Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July? Really?

Where the heck did July go?  It seems like it was just getting started.  Now it's over.  It sure went by fast.  We didn't even have any fireworks this year.  Too dry, they told us.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to go up to the White Mountains for a few days. The way things have been going lately is something always comes up at the last minute.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Why?

Dear all knowing Oracle at Delphi,

Why don't thousands of people all over the world order a copy of Legends of the Dragon Cowboys?  There are thousands of books sold every minute. Why don't they buy mine instead of some other book?
You pal,

Dave



Dear Dave,

Are you nuts?

Please don't contact us again.

The Oracle at Delhi, Inc., now online.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Getting rid of neighbors

I seem to be running off all my neighbors.  First the guy across the street put his place on the market. Then the folks east of me went on the market. The another house across the street and down 1 lot went on the market. Now the house west of me has gone on the market.  I guess they all hate me or something.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Nothing new in the war on restaurant straws

I haven't been to a restaurant since I declined my last straw.  Nothing new to report.  We're not exactly a major environmental movement yet.  Why do people get straws at restaurants?  Do they drink through straws at home?  I sure as hell do not. I drink without straws.

Friday, July 27, 2018

garden weeds

My yard is suddenly full of weeds.  They struck quickly and without warning. I use propane to control them. I feel it works as well as poison chemicals and I feel better about using it.

Speaking of environmental radicalism,  I had breakfast at a coffee shop I sometimes eat at.  I declined a straw when the waitress handed me one. "They are causing a tremendous pollution problem," said I.

Some lady apparently heard me and gave back her unopened straw as well.  Yay! I just need a few million more people to turn down straws and we'll be getting somewhere.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Snuberoo

Boy I am on a roll.  Just got snubbed by another con and by the Tempe Book Festival.  I'm not sure about the reason for my rapid drop in popularity.  It does cut down on travel expenses.

Water, water everywhere

I read they've found a big lake of water on Mars.  See, if people had read the Martian Anthology  they'd already know that--unless I'm lying.  

How will the Martian Defense Force keep humans from stealing it?  That's what I want to know.

Sponsored by Martian Tourism Board

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

More words

I mentioned the N word the other day. That's a powerful word that can really get folks riled up.  One word that I find interesting is hell.  Hell, in theory, is a geographic place.  Yet, there are certain people who view it as a cuss word and get right worked up if you speak it.  Again, I consider it a word, not that different than any other other words floating around in that confused mess of a brain that sits on the the top of my neck. But, I had first hand knowledge of just how powerful hell can be. Back in Vail, Colorado I came to work at the hotel one night and there was some strange  box and I asked, "What the hell is this?"  For my trouble I was sent home and suspended for my effort.  Yep, for saying hell.

Wonder what they'd have done if I'd come in and asked, "What kind of cocksucking piece of shit is this>"  If I'd only know they were going to suspend me I would've been more precise.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Home Stuff

I'm sending this out to friends who  are home owners. Rules vary by state.  I'm just passing along my experience.

As you may know I've been dealing with a water leak in my house.  I came home to find my bathroom flooded.  This was a hot water leak from a broken butterfly valve. The plumber was the least of my worries.  I had to have a restoration company bring out special fans to dry things out. Some of the sheet rock and my vanity were torn out. It's simply amazing how much damage a little water can do. And hot water to mold spores is like an all you can eat buffet.  Even though it was a minor mold situation it still had to be sealed with anti-microbial stuff.  And now a contractor will put new flooring and replace the vanity and the torn out sheet rock. Some people can do these kind of repairs themselves.  I am not one of them.

What I discovered was that insurers have been quietly dropping mold coverage. You may not have any and just assumed you did. And some policies have high deductibles for water damage.  I am strongly urging people to check their insurance coverage--esp about mold. Getting rid of it is quire expensive and not something people think about until it happens.  I never made a claim on my condo in Colorado, which I owned for 9 years. I've been in Arizona for two years and have just made my first claim ever for this water leak.  

I urge people to check their coverage and to carry homeowners coverage.  A neighbor of mine had a tree come down in a storm. It destroyed her roof.  Don't know the tab on that one.  . Stuff happens out of the blue and it's not just fires that endanger a home. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Oh that word

I recently had a story rejected for an anthology because it used the N word.  Yesterday, I revisited Blazing Saddles  which uses the N word ten times in the first ten minutes.  That's about the pace my story used it.

This word is problematic.  It's a word. And it's a word used a lot back in the days of old.  A hell of a lot. But, using it today is not looked kindly upon.  There have been many efforts to get libraries to ban Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain because the word is in there. Twain was no racist.  He used the word because that's how folks talked in the time period.

My story--same deal.  It has characters on a Pullman car and most of them were black.  A white customer was using the term liberally and the editor of my story wanted nothing to do with the concept.  I can't really blame him.  It would likely stir up more trouble than it was worth.  Still, I hate being historically accurate and shit-canned [oh my that's another word] for it. Although I understand it, I don't entirely like it.  Since I edit as well as write, I can't say for certain what I'd do with a N word laced story. Sigh. And I never used the word here.




Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Moon

The 49th anniversary of the lunar landing came and went wit little notice.  It was Friday if you missed it.  I don't know if there will be an celebrating on the 50th anniversary next year.  I don't even know if the Postal Service plans to issue a stamp or not.  We've all forgotten the moon.  It no longer holds much mystery.

They used to tell people it was made out of green cheese.  They said by the 1980s there would be bases on the moon.  There aren't any.  Think you're a space whiz?  Is this the moon or Mars?

Is this the moon or Mars?
It's the moon, but hard to tell in B&W


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Well there's always bugs

This cricket's been bugging me all week long.  It is somewhere outside my bedroom chirping away.  I don't know much about crickets, but I assume he's trying to get laid and the lady cricket will fall in love with him because of his chirping.  I guess it worked.  Friday night was quiet. I did hear any chirping.  

Friday, July 20, 2018

Novella

Call me the novella kid.  That seems to be the only thing I want to write these days.  I woke up at three am this morning and worked on one until 10 am, then I took a nap.  I just really like stories in this size.  The problem with novellas is they're bigger than short stories and shorter than novels--the unwanted bastard stepchild of literature.  With luck there will soon be another novella on the literary landscape.

Two of my favorite stories were novellas. White Fang by Jack London and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens [both stories were later dramatized].   They were both huge sellers that have never gone out of print since fist introduced and they were both novellas.

Alas, this size story is not very common today. There are a few around, including my own Legends of the Dragon Cowboys, which is actually two novellas in one book.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Poop

Found some animal poop in my backyard.  I can't figure out what sort of animal it belongs to.  I wanted to post a picture of it and see if any of the viewers of this blog could identify it.  Alas, I am simply too stupid to operate the camera on my phone.  If I figure it out I'll advise.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Damned crickets

We've had some rain the past few days. Now the crickets are making their cricket noises.  Damned annoying inspect they are.  To the hardware store tomorrow. Mission bug spray.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Falling Star

Friday did not go real well.  I was told to get lost over a part time job I'd applied for.                                                                                                       

And I was snubbed by yet another writing event--this time it was a book fair. 
Apparently I'm not important enough.         

So, not a great week.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                       

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Good art, Bad People

A very interesting piece on dealing with art by bad people over at David Lee Summers blog today. I strongly recommend it.

https://davidleesummers.wordpress.com/2018/07/14/good-art-by-bad-people/#comment-3813

Friday, July 13, 2018

Conversations with the old man

Is it going to rain?

Did it rain last night?

Is It going to rain today?

How much rain will we get?

Did it rain over at your house?

Should I get  a rain gauge?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Where should I put the rain gauge?

How much do rain gauges cost?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Construction

I have an appointment today. I'm trying to pick up a few freelance projects.  Alas, the place I am going o is surrounded by construction. There is so much construction and it changes daily in terms of road delays that I have to leave a full half hour before I should in order to get there on time.  I realize roads need maintenance. What bugs me is the amount of time it takes to get these projects finished.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

rain

Nice rain yesterday. It's been so hot and dry for so long here in Tucson. Things cooled down and our plant friends got a nice drink.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Half Off

You can get half off my ebook Legends of the Dragon Cowboys  at Smashwords.com .

Enter code SSW50   at checkout. 


Saturday, July 7, 2018

The American Romance Story Oh My!


Yesterday I wrote on the British romance story.  To view the American version, you'll have to link as it's not currently in print.
                                               http://www.spacewesterns.com/articles/7/

Here our primary young lady is a saloon girl, not a fallen aristocrat.  And her love interest is Adam, an alien from another planet. And the villain is the local preacher who is reviled by the alien and the young lady being together.

Friday, July 6, 2018

The British Romance Story Oh My!

So, waiting around for repair crews with my water leak, I watched a whole nother genre that I don't completely understand.  I think I stumbled onto the British romance novel [dramatized].

Okay, here goes.  I think all of these are exactly the same story they just have different titles.

This old coot kicks the bucket. Supposedly he can only leave all of his money to the eldest son. The wife and three daughters are screwed.  Junior says he'll share, but then decides I'll keep it all. But somehow, the wife still has a little money so they downsize from the mansion to this little cottage .

Well, you have the 19 year old sister who's an old maid.  This dude Ed loves her but there's something wrong and he stops coming by.  All the guys in the area want to marry the 17 year old pretty sister.  The prime contender is a total cad who makes a career out of seducing young ladies. The other suitor is a perfectly nice gentleman, but he's ugh 35 year old retired colonel.

So, various things go. The pretty sister eventually decides to marry the colonel anyway even though they didn't have Viagra back then.  And the 19 year old discovers that Ed was promised to another, but she dumped him for some dude with more money and he didn't think she wanted him anymore but the silly girl still loves him. So they get married.  And the colonel even rides around on a white horse.

The novel [undramatized version] probably has so much more detail that I would likely  jump out of a window and kill myself.  But, the televised show, I got strangely into. Oh, the 17 year old sister is lost out in a storm. What will happen to her? That sort of thing.

So, we come to the end and the two girls are married off.  But wait!  There's a serious flaw in this story.  Obviously, if they married off the 10 year old sister, that would be creepy.  But what happens to mom? She's pushing 40, she's very nice and quite attractive.  She doesn't seem to get a new husband.  And it's obvious a woman can only be happy if she finds a husband so I guess mom is doomed. Nothing is ever said about mom.  So, I'll finish it for them.

I was thinking she was very fine lady and I'd certainly call on her.  Of course she'd have to reject the eccentric writer down the road as he doesn't have enough money.  Then on the last page Queen Victoria knights him for his brilliant new romance novel with space aliens. Since he's knighted, of course mom will marry Sir David and everyone lives happily ever after.

I don't think I'm the target demographic in these stories.  Still, watching this movie was oddly compelling.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Roadkill Special

On one of the streets nearby there's been some dead bird for the past two days. Frankly, I think it's a quail.  Sad little thing, most likely hit by a car.  Well, yesterday I noticed a raven was eating it.  It doesn't seem like much of an existence.  You grow up then fly around, get hit by a car and then you're eaten by a bigger bird.  

If it was me, I'd rather die at the hands of some person who bashed my head in with a rock than die as roadkill for a scavenger bird.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Blowing up 4th of July

Back in my youth, in San Francisco  you could get all the fireworks you wanted.  Most of them were sold by the Chinese gangs.  They'd have some guy on every major street corner of Chinatown saying "firecracker."  As I said yesterday, I thought bottle rockets were the best.  They flew and didn't cost much more.

So, you wanted bottle rockets, the guy would say "next block, blue shirt." and you go to the next block and the guy in the blue shirt would ask "firecracker" and you'd reply "bottle rocket."  "How many?"  "100"   And he'd give you a price.  And you said okay.  Then he'd call some kid over and give an order in Chinese.  The kid would run off and be  back in a flash with a bag.  You could take a quick peak, but the order was always right.  And you paid the man and headed out of there clutching your goodies.

What a wonderful place.  But that was then.  I don't know if it still works the same now or not. I have not lived in the Bay Area for a long time.

Then there was this product called the barrel bomb.  People confused them with something called an M 80.  M 80 sounded military. It wasn't.  They were billed as a 1/4 stick of dynamite. It wasn't. Barrel bombs had more of a homemade feel.  I think both were about the same strength, but I could be wrong. Anyway, these were a lot more powerful than firecrackers.  And a lot louder.  And I never purchased any from the Chinese gangs,  I got them from some guy who'd dropped out of high school. I suspect he made them in his basement. This was pre 9/11 and you could buy black powder to reload with no restrictions.  They just were in a capped cardboard tube.  I bought some a few times. And they had waterproof fuses. Oh my.

These neighbors down the street had a horrible dog.  One time I launched one once with a wrist rocket [sling shot]. It went right into the dog's house at 1 am. Kaboom. Supposedly the dog hid in the bushes for a week and wouldn't come out.  [Okay, I did a few things back then that were kind of bad.]  

Most of the barrel bombs went into the San Francisco Bay.  They were like mini depth charges.

And one went into a local park.  And around the corner were the park police.  But they searched my car and found no barrel bombs but kept accusing me of having "M-80s"  I insisted it was just three firecrackers tied together than exploded at the same time and there were no more. Having no evidence and I had given a plausible confession, they let me go with a warning.

Ah, those were the days.  

Haven't set off any illegal fireworks in years. I guess I've gotten old.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

whistling Juniper

When I was young I just loved fireworks.  My brother and I blew the hell out of every ant hill and gopher hole we could find.  Where we lived fireworks were illegal.  That didn't stop anyone.     Even better were the times we went to Arkansas where my grandmother lived.  They were completely  legal. And I'm not talking the safe & insane kind. These were real fireworks.   I always thought bottle rockets were the best deal. You could 50 of them for peanuts and send off. Great value.  Tomorrow I'll talk about barrel bombs.

Then they had these things called Whistling Jupiters. They would take off and chase you.  When a flaming spinning about to explode firework takes off and heads your way it was motivation to move. My brother called them Whistling Junipers for some reason.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Sunday, July 1, 2018

plumbing

Well, the water damage is officially dry now.

Amazing how just a little water can destroy my bathroom.

Also amazing is how long it took to dry everything out.

That broken valve all but destroyed my bathroom.

What have we learned?  Never leave home and wander constantly around the house checking for water leaks.

Also worth noting is they have a Start Trek like sensor that can spot water below my floor and other places--right through the walls.  Beam me up. now.  They don't have plumbers on Star Trek.  Plumbers mate--no such rank.  Sign me up federation. I'm sick of plumbing.