Update Time

Blog No. 350

tenorIt’s August, and you know what that means. Nothing in particular. Oh, it also means that I have a month left to keep working on the Invasion Novel before I have to have decided to start the novella.  I started earlier for Neon Heart (than Thinking Machine) giving myself lots more time to edit and do the layout, and still felt rushed at the end. It was a lot better than Thinking Machine (and I think it shows) but I want to give myself even more time to edit and get beta reads. This next novella, Broadcast Wasteland, should be shorter than Neon, but longer than Thinking, if I manage to write it the way I’m planning. I don’t want to take a break from the novel, but I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m not getting as much done as I’d hoped (and the novel may be bigger than I had planned). I don’t think either of those things are too terrible (especially the bigger, that should come in handy with the edits) but since I’m going to be taking a break, I’d like to get close to the halfway point before I do. Continue reading “Update Time”

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Breakfast Reviews 2019: Part Seven

Blog No. 348

20190630_113634You’re going to have to stay with me here, because this one is personal and may not make sense to some folks. Sundays tend to be a day for me to get things done. I’ll have stuff piling up all week and not enough time or energy to do the little things. Things need cleaning, desks need organizing, clothing needs to be folded. Sometimes I work on Sundays and that’s that. It gets skipped or whatever. Sometimes I work Saturday nights until three in the morning and I sleep most of my Sunday away. I’ve made it clear that I love my breakfasts. Sundays aren’t always a good time for a solo guy to venture out into the wild to find some eggs and bacon (or sausage if I’m lucky). The later in the day I start my search, the more the obvious options fill up. Plus, I have things to do back at home. When that happens, I get creative in what I consider breakfast. That leads me to a breakfast burger.

Breakfast Spot Seven: Barrel House

I’ve mentioned Barrel House in this blog in the past. It’s one of my favourite go-to restaurants in the city. Sometimes I go there because I’m craving something specific on the menu, sometimes it’s because I’m not sure what I want and I know I’ll have a bunch of good options. It’s the place I inevitably go with groups of friends when we can’t decide where to go for a meal. There’s always something you’ll enjoy at Barrel House. They have my favourite burger in the city. Anyone you choose there is good, since the patty itself is where the magic lives, but I tend to go for the Benny Burger 20190630_114224(and not just because of the name). It’s essentially Eggs Benedict on a burger and that counts as breakfast for me. They’ll even serve you a cup of pretty good coffee.

You have to take into consideration the atmosphere and the time they open (as early as 11am on a weekday and 11:30 on the weekend). It’s a bar. There are going to be people there drinking and being loud (yes, even at 11am most of the time). Sometimes you’ll get lucky and it’ll be quiet for a while, but if you’re there during the football season, forget about it. I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a counter guy. That goes for bars too. When things start to get busy, the seats at the bar fill up quickly. Many of those folks tend to be smokers, so after they go out for a puff, they drag the smell back in with them. For non-smokers, that can be a real stomach churner. It’s not every time, but again, football season increases the potential for that.

20190630_113604The place is generally clean, though, and the servers and bartenders are friendly. The kitchen is open to the rest of the restaurant too (just behind the bar and in the corner) so you can watch your food being made (a bonus for an overly concerned eater like myself). As I said a bunch already, everything I’ve had to eat there has been either good or great and the portions are generous. It’s not the cheapest place to go, but it’s definitely worth the cost. The Benny Burger (sans hollandaise sauce for me) requires two hands to hold. The large patty is topped with a mound of ham and a fried egg. Napkins are a must. Pair it with a tatter tot poutine (that’s kind of like hash-browns, right?) and that’s a breakfast (or lunch, or brunch) to write home about. Just be ready to have to work to get your bill. For some strange reason, it takes a long time to get it, no matter who’s working.

I give Barrel House a star for being a good place to go on Sundays, one for the best burger I’ve had, a third for having coffee or beer as options, and a fourth for also having the best poutine (tatter tot or fries). They lose a star for having to fight to get the bill. It’s not the end of the world, but I’ve got the rest of my Sunday chores to do, ya know?

home-made-rating-7

Another Week, Another Post

Blog no. 347

20190703_205824-1It look longer to get her this year than it has so far, but I’m at the point where I’m writing a big piece and not much else is going on. You already know I’m writing the Invasion Novel right now. It’s going okay. Obviously, I’m not giving it as much time and/or effort as I should (I never do). With the day job being what it is (been over that a lot lately) and with both Christian and Elly more busy with family things, I’m having to fit things in when I can and get used to some solo writing again (been three years since that was so common). Other than that, I’m working, still going to boxing once a week, playing D&D on game night (and some odd days as well), playing video games too much (got a pretty fun new one for less than ten bucks) and just, hanging out. I do have some tentative plans for the rest of the summer, but they are just wishful thinking right now. Mostly, I’m just plugging away on the book. Continue reading “Another Week, Another Post”

So close, and Yet… Pretty close

Blog No. 346

915bkn57erlAt the start of summer (but really in the middle of spring (at the end of April?)) I had two major goals. They both involved writing and had to do with the Invasion Novel. Since I always have a drop in productivity in the summer, I wanted to finally figure out why it happens and work through it. Also, now that I’m working on a novel again, I wanted to speed up the first draft process, get it done not only faster, but also on a schedule (that coincidentally would also increase my summer productivity). So far, I can call it a succes-ailure. I believe I’ve discovered that the main source of my summer drop off comes from the change in schedule (and hours) at the day job, and from the fact that Christian (who I meet up with regularly to get in some writing) has his kids home for the summer and can’t get out as much. While I can’t do much about Christian’s kids (though I still maintain that the bigger one should just watch the litter one) I have been trying to solve those problems. Continue reading “So close, and Yet… Pretty close”

Breakfast Reviews 2019: Part Six

Blog No. 344

img-2879I have a false memory that persists every time I drive down University Ave. I distinctly recall an ex of mine mention that her father used to take her to Skippy’s for breakfast (I think pancakes) when she was little. I’ve mentioned this to her, but she insists it wasn’t her who said that (and she says that she has never been there). Either way, it’s a longtime establishment in the city, and they serve breakfast, so it’s a place I’ve tried. The parking may be inconvenient, but their hours are good, the food is breakfasty, and they are close to my day job, so it’s become a fixture in my rotation.

Breakfast Spot Six: Skippy’s Restaurant Continue reading “Breakfast Reviews 2019: Part Six”

A Short Little Post for my Birthday (2019)

Blog No. 342

60334940_10156270211703225_1434429711479472128_nI’m writing this on my birthday proper, but by now, it’s already passed. I really only mention my birthday because, as a gift to myself every year, I allow the post that falls on my birthday week to be phoned in. I still do it (you’re reading this is evidence of that) but I let it be short and way more to the point than I usually do. I think things are going better this year in general. I’m not in the clinic on my birthday like I was last year. I’m also getting more writing in over the summer. I’m not writing as much as I’d like (I never am) but with all the other things on my plate, I’m doing okay. Thankfully, now that Elly has joined the Writing Wrecking Crew with Christian and me (official name is not official) I have more scheduled writing sessions than I used to. It mean I’m not at Anchor nearly as much (sad face) and I drive out to Amherstburg a lot (sad car-face) but I am getting more done. It’s all a process. Anyway.

If you feel the need to do something nice for me because I traveled around the sun one more time, you can follow my facebook page. I usually just post about this blog and sometimes when I’m at an event. No pressure, though. I know how annoying social media stuff can be.

Back on the Horse

Blog No. 341

feb8c38c8b7694fc264dcd440f4b1cac-bugs-bunny-bunniesIt’s June, again, already. I’ve been working hard to keep myself from slipping this summer and, while I’m not where I wanted to be, I’m doing better than I have been in some years (maybe ever). I originally wanted to get the first draft of a 90 to 100 thousand word novel written by the end of August, giving myself a goal of 20 000 words a month. I am not on pace for that right now. That sounds bad (believe me, it does to me too) but things aren’t quite as bleak as they seem. I’m at just under 25 000 so far (20 000 behind my goal) but I spent all of May reviewing on Christian‘s new book.
Really, Ben? It took you a whole month to review Christian’s novel?”  Yes. But it’s a whole novel and whether he asked me to initially or not, I did an entire edit.
Why forsake your own writing for Christian’s book?” Because it’s the partnership that we have and he not only gave me an edit for Neon Heart, he did the cover for me too.
If he didn’t ask you for an edit, was he mad that you did one for him? I mean, it took you a month. I’d be mad.” No. I don’t think so. We went over some of the things I pointed out and he seems to be appreciative of it. When I review, edit, or otherwise go over another authors writing, I do my best to be constructive. I want their book to be the best it can be. Continue reading “Back on the Horse”