Tag Archives: postaday

Ready Player One: More Comments on Comments

If you’re not reading John Scalzi’s blog then you’re mostly dead to me. If there has been any one person that has helped me wrap my brain around my morphing political and social opinions it has been Scalzi and his links to other writers who have also inspired and educated me. I’ve mostly bowed out of political discussions because of the frustrating and ridiculous rhetoric on both sides, but I still read Scalzi’s political posts with interest and always come away with new infornation and insight into the world and to myself.

Today he has another great post about how being a Straight White Male would be the easiest player setting if life were an RPG game. I tend to agree with him and made some comments to that effect that I thought you all here might enjoy:

 I find it humerous that some SWM here question what we should do with our privaleged setting. There are many quotes such as “To whom much is given, much is expected” and “With great power comes great responsibility” to answer that question, but one reason I think this post is so spot on Right Now is because we are all living in a world entirely at the whims of Straight White Males. There are things that can be accomplished by one straight white male that entire societies of minorities can’t change. Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, The Bill of Rights, all of it was protested by throngs of people, but it wasn’t until a few Straight White Men did something about it that things changed. That should make me proud as a SWM, but it doesn’t because rights granted by Straight White Males can easily be voided, forgotten, or ignored with frightening ease by other SWMs.

And anyone who doesn’t believe SWM privilege exists needs to work as a male administrative assistant as I have for a decade. Many SWM admins either complain that they are mistaken as gay or that other men don’t respect them or they go to the opposite end and try to portray themselves as boundry-pushing pioneers in a female driven field. In actuality though I’ve seen women and minority men work very hard to get opportunities that I can get just by showing up to work one day in a tie. When female admins dress up for work they are criticized for using their looks to get ahead. When minority males dress up for work people think they have job interviews or something going on after work. When I dress up for work I’m congratulated on my initiative and people outside of the organization think I’m in management.

This also plays nicely into the topic I had originally planned to write about today which is a return of my reading recently to books with science fiction or fantasy elements. Right now I’m reading Vegas Knights, a magical heist novel from Matt Forbeck and next up is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline which imagines the word as, wait for it, a large RPG game. I’ll chat more tomorrow about the other books in this vein I’ve read or will read, but go have a gander at John’s post and make an intelligent comment.

 

Now, Where Was I?

 

That was a nice refreshing break that I’m sure wreaked complete hell with the goodwill of daily posting I’d been building here, but it was something I need to gain perspective.

I have been such a schitzo as a parent lately, particularly, of course, with Spenser. When he’s good, he’s fun and smart and funny and everything you could hope for in a kid. But most of the rest of the time he’s just ALWAYS ON. I don’t even want to say he’s bad, because I don’t think it’s that. He’s just a flaming ball of activity and curiosity and irritation and he has to touch everything he sees and he’s always jumping and rolling and oh my gosh it’s just freaking exhausting.

Now, imagine that little ball of energy in a compact hotel room with no place to go and his schedule all out of whack. Like I said before, the parts I worried about the most, the drive and sleeping, worked out okay, but it was all of the time in between that was rough. I think the worst times were toward the end of the day as we were getting ready for bed. With a kid like Spenser the key is to find the right balance between wearing him out enough to make sure he sleeps but not over-activating him turning him into Kid Hulk. We managed that balance successfully on only one night. Oddly enough it was the first night we were there and the night I was worried about the most.

Our schedule Thursday night was pretty relaxed so we got to the hotel and hung around there for a bit before Spenser started crawling up the walls (literally and figuratively). We needed to eat but the kids were in no mood for a sit down dining experience after five hours in the car so we started thinking other options. Luckily we found an outlet mall with a good food court AND an outdoor playground. The weather was beautiful so we all ate together at the food court where the kids could be loud and messy without drawing attention and then we let them burn off their energy on the playground. When we got back to the hotel they fussed and screamed a little bit but fell asleep right around when they normally do at home.

The rest of the nights it was an unholy mess of screaming and spanking and failed negotiations on all fronts. One of the worst nights was Saturday night right before Becky’s marathon on Sunday. Saturday had been a pretty miserable day in total anyway. It was so hot and so humid and we spent most of the day packed into a tiny park with a bunch of other screaming kids and frustrated parents for the kids portion of the marathon. It was such a poorly scheduled and designed debacle that made everyone who was part of it worse for the experience. After the kids were done with their race they wanted to stay around and play on the giant inflatables and the trampolines. The lines were enormous and after one session on the inflatable obstacle course we were so disgustingly hot and crowded that we needed to leave. That set the kids off screaming.

We had a long walk back to the car where we had parked to get the packet for Becky’s race. (This was one of the biggest problems. The kids events and the adult events were almost on opposite sides of the downtown area and with streets closed made it a pain in the ass to get anywhere on foot.) Halfway back to the car the kids fell asleep in the stroller (can I take a minute to expound on how awesome our stroller was for the trip?) so Becky and I stopped in to Subway for a quick bite which was nice. We ate so much crap during the trip that the fresh meals were something to appreciate. Later that night we had the official pasta dinner in a tent that wasn’t as hot and sweaty as I would have expected, but the kids were already starting to show their wear. Spenser entertained people in Fountain Square by dancing in front of an adjacent Mexican restaurant but the night quickly devolved from there.

We tried the routine that had worked so well the couple of nights before, but he was having none of it. After screaming in the room for almost an hour and poking my every last raw nerve, I finally took him out of the room for a walk. We went down and looked at the pool then went to the lobby where they had coloring books. In the flash of a second, this demon seed had transformed into a cute little boy in feety jammies coloring a picture for his mommy at 1am. This is my life with Spenser lately. It’s hours of frenetic keep up with his energy punctuated by brief screaming session when it all goes bad, then followed by these sweet and tender moments when both of our heads clear and common sense prevails.

I know I’m to blame more than he is for this because I’m the one who needs the patience, the calm demeanor and the energy to try a number of creative solutions until I find the one that diffuses that particular situation. But it’s exhausting and he has a special knack for knowing when we are at our weakest and exploiting it. I don’t want to wish away their childhoods and those good moments that come with it, but man, I look forward to the days when it’s not this trying dealing with him.

How are your kids in hotel rooms and on vacation?

And on Day 31 He Rested

So I’ve done the 30 Days of New Content Challenge or whatever I called it with I think a solid record of success and now I’m taking the rest of the week off to figure out how to proceed. This “vacation” was very enjoyable but it was exhausting mentally and physically (and I didn’t even run a damn marathon) and I need to recharge.

When I come back Monday I’ll have some cool new posts and some interviews lined up and we’ll be back on track. I think I’ll probably end up taking Saturdays off because that seemed to be the day I had the hardest time getting posts up. Sundays I’ll probably write about church or family stuff and then the rest of the week will be a free for all. I’ve really enjoyed this forced deadline of posting every day and you’ll notice I’ve added a Post A Day tag over there from WordPress. Even though I’ll be taking most Saturday’s off I still aim to provide a regular slate of content here and hopefully build my audience and bring over more friends and family from Facebook.

Until I return, enjoy this clip of Eric Cartman sing Come Sail Away

Are We There Yet?

Spenser actually asked this question several times, but it wasn’t really all that annoying. In fact. aside from a few screaming issues the driving portion of this trip was pleasant. We made good time and didn’t run into any trouble. In fact, I forgot how much I enjoy driving by car.

Several years ago I drove everywhere and a lot. I drove to any city I could within reason and loved it. I love the sub-culture of road tripping with back roads and truck stops and gas station restroom breaks. But then my time to myself began getting smaller and my bank account began getting larger until I found myself flying most places instead of driving. This culminated in the decision this year to fly to St. Louis for Bouchercon instead of driving. I still kind of regret not making that drive, but convenience-wise the flight did work out better.

But now that the kids are older and more obnoxious travelers we’re going to be driving more places and that’s fine by me. Packing for a trip when you’re driving is much better for packing for a flight because you really can kind of pack for any scenario and not worry about space. We have a nice full-size car with an enormous trunk that can accommodate all of our luggage and several random hobos we may “accidentally” hit along the way. This was particularly handy as Holly is potty training and we weren’t sure how the trip would affect her progress. We were able to pack for a number of situations. Driving also allows for trips to Meijer and Walmart for anything we forget or for needs that arise without having to pay the ridiculous fees for downtown merchants.

As far as the kids behavior, the behave better in the car because they have more room to move around and more space for toys. Also, when the tantrums do manifest themselves, I can just ignore it and tune them out until it passes without worrying about what the other passengers may think of me or them.

I’ll have a longer post, I’m sure, later on how the whole hotel experience went (hint: not as well as the car experience) but in summary, I thoroughly enjoyed the drive to Cincinnati and look forward to more road trip with the family in the future…as well as we sleep in the car instead of a hotel.

Coping with Parenting: Sleeping in Hotels

Missed yesterday, I know. But it was a long day at Kings Island and I had better things to do with my family, right? I know you appreciate that. So right now it’s almost 7am and I’m typing this from the pullout couch in our hotel room while Spenser sleeps in the King size bed. Holly and Becky are down having breakfast. So far the sleeping has been good. It’s always my big fear when traveling that the kids will have a meltdown and scream and nobody will sleep and everybody will be miserable. It looked like that might happen on Thursday night, but everything fell into place and they finally crashed right around their normal time. With tomorrow being Becky’s marathon it’s important that all goes right tonight sleeping-wise. We’re probably going to rent a movie to watch and take showers before bed and keep to as much of the home routine as possible to get them to bed on time. We’ll see if it works.

More tomorrow. Maybe

Please Comment on my Comments

I’ve been spouting off at other people’s blogs a lot lately and it seems unfair that you should be deprived of those comments so here you go.

The first is from a discussion today over at Chuck Wendig’s place where he’s talking about Ebook pricing. I don’t see how that could get contentious AT ALL:

I don’t think ebooks need to be cheaper than the print books, I think print books need to be cheaper and ebooks seem to be the only thing that might make that happen. Looking back ten years or so I guarantee that if the price of print books hadn’t gotten so out of hand (I’m looking at you $30 hardcovers and $9.99 weird shaped pbs) we wouldn’t be having any of these conversations about ebooks because they would still be relegated to fringe status.

 

There was no clamoring for ebooks. Ebooks did not meet a product need or a quality need or a technology need. Ebooks met a pricing need. It wasn’t until Amazon gave readers a way to get brand new books for $10 that ebooks took off.
I think $9.99 is fair for a brand new book from a major publishing house. I think $15 is fair for a new hardcover (which, incidentally is what most people pay if they get it without the absurd mark-up) and I think $10 is about fair for a trade paperback. They may bitch about it now, but smart Big Publishers WILL find a way to survive on $9.99 ebooks because if they don’t, savvy independent publishers like Tyrus and Angry Robot will big up the next generation of talent and make all of the money.

And the next is from Neil Smith’s site where he talks about how to prioritize what books to work on next now that he’s rolling in the sticky ebook butter of success.

I’m glad to hear you’re selling a shit load of books, and I’m REALLY glad you’re doing it at $2.99 a pop. I’m also glad you’re not wasting your time with another Olivia novel yet.

As the target fan for this type of book, I’d like to comment on this without sounding like a dick. I love the characters, but the story just falls into to some weird dead zone that never really hits on the Nero Wolf front yet doesn’t really scratch the nasty itch that I expected it to on the pulp front.

That kind of book and that kind of plotting has a pretty steep learning curve and you’d probably have to write several more books to get the mix right and that sounds like it’s not in your best interest right now. The characters seem ripe for novellas maybe though.

Billy on the other hand, he nails everything that’s good about your writing and has, so far at least, been in perfect stories for him. I know you can’t go on indefinitely with him but he might have more life in him than you expect.

Once you’ve burned him out on one end, I’d love to see you got the prologue route and such. I mean look how much mileage Scott has gotten out of Wayne Ogden.

I’d also love to see you do more stuff like The Drummer.

Look, I Made a Blog

 

I’ve got to make this quick because the kids are making an unholy amount of racket playing in the back room and I’m trying to listen for screaming or, worse, total silence.

We’re 23 days into the 30 Day Content Challenge and I think the time is good to evaluate what’s gone on here and see what we can take away from it. I’ve only missed posting two days and thanks to the joys of backdating I can adjust the posting date so it looks like there was a post even on the days there wasn’t. It’s cheating, I know, but the glaring hole in the calendar was more than I could take. And since I’ve posted 25 times in 23 days I think it all works out in the end.

Let’s start with the whole reason I started this adventure to begin with: Facebook. Who would have known trying to get away from the damn place would renew my interest in it. I’ve had some of the best conversations over there in the last few weeks and even got a couple of blog posts out of it. What I have been happy to move away from is posting pictures over there. I like posting them here and having a bit more to say about them. I also like that if FB ever got baked or they just really wanted to take their frustrations out on their visitors that I have another place to keep my photos. I also know that it’s a big draw to get family members and friends from outside of the crime community to check out the blog.

The renewed focus has inspired me to clean up the place and streamline the operation for maximum affect. I like the new design and I’ve found many of WordPress’s features quite useful. I’ve also liked my renewed focus on longer thoughts and more in-depth analysis of current goings on, but I’ve got to back off from some of that. If I’m going to be doing this for the long haul I can’t be “on” every day and some days you’ll get link posts or pictures or just random crap that makes no sense at all. it’ll be as close as you can get to really being with me on a daily basis.

The thing I’m most disappointed in is the traffic and the comments. I’m of course getting much more traffic than I was before I started posting regularly, but it’s nowhere near what I used to get and there aren’t comments I crave. That’s good though, I guess, because it makes it easier to keep the focus where I want it to be. Instead of trying to post specific things I know might generate traffic, I can just post what I want and I think as long as people start to see there’s something new here every day they’ll check it out. I also know that readership will come once I have books out there and more stories and such.

That brings us to another concern I had about devote so much effort to this place. I was hoping it wouldn’t affect my work on the novel in progress. That one is a bit hard to judge because I’m in a phase where I’m not generating new words, I’m reviewing and revising while plotting out the ending. I’ve not been as productive as I’d like, but I suspect that has more to do with my general laziness and other online distractions than the 10-15 minutes a day I spend on these posts. I hope to be done with this book by the end of May so I can get to work on the next book I want to write while letting the current book cool on the window sill for a bit.

What’s your impression been of the last 23 days? Anything you’d like to see? Anything you’d like to see changed?