Friday, May 31, 2013

Cookies From Beyond

Well, sometimes it's tough thinking of things to write about.  Then I thought about cookies.  Keebler has these peanut butter cookies that are really good.  The problem with cookies at the store is they're kind of expensive.  But the ones I like were on sale and I bought a box. 

Now, most of the products I buy are store brands.  They generally are as good as national brands and quite a bit cheaper. Heck, some things like dishwasher detergent, I actually prefer the store brand products.  Not so with cookies.  I just don't find much in the store brand offerings that I'm all that fond of. 

Which brings me to what I'd like to see in cookies.  If I owned my own cookie factory, I'd come out with Abominable Cookies.  The box would have Yeti (aka The Abominable Snowman) on top of a mountain swatting at airplanes (sort of like King Kong on the Empire State Building).  If they tasted halfway good, I think people would buy them.  I sure as hell would.  Of course, if I owned the factory I guess I wouldn't actually need to buy them. They'd be Yeti shaped white frosted sugar cookies--with sprinkles.  Are you listening Keebler?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Yet Another Podcast

This is the link to the podcast I did a few weeks ago at Leprecon along with a few other folks, if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


One thing that continues to bewilder me is the amazing ability of ordinary items to transform themselves.  This seems to be happening more and more.  For example, I always buy skim milk. I grew up on skim milk and whole milk tastes funny to me.  So, I went to the store last week and bought some skim milk.  Sure enough, when I got home that carton of skim had somehow changed into whole milk.  And that's hardly a rare occurrence. Just two days ago I bought some tater tots to go with my steak I purchased for Memorial Day.  When I got home, the tater tots had changed into seasoned fries.  Boy, I sure wish I could figure out what these products were going to change into before I buy them.  Yesterday the pulp free orange juice had changed into extra pulp by the time I got it home.  It's so annoying when these products do this.  I hate pulp.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Weird Western Podcast

A new podcast just came out reviewing William RD Wood's story in Science Fiction Trails 8. All publicity helps.  They mention a few other aspects of the world of weird westerns so I'm posting a link here should anybody be interested.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day Sucker!

When I was young we lived in Texas. Then we moved to California. I guess because back then in Texas you could go somewhere on the three day weekend and get by without having reservations, my dad set out with us for a camping trip on Memorial Day in our new state. And we spent the day driving around and got back home around 2 am, no camping as all campgrounds were full. That didn’t need to be. I’d actually sent away and learned how to reserve a campground space at state parks in the pre-Internet world. But my dad refused to hear of making a reservation.

And, he set out on another trip later that summer and we again were rebuffed from camping sights. I think we eventually found something in some mosquito infested swamp. After that, Dad softened his refusal to make reservations and subsequent outings were met with reserved campsites and a lot less frustration. Nowadays, may dad is elderly and doesn’t camp anymore. But he does still travel and he’s now a big fan of making reservations. So, we live and learn as the saying goes.

Which brings me to the fact that Memorial Day isn’t a big deal where I live in ski country. Most early summer vacationers tend to head to the lakes in the state. Still, we do see a growing summertime business up here. I, however, take no joy in holidays. I’ve come to view them a just a big nuisance. Everything costs more and stores get crowded and the whole thing is just more trouble than it deserves. Everyone else can fight the traffic and crowded airports for Memorial Day. I stay home on holidays.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Barely escaping with my life or why dogs are smarter than people

Well, then. I rattle on about all sorts of things on this blog. Today, I thought I’d rattle on about apple pie. I like a nice warm slice of pie. And I was recently offered one. After my first bite, my thoughts turned to oh my god how can I spit this out? How someone could go so terribly wrong,  I don’t know. I quickly determined they’d used some variation of wild or "crab" apples. The pie contained no sugar. It was awful bitter  I looked hopefully at the family dog.

He looked back at me with a clear don’t even think about it look. Someone had obviously already tried to get him to eat it and he was smarter than I was. "Trevor buried his slice in the back yard," my hostess informed me.

God, would I like to do that, I thought. So, I finally managed to get the wretched thing down. I declined a second helping. And got the heck out of there. I survived. How can anyone screw up apple pie so bad?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

There may be something wrong with me

The Post Office recently announced a new stamp featuring the Civil War battle of Vicksburg. My first thought was Where's the UFO?   That's not a normal reaction from a normal person.  There supposedly was a large sphere hovering over this particular battle and an artillery battery stopped firing because everyone was gawking at the UFO. 

Actually, there were quite a few UFO sightings during the 19th century, which was a clear sky era before powered flight had been perfected.  I've actually given talks about this subject. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

My time machine's better than yours

Well, the season finale of Dr. Who has come and gone. The topic came up in a time travel panel at the recent con I went to in Arizona. A fair number of people don’t seem to like the shift from Amy to Clara. I actually like Clara, but was relieved we finally got some answers about why she was all over the place. On the other hand, they took a second rate villain and let him manipulate the Doctor in ways that bordered on the preposterous. So, at least it’s over and maybe next time around they’ll get off to something more interesting. Of course they also introduced another Doctor. That can't be good. Two doctors crossing each others timelines is taboo.

Overall, I’ve never been a big fan of time travel stories, though I’ve had a fondness for the doctor for some time. There’s another British time travel show, Primeval, that is apparently being remade into an American version. I really liked Primeval and question the need to make an American version when they could just run the British one. This is the story where dinosaurs kept popping up all over Britain due to these time vortexes. The whole thing was preposterous. Oh, there’s a dinosaur eating people in central London. Let’s cover it up and blame it on mushrooms or something. Ridiculous. Nonetheless, I still found the Brit version compelling. If history repeats itself, like most of these Americanized stories, I won’t like it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Review

A new review just out from Don D'Ammassa's Critical Mass
Science Fiction Trails #10, edited by David B. Riley, 2013, $8.25   

My first adult reading was paperback westerns and I’ve recently been re-reading Max Brand, so I was psychologically set for the latest issue of this irregular but always welcome collection of SF stories set in the Old West. Despite its historical existence, the Old West has always seemed to me an almost alien society, particularly as depicted by classic western writers. The genre has a reputation for being formulaic but there’s a surprisingly diversity of themes in both pure westerns and these hybrids. Despite the lack of “name” writers, Riley always manages to come up with some interesting stories in this issue – the handsomest looking to date – is no exception. There are robots, Martians, mysterious events, contained worlds, and an exciting but enigmatic train robbery. Lots of light fun in a setting rarely found in SF. 5/22/13

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dave Riley Show Finale

(Already in progress. Dave, his sidekick Ed and Karl, the dinosaur are all sitting around wondering why they don't have any guests to interview.)

Dave: I still can't believe our show is getting cancelled.  We can't possibly be the worst show on TV.

Ed: Nah, we're not. That critic guy called us the second worst one. That show where they ride around in some bus all night is the worst one.

Dave: I hear they're making an American remake of Primeval for the SyFy Channel.

Ed: That Brit show where the dinosaurs keep popping up all over the place?

Dave: That’s the one.

Karl: I hate that show. All the dinosaurs were portrayed as bad guys. And stupid. Why are dinosaurs always portrayed as stupid?

Dave: Beats me.

Karl: They should have some show where the dinosaurs save the world from space aliens. I’d watch that.

Ed: Me too.

Dave: This getting cancelled sucks.

Karl: I wonder if I could get a part on Primeval.

Dave: It’ll never work. You’ll get mad and eat the director.

Karl: I didn’t eat the director here.

Dave: Hey, that’s right. Where is that bald little weasel?
(Listens to headphones)
Apparently, our director is over at the studio trying to get a job directing Primeval. This show’s actually been over for a half hour and nobody told us.

Ed: I wondered why we didn’t have any commercial breaks.

Dave: Goodnight everybody.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Cold Rainy Day

They say there's nothing better than a cold rainy day for writing.  I suppose that's because no one wants to go outside. We've had a very cold spring. Yesterday seemed extremely cold and it rained off and on most of the day.  And I dd no writing at all.  I hardly ever get any writing done when it's cold and miserable.  That's why I wish I could afford to move to a warmer climate.  I guess others react differently.  Perhaps not. I've never really asked anyone about it. 

So, today we'll talk about books versus short stories.   A lot of writers concentrate on short stories and never take on books.  They don't know what they're missing.  Most of the time that I've submitted short stories I get a rejection. It may take a few months, but somebody eventually tells me to go to hell.  Not so with book publishers.  They all demand exclusivity, but rarely even respond to submissions. You have to kind of wait a reasonable time and move on.  It is exceedingly rare for me to get a reply of any kind for a book query or submission. They (publishers and agents) can't even be bothered to give an answer. I don't think short story writers  understand this.  I have a lot of fantasies about killing book publishers.  In fact I'm working on a story about it--when it's not cold and raining.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Strange Goings On

On the return end of my recent trip to Arizona I was driving through Utah.  As I sometimes do, I pulled off at a Taco Bell.  I decided to have a couple of burritos.  Then, I went into the bathroom to pee. The manager of this establishment was in there, washing his hands under the blow dryer. He suddenly turned to me and yelled, "You can't use this restroom. This is for customers. Get out or I'll call the police."

"Screw you," I said. "Go ahead and call them." I went into a stall. I normally would have used a urinal, but I didn't want to turn my back on this nutjob. I completed said mission, and washed my hands. I went back outside, saw no sign of the manager person, got in my car and drove away.  I thought that experience was absolutely bizarre. 

Now, some may make note of the fact that I in no way made any effort to argue with this guy or explain anything.  And that's quite true.  I would've been delighted if this guy had called the police. He would've looked like a total idiot.  I guess it boils down to the fact that I rarely take shit off people.  If they want a big fight or confrontation, bring it on.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Power $$$$$$$$$$

I'm writing this before Saturday's drawing so a winner may be out there. The Powerball has caused a bit of  a stir as it moved closer to a billion dollars.  Like most people, I've often wondered what I'd do with it if I won.  I'd pay off a few bills.  I'd consult an account concerning tax libability.  Then, whatever was left, I would give it away. To charity? No.  I would go around, selecting ordinary people and give them the money directly.  I figure I could give it all away in a year, no sweat.  And that would be that.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Garbage World

One of the things that always amazed me when we went to my grandmother's house when I was a lad was the fact that the town she lived in had no garbage service.  I never really grasped how this worked.  Food waste was composted out in a little area by the shed. I guess once or twice a year someone would take the other items like metal from tin cans off to the dump.  It just seemed so strange. Back at home they came by every week and hauled away the huge amount of trash that a typical modern family generates.  To this day, it seems impossible that grandma got by without any trash pickup. But I saw it with my own eyes.  

Friday, May 17, 2013


Like many TV shows, Arrow just had its season finale.  I rarely review anything, and especially TV shows.  But, I'll make an exception.  The show is okay.  Oliver Queen is a believable hero and all.  It's the Dark Archer character (played by John Barrowman) I can't figure.  Unless I missed something, they never really explained how this guy got so good.  He can beat the snot out of Oliver's hooded character, but they never really tell us why or how he developed this skill set. They go to great pains to tell us how Oliver learned his, but not the other guy.  Since they apparently killed him off, I guess the skills of the Dark Archer will die with him and I'll never know the answer. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dogs From Outer Space

One of the stories in the brand spanking new edition of Science Fiction Trails that I think will cause some attention is Julie Campbell's "Brown Versus the Martians."  Why?  Well, it's a story about a dog named Brown. Brown is a border collie. And Brown actually takes on some angry Martians who are messing with the wrong dog.  Seriously, it is a story about a dog who takes on spacefaring  Martians. Even I don't have the guts to try a concept like this one.  Yet Julie handled it with ease.  The story is very readable and she came up with a truly ingenious storyline.
It's one thing to write a short little piece about a dog chasing a squirrel or something (those damned squirrels wouldn't be so smug if dogs could climb trees).  But this is a real bona fide science fiction story about aliens coming to Earth and it is told entirely from the dog point of view.  If that doesn't make you want to get your paws on a copy, I guess nothing will.
This is not the first outing for Brown. She appears in Gunslingers & Ghost Stories as well. There she mastered the art of ghost hunting.  I suspect she may turn up again.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It's Here, It's Here

Well, the long awaited tenth issue of Science Fiction Trails has just been released. It's absolutely wonderful.  It's got a dog that takes on Martian invaders, and a mechanical man story and whole lot else.  I'd think everyone in the country would want one.  The ebook won't be available until June 1st, which was the official relase date anyhow.  But you can have the print copy right away. Go to the Science Fiction Trails link from this blog.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

More on Arizona

One unexpected thing that came up at Leprecon was a podcast interview.  I've never actually done one before. I was invited to do it and I don't think I made a total ass out of myself.  If I ever get any link information I'll post it here.

Anyway, this trip was only noteworthy in that I have never been a participant at an Arizona con before.  There appear to be quite of few of them.  Some folks say there are too many.

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Is Back

Well, I made it back from Arizona.  Had a good time at Lepricon.  It was a little smaller con than I expected, but I met some nice folks and felt like it was worthwhile. 

My only remaining planned con this year is Mile Hi Con in October. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What to Read

I'm heading off to Leprecon in Arizona, so this'll be the last blog for a few days. One quandary I have at cons is selecting what to read at readings. What works as a sit down and read it yourself story doesn't always work as a narrated reading. And, in this case, my readings are late at night. So, I've learned to keep things on the short side. I use the plural, because I appear to be down for two readings. In one I'll be reading excerpts of weird western stories by other writers. In the other one I'll be reading one of my stories.

Another thing about reading at cons is many times no one shows up. Other times they do. It kind of depends on what else is going on. At the last con I went to, no one showed up at all. I didn't feel bad because this just wasn't a very literary bunch. Plus they had me opposite the costuming masquerade. Even some of the good writers were blown off--it wasn't just me

Monday, May 6, 2013

Winter Be Gone

Well, it’s been a long winter up where I live. We were getting snow as recently as last week. That was a good thing, in many ways as we were way behind on moisture. Still, when the calendar says May and it’s snowing outside, that just doesn’t seem right.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sci Fi Plumbing

Anyone but me ever notice there don't seem to be bathrooms on Federation ships?  You never see them. They're not even mentioned.  Not even the Captain's Ready Room has one.  I guess they wizz in the replicator and turn it into food or something.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Guest Blogger, Karl

Hi it’s me, Karl. I’m guest blogging today. David’s off seeing Iron Man. I wanted to go see it, but I’m banned from the local movie theater. Last year I went to see Snow White and I ate the popcorn machine. Those popcorn tubs are so small. So, they got mad at me and I’m not allowed there anymore. I have to wait for a movie to come out on Red Box.

It’s a shame too, because I can’t watch the Star Trek movie that’s coming out, either. David says it’ll suck so I’m not missing anything. I’m not so sure. I’d love to go zipping around the galaxy at warp speed. The Federation could really use some dinosaurs in Star Fleet, if you ask me. Who do you think the Romulans would be more scared of, me or some Vulcan twerp?

Friday, May 3, 2013


I am often, well sometimes, amazed at how many people say they love weird westerns. Yet, they never actually seem to buy any.  And pressed for details, they can't come up with any in particular, but they love them.  Well, that cycle continues next week as I head off for Lerprecon in Arizona.  People will tell me they love weird westerns, yet they don't seem to remember any. And the copies I'll bring for the dealer room will come back home with me untouched. But people will insist they love them.  Homey has heard this tune before.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lone Stranger

Well, I'm amazed there hasn't been a bigger flap about a white guy playing Tonto in the new Lone Ranger movie.  It's still not out until July.  I guess there's still time for that. Another blog predicted it'll be the biggest flop for Disney since Jonathan Carter.  I don't know. I thought the trailers looked pretty good. 

I sure wish they would have people sitting around reading Science Fiction Trails in the movie.  Alas, product placement is beyond my means. 

As I understand, they filmed it in Monument Valley, Utah. Pretty country, but I thought the Lone Ranger lived in Texas.  That don't look like Texas to me.  And that's all I have to say.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What flavor do you want?

As I write this, I just had some Jello. What flavor you ask? Green. Green? Well, truth be known, all Jello tastes the same to me. The only difference is the color. So, over the years I’ve just started viewing it as red or green or orange or yellow. I really think the Jello people should start calling it that as well.

And that leads me to my latest idea. People would buy boxes of food from the David Riley Food Company. They’d take it home and eat it. But, instead of flavors, they’d just get colors. So, you could have brown one day and purple the next. And it would all pretty much taste the same.  It would be so much more efficient. We throw out an incredible amount of spoiled food each year. This would stop that and make food less costly.

There, I’ve just given you all a science fiction storyline. Did you catch it? Did you recognize the movie? What was it?

But, I still say it’s true that all Jello tastes the same.