Sunday, March 31, 2013

Oogle Plus

The folks over at Oogle could make more money if they sold out. You mean that haven’t? Well, the scheme would be you pay them and you get your picture posted on everybody’s search screen for a few hours, or a day, etc.

The US Government should also be looking into raising money this way. They could sell an option to place people’s pictures on our currency. And they could sell naming rights like local governments do. Imagine the Exxon Grand Canyon or the Yuban Coffee Everglades. Tacky? Perhaps. But compared to shutting down air traffic towers?  So, like Pac Bell Stadium we could have the USS American Express defending our shores. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Doctor Returns-- Yay!


Well, the new Dr. Who episode is tonight. Since I’m at a con I don’t know when I’ll catch it. I was just thinking about the first time I saw Dr. Who. It was John Pertwee as the doctor. I had never heard of it.

My brother was watching it. It came in on this fuzzy UHF PBS station in San Jose. I paid it no mind. Then the next Saturday afternoon he was watching it again. At first I thought it was the same exact show. Back then they were serialized and one adventure could drag on for several weeks. I started wondering what the hell is this. I remember the Brigadier was rattling on about something [Brigadier Lethbridge-Steward was attached to a UN force called Unit] and then the Cybermen showed up and all hell broke loose. I thought this was kind of cool. And, from thence on I had to watch the adventures of the doctor. Some were better than others, but I still watched them all.

A few thoughts I may be crazy, but I remember: The first doctor had a daughter or granddaughter. She just sort of disappeared. I wonder whatever happened to her. She never displayed any Timelord powers like regeneration, as I recall. But neither did the first Doctor.

Then I seem to recall Tom Baker ran around with another Timelord for a bit. She just sort of wandered off. I don't remember her name.

Then in the current series I seem to recall some aliens took David Tennant’s DNA and made him a daughter who had Timelord DNA. She took off in a spaceship and that was that.

Why do I mention all this? Much emphasis on the Doctor being the last one. Well, there’s plenty of fodder to reunite with his offspring. Hell, the Tardis is a time machine.

So, whilst my brother has mostly been a useless twit, he did introduce me to Dr. Who. And, for that, I thank him.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Gone conning [if that's a word?]






Off to Anomaly Con in Denver this weekend. If you’re attending, do stop by one of my panels and say hello.

I am giving a presentation on the Great 1897 Airship.

Plus, I'll be reading an original short story "The Big Green Orb" Friday night  [Hey, that's tonight ain't it]. I wrote this thing last week just for Anomaly Con.

I talked to the proprietors of Who Else Books a few days ago.  They should have most of my stuff with them in the dealer room, including the wonderful Gunslingers & Ghost Stories anthology and copies of Science Fiction Trails. If you don't see it, ask them.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Totally insane


We hear a lot about insanity from news sources, yet I doubt many folks really know what insanity is in either a clinical or legal definition. Part of the problem is there is more than one definition. One definition I like is someone continuing to do the same action and expecting a different outcome. An example would be pushing the elevator floor for twelve and expecting floor 13 to appear. When it doesn't, pushing it again, and again. Or a dog chasing a squirrel. The squirrel gets away easily and laughs at the dog, yet the next time fido sees a squirrel off he goes again, expecting to somehow catch it this time. Sounds like Wile E. Coyote, doesn't it.

And so it is with writers contests. I know somebody who enters the Writers of Future Contest every quarter. And every quarter someone else wins. Instead of giving up and moving on, she continues to submit quarter after quarter.Is this insanity? In my book, yes it is.

And someone else I know keeps entering her daughter in those dreadful child beauty pageants. Yet every time, the kid looses and gets depressed. It's not a matter of a different outfit. It's a matter of accepting reality and it ain't going to happen.

Yet people seem to prefer delusion over reality. Take the Stoker Awards. People last year kept wanting me to read their work because they dearly wanted to win an award and the fame and publicity that comes with it. And somehow I'll vote for them and they'll win. Well, most of what I saw had no more likelihood of winning a Stoker than getting the blue ribbon at the county fair for best pie. Yet people delude themselves into thinking they're going to win. Is this insane?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Conz

One thing that keeps coming up in conversations lately is the matter of cons. There are all kinds–steampunk, science fiction, horror. Some are more interested in writers and some seem to be more interested in actors and celebrities. But the question isn’t which con really, the question is how many? I know people who are attending over 10 cons a year--even more sometimes. I plan to do two this year. And I am sorely tempted to attend no more after that forever. Going to these things accomplishes nothing. And they can be quite expensive.

For the science fiction or horror fan they can be something of an escape, an excuse to put on some costume or outfit they normally wouldn’t be caught dead in and let the alter ego out for a day or two.

Writers and artists often feel they are getting something out of them in the form of contacts or perhaps even building a fan base. I’m not sure that’s the case. I’ve ran into people a month after a con in some store or venue and they usually have no idea who the heck I am or why I think I know them. So, I am increasingly viewing the whole process as something of a waste of time.

I seem to be getting way more cynical these days. Way more.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Zombie Gourmet

Regarding the coming zombie apocalyps:. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve come to find The Walking Dead somewhat addictive. I’ve never been a fan of zombie stories before. The season finale is next week. That’s not to say that I don’t have problems with the underlying concept. These dead people come back to life and the fact they don’t even have major organs is of no concern. Last Sunday’s show even had a head sitting there by the road growling away in spite of the fact there was no throat, just a head that had been severed. The throat actually makes the noises we were hearing and it was gone. So my question is, since they crave flesh, what the heck do they do with it? How do they digest it if their livers and kidneys and stuff are in atrophy or missing? They don’t ever seem to poop or pee. So, what do they do with the flesh they devour?

Of couse, in the zombie apocalypse, I guess the cost of getting maried  is a lot less. Glenn just goes out to the fence, finds a zombie with an engagement ring he likes and cuts her fingers off. Now, if it were me, I’d go break into a jewelry store or pawn shop. I think cutting a ring off some zombie’s fingers is tacky. But that’s just me. Would a lady rather have a ring stolen from some store or cut off some zombie's fingers? 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Garbage Part 2


 


Saturday’s blog about garbage trucks proved quite popular for some reason, a heck of a lot of views. One of those trucks mentioned was RC and you could literally make it go around and pick up trash cans on its own. I would’ve been happy when I was little just picking up the trash manually. Alas, I didn’t have a toy trash truck when I was little. And that’s why I turned out the way I did. Who knew?

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Fitzgerald, repeatedly told us if we didn’t learn, we were doomed to drive a garbage truck when we grew up. This, apparently, was a fate worse than death. I never understood what she was talking about. Deep down, I always thought trash trucks were cool. I remember the first time I saw a side loader--I could’ve watched it all day as it went along picking up trash cans. In hindsight, I always sort of wished I’d tried harder to get a job driving a garbage truck.

Garbage has become a big and complex business.  Landfills are complicated these days and many actually generate methane gas which can  heat homes.  And then there is recycling.  We, meaning folks, are actually recycling quite a bit these days and industry has developed a lot of uses for recycled materials.  Yay garbage!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Guest Blogger, Karl








Hi, it’s me, Karl. I’m guest blogging today. Well, I see there was another meteor spotted in Florida. It was a meteor that killed off all of my friends back in the cretaceous. So, when I hear about fireballs from space it gets my attention.

I’ve been meaning to tell everybody about my search for Bigfoot. There’s this TV show where these people go out in the woods and search for Bigfoot. They claim to hear wood knocking, but you never actually hear it on the TV show. They claim to hear trees being knocked over, but you never hear that either and they never go and show you the busted trees. And they’ve got all these infrared cameras, but they never get any footage on them.

So, I decided to see if a little cretaceous hunting skills might do the trick. I went out and found me an elk herd and started from there. After I ate an elk, I headed off out into the woods. There were some Boy Scouts out there and they apparently were playing some game where they see how fast everyone can run out into the woods and hide. I would’ve joined in, but I was on a mission.

I tried knocking two trees together. And I got a reply. Then, I picked up a scent. I’m good at tracking a scent because that’s what dinosaurs do. So, I went after the source. Boy, whatever it was sure stinks. I found some footprints. They weren’t as big as mine. But I never found any Sasquatch. I don’t know where it went. I was sure I was on the right scent, then it was gone. So, I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on those guys on TV. If they can elude me, they’re pretty crafty.

Then, I gave up and went home. Maybe I’ll try again in the summer. I didn’t really like hiking through snow. Back in the cretaceous period Colorado was a lot warmer than it is now.

And I'm not sure about all of these meteors.  Remember how that Shumaker Levy Comet killed those ten million Jupiterians when it smashed into Jupiter?  It could happen here someday, but it won't be Jupiterians then.

Well, until next time ...



Florida meteor

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Garbage

I live in a condo.  Our trash is collected from dumpsters stationed around the complex.  There's one special dumpster for recycling.  Guys in big green trucks from Waste Management come by twice a week and haul the trash away. Guys in a blig green and yellow truck haul the recycling away.  Then the residents take more trash and recycling out and put it in the dumpsters. 
 
Anyway, on with our story.  They have these Waste Management toy garbage trucks.  They seem really cool. Tonka makes one and so does Mattel.   I would've been in heaven if I'd had one of these to play with when I was little.  I probably wouldn't have turned out the way I did, if only I'd had one. These are so cool.  But, alas, the good ones are not cheap, fifty bucks plus.  There is even one type that runs over $100 bucks. Yikes!!!!  
 
Cool toy truck
 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pie of the Month

It didn't look like this one
I don’t think about high school much. But, I opened the trash dumpster where I live and there was this moldy pie. Ah, the memories. Back in my first year of high school journalism someone hung a pie up above the chalkboard and wrote "Pie of the Month" below it. It hung up there for quite some time. And mold grew on it and it got really disgusting. And still more mold grew. I can’t honestly say what became of the pie of the month, but it hung on the wall for a few months anyway and got really gross.

But the new pie was interesting in that I had to wonder where it had been and what it had been doing. They pick up the garbage twice a week. There’s no way such a huge amount of mold grew that fast. This was a couple months worth, and I speak from experience. It had to have been sitting around someone’s condo growing mold for quite some time. If only pies could talk. I took the new pie of the month to work and placed it in the refrigerator the employees use. Anyway, I put it in the back on the bottom shelf. Then, a few days later, most of the stuff inside the fridge had been tossed out and the whole place smelled like bleach. I wonder why. And the new pie of the month was gone.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

March Madness and the Pool of Doom



It seems like everyone is organizing some sort of pool for the March Madness.

Some time ago the folks in my dad’s neighborhood often had pools for various sporting events. I don’t know if they still do. My dad’s golden retriever often signed up for these things. As I recall, he had a run for a while where he was winning quite a few of them. These were $20 type of things, not big money. Still, it seemed that some folks weren’t too happy being beaten by some dog. As I understood it, Zero actually picked the spots on the sheet he wanted. Then another neighbor’s dog got in on it, and 99 proved pretty good at winning them too. Well, neither dog is alive anymore. And I haven’t heard any stories about neighborhood pools for sporting events, so they may not bother any longer. But, if your neighborhood, condo or office is having one, be sure and see if the dogs are interested. I’ll bet they are.

Then there was Duke. Way back in California many years ago, there was a pool for the Superbowl. Duke was a cop, at least the K9 variety. Duke was the roommate of a coworker of mine, so I knew Duke. And Duke turned up on the police department’s Super Bowl pool. Duke won something like $500. I think a lot of people were not too keen at being beaten by some dog. Then the next year he won again. I don’t know what Duke spent his money on.

I don’t enter these pools. I’ve never ever win one dime in these things, regardless of format and terms I always get hosed. Maybe some day I’ll get a dog.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Baffling, I Say

I've mentioned I'm attending Anomaly Con at the end of the month. One of my activities is a talk on the Great Airship of 1897. I've talked about this a few other times. Anyway, I was just going over my notes to kind of kick the cobwebs out of my senile brain and review some of the things written about this thing. I actually believe it is the most baffling event in American history.  And, I am still amazed at how many people don't even believe it ever happened. Of course, people don't believe the dinosaurs ever existed and they do believe Elvis is still alive...   There's a difference between people who don't know about it and people who don't believe it.  So, we'll see how it goes. 

I found out about the airship myself by accident. I was doing some research about a train robbery and was reading old issues of the Reno area newspapers. I didn't find out much about the train robbery, but I came across this story about this mysterious aiship that was terrorizing Nevada farmers. Boy that wasn't what I was expecting.  Over the years, the more I tried to learn about it, the more baffling it got. Hopefully, I can deliver a presentation that won't baffle the audience. 

One interesting thing is they always ask if you need anything for Powerpoint, etc. Not really. There aren't any pictures of it.  Cameras in 1897 weren't real good at photographing distant moving aerial objects in a time before aircraft were invented. 



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Number 10


Over at Science Fiction Trails, where I am editor, we just got in the new cover art for issue 10.  I rather liked it. Of course, I'm a sucker for anything with a flying saucer on it.  That issue's coming together nicely. It doesn't actually come out until July 1st. In the past, I've kept the cover secret until release date. This time around, I decided what the hell and put it on the SFT website and mention it here as well. 

Funny thing about art. We started out doing clip art covers. The fist few professional covers didn't really do much to improve sales. Over time, I think that's changed. Of course, most clip art these days is of such low resolution it's darn near useless in the world of digital printing. Gone are the days of making this thing on a copy machine at Kinkos.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Erin go something or other




















Well, it's another one of those days when we go around drinking green beer. It seemed like we just had one about a year ago. Even though I have an Irish sounding name I've never been to Ireland and haven't really considered St. Patrick's Day as that big of a deal. 

Over the years, I've been chastised a few times for not wearng green, Once, back in California the black guy who ran this local market got after  me about not wearing green. In college one of the professors called me on it for not wearing green. He was a black guy (There's more on this. Stay with it. It's not a bad thing) And, there's a local restaurant I eat lunch at sometimes. This black guy named Leonard (I liked Leonard. He was a good guy, but he doesn't work there anymore) got after me two years in a row for not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day. So, wherever Leonard is, I vow to be good and wear green this year.  I don't want any more black people yelling at me for not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day.   

My uncle always seemed somewhat interested in his Irish heritage.  He was always buying those big coffee table books  about Ireland on remainder (that's publishing talk when they go out of print and get real cheap) and sending them to my brother.  I don't recall ever geting one from him.  I tried to get my parents to go to Ireland with my uncle, but they never seemed to want to go.  I remember I once visited my uncle over St. Patrick's Day.  He wore green on his own and didn't have to have black people yell at him about it like I do.

I may have said something that could be misinterpreted. I just thought it was kind of cool that black people, who often don't have an Irish connection, were better about honoring St. Patrick's Day than I, someone who is supposed to be about 1/2 Irish and has an Irish name.  So, I vow to put on my green socks and green shirt and maybe I'll even have a pint of Guiness.  Yay! 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dino movie magic

My pal Karl wanted to make a movie.  Well, the person who was going to help produce our movie never did anything and Karl's still waiting.  He was hoping to have a film where the aliens came to destroy the world and Karl ate them.
 
If that hadn't worked out, he would have liked to have played this dinosaur who wandered around the world playing chess with people.
 
And a third idea was going around giving massages to cute red haired girls. No wait, that wasn't Karl's idea that was one of mine. 
 
But this Laura person who supposedly knew this director never did anything to get Karl's movie going.  So, movies about Karl saving the western town full of cute red haired girls from the Mexican bandits will have to wait. I'm not sure if that was one of Karl's ideas or not. It seems awfully familar  though.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hey Frank

Well, I see the Catholic Church passed over me again to hire Pope Frank.  That's okay.  But, I still would've liked having the job.  I've often wondered where the pope gets those cool hats.  I could get me one of those pope hats and a big cross and go around blessing people.  I'm actually an ordained minister.  I don't often mention it, but I once sent a money order to this church in Modesto and they sent me back my ordination certificate.  I've actually offered to marry people and they always decline for some reason. 

Anyway, so I wish Frank well and maybe he'll come by America sometime and we can play chess.

I don't know if the pope plays chess or not.  I am under the impression the Dali Lama plays chess.  I'd love to play chess with the Dalai Lama. 


Oh, I've got this idea for a TV show.  The pope has a secret lair underneath the Vatican. At night he hunts down vampires in a specially equipped limosine with a Benedictine monk for a sidekick.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Story of Ketchup

Today I'm writng about ketchup. I guess what got me started on it was the fact that I was having lunch at a restaurant. At a nearby table a young, and I should say adorable, little girl asked her father to hand her the ketchup. She wanted to put it on her hot dog (one of the kids meal options at this place) The gentleman, presumably her father, wouldn't let het have any. He told her she couldn't put ketchup on hot dogs, only mustard. The child was not happy with this revelation. She sat there and sulked, probably plotting the day in the future when she will stab him to death while he sleeps.  Anyway, the child had my sympathy. It brought back some memories of my own.


When I was a child, about in the third grade or so, I had a real problem. That was the year I broke my arm. But that was also the year we got ketchup. I had experienced ketchup before. I’d had it at school. But, in our house, my dad had this fanatical hatred of ketchup. He would throw a fit if anyone bought it at the store. If you actually had some and put it on something, he’d go in a tirade about drinking blood. So, my mom just didn’t bother to buy it.

But, as I and my brother got older, ketchup (still spelled catsup back then) kept making its way into the house. But I would be relentlessly harassed if I put it on a hamburger or tater tots (or anything). My father actually once tried to get me to put mustard on french fries. Well, this got old. Finally, at some point, my mother intervened and told my dad to stop acting like such a jerk. Then we moved to California and the ketchup problem kind of faded away–sort of. We’d still get "Ooh blood comments," but he stopped throwing fits if you tried to buy it or used it at a restaurant.

I don’t know where this came from. When we went to our grandmother’s house she had ketchup on hand. So, it wasn’t something from his childhood like a family taboo or anything. In fact, my brother and I once found a bottle of hickory smoke flavor ketchup at grandma’s. It was an unopened bottle. We opened it and tried it, though I don’t remember on what. It was the most vile thing I’ve ever put in my mouth–simply horrible. But regular ketchup was never an issue there. And his brother (my uncle) consumed ketchup and possessed it at his house until the day he died.

Anyway, my dad sort of gave up at some point and people in our family could eat ketchup and buy it without any harassment. We could even use it at restaurants.

However, since my mom died, I don’t think there’s ever been a bottle of ketchup in his house. 

I buy the store brands of ketchup, as it's often half the price of Heinz.

.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Make it more gooder please mommy?

One of the things that continues to amaze me is the amount of science fiction content I get for Science Fiction Trails, where I am editor, that cite star maps or some reference for Sol 3–meaning our sun "Sol" and 3 for third planet, Earth. Or some variation thereof. Why would aliens reference the Earth English language name for a star? And many of these so-called aliens haven’t even been here before. It’s not creative. It’s not original. And why would they do this? The answer, they would not.

Then, once these aliens arrive, they have only come all these light years to do something ridiculous like mutilate cattle or sit in some cave for some inexplicable reason. I’ve been lamenting the poor quality of story submissions for some time now. I guess it boils down to creativity and imagination. Some folks got it and some folks certainly do not.

I just bought a story that was amazingly creative and bright and fresh. Now I’ll have to read some more tripe. But I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.

Still, how do these so-called writers convince themselves this is sellable fiction? I’ll tell you why: Critique Groups. Too many writers convince themselves that having people critique their stories makes it more gooder. It doesn’t make it gooder at all. You get critiques from friends. Those friends tell you it’s good because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Or, you have it critiqued by so-called writing groups and chances are the critiques from there are being written by somebody who knows even less than even you do. You certainly are not getting someone with an editor’s eye looking at it. At least not very often. So, your goodest story goes off and the editor it’s sent to wants to hang himself after reading this tripe all day.

So, what’s the moral to this story? Don’t delude yourself that having a story critiqued makes it more gooder. It dodn’t. If you can’t tell if a story is good on your own, without somebody else’s help, it ain’t gonna matter. I’m not talking about copy editing here, critiquing is done by people with dubious qualification before a story is sent out. Editing comes after a story is purchased.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Wisdom

Burns“Oh, yes, shitting. The great leveler. From the mightiest Pharaoh to the lowliest peasant, who doesn’t enjoy a good shit?”

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Notes on potential appointments

I just want to let the powers that be who run the world to know:

I would be happy to be the next Pope.  I'm not a priest. I'm not even Catholic. But I'd be happy to do it if they need somebody.

If any governor finds an opening for the Senate that needs to be filled, they can appoint me. I'd be happy to do it. There would be a new meaning to the word fillibuster if I was a senator.

Talk show hosts: If the netowrks need someone to take over any of their talk shows, get someone else. I don't want to do it.

If any movie producers are looking for somebody to write a movie script about The Frito Bandito versus the Green Hornet, I'd be happy to do that.

If any of the award shows want a host, get somebody else. I'm not really interested.

If any country needs some guy to fly into space for their space program, I'd love to go. Hear that, Iran?  Any country at all. Just let me know.

If any university wants some guy to take a million bucks and see how long it takes to spend it at Taco Bell, I'd be happy to help them out as long as they have a grant or something and are supplying the money.

If any of the super rich people don't have any heirs, I just wanted them to know they can leave their money to me. I'd be happy to take it.

If any movie producers want to hire some guy with no acting experience to star in their latest big budget movie, I'd be happy to do that. Especially if it's got flying saucers in it.

Thank you very much.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spores From Outer Space

For some time now there have been two types of mold, each one fighting for supremacy of my bathroom.  One is this green mold.  It seems to grow slowly, but is really stubborn to kill. The other one is this pink mold. Bleach or other cleaners kill the pink mold quick enough, but it can grow back amazingly fast. Now, I've discovered a third mold, a brown one that is encroaching as well. I was hoping the other molds would repel this invader, but that has not yet happened. In fact, the brown mold is gaining territory, especially around the shower. It seems to be using the shower head as its base.  I put the shower head in the diswasher and it went away, but it's still lurking in other areas of the bathroom. Stay tuned to this blog channel for future developments.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Disappointing Development

Last December I placed the products published by Science Fiction Trails  on consigment with Quimby's Bookstore in Chicago.  Distribution is a perpetual problem for us as so few book stores will carry small press content. The bias is that if it's not from a large publisher it can't be any good. Well, Quimby's carries a lot of indie and small press material, especially zines.  It's all consignment, so it doesn't tie up their money in inventory.  That said, they have only sold one book.  Not exactly a resounding success. 

So, if you live in Chicago, go by there and go buy there. Science fiction and western horror is good for you. People who read western horror stories live ten years longer than those who do not.*  If you don't live there, look over weirdwestern.com and pick something good to read. There's lots of stuff out there.  The stuff SFT publishes is the best, but order something.  You might live forever.*











* Not necessarily proven by scientific studies

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Just Put Goggles On It









I'm attending a steampunk con in Denver at the end of the month. I've been trying to find some new steampunk looking duds for Anomaly Con. There's a saying that to make something look like steampunk, just put goggles on it.  Well, I found some goggles at the thrift store yesterday. I was so pleased.

Speaking of goggles, when I first moved to the Vail area, I kept seeing dogs wearing goggles.  I thought this was incredibly cool that dogs were running around wearing goggles. One dog was so cool he was wearing his goggles while he rode around in a motorcycle side car. But what I never could figure out is where people were getting these goggles from. Dog heads are not shaped like human heads. And these dog goggles seemed to be made for dogs.  As time went by, dogs in goggles sightings became less frequent. It's now been a couple of years since I've seen a dog wearing goggles. And I still have no idea where those dogs got their goggles at.

And I don't know if Anomaly Con allows dogs in goggles to attend.  I sure as hell would, but it's not up to me.

Since the original posting I've been informed that the dog goggles are called Doggles and are available from a company online. And they've got dozens of different styles. Every cool dog should have some.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Footprints

The other day we had snow.  That's not unusual in Colorado.  What I found unnerving was the footprints I saw yesterday morning. Somebody had walked from the trail that runs behind my house over to my back porch.  The snow back there is at least two feet deep. Somebody went to considerable effort to come over through the snow. Why was somebody on my back porch? I guess I'll never know.  Dogs run around back there sometime. But, these were obvious boot prints made by human beings.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Boy howdy.





I just loved "Clear," the new episode of The Walking Dead. Issues from the pilot come back bigtime with a surprise appearance.  One thing I just love about this show is they keep you off guard all the time. You never know who is going to get it or what's going to happen next.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Not enough help

Increasingly, it seems more and more businesses around the mountain region of Colorado have just given up on serving customers.  Yesterday I went to McDonalds. The order taker didn't even know what the item I was ordering was and had to ask somebody. After 15 minutes of wating for my food there were still 6 people ahead of me. The problem seemed to be they had no food cooked. After waiting 15 minutes, only then did they even start to cook more hamburgers on the grill. And they still wouldn't start any fries. Add to that the tables were all filthy and trash cans overflowing. I just walked out the door and never did get any lunch.  Alas, this is not unusual. The root cause of this seems to be the absolute refusal to hire any help.

And it's not just Micky D's. You go to pick up your prescription and there's this enormous line and only one poor clerk trying to cope with it.  Go to the bank and they have one teller and a line nearly out the door. It's just pitiful. Call and complain and you get some guy in the Phillipines that barely speaks English and can't do anyhthing about it if he wanted to.

The United States looks like a third world country in so many ways.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Vast Conspiracy

I've always found it interesting that quite a few writers submit a story to Science Fiction Trails, then disappear, never to be heard from again.  It won't account for all of the vanishing writers, but I've actually been told that some of these writers are being told not to submit to SFT. They're being told this through the auspices of a writers critique group. And, to my knowledge, I've never even met the so-called pro author who is blacklisting me. It is a major pro author. I'm not saying who at this point. I don't want a perpetual legal battle that I can't win. But, one more of those strange weird things that can simply blindside you in the world of publishing stuff.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Poly Ticks

I usually try to stay clear of politics on this blog. Frankly, I’m fed up with all the nonsense coming out of Washington. The dysfunctional family that is Congress is the worst in the history of the republic. We should look back at history. Rome started out as a republic, too. Then the Senate became so dysfunctional and inept it could no longer govern so they handed over the running of the empire to the nutjob emperors. That may be where we’re headed, though we won’t be calling them emperors, but the concept is the same.

My solutions to our budget problem:

The pay of all congressmen should immediately be cut  the amount all other federal employees who are going to be furloughed. Of course, I don’t think they should get any more paychecks at all until they solve some of the nation’s problems but they should at least be cut.

We should invade Canada immediately and steal all of their mineral wealth. This would greatly help our fiscal problems by selling Canada’s assets. Back in the 1800s when we took other country’s property we benefitted greatly from it. We stole a huge amount of land from Mexico, for example.

We should sell Texas to anyone who would buy it. It’s a horrible place and no one will even miss it. Maybe Mexico would buy it. It used to be theirs anyway.

We should sell ownership in things we don’t own, like the moon and asteroids.

Put a 50% tax on campaign ads. I don’t know how much money it’ll being in, but I really hate those horrible campaign ads.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Getting Published


I just placed another story with Tales of the Talisman, which is a semi pro fiction magazine that comes out quarterly. The story was my fifth one involving Sarah Meadows of the Gompers Insurance Company. Another Sarah story was published previously in Tales of the Talisman a few years back. And the editor of that very magazine published Sarah stories in two anthologies: Space Pirates and Space Horrors. Anyway, I'm not sure if it means Sarah Meadows stories are pretty good or that particular editor just seems to like them.

This is straight up science fiction. In Sarah's world Mars is an independent republic with an uneasy relationship with Earth. She goes to work for the Gompers Insurance Company, which is kind of like Lloyds of London on steroids–very high risk insurer. On Sarah’s first day working there after graduating from the Martian School of Economics she gets signed up for weapons training.

Anyway, Sarah seems to fast becoming my franchise fiction character. There’s also an entire novel with her that’s floating around out there with an agent.

In the story for TOTT, which was just sold yesterday, a space station that’s been missing for 20 years suddenly returns–but things just don’t seem quite write to Sarah as she investigates the mystery involving the single largest underwriting loss in company history. Alas, this one won’t be out until next year. In the meantime, if you want to read up on some space insurance, the two books are still in print.