2014 is going to be a big one for me on a couple fronts, not the least of which is that I’ll have a book out. My first novel, No Fixed Address, was finished at the end of November and editing and rewrites begin in earnest sometime in the next few weeks. If I can get it traditionally published I’ll go that route, but it will be available electronically one way or another, I promise. I’m actually looking forward to my first rejection letter. Is that odd?
I’ll also try to finish novel #2 (tentatively titled The Book of Good) sometime before October. I picked this timeline for a couple reasons:
It will give me time to edit and polish the first novel,
It will leave me with the month of October to outline…
So I can participate in NaNoWriMo again – this time to finish No Known Cure (the sequel to No Fixed Address).
Also on the writing front, I’ll be posting every Sunday again on a whole whack of topics, but with the majority touching on my experiences as an up-and-coming writer and what it’s like to live and interact with all these crazystrangeinteresting crazy writer-type-folks.
Speaking of crazy writer-type-folks, I am happy to announce that I have teamed up with author Gordon Bonnet to run a weekly flash fiction contest! Here’s the basic low-down on how it will all unfold:
Every Wednesday we will post a prompt; sometimes just a word, sometimes a sentence, maybe even a picture
Then, you leave a comment giving us 500 of your best words. It can be any genre or format that you wish but it must follow the prompt and it must be totally made up (please, let’s give ourselves a break from the real world for a few minutes, okay?)
The next week Gordon and I will give a shout out to the entries that we liked the best and we’ll issue another prompt
Lather, rinse, repeat
Since both Gordon and I have blogs (Gordon’s is called Tales of Whoa) what we’ll do is alternate the hosting of the prompt and capturing of the comments. Don’t worry though, when you come to either of the blogs there will be a redirect to the one hosting the prompt. We figured this would cause less confusion than starting up a whole separate blog just for this. Plus we would have had to come up with a fancy name for it and that seemed like a whole lot of work.
Oh, I forgot the best part! Every three or four months Gordon and I will comprise a short list of about 10 of the entries from that period and we’ll put up a poll and have readers vote on which one they liked the most. After a voting period (exact amount of time still to be determined) the winner will receive free stuff! It will likely be free books written by either Gordon, myself, or someone who’s graciously donated one for us to give away.
You could win books! Not these books though, they are my daughter’s. This pic, links to posts and other fun stuff can be found onmy Facebook page
You might be saying to yourself, “Self, I’m really interested in everything that Andrew guy has on the go for 2014. There couldn’t possibly be more, could there?”
Ah, but there is!
A friend of mine, a writer and fellow creative, D. Savannah George, posted to Facebook the result of her attempt at taking a picture a day. She got well over 200 done, and I was suitably impressed; both with the dedication it required and with the resulting art. So, in the waning hours of 2013, and prompted by a few friends on Facebook (shout outs to Dana, Terre, Sami, Eleni, and DS!), I decided I would give it a shot this year. I started on January 1 as that’s the only day my OCD would allow.
Check out my Picture a Day Tumblr blog for progress (I’ll definitely take a picture every day, but we’ll see if I manage to post one every day too).
That’s it for now, look for the very first Potato Chip Math / Tales of Whoa flash fiction contest on Wednesday, January 8!
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to have a read and congratulations to Stephanie Fuller for correctly picking out which one of these was a complete and total lie. Stephanie, just send me an email with the pictures you want (up to 10) from Andrew’s Alphabet and I’ll get them to you right away.
Of course, because I’m sneaky (or just a jerk – you decide) I’ve decided not to directly reveal which answer is bunk. Instead, I’ve made all the choices clickable and upon doing so, the choice will expand to reveal a brief story about the item. The false one will be appropriately labelled (and in red text).
Of course, if you want to just go back to the original post and check to see which one Stephanie picked you can do that too 🙂
Without further delay. Here are the facts (and one lie):
Anyone paying attention to my blog will see a category called “Fact About Me”. If you peruse these posts you’ll see a few of the items in this list. Including a picture of me scoring at Maple Leaf Gardens along with the score sheet from the game.
Another fabulous “Fact About Me” that you can find here. I went with a friend to the show and we were up in the balcony. At the intermission we were wandering around and Penn was wandering around as well. I walked right up to him and he just looked right at me and said “How would you like to give me a hand?” I ended up on stage with a handful of other guests while they did the trick. After the show they were out on the sidewalk signing autographs.
TSN used to have a website feature called “Couchmaster”. I used to contribute comments and the occasional “Question of the Day” and got along fairly well with Couch himself. When the company axed the feature Couch moved to his own site (I’m “The Boutros” in the comments if you click that link) and found himself working for a video game company called ZAPiT Games. They were making a home trivia game kind of like the stuff you’d find at a bar, only this one was a bit more media rich with pictures and video. Couch called me up and asked me if I’d like to write trivia questions (and answers) for the game. Seemed like a cool idea, so I did it. I even think a couple of mine made it in.
Super Dave Osborne used to shoot the studio portions of his show at the Markham Theatre and a friend of mine (the same one of Penn & Teller fame) would get tickets every year. One day, he had a bunch of “Take it away Mike Walden” throws to do and I got picked. After several takes (I was nervous) we settled on some chit chat and I said the words that would make me famous. You can also find this on my blog as a “Fact About Me” 🙂
In my second year of university I was at the campus pub drowning my sorrows after a particularly poor performance writing an exam. This was a good 6 or 7 years after my big television debut. Apparently the episode had aired on a late night station the night before and one of the other bar patrons had seen it when pulling an all nighter before his exam. He ran up to me at the bar and started yelling, “Hey, you’re the ‘take it away Mike Walden’ guy!” I was his hero for the rest of the night. He and his friends made sure I drank for free.
It’s true. They never told me which episode I would appear in – if any. This was before the digital age and recording every episode wasn’t possible. Further to that, it may have aired only in the U.S. (on Showtime). Turns out though, that once the digital age took hold this would prove beneficial. In a weird twist of fate, someone who knew Super Dave’s archivist saw my plea for the show, called in a favour, and found it for me – 20 years after it was shot.
Every year in Lake Placid New York there’s a CanAm cup hockey tournament. As part of this, all the teams get to play in the same rinks that were used at the Olympics. Our team, the Thornhill Islanders, won the silver in 1987 and then went on to win the gold the next year.
I’m in Book III on page 126. After submitting my personal account to the Darwin Awards website I got an email from Darwin herself telling me that my anecdote had been voted one of the top 20 in its category. She asked me if she could use it in her upcoming compilation, to which I wholeheartedly agreed.
Yup. In the first printing hardcover they credited me as “Andrew Butler”. This is apparently a big deal (improperly crediting a source and whatnot) so they stopped the press and the name was changed for subsequent printings. Darwin sent me a t-shirt for my troubles.
In the summer of 1992 I travelled with my girlfriend at the time to visit her father, who was living in London for a couple years for business. We did a few touristy things in London (pub crawl, Hard Rock Cafe, Madame Tussaud’s, and a couple outings to the theatre. We also travelled to the country and stopped in at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill. We took a tour and stood in the room where he was born.
Winner winner chicken dinner! This one is the lie. I have driven past the Canadian embassy in both London England and Paris France, but that’s about as exciting as it gets. I would hope that the Winston Churchill truth would lend credibility to this one. Fooled everyone but Stephanie!
More info here: http://orangekaren.wordpress.com Hopefully you’ve read my blog, seen my tweets, or happened upon my Facebook author page and seen this. On April 11th, the book comes out and I’m very proud to say I’ll be a part of it. Get it here!
So this guy I went to high school with happens to produce music videos and movies and such things. He’s also a pretty amazing artist. His name is Harv Glazier and one day he put out a call for extras in a music video he was shooting in Toronto. I accepted and ended up playing a street fighting bum in a rap video. It was a completely exhausting experience but totally worth it. I had a blast. Here’s the video. You can find me at 1:24-1:40 with a close up around 1:26
So those of you who know me well know that I take dares, so you’d think that this would be one that come out of a night of drinking and oneupmanship between university buddies. Well, you’d be wrong. I simply saw it on a menu at an Asian restaurant in Toronto one day when I was out and decided I’d try it. Blech. Very rubbery. Not my favourite.
I attended summer camp for a decade, including one summer when I was 16 and spent a month as a councillor in training. Having been adept at sailing and canoeing it seemed logical that I’d try to advance far enough that I could instruct kids the next summer so I completed my basic instruction levels in both disciplines as well as my Bronze Cross swimming.
The month of July 1990 was spent at summer camp as a councillor in training. I was 16 and enjoying every minute. Hanging out with some of the older kids, councillors and instructors, was fun and the last week of camp I spent a lot of time with them (against camp rules). After pulling two all nighters it just seemed like fun to see how long I could go. I stayed at camp with a couple fellow trainees to work the kitchen for the little tyke junior camp weekend and remember sleeping for a long, long time in the hours after most people left and the new campers and staff arrived. For those wondering, yes, you do start to see strange things and become a bit loopy after about 80 hours.
There’s a local financial institution that does spots on small business customers of theirs and they happened to do one on a friend of mine who has a catering business in town. Just so happens that this friend and I sing together in a band. They wanted footage of my friend with her friends singing so we did a few takes at a local coffee shop. It was fun!
My dad got me a job working at a school at Jane & Keele in Toronto. My dad thought it would be a good experience instead of working as a bus boy or at the video store. I helped a summer school teacher work on the English skills of new immigrants. Most of the kids had behavioural problems due to lack of supervision or siblings in local gangs. It was challenging, but also very rewarding. I taught a little Vietnamese boy to count to ten. The look on his face when he finally got it right was priceless.
At the time the Jane/Finch Corridor was the meanest, most dangerous neighbourhood in the city. I rode the bus five days a week into this part of town and back every afternoon. As my dad had hoped, it was a learning experience. Aside from helping kids learn English I got to practice keeping quiet on the bus and walking with my eyes down on the sidewalk.
I don’t think I have enough time to give you the stories behind each one of these, so I’ll just tell you what I was doing when each one happened: toe beside the big one on the left foot (at summer camp, fell and twisted it between two rocks), left foot, left ankle, left tibia (these three all at once falling down a flight of stairs on Christmas Eve), left arm radius AND ulna (fell off my bike), left pinky (hockey) left middle finger (caught in a door), several ribs (hockey and squash collision with a wall), right ankle (hit with a hockey puck, also a stress fracture while running), right wrist (pushed into a door), right pinky finger (hockey), nose (ran into a door, door frame, and tree – three separate occasions), head (fell off a TV when I was 2), and brain (three concussions from hockey, plus one tubing (on water), plus “minor” head injuries snowboarding).
I was in Dryden Ontario picking up a friend from his house to bring him back to school. My girlfriend and I figured since we were almost in Manitoba anyway that we’d drive to Winnipeg. Along the highway we passed a sign indicating that we were at the longitudinal centre of Canada.
This one is hard to explain. I just got it. For some reason, the whole introduction to calculus just made sense. I had previously received the highest mark in mathematics in 10th grade, so it wasn’t a total surprise I guess. By the time 3rd year university rolled around though, it was a big shocker. Triple integrals in spherical coordinates and nabla operators had me thoroughly confused. I made it out though, but just barely and with a new appreciation for folks who did math for a living.
In my 3rd year Mechanics class, after we had established how to work in spherical coordinates and utilize calculus to solve “heavenly body” equations, our professor set aside the time to walk us through the mathematical proofs that Newton spent years figuring out. I ended up with a fairly decent grade in that class, somewhat proving to myself that I understood the fundamentals and lessening the sting of my Calc3 debacle.
Update: You can go to The Big Reveal post to find out who our winner is. Congratulations and thanks to everyone for playing along.
I think this is a good time for you to get to know me a little bit. Though instead of doing a Q&A or blather on about myself I thought I’d do something different. Here are 18 main points and 5 sub-points that are all facts about me – except one.
To make it interesting I am asking you to guess which one of these is a complete lie. Until 23:59:59 on March 31st I will be accepting guesses, and if at that time I have 10 or more guesses I will reveal the lie and someone will win stuff!
Free for you to use however you want, as many times as you want (provided you do not resell them or use them for any commercial purposes).
I will also include the story behind each image. One paragraph per picture about how I came to get the picture in my collection.
Next, the rules:
In the section below enter your email and other relevant information (it will NEVER be given out to anyone or seen by anyone but myself)
For your comment simply put down the number (and sub-number, if applicable) of the statement you think is FALSE (e.g. #4-2 or #7 or #18-1). Feel free to actually comment too!
You may only guess once
You may only pick one statement (i.e. if you select #4 you have picked that statement and not all the statements below it)
On April 1st if I have received at least 10 guesses…
…and one person has guessed correctly – I will award them the prize
…and more than one person guessed correctly – I will award the prize using a random draw including just the correct guessers
…and no one has guessed correctly – I will award the prize using a random draw including everyone who has guessed
Once the winner is declared they will have until April 15th to visit Andrew’s Alphabet and select up to 10 letters. I will send you an email and you can just reply with your choices and I will send you the images (Note: all images are suitable for printing in 4×6, many will print much larger)
Those who know me (or who have been paying attention) will know for certain some of the truths. Don’t spoil it for others! Just comment with your guess and see what some other people think 🙂
Without further delay. Here are the facts (and one lie):
I have scored a game winning goal at Maple Leaf Gardens
I have assisted Penn & Teller on stage with one of their tricks (Mofo the Psychic Gorilla)
I have been paid as a freelance writer to provide original content to a video game
I have had a 1 minute conversation and spoken five scripted words on a nationally broadcasted television show (US and Canada)
The episode aired more than once and I have been recognized by at least one complete stranger for this appearance
It was 20 years before I saw it
I have played, and won, hockey games on both the 1932 and 1980 Olympic hockey rinks in Lake Placid New York
I have had a 500 word anecdote selected for inclusion in a Darwin Awards book
In the first printing (hard cover) they incorrectly spelled my name
I have stood in the room where Winston Churchill was born
One summer in Europe was spent working as a groundskeeper for a Canadian embassy
I have had a 5000 word short story selected for inclusion (and soon to be published) in an anthology
I have appeared as a street fighting bum in a rap music video
I have eaten snake soup
I was once qualified to instruct both flat water canoeing and small vessel sailing
I once stayed awake for over 100 consecutive hours
I have appeared in a TV commercial for a financial institution (singing & texting – but no talking)
I have been a teacher’s assistant for English as a Second Language children (ages 6-10) with behavioural problems
This job was a block away from the most crime riddled area of Canada’s largest city
I have broken or cracked the following bones: toe beside the big one on the left foot, left foot, left ankle, left tibia, left arm (radius AND ulna), left pinky and middle fingers (separate breaks), several ribs, right ankle, right wrist, right pinky finger, nose, head (stiches), and brain (more than 4 concussions)
I have driven my car to the publicized geographic longitudinal center of Canada
Last year of high school I did not take notes or use anything but a pencil to write assignments/tests in Calculus. I got 94%. Last year of university I studied more for my Calculus 3 course than any other subject. I got 51%
In school, we covered in 3 lectures (9 hours) what took Isaac Newton over 20 years to uncover and write down (granted, he had other things going on).