Hello. How are you? Fine? Me too. You're looking for something, aren't you? Pre-tell. Battle Plan, you say? Hmmm.
I planned to post the next installment of the Battle Plan series today. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, dat jus ain goan happen. Instead, we're going to talk about something more fun: this blog's first award.
I know sitting in Iraq and getting ready to go home and having twenty-seven unexpected things to do before I leave is a pretty lame excuse. But watch as I mysteriously wave my hands--"you're feeling very sleepy"--and turn this excuse into a lesson in planning. Say it with me: "There's a rabbit in this hat, a rabbit in this hat."
Seriously folks, I realized yesterday that there's much more to picking up your whole life and moving halfway round the world than I realized--and that goes double when you live in a combat zone. At week's end I get on that big bad Rhino (the name of the armored "bus" that takes me to Baghdad International Airport) and the number of non-writing related tasks on my plate is growing exponentially by the day. Between now and then my internet connectivity will be spotty--which means the likelihood I'll actually be able to publish as planned is low.
To add to the confusion, these next three Battle Plan posts--Implement, Improvise, Assess--need to be published in close proximity, time-wise. I certainly don't want to publish only one and then leave you hanging. So....much as I hate hate hate to do it, I'm going to postpone the rest of the series until some time late February or early March. I'd like to give you a date, but this going home process will take about ten days and is shrouded in mystery. I've no clue at this point what the art of the possible will be for blog posting, and I'd rather take my time and do it right.
Now I hear the groans (at least I hope there are groans--better than silence, you know), and I also hear you saying: "See, if you had planned for this...." But the take away is--waving my hands in a mystifying pattern and saying "When I count backwards from five you're going to wake up refreshed and still think this blog is cool"--the take away is be prepared for the unexpected, and plan accordingly. I guessed this might happen, so I have a few posts in backup ("A Separate Peace" Review!) to autopost if it comes to that.
Giant annoying excuse aside, I turn now to the real excitement of the day: this blog's first award!
I am beyond thrilled, even if I do question the veracity of the statement that I am, in fact, a "Sugar Doll." I got this from a guy (DL Hammons to be exact--check out his blog. Great reading!)--reputedly a "Sugar Doll" himself--so you do the math. But hey, my motto has always been: "If life gives you lemons, you sell the lemons to some unsuspecting yahoo, take the money down to the local liquor store, get a bottle of dark rum and six pack of Shiner, make mojitos (with beer chasers) and kick it for the weekend. Par-Tay!" Maybe if it was called the "Sugar Daddy" Award, it would be more accurate, but who's complaining?
Thus, I heartily accept this "Sugar Doll" Award. I'm supposed to list ten things about myself. In fact, I haven't prepared any remarks, so I'm just going to run off at the mouth for a few minutes. If there are small children in the room, you might want to ask them to leave.
1. My name really is Jon Paul (shocker, I know!) but everyone in my daily life calls me "J.P." You may call me Your Highness or 'Highness if you're in a hurry.
2. When I was a kid, I thought if I popped a blank cassette tape in the player and turned the volume up really loud, the hiss I heard was the sound of silence. In fact I still believe that. No disrespect to Simon & Garfunkel intended.
3. I met my wife, Furnace Girl, when my (now our) dog Stormy decided he should bury her at the beach. Good dog, Stormy!
4. I love to travel. By last count, I've been to 164 cities in 29 countries. Favorite place: Crater Lake, Oregon (pic at top); Least favorite place: Where I'm sitting right now.
5. I hate being shot at (weird, right?!?). Good thing the Furnace Girl doesn't own a gun.
6. Brush with greatness, twice removed: My father was born and raised in Ireland and came to the States when he was 26. My Dad's mom (rest her soul) lived in Dublin all her life. On a trip to visit my Aunt Anne in Montreal (yeah, we're all over the place) she bumped into a woman who she had known when my Dad was a kid. Her name was Mrs. Hewson. If you don't know, the real name of Bono from U2 is Paul Hewson, and it turns out that my Dad grew up playing with Bono's mother--although he lost contact with her over the years and she died at a young age, when Bono was seven or eight, I believe. Last time I was in Dublin, I thought about dropping in on my favorite band's front man, but I figured he wouldn't remember me (because we've never met).
7. For much of my life, I have been a musician (guitar, piano, bass, drums, harmonica, kazoo, comb with toilet paper). At one point a few years back we owned and operated a recording studio, but the lousy economy and this pesky day job caused us to have to close it. One of my epiphanies this summer was that I was going to give up music--sell all my gear and get out for good--and focus exclusively on fiction. I like how that plan is going so far.
8. I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker.
9. Furnace Girl and I decided that we didn't want anyone to know the name of Muffin, our two year-old, before she was born. Instead, we concocted a naming structure to confuse the enemy: before we knew her gender, we called her Biscuit. If she turned out to be a boy, we'd call her Sausage Biscuit. Since she turned out to be a girl, we called her Muffin (that BTW is not her real name). We have not yet decided on a naming scheme for the next one.
10. My brother once told me he couldn't wait until he was older than me. I laughed and said: "over my dead body."
"Bone" implored me to bear the standard of manliness proudly, to not crumble under the weight of all this viral femininininity in fiction. I say "Here, here!" and, with as much masculinity as I can muster (we're talking bucketfulls), pass the "Sugar Doll" Award on to the following four fellahs who I'm sure will be pleased as pie:
- When it comes to Sugar Dollery (yes, that's a word. Look it up), the Postman takes--and then eats--the cake.
- Scott puts up some great stuff over at his place, worthy of some Sugar I'm sure. Dude, like I had to do it.
- I'm not sure JM is all that Sugary, but he probably knows what sweet looks like. Rock it, JM!
- And last but not least, Brian builds them up and knocks them down in his little corner of the interwebs. Doll? You be the judge. Brian, no hard feelings, right?
So that's all the news that's unfit to print. Stay groovy and thanks for stopping by.