Sat, Jun. 25th, 2016, 11:25 pm
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
Sun, May. 29th, 2016, 10:35 pm
Well as of today we are operating with Windows 10 on our desktop computer. I'd been seeing the notices for a free up grade but haven't been all that anxious to go for it. I'm still getting used to 7 which was new a couple of years ago when we got this unit. Took me quite a while to learn it's intricities as compared to the older versions we'd had before. However, today we got upgraded automatically... I hadn't requested it or agreed... it just happened. Glad I wasn't right in the middle of something or pressed for time. So far it seems that all of my files made it through the conversion, and I've figured out most of the pecularities of the new system. Probably better in the long run, but as I get older I find I'm more resistant to change, especially change for it's own sake.
In spite of the delays caused by the unscheduled upgrade, I did manage to get the June issue of SASP NEWS completed and sent out to the members. Still have to print a few hard copies. I can do that tomorrow, because I won't be able to mail the one or two I send out until Tuesday morning. If you want to see it, it's on the SASP web-site
. Go to "Newsletters" and click on the month desired. (June 2016)
Planning to go in to work a couple hours later than normal tomorrow. The club will close early in the afternoon and I want to use the time after members are gone to show one of the new guys how to operate some of the cleaning equipment. Thus, I'm up and on the computer when I'd normally be in bed and asleep on a Sunday evening.
Watched the biggest portion of "Red Tails" this evening... the story of the Tuskegegee (did I spell it right?) Airmen. Thought it was well done. If I have one complaint it would be that none of the pilots flew with their goggles down, ever... even in combat. I would think that would be a requirement. Wonder if it was a concession for filming, so we'd be able to see the actors' (charactors') eyes?
B-25 Mitchell bomber, at an airshow in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho a few years ago. B-17 Flying Fortress in the background. B-17s figured in to the story told in the film and B-25's were around then too.
Sun, May. 22nd, 2016, 09:40 am
For the latter part of the past week, the weather guessers have been threatening us with rain. Had a lot of cloudy and windy days, some of which may have had momentary sprinkles or the occasional shower. Seems that happens so often. They predict rain and all we get is clouds.
Well yesterday, just as I left to go to my Book Signing, the skies opened up and it poured. Driving east on the freeway was almost like being in a submarine. It was one of the few times I've ever had to put my windshield wipers on high speed. Usually it's raining pretty good if I have to go to low speed. Normally I'll keep them in the delay mode and adjust the amount of delay.
Got to the store where the signing was to be and discovered that the area had not been set up. Evidently they were short of staff and just hadn't had the chance. Even after arriving it was nearly forty-five minutes before they got a table ready for me. In the mean time I went and got my books off the shelves and set up an impromptu display on a corner of a sales table. What's interesting to note is that I did better there than I did once I was formally established.
All the way through the signing, I had this nagging thought in my mind, wondering if I had left the truck's lights on. On the way there I'd noticed I'd turned them on because of the weather, but for the life of me couldn't remember turning them off. Yes, it's a newer vehicle that should have the bells and whistles to remind me... but I remember arriving and making a made dash to the store to get out of the rain, and thought maybe I'd ignored any cautionary chime. What a relief to walk out a couple hours later and discover the lights were indeed turned off.
Awoke this morning to the sound of rain, and it looks like it will be here for the day at least. Figure it will give me some time to get caught up on indoor (computer) stuff. Won't need to water the yard, and although it needs mowing, won't be able to do that until it dries out. Mariners game on TV in a hour our so, so I'll watch that and then get busy in the "office" and on the computer.
I finished reading Patrick O'Brian's The Commodore
(#17 in the Aubrey/Maturin series) a week or so ago. Now I'm reading The Wolf of Britannia
, a historical novel set in Roman occupied Britain. I bought it a few weeks ago when I stopped by one of the stores to check on my books and the author was there doing a signing. I'm not mentioning the name because it has temporarily escaped my memory. The book is at work so I can't run to find out. (And while I could look it up via the computer, I can be a bit of a klutz and don't want to lose this before I post it.) Anyway, the story is intriguing and I'm about a quarter of the way through it.
Photos taken a couple of years ago, but basically what we have outside today!
Completed my first week at work on what might be considered a normal schedule! 7:30 am until 4 pm, Monday through Friday! Great to be able to sleep when my body says I should, and great to be awake when I'm supposed to be. I can also watch entire ball games in the evening, rather than having to get ready to leave in the second or third inning.
Of course for every up side, there is a down side, and with the new shift, it is that the days seem to drag a bit. I'm doing the same sort of work, but because it is while the Club is open, I can't just charge ahead and get stuff done. Quite often I'll want to accomplish a certain task but can't, because members are using a particular facility or location. And a lot of other things that I was used to doing once and being done with are now recurring tasks. Clean a certain area and an hour later it needs cleaning again. There are also times when even when one wants to busy, there is just nothing one can do.
Even with these complications, I'm really glad to be on a real daytime schedule. It's a lot better than the early morning schedule I had before going to the "graveyard" shift a year and a half ago. I don't have to go to sleep early in order to be up in the wee hours of the morning. For now at least (spring/summer) I can drive to and from work in the daylight and not have to use my headlights. I'm also feeling more alert and people already are saying that I look better. Hope this will carry over to the creative processes as well.
Mentioned in my last post here that a Travis Yocum had won the signed book giveaway. Delivered his copies of the Stone Island Sea Stories on Friday. Hope he enjoys them.
Hoping all the Moms in the world have a great day today. (Daughter took Mom (and me) to dinner Friday evening for an early celebration.)
, principal vessel of the Stone Island Sea Stories