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Showing posts from July, 2013

Where We're At

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Today was just another average Wednesday. Hump day. Go back to work day. (I took yesterday off.) Just average. Until I came home to see my article had been published in MidWest Outdoors Magazine. I had a feeling they were going to accept it based on the feedback I'd received, but was ecstatic to see it in print!

The story is titled "Brothers Through Thick and Fin - A Muskie Brotherhood." I had a feeling it would sell because it has a few key elements that make for a good story. There's the family element, some great fishing stories and pictures, and of course an incredibly sad sideline to it all. It is the fourth article I've had published with this Magazine and they have all been paying acceptances. I can't say enough about the magazine, only that it is a must for outdoor lovers in the MidWest region. The picture below was one of the 4 pictures in the piece. It is my brother Paul holding his first muskie in 2005.

Also coming in the mail in the next day or so…

Rockstar In Disguise

About 3 weeks ago I took part in a reading at the Friday Night Free For All event for AllWriters' Workplace and Workshop writing studio. The event is centered around exposing some of the students' writing. It is also an attempt to entice the public in to show what the studio is all about. The event features each of the genres including poetry, short story (fiction), memoir, and novel (excerpt, obviously). There is usually a guest reader too, of some distinction. This past one featured Mary Jo Balistreri, who has published a book of poems.

At this particular reading I was asked to read some of my poetry. I was flattered to be asked and also pretty excited, because poetry is the "fun" side of my writing. I mean, it's all fun, memoir, fiction, and poetry, but poetry lets me break a few of the rules of writing. It doesn't have to have perfect punctuation a long, drawn out story line, and paragraphs worth of character development. At the same time, good poetry wil…

It Fell Into My Lap(top)

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Once upon a time we owned an eMachines i333 desktop computer. We bought it from Best Buy in 1998 or so. It was running Windows 98, which was a nice improvement over Windows 95. (My son pointed out that every other release for Microsoft seems to be a dud. e.g. windows 95, 2000, Vista, now Windows 8.) It was not a good product, let me start with that. Ours blew a power supply shortly after the warranty that required a $75 fix from a computer repair shop. Eventually the CD ROM no longer worked. It was slow. I think we upgraded the ram from 128 MB to 384 MB that and it still ran like a dog.

Anyhow, we eventually wiped the hard drive clean and donated it to a non-profit. They in turn used it as a training machine, I believe.

Well, much to my surprise, last fall I got a card in the mail saying I was part of a class action suit against eMachines corporation. It turns out the floppy drives in the machines were prone to cause corruption to floppies. Can I recall if my data was ever corrupted?…

Fairly Heavenly

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I took Ben to the Waukesha County Fair today as part of the County Employee picnic. We get free admission and lunch, so I try and make it when we can as it's a chance to get my fill of fair food in case I don't make it to the State Fair. I love corn dogs, mini donuts, fried cheese curds and creme puffs the best. Today after the county sponsored lunch, all I was able to cram in was a bag of mini donuts. They were deliciously bad for me and Ben and I ate them all.

Fairs, carnivals, and festivals whether at the State, County, Town, or Parish level, have always been a blend of heaven and hell for me. They represent both good and evil all rolled into one, then deep fried and put on a stick.

Why the hell tie-in? Have you ever been to a Midway? Most of these games are rigged or slanted so far in the favor of the vendors that it's easier to just give your money to the attendant and keep walking. These men and women are after one thing, and it's surely not the unbridled joy of…

Nautical Pursuits

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I spent the day sailing on Lake Michigan yesterday with my wife and some good friends. It was a 23' vessel and had 2 sails. Our "captain" was a ruggedized 70+ year old lady named Donna. She reminded me of my mom both in looks and attitude. She said she'd taken up sailing at age 40 as a "bucket list" thing, and had been doing it ever since. She has the best job in the world, of that she's convinced, and I tend to agree. Again it was the case of a septuagenarian showing me how life should really be lived. I want to be leading people on adventures at 70+, or learning guitar, or rock climbing, or...


Anyhow being on the water reminded me just how drawn to water based fun I am. I have always liked being on the water, usually fishing but, really, put me in or on anything that floats and I'm in. The ironic thing about my love of water is that I am not a terribly strong swimmer. I can hold my own and tread water with the best of them, but never really learne…

Comments on the Coast

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I returned from San Diego yesterday after being away at the ESRI Users Conference for a week. The conference was the usual whirlwind; informative, fun, and exhausting all at the same time. I learned a lot, met a few new people and a ton of old friends.

California is beautiful but kind of an enigma to me. The cities I've been to there always have really decent weather of course, but there's more to a place than it's climate. This year, the weather was unusual for San Diego, being a tad muggy earlier in the week, and then cloudy and even rainy (though warm)  later in the week.

I remember vividly my first trip out to California in March of 1983. Three friends and I rented a Chevy Cavalier station wagon advertised with "unlimited miles"  for a week-long trip to Los Angeles. We drove 40 hours continuously from St. Paul, Minnesota to Manhattan Beach, California. I googled it to be sure, and at today's speed limits, it's down to 29 hours, still a drive, but not…

The College Circuit

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We toured UW Madison with our soon-to-be senior daughter yesterday. The tour took about 2 1/2 hours and was fairly comprehensive. Like the Minnesota tour, it started out with an informational session and then the crowd was broken out into groups and the walking tours began.

It was interesting from my perspective because I've been to Madison many times, but haven't really seen much of the campus at all. It was much larger than I expected and campus was surprisingly busy for a July day. We ended the tour by sharing 4 scoops of Babcock ice cream, made from the cows in the UW farm program. It was almost enough to sway her decision. Really, really good stuff!

Sarah was impressed with the feel of the campus. She said it is a solid second choice for her at this point. It seems she is set on the U of MN, and I'm OK with that. I'm okay with either choice really. People have asked what it would take to sway her to the UW, and I say only a full scholarship. I'm loyal until t…

Story's End

I finished my BWCA book on Monday night. Well, I should qualify that statement. I finished "writing" the book on Monday. Maybe I should qualify the qualifier, I finished writing the last chapter of my book. What remains is another 45 pages of "final editing" with my Thursday workshop group, whom I am growing to really appreciate.

The book as it stands now is about 255 pages long and about 70,000 words. I started writing it in "concept" in 2005 during a class offered through the City of Waukesha titled "Writing from your life." What came out of that class was a seven-page piece that was the kindling for the bonfire that has become my book. As it turns out, it was written badly enough to be used for kindling, but that's a different story.

In looking back through the piece, I cover a little bit of everything from a camping standpoint. I talk a little about the characters, a little about the shopping, fishing, portaging and the rest. It was like…