I haven’t posted in a while so I think I need to make a late New Year’s resolution to post weekly. I don’t think I have the patience to post daily so perhaps Sunday needs to be my weekly writing day. I also don’t want to pressure myself to write a novel every week so some weeks might just be short updates.

Recently I’ve been having some issues with my current employment situation. I’ve been very intent on finding a career for myself. Not a job, a career. One cool job offer I’m waiting on is in Nigeria as a pole vault coach. Way cool, but it’s not a career and it’s not a done deal yet. Beyond that I’ve narrowed it down to three options that I will most likely pursue in the following order.

1. I am doing self-study to become a web designer/developer. Starting with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, and SEO. From there, I’ll move on to other things like photoshop, PHP, UI, UX, and other beneficial skills. If it sticks, I might be able to rely on this and fall back on it in the future. Perhaps I’ll find no need for the next two steps.

2. Get involved in the National Guard as a 35P analyst. That might open doors for other analyst positions in the NSA or other agencies.

3. Later in life, when McCall is done with school and we’re more financially stable. I’d like to earn my MBA. I think getting a job as a consultant would be a cool line of work.

So all my recent web design studies have led me to want to start writing again. That led me to go back to lbwritesite so I can do some self-promotion so I can look more valuable to employers. An then that led to me feeling guilty about neglecting this blog. So that’s how I ended up back on here. Let’s see what happens with my “New Year’s resolution.”


ph.d. in creative writing

As writers, we live double lives: lived once in the world of others, and again, in the quiet of our own minds. It takes a certain amount of will and courage to leave with regularity the circle of humanity in order to enact a kind of theft, which is one aspect of what the writing life seems to be.

Anne Germanacos is the author of the short story collection In the Time of Girls (BOA Editions). Born in San Francisco, she has lived in Greece for over thirty years. Together with her husband, Nick Germanacos, she ran the Ithaka Cultural Studies Program on the islands of Kalymnos and Crete, and taught writing, literature, and Modern Greek. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her work has appeared in over eighty literary reviews and anthologies, including Dzanc’s Best of the Web 2009. She and her husband have four…

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anna brones

Mediocre wine is excellent if you have a view, coffee is exponentially more delicious when brewed after a night in a tent, and trail mix can compete with the fanciest hors d’oeuvre when you’re in the middle of a hike. It’s simple: food always tastes better outdoors.

I was thinking of this in the process of drinking a mug of wine, overlooking a horizon of red rock formations last week. Dirtbags, sunsets and merlot do go hand in hand after all.

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TV is for noobs

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the tube. I’m the kind of person that, when the TV is on, I tune right in and I don’t break away for at least an hour or two. But ever since my mission I’ve just wanted to get rid of it because it makes me REALLY unproductive. Every single college apartment I’ve lived in has had a TV and every time i move somewhere i secretly hope my roommates DON’T have one because I know I’ll end up watching it if they do. So lately I’ve been listening to this talk by John Bytheway called, “Turn Off the TV and Get A Life.” Man, there’s some good advise in there. He shares a story about being at BYU and deciding to write a book, but the only way he could do it was by going to bed at 10 and missing his favorite talk shows so he could wake up at 5 and write his book before school. Four months later it was finished. He said, “what would i have accomplished in those four months if I decided to just watch television? I can’t think of a thing. Maybe I could remember a joke.”

I tend to have high aspirations for things that I never get around to. So having some extra time is really important. One of my roommates just moved out this weekend and he had an HD projector with a screen that covered the whole wall with a matching love sack the size of our living room. He loved him some TV. Now that he’s gone, our apartment has TONS of space! Plus I have TONS of time! Each of us used to chip in $10 a piece for our $30 cable bill. Now we’re going to cancel it! TV wasted my time, my aspirations, and my money and it gave me nothing in return. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes entertainment is awesome. I’ve never actually owned a TV, or a game console for that matter, or even a single video game! (unless you count that cheap, dinky virtual boy that only had mario tennis. Personally, I don’t think that counts. Minecraft was a better game and that came on 50-year old computers.) Thank goodness my parents never bought me that super nintendo I begged them for when I was a kid. I’m a better person for it. My plan for the future is to own a TV with no cable, no satellite, and no netflix. The only thing i’ll use it for is movies. For now, I just have to hope I don’t get stuck living with tube-addicted gamer bums. Wish me luck.

On a side note, I started reading “Believing Christ” again.

8/7/11 – Additional Insight

In sunday School today, Nate Gardner gave a great lesson on the Holy Ghost. One thing he came up with was a little anecdote about what it’s like to play on a sports team. So he talked about what it was like for him as a kid playing baseball and having a coach (the Holy Ghost). He said that when we’re kids all we wanna do is play the game. We don’t want the coach to be right next to us, telling us everything we’re doing wrong. We just wanna play and let the coach stay on the sidelines so he can coach us every once in a while.

While I heard this story I asked myself, “why don’t we like to be corrected?” It occured to me that the REAL reason we don’t take correction easily, from our baseball coach, our friends, authority figures, is because we DISLIKE the idea of changing our behavior for someone else. If we’re going to make a change, we want it to be OUR idea. Take the movie Inception, for example. The whole point of the movie was to plant an idea into someone’s mind, so that he would think it was his own idea. Why? Because that’s the only way he would make the change. If the idea came from any other source he would disregard it. So in a way, the Spirit is like Inception. It helps us change by giving us our own impressions. If my roommate tells me to stop watching Rated-R movies, I’ll probably just get annoyed. But if I make my own decision to watch better movies, I’ll be much more likely to follow through with it.

One more side-note for today. I was listening to John Bytheway’s talk “First Solo” this morning and he talked about a girl who had an impression to break off a bad relationship she was in. John said something that made me think, he said, “I bet if I asked that girl if she had ever felt the spirit, she would tell me ‘probably not.’ Then I could have pointed our that she just had one a minute ago when she felt like breaking up with her boyfriend.” This made me realize that I have felt the spirit a LOT more in my life than i originally thought. And some of those spiritual impressions were in my darkest hours, when I needed change the most. True, it is harder to feel the spirit when we’re living unworthily, but I also think that some of the most powerful and most important impressions come during those difficult circumstances to put us back on the path to repentance.

8/7/11 – Mosiah 3

“there shall be ano other name given nor any other way nor means whereby bsalvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the cLord Omnipotent.”

I forget that so often. Sometimes I think the word “salvation” in the scriptures can be substituted for “solve-ation” (or solution!). Sometimes being saved can be as simple as solving life’s problems. Like my debt right now. I keep looking to be saved from my debt and other financial problems, so I look in the wrong places and I forget that it’s more important to grow spiritually than it is to grow financially.

Mosiah 3:19 is also a really great one. It’s just what the doctor ordered today. Lately I’ve been trying to muscle through everything, including my spirituality. I keep trying to will myself to become more more spiritual instead of relying on prayer. I think what I really need is to just get out of the way and allow the Lord to mold me. This kind of approach is much more about submission than pride, just like it teaches in this verse.