Friday, June 21, 2013

Glaucoma, Etc.

What I have been diagnosed with is traumatic glaucoma in my right eye.  I've been struggling with it since June 3rd because blindness is one of those things I never want to have to deal with.  Yet here I am.

Mine is traumatic glaucoma that stems from an old injury I got while coaching Little League seven years ago.  I was in the batting cage, something I've been doing with kids for years, and got hit with a 45-50 mph foul ball.  Some people say that balls come off the bat faster than they were thrown.  I don't know all the kinetic math for that.

There is a part of the optic nerve that is called the "cup."  In a normal eye, the opening is below 30 percent.  My left eye is at 20 percent.  My right eye is at 80 percent.  When it reaches 100 percent, you're pretty much blind from what I understand.

So I've been shuttled back and forth to the doc trying to relieve the intraocular pressure which isn't responding to the medication I'm on.  Next week I go to Dean A. MaGee Eye Clinic for an assessment there.  They do a lot of laser surgery on the eye, which does not sound fun at all.  I have suffered some permanent vision loss and that's been very hard to take.

If you notice any blurriness, difference between light/dark between your eyes, have it checked out by an ophthalmologist.  I didn't.  Thought it was just allergies.

I'm currently rehabbing a shoulder (40 percent tear through the supraspinatus muscle, 50 percent tear through the infraspinatus muscle, and a moderately perched -- torn -- bicep).  The physical therapy is pretty easy because I'd lifted weights and used to train a lot when I was younger.  The injuries remind me I am no longer as young as I used to be, but I need to start taking better care of myself.

As it turns out, working at a keyboard is one of the worst things I can do for an injured shoulder because it keeps my shoulders in a protracted (forward curved) position that puts a strain on all the supportive musculature.

Also just finished up a third visit for a root canal (the tooth had a twinned mesial canal that was hidden the first time, and it was curved enough to be problematic).  I'd had trouble with the tooth for four years and thought it was sinuses, but since we finished the second visit (which cleaned it all out), I've had no problems.  Sealed up the tooth this time and everything appears to be great again.

Still have all the insurance/contractor stuff to get through on the house as a result of the SECOND (one obviously wasn't enough) tornado that hit Moore in May.  For a summer that was supposed to be relaxing and available for me to do a lot of writing, this has been pretty stressful.  My wife insists that someone somewhere is playing Jumanji with us.
Yep, I'm gonna be reminding a lot about this one, which is out soon.  I really enjoyed this book and think that Pike Morgan is one of the best characters I've created.  I put him through his paces in this one, touching on a lot of subjects/confusion I have felt over the years.
Early reports on the book are favorable:


I've been waiting on this one to hit the big screens, and after all the tornadoes and medical stuff I've been going through, I happily took myself to the theater to relax for a couple hours plus.  I have to admit, though, the scene with the tornado sweeping across the screen really quieted the audience here in Moore.  All I can tell you is that the computer generated effect is close to an actual tornado, but without the whipping wind and rain, it pales by comparison.  And even though the tornado in the movie is supposed to be horrific and destructive, it was nothing like an F-5.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie.  Henry Cavill makes a splendid Clark Kent/Superman.  He's got the build and the personality, and I liked him quite a lot in the role.
I appreciated the way the storyline kept flipping back and forth between the past and the present.  Telling the origin story again from the beginning would have been a mistake.  People are just too familiar with it even with the different twists and turns this origin story takes.
The beginning with Russell Crowe playing Jor-El was totally gripping and I loved the presentation of Krypton even though it didn't quite jibe with everything I've envisioned over the years.  I thought perhaps the "gladiator" moments were a little over the top, but I forgave the revisionist history because I was caught up in the narrative.
I also liked seeing Clark's journey to find himself.  I hadn't thought about what he might do, but crab fishing and working on archeological expeditions were interesting concepts.  It reminded me a lot of when Bruce Wayne went trekking around the world to get himself trained to be the Batman, which doesn't suit my idea of Superman's early years, but this fit well enough.
Frankly, the Kryptonian supervillains was just too repetitive of the second Christopher Reeve movie.  The architecture of Brainiac's weapons arsenal and vehicles bother me a lot too, because I felt those should have been reserved for Brainiac's appearance.  Of course, maybe the producer/director is going to revisit those assets for another movie in the series.
And I just didn't care for the whole "having to adjust to Earth's environment" thing.  Jor-El states that Kal will be a god on Earth and makes no mention of having to acclimate to the planet.  Unless I missed that.  The weakness was footnoted throughout the movie, but I just didn't buy it.  A class M planet is a class M planet.  The weakness felt like an intentional construct to offer a reason why Superman could beat dozens of people who should have been just as strong as he was.
Of course, dealing with Superman's powers has always been like walking a tightrope for writers.  That's why Lex Luthor uses science and other foes use magic.
I also had problems with the ending.  With all the chaotic destruction going on, Superman had to be partially responsible for killing hundreds of citizens that were collateral damage.  And the buildings kept falling like dominoes, to the point I actually grew weary of seeing that happen.
I did enjoy the movie, perhaps not as much as I wanted to because I wanted to be blown away by it, but I'm interested to see what is done for a sequel.  That's going to be the proof of the pudding.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New Sheriff Dan Rhodes eBooks!

In tiny Blacklin County, Texas, a curse is nothing more than a four-letter word hollered in a barroom or muttered in the heat. So Sheriff Dan Rhodes is more curious than concerned when he dutifully responds to a complaint of witchcraft. 
When Dr. Samuel Martin, the local dentist — and unpopular landlord — claims he's been hexed by a tenant, Rhodes does his best to smooth things out between the distressed D.D.S. and the would-be witch. But in two shakes of a black cat's tail, the good doctor disappears... and his wife turns up bludgeoned to death. 

For Rhodes, it means there's a bad moon rising over Blacklin County. And now he's got to do the voodoo he does best — asking pointed questions and extracting the painful truth from some tight-lipped suspects who also bite...


 Someone in Blacklin County, Texas, is being disrespectful of the dead, and Sheriff Dan Rhodes must put a stop to it. 
First, there's the matter of the bodies at Ballinger's Funeral Home and the apparent misplacing of their valuables; the bereaved are beside themselves. There'd best be immediate action or the bell could toll again, this time for Sheriff Dan's reputation as the guardian of justice and decency in these parts. 

As if that weren't enough to contend with, yet another body tumbles into Sheriff Dan's path—out of a closet this time, and trussed up in most unsavory fashion. More disrespect, but obviously a separate case from the funeral home. Or is it? 

Meanwhile, with Hack Jensen and his sidekick Lawton (more comic than cop team) minding the jail, thank heavens there's Deputy Ruth Grady for backup. On the personal front, his fiancee, Ivy Daniel, is supportive as always, but a mystery rears its perplexing head here as well—namely, will Sheriff Dan propose or will he not? 

Tough questions on every side, and guess who's expected to come up with the answers before he gets carried away by Death On the Move?


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Caught My Eye

They needed the perfect assassin.Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school in a new town under a new name, makes a few friends, and doesn't stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend's family to die-of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, moving on to the next target.

But when he's assigned to the mayor of New York City, things change. The daughter is unlike anyone he has encountered before; the mayor reminds him of his father. And when memories and questions surface, his handlers at The Program are watching. Because somewhere deep inside, Boy Nobody is somebody: the kid he once was; the teen who wants normal things, like a real home and parents; a young man who wants out. And who just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program's mission.

In this action-packed series debut, author Allen Zadoff pens a page-turning thriller that is as thought-provoking as it is gripping, introducing an utterly original and unforgettable antihero.


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Out Today -- Stephen King's JOYLAND!

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

"I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book."Stephen King
I read this book and loved it.  My review here.

Jude Hardin's Colt

The Prequel to Jude Hardin's Nicholas Colt private eye/rock and roller series.

October 21: just an ordinary day, unless you’re a former rock star…

The sole survivor of a plane crash…

A private investigator working out of a camper…

For Nicholas Colt, October 21 is an unlucky day. A day for nightmares. It always has been, and this year is no exception.

Someone is brutally murdering the offspring of an anonymous sperm donor, and Colt’s missing client is next on the list. With less than four days to find the young man—and, with a pair of drug-addicted study partners, a violent motorcycle gang, a stalker ex-girlfriend, and a host of other obstacles standing in his way—Colt faces the most challenging and deadly case of his life.

Jude Hardin is the author of six Nicholas Colt novels and one short story. Each works as a standalone, but many readers prefer to experience the events of the series in chronological order. If you are one of those readers, this list is for you: