Frank Denton - The Rogue Raven

Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Guinea Pig

I received a phone call from my HMO recently asking me to participate in a research project. I’ve have done so previously but it’s been a few years. So I said I was interested and answered a lot of questions about age, health, mental state, etc. I later was called and told that I qualified and would receive more questions in the mail. Today was my first appointment so last evening I sat down to read everything that had been sent. There were questions about past and current health problems and I was asked to list when each was diagnosed and what medications I took and when I started. I don’t know about you but I don’t keep track of those things. I have several conditions of which I have no clue when they started. It’s been so long. And I have a string of medications that I’ve been taking so long that I don’t even remember what they are for. I thought that knowing six our of nine was pretty good. The only real date I remember is my heart by-pass because I came to close to buying the farm that day.

I wasn’t too worried because I knew that the records were in the HMO’s computer and could be accessed easily. But I knew that I had been in several different hospitals for various surgeries. And I could remember having been in Swedish Hospital in Seattle but for the life of me could not remember the reason. At breakfast I asked my wife and she could not remember either. It was finally when I got to the appointment and was going over some questions that the answer popped into my head. I thought that it was a surgery but that it was not invasive. I guess I forgot because the surgery was done behind my back. Matter of fact it was a spinal surgery. Eureka!

The experience was very nice. I met four lovely ladies who were friendly and cheerful. I have three more visits over the next two years. I have to keep an electronic diary for fourteen days after each visit.
Just another day in the life of a guinea pig.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Goldy and Gavin

All of my life, and it’s beginning to become lengthy, I’ve loved horse racing. For the past several years we have been attending the races at Emerald Downs, south of Seattle, on Friday evenings. A while back the opportunity presented itself to us to become partners in the purchase of two two-year-olds, a filly and a colt. Lest you think we’re wealthy, let me say that the shares were very affordable. A person could spend as much skiing or golfing. Along with forty others, plus the trainer and the president of Horseplayers Racing Club, we now own Promise Me Gold and Gavin Slew. Goldy (the filly) had a growth spurt and was turned out for a month lest she be injured with continued training. She is back in training but has not raced yet.

Gavin (the colt) has now raced twice. The first time he was upset by the action of two other fractious horses in the starting gate. When the gates opened he was sitting back and almost sat on his haunches. So he broke poorly, ran last most of the way but finished gamely in 7th place out of 8 starters.

Last night he ran for the second time in a $7500 claimer for a purse of $6700. This time he broke cleanly from the outside position and ran last down the backstretch. At the quarter pole his jockey moved him to the outside for a clean run to the wire. He was still last at the sixteenth pole. From there he was flying and he came third by a neck. Two more strides and he would have been second.

Now we know a little bit about the excitement that the big owners have when we see them on television. Gavin is a small horse and will do better at longer distances. I’m already waiting to see what he does as a three-year old. I’m sure you’ll read more as Gavin and Goldy continue their racing careers.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


What a strange topic for a guy who hasn’t blogged in a while. I hate foreshadowing. Yes, I know it’s a legitimate technique for the fiction writer. I’m currently reading Armadale by Wilkie Collins. A long time ago I read The Moonstone and The Woman in White and I thought, I really like this guy’s writing. So every once in a while I pick up a novel by him. Armadale is a very long book with interesting characters. Two principal characters come from the same stock, although they don’t know it. And things are going along fairly swimmingly until this:

“With trifling incidents, in which not even Midwinter’s nervous watchfulness could see anything to distrust, it was still to proceed, until the night came ---- a night which one at least one of the two companions was destined to remember to the end of his life.”

Well! You just know that something bad is going to happen. Whether to Allan Armadale or to Ozias Midwinter, you don’t know. Then you must read one, page after page, waiting for the shoe to drop. Wilkie Collins has me in the palm of his hand, and I just hate that.