Saturday, December 31, 2016

Antelope Season Finale

Well, it's here...  The end of the line. Or the beginning - I haven't quite decided how to deal with this series.  If you have any strong feelings one way or the other, I'd be glad to hear them.  My Grandfather already wrote this story for me, I just get to tell it to you, if you want to hear it.

Take a Minute... Live a Story...

Antelope Season Finale - Cal's Plan

Friday, December 23, 2016

Antelope Episode 11


Well, Episode 11 of Antelope is in the books and on the website.  This series has been an adventure to write, about an adventure in the west.  That's two adventures for the price of one.  Each episode is a mini-story, and each episode is part of the bigger story.  As always, I'd be thrilled if you decided to Take a Minute.  Live a story...

http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/serialflash/antelope11.pdf

Saturday, December 17, 2016

I'm not ready.

Well, we're sliding into the holiday, and I have to admit, I'm having trouble getting into the groove.  There's usually a moment that it hits and gets me started. When it happens, it's brought about by a Christmas song on the radio of one kind or another.

This year?  I'm getting nothing.

I think I'm guilty of not really trying.  That's definitely not good, is it?

I have one more secret weapon.  It's the first Christmas story I ever wrote.  My wife says I really don't need to write another, because I hit it out of the park with this one.  I'm going to go read it, right now. It's called 'Sam's Christmas'.  Here's the link for it (and the others I have written):

http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/achristmasspirit2016.pdf

It's a big download, so be patient, particularly if you have slow internet.

Seriously, I'm going to go read it right now. I hope you do too!


Saturday, December 10, 2016

It's here! It's really here!

All right all right all right!!!  Antelope episode 9 has officially dropped on the website, and a Mountain Lion has officially dropped on Cal's back door. Take a minute. Live a Story...

http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/serialflash/antelope9.pdf

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Antelope Episode 9

Well, things haven't gone like I'd planned today, but I suppose that's not really any different from most of my days. Even with surprises popping up, I've still managed to get a few details handled.

I realized that to keep up with my personal commitment to finish the season of 'Antelope', I'd need to complete this week's episode early. In all honesty, if someone is desperate to read it, it's already available on the website. I'm not going to put up the link right now, but it should be easy enough to find if someone wants to.

I see the series in the late 1920s. I don't believe I have thrown out the family name yet, but the story is loosely based on my Grandfather's life. Antelope is where his family made their home. Even down to the description of a small community, at least in general terms, this world existed. I'll embed the youtube video(s) I created where my grandparents are being interviewed about it.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TENyJPP27Bg

https://www.youtube.com/embed/CZBCrgTo8TU

This week's episode, for example, presented a situation where finding a picture of cows in a corral during winter would be handy. I went to a box of photographs from my Grandmother, and without a lot of effort found a picture with her handwriting on the back, '1923 Antelope Blizzard'.

What am I getting at? I write science fiction. I work in the future, at least as far as literature goes. If I'm not doing sci-fi, I'm usually doing some type of moral tale. This project is extremely new and uncomfortable to me.

The funny part is, it seems to be going reasonably well.

I won't post the link to the latest episode of Antelope until Saturday. That's when it's due. I will put up the first one though.

As always, I'd be truly honored if you had a look.

Take a minute... Live a Story.

http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/serialflash/antelope1.pdf



Sunday, December 4, 2016

Update to the Website...

I wiggled some things around on my website, and added a few more. Slow progress, but if you've been at all interested in me, there's some new avenues to see what my life is like.  Have a look if you are interested :-)

http://www.ticoproject.net


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Antelope Episode 8


I'd be lying if I said 'Antelope' was coming easily for me, but... I do think it's some decent storytelling.  I'd be interested to hear any opinions, but either way I'm thrilled if you Take A Minute. Live A Story.

http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/serialflash/antelope8.pdf

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Antelope Episode 7

The seventh episode of 'Antelope' has made its way to my website. This week, Cal makes his reluctant entry into the family business.  Of course, he already thought he knew the family business, but that's why you need to Take a Minute.  Live a Story...

http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/serialflash/antelope7.pdf


Friday, November 25, 2016

Hello everybody!

I'm proud to announce this year's edition of 'A Christmas Spirit' is up on my website.

All of the stories from the previous years are in the collection, plus 'In the Middle' - this year's addition to the collection. It takes a hard look at a husband and wife and their relationship.

Give it a look, and tell me how it ends *Grin*

http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/achristmasspirit2016.pdf

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Well, I don't really know the answer to that.

It's been an interesting weekend.  Perhaps, not the most fulfilling, but interesting nonetheless. It has kind of centered around hosting a young guest. We kept a toddler for some friends while they had a date-night on Saturday night. I'm far from comfortable with little kids, but I have to admit, I tried hard to help things to work out. I have to admit, little people are generally my kind of crazy - we get on well enough, and this one was particularly well behaved.

I spend a lot of time awake these days while my wife is asleep.  It's just a function of our opposing work schedules, and not the first time I've had to live my life a little 'off of the map' for a bit while hers remained more normal. I'll admit, I spend a substantial amount of time watching television, but I do, from time to time try to do some more useful things.

Probably of greater import, I've been working through a mountain of paperwork in the midst of applying to the foster parent program here with my wife.  All in all, it's not going to be a very fun process to get approved, if my guess is right. I feel like I had a reasonable childhood, but in reality, some bad things happened.  In other words, I'll have a lot of explaining to do, if my guess is right.

As an aside, I will say this.  If people were required to take the classes, fill out the paperwork, and submit to the various inspections we have thus far, I'm quite certain there would be fewer foster children in need of help in the first place.

In the midst of these things plus a more or less regular job, I've come to realize the first rewrite of my novel is nearing completion. I'm not a big planner, which was completely evident to anyone that read the first incarnation of my story. I ended up trashing 80% or more of it in the rewrite, and I'd imagine I'll need to trash 70% of the rewrite when it is done, but I have improved.

People say that's the whole point.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Antelope week 2

So...  For once, I'm going to drop the coy disguises, and throw an episode of Flash Fiction up right here.  Sure, it's on my website, but here, I'm giving it a picture, too... So, without further adieu, here's week 2 of 'Antelope'.


            Helping mother deliver her calf wasn’t a problem. What came after was another matter entirely. Home was out of the question – it was too far to go this late in the day. He could camp here. He had a bedroll and enough food to get by.  The calf was the problem. The little guy wasn’t doing too well in the snow.
            Cal made his decision. The calf hardly struggled when he scooped him up and put him across Tiny’s back just behind the saddle. He climbed into the saddle and started a slow trek farther up the river bottom with mother following protectively behind her baby.
            Cal sang. He started with a song Dad had taught him about cowboys and buffalo. It wasn’t long before he ran out of words, but he did his best to keep up with a melody even if it was the wrong one.
            The noise was important. He hoped it would let any bears in the neighborhood know he was coming. Coyotes and wildcats wouldn’t be likely to bother him. If surprised, bears could be a problem.
            He was relieved when he smelled smoke in the air. He was just plain happy when the woods opened up to reveal a big cabin with a smaller shack out behind it. The flicker of firelight in the window was unmistakable.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Flash fiction is back!!!

Hey everybody!

I enjoyed writing my flash fiction season of 'About Last Night' so much I was sorry to see it end. I worked on a few other projects and let my mind ruminate on where I wanted to tell another story, and I've settled on 'Antelope'.

My family history is awesome. I know far more about my Dad's side of the family, and on that end we come from cowboys, ranchers, and...  *Grin* Maybe not the most reputable folk quite all of the time, but...  It's inspired me to dip my toe into a new series.  This story well be a Western, hopefully just a good old fashioned adventure and story of how it might have been.

For those of you who fell in love with Sam Maxwell (and my eternal thanks goes out to my readers - I know you were there) he'll be back.  I set this up kind of like your favorite T.V. show.  It comes in a season, and, like all good things, it comes to an end.  But, it comes back!!!

Anyways, I'd be thrilled if you'd look in on this new adventure with me. Here's the link if you'd be willing to have a look. Take a minute...  Live a story.

http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/serialflash/antelope1.pdf

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The latest episode of About Last Night has dropped on the website.  Sam's issues have certainly risen to a new height, but he's glad to handle the challenge.  Take a minute.  Live a story...



http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/serialflash/aboutlastnight11.pdf

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What I know about Foster Parenting

A friend of mine just dropped a message on Facebook asking 'Why are you up so late?'

The short answer is, I'm trying to stay on schedule.  I work nights during the week, and everything just holds up better if I keep my sleep schedule even. I think there's even enough science out there that most folks accept it as common knowledge.

Logically, it follows to ask, 'Why aren't you at work?'

Well...

I took the day off, so my wife and I could go to an orientation for potential Foster Parents.  We're thinking about welcoming some little ones into our home.

My very best friends in the universe got involved in the program in another state. I was around to see them have kids every now and again, and, to be quite honest, I just plain didn't get it. I understand kids in need and all of that, but... I just didn't see why they would put themselves through the hassle of dealing with, quite honestly, someone else's problems.

My wife and I visited once, and they happened to have a little girl at the time.  She was nine years old or so, and... I connected with her. I just felt like she was a really, really, great kid, and I didn't mind spending time with her at all. Geez, I wanted to take her home with me.

I've seen a tremendous amount of pain and suffering since then. Comparatively speaking, the world has become a pretty dark place in my eyes because of the experiences I've had.  It'll be a process, I know, and a hard one at that, but...  I'm pretty sure there are a couple of little ones out there that need a place to be away from that kind of thing.

We are looking for eventual adoption. I don't want to trade kids in and out forever - it may be a way to do a lot of good, but my soul isn't strong enough for that anymore. We want to find a couple of kids  and help them to make their way through the world in safety.

*Grin* We want to be parents.

So...  It's definitely a one thing leads to another sort of a thing, but that's what I'm doing up so late.

Friday, August 19, 2016

I'm going to issue a little disclaimer on this week's episode of 'About Last Night' - *Grin* Parental Discretion is advised...  Take a minute...  Live a story.

http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/serialflash/aboutlastnight9.pdf


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I've been binge watching 'Shameless'.  I know I posted about it before.

And, for the most part, it is ridiculous and completely un-redeeming.

Except for Fiona (yes, it's still Emmy Rossum's character).

She's the only one that makes sense. A kid, thrown in over her head, trying as best as she can to take care of things and stumbling along the way...  95% of the show is ridiculous, but that other 5% is a true commentary on people.

That's a phrase my friend Mr. Brown used to use, but I took it to be the highest praise of a story possible.

I find myself watching, waiting to see her 'win'. *Grin* I watched 'House M.D.' for seven seasons waiting to see if his character found redemption.

Hugh Laurie isn't nearly as pretty as Emmy Rossum :-)

Friday, August 12, 2016

I let the next episode of 'About Last Night' drop on the website.

Because two people can't keep a secret.

Take a minute...  Live a Story.

http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/serialflash/aboutlastnight8.pdf

Sandwich

I've been around trucks of one sort or another most of my life.  Big ones, little ones, new ones, clean ones... Learning how to handle one was a lot of lessons.  Those lessons changed my life.  I put one up on my website - have a look.

Take a minute. Live a Story...
'Sandwich' Flash Fiction

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Let's be honest...

The trouble with the internet, is, if you're smart, you'll never put everything you know, think, or feel up there.  Too many eyes are looking (even if you think they aren't), so...  You always have to hold something in reserve.

Today, that's a good deal, because there's certainly been plenty going on.

I actually try to cultivate the appearance of being a bit of a buffoon. It seems like I naturally have two basic personality traits - a little bit crazy, or a little bit mean. The little bit crazy is definitely more 'user friendly', so I try to roll with it whenever I can.  It makes people more comfortable.

The thing is, when it comes down to actual business, I guess I have a third gear - Completely Focused. The problem with completely focused is every single thing matters.  All of it. Every word, every problem, every single thing that happens during 'completely focused' gets filed in my brain, catalogued, played, replayed, dissected, replayed, over and over again. It's not very often that 'completely focused' weighs on anybody but me.

I idolized 'Captain Kirk' in Star Trek II. Admittedly, he'd gotten his ass kicked by Khan. No question about it. There he is, marooned forever in the middle of Regula I. Everybody, including me, thought he'd been bested, and that's when his plans clicked into place and he was off to the races to save the day.

Admittedly, I don't think people believe I am anywhere near bottomed out. But...  I think today will one day go down in the history of my life as the day when the plans all clicked together. I think this might well be the day that people are, one day, a little surprised about.

This is where Captain Kirk crunched down on his apple, gave a smug little smile, and said, "I don't like to lose."

*Grin*

Me neither.

P.S. World...  Always remember...  The little bit crazy is cultivated. I'm actually sane, and completely focused, and I'll say it again.  I don't like to lose.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Jamey Johnson

Spent a few minutes listening to some music before bed.  They say you should study great story tellers to learn how to tell a great story.  Well, personally, I think Jamey's got it figured out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYGwxf1gCC4

About Last Night Episode 7

The latest episode of my Flash-Fiction serial has dropped on my website. Take a Minute.  Live a Story...http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/aboutlastnight7.pdf

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Shameless?

So... Shameless has hit Netflix. I know about the series because I've been a fan of Emmy Rossum ever since 'The Day After Tomorrow', which I've probably seen 700 times (I also kinda dig the post-apocalyptic thing). She was in 'You're not You', with Hillary Swank, which was also not a bad flick (but definitely a different story). When I got into Instagram, she became one of the 365 people I presently follow, and I suppose that's where I made the connection with Shameless.

And, Wow...  This show is a really tough watch.

Something really revolting happens, and I'm ready to shut it off, since it shows an absolute lack of redeeming qualities. And then something funny happens, or something goes right for somebody, and I decide to give it a little more time. I suppose that's what makes it a good story - the roller-coaster ride of emotions.

Speaking of emotion, I have to admit, most of the actors in this show are a tad-bit flat. Let's be honest, it's not supposed to be masterpiece theatre - I know that. And then something bad happens to Fiona (Emmy Rossum's character) and she ends up crying, and I think...  Wow...  I really do need to learn to add some emotion to my stories.

As a little aside, I wrote a book once.  It was a bad book for several reasons, and I'm the first to admit no one SHOULD ever read it.  One of the bigger mistakes I made was my main character never won. I spent the entire book watching the world beat on her, and she never got the chance to come out on top.  *Grin* That actually doesn't make for a fun story at all. My character(s) was also, to be honest, flat.

I'm the first to admit I need to read more, but there's nothing wrong with watching T.V. to pick up a story (and unwind a bit). The funny thing is, there are a lot of stories out there I can't connect with at all. I used to despise being forced to sit through a soap opera. After several seasons, 'The Good Wife' wasn't so good anymore and got left behind. 'Mcleods Daughter's' couldn't hang on either...

Why?  The story gave up.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Unspoken?

Finally took a second to hunt this down on Youtube.  I think it's pretty cool.  I don't listen to the radio much these days.  Oddly, I tend to prefer  listening  to the same old stuff on my iPod  like 10 million  times.  My wife frequently  has the radio set to 'The Fish' in the car, I'd imagin that's where I caught hold of this.

I just wish I could figure out how to tell her she's why I like it.

https://youtu.be/BxuY9FET9Y4

Friday, July 29, 2016

About Last Night Midseason Cliffhanger...

Flash fiction.  At least for me, the whole point is to tell a story in a very constrained space, minimal editing, and still interesting.  I've really been enjoying the About Last Night Project.

Have a look if you're interested.  Take a Minute. Live a Story...

http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/aboutlastnight6.pdf

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Plans.

I've been thinking about my flash fiction series 'About Last Night', and...  I think it's a good thing in a couple of ways. Primarily, it's something I haven't explored a lot in my writing, so...  After the season ends, I'm going to take a little breather, and then launch a season of a period piece. It's a secondary consideration, but I'm not going to lie, the series has helped me build my Instagram following, and if I ever want to have an audience, I'm going to have to build one.  So, it's a give something to get something sort of a thing.

Anyways...
I have enough details about my grandparent's upbringing on my Dad's side of the family, it seems like a no-brainer to use as fodder for a Western adventure. Sam Maxwell's adventures in 'About Last Night' could turn into anything - there's really, nothing off of the table. I'm not a big Western fan, but I do seem to be able to spin a yarn about people every once in a while, making the every day interesting and maybe telling a story with a little morality along the way.

It shouldn't be long until I get the edited version of 'A Christmas Spirit' back. I'm really interested to see what kind of feedback I get - it was such a variegated anthology of my work - I feel like I'm really going to learn something from it.  More importantly, it feels like a real step to my future as a writer.

Okay, so...  Here's my promotional consideration...  If you want to catch up on Sam's adventures before the mid-season cliffhanger drops this weekend (or some of my other writing) feel free to drop in and have a look : http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/writing.html.  Take a minute. Live a Story...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

So...  My wife took me to see the new Star Trek movie today to celebrate my birthday. It's the first I've seen on the big screen since the reboot launched (I think I was trucking when Into Darkness released).

And...

Without hesitation, I can say that I believe Chris Pine has finally gotten hold of the part as Captain Kirk. I think it's probable that they wrote the character better; instead of trying to prove himself to someone, he had a job, and he did it. Part well played.

Simon Pegg was better as Scotty, in my opinion, he has taken the character a little too far over-the-top in the previous entries.  Zoe Saldana/Uhura could have been played a little bit stronger. Zachary Quinto doesn't speak to me at all (I am carrying baggage after his part in 'The Slap', so, just ignore me here), and Anton Yelchin did fine as Chekov.

The details got this one.  I got lost in the details, or, perhaps, in the lack of how they were handled. Little things, like the picture from the Prime Universe of the original crew that it is ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE would have existed. The lack of explanation about the alien female that lead Kirk into the trap, and destroying the swarm with Loud Music?  REALLY?

Last thought? Enterprise and Franklin are both stars of the show, every bit as much as Kirk or Uhura. So much of them could have been handled differently... There was so much focus on the interior attack, the Enterprise seemed like she didn't even put up a fight against the Swarm. I didn't see the 'flip' of the saucer serving any purpose other than demonstrating some more CGI. Once Franklin was off the ground, she looked like a toy.  In fact, both of them did.  Perspective is everything - I watched the movie on the biggest screen I could find, and the ships never looked in any way shape or form to be the massive creations they really are.

Okay, to finish.  I know he didn't direct this one, but J.J. Abrams was still involved, and I think he's a hack.

All being said, enjoy the movie to help guarantee we get another.

Friday, July 22, 2016

About Last Night

Hi everyone!!!  One of the more exciting parts of my week is here - Episode 5 of About Last Night just dropped on the website.  Things are getting interesting for Sam...  Take a Minute.  Live a Story

http://ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/aboutlastnight5.pdf

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A little bump here, and a hiccup there, but...

I'm off to the dentist today.  I've never been good about taking care of my teeth - a lot of people don't know this, but when I was 10 or so I had 13 of them yanked out the day after Christmas.  *Grin* Evidently, you're going to lose your baby teeth, one way or the other.

They're filling a cavity.  Seems how I hadn't seen a dentist in 4 or 5 years, I'm not unhappy with that. The dentist is a pretty decent old dude.  The funny thing is, walking into his office is like walking into my childhood - right down to the 'Highlights for Kids' magazines in the rack. The last dentist I saw in Wisconsin was about as technologically advanced as you could get.  So...  It's interesting to step into the wayback machine.

So why am I going on about all this? *Grin* When the rubber hits the road, this is about as big of a hiccup as I've had to face lately. Don't get me wrong, there is still crap out on the horizon, but it hasn't blown in yet.

All in all, it's kinda nice.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A little country, and a little Jazz



I am more than excited about this.  The pictures are from home, and the music is a band I played Baritone Saxophone for back in the early 90's.  Just a bunch of high school students one summer - it was the best band I ever sat with.  There's a lot of me right here.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

I just dropped Episode 4 of 'About Last Night' on the website. Things have started to heat up for Sam Maxwell.  He's drawn the attention of the County Sheriff, and he's praying he doesn't draw the attention of anyone else.

This week's episode was definitely drawn from an experience in my own life.  Take a Minute.  Live a Story...  http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/aboutlastnight4.pdf


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Black. Like my mood.

Yeah, I'm a little less than thrilled today. Being respectful to other people is a decision, and I had two people make the decision to be disrespectful to me early on today.

Ordinarily, I'd laugh it off, crack some idiotic joke to myself and move back into my own little world to carry on. The problem is, these folks worked me over on a day when a little tension landed on me from the homeworld.  So...  My own little world was already on edge.

Modern society requires us to carry stuff like this. You don't react; you soldier on through it.  Forget, let it blow over, carry on. No shouting, screaming, name-calling, just...  Carry on. No problem, I got this.

The funny thing is...  It got me to thinking on thing. What do you suppose the other person is caring around?  Soldiering through? I didn't tell the people that annoyed me why I was already on edge - I just clammed up and put my head down.

What do you suppose the person next to you is walking through when they have their head down?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My Addictions.

Well, I have three addictions. I might as well admit it.  Die cast toys, Mountain Dew in particular and all soda in general, and mindlessly perusing Facebook.

I have to be a little careful, I'm using social media because it helps my writing.  Blogging here helps me to learn to get thoughts out in a concise manner, and even though the readership is small, it is existent, so...  It helps to have people that want to read what you write. So...  It stays.  Likewise to my 'Ticonderoga Project'` page on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Ticoproject/

But...  I'm going to try an experiment.  7 days off of the main page.  7 days of not mindlessly perusing somewhat annoying posts of people I really don't know.  7 days to pay more attention to my writing and see what happens.  *Grin*  Should be interesting.

I have a lot of work to do.  My Flash Fiction Serial is still running.  I have a short story my wife asked for in casual conversation...  I can 'talk' or I can accomplish something.

Catch you later ;-)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

We've been working on the house a bit this weekend. Let me make it clear, I'm no Bob Vila, and for the most part, I'd rather be doing other things. But...  I really enjoy living here, and it comes at a cost.  *Grin* Gotta do stuff to keep it up.

One of the projects was putting together a bed in the guest room. You'd think it wasn't any great accomplishment, but if I understand correctly, the bed belonged to my wife's Great-Grandparents. Everything about it was kind of a pain, right up until I saw it assembled in the guest room, and my wife's accompanying smile.

I'm learning slowly - Painfully slowly - to take great pride in small accomplishments. Sometimes an accomplishment is fixing an old bed, and sometimes it's making my wife smile.

I dunno...  Seems like there's a lot go into making a home.  It's more than just buying and filling the place. More has to change than just driving to a different address after work. It really is great.  *Grin* It's this whole thing.

Friday, July 8, 2016

I just dropped episode 3 of my serial 'About Last Night' on my website. There's no question that I'm enjoying the exercise. As my other projects are longer, it's fun to try to get a story told well, and told quickly. It also gives me something to think about in my spare time. I can tell I'm getting somewhere when I spend the week seeing the world through my character's eyes, trying to understand why he or she does things the way they do.

I'd love to hear if you choose to have a look.  Take a Minute... Live a Story. http://ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/aboutlastnight3.pdf
One of the guys at work told me about the shootings in Dallas tonight.  I'm not allowed to have a radio in my area, so...  News like this comes via hearsay. I could only think about one thing.

Somewhere, every single day, there are police officers putting on their uniforms and going to work. They're no different than me - they're trying to do what they believe in and earn a paycheck.

They have rules to follow, and following them means they may get to keep their job, but it by no means guarantees they are going to come home alive.

And now some of them are dead. They're dead because they put on their uniform, showed up in the wrong place at the wrong time, and wound up being used in a fracas no one should ever have been a part of in the first place.

Somewhere, there's a little kid that's just figuring out what it means that his Dad will never come home, a wife that is learning what it is to be alone...  Family that will never be a family again.

There's no justification for that.  None. never will be.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

I put up a picture of a police outfit to commemorate the fact that I'm watching 'Sons of Anarchy' for the third time around, and still enjoying it.

I know the storyline isn't terribly believable, but the storytelling is great. The characters are compelling, with struggles, wins, losses.  their adventures are fun, even if they're kinda 'out there'. I could do without some of the violence - I consider myself as having a reasonably strong stomach, but there is a spot or to that...  I have to look away from. But, every once in a while, it is fun to see the bad guy get what's coming to him.

I think I enjoy it so much because for me, it's pure escapism. I don't ride a Harley, smuggle guns, have sex with random women, drink too much, run from the police, fight someone for looking at me wrong, kill prison inmates....

If it weren't such a foreign idea, it wouldn't be so much fun, and... Sometimes, I think that's what a good story does.  You either have to identify with it, or, in this case, find it to be so far away from what you know and understand that you wind up completely engrossed in it, because it's really interesting.

Monday, July 4, 2016

While I was writing this, I just listened to a character on another television show say "Hope is Everything."

I don't fancy myself as a motivational writer, but it is important to me that 'hope' is always a theme in my writing, because it's always a theme in not only my life, but I believe in ANY healthy life.

A lot went on this weekend. I turned 41. I turned some of my work over to a professional editor. I admitted to myself that I might stand a chance of becoming a real writer some day...

It was a good weekend, and a good birthday :-)


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Well, it's my birthday, so...  I guess I can put up whatever picture I want to, right?

I really enjoy cruises.  We decided not to go on one this year, chasing to hang around and do some work on our new home instead. I don't regret the decision; I just miss the view.

So much has happened here lately. At 41, it feels like I'm just about to start a new phase in life.  My writing is taking off, we have a house to call our own, my job is stable...  It's easy to wish I'd gotten the rig on the road sooner, but it feels pretty good to at least be able to say I have it now.

I do want to take a second and thank those who helped to get me here. It was kind of an interesting ride for a while, and a few of the people that came together to make sure I kept seeing birthdays aren't here with us anymore. To them and everyone else, I want to say Thank You for helping me make it to see another one.

I'm a little late to the dance, but I'm finally getting down to the music!

Saturday, July 2, 2016


I couldn't sit on it anymore.  Part 2 has dropped on the website.   Take a minute... Live a story

http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/aboutlastnight2.pdf
When I decided to try and become more serious about my writing, I decided to heed the advice that I heard - building an audience over social media is important.

I had no idea how important it was. In the picture here, you can see I go a little feedback from someone on my Instagram account, and I'm just...  Totally thrilled.

I've reached someone new, and...  It feels great!  If you're here on my blog, you probably have already guessed she's talking about my serialized flash-fiction, but...  If you haven't read the first part and want to, here's the link:  http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/aboutlastnight1.pdf

Thanks for the support everyone!!!

Friday, July 1, 2016

I know this is going to sound kind of ridiculous, but I think a good portion of my pain yesterday was courtesy of my new pair of shoes. Now, I need you to keep this on the down-low, because it involves admitting my wife was right.

She started pushing me to buy Redwing shoes not long after we got married.  I got a pair of boots, and they were truly awesome. When I got my present job, I once again set myself up with Redwings - tricked them out with customizable insoles and the whole nine yards.  They were awesome, and a lot of my back pain went away, but it was about $300 to get them tricked out the way I wanted.

I decided, more or less on a whim, to use my company boot allowance on a pair of shoes that made me happy. They seemed comfortable enough when I slid them on, and like I said, they put a smile on my face, right? For the record, I also spent $1.34 for them after my boot allowance. Well...  All good, except after wearing them around for eleven hours on concrete, I wasn't smiling yesterday.  I kind of wished I was dead, to be honest.

So...

The lady from the Redwing store had me step on a doohickey that scanned my feet.  She said I didn't have an arches to speak of, and that's why I needed the customizable insoles for another $60.  They are removable, so...  In theory, I should be able to slide them into the clown shoes and wear them out, then return the insoles to the Redwings and be back in business.

And, quietly, I'll have to admit to my wife, she was right.  the two and a half hour round-trip to the Redwing store suddenly isn't so bad.

Just don't tell her, okay?


Thursday, June 30, 2016

I either hurt, or have hurt, from top to bottom.  The soles of my feet to the top of my head, everything is sore, achy, or has been. It's 70 some odd degrees in the house, and I'm contemplating pulling out a blanket to sleep under today.

I don't like being sick. Intellectually, I know it's just a summer cold invading, but, there's always a part of me that worries I'm going to get sick with something and never get well. My as-of-yesterday 92 year old friend would remind me that such things will happen to us all.

Yeah, sure.  I get that.  I still hate getting sick.  Only thing is, I'd rather have it happen to me than watch it happen to my wife.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

You know...  I don't like to fight, in any way, shape, or form. But, I have to admit, I don't really care about fitting in, either.

I am so fortunate for influences in my life that have taught me to think outside of the box. I'm in a place now that professionally, I have to work inside of the rules, but previous to this, seeing solutions in places that no one else did made me successful, and once or twice, kept me alive.

I'm still working on writing out the story of me.  But, I just had a wild thought, even if it is paraphrased from a song I heard Eminem throw out on my iPod last night.  If one kid did survive the world because he read and found meaning in my words, that would be truly awesome. Don't get me wrong; I don't think I'm that incredible, but I am serious...  If someone identified with the stuff I've felt and know I survived so they will too...  Well...

There'd be nothing better. Maybe I should work harder to get my words out there, just in case.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I live backwards in time sometimes.

I can't help it - I was allowed to do some pretty cool stuff in my younger days.  I've been around trucks and tractors and combines.  I've watched the moon set over Kansas and I've seen the sunrise over Wisconsin. My career has been full of names like Monsanto, Freightliner, Agchem, Peterbilt (it took me a while to learn there isn't any U in 'Peterbilt') Case IH and Caterpillar.

I've also seen people and companies that I never thought would do either rise and fall, and many times, both. There's a lot of tension out there right now - some say more are fixing to head toward the 'fall' side of that equation.

I don't much care for the politics going on right now.  I don't like Trump, and I swore I'd never vote for Hillary. I don't even know how they're different when they're so fundamentally equal - they're both pretty scary.

When I drove home tonight, I tried to imagine our country if it all fell to pieces.  You know, really came apart and turned to anarchy. And I couldn't see it.

I'm a writer - I imagine things.  I've read plenty of books like 'The Road' and 'The Hunger Games'. I thought James Cameron's series 'Dark Angel' was completely epic. I've lived in those stories in pages of books and hours of television, and I couldn't see a future like that ACTUALLY happening for the U.S..

It's a grand country.  It really is. Full of big names, grand deeds, and experiences no one else in this world are allowed to live. Whoever gets elected won't be the first unfavorable president we've ever had, and they won't be the last, either.

We're going to get through this, and carry on.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

It's been a good night.  Tiffani (Amber Thiessen) here and I did a little practice artwork.  I'm the first to admit, my art...  Needs work, but it needs a little less than it did before I started to practice once in a while.  I'll put a first picture up some day - you'll see, I've made headway.

Incidentally, she was a beautiful girl on 'Saved by the Bell', and I think she's stunning now. *Grin* I hope she forgives me for using her for practice.

I've also done some much-needed work on my website.  It still needs work, but...  Not as much as it did.  I've also launched a new mini-project.

I've become interested in 'flash fiction' - telling a story with as few words as possible.  I've launched a series, kind of like a T.V. season.  I'm planning for 13 episodes, and depending on how fast you read, I see most folks walking through an episode in about 2 minutes.

Here's a link to the premiere: http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/flashfiction/aboutlastnight1.pdf . So...  Take a minute - live a story.

'Last' on my list this week, I'm incredibly excited, I have an appointment with an editor this next week.  I'm paying for her services, and I'm happy to do it.  I know I'll grow through the experience of having someone completely impartial help me with my writing.  I almost find myself hoping she'll come back and tell me I have oodles of work to do, but whatever the case, it feels like a real step forward.  I've never really had one of those in my writing before, so...

It's pretty cool.

Anyways - I hope you all had a great weekend too.

Friday, June 24, 2016

I'm not a big fan of old science fiction, in all honesty.  I've tried to re-watch classic Star Trek, and found it almost painful.  Battlestar Galactica actually isn't bad at all, and I barely made it through 2001: A space Odyssey

I stumbled across this on Youtube tonight - I remember seeing it on TV every so often when I was really little. I stumbled across 'Earth Star Voyager' from Disney the other day as well, and my boss and I had a brief chat about 'Flight of the Navigator' the other day.

*Grin* Compliance...

It's part of trying to write - you study what other people have done successfully, and also where they might have fallen a little short.  Signs would say, though, if they made it to the big screen, they probably had something going on.


I've been doing a little thinking about my website http://www.ticoproject.net/writing/writing.html and I've decided to change how I do my 'flash fiction' - I'm going to change it to a serial format, telling a story week by week until it's done.  I'll write the story as it goes - I have an idea, and by letting the character take it as it comes, I think things may be more interesting...  Should be fun to see where it goes.  There is some fiction up there already, and I'll add some of the pieces I've already written this weekend. I'll let ya'll know when the serial starts to drop.

Having a blog and building a website is turning out to be fun. I recommend it to anyone - get your words out there and spread them around!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the night is much brighter down here in the South. I'm a Yankee, I came pretty much from the other end of the country - it seemed like the nights were pitch-black up there. The tradeoff seems to be you can't see the 'cloud' the rest of the stars in the galaxy makes up so easily, but...

I do get to take some interesting pictures.  I just use my iPhone with an app called Nightcap Pro - I paid about $5 for it.

I got kind of addicted to looking at pictures of 'Star Trails' on the internet - it's pretty much just long exposure photography of the night sky, but think the patterns are really cool.

Another photographer concentrates on the ISS, trying to catch flyovers in innovative ways.  The middle picture here shows it, though not near with the artistry the guy on Instagram manages.  Incidentally, the more-or-less vertical line is the ISS, the horizontal one is made by a plane flying overhead.  I used the settings in the Nightcap app to 'boost the ISO' just a little - it brought out the trees.  The black cloud to the left is actually tree leaves, this picture was taken early this spring, when one tree was a little further along than the other.

One other little aside - I use a second app called 'Sky Guide' to help me understand what I'm seeing overhead.  It has a lot of cool features, including helping me spot the ISS when it's doing a flyover.  For another $2 in the app store, I highly suggest it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

So.. How random am I?

I get accused of being 'random' in my thoughts pretty often. To be honest, people really have no idea how far they really sway.  I'll give you an example tonight.

On my way home from work, I turned 'Dulaman' on my iPhone.  The version I have has Lisa Lambe as the lead.  We actually saw Celtic Woman live while she was singing with them, and she's this redhead with a really expressive face.  I've also watched videos of the same tune, so I remember how she always seems to point her eyes clear to one side or the other when she smiles.  It's the kind of thing that makes a woman a woman, and it's the kind of thing that my characters lack in my writing - the little gestures and glances that people have, just out of habit.

So, as it so often does, my brain swung clear around to an argument I had with my Dad during those teenage years when we seem to think we know everything.  I don't remember what we were squabbling over, but I remember grabbing ahold of a decorative rail on one of the cabinets in the kitchen and tearing it to pieces in anger. I remember how scared of me my Dad looked, and how ashamed he seemed.

I also remember how much I deserved both of those emotions.

So... From trying to capture a pretty girl's smile in writing, to remembering I need to write a piece of flash fiction about one of the things I'm the most ashamed of.  And...  The picture up above?  That's because I told a friend I'd show him it at work tomorrow, because we were talking about Cat bulldozers.

That's how random my brain is... That little trip around the block took twenty minutes...  I wonder what I'll cook up before bedtime???

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Calm Seas

I'm going to stay with the water metaphor a bit more I guess.  The last while has been, to be honest, pretty depressing.  It seems like everyone I know was having trouble of one sort or another. I try to keep a good attitude about stuff, but when everyone you know is having trouble, it's hard.

While I was driving home tonight, I realized that, if only for a minute, it seems like we've turned the corner. I'm not naive enough to believe it will hold out for long (it never does), but...  I think the impermanence makes it a little more important to stop and enjoy it.

*Grin* So...  Yes, when I saw my friend at work that was back after his Dad's funeral, I immediately snuck up behind the guy he was talking to and made 'Moose Antlers' with my hands behind his head, because I knew it would make him laugh. I called a friend on the phone, and tried to make sure and give my wife an extra kiss when I left her today.

Definitely not all the time, but...  Now and again, it's a pretty good world.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Well, welcome aboard...

I've tried blogging before, and frankly, I haven't had an awful lot of luck keeping it going.  But, as they say, if at first you don't succeed...

I'm in the midst of reworking my personal website right now.  I'm a writer *Grin* that's the first time I've ever said that, actually.  I try hard, and every once in a while, I get a good story together, and I want people to be able to enjoy them, so...  I'm trying to put myself out there, so maybe my words will be seen.

So...  This picture.  I love to cruise.  We've been on the same Carnival boat twice, both trips to the Bahamas. To a degree, when you're cruising, the getting there is actually a bit more fun than the actual destination, but...  I think that's how it's supposed to be.

I'll close this post with a bit of Walt Whitman I read in a Star Trek book when I was a kid:

Sail Forth - Steer for the deep waters only.
Reckless O Soul, Exploring,
I With thee, and thou with me
For We go where Sailor has not yet dared to go
and We risk our Ship,
Ourselves, and all.