Friday, March 27, 2009

Lost shoe

Warning: This post has absolutely nothing to do with writing.

Somewhere outside, under the snow, is one of my shoes. The wife (no, she is "the wife" for this story; I am not sure I want to claim her by calling her "my wife"), anyways, the wife threw one of my shoes out the door at the stray dog that keeps coming over and eating all the cat food that we put on the porch for the poor straving kitties in the neighborhood.

She did not tell me about the fact that one of my shoes was outside until yesterday----when the snow was already too deep to attempt to find it. She says that she forgot that she did so; that is believable, she forgets to tell me a lot of things until days later.

It wouldn't have been so bad, except last week she made me toss in the trash a couple of pairs of my shoes that had ceased to be usable. No, she has to threw a good shoe at the dog. And she couldn't threw one of the many unread papers that are by the door either.

I think that she owes me a new pair of shoes, considering it is going to be a couple of days before I can attempt to find this one. By then it will be nice and soggy, and well on the way to the trash.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blizzard of 2009

Looking outside, I realize that I am trapped inside the house with my wife today; the snow is starting to drift outside. After yesterday, I am not sure that this is the best thing to happen.

Yesterday, Toni organized some of her files (she is an elementary school art teacher); she also was organizing our donation to one of the local charities. Much of this donation involved going though my clothes.

Ok, I will admit that I have a lot of stuff that I don't wear, should get rid of, and am not sure why I got that in the first place. Some of the stuff were donated to me when I was younger and poorer (it is hard to believe that I used to be even poorer than I am right now, isn't it?).

My Renzios shirts are now packed in a trash bag waiting for pickup. This is in part an effort to make sure that I stay with writing, and do not go back to working in food service management.

There were also a lot of ugly clothes donated.

Unfortunately, and no surprise to those who know me, this streak of spring cleaning eventually set me off. And made it impossible to work.

It had actually started in the morning. I had awoken to thoughts about what homework and what freelance writing I wanted to research, and Toni sidetracked me quickly with something that I did not think was important. So I was annoyed from the very beginning of the day. And sooner or later, the storm would break; especially considering things kept being added to my to-do list.

As the possibility of writing got further and further away, the more upset I got.

A friend of Toni's called in the afternoon, after I started to use narsh language. She understood the problem.

Quite simply, I am not used to having my wife home when I am trying to work. Toni's friend understands this problem; her own husband is a writer and she annoys him also. She says that over time, now that I am a writer (hey I am getting paid for it; I am a writer) that I will learn to ignore my wife when I am trying to work.

I hope that she is right. Then again, I used to ignore the lookie-loos at Renzios in the afternooon when I was working on pieces. And interruptions by my regular customers did not bug me.

Of course, they did not expect a lot of interaction from me; nor did they want it. They just wanted their order, so they could get back to work themselves. Heck, they were probably thinking of what they were going to do next, just like I was.

So cross your fingers that I re-learn this trick soon. Because today, I have no escape route; the blizzard has snowed me in.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Leapfrogging and editing to keep content current

So now that I am completely operational from my bout of food poisoning (I still felt a little under the weather even yesterday), I spent part of the day editing some of my old articles on Helium and Associated Content. It wasn't leapfrogging to compete; it was leapfrogging to keep the information up to date.

That is one of the things I both like and dislike about being an internet writer: the ability to keep my previously written content up to date, something that you can not do in the print market.

On one hand, it is good because it allows your material to remain current.

On the other hand, having the option almost forces you to actually do it.

As always, I have mixed feelings about this. Some of my oldest articles are still my best earners, but would I be better off writing new articles and increasing my stock instead? Who knows; I don't; I just do what I do.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Short Story Link: Voodoo Economics

Voodoo Economics (The Lodestone Mine Incident)

Before you take money away from someone, you should ask yourself what they did to earn it. You may also want to ask yourself what are they likely to do when they get upset. Congressman Kelley forgot to ask both of these questions.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sick on first day of spring break

Well, I was sick yesterday. I am not sure if it was just plain tiredness, food poisoning (everything is unsafe to eat nowdays), or the fact that I was laughing that I was going to give myself one day to nap all day and my body decided that meant a sick day. Or perhaps it was voodoo pins (hey I annoy people).

It is not how I wanted to spend the first day of my spring break. While I planned on getting nothing done yesterday, I would have at least liked to be able to enjoy myself. Perhaps putter around the garden, or surf the internet.

Instead I spent the day watching Doctor Who and the Dresden Files in between trips to the bathroom.

I really hope that the rest of my spring break goes better; I have a ton of homework to do, and I would also like to spend some time creating new articles.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Are fair book reviews possible?

While I was working on my latest book review, I found myself wondering if it was even possible to do a fair and unbiased book review.

It might have been the fact that I could hear a voice in the back of my head saying "If you can not say anything nice, then do not say anything at all." I am not sure what one of my relatives said that, but I am sure that the voice is one from my childhood.

And with this particular book, it was natural to hear it.

The reason I considered writing a review for the book is simply the fact that the author rants and raves about a couple of bad book reviews that he recieved when the book came out; as in he gives links to the bad reviews...the freelance writer in me goes if I write a bad book review, will he give me free advertising too?

Probably not: my book review ended being a lot more favorable than I expected it to be. I actually found some merit in his book. Sigh. I am going to have to do my own advertising.

(My regular readers know how sad that makes me; I have never been really good at advertising.)

But over the years, I have done a lot of bad book reviews.

A few years ago, one writer that I know said that he would send a free copy of his book to legitimate book reviewers. What exactly is a legitimate book reviewer? I am betting it is one that you are sure is going to give you a favorable review.

Or at least it is if you do not know how books actually get sold. It is not the reviews that sell books, it is the word of mouth. Even a bad book review can sell books (calling something a train wreck makes people curious for some reason).

So it probably does not matter what my opinion of your book is, you just have to get people curious enourgh about it to sell copies.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pirate Bay Trial

One of the news stories that I have been following recently is The Pirate Bay Trial.

I will admit that as a writer, I have mixed feelings about The Pirate Bay and peer to peer file sharing. On one hand, I do not like the thought that someone could rob me of potential income from my copyrights. On the other hand, there is a lot of junk published in the occult field that should not recieve the dignity of generating income for their creator.

Hopefully, I do not fall into that last category. But I probably do; remember I set the price of one of my works, the Three Officer Version of the Golden Dawn Neophyte Ritual, based on the fact that I figure that I would sell a single copy to a new budding lodge and then it would met a photocopier.

There is also the fact that many of the out-of-print books that I seek out end up going for hundreds of dollars on eBay. If they were really that special, the publishers would reprint them.

Now, I will admit using some torrents for video files. In my defense, I would like to point out that I could not find a copy of StarCops for anything close to a reasonable price.

There is also the fact that the fan generated content of Star Trek Phase II (formerly Star Trek New Voyages) is accessible though torrents. Of course, that is a non-profit operation, so they really don't care about peer to peer file sharing.

So maybe, I am a secret pirate supporter. Of course, this is like being a secret Regardie supporter. Some people understand it; other people will not.

Of course, the big argument behind the Pirate Bay trial is that the Pirate Bay is robbing movie, TV and music companies of income (I don't think that the publishing houses are terribly concerned with file sharing, but I could be wrong).

I am sorry, but the honest truth is that the companies are still not going to get the income even if they somehow manage to shut down all torrent sites. We will just have people doing this in other ways---"Bring your flash drives and I will give you a copy of the lastest season of Prison Break..."

We are living the opening days of a brand new business model (think of the days of rampant copying of other people work during the days of the early printing press). Newspapers, such as the Rocky Mountain News are going to fall due to losing classified ads to the internet, and mass media companies are going to have to figure out ways to sell their stuff on the internet despite the fact that the internet is as secure as an unguarded chicken in the same room as my cat.

Looking into my cracked crystal ball, I can make a prediction: twenty years from now, none of us will believe that the Pirate Bay was a real issue considering the new business model that we will end up with when media creators catch onto how to make money despite the internet file sharing capabilities.