Monday, October 29, 2012

Ride Out the Storm

Preempting Halloween this week:

A lot of my friends from the pulp community are on the East Coast, including many in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. I'm thinking of you today and until the storm rides out. I hope and pray that everyone emerges on the other side with minimal damage. Remember to keep yourselves safe first, then your family and your pets, and THEN your pulps. I say that in jest, because I know you all know this. But I know how terrifying it can feel to think that Mother Nature could wipe out a collection that took years, sometimes decades, to build. I thought of my grandfather's pulps every time I heard of a fire in Santa Clarita Valley when I lived there.

I'll be checking in with some of you privately as the week goes on. In the meantime, if you still have electricity and everything is buttoned down and safe, feel free to comment here and let us know how you're doing.

For those of you on Facebook, these photos are on the NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center page.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

John Saxon: versatile, cool, and still eye candy

Classic film fans might enjoy this article in the L.A. Times today on actor John Saxon. He's being interviewed this Thursday at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre, in between screenings of ENTER THE DRAGON and THE APPALOOSA.

How many of you have seen THE APPALOOSA, in which Marlon Brando starred? I didn't know that Saxon had won a Golden Globe for that performance. I also didn't know that Saxon was in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, but my knowledge of horror films hovers pretty close to zero.

Check out the photos with the article. He still looks pretty damn good.

When I first saw THE APPALOOSA, I was more interested in the stunning horse, rather than the romantic and white-man-vs.-Mexican-man conflict. I haven't seen the movie in many years so I don't know how I would feel about the movie. Judging by the trailer here, I'm inclined to think that the movie hasn't aged well.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Time to Come Clean

Hi all:

Well, here's another attempt to fire up the blog again. It's been pretty obvious that I've fallen off on postings for quite a while now - actually all this year and part of last year. At the gentle urging of dear friend Walker Martin, I've decided to come clean with the hopes that it will get me back into the groove of the blog again.

I've had a couple of rough years in a few different areas of my life - namely my health and my job. A year and a half ago I started to suffer chronic neck, back, and shoulder pain and discovered, lo and behold, that I had fairly significant scoliosis of the spine. How I lived so long without it being diagnosed is anybody's guess. It took a physical therapist to find it. While I've been able to adjust my life somewhat, it's pretty evident that I'll never be completely pain free again; for example right now I'm dealing with rotator cuff issues and numbness. Next week it could be something different. In addition, I've had to adjust to a much heavier work load at work, which requires me to sit at a computer for hours on end. Anyone who has back issues can see the problem there.

In addition I realized that I was deeply unhappy with where I was living. Two years ago I moved to Santa Clarita. I rented a wonderful house - a big 3 bedroom with a den and a large yard where I could garden to my hearts content. But the utility bills were killing me, and I was spending 12-15 hours inside because it was so hot you couldn't go outdoors. You'd think I would spend that time writing, but sometimes when you're dealing with conflicted emotions and pain and feeling overwhelmed, any kind of writing, whether it's for a book or for a blog, can feel insurmountable. Instead, I sat on the couch and ate and watched TV.

A few months ago I decided to make some major changes. I downsized. I sold a large portion of my books (don't worry, no pulps went out the door) and my vintage linen collection. I sold almost all of my furniture, including some pieces that I had bought for that big house and had barely used. If you've ever seen the Under the Tuscan Sun movie, you know the scene at the beginning when Frances, who is reeling from her husband leaving her for younger woman, is moving out of her house. Even though her house is full of beautiful furniture, she eventually tells her movers that the only thing she wants to take are a couple of boxes of books. Any time I watched that scene, I envied Frances. You just want to shed it all, like a skin that doesn't fit, and start a new life. Well, I did it - on a much less dramatic scale - but I did it.

Call me crazy, but I moved from well-tended Santa Clarita with little crime and moved back to the area I left in 2008 - San Pedro. I moved from one of the safest cities in the country to one of the craziest. (Although Santa Clarita isn't perfect; it has a major drug problem and people drive like maniacs. And when I told people up there where I was going, many of them responded with "Man, I don't blame you at all"). Now I have a 1 bedroom bungalow, on a busy street and surrounded by apartment buildings. But I'm paying much cheaper rent. There are fewer distractions; for one thing, my yard here is about the size of a pencil, so I won't have to be spending hours watering and pulling weeds.

If everything works out, this will be the Daisy Bacon house, where I will finally be able to focus and research and eventually write her story. And because the rent is so much less, with any luck I'll be going down to part time at my job the first of the year so I can spend more time researching and writing.

It's a start. I hope I can keep it going. While I'm not completely recovered from my funk, I feel a little more at peace. I feel as if I've made some significant steps towards making my life work a little bit better. And that is huge for me.

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