Friday, June 30, 2017


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.