The Fear List

Since 1993 I’ve been keeping a fear list. A list of quotes, sayings, and proverbs about fear. Here’s what I have so far:

A life lived in fear is a life half lived.

—Spanish proverb, from Strictly Ballroom

A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are for.

—Rear Admiral Grace Hopper

I must not fear. Fear is the mindkiller. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing… Only I will remain.

—Frank Herbert, Dune

Some weakness can be cast out by denying its existence, but most weakness must be acknowledged and analyzed to benefit from the application of logic and positivity. Acknowledged but not accepted. So when those moments of weakness come—and they will—I am prepared to look at them, not away.

—source unknown

I have no fear, for fear is the little death that kills me over and over. Without fear, I die but once.

—dune.wikia [citation needed]

Hope is not a strategy.
Luck is not a factor.
Fear is not an option.

—James Cameron

People don’t fail. They just stop trying.

—source unknown

I’ve failed over and over in my life, and that is why I succeed.

—Michael Jordan

You don’t become great by trying to become great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process.

—rule #896 of XKCD

Your fear of looking stupid is holding you back

—graffiti on the side of a trailer

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.

―Joseph Chilton Pearce

Run towards your fear.

—source unknown

Your inner critic is just the manifestation of your fear.

—source unknown

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

—from “Our Deepest Fear,” by Marianne Williamson

The way to move forward is to let the monsters be seen and the scary voices be heard.

—Amber Rae, Choose Wonder Over Worry

Sometimes, people who are invited to express themselves freely will react with feelings of paralysis, fear, and intimidation. … The cocoon is spun partly from fears of self-disclosure. … If we allowed our simple essence or ungroomed emotions to show, we might look foolish, vulnerable, or unattractive.

—Shaun McNiff, Trust the Process

Some people are unable to surrender to aimlessness because they fear losing themselves and don’t realize that the structure of the art material or the limits of the physical space will always act as container for our expressions.

—Shaun McNiff, Trust the Process


2018 goals: midpoint

This is the halfway mark. Not much has changed in my initial goals, but I still feel like I’m making decent progress. Additional things have popped up that I’ve had to address, above and beyond my personal goals, so in one sense that may be slowing me down, but in another I’m pretty pleased with being able to address everything that I have. Regarding my more artistic personal goals, I’m sharpening my tools and about to get to the real work. Here’s the current status of my 2018 goals…

By the end of 2018 I’d like to have:

  • Painted 50 paintings: Expected: 24; Actual: 0, because I can’t get out of my own way.
  • Ran a cumulative 1000 miles: Expected: 500; Actual: 107 miles, although I’m 400 miles behind I’ve still got time to make it up.
  • Written 50 blog posts: Expected: 24; Actual: 21.
  • Posted 12 videos on YouTube: Expected: 6; Actual: 0, but there will be video soon.
  • Created a portfolio of 12 graphic design works: I have 2 designs, and more to be completed. Will post them soon.
  • Practiced the trumpet for 50 hours: Expected: 0; Actual: 0.
  • Run a 5k race in under 24 minutes: Expected: By end of Q3; Actual: ?
  • Run a marathon in under 5 hours: Expected: November; Actual: ?
  • Lifted 1000# in the big 3 lifts: Expected: not yet; Actual: I’ve started lifting again.
  • Settled my remaining SF/F/H debts: I’ve written an apology letter.

Projects I’d like to complete this year:

  • Launch a new SF/F/H online magazine with an associated podcast: still trying to sync up with potential host; launch in Q3.
  • Edit and publish one anthology/collection: in the queue.
  • Create and publish a mobile app: v1 requirements are being worked on.
  • Write and submit a technical article: no, but I know what I’m writing.
  • Write a fiction story: no.
  • Write one non-fiction book: no.
  • Write a novel: no. I think I’ll schedule this for NanoWriMo in November.

Additional notes for the past three months:

  • I’ve pulled myself away from my intended path in Art History. I felt a great need to attend to tackling the creative theory books on my list.
  • I’ve skipped ahead a bit in Art History and read a few books on M.C. Escher. I guess I’m having some nostalgia for college. I absolutely love Escher.
  • I’m still working on Vasari’s The Lives of the Artists. Taking it slowly.
  • I’ve created a page called A Very Artistic Library to list out the most useful art books I’ve found so far.
  • Tackled some integration between Facebook and some of my existing sites. There’s a Space Western Magazine page that I’m experimenting with. Other pages for other sites to follow.
  • I’ve launched a journal to explain my attempts at raising money to help fund my daughter’s college education at How Am I Going To Pay For This?
  • I’ve been teaching my daughter web design, and she’s been doing light HTML work to earn money for school. By the end of the summer I expect her to be doing CSS and design.
  • At work I’ve had to up my development skills. I’ve read a plethora of Web Performance books and watched over 100 hours of Web Development classes. I have even more classes to watch next quarter.
  • Have a small list of technology projects to accomplish.

Hot bacon grease dressing

  • 4 ounces of bacon, diced
  • 1 small onion, minced (optional)
  • ½ cup mild vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of mustard

Dice the bacon, this will serve as bacon bits after it has been fried. Mince the onion. Fry bacon to a light brown; remove the bacon bits and into the hot grease add the minced onion; fry lightly. Add one-half cup mild vinegar. Finally add the salt, sugar, and mustard and stir well.

Pour dressing over the greens or your choice (dandelion greens are nice) and mix well. Garnish with bacon bits and hard-boiled eggs (sliced), and serve at once.


How am I going to pay for this?

My daughter is earning her college degree. Which is a peculiar phrase because really she’s paying for the degree. Which is another peculiar phrase because most young adults fresh out of high school don’t have $80,000 or more to pay for a four-year degree. So I guess the actual phrase is more like she’s promising to pay for the degree. In the meantime that leaves us with a question. I’ve started a journal in which I hope to answer this ultimate question: How am I going to pay for this?


2018 goals: first 3 months

The bitter cold and late snow has slowed me down in some of my goals, but it’s still early enough to make gains. Here’s the current status of my 2018 goals…

By the end of 2018 I’d like to have:

  • Painted 50 paintings: Expected: 12; Actual: 0.
  • Ran a cumulative 1000 miles: Expected: 250; Actual: 42 miles.
  • Written 50 blog posts: Expected: 12 Actual: 7 (with 4 more in the chamber).
  • Posted 12 videos on YouTube: Expected: 3; Actual: 0.
  • Created a portfolio of 12 graphic design works: I have a list, I have thumbnails of some of the items in the list, and I should start churning them out soon.
  • Practiced the trumpet for 50 hours: Expected: 0; Actual: 0.
  • Run a 5k race in under 24 minutes: Expected: not yet; Actual: Race season just started.
  • Run a marathon in under 5 hours: Expected: not yet; Actual: Race season just started, but I feel good about his after the Love Run in March.
  • Lifted 1000# in the big 3 lifts: Expected: not yet; Actual: I will get there.
  • Settled my remaining SF/F/H debts: working on it.

Projects I’d like to complete this year:

  • Launch a new SF/F/H online magazine with an associated podcast: gearing up in Q2; launch in Q3?
  • Edit and publish one anthology/collection: in the queue.
  • Create and publish a mobile app: v1 requirements are being worked on.
  • Write and submit a technical article: no, but I know what I’m writing.
  • Write a fiction story: no.
  • Write one non-fiction book: no.
  • Write a novel: no.

Additional notes for the past three months:

Made some minor updates to several of my existing sites.

  • Read ¾ of the Art books that I had set aside at the beginning of the year.
  • I’m about to tackle Vasari’s The Lives of the Artists. It’s dense, and I want to wring everything out of it that I can. It might take me most of the rest of the year to finish this.
  • Began refocusing on some technology.
  • Began addressing some smaller technology projects.

2018 goals

It’s 2018. I’m alert and active again. Who knows how long it will last?

Here’s a written account of what I promised myself I’d attempt to get done this year…

By the end of 2018 I’d like to have:

  • Painted 50 paintings
  • Ran a cumulative 1000 miles
  • Written 50 blog posts (49!)
  • Posted 12 videos on YouTube
  • Created a portfolio of 12 graphic design works
  • Practiced the trumpet for 50 hours
  • Run a 5k race in under 24 minutes
  • Run a marathon in under 5 hours
  • Lifted 1000# in the big 3 lifts
  • Settled my remaining SF/F/H debts

Projects I’d like to complete this year:

  • Launch a new SF/F/H online magazine with an associated podcast
  • Edit and publish one anthology/collection
  • Create and publish a mobile app
  • Write and submit a technical article
  • Write a fiction story
  • Write one non-fiction book
  • Write a novel

    …and a number of other projects that seem to be either too presumptuous or too crazy to post about them yet.

    Will I get it all done in 2018? Probably not. If you accomplish all of your goals in a year then they probably weren’t big enough. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing!



    I’m currently entertaining existential and nihilistic thoughts. Chalk it up to too many years of thinking too hard. I have a great family, great friends, great career, great coworkers. I’m a happy and optimistic nihilist. Digging up the past; looking forward. Trying not to hold myself back. 

    I don’t even know if I want to share my inner thoughts. There’s a certain strangeness in the process of unblocking yourself. I feel like I’m physically dragging my creative self out into the lime light. It doesn’t want to be there. I know it needs to be. That’s a coping device to deny pain and ward off vulnerability. Not that I’m in any great pain.

    I can’t say anything more than: the purpose of life is to be alive.

    So, as long as I can, I’m going to wake up every day; love my family; get some exercise; paint a little; and make some jokes. I’d do some dabbling, but I just don’t think I could stick with it.


    My father’s eulogy

    My father—born August 30, 1948—passed away on January 12th, 2012 of complications due to lung cancer. This is the eulogy I wrote and read at his funeral.

    When your father dies, you sit down and think about what they say a father should be and what they say a father should do. There’s an unspoken measure that is held up to a man as a father. You think about what they say a father is supposed to do, and reflect on whether or not he did it. We didn’t play catch. He didn’t teach me to ride a bike. To tell the truth, I don’t think either one of us were athletically inclined. But he did so many other things…

    I remember sitting on his knee watching Tarzan and Abbot & Costello and Star Trek. He taught us to be brave and how to laugh and to be excited about the possibilities of the future. He taught us how to play chess. While we were younger—before we outpaced him in ability—he would play video games with us. That eventually led to him buying us our first real computer—a Commodore 64—and he was just as excited as us to be programming it. We spent hours writing programs in BASIC and saving them to a cassette drive (and eventually a 5¼" floppy disk). For Halloween one year we programmed an animation: a werewolf baring its fangs interspersed with random flashes of lightning that we displayed in our window on a television screen. This was in the 80s, when it was all but unheard of to do anything like that. We went apple picking; we went camping; he helped us with homework and class projects.

    You’re led to believe that being a good father just happens. But when you stop to think about it you realize: good doesn’t just happen. Good things take a lot of work. As a child, there’s so much your parents do that you’re completely unaware of. As a child, you’re only vaguely aware of mortgage payments and food bills and the effort of getting to and from work.

    It was the things that we often didn’t see directly, things that we really weren’t aware of—that when you stop to think about it and finally realize how much work it must have taken to pull off—it was these things that eventually made the most impact. When Christopher and Adam and I were in cub scouts the Cub Master stepped down. My father stepped up to fill that position. Our father spent countless hours in pack meetings and den meetings and committee meetings and planning and training. We didn’t see all of that preparation. What we saw was father & son camping trips, and trips to nature centers, and blue&gold banquets, and skits by the campfire. We only saw the tiniest bit of time that was the result of all that work. He’d hold pack meetings outside at local parks, and teach us about cooking outdoors, and the proper use of knives, and first aid and safety. Making an outdoor oven and baking muffins with freshly picked wild blueberries while camping is something I’ve shared with my own children.

    And I wonder how much more he did that I’m still not aware of. I’m absolutely sure that there’s so much more. My father’s children show only the tiniest part of the work that he did as a father: Nadine became a strong self-sufficient woman and mother; I went on to college and a career in Web Development; Christopher joined the armed forces and went on to repair medical equipment and form an army of his own; Adam is managing his own small business. I can only imagine the lifetime of work that I didn’t actually see that went into making all of those good things just happen.


    Science Fiction themed races that must be created

    I ran at the Warrior Dash and Run For Your Lives and now I’m becoming obsessed with obstacle runs. Run For Your Lives really opened my eyes to their potential. After giving it some thought, here’s a list of geek themed athletic events that I don’t have the time to make happen but I would really like to run in:

    The Reaver Run

    “If we run, they’ll have to chase us. It’s their way.”

    You’d thought the Reavers ignored you, but they must have circled back… There’s nothing left to do now but run! Kick your engine into high gear, disable their traps, dodge their grapplers, avoid any Alliance entanglements, and do a crazy-ivan back to the Core Worlds before the Reavers can get you. Post-race refreshment: Mudder’s Milk!

    Race into Mordor

    “One does not simply walk into Mordor.”

    Attempt to cross the Misty Mountains, run through Khazad-dûm dodging goblins, take refuge in Lothlórien, travel down the River Anduin, run from the orcs sent by Sauron, evade Shelob in the tunnels of Cirith Ungol, and climb the Black Gate of Mordor to drop your ring into the Crack of Doom. A simply epic race, this might work well as a marathon although the expense of obstacles over a 26.2 mile course might make it cost prohibitive. Post-race refreshments: A beer so brown (that comes in pints).

    The Running of the Leaves

    “Despite its name, the leaves don’t do any of the actual running.”

    Bring your fall weather friends to this race to help the autumn leaves of Equestria fall (those lazy leaves). Start at the park, gallop through Whitetail Wood (make sure you look where you’re going), over the bridge past the waterfall, canter past the steep mountain path (don’t take a wrong turn here), back through the maple trees in the Whitetail Woods (look out for the sticky maple sap), and sprint to the finish back in the park. Can you win without the use of your wings? Post-race refreshments: Not sure, but there will be no fudge.

    Track to the Future

    “Of course we run. But for recreation. For fun.”

    Run from the Libyan terrorists around Twin Pines Mall. Avoid Biff and his gang. Race through the crowd at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. And finally, race past the clock tower at 88mph to generate the 1.21 gigawatts to get back to the finish line where you started—at Lone Pine Mall. Whatever you do, don’t interact with your past-selves, the results could be catastrophic. Post-race refreshments: a Tab or a Pepsi-free.

    Pokémon Dash

    “Rapidash escaped using Run Away.”

    Hold down the B button to take advantage of your Running Shoes. Run over hill and dale through the many different obstacles such as cobblestone, forests, beaches, water, swamp, and lava pools. Use the appropriate pokémon that you catch along the way to run on the easy path for certain obstacles. Post-race refreshments: Pokémon evolution shots.

    Escape from the Death Star

    “I’ve outrun Imperial starships. Not the local bulk cruisers mind you, I’m talking about the big Corellian ships now.”

    Many Bothans died to bring us the plans for this race. Sneak into bay 23-7, up through the detention level, rescue the princess in detention block A-A-23 (actually, have her rescue you), tromp through the trash compactor to discover incredible new smells, swing across the chasm to the adjacent the bridge, dodge storm-trooper blasters, avoid being struck down by Darth Vader as you finally exit the Death Star and jump to hyperspace. Extra points if you do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. Post-race refreshments: Bantha milk.

    Mythos Marathon

    “There are memories of leaping and lurching over obstacles of every sort, with that torrent of wind and shrieking sound growing moment by moment, and seeming to curl and twist purposefully around me as it struck out wickedly from the spaces behind and beneath.”

    The Great Cthulhu, the Great Old Ones, the other Elder Gods, not to mention Shoggoths, Deep Ones, Elder Things… there are too many dangers to name. Just don’t stop running. Post-race refreshments: A sip from Lethean streams.

    Super Mario Parkour

    “Our princess is in another castle.”

    Save the Princess by racing from castle to castle through the Mushroom Kingdom overcoming obstacles such as vines, pipes, blocks, jumping boards, and flag poles. Defeat Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and Bowser’s other forces or lose one of your three lives. Collect power-ups and find bonuses and secret areas. Post-race refreshments: Nintendo Super Mario Bros. Power Up! Energy Drink (yes, this exists).

    Like I said, I don’t have the time to make these events actually happen, so if you do, please, take these ideas and… run with them.


    Introduction to running from zombies

    At the request of “Tequila” Matt Black, our reluctant director of mischief: this is a post for Zombie Troopers of Pennsylvania members about how I got started running and about how to get into shape for Run For Your Lives.

    Matt says that he never runs because he’s not being chased… when the zombies come, he won’t have that excuse. It’s best to train now—they’ll eat the slow ones first.

    Don’t join the ranks of the undead: Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

    First of all, this isn’t about losing weight, or fitting into the swimsuit this summer, or addressing your body image issues. This is about running from zombies…

    Getting started is the hardest part. When I first started running I decided to commit to running 15 minutes everyday on a treadmill at the YMCA. Between work and family it was an easy (and short) segment of time to commit to without being able to find a reason to talk myself out of it. It became second nature to drive straight to the YMCA after work, and run on a treadmill, without taking too much time out of my day. Eventually I began running longer, but getting into that 15 minute a day habit was key for me.

    I was never a runner when I was younger, so I started slow and worked up to running faster speeds within the same time limit. I didn’t know how fast I was supposed to be able to run. I didn’t even have the goal of running a 5k race when I started. When I finally did race, after a good 10 months of running on a treadmill, my first 5k was a small local race. I finished in 25 minutes (about 8 minutes per mile) and placed third in my age group. Running outside on the road was much different than running on a treadmill. I’d recommend trying some outdoor runs early in your training.

    If, like me, you’ve never run before, here’s a program to take you from the couch to running 5k (that’s 3.1 miles) in 9 weeks. I wish I had had this program when I had started running. You start by training for 20 to 30 minutes 3 times each week—alternating jogging for 1 minute with 1½ minutes of walking for 20 minutes. Eventually, over the next 9 weeks, you work your way up to running the full 5k distance (if you started now you could just about be ready for the Run For Your Lives event in Atlanta). Once you can run for a full 5k, then you can start working on cutting down the time it takes you to do it.

    If you think that you need expensive running shoes, well, you don’t. They’re overrated and some people even run barefoot. A simple low cost pair of gym shoes should suit your purposes. You’re likely to already have a pair.

    If you think you’ll need access to a treadmill, there are plenty of inexpensive options: many gyms are offering $20/month memberships (like Planet Fitness, who runs a limited time deal as low as $10/month). I spend more than that on video games. To save even more money, you could also check with your employer to see if they have an Employee Wellness Program and check with your health insurance to see if they offer discounts for gym memberships.

    So, just start running—no excuses. You can worry about refining your technique later. Don’t wait for warmer weather, or the beginning of next week, or next year’s resolution. Run on a treadmill; Run on the road; Run early in the morning; Run late at night (get some running safety lights). Most importantly: just get started.