8 CDs, eleven hours, thirty bucks. Perfect for those long drives in traffic ...
Friday, December 06, 2013
Thursday, December 05, 2013
We are pleased to have replaced our furnace last season for a high-efficiency one with a neato-keen thermostat that is smarter than I am.
I mentioned here recently that I had contacted the city regarding my personal flood plain, due to the depressed section of concrete at the curb by my driveway. Lo and behold! the city actually sent a couple guys out to take a gander. Can I get a hallelujah?
No, come to think of it, probably that wouldn't be appropriate. Read on:
Looking at the standing water the city guys nodded and said, "Yep. that's a problem, all right."
And you want to guess whose responsibility it is to repair it? You there, waving your hand and grinning?
City will fix the section just east of it, because there's a utility box and that is their bailiwick but it's my trees what have raised the concrete, and our neighborhood is responsible for the sidewalks and the curbing twixt the macadam and our houses. Part of the deal, apparently, when the original contractor built these houses.
So, I got online, found a local guy who does grinding, and even as we speak, clouds of silica dust blow past the window as the diamond-disk chews up concrete and rocks …
The good things are, this is what the contractor does mostly and he says it's not a problem. And business is a little slow in December, so he give me a deal on the bid. Bad thing is I have to pay for it. But if it keeps our yard from turning into Lake Perry come the big rain, it's worth it.
And so it goes …
Oh, yeah, now it's done. If you are local and need concrete grinding? The company is Centerstone, the contractor's name is David Eubanks. Thumb-up on his work.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
For instance, I've been playing "Hotel California" for a while. Got the chords down on the guitar, and then transferred them to the uke. Never worked out the intro, Don Felder's little riffs on the classical guitar, but because there is so much material on YouTube and in various forums, was able to find that, so I need to add it.
Hereunder, the current works-in-progress in the world of Steve's ukery:
Wagon Wheel (Darius Rucker's cover of the Old Crow Medicine Show tune)
Cakewalk into Town
A Summer Song
Let it Be
Woke Up Dead Blues
St. James Infirmary
House of the Risin' Sun
Quigley Down Under
Something in the Way She Moves
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Theme From Titanic
Theme from The Game of Thrones
Currently, I can play about half of these without looking at the lyrics or tabs, and can get through them all with the cheat sheet. "Wagon Wheel," isn't hard to play, but I don't know all the words yet; "Dixie" and "Theme From The Game of Thrones" are the latest instrumentals, and farthest from being memorized.
Got an album's worth, easy.
Back to the woodshed ...
Thursday, November 28, 2013
This is opposed to the not-quote-unquote book editor at the book house. All editors are not created equal.
Apparently the movie folks like to pretend that some of them know enough about books to edit them, and while this might sometimes be the case, I have yet to experience this as being true.
Um. Anyway, the ms came back with the poem circled and a note: Do we need to get clearance (to use this)?
I fell out of my chair laughing.
Now the laity might be forgiven for not knowing that ole Walt Raleigh, long dead, has pushed up four hundred generations of daisies, and that anything he wrote, which was quite a bit, has long since been in the public domain, thus no clearance needed to use it, but one assumes a professional book editor would know this! What a maroon!
Here The Reverse. (A technical term for a sudden change of direction in a story, used most often in scriptwriting.)
While I was rolling around on the floor laughing at How Stupid Those Movie People Were, it turned out ole Walt didn't write that funny rhyme. A younger Sir Walter Raleigh did. Seems there is another English fellow, a professor, Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh, who penned that particular verse, and now who is the dickhead, hey?
Yours Truly. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!
However, my error does not give the "book editor" a pass, because Walter Raleigh the Alexander has himself been pushing up the daisies for almost a hundred years, and the poem, written in 1914, long in the public domain. A real editor would have caught this.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Bad mistake. Not only were there typos and awkward phrases, there was one section that somehow got duplicated in the book …
Me, I'm happy for editorial assistance, copy-editors, too, though we sometimes disagree on what is appropriate secondary to my style. Once had a Texas Ranger character use the term "bidness," in dialog. To show the patois being used. CE changed it to "business," which was technically correct, but wrong for the idiomatic dialog. I changed it back.
My philosophy regarding the editing for content is that if the change makes it better, I'm all for it. If it changes something just for the sake of changing it but doesn't make it better, nor worse, I usually let those pass. If an editorial change makes something worse? I fight tooth and nail against it. Good editors can be convinced most of the time.
In the middle category, I once had an editor on my Conan novels who did some little touch up hither and yon that I thought were mostly unnecessary. I let them slide, until I came to one in particular that told me she was changing stuff just because she wanted to lay hands on the ms and do it.
Here's the set-up. I had my mighty-thewed barbarian enter into a ramshackle inn and order some food. What was a bloody slab of half-raw beast on a wooden platter was delivered unto Conan, along with some ale to wash it down.
The editor, bless her poor, departed soul, changed the line to read (italics mine) so that it was a bloody slab of half-raw beast on a piece of bread on a wooden platter …
I had to laugh. Are you kidding me? What, you think Conan isn't getting enough carbohydrate in his diet? And why didn't you give him, you know, a salad, some bean sprouts or kale or maybe Swiss Chard, hey … ?
Not to even mention that a bloody slab of half-raw beast is going to turn a piece of bread into a gooey mush no right-minded barbarian would eat unless he was starving …
Stay tuned, I will offer more of these as I recall them ...
Monday, November 25, 2013
Came across a review in the paper, writer coming to town to do a reading. Guy (Chas Smith) writes for surf magazines, and has done a book
which is mostly about the North Shore of Oahu where surfing is a Big Deal. Fascinating stuff almost none of which I knew. The dark underbelly, which is not something you think of when you listen to Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys singing about waxing down their boards and all …
Lot of good material, albeit the presentation is, um … somewhat obnoxious at times. Smith apparently fancies himself a writer in the Tom Wolfe/Hunter S. Thompson mold, i.e., the "new" journalists. For those you who don't know, this kind of writing revolves around the teller as much as the tale, with the narrator front and center. How it all affects him is more important than what is going on. I generally prefer more transparency in a story, but if it is done well, it's okay.
Smith, a clothes-horse, spends way too much time talking about his neato keen shirts and cool shoes, and how he looks is so important to him that writing about how crappy surfers dress is a major part of this, and apparently every other story, he offers. It detracts from the material, but on balance, I'd recommend the book.
Speaking of clothes …
When I learned to play guitar, I did it in the classic position, that is, the waist of the instrument resting on my propped-up left leg. Balanced thusly, the back of the guitar didn't usually touch my waist so I never had a problem in what guitar players call "belt-buckle rash."
The uke, on the other hand, sits closer and on my lap, so I have gotten a couple of fine scratches on the back, which is no good. So I have been playing with my shirt-tail out.
Then I discovered something called a "musician's belt," aka "mechanic's belt." This is a design wherein the buckle is underneath a leather overlay. Keeps the metal from scratching your musical instrument, or if you are a car mechanic, from scratching a customer's paint job. A clever device, this.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Likely you know that "ukulele" is often abbreviated as "uke."
Thus the T-shirt.
What? What's that you say? Tsk. What a dirty mind you have ...