Back from vacation

I’m back at my desk — sob! — and reorienting myself. At least I remembered all my computer log-ins, a good sign. Over the weekend I caught up on all my newspapers, another part of the reorientation process. First off I’ll write a Restaurant of the Week for Thursday, to ease back in, and then after lunch will start on Wednesday’s column. My vacation, or at least the portion in Memphis, will probably end up as a column soon. But, in short, it went well.

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Author, author

Photo: Lisa McPheron

In Chino Hills last Wednesday, 21 people gave up an evening to listen to a newspaper guy blab, a pretty good showing in the scheme of things. I talked about my career, read selections from “Pomona A to Z” and “Getting Started,” and fielded questions on all manner of subjects, from social media and libel to restaurants, politics and music. It was fun.

My friend Lisa McPheron of the Chino Hills Arts Committee, the host, introduced me and gave me a swag bag from the city. It’s almost unheard of that an actual friend as opposed to a complete stranger introduces me, so that was neat. And unprecedented was what happened at the sales table afterward, where my Pomona book outsold my new one, by a single copy. I’m happy it’s still selling.

As you can see below, from a photo I shot as I was being introduced, they were a little optimistic when they set out chairs, bless their hearts.

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Column: Baking news: Claremont club crafts cake for columnist

A speaking engagement on my birthday was accepted with misgivings, but the University Club treated me right: with a treat, namely, a cake. That kicks off Friday’s column. Under an equal-time statute, an item is given to the Claremont Pie Festival. Then there’s a Culture Corner and a Valley Vignette about an Upland figure.

Above, club member Anne Sonner, who baked the cake, poses with me after Al McCombs of the Chino Champion, another club member, found the cake’s headline free of typographical errors, if perhaps not free of hyperbole. Below, details of the award remain maddeningly vague.

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City of gracious book talks

Photo by Allison Evans

Last Wednesday evening I spoke at the Carnegie Building in Upland for what turned out to be one of my most successful events ever. There were 36 in the audience, according to one friend who counted. After speaking and reading for maybe 20 minutes, I took questions. And questions, and questions. Interesting, amusing, thoughtful questions, for a little more than an hour.

Usually, say at a service club talk, there’s only 20 or 30 minutes for questions, so to have a relatively open-ended discussion was rare. But even at that, no audience has ever had this many questions. There might have been a couple more if the librarian hadn’t wanted to wrap up. Because people seemed so interested, my answers tended to be full and reflective as I talked about books, writing, my journey to Ontario, council meetings and more.

One friend said afterward, “I’ve never seen an audience so engaged.” Thanks to everyone who turned out — including three Upland council members — for being there and being, sincerely, such a great audience. It was lucrative too: I sold 16 books.

Photo by Ann Lara

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Column: After 20 years of questions, finally, some answers

Friday marks 20 years for yours truly at the Daily Bulletin (huzzah!), and my column is about the milestone. Rather than reflect on two decades, I did something I’ve considered doing for a slow day for years: I compiled a FAQ about me and my job. Hope you find it of interest, and thanks for reading me for whatever portion of my 20 years you’ve followed by work. Even if it’s just since, say, Wednesday, it’s appreciated.

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A sippin’ David Allen

Checking Twitter this morning, I had a notification from a man in the Netherlands thanking me for participating in a whiskey tasting, where, as the photo above shows, I was “special guest.” (But of course.)

Evidently Frans Muthert looked for that David Allen on Twitter to get his handle to include in the tweet and didn’t notice he’d found a different, transcontinental fellow. As the guest’s apparent employer, Springbank Whisky (“The official Twitter account of Scotland’s oldest family owned distillery”) replied, “I don’t think ‘our’ David is on Twitter.”

He should sign up. Everyone’s talking about him!

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