Monday, December 28, 2009


Saw Avatar at noon. Wonderful film experience. Saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Very good. Talked to friends. Unpacked and packed again. Did a load of laundry. Snuggled with Sandy. Cleaned up my email.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas '09

December 25: We woke up at 6:10 a.m. The kids came downstairs around 6:30. We watched Alex and Hayden open their stockings and play with their toys. Hayden got books, play food, an activity table and a big wheel. Alex got a play vanity, play food, a couple of games, some dolls and a coloring book. The adults then opened their stockings. I received some nice things and yummy candy. A great little haul for sure!

Christmas was enjoyable and fairly stress free. Everyone was in good spirits and had a wonderful time. The dinner was delicious. Later in the evening, I watched the Wizard of Oz and a few special features. Still holds up. Great show.

December 27: My last day in Reno. It's been very relaxing and wonderful. I'm not sore today, amazing considering how many runs Chris and I went down at Mt. Rose yesterday. I do have a slight headache, but other than that I feel good. I slept until 10:30 this morning. Last night Jill and I played poker at The Pepper Mill until 1:30 a.m. I was dead tired and only played with Jill at the 2/4 table, so I didn't have to think too much. No big surprises at the table except how badly I played a few hands in which I knew I was beat. The players are very predictable. Maybe I was too, but my edge is in evaluating when I have the better hand and valuing betting because of it.

I leave for Oakland tomorrow, then go to Seattle the next day until New Year's. I see the entire gang on the 29th. Should be lots of fun…I'm looking forward to seeing everyone together. Kathryn and Tom are the only two who be missed. Oh, and Amanda, who flies back to Ohio on the 29th.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Sandy is such a cute little dog. She has several quirks and idiosyncrasies that make her special. Her separation anxiety issue has become legendary. I've had her for over four years. She is a little princess toward other dogs. She rarely shows other dogs any attention, which drives some younger dogs crazy. She loves turning her head away as if saying, "sorry, not interested." She's 14. She's slowed down this past year, but occasionally she can work herself into a frenzy by running and jumping around like a rabbit. Her back issues have been contained this year. I carry her up and down the stairs, which has helped. She rarely jumps off the couch anymore. Such a good little dog.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I read The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. It's very good. The writing is seamless and strong. I'm paying attention to how the book is marketed and sold. It serves as a good model. The second book came out last October, Catching Fire. I'll read everything Suzanne Collins has written. She's the best I've read so far. Thanks for the tip, Sara.

This n That

I just watched Tom's documentary about Jim Thorpe, called "Jim Thorpe: The World's Greatest Athlete," an engaging, very well produced film about the football and sports legend. I liked the pace and flow of the biography, and some of the archival footage and pictures of Jim Thorpe were fantastic. I've never seen the Burt Lancaster film. I wonder if it's even out on DVD or video.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

December never counts. The month is spent buying presents, going out to lunch and writing Christmas cards. It's difficult to get anything done, but I try. I'm setting up plans for revising Chapel, which should take no more than a couple months. Megan D. gave me some excellent edits. I really liked them. I meet with the Youngs next weekend. In the revision, I'll give more detail to some of the characters and emphasis some of the magic a little more. I'm getting a sense of what works and what doesn't. Overall, the book is strong.

I've been alternating between writing and poker this week. Monday and Wednesday were all poker, and Tuesday and Thursday are all writing. So far it's worked out all right. I've been focusing on tournaments at Players Only. The players are much softer than at Poker Stars. I play some limit poker to accumulate some of the bonuses at Players Only. It's more enjoyable than grinding out at 10 tables on Poker Stars. The limit players just aren't as strong.

I'm planning my trip to Reno over Christmas and need to buy chains for my MINI. I haven't put my Christmas to-do list together yet. I need to!

Today I have lunch with two former co-workers, Cheryl and Judy. It'll be a very pleasant lunch, catching up on the year and seeing how they're doing. I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Racquetball, Music, Stories, and Poker

Yesterday, I played in our club doubles tournament. Dorian and I took second. He didn't play that well and was suffering from a bad back. We weren't competitive at all in the finals against Tyrone and Steve. It was somewhat frustrating because I was playing well and really wanted to reclaim the doubles trophy. Next time. I'm hungry for some racquetball wins. I'm determined to increase my endurance and play smarter. I'm excited about the new year and play to take ten lessons with Angela Grisar. This will really improve my game. She's a top 10 pro and very nice. I need instruction to improve my game.

Last night I listened to Ari and Richard at L'Amyx, then watched Heather Donnell's 10-minute short film at my place with the Youngs and a few others. Sweet film about the power of story and comic books. Today I read chapters 9 and 10 to Sophie, who needs to be finished before our roundtable discussion next weekend. A lot to do to make the book better. I found all sorts of things I'd like to change in the two chapters I read today.

Getting back into poker starting today. I miss the game and would like to increase my skills this month. Also cleaned computer stuff and paid some bills. Feeling the crunch these days.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Today I finished organizing the garage, edited the dreaded second sentence of Julia Milan, sent some emails, posted a few pictures on Facebook, and read. The days fly by, as always. Chatted with Megan D. on Facebook for about 40 minutes. That was fun! Sent some pics of Sandy to Rhonda. She'll love those! Tomorrow is our club doubles tourney. I don't think we'll win, but hopefully we won't embarrass ourselves. D has had back issues lately.
I was hoping to play some poker tonight, but it didn't happen. Maybe Sunday I'll get back in the groove.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cleaning the Garage

I spent most of today cleaning out the garage. It's been a project I've wanted to start for about a year. My idea is to organize everything in Banker's boxes and put them on shelves. I got the shelves up today, and tomorrow I fill them up with boxes.

I met up with Sara N. last week for coffee. She gave me lots of agent suggestions. I plan to send out queries after the new year. I'm working on my query now. How aggressive should I be? Part of me wants to say this series is going to be over-the-top huge, but another part of me thinks I should be more quiet and reserved. Where has that gotten me?

I had lunch with the director of the PBS documentary I was involved in back in the 90s, Tom Weidlinger. He's such a great guy. We talked about our projects and will meet again next week. He's a good person to know. I'll show him a few scripts and the first couple of chapters of the new book. I'm glad we're back in touch.

The Young family has read the book and we're doing a roundtable next week. That should be interesting. I can't wait to receive Trey's detailed notes. Maybe he'll be an editor when he grows up. I'm looking forward to the next that the plot's on paper, it's time to have some real fun!