Archive for May, 2011

Ward’s Bees

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Ward got his bees today. He is now a beekeeper.

Mom’s Prize Winning Doll

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Mom won the DAR craft contest with her Doll named Sarah.

Here she is in her DAR regalia holding Sarah. October looks on.

Mom and Sarah with October

Harmonica book

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

I turned my web page – Playing Help-Me in the Style of Sonny Boy Williamson II – into an ebook and I sold OK. It outsells my Science Fiction about 5 to 1. I converted it to a print-book and I ordered the “proof” copy.

The problem is that it is only 30 pages. Front matter takes up 5 pages. The way Amazon prices books, the least I could charge would be about $4. I priced the book at $4.99, but I still make more if someone buys the ebook.

I hope nobody complains about how short the book is. $5 plus shipping is a lot to pay for a 30 page booklet.

I will get the proof copy some time this week. I have already found a typo, but I am not sure that I am willing to spend the money for a new proof. I might let the typos stand if I don’t find too many.

My Street Theory book is mostly done. I just have to check the notes for accuracy. I transpose the notes mathematically, but it always pays to actually play them with a harmonica to make sure they are right. That book will be about 90 pages, so it will cost more, but I think I can charge much more for it.

My harmonica eBook is #10 in the Amazon store for Harmonica ebooks, and #2 for Blues Harp ebooks. This is mostly because it is such a sparse field. My SF book hovers around #100 for technical science fiction, but obviously nobody gets they far into the list to buy it.

I was disappointed that a friend of mine bought my book. I don’t want anyone I know to buy it. I will give you a copy if you want it. I will send you an ebook version if I don’t see you face to face. I did not publish the book to be an Amway salesman and push books on my friends.

StarScout Rising: First Trail by Gary Darby

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

I downloaded StarScout Rising: First Trail by Gary Darby onto my Kindle and had myself a good read.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction is 12. One of the reasons that I love SF is because, as a boy, I discovered Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke in the back of the village library. I became addicted to anything with that Atom or Rocket Ship sticker on the spine of the book.
Today, my favorite SF books are still the Heinlein Juveniles like Farmer in the Sky or Have Spacesuit, Will Travel.
This is why I enjoyed Gary Darby’s book StarScout Rising: First Trail.
First Trail is the story of a group of teenage space explorers as they travel through space, discover new worlds, and barely survive dangers at the edge of the known universe.
The protagonist is a Star Scout named Del Baldura. We follow Del through dangers, some from the dangerous worlds that he explores and some from dangerous political sub-plots. A rich texture of intrigue and suspense moves the novel forward. Del is character that we can truly like and care about.
The novel, if anything, can be too intense at times. There are many sub-plots and the fascinating Star Scout cast of characters alternate chapters with darker themes of corruption and crime. I found myself skimming some of the chapters, eager to get back to the more interesting main plot.
At 557 pages, the book is longish for a young adult novel. Some weaker readers will have trouble with it. The concepts may be too complex for less mature readers.
I have discovered that this is a three part series and I eagerly look forward to the next book by Gary Darby!

Cats by Popular Request

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

For Justine.

Bees Tomorrow

Friday, May 20th, 2011

I ordered some bees last winter and I will pick them up Saturday morning. I need to get there early, because I would not like it if the world ended with me on the highway and 40,000 nervous bees sitting in the back of the truck.

I will install the bees around noon on Saturday. I have lots of work to do in the bee yard.

The two new hives need to have a deep supers put on them and feeders. They need to fill the base hive and super with honey in order to make it through the winter. I might not get honey from them until Autumn.

The other hives all need honey supers so that they can make honey. It will take a few weeks to fill the honey supers so I can harvest about 30 pounds, if I like, some time in June. After that the bees don’t make much honey until the fall flowers start to bloom. July and August are hot and there aren’t many blooming flowers then. I will feed them like crazy to see if they make honey, but that kind of honey is very light and does not have the sharp flowery flavor of honey made with flower nectar.

I will be taking all the hives apart to see how they are doing. I don’t like messing with the hives because I don’t like being stung. The bees don’t really like it if I mess with them too much. I have to check the hives for disease and pests, though. I only do this a couple of times a year.

I will also take off a honey super from Connie that I left there over winter. It must be full of honey. Combining that with the full honey super that I took off of Ethel, I think I will have about 30 pounds of honey, and, if the weather is nice, I will extract it on Sunday afternoon. I can then put up the Honey For Sale sign and Erica will make a few hundred cash in a few hours.

Story Submitted

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

I made a list of my stories for While doing this, I found a forgotten flash piece exactly 1,000 words that I wrote for Astounding Tales. It was up for a few weeks before the zine folded.

I did a rewrite on it and changed some of the plot. I renamed the story “Rise” and sent it out today. It is the first story that I’ve submitted in several months, and the first one that did not go to a pro site.

Harpin’ for Hunger

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Larry and I drove up to Pawling, NY last night to see an all Blues Harp show to benefit Hunger. I was very impressed. The lineup was Ryan Hartt, Chris O’Leary, Dennis Gruenling and Steve Guyger. I went because I am a big fan of Steve’s, but I went away amazed at how good Chris O’Leary was.

Here is a nice video of Chris from last year (I forgot my camera).

A Visitor at Ward’s house

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

My brother sent me this pictures of a new arrival in his back yard.

13 Rules for Writing a Great Short Story

Friday, May 13th, 2011

I was cleaning out a DOCS directory and found this. I wrote it a while ago, but never got around to posting it. I had thought that I might submit it to one of the online magazines that buys such things, but I don’t need the hassle. It belongs here.

13 Rules for Writing a Great Short Story

Cats of War: The Pentagon’s top-secret feline special-operations program, revealed

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Click on the slideshow

Cats of War: The Pentagon’s top-secret feline special-operations program, revealed. – By Holly Allen and Christopher Beam – Slate Magazine.

ISS Viewing

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Last night, as I was watching TV, it occurred to me that a voice on the radio had said that at 8:23PM the International Space Station would zip across the night sky. It would be well lit by the setting sun and very impressive.

I don’t know when I heard this or why I remembered. I wake up to the news channel in the morning so it must have entered my subconscious mind while I was trying to crawl out of bed.

While watching TV last night (Big Bang Theory), I noticed that the time was 8:19PM, so I wandered outside just in time to watch the ISS streak across the sky. It lasted less than two minutes, rising over the trees in the north west, and dipping down below the trees in the south. It was very bright and moved very fast.

I was very moved. I knew that there were people living on that streak of light, hundreds of miles above the earth. They can only get there on space ships, and they live in zero gravity. It was a very sciencefictional experience.

Tonight, it will happen again at 8:47PM. This time I will bring Erica out to watch because she was disappointed that she missed it last night. It went by so fast that if I had gone back inside to get her, I would have missed it, too.

This website has the times that you can see the space station. It is particularly good right now because it passes over head at dusk, but it is still brightly lit by the sun.

Look towards the south west and you’ll see it rising almost straight up. It cuts across the southern sky, and sets almost due south, all in just a couple of minutes.

Human Space Flight (HSF) – Realtime Data.

Furry is Home

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Our giant Maine Coon cat, Furry, went to the vets yesterday to have some growths in his abdomen removed. They were coming from a tumor (not cancer) on his liver and were causing him pain and discomfort. We brought him down to the Animal Hospital in New Jersey where they operated on him yesterday afternoon.

Erica brought him back today and he is glad to be home.



Weird Cat Day

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Erica took some pictures of our weirder cats. The first is the feral cat, McGruff, who comes and visits. I set the glider up for the summer and he found it immediately and knew what it was good for.

McGruff on the Glider

Blue on a Kitchen Cabinet

The next one is Blue, who is a weird guy, sitting on top of the kitchen cabinets, where he has a good view of the food bowls.