Welcome to F.C. Irish's Flight Log

Feel free to comment, discuss, add, or challenge anything on this blog. The idea of the Flight Log is to find our common culture amidst the regional differences. I'm looking for a clear understanding, and everything I write is meant to facilitate discussion toward that goal. Enjoy.

03 December 2015

A Thing Of Wonder

General Benedict Arnold

Entry 1

Today, as has oft happened this fading year, a friend who I have not conversed with in many summers contacted me out of the blue. I will be the first to admit that I lag behind most of my acquaintances with respect to "keeping in touch". It is not that I don't think of them often, for those that crowd my memory will rise to the fore at they insistence of a melody or the similarities of an action, coming to life in my mind's eye. And though life has spirited us all to different corners of the country, I carry them with me.

Social media sites, and I speak primarily of Facebook, allow the world of today a large measure of interconnectivity. If you are curious about an old acquaintance you are able to look them up, read what has been happening in their lives, and comment on it. You can peruse multitudes of photographs, videos, events, and groups with ease as you relive the past that was recorded by friends. For more intimate conversations a personal message may be sent, and the discussion can begin with little or no difficulty. None of which is out of character, even becoming the rapidly approaching norm for this next iteration of societal values.

I keep my distance from Facebook voluntarily, saving myself from the depression that creeps in, be it from old phantoms captured in photographs or joyful posts that predate much more forlorn announcements. I confess that I do not read previous entries in my hardcopy journal for that exact reason. The extent of my interconnectivity is by Twitter, a drinking app, or by text. Beyond that, my world is a small place that consists of nearby friends, family, and primarily work. Too many phone numbers have been lost through the years, and with them the ability to communicate on a more traditional level.

But, it always amazes me when a voice heard only in memory graces my ear when they take the "off" chance of calling the number they have in their phones. Though they are in my thoughts, I can not, for the life of me, figure out why I am in theirs. Memories are recounted, names brought up, questions asked and answered as if no time elapsed since last we spoke. And seldom is the time afterward when I do not revel in the joy they have heaved upon my faltering spirit, for I look upon them in adulation.

I am a mere farm hand working a forgotten piece of nature, disconnected from the world that is constantly encroaching. Comparatively, they have done much better with their degrees than I have mine. In my case, loyalty and honor bind me as they always have. Two of my endearing traits yet also my greatest failings. And that statement is true in all aspects of my life, not just the realm of employment. To me, they have a life I wish I did, they took chances I wasn't savvy enough to take. They have done something with their lives, where I have attached my heart and soul to a specific place for better or worse.

I suspect my devaluation of self is responsible for the surprise that always accompanies "thinking of you". That someone who exists in a vast world with thousand of connections would even have the most fleeting of thoughts concerning a man of my caliber... I did not think myself capable of such an impact, or that my simple acts of kindness and camaraderie would be remembered through the years.

A few in particular have been the source of much amazement: A woman who caught me drawing cartoons in a particular college class, who I think of every time Date Rape comes on (It sounds terrible, which is why I don't bring it up on social media, but at the time it was her favorite song); A man who saved my sanity senior year, whose advice I still live by on certain habits; A Georgia Peach that took away my animosity toward the south; An anarchist that constantly joined me in inebriated discussion. Years have gone by and yet I still exist in their thoughts.

Tis a source of wonder to me.


30 September 2015

Don't Be Afraid


So, for the past four days I've been working on my Halloween costume. Yes, it's a month till Halloween... But, it is two weeks until I will be going to the Not So Scary Halloween Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. Now, most people go out and buy a costume, or they'll take things they already have and modify them the tiniest little bit to get the desired effect. Me, I feel the need to do the best that I can at it. I'm pretty knowledgeable, good with my hands, use some basic engineering, and I'm okay with a sewing needle. But this past thirty-six hours, I found out that I'm pretty capable of adapting to new materials and methods.

If you follow my twitter, you would probably already have guessed at what my costume will be. And were you to know me now, the man I've grown into, you would know that I really identify with the character that I will be. But that's neither here nor there. What I really want to talk about is the title of this post: Don't Be Afraid.

I was more than concerned whether I would be able to get everything done in the time frame that I have. I've been sleeping less, which gives me more time to do these things. But I've been dealing with doubt, setbacks, and what most people would call disappointments. I'm going to be honest, I am being incredibly ambitious with this uniform (He is an officer after all). I had to make a 3D cardboard model of the helmet, which came together in a few hours. From that cardboard model, I had to do some clay sculpting to get the shape and size I desired (All knowledge I already possessed). My problems started when it came time to make the actual shell.

I have never worked with fiberglass. I've never seen anyone work with fiberglass. And, for the first time, YouTube was of no help. So I was going into the situation blind. Reading directions? Helpful as hell. Makes me wish they had directions to relationships, haha, but I digress. After the first layer I was still very iffy on my ability. I wondered; if I was doing it right, whether it would come out properly, if I was I wasting my time..  After the second layer I had confidence that it would work out. Removing it from the mold and sanding the outside further boosted my morale. Now, circling the actual helmet with a layer of repair work presently drying, do you know what I see? Something else that I'm quite good at because I took a chance and attempted it. I honestly cannot wait to be able to wear it around like a child and play make believe.

Money, an obvious setback in that you need it to get the necessary materials. I had to sacrifice time doing fun things to work more hours to make more money to make this possible. That's a lot of makes, but all of that sacrifice is paying off. Some of those materials are not easily found. So, sometimes you need to modify your plans in order to get them done. The boots, for instance, are cavalry boots from World War 2... Not easily found and incredibly expensive. There was the possibility that I could get a pair of boots repaired to get the same effect, a buckled leather strap that goes around the calves. But, I don't have the time or the money to get them repaired for a third time in their life. So I had to rely on a pair of World War 2 jump boots I have, and mocking up the leather flap. Really, I'm going to wait until I have it mostly together before I decide whether or not I even want to have the buckled flaps for my particular uniform.

Probably the most frustrating part of everything, all the disappointments. The biggest one that I've had so far? The shield. As I mentioned earlier, I'm being pretty ambitious with this. I had a piece of stainless steel that was already in a dome shape, all I had to do was cut it out and I'd have a shield. Metal nonetheless! It didn't take long to get through the first piece of steel, but that revealed the first issue: a half inch of space between the piece I wanted and a cast iron plate. So I had to find another way of getting it out of there without using the sawzall. Ok, I thought, we have a jigsaw and I'll just use that. Nope. The blades would break because there was not enough room, so that was out. Well I can use the acetylene touch! I got half way around my stencil when I ran out of oxygen... Progress was good, it looked like I would be done with it in a half hour, instead I had to abandon that for lack of fuel. Finally, with the help of a circular saw with a metal cutting blade, I made it all the way around the circle! With a bit of prying from a couple of crowbars, I was able to see why it has been such an ordeal. My would-be shield was tack welded to steel bars that were welded to the cast iron plate... My metal shield became unrealistic and impractical in the circumstances. For a day I agonized over the prospects for a metal shield that I did not have the funds to waste procuring. Then, late one evening, it came to me! It doesn't have to be metal to be a dome and sturdy. Within ten minutes of this realization I had my plan sketched out. Now, three days later, I have a solid wooden shield that will be finished by Thursday. And because I'm making it from scratch, I have the ability to build in conveniences. I'm much more pleased to say the least.

To wrap it up with a bow: despite all of my doubts, setbacks, and disappointments, I didn't give up or back down. I have a vision for what I want to present, and I'm going to make it happen. Without succumbing to my doubts I was rewarded with a new skill that I can employ for an incredibly diverse amount of situations. I adapted to overcome the setbacks, allowing more lateral mobility with almost every aspect of the project. Finally, I didn't allow my disappointments to grind everything to a halt, instead they have been disguised blessings that just need a different light.

Now all I have to do is keep my excitement in check and exercise patience. And though it is kind of hard to do that when I can actually touch these once pictures in my head, I can say with confidence: I got this no matter what is thrown in my way.

09 September 2015

Just a Little Taste...

LT. McMichael 
Entry 1

With the transcription of pen and ink to pixels complete, and two scenes edited so far, I wanted to give everyone a taste of what to expect from TR 893, more commonly referred to as Thomas Overholt. The second story in a series of six, the Green Coyote continues the saga where Victor Briggs left off.

What follows is an excerpt from the first scene. To set the scene: It is the present day, on a train headed north from the border toward California. Overholt and Teresa Aberdeen (a Lady J) are in the process of locating a shipment of cocaine when Tom stumbles upon the bodies of Amtrak guards stripped of their uniforms. He has Teresa call in the bodies to the authorities on the train, and has made his way onto the roof to avoid the legitimate guards. To his surprise, the imposters also took to the roof, but they are unaware that he is making his way toward them...


            "Hold on a second." Tom pulled out one of his peacemakers, taking careful aim at the center guard.  The hammer cocked back, rotating a new round to the barrel.  He squeezed the trigger.
            *‘No!’*  Tom’s bullet went wild, slapping the train roof between the man’s legs.  *‘Was that a gunshot?’* 

            “I told you to hold on a second!”  The three men returned fire, peppering the metal around him.  He took a second shot dropping one of them, before slithering to the gap behind him.  Safely behind cover he turned his attention back to the Lady J.  “Thanks for that, now they know where I am.”
            *‘If it makes you feel any better, I think I found the drugs.’*  Tom ducked as another storm of lead passed over his hiding spot.
            “Not really, but I’ll manage.”  He lifted himself up only to drop again, forced to keep down as more bullets came his way.  “Fuck this!”  Tom slid the door to the car open and walked inside brandishing his pistols.  The passengers screamed at his sudden arrival amid a gunfight.  “This ain’t no stick up, and I ain’t no terrorist.  I’m in the middle of stopping a cartel from shipping a hell of a lot of coke north.  Now if you’d please move to the side of the car, I gotta get up there to get these bastards.”  They pressed themselves against the windows, screaming as he ran past to the end of the car.
            Tom opened the door and glanced up in time to see one of the impostors kneel down at that particular gap.  Without a second thought he shot the man, stepping aside as the lifeless body tumbled into the doorway.  “That’s an Amtrak Guard!  He’s killing the guards!”  The hysterical woman clutched at her children, squeezing them as Tom turned around. 
            “No ma’am,” Tom’s talking skull only furthered the woman’s anxiety.  “You see, him and his buddies are the ones who killed the guards.  I’m just killing them for killing the guards.”  She screamed again.  “It’s not like that!  I am doing a public service, like taking out the trash and such.”  The back door of the car slid open, revealing a mass of legitimate Amtrak police.  “Shit…”  Tom holstered his weapon, putting his hands in the air.  “Hold your horses now boys,” he began to back away, stepping over the body until he rested against the door.
            “Freeze scumbag!”  Four guards had their pistols aimed at the Reeferman while their superior addressed Tom.
            “Listen, I’m on your side.”
            “I said freeze mother fucker!”
            “This just isn’t gonna work for me,” Tom put his hands down.  “I mean, you come in here guns drawn, passengers are already freaking out, and you go and start cursing like that.  I mean seriously, what the fuck.  There’s no decency in the world anymore.”
            “Put your hands up!”
            “Do it or we’ll shoot!”  Tom threw his hands up in exacerbation.
            “Car full of people,” he turned around, “and this dumbass is gonna start shooting shit.”  Tom flung the door open to everyone’s surprise.  “I’m out of here, there just ain’t no manners anymore in this country.”  He slammed the door shut and disappeared from the porthole.  No one moved until the car lurched, bringing the Amtrak officers back to reality.  They rushed for the door, opening it to find that the Reeferman had disconnected the cars.  The head officer stepped out onto the platform.  As he raised his gun to shoot Tom he heard the slide of a pistol smack shut.  He looked up to see the last impostor aiming down at him.  A gun fired.
            “Holy shit,” the officer exhaled as the would-be assailant fell backward onto the roof.  Looking ahead on the tracks, he could see Tom spinning his peacemaker before sliding it into the holster.
            “I told you,” Tom yelled, “I’m on your side."


Sadly, something happens to our operatives at the end of the scene that changes Overholt, sending him down the road of vengeance.

I must admit it is a relief to have the hardest part of the process behind me, and I look forward to bringing this Reeferman to life and to your eLibrary in the coming month or so. Until then, keep checking in for new posts and news.

19 August 2015

An Excerpt From The Original

Entry 1

So, I've been struggling with the fourth scene yet again... Though ink is finding its way onto paper, the continuity and the actual, just, flow of the scene is all wrong. To recenter myself and recall what these characters are supposed to be capable of, what their lives are meant to express, and to remind myself where these Reefermen come from, I pulled out the scene that started it all.

What follows is an excerpt from the ten or so pages that created the universe for me. To set the scene: it is 1924 in an undisclosed flat in Anycity, USA. A man dressed in green has just purchased all the jive(weed) at this particular tea shop(dealer), much to the chagrin of another patron who has just left the three men. With all their business taken care of they are sitting around the table, smoking a gauge(joint) and talking. The Stranger changes the subject...


     "Speaking of killed, have you guys seen the paper?"
     "No, what?" Johnny's voice sifted through the cloud of smoke in front of his face.
     "Someone is killing people and setting the places on fire. It's crazy how people are in the city." The stranger took the gauge from Johnny. "I've never heard about such a crime."
     "Well they got another thing coming once we find them," Johnny grinned, "we're going to break every bone in their bodies."
     "Their?" The Stranger took a drag and passed the gauge back to Albert.
     "We aren't sure how many people are in on it," Albert began. He pulled slow on the gauge, thinking. "Our best guess is that it is some kind of hit squad. I knew some of the victims personally, and there is no way one guy killed them all."
     "You two should be careful."
     "We are," Johnny giggled. "I got a forty-five and Albert there has a shotgun under the sink."
     "Never can be too safe," Albert smiled as he handed Johnny the gauge.
     "No, you can't." The stranger pushed his chair from the table and leaned back. "Albert, are you a betting man?"
     "That depends on the bet."
     "Let's say a thousand dollars," the stranger pulled another wad of cash from his jacket pocket and laid it on the table.
     "That's the stakes, what are we betting on?" The gauge made it back to the stranger before Albert continued. "If it is some kind of rigged game, I ain't playing."
     "No no no," the stranger took a hit and passed to Albert again. "It is a simple bet."
     "I'm listening," Albert leaned forward with the gauge in his lips.
     "I bet that I can get the smoke of Johnny's lungs without him opening his mouth." The two men broke into laughter as the stranger sat in silence.
     "This is a sure thing Al," Johnny grabbed at the gauge.
     "Yeah alright," Albert laid out one thousand dollars. "Now, let's see you lose a thousand." Johnny took a large pull on the gauge, holding in the hit as he returned the joint to the stranger.
     "You holding it?" Johnny nodded at the stranger's question. He looked over at Albert, sitting with a smug look on his face. A loud pop drew his attention to the stranger once more, pistol in hand aimed at his chest.
     "What the fuck?!" Albert was in shock.
     "Just watch..." The stranger pointed to Johnny's chest as smoke slowly began to drift from the bullet wound. "I told you."
     "Oh my..." Albert was cut short, a bullet passing between his eyes. Johnny watched as Albert's body fell backward to the floor.
     "Wrong profession kid. Sorry for your luck." One last pull of the trigger scent Johnny on his way.


I always liked that part. Whatever the case, the stranger did not have a name... He wasn't even called the Reeferman at that point. But, his vendetta is the same one shared by the characters I write now. Stopping the bad stuff... The stranger, now known as Ashley Balacort, was a character created out of hate. A singular purpose to wipe out the people who sell heroin. Not much more went into him...

Meanwhile, Overholt, being the second Reeferman to be motivated by vengeance, is much more complex. The Texan has relationships that he needs to maintain, memories he's trying to repress, and a drug lord to take down. The action scenes are easy for me. It's the damn cool down sections that really throw me for a loop.

10 August 2015

Taking to myself.

Entry 1

What you are about to read is a self-interview. I figure, it's been so long since the initial posts on this blog explaining everything, and with the ability to post said blog on Twitter, I should reintroduce myself. This just seemed like a good way of doing that. So without further ado...

Who are you?

I go by the pen name F.C. Irish. When you are talking, writing, and drawing the things that I do, the last thing you need is to have what you're presenting effect the people you care about. In order to protect these people from any repercussions that may come along due to association, I can't use my real name. It's just a precaution that I feel is necessary at this point. It is my life, my choices...

Describe yourself.

I would call myself average... 6 foot tall, toned muscles because I work on a farm, tan because I work outside, told I'm handsome but don't believe that. I'm college educated with a four year degree; history major with no declared minor. I took courses that I thought would help me in life: politics, writing, geography, and humanities. I smoke weed... It's kind of obvious, I think, if you were to read some of the posts and tweets. I smoke cigarettes, because I like smoking cigarettes and they go really well with all of the coffee I drink. An ungodly amount of coffee, everyday. I also spend a lot of time thinking, and because of the thinking, I spend a lot of time awake. Life's fun.

List 3 strengths/weaknesses.

Weaknesses first, cause my mom always says "if you are going to say something negative, say something positive". Depression is most definitely my biggest weakness, genetic by nature, so it's always been around. I guess my second weakness would be my inability, really a lack of desire, to keep up with the times and technology. I like that I can literally just sit here, and talk, and this phone that I just happen to be using is typing all of this for me. But I really miss my typewriter ( No, I'm not that old. ) and writing letters as a means of communication. My third weakness is also my first strength: an overactive imagination. For the sake of explaining it as a weakness; anytime that I am left wondering, my mind creates every single possible scenario. Spend the day doing something mindless, while you wonder about a relationship and how it's going... It's hell.
Strengths, obviously the overactive imagination first. Sometimes, I get lucky and writing for me is merely an exercise of describing the movie that I get to watch in my head. It's pretty awesome, especially some of the action scenes in my Reeferman stories. Strength number two, a thirst for knowledge. I like learning, and not necessarily in an academic manner cause that gets pretty boring, but in a real world sense of learning. Living life for what it's worth, through the good and the bad, for the experience of it. Don't take life for granted, it's a gift that you are supposed to enjoy. And finally, strength number three, ingenuity. I'm always trying to figure out how things work, how to improve them or how to redesign them to be something else, to be something better. Go back far enough in this blog and you will find a post about Behemoth, a solution to a common problem that opens up more possibilities. Makes me feel like I'm tooting my own horn.

What motivates you?

The idea that life will get better. You have to believe in something, at least that's what I think, so why not believe that you can improve upon where you're at in life? I have to believe that life will get better, and so I strive to achieve that.

List 3 hobbies.

Right now, my main hobby is writing. I don't make very much money at all writing, definitely not enough to live off of. So it's just a hobby right now. Building things would have to be my second hobby. It's very broad, I know, but I build a lot of random things. Sometimes its furniture, other times its a smoking device, farm equipment,... I build a lot of things. Reading would be my third hobby for only limiting it to three. I'm a voracious reader, history mostly, with comic books and the news thrown in. I like reading, it's a good hobby to have.

What makes you uncomfortable?

Unwanted physical contact. That makes me uncomfortable as hell. Back pain, in a physical sense, that makes me very uncomfortable a lot. Awkward silence in a two person conversation, that's uncomfortable. Being forced to give a complex answer to an intricate question within a three second time frame, very much so uncomfortable as well.

What is your dream job?

To be able to wake up in the morning and decide "well, I feel like doing this today so that's what I'm going to do". I guess you'd call it independently wealthy, right? Everybody's dream. And I consider it a job, because I'd still be working. I can't sit around and just do nothing, that drives me insane. If I had money? I would be able to take all of the hobbies that I have and actually turn them into something that will go somewhere. The furniture building, I could start actually making nice furniture instead of the rustic hodgepodge artwork that passes for a chair. I'd be able to take the Behemoths and mass produce them, make them available to anyone who would want one. I would be able to make rum! But if I have to narrow it down to one dream job, it would have to be writing. I have stories to tell and I think they'd be rather enjoyable.

I'm aware that these questions are very narrow in scope. I picked them, they serve a purpose of explaining some very basic things about me to help you know who I am. This blog has always been about discussion and the exploration of commonality. That being said, ask me a question and I'll answer you: @FCIrish51 or here on the flightlog.

01 August 2015

A Mirror of Sorts


I've been working on the second Reeferman story for eight months now, and I've had a lot of trouble trying to invoke the emotions that the character needed. I wrote over twenty pages for a scene, lost control of the characters, and had to scrap it all because it wasn't working. Work on the story was frozen for a few months, with nothing coming to mind. And then, not too long ago, the spark was re-ignited. There was a reason to go on with the task, a motivation that came from outside.

I spent the time to read everything I had written, to reacquaint myself with Tom Overholt: the Green Coyote. I was reminded of his sense of humor, jovial when first we met then dark and cynical as he took his revenge. I relived the rage that had brought his vengeance to life, enjoyed the pleasure he felt at finishing his personal war on a cartel. And as I sat there, staring at four out of six needed scenes, I questioned what I needed to feel if I intended to finish my own task of a completed story.

The mind is a funny thing, and insomnia is a bitch. For a few weeks now I've been having bad dreams, for lack of a better word. Waking up in the middle of the night sucks, especially when you are waking someone else up in the process. It puts a strain on things. On top of it, this entire week I have found myself unable to shut my brain down, to find the sleep that I desperately need. So, I decided I would put my sleepless nights to good use.

Since Monday I have finished the fifth scene, pushing the thoughts that kept me awake out of my mind, choosing instead to focus on the destruction of a hidden airport belonging to the fictitious cartel that Overholt is fighting. It worked out well to say the least. However, the last remaining scene, the one part that I have struggled to wrap my head around, is proving difficult to put on paper.

Not because I don't know it; the emotions and the visuals needed aren't a foreign concept anymore. The problem is that, right now in my life they are a little close to home. As fountain pen glides across the notebook paper, I'm not expressing fallacies or mere shadows of a memory. I'm writing out my own life as it happens. Though the setting and circumstances are impossible to compare, the thoughts and fears are quite real I can assure you.

That makes it hard to write... Because I'm not sure I want to recognize these emotions in myself. I don't want to feel these feelings, and yet here I am at five in the morning, thinking the thoughts that have been keeping me awake all week. Why? Because they are feelings and emotions that Overholt just happens to be dealing with in this particular part of the story.

It was always meant to be this way, he was always supposed to struggle with these thoughts and these emotions. That's where the hard part came in at first, I had to fabricate them and it wasn't working. Now the problem is that I don't have to fabricate them, I just happen to find myself feeling them and thinking them and worrying over them. And that's not where I want to be right now. It sucks.

Thankfully, or tragically, I'm a method writer. It's a lot like being a method actor in that I need to be that character, but instead of playing at it, all I have to do is write. But, I still feel it... And that is going to make this scene hard as hell to get out.


13 May 2015

Curious to see

Lt. McMichael (The name of the particular piece of folk art I am smoking out of)

I'm kind of amazed right now. Actually really amazed, at the bane of my existence... Technology. It's something I am NOT a big fan of, and yet here I am using it. Talking to a smartphone with a headset on, about to listen to music, and sadly okay with it. I miss my typewriter.

All kidding aside, is pretty awesome. It also gives me a way of doing this interweb twining nonsense. Let's face it, anyone can walk around and talk to their phone these days. I'm just playing catch up. So, let's catch up!

It may sound terrible, but honestly the only thing that is drastically changed has been the number of bowls I own. I have a short story published on Amazon. Reeferman: From The Shadows. A short story that centers around a young reporter who happened to write the wrong article, dragging her into a war that had remained hidden for decades. Full of action, gore, conspiracy, a bit of humor, and a splash of romance (entirely owing to a published author I know who claims that you need romance). So, barring the shameless plug for a 99¢ story, the only thing that drastically changed was bowl count, and my more integrated technological guess work.

Anyway, this is just a forewarning of things to come, now that I'm coming to terms with the change in how society communicates. Long way from soap boxes on street corners, not so far from the miracle of email, kinda right next to the early days of Facebook, but entirely contained in a tiny computer that I talk to as I wander around in the gathering storm here in Delco, PA. I've got the world in my pocket, and I'm gonna talk to it about some random shit while I'm relaxing toking a bowl.

New people, even random return visitors, check out the first posts. They well help you to understand who is talking to you and about what. Years have gone by... it's been too long.

F.C. Irish