My Review of “The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks,” by William F. Aicher

I tried my hand at another review.

I’ve noticed I have started reading with a different eye.  A critical eye?  A reviewer’s eye?  Fuck if I know.  More on that later; first, check out the review.

The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. SparksThe Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks by William F. Aicher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Good Workout for the Brain
I’m glad I read “The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks.” It’s good to be reminded that Science Fiction encompasses sciences beyond space exploration.
David S. Sparks is a puzzle of a character. This could have been confusing, but the writing takes you along for the ride with David. The pacing keeps the story moving as the pieces fall in place. The reader may find themselves questioning what is going on, or, what is going to happen next, but never confused to the point of being completely lost.
The world building of future Earth is logical. The setting reminded me of a series that ran on The History Channel called “Life After People.” The reader can tell Earth has changed in a manner that could possibly happen without being smacked over the head by the extremes of a future that is too bright or too dark. A Goldilocks setting that becomes another character.
In short, “The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks” is an enjoyable read that is engaging on many levels.

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I seem to be paying attention more as to why I specifically like a book.  I want to be able to say why I like a book, rather than just, “Yeah, I liked it.”


“Uh… Because it was good.”


Cue million-mile stare.

I want to do this right in hopes of someday, somebody will put the effort into something I publish.

Fortunately, so far, I have only had to write reviews of books I like.  Maybe that’s my next challenge: review something I don’t like.  Something to think about.

Review of “Secret” by William F. Aicher

Another quick Goodreads and Amazon review.

It should also be noted that Aicher packs a lot of story into nine pages.

SecretSecret by William F. Aicher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well done!

I liked “Secret.” A good, quick read before bed. Not that you’ll be getting any sleep after, but a good read none the less!

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And the good news is, “Secret” is the first in a series of creepy little bedtime stories.

Tales of Karma: May 8th, 2018

For some odd reason, my polling place changed. Whatever, it was only a little bit farther than where I used to go to vote, so no biggie. And besides, the poll is close to Mission BBQ, and any excuse to go to Mission BBQ is valid.

I pull into the lot of my polling place, and all I can think is “same actors, new stage.” Just a bunch of volunteers running around the lot, trying to stuff literature into your hand. When you get inside the door, there is a big barrel full of said literature. What a fucking waste. Maybe if politicians didn’t waste so much cash on literature, they wouldn’t have to accept so many contributions and bribes to run a campaign.

Voting itself was uneventful. I got my ballot, filled it out, and ran it through the scanner in probably less than 7 minutes. Of course, Tuesday is one of my days off during the week, so, your mileage may vary.

As I was leaving the multipurpose room used for voting, I felt my shoe come untied. I steered my way to a folding chair to tie it and was approached by one of the poll workers.

“Excuse me, sir. It seems your right shoe has come untied.”

He reminded me of Justin Wilson, the Cajun cook who used to have a show on PBS. He even had a bit of a southern drawl, not quite Cajun, but close enough for jazz. He entertained me with a story while I retied my shoe.

“I was downtown a couple weeks ago, on jury duty at the Justice Center, when I saw a man with a shoe untied. I mentioned it to him, and he turned on me and gave me a few choice words I can’t use in polite company. He went up a flight of stairs, and wouldn’t you know it, when he got to the top step, he tripped on the shoe lace I warned him about, fell down all 12 steps, and broke his ankle.”

I chuckled. “Good for him. Sounds like karma worked that day.”

“I told him, right before the paramedics arrived, maybe he won’t need that lace anymore if they have to cut the shoe to fix your foot.”

We shared another laugh at the other guy’s expense. I thanked him for brightening my day with his story, shook his hand, and went on my way.

It’s one thing to just ignore somebody and keep walking after an innocuous warning about something like an untied shoelace. But to actually take the time to cuss out somebody, just because they were looking out for you?

I may be tempting karma, but I still can’t help but smile when I think of that story.

In Which I Eventually Get to My Review of “Dreamlander,” by K.M. Weiland

Back in April, I tried Camp Nanowrimo. I figured, why not? I tried Nanowrimo this past November, as I have in a few previous Novembers.  I think 2012 was the first time. I knocked out a few scenes, maybe 4000 words, but that was it. I quickly learned I am not a “pantser” — someone who writes by the seat of their pants with no plan.

I’ve tried Nanowrimo a couple of times since, mostly just to frustrate myself, and remind myself that the Nanowrimo style just isn’t for me.

And I just realized some of you may not know what I’m talking about. Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to pace yourself, write every day, and churn out a 50,000-word first draft of your novel. Come up short on the daily world goal? Just make up for it the next day. Miss today? Double up the next day. It sounds simple. Deceivingly simple. I would get off to a strong start for a few days, then miss a day. Knockout another day, then miss a few more. From there, it would snow ball.

Camp Nanowrimo happens in April, and you can design your own challenge. Basically, choosing your own word counts. They also have “cabins,” where you get matched up with other writers to encourage and assist. I never got to that part.

abstract black and white blur book

I did set a modest goal of 10,000 words, but rather than write one piece, I would set mini goals. Four blog posts, journaling, a short short fiction, and maybe even start a short story. My main problem with the Nanowrimo format is I am a lousy typist. I prefer to write free hand, and then dictate into Scrivener. Then I get all analytical with myself, thinking I’m using the same words twice, wasting time I could be using to write more free hand. Dictating is much faster than me trying to type, and I tend to self-edit less while trying to get a first draft. Still, I feel like I’m repeating my work rather than moving on. Then I get frustrated and stop.

I didn’t do too bad in April. I got 2 of the 4 blog posts posted. I did start the short short fiction. I journaled a lot, which may have eaten up a good portion of the word count, but I don’t know because I never dictated the journals to get a word count. In the end, it was no big deal, since I only updated my word count twice.

And I left something out.

I started talking to myself as I write free hand.  And it tends to get dictated.

I forgot about the book review. Continue reading


A short rant from my personal journal, December 31, 2017, edited to resemble English.

My brother gave me “The Whisky Enthusiast” sample box for Christmas. The box contains a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red scotch, Crown Royal Canadian whisky, and Bulleit bourbon. I poured myself a little drink before I started journaling today. I didn’t want to open the Crown, and my hands were too dry to get the scotch open, so, I went with the bourbon.

I read a couple of websites about Scotch and bourbon, mostly about how to drink it. To be honest, the most I’ve ever done with whisky is shots, and those went so fast, I never learned to appreciate the flavor. If there was any.  All I knew was the burn. So, bourbon it was.


I knew “neat” meant straight, room temperature, and “on the rocks” meant over ice. On the rocks didn’t seem like a clever idea if I wanted to try to find the flavor, with all that ice melting. Then I read about adding a little water. Enthusiasts seem to like this preparation, at least on the 2 websites I read, so I decided to give it a try. From what I understand, the water helps reduce some unwanted flavors that can come with wood aged liquors and enhances wanted flavors. Apparently, I’m an enthusiast, at least according to the box, so I put a little water in a rocks glass, and 2 fingers of the Bulleit bourbon.

I like the idea fingers, plenty of opportunities for humor with the finger concept. Of course, it depends on the audience. If a dude asks for 2 fingers, I can just flip him a double bird. Lots of laughs. “I’m telling you, Jerry, it’s the best Jerry, the best!” Have I mentioned ever mentioned I like Seinfeld?

So far, I’ve only had a few sips. My tongue and belly have a nice warmth going on. I probably still have half of the to drink to go. Where was I?  Ah, yes.

Fingers. Some good comedy potential if other dudes are involved, but comedy goes out the window in the ladies are involved, although there is still a lot of potential. ” May offer you 2 fingers?” and hold the bottle up for her to see. I’m no expert, but, I think you’ll know right away if the conversation is worth pursuing after that move. Of course, you could get slapped. At least you tried.

It’s the 21st century — no reason the woman can’t be the pursuer. “You gotta couple of fingers for thirst girl?” Give her a quick once over, and you either grab the bottle, or flip her a bird. At least she doesn’t have to worry about being slapped. Yeah, that’s wrong. Chances are you’ll be grabbing a bottle. No flipping or slapping, unless you’re a douche. And if you are a douche, chances are people know it already, and you don’t have to worry about making decisions about buying a girl a drink or flipping her off.

I think I just found some of the attitude and general outlook on life for one of my characters.

The Best Cat Ever: Nuggy the Christmas Kitty, Part 2

Nuggy: Sept 1998 – June 16, 2017

Nuggy enjoyed Christmas Time.

I know, I mentioned that before, but it’s a good opening. Having already talked about cats at the first Christmas, I’m reusing the opening to talk about our first Christmas with Nuggy.

It was 1999, and my wife and I had just bought our first house that August.  Nuggy moved in during September. Before getting too far into the holiday season, we found out we were going to have our first child.

Then the real fun began.

We told my mom and Christine’s parents we were expecting. Then the rest of the relatives. My brother and his wife just told us the week before they were expecting, also.

One day I came home from work, and Christine told me we had to get rid of Nuggy. Continue reading

The Best Cat Ever: Nuggy the Christmas Kitty, part 1

Nuggy: Sept. 1998 — June 16th, 2017

Nuggy enjoyed Christmas time. I’m not sure if he had any strong religious beliefs, but what do I know?  During the season, he would curl up by the nativity scene under the tree often enough, maybe he did.

A long winters nap, to dream of that first Christmas Eve. Most Nativity scenes don’t show them, but I’m willing to bet there were at least a couple of cats present that night. The innkeeper needed them to keep the mouse population under control.

The cats took a break from their nightly hunting duties to check out all the commotion. They rubbed against the legs of a little boy playing a drum, an action immortalized by the lyric “Purr” rum pum pum pum. Then, the cats and made their way to the manger, darting in a zig-zag pattern to avoid being stepped on by camels. Finally at the manger, the cats stretched two paws on the side for a peek at Baby Jesus. He smiled and cooed at them. The cats purred and entertained the lad with the hypnotizing movements of their tails. Then, with a twitch of their ears, they ran off to resume their hunting duties, having already lost interest in the child.

It could’ve happened. Egypt wasn’t that far away, and they worshiped cats.