Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rocking the Karma

A number of years ago, I joined the Twitter scene. I knew very little about it but I jumped in all the same.

I "met" a number of people, most of which at the beginning were book related since it was the focus of my joining this social network. One of the people I met early on and who has been a constant presence in my timeline is Kerry Schafer.

She was one of the few that stood out as a real person and who took a true interest in how I was doing in a time she perceived was a tough time for me personally. She became one of the very few people from Twitter I would call friend.

As a testament of my excellent taste in friends, Kerry has worked hard during these years, and then some, and today is the release date of her debut novel, BETWEEN.

I'm so happy for her.

I urge anyone within the sound of my voice and the reach of this blog to check out Kerry's blog and especially her book. I hope you will support my dear friend in her efforts. Buy the book, let her know how you liked it- which I am sure you will- and then tell someone else about it.

See Kerry, the karma is for you. Thanks for your friendship and congratulations.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cold Hard Fishing

I love fishing but I have not been doing enough of it lately. So today, I'll share a video today that I found through Twitter:


I love winter fishing as well. The narrator in the video mentions that it's slower fishing in the winter. It could be that I'm just not as good of a fisherman as he and so it's always slow for me, but I never noticed winter to be any slower action than summer. I'm a little bit slower, but that could be because I'm cold.

Winter fishing is different in a couple ways. You have to wear a lot more clothes which can hamper your maneuverability and add additional discomfort if you fall in. (Which I haven't). It's different because you have to fight your line freezing on the guides- a big problem with a fish on. And I found that I secretly hope that the fly comes free once I have a great look at the fish and have it within netting distance. I don't want to have to get my hands wet.

I have been out, in the river, when it's as cold as -5. Some will think that's way too cold. Others will call me a baby. "Cold doesn't start until -20!" So says the Great Lakes fishermen. Either way, for me- yes it was cold but it provided the best part of winter fishing.

You see, the best part of winter fishing, especially on the river and as the video points out, is that I usually have the water to myself.

I love fishing. I love it even more when it's just me, the river, and the fish.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

10 Rules of Writing

OK, they are not really rules; just guidelines- observations really. And thoughts. And not very good ones either.

1) I will always think I suck when compared to the great ones. If I didn't, I need to hang it up, I'd be too cocky. They are great. I am not. When I'm dead, that's when I'll stop trying to be better.

2) Yes the first draft is always crap. Hemingway's rule actually, but see #1. I'll learn from the great ones.

3) Adverbs are like relatives. One at a time, spaced out well, and not seen too often is just fine. They are not evil, they just can be. Really.

4) Above all other things, I write best when I write. When I don't, it doesn't blow or anything, the writing just isn't; which is worse.

5) If it's important that the boy's eyes are blue, I'll tell you; otherwise, fill in whatever color you care to see.

6) I hate main characters that are writers. It seems so self-indulgent, so wishy, so pathetic. You're a writer, make the main character or any other charatcer for that matter, a plumber or something. Expand a little. Besides, when the story works out well for the pretend writer, it just makes me hate him or her.

7) I don't have an agent. Why? Because I'm still too dumb and too much a nobody to need one. When the time comes that I need one, I'll have one. Twain said that a banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain. Kind of like that. I'm waiting for my sunny day. (See #1)

8) I Love commas. A novice it makes me, I am sure. But I like them so. ,,,,,,,,, 

9) I don't care much for the eBook versus TreeBook argument. It's reading. We're already geeks and dorks. Choose your poison, or poisons, and enjoy it.  No one else cares.

10) Writing is fun. It's hard work, but it ain't digging no ditch. I really don't care too much for the martyr syndrome that seems to be attached to writing. Maybe when it was done with the quill and ink; but with a laptop, with music, tweets, and  cups of hot beverage of choice, it's pretty plush. Let's be honest, we're "working" on not working. "Writing is easy, all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” Gene Fowler 

I have more, but this is enough for now. I am sure these are quite enough for which to be mocked, argued, and later on for which to be embarrassed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ain't Dead Yet- Snipet

“All the same.” The Sherriff looked out at the dead man again and then back to Porter. “What was your name again?”
Porter stared coldly into the Sheriff’s eyes.
“Just remember you called me ‘Deputy’.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's What We Expect

The NASA Mars rover Opportunity is 9 years old. It was only supposed to last 3 months.

Are we surprised? Maybe a little, but I remember when it outlasted it's expectancy years ago, I had the thought of hoping it would last forever.

9 years in comparison to 3 months= Forever.

We do this a lot.

Remember when 100,000 miles was the death mark for cars? Now, people buy cars at 200,000 hoping it's good for a few (meaning 3-5) more years. A lot of cars are doing it nowadays.

We all have hope to get more than what others expected. We have hope that, for us, the laws of the universe will be ignored. We hope that our luck is better than the average bear.

Sometimes it is. Sometimes it ain't.

I doubt JPL counted on the rover to last beyond the three months but are happy to use it beyond that time barrier.

Likewise, we should expect out of our investments, our efforts, and our endeavors only what we put into them and what logic dictates they should return. But be prepared, sometimes we get extra mileage.

Use it wisely.

Monday, January 21, 2013


A day spent alone,
Just like I wished it to be.
Where did they all go?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ain't Dead Yet- Another Peek

“You wouldn’t know anything about three dead bounty hunters left in Judge Drummond’s office, would you?”

Brigham set back in his chair, holding the correspondence in his hand and peering over the top of it at Porter.

Porter shook his head with a slow side to side, giving the impression he was actually giving it some thought. Without another word, he tipped his hat and headed out the door.

Excerpt from AIN'T DEAD YET, a fictionalized story about Orrin Porter Rockwell by Mike M Jensen.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

French Expectations

27 years ago yesterday, I arrived in France.

Via a train ride from Geneva, across the countryside of France, I arrived at the small fishing town of Martigues of  La Provence.
 I remember being picked up at the small train station by my roommate and a local couple. They drove me in one of the smallest cars I have ever seen, through the tiny roads that lead down the hillside and across the town, over the bridges, and to my apartment. They all spoke French, and although I had studyied before arriving, I was amazed in the speed and ease of how they spoke French- even if they were French. I would learn later they also had a Southern accent that I had never even imagined existed and had not prepared for.

 Nothing was how I imagined it. Nothing. And that is when I realized that no matter how much you think you understand something, no matter how prepared you think you are; when dropped in the middle of something you have never experienced, a place you have never been, or meet people you have never met: it's all going to different than what you expected.

 But all that being said, it's OK. It's good to be surprised from time to time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Brakes and Family

Just when you think you're all independent and all growed up, life tends to throw you a curve ball.

For the last several months, years really, my life has been like batting against Barry Zito. Curve ball after curve ball after curve ball.

Yesterday, my brakes failed on my truck on the way to work. On a down hill, in traffic, with expired tags, heading into downtown, on a freaking cold day, after I had broke off the door handle, already late to arrive at work, when there was no around to call for help or assurance.

Fortuneatly, I hit no one and no thing. The snow built-up in the gutter, quick thinking, and a truck that really doesn't like to move anyway, all helped to get the vehicle in control and stopped (along with gears and manual use of the emergency brake).

I babied it back home.

I began to physically check the brakes by removing a few of the wheels. I became informed by the property managment that I could not work on the vehicle on site. "Button it up now." I did.

Distraught, I called my dad for something, anything, maybe even advice.

He gave me peace of mind.

"Can you drive it down?"
"Do it, but be safe."
"It's just brakes, dad."

After a 140 mile drive (still with little brakes) the truck is resting at his place. Safe from appartment life, tow trucks, and impoundment.

It might sound like so little to others, but being able to rest from the worry for a few days is worth gold to me and my breaking ball (baseball reference), swing and a miss life right now.

When all else fails, it's good to know that family is around.

Now I just need to wait and sit back on that coming fastball and drive it over the wall.

Thanks dad.

Monday, January 14, 2013

And We Thought We Had It Bad

I basically grew up in Northern California, so it's OK that I make fun,- especially of those in Southern California!

Apparently, it's cold in LA.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Utah Weather

 Thursday High 45, beautiful, warm. I called it gorgeous.

Friday, 18" snow by noon. as much snow in one day in a number of years. Tomorrow: Low of -2.

Gotta love it!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Don't End the Story with the Book

A few years back, I read the book FINN by Jon Clinch. It is a prequel to Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. It had been recommended to me by my sister.
It was a good read but disturbing in some ways.

This many years later, I still think on that story. Part because I think of Twain stories on a regular basis but also, it's just a story that rolls around in my head. A story that just won't rest.

Today, via Twitter, I was able to be at the same time that I knew the author was online. I got to finally tell the author "in person" that his story still bugged me. He responded, "Good".

He's right. We should seek and read books that don't end with the closing of the back cover.

Take the story, lesson, or emotion with you.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

This Year, Not Next

I Climbed that mountain. On a whim in September, I got up early one morning and walked my big ol' butt on up to the top. It wasn't easy. It wasn't quick. But I ascended the 4,000 feet to reach the summit at 11,750 ft. I still enjoy that feat becuase on why I did it.

I told myself that I would not spend another winter looking at that mountain, telling myself that "next year" after the snow melts, I would do it.

Now when I see the snowy cliffs, I say "I did that." It feels good. And for a chronic procrastinator such as I am, that's a mountain climbed in and of itself.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Meeting the Utes

“Meeting up with Utes ain’t ever boring, that’s for sure.” Porter quipped to the dog.
The animal acknowledged his voice with a quick lick about his snout but kept his head strained around Porter and his eyes fixed toward the voices.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Not Miserable

I am reading the book, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
Wow! What a read.
It amazes me when you have in your hands the work of a great writer. I am astounded how the feelings and descriptions of persons- the inside stuff- is still so much the same and how if you were a good writer then, you would be good now.
That all being said, it also is evident the change in style. This book, I believe, would struggle to reach publication today. The odd narrative and the fact of being so wordy and long would set this book outside of today's standards. Even the other day, watching people at the bookstore who noticed the book for sale, liked the price of $8 but winced at the 900 pages. I did not see anyone actually buy it but many said they would like to read it someday; influenced I am sure by the movie, the reason I decided to finally read the book now as well.
 I love reading many of the older classic novels and have set in my mind to read more of them. My fight throughout my school years of not wanting to read have left me a blind spot. They are not like eating vegetables, however, at least not anymore. They are the desert and I am glad I am reading them now, when I can appreciate them.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Excerpt from "Ain't Dead Yet"

Christina, grab lang riffle! The man called out in his native language.
The Danish farmer’s wife crawled along the one room cabin’s dirt floor, staying low and out of sight. She inched towards the fireplace. Terrified, she forced herself to stand up straight only long enough to reach the rifle hanging over the mantle, as requested by her husband. Once retrieved, she hurried down to the floor and scooted back across it, dragging her dress in one hand and holding the rifle up in the other. Not wanting to stay up higher any longer than needed, she stretched her arm out to hand the firearm to her husband’s reach. She dropped all the way down and searched again for her children.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Far Worse...

“Well, all right,” Jacob relented “but I can only eat enough to get me home and to protect your reputation within the Ward.” He winked at Mary Ann. “Far worse than coming home hungry, is coming home full.” -Jacob Williams, character and neighbor to Orrin Porter Rockwell in my upcoming book: "Ain't Dead Yet".