Creative Writing, Writing

100 Days of Flash Fiction: Day 4

Posting Day 4 a little bit late. I actually wrote this yesterday, but by the time I got home the only thing on my mind was sleep and I crawled into bed almost immediately. I had a lot of trouble cutting down Day 4s story to 1,000 words but it was definitely a good exercise and hopefully the story still came across as an interesting read. Anyway, I need to get started on Day 5, so heres Day 4:

Prompt: “Walking back home along the rim of the galaxy…”


Walking back home along the rim of the galaxy—” I switched off the radio before the song hit full swing and glided the car to a stop. I wasn’t a fan of dealing with anything Guild related, there was always just a bit too much security for my taste, but what the client wanted the client got.

Locking the car behind me, I flipped on the small black Scrambler attached to the back of my neck, crossed the street, and ducked my way into the bank. Literally. Solarians are about half the size of Earthlings, and everything—including their doors—shows it. Finding a car big enough to carry me had been an ordeal in and of itself. I can’t wait to get somewhere normal sized.

Creative Writing, Writing

100 Days of Flash Fiction: Day 3

I really like the idea behind today’s story. The concept of a “Reminder Ring” came to me after a phone call with my mom and then I sort of took off running after that. I think today’s piece is definitely better than yesterday’s, but still not something I’d call amazing. I’m only three days into the 100 days and I already feel humbled. On the bright side, I’ve already started to reexamine how I write (at least short pieces), and have definitely come to learn that I make much better edits on paper than I do on a computer screen. That being said, I’m going to try my best to print out and read every piece at least once instead of just skimming them after I finish writing them on the computer. Hopefully, this will help me turn out some better pieces. Anyway, here’s Day 3:

Prompt: “There was a ring in his teacup…”


Jon sighed lazily as he checked the clock on the wall across from him. It was already halfway through the day, and he still hadn’t touched the dishes, done the laundry, started his report. or even taken a shower. He sighed again as he looked at the sizeable book on the round breakfast table beside him. “Ugh,” he grunted, “I’ll get started on things after lunch.”

Creative Writing, Writing

100 Days of Flash Fiction: Day 2

Today’s story is…probably not very good. I started writing, and before I knew it a small love story popped into my head—which is something I normally avoid writing like the plague. Once I realized I was shying away from writing the story because writing it made me feel uncomfortable and I’m not very good at it, I forced myself to sit down and get words on the page. It’s also in space which is a new one for me. Anyway, the only way to get better is to practice and push outside of your comfort zone (which is easier said than done), so here’s Day 2:

Prompt: “He twisted his fate between his fingers…”


He twisted his fate between his fingers. Easily spinning the cold steel pen around his thumb Tye stared down at the form. He’d been pondering over the choice for the last few days and now, just a few minutes away from the deadline, he felt stuck. His name, age, and one little checkbox. Those three things on the one-page form would literally dictate everything in his life from this point on.

Creative Writing, Writing

100 Days of Flash Fiction: Day 1

A good friend of mine recently started 100 Days of Design, where every day they’d sit down and design one UI element for use in either a web or mobile app. Being an occasional bandwagoner, and having been failing miserably with my resolution to keep my blog up to date, I decided to start 100 Days of Flash Fiction using these 100 prompts I found earlier today. While I’ve been writing a lot of longer pieces, the goal with this is to practice writing shorter, more concise pieces of 1,000 words or less (something I tend to be pretty weak at). I’m capping the amount of time I can spend on any given piece to two hours in the morning before work, so I’m not going to spend copious amounts of time editing each and every post, but I think I should still be able to see a marked improvement in my writing by the end of the 100 days—and hopefully come up with some cool ideas.

That being said, here’s Day 1:

Prompt: Time travel, a bookmark, the angel Gabriel.


“Well, shit.” Evan peeked his head out of his car window to take in the surroundings. “I guess this is why you shouldn’t piss off angels.”

Project Update


687474703a2f2f692e696d6775722e636f6d2f6f3071535754722e676966Just a quick, shameless, plug for my first Cocoapod: TFSliderView. I needed to make an animated toggle switch that I could use in a number of locations for an in-house project my dev shop is working on, so I decided to make it into a Cocoapod and share it in case anyone else needed something similar.

It’s built off of POP (Facebook’s animation framework) and, all in all, is pretty simple to use. You can install it with Cocoapods using the following line:

pod "TFSliderView", "~> 0.1.0"

And then you just create a view programmatically (as shown below), and call the toggle delegate methods to do whatever it is you need to when the view toggles:

I still have a list of to-dos I want to get done to make the pod more useful, including the below, but I wanted to share what I have so far.

  • Support for up to four buttons.
  • More convenient init methods to accompany the one monster of a designated initializer.
  • Generic starting values for [TFSliderView new].
  • Allowing each toggle state to have a unique color.
  • Complete documentation.
Creative Writing, Writing

World Building Exercise I

This is just a short in-class exercise I wrote in about 10 minutes the other night. We were working on “world building” and in a few minutes as a class ended up coming up with the following general guidelines for our setting:

Religion: Tree god, very old and large.
Commerce: Barter Economy.
Labor Division: Tribes based on profession.
Infrastructure: Treehouses.
Food: Hunting, gathering, fishing.
History: Living over a radiated crater causing everyone to die at around the age of 18.
Landscape: Lush tropical landscape. Full of trees and mutated animals.
Season: Eternal rainy season.

Not the most unique or novel world we could have created (it actually reminds me a lof of The 100) but definitely enough to get started. I didn’t get very far in terms of word count—the piece is only about 350 words—but it was nice to sit down and just get some words on the page off the cuff. I’m one of those people that can sit for an hour or more sometimes and barely get 200 words on the page so it’s amazing to me how deadlines apparently fuel my creativity. Anyway, here’s the piece. Short, sweet, and incomplete:


Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing I – Homework 2

Posting this one pretty late, but here it is. I picked my own topic for this week, reworking the critique piece I submitted last class into a more modern setting. World building is great and fun, but I find I can write a little bit easier if I have some sort of accurate frame of reference. Anyway, here’s the tentative first chapter of the book I plan to write for NaNoWriMo:

Kairen shoved the redhead against the wall and slammed himself into her as a thin ray of flame shot down the hallway and through an ancient relic of a copy machine. Dragging the protesting secretary to the ground as another ray pierced the wall behind her, Kairen pulled his 1911 from its holster with his off hand and fired two haphazard shots at the barreling Lava Child. Catching it in the knee with a lucky shot, Kairen cursed as he heard the bullet sizzle.

Flaming Michelin Man? Check. Mutinying partner? Check. Disgruntled damsel in distress? Check. Some days it was good to be a wizard—most days in fact—today was not one of them.

“Let’s go!” Jerking the woman to her feet, Kairen sprint pushed her towards the smoking remnants of the copy machine and around the corner.

Creative Writing, Writing

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing I – Homework 1

So after years of not writing pretty much anything, I decided to take an intro writing course to try and get myself back into the habit of writing every day (sometimes my days as an English major in college feel so far away). Anyway, I’ve realized I’ve developed a massive sense of anxiety about people reading my writing, so I decided that I’d post my homework every week just to sort of get me over those jitters before turning them in at class. Most of the pieces will be of the flash fiction variety (500-100 words) and about an assigned topic.

This week’s topic was more broad than what I imagine future topics will be. In a nutshell, it was to find a news story and to use it as a jumping off point. I ended up using this one  about brain scans being used to pick people out of crowds and just sort of went with it. Anyway, there’s not much else to say so without further ado, here’s my first homework assignment:


AFNetworking: Downloading Files with Progress

I was looking for this the other day, and while there are a ton of solutions out there, I felt that all of them were just a tad more complicated than they needed to be to achieve the desired result. Basically, I’m working on an app that needs to download videos and show what percentage of the files have been downloaded in a UITableView. Standard stuff, but for some reason it’s not already built in to AFNetworking. After tinkering around with a few different solutions online, I ended up coming up with my own (shown below). I ended up creating a class called MFVideoDownloader and adding the the following class method to the .m:

While the snippet contains more detailed comments, I’ll just go through what I did really quickly.

    1. First I created the session manager to handle the actual download task that comes about later in the method.
    2. Then I converted the given NSString into an NSURL so it can be used later (I’m working with a REST API that gives me back the URLs I need as strings so it made more sense to convert it here rather than have to convert every place I call the method in app).

Push Notifications, UIUserNotificationSettings, iOS 7, and UIKit

Earlier today, while trying to set my app up to register for notifications in iOS 7 and iOS 8, I came across this exceptionally annoying bug that took me the better part of my work day to iron out. What should have been a simple process ended up keeping me bogged down pouring over the same 11 lines of code for the better part of 6 hours and so in the interest of helping out anyone else that runs across the issue I figured I’d post my solution here.

First the code snippet:

It’s a super common chunk of code that’s all over the internet from personal blogs to stackoverflow that simple allows an app to register for notifications in both iOS 7 and iOS 8. In an ideal world, the process should have been simple, just insert the code snippet, hit run, and then watch everything fall into place: but for some reason as long as the following line was present my app would crash in iOS 7 repeatedly: [UIUserNotificationSettings settingsForTypes:(UIUserNotificationTypeAlert | UIUserNotificationTypeBadge | UIUserNotificationTypeSound) categories:nil];  with the following error: dyld: Symbol not found: _OBJC_CLASS_$_UIUserNotificationSettings .