Things I would do - toys in cereal
Remember the days when you would finish off a box of cereal and find a prize at the bottom, or if you were lucky it was sitting on the top? Remember how much trouble you'd get in to for dumping all the cereal out b/c you wanted it bad enough? Remember when there was sh*t to read on the box, or even little games to play?
I think this needs to come back. Now, I don't mean for children, since it's still on their boxes, I mean for adults. If I could do it, I would make every box of "adult" cereal like the kid's cereal. I want mazes on my box and random facts about...whatever. I want to find a hidden treasure in my box of cereal. It doesn't have to be a cheap toy, I understand not everyone is going to jump for joy at finding a top to spin on their desk at work. Still, I want something to brighten up my morning.
It's little things like this that I think would make the world a happier place. I also think a lot could be done with this idea to improve life in various ways. For example, October is National Dental Hygiene month (had to google it), for the month of October all boxes of "adult" cereal have little containers of floss in them. It seems silly, I'm sure, but if that gets even 1 person to floss regularly, then I don't seem the harm in it.
How about a folded up crossword, or word search? Maybe a how-to oragami swan? There are a million things they could put in there that would make my cubical hell slightly better, even for a day. I personally go through a box of cereal every 3-4 days. So two toys a week, just for me sounds pretty badass.
I can't remember if I mentioned this, but a week or so ago I added all my books to Kindle Unlimited. If you aren't familiar with Unlimited: for $9.99 a month, you can essentially rent books from Amazon's site via pc, table, phone, etc. It's basically the same idea as a library/Netflix, but it is something to consider if you are a fast reader. Personally, if I had the time to read like I did when I was single I would be all over this service. I would read a book a day or every other day. Let's just say it was a tad expensive.
Currently, Unlimited is (heh) limited to the USA. According to Amazon's site they plan to push it internationally, but I think they are using us as the testing grounds.
In any case, they are on amazon and if you have Unlimited, please check the series. Here's a link to make it easier.
Midget Death Squad update - 8/10
After an extremely bumpy week, I was able to get through all the editoral changes and send it back to my editor. Still no word on the cover and as that has been the sole reason this wasn't published 7-8 months ago, I'm more than a little frustrated. Not to say it's the current artist's fault, but the whole situation makes me wish I could draw. I hate relying on others for this very reason. The editor, on the other hand, is very prompt and open with her schedule. If she has space for it on such and such a date, then she does and she will begin work that day. It's nice to be partnered up with at least one professional.
At the moment I'm working on a side project that is so short that I need to just get it over with and get it out there. I suspect I'm about halfway done with it and if I get it together and do so without distraction, I might push out the first draft today.
Things I would change #6: it's my money and i don't need your permission to use it!
Yesterday was not the greatest day ever. I decided to pay off my car. After an hour of dealing with their automated phone service, I finally got through to a human being who easy to deal with and happy to take my money. The problem: there was a pretty good chance that my card had a charge limit lower than the total of the car. No biggie, I've had to work in the world of collections for the past 8 year years, this is nothing new. All I should have to do is call the bank, explain the situation and they will increase my limit for the day. After all, this charge restriction is to keep people from robbing me blind, right? Apparently not.
I talk to some representative from my bank from the 800 number I found for my LOCAL bank online. Whatever. I tell him the situation: I just made a huge payment towards my car note and I have about $400 left to go, I just need them to increase the limit for the day so I can pay it off.
First, this guy asks me if I can tell him the last transaction I made, which I just did had he been listening. So I told him again, with the same amount of specific detail that only the person who owns the account and made the payment could (I was reading it directly from the online statement). If he really wanted to verify that I wasn't trying to rob myself, he could have easily checked my previous transactions and took note of the 2 years of car payments I already made. He didn't. Instead, he puts me on hold for 10 minutes.
I'm instructed that for every other transaction I will need to call in and get permission to make said payment. Yes, thats right. In order to use MY money, I have to ask my bank permission to access it. On top of that, they seem to be stopping ALL transactions to my account. This morning my Netflix subscription required me to put in my credit card info because my bank is blocking that transaction as well. Strangely, the groceries I bought last night went through, but the payment to fiver.com did not. This is probably due to some payments being ran like a same-as-cash charge, instead of just a debit card charge...don't ask, it makes no sense.
Here's my thing and what I feel needs to change. I understand this restriction on my account is put there to protect my assets...assumably. When I call, give them all my credentials AND state the last transactions on my account, then that restriction better be lifted. Banks hold our money for the sake of keeping it safe. It's insured against theft and we receive a minuscule percentage for letting the bank hold on to it. In exchange the bank gets to invest it and make a vault of wealth off of our hard earned money. As such, a bank always has more money than any of us do. So there is zero reason I should have to ask permission to spend my own fraking money! I am not a child and I'm not asking mommy for money to buy candy. I pay my bills, I rarely ever dip in to my savings to cover something and I sure as hell don't need permission to spend my own damn money. It's like I'm being penalized for paying off my car.
I'm curious if rich people have to do this with their banks as well. If I had millions and decided to buy a $250,000 car, would the bank block all my transactions for the day until I call and ask for permission? Somehow I doubt it.
I've had the editor's first run through back in my (digital) hands for a couple days now and have been sifting through it. So far, so good. She made me realize something that I had forgotten to mention to her and to probably everyone outside the voices in my head.
For those of you unaware, America is one of a few countries NOT using the metric system. To me this is a pretty stupid move. The scientific community here, as well as the hospitals are on metric, but for the most part we are using US Standard (feet/inches).
What I had planned on doing with the main series was slowly converting over to metric as time passes within the series. The Five Man Midget Death Squad book is written about 200 years into the future, where I suspect the entire world will be far more unified in, among other things, measurement.
A last thought, and one I know I've stressed a couple times in the past, is the layout of this book. It's written 200 years in the future. Written as a brief historical piece on the Tungri Clan, a dwarven city-nation who currently lives in the Scottish mountains somewhere. 1/2 of the book is about how they ended up in Scotland and the events that shaped their lives and the other 1/2 is about the Death Squad, a five dwarf team who ended up shaping the entire world. It is tied into the main CoM series, but much like Hitori it is a standalone book. No background information required.