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Movember and NaNoWriMo

So, if you’re not aware, this month is Movember, and is also National Novel Writing Month. This means two things: I’ll be growing an awesome moustache, and will be sporting a mohawk for the entirety of Movember I’ll be hiding away whilst attempting to write 1667 words per day If you’re not aware of what Movember is about, then check out http://www.movember.com/ for details. If you feel like donating to my cause, or seeing updated photos of my progress, then you can check out my team page. The site is not being very friendly so I cannot find a link, but you can search for “The Selleck ‘Stache Syndicate”. You can also watch my twitter account closely for weekly updates on the mo, and there’s a photo of Day 1 below. As for the NaNoWriMo side of things, I’ll be focusing those 50K words on The Christopher Dickens Story, which means that, hopefully, at the end of November I’ll have a first draft done. It also means that updates here will be less frequent, perhaps limited to once a week or once every two weeks, as my brain is being fried. Thanks for sticking around, see you on the other side. Brett

The Four Hour Body

I thought I’d start this post off with a review of Tim Ferris’ popular “The Four Hour Body“. I came across it accidentally, and after reading bits of the material on his website, I went and bought the Kindle version. Essentially, the book offers tips and tricks to “hack” the human body, in order to achieve radical weight loss (among other things) and to generally become “superhuman”.

The Four Hour Body

The Four Hour Body

Now, by and large, the book doesn’t offer anything too drastic, and most of the stuff that he mentions you probably won’t end up doing (like, for example, chugging down a few hundred millilitres of flaxseed oil first thing in the morning, or taking ice baths three times a week). However, it does offer a few nuggets of information which do pay dividends.

The main part of his weight loss plan, which advertises 9 kg of body “restructuring” in 4 weeks, is the low carb diet. By body restructuring, he doesn’t necessarily mean losing 9ks of fat, but means perhaps 5 kg of fat loss, and 4 kg of muscle mass increase. You get the point. In any case, I tried out his no carb diet myself. You’re supposed to steer clear of any white carbs, not eat fruit, not eat sugar, and have plenty of vegetables and legumes daily, with one cheat day a week.

I measured myself (I bought a scale and tape measure for this whole exercise) and kept a spread sheet of my weight, waist circumference, and hips circumference (I also tracked biceps, calves, thighs and chest, but that’s less important). First off, let me say that I struggled with breakfast: after years of having cereal and milk every day, moving to scrambled eggs is tough. I also took the suggested green tea and garlic extract supplements, and did some basic exercise. The one thing I couldn’t do was not have any sugar in my coffee, and I had it with a drop of milk.

The other thing he mentions is that you should be doing some basic strength exercises to work your muscles before and after meals on your cheat day. The first day that went down quite well, but that got old really fast. And the final disclaimer: I like my beer. Thus, when he insists on only one cheat day, my weekends tend to include beer on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I managed to cut Sundays, but not all Fridays, and I had a friend visit on a Wednesday which totally ruined my plans. Nonetheless, I experienced significant drops, enough to make me go out and buy new jeans. Check the figures (I am 25 years old, and am 1.78 metres tall):

Before
Weight: 87.9 kg
Hips: 96.0 cm
Waist: 90.0 cm

Week 1
Weight: 84.2 kg
Hips: 94.2 cm
Waist: 90.0 cm

Week 2
Weight: 83.6 kg
Hips: 92.0 cm
Waist: 85.0 cm

Week 3
Weight: 84.4 kg
Hips: 93.5 cm
Waist: 84.9 cm

Week 4
Weight: 84.1 kg
Hips: 92.0 cm
Waist: 84.5 cm

You’ll notice a bit of an increase in week 3, and that was the week in which I indulged, wonderfully, in the best burger and beer session of my life. It was worth it, but my figures have showed the slight increase, so I did pay. After a binge day, I typically put on 2-3kg, and by the Wednesday (my binge days are Saturdays) I had lost it again. Also, in this time, my body fat % dropped from 21.9% to 18.7%.

I’ve been a bit naughty after week 4, but even so, my weight hasn’t gone above 84.5kg while I’ve been binging. I’m back on the diet now, and will be interested to see how far it takes me, but I can safely say it’s worked wonders for me thus far. Having to buy a new pair of jeans after 4 days because yours are now too small is a fantastic feeling, and as far as I can tell, I now weigh in the 84kg region, not in the 88-89kg region, which is a 4-5kg drop in a matter of days.

Besides all of that, it is absolutely fascinating to read what Tim Ferriss puts his body through. The guy is a bit of a nutcase, but his book makes for entertaining reading, whether or not you intend on following through on what he offers. If you find science interesting, and you are interested (in any way) in the human body and conditioning, then this book is a must.

My only complaint is with the Kindle version, which has some minor formatting issues, and has a table of contents, but doesn’t allow you to easily navigate to important links, and between pages (at least, I couldn’t get it to work). Other than that, this book was worth every penny.

If you’ve read the book, have you tried it out? And if so, what did you think?

The Magical Tree

Finally, after many months of juggling work, writing and life in general, The Magical Tree is available. You can find it on both amazon.com and SmashWords:

The Magical Tree – Kindle Edition

The Magical Tree – SmashWords Edition

The cover was done by my cousin (a few times removed, I’m still not sure how all that works) Jackie Reid, she’s a freelance designer (mostly web stuff) and you can catch her here to see her portfolio.

Into the Rift in Print!

The print version of Into the Rift can be found on Createspace and on Amazon for only $6.99!

Since my first collection of short stories is, well, short, I never had the intention of getting a POD (Print On Demand) version sorted. However, when I mentioned to friends and family that I’d self-published a book, naturally they started asking where they could get their copy. Followed closely by where they could get the print version, since they didn’t want to read it on a computer.

But…but…it’s only 49 pages? It doesn’t make sense to – oh okay, fine. Fine. So, I went through the process, choosing Createspace as my dedicated POD service, and got it done. The proof copy took ages to arrive, being delivered to South Africa, and it took even more time to have it show up in the Amazon store. It’s there now, however, so what are you waiting for? Go grab one!

Update

I thought, since I’ve been absent for a long time, that I’d give everyone an update as to what’s new and forthcoming in that wonderful, all-encompassing term “soon”, in the life of this writer.

A new short story is upcoming, soon, available on amazon and via Smashwords (and thus everywhere else that they push to). It’s called The Magical Tree, and I’ll let you know as soon as it hits.

I have another short story in the works, recently finished, going through the editing process. It’s untitled as yet, but it has zombies in it. The only way I could make it better would be to add bacon. Or put it in a pie. I digress.

The novel, also untitled (officially), is underway. You can check out some horribly first draft type stuff here, on my other blog. Working title is The Christopher Dickens Story. It’s about a third of the way done, and beware: the posts are not all in proper order and are hideously unedited.

I have some ideas banging around for a few other stories, but I’ll stick to editing and getting the previously mentioned 2 out first, and then knuckle down and finish those, solely for your enjoyment.

I also read some cool new books: Hyddenworld, and Wall of Days. I’ve reviewed them on goodreads, so find me, add me, read the reviews, then go out and buy the books and be cool like me. While we’re on the subject of “find me and add me”, I’m also on google+, so go add me to your circle, punk.

Finally, I discovered the wonder of kindlegraph, which you should check out too. I’ll sign it for you, if you want.

And that’s that! Enjoy the weekend folks, and remember that you can still grab Into the Rift for free while the Smashwords sale is on, until Sunday midnight. Link, if you haven’t worked it out yet, is here.

Cheers,
Brett

Hospital

Hi folks,

Just a quick update on my current situation: I’ve had the last two weeks off work, due to what I’m going to refer to as “the condition”. Trust me, it’s better that way. You do not want to know details. On Monday past, I saw a specialist for “the condition”, and he advised that I needed surgery. So on Tuesday, I packed my bags and went to the hospital, where “the condition” was operated on. I spent 2 nights in the care of wonderful nurses, and was discharged yesterday.

I’m now home, recovering from “the condition”, which can take anywhere as long as 3-6 weeks. So, normal service shall resume as soon as I am not too drugged up on painkillers to write. Hang in there folks, and thanks for the kind wishes from all the kind people who’ve been well wishing me (and cringing at my descriptions of “the condition”).

Brett

Sale!

Smashwords are having a Summer/Winter sale (Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, Winter in the Southern Hemisphere). That means you can pick up Into the Rift free! Check it out here. Simply go to the book at the bottom of the page, and on checkout type in the promo code: SSWSF and it’s yours for free. A sample review for Into the Rift (from Amazon.com):

4/5 stars
“I don’t read short story collections that often, but I’m glad I picked this one up. The stories were simple and easy to read. There was a good variety as well. I enjoyed this collection very much, but wished there were a few more stories. It seemed to end too soon.”

So there you have it. Check it out. You know you want to!