So this happened …Yup – I’m going back to school.¬†Specially, Seton Hill University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction.

A big change for a guy who graduated college 20 years ago but hey, why not? Getting a MFA will allow me to actually do something with that English major I picked up plus Seton Hill’s program has a lot of benefits.

First – It’s a low residency program. I only have to be on campus twice a year, each time for a week. Once in June and once in January. Everything else is done online, Skype, or via email. Which is pretty handy when you’re a person with a full time job.

Second – This MFA is about writing popular fiction. That’s science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult, mysteries, or romance. Most MFAs are about classical literature or other subjects that to be honest, work for other people but not me. This one though? Tailored specifically for me.

The whole program should last about 2.5 years and by the end, not only will I have a masters but I’ll also have a completed book written (that’s actually a degree requirement).

So that’s what is happening. More info when I get it but right now, pretty excited and happy. ūüôā


Grand Canyon, November 2016

A lot later than I would have liked but Imgur was being a jerk. Finally I gave up and just linked things off of Dropbox.

The summary of our trip : We headed down South Kaibab Trail (~7 miles) to the Bright Angel Campground at the bottom. We spent two nights down there and used our ‘off’ day to hike north to Ribbon Falls (~12 mile round trip). Then we packed up early in the morning and headed out via the Bright Angel Trail (~9+ miles). A lot of hiking but a lot of very cool scenery.

I’ve put a few pictures below but here’s a complete gallery (180+ pictures) of the trip –¬†Grand Canyon trip.


South Kaibab Trailhead
South Kaibab Trail



Oh Ah Point
Our View for Lunch
Bright Angel Campground
Ribbon Falls



Bright Angel Trail (Hike Out)
Victory Over the Giant Hole In the Ground



Ups and Downs


This was supposed to be a nice long post about our recent vacation to the Grand Canyon, complete with pictures and other neat stuff. Unfortunately, a major problem with our ISP has resulted in the speeds at home being so slow that it’s near impossible to upload the pictures. Thus, I got nothing. But once that gets fixed (today? tomorrow?), I’ll get them uploaded and follow with a full recap.

Here’s the short version – walked down a lot of steps, camped under a beautiful sky, went WTF America?, ate good camp food, and then hiked back up a whole lotta steps. Had a great time.

More to come. Honest.


Up we go
Up we go


Meet Indy

Say hello to Indy.


Our local humane society had an outbreak of ringworm, necessitating the need for a number of cats to be sent to shelter homes for recovery or to avoid catching the stuff in the first place. Indy first went to our in-laws place. It didn’t take long for us to figure out that a young kitten with high energy wasn’t ideal for a couple of retired folks, so we brought him to our place. Our intention was to keep him out on our porch separated from our cats until the all clear was given to take him back.

But, as cats are cats, introductions became necessary. Bee (our one eyed cat) was the first and she got along with him pretty well. Then we introduced Skye who also got along fine and finally Cici (the blind one). And surprisingly? Indy got along with Cici and not only played with her but also played at her pace. We haven’t seen another cat do that yet. So after that, well, it was really only a matter of time.

After a couple of weeks, Indy was running around the house and hanging out with the girls. So he’s here to stay (I think Friday is the ‘official’ adoption date). And the name? Well, he was originally called Tawny which I hated so we immediately began searching for another before settling on Indy. The name comes from his intense curiosity, his desire to always be on the go, and his habit of digging in the litter as though he were searching for the Ark of the Lost Covenant. It suites him.

Puddle of Cats

A New Old Ball Game

As I approach the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything (more on that later this week), I figured I’d share a new hobby.

Sometime last year I came across an article about Vintage Base Ball. In short, it’s playing baseball using the rules of the 1860s, dressed in the fashion of the day, and all the attitude around it (including spelling base ball as two words, not one). It looked like a lot of fun, athletic but laid back and an emphasis on sportsmanship. A little hunting around and I found a couple of teams about an hour away. Plus it was the off season anyway so I put that on the shelf.

Fast forward to this spring and an article popped up in one of the local news sites – someone looking to form a vintage base ball team here in town. I signed up, along with a bunch of others, and we formed ourselves a team – the Decorah Driftless Dodgers. The rules of 1860s are a bit different from the modern era. To list a few – the ball can be caught off one bounce for an out, the pitcher doesn’t try to throw strikes (and in fact, strikes only count if you swing), there is no leading off of bases, there are technically no home runs so if a ball goes over a fence, you can retrieve it and throw home for the out, and a few other things. It’s interesting and a nice history lesson.

This past weekend, we played our first official game as a team. We beat the Highland Prairie Hayseeds, 10-9, and I personally went 2 for 4 with a couple of RBIs and good plays in the outfield. I later joined the Hayseeds in their second game against the Lanesoro Excelsiors as they were down a man and I was having fun.

So a good start I have to say. I’m not sure how many more games this year the Driftless Dodgers will play. Hopefully a few but it’s early so we’ll see what happens.

The Driftless Dodgers in Red, Hayseeds in White.
The Driftless Dodgers in Red, Hayseeds in White.

Saving Throw vs The Plague

Critical Failure
Critical Failure


So as it my annual tradition, I spent this past weekend sick. Because it wouldn’t be Spring and beautiful weather if I were not laying on my couch, miserable and hoping Steph wasn’t about to smother me with a pillow. Or maybe I was hoping she would. My thinking isn’t entirely clear on that.

In either case, what started as a simple sore throat blew up into congestion and aching body followed by ‘Hey, I think I’m getting better!’ and then being unable to keep any food in my body and another day of misery on the couch. I wish I could say that I did a lot of reading but that didn’t happen. Instead, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos, slept (or tried to sleep), and worked on some stuff for the D&D campaign I’m planning.

Oh right – I’m getting back into D&D.

D&D was an obsession of my youth – maybe a little too much so but I have very fond memories of it. From the Basic rules all the way up to 3.5 edition, I played a lot with my friends. After college, I drifted away from it due to the way things go when your friends scatter to the winds. There were a few occasions of online but the tools at the time were clunky and just didn’t work out that great.

Fast forward to the modern era and the tools exist that make playing online a lot nicer. So I started playing a 5th edition campaign and have been having fun enough to start work on my own. No idea how it will end but hey, I’m having fun so there’s that.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to seeing if I can make my Saving Throw vs Sickness. C’mon natural 20 …

Belated NASA Pictures

Back in December, Steph and I took our usual vacation to Walt Disney World but we added a twist this time – a day trip over to Kennedy Space Center. We’re both big space geeks and neither of us have been to KSC since we were kids (probably 20+ years ago). So this was going to be a highlight of the trip for us.

And it was. It was a cold and somewhat rainy day but that kept the crowds down and we had a good time spending almost the entire day there. So without further ado, pictures! ¬†Here’s a few choice ones but a completely gallery is here:


Tis the season!
Tis the season!


Space X uses some of the facilities at KSC. This is them prepping one of the pads for launch.
Space X uses some of the facilities at KSC. This is them prepping one of the pads for launch.


Pads 39A and 39B - the two most historic launch pads at NASA.
Pads 39A and 39B – the two most historic launch pads at NASA.


Vehicle Assembly Building - where all the rockets, space shuttles, etc were put together. It's really hard to express how big this thing is. It's huge.
Vehicle Assembly Building – where all the rockets, space shuttles, etc were put together. It’s really hard to express how big this thing is. It’s huge.


The Saturn V Rocket that transported the Apollo project to the moon. Big. Very, very big.
The Saturn V Rocket that transported the Apollo project to the moon. Big. Very, very big.
In all it's glory.
In all it’s glory.

Bonus! Since our last visit there, the Space Shuttle program was retired and one of the shuttles – Atlantis – was sent to KSC. This is the first time either of us have seen a shuttle in person and it was fantastic. A very neat addition to the tour.

The Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle