Thursday, November 25, 2021

Quick Thanksgiving Shout-Out

Now that I've finished my official service with ILCRA and things have settled down a bit for me, I'll do my best to keep this blog a little better.

Until then, check out Christopher Day at  Fella's made incredible headway in the fight against digital recording and exposing its corporate fuckery.  Good source of some Thanksgiving hope.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

And 2020 keeps on truckin'

No good news.  We'll see when I can pick Guinness steno practice back up -- it'll be a bit.  Divorce + house sale + moving is in my future.  Give me a month or two.

But there's Lucifer Season 5 Part 1 and Umbrella Academy Season 2, so I got that goin' for me.

Friday, May 29, 2020


So the Guinness attempt isn't going to happen this year, but it will be NEXT year at NCRA in Las Vegas.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Road So Far

I said in my last post I'd post my practice regimen "soon," so over a month later, here it is!  I've decided on the tag "The Road So Far" to delineate which blog entries are for this Guinness attempt and which are not.  Yes, 'tis a Supernatural reference.  Last time I discovered it was indeed about the journey and not necessarily the goal, so I chose my tag accordingly this time.  Although there is no journey without a goal -- then it would just be called "wandering about aimlessly."

So if you want to read about this Guinness attempt and filter out my other musings, click on "The Road So Far" in the word cloud to your right.  If you wish to read about my previous Guinness attempt, click on "The Impossible Goal."

So.  Practice.  In order for this blog post to make sense, I'll have to drag my current celebrity obsession crush into this.  *runs to Lux, fetches Tom Ellis, and plops him down here*

If you're a big fan of the show Lucifer, you'll notice that Tom, who performs the titular character, got incredibly ripped between season 3 and 4.  Heck, I certainly noticed. (What??  You seriously think this is an entirely professional blog?  You have a lot to learn about this town, sweetie.)  In this article for Men's Health he described how he achieved incredible results in a short period of time.  His trainer said that as long as he faithfully kept to the system, "...there’ll be a point when you wake up one day and your body will look different."

What does Tom's training have to do with my training?  Honey, I went to Bible college.  I can relate any illustration to any sermon.  Here's the connection:  If you plot the lines for fitness training and stenography training, you'll see they are parallel.

We started slow -- 80 words a minute was my first speed class after theory -- and worked our way up.  When we were in theory class we asked the teacher to dictate at 225 words a minute, just to hear how fast our exit speeds were, and we couldn't even comprehend writing at such speeds.

Then when we were in our 160s, we asked the teacher to dictate at 80, and it was incomprehensible that we once struggled at that speed.  We woke up and our writing skills were different.

Same with strength.  I started bench pressing with a bare 45-pound barbell, and my personal best at my peak was 110 pounds.  I wasn't conscious of getting stronger over time -- I simply followed my plan, and as time passed, it felt like I could suddenly achieve more.

Another article online has to do with training Marine women to do pullups.  It was common "knowledge" when I grew up that women didn't have the upper body strength to do pullups, except for those unusually strong women.  This is 100% false.

The TL;DR of this article is that you gotta stop it with the assisted pullup machine, because it's a crutch.  It doesn't force your entire body to get in on the act.  Jump in with both feet.  Hang from the bar.  Do negatives -- where you hold on at the top and descend as slow as you can.  Practice it daily, if you can.  (That's what the ARTICLE says, not me.  I've tried this and now my shoulder is jacked up.)

How do these two articles about strength training apply to my practice regimen?  Besides Tom Ellis being my inspiration for both steno and fitness.  (heart-eyes emoji)

For starters, I'm taking off the crutch of practicing slow until I'm accurate and working my way up.  In the past I've always -- ALWAYS -- passed speed tests after I practiced at speeds well above my target speed.  This was true for school, RPR, RMR, and speed contests.

I BEGIN my Guinness speed practice by increasing the speed to 420 (heh) words a minute, using the add-on to Google Chrome that is aptly named Video Speed Controller.  THEN I decrease the speed incrementally until I'm getting something for everything.  It's rough as all get out, but I'm getting SOMETHING.

And guess what -- that speed is hovering around 360-370.

Second, the quote from Tom's trainer has bounced around in my brain ever since I read it.  From day to day, it's hard to see improvement.  Until you look back a few months later and see just how far you've come.  If you've ever seen my Failure seminar, you've heard me say something like this before -- trust the system and results will follow.  Don't focus on the goal; focus on the system.

I distinctly remember training for the RMR back in the days of cassettes.  I had a fancy cassette player that allowed you to increase the speed.  I practiced with speed contest cassettes, and sped it up.  One day I was practicing (for the RMR, remember, which is 260 wpm as opposed to speed contest's 280) and thought to myself, "Oh no, I forgot to speed up the dictation."  Yeah.  I had indeed sped it up, but my system was getting results.  It felt gettable.  And of course I subsequently passed the RMR.

So I am trusting the system once again in that before long I will not recognize my skills; they're so advanced :)

Much thanks for the support of my 100-Day Challenge club, where we encourage each other to practice daily for 100 days in a row.  I highly recommend you start such a club.  The benefits aren't just accountability; it's the friends you make along the way.

When's the fifth season of Lucifer coming out??

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Sequel

It's not set in stone yet, but NCRA is looking at doing another Guinness attempt at the 2020 convention in Orlando.  They reached out to us previous attemptors to see if we're interested, giving us first dibs, and some of us accepted.
See the documentary at
Pic thanks to Marc Greenberg.

Note that it is NOT confirmed just yet, but it's still in the preliminary stages.  But just in case, I'm starting to train for this again.

I'm going to blog through this again, like I did last time.  I need a better label title than "The Impossible Goal" this time, because I don't want that "impossible" word in there.  But I need something to go in the word cloud on the sidebar.  Supernatural- and Lucifer- (the Netflix show, not the Judeo-Christian trickster) -themed catchphrase suggestions welcome.

So here's what I've found in all of two days jumping back in:
  • My ears still hear the speeds.  Last time I started practicing at 370-ish, and it took me a while to even HEAR the individual words.  This time I started practicing at 420 (heh) and while my notes were garbage, I could still HEAR at that speed.  So we're ahead of the game already!
  • My hands are ACHING.  These speeds are tiring.  And I'm supposed to go into the gym when I'm done here and do back day.  Well, much like your first few days working out leave you feeling like a worn-out shell, I'm sure I'm in that stage of practicing now.
  • I have just as much no motivation to practice as I did last time.  I should do another "motivation doesn't exist - Boots 2 Asses" blog post.  I'll put one in the queue to work on.
  • Hey, this'll give me something to blog about so the bots don't take over my blog.
  • Photobucket is all weird now -- so many of my picture links are broken on past blog entries.  So if you want pretty pictures, imagine a funny yet apt photo illustrating the entry.
Mark Kislingbury is vlogging through his journey as well, so head over to and join and follow along. Like he says, if we don't get it, that's fine.  But we're going to TRY.  Writing high speeds isn't about talent, or being some kind of X-men mutant -- it's all about effort and work and grinding.  If I can get my speed up, so can you.  Steno is naturally HARD for me, but practice makes it EASIER.

Last time when I did this, my jobs were so incredibly EASY it was amazing.  This is definitely a case where the journey is more beneficial than the payoff.

I don't know that I'll do a set blogging schedule this time, like post on Sundays or whatever, but I'll post 'em when the spirit moves.  I will however post my practice regimen soon.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Been a long time since I came around....

... been a long time, but I'm back in town.

I'm back to blogging.  These past few years I've had the honor of serving as the Illinois Court Reporters Association president-elect, and then president, and with that honor comes the responsibility for writing a president's column for the Ad Infinitum, our quarterly newsletter, so that took up my writing priorities.

This is me and Georgia doing the two step then cowboy boogie.....
But now that torch has passed to Georgia Long, my amazing, intelligent, sharp, beautiful*, challenging, and insightful friend, and she will do wonderfully in this role. She's a legacy president -- her mother, Beth Pruitt, served as ILCRA president. She's got a solid background, experience, and insight to take the wheel.

(I already said "insightful." Oh well, it's my blog and I do what I want.)

So anyway, now I should be blogging a bit more often.  A lot has happened over the past two years, and I'll detail exactly what went down with regards to Senate Bill 2128 in the upcoming Ad Infinitum.  Teaser trailer:  It was NOT just about voice writing. 

Side note:  Voice writing is not the enemy.  They're our best allies in the fight against digital "reporting," plus voice writing enables reporters who experience hand/arm disability to continue to work in their chosen, trained field.  (That'll be me in a few years.)  Voice writers read back, interrupt when necessary, and can provide realtime and captioning.  And they're a witness to every single word of the procedure and create an immediate realtime draft -- just like stenography.  Their certification tests are almost directly equivalent to NCRA's certification tests, including realtime and speed.

Head to for a fabulous infographic on the difference between CSRs and digital "reporting," developed by ILCRA's own vice president, Mary Ann Casale.

*Yes, I know, physical beauty is not something we humans should hold quite so dear, but she's seriously beautiful inside and out.  I mean, come on.  Sheesh.