Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve

I was so happy I didn't have to work tonight--New Years Eve.  It's the worst day of the year. There's nothing good that ever came from New Years Eve in Vail.  Since I'm not working, I'm hoping, deep down, they have a riot. They used to have them regularly, but they started bringing in half of the cops in the state and things have been less chaotic of late.  But, I'd like to see one since I'm not working. If I was working, I'd be deciding what weapons to take to work.

Add to that the fact it's nearly impossible to even get into a grocery store or restaurant.  Things are so incredibly crowded and I keep asking "Why would anybody want to come here?" I still don't know the answer.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

It's In the Numberz

I keep a pad of paper by my computer in case I need to write down something.  Yesterday I noticed a number, some nine digits long, that I'd written down. Thing is, I have no idea what this number is for or what it means. And I have no recollection of writing it down.  Thusly, I'm really bothered by it. Is it some secret number to some account that the men in black wiped from my memory?  Or am I just getting so senile I can't remember anything? Neither option is a good one. But I really have no idea what this number means or why I wrote it down.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Anthologies From Outer Space

2014 may be the year of the anthology.  I'm already slated to have stories in four of them and the year hasn't even started yet. I don't mention forthcoming projects, with rare exception, until they actually see print. I think it's bad luck and I've been double crossed so many many times. So, I'll mention them when they come out. I'm also publishing one as well. More on that in a few months.

Science Fiction Trails 11 will be out in the Spring. It may be the best issue, ever.  I'll  have more on that later on.


Friday, December 27, 2013

I'm Not the King

I wrote the other day about some guy who had shit all over him. I quoted Monty Python & The Holy Grail.  "How do you know he's the king?" "He hasn't got shit all over him."

I guess I'm not the king, either.  I stepped in some dog poop and didn't realize it. I got it inside my car, on the floor of my house, on my shoes and even on my pants. And it was awful to clean up. Usually, around here, shit is frozen and not that much of an issue during the winter. but, I guess I managed to find some good fresh stuff.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

They Say

They say most of the charitable giving comes in December.  They say there's a tax angle to it.  Well, last Tuesday I gave the Salvation Army 37 cents.  It had nothing to do with taxes. That's what change I had in my pocket, so I tossed it into the red kettle.  Which leads me to the question, if I were to make my own red kettle and stand at some well travelled area ringing a bell,  I wonder how much money I would make. I'm not really planning such an endeavor, though I wonder if people actually try this.
 
I note that our local Kroger store was open on Christmas. I think companies should give their employees a break. Stop being so greedy and let people have a day off.
 
Finally, my last thoughts on the Christmas past--I really wanted some pancakes.  I didn't have any pancake mix. I didn't go to the store [see above commentary] so I just did without pancakes. I'll eat some pancakes today.  But, alas, the stores around here no longer carry the blueberry ones. Those were my favorites.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Every Single Year

Well, now that the commercial orgy of Christmas is winding down, I'll  remind the world that this place would be much better off if everyone would just blindly do what I tell them. In the meantime, I'll share an observation that everyone will ignore.

Every single blasted year the news media, regardless of whether it's a network show or local broadcast, chirps into the never ending whining that holiday sales are in some way not up to snuff. What's not being said is the fact that sales will never be up to snuff.  People don't shop the way they used to. The world of going to Macy's on Miracle on whatever street they're on is long gone. People are not going whole hog and overbuying like they used to. It's not coming back. Sure they'll buy gifts, and like to have a special meal and may even throw a holiday gathering. But they're not buying nearly as much crap they don't need. They look long and hard at prices. And just buying everything and paying it off in July is not as popular. And that ain't going to change anytime soon. So, the retail world needs to get off its addiction to Christmas shopping and manage their inventories and hire people who aren't total morons and there are too many stores in this country. The good old days are gone. And that's the way it is. And the reporters and talking heads need to realize this and stop parroting what the retail stores PR departments are spewing out.

And, by the way, two new stores have joined my long list of places I won't patronize because they've pissed me off.

By the way, Santa Claus stiffed me.  Not only did he not bring me that cute redhead I like, but he didn't bring me anything at all.

Merry Christmas everybody. 

How'd you like to be two years old and wake up seeing this guy standing next to your bed?
How would you like to be 2 years old and wake up with this guy standing by your bed "watching you?"

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

If it all happened today

I'm not sure of the original source of this. It was sent to me by the late Aaron B. Larson. Well, not when he was dead, but, well, you know what I mean.

If it all happened today...

INFANT DISCOVERED IN BARN, CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES LAUNCH PROBE

Nazareth Carpenter Being Held On Charges Involving Underage Mother

Bethlehem, Judea - Authorities were today alerted by a concerned citizen who noticed a family living in a barn. Upon arrival, Family Protective Service personnel, accompanied by police, took into protective care an infant child named Jesus, who had been wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding trough by his 14-year old mother, Mary of Nazareth.

During the confrontation, a man identified as Joseph, also of Nazareth, attempted to stop the social workers. Joseph, aided by several local shepherds and some unidentified foreigners, tried to forestall efforts to take the child, but were restrained by the police.

Also being held for questioning are three foreigners who allege to be wise men from an eastern country. The INS and Homeland Security officials are seeking information about these who may be in the country illegally. A source with the INS states that they had no passports, but were in possession of gold and other possibly illegal substances. They resisted arrest saying that they had been warned by God to avoid officials in Jerusalem and to return quickly to their own country. The chemical substances in their possession will be tested.

The owner of the barn is also being held for questioning. The manager of Bethlehem Inn faces possible revocation of his license for violating health and safety regulations by allowing people to stay in the stable. Civil authorities are also investigating the zoning violations involved in maintaining livestock in a commercially-zoned district.

The location of the minor child will not be released, and the prospect for a quick resolution to this case is doubtful. Asked about when Jesus would be returned to his mother, a Child Protective Service spokesperson said, "The father is middle-aged and the mother definitely underage. We are checking with officials in Nazareth to determine what their legal relationship is.

Joseph has admitted taking Mary from her home in Nazareth because of a census requirement. However, because she was obviously pregnant when they left, investigators are looking into other reasons for their departure. Joseph is being held without bond on charges of molestation, kidnaping, child endangerment, and statutory rape.

Mary was taken to the Bethlehem General Hospital where she is being examined by doctors. Charges may also be filed against her for endangerment. She will also undergo psychiatric evaluation because of her claim that she is a virgin and that the child is from God.

The director of the psychiatric wing said, "I don't profess to have the right to tell people what to believe, but when their beliefs adversely affect the safety and well-being of others in this case her child - we must consider her a danger to others. The unidentified drugs at the scene didn't help her case, but I'm confidant that with the proper therapy regiment we can get her back on her feet."

A spokesperson for the governor's office said, "Who knows what was going through their heads? But regardless, their treatment of the child was inexcusable, and the involvement of these others frightening. There is much we don't know about this case, but for the sake of the child and the public, you can be assured that we will pursue this matter to the end."

Monday, December 23, 2013

All Right Then

I got a letter from a crooked publisher that I've talked about in some past postings. He's no longer going to be publishing fiction. How nice. I find it astonishing that he really believes he actually has the rights to publish anything. He's broken every contract he's had with every writer he's dealt with.  He refuses to even send out earnings statements. Most people who've dealt with him have never been paid a dime.  I've only been paid a few cents for the three stories in three anthologies that I made the mistake of getting involved with. I actually started laughing when I read the letter.  I found it oddly funny that he still thinks people take him seriously as a publisher and he's all wore out from doing nothing. 

What amazes me is not that he's a crook, not that he's convinced himself he's a good guy and his business just went south--it's that everyone let him get away with it.  I only had a few stories. Others had books and we're talking considerable money.  I even had a standing offer for the past two years that I would serve him at no cost if anyone would just take this guy to court. No one ever took me up on it.  If I had more money involved, I would've sued him and subpoenaed the sales records of the company that distributes his books. 

I won't mention the name, even though I'd like to.  I'll just add that I have never had a good experience with a small publisher concerning a book deal and I have two unpublished novels that may never see print because of  my experiences.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

How Do You Know He's the King?

Standing in line at the post office, I found myself wondering what on earth it was all over the guy in front of me. His trousers were caked in, what I soon determined, was shit.  I don't know if it was his or the product of some animal. This reminded me of the wonderful pair of lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "How do you know he's the king?"
"Cause he hasn't got shit all over him."  Well, this guy certainly wasn't the king. 

How did he get shit all over him? I can only wonder. I don't normally go around in public places with shit all over me, but obviously, others may view the matter differently.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Kristmas Kardz

An odd pattern seems to have developed concerning the Christmas cards I've received thus far. I don't get a large quantity, but the ones I've gotten all have wolves on them--all of them. They're all pretty cool looking. It seems on odd coincidence they'd all have wolves on them.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Down to the Wire

Christmas shopping in my family is easy. We don't exchange gifts.  Haven't for years. We long ago decided that, since no one ever likes what they get anyway, why bother. So, I don't get Christmas presents.  Whilst I admit I  think it's a good thing, overall, I do sort of miss not having the decorate tree with presents underneath it. 

That wasn't always the case. When my dad's golden retriever was still alive, he got real excited when the Christmas tree went up. That was before we stopped exchanging gifts.  If we hadn't put a gift for him under the tree, there would've been no living with him. He always knew which present was his. He'd go by and check on it every now and then. And when the big day arrived, once he was given his present, often a toy of some kind, he'd open it himself and take it around and show it to everybody.
 
But, overall, I like not having to buy and ship presents. And if  everyone did as I do, the economy would come to a grinding halt.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Twas

I re-read the poem "The Night Before Christmas" yesterday. I hadn't read it in at least ten years. It's still darn good.  Haven't seen the TV version in a while.

Speaking of TV versions, I don't like all that many.  I like Frosty, but can't stand the sequel  I like the one with the dancing fire and ice guys .. He's Mister White Christmas. Can't remember the actual title. Rudolph is okay. The original Grinch is good,  but I don't like the movie with Jim Carey.  Charlie Brown Christmas is okay.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kardz

I was looking for something I wrote last year, but I just can't find it. It was a Christmas card I made all by myself.  And I just can't find it.  That's something that's disappearing; Christmas cards. I remember back in the old days growing up in California, our mailbox would be stuffed with Christmas cards of all types.  There would be the foil embossed one from my uncle [always foil embossed] and the religious cards, and the ones with Santa and the ones with some sort of  tree on them. I always seemed to like the ones with the Christmas trees the best. 
 
Over time, after my parents retired, the amount of Christmas cards dwindled significantly. I don't know how many cards my dad now sends out or gets, but I suspect it's a tiny fraction of what it once was. This year's cards he sent out are really cool looking. They've got a wolf on them. It's a radical departure for him.  I was impressed.
 
My cards, well, they were mostly the three wise men.  I sent out a few with a Christmas tree on them. And this leads me back to last year's cards. They had an alien with antennae on its head standing by a decorated tree. The verse was "May your holidays be out of this world." Nobody liked them. Nobody at all.  I went back to regular cards.
 
So, that's the way it is. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Review

There's a new review of Steampunk Trails at SF Site.  It's favorable, but a little odd in some ways. It mentions me repeatedly, all but ignores the magazine's editor and focuses almost entirely on the non fiction articles, all but ignoring the stories.

http://www.sfsite.com/00a/st406.htm

Monday, December 16, 2013

Writing Stuff

If anyone's interested in writing for Steampunk Trails, Julie has put up the new guidelines at the Steampunk Trails blog.  There is a link on this site (right above this posting). Opportunities for both fiction and nonfiction.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reading

Well, the Steampunk Christmas reading yesterday went very well. A  good time was had by all. Some very good stories were presented. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Steampunk Christmas

Well, today is the big day.  Yours truly and some other Colorado authors are reading steampunk holiday stories at the Broadway Book Mall at 3 pm. And it's free. Rumor has it they're even serving tea.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dear Santa

Karl
Hi, it's me Karl. I'm guest blogging today.

I just wanted to post my letter to Santa.

Dear Santa,

I'm real sorry about last year. I sure hope you aren't still mad at me. Look, we didn't have Santa Claus back in the cretaceous. How was I supposed to know when some fat guy in a sleigh showed up? I'd sure like to see a nice gift under the tree this Christmas. I've been pretty good for the most part.

I hope there aren't any hard feelings. For what it's worth, Blitzen was absolutely delicious.

Your friend,
Karl

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

You know, it's been like 30 years since you put anything for me underneath the tree.  Would it kill you to drop off a gift this Christmas eve?  I'm not that hard to buy for.  If you can't come up with something nice, a sack full of money always makes for a nice present. 

The fireplace is all clean now.  Although, you can always just use the back door. 

Thanks again,

Dave

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

They suck. They really do.

The Post Office says they don't suck.  I beg to differ. Someone sent me a package by First Class Mail a month ago. I just got it today.  My mortgage payment check was mailed two weeks ago to Chicago. It still hasn't arrived.  Last month it took three weeks for a Priority Mail package to get to California.  By my definition, service like this sucks.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Copies

Over at Steampunk Trails, where I am publisher,  during our Black Friday half off sale someone bought 25 copies.  Since it was bought through our distributor, I have no idea who it was. I'd love to thank them. That's a lot of copies--so many I sort of wonder why someone would buy so many. A class of some sort comes to mind.  At any rate, whatever they're being used for, I hope they enjoy them.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Horrorble

As I try to decide what to spend money on next year and what not to, I find myself  seriously doubting whether I want to renew my membership in the Horror Writers Association.  I just keep asking myself what do I get for my dues?  The answer: nothing.  It seems they rarely have any useful market information.  In fact, I can't say that I've gotten any useful information on anything. Heck, they can't even get their website to work half the time. 
 
 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ice World

A couple of days ago I told someone I thought I'd crash landed on an alien ice world.  Things have gotten much icier and colder since then.  Driving to and from work is like driving on a glacier. It's just awful and I want sympathy.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Art

It's simply astonishing that I've ended up in the role of art director for Science Fiction Trails.  That includes Steampunk Trails and any anthology projects.  Why is this so darned ridiculous?  I can't draw.  Well, with weak sales I'm not likely to hire someone anytime soon.  Here's one of my drawings:


Friday, December 6, 2013

Another Crackpot Idea

A few weeks ago I wrote about my idea for Abominable Cereal, the cereal with little Abominable Snowmen inside the box. Well, there's another idea I have that I lack the resources to develop and market.  Lump O Coal.  Basically, people would buy a yellow card with a shrink wrapped lump of coal on it at stores.  Lump O Coal--For that rotten little kid. And on the back would be a little story about how Santa gives the bad kids a lump of coal instead of a present.  I think this would be just awesome. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Brrr

Every year about this time we get an arctic blast that comes down from Canada.  Damn cold last night.  A foot of snow came down in about five hours.  That's a lot in such a short time.  I guess that'll make the skiers happy.  Why do I live in a ski resort? I ain't got good sense.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Slime Creature From Planet 12

Do a search for slime creature and you get some interesting results.  But what is a slime creature?  Hell if I know.  Sometimes, when writing stories, you start with a story idea and come up with a name for it as the story develops.  Other times, you start with a title and work out from there.  So, that brings us back to a slime creature, and not any slime creature, but one from Planet 12.  What would Planet 12 be like? 
 
The answer: Planet 12 is a dark place, barely lit by a dim red star. It's warm, it's close to said star in terms of relative distance.  It's a swamp-like world.  How do I know? Because I said so.  One of the hottest things in astronomy right now is the fact they're finding all of these planets. Once they've found them, then you have to figure out what they're like. Then the scientist yields to the science fictionist. who tries to decide what would actually live there.  And on Planet 12 there are slime creatures.  And that's how we come up with a story idea. 
 
Next, we go from idea to actual story. Are there other creatures beside the slime creature?  What's it like on this planet?  And you soon have your story.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mo Money

Well, after repeatedly being lied to by my bank, they've finally issued me a credit.  This after causing two checks to bounce and they refuse to cover the fees I'm stuck with for that.  Just got back from opening my new bank account.  There aren't any credit unions in the county I live in--not one.

These sort of things happen to me all too often.  I've been bumped off of airline flights and not only have I been refused compensation, but the airlines even refused to refund my ticket money.  Those resulted in going to small claims court, just to get my ticket money back.  My health insurance refuses to pay for my flu shot, even though immunizations for influenza are listed plain as day under the things they cover.  I wonder who will screw me over next.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Show Me the Money

Think your money is safe in the bank? Ha!  I recently made a bank deposit, only to discover the next day the bank had deleted the transaction and was literally pretending it was never made. I've never experienced anything like this in my life. And the bank refuses to give me the money back. I bounced two checks.  The bank will not give me any explanation for what happened or why.  Monday  it'll be time to find another bank. Alas, I have no money to open another account.