Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Life and Times of Herman Jackson, Issue 4

As the pair approached Earth’s atmosphere Herman took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He knew that his father would protect him and guide him through safely.

“Hold on, Herman. Do not let go of me for any reason.” George said sternly to the boy, and with that, the father and son rocketed towards the blue planet.
Orange and red flames erupted around their insulated space suits. George had to trust in the coodinates typed into his armpad because his vision was completely obscured. The entry angle was correct and their suits were holding up splendidly. George accelerated.

Finally, they were free and floating above the Poacific Ocean. “Herm, it’s okay. You can open your eyes now.”

Herman, carefully and slowly opened his eyes. “Are we through?”
“Yes, son. Take a look around. This is where you are from.”
Herman stared down into the ocean. Never in his life had he seen so much water. He was amazed at how blue it was and how he could see the ocean life swimming below. “Wow. Dad, this is great!”

With a chuckle his father slid back his face plate letting the salty air hit him. He breathed in deeply. “Try it Herm. It’s the smell of home.”

Herman slowly reached up to slide his plate back as well and, somewhat nervously, pressed the button. The breeze hit him squarely in the face and the scent of the sea was unlike anything he had ever experienced.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Life and Times of Herman Jackson, Issue 3

Herman and his father sat and absorbed the scenery of the blue planet for more than an hour. They watched it’s slow rotation and marveled at the cloud patterns dotting the landscapes. No matter how much time passed, Herman’s father, George, was still amazed at this world. Invisible strings attatched to his heart pulled him back to the place he was raised.

“Herman,” George said to his wide-eyed son, “traveling through Earth’s atmosphere is a…unique experience. The combinations of things that allow humans to live on this planet make entry and exit a bit uncomfortable.”
Herman swallowed hard. He had heard about failed entries into this atmosphere in school. The boy knew his father would protect him, but that did only a little to assuage his fears. With a deep breath Herman grabbed his father’s hand and said, “I’m ready, dad.”

George, beaming proudly at how brave his son was, pressed a few buttons on his arm computer and their jetpacks ignited and began propelling them towards the home of the human race. He gripped his little boy’s hand tightly knowing that in just a few years, the opportunity to hold his son’s hand would be gone.

Herman was all George Jackson had and the reverse was true. Herman’s mother died from cancer three summers ago and left the father and son alone. Before that, George had always put his adventuring career first and his family second. When his wife, Shelly, was diagnosed, things changed in a hurry. Suddenly, George began to realize the responsibilities he had been neglecting to further science and exploration. His priorities immediately shifted and husband and father were infinitely more important to him than Space Explorer. Shelly was terminal when she was diagnosed, but she made it long enough to see the shift in the man she loved and new that her baby boy would be well taken care of. Safe in the knowledge that her husband would have everything under control, she let go and the illness took over.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Honor those who Honor Us

*This entry will contain explicit language – If you can’t handle or accept that, skip and come back next week for a new entry.*

I am so furious right now.
This government shutdown has me up in arms and pissed off in a way I didn’t realize that I could be about something that doesn’t directly concern me. The thing that has me so irate is that our military may not get paid.
One more time for effect:
Seriously, what the fuck is going on?
These men and women sacrifice so much for this country and our sometimes re-fucking-tarded foreign policy and it is blatantly disrespectful and completely unacceptable for our (yeah right) lawmakers to withhold money these troops have earned.

I have never been truly man (I don’t mean that in a sexist way) enough to join any branch of our military. I flirted with the idea a considerable amount, but I never did it. To me, my family was more important. That’s a selfish way to be, but it’s how I am. I can contemplate making sacrifices – including the ultimate one – for our safety and well being, but right out of high school I was too chicken shit to do anything. Then I had nephews. “I don’t want to join because I don’t want to miss out on them growing up.” Then I got married. “Well, obviously, I can’t join up as a newlywed.” Then we had Grayson. “I need to be around to take care of my son.” Then Jackson came along. “I’m a family man. I need to be here for them.”

As you can see, I’m chock-fucking-full of excuses. I regret not joining when I was young and didn’t have so many factors preventing me from doing so. I regret never having the testicular fortitude to grapple with the fact that I’ll miss my parents and my brother and sister.

What these men and women do for us is far and above what most Americans would consider. Who wants to miss out on their baby’s first words or first steps? Hell, who wants to miss anything with their children? Plus, our forces leave behind their husbands and wives. Their siblings. Their parents. Their friends. All they can grasp onto is the man next to them. Their family becomes their platoon and their unit.

We expect these brave men and women to sacrifice for us. To put themselves and their families through these hardships, and now we’re going to withhold their meager fucking pay? I’m not sure if you know this, but most of our armed forces don’t make much money. Truthfully, you can probably make more money running a women’s clothing store. These men and women do this for pride and for honor and it pisses me off to no end that the children of these people are going to suffer because our motherfucking government can’t remove the collective head from their asses.

This whole situation is ri-goddamned-diculous. The last thing we need to do is bite the hand that protects us.
I do not agree with everything (hell, much of anything) that our government does, but this is the lowest pile of horseshit I’ve ever heard of.

Pay our troops - and thank our troops and our veterans. It’s because of these people we are able to have the lifestyles that we do. Our men and women in the Army, Navy, Airforce, Marin Corps, Coast Guard, Reserves, and National Guard (and anything else I’m missing) have more guts and more honor than any clothes-shilling armchair blogger – and more than everyone else who had never served as well.

Honor their sacrifice and take care of these people and their families.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Life and Times of Herman Jackson, Issue 2

“Before we enter the atmosphere, there are some lessons we need to review, Herman.”

“Aw, come on, dad! Let’s just go! The kids in school will never believe this!” Herman replied, positively giddy with anticipation.

“Son, you know that’s not how we do things. I am an explorer and an adventurer. I seek knowledge and I believe that what we learn, and what we learn from, can drastically impact our lives and our futures.”

With a wave of his arm, the afterburners of their jetpacks fired up and gently took them to the singular moon orbiting the Earth.

“Let’s stop here for a bit. After all, this moon is very important to the people of Earth – to our ancestors.”

Herman and his father touched down on the gray moon and began to relax and really take in the beauty that was the third planet from the sun. Herman was anxious to get to the planet proper, but he had to admit, he did enjoy learning and the history of the human race was one of his favorite subjects. Another few minutes waiting wouldn’t hurt him, and he knew that his father was brilliant and would supply delicious tidbits of information for his hungry young mind.

“Herman, humans came from this planet - the planet Earth. This is the only planet in the known universe where we can exist unaided. People here can breathe without the use of rebreathers, the atmosphere is essentially designed for our fragile shells, and the soil is capable of producing all of the food necessary to meet the needs of an ever expanding society. At least these things were true.” With a great sigh the father continued. “In the year 2214 the human race declared war upon themselves – again. This would mark the fifth world war. Not one nation – not one city even – escaped unscathed from the destruction. It was in the years following that manned space stations like the one we live on were truly popularized.”

“Five World Wars? I don’t understand – not even the Thri-lets war that much.”

“Heh. That’s true son, Thri-lets are barbarous but humans, by nature, are a greedy and selfish people. We rarely fight for honorable reasons. We fight for money and power and for sheer pleasure in some cases. Entire countries were wiped out - turned in to nuclear wastelands and all in the name of religion or politics. We are not, by far, the smartest known race in our universe, but from my experience, we are the most resilient. So, in 2226, our space station was launched and the operational staff had decided amongst themselves that things would be different this time. As you know, our station holds about three million citizens and every one of us has a profound desire for peace. We have learned from the mistakes our ancestors made and we refuse to let things go unchecked. We govern ourselves and we refuse to become members of the intergalactic senate or Earth. We are citizens of nowhere, but we are citizens amongst ourselves and it all stems from the unbalanced way our people lived for centuries.”

Herman stared up at his father in awe of the knowledge the man possessed. Adding to the beauty of his father 
standing with the Earth behind him was an ancient flag; red and white stripes with a blue field in the corner containing white stars. The flag belonged to the United States of America he recalled from his history lessons in school.

Little did Herman Jackson know that this was just the beginning of his journey and of his lessons.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Life and Times of Herman Jackson, Issue 1

“Where are we going today, dad?” The face on the little boy looked upwards through his space helmet’s tinted face shield.

“Well, we could go to the Centauri system again-“

“No dad! We were just there last month! I want to go some place new and exciting!” The boy quite trembled with excitement in the zero gravity void of the universe.

“Okay, okay. How about a little history lesson then?”

“As long as it’s new and exciting, I’m in!”

With that, the father punched a sequence of on keys on his arm computer, and his and the boy’s jet packs ignited and propelled them towards their destination. Their advanced technology sent the adventurers through space faster than they could blink and, before very long, they were slowing down and approaching their destination.

As the tinted shield lifted, the boy’s face beamed through the clear one underneath revealing an expression of true wonder at what he was seeing. The boy was just eight years old, but in his meager eight years he had seen and experienced a lifetime of adventure – that’s what having a famous explorer as a father leads to though.

The father, nearing middle age but not quite there, didn’t take in the sights himself as he was focused much more intently upon his son’s reaction. Few things in life delighted him the way seeing the way his little boy would light up at experiencing something new.

“Dad, is this where I think it is? Is this where we began?”

Shaking his head in amazement at how smart his son was, he gently replied, “Yes, son."

"This is Earth.”

Friday, April 1, 2011

No Ma'am

From my understanding, which is limited to say the least, you dream job is supposed to be you passion. It's not supposed to feel like work. I get it, but what do you do if you don't have/can't find your passion? I have no clue. I am in possession of a severe amount of interests and I know a little about a lot, but how do I figure out which of these interests is a "passion." And when I do figure it out, what then?

I'm really lost. I want to write, badly (not poorly) but what to write about? Survival? Preparedness? Superheroes? Sci-Fi? Fantasy? Fiction? Non-Fiction? Inspirational? Haikus? I have no clue.


I guess, until I figure things out, this tubby, bearded, Al Bundy type will continue managing a women's clothing store and be drastically underpaid for it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The One Where He Rants About Education....Again

I’m pretty sure that the whole collegiate system is overrated and ridiculous.

Don’t attack me yet.

You’re probably saying to yourself, “He’s only saying that because he didn’t accomplish anything in school.”

Hell, you may be right. I never made much of myself in high school or especially college, but I assure you that I’m smarter than most college graduates. Settle down. I’m not calling anyone stupid - at least not here, in public. I’m sure the title fits some though.

I’m simply having a hard time wrapping my head around why a college education is needed or preferred for most jobs. Sure, there are a lot of jobs that actually require specialized skills and knowledge, so, let’s assume I’m not referring to those.

Seriously, there is a plant in Calvert City that requires a bachelor’s degree to  - wait for it…




I don’t get it.

Here’s some back story on the source of this rant.

A couple of nights ago Stacey and I were talking about college education and how I had none and the fact that I can’t find a decent job without one. Our discussion led to research and speculating about reenrolling myself into classes at our local community college, and as it turns out, there is an Emergency Management and Homeland Security Certificate that can be earned there. Sounds like its right up my alley, eh? Well it is. I checked out the class requirements and they all sounded interesting and beneficial to have. I also checked their schedule and found that even with keeping my current hours at work, I could still attend all of the classes I need to with a couple of online exceptions. Great!

Having a few additional questions, I emailed the head of this department with my contact info. Jump forward to yesterday evening, and the professor called me to touch base and answer my questions personally instead of through email. I thought that was a nice touch.

Quick response. Personal service.

I was impressed.

My main question for this gentleman was regarding jobs in this area of the country with that education level. Are they available? Do they require the certificate? He informed me that jobs were available, but unless you wanted to go the Police, Firefighter, of Emergency Responder route, they were few and far between. He let me know that most people who took these classes enrolled to get promotions or pay increases at jobs they currently had – specifically security officers at - you guessed it – plants in Calvert City. He said as far as law enforcement jobs, the certificate was not required, they just wanted to know that applicants can “read and write.”

Well then, Mr. Educator, what the hell is the point? I asked him that in a more courteous and professional manner, but he never really had an answer. He did let me know that I could meet with him in person and we could talk more extensively to find out if the program would fit my needs. I have no ill will towards him at all. He was friendly and professional and as informative as I feel he could be. He did let me know how to apply and emailed me available openings in his schedule in case I decided I wanted to meet with him.

I don’t get it. If these courses are not required or truly even recommended, why do they exist? Is this college just trying to prey upon someone who finds this subject matter interesting and important? I don’t have an answer to these questions, and I’m not sure there is one.

College education is always something I have had an odd opinion of – at least regarding myself. I have no interest or desire to go and take classes I am not interested in and will ultimately have nothing to do with my field of study. My best friend in this world is an Attorney and, I kid you not, took a Botany class in college. In what world is this ever needed? It’s a waste of time and money as far as I am concerned – then again, he knew what he wanted to do with his life and he stopped at nothing to achieve this. At one point in my short and failure-filled collegiate experience, I entertained the notion of becoming an accountant. Come to find out shortly thereafter, I had to have a Biology class and lab. And Public Speaking. And US History. To crunch numbers and do people’s taxes. I do not understand it. I guess it’s a system for getting rid of people like me who feel intellectually superior to the chemistry majors writing their sonnets. 

Sure, they’ll most likely be paid more than me and end up more successful than I am, but I’ll still have my narrow minded view of the world and the people who inhabit it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dark Night of the Soul, Issue 7

My Thursday went rather quickly for an unseasonably warm February morning. I spent the day in my office doing research and tidying up. I also made sure to clean my .38 – It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when the forthcoming meeting could turn sour in a hurry.

The sun relinquished and left a much colder, windy night. I glanced at my watch. Almost time for me to meet the woman. As the seconds ran out, my heart rate shot up. I thought I was nervous the first day I met her, but that feeling couldn’t touch the mangled knots in my stomach. My usual remedy wouldn’t work tonight, although I did look longingly at the glass bottle sitting atop my desk. I needed to be sharp for this encounter. I had to retain every detail and be completely aware of my surroundings in case things went south.

I threw on my trench coat and my hat and then checked - and double checked my revolver. I grabbed an ink pen off of my desk and put it into my coat pocket with my notebook. With one big breath, I was out the door and down the old stairs.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dark Night of the Soul, Issue 6

I climbed the rickety stairs towards my office and fumbled with my keys. The headline had shaken me to my core and I instinctively knew that the mysterious blonde and the mayor’s son were somehow connected. Call it my sixth sense.

As I closed the door behind me, I set the newspaper on my desk and immediately went to mile file cabinet in the corner. I opened the top drawer and moved the recent files to uncover a spare bottle of scotch.

Sitting at my desk, I bypassed the glass entirely and took a mighty swig straight from the bottle. My nerves were finally starting to settle down enough that I could function. As I sat there reading and rereading the front page article, I kept reliving the conversation I had with the blonde. I thought back to every word. I analyzed and memorized her inflection of every syllable. I made note of her posture and mannerisms. I may be a man, but I’m a well trained, highly attentive man – and right then that woman was the only client I had. I was forced to take this job, and by god, I would make sure that it was done correctly.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dark Night of the Soul, Issue 5

As I tossed and turned in my bed, my brain couldn’t shake the image of her piercing blue eyes. The scent of her perfume still fresh in my memory and the sight of her stark white teeth framed by her bright red lips was keeping me awake. What was it about her that gripped me so damned hard? I had never fallen so hard for some dame I had just met, and now this woman was invading my every thought.

It was time for another scotch. Or three.

I awoke the next morning without thoughts of the intoxicating beauty at the forefront of my every thought. I knew I had a long night headed towards me, so I took my time headed to my office. I fried a couple of eggs and chased them down with – what else? – a scotch.

As I left my rundown apartment building I stopped to get a paper from the boy at the corner. His dirty hands extended to take the nickel he was owed. I read the morning’s headline. “Mayor’s Son Missing.” Upon reading further a startling conclusion hit me like a prizefighter.

That blonde was going to be more trouble than I thought.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dark Night of the Soul, Issue 4

I've picked this story back up by request from my dad. Here are links to parts Issue 1, Issue 2, and Issue 3. I'm doing these as 200 word segments to a greater cohesive narrative, so ideally they'll all read together pretty seamlessly. Enjoy and check back soon for Issue 5!

I stumbled back to my tiny apartment on the west side of town and, for the first time, I felt the walls closing in on me. I was too proud to continue my jobs on the streets because of the corruption on the force, but I was too inexperienced and my reputation was too tainted from being a cop to get hired by any respectable private investigation firm. This dingy apartment was killing my soul and I never realized until I met that strange blonde. My life for the last few months was completely forgettable up until the moment she walked into my 
cluttered and confined office.

I’m not even sure how she found me. I wasn’t well known in the city, and the people who did know me, didn’t much care for me. In my time being a cop I had tried to singlehandedly bring the honor back to the department by playing by the real rules – not those designed and enforced by the crooked cops and ruthless mobsters that infected this town. I had made some powerful enemies, both inside and out, and at that point I knew it was time to retire from the force for good.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Loosely Based Tales Vol. 1

It was a late August night in 1973 and the moon was hanging in the thick Kentucky sky like the blade of an axe. It was Michael’s twelfth day in a row on the night shift with the ambulance service, and his patience for the job was wearing thin. The late shift always threw in an extra dose of irritation because of the stupid and the crazy he would have to deal with when the sun went down. On this night it was Charlie’s turn to drive, which left Michael in the back of the new white and blue ambulance tending to the emergency cases.

After a relatively uneventful night (for once), Michael was sitting up front with Charlie and eating some fries at the local drive in. Charlie, as usual, was complaining about his relationship problems, but Michael had heard it all before. He nodded and pretended to listen while he sat there eating his fries, barely paying attention to the chatter from the driver’s seat. Michael fell into his own mind.

He was 24. Sure, he had a good job where he did something important, but wasn’t there more? He had been in some serious relationships and some not so serious ones, but he just never found any reason to stick around. What did the designs of fate have in store? Just then the scanner in the ambulance sounded to life. There was a wreck not to far from them. Single car. Injury. Sounded like another drunk to Michael.

Charlie whipped the ambulance out of the drive thru and flicked the blue lights on. It was 3 in the morning – he was going to try to avoid using the sirens. The last thing the ambulance service needed right now was more bad press due to waking the quiet residential neighborhood.

As they approached the site of the wreck, they saw what Michael estimated to be a 1972 black Chevy Monte Carlo wrapped around a telephone pole. Charlie guided the ambulance to a stop, and both men jumped out and with practiced efficiency and skill, they removed the driver from the car and loaded him on the stretcher. They could smell the bad bourbon coating the man and saw a half empty bottle settled in the floor board. The man was injured, but nothing life threatening. The local hospital was only nine blocks away and the pair of EMTs knew this man would have to be taken in.

After they loaded the stretcher into the back, Michael hopped in and began his work checking the man’s vitals. He knew he wouldn’t have time to do much in nine blocks, but he had to have these on record and he figured he could at least try to stop the bleeding on the drunk’s head – it was a brand new ambulance after all.

Charlie jumped into the driver’s seat just as the police pulled up. He rolled down his window and told the officer the situation and then they were off. It wasn’t a long drive and nothing critical, so Charlie wasn’t using the sirens or the lights this time. He reached over and grabbed a French fry from Michael’s bag and glanced into his rearview mirror. Where the hell was Michael? He then caught a glimpse of arms and legs flailing in the back.

Michael had just begun to apply pressure to the drunk’s head wound and get him cleaned up a bit when the man began to rouse. His grays eyes flicked open and went wide. The drunk began to mumble and struggle against the EMT. Michael calmly explained to the man that he was drunk and that he had been involved in a car accident and they were on the way to the hospital. At this statement, the man exploded into action. The struggle intensified and it was everything Michael could do to restrain the man. Then, from underneath his tattered suit jacket the drunk pulled a .38 revolver and pointed it straight at Michael and demanded to be released.

The fight was on.

Michael had been a High School football player and a damned good one at that. Michael had size. He had been in the army and had served a tour in Vietnam. Michael had skill. He had realized that his life had so much more for him in store if he could make it through this ambulance ride. There was no way some drunk in the back of this ambulance was going to seal his fate. The tired EMT was jolted with adrenaline and grabbed the gun in his left hand and proceeded to use his right to beat the drunk.  The drunk was attempting to fight back, but he was at a severe disadvantage. Arms and legs were flailing and he was losing badly. This kid could hit!

The tangle of the two men fighting slammed against the wall in the ambulance and Charlie hit the breaks. Michael knew he had some back up coming, but he had already wrestled the gun away from the man. Charlie swung open the backdoor and saw the drunk much worse for the wear. Michael let loose one final haymaker that knocked the man out. Medical equipment was scattered and Michael’s hair and clothes were disheveled.  The EMT’s strapped the drunk tightly to the stretcher, assuring that they would not have a repeat. As Charlie was tightening a strap he noticed an indention above the drunk’s left eye. It appeared to say “Class of 1968”. He glanced at Michael’s right hand and there sat an emerald class ring with “Class of 1968”. Holy shit! That kid can hit.

Michael glanced down at the floor to see the mess their scuffle had created and saw, lying on top on some bandages, an ATF badge. He pointed it out to Charlie whose eyes widened. Time to go. They quickly drove to the hospital, making sure to use the lights this time and they were sure they were gone before the drunk regained consciousness.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Answers

Hello, all. 'Tis Stacey again. I practically had to bribe my husband with homemade chocolate chip cookies sans chocolate chips to get him to answer these questions. I drug him away from his hockey game and made him answer. I typed exactly what he said. So, here ya go. Bon apetite. 

What's the most important thing about being a father?
This answer requires alot more than just a sentence or two. It will require alot of thought.

If you went to Scotland would you wear a kilt in public?
As long as it was socially acceptable to do so.

If you could describe why you conceal carry in one sentence what would it be?
I'm having trouble deciding on just one sentence, so I will answer with two. 
1- To protect my family
2 - Because it's awesome

What is Gibb's Rule #9?
Always carry a knife

What is your favorite thing about Hockey?
Do you have a favorite team, or is it just Hockey in general?

I don't really know what my favorite thing about it is, but my favorite team is the Devils.

Looking at our country right now, how would you do things differently? 
Complete overhaul.

If you could travel anywhere, do anything, where would you go and what would you do?
I probably wouldn't travel. I like being at home.

Could Batman beat superman if superman didn't hold back?
In the right situation yes. If he had enough time to prepare. 

Any regrets from life or past relationships?
Not really. As much of a cop-out answer as it is, all of my decisions have led to me to the life and family that I have today.

If your wife could change one thing about you, what would that be?
She'd probably have me not talk as much.

Who is your favorite director?
Kevin Smith

What talent do you wish you had?
Any. In all seriousness, I wish I could play guitar better or draw.

Pick one superpower (flying, invisibility, mind control, etc).

If the proverbial shit hits the fan, where would be the best place on earth to ride it out?
I don't know. Not a clue. I guess some sort of government bunker or something.

 Can you shoot a bow and arrow?
Yes. I have my archery merit badge.

Favorite book, movie, and song?
Book- Anything by Salvatore
Movie - Clerks II
Song - I have no idea. I don't listen to that much music.  My favorite song to play on guitar is "The Breeze"

Live by the ocean or deep in the mountains?
Moutains. I hate the ocean. I hate sand and I don't like being hot. If it were in
Alaska, maybe. But I'd probably still prefer the mountains.

What is a [serious] mistake you've made, and learned from?
Losing my temper with a former employer.

What is the most important lesson you want your kids to learn?
To be better people than me.

How will you teach it to them?
Beats me, man. I don't have a clue.

Drawing from past friendships and relationships, what is one trait you knew you would want in the person you would marry, and one trait you knew you would not want?
I knew I wanted someone that had a sense of humor similar to mine and someone that wasn't too serious.

What's your position on women in direct combat?
If that's what they want, it's fine by me. I wouldn't stop them.

Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, or Eric Clapton? Pick one to play with.
Jimmy Page.  No one can keep up with Hendrix, and I'm not a big enough blues fan to play with Clapton. Truth be told, I probably wouldn't play guitar with Page. I'd sing, and I think his style fits with my voice.

If you could have your pick of writing jobs, what would be your ideal?
A comic book mini-series or a tv mini-series, because it has a timeline and I wouldn't have to continually be coming up with ideas to progress the story. Plus, they're more interesting than novels, I think.

Monday, January 31, 2011

This blog has been hijacked

Hello, Readers.  I'm Stacey, and I have taken it upon myself to hijack my husband's blog. I figured it was time for him to give everyone an update.
He has been struggling with a bout of writer's block for the past couple of weeks. He says he "doesn't have anything interesting to write about."  I attempted to explain that the term "interesting" was relative to everyone, but failed to do so, since he still hasn't posted anything.
In an effort to get his readership back, and get the gears in his mind turning and back on track for blogging, I am coming to his readers for help.
Back in November, I did an interview post on my blog where I asked readers to post questions and I would answer them.
I'm going to ask that you all do the same thing for Chris.  Post your questions in the comments section of this blog. Don't be afraid to ask something no matter how silly you might think it is. Ask more than one question if you want. The questions let him know his readers really are out there and are missing his posts and insights from everything on fatherhood to his new found love of hockey. 
Let's get him back to blogging again!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Self Important...But Not Too Important

Last night my sister wrote to me on Facebook and told me that she wants to take some steps in getting her family more prepared for emergencies. I’m thrilled that she came to me. Generally, when she, or anyone else in my family, have a question or want to learn more about something, we go to my dad, but not this time. It’s satisfying to know that the research and time I have spent learning and preparing is actually worth something and that someone needs my help with it.

It’s a special thrill for me to feel important outside of my home or my store – and sometimes even in those places. As people, it’s definitely good to be needed and it gives you that extra bounce in your step. I think anytime that a person feels important it’s uplifting to them in a very distinct way. I believe that in can overcome bad moods and bad days, it can give someone a self confidence about their actions, and it can truly make someone feel like they have something to add to the world at large or even just their own little world. Today is a good day because I feel important.

Things seem to be coming together in my writing world. Stacey and I had a long talk over dinner Sunday night about motivation and organization and I think that it’s ignited a fire under me to be more proactive. I reached out to a site this week about possibly writing some articles for them and, even if it doesn’t work out, I’m proud because it’s a step in the right direction. I am slowly but surely putting the puzzle pieces in play and assembling them.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Life Lessons According to Q

“If you can’t take a little bloody nose, maybe you oughtta go back home and crawl under your bed. It’s not safe out here. It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it’s not for the timid.” — Q, Star Trek: The Next Generation “Q Who?”

For those of you who aren’t aware, I’m a big science fiction and fantasy geek. Fat jokes aside, I’ve been into this stuff as long as I can remember. In fact, one of my childhood memories is getting to stay up late and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation with my dad. The above quote actually comes from that series and, as I read it the other night, I realized that that it transcends that show and the genre altogether.

Life is going to beat you up. You’re going to get a bloody nose. Marriages and relationships will fall apart. Friendships will dissolve. You’ll be broke. Lonely. Depressed. These are the rules. Life isn’t always sunshine and flowers, but when it is, grab on to it and ride it out because there’s always another valley coming.

Walk out of your front door and live every single day. Don’t drudge through life just doing the minimum and hating every second. Believe me, I’ve been there and it’s not worth it. Don’t be timid. It’s your life, make of it what you will! I wish it didn’t take me until I was almost 30 to figure that out. For years I was too distracted, too unfocused, or just not brave enough to pursue my dreams, and now I feel like I am behind the curve.

Pursue your passions and you’ll find you own treasures able to satiate your own desires. Your treasures may be financial or they may be something else altogether, but if you live the life that you were meant to live you will find all you can handle and more. Crawl out from under your bed and embrace – not who you are – who you’ve always wanted to be and make that happen. If you don’t you’re going to see yourself getting hit in the nose over and over and over until you change something.

Make it a resolution to live more like you were wired to. I don’t mean a New Year’s resolution. I mean a permanent “I’m not going to quit this before January is over” resolution. I don’t know about you, but I have come to terms with the fact that 2010 was not my year, but it was the start of the rest of my life. I decided in October that I was going to do whatever it takes to make me proud of me: to live my life to the fullest and to embrace every opportunity and quirk that comes my way. I’m willing to take a figurative punch in the nose punch in the nose every single day as long as I know that I am taking my life in the direction I want instead of mindlessly slaving away for the next paycheck.

What other way is there?

Friday, January 7, 2011


This week has been really nice for me. I’ve taken the opportunity to relax and enjoy some time away from work, and I’ve even got some thing accomplished. My big concern though is how to stay motivated. I have every desire to want to write and better myself through my writing, but it’s so hard to do. There are distractions everywhere I turn; from websites, to my kids, to stupid iPhone games, I am constantly being taken away from what I know I should be doing.

How do you stay self-motivated?

When I was selling insurance I was, basically, on my own but I was still held accountable for my production by someone who issued be a paycheck. I had an immediate motivation to work hard because it directly affected my pay, and I hate getting chewed out by my boss. I need some good tips and trick that you, my dear readers, may have to help me stay accountable to myself. I find that I am like the dog from “UP”. I lose focus and, although I want this, I’m finding it hard to really put my nose to the grindstone.

So, if anyone has some advice for me I would love to hear it. Leave me a comment or email me. Or whatever. Also, if you read and your not a follower of mine, that’s something you should be motivated to remedy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Family Obligation

I love my kids.

Sometimes it seems as though I have to keep telling myself this. I do, in fact, love my children and I am very blessed and lucky to have them, but sometimes it seems as though the people who Mommy and Daddy really are get lost in the shuffle of changing diapers, and putting Thomas the Train on the television, and making bottles and cups of chocolate milk. I’ve said it on here before, and most likely, I’ll say it again: Being a parent is hard. It’s by far the hardest thing I have ever done. I used to think that marriage was hard, but since we have had Grayson, and especially Jackson, we don’t even have time for our marriage to be hard anymore. Even when the wife and I fight, it doesn’t last long because of the pressing needs of Thing 1 and Thing 2.

It’s a rare occurrence when Mommy and Daddy get to “get away” from the boys for a while, and I have found that when we do, it’s increasingly harder to connect with each other. It seems that all of our conversations revolve around the kiddos and, to an extent, that’s the way it should be. My real concern is that I don’t want us to lose track of the person we married. Everyone changes and I want to be able to keep up with the changes she goes through so that we can continue to be rock solid.

I feel like our marriage is stronger than ever, but there’s always the selfish desire I have to want to sit in my office and write. Or watch a Nascar race without interruption. Or play an Xbox game. My problem is that these things are alone time for me. It’s nice to zone out and reflect on what’s going on in my life. Watching 43 cars going 200 miles per hour in circles for 3 ½ hours lets me do this. The struggle is that it’s not fair to her. She should get alone time too, but she should also get more attention form me instead of constantly doting on her husband and children.

To me, no matter how good things are in my life, there’s always room for improvement. Trying to balance my marriage and family and my job and my hobbies and my dreams is really challenging. I’m not willing to give up any of them – except the work thing which I hope to replace with the dreams - so I know that I’m going to have to take the time to reflect on my strengths and weaknesses and a husband and father. It’s important to know when we do something right and when we just plain suck at something, but if you’re anything like me, I’d rather tell myself than hear it from someone else.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I'm Baaaaack!

It’s the first work day of January, and I’m on a little eight day vacation from my “real” job. I’m back behind the keyboard for the first time in a while, and I missed it. I took some time off from writing because of Christmas and surrounding madness that embraces my life in the second half of December every year, but I’m sitting here in my familiar chair typing away again and I couldn’t be happier.

It looks so pitiful....
The first order of after Christmas business was to completely revamp my workstation. This is what I started with. All of my blogs up until this one were written on this old, worn out, hand me down desk.

Thew and I spent all day Sunday assembling this monster.
This is my new baby, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with it. It’s given me the desire to write more and the organization to be able to do it with a clear mind instead of focusing on the surrounding clutter. 

We enjoyed our Christmas as much as we could even though, at some point, we’ve all been fighting being sick. It was really great to be able to spend time with our families and I seemed to get into the Christmas spirit a bit, albeit a little late.

I’ve decided that since it’s a new year, I’m going to change up my blogging habits a bit. I’m going to strictly adhere to a three blogs a week schedule; posting a new one Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If I have more to say, I’ll blog more, but five and six blogs a week is taking away the time and ability to write something in addition to The Madness Spiral. If I’m going to make something of myself, I’m going to have to prioritize a bit smarter. I need to take more time to work on other projects, but I am certainly not abandoning this blog. I’ve had so much positive feedback from family and friends and from people I barely know and I appreciate all of it tremendously, so worry not, I will keep this site updated and current. It was nice to take some time off to get refocused, but I’m back and I’m going to start this new year off like a champion. 

It’s time to let the rubber hit the road. If you like this blog, leave me a comment, follow me, or recommend me to your friends. Your feedback makes this worthwhile, and any success I have will be in part attributed to the core readers of this silly blog.