Tanks For the Memories

It has been a while since I’ve really had the time to go into the shop to put any meaningful work in on TIM. So yesterday I decided to take the morning off writing, instead of sitting around waiting for the muses I thought I might get a chance to finally clear coat the gas tank.


This gas tank has been a thorn in my side for almost the entirety of the project. Among the litany of abuses the previous owners inflicted upon TIM, one of the worst has got to have been the gas tank. The knee dents they put in it were atrocious and unequal in size, forcing both them and me to use a massive amount of bondo, just to make it look okay.

However, despite the massive amount of time it took me to finish the body work and get the tank painted, it has generally turned out okay. In the rare chances I’ve had to get to the shop I’ve been able to put on several coats of paint and every thing looked pretty good, or so I thought until I walked in and saw this.


The gas tank lock flap had started flaking, bad. Even just touching it caused it to flake worse than in the above picture. The only option? Sand it down to bare metal and redo the whole thing.


Someone, I don’t know who, thought it was a good idea to drill a bunch of holes in the flap, and then fill them back in. Apparently, this mystery person thought speed holes in a piece of metal meant to prevent water or thieves from getting into the gas tank was a good idea. Probably the same person who drilled all the other speed holes.


With a little help from Dave, the bondo didn’t come out looking like a birthday cake. I managed to get it all sanded and primed, but forgot to take a picture. I’m hoping it will only require one last paint day and then I can final finish it up with a clear and be done with body work for a while.

I forgot to take a picture of the primed flap, but here’s a picture of a sick Yamaha xs650, Dave is building for a customer.


Stay tuned for the next installment of the ongoing adventures of TIM’s resurrection: They Don’t Make that Anymore.


Na No Wri Mo #3

It’s the third week of National Novel Writing Month, I’m 21,287 words in and I have hit a wall. Or to be more accurate, Sunday Football and other work got in the way over the weekend and now I’m struggling to find the motivation to return to my daily word count. To make matters worse I’m at the dreaded mid first draft hump.

It’s my experience that most novels that never get finished usually fall apart around 20,000-30,000 words. I have several aborted attempts at novels of about this size and I’ve heard countless tales from other writers echoing my own experience. I wonder, what is it about this number of words that cause us to fall off?

I think it’s because 20,000-30,000 words is a sufficient number of words to be into the story, but not enough for the story to come to a conclusion. We get lost, and unable to see the forest for the trees get frustrated and give up. 20,000 words is sufficient length to tell a story, but not enough for the story to be a novel.

By 20,000 words we are far enough in that we forget the story we intended to tell. The story has changed so much it no longer matches the outline, and there was never enough detail in the outline to begin with, so while the end may have already been thought up, getting there is still daunting. It’s at this point that starting a new story sounds better than finishing the one that’s currently causing so many headaches.

However, stopping means the novel will probably never get finished.  The only way forward is to keep writing.

[spmarket 1]$2 Billion and Counting[/spmarket][spmarket 2]$2 Billion and Counting[/spmarket]


[spmarket 1]

A blog post written by Daniel Ek (@eldsjal)

Taylor Swift is absolutely right: music is art, art has real value, and artists deserve to be paid for it. We started Spotify because we love music and piracy was killing it. So all the talk swirling around lately about how Spotify is making money on the backs of artists upsets me big time. Our whole reason for existence is to help fans find music and help artists connect with fans through a platform that protects them from piracy and pays them for their amazing work. Quincy Jones posted on Facebook that “Spotify is not the enemy; piracy is the enemy”. You know why? Two numbers: Zero and Two Billion. Piracy doesn’t pay artists a penny – nothing, zilch, zero. Spotify has paid more than two billion dollars to labels, publishers and collecting societies for distribution to…

View original post 3,532 more words

Odyssey of the Heliotrope

Getting a full length novel published is a long and time consuming process. So for those of you who just can’t wait I’m going to be making some shorter pieces available through e-publication. The first of these is Odyssey of the Heliotrope, a story about an ill-fated  interstellar trip to colonize a foreign planet and what happens when things don’t go the way they are expected to.

It can be found on Amazon.com for the very low cost of .99 cents.



Na No Wri Mo Update #2

Today is the tenth day of November, which means it is one third of the way through National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As of today, without having added today’s word count, (Which I’m procrastinating by writing this post) I have roughly 14,000 words.  By the end of today I will have at least 15,000 words.

If I can keep this rate up I’ll finish with 45,000 words or so. A good start, not quite as many words as I originally hoped, but it’s easier to add material than subtract it.

I still have no clue where the story is going. (That’s a lie. I wrote an outline that I’m generally sticking to) I don’t have a title or really know what the story is about. (This is true) But despite this I have been diligently adding new words, and forcing myself to not get bogged down with rewriting.

This process is so much different from the one I used for my last book, Boom Town. With that book I spent at least six months plodding through a 60,000 word rough draft, only to throw out 40,000 words rewrite it, show it and re-write it ad nauseum. With this process I’m finding myself chained to a word count, much higher than Hemingway’s, but also less constrained by trying to make story elements fit perfectly. The frenetic drive for a higher daily word count means I will inevitably be forced to re-write 2/3 of what I write, but that would probably be the case anyway. At least with NaNoWriMo I know by the end of the month I will have a complete story. After that I can spend the next five months trying to make it a good one and still not spend as much time as I spent on the last novel.

Na No Wri Mo

It’s November, which means it’s National Novel Writing Month or (Na No Wri Mo). Na No Wri Mo is exactly what it seems, it’s an attempt by authors to write a book in a month.  If you want more details, http://nanowrimo.org.

Now, in the past I’ve avoided Na No Wri Mo, mainly because writing is rewriting, and trying to speed through a piece is a recipe for disaster.  This year is different because I find myself in-between pieces and want a way to kick start a new project.  So while I’m not going to be jumping on board completely I will be attempting to write a complete draft of a novel by November 30.

I began this in ernest on November 1st, with a project I had been brain storming, but had not yet begun to write. I figure that I need at least a minimum goal of 1,000 words a day, with a overall desired average of about 16,250 words a week or about 60-65,000 words total. Today I have 6,686 words, but I haven’t written anything today, so in four days I’ve almost hit half.



Blasphemy in Oklahoma City: You Have The Right to be Offended 

Founding Father Thomas Paine, in his book The Age of Reason, wrote, “One man’s revelation is another man’s heresy.” While it’s certain these words, written in a French Jail cell, weren’t intended for the American Republic that Paine helped inspire, they are however applicable to the current political situation we live in today. Specifically, they apply to the uproar over Satanists using the Oklahoma CitySpace Theater for a black mass.

With the exception of religious fundamentalists, and revisionist historians like David Barton, most Americans recognize that our country was founded as a secular nation, all be it one with a Christian majority. But regardless of personal religious sentiment or lack there of, the founding fathers explicitly established a secular government by ratifying the First Amendment and its establishment clause.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enshrines certain rights including the right to speak freely, the right to practice one’s religion, or not, and the right to be free from establishment, by the state or federal government, of a religion. What the First Amendment doesn’t protect is the right to be free from offense, or to prevent hearing speech religious or otherwise that one disagrees with.

Unfortunately, some people like Phyllis Zagano seem to believe that because they have a strongly held religious belief that it should receive special protection. Additionally, that those who hold a religious belief that differs from hers, and which Phyllis finds blasphemous should not be entitled to equal protection under the law, and should explicitly be precluded from freely speaking, or exercising their religious beliefs when those beliefs and statements rise to a level that Phyllis or others find offensive.

In a recent article for the National Catholic Reporter, Phyllis tries to argue that the Constitution should protect her from having to live in a world where other people have religious beliefs and practices that differ from her own. Specifically, Phyllis wants to shut down those nasty Satanists in Oklahoma, and prevent them from exercising their First Amendment rights to freely speak and practice their religion.


Unfortunately for Phyllis and the others like her, the First Amendment doesn’t protect her feelings, or allow her to shut down speech that she considers blasphemous, profane or heretical. In fact the First Amendment is designed to protect everyone from people exactly like Phyllis.

It’s clear from reading this article that Phyllis, like the countless other Christians, up in arms against the Satanists, don’t really understand the First or Fourteenth Amendment. Not one to let her ignorance on constitutional law prevent her from exercising her right to speech, Phyllis claims not only a right to be free from offense, but also the unique ability to determine what constitutes a legitimate religion and political speech. She asks. “Who can think Satanism is a religion?” “Who thinks a ‘black mass’ is political speech?”

Well Phyllis, to answer your question, I for one do. But I’m not alone, the United States Constitution, and a ton of legal precedent supports this belief. I, the City Manager, and countless others correctly understand that the First and Fourteenth Amendment does indeed protect what you term, “blasphemous hate speech.”

Oklahoma has anti-blaspheme laws, antiquated laws, which violate the First Amendment, by precluding people from freely exercising their right to freedom of speech and their right to freely exercise their religious beliefs. More over, anti-blaspheme laws come into conflict with the Establishment Clause, which precludes the government from showing favor for one set of religious beliefs.

While Phyllis correctly identifies Oklahoma’s blasphemy laws as being old fashioned, she fails to recognize that they are also unconstitutional and urges that they be used to prevent Satanists from freely exercising their religious beliefs, and offending her religious sensitivities, by holding a black mass where they will step on a wafer, that Phyllis believes is magical.

This is a product of what can be termed Christian Privilege.

Because the United States has a Christian majority, Christians receive significant privilege. As a result unconstitutional laws such as anti-blasphemy laws, or laws that preclude atheists from holding public office remain on the books in a number of states. However, they are unconstitutional and while still effective, are not enforced, because enforcement would be a violation of the First Amendment. That theses laws continue to remain on the books, is not a sign of their constitutionality, but only further proof that a majority of elected officials don’t care enough to vote to remove them.

Ignoring her own hypocrisy, Phyllis asks, “Why don’t Catholics get ‘equal protection of the laws’?” The answer is, they do. There is no constitutional protection to be free from speech that one considered blasphemous and hurts the sentiments of religious people.

The reason her question is hypocritical, is because she tries to use the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, to deny equal protection of the First Amendment to people whose beliefs offend her. What Phyllis and others like her demand, is not equal protection, but the right to discriminate against others, because their words, actions, and beliefs are deemed offensive. Or more simply put, because she finds their revelations to be heretical.

If this were a question of Christians being unfairly arrested under anti-blaspheme laws, Phyllis might have a legitimate point by invoking the Fourteenth Amendment. However, this is not the case. There are no cases of Catholics being punished for blaspheme, even though I could make a good argument that Phyllis’s very statements, constitute the wonton uttering of contumelious reproach upon a religion other than Christianity, which arises to the definition of blaspheme under Oklahoma law.

The reality is that Catholics have the right to use the Oklahoma CitySpace Theater for a religious rite. Because Catholics are afforded this ability other religions get the same benefit.  Included in this are religions that preach or hold positions in opposition to Catholicism. By refusing to allow other religions equal access to State facilities, Oklahoma City would be effectively violating of the First and Fourteenth Amendment.

Further to preclude speech on the basis that someone is offended would negate the very basis of the First Amendment’s right to free speech. Because the speech in question is religious in nature a preclusion on the basis that it’s offensive to other religions would also violate the free exercise and establishment clauses as well. This is a slippery slope that once started quickly ends in the United States looking like and Islamic Theocracy, with people being punished, for dissenting from the majority religious belief system, or merely saying they don’t believe in god(s).

As Paine said, “One man’s revelation is another man’s heresy,” meaning all religious speech, by its nature, is always going to be offensive to someone. Phyllis, who happens to be a member of the single largest sect of Christianity may be blind to the fact that some people find her opinions, beliefs, and religion offensive and blasphemous. But simply because her beliefs happens to be popular does not mean they receive special protections. The First Amendment was designed to prevent this type of slippery slope. Enshrined within that Amendment are a number of rights, but the right to not be offended, or to shut down speech on the basis of offense is not one of them.