Friday, November 27, 2020
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Gary A. Braunbeck
Michael Scott Bricker
Caitlín R. Kiernan
Richard Christian Matheson
Donna J. W. Munro
Stephanie Pendley Paul
Stephen Mark Rainey
Lucy A. Snyder
For your consideration, here is a little teaser from “Escalation”:
The elevator doors slid open, revealing paneled walls the same dark color as the guestroom doors. Greg stepped in. After hesitating a moment, Hager followed.
Inside, there were only two buttons — one for up and one for down. None for individual floors.
The doors slid shut. The car did not move.
Hager glanced up, saw no floor indicator above the door. He pushed the up button. With a smooth whir, the car slid into motion, and Hager felt his stomach lurch. They were going up, all right. And fast.
“How many floors are in this hotel?”
“I’m not sure. Twenty, maybe.”
“Jesus. We're really moving.”
The car kept going, and Hager felt his knees going wobbly. "How the hell high can this thing go?”
“We can't be moving as fast as it feels.”
“But we are. We are.”
“This is fucked up.”
The car kept going.
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Sometimes, you get et by the tree
For geocaching numbers, yesterday made for couple of fun ones. A pair of new caches published in Danville on Friday evening, while I was in Martinsville. I figured I could swing over to Danville and pick them up on my way back to Greensboro on Saturday morning. As luck would have it, a new geoart series came out near Reidsville, also close to my route home. One of the Danville caches lurks at a pretty awesome spot: a Monacan Indian burial mound. Chalk up another location I would never have discovered if not for geocaching. Anyway, I snagged the coveted first-to-find slot at 11:21 a.m. on 11/21, which I found kinda cool. And after grabbing a bunch of the new series, my cache find count came in at 12,345. Also kinda cool. WELL, IT IS FOR SOME OF US GEEKS! (Note that I am really not a geek. No. Really.)
Today’s Sunday geocaching crew wasn’t much of a crew — just friend Scott (a.k.a. Diefenbaker) and this old man. Bright and early, we set a course for Winston-Salem, figuring we would hit Bethania and C. G. Hill Memorial Park for geocaches, then wander toward Divine Llama Winery, a short distance northwest, for refreshments. Sadly, Bethania turned out to be a bust. Due to massive flooding from the heavy rains a couple of weeks back, it was clear the entire trail system had been underwater. All the caches there — four of them — had gone missing. By now, they may be floating around in Cape Fear or someplace. Most disappointing.
Scott finds a big honking
nano in the woods
However, at our next port of call — C. G. Hill Memorial Park in nearby Pfafftown — we experienced no such misfortune. All the caches there turned out to be present and accounted for. We also discovered an impressive work of nature: a massive poplar tree some 600 years old, hollowed out due to a lightning strike unknown centuries ago. That tree has seen a lot of history, including sheltering a farmer's livestock during a northern raid in Civil War days. Intriguing stuff.
We then set our sights on Divine Llama Winery, by way of a puzzle cache, the coordinates to which I had solved a few weeks ago, along the Yadkin River. At the cache site, however, we again met with ill fortune. The flooding here exceeded any I think I have seen in this area. A layer of sand and silt several feet deep now covers god knows how many acres around the river. The area in question is where a group of us, Scott included, put our kayaks in the river a few years back, when I went after my 7,000th cache (“No Acercarse,” May 18, 2014). Due to the flooding, the whole place is unrecognizable, and I wonder if the parking area will ever be restored. Or will it simply be allowed to return to nature? I can’t help but think that excavating the parking area would be prohibitively expensive.
Anyway, at last, we made it to Divine Llama. A crowd was already gathering, and it grew prodigious to what would have been a disconcerting degree had they not done such a good job spacing out seating and such. Everything was done outside, and people were very good about wearing masks and taking the proper precautions. As I always do, I kept plenty of distance between the Randolph County Rabble (i.e., Scott) and me.
We finished things up by grabbing a couple of newer hides in Bethabara Park, and I stopped for a lone hide in High Point, not far from the office (which I hope to NOT have to return to once the pandemic subsides). Anyway, it’s been a fine weekend for geocaching, quality time with Brugger, writing, and getting some necessary business taken care of. Lordy knows, tomorrow it’s back to ye old salt mines. Happily, for a while yet, the salt mines are still just downstairs, rather than twenty freaking miles out Interstate 40.
|About the ancient poplar|
New sand dunes along the Yadkin River
Keeping a respectable distance from the Randolph County Rabble
|Old feller at Monacan Indian burial mound|
Sunday, November 15, 2020
The Socially Distant No-Dead-Weight Irregulars — Ms. Fishdownthestair (a.k.a. Natalie), Sir Diefenbaker (a.k.a. Scott), and a way-out old dude — managed to regroup today after too long a separation due to factors beyond reasonable human beings’ control (note that only one of us is reasonable). Since our last outing at Tanglewood Park, near Winston-Salem, NC, a few months back, a number of newer geocaches have been published, so we decided to dare the forecast for rain this morning and undertake a near-six-mile hike through the park. Hike we did, find caches we did, and get wet we did not. Well, not very, anyway. The only rain was a few drops that spat on us for about 30 seconds. Fortunately for us, that was the extent of it, for we had reached the farthest point of our hike when the dribble began.
A touch of fall color
Every year, Tanglewood Park puts on an extensive Christmas festival of lights, which draws crowds from all over the state and beyond. I have never experienced this spectacle for fear that the human multitudes would send me into a fatal apoplectic fit. However, as the show begins this coming week, the park has been fully decorated, the framework for bunches of impressive light sculptures erected. I can’t say I wouldn’t love to see the event as it was meant to be, but I would kind of like to survive the experience.
Following our scouring of the park, we moved back eastward to
Kernersville, where a new-ish Adventure Lab cache — “The Hot Spots of KVegas” (GC923TV) — had come out a couple of weeks back. Kernersville is an attractive,
pleasant community halfway between Greensboro and Winston-Salem — or would be
pleasant if not for the goddamn over-saturation of humanity that has resulted
in almost perpetual gridlock, even on off days such as Sunday during a
pandemic. On the plus side, we got to re-visit some of the areas that Ms. B.
and I have frequented over the years. When we were still working in the
office, we were close enough to Kernersville to spend a fair amount of time
there, since they had several nice dining/wine and eclectic shopping options
(not to mention geocaches). Today, our hunt began at Korner’s Folly, Kernersville’s most notable historic building. From there, we hoofed it to several other stops in town before moving on to the final stage.
Triad Park, just east of Kernersville, turned out to be our ultimate destination. To locate the physical bonus cache, we had to gather information from the Carolina Field of Honor, which is an impressive tribute to NC veterans. We found the cache, all right, and that turned out to be a fitting end to the day’s adventure.
And what a week I have coming up, workwise and otherwise, as I am now going hard about the duties of being executor to my mom’s estate. For every hurdle I cross, two more pop up. A long, slow, frustrating process this is. But everyone warned me it would be. Everyone spoke truly.
Till another day.
Monster Moravian star at Tanglewood about to devour two unsuspecting
A charming little church at the park
An old graveyard in the middle of the park, which was built around
Another nay-sayer. What a poor attitude!
Korner’s Folly in Kernersville, one of the town’s most attractive historic buildings
|A nice little corner behind Korner’s Folly|
Sunday, November 8, 2020
|“It’s in the trees! It’s coming!”|
Gerry and Bridget will be returning to Florida this coming week, so it was great beyond great to spend some quality time with them, which has been in too short supply since they moved. I so hope that in the coming year the pandemic will subside sufficiently to permit less distance between us when we are in close proximity. Given the positive results of this past week’s election, I feel there’s somewhat more reason to have hope on that front.
Bridget: “I’m telling you, I SAW a dreadful apparition.”
Gerry: “That was just Mark.”
Rest rooms are in the back.
I expect the trailer is haunted too.
One of us, at least, is very happy.
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Coming from Dark Regions Press in 2021: Tales From Arkham Sanitarium, edited by Brian M. Sammons. This one features my story, “Clicks,” as well as new short fiction by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., W. H. Pugmire, Tim Waggoner, Jeffrey Thomas, Christine Morgan, Cody Goodfellow, Glynn Owen Barrass, Orrin Grey, and more. Tales From Arkham Sanitarium features a stunning wraparound cover art by award-winning artist Vincent Chong. The anthology will be published as ebook, trade hardcover, and signed limited edition hardcover. The table of contents and more information will be revealed in the near future.
Here is a short excerpt from “Clicks” for your perusal:
The young Asian woman stopped on the dance floor and peered at him, unjostled and unfazed as the dancers swirled and swayed around her. Her dark, glistening eyes fixed on his, and he wanted to leap off the stage, grab her, shake the truth out of her, for she had to know the truth, whatever madness lay at its heart.
But this was not Tami, not Tami, not Tami.
“The man without a face is coming for you,” she said, her voice clear and undistorted, despite the distance between them. From behind her back, she drew a bright red rose and lifted it like a torch above her head.
Just behind her, the spindly black silhouette grew larger, a malevolent predator creeping up on her. Moments later, it was towering over her, as if the air itself were a backdrop upon which the shadow of something almost but not quite human were being cast.
Then she was gone, as if she had never existed.
Had her feet been touching the floor?
He didn’t think so.
Sunday, November 1, 2020
|One bad apple....|
The kiddie area
|Musical instruments in the woods?|
|Froggie went a-waterin’|