipped over, or, if lucky, jump and keep going.

That leads us to the last ramp I remember from those days.

Dan lived at the top of a hill with a road that went down to the lake. After a turn to the left, and a turn to the right, you’d be at a boat launch. During the winter, this was where snowmobiles would ride out onto the lake. All of us were paid in hot dish (yeah, that’s MN food) to shovel the road because the snow plow wouldn’t go down there. We piled the excess snow on the sides of the road and the older kids had a bright idea.

We made a curved bank on the left turn.

We made a curved bank on the right turn.

A three-foot ramp was made at the bottom, because we had a LOT of snow.

Then, we took turns heading down the course. Well, all of them did. I was the youngest and the scaredest. I wasn’t about to go down that alone.

My step-brother, Doug, said he’d let me ride in front of the sled and he’d hold onto me. Well, if he’d keep me safe, why not, right? I pulled my hat down over my face and got in.

The “sled” in question one one of those roll-up plastic sheets with handles on the front. We took the left turn, I nearly fell off the sled, but Doug held me on. We took the right turn. With my hat pulled down over my face, I had no idea how fast we were going, but I knew it was fast because I could feel every little bump on the road.

We hit the jump.

I had that moment of weightlessness that felt like it lasted forever. I could hear all the boys screaming and cheering. I knew some of them had made big jumps, but no idea how far I was going or how high in the air I was. Thankfully I was well-padded from all my snow gear and there was about two-feet of snow on the frozen lake. I landed softly.

I jumped up and turned around. Now, I was much smaller back then, but I looked back and I was quite a ways away from the ramp. And the sled. And my step brother. The sled had stopped on the ramp. Doug went about two feet and landed on his face. Me? I shot off the ramp like a rocket and kept going across the inlet and nearly made it to the other side. Again, I’ve no idea the distance, but I went much further than any of the others had gone by themselves.

Yeah, I still don’t like ramps or jumps.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0157-e14do9o

That time I found the Hindenburg Plaque.

I graduated high school in 1987. In August of that year, I joined the Navy. I spent a couple of months in Boot Camp in Orlando before heading off to me ‘A’ school in Pensacola, FL. At the time, the Navy needed people to go into my rate. Because of that, there was an incentive to sign up. I was what they called a “push button” 3rd. Meaning once I completed my ‘A’ school, I was awarded the rank of E4, a 3rd class petty officer. I was proud of that accomplishment.

I wasn’t, however, excited about the fact I was about to go on a Navy vessel. I was terrified of open water.

So, Jay, why did you join the Navy? Isn’t that kind of what they do?

I’ll cover that another time, it’s not important to this story.

Upon completion of my ‘A’ school, my either class, and the class behind us, were told there were now too many 3rd classmen of my rate. Therefore, the fleet didn’t need us at that time. Instead, we were all to be sent to security guard duty and we would be relieving the Marines that were currently doing security guard duty on Naval Weapons Stations.

Whew. No ship for me!

Some of my classmates and I climbed into a giant car, six of us if I recall, and we drove from Pensacola to Pittsburgh, PA. One of the guys was from there and wanted to stop off and live it up before we reported for duty in Lakehurst, NJ where our Security Guard School was going to be. I’ll tell a story about PA another time. Yeah, everything was a story in the Navy.

The lot of us spent a month in Lakehurst. Now, being 18, I knew very little about Jersey let alone Lakehurst. I didn’t know the history. I knew nothing about the place. I was young, dumb, and ….

Every day we’d walk from the barracks across the large field in front of two massive hangars. Inside of one of the hangars was an entire flight deck of an aircraft carrier. When I say massive hangars, I mean wow were they big. It’s difficult to describe their size or how small you’d feel walking past them.

The field was mostly concrete with patches of overgrowth all over. One day while crossing the field, I tripped on something. I had no idea what it was. Being early as we always were, I took the time to rip up the grass over what I’d tripped on. Color me surprised when I uncovered a plaque.

Now, if you look at the plaque online, you’ll see something very different than what I experienced. The plaque had been placed in the spot where the Hindenburg went down 51 years before. The plaque commemorating the 50th anniversary. I don’t know why it was overgrown or why it was allowed to become overgrown. All I know is what I tripped over.

When you look at pictures of the plaque online, you’ll now see it surrounded with anchor chain and a long stretch of concrete and lots of nice landscaping. Back when I tripped over it, that wasn’t the case.

That’s how I found the plaque.

Until next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0156-e14c0ni

By The Numbers – June 2021

Hey Howdy Hey Gang! This will be a short post. The video is also short cuz I’m a dummy and the camera died on me. <sigh> Were I a smart YouTuber, I’d have just swapped out the battery, but didn’t have it handy. Next time.

Let’s start with MONEY! Yes, I’m selling books to make money. That’s sort of the entire goal here. Bear in mind I’m doing almost no promotion other than my newsletter and a blog post that I share on all the social medias. The fact I’m selling anything at all amazes me. I won’t lie.

So, I’m happy with last month. I won’t be buying a new car any time soon, but I made $12.75 for the month of June. Given that I made only $3 in May, I’ll take that as a win. As I said, I’m not a rock star supermodel author with six figure book deals. I’m starting over from failing the last time I tried to get things going. I need to rebuild my brand from the ground up and regain the trust of readers I’ve lost over the years. This isn’t going happen over night. I need to keep repeating that more for myself than anyone else. The fact I sold 3 copies of my latest book and a couple of copies of back titles means I’m doing as well as I can.

Yes, there’s a lot more I’d love to see happen, but for right now at this moment in time, I’m writing books, and publishing on a schedule. Nothing more, nothing less. Once I get deeper into each series, say, with 3 books in each series, THEN I’ll start doing a lot more because those 4th books will blow people’s socks off and I’ll be crazy excited to get them out there.

One thing I’ve been thinking about doing and I should have thought about this sooner, is put the first chapter of the next book to read in the series in each book. Because I’m a dummy, I didn’t think about that until I was recording today’s video and then the camera died. <grumble>

At any rate, if you’re curious about the numbers, check out today’s video. If you were following along with my ‘story’ idea from yesterday, that will be starting on Monday! I will reserve Friday for getting folks caught up on what I’m doing on my writing. I think that’ll be a good point to do it.

I’m off to make words happen that I didn’t make happen this week.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Audio Only: https://anchor.fm/jr-murdock/episodes/5-a-Day-With-Jay—0155-e147769

Monday Update: Two Weeks Left of Lent

Image result for dog typing

There are two weeks left of Lent. When we last spoke, my intention was to see how many days in a row I could write more than 2750 words per day.

Yesterday I faltered.

It was an awesome day! Don’t get me wrong. I have no shame in saying that I didn’t hit my goal. There just weren’t enough hours in the day to get my full word count. I only got 2050 words done. So I was 700 words short.

But how did I do, overall, last week? Let’s break down the numbers.

Monday: 2820
Tuesday: 4040
Wednesday: 2774
Thursday: 2756
Friday: 2783
Saturday: 3088
Sunday: 2007

So even though I didn’t hit 2750 words per day every day, I did average 2900 words per day. I’ll take that any day and twice on Sunday! Well, you know what I mean.

At any rate, I did hit my 2000 word daily goal for Lent, I hit my secondary 2750 average, and I made great progress in the book I’m working on. The ending, which I thought I had sealed up tight, changed direction on me. In a good way. I’m so excited to be ending this book, but sitting down at 9:30 to try and hit my word count, my eyes were closing and it wasn’t happening.

What have I said before on this topic? I set my goals high to force myself to work harder to hit them, so even if I miss, I still succeed. I consider last week, with over 20,000 words, a complete success.

I do still plan to try and hit 2750 words per day for the rest of Lent. We’ll see how that goes.

Where does all this typing put me with regards to my overall Lent Goal, you ask? I’m so glad you brought that up. I’m currently 5 days ahead of schedule. I’m up nearly 10,000 words where I expected to be at this point. I’m over 82% of my Lent total target. Keeping up this pace, I will finish Almost-Super Heroes well before Easter Sunday. Will I make it? Pfft, I honestly don’t know. I’m hopeful, but then I’ve been hopeful before.

Where am I at on the year? I’m 35,200 words ahead of schedule. 29 days ahead of where I should be. That’s after starting out 21 days behind. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d keep pushing ahead so well. Looking back at all my old spreadsheets (some people keep journals) I can see where I faltered every year on my Lent goal. It’s a long time to keep that kind of writing speed up, work a day job, spend time with family, do stuff around the house. It’s not always easy to work in the time, but I’ve done it.

So grand total, I’m at 145591 on the year. I’m still delightfully surprised at where I’m at right now. I have a lot of plans in the works for later in the year, but right now, I’m trying to “bank” five books. Once I’ve done that, I’ll reveal my secret plan and I hope you’ll be as happy with it as I am.

Going to keep it short today. I hope all it well in your end of the world. It’s time for me to go make words happen.

Until Next Time!

Stay Awesome!

Daily Update: Minor technical difficulties

There is a slight delay with getting the music for the Action Pack Podcast. Those responsible have been sacked. We have replaced the music you would have heard with the sounds of llamas grazing on the open plains.

But seriously, the person I had asked to do the music has been overly busy and I completely understand. I will be putting in temporary music until such a time as we get official music. This will not delay the release of the podcast. The first episode will have slightly different music to those first downloaders.

Yesterday I intended to write 2000 words and I did. I struggled for the last few words and it was like pulling teeth as I had a small headache, I was tired, and I just wasn’t feeling it as much, but I worked through and I re-read it this morning. It’s still good. Needs a little spit and polish, but I’m liking it. I should be able to finish up that story today. My goal for Lent is to not only cut out my massive sugar intake, but to also write 2000 words a day. Beyond that I also intend to work on fiction every day during Lent as well. Some days so far this year I had only written blog posts so I was hitting my goal, but I wasn’t creating new fiction.

So if I stick to my goal, the next 40 days will bring 80,000 words and most of that will be new fiction as I’ll be typing up shorter blog posts.

One thing I did was re-do my word count spread sheet. I’m a geek, what can I say? I love to mess around with spread sheets. I’ve added some color coding so I can see where I have a bad day, where I have a good day, and where I have a day I expect. I also added a graph.

But all of that was procrastination because I wasn’t “feeling it”. This is something I’ve had to overcome and realize that even if I’m not “feeling it” I still need to write. Once I got going it flowed a little better until it got closer and closer to 10PM (my bedtime) and I felt like I was just trying to get any words out. Hopefully today will be different.

Why?

Well, I’ll be taking a break in the middle of the day as I have a release for work tonight so I’ll try and get my 2000 words written during that time so I’ll be ready for tonight’s release.

Speaking of tonight’s release…

Until Tomorrow!

WOO WOO!

Daily Update: Getting the wind knocked out of your sails.

So I’ve been a writing fool the past couple of days. I’ve been watching my word count go up quickly and it was making me very happy. I keep everything in a spread sheet with formulas and totals for days/weeks/months/etc. I’ve got a graph to show how the work is going daily and all that. Looking at the report makes me happy because I can see where my word count is going.

Then I noticed an error. Thankfully I found it only 10 days into February. It kinda took me back when I found it and it made me sad for a moment, but i quickly got over it.

According to my word count I was about 3000-4000 words ahead of schedule for my annual word count goal. Well, this mistake was adding February’s word counts to January’s word counts and padded my numbers. A lot. After fixing the formula my word count dropped by 10,000 words (thereabout). That was quite a goal, but I’m only a couple thousand behind now and I can write to get caught up. I don’t have the padding I did, but I have a lot of words I need to write so getting caught up won’t be as difficult as it could be. It just means I need to write a little extra each day and actually get back to writing daily without fail.

Okay, got that out of my system.

Kance Encounter was suppose to be released at the end of January. Sorry it’s late. I will be putting it out soon and I’m already working on the sequel. Both will be coming out this month so keep an eye out for them. I just got the edits back (email failed me and it had gotten lost the first time). Now that I have those I’ll be going through Kance Encounter and getting it out as soon as possible.

The Action Pack Podcast is on track. I should be getting audio from Mike Plested and Scott Roche over the weekend. I’ll be recording and bugging my friend for the musical parts once again. We’re hoping to get a promo ready (Mike is writing that up) and I’ll be writing up the intro to the actual podcast. Since we all have these HUGE egos, we decided not to pick which will go first and instead we’ll rotate which story goes first and we’ll also rotate introductory duties. Next week should see some updates to the Action Pack Podcast website. Keep an eye out for that.

I’ve gotten a writing assignment. Research has been accomplished. I will be getting my rear in gear and knocking out some words. Once I can announce more about this work, I shall. Stay Tuned.

Speaking of writing, I’ve got much work to do before I can start putting words down. So…

Until Tomorrow!

WOO WOO!

Daily Update: Month in Review

Total words for Jan 2012 – 36176

Blog words – 18149

Fiction words – 18027

Did I write as much as I had hoped? No.

Did I walk as much as I had hoped? No.

I know I’m capable of more and I’m capable of better. I did get a couple good shorts off and submitted. I hope to get another submission off this month. I also published a couple free short stories. Kance Encounter has a minor issue that one I get fixed I will post. That will be later this week. If you’re looking for free fiction, check out Don’t Use the Phone to tide you over until Kance Encounter is out. Don’t Use the Phone does have a slight Christian tone, but don’t be afraid. It’s not heavy handed in any way.

As for walking, I’d chronicled that pretty well. My shins are feeling better, but I don’t think I’ll be running any time soon. If I do it’ll be on the track at my favorite daughter’s school. It’s one of those rubberized tracks and is real nice on the legs. I will, however, begin other cardio training as the complex we live in does have a gym on site. I’ve been doing light weight training in the interim.

As you noticed I have managed to blog daily. I’ll be keeping that up as it is helping when I do sit and write. I love to type so this is always good exercise. It also helps me keep everything clear in my head from day to day. I do need to start making note of when I have ideas for a given blog post. I’ve had some ideas, but they slip by and I don’t post them. February will see some more stories vs day-to-day issues.

The chronicle of Sputtery Truck is still on going. I hope to have it back today. It was supposed to be done yesterday, but replacing an engine isn’t a quick or easy process. I’m not surprised. What will surprise me? Getting my truck back in running order. This has had me very stressed in not having my vehicle and worrying about the money I’m putting into it. I know it’ll all work out, but I can’t help but worry. Look for a happy tweet later this afternoon.

I’m still waiting and waiting really sucks. It’s also got me on pins and needles. I have 6 books with a publisher. Hopefully something catches his eye. I know I need to be patient and publishers are busy, busy people. So I wait.

I’ve also got a couple of short stories out there. Anxious to hear about those as well. While I wait I think I’ll work on another short story and get back into my longer works. I need to write Second Kance for the end of this month. It’ll be a new story, but continue the threads built in Kance Encounter. Each will be self contained with an over arcing thread. Can’t wait to dig into the next story. It’s been in my head for years.

I also need to record my Action Pack story and get that ready for production as well as write the next 4000-5000 words. I also need to come up with a better title. I like Gold Rush, but the date of the story is after the Gold Rush so the title doesn’t make sense. Either way, it’s a fun story so far and I hope it continues to be.

There are a lot of things in the works. I need to get going on them so I don’t let myself get behind. If you set goals for January, how did you do? Are you on track? Are you falling behind? Do you need some motivation? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

Until Tomorrow!

WOO WOO!

Just me, and my shadow.

Just me, and my shadow

Hey! Look! It’s the Third and this is my third daily post. I know, I know. Hold you applause.

But seriously, I know many people blog multiple times per day. What I’m doing is just trying to get into that habit of writing a quick blog post each and every day. I’m only a couple of days in, but I’m on track. That’s what matters, right?

So yesterday, after lots of eating over the holidays, I decided to work on one of my unpublished goals. This one is simple; to have less of me around. Ever since we moved last year I’ve been sitting on my duff and getting little done. Adding on somewhere between fifteen to twenty pounds has done wonders with lowering my energy and lowering my motivation.

I was writing yesterday and decided, HEY! I can go for a walk. So I did. Perhaps it wasn’t the brightest decision to go walking for nearly an hour in flip flops during the hottest part of the day (it got up to 75 yesterday) but I did it anyway. Why? Because I need to. I know to have more energy I need to get some exercise. I need a good pair of walking shoes as my old nemesis from my running days, shinsplints, came back to haunt me. I puffed and wheezed more than once. All in all it was a terrible experience.

But I’m going to keep at it. I know the only way to get back into shape is to do something as often as possible. So I’ll be walking and tracking my progress. Yes, I walked for nearly an hour yesterday, but I have no idea how far I walked. I asked on twitter for a walking app for my Atrix and got the recommendation for RunKeeper. It tracks your time and distance using GPS. I love technology and this will be an awesome way to tack my time, distance, and progress. From what I can tell it remembers for you. At some point I’ll get a scale and start weighing myself, but not anytime soon. I want to worry more about my fitness level instead of my weight. With this little app I’ll be able to post weekly distance and times. Just another thing to keep me honest. Maybe I’ll do one of those maps to show how far I walk in a month or year. That’ll be fun.

As for writing, yes, I wrote a nearly 3000 words yesterday. I’ll be writing more today. I plan on writing tomorrow. I don’t want to lose my momentum. I’ll post my weekly word count (and walking distance) every Sunday. I also put a word count meter on the main site to keep track of where I’m at with hitting my yearly goal. It’s painful to see that I’m still at 0%, but it won’t move much on a daily basis unless I really crank out some words.

Speaking of writing, today is my first day back to work after a couple of weeks off. That will bite into my writing time I was enjoying over the holidays, but I still have the evenings. Words will happen. Speaking of words, I need to get back to work. During lunch…

Until tomorrow

WOO WOO!