Yes You Can Be Like Me, A Competitive Professional Zip Liner

I would say the best thing about being on the cutting-edge of a developing sport is that a lot of the stuff I’m coming up with now will have whatever name I give it forever. You know, like Tony Hawk and the 900.

These days on the pro zip lining circuit we’re seeing the Purple Dangler, the Cat Scratch Feeler, Woozy Bandits, Forceful Bummers, Bone Drafts, 720 Nut Lathe. I heard Skye Tanner’s working on a Dipping Wick into a Toot Your Horn and her local line is only 100 meters long, so… I can’t wait to see that if she can pull it off. We’re at that level where it’s almost not, like, a competition anymore between us. We just try to learn from and be fueled by one another.

Obviously, we both want to win super bad though and we’re great competitors too, though, totally.

One of the moves I’m working on now; damn I can only think of like three lines in the world long enough for me to complete the whole thing. It’s really mind-blowing, you know? When you get to this level of competitive professional zip lining?

It’s not at all too late for you to get into this stuff. In fact, I welcome the competition. CrossFit people, gymnasts, martial arts people… Anyone with good mobility and high athleticism can learn to be a professional zip liner. If you work hard you might even be able to go pro like I did.

For me, it all started back in college when I was running the canopy tour at Big Walking in the Shenandoah valley. It’s crazy that I got my start in the Eastern U.S. like that because we just don’t have the big lines where I’m from like they do around Boulder where I live now. Humble beginnings, right?

Of course, I started on the line like any other kid: turning upside down, doing the Spider Man, then the Reverse Spider Man. I thought I was hot shit. Then I saw a kid pull off a Double Dutch into a Flippy Whisker and I lost my mind. Once I saw that I knew anything was possible.

If you don’t have a competition going near you — hey! — start one. Talk to someone with a line, organize a date, and throw up a flyer. If I’m in the area, the prize money’s right, and it fits my training schedule, I might just come by and show you how the big boys do it in competitive professional zip lining.

New Book available for Pre-order: How to Mount Kilimanjaro

I am pleased to announce that I have a new non-fiction work up for pre-order: How to Mount Kilimanjaro, a mostly serious guide to climbing Africa’s highest mountain.

Find it here on Amazon (or the image at right): How To Mount Kilimanjaro: A Mostly Serious Guide to Climbing Africa’s Highest Mountain (Mostly Serious Guides)

I’ve taken a little break from working on fiction to do some non-fiction work and it’s been great. Each recharges the other, I find. Is it okay to love both? Don’t answer that. I don’t care. I’m having fun.

When I wrote my guide on Aconcagua years ago, I did it for fun. It was a surprise to me when that book became one of the highest-reviewed and most-bought books on Amazon for people considering an Aconcagua climb. I’m hoping I can prove useful again with this book on Kilimanjaro.

If you’re considering a Kilimanjaro attempt, I think you’ll enjoy it. If you’re one of the many people who have asked me about what Kilimanjaro is like, here’s everything I told you plus some stuff I forgot and some research I’ve done since.

Thanks for reading!

13 – Leanna Adams and the Krakenist

I have been a Leanna Adams fan ever since I got the chance to work alongside her with the group Sketchworks here in Atlanta, GA. She’s in high demand these days so it was tough to get this episode recorded. At last, she had a break and was able to shoehorn us in.

You’ve most likely seen her acting, writing, or both on places like Funny or Die, or in your local film festival. She wins awards all over the place.

Having worked in a writer’s room and on set with Leanna I can tell you that we’re going to be seeing a lot of her. She has that combination of talent and professionalism.

Find out more about Leanna here:

Leanna and I deal with a watery, beastly proposition on this one. The Krakens are awakening. What does it mean? Are they our enemies? Find out!

Thanks for listening!

12 – Jim McDoniel and the Diaries of a Human

I hunted Jim McDoniel down and respectfully demanded that he be a guest on this podcast because I loved his book “An Unattractive Vampire” so much. I highly recommend it.

In the book, an ancient and properly evil vampire, Yulric Bile, awakens in our modern age to discover that vampires are fit, sexy, and worst of all, covered in glitter. Horrifying.

Book discussed, Jim must enter the crucible of outlining and do battle with a prompt from Scott Meyer. Which he does!

Find Jim on the web here:
On Twitter here:

Jim was a great guest. I’m glad I hunted him down. I think you guys are going to like this episode a lot.

I’m abandoning my coffee table book “Stupid Birds of North America”

I was helping my brother-in-law move furniture. It was a long few days because of a death in the family. Trying to lighten the mood, I started riffing on how much I hate birds, most of all the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), which should have its genus and species renamed to Branta assholis.

My riff worked. We laughed.

Fact is, birds — beau’iful plumage! — can be pretty terrible. They eat each other. They shit on themselves. The list goes on.

I thought it would be funny to write a parody of a bird watching field guide that hated birds species by species using copious photos. I still think it’s hilarious.

In order to get the photos I need, however, it’s necessary to rely on Creative Commons images. There are tons of these, which is great. The downside is, as I understand the license, if I use the images I’ll have to release my book Creative Commons as well.

I want photographers to get all the credit and monetary compensation they deserve, so I’m totally down with how Creative Commons works. But I can’t justify the time it takes to lay out each one of these pages in InDesign. I don’t mind work, per se, but I need to make money.

Rather than just shelve the project forever, I present it here for your enjoyment.

I’d intended this to be around 200 pages long, featuring two-page spreads on 100 birds.

If you’re affiliated with a publisher who’d like to see this project completed and can offer me money and help with licensing so that I can continue, I’d love to finish this.

Here is a PDF of the first 7 birds. Images below.


You can see from this list of credits why this project is a bit of a nightmare licensing-wise.

Licenses used:

Images (Name, Photographer, Title, Link to image, license):

  1. Mr. Quacks, Ray Dumas, “Black Duck,”, CC BY-SA 2.0
  2. Charlie, Dick Daniels, “Female’s beak is dull green,” CC BY-SA 3.0
  3. Chadwick, Andreas Trepte, “Canada Goose,” CC BY-SA 2.5
  4. Androose, Daniel D’Auria, “Flying,”,_New_Jersey,_USA_-flying-8.jpg CC BY-SA 2.0
  5. Burt, Alan D. Wilson, “Blue-Winged Teal” CC BY-SA 2.5
  6. Burt (Again), Dan Pancamo, “Blue-Winged Teal” CC BY-SA 2.0
  7. Dan the Hand, Francis C. Franklin, “Falcated duck, Anas falcata, at Martin Mere, UK” CC BY-SA 4.0
  8. Portia, Dick Daniels, “Female falcated duck” CC BY-SA 3.0
  9. Bernie Feathers, Bill Bouton, “A rare falcated duck, a “vagrant” from Asia, that arrived at CA’s Colusa National Wildlife Refuge in December 2011” CC BY-SA 2.0
  10. Checking a US $20 used by a Falcated Duck, Scott Nazelrod, “US $20 under blacklight”$20_under_blacklight.jpg Public Domain
  11. Pat, Benjamin Keen, “Monteverde, Costa Rica” CC BY-SA 3.0
  12. Burke, Charlesjsharp, “Black guan (Chamaepetes unicolor), Bosque de Paz, Costa Rica” CC BY-SA 3.0
  13. Flippy Whipple, Kathy & sam, “A Grey-headed Chachalaca near Rancho Naturalista, Cordillera de Talamanca, Costa Rica.”,_Cordillera_de_Talamanca,_Costa_Rica-8.jpg CC BY-SA 2.0
  14. Bud & Turdwhiff, Joseph C Boone, “Gray-headed Chachalaca photo taken at Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica.” CC BY-SA 3.0
  15. Durglas, Charlesjsharp, “Male great curassow (Crax rubra) on the Fortuna river, Costa Rica” CC BY-SA 3.0
  16. Bippy, Arthur Chapman, “Great Curassow (Crax rubra) at Summit Park, Panama. Photographed on 5 April 2002” CC BY-SA 2.0


11 – Scott Meyer and the Warrior Race

Scott Meyer is the hilarious author of Off to Be the Wizard, The Authorities, and the new book Run Program. His fans, your humble host included, love his work for its deft implementation of humor while still telling an exciting story.

That is something easier said than done by far. But Scott has put in his time as a standup comic, which is one of three ways to grow comedy chops (the other two are improv and a genie).

If you’re into my work — humorous Science Fiction and Fantasy — you will unquestionably like Scott’s books. His latest is Run Program from 47North.

Thanks for listening! Subscribe to The Outliners on iTunes here:

10 – Catie Hogan and the High Seas

Catie Hogan is my friend and fellow sketch writer from Sketchworks here in Atlanta. When she started submitting sketches to Sketchworks, the rest of us in the writer’s room had to re-evaluate the level of our work to try to get up on the bar she raised. She’s that kind of good.

She’s also been on McSweeneys, the Scold, and she’s doing her best to help people understand what it takes to be financially literate while making them laugh. It’s a tall order, but she’s killing it.

Find her on McSweeney’s here:
Find her funny financial planner work here:
We both write for Sketchworks:

She also just started her own podcast with her sister:

Catie’s prompt came from John Hartness. I got really excited about this novel idea. I think you guys are gonna love it.

Thanks for listening!

You can also find this podcast on iTunes here:

9 – John Hartness and the Wild Wild Life

John G. Hartness is a teller of tales, a righter of wrong, defender of ladies’ virtues, and some people call him Maurice, for he was named Maurice by his parents. No, not really.

He is also the best-selling author of the EPIC-Award-winning series The Black Knight Chronicles from Bell Bridge Books, a comedic urban fantasy series that answers the eternal question “Why aren’t there more fat vampires?”

Bubba the Vampire Slayer, Quincy Harker, Dark Fantasy with a side of snark, these are his milieu.

He participates in Drew Hayes’ Authors and Dragons podcast:

He is also a co-founder of Falstaff books, a digital and print publishing company based in Charlotte, NC dedicated to bringing to life the best in fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, and dramatic literature.

You can find his website at

This was a ton of fun to record. John’s unbelievably good and fast at coming up with parts of his story. It’s a testament to what a person can do when they work hard on a lot of work.

Thanks for listening! Subscribe on iTunes here:

8 – Robert Bevan and The Stolen Car

Robert Bevan, English painter, 1865–1925? No! Robert Bevan the hugely popular author of the Caverns & Creatures series.

His latest is Critical Failures V (Caverns and Creatures Book 5).

I met Robert at Contraflow in New Orleans last year. Just before the con, not realizing I’d be paneling with him, I read Critical Failures 1, the entry to his universe. If you’re into what I do at all — humorous science fiction and/or fantasy — I can guarantee you you’ll dig his books.

Find his work at
He’s plenty active on Facebook at

Thanks for listening! Subscribe on iTunes here:

7 – AC Fuller and the Great Old One

A.C. Fuller was kind enough several years ago to invite your humble host on his podcast, Writer 2.0, so this is my chance to return the favor.

He’s a good host, a fun guest, and he can outline like a champ. Well done, buddy. He’s done time as a journalist, and it shows well in his work. If there’s any time to take a deeper look at journalism, it has to be now.

His latest book is The Mockingbird Drive (An Alex Vane Media Thriller, Book 3):

Find him on the web here:
Or on Twitter at @ACFullerAuthor:

Jim Hodgson as a guest on Writer 2.0:

Thanks for joining me, AC! Glad to have the chance to return the favor.

Thanks for listening! Subscribe on iTunes here: