Category: General

I’m baaAAaack!!

im-backIt’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted anything on this site… more than a year, in fact.  Almost all of my posts have been on my “Learning to Write” site at, and I’ve tried really hard to keep that site focused on the craft of writing.  But lately the political insanity the nation is going through has made it harder and harder for me to maintain a calm demeanor.  I continue to see too many others ranting on subjects about which I feel are too important to be decided in emotional tag lines and sound bites.  And if I remain quiet, I fear my silence will be taken as acquiescence or fear, and I refuse to let that happen.

So I’ve decided to resurrect this old site.  “Learning to Write” will remain appropriately focused on writing.  But if you want the “behind the scenes” look at what makes Jeff Brackett tick, this is the place.  I will talk openly and honestly about whatever topic flips my switch, and you will likely be invited to participate in my rants.  And if you’re used to easy-going, non-confrontational Jeff, I suggest you brace yourself.  This is where I let my hair down and speak my mind.

That’s all for now.

See you soon.


My Gogger Misses Me

I haven’t posted here for quite some time — pretty much ever since I opened my own domain site for my writing endeavors.  However, I intentionally kept this site open for more personal musings, and this is definitely not writing related.  🙂

Mostly, I just wanted to post this picture that my wife sent me this morning after I left for work. This is my dog, Bella.  We call her, and our other dog (Cricket) “goggers”, after a mispronunciation one of my younger relatives stumbled on several years ago.  Those of you who have kids, or have worked a lot with them know that sometimes a child’s mispronunciation is very cute or catchy, or even logical in some cases.  For instance, when my son was little, he had problems with “yesterday”.  Since the night before was “last night”, then it seemed appropriate in his mind, that the the day before would be “lasterday”.  To this day, we sometimes use the term.

Anyway, that’s it for this morning.  Have a great day.


I’ve been wondering what emoticons work here on WordPress, so conducted an experiment by copying the working emoticon code from another web site and checking to see which ones worked here. So far, here is what I have:

“:D” = 😀     “:)” =  🙂     “;)” =  😉     “:(”  =  😦       “:o” =  😮     “:shock:” =  😯     

 “:?”  =   😕      “:x” =  😡     “:P” =  😛      “:oops:” =  😳      “:cry:” =  😥    

  “:evil:” =  👿      “:twisted:” =  😈      “:roll:” =  🙄      “:!:” =  ❗   

   “:?:” =  ❓      “:idea:” =  💡      “:arrow:” =  ➡      “:|” =  😐   

   “:mrgreen:” =  :mrgreen:

UPDATE (Jan 4, 2011): Found the below chart on WordPress site:

Smiley images and the text used to produce them*:

icon text text full text icon full text
smile “:)” “:-)” “:smile:” lol “:lol:”
biggrin “:D” “:-D” “:grin:” redface “:oops:”
sad “:(“ “:-(“ “:sad:” cry “:cry:”
surprised “:o” “:-o” “:eek:” evil “:evil:”
eek “8O” “8-O” “:shock:” twisted “:twisted:”
confused “:?” “:-?” “:???:” rolleyes “:roll:”
cool “8)” “8-)” “:cool:” exclaim “:!:”
mad “:x” “:-x” “:mad:” question “:?:”
razz “:P” “:-P” “:razz:” idea “:idea:”
neutral “:|” “:-|” “:neutral:” arrow “:arrow:”
wink “;)” “;-)” “:wink:” mrgreen “:mrgreen:”

Sm1ley’s daughter & her artwork

If I haven’t mentioned it before, my youngest is trying for an art scholarship. She continuously amazes my wife and I with her talent. The picture below is one of her “doodles” that she threw together in a class at school.

My daughter’s idea of “doodling”. This is charcoal on two sheets of regular notebook paper.

Evidently her art teacher in school submitted one of her pieces to the University of Santa Fe and they have contacted her, requesting an electronic copy of her entire portfolio to evaluate her work for a possible scholarship. I think this actually scares her though. She says she doesn’t want to move that far away from her family. Her current hope is to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio and get her BFA in Art and music (she also sings in her high school choir).

Yeah, we’re pretty proud of our kids.  🙂

Happy Birthday to my youngest!

Youngest daughter turns eighteen this week, and we decided to let her have a party this weekend.  Twenty-five or thirty of her “closest” friends (I could never tell for sure how many there actually were – it was hard to count as some came in and others left) in our house.  The party started at about 6:00 Saturday evening.  Most of them were gone by about midnight, but about eight of her girlfriends stayed the night.  The last of them left at 6:30 this evening.

I think I was that young once.  I may have even had that much energy once. But right now, I think I need a good night’s sleep.  😆

This one is probably going to meander a bit. My thoughts on the matter seem to be a bit jumbled, so I’m going to try to just throw them against the digital wall and see what sticks with minimal editing. I figure it’s not likely to matter since, at this point, no one else sees this blog anyway. (So why am I doing this?  Oh yeah! The “Dear Diary” thing.  🙂 )

I have developed a habit lately of setting some unrealistic goals when it comes to my writing.  First, I attempted to set myself an impossible deadline for “Streets of Payne”.  I guess because I already had a first draft of the first serial installment written, that somehow made me think I could knock out an additional 40 to 50 thousand words in less than six weeks. Needless to say, that didn’t happen.  The thing is, when it didn’t happen, I told myself I would ease up a bit and “only” try to write about a thousand words a day. 

I don’t know why I felt that was a more reasonable goal, but Life has a habit of smacking me in the head when I do something stupid like that, and this time is no exception.  Nothing specific, but a lot of little issues seem to pop up to prevent me from attaining that self-imposed goal. And for the longest time, whenever I fail to meet that goal I end up beating myself up, feeling like a slacker.

Quite frankly, I’m getting tired of feeling that way.  🙂

I regularly listen to a podcast for  aspiring writers (The Dead Robot’s Society) and one of the things I like about it is that they try to hold themselves to account for the amount of writing that they get done on a weekly basis. Each podcast begins with each of the hosts announcing how much (or how little) writing and/or editing they were able  to get done. There is a feeling of accountability, and a mutual encouragement that they inspire in one another – and in me. These are folks that have been working seriously at the craft of writing for several years now and their progress varies from week to week. Sometimes they have a good week, and they are able to knock out up to five thousand words in a week. Other times, Life kicks them in the ass and they don’t get much written at all.  The thing is, they chart their progress on a words per week ratio, not words per day.

That seems to make more sense, as I have noted that I generally get at least something written each day, even if it is only a few hundred words. When I get two hundred words one night, and five hundred another, and maybe seven hundred on a third night, it’s not that I didn’t get a chance to write each night like I wanted. Instead, it’s thirteen hundred words in less than a week. Rather than dwell on what goals I may or may not attain on a given day, and then feel like crap when the progress doesn’t seem fast enough. I think perhaps I need to concentrate on the more positive.

Yeah, so I’m giving myself a pep talk. I can take it even further, to the obvious analogy of life in general. When I look at it, I lead a pretty busy life. I work ten to twelve hours a day, I attend a martial arts class three nights a week, I write, I make knives, I have a fantastic (and very understanding) wife and kids. Youngest daughter has a birthday coming up and it’s a biggie (she’s turning 18), our son is getting ready to go into the Navy, and our oldest daughter has recently moved back into town with our grand daughter and needs help settling in. And all that’s without mentioning the fact that the holiday season is here so we’ve been shopping, decorating, and preparing for the food-gasm that will occur in a few weeks.

So there’s a lot of good going on in my life, and while it keeps me busy, when taken as a whole, it’s a bit more important than worrying about how many words I got written on a given day.

Hmmm…. I suppose when I look at it that way, maybe I deserve that smack on the head. Looks like Life knew what she was talking about after all.  🙂


Well, youngest daughter (who is a month short of 18 now) is shopping for colleges, and this weekend is University of Texas at San Antonio. We spent about four hours on the road and got in to the hotel this afternoon.  Spent a few hours on the Riverwalk & am now pretty beat. Tomorrow, we go to the campus & find out if UTSA is the school for her.  Here’s hoping she finds what she’s after.

Okay, this is my first foray into blogging.  I always held back on it before – thought it would cost me an arm and a leg.  But I’ve started getting more serious about my writing lately, and thought that this might be a good way to meet other folks with similar interests. 

I suppose the look of the site will change as soon as I get more comfortable with the interface, but for now, this will have to do.

Now, off to work….

Hi, I’m Sm1ley. I’m 49 years young (though my body is beginning to take more convincing of that than it used to), happily married to a great woman, have three kids, one grand daughter, two dogs and a cat.

I’m exploring the idea of a blog to cover some of the many busy aspects of my life these days.  You see, while family is the most important thing in the world to me, it is NOT the only thing; I work of course; I also read when I can; I am an aspiring author; I make knives; and I practice Jeet Kune Do and Kali (yes, I pay perfectly good money to have my ass kicked three nights a week – I never claimed I was very smart. 🙂 )