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Tue, Jul. 12th, 2016, 09:04 pm
Happy Birthday!

A short post to wish Happy Birthday to anteros_lmc. Coincidentally I've "discovered" that Evangeline Smythe, daughter of Harold Smythe, and the woman who apparently captured Edward Pierce's heart, shares a Birthday, although not the year, or even century with today's celebrant.
I'm sure you've seen the pic before, but it is enclosed with best wishes for a Happy Birthday!

Sun, Jul. 10th, 2016, 06:35 pm
Another Lazy Weekend

I must have been tired after last week at work. Woke up Saturday morning with absolutely no ambition, or less than I normally have. Had a bit of a migraine as well as the day began so I didn't do much at all. Did get busy and mow the yard this afternoon and take some pics of the mirror installation in the truck. I know everyone is waiting to see just what I've been talking about, but it's going to have to wait. Blame it on the recent install of Windows 10. I've had a program on the computer that I've been using to download photos from my phone to the PC. Well now it doesn't seem to want to work. Keep saying that the phone isn't connected, and I'm just not smart enough to figure it out. Have contacted my daughter the computer expert and hopefully the next time she's here she'll be able to set it straight.

Last week I finished reading James Patterson's Zoo. Scary! A good read as well, with ideas that just might be plausible. Back to the familiar reads now. The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O'Brian. It's number 18 in the Aubrey/Maturin series of Naval Adventures. I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm really enjoying these stories the second time through. I'm able to pick up on O'Brian's subtle sense of humor better.

Big week for baseball fans coming up. The "ALL-STAR" break. Home run derby Monday night and the All-Star Game Tuesday. Then a couple of days off and away from baseball before the season resumes. Hoping the Seattle Mariners can pick up the pace in the second half of the season.

Tue, Jul. 5th, 2016, 09:49 pm
Mirror, mirror, on the windshield.

Eventually I got all the parts I needed to mount the multi-section mirror in the truck.  I'd send to Amazon for two mounting kits as I didn't have quite all the parts.  Bought what I needed at a local store but they weren't compatible with the other items i had.  When new, these mirrors come with brackets that attach at each end and then screw into the roof assembly next to just behind the windshield.  They can also be mounted directly to the glass like the majority of standard rear view mirrors.

Anyway, Saturday evening I cleaned the interior glass really good, measured things as accurately as I could, and glued the mounting pads on.  I let them dry until Sunday evening and then attached the mirror.  (Naturally, after removing the stock unit and setting it aside for safekeeping.)  Amazing how much more I can see now as compared to using the stock mirror.

Haven't yet taken any photos of the installation, but I have a couple showing a similar unit in Ralph, my 65 Corvair coupe.  Vehicle had been sitting in the garage for a number of years, so is a bit dusty and grimey, but should give an indication of what I've put in the truck.  Unit I've just installed is a four section one, just like the one in the pics.  The one here is mounted with the brackets at the end, while the one in the truck is mounted to the windshield via mounting pads and adapters.  The one I put in the truck was originally in my 62 Corvair Rampside, aka Tim.

If you look closely, you can see the mirror unit behind the glass near the top of the windshield.  There's an old employee parking sticker from my work near the left hand side.

The unit as seen from the passenger's door.  If in the driver's seat, one could see out and to the right at about the same angle.

It amazes me that today manufacturers are installing back-up cameras, and all sorts of blind spot detection devices using a multitude of hi-tech.  Seems that a lot of the visibility problems could be solved with simple ideas like this.
PS Just so you know, if you don't already, I no longer have either of the Corvairs.  Ralph and Tim both have good homes and no longer spend time collecting dust and slowly turning to rust.

Sat, Jun. 25th, 2016, 11:25 pm
Vacation Update

Well, I've been on vacation the past week, which might explain a few more posts in the past few days.  I have quite a bit of time on the books, and having worked at the Club for a number of years I earn it at a fairly high rate.  I figure if I have it and if they can spare me for a while I might as well take it.  Planning to take another week in August, and then again maybe in October, along with the odd day off here and there.  Once we get into fall and winter, things get busier and it's less convenient for all for anyone to take time off.

Quite honestly spent a lot of the past week just being lazy.  I think there are times when I simply need to let things go and let the stuff floating around in my head settle into the places it is supposed to be.  This past Monday I got ambitious, mowed the lawn, trimmed, and washed down the driveway, something I try to do at least once a year.  I've been watering regularly and we had some rain yesterday, so I might have to mow again tomorrow.  Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty much "be lazy" days.  Thursday Eva and I did a bit of running around and ended up eating Breakfast at a waffle place a co-worker had told me about.  Yesterday we went out to Fairchild AFB so we could renew her Dependent's ID card.  Also did some shopping at the Exchange and bought a few groceries in the Commisarry.

Ambitious today... worked a bit on straightening up the "office," the room where the computer is.  Still fairly messy, but now one can see the majority of the floor.  Made my usual Saturday rounds to check mail for the Corvair Club and Spokane Authors.  Also got new windshield wiper blades for both our vehicles.  Noted that both use different sizes on the two sides, with the drivers' sides being the longer of the two.  I can remember when blades were the same on both sides and usually one would buy a set of two.  Today I had to by an 18", a 19", a 22", and a 24."  My truck took the longest and the shortest, and Eva's SUV took the other two.  Kept the mood going and cleaned out the interior of the truck, something I'd not done since getting it a couple years ago.  Wasn't really that bad, but dust was pretty thick on the dash and a lot of trash (gravel and grass) tracked in on the carpet under the drivers seat.  Washed it as well, and put rain repellent treatment on the windows.  It's probably the cleanest it's been since I've had it.

Finally decided that I would get busy and install a multi-section wide angle rearview mirror.  However, upon checking at a number of local parts stores I was unable to find any available in the local area.  I did find an old one in the garage, one that I think I had had in "Tim" the '62 Corvair Rampside.  Even found most of the mounting hardware, other than the buttons that glue on to the windshield glass.  Got a couple at the store, but they are the wrong profile and won't fit the other parts.  Finally decided to be a modern human and went on line and ordered the mounting kits from Amazon.  They should be here early next week.  I'm looking forward to having a wider range of vision to the rear and out the sides of the truck.

The "truck" taken right after we bought it a couple of years ago.  Looks the same, except for an actual license plate.  Right now it's sitting in the same spot, except it's facing the other way... wanted water from washing to drain out of the bed.



Wed, Jun. 22nd, 2016, 11:46 am
Family Nostalgia

Came across this and scanned it in while looking for pictures of our dogs.

This is my mom, Irene, with her new car.  Taken in 1970 with a Polaroid camera.  More than likely I was on leave from basic training (Boot Camp).  It was then she traded her '65 Corvair 500 Sedan for this 1970 Chevelle.  (Great car, she had it for years and it always got great mileage.)
Picture taken on the street in front of our house in Palouse, Washington.

Mon, Jun. 20th, 2016, 11:53 pm
Our Canine Kids

Many many years ago, Eva and I answered an ad that offered Border Collie mix pups, "Free to Loving Home."  They were with us for many years, but eventually succumbed to old age and other ailments.  I found some of the snapshots we'd taken of them and scanned some into the computer.  Anyway, thought some of you might like to see them.

Tanya... mild, loving, a 60 lb lap dog.  Compassionate, probably would have been a great service dog.  Tennis ball fanatic!

Tiffany... ornery, dog trotted to her own music. Did everything her way.  Great with us, but suspicious of strangers.

Always wonder how they and the bird would have gotten along.

Mon, Jun. 20th, 2016, 11:42 pm
Preliminary Sketch

I generally consider myself to be an organic writer, one who has an idea, starts writing, and lets the story tell itself.  I'm pretty much the same way with painting and drawing.  Sometimes, however, I find that I need to be a little more structured in my approach.  I need to have elements of the picture fit a written description, as in the scene depicted on the cover of the second Stone Island Sea Story.

The other day I came across I quick little sketch I'd done, trying to figure the scene out and I thought folks might like to see it.  If you look closely, you might see some diagrams near the top where I was trying to establish the position of the vessels in relationship to where they were being viewed from.  And of course they had to be positioned as described in the book, not only in relationship to each other, but also with respect to the wind.

I have no idea what the math at the top was about.
And to compare, here is the actual cover art for Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story


Sun, Jun. 19th, 2016, 10:50 pm
Some Clarification

Well yesterday I did a book-signing (as scheduled) at the Hastings Entertainment Store on Spokane's South Hill.  Seemed a bit awkward in that when I got there, they had to go through the routine of accepting and putting my book on consignment, and then when it was over, of taking them off and releasing them back to me.  I did find out that mine was probably the last one there for the forseeable future... largely because the store, in its entirety is in the midst of Chapter Eleven (bankruptcy) proceedings.  I understand that signings and the like are now cancelled in all the stores, at least until the situation is rectified.

In terms of sales, the signing wasn't all that successful, but I did have some interesting interactions with a number of people, and hopefully a few of them will keep The Stone Island Sea Stories in mind for future reading adventures.  One  fellow was thinking to get a copy of one or both for his dad... an excellent thought being the day before Fathers' Day, but decided the print was a bit to small for his dad's aged eyes.  Maybe I need to invest in large print versions sometime, somehow provide a set of magnifying glasses if needed.

Following the signing, I drove over to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho to sign consignment forms for the two books at the Well-Read Moose.  Hope sales will do well there.  It's a small combination Coffee shop, Wine Bar, Gift Shop, and Bookstore.  Their shelf space is fairly limited, so they only have one copy of each on hand.  They also do "author nights" once or twice a week, and Marlene, who handles consignments said she would get me booked in for an evening as soon as their currently scheduled authors are completed.  I'm looking forward to that.

Today was Fathers' Day.  Daughter came over and brought a cake she'd baked.  Watched the Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners baseball game and watered the yard.  Spent three different portions of the day playing on the computer, including this current session.  Will end this one soon as I'm getting sleepy and want a shower before getting to sleep.  No need to get up in the morning, however, as I am on vacation this coming week.

Hope all dads who might see this had a great Fathers' Day!

Left hand portion of one of my few attempts at "still life," painted a long time ago... I hadn't yet started to date the paintings near the signature... the stylized "CHEZ" in the bottom left corner.

Wed, Jun. 15th, 2016, 09:56 pm
Book Signings and Other News

A few months ago I made the round of local Hastings stores where I have my books on consignment and set up a few signings.  I've done two of them so far and have one this weekend.  But it seems Hastings as a whole is getting away from the consignment book thing, and may even be phasing out books as a part of their merchandize all together.  Anyway, as per direction from their headquarters, the store where I'm to have a signing on Saturday had all the local independent authors come pick up their consignment books a couple months ago.  At that time I was told an author could bring them back a week before a scheduled signing and leave them there for a week past the signing.  This past Saturday I went to take books up, but was told I could only have them there for the day of the signing.

I also made it over to the Hastings in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho a week or so ago, a store that for some reason I hadn't visited or called that much in order to check up on my books.  Signed up for a signing in July... along with another author, as they are now doing group signings or "autograph parties."  Monday the book manager called me to see if I could switch to a week later as the other individual had to change.  I couldn't because I have something else scheduled that week.  So she told me to see if I could anybody else who would want to participate in a multi-author signing.  I sent word out to a number of folks and have heard back from a couple who might be interested.  One of them recently e-mailed, saying he'd talked to the person in charge there... only to learn that they aren't doing any after this Saturday, and that all ones in the future are cancelled.  So far, I haven't heard from the store on this, and I wonder if this is something directed by the store's corporate headquarters or what?

A shame if corporate is driving the stores away from working with local independent authors, or from carrying local self-published authors' books.  The chain used to be sort of a haven for indie authors, a place where it was pretty a given that one could have is books available to the public.  I've heard, and it is only rumor, of course, that the store (collectively) is looking to get out of books all together in the future.

Anyway, I'll keep scheduling and doing the signings as long as they will work with me on them.  I have the one this Saturday (18 June, 2 - 4 pm) at the South Hill Hastings in Spokane.  On the 16th of July I have one at the store in Shadle Park... so far I've not heard that these are cancelled, so...

When I was in Coeur d'Alene a couple of weeks ago I stopped by a small independent bookstore, The Wellread Moose.  I'd been by there a couple of times since it opened a couple years ago to see if they would be interested in my books.  The first time they had just opened, and were still figuring things out.  The second time they said they'd call but never did.  This time they took one copy of each to look at and said they'd let me know.  They did!  They want the books for their consignment program.  I've got to go back over and sign the consignment agreement one of these days, probably this weekend.

I also have my first book listed on Home Town Reads.  So far we have fifteen people from Spokane listed.  Seven or eight other cities are included as well, most being in the midwest.  Surprisingly, Spokane has more authors/books listed than does Chicago!  Looks like a great site to visit if you are looking for books by independent authors or relatively unknown authors.

When I was setting up my listing, I discovered the cover image I'd been using for Beyond the Ocean's Edge was too small for their criteria.  Not having any other image, I scanned in an actual book cover.  It seemed to work okay, although it seems a bit washed out to me.  I'll include it here and you can see for yourself.

Sun, Jun. 12th, 2016, 06:27 pm
Obstacles and Updates

So on my last visit here I noted that we had automatically been updated to Windows 10.  For the most part things are working smoothly, and I've noticed a couple of areas that seem to work better than before.  In the "old" days, it seemed that if I went back to a folder for a second time, perhaps after selecting a picture or item to attach, I'd have to use the scroll bar at the side in order to move down the file.  Or, I'd have to click on something before I could just use the wheel on the mouse to scroll down.  Now as soon as I get to the folder, I can move up or down as needed using the wheel.  Convenient!

At the same time, other things are in different locations and I'm still getting used to where to find them.  I have found it easier to get to the FTP locations of the two web-sites I work with. Mine and that of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  But, I can't seem to log in to mine, so what you see if you go there is what was there before the update.  I've been able to work with the SASP web-site pretty much as normal, although it seems to want to log out on it's own.  Now the site will come up as if I've logged in, but it won't let me do anything with it.  Guess I'll have to have the family computer expert (daughter) come by one of these days.  Probably something really simple, but for folks of my generation, perhaps not.

Got signed up for Medicare a few weeks ago and last Tuesday took the day off from work to go to a seminar about it.  Great reason to take a day off, and the event was held at the local casino, so can't beat that.  Learned a lot and the presenters managed to somewhat simplify a rather complex enitity. They timed it around and invited folks who were in the area of their 65th birthdays.  My thought is that it would be nice to present this information a bit earlier, say around and individual's 64th birthday.  Knowing what I know now a year earlier would have eased some of the apprehension of the past year.  I would have been more aware of what was going on and wouldn't have worried so much about all the advertising I was getting about signing up with this company or that company.  As it turns out, the process is pretty straight forward for me.  As a Miltary retiree, I've been covered by Tricare.  Now at 65 I sign up for Medicare and Tricare becomes my secondary insurance.  I don't have to hunt for a company in order to have that.

Finished reading Wolf of Britannia by Jess Steven Hughes last week.  Good book and just getting interesting.  I'll have to find and read the next part of it.  My overall opinion is that perhaps it could have had a couple more read throughs before being published.  At times it seemed as if the author was trying too hard.  Just started a more modern work, something by James Patterson called Zoo.  Got it as a door prize at this month's SASP meeting.  I have a feeling I'll like it too!

"Coming Ashore" painted in the barracks at NAS Whidbey Island, not long after returning from cruise aboard USS Forrestal (CV-59)

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