More from: plans and goals

Broken Glass – new novel released (for free)

I finally got round to finishing the final edits of Broken Glass, the final novel in the Minding Tomorrow trilogy.

You can read it here, though it’s worth reading Minding Tomorrow and Combat first, or else it will make no sense. All my fiction is released for free under creative commons, so download the ebooks and enjoy!

I’ve no idea why I always put off completing a project like this, but it had been sitting almost-finished since April. All I had to do was make a book cover and do a few rounds of editing, and it would be ready. In total these last steps only took about 10 hours.

So I’ve been 10 hours of easy work away from completing a three novel series of stories that I first attempted writing back in 2003. I started writing the current version of Minding Tomorrow in November of 2008, so the three novels could be said to have taken four years to complete. I planned to get Broken Glass finished in the spring of 2012, but I wrote “Get That Rat Off My Face!” instead, which admittedly takes place in the same universe as Minding Tomorrow. In a way, it could be read as a four book series.

What I’m trying to ask is “Why would anyone not want to have finished a trilogy of novels, especially if it only requires a tiny bit more work?” Well, I’m not sure. I know I’ve been busy with other projects… but not THAT busy!

Personally I think Broken Glass is the best science fiction I’ve written. Unfortunately you have to read two other novels before it, just to set the groundwork and introduce all the characters, and logically those two novels can’t also be the best I’ve written.

All said and done, it’s been a fun journey.

And it’s not over. I’m currently writing another novel set in the same universe, but hundreds of years after the events of Broken Glass. So long, in fact, that it works as a stand alone story, though those who’ve read the Minding Tomorrow trilogy will enjoy it on an extra level.

2011 Juggling Log

Everyone who reads this blog knows I’m a total nerd when it comes to keeping track of personal improvements and achievements. That’s the main reason I started this blog three years ago! I’m also a nerd about juggling. What happens when you combine the two?

The 2011 Juggling Log

I know I’m not the only juggler who keeps track of this stuff. I’m not even the only professional juggler called Luke who lives in Germany who keeps track of this stuff. However, in 2011 I decided to go all-out, and track everything I felt might be interesting.

Fact 1 – total time spent juggling.

In 2011 I juggled for 404.05 hours.

Is that a lot? Personally I don’t think so. I think back in 2003 I juggled way more than that. But how can I be sure? I don’t have a juggling log from 2003.

Still, that’s almost entire 17 days I spent juggling. Or, at a daily rate, 1.11 hours per day.

Fact 2 – days off.

Of course, I didn’t juggle 1.11 hours per day, because I only juggled on 265 days in 2011. That means exactly 100 days when I didn’t juggle at all.

404.05 divided by 265 days is 1.52 hours per day.

Fact 3 – sick days.

I was too ill to juggle on 19 days. Personally I didn’t think I got ill so much, but when I do get ill, physical activities like juggling are the first things that get kicked out the schedule.

Fact 4 – travel days.

39 travel days. On these days I don’t have time for a full juggling practice session. If there was time (and I have the energy) I spent it practicing ball-on-head tricks, spinning a 10cm stage ball on my finger (getting pretty good!) and basic contact moves.

And if I was passing through somewhere interesting, or visiting a new country, I’d spend 2 minutes getting a video of me juggling.

Fact 5 – days working.

I’m a professional juggler. As a professional, I keep track of how many days per year I perform.

25 days.

That really doesn’t seem like much work to earn a living. Believe me, there’s a lot more to being a professional juggler than just those 25 days where I have an audience!

I performed my 50-55 minute juggling and multimedia and comedy show 23 times. Usually I perform this twice in one night.

On top of that I performed 26 shorter shows. On cruise ships these are typically 10-20 minutes, usually way less comedy and more time actually juggling choreographed routines. I also performed at some juggling conventions in return for (admittedly very little) money, and each one of these acts last about 8 minutes.

That makes, of course, 49 shows in total.

Fact 6 – dropless shows.

Being a professional juggler doesn’t mean I don’t drop on stage! To the contrary, I drop quite a lot.

In 2011 I performed 8 dropless shows. Of these 8 shows, 7 were short shows or juggling convention gala show acts.

I performed a grand total of one dropless 50-55 minute show. Yay me. And, to be honest, that is not just in 2011, that is in my entire career as a professional juggler!

Fact 7 – total drops on stage.

In non-dropless shows (the vast majority) I made 151 drops. 151 drops in a total of 49 shows sounds really, really bad, right? But then you’ve got to remember my shows are typically much longer than the average 8 minute variete show act.

After some rough calculations I estimate that I spent about 1650 minutes on stage in total this year (this doesn’t include hosting shows at the EJC or other conventions).

1650 divided by 151 drops means that I drop in stage, on average, once every 10.93 minutes.

Suddenly it doesn’t sound so bad!

Fact 8 – Combat!

I love 3 club combat. I decided to keep track of every “match” “I” won. This included two kinds of combat:

  • Team Combat – If I was on a winning team, I counted that as a win.
  • First to five combat- everyone agrees to play until one juggler wins five games.

I played 169 combat matches and won (or was on the winning team) 119 times. This means I won 70.41% of the matches I played.

On top of that I played countless games of the traditional melee combat. Not included in the juggling log are many memories from late night convention sessions. For example, at the EJC in Munich I wrote this in my diary:

“And then combat. I did pretty well. Won quite a lot. My hands felt like they were working. As some others dropped out, I felt in total control. Even with the Irish guy distracting me all the time.

I won 3 games in a row, and didn’t mention it. And took it to 5. And then up to 9. At the tenth game I got to the last two, and then we made each other drop.”

Or, from the French Juggling Convention in Rennes:


Not epic. The French jugglers aren’t good enough, although as time went on some better players joined in.

So instead I made it epic for myself. I set myself a goal, and said to Kyle and Namer “3 wins in a row, no, 5 wins in a row” and they said “And end with a double pirouette.”

And I did it! It really makes me focus. Bring out the high level skills. Not mess about. And most importantly, not fuck up in stupid ways.”

And at the same convention:

“And then combat! Flo joined in too. And Patrik Elmnert, who I’d been watching in the gym.

And Kyle reminded me of the challenge: “Swap all your clubs for another three different clubs, and then win.” This is really tricky! Fucking hard, in fact. Just making it so you drop your own club, and not one you’ve already stolen, is a brain fuck.

But I rocked it! I had just one of my own clubs left, and just Flo was left in, and somehow I managed to catch his high throw and knock him out. Yeah!

Epic! I think these challenges are fun. Hopefully nobody else thinks I’m taking the piss.”

Fact 9 – 5 club backcrosses

In the spring I decided to get 100 catches of 5 club backcrosses. I knew it would take a lot of work. I put in a lot of work. In February, March and April I worked on it on 69 days. Sometimes I’d work on it for over an hour.

The longest unbroken streak was 27 days in row when I practiced the pattern. What a fucking pattern.

Removing the days I didn’t practice, here are my best runs per day.

This shows pretty good progress, I think. My top record was 50 catches. But better than just improving my all time record, it improved my average run in my average juggling remarkably. Even in November, I visited Dunedin in New Zealand, and the jugglers where wanted to film me doing some hard tricks. Even without practicing it seriously for six months, and with very little warmup, I was confident enough to say “I’ll go for 20 catches of 5 club backcrosses.” It took (I think) three attempts, which is about all anyone will wait for if they have a camera on you and want to see something cool.

The two “off” days in the middle of the chart, where my best run drops down to 15 and 13, really stands out. I took a look at the juggling log, and I’d taken 5 days off from juggling completely before those days. It looks like this:

very ill
still very ill
travel day
illness recovery

So if I was doing so well with 5 club backcrosses, why did I stop? Well, it was totally fucking up my hands. And my shoulder. The only way I improved my skill level was by pushing my body beyond its comfort zone. In the end I had to make a decision: good health to enjoy all my juggling, or get better at a single pattern. I think I made the right decision.

Fact 10 – I had fun.

I tracked a whole lot of other info, but not enough of any one thing to be worth analyzing here. One thing which is almost impossible to quantify is how much fun I have juggling. Should I track how much I’m enjoying my self in practice sessions, on stage, and at juggling conventions? This would be meaningless, I think. I’m not sure I can bring myself to be that much of a nerd.

But tracking the juggling I do do has been fun, and has, in some ways, allowed me to have more fun with juggling this year.

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2011 end of year blog thing

I have a few hours free this afternoon, so I thought I’d do an “end of 2011 look-back review type thing” blog post. I did a whole series of blog posts for the end of 2010, looking at the goals I set for that year, but this will be way shorter I guess. Why much shorter?

Well, last year I didn’t post my “list of plans and goals for 2011” to the blog, and I don’t think I referred to it here during the year. One reason was that my new year’s resolution (if you can call it that) was something like “Set fewer goals for the year!”

I didn’t want to be beholden to what January 2011 Luke wanted to spend time on when October 2011 Luke had changed his mind about it. On a weekly basis I have a larger creative output than almost anyone I know, so I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else that I’m wasting my time, or that I’m a failure if I succeeded at only “35.05 out of a possible 50 plans and goals.” And yes, that was my success rate in 2010.

So in 2011 I intentionally didn’t work towards to plans and goals on my list. If I had time free, I’d look over the list, and see if it inspired me, but otherwise I just worked on what I wanted.

And, as it happened, some of the things I most proud of accomplishing weren’t on the list at all. For example:

  • The list said “Perform live set of my own music” inspired by spending time in New York with some awesome live performers.
  • I started performing at small music open stages in Berlin, and discovered that people really enjoyed my performing. They liked the fun songs, and how I chatted between, but hardly anyone commented about the pop songs and love songs that I’m so proud of.
  • I discarded other music plans and concentrated on writing more quirky and clever comedy songs, that I perform with just me at the piano.
  • This led to me performing more at comedy shows than music-only shows, and my comedy songs got a great reaction.
  • I now have 10-12 “comedy” numbers that I could, if the opportunity arose, put together into an hour-long show.

In January last year I never imagined I’d have the skills and material to do a whole new hour-long show. This is on top of the two hours of juggling material I have, AND on top of the (maybe) two hours of other music I could perform, and all of it original material.

I think that’s pretty cool. Right?

Who knows, maybe this year I’ll actually do a full-length solo music show, rather than just performing sets in longer shows.

All that aside, here are a few things from my list of plans and goals for 2011 that have been fun to track.


  • Visit another 20 new countries.

Partial win! I don’t have much control of this one, as I don’t make most of my travel plans. As it happened I visited 18 new countries in 2011.

I also made sure I got a video of me juggling in every country I visited in 2011 (win), even those I only passed through without leaving the airport.


  • Berlin and EJC and at least two other conventions (to be confirmed), one in a new country.

Win! Berlin and the EJC, plus the French Convention, Brianza Convention in Italy, Portland in the USA, and Passout in Germany at the end of the year. I’d never been to a convention in Italy before, so that was cool.

  • Win Fight Night Combat (against JJ for bonus)

Win! I won in Berlin, but JJ didn’t take part. I lost badly at the EJC. No bonus.

  • Run open stages and other events at EJC (with zero stress)

Win! 8 open stages over 8 nights. There was stress in the organization as a whole, but I deflected it all by being more professional and confident than others, and hopefully the stress didn’t leak out too far into the venue I had to control.

  • Track and break some personal records.

Win! I broke a few. The most “impressive” record was 5 club backcrosses. I worked on it many hours in the spring, up to an hour day for many days, and smashed my old record. It now stands at 50 catches, though my 5 year plan back in 2001 was to get 100 catches. I’m okay with never reaching that goal, even after 10 years.

  • Practice more (log hours per day).

Win? I’m not sure if I did practice more or less than previous years, because this is the first year I’ve tracked how much I juggle. I think I’ll release the nerdy numbers as a separate blog post.

Other juggling and performing goals included working on new material (win), building new props (win), developing routines which don’t need more equipment than I already carry (win), finishing the construction of “The Room” set (progress, but nowhere near finished), writing the show “Powercut” (fail), and working with other jugglers and artist on material for the above shows (win).


I had some writing goals, but this was tricky. Half way through 2010 I decided to keep a diary, and writing about 1,000 words per day for my private diary took up so much of the energy that would normally be spent writing fiction. I did manage to make progress on various novels. I even completed one novella and recently published it on my website.


I intentionally left this even more vague than others. Photography is something I’m still getting better at on a monthly basis, and until that stops, I don’t think I need to think about setting myself other goals.

My only goals were to learn more about small strobe photography (win), to learn more about self-portrait photography (win), and to set up a photo studio in my juggling studio at home (partial win).


By the numbers:

  • I had 31 plans and goals for 2011.
  • I succeeded at 15.9 of them.
  • I failed at 11.1 (the decimal is from visiting 18 and not 20 new countries).
  • At the end of the year I was still actively working on 4 projects (for example, an audio recording of one of my science fiction stories).

The numbers are nowhere close to last year’s success rate, but last year I put down loads of things that I knew I would succeed at anyway. Things like “continue to record the SFBRP podcast”, and even without trying I put out 32 episodes of science fiction reviews. And a lot of them were really simple too, like “buy a new camera bag”. How much effort does that take? Nothing compared to writing a whole novel!

And, as I said before, I decided to be happy to go on flights of fancy with my plans and goals and dreams.

I’m super happy with 2011, and how much I achieved in terms of life accomplishments and creative output. I even found an awesome girlfriend, and she is going to be included in many of my plans and goals for 2012.

But that will be a whole other blog post.

New for 2012: I’m turning off comments on my blog. Since early 2009, when I started this blog, there have only been about 10 comments really worth my time reading and approving. And for each of those, I responded individually by email, or created a new blog post. All the others were fine, but not worth wading through the spam.

So from now on, I’ll just leave my email address at the bottom of each post. If you have something to tell me, please email me. I’ve done this since 2008 on my SFBRP podcast, and have developed really strong relationships via email with my listeners. I’d love to replicate that here. Just so you know, I reply to every email:

Diary for a year – an textual analysis.

This is going to be a bit of strange blog post, but I’ll see how it turns out.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I kept a diary for a year. All of it is in text files, sitting in a folder on my hard drive, backed up on various hard drives and in the cloud.

So now what do I do with it?

Well, it’s been handy to look up names of people I’ve met, or places I’ve been, but as time passes that will be less useful.

In 10 years time I could read through the whole thing, and see how much of a dick I was, but there’s no way I’m going to read through the whole thing now.

But I want to see how much I can learn about my life when I was aged 30 years old. So here goes!

First step: combine all text files into one. I’ve done that already, using Automator on OSX. It’s handy for stuff like this.

Step two: write a python script that filters out all punctuation, line breaks, tab breaks and spaces.

This leaves me with a huge list of over 200,000 words.

Step three: modify script so it counts up how many times I’ve used each word.


Total number of unique words in the diary: 9,608. Is that a lot? I guess it’s a pretty varied vocabulary.

The top 10 most common words:

10449	 i
9310	 the
7244	 and
7115	 to
5633	 a
2871	 it
2705	 in
2573	 of
2327	 my
2280	 but


Step four: import into a spreadsheet where I can scroll through the words and tag each one as either a Name, a Place, a kind of Food, an Action or an Object. The vast majority of words are none of these, of course.

This is more time consuming, of course. I decided to ignore all words I only used once or twice each, as they make up about two thirds of the 9,608 words. And I’m just not clever enough at python scripting to do anything like this automagically (and certainly not while unconnected from the internet) so I tagged each word by hand.

The results?

Let’s start with food-related words. I’ll share the top 24.

267	 food
227	 breakfast
126	 dinner
97	 pizza
47	 burger
47	 eat
44	 drinks
42	 lunch
34	 eating
31	 tea
30	 drinking
25	 shots
21	 pasta
21	 tasty
18	 cake
17	 mustafas
16	 cheese
16	 chocolate
16	 hungry
16	 milk
16	 yummy
13	 coffee
11	 crepe
10	 parliamento

I think this is quite educational. I mention “pizza” more times than I mention “lunch”. This doesn’t mean I ate pizza more times than I ate lunch, but I guess pizza is more important for me to record in my diary than one meal of the day.

Burger probably ranks so high because of the 8 Bacon Cheeseburgers in 8 Days project I undertook last September. Since then I’ve eat more burgers than I normally would do in a year, mainly to see if I can find a tastier burger. And, of course, with such a project in mind I’ll write about it in my diary more often.

Mustafa’s Hänchen Gemuse Kebab? The best kebab place in Berlin which happens to be right on my street? 17 visits in the last year, I’m guessing. And 10 trips to Pizza Parliamento, my favorite pizza restaurant near my apartment.

“Tasty” and “yummy” pop up more than I would have thought. I guess “yummy” is a word I’d use more in a diary than normal conversation.

Next set of results:


139	 berlin
127	 park
122	 bar
71	 apartment
71	 hotel
65	 ejc
61	 hot-tub
52	 airport
47	 gym
41	 prinsendam
40	 london
39	 bookshop
37	 cabin
32	 hill
27	 cafe
26	 boat
25	 theatre
24	 bank
24	 ubahn
21	 port

Berlin wins, of course. But there’s a lot to learn about me here. “Park” means Victoria Park in Berlin, where I go to juggle every day when the weather is good.

“Bar” is self explanatory, right?

“Hot-tub”? When the weather is good in Berlin I go hang out in the park. When the weather is good while I’m on a cruise ship, and even when it isn’t, I usually spend an hour per day in the hot-tup and pool. On a sea day I hang out while the sun sets, otherwise I hang out while we sail out of the port.

“EJC” isn’t just a place, but an event, which I mention throughout the year as I was part of the organizing team.

“Gym” in NO WAY means a place where I get fit. Instead it means the gymnasiums at juggling conventions.

The “Prinsendam” is a ship that I perform on six or seven times a year. And other words like “airport”, “cabin, “boat”, “hotel”, “ubahn”, and “port” just show how much travel is a big part of my life.

Next results?

Activities/Verbs. A top 20:

772	 went
568	 show
565	 think
441	 work
427	 juggling
385	 going
265	 chatted
265	 said
259	 sleep
244	 make
239	 played
193	 guess
160	 chatting
157	 met
152	 tried
146	 ate
146	 feel
146	 remember
141	 play
139	 found

This seems pretty standard, I guess. And saying “I guess” might explain why I do so much guessing.

Looking further down the list, I notice “116 sex”. I know for a fact I didn’t have sex 116 times!

And then “97 shower”. I know for a fact I had a shower more than 97 times!

“Combat” is mentioned 90 times. And “juggle” (as opposed to “juggling”) another 83 times, and “juggle” 80 times.

Way down the list is “uploaded” at 47 mentions, but that’s high above “downloaded” at 23 mentions. I guess this shows that uploading new content like podcasts and photography is more important. Or something.

Strangely “photography” only gets 68 mentions. I thought this would be higher, but it’s just down to word choice, I guess. That brings me on to the next set of results…

Things, objects, nouns, etc. The top 20:

375	 bed
298	 photos
267	 food
222	 room
214	 video
205	 ship
197	 music
183	 internet
183	 song
168	 club
152	 book
143	 podcast
139	 stage
130	 head
129	 shows
110	 camera
109	 game
109	 songs
100	 guitar
99	 facebook

See? Photography is very important to me. So is music and performing, and reading, and my online life.

I’m not sure what else I need to mention about this list of words.

And on to the final set…


This time, to be a bit more inclusive, I’ll list the top 30.

279	 Julianne
242	 kim-nga
104	 luke
69	 kissha
68	 pola
62	 daniel
54	 declan
49	 olga
48	 eva
44	 karo
43	 alex
39	 doreen
37	 flo
35	 jeff
33	 dj
33	 nathan
33	 scott
31	 rym
29	 john
28	 billy
28	 kyle
26	 christine
26	 jesse
26	 tim
25	 jochen
24	 david
23	 nat
22	 corinna
22	 jessica
22	 jj
22	 lee

And let’s just start at the top. “Juliane” is, of course, my current girlfriend. I met her for the first time at the start of June, so she wins by quite a number of mentions in under three months worth of diary.

Second place is “Kim-Nga” who was my girlfriend last year. We were together from October to early January, so about three months again. Though “together” is funny word for a long distance relationship.

Third place is “Luke” which is me. This is because I addressed many diary entries to my future self, saying “Hey Future Luke, reading back over this diary, here’s what you did today. This is reflected in the song I wrote last September called Future Luke.

Kissha is friend in Berlin who I kinda dated in the spring. Pola is my ex-ex-girlfriend who still pops up in my life quite often. But in a good way, as we are still friends.

And then as I look down I see friends I hang out with in Berlin, people I’ve spent time with on cruise ships, people who have stayed at my place, people I’ve been to juggling conventions with, and people I met last year in New York.

Some people don’t feature much in my diary though, even though they feature quite large in my life. I’m not sure why I didn’t mention them more.

This includes:

1. Girls I met in Berlin, with whom I hoped to begin some kind of relationship, but for some reason it didn’t work out. So I’d think about them quite a bit, and mention them every now and then in my diary, but wouldn’t make it in every time I thought about them, only when I met them, or planned to meet them.

2. People I spent just a few days with on a single trip, and might have changed the direction of my life in a big way, but following that I didn’t meet them again.

3. People whom I chat with on an almost daily basis online, who are just part of my every day life but I don’t “do” anything with them worth writing about in my diary.

And then some people on this list are there for negative reasons. “Lee” was a very annoying guest entertainer I had the displeasure of spending three weeks with on a cruise in the spring. In fact, I didn’t spend much time with him, I actively avoided him, but the other entertainers kept getting annoyed with him, and all I heard from them were complaints.

Actually, I think Lee is the only negative placement in the above list.

Finally, in the 365 days I was aged 30, I had sex with 5 girls. I’ll not say who they were, but I’m glad they all made the top 30 above.

That’s it! This is such a weirdly abstract way to analyze ones life, I’m not sure if it is helpful or unhelpful. I don’t think there’s anything else I need to share about my life for a while.

Last note:

The longest “word” in the diary came out as “long-distance-non-dating-friend-with-no-benefits”. This is a specially invented term for Robyn!