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Should You Join a Motorcycle Club

So you’ve been riding for a bit now and you’re mostly lone wolfing it, but a couple of friends join the rides whenever you can drag them from the couch or their chores. The occasional poker run has been fun, but if you’re like most of us, 90% of your riding has been a solo affair. And then one day, you are out doing your thing and the roar of ten, twenty, or fifty v twin engines fills your helmet as a club rides past. They look awesome in their  jackets and black vest, patches on display as they maneuver through the twisties in unison. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be one of them? It could be, and here’s why you should join a motorcycle club (MC)

What is an MC? There are so many definitions floating around out there but I will define an MC as a group of people who form a club based around the motorcycling lifestyle Now, there are different levels. I’m not going to discuss the 1% and outlaw clubs sitting on the top of the food chain because I’m not qualified to do so. As for the other 99%, you have traditional clubs that require periods of prospecting and have by laws. You have ridding groups, were it’s all about the love of the road, a model of bike, or an area to ride. Then you have social clubs that are more about gatherings, charity and partying. There is something for everyone out there. If you’re craving the deep bonds of brotherhood or sisterhood, a traditional MC might be for you. Want to ride with other people on the same make and model of bike, and get discounts on gear? Join the Goldwing Club, Riders of Kawasaki, or something similar. Into spreading The Good News or protecting kids from child abuse? There are clubs for you too.

Joining an MC can be a fantastic or dangerous thing. Just do your homework. Research the clubs and associations you are interested in and find something that is a great fit for you. How much time can you commit? Does the club come first or does your family? You need to know these things before wasting their time, or yours. Joining the right club can enhance your life and motorcycle experience, it is the right fit.

If you’re a member of an MC or association, let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Add your advice and tips, and please share your experiences.

~Ride On

Green River Road

After spending 40 hours a week driving forklifts, teaching classes, and bouncing from cubical wall to cubical wall, we of the two wheels dream of the moment the weekend hits, because it’s ride time. Sure, a lot of us commute to work but there’s nothing like having that free time to go wherever you want to go. The problem is, as our lives get busier, the weekends don’t always give us the opportunity to log hundreds of miles in the saddle. There are yards to mow, kid’s soccer games to coach, and garages to clean. But you still want to ride, right? The best thing you can do is find a local ride that is quick and satisfying. For me, that is South King County’s Green River Road.

DCIM100GOPRO

This ride is only 8 miles long but it offers twisting roads and fantastic scenery. The north end of the ride starts in a suburban industrial zone, full of strip malls, a justice center, and dozens of warehouses. But after riding less than a city block, the two lane road dips into a thick green belt that blocks the sun and the annoying hum of city life. The first turn sets the tone for the ride; cruisers will slow and counter steer hard and sport bike riders can drop a knee, but watch out for fallen leaves and the loose gravel that might be left behind by 4×4 driving fishermen who love the area too. Speaking of fishermen, you’ll see them wading the river, depending on the season, as they hunt for salmon.  Take your eyes off of the twisting road for a moment and watch the waters of the Green River as you ride, but beware of miss hit golf balls as you streak past the long par 5 that sits next to the road. And don’t forget to look up. If you’re lucky, you might see one of the bald eagles that nest in the tree tops over the river. Or at least, you’ll see the amazing 277th Street Bridge as it stretches across the river. This ride doesn’t take long at all, and when I have more time, I head further south and ride the twisting turns of the Auburn Black diamond road. Here’s a quick video of an early summer ride.

Do you have a favorite short ride? Tells us about it in the comments below.

 

Ride On ~

The Wrestler ~ Short Story Writing Process Part 2 ~ Settings

Welcome back! In our last post, The Wrestler Writing Process Part 1, we explored the writing process beginning with character creation and inspiration. We took those ideas and created our main character, Stacy Yamato, and outlined what the story would be about. In this post we will talk about setting, but before we do that, let’s mention one more thing about character creation. Last time we only created Stacy’s character but feel free to do that for every major or minor character that you please. The longer the story, and the more in-depth the story is, you may have to do more than one character sketch. I’ve done that with the wrestler as well, but there’s no need to outline every single character and post them to this tutorial. Okay, so let’s talk about setting. What tools can we use for inspiration? How important is it to include every little detail of the setting?

 

Las Vegas is the Setting for our story, The Wrestler. The nice thing about this setting is that we all recognize the name and can draw pictures in our mind of the sights and sounds of this wonderful local. But what if you want more, or the setting you use isn’t so recognizable, you may need a little help. For me, that’s where Pinterest can be a life saver. Take a look at this YouTube video about writers and Pinterest. And I’ve created my own board for The Wrestler. Notice the shots of hotels, and pools and gambling tables? Whenever I get stuck for ideas, I can go to the boards and find something that clicks.

 

We have two major locations in The Wrestler. The hotel’s pool and the biker bar. Notice my pins and how they focus on those locals? There’s bar furniture, drinks, and some of the people we might see in the bar. There’s inspiration for the pool and everything you’d see in it. I challenge you to peep these pins before you read our story, and then refer back to them once you’re done reading. How many made their way onto our pages? How many got left out?

I’ll show you the opening act in the next post of this series, and we will see how all of this starts to come together. In the meantime, try creating your own board and posting a link to it.

 

~Write On

The Wrestler ~ Writing Process Part 1

Where do you get your inspiration? Where do you come up with ideas for characters and stories? What does your writing process look like? I get these questions from tine to time, and we writers face these dilemmas at various stages of the writing game, so it will be cool to take everyone on a tour of story creation in my world. In these upcoming posts, I will create a short story and outline the steps right here. This will give writers insights and tools to assist with their own works.

The Wrestler. I got the inspiration while sitting by the pool of my Las Vegas hotel over mother’s day weekend. A group of women lounged in the  chairs near me, and I overheard them talking about how they’d ditched one of their friends because she was too bossy and stuck up; not only was she having a horrible time, she was bringing everyone else down. I started asking who is this woman and why is she such a wet blanket, especially in Las Vegas. She knew she was going to party central, so what made her act this way? And, how would she react to getting ditched by her friends? What would the flight look like on the way home? Boom! There’s a story right there.

So let’s start with the character. I started brainstorming and came up with some stats for the main character.

I. Basics

Name: Stacy Yamato
Age: 53
Height: 5’8
Weight: 137 lbs
Hair: Brown

Eyes: brown
Race Human
Culture Japanese American

Location: Mercer WA, lives in a small house on the southwest side of the island. 3 bedroom waterfront house>

II. Friends

Tammy Yeoman

Alicia Barnes
Meghan Amari

III. Sexual orientation

Combine her recent divorce from a cheating husband and the effects of menopause, she doesn’t have strong desires to roll around in the bedroom. She typically is attracted to strong features on a man, especially tight jaw lines, clean cut hair, and she’s turned off by men with tats. Doesn’t like bad boys. She is turned on by intellect, ambition, and success.

Stacy has been with two men; high school sweetheart and then her husband. Her romantic and sexual experiences are pretty basic and standard. In fact, both men have called her boring.

IV. Skills

Orthodontist
Writer
PHD
Her favorite hobby is playing cards, mostly solitaire and poker.
She is a left brained person
Schooling: Mercer Island HS
University of WA for undergrad and MSD in Dentistry

V. Personality:
Stacy is a strong-willed woman with an independent spirit. Although she is opinionated, she doesn’t offer those opinions unless they are solicited. Her views are conservative, socially and politically. This is a contrast to many of her friends because they tend to live more toward the center, if not the left.

She’s considered the mother hen of her group, and sometimes a wet blanket. Despite these would be faults, Stacy is very generous with her time, her friendship, and her money; she’s easily the most giving of her group of friends.

This is only a small sketch; it took about 30 minutes to create. I usually create more stats and flesh characters out a lot more, but this will be enough for this short story. I also have sketches for the supporting characters, but no need to add them here, right now.

We have a good start here and next time will get into the structure and some plot points.

~Write On

 

The One Thing you need to be a good streamer

Game streaming is a fantastic hobby. I Love it because it gets us gamers together no matter where we are, and it’s easy to get into because you can start a stream with a YouTube or twitch account, game system or PC and a few other pieces of equipment. But once you get going, you may find yourself struggling to find your grove on camera. Well this post is for you. After reading these short article, you will know the only thing you need in order to become a better streamer.
Browse through the top streamer pages on twitch and you’ll find streamers of all  genders and ages gaming in front of hundreds of viewers. Some of these streams have production values that rival low-budget film productions. You’ve got colorful overlays, custom watermarks, green screens or dynamic backgrounds. There are bots that offer in chat games and song selection. And the streamers themselves are full of personality that jumps through the screen and grabs an audience by the throat. All of this can be intimidating to a new streamer; newbies think their channels will never succeed with their lack of technical knowledge or lack of special effects. But really, all you need is, YOU.

Seriously. Don’t worry about all those bells and whistles because they aren’t necessary for great streams. Really, you just need to be your best, authentic, and entertaining self. Take a look at one of my favorite gamers,  Dria Burrito. She averages around 40 viewers per stream and has been going hard almost every day for 6 months. No overlays, no sound effects. It’s just her, her mods, and great game play. She’s a chill gamer who works the chat while she plays. Here’s a video of one of my past streams; its got nothing fancy, just a few characters having a great time.
It’s as simple as that. If you’re new to streaming and feeling uncomfortable or insecure about your lack of technical ability, let it go! Just be your best self, roll the dice and see what happens. You will get better with practice. Just be you.

~press start

Tales From The Front Lines ~ Episode 1

Hello Game Fans!

I’ve posted the first of many in my new Battlefield 1 game-play series, Tales From The Front Lines. The game mode is Frontlines, of course, found on the They Shall Not Pass dlc. I’m playing on PS4, and often streaming on YouTube Gaming. Want to join me? Absolutely! Just search for dcsanders92 on ps4 and send me a friend request.

Enjoy Tales From the Front Lines Episode 1, and my other videos on the channel. Thanks again, I’ll be back soon, and…

~Press Play

Giving Up On The Dream

“You can be anything that you want to be,” my dad would say as we drove to Saturday morning soccer games when I was a kid. Parents like mine, great parents, were full of good intentions and didn’t miss an opportunity to pump up their kids’ confidence. It didn’t matter if I was holding up the end of the bench, or if I was the starting midfielder for the varsity team. My parents were in the stands, shouting their unwavering support for me and my dreams. Be anything you want to be. It didn’t matter that, although I was a good high school player, I didn’t possess the skills to play in college or beyond. They had me gassed up with belief, until reality snatched the dream away. Funny thing is, I’ve taken that ridiculous confidence with me into adulthood; I’ve never been afraid to go all in and try anything and everything, until reality knocks me on my butt and the ref calls the fight over.

Reality kicking my ass. Is that where I am with the dream of being a professional writer? Its funny, even though I’ve had many successes at the office, I’ve never been a climb the corporate ladder type of guy. More power to the 5 year plan guys and gals , chasing down prestigious titles and breaking through those glass ceilings with a sledgehammer, I wish I was that guy, in a way, but I’ve always thought of my current career as something to do while I pursued full-time writing. I’ve sold a few articles and short stories in my writing career, and even moved more than a few copies of my 1st novel, but man, as the days go by, the dream of becoming a full-time writer dwindles as I wake up to the realities of the real world. I’m struggling with this one, even more than the failure to become a pro soccer player, because unlike the athletic body, the creative spirit doesn’t go away so easily. I mean, if I tried to quantify this whole writing gig in an hourly wage, you know what, I changed my mind, it’s probably better if I don’t go down that rabbit hole. Lets just say, I made more per hour working at McDonald’s as a kid, than I do with writing.

But I still enjoy the late nights, the early mornings, and the speed writing sessions during lunch at the office. I still listen to the voices in my head as they feed me story ideas and plot points while I’m in the shower. I love the planning and the process of creating short stories, novella’s and novels. But unlike the top writers in our field, i don’t see the full-time writer thing working out anytime soon. And maybe that’s OK. I have a great family and a great job. I ride motorcycles and stream video games in my spare time. Life isn’t bad at all. So, maybe the dream isn’t dead. Maybe I just have to tweak it a little.

 

~Write On

Lunch With Meghan

Hello Everyone,

High School can be a wonderful time in a young person’s life. But it can also be a less than perfect time, full of missteps, failures, and emotional roller coasters. What makes it a fantastic experience for some, and a nightmare for others? Nobody knows the answer to that question, but my new short story explores some of those perils and how they affect the lives of two people.  Was it really the best years of their lives? Please enjoy, Lunch With Meghan.

 

 

~Write On

Taking a break (sort of)

Finishing a draft of any size is a notable accomplishment. I don’t care if you just wrote a Shakespearean Sonnet , a piece of flash fiction, or an epic novel. A finished draft is a finished draft. Be proud of the work you’ve created. I know I am! But now that the 1st draft of my novel is complete, I need a break and I can’t start the revision process right away because my mind needs a break from that work; I figure taking a month off will do me some good. But, what to do in the meantime? I’m sure many writers have found themselves in the same boat, paddling through the rocky waters of creativity.

Personally, I can’t take a month off from writing. It’s kind of addiction and my mind would go crazy without flexing the creative muscles, so my plan is to keep writing and blogging. And, just a week into the break, I’ve finished a draft of a new short story! I’ll edit and post it here by the end of the week.

Write. Complete a draft. Put said draft on the shelf. Work on another project, and then return to the first one. That’s the process that works for me.

 

~Write On