Scribblings From the Desert

I am a published author and produced screenwriter living in Rancho Mirage, California with my wife, Beth, and two dogs, Crystal and Misty. I have spent most of my life in and around the Hollywood Motion Picture Business.

Location: Rancho Mirage, California, United States

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Beth and I to meet our friends of Bill W. then she to work and I home. Check e-mail and read paper. Out shop for meds for her and home. Work on several writing projects until noon then eat and watch old Don "Red" Barry Republic Western. Nap. Up and feed girls. Talk Tom, set time for lunch tomorrow. Beth calls. I out to Dr. Stone's office to pick up Beth's lab orders (saw Dr. Stone in hall). To lab and wait for Beth. She shows up and does her lab work then down for an X-ray and we home. She shower and into bed. I cook and take her dinner in bedroom. She's starting to shiver again. I ate with her. Now I'm posting here and will return if anything exciting comes up. Otherwise, good night ~

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Quick meeting with our friends of Bill W. then on to Beth's place of employment in separate vehicles. Drop a car at airport for the pilot then Beth will take another vehicle later to pick up her employers when they land. I get another car washed and my job is complete. Bye to her and home. Work on a project (another novel) for a while then fix lunch and watch 27-year old Gene Autry's 1935 "The Singing Vagabond." Nap. Up and feed girls. Back to writing. Respond to several e-mails and write here. Beth will be in later tonight because her employers are in town. Anything more comes up I'll be back. Later ~

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Took Beth to meet our friends of Bill W. again, then dropped her at her place of employment. I went to the car wash to get her employer's van washed. Back to pick her up and to eye doctor. When she came out, she had a patch over the bad eye. Took her back to work and I went home to see the girls and to have an early lunch. Then I to my appointment with Dr. Stone, my kidney doctor. I'm OK - no changes in meds. Home and try for a quick nap after feeding the girls early. Got maybe a half an hour, then up. Back to Beth's place of employment and out to gas up van, Drive to the post office with her looking for a letter, then to a Palm Desert shop to pick up some things for her employer. Finally home and dinner. We plan on watching a pre-recorded TV show and hitting the sack earlier than usual. Later ~

Monday, November 27, 2006

I took Beth to meet our friends of Bill W. this morning. Then I took her to her place of employment where she had some work to do, plus four or five workers were coming over and she needed to be there to supervise. I came home and scanned my usual sites on the Internet, then drove up to the UPS drop off and dropped off several packages. Back by Beth's place of employment to pick up a few more things then home for lunch, paper, and old Charles Starrett, Russell Hayden Columbia B- Western. Nap and up. Fed girls. Had a message from Loma Linda that my recent lab reports (on my kidney transplant) are fine. No med changes. To Beth's place of employment and pick her up. Home. We're in for the night - I hope. Later ~

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I just lost the entire blog I was about to post here. So eat your heart out, I ain't gonna' write it agian. ~

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Went to my before the meeting with friends of Bill W. meeting but didn't stay for the regular meeting. Shopped for groceries early, then home to check on Beth. Her fever's let up. She seems better. Then to her place of employment where I let a worker through the gate. Then on over to where our friends, Edie and Stan Locke (Gumfudgen) are staying and putzed with his camera. Found the camera to be defective so we'll send it back for refund. They decided they'll go to a local store and find another (easier) one. By the cellphone store to get my bluetooth fixed; picked up a sandwich next door and home. Beth up and ate half of her half of the sandwich. Her second meal today. She is definitely getting better. Down for nap. Up with a dog in my face wondering when her dinner would be served. She was an hour early. I got up anyway, wrote a quick story for George Coan, the editor-publisher of The Old Cowboy Picture Show newsletter. Drove over to Beth's place of employment and put the golf cart away. Picked up my meds. And here I am, ready to cook some dinner for myself and Beth. Later ~

Friday, November 24, 2006

Beth sill sick. I meet with our friends of Bill W. then home. Spend some time with her and work on my Columbia Ranch essay. Meet with Stan Locke (Ormley Gumfudgen), Beth's old boss at JPL. I went there to help him with his new camera but he hadn't charged the batteries - I will see him again tomorrow. Home and lunch. Check with Beth and she has popsicle. I nap. Up and feed girls. To bank for Beth. Talk to Tom Snow. Rearrange cars in garage. Finish Columbia Ranch essay and post on my Author's Den web site. Dinner. Check her temp and write here. Will probably go to bed early. ~ (Interesting stuff, huh?)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving. Ours isn't that happy - Beth has the flu. Didn't get to met with our friends of Bill W. as I stayed home to look after her. Breakfast and paper then e-mail discussion with Jeff Sneller about "Charley Sunday" the movie. Jeff is the producer who has optioned the script. Between taking Beth liquids and meds, I managed to watch some of the Macy's parade and the Detroit-Miami game. Had lunch with the girls (begging) in the front room - Beth isn't eating. Took nap beside her, then up and feed girls and talk Tom, my still recovering friend. Maybe I'll watch a movie later. Who knows. Anything exciting comes up, I'll be back ~

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Drove Beth to meet our friends of Bill W. then took her over to see a friend who arrived recently from Nebraska. Dropped her there. I drove back home and putzed on the computer, then drove back and picked her up and took her to her place of employment. I went home to lunch and a Gene Autry movie on the Western Channel. Halfway into my nap the phone rang, It was my good friend Paul Isenhower from North Carolina. We talked Western for a bit then wished each other Happy Thanksgiving. Tried to go back to sleep but got up instead. Drove over to pick up Beth. She is not feeling well at all. She dove under the covers as soon as we got home which is so unlike her I know she's sick. Plus, she doesn't want any dinner. Oh, well ~ The girls and I are here to take care of her. This is unusual because it's usually me that's the sick one. Later ~

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Beth went to bed last night complaining of something in her left eye. This morning that eye was closed and she wasn't up to meeting our friends of Bill W. so I went alone. I came home, picked her up, then took her to her place of employment - she manages a 15-acre estate here in Rancho Mirage. I zipped over to Palm Springs, about a half-hour ride to go less that 20 miles, to see my infectious disease doctor. I'm still being monitored for a bug I picked up over a year ago called Nocardia. I spent 14 days in the hospital before Dr. Somero was brought in and diagnosed me with the disease. Nocardia is a bug anyone can get as it's found in common dirt. I got it because as a transplant patient, my immune system is lower that a normal person. Anyway, I spent a month in a nursing home getting around-the-clock infusions of antibiotics. And I must still take antibiotics - probably for the rest of my life. Got us both some Oreo cookie shakes and a couple of tacos for me - she takes her lunch to work - and dropped by her place of employment to eat. Then home for a quick map with the girls - yes, the dogs sleep with us on our bed - and back to pick up Beth, pick up some prescriptions, then home. Now it's almost time for dinner and I've haven't written a thing. Oh well, there's always tomorrow ~

Monday, November 20, 2006

Blood draw day. I do one every month before I see my nephrologist, Dr. Richard Stone. He's the doctor who found out my kidneys were failing back in `'98 and diagnosed complete kidney failure in '99. I underwent dialysis for three and a half years before transplanting, and how Dr. Stone monitors me - through these blood tests - every month. I spent the morning doing some computer chores for my wife and making some phone calls. Lunch watching an old PRC Tex Ritter, Dave O'Brien, Western in which Charles King plays the comic relief instead of his usual bad guy. After my nap, I did some more work for Beth then settled down into some serious writing on my Columbia Ranch essay - recalling the day the ranch went up in flames. What a day. Some of us helped fight the fire which ended up destroying most of the Western Street where "High Noon" had been filmed. Beth home now and I'm cooking. Later ~

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday is sleep-in day. We were up by 5:30 - I putzed around and read the paper while she took care of some business. Since Wednesday was our 9th anniversary, I took her to the movies. We saw "The Queen." Using the plot summary from IMBd I give you a short synopsis: "The Queen" is an intimate behind the scenes glimpse at the interaction between HM Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair during their struggle, following the death of Diana, to reach a compromise between what was a private tragedy for the Royal family and the public's demand for an overt display of mourning. It is a very good movie - an award winning movie. After we had some tacos, went shopping, then home. Had a call from my friend James Jenkins in Florida then talked to Tom after that. Wrote a few words on the Columbia Ranch essay, and missed napping. Fed the girls earlier and just sending some e-mails before dinner. Good weekend ~

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Started day with friends of Bill W. Shopping for groceries then home. Beth home, works in back yard, then our friend, Tina, came over and the two of them took off to the Ontario (CA) Mall for some meaningful shopping. I screwed around with the dubbing machine again, this time transferring 'The Honkers" to disc. I ended up watching it one more time even though I've seen it a hundred times or more. I co-wrote it; worked on the filming; viewed dailies (rushes); spent a lot of time in the editing room; saw several sneak previews; went to many theaters with a series of friends when it came out; and have viewed it on TV and tape a whole bunch more times. It finished just in time for lunch. Read the paper while I ate, then down for a nap. Up and fed the girls, turned on the Ohio State-Michigan game. Talked to Tom, then watched the game until Ohio won. Beth called and they're on their way home but stuck in traffic. Back to office to try and figure out why the disc I made plays on two of my disc players but not on the one in the living room. I'm baffled. I'll make that call to Toshiba on Monday. Waiting for Beth and Tina. I reckon I'll start dinner ~

Friday, November 17, 2006

Today was learn how to operate the new tape to DVD dubbing machine day. Started off with my usual 7:00 a.m. meeting with our friends of Bill W. then home (she went to work). Got out a tape (a short I made 31 years ago), a disc, and began to read directions. Followed them to the "T" until the damn thing failed to execute one of the button commands. I found number for Toshiba on-line (not available in the directions, of course) and finally got a guy who told me I was using the wrong DVD. It had to be a DVD-R not a DVD+R like the one I was trying to record on. The same place (QVC Shopping Channel) that sold the recorder, sold her the wrong DVDs. Anyway, I had some minus DVDs I bought to use with the device I could never master (reason for buying the new "easier" model). So I inserted tape and DVD and began recording. Had to meet Tom and Harry for lunch so didn't get to check out my efforts until I returned home and took my nap. Fed the girls then back to office to attempt to view my creation. The damn thing wouldn't play in the living room DVD player so back to the office where I found out I had to finalize the DVD recording before it would play on other machines. I figured out how to do that and tried it on the machine that it was recorded on and it worked just fine. But when I tried again in the living room, same thing - nothing. I'll just have to call Toshiba again tomorrow, or Monday. Anyway, spent the whole day with the damn machine and never got to write anything else except here. Lunch with Tom and Harry was Chinese take out at Tom's. He's doing fine. The girls and I are now waiting for Beth to get home ~

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Met with our friends of Bill W. Then I went home and set up our new Tape to DVD transfer (dubbing) machine. Met Beth and drove to Indio where she had some business to take care of for her employer. We went shopping and got some winter clothing for both of us. Stopped for a chili dog; back to her place of employment and I drove home. Nap. Up and pulled old shirts and sweatshirts to donate to the ABC Recovery Center tomorrow. Took an old frock coat to the shed. It was made for Alan Jones when he played the part of Gaylord Ravenal in the 1936 version of "Showboat." I'd been saving it for years; for what reason, I really don't know. I also have some faded-red long-john sleeves worn by Ken Curtis on "Gunsmoke," and some other period Western wardrobe I use whenever I need to dress up as a cowboy. I used to have a whole bunch of stuff - Gary Coooper's leather vest from "Vera Cruz," a couple of jackets worn by David Janssen on "The Fugitive," etc. Now they're long gone. Funny how things like that disappear over the years. * Anyway, I haven't yet tried to transfer a video to a DVD - I think I'll save that for tomorrow or the weekend. My friend, Tom, seems to be doing OK at home. He wants us all to go to lunch together tomorrow. We'll see. More than likely, we'll all go over to his place. Later ~

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Today is Beth's an my 9th wedding anniversary. Pretty good for a guy whose first marriage lasted three months and who said for years after that: "I'm never, ever going to get married ever, ever again." Beth and I met through our mutual friend, Bill W. in 1990. She moved in here when my father was still living. I had a dog called Maggie and my dad had a little shit named Cindy. Beth was with me when my dad fell and broke his arm and we took him to the Eisenhower emergency room where he began the last days of is life. My dad had always had a fear he would die in a hospital, after all his wife, my mom, had died in the same hospital nine years earlier. Anyway, his fall happened two days before Thanksgiving 1992, and no one was available to set his broken bone(s?) until after the holiday. His doctor refused to admit him anyway, so we found a nursing home for him to stay nearby where he would have 24-hour supervision. The first day he was there he fell out of his wheel-chair and broke a leg. That did get him a bed in the hospital. From then on it was downhill for him. He just got worse and worse; finally going in and out of what seemed to me was a coma. I took the Bible in one day and read him his favorite psalm. The following day just as I returned home from visiting him, the phone rang. It was someone from the hospital telling us that he had passed away. He had just celebrated his 88th birthday so it wasn't that big of a shock - but both Beth and I feel he would have probably lived a few more years if things had been handled correctly. No, we didn't sue. Sometimes we both think we should have, but what would that have proved? It sure wouldn't have brought him back. * The night of our wedding in 1997 we were on our honeymoon in La Jolla when my dad's little dog, Cindy, passed away. We had a friend staying with the dogs and the poor guy woke up to a dead dog under his bed. Think of how he must have felt. * Last year on this date, we had to have our beautiful Collie-Retriever mix, Hollie, put to sleep because she was no longer able to walk. So, November has been both good and bad for us. Oh well, time marches on. Still working on the Columbia Ranch essay. Friend Tom is home and resting. And Beth is out tonight doing some volunteer work. The girls are at my side. I'm happy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

He's out! My friend Tom is headed home - again. We - his friends - didn't know from day to day exactly where he would be. In the morning he would say he was feeling just fine and had made up his mind to stay in the nursing home as long as it took for his recovery. By evening, it was "I just figured out a way to get out of this damn place." This morning when I visited him he was quite cheerful and sitting in the one sunny place in his room. Our other friend, Harry, and Harry's wife, Annie, dropped by and we all had a nice little chat. There was mention that he thought he might have figured out a way to convince his doctors that he could go home, but it didn't seem that plausible. Anyway, he's out - happy as a clam - and probably home in his own bed by now watching the Western Channel. As for me, I haven't accomplished much today as far as my writing. I did get a call from my friend and fellow Western Writers of America cohort, Andrew J. Fenady, telling me he had read the essay on "The Rebel" TV show he produced back in the late 50s. He loved it; and when one gets a complement on his writing from the man who not only wrote many of those "The Rebel" scripts, but others such as "The Man With Bogart's Face," a zillion TV movies of the week, and John Wayne's "Chisum," It do make one feel good!
Well, Beth just drove in - Later ~

Monday, November 13, 2006

Early morning meeting with my friends of Bill W. then stopped on the way home to get some flyers Xeroxed for Beth. Once home I called friend Tom in nursing home. He sounded good. Spent most of the morning catching up on Internet news, then made lunch and watched an old Three Mesquiteers movie on the Western Channel. Took my nap. Fed the girls when I got up and called Tom again. He's decided to stay at the nursing home in Indio for the duration (more to come). Started on a new essay for my Behind the Scenes manuscript - this one is my take on working at the Columbia Ranch over the years. Working on the piece when Beth drove in. Now I'll be signing off to help her fix dinner. I bet we watch one of our recorded TV shows tonight. Beth and I record everything we watch (which is limited to about five shows a week) so we can watch them early instead of at their regular times because we're such early risers. Tomorrow, unless ...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

After my nap, I fed girls early then Beth and I drove to Indio to see Tom in the nursing home. I made him a tomato sandwich and he loved it. Harry, another friend, was there visiting. We all shot the shit for about an hour then we drove home. Almost dark when we got back. I whipped up a little dinner for the both of us then we settled back to watch a recording - no taping anymore, we record digitally - of last week's "The Unit" and "CSI." Off to an early and good night's sleep ~

Sunday is sleep-in day so Beth and I didn't have to get up until 5:30 this morning. Getting a little cooler after the fall heatwave we've been through the last two weeks. I've been out of shorts and into jeans then back into shorts now back into jeans this morning. I wish it'd make up its mind. Called Tom, he's busy deciding if he'll go a new nursing home or go back to his own house and pay someone as a live-in caregiver. The story goes on ... Read the Sunday paper; trimmed my beard (I do this once a week); sat out by the pool - while the dogs played - to get some sun and feel the warmth (can't do too much of that because I'm on antibiotics); then I came back inside to work on the Behind the Scenes manuscript for a bit while Beth dusted and mopped all around me. Had lunch with Beth then surfed the web. Sent some info to Bob Boze Bell for his on-line diary. It's past noon, so I think I'll nap for an hour or so ~

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Helped Beth take catering equipment to College of the Desert where she'll be feeding 50 or more people two meals today. On to meet some friends of Bill W. - Shop for the week's groceries. Home and call Tom in the nursing home he transferred to last night. To computer - Add new stores to my Behind the Scenes manuscript. This will eventually become a book. Hopefully the photos I've taken over the years on movie sets will be included as a visual aid to the stories. Lunch, with a quick look at the Western Channel, then down for nap. Up and feed the girls. Beth home, unload what we loaded this morning. Off to Indio to visit Tom at his new (nursing) home. He's in good spirits but still hates being where he is. Today some of his friends and I gave him the 'Nobody's Going to Tell Me What to Do' award for 2006. Home with Beth for dinner, then TV and on to bed later. Interesting stuff, huh?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bill W. Meeting. Worked on The Rebel essay. Visited Tom in hospital. Nap. Beth's brother and sister-in-law her, drop off old church pew for our front porch. Dinner with them at Ruby's. Finish The Rebel essay. Going to bed.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Started another day with Beth and our friends of Bill W. Then it was home to the computer and the girls while Beth trudged off to work. Haircut at 9:00. Talked to my friend Tom who said he was feeling okay. Shopped for several things I needed and didn't find anyone who carried either item. Home and started on The Rebel (TV Show) essay. I was working at Corriganville when they shot The Rebel pilot. I watched from the sidelines when I could, so am now putting my reminiscences down on paper (almost 50 years later). Lunch was cold pizza from last night's feast at our friend Dori's. We had dinner and talked about what we had all been doing during the time we haven't seen each other. I glanced at the Western Channel for a few minutes and saw Little Brown Jug (Don Kay Reynolds), whom I met at The Lone Pine Western Film Festival last month. He must have been 11 or 12 , and played an Indian boy in the old Durango Kid Western that was running. Don was a child prodigy horseman. Rode like the devil and was damn near literally born in the saddle. He showed me a photo of himself straddling an old mule, taken before he had even learned to walk. As a kid, Don could Roman Ride (racing two horses, side by side, with the rider standing up with one foot on each horse's back. That's a horseman in anybody's book, and he was doing it before most of us ever got near a horse. Got a call just as I was going down for my nap, from my friend George, telling me that Tom (remember him?) was once again in the hospital - and this time he admitted he shouldn't have chosen going home over a nursing facility in the first place. I'll give him a call tonight after he's been officially checked into the place - the paramedic delivered him one more time - and he's out of the emergency room and been given a regular hospital bed. Now I'm working to The Rebel piece once again; plus writing here. Anything more and I'll be back.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I wrote an op-ed a few months ago addressing the fact that people should vote, not for their own special causes, but for those who make defense of America their top priority. Yesterday's turnout showed me how many voters (or those who didn't vote) ignored my plea. I'm very disappointed in what I see happening in this wonderful country of ours. Forget Iraq for just a moment. We are also at war with the Islamic terrorists who have declared war on us and vowed to kill us all. Isn't anyone listening? They will stop at nothing until every last one of us is either dead or converted to their so called religion. Pay attention America. Now, on with today's happenings. Talked to some friends of Bill W. in the early a.m. - then home for a final edit on the QM project. It's done, it's posted. It's on my Author's Den web site which is also linked to my personal web site. Then it was off to the credit union for a withdrawal - it seems like it's never a deposit - after which I dropped by my friend Tom's place to see how he was doing. His visiting nurse took one look at me and said she thought she knew me. At first I thought she may have been one of the visiting nurses I had following my kidney transplant, but it turned out she is my neighbor from across the street. For some reason I didn't connect her face to her nurse's outfit, and she didn't quite connect my face under the floppy sun hat I was wearing. Then I met my wife Beth at Sam's for a quick round of shopping. We had hot dogs together, then went our seperate ways - she back to work, I home. Took a nap. Got up and fed the girls (our two dogs), then sat down at the computer and answered some e-mails. Tonight. Beth and I have been invited for pizza at our friend Dori Watts' new home in Sun City, Palm Desert. We always get our pizza from Poppa Dan's - we like the veggie. Anything else comes up, I'll be back to report.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Today is Election Day. Just remember, the terrorist threat is REAL! Vote accordingly. Up early and chat with some friends of Bill W. Then home and add a few things to the Quinn Martin story before taking our dog, Misty, in for her rabies shot. Stop by my wife's place of employment and exchange cars (I used hers to transport Misty), then stopped to pick up dog food and home. My friend George is out of the hospital and still doesn't know what's wrong with him. My other sick friend, Tom, is still doing all right - he had an infected artificial hip joint infection and had the offending joint removed. He'll be out of commission for nine weeks, then it's another hip replacement operation, plus the recovery afterward. I will continue to clean up the QM article today, nap, then hopefully start another project - or possibly finish an unfinished one. Later ~

Monday, November 06, 2006

Watching the Rialto and the Cajon Pass fire on TV right now. We just got through with one close to here and now another breaks out nearby - actually closer to San Bernardino, 60 miles east. Too many fires here in So. Cal. I did my monthly blood draw this morning over at Eisenhower Hospital. Saw and talked to a friend in the waiting room - it's like a small town here in the Coachella Valley. Came home to my computer and the girls (our dogs), and immediately called my two sick friends, plus my wife (who is not sick). Now the fire coverage just switched back to normal TV so I'll get back to writing. I'm working on an essay about the making of a Quinn Martin TV pilot I did back in 1976 - a Western titled The Deputies. It starred Jim Davis and Don Johnson, but never made it beyond the initial movie of the week showing of the pilot. If anything more exciting happens today, I'll be back.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Beginning

I just thought I'd try blogging since everyone else is doing it. Breakfast this morning at the ABC Club (a local alcohol and drug rehabilation center near us). Saw some good friends while enojoying a delicious (and inexpensive) meal. Afterwards, my wife, Beth and I drove over to the College of the Desert so she could check out the facility she will be using to cater a group of businesspeople next week. Then home to our dogs, Misty and Crystal, where I putzed on the computer while she puttered in the garage where she keeps her catering equipment. Now I'm about to go down for a nap. I'll check in later - if I remember I started this blog. .... Nap over. I fed the dogs and called my friend, Tom Snow, who's recovering at home from a hip operation only to find out another friend, George Widman, is in the hospital. Seems he passed out (not from drinking) last night and when he was revived, his wife Ronice was unable to understand what he was saying so she called 911. I called him over at the hospital and he says he's feeling OK now. He will be staying overnight, at least, and I'll bet he'll have some tests done tomorrow. Just a minute ago, Beth came into the office to tell me that her friend Kim called to say her husband John called her while she was on the way to work in Las Vegas, asking her to please come home because he, who has never has a sick day in his life, was having horrendous abdominal pain. She hung a U-ee and raced back as fast as she legally could. 911 again. Now, as I write here, John is undergoing surgery to remove his appendix. Maybe I should cancel making anymore calls today, or at least not answer the phone.