Thursday, January 17, 2019

Sauce Packets

How many sauce packets are clogging our landfills? I refer to those little foil packs that they give you at fast food establishments.  I got some burritos yesterday and they gave me ten packets of hot sauce. I only bought two burritos.  I only used two packets. Why do they give you so many?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

It's Spirits

Yesterday, my car was making a sort of thunking sound. I couldn't figure out what it was, but the check engine light was on.  I took it to the place I usually get my car worked on. Naturally, the check engine light had gone out. And the mechanic could not find anything wrong and certainly no thunking sound.  Maybe it's evil spirits.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


You just don't see a lot of people wandering around in capes. So why do super heroes wear them?  It does not seem to help Superman control his flying. Batman doesn't even fly.  I should get a cape and place a big orange "D" on it and wander around. But people would laugh at me.  That's why I always liked the Green Hornet.  He wore a nice suit.   I always wanted to write a story: The Green Hornet versus the Frito Bandito.  I never did--probably because I don't have the rights to either character.  The Frito Bandito, he didn't wear a cape either. I wish Fritos would bring him back.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Flashlight and lanterns

Two nights ago we had a power failure.  It lasted nearly three hours.  There's just not much you can do, sitting in the dark.  TV, Internet all require power.  My battery operated radio didn't work--it's been years since I used it.  So, I sat in the dark, save for a small emergency lamp, and finally drifted off to sleep.  

The funny part was when the power went out. I was watching this movie.  The goons from the government were after these people  They'd heard noises outside the house, then my power went out. For a brief moment I thought the bad guys were outside and they'd cut my power.  Now, that is good storytelling.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Horrible plants

They say crabgrass rule the world.  I don't know who "they" are, but "they" are right.  You don't see crabgrass on postcards from Tucson--you see cactus. This winter, it's not cactus trying to take over my yard--it's crabgrass.  There stuff thrives on our mild winters.  I've tried chemicals to minimal effect. I spent yesterday out in the yard burning them with propane, which works better than pulling them up and is easier on the backbone.  I wish the people who build robots would come out with one that pulls crabgrass. I'd buy one.  They've got robots for other stuff like moping floors.  Or a drone that zaps crabgrass with a laser--that would be something.  Damn horrible plants.

Friday, January 11, 2019


Took the crazy old man to the doctor yesterday.  Whilst I was sitting in the waiting room I noticed everyone but me was reading a book.  And these were not ebooks--they were all print books.  Maybe there is some faint glimmer of hope for the world after all. [probably not].

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Saucers 2

Caught the new TV show Project Blue Book     Was not very impressed. I harkin it to kind of a boring version of the X-Files.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


Nothing seems to put people off more than talking about flying saucers.  Not me, I love talking about them. But normal folks.  If I go up to someone and say "Hey, I just saw a flying saucer," that person will likely move away from me. 

So, in fiction, I also sense a discomfort in dealing with flying saucers.  I await the cover of my new novella with dread and trepidation.  The story contains Martian spheres (flying spheres).  This is inspired by a reported UFO seen over the   Civil War battle of Vicksburg.    But will the cover have a saucer on it or merely a little green man ? That is the question.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Have Gun, Will Travel

There's a western steampunk convention coming up in early March here in Tucson.  I went last year, but did not go in costume.  I've noticed with the few steampunk conventions I've attended that a lot of folks put a lot of effort into developing their steampunk persona. Well, I mentioned this is a western steampunk. I already have an authentic duster and a Stetson cowboy hat.  I recently obtained a replica badge from the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  The dusters were worn by some of their detectives who were assigned to go after train robbers for the railroads.  Anyway, what I lack is a weapon.  You can't use real weapons at these cons--and they do check you.  A toy gun like a revolver seems lacking even though my persona will lack the traditional goggles of most steampunk costumes.  

So, I glued some metal ball bearings and stuff to a "sawed off" shotgun.  It's clear, after it dried, that this is a really stupid looking gun. Back to the drawing board. At least I still have about two months to come up with something else.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Have pen, will edit

The problem with editors is any hack can call himself an editor and blunder along destroying manuscripts on a colossal scale with scarce intervention. Heck, I'm also an editor, as if that should prove my point. A few days ago I got back a manuscript I'd submitted for an anthology.  It looked like someone had been murdered and bled all over my manuscript--excepting it was all on a computer screen. Nonetheless, the editor changes were all there in red and it reminded me of when these things were actually done on paper.  And, in addition to endless nitpicking changes, he demanded an entirely different ending that made no sense to me.  I was left with the impression the editor was trying to re-write the story the way he would have told it. 

Now, this editor is about half as good as he thinks is, in my opinion.  But he convinced a publisher that they should give him an editor contract and that's that. I mentioned nitpicking.  How's this? He insisted on changing poop to shit in quoted dialogue. They're synonyms.  Frankly, in mixed company in the 1880s [that means ladies present] I don't think a man would use the word "Shit."  And so it went on with one pointless change after another, with my characters now saying stuff that I felt was bizarre.  These were my franchise characters--Miles O'Malley and Mabel.  I know what they'd say in my sleep.  But now Mabel's talking differently and so on.

So, here's what I don't understand.  Why the editor wasted his time changing everything.  I cannot fathom why he did not simply reject the story and save himself the trouble. He should have known I would immediately withdraw the story and would never make the requested changes.  And that is exactly what I did.

I don't mean to imply all editors are twits, just that sometimes you end up with one.  Case in point, my new novella that's coming out soon, Fallen Angel.  It also has Miles and Mabel in it. It's also set in the 1880s. Here, the editor pointed out a few flaws that had not occurred to me. I readily agreed to the minimal changes proposed and was quite happy with the editing that left me with a stronger story. 

In summation: I'm surprised more writers don't commit suicide, although many of us do. I'm also surprised more editors aren't gunned down in a stairwell as they come home from the reptile farm where they were visiting relatives.  Writing is a tough business.


I've been slacking on yard work lately.  Well, the holidays and cold weather have just left me not wanting to do it.  Now I've got crab grass taking over the front yard. It is amazing how fast this stuff grows.  Time to get out the weed burner and fry those horrible plants.

Sunday, January 6, 2019


Got a nice rain last night.  Our plant friends can sure use the moisture.  The problem with living in the desert is the next rain may not come for some time.  So you have to enjoy it while you can. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

E Plurbus Unum

Madame speaker, I rise today to remark at how many nice ladies have arrived here for the new session of Congress.

Mister Trump, you are not a member of Congress. Please leave the chamber.

But they're hot looking.

Will the Sergeant st Arms remove this man?

Friday, January 4, 2019

Turkey chili

I fixed turkey chili last night. It was pretty good.  I find ground turkey works nicely in things like enchiladas and chili and in some Chinese dishes.  However, I can't say as I care for it straight up--like in a burger.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Who needs a Doctor?

I've talked about this before, but to those of you new to this blog I'll refresh. I came to dislike the British SF show Dr. Who.  I loved the Matt Smith portrayal of the Doctor, but I never cared much for his replacement, Peter Capaldi..  Add to that I thought the stories were preposterous even by British SF standards. So I quit watching it.

And then, low and behold, we have another Doctor now and I thought I'd check it out.  More or less, it's not that bad. The new series wasn't half bad. They just did a New Year's special which was a sort of different look at an old nemesis the Doctor had to contend with.  Jodie Whittaker isn't bad as the doctor although I can't always understand her.  Otherwise, I'm not complaining.

I've said before, I think she should get a dog.  A dog would be more interesting to me than the travelling companions she now has.  Otherwise, I don't have any serious complaints.  People can binge the last season on the BBC channel, supposedly.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


One byproduct of writing is editing. If you write something for publication you will eventually come across an editor. Some are good, some are not. The editor who just did my new novella is pretty good. He pointed a few passages that could be stronger and spotted a historical inaccuracy that was easily fixed. I also just had an unpleasant dealing with an editor.  He seemed to want to re-write my story into the way he would tell it. Since no contract had been signed I ended up withdrawing the story.

Ask any writer who's been doing this a while and he'll tell you about that editor from hell. It seems to be unavoidable.