Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012

The promise was 100 words per day.  I think I made that today, for my 100th article was over 840 words long.  Yup, I wrote my 100th post today, but rather than dwell on it here, you’ll have to read it here.  And so, I move on.  Even though I wrote a lot today, I still want to write this journal entry.  I have, many times, attributed my rekindled passion for writing to this journal, so I don’t want to abandon it even after a good writing day.  And so, this is my entry.  It was a fantastic day today…I love Thursdays.   The only thing I did not do is write in a story.  But in the big picture, it’s not important.  Because it was a good day.  Or did I say that already?


A Century of Writing

Today, dear reader, marks a milestone for me.  Today is a pretty special day in my 'career' as a blogger / writer.  And, as I sit and contemplate what I have accomplished since I started this journey, I realize that I have grown.  By a few pounds, a bit larger circumference, and a few more grey hair in my beard.  Those are all positive growth attributes, but not really what I mean by 'I have grown'.  I truly believe that I have grown as a writer.  As of this very moment, I am not sure where this post is going, but I do know that it will be a reflection.  A reflection on this milestone.  A reflection on a century of writing.  A century of Fifafan subjecting his readers to his thoughts (fully clothed).  Dear reader, this post is my century mark.  This post is number 100.  And so, let me reflect.

As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed writing.  I haven’t always done it well (and I still don’t), and I always haven’t put my best pen forward, but I have always had an interest in it.  Before the computer age, we had pens and paper, and I employed those tools in the writing of letters to friends around the world.  I loved writing letters.  And of course, the ‘blog’ as we know it today did not exist.  Oh, I played around with personal journal’s (I’m loathe to call it a diary), but they never really amounted to much.

Surprisingly, I used to really enjoy poetry.  I wrote several poems in my English classes in High School, and received fairly decent marks for them.  Maybe the teacher was being nice to me, and graded me good for effort rather than content, but I really did enjoy poems.  Maybe I should try writing in that style and format again.  After all, even my reader(s) need a good laugh.

As for blogging, it really started for me in 2009.  February 2009 to be exact.  That was the time that my best friend was diagnosed with cancer.  Many of you were with us on that journey…through my first blog.  I felt it was a brilliant way to keep people informed of the events and statuses.  Through a traumatic and difficult time, a passion was re-kindled in me.  A passion for writing.  Yes, at first the blog was only about the cancer journey, but as my style was developed and my comfort in words grew, I found that I wanted to do more.  I wanted to share more of my thoughts, my dreams, my opinions.  And so I did.

I started putting words into print, poorly at first.  But, as with the cancer blog, my writing developed, my use of different words expanded, and I think my posts became more readable and maybe even more entertaining.  I wrote some serious stuff (A Prayer For Stef, 2010/11/23 & 11 Years Ago, 2010/10/07).  Both of those articles moved me in a way I didn’t think could happen.  Both of those articles kept the fire burning, for I felt I wrote some really good stuff.   Yes, I have written some very personal stuff.  I have also written some off the wall stuff.  A Mistress to Many, 2010/10/09 and Wanna Smoke, 2010/08/22 come to mind.  Those 4 articles, along with Papillons de l’Amour, 2010/09/13 may be among the best stuff I’ve ever done.

Yes, dear reader, this post was reflective of the past 3 years.  There have been times where I have written very little, whether due to a lack of inspiration or a lack of caring.  I almost stepped away from it completely, because I didn’t think I had it in me anymore.  The passion was gone.  But, I didn’t make any rash decisions, and today I am still writing.  A while ago I started my online journal.  This was to fulfill my promise to myself to write 100 words per day, and I think it has been very helpful.  I feel good about my writing, and there is that fire burning again.

100 posts I have written and published.  100 times I have expressed my feelings to anyone who wanted to read it.  The century mark is a big thing no matter what it applies to.  If a person hits 100 years of age, it is a big deal.  The turn of the century was a big deal.  Falling short in the ‘big deal’ category, but still important (to me) is the 100 posts on

Dear reader, this is 100.  My next post will be 101, and the start of a brand new journey.  The journey to 200.  Very few of us will see the turn of two centuries.  None of us will live to be 200.  But, if all goes according to plan, most of us will see the next milestone.  Fifafan’s 200th post.  Reflecting we have gone, and reflecting we will go.  But first, I have 99 more articles to write.  I hope you’re along for the ride.




Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012

And just like that, it’s over.  Done.  Finished.  And honestly, it makes me sad.  I really enjoyed it, and felt I was getting stronger because of it.  Better.  However, nothing lasts forever, and that goes for the training course I was on for the last 3 days.  Yep, it’s done.  I learned a lot, and at some point I will be able to put what I’ve learned into practice in my job and in my personal life.  The myth is that an Apple a day keeps the doctor away…I don’t buy it.  Even an Apple needs a technician.  And even a technician needs to eat.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29, 2012

Today was another really cool day.  I am really enjoying the Mac Lion OS and iOS training that I am currently attending.  A three day course…makes for a brilliant week.  I did not ride my bike today, so there was no exercise for me.  Oh well, I wrote another article for my blog, and that was a really good thing.  I am not sure where I found the inspiration for the article, but it was there so I wrote it.  I may even work on Lionel’s story tonight.  It needs to move forward a little.  I have been struggling with the direction of the story a little bit, which is why I have not done much to it.  I am finding it easier at this point to write the other story idea…the one about love.  And so, in a little while, I will pour a drink, put some tunes on and write.  Or at least think.  Let’s see where the words end up.


Relax...with bubbles

Good evening, dear reader

How do you relax? With a good book, or with some soft music? Do you engage in a hobby such as woodworking or painting? The point is that there are many ways to relax, and most people do something different. For instance, I put a bunch of words into sentences and hope they make sense and tell a story. Yep, that is how I relax. But, where do bubbles come in? Read on, dear reader. There are bubbles in my future.

Bubbles. We all like bubbles. As kids we blew bubbles from our little plastic stick thingies. As we grew up, most of us never really lost that intrigue. However, those are not the bubbles I am talking about. I suppose I could give a hint and say that heat and bubbles work together to help me relax. And now I suspect you are cluing in, so I will add one more hint. Water. You got it, dear reader. Hot tubs! There is nothing quite like soaking in a hot tub, maybe some quiet music playing, even a glass of wine close by. Ah yes, I can feel the daily stress sweating off me as I write this.

But, I don't have any wine. And the music isn't playing, although that is easily correctable. As a matter of fact, dear reader, bear with me for one moment as I turn on some music. Ah, that's better. now I can do some scribbling to the light tunes of The Statler Brothers. Something cold and wet would really set the mood for relaxing and writing. But alas, I must do without. Running to the kitchen to get liquid relief would create a bit of a mess. And that, in turn, would make my dear wife unhappy with me. Not cool. So, going forward then, I think we can agree that this sounds wonderful.

Imagining all this is in itself is the very definition of tranquility. Peacefully I close my eyes and think of sitting in a hot tub, with all the accoutrements I mentioned. If I try hard enough, I can even taste the Chianti or Merlot gracing my palette with their oaky tones. It is a sigh of contentment that I sigh. All of this, dear reader, is almost perfect.

Almost perfect? That may be a bit of an exaggeration. You see, I can't taste the wine. The spice of supper still reminds me of a wonderfully cooked meal that was chased down by a cup of coffee. There is music, and yes it really is The Statler Brothers. As a matter of fact, they are singing Flowers On The Wall, playing solitaire 'till dawn with a deck of 51. There we have wine, but there is music. There is one more thing right and one more thing wrong happening here. There are bubbles. I could not possibly write about bubbles without being immersed in them. What then, could possibly be wrong with this picture?

Here is the crux of the matter, dear reader. I don't own a hot tub. This whole scenario goes out the window without a hot tub. Or does it? I don't think so, for pretty much every place I have ever lived in has a tub. And hot water. And in my most humble opinion, a tub and hot water makes a hot tub. Oh, I may not have the jets, but I can live with that. And as for the bubbles, Superstore sells monster sized bottles of bubble stuff, and it doesn't even stink too badly. There you have it, dear reader. Relaxing, in a hot tub, with bubbles and listening to music. How do you relax? As for me, I soak. And yes, I believe that guys can soak in a tub and it's not weird (some people think it is). And yes, I have enjoyed it my whole life. But next time, I want a glass of wine.

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012

An awesomely cool day today it was. Which is crazily incredible because it is Monday, and for those who know me well or have paid any attention at all to what I write, you will know that I don't do Mondays well. The Twitter hashtag of the day was #WhatWasIThinking. But, I had two good rides on the way to the training course, and one on the way home. Neither ride was long, only about 5Km each. But, it was awesome to be riding, listening to music and searching for inspiration. That's one thing I read last night...a writer (or in my case, a wannabe) must always be on the lookout for the next source of inspiration. A writer must watch people, watch nature, watch life. And from watching, the writer will learn to write about what he or she sees, because they will have experienced it. Writing something, in my humble opinion, is easier when writing from experience. That is why lots of what I write is infused with personal experience, with a healthy dose of pure fiction mixed in. I hope that once I get to putting a story or two on my site, the reader (if there will be any) will be able to feel the emotions of the character(s). But in the meantime, I will continue to search for inspiration, and work with what I already have.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27, 2012

I am wondering how many stories are too many to write at one time.  I realize my focus should be on the one I am working on at the moment, but can that focus shift from day to day or week to week?  The reason I am asking this is because I currently have 3 stories or story ideas that I am developing and writing.  Part of me thinks I should devote all my time to the one story…pick one and write it.  But the problem with that is mood.  Each story comes from a different mood.  It’s hard to write about positive emotion when my mood is dark, and vice versa.  I like to think that the stories I write are emotional, based on love, based on the feelings and experiences of the people I write about.  Sounds strange, but it honestly comes from the heart.  I am an emotional guy…I just don’t show it often.  So hopefully, if I write today, I can bring some emotion into the words I scribble.  And hopefully, if I ever let anyone read my stuff, they will feel the emotion.  But first, I need to write it.  I need to feel it.  It needs to move me.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26, 2012

Last night was a strange writing night.  I could not get going…there was simply nothing that was motivating me.  I tried music, I tried sitting quietly with my eyes closed and meditating, I tried whiskey.  Nothing worked.  And then…BAM.  Right around 1:00am, I am just heading off to bed.  An idea strikes me…not a new idea, but rather an idea of where I can take the story; a couple possible endings and a bit more content.  So, I wrote a bit yet at that time of day.  Crazy but true.  But then today, I started having some doubts.  Not about the story, but about the format.  It is going to be a he said / she said type story, where both of the main characters talk about the same events, but from their own perspectives.  It is kind of a neat conversation so far.  Oh, and before you ask…I am still working on Lionel Aber’s story.  So, I really have two ideas on the go.  And of course, there is always the stuff that will never see the light of day because it’s trash.  And all I can say is this:  I’m writing again.  And it’s fun again.


Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012

I seem to be in a bit of a pickle tonight.  For whatever reason, I cannot get going. Possibly it is because it is late, and I’m tired.  Or maybe because I have the TV on and not music.  Or maybe it’s because I wore myself out last night with the myriads of words.  I will try for a little bit to get the mojo going.  I will plug my earbuds into my ears, turn on some tunes that usually inspire me…and start crafting.  I have a couple stories on the go, both in early development, but both with some real potential.  If I could just get into the head of one of my characters, I could start a barrage.  But do I really want to stay up really late, which could happen if I get going?  Heck ya I do!  But it had better start soon.  Before I fall asleep.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24, 2012

In the words of James Brown…I feel good!  I have listened to a lot of music today, and for whatever reason, music inspires me.  And so I think I will start having my tunes shooting into my ears whilst trying to craft some coherent sentences.  Although I have to admit that typing and bopping is a rather difficult thing to do.  I suppose I will find out if practice makes perfect.  If it doesn’t, I guess who ever read’s my stuff will notice some spelling mistakes.  Or my spell checker will suddenly become over worked.  And so, it seems that tonight may be a good night of writing.  I am not yet sure if Lionel is going to make an appearance in any of the stuff I’m writing.  I may just try get a short story started.  I have some terrific ideas that I’d like to write about.  My oh my, where is all this coming from.  Music, you are my friend.  And I thank you.  Credit you will get.


Addendum:  The above was written at Mark & Nelena’s place, at the very start of my kids organ lessons.  During the rest of the lesson, I managed to write 1286 words in a non-Lionel related story.  I will most likely not post that story, but it is sure turning into an interesting read and an interesting format.  I’m loving writing it.  It has a definite end, but it could be a very circuitous route to get there.  I’m hoping that I don’t lose interest in it.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012

A very productive day indeed.  Productive as in I did a lot of writing.  I posted a new article under ‘My Muses’, and I wrote some stuff that really is not publishable.  Pure trash, to be honest.  But hey, I’m writing, I’m being creative and that is translating into words.  It always feels good to get something down that is good.  And honestly, if nobody reads what I’ve written and posted, it doesn’t bother me.  I write things I like to, people read things they like to.  Very rare do those two worlds meet.  I did not, however, write anything about Lionel.  I may yet do that, for the night is young.  Or I may say that enough is enough.  There’s only so much a fellow should do.  Can’t overdo a good thing.  Shouldn’t overdo a good thing.  So I won’t overdo a good thing.


Do they laugh?

Good evening, dear reader

It has been some time since I've written a blog entry. Oh, I've done some writing in my journal, and I've done some work on a story, but I've not put anything here in this category for a while. And so tonight, I write. I write because I have a question. And I write because I am curious. And this post is very relevant and probably fairly similar to a post I made a little while ago. And I'm going to address it again...and again...and again. And so, before I ask my question, I want to clarify something. Nobody is perfect, and I don't want to give the impression that they are. I'm not perfect, you're not perfect, my kids aren't perfect and neither are yours. I am not looking at my question through rose-colored glasses. I am looking at my question through tears. And yes, that may blur my vision a bit. Hopefully you can read my typing...

So, a brief discussion leading up to my question. I believe it is natural for kids to come home from school and talk about their day. I would hope that parents ask about how things went. I would hope that parents are interested in the events of the day, both good and bad. I strongly suspect that most of us do that. We invest time and money into the education of our children. We want what's best for them. I would hope that we all take the education of our children seriously. And I would hope that we all interact with our kids when they get home and talk about their day. And now, with all that being said, I ask you this: do kids come home from school and in the course of their 'day report', talk and laugh about how they made a fellow student feel bad? Do they talk and laugh about how they pushed a fellow student into the bathroom stall door? Do they go so far as to laugh and talk about how they even ganged up on a child...three on one? Does this happen?

This is a serious question, dear reader. Serious because I don't know the answer. Serious because it refers to a very serious topic. If anyone is reading this and thinking that they don't have to take this serious, then I beg you to re-consider. Please read what I said in my introduction about perfection. There is none. I know the answer to my question when I talk to my kids. They tell me what I want to hear. It is only after some more conversation that I find out they were mean to somebody. Or that they said something they shouldn't have, or acted out in a rude and disruptive way. But they don't willingly offer me that information. The beauty of these conversations is that it leads to some very important life lessons that both children and adults need to learn, and learn again. Not one of us has an ounce of perfection in them. And so, we talk about what sort of behaviour is appropriate, what sort of actions, gestures and looks are not meeting expectations, and most importantly what we are going to do about it.

But, I have concerns, dear reader that there are not enough of these conversations happening. I know that I don't talk to my kids near enough about this stuff. Yes, I am writing this stuff to me...if you want to read it and maybe use some of it, that is great. But I am seriously working on the plank in my own eye. I don't even see if there is a speck in yours, so please don't attack me for what I say. As I started saying, I have concerns. When I see or hear of a child coming home from school mentally worn down and discouraged, I think we have a problem. When I see or hear of a young boy or girl wondering if it is all worth it, I believe we have a problem. When I see or hear of a young boy or girl getting ganged up on by 2 or 3 of his or her peers, I know we have a problem.

This leads to another question. Why on earth is this crap still happening? Are we as parents failing so miserably that our children think that bullying is acceptable? Are we as parents actually showing encouragement through our silence? I sure hope not, but I think I'm partially wrong. I really don't think that we as parents want our kids to hurt other kids. I have a hard time buying into that. No, I think that we just need to ask the right questions. Our children need to be held accountable. Who's job is it to do that? I believe it is the parents, with involvement from the school system, whether private or public or separate.

I don't think this particular conversation includes homeschoolers, only for the fact that your kids don't have the same level of public interaction that non-homeschooled kids have. But that doesn't mean I think homeschooled kids are better...nothing is farther from the truth. They are no different in that respect. I've seen homeschool kids bullying other kids. And I've seen the parents laugh it off, admiring little Johnny for being so creative in their interactions, totally ignoring the fear and tears in the other child's eyes. So again, nobody and no system is perfect.

But, I digress. Yes, I do think the school system has a responsibility to educate the children in proper behaviour and treatment of others. And I do think that educators can teach their charges about the effects of bullying, whether intentional or not. And I know of a teacher that wants to do just that...and to me, that breeds a lot of respect. If parents and teachers work together to teach children about how much pain can be caused by a little word, then I really believe we can change things around. Oh, there will always be that one child with a mean streak. I'm still not naive, and I still don't have my rose colored glasses on. And there will always be personality kids and adults. That is just the way it is.

But I firmly resolve to ask my children the right questions. I am determined to find out their indiscretions. And I am bound by my word that I will teach my kids not to laugh at the misfortune or hurt of another. They will be held accountable. And that is part of the lesson I will hold fast to. The other part is this: I can't work change in anyone but myself and my children. So my kids need to know that when they are the targets, the sad reality is that I am powerless. Daddy cannot help except bind up the wound a little tighter. And so, through my own hurt, I teach my children to cope. To cope in a world that doesn't seem to care about asking the right questions. To cope with the pain of words that have been forged into swords. To cope with reality that others aren't accountable. Yes dear reader, I hope you can read this. For it is stained with my tears.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012

Ah, I love thee!  Yup, this is one of my favorite days of the week next to Saturday and Sunday.  I figure I had better write something now, because if I put it off until later it won't get done.  And I definitely won't work on Lionel's story tonight.  For tonight I go out.  I go out for beer.  I go out for wings.  And I go out for the enjoyment of spending a couple hours conversing with my cousin Sheldon.  We do this 2 or 3 times a year...twice to celebrate birthdays and once just because we can.  And because we really like beer and wings.  And so, that is my reason for doing very little on the creative writing tonight.  I know that it seems I am very creative when it comes to excuses, but it is only the truth I tell.  Besides, I am the one I have to answer to.  This section of my site is my journal.  I don't have to write if I don't want to.  #Petulant  And that officially is the first time I've used a hashtag in a post.  I'm so proud.  And creative.


Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012

So far, today has been a productive day. I have started 2 batches of homebrew, phoned an old friend for his birthday (we haven't been in contact for many years), brought my son to the church to practice on the pipe organ, and I've written. Yes, I have added to Lionel Aber's story. I am not sure that this is the publishable version, but I will go back tonight and read it. And change it. And change it again. One thing I am unsure of is this: it is a normal feeling to be very nervous about publishing something? It seems to me that I am really hesitating to post anything beyond a blog entry or a journal entry. Both of these writings, blog and journal, are easy...they are merely opinions and personal experiences which don't really need to entertain a loy of people. As a matter of fact, it doesn't bother me if my stuff doesn't get read.

But how about the fiction that I write? It is a different beast, in my humble opinion. I seem to be scared to put it out there for anyone to read. My story about Lionel Aber is coming along slowly (good thing I don't get paid to do this), but I fear the very act of publishing it on my website. I suppose I could write a couple really short stories and put them up...maybe that would help me get over my fear. Maybe I just need to get over it, and learn to realize that any criticism can only serve to make me a better author. After all, food on my table and a roof over my head does not depend on the quality of my writing. Thankfully.


Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012

I started writing another article on bullying today, but I'm not sure I'm going to publish it.  I may try write a story type article instead.  I think it may carry more weight and, if kids read it, it may hit home a little more.  This has been a pet project of mine for a while, and I feel it is time I do something more with it.  No, I have not forgotten about Lionel.  As a matter of fact, he may feature prominently in a story separate from his own.  As I think of it, it becomes fairly obvious that this would be a great way to go.  I like it.  See?  Writing in a journal does help.  It really does.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17, 2012

Wow.  May 17 already.  The bright side is that I think I have my head in order now, and my affairs in order to the point where I can tackle Lionel's story again.  I have not thought about it during the whole time of my vacation.  And, in the past few hours, I have been working on getting my pictures onto my website.  All of this takes time, and detracts from my writing time.  That's ok, though.  I am being productive.  I am having fun.  My next task is to write a blog article about our California trip, after which I will work on my story.  Lots to do.  Little time.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15, 2012

Well, after a few days of not writing, here is a quick entry. My reason for not adding any entries is simple - I have been on holidays. My family and I flew down to Fresno, California to visit my brother and his family. He had no idea we were coming. I will write a blog entry about the trip, along with links to some videos and pictures. I can say that it was an awesome trip, but it was simply too busy to write anything. And I am ok with that. Well, my plane just arrived, so preparations must be made for boarding. Talk soon!!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9, 2012

Now that I am starting to feel better, my mind is starting to work on some of the aspects of Lionel's story.  I believe I will write an introduction first, with the purpose being to introduce Lionel to the world.  I want to do things differently too...Lionel is going to have his own social media presence...Facebook & Twitter to be exact.  How exactly he will interact with the masses will be played by ear.  For all I know, he could end up with a really lonely social media existence.  I will friend him and follow him, and I will urge others to that as well.  So, the pressure is on to introduce everyone to him.  Will I expose the gift?  I don't know...I may hint at it, or refer to it as 'the gift', but I may not completely expose it.  I can't give away all the secrets in the first installment of the story, can I.  With this declaration, I now have a target in mind.  And soon, Lionel will be available to the world.  I am looking forward to it.


Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012

I don't believe that this is going to become a habit.  I merely think I am using being ill as a good excuse not to write.  And ill I am.  I'm pretty sure both lungs have been coughed up.  But hey, this too shall pass.  I would hope that this &^*&ing cold will disappear pretty soon, because obviously I don't want it anymore.  There are too many things that I am forced to miss because of it.  Being in crowds of people whilst coughing a lung out is not attractive...or kind.  And I don't like missing things.  Maybe I'm a wimp.  Fine.  But maybe it is considerate of me not to grace anyone with my presence...I won't make them sick this way.  A couple more nights of long sleeps and lots of drugs and I will be right back to normal.  Be aware...I will return.


Friday, May 4, 2012

May 4, 2012

I honestly did not miss writing last night.  It seems harsh to admit that, but it is the reality of it.  This cold has got me run down...and down...and down.  I'm thankful it's the weekend, because I have two days to get over this thing.  A big week lies is busy, church life is busy and family life is busy.  So yeah, I really need to get over it.  I don't think I'm fair to my family when I'm sick and they are too...I become very selfish.  Instead of letting my dear wife sleep...I sleep.  Instead of being patient...I snap.  Sigh.  I am such a cad at times.  I blame being sick.  Maybe it's a trait Lionel Aber will have as well.  I could write that...I have plenty of experience.  But until I do write it, it must remain in my head.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012

Cough.  Cough.  It burns....  Yup, that was my day and is going to be my night.  I don't expect to sleep a whole lot tonight, unless I can find some really good drugs to knock me out.  This also means that I won't be doing any writing.  It is all I can do to get through this journal entry.  I am just not feeling all.  65 words I've typed...only a few more to go.  I'm sure I can ramble on to get to my self imposed 100 word limit.  Pathetic, isn't it.  It may not be the right way to go about it, but if I don't do it I will slip into the routine of not doing it.  And I want to do it.  Every day.  Writing, that is...what were you thinking?


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1, 2012

Onward and upward.  That is the theme for May.  It is pretty lame, I know...but I don't really give a rip.  :)  May is going to be another good month for doing a little bit of writing.  I will continue working with Lionel and his story, and I will continue these journal entries.  I have a couple other ideas for a short story or two, and I may or may not get to those this month.  It is really hard to describe the amount of thoughts running through my head regarding ideas...I just need to focus.  And write.  It's the same old tune I've been singing for a while now, but if I keep harping at myself, eventually it will pay off and I will have something.  The important thing is that I have not lost faith in me to get this ball rolling.  Others may have, but I haven't.  It's a work in progress.  And I am progressing.  Slowly.