Stories Waiting to Get Out

As you all know, Annie and I have our first draft of Second Class Supers done, but we’ve had issues getting back on track to do our second draft. I am hoping that during our honeymoon, we will take some time to get moving on the project again, especially since some other story ideas are starting to pour out of me, and I’d prefer to collaborate versus writing them independently.

The first idea was that Annie and I would do a fantasy story to combat the more sci-fi natured, Second Class Supers. I’ve written out a little bit relating to the plot, and have much more in my head just bouncing around and wanting to get out. It would be a take on the whole Atlantis thing. Annie and I watched BBC’s Atlantis and were less than impressed. We figure we could do a much more fun implementation of that mythos. I’ve entitled the project, The Atlantis Countdown, but I think its more of a working title than what it would be called at the end. I am not sure if it would be a short story, novella or novel. With the difficulties we’ve had in going back to edit our works, I don’t know if we are going to tackle another novel any time soon.

Another idea that I’ve had is for a more hard sci-fi short story about the first human spaceship to travel the same distance as light travels in a year. The working title for this story is Goodbye Sol. I’ve written a lot more relating to the rules of the world, the characters, and whatnot. I’ve also started to quickly summarize the overall plot points. The idea is much more developed than The Atlantis Countdown, but I still don’t want to take on the writing of it on my own, as I’ve realized I enjoy working collaboratively with my wife.

So we need to get Second Class Supers done soon. I’m still toying around with the idea of contacting some agents to see if it would be worth working on getting it published traditionally, but I go back and forth on that all the time.

By the end of this year, I would really like the final draft of Second Class Supers to be done and ready to publish either through self-publishing systems or working towards traditional publishing. So many ideas for stories rattling around in my head. It is all about execution though…

Preparing for a Honeymoon

So Annie and I delayed our honeymoon until her school is done, so we are eagerly awaiting our trip. We’ve decided to head to Florida for two weeks. Universal is expanding its Harry Potter related attractions, and Annie is excited to show me the stuff she has seen before and visit the new areas and rides.

We will be staying at a timeshare that Annie’s mom owns, and while we long thought we were going to drive down, it looks instead as though we will be flying. I recently purchased the tickets, and while I travel to Florida will be leaving really early, it’ll still be much nicer than forty hours of driving.

Our hope is to spend a good amount of time at Universal Studios, and maybe do a few other excursions, but mostly just relax. I’m planning on us bringing the MacBook Pro and the iPad so that we can work a bit on Second Class Supers, and blog. I am also going to bring my digital SLR to take some pictures.

It also looks like we will have a house sitter while we are gone which provides some peace of mind and the owner of the house and a few of my family will be working on some more household renovations while we are gone.

I am looking forward to the trip, though I’m worried about the heat. I’m not a huge fan of heat, but I know that the place we are staying has A/C. It’ll be nice to spend time with Annie and not have any of our normal distractions. Hopefully, everything goes well.

Scream A Little Dream – More Me

So today another piece of footage included yours truly in it. With seven out of eight episodes now released, if you haven’t checked out Scream a Little Dream, then we aren’t friends anymore… at least until you take the time to do so for me.

Playing a thug wasn’t really in my wheelhouse. I’m just not very menacing, even with a beard, sunglasses and a hoodie trying to make me look a bit more rough around the edges. I’m a fairly big guy, with wide shoulders, over six feet in height and nearly three hundred pounds of weight, but I am usually a really nice, approachable guy, despite all that.

The scene I’m in is where the main character is trying to get back to her apartment, and I hit on her. Check out her reaction to having me try using my moves on her.

We did at least half a dozen takes to try to get that whole sequence right, and nearly every time, we had to do another take because of me. I will never proclaim to be an actor. As a child, I enjoyed it, but as an adult, I’m just not as malleable in character as I once was.

While it was hard work being part of the production, and they probably would have had an easier time with anyone else being their thug, I was there, ready to try anything they needed, and while I was nervous, I had a great time. I really appreciate that Greg and Tom included me in Scream a Little Dream.

I really do hope you watch and share!

Finding Time for Hobbies and Friends

It has been really difficult lately to find time for my hobbies. There are days where doing one social thing ends up taking the entire night, leaving my introvert tank a bit empty. I haven’t taken many photographs and missed the entire spring. I haven’t written much, on this blog or for the second draft of Second Class Supers. Yes, the first third of this year was busy for me, but I miss writing, and I miss photography.

It is easy to get trapped into a routine that leaves little time for hobbies and the exploration of those passions.

I also haven’t had time to talk to people lately. I tried to schedule a phone call with Barry, but that hasn’t panned out because I’ve been too busy. I miss my friends so much. I miss my family so much. Annie is hoping we can visit my family once more before our honeymoon this summer, but there aren’t any more three day weekends before then.

I can’t believe today is already Thursday. While work definitely feels more like a full week, when I look into my evenings, things are zipping by. Tonight is the only night where Annie and I aren’t stuffed to the brim with things to do or people to visit.

On Friday, my mother-in-law will be coming over to meet with her financial advisor and spend the weekend at our place. I didn’t get everything I wanted done for her, but I’m hoping we will get it done soon.

This weekend has filled up, and while I’m excited about some of the plans, I still haven’t set aside time to work on writing or photography, and that makes me a bit sad. I look back at my photos on Flickr and really enjoy that I took them. I can see improvements in my writing and photography over the last couple of years. I hope to continue to improve both of this skills and continue to craft new content. I just need to find the time, and set it aside.

Life Moves Forward

I don’t have too much to write about this evening, but it has been far too long since I’ve blogged.

Valen, our new computer, is doing well, and both Annie and I are enjoying it immensely. Annie has been playing Lord of the Rings Online with her nephew, and I’ve been playing Minecraft with my brothers, cousins and nephew.

Other than playing video games, Annie and I are reaching the end of the fourth season of Babylon 5, and to say that she has become a little invested in the characters would be an understatement. Annie and I continue to host evenings at our place for Merlin night, where two of our family come over and we do dinner and watch two or three episodes of the BBC’s Merlin.

Our kitchen now has counters. Once we have the dishwasher hooked up, then all we will be waiting for is the laundry to be set-up and we will consider the house to be one hundred percent livable.

Married life is going well and things between Annie and I haven’t changed. We continue to be super happy with each other, and look forward to many years together. Annie just recently upgraded her phone to a Samsung Galaxy S5, and now has the most powerful phone in both the household and likely her family. She got a really great deal on it, and it’ll likely be our last large purchase until around Christmas.

Scream A Little Dream has now had over 2,000 views on YouTube, and continues to rise. I’m hopeful that the other episodes will do as well.

I have nearly a dozen projects that I’d like to work on, but I’m a bit deadlocked due to indecision. I’d really like to find the time and focus to work on the second draft of Second Class Supers, but it requires Annie and I to set aside time and right now, neither of us have been good at that.

I want to leave another thank you to those that came to our wedding, and those that gave so generously. Both Annie and I really appreciate it!

Valen: New Desktop Computer

300r_hero_down_1Annie and I recently bought a new desktop computer. Annie’s laptop has been creating dying electronic purple smoke and will die any day now. We need two computers in our household, and we both want to be able to game a bit more, so a decent desktop was a smart choice for us.

Ravenclaw, my MacBook Pro is now primarily Annie’s computer, while Valen, our new desktop is primarily mine. We swap based on need, and it has been going well so far.

Thanks to the gifts that people gave us for our wedding, we were basically able to find a way to afford the system. I took my time picking out different components to try to maximize performance for a minimum cost. I checked with people on Reddit before pulling the trigger, and the only comment I received was that the power supply was more than I needed, so I was super excited to order it.

For those that are interested:

  • Corsair Carbide Series 300R Black Gaming Case
  • AMD FX-6300 6 Core Processor
  • ASUS M5A99X Evo R2.0 ATX AM3+ 990X Motherboard
  • Gigabyte Radeon HD R9 270X OC 1100MHZ 2GB Video Card
  • Corsair Vengeance Heatspreader 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-2133
  • Intel 120GB 530 Series SSD
  • Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB SATA Hard Drive
  • Thermaltake TR2 700w Power Supply

It took a bit to get the computer parts as the SSD for the system wasn’t highly stocked, but I’m glad I waited for it as I hope it will be a durable, long lasting system. NCIX was awesome as always, and for the first time, I live close enough to pick things up from there.

Annie built the computer, with very little help from me. It was really cool to watch her put it all together, though I was a bit sad as I enjoy building them too. We already had a monitor for the computer, as well as a mouse and speakers. The only other thing we had to pick up was a keyboard, and I chose a Logitech K120 as usual, since I don’t like wireless peripherals.

We’ve installed a ton of games onto the computer, and it is super fast. I am really enjoying using it, and so is Annie. She recently started playing Lord of the Rings Online and is both enjoying it, and being frustrated by it. I’ve only really used the computer to play Minecraft so far, and it is already our new media center for watching Netflix and hosting our Merlin nights.

Married Man

So, many of you already know this, but on the weekend, Annie and I got married. It was a beautiful ceremony, and almost everything went off without a hitch. Annie and I both wrote about our experiences on our wedding blog.

The Big Day – Annie’s Perspective
The Big Day – David’s Perspective

We had a great time, and I’m totally looking forward to us getting all of our images from everyone as the day was over so quickly and I don’t want to forget any of it.

I haven’t been writing on here as I’ve been working on organizing the wedding, and I recently started a new project that isn’t totally ready for prime time yet.

I hope everyone reading this is doing well. I feel like I’ve been a bit isolated lately, so I’m looking forward to getting back on here and elsewhere online.

What Do I Do Now?

I’ve had a few people ask me what exactly I do now so I figured I’d write up a quick summary. As Communications Manager at Envirotech Office Systems, I’ll be responsible for the following:

Strategic Planning

Each Tuesday, I’ll be in meetings almost all day as I show the progress I’ve made, and help management determine the best strategies going forward. I’ll be working with a branding company that has been brought on as a growth accelerator as well as the President of Envirotech, to try to make the most out of my days, weeks, months and years.

Website

I’ve started with the fundamentals, making changes to the CSS, content, organization, and really fleshing things out. I’ve also been working on bettering their call to action on various pages. They are ranking well on Google for some terms, but not so great for others, so I’ll be doing some SEO work to try to improve their rankings. They want to see a pretty large increase in overall traffic this year.

Blog

I’ll hopefully be working with a company soon to convert their blog from Joomla to WordPress including both content and design, but I also have to produce content. I will hopefully be sourcing a few freelance writers to help with content generation as I focus on managing the writers, editing their posts, promoting the content, and sourcing imagery for the various blog posts created.

Online Advertising

They are currently spending money on advertising, and I’ll be working with another person in the office to sort things out and make their online advertising more focused and cost effective. They also want to explore banner advertising in the near future.

Online Showroom

I am working on refining their online showroom concept, an area that gives people a better idea of the products available from Envirotech. This is one of the many areas that is expected from used office furniture dealers, and while Envirotech is primarily a re-manufactured office furniture company, the online showroom is where a great deal of traffic currently ends up.

Social Media Accounts

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ are all places that Envirotech wants to be as they covet the attention and potential draw of social media. They were working with a small marketing agency before to do some of this, and they have started me off on good footing, but there is still lots of work to be done.

Branding on Third Party Websites

Outside of social media, there are a number of sites that mention our address and other contact details, but since the companies move less than two years ago, they haven’t had all of those mentions updated. That’s just one of many things on third party, non-social media, websites that I’ll be responsible for.

Basic Graphic Design

They’ve purchased a subscription to Creative Cloud for me under the photography deal that Adobe had. This has allowed me to do some basic Photoshop and Lightroom work for them already. I will continue to be someone they come to for simple image editing, understanding that it isn’t my expertise, but that I’m in the office and can turn things around quickly, if it is in my wheelhouse.

Photography and Videography

With products for sale, and projects being completed, Envirotech wants more and better photography of the things they have available and the work they have done, and with my limited skills, I’ll be filling that gap as well. I’ve already been walking around the huge showroom to try to learn the ins and outs of large product photography.

Training Sales Staff on Marketing and Social Media

Once I’m settled in, and things are going well, I’ve been asked to train the sales team a few basics relating to social media, and I am hoping that they’ll be able to help me from time to time, once they are trained, with pushing out great content for people to read and share. They are the true experts in their industry, and I hope to be able to help them bridge the divide and reduce the number of potential mistakes.

Conclusion
So for now, I have a huge and varied schedule. I’ve been focusing on the things I’m really good at, in hopes of really improving the overall online marketing situation for Envirotech. There is probably enough work to be done for three of me, but I’m working at keeping my head above water the best I can.

Learning and Honing Skills

At my new job, I’m definitely learning new things as well as honing the skills I’ve already built. There is so much work for me to do here, but I’m happy to say that I’m getting more comfortable fast. There are a number of things I’ve already been able to do. Most of my job this week is to fix the fundamentals. The marketing team they had working here was great for setting some things up, but they were acting a little in a silo, and haven’t got to hear all the things I have from management and key stakeholders.

I have big shoes to fill with this job, and there are high expectations. I am hoping to see progress through my efforts. Most of what I’m trying to do won’t show results for the next few months. I haven’t felt so much stress for a long while, and while I’m not the best at handling stress, I’m excited about what I could do for this company. I have to admit that I was hoping my job was more management, training and facilitating, but I’m definitely also having to execute on everything.

There are opportunities to help train the sales staff, and work with freelancers to help with various actions relating to marketing and social media. Doing everything I’m doing right now makes me want to write about social media marketing, SEO and content management again. I forgot how passionate I can be about these topics.

First Week at Envirotech Office Systems

So, I’ve made it through my first week, and have started into my second one. There are people surprised I’ve made it to this point as the position I’m in is one with a lot of responsibilities and stress, but I’m determined to help Envirotech, and see so much opportunity within this organization.

Last week, I spent most of my time learning. I suffered from three days of solid information overload as I got up to speed on where things were currently sitting, all the ins-and-outs of this business, and what the key stakeholders are looking for from me.

Today, I finally was able to finish my first of many blog posts and publish it live on their site. Entitled, Why Aeron Chairs are Highly Desirable, it is available on their blog. Their site uses Joomla as its content management system, and that’s not something I’ve used before, so to be able to iterate fast, I’ll probably start by converting the blog over to WordPress sometime in the near future.

I’ve also been able to start taking liberties with their website, making the changes I think are important. Lastly, I’ve been working on trying to get a snapshot of where they currently sit in rankings and whatnot so that I can prove that my efforts are creating improvements over time.

There is so much work for me to do that I wish there were two or three of me.

A huge thanks goes out to all those that have been supportive in this transition. I can’t explain how much I’ve missed the team at rocketgenius, but I’m also excited about what I might be able to do for Envirotech.