Friday, July 28, 2017

Today is Grump and Bitch day.

I find myself self-censoring a lot lately (trust me, if you've been following me on Facebook or elsewhere, that's really dialed back compared to the 'old' days), and it annoys me. I don't like seeing people conned, I don't like seeing people abused, I don't like seeing people doing incredibly stupid stuff, and I sure as shit hate listening to idiots who don't know what in the hell they're talking about while claiming to be 'experts.' Especially the smug self-satisfied ones that you really just want to punch in the face.

And lately? Lately I've been seeing a lot of stupid. And a lot of people who should know better getting taken advantage of. I see the most incredibly stupid statements being issued by people who should know better, and who if they spent ten minutes looking up just how that worked out the last time, would realize that they're being stupid. Or being taken advantage of. Or just plain being used.

History repeats folks. Especially for those too dumb to learn from it the last time around. Everyone has an agenda (mine is to sell more books so I can write more books). Everyone does EVERYTHING in their life because they get something for it. Even if it's just a 'good feeling about themselves'. No one does something for nothing. We're opportunists, it's in our DNA and you can put all the lipstick you want on that pig, but it's still a pig.

Government is not here to help you. Ever. Government is here to help the people in power, period. That's why you want to keep it small.

People who run 'rescues' or 'sanctuaries' are nine times out of ten just trying to get you to pay for their hobby. And if they throw out a line about how only THEY should be able to do this one thing, they're tying to get your government to also pay for their hobby while they con stupid people out of their money. Look at every occupation that requires a license. Yes, some of them should, but most of them? No, not really.

Look at most charities these days. They exist to pay the people who run them lots of money. There are so few charities that actually engage in real charity anymore, that it's pathetic. And the same can be said for a lot of these 'new' churches and religions. Yeah, say what you will about the Catholic church, but I didn't see anyone else out there taking care of all the AIDS patients in SF and other cities, without asking them for money! Same for lepers and a lot of other diseases. And I can make that same statement for a lot of other big organize religions that have been around for a good while. I've seen the Mormon Church shell out some serious money to help its people. Same for a lot of the Lutheran Churches.

But these rich multi-millionaire pastors in their fancy churches and fancy cars? These TV people? Yeah, don't see them spending all that much.

And then there are the people who brand something, with a particular fad or religion and prey on those who wish to better follow their beliefs.

Or a political party that says the most inane and provably incorrect things if you could only remember back more than the last month. Or who claim to only be watching out for -insertgrouphere- yet they're always ignoring or jettisoning those people when the time to represent comes around.

Or rich and famous rock bands and actors! They'll tell you one thing, but they sure as hell won't do it themselves while they're taking your money. Al Gore is perhaps the world's biggest hypocrite, he's got a carbon footprint equal to large town, yet he rails at the rest of us to do that which he refuses to. (I wonder if he still owns that oil company his daddy left him?)

Ever seen the movie 'Little Big Man?' Those scenes where they're doing the whole snake-oil sales routine? Yeah, millions of people are STILL falling for that shit. STILL!! We got quacks telling you to do stuff that in any righteous society would be getting them tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail! Just because you saw it on TV or read it on the internet, it doesn't make it true folks.

Whenever someone tells you something, the first thing you should ask is "What's in it for HIM?" That'll give you a good idea as to why they're telling you it in the first place. Everyone has an agenda, and some people are just plain nuts or stupid or psychotic. Some folks get joy out of seeing you get harmed. So the last thing you should be doing is listening to what these people are saying without a little critical thinking first. And again, just because the government says it or backs it, doesn't mean it's smart, right, ethical, or healthy.

Remember, that whenever anyone asks for your money, to help others, or for power over you, that they're probably evil. Because they're not doing it to help YOU. They're doing it to help THEMSELVES, and they really couldn't care less about what happens to you. Or the children.

If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn't.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

So yea! The old house is done

I have one minor ten minute thing left, after the parts show up tomorrow, but otherwise, it's finished. All of the fence work is done, I replaced an 8th of the wooden fence that surrounds the entire property (great dog property, it's all fenced), the house as I mentioned earlier is now painted. And numerous other tasks have been taken care of.

In two weeks (!?) the town (ie the garbage collection I pay taxes for) will show up to take away the pile of wooden refuse. If I don't haul it off myself first. They make it incredibly damn hard to schedule a pickup, you have to do it online, you can't call in, because they won't talk to you, ever (damn 311 system is a waste of taxpayer's dollars), and when you finally do find the well hidden place to schedule a pickup, it takes two weeks! Which is insane, it should be 4 days max. Glad I won't be having anything to do with the useful entity known as the city of Sacramento after this.

I did take the time to write my city council rep there and give him a piece of my mind over his complete failure as a councilman. Told him he was lucky I was selling or I'd be down at his office bitching him out in person, like I did with his predecessor over the crap job -they- had been doing. Kind of sad that downtown gets all the money and attention, and the people who represent the outlying areas are all okay with that. But grab a bunch of people and go and have a little talk with them, and suddenly they realize that their plum of a job is on the line if they don't perform for he people who vote for them. I doubt I'll hear from him however. He knows I'm leaving, so why would he care?

On the writing front I need to bust my butt and get Future Tense finished. Just need to do the re-write, then engage my Beta readers (if I still have them) and commission the cover. It's possible I could have it ready to go out next week. I'll just have to see. Dealing with the house took about a week longer than I originally thought it would, so I'm behind schedule.

I just hope it sells fast, and I don't end up owing anyone money after the sale (like the Feds with all their new taxes). Doing all the work on the house was not cheap, even if I did most of the labor myself. If only I was one of those rich authors we always see on TV and in the movies! Then I could have just hired someone else to do all the work.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

So what have I been doing? Painting (and other manual labor)

So last week was paint the old house and get it ready for sale. As well as replace half of the back fence. Painting of course is never easy, first you have to clean off the house, then mask off everything. Then paint it, then remove the masking so you can paint all the trim.
Fixing the back fence required dropping a tree first, then tearing down most of the ruined fence and putting up a new one.

Then there were various sundry tasks inside the house that had to be done. The last major house task was finished today, when the door between the house and the garage was replaced (I needed a code approved firedoor, and this being california, they're super special here with super special extras that serve no purpose at all beyond making them more expensive). Tomorrow I have to paint it and the trim, but once that's done, all I have left to do is fix/rebuild/replace sixty-eight feet of fence along the north side of the house.

The house is already on the market (went on yesterday), but it's not open for people to come inside until Friday. As the door showed up sooner than expected, I'll probably let the realtor know people can start going in on Thursday, but I don't think that's really all that big of a deal. But I've been spending almost every day from 9AM to whenever I get tired working outside on the house in hundred degree weather since the 7th. By the time I get home it's usually dinner time and after a shower I pretty much just want to veg out.

But damn if it doesn't look nice.

I'm hoping to have all the fence work done by Thursday, I need to see about renting a nailgun. I'd buy one, but the good ones are like three hundred dollars and this would probably be the only job it ever got used for. Sixty-eight feet of fence in the summer is a seriously pain in the butt job, as well as expensive. I'm already afraid to add up all the bills from this project. It hasn't been at all cheap.
I just hope it sells quickly and that I actually make some money on the deal, so I can pay off all the bills incurred fixing the house up to sell it!

And I think I'm starting to get too old for this kind of stuff. Definitely starting to feel it in the mornings. That never used to happen.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Future Tense, First Draft Complete

Well, I finished the first draft of Future Tense, the last book in the Days of Future Past trilogy. It came in about a thousand words short of where I wanted it too, however I'm still thinking of redoing the final chapter, then of course there are some things I need to add during the re-write, so I'm expecting it to pick up some more size. I don't know if it will hit 70K on word length, but we'll just have to see.

I'm going to be spending most of this week outside cleaning and painting a house, as well as rebuilding a section of fence, cutting down a few trees, and getting those cut up and disposed of (along with the old pieces of fence) and all in 100 degree weather. So not sure just how much re-writing will get done this week. Might not be up to it when I get home.

Giving lots of thought to what comes next, as always.

Friday, July 07, 2017

After several months Amazon got back to me on that DRM thing

So, after almost two months (or was it three? I have to go look) I finally got an answer from Kindle as to why my books have DRM on them, even though I have never selected it.

Their answer?

'It happens when you upload in certain formats.'

Note that they did not tell me -which- formats.

So this weekend I'll be reuploading all of my books in an attempt to get DRM removed from them. We will see what happens.

My Tenant Moved Out Today

My Tenant moved out of my rental house today, after three years of being an excellent tenant. He finally bought a house for his family in an area which he thinks will be a lot better place to raise his children. Also I think it's closer to work for him.

Now my Tenant was very thankful for my taking a chance on him, and renting to him, because when he came to me, his credit was completely shot. He had run up a bunch of debt, and the company he had started working for to clear that up went out of business leaving him in a bad position, and with a family to support. So what did he do?

He joined the military. Full time California Army National Guard.

Now, all things being equal, I was ALWAYS rent to a member of the military before I rent to anyone else, for two reasons: The first is because I know how the military works, if there is ever a problem, I just have to call his first sergeant, and they will take care of it immediately. The second is because I'm ex-military. True I never got deployed overseas, and I never saw any combat (though I did draw hazardous duty pay for a few years), but I still have a lot of respect for my brothers in arms and will always help them out if I'm able.

Now that he and his family have moved out, I'm going to sell the place. The market has come back enough that I can do that and not end up owing anybody anything, even if I'm taking a loss in the process. Honestly I do not enjoy being a landlord, even though my last three tenants have all been good and responsible people (the first one was a gang-banger. Moral of the story, property management firms suck - fired their ass when all was said and done).

Last of all, he is deploying to Afghanistan this fall. So if you are the type that prays, please say a prayer for my now former tenant, and his company. May they all come home safe and healthy when their tour is done.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017


Well, I got back from LibertyCon late last night. The travel was a royal pain, with layovers and delays, but the convention itself was wonderful. I'm really glad I went, and I had a really great time. I haven't been to a convention where writers aren't treated like 3rd class citizens in way too long.
At LibertyCon, which is a literary convention, it's all about the writing, and there are a lot of name authors there, as well as the mid-listers and the independents like myself.

It's also nice getting a little recognition from others in my industry. I've never gotten that before, but I got that this weekend, and yes, it felt good.

There were a lot of learning opportunities as well for me, because I did get the chance to talk to some of the more famous and successful published authors. I also got to talk to the head editor for one of the big five publishing companies, and that was incredibly worthwhile for me.

Had a lot of good food, made a lot of new friends while off having lunch or dinner with people I'd only just met, and really just enjoyed the hell out of being there, meeting people, meeting fans, and talking business. Definitely want to go back next year.