Yeah, I know. It’s been a while.
And it seems like all of my missives start that way.
If I’m going to stay in touch with the people on my ‘Dunbar List‘ (aka ‘in lieu of Facebook etc.’) I should probably write/post more often, because by the time I do get around to it so much water has passed under the bridge that whatever I finally post turns into a flood.
I’m actually writing from a restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, LA CA.
I flew out here to do an interview with Jesse Michels, host of the ‘American Alchemy’ YouTube channel. Jesse has been a true champion of The Man Who Mastered Gravity and has a keen sense of how that story fits into the larger narrative of the… unexplained. Back in September Jesse posted a two-hour documentary featuring exclusive interviews with David Grusch, the former intelligence officer who testified before Congress last summer about UFOs, crashed flying saucers, recovered alien ‘biologics,’ reverse-engineered technology, government cover ups, etc. You know, the usual stuff.
Jesse spent about ten minutes in the middle of that documentary talking about my book. See for yourself…
It’s always a little weird to come back here.
I’ve lived here twice. The first time was 1973-1980, when I came out here after graduating from college to ‘seek my fortune in the TeeVee biz. When that didn’t amount to much I went sailing and snorkeling in Hawaii for a decade. I came back here in 1992-93 to study music, which took me to Nashville in 1994, where I’ve been ever since.
At first blush it feels like fun to be here. Then it takes the Uber an hour to get from LAX to West Hollywood.
The weather is… well, it’s LA in October. Clear skies and mid-day temps in the low 70s. The skyline is remarkably clear and deeply blue. Maybe all the EVs are having some positive effect on the air quality. Tesla seems to be the most common vehicle on the streets. There are even parking spaces with charging stations reserved for electric vehicles. And it’s not surprising that EVs are so popular with gas at almost $6 a gallon.
But here’s the thing about LA that makes me appreciate living in Nashville: there is no (easy) escape.
From where I live, in semi-rural Cheatham County – one exit west of Davidson County/Nashville on I-40 – it’s at most a thirty minute drive to any urban amenity, cultural destination, feature or benefit that LA has to offer: upscale restaurants, large-screen movie theaters with reclining seats, music venues, sports stadiums, museums, etc. etc.
But when I’m done getting culture-ized in the city, I can hop into my Mustang convertible* and blast over a rural back road to my quiet home in West Bumfuque.
There are lots of convertibles here in Los Angeles, and the weather is probably perfect for top-down driving 300+ days year. But there’s nowhere to drive but the wide, (mostly) congested boulevards. Sure, unlike an old-world town like Nashville, Los Angeles was made for automobiles. But there’s nowhere to go until you drive for hours to get outta town.
Nice place to visit.
Glad I don’t live here.
It’s Sunday, October 29, 2023.
I’ve got a ‘down day’ between stops on this mini-book tour () and I’ve planted myself in a corner at a restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard with my laptop.
Here it is fall already, and a busy summer has passed.
The news – for those of you who have’t heard it – is that the ridiculous notion I had back in… well, jeezus, it was 2002 – that my next career, as a “biographer of obscure 20th century scientists…” – is sorta coming true now.
I suppose I should thank Apple for some of that. Had I not been shit-canned from that job back in January of 2022, I might still be a peddling their gizmos.
Instead, after a few weeks of wondering what to with all that free time, I looked at the trickle of income I earned from the two titles I had listed on Amazon and wondered if that trickle could be turned into a stream.
In 2022, I earned less than $500 in royalties from two books.
So far in 2023, the two books combined have generated more than than $16,000. I know I’m not good with the arithmetic, but I’m pretty sure that’s more.
I may not be tearing up the NYT best seller list, but the material is getting traction in the world. Somebody is reading my books. More than 2,500 somebody’s so far this year.
When this interview I did with Jesse Michels yesterday hits the digital airwaves (probably late November?), those numbers could swell substantially. Jesse’s videos get millions of views.
And here we are.
First a trickle.
Now a stream.
Next… a flood??
Backing up a bit…
I didn’t get to do a ‘fall tour’ like I usually try to do during the third week of October each year (like in 2021, when I drove from Nashville through Gettysburg PA and Cooperstown NY to Quebec City, CA, and back through New England…
Mostly because this I went to Richmond, VA in the first weekend of October to visit with my ‘High Energy Amateur Science (HEAS) nerd friends
While I was there, I gave a talk.
And speaking of talks, in September I gave a lecture (via Zoom) to a media studies class at Chapman University that distills a lot of what I have been thinking about all this in a way I’d not expressed it before:
That’s already too much for a single post, but it’s been more than three months since the last one so… there it is.
No ‘fall tour’ this year, but I’ll leave you with some foliage from one of my morning walks through the ‘hood….
*About that Mustang convertible. There’s another long sad tale to tell there. Suffice it to say for now 1) Trust me, the two words you do not want to hear together in a single sentence are “engine” and “replacement” and 2) I have a new one now. This time I got a 2020 Mustang GT convertible.