122 Rules by Deek Rhew

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Dose of Happiness: Coffee Dates!

Readers of my blog know that I'm a simple fella. As a minimalist, I don't need a lot of stuff. Things don't make you happy. Piles of gizmos, giant houses, massive quantities of anything won't put a dance in your step, nor lighten the burdens in your heart.

In fact, given time, those things will bury you.



Too much stuff!



Aaaaaaahhhhhh!

Sure, I have my weaknesses. I'd be lost without my computer, phone, and coffee maker, but the items themselves aren't what make me happy. Simplicity and making memories are where it's at.

I've talked about Fryday--the one day a week Erin and I share a small Wendy's fry and a pizza--well, this goes hand-in-hand with Fryday: Coffee Dates!

Coffee Dates


Easily some of the most overlooked joys of life are simple times like grabbing a cup of joe down at the local coffee shop. Usually we walk to our local Starbucks--a trek that's five miles round trip. Then when we arrive, we chat it up with our favorite baristas. Every time we go in we learn a little more about them, get a little more familiar with their life stories.

For me and Erin it's more than just coffee, it's about connecting. Connecting with each other and those around us.

And of course, it's about drinking coffee, which come in all flavors and types!


Erin's favorite, Ice Cinnamon Almond Milk Caramel Macchiato

When we aren't Starbucksing, Erin will go for a Califia

Parents say, "Don't play with your food." Bah! Who can resist Starbucks in sunglasses?

Gimme your coffee and nobody gets hurt!



LOL! The baristas know me well. DOUBLE whipped cream!

Peekaboo!


Hangin' with my best friend!


In the end it's really all about hanging out with my partner, my best friend, my beautiful bride.

Deek and Erin - Brewin' Togetha!



So, go out, get some coffee--or whatever floats your boat--and make some connections!

This is Deek, with a little dose of coffee happiness!

Adventure on, my friends!



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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Dose of Happiness: Book Happiness Part 2!

Book happiness? Didn't I just blog about that a couple weeks ago? Why, yes, yes I did.



Again and Again!

If you missed it or don't remember, check out Dose of Happiness: Book Happiness.


This week, we're talking:

Formatting!


122 Rules Cover Page


Sure the covers on your favorite books rock, but what about all the pages in between? Someone had to spend HOURS meticulously laying them out, finding the right fonts, the right headers, the right chapter breaks.

Oh, and let's not even get into "widows" and "orphans."




No, not those widows and orphans, I'm talking about trailing little devil lines at the end or beginning of a page.

For print book layout, we use Adobe's Indesign. Erin has always done our book layouts and is smashingly good at it, but it was time for me to take the reins. So, she used The Prophecy's template to springboard the 122 Rules set up. She did the heavy lifting of setting up the master pages, fonts, headers, so on and so on.

She also worked with our cover designer, Anita Carroll of Race Po!nt, on the dimensions, page count, and things random sounding things like "gutters" and "bleed." All of this mess requires more precision than a mission to Mars or KDP will chew your book up and spit it out.



Then it was over to me to clean up the content. Compared to all that other stuff, cleaning the content doesn't sound like a big deal. I've got this.

Okay, maybe not as much as I'd hoped.

I've worked in programs that seemed to have been designed by drunk monkeys, and while Indesign wasn't quite that bad, the tipsy primates sketching the buttons and menus were clearly feeling prankish. Within the book itself there are a TON of things that you have to get just right--not only the widows and orphans--to make a book look polished and clean.

While it took a lot longer than I thought, with Erin's guidance, I think the results speak for themselves.


122 Rules - Cover Page
122 Rules - Chapter One

122 Rules - Rule #73

122 Rules - Chapter Break



And while I messed up a bit and asked a ton of questions, my amazing bride was profoundly patient and worked with me through all of it.

Next up, we tackled the Smashwords and KDP ebook versions. Those have their own, completely set of rules. Smashwords will upload your book to places like OverDrive, B&N, and Apple IF you are in their premium catalog, but to get there takes a whole lot of work.

Fortunately, Erin knows the 128 pages (yes, 128!!!) of rules and guided me through the process. Happily, Smashwords accepted 122 on the first try!

My bride is a brilliant editor and a total pro at book design layout. She even has her own company for just this service.



As a side now, 122 Rules is now available under its new Tenacious Books Publishing home!


I'm incredibly lucky to have such a talented, patient bride who's willing to help me learn the ropes. 

Erin is a total pro all the way!

This is Deek with another Dose of Happiness!



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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Dose of Happiness: Book Happiness!

This past month has been all about covers and editing and formatting and covers. Now that 122 Rules is being re-published under the Tenacious Books jaguar, we thought it only appropriate to give it a brand new cover to celebrate!

The Jag welcomes 122 Rules!
He's one cool cat!

But covers don't just happen. Sure, anyone can take an image, slap some verbiage on it, and call it a cover. But to really create something amazing and eye-catching, you need an artist.





No. Not that kind of artist.

The kind that can take a vague idea, some random images, and create something truly spectacular. That's why today's Dose of Happiness is about our cover artist, Anita Carroll, of Race Po!nt, because she is just such an an artist.


Book Cover Dose of Happiness

We began this process three years ago. Three! When we created the original cover for 122 Rules, we batted around a ton of ideas. The funny thing is, the original concept--and the one we have now gone with--was what both Anita and I, each individually, envisioned. I'd had in my head the idea and after she read the book, she also--without knowing what I thought--suggested something similar.

Wut? Yep!

Though the final cover turned out really good, ultimately, we didn't get to use our idea.

Original 122 Rules Cover

It's pretty sweet, right? Though, cool, I never let go of that original vision. I talked it over with Erin, who told me that it was worth spending the $ to get the cover re-done when we brought 122 under the Tenacious Books jaguar.

Erin wanted to see my vision brought to life. Seriously, could I get any luckier? 

So, this last February I told Anita I envisioned a man on a motorcycle, racing toward the reader, hell bent on a mission.

Yep. That's what she got from me.

Have I mentioned that I'm really lucky that my peeps are so patient and understanding?

Here are the pics I sent her:




Umm, yep. That's what she had to work with.

Fortunately, Anita didn't even blink. She took that hodgepodge of stuff and created...


<drum roll please>


Presenting, the brand new 122 Rules cover!

New 122 Rules cover!


I'm so pleased with the result. It matches exactly to what I've had in my head all those years.

I'm incredibly lucky to get to work with a great group of professionals, and am please to include Anita among them. She's a graphics artist pro from concept to delivery. There's a reason she's done the cover for everything in the Tenacious Books library and Erin and I created the hashtag #AnitaIsAmazing.

We have 122 tentatively scheduled for relaunch on April 10, 2019. I'm super excited to get to release it under the jaguar and with a cool new cover!


This is Deek, giving you a little dose of book happiness!

Adventure on, my friends!


122 Rules


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Dose of Happiness: Home Projects

Nobody ever says that doing home projects are fun...well, almost nobody. But, this one made me happy.


Say what?

Yep, it's true! Erin and I have been planning to replace the fans in our bathrooms, paint, and hang our barn door for several months now, and this weekend was it. So, as soon as I got off work on Friday, Erin came and picked me and we headed to the hardware store.

One of the things we had to do was figure out how to connect a super-sucker, modern-day bathroom fan to our antiquated 1980's attic venting. Erin and I worked through the limited available pipe pieces until we came up with a Y-adapter that would connect two fans with 6 inch exhaust pipes to a 3 inch flexi-vent pipe.

Rube Goldberg, eat your heart out!

Our ridiculous contraption looked both like the funnel on a steam engine or, well...

Be jealous, my Portland peeps!

In the end the venting worked perfectly, though this one looks kinda like a scorpion.


And this one, well, I don't know, is just a mess.
Functional, but a mess nonetheless.


And the results... Drumroll please!

Before

During

After


Dose of Happiness

Okay, so how does all of this tie back in to a dose of happiness?
Easy!

Erin and I did this together

And, really, for me to be happy that's all it takes. She and I had fun picking out our color, piecing together the crazy vent pipe, planning, and ordering the parts. During the project, which took most of the weekend and FOUR total coats of primer and paint (yes, FOUR!), we talked, laughed, and jammed out to country tunes.

Saturday evening, we had to go up to the hardware store for the inevitable thing that we forgot, but instead of driving we took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked.

Gorgeous sunset from the hardware store parking lot

It just kept getting prettier as we walked home.
As seeing as how Saturday is also Fryday, we then went to Wendy's, got our small fry, and ate in the parking lot. Dude, tastes SO good after a day of sweating and painting and bending and stooping and wiring in the attic! AND after we finished for the evening, it was pizza night!

In my past life I would have done the whole project alone. But my best friend and partner was there every step of the way, and together we rocked it!


Deek and Erin, back again, party on party on!

This is Deek, giving you a little dose of home project happiness!

Adventure on, my friends!


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Dose of Happiness: Fryday!

Erin and I spent months and months losing weight via Keto. It worked awesome and we shedded the pounds like melted butter.

But what do you do after you've lost the weight?


Unfortunately, a lot of people go back to their old habits and put the weight back on. Erin and I got rid of all our "fat" clothes, thus committed to keeping the weight off. So we incorporated the changes into our lifestyle.

We like fitting into our clothes. We like feeling energetic. We like taking pictures and not worrying if we look bloated/puffy/fat.

While we were dieting, we had our weekly cheat-meal day. Pizza, Starbucks, and we split a small Wendy's fry. I'm affectionately coining this day:

Fryday!

Mountains of delicious salty goodness in a convenient sleeve
You can taste their warm, salty, goodness can't you?


But who eats just half a small fry? Actually, we do. Once a week.

Fries are one of those things that there's diminishing returns for each delectable, salt-ladened stick. The first few blow your socks off. The next curl your toes. After that, it starts losing something and the enjoyment factor goes way down.

As a kid I was always told to clean my plate. Starving kids in Africa/China/California, yada yada yada. But SHOULD you do that with unhealthy foods?

Anyway, we decided to carry on the habit of our once-a-week cheat meal over, incorporating it into our lifestyle. We get our fry and sit in the parking lot, savoring it. And just when we are starting to get diminishing returns on our caloric investment, they're gone.

Food-wise, Fryday is easily my happiest day of the week! While we eat great stuff all the rest of the time, this tops the charts...plus, it's the weekend, so I'm hanging our full time with my bestie and sleeping in.


This is Deek, delivering a little dose of Fryday happiness.

Adventure on, my friends!






Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Cholesterol Scare - Follow Up

Two months ago, I posted about my frightening cholesterol numbers being almost double the legal limit. See: Cholesterol Scare.

In my due diligence, I read A LOT of articles and did a TON of research. It turns out that it's possible high cholesterol isn't the death sentence we believed it to be. See: Cholesterol Scare - Part 2: Not as Scary as We Thought?

During my last post about lipid levels, Erin and I had theorized that I fall into a sub-group of Keto reactors known as a Lean Mass Hyper Responder. Basically, it means that when I get my body fat low enough and I'm on a high-fat diet, my cholesterol numbers and LDL go through the roof.

And, brother, let me tell you they did!

As of December 27, 2018 they were:
  • Total Cholesterol = 375mg
  • Triglycerides = 100mg 
  • HDL = 51mg 
  • LDL = 291mg

If you've ever gotten back elevated lipid levels, you know that these are frightening numbers.

Frightening!


So, it's been two months, what's been happening?

Plenty!

We decided to test the Lean Mass Hyper Responder theory. I modified my Keto diet and meds as follows:
  • Increased calories by 300 to a maintenance level of 2400
  • Increased carbohydrates from ~30-40 to 100
  • Removed egg yolks from my diet
  • Switched from 10mg of Lipitor to 5mg of Crestor

That's it. No additional exercise, no other anything. The rest of my diet remained the same and on the same schedule.

The results <drum roll plllleeeeease>:
  • Total Cholesterol = 233mg
  • Triglycerides = 75mg 
  • HDL = 52mg 
  • LDL = 163mg
I can live with that...literally.

In two months that's a pretty phenomenal change. We're going to ride it out a little longer and see where my body settles in, but the long and the short of it, is that Lean Mass Hyper Responder is a real thing.

In the future, if I need to lose more weight, then I *may* still do the low-carb version of Keto, though perhaps not as low as I was doing. I don't know just yet. We only got these blood results yesterday, so I haven't had a chance to process it all.

When we cross that bridge, I will write another post about it. For now, I'm going to bask in the I'm Not Going to Die from Cholesterol Tomorrow glory!

Gloriously Relaxed!


What am I fighting before besides the chance to add more candles to my birthday cake?

Years and years more of this...


And this...

And this...

And this...


Yes, please! A very long life of this!


I'm incredibly lucky to have a partner that's worried and researched and kept a level head and listen to me ramble about cholesterol and lipids and fats and blood levels and lean responders and on and on. Thank you, Erin, for standing by me through all of this. I epically love you!


Until later, adventure on my friends!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Beachin' It - Homework for Redemption

I love writing, but there are times when I love it even more. For instance, when I have to go to the beach for some "homework."


Check that out! You can practically hear the waves crashing and the seagulls squawking. Smell the brine and salt air and feel the sand beneath your bare feet.

The beach is homeopathic therapy. Being there is like one long, happy meditation session while someone rubs your shoulders, scratches your back, and feeds you pizza.

When I'm at the coast, the stress magically melts away and the worries and chaos of the world fade to insignificance. And when I'm there with my bride and best friend...oy! What worries? We have problems back in the "real" world?

Well, this last trip wasn't just about fun and games though. I was there for some hardcore book research to help me edit 122 Rules Redemption. Time to get serious.

Project: Get into Max's head

Max Fayle is one of my favorite characters. He's a die hard boardhead who lives and breathes surf. At his shop, The Board Wake - Epic Fayle Designs, in the jewel of the Pacific--Alabaster Cove, California--he makes custom surfing gear.

In the story, he's minding his own business when he has a run-in with a certain serial killer, Tyron Erebus. While he deals with the murdering psychopath better than most, he's got a lot of other scenes where Max is just being...well, Max. But during this last round of edits I felt like I was having trouble getting into his beachy head.

Erin, being the wonderful, understanding woman that she is, agreed to a beach trip to help!

Starting to feel it...

Feeling it even more...
While it looks like we are right on the ocean, our hotel upgraded us for free. So UP we went! This was taken from our hotel room on the 31st floor.

While the view over the ocean rocks, I highly recommend refraining from looking straight down. It's a REALLY long way.

While we spent a ton of time on the sand, we did spend a bit of time in the local shops. Look! I've got abs of steel!

Check out some of the rather odd wildlife that
thrives on the east coast


I'm happy to report Project: Get into Max's Head was a complete and utter success! I was feeling the call of the waves by the time we left and I was even able to get in a little editing time from the balcony of our hotel.

Did I mention it was on the 31st floor?

Best of all, I got to spend the weekend with my bride!

Erin and Deek, Beachin' It!

When going to the beach I HIGHLY recommend you go with your best friend too. There's no one Earth I'd rather spend my time with. Erin makes every day fun. She makes every day an adventure. She makes every day fulfilling.

She makes my life.

!Reader Alert!

Readers of 122 Rules: Keep your eyes peeled. We will be republishing 122 Rules under the Tenacious Jaguar at the end of March! 
Tenacious Books - The Soon-To-Be New Home of 122 Rules!

To go along with it's brand new home, it'll have a brand new cover. Anita from Race Point, is blending and editing and pasting and graphing and whatever else graphic artists do, to bring you super cool new design. I'm totally stoked. I think you're gonna love it. There's a reason we say #AnitaIsAmazing!

Also coming soon, the long-awaited sequel, 122 Rules - Redemption!

Join Angel, Monica, and Sam as they take on Tyron Erebus as he wreaks havoc on Alabaster Cove. Also making a cameo appearance is Dios from Birth of an American Gigolo!

Stay tuned for updates!

That's it for now my friends.

Adventure on!