October 4th, 2014


Fall Gas

What's going on with gas prices? Just a couple of weeks ago regular was pushing $3.68.9/gallon. And it's been dropping since. Tuesday it was $3.30.9/gal. Even with the 15¢ boost to midgrade, had I the 50¢/gal coupon from Family Fare, I would've paid under three bucks -- but Mrs. Dr. Phil had it and she got a gallon more than I did, so we made another fifty cents. (grin)

Thursday I bought gas ten cents cheaper. By evening, regular was $3.16.9/gal. Today I saw $3.15.9.

Why the drop? Dunno. As usual though, I always have speculation. I heard that the annual conversion from summer to winter gas is going surprisingly well this year. Perhaps there is still a reserve of summer gas that needs to be dumped. It's been warm for two weeks -- this weekend is the first time the highs will be in the 40s since early May.

The question is, how long will this trend continue? At this rate, gas could be $2.99.9/gal in two weeks. I'm not holding my breath, but these things do happen... oh wait. 2014 midterm elections coming. Gas prices have to come down so the mob doesn't think to vote in someone who might offend Business. Happens every two years.

By that reckoning, we'll enjoy lowered gas prices until the November election. (evil-grin)

Dr. Phil

UPDATE: Mrs. Dr. Phil informs that as of 5pm Saturday, gas is #3.11.9 in town, except for Admiral which was $3.10.9/gal. The trend downward marches on...

Putting You On Notice

For obvious reasons that will become clear, I cannot get you any details. But if you submitted a story to the Writers of the Future 4th Quarter contest that closed at midnight on September 30th, be advised that you're only competing for two prizes.

Because I've got a lock on one of the three.

Sure, I was a Published Finalist Not A Winner in WOTF Volume XXIV. But I still have eligibility. And Published Finalists have come back to win the contest -- Eric James Stone was one. I met him at the WOTF workshop in California back in 2008.

Joni Labaqui from WOTF thinks I may have the longest continuous streak of entries -- from 30 June 2002 to present. Twelve years plus two quarters.

Yup. This should be magic number 50.

Even being in the hospital last year, I managed to find a story that I hadn't sent in one quarter and then wrote a 17,000 word story on my Amazon Kindle Fire HD with a stylus for the next quarter.

Which brings us to 30 September 2014. After a weekend of exam grading and company, I finally got to my story around 11pm. Deadline is midnight, but midnight PDT, so I had time. I usually give myself a deadline of midnight ET, but like I said, I had a late start. Pleasant surprise... I found that the story I had started in the beginning of the month was actually pretty far along. In better shape than I remembered.

I had fired up ZEPPELIN, the big Toshiba Windows 7 laptop I had inherited from Wendy, for readability reasons. Not because I was enthused with writing in Microsoft Word 2010. Two hours later, about 1am EDT, I had a good solid 3000 words, had read it, reread it aloud, turned it into an RTF file and submitted it.

That was Tuesday night. Wednesday evening I printed it out and read it again. No typos. Huh, a clean story? Left it out for Mrs. Dr. Phil to read. Yeah, I know that defeats the purpose of having a first reader, to give them the story AFTER it ships. (evil-grin) Thursday night, she read it. I hear a voice from the bedroom.

"You have a winner."

"Did you find any typos?"


"Really?" "Really."

Unheard of. Mrs. Dr. Phil was still raving about the story Friday night. A perfect story, first draft.

Yes, yes, I know. It doesn't matter if my wife, my mother or my mother-in-law love my stories. They like my writing. They aren't buying it.

But a clean, moving story? I will do my happy dance... in my head, 'cause with my leg, I ain't dancin' anywhere anytime soon. (dancing-fool-grin) Because if WOTF takes leave of their senses and doesn't take it for Volume XXXI, someone else will. ****

Now I tried to post this taunt on the WOTF Forum, so the writers there could have a little fun with it. But alas, the forum ate the post. I should remember to always do Select All | Copy before hitting Submit on that site -- it has happened before. So I shall crow to the world here -- By Grabthar's Hammer I SHALL be in WOTF Volume XXXI !

Or not. We'll see. (grin)

But there's nothing like feeling like you got one... Back to writing...

Dr. Phil

**** - I have terrible luck with contests. Remember, I've not won WOTF in 49 previous attempts. I can just see it now... getting a second Published Finalist. I think someone has done that before, I don't remember. Wonder if anyone has ever had three Published Finalists? (idle-speculation-grin)