The Law of More

The Elimination of Middlemen

The Elimination of Middlemen

Moore’s law, put simply, states that computing power will double every eighteen months. This was predicted back in 1965 at the dawn of modern computing and has so far held true. What used to be a precious and costly commodity is now being produced at an exponentially faster rate. Some find this humorous, in a sardonic way. To others it is overwhelming.

The Commodore 64 when it was introduced boasted sixty-four kilobytes of RAM, all within that ‘little’ box. There is the famous quote from one of the pioneers in the industry where he can’t ever foresee anyone needing more than 64k. Only a decade earlier such an extravagant amount of memory would require an entire building. Nowadays memory is so cheap you can easily afford to store a well-stocked bookstore on the phone in your pocket.

It’s amazing how far we have come. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai it took two tablets to hold ten short paragraphs. Nowadays even the most basic tablet or ereader can store dozens, even hundreds, of books in their entirety.

The Plastic Static

Static

Static

Damn. How did so much time get away from us?

It’s like one minute you are standing in the middle of a warehouse in the early nineties, high on cheap beer, brown weed, teenage freedom and rock and roll; next thing you know it’s a different century and a different world, and everyone is compartmentalized and plastic and isolated.

Yes, we are getting older. Some of us, not all of us survived.

And one has to wonder sometimes, who is the winner in this game? The ones who checked out early? The ones who missed so many years? Those of us left behind? To carry on, to trudge forth even as we see everyone and everything around us crumbling.

These days I’m not so sure.

I crawled out of a cave. I fell asleep sometime in the last century and woke up here. In a museum, in a cheap science fiction movie. Here, we are both the spectators and the spectacle.

This hallway is black. Not dark. Black. Light doesn’t dare traverse it’s expanse. There are glimpses of neon here and there, but it’s impossible to tell if they are real or hallucination. The absence of light makes the hallway feel immense, long, possibly unending. That’s another scary notion. Eternity. The thought that there may be no end to this.

And then we must ask ourselves again, which is worse? The eternal shuffling toward nothing, or the exit too early; the ones we have lost, who have fallen along the way. Are we sad they have gone? Or is it only us growing ever lonelier as they one by one depart?

I looked for you. I looked forward to reconnecting.

You wouldn’t recognize the place. Everything has changed since you left.

We’ve torn down nature and put up a plastic nature replica. It will last forever, and it doesn’t get messy like the real thing. We still aren’t sure if the birth defects are a direct result of the synthetic natural plastic alloy or merely a coincidence, but we aren’t letting it slow us down either way.

The streets are emptier too. You would get along a little better with less traffic, fewer distractions to fight for your attention. You see that’s where there was a bookshop. That used to be a record store. This was a Wags before it was a Perkins before it was a Bakers Square before it was the Sunshine Breakfast Club before it was finally abandoned and left to rot away.

This used to be the beach. Our beach. I wish I could say they left this one alone.

It almost feels the same, the yellow moon peeking down through slivers of cloud. That breeze that always hints of winter, even in August, always reminds you of how cold it could be.

As if it had any idea.

Nothing that lives or breaths or moves really knows anything of the true cold. The freezing. The motionless waiting, staring. Stuck in your tracks. So cold you can’t even feel it anymore.

It doesn’t matter, you wouldn’t recognize this anyway. It is not ours. This is no longer the world we knew.

This. You see this? This passes for sand. I know. It is cleaner. It doesn’t get in your shoes and stuck in every crevice. This is static. This is electronic noise, pixels, bits of information formed to resemble the granules we knew growing up but without all the mess.

Maybe that’s how they’ve done it. Maybe that’s how the rug was pulled out from under us. Maybe they filled up all the hourglasses with this synthetic sand. It bought them all the time in the world.

There was a point I was trying to make. There was something I wanted to say to you, but I seem to be only rambling. I’m sorry to waste your time. You would have laughed at that one. The idea of wasting time. Maybe you had it right all along, you and the Mad Hatter.

Maybe yours was the right move. Maybe I’m worse off for witnessing this. Maybe it is you who escaped and I who am trapped. Imprisoned in black iron, indeed the empire never ended.

Still, I thought there would be more time. I thought we would meet again. Even if it was out here in the fringes of reality. This crumbling pier hanging precariously over the edge, over nothing, a bottomless pit of black frozen emptiness.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter

New Word: Zudswackxomnebplight

Get out a fresh circle of paper and a sliver of chalk, add this to your parents dictionary, here is today’s new word.

Zudswackxomnebplight /(no pronunciation)/ onomatopoeia v. unable to speak,
having no words. As in “I don’t know what to say, that film left me zudswackxomnebplighted.”
The key to pronouncing this word is remembering that all the letters are
silent; z from zoetrope, rendezous; u from colleague, guess; d from Wednesday,
sandwich; s from island, debris; w from sword, answer; a from artistically,
logically; c from muscle, scissors; k from knife, knight; x from faux pas; o
from colonel; b from crumbs, debt; m from mnemonic; n from autumn, column;
p from coup, psychology; l from would, should; e from breathe, psyche;
i from business; g from gnaw, high; h from honest, ghost; and t from castle,
gourmet. So if you pronounce it properly the listener will think
you have trailed off…

See the rest of my new additions to the English language!dyslexicon2prog

Introducing the Stem-Cellphone. Sampling your DNA, it becomes any phone you like, or a unique, custom dream device. Also, you can use it to grow extra limbs and spare organs.

Stem-Cellphone

Introducing the Stem-Cellphone. Sampling your DNA, it becomes any phone you like,  or a unique, custom dream device. Also, you can use it to grow  extra limbs and spare organs.

Introducing the Stem-Cellphone. Sampling your DNA, it becomes any phone you like,
or a unique, custom dream device. Also, you can use it to grow
extra limbs and spare organs.

Examiner.com Indie Book Spotlight: MEOWING

examinerMEOWING ON THE ANSWERING MACHINE is today’s featured book on Examiner.com‘s Indie Book Spotlight. Read, share, post, repeat!

http://www.examiner.com/article/indie-book-spotlight-meowing-on-the-answering-machine

Judging books by their cover

catacombsI think it’s one of the most used metaphors in existence, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover.’ And while I agree with the sentiment, in general it’s not wise to judge people or things on appearances, the truth is — at least as far as the world of book publishing — this rule just does not apply anymore.

I think the saying comes from the not too distant past, when all books had hardcovers, and the most decorative thing you could manage was splurging for the good leather.

These days the cover seems like a vitally important part of the book, I would say they are as important as cover art for albums back in the day when albums mattered.

I have seen many authors lately sharing some of their cover ideas. Some are better than others. Many authors still just do not recognize the importance of this step.

We spend countless hours writing and rewriting and then editing and re-editing, I think it is important to give the book cover the same degree of time and devotion. These are the containers we use to package our product, and they are so much a part of the product themselves. A good cover can persuade sales, and likewise a bad cover can keep a great book from being read.

I learned a lot putting together Meowing on the Answering Machine. I am glad Kat Mellon jumped in when she did, otherwise I would be on the other side of this article and probably simmering.

There was a time when book reviews in newspapers or magazines were not accompanied by a picture of the cover, because at the time it wasn’t considered important or relevant. These days are gone. It’s probably the internet to blame once again, the market is cluttered with publishers and independents fighting for a sliver of attention for their work and will use any means they have to hook a potential reader. And these days so much of our retail world and social lives are online, the chances are good that a majority of people will first encounter your book as a thumbnail.

This is important to keep in mind when you design your cover. Besides looking at how it will look when printed at say 6 by 9 in paperback format, you want to also make sure it looks good, the title and your name are legible when the image is reduced to 110 x 75 pixels.

I believe it’s important to recognize what the cover is and what its purpose is. It is meant as a representation of your product, if you are writing horror your cover should convey this. If the image and feel doesn’t complement the story, you run a risk of frustrating your readers.

When we get down to basics, your cover is the packaging of your product. Every detail should be aimed toward describing the product, as well as attracting attention and persuading people to take a chance. Your blurb should be short, direct and intriguing. Give them some mystery, a struggle or a contradiction, something to make them want to investigate further.

It was a dark and stormy night,‘ and almost any talk about the weather or the atmosphere or the ‘tension in the air’ probably should be snipped out of your sixty thousand word manuscript, descriptions such as these have absolutely no place in your two-hundred-words-or-less blurb, where they will stick out like a sore, but boring, thumb. Show us conflict and intrigue, make us want to crack the book open.

Get professional help if you can. I generally believe in the ‘you get what you pay for’ adage. But there are a ton of cover artists on the internet with a variety of different skills and a wide range of prices. Some of them are authors themselves and may be willing to help out a fellow writer, especially if they believe in your work.

But even if you do it yourself, take the time and do it right. If possible, don’t do it with the cover creator programs that createspace and lulu offer. These are functional and ‘okay,’ but do not give you many options and make it difficult to get a really professional look. I believe even using free software like GIMP, or even Paint, will let you make a more professional looking product.

But recognize what your cover is, it will be the first impression many people have of your work, and in some cases it will be the factor between tossing it in the cart or putting it back on the shelf. Make sure you honestly represent your work, and take this opportunity to hook a new reader, make it impossible for them to put that book back down.

A Nation Comes Together Against SPOILERS

fliptopthumbIn light of some television networks and news agencies publishing Olympic
updates from Sochi before they have been officially aired in prime time, The
President, Congress and the FCC are dropping all other matters to address the national outrage over ‘Spoilers.’

Most citizens agree there should be a Standard National Spoiler Disclosure
Protocol in place, regulated by the FCC, which would force broadcasters to use a ‘SPOILER’ tag or similar disclaimer when revealing sensitive information, or face fines and penalties and possibly have their license revoked for repeated infractions.

Americans are outraged, not only for the irresponsible handling of medal counts
at the Olympics, but for other recent infractions including the Game of Thrones
season ending cliff-hanger, the Breaking Bad finale, and the almost instant
reporting of ‘more trite nonsense’ that accompanies any new Twilight movie
release.

After years of being splintered by national debates on political matters such as
the economy, national security, employee rights, voter rights, civil rights,
entitlements and government spending, it seems the American people finally have
an issue we can all come together on, and rally as one voice for some real,
substantial change.

The Director of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander, addressed the press today, saying, “After reading countless personal emails and private messages, we are aware that the Spoiler issue is the number one priority in the agenda of the average American household, and it should be ours as well.”

Congress announced it is pulling manpower and money away from immigration, the
drug war, maintaining Guantanamo bay with an eye toward its decommission, and
the crumbling infrastructure of the nation, to focus our minds and our finances
on how to properly identify and warn about Spoilers, and other related
matters such as how long is the statute of spoiler limitations? Is giving away
the plot-lines of Firefly, now ten years in the public eye, still a
prosecutable offense? How soon is too soon?

The President, Congress, Senate and other government VIPs are said to be forming
an expert committee to deal with this emergency, and promises to put all other
matters aside until this is dealt with to mutual satisfaction.

Joe Krumpnall, an out of work auto mechanic and ex-vet we interviewed today
seemed to reflect the Government’s and the people’s beliefs. “I have no job and
no money and I’m sick but I can’t go to the doctor because I have no insurance.
And I’m currently playing a sort of roulette game; will my electricity be cut
off before my television and phone service, or will my landlord beat them both with his
ten-day notice to evict? I tell you what, the only thing that keeps me sane recently after a long day of hunting for work and begging for
help is to come home and watch some young girls sliding a rock across the ice
and sweeping it home. Now that’s ruined, since they announced all the curling results and medal winners already on the five o’clock news.”

American officials are consulting with the British Government and the BBC. They specifically want to find out how the Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary Special was handled so adeptly. For the better part of a year secrets were kept under lock and key, even from cast and crew. There were denials and rumors and denial of rumors, but in the end it was kept mostly a secret on a level with most matters of National
Security, until Tom Baker made his return to the show for the first time since
the 1980s.

Oh, have I said too much? There’s a helicopter overhead and a black van in the
driveway. Someone is pounding on the door. I’ll be right back…

A message to my fellow writers

GhostwriterAnd an offer to the readers…

One thing which I think is important to remember, I have to continually move this back to the forefront of my mind, and it’s probably something all my fellow writers out there can take a little comfort in, or maybe readjust our expectations.

We write, we are the writers. Our readers read, this is what they do. And while we all yearn and scratch for feedback and input and all coveted costumer review, we must remember that many who we beg for words do not feel adequately prepared or properly trained to do so. They would love to convey their opinion of our work, but if their level of confidence and intimacy with the language doesn’t match our own, they may feel intimidated to use their words to talk about ours.

To this end, I am offering a new service; especially geared toward the readers among us who would love to put their opinions into digital print if they could only find the right words. For a mere 99 cents, I will ghost write your review of my book. I will strive to put your unique take of my work into words you will be proud to paste anywhere, I will also do my best to convince you that this truly is the most important work you have ever read.

This way, we all win. The writer gets the reviews they cherish so, and the reader gets a few professionally framed paragraphs explaining their thoughts which they can paste around the internet and feel like a well-spoken, as well as obviously well-read, individual.

Act now before the inevitable laws are passed against this sort of thing!

Aftermarket Mark Up

Used copy of MEOWING on Amazon for $999.11

Used copy of MEOWING on Amazon for $999.11

This is pretty funny. Having my first book newly available to the world, I have been mindful of the sites where it’s available for sale. I was bewildered and amused to see the first offering of a used copy of the book, especially when I saw the price.

Yep, you are seeing that right, this is not doctored at all I swear. Someone is asking almost a thousand dollars for a used copy of Meowing on the Answering Machine, but they assure us it is a good copy.

I’m sure it’s a typo. I’m sure the seller was still laughing too hard from reading my stories to type straight. Otherwise, I have to wonder, what all is included in the thousand dollar edition of my book? For that price, it better come with a talking couch… and free shipping!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing…

At War withe Spiders (video and comic)

‘When the Going Gets Weird, the Weird Turn Pro’
~Hunter S. Thompson

At War with the Spiders on YouTube

I’ve been playing around with this little cartoon sequence for ‘At War withe Spiders.’ The whole thing started merely as an idea for a promo for ‘Meowing on the Answering Machine,’ which is where the ‘Spiders’ story comes from.

So far I have attempted a video version with a few different bits of music behind it, some spookier than rhythmic, others more disturbing than expermental, but I think I found the one that is JUST right. This is the one I am liking the best for now, it uses a section of the second movement of ‘Lost at Sea in the Electric Desert.’

spider-title Spiders1-txt
Spiders2-txt Spiders3-txt
Spiders4-txt Spiders5-txt
Spiders6-txt spider7-txt
spider8 Spidernew9
SpidernewA SpidernewA-credits

Virtual Vitriol

shutfixWhy are people like this?

I was hanging out on Facebook a little while ago, talking on a thread. Some of you know I like the band Phish, and the thread was about their albums and songs and their live shows, and how would you introduce someone to the band and their music?

The thread veered as threads do, a festive, fun, informal little discussion about some of the band’s albums and our initial reaction to them.

At one point I was talking about a common opinion among Phish-heads, and one I must admit personally held some credence when I was younger. The notion that longer songs are better. I was in a playful mood, so in the comment I stated it as, “Longer = Gooder.”

I know ‘gooder‘ is not a word. I can see the little red line pop under it informing me of a language breech.

So, the next comment was from someone who had not participated in the thread up until this point, either they were only lurking or they just found the conversation. Either way, their first offering to the topic was to call me out on my word usage.

I asked if he was seriously going to attempt to reprimand me in an informal conversation about the band Phish on Facebook, especially since mine was not the only non-word in the dialogue. Some folks had used words such as ‘Squicky‘ and other fun recent additions to the lexicon.

This person held their ground.

I told them they were similar to the person who would look over my shoulder at a live concert, correcting my punctuation and grammar as I attempted to keep a set-list of the songs and continue to dance my ass off at the same time.

I asked if they had written angry letters to Phish about the misspelling of their name, and some of the words they use in their songs, such as ‘thunk.’

I pointed out that the band itself has some song titles which are not real words, ‘Gotta Jiboo‘ and ‘Faht‘ for example. But, I continued, I was pretty certain this person had corrected the song titles on the back of their CD case, properly renaming the songs with their red permanent marker.

I told this person I know it’s not a word, but I was certain in the context people would be able to grok the intent. It’s not like I made up a word like ‘frundlesporkled‘ or something vague and indecipherable. Gooder is not a word, but you can pretty easily deduce it’s meaning.

This person must be a real blast at parties.

The thing that irked me, though, was this was the first thing they added to the conversation. They had sat on the sides reading along without adding a comment, an opinion or even a ‘me too’ to the discussion. They didn’t speak up until they saw me use a non-word.

Why are people like this? I don’t get it. Sometimes I think its envy or something similar, these folks can’t produce an original thought within their tiny skulls to save their life. So they take out their frustration on anyone who dares to say anything out of the ordinary. I don’t know.

Shakespeare made up words. I told the person I admired their rigid adherence to the guidelines of the language, but this is not school, and ‘you are not my editor.’

I don’t know if it made this person feel better or superior to point out my foible. I’m not sure, I just don’t get people sometimes. These are the sort of people who write YouTube comments and hang out on reddit.

Speaking of reddit, I had a similar run in there. It was pretty much the last straw. I rarely check into reddit anymore just because there are too many small-minded nasty people who only value an opinion if it is vitriolic.

I was talking in a thread about the TV show Community, and the return of the shows creator and executive producer Dan Harmon.

I commented that I was glad he was returning, and seeing the way the show faltered when NBC and Sony replaced him was a vindication of sorts for Mr. Harmon’s unconventional approach to making good television.

This one redditor tore into me; a lengthy, nasty soliloquy rife with expletives and sentences in all caps. Besides ridiculing me for daring to defend him, this redditor went on to call Mr. Harmon ‘King Baby,’ and other colorful descriptions.

I tried to clarify my position, but it fell on deaf ears. Sometimes you have to know when to cut your losses and move on. Pick your battles, if you will.

The next day I check into reddit and see a long thread of conversation has branched off from the conversation I was in. And who decided to pop in and comment but Dan Harmon himself, who had some scathing words for this nasty redditor.

And here the real hilarious thing was how this redditor’s attitude changed. ‘King Baby‘ was now being addressed as ‘Mr. Harmon, sir.‘ And near the end of the conversation this redditor offered to buy Dan Harmon a drink if the occasion ever presented itself.

I told this redditor after all this was over, I hoped he enjoyed his beer with ‘King Baby.’ He tried to defend his change of tone as it being in a completely different conversation.

“An entirely different conversation that grew out of our discussion,” I said, “The word we use around here for such a change of heart is ‘Two-Faced’. Do not even bother replying,  I’m done with you, I will not read or respond.”

And I didn’t. I let that thread die, and I rarely even look at reddit anymore because it is filled to capacity with this petty, nasty, duplicitous, miserable sort of person.

So, why are people like this? Are some people unable to find any sort of contentment unless they are putting someone else down?

I don’t know, but there seems to be way too many of this sort walking around on the planet.

I got a genuine laugh, an out loud laugh, from this redditor and the way his tone changed. The vitriol he aimed at me for defending the guy turn obsequious when the man himself showed up in the thread.

It reminds me of the saying, ‘Those who say it can’t be done should not interrupt the ones who are doing it.’ It’s not a direct analogy, but is the same sort of tiny-minded person.

I know my punctuation is suspect at best, and my penmanship has turned to chicken scratch, but this is the best I can write down the songs and still enjoy the concert. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it. You are free to write the set-list any damn way you wish. You are entitled to your opinion, but you aren’t required to share, and I really don’t care to hear it.

Good day to you, sir. Kindly shut your clamoring trap, and let me get back to dancing.

©M²XIV/REM

The Writer Calls In Sick

CALLinSICK

(written by Robert Emmett and PT Wyant)