Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tankon Beckons

In a few hours I'll be off to the wilds below Mt. Rainier for the semi-annual gathering called Tankon. Just me and four other curmudgeons at a remote cabin with every amenity but running water. Sloth and eating are the main entertainments, with reading, movie viewing, and chatting/arguing following close behind. I also plan to bring my laptop and write a bit.

Festivus was fine. I spent Festivus Eve in the dark and rain, holding a flashlight while Darryl changed the alternator on his van. Festivus morning I was awakened from a deep, restful sleep by Kristine, who couldn't wait another minute to open her presents. I got some nice presents and one really great one: a Daisy BB gun. I've wanted one since I was a kid, but my mother was one of those You'll Put Your Eye Out wet blankets, so I never had this rite-of-passage weapon. Luckily, some friends did and I shot up scores of non-refundable bottles one summer.
Later that day I went to my other daughter's house for some more presents and a good pot roast dinner. My girl, Stephanie, has been working so much at Taco Bell (Our Motto: Each Worker a Peon) she fell asleep after the presents were exchanged, so we went back home and declared it a good Festivus all around. I have three gift cards to use: $15 at Target, $30 at Home Depot, and $100 at Wilson's House of Suede and Whips.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Just in Time for Festivus


Don't delay, my well-hyped novel LOVE, DEATH AND THE TOYMAN is now on sale. The regular retail price is $25.95 but you can save a few pennies at places like Amazon or Overstock.com. Or you can go to Limehouse Books and pay a mere $54.16 for a copy. Holy Hypermoderns, Batman! What's that guy thinking?

There's even a copy in the main branch of the Tacoma Public Library. No, they didn't religion all of a sudden. One of my shills asked them to stock a copy.

Yesterday Amazon had one copy in stock. Today they have two. Hurry before they have dozens.

As I type this there are promos on TV for an interview Katie Couric did or will do with the wife of one of the men who died climbing Mt. Hood in Oregon.
Now, I'm very sorry these men died and I feel for their families, but I can't help but also feel that they're all a bunch of damn fools for leaving the relative safety of flat land to climb a dangerous mountain during the winter, especially when the weather recently has been horrible. These were totally avoidable deaths and the dead men would have been wise to think first of their families before risking their lives on a foolish venture.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

K-Mart, K-Mart, Spare That Tree

The other day I went to K-Mart to buy a DVD for Kristine's birthday. That's all I bought, one DVD. I ran across the receipt a few minutes ago and was stunned. It was 19 3/4 inches long. Naturally, most of it was advertising for their wares or discount promises if one took advantage of, say, a one-day special on certain toys or jewelry.

I hate going to that store anyway, but getting a sales tag long enough to make a necktie kind of jerks my chain. Perhaps if I was a logger I'd feel different.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tacoma's Libraries, Part 2

I happened to be downtown today and stopped into the Tacoma Library's main branch to see if they'd order my novel. At first I didn't say who I was and they thought I was just some patron trying to get the book. I finally told them I was not interested in reading it, but just checking to see if they had ordered it or indeed would order it.
That's when the bureaucracy started:
"We rely on reviews (LJ, PW, KKK)." I said I have had five published reviews and all were positive but one (asshole at KKKirkus).
"We don't buy just because an author is local." Well thanks for supporting Tacoma's arts, cousin.
And on and on about procedures and policies. It's like I stuck a quarter in a jukebox and got a recording of the Kiwanas' by-laws.

The Multnomah, Oregon, library system already has eight copies of my book on order, sight unseen, but my wonderful home city acts like I'm trying to get them to spread a disease. I was right the first time. The Tacoma Library System stinks on ice.

BTW, that last positive review came from the one and only Harriet Klausner. Or maybe she's the four and only. Rumors abound that she's the front for a reviewing factory. Whatever the case, she liked it. Frankly, I'm surprised. Pleased, but surprised. I didn't think she'd like a book like this.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today is my baby's 16th birthday. Happy Birthday, Kristine. It's been nothing but great.

Also, this is the anniversary of the birth of George Armstrong Custer. He's 167.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Something Went Wrong

Well, I tried to give the Puyallups some of my birthday money but something went wrong. I ended up winning $45.11. Not a fortune, but as long as I walk out on the plus side I'm happy.

Getting back to the library rant, I posted a milder version of it on DorothyL several weeks back. I heard some very kind and understanding comments defending librarians and libraries, most of which said that it cost libraries processing fees even if they get a book or books for free. All well and good, but my library was willing to take the books as donations, so the fees can't have been a consideration.
Let me state for the record that I have no grief with librarians. It's the administrators and the idiotic bureaucratic rules that rankle me.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Another Milestone

Happy birthday to me. There are many advantages to being older but not a one of them is physical. The greatest advantage is that I'm one year closer to retirement. I plan to celebrate this occasion by donating some money to the Putallup Indians, one slot machine pull at a time.

Those Accurate Kirkus Hatchet Jobs

Not that I'm mad or anything. Here's what the malodorous pecksniff had to say about my fine book. My comments are in italics.

Into the office of toy collector [No, he’s a toy dealer] Jack Lorentz slithers [Her entrance is described more like someone wading through water, not slithering] the gorgeous blonde who once made a plaything out of him. [Untrue. She was his girlfriend] Fifteen years ago, Amanda walked out on Jack, breaking their engagement and his heart. Now she's back, wanting a favor. Amanda, it seems, married up into the snooty Howard family, among Tacoma's richest. Michael, Amanda's husband, has developed political ambitions. But there's a problem: a dead, possibly murdered body discovered on their property. Though the Howards claim not to know who it is or how it got there, they sense looming scandal. And for reasons not really persuasive [It’s pretty clear they’re trying to hire his reputation, not his abilities], they've decided that the Toyman, a former investigative reporter, is the man for them. Nobody expects Jack to find the murderer, Amanda explains. They just want him to "investigate and submit a detailed report." About what? he might sensibly have asked, but doesn't. [How about what he finds, what he concludes, who he suspects, who he can clear?} Instead, he signs on, albeit reluctantly, and as a result becomes involved in a variety of messy situations, including a re-entanglement with amorous Amanda. At length, Jack cracks the case, but not before a bizarre confrontation with the villain, who has the drop on him. Attempting to delay his demise, Jack pleads for a chance to say goodbye to Lester, his pet hamster. It's a measure of the prevailing absurdity that the killer, lips curled, says, "Go ahead." [This one really galls me. The attempt to say good-bye to Lester was a ruse and a small part of a larger scene, one I thought was well done. What’s so absurd about the killer granting the wish?I can’t say more without revealing the ending.] One of those what-were-they-thinking debuts. [Maybe that it wasn’t so bad a book and that they’d make a few bucks off of it and that it deserved to be published]

It appears the syphilitic hosebag who wrote this failed to comprehend the plot turns and character motivations everyone else got. But to turn her failures into my failures makes me wish I knew the name of this living incubator for yeast infections so I could correct her deficiencies, using my fists to punctuate my sentences. Not that I'm bothered by any of this.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Happy Birthday, Stephanie

Seventeen years ago today my first child, Stephanie, came into this world. Beautiful then, beautiful now.
Happy Birthday, sweetheart.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Spunky: R.I.P.


AT 10:30 this morning I brought Spunky to the vet's to have her put to sleep. She was suffering from kidney failure and arthritis. This morning she was under the trampoline in the backyard on cold, damp ground and looked miserable. We'd already decided today would be the day she'd have to be put down, and the state she was in made it clear it was the necessary decision.

That doesn't make it easy, but the poor dog was suffering badly. She was 13 and a sweet, gentle animal. We'll miss her.

Here she is five years ago, during better times.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Are All Library Operators Stupid...

...or is it just Tacoma's?

Here's the scenario. Several months ago I checked out a western by the late Bill DeAndrea, one from his Lobo Blacke series. A month or so later I got a letter from the library saying it was overdue and I owed them ten bucks. Somehow, I'd forgotten that I'd borrowed the book; I thought it was mine (I rarely get books from the library since my own is better stocked). I decide that for a few dollars more I could say I'd lost the book and decided to pay for it.
I went to the library with this offer and was told I owed $31 and change. What? The book couldn't have cost more than $15. Turns out it was about $18. PLUS they wanted me to pay the $10 late fine on top of that, plus tax.
Hold the wedding, says I. Why should I pay for the book AND pay the fine? And since when is an ex-library copy worth full retail?
They were adamant. So was I.
Anyway, I think fines are bullshit.
Some weeks after this I decided to return the book (plus a tattered paperback Kristine had misplaced after checking it out on my card). So, according to their lights, I should owe only $20, a fine I have no plans to ever pay.
However, I receive many review copies every month and I thought of a brilliant way to both get the library off my back and increase their stock. I offered eight pristine new hardbacks as a payment for the fines. The books I offered were worth ten times what I owed.
That's when the bureaucrat hit the fan.
The head of the branch library I approached decided such a decision was above her authority and promised to consult someone higher up. After ten days of high-level discussions, no doubt involving a bevy of middle-management pencil gnawers, I was told they must decline my offer. Their ultimate fear was of setting a precedent. "What if someone should offer us furniture?" I was asked.
Decline, I said. You're a library. You buy books. I'm offering you ten times what you want. You save money. I also told them I'd have other books to offer in the future, free of charge.
I was given some malarkey about their computer and accountings, but I know they can wipe out a fine with a keystroke and it won't destroy their ledger.
I finally got the phone number of someone higher up the ladder to call.
What galls me is how impotent this bureaucracy is. It's like no one has the courage or brains or authority to make a simple decision, even one favorable to them. They are paralyzed by the prospect of dealing with a situation that requires someone to show foresight and initiative.
I've always been favorably disposed towards libraries, but when I hear the inevitable cry about their budget woes next year I'll be saying tough turkey. You had a chance to make a killing and you rejected it. And they can expect my vote to reflect this disgust.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Who is mysterydick (and why is he saying all those nice things about me)?

Powell's City of Book in Portland, OR, is taking preorders for my book for $30.95. That's five bucks over retail. You can get a better deal at Barnes & Noble, but they don't have the following review:

"Strap yourself into your easy chair and get set for a wild ride. Love, Death, and the Toyman is very likely the world's first hardboiled toy dealer novel.
Actually, hero Jack Lorentz is a former hardboiled investigative reporter turned baby-boomer collectible trader who gets sucked back into action by a sexy ex-finace and her aristocratic in-laws. Jack confronts a cast of wicked and wacky characters in his quest to discover who dumped a body (or is it two?) on the family's exclusive resort property. It's a whirlwind tale of mystery, sex, love, politics, humor, snobbery, adultery, violence, tenderness, Doo-Wop, a Lone Ranger wrist watcht and a Betty Boop mantle clock, sweeping you along to a slam-bang finish. It's a shotgun blast in the pants! Buy it!"

Rated five out of five stars by mysterydick

This is the first review I've seen from someone outside my circle of family an friends, and it's wonderfully flattering. Whoever you are mysterydick, thank you.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fuzzy and Tsunami, RIP


Not a good week for small animals at Chez Cap'n. My Thai Fighting Fish, Tsunami, died three days ago, and my rat, Fuzzy, passed away overnight. It was a bit of a relief that Fuzzy went. He'd been suffering from two serious maladies for months (crippled and blind), but was always spirited and would crawl out of his house looking for a treat whenever I entered the room. He was at least three years old, which is ancient for a rat, and I like to think his time here was comfortable and happy. Attached is a picture of him taken when he was healthier.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Cover

As threatened, here's the cover.

Show Me the Proof

Yesterday I got a box of uncorrected proofs of my novel, LOVE, DEATH, AND THE TOYMAN, due from Five Star in December. They're bound up like books, albeit with soft covers. I'm beginning to get the idea this thing is actually going to see the light of day.
If I can remember how to do it I'll publish a picture of the cover. I'm not sure what it's supposed to represent, but I realize the publishers are limited by what they can glean from public domain art. There's a bit in the book about a red tattoo on the derriere of the beautiful female lead. I volunteered to perform a nationwide search for the perfect posterior and paint the tattoo on myself, but my generous offer was met by silence. Too bad, it would have been the best cover since Mickey Spillane's ex appeared nude on the dj of--dang, was it THE ERECTION SET? Bill Crider will know.
Anyway, make room in your Christmas budget for a copy of this future collectible. The royalty you create may be mine.

Louiefest

On August 19 I joined Dave Lewis, his friend Drew the Omaha dj, Tough Jim (alias Sir Trafford) Gaston, Alex Mills, and my daughter Kristine for Louiefest 2006. The intent of this gathering is to have 1,000 guitars play the song "Louie, Louie" simultaneously. Year one came closest, with around 750 players. Year two drew half that, and despite the promoter's claim I think this year topped out at around 200. In addition to the mass "Louie, Louie" playing, there were a number of local bands entertaining on one of the five stages located around Spanaway's Spinker Center athletic fields, a custom car display, and vendors selling anything from jewelry to real estate.

Kristine called this her Day of Misery. She didn't want to attend and had a bad time except for the "Louie, Louie" part. In truth, I wasn't that overwhelmed by the local groups and it seemed like I spent a lot of time walking around in the hot sun.

For those who don't know, "Louie, Louie" is a song that was recorded by The Fabulous Wailers in 1961 with modest success. Two years later The Kingsmen did another verson of "Louie, Louie" and had a big hit. The song also caused a sensation because the lyrics were so garbled that a rumor spread claiming they were obscene. It got so bad that FBI agents would attend Kingsmen concerts, notepads in hand, trying to write down what the band was singing.
Because both The Kingsmen and The Fabulous Wailers are Northwest groups, the song has had special signifigance in this part of the world. Some years ago a movement grew to have "Louie, Louie" declared the state song of Washington. It failed.

I must admit I've never been a big fan of the song, although I don't dislike it.

To see and hear the spectacle, log on to:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXFXDqg5aG0 I think that's a zero at the end.

I'm the chap in the red tee-shirt, Drew's in the black one. Tough Jim has the yellow guitar, and Alex is the young guy. Kristine is the cutie with the ponytail. The woman with the camera is Laurie, Alex's mother. Dave took the video with a camera hanging around his neck, thus the MTV effects.

By the way, a drawing was held before the song started to pick 10 Guitar Heroes to perform on stage with the bigger names. Dave and I were both picked but refused the honor. What kills me is that right after they drew my name for that they drew one for a free Epiphone electric guitar. Missed it by this much.

The promoters--Wailers Performing Arts Foundation--hoped to get The Guiness Book of World Records to accept this as a category, but it was not to be. I don't know if there will be another Louiefest (last year was skipped), but I hope so. If nothing else, I end up with a neat tee-shirt and a couple of guitar picks every year.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Why I Will Never Be On WHEEL OF FORTUNE

Earlier this week the WHEEL OF FORTUNE show held contestant tryouts at The Emerald Queen Casino, my favorite place to game. It's close, and I know which machines are likely to pay off.
Anyway, the call was for five in the afternoon. When Linda and I got there the line went through a sereies of switchbacks in the auditorium, across the second level, and halfway through the main floor of the joint. For all that it moved reasonable quickly. We were given yellow slips to fill out, which then went into a rotating drum, and eventually we got seated in the large theater. I don't know how many were in that hopeful audience, but at a bare minimum I'd say 500.
On stage was a cheap replica of the WOF board, a small upright wheel, and a table piled with prizes (hats, T-shirts, tote bages, etc.). Some bozo and a pretty blonde were also up there. The bozo's job was to whip the mob into a frenzy and the blonde worked the answer board, filling in letters with a marker during the test games.
It was made abundantly clear from the get go that frenzy and manic enthusiasm meant everything; playing skill meant zero. And most of the largely female crowd was only too happy to make fools of themselves toward this end. If you've ever read H.L. Mencken's essay The Hills of Zion, about a Fundamentalist camp meeting that takes on the emotional aspects of an orgy, you have an idea of what I witnessed.
The procedure was to call five people to the stage, briefly interview each one, and play a quick round sans spinning the wheen, just calling out letters. The purpose of the interviews were to test people for perkiness. The more agog the better.
Of the assembled multitude perhaps 35 made in onto the stage. That number could have been doubled had not Bozo, with his mike set to a level five times the necessary decible level, not flogged and prodded the crowd into a froth every ten seconds. Not much fun when the room is hotter than a burning outhouse.
After about 90 minutes of this spectacle we were herded out and another batch of candidates allowed to suffer the same ordeal. We were assured that more names would be selected from the uncalled slips at a later date, and those people would be given a chance to compete.
You have to wonder at some people. One old gent whose name was called to go on stage was so feeble his wife had to come along and hold him up. The topper was the woman who didn't speak English. What was going through her cabeza? If you watch the show you know the lame and the halt never get get on stage.
If you know me, my personality is not one of ebullience. I don't jump around like a drunken kangaroo every time I win a keychain. I don't care to make a spectacle of myself and I manage to keep my emotions in check, except for anger. Good to let that one out, I think. However, I'm good at word games and would likely be a good player. It irks me that the people who run WOF (and most other game shows) prefer a raving lunatic to a controlled, competent player. Perhaps that's why I like JEOPARDY best. They value brains over behavior.

On the way out of the casino that afternoon I decided to play the slots. I gave Linda $20, took $60 for myself, and started playing. I mean losing. Couldn't hit a thing. She wasn't doing so well, either, so she decided to try her luck in the non-smoking room. I headed over to a Three Stooges slot machine and started winning. I was ahead a bit when Linda comes back and shows me she'd trippled her $20. And right away I started losing again. I finally went bust.
Hmmmm... On my last six visits I'd won four times and lost twice. The two times I lost I had Linda with me. I even won when she was there but not around me, and started losing when she came back. Coincidence? I doubt it. On my future trips, I'll fly solo.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Take Two

I tried to post this yesterday, June 7, but it failed.

So, a belated Happy Birthday to my role model, Eddie Haskell. Okay, to Ken Osmond, who played Eddie on the best family sitcom ever, Leave It to Beaver.

We start war games at work next week. I hate that crap.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Correction

My post from earlier today said that our ports were being sold to Saudi Arabians. Not so. It's the United Arab Emirates, a country of 12,000 square miles on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Still, that's close enough to Saudi Arabia for me. This whole idea of selling US companies or land to foreign nations upsets me.
I think the movie NETWORK was right. There will be no more U.S., or England, or Russia; only Exxon and Time Warner and Sony. I assume there have been s-f books based on the premise that the world is one large mall occupied by competing corporations. I'd like to read some of them one of these days.

Long Live Big Mac Brother!

Wave the Flag

I've just finished filling out an extensive and somewhat insulting form to insure that my government security status remains Secret. I accomplished this onerous task a little over two years ago, and it should not have been due until 10 years after that, but God forbid the people who are supposed to keep these records shouldn't lose them. It is reassuring to know that those responsible for our security are so efficient.

This taste of government efficiency got me to thinking about just how long I have been associated with the military. For openers, I was born in the Brooklyn Naval Hospital in 1947. As a Navy brat I lived in New York, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Maryland, and Virginia. I think I was 12 1/2 years old when my father retired from the service, but he worked for a year or so at the D.E.W. Line when I was 14-15. In 1966 I joined the Army and spent 28 months in that venerable service, including 13 1/2 months in Viet Nam. Skip ahead to 1979 and I started my civil service job with the Air Force. So we add 12 1/2, 1, 2 1/3, and 25 years and we get (mm, mm, carry the one...) 40 years and 10 months in Uncle Sam's embrace. Maybe 41 if you add in the odd days and weeks. Over two-thirds of my life. And I have to justify to this nation that I'm worthy of a security clearance? Meanwhile, this nation is selling its major shipping ports to the Saudi Arabians--the nation that spawned the 9/11 murderers. Wotta world!

Kristine dragged me to my second and her fourth viewing of the latest Harry Potter movie last night. I'm glad I went, as I'd forgotten a lot of what I saw the first time. I suspect that my poor recollection stemmed from the fact that by the time the film started I was bone tired from standing in line for 90 minutes after a long work week. I'm surprised I didn't fall asleep and snore up the theater. One of these days I may read the books, but at this point I'm not interested in switching genres.

Although, to be honest, I bought a couple of s-f paperback short story volumes at a thrift store last week. One is The Machineries of Joy, by Ray Bradbury; the other is The Year's Best S-F, 8th Annual Edition. I believe Bill Crider's warm reminiscences about his youthful s-f reading influenced my decision to buy these books. And, being short stories, I can nibble away at them as I wait for Kristine to get out of school, or when she's having her guitar lesson.

It always sounds like whining when you complain about bad officiating leading to your team's defeat, but this year's Super Bowl resulted in nationwide complaints and questions about the job the officials did. I thought it was an appalling display of incompetence and/or bias. Would Pittsburgh have won if the game had been called properly? Maybe. They're a good team and worthy of their appearance in the Super Bowl. But we'll never know, and a strong case could be made for the Seahawks winning if the zebras didn't destroy so many of their drives or nullify their scores. My ultimate reaction to it can be summed up thusly: "I is regusted."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

We're Number One!

SEA-HAWKS! SEA-HAWKS! SEA-HAWKS! SEA-HAWKS!

I was calling for a 28-24 Seahawk victory, but they kicked Panther butt throughout the game. This is the first time a Seahawk football team made it to the Superbowl and we're all excited here in the great PNW. Can we beat Pittsburgh?

Damn right we can.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Freedom Day

I wanted to post this yesterday, Jan 19, because it's a special anniversary for me. It was on that day in 1969 that I got my discharge from the Army. Never was I so happy to get rid of an obligation. Not that I minded the Army during my regular duty, but when I got out I'd been cooling my heels at West Point awaiting said discharge. It took two weeks to have it approved (I was getting a hardship discharge, allegedly as the sole support of my mother) and another 2 1/2 months to make it happen. Those 2 1/2 months, during which I had no idea when my paperwork would come through, were awful. By the time I got out I had a burning hatred for the Army and just about anything else connected to the government. That made going to California and becoming an antiestablishment hippy a few months later very easy for me.

Because it was 36 years since I re-entered civilan life, you might think I'm a bit long in the tooth. But the truth is that I joined up as a drummer boy when I was six years old and was mustered out a year later. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

All this might seem odd considering that I now work for the Air Force and have for the past 26 years. Well, that's what I do for money, and the BS that I faced back in my Army days is still evident in today's action Air Force. On the other hand, I'm glad to have the job and there are even times when it's interesting and fulfilling. Like a couple of weeks ago when I was part of a team that supported a Medivac mission. A baby was flown in from Kadena AFB, Japan, for treatment at Madigan Hospital on neighboring Fort Lewis. There were a good 20 people involved in getting that infant from Japan to here, not to mention the load planners, air crew, ground people, and whoever had to authorize the use of the aircraft. When I went out to the plane I knew we were doing a Medivac, but I was expecting an adult on a gurney to be aboard. Was I surprised. The infant was in something like an incubator, and that was covered by a towel, so I never laid eyes on him or her, nor do I have any idea what its problem was, but my heart went out to the baby and I hope Madigan can help.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Another Year? I Haven't Used Up the Last One.

It seems that if I don't have a broken down car to report I'm out of conversation. Well, the car was in the shop again, but that was a couple or three weeks ago. Thank goodness it was something expensive. I'd hate to see my mechanic miss out on a first-class, around-the-world cruise on my account.

Christmas is over with and I enjoyed it. I didn't even let the crowds, lack of parking, and imbecile drivers bother me. I bought Steff a computer desk and spent most of the evening putting it together. I think there were 500 screws involved, and my power screwdriver was dead. I got Kristine a printer for her computer but beat it out of town before I had to deal with the installation. She probably did it herself; I ought to check.

The day after Xmas, I joined four other old reprobates for the annual gathering in the wilds known as Tankon. The venue is a cozy cabin belonging to Frank Denton. When I arrived this year Frank was there, having arrived a short time before me, and announced there was a problem with the electricity. We had enough to use the two overhead lights, but no more. No fridge, microwave, heaters, DVD player, or laptops (other than the limited battery). We kept the cabin warm using a wood-burning stove, but once we went to bed the fire died and my head and shoulders, not being inside my sleeping bag, were ice cold. I slept little, and finally got up and fired up the stove. Later that day the guys from the power company came and fixed the lines, and we were back to normal. We still don't have running water, but we're used to that.
We did the usual: ate too much, read, watched movies, chatted, argued, slept, wrote. At the end of six days I packed up and left, glad again to have had the isolation of Bestafar's Hut. I was also glad to get home to a hot shower and shave.
My New Year's resolutions are the same ones I break every year: read more, eat less. Maybe this time I'll keep them a bit longer than usual.

One of the movies I watched at the cabin (on my laptop, knowing the others wouldn't appreciate it) was BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA, with Sammy Petrillo, Duke Mitchell, and an aged Lugosi. Petrillo's claim to fame, or infamy, is that he's a dead ringer for Jerry Lewis. Looks like him, sounds like him, and annoys me like him. I like Jerry Lewis impressions that exaggerate his goofy mannerisms, but to see someone act exactly as Jerry would act doesn't work for me. About the only thing that made this movie endurable was the pretty island girl. Better was THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, with Sterling Hayden, Jean Hagen, Sam Jaffe, and a very young and breathless Marilyn Monroe. This is a classic noir with dark streets, tough mugs, despair, lost innocence, and every bad act destined to doom the perpetrator. I loved it, with the possible exception of John McIntyre's lecture towards the end about the importance of cops.

Today ends the regular football season. The Seahawks are well positioned for the playoffs, but I wonder how they'll hold up against some of the teams they're apt to face. Sure, they beat the Colts last week, but the Colts' head coach was gone and some key starters were benched after the first quarter. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see. Seattle has never had a team in the Super Bowl or World Series, and this is the year it might happen.

Dinner awaits. May you have a safe and prosperous 2006.