• Tag Archives winter
  • Stay Focused Social Media Blocking App and Timex TW5M23300 Watch

    Stay Focused Social Media Blocking App and Timex TW5M23300 Watch.

    Last week I was off-line except for a couple of tasks that needed doing via the Internet (like administration). To ensure I remained off-line–I’m just as human as the next guy (I think)–I got an app for my computer phone called Stay Focused. This app can block any app on your phone and, in the free version (which I used), can block up to 5 apps at once. You set a schedule by telling it which hours and what days you want certain apps blocked. I applied these to the social media apps on my pocket computer to keep me on lockout. While true I’m in Broadcast Mode in the winter, as part of broadcasting I sometimes need to go into an app like Instagram and post something. The problem is one glance at the feeds can quickly lead to two, then three, and so on, and the next thing you know you’ve fiddled away an afternoon scrolling and scrolling and refreshing and scrolling.

    This picture is a screenshot of the app from the day I went dark. You can see the stat on there says I’ve already tried opening the app 3 times and each time it didn’t work (was running tests). The timer on locking me out of these apps ran for a week. And it worked! Once I knew I was locked out, I didn’t give the apps a second thought.

    Stay Focused APF

    Stay Focused also acts as a master lock, meaning you have these little locks under it (like the apps you’re blocking), but then you can lock Stay Focused itself–but only in 6-hour chunks in the free version–to ensure you don’t unlock your blocked apps. I’m assuming this is for extreme cases where certain people need a double padlock on their phone. To get even more extreme, I’m pretty sure there’s a lock on Stay Focused that forbids you from uninstalling it in an effort to destroy your barriers.

    What was interesting was it kept track of how many times I unlocked my phone to do something, like reply to a text from family. I was disgusted when I saw, at the end of one of the days, I had unlocked the phone around 35 times. I barely used it that day! But numbers don’t lie. I barely used it? That was 35 times in the span of 12 hours (roughly). That’s approximately 4 times an hour. That’s once every 15 minutes. My unlock count steadily dropped as the week wore on and I got busier, but this goes to show how much we’ve integrated pocket computers into our lives.

    The app has other features, like how long you are using any one program and your total phone usage for the day.

    In the end, getting an app like this is highly recommended, especially if you are a phone junkie and recognize you have a problem (dopamine addiction). And, yes, the irony of this kind of post ranting about frequent phone use is not lost on me. I fully recognize a good part of my business is digital and having people on-line looking at or reading my stuff is better for me yet here I am encouraging my readers to go live life in the physical world. Oh well. But my refutation to the irony is this: I’m referring to balance. Is your on-line and off-line lives balanced? Take away sleeping hours, eating, and body maintenance, and see how much time is spent on a screen while you’re awake. The rest is up to you.

    (I know that author J.B. Bennet got on board and locked themselves out of things during working hours each day, so others see the merit in this.)

    I made this video on Friday of last week and aired it yesterday. It gets into what happened during my time off-line. Watch and subscribe. You might relate.

    Lastly, for months I was getting frustrated of having to pull out my phone to check the time. While 9 times out of 10 all it was was checking the time, there was always that one time in there where it became an excuse to futz around on the phone. I couldn’t have that. I needed to be off-line, so I took the plunge and got myself a basic sports watch by Timex. As a kid, I had a couple of their Ironman watches, which I loved. I was aiming for another basic Ironman this time around but it was suggested to me that’s more a watch for a 15-year-old than a man so opted for a different one because I thought that was a valid point (I’m talking purely the aesthetics).

    This is the watch I got, model TW5M23300:

    Timex TW5M23300 Watch APF

    And that was how I kept dark last week.

    Taking a break from the Internet is something I’ve recommended for years for the sake of maintaining all facets of one’s health. I will go off-line again somewhere down the road because 2020 is a stupidly busy work year and sometimes you need to just shut up and get the job done. But that upcoming time off-line won’t be for a while yet. Not until my first holiday of 2020. Until then, I’ll be here, writing to you and making books and art and comics and videos.

    Keep coming back to the blog every day. There’s always something being posted.

    – APF

    Ps. Today, a new chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine aired on Patreon! Please go here to get access to this fun romp of creature horror for just a buck!


  • Curating my Own Internet: Read Blog Feed Reader

    Read Blog Feed Reader A.P. Fuchs

    This past weekend I spent some time taking a page out of Warren Ellis’s playbook by downloading a blog feed reader called Read in an effort of curating my own Internet. I loaded into it all the blogs I follow. Now it will notify me of new blog entries from these sources. Since I’m 99.9% off the social feeds for the winter (except for the odd post here and there, usually about my cooking), this makes things easier for me and saves me time checking in on websites.

    The goal is to make my pocket computer’s Internet nice and streamlined in a season of life where I need things streamlined. There are a lot of moving parts going on, both professionally and personally, and it’s time to cut out the clutter and keep things simple. Self-imposed boundaries can be healthy and this is one of the good ones.

    Speaking of which, and this idea is at the consideration stage at the moment, I’m thinking about going dark next week so I can ensure the release schedule is maintained. Pursuant to this blog entry here, I tire out quicker than most because of the after effects of being ill so any spare energy I can save and funnel into my projects is a good thing. I’ll keep you posted.

    Back to Read.

    So far, so good. Saves clicking around or fumbling through my computerized telephone’s browser.

    Here is the link should you wish to add this blog, Canister X (the Realm of Heroes and Monsters), to your feed reader, if you have one.

    Lastly, tomorrow on Patreon airs the next chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine, my ongoing serial novel about a group of young adults hunted by something huge and deadly, with all the creature-feature fun that goes with it. Go here to get caught up and get ready for the new installment.

    Thanks.

    Hope the week pans out well for everybody.


  • Locked Up Cold – Manitoba Prairies in Winter

    Manitoba Prairies
    These are the Manitoba Prairies in winter.
    Photo taken while driving by.

    Locked Up Cold – Manitoba Prairies in Winter

    Everything is locked up in ice in Winnipeg today with, according to the weather network and the time of this writing (morning), the temperature being -33C (-43C with the windchill).

    Everything is utterly frozen solid in a giant block of ice, which means it’s time to simply hunker down and work. Lots of focus behind the scenes here at the Central. I gave you the rundown yesterday on where things are at roughly two weeks into 2020. Status is the same as of today. A good way to stay current on project statuses is via my weekly newsletter because info isn’t always shared on the blog.

    Want to see boiling water being thrown into freezing air? I made this video the other week showing that:

    There. Winter entertainment.

    Keep warm.


  • On Settling in with Your Work

    With winter in full swing and the temperature plummeting, I’m hunkered down in the bunker here at the Central getting things done. If you follow my newsletter, you know I had to do a bunch of work before I could work. This was the fall and early winter. Now I’m in a position to work on Project Rebuild and get my other ducks in a row.

    There’s something magical about settling in with your work. Something comforting, alluring, and satisfying. It’s one of those things that you could put into words if you really tried—but defining it would take away its power. Instead, I’m opting to just enjoy the feeling, revel in it, and get things done.


  • Project Rebirth: Final Update and Announcement

    Project Rebirth Announcement
    It’s been a long road, but one worth travelling.

    Project Rebirth: Final Update and Announcement given this sixth day of the twelfth month in the year 2019 AD.

    It’s been a long, busy journey, but Project Rebirth is complete up to the point where I can transfer out parts of the project into the “things I need to finish” category, in other words, what’s left to do is the “more” part that I’ve mentioned in previous updates.

    So, as always, a recap of what’s complete and what that strange “more” is all about.

    The following list is taken from the last update on Project Rebirth.

    Resumption of my newsletter, The Canister X Transmission: Goes out every Saturday and has been for a while now. Please subscribe here and get yourself a free thriller e-novelette as a thank you for joining me.

    A Patreon account with special content just for patrons: All systems have been in go mode for a while now, too. By becoming a patron, you get access to an ongoing serial novel, essays on the creative life, a look behind-the-scenes, and other fun stuff. Joining the journey supports what I do and keeps the projects alive. Please join my patrons and I on my Patreon journey here.

    Order fulfillment of the Axiom-man/Auroraman: Frozen Storm Kickstarter: All the books are printed up. Special piece of exclusive art to the Frozen Storm lettered edition needs a final touch, printing, then into the books.

    Publication of projects that were temporarily put on hold: See the “more” section below.

    Bigtime expansion and growth of The Axiom-man Saga and associated products: Transferring this portion of the project into the “things I need to finish” category. Keep an eye on this blog for news and updates as we bring the Cobalt Crusader into 2020. I really want to get that long-awaited Battle of Power Trilogy storyline done and published.

    Revving up public appearances and media again: Best place to keep up to date with these is via the Convention and Book Signing Schedule page on this site. Please go there to check out what’s booked so far. Regarding interviews and whatnot, those will be announced on the blog when they happen and will also be listed under the Interviews section of this site.

    New YouTube channel: Been running for a short while now. New videos uploaded regularly. Please subscribe here so you don’t miss the latest video.

    More . . . : A Web presence redesign along with a retooling of the social media pages was part of this and is complete. There is more SEO stuff to do to properly bring the blog into the New Year, but that is a pick-at project for when I have the time and there’s no real deadline other than, say, by spring or something.

    The big part of “more” is this: Book redesigns!

    A good chunk of my book covers are dated and need an upgrade so many are getting one. I also need to adjust the distribution system for a pile of titles to keep them available and searchable at various retailers. Presently, all first editions are still available so if you’re a first-edition collector, please head over to my Book and Comic Shop and stock up. If you’d like a signed copy, please email me directly and we’ll make arrangements.

    As the titles begin to transfer over to their new form, I will post notices here as to which books are being redone and when so you can keep current with what’s what. This book redesigning effort is a large project and is going to take time because there are so many titles. My aim is to do them in chunks. At the time of this writing, my plan is to update my backlist before releasing anything new (despite new titles already being complete behind the scenes). It’s better for my books’ overall quality that I stay in one kind of headspace (re-releasing the backlist) before switching into another (releasing new titles).

    But have no fear for new comic book releases are scheduled! I will announce these in a separate blog post when the time comes.

    So there you have it. This is my winter and what’s coming down the pike. I’m not joking when I say I’m busy.

    Thank you for your patience as I got the media machine up and running again. Thank you for your support reading this blog and watching my videos. Thank you for grabbing the first editions of my monster and superhero books.

    Just, simply, thank you.


  • New Art and Writing Studio Underway

    A.P. Fuchs Art and Writing Studio Before Set-up
    New art and writing studio before moving in.

    As I mentioned in my newsletter this past weekend, a new art and writing studio is on the docket and yesterday I began the process of setting up shop by way of getting a carpet for the floor. It’s laying in there right now, ready to be cut to size. After that comes moving in all my equipment and supplies and doing some decorating. It’s basically going to be a studio/comic shop hybrid when it’s done and will be revealed on Patreon next month for the behind-the-scenes tier and above.

    Above is a picture of the blank slate I’m working with.

    I’m eager to get this new workspace up and running. The new studio is part of the “more” as hinted at in my posts about Project Rebirth.

    Today will be spent drifting back and forth between creative items and setting things up in the new studio so I’m all tucked away for the winter.

    More of the “more” of Project Rebirth to be revealed soon enough. Keep checking back for updates.


  • Project Rebirth: Another Update

    Comic Book Longboxes
    Some of my comic book longboxes.

    Here is an update on Project Rebirth, but first:

    Lots of comics on the brain these days, both the creation of them and the publishing of them (the latter being the most difficult in the context of distribution; publishing them in general is a non-issue). I’m basically living in my head on the matter and have written notes where and when needed. An overall plan is starting to congeal but there are still a few missing elements which will no doubt present themselves the further I get into the process.

    I’m still waiting to hear back from some people on something that will dictate the winter schedule. I expect I’ll be hearing something soon thus helping things on my end.

    A good chunk of Project Rebirth is in the can, here is the update, lifting the list from this previous blog entry:

    Resumption of my newsletter, The Canister X Transmission: This has been back up and running for a while now and is just as enjoyable now and it was all the years I’ve been doing it. Please subscribe by going here. You get a free novelette as a thank you.

    A Patreon account with special content just for patrons: This has also been running for a bit now. It’s a lot of fun and I’m thrilled to provide exclusive content to my patrons. Please join the Patreon journey and get access to an ongoing serial novel (plus other things, depending on the tier you select), by going here.

    Order fulfillment of the Axiom-man/Auroraman: Frozen Storm Kickstarter: The paperback is coming off the line at the printer’s right now so a pick up is in the near future. I will sign the books then send them to Jeff Burton for his signature before they go out to backers. The lettered edition is printed and signed on my end. I’m in the process of inserting a piece of exclusive art into the book. Once this is done, these will also go to Jeff Burton for signature then to backers. If you missed the kickstarter but want a copy of the book to complete your Axiom-man and/or Auroraman collection, please go here.

    Publication of projects that were temporarily put on hold: A list is made, but this is tied into the “more” below, so as it stands right now, I’m not moving on them just yet.

    Bigtime expansion and growth of The Axiom-man Saga and associated products: In process.

    Revving up public appearances and media again: To be looked at over the winter.

    New YouTube channel: The channel has been up for a short while with more videos being added as time goes on. Please subscribe here.

    More . . . : This “more” is tied into the “hearing back from some people” statement above. This step is a big part of my winter so I’m in a holding pattern until I know what’s going on. Watch this space for more info once I have it. I think a Web presence redesign was part of my original plan for “more” so that’s also complete both here on the blog and on social media.

    And that pretty much sums up where things are at with Project Rebirth. More news to come as things progress along.

    Reminder: A Tip Jar was set up yesterday on Patreon and on Ko-fi. The tips are meant to help fuel the free stuff I put on the Web (daily blogging, YouTube videos, a weekly newsletter, and artwork). Thank you in advance for any beans you throw my way.


  • Status Report – 110719

    Project Media Notebook Page
    A peek at the first page of my winter project notebook.

    Status report for 110719:

    This week was largely spent on Project Media, which introduced the redesign of this blog, my social media pages, and my Patreon page. It took a lot of time behind the scenes here at the Central, which is fine, but by default it interfered with getting other work done.

    We’re also doing a big promo push for the Patreon page this week because winter is here and I need to keep warm so I can continue making stuff for you guys. If you’d like to support me on Patreon and get treated to a whole slew of entertainment, please do so here.

    Currently pondering: Roll-out plan for Project Jackass, overall plan for Axiom-man (with surprises), Deadline juggling.


  • New Patreon Page Design

    Yesterday, I revealed my new Patreon page design on social media.

    As part of my redesign efforts for my webpages–this blog and social media–I also redesigned my Patreon page with a new banner and color scheme. My first design was a little distant whereas this new one invites you to immerse yourself in my Realm of Heroes and Monsters.

    This is a screenshot of the new page:

    Author and artist A.P. Fuchs's Patreon page

    Also, a new chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine went live yesterday so be sure to