Christmas Card 2017

Merry Christmas! The 2017 Rausch Family Christmas Card is here!

ESCAPE from the MAZE PLANET! It’s a text adventure where you play as Fruckles, a lovable alien pet who helps Kiddo and Sweets make decisions along their adventure.

Can you escape the maze planet? Will you turn around in shame? There’s more than one way out, so feel free to play over and over again.

View our 2017 Christmas Card here.

Working My Gut Off To Be Normal

I’ve written about weight and exercise and health before in My Completely Obvious Secrets to Losing Weight, Scheming on a Thing, That’s Exercise Sabotage! and My Food Addiction. My body size, shape and weight have been stressful topics for me my entire life, and they’re on my mind constantly.

When trying to improve one’s health and fitness, it’s useful to have goals. Many fitness programs and health tracking apps put the emphasis on weight. “What’s your ideal weight?” they ask, assuming that you have any idea what a realistic or healthy body weight would be for your body type. Or they may ask for your height and current weight which they use to calculate a Body Mass Index (BMI). They will then give you a target weight which represents a “healthy” BMI. But BMI has some problems which I feel are underrepresented. I think the reason so much weight (pun) is given to BMI is because we don’t have a neat and simple alternative to define health. There’s no grand, eloquent equation of perfect health.

I started my journey by setting a weight goal. I made progress, but I never hit my goal. I got within ten pounds at one point, but complete success proved elusive. As I’ve done more research, I’ve come to see body fat percentage as a more useful measurement. The research is starting to support body fat as an important health indicator. Body fat, like BMI, categorizes ranges of health for groups of age and gender. One might be low, normal, high or very high. Even after losing thirty pounds, I was still in the “high” range. I set my sights on “normal” and got to work.

On September 23rd, I hit that major health milestone. For the first time in my adult life, after some five years of concerted effort, I have finally measured in the “normal” range for body fat.

I’m happy and scared. Unlike some goals, like getting a novel published, this goal can be undone. Also, unlike most aspects of my life, this is one area where I’m very happy trying to be normal. I’m in a weird place right now.

Okay. Enough celebrating. Back to work.

Building Progressive Web Apps using CFML at cf.Objective() 2017

I’m giving a talk at cf.Objective() 2017. It’s called: Building Progressive Web Apps using CFML. If you, or someone you know (or someone you don’t know, I guess), is attending cf.Objective next week, check out my talk on July 20th, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

Progressive Web Apps are more than just a UI fad, like parallax or scroll-triggered animations. PWAs are quickly becoming the best practice for creating reliable, fast and engaging user experiences. Like progressive enhancement, which treated JavaScript as an optional enhancement for a website, progressive web apps treat the network itself as an optional enhancement. By treating the network as untrustworthy, developers are forced to create better web apps that capitalize on modern browser features when they exist and fallback to traditional client-server communication when they don’t.

This talk builds the most cutting-edge client technologies upon the solid foundations of ColdBox, giving CFML developers a helpful path into the future. Google has been a strong supporter and proponent of PWAs and the Offline First movement, but their examples and toolkits make too many or too few assumptions about the reader’s server technology. This talk will use ColdBox and Lucee (through CommandBox) as the server language, allowing CFML developers to wrap their heads about this new movement and hopefully incorporate its philosophy and techniques into their existing and upcoming projects.

Learn more on the cf.Objective() website., my writing website, is live

While Of Miles Rausch will always be my heart and soul, my personal diary in the world, it isn’t always very focused. In fact — like me — it’s intentionally varied and unintentionally disorganized. How can one separate the scientist from the artist, the developer from the writer?

Well, now there’s an easy way to separate out the writer: is my writing website. It’ll have writing news, information on how to read and discover my written works and even information on how to support my art through services like Patreon.

If you’re interested in learning more about Miles Rausch, the writer, check out

New Mixlist: (2014) Best of Last Year

Well, another year has come and gone, and so I’ve finally come up with a new mixlist: (2014) Best of Last Year. Every year, I make a mixlist of the best songs that I discovered in the past calendar year. The songs may come from any decade, any era, but the uniting feature is that I only just discovered them in 2014.

Visit the mixlist page to listen to the playlist via an embedded Spotify playlist and to read more of my thoughts on it.

My Successful NaNoWriMo 2014

I completed the NaNoWriMo challenge in 2013, but it wasn’t pretty. My month-long, prosaic journey was a study in perseverance against myself. That November was tough. My output was sporadic and entirely too little, the novel itself often lacked direction and drive, and that final day I was a ghost to everyone around me in an effort to make up for those two things.

But I did it. I completed the challenge. This year I did it again.

My 2014 NaNoWriMo was a much different experience, and I think it’s best summarized in the following graphic comparing 2013’s word count statistics to 2014’s.

NaNoWriMo stats
NaNoWriMo daily word counts for 2013 (left) and 2014 (not left).

I’ve spent 2014 developing a habit of writing, and the much steadier and more consistent graph shows how that work has paid off. I try to fill my early mornings with writing — and I am not a person who enjoys mornings, early or otherwise. However, having a routine made this year’s challenge easier on me and my family.

Although the recommended NaNoWriMo word count was higher than my normal, I had arranged my life to allow writing time, giving it a due time slot. What I was writing (or how quickly) was then just a detail.

The downside to this year’s event is that my novel is still unfinished. From November’s novel push, I went right into working on our 2014 Christmas Card called Familial and haven’t been back. The novel aches in the back of my mind, waiting for the telling.

Thankfully, January is a good month for getting back into habits.

How Blaine Hancock Saved My Novel

Lake Erie

NOTE: If you’re reading my novel and don’t want any details surprised, then you should come back to this post after you read chapter eight. This article contains spoilers.

Ten days into NaNoWriMo 2014, I wrote:

By any definition, I had written a lot. I’d been keeping pace with my daily word counts and had a lot to show for it. Chapter seven closed with both main characters having just experienced major life events. I needed a rest, and they needed time to grow up.

I pinwheeled, trying to decide what to do, where to go, how to continue. That evening I did not write. Hoping to maintain some momentum, I rearranged character sheets in Scrivener. I hacked a book cover in Pixelmator. I stalled for time, then I had to go to bed.

The next day, I faced the same issue. It hadn’t disappeared overnight. Perhaps a new character was necessary, someone who would play an important role later. Maybe an FBI agent investigates the bridge collapse. Maybe a shadowy head of state or business tycoon barks orders to a known secondary character. Maybe a small child plays with dolls in a greenhouse, rationalized later.

No inspiration hit me, but I had to keep writing, so I did something scary. I opened the name generator and created Mike, Janelle and Blaine Hancock. I created “Ch 8, Part 1” and started to write, having no idea who these people were.

Janelle is pregnant and nearly full-term. She’s complaining about how certain she is that her water broke, despite the repeated assurances by medical staff that it hasn’t. Responding to a nurse’s indelicate suggestion, Janelle says, “I didn’t piss myself. My water broke.”

Then I realized what I was doing. After I got stuck, a part of my brain must have started working on the problem. The more conscious part of my brain was so overwhelmed and negative that it couldn’t hear what the other part was coming up with.

I had a guy nicknamed Flame who harnessed uncontrollable fire. I had a woman nicknamed Frost who may (or may not) have power over cold. And now I had Blaine Hancock, the rising tide of Flood.

What’s amazing to me is that I had this solution in my head, but it wasn’t until I turned off my thinking and started to write that I discovered it. I had to get quiet enough to hear my story.

I finished chapter eight, and I certainly have enough material for three more chapters introducing this (and another) new character. Then I have some questions to deal with: why do they all have these powers, what do they mean to each other, and what is their overall purpose?

Uneasy questions that I’m sure I’m working on now. But that’s another story.

NaNoWriMo 2014

True to my word from last year, I’m still writing, and that means more NaNoWriMo. Last year I finished in high fashion by actually completing my novel (which I still haven’t edited). This year I hope to succeed again.

I’ve learned some lessons from last year. I hope to manage my time better, although trying to get some words written is a sure sign to your child that they should be trying to get your attention. I plan to circumvent this issue by writing early in the morning, during their naps and late at night. In other words, I’ll be exhausted come December 1st.

Follow my progress on the NaNoWriMo website. If you want to read along, you can follow my novel on Write On by Kindle.


At her first birthday party, Ainsley received a lot of things: toys, books and especially clothing. The unwrapping ceremony for a one year old requires a lot of parental and sibling involvement from gathering the gifts to actually opening them.

Ainsley showed mostly passing interest. She would peruse the odd book, explore the notable toys, but then there were the clothes. With each new outfit, Ainsley would squeal. She’d throw aside the previous item and immediately struggled to dress anew. There was unbridled glee with each discovery. And that was it: she had taken on a stereotype of her gender, out of nowhere, without prompting.

And I was baffled.

Continue reading “Genderfication”

Red Bull’s Hit

If you’ve purchased a Red Bull within the last twelve years, that company lied to you. At least, according to Benjamin Careathers. Mr. Careathers filed a lawsuit on Jan. 16th of 2013 in U.S. District Court alleging that the slogan “Red Bull Gives You Wings” (and other advertising practices) were “deceptive and fraudulent.”

Read more on Law360, BEVNET, Google and the actual settlement website. Red Bull decided to settle rather than fight it out in court. A statement by the company said, “Red Bull settled the lawsuit to avoid the cost and distraction of litigation.”

Essentially, Careathers won, and everyone who’s enjoyed a Red Bull since 2002 can join him and claim money or (ironically) some Red Bull products. Which brings us to the part where I’m furious.

Continue reading “Red Bull’s Hit”

Last Words With LaVonne

The Gregg tombstone.

My last words to LaVonne Rose Gregg, as she lived and breathed, were likely, “It was so nice to see you.” I’m sure I could pinpoint the likely moment, but that would bring with it the realization of how poorly our last words fit our relationship.

I’m sure LaVonne responded with the promise of sweet corn or beef, and I would have sincerely begun the work of mapping a path for retrieval. But it wouldn’t happen, not until she no longer lived nor breathed.

News that she was sick came suddenly. Although she had been living with cancer the past year, she had been as LaVonne always was: bright and sassy. Then Holli’s mom, Carol, sent a group text message on September 24th at 6:11 PM.

> They have taken grandma to the hospital
> She stopped breathing.

Those messages started a process of grief for dozens of people. Holli and I made plans for her to head to Hawarden that night. She’d return to teach the next day, but would otherwise be near the family should LaVonne breath her last.

LaVonne didn’t. She lived unassisted for two more days in the Hawarden Hospital before passing peacefully in her sleep.

Continue reading “Last Words With LaVonne”