All posts by Rob Darnell

I love the Detroit Lions, but sheesh….

Oh, man, what a season. YAY!!! The curse continues.

That’s right. Whatever curse the Detroit Lions have been dubbed with, it ain’t lifted yet. Was there someone from Ancient NFL who declared the Lions will never make it to the Super Bowl because he was pissed off about being cut from the roster or traded to another team? Like Babe Ruth did when the Red Sox traded him to the Yankees?

I don’t know, but every season we see the Lions miss the mark. Some seasons are better than others. Once in a while the Lions will be having a season that looks so good, we dare to think that “Hey, this just might be the year they break the curse and set foot on Super Bowl turf.” Those are seasons that are exciting, they get your blood pumped. At least you got hope, even though it always gets dashed in the playoffs.

But this season ain’t one of the seasons of high hopes. No, it’s quite far from that. The Lions are currently at 1-7. Amazing that they managed to beat the Chicago Bears. But all the other games are losses and I’m not expecting a dramatic change for the remaining eight games. I mean, it would sure be impressive if they suddenly turned everything around and won all of the remaining games. But the way things are going, they might win one more game and lose the rest. Either way, the season is already blown.

 

Ruins Excavation

71xoD-fmp9LOkay, Ruins Excavation was released today. If I haven’t miscounted, the anthology contains eighteen short stories by different writers and I happen to be one of them. It’s been quite a while since I had anything published. It’s nice to be back in the game. The anthology’s theme is one I found interesting and I’m proud that my story was accepted.

Ruins Excavation is the fourth Ruins anthology edited by Eric T. Reynolds and published by Hadley Rille Books. As with the anthologies before it, the stories in Ruins Excavation have to do with archaeology and take place around ancient ruins. But Ruins Excavation differs from the others in that the protagonists are not only archaeologists, but are also women of color.

I was up for the challenge. My story is pretty short, but I did quite a bit of research while writing it. I wanted to get everything right and I’m still worried that I didn’t. But even so, I enjoyed writing the story. My story touches on a subject that I had in other stories but hadn’t been able to sell. So, it’s nice to finally have a story published that touches on that subject.

Ruins Excavation can be purchased from Amazon.com and other stores. But, at the moment, I don’t know which other stores are selling it. There are print and ebook versions available, though.

According to the trail camera…

Image1Every other day, my dad goes out and gets the card from the trail camera he has strapped to a tree in front of my hunting shack. For those not in the know, a trail camera is a camera that you leave at your hunting spot. It has a motion detector and takes pictures of animals that cross its view. So, my dad gets the pictures off the card and either emails them to me or I look at them when I’m at his house.

There has been a lot of deer activity around my shack. Some of the pictures show up to five deer in a single shot. A six-point buck keeps returning. I think it’s the same buck, anyway. The other night he made himself at home, laid down on the ground and posed for the camera.

I want that buck, but I’d happy with any mature-aged deer. It’s really the meat I want, but I won’t complain if I get a trophy.

There has also been several pictures of four-point bucks and good-sized does.

Though there has been much deer activity around my shack, the times they show up are not very favorable. They’re most active around the shack between 8 PM and 11 AM, with a couple having shown up at around 3 PM.

Because I can’t drive, I can’t always get over to my mom and dad’s house before 3 PM, and it’s especially rare that I get over there early in the morning.  So my hunting times are usually between 3 PM and 7 PM when it gets dark, or now that we’ve set the clocks back an hour, I’ll be coming in at around 6 PM.

And the deer don’t seem to show up between 3 PM and 7 PM, whether I’m out there or not. I will probably spend a night at my mom and dad’s house once in a while, as I’ve done every year during hunting season, so I can get out to my shack before sunrise.

But, according to the trail camera, it seems like no matter what time I head out in the morning, I’m just going to scare the deer away as I enter my hunting area and they probably won’t come back until night. That’s what it seems like, anyway. I hope I’m wrong and that I can get in position before the deer show up.

If there wasn’t a law against it, I’d probably spend the whole night in the shack so I’d already be there when the morning deer come. But you can’t do that.

The Michigan-Minnesota Game

Rudock was injured, but Wilton Speight proved to be a decent replacement. Still, that was too freaking close. Minnesota was right there on the goal line. All Minnesota needed was a touchdown and they would have won, but Michigan managed to hold them back until the clock ran out. Practically gave me a heart attack.

Michigan wins, 29-26. That makes them 6-2 for the season.

Just Breathe: My Journey Through Cancer and Back, by Stephen Graham King

41Nr6+Wo-XL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My friend Stephen Graham King wrote this book. Just Breathe: My Journey Through Cancer and Back is one of the clearest accounts on battling cancer that I’ve come across. But it’s more than just a story about battling cancer, it’s a story about Stephen’s life. We learn about his family, important events in his life, his romances and who Stephen is. Stephen is a friend of mine, but after reading this book, I feel like I know him better than I had before.

But though the book is about more than cancer, cancer is its primary focus. The writing was very easy to understand and the story held my interest. I learned so much from this book and now I have a better understanding of the scary and humiliating ordeal that cancer patients go through.

This is a book I recommend to people who want to understand what it’s like to be a cancer patient.

What do I blog about today?

I recently decided I would get writing into a blog entry every day, to keep up a presence on my website. But I’ve been quiet the last couple days. I guess I ran out of topics. There’s probably another movie I could review and I got two other guns I can review, and I can probably review a book I read a while back. But I don’t really feel like writing a review right now.

How are things going for me? I’ve been quite productive lately. Besides blogging more regularly, I’ve been cleaning up the novel I finished back in March. It’s looking good so far. I’m pretty happy with it. There’s just a lot of the usual typos that need to be corrected, some grammar errors that need to be set straight and just a few things that need to be  rewritten. But otherwise, I like how the story is going.

So far 110 pages out of 394 are cleaned up. All other writing projects are set aside until this novel is ready to send out.

Been deer hunting a bit. Not as much as I’d like to, but a bit. It’s archery season and I’ve been using my crossbow. My dad got a trail camera and put it out by my hunting shack. The  pictures show that several deer have been poking around my shack, including bucks. But they’re usually only there at night or in the morning and I can’t get over to my mom and dad’s house in the morning very often. So, I just hope they start coming around in the afternoon.

Luci, a.k.a. The Best Dog Ever

Photo-0014So, it’s past time I wrote blog entry about my dog, Luci, who is also known as The Best Dog Ever. I’m not kidding, Luci is the best dog ever.

I admit, I lost track of her age. Was she seven when I got her, or was she six? I guess she’s ten or eleven now. I probably got her birth year on a paper somewhere, but it’d take a lot of digging to find it and I’m not ready to do that.

Anyway, my Aunt Rosie was moving to Texas to live with my cousins Irene and Chuckie. Because they already had dogs at the house in Texas, Rosie felt it was best to find Luci a new home. Since I had just moved into this house and have a fenced backyard, Rosie thought I would want Luci.

I did. We’ve had family dogs all my life, but since I moved out of my mom and dad’s house when I was twenty-three I haven’t had a dog before Luci. I think it was December 2011 when Rosie gave Luci to me. So, that would be almost four years ago.

Luci is a very smart dog. She understands commands very well. And if I ask her a yes or no question, sometimes she’ll actually say yes. It’s a sniffing sound, but it sure sounds like yes and I think that is what she’s saying. I don’t know if Aunt Rosie taught her to do that or not, but it’s Luci’s response to yes or no questions so often that I think she probably was taught to do that.

She’s a small dog, but she has a big bark. Whenever anyone sets foot in my yard, Luci’s at the window (or the gate, if she’s outside) going “HALT! WHO GOES THERE? INDENTIFY YOURSELF AT ONCE! I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS TERRITORY! DO NOT UNDERMINE MY AUTHORITY!”

She’s a great watchdog, but she’s also very sweet and loves people. And she’s very loyal. When I’m at my desk at night, Luci’s lying in her bed beside my desk.

But for a small dog, she really sheds. A lot.

Confidence and Lack of It

Sometimes I feel pretty confident. I’m all upbeat, not so shy. Not worrying about much. Feeling great. Not afraid to be funny, not afraid to strike up conversations and I hold my head up high without thinking about it.

I like being that way. But far too often it will fade and I tend to look down a lot, unable to make eye contact with anyone. I just can’t seem to will my head up or to really talk.

Though I feel pretty good today, this issue has been on my mind for a few days now.

For example, recently I was on one of my up-days. I walked into the store on the corner to buy beer. I’ve been going to this store for years. I’ve gotten to know the owner and the owner has gotten to know me. And it was him at the register that day and I struck up a brief conversation as I was paying for my beer. About the scores of the Michigan game. I didn’t actually see the game that day, but I saw some highlights later and it showed that the score was 27-0, but I wasn’t sure if that was the final score or not and I didn’t see or hear what the final score was.

So, I asked the owner what the final score was and he told me it was 38-0. Anyway, the point is, that’s how I am on my up-days. More able to hold my head up, to talk to people, and not be so nervous. I wish I had more days like that, but it’s just not so.

Like a few days later, I’m at the store again and it’s the owner at the register again. But this time, for some reason, I’m all nervous and looking down, unable to will myself to look up and make eye contact, nor do I say much. I want to, but I’m just overwhelmed with anxiety.

There are far too many days like that. I hope I don’t come across as rude when I’m in that state.

Well, that’s just what was on my mind today.

Black or White (2014)

MV5BMTYyMzE2NTE5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDI3ODI2MzE@__V1_SX214_AL_A friend and I like to watch movies together, though we live a thousand miles from each other. We just pick something off Netflix and chat on Facebook. I know it sounds corny, but I guess neither has much going on, so this is something to do.

Last night we watched Black or White.

Kevin Costner plays Elliot. This is the second movie I’ve seen where Kevin Costner plays Elliot. Can you guess the other movie he plays Elliot in? Anyway, in Black or White, Elliot is a successful lawyer and an alcoholic. At the very beginning of the movie, we learn that Elliot had just lost his wife in a car wreck.

But what’s more, Elliot has a granddaughter named Eloise (Jillian Estell) who was left in the care of him and his wife when his daughter died giving birth. Now that Elliot’s wife has also died, he is Eloise’s sole guardian.

Or is he?

Eloise’s paternal grandmother, Rowena (Octavia Spencer), wants custody of the girl. Rowena believes Eloise would be better off raised by her. Elliot objects to this, mostly because of Reggie (Andre Holland), who is Rowena’s son and Eloise’s father. Reggie has a criminal and drug history and Elliot does not want him around Eloise.

And so there’s a legal battle over who gets custody of Eloise.

My friend and I agree that this is a beautiful movie.

Cobra Denali

Photo-0006The Cobra Denali is another pistol I own. It’s small, smaller than my hand. I often just stick it in my pocket. Yeah, it rides pretty well in most of my pockets. The Denali is a .380 ACP. Holds five rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber for a good 5+1.

Before I bought it, I did research on it, as I tend to do with any gun I’m thinking about buying. I read articles and watched videos. Most of the articles described the Denali as a problematic pistol, reporting constant jams, and the videos showed the Denali jamming constantly.

But then I came across a piece that said just put a little oil on the feed ramp before taking it out to shoot for the first time. I decided to put faith in that piece of information and bought my Cobra Denali. Before taking it out to shoot for the first time, I put a little oil on the feed ramp. There were no problems. None. It was fantastic.

So far, my Denali has only jammed on me once and that was after I’d gone through a couple of boxes of bullets. I just needed to clean it and it was good to go again. I’m very, very pleased with my Denali. It handles very sweetly.

I’ve run only PMC ammo through  it. That’s one of the three ammos Cobra Firearms recommends.  So, if you’ve oiled your Denali’s feed ramp, but are still having problems, it might be the ammo you’re using. I’ve also heard that some gun oils don’t work so well with certain guns. I don’t know which oils those might be, but I use Hoppe’s 9 and have no complaints about it.

The breakdown process for the Denali is a little frustrating, I admit. It doesn’t come apart the way most other semi-auto pistols I’ve used do. When taking the Denali apart to clean it or whatever, you got to be careful or the parts will fly all over the place. But that’s my only issue with the Denali and I consider it to be a minor issue.

I heard that all Cobra firearms are handmade instead of machine made. I think that’s nice. The people making these guns do a good job.

Added December 2, 2016:
If you’re looking for a holster for the Cobra Denali, see my entry: What’s a good holster for the Cobra Denali?