Lots of Odds And Ends

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Will The Real Perry Mason Please Stand Up

I’m still unsure about this Perry Mason series on HBO. When I heard it takes place in the 1930s and Perry doesn’t always play by the rules, I thought it’d be an homage to the Perry Mason fiction novels from that era. It’s not an homage at all.

What I’m seeing is a show that offers a lot of the names from the novels, but they aren’t the same characters. First, lets start with the man himself: Perry Mason. Perry was never a private detective. He had always been an attorney. He wasn’t the most honest attorney. He’d break the rules, plant evidence, and would kick ass when it was necessary, but he was still an attorney, and not a PI like he is in the HBO series.

Then there’s Della Street. She was Perry’s secretary from book #1. In the HBO series she’s the secretary who works for the attorney who has hired Perry Mason. The attorney is played by John Lithgow, but I don’t know what his name is. There’s just too many characters to keep up with. Lithgow’s character is annoying as hell, but John’s plays him well. Always a great actor.

Then we have Paul Drake. In the novels he is the one who is the private eye, not Perry. He was frequently hired by Perry and was as his right hand man. On HBO he’s a street cop.

So far, there has been no courtroom scene. There wasn’t a courtroom scene in the first Perry Mason novel, and I think not in further novels, but I’m not sure about HBO. I still have many episodes to go so I can’t say there won’t be one.

Again, as I mentioned the number of cast members there are makes it hard to follow. I don’t know most of their names and frequently forget what they do. It doesn’t help that the characters speak in such a low tone that you frequently can’t understand a damn thing they’re saying. Repeatedly, Maurice and I have had to rewind the show and listen hard, yet still can’t make out the words.

An excellent thing is the show looks brilliant. If it doesn’t make you feel you’re right back in the 1930s then you aren’t paying attention.

The cast is great. I do not like at all that they have nothing to do with the cast in the novel, but I can’t argue with their acting abilities.

The story is gripping with plenty of twists and turns. This is probably the only thing that’s keeping me with the show. It is slow at times which gets tedious, but I’m fascinated enough by the crime that I really want to know whodunnit and why.

I’ll continue to watch, which is good. I can’t wait for it to be over so I can be done with it, which is bad. The show has been renewed for a second season. I think after season one I’ll be done with it. After that I’ll get back to the zombies I wrote about yesterday.

Get Those Ballots In!

My ballot finally arrived in the mail. Maurice and I have our sample ballots, lots of flyers, and plenty of resources to research all the propositions and local elections. There’s no need for me to research the presidential candidates. Duh!

We’re setting aside some time this weekend to research and fill out our ballots. We are not going to mail them in, though. We’re also not going to the voting booths either. California has ballot drop off boxes that look like mail boxes, scattered throughout the state. That’s where I feel safest to cast our votes. There is an excellent website that will let us know when the ballot has been received by the board of elections. It will feel good to get that out of the way ahead of this election.

Did I Finally Write Something?

Well, yes and no. I did finally put my toes in the water. I started from the beginning of what I read and went all the way through it. I did quite a few edits here and there, though there will be plenty left to do once the first draft is finished.

My plan today is to finally get some new words in. I’m still struggling so I’m not sure how many I’ll get, but it will be done.

I’m going to have to set some real goals too soon. If I continue to flounder as I am, the book will never get done. My goal will be 2,000 words a day. Most people know this as Stephen King’s daily goal, but other known, and unknown, authors use that number as well.

The 2,000 word goal is an excellent number because its doable to complete in about half a day, when things go well. That gives me plenty of time to research, and get some things done around the house.

I’ve also committed myself to showering and getting dressed each morning before I begin each day. I’m going to work just like anyone. This is one I’ll struggle with. It’s extremely difficult to step in that shower when my brain isn’t functioning well, but it is a goal.

I don’t know when this novel will be finished. My gut feeling is once I get right at it that it shouldn’t take long. I may even get it out around the time I originally planned. To be on the safe side, I did send a newsletter out yesterday telling people they may have to wait longer than expected. I may not reach my goal and I don’t want to give false expectations. There is a possibility I won’t release the book when it is ready. This may sound crazy, but there is a method to my madness. Stay tuned.

Will I Finally Pick Up a Book?

That should really say, will I finally pick up my Kindle. I understand people’s feelings about preferring to have a physical book in their hands, but I prefer my Kindle hands down. There are many reasons, but the primary being that I appreciate having an entire library in my pocket at any given moment.

I don’t know what I’ll be reading. My list is enormous. For now, I think I’m going to continue with some of the classic gay crime novels, but even that’s a long list to choose from.

The last book I read was The Death of a Constant Lover. As I said before, I had no choice because I agreed to write the forward. I’m glad I did because the book is outstanding. I really enjoy Lev Raphael’s writing. Gay or straight, I’d highly recommend this novel to everyone.

I have friends who have recently released novels. As much as I’d love to read them, they’re going to have to wait. My pile is too big now to add more to it.

Too Much?

I’ve committed to showering daily, writing 2,000 words a day, to start reading again, and start enjoying a little TV. This is going like from 0 – 60 for me, but I think I can handle it. I’m fully prepared if I can’t. I’ve made a promise to be easy on myself.

6 comments on Lots of Odds And Ends

  1. Once I got past the comparison between the Raymond Burr version of Perry Mason and this new one, I have to say I liked the HBO far more. It ticked all the boxes for me. Wonderful 1930s recreation, as you pointed out, terrific acting and a lot of corruption. I loved it.

    Glad to hear you’re writing and reading ♥

    1. I agree there are many good things about the new Perry Mason, the problem is it has nothing to do with Perry Mason. They were nothing but opportunists by taking advantage of the names.

      All they had to do is call it something else. It is strong enough to stand on its own. There was no need for the deception except for greed.

  2. We used to live in Ventura, which is where the writer lived. When we were there, about 25 years ago, it was lined with shops like the one in your photo. There were also homeless youth about, which I think is a little unusual for the farther flung cities outside LA. The city was trying hard to gentrify. Now I have a hankering to go back and see what they’ve made of themselves.

    From Ventura’s website page about the Erle Stanley Gardener Building “Crowning the center of the downtown commercial district is this four-storied bank building with elements of the Renaissance revival style. The interior is striking with elegant chandeliers, columns and decorative moldings. Built in 1926 by architect H. H. Winner, the building, in its time, was home to six banks. The buildings had the first elevator in Ventura County. Erle Stanley Gardner produced the drafts for his first Perry Mason novels in his second law office above the bank.

    If you’re not familiar with Ventura, you head up PCH along the seaside edge of Santa Monica, Malibu, Oxnard, and you’ve arrived in Ventura. Easy to stop there on a trip to Santa Barbara.

    Feel better Brad. (((HUGS)))

    1. Sometime during the 1960s, my family left Michigan and moved to Ventura where my dad planned to become a real estate developer. His plans failed and we were fortunate enough that our home in Michigan never sold.

      I remember bits and pieces. I can remember my friends and a little bit about the house. I’ve considered trying to find what that old address was and see if I can check it out. It would make a nice day trip.

      1. I bet it would feel very different to you. Even 25 years ago there had been a lot of recent development. I’ve looked at overhead photos of our old neighborhood and all the surrounding groves and fields are now housing tracts. A real estate agent might be able to point you to neighborhoods that were around in the 60s.

        1. I’d be surprised if it’s not still there. As I recall it was part of a new housing development where they all looked the same. Then again, as much growth as there’s been in Ventura, it could be long gone.

          Immediately after WWII my parents had a restaurant here in LA at Sunset & Alvarado. I don’t know why, but I’m dying to know which corner it was on and maybe exactly where it was. So far I’ve had no luck.

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