State of the Dread: September 2020

Check out the mascot! This should be a “football and school are both back” month, but because some twit back East had to eat an undercooked bat, here we are, uncertain of our otherwise certain things.

The Podcast

I’ve finished recording all episodes of Welcome To The Faro. It’s been a great trip down memory lane. Now I get to focus on my next project, the DreadPennies Adventure Hour.

The Brother Trucker Book Club is still in production, but I can’t say it will last forever. One of my biggest weaknesses as a content creator is that I try to do too much and end up burning out.

As much as I have loved reviewing books on the pod, I may just switch to another, simpler format for that later. Once the DPAH launches I want it to be my flagship production. Speaking of that…

BTBC: Apple      Spotify      Anchor

WTTF: Apple     Spotify      Anchor

The Writing

As much as it pains me to do this, I will not be releasing a physical book in 2020. But! I will still be publishing. WITH ANSWERABLE COURAGE will be the second story on the DPAH podcast, broken into episodes all throughout November.

This has become necessary as a result of stuff in my home life and my day job. My career was affected by Big ‘Rona and that’s forced us to take on a bunch of other stuff at once. I will spare you the details.

Suffice it to say that if I tried to finish all the art that I want in that book, it wouldn’t be good, and some would be left out. So I want to take my time on it. I can still record the audiobook for the podcast, and meet the 2020 deadline.

The physical book will come out in 2021, fully illustrated. After all, the Pilgrims set sail in 1620, but the First Thanksgiving was in 1621. That way I hit both dates!

The Artwork

I finished my series on Presidential Puns. That actually got me a paid gig designing a logo for an old friend, so that’s cool. Exactly what I’m into. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram to see what I draw every day.

The Reading

You can expect me to slow down a little on this too, as I am not going to be plugged into my phone as much, listening to books all day long.

That said, I am being more picky about my reading in general, and more nonfiction is taking the stage. Maybe I’m just getting bored with so much genre fic, very little of it transcends its peers.

I like to be blown away when I read something.

The Fitness

I’m still doing push ups. I’m about to get a much more physical position at work, so the burn is going to be legit. All the rust and cobwebs will be gone by the end of September. I seriously cannot wait.

The Rest

Be excellent to each other. And stand up for yourself a little more. Let people know that you love them, but they don’t own you. Own yourself.

June 2020: State of the Dread

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Summer is upon us! Wherever and however we may, let us roll the top back and put the hammer down, for beyond us lies ADVENTURE!!!

 

The Podcast

Welcome to the Faro has been a great project so far, and it’s now on Apple Podcasts! I’m recording these several times a week but they only go live on Mondays, so I’ve got a bit of a buffer in case things go crazy.

The Brother Trucker Book Club is still scheduled to resume in July, but there will be a special bonus episode for THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES by Suzanne Collins. Schaara and I finished reading it and we’ll team up for a discussion about it. (We both loved the book.)

Scholastic on Twitter: "RETURN TO THE HUNGER GAMES! THE BALLAD OF ...

The Artwork

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I’m up to #9 on a list of presidential puns that I came up with a year ago. (I tweeted them all out with GIFs in an epic thread starting here.) The ones I’ve drawn are mostly the same as the ones I tweeted, but I’ve changed a few because they worked better visually.

This particular theme will run its course right around the 4th of July, maybe a little sooner, we’ll see. As we head into Month 6 of 2020, I feel the need to structure my sketchbooks a little better, and work on particular weaknesses of mine. When I’m done with the presidential puns I think I will grab one of my old artbooks and go through the exercises to sharpen my skills. That or I’ll work on Figurosity poses. I don’t know, the options are limitless.

The Writing

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Oh MAN this is picking up! Once the Faro podcast starts to wind down, I have a new podcast on deck tentatively called the DreadPennies Adventure Hour. My writing at the moment is focused on generating content for that new show. I finished the cover art for the first short story I will feature, called HOMEWORLD. Add it to your Goodreads list!

This one will last about three episodes. The following short story will be called FOOL’S SILVER (completely unrelated to anything I’ve written so far). That will also be three episodes, and the third story will be WITH ANSWERABLE COURAGE, my Thanksgiving epic fantasy.

Whether I will immediately have another story ready in December or not remains to be seen. More details as the year unfolds, because it’s hard to predict my schedule with certainty right now.

The Fitness

JUNE IS THE MONTH I GO ON A SUGAR FAST. I will probably spam my Insta with daily reports, we’ll see.

In addition to doing pushups almost every day in May, I did decently well on my food intake. I have no way of knowing whether I hit 205 on my body weight because my scale died and funds are, let’s say, frozen at the moment, so replacing it isn’t a priority. Nevertheless I shall improve my eating and also work out every day but Sunday, because this train never stops and I WILL weight 177.6 this year.

Doesn’t look like it will happen by July 4th, unfortunately, but it will happen. All my pants are fitting looser and my pecs only bounce when I tell them to. Things are going well.

The Rest

The country is going insane and I refuse to be a part of the problem. I’m gonna be a good neighbor, a good father, a good husband, and a good artist. Summer is upon us and we can still make it a good one for ourselves and the people we care about.

That’s it, get your butt back to work.

Bad@$$ Artwork for Sleepless Hollow

I’m 5/12ths of the way done with the art for my next book. Follow me on Insta and Twitter (@DreadPennies) for updates in real-time.

Just knocked this one out Saturday, biggest piece in the book.

Silas and Josie.

Kay, the ghost hunter.

Kerstan, a ghost who helps the good guys.

The Headless Horseman with shotguns, riding a mammoth. Because yolo.

Subway Canyon hike, August 2008

My first summer in Provo, I entered a lottery for a permit to hike the Subway Canyon with two of my friends. I’d done the hike once before as part of a Scout Camp, but this go-round would be different: we’d start from the bottom and go up, then come back down, instead of dropping in from the top (because we needed to have our car at the bottom.)

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All the camping spots were full when we got in, and it was late, so we didn’t bother pitching tents on the ant-covered ground. I slept on the roof, while Shane and Eli reclined the seats in my Subaru and left the hatch open.

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At the entrance to the park.

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This was a foot bridge near the bottom of the trail, covered in debris from a flash flood before we got there.Sub Canyon 008

Shane and Eli playing Nature Boy.

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Eli was a wrestler from Texas, grew up on cattle ranches and whatnot. I spent that summer working out with him and Shane (who was an exercise sciences major.) Most nights at the gym we were pounding iron.

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The main appeal of this hike, for me anyway, is that you spend almost half of it swimming.

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There are holes like this all the way down.

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This is about as high up the trail as we could manage. Once you hit the waterfalls, it’s time to turn back.

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Some of the pools are really deep.

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And the rock formations are amazing. I don’t know how many tens of thousands of years it took to do this, but it’s been going on for a heckuva long time.

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The way back down is a lot more fun.

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Lots of natural water slides.

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I stopped taking pictures during the last two miles or so, because we were out of bottled water and the sun had taken its toll on us. It was pretty miserable once we were away from the water, and when we got back to my car it had ants crawling all up in it, so we spent the rest of the drive back to Provo squashing bugs and talking about the upcoming semester.

This was about year after I had read Louis L’Amour’s autobiography, EDUCATION OF A WANDERING MAN, wherein I learned a truth that has made a great deal of sense to me:

Adventure is just a romantic name for trouble. I’m glad I have friends to get in trouble with me.

Grind O’Clock

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Six years ago, I got into the best shape of my adult life, thanks mostly to my friend Braden (left, with Mjolnir.) He told me to train for a Tough Mudder, so with 7 or 8 months to go, I signed up and hit the cardio.

Between exercise and calorie counting, I dropped thirty pounds and had a great time running with Braden and my other friend, Aprilynne. We went with an Avengers theme, since it was 2012, and I thought the shield would come in handy on the electric cable obstacles.

It ended up being a nuisance more than anything, but it got the job done.

 

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Six months later I did a Spartan Race with a different group. I liked it a lot more than the Tough Mudder, because the obstacles were spaced out better, and were more geared toward upper body strength, which I had. I managed to stay around 190 pounds for this run, as well as the Mudder before it.

 

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Two years after my first run, I did a third, this time with my wife. Between life as a trucker and life as a parent, I had gained some of the weight back, and ran this one at about 205. It was also at a higher elevation, double what I was used to, so it didn’t go as smoothly for me, but we had fun.

Then this one happened. October 2015.

 

 

Aprilynne invited me back for a third Mudder, my fourth overall mud run, and I had not had the time to get in shape for it. Our second kid had just come along (and Schaara had been sick for most of that pregnancy) and I was working a new job with longer hours. I ran this one at about 215 pounds, and wanted to die after 3 miles. (The whole course was 11-12.)

At one point I even looked to my wife, who was there as a spectator, and said “Don’t let me run one of these ever again.”

About that. I’m signed up for another Spartan, later this year.

Having been stuck at 230 pounds for about six months, I’ve decided to get back in the game. Changing my diet again, counting calories again (though with some modifications…the first time, I was 27 working a desk job. Now I’m 33 working a field job. Different animals.)

I’m going to do this. I have five months to get back into shape and the clock is ticking. I’m only a third of the way through my life, I really don’t want to be an out-of-shape suck for the rest of it.

Here we go. It’s Grind O’Clock.