Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Xmas lights

I note a lot of my neighbors have taken down their Christmas lights.  Then there's the crowd who leave them up through New Years.  I'm one of the take down the day after Christmas myself.  The biggest group on Holiday Lights is the not bother at all bunch. I noted a big jump in my neighborhood this year of houses that did not have any holiday decorations.  That's kind of sad, as I really enjoy looking at how folks decked out their homes.  I realize some people may be heading out of town and there are folks that don't celebrate Christmas as they have differing religious views.  

Monday, December 30, 2019

Coin of the Realm

The other day I found a nickle in a parking lot. I bent over and picked it up..  You don't see nickles on parking lots very often--it's usually pennies for some reason.  But there was this nickle just lying there waiting for me to pick it up.  And I thought, wow I found a nickle. It's just that I hardly ever find any money lying around.  Now a nickle isn't worth much these days, but I put it in my coin jar, then went down to Coinstar and cashed the jar in for $41.01.

Now some people don't like Coinstar.  I'm not wild about the fee they collect, but my bank only takes bulk coins if they're in wrappers. I feel it's easier to dump them in the slot and let the machine count them and be done with it. And if I hadn't picked up that nickle, I'd have had something like 41.96 or so and a lot more change back. Go nickles.  The next time I see a coin in a parking lot, I'm grabbing it. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Fake Animal Noises

We have some nut job who wanders our neighborhood in the middle of the night making fake animal noises.   We hadn't had one in a while, but last night about 4 am someone was near my window making fake owl hoots.  They don't sound real. The last time this happened it was a growling noise. It didn't sound real, either.  These always seem to happen during school break periods. I really wonder about someone who has nothing better to  do than run around a neighborhood trying to wake people up with animal noises.

I've never managed to see the culprit. He sounded fairly close and my yard is not fenced, but on a dark night it's tough to see and noises tend to bounce around.  I guess we'll get another serenade during Spring break.  Mighty strange, it is. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Phobia of the Month

I was going to start the new year with a Phobia of the Month feature.  Well, I decided on the one I'll post for New Year's.  Out of curiosity, I looked to see if there was one for teenage girls.  The  computer seemed to think I wanted phobias that teenage girls have. I wanted  a phobia where somebody is terrified of teenage girls.  It surprised me, but I can't find such a phobia. The closest I could get was Ephebiphobia, which is a fear of young people in general.  

Now, why do I want to know if there is such a phobia?  Well, I was writing a story about some fellow who was terrified of teenage girls.  Alas, I can't find any phobia to explain his need to run and hide whenever he sees one.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

A Dry Gulch Christmas



A Dry Gulch Christmas
by David B. Riley

The piano player was hammering out some tune that was familiar, yet she couldn’t quite place it. She’d been through so many Christmas holidays that she must have heard every Christmas ditty ever played. Still, this was odd in some way. She went over to the piano player and placed a twenty dollar gold piece in the tip jar. “That song you played, I can’t place it. It sounds Christmassy yet, it’s not. What the heck is it?”
“It’s something they played back home. They had a holiday called Saint Bartholomew’s Day. It’s not really a Christmas song. How about Silent Night?”
“How about no?” She stared at him for a moment. “I don’t actually like Christmas all that much. That’s what interested me about your song.”
“Well, I haven’t been able to adapt most of the old songs to a piano. While I like this piano, it is somewhat limited.”
“At least it’s not a blasted harp,” she said.
“Never played one, though I heard some lady in Denver play one a while back.”
She nodded. “How’d they take to you, down Denver way?”
“Well, I sort of sat outside the opera house. Here in Dry Gulch I’m pretty open about being an alien. No one seems to care, green skin and all,” Kuto explained. “That’s not true everywhere.”
“Interesting.” She returned to her table and lit up a cigar. As if to test his claim, she flagged down a passing saloon girl. “Where’s that piano player from?”
“Some planet somewhere.”
“Thanks.” She took a puff on the cigar, then took just a sip of her beer. No one was playing poker. A few Indians were over at the faro table. She never played that game, nothing against a dealer.. “Hey, you, drunk guy?”
Henry Steelman moved over toward her table. She pushed the chair out for him. “Buy you a drink?”
“Sure thing,” he decided as he sat down. Gorgeous redheads did not often buy him anything, except trouble.
“So, it’s Christmas eve. Why are you here and not holed up with a family or some cutie or something?” She took another puff from her cigar and motioned for the saloon girl. “Give my friend here whatever the hell he drinks.”
“Well, last night he was drinking window cleaner, maybe a local whisky?”
“That should do,” she agreed.
“Ain’t got no family. They all died from that influenza outbreak a couple years back,” Henry explained.
“Well, I don’t got much in the way of family, either. I have a gentleman friend, but his train got derailed,” she said.
“Is he all right?” Henry asked.
“Oh, probably. He was able to send me a telegram. I doubt he could do that if he was dead.”
“Good point,” he agreed.
The saloon girl dropped off Henry’s drink. Mabel tossed a five dollar coin on her tray. “Keep the change.”
“Thank you, Miss.”
She smiled at Henry. “Name’s Mabel.”
“I’m Henry.”
“Pleased to meet you,” she decided. “Be right back.” She ventured back over to the piano. “Can you play Los Imperials?”
“The Martian anthem?”
“That’s it.”
“Boy, you’re really not from around here. I’ll give it a try,” Kuto agreed.
Mabel returned to her seat. “So, Henry, how’s the booze?”
“Pretty good.”
“Glad to hear it.”
“That’s a weird song he’s playing,” Henry said.
“I know. They say you can see ghosts?” Her cigar had gone out. She re-lit it with a match.
“Sometimes. It used to scare me.”
“I’ll bet,” Mabel agreed. She pointed over at the bar. "That pretty brunette, would you bang her?”
“That’s Miss Wendy, she owns the place. She’d never settle for some drunk like me.”
“That’s an interesting perspective, Henry.” Mabel chugged down the entire contents of her mug of beer. “I can’t quite figure Christmas out. People get all silly and sing special songs and exchange gifts, then, they go back to being their same obnoxious selves the next day.”
“Got that right. Nobody never beats me up on Christmas. Them cow-boys, they get real mean, some of ‘em anyway.”
Nobody beats me up,” Mabel said.
“You’re a lady.”
“I mean they can’t beat me up,” Mabel explained. She pointed around the room with her cigar. “Who’s the toughest hombre in this saloon?”
“Uh, I guess that Otis Claverson over by the wall. He’s the foreman over at the zinc mine. Beats me up every payday.”
“Does he now. Would you like to see him get beat up for once?” Mabel asked.
“Boy, would I.”
Mabel casually walked over to the table by the wall and asked, “Are you Otis?”
“I sure am,” he said as he ran his hand through his curly blond hair.
Mabel punched him in the jaw one time. Otis was out cold. She sauntered back to her table. “There. Merry Christmas.”
“Uh.” He gulped down the rest of the drink she’d bought him.
“Henry, I’m an angel. I’m an angel that, way back when, was tossed out of heaven. I live in hell now, except when I get out. I don’t rightly love Christmas, but it has its good points, like just now. When else would you get to watch someone beat up Otis Claverson?” Mabel handed him a hundred dollar gold coin. “That’s counterfeit. It’ll pass on these chumps. Take that and spend it on booze or go down the street to Abigail’s and spend it on the prettiest, courtesan they have. Whichever you want. Enjoy Christmas for once.””
“Abigail’s is a whorehouse,” Henry said.
“I know that, Henry. But it’s a classy joint.”
“I just didn’t know what a courtesan was,” he explained.
“Oh.” She kissed him on the cheek, then went over to the piano. “Your Los Imperiales needs some work.
“Where’d you learn about that?” Kuto asked.
“I get around. Actually, I speak fluent Martian. But hope those bastards don’t show up here.”
“Got that right,” Kuto agreed.
 She started for the front doors. “Have a nice St. Bartholomew’s Day, or Christmas or whatever,.” she told the alien piano [layer. Mabel went out on the front porch, leaving the doors open, snapped her fingers, then there was a shower of sparks and she was gone.

This was just a sample. If you want more of this stuff, Mabel has her own book: Fallen Angel by David B. Riley
And to take in more of life in Dry Gulch, get your hands on Tales From Dry Gulch, available from your favorite bookseller or Amazon in print and Kindle. And look for Tales From Dry Gulch 2, coming Spring 2020.   Or you can simply click on the book covers on this page to be connected to ordering information from the publishers.

Finally, there's a new review of Tales From Dry Gulch at No Name Zin
http://www.thenamelesszine.org/Books-2019/Tales_From_Dry_Gulch.php





Monday, December 23, 2019

Special Book Deals for the Holidays

Some of my ebooks will be on sale for the holidays..During the period between Christmas and New Years, there will be a sale on all Hadrosaur books at Smashwords. Legend of the Dragon Cowboys will be $1.00 with coupon code SEY75. Fallen Angel will be $1.50 with coupon code SEY50. . The sale begins on December 25 and ends on January 1.


And I have a free short story as a sampler of both life in Dry Gulch and Fallen Angel lead character Mabel   in tomorrow's blog.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Great Gift

Back in my college days I took a marketing class.  Our assignment was to develop a product and a plan how to market it.  Well, my product was Lump-O-Coal.  It would've been a lump of coal in a plastic wrapper with a card that could be hung on a peg in stores.  The front would read Lump-O-Coal For that rotten little kid. The back of the card would have a short tale about the supposed legend of Santa Claus leaving a lump of coal in the stockings of bad children who weren't particularly good--a practice somewhat forgotten in modern times.


Well, I note a few places online have come up with similar products.  You really can get that horrible nephew a lump of coal for Christmas. Yay!  Since I couldn't develop the product I am glad others have.



Saturday, December 21, 2019

What about this?

I sent my Christmas cards out. I even put a tree up.  I never put a tree up.  Here's the thing. I'm not a fan of the Christmas movies that are coming out, based on their trailers.  I've vowed not to go see any of them.  And that includes the new Star Wars film.  The trailers are unwatchable. Why would I sit and watch something and pay out money for the privilege?  So, if going to holiday movies is part of the holiday, I say humbug. I draw the line there.


Friday, December 20, 2019

Medicine

A few months ago I've mentioned I had a litany of health complications after going in for outpatient surgery.  Well, I am still alive.  And I leaned if you have a predisposition toward gout surgery can create instant gout. Oh, good lord. I'd heard that was painful but that is an understatement.  It's worse than having needles stuck in you. It was worse than when I broke my arm.  The pain was incredible.  Naturally, when I got with my doctor after getting out of the hospital, the first thing I did was ask what to do to avoid that again. The answer is pills.  You have to control the uric acid--and mine had gotten too high.  Well, two days ago my doctor did a follow up test and I am at 5, and you need to be under 6 to be out of danger of gout. Theoretically, the medicine my doctor prescribed is working and I can relax about gout.  A lot of people don't think about gout.  Next time you're talking to your doctor, you might ask.  I couldn't believe how bad having gout was. 


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Brrr

Had a cold, windy front come through yesterday.  I was amazed at how cold I felt.  I used to think nothing of sub-zero temperatures when I lived in Colorado.  But, after three years in Tucson and I'm shivering when it's not even close to freezing.  What a sissy I've become.

not even cold enough for a snowman and I'm still shivering

Monday, December 16, 2019

New Review

A web review site has released a review of my novella Fallen Angel.  click on the cover of this page to link with the publisher's order page, if interested.
This is a nice review site with a number of short, to the point, reviews.

**********************
FALLEN ANGEL is a story set in the post-Civil War West, where fallen angels duel for power against invading men from Mars.
It’s a snarky tale of Mabel, fallen out of Hell, fighting an evil sister, a girl named Kevin, a cannibal, and who strives for a world in which she can freely feast on humans. What will result from battles against invaders from space and demons from another dimension?

--Andrew Andrews, True Review

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Science Fiction, Timmy?

I used to love science fiction.  I've even written science fiction.  But there are two things in the world of Scifi that I doubt I'll even bother to watch.  The new Star Wars movie and the new Dr. Who series. 

As for the Doctor, I'm sorry but it's just stupid.  I don't like this entourage she has with her and I don't like the stories anymore.  The female Doctor does not bother me.

As for the new Star Wars movie.  Has anyone noticed that every single movie is exactly the same?  I mean the names of the characters change, but the story itself does not. They're all exactly the same movie. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

TV season

The Christmas holiday TV specials are upon us. Tonight they're bringing us Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman. I like both of them.  There's also something called Frosty Returns, which I think is unwatchable.  It's got some weird environmental message and just lacks the sense of fun and adventure the original Frosty had.

And try and snag a version of A Christmas Carol. There are at least 10 different ones.  I believe it is the best Christmas story and the best ghost story ever written.  Versions vary in terms of acting and direction.  My favorite is the one with George C. Scott.  I think I've seen all of them, but it is possible there's one I've missed.  


Friday, December 13, 2019

Good luck, Timmy

Friday the 13th is here upon us once again.  Considered unlucky, I used to find good things happened on them.  Then, well I don't think they're really any different than any other day.  Stuff happens and the day on the calendar has little to do with it.  But there are many superstitious folks who feel otherwise.  So venture out into the world and buy lots of gifts for people.  And call people "Timmy" all day. It drives them crazy, especially girls.  

This is peak book buying season.  My best book, if you're looking for ideas, is Legends of the Dragon Cowboys.   Legends of the Dragon Cowboys brings you two weird western adventures by authors David B. Riley and Laura Givens. Their heroes ride boldly out of the Far East to find their way in a mythic land of danger, romance, and adventure. In "The Venerable Travels of Ling Fung" by David B. Riley, a wandering businessman encounters a Mayan god, crooked enterprises and Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, when all he really wants is to open a gun store. Ling Fung is not any ordinary Chinese entrepreneur—he's highly skilled in Kung Fu and he can shoot good, too. While his heart is set on business, providence seems to have other plans for him. And suitable for all ages.

Laura Givens brings wily acrobat Chin Song Ping to the Wild West in search of adventure and fortune. He finds little fortune, but plenty of adventure. Chin Song Ping is a scoundrel, a gambler and a trouble magnet. His heart of gold lands him in schemes to outwit would-be gods, cannibal ghosts, insane robots, Voodoo despots and the ultimate evil—bureaucrats. But he is a romantic, and the love of his life is the true treasure he seeks. The odds are always against him but if he survives he will become the Western legend he always was in his own mind.
The Wild West just got a lot wilder!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Stupid habits

Ever notice how many people on the phone, when it's time to hang up, say "Mmm bye."  I don't know where that Mmm comes from. I doubt folks even realize they're doing it. It bugs me for some reason.  It bugs me a lot. I talked to Comcast and my doctor's office yesterday morning and both people said "Mmm bye."  Why can't they just say goodbye or bye?  It's the Mmm that I can't understand.  I've asked a few foreign friends and they say it's an American thing and you're not likely to hear it in the UK or Canada.  Of course I don't call many people in the UK or Canada.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Holiday lights

I note on my street only one other house has any holiday lighting.   I have a cactus lit up with multi-colored lights.  The house a few blocks down the street is gorgeous.  And no one else even has  a wreath on their door.  If you head a street or two over and lots of houses are cheerfully decorated, but not on my street.  I really know why this is.  It's just an observation.  The solar powered lights on my cactus are working quite well.

My dad lives a couple of miles away and his neighborhood is seriously decked out with some very impressive holiday lighting.  Don't know why that is, although his neighborhood has  more families and my neighborhood is mostly old people.  

Monday, December 9, 2019

inconsistency?

I mentioned the lack of urgency in my so-called two-day shipping.  I've also mentioned my family no longer exchanges presents.  Well, the items I mentioned yesterday were not presents, they were things I wanted for me.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Two Day Shipping

I ordered four different items from four different companies on Cyber Monday.  They all promised two day shipping.  As of last night, not one of these companies had even shipped my purchase. This so-called two day shipping is a total fraud.  Looks like four packages will be going back.If these blasted companies can't honor their promises they should stop making them.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Well, it's been around 48 years since you brought me anything, but who's counting?  Have I offended you in some way?  The last time you even came by you gave the dog a nice squeaky soccer ball and stiffed me.  He loved that ball.  You didn't give me a ball.  I didn't get nothin'

So, what about this year? Let bygones be bygones?  That cute redhead who works at the hardware store would be a good starter. A date with her would put a smile on my face.   I don't think she likes me, but you're living proof fat old guys can win over the ladies.

If that's not in the cards, how about some cards.  I sure would like a nice trip to Las Vegas so I could play some cards.  I don't really care for the local casino and would rather gamble in Las Vegas.

No? Well, there's always cash. I find I never seem to have enough cash and could really use some more.  Gift cards are nice, too.  

Of course the old car needs to be replaced. A shiny new red one would be splendid.  I got an actual tree this year, so you can put my gift, whatever it is, right under there just fine. Except for the car, which probably wouldn't fit.

By the way, do you have any clout with the fortune cookie people? They promised me fabulous wealth would soon come my way and it's been a year and I still haven't got my wealth yet. Just wondering.

Your pal,

David


Friday, December 6, 2019

powered by the sun

This past summer I removed the light bulb and housing around my yard light.  This is a yard light that stands on a post and is required by the local homeowners association rules.  I replaced it with a solar powered light that has a little charger on top and it charges up all day then comes on at night. I love it, although it is not quite as bright as most of the traditional light bulb yard lights in the neighborhood.

I have noticed in the past few months that some other people have replaced their electric yard lights with solar power as well.  The price of this stuff has come down and the quality improved.

So, yesterday I used solar Christmas lights for the first time.  I decorated a Saguaro in my front yard [that's a big cactus for you Gringo types].  The lights came on at dark and work great.  And I did not have to run extension cords and timers around. I just wrapped the cactus and placed the power box near the base and let it do its solar thing.



Thursday, December 5, 2019

Dead Dogs

Something odd happened down the street from me two days ago.  Suddenly there were two dead dogs lying next to the road.  They looked like Alaskan sled dogs or something similar.  They appeared fairly healthy. They were just dead.  Had it been one dog I'd have assumed it got hit by a car.  Dogs run rather freely in my semi-rural area.  But two of them?  Somebody must have killed them and dumped them there.  I can't really understand that.  There are shelters who would take these dogs in if someone couldn't care for them.  Not the case here, apparently.  Animal control came and scooped them off and took their bodies off to wherever they go.  I just don't see any reason to kill two healthy dogs.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Talkin Trash

My local trash company has seriously cut back on what we can recycle.  We're basically down to cardboard, aluminum cans, newsprint and clear plastic bottles.  Alas, the market for recyclable material isn't what it once was.  The thing is, my dad lives about 2 miles from me, but he has a different garbage disposal service.  In his neighborhood they can still recycle catalogs, steel cans, glass bottles. But not us.  And that;s the exciting world of hauling trash these days.



Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Happy Holidays

Yesterday I wrote on returning items to stores.  I was amazed that Amazon now has a deal where you just give a code to the folks at UPS Stores and you don't have to pack the item or even address it.  Mighty convenient.  The key is not to have to return so much stuff.  I'm hoping I won't have to buy anything else for a while. Since my family does not exchange Christmas gifts, that's not difficult. Most of my online purchases are personal clothes and stuff like that.

Our family stopped exchanging gifts quite some time ago. We just loved it. No one ever liked the gifts they got anyway. It was great.

That's not to say we don't celebrate Christmas.  We, meaning our family, decorate our homes, we'll have a special family Christmas supper, and do the sorts of things most folks do. We just don't exchange gifts.

Speaking of celebrating. My front door has a nice holiday wreath on it. My dilemma is I don't know what to do about decorating my house. I used to light up an ugly old bush  with Christmas lights. The bush had to go away to bush heaven.  I haven't got much else in my yard to decorate.  Just not sure what I'll do.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Take this, ya varmint

One of the inevitable problems with online purchases is that some of them  simply are not what you wanted.  Alas, I got one such item yesterday.  I was amazed it was delivered on Sunday as it was not a "Prime" shipment. I don't have Prime and question whether the annual fee is worth it. But I did get a free shipment and my item arrived a day early. I can't fault the shipping. It's just the item was disappointing. I thought it was poorly made and it just wasn't what I wanted.  Ergo, I decided to send it back.

I hadn't returned anything to Amazon in quite a while. They had something new. All I had to do was take it to the UPS Store--no box or label required. I just had to have a code they provided.  So, this morning I did just that and dropped it off and that was it.  Simply amazing.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Mr. Balls

About a decade ago I worked for the census.  One of the people who I had to ad, as my crew was updating information such as addresses not in the system, was a guy named Harry Balls.  Say this aloud if you don't get the humor here.  One of my co-workers was a man named Raymond Broadbeard.  He'd been given the name "Harry Balls" by a resident. He asked me if it was real? How would I know?  Although it did have a certain similarity to one of those crank names Bart Simpson used to call up Moe's Tavern.  But it was not our place to question Mr. Balls.  And I did note his mailbox was stenciled Balls, whether they were hairy or not was something I did not really want to find out.

Well, Raymond vowed to set out and find some of the stranger names people have and wrap them up into a book.  As we're approaching the new census, I got to thinking about Raymond and contacted him.  He never did the book. He found it impossible to research. [Census data is kept secret for 75 years by law]. I kind of figured out that was the case.

Since Raymond still lives in Central Colorado, I suggested he contact Mr. Balls and ask how he survived middle school with a name like that.  Alas, Harry no longer lived at the same house.  The fellow who now lived there was named "Won Hung Lo" and I'm not certain about the spelling. Think about that one and we're still on the subject of balls. Say it out loud if you still can't get the irony.

I did find some guy who spelled it differently, Harry Baals, a former mayor of Ft Wayne, Indiana.  I doubt he's our Harry.  So, Harry, if you're out there, please don't contact me. It's Raymond who wanted to talk to you about your balls, not me.