Got the clubs . . . can’t use ’em.

It's Sunday, September 18th, and it's a glorious day in the early fall here in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. There's an enormous, majestic red-tailed hawk patrolling his property right outside my window, just sailing along in widening loops from east to west, following the edge of the canyon, about a hundred yards away, directly across the golf course from where I'm sitting, and looking for anything edible that might be scuttling about down there . . . might be a rodent, might even be a snake . . .  although it's getting kinda late in the year for snakes, this far north, and the gophers are already hibernating. Those lazy little buggers vanish around the beginning of September and don't surface again until April. They must have great Wintertime TV down there… So what's left out there for a hungry red-tail on a day like this? Well, there's stoats and weasels, and rabbits and hares–although hares, aka jackrabbits, are pretty big prey for a hawk, even a big red-tail. But there's also a gazillion quail in all stages of growth, for they're safe and spoiled here where I live and they're producing about four hatches each per year. They're amazing to watch, because they babysit one another's broods, and you'll often see a trio of males–one leading and a pair of others flanking, standing guard while three or four females ride herd on anything up to two or three dozen chicks, all running in single file and ranging in size from the biggest–almost full-grown–to the very smallest, just out of the egg. I counted seventy-four of them, one evening, all pecking around on the Fourth green, just below my window.

For those of you who blinked and frowned, the headline at the start of this entry refers to a new set of golf irons I ordered back at the beginning of August. They took a month to get here and when they came, they had the wrong shafts–steel instead of graphite, which pleased me not at all–and so they had to be sent back for replacement. I finally got the right ones, at the start of last week, and I've only had time to play one game with them. Too much work to be done, although that's nobody's fault but mine.

Templars and InfoDumps:

I'm really having some problems writing this new book on the Templars, because I'm having to make every single word count–I've got a maximum length within which I have to work, and that's never happened to me before. I don't like it, either, because it boils down to the fact that Barnes & Noble is calling the shots nowadays in the book world and Publishers are listening and kowtowing. The B&N bean counters have decided that the quality of a book is decided by its price (which equates to its thickness, Big being Too Big) and by the concomitant ka-chings it registers on the corporate bottom line… But anyone with an eye could see that coming long ago, so there's no point weeping over it.

Anyway, my difficulty lies not in the writing, per se, as much as in the fact that I'm trying to get a ton of information into a short space of reading time and space–and I'd love to just leave it out, but can't, because it's historical background that's needed if the reader is to make any kind of sense of what I'm saying about the original Knights Templar and their motivation. I have to try, therefore, to get it across naturally, as part of the story, rather than as a huge, concussive and stunning "info-dump" that will make the reader's eyes glaze over. It's taking a long time, as I said, but I think it'll be worth the effort. I try not to think it'll probably be controversial, but then I think–probably? Who am I kidding? It'll cause book-burnings in the Bible Belt, and probably right here in my home town, once people hear or read about what I'm saying. (Notice the use of "read about" rather than "read".)

So, fundamentally another week gone by at the speed of light and not a lot of living achieved, other than huddling over the keyboard. "ROME", Episode Three, is on HBO tonight. I've been watching it, but I'm not really enjoying it as much as I had hoped to. Elements of it are superb and the acting, even in the minor roles, is generally excellent, but I'm finding it very slow in spots, with emphases being dwelt upon that barely ought to merit mention in the first place–these are mainly sexual and included for obvious reasons…and the gross violence doesn't bother me, particularly…but there are large chunks of posturing dialogue and self-important "character development" that strike me as being clunky and inept. Cato the Elder is one such, because he was such an amazingly eccentric and "C"onservative old reprobate in reality and they're simply underplaying the character and his importance to the story of both Caesar and Rome itself. Of course Atia and the two fictional soldiers through whose eyes we see the action are pure Hollywood, the latter two inviting, and expecting, us to believe that common soldiers and/or plebeians could ever have seen, experienced or influenced the actions of Patricians at that period… Nevertheless, having said all that, I'll still watch it and enjoy large chunks of it. But as I said to Beverley last week, it's nowhere near as good as "Deadwood." Now that's reality television!


Somebody made a comment recently to the effect that I'd probably get more feedback on this blog if people didn't have to register to use it . . . Okay, I thought, that may be a valid point, But then immediately afterwards someone else wrote in to say "Bravo," because he used to visit my old blog site on, "…until it was overwhelmed by the spammers," and I remembered, and thought, Amen, I remember that, too. So if the nuisance of required registration serves to keep spammers away, then in my eyes that's a resounding standing ovation in favour of registration.

Jack W.