Dispatches from Kowtown (8-12-14)

Man, what a day.  Some huge emotional ups and downs, but mostly ups.  First off, the downer: the tragedy of Robin William’s suicide.  I grew up with Mork & Mindy on my TV set and enjoyed his many films and standup routines throughout the years.  Williams was an amazing human being, and this just goes to show that no one is immune to mental illness, something we don’t deal with very well in our culture.  But Robin Williams was a comedy icon and he will certainly be missed.

Now to the good stuff.  Yesterday I wrote a review of Douglas Clegg’s novel Goat Dance, which you can read here.  Well, when I woke up and checked my blog this morning, guess who happened to leave an amazing comment to the review?  If you guessed Douglas Clegg, then you are correct!  Clegg was gracious enough to provide some wonderful details about his first novel that I didn’t know, like the fact that his parents bought him the painting used as the cover on the original printing, which makes his parents pretty bad ass in my book.  You can read his reply (and my reply to his reply) at the end of the post.  He also linked to the review on his Facebook page.

So, I dropped this info on a friend of mine, and she started researching Facebook and Twitter (the latter of which I do not have an account on) for similar mentions, only to unearth this awesome little tidbit from Peter Straub on his Twitter page, which somehow escaped my notice when it was originally published.  So basically, I got a two-for-one today with Clegg’s response and Straub’s nod to my review.  That’s Douglas Clegg and Peter Straub, y’all!  See, I’m so excited my Southern is coming out.  The only thing with Straub is that he didn’t like my criticisms of Stephen King.  Let me say that despite my criticisms, I still love Mr. King.  I just happen to think Straub is a better writer.  Just me, your mileage may vary.  But, as I said in the Straub review, King is still a brilliant storyteller, and I am not in any way discouraging people from reading his work.  Not like I could stop them anyway.  Something tells me King will be just fine.  I’m like an ant throwing dirt at a god: he has a bazillion bestselling books published and I have nothing published, so do take my reviews for what they’re worth.

But here’s the weirdest part of the day (as if that isn’t enough):  a couple of days ago my dad mentioned giving me his older laptop to replace my aging critter, as he had just purchased a new one for himself.  My poor old computer had been on the decline for awhile, with a busted back corner that wouldn’t allow the thing to shut properly; a plastic vent grill on the side missing every one of its little bars, exposing the user–namely me–to hot metal; and a handful of other issues.  Basically, it was on its last legs but was still usable.  But this morning, in addition to finding Clegg’s reply, I found that the bottom two rows on my keyboard were completely nonfunctional, making it impossible for me to type a reply to Clegg right then, as I was buzzing to do.  And, lo and behold, my dad had this new puppy ready to go for me today, assuring that the transition from old to new was smooth.  Thanks, Dad!

Hey, guys, since I’m on the subject, let me just tell you a few things about my dad.  He is the kind of guy who has always been driven to pursue to the very end any activity that interests him.  Because of that, his skill set reads more like that of an MI:5 or CIA operative than a middle class guy who works at a trucking company.  He’s a military vet and an amazing mechanic.  He was a world-class mason for years, with houses he built featured on magazine covers.  He’s a third degree black belt in a major Japanese martial arts style.  He became a small aircraft pilot, and then he went ahead and earned a license to teach others to fly planes.  He took up scuba diving.  He went to college to learn AutoCAD back in the mid-nineties and was one of the first people in his circle to own a home PC, which he taught himself to upgrade and repair.  Seriously, he knows more about computers than I will ever learn in my life.  He has a license in heating and cooling.  And he can operate/pilot everything from a motorcycle to a Cessna single prop to a semi-truck to a forty foot boat, and pretty much everything in between.  So, yeah.  That’s my pop.  I think I can safely say, coolest dad ever.

Be good, my friends.

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