Tag Archives: travel

Whew, home again

This trip pretty much sucked. Like I said before, Vegas has never been my kind of town. We had travel problems both ways, everything was about double what we’re used to paying. The hotel water tasted like crap too, and I swear it was to force us into buying their bottled water.

However; the concert was awesome. Pink puts on one hell of a show. It was filled with intriguing sets, dancers, and more than you usually get in a concert. Her aerial antics are worth the price of admission. She did a duet with Eminem, but he appeared as a giant inflatable puppet.

This thing walked around, and his mouth moved during his parts.

She even flew over the entire stadium during So What.

What the heck, have one more.

Tomorrow, I need to chase down some Lisa Burton interviews I sent materials to weeks ago.

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A Desert Rat looks back

Some of you don’t know this, but I grew up in one of the Western deserts. There are several, and they vary depending upon how many you want to count. I’ve been in them all. There is the Black Rock Desert, the Mohave Desert, the Sonora Desert, etc.

I grew up in the Great Basin, which is also a desert. It’s just at high elevation, and gets a severe winter along with a severe summer. No water means it’s still a desert.

Deserts always have an oasis of some kind or another. This helps keep things interesting.

The Mohave Desert is home to Joshua trees, and salt pans, ridges devoid of forest, and yet still holding wildlife. I remember chasing Desert Bighorns in Southern Nevada adjacent to the nuclear test site. There was the morning when I heard the huge tarantula before I saw him, and the afternoon when I found a ridge covered with ancient ammonites. After millions of years, they were still mostly mother of pearl.

Today, Old What’s Her Face and I flew to Las Vegas. We have tickets to the Pink concert tomorrow night. Our first stop was Los Angeles. We were flying on my daughter’s flight benefit, and that means standby. We never made several planes out of LA, but we’re here finally.

The desert is a wonderful, but serious place. Flying into Vegas, looked about like I would imagine flying over Mordor would look. You have to experience the desert close-up to enjoy it.

To tell you the truth, I’d rather be there with the coyotes and the tarantulas. Vegas has never been my kind of town. It always feels like someone is trying to get in to your wallet here. It’s also changed dramatically, and not for the better.

There was a time when rooms were cheap and so were meals. This was by design, because they wanted you to stay inside the casino. As a Nevada native, casinos hold no appeal, so it was a bargain.

Not so today. It appears that MGM owns most of the Strip here. This means the prices have gone up. Don’t like casino resort A? Try casino resort B, which is also under the same ownership, so they don’t care. There is no need to deliver any kind of service, because where else are you going to go.

This is the first hotel I’ve ever been in where there is no coffee maker. It’s likely they would rather have me go down stairs and spend ten bucks on Starbucks, which they also own.

I remember when a Vegas Buffet was about eight bucks. Today, you can ‘t have a burger and fries for less than forty.

It’s kind of sad. We would have done more here, but under the circumstances, we’re likely to attend our concert, and go home. I actually have a couple of granola bars in my suitcase, and you can live on that crap.

***

In other news, I had a cool dream the other night. It was a vision of a character from behind. It took place in a kind of sandstone desert environments. This person was wearing a poncho, but it wasn’t woven. It was made of repurposed canvas and rough cut. I don’t know if it was a man, woman, or child. The character lugged a bag of foraged produce. Wild vegetables of some kind.

The character came to the wing of a crashed spaceship. It might have been abandoned like an old airplane boneyard. There were steps crudely carved into the wing, and the character climbed them. The character looked back, and there were discarded spaceships everywhere. they had a lot of variation, so it could have been an ancient battlefield, or just a long term boneyard.

Inside the ship, the entire thing had been gutted and rebuilt. The streets were level, even though the ship was not. The streets were lined with houses, apartments, and marketplaces. There was a small town inside. Presumably, the other ships were like this too. Maybe each ship was like a subdivision or something.

The character handed over the bag to a nameless and faceless character, who looked inside, grunted, and handed over a fistful of coins. The main character grabbed and empty canvas sack for the next day, and walked deeper into the “city.”

That’s all I got. This is one of those times when I’d like a little more, but that’s all the Muse delivered.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend. We may be here on the cheap, but we’re going to a Pink concert tomorrow.

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Home once more

I got home about 10:00 last night. My final seminar lasted until noon, and I had a tight connection in Houston. Of course Houston had traffic problems, so we got parked on the runway in NOLA.

By the time we got there, we had to run from one plane to the other, but we made it. This left me in a position of having the standard powdered egg breakfast at my hotel, and nothing else all day. I planned on a burger in Houston.

I avoided sitting by the weirdo, or the rowdy children on the planes. Everything was good until the last plane, Houston to Boise. This is when the lady who marinated in perfume sat beside me. I sneezed the whole way home.

It was a good trip. I went to some good seminars, volunteered for a few projects, and got to see some old friends from other states. Even got my one night out for a decent meal.

The dogs were happy to see me. We had to play with all their toys today. I woke up to this in my back yard.

If the weather allows it, I could have some peaches this summer. I don’t see any bees yet, so I hope a few show up.

I worked up shticks for two more Lisa Burton Radio interviews and got them out the door. I have a dozen I could work on, but don’t see the value in creating a backlog when it comes time to post them.

I also wrote and scheduled my next item on Story Empire. I tried to simplify a complex issue, so we’ll see how it comes across. I added one photo, but it doesn’t seem sexy enough for Story Empire. I may find another image and squeeze it in. It doesn’t post for another week.

Now I have to baby my sourdough starter. My wife kept it fed, but it looks like it took a hit. I’ll have it in baking shape in a week.

Many of you asked about Laurie’s trick for the Charlie horses. This was down in the comments the other day. She said to place a bar of soap under the bottom sheet near where I got all the cramps. I tried it, and did not get any more Charlie horses. I toned down the long walks, and drank more water, so I can’t say for sure if the soap made the difference, but there were no more cramps.

I googled this and it’s a real thing. I don’t care so much about the science behind it. If it lets me sleep and gets rid of the cramps, I’m all over it. Thank you, Laurie.

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Saturday, for what it’s worth

I really slept in this morning. I mean more than ever happens. Part of this is because I stayed up watching baseball last night. In fact, I have today’s game on right now.

My wife and daughter were both off today, so productivity ended when I didn’t get up early. My only goals this weekend were to schedule a future interview, and to write shticks for two more. I never got any of it done.

I appreciate Rosie’s Book Review Team for another great review of The Hat. This one seems to be doing well with its readers. In fact someone grabbed a copy from Netgalley, and I received an additional five star review.

I never accomplished much today, but I can’t complain about the good things that happened.

Old What’s Her Face wants some sourdough rolls to go with dinner tomorrow. She bought a replacement bag of flour for me, and I just finished mixing them up. They probably won’t get really sour, but they’ll still be nice rolls.

There are a few hours left to get your copy of The Enhanced League while it’s still free. I saw it get as high as 28 on the sports stories chart. I only take photos now if something gets on a top ten list.

Those who read Enhanced League, seemed to enjoy it. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to understand the human interest stories in this collection.

Next week, my workplace is sending me to a convention in NOLA. Great place to go, but work won’t allow tons of time to have fun. I may have to write some of my shticks on the airplane, but at least I’ll have that time available.

I’ll share a photo or two if I see something cool while I’m there.

PS: Grab a copy of Enhanced League.

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I’m back home

We had a seminar that got us to noon, then we were free to come home. It was cold and rainy when we loaded the car, but the ten inches of predicted snow overnight never happened. We pulled out and one of my compadres asked about lunch. I said, “How about West Yellowstone?”

I wanted to put some miles behind me, and could have happily driven all the way to Boise without stopping except for gas. That isn’t how it works when traveling with a crowd, but West Yellowstone won out. At least I got about 30 miles down.

West Yellowstone is one of my favorite places. If one of my books ever takes off, or we win the lottery, I could happily rent a cabin there for the summer. I’m sure plenty of good stories could be written from there too. I had a buffalo burger, because that’s what one does there. I prefer the buffalo steak, but it was lunchtime.

There was a downside. We were only slightly ahead of the real storm. This was September 15th after we left.

It kind of reminds me of my morel mushroom hunt on June 10th, which looked like this.
A three month summer sounds about right to me but: SPRING AND FALL ARE SUPPOSED TO BOOKEND IT! Not friggin winter.

I want my autumn. It’s my favorite time of the year. I want my leaves and pumpkin beer. I want my cool nights with the window open. I want all the flies to die lonely cold deaths.

Enough of that. It’s time for some weekend goals.

  • I have to stop looking at The Hat and let it ferment for a while.
  • I want to read at least two books before I start writing again. Might as well start this weekend.
  • Print out two submissions and work up critiques for my group.
  • Work on edits for Yak Guy. This is a long process, but I have all day Monday.
  • Date night, Steelers game, Diamondbacks game, craft beer.
  • Keep cranking on Lisa’s interviews.

I won’t make the list too long, because some of these will take more time than simple blog updates. As far as blogs go, I missed reading some of yours. I drove most of the day and part of the night; that’s my excuse. I’ll surf back through, but some are going to get missed.

I have my next Story Empire post scheduled, and had an idea about a follow up post. The pending one is about starting a story. A fair idea came to me while driving, that starting in media res would be a good follow up. It also occurred to me that I can use Cat Ballou as a reference most folks will understand. Might have to find a more recent movie for younger readers. I’ll do a bit of research and see if I can make a post that includes Hanoi Jane fun somehow. Maybe there’s a YouTube video with Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole.

That’s the update and the plan. I’m home, and it’s time to get started.

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Updating from Big Sky

I’m at the convention for my paycheck job. Lot’s of chatting and politicking going on this week. Enough about work. Tonight includes an event I always skip, and I have an evening to myself.

Big Sky is a ski resort area, and it’s not terribly far from Yellowstone. I intended to grab some pictures for this update, but today was the day a huge thunderstorm decided to strike. This resort has multiple hotels, and the business events are spread all over the place. I got soaked a couple of times walking from venue to venue. A couple of the people I’m with wanted to ride the chair lifts to the top of the mountain, but they got closed due to lightning.

I have some interior shots I can share. My room is really nice, even though it has a Murphy bed. The bed is comfortable, so it’s no big deal really.

Looking the other direction, I even get a mini kitchen. Too bad I don’t have any food to prepare.

No really, it’s too bad I don’t have food. A simple breakfast here is eighteen dollars, and my hamburger lunch came to twenty-five with a drink. It’s pretty typical resort pricing, unfortunately. I get a meal per deum, and it doesn’t even begin to cover the actual cost.
I waited out the worst part of the thunderstorm in the tiny lobby. It looks cool though, and I snapped a shot or two for you.

I really like the carved base of that couch. My iPad Pro would work very well on this antique desk too. I don’t think my rear end would get along with that chair for long though. If this desk were in my room, instead of the lobby, I would try writing at least a micro-fiction piece just for the ambiance.
There is a cowhide on the wall of my room. I know this would look awesome on the new grey flooring we just installed at home. I’m pretty sure Old What’s Her Face would never go for it, but I like it. I’m also sure Otto and Frankie would find it tasty in some way. (Leather = rawhide toy.)


I’m trying to keep up with all my various social media. I caught Facebook a couple of times, but Twitter is off the radar while I’m here. I just don’t have enough time for all of that. I am a guest at the Storyreading Ape’s site today, and I’ve been trying to keep up with the comments over there. Drop in if you haven’t already and I’ll surf through for a couple more days. Hold down the fort while I’m away.

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Checking in

I'm here at the Best Western in Moscow, Idaho. A rather concrete looking motel, if I do say so. Still, my presentation takes place here tomorrow, so that's handy.

I left at about 5:30 this morning and made good time. The Payette River canyon was pretty lonely, which almost never happens. It was early, and wednesday, so that helps. Saw a coyote and two herds of whitetail deer along my route.

Dinner amounted to a sandwich and a platter of Gorgonzola fries. The fries were wonderful. They also have one of my favorite beers called Irish Death. I managed a couple of those.

Getting here early was kind of a bonus. I downloaded a book of my own choosing, and started reading it. This is a singularly rare event. It's been three years since I chose a book to read.

My reading is usually related to my obligations with the Rave Reviews Book Club, or something one of my friends has going on. I do a lot of advance reading, beta reading, and simply supporting friends. I've read some awesome books this way, but there's just something about choosing a book I want to read.

To give you an example, one of my friends has released three books already this year. I simply can't get to them all and continue writing. I have another friends' book in the queue, and I really am excited about this next one.

My current book is an old one, and it does a few annoying things, but I'm enjoying it. I have to remind myself that it's an older style, and I may even finish it tonight.

Tomorrow, I'll make my presentation at mid-day, then drive home. I don't have to return to the office until Monday, so I might get a chance to start writing my next project.

Tonight, I'm going to leave the television off, and curl back up with Dr. Syn, the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh.

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