High Angle

With the training season in high gear, this week finds me working with a line clearance crew to establish a new right-of -way.  This job holds a particular set of challenges these last few days.

Particularly gravity!

I often get asked why I use the term “high angle.” when it comes to tree work.  Here is a prime example that not all tree work at height means climbing trees!


It”s Done!

Well almost…

I recently finished the rough draft for my second novel.  I am calling this one Fall Factor.  Still a good bit or work to be done, but for me the hardest part is always the first draft.

To start building the hype!  I have been working on a book trailer.  Here is a sneak peak of the not quite finished full version.

Here is the back cover copy in rough draft format as well.

Fall Factor

Chris Becket, the long lost brother, returns home after his younger brother Mathew, current heir proprietor of the family tree business dies in a car crash.  What seems a simple fall from the wagon turned auto wreck becomes something much more.

Faced with a disturbed family past, haunted by decisions made and things left unsaid, undone. Chris finds himself hurled into Mathew’s life, love affair, business and death.  Bombarded by forces outside and in, Chris turns to skills honed in the military and sets out to limit the compounding damage of a factor two fall before the zenith of destruction is reached and more lives are lost, including his own.

Thanks for all the positive feedback so far!  It helps keep me on track.


Context, Content and T-Rex

As an instructor and writer I understand the vital role context plays in absorbing thoughts, ideas, information. Like a cracked coffee cup, no matter how rich and delicious the coffee inside, a leak causes the content to be diluted, lost, wasted. Make no mistake! The content must be good, but if the context is faulty then much is lost.

The same is true for the written word. To tell a story with out context looses something. The details of time, place, atmosphere, the physical details of character action, the nonchalant expressions and gestures tell the story more richly than words. With out them the tale loses verisimilitude, depth, passion.

A good friend of mine recently reminded me of this in his own Blog writings. Mark Bridge, author of the Treemagineers Blog.  In a recent post Why the Treemagineers Blog? Mark mused on the value or conversely the non-value of on line contributions.

His conclusions outlined for me in clear, concise ways how I see my own writings in all aspects from social media to novels.  I used to believe that writing success is defined by selling books/writings.  I now know I could never be that type of writer.  For me the context of my work is so much more important than the content.  The world the story exists in, the way characters conduct their lives, the dreams they concoct, the failures and successes experienced become analogous to us, the reader.

Of course I want many many people to read my work to share it to think on it.  But only because it adds value to their lives, to mine.

So why T-Rex?  He reminds us that the content is only as funny as the context.  That even simple things can add value and depth.

For me?  T-Rex reminds me to look beyond the obvious, to enjoy the small details of life and mostly to laugh, at the world we live in, at myself.



It’s a bit of a long Story.  I won’t bore you with all the details.  Suffice to say at the recent ITCC, I got hung up in draught of T-Rex jokes.

Imagine that, me getting caught up in joke montage!

I Blame my friend Mark Bridge.  He started it!  He perpetuated it through his Treemagineers Blog.  Then most recently he egged me on through e-mail.  (Pun intended there by the way!)

Of course I am not complaining, just thought I would share some of what I came up with and Mark has graciously allowed me to repost some original art work.

First Mark’s work.  It so much better than mine!



Since I am unable to draw here is my contribution:

Here is a list of stuff that flummoxes T Rex:

  1. Picking his nose
  2. Clapping his hands loudly
  3. Jumping jacks
  4. Handstands. (Although his big head should work for a headstand!)
  5. Certain verses of the hokey pokey (T Rex is not as bad off as an earthworm though, they put their heads in, then out, then shake ’em all about. That’s it!)
  6. Monocle, unless it is for the belly button
  7. Covering his mouth when sneezing or coughing
  8. Flossing
  9. Flipping others off (especially the left hand to opposite elbow, right forearm at 90 degrees, middle finger extended! This could exacerbate general grumpiness as well!)
  10. Jump rope
  11. Tossing a bridal bouquet
  12. The Macarena

To be fair, here are a few things T Rex excels at:

  1. Eating birthday cake
  2. Farting
  3. Polite golf clapping
  4. Low fives
  5. Head butts
  6. Piercing stares
  7. Push ups
  8. Running his ass across the ground or smaller creatures to clean it off
  9. Soccer (except the goalie position!)
  10. Tying a cummerbund
  11. Hacky sack
  12. Chest Bumps
  13. Stomp dancing, Scottish and Kakitihánnakah (the latter is a native American version. Although T Rex remains are rare in the eastern U.S. I like to think T Rex left the wall flower ways behind around the campfires of the eastern nations)

It occurred to me that T Rex probably got such a bad reputation because he had to constantly ask primates and other smaller creatures to hold/do things for him.
Imagine this:
“Hey could you hold this ice cream cone for me please” T Rex asks baby raptor.
“Sure” the little guy squeaks out. T Rex stoops over to take a lick and swallows the raptor, the cone the ice cream all at once. ” Oh my!” He says.

Enjoy.  There is an actual reason for all this silliness.

To be Continued…


Page a Day Writing Plan

The good news is I am rapidly finishing of the first draft of my second novel,  Factor Two.  There is still much to be done, but for me the hardest part has always been putting the words to paper the first time around.  Once they are there, I enjoy working with them, fine tuning, forging a story worthy of the reader’s time.

Much has been said by many  better at writing the writing process than me about process and getting the job done.  As a reference my favorite writing on writing is   Do the Work, by Steven Pressfield.


A no nonsense approach of a accomplished professional.

Even though I know the idea of a first draft is to get ideas down and that is the most important task, I struggle to do it.  I fear not getting it right.  I know intellectuality this is silly.  For me at least, the “Writing” part really happens as I edit.

However, knowing that creativity is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration, I have developed a simple method that works for me.  I call it the page a day plan.  The goal is simple.  Write a page of new text a day.

Being pretty much a visual learner I respond to things I can see, fill out, or otherwise work with.  To that end, I created a simple spread sheet.  The goal of a page a day is greyed in and I color in the columns of my actual accomplishments as I go along.  Dates along the bottom, page numbers up the side.

One month plan

Here is my current one taped next to my desk.


Here is the spread sheet in Excel.  I work natively in Mac, so the PC version is simple and barely adequate, but it is a start should you wish to try.  If you would like a copy of the Apple Numbers spread sheet, drop me a comment, I would be glad to send it along.

31 day Writing Plan

Hope the writers out there find a bit of value if not in my plan, but in knowing your struggles are not unique.