Sunday, May 31, 2015

travel

I recently mentioned my trip.  I didn't say much about what I did, just that I went on one. It was certainly no fun to discover an elderly relative is being swindled.  It seems like there's an awful lot of that going on these days.  My initial reaction was that I couldn't believe someone would actually fall for it.  I'll just say it was a ridiculous story.  I'm not going to reveal the scam or the victim.  I can say I may have to spend a lot of time dealing with legal matters and such that I hadn't planned on.  Not fun to see this happening.

Friday, May 29, 2015

bears ?

I mentioned a while back that I tried to cast a possible Bigfoot print, but the water in the river rose before I could get the supplies to cast it and the footprint was washed away.  A lot of people have informed me it was a bear print--all of them without ever seeing this footprint.  They just somehow know what it was without ever seeing it.  The town I live in is surrounded by large tracts of forest land.  I don't know what's out there running around at night.  And I'm not even sure if it was a Bigfoot print myself, That's why I was trying to get a cast of it, so it could be examined and studied. I find it irritating that people think they know what it was without ever having seen it.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Strange alien language

Yesterday I did something so astonishingly stupid people were probably talking about me at a local restaurant.  I was so incredibly exhausted I could barely hold my head up.  It's rare for me to get that tired, but that's what happened.  And, I also was rather hungry.  So, while I needed to be home sleeping, I decided to grab some breakfast first. The waitress handed me a menu.  I studied it for a bit, but could not read it. I couldn't figure out what language this thing could possibly be written in. Try as I might, I just could not read this thing.  The waitress came by and I said I could not read the menu. I didn't know what language this was.

She took it, then turned it around, then handed it back to me.  Yep, it had been upside down.  Yep. Yes I did.  They were probably talking about me all day long.  I may not be able to go there again. This was right up there with the time in the first grade when I pooped my pants and my mom had to being me clean pants and underwear. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's raining a lot

I'm tiring of the very heavy rain we've been getting.  I wish it would lighten up and stop for a few days. The place I live has had a lot of watering issues from a poorly designed sprinkler system. which leads me to that perennial question: Why do so few places have any kind of rain capturing ability. Instead of capturing rain water and using it later, we just let it run off.  That don't seem right.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Receipts

On my recent trip I bought fuel for my car quite a few times.  Only once was I able to get a receipt at the pay at the pump.  I find myself wondering if this is the result of some poor overworked attendant who doesn't have time to add paper to the printers at the pumps or if this is a more sinister plot to coerce me into the store so I might buy something,  I now believe it to be the latter.






Saturday, May 23, 2015

Holiday phun

I have come to view holidays as nothing more than a nuisance.  You can't get your car worked on. You can't go to the bank. You can't see your doctor.  They're very inconvenient.  So, whilst you're out there water skiing and cooking hot dogs, I'll be working--me and the mattress store salesmen. Why are all holiday weekends an excuse to sell mattresses?  Try not to have too much memorial day fun.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Rain rain go away

I spent a lot of my vacation driving through rain.  Frankly, I was in Arizona and Nevada--areas that seldom see rain in May.  Yet I saw little else.  It was torrential unending rain.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

road trip

It’s been traveling time this past week.  For some reason I become unbelievably cheap when it comes to travel.  First, my dad took a trip.  I usually book his travel for him.  Now he didn’t ask for the cheapest room on his trip, but he should have known. Well, the one with just one double bed was two dollars cheaper than the king bed room.  I gather they upgraded him.

Then there was my trip.  I was driving through Las Vegas.  I found a room at a casino hotel for $47. I booked it. Two days before I left I noticed they’d dropped their rate to $35. Now, most folks would’ve just lived with it. Not me, I cancelled the original booking and re-booked the now cheaper room rate.  Keep in mind I work in the hotel biz myself. At the hotel I work at you couldn’t sleep in the restroom for $47.  That was a decent deal, but I still went for that cheaper room like a fish going after a minnow. 

So, I was spending the night in Vegas, baby.  The buffet a block down the street was a dollar cheaper than the one in my hotel.  Did I walk down the street over a dollar? You know it, baby. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Free ebook

Today & tomorrow you can get my story collection Airship Stories free on Kindle.



More garbage

Well, yesterday I was ranting about garbage.  I said I'd look into whether Rome had a god for garbage.  I couldn't find one. The closest thing I could find was Cloacina, who was the sewer goddess. Apparently, she wasn't a very popular deity and, over time, was sort of merged with Venus. Pretty cool, one god for both love and backed up sewers. I guess they're both pretty much the same thing.

Well, I guess that means they didn't have a garbage god for some reason.  I propose Wastemanicus, a ten foot tall brown bear who drags a dumpster around behind him. No?  Oh well.  





Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Garbage gods

As I've mentioned before, I live in a condo complex.  We have common garbage and recycling dumpsters.  Most of the residents actually seem to be able to throw away their garbage without any difficulty at all.  You just take it out to the dumpster and open the lid and put the trash inside it. Alas, for some unfortunates, that appears to simply be too difficult. We have some residents who toss bags of garbage on top of the dumpster instead of putting it inside.  We also have the let's just leave it in front of the dumpster folks.  The dumpsters have lids designed to keep out bears.  Alas, it's not just the bears who appear unable to open them.  

If you're so damn stupid you can't figure out how to open a trash dumpster, one might just consider suicide. Seriously, get a rope or something. Of course, if you can't figure out how to put trash bags in a dumpster, I suppose a hangman's noose is likely out of the question. And, of course, some of these folks may be elderly people who are simply too feeble to open the darned thing.  So, while I stand by my assessment, some may think  it a bit harsh.  I suppose another alternative would be to keep it inside your unit.  While that may draw in rodents, the good side to that is rodents carry hantavirus and bubonic plague and those often fatal diseases will accomplish the same result.

I wonder if ancient Rome had a god for garbage.  I'll have to look into that.  




Saturday, May 9, 2015

Random Thoughts on Bigfoot

I live on a river–the Eagle River to be specific.
I live near forested and undeveloped land, although there's also something resembling a town around as well.
We've been having huge amounts of rainfall this past week.
Now, just file those facts away for a moment.

Like a lot of people, I've been curious about the existence of Bigfoot.  I've never seen one, but so many people have that I find myself wondering what's going on.  And I'm no expert on Sasquatch [another name for Bigfoot], but I've found myself questioning the methodology of some efforts to find these animals.  There are two TV shows I really wonder about. One is Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet.  The basis of their method is this team of four investigators goes to hotspots and wanders around for a couple of days. They claim to hear howls and tree branches breaking, but their microphones never seem to pick up anything and they never get any quality video, even with all kinds of cameras.  Now, here's my problem: They come in and only stay in a specific spot for a few hours, maybe a day. Even if there were Sasquatch in the general area, they might not be at that specific spot at that particular moment. Let me give you an example. I live in Edwards, Colorado.  If some team came to Edwards to find me and spent a day wandering around the area they might catch a glimpse of me, but I could just as easily be in Vail working or at home sleeping during that time and they would then go away and tell folks they didn't find me. And some others would say if your couldn't find him, then maybe he doesn't exist.

Using a similar methodology, The Survivorman series which is no longer about surviving in the wild and now focuses on finding Bigfoot, produced from our Canadian friends, also goes around and goes to hot spots and is there a day or so. The next episode he's off some other place looking around and setting out cameras that never pick up anything.

So, go back to my example of finding me in Edwards.  If you stayed around Edwards a while, eventually you actually would likely see me. It's not that big a town.  Likewise, I think if you want to find Bigfoot, you should go to a hotspot and stay there until you find one. It might take a month. It might take even longer. But, if they actually live in an area and you stay vigilant, it seems you would eventually find one.

Now, revisit the fact I live on a river and we've had huge amounts of rainfall.  I was wandering around last Monday, thinking about how high the river was and wondering if fishing would be worth doing, and if so, where to fish.  I saw a footprint in the mud.  It looked sort of human, but much bigger.  My thought was this could be a Bigfoot print.  I decided I would go and get some plaster and a measuring tape and maybe even a camera.  I realized it might have been made by a bear or person, but I thought I should preserve it for analysis. Well, it took quite a while to get this stuff, especially plaster. I did find a place that sells it and an hour and a half later I returned.

The river had risen considerably. The place where the footprint had been was now underwater. The footprint was gone.

I don't know if it was what I suspected. And I'll never know.  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Viva novellas

I like novellas.  I like reading them. I like writing them. Alas, I don't write them very often.  As much as I enjoy this length of story--more developed than a short story but lacking the tedium of a novel, they're very hard to get published anywhere.  I just finished one.  I've got another one in the ebook Airship Stories that just came out.  They're as different as night and day. One involves a steampunk airship. The other deals with spooky stuff.  Alas, I may have trouble finding a home for "Malevolent Entities." Time will tell, I suppose.  

Never really been sure if a novella is italicized or put in quotes. Short stories go in quotes. Books go in italics.  Just like everything about novellas, they're in a no man's land in so many way. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Movies

Well, some folks came through town a few days ago.  We thought it might be nice to go to a movie.  Now, there probably are more movies out there as the local theater is only a four plex and that is it unless you wish to drive to another town.  We could not come up with any movie we felt was worth bothering to go and see.  So we didn't go at all. Frankly, Marvel/Disney is just flooding the world with comic book movies.  There are simply too many of them.  I don't want to see any more.  And I don't really think I can sit through another mindless Mall Cop film either.  

I honestly am starting to feel like movies are a waste of money.  At any rate, we didn't go anywhere at all.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Showdown at Midnight

I've just become aware of a recent review of Showdown at Midnight.  This is a book you don't hear about much.  It's not currently in print.  This was a book I liked, but it never caught on.  I could've used a few more good reviews much earlier in the cycle.  The book had some problems.  There was a contract dispute with one of the contributors.  People just hated the cover--and I mean hated it. No one would review it. And the book did not sell at all. I got so frustrated with it I took it off the market. Anyway, since it's not on the market I was surprised to see it on a review site.  This was featured on Bitten by Books, which is a pretty good review site.  It's still nice when someone says something nice about your work.  There are a few used copies floating around if anyone's interested. 



Showdown at Midnight: Tales of Horror & Dark Fantasy From the Weird Weird West edited by David B. RileyShowdown at Midnight is a collection of stories set in an Old West that is chock-full of the strange, supernatural, and at times horrific. Werewolves, ghost train robbers, wendigos, bloodthirsty vampire bats, you name it.... For a reader looking for a supernatural/fantasy/horror anthology with quick, fun reads, I would definitely recommend Showdown at Midnight

For the full review go to   http://bittenbybooks.com/showdown-at-midnight-edited-by-david-b-riley/

Monday, May 4, 2015

Some Guy's List

I was looking for freelance jobs the other day and I took a look at some guy's list.  I won't mention them by name.  I hadn't looked there in years.  Well, every listing there was an obvious scam.  I don't know how that place continues. I found the same thing back when I was looking for housing a few years ago.  I have never seen a legit listing. Every single one is some crook trying to rip people off. The whole place ought to be shut down under the RICOH statutes [that's a law dealing with organized crime].  

Yet people keep swearing by this list place [I still won't mention their name].  I sure can't see why.  If I mention their name I'll get a zillion posts from the crackpots and crooks that I don't need to deal with.  I'm sure not wasting my time looking there anymore. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Sales

It's rough running a small publishing operation these days.  I've long lamented the lack of foreign sales.  When I was publishing Science Fiction Trails  we had about 20% sales from Europe.  Over time I watched that percentage steadily decline until it reached zero.  The books we've put out over the past few years haven't had any foreign sales. Steampunk Trails never had any foreign sales other than a couple of ebook downloads.  I know the EU has had a lot of problems and I'm sure that's a factor. It's also possible nobody likes the crap we publish.  All I know is that, with rising costs and thin margins, losing 20% of sales is rough.  

American sales have been declining as well, just not quite as steep.  The American story is a little more complicated as we have more distribution outlets in the US. The sales at Amazon have dropped off, but other venues have actually increased a little.

It's a rough business.  What it all means is anyone's guess.  I'm predicting sales will continue to decline. We can't compete with other distractions for folks.  I'll be surprised if I'm still publishing anything two years from now.  I certainly have no plans for any new anthologies this year.  In the past we put out one and often two books a year.  There won't be any this year. If sales continue to remain stagnant, there won't be any new books from us next year, either.  I don't know how our experience compares to other smaller presses.  But I certainly am not optimistic about the future.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Diarrhea

Back a few years ago I injured myself slipping on some ice.  I had to have physical therapy to get everything working properly.  Well, the therapist asked if I could have any super power, what would it be.  And I replied: You mean like x-ray vision or something? And she said yeah.  Well, I said I'd like to be able to give people diarrhea on command.  Now, I think she thought that was a bit weird.  But, I think it would be an awesome power.  Just think, a rival goes in to interview for a promotion; phytt.  Some politician you don't like goes up to the podium to make a major speech; phytt.  Suddenly a pants full of poop in front of a large crowd and maybe on TV.  Even crime fighting, when some crook tries to run away; phytt.  Try running from the police with your pants full of poop.

To me this seems like an incredible power to have.  I think that would be way cooler that x-ray vision or invisibility.  Now, I haven't quite worked out the details of my superhero that can make peoples drawers fill up with squishy, smelly brown material. But, if I do I'm sure it'll be a big winner and I'll send my idea off to Marvel any day now.  The Avengers movies will never be the same.