Thursday, June 30, 2011
Either way, that wasn't an issue with I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive, the first full-length novel by hardcore troubadour Steve Earle. Clocking in at 256 pages, it's not an intimidating tome, but you'll find yourself wishing it was a lot longer as you delve into it.
It's a quirky story that takes place in 1963 on the seamy side of San Antonio. The story's protagonist is Doc Ebersole, a morphine-addled doctor that supports his habit by performing flophouse abortions. He's haunted by the ghost of Hank Williams, aided by a young illegal Mexican immigrant with strange powers, and pursued by a priest that may not always be doing the Lord's work. Still with me?
It does require a certain suspension of disbelief by the reader, but it's pretty easy to get sucked in by Earle's writing and storytelling. And it's almost physically painful to read his description of Doc's self-destructive addiction -- demons that Earle fought firsthand for a number of years.
The book feels like it probably should have gone on a little longer -- the end seems a bit forced -- but it's a fun read nonetheless. "Wrestling a novel to the ground was about 100 times harder than I expected," Earle told the L.A. Times. "In the middle of it, I swore I'd never do it again. But now that it's done, I've got another idea."
We're waiting, Mr. Earle.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Xanadu Resort on Ambergris Caye. They were excellent accommodations, and Ambergris was developed, yet still had a rustic charm. The tallest building on the island was two stories, so it's definitely less glitzy and obnoxious than many Caribbean destinations.
Not a bad way to celebrate with a woman who's put up with the likes of me for 20 years!
Friday, June 3, 2011
It's still a ways away for my God-given progeny, but my other pride and joy -- my 16-month-old pointer LuLu -- is headed to charm school today. She's been a terrific young dog and a pleasure to train with a ton of natural ability. But I'm smart enough to realize that I don't have the time, knowledge, patience, or wild birds to help her reach her full potential.
Enter Nolan Huffman. I was introduced to Nolan and his wife Danelle last fall while chasing birds last October up near Lewistown, Montana. But his reputation preceded him. A season before, I had the treat of hunting in Aspermont, Texas on Rick Snipes' ranch, and he proudly told me his string of pointers had been trained by Nolan. So it all kind of came together for me.
NSTRA Performance Classic Trial and drop off LuLu. Nolan is no slouch in the NSTRA, winning this year's South Carolina Regional and the 2010 Grand National Invitational last year.
From there, he'll head up to his training grounds around Lewistown, and he'll have LuLu until we come up to hunt in October. I am expecting great things in the next four months (no pressure, Nolan).
It's a sad time (not so much for the kids, who are the primary turd shovelers), but also an expectant time. Wish us all luck!
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
|Glove Love: Bean's new Technical Upland Shooting Gloves|
As promised, here's a recap of the email interview I did a week or two ago with Jeff Miller, L.L. Bean's Senior Developer for the Tecnical Upland line.
How did the Technical Upland concept originate at LL Bean?
|The Performance Hunter Orange Cap -- not your grandaddy's lid!|
Hunters are fairly traditional and Upland Hunters are the most traditional (exception maybe waterfowlers) and wasn't even sure if the market would be ready to accept "technical". Thankfully the were ready and have carved a nice little niche in the upland market - with more and more guys interested every year. We do hear about those that are still reluctant to give up their tried and true favorites but I have heard very few that have tried any of the Technical pieces that didn't absolutely love them. Now we all still have traditional pieces in our "quiver" - I mean it's all about the gear - but I think most are finding themselves reaching less and less for them and are preferring the benefits that some of this new stuff brings to the table. Overwhelmingly the feedback continues to be very positive.
I don't think that is off base at all and I think its those same customers that, like me, have been using more technical pieces for their other outdoor endeavors. So yes, I'd say we have gained some new customers with this technical assortment and we have also engaged many of our traditional customers in it as well.
|L.L. Bean is continually improving its popular (and bombproof) Upland Briar Shirt.|
Note: Bean realizes that some of us use our LEFT shoulder to mount a gun!
|L.L. Bean's New Pa'tridge Strap Vest - Note the new lumbar support strap.|
Between us, Jeff, we both know it has nothing to do with NEED. But it sure is nice to get some new kit now and then, and I applaud you for your innovation. You keep building it, we'll keep buying it!