Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brew Tour and Buzz Time

Well, sorry I didn’t get around to anyone’s blogs yesterday, and only to a few today. My writing discipline mostly fell apart on Saturday after drinking all day. Lana and I took a tour of the Abita Springs Brewery with some friends and all that free beer was too much for me to say no too. And after scoring a good buzz there, I knew I might as well tie one on because the writing day was shot anyway. Sunday I was recovering but was just too lazy to do any writing. I also had a moment to realize that I’d let quite a few school related things pile up, so Monday and this morning had to be catch up time. Even in the summer, the IRB committee that I’m on can generate labor. I did go to my Borders writing group Monday night and it was fun, especially since my friend Elora was back with us after a few weeks off for health reasons. It was good to see her.

Some Odds and Ends:

Lana and I watched Gran Torino Sunday and it was a pretty good movie. The ending surprised me and wasn’t quite the expected Clint Eastwood finale.
I’m reading two short story western collections, The Fatal Frontier and Best of the West II.

Fatal Frontier has been a bit hit and miss for me so far, although I’m not very far into it. There’s a great story early on by Marcia Muller called “The Time of the Wolves,” but unfortunately I’d already read it and it isn’t the kind you’d likely forget. There’s also a very fine story by our own James Reasoner called “Hacendado,” which I hadn’t read before. There’s also just a really, really weak story by John Jakes called “The Woman at Apache Wells.” This one started out to be one type of story, changed to another type of story, and ended as a third type. It contradicted itself throughout, and the main character and the ‘woman’ of the title were totally unbelievable. The tale might have been included for marketing reasons since Jakes’ name was listed first and prominently on the cover.

In regards to the other collection, all I can say is: “James Warner Bellah, where have you been all my life? Man this dude can write. I don’t remember ever reading anything by him before. Apparently he wrote mostly short stories, although quite a few of his tales were turned into movies by John Ford, including “Fort Apache,” and “She wore a Yellow Ribbon,” and “Rio Grande.” Bellah wrote mostly stories about the Cavalry fighting Indians it appears, and man he slams you down on the saddle with the column and you smell the leather and feel the hot wind. I’m gonna try to find out more about this guy.

That’s it for now. I should be back on track with visiting blogs tomorrow.


Mary Witzl said...

The Best of the West sounds very familiar -- I'll have to add it to my list. And a good tour of a brewery -- any brewery! -- I'll have to add that to my list too.

Cullen Gallagher said...

I don't know Bellah, but I love all three of those John Ford movies, so I have to seek him out.

And that brewery tour sounds like a Saturday afternoon well spent!

David Cranmer said...

James Warner Bellah you say? I shall remember. I've been alternating between westerns and the wonderous world of Talera. Muy bien, amigo.

Anonymous said...

Now you've got me interested in James Bellah. I liked Gran Torino. I ran across some people, on the internet, that wouldn't go see Gran Torino because they thought it was like Death Wish, where a guy cleans up a bad neighborhood by shooting a bunch of people. They were so wrong, it isn't like Death Wish.

Cloudia said...

You accomplish SO much!
Glad you find time to post and to visit blogs - our good fortune.
Happy Blooms Day & Aloha, Charles
(Hi, Lana!)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Gran Torino lingers whereas many of the other best movies of 2008 do not.

Angie said...

I agree re: Gran Torino. We're used to seeing Clint Eastwood go all cowboy on the bad guys, but the actual ending worked and made sense on multiple levels. (His cancer, for example.) It's great to see him display some more range in his work.


jodi said...

Charles! You and Lana on a booze cruise? Did Lana partake too? Sounds like a blast. Glad you saw Gran Torino. It gives you a little picture of Detroit. My son lived in the Grosse Pointe Park where some scenes were filmed. Local said Clint was a doll personally and professionally.

Steve Malley said...

"My writing discipline mostly fell apart on Saturday after drinking all day."

lmao! Kinda makes you wonder how the Mickey Spillanes and Gil Brewers of the hard-boiled era did it. Of course, maybe that's why they called them hard-boiled....

writtenwyrdd said...

ah, beer! I miss that stuff. Nothing is better than really good micro or home brewed beer. Except good chocolate.

Travis Cody said...

It's been ages since I read any westerns. I might have to work a few into the pile that is in front of me this summer.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Charles,

Free beer? What's not to love? It's all right to lose a few happy hours for that! As for Gran Torino, LOVED it! Clint Eastwood is really great -- Play Misty For Me is one of my favorite movies. But as a Detroit girl, I loved GT the best!

Anonymous said...

We just watched "Gran Torino" last night our own damn selves and thought it was really good, puss cake, LOL.

Wil Harrison.com

Charles Gramlich said...

Mary Witzl, there are actually three volumes in the series. All the stories are ones that movies were made of. I read the first one and it was pretty good.

Cullen Gallagher, I ordered a couple of books by Bellah this evening so I'll have to report on them.

David Cranmer, there's a little western influence in the Talera series. Those rawhide dusters the bird riders wear.

Jack, oh, yeah, Gran Torino was far from Death Wish, even from Dirty Harry.

2:15 PM

Cloudia, that's what Lana tells me but I think you're both being nice.

pattinase, I agree. I thought it was very effective.

Angie, yeah, I thought later I should have been able to predict the ending but I didn't.

jodi, Lana did partake, although not as much as I did. I heard that about Eastwood.

Steve Malley, lol. Hard boiled for sure. With pickles maybe.

writtenwyrdd, I hardly ever drink much anymore myself, but I do enjoy knocking one back once in a while.

Travis, have you read Louis L'Amour? He's still my favorite western writer.

Michelle, I haven't seen Play Misty for me in a long time. Wouldn't mind rewatching that.

Wil, yeah, it was surprisingly funny. Loved the scene with the Italian barber and the kid.

G. B. Miller said...

I would have to agree with your statement on the writing discipline falling apart.

It's a pretty interesting challenge, trying to write while happily mellow.

laughingwolf said...

beer buzz would screw up writing for me, too...

am familiar with the flicks you mention, all well done if memory serves

with pup arriving today, likely visits and posts will be hit n miss for the next 4 - 5 months :)

the walking man said...

If you think Bellah and it leads you to Ford then you have to picture Wayne as his hero.

ivan said...

Ah. Discipline. I think I had too much of it in the Service.
Gave you the discipline to finish stuff, half-drunk or no.

But then I met this gal with high spiked boots ad a riding crop. O lord. Too much discipline.
When I left her she wrote, "Ever since my masochistic baby left me,
I got nothing to beat but the wall."
Ah well. At least a poetess.
And did I get discipline!

BernardL said...

After watching 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' the weekend before, 'Gran Torino' was definitely a step up. I have a book titled 'The Thunder of Drums' by Bellah but I haven't read it in decades. I'll take another look at it.

Charles Gramlich said...

G., I usually want to listen to loud rock music when I’m drinking.

laughingwolf, cool about the pup. I’m sure we’ll see pics soon.

Mark, definitely. I can see Wayne especially in the first story I read by Bellah, called “Command.”

ivan, I don’t take well to whips. Not in other folk’s hands at least.

BernardL, yes, at least I didn’t want to strangle the kid in Gran Torino. “the Thunder of drums” is one of the two Bellah books I just ordered.

ivan said...

think I been reading too much Whitley Streiber. :)

Heff said...

You KNOW I've got to ask....Did you try Abita's Purple Haze ?

Randy Johnson said...

The end of Gran Torino caught me by surprise. By the set-up with cancer and all, I expected his ultimate ending, but I was looking for him to go Dirty Harry while doing it. I'm glad I was surprised.

Charles Gramlich said...

ivan, that will mess you up for sure.

Heff, I've already made that mistake. I don't try Purple Haze anymore. Mostly had Turbodog, Amber, Golden, and something called tau pau or something like that.

Randy Johnson, me too. It was just the right ending.

Barbara Martin said...

I haven't tied one on for quite some time, but I understand your need to recover.

The only westerns I'm reading now are biographies of those who lived in the mid to late 1800s: like Sam Steele.

laughingwolf said...

he's home now... wee puppy, can't be more than a pound or so...

no pics as yet, he sleeps a ton ;)

Rick Moore said...

Thanks for the recommendation on James Warner Bellah. Since it comes from you, I'll definitely seek out his work.

X. Dell said...

Westerns were never my cup of tea, but if you enjoy them, enjoy them a lot.

Charles Gramlich said...

Barbara Martin, I went through a period of reading nonfic about the old west but haven't done that in years since I'm not generally writing in the genre.

Laughingwolf, little ones always sleep. It's good for them.

Rick Moore, I'll report more on him after I read the books I ordered.

X. Dell, Westerns have been one of my steady genre diets since I was little, although I go through phases.

Travis Cody said...

I have read Louis L'Amour and always enjoyed it. I think I have several of his books on my shelves.

But I might look into these anthologies to get a wider range of authors.

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis, I use anthologies sometimes to help me identify authors I want to get books by.