Did you miss me?
It’s been a ridiculously busy couple of months, which is why I’ve been so scarce here. This post should get everyone caught up on recent news. Regular posting will resume next week.
I am, in theory, finished with TCC. Graduation was May 5th, which was also the OWFI Conference that I had already registered for. And as it turned out, there was an administrative issue that would have kept me from marching anyway. I’ll be clearing that up this week, and should have my Associates degree in hand shortly.
I made all As again this semester, cementing my position on the Dean’s List. My short story was well received by the professor, and I’ve got plans for a series of short stories done the same way. “Down a Westbound Road” was inspired by a Bob Seger song, and him being the balladeer that he is, there are plenty of his songs that could handle a similar treatment. My eventual goal is a series of mini-anthologies grouped my musician, but we’ll see how I do with Seger first.
About ten days ago, the bootloop issue that has plagued LG in the G4 and v10 phones struck my v10. The phone became a paperweight, and I learned how lazy I had been with regard to backing things up. I had somewhere north of 2,000 photos, not to mention records in a vehicle maintenance app and my blood sugar app.
My options as far as T-Mobile were limited. They’d replace the phone easily enough under warranty for just five dollars. But that wouldn’t get my data pack. I started the warranty service, then set about researching the issue to see if there were any nifty tricks out there.
There are, and they boil down to freezing or cooking your phone. Well, the motherboard, anyway.
It turns out that the bootloop issue is about loosening connections on the board. You can try freezing the phone, which in theory causes things to contract enough to make contact again. I think this is actually just anecdotal. I found a few YouTube videos talking about freezing, and none of them showed any success. A few forum posters claimed very limited success, like less than five minutes. That wasn’t going to be enough for me, so I looked at the cooking idea.
It amounts to putting the motherboard in an oven to warm things enough to allow contact on the pins and such again. Same general concept as before, but on the other end of the spectrum. So I followed a disassembly video, pulled the motherboard, set it on a wire rack in the oven, and cringed. I chickened out at about six minutes, because I just couldn’t get over the fact that I had my phone’s motherboard in the oven. Link 1. Link 2.
But it worked. I got nine hours of use out of it, which was plenty of time to run backups and copy photos. The theory is that the metal pins expand just enough to make decent contact again. It’s clear that the low heat used is not enough to soften and re-flow the solder. Remember too that we’re talking about pins that are thousandths of an inch wide, so there doesn’t have to be much expansion.
I told my wife I was going to be done with LG phones at that point, and I had said I wanted to be done with Samsung because of all the bloatware they install on their phones. (LG puts a similar amount on, but it seems to weather the load better.) But as I researched and compared phones – I gave the Google Pixel serious consideration – I kept coming back to LG and the v20. The Pixel was a slightly better phone, I thought, but there’s no expandable storage (no SD cards) and a non-removable battery. The former was a bigger deal than the latter, but the combination was a deal-breaker. So I took a closer look at the v20 and learned that the G4 and v10 shared a motherboard design, but the v20 was redesigned. There have been a couple of reported v20 bootloops, but those seem to be either a non-standard USB-C charger cord, or a rooted phone. I went ahead and took a chance on the v20, and so far am happy with it.
I’ve also set up backups, so the episode was a learning point.
Speaking of YouTube, my channel is live now. I premiered it to all 6 of my newsletter subscribers recently, an example of the cool stuff you’ll get to see early if you subscribe. The content is a little light right now, especially as it pertains to my writing, but I’ll be building on that in the future with the Sunday at the Pond series.
I’m also going to be adding playlists that match the short stories that will be coming. The playlist for “Down a Westbound Road” can be found right here. Subscribe to the channel so you get notified when I post new content.
Back when I bought the Goldwing, I’d considered taking the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course to get ready for the trip home. It had been five years since I’d been on a bike, and my skills were rusty. Fortunately, I got home fine, but I still wanted to take the class. It just wasn’t a priority.
Then Ian got a motorcycle.
A friend of ours was selling his 500 Vulcan, and Ian had the cash and the desire. Then he set about researching the Oklahoma laws regarding motorcycle endorsement, with an eye toward taking the bike with him to Ohio this summer (he’s got a summer job at the same farm Erica worked at for a couple of summers). It turns out that Oklahoma is one of the states that used the MSF course for its motorcycle permitting process. Minors are required to take it, and if they pass, get the riding portion of the motorcycle endorsement waived. That seemed like a sign, so two weeks ago, we headed to Myers-Duren Harley Davidson for 20 hours of classroom and range time.
It was a good weekend. I’d actually wanted to take the course for several years. I was pleased to see that I wasn’t nearly as rusty as I’d thought, and didn’t have that many bad habits to break, other than braking. The Goldwing uses a linked or integrated braking system. If you squeeze the front brake lever, the brakes are applied to the right front caliper; the brake pedal operates both the left front caliper and both rear calipers. The BRC teaches you to use mostly front brakes, and the range bikes (Harley Street 500s) have separate front and rear brakes. I had to force myself to apply both brakes evenly, as opposed to depending on the rear brake pedal as I had on the ‘Wing.
I was pretty darned proud of Ian, too. He beat my score on the evaluation, and I only had one point taken off. Yeah, he had a perfect score.
I suppose the big news is on the home front, and it’s not something I’m particularly thrilled about. Diana and I are separating after almost twenty-three years of marriage. I’ve already identified a house in town that will be suitable for me, one of our rental places. It needs some work (foundation, along with a bathroom and kitchen remodel), but that will be relatively easy to take care of. I’d guess I’ll be moving out before the end of May.
Here’s part of what we posted to Facebook:
One of the things that our counselors were able to do was to help us learn to communicate better. Those improved communication skills are what allowed us to reach the decision the way we did: mutually, amicably, and equally. Counselors can’t always keep a couple together, just like doctors can’t always keep a patient alive. Sometimes the best they can do is to help you realize when it’s time to let things go, and help you do so gracefully. We were able to save the relationship, but we couldn’t save the marriage.
Diana and I (and the kids) have all seen really good examples of bad ways to handle divorces, so we’re going to make an effort to be an example of the right way to do it. We also said:
We are still going to be a family. We may not all share the same address, but we are still a family. All of the kids still have two parents. Diana and I will still discuss major parenting decisions, and still support each other in enforcing those decisions. We might still take family photos, too. Because we’re still a family.
And so it goes.
What’s Coming Up?
I’m putting this together in a hotel in Oklahoma City after the 2017 OWFI Conference. It was a terrific event, with a ton of great sessions. I sat in on sessions about author branding for cross-genre writers, building your email list, plotting, writing a series character, and several others. The conference staff put together a great mix of craft and business sessions. Watch for a blog post later this week about the sessions.
But the conference is part of my overall plan to hit the ground running as I transition from school to writer. I’ve been getting more and more excited about getting back to writing as the end of school approaches. Granted, the separation and divorce are going to put something of a crimp in things – I’ll probably have to look for a “real” job. But I’ve got plans and a rough schedule for the next few months. A new goal is to turn out a short story draft every month.
The schedule includes finishing edits of The Sad Girl Book 2 by the end of the month and getting it off to my editor, so I can get back to work on writing The Sad Girl Book 3, and get that finished by the end of the year.
I’m also considering a few more professional development courses. Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch do just a ton of writing workshops and classes, and several of those are right up my alley these days. I’ll be looking into those over the next few weeks.
I’ll wrap this up with my April writing production numbers, such as they are. They’re really not pretty at all.
Blog: 407 (1 post)
Social Media: 11,790
Yes, I’m ashamed of those numbers. But it’s time to put April behind me and get going.