Tree Folk Story

I have not been writing much. The pills I take make language difficult. I have what is called “tip-of-the-tongue” syndrome and have trouble getting the right word. I sold my mystery story that I wrote in October on the first try, so I still have some skills. The language of the story is a little less colorful than I’d like, but the plot works.
I saw another market open up for stories that are similar to one that I’ve got kicking around in my back-brain. I think that I want to sit down and make an outline for it and maybe try to write it. The story isn’t too complicated and may be short. The story venue has a minimum of 2,500 words. I probably can make that with a little push. My stories are usually 3,500 to 5,000 words, but, like I say, I am not confident in my writing ability.
I’ll sit down in the office (where I have the good keyboard) and see what I can do. Maybe nothing, but we’ll see.

Here is the description of the story anthology. It only pays $25, but I don’t think I can produce a $500 story right now. A sale is a sale.

Gonna talk about writing for a second.
As an editor and practitioner, I am of the school that believes that every word in a story needs to have a specific reason for being there, and that the writer should ‘control’ that.
Anything less denotes a lack of craft mastery, to me.
That doesn’t mean that every ‘that’ must go away, or that mss HAVE to be as pared-down as possible (though I like that, especially when paying by the word), but that there must be ‘purpose’.
Creation of effect should be ‘intentional’, and it is not a substitute for story.
This by way of reminding you that open subs for The Dark Heart of the Wood (OM Folk, vol 2) begin March 1. The sub period is sixty days.
We are looking for folk horror, especially that which is off the beaten path or advances the concept in some way. 2500-5500 words prose, 25$. Poetry also acceptable at negotiable pay rate.
We are limiting to 15 slots this time around.
Submit to: [email protected]

note: I wrote a pretty comprehensive outline. It is about 800 words and I added some interesting ideas as I wrote it. I will try to write the story this week. The snow will keep me in the house. I am now worried that I might make the story too long just to fit in the ideas that I’ve come up with.
If I can sell the story, sometimes the editor sends me a PDF of the anthology. Watch here and if he does ask me to send you a copy. My rich friends will have to pay the 10 bucks for a copy, but friends, relatives and blues players can get a freebie.

Premier Amp

I collect Premier amplifiers, but recently they price has gone through the roof. For instance I own 3 Premier Twin-8 amps. These are sweet little amps that sound great, but are not loud enough to be useful. I am thinking about getting rid of two of them. I bought them for $50 to $75 each and now they go for $1,500 on eBay. I saw a model 76 amp that is “pick-up only” that is cheap. I don’t have a model 76 and I would like to go get it.
The amp is in Manchester PA more than 5 hours away. So I could get the amp cheap with the added cost of 11 hours of gas and time.
I am tempted to do this because I have had both vaccine shots and it would be an interesting trip. I’ve been stuck in the house for a year and this might be fun. My brother will have his second shot in a couple of weeks, and he already had a case of COVID once already, so he could ride right seat on the trip.
The whole thing comes down to the question of whether or not I really need another amplifier and if I can negotiate the amp price even cheaper.

Converting my Luggable - Costs

I need some adapters for my luggable conversion.

The portable PC has a an old style PC keyboard. I need to convert that to USB using a Soarer’s cable. $45.00

I need to power the Raspberry Pi using the internal molex connector. These were used to power hard disks and floppies. This is an inexpensive cable that just connects the lines. $15.00

I need a USB adapter for a 3-1/2 inch floppy. I don’t really need a floppy drive, but I need it for authenticity. $25.00

I also need a Raspberry Pi. I need one with a composite av video output to run the orange screen. This is like a an old black & white TV. The newer Pi’s have the composite output. Raspberry Pi Model 4 B. $50

I want a front panel that has USB ports so I can load data onto the Pi without taking the case apart. $25.00

Total $160.00


I decided not to do the floppy drive and replace that with a drawer that can hold the Pi. Cost a little less, but I am not sure.

I decided to rewire the PC power supply to put a receptacle inside the box and use a PI branded power supply, Add $10.00

The PI 4 does not work well with composite. I can buy a box that converts HDMI to composite. Add $20

Figure $200 for a PI Luggable.

I am up to $190. I might wait for the PI 5.0 to do this. I will be buying two of everything because I have two 5155 luggables. Neither one works. Non-working ones go for $200. Working ones go for $450.

Figure each box goes for $300 plus $200 plus $100 labor and I might be able to sell them for $600 if I want.

IBM Luggable

In the mid 1980s I bought a portable IBM PC through a friend who worked at IBM. These were not like laptops. They were basically full size computers with a handle. They were not really portable, but were called Luggable. I used it for a good 10 years. I have it in the cellar. I also bought another one as a backup that is down there somewhere.
I modified it over the years so it used a Intel ‘486 motherboard with lots of memory and a video card that can drive the little orange monitor like a VGA monitor. I packed 5 hard disks into the thing.
I did a lot of work on that computer. I carried it on many airplanes and was able to fix systems in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washing D.C. and other cities over the years. Eventually it was not practical to use it and I had an IBM Thinkpad the weighed about 10 pounds as apposed the luggable that weighed about 40 pounds.
The old luggable has sentimental value and I’ve wanted to get it going again. The last time that I tried I did not get good results. I could not boot it. I think that I don’t have something hooked up correctly, or else the motherboard has died. The onboard motherboard battery is supposed to be good for 7 years and it has been 35 years since I got it.
I just read an article about the Raspberry Pi being able to run MS-Dos or Windows XP. It has a composite output that should be able to drive the old orange screen built into the luggable. It is 1000 times more powerful than the original 8088 motherboard in the luggable.
I decided that a project this Spring will be to rip out the guts of the old PC and make a nice bracket for the Raspberry PI. It will not only be much lighter, but much more powerful. I can make a boot menu to load MS-Dos 6.22, Windows XP or even Linux. I can relive my glory days in writing MASM programs, something that nobody does anymore. I can load Visual Basic, which is a language that I loved. I can transfer my programs to the Linux system and get them to run on modern machines. …Or maybe not. These are great ideas. We’ll see how far I get.

Installing a Power Suppply in my old Desktop

Justine sent me an old desktop computer about 10 years ago. It is a little slow and old and over the last year it has started making fan noise an overheating. I considered buying a new desktop, but they go for about $600-$700 for the one I wanted. I vacuumed out the fans and it ran well for a few months, but it started making horrible noises again.
I bought a NVIDIA video card (because it has a fan). I bought a nice 1 TB ssd. I also bought a power supply on eBay. I had to return the power supply because it was not compatible with my computer, even though it was advertised as thus. I returned the power supply bought an inexpensive one (that cost less than the eBay one).
I replaced everything and now I have a very cool, very fast , quiet system. The ssd makes a huge difference in the speed of my 10 year old system. The NVIDIA card also seems to make all the graphics much faster. The power supply is twice the wattage of the old one.
I now have an old system that may be good for another 10 years for about $150.
Pretty soon I will be wandering the back roads of Rockland County and I might find a nearly new desktop computer in the junk. I’ll just transfer my hard disk to the new machine and have an even newer machine. The older machine might be good to run a local security server that runs a DNS server and VPN or maybe a media server.

Responsive Theme for Flatpress

Flatpress is an old blogging system. It has very few features and will run without any problems on most hosting services. Some hosting companies offer it as an automated installation. Since at 7 years it is very old, I am a little concerned that it has security issues and other bugs, but I took the chance.
I chose Flatpress because WordPress became way too complicated and I needed an old fashioned blog to use like a diary, but without all the headaches. The “themes” that come with Flatpress are all old-fashioned styles with fixed font sized measured in pixels. They look just awful on cell phones so I modified one of the standard themes.
I didn’t like the results that I got, and after some searching I found a “responsive” style theme for Flatpress. The bad thing was that it used a Germanic block font for the headings, but that was easy to fix. It is still using some “pixel” measurements for some elements, but it mostly works. I will continue to tweak it as I find things that annoy me.
I am using it for entries with limited interest to anyone other than myself (like this entry). General interest posts will still go on Facebook.
I will continue looking for simple blogging software, but this is good enough, if not perfect.

Old Blog Folder Discovered

I found a folder in my bookmarks called Blogs. It originally had about 50 entries, but after deleting the dead blogs I wound up with about 12.
Many are well known and some I don’t remember, but I will be checking them regularly. Some of these are updated irregularly, and some are not all that interesting. I have another folder with science blogs and another folder with news related sites. I may list them here if this works.
Here they are:

WhoDoneIt Story is going to press

I received the contract for my story The Tele-Med Murder Case this morning. I signed it and returned it. The anthology will appear sometime this month and I should be getting a free copy.

Interzone Story

I received a nice rejection from Interzone today. It turns out the editor wasn’t the real editor and the original editor was going to be doing the slush readings. He encouraged me to try again with the new guy.

Story acknowledged - Interzone

My story was acknowledged by Ian at Interzone overnight. He indicated that it might be some time before he could get to it.

New entry for

Trying to make some kind of use out of the old domain names


I sent Interzone Magazine a short story.
I have only sent stories to Interzone a couple of times over the last 20 years because they usually don’t respond for 6 to 9 months. I would love to sell a story there, though.
Interzone has changed hands and there is a new editor. My hope is that the new editor will be trying to keep ahead of the slush pile and I will get my rejection quickly, perhaps even with a friendly comment.
I’ll try to post here if I get any response (unless I get bored with this site.)