"Where have you been?" you might wonder ('the hell' and ', jaggoff' are optional interjections for the vulgar minded).
Well, I've been Away.
December 20-26 we were in Michigan. It snowed heavily on Wednesday and Thursday, I had a chance to eat Rallys Hamburgers, Faygo pop (not soda), and I somehow missed out on White Castles. Nuts. I saw Jay and Bob, met Sara (Jay's new sex friend, a very cool punker chick), visited my favorite used book store in America (Second Story Used Books on 10 mile, 2 blocks from Gratiot in Eastpointe), and otherwise utterly enjoyed myself. Probably one of the bizarre centerpoints was seeing the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular show in the Fox Theatre, Downtown Detroit. I'd never been to the Fox, and the layout was pretty awesome. The entry way lobby shows its age and resembles a somewhat cleaner version of the Twilight Zone Haunted Tower ride at Disney. Basically, ornate decorations and lots of gold highlights, but cracked and dim. A quarter of ghostly white angels hung from monofilaments in the ceilings and looked like ghosts. It was a sight. But the theatre itself was breathtaking in its beauty. An enormous gold proscenium decorated with the finest representations of Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva and other aspects of the Hindu mythos. At the apex: a glorious rendition of an elephant's head (Gnishka, anyone?). And on the stage below, we saw a Christmas show. It was truly a blend of cultures and terribly ironic. I had to chuckle. There were many highlights to the show, several unintentional funny spots (like the dancing ballerina bear in the Nutcracker. She had pink shadowed eyes that made her look like some sort of possessed creature in a 70s horror flick -- like Telly Savalas in the Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing flick Horror Express...). I have a soft spot for the Cossack bears, though. They are a joy unto themselves for me. Makes me a sentimental sucker, I suppose. However, the biggest groaner (the Living Nativity at the end) was made delightful by the live sheep on stage -- especially the one whose itches just needed to be scratched. He might have been biting his hind leg, but it looked to me like he was licking his nuts.
We got back to Massachusetts on Sunday just in time for the snow. The airplane was stuck on the tarmac for fifty minutes while the authoriries de-iced the plane at our gate. Then, as our plane sidled into the gate dock, it slid too far, jolting all the fools who were already standing up and retrieving their things from overhead compartments. We had another wait while airport personnel pulled the plane back into place. Then, the thirty minute wait for luggage and the two hour commute through the driving sleet and snow. We originally anticipated being home around eight o'clock, and didn't actually see the apartment until five minutes before 11. Ah, the joy of snow.
I love it so long as I don't have to drive in it.
Of course, most of it is now melted.
Last week I was home, pretty much the whole time. I developed a nasty cold, and no longer sound like a croaking toad. Now, I'm more of a Bruce (Babylon 5) Boxleitner gravel. However, this nixed any real gaming Trista and I could have done last week. Nuts, and I had such plans!
So, we watched most of Alias Season 2, read, and did our creative thangs. She knit a bunch, I wrote a bunch (though nowhere near as much as I'd hoped), and even submitted a story called "Always Roses" to the Corpse Blossoms antho.
We spent new year's eve with the Leitches, and I discovered that I had to nearly single handedly win Cranium (as my partner was lackluster in three of the four categories. If ever offered the choice, don't take Jeff as your partner, his wife is much better. My wife was best of all, but I still somehow managed to sneak a win.).
My new year's resolutions are pretty simple.
1) Get the total credit card debt to less than 5 grand.
2) double our savings account
3) hone my writing craft
4) sell at least three pieces, and one of these at professional rates
5) lose another 10 pounds
Let's see, what books have I read lately?
Well, I finished Peter Straub's Magic Terror. Excellent! I read "Porkpie Hat", again (this time aloud to Trista).
I read Mercedes Lackey's Oathbreakers (one of Trista's suggestions). Quite good. Darker than I thought it would get. There were a couple of moments that made me roll my eyes (mostly centering on the righteous Herald of Valdemar character), but the rest of the book was whip smart and entertaining.
I read MIA Hunter: Mountain Massacre by Jack Buchanan. Man was THAT fun. It's relatively early Joe R. Lansdale (writing under pseudonym). It pits action heroes against ninjas in leftover sets from Apocalypse Now. My synopsis does it no justice, but I had a ball reading it.
Dark Tower 5: Wolves of the Calla. Gripping and wonderful.
I'm just about done with Dark Tower 6, and it has been a truly gripping read. I'll probably finish it off tonight.
Trista has been reading What the Witch Left to me. A ya novel from her childhood. It sparkles with the joy of story.
Talking to my old chums has shown me how different we've become. At least, how some of our tastes have changed. EG: I'm a fan of Peter Straub, Jay is vehemently not. I like Jack Ketchum's fiction, Jay vehemently doesn't. It's amusing.
Most amusing of all was Jay's comment to me, just before I left. He said, "You know Dan, that we're planning to let you get famous and then ride on your coat tails." At the time, I responded, "All right." He and Bob laughed, and I joined in. However, if he was serious, I sure as shit won't make it that easy. Nope, he'll just have to work for it.
Saw The Aviator yesterday. Incredible film.