Friday, May 31, 2019

May Words of Wisdom

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone. --Ayn Rand

The secret to success in any human endeavor is total concentration. --Kurt Vonnegut

If you can't tolerate critics, don't do anything new or interesting. --Jeff Bezos

The horse is king and we are here to serve that king. --Ian Millar

When you replace "why is this happening to me" with "what is this trying to teach me?", everything shifts. --Unknown

Moving on doesn't mean forgetting. It means you choose happiness over hurt.
--Unknown

It is what it is. It was what it was. It will be what it will be. Don't stress it. --Duke Ruby

I think of myself as something of a connoisseur of procrastination, creative and dogged in my approach to not getting things done. --Susan Orlean

Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. --Anais Nin

Your competition isn't other people. Your competition is your procrastination. Your ego. The unhealthy food you're consuming, the knowledge you neglect. The negative behavior you're nurturing and your lack of creativity. Compete against that. --Unknown

There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. --Don Miguel Ruiz

There are people less qualified than you, doing the things you want to do, simply because they decided to believe in themselves. Period. --Unknown

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that: We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained. --Marie Curie

After a visit to the beach, it's hard to believe that we live in a material world.
--Pam Shaw

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

WOWZA!!!

A pilot took busted out his camera as he was flying through a rainbow and the result was mind-boggling:


What a beautiful world.

Big honking tip 'o the hat to I Belong on a Beach on FB.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Thank you for your service and sacrifice

As we embark on Memorial Day weekend, take a moment to remember and thank those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.


Monday, May 20, 2019

South Park, prescient as ever

I recently saw a rerun of the South Park episode where the kids are forced to sit through the tedious Russell Crowe Show in order to see the debut of a trailer for a Terrance and Phillip movie. And then today this popped up on my social media:


There's no way I'm sitting through a network news show just to see this trailer. It'll probably be on the internet before the day is over anyway. 

But yeah, totally that South Park episode.

Friday, May 17, 2019

This news - I hate it

This is just so sad: Grumpy Cat has died.


Grumpy, whose real name was Tardar Sauce, succumbed to a urinary tract infection. She was only seven years old.

Of course, the horrible news spawned some Grumpy memes, including this one:


I was a big fan. One of my fridge magnets is Grumpy's priceless expression with the caption "I like the sound you make when you shut up." And for the record, I LOVED Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever.

RIP Grumpy. You brought so much cranky joy and you will be missed.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Recent Reading: "The Wrong Side of Goodbye"


The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly (audiobook read by Titus Welliver)

Harry Bosch is retired from LAPD and working part-time for the San Fernando Police Department. He is also freelancing as a private investigator and it is as a P.I. that he is enlisted by Whitney Vance, an extremely elderly billionaire who as a young college student was involved with a Mexican girl who became pregnant. His family disapproved and the relationship ended to Vance's everlasting regret. He wants Bosch to find out if he has an unknown heir via that pregnancy, so that he can try and finally make things right in some way.  It's an assignment that leads Bosch on a fascinating journey that touches on a variety of worlds and eras, including the Vietnam War and the recent gentrification of Downtown L.A.'s Arts District.

Bosch is also tracking a serial rapist as a member of the SFPD. He usually doesn't have trouble juggling cases, but this time it causes a conflict that results in Harry making choices that could endanger his SFPD partner.

While not my overwhelming favorite Bosch novel, both cases make fascinating studies on how one decision can calamitously affect and change so many lives.

There was a glitch on one of the discs that caused me to have to skip over a track or two. I don't think it was anything that made it hard to follow the story to its resolution, but it also caused me to toss the discs before thinking to pull a quote.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

RIP Tim Conway

Legendary comedian Tim Conway passed away yesterday. There wasn't much I could say about his genius that wasn't being said anywhere else, but then his son, radio broadcaster Tim Conway Jr., tweeted this cartoon by Randy Bish and it got me right in the feels:


Because of course, this:

I don't know how they ever got through a sketch.

Harvey's been waiting so long for someone who can make him laugh.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

There's one in every family

This is getting to be the crappy part of the year for me. March is now the anniversary of my Mom's death. Then in May there's Mother's Day followed by the anniversary of Dad's death. And next month is Father's Day.


Today marks eight years since my Dad passed away. Eight years since my sister shit on his memory and wreaked havoc with what was left of the family. Here's a friendly piece of advice that I unfortunately had to learn the hard way: I don't care how much you trust your survivors to respect your final wishes, you need to have your trust and/or will up-to-date and ironclad. The more value that your estate has, the more important this is, because there's a good chance there will be a greedy free-for-all when you're gone.


That's what happened after my Dad died, and as executor of his estate I was front and center for all the bullshit. It took about three years to close his estate because I had to sell his house and the housing market where he lived wasn't great at the time. It was three years of hell - dealing with someone else's disrespectful crap and having to see my Dad's memory and intentions to provide for his survivors trashed and trampled on. And it wasn't like our situation was unique. So many people I talked to during that period had a similar story. One guy told me he had uncles who were no longer speaking to him as a result of the battle over his grandparents estate. I remember him saying, "I thought we had a close family..."


So whether you have a close family or not, have things in order. Do it now. If my Dad had any inkling of the shit my sister was going to pull after he passed away and the hell she put the rest of us through, he would have throttled her (and probably disinherited her, and not for the first time). But by then it was too late for him to deal with the situation. So if you want things done right, make sure you've set it up in advance.


On the upside, it did give me some valuable story fodder. One of the great things about being a writer is that there is no such thing as useless information, and no such thing as useless experience. Even a bad experience, once enough time has passed, can provide inspiration. So I did get a go-to villain and a great Better Call Saul spec script out of the deal, and Dad would have gotten a huge kick out of that.


So RIP Dad, and as for the rest of you, you're welcome for the advice.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother's Day

Second one without her. Still hasn't sunk in.










Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A great fear of shallow living


H/T to I Belong on a Beach on FB.

So homesick. I miss the beach.


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The unexpected return of "LAst Resort"

It's been two years since LAst Resort, the short story anthology that made me a first-time published author, was released. So you can imagine my surprise when this popped up on my Facebook feed today:


Why yes, that is LAst Resort right smack dab in the middle of the image! Hello again, you beautiful cover you!

I thought maybe it was an old post that had cropped up for some reason, but when I checked the link, I discovered that it is a current article. Not sure why it's coming up now as a recommendation - that really came out of the blue - but I'm certainly not going to argue with it. Gotta admit, it was nice to see it again. Welcome back old friend!


Updated 5/9/19: Just received an email from Sisters in Crime L.A. explaining what brought LAst Resort back out into the limelight and it's pretty darn cool:

Georgia Jeffries just let us know that the 2017 Anthology, LAst Resort, has been selected as one of the May Book Club Central offerings, sent to libraries and book clubs by SinC National. Every month, National randomly selects several books from the many submissions and features them in newsletters sent to libraries across the country. This month's theme was anthologies. We're so excited that LAst Resort was chosen.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Monrovia Historic Home Tour

The Brother and I did the Monrovia Historic Home Tour yesterday and we had a blast.

The theme this year was the town's first homes, all built in 1887 except for one that was built in 1884. All were various types of Victorians, and although initially I was disappointed that there weren't any Craftsmans this year, we learned from a docent that the ornate Victorians were what was in style in the late 1880's. The more streamlined Craftsmans wouldn't come into style until years later, which explained their absence this year due to the theme.

In the end it didn't really matter. The houses were beautiful and the care taken by their current and previous owners to adhere to the historic architecture and even rehabbing the houses when necessary was evident in every room.

The highlight for us was the last house we hit on the tour, the beautiful Victorian known as Idlewild, which just happens to be for sale. It was also the only multi-level home where we weren't allowed upstairs, which was disappointing, plus I wasn't overwhelmed by the kitchen, but the rest of it was impressive as hell. The entryway is gorgeous and the wooden arch between the living room and dining room was absolutely stunning (the picture on the listing doesn't do it justice). I think The Brother was still kind of meh about it until we got outside and were directed to the wine cellar, which is only accessible from the side yard. I think that sold it for him. Probably a good thing he doesn't have a spare $1.7 million laying around. They also wisely didn't have any actual wine in there so we didn't have to fight off the temptation to make off with a souvenir.

Overall, even without a Craftsman, we had a great time. The weather cooperated and none of the houses were terribly crowded. We topped it off with dinner at North Woods, which never disappoints. All in all, just a great day.

Idlewild's grand entrance.


Sunday, May 5, 2019

It happened again! A cat taking a cat walk on a catwalk!

What is it with cats and fashion shows? This time at a Christian Dior show in Marrakesh. I love how he doesn't seem to give a crap what's going on around him. And is it my imagination or does he spray one of the attendees right at the end of the video?