Monday, February 23, 2009


Geese have been flying overhead, honking like there's no tomorrow. Starlings swarm lawns, looking for brand new grass seed. Sorry guys, it's still winter here. Maybe it's warmer elsewhere, but I swear, winter here is clinging like a leech. My poor little daffodils are hanging their heads, just trying to survive on whatever the sun gives them. During my daily walk, I make it a habit to check out my favorite trees, looking for any sign that they're getting ready to bud. The other day, a plaintive screech was coming from one of the big oaks on the grounds of the Baptist church. Checking it out, I found a lone blackbird hanging onto the top branch, twisting one way then the other, crying loudly. They're usually in murders (are blackbirds a murder, just like crows?), so I figured this little guy became separated from his buddies. With dusk falling, he must have been desperate to find them. Searching the skies, I couldn't find any signs his gang was doubling back for him. Waiting a bit, I finally gave up and walked on.

His situation brought my thoughts to loners. Lee Child writes the ultimate loner in his Jack Reacher character. Think Paladin, (the Western variety), or many of Susan Elizabeth Phillips' heroines (and heroes, for that matter). They believe they're alone because of circumstances or their own sins, (Sugar Beth in AIN'T SHE SWEET), that they're the only ones who handle their problems, but eventually, they find they can rely on someone else (and must do so) to evolve and find happiness, no matter how much they don't think they deserve it. I guess that's why Reacher doesn't appeal to me book after book - I want him to learn he can and should share the burden. Even Bill Gates found his Melinda.

Besides, a static character arc grows old for the readers. Nothing more boring than a character who doesn't grow emotionally. Hmm, same with people, n'est-ce pas?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Feeling Philosophical

Sure hope I spelled that correctly. My spelling has become lazy with the advent of word processors. Having started in WP on the original Dell computers (the cognoscenti know how long ago THAT was), I think I can safely say the spelling is in the tank.

Anyway, yesterday on the way to church I saw thousands of those flimsy plastic bags, the sort used at huge chain stores, clinging to the barren branches of some trees and bushes populating a tract of unsold land. It was windy enough for them to flap like giant white bird wings, struggling for freedom from the enchaining scrub oaks and weedy bushes. For a second, I wondered what would happen if some magic turned those shredded bits of plastic into animate objects, and they did take wing. Would they fly heavenward like prayers, or fall into the muck again because they'd never learned how to properly flap their feathers?

Back to work on the paranormal. . .

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Daytona is over. . .

big sigh. I know the rain wasn't going to end in time to finish the race before midnight, and I never would have sat in the stands through the deluge, but still - it would have been interesting to see if AJ Allmendinger could have worked his way to #1 from where he ended the race, in the three spot. Good race - Kyle Busch had the car to beat before he got wrecked. But none of the other Toyotas showed the brilliance everyone was expecting. Michael Waltrip and the 00 with David Reutimann, both out of the Waltrip stable, were the top-finishing Toyotas. All in all, I'm happiest for Allmendinger. The guy deserves every bit of success - he's a fighter.

The other bright spot for me was seeing Scott Riggs finish the race somewhere in the 20s. That'll help him and Tommy Baldwin keep racing for a while longer. Those guys have guts. I love the independents who lay it all on the line, gambling their money and their careers, to chase their dreams.

Now it's back to work - the paranormal took a back burner to Speed and Larry Mac and Jeff Hammond. It's hard to work on weekends when there's racing! We didn't trek to Daytona this year, so I really should have stayed with the laptop and done more writing, but it'll be there tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Times they are a'changing

It's time to talk Nascar. The Bud shootout rolls off the starting line three days from now, and it's no longer the "Pole" race, limited to those drivers with engines and cojones big enough to win a pole position in '08. Now, it's a manufacturers' race. Sigh. Where's the history in that? I'll be glad to see something race other than the nitwits on Pinks (and no, I won't watch that show), so I suppose I should be happy Daytona is coming our way again.

W, as a society, need a lift. The truck series looks as if it's barely going to field enough trucks to make the racing interesting, and the Nationwide field doesn't look a whole heck of a lot better. Mike Wallace is still hustling for a ride in Nationwide, and how fair is that? He lost his personal sponsor, Geico, because Nationwide didn't want a competitor on a car in a series bearing its name. Think that'll endear Nationwide to the fans? Yeah, right.

Too many teams are winging it on prayers and promises from sponsors who have yet to sign on the dotted line. Fifteen new teams are registered for the 500, but how many of them will make the long haul to California the next week? The famed Wood Brothers will race only the 1.5 milers, and Yates will lose its iconic 38 if it doesn't line up sponsorship AND make the first five races, because they yanked its points and gave them to Menard, who has family money running his car. Again, how fair is that? (from now on, I'll have to shorten my sarcasm to HFIT.)

We'll see after California how things start to shake out. I'll personally miss seeing the #22 with Dave Blaney behind the wheel, and it looks as if the #4, given Larry McClure's conviction for income tax evasion, won't rise from the ashes anytime soon. I'll have to find another team to root for, but it won't be one of the biggies. Earnhardt, Gordon, Edwards, they all have enough voices shouting their names. I need an underdog who pulls out in front of the pack with flashes of brilliance. A David Reutimann, for example. Hmmm, I may have found my guy.

Today is a sad one because The Daly Planet is no longer an active blog site. Its owner and mentor, John Daly, is closing it down because he feels as it's more important to focus on helping Nascar survive than in dissecting television coverage of its events. Instead of complaining about Dr. Punch's boring race delivery on TDP's message boards, I'll have to do my grumping here, I suppose. And you all thought I was all sweetness and light, right?

It's a good writing week, with dreams about the characters following a day's worth of work, 12 pages or more. Can't ask for better. Racing is getting started again, and the book is flowing. Life is looking up.