Tuesday, August 31, 2010

41 Days To Go

We entered WWII in '41 on a day that will live in infamy.

Yesterday I gave in to an urge and went to Half-Price Books, where I snagged 17 books at under $2.00 each. Later, I bought another half-dozen books on Amazon.

Before I left the house I washed my car for the first time in a year. Today it rained.

And the countdown continues...

Friday, August 27, 2010

42 Days To Go

I like the number 42. The Doolittle Raid and the Battle of Midway happened in '42. Summer of '42 was a pretty good movie. My younger baby was born when I was 42. I didn't want to rush into things, I guess.

Pictured is the classic shadow band The Moops. From let to right are yours truly, Dave "Evan" Lewis, and Brian Trainer (alias Tough Jim Gaston). Tough Jim is going to have some heart surgery in about 10 days and I want to wish him every kind of good fortune. He's a swell fellow and a magnificent guitarist.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

43 Days To Go

I really have nothing to say about the number 43, but this day is not without good tidings. James Reasoner, as fine and prolific a writer as ever beat a keyboard into submission, posted a review of my latest book, THE TOYMAN RIDES AGAIN, on his excellent blog. If I remember how to create links you'll find it here. Thanks, James, for your perspicacity.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

44 Days To Go

A pair of fours in poker is called Sailboats. I used to have a .44 magnum Ruger Blackhawk. There are 44 keys in half a piano keyboard. The days melt away, but not fast enough.

My older girl, Stephanie, who is gifting me with a granddaughter in November, had a checkup today. All is well, I'm relieved and happy to say.

Tune in tomorrow when I have even less to say.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

45 Day To Go

Just 45 working days left. I can liken the number 45 to 1845, the year the Mexican War started, and 1945, the year WWII ended and my older sister was born. I had a semi-productive weekend. Finally installed the molding on the new flooring (new several months ago) and took $30 from the Muckleshoot tribe at their large and clean casino.

I'm also tracking the Auburn, WA, team in the Little League World Series. After dropping their first game in the double-elimination format to Connecticutt 3-1, they came back to win two subsequent games and are still in the tournament. Auburn is just northeast of us and it's also where the Muckleshoot Casino stands. Seen how it all ties together?

Friday, August 20, 2010

46 Days To Go

On April 1 in '46 my cousin George was born. I don't have anything else to say about that number.

Our squardon picnic was held today. I went, I ate, I left.

Speaking of work, our new break room had the TV hooked up a few days ago and we now get a station called RTV (Retro Television). I've had a chance to watch episodes of I Spy and Daniel Boone. I missed Quincy, but it was there, along with Kojak. Today's I Spy guest starred Sue Randall, famous as Miss Landers on Leave It to Beaver. She looked a bit fuller in the face (filmed in 1965, three years after Randall left LITB), but she looked as lovely as ever. She also had a chance to emote more than she did as the wise and caring teacher. But you know what I liked best about these old shows?

Steady cameras that held a shot. No blitz cuts, no wobbly camera work, no brilliant lights flashing in my face--none of those damnable MTV effects every callow director finds necessary to inflict on us, and I doubt they even know why they're doing it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

47 Days To Go

I'm sure I'll have trouble finding a tie-in to certain numbers, but 47 is a snap. The US Air Force, my employer, was born in 1947. So was I.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

48 Days To Go

There were 48 states when I was born, and there are 48 working days to go. Join the countdown as I watch a life of typical civil servitude come to an end. Today was unpleasant. I must have spent over 5 hours in a cramped K Loader cab of one kind or another, mostly waiting for people to get their butts in gear. At least I was smart enough to bring a book. On the up side, some reservists visiting from San Antonio had a burger burn to celebrate their departure, so I glommed onto free food.

You might have read about the sonic booms that hit our area yesterday. What happened was a float plane with a clueless pilot violated restricted air space in Seattle, causing two F-15 fighters stationed in Portland, OR, to scramble. I had just left the post office where I'd mailed my retirement papers when the noises hit. My first thought was the Army was firing some large cannons, but when my older daughter said it shook her house at a distance from the base I changed my mind.

As you know, the president flies around in Air Force One, even for non-essential, tax-money-wasting trips like the ones he's been on recently to prop up Democrats running for office. Did you also know that a second plane flies with him? Said backup craft sat outside my building yesterday until the POTUS finished his fraud, waste, and abuse campaigning, at which time it flew to wherever he was going next.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

49 Days To Go

I'm a 49er today. I mailed my retirement papers to Randolph AFB, Texas today and I hope they aren't lost. The government has a bad habit of losing my documents going back to 1966.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Willamette Writers Conference

August 6-8, 2010: My trip to Portland and the Willamette Writers' Conference was a lot of fun and a bit of work. I got up at 3:30 a.m. so I'd be there for breakfast at 7:30 but the roads were so sparsely populated with autos I got in almost an hour early. Not a problem. I went into the hotel and read a paper until the room opened that had the badges and packets for the volunteers. Soon after that my friend Dave "Evan" Lewis showed up and we hit the chow line. The food was plentiful if unspectacular. We paid $27-a-day for it but that was our only expense for the whole affair. Regular attendees paid as much as $500. Over the next three days we split our time between our work in the pitch practice room and watching panels. I was lucky on day one--most of the people who pitched to me were young ladies. But it wasn't all beer and skittles and creamy thighs. There were some characters who stick in my mind no matter how hard I've tried to dislodge them. To wit:

Meatloaf. This woman looked like Meatloaf, or his fatter, homelier sister. She had a book she couldn't explain, she ate enough at the meals to feed Bangladesh, and at one panel she slept the whole time. Dave and I happened to be sitting in the row behind her as she snoozed. I stage whispered "Meatloaf! Meatloaf!" a few times but she slept right through it.

Superfly. A 6'6" black guy in a suit a pimp would love who hasn't written anything. He's on a local access TV show and some days stands at one end of a bridge wearing a tux and Mickey Mouse ears. He passed out DVD's of his show, talked too loud in the pitch practice room, and seemed to be fundraising for some crackpot scheme.

Nervous Nellie. A woman who's written a memoir and can't figure out what to emphasize in her pitch. I got the impression she was about to break out into a crying jag at any moment, and damned if she didn't use me twice to practice her pitch. Twenty minutes before she was to meet with an agent she still didn't know what to do. I wanted to smack her in the head and tell her to quit fretting and leave me alone.

On the up side there were the 14- and 15-year-old girls who'd written novels. At 15 I was learning to smoke, and at 14 I hadn't accomplished even that much. Most admirable kids. Most of the people I worked with in pitch practice were normal, intelligent, and affable folks, of course, but they aren't as fun to talk about.

Better than all that was spending time with Dave and our rocker friend Tough Jim Gaston. Also Laurie, a friend of Jim's and member of his band, Rock Residue. And dinner out each night and a trip to Powell's City of Books after the con was over. All those books and I forgot to look for a couple of titles I've been wanting for years. I spent $75 anyway, half on some books for my younger daughter.

The programs I saw were a study in contradictions. Memoirs were out/Memoirs were hot. Don't use a professional editor to revise your manuscript/Do use one. Use e-mail to submit or query/Don't do it. Even the woman who proclaimed that any attribution other than "said" should be avoided found exceptions this year.

I don't know if I'll be able to attend next year, being a poor pensioner and all, but I'd like to. Being among so many writers and wannabes is refreshing.

50 More

Yep, only 50 more working days and I can kiss my illustrious career with the Department of Defense goodbye. While I am grateful as all get out for the steady paychecks, the b.s. factor that has gotten horribly worse these past few years assures that I won't miss the place one iota once I'm gone.

Pictured is a Tunner 60K Loader and a KC-135 air-to-air refueling plane. The plane is a visitor since all we have at McChord Field are C-17 Globemaster III cargo planes.