hankrules2011

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Archive for September, 2014

New Ray’s Road Review!

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 23, 2014

I’d like to announce the publication of the Fall 2014 issue of Ray’s Road Review, featuring a lot of great new fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. This issue also marks the passing of the nonfiction and photography editing baton from Kelley Clink to Gretchen VanOstrand. Many thanks to both women.

Since I edit the poetry, I may as well plug the poets in this issue. They are Carolyn Ogburn, BZ Niditch, Ruth Z. Deming, Marcella Benton, Tamer Mostafa, and Erren Kelly. I hope you enjoy their work.

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Surgery, Birthdays, Etc.

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 17, 2014

I had another surgery on Monday. A little neurological thing (two actually) called a Gasserian Ganglion Block and a Radiofrequency Ablation. I’ve had them before, so no biggie, right? Wrong. They couldn’t knock me out! The anesthesia wouldn’t work. I laid there for 15 minutes with the anesthesiologist telling me to breathe deeply the whole time and nothing happened. Finally they said that I would have to go through this procedure awake. This procedure involves putting a hole in my face, inserting a long needle, finding a socket in my skull where a tendril of my trigeminal nerve (the biggest nerve in your brain) resides, and then burning the shit out of it. I’m not staying awake for that! Finally the surgeon came in and they asked him and he said under no circumstances was I to be awake — I was to be asleep for the duration. So, it took another five minutes, but I finally went under. And woke up awhile later, good as new. It always takes me a long time for the anesthesia to wear off, so I’m woozy for a few days and tired, but I’m glad to be done with it. I had another one done at the end of July. These are done because I have Trigeminal Neuralgia, an incredibly rare and very painful disease impacting the face. Not much can be done about it. You have to live on Percocets and hope for the best. It gets old. Hopefully these surgeries will help diminish the pain for awhile. How long? Who knows? I’ve had them last as little as 18 days and as long as several months. Someone asked me once why I don’t just get them done every month, but the easy answer to that is they’re not free. They cost thousands and even though insurance covers a good part of that, I still have to pay a chunk and I can’t afford unlimited procedures.

Meanwhile, this coming Friday is my birthday. Normally I’m a little depressed about it, but this year, I’m actually slightly excited — and I don’t know why! Maybe it’s cause it’s not a milestone birthday. My wife is making me a requested lasagna dinner and the next day, we’re going up to Knoxville to hang out with Mom. Apparently I’m getting a couple of presents too.

On a side note, we’ve been trying to sell our old house since February. The first buyer’s credit fell through. We got a second buyer though and things looked good. The house has been off the market the past two months as we headed towards closing — or so we thought. Closing was to have been last Thursday, but Wednesday night, the buyer’s lender said they had to delay it — they were still working through some things. Finally, today, they denied the buyer their preapproved loan. Why? Cause they’re foreigners and they don’t lend money to certain foreigners. WTF??? If that’s the case, why couldn’t they have figured this out in Week 1 and saved us all the hassle??? Why drag us all through this? Now, we’re back at square one and who knows when we’re going to sell this damn house. It’s a real nightmare. I had already turned off all the utilities, so today, I had to turn them back on again, and the gas company charged me a $225 nonrefundable deposit, even though I just terminated my account with them last week and was never late on a bill. Bastards. What a nightmare.

In the meantime, I’ve been sick and I’ve given it to my wife. Nothing too serious, hopefully, but enough to be aggravating. Speaking of the wife, she wants a new cat. The problem is, we don’t know how our current cat, Henry, would get along with one. He’s very territorial. I’d hate to get one and then have to return him a few weeks later. That wouldn’t be good. Not sure what to do. We do miss Toby though and the thought of getting a new cat is attractive….

I guess that’s all for today. Cheers!

 

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A Review of Soft Target

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 11, 2014

Soft Target (Ray Cruz, #2)Soft Target by Stephen Hunter

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

If I wanted to read right wing politics, I’d pick up Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck, etc., but not Stephen Hunter. Yet under the guise of a “thriller,” we have Hunter’s view of Obama and the left and it’s not pretty. Int his tale of a Somali terrorist takeover of the Mall of America in Minnesota, where they kill people at random and have about 1,000 hostages, we have the beginnings of an interesting story. Until we get to Colonel Douglas Obobo. I’m not making that last name up. He’s a charismatic black man, who has risen to the top of the Minnesota State Police without ever having fired a shot, through his charisma, seemingly, as the press love him, as do the people. He always seems to know the right things to say. However, the men in the field can barely contain their hatred of him. The SWAT commander wants to go in firing, and Obobo will have none of that, so he sends him off to write reports. The FBI man wants action, but Obobo will have none of it and sends him off for logistical support. Here’s a passage from the book that describes Obobo’s mindset at work:

“Finally. He swaggered to the phone. This was his moment. His whole life he’d been able to synthesize arguments, turn them around instantly, and reiterate them in cajoling tones, until his opponent had agreed with him. It was his strength. He knew he could do it now, brilliant synopsizer, genius of empathy, purveyor of mega-earnestness. Colonel Obobo looked around, saw Renfro standing close by, giving him encouragement through sympathetic, even moist, eyes.”

That was when the terrorists were about to talk to him for the first time, but they wouldn’t play ball and it left him completely unnerved. He’s viewed as a dunderhead by his all knowing staff, and his decisions get others in trouble.

Okay, enough! I realize not everyone out there likes Obama — hell, I can barely tolerate him, even though I voted for him twice. I just think he’s by far the lesser of two evils. But to rip the president like this under the guise of fiction, no of a thriller, is just too much to take and I gave up on page 178. I’ve read some Hunter before and enjoyed him in the past, so I *might* give him another chance, but if I see this crap again, he’s gone, history, see ya. What an asshole. Not recommended, unless you’re a right wing bigot.

View all my reviews

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Random Stuff

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 6, 2014

Hi. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last wrote here! I just feel like I have nothing of value to say. I’ve also been feeling very unmotivated lately too and I’m not sure why.

Well, what’s going on in my life? I’m having another minor neurological  surgery a week from Monday. Hopefully it will help my pain. After my last one in July, it helped on one side of my head, but pain exploded on the other side of my head, so here’s hoping this will clear things up, at least for awhile. TN sucks. I also have a birthday coming up soon. I’m going to be OLD! I’m trying not to be too depressed about it. My youngest step-son is celebrating his 21st birthday this Monday, so that’s cool. Additionally, you know how we’ve had our old house on the market for months? And we’ve had to keep coming down in price? Well, we’re finally selling it — at a loss, which irritates the hell out of me — and the closing is next Thursday. And we’re going to use part of the proceeds of that to pay of all of my student loans, which will be a real load off my mind. Seems like I’ve been paying on those things forever and I still had about 15 more years to go! It’ll be good to get rid of them.

Do you remember our beloved cat, Toby? The one we had to have put to sleep the week we moved in February due to kidney failure? Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him. I really miss him so very, very much. I never thought I’d miss him this much. I find myself crying at the most insipid thing, thinking about him. We’ve talked about getting another cat, but the remaining cat, Henry, is very territorial and barely put up with Toby and we’re not certain he’d do well with another cat. We think he likes being an only cat. My wife also wants us to get a dog, perhaps a beagle. That’s something else altogether. That’s a lot of responsibility. Sure, they bring a lot of joy to the house, but we take trips up to Knoxville to visit Mom and what would we do then? We don’t know anyone who could come care for the dog. I just don’t know….

I’m all excited about sports these days. My Pirates are tanking, of late, but are still in position to get into the playoffs if they could just go on a winning streak. My UT Vols just won their second game of the year today and have looked pretty good so far. Much better than the past few years. So far, we’re 2-0, but next up we travel to #4 Oklahoma, so that will be a real test of how good or not good we are. The Steelers finally start their regular season against the Browns this weekend. I’ve been looking forward to this season for months, thinking we had drastically improved the team, but our preseason was so damn dismal, that I’m already depressed thinking about the upcoming season. Finally, hockey season starts in a little over 30 days and I’m anxious to see how the new look Penguins do this year. It’s all very exciting!

I’m still poetry editor for Ray’s Road Review, but I haven’t been motivated lately and I’ve been completely overwhelmed by submissions. They come in all the time. I always seem to have dozens and dozens of them and I’m always behind in reading them. Most of them aren’t very good, but some are fairly decent and those are hard to make decisions about. It’s rare that you get one where you know immediately it’s good enough for publication.

My mom is doing kind of okay on her own. She’s going to her doctor practically every week, with what I think are imagined problems. She’s scared of everything, has severe anxiety problems, and depression as well. She wants to see us every weekend, but that’s not possible. We went up a week or two ago and went to the Knoxville Zoo with her, where we all had fun. It was hot though. She wants us to take a vacation with her, but we don’t know about that. She can be a very trying person and the notion of spending a whole week with her is daunting, to say the least. But I’m proud of her for doing so much on her own with Dad gone now. She’s holding up, so that’s good.

Last weekend, I went to a local gun show. I took my S&W Bodyguard to sell and sold it in less than five minutes after my arrival. And I went looking for a specific gun — a Sig Sauer P938 subcompact 9 mm. And found a few. And got one. But because of arm problems, for which I’ve been undergoing physical therapy for the past few months, I have yet to fire it. It’s killing me too! I’m going to fire it at the shooting range next weekend if it kills me!  Or my arm, I guess. It looks and feels very good. I hope it’ll be everything it promises to be.

I guess that’s it for now. Thanks for putting up with my rambling. More book reviews are on the way. Cheers!

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