Solo Vacation, Day Three (a bit late)

Oof. I wonder if I’m the first person to get lost on Paseo de Peralta? Yesterday involved a lot of driving around Santa Fe, sometimes getting lost on purpose, other times just getting lost. The highlight came after the disappointment of discovering the place I’d planned to have dinner, like so many restaurants here, was closed Mondays. This forced me into eating at Duel Brewery, one of my better decisions. Did you know waffles go great with beer? Or that you can make syrup using beer wart? Both are true. This Belgian style brewery had beers that in my experience are unique. Mmmm.

Now I’m typing this with thumbs at the Santa Fe tradition: Tecolote Café. Today, I go see the wolves!

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Solo Vacation, Day Two

Today was a day of successes and failures. I did manage to find some seedy bars last night, and as a result was out later than I probably should have been, considering I wanted to be up at 5am New Mexico time (which, for me, feels like 4am). I woke up, looked at what I’d had planned, realized it would require driving most of the way back to Albuquerque, and decided that sleep was more important. It was probably the right call, but I’ll have to plan for the Pueblo Rebellion celebration next year.

Similarly, I was misinformed about how late the Santa Fe County Fair would go this evening. I suppose I should have been suspicious of the website that indicated the last night of the fair went until 10pm. Live and learn, I suppose.

But I thoroughly explored the plaza and the railyard today and last night. I got some great ideas. Tomorrow is set to be my “mundane” day. Where does Sam buy groceries? Where does Laura work out? What does a courtroom in Santa Fe look like?

/Green Bandit out.

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Solo Vacation, Day One

Clouds hanging low have been closing in on me all day, threatening rain, but the downpour didn’t hit until I reached my hotel room in Santa Fe. The normally bright New Mexican sky is solid grey, which doesn’t bode well for my idea to walk half a block down to investigate the local Good Will. I’ve been waiting out the storm, trying once again to mend the busted strap on my laptop bag. Having to carry it like a breif case for the last year or so has been inconvenient, especially over any distance. My sewing skills are woefully inadequate, and apparently so was the needle I was using, which snapped. I should probably get myself a thimble at some point, too. I’m going to have to resort to paying a professional.

My goal tonight is to locate the seediest bar in Santa Fe. You know, for research. Wish me luck!

/Green Bandit out.

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Books, Books, Books: The Promise

We live in an A-frame house, the result being that we have very few straight walls for bookshelves. This is, of course, problematic, as my wife and I both love books. My wife is studying library science, after all. And my parents met studying for a library science degree. If it weren’t for books, I wouldn’t be here. Recently my sister-in-law and her husband decided to move, and as one does, they took a good hard look at their collected books and asked “do we really want to move all that?” I don’t blame them. My brother-in-law in particular reads some pretty heavy stuff.

Have you recovered from the pun? Good. They had a bunch of books they didn’t want to move, even to take them to the local used book store to sell, and we had an addiction for acquiring leaves of paper covered in print and bound together. Logic did win out: we decided that we were more than willing to carry these heavy books to a reputable dealer in exchange for cash, and my in-laws were fine with us pocketing the proceeds.

Of course, we had to weed through them, first, and pick out the ones we wanted to keep. My wife has foresworn doing this. She doesn’t trust herself. But I plunged in, and separated out the books I’d keep form the ones we’d sell. In doing so, I made myself a promise: If I haven’t read a book within a year, I have to take it to Bookman’s.

This week we acquired even more books, and in the mix this time are several cookbooks. Books about food? Yes, please! With these I’ve decided to modify my promise a little bit: If I (we?) don’t make at least one recipe out of a cookbook in the next year, out it goes.

Books, books, books!

Some books, courtesy of my in-laws.

I’ll try to post the results of my cookery on this site, because if there’s one thing the internet loves, it’s pictures of cats. But if there are two things the internet loves, the second is surely pictures of food!

/Green Bandit out.

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Monday, Bloody Monday

Some Mondays are so bad, you can’t even get a blog post done on time.

Source: http://memecollection.net/monday-on-mercury-meme/

(Not mine. Rumor has it that may be Venus. Looks like the original poster has a case of the Mondays)

/Green Bandit out.

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Vicarious Exhaustion

It has been a long week. And I wasn’t even at Comicon.

I have not yet recovered from looking at everyone else’s pictures of San Diego Comicon 2013. So exhausting. I’m worn out from thinking about standing in line, emotionally drained from imagining maneuvering my way through those crowded hallways, past Ewoks, Vulcans, Timelords (Time Lords? Lords of Time?), Hobbits, Elves, Avengers, and whatever Homestuck is just for a cup of coffee. I’m vicariously beat from sympathizing with the multi-hour car/plane/train/scooter journeys undertaken last weekend. One would think that having a week to recover would be enough, but no. I had to go right back to work on Monday, like the whole magical weekend hadn’t happened to someone else. Like I hadn’t spent every night this week watching hours and hours of YouTube footage of panels I didn’t attend.

YAWN.

That must be why, on this Friday evening, I am home with the dogs and cat, watching Daily Show and Colbert footage, and thinking longingly of sleep. It’s totally not what I’d do otherwise.

/Green Bandit Out.

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There’s No Such Thing as Dogs Playing Poker [Exceprt]

Last year, for TusCon, I had three short stories printed at Arizona Lithographers. They are now all for sale at the Green Bandit Press store. I’ve posted an excerpt from the first one here and the second here. I have one more to post for you all. If you’ve been enjoying these excerpts, please let me know, or buy the books. Once I have completed, well, a few more, I will compile them into a collection entitled “There’s No Such Thing as…”. I may post the collection on this site. But for now, purchasing them through the store is the only way to read these in full.

This one’s a little different, because Sam isn’t the narrator. The narrator is… well, you’ll see.

Excerpt from …Dogs Playing Poker by WHR Soland

Illustration by Adriel Begay

Illustration by Adriel Begay

This is being written under protest. That’s the first thing I want you to consider. So take everything I tell you with a grain of salt. Or a shaker and a lime chaser. My name is Brett Spencer, and I’m a psychic.

I’ve already lost you, haven’t I? No, I’m not “sensing” that I’ve lost you. That’s not how it works. I know I’ve lost you because no one reading this is going to believe for a moment that I’m psychic. Oh, sure. Some people claim they believe in psychics. Some people even shell out good money to phonies who read palms, Tarot cards, auras, and the like. People love to call into those radio and TV shows to have their fortune told. But no one really believes it. I called in to one of those shows once. It was fun. It was reassuring. The “psychic” told me things I wanted to hear, in vague generalities that were almost certain to come true. It made me feel special. It made me feel important. Most importantly, it was nice to have someone to talk to.

Because that’s what you don’t understand about being psychic. Unless there’s something for me to focus my brain on, I have other people’s thoughts floating through my head all the time. Have you ever sat down and written everything you thought in a long, flowing, stream-of-consciousness style? That’s nothing like what I have in my head. What I have in my head is the flotsam and jetsam that drifts through your brain, looking for something to connect with. Only when a person is totally focused are his thoughts coherent. And I mean totally focused. I can pick out the gist when they’re distracted, hell, sometimes I get even more useful information when their thoughts aren’t coherent. A snippet here or there. But most of the time, most people don’t think in complete sentences. Not even when they’re trying to form complete sentences. Which means my life is very noisy. I spend a lot of time alone. I take sleeping pills and lots of ibuprofen. If I’m going to go to some kind of social event, I need to go somewhere where people are concentrating.

That’s where poker comes in. I love playing poker with people, because nothing focuses the brain more than the potential loss of cash. It doesn’t actually take that much money to get people to focus. Typically, a twenty dollar buy in will do. I’m not saying that poker games are totally silent for me. Nothing is, if people are nearby. Poker players are thinking about their money, thinking about their cards, thinking about what they think other people’s cards are. And at the same time they’re thinking about how to behave as though they’re not thinking about any of that.

But trust me, there’s a lot less psychic noise in a room like that than in, for instance a library. I walked into a library once, and damn. I nearly collapsed. If I need time alone to myself to think, I have to drive out into nowhere. If I want company, I play poker.

I first met Jack Renard when a friend of his invited me to his weekly poker game.

Want more? You’ll have to order a copy.

/Green Bandit Out.

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Feeling Nostalgic Tonight

I’m feeling a tad nostalgic for the 1990’s tonight. Couldn’t say why, except that I’m committing a large number of CD’s to digital files so I can free up space in the attic for… wouldn’t you like to know?

So, here’s your dose of ’90’s nostalgia, to pick you up this Monday night (or Tuesday morning, depending on when you read this):


Beatles – Free As A Bird by hushhush112

And a bonus here.

Oh, shut up, those songs were released in the 90’s. I don’t care when they were recorded!

/Green Bandit Out.

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This, Too, Shall Pass

Two DogsThis cannot last.

It’s a lovely Thursday evening, and my wife is seated next to me, reading her homework for grad school. It’s July, in Arizona, but the Flagstaff air after a thunderstorm is cool and sweet, and I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt with my jeans. I’ve got one dog at my feet, and another pacing nervously. Maybe it’s the thunderstorms. Maybe it’s the fact that she somehow contracted Giardia this week and has been having fits of vomit and diarrhea. Maybe it’s the fact she hasn’t been on a walk today (though she has a yard, and another dog to play with).

But I’ve got a roof over my head, a beautiful, smart, loving woman by my side, and the weather feels perfect. My only problems for the next twelve hours or so will be worrying about my dog’s worrying, and worrying that she’ll spray feces all over the floor again.

Life is good, and this cannot last.

Tomorrow is my wife’s last day at work for the summer. Next week she’ll have to be at her grad school classes in person. In Tucson. About 230 miles away. She’s got a week off after that, and then she’s off for an adventure with a friend from her Peace Corps days. And then… back to school.

We live in a remarkable age where not only can she travel 230 miles back to Flagstaff on the weekends in under four hours (an eight hour, 460 mile round trip per week), but in between we can communicate almost constantly. Text message, instant message, email, cell phone calls without long distance charges, and video chats all help us feel like a family, even when we’re far apart.

Yet there is still the distance, still the longing, still the wishing we were together, and every telephoned “good night” is harder than the last.

But, like our dog’s explosive shitstorms, this cannot last.

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There’s No Such Thing As Ghost Riders in the Visitors Center [Excerpt]

Okay, okay! Stop banging down the door: I’ll post a new excerpt since you all liked the last one so much! This time around it’ll be from “…Ghost Riders in the V.C.” which is available at the store. Such an awesome story (I have been told), I know you all can’t wait to read it! So thank YOU for your support!

Alas, poor Mingus

Illustration by Adriel Begay

Excerpt from …Ghost Riders in the V.C. by WHR Soland

“Zombies?” I asked.

“No such thing.” Reggie replied.

“Vampires?”

“No such thing.”

“Ghosts?”

“No such thing, look, Sam,” Reggie said, “I keep telling you. Nothing survives death. Nothing comes back from the dead.”

“You do,” I pointed out.

“No, that’s different,” he insisted. “Werecoyotes, werefoxes, werethings in general, we aren’t immortal. We die of old age, we even die from injuries or poisons. Sure, I can survive a gunshot to the heart, because my heart knits itself back together quickly. But if that bullet’s made of silver, I’m a gonner. Poison me with enough wolfsbane or quicksilver, and I’ll die.”

“But you’re telling me that I’m supposed to believe that of all the movie creatures I’ve ever seen, only lycanthropes actually exist?” I asked. “I could believe none. I could believe some. But just the one?”

“Well, no,” Reggie said. “There are a few. But they’re rare, and I don’t see the point in discussing them.”

“Come on, son, just satisfy my curiosity. Name one myth I can believe in.”

“Fine,” Reggie said. “Sasquatch. You happy?”

“Sasquatch?” I said. “Are you serious?”

“I’ve known several. It’s that way, by the way.”

I turned the truck off the main highway, down an old dirt road. Reggie had purchased this pickup, but felt more comfortable with me driving it. I was glad Reggie had finally gotten his own wheels, but I didn’t understand why he’d chosen this particular vehicle. I knew him as the kind of guy who wore a suit to go out for coffee, who always made sure his handkerchief and shirt matched his socks. Why he’d purchased a white Ford Ranger was beyond me.

The purpose of this little trip, on the other hand, was relatively clear. At least, it was as clear as anything gets when it comes to Reggie, a former con-artist turned private detective who just happens to be a werecoyote, my tenant, my employer, and my friend.

A mutual acquaintance of ours, Detective Sandy Banks of the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, was a little kooky. She believed in ghosts, aliens, crystals, souls, auras, and pretty much everything else Reggie didn’t believe in. Her friend, a ranger named Dana Corvin, also believed in ghosts, and that the ranger’s office where she works is haunted.

Want more? You’ll have to order a copy.

/Green Bandit Out.

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