Saturday, June 04, 2005

Not just another day

I'm listening to DOA on my computer through Movie Flix and there is some hot, pulse throbbing jazz and some deep soulful blues. I just got off the phone with the landlady. She called to see if I was still up here and if I liked stuffed peppers. I thought it was only Italian ladies who tempted and seduced with food. I was wrong. Bavarians do it, too, and they do it with Swiss chocolate and marzipan, homemade vegetable soup and BBQ chicken and fresh made polenta. I know I'm going to like it here. People to talk with, laugh with, discuss subjects high and low and share food with. Now that's home.

The other day while cashing a check I was talking to the manager and updating my information in their system and she surprised me with a welcome to the Springs gift -- a color TV. She said there was a TV in their garage gathering dust that worked just fine and since I didn't have a TV I could have it if I wanted it. We had been talking about me volunteering as a ham radio license examiner (VE) and she said that since I give back to ham radio someone should give a little something to me. A TV. She also invited me to come to dinner some time. The people here sure are friendly.

The sky is full of clouds that are alternately grey and ominous and sunlit moving pictures out of fantasy. The sun works its way through the clouds every now and then to remind me I'm missing a beautiful day -- even if it might rain. It's a siren call that I'm not going to be able to ignore for long. I think a walk to the library to pick up some books, a round of pulling weeds in the yard and spending time with nature and friends. I have to fit a few hours in this weekend to make up for lazy doctors who are ruining my financial bottom line, but I have other options. I have a book to read and review by Monday, the winner of the Simon & Schuster Tell Me a Story Contest Farah Ahmedi, the tale of an Afghan girl. My landlady has also offered me some of her art work for my bare walls and I may talk to her about doing a little painting and personalizing. Then there are roots to dye and laundry to wash, dry, fold and put away. But the way the sky looks I doubt I can resist much longer.

Every day like this is another reminder that no day is just another day but a chance to live fully and completely.

I'll shut up now.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

News Update

The emails and calls are coming in from writers who have known and worked with Andre Norton. They're all on board. Guess it's time to call Anne McCaffrey and take her up on introducing me to her agent and publisher and get the rest of this nailed down. How can they refuse with such a great list of authors?

The book is off and rolling.

That is all. Disperse.

Hit and run

Just a quick post because I cannot work and concentrate if I don't get the news out NOW!

This morning I found out I passed my exam to become a Volunteer Examiner (VE) for ham radio licensing and my badge was sent out yesterday. That means I will be attending my first hamfest (ham radio swap meet) on June 11 and I will also be a VE at my first licensing exams -- the first of many.

Now that I'm settled, I have sent out the advertisements and calls for those writers who have been touched by or written books with Andre Norton. I have a lot of heavy weight help backing me up on this and once the information is processed I will be a new associate member of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), which will go a long way towards helping me get the word out. It also means I will begin compiling the information and getting hold of all the letters, etc. I need to write the book...

...which means I have to finish my Victorian novel (and it's nearly done). From all accounts, there may be an auction for the Victorian novel and there has been some talk of movie tie-in, but that isn't nailed down yet. And you know how the Hollywood types like to talk. I'm in the "I'll believe it when I'm holding the check in my hot little hand" phase. But it does look good. So don't tell anyone. I don't want to jinx it.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Waving the white flag

In voodoo practice it is commonplace to invite the loa, or spirits, to possess you, especially during the dance. The loa are not always benevolent spirits but contain aspects of both the dark and light, like nature. And, like nature, a snake can be poisonous and even deadly, even though they are also powerful totems. They signify wisdom and renewal/rebirth.

I've always liked snakes of the reptile variety. I can't say the same thing for the human variety.

A 'friend' recently contacted me waving the white flag, saying they realized that there will be times we don't agree and that it doesn't have to wreck our friendship -- the same words I had been saying all along but which were ignored and treated as negative until they said them. That seems to be the usual route they take -- ignoring my words and ascribing negative and hurtful ulterior motives...until the words come out of their mouth.

Someone told me this morning that maybe it's because the person lost a friend recently and is reminded of the precious value of life and what they could be missing being around me. Then they warned me to keep my distance. I've accepted the apology in the interest of fairness, but I intend to keep my distance because I don't trust this person's motives. I cannot afford to trust them when I see the same pattern repeated over and over, just as it was when they waved the white flag the last several times.

It's hard to accept and trust anyone who uses every opportunity to take digs and throw in little zingers, like mentioning that people in a group, to which I no longer belong and which they do, had issues with me from the first but refrained from saying so out of deference to them and their friendship with me. This from people who have stabbed others in the back the moment they left the room. "I don't think she really belongs with us" and "He abuses my hospitality and takes advantage of my friendship without caring or realizing that he's doing it" are just two of the comments made about people they are supposedly so close with. I was also informed that the group is far from meltdown now that I'm gone and that they have continued to meet socially and ritually.

Like I said, always the zinger and the dig with the apology.

A comment they made about jealousy was also admitted, but it was put off on others and they then went on to say they didn't understand jealousy, citing an example of a world traveling and very successful person of their acquaintance, as if that made it so simply because they didn't want the same things. I have to wonder if the fangs are not indeed coated with venom. It wouldn't be the first instance of a foe or once-friend waving the white flag just to get close enough to press home the final attack.

That doesn't mean I distrust all white flags, but I do tend to distrust white flags with obvious splotches, blood and dirt on them. One thing I am certain of is that they blow hot and cold depending on their own needs and desires. The 'friend' is nearly finished with a project and needs a professional with excellent skills and a good sense of the markets to work with them. I'm sure they'd be willing to meet my price, but I'm not willing to sell out. Just as I am not willing to take anyone's views of my life and my situations at face value, especially someone who masks himself and gives the exact same view to two other people when it runs counter to their own personal code.

I cannot believe anyone who lurks in the shadows gathering information and evidence and spewing it out like venom for their own personal agendas. I am too wary and wise for that.

It does seem strangely interesting that the friend's MO remains the same: quarrel, deride and denigrate, obsequiously apologize (never forgetting to get in those digs and zingers) and then crawl back for more of the same -- until the next time the moon is full or they're on the emotional rag. I'm no one's punching bag and I have too much respect for myself to allow that loa to ride me or that venomous viper to get close enough to drive in the fangs.

It's one thing to accept an apology from someone; it's another thing entirely to believe they have changed and mean well when the venom is still dripping from the virtual pen. Let's just say that is one dark loa that will not be possessing me -- during the dance or otherwise.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Summer timed ill...

...this year. And last year, come to that.

It feels like Sunday. No cars whoosh down the road. The birds are on duty and the squirrels are playing tag up and down the trees, but people are scarce this morning.

Today and tomorrow are all that remain of the first half of the year and summer begins on Wednesday. It doesn't feel like summer. It feels more like spring, except there are no pastel flowering buds on the trees or bright tulips and crocuses cupping the sun. The green is darkening and the blush of returning warmth has reached its full potential. The Farmer's Market begins a week from Saturday and I will be out of town. Summer is here, but has timed it's arrival ill this year.

I'm still getting used to the weather on this side of the Continental Divide. Last year was rainy and cold and summer peeked in for two weeks and then disappeared in a flurry of white and more rain. There hasn't been much rain on this side of the mountains, but it is cooler than I expected from my trips here earlier in the year. That's a fascinating thing and I do love cool weather, but it's not what I expected.

The thing is, not much is what I expected most of the time. I'm still laboring under the old Chinese curse of living in interesting times. My times have been very interesting. People are coming and going in my life, which is par for the course, and life still astounds me. I'm glad I can still be astounded.

No need to shake up the ant farm when the ants have scattered and only return on occasion to borrow grains of sand and dirt or food fallen unnoticed. It's enough to see them when they crawl by, pick up a load and had back into the world, a moving speck in the corner of my eye that catches my attention for a moment and reminds me that the world keeps spinning and everything is as it should be...even when summer -- and life -- are ill timed.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Rainy days and Sundays...

...never get me down.

It was a gray day with off and on sprinkling rain, but a productive day in terms of rest and relaxation. I found a site to download movies to my computer. Granted Movie Flix has a lot of old and B movies, including some silents, but I do so enjoy all those old movies. I watched a few of my favorites and found some new ones to enjoy and $6.95 a month is pretty inexpensive.

I wanted to go to Territory Days today, but the rain kept me in -- and the movies. I had lots of phone calls to keep me company, too. I always get a kick out of friends calling on weekends just to say hello, especially when they're friends of so many decades. Deb is one of those and we always have good intellectual (and sometimes silly) conversations. Even after more than 20 years of friendship, we still have so much to talk about. My mother called to make sure I was alive, especially since her cell phone is free on the weekends, and I got calls from four other friends. Today was just the day for old friends...and one new one.

My landlady called up to say she heard me moving around up here and wanted to know if I like polenta and BBQ chicken. What can I say but -- YES! She said she wanted to make sure I had food and brought up a very tasty container of homemade polenta and BBQ chicken. We chatted and she said she finally heard me the other day. At first she couldn't identify the sound. She went all around her apartment downstairs listening, finally pinpointing the sound near a register between the floors. The sound was a soft, slightly sibilant snore and it was me. Naturally, I was embarrassed and she said not to be. It was the first time she heard it and she admitted she snores from time to time, but she snores so loudly sometimes she wakes herself up. Mine was more of a soft, ladylike snore -- if any snore can be called ladylike.

I'm getting plenty of work done on my novels despite my entrancing times with the old B movies, although I have found an old friend and favorite: Hedy Lamarr, not to be confused with Hedley Lamar of Blazing Saddles fame.

Hedy Lamarr was Austrian and one of the most beautiful women in filmdom. One of my favorite movies including Hedy is Cecil B. DeMille's Samson & Delilah where Hedy played opposite Victor Mature as Delilah. Today I saw Dishonored Lady where she played a powerful advertising art director and night time party girl who tries to commit suicide. Hedy is one of the truly great actresses and incredibly beautiful and evocative, not to mention sexy.

Another dark-haired beauty with a bit of an overbite that made the gents go crazy is Gene Tierney. My favorite movie of all time is Otto Preminger's film noir classic Laura with Dana Andrews, Dame Judith Anderson (although not a Dame yet), and the versatile, talented and handsome Vincent Price. Wonderful Clifton Webb plays the poisonous and oh-so-urbane, witty and word-wise Waldo Lydecker.

Another favorite Gene Tierney classic is The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (not to be confused with the 70s TV remake with Hope Lange), but the noir classic with Rex Harrison as the brooding, swearing and lively ghost of Captain Daniel Gregg. A very young and pretty Natalie Wood plays young Anna Muir.

When my mother called and I told her I was watching old movies on the computer, I could see her shake her head as she said, "I only need to see a movie once, but your father likes those old movies, too." Figures. I'm related to him.

There's something so rich and magical about old movies. The values were simpler, the story lines seductive and true-to-life, and Hollywood hadn't quite gotten in the way yet. To be sure there were happy endings, but they grew organically out of the story line and weren't tacked on to please a target audience or garner ratings. There were plenty of sad moments and unhappy endings, but the stories were real and rich and still hold their own even in today's world.

The actresses of those bygone days would probably not make it today because they aren't thin or emaciated enough, but they were real. They knew how to act and not just pretend. Comedy, even when it was slapstick and obvious was genuine and uncontrived. Carole Lombard in My Man Godfrey with William Powell is a treat and still makes me smile at the end. Anything with Carole Lombard or William Powell is guaranteed to be classy and wondrous, deceptively simple and honest.

I see remakes today of the old classics, but even with high tech digitized color and sound, nothing compares to the originals. The acting leaves a lot to be desired and the comedy, when there is any humor at all, is more like a giant whoopee cushion in your face. Subtlety is gone. But time marches on.

Right now it's time for me to march back to bathroom and chisel the egg yolk masque off my congealed pores before I slip into bed with Stephen King -- or maybe Dorothy Parker.

You see? I swing both ways.