Wednesday, August 16, 2017

corn dogs

Except for Weinerschnitzel, it's a rare fast food outlet that sells corn dogs.  I don't really know why we have to differ from that golden goodness, but the darned things are tough to find.  Yep, you can buy them at the store and cook them. But buying one ready to go is tough, excepting certain state fairs which sell them.  Since I really go to state fairs, that's an outlet that excludes me.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trees

I guess I'm obsessed with the trees I've planted.  I worry about them. We've had a tremendous amount of wind, so I've put poles out there to shore them up. I put plant stakes in the soil for extra nutrition. And I look at the weather forecast and wonder when they'll need to be watered. Yesterday Mother Nature took care of the watering for me with some serious rain.

Why I am so obsessed with my trees stems from the fact I've never had my own yard before.  I owned a home in Colorado for about 10 years, but that was a condo and it didn't have a yard. A year ago I bought my present home in Tucson and it's the first yard I've actually owned.  Add to that there were no trees in the yard and Tucson is really hot.  I wanted some shade. I have visions of relaxing in the shade sipping lemonade some day. But I can only live out this fantasy if my trees grow. They're not big enough now to provide shade. And that's why I try so hard to keep them going.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thunder & Lightning

Well,  had more thunder and lightning last night. I don't think anybody had any trees come down.  A little milder storm this time.  The plants sure like the rain water.  

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Book Festival

So many cons and events wait until the last minute to let you know what, if anything, they want you to do.  That's why it's been a real pleasure to deal with the Tempe Festival of Books.  I've got an author invite for this one day book fair that's held Saturday, November 4th.  I've already got my schedule. They offered me a table to sell books from, but I decided to consign with Duncans Books instead. And I've already got my schedule. I'll be on a panel discussion about writing science fiction. For a one-day event, one panel isn't at all bad. I'll have plenty of time to talk to other participants and attend some of the other events they have planned. 

This event is being run by the Tempe Library.  They've been great about communicating and I'm really looking forward to it. If you live in the Phoenix  area, you might stop by. This doesn't look like it's anything close to the huge size of the Tucson Book Festival, which is simply huge.  But that may be a good thing. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ferocious mother nature

We've been getting very violent afternoon thunderstorms here in Tucson.  Last night, the grim reaper came for me--well, at least one of my trees.  The winds were so strong the ash tree, one of four I've planted in my yard, was down on the ground.  I put it back up, tied it to a pole for more support, and am hoping it's not going to die. This was a seven foot tall tree and I was hoping it was big enough to make it. Boy was I wrong.  My other trees show no sign of damage.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

19th century saucers

I have two presentations I used to give fairly often to any willing group of people. One was "Flying Saucers of the 19th Century." The other one was "The Great Airship of 1897."  I haven't given either one in some time.  The reason: hecklers.  People actually singled me out to disrupt my talks. It wasn't just a one time thing, but an obvious pattern. So, I tired of it and stopped talking.  Censorship in another form?  Well, I can't prove it.

In both presentations, there is solid evidence that there were aircraft flying around in the 1800s that should not have existed.  In particular, the Great Airship of 1896--1897 definitely was beyond the capabilities of balloons and other lighter than air craft as it had a powerful electric spotlight and an ability to travel at over 100 mph. This is well documented. And, most of the books and articles are wrong. I've explained why I think they're wrong. And I, unlike some others writing or speaking on this, don't have the answers to all of the questions. 

Glowing objects over Civil War battlefields. Yep. People don't want to hear it. It upsets their sensibilities.  The story of the airship is kept in obscurity. Historians and writers won't tough it.Yet thousands of people saw it. The State of California held legislative hearings on it.   And I was often not allowed to discuss this.  event.

In many ways, the 1800s cases are more straightforward than the muddle that is the post WW II time when people usually think UFOs showed up. Back then, there weren't other aircraft in the sky. Anything up there bigger than a bird did not belong. But, after being repeatedly disrupted I kind of gave up. I haven't proposed these topics now in about three years.  And I'm not likely to bring these up for an audience at a con or elsewhere anytime soon.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Chompin at the Bit

I've danced around talking about my new book project without saying much.  I've seen the cover. I like it. problem is I don't have a release date yet. And I don't have permission to show the cover. What I can is the book is in the spirit of the old Ace Doubles where they used to have one book, usually a novella, with a second book facing the other way. So both front and back cover were front covers so to speak.  Well, we thought in the era of digital publishing this was impractical. But that's way inspired us.  So, I wrote a novella called "The Venerable Travels of Ling Fung," which reprises my character Ah Puch.  And Laura Givens' story "Chin Song Ping and the Long, Long Night" takes up the other half of the book.  The overall title is Legends of the Dragon Cowboys.  One book, two stories.  

So, I've seen the cover. And it looks just like Ling Fung--at least how I envisioned him.  I don't know when I'll have release information or be allowed to show the cover.  I'm kind of excited about this release because I return to the weird western.  I'll go to my grave being thought of as a weird western guy.  Truth is, they actually only represent a small part of my cumulative output.  Last year I released a science fiction novel, Bonded Agent. I'm really happy to return to the weird western genre.  

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Weird Western Update

Yesterday I was working on the new issue of Science Fiction Trails.  I should call it the choo choo issue. I don't recall but two stories in the first eleven issues that had trains in them.  I've got that in this issue.  The train, or at least robbing the train, is a western staple.  It's almost as popular as robbing the town bank.  That's why I find it odd that train stories have been rare and bank robberies even rarer.  I just don't see many submissions using these storylines. Don't know why.  

Submissions were soft, overall, but that was not unexpected since the  thing has been off the market. Hopefully that'll change for the next issue.  It's hard to build any kind of synergy with an annual publication. Yet we've never sold enough copies or received enough stories to publish more often. In fact, there are no "new" writers in the new issue.  They're the same ones I've relied on in the past. That's fine, although I'd like to see new talent.  It is what it is, I guess.  Waiting for cover art. Issue 12 will be out in September.

Also on the weird western front, I return to weird westerns with Legends of the Dragon Cowboys. That's a book with two novella sized stories featuring Chinese heroes in the Old West.  I team up with Laura Givens. Her Ching Song Ping character is most entertaining..  

My story features a fairly new character called Ling Fung He made his debut in an anthology called Under A Dark Sign. He's back and taking on the Mayan God of Death, Ah Puch. For those who've read my Miles O'Malley stories, (all three of you, ha) Ah Puch is obsessed with converting California into his own personal country in 1880's America.  Ling Fung, both an expert marksman and Kung Fu practitioner finds himself reluctantly taking on this adversary.  He really is much more interested in setting up a gun store.  Americans love guns and he thinks selling them will be the ticket to his prosperity.  A release date is not set.  Things are progressing quickly and I've seen the cover. More info there as it develops.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

calls

I got a robo call from some place at 6 am this morning.  Why do these companies think I want their fraudulent car warranties or that I'm going to give to their bogus "police" organization?  And I just love getting woken up by these assholes who don't even know what time zones are. Not in a million years.  I'm about ready to go without a telephone at all.  The Do Not Call List a complete joke. These companies violate it with impunity and nothing happens to them. Memo to Congress: revise the law.  Violating the Do Not Call List needs to be a capital crime punishable by death.

Friday, August 4, 2017

robots from outer space


Forget foreign competition.  It's not the Chinese or the Mexicans that want your job. Nope, it's the robots.  They work all day and never even ask for a lunch break. And they don't even want a benefit plan. They're quietly taking over.  At my library you don't check books out from a librarian, it's a robot. My doctor doesn't have a receptionist.  You check in with a robot.  Type in your name and click a button and sit down and the medical assistant will come get you.  

Who needs cops writing tickets when a camera at the corner will do?  Heck, burglar alarms are being replaced with little cameras. Won't be long and they'll probably hook up tasers to them and not only alert the owner but capture the crooks as well. What's a burglar supposed to do? It's enough to make them go straight. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

thunder & lightning oh my

This time of year we get thunder storms in southern Arizona.  It's just a natural cycle.  Then we can go for months with little or no rain at all.  During these storms people sometimes get hit by lightning.  I guess one tends to discount or ignore getting struck by lightning as it is a rare event.  So, I was outside doing weed removal as the clouds darkened and the thunder started to roar. And I ignored it. Then a blast of lightning struck the ground less than a block away.  Damn.  It was reminiscent of Zeus in mythology picking someone off with his lightning bolts.  It shook me up at just how foolish I had been and that I should have given nature a little more respect. I went inside and stayed there.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

laser beams

Back in the days of the space program ordinary folks were introduced to laser beams. We didn't know what to do with them, but they seemed cool.  They revolutionized communications. Gone are wire telephone cables. Fiber optics carry laser beams at much more capacity. 

Earlier this week I got to benefit from them directly as I had surgery to remove a few tumors from my nose.  I was out of the surgery in less than an hour. In days of old I'd have had stitches and maybe even plastic surgery.  Now, just some minor bandages for a few days and that was pretty much it. Sure, it hurt a little for the first day, but the pain was minimal compared to what a scalpel and stitches would bring. 

My problem had been I had a tough time finding a doctor who would help me.  I finally found a dermatologist who was really into laser surgery. I don't know why other doctors were unwilling to do it. It was a piece of cake.  Like all surgeries, there are risks and it goes without saying that it's comforting to have a good, experienced surgeon.  But, once completed, what was warping the very shape of my nose and cutting off breathing in one nostril was gone. Poof. 

So, in science fiction, they shoot the bad guys with laser beams.  But, right now, they use them for surgery and it is truly amazing.   

Monday, July 31, 2017

edits

Well, the good news is i found a publisher for my novella.  The bad news is I found a publisher for my novella.  Now comes the agonizing process of editing and revision.  Part of the problem is you don't know what style book your editor is going to use, since you don't know who's publishing or editing your book--at least I didn't.  Ergo, where one style book may go to numerals after twenty, so you'd do 21 next. That's not universal.  This leaves me feeling like an idiot even though it's not really a big deal in the overall scheme of things.   Actually, I got off fairly easily.  So far, I haven't seen anything I can't live with in the way of edits.  I should point out this is a novella, about half the size of a typical novel.   I'll talk more on this once it's all done.  

Got a preview of the cover.  It looks good.  More to follow. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bugs

Now that it's  a little cooler and we've gotten some rain, the bugs are out. In particular, crickets. That chirping they do is so incredibly annoying.  This year I unleashed outdoor bug spray right after the rain let up. And it seems to have worked. I can hear them on other lots nearby, buy not around my house.  It's so darned annoying. I don't know how long this will last.  Living in a hot climate, you've got to stay on top of bug problems.  We've got termites, flies, crickets, scorpions and roaches. Just take you pick.  

Friday, July 28, 2017

More on Surgery

Had surgery yesterday to remove some tumors from my nose.  Surgery hurts.  To avoid opioid  addiction, doctors are getting pretty stingy with pain killers.  I want morphine. I'm paying lots of money. Give me morphine.  The good news was my surgery was laser surgery and it only hurt for about half a day.  then the pain subsided and it was over.  

There's something about surgery, trusting one's life to somebody you just met.  But surgery can do a lot to improve life.  Back in Roman days there was a surgeon named Galen who was way ahead of his time. He was so skilled he even did things like remove cataracts.  He tended to cater to the nobility as they could pay cash and poor folks couldn't.  [And that looks like where we're heading with health care, but I digress[.  Anyway, Galen was it if you were sick back then.  A lot of doctors were actually Greek. But they were far more advanced than what came later.  A lot was lost to the plague, which I've written about before.  A Roman citizen could get surgery, with anaesthesia,  and John Adams daughter was given blood letting for her breast cancer in the 1700s.  Yes, it's my theory much of what brought on the dark ages was a direct result of the plague.  It was not lead water pipes and it was not the plague.  History books for schools are written by morons because they have to be approved by politicians in order to get purchased. 

Burned flesh has an odd smell.  I inhaled some of that fragrance while they were working on me.  

Thursday, July 27, 2017

knife

Having surgery today.  I'll provide more info later on.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Happy Birthday

Well, I got a nice birthday present in the form of a contract to publish a novella.  More about it as we get toward release date, which is a while off still.  Novellas, which run around 30,000 words, are a size I really enjoy writing, but they are a real bear to get published.  I have  done a few that I had to re-edit into short stories to get them published.  So, being able to get one published as envisioned by the author (hey, that's me) is really neat.  The story brings together my past character, Ah Puch, the Mayan god of death, with a newcomer to my stable, Ling Fung.  Like the Miles O'Malley books, it is mostly set in 1880's California.  Ah Puch is still trying to raise and equip an army to take over California. This time it's a mysterious Chinaman who decides to block his efforts.  Updates will be posted as they develop.  

Saturday, July 22, 2017

There But For

My neighborhood was hit hard by storms this week. Lots of trees came down.  Lots of folks without power. Lots of people with roof damage.  And me--nothing.  I didn't even lose power.  It kind of made me fee guilty.  But I actually just felt lucky. it could've easily been my house that took damage. And no one was hurt, as far as I know.  The tree guys have been sawing up the fallen trees and things almost look like nothing happened. The smashed up roofs--well that will take a little longer.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Now they've done it

Well, I met the news that Jodie Whittaker will be the next Doctor on Doctor Who with a so-what attitude.  I went from just loving the show during the Matt Smith era to no longer watching it during the outgoing Peter Capaldi. I didn't stop watching it because of Capaldi. I actually liked his performance. It was more a total dislike for the preposterous and moronic storylines the show had descended to.

So, a woman doctor eh? I predict set in their ways fans will not take to her.  It had already been established that Time Lords can regenerate into different genders. The long-term villain The Master had already regenerated to a woman and changed the name from The Master to Missy.  

Is she going to have dudes travelling with her? I hope they keep the concept of hot babes in short skirts for travelling companions.  I still miss Amy Pond.  I also think the doctor should get a dog. [Not a robot dog like Tom Baker had--a real one.]

Anyone  have any thoughts?




Monday, July 17, 2017

A few thoughts on Cable TV Series

A few days ago I expressed dismay that Westworld got so many Emmy nominations.  I really did not think much of the show. HBO had a free view of one of their other shows, so I took a look at Game of Thrones.   I am probably the only person in the USA who has never watched it–not a single episode.  

Can’t beat free.  I watched about half an hour’s worth then turned it off.  I couldn’t take any more. It was absolutely awful.  I can’t sit through shows where I know what characters are going to do and say before they do it. I knew every word the actors were going to spew out of their mouths with no idea of the story background. I knew the wine was poisoned too, I’ve never seen an HBO produced program that I like.

Storm Central

A few days ago I was complaining about the heat and lack of any rain.  Well, we've been getting rain.  quite a bit of rain.  Sunday afternoon I was sitting in front of my computer when a violent blast of wind came along.   Only when I ventured outside did I see the scope of the damage. There were down trees everywhere.  Some of my neighbors car ports had been destroyed.  Thus far the weather service has not branded the storm a tornado.  Me thinks it was as the damage is too spread out for a micro burst. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bugs

Had my annual termite inspection recently.  They're a real problem in this area.  The one last year, which was when I was buying the place, turned up the little bastards. A treatment ensued and I'm still here. It occurred to me one could get termites out in the wild and implant them underneath the homes of people one didn't like.  If they, like most folks, didn't get regular pest control, uh oh.  How do I think up stuff like this?

Friday, July 14, 2017

22 Emmy Nominations?

22 Emmy nominations?
It baffles me.  I think Westworld is a mediocre television series that doesn’t really accomplish anything.  Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys?  They’ve muddled that.  But they’re so obsessed with what it’s like to be an android one has but the barest glimpse of what it’s like to be a guest there.  I had a rough time watching some of the episodes as I dearly wanted to turn my TV off.  I guess they got so many nominations because so much of what’s on TV is such mindless crap. Just like this show.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

listen chumps

I wish Congress would stop playing games with health insurance.  The American people are way ahead of Congress.  They know what they want.  Stop behaving like robber barons for once and actually help people to get insurance. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

water everywhere

After months of no rain we got a really substantial rain last night.  It cooled things down and gave our plant friends a drink.

Monday, July 10, 2017

mountain lion?

This morning I found a track in my back yard that startled me.  I think it was a mountain lion.  There are tons of them in southern Arizona, but they usually stay up in the mountains.  It was a big cat.  You can tell a cat print from a bear or dog because cat's claws retract. This animal had a paw print the size of my hand.  It wasn't the kitty that lives with the elderly lady down the street.  Well, we've had no rain this year at all, six months with no measurable rain where I live. The airport had some in March but we didn't get any. With record heat and no water anywhere I guess it's on the move trying to find better digs. Our neighborhood borders a large park called Tucson Mountain Preserve.  The mountain part is a ways off, but there's plenty of desert. Maybe it wanted a dip in the pool.  Well, other than it surprised me, I'm not going to worry about it.  I've lived in national parks so I've lived around wild animals before. My view is if you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone. Sure wish I'd seen it.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

penny for your thoughts

There was a penny on the sidewalk yesterday, down by the mailboxes. It looked so pathetic lying there.  Well I picked it up. I put it in my coin jar. Soon, it'll be reunited with t=its coin buddies at Coinstar.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Hot Foot

Dogs have it rough in our current  heatwave. The pavement is so hot they can't walk. The pavement burns their feet.                                                                      


















































































                                                                                                                                     






















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Friday, July 7, 2017

Hell on Earth?

Generally, I don't mind the heat. Heck, after freezing my ass off in the mountains of Colorado for 14 years, a little warm air seemed nice. But damn! Every day is over 110 degrees.  My trees I planted to get some shade are in trouble. Their leaves look  burnt.  There's talk of rain and cooler weather in the next few days. I certainly hope so. I  do not want to lose my trees.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Weird Westerns on the Rise?

Weird Westerns have always been on the fringe of genre fiction.  But they’re not the ticket to obscurity they once were. It’s actually a hundred year old genre that’s very rich and diverse in its subject matter.  These stories are riding a new wave of popularity, not only with readers but authors as well.  Case in point, a new anthology:Straight Outta Tombstone.  Edited by David Boop, the book is packed with stories by major writers .  Alas, I’m not one of them. Although I know most of the contributors in the book, my story didn’t make it into the book.  I have nothing to gain or loose from the success of this book. I just note it’s out. And it’s a rarity in that so many Weird Western books are put out in the small press world. Boop has collected major authors and the book is put out by Baen, a major publisher.  I hope it does well as this sort of book, with it’s wide distribution, can reach a lot more readers.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Dr. What?

Over the years I've been an on-again off-again fan of Dr. Who.  Most recently, it's been mostly off.. I've found most of the episodes silly and preposterous.  That's why I was surprised at the season finale.  It was quite good.  They're on a massive ship stuck in the gravity well of a black hole. 


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fireworks

Yesterday there was a fireworks display nearby.  It had to have come from somebody's house.  Thing is, it was the big fireworks that come in displays.  It can't possible by legal.  It was a nice show.  I personally quit setting off fireworks since all we have are the boring kind that don't explode==the  safe and sane, 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Don't Call Us, We'll Call You.

I was planning on being in Phoenix this weekend for Westercon 70.  That didn't pan out.  "You have an awesome background, we'll get back to you," in English means we want nothing to do with you. Being snubbed is not unusual, about 90% of the cons I've approached to participate with in some way have snubbed me.  They rarely communicate than they think I'm a worthless toad--they just ignore me.  That's what Westercon did.  That's the way it goes.  But I will not buy a ticket to places that treat me like that.  

Saves me transportation costs, I suppose.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Prowlers

Well, the neighborhood didn't hear from the prowlers last night. They say when it's 110 degrees crime drops off quite a bit. In fact, there's some study that shows a sharp drop off in crime after 92 degrees. I think you have to adjust it up a bit for the desert southwest.  We have a dry heat, as they say.  Does this mean global warming is bringing good things?  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Disconcerted prowlers

My neighborhood was a little bit rattled in the wee hours of the morning yesterday as a number of houses reported someone prying on and knocking on windows around 1 am. I live one block from all the activity.  Our neighborhood is quiet, mostly older people and I really don't know why someone would find it that exciting to prowl around in the middle of the night.  I guess the local hooligans have little else to do.  

Friday, June 30, 2017

Informed?

Our friends at the US Postal Service have come up with a new service nobody wants. They call it Informed Deliver or something like that.  You get an email that shows [literally with a little picture] what mail you are going to get that day.   It seems to work fairly well. There are a  few restrictions: residential only, no  business  mail.  But it's free. You have to sign up at their web                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Climate What?

It remains unseasonably hot.  Trying to get some writing done as yard work is most unpleasant.  Haven't seen any of those horrible mule deer in a while.   But we've got plenty of other animals in the area. We've got quail and doves and two species of rabbit.  Not to mention coyotes, which seem to be coming into the neighborhood to eat the rabbits.  

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Old People

We all have them or at least know someone who does. Old people.  They have a logic uno their own. My father is really old.  He just doesn't think like a normal [non old] person.  He only watches sports on TV because he can't understand scripted programs.  He doesn't know who voted for last November, but it was somebody.  He worries about getting lost, but won't get GPS because he can't figure out how to work it.

So, enter into this environment a few little green me--visitors to earth.  "Sir, can you cash a check for me? I really need uranium for my flying saucer."  Now a normal [non old] person would say "screw you--everyone knows flying saucers use plutonium. Get lost."

Well, old people would reply thusly: "Here's your check." Such a nice young man.  


Give me fire

Can you  make fire from scratch with no matches?   Some local boy scouts were showing off at a local mall, trying to pass the summer boredom away.  They demonstrated fire making techniques.  Then they let people try. Damn.  I couldn't do it, not even with a flint striker.  I gave up.  I tried today to use my glasses to get it going. Couldn't do it. I guess I'll pass on trying out for these survivor shows.

Back when I was in scouting our method of fire making was to wait until the scoutmaster wasn't around and use matches. Worked great.  We always had the best fires.  Now I sort of wish we'd actually learned how to make a fire.  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Marvelous Service

By now most folks know Amazon and the US Postal Service have a deal and the USPS is delivering packages on Sunday.  I don't know the peculiarities of this deal, but it seems different.  My packages are dropped off by my door. Rest of the time they go to a package locker next to my cluster box.  If a cluster box is good enough the other six days  week, why not on Sunday?  I just don't know that I need stuff that fast.

Meanwhile, Zappos [an Amazon subsidiary] insists on delivering my shoe purchases overnight.  I'd be happy if they arrived in a couple of days, frankly.  

I just don't need stuff that fast.

Starting the Day Off Right

It stands to reason
Just all the same
Here are cyanide tablets
Have some please.

Hotter than

My father lives about 4 miles from my house.  He had a thermometer out in his front yard.  It got so hot Saturday that it exploded.  Now that's hot.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Summer of our discontents

I'm unhappy over some stuff that'll probably creep into this blog at some point.  But not today.  I live south of Tucson, out in the desert. That's not to be confused with the City of South Tucson, which is a separate incorporated city that's not where I live.  Not a lot of businesses out in these parts.  But I was pissed off, so I went to the local bar.  I drank two beers. Now, I was kind of hoping someone would pick a fight with me. I was in a foul mood and was ready to go. Only problem, this bar was full of old people.  This whole neighborhood is basically old people.  And some of those 80-year-olds are pretty mean with a cane, there weren't really any battles worth fighting. I had my two beers and went back home.  And that was my big trip to the bar. I have such an exciting life.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Heat

One thing about  such a hot climate as Arizona, there are a couple months when you just don't want to do anything you don't have to.  For instance, there's a bush out in my front yard that needs trimming. It's actually extending out into the street. Only a matter of time before I get a letter from the homeowners association.  I sent  out to  trim yesterday and came back inside. It was 112 degrees. I don'r know how some of these construction guys deal with it.  I've been on the opposite extreme when it's minus 20 when I lived in Colorado.  When it's this hot it sort of sucks the energy out of you.  Maybe I'll try early tomorrow morning, before it gets so darned hot.  Then people will complain  I'm making too much noise.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Spam

I don't understand why so many companies think that because they have your email that you somehow want to be spammed constantly.  I've had to close out accounts more than once because companies wouldn't stop spamming me. My latest nemesis is my credit union.  I opened an account about a year ago when I moved to Tucson from Colorado.  They've been pretty good but I noticed a huge increase in spam about two months ago. I'm not getting multiple spans every day. Why would they think I want this?  Stay tuned.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Garbage

Wednesdays are garbage day where I live.  In our community we have one company that picks up our trash. My brother lives about three miles away. They have a choice of four different trash companies. Needless to say, their cans are bigger and they pay a little less. Ain't competition wonderful?  Of course, we have recycling as well.  Today my can was packed full. The reason: I cleaned out my refrigerator. Nothing really disgusting, just some stuff past its prime. There were some hot dogs and I could not read the expiration. And some beans from a year ago. Still, nothing disgusting.  

Below is a trash truck, or at least a picture of one.  i wish I'd had a toy trash truck when I was little. I asked Santa for one,more than once, but never got one.  I thought it would be cool to play garbage truck. My mother did not agree.  she got real mad at me.



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

pests

Had my annual pest control inspection.  That's a fancy way of saying "termites."  I unfortunately live in a termite hot spot.  They're pretty active out here on the south side of Tucson.  An infestation was found last year when I bought my house.  No sign of anything new.  That's one of word that sends instant fear into the hearts of homeowners--termites.  So, I reluctantly pay for an inspection because the consequences are too costly if you don't.  Maybe they're taking advantage of my paranoia.  But these little bugs can do some serious damage to a home.

It occurred to me as the inspector guy was looking around, that I've never seen a story submitted to anything I edit that was about termites.  I wonder why.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day

My father said he didn't want anything for Father's Day. And that is just what he got.  Well, my brother did cook a very nice supper. and he seemed pleased with that.  I've always wondered where Mother's Day and Father's Day came from.  A lot of people think Hallmark invented them as an excuse to sell greeting cards.  That certainly would not surprise me. 

I am certainly glad we don't have Siblings Day.National Pet's Day would be a toughie. Dogs and cats can't read, so getting them a card would seem kind of pointless. Maybe we have enough occasions to send cards now.  Perhaps they should enact Vagrant's Day, and people would go around and give a card to their favorite street corner bum. I kind of like that one for some reason. 

Happy Father's Day to all and to all a good night.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Flounder's Gone

Well, I just read Flounder died.  Stephen Furst will forever be thought of as Flounder, at least by those of us who were coming of age when Animal House came out.  Alas, I've noticed the younguns have never seen the full movie in a theater, only some edited version of it.  It's the comedic timing and wonderful lines that made this film so darn special.  Go see the movie, just get the original and not the PG version I'm told is out there. It's actually a mild movie, carrying an R rating for a little bit of raunchy language and a few very brief tit scenes.  

Nuff said about Animal House itself. Furst was an overweight dork who pledged with Animal House because no one would take him.  and, one of the best lines in the movie is "Face it Flounder, you fucked us. You trusted us." But, without context, the lines is meaningless. That's why I warn off the over edited versions of this movie.  It's one of the funniest movies ever made, but there are edited versions of the same film that are unwatchable.  

Furst had decent roles as Dr. Axelrod in St. Elsewhere and on Babylon 5.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Trees

I've mentioned before that I planted six trees in my yard earlier this year--two dwarf lemon and four ash.  Then we had wind like I've never seen in March and even into May. Now it's quieted down. But my young trees were hit hard with leaves and even branches being damaged.  I've come to the conclusion that one of them is, in fact, dead.  I wanted some shade from the brutal Arizona sun. At least the other trees seem okay.  I guess it's off to the nursery to see if I can get another tree.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Gas tank

I have this annoying habit. I'm one of those people that lets his gas tank run down really low before filling it--what they call fumes. Only at the last second do I swing into a gas station and fill it back up.  No one understands why I do this.  It's because I don't like buying gas.  There's nothing fun or enjoyable about it.  Alas, Oregon remains the only state that won't let you fill up your car.  Now, I'm perfectly able to fill it, i just don't like doing it.  Ergo, I wait until the warning message on my car says I only have five miles left. then I start looking or a station.  Tucson is really sprawled out. You could be more than five miles from a station, depending on where you are.  I am taking unnecessary risks.  Yet I keep doing it. Must be something wrong with me.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I'm tired, not that anyone cares

Twice in the past week I've been woken up by neighbors.  I can't really fault them.  One wanted somebody strong to get her car brake to release.  The other, well she couldn't get her burglar alarm to stop ringing.  I was able to help them. I actually did stop the burglar alarm. and I got the other neighbor out of the driveway and on her trip.

I  mean, neighbors should help each other out.  But, at 7:30 in the morning, when I only went to bed at 3 am, I haven't had enough sleep.  I am not a 24 hour road service or alarm company.  I need more sleep than that.  I really do.  

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My foot hurts

My foot hurts.  My mother used to say old age is not for sissies.  I'm beginning to see what she meant. It seems like I'm perpetually hurting.  Before my foot it was my shoulder.  My knees bother me intermittently.  No idea what I get next.  All are of the arthritis variety.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

supermarket wars

Well, every now and them one of these supermarket queens sets me off.  You know the type, they block the aisle or ram their cart into me or cut in front of me in line.  I've been officially thrown out of four grocery stores by managers after I retaliated, as the old bats are always right.  Well, I don't stand there and scream any longer.  Nowadays I just slip things into their grocery order by moving into the next line and tossing something on the conveyor or simply tossing an item in their cart. 

This dreadful woman cut in front of me in line at the meat counter and insisted she was next, although she was not.  Five boxes of Imodium,the anti diarrhea medicine, appeared in her cart at check out.  As has happened before with others of her kind, she do not notice and the items were bagged and off she went with them. Yes,  she took them from her cart and did not notice. That's why I like this technique.  Piss me off in the store and you're gonna pay for stuff you didn't even know you bought. 


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bye bye Batman

I note Adam West passed away.  His version of Batman was a big deal for a very short time.  Every celeb wanted to make a  cameo by sticking his head out the window when they were climbing up the outside of a building--why waste a perfectly good elevator.  

And it was his fault I broke my arm.  I was playing Batman with a few friends when my bicycle crashed and I broke my arm.  That hurt. A lot.  








Saturday, June 10, 2017

Haircuts

My brother gets his hair cut by his wife.  I go to a barber.  My dad goes to a barber even though he is essentially bald--with no more hair than Homer Simpson.  I note that in some places these decisions about men's hair are not left up to the quirkiness of the individual  I am including a chart of what haircuts are allowed in North Korea.  I guess I need to hop on a plain and get me one of these Korean hair cuts.  Not  certain which one Kim Jong Un wears.  .



Haircuts in North Korea

Friday, June 9, 2017

Oh driver

One thing Hollywood likes is the limousine. You're not really important in a TV show or movie unless you have your own driver.  The British programs are even more that way.  Everybody from Jack the Ripper to James Bond seems to ride around in a limousine, at least part of the time. In Bond's case, it's more to get new orders or a reprimand, then he hops out and proceeds off in his Aston Marten. 

Of course, then there were those Grey Poupon commercials. One guy hangs out the window of his Bentley and asks, "Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?"

"But of course," the guy in the next limo replies.  

How many private driven cars are actually on the road?  Don't know, but it's probably small.  How many do you even see at airports?  Damn few. Most folks pile into some sort of shared ride shuttle or their local Uber service.  Or maybe a taxi.  None of these offer the exclusivity of that friendly driver who knows where to get a watch repaired or find a prostitute at two a.m.  

Where am I going with this?  I don't know really.  I've been revisiting the Yes, Minister TV series. I just loved that show when it first came out.  I still love it. and you would think everyone in the British government has a driver to whisk them around London.  Without his driver, the Hon. Jim Hacker, MP would be completely clueless of what was going on.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Science Fiction Trails

Well, one reason I stopped publishing SFT was the lack of stories.  Alas, nothing has changed. I'm still not seeing much new.  The good news is my regular authors claim they're going to send something and that should be enough. "There's no markets out there!"  cried the novice writer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Can you imagine such a thing?

People have a tendency to tell me it's hot in Arizona.  Yeah, I kind of figured that already.  Can you imagine 107 degrees Fahrenheit?  Probably. It sort of depends on where you live.  Parts of the Midwest and places like California see those temperatures--but it's usually over a few days, not a few months as it is here. And, of course, we even see 110 and maybe even 115 now and then. What's scary is this past weekend my air conditioner broke down.  It took until yesterday to get it fixed.  As your ceiling fans rumble along and sweat rolls down you brow as the thermometer inside your home goes past 90 and just keeps on climbing, that's when things suddenly aren't that much fun and I'm looking at snow pictures from when I lived in Colorado.  Uh, maybe I can stay at my dad's house. He has a guest bedroom. And his air conditioner is working.

Ah, thank God for repair technicians, or HVAC guys as I think they're called.  Now my house is nice and cool.  If your roommate was Frosty the snowman, a weekend like this would mean a large puddle in your living room and an ad on Craig's List for a new one.  Why a snowman would want to live in Arizona seems odd, probably for the views and the abundant Mexican food.

Frosty the Snowman does Cinco De Mayo? Hmm



Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cons, oy veh!

I've been snubbed by cons. I've been welcomed by them.  Mostly I'm ignored by them. But, something that happened today completely baffled me.  First off, we're talking about the non profit conventions that run for two or three days. Some of them move around the country. Some stay put. They're not like the commercial cons that exist to sell stuff like autographs and merchandise. Okay, I got a call asking me if I was David Riley?  Well, that is my name so I admitted it.  She told me she was with some con back east [I ain't saying which one].  Then she asked if I'd gotten tired of living in England.  Oy Veh.

You see, there's another David Riley.  We've never actually met. He lives in England and I live in Arizona, USA [and lived formerly in Colorado].  We're aware of each other and have posted stuff on blogs.  He goes by David A. Riley. I go by David B. Riley,  And every now and then someone asks me to autograph one of his books or stories.  I keep swearing I'm going to start doing that--signing his books.  I doubt he gets many of mine as I have had very little published or sold in the UK.  Heck the editor of  a big anthology a few years ago, tried to buy reprint rights from me for one of his stories.. Uh, well, uh...

And now, uh, "I think you have the wrong David. I told the con lady.  We're both HWA members. His address is in the member directory.  Other than that, he's got some book store in England and is on the Internet."   

"Well, you don't have to be so rude!"

"Lady, I did not call you. You called me."

"If you were any good, you'd have a pen name!"

And that was the end of that. 


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Food and, well other stuff

Had some Chinese food a few nights ago.  The food was excellent, although the restaurant is some distance from my house.  My dilemma had little to do with the food.  A young man was busing tables and was not attending to ours.  He bore a considerable likeness to the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, although slightly younger. This fellow was in in his early twenties and the real one is in his mid thirties.  He had the same  hair style and was dressed with the stylish over shirt the dictator frequents.  

Hence my dilemma.  Tucson is a college town. Young people need to stretch the envelope on social mores at times. On the other hand, this is a place of public accommodation.  Kim Jong Un is a despicable man who has ordered untold numbers murdered, including his own brother and uncle. It's not much different than if somebody was running around trying to look like Hitler.  So, do I complain to management or just ignore it?  I chose to ignore it.  Nobody else in the place seemed at all bothered by this. I'm still not sure I made the right decision.

Kim Jong Un



Friday, June 2, 2017

Scence Fiction Trails

Over at Science Fiction Trails, where I am editor, we are open to story submissions. The guidelines are available at the magazine's blog.  I always warn people this is a specialized market. Read the guidelines carefully.  It's not an easy sale.  We ceased publication a few years ago, but I am bringing it back.  
http://steampunktrails.blogspot.com/p/writers-guidelines.html


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Why?

A couple of young men from the local high school were at Burger King yesterday talking about whatever young men talk about. Their particular discussion centered about someone named Megan.  Then the conversation drifted to their homework. By the way, I think this was a private school as Tucson schools are out, me thinks.  Apparently, one of them had drawn the task of writing to the president.
I butted in, "You don't want to do that."
"I don't?"
"Nah, the president is a dullard. Can you write to someone else?"
"I signed up for him."
"Well, send one off somewhere else.  How about  a constable or clerk of the superior court.? They're elected officials."
"If I got an answer? He is the president."
"It'll be an autopen."  
And so, court clerk it was. Unless he changes his mind.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Just a suggestion

Saw former President Obama on TV over the weekend.  He was at some event.  Boy, he really turned gray.  Thing is, he's actually about three years younger than I am.  In fact, he's the same age as my little brother.  I'm not gray, at least not when I don't have a beard.  I'm constantly changing my mind and shaving off or growing out my beard, which is gray and ages me a bit.

Simply put, Mr. Obama should shave his head.  Ninety-five percent of all black guys who shave their heads look cool. Most white guys who shave their heads look like the guys who are always seeing flying saucers and are somehow supposed to be related to me. . 

So, shave that gray rubble off, Mr. President.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorials Day

I kind of wonder what genius came up with Memorial Day.  Like, why is a mattress sale supposed to help us remember some fallen and forgotten hero?  I don't have the answer to that.  I still wish Ground Hog Day was a full fledged holiday.  

First expedition, summer

My brother talked me into going along on an expedition out in the forests of eastern Arizona.  So, off we went.  We saw some deer. I got to see a wild turkey.  And, we were amazed to discover there were fish in a stream that we didn't think could possibly be year around.  The fish, we aren't sure what they are. That will require another expedition.  

And the old SUV got a flat tire.  The air pump didn't work.  The can of tire goop was defective.  So we had to go with a donut spare.  Not sure why they call them that.  No bars of service on the old cell phone.  We were out in the sticks.  I guess we could've spent the night and dined on fish stew, but we chose to drive 100 miles on the donut spare to get home.  


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Free Stories

I hope everyone enjoyed the free story   Those are kind of fun to do now and then.  I was hoping to review a few things, but never seem to get those projects finished.  I'll try an review something this weekend.  

I have no personal news to report.  Planning on spending July 4th at Westercon in Phoenix.

Still haven't figured out where my pies went to.  That's all for today.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Thanks, I needed that



Thanks, I Needed That?  A story by David B. Riley


It was a dark and stormy night, except it wasn't really night, more like dusk and the storm had pretty much passed through with just a little remaining wind and some lightning over on Totter Island. I was on duty for the evening shift.  We had all of one reservation at the Millard. .Sounded like a real exciting night.  

Suddenly, a car pulled up to the portico. The door opened and two legs slid out. They went all the way down the the ground.  And the woman they were attached to was absolutely gorgeous. Green eyes that could melt any man’s heart.  And raven hair that was a dark as space itself.  Beam me up.  I’d be spending the rest of my shift making wedding plans.  I wondered if she’d like a massage.

“Porter, Abigail Porter. I have a reservation.”

“I just need a photo ID and a major credit card.”

She handed me both.  A Texan.  We didn’t get many Texans.

“You’re in 108, just down the hall.”

“Could you store this in your safe? She asked. It was a manilla envelope.

“Certainly.” I took the envelope. “Could you write your name on it?”

“That’s not necessary, Mister Campbell. I don’t need it back.”  She started for her car. “Have a nice night.”

“What?” Then I realized. I tore open the envelope.  I was being sued.  She was good. Dang, I'd just been served.  I’d have to add it to the others. No money to pay a lawyer for help.

“When you do this to some poor guy you could at least do him on the hood of your car,” I announced to an empty lobby.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The pie that never was.

Sometimes, things happen I can't quite figure out.  I went to the store two days ago and bought a pie, amongst other things.  Stores sell pies.  Bakeries do not. We don't have bakeries any more.  Oh, I'm sure there's one filled with mystical delights somewhere on this earth, but I sure never see them.  It's just a department in a grocery store. And that's where my cherry pie came from.  I put it in my cart and wandered around the store in search of other things I didn't really need.  And low and behold, about the time I was going to check out, I noticed my pie was missing.  The milk, and the package of ground beef and the spaghetti saucer were all there, but no such thing as a pie was in my cart. Had someone stolen it?  Can you really steal a pie if it hasn't left the store?  Where had it gone?

I went back over to the bakery section.  I grabbed another cherry pie.  They were on sale for four bucks. How can you go wrong  for four bucks?  And I headed for checkout.  I unloaded my cart on the conveyor belt and the checker rang up my purchase.    The bagger put the stuff in bags and I took it out to my car. When I got home I unloaded.  After putting everything away, I noticed I didn't have a pie.  "How could this be?"  I went out to the car and it was not in my trunk.  It was not to be found. Then I went and checked my receipt, certain the store had stolen my pie.  It wasn't there. I'd taken pies and put them in my cart not once, but twice.  Yet there was no mention of any pie on my receipt. I could not go back to the store and claim they had my pie, or they'd given my pie to another customer. There was no record I'd paid for any pie. 

I didn't have any dessert last night.  That's not such a terrible thing. I often don't eat dessert. But, there was something very depressing about that meal because I couldn't have a slice of pie afterwords.  And I don't know where either pie is.  I hope someone is out there enjoying them.  I guess I'm just a senile crazy old coot who just imagined the pies.  I can't figure where my pies went.  


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

It's garbage

Today is garbage day. The folks come by from the trash company and pick up my can of trash. Then they return a little bit later and pick up my recycling.  In our little gated community most of the residents recycle at least some of their stuff.  we have special recycling cans that are brown, instead of blue, for some reason. Since recycling is included in the price, it's hugely popular.  

Wasn't always that way. Industry didn't want the stuff, save for aluminum cans.  And they wanted you to sort it.  gradually, industry found ways to use recycled materials and curbside no-sort required was much more popular.





One of my first published stories involved the world of garbage.  A trash truck driver becomes obsessed with killing a homeless bum who sleeps in trash dumpsters.  Well, it didn't work out quite like he'd hoped. "I'm not reprinting "Dumpster Man" because there really isn't room for it here.










Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Crunch goes the car

Had a car crash yesterday.  I was momentarily distracted when I started violently sneezing.  I tried to avoid the truck that was stopped in traffic and managed to swerve, save for one inch of my mirror. End result truck unharmed and my mirror will cost $200 to get repaired.  Could've been much worse. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fresh Trees

I've mentioned before that I'm trying to grow some shade trees in my back yard.  When I bought the place last year there was nothing in the back yard but a prickly pear plant.  I've planted four ash trees since then.  The trees have been savaged by relentless wind this past spring. They've also been on the menu for the local mule deer.  In spite of that, they're still alive.  Today I thought I'd try my new drip hose and give them a good watering.  I'm also going to deploy some of those plant spikes and see if they do anything for these poor trees.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Incarceration

I have a story in a new anthology coming out this week called Incarceration.  My story is called "The Silo" and is about a judicial system that's gone overboard with state security.


Incarceration


The word conjures up images of jail cells, steel bars, guards, chain gangs, prison stripes and more. 

In this anthology seventeen authors tell tales of possible future incarceration methods:

Genetic Engineering to create a new breed of prison guards.

Viral Engineering to create a medically induced coma that can be programmed for a specific length of time.

Prisoners who volunteer to be human Guinea Pigs to receive early releases - if they survive.

A "Fun House" that helps people to move past their prejudices and pre-conceived ideas of others.

These and other forms of imprisonment are available for you to explore - from a safe distance - in these pages. Some are indictments of the system, with those who are not-guilty punished for something they didn't do. Some offer harsh punishments for what seems like only a minor infraction and others explore the human side of imprisonment in unique ways. Join us - we promise you'll be released at the end of each story. 

Featuring stories by: Rebecca McFarland Kyle, David Boop, Melodie Bolt, Dean Anthony Brink, Dawn M Sooy, A. L. Sirois, David B Riley, Lauren C Teffeau, Andrew M Seddon, Cheryl Toner, S. D. Matley, Catrin Sian Rutland, Frank Montellano, Gerry Griffiths, Liam Hogan, Lyn Godfrey, and R. Joseph Maas


Save 25%
Incarceration 
The latest Release from WolfSinger Publications.

To order a print copy please   click here -- use discount code: 9HW5GHYR to save 25% off the cover price.

To order an eBook copy please   click here -- use coupon code: XJ86Gto save 25% off the cover price.
Offer Expires: 05/31/17

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mom, Mike's eating with his mouth full

My brother and I were close enough in age we had our share of sibling rivalry (3 years). And, being the older brother I could manipulate him fairly easily.  "Mike's talking with  his mouth open" would get him worked up, then he'd figure out "Oh."  Of course, my mother just kind of ignored us.  

And today is Mother's Day.  I went and visited my mother's grave.  I'm not big on graves. As she's buried here in Tucson it's easier than when I lived in Colorado.  That's all I've got today.

Friday, May 12, 2017

If you want something done right

Our family usually goes on a fishing trip about twice a year in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona.  This year, I thought we should go midweek.  But my father turned over reservations duties to my brother for some inexplicable reason. Suddenly we're going over a weekend. it gets crowded over there. And we're staying at an entirely different town because everything was full. Well, this was not what I agreed to and I have decided not to go. Now everyone's mad at me. And I'm still not going. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Buy it, baby

I sure wish a million or so people would buy my books today.  That’s just a tiny percentage of the population.  God doesn’t seem to want to tell people to buy my books.  The aliens don’t want to tell people to buy my books.  The mind control people over at the CIA don’t seem to want to make people buy my books.  All in all, it  doesn’t look like any of that nonsense is going to happen.  I’d even be happy if the 200 or so folks reading this blog every day would buy a copy. No money? Ask your library to order one.  They often will.  Thank you and happy reading.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Responders

“Stand down, everybody stand down,” the big man with the assault rifle was saying  as more and more agents poured into the bedroom.  “Back to work, he thought Obama was hiding under his bed again.”

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Best Seller

My publisher is a small operation based in Colorado Springs.  Nonetheless, I note on Wolfsinger Publications website that my science fiction novel, Bonded Agent, was their number one seller last year--in both print and ebooks.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Stormy Night

It was a stormy night.  Well, it wasn't quite dark, really, thanks to Daylight Savings Time. and it wasn't all that stormy, although the wind was blowing. The serial killer decided not to bother and simply have a sandwich at Wendy's, but he thought about killing people while he was eating it.

I was on a panel once and they had editors say when they'd reject a story.  The other three editors were much quicker than I was.  Maybe that's because I've always edited specialized projects and have never had truly heavy volumes of submissions to wade through. And maybe I'm just more patient and willing to give a story a chance.  Nuff said.




Thursday, May 4, 2017

Service my ass

My cable and Internet went out yesterday. It is so frustrating dealing with these companies. They simply will not help. “I’ll send a a reset signal.”  There was a problem with the Internet cable across the street from me. No reset signal is going to fix that.  My neighbor’s house was not installed correctly and it all sort of unravelled knocking out me and my neighbor.  Once a technician came out it was quickly repaired.  But these companies do not want to send someone out because that costs money.  Damn it, if you’re going to provide this type of service you need to deal with service problems and stop blowing customers off.

Then they call me and survey my opinion on their crappy survey.  Well I was happy with the repair guy. But they didn't ask about the hassles to keep me from getting a repair guy which I had to go through. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Californee

So much of my fiction is located in California.  That's mainly because I grew up there and am more familiar with that area than, say, Deadwood.  I have been to Deadwood, but only once and the town now is more of a tourist trap than the rootin tootin place of yesteryear.

I'm about to start reading for the next issue of Science Fiction Trails.  Based on past years, most of the stories will be set in some generic western town.  That gets depressing, but it's the nature of things.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Snail Mail

My last post I rambled along about some changes in my life since moving to Arizona.  One thing I didn't mention was mail.  A large portion of central Colorado simply does not have mail delivery.  It doesn't exist. In spite of that, lost of companies and individuals insist on mailing to your physical street address. It will never be delivered.  That was always frustrating.  People who get mail in other parts of the country can't envision this. Yeah, we had addresses, but the Postal Service simply would not deliver to them.  

Well, we get mail where I live in Arizona.  A whole little parade roles out of the post office with carriers delivering mail.  We get our mail in cluster boxes--in my case two blocks from my house. I hear neighbors grumble about that all the time. Heck, I'm just glad I can actually get mail. It's all how you look  at it. 

My brother, who only lives three miles from me, actually has a mail box in front of his house.Those are becoming a thing of the past. His neighborhood has them, but most new neighborhoods are having to use cluster boxes.  It's all how you look at things.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

hotter than

I'm amazed that I've been living in Arizona for a year--or will have in a few more weeks.  I'd never had that much interest in the place.  Then, poof, I'm here.  Suddenly I have a house and worry about mule deer eating my young ash trees.  But here I am. I gradually figured out my way around town and can honestly say I haven't been lost in months.  All in all, things worked out well.  

Trout fishing isn't what it was in Colorado.  Still, I'm not worrying about slipping on ice.  I always had at least one bad fall on ice each winter and feared when I'd break something.  Now I worry more about snakebite--13 different species of rattlesnake and no waiting in the nearby desert. 

So, maybe I'll resume my quest to find haunted hotels in the coming months. I'm sure the ghosts would appreciate a cool glass of lemonade as much as I do. I never touched the stuff in Colorado. Now, I've grown quite fond of it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Two dermatologists go into bar

I had to go the dermatologist this morning.  Had to have a growth removed from my nose. I've had this recurring problem for a few years now.  New dermatologist.  Maybe it's some disease from Mars.  That would be cool.  Maybe it's some disease from germ warfare lab. That would also be cool.  I think it's going to turn out to be some low grade not too exciting variant of skin cancer.  I'll know soon and post an update.  

Back in the 60's the lunar missions came back and the astronauts had to go into quarantine.  And they walk on some sheet of plastic. And some guy came along and sprayed something on the  plastic to make everyone feel NASA had it under control.  Nobody worried we'd left poop and all sorts of other germ laden material on the lunar surface, just waiting to kill some unsuspecting moon men.  

Of course, if I'd been an astronaut, after we got o the surface, I'd have pointed at something the camera couldn't see and said "What's that? It's moving. It's coming this way. Arrgh." And then let everything be silent for a few seconds. "Ha ha!"  Boy, they'd be mad at me.  But I think that would be hysterically funny .  Overall, I don't think astronauts were all that funny.  Women wanted to sleep with them and men wanted to be them.  But I can't recall a single moon joke told by any astronaut. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Random thoughts on Taxes

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed tax day.  It was April 18th this year, yet I’m sure there were just as many late filers as in regular years.  That’s the problem with income tax–you have to file this rather intimidating form.  The plain form is not so bad, but some of the schedules are quite complicated. 

 And there are those vague area like Is nerve gas deductible?  Is it a medical expense or are you a member of Al Queda? The account replies with little reaction. Neither. I used it to gas the mule deer in my neighborhood. They were euked ‘em. We could’ve gotten some deductions out of that. 

Tree casualties

When I bought my house last summer I put in two ash trees. I added two more this spring. The yard was devoid of shade--a precious commodity in a town like Tucson.  Since my trees have been attacked by mule deer, who seem to like tender young tree leaves.  They damned near killed one of my trees.  So far, all trees remain alive. I put out some deer repellent yesterday. I have o idea if it'll work.  I'm not really allowed a fence under current HOA rules for our community. 

It's amazing when you take up some form of gardening, how defensive you get. I wasn't particularly interested in mule deer until they started attacking my trees.  Now I am obsessed with them. I now understand the hatred of the gopher in Caddyshack.  I would suddenly be the juror who would acquit the gardener who set of a case of dynamite and blew up the neighborhood to get some rabbit. yes, it changes your outlook considerably. The war goes on.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Tree Attack

One of my new trees I recently planted in my back yard got attacked last night.  Mule deer seem to like tender new shoots of plants. If they keep at it, they're going to kill my trees.  These re vile, ugly creatures unlike Bambi.  We need longer hunting seasons.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Holiday Savings

Our family, like many others, is planning a special meal this coming weekend.  I was looking through the ads from the major supermarket chains.  Amazing bargains are to be had.  The price for ham is nearly free at one store.  And pies can be had for nearly nothing.  The solution, it would seem, would be to go forth and purchase huge amounts of food, especially the non perishable stuff, and buy, buy, buy.  And then don't buy another thing until the next major holiday.  Save a fortune.

Alas, there aren't that many holidays when the stores open the floodgates of savings. Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter are the ones where you get major deals if you look for them and play their games of buying flour if you want a cheap turkey, as an example.  Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day are more limited in their knock your shoes off savings--usually just hot dog and hamburger buns or possibly some watermelon or other summer fruit. So, fill your freezer with Easter savings and remember Memorial Day may not have quite the savings, but there will be countless mattress sales to make up for it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New Story Coming Out

Haven't had much writer news in a while.  My move to Arizona put me back a bit.  Anyway, just got the edits for my short story "The Silo." It's about a man who is arrested, tried and convicted--only thing is no one will tell him what he was accused of. Don't have a release date. It's in an anthology edited by Carol Hightshoe called Incarceration

I also have a novella on the move, but nothing to announce just yet.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

White House Blues

“We’re clear,” the Secret Service agent said into his radio.  He moved back out into the hall. 

“Must’ve gotten away, sir. We’ll get him if he comes back.”

“You guys are the best.”

“Thank you, Mr. President.”

The Secret Service agent was finding the new administration certainly made graveyard shift more interesting. Sleeping was certainly becoming ancient history.  The agent went back down to finish his pie.

“I kept it warm for you,” the cafeteria lady said.

“That’s very kind of you.”

“What was it this time?”

“He thinks Barrack Obama was hiding under his bead.”

“Oh dear.”

“Well, last week he thought the former president was hiding in his shower.”

"I sure hope we get that wall built to keep him back in Kenya."