Saturday, December 21, 2013

The award for the book that in 2013 did the
Best Job of Hiding in Plain Sight goes to...

...Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Let me explain. 

A few zillion people clearly loved this novel, and even more love its author.  It was a New York Times best seller, the reviews were overwhelmingly positive (were there any negative reviews, outside the unavoidable set from Amazon readers?), and tickets to Gaiman's signings were almost as coveted as dinner reservations at Per Se (but way easier to obtain).  Critics commented on its many virtues, with its lovely rendering of various aspects of childhood among them.  The book was indeed all of that, and I quite enjoyed it.

What I've yet to see anyone comment on (well, anyone except the author indirectly via a blog post from his wife) is what struck me as the deepest, truest heart of this book (and if you don't think books have many hearts, you're not paying attention):  It was a love letter.  A long, complex, bravely told love letter, a letter that exposed the author's weaknesses, a letter of love and gratitude, not just for the love given back to him, but also for the love that helps anchor him in this world even as he explores others.

I don't know Neil Gaiman.  I have no insider knowledge.  I may be way off base here, seeing something that is not there, as we all do in books, those we love and those we hate.

But I don't think so.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a wonderful, brave love letter hiding in plain sight as a best-selling fantasy.  If you have not already read it, you should, both for what everyone has seen in it and for this.

Friday, December 20, 2013

More on PT's sabbatical program

PT recently released a video in which Bill and I explain some of the background of the company's sabbatical program.  Though I can barely stand to watch myself in this one (or in any video), enough folks have asked about the program that I decided to embed the video here. 


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Expendables 3 -- don't hate

Yeah, I know:  I'm supposed to be this author with literary ambitions.  Well, I am.  I'm also a guy who loves bad action movies and is as excited as hell to see this one.

As Walt Whitman wrote, "Do I contradict myself?  Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."

And every single one of them is squeeing with fanboy joy at watching this group of action stars--a group that includes UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey--kick some serious butt.

Oh, yeah.

Don't hate.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


From the new album of the same name, coming January 14.  Oh, yeah, I'm already excited.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It takes a lot of help

to decorate a Christmas tree this big.  Fortunately, last night a group of folks joined our traditional Christmas-tree-trimming ritual and helped us adorn this year's huge beast.

The first stage was to wrap it with enough LED lights to guide a plane into a safe landing on an aircraft carrier.  Our usual team of lighting specialists, aided by newcomer Evan, was up to the job.

Click an image to see a larger version.

Sorry for the slightly out-of-focus image. 

Next, a large group began the process of placing ornaments on the branches.

More ornaments will follow tomorrow. 

Yeah, this is our biggest tree ever. 

Clearly, we need more lights.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Another giant passes: RIP, Peter O'Toole

When I was growing up, a handful of actors made me yearn to grow up to be cool and sophisticated--a goal I've never achieved.  Top among them were Omar Sharif, Cary Grant, and Peter O'Toole, who died yesterday at 81.   

Lawrence of Arabia was the first epic I remember seeing, and parts of it still have the power to give me chills. 

Eighteen years later, O'Toole starred in The Stunt Man, a movie I still love. 

Two years after that, he starred in this comic gem, a film that is deeply underrated and that should be on everyone's must-see list.

Seriously, if you have never watched My Favorite Year, buy a copy and treat yourself to an absolutely wonderful 92 minutes.

No matter how good or bad the film, Peter O'Toole made it better with his presence.

We shall not soon see his like again.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ten and a half years in

Holden is still the best dog in the world.  He can do sensitive and attentive, while at the same time protective (of his bone).

Click on an image to see a larger version.

He can do slyly pensive.

Really, he can do it all.

Thanks to Gina for the photos!


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