27 December 2006

Title Match

So, I've been reading a wondrous book on self-publishing (and don't let it fool you, it gives a number of great thoughts and ideas, regardless of how your books will be sent out into the wild) this past week, and just passed through a section on titles.

So, of course, Friends in Deed (the current title of my recently finished WIP) is now being thrust into a total free-for-all, taking on all challengers.

Will it retain its glorious honor of being the title? Will it be tossed out over the top ring rope?

Trick is, the major push of the story is that Aston comes across a pair of old friends who in the end, don't turn out to be his friends at all. So, for the longest time, the title always seemed to fit (plus, I liked the play on words (Are Friends in Deed Friends Indeed?))

Enter the latest WIP, currently titled Death Brings the Victory.

Because of things that happen in Friends in Deed (as currently titled), I began thinking that maybe Death Brings the Victory may be a suitable title for Friends in Deed (confused yet?). And perhaps I modify it up some (but still drop DBV as the title for the new WIP) and it could become Death Is the Victory (a play on the title of an old church hymn, Faith Is the Victory).

Or maybe Death Makes the Victory, because everyone loves the DMV...
:-)

And then again, maybe I should start from scratch on a title. As I mentioned, this book on self-publishing has a lot of good ideas, including ways to come up with a title.

So, we'll see what happens...

In the meantime, root for your favorite. I love comments...



22 December 2006

A Recipe for All

Everywhere I go, it seems as though I always get asked, "How do I get my hands on some Vladirian liquor?"

And since it's my favorite alcholic beverage, I tell everyone to get their own d*** bottle. Unfortunately, not everyone has their own interplanetary transport ship, so...

For all those who don't know the origins of Vladirian liquor, here's an excerpt from the first novel that explains it. (And apologies for the atrocious edit-job...)


As I walked onto the bridge, I felt the hyperspeed engines disengage and slowly wind down. I sat in my chair, reached down into the side pocket, and grabbed the same bottle which had put me down before. I took a small taste, just to try and ease the throbbing in my head. I’d heard the full story behind the drink from the Vladirian storekeeper peddling the stuff at my last stop, at the beginning of this leg of the
journey. A local animal, a small passive thing called a Roshtu, would secrete the liquid as a defensive measure when attacked. The sweet smell and taste of the liquid would cause the attacking predator to concentrate on lapping up the liquid, intoxicating it and allowing the Roshtu to escape unharmed. The Vladirians captured them for their secretions and sell the drink for profit. It also kept the populations in the wild under control as well, since the Roshtu also had a tendency for quick breeding times. I looked into the plastic container of the light yellow liquid, and started to wonder whether the predator ever woke up with a throbbing headache.

So, as you can see, to get the real thing would not only take a starship, you'd also have to track down a Roshtu. Animal rights activists would have a major cow (no pun intended) if I brought one here. So, I've attempted to reconstruct, to the best of my abilities, the flavor and consistency of Vladirian liquor using only Earth-based products.
(note: Hunter also won't let me have alcohol in his house, so I'm restricted to this non-alcoholic recipe for now.)

Just be warned, Vladirian liquor IS an acquired taste.

Vladirian liquor (substitute)
(all quantities approximate...your earth measurements confuse me)

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
(drained from a 20 oz. can of pineapple chunks)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 qt. (very approximate) half-and-half

Blend until smooth.
Serves one (of course...).



29 November 2006

Follow-Up

This is a follow-up to a previous post I made.

Anonymous asked: Interesting questions. Why do you ask them?

Recent events around the house, namely a family death, brought this back to my attention.

Now, death is a strange thing, and though it's true that everyone grieves differently, there are what one would consider "normal" acts of grief that almost everyone goes through. Crying a lot, getting choked up, feeling depressed, angry, etc. are some examples.

Now, I myself don't go through most of these, at least publicly. Privately may or may not be a different matter, depending on the circumstances. But most of my emotions remain on an even keel in these times. I feel sad, but most of my attention is geared toward supporting those left behind. I could probably get into why this is how I am, but that's a longer post than I care to get into right now.

So, back to my original post, I asked (in a nutshell) whether someone who doesn't follow the same emotional makeup as the majority could still write characters who do follow those same emotional acts.

And I imagine a good writer could do so. Although Anonymous' example is a special circumstance (space-based science fiction writers make a lot of stuff up on the fly, I suspect...even if they've never been to space), it does hold that a writer could realize how "normal" people react to different events, if they've been exposed to those behaviors, or have learned about them in some way. And as long as they're able to write it in a believable manner, it should come off okay.

So, there's hope yet...

Current Status:
FID editing: 75% complete

24 November 2006

Hilarious Stuff for those Post-Thanksgiving Blues

I've added a new link under the Fun Places to Waste Time section over there on the right...

But in honor of Casino Royale, which I plan to go see this weekend, a little sample.

Not the funniest one by far, but...



22 November 2006

Waxing Nostalgic

Being as old as I am, there were a number of things I grew up with that I'd like to have once again. Some of those things happen to be computer games.

Sundog was one of the best games I ever played (on the Apple IIe) growing up. And now, it seems like the original developer may be trying to bring it back.

If I was a betting man, I'd say that Sundog probably had at least a small contribution toward the creation of Aston West. If I had any programming knowledge (that was worth something to modern computer games), I'd be all over this new project.

Of course, then I'd NEVER get any writing done toward the next Aston West novel.

Current Status:
FID editing: 65% complete


11 November 2006

Time to Dust Off the Translator

And people think I just make this crap up...

I really need to bring the author-ese translator out of the closet and crank out a few...

04 November 2006

Write What You Know?

1. If you've never experienced something, is it possible to write about it?

2. If your emotional makeup is abnormal compared to the vast majority of society, will you be able to write passages with "normal" emotional reactions to events?

29 October 2006

Raising Children

Now, I've never had children, and my parents died long long ago, but I've observed other people raising children for a while. In that way, I've learned a few things about parenting skills, what works and what doesn't.

Is it possible to see (not witness, thankfully) a baby be born and think that it's going to be all screwed up in life, based solely on the parenting skills (or lack thereof) of the parent(s?) involved??

Personally, I hold great pity for the child, because she didn't choose the life she was born into.

Let's just hope she can overcome her circumstances...


23 October 2006

Translating Machine on OT

(Reposted from the Midwestern Writer Wannabe blog)

As previously mentioned, I found a nifty little program that translates into author-ese. I recently received word back from another of the agencies I submitted to (this, after having to prompt them about my submission...which was the instruction given in their submission criteria):

The original message (edited for privacy):

Quote:

We greatly appreciate your submission, and have given [it] careful consideration. Unfortunately, your project is not a good fit for us at this time.

We wish you the best of luck in finding an enthusiastic agent and in your writing career. Again, thank you for thinking of [us]."

After carefully crunching it through the software:

Translated Quote:

We didn't actually notice your submission for two months, until you sent the follow-up e-mail. Then we scrambled to go find it in our files.

Unfortunately, we read about two or three paragraphs and thought it sucked. Maybe it gets better later in the story, but that was all we could stomach. Sorry about that.

(But come on, space pirates? What the hell are you thinking?)

If there's anyone out there who will take on your manuscript, then you've got to be the luckiest bastard on Earth. But odds are, you'd really be wasting your time in continuing to propagate this garbage. But thanks for taking up our bandwidth anyway."


Is it any wonder I contemplate self-publication so often?

More from the Author-ese Translator

(Reposted from the Midwestern Writer Wannabe blog)

This is a lot more fun than actually getting accepted, by the way...

The original text (edited for privacy) appears, followed by the translated version in double parentheses...


"Dear Author:"
((Forgive us, but our automated response software isn't capable of pulling your name out of your query, so.........))

"Thank you so much for sending [us] your query."

((We really need to find a way to get our agency off those lists out there. Any schmuck off the street can find us.))
"We’d like to apologize in advance for this standard rejection letter."
((It's your own fault for querying us in the first place.))
"The volume of queries as of late has been too overwhelming to personalize our response anymore."
((Man, we LOVE this automated response software. It picks keywords out of your e-mail query, and instantly does most of the guesswork in sweeping slush out of our files. Every agency should have this stuff. Oh, who are we kidding? They already do.))
"Rest assured, we do read every query letter carefully and although your work sounds intriguing, we’re sorry to say that we don't believe we are the right agency for you."
((We almost got that out with a straight face. Read your work? Where in the world would we find the time?))
"You deserve an enthusiastic representative, so we recommend that you pursue other agents. After all, it just takes one "yes" and with so many different opinions out there, you could easily find the right match."
((If there's anyone out there who will take on your manuscript, then you've got to be the luckiest bastard on Earth. But odds are, you'd really be wasting your time in continuing to propagate this garbage. But thanks for taking up our bandwidth anyway.
Did we mention that "space pirate" is one of those sequences of keywords that gets instantly tagged by our slushkiller software))

[No, you're not seeing things...that IS word-for-word from the last rejection letter. The Translator(TM) does not lie.]
"Good luck with all your publishing endeavors."
((You're going to need it.))

Submission Guidelines, Translated

(Reposted from the Midwestern Writer Wannabe blog)

So, as you may have guessed, my WIP is still on the submission train to nowhere.

I do find many of the submission guidelines interesting, though, and have found a nifty little program that translates them into author-ese.

1. Do not submit work electronically or on any kind of electronic media. In fact, don't submit it at all. That makes our slush readers' jobs a lot easier all around.

2. Address your submissions to XXXX. This won't be the person who reads your submission, but it makes you feel better. If you knew who was really reading your submission, it would only depress you, and the last thing we want to deal with is a depressed author.

3. No simultaneous submissions. No, we don't know what it really means either. But it gives us another good reason to reject your piece.

6. Send a cover letter. There's no standard for this cover letter, but we know everyone out there will have their own opinions on what should be in it. This is one of the few joys we have in this business, watching people fall all over themselves telling each other how it should be done.

(You'll notice that we skipped requirements #4 and #5. These are our super-secret requirements that would assure your publication, which is why we can't show you.)

7. We can't be held responsible for any lost manuscripts. We'll blame the Post Office, because we can. If we can't, then we'll blame it on the fact you didn't put your personal information on every page of the manuscript, cover letter, query, and any other assorted documents. If we can't do that, then we'll blame it on an intern and ask you to send us your query again.

8. Allow at least six months to hear back from us. This gives us a better rationalization for any excuses we may come up with per requirement #7.

9. Print your manuscript on an actual printer. Crayon, magic marker, and other assorted writing utensils will be accepted, but only so we can hang it on the bathroom walls for folks to laugh at.

10. Don't use any fancy formatting, even if you really want it or think it needs to be there. We're going to have the whole thing re-edited anyway, even if we do accept your work. The same holds true for the title - don't stress about it, because we're going to completely change it.

Politics in all its Wisdom

Politics amuse me.
On my home planet, we still exist under a monarchy of sorts, so this entire voting process is foreign to me. As such, it boggles my mind how nasty and vile the various candidates can become.

Case in point, the race for Attorney General in Kansas between the Republican incumbent and the Democratic challenger.

As with the earlier race, this one has included some vicious claims about each other.

This race has even gotten national attention, mainly from the fact that the incumbent ran into opposition over his desire to review medical records to prosecute child rape cases...

To make matters even more interesting, apparently the Democratic challenger used to be a Republican, and switched parties to run against the incumbent. And then, a former Republican Attorney General endorsed him.

And then, to make an exciting race even more exciting, if the Republican incumbent loses the race, he could end up taking the job left vacant by his Democratic challenger.

As I said before, this whole politics thing amuses me.



20 October 2006

Shacking Up

Aston suggested I should shack up in his blog, since I don't seem to post all that often. So, over the next few days (weeks?), I'll attempt to port some posts over from my old digs...

I see Aston already put up a few reminders of what I really should be doing (working on my novels), so I guess I'd better do that too.

09 October 2006

Addendum

And in case it wasn't blatantly obvious from that last post, I'm all for making homeowners' associations illegal...so write your local and national government officials, let's make it happen!



07 October 2006

Homeowners' Associations: The Series

So, with the political climate in full swing for fall elections, what better time is there to start spreading a lot of rumor, gossip, and innuendo? Yes, happy bloggers, I'm referring to homeowners' associations.

I'm certain, much like labor unions, these relics once had a purpose. But also like the former, they've mutated into something far more sinister and deviant.

The local association here in my current neighborhood has seen fit to begin their annual crackdown on all those nasty individuals who haven't yet put in the required number of trees and bushes. Infidels, the whole lot of them!

Lucky me, I have an inside source on the board, and get a lot of good gossip.

So, get this: The board wants to implement a $150/month (No, that's not a typo...really, one hundred and fifty dollars PER MONTH) fine for anyone who isn't in compliance with the "trees and bushes" clause of covenants that were put in place by the original builder. This builder hasn't even been in the picture for years, but by golly, those rules must be important, or else why would they exist?

And that's not even the best part...the rules state that two 2-inch (diameter) trees must be planted. Now, a number of homes around the area have trees, but apparently the board is going to go around and measure everyone's trees, because some people only have (newly planted) trees that don't meet the minimum diameter.

My source tells me there's a lot of dissention on the board, though, because not everyone thinks the fine is fair (um, duh?) nor is the board playing fair, since many other rules and regulations aren't being enforced (some of which by board members themselves).

My source has also gotten many nasty-grams from others on the board, since he's at the forefront of said dissention.

It's like watching a soap opera, except without as many love triangles to try and weave through.

As far as we know...



More to come...



15 September 2006

Blog Tag

Just wanted to point out to any passing visitors that Hunter has some good news to share...

09 September 2006

Yet Another Rant

So, I attended an airshow today (which made me reminiscient for my days back in the GDF flying fighters)...quite a fun time, though I have to ask this question for my own general sanity.

Is there a reason that people in dire conditions decide "Boy, I think I'd love to walk around a flight line for hours on end?"

First, you have the injured...I can't imagine trying to navigate on crutches for that long, nor why I would want to try.

Then, you have the folks who have about six small children, all under about 4 as far as one could tell...as exciting as it would be for the young'uns, I'd have to say that keeping track of all those little ones in a crowd of tens-of-thousands would not be my first choice for what-to-do on a Saturday. The number of "lost children" announced at the show makes me think it may not have been just a coincidence they decided to bring their kids to a big event.

Then, save the best for last, being pregnant and coming out to an airshow.

Now, I'm not talking few weeks or few months pregnant. I'm talking 9 months, ready to burst at any moment pregnant.

This actually happened:

Lady comes into the booth where I happened to be helping and asks to borrow a chair, then proceeds to tell us she's having contractions. We ask her to wait while we get the medics, but she tells us no...that she'll keep walking. She leaves before we're able to get help.

Insane.




07 September 2006

A-Musing for All

So, not to go into details, but I've stumbled upon what could be considered a dilemma of morals and ethics.

Does it seem fair that parents who would be good to their children and basically worthwhile as parents would lose their children (to death), while deadbeats and those of similar ilk are able to keep theirs?

No, it doesn't to me either...



31 August 2006

UNCLE!!!

So, I was watching Comedy Central last night (when I should have been writing) and along came a show I hadn't seen before. It was actually pretty funny, like Jon Stewart's Daily Show, but with talent.

Anyway, during the show, they made a comment about how Hungary is using an online poll to decide upon the name of a bridge. Apparently, Colbert is attempting to get his name on the bridge. I thought I'd try to vote, but can't for the life of me figure out where the link is to get there (to the poll), despite the fact they said on the show it was there.

I don't have time to search, so I'm going to give up now and wish him luck.

Note to website designers: Make it easy to navigate for those of us with little time to spare.

Aston West
Colbert Report

28 August 2006

I Knew Him When...

Well, it would seem that fellow writer and blogger Matt Dinniman has been labelled a "blog of note" by the folks at Blogger.

Matt, just don't let the instant fame go to your head.

And make sure to point out that you have books they could purchase to support their hero.
I wish I could say I've read your books myself, but I can say that a copy of Shivered Sky is resting on my coffee table (waiting for me)...

Matt Dinniman

27 August 2006

No Title

Nothing new to report.

Not feeling much better than the last post, but at least some of the blogs I read are starting to pick up again...

Aston West

08 August 2006

The Painful Truth

So, I seem to be having issues lately.

I have many books to read, but don't feel like reading anything.
I have other books to critique for fellow authors, but don't feel like doing that either.
I have many friends I could be e-mailing on a more regular basis, but usually close the computer down and do something else.
I should be writing, but I often find myself asking myself "Why bother?"
I don't feel much like posting on some of the message boards where I used to post all the time.
I don't really feel much like talking with most of the people I deal with on a daily basis.
I find myself sitting in front of the TV most nights, zoning out to nothing in particular.

One could almost think I was suffering from some sort of depression.
But then again, maybe it's just boredom.

Or it could just be an early run at a mid-life crisis...minus the unnecessary financial expenditures.

Eh, time to break out more Vladirian liquor...

Aston West
depression

27 July 2006

A Winner at Last

Yours truly was a winner in the latest Evil Editor contest (though not much of a contest, so it turns out)...now it's up to everyone else to figure out which one was my entry...

Mwahahahahaaaaa...

Be on the lookout for (hopefully) one of my queries to be sent through the ringer soon as well...

Aston West
Evil Editor

18 July 2006

Missed Career Opportunities

It's only fair to say that POD-dy Mouth really did miss her calling as a stand-up comic.

Another pick-me-up this soon? I might just start to smile on a regular basis...that would be a shame.

Aston West
POD-dy Mouth

15 July 2006

Hotter than Hell

Triple-digit heat?
I haven't seen heat this bad since I last visited Rulusia.
It amazes me that the humidity here could be just as bad as there.
You'd expect to find tropical jungles and wild animals roaming around.
Instead, all you have is wheat fields and cow s***.

Too bad Vladirian liquor dries a body out.

06 July 2006

Interesting Choice

I think Hunter should find out what it would take to use this photo for the cover of his WIP novel, DBV...

Think Rione, except this girl has shorter hair and her skin isn't the right shade...
There are a few other slight differences, but anyone who's read the first book would know what they are, so I won't bother listing them here...

21 June 2006

Hell, Yes!



Myself, I'd like to see myself put somewhere into the ST universe...that would be fun.


18 June 2006

The Jareo Effect Rolls On

Anyone remember my earlier commentary?

It seems as if the effect is still alive and kicking, this time with a new source. I mean, really, in this era of world-wide internet available on a whim, no one should think their postings are going to be private. So, the only thing a person could be doing it for is the attention...and lo and behold, the world is giving it to them.

It's rather sad, though, that she's in trouble because her girlfriend posted the pictures. Does no one learn from the exploits of such (former?) celebrities as Pamela Anderson? If people are taking pictures or video of you, make sure you destroy them (the media, not the people, though on a good day...).

Aston West
Tamara Hoover

17 June 2006

A Spiritual Question for the Masses

God is the creator of all things, so why did God create hell?
(and the follow-on question of why did God create the devil?)


03 June 2006

Amazement Abounds

I often wonder how people can be so blind to their own hypocrisy...
The original story here...

25 May 2006

Aston West Fan-Fic

Everyone has had plenty of time to work and rework all their Aston West fanfic...post it here (in the comments section).

Or perhaps I should be requesting some Barbara Bauer fanfic instead?

Aston West
fanfic
BarbaraBauer

24 May 2006

The Mandatory Post

What a joy...it seems that not everyone is pleased about being placed on the Official List of the 20 Worst Literary Agents.

In particular, one Barbara Bauer.

Seems Barbara Bauer was not at all pleased with the honor and privelege of being placed on the list, so has been harrasing various high profile(and maybe low profile?) targets to try and get them to recant.

One particular favorite of mine (since I visit there frequently) is the fact that the hosting company (See Matt's site for address and phone info) for Absolute Write received word from Barbara Bauer and her associates, basically giving the empty threat of a lawsuit as often happens when dealing with people such as Barbara Bauer, and instantly took AW off-line.

Needless to say, Absolute Write is now looking for a new hosting company.

People always amaze me with how easily they can be convinced of lies.

BarbaraBauer

13 May 2006

Pretty Much Says It All

Courtesy of Bad Cookie:

You will have difficulty finding new outlets for your own minor creative abilities.


I really couldn't have said it better myself.

12 May 2006

The Hit Parade

I just returned from a city-wide parade and found something rather astonishing.

Is it common practice now that the various floats and parade participants NOT toss out candy to the curb for kids to get? Has Earth (and American in particular) society gotten so worried about liability issues as to avoid tossing pieces of candy which may injure a pedestrian (or rot their teeth)?

Personally, that's the only thing I ever found exciting about parades...which says a lot about the one I just returned from.


11 May 2006

The Jareo Effect

Something that I've been pondering in my head for a few days...

It certainly seems that a lot of people have been generating (or trying to) a lot of interest in themselves by doing something that sets people off. I've decided to call this The Jareo Effect (in tribute to Lori Jareo, who as we recall was the star of the Star Wars fanfic drama that unfolded recently (and whose illegal book was finally yanked off Amazon, I see)).

It seems as if more people are starting to follow this same pattern: Do something shocking and then wait for the notoriety to build.

Courtesy of , we find a tale of , who apparently posted topless photos of herself on her site (under "Burning Man, Burning Bras" in case you're interested).

From what I understand, some of her students (the claim is they're attempting to attack her) spread news of her activities to news media, and then everything came down the pipe. People come out of the woodwork to attack her, then others come out to support her. It's only a matter of time, I imagine, before further news media jump on the story.

Personally, I didn't see the big deal about the pictures. They weren't really all that much to look at in the first place.

But then, why let that stand in the way of a good scandal?

Back to my post...the second story comes to us by way of Lee Goldberg's blog. Apparently, Lee received an e-mail asking for opinions on a novel which the author had posted (at least a partial of) at his blog. Lee gave his opinion on his own blog, which the author then used to gain attention on various other blogs.

I read part of the excerpt. Although not your typical slush, I didn't think it was quire ready for publication either...and though I don't have a problem with people posting excerpts, I do have an issue with people requesting feedback and then getting in a huff when the feedback isn't what they wanted (I've been through that before).

But then, what do I know?

There must be something in the water, is the only thing I can figure.

05 May 2006

This is My Life...

In exchange for allowing me to live in his home, Hunter makes me do things around the house, the yard, all those fun things he doesn't want to do himself.

(I prefer to call it a penance, myself)

Anyway, if there was anything that summed up my life, this story would be it.

So, this evening I was attempting to put in some edging, which is quite an exciting thing for a guy like me. This particular edging came in small interlocking pieces (6" in your Earth measurements), with a total of 20' (no, I'm not sure how little apostrophes came to mean units of measure either) in the box.

Anyway, I was chugging along quite nicely and came to the end of the area which I was edging. Lo and behold, I'm roughly 6" away from where I need to be. One more piece and it would have been a perfect fit. Now, it would seem we'll need to get another whole box (with 20' of edging) in order to complete the 6" left.

Like I said, that pretty much sums up how my life goes most of the time.



22 April 2006

Fat, Drunk and Stupid is No Way to...

Okay, I can't speak for the first two in this case, but (as long as I'm quoting it correctly) I do love that line.

[Hopefully I'm not violating any copyright laws by posting it]

So, I imagine that many have already been clued in to the latest young author who decided to take upon herself to self-publish a piece of Star Wars fanfic.

[Note: I imagine it's only a matter of time before Amazon figures out that they really don't want to bend over for the lawyers of George Lucas and take down the page.]

[Additional Note: Not having read the book, I can only go by one of the comments that the poor author apparently confuses Star Wars and Star Trek icons. Poor thing.]

So, aside from the blatant violation of copyright (which the author has reportedly blown off because the book was only for distribution to friends and family [Hello, genius! Amazon.com????]), there's a bigger issue at hand.

Fanfic...

No, I've never (as far as I recall while sober) written fanfic, but it's everywhere online. Who knows, there may even be Aston West fanfic out there somewhere. But, for the most part, it goes unpunished because people write it for themselves (and other fanfic writers, I presume). This author had the audacity to try and sell it (near 300 pages for $20...still cheaper than a PublishAmerica offering).

Now, the question I have is simple: What would have happened in this case if the author had simply offered the piece up as a free e-book? Perhaps via her website (which has since been taken down, presumably by the Lucas juggernaut)? Perhaps via Lulu?

Considering the amount of fanfic out there, I don't imagine most of it gets much attention for its blatant copyright violation. So, what is the magic "go" point at which the lawyers began to play the Jaws theme song (uh oh, copyright violation in progress)?



12 April 2006

It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This...

I knew there was a reason I liked space travel so much. My ship is relatively easy to fix. Everything in its place, everything easy to get to. Most of the time, things work for a long time (unless someone messes with the systems)

With the way they build cars (most notably, the Chevy Cavalier, circa 1997), is it any wonder that GM keeps laying people off on its way out of business?

Of course, ever since it was bought used around 6 years ago, it's been nothing but trouble, so I've heard. The really disturbing part is that even going through numerous repairs, it's still been cheaper than buying something new.



04 April 2006

The New Math, Part Two?

So, I'd say I'm fairly intelligent when it comes to math (even by Earth standards), but I have a feeling my powers are going to be for naught, because obviously math as Earth knows it has changed.

A friend recently re-financed his home (on a daily interest system) and set it up on automatic biweekly payments. Well, as happens whenever money is involved, someone screwed up.

So, get your pencils, your paper, and your calculators ready, because this will be a toughie...

One payment was made 14 days after the last.

Another payment was made 14 days after that one.

So, one would think that the principal/interest split on the second payment (amounts don't matter) would have ended up more for principal, less for interest, right?

(For those still back at "Where's my calculator?!?" your balance would be lower on the second payment, and thus the interest would be less, at least it used to be)

But yet, the interest was not just more, but so much more that it cut the principal payment to a quarter of what it should have been.

Repeated attempts have been made to convince the bank in question that they're mistaken (even though they've attempted to justify the interest unsuccessfully on multiple occassions), but yet nothing has come of it.

I guess the next step for my friend is to contact federal authorities, as I imagine financial fraud is still a crime...

Unless, of course, the math rules have really changed...

Aston West
bank interest
home loans
fraud

28 March 2006

The World-Wide Internet

Once again proving that you can find just about anything on the Internet...
I present to you, Unicorn sex...

In other news, Hunter finally figured out that his spare car wasn't actually as dead as he once thought, so I no longer have to do battle with those evil car salesmen. That's a good thing, because they take dim views of blaster usage in these parts and many of them were getting sorely on my nerves.

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18 March 2006

All Apologies

Yikes, who knew that Earth illnesses could be so nasty?
I've been down and out for about a week with something or other.
I blame Hunter, myself...

I would have figured Vladirian liquor would have conquered it,
since it seems to do so well against a variety of other interstellar ailments.
(even if that isn't its intended use)

So, hopefully I'll be back up to speed soon.

In the meantime, leave a comment or two...

10 March 2006

Simply Amazing

You know, I haven't been around these parts long. I'm not altogether familiar with the way this planet conducts its business. I'm also not the brighest guy in the universe, but one would think this would make a person go "huh?"

http://www.nbc4i.com/news/5492395/detail.html
http://www.nbc4i.com/news/7577043/detail.html

04 March 2006

All About the Money

So, it would seem I'm stuck here on Earth for a while. The lack of spare parts availability in this area is unbelievable.

So, since I'm stuck here, I figured I'd probably need some sort of personal vehicle to get around, since the city I'm in has this aversion to any substantial form of public transportation.

Anyway, I went around to a few places to find something cheap (since there aren't any places around here where I can exchange galactic credits for dollars, and since I don't have a job).

I've come to the conclusion that car salesmen are simply the vilest people in the known universe(and no offense meant to those reading who may have chosen this profession). That's a pretty tough feat to achieve, considering some of the shady folks out there.

A couple of stories from my journey:

First off, it seemed to me that everywhere I went, I was greeted by someone who was brand new (they even told me so...smooth). They must have serious training in how to be a pain in the a** in car salesman school.

One such newbie walked out of the building, and I could smell him (I kid you not) from at least 10 feet away (I'm beginning to learn Earth units of measure...slowly). I'm not exactly sure why he thought it a good idea to douse himself in some sort of fragrance. On Yordley Prime, I think he'd be called bait.

So, Bait-Boy walks up and introduces himself and asks what I'm looking for. I explain it to him, at which point he asks about financing. Fortunately, Hunter has already explained the evils of this system called financing, so I explain that I will not be partaking of any financing. At this point, he asks if I'd like to come in and fill out some information for a pre-approval form.

Since I would not be partaking of financing, one has to wonder why I would need any kind of pre-approval. Do they, during this extensive salesman school training, also suck a person's brain out of their head?

Needless to say, my response (roughly close to the paragraph above, minus the brain-sucking comment) did not seem to register with him, so he quickly walked back into the building and brought out a more seasoned opponent. Even more needless to say, our attempts at searching proved futile.

A second of these salesman fiends (separate dealer) apparently did not understand the concept of cheap. He continually attempted to show me vehicles which were almost as much as buying a new vehicle. Not to mention, when bringing me before his more seasoned companion (did I also mention he was brand new?), explained how I was looking to spend around "three or four grand" when I had specifically given an amount FAR less than that.

I think the evidence is gathering for my theory of a brain-sucking session in car salesman school.
The search continues...



26 February 2006

Ranting On

So here's a rant...

Okay, two rants. Sue me.

Why is it that the people who need to help themselves out of the hole they've dug themselves financially are the least likely people to actually take the necessary steps to do so?

Second to that, why is it that people tell you to be more assertive, but then when you do, those same people turn and tell you to stop being so "pushy"?

Perhaps I'll continue this discussion in the comments later...

14 February 2006

The Finish of FID

Well, it's about damn time. Hunter finally finished all the edits on his latest novel. Hopefully he has better luck finding a publisher for this one than he did the last. I'm still having nightmares...

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04 February 2006

Welcome Back

That was a heck of a trip...I'll have to tell you all about it sometime.
Just remember for future reference, never stare at (even in the general direction of) a Brisarian female.
Yikes.

In other news, I notice that Hunter has been hard at work on finishing up the final edits of FID. It's about time that guy got his butt in gear. Unfortunately, it all seem to flow as I'm off on a trip. I wonder if there's a correlation. I hope not.

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26 January 2006

Blogger and its Wisdom

So, I'm sitting around trying to comment on a few blogs, namely those of Dawno, Laurel, and Hunter. Lo and behold, all require 'word verification' for posting comments. In itself, not a problem. But they have this knack for not only putting letters for you to type, half the time they're cocked off as strange angles and scrunched together so it's tougher to actually read the letters.

Granted, I'm half-inebriated (but can I spell?) most of the time.

Aston West

17 January 2006

Silly Earth Customs

Before cuddling up with a bottle, I need to post a small tidbit here, as it apparently is an Earth custom to send these things called memes around. Apparently, I've been “tagged” by , who bears some resemblence to an anonymous poster I've seen rummaging around 's blog...

So here are these meme instructions:

1. First, you must visit your archives.
2. Find the 23rd post, which in my case doesn't exist, and explains my dismay in the rationale for this bizarre Earth custom.
5. And then, you post the fifth sentence from it. Again, no 23rd post. My luck, it would have been a drinking post where I didn't even construct five sentences.
4. Post the sentence, likewise the instructions, into your blog. Check. Jeanie, get the ship warmed up...I think these Earthlings are doomed.
5. And this is the part where I “tag” other people.

To avoid anyone else reaping the benefits of being a 23rd post-less wonder, I shall attempt to "tag" people who actually have more than 23 posts total. I'm not going to the effort to figure out if their 23rd post contains 5 sentences...

surely has enough, and I'm going to go out on a limb to say that her posts are NEVER less than five sentences.

a blog I just found the other day...should include the standard Hunter-prudish warnings about some adult content (how fast can you click, guys?)

And since things should always come in threes (okay, the warning about adult content stopped before this paragraph...sicko freaks), here has made a recent visit to one of my favorite places, .

Now that the fun is over, I shall say that the only reason I have participated in this exercise was . I must discover the secret to these sparkly ears that make people do things they do not wish to do. It would come in quite handy, I think.

15 January 2006

A Random Post

Nothing new to report around here...
Just woke up from a drunken stupor, and decided to post to the blog...

09 January 2006

One More Time for Hunter

I've been trying to explain to Hunter that this is the kind of thing that sells books, but he won't listen to me. allegedly made up his memoirs (I, on the other hand, would NEVER do such a thing...never...ever...maybe I embellish a little here and there), and it's a bestseller. Not only that, but he's gotten on Oprah...and we all know that's the be-all/end-all of writers' dreams everywhere.

C'mon Hunter...get with the program...

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07 January 2006

Hunter's New Blog

Well, Hunter went and created his . I see that the gauntlet has now been thrown down...

06 January 2006

Here's a Good One

So, in case you didn't already know, Hunter likes to write books (of the stories I tell him about my travels). So, while I'm browsing the various writer's sites when he's not around, I occassionally come across an interesting thread.

I'm surprised I didn't come up with this plan for Hunter's first book. Convincing people to buy the book on the basis that they may get a part in the movie? I imagine I'd have a few more morals than to try and pull a con on unsuspecting actors and actresses. But then, I might have based it on the particular actor or actress.

04 January 2006

A New Year, A New Post

Just a quick post to let everyone know that I'm still alive, and that I didn't drink myself into oblivion (I will be around later to collect on those wagers, by the way).

Hunter looked over my blog, but just shook his head and walked out of the room...

Aston West