Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Thirteen years ago Stephanie, then five, got a little bundle of fur for Christmas she named Brandy. Brandy was a chocolate Lab mix and as adorable as any puppy can be. A few years later Steff sent a photo and short essay about the dog to our local paper, which has a "My Pet" feature each day. By then Brandy was a big dog that went wild with happy excitement whenever anyone would visit.
Alas, Brandy had to be put down a week ago due to a serious medical condition. She was a good dog and is missed.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Five Months Later...

When last we saw our hero he was back from Summer Tankon in July 2007. In 18 days Winter Tankon beckons, which means I'm one heck of a slacker when it comes to doing this blog. People like Bill Crider, Mark Evanier, and Ken Levine manage to blog daily even if they're miles from home or feeling poorly. Ah, to have their fortitude. Ah, to have a life worth blogging about in the first place. But to catch you up a bit:

AUGUST: My cousin, Dennis Weaver, died. Not Chester from GUNSMOKE, a different Dennis Weaver. He was five months younger than me and apparently had a heart attack. Ironically, his father died two months before, almost to the day.

SEPTEMBER: My cousin George, born about 19 months before me, had triple bypass surgery. A real shock, since he was always active and in good physical condition. He did smoke, however. The good news is that he's recovering quickly and ought to be fine eventually. Dennis, George, and I were very close as teens and usually hung out together. The dynamic of the relationship could very well be likened to that of the three Texas Rangers on the TV show LAREDO. George was Neville Brand, the older and tougher one, while Dennis and I were Peter Brown and William Smith, always making Brand the butt of our jokes. Sometimes we got punched for our efforts, but that didn't keep us from doing it. To think that I am, by default, the healthiest man of that trio scares me.

OCTOBER: My older girl, Steff, turned 18 and finally got her driver's license. She's also back in school and doing well.

NOVEMBER: I became an official old geezer. I'm already thinking about whittling and spitting off the porch during my next summer vacation.

DECEMBER: Which is where we are now. I spent a weekend in Portland where I did some Xmas shopping (no sales tax) and joined fellow Moops Dave Lewis and Tough Jim Gaston for fun, music, and Chinese food.
My baby, Kristine, turned 17. She now has a boyfriend and is doing very well in school.

I'm also taking guitar lessons, working on my second book (will have it ready for submission after Winter Tankon), and telling anyone who will listen that Hitlery would be the worse thing for this country since The Civil War, The Great Depression, Prohibition, The Electoral College, and Scientology combined.

I've read about 60 books so far this year, far fewer than I'd hoped. One was SHE, by H. Rider Haggard. What a chore. There was a good idea under all those layers of repetitive exposition, but I felt like I was hacking my way through a word jungle with every page. I don't know why I bothered finishing unless it was to compare it to the movie. I could only find the 1935 version on Netflix, and it wasn't bad. Helen Mack (who was far lovlier than the actress who played She) was enchanting, and the plot was distilled down to a decent adventure flick, though why they changed the setting to a polar region and not the African desert is beyond me. Anyway, I could have polished off 6-10 westerns in the time it took me to wade through SHE, and I kind of resent the delay. But, it was my call and at least I can say I finished the dang thing.