Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Here's some more ways to save gas by modifying your driving... Mindful Driving Is Safer AND More Fuel Efficient Mind Your RPMs and Momentum – One hypermiler says, "Hypermilage is more about your engine RPM than anything else. The faster it revs (i.e the faster you go) the more air and fuel goes through the engine." In other words, don't abuse your car or drive aggressively; this wastes gas. Gentle acceleration is best, and let momentum be your friend. Once you practice a bit, you'll find that you don't always need to press down on the accelerator to get around places like a parking lot, drive up to a red light, or drive downhill. Keep your foot off the gas pedal and use the car's natural momentum to your advantage. Some experts even figure out how to time their local traffic lights. They know about how long a red light takes to turn green; so they time themselves to cruise to the light, and as it changes to green, they still have enough momentum pushing them forward to slowly accelerate again. This keeps their car at the most fuel efficient gears, wasting minimum gas. Also, driving a stick shift gives you maximum control over your RPMs. Plan Your Trips Efficiently – Avoid heavy traffic by using the Internet, radio, or a good GPS to get current traffic reports, and use the best routes. Leave earlier so you're not in a rush, which helps you avoid a heavy foot and mental stress. A warm engine is more efficient, however idling to warm up your engine doesn't benefit today's cars. It wastes gas. Instead, if you're running errands, drive to the farthest distance location first. This helps warm up the engine to optimal temperatures, then drive yourself closer and closer to home. The Weather – Avoid inclement weather like heavy wind, rain, or snow. In the rain, drive higher up on the crown of the road where water puddles less. In snow, choose roads and travel lanes with less snow. Use Cruise Control, Even on City Roads – Read your owner's manual for recommended speeds. However, if you're in little to no traffic and cruising on the main roads, cruise control keeps the fuel flowing smoothly and even, which conserves gas. On highways, cruise control is your friend. 55 Miles an Hour Is the Most Efficient Speed – If you value your time, this is not an attractive option. And a dangerous one if everyone else is doing 70 MPH, as the danger of someone rear ending you goes up. But driving 55 MPH has been proven in numerous tests. Also, studies find every 5 MPH over 65 MPH cuts fuel economy nearly 5%. If this sounds too slow, plan your driving and leave earlier. Besides, you can invest the extra car time by listening to relaxing music or books on tape and get a "highway education." Don't Idle – Turn off your car instead. In today's cars, turning on your engine uses as much fuel as idling for a mere 7 seconds. If you're waiting for someone at the curb or fiddling with your stereo in the parking lot, turn off the engine. Install a Mileage Calculator – It's been said, "What is measured, improves." A mileage calculator gives you real time feedback on your miles per gallon, and it encourages you to use more money saving habits. You can achieve some of the same benefits simply by computing your MPG every time you fill up.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Excuse Eradicators 7

#7 I call, "You might have more impact than you think."

7. The Most Visionary Story Ever Told
Futility by Morgan Robertson
Occasionally, literature is prophetic. H.G. Wells’ stories, for instance, predicted video recordings, portable television, aerial bombings, and a Second World War starting in 1940 (only one year late). And a 1941 comic book written by Gil Fox described the bombing of Pearl Harbor in surprising detail, precisely one month before it happened.

But perhaps the most meticulously prophetic work of literature is Morgan Robertson’s short and poorly written novel, Futility. In it, Robertson describes the maiden voyage of a British luxury liner called the Titan, which claims to be unsinkable, but sinks anyway after hitting an iceberg. Nearly every detail resembles the story of the Titanic. Of course, nobody thought about that when Futility was released in 1898, a full 14 years before the Titanic set sail.

Futility wasn’t Robertson’s only prescient piece of literature. In 1912, three years before his death, he wrote Beyond the Spectrum. Much like Gil Fox’s tale, Robertson’s story predicted a Japanese sneak attack on an American fleet in Hawaii, and the resulting war between the two countries.

Read the full text here:
--brought to you by mental_floss!

Friday, May 25, 2012

My birthday is coming, the big 41. Also this summer I graduate college. I really feel a new season approaching and I'm thinking a lot about the direction my life has taken, and might take in the future. As many recent disappointments as I've had it seems like new possibilities are just around the corner. I'm finally on my 3 week break (really only 2 but I'm going to stretch it) from college while the last class I need rolls around. I have a whole stack of things to accomplish on this break. It's take the entire first week of my break to reach ground zero on the urgent projects I didn't get to during finals week. (The classes got tougher toward the end of my senior year, crazy I know.) Now my mother is headed over to discuss the things I'm going to do for her on my break. Good grief. I literally just got broke the surface. Still I think I'll be able to fit most of it in during my break...somehow...and even if I don't I'm having a lot more fun trying than I did doing homework. In addition to revising not 1, but 2 books this break, and bidding on an editing deal for a 4 book series, and prepping a short story anthology, I MAY have a new super secret project to be excited about. I hope to find out soon, and I hope I can talk about it once its in the bag. We'll see. Well I'm off to begin my organizing binge so that I'm ready--for tonight is man cave night, beer and cigars, and BBQ, and etc. Woot! Your's truly,

Excuse Eradicators 6

#6 I call, "Youth and inexperience don't matter."

6. The Story of Youth
The Young Visiters, by Daisy Ashford

Daisy Ashford’s novella about Victorian society is considered something of a classic. First published in 1919, the work is still in print and has been turned into a movie. But if that doesn’t sound remarkable, consider that Ashford was only 9 years old when she wrote it.

To preserve the authenticity of the story, publishers decided to leave in Ashford’s plentiful grammar mistakes and spelling errors (the title, for example). They also added a foreword by Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie to assure readers that this was no hoax. Barrie reminded people that the novel was indeed written by a little girl, who was “hauled off to bed every evening at six.”

Read the full text here:
--brought to you by mental_floss!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

According to Lee Bellinger, Publisher of Independent Living, there is a trend developing among drivers. They want to find ways to maximize gas mileage. They call them Hypermiling. Here are the tips so far. One foundation is keeping your vehicle well maintained. If your car is in poor shape, the more advanced techniques won't make up for it... Tire Pressure – Inflate your tires to what the tire manufacturer they should be... not what the automaker says. Properly inflated tires keep "rolling resistance" low, which makes your car more fuel efficient. Align Your Wheels – A car that drives straight and doesn't consistently pull to one side saves fuel. Use a Clean Air Filter and Spark Plugs – A dirty filter suffocates your engine and forces it to work harder. Dirty spark plugs don't properly burn fuel, they waste it. Lose Weight – Many people use their trunks as a spare closet, that's a very expensive habit. Reports say 100 pounds of excess weight reduces fuel efficiency by 2% to 5%. Start removing nonessential things that add weight. (Though I do advise you to keep one of my Total Home Evacuation and Emergency Barter Packs (E-Packs) in your vehicle at all times. It only weighs 18 pounds, and it could save your life.) Some committed hypermilers who commute long distances even remove some of the seats. Some say aluminum wheels could weigh less than steel wheels. Extreme drivers even remove the spare tire (not recommended unless you have newer tires, drive only on well-maintained roads, and have emergency road service to get you out of any jam). Another good tip is to wash away excess weight. One hypermiler says his truck easily collects 10 to 20 pounds of gunk and dry mud stuck underneath, especially around the spare tire. Use Lighter-Weight Oil – Adjust based on your circumstances. A lighter (lower viscosity) oil helps your engine to work less. Cut Out Wind Drag – Remove roof racks and other exterior items that produce wind resistance (this could even help cut down on weight). Some go as far as taping up or covering gaps to make smoother aerodynamics. Lowering the rear gate on your truck also significantly decreases wind resistance on most models.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Excuse Eradicators 5

#5 I call, "You can write more concisely than you think."

5. Six Powerful Words
“Baby Shoes” by Ernest Hemingway
According to legend, Ernest Hemingway created the shortest short story ever told. While having lunch at New York City’s famous Algonquin Round Table, Hemingway bragged that he could write a captivating tale—complete with beginning, middle, and end—in only six words. His fellow writers refused to believe it, each betting $10 that he couldn’t do it. Hemingway quickly scribbled six words down on a napkin and passed it around. As each writer read the napkin, they conceded he’d won. Those six words? “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”

While the anecdote may be apocryphal, whoever did write “Baby Shoes” has forced writers forever after to consider the economy of words. Today, the work has inspired countless six-word memoir and story competitions, proving that a story’s brevity is no limit to its power.

Read the full text here:
--brought to you by mental_floss!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Excuse Eradicators 4

#4 I call, "You're smarter than you think."

4. History’s Greatest Sonnet
“Washington Crossing the Delaware” by David Shulman
Etymologist David Shulman was a true lover of words. One of the most prolific contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary, Shulman tracked down the roots of Americanisms for more than 70 years. But those weren’t Shulman’s only contributions to the world. During World War II, he served in the army and used his language skills to crack Japanese codes. His most astonishing feat as a wordsmith, however, occurred in 1936, when he composed the sonnet “Washington Crossing the Delaware.”

What makes the poem so remarkable is that every one of Shulman’s 14 lines is an anagram of the title. What’s more, the lines are rhyming couplets, and they tell a story, more or less. Here’s an excerpt:

A hard, howling, tossing water scene.
Strong tide was washing hero clean.
“How cold!” Weather stings as in anger.
O Silent night shows war ace danger!

As poetry, it isn’t exactly Walt Whitman. But then, Whitman was never this good with anagrams.

Bonus #8
8. Writing by Ear
Anguish Languish by Howard L. Chace

Sinker sucker socks pants, apocryphal awry. If those words don’t make sense together, try saying them out loud: “Sing a song of sixpence, a pocketful of rye.” Now imagine a whole book written like this, and you’ve got Howard L. Chace’s 1940 collection of nursery rhymes and fairy tales, Anguish Languish. The work contains classics such as Marry Hatter Ladle Limb and Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, which begins with the immortal line, “Wants pawn term, dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage.” Although Anguish Languish is playful, there was also a serious side to it. As a French professor, Chace used the stories to illustrate that, in spoken English, intonation is almost as important to the meaning as the words themselves.

Read the full text here:
--brought to you by mental_floss!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

According to the U.N. has proposed a financial transaction tax (FTT), also being dubbed the Robbin Hood tax. The goal is to put a tax on the sale of financial instruments and route the money into poverty relief and aids research. I don't want this blog site to become political but I do want to engage philosophically with the world around me. I see a trend emerging. As governments expand the financial "safety net" and reduce the tax incentive for charitable donation there will be a corresponding shift of religions out of the charity business. Faith-based organizations are being niche partitioned out. At the same time, government regulations and tax structure have created an environment hostile to small business. In order to remain viable these independent stores will need a boutique style business model or a massive intangible competitive advantage. That's why I'm predicting that in the next few years the trend in church-owned coffee shops will expand into church- owned small business in general. We've had family owned small business for years and ideally a church is large family. Churches will need a place of outreach and a source of revenue, when government takes over the charity business completely. So churches will survive, but what are the other impacts? If we ignore the obvious defect in analogy (Robbin Hood stole the excessive tax money from the abusive government and gave it back to the poor, so the abusive government by definition can't be Robbin Hood) won't the poor be served just as well by a fair redistribution of wealth? In reality, no. Government sucks at helping people. If you pour money on problems they usually get bigger. When someone voluntarily gives up something to help another, even if it's not really a sacrifice, the giver is blessed with the good feeling. The receiver is also blessed, both with the actual gift and with the knowledge that someone out there cares. Its a form of love by proxy and at least some of the time it works. The government takes the money by force and gives it out with the message that you are only receiving what you are entitled to as a human being. How is anyone surprised when this fosters dependency? What a terrible message to send to a people who take pride in self reliance. Government also runs inefficiently. Beyond just the scandalous boondoggles we read about all the time, they will waste an enormous amounts of the money designated to charity on unionized labor instead of using volunteer labor. They'll pay for buildings instead of using donated space. They'll shun gifts of unneeded clothes and furniture because they need raw cash. This will eat up a giant part of our economy and less help than ever will flow to the people who need it most.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Excuse Eradicators 3

#3 I call, "You can write faster than you think."

3. The Poetry of Speed
Transcendence-Perfection by Sri Chinmoy

Before his death in 2007, Indian spiritual master Sri Chinmoy wrote at least 1,000 books, 20,000 songs, and 115,000 poems. Some he penned in his mother tongue, Bengali, and some in his second language, English. His poems won numerous awards and inspired countless writers and musicians. And while Sri Chinmoy was clearly a fast writer, he was never as quick as on November 1, 1975, when he wrote Transcendence-Perfection, a collection of 843 poems—all written in 24 hours.

How was Sri Chinmoy so prolific? He believed the key was meditation. As he once explained, “The outer mind is like the surface of the sea. On the surface, the sea is full of waves and surges … But when we dive deep below, the same sea is all peace, calmness and quiet, and there we find the source of creativity.”

Read the full text here:
--brought to you by mental_floss!

Monday, May 14, 2012

What patients say during colonoscopies

1. 'Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before. 2. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?' 3. 'Can you hear me NOW?' 4. 'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?' 5. 'You know, in Arkansas ,we're now legally married.' 6. 'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?' 7. 'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...' 8. 'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!' 9. 'If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit! 10. 'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.' 11. 'You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?' 12. 'God, now I know why I am not gay.' And the best one of all... 13. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up here?'

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Excuse Eradicators 2

#2 I call, "You think you've got writing paralysis."

2. The Tale Told in the Blink of an Eye
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Many authors have struggled through illness and injury to write their masterpieces, but none more so than Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor-in-chief of French fashion magazine Elle. In 1995, at the age of 43, Bauby suffered a major stroke and slipped into a coma. He regained consciousness two days later, but his entire body—with the exception of his left eyelid—was paralyzed.

Still, Bauby was determined to write. Using only his lucid mind and one eye, he began working on his memoir, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Each night, he’d lie awake editing and re-editing the story in his mind, memorizing every paragraph as he hoped to relay it. By day, his transcriber would recite the alphabet to him over and over. When she reached a letter Bauby desired, he’d wink. Each word took about two minutes to produce, and during the course of a year, Bauby managed to tell his story of life in paralysis. His moving and often funny prose won critical acclaim, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly became a bestseller throughout Europe. Sadly, Bauby died of pneumonia in 1997, soon after the first edition was published in France. He missed not only the English translation, but also the award-winning film adaptation released in 2007.

Read the full text here:
--brought to you by mental_floss!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Inspirational Video

Because sometimes you need to remember what it's all about. Fight when you don't think you can anymore. Never give up. Never quit.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hysterical Timing

These pics were taken at exactly the right moment.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Adventure Within

I've occasionally indulged my love of inner Adventure on this blog. I truly believe the most frightening, most breathtaking, most profitable adventure lies within the human being not outside. The ultimate expression of adventure is that transcendent moment when the beauty of nature, or the wildness of a creature, reaches inside our chests and touches something that makes us come alive. It's the bracing chill of freshly melted snow pack. It's the touch of spring sunshine on our skin. The smell of fresh cut grass or BBQ. These are the moments that speak to something bigger than the daily grind.

My buddy Sam writes a blog about such things and I recommend it every chance I get.

In this installment he's talking about hearing from God in prayerful reflection. Good stuff and very informative. As I try to highlight fun things here on this blog, I also want to speak to the 3 levels of adventure--from casual to critical. The most critical adventure is the journey into you're own heart. When you find your heart, you will discover how to live as a complete person. You will gain the power to withstand all that life throws at you. I'll try to post a recommended reading list to start you on your journey and I'm always available to encourage you. Take the trip inside.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I flip'n love archery

So I started shooting the bow when I was 7 and shot a lot into my mid 20's. I spent 7 summers teaching archery in OR, WA, and AK. I have shot many kinds of bows from compound to longbows. I wish I'd kept up with it. I have made myself a commitment to shoot more this summer. I'm also going to sell my first novel, "Suffering Rancor" at the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival. Feel free to come down and join me.

Here's some really cool vids for your entertainment. As always, every effort was made to select the nerdiest stuff I could find.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Survival stuff...part 19?

If you're not familiar with the show duel survival, it's a great show. The hosts were both chosen because they'd already cultivated a following on the net. Here's one of the hosts in his original environment with a genius idea for modding a slingshot.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hiking Light

Weight is an issue on long trecks. Here's a good sight for information and a video that explains what they are about.

(Note: I don't get sponsored by any of the sites I recommend. I'm as likely to recommend a site by someone I've never met as by a close friend. It's all about performance.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Music Around the World

I've observed 3 keys to success in most industries:

1. Have Talent
2. Be smoking hot
3. Don't be ugly

These may seem obvious, but they are very true. If you don't have #2 you'd better be very talented, and if you do have #3 you'd better be the best that ever lived at it. It's not a very nice reality, but I can assure you it holds true.