86 Resolutions for 2013

Heading into the new year, I have a new job and am taking a new angle on my writing career.  I'm not normally the resolutions type, but it feels like a good time to lay down some goals.

Some simple, some lofty.  No way I'll accomplish all of this.  Maybe I'll pick my favorite one and just do that.

In no particular order:

1 Write more.  Organized, profesional and for pay.  Bright Hub and The Penalty Flag are both working out.  Bright Hub articles updated on the right.  Had fun with the Love Poetry one.

2 Search for more opportunities.  Craig's List international has been a good source.  I could spend all day applying for freelance jobs in London, Tokyo and Lima.

3 Blog regularly.  I'm active all over the web, always writing, always tweeting, but not always recording it on my blog.  This is my digital office-space.  It should represent everything about me.  I'll pick a day of the week and stick to it. Wednesday nights after Broken Mic.  Two weeks in a row now.  Sticking with the habit.

4 Produce a 99 Cent Piece.  A short ebook of some type.  Something catchy, popular, handy and with a reasonable chance of selling like crazy.  The Cheshire House coming out as an ebook by Valentine's Day.

5 Improve Service at the Q and Legends of the Fire at Northern Quest Casino.  I'm a new supervisor there and after a couple of months I plan to be a stronger influence.  Working on it. Identifying strengths and weaknesses.  Improving a bit.

6 Lose Weight.  Weighing 86 kilos would be a catchy number, but I'm about 100 now and that sounds extreme.  But less chubby would be better.

7 Row.  I'm in danger of being that guy who bought an exercise machine only to let it gather dust in the basement.  My rowing machine needs my attention.  Will help with #6.

8 Teach Nikolas to Read.  Probably the easiest thing on this list.  My three year old has been poking books in my face since he was tiny.  Already he sounds out the alphabet.

9 Teach Matyas to Talk.  Also easy, with his bilingual big brother around.  We'll just keep describing the world to my nine month old and he'll start doing it back.

10 Make Nikolas less shy.  This will be much tougher.  Despite taking him to the library and around the town, he's still timid.  He hates the doctor and doesn't talk when he's in public.

11 Go to the Library with the boy regularly.  Our local library has great story-time programs for kids of all ages.  We've fallen out of rhythm, but we used to go all the time.  I take them on Wednesday.  MGF takes them on Friday.

12 Teach the Boys to Swim.  I'll bet the little one learns first.  As I said, Nikolas is shy.  But Matyas is fearless, which sort of scares me but he'll learn more that way.  Jana and I need to get both of them to a quiet pool when spring comes.

13 Get a Raise.  I'm an entry level supervisor.  Those of you who know the hospitality business understand that means our servers and bartenders, sometimes our bussers and expos, make more dough than me, but I do get all that stress and responsibility.  Got one.  About 6%. All supervisors got moved from hourly to a new salary.  I'm not saying it's merit based, but they retained me after my 90 day probationary period.

14 Learn Cigars.  One of the new products I'm working with.  Just like college, some things I can learn by smoking and some things require study.  I need to be a confident authority in the humidor.  I've learned a lot.  I mapped our humidor and keep the sheet updated weekly.  I feel much better in there.

15 Learn Czech.  Once Matyas gets the hang of it, I'll be the only human in my house not fluent in Czech.  My wife's a native.  I've studied other languages.  The only things keeping me from fluency is time and dedication.

16 Help Jana Paint.  My wife has drawing and painting talent.  You can see her work at Jajamilevska.  Like me and the Czech language, the only time separates her from success.  For a mommy with two little ones, time is scarce.  It's up to me to help her make that happen.

17 Penny-a-Page Erotica.  Pavarti K Tyler's project failed to launch last year because of limited submissions.  I contributed The Cheshire House and would love to see it in print.  We need to help this project out with more writing.  I don't think the project will make it.  I'm publishing my submission as an ebook instead.  Ever have two friends say "let's do it!" and then realized they're not that serious?  I think that happened to someone.

18 Reformat Cathartes Aura.  I've ignored the fact that my 1000 line poems don't break every ten lines on an ereader the way I'd like.  I need to rework them a bit or all my hard work is wasted.  If you can't read Apocalypse Zoo or Road from Nowhere ten lines at a time, it's hard to grasp my concept.

19 Fish.  My raft did not leave my garage last summer, which is a shame.  I need to take Nikolas fishing.  I need him to swim before he get in the raft.  My dog needs to fish with me, too.

20 Broken Mic.  It's a cliche, but one door closes and another opens.  I work Thursday through Monday now, rather than Monday through Thursday.  I can't go to First Friday anymore, but I can do a local open poetry reading on Wednesday now.  I almost forgot.  Four weeks in a row so far.  The only place on the planet I can walk in and be greeted by my pen name.

21 Hike.  My oldest needs to learn how nice it is to get the hell into the woods sometimes.  At 3, I don't expect him to go far, but eventually we're going backpacking.  Training starts this spring.

22 Kid's Book Blog with my wife.  I had the idea (and I'm giving her half the credit) to form a blog rating children's books, incorporating some personality and family advice.

23 Music.  I've been out of touch.  Haven't heard anything new lately.  Need to feed the Ipod my wife and I share and get some funk into our kids.  Need to write another song.  Working on "Secrets for the Man", a song that's been rattling around my head for a while.

24 Dimmer Switch in 86 the Office.  Sounds simple.  Been meaning to get to it.  Either have too much or not enough light in here.  Need to get that straight.

25 Paint the Fence.  Seriously, my dog gnawed on a few boards on my gate and I had to replace them.  My whole fence is stained dark brown except those three boards.

26 Keep my House.  Since losing my job, I've been making half the money.  Without something changing, I'm moving.  And the place isn't worth what we paid for it.  You figure that out.

27 Fix Slider.  The lock on one of my sliding doors is busted. No, I'm not telling you which one.  We put a board on the track to keep the raccoons and armadillos out.  Need a new latch.

28 Go on Vacation.  Haven't taken a real vacation in a few years.  Can't afford it, but I do have vacation pay coming soon.  Need to take a trip.

29 Niece and Nephews.  Since my sister moved out on her husband and kids, then they all moved to the other side of the state, I've had no relationship with my sister's kids.  Divorced by association, I guess.  I have no idea how to repair what I haven't done.  They won't return my calls.

30 Print-On-Demand.  Need to figure this out and see if it can help me.  Seeing CA in print, even if I bought the copy myself, might make all the blood rush from my head.

31 Recipes for Yahoo.  I wrote my BBQ rub article, but haven't got around to the rest of my ideas.  Not one of those things that pays directly, but can if I get a following.  86 the Chef.  (I still refuse to put an exclamation point at the end of Yahoo.)

32 She Scratch the Record.  My man Devon moved away and we never got to record vocals for my rap about female masturbation.  Long story.  But I probably sound better on a cheap mike, so I better do it myself and send him the file to put a beat under.  Performed it a cappella at my first visit to Broken Mic.  It was awesome.

33 See More Sports.  Minor league baseball, hockey, college volleyball and basketball, arena football.  All fun.  All cheap.  All things a little kid should see.

34 First Friday.  I said earlier that these are harder to get to, but I can get the day off for a reading.  The Wednesday Broken Mic thing should actually get me closer to the First Friday people. Need to get writing in front of non-digital people, too.

35 Write Escort Story.  On the same day while freelance hunting, I got email from a very academic British essay-writing firm and one from a Chinese escort service, both looking for writers.  Instantly I imagined the story of a writer who accepted both and was pulled into the Chinese Mafia.  Needs to get written.

36 Down Pressure is my new favorite title for the project I've been calling "La Isla" about revolution on a fictitious Caribbean island, with indestructible orphan Aguardo as the hero.  Also needs to get written.

37 David Priest Novel.  Inside the Skull was always intended as the intro to a novel.  As it sits, it's a long short story, a character study, a novella with no resolution.  The antagonist, victim and plot are laid out.  Just needs another couple hundred pages.

38 CA3 is five hundred out of a thousand lines done.  Sort of.  I realized it needs a sub-plot and cannot be all about the Mall community.  Needs another community running parallel.  Everything needs to get written.

39 Perfect my Beer Can Duck.  Last year I brined and smoked a duck in my Big Green Egg.  I failed to contain the prodigious amount of fat that drains from a cooking duck.  Flare-ups were impressive.  The meat was great.  The skin was scorched.  With the right cast iron pan in my barbecue, I can make it great.  You'll see pictures.  Haven't perfected the smell-o-blog yet.

40 Feed Jana Cheese.  My wife is a warrior.  Because of our boys' allergies and the fact that she's currently breast-feeding, she hasn't had bread or cheese hardly at all in the last three years.  I'd have caved in within days.  When Little Toot is weaned, she's getting some gouda.  Little Toot has no food allergies.  MGI is eating bread.  I need to score her some good cheese.

41 Be More Involved with Dominican.  I'll admit, it's almost completely their fault.  My college has completely failed to support me as a writer.  They gave me a writing degree and won't answer my email.  I enjoyed the true old-school of their English program, all of which have retired or died.  My major is now unavailable and I suppose archaic.  Who writes anymore anyway?  They have apps for that.  Still, I need their support.

42 My Sister and Wife need to get along somehow.  They hate each other, and my wife is right.  My sister is not allowed to stay at our house and I already told you about her kids.  They're welcome, but don't talk to me.  Pretty much impossible.

43 Teach Nikolas Dominoes.  His mother and I met over a dominoes game.  I have taught the game on three continents.  I am an International Ambassador of Bones.  Not only good for meeting chicks, but also learning math.

44 Zazzle is a site for creating and selling customized merchandise, from t-shirts to posters to etc.  I know I'm the only one in the world with an 86 the Poet coffee cup.  I'd like to spread the logo around.

45 The Penalty Flag is a sports blog that wants me to write a Seahawks piece every week.  In 2013, I'm not only doing that, but it's taking me somewhere.

46 Dave Krieg to the Hall of Fame on the next ballot.  Need to see when the voting is and get my TPF article out first.

47 Make $1000 a month writing.  I think I can make $100 this month.  I need a medium-sized freelance project for this or a bunch of small articles.

48 Quit my Job.  This is the BHAG: Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  I need to make a living writing from home.  Freelance, book selling, marketing, whatever.  Shrink my commute to one flight of stairs.  Do something creative for a living.

49 Understand Amazon's Mechanical Turk.  Amazon has this thing.  It seems to be a way to earn money working at home.  Their Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs, like: look at me! I'm a hitman from my basement!) are odd jobs ranging from writing to transcription to surveys.  Some of them look okay, like writing articles on motorcycles for $30.  But if you've not qualified, you can't get the job.  And there usually isn't a test.  You request qualification and wait for no one to contact you.  The rest of the jobs pay less than $2.  It's nobody's business but the Turks.  The secret: other businesses use this platform to provide you with work.  Write.com let's me do the really cheap stuff, but did not pass me on their Top Tier writing test.  Whatever.

50 Get Good at Bread.  I'm the only one in my household who can eat wheat, as I said.  The boys don't care much, but my wife loves good bread and is frequently bummed that she can't have it.  A friend came to visit and taught me how to make a good basic loaf.  I always thought it would be hard.  With some practice, I could be really good.  But the meanest thing I can do is make the house smell like fresh bread and enjoy it in front of my wife.  MGI and Little Toot are clear to eat wheat, so I'll continue my experiments this week.

51 Volleyball for Jana.  I need to find time and a place for my wife to get back into volleyball.  She loves the game and used to be quite good, but her hands are even fuller than mine.

52 Make Visual Art.  You can't see it from there and a digital picture won't do it justice, but I made a composite photo of rocks and trees in Adrspach, Czech Republic, and framed it for our living room.  I need to make more than just written art.

53 Fix my Feet and Knees.  For most of my restaurant career, I've been a stubborn, tough guy who believes in mind over matter.  At one point last year, I had to break down and see some doctors.  They pretty much dropped the ball and I didn't follow up. But I have osteoarthritis in my knees with a possible torn meniscus in one.  And I have plantar fasciitis in both feet with some tendinitis in one achilles.  Self-education and therapy have done more for me than doctors, but when my new insurance kicks in next month, I better test it out.  Ain't ready to get old.  No longer being a violently busy bartender has helped.  I've stopped wearing my night splints.  The pain is down to a rumble rather than a scream.

54 Write the Plantar Fasciitis Poem.  When your feet hurt when you put on your shoes to go to work, then that pain creeps up throughout the night until your feet hurt up to the middle of your thighs, then you start drinking everyday around hour seven or eight until you get fired for it, then you know the micro-tears in your ligaments aren't so micro.

55 Find my Favorite Lake.  I have the unfortunate problem of too many lakes within an hour drive.  I've been investigating them when I have a chance.  Either my atrophied fishing skills or bad luck have kept me from catching many fish.  Soon, I need to find my go-to lake.

56 Host Another Contest.  We had lots of fun with the 10x10 contest last May.  Numerous non-poets got out of their shells and wrote some good stuff.  I need to do it again, either 10x10s or another form of poetry or short fiction.  Good way to meet people.  Who wants to jump in on this?  Non-poets and even non-writers encouraged to apply.

57 Have Someone Send Me a Pen.  Artists are all particular about their tools.  I have a new favorite pen.  Faber Castell PITT Artist Pen, Black India Ink, Xtra Superfine.  It's the sort of thing graphic novels get drawn with.  Feels more like I'm painting than writing.  Never clogs like a roller ball.  Won't smudge.  But the quill wears out fast.  My Love got me one for Christmas.  I keep losing these.  No other pens.  Just my favorite ones.

58 See my Logo someplace unexpected.  Who knows where or how?  If I did, it wouldn't be unexpected.  Getting down with Zazzle will certainly help.

59 Audio Book.  Getting an audiobook out there is about as easy as an ebook.  I just need to keep things quiet around my office long enough to record, though my mike is cheap and it's a bit echoey in here.  Podiobooks is a good source connected with Smashwords.  I'm sure there are other services, and there's always YouTube.

60 Get More Sleep.  I've been going to bed at 3 or 4 AM and getting up at 9 most days.  My best writing time is late at night, but if I sleep in too much I'm a bum of a father and husband.  But it can't be good for a fellow.  My caffeine consumption is prodigious.

61 Get Less Sleep.  I'm spending at least six hours every day not working, writing, playing with kids or kissing my wife.  Wasteful.  I'll never get ahead with that kind of inefficiency.  Need to toughen up.

62 Fix Squeaky Hinges.  Too many doors in my house screech when opened or closed.  Hard to sneak around when people are sleeping and I'm not.  A little oil is all I need, but I only remember when I wake up my baby.  My wife read this and did it for me.  So did it work or did I fail?

63 Publish The Cheshire House.  Yeah, I said I'd save it for Penny-a-Page, but that project might be in trouble.  I have a great short ebook sitting around doing nothing.  My Gorgeous Illustrator is working on the cover art.  I just need to format it for Smashwords.

64 Apply for Sports News Job.  Doesn't sound like your typical poet job, but I'm not typical and a local TV station is hiring.  I'm not really qualified, but I love sports, can write and actually have a good voice for it.  I have a 100% chance of failure if I don't try.  I think I missed the boat on this one.  The application was long and hand-written.  I new I was a long-shot from the beginning.  Too busy writing application essays to people who never wrote back.

65 TPF and The Sports Blitz.  I need to get more involved with my new team at http://thepenaltyflagblog.com and their brother The Sports Blitz.  We can help each other get noticed.  It's a big step in a new direction for me.  Who knows what it may lead to?

66 Auto-Tweet.  I said it and I'm disgusted, but there's got to be a way to do it my way.  I've seen too many regular tweet blasts about the GREATEST BOOK EVER and don't follow those fools anymore.  ICU M R Matthias.  I'm thinking of multiple natural sounding messages about my works and links spaced every 25 hours or so.  They'll not appear same time every day.  I promise to not get obnoxious.

67 Get Opinions on "Terror".  For a contest, I wrote a series of five 10x10s on a single man's fear of beautiful women.  I received no feedback.  Someone else won with a confusing and pointless piece of prose.  I'm still proud of mine and am starving for feedback.  Find it on my 10x10 page and tell me what you think.  I read it at Broken Mic.  Haven't spoken to anyone specifically about it, though.  Lots of people read and not often do people give feedback.

68 Bring Together the "Broken Mic" Crew.  Some good writers get together on Wednesday nights.  Like any open mike thing, you'll find plenty of emotional kids with diaries and some who just want to confess and others who attempt to memorize something.  I want to sift out the best, help them improve, and do something with it.  Ebook?  Video?  Audio book? I mentioned the ebook idea to someone and will mention it again.

69 Name my Sleuth.  I have a developing image for the main character of my mystery series.  I have a lifestyle and setting.  I see him as a guy who needs to know how stuff works: machinery, businesses, governments, gadgets, people and social situations.  He speaks English, Spanish and Antillean Creole.  But I don't know his name.

70 Name the Island.  The island of the mystery series, which could be the same island in "Down Pressure", has an old name and a new name.  The new government rebranded the island to promote a new image to tourists.

71 Name the Sleuth's Boat.  This may come near the end.  Once his character has been developed, we'll know what he'd name his boat.  It took me a few years to name my own Princezna Jaja.  I'd better work faster than that on this project.

72 Write.com seems to be a source for free-lance assignments.  I need to pass their top-tier test first.  How hard can it be?  Hard, apparently.  I wrote the test essay and was told I did not pass, with no feedback.  300 word essays for $11?  Am I missing out?  Maybe I'll take it again when I get another chance.

73 Chin-ups.  I used to do sets of a dozen regularly.  I could do them with six fingertips.  Now four is hard.  Need to change that.

74 Use my Elance Points.  Every month I get 15 for free.  Jobs cost one point or more to apply, depending on size.  Last month, I left points on the table.  Potentially wasted opportunity.

75 Go Back to School.  Don't marry a dumb woman.  Date one for a while, maybe.  I married a smart one.  As I'm tearing myself apart with stress over my future, My Gorgeous Illustrator suggests I should research some grants and study online the stuff I need to know but don't: marketing, economics, web design.  Love that girl.  I contacted a couple of schools.  I'm reviewing info and will talk to my employer about tuition reimbursement.

76 Write About Sunglasses.  On Craigslist I found a sunglasses wholesaler who wants someone to write blog posts on various shades-related topics.  I sent him one audition piece and am working on another, because we over-deliver at Eighty Six the Poet Incorporated.  Expect it.  One of the people to never get back to me after I wrote them something.

77 Learn Garage Band.  The free music software on my Mac intrigues me.  I have lyrics brewing.  Need some tunes.  So far, I've spent a few minutes messing with it.  This could be my new addiction.

78 Write "Secrets for the Man".  A song that's been bouncing around my head for a while.  It has potential.  It features lyrics like: "What kind of man / Steps to Saint Peter with a heater in his hand?"  What kind of man / Slides down to Satan with a briefcase in his hand? / Snaps open stainless to flash 500 grand? / Says: "Bub, what you got? I'm buying secrets for the man."

79 Make Ribs.  When you can't remember the last time you made ribs, you need to make ribs.

80 More Haiku.  +Ryan Mecum or @MecumHaiku on Twitter is hub to a lot of weird and interesting haiku stuff.  I write haiku on Twitter sometimes and always tag him.

81 Make Money Advertising.  I finally did it through 
https://www.blogsvertise.com  but I did it my way, so far.  Top right corner.  I only advertise for Blogsvertise and Vistaprint, which is truly a superior way to get business cards and more.

82 Spend a Day Relaxing.  Really haven't done this in a while and won't do it soon.  I have to earn it.  Every day I don't go to work, I look for work or try to do more.

83 Bright Hub.  Get more involved with these guys.  They are the first group to pay me to write assignments.  I'll get more, but they're the first.  I'd love to help also as an editor or whatever.

84 Get Lit.  No, not get lit but Get Lit, Spokane's literary festival.  This year I want to be in more than just their open read.  I am a local artist, dammit.  I should be involved.

85 Finish One thing on this list, at least.

86 Write Eighty Six Resolutions for 2013.