Category Archives: Writing

My (Still) Bestselling Calisthenics Book

I have 4.5 stars on Kobo, see?

I still can’t believe my Calisthenics eBook has been a bestseller for over three years.  It’s still #3 in Health and Fitness at Smashwords, although it has fallen from an all-time high of I think #19 all they way down to #37 at B&N.  Reviews average 4 out of 5 stars.

And how much money does a writer make from a bestselling eBook on Calisthenics?  About $30/month, a few hundred bucks a year.

So how about helping a brother out?  Go get yourself some!


Only 3.5 stars on Scribd. What can I say — haters gonna hate.



For The Veterans

“Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954, as Veterans Day.  On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom; and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”

~excerpt from Title 3 — The President — Proclamation 3071, 11/11/54

Forrest J. Mitchell Jr.(9/1/1895 – 3/25/1953) — World War I (my grandfather)

F. J. Mitchell III — World War II (my uncle)

Robert E. Mitchell

Robert E. Mitchell (11/21/34 – 7/8/08 ) – Cold War — my father

Richard D. Mitchell (10/13/27 – 3/27/89) — served approx. 1946 – 1949 (my uncle)


My Great Grandfather Adam Naf, 16th Century Hero and Swordsman


First, let me say thanks to a blog follower named Tim who asked me some questions about the Naff family and, as a result, I ended up re-reading my mother‘s genealogy book entitled, A Genealogy of the Ancestors and Descendants of Jacob Naff Sr. and Marvin Edward Naff of Virginia by Betty Naff Mitchell,

It turns out that my great grandfather Adam Näf fought in the battle of Kappel with great distinction.  Here’s the story, courtesy of the Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy page:

“The Forest troops were pressed back but about five in the evening the tide of battle turned…the standard bearer  [John Schweizer] refused to give way. The battle became very fierce around the standard bearer but he would not yield ground…He was forced into the stream and the weight of his armor bore him down and he was drowned. Kleinsbaus Kambli rescued the banner. As he seized the banner he was rushed by a number of the enemy. He cried out, “Is there no honorable Zuricher here to save his army’s banner?”  Adam Näf of Vollenweid responded to the cry. Adam was an axguard who under Hans Huber of Tufenbach had come to defend Zürich. His father and two brothers were also in the battle as well as two sons. Adam Näf attacked with his broad sword and cut off the head of the man who had seized the banner. Kambli was again able to hold the banner high and retreat in an orderly fashion. In the retreat there were 512 soldiers left behind including Adam’s father, Hans, and his two brothers… On November 15-16, ambassadors from both sides met to arrange terms of a peace and on the 20th the treaty was ratified.”

Betty Mitchell — August 2nd 1937 ~ January 13th 2016

Näfenhaus still stands, now the property of the the Naefenstiftung, a charitable organization that helps poor members of the Naff family and arranges holiday celebrations at the house.

Thanks Mom, for writing your incredible book book for me and the family.  I’m so proud of you and of my heritage.


My DIY Adventure Trailer Build

So, I just built an adventure trailer (a.k.a. a bug-out trailer, expedition trailer, camping trailer, etc.).  Why?

  1. I love camping.
  2. I’d go more often if I didn’t have to haul my equipment in and out of the attic every time.
  3. I want to travel more.  Camping is more frugal and fun than staying in hotels.
  4. Why a trailer and not a camper?  A trailer is way cheaper than a camper.  Besides, I have a mattress and a camper shell for my truck and sometimes I want to sleep in a tent anyways.

This thing cost me less than a thousand bucks to build.  Here’s the breakdown:

Item  Amount 
Lowes 40″ x 60″ basked trailer  $  459.00
Title tags, registration  $  166.00
Hardware and accessories  $    21.94
Paint and sundries  $    61.10
Wood, glue, screws  $  115.59
TOTAL:  $  823.63

And here are some build pics.

Here’s to great adventures!


The empty trailer straight from Lowes

The basic frame made from 2 x 4s, secured with 2 5/8″ deck screws and exterior grade construction adhesive.

The dorky white rims that came with the trailer had to go.

…so I sprayed them black with Rustoleum gloss black my masking off the tire and the nuts. Getting the back was kind of a pain, but no big deal.

Here’s the frame after the screw holes were puttied and the first coat of premium house paint was applied. The space under the frame is for waterproof storage bins with wheels.

Here’s the storage cabinet on the passenger side after the first coat of paint.

Close up of the cabinet after attachment to the frame. FYI, I did not build or design this cabinet I just modified and repurposed it slightly. My father-in-law made it for my brother-in-law. Plastic storage boxes fit perfectly into those cubbies.

This is the black truck box on driver side — I already had it laying around so I used it to save money.

Almost there. Everything is on the frame at least, just waiting for hardware on order and for the muscle to put it on the trailer.

The finished product! Note the open space at the front with the low deck — two coolers fit there perfectly!

My Talk with Paul VanderKlay about Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris

I had a fun conversation with Paul VanderKlay yesterday, and I’m flattered to say that he thought it was interesting enough to post on this very popular YouTube channel.

We talked mostly about the  Jordan Peterson/Sam Harris Vancouver talks (Part 1 and Part 2) but about some other things too.  Public reaction has been 95% positive.

By way of introduction, Paul is the pastor at Living Stones Church in Sacramento, CA and has been referred to as “the Pastor of the Intellectual Dark Web.”

Here’s the video.

Language! (My Swear Jar)

I’m trying to eliminate all swearing.

This is not easy.

So I enlisted the help of Captain America. As you can see by the picture on the right, I now have a Captain America swear jar (a.k.a. “piggy bank”). And thanks to Post-it® Speech Bubble Notes and my desktop flashlight to hold it up, Cap has his eye on me.

Why Cap? Because everybody knows that, although he doesn’t like foul language, he sometimes slips up (just like me).

Wish me luck in my quest. And, just for fun, here’s a recap of Cap’s complicated relationship with swearing.

Fort Raleigh Historic Site

While we were down in Kitty Hawk, NC on vacation a couple of weeks back, I took a little trip over to the Fort Raleigh Historic Site.  Fort Raleigh protects and preserves the known portions of England’s first New World settlements from 1584 to 1590, as well as the cultural heritage of the Native Americans, European Americans and African Americans who have lived on Roanoke Island.

There are also two other attractions adjacent to the historic site — the Elizabethan Gardens (which I didn’t visit) and the Lost Colony Theater (which was in the off season so I couldn’t catch the show).

Here are the photos!

A huge writing spider (a.k.a. garden spider or Argiope aurantia).

Muscadine grape vine. The place was thick with the stuff. Fun fact: what may be the oldest living cultivated grapevine in the world is on Roanoke Island. << Click pic to read article >>


Remnants of old colony earth works.

Entrance to the Lost Colony Theater

View of the stage at the Lost Colony Theater