Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dishonesty

Newer writers are always terrified that their story, play, screenplay, novel will be ripped off by some evil crooked producer or publisher.  And such things do happen.  There was a headline yesterday that accuses a famous director of copyright infringement.  I don't know the particulars. I do know such things are actually fairly rare.

What few people think about is looking at things from the other side of the desk.  On the anthologies I've edited that were not invitation only, most of them have had at least one submission presented to me that was not what it seemed.  If it's a no reprint anthology, I'll usually get at least one story that's been published somewhere else.  The most blatant thing I ever got was a short story by a major 19th century author billed as an original story some guy sent me.

Well, on the forthcoming Martian Anthology, which was not restricted to original stories, I got one anyway that the cover letter said it was original and never published.  Well, a quick computer search found it in a magazine from four years ago.  So, if that writer had simply disclosed it, I would've accepted it.  Since I was lied to about its history, I rejected it. Are we having fun yet?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ald whatever

One of the more pointless holidays on the calendar is New Years. It's the one holiday that doesn't really stand for anything.  It's just people celebrate a non event as the planet earth moves around the sun--as if our screwed up calendar has any real meaning or significance.  My point is the new year could actually start on any day, it just happens to be this Friday.  The Chinese have a much older calendar and they celebrate New Years on a different day.  In fact, it's a pretty widespread concept across religions and cultures to celebrate New Years in some fashion.  If people gave me money or food or something I might like the holiday better. But people actually celebrate New Years the night before.  And the day itself consists of watching football games.  

Gee Dave, aren't we getting kind of cranky?  Perhaps.  But I just think New Years, just a week after we've had Santa Claus sneaking around our house just kind of blows.  Most people either get drunk and make an ass out of themselves or they stand around someplace in the cold, like Times Square, I guess I just don't get it.

But if anyone is reading this and has some celebration planned, well Happy New year and to all a good night.  Maybe they should get that pink elephant to come around and hand out booze to children who can't sleep because their parents are making too much noise.  Humbug.  





Sunday, December 27, 2015

Forthcoming

Well, I have a story coming out in March in a new anthology that's going to release at Anomaly Con. I don't know if I'll go to the con. Anomaly Con is one of those cons that doesn't seem to want anything to do with me.  But the book will come out regardless of whether I'm there or not. The story is about a spoiled imperial princess who is suddenly appointed governor of a planet that is in total anarchy.  Anyway, it's in an anthology called Lightships and Sabers.  

My new science fiction novel Bonded Agent is also slated to come out in the not too distant future. This book features my Sarah Meadows character. Sarah is a Martian insurance adjuster. You just don't see a lot of books about insurance companies in the world of science fiction.  If I could get every insurance agent in the country to order a copy, well that would be something.  

And from my company, Science Fiction Trails, we'll be releasing a new anthology called simply The Martian Anthology. As the name implies, it's a collection of stories about Mars and Martians.  That will likely hit the market in February.  

So, if Santa gave you gift cards at Amazon or Barnes & Nobel, well hang onto them a couple of months and you can get some great stories.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Special

I don't review TV shows as a rule.  And I've been rather disappointed with the latest offerings from Doctor Who, as I thought them silly and preposterous--even by BBC standards.  Well, the Christmas special was quite a surprise.  It teams River Song up with the Doctor once again.  This is the first pairing with the new Peter Capaldi version of the Doctor.  Frankly, it was a delightful story and  exceptionally well written.  A very pleasant surprise indeed.  

Friday, December 25, 2015

Dear Santa

Thanks for nothing.  I didn't really expect anything this year and you did not disappoint.  I didn't really want any of your crappy gifts anyway.  I still haven't forgotten the defective telescope I got when I was in the second grade.  And the defective toy printing press.  And those chocolate covered cherries where the mice had gotten into the box and eaten half of them--I still remember those lovely little gems covered with mouse turds.  

Oh. and the defective bicycle pump--who the hell gives a kid a bicycle pump? That should come standard with the blasted bicycle.

So, as I've said before, I think you should work a little more on your quality control.  But since you don't give me presents anymore, I'm just basing this on some fairly old data.

And how come they quit making those cool flying saucer calendars?  I really liked those.

You pal, 

Dave



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Creepy Old Guy In Living Room

Creepy Old Guy In Living Room!
What Should We Do?

Sick The Dog On Him
Sick The Dog On Him!

Siri says give him cookies and milk
Shoot him, shoot him, I say.

Siri says give him M & M's.
Candy? That's the best she can do?

Well, he's gone now.
What did he want?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Really?

Star Wars soup? Star Wars Spaghetti o's? Is this really necessary?   I ain't buying any.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Reading Stories

I'm winding down the reading period for an anthology of Martian stories.  It's been a long time since I've had to reject so many stories.  About 3/4 of the stories I got were simply not what I was looking for. Very few of them even  remotely followed the submission guidelines.  Heck, they didn't even mention Mars and could have been taking place just about anywhere.  A collection of Martian stories should have stories that actually take place on or be about Mars in some fashion. Very disappointing.  I've got a few left to read this weekend.  Oh well, that's the risk one takes.  I doubt I'll do any more anthologies, at least not for some time.  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cereal Blues

I bought some Grape Nuts Flakes yesterday. I hadn't had any in a year.  No one sells it.  The store I usually shop at even told me they don't make it anymore. Well, that was a lie.  Walmart had plenty of it.  This is kind of a boring cereal.  If you haven't had any, it's kind of somewhere between bran flakes and corn flakes.  I've always liked it for some reason.  Not to be confused with regular Grape Nuts, which are readily available in most stores. These are quite different.

Speaking of cereal, if I ever win the lottery, I'm going to market Abominable Cereal.  It would have little frosted Abominable Snowmen and a picture on the box of the Abominable Snowman on top a mountain summit swatting at airplanes.  Like that's ever going to really happen.

Another cereal I'd love to see would be Martian cereal, with little green men .

But, if I can't have cereal with little green men or Abominable Snowmen, then just give me my simple Grape Nuts Flakes.  I'm happy.

I'm surprised they haven't got Star Wars cereal.  They've got everything else. Heck, they even had Star Wars soup in the store yesterday.  I didn't buy any.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New Year Coming Soon /Last Minute

Well, Santa won't bring you a copy of the Martian Anthology this Christmas, as it won't be released until the end of January.  But maybe the Abominable Snowman will have one for you in his bag this  winter.  Just like it sounds, it's got stories about Mars and Martians in it.

Of course, Heat of the Midday Sun and Six Guns Straight From Hell 2 are available right now.  And who wouldn't want a little weird western action in their stocking? Tell Santa what you want.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Cartoon cannibals

Maybe it's just me, but I find cannibalism in commercials bothersome.  Cannibalism?  Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head run around unabashedly gulping down Lay's potato chips.  

And then there's the M&M guys.  They not only put out M&M's for slaughter, but have even eaten them sometimes.  

If I put out chips made out of people at parties, well it would be kind of gross methinks.  

Friday, December 11, 2015

Great Christmas Tale

Looking for a great Christmas story?  Get a copy of The Toymaker by  J.A. Campbell.  You'll be glad you did.  This is a first rate Christmas tale.  In fact, it's one of the best holiday stories I've ever read. Read it to your cat. Read it to your kids.  Just get a copy and read it.  You'll be glad you did.  This story was originally created for a steampunk Christmas reading.  The audience was truly mesmerized as the author read it.  Order it! 
It's available from Amazon.



Thursday, December 10, 2015

Come on people!

There’s been a lot of really nasty things being said by politicians recently.  I’m not going to comment directly on this unbridled bigotry.  But I thought I’d share a memory from a couple of years ago.

It was a summer evening.  I got a call from the hotel next door to the one I work at.  The night manager asked if we had any rooms available. I said we did.  Then she said something odd, “There’s this family here.  They’re not from this country.”

“Send ‘em on over.”

“Are you sure?” She asked.

“Yes.  I’ll take care of ‘em.”

So, a few minutes later this family shows up in our lobby.  They were dressed like they’d just posed for the cover of jihad monthly.  Yep, they didn’t look like they were from Colorado. “How can I help you folks?”

Anyway, the husband explained they just wanted a room with bedding to sleep five people. I explained what we had.  They decided that would be acceptable.  I noted they had an Egyptian address. Anyway, they went off to their room.

About a half hour later the husband showed up at the front desk.  I was afraid there might be a problem with their room.  “Can I help you?” I asked.

“Can you tell me what channel Star Trek is on?” he asked.

“Well, give me a moment.” I had a good idea.  I scrolled through the lobby TV’s listings. “Original Star Trek is on that channel.  Oddly enough, the BBC channel is running Next Generation.  And I have no idea what’s become of Deep Space Nine.”

“They don’t have Deep Space Nine in Egypt, either.  I think it got a lot better when they added Whorf,” My guest said.  

“Absolutely,” I agreed.

Anyway, it turns out he worked for the United Nations in a cultural job trying to preserve archaeological sites in the Middle East and they’d come to Colorado on vacation.  We talked about Star Trek for about half an hour.

Then the phone rang.  “Is my husband down there?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Is he talking about Star Trek?”

“Yes ma’am.”

Anyway, these folks turned out to be extremely nice people.  I was sorry to see them leave when they checked out.  The fact somebody dresses a little differently or is from a certain part of the world should not condemn them to hostility as the siren’s song of bigotry once again tries to seduce certain factions of our society.  And that’s all I have to say.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

It's been over 30 years since you've given me any presents.  I mentioned this in my letter last year.  Now, it wouldn't bother me so much, except everyone else gets presents from Santa.  But my stocking remains empty.  Okay, if you're still sore I wrote that story about you stealing money from people's homes, I get it.  But that was a long time ago.  And maybe you're still sore about that story I wrote where you were doing naughty things with girls along your route--Mrs. Claus read that one maybe?   Still, all things considered, it's not like I shot you under Colorado's "Make My Day Law." Oh that's right, since you never bring me anything I guess you don't have to worry about getting shot. 
And I'm sure Prancer's still sore about that story  that reindeer are obsolete and should be cooked up on the barbecue grill.  

So, in the unlikely event you show up, I could use just about everything.  Most of my clothes are threadbare and worn out.  

Your pal, 

Dave

PS--My neighbor Karl says you stole his porno movie collection last Christmas.  He wanted me to tell you he wants it back.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Gastro

Well, thus far I haven't come up with an artist to illustrate my comic book for me. Gastro, as I've mentioned before, has the power to make people poop themselves on command.  Here's a taste of it:

Gastro
Episode One

The bigot was fiddling with his tie.  Just seconds before he takes the podium at the Party convention.  A handler tells him it’s time to ascend the stairs, which lead straight to the podium. It’s time.  Phht.  The great senator can’t believe what is happening.  Phht phht.  It used to happen when he was out playing as a child.  He’d poop his pants and run home. He wasn’t going to run home this night. The podium was right in front of him.  Phhht. Could the microphone be picking this up?  Phhht phht phht splat. His pants were turning warm. Lord this stuff stunk. His BVD’s were filling up fast. “I want to be your president.”  Were these people laughing.

The man in the green bow tie headed out the side entrance of the convention center.  Who even knew it was possible to make people poop themselves on command?  As a child, it was Ricky and Jerry who raced home to tell their mothers they need clean pants–never him. Gerald Popper had other places to be that night.  His one weakness was it required line-of-sight.  He hopped on the 27 bus.

Norweigian Blue

One of the things I've always wanted to do if I had the financial resources concerns dogs.  I think it would be cool to create dogs in colors through genetic engineering.  You could have orange ones, red ones, maybe even aquamarine.  In particular, I'd like to have a blue one. I'd call them Norwegian Blue Terriers for no particular reason. It's probably good I'm not mega rich.  




Friday, December 4, 2015

Shiver Me Timbers

I've been sick this week.  I'll spare the details.  When I'm unwell, I've noticed I have a sensitivity to cold that I'm not used to.  Even though it's been rather chilly, it was not so cold that it would normally bother me all that much. But, I wanted to crawl inside any fireplace I came across.  Alas, I gradually started feeling better and things don't seem so cold. 


Monday, November 30, 2015

Flashers

It amazes me how many drivers think all they have to do is turn their flashers on and they can park wherever they want and commit any traffic violation with impunity.  Particularly disturbing are the ones who crawl along in a 75 mph zone doing 20. "It's okay because my flashers are on."  No, it's not okay. These people are a menace. If they're afraid to drive on snow--stay home or move to Florida.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving

Turn off that TV and go for a walk.  I walked my friend's dog as they're out of town. You watch TV and they carry on about terrorists.  You'd think there are terrorists under every bush.   A handful of losers got some guns and shot some people in France and blew themselves up. They think they'll be martyrs. Personally, I hope there's a special place in hell for them. No matter, they're just a bunch of thugs with guns. Most of them are total losers who couldn't get a real job, so they took up terrorism. They're hardly invincible. So, turn off the TV.  Don't let gloom and doom overtake everything.  Some historians don't think Thanksgiving Dinner with the Pilgrims really happened.  I wasn't there. But Abraham Lincoln declared it an official holiday because he thought America should lighten up--and things were pretty grim back then during the Civil War. 

There's plenty to be thankful for. Donald Trump is running for president [just kidding on that one].Hey, unemployment has come down a lot.  More Americans have health insurance.  And Trevor has a new ball from Petsmart.  Trevor is the dog (golden retriever) I'm looking after. His owner works for an oil company and sometimes he (the owner, not the dog) has to go over to England. So, I'm looking after Trevor this week.  I took Trevor to Petsmart. He picked out this lime green ball.  He loves playing with it. Dogs don't get to shop much. I think the people running those stores are geniuses. Trevor found the ball on a lower shelf--no accident. So he got to pick out his own toy.  And it squeaks. That makes them more fun.

So, take someone's dog for a walk.  Stop fretting about things so much.  

I'm happy I have a job and and a roof over my head. Hell, there's even a cute redhead who moved in down the street. Trevor is happy he has a new green ball.

Oh, and don't stuff that turkey. That's what causes them to get dried out and overcooked. They cook way better without stuffing in them.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

They Say

They say: "Don't quit your day job."  That's becoming increasingly difficult to do [not quitting].  You get tired of getting treated like dirt and screwed out of benefits and so on.  But the winning numbers to the lottery continue to elude me and there just aren't enough readers buying the crap I write.  I'd really be better off to devote my life to delivering pizzas. Financially, I think that would make more sense.  


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Computer Problems

I've had a lot of computer problems.  The fix was easy, once I finally knew what to do. I wish they'd stop updating me. I get something working right, then an unwanted update comes along and I'm knocked out. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday 13th

Well, it's Friday the 13th.  Bad things will happen to you today and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.  At least that's how it is according to legend.  I've never known any difference between it and any other day.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Bonded Agent

Here's something I haven't talked about much.  It's not that I haven't wanted to, but more a reticence on my part as I've had some bad luck with book projects and don't want to start touting them before they become reality. My science fiction novel Bonded Agent is still scheduled for publication next year.  It's been a while since I've had a novel come out.  

This one is a science fiction tale featuring my Sarah Meadows character.  The title stems from the fact my main character starts out as an insurance agent. You just do not find insurance professionals in science fiction stories very often. She quickly moves into a position as an insurance adjuster and finds herself dealing with criminals and even space pirates as it turns out Gompers Insurance Company takes on a lot of high risk clients.   Sarah has appeared in six short stories to date, so she is not a new concept.  She lives on Mars at a time when Mars is an independent republic with an uneasy relationship with Earth.  Earth, in fact, has become a very militaristic world engaged in a long running war with a reptilian race. 

It's the reptilians I'll talk about today. In many science fiction tales, if a reptilian race is encountered they are usually portrayed as dim-witted and sort of slow.  Well, that's not consistent with what we see in the form of lizards and such running around.  They move pretty darned fast.  And we were once told dinosaurs were pretty stupid and all had micro brains the size of walnuts. Well, that wasn't really true. So, the Tau are described as looking like small dinosaurs.  They're a little bigger than humans. They certainly are not dim-witted or slow moving. And, thanks to Earth, their first encounter with humans is very bad as Earth goes to war with them in a dispute over a mineral laden moon in a far away solar system.  And to that moon, Sarah finds herself in the middle of a war zone as the reptiles decide they are interested in buying a large insurance policy. And Sarah, being human, looks exactly like their enemy in the war they're fighting.  

I'll talk more about Sarah's adventures in the coming months and provide more details on the book release as things progress and details line up.  In the meantime, a few of Sarah's short story adventures are still around on venues like Amazon. She appears in both Space Horrors and  Space Pirates, both books were edited by David Lee Summers and in Tales of the Talisman vol 9 no 3 in a story called "Where'd That Come From?"  To be continued...

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Slick Roads & Greased Snot

The first big snow has hit us.  This was an unusually wet one--causing some seriously slick roads and a corresponding volume of traffic accidents.  So, after driving on this mess I came in to work and said "These roads are slicker than greased snot."  Absolutely no one had any idea what I was talking about.  Another fine phrase has apparently left the vernacular.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cardboard boxes

Twenty. That's how many cardboard boxes I dragged down to the recycling bin yesterday.  I always flatten the boxes.  It's amazing how many people won't flatten them.  What surprised me was how fast the boxes built up.  Boxes from shoes I bought. Boxes from book orders.  Everything comes in boxes. They say a lot of apartments won't accept boxes from UPS anymore because people are buying so much crap.  My condo doesn't have an onsite manager so they never did accept them for residents. Not to worry, UPS usually leaves them. Oddly, Fedex usually does not.  I don't know why.  But I don't recall buying so much stuff to fill all those blasted boxes. Yet, there they were. I wonder when the next box will arrive.  Actually, I know the answer--tomorrow.  I've got a new winter coat coming, and some books.  


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Saving What?

I'm not a big fan of Daylight Savings Time.  I don't think it really saves anything.  It causes all sorts of problems for people as they miss flights and show up for work at the wrong time.  If it was up to me I'd get rid of it.

Dogs don't understand this at all--the sun still rises at the same time.  All they know is their supper suddenly comes and hour late and it makes no sense to them why.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Highwayman

As it's Halloween, I post my often reprinted story once again...

THE HIGHWAYMAN  
by 
David B. Riley

He couldn't tell for certain if no one had seen him, but there weren't any sirens screeching through the night.  Kal opened the hatch and climbed down.  So far, so good.  He hurried across the park, then stopped by the statue of some guy on a horse.  The house was just across the street.  He looked right, then left, then scurried across the open area and slid under a tall bush.  So far, so good.

He hoped the commander wouldn't find out what he was doing.  He doubted he could explain why he was 100 light years off course.  If all went well, he wouldn't have to. Kal looked around.  Surely, this was too easy.  He switched on his voice translator and readied his ray gun.  It was time.

He climbed out from the bushes and strutted boldly up to the front door.  A slight sense of dread was trying to overcome him.  He fought it off.  If only humans weren't so darn big.  He reached the porch.  His antennae were vibrating from the music inside.  At least they were home.  He readied his ray gun and pressed on the door bell button.  He liked the pleasant chiming sound it made and rang again.

Slowly, the big door opened and he peered up at a human female.  He raised the weapon.  “Give me Earth food now,” he ordered in his most forceful manner.

“Oh, George, come quick.” It's summoning its mate,   He prepared to fire.  Then, a human male arrived holding a tray of candied apples.

“He's so cute.  Just like a little space man,” the female said.

“Less talk, more food,” Kal ordered.

“Of course.  You've got a long way to get back to your planet,” the male said.  A very sensible individual.

“I just made them,” the female stated.

He placed one in his loot sack.  It was so big he decided not to ask for more of them. He didn’t want humans to think his kind were greedy.

“Good night.”  The male closed the door.

Kal scurried back across the street.  A small human female wearing a mask ran towards him.  He readied his ray gun, though she looked young and harmless..

“They got candy apples?” she was asking.

“Yes.  They look good.”  He held tightly to his sack in case she tried to grab it.

“I'll go get me one.”  She trotted across the street.   Kal holstered his weapon and watched in amazement.  Without any weapon, the young female obtained a candy apple from the elderly couple.  Kal reasoned the mask must be frightening to humans.  The young female stood at the edge of the sidewalk and waived at him.  “Happy Halloween,” she yelled.

“Yes, happy.”  He felt oddly pleased the young child called Halloween had gotten an apple as well.  Earth food was so addictive.  He headed for the ship.  This had worked so well he would try it again, tomorrow.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Skeletons Are Up To Something

When I was younger, I was terrified of skeletons.  It all started when I got a skeleton Halloween costume.  It was fine for Halloween trick or treating, but I started having nightmares about skeletons and had to leave the light on when I went to bed.  Although my mother insisted there weren't any skeletons in  the house, I knew better.  I knew they were lurking out in the hall intent on getting me the second I let my guard down.  I eventually outgrew this fixation.  

There is nothing stupider than skeletons in the world of supernatural scariness.  They don't have any muscles.  How the heck do they move?  And what are they actually going to do with you if they catch you? How can they see you? They don't have any eyes.  They don't have ears, either.

Add to that, in all of the books I've edited, no one has ever once submitted a skeleton story to me.  Not ever.  That's because I don't think anyone knows how to really tell a skeleton story.  I remember some of those Sinbad movies and people were getting chased around by skeletons. They should've just turned the lamp on next to the bed. Always worked for me.

Now the one thing I'm really scared of is skunks.  They just totally terrify me.  If the skeletons teamed up with an army of skunks, that would do it.  But just a couple of skeletons? I could take 'em out with a hammer.  Skunks--no way.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Cold and Wet

One thing that always catches me a little unprepared is the mountain weather.  There aren't any real seasons here. One day it's nice and warm, the next day it's snowing and winter has arrived.  Well, that change occurred rather abruptly. Brrr. Best Halloween costume, in my opinion is Frosty the Snowman.






Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Praise and Retribution: Who is this guy?

The editor who selected my story for Under A Dark Sign gave me some serious praise at Mile Hi Con this past weekend.  It's always nice to be appreciated.  The audience seemed to like the story.  Again, it's nice to be appreciated.  

Then there's the individual who grabs anything I put out for free, then gives it one star and a one word review like awful.  This is a personal vendetta.  I guess even that's better than the overwhelming majority of folks who read or at least download my stories and never ever comment on them at all.

On a related note, when I go to cons the one thing that amazes me the most is that people actually know who I am--not gobs of people, but a few.  That always amazes me.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Back From the Con

Had a good time at Mile Hi Con.  Conducted some business. Met some people.  Not much else to say, really.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Off to MHC

Off to Mile Hi Con this weekend. If anything interesting happens I'll try and update from the con.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

upcoming

My new story "The Venerable Assassin" is in a new book edited by Rebecca McFarland Kyle and J. A. Campbell titled Under A Dark Sign.  It will be released at Mile Hi Con.  Those participants attending MHC will have some sort of reading. At least that's the plan.  I hope it goes well.  I'm watching it carefully because the same publisher for this book is the one publishing my science fiction novel Bonded Agent next year.  

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mile Hi Con

I will be attending Mile Hi Con October 23--25th. It's at the Hyatt Denver Tech Center.

I'm scheduled for the following panels/presentations

Friday 6 PM
Space Food

Saturday Noon
19th Century Martians

Saturday 1 PM
Blind Submissions

Saturday 3 PM
Under a Dark Sign





Friday, October 16, 2015

alternate universes

There used to be a TV show about these people bouncing around from one parallel universe to another.I don't recall the name of it. I didn't like it much.  But, if someone had been travelling to alternate universes and came back in a few months and found that Playboy contains no nudity, they'd believe they were still in a different universe.   First,  let me say I think Playboy has always been a really stupid magazine.  Most guys eventually come to that conclusion and stop reading it.  In fact, I would argue that Playboy's problems have more to do with shifting demographics than nudity.  

They appear to be going after better distribution, as most convenience store chains and grocery stores refuse to carry magazines with nudity--and that's where most magazines are sold these days.  But, I think they should've just packed it in. Playboy without a nude playmate, well, it just leaves a stupid magazine with not much else going for it.  I predict their move to a no nudity format will simply hasten the demise of the magazine altogether.  I doubt that they care what I think.  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Driving along.

I pull into the hotel parking lot. The back door to my car opens.
Boy, that was fast.
Why are you in my car, lady?
That's kind of rude.  You're taking me to the Mae Palace.
I am? I thought I was going to work.
Let's get going.
We pull back out on the Frontage Road.
I don't like butt sex.
Uh, who in hell cares?
It hurts too much. My boyfriend wants it constantly. He won't use Ky. That's the real problem.
Why don't you just twist his nuts off with pliers?
Oh, I never thought of that.
We here now.
I didn't know you were Chinese. What should I order?
Order dried shrimp and peas. Velly good. Go now.
You sure this is the Mae Palace? Looks like the parking structure.
Down one level. You take stairs. Go now.
You're awfully rude for an Uber driver. I may only give you one star.
Down the stairs. Go now. Get Chinese food.
Oh yeah. I hope my boyfriend doesn't want any.
Told you, twist his nuts with pliers. Go now.
She finally gets out of my car. I drive away. Got work to do. I ain't no blasted Uber driver. No frigin way.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Who in hell cares?

I didn't watch the debate.  I can't stand watching debates.  The next day some news outlets are saying Hillary shined whilst other places are saying Bernie Sanders won it. I don't care.  Debates are not interesting.  So somebody comes up with a great line or flubs a response. So what?  Does it really have anything to do with how good or bad of a president they'll be?  The news media manipulates these events so they're not really even a true debate--they're more entertainment.  Next time there's a political debate on TV, go walk your dog. If you don't have a dog, borrow your neighbor's dog. It'll be more fun.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

stuff keeps going away

I used to get a calendar every year that had flying saucer pictures on it.  It was about the coolest calendar I ever had. Then the company that made them abruptly dropped them starting with this current year of 2015.  It really ticked me off that little old ladies could get 50 different cat calendars but I could no longer have even one flying saucer calendar.  Well, the 2016 calendars are coming out and there still is no flying saucer calendar and I'm still ticked off about it. And, it does not appear that any other company has swooped in to fill the void. There just any flying saucer calendars.

First they take away the chocolate milk I like. Then they take away the calendars I like.  I wonder what's next.

This is not a picture from a flying saucer calendar because there aren't any more flying saucer calendars

Saturday, October 10, 2015

weather gripes

Well, they're saying it's going to warm up over the next few days.  Around here the leaves have all turned color and it's been getting rather chilly at night. That's the nature of the seasons. Still, I kind of would like a few more warm days of summer.  

I've been getting my car ready for winter--new anti freeze and that sort of thing.  But the nice weather would let me get a little touch up painting done before the snow flies.  I really do wonder why I live in a ski resort.  We have such horribly long winters.  As I get older, I find winter just seems less agreeable that it once did.  I'm not ready to pack up for Florida just yet, but a little less brutal winter would be nice. Denver is actually much warmer than where I live up in the mountains.  So, if we get a slight reprieve from Mother Nature, I will relish in whatever warmth she allows us. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

New Anthology

Heat of the Midday Sun is a new anthology edited by yours truly.  It's now available on Amazon in print and the ebook should be out next week.

There are all kinds of heat. Heat searing down on a witch on the great plains. Heat as a Native American gunfighter takes on Chinese assassins with magical powers in an extraordinary supernatural gun fight. Heat as the ghosts in a haunted town enjoy hanging soldiers. Heat as Pinkerton men hunt down a fugitive on the Mexican border–but who's their client? Sizzling stories of the weird west by David Boop, Joel Jenkins, Lyn McConchie, John Howard, C. J. Killmer, Sam Kepfield, Laura Givens, J. A. Campbell & more.



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Kardz

Well, what would happen if you got a card with a turkey on it and  Thanksgiving was scratched out and  Halloween was written instead in crayon?

I got such a card last year.  I was a bit baffled by it.  To me a homemade card would've been more to the occasion than an altered card because someone couldn't be bothered to send the correct card. No card at all might've even been preferable.

Of course, if something like the turkey below showed up at my door on Halloween, I'd actually be kind of scared.  It's all how you look at things, I guess.



Happy Halloween

Monday, October 5, 2015

Leaves

Ah, autumn has arrived.  The yellow and orange leaves are everywhere.  They're all over my car.  They're piling up on my porch.  It seems they're just about everywhere.  I hate this time of year. Those damned leaves are driving me crazy.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Halloween Haunts 2015

My posting at the Writers Association Halloween Haunts is up.

go to horror.org
click on Halloween at the top of the page

Friday, October 2, 2015

The case of the missing chocolate milk

I enjoy a cold glass of chocolate milk now and then.  That's not typically a geezer drink. Most folks think it's a kid drink.  I don't care.  My problem is not all chocolate milk is created equal--not by a long shot.  The local store used to have an organic chocolate milk that I took a liking to.  About a month ago this stuff vanished.  The store doesn't have it anymore.  Most of the available chocolate milk has corn sweeteners and other questionable additives that I don't want.  I'm a discriminating drinker of chocolate milk.  So I haven't had any for a while.  Today I'm going to the store. I'm sure I'll be looking at an empty shelf.  I don't really know what is going on, but there seems to be a shortage of organic milk products.  Maybe I'm not the only geezer who's buying the stuff.  Of course, I'm not buying it, but I sure want to be buying it.  


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Halloween Haunts 2015

Every year the Horror Writers Association runs Halloween Haunts on their blog and Facebook sites. Some of the members put up essays on Halloween or horror and you can even win free stuff.  It runs all through October and, best of all, it is completely FREE. Check it out--unless you're afraid.

My listing is slated for October 4th this year.
Halloween Haunts 2015



Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Screw the water, this is what I want to know...

Yep, now the Martians can set up watering stands and wait for thirsty astronauts to crawl by.  They'll clean up.  Mars has a unique status in that someone with even a modest telescope can get a fairly good look at the place.  You can't do that with the other planets.  But there's still a heck of a lot we don't know about the place.  And out little rovers are unpeeling its secrets at a snail's pace. 

Here's what I'd still like to know: [NASA doesn't worry about stuff like this, but I do]

Will potatoes grow on Mars?
That may seem odd. In my forthcoming novel Bonded Agent, which takes place on Mars, I claim potatoes won't grow there.  It was just something I threw in for colour about life on Mars.  Still, I sure wish NASA or the ESA would send up a few bushels of potatoes up there and plant them and see if they'll grow or not.  What's a few million bucks or Euros in the name of science?

If they find some abandoned cabin or some temple ruins, what will they do with them?  

Now, back to this water thing.  What kind of fish do they have? What if they find fish swimming around in some creek?  Will they try and eat them or just let them swim around?  You know how bad some guy with a fly rod would want to go after the first Martian trout?

Can you fly a kite on Mars?  
I'd sure like to know this.  

If human astronauts go to Mars, what are they going to do with all the poop?
Are they going to bury it?  Leave it in piles like they do on Mt. Everest? What?
Heck I've never been able to find out what they did with the poop from the moon missions.


Is this Mars or the moon?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

And Speaking of MHC

And while on the subject of Mile Hi Con, I have a story in a new anthology being released at MHC. It's called Under A Dark Sign.  My story is called "The Venerable Assassin" and is set in California at the tail end of the gold rush era.



Saturday, September 26, 2015

Little Green Men

It was not much of a secret that, back when I was editing Science Fiction Trails, I had a particular fondness for stories involving flying saucers and or little green men.  I'm not entirely sure why that is.I'm actually a UFO skeptic.  Nonetheless, I am somewhat fond of stories with flying saucers in them.  Surprisingly, I've actually had very few such stories submitted to me. 

Why do I bring this up now?  Well, I've been reviewing my notes about Martians.  I'm co-presenting something called 19th Century Martians at the rapidly approaching Mile Hi Con.  Seems a heck of a lot of folks in the 1800s believed there was life on Mars.  Ah, those were simpler times.  And people were seeing canals and getting messages from Martians all over the place.  Why? Maybe there really were Martians. Maybe it was some other things at work.  But that's what the presentation is about.

On a related note, I'm also seriously considering hosting an Invaders party. That would involve sitting around and watching the 1967 TV show The Invaders.  There's nothing else quite like it.  It was a network prime time show put out by Quin Martin--the folks who made a lot of cop shows back then. These alien guys were really mean and had some serious weapons.  And, back then, I thought it was about the coolest thing I'd ever seen.  So, am I reliving my childhood or is there something else wrong with me?  The jury is still out on that.

At least I stopped talking about light bulbs. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Francis

A few coworkers and I were talking about the pope.  I said I wondered if the pope played chess.  Everyone else thought that was weird.  I said I'd love to play chess with the pope.  That was countered with, "If you could meet the pope you'd just play chess? Really?"

Duh. Yeah.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Safety

Do light bulbs stop crime? I dunno.  I doubt it. Still, I feel better in a well lighted area.  Our highway system went through a de-lamping phase when the economy tanked a few years ago. I don't know if it affected safety or not.  I've noted they've now got the lights back on in some particularly accident prone areas.  And these are LED lights. Makes sense, really. LED lights last longer and use less energy. And they seem quite bright. 

Ergo, why are home use LED bulbs so blasted dim?  Something doesn't add up right.

And, obviously, all week I've been ranting about light bulbs? When will I stop?  No one knows. Maybe soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Random thoughts on light bulbs

Light bulbs cost too much.

A staggering amount of energy is wasted illuminating empty hallways and rooms, especially in commercial buildings.

The energy efficient bulbs simply are not bright enough.

I love going to hardware stores and looking at light bulbs.

I really like the LED Christmas lights.

I have an LED flashlight that works really well and throws way more light than the old style flashlights with bulbs in them. Ergo, if a flashlight puts out more light that brings me back to why are the LED lights for home use so darned dim.

 Why can't they reverse engineer whatever the flying saucers at Area 51 use for light and put it on the market?  Flying saucers put out a lot of light.

People around here have doggie flashlights. They hang around the dog's neck and shine down on the ground.  Dogs don't need flashlights.  And, if the intent is to be seen, a reflective collar would accomplish the same thing.


Monday, September 21, 2015

More Dim Bulbs

People told me that they have brighter LED lights out there.  Well, i sure haven't found them.  I went to the hardware store and they sure did not have anything brighter than 60w equivalent. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Dim Bulbs

Now, folks have heard me comment on how stupid people can be. But that's not what this entry is about.  The energy efficient light bulbs are all too dim.  It's hard to even find anything over 60w equivalent in an LED bulb.   That might work in some places but I want a reading lamp and that simply is not bright enough.  So if the dim bulbs who manufacture these dim bulbs could come up with something brighter, I'd be much obliged.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Writin n readin

For a project I'm editing one of the contributors sent me something I have never seen for an anthology before.  I got a story entirely in rhyming verse.  I'll say, I was impressed.  This is something I've never seen before.  To do this successfully requires some considerable skill.  Alas, although I wanted the story to succeed, it did not.  And although I admire it when writers takes risks, many of them lack the skill to pull it off, which is what happened here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Morons From Outer Space

I recently sent out an email to a whole bunch of people mentioning the Martian moon Deimos. I spelled it Demos.  I didn't catch it.  I'm mortified.  It's not that having a typo is going to end the world so much as that I misspelled a Martian moon and the email was about Mars.  I am simply mortified.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Penz

Pens are something you don't really think about all that much.  You just write with one and put it away.  That's why the past week has been so baffling. Every pen I pick up doesn't work.  I must've gone through 20 of the darned things.  They were all either out of ink or defective.  I usually have a pen problem once or twice a year.  To top it off I went to the bank yesterday.  I wanted to fill out a deposit slip and I noticed there were no pens around. Banks always have pens.  The teller informed me they were all out of working pens.  

"Then how do I make a deposit" I asked.

"I'll type it into the computer for you."  And she did.

I guess all of our pens are coming from that large Asian country that's notorious for crappy goods.  


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Clueless in Colorado

One way you know you've arrived  into Geezerhood is when you start thinking young people are hopeless. Why are they hopeless?  When you mention movies or books and they stare blankly at you. I've been thinking about hosting a video party at Mile Hi Con.  I've been asking people which they'd like to watch: Kolchak the Night Stalker, UFO, or The Invaders. And they stare back blankly at me. What the hell is wrong with these young uns? They don't know nothin'.  

God forbid if any Millennials are reading this or even younger, Kolchak:The Night Stalker is from 1974.  UFO is from 1970.  The Invaders was actually a prime time network show from 1967. I grew up on these shows. They made me what I am today. [That's more of an argument to go downstairs and play Scrabble. Scrabble is a board game. It's fun. Yes it is] I'm leaning toward The Invaders, but that's a tough one to find. The librarian stared blankly at me. It's on Amazon, but not cheap.

And then you find out they have no idea how to play chess. 

I guess I'll just start calling all of them Sonny.  I'm going to have to start showing them Far Side cartoons.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stuff

In case anyone's wondering, here's the current status of things I've mentioned that were in the works.:

I will be at Mile Hi Con next month [Oct 23-25].  More info later.  I'll be co-presenting on 19th Century Martians.  The con schedule isn't out yet so I know not what else I'll be doing.  I have a nifty story in Under a Dark Sign which is supposedly going to launch at the con.

I've edited a new weird western anthology called Heat of the Midday Sun which I hope will be out in early October.  It's a lot of Halloween appropriate content if you're looking for something for Halloween.

I've abandoned all hope of setting up a Halloween author reading.  Can't come up with a venue. 

I have a new science fiction novel that [hopefully] will be out this winter.  There was some discussion about bringing it out at Cosine in Colorado Springs, but that is not a done deal.  I'll update plans when I have more information.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

More Parking Lots

Imagine you're sitting in your car waiting for someone to come out of the store.  How many people will come up to you and demand to know when you're leaving because they want your space?  The answer is three.  

The strange thing about this is the grocery store lot was not full.  There were spaces available and people were still demanding mine even though I wasn't ready to leave yet.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Parking Lots

I've observed an astonishing amount of people seem to get their jollies by going the wrong way in grocery store parking lots.  Where it would be faster and more direct to go the correct direction for the aisle, I've noticed someone always seems to feel the need to zoom up the wrong way. If I'm coming down the aisle I will not yield to these people.  So they sit there and stare at me, then I flip them off and they eventually back up and get out of the way.  Did I mention how much I hate going to the store?  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Redshirt Freshman of Notre Dame

In honor of the start of college football season I'm running my story, as I do each year.  It first appeared a long time ago in Strange Days Magazine.

The Red Shirt Freshman Of Notre Dame

Otis Claverson didn't look too good when the trainers carried him off the field. His eyes were glazed over and his usually smiling face had been replaced by one filled with searing pain. “Seventy-three,” someone kept yelling. That number seemed familiar. Lizard Murphy glanced down at his jersey. He was number 73. He looked at Elmo Bruno, defensive coordinator for the Fighting Irish. “Lizard in,” the crusty man with the thinning crew cut ordered. Lizard put on his helmet and trotted onto the field. The last game of the regular season, a bowl bid and a national championship were on the line and Lizard had never played for a single minute during the entire season. He lined up at the right middle linebacker spot, replacing the injured Otis Claverson, who was in for only two plays for the starting linebacker.

  He grunted and looked mean for the benefit of the big tight end on the other side of the ball. Lizard glanced down and realized they were practically standing on the end zone. They were down by three points and there was only a minute left in the game and New Mexico State was about to score again — New Mexico State.

  The instant the ball was snapped, the  quarterback stepped back to pass. Lizard scrambled after the tight end. Lizard ran like a truck and had been put in to stop the anticipated run. For a big man, their tight end was fast—much faster than Lizard. Lizard tried to keep up. Suddenly the tight end turned back toward the quarterback. Lizard was behind him—way behind him, and the ball was going straight at the tight end, who was now five yards in front of Lizard. Then something strange happened that would change Lizard's life forever. The New Mexico State tight end vanished—just disappeared. The ball sailed straight into Lizard's gut. Somehow, Lizard managed to hang onto it.

“Down it you meathead!” he could hear coach Elmo yelling.

    There were a lot of the other guys between him and the other end zone nearly 100 yards away, but time was running out. He put his helmet down and charged ahead. The first state guy made contact on the five, a stiff arm sent him to the turf. By the 20, Lizard's lungs were hurting and he still had 80 yards to go. A second guy missed a tackle to his legs. Lizard looked over his shoulder. Micky D. was only a few yards behind him. The free safety was so much faster than he was. He tossed the ball—a perfect lateral to his teammate. Lizard stopped. His teammate sailed past him, dodged two tacklers and headed into open field.

    A few seconds later Notre Dame was back on top as Mick D. Spillner ran untouched into the end zone. People everywhere on the sidelines were cheering and jumping up and down—at least everywhere on the Notre Dame side. The State guys were jumping up and down too, but they were screaming and shaking their fists.

  The New Mexico State coach, finishing an undefeated rookie season, disregarded the fact that Notre Dame was setting up for the extra point and stormed out onto the field. The referee threw a flag and blew his whistle to stop play. “Where the hell's my tight end?” he yelled to the official.
 
After a five minute consultation, the referee ruled that the touchdown stood, and that there were ten seconds left on the clock. Campus security would have to deal with the mysterious disappearance of Buz Bombarella, star tight end for New Mexico State. Disappearing during a play was not covered in NCAA rules.

  Lizard was touched when Mickey D. gave him the football he'd lateraled to him. He vowed to cherish it forever.

 That evening, he was walking back to his room in the company of Juliet Mills, one of the cheerleaders who had suddenly taken an interest in him. He was about to explain how he'd come to be named Lizard, but he had an uneasy feeling that something wasn't quite right. Tearing his eyes away from he r, he looked around. There was a flying saucer hovering over the dorm. He broke into a run. In fact, if he'd ran that fast earlier, he could've scored the touchdown himself. He charged up the stairs and busted through the door to his room without even stopping to turn the knob or unlock it.

  A little green guy with black eyes and two antennae sticking out of his head was climbing out the  window — with the game ball. Lizard lunged after him and grabbed onto the ball. The green-guy jumped off the ledge and pulled Lizard off with him. Instead of falling, they ascended. Three seconds later, they were inside the flying saucer.

    Lizard kicked the green guy with enough force to get his football back.

    Five other green guys were standing around him, each one had a shiny cylinder pointed straight at Lizard's head.      He let the green guy take back the football.

  “It's you!” someone said. Lizard turned around. There was another green guy, but this one was wearing a Notre Dame jersey. The other green guys bowed. “I can't believe it's you. Would you autograph the football?”

  “Hell no.”

   “Please?”   “No way. It's my ball.” Lizard crossed his arms and tried to look as defiant as possible.

   “We'll kill you.”

 Lizard accepted the pen one of them was now holding and scrawled something with his right hand. Lizard was a southpaw and figured that was about as good as a bad forgery. They didn't seem to notice. “What's with you guys?” He handed back the football  

“Go Irish!” they all yelled in unison.An ugly thought entered his mind.

"You guys do something to that tight end?”

  They all started looking toward the ceiling. The one in the football jersey finally gestured for the others to put away their weapons. “You would've lost the national championship.”

“There were only fifty seconds left,” the others said, again all in unison. “A touchdown would've finished you.”

  “Where is he?” Lizard asked. “Did you transport him up?”
   “Out of range,” they all said.
   “We vaporized him. Maybe we got a little carried away.”

“This is too weird. Keep the damn ball.”

   “Ah, thank you,” the one in the jersey said. “You are too kind.”

“When we go to the Fiesta Bowl, you guys aren't going to . . . ?” Lizard asked.
  “No. We regret that little incident.”

  “Besides, Miami doesn't have a prayer. Go Irish!” they all yelled.


   “You wanted to see me?” Lizard asked as he stood at attention in Elmo Bruno's office.

   Bruno turned down the sound of the television. He'd been watching Jeopardy. “This ruckus about yesterday's game. The Fiesta Bowl just backed out of their invite. The boss is in there now trying to get us booked in some bowl in Alaska.”

    “Alaska?”

 “Yeah, and they're talking about going with Alcom State instead of us.”
  “Alcom?”

“I don't even know where the heck that is.”  Lizard sat down in one of the comfy leather chairs. “I wouldn't worry about it, sir. I think Notre Dame is entering a new era of football.”

  “How so?”

 The news team interrupted Jeopardy on the television to bring a report that the stadium in Arizona that was used by the Fiesta Bowl had just been leveled by an apparent earthquake. Police were denying rumors of a flying saucer sighting just moments before the quake. 



Author’s note: The way college bowls are awarded has changed substantially since this story was first published.


Medical Billing

I find it baffling how medical bills work.  I just got one for back in March.  It has a bunch of codes on it, but doesn't say what service was actually performed.    So I'm supposed to remember seven months back?  I just hate the way the medical system works.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Frying stuff up

Well, I broke down and bought a new frying pan yesterday.  I threw out the old one after the handle broke off and I spilled hash browns all over my floor.  I find that every five years or so I must break down and buy something new in kitchen ware.  That pan was bought when I bought my house six years ago. It was the cheapest frying pan I could find. Overall, I can't complain.  I've got some cutlery that goes back to the Clinton Administration.  It still looks just fine.  

Anyway, I bought my new frying pan at a large membership store that also sells lots of other stuff and does not have the word Sam in its name.  I'm not giving them a free plug, so I'm not mentioning them by name.  I cooked some french fries in it for my first project.  I actually do cook other things than just potatoes, the fact it was french fries was mere coincidence.  Keep on cooking!


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Plan 9

As much as I love obscure science fiction, I'd never actually seen Plan  9 From Outer Space.  I'd heard about it but never bothered to watch it.  Well, yesterday I finally gave it a viewing.  In case you're unfamiliar with it, many critics have dubbed it the worst science fiction movie ever made. Well, I am inclined to agree.  It's really kind of a chore to watch the whole thing.  But, I persevered and managed to make it through to its conclusion.  One school of thought is movies like this are so bad they're fun to watch.  Well, I never felt any sense of joy from it.  I just kept hoping it would mercifully end.  The only thing that's even remotely interesting is the flying saucers.  They're kind of interesting to watch as they appear to be dangling from some sort of fishing line or wire and they bounce around. [I like shiny things].  Other than that, there are no redeeming qualities with this movie.  

A social experiment occurred to me that you could fill a theater and ask people to watch this movie and provide a critique at the end and you'd give them a dollar or something. The true purpose of the experiment would be to see if anyone remained at the end of the movie. I'm guessing it would be an empty theater. 

Still, I'm glad that I watched it, simply because I can now say I've seen it.  The late Aaron B. Larson [who died a few weeks ago and I've written about him] always said he was always glad when they made science fiction on film or for TV. His theory was any science fiction is better than no science fiction. I disagree.  We never actually discussed this movie.  It's the sort of movie that I would imagine they would play in hell, assuming hell has movies. 

If you're in a sour mood and want to torture yourself, it's readily available for download and most libraries have it.  And, if your kids have pissed you off, you could force them to watch it. I think it would be much more effective than grounding them.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Haircuts

I got a haircut yesterday.  They're one of those things that can only be put off for so long.  From time to time friends and coworkers have mentioned they needed to get a haircut.  I often offer to cut it for them--but always warn them that I've never actually done a human, but the dogs I've given haircuts to seemed to like theirs.  Alas, their owners didn't feel that way.  So the dog has a bald patch.  The dog doesn't really care. So it's a little lopsided, the dog can limp for a few days and no one will notice. Dogs don't expect perfection.  Boy their owners sure do.  

My first dog cut was my parents golden retriever.  It was an extremely hot day and I got some scissors and "How'd you like to get rid of some of that hair for the summer?"  Okay, I'm hot all the time, the dog agreed.  Well, technically, he didn't look too good when he was done.  And my mom came home from somewhere and was furious.  But my customer was delighted.  He seemed much cooler and liked the short-haired version of a golden retriever.  Did I mention mom was furious?

Well, over time I did a few more dog cuts and my technique improved quire a bit. I never got one single complaint from any dog I gave a haircut to.  And that's all I can say.  100% customer satisfaction.  I would never take up dog grooming. No way in hell. The dogs are easy enough to please, but people sure are picky.

And no one's ever taken me up on my offer. I still haven't done a human. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Advice on underwear

One of the more baffling pieces of parental advice I got as a child was, "Always wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident."  Truth is, if you're in an accident, it's not all that likely your underwear will remain all that clean.  I was thinking about that yesterday as I was wearing underwear that wasn't from the clean laundry drawer.  It wasn't disgusting or anything, just pre-worn.  So, had I gotten into an accident, I'm sure the doctors and nurses would have been standing around the hallway at the hospital saying stuff like, "His underwear wasn't clean when he came in here."  Yep, I'm sure that would have been first thing on their minds. 

"He knew his underwear wasn't clean and wore it anyway. Film at eleven here on 9 News."  At least I had underwear on.  And today I'm wearing clean underwear, as I finally got around to doing laundry. 

Know something else?  The socks I'm wearing have holes in them.  I'm a real disgrace. Socks cost too much and I'm getting all the wear out of them I possibly can. When the holes get bigger, then perhaps I'll buy more socks. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dog Day

Today is supposed to be National Dog Day.  Just a reminder that my novella The Pirate Dogs is available to help celebrate.  This is a novella about a pirate ship crewed by dogs in an alternate world. They have a variety of short adventures thwarting the British navy.


Bizarro Burgers

Well, there was some news about Burger King wanting to combine the Big Mac with the Whopper for a special event.  I don't know exactly what they had in mind.  I went to Micky Dees and then to Bk and got one of each and combined them.  All I can say is it's one mighty strange sandwich. No picture of it here.  I can say I don't think there would be a long line to get one.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tired

I don't have snow tires.  I just have regular all season tires.  I've never had snow tires.  Most everyone I know has snow tires.  I live in a ski resort and we get lots of snow.  So, the question that arises is am I an idiot or visionary pioneer.  It can be quite expensive if you change your tires twice a year. Then there's the matter of storing the winter tires in the summer. I get the feeling some people leave their snow tires on year round--and that's not smart as they aren't made for the hot roads of summer.Damned if you do and damned if you don't.  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

blog posting on Aaron

I recently posted here about Aaron B. Larson, who died recently.  R. T. Lawton was another one of Aaron's friends and a fellow writer.I have a link below to his posting about Aaron.  I think it's well worth reading, even if you didn't know him.

http://www.sleuthsayers.org/2015/08/author-down.html

Kontracts

One of the more vexing things I've encountered as an editor is dealing with writers.  You would think, after a writer submitted a story to an anthology and was sent a contract which had the same terms that were described in the writers guidelines, that individual would sign and return the contract so that person would be included in the book. Not so, unfortunately.  Without exception, every anthology I've edited has had at least one holdout who would not sign the contract and was ultimately dropped from the project.  Meanwhile so many writers are looking for that opportunity to get published.

Why?  I have no idea.  We're not talking about someone who replied and said "I don't like paragraph three in the contract." Oh no.  We're talking about somebody who sent in a story, was sent a contract, then went as silent as a submarine in a war zone.  No, we just waste everyone's time and at the end of the day go silent, No contract is ever returned and no reason why is ever given. I once had to cancel a charity contract because half the writers would not sign the contract or respond to the offer.

I don't think these so-called writer support groups and the people who crank out writing books have a clue this goes on quite often.  Well, it does.  And I'm working on a book right now where this has happened yet again.  I doubt that I will ever understand it. My contracts are very simple agreements. There is nothing duplicitous or complicated about them. Hell, the book I'm working on right now has a lawyer who is one of the contributors and he has no problem with my contracts.  No, it's something else--something very strange in the makeup of people who call themselves writers. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Sun Also Rises On Desolate Worlds

Well, I had a conversation with someone over the bad things that happen in life--particularly the death of someone we both knew. Then she said some nonsense about "The sun will still rise tomorrow."

I replied "The sun also rises over desolate worlds. It rises over Mars just as it does over Earth."  Well, that comment didn't go over so well.  But it's true. People go around spewing out nonsensical statements and and then they get mad if someone points out the inconsistencies or the nonsense behind them.  I guess that's why people don't like me.  But I'm right.  When we completely destroy civilization on this planet the one certainty is the sun will continue to rise every morning--even if no one is around to see the sunrise.  

Friday, August 21, 2015

Banking and more

Well, after a day with no money, my money is back in  my account.  And I still have no idea where it went. The bank has no explanation.  At least I didn't bounce any checks while my money was away on vacation.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Banks

Well, my bank stole my money.  They don't know where it is.  It's just gone.  It's just amazing how screwed up our financial system has gotten.  There's no indication this is some sort of identity theft issue.  The money simply disappeared and my bank cannot explain where it went.  Maybe money under the mattress may not be such a bad idea after all.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Let Em Eat Cake

As I've mentioned before, my "day job" is at a hotel.  We've had an ungodly amount of weddings this summer.  One observation I've noticed compared to years past is the cakes.  That expensive tiered cake with the plastic people on top appears to be dying out.  I've noticed most of the weddings are opting for sheet cakes and even regular three layer cakes.  It makes sense, as one can obtain these at a bakery or even a chain grocery store for a lot less money.  I doubt the wedding industry likes this concept.  



Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chess program

As I mentioned yesterday, I took my free upgrade to Winders 10 and immediately regretted it. They took away my chess program.  I guess they'd already done this with Winders 8.  This has forced me to look around for another chess program.  I don't like what I'm seeing and I'm not even sure if any of them will run on Winders 10.  I don't like this at all.

Friday, August 14, 2015

winders

Well, I got my free upgrade to Winders 10.  I wish I had left everything at Winders 7.  Don't really like the so-called improvement and they took away my chess game that was included with the earlier version.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

kustomer service?

Well, I bought a gift card for a large online store from a large grocery chain.  I bought it because they give you fuel points if you buy them.  Boy that worked out real well. The gift card was defective and some of the code on it was smeared.  Well, the store has a toll free number where they claim they'll help you if you have a problem.  So I called it. And I was told my call was important to them and it would be answered in the order received.  And I waited on hold and I waited and I waited.  I finally put the phone down and went to the bank and got a hair cut and had lunch. Three hours later I came back to the phone.  The recording was still playing that my call was important to them--like hell.It's obvious they don't have anyone there at all answering the phone. It's just  a recording and they know everyone will eventually give up. So  I still have a defective gift card that I can't use;.  Hell of a deal.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Dinosaurs

The new cover of Story Emporium has a dinosaur on it.  I was reminiscing about this dinosaur footprints place in Texas that our family went to when we were kids.  They had fossilized dinosaur footprints.  We were fairly young, but I still remember it.  But what I remember most of all was this machine in the gift shop.  You could make your own dinosaur. They were molded out of plastic and they came out still warm and ready to play with.  And you could select what you wanted, at least with a few options.  My brother got a triceratops.It was blue and really cool looking.  But what's bothering me with this scenario is I can't remember what kind of dinosaur I got out of the machine--no recollection whatsoever.  I don't understand why I can remember my brother's dinosaur but not my own.

Boys like dinosaurs.  They really do.  Unless they're one of those sissy kids. If you need a gift idea, just get the kid a dinosaur and you won't go wrong. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Farting in elevators

I've learned a few things over the years.  One thing I've learned is don't fart in hotel lobbies. Inevitably, a few seconds after passing wind some guest will come by. If there's no one else around they'll figure out where it came from likity split. Not so with elevators. If you pass wind inside one and get out, then you can send send the elevator off to some other floor and go about your business.  And if someone gets on, well most people don't comprehend three dimensions all that well.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

things not to say

David Boop's Twitter has top ten things not to say to a writer.  I got a few chuckles out of it. The winner, hands down, in my opinion is "I thought you were dead."  Check it out.


Although my own personal favorite is "How come I've never heard of you?" That's not on the list--that really happened to ME.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Garbage wonders

We've been having  a fox turning over trash cans at the hotel I work at.  It's astonishing how disgusting the garbage in these cans is.  I've noticed, for the most part, the fox passes on whatever yuk is in the cans and just leaves a mess behind and walks away.  Yep, our trash is so bad the fox doesn't even want it.  I think the fox just likes knocking over trash cans.  I don't really know why we don't have the animal resistant trash cans in our outside areas.  



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Back o the bus

I just booked some travel for a family member.  I do that every now and then.  I haven't been travelling much, so it's not like I ever book anything for me.  I like to sit in the back row of the plane. Everyone else always seems to want to be up front. I can't figure out why.   It's often less crowded and you're close to the restroom.  And they say the tail section is where the survivors are [except on Lost]. Not to be confused with travel on a bus. You never want to be near the restrooms on a bus.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Planets

I had to help a hotel guest find out how to get to the planetarium in Denver.  That got me wondering something--why do they call it a planetarium?  It's about stars.  Most of the shows aren't even about planets.  Ergo, why is it called a planetarium?  

Friday, July 31, 2015

Writin' is Good

Overall, I never got much encouragement when I started out writing.  My uncle said it was because I have an Irish name and everyone despises the Irish.  But I still wrote, often wretched things that have since gone off to wherever stories go to when they've been given up on.  I wrote a story about that, too. It was a story heaven where dead stories go.  It didn't find a buyer and when my old  Zenith computer kicked the bucket some stuff like that went off to story heaven.  I liked that computer.  It ran on plain old DOS.  A lot of folks don't know what DOS was.  Ah, a simpler time before constant daily updates from Windows.   Just a yellow letters on black screen sort of thing.  I miss it. I really do. And when it died and its incompatible files went off to story heaven, well things like a couple of plays and a novel no one liked went away forever.  Back then we mailed stories to magazines and anthology editors based on hopelessly obsolete information in an era when the Internet was unknown to everyone but scientists.  And they mailed 'em back with a form letter, usually unread and postmarked the same day they received them. 

But the occasional personal reply would come in telling me I should give up writing or blasting me for sending in some "clunker" about people selling their souls to get published when the story I'd sent in had nothing to do with that.  And people wonder how I got so damned cynical.   

Well, a lot's happened since then.  Lots of magazines have come and gone.  Some of them I was sad to see go, others not so much.  

And then there were the cons.  I've lost count of how many of them have snubbed me in favor of some twerp with one or two published stories.  

I used to fantasize about killing editors.  I thought hunting them down and killing them would be wonderful.  I even wrote a few stories and  some poems about it.  Now, writers fantasize about killing me.  They go to sleep at night with thoughts of gunning me down at their favorite bookstore.  All the while knowing they haven't got the guts to pull it off.  And their dead stories I've long ago rejected are hanging out with mine up in story heaven somewhere.