Lucas Weismann

Nanowrimo update:

Art Goes Here Cover Art

My novel, the grind is chugging along and I’ve crossed the 30,000 word mark.  (50,000 is the goal for the month).  This process has been a blast so far and it has felt really good to take the time to write more than I ever have in one project as an adult.

I’m doing my best to follow the advice of experienced authors and get that first draft out there and completed.  Then, I’ll try to keep from looking at it for a month and restructure it for draft two.

For those who are interested, it’s a science fiction story about someone who finds himself trapped in a virtual world, forced to grind for gold until he is able to pay off some debts he owes.

The game currency has been accepted in the real world as a crypto currency and even the IRS is taking not.

On top of this, he’s gone and gotten in trouble with some of the factions in the game, making the normal grinding methods difficult to accomplish without being hunted by PK squads (player killer squads made up of misanthropic 14-year old dickheads).

Even with his friends at his side, escape seems unlikely at best, impossible at worst.

And to think, when he started playing Albiona again, his main concern was that he would stay up too late playing games and his performance at work would suffer.

 


Anyway, I just wanted to share what I’ve been up to and let you know I’m pretty excited with it so far!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

NaNoWriMo starts early this year.

Art Goes Here Cover Art

This year I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo. For those who don’t know what that means:

National Novel Writing Month. I have a goal of writing 50,000 words on a rough draft by the end of the month. This has become a global phenomenon and there are writing groups all over the world taking part.

50,000 words is the minimum length to have “won” the challenge and since it will be a rough draft, I’ll still have edits and rewrites before I can call it something worthy of release.

If you’ve ever thought that you’d like to write your story, or read someone’s work and said “I could do better than that” or even, “what if…?”, think about joining the challenge at nanowrimo.org.

If not, feel free to hold me accountable and check up on my progress by following me here.

 

Adventure – Posters Available

Hello everyone,

I’m really excited to be sharing the first in a series of 12 images I commissioned as part of the Djinn’s Heart and Other Stories from Ukranian artist Olga Volkova.  Right now, the images area available online at my etsy shop as posters, framed posters and canvas prints.

This is the first in the series, entitled: Adventure.  If you like it, please consider buying a poster.  I’ll be reinvesting any money I get from the sale of the posters into more commissions from Ms. Volkova for upcoming stories.

I’m particularly looking forward to seeing what she can do with the story about that time I met the Devil on the road…

On the Road Again

Wednesday, I’ll be heading on the road again for the first time since going to Newcastle, UK for Melissa Davy’s Brown Ale Blues.  A short trip to visit family and then off to… … Newcastle, UK for Melissa Davy’s Belta Blues.  Then I’m off to Sweden and Demark to visit Malmö, Copenhagen and Helsingborg.  I can’t wait!

There are a lot of dancers I’ve missed seeing and look forward to spending time with while I’m visiting.

I’ll also be making time for anyone who wants to get delicious food, play games, or work on their dance.  Feel free to get a hold of me via this form or on Facebook and we’ll find the time.

On Forgiveness

This is a note that is 90% for myself and 10% for anyone else who wants to read my thoughts.  Don’t take the advice as being for anyone but from me to myself.  If you have ideas that have worked for you, I’d love to hear them.

 

After watching a buzzfeed video about – yes, that buzzfeed…- one of the Mengele twins and the power of forgiveness, I’ve been thinking about the idea of forgiveness.  What does it mean, when should we do it and for whom. I’ve come to the conclusion that forgiveness is essentially a selfish act.

To me forgiveness is the act of giving up your eye-for-an-eye right to retribution or revenge.  It’s giving up the idea that I get to use someone’s past as a trump card in future arguments. Not out of laziness or fear, but because of something calling me to let go.  

We all have people who we’ve wronged and people who have wronged us.  The degree to which you’ve been hurt may make letting go of that anger incredibly difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.  I remember reading about the idea of a teacher asking a student to hold a light weight at arm’s length and pointing out that it’s not just the weight of the object that makes it difficult to hold, but the length of time you’re required to hold it.

All of that anger and frustration, that hurt and hate, that justified scabby black poison we cling to as our right as survivors of past wrong.  That proof of the evil of others.  It poisons us far worse than it will ever poison them.  It cripples us in spirit and makes victims of the same wrong over and over again.  

Worse even, when we realize how many of the things we hold on to are our own choices.  Things we can’t forgive ourselves for.  Oh, and if you have nothin for which you need to forgive yourself A) you might be very, very young, B) you might be in denial, C) you might have done the hard work of forgiving yourself already.  If C, good for you!  Please share what you did.

In any event, the forgiveness we give ourselves and others is a selfish act because ultimately we don’t forgive people for the sake of their own souls, but for our own.  It’s a psychological ablution, an enema for the spirit.

When forgiving those who’ve done you evil, you take a stand and no longer let that part of your past control you.  

 

I can’t say I know what’s best for anyone but myself.  I know that giving up that poison is like giving up coffee or sugar.  It’s good for you, but oh, so hard.

For the sake of me (since I’m with me almost constantly), and my loved ones, I’m doing my best to forgive.  Which is not the same as doing my best to forget – perhaps I’ll have thoughts on that sometime soon.

Back in Class – Phoenix

Taught with Jeannie Lin again for the first time since our last trip to Europe.  It is amazing.  I can’t believe how it’s possible to know how good a dance partner can be, intellectually, and yet how easy it is to forget just HOW good they are until you are in the same place with them.  This isn’t limited to her dancing.  Jeannie and I have a working relationship that we’ve been polishing since our first experience back in 2013 at Blue Moon Blues, in Tucson, Arizona. 

Now we’re back in Arizona for the first time since our first time.  We’re older, more experienced and it’s amazing how much our progress as a partnership shows from our first time together.  Rough edges are worn, dance philosophies are understood and class just felt smooth.

Nathan and Stephanie have been great local hosts, with around 8 couples for a small event only advertised two months in advance.  The attitude of the students has been fantastic and the late night taqueria has really nice Carne Asada fries.

 

In all, it’s been a fantastic weekend and I’m thankful for the opportunities our friends give us to share the dancing we love with their home scenes.  I hope everyone reading this is having a great time and that you can feel a measure of the joy I feel right now.

 

Thank you all.

A near-miss in the morning…

You can’t always tell how a day is going to go by the way it started.  As humans, we’re always seeking subjective validation of our experience and thinking of it as objective.  For example, today I woke up with a Black Widow Spider next to my face.  Big abdomen, red hour glass, black widow.  As I moved, I noticed its web connected my wall, the mattress and the pillow I was using, so every movement was sending vibrations through the web.  This was a fast spider.  It seemed unhappy with its real estate acquisition choices and frankly, I didn’t blame it.  Much as the first settlers to find out about the San Andreas fault line must have been less than thrilled.

So, I sat up and when the time was right, I crushed the spider beneath the largest wad of toilet paper I could muster.  Ichor on my hands and a venomous arachnid 4 inches from my face.  Not an ideal start to my day.

As the day has progressed, I’ve— 

 

• received a referral for someone who wanted to get solar panels installed on their roof
• discovered a lovely german shandy at Imbibe while I met with someone who will become a real estate advisor for me.
• found some lovely wood from a tree from last weekend’s tropical storm.

 

Had I allowed my disgust at the start of the morning color my mood, I may not have presented in such a way as to get the referral, or the agreement to help from the investor, or noticed the wood. Not to mention if I’d woken up later, I could have gotten my face bitten by a black widow.  

So, here’s my little reminder to myself that a mental reset can not only improve your day, but leave you exultant. 

 

PS.  Oh, and waking up early can have direct health benefits 😉

Ch-ch-ch-changes

For those not in the know, recently I’ve gone through several changes.  Those that I’m openly discussing in public are the following:

I’ve moved

Currently, I’m no longer living in my home state, Minnesota.  You can find me in the environs of Bakersfield, California.  While I love my home state and many of my people there, including my good friend Dan over at DVG Framing (seriously, check out his framing and furniture, it’s amazing), Things were not altogether well and helping me to be the best Luke I could be for me and the people in my life.  As a result-

I’ve Changed Job

I am still working on wood in my spare time, as well as writing, but I am no longer focusing on them. My dad, Dexter and I traveled west to see the eclipse and photograph it with Minneapolis photographer John Anderson, who kindly made modifications for my dad’s Canon 800mm F/2.8 Lens.  We used it to photograph the eclipse and Dexter ran around like a madman taking pictures and taking an interest in the things he could do with the photographs.  After the eclipse, we parted ways and I continued on to my destination, whereupon I joined Noah Nethero and Jake Miller at 1st Light Energy, a solar company that services all of California.  My first afternoon in bakersfield, I stumbled into the Iron Arms Gym, met the owner Ryan and joined on the spot.  (If you are from Bakersfield, and want to lift at a gym focused on “the iron”- join and tell them Luke sent you).  Since then –

I’ve Started Lifting Again

I’m doing a better job of tracking my lifts and been going more regularly thanks to the fact that the Gym is a real gym and 10 minutes for my house. For $25/month I’m treated to loud music, guys who give me something to shoot for in size and strength, and the occasional shot or round robing Mortal Kombat session.  It’s like I designed a gym in a computer to meet my geek, bro and lifting needs.  At week two, my totals are still weak as a kitten (Bench 165, Squat 185, Deadlift 245), but after a nine year hiatus from serious lifting, I don’t deserve to be jumping back in.  But since I’m putting in effort at the all-around self improvement –

I’ve Started Eating Healthier

Myfitnesspal by UnderArmor has been a great help.  It allows me to track my calories, macros and what I’ve eaten.  It’s a bit tricky when eating at non-fast food or non-chain restaurants, but they usually have general guidelines to follow.  Additionally I can use it to track my weight, steps and exercise for the day.  This is has made everything WAY easier to track and a lot of fun.  I do miss habitRPG for the cute anime things, but for diet and fitness, this has been an excellent fit. The app inspired so –

I’ve Started using my Bullet Journal again

For those not in the know, bullet journaling is an offline way to make easily migrated tasks in any Journal-style notebook as well as notate events, cluster things into projects and set goals on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.  It is fantastic.  you can find out more information about it here.  There are SO many different ways to do this, it’s highly adaptable and for the craft-y people reading, yes, you can use all the colored inks, tapes and even pictures you want in order to make it shine.  For those more like me, that’s not necessary.

One of the modifications I’ve made is to use the habit tracker invented by Benjamin Franklin:

Though, I’ve inverted this by marking when I succeed at engaging in the habit I’m trying to develop.  At the end of the month, I tally the number of days I engaged in the habit, divide by the days of the month and look at the success rate.  Then the current month is compared with the previous to see where improvements can be made.  Rather than the ideals Franklin for which Franklin strove, I’ve started farther down the ladder of abstraction.  For now, I’m working on the following behaviors I’d like to make a part of my regular life.

• Completing all tasks I’ve assigned myself for the day

• Walking a minimum of 5,000 steps

• Meditate – this has been the hardest to think about so far.  tonight I just thought about some quotes from Jordan B. Peterson, probably one of the greatest professors of the modern era. Check out his Maps of Meaning series on youtube

• Shower – Hey, hygiene is important, and I wanted a habit I could cross off every morning first thing, like the bed-making suggestion from Admiral McRaven

• Staying Under my recommended Calories

• Read/Listen to non-fiction books and podcasts for at least 30 minutes per day.

• Write – This was the one I wanted most and have put the least consistency into up to this point.  Whoops!  Sorry folks.

• Knock Doors – This is a big part of my new job working with 1st Light Energy and my goal is to knock a few doors every day.

• Gym/Yoga – walking is not enough.  I’ve dedicated Mondays to Deadlift, Wednesday to Bench and Friday to Squat.  Somehow the off days just lack luster and so it’s on those days that I’m going to be filling in with Yoga, Dance, or other physical activities.

• Rosetta Stone – I have been gifted a license for Rosetta Stone German – Levels I-V and want to see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be.  So far, I’m noticing my comprehension go WAY up, but that’s starting from zero… we’ll see how it goes.  I’m really enjoying the difference between Der hund frisst and Er isst.

The next few are work metrics, not quite daily habits because some are out of my control.

• Appointment set – I’m requiring at least one appointment set per work day either from knocking doors or a networking type meeting.  On days when I’m knocking, my goal is for three appointments set.

• Referrals Received – I’m handing out a lot of referrals, and I’d like to track them.

• Deal Closed – Need appointments for these to close, but I’d like to get an idea of what kind of effort needs to be made in order to actually make a consistent living selling solar.

• Phone Calls Made – Did I call at least one person to follow up on some bit of business?

So far, that’s a lot of change from what I was doing to what I AM doing now. I’m excited to make this into a process rather than a goal.

To Mom

For those who’ve read my blog in the past you may have noticed a central character in my family has been missing.  My mom.

I think this is often an all too common aspect of the way that moms are treated in families for a simple reason.  Moms are more likely to just be there… It’s not fair, but there you go.  Since dads often work more hours or later hours, or in single-income homes all of the hours away from the house, mom is always there.  Constant, trusted and in the background. That makes dad time a special event and mom time, just… time.

There’s mother’s day sure… but that’s just a day for guilt-flowers and cards.  It pales in comparison to the things Mom does on every other holiday.

 

The Holidays

It wasn’t until last year that I discovered how much effort went into making the decades of perfect holidays she has.  Here’s a quick run-down:

Shopping to get the ingredients before a major holiday usually 1-2 weeks in advance

Wrangling family, presents (when applicable) and cleaning all major problem areas of the house before company arrives, often working to get help from surly offspring.

Getting up at 4:30AM to start the cooking of the meal so that everything can be ready 12 hours later, all while making sure that everyone’s “must have” sides aren’t forgotten.  Creamed corn for grandma, Turkey Stuffing for Dad and Luke, Ham Gravy for well… everyone— seriously, this stuff is so good we’ve petitioned for ham to be served at all holiday meals so we don’t miss out—pies, pies pies, and about a metric ton of potatoes to be bogarted by one of her brothers who claimed that 7/8 of a salad bowl filled with potatoes was one serving because he managed to get it on to his plate in one scoop.

Top all of this with the older female relatives lounging in the kitchen from 2PM onward to “help”, but in that way that they have of really just telling you ways to “improve” your process.  Then there are the inevitable arguments and “discussions” which have to be navigated with grace that would put the British Royals to shame.

By the time dishes are ready to be washed after the meal and everyone has managed to disappear before a certain oldest child is wrangled to help (probably for the crime of being too slow to escape himself), mom has been constantly working for 14.5 hours.

And here’s the insane part.  She did it without letting us know what she’s going through, ever.  That’s right.  I didn’t this find out from my mom, I found out from another family member… Talk about grit and class!

Skill

Another way in which my mom is better than yours (feel free to argue, it’s futile), is her absurd levels of competency at pretty much everything.  See, when I was a child, she learned sign language and felt called to be an interpreter.  While working she would often interpret for classes in art, plumbing, electrical, woodworking and innumerable other skills.  Once direction was given, instead of standing around waiting for class to finish, what would she do?  She would work on the techniques she had just been describing (when time and space allowed).  This had two effects: 1) it made her better able to serve those for whom she interpreted (sign language is less explicit and more conceptual than English, so added understanding helps here) and 2) she developed those skills.

She’s saved our family THOUSANDS of dollars of repairs and decorations, not to mention the arts in which she “dabbles” could be sold proudly in any local artist’s gallery.

Cooking

Okay, I know it looks like I went over this before, but really, that was about her making a holiday that was better than any three families have a right to expect without a paid caterer and event coordinator.  My mom can cook. This is in a class of itself because for some reason she has developed the ability to ascertain what is in a dish at a restaurant and how to make it after eating it one or two times.

On top of that, she has a repertoire of go to meals that we were truly lucky to grow up eating.  Spaghetti with homemade sauce, lasagna (yes, it’s my favorite…), holiday fare (see above), banana bread, Tamales and others too numerous to count.  Mom has forgotten more about cooking than I’m likely ever to know.

Moral Support

It’s never easy to go to a parent when you’re having problems, but in the last few years, I’ve come to realize just how good my mom is when a person is in a difficult situations.  I don’t know if it’s a general momish thing, or specific to my own mother, but there are few people I know who can so easily help you transition from being comforted to working on a solution.

Support of morals

One thing my mom instilled in my sister and me was a strong sense of morals.  Some things and just right and just wrong.  While I may not agree with her on all cases and have had to find my own way, she taught me to stick to what I know is right until I know better.  Then when I know better, to do better.

The moral grounding I got with my mom and the realization of just what happens when you break the rules (often actual grounding…) has helped me to avoid a lot of trouble others I’ve known got themselves into.  The biblical education I’ve received has given me stories and lessons to hold to, not to mention made me well-versed in the backbone of post-roman western thought.  I’m really thankful for the spiritual education I’ve received just by being raised by my mom.  There are so many primrose paths I could have wandered down, had I not learned the warning signs by being raised with her.  (there were some other false positives too, I’m looking at you 1980s D&D scare…, but that’s not germane to the subject of how great my mom is).

Basically, I just want to thank you for being you mom and let you know I love you and I’m really glad I have you as a mom.

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