Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dinosaurs, Cavemen, and Bows. Oh My.



As I mentioned in my previous post, I was digging through some old comic books this weekend. I don't have many here at the apartment. I got rid of like 10,000 of them when I moved. There's an additional 8,000 or so at my parents house that will eventually have to be dealt with.
Anyway, I kept three comic boxes full, which is about 900 comics. One of those boxes is my Tarzan and related material box. Here are kept my Dell and Gold Key Tarzan comics, my Koraks, Brothers of the Spear, and so forth. But the comic I wanted to mention was Turok, Son of Stone. Now I don't know what early 1960s writer or editor came up with this concept, but he was a genius, let me tell you. Just look at those covers. Indians (aka Native Americans) and DINOSAURS! What red blooded American boy of the 60s-70s could hope to resist such a combination.
The basic concept was simple. Two Indians, Turok and Andar, wander into a valley that time forgot and can't seem to get out. The valley is inhabited by cave men and DINOSAURS. The series follows the two protagonists as they seek a way out of the lost valley and come into conflict with various stone age tribes and DINOSAURS.
I loved these comics when I was a kid, but they were actually pretty hard to come by. Kids today, with their fast cars, hula-hoops, and Comic Specialty Shops, don't realize how hard it was to actually get consectutive issues of any comic book title back in the 70s. The only outlets for comics in rural Georgia were spinner racks at grocery stores and drug stores. Distribution was spotty and it seemed to be especially so for the Gold Key titles. Gold Key was a small company in comparison to the Big Two, Marvel and DC. But they were a classy outfit. All of their adventure titles featured nifty painted covers that made them look more like magazines or kids books than comics. They kept a couple of illustrators very busy for many years churning out all those paintings. Luckily for me Gold Key had a policy against continued stories. All their stories (with a few notable exceptions) were complete in one issue. There was no continuity to speak of so it didn't really matter what issue of Turok you got. When I saw em, I bought em. Did I mention they had DINOSAURS?

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Stay at Home Weekend

Whenever people inquire about how I maintain my budget on the weekends, my response is pretty much this: "When I have money, I go and when I don't I stay." This was a stay weekend. A couple of unexpected domestic purchases pretty much cleaned out my entertainment cash for the weekend.
Basically my budget works on a cash basis. Every week when I get paid, I deposit X amount of dollars in the bank and keep out X amount in "walking around money." I don't own a debit card or a check card and my credit card is for identification purposes only these days. I also don't carry a check book. The money I allocate is all I have until payday rolls around again. For all intents and purposes, once money goes into the bank, it doesn't exist. It is there to pay bills. Period.
Now as long as I don't need shoes or clothes or something unexpected, I usually have a little cash for books and such. All and all it's not that horrible a budget. But boy, those weeks when I have to pay for mundane things that suddenly pop up make for some boring weekends.
So anyway, I was home most of Saturday and Sunday. I read all my Viking reference books. I now know more than I'll ever need to know about Vikings. I also re-read Robert B. Parker's Mortal Stakes, a couple of L. Sprague Decamp/Lin Carter Conan short stories, plus the book on Byzantium. The book about Greece turned out to be pretty worthless so I didn't finish it.
I also watched the Viking Documentary and a documentary about the MGM Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films. I dug through some old comic books (more about that later) and I culled a few more books for the library sale. I spent way too much time mindlessly surfing the Internet as well, but that's normal.
In July, when all my debts are paid off, I'm not sure how I'll handle things. I'll probably stick pretty close to the same budget, because it will be a good way to save money for trips and such. But I'll cut myself more slack on the weekends. More going and less staying.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Action Research!

Yesterday I was meeting Trish for lunch at the Marietta Diner. We were supposed to meet at 11:30, and after leaving work I'd had o stop for gas, go to the bank, and swing by my insurance office. Thus I was on my way to Marietta right at 11:00. Plenty of time to arrive with my usual pathological punctuality.
But, right as I was approaching the Marietta area it occurred to me that I wished I had time to swing by the Marietta central library and pick up some books about Vikings. See, I've been reading Bernard Cornwall's series about Vikings, (The Last Kingdom, etc) and I wanted to do some research on the rowdy Danes.
Now I could have gone to the library after lunch, but I was planning on going to the Marietta Book Nook, which is in the opposite direction, so I thought to myself, "Hmmm, it should take me another five to ten minutes or so to get into the Marietta Square and reach the library. Probably take ten minutes to get to the diner after I leave the library. That would give me maybe ten to fifteen minutes to find the books I want. Not much time to scan the Card Catalog, find the books, and get them checked out..."
But I am an experienced researcher. I know my way around a library, let me tell you. I am the Indiana Jones of research. I am Action Researcher! So, throwing caution to the winds, I made my way into the maze of streets that is the Marietta Square. It was crowded, as usual, but I managed to get through the square in record time and make my way over to Old Roswell Road, where sits the fabled Central Library.
I quickly found a parking place and hurried into the library. I rushed past the front desk, skidded around the corner to the bank of computers which hold the catalog, and spotting a free terminal, slid to a halt, and without hesitation, typed in the word Vikings.
The clock was ticking as I scrolled through several pages of listings. There wasn't time to scan all the titles so I used an old researcher's trick. I noted the number codes whee Viking related material appeared most frequetnty. (R-948. and R-970. Thak you, Mr. Dewey)
I left the terminal and hurried down the aisles, dodging Soccer Moms, retired ladies, and at least one homeless person. Luckily my knowledge of the layout of the Library is vast. Within moments I was standing in section 948, where I snatched up Gwyn Jone's A history of the Vikings and Jacqueline Simpson's Everyday Lif in the Viking Age. And, BONUS, there was a DVD documentary about Vikings. Grabbed that too. I moved quickly over to area 970, where I found Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga, a massive, photo filled book about the Norsemen by Fitzhugh and Ward. I also picked up books about Greece and Byzantium that caught my eye. The Action Researcher is nothing if not versatile.
Loot in hand I retraced my steps to the front desk where there was no waiting. I took an extra couple of moments to chat up the reasonably cute librarian, who was impressed with my interest in history. Remember kids, there's always time to be charming.
Then I was out the door and back into my truck. Time elapsed? Nine minutes. And lunch was good too.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Everything Old is New Again


I mentioned in an earlier post how I had stopped reading fantasy novels when I was eighteen or so and didn't come back to the genre until almost two decades later. That went for fantasy comics too. (It could be argued, I suppose that ALL comics are fantasy, but you know what I mean.) So I bailed on the Marvel Comics version of Conan with issue 84 or thereabouts. Now if I remember correctly, this wasn't entirely because of my new found interest in crime fiction. I think the art in the comic had something to do with it.
You see, one of my absolute favorite comic book artists is the late John Buscema. My own art style probably resembles his work more than any other single comics artist, with the possible exception of Jack Kirby. Anyway, Buscema had been the regular artist on the comic since I'd discovered it, and suddenly he was gone. In those pre-Internet days, comics fans didn't have immediate access to news and information form the comic book companies, so I had no idea if Buscema's departure was permanent or what.
The new penciler was Howard Chaykin. Now I like Chaykin's work, but he was apparently only doing layouts for Conan, to be finished out by inker Ernie Chan. Chan has never been one of my favorite inkers, and the combination of he and Chaykin just didn't work for me. So I bailed.
As it turns out, Buscema returned after about six issues, so I was a bit premature in my departure, but I'd have left soon anyway. Guys with swords were off my radar, replaced by guys with guns.
BUT, and this is the nifty part, Dark Horse comics is currently reprinting the Marvel Conan comics in trade paperbacks, and with the new volume, number 11, they have just passed the point where I stopped reading Conan the Barbarian. So last night I got to read a two part story that was for all intents and purposes, a NEW story to me. New Roy Thomas script. New penciling wonderment from big John Buscema. And yes, new inks by Ernie Chan. Can't have everything.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Skull Humor

So I went to get my hair cut, and the stylist, after she was finished, said "You have a really nicely shaped skull."
And I said, "You think so? I like the shape of my zygomatic arch, and my occipital bone, but I think my parietal lobes are a bit uneven."
She said, "You're kidding with me aren't you?"
And I said, "Yes."
I'm such a charmer.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Drama in Real Life...

So I rescued a cat yesterday. Well, rescue might be too strong a word. I reunited a cat with his owner. Here's what happened. I had noticed a Lost Cat flyer hanging at the apartment mailboxes earlier in the week. Fairly standard looking cat. Gray with black stripes. People put stuff like that up all the time, though it seems to be dogs who go missing more than cats.
Anyway, I went to Border's early yesterday morning. Got home about 10:00 am in a driving rain. As I hurried into the breezeway I caught some movement on the stairs leading to the apartments above mine. I walked up and there was a gray cat with black stripes. The cat wouldn't come to me, but he didn't try to get away either.
Now the mailboxes are about fifty yards down the hill from my building and it was raining really hard, but I shrugged and walked down the hill to check the flyer. It sure looked like the same cat, so I tore the flyer down and went back to my apartment and called the phone number from the flyer.
I woke some college girl up, but she was okay with it once I told her why I was calling. She lived several buildings away but she came up wearing sweats and a ball cap, and it was indeed her cat. The girl was very happy and the cat seemed glad to see her. Tonto and I rode away before she could thank us...

Happy Birthday Robert E. Howard


Creator of Conan. Born January 22nd, 1906.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Flickering Images


I watched four movies on DVD this weekend. Those who know me well know it's usually impossible to get me to watch even a single movie very often. I always feel like I should be doing something else. Reading, drawing, writing. Something. This weekend though I decided to catch up on a few movies I'd been meaning to watch, and so I did. So what were they?
First was The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg. It's the one about the foreign guy who ends ups living in JFK Airport. The idea appealed to me, so I wanted to check it out. I was less than impressed. Very professionally done, as one would expect from this star and this director, but overall just a little too pat and not at all believable. Yes I've heard it's based on a true story, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say 'loosely' based.
Next up was the Illusionist, starring Edward Norton and Jessica Beil. I liked this one The cinematography was great, with sepia tones and the edges of the screen flickering like an old silent film. Norton was intense. Beil was pretty. No real surprises here, but a well done film with nice period detail.
All I can say about the third movie, M. Night Shymalan's Lady in the Water, is that this is one of those films where I think the film maker's reach exceeded his grasp. This movie almost works, but the idea remains kind of fuzzy and the plot really doesn't make any sense. Characters make enormous leaps in logic with little or no reason and they accept the incredible way too easily. It's just an odd film. I was also a little disappointed in that it wasn't exactly about what I thought it was about. The advertising says it's about a character from a bedtime story who gets caught in our world and needs help to get home. It's not. The water nymph in the story is clearly stated to be a member of a real race that once had frequent dealings with humanity. She isn't human, but she isn't fictional. So while there may be a bed time story told about her race, she isn't a character from a bedtime story. I was sort of hoping she'd actually escaped from a book and needed help getting back. Like what if Snow White was stuck in the real world. That's my kind of story.
The fourth movie was a Canadian production called Beowulf and Grendel. It's about, well...Beowulf and Grendel. It's not a bad movie. It's a hardboiled take on the old Norse saga, with the various vikings cursing and talking like contemporary tough guys. It kind of works. I mean if you made a literal translation of what people said, rather than giving it the Tolkien sort of forsooth talk, vikings would probably have been a pretty crude bunch. What gives the film a real kick though is that it was shot on location in Iceland. Real ice flows. Real icebergs. Real fiords to pine for. The weather and the backgrounds really help drive the stark nature of the story home. And Grendel's mom is one ugly bitch. Not a bad sword & sorcery film, really.
Anyway, that was the weekend that was. Probably be some time before I see that many movies again in that short a space of time.

Less of Me

I'm wearing smaller pants this morning. Dropped a pant size since New Years by upping my cardio vascular workouts and by giving up enriched flour and processed sugar. I had noticed my weight had taken an alarming shift upwards while my shoulder was injured. Too much eating and not enough exercise. Didn't really want to go on a diet, so I did some reading and discovered that most of the weightlifters kept their muscle mass lean by staying away from white bread and sweets.
These days my eating consists primarily of protein, fruits, vegetables, and non-fat dairy products. For instance this morning I had a big breakfast, but where that once would have consisted of a trip to Waffle House, it now was made up of scrambled Egg Beaters (all the good stuff in eggs without the bad stuff) turkey roll ups (skinless turkey, sliced deli thin and rolled up) and organic oatmeal with Splenda and ground cinnamon. Total calories, 360. Total grams of fat, less than 10. I try to keep my fat intake under 25 grams a day.

I'm also eating six times a day to keep my metabolism revved up. I'll have some non fat yogurt here in a bit, and maybe some cereal for lunch. (Organic Raisin Bran). Dinner will probably consist of grilled chicken breast with green peas and onions or black beans. Might eat some fat free cottage cheese as a snack somewhere in there.
Basically it seems like I'm eating more than I normally would but my weight continues to drop and all that protein is great for weightlifting. I'm planning to drop another two pant sizes over the next six months or so. Slow and steady wins the race.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Moving On

I've been culling books again. I think I mentioned that when I moved to Kennesaw I bought six 6' bookshelves and filled them with the hardbacks I'd decided to keep when I left Canton. Over the almost two years I've lived at my apartment, I've slowly gotten rid of about one shelves worth. So I'm down to five shelves full. Basically the move showed me that a lot of stuff I've been hanging onto, I didn't really need or want anymore and I've found more of that as time has passed. I filled a couple of boxes this afternoon, mostly with old paperbacks.
I was also thinking tonight that a couple of my older hobbies may have run their courses. Mainly the collecting of Sherlock Holmes pastiches and Jack the Ripper books. I've barely touched the Holmes collection, which runs to about 300 volumes, in two years and I haven't touched the Ripper books, which run to about twenty volumes, at all.
I've already separated out the dozen or so Holmes books I know I want to keep and I'm going to give it a bit longer and see if I think I can do without the rest, but I suspect I can. Now this doesn't mean that I don't still love Holmes. I'll still be reading Holmes I'm sure. But a major portion of those books were bought purely out of collector mania, simply because they had anything to do with Holmes at all.
As far as the Ripper case goes, I'll probably keep a couple of those books too. The ones that have the best info. The others will probably go before the end of the year. It's not like I haven't already memorized all the pertinent details as it is.
Another interest of mine that seems to be waning is my love for traditional whodunits in the Agatha Christie mode. I haven't really felt like reading any of those since I moved. I've already gotten rid of most of my whodunit paperbacks. More will follow. A lot of this has to do with overall changes in my reading habits and my writing as well. Plots that once seemed clever to me now seem merely contrived. More on that another time.
This will doubtless horrify some of my collector friends, but others will understand. There comes a time to let go of things you're only keeping because you've always had them. Bruce Lee once said, "Once you've used a boat to cross a river, don't carry the boat around on your back for the rest of your life."

Secret Masters of Callisto


My novella, Secret Masters of Callisto, is being serialized at ERBzine. The first chapter is up now.

http://www.erbzine.com/mag17/1745.html

The introduction tells how and why I came to write this story, but it doesn't tell how proud I am to have the novella up on the official webzine of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs, through his books about Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, Carson of Venus, Pellucidar, and all the rest, was one of the bright spots of my childhood. At some point I'll talk more about Burroughs and me, but it's a long, involved story and I'm not quite up to writing it today. For now I'll just reiterate that I'm absolutely thrilled to have a sword & planet story up at the site of one of the men who gave me my 'sense of wonder.'
Also I guess I feel that in some small way I'm paying back Lin Carter, the author of the Callisto series, by writing this story. Carter is another of my favorites, but his story too is one that will require a mini-essay. I'll get to it at some point. Anyway, if you want to read some of my fiction, zip on over to ERBzine. Take your cloak and your sword, and prepare to travel to the Jungle Moon of Jupiter. To Thanator. To Callisto...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sound and Fury...

I always feel kind of sorry for the TV news people when we have a near miss with snow or ice here in Georgia. The night before the event they are as full of portents of doom as any seer from British Literature. ICE! SNOW! Frozen death laying in wait upon every highway and an ice troll under every bridge and overpass.
And as usual, nothing happens.
In the morning they shuffle their feet and cast nervous glances at the other anchor people, never looking directly at the camera as they ramble on about "near misses" and "dodged bullets."
They show stock footage of the DOT trucks, assuring us that they would have been out in force had anything actually happened. They cut to some poor junior newsperson standing by the highway in the northernmost Georgia county, who points at puddles and tells you how this deadly liquid could have become lethal ice if the temperatures had gotten just a little colder.
You can almost see the weatherman praying for a fire or a murder. Anything that will take the attention away from the weather, or the lack thereof.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Light that Failed...


I picked up a book this morning at Borders called The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern Mind. Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. The great library of Alexandria is one of those places that has always held particular interest for me, perhaps because of my lifelong love of books and reading. All of the knowledge of the ancient world, contained in more than a quarter million scrolls, was once collected in the library. Scholars estimate that 1% at best survived the destruction of the library and most of the city around the time of Julius Caesar. (Though this book is quick to point out that the rebuilt city went on for quite some time as a center of learning.)
Think of all the knowledge that was lost. The books that we never knew existed. Lost works by the great philosophers, mathematicians, scientists, poets, and playwrights of the ancient world. In some ways it reminds me of that Library in the works of fantasy writer James Branch Cabell, that held all the books that were never written.
The history of the city itself is pretty darned amazing too. Founded by Alexander the great, who would never walk through the city's gates, having left a few days after seeing the initial ground plans laid out in lines of finely ground flower (no chalk in Egypt) and dying before he could return.
Oh, and there's that whole lighthouse thing. One of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Anyway, I'm enjoying it tremendously.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Son of Mission Highly Improbable


I just had to add this one. The Phantom and Robin look gleefully on as Batman directs Little Joe, Admiral Nelson, and the Men from Uncle to mow down their enemies. Meanwhile, Superman looks over his should for copyright lawyers.

Mission Highly Improbable



These British TV Tornado Annual covers always crack me up. The annuals reprinted comics and sometimes prose stories from the British comics weeklies. TV Tornado usually featured comics about various TV series. Duh. But it also reprinted American comics. Some ambitious Brit artist would draw a cover featuring all the characters who appeared in the issue, unintentionally creating what appeared to be the most improbable super teams ever.
On the left cover, Magus:Robot Fighter leads a team composed of Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Tarzan, the Green Hornet and Kato. Back at headquarters, Simon Templar, Napoleon Solo, and Illya Kuryakin hang out with Little Joe Cartwright.
On the cover on the left, the Saint and the Men from Uncle have Joined Tarzan and Magnus in the field along with the Lone Ranger. The Seaview waits offshore to pick them up when their mission is completed. I dare someone to write this fanfic. I dare you! Heck, I dare me.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Yet Another Barbarian Post


Back in the late 1960s, early 1970s, fueled by Frank Frazetta's bravura cover paintings for the Lancer Conan series, the publishing industry experienced a boom in the sales of sword & sorcery paperbacks. Publishers rushed to fill the slots with anything that even remotely resembled Conan. Thus we had reprints and new adventures of Brak, Thongor, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, and the subject of today's book review, Kothar-Barbarian Swordsman.
Kothar is the creation of Gardner Fox. If you don't know who Gardner Fox is, he's the creator of such famous comic book heroes as the original Flash and Green Lantern plus the inventor of the world's first super hero team, The Justice Society of America. He also created comics first real sword & sorcery hero, Crom the Barbarian. Later he would be one of the most important writers of comics so called "silver age", penning The Justice League of America, Hawkman, The Atom, Adam Strange and any number of other characters. Without Gardner Fox, we'd have a lot fewer comics to read and the history of the industry would be much the poorer.
Anyway, Fox also wrote a lot of mass market paperbacks. Fox was sort of a hold over from the days of the pulp magazines. He was a professional writer and he could turn out a well plotted and fast paced book in pretty much whatever genre you could want. He wrote historical novels, spy thrillers, science fiction, westerns, horror. You name it.
When the Conan boom hit, Fox waded right in with not one, but two S&S heroes, Kothar and Kyric. We'll talk about Kyric another day. Kothar appeared in five novels all told. I can recall reading a couple of them when I was a teenager. That was probably all I ever saw. The books were put out by Leisure Books, a fourth rate publishing house, and distribution was spotty. I think I got my first one, Kothar of the Magic Sword, in a remainder bin in a drugstore in Florida, if memory serves.
Years later, when I began rebuilding my collection of sword & sorcery books, I picked up all of the Kothar paperbacks, figuring I'd get around to reading them eventually. It seems that time has come. I'm about halfway through the first novel in the series, Kothar-Barbarian Swordsman, and I'm having a fine old time. Keep in mind, I'm reading these with the mind of a 14 year old. War and Peace this ain't. There is virtually no characterization, theme, or anything of that sort. What there is, is a straight forward plot and lots and lots of action.
Within the first 50 pages Kothar has slain two dozen men, a giant sea-slug, a sea serpent, and a horde of demons. He's dallied with two beautiful women, six if you count a brief encounter with four serving wenches. Oh and he received a magic sword from the mummy of a long dead but surprisingly verbose sorcerer. All of this has something to do with protecting a kingdom from a bunch of nasty invaders. It doesn't really matter. It's all about the Derring do. Personally, I can't wait to see what happens in the second half of the book. Huzzah!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Used Books


I headed out early this morning for the Marietta Book Nook, which has become my primary used book store. They have a good turnover of product, so it's worth checking in there every few weeks. Had a couple of good finds today. I got:

The Laughter of Carthage by Michael Moorcock. This is the second of Moorcock's 'Between the Wars' series. Hard to come by in the US and not the usual thing one expects from the creator of Elric. The four books in the series follow the adventures of Col Pyatt, a antisemitic Jew as he lies, cheats, and steals his way across Europe and America in the days between world wars one and two.

Gloriana by Michael Moorcock. This is Moorcock's tribute to Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast novels and to Spencer's The Faerie Queen. I already had a copy but I hated the cover and this one has a very classy cover. The old one will disappear into the box of books I'm donating to the Friends of the Library Booksale.

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. Everybody and his second cousin (including Michael Moorcock. Hi Mike.) has been recommending this author and this book to me, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. My mom asked me to get her a copy of this book because she wanted to re-read it. I asked her if that meant she had lost my copy that I loaned her like twenty years ago. She said yes.

That's all for the Book Nook. I stopped at the Cobb Antique Mall on the way back to see if they had any paperbacks or comics and came away with Savage Sword of Conan issue 200, which was an issue I had been looking for for some time. A nice surprise.
All and all it was a successful bookstore run.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Weights in the Balance

I have been lifting weights pretty steadily since 1996. March of 96 in fact, so almost eleven years. This has given me an 18 inch neck and added bulk to my already broad chest and shoulders. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a body builder. I'm not all cut and pumped. I just have big arms and can bench press 360 pounds.
However, back at the end of October I had a shoulder injury which kept me from lifting for about six weeks. I decided just to wait until after Christmas to get back to the gym. This week was the week. I am in pain. I forgot how much starting over hurts. You lose a lot of your strength too in some areas. I had to drop about 50 pounds off my bench press to get all my reps in. It will take a few weeks to get back to where I was and it will hurt.
Oddly enough, I hadn't lost any strength in my triceps. (Those are the big muscles on the backs of your arms, just below your shoulders and opposite your biceps.) Everyone wants big biceps so they can flex, but the triceps really do most of the work.
Anyway, I got into the gym today and did chest and triceps, then did two miles on the treadmill. I'd lost a little endurance too, so that was tougher than it had been. It too will come back. I'm on a split routine, which means I lift three days a week. Sunday morning I will do shoulders and biceps. Middle of the week I'll do back and legs. Treadmill all of those days.
I like lifting weights but I actively hate cardiovascular training. I've been doing a lot of my walking in my neighborhood just because the treadmill is so boring. Of course I can read on the treadmill even when walking at four miles and hour, so sometimes I do that. I don't run or jog. 21 years of karate left me with a bad left knee, so running is out. I walk really fast though.
Anyway, I guess I'm back in the saddle.

A New Year

Well I haven't posted in a few days and I think that's mostly because my mind has been in sort of a new years transition stage. Been thinking about the new year and what it can bring. This should be the year I get out of debt, my one loan and my truck paid off by July. Been a long three years of budgeting, but the finish line is in sight.
I plan it to be a year of traveling if possible, Hoping to get to Santa Fe and see Laura and maybe a return trip to Chicago. I get a third week of vacation this year so that will help.
I don't really make resolutions, but this year I am planning to try and change a few things about my life. Details to come. Or not. I've made peace with aspects of my past and laid some things to rest. In some ways things look brighter than they have in a long time. The new year has barely begun. I am standing in the shallows, looking toward the horizon.