Sunday, December 02, 2007

December 2, 2007
Almost missed the True West Christmas Party last night. Our neighbors to the south of us told us the roads were all open, but when we got up to Grapevine Wash at five, a sheriff's vehicle had its lights on and two signs met us in the middle of the road: "Wash flooded" and "Road closed." I quickly turned a U-ee and headed for the only other crossing at School House, which spans the same exact wash only further east. We met a ton of trucks coming our way and they were either vehicles being turned away or trucks that had successfully made it across. At about 100 yards I saw the County front-end loader clearing sand and mud from the roadway and they had flashing lights up, but people were crossing. We waded across (it was still running about thirty yards wide) and headed for the Brink's stellar adobe nestled into the south side of Black Mountain. Made it with seconds to spare and joined the party in full swing.

What's fun for me at these parties is getting to talk about something besides cover blurbs and deadlines with the same people who I talk (and fight with) about this with 320 days a year. For example, I was chatting with our art director, Dan Harshberger, and Bud Glenn (Carole's husband) and they got to talking about building "Rat Rods." When I asked what that was they looked at me like I was some gay guy who lives in another universe, where arch plots and Inciting Incidents abound.

Dan told me a "Rat Rod" is a Model A that you rebuild, but you leave the body as is. So, as I understand it, you have a spotless, powerful engine under the hood but from the outside it looks like a Rat Rod. See, if we didn't have a Christmas party once a year, I would never know these things.

Jana talked about her Mexico adventures (friends of hers have bought and rebuilt an old hacienda deep in Mexico (a rat adobe?). I got to meet Abby's fiance Scott (nice guy, ex-marine), Ken and Lucinda were in from New Mexico and they talked about how cold it is at their ranchito east of Albuquerque (he has to break ice on the horse trough every morning), and Kathy turned me onto the Brink's original Ed Borein sketches in the guest bathroom. Really sweet illustrations of two cowboys on prancing horses (Ed's specialty), and in the other, Apaches riding up a ridgeline. Had to go back twice to admire them: the second time I had to lean over Robert Ray's shoulder who was seeing a man about a horse.

Not really, but I did go back twice to check them out.

Joel Klasky made his signature Caesar Salad, Samantha cooked up some great pasta dishes, Darlene Harshberger brought her grandparent's Swedish dessert and pastry chef Michele had a cheescake tort, or cupcake deal with a strawberry on top, that was sinfully delicious. Robert Ray made his patented margaritas and Sue Lambert also brought a great dish, which I can't remember, but it was good.

Marshall Trimble came with his girlfriend (Vanessa) and we had just under 30 people show up, which is quite a crowd for such a small staff.

The Brinks were quite gracious, opening their home to us for the third year in a row. I believe this is our ninth Christmas party. The first, held in 1999, was in the Goatsucker Saloon behind Crazy Ed's and, well, it was fun, but this is a total delight.

My Suspicions Confirmed
"The problem I have seen with [the author Robert] McKee is that many of those (the non-creative) who control Hollywood, use his formula as their 'bible.' Any deviation from the 'bible,' and the script is tossed without further reading, no matter how good it is."
—Steve Lodge, screenwriter for The Honkers

Sky is crystal blue today. Not a cloud in sight. Nice and warm out, although I have a fire in the studio stove and the dogs are sacked out nearby. The chickens survived the storms and my little Silkie Rooster was crowing this morning like the budding cock he is.

Did an email interview with Preston Randolph in Cody, Wyoming this morning. It's for a high school history project. Those questions and answers tomorrow.

Went on two bike rides with the dogs. Met Bev on the road and made an appointment to get my haircut on Tuesday after work. We leave on Thursday for Vegas and I need the moss knocked off my antlers before we go.

"One of the illusions is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it in your heart that every day is the best day of the year."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (who is saying basically what Ray Bradbury said yesterday)

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