All posts by Rob Darnell

The Bat Shack Still Stands

The Bat Shack is still standing. At the end of every deer hunting season, I close my shack and I don’t return to it until shortly before the next season starts. Every year I half expect it to be folded in on itself. The posts and the deck that the shack is on are in good shape and I expect them to last a long time. But the shack, the walls and roof, I keep thinking that’s going to collapse.

The roof is okay, but the walls have been breaking here and there. But they’re still holding up.

If you missed it, here’s why I call my hunting shack The Bat Shack.

I don’t know what those greenish lumps on the ceiling are. Could they wasp nests? Nor do I know what those freaking fuzzy ball things under the chair are. There’s always something creepy in there. Although I closed all the windows last year, something managed to get one of them open. Probably a raccoon or some other monster that I don’t care to meet.

I did watch the Lions today. It was the most heart breaking loss. With just a few seconds left on the clock, they finally got the ball into the end zone and won. But then the refs reviewed the play and decided, no, that wasn’t a touch down. The clock ran out and the game was over.

The Lions are now 2-1.

I didn’t make it out to The Bat Shack, but….

Yesterday I talked about my plans for today, but they didn’t go through. I raked and bagged some leaves. It was so damn hot. My face was a sweat faucet. So, I didn’t finish.

The apples that fell off the neighbors’ tree and landed in my backyard looked fresh a few days ago. But I guess this heat wave was too much for them. Now they look like the rotten hearts of zombies. I don’t want to feed those to deer. Maybe there will be some fresh ones next week.

I made it over to Mom and Dad’s, but I didn’t want to walk out to the shack in this heat. Instead we watched the Michigan-Purdue game. Purdue was tough, but they couldn’t stop Michigan.

Michigan 28 – Purdue 10.

A Hot Night

It’s pretty hot tonight. I’m sweating, drinking cold lemonade, listening to Nirvana and Sia and working on a short story. This short story will be the last for a while. I’m going to focus on the next novel when I’m done with the short story. That’ll be 25 short stories on the market. I’ll keep moving these stories down the market list until they sell.

Deer season starts in a week. I haven’t purchased the license and kill tags yet, but I’ll be getting them soon. I’m plan to get over to Mom and Dad’s tomorrow and take a look at The Bat Shack. I hope the shack is still holding up. I never got around to rebuilding it. If it’s too damaged, I might find a different spot to hunt this year.

The Lions are 2-0.
The Wolverines are 3-0.

Anyone notice how many Mom & Pop stores in the area are suddenly going out of business. It’s freaking sad. I have a feeling that the buildings these stores were in are going to sit abandoned for years and years. I’m hoping someone turns one these buildings into a butcher shop or meat market. It’d be nice to have such a place closer to where I live.

I got yard work to do tomorrow. Have to rake and bag leaves. and maybe mow the lawn. My next door neighbors have a very healthy apple tree in their backyard, right next to the fence. A lot of the apples land in my yard. I’m going to bag them up and use them for bait.

I’m tempted to tell the neighbors that if they don’t want the apples on their side of the fence, I’ll take them. But I’m shy. The apples have a strong scent that I’m sure will attract deer.

Supremacy (2014)

I watched Supremacy for the first time a few days ago. I’m watching  it again right now as I write this. I’m multitasking.

Supremacy is a true story. In 1992, Garrett Tully was released from prison after serving a fifteen sentence. Tully is a white supremacist and he has the ridiculous views that white supremacists have. On the way home, during a traffic stop, Tully murders a police officer and flees the scene. Tully and the woman he is with go to a house and take the family hostage.

Danny Glover is the actor I’m most familiar with in this movie. I think I’ve seen them all in other movies at one time or another, but I know Danny Glover best. In Supremacy, Glover plays Mr. Walker, the stepfather of the family Tully takes hostage. Mr. Walker is an ex con who is walking the straight line now.

Because Mr. Walker is an ex con. he understands what Tully is going through.

Several scenes got to me emotionally, especially the ending.

Not The Same Team

Well, the Tigers’ lousy season is almost over. There’s nine games left. The last game will be played Sunday, October 1. Amazingly, the Tigers are still in 4th place, which means they’re not the absolute worse team in the Central Division, But, hey, that can change within the next week or so. The White Sox just got to win a couple games in a row and the Tigers got to lose a couple games in a row, and then, Gonzo! The Tigers will be in last place.

They’re getting their asses kicked tonight. Top of the eighth. Twins 8 – Tigers 1. No big surprise.

But not only have the Tigers had a disastrous season, Several of my favorite players were traded away in the last couple months. J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton, Alex Aliva and Justin Verlander. There might be a couple others who I’m forgetting.

I’m still having trouble accepting that Verlander is no longer with the Tigers. He was my all-time favorite player. He had been with the Tigers since 2005. I had figured he would retire from baseball as a Tiger. Now he’s with the Houston Astros.

The Astros are in first place and they’re already set for the playoffs. So, maybe we’ll see Verlander in the World Series this year.

I still have a few favorites left on the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez are still Tigers. However, Martinez had another issue with his heart and surgery is needed, so the season is over for him. He might be back next season, or not. He’s 39 years old. He could retire from MLB.

I’m still getting to know most of the other guys. It’s pretty much a new team. But, that’s baseball.

Welp, it’s the bottom of the eighth now, The score is Twins 12 – Tigers 1.

A Fearless Heart, by Thupten Jinpa, PhD

My friend Kathy recommended this book. A Fearless Heart was written by Thupten Jinpa, a former monk and the current principal English translator for the Dalai Lama.

When I finished the book, my thoughts were in a jumble and I had to take some time before starting my review. I really appreciated how at the end Jinpa wrote, “It is my sincere hope that some of the reflections and suggestions offered in this book may help you and others like you….” That told me that Jinpa would understand if I’m struggling to come to terms with some of the  things he wrote about. That sentence made it clear that Jinpa is not a know-it-all claiming that his way is the only way. He is sincerely trying to help people like me to have happier lives.

It’s no secret that I don’t feel at peace much of the time. I think I do an all right job of being compassionate toward others, but I fail in that department often enough. I’m terrible at being compassionate toward myself. I’m often angry with myself. I call myself a number of awful things every day.

A Fearless Heart is about compassion, mostly. Compassion for others and compassion for yourself. Be more understanding and patient to others, even when their views are very different from your own, and be more accepting of yourself.

A lot of what Jinpa wrote made sense to me. I highlighted several passages and put in notes telling myself to “remember this”. I might look through the book from time to time and find those highlighted passages that made the most sense to me.

I admit that I’m a little overwhelmed and frustrated by this book. I would love to be a more compassionate person, to others and to myself. I agree that being more compassionate can make me a happier person. But I fear I’m already so far gone that there is no hope for me.

I’ll just have to do my best.

Musing while eating donut holes

These are pretty good.

Glazed sour cream? Reminds me of a potato chip flavor that I really like.

Why do they call these donut holes? They’re little balls. Why aren’t they called donut balls?

I suppose they’re the parts that were gouged out of the centers of donuts. Someone got an idea to roll them into balls and bake them. Waste not.

So, as I eat another donut hole, I’m thinking about black holes, the ones in space. Were those gouged out too and made into little balls?

Maybe the universe is one big donut.

I think “donut” is short for “doughnut”, which, I guess, is what donuts used to be called.

I don’t have anymore donut holes.

 

Guess I’ll stew it up tonight

I got a few different things on my mind tonight, so I’ll just mix it all in.

Sometimes people I know seem to analyze me and draw conclusions about me and my life. I know they mean well, but it really irritates me when people do that. I usually respond with fury. But today it occurred to me that I don’t have to get so goddamn mad every time, that there are better ways to respond to things like that.

I’m thinking about the Claire Fisher response. In the first season of Six Feet Under, Claire is having problems dealing with her dad’s death and she’s going down a destructive path, or that’s what her family believes. In one episode, Nate tells Claire that they’re going to get her some help. Without missing a beat, Claire tells Nate, “If you want a project, get a dog.”

Yeah, I think that’s what I’ll start telling people. But don’t count on me being able to pull it off much. I’m, regretfully, prone just blowing up.

I’m pretty open about things that I struggle with. Confidence, anxiety, anger, and number of other things. I got problems. I know this. But what bugs me is when we’re not even talking about anything that I struggle with and out of the blue someone draws a conclusion about some disorder they think I might have or something they think I need to do to make my life happier.

That really gets under my skin. And often their conclusions are way off. When people do that, I feel like I’m being analyzed for a diagnose and it makes me want to hold back when sharing anything with anyone.

But today, while talking to a friend about it, and being angry at the same time, I started thinking that maybe I don’t have to be so mad. I’d like to respond more kindly when people piss me off.

Okay, that out of the way.

My mom’s oldest brother Bobby was visiting from Pennsylvania. I see Bobby once every ten or fifteen years. When I got to mom and dad’s yesterday and walked in the door. Bobby was sitting at the bar (or island?). It was like I was seeing Grandpa Piehl. Bobby looks exactly like Grandpa. And they both have the same name, Robert.

Aunt Barb and cousin Kari were there too. Also, Bobby’s wife, who is also named Barb. I guess you could say I had two Aunt Barbs there. Later, Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Cindy came. Haven’t seen Jimmy and Cindy in a few years, I guess. They came on a motorcycle. I remember when I was a little kid, Uncle Jimmy was the biker in the family. That was a long time ago. I don’t know when he started riding again, but that’s a really nice motorcycle he has.

As usual, I didn’t talk much. But I did enjoy listening to my mom, dad and Uncle Bobby playing acoustic guitars on the back deck. I think my mom and Bobby are the only ones in their very large family who play music.

I saw this questionnaire on Facebook. Thought I’d fill it out.

Prop …. Huh?
Children…. 0
Pets right now…. 2
Surgeries…. Five or six
Tattoos…. 2
Piercings…. 0
Shot a gun…. Yes
Quit a job…. No
Ever been on tv… Yes
Been to an island…. I don’t think so
Flown in a plane…. Yes
Furthest destination.. Florida
Hit by a car.. No
Someone cried over you…Yes
Fallen in love.. Yes
Watched someone die…Yes
Watched someone give birth … No
Rode in an ambulance…I’m not sure
Visited Las Vegas…. No
Been ice skating…If you want to call it that
Rode a horse….. Yes
Almost died….Yes
Been punched…. Yes
Stayed in a hospital…. Yes
Favourite fruit…Oranges, I think
Favourite desert…. Cheesecake
Favourite movie… The Bourne Identity

The Tigers beat the Rockies. 4-3. This dreadful season won’t last much longer. Let’s just see how many more games the Tigers can win this year.

Wish I had beer.

In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson

My cousin Irene and I seem to have a common interest in World War II era history. Shortly after I posted my thoughts on William Russell’s Berlin Embassy, Irene recommended I check out Erik Larson‘s In the Garden of Beasts. I promptly added the title to my to-read list.

“In the Garden of Beasts” is set during William Dodd‘s time as ambassador in Nazi Germany. The Dodds went in a bit naïve, but in time they came to understand what Nazism meant for Germany and the rest of the world.

I can’t help wondering about the Jewish family that owned the house the Dodds were staying in. That Jewish family was eager to have Dodd there, because they felt Dodd’s presence kept them safe from the Nazis. I don’t think there was any note about whether that family survived or not.

“In the Garden of Beasts” has more information and details than “Berlin Embassy”. But “Berlin Embassy” was written by someone who was actually there and published shortly after he returned to the United States. While there’s not as much detail in Russell’s book as there is in Larson’s, I felt that Russell’s book confirms some of the things Larson wrote about.

Nazism needs to be stamped out whenever it shows its ugly head. Nazism is like cancer, it spreads until it’s caught and dealt with.