Thursday, September 20, 2007

This,That, and a Splash of Beer

Here are a bunch of random thoughts ...

Went to the doctor this morning. Found out I have a pinched nerve at my L5, but he thinks my back woes can be treated with muscle relaxers and stretching exercises. I did manage to lose two pounds (though I don't know how) since my last visit, further postponing his threats to send me next door to his large-knuckled friend for a prostate exam.

My wife has never come across a volunteer list that she wasn't compelled to sign either my name or hers. She teaches at a Catholic school and our boys attend the same school. Each fall they have a Halloween carnival and this year my lovely wife is in charge of the Mexican cafe. That in itself is ironic since she is blond-haired blue-eyed, doesn't know a lick of Spanish, and hates to cook. So what is she doing ow, spending hours and hours roasting chili peppers, burning the tips of her fingers making Gordita shells, and accompanying a translator to an all Mexican store to buy several hundred pounds of masa. Wish I knew how to add those fancy little squiggly Spanish accents to words. And you can bet she'll find plenty of tasks for me to do as well.

I've kindly told her to stop volunteering for everything but it is unlikely that she will listen.

My oldest son, a first grader, has been getting in trouble for talking at school. Guess this one is my fault. I never had a report card in my life in which I didn't get a check mark in the box that said failure to refrain form unnecessary talking. I always though it was necessary but my teachers seemed to disagree.

Sunday I'm off to glorious Norman, Oklahoma for another round of Postal training. Oh Boy! But it's only a week this time so I'll manage. More than that and I commence twitching to get back to The Lone Star State. Do you know they consider Shiner Bock, a Texas made beer, to be an import? And they only sell three-two beer in Oklahoma. Oh, you can go to a liquor store and get full strength beer, but you have to buy it hot because they only sell the weak stuff already chilled. Further proof Oklahoma is indeed a third world country. I understand why states with a higher altitude sell watered down beer, but why Oklahoma. The state isn't exactly known for it's towering mountainous peaks.

My first grade son started another years worth of tap and ballet class this week. Click here to read about his first dance recital last spring and for my take on my son being the only boy amongst seventy some odd girl dancer. He also has his first flag football games this weekend and my four year old has his first ever soccer games. We'll be busy, so it might be late Sunday before I post the next edition of Tales of the Yellow Flag.

My wife watched this show on BBC America every night called Coupling. This week I started watching with her and gotta say it is hilarious. Some great witty dialogue. I'm guessing the show itself is a few years old and these are all reruns but they are new to me.

I've managed to write almost five thousand words in the last two days. A lot of it is the usual rough-draft crap, but it's progress none the less.

My New Orleans Saints are killing me. They have looked horrible so far and I have nicknamed their starting left tackle (an OU Sooner graduate I might add) Ole, since he plays more like a bullfighter than a blocker. Hope he doesn't read this since he is still a giant of a man. And Jamaal Brown, if you do read this just act like that guy in front of you is me. Take your anger out on him and do not come looking for me.

My favorite living author, Richard Russo has a new book coming out next Tuesday called The Bridge of Sighs. That title alone has me pumped. I can hardly wait. i am more eager to read it than I was book seven of the Harry Potter series. Hopefully I will not be disappointed this time however. Richard Russo is most known for his Pulitzer Prize winning Empire Falls and if you only know that work from the HBO mini series do yourself a favor and read the novel. It is much better but I'll warn you the prologue is tough to get through, though worth it in the end. And my favorite novel of Mr. Russo's is The Risk Pool which is slated to be made into a movie by Tom Hanks.

Also found out that my recently sold short story titled, The Simplest of Sounds will be available online sometime in November on the Underground Voices website. I'll let you guys know when. But just to let you know the piece is dark and a far cry from my humorous tone here on the blog. However all of y'all will have the opportunity to read writing from me that for a change is not full of typos, and poorly edited sentences. I actually spent some time composing that short story and it is one of my personal favorites among all the things I have penned.

Well I've rambled on and bored y'all enough, but as usual I'm going to pander for comments. I want each of you to list the last piece of fiction you finished reading. I don't care if it was thirty minutes ago or thirty years ago when some evil English teacher assigned the book in class. Then I want you to say whether you liked it or not and if you are really adventurous tell me why.

LAter on, I'll post my most recent read, and opinion, in the comments.


Jason said...

The last piece of fiction I read was "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey. Some call it fiction. Some don't. Depends on when you ask them. And what percentage was fiction. Especially The Great and Powerful Oprah. Nevertheless, I loved it. Completely.

By the way, I moved to Kansas City on the Kansas side three years ago and much to my dismay - three two beer in the store. Unless you go to the liquor store.

We now live on the Missouri side.

Angie said...

Hey, congrats on the productivity. :)

And you asked.... The last piece of fiction I read was a fanfic called "Hard Out of the Sun," about twelve hours ago. It's an AU (alternate universe -- means you follow canon up to a point, then take a hard left and follow your own muse from then on) set around the time of Revenge of the Sith. I enjoyed it quite a lot, and it had a cool twist toward the end which I didn't see coming (although it was pretty clear something was going on) and have never seen before, so props to the writer for that too.


Shauna said...

Nice rambling. I like your wife. BTW I need some volunteers...LOL!

Hey, good on ya for letting your son join a dance class. My hubby would have a coronary I think.

Last book I read was Secret Agent Minister by Lenora Worth. Loved it! Plot was quick moving and dialogue was witty and intense. It's one of those books that drags you in.

jjdebenedictis said...

Storm Front: Book One of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.

I liked it! This is in spite of the fact that I tend to dislike urban fantasy and first person. It's a fun little read and I will probably read the rest of the series also.

Travis Erwin said...

I just finished Between, Georgia by Joshilynn Jackson. A very good novel that got better as it went along. It had some great character development and a satisfying ending without getting too cheesy.

I like her first novel, gods in Alabama a tiny bit better but a good read none the less.

Skiingred said...

Last Fiction book: Meg Cabot - Ready or Not... currently on a non fiction kick now reading about conspiracy theories and other happy thoughts... With school underway, my reading for pleasure time does dwindle...

Congrats on the 5K words... My writing = stagnant now and I'm looking for more inspiration.

About A Boy is a great story, and will probably be my next fiction read.

Skiingred said...

Beer: we were charged an import for Rolling Rock (mind you, it was one state over.) The Fosters oilcan was given the Domestic price though -- go figure! Must be something about the state line that makes it an import!

Monnik said...

Your Saints are killing me too. I have Drew Brees and Reggie Bush on my fantasy roster and they're producing NOTHING!!

The last piece of fiction I read was Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. I'm currently reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and She's Come Undone. Both very good (and very different from each other)

Bernita said...

I suspect you'll hit volunteer burn-out about the time the last one hits high school.
I always managed to avoid a good 2/3rds of the assigned reading.
Last book is Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold. Superb.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm reading three books now, but the last one I finished was "Through Darkest America" by Neil Barrett Jr. Very dark and savage, a story of post-apocolyptic America. Loved it, although I thought the ending could have been better. The last short story I finished was "Stone Child" by Bernita Harris. Loved it too.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Travis,

Funny you should ask about the last piece of fiction I read. I have a very long answer.

My short story "Strike Zone" is in the anthology Murder New York Style to be released November 1, 2007. Several weeks ago, just after I submitted another short story to another anthology and SHOULD have gone back to novel writing, I received a pdf file of all twenty-one stories in Murder New York Style. I printed and read and read again. I knew I was being published in the excellent company of a cadre of New York writers, but the stories exceeded even my lofty expectations. (You know I like short stories as we occasionally meet over at Criminal Brief.) What I did not expect is that I would get hung up on reading short stories. I am presently reading short stories only, alternating between the following four anthologies: Dangerous Women, Best American Mystery Stories 2003, Deadly Housewives, and the O. Henry Prize Stories 2005. The absolutely last story I read was The Adventure of the Agitated Actress by Daniel Stashower from the 2003 anthology.

Now isn't that way more than you ever wanted to know?? ;)


Phats said...

Hello Hello
The Mexican Cafe sounds good can you get me a doggy bag? I don't volunteer for anything at my school, although I do coach Jr High, and Varsity Girls Tennis, as well as Varsity Cheerleading.

That's great that your boy is a tapper and cool! I don't think I could do it. I read your previous post which you linked, and trust me I was a cheerleader haha! :)

mielikki said...

Just finished "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman. The book highly entertained me.
And your saints need some work. . .

latt├ęgirl said...

The Angel of Darkness, Caleb Carr. It was a pretty good mystery tale.

Brooke said...

You are busy, busy. I am glad that I am not the only one who mentioned Halloween in today's post.

The very last piece of fiction I read was this afternoon, My Baby Brother is a Little Monster by Sarah Albee, Sesame Street Workshop.

I wept. You will too.

Bluefingers said...

Hey Travis,

Sorry my voice has been absent on your blogs lately, but since some guy named Igor called me up and thinks I should change out some of the book, I have been slightly busy.


Enjoy your time in norman and if you see my ex inlaws, give them a big kick in the a**.

And yes, 5K words is magnificent. I am totally jealous.



Bluefingers said...

Oh, and I am reading three chap books, including Zach Bush's We Swallowed Spiders in Our Sleep for various reviews.

As for fiction, I am reading, The Kite Runner.

Helen Shearer said...

Hi, just read your blog for the first time. Had a good laugh. One thing I gotta comment on though. The doctor who told you that your L5 problem can be fixed with muscle relaxants and stretching exercises might just be wrong. Get a second, no make that a fifth opinion. I had a bulging L4-5 years ago. Four doctors told me to take anti-inflammatories and go to physio. I went diligently. By the time I saw the fifth doctor, the disc had ruptured and I needed surgery and six long, ever-so-boring months off work. On the upside I managed to make a quilt. I had more x-rays than I care to count but it wasn't until I saw a neurosurgeon and had a CAT scan that I got an accurate diagnosis. Save yourself the trouble and get a CAT scan now...unless you feel the need to make a quilt. Good luck.

Jenn said...

Good Catholic girls volunteer. We are told to do this. Travis forgets to tell how he likes to volunteer his money during casino night at our Parish without me signing him up.

For fiction I have read lately. It would be "Tithe" a modern faerie tale by Holly Black. It is really good. I like most of her work. I have also read in the past two weeks the "Golden Compass".

I have read "Nineteen Minutes" it is really good. I had to have the last part about the sock explained to me. As Travis has pointed out I am blond.

Chick said...

I love most shows on the dry & witty.

Good for your wife for all her good deed doing.

Design Goddess said...

Coupling is great! And, of course, the American rip-off of it was not. Kinda like The Office. I know most people dig the American version, but I found the Brit version much funnier.

And the little squiggly Spanish accent is a "tilde" (pronounced til-day). I only know this b/c my first degree is in Spanish.