Thursday, December 4, 2014

there "it" goes

The "it" isn't as momentous as one might hope for.

No fireworks, marching elephants, or air force fly by took place, yet "it" happened. I am not moving from my house, or buying a new car. Tomorrow morning I will still have to make breakfast for my family and get them out the door. And still, "it" happened.

Tired of waiting? Here's the big reveal, the it of the "it." I am now published. Ta-da!

Five years after turning my sails to a different wind, I have a short story published in an anthology along side 37 other authors. I will not be able to retire on what I will earn from this experience but I've got to say, it feels incredible to have someone else accept my work. Thanks to Mary Blowers, the person who compiled the anthology and said yes to my submission.

If you'd like to order a paperback or download an electronic version, here are the links: to purchase "Where Dreams and Visions Live" in paperback. to purchase "Where Dreams and Visions Live", a new anthology in e-book format. Preorder "Where Dreams and Visions Live" in e-book format.

Of course I need to thank more people than just Mary. My wife was more than instrumental in pushing me to keep writing. I need to also recognize every person who ever helped me along the way, parents, teachers, neighbors, kids, you name it. If I ever encountered you, then I need to say thanks.

Hopefully this isn't my last stop, writing wise. I have a loose commitment from the publisher of Bachelor Pad Magazine to publish two of my short stories in the spring of 2015, and I continue working on a new novel while trying to get an agent to pick up the two I've already written. Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do. For the time being, however, I'm going to take stock of this moment so I can recall it with great clarity someday in the future when I look back at my writing career and say to myself, "remember when?"

Monday, December 1, 2014

this Christmas

I am Catholic. Go ahead, formulate your judgements, marginalize me all you want, I'll wait. Finished? Good. With that out of the way, let me start by wishing all of you a very, merry, Christmas.

Note, I did not ask you to convert to Christianity, or demand that you recognize my faith or we can't be friends. What I did was wish to you the feeling I have as a Catholic when I celebrate Christmas. I did not ask you to buy me a gift, nor did I tell you we should go shopping together. Put away the credit card, and save your resentment for all the other people in the world who will save you a sideways look when there isn't a present waiting for them under the tree. Merry Christmas is a phrase with great power completely removed from the notion of buying presents for anyone, and in it's own way is a little bittersweet, hiding a darkness few wish to realize.

In case you were unaware, my faith recognizes that our creator sought to make a connection with us by sending himself to us in the form of a human being named Jesus Christ (it's where we get the name Christmas). At this time of year true Catholics celebrate the birth of that man, while recognizing he came for one reason, and that reason was to die on our behalf. In fact, it would always be known that the Savior of mankind would die at the hands of those he came to save. It's the ultimate plot twist, he's the Obiwan Kenobi to our Luke Skywalker. By subjecting himself to a life of trials and tribulations with only one goal in mind, man's salvation, Jesus Christ set the example for which we should all be grateful. His lesson was fulfillment comes from sacrifice, simple as that. So when we say merry Christmas, what we mean is, stay happy, even in the knowledge that life is hard work whose reward is death, and be glad that before you arrived, there were people making sacrifices for you.

This is not an easy lesson for children to understand and it's not a message for them. It's the world of the grown ups, the ones who make sure Christmas is a wonderful time for the kids. I have parents who fight near constantly, even in their eighties. Yet at Christmas, they made sure we had toys. Year 'round we had food, and clothes. Our house was dry and generally rodent free. All these necessary comforts provided by their sacrifices. God bless them for their efforts which I will never be able to pay back. God bless them for following Christ's example and instead of living for themselves, they gave up their lives for my brother, sister, and me. Merry Parenting, everyone!

When I got married in 1994, I knew I wanted to have kids. My mistake was marrying a woman who didn't, mostly because her parents never sacrificed enough for her, instead requiring her to sacrifice for them. It's messed up and her issue, not mine. By 1997 I convinced her to have a child and in February of 1998, James was born. That's him with me next to the comically over inflated Spongebob in 2005, when he was seven years old. Where's his mom? Sorry to say, she wasn't there. 2005 was the year we divorced and she headed off alone to find her "perfect" life.

These were sad times for me, worrying if I would be enough for my son, yet glad he was no longer in the center of the turmoil. I look happy in the picture, don't I? You bet I was. I had inflated a Christmas decoration in our living room and my son loved it! All the while I was wondering how I could make the time good for him, growing up without a mom, especially at Christmas. I cried often in the realization of how tragic a situation this was for him, tragedy he was unaware of because he knew no other situation to compare it to. As I look back, I feel great, not for the vacancy of his mother, but for the memory of the work I put into raising him. Every year my heart grew three sizes at Christmas, a feeling only achieved through sacrifice.

And the good feelings keep coming. Here is a picture of me and my other son, Peterson, taken this past fall when he was also seven. Peterson is leaning on me in the picture because he can't stand or walk on his own, having been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome in October, weeks before this picture was taken. Even as he struggled with a body being enveloped in paralysis, he still smiles a broad, beautiful smile that hints at nothing being wrong. Maybe he smiles knowing of the sacrifices made on his behalf. An orphan from Haiti, I met his adoptive mother in 2008 before she had met the child she would adopt. Wouldn't you know it, we fell in love (sacrifice of a different sort) and I would get to do the sacrificially fun stuff of fatherhood again. Just like before, there would be hard times for this child, loosing the use of his legs and hands. He's fighting back and every day becomes stronger and more agile. His mom and I are fighting back as well, staying strong and encouraging, making sure his needs come before ours. It's the sacrifice that every parent should be able to make, the sacrifice of your life for theirs. 

Life is hard. Get used to it. Fight the darkness and make it fun. Merry Christmas, I say with a smile on my lips, and a tear dwelling in the corner of my eye. Merry Sacrifice, Merry Selflessness, and Merry Giving, I shout as well. I say Merry Christmas to remind us all of the universal blessing bestowed by hardship, the blessing of thinking of others first. This is what the Catholic knows, that we are called to give without exception and only when we follow that path do we find happiness.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Turn the page...

My dog never celebrates anniversaries, birthdays, or anything else that happens only once in any given calendar year. This is not to say that she lacks sentiment. She is a dog, and as such, each day is the same to her. Sentiment is applied in daily doses with great excitement. Time to play, time to eat, time to bark at the birds taunting her from above. It's all good and celebrated constantly. We humans are a little different. We apply the crop to the hind end of the clock spurring it to move faster so the meeting would just be over, while at the same time pulling back on the calendar's reins dreading upcoming birthdays pointing us towards when we are no more. My dog simply loves each day.

So what am I on about, you may be asking yourself. Am I feeling too old? Am I stuck in a meeting I wish were over? No. I am in a much more transient head space brought on by the recognition of a calendar date that changed my life, the day I had my first date with the beautiful woman that is my wife. Paige is a thoughtful and intelligent woman. She also has curves that drive me crazy, which I celebrate every day, thank you. July 25, 2008, she and I finally met and shared a meal of Thai food. We've been inseparable since. It's a big day and it deserves celebrating. This year, I chose the activity, and man are my feet tired.

Paige is a librarian. I am an aspiring creative writer (more on that later but keep fingers crossed). Given our shared literary interests, why not commit to a pilgrimage of books. Tuck away your e-readers. Those gadgets have no place here, as they serve to sterilize the printed word into an impersonal two-dimensional zombie. I'm sure for many of you reading this, the visit to the book store or library is as much a story as any of the thousands contained in the books on their shelves. The smells, atmosphere, staff, even the maze-like arrangement of the shelves draw you into a world unlike any other. And that's what I did with my beautiful Paige yesterday. We celebrated our story, the first date, first hand hold, and first kiss, with books.

Below are pictures we took throughout our day, which started at my sister-in-law's house where we dropped our youngest son off for a sleep-over. From there we went to The Magic Tree book store in Oak Park, Illinois. Then we paid a visit to the Oak Park Public Library (very clean bathrooms, by the way). Our adventure lead northward to Winnetka, Illinois and The Book Stall. After that we went west to Glenview, Illinois for a visit to The Book Market. We shared our story with the staff at each location and were delighted with their enthusiastic responses. In the end, we wished we could have included more book stores, but there are only so many hours in a day. It did give us a chance to recall memories of our libraries growing up and the ones we frequent now, as well as bookstores from our past.

Along the way we shared a lunch of delicious steamed muscles, sampled ice cream, cuddled in a movie theater, returned to that very same table at the Thai restaurant from six years previous, and ended the evening in a slightly naughtier place. Love is meant to be shared with the world. Take a look at the pictures below and you'll see how we shared it yesterday, and feel free to click on the pictures for larger versions.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Aaron starts a brush fire.

Flash Fiction by Edward Varga
Thinking of starting starting the fire felt good. Aaron didn't remember the book of matches in his car. They were faded, looking like the sun and time had done a number on them, stored in the container set into his car door as a just-in-case action. Just in case what, he never thought about. In a mildly survivalist way, matches in a car for an emergency seemed a good idea. Was this an emergency? He examined the paper match sticks and squared off tips. The name of the Italian restaurant he took them from was barely readable on the cover. The soft thinness of the strike-strip left him thinking getting even one match to light would likely destroy the entire package. This emboldened him. Sure that a fire could not be started with such a poor set of tools, he decided to feed his impulse. Pulling gently onto the shoulder, he waited until the eighteen-wheeler behind him passed. He could already see the flames in his imagination as he set forth his plan.
His car rocked, buffeted by the wave of air pushed out around the speeding semi. Jostled, he caught sight of himself in the rear view mirror. He was smiling. It was a sight that confused and delighted him, all at the same time. What he was planning was a contradiction. Not only was it nefarious but entirely natural, just like sex. Fires have cleared out rotting and dead brush and grasses on this planet for millenia. How could this be wrong? By setting such a fire, he was breaking the law. Definitely a punishable offense. Yet his hand would be acting on behalf of nature, the first law known to man. This surely was proper defense for his actions. He had on his side a creator who established an ordered universe and counted on fire to cleanse and enrich. Plus, he was getting quite an erection thinking about it.
Aaron could now feel the smile on his face. No need to look in a mirror. He knew he was smiling, using muscles in his face and neck he had forgotten existed years ago. With traffic clear, he carefully drove his car in a half circle to the other side of the pavement, pushing it back toward the horizon he just visited. Straightening the wheels and hitting the gas, his lungs inhaled the fresh spring air deeply. In an indescribable way, his car felt newer, the steering wheel cleaner, and the gas pedal firmer. Everything was alive now. Alive with possibility, alive with redemption, all because he got the idea to set something on fire.
For so long, his life seemed desperately mundane. Middle-aged, overweight, without the comforts of a, 'career path,' or 'retirement plan,' Aaron's preeminent emotion had become despair. The root of his problems could not be found with his family. His wife and children loved him, without condition, a fact he should have held in higher regard. Were he able to objectively compare the emotional connection of his sons and wife to him, against those of any other man's children and spouse, he would have understood how blessed he really was. And after so many years working at the same job, should he really have expected every day to be thrilling anymore? Realistically, work was better because it was familiar, easy, and routine. But somehow it wasn't enough. He had lost perspective. Somewhere inside of him was a dark spot, a defect in his soul. No matter what he had, it never seemed big enough.
Aaron drove on, anticipation dripping from his teeth. The car moved effortlessly, without a hindrance to the pending conflagration. The gauges and dials laid before him provided no information of use, especially the red illuminated light just below his speedometer. The light indicated a low coolant level in his engine. It lied. There was no issue with the cooling system. The problem was the indicator. It was broken and it's glow was a mechanical cry of wolf. Aaron knew that and knew to ignore the need to service the vehicle based on the light's warning. What he didn't know was that he shared a commonality with his car.
Aaron had a broken indicator light as well. It told him his life was not fine, enriching, worthwhile, or exciting. His indicator was broken. It lied. Unfortunately a mechanic hadn't yet discovered this defect. Had this occurred, a possibly dangerous and deadly situation might have been avoided. Aaron looked at the matches in his hand, and for a moment the indicator light in his heart went out.
“There it is!” he shouted to no one, finger pointing toward the distance. He saw the mass of brown grasses woven into the spaces of a wire fence running alongside the road. He remembered it specifically, remembered the feeling he got when he first saw it. He tasted that feeling again. This was not the only spot along the fence line where dead vegetation mingled with steel wire. In fact, most of the fence line possessed an amount of dry fuel near its base. But here, Aaron thought, this one place would be ideal for creating soul enriching light and heat and energy from the materials provided by the universe. This place practically begged for a fire, he decided, a fire that based on the conditions, would have seemed inevitable.
If a passer by saw the fire, the explanations as to how it might have started were easy to surmise. He pictured a careless motorist throwing a lit cigarette out of a car window and the wind lifting it to this place. Maybe a beat up pickup truck dragging its muffler would throw sparks at just the right time, bouncing them to the side of the road. Or perhaps a man with borderline depression and a worn out pack of matches acquired during a post-divorce/pre-second-marriage date would pull to the side of the road, wait until there was no traffic for miles around, casually walk over to the fence line, crouch down, find the best looking matches that remained, test the strike strip to see where it's abrasive surface was still in tact, stick his fingers into the grass to form a hole, place both hands with the matches inside that hole to shield them from the wind, check again for traffic, strike one after another of the matches until the grasses began to burn on their own, stay quiet and motionless while listening to the crackle of healthy flames, smile broadly, smell smoke, stand up calmly, walk backward toward the car so he could continue watching the flames grow, become aware that a car could approach at any moment, panic and drop the matches with his fingerprints onto the gravel shoulder of the roadway, painfully bend a fingernail trying to open his car door quickly after seeing a glint of light in the distance that could have been a state trooper's cruiser, pause to admire the mass of orange flame bright enough to be seen in the midday sun, and drive away cherishing the feeling of being really alive that only destroying something can bring.
Instead, Aaron just kept driving past the spot, watching the clump of grass fade and grow smaller in his rear view mirror as his internal warning indicator light began to shine once again.

Friday, March 14, 2014

I did it...

I'm a hypocrite, plain and simple, a middle aged hypocrite.

For the last five years I've turned my life to focus on my writing with the goal of becoming a published author. Call it a mid-life crisis if you will, a long shot, a one in a million chance, but I wanted to be a published author.
Notice how I said published author, not self-published author.

Most of you probably read the first sentence of the previous paragraph and said, "Haven't you heard of self publishing?" Ugh... yes, I've heard of it, as has the rest of the developed world. In fact, there are probably remote islands in the Pacific with disconnected tribes of natives who point to the sky when a plane flies over and shout, "big silver bird!" in whatever words they use to communicate, yet are busy self publishing romance novels and self help books on how to shrink heads. Literally any thing that can be printed on paper can now be turned into a book.

Oh yes, these computers are wonderful things, not only for reintroducing us to the card game solitaire, but for allowing us to publish anything we want to as a book. Type, type, type, click, click, click, publish, publish, publish. First the great pyramids, then the Panama Canal, a man on the Moon, and literally hundreds of thousands of poorly written books all available at $0.99 each. I'm a little harsh when I say poorly written, but have you read some of the stuff that's out there?

I went to a writing conference hosted by SCBWI two years ago where I heard some fantastic writing advice from a literary agent who was a featured speaker at the event. Here's what she had to say. "Just because a book can be self published doesn't mean that it should be published." There's some wisdom in that statement. On the surface it looks like she was striking a blow at the new age of publishing on behalf of the ages old establishment of traditional publishing. When you look deeper, however, you start to get the point.

As consumers, we presume that the milk we buy has undergone some sort of quality assurance process before being placed in the shiny, clean bottles that provide the sense of security conveying that what we are buying is worthwhile and wholesome. Is a book any different? Don't we presume that requisite effort was applied before a book, self or traditionally published, is offered for sale? Yes and no.

I've read some self published authors that were so terrible that I wanted them deported. I've also read traditionally published authors that made those terrible self published authors look like geniuses. Let's look at that bottle of milk. Whether you buy it at a specialty shop in the mall that produces its own milk, ice cream, and cheese from its own heard of above average IQ cows, or you buy it at the dirtiest of corner stores where the air smells like bleach and vomit, you don't know how good the milk is until you open the bottle.

Thomas Paine was a self publisher. You may remember this thing he wrote called Common Sense. It's a simple pamphlet that is credited on many accounts with starting the American Revolution. Interesting, no?

 I didn't want to self publish. I told people that self publishing is what happens to books that just aren't good enough to be published the old fashioned way. I'm starting to think I was wrong and that I said those words just to allow myself to remain hidden, safely protected from the possible criticism that would come from readers of my words. I'm done feeling that way.

I've been writing solidly for five years. I have over a dozen children's picture story book manuscripts written, a middle grade novel that some agents are actually requesting full manuscripts for, a young adult novel entered in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, and now a self published title. I know, I'm a hypocrite.

What To Expect When You're Expecting Your Life To Fall Apart is a personal story about my struggle with accountability, separation, divorce, single parenting, dating, sex, remarriage, and adoption. It's taken 15 years for me to write it and now I finally have the confidence to share it with the world. Self published with Createspace, it is available at Amazon ( in both print and Kindle versions.

If you have a Kindle and $0.99 to spare, please read it and let me know what you think. Of course you may feel free to leave a review. I'm ready to hear what you have to say about my writing.


Friday, February 21, 2014

ABNA 2014 (all the cool things are called by their acronyms)

NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

IBM, International Business Machines.

FUBAR, Fu**ed Up Beyond All Recognition.

Let's face it, acronyms are cool.

American Telephone and Telegraph sounds like a topic in history class. AT&T empowers you with snapchat and instagram. See how that works? Same company, different name, much cooler thanks to the power of the acronym. What does that have to do with my creative writing blog? I answer that question with an acronym, ABNA.

ABNA stands for Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. It is an annual contest that allows unpublished and self published novel writers a chance to be discovered. Winners get publishing contracts with Amazon. Losers get the chance to be really depressed for a little while, then encourage themselves into competing again. This involves reviewing your notes and manuscript, determining that you know exactly what you need to change, then forgetting about it for, say, six months, and finally getting around to writing again, barely finishing in time for the next ABNA.

In 2011, I was big into trying to hone my writing skills by entering numerous flash fiction contests. For those who don't know, flash fiction is usually a 1,000 word or less piece of writing that is a complete story. Because of it's brevity, being concise is important, as it relying on commonly accepted generalizations which, when incorporated into the writing, bring a greater understanding than the mere 1,000 words allows.

Back then, (I say to make it sound important) Entangled Publishing was hosting a flash fiction contest. The winner received a query critique. At the time I had a 40,000 word science fiction novella (high class name for a story that's too weak to be called a novel) that I was hoping to land with an agent. I figured a solid query (what writers use to introduce their work to publishers and agents) would help, making winning the flash fiction contest invaluable.

A photo was provided that was to be the basis of the writing. I was still trying to get back into the level of creative fiction writing I had in college, so not everything I was turning out contained the freedom and confidence I desired. I really put a lot of thought into this contest and hammered out what I considered to be a solid expression of the picture and a story explaining the image while leaving the reader wanting more. I submitted my entry and hoped for the best. Ten days later I got an email explaining the contest was postponed due to a publishing convention. As far as I know, the contest was never re-run.

Sad that I didn't get my chance, at least I still had my 1,000 words which I liked. Real at the beginning, supernatural at the end, it was fun to write and read. Then I heard about ABNA. With the entry period eight months away, I considered entering my science fiction novella. There was a problem, however. It was only 40,000 words long and the contest required 50,000 as a minimum. Add to that my displeasure with how it turned out and a computer glitch that left half of it corrupted, I decided against it and went back to writing picture book manuscripts.

The more days that went by, however, the more I got to thinking about novel writing, ABNA, and the flash fiction piece I wrote. I had about a half a year to take the 1,000 words and bump it to 50,000 words if I wanted to enter in 2012. I decided to give it a try. Along the way, I attended writing conferences with SCBWI (acronym, right? Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators), became better versed with the publishing industry, and expanded my flash fiction piece into a full length novel.

I shouted for the sky, whatever that means. I had written something not as crappy as the something I'd written before, and that was worth celebrating by itself. I entered it, in the 2012 ABNA, along with the 'pitch' that was a 300 word or less description of the work and crossed my fingers. It was hard work, just writing that many words. My proofreading was minimal and I never wanted to read it again. What did that dedication get me? Pretty far, surprisingly.

There it is, my novel Vanity, in the quarter finals, between Seventeen going on Dead, and Sade on the wall. As you can see, titles can be very informative. Oprah, Please Adopt Me (near the bottom), sounds wonderful. Fenicus Flint and the Dragons of Berathor (near the top), not my cup of tea. My pitch got me into such esteemed company in the semi-finals, then my first 3,000 words got me into the quarter finals. Not too shabby.

As happy as I was, there were problems ahead, namely the fact that the last 40,000 words of my novel were crap. Had I bothered to re-read what I'd written, I might have known it as well as the next ABNA reviewer did, who soundly killed me with her words. Back to the picture books, I told myself.

Eventually in the second half of 2012, I would return to my novel with the hopes of entering ABNA 2013. I put the work in that I needed to, re-reading what I'd written, organizing a mostly different story with thorough chapter outline, and massive revisions. I was not done by the time the entry period opened but instead of just shitting out the rest of the pages, I took my time and applied what I'd learned toward turning out a good product. Before I could complete the manuscript, the entries topped 10,000 and the submission period closed.Vanity got set aside.

Query led to query, and in 2013, while vacationing in Paris no less, I received an email from an agent requesting a full copy of a children's picture book series I'd written.There is no feeling in the world like that and I'm pretty sure it was God giving it to me so I wouldn't give up on writing. That interaction didn't lead to anything, but I continued writing, leaving Vanity be. Subsequently, our son Peter inspired me to write a 30,000 word middle grade novel about Ninja's with Allergies called Chiisai Kushami, a little sneeze, which actually got four agents to request complete manuscripts. 2013 was a great year. I still didn't have an agent or publisher, but things were happening. Vanity called to me and I answered.

I resumed writing and revising the outline as I went, with my sights set on ABNA 2014. I changed character names with the help of my wife and revised character traits as well. For instance, the ditzy sister became as smart as her main character twin but sarcastic and dark. My tragic female became super manipulative instead of the nice and sweet girl dealing with time shifts. And my older man became a bit of a dick. Awesome. All that was left was a new title, Dead Bitch. Oh, I still get goosebumps when I read it. At 110,000 words, I'm pretty proud of my time traveling, teen aged death and sex, young adult novel.

And speaking of reading it, I have over and over, every time revising, editing, smoothing, and perfecting it. EB White once said, writing is rewriting. He got that right. Never be satisfied with your first draft. Writing a novel is like living life. Start one way, then go back and see what else could be, then go back and read it again and search for a different ending. I left college heading for radio. I went into civil engineering. Now I'm looking at writing. I must say, I like where my novel is going.

ABNA 2014 might be the step I've been waiting to take, to become a published author. I'm entered and hope in the future to have good news to share. We'll see.

(this blog post is 1,295 words, in case you didn't know, so it must not be flash fiction but rather a hopeful prediction)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Old Man Winter can suck my left nut! (it's my birthday)

I am looking at the pictures from Alabama and Georgia, and hearing the stories of children being forced to spend the night in their schools because the roads were impassible. As I do so I wonder why the schools and businesses didn't close before the storm started. I knew it was going to snow there. CNN did nothing but talk about it. You were warned.

I learned personally back in 2004 how a half inch of snow could shut down Atlanta. What did they think three inches of snow would do, give them magic powers? When I was in college I drove home on Lake Shore Drive in the middle of a valentine's day snowstorm. After six inches of snow fell, the CTA bus in front of me couldn't move anymore. Instead of waiting to be rescued, the passengers emptied out and we motorists nearby drove them home. I met two lovely women that night. We didn't complain or wait for the national guard to get us. We took care of business!
Fact of the matter is, people in the upper mid-west are the heartiest bunch of pragmatic bastards the world has ever seen. We adapt, improvise, and overcome better than the rest of the nation. Notice how no zombie apocalypse has ever been envisioned to take place in Chicago, Minneapolis, or Milwaukee? There's a reason. We crap bigger things than zombies here.

I applaud my fellow brethren from Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. (Iowa and Missouri, you're close to joining the club - keep trying). We are the toughest S.O.B.'s this world has ever seen. We don't feel pain like other states do so don't try to knock us down. It just won't work.

I was born during the record single storm event, 27 inch snowfall, in Chicago in 1967. That couldn't stop me when I was a baby. I'm the freaking Harry Potter of winter! Grow up, North and South Carolina! Gird your loins Tennessee and Kentucky! The next ice age is coming and you're gonna see me riding a glacier through your back yards heading for Texas!

Yee Ha!