Tag Archives: Writing

Still looking for my voice…

After nearly a decade you would think I’d have found my voice for this blog. Having changed the focus so many times doesn’t help much I suppose. Personal blog, business blog, aviation focus, woodworking focus, I mean, really… how many times have I twisted this thing into something I needed/wanted at the moment? I’ve lost count.

I don’t know if I will ever know what my blog voice is. I do know, I need to write more frequently if I ever want to find that voice. March 28th, 2018 is marked down on the calendar as my 10th Blogaversary. The family and I have a lot of big changes in our lives taking place between now and March. I am hopeful that I will at least have a whisper if not a voice by then.

Big changes? First and foremost, we are moving. Not just across town, to another state. I say this because I have always lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. 50 years and the only time I wasn’t living in the area was a six month period I lived and worked on a job-site in Stockton, less than two hours from here. In fact, the family and I have been living in the same apartment for over 21 years.

Beginning July 1st, we will be in transition to our new-to-us house in Klamath Falls, Oregon. New town, new state, new house, new jobs; big changes. I haven’t lived in a house in 40 years, Tammy hasn’t lived in a house in almost 30. I am very excited about these changes. We want to shift to a more sustainable lifestyle and getting out of the multi-million populated urban sprawl and moving to a city of fewer than thirty-thousand people is a great start. We will be looking for our forever-homestead after we get up to KF and have had a chance to get to know the area.

Another change for us is the earnest desire to get outdoors and go do things. Sightsee, hike, canoe, just get out in nature, which will be interesting since none of us have lived in an area it snows, or rains a lot. It will take some time to acclimate to the area and its weather.

So you can see, there will be a lot of subject matter potential for the blog and writing in general. I am not making any commitments right now, but I would like to see myself post at least 500 words at least once a week. That seems like a reasonable goal. I am also looking forward to more interesting photographic subject matter to be included in the posts.

Along with all of the changes in lifestyle and location, we are hoping to make a few changes internally. With all of the out-and-about, we will be working on getting more physically fit, and tuning into the new, smaller, less frantic world around us. One of the reasons I don’t go out much anymore is the crush of people everywhere we go. I have to tune out so much background noise just to get from point A to point B. When you think about it, it’s easy to see why people seem to have lost their sense of self-preservation. They tune out so much around themselves, they just don’t see or hear it coming.

When you think about it, it’s easy to see why people in urban areas seem to have lost their sense of self-preservation. They tune out so much around themselves, they just don’t see or hear it coming. The density of it all accelerates the environments natural selection, adaptations, and migrations. An interesting idea for a sociology hypothesis… later.

My only regular outing is going to Volunteer Examiner sessions for Amateur Radio license exams on the first and third Saturday of the month. On more than a few occasions, I have not left the property we manage between VE sessions. If I don’t need something or have been asked to help someone, I would rather just stay on-site. My current density adaptation is to isolate/insulate when possible.

Not healthy, physically or otherwise. Socializing has followed the same lines, aside from the internet, I only see the folks at VE, or chat with other hams on the radio. Radio will still be my main social outlet, but I am looking forward to participating in things with actual people, not just internet friends or disembodied voices.

Any way you slice it, there are some big changes in store for our family. I for one am looking forward to some change with open eyes, mind, and arms. Klamath Falls… bring it on!

Until next time,
~FlyBoyJon

Nine Years

Nine years ago I set up this domain and started blogging, I still don’t seem to have gotten the hang of it.

With everything going on in our lives and in the world around us, I should have plenty to write about. I have my radio blog, also lacking in regularity, and our store/family blog also suffers from a lack of consistency and regularity.

With my 9th-bloggiversary coming up in about two weeks I thought a little goal setting was in order. I have 54 weeks to work on improving those things I feel I lack in my blogging practices. Regularity & consistency.

Scheduling writing sessions had never worked well in the past but I think that had more to do with my lack of keeping up with datebooks and calendars. In the last year or so this has changed. I am using a calendar organizer daily for tracking a lot of different things. Adding writing goals into this routine shouldn’t be all that difficult.

At the moment I’m a little too scattered to vent any moral or social indignation about whatever is going on at the moment. I have been jotting down miscellaneous potential subjects for posts and scribbling out a paragraph or two every once and a while. Some of these should be useful, at least a little. I guess I should continue jotting and scribbling and see how things turn out.

I know this is anything but a substantive post, but that really wasn’t the purpose for writing today. Sometimes you just gotta do some things for yourself.

~FlyBoyJon

NaNoWriMo 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009It’s here again so soon! National Novel Writing Month. This will be my second year participating in NaNoWriMo.

Each year, thousands of people from all over dedicate the month of November to writing a novel of at least 50,000 words. It can be a torturous experience for some and bliss for others. My biggest challenge last year was to write, not edit. I worked very hard at not editing anything, well… not editing much. It shows. My finished novel wasn’t finished, nor very good, but I managed to get a bit over 63,000 words on digital paper.

Don’t ask, it will never see the light of day as it is. The concept has evolved into a screenplay, that someday may get some more attention. I have no idea what I am going to do this year and I am not even going to think about it until after Thrill The World is over on October 24th.

Updates will follow on the project, here, on Facebook, Twitter, and on my NaNoWriMo Profile Page. Sign up and join me for NaNoWriMo this year! I am open to Writing Buddy requests so lets get writing.

ETA: Well frack! Things got crazy busy and time slipped away. My total word count this year for NaNo was ZERO. I’ll try this again next time around.

Oops.

Holy Cow!

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I posted on the blog. You may remember I am producing a local live event project. Nothing huge, but for some reason it has been sucking my time away in unbelievable volumes. To get this project off the ground I had to build a support infrastructure before building the actual “group” that is doing the event. The basics are not difficult, I do this kind of stuff all the time, the time killer is having at least one workshop every week and all of the back office stuff going on as well.

Needless to say, I’ve been busy. Oh, and did I mention this is a no money gig. Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of it. I have been doing tons of web development stuff that will carry over to other projects and a fair amount of media work too. The only real problem has been pulling myself away from the gig to do my “day job” stuff, as I said no $$$ for the gig.

Here is the really funny part. While doing all of the gig work, and the “day job”, I have been getting tons of creative ideas that I have been scrambling to get written down. Not that I have had any time for writing mind you.

With any luck things will begin to normalize before the end of the month. The event is on the 24th and the editing shouldn’t take too long. The live event is only 6 minutes, with that and all of the before material I have been compiling I am hoping to have a solid 30 minute short Doc when all is said and done. At least when I get to post, it will all be on my own time and not a schedule so I can take a breather when needed. For now, time is fleeting.

Until next time,
~FlyBoyJon

Life of the FlyBoy

BlackBerry Curve 8330, The CrackBerryTime has flown by the last couple of weeks. This is going to be a catch up post rather than a topical one, though several things are related.

First off, the Thrill The World event I am working on with Grave Mistake has been going strong. We have had two Dance Workshops so far and had around 20 people at each. The group has 58 people registered so far making it likely that we will be over 100 for the event. It is still very possible to hit 250, which is my ‘goal’ for the event. I have managed to get two short videos produced and I am putting together more media for the project now. As you can see this project has kept me hopping by itself.

And of course, if you are in the Silicon Valley and want to learn Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ dance come out to one of the free workshops. 😉 *Shameless plug, cause I’m a producer*

Other things in the chute include getting a visit from an old producing partner two weeks ago. He expressed an interest in me working on a couple of projects with him. I am interested, but was very up front about my expectations from him. I think that might have soured the deal as he was supposed to send some information to me to use in developing a preproduction/development budget and I haven’t heard back from him. In truth, I wasn’t holding my breath.

On the good side of producing, I was encouraged by his interest in me working on a couple of films, and decided to drag out a story I have been developing for a few years. I finally have two and a half acts laid out, and a screen play well under way. This is most definitely a labor of love, so the time laps is not all that frustrating. I also think that my returning to the original plan (I wrote about this lat time in Writing for Screen) was a good move.

There are of course the requisite ‘subsistence’ projects that I do to keep afloat during long development stretches as well.

I know I have mentioned social media interests and projects that I have been implementing in previous posts and now one of the tools I have been waiting for has arrived… yes, I am now a member of the CrackBerry (read as BlackBerry) set. I considered both the BlackBerry and the iPhone and opted for the one more oriented to business applications and durability. I am hard on cell phones and have been wanting to do more with mobile media so it was a natural choice. The QWERTY keypad is a godsend for mobile data. I am still getting used to having a really useful phone, but it is fun getting there. With a little work I will be posting more media here and on my twitter feed.

Now it’s time to take The Boy for a hair cut before he starts High School. 😉

Writing For Screen

SkyBlueIn 2004 I was working on several commercial productions. One of the people I was working with had some experience in screenwriting. He had a script optioned and the film was given a green light. Unfortunately, as things sometimes go in Hollywood, the film was shut down before principal photography began. It had been several years and he was looking at producing the film himself. We had become production partners and began to talk about production projects he had started. I spent a good deal of time retooling some of his older work and we collaborated on several new projects.

What I had not realized at the time was that I was developing the skills of a producer/screenwriter. The work we were doing was preproduction script development. After a while he suggested that I come up with a concept and begin writing the screenplay on my own, which I did. I started with a basic story, then started writing it in screenplay format with dialog. Not the best idea, at least for me.

When I am producing, I can move and think very quickly. My thought process is able to encompass the entire production. Everything is physical and relative, there are reference points and connecting processes. When I am writing, things happen a bit differently. The writing process in more difficult for me, it is all vapor. When I first began writing I was stuck for long periods of time because I needed a connection between each scene. I had to write in chronological order. Recently I have been developing the ability to maintain relative continuity while writing scenes out of chronological order as they come to me. I have been trying different exercises and new techniques to improve my skill and speed in screenwriting.

As I mentioned, I had developed a basic story and began writing the screenplay back in 2004 the working title of which is Sky Blue. After building the basics, my writing/producing partner and I started to co-develop the script. I didn’t like the new direction the project had taken. All of the things I loved about the story had disappeared. It was clear that we had very different visions of the story. At the time I was new to screenwriting and filmmaking, so I differed to him on many of the creative choices. Now its five years later, a LOT of water has passed under the bridge, and I am a different person. A much stronger writer, and a much more confident producer.

I recently read a book by Lawrence Turman called “So you want to be a Producer.” He produced “The Graduate,” among many other films. In truth, I have read Larry’s book several times so that probably should read as ‘I recently re-read…’. In the book, Larry’s biggest point to aspiring producers is be true to yourself. As he put it “taste is everything,” referring to your intuition and good taste, and he was so right.

I had shelved the script for over a year. I was just unable to look it in the face. It depressed me to see what my idea had become. I chucked it, obliterated it. Paper copies I had were shredded, the digital copies were deleted, and I went back to my original concept. Sky Blue is back on my screenwriters workbench. I started writing it again at the beginning of the week, I have fourteen pages completed, but more importantly, I have a beginning a middle and now an end. The ending had alluded me for so long. There are a few rough spots and some holes, but that’s fine this is a second go at a first draft right? The story is much more complete and I know where things are going, now all I have to do is get them there believably, interestingly, and lovingly. I like this script again. No, I love this script again.

I will be posting more about Sky Blue as things progress. I am excited again, now I can finish the script, do my 3X5 cards, storyboard, all of the preproduction development is beginning to take shape once again in my mind.

Slacker Jon’s Web

Welcome to Slacker Jon’s. Though I have not been posting as much as I had hoped, I have been very busy. Between Grave Mistake/Thrill The World website work, organizational stuff and promotions, and my work on the apartments, I have had a full dance card.

Walking has been going well. By the end of July I should be at a couple of miles a day, five days a week. Once I get to that goal I am going to add some more elements to the regimen. The plan is to use my GPS for tracking, but the Garmin I have has a serial data cable. My laptop does not have a serial port, only USB and FireWire. Thanks to MS Vista, the older USB to Serial adapter I had didn’t work so I had to order a new one. The new cable arrived today! Plugged it in and connected the GPS. There were still some data points, waypoints and tracks in the unit so I uploaded them to Google Earth just to see if everything worked… It all worked great! Now I can start recording tracks, distance and time all from the GPS. Now all I need to do is work on the coding for some fancy Google Earth tricks on my site.

What would normally be a bit of free time, has been spent on refreshing some coding skills to get a few enhanced features ready for the website. Now that the first Workshop is coming up and promotional materials have been ordered, and should be arriving by the end of the week, I turn my focus to the production side. Even with a strong skill set in NLE systems, it never hurts to brush up on the finer points; not to mention doing more with video effects. So its back to the books on Premier and After Effects for some refresher projects. Besides, I have been getting some ideas for open/close footage on the Grave Mistake videos. Oh, and I found my green screen too! I do have plans for that. 😉

Now that I have been bouncing from this article to twenty-bazillion other things today )I started this post at 15:00 it’s now 23:45) I think its time to wrap up and get some rack time. So until net time…

Adieu.

Descendants of John Thayer

WGRCAlogosmI wrote this piece for the Genealogical Archive.

~FBJ

505 years has transpired through this 16 generation descendancy, five centuries, half a millennium. When I inherited the genealogy project from my mother, generations 16 back through 10 where in the research files my grandmother had compiled. When I discovered the Chase family bible among the files and memorabilia, I found a few clues that helped me track down nine more generations to John Thayer.

John Thayer was born in 1503 in Thornbury, Gloucester, England. The Thayers, from John to Cicely where all from Thornbury. Cicely came across the Atlantic to set up hearth in Haverhill Massachusetts. The family stayed in Massachusetts (Haverhill, Rehoboth, and Swansea) until Benjamin Chase and Abigail Mason moved the line to Wisconsin where the family lived until Mortimer Wanzer and Virginia Rogers moved to Kansas. Robert Wanzer and Wanieta Sullivan moved from Kansas to California where the rest of the line resides to this day.

Efforts to keep moving back in time are presently at an impasse. I am stuck at the very beginning of the 16th century. This will give me time to fill in some of the blanks and check citations and get copies of documents.

The family names that span the 5 centuries are Thayer, Davis, Barney, Davis, Saunders, Chase, and Wanzer.

1. John Thayer (b. 1503 d. 1562)
sp: Constance (b. 1507 d. 1576)

2. John Thayer (b.1531 d. 1584)
sp: Mary Roberts (b. 1537 d.1611)

3. Edward Thayer
sp: Katherine Eddys (b. 1578 d.1658)

4. Cicely Thayer (b. 1600 d. 1673)
sp: James Davis (d. 1676)

5. James Davis (b. 1620 d. 1694)
sp: Elizabeth Eaton (b. 1625 d. 1683)

6. Constance Davis (b. 1674 d. 1721)
sp: Joseph Barney (b. 1673 d. 1731)

7. Esther Barney (b. 1706 d. 1778)
sp: Daniel Davis (b. 1697 d. 1741)

8. Mary Davis (b.1739;d.1799)
sp: Benjamin Saunders (b. 1736 d. 1808)

9. Constance Saunders (b. 1758)
sp: Jacob Chase (b. 1758 d.1818)

10. Benjamin Chase (b. 1782 d. 1847)
sp: Abigail Mason (b. 1793 d. 1853)

11. Melvina N Chase (b. 1836 d. 1919)
sp: Andrew Jackson Wanzer (b. 1837 d. 1889)

12. Mortimer Leroy Wanzer (b. 1878 d. 1947)
sp: Virginia Mary Rogers (b. 1892 d. 1974)

13. Robert Wheeler Wanzer (b. 1920 d. 1962)
sp: Wanieta Ruth Sullivan (b. 1916 d. 2004)

14. Virginia Louise Wanzer (b. 1942 d. 2006)
sp: Lester leland Raines (b.1924)

15. Jonathan Wheeler Wanzer (b. 1967)
sp: Tammy Irene Veloza (b. 1972)

16. Zachery Patrick Wanzer (b. 1995)

A Book Project

topsheetMotion Picture Budget Book and
Motion Picture Budget Workbook

This is a set of books I have been working on for some time now. The books are intended to help film students and new producers understand the budget process and provide a foundation for budget development. The Workbook is available here in its preliminary format for your perusal.

Even if you are not involved in production this workbook will give you an idea as to what goes into making a major motion picture.

Please feel free to post any comments you may have on this project.

~FBJ

Daedalus Development

Steam Engine 1904Writing, for me, is a complicated process. Alternate history requires a knowledge of history, alternate technology requires a knowledge of period technology, add historical figures, and this brings on a whole new level of study.

As you can most likely imagine I have been immersed in research for the last couple of days for the Daedalus project. One thing that kept me up last night was an idea for a steam powered mechanical/electrical power generation system.

The power generation system is a single boiler plumbed to multiple, steam turbines, lined up in series. The turbines have a direct drive gear with a flywheel and clutch, below the turbine is a gear box that allows an operator change gear ratios or to a different PTO (Power Take Off ) system, gear, screw, belt, or directly to a rotor/stater generator for electrical power generation. This provides a modular configuration making it easy to add engines or change the configuration of power transfer without shutting down the entire system. Very flexible, and maintainable.

With turbines lined up in series, pairs could be assigned to critical tasks, it would then be easy to pull one engine down for maintenance. Clutch the engine in need of service out, and its mate in, now you can switch back and forth and disassemble and service ether one without loosing a beat.

By introducing a secondary boiler you can create a level of redundancy that provides a maximum of reliability, efficiency and mechanical/electrical power output. This whole operation could provide mechanical and electrical power for a large facility with only a few people in the engine room.

A different configuration using the same components would be a distributed drive system moving the engines close to the equipment requiring power and plumbing the steam to the engines. Although this reduces the mechanical complexities of power transfer it is inherently more dangerous. Running high pressure steam pipes and steam turbine engines throughout the facility is just asking for trouble.

In ether case, the most complex part of the system is the delivery of the mechanical energy to the equipment in need of it. The placement of the engine room and the layout are totally dependent on the operations of the facility.

Ah, Industrial Revolution period engineering. Looks like fun to me.

~FBJ