Saturday, March 25, 2017

On Being A Man...

...in a pajama boy world...finis...well, the proof copies, anyway.

Of course, since I "completed" the book and ordered proof copies, I've already made changes to a few chapters...and after KRB Book Services slices and dices it in their ruthless editing process, there will be even more changes.

But basically, the book is complete.  I expect to have it published on Amazon and actively being ignored by millions of people within the month.

Think of the thrill of millions of people not buying my work...reminds me of Gene Kelly in "An American In Paris" trying to hawk his paintings on the street so he can buy coffee and croissants for breakfast.

It's always a bittersweet experience, coming to the end of a manuscript.  I'm a believer in Ecclesiastes 7:8 - better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof...and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

So finishing a task is always rewarding, but never fails to be accompanied by a certain sense of melancholy as well.

My world tends to make sense when I'm writing and I'm at loose ends when I'm not.

Suddenly, I'm not...time to dream up that next project I guess.

Rainy weekend and not much going on...Karen's a little under the weather so didn't do too much.

Did watch a classic Marilyn flick...
...great stuff from the early 1950's.

Marilyn's star was ascending; her two co-stars, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall, had peaked...but they worked well together as an ensemble cast...lighthearted fluff but still good for a few laughs 60+ years later.

Work continues to be a tough slog...entering our 6th week of "hypercare" after the warehouse management system "go live" weekend...planned for 2 weeks...so we're a month later and still doing the Danse Macabre...
Well ok, not literally the dance of death, but we're getting close...I'm very ready to be done with this and move on to something that actually feels productive.

And on that happy note, I think I'm ready to hit the hay.

Later, mcm fans...

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Voluntary...

...imprisonment...note the open lid on the left, and our "prisoner" huddling on the far right of our havahart cage.

We're trying to catch and relocate Mr. Groundhog who has taken up residence behind and underneath our garage again...
So far Mr. G has avoided capture...and eventually Mr. Possum did exit the cage.

For living in the city, we have our share of wildlife frolicking in our backyard...
...some more welcome than others.

Making pretty good progress with "On Being A Man...in a pajama boy world"...
Finished the "Big Stuff" part of the manuscript last night...and have two of the five "Fun Stuff" chapters written...three more to go...The Game Of Kings, Tach It Up Tach It Up, and Mixology And Other Evils.

For The Game Of Kings I'll be interviewing former Michigan Open Chess champion (1980) Dave Whitehouse who garnered a USCF rating of 2271 at one time.  That put him solidly in the "Master" ranking.
I apologize for the grainy picture...it's from a 1981 .pdf of Michigan Chess, but it does show his assassin eyes...
By way of comparison, thirty years ago when I attempted to polish my game a bit playing computer chess, I had an unofficial, non-USCF rating that hovered around 1600...a B class ranking.

That means if Dave and I ever played a game I would be toast in about 12 moves, max.

I'm looking forward to hearing his point of view on all things chess.  Between Dave's insights and some summary info from Fred Reinfeld's chess books, this chapter pretty much writes itself.

For the two other chapters I'll spend some time bloviating about classic cars - wonder if Mr. T might show up in that chapter?
- and try to give a reasoned approach to the wild wacky wonderful world of alcohol.  The scriptures do speak to this issue but not in the way most people tend to think.

A legitimate case can be made that misguided fundamentalist zealots...
...unwittingly helped usher in the most lawless period in modern American history with Prohibition in the 1920's and the consequent meteoric rise of organized crime.
Be legal, sober and moderate and you'll be fine.  Some folks can't manage that and shouldn't touch the stuff.  Others can and should feel free to enjoy if they wish.

Nosy busybodies who feel the need to run everyone's life for them should butt out and take a whack at running their own.

My dos centavos.

Adios amigos...

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Found It...

...my vacation home...an A frame combined with a "shipping container" home...love the deck which ideally faces a body of water.

Many moons ago when I lived in Maine I knew some folks with a cottage on a remote pond/lake...was bigger than a pond, smaller than the typical inland lake...and though it was reachable by dirt road in the summer, an equally common method of arrival was via the air...Piper Cubs on floats were everywhere...
...during the winter you had to arrive via snowmobile or dog sled...

It was beautiful, but in the summer you were constantly doing battle with the bugs...black flies in the early spring, mosquitoes after that...brutal at times.

The view of the wildlife was incredible though...deer, bear, even moose...if backwoods is your thing, this was the perfect place for you.

I remember thinking way back when, "someday I'll have my A-frame on a lake"...hasn't happened yet, don't know if it ever will.  Guess I've been too busy living in the real world to worry about it.

A rich man I know once told me you should always rent your fun...that owning it is too much time and expense...probably right...a second home implies more maintenance, more taxes, two of everything while you're using it...furniture, dishes, appliances, etc...I'd have to refresh my pilot's license, buy a piper cub...it's a tough life...let's get started...

Watched "Allied" last night, starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard...aside from whatever juicy part their pairing might have played in the Brangelina fiasco, it's a very fine film in which both actors truly shine.

They are spies during WWII, he a Canadian intelligence officer, she a French resistance fighter, and the opening sequence covers their mission to assassinate the German ambassador in Casablanca...yes, that Casablanca of Bogart and Bergman fame.

And like that classic from 1942, this is a love story set against the impossibly tense, dangerous and heroic backdrop of a great world conflict.

The only flaw in this otherwise wonderful movie is the completely unnecessary and ridiculously stilted imposition of a gay romance between Brad Pitt's character's sister and her lesbian live in.

It's so jarringly out of place for that time, so utterly spurious and out of context to the story, I can only imagine the working sessions when the scriptwriter struggled to find just the right part of the story to insert the wholly meaningless advertisement for homosexuality.

"hmm...here?  no, doesn't really fit...how about there?  no, doesn't fit there, either...well dang!  there must be someplace I can shove this claptrap in to keep my liberal overlords happy..."

Is it a contractual requirement every movie nowadays must promote same sex unions?

It's like all the real actors take a five minute break while the two lesbian lovers have their big scene - they kiss!  right in front of people!  In a bar!  In 1942!  how meaningful!  now I see where this is going!  it's all so clear! - then resume the actual movie.

The only thing missing is a voice over by a baritone announcer telling us "we interrupted this movie to bring you this important reminder:  homosexuality is cool!  we now rejoin our regularly scheduled programming..."

Devoid of relevance to the story and completely disjointed from the rest of the movie, when I watch this again I'll treat that pointless interruption the same way I do all inane commercials...great, a couple of minutes to go use the bathroom and pour myself another whisky.
Other than that little bit of contrived nonsense, the rest of the movie is fantastic...a fabulous period piece with stellar performances by Pitt and Cotillard...well worth your time.

In the "accidental fun" category...went to look at a home on 2.5 acres a few miles west of here and most of that acreage is a wide backyard that goes straight back behind the house.  For all the world it looks like a tree lined fairway, with a small creek running across the middle of it.

Sooooo...I brought my hickory clubs and a golf ball with me and guess what?  I can now officially say I've swung the hickories and actually hit a few golf balls.
I admit most of my attempts weren't worth spit, but I had two - count 'em, two - glorious strokes where the ball lofted high, straight and long, almost like I knew what I was doing.  That was with my mashie...never did hit my niblick worth a damn.

Not that I spent all my time in the backyard...it was sunny but freezing outside, about 20 degrees, so I only took about 15 minutes for that, then toured the rest of the home...an old mid century modern ranch in need of lots of updating, priced about $25k more than I'm willing to fork out for it.

Heard a little later they received a near full price offer for it so that one's probably gone, but we'll see...real estate deals regularly fall apart and for the right price we'd buy it.

And now it's coming on to 8 am on a Saturday morning of time change weekend...
spring forward, y'all...
...so it's time to get after this day.

later, mcm fans...

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

In Like A Lion...

...and hopefully out like a lamb...March, that is.

Always happy to see this month arrive, and even happier when it exits stage right.  March is one half of a duo that comprise the ugliest months of the year here in Michigan...trees and ground are bare and frozen, swept clean by brisk winds and chill temperatures.

But unlike November, March has a saving grace... it portends better things to come.

So welcome, March...just don't get too comfortable nor hang around too long.

On the work front, we continue the effort to slay the dragon of our new Warehouse Management System...
...thought we'd be a little further along in this process than we actually are, but we're getting there.  Progress is happening...hopefully we'll turn the corner this week and move from slaying the dragon into petting the kitty mode...

In other news, there's really not much other news...at least nothing all that exciting...same ol' same ol' at the moment.

I'm still in the process of writing "On Being A Man...in a pajama boy world"...
...but since I'm a proponent of Ecclesiastes 7:8 ("Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof...") I don't consider that news.

As with WMS, there is progress...just about to wrap up "The Big Stuff" and move on to "The Fun Stuff"...probably end up being around 175 pages total...another month or two I suspect.

And I continue to look forward to my first hickory golf outing...
...but it won't be at Hilton Head, nor will I arrive in a classic Duesenberg or whatever fancy car that is.

If we ever move out to the country, I might just show up in Mr. T...wouldn't that be a gas.

Guess that's about it for this edition of the Atomic Monster Cafe...

later, mcm fans...

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