Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Whooh...rough week...

I know it's only Wednesday, but this latest job started on Sunday and was hard going. 450 books became more than 900, with oversized artwork. It took some careful maneuvering. But it's done and at the airline and I'm off to job # 4 in North LA. Then comes San Jose and San Francisco and Santa Cruz and Sausalito...well, not exactly Sausalito, but that area.

What made this job happen and even go fairly well was my helper, who's another book person. And efficient. And cute. And has the same politics as me. We spent a fair amount of our work time grousing about Czar Snowflake and the vile party that supports him.  If anything, he may be a bit more radical than me...and I like that.

Haven't done a thing more on A65. I'm too beat to do anything but doze at the computer. Haven't even read, much. Did get some laundry done, since I won't have a chance to till after San Francisco. That killed this evening...and I've still got a lot more to do. In fact, on the flight to LA I'll be working up the last job's material needs, since I'm dead meat, right now.

I've been trying to read Snobs by Julian Fellowes, but I'm having trouble getting into it. Which is odd because I liked the sly humor of Gosford Park. Still, after 61 pages I have no interest in Edith Lavery, and its switching back and forth from some unknown person telling the story to straightforward third person omniscient makes me glad I dumped that idea in A65. Of course, I have to acknowledge, I didn't like Downton Abby, so maybe he's hit and miss.

I'm going to shift to John Waters' Role Models and see how that goes. What I'm looking for is ways to write humor and build funny characters who are still real, but do it with bite and edge and romantic yearning...while digging deep into their soul and psyche to play hideous games with their minimal sanity. All in an off-beat tone of voice with the fluidity of Tolstoy.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Back to work...

I'm just posting a bit more of A65. This is at Lando's party, where Adam and Casey have had a small run-in with Lando and Veronica.


She forced a smile and guided Adam through a dining room stacked high with questionable edibles into a state of the art kitchen where the chrome and brass gleamed nice and bright, and obviously not used.

"Good God," he said, "the bloody kitchen's bigger than my flat, in Ruislip."

"That where you live?" Casey asked, paying him no real attention as she pulled two cartons of Mac & Cheese from the freezer.

"Cora and I did. Till we parted. Couldn't afford it on my own."

Casey said nothing, just popped both cartons into the microwave. He watched her, uncertain.

"Is this all right?" he asked.

"These're mine," she said with a bare smile. "I used to spend a lot of time here."

He saw the distant expression return to her face, the tight mask with it. "Casey ... was it wise to come back?"

She did not look at him, just pulled utensils and napkins together. "Had to. Make everyone think all is well and good."

"After hiding away?"

She cast him a wary glance, then shrugged. "Don't you just love gossip? Especially when it's rooted in reality." She focused on polishing the utensils as she said, "Y'know, she's wrong about me ... Veronica ... me leaving guys. Tabloids spit out that shit, all the time, but I've never left anyone."

"That ... that, um, doesn't mean we can't leave now. Find somewhere else to have a meal. My ticket."

She looked at him, warmth hinted in her eyes. "In a minute. These two cartons are the last of my crap here, and I don't want to leave anything behind. It'd just stay in the freezer. You see, Lando thinks mac and cheese is beneath him, and Veronica just sucks the life out of people. Trust me, I know. That's what I caught her doing with him, last week."

Adam jolted. "Just last week?"

She shrugged. "Eleven days ... no, twelve ... but who's counting? That was four helpings of Lasagna. Meat lovers."

"Casey," he said, "may I say, your Lando is a fool."

She handed him a spoon, smiling. "You may. There's water in the fridge."

The microwave dinged and Casey pulled the steaming boxes out. She set them on a counter as Adam grabbed a couple bottles of sparkling water and opened them. She peeled the plastic film covers off and the aroma danced up and round and through him, like a vapor sprite.

He took a careful bite, let the cheesy pasta simmer on his tongue and finally growled, "God, starting to feel large, again." Then he dove in.

Casey watched him eat. Manners radiated from him, even as he seemed to wolf his food down. She ate hers at a slower pace, slipping deeper into memories.

"I don't even know why Lando and I wound up together," she said, her voice soft and reflective. "We're too much alike."

"I would argue that point," Adam said.

"You don't know me well enough, yet." She focused on the Mac & Cheese. "Mom thinks she matched us up, but reality is, I'd seen him around. Parties. Awards ceremonies. He was up for a daytime Emmy, back when I was dating an actor from one of the Soaps. Vinny Something. A nice guy who couldn't decide if he was gay, straight or bi." She sighed then smiled, added, "Or even if he really cared about me. Seems being with me helped him in the gossip rags." Then she loaded a spoonful of Mac & Cheese into her mouth.

Adam sipped some water. "Have they always been at you?"

"Baby, c'mon -- you've got Gala and Hello in England, the Daily Mail; you must've noticed how they can be."

"I've never paid any mind."

She watched him take another bite and said, "You're unusual."

He smiled. "Family and friends would agree with you."

Friday, June 23, 2017

Curmudgeon be I...

I went through a series of irritating emails with the powers that be at Caladex, wanting me to explain something I do not think I did or said...and which doesn't make sense to me. Supposedly, I noted on an XL Spreadsheet that I was going to work 22 hours over 2 days on one of the packing jobs I'm doing. It's one of the jobs that increased in size and I did say I'd be doing that over 3 days, but there's no way I'd do it for 2 and most certainly would not say that when I did the original quote. But since I don't have access to the spreadsheet, I have no idea what's going on or what I originally put down or anything.

I also got bitched out because I didn't get specific enough on another quote I revised, and because I thought they were having someone else in the office get some information from a company to go with that quote when they meant something else, entirely, that I wasn't even involved in and...and I got so fucking confused about this, I just stopped responding and had a late dinner.

Part of the issue is, I'm on a Mac while the office is all PCs, so I can't access the server to get my information direct instead of second hand. And part of the problem it's causing is, it feeds into my sense of incompetence. As if I need more of that. And...part of it might be that I just haven't eaten well, the last couple of days (no lunch, today), and LA's traffic is worse than I remember and it's hot and most of my friends are out of town...and I'm feeling stupid and inadequate to the tasks ahead.

And now I'm whining like a needy dachshund.

This is bullshit.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The usual WiFi issues arise...

I stayed at a Howard Johnson's in Tarzana that would not let me onto the WiFi except for a few minutes at a time. I'd get 2-3 emails done and one search on Google...and then I'd get the spinning ball of eternity, And there was no one to call to check into it. I used to think it happened because I've got a 10 year-old laptop...but I'm in a Best Western, now, that gives me zero trouble.

I'm caught up now on my emails and such -- I mean, I'm able to do some of that on my iphone, but there are somethings I need the laptop for, so...

Job 1 of what is now 8 jobs is done, and I probably sweated off 50 lbs doing it. This was in a storage facility in Tarzana, where it was hitting 100 during the day, and 55 boxes became 84, once I did the ephemera and electronics. I ran out of boxes, labels and tape. Never had that happen, before; I usually wind up with too much left over.

Tomorrow's should be easy...but I've said that before. We shall see how it goes.

I read most of Steven King's book, On Writing, during the trip to LA. I'd read it years ago and remembered a fair portion of it, but I'd forgotten his 10% rule -- like, if a draft is 300 pages, cut out 30 pages worth of writing. I don't know if that would work for A65 since it's only 63,500 words long. I feel it needs to be about 62,000...and there are spots where I can dig we'll see what the response is once I get it done.

The trip was long and both my flights were late...but it looks like I was lucky to even get one. Lots of them were getting cancelled, going into Phoenix, because it was too hot for them to land or take off. The hotter the air, the harder it is to get lift. I guess that's why we landed nearly an hour late... near sundown, when the worst of the heat was over. I had to run for my connection and got to the gate just as my boarding number was going in...but at least it got going...and then sat on the runway for 20 minutes.

Climate change now affects air travel in ways that cost money, but Republicans still refuse to care,

Saturday, June 17, 2017

One of those days...

I spent much of today wasting time trying to find things I wanted -- like black or blue cargo pants or t-shirts with pockets -- but apparently too many placees think those things aren't worth selling, anymore. I found that JC Penney, which offers cargo pants on its website, is worthless when it comes to getting help in the store. "Go ask this person." "Go ask that person." "The clerk at the register will look it up for you." So I wait in line to talk with her and she says, "Go look on that table; that's all we have of the brand you're looking for." I gave up and left.

Old Navy was just as bad. "If it's not on the shelf, we don't have any." Which shelf? "Over there." "Do you have Pocket T-shirts?" "I think so, over on that table, maybe." Gag!!!

Same for Target and KMart, but at least at the latter store I happened onto some pants I could use. I'll have to alter the leg lengths, a bit, but I'm now situated for this trip. Along with 2 packets of pocket Ts I just happened to notice. Small wonder I hate to shop. It's an exercise in how much time you can waste.

Already 3 of the 8 jobs have expanded, massively. One went from 500 books to 800; another decided to add 250 volumes and 2 framed items to the mix; the third is more a methodology thing where the books have to have tabs put in them, thus increasing the time needed...oh, and he wants them delivered to a different location than his shop. Never a word till today, and I've already got my mailing labels printed up. I spent the time I wasn't wasting on shopping reworking my plans and needs for packing materials. Should be interesting.

Tomorrow is laundry and working on the Switzerland and NYC quotes. All I can do is estimate how long it'll take and what I'll need for each, at this point. I'll have to leave the costing of the shipping to others. My flight leaves late Monday afternoon and I'm already needing to stop by the office to get some updated paperwork and get back home. Since I'll be gone so long, I'm taking a cab to the airport instead of parking; it's cheaper.

Nobody said it was easy...but seriously, does it have to be so hard? (He whined.)

Friday, June 16, 2017


The Alice 65 is all printed up and ready for me to dive in with my red pen. Kinko's ain't cheap when it comes to printing, but I can't get another printer of my own till I get a new laptop or desktop computer. The printers out now require a higher level OS than what I can do.

I'm about to embark on an 7 job tour of the west coast -- 3 in the LA area, 1 in Seattle, and 3 in and around San Francisco. I'll be in the Bay area from the 1st of July to the 14th...and maybe later, if a final job comes through. Plus there are two more large ones down the pike. I was planning to take the last 2 weeks of August off but may not be able to. All depends on when a New York one needs to be done.

I'm also looking at a possible trip to Switzerland, which would be fantastic. I've only been to Geneva and that was 30 years ago. I took the TGV from Paris and had a lovely ride. Had lunch on the lake. Took a boat tour and a late train back. This one would be deeper inside the country...and is still very iffy...but it's fun to dream.

I'll be focused on those two jobs, this weekend, working up costs and time needed for packing and the like, so won't do anything on A65 till after I leave, on Monday. If then. I want a bit of space between me and the book, so I can keep fresh with it.

I'm re-reading Steven King's book on writing, and also going to try and get into A Confederacy of Dunces, just to see what it's all about. And I have another Pulitzer Prize winner I'd like to read -- A Good Scent From A Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler. I'll be spending a lot of time on airplanes, so may as well make use of it since it's so hard to use my laptop on them, now.

Who knows -- maybe it'll help me improve my writing.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Another draft done...

Okay...A65 is now in first real draft. 63,400 words and 258 pages. I've still got a lot of work to do on it to make it readable; I saw that as I dug through the last couple of chapters. So much still needs to be set up, better, and some aspects of Adam and Casey that I sort of glossed over can be brought out more, earlier in the story.

The big challenge is in keeping everything in Adam's perspective. It's his story with Casey as a strong second lead...which makes it hard to put her history into it without her doing some long bits of dialogue. Explanation. Exposition crap.

I get around that with Adam, to an extent, by just shifting into him remembering things that happened then him realizing he's been telling them to her. Can't do that with Casey. And I'm trying to avid the full-scale omniscient thing some authors do. Oh, well...I like the story and the characters, and I'm willing to keep my investment going till it bears fruit.

I can't honestly say this is still a romantic comedy. It's got the romance and comedic elements, but it's digging deeper into the characters in ways that mitigate the casualness of events around them.

Like Adam's former girlfriend, Cora, being controlling and casually cruel to him, and him accepting it. Still being in love with her even after she dumped him, got married to a truck driver and is about to have twins, by the man. What keeps it from being pathetic, I think...I hope, is Adam's concern about her future children. He thinks she tends towards Munchhausen Syndrome -- she wanted him to take up smoking then, when he became addicted, she'd be the good woman who helped him quit -- and plans to keep an eye on her in case she starts doing that to her kids.

I also have a scene where Adam finally catches on to what Casey actually planned for him and sees himself for how others see him...and sees how lost he's become...while sitting in a tub full of water with a black panther named Gertrude, who's in love with him. I can't tell if that's right for the story or me just being piquant.

Or if I'm being both at the same time...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Recuperated enough to do some writing

I have 3 chapters left to finish reworking...and a section I've already done that is as lumpy as hell. I'm still just over 63,000 words but found another spot that was repeating info already noted.

So I'm going to be lazy and post the bit where Casey and Adam have arrived at Lando's house for the after-premier party.

(Casey) led him into a room that was as tall as it was wide. Hundreds of lantern lights covered the ceiling and a hundred people danced, all in exotic masks of gold and chrome and white plastic, drinking neon-colored liquids through straws that lit up, and vaping on neon-outlined cigarette pipes. A DJ worked his turntables by a wall of a window that looked out on a yard and pool that were landscaped to within an inch of reality. All relatively normal, to Adam, except for one thing.

There was no music.

Barely even the noise of shuffling feet. Instead, it was spooky quiet as the dancers texted on their phones and read each others' phones and laughed at each others' phones and argued via each others' phones and blew fake smoke into the air and lit up their straws as they sipped. It was so bizarre, Adam had to check his chin to make sure his mouth was shut.

Someone slipped up behind him to place an elegant mask over his face and hook it behind his ears ... and music pounded into his brain, sharp and thumping, vibrating to the very tips of his well-pedicured toes. He jerked it off to find ear-buds built in to the ear-rests and a girl who couldn't have been legal age casting him a bewildered look.

"You hear the music with these," she said.

"Why?" popped out of him.

"Beverly Hills noise ordinance," she said, smiling sweetly as she wandered away.

"Dear God, Casey, is this how -- ?" But she had vanished, and he felt the weight of her purse in his coat pocket. "Casey?" She was not to be seen. "I'm bloody Gunga Din, to her," he muttered.

Then a woman of indeterminate age in near nothing couture oozed up to ask, "Did you say you were somebody?"

"What do you mean?" was all he could think of as a response.

"I hear you're somebody," her voice like a whisper trying to sound loud.

"Isn't everyone?" Adam replied.

She shook her head. "If you're not somebody, today, you're nobody, unless you were somebody, yesterday, or might be, tomorrow."

Adam blinked. "I ... I don't know who I could be but me. Today."

"Isn't that just like your type?" And she oozed away.

He backed to the window to watch the silent dancing increase in frenzy and --

Incense appeared before him. Sharp. Smoky. A woman dressed in flowing Indian robes with multitudinous beads dripping around her neck, hair frizzed into half a halo and held by headbands, she positioned the stick straight up to roll between her fingers. She nearly caught his nose with it.

"Careful," he said, bumping the back of his head against the glass.

The Earth Mother spun about and swirled the incense smoke around him. "Your aura needs serious cleansing," she said.

He coughed and tried to wave the smoke away. "I think Orisi did quite enough of that, thank you."

She gasped and grasped Adam's hands to look closer at the mandalas. "What exquisite work," she whispered, awe-struck. "The depth and lacy intricacy ... and so fresh ... "

Adam took his hands back and held them behind him as he said, "Julie did them."

The Earth Mother pressed closer to Adam, her eyes bright with joy and fire, the scent of cinnamon wafting about her. "Julie? There is a Julie Marshe-Croton who's renown for her henna designs. And she's English. Like you." She threw her hands up in front of his face, showing him elegant henna works on their backs, lacing around her fingers and coloring her nails. "My daughter did these. She worships Julie Marshe-Croton. And you say she's here? In Los Angeles?"

"I ... uh, yes, I ... I suppose -- "

"She is! Look at how the incense curls around your nose!"

Adam looked. It was!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Time goes slooooooooooooow...

Damn, today went by like a snail. I picked up a van and loaded in packing materials and supplies and got on the road at 1:30, heading for NYC. The hotel I aimed for was just under 400 miles off, which is about 7 hours since I stop and stretch my legs along the way...and that's all it took, but I would swear time was going backwards. It felt like 10 hours, minimum.

It's weird how that happens. Most days vanish around me, as if they're only pretending to be there. I can get started working on a story or researching something or trying to finish a job at work, and suddenly I'm running late. But occasionally it seems like no matter what I do, time ticks by at the slowest mode possible. And that was today.

I was constantly checking the time in relation to where I was -- like pulling into Syracuse, I thought I was running late but I was actually a bit ahead (mainly due to how fast I drive). And I got to Stroudsburg by 7, and had to keep reminding myself it wasn't an hour later. I stopped to have some ribs at a Chili's, there, then got caught in nasty traffic on the 80, due to a wreck. So I stopped, again, got gas, and still made it to the hotel by 9:30. On schedule, really, considering an hour for dinner and refueling.

I wish life would slow time down while I'm writing, giving me more space to work in, and stop just having it disappear before I know it, in every other way.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Working along on A65...

I just finished redoing Chapter 11 and have a whole 66 pages left to complete in this rewrite. Most of them require simple changes. So far, I've added 10 pages and the wordage is just over 63,000...and I can cut more. I still think 62,000 is the target size. Then comes printing up a copy to do more corrections on and then another polish...and then feedback.

I should be done by the end of the week. Tomorrow I'm headed down to New Jersey to pick up some archives, and coming straight back, so I'll have my evenings and weekend to do it. I will be so glad, because the following week I start a series of jobs on the West Coast that could keep me there for a month -- LA, SF and Seattle. Up and down the coast.

I guess I need to really be thinking about a cover for A65. I have some ideas, and I do like how OT's turned out. Same for RIHC6, LD and PM, since I wouldn't change a thing in them, but I'm not completely happy with HTRASG or maybe I should get some professional help on this one. I have contact with a man in England who does this and might be open to doing it, but first I need to get the book ready enough to let him know what it's about.

When it comes to P/S, I've had that cover set in my mind for years. It all just depends on if I can license this black and white image to use. The font needs work and I'd cut the "A Novel" bit. Don't know if I'd add a short blurb...that feels wrong, somehow. But I can decide once I hunker down and start back to work on it.

And this is the next book I'm matter what.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Editing galore...

One good thing about posting snippets of The Alice '65 is, for me anyway...I get taken out of it and can see where to cut. Like the part I posted on rid of 7 lines that were overly emphatic about a point made earlier. For example, this little conversation is now --
"I just spent two hours in a freezing theater watching a man I used to love pretend he loved me. I need a double-dose of Midol. Triple."  Her tight face-mask was back on.

"Head?" Adam asked. She merely nodded. He slipped behind her and set his fingers on her shoulders with his thumbs pressing against her spine. "Here."

He began to run his thumbs up her neck, light and easy.

She tried to pull away, saying, "Baby, no -- "

"Just relax," he said as he pushed on.

Casey sighed. "Oh, Adam. Baby. Magic fingers"

He had to chuckle at that. "Told you, mum's a physical therapist. She knows how to make pain vanish. And she would give you the stick for letting your shoulders become so tight." He let his voice soften. Grow close to wistful. "But your skin ... the, um, the result of Orisi's cleansing products?"

"Same crap he used on you. If I didn't, I'd never get styled in this town, again."

"Was reaction good for the film, at least?"

"Who knows?" It took her a moment to continue. "Those cookies and juice, that should never have happened."

"No worries."

"But that's how my mother makes pain vanish." Then she sighed. "More and more, lately." Adam kept rubbing. "I think she's lonely. It's just been her and me since daddy left."

"Surely she has friends."

"You know what a friend is, in this town? Somebody you see once a year. Maybe twice. Three times? You're in a relationship. I bet you have lots of friends."

"I don't know about lots," he said, still rubbing. "People from university. Mates on the team. Neighbors. The spouses and families of David and Beryl."

She almost turned to look at him. "You keep inventory?"

"These are people I've been around forever. Who know me. Understand me. Let me be."

"People say they understand me, but they don't. Nobody does. Not even me."

"Doesn't everyone feel that way?"


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Quick posit for more of A65

Changing planes in Charlotte and had to walk a mile from one end of a terminal to another. Literally. So here's a touch more of A65 to give me a breather. This is after the premier's let out and Adam is looking for Casey, when...


"Why you out here?"

Adam jumped around to find Casey beside him, her mask gone and irritation in her eyes.

She continued with, "The movie was half over before I realized you weren't coming."

"I had no money for food," he said, "and needed to use the phone and couldn't get back in."

Casey looked at that usher, and the irritation vanished into weariness. "He the one who stopped you?" Adam nodded. She all but growled, "You should've just waited in the limo. Plenty of food and water in there."

"Where is it?"

She looked around to find a dozen limos now on the street, none of them theirs. Others were parked in a nearby lot while a few were obviously on standby in front of a higher-end hotel.

"I'll send him a text," she said. "He'll be right up."

She took back her purse and pulled out her phone ... and frowned. "Adam, there's money in here; why didn't you just use this?"

"It's not mine."

She looked at him as if seeing him for the first time. "Lando would've taken a fifty and kept the change."

"Your Lando is definitely quite odd," Adam said, glancing over at him still holding court in the lobby. "You sure you want to leave? Seems the patrons are not done patronizing."

"I just spent two hours in a freezing theater watching a man I used to love pretend he loved me. I need a double-dose of Midol. Triple." The tight face-mask was back on.

"Head?" Adam asked. She merely nodded. He slipped behind her and set his fingers on her shoulders with his thumbs pressing against her spine. "Here."

She tried to pull away, saying, "Baby, no -- "

"Just relax," he said as he began to run his thumbs up her neck, light and easy. Her skin was the softest he had ever felt ... and her shoulders were the tightest. "God, my mother would give you the stick for letting yourself become so tense."

A moment later she was murmuring, "Oh, Adam. Baby. Magic fingers."

He had to chuckle at that. "Told you, mum's a physical therapist. She knows how to make pain vanish."

She gave a soft laugh and leaned back into the massage.

He let his voice soften. "Skin the result of Orisi's cleansing?"

"That or I'll never get styled in this town, again."

"Was reaction good for the film, at least?"

It took her a moment to answer. "Who knows? Sorry you didn't see it."

"I will when it hits the local cinema."

"Thanks." Her voice grew soft. "Adam ... about the cookies and juice ... "

"No worries."

"That's how my mother makes pain vanish," she said, her voice trying to be funny but not quite making it. Then she sighed, "More and more, lately."

"Have you any idea why?"

"Lonely, I guess. It's just been her and me since daddy left."

"I find that hard to believe. She's an attractive woman."

"With bad taste in men. She thought Lando was cool, until he proved he wasn't. I think she just ... she liked him."

"Hasn't she any friends?"

"You know what a friend is, in this town? Somebody you see once a year. Maybe twice. Three times? You're besties, for life. I bet you have lots of friends."

"I don't know about lots," he said, still rubbing. "People from the university. Mates on the team. Neighbors. The spouses and families of my oldest brother, David, and sister, Beryl. We get along well. Connor and his wife, not so much. In fact, I don't think I've met any of her family. It's like she was raised by feral cats, to feed or be fed upon."

"Like Veronica," Casey sighed. A moment later, the limo arrived and she asked, "Feel like more champagne?"

"Um, no, doesn't mix with Guinness." He gave her shoulders one last squeeze, sending tingles into his heart. "All better?"

"Baby, I feel beautiful."

"You? Imagine."

She swatted at him, laughing. Then as they got in the limo --

"There he goes! There's our Adam!"

He popped up to look across the limo and see almost the entire bar outside watching him. He waved at them, got in, and appeared through its sun roof, laughing. Casey joined him.

"Is that where you were?" she asked, motioning to the patrons.

"I couldn't exactly wait on those bloody benches; they were covered in bird feces."

Casey laughed, pulled him close and waved at the group as they started to pull away. The group cheered and chanted, "Casey! Adam! Casey! Adam!"

Lando was still thronged with people, just outside the theater, but heard them and looked around.

Casey noticed, laughed and flipped him off, as the limo eased around the traffic.

All Adam could think to say, in a veddy Vincent tone was, "Casey! How positively horrid of you."

Still laughing, she opened the video app on her phone and showed him the Paparazzi twins were back on their motorbike, saying, "Wanna bet they got a good shot?"

He could just make out that were telling each other, "Blow up should be happening soon." "Then it's gonna be High Noon."

Adam looked at her. "Are we planning something to fulfill this dream of theirs?"

She gave him an odd look of appraisal, mixed with a wide grin, then she said, "Not anymore, baby. It just seems stupid, doing something like that. And I'm tired of feeling stupid."

She rubbed her arms so he removed his jacket and put it over her shoulders. She was surprised. "Adam, you don't have to -- "

"I'm from London," he said. "This is like a fine summer's night there. I'm quite comfortable."

She pulled it tight. "Thanks. Y'know, I do have to make an appearance at Lando's, then we'll head back to my place. Light a fire. Order in Chinese or Indian. Get you a good night's sleep. That okay?"

He let a long sigh out. "Sounds like heaven."

She kept her eyes on him for a moment longer, nodding. "Yes, it does. It does."

Monday, June 5, 2017

Next stop, Tallahassee, Florida...

Another place I never would have gone to on my own. Florida's not my favorite state and being in any sort of close proximity to its government give me the itch. Especially with Rick Scott being governor. The man looks like a cyborg and has all the empathy of the Terminator in the first movie, as he's consistently shown in his actions and attitudes. But it's just for a couple of days, so...

I reworked Chapter 9 of A65, since some of it just didn't read smoothly. I'm trying not to go back and do my re-write thing every time I dig into the story...and I seem to be able to keep from it, for the most part. In this section, Casey begins to open up to Adam over a hot box of nuked Mac & Cheese, and we finally get a glimpse of the hurt young woman she hides behind her anger.

Initially, it was like a long monologue of her speaking as he eats and listens...but that was completely wrong for the moment, so I broke it up into more of a conversation. It's better but still needs work to make it real and smooth. Of course, it also added about 2 pages to the story -- I'm up to 255 and well over 63K in wordage -- though I may wind up trimming back by a page. I wanted it to keep to 62K in wordage and about 250 pages.

Oh, who am I kidding? I don't care how long the story is; it'll be as long as it needs to be, and no longer. And I still have some moments in the original Alice... to reference in some off-beat way, so there will be more addition. I think I'll get a professional editor to go over it, this time, just to get a sense of how it really comes across...and how decent my English is.

Wouldn't want Adam to wind up too obscure to work right.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Screw the news, more A65

This is after Adam's been refused entry to the movie. Manny, Julie's husband, has dragged Adam away from a confrontation and pushed him across the street to a bar:

"You don't want trouble in America," Manny said. "They're the arseholse of the world when it comes to prison." Then he led Adam into the noisy California version of an English Pub and called, "Julie, look what I got!"

Adam saw her at the other end of the bar, talking to a man in a blinding white suit. They both spun around and waved and Julie screamed, "It's Adam!"

And what did the man in white say? "Jumpin' jeebus!"

It was Orisi.

"What're you doing here, son?" Orisi cried as he slammed his way through the crowd to Adam, Julie right behind him.

"Too bloody jaded to bother with his own girl's movie," Manny laughed.

"Oh, no-no-no, she's not my girl," said Adam.

"Oi, everybody," Manny called around the bar, "This man's dating Casey Blanchard!"

"We're not dating ... "

"Yeah, right, escorts her to a premier but they're not dating."

Adam huffed. "Manny -- "

Julie grabbed Adam's tie and yanked him around to her, saying, "Go with it, sweets. There's men who'd die to be in your place."

"Got that right," Orisi laughed. "So tell me, son -- what's goin' on? She banish you for bein' you?"

"No!" Adam gasped. "We ... we got separated and they wouldn't let me in because I'm not her plus one, whatever that means, and ... well, my mobile is ... um, I can't find a ... I need to call my bank and can't find a phone."

"Here," Julie said, pulling hers from her purse and handing it to him. "Now what's your poison?"

"Thanks. Could I have a Guinness? Pint?"

"A man after me own heart," said Manny. "Oi, barkeep, my famous friend, Adam Verain, will have a pint of Guinness!"

Adam almost corrected him, then decided it might be better if no one knew his real name so dialed the number on the back of his cash card. As it rang, he motioned to Orisi and asked Julie, "I thought he was watching Dumpling."

She reached around him to reveal the back of Orisi's coat opened and underneath it was Dumpling, in a baby snuggy, sound asleep.

Adam frowned. "Is this legal?"

Julie put a finger to her lips. "That's why he's under O's coat. Bartender hasn't noticed."

Adam just sighed, saw several people watching him and pointing at him and smiling at him ... and so turned his full attention to the phone. He was still on it when his Guinness was set before him ... and when his second was, thanks to a touristy couple who thought he was a celebrity. As he was about to give up, the bank's customer service accepted he was who he claimed to be and unlocked his card. Just in time to buy his own round.

"Perfect," he chuckled, then jolted around to the bartender. "Do you serve food?"

The man held up a bag of Cheetos and Adam nearly cried with happiness. "Bloody brilliant. I'll take ten, and if you've got a bowl ... "

A clear basin was put before him and he opened all the bags into it then jolted to a halt and looked around to see ...

Orisi was busy singing and performing Ricky Martin's kick-ass performance of La Copa de Vida at the 1999 Grammys, off in a corner.

Adam tapped Julie on the shoulder and asked, "Does he still have Dumpling?"

She nodded. "Little beggar's knackered."

"Oh, God," said Adam, "did Patricia feed him -- ?"

"Not like what you had, sweets. She knew better."

"You ... you knew what I was having?"

Julie grinned. "You didn't?"

"I did. Eventually."

Julie laughed and grabbed Manny. "Wait'll you hear this."

Adam grinned and plowed into the Cheetos and the brew. Julie and Manny joined him, as did a number of other bar patrons, who bought their own bags of Cheetos to add in.

Orisi finally gave up and joined them and dove into the Cheetos with as much gusto as anyone else, realized what he was eating, saw the Cheeto dust on Adam's lips and fingers, howled and said, "Jumpin' Jeebus, son, you gotta work them carbs off! GO!" Then he pushed Adam into the center of the room and turned to the bartender. "Ricky Martin! Fast and furious!"

"C'mon, sweets," Julie screamed, "show us what you got!"

Livin' la Vida Loca blasted over the speakers. Adam was feeling so good, he spread his arms wide, then clapped his hands, then took off his coat, slung it around like a cape, and strutted around the room before breaking into a wild Paso Doble in the middle of the bar, the patrons clapping and pounding on tables. Every woman in the bar screamed at him like he was stripping at Chippendale's, as did more than a few men.

When he was done, he collapsed against the bar and downed more of his third Guinness. Julie was to his right.

An older man came up and asked, "Where'd you learn that?"

Adam took in a deep breath, accepted a towel offered by the bartender, wiped off his face and ran his hand through his hair. "Five years ... no, six ... ballroom dancing." Julie cast him a You're kidding glance. Adam chuckled. "Don't ask. Besides, it helps in rugger."

"Rugger?" the older man asked, his hand on Adam's shoulder.

"Rugby," Julie called over to the man. "Could've been a real footballer if he'd wanted."

"C'mon, Julie," he said, blushing. "We just play for fun. Have a few pints. Lie about what did in the match."

"You gay?" the man asked.

Adam shook his head. "Not last I checked. Couple the lads are, and I thought about it, once, but the equipment's wrong."

"Too bad," said the man as he patted Adam on the back and turned away.

Adam hesitated, looked after the man then turned to Julie. "Did he just hit on me?"

She barely kept from laughing. "You couldn't tell?"

"Didn't even think about. I'm not the sort gets passes made."

She brushed more of his hair back, smiling. "You don't think much of yourself, do you?"

Saturday, June 3, 2017


Another set of terror attacks in London, at the Borough Market and on London Bridge. As of this moment, six are dead, as are three attackers, and more than twenty injured. Of course the media and right wing are screaming their heads off about this, as if it's easy to stop. Just ban the right people and there will be no more dead. Right. Blind cowards, all.

Northern Ireland lived through decades of this -- people being killed in bombings and shootings, security so ramped up it was damn near impossible to even go shopping -- but no matter how hard the army and police tried, they could not stop it. And that's in a tiny part of a small island. It wasn't till thousands of Catholics, Protestants and soldiers had died that both sides realized they faced either decades more of the same horror or they came to an agreement to end the bloodshed. Those in control made the rational choice and sat down together, and forced those who didn't agree with them to go along...or else. And there are still some in the Six Counties trying to sabotage the process, on both sides...but at least life there is back to near normal.

In Israel, they've lived with this sort of terror since the country was created, with it coming to a head when Sharon provoked the Second Intifada, in September 2000, that wound up killing 3000 Palestinians and 1000 Jews during the next 4 years. It wasn't till Arafat died and both sides realized nothing was to be gained by the non-stop bloodshed, that they found a way to end it. Palestinians are still killing Jews and Jews are killing Palestinians, and Hamas is still lobbing rockets into Israel and using money donated to the Palestinians to fund it, leaving their people in miserable circumstances, especially when Israel strikes back, but it's not as bad as it was.

This is how it's been since the beginning of civilization. People slaughter each other till they grow tired of it and decide to stop (like in WW1). Sometimes it takes the near destruction of a country to end the violence (like in WW2). Sometimes the slaughter doesn't stop till an entire group of people have nearly been obliterated (like the Armenians by Turkey and Tutsis by Hutus in Rwanda). Cities have been destroyed and men, women and children killed for being the wrong kind of religion, something that even happens under Christianity (like the sacking of Constantinople, a Christian city, by Christian Crusaders, and the slaughter of Protestant Huguenots by French Catholics).

We're just seeing mankind do what mankind does best -- destroy -- so maybe it's time Mother Nature removed us from the gene pool and started afresh; we are like a cancer to this world.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Return from Toronto

I took a more scenic route back home, not so much along the QEW as after I crossed back into the US. Instead of hopping on the freeway, I took the parkway that ran beside the Niagara River Gorge, and it was a good choice.

From here you can see the northern part of the city of Niagara Falls, with the Nexus Bridge going into Canada, over which Amtrak takes passengers across.
This gives you an idea of the river's rush. This is from De Voeux Woods State Park, by Whirlpool Point. Somehow that little boat made it up close to the main rapids.
More of the rushing river, with another sightseeing boat. You can just make out a cable car that rides across the gorge, in the upper right corner.
Close-up of the cable car. Seems you can only take it from the Canadian side, and have to stay in till it returns.
Then the river meanders on past a massive hydro-electric facility that uses the water from a reservoir behind it. What feeds that, I have no idea. This photo was taken from Devil's Hole Park. You can just see a small boat headed up the river, in front of it.

I like Toronto but the traffic is nasty, mainly because no matter where you go, there's construction and lanes are blocked off and intersections closed and it's a mess. Took me nearly an hour to go 10 miles from my hotel to the job site.

The only reason I got there that quickly was I put my LA Driver attitude on and pissed off a lot of other drivers.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Czar Snowflake strikes, again...

The creature that calls himself president has decided to rescind America's participation in The Paris Treaty signed by Obama. Its goal is to lessen carbon emissions around the world, and all but 2 other countries signed it. But apparently the creature who drove several businesses into the ground, is known for not keeping his agreements, has the temperament of a 5 year old child, and whose skin isn't even as resilient as wet toilet paper is going to negotiate a better deal for the US. As if.

So far this creature has harmed America's relationship with NATO and the EU, has fawned over dictators around the world, has made his spokespeople into liars moments after they said they were speaking for him, has signed an arms deal with the world's biggest sponsor of terrorism and Israel's sworn enemy, and has canceled out every one of Obama's executive orders. He's acting more like a vindictive bitch-man out to ruin his predecessor's legacy than leader of the free world...and he has acolytes who see him as next to god, if not god himself, so he thinks he's doing good.

I am so beyond angry about this nonsense. It's worse than embarrassing to the US. It's like we're Rome under Caligula, and we're crashing into the same fate as that great empire. And Czar Snowflake is damned well going to make sure it happens. I do not understand why, nor have I any idea how to change the course of events, let alone stop them. The GOP is too busy using him as their shield as they dismantle everything this country has built since 1933. What they are helping him get away with used to be considered treason, and we executed people for it.

I despised Reagan; I disliked Bush 1; I distrusted Clinton (both Mr. and Mrs.); I loathed Bush 2; and felt let down by Obama...but I don't recall ever wishing any of them were dead. I cannot say that about Czar Snowflake. I wish him straight to hell...him and his whole goddamned administration.

They are the evil in this world.