Visual Training Aids

The last few weeks for me have involved copious amounts of keyboard time behind the screen staring pixel-eyed blindly ahead.  I don’t mind.  The creative act of revamping material the ashes of outdated world weary presentations, forging new ones with fresh perspectives satisfies me as much as writing a new piece of fiction.  As a consequence I have developed and continue too small snippets of video training aids I like to use.

It occurred to me that these may be useful to others in similar positions as I often find myself, having to explain somewhat complex processes in a simple way.  For those of you not in the tree climbing world, you will find little of interest here, less you have some strange fetish for cartoonish videos related to tree work!

These are two no frills short video segments that explain in a visual way concepts I need to explain often in a classroom situation.  If you find them useful by all means download.  I ask only that if you like the material and want to use it to attribute credit to and drop me a comment or like below the video on Vimeo.  Just follow the links to the Vimeo page and they are available for download.  If for some reason you need it in another format, leave me a comment here and I will get in touch.


This one looks at one hazard of using self-feeding drum style chippers

This one displays when the hinge breaks on four different styles of face notches in tree felling


Manifesto of Strength

Recently I have turned my attentions back to physical training.  While I never really stopped training, I had lost focus for a number of months.  This summer seemed a good time to step back, re-evaluate my efforts and then surge forward.  In the process of all this I was forced to ponder the nature of change, of how it applies to my life in all is faucets.  I have learned that any activity I engage in is interconnected.  For instance when I have trouble craning ideas for a new novel or story it is usually because I lack in some physical aspect, am feeling physically poor or distracted.   The mind and body cannot be superseded as I will discuss below.  So whether your pursuits are physical, like climbing or mental like writing the next great novel I offer the general blueprint of the journey I stated in ernest six or so years ago. 


Manifesto of Strength.

It began 5 years, 8 months, three days, 13 hours ago. But who’s counting? I am. I know the time. I wrote it down. I recall the place, my home, my living room in fact. The old, rapidly becoming ratty, red sofa under my ass. The Vermont Castings wood stove clicking faithfully, heating up. I had just loaded it full of a fresh load of dry, seasoned oak. Winter-yellowish late afternoon sunlight slanted through the large picture window. The silence (well as quite as it ever gets around here) of a house waiting for the rest of the family to come home, fill it’s space, turn this brick and lumber structure from house to home, surrounded me.
Tired, dirty and cold from a day at work, the habitual piece of my brain craved a beer, then another, then another. My stomach growled. My hands just began to regain that wonderful trait called feeling. All in all a typical post work winter day, an end, but also in retrospect a beginning


Voluntary change is funny. We resist it, yet crave it. We composite cliché and mysticism around it. The dumbest book I was ever wheedled into reading, Who Moved My Cheese ,centered around it and sold/was read by millions. No offense to Dr. Spencer Johnson, but if you have not learned the moral of his metaphorical tale by the end if first grade, your teachers failed you.
The humorous aspect of change for me is that no matter how we try, how we cajole what we demand of ourselves and our world, true change happens not when we will it, rather when we accept it, never before. The odd bit is we can’t force change, only set the circumstances for it to surface, dark and miasma-like from the depths of our subconscious and acceptance. The description light fluffy and halo like descendent from the heavens also works, which gives us further insight into the dichotomy and our disparate views of change.
Odder yet, the constant trying, the desire, the failed attempts are the process, stages we must progress through. Only through these do we come to the state of mind and body to accept change, internalize it, act or perhaps reject it thus, starting the process anew.
For me, the realization that change is not one static event, not a simple flip of a switch, but an ongoing process opened my eyes and mind. The opening of the curtain must happen before the show can begin, but it is just a part of the whole.

39 years old, I sat there. The past 3 months a wreck of failed attempts to begin a physical fitness plan, a regimen as I like to think of it. Attempts to force discipline on my diet, my activities, my schedule ended in a myriad of excuses and yes, guilt.
Now don’t misunderstand or read too much into my story. I cannot tell you an epic tale of going from hundreds of pounds over weight and near death to perfect health. You need to travel to other places for that. You see, I was not that bad off. Over weight by about 15-20 pounds, my body mass index a bit high, but all in all a reasonably healthy, active tree climber, retaining mobility better than average.
What spurned the desire for better health boiled down to the future. Where would I be in 10 years? How would I feel, What would I be doing? All these question afflicted me a bit, like a mid-life crisis case of mental Poison Ivy. The term midlife crisis perturbed me . To even think the term “mid-life” admitted to being half way to the end. At 39! Intellectually I knew it to be closer to the truth than further away. It seemed a surrender to say half way. Surrender is a term more perturbing to me than mid-life.
So I tried and failed, then tried again, and again, and again. . . My attempts to establish a protocol for physical training became like my drinking, habitual and never really getting me anywhere. This particular afternoon I simply stood up, sawdusty work clothes and all, walked into the kitchen, down the stairs to the basement, to a clear space on the hard concrete floor and began the only exercises I really knew, the push up, the sit up and the squat.

Process: Work for work’s sake
What was different? I did not prepare, I did not tell myself that this was IT. I did not engage in analysis to paralysis. I did not spend 10 minutes flipping through iTunes playlists, looking for the perfect music. I did not even fill a water bottle. I went down stairs, and started to move.
Unintentionally I did most of the key things I would discover are the best for mental and physical health, fitness and change. No, unintentionally is the wrong word. I did them subconsciously. That is the process of change. All the prior weeks, the backfired attempts, the analysis, the reading of articles, blogs, anything. Looking up exercises and plans and Guru’s with all the answers. The constant search for the Silver Bullet, the one thing, the apocalyptic moment of change led me to the point of complete confusion, yet total absorption. In this state my mind boiled it down, returned to what it knew and added only new information as necessary.
What new information was added? Just go. Just do. Start or not the choice was mine and simple. Anything was better than nothing.
So I started. I sucked. My form terrible, endurance bad, my strength esoteric and mostly illusory. I told my self to suck it up, to change slowly, to accept the poor and work to the good. The sounds of labored breath became my mantra and I fell into the rhythm. In time, my training sessions became a tonic, a form of meditation, sacred space and time for me personally.
To this day I prefer to train alone. I like to fall into the simultaneous mindlessness/mindfulness of shear physical activity. It clears my head, it clears my body. I have learned that mind and body are not/cannot be separated. What affects the one, must affect the other. Operate separately, yes. Independently, never

What Cannot Be Separated
Eventually about a year into this process, at the ripe age of 40+, introspection let me refine the cause for my desire for change. While my physical health remained decent, it would continue to degrade on the path I traveled pre 40 years of age. I think most of us accept this, the aging process. Unavoidably, the body ages, we degrade a bit day by day. The curse/blessing of mortality we all bare.
This is not to say we must suffer, that we cannot live full, active lives as we age. Quite the contrary, like the ancient Romans, I have come to believe that 40 years of age is a significant turning point in physical health as well as mental acuity. In our 40’s we can recognize more deeply our experiences for what they are and perhaps more importantly what they are not. We posses a lens of life experience to view them through. We can appreciate the value of health, physical and mental, because we have seen a lot of good, a lot of bad and get an honest glimpse of what may come. A snatch of future we can honestly feel in our bones.
Our friendships at this time of our lives are the best friendships we will ever have. They have either stood the test of time or we establish new ones under strict filters developed over our decades. This leads to strong support networks. Beliefs embedded, but not engrained.
No, I felt good physically. I knew I could do better sure, but what drove me was the mental side. A truly strong body means a strong mind. However, all the research I conducted, all the mainstream media put forth was fluffy stuff to be bigger, stronger, faster, but not better by my definition. I needed to sort through and discover my goals and the path to take. I did this by trying and failing, again and again and again. . .
Te lessons I learned can be applied to all aspects of our lives. They apply to mental and physical pursuits. By no means do I have al the answers, but I see the path I need to see. I share this with you.

Destination Strength
So now, 5 years, 8 months, three days, 13 hours later (well 14.3 hours ago, I write slow) where am I? The following is my Manifesto of Strength. I am not a doctor, medical or psychological. I offer no advice on the what or how. I give you only the map of my journey, of how I choose to progress and the ideas discovered along the way. The only credit I can take is the amassing of these ideas at this time and this place. The ideas themselves are others’ to many to name and mostly forgotten. The organization of them mine and mine alone. As always take what you can use, leave the rest.

It is the capacity to act mentally and physically as you desire. It is the resiliency to recover from set back and tribulation. The tendency to advance continually, to gain slowly, but with purpose, that which you do not already possess. The act of meaningful growth.

Put constraints on your actions. You cannot do it all nor should you try. One thing done well and consistently is better than 10 things done half-assed. Avoid confusion, inspire creativity and execute concisely by choosing small to accomplish large

Not all things work for you. Try many things. Read and attempt wide, then when something peaks your interest read and try deep. Delve into it and run it to it’s end of your curiosity, then move on. Through this process, take what you can use, leave the rest.

Everything Works
Well for the fist 6 weeks or so. Then you’re going to have to change; again. The human body and mind is excellent at assimilation and adaptation. Use this to your advantage. Work in 6 week cycles, whether macro or micro you decide. Remember I said 6 weeks OR SO. Figure it out for yourself. Establish humble, measurable goals Go into anything with out a target and you will miss it every time! Can’t hit what is not there.

Write it down, in any format. If you only ever read through it 50 years from now then it will be worth it, trust me. I hate journaling. I know this, won’t do it. However, putting results, goals in a reviewable format is a must and tolerable. Again figure it out for yourself, but develop a system, change it, make it work, keep it simple like me if you are not fond of the process

How you train physically, mentally and eating habit wise should reflect how you live (or want to live) your life. In the Army, our physical Training (PT) was always mission specific. I like to model that. Never once in all my years have I ever been pinned under a heavy weight that I needed to lift straight up up the center of my chest over and over again. Hence, the reason you will rarely see me bench pressing anything!

Prepare to fail
Never fail, never progress. I could go on. Accept failure for what it is, a chance to evaluate. Celebrate successes with abandon.

Make your circles smaller
Master the basics then instead of adding new and different practices or techniques, refine and master the basics. There is a wealth of effort in every simple exercise, mental puzzle or any task worth doing. The best programs nest the mastered basics together.

There is no silver bullet save work and consistent effort. Anything worth achieving will take time, effort and include set backs. Do not fear the plateau, look to it as a challenge, a time to reflect, then a signal to push harder, in new directions.

Simple does not equal easy
Get only as complex as you need and not one bit more with your plans. Just because something is simple does not mean it is easy. Making a training, eating or any plan plan overly complex is a way of stalling! It also set you up for complications and more excuses down the line. Another old Army maxim: Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. If you think I am telling you to poo-poo planning, STOP, go back, reread.

Muscles do not know repetitions
Muscles know only time. Stop counting and work with a timer. Maintain perfect form. If you cannot, then stop. If you do not know how learn. Do anything correctly or don’t do it at all. Your brain also does not know when the project is over, only when it is done creating. Having trouble getting things done? Stop counting tasks and set time limits for valuable action.

Compare yourself to yourself
Forget the magazines, the blogs, all the input that tells you where or what you should be. Accomplish your goals in your time. The inner light is the strongest.

Old questions, old answers
When your questions are old, look to the old sources. New age self help texts either repeat what the masters said centuries or epochs ago or are worthless. When it comes to age old struggles, age old answers are the best.

Choose your teachers wisely
When picking role models, teachers, sources to glean info from choose from sources that are like you or how you would like to be. The caveat is be reasonable and filter your goals with humility and reality. The old adage that those who can do, do. Those who cannot teach sometimes holds true. The way to protect yourself and your valuable time and effort? Choose teachers who walk the walk, say what they mean and mean what they say. words are fine, actions often the proof.

There you have it. I could go on, but only to amuse myself!  I have a rather comprehensive personal list of books and resources on the subject discussed above.  Let me know if I can be of any help.


Back Story

As I wind my way through edits, versions, choices and words aplenty with the new novel.  It occurred to me one of the things I like best about fiction is the back story.  The details of character and scene, plot and tension, that should always, in my mind be shown, not told.

Fall Factor is my first real attempt at writing anything of length in first person.  As such, I found it tough to “show” not “tell” the characters’ back story.  A few characters are left blank, so to speak.  Their history is left to the reader to guess.

I do not see myself ever writing a serial character.  I love to read those series, but as a writer it seems a crutch.  It is also hard to do very well and few writers in my opinion accomplish it.

That is not to say that my characters will never reappear in later works.  I enjoy that intertwining of worlds, histories and “realities” I have constructed.

Some of my characters have been with me a very long time.  Chris Beckett, the main character in Fall Factor originaly appeared in a slightly different form in a short story I wrote in college.  It was published in Penn State’s literary magazine, the Palimpsest Review (1997)

Here it is in PDF form Uncertain Reconciliation.

I considered rewriting, but decided to give it to you as I wrote it 18 years ago.  Chris is not the same in this story as he is in the new novel.  Then neither am I.  However, this Chris was the basis for that Chris.

I look forward to sharing more backstory with you all as I lead up to the release of Fall Factor.


Book Trailer

A rainy weekend and a canceled flight have conspired for me to finish the book trailer for the newest novel Fall Factor.  Edits progress steadily and I hope to get it to the publisher in the next few month.  That puts a release time of late winter early next year.  Plenty of time to ramp up the marketing efforts.  In that vein, please feel free to share the trailer video.  If you would like your very own HD copy for use drop me a comment and I will send you a dropbox link.


5 Things To Know About Self-Publishing A Book No One Tells You!

My first novel Free Falling has been out for about a year and a half.  Getting it to print was journey in and of itself.  One I found at once daunting and exciting.  Getting the package in the mail, opening it, holding the paper bound book, my book, in my hands for the first time, thrilling, the culmination of many goals.

Tresselt - Mock 4

Now I am embarked upon yet another journey.  The journey to get the book out to actually have people read it!  Marketing in other words.  Here is a list of 5 things I have found out, discovered, or just simply had reemphasized in my mind in the last 18 months or so.

1.  Be prepared to invest even more time than it took to write your book into your marketing efforts!  As a general rule of thumb, if you are not willing to invest 6 to 7 hours a week into some activity that will expose your book’s existence to readers, then you will not meet with much success.

That time can be spent researching markets, making call lists or writing blog posts, but it must be spent. 60% or more should be active, as in, not just research.   Research is important, but action is necessary. Set measurable goals and embark with steady, constant effort.


Kayak Trip  #167


2.  Be creative and try many things when marketing.  I figured I could whittle my marketing efforts down to a few activities within a year, then focus on those.  Not so easy, I found.  You must be as creative as you are diligent and persistent.  Try lots of things and keep up as many as you can.

Contrary to my initial belief, I did not whittle down my marking effort due to results.  Those are extremely had to track.  I narrowed my options due to time and to activities I enjoy.  Blogging and video are my digital choices.  Speaking and training engagements are also on my list as my work lends itself to those activities.   I also have started a campaign I call seeding which leads nicely into number 3!


2012-07-13  #48

3.  Be prepared to give a lot of books away for free!  Initially I was loath to do this.  I felt it undermined my value as a writer and my investment.  However, I have found that getting books into the right hands at no cost to those hands is money well invested.  The trick is choosing who!

Nothing in life is truly free.  Sure I give books away without monetary charge, but I ask for reviews in return.  I ask for exposure and for the book to be passed on/ recommended to others who may enjoy it.  Recently I stared leaving books if I am staying at a guest house or B&B.  I do not know if this works, nor will I ever have a measure, but it sure is fun!

Kayak Trip  #680

4.   Know your audience, then get to know them better!  I write stories about tree workers and arborists.  I have spent the bulk of my professional career being one.  It never actually occurred to me that the great majority of tree people are men.  Odd, I never thought of that!  Ironically, it occurred to me as I sent my latest novel out for proof reading that almost all the people who review it for me are women.  I do not know if that is an issue or not, but it points out that I did not spend enough time really thinking about my market!

Pomeroy 152012-06-28

5.  Deal in the long term.  The downside of self publishing is if you do not market your book, no one will.  The upside is your book only goes away when you stop marketing.  No book store can take it off the shelf for the next hottest trend.  I have often equated book marketing to rolling a snowball down a hill.  You gather snow and get it rolling.  You don’t know how fast or far it may go, you just keep throwing snow under it!

I now put the analogy this way.  Yes, your book is a snow ball, but there is no hill!  You must push it constantly, sometimes up hill, level ground if you are lucky, but always pushing.  Sometimes somebody else throws some snow in the path.  Other times you must do it!  Sometimes you can steer the growing snow ball to a fresh patch.  It does not come easy or overnight!


My final advice for those of you thinking about publishing or already at that stage.  Keep going, set goals you can meet and keep pushing the snow ball.

In that vein, I want to thank the many how have written me a review or sent me an e-mail regarding the book.  I am so very grateful.  To those of you that have read the book, I ask your for help!  Please write a review, good bad or indifferent!  It goes a long way for me as a writer as well as exposure online for the book.

Thanks to all, too many name, who have helped me on this journey!  Let me know if I can do anything in return.


On sticks, jokes, teaching and life

So… The joke goes like this…   What do you call a boomerang that does not come back?  A stick!

I love jokes.  The simpler the better.  Humor, over the years, has become a vital tool for me, a viewpoint from which to start, a destination to arrive at.

Recently, I gained new perspective on my humerous approach to, teaching, presenting.  The opportunity to present at the German climber’s forum was a wonderful opportunity, granting me new insight into how I approach the task of teaching and how this presentation style is viewed.

You see, for me to laugh is to learn.  If I can chuckle, see a different side of a topic through humor, then I grasp the concept easier, remember subtle complexities for later mental digestion and assimilation.

There is some scientific backing to this.  Laughing releases hormones in the brain that can encourage retention, boost memory, aid in cognition.  Humor is also one way to set a context of learning in which the content of subject matter can be inserted.  The content of learning must be good, but will always fall short if the context is lacking.

Often my incessant jokes are misinterpreted as mere entertainment, but, in fact, I use them as a tool to convey the subject matter, to reinforce learning, to create a memorable experience and hence, share knowledge and experience.

More than that though, humor expresses my view of life, living and moving through this world.  Time is so unmercifully short, our most valuable resource.  Not laughing a bit at life, ourselves, our actions and enjoying the moments we live and string together to call a lifetime seems wasteful to me.  I feel obligated to help others enjoy the time they have decided to share with me when they come to participate in a class I conduct, a talk I give.  The students give of their time and attention, the least I can do is share my time, attention, experience and knowledge all wrapped in a package of humor.

So what is a boomerang?  A stick fashioned to fly in an ellipse.  If thrown properly the “boomerang” should arc away, then turn and arc back to our hand.  Failing this, it just falls to the earth, mission unaccomplished a mere “stick”

So what is learning and teaching?  An ellipse of it’s own.  A throwing out of ideas and thoughts, knowledge and experience.  When thrown properly, it arcs back, returning to the thrower lessons and knowledge of it’s own, gathered on the way.  Laughing, jokes and humor help me guide the experiences and lessons I choose to impart.  In turn humor aids the arc back, returns to me lessons and insight for my own mind and life.  Teaching draws me too it because it is such a two way street, just like a good joke.

A stick?  Well that is time killed not spent.



European Tour

Last week I had an amazing opportunity to travel overseas and co-presentwith Rick Denbeau at the climber’s forum at the German Tree Care Conference in Augsburg, Germany.  A wonderful opportunity to see so many friends and climbers again, but closer to their home’s than mine.  I cannot say enough about the hospitality and generosity of everybody I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time or getting reacquainted with.

Here is a short Highlight video.




There are times, as a writer, trainer, human I feel  alack of inspiration of creativity.  I wonder what the next step artistically is for me, my life.  You see, I have come to rely on the expression writing, creating, teaching grants me.  Without it I seemed to hollow out a bit, lose focus, drift.

These times always seem to come as one project ends, but another yet to begin.  I wonder if I have another good book, story, sentence, hell, word left.  Have I used up all the mojo the universe bequeath me?  How can I add something of meaning to this world of ours.

Life and experience has taught me to weather these times with a smile, to know inside that the right thing, one word, one idea, one glimmer of the next project will appear.  Usually when I least expect it.  Experience also teaches me to go looking, oft times in subtle ways with out preconceived notions.

Here is my next source of inspiration, the fodder from which the next work, story, book will rise, grow and bloom.  I hope it helps you too!



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.