Friday, October 31, 2003

October 31, 2003
I dressed up like an aerobics instructor this morning and went to work. Actually I thought I cut a pretty good figure, but gauging from the laughs from the staff you’d think I looked like an old man in a leotard, with his mid-drift hanging out. Oh.

Abby came dressed as an evil woman, Crystal as a dark angel, Sue as a California surfer beach bum, Meghan as Spring or some seasonal branch thing, Carole as Frida Kalo (very clever outfit and unibrow, although our neighbor Paul thought she was doing the Austrian Alps look), Jerry as a mean John Travolta and Melrose as Little Big Man (or was that Freddie Kruger?). Yes, it’s Halloween at the True West office. As per Mike M., Larry came dressed as an account exec. “Ooooooohhhh,” M. said mockingly as if it frightened him out of his gourd—the gruesome spectacle of a sales staffer actually in uniform. Ha.

John and Tracie Jefferes came in from Ruidoso right in the middle of all this. They took it in stride. We went out to lunch at El Encanto ($12 cash, we went Dutch). Showed them the cave and the studio (take your pick as to which was cleaner).

More Alamo news, but I’ll save that for tomorrow when I have more time to write.

—Homer Simpson

Thursday, October 30, 2003

October 30, 2003
Fighting several fires. Big territorial dispute in ad department. I am so thankful I have Bob Brink and R.G. on my team. Both are tough and Bob is especially talented at being firm and decisive. I told Kathy last night I would still be at the office trying to calm everyone down. Ha. Artists have a tough time being firm (our greatest strength is to see all sides and our greatest weakness is to see all sides). The only artist exception I can think of is Hitler but he was a pretty lousy watercolorist. and he lost his gallery and the war. They did have some cool graphics though.

Came home for lunch and tried to get going on Women of the West logo. Didn’t get far. On Tuesday night I went to Tower Records and bought the new Strokes CD ($13) and two exotic magazines, Black & White and Zoom.

Today there are 17,000 magazine titles! I have been using the figure 5,000 but according to the new issue of Folio the number is 17K. And the magazine racks (4) at Tower were bristling with the proof. I counted seven basketball titles. This doesn’t count Sports Illustrated or Sporting News (which had basketball coverage). There is even a magazine called, and I’m not making this up, Another Magazine. That we are even on the radar is nothing short of amazing.

After Tower I went over to Barnes & Noble and bought a big ol’ graphics book on the best ads from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s. I paid way too much for it ($75, but I got them to knock off 10% for the dinged cover, and I shouldn’t have even been looking at books, but I was half drunk from two margaritas at El Conquistador). I came home with some great reference and inspiration for the logo. Took the book in yesterday and gave it to Abby and the production staff to get inspired by.

Traded out Davy Crockett for Zip Wyatt in Classic Gunfights. Fortunately it was already written. Need to knock out some Oklahoma badmen art for that.

Got home around six, picked around, looked at magazines and got to bed around nine.

Got inspired to do more stark covers. The skeleton Billy the Kid was a very successful cover. Need to emulate that kind of cover more. It’s simple and clean next to the thousands of colorful, jammed pack cleavage covers I saw at Tower.

”It takes a long time to learn simplicity.”
—Louis Malle

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

October 29, 2003
A bombshell this morning: Disney has moved back the opening of The Alamo until April. Of course our new issue has Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett on the cover and we had follow-up articles scheduled for the next issue which we are just completing now. Had to have an emergency meeting at ten, kicked out ten pages and rescheduled other articles to fit. Lots of scrambling and fighting fires. Back to work. More later.

“There is one way to find out if a man is honest -- ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he's crooked.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

October 28, 2003
More debate on what cover image to use. Vigorous discussion in this morning’s staff meeting about the pros and cons of putting another actor on the cover, right after putting Billy Bob on the cover of December issue.. Virtually everyone except Abby had an opinion. Verdict still out. Good debate.

Finished the rough draft of the Davy Crockett Vs. Santa Anna’s Army yesterday. Gus and I dumped it in and started moving things around. Decided to do another painting for it, a dramatic rendering of Crockett’s final moments. The position of his hands will be key.

Kathy’s got a cold so we didn’t go to Spanish last night. I watched the first half of the Chargers-Dolphins game, which was moved to Sun Devil Stadium because of the fires in southern Cal. Several people asked me if I was going to go (it was free) and I remarked that I would have jumped at the chance twenty years ago. Just the thought of the drive (we live about 30 miles from Tempe) and the hassle of parking, the waiting in line, the fighting for seats, staying up past nine, stuff like that was the deal breaker.

Well, that got me to thinking, what would it take for me to go to the game and I decided to make a list of the deal makers. What is the minimum it would have taken for me to go to the game? Here’s my list:

• If I could have a limo pick me up at my house.
• If the limo was stocked with Coronas and takeout from El Conquistador.
• If the limo driver was Salma Hyak (Hey, I’m willing to compromise on some of these, but I’ve learned you’ve got to ask)
• If the limo could pull right up to the stadium gates and three ushers (no preference) would take us to our reserved 50-yard-line seats.
• If our seats were converted to barca-loungers with Halo (a video game) installed in the armrests.
• If a helicopter could air-evac us out whenever the game got boring, or went past nine o’clock.

So I stayed home and watched it on tv and went to bed at nine. Had a great time.

"Many a man thinks he has an open mind, when it's merely vacant."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Monday, October 27, 2003

October 27, 2003
Worked most of yesterday on a possible cover, gunfighter image of Tommy Lee Jones. Used an image from his new movie The Missing, and married it to Hopalong Cassidy. Literally. Not sure I got Tommy down. Mike M. thought it was Johnny Cash. Ha. Abby didn’t know who Tommy Lee was until Gus reminded her that he was in Men In Black. Kids today.

Went for two walks yesterday with the dogs. I was a little concerned about going to the cave because of our javelina adventure last week, but we went over and back without incident. Unfortunately, an evening walk was spoiled when Buddy Boze Bell fled in the middle of a dog treat training session and ran off and attacked two horses in a corral. Once they got going, Peaches thought she had to join in because it’s, well, it’s the dog thing to do. The owners came out of their house and I’m apologizing like crazy while demanding that Buddy and Peaches desist and heel. Of course they are paying about as much attention to me as Bill O’Reilly with a guest who wants to make a point. Finally drug the two miscreants out of the arena, down the hill and back to the house. Wanted to hang both of them by their ears off the studio roof, but resisted the urge and instead, watched a great Actor’s Studio with Clint Eastwood.

I really enjoyed Clint’s take on creating a good environment for creative people to work in. Want to emulate this for our office. Clint also explained some of the themes behind his movies like Unforgiven and Outlaw Josie Wales. Speaking of which, here is one of the best quotes I’ve uncovered in a good while (thanks Carole):

”Legend remains victorious in spite of history.”
—Sarah Bernhardt

Sunday, October 26, 2003

October 26, 2003
Twenty two years ago today I was in Tombstone. Deena was one and I left her at my mom’s in Tucson and went on with bootmaker John Weinkauf. We got to the O.K. Corral at around two for the centennial re-enactment of the famous gunfight. Over a hundred people were there, all strangers to me at the time. Some would become close friends, others bitter enemies (Hey, just like the real OK Corral fight, and over the same petty reasons). My dream at that time was to do an illustrated book on the fight and I had this idea I would publish it in 1981 to coincide with the celebration. I missed it by about 12 years, but my Wyatt Earp book still sells and is in the fourth edition.

One of my blogs for the Arizona Republic got published this morning. I wrote it on the night before I went in for the angiogram and, naturally, it’s about death and dying.

Yesterday I started work on a backup cover of Tommy Lee Jones: Armed & Dangerous. It’s a still from a doubletruck ad they ran in Time a couple weeks ago (Sony is being stinky about getting us anything to use). We want to get a photo, but just in case we don’t, I’m doing a painting of the craggy, old bastard (he’s my age).

Needed to meet Theresa from Tri Star half way (she lives in South Phoenix) to deliver the new CD of the gunfight book, and pick up 75 advance issues of Bad Men which is now in the second edition. We settled on four o’clock at I-17 and Bell. I tried to talk Kathy into going to see a five-star movie, with an international cast, full of evocative discussions of Asian culture and how it interweaves into our own society thru artistic vision and elucid dreamlike passages regarding the human psyche, but try as I might, she would not agree to go see Kill Bill. Finally, we picked the Deer Valley 30 (yes, 30 theatres) where I could see the sensitive portrayal of a female Ninja who drives a truck called the “Pussy Wagon” and Kathy could see Runaway Jury. Afterwards we went to the Claim Jumper restaurant for dinner and compared notes. “So Uma Thurman has this fight where she’s swinging this cool sword and she cuts off the arms and heads of about 45 guys and they’re all spraying blood all over and yelling.” Kathy gives me a horrified look: “And you actually enjoy watching such degrading crap?” I shrugged: “At that level, it’s just funny. So, tell me about your movie.” My wife beams with pride:“So Dustin Hoffman is this attorney going after the evil gun companies and they nail them and everyone is cheering in the courtroom.” I look down my nose at this stranger, “And you actually enjoy watching such left-wing propaganda?” We both laughed. How is it we have stayed married for 24 years?

Had a pint of Guinnes and a filet. My wife had some communist clam chouder ($47 plus $9 tip)

”I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.”
—Edward Gibbon

Saturday, October 25, 2003

October 25, 2003
Worked late last night. Had much catching up to do. Robert Ray stayed also, re-outputting the entire Gunfight book (Theresa at Tri Star found a half-dozen corrections). I worked on copy for “How Did Davy Crockett Really Die?” which will the be the Classic Gunfight for the January issue. Had to call the big dog to find out the real skinny (the Alamo is not one of my obsessions). Fortunately, Paul Hutton is obsessed squared. He sent me two packets with all of the death scenarios and excerpts from the big, important books. Of course, the big question is: did Davy die fighting, or did he surrender? This is a contentious question and can still get you a serious butt whomping in Texas, just for asking. The new movie from Disney, will be out on Christmas Day and they do a clever take on this (one of the actors in the movie told me the scenario). R.G. and I debated using this info in the feature, but ultimately decided we didn’t want to spoil the movie for you, and besides Disney has a vicious pack of lawyers.

Treated all the staff who worked on the Classic Gunfights book. Took R.G., Meghan, Robert, Gus and Abby to Tonto for lunch ($80 biz account, includes tip). Fun talking to them. It was Abby’s birthday and the waiter picked up the cue and brought her a creme de la something. Fun time.

Paul Cools from NOLA dropped by yesterday and we had a nice talk. He’s watching our progress at True West with some interest (he like many of my friends is torn between wanting more solid history in the magazine and realizing what we’ve got to do to attract younger readers). He has good ideas for NOLA and hopefully some of those old codgers will listen.

Got home around 7:30 last night. Tired but happy. I really enjoy magazine problems

One of my good friends almost died yesterday. The doctors thought he had not one, but two brain tumors and he was fading fast. It looked like his check out time might be literally hours and minutes. Got the call last night that the brain surgeons operated on him for about four hours and discovered the twin tumors they thought they saw on the MRI was actually just an infection. He’s not out of the woods, but needless to say, we are all relieved and thrilled. His wife is convinced it’s a miracle and who can deny her that conclusion?

Today is Old West Days in Cave Creek and I need to go up and man the offices. We also had a cover change, but I’ll talk more about that in the next couple of days.

”If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first be different, be just.”
—Anita Roddick

Friday, October 24, 2003

October 24, 2003
The Westerns Channel has greenlighted the True West Moment project. They like the idea and want to proceed. The also want to link to specific movies they will be playing. The big honcho loved the telephone in Tombstone script I turned in. He wants more of that. Shooting in late November. or early December.

Stayed flat on my back most of yesterday, although I did do some good sketches for an old project I want to finally tackle. If you have been reading this journal for any length of time you will know what it is from these clues: Cole, Hanska, Stillwater, Oscar & Heywood.

Yesterday the Arizona Republic ran a list of Old West Surprises. It was a World Features Syndicate dittie and it contained stuff like “Jesse James shot off one of his fingertips.” But one of them (number 3) said this: “Billy the Kid: hid and killed at Fort Sumter, S.C.” This prompted me to write the following E-mail to the editor

I was thrilled to see Billy the Kid featured in this morning's paper. However, Billy the Kid was shot and killed at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, not Fort Sumter, S.C. My suspicions are that some east-coast intern at World Features Syndicate got Googled.

They ran a correction this morning.

J.Rae saw Michael Martin Murphy perform in Fairmont, Minnesota recently. About dating, he had this to say:

“Guys, you can date whoever you want, but marry a girl who can back up a trailer.”
—Michael Martin Murphy

Thursday, October 23, 2003

October 23, 2003
Slept real good last night. Got up and took a short walk up the road with Kathy and the dogs (they went on farther and I hobbled home). My doctor told Kathy (actually he told me, but I was on Versed-sp?-and don’t remember) that I should stay flat today and not go to work. He mentioned that I was an “over-achiever” and should lay low. How would he know that? And how would he know that I’m going into work, at least for a while?

I want to treat the team that put out the CG book to lunch today. That would be Abby (Happy Birthday girl!), Meghan, R.G., Gus and Robert Ray. They’ve done a great job. The pre-orders for the book are pouring in and it’s not even on press yet.

Got excited about two upcoming covers. One is on fakes, and the other is on “Armed & Dangerous.” Both have big potential. Got the funny photo from the Mohave Museum on Tuesday. It’s a hoot. I’ll post it here in a few days.

Deena came home last night and we had a nice visit. She’s trying to find an intern job. Wants to do Macy’s or some fashion buying deal. One of my Kingman classmates did that for twenty years and warned us that it’s a cutthroat, meager-paying biz, but when you’re 23 you don’t want to believe that. You have to find out for yourself. And Mom and Dad have to allow it to happen. Or at least try.

Although my “near death experience” doesn’t seem quite so dramatic in the rear view mirror, I must say, when I was on the operating table, all of my anger towards my critics and enemies evaporated. It underlines one of my favorite sayings: “No man is against you, he is merely for himself.” Or, how ‘bout this one from Josh. . .

"There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness."
 —Josh Billings

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

October 22, 2003
I survived the angiogram and got to come home a little after noon. Got to the hospital at six, big group of us sitting in the waiting room. A nurse came thru and told us all to follow her. We looked like some Condo buyers on a junket.

The day before, Meghan gave me a little, stuffed furry dog to take in the operating room for good luck. Several people naturally thought I was gay carrying the stuffed dog, but it worked ( got two dates). Very sweet on her part.

Got in the operating room around eight. A guy shaved me (yes, they shaved me down there) and I asked the nurse how he got such a “great job—shaving old men’s privates.” And he said he was just naturally lucky like that. The actual procedure wasn’t all that bad. Saw my heart pumping on a big TV screen. Looked like bad science fiction from the fifties. Black an white, grainy, monster lit. They found one vein with 55% blockage, but the surgeon came in and took one look at it and said, “It’s fine.” So they wheeled me back to a recovery room and I had to lie on my back for two hours. After about 45 minutes I had to pee like a racehorse, so they brought in this orange juice container looking thing and told me to go at it. If you’ve ever tried to pee lying on your back, it isn’t easy. If fact, I couldn’t do it. They are concerned that the groin bandaid covering a major artery might spurt.

Got home at about two. Slept real hard. Mike Melrose called around four and wanted to know if I could come up to the office and help them unload boxes of the new issue that just arrived by Fed Ex. He was joking of course. I can’t even tie my shoes for two or three days.

"According to fashion experts, the woman's thong is finally going out of fashion.  Designers blame the thong's demise on changing styles, a more conservative public, and Anna Nicole-Smith."
 —Conan O'Brien

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

October 21, 2003
Tons of coyotes yelping and yipping as I write this (5:13 AM). Dogs barking at the darkness. Me, I’m writing in the darkness (lights still out in studio).

One door closes, another opens. The History Channel has passed on the Classic Gunfights TV series idea. Got the E-mail yesterday afternoon from the director of programming. In the same batch of messages came the news that the other channel we have pitched, is still a go. The idea is too good. We will find a home for this.

Finally got our office copies of the December Western movies issue yesterday (three days late). It is a thick little puppy and has some great stuff in it. A couple spreads are disappointing (we had a doubletruck of 50 covers, one for each year and the color is way flat). Subscribers will start getting their issues this week. We’ve already gotten six advance orders for the Classic Gunfights book (mainly from the pop up that appears on this page).

The issue also has the long-awaited “True West Comes Clean” piece in which we admit several of our goofs, gaffs & cons over the years., Of course, the critics (mostly internet rats) who have been demanding this will no doubt find something else wrong—we didn’t go far enough, we didn’t lop off one of our fingers, something. You can’t please these people. They just love to snipe and complain. The big criticism now is that we’re too commercial (i.e. too successful). I would love to say I’m crying all the way to the bank, but I don’t go to the bank. Carole does, and she cries in her office.

Not really.

Got a new poll question. I’m curious, how many of you believe Brushy Bill was actually Billy the Kid. You can click right here and vote.

Worked all afternoon yesterday on a Women of the West logo for Jana’s new department. Trying to get a trio of females, a little Asian, a bit Hispanic, some Native American and mucho Cowgirl in a nice, tight composition. Want to nail this today.

”Years from now, when you talk about this, and you will, be kind.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Monday, October 20, 2003

October 20, 2003
Been thinking quite a bit about Lance Armstrong’s quote to the effect that if you are going to accomplish things you need to “act like a champion.” That’s my new mantra. Don’t lie in bed and procrastinate, act like a champion. Get up, bail into the things you don’t want to do. I thought of this while I was lying in bed this morning, drinking coffee and putting off getting up. Ha.

Kathy is at a seminar in Tempe thru today. Bach’ing it. I never realize how much stuff she picks up around the house until she’s gone.

After my doctor’s appointment last week, I went by Aaron Bros. to get some art supplies and picked up a bottle of liquid frisket. Yesterday I took the two Hanska Slough paintings and masked off the Madelea Seven and then went in and put in several layers of bold washes of vegetation. It really made a difference. Much stronger painting (too bad the weaker one is in the book, at the printers).

Read a great interview last night with Quentin Tarrantino in the New Yorker. He’s just so enthusiastic about everything. I think enthusiasm covers most bets.

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.”
—John William Gardner

Sunday, October 19, 2003

October 19, 2003
The engine light on my pickup turned out to be a cracked gas tank line. The replacement part is $450! I told Tobias I would live with it for the time being and they warned me it won’t pass inspection with it broken. Sighed. Paid the bill ($119 for oil change and the above exploratory work).

Went up to Paul’s Barbershop yesterday at 10:30 for a long overdue haircut. Bev, my neighbor, cut my hair and caught me up on all the street gossip. We’ve got a new sign up on our road that says the byway is for members only and this prompted one of our grizzled old Zonie residents to say, “If they try to stop me from driving on that road, I’ll shoot ‘em.” Welcome to Arizona.

We also commiserated about the plague of coyotes and raccoons. Evidently the Forest Service is stocking the creek with raccoons and they are bigtime cat killers. I got kind of angry thinking that our Big Tom cat may have been offed by some Forest Service sponsored goons. Bev trimmed my mustache, etc. ($18 cash includes tip).

Went into town with Kathy. Got groceries at Costco (big box membership discount megastore where you buy regular products like summer sausage and Gouda cheese, except here the block of cheese and the duffel bag sized sausage takes up the entire bottom of your shopping cart. You know, one of those places.). From there we went over to the Franklin Daytimer store and I bought new filler pages, a paper punch and other goodies ($145 biz account). Then to lunch at Chompies. Had the New Yorker, pastrami on rye, Kath had a salad ($22 cash).

On the drive back out to Cave Creek, I had a conversation with Kathy about what book to do next. She absolutely hates my honkytonk drummer, a la 1977 story. Hates the title (sexist and demeaning), hates the story (honkytonk sex). She voted for my Geronimo book which is written and needs artwork and layout. I was irritated by this, but then, I asked her for her opinion.

Came home and worked in studio, organizing and finding stuff. Started to input new phone book pages in daytimer. Only made it through the Cs. Want to finish today.

”Personally, I think if a woman hasn't met the right man by the time she's 24, she may be lucky.”
—Deborah Kerr ,Scottish actress

Saturday, October 18, 2003

October 18, 2003
For the second time in the past three months I’ve seen the phrase “Our galloping history” to describe America’s past. I’m going to work that into an upcoming editorial.

Worked yesterday on the foil stamp (the etching type image that appears on the actual hardcover of the book). Came home for lunch yesterday and did two scratchboards of Billy’s Backyard Ballet (see our True West article for this gunfight - click here), but not sure if it’s clean enough. May do several more this weekend.

Finally had time to do a blog for the Arizona Republic. They planted my jowly mug in this morning’s paper and if you’d like to see my take on the Rush Limbaugh imbroglio, you can go to and take a gander. The headline, “Limblaugh, blaugh, blaugh,” is quite clever and I didn’t think of it. I’m guessing Phil Boas who is the editor of this new experiment. Speaking of Phil, we have a new clipping service and they have turned up his editorial piece on Vera McGinnis in the Fort Huachuca and Pendelton, Oregon newspapers. Pretty amazing.

The True West girls all went bowling last night so I had the house to myself. At dusk I went for a walk with the dogs down to the creek. Buddy immediately ran off, and the next thing I hear are yelps of panic and pain. I ran through the creosote bushes to see both Peaches and Buddy running around this mesquite thicket and barking. From inside the thicket I hear low rumbling grunts. It sounded other worldly and at first I was afraid it was a mountain lion or big cat. I’m clapping my hands and yelling at both dogs to come, all the while running closer. All of a sudden, Buddy comes flying out of the thicket with a javelina right on his tail. Now, of all times, Buddy decides to come to me, bringing along his new “friend.” I size up the situation in a heartbeat and turn to run. I’m hauling cheeks (as we used to say back in the twentieth century when I was on the track team) only at this stage of my life, even though I'm flailing my arms and legs, I’m moving about the speed of a retiree in a hearing aid line.

Fortunately, the javelina and Buddy spun off and took another route up past the cave. As I caught my breath it became deathly still. I had visions of both dogs being drug into a javelina lair by their necks and plopped on a big, long buffet table. I called and called, but no one came.

So I went back to the house, popped a beer and watched TV.

Not really. The dogs finally came and we hightailed it back across the dry creekbed and up to the house. Buddy jumped in the pool, swam a couple laps and gave me that look that says, “Man, I can’t wait to go back there and do that again!” I opened some wine (cabernet) and read until I fell asleep.

Before I dozed off, I realized my doctor would thump my bottom for the above behavior.

"According to a brand new study by Italian scientists, eating one or more entire pizzas a week dramatically reduces the chance of getting cancer. Mainly because it's hard to get cancer after dying from a heart attack."
 —Conan O'Brien

Friday, October 17, 2003

October 17, 2003
Finally delivered the guts of the book to Tri Star at 5:25 yesterday. We kept finding mistakes in spite of the fact that the entire document has been proofed at least 15 times: Little Big Horn battle was June 25, not the 26th; Oscar Sorbel rode seven miles not twelve, to warn the town of Madelia of the presence of the Northfield robbers (called Jack Kolbas on that one); the type font on page seven didn’t get changed; there were page numbers on the introduction (an aesthetic no no); there was no bold on one of the recommended headings. On and on, but finally Abby got the big ol’ thing burned on CDs and I delivered it down to 32nd St. and Bell Road where I met Fernando, the Tri Star driver. Felt good to hand off. Now to finish the cover, foil stamp and dust jacket. Due next Wednesday. Book will be out in mid-November. Collectively, it is the best thing I’ve ever worked on.

Yesterday, Gus and I also worked on a billboard for the new Elfego Baca Museum which will be built in Reserve, New Mexico. Henry Martinez wants to have an eight foot by eight foot sign erected at the main intersection of town trumpeting the countdown for a memorial and museum. Gus did a good job of making it look historical and groovy. It looks so good we may run it in the next issue.

Heard from the History Channel yesterday. They are sending us some inside pics of a big documentary they are premiering in December on the making of The Alamo movie, which premieres on Christmas Day.

The engine light on my truck is on, so I took it down to Tobias to have checked. They kept it overnight. Need a part for the gas line.

Kathy picked me up at five and we drove down to El Conquistador for dinner. Had the special, sopa de carne a jugo and a Pacifico. Kath had a bean burro enchilada style ($28 cash, includes tip). Then went to Spanish class at PVCC. Learned pronouns and past tense. Got home at 9:30. Long day.

Got a great quote for the back of the book from Allen Barra. It will surely rile some of my critics.

“Bob Boze Bell writes with both modern wit and an old-fashioned reverence for the West ... He is one of the few writers in this field whose credibility is unquestioned.”
—Allen Barra

Thursday, October 16, 2003

October 16, 2003
Not good news from the doctor. Have to have an angiogram (sp?) next Wednesday. Evidently, the stress test showed “reversible” something, and is “worrisome for ischemia in the anterior wall.” Stats are 92% for having it. When the doctor described the procedure (they insert a Fantastic Voyage spaceship in an artery in my groin area) and I grimaced, he said, “What’s wrong?” And I said, “Couldn’t you pick a less squeamish area to invade, like one of my eyeballs?” He didn’t get it —that it was a joke. I swear, most medical people have had humor bypasses.

Drove home last night with the usual emotions. “I’m going to die.” and “Look at that sunset. It may be the last one I ever see,” and “what does that doctor know? I should get a second opinion.” Running through the gamut of the four stages, over and over. Rage, fear, denial and acceptance.” By the time I got home I was resigned to my fate.

Need to cancel all of my appointments for next weekend. Had plans to go to Tucson for a writer’s conference.

Fortunately, the CG book is done. I need to do a foil stamp illustration for the hardcover, and I’m getting a quote from a famous author, but other than that, it’s in the can.

Got up yesterday and decided to redo the Hanska Slough painting (this is before the doctor’s appointment). Whipped it out and brought the original up to the office for Gus to scan. He hates this, because the scanner isn’t big enough and he has to scan it in pieces and then put it back together in photoshop. Looks good, though. Glad I did it.

“Live every day like it’s your last because one day, you’ll be right.”
—Ray Charles

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

October 15, 2003
Working hard on the book that will not die! Filling holes and plugging gaps. I may try to repaint that Hanska Slough piece this morning. Woke up at five painting it in my dreams. I figure anything is better than the one that’s in there now.

Robert got 88 pages PDF’d (finished) yesterday. We are planning on finishing this afternoon. Book will then go down to Tri Star and on to the printer.

The newest poll is online. We want to know how many of you are cowboys and how many are cowgirls. You can click right here and go vote.

I got permission from Arizona Highways to run the Polaroid on the roof of the Beale Hotel in Kingman. Cool shot. Should be a neat spread in the mag (fall, 2004).

Talked to Jeanne Sedello last night. She was on the radio with me at KSLX and Young Buck. We laughed and laughed, gossiping about all the radio war news. We also fixed all that’s wrong with Phoenix radio in about five minutes.

Last night I also heard from Heather the Weather Girl, who I did a show with at KXAM. Here is what she wrote me regarding my full schedule (hint: she’s mocking my journal entries):

“6:15   Sat outside with Kathy enjoying the crisp, winter morning.  What a day.  Have to work on new book....write in my journal.
6:16   Wrote more in my journal
6:17   More to this journal
6:18  Good God where's my pen.....where's my journal....where's my family!!!!
6:19  Lost still eating the chickens”

Funny girl.

”A procrastinator’s work is never done.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

October 14, 2003
Had a battery of tests done this morning at Scottsdale Health Care “campus.” Got there at 6:15 AM and didn’t get out until 11:30. Saw my organs on a computer screen glowing like the radioactive asteroids they were. Results tomorrow.

A trip like that to the hospital is such a wakeup call for me. Saw all kinds of people lying in those portable beds, lined up in the hall waiting for tests, tubes sticking out of their noses, vacant eyes, pale skin. It makes you want to be healthy, that’s for sure.

Yesterday finished off the last painting for the book. The Madelia Seven walking seven abreast through Hanska Slough. Got some great effects on the greenery, but blew it on the actual guys. Great reference, but ended up with just mud. Too late to fix it now. Really irritated with myself.

Came home for lunch today to finish a scratchboard of a James Gang saddle. Last image. Robert Ray is busy doing PDFs and the book goes out to publisher in the next 48 hours.

Went with Kathy last night to a Spanish class at Shelmita’s. About ten people there, and we drank Pacificos and learned pronouns. Hey, my kind of class! Got home at 9:30. Long day.

“The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous.”
—Some sad guy

Monday, October 13, 2003

October 13, 2003
Book is due today. Had another speech last night out at Pebble Creek in Litchfield. Long drive, took an hour to get out there. Did a joint appearance with Allen Fossenkemper’s O.K. Chorale. Sold a few books and two subscriptions. Got home at nine. Too much driving, for me.

The air is wet this morning. Sky is clear but it feels like rain. Painted yesterday afternoon. Saved an image of a gunfighter floating above a graveyard. Tombstone reference was from my trip to New Mexico in July. Took photos in Quemado cemetery. Wooden crosses and ornate tombstones in scattered disarray. Also redid a scratchboard of Jesse and Frank James riding double. And started a gouache of the Magnificent Seven (from Madelia, Minnesota) who brought down the Youngers at Hanska Slough. Had good reference for that from my trip up there in September of 2001. The grass and the trees were just starting to turn brown and gold, prefect reference for what it must have looked like on September 21, 1876 (at least for the vegetation).

Jana is coming out today, instead of Tuesday. After the book goes out the door, got to get busy with January issue. Gus and I are doing Davy Crockett for the Classic Gunfight: How did he really die? Swinging Old Betsy or surrendering? Hmmmm.

During my speech in Kingman I mentioned that Billy the Kid’s real name was Henry McCarty. When I took questions at the end, a woman waved a small piece of paper at me. I waded through the tables and retrieved it. This is what it said:

“Billy the Kid’s name was William Bonney. Nephew of Robert Bishop from New Mexico. Robert Bishop was my husband’s Grandfather. —Jennifer Bishop.”

Now how do you handle that? I waffled and said she could be right, there is much we don’t know about so many of these historical characters. Here is someone who grew up with the family tradition that Billy the Kid was part of their family. She is not alone. Such is the power of myth and family stories (most of which are myth also).

“In order that all men may be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all should learn to hear it.”
—Samuel Johnson

Sunday, October 12, 2003

October 12, 2003
Back from Kingman. Got in last night around 9:30 PM. Had a speech at 11 on Saturday morning for the Daughters of Mohave County Pioneers. It was their 45th anniversary luncheon. Lots of familiar faces (including several old girlfriends) and, before I went on, I made a vow to try extra hard not to embarrass them (something I’m just naturally good at).

Had lunch first. At our table, we laughed and laughed. Tom Carpenter, the writer was there. He and Johnny Waters got expelled from Kingman High togther. He wouldn’t tell my why (I’ll find out from Charlie). I was introduced to one of my babysitters, Verna Wright who was 16 at the time and “watched me” at the old McConnico Whiting Brothers’ service station south of town. I never knew that my dad worked in town (must have been 1948-49) at Dunton Motors and when he was gone, my mother ran the gas station all by herself (it was open 24-7). Amazing. When I asked Verna what she remembered about babysitting me, she said, “Your mama was so clean. That whole service station shined.” My mom the super-pump jockey. Funny.

Afterwards I signed books and gave out True West magazines. I sold every book I had and could have sold more. One of my old classmates came up to me and said, “I told them you would be good but they didn’t believe me.” Evidently, there was a faction among the Daughtrers that was afraid I couldn’t, or wouldn’t “behave.” Which explained part of my introduction that included these lines, “after a poem for Mr. Finch we will turn Mr. Bell loose.” I, of course started acting like I was chained to my chair, sliding it around like a caged Seigfreid and Roy cat dying to get at the speaker. Got big laughs for that (Hey, I wasn’t a four-year Class Clown for nothing), but it must have made some of them awful nervous. I was very respectful and didn’t say any bad words, although I almost slipped once and mentioned I had breakfast at the Calico Cafe and looked around the dining room for familiar Kingman faces, like I always do when I go home, and started addressing neighboring tables with: “Excuse me, did I sleep with you?” (nervous laughter) and turning the other way, “Did I try to sleep with you.” (scattered titters). Dropped the part about losing my virginity at White Cliffs (good call Bob!) Now all of this was made even more humorous (to me) when I got done speaking and I’m signing books, and Ollie Bond (you know, Kim Bond’s mother) comes up and when someone asks her if she knew me, she says, “Knew him? I watched the little bastard grow up!” I turned to the women around me and said, “See! That’s my modeling right there.” They didn’t think it was as funny as I did.

Took Kathy on a walking tour of downtown Kingman. Central Commercial: gone. JC Penny: gone. State Theatre: gone. Desert Drugs (where I bought my first True West): gone. The Dime Store: gone. The post office: moved to hilltop. The Methodist Church (where Clark Gable and my parents were married): now a county building.

Ended up at Phyllis Morton Eaton’s beautiful old Kingman house on Oak. June Smith and her mom were there, Bob Burford and his wife, Mickey and Zibby Campa, Michelle Gilpin Bonham, Ollie Bond (even ruder and cruder than at the luncheon, but she makes me laugh), Jerry Eaton and others. Fun talking about how sick we all are (both mentally and physically).

At four Kathy and I walked down to Andy Devine (the street not the actor) and met David Zickl on the roof of the old Beale Hotel for a panorama photo shoot that will appear in Arizona Highways late next year. Cool shot of the Hualapais (pronounced Wall-a-pies) in the background. I’m looking off at Coyote Pass like I wish I could get my past back to do over, but I can’t. Wistful, with a tinge of quiet desperation. David must have shot 200 exposures. As I gazed again and again at those familiar bluffs and spires I realized three words sum up my life so far: Kingman, crazy, lucky.

”Hell, we don’t read the paper to find out what’s going on, we already know that. We read the Miner to find out who got caught.”
—A Kingman Oldtimer (not Ollie Bond)

Friday, October 10, 2003

October 10, 2003
Started at the end, of course. Got in a blue wash for the last page of the introduction. Big painting, trying to stay subtle, not my strong suite. Kept it to one color all the way through. Stopped at nine. Mulling it. May move on and come back to it.

Switched gears and started a big image of Charlie’s Pitts’ last words. Got some good foliage and decent underpainting. Looked at the first image. Not good. Dried too harsh. Can’t get it back. Got to keep going (10:30 A.M.). Made some decaf coffee (over my limit on real).

Worked until three, shot images and took them up to Foothills Photo for one hour developing ($7.56, cash). Came back to office. Dan Harshberger drove out to do a design review on the book. He had many excellent suggestions. Saved numerous pages, tweaked our typography to make it more classy and refined. He really improved the book, maybe as much as 10%. It’s amazing what a good designer can do. And he did it for no pay. If I owe anyone a car, it would be Dan.

Got home late, at around seven. Tired but have to get on to other paintings. Kathy went to Spanish class at PVCC and I stayed home to work. Got in about two hours of good solid painting, working on the Wyatt Earp with the gunbelt around his thighs. Got a very nice underpainting in, knocked off, turned on the neck massager (really sore, but a good sore).

Got up this morning and went for a walk with Kathy. Quite cloudy out. Smells like rain. Went up the hill, came back, just as we got to the house, It started coming down. Still raining (7:15). We really needed it.

Back to work. Need to finish two more images before two. Driving to Kingman tonight. Speech tomorrow at Mohave County Museum.

”Nothing relieves the monotony of a job like finding ways to improve it.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, October 09, 2003

October 9, 2003
Worked long and hard on the Classic Gunfights book yesterday. Fought with Meghan over many words. I want to tell a good story and for some reason she wants it to be in readable English. Imagine.

Woke up at four mulling a new page that opened up when we redesigned the introduction yesterday. Here’s the words I’m thinking of adding: “Fast or slow, drunk or sober, ugly or vain, they’re all gone now. Only their stories remain.” I may do a scratchboard today of a looming silhouetted gunfighter over a boothill graveyard. Or not.

Yesterday Robert Ray captured several more frames of video off my camera from the Turkey Creek Canyon shoot. Got good shots of Dave Daiss in the actual spot that Will Carver was shooting from. Put in a five frame sequence to illustrate how hard it must have been to spot him. I think it works quite well. We will run this as a one-pager in the magazine down the road.

Need to do about six or seven illustrations today. My wishlist:
• “I can die as game as you can Captain. Let’s get it done.” Charlie Pitts at Hanska Slough
• “Get in!” Jesse James
• abandoned saddle from Northfield (plus the feedbag, spur and Colt, if I have time)
• Wyatt with his gunbelt down around his thighs shooting a shotgun (sounds almost soft porn)
• the above mentioned floating gunfighter.

Rounding up the artboard (5:30 A.M.). Need to work smart.

“He was so learned that he could name a horse in nine languages; so ignorant that he bought a cow to ride on.”
—Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

October 8, 2003
Larry Johns forwarded me an E-mail yesterday from one of our Best of the West winners, Kenny Butterill, who won for best Alt. Country. Here’s what he said:

“At the True West website I read the history of Mr. Bell’s journey with True West publication—it is (bleeping) amazing—the tenacity shown is breathtaking, and giving us a glimpse inside the struggle and joy was very cool.”

Every once in a while, when I’m feeling cocky or smug or down, I go read the business timeline (you can access it at the top of this page). It still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It has been a very perilous journey and we aren’t out of the woods yet. And, here’s the amazing part, those journal entries are the cleaned up, heavily edited version! The actual diary entries are much bloodier, and more libelous. Someday. . .

Got an E-mail from Thomas in Spain. Here’s part of it.

“The Strokes in Barcelona is what we like to call Gods gift to man. A friendly gift followed by much rejoicing. So I just had the best weekend yet here in Espana. This girl invited Curtis and I to her house in Gandia for the towns fiestas. It was us and 8 Spaniards and we stayed in her dead grandmas house in the center of town. Her mom would make us food and we would take it to the house, have dinner and then party all night. There were free concerts, fireworks, a fair, you name it. Anyway, it was the greatest weekend and dirt cheap too! On Sunday the whole town got together in the main square and cooked paella. There was a ton of little fires with people cooking Paella. It was delicious. We would get home at six in the morning, sleep until 1:15 on the dot when a marching band would pass by and wake us up. Good times and I learned soo much spanish (mostly slang).”

Here’s some of the art I have been slaving on for the past week. I’ve got about four more to do before I leave for my speech in Kingman this weekend.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
—Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

October 7, 2003
Introduced our new salesperson, Crystal Connelley, in our staff meeting this morning.

Had an almost perfect day yesterday. Finished re-writing the Mescal Springs shoot-out and added several corrections to various other gunfights, then came home for lunch and finished all four images that I had worked on over the weekend. One was a black and white Wild Bill Hickok that I had started over a year ago, chucked it because it sucked, then found it last weekend and saw it had potential, gave it another go and it works. Did the same with an uncompleted Hickok and Tutt painting I gave up on. Resurrected it, added a couple wash flourishes and it ain’t bad. Finished the James Gang meeting a farmer painting. Big sucker, decent effects and also whipped out a Frank James going over the counter at Northfield. Melrose commented he likes this last one the best and hinted strongly he’d like if for Christmas.

Photographed the art, went back up to Foothills Photo and dropped off the film. Picked up a coumadin refill at Walgreens ($25 house account), got film prints (one-hour development, $22 biz account), came back to office. Robert Ray scanned them in and we put them in the layout at about six. Came home, went to the cave with the dogs. Overcast. Very nice out (got sprinkles this morning).

Made a steak, had a glass of wine, watched the new HBO series “Carnivale” (we had it recorded, it was the second show. Not sure I like it. Weirdness on steroids.). Talked to Kathy about the kids, Read Atlantic Monthly, and scathing review of a new Mark Twain book (the article also claims there is a new book published every 30 seconds. Yikes!).

Went to bed around nine. Coyotes came right up to our front gate around two in the morning. Kathy got up and fought them off, put dogs in studio. I slept through it, or pretended to sleep.

“My mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general, if you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope.’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
—Pablo Picasso

Monday, October 06, 2003

October 6, 2003
Another strong day painting yesterday. Whipped out a Frank James jumping the counter at the First National Bank of Northfield. Under his arm is the clock on the wall, behind him, which reads 1:50. Legend says, the clock stopped during the robbery and has never been reset. I took the image off of my DV camera, stop-actioned to the exact scene I wanted, printed it out, and moved the clock slightly so we can read it. Also kept the face in a blur, since the identity of that robber is key to the story. Who did shoot Heywood? I think I know.

All of this Northfield art has rekindled my interest in doing a Cole Younger graphic novel. I have a cool title, and a unique angle on the story that I think no one has ever done before. My angle is called the truth. No, just kidding. I’m talking about the story structure. Everyone always follows Jesse and Frank after the botched robbery and the Cole part of the story is even more fantastic and has never been told before, except by Jack Koblas. In fact he is my inspiration. His research is nothing short of amazing.

One week to go before the deadline and of course I’m finally in the water and could do a hundred paintings. This is my MO. Pathetic really. I’m thinking of buying a headstone for myself with this inscription: “Hey, I even put this off until the last possible moment.”

The women in my life can’t quite understand why I’m so obsessed with outlaws and killers. They don’t get it, and I’m not sure I do myself (I’m not even a shooter and the guns I own are for art reference). Maybe the Woodman has something to say about this:

“Why does man kill?  He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.”
—Woody Allen

Sunday, October 05, 2003

October 5, 2003
Good day working yesterday. Finished a Wild Bill, black and white, for a spot illustration in the book. Also started a big, ambitious rain picture of the fleeing James-Younger gang riding by a farmer in a wagon on a flooded road. The farmer is pointing ahead, while Cole Younger points the other way, as he and his brother Jim, hold Bob in the saddle. “He’s our prisoner,” Cole says. “We’re taking him to jail.” “But the jail is that way,” the farmer says, trying to be helpful. “No, we’re going the right way,” Cole says as they ride in the ditch and head for the rain soaked horizon. Some good effects, verdict still out. Worked until around six.

Made some spaghetti and watched Clint Eastwood’s take on piano blues, which is part of the Martin Scorsese special that’s running on PBS called simply The Blues. Poor Ray Charles. He once said “Quitting cigarettes was harder than kicking heroin.” Well, he didn’t quite kick it, cigs that is. In the interview with Eastwood, he’s hacking, wheezing and still smoking. However, the coolest part of the episode was a mid-sixties TV tape of Charles singing a rousing “What’d I Say?” which totally rocked. That is one of the coolest songs ever. And I also loved the Saturday Night Live parody of it when he guest-hosted and Belushi and the gang appeared with him as the Young Anglos, I think it was, and they totally milk-toasted the song, bending the chorus into “What Did I Say?” Emphasis on the correct pronunciation of “Did” rather than “What’d.” It was a perfect parody of all that wretched and wholesome Up With People and The Young Americans pap. Other than that tune (What’d I Say?), I can only take so much Blues then I zone out. Not enough structure for me. Those old blues guys play all over the time signature and as a recovering drummer, it just drives me crazy. I want to shake them and say, “Play on the damn beat, Man!” But that’s the Young Anglo in me talking.

Got up at four this morning, full of hope and ideas for the remaining paintings. Too bad I've got family commitments in town ths morning. I guess I should be thankful I have a family.

"The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect is already in the cause."
—Henri Louis Bergson

Saturday, October 04, 2003

October 4, 2003
Found it! Finally. After a week of searching, I finally found my box full of Jesse James-Northfield reference photos. They were under one of my tables in the studio with a great big Jesse James poster-tin over the top. Doh! Great reference shots in the actual bank in Northfield. Oodles of shots of the gang fleeing towards Millersburg, and in the rain. And, lastly, the date on the photos is 9-10-01, which is kind of haunting in itself. Now to do the actual art. This is for the Classic Gunfights book which goes to the publisher a week from Monday.

The good news is I’ve found numerous things I have been looking for, others that I didn’t even know I had and much I should have thrown out sooner. All in all, it feels good

Stayed in office late last night and worked on copy for Hickok vs. Tutt fight. This Classic Gunfight was produced way back in the beginning of the feature (I thought of the idea for the feature on March 7, 2000) and the narrative is very weak. I hadn’t worked out the tenses yet (we do present tense in the actual narrative and then past tense in the Aftermath: Odds & Ends). I spent a bit of time padding out the story, but unfortunately there isn’t much there in the way of “facts.” Unlike the O.K. Corral battle where you have reams of eye-witness testimony, the Springfield gunfight is about a paragraph of newspaper reporting, a smidgen of court proceedings and a bushel of BS from Harpers. I also need to rewrite the Mescal Springs fight between Curly Bill and Wyatt Earp’s gang. That will be a bit easier. Plan to do it Monday.

After the funeral yesterday I took Grandma Betty, Debbie R. and Kathy to breakfast at IHOP (International House of Pancakes). It was Debbie’s pick and I hadn’t been in one since about 1973. Me and my clubbing pals, like Mike Torres, used to go to the IHOP at 19th Ave. and Bethany Home Road almost every night after Mr. Lucky’s closed. We practically lived there. It’s funny, the smell when I walked in the door took me right back to those wild days. I guess it’s the unique smell of their grease. Hard to believe it could be that consistent for three decades, but there it was. Had the big steak omelette, girls had waffles and eggs ($31.76 cash, girls got tip).

Tommy is excited. He got tickets to see the Strokes in Barcelona. Or is it the Hives? I think it’s the Strokes, the New York retro rock band that sounds like early Kinks (to me).

Well, back to work. Got to do about seven pieces of art this week.

”We do not want churches. They will teach us to quarrel about God.”
—Chief Joseph

Friday, October 03, 2003

October 3, 2003
Going to a funeral this morning. A young kid, drinking, you don’t want to know.

Excellent design advances yesterday. Robert Ray, Abby, Gus and I are wrestling with the photo introduction for the Classic Gunfights book and we huddled around 11 and I told them what I was trying to do: basically I want a story arc preceding the actual gunfights, kind of an overview, or movie trailer, previews of coming attractions, that both intrigues the reader and teases them into the book. I wrote little snippets of gunfighter lore (“Sometimes lawmen fought lawmen. . .”) and we moved images around, playing with a variety of type styles and finally hit on what I think is a total winner. It’s not quite there yet (there are bugs in the transitions, but we will get those nailed today). The big picture is there and this is my favorite part of the work, and you might even say, my favorite part of being on the planet. Creative, graphic problems, worked out with teammates I enjoy working with. Other than sex, this is as good as it gets. Hey, I wonder if we should buy a hottub for the office....never mind.

Still hanging out on artwork. It’s this weekend or else. I’ve got a speech in Kingman next weekend and the book goes to the publisher as soon as I get back. Pressure time.

”I find that a change of nuisances is as good as a vacation.”
—David Lloyd George

Thursday, October 02, 2003

October 2, 2003
Went for a walk with Kathy and the dogs about 6:20 this morning. Just a slight Arizona nip in the air (high 70s). As we trudged up Ratcliff Ridge, sweating, I said, “Today is the first day that feels like September.” Kathy agreed but pointed out that it is October. That is the essence of the Arizona I love—everything is just a tad hotter, and hotter later, than most people like it, and that suits me fine.

The name of the song Mike Torres wrote and produced is going to be called “Cat House Melee,” which is also the title of one of the Classic Gunfights in the new book. It just happened to be lying on my desk when Mike came in and, viola, there it was. By the way, here’s a 1969 photo of Central Heating, the band Mike and I formed in Tucson. Left to right: Cliff Feldman (he thought up the name for the band), Jack Townsend, Mike Torres and some guy in white shoes (car salesman?). Mike Melrose took one look at this photo and said, “In Cold Blood.” (The Truman Capote book about the ex-cons who wiped out a Kansas farm family).

"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong."
—Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

October 1, 2003
A new salesperson starting today. Crystal Connelley is her name. Mike is quite impressed with her and we all have high hopes. Mike also admitted that Sue is turning out to be a very strong salesperson. This makes me happy.

Trish and Jason are really overhauling and adding to the website. Check out our latest poll on the new TV series Peacemakers, starring Tom Berenger. Have you seen it (I haven’t and need to check it out). It is a hit for the USA Cable channel and we are curious what you think. Go vote, please.

The magazine and website continue to grow at a healthy rate. Our ad revenues in the mag are up 38% this year and the website is poised to break our monthly record for subs and sales. The Native American set sales continue to roll (over 80 sold) and the back issues are doing quite well (one order last week was for $650 for three sets of back issues).

Got contacted by the Arizona Republic to contribute to their blog. Filled out a questionaire and they posted my mug as a contributor (Jana is already posting quite a bit). Not sure when I’ll have time to do both (this and another blog).

Designed the contents page for the Classic Gunfights book with Abby. Quite groovy.

Mike Torres called me and wanted to hand deliver his mixed-song for the TV show to me in person. Met him at the Territorial Bar & Grill parking lot. Listened to both versions. It just knocked me out. Had him follow me back to the office so I could play it for the staff. We huddled in Carole’s office and listened. Everyone clapped afterwards. I asked for something that is somewhere between the Ventures and Led Zeppelin and he served it up. Afterwards we retired to my office and he said he is so excited about the tune he may play it at his next gig. He asked me if I had any ideas on what to call the tune, and I picked up one of the classic gunfight printouts that was on my desk and held it up. “Do you think this is the title?” He smiled. “That’s it. That’s it!” he said shaking his head and laughing. I’ll tell you the title of the tune tomorrow and run a photo of the band Central Heating circa 1969.

”Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.”
—Anna Freud