Thursday, January 29, 2009

Your Heart Can Take It

I’ve decided it’s time I got myself a meat smoker. I like to BBQ. I like smoked meat. And now I have a reason that cannot be ignored!

I’ve put it off for years, finding one excuse after another to avoid buying one. Many of my friends have already taken the plunge and it seems that my cowboy personality is in serious jeopardy due to my lack of cooking meat in this manner.

So what changed my mind? After years of grilling, why suddenly make the switch?

Two words: Bacon Explosion

5,000 calories, 500 grams of fat, 4 pounds of pork and all the heart attack you can handle.

When challenged to come up with a BBQ recipe for bacon, the guys over at headed out to the local butcher and bought twenty dollars worth of pork. They began weaving strips of raw bacon into a mat. The two spackled the bacon mat with a layer of sausage, covered that with a crunchy layer of cooked bacon, and rolled it up tight.

I’d love to see the guy from Man vs. Food give this a shot.

As a lover of foods that are bad for me, I am dying to try one of these. Of course I won’t eat the whole thing myself. Well I might, but not in one sitting!

For more details and pictures, use this link:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cherry Bomb Slushee

So, I entered a writing contest where I am assigned a genre and a subject and have a week to write a 2500 word story. Last year I finished in the top 30. This year my assignment was Horror/Bus Stop. I wrote the following piece in two days, stressed that I might miss the deadline. It is not the best thing I have ever written, but is it strong enough to move me to the final round? We'll have to wait and see. DISCLAIMER: There is some language and a sex scene in here so reaad only if you are comfortable with that.

Cherry Bomb Slushee
2383 words


Jeremy Fletcher encounters a beautiful woman at a bus stop late one night and discovers the thin veil between the worlds of light and dark.

Jeremy Fletcher was thinking about murder when he saw her coming toward him. He was sucking down a cherry bomb slushee, courting a very serious brain freeze and concocting gruesome ways to kill his boss when the most beautiful woman in the world crossed beneath a street lamp at the bus stop half a block away. Though the sodium vapor lamp shone brightly, the shadows moved with her, hiding her features as she weaved, unsteady along the sidewalk. Only her hair shimmered, so black it glowed blue under the light, and when she looked up, strands of pure white framed her dark face and pooled at her shoulders.

Jeremy Fletcher fell in love the moment she passed through that light and carried the darkness with her like a shroud.

He walked slowly, head down and tried not to stare, but her dark beauty commanded his attention. As they drew close to each other, she glanced up with heart-wrenching eyes and smiled. The air turned intensely cold. “Hello, Jeremy,” she said as she passed.

Jeremy stopped. His heart pounded in his chest. He was suddenly aware he could see his breath, while breathing itself became more difficult. He turned to watch her glide past and started to say something, to ask how she knew his name, but the words stuck in his throat.

Beyond the spill of light on the sidewalk, the shadows grew heavy around her as if she radiated darkness. He had to focus hard on her movement just to see her. A moment later, she crossed beneath another streetlight. She seemed to shimmer in the warm glow, to become less real somehow. For an instant she was nearly transparent. Ghostly and ethereal she floated to the street corner and vanished around the far side of the convenience store.

He released the breath he’d been holding. Raising the cup, he slurped absent-minded at the icy mixture. She’d been stunning! He imagined he could see a faint ebony glow along the path she’d walked and he knew, suddenly and completely, that he’d do anything she ever asked of him. But a woman like that was beyond his reach, out of his league, and with a last glance toward the street corner, he walked slowly toward the bus stop bench and sat down. Soon his thoughts turned back to murdering his boss. The rich old bastard had stepped on a lot of people to get where he was and now it was his turn to be squashed.

“How would you do it?”

Jeremy nearly leapt off the bench. The base of his spine went cold. He spun toward the voice. Standing behind him only inches away and shrouded in a cloak of darkness and shadow, the dark beauty offered a sensual smile.

“I did it once” She leaned toward him over the bench and flicked her tongue against his ear. “He was my lover. I killed him slowly,” she whispered. “I felt like I owed him that much.” Grabbing Jeremy’s face under the chin, she pulled him to her and kissed him hard. Her hands caressed his chest through the shirt. She darted out her tongue, met resistance and then overcame it.

When she finally let him up for air, Jeremy pulled away and slid down to the end of the bench, at once terrified and aroused. He wiped the back of his hand across his lips. His tongue, where it had touched hers, was icy cold and throbbed in time to his rapid heartbeat. “Who are you?” Uncontrollable tremors raced through his extremities. “What do you want?” After all those adolescent fantasies about women, all those wet dreams about what he could do with a woman like this, Jeremy found he was scared beyond belief. And that made him want her even more.

Like a predator, she climbed over the back of the bench and crouched on the seat. Her pale skin glowed against the tight, black silk bustier she wore and the swells of her breasts rose and fell with each rapid breath. “You crave this body.” She trailed a fingertip from her pouty lips down her neck and along the line of her cleavage. “I can feel desire pulsing off you in waves.” Reaching out her hand, she stroked the inside of his thigh through his jeans.

Jeremy shuddered, nearly convulsing. His hand clenched, crushing his cup and squeezing cherry slushee all over himself. Jumping to his feet, he brushed the sticky ice from his pants, which had taken the worst of it, before it could seep through to the skin.

The woman threw her head back and screeched in horrible laughter. She pointed at the red stain spreading across his slightly bulging crotch. “It looks like you peed blood!”

Jeremy took a step backward. “That’s not funny! The fuck kinda game you playing? None of this is funny!”

She turned suddenly serious, her eyes hard and unblinking, her lips pressed into a thin line. “None of this is supposed to be funny, Jeremy.” She flipped back to bubbly again and patted the bench seat beside her. “Come sit down.” Coyly she batted her eyes like a cartoon character. “PLEEEEASE?”

She drew out the word with pleading flirtatiousness, but beneath it there was something else. Jeremy thought he detected anger behind the playful tone, her insistence more command than request. Feeling the pull of her, he took an involuntary step and it took every ounce of strength within him not to take another. For something to focus on, he looked at his watch. The crystal face was shattered and the hands stood at 11:32 but it couldn’t be that late already. When had the damage happened? He tried to think through the fog that filled his mind but nothing came. He was suddenly confused, like he didn’t belong here, like the world had moved on somehow and left him behind. Looking far down the street in first one direction and then the other only increased his confusion. Where the hell was his bus? It surely should have been here by now.

“I killed my lover on this bench.” She whispered in his ear, her body pressed against his, her eyes searching his for some measure of understanding, some unknown truth. “I come back here a lot, almost every night. I sit at the exact spot that he died, imagining I can still see the blood stains. I stared into his eyes as the life drained from them. You have no idea how sexual it is. One minute there is a spark in the eyes, there is life, and the next there is nothing, the eyes turn glassy and they stare without seeing. It was the first orgasm he ever gave me.”

“Leave me alone!” Jeremy’s fear ratcheted up a notch. He shoved her roughly and she fell back onto the bench laughing. In a blur of movement she grabbed his belt buckle and yanked him on top of her.

“I love it when we fight.” She gripped the back of the head and traced a line behind his ear with her tongue. “You never win,” she whispered and bit his earlobe playfully.

As he struggled to free himself, she flipped him effortlessly onto his back. Last time he weighed himself he came in at just under two-twenty, yet she’d tossed him like a pile of laundry. She straddled him, pinning his wrists under her knees and suddenly Jeremy knew. Laying there with the slats of the bench pressing into his back, staring up at her incredibly beautiful face, Jeremy Fletcher knew he was going to die.

“If you behave yourself,” she said, slowly grinding her hips in a circle against his crotch, “we can have a little fun before you go. We don’t have much time.”

“The bus,” he blurted as she rubbed against him faster. He fought valiantly against his body, willing it not to react. But he lost the battle. As he felt himself stiffen beneath her he stammered, “The bus will be here any minute!”

She giggled like a child. “Your bus doesn’t stop here anymore. It hasn’t stopped here for months.”

The fog in his brain thickened. In a tired, defeated voice he said, “I take this bus every night.”

“No. You wait for this bus every night, but it never comes.”

Reaching behind her back, she produced a pointed stainless steel rod, like a nail the size of a railway spike. “I can feel how much you want me.” She ground her hips harder against him. “I was never able to cum but the sex was always intense, that’s what I miss most.” She laughed and a mock expression of sadness crossed her face. “Am I bad for missing the sex more than the man?”

“You’re crazy,” he said and with all his strength, Jeremy bucked his hips up into her, trying to dislodge himself and knock her to the ground. He gritted his teeth, straining hard against the slats of the bench but she barely moved and the effort left him drained and winded.

“Oooh, Lover!” she squealed. “You can’t even wait until we get these clothes off! I like that.” She bent down and kissed him passionately. Staring into his eyes she said, “Patience, my love. Patience. We’ll have our fun. But first I need you to do something for me.” Her hand trailed down to the bulge in his jeans. “I need you to put your hands together over your head. Like you’re diving into a pool. Can you do that for me?”

“Fuck you,” he rasped with as much conviction as he could muster. His thoughts felt mired in sludge and he had an overall feeling of being less there somehow. Faded. Had she drugged him? Pain shot up suddenly from his groin.

“Do it!” She spat. “We have to hurry before you go.”

He thrust his hands above his head in a point. His breaths came in gasps. “Why me? How did you know my name and why did you choose me?”

“It’s always been you.” There was a sudden bright flash as she raised the spike above her head and drove it down into the palms of his hands, pinning them to the bench.

The pain was intense and white hot, shooting tendrils of fire up his arms. But an instant later it turned muted and distant, as if he could remove himself from it and experience it from a distance. Through the fog he felt her loosening his belt. She yanked down his pants and he marveled that he was still hard. The pain and the fear had not affected his desire for her. And when she took him in her mouth the burning cold only intensified his erection.

The night sounds quieted and the streetlights dimmed. Jeremy was lost in a cloud of ecstasy. She brought him to the brink time and again but would not let him orgasm. The torture was exquisite and the throbbing in his hands no longer mattered.

With a devilish grin, she stood, hiked up her skirt and straddled him. Within minutes her breathing became heavy and her grinding hips slowed and undulated with more precision. She leaned forward on top of him and stretching out, gripped the steel spike. As she continued to ride her, sinking him deeper into her with each thrust, she twisted the nail.

His screams seemed to increase her mounting pleasure. He felt a shiver pass through her.

“Almost time,” she said through teeth gritted against the pleasure, prolonging it. “Almost…time.” Her body tensed and she sat up, wrenching the spike from Jeremy’s flesh. As the first convulsive spasm wracked her body, she plunged the spike into her lover’s chest over and over. Killing him anew. Killing him again. Killing him always.

Her orgasm lasted several minutes and she remained atop Jeremy for all of it. Wave after crashing wave rocked her and she went with them as far as they’d take her until finally her pleasure subsided. She straddled him and waited. It was almost time for him to go.

With a jerk, she pulled the stainless steel nail from his chest, staring at the puckered hole it left behind. She missed the blood. She missed the smell of it, the taste of it. Blood was everywhere the first time she’d killed him, so much of it that it surprised her. She missed the way it pulsed from the ragged holes in his chest. Of course, he’d been alive that first time.

Climbing off of him, she smoothed her skirt and slipped the spike into a pocket. She glanced at her watch. It was almost time. Squatting next to him, she leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. “See you tomorrow, baby,” she whispered even as he began to fade. For an instant he was there and not there at the same time, existing in two worlds at once. At 11:32 exactly, Jeremy faded into nothingness, just as he had every night since she’d killed him three years ago.

She’d gotten away with it, had never even been a suspect. At the funeral she’d been inconsolable, and not all of it had been an act, she’d genuinely missed him. Not enough to regret killing him, but almost.

After a month, she’d returned to the bus stop – the killer returning to the scene of the crime, the poor lost girlfriend searching for answers, and she’d been shocked to find Jeremy sitting there, confused, disoriented, and with a complete lack of memory. That first encounter, she’d hidden in the bushes and watched him. And when he disappeared, she’d walked to the convenience store at the corner, bought a bottle of tequila and drank the apparition from her memory.

She came back the next night.

And the next.
On the sixth night, she screwed up her courage and walked past him on the sidewalk. Within a month, she was talking to him.

Soon she began killing him again and again.

Each night he reappeared shiny and new, with no memory of her or the things she did to him. He never wanted to sleep over, she could date other guys, and the sex had become amazing! He was the perfect boyfriend.

So what if he was dead.


Friday, January 23, 2009

110 People per Day

I have been in two major accidents in my lifetime. I'm not talking minor bumps, exchange your insurance info and drive away kind of accidents, we've all had those. By major I mean air bag deployed, car totalled, lucky to walk away from kind of accidents. One was my fault, the other wasn't and in both cases the responding officer took the report, looked from me to my car and back to me again. "You're lucky to be alive," they said. Don't I know it. Not only am I alive, I walked away from both accidents with only minor scrapes and bruises.

There are many who are less fortunate.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission more than 40,000 people are killed in auto accidents every year. 40,000! Averaging 110 deaths per day! Let that sink in for a moment. If a plane carrying 100 people crashed EVERY DAY the airlins would be shut down. But because these accidents happen by ones and twos, we rarely notice them anymore. Unless, of course, we are stuck in the aftermath on the freeway. I was once a passenger in a car when the driveractually said, "Somebody better have died up there." I understand the frustrations, but come on. No matter how long you sit on the freeway, no matter how late you are to wherever you're going, somebody up ahead is having a worse day.

So friends, please slow down a little, and drive safer. Don't become a statistic, I kinda like having you around.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History Before Your Eyes

Whether you voted for him or not, it is hard to ignore the historical significance of Barack Obama’s presidency. Depending on which news organization you pay attention to, he is either an inexperienced moron or the second coming of Christ or at the very least JFK. The answer, of course, lies somewhere in between.

He ran on a platform of hope and of change. He spoke eloquently of a government willing to do things different. He made grand, sweeping statements but spoke mostly in generalities before moving back toward the middle of the road. And the country responded. We as a people have said for years that we want someone in the white house who will do things differently. Politics as usual just won’t cut it anymore.

His inauguration speech was everything it needed to be. It was at once: uplifting, hopeful, stern, and a call to action. The American people, when energized behind a common goal can accomplish amazing things. My hope is that Obama is the spark that lights the flame beneath a nation on the ropes.

No president in history will be scrutinized more intensely during the first hundred days than Obama. I sincerely hope he is the kind of president he promised he could be. It is about time we had a rock star for a president. I just hope that he doesn’t burn out like most rock stars.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It has more things that will kill you than anywhere else

Australia has secrets. Every year, scientists are discovering new species that have been around for centuries, hidden by Australia’s vast, harsh land. Today scientists announced just such a find from the sea.

This newly discovered carnivorous sea squirt traps fish and other prey in its funnel-like front section, scientists announced today. Most of the 2,000 or so known sea squirt species are filter feeders that strain plankton from seawater. Pretty cool huh?

Consider these words from Bill Bryson, from his book entitled “In A Sunburned Country”

It is the home of the largest living thing on earth, the Great Barrier Reef, and of the largest monolith, Ayers Rock (or Uluru to use its now-official, more respectful Aboriginal name). It has more things that will kill you than anywhere else.

Of the world’s ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures—the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish—are the most lethal of their type in the world. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. Pick up an innocuous cone shell from a Queensland beach, as innocent tourists are all too wont to do, and you will discover that the little fellow inside is not just astoundingly swift and testy but exceedingly venomous. If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback. It’s a tough place.

In short, there was no place in the world like it. There still isn’t. Eighty percent of all that lives in Australia, plant and animal, exists nowhere else. More than this, it exists in an abundance that seems incompatible with the harshness of the environment. Australia is the driest, flattest, hottest, most desiccated, infertile, and climatically aggressive of all the inhabited continents. (Only Antarctica is more hostile to life.) This is a place so inert that even the soil is, technically speaking, a fossil. And yet it teems with life in numbers uncounted. For insects alone, scientists haven’t the faintest idea whether the total number of species is 100,000 or more than twice that. As many as a third of those species remain entirely unknown to science. For spiders, the proportion rises to 80 percent.

You take my point again, I’m sure. This is a country that is at once staggeringly empty and yet packed with stuff. Interesting stuff, ancient stuff, stuff not readily explained. Stuff yet to be found.

Trust me, this is an interesting place.

28 days

Award-winning nature photographer Jim Brandenburg gave himself a challenge: for 90 days between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice, he would take only one photograph each day in the forest of the great northwest where he lives. As a nature photographer he is used to shooting hundreds of photos a day, so limiting his creativity to only one shot a day was like handcuffing himself. The results were incredible. Brandenburg documents the choices he made throughout his cleansing journey. Forsaking sure-thing photo opportunities for the possibility of a better one before the sun set. Chased by the light indeed. The cynic in me wonders if he truly limited himself so stringently. We may never know.

Inspired by his quest, I once limited myself to one roll of film per day on a weekend photo excursion. Yes, film. I’m old, get over it. The point is, I respected his challenge enough to try it, but was neither cocky enough nor confident enough to limit myself to single photo each day.

I’m happy to say that I am cocky enough these days, though still not confident that I can pull it off with as much grace and success as he. I am not in the great wilderness, I am not a world-renowned photographer, and I am limited by my day job for the amount of daylight hours I can shoot, but I’m going to give it a go. For the entire month of February, I will travel everywhere with my camera and I will snap only one photo per day. 28 days/28 photos. No cheating. Only found photos, pictures I come across during my daily life. There will be nothing staged. I will snap a single photo per day for the entire month of February and post them here the following day. Wish me luck, I’ll need it.

The link below will take you to Jim Brandenburg’s images from the project:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ten Questions from Inside the Actor's Studio

These 10 questions originally came from a French series, "Bouillon de Culture" hosted by Bernard Pivot.

They're better known in the USA as the questions that James Lipton asks every guest at the end of "Inside the Actor's Studio".

Here are my answers I gave them no thought and typed them as they came to me. Try it yourself…don’t try to think of something cool, that cheapens the experience. Answer them honestly. Please post your own lists in the comments section here.

1 What is your favorite word? Peace

2 What is your least favorite word? Can’t

3 What turns you on? Intelligence & Laughter

4 What turns you off? Negativity

5 What is your favorite curse word? MotherF*cker

6 What sound or noise do you love? The laughter of children when they think no grown-ups are around

7 What sound or noise do you hate? My mother crying

8 What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Helicopter Pilot

9 What profession would you not like to do? Politician

10 If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? You’re Early, go back and finish your work


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dust Bunnies

So I have been entering writing contests lately with mixed results. Some stories, I know going in that it does not deserve to win, that I have handicapped them in some way. Time or subject constraints can damper the creative process more than you know. But some stories, a select few, feel really good. These stories almost write themselves, molding themselves to the subject and word count of the contest.

I wrote the following story a few months ago for a flash fiction contest. The story had to be 100 words or less and the theme was “Under the Bed”. 100 words are not a lot, most people use more than that to order lunch.

I loved my little story. Friends and family loved my little story. The judges however, did not.

Here it is for you to decide.

Dust Bunnies

She could ignore the music, low and tinny sounding to her little girl ears; some form of disco-punk she would never listen to if she had a choice. And she barely noticed the thumping on the underside of her mattress anymore, but the rotating streams of light shooting out from under the bed were a little much. Another dust bunny party, the third one this week. She pulled the pillow over her ears, but somehow the sound made it through…and those bits of light were driving her crazy. Where the heck did they find a disco ball that small anyway?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Missed it by That Much!

Many of you know that I have photographed games for the Angels of Anaheim. At each game I hope to get the elusive double play photograph. You know the one, the second-baseman is leaping in the air as the runner slides into second trying to break up the play. Four things have to happen to get that shot:

1. There has to be a double play in the game. There isn’t always.

2. You have to be ready and already focused on second base. Which means you have to anticipate when it will happen.

3. You have to time your shutter to snap at the exact right moment.

4. You have to be in the right position to get the shot at all.

So here is my dilemma. I photographed the game this week. It was a great game, several homeruns including a grand slam. Energy was high. I got some great shots. Late in the seventh inning, the possibilty arose for a double play by the Angels. I got into position...I trained my camera at second...and I waited. Suddenly it happened! The runner went! The second-baseman fielded the ball, touched his base and leapt over the runner to throw to first! This was what I had been waiting for! I was ready!

And then the umpire walked right in front of my lens. As you can see in the photo, it would have been a great action shot, but now...not.

Thursday, January 8, 2009



It is a nothing word, meaningless. It is in fact, not a word at all. Except it is.

To one small community, miniscule actually by today’s standards, it is everything. A group of citizens trapped in a town overlooked by the world. To an entire community trying to find their place, trying to grasp hold of the spinning world and not lose their grip, it is their only hope for a future.


It stands for freedom, and hope and togetherness and teamwork and dreams yet to be realized. It stands for an ideal stronger than self, a belief that there is a greater good that can be achieved if we work together to reach for it. All their differences put aside, all pretense forgotten, these folks, in this town forgotten by the world, stood together, shoulder to shoulder to be heard. But would the world listen?


The Whos shouted that word in unison at the top of their collective lungs. Horton heard their message and took it to the masses. The lesson was not lost on most people. We need each other.

YOP! Indeed.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Mistakes Were Made

I thought it might be fun to point out some of the mistakes in my first novel, Saragosa. In the writing of any fiction more than a few hundred words, there are any number of things to keep track of: Character names, what they have done thus far, where they have been, who they have interacted with and where they have to go next.

In addition, you've got to remember your setting at all times, where you are, what the terrain is like, does it smell, how's the weather? Does rain make the streets muddy or slick, what could fall over in a heavy wind? Is it hot most of the time?

On top of all that, when you take five years to write the damn book, your memory starts to play tricks on you. What is the proper spelling of the town you created three years ago? How many siblings does that secondary character have? So you spend a lot of time going back over things again and again. Or, like me, you plow forward with overconfidence that your memory is true and you know exactly what you are doing.

Just before I sent the final manuscript off to the publisher for printing, I asked my friend Michele to go over it with her editing hat firmly planted, yes I really just said that, no I can't believe it either. Shall we move on or will some heckling ensue? Good.

Things we caught:

Apparently I have a problem with lapels. I think it stems from lack of trust for anyone who wears a suit coat. There are several confrontations in my book. Different characters who, for one reason or another, find it necessary to have an altercation. Every one of them grabbed their foe by the lapels. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Thankfully I was able to release a few lapels and thus save dry cleaning and ironing expenses for a few characters.

I discovered that throughout the course of my book, one of the character's names kept changing. In the first half dozen chapters, his name was Doc Wheeler. Nice guy, you'd like him. He has a wry sense of humor and wise old eyes. Unfortunately, somewhere around the middle of the book, I changed his name to Doc Weber. Still a nice guy and all but a bit more egotistical.

But the biggest goof was the resurrection. When introducing characters, you try to give the reader a sense of who they are, what brought them to this point in life, what shaped their attitudes and personality. In introducing Sarah, the love interest, I made a point of stating that her father had died when she was young, hiding his illness from her until the very end. Imagine my surprise then, when he suddenly showed up in Chapter Five very much alive and taking a stand against the bad guys. Michele caught this one and informed in one late night phone call. "Hello?" I said. "Bill," she said. "I thought Sarah's father was dead, how the hell can he stay on his horse so well." She's a crack-up, that Michele.

There were hundreds of other things, from misplaced commas words used in repetition to entire paragraphs that were repeated.

Things we didn't catch:

I'll put the big one out there right away. I have a character who disappears and he is not a magician. There is, what I hope to be anyways, a tense scene in my book where this goon, the kind of bad guy you only see in westerns and detective novels, dismounts his horse, walks around the side of a building and is never heard from again. There was obviously a reason he walked around the side of that house, you know? There was more to his story. Or not. What can I say? I had a whole world to keep track of, there was bound to be collateral damage. I won't tell you what character or where it happens in the book, but I have asked several readers after they've finished the book if they spotted the guy who disappeared and so far none have.

A good friend of mine likes to point out that I have our intrepid hero trap and skin a rabbit for dinner, and then stuff the animal into a saddle bag. But dinner never comes. I don't have a scene in there where he actually cooks and eats the rabbit. My friend likes to point out that those saddle bags would be pretty ripe by the end of the book. I assumed the reader would make the leap in their own minds and assume the guy ultimately ate the thing. Your call.

Shotguns are popular in westerns, both movies and books. But it is important to know your guns. The bartender of the Silver Star saloon keeps one behind his bar. Only once does he have reason to brandish the weapon, a .410 shotgun. That's right. A girly-sized shotgun if ever there was one in the testosterone filled streets of Saragosa. Not only would no self-respecting cowboy be caught dead with a shotgun of such diminutive stature. I'm told a .10 gauge is much more manly. The damn thing wasn't even invented during the time period of my book!

There were a couple misspellings in the book after its publication, but so far these are the glaring errors that have presented themselves. Stephen King once said, "You release your books into the world like crippled children, only you are the one that crippled them." I'm proud to say I've done my part.


Bovine on a Bun

This may very well be the most controversial article I have ever written. Based solely on conversations I’ve had with friends while thinking about this column, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I might receive death threats, or at the very least wedgie threats. But I am not afraid; the truth needs to be told…the unvarnished, unflinching truth. I may lose friends in the telling. I’ll miss you.

You should probably sit down, take some deep breaths and center your chi. If you have small children, send them out of the room or better still, get a sitter. I’ll give you a moment.

Ready? OK, here we go.

Fatburger is better than In-n-Out.

Whoa now, calm down! The truth is seldom popular and almost always hard to take at first. But search your soul. Put aside the nostalgia, the marketing, and all the late night party burgers and think about it. In your heart, you know it’s true.

My friends have all banded together and planted themselves solidly in the In-N-Out camp. Blind devotion and nostalgic emotion even prompted one friend to ask, “When was it exactly that you went insane?”

I stand by my opinion. I am a burger guy. I love a good cheeseburger as evidenced by my less than svelte profile, and Fatburger makes a better burger than In-n-Out. Not the best burger available, there are better ones out there, Chili’s and Red Robin both come to mind, but this column is not about the best burger, it is merely a comparison of two burger joints.

Don’t get me wrong, I love I-N-O, but for me, Fatburger is far and away the better slab o’meat.

As I prepare to post this, my finger hovering over the send button, I am barricaded in my office, various non-lethal weapons piled on my desk for self-defense, and I await the onslaught of taunts, both verbal and electronic. I will watch with a suspicious eye, those friends who show up unexpectedly, ready for a surprise attack.

I am not insane. I am not insane. I am not…hey look MONKEYS!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year.

As one year passes behind us, and a bright, shiny new year presents itself like a tipsy prom date with loads of potential, it is inevitable that we reflect on the year gone by while promising to make the new year better.

I don’t do that. I don’t go in for the resolutions, those promises to ourselves that we will suddenly change into the perfect human being. Don’t get me wrong. It is good to have goals. Getting healthier, being a better person, making better choices are all admirable traits to strive for. And we should strive for them all year. Making blanket declarations as December 31st turns to January 1st, knowing full well that those resolutions won’t last far beyond the dropping of the ball seems ridiculous and fated for failure. Make every day New Year’s day. Be a better person because you want to be.

One of my favorite Zen sayings comes from Zora Neale Hurston:

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

Which will this be for you?