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.
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 am a people watcher. Not a stalker, not a creeper, merely someone who observes others around me as I do whatever it is I happen to be doing. I have a bachelors in psychology (classes centered mostly in perception and cognition) with an emphasis in sociology and philosophy. So, let's just say people and their social doings are an active interest for me. For the past year or so I've taken a particular interest in how people handle themselves in restaurants. It wasn't intentional at first, but something continues to catch my attention that I feel is a bit of a problem.
Something I've noticed is the lack of social interaction, at least with those in the physical area. Teenagers rarely speak to anyone in the local vicinity, too attached to their phones and tablets to be bothered with talking. On a rare occasion the teenager might share a silly picture or video with someone at the table, but the bulk of the meal is spent in silence. This isn't as prevalent in adults, but I can see an increase in it, albeit much slower. Here's what I would do:
If I owned a restaurant, I'd enact a no phones policy. If you get a phone call, answer it, if you need to make a call, make the call. Want to take a picture of your food, or jot down a reminder for something later, go for it. However, you have a five minute time limit. After that, you better start talking to the people around you. If you're eating alone, do what you want. I'd rather you sit on facebook than talk to yourself.
The people you are sitting with are family, friends, REAL people. Those 500 facebook friends you've got on your list: take a good, long look at that list and count how many of them you actually hang out with. Chances are you spend zero time with them in the real world. I also don't count people from the past who somehow lurked into the present. If you live in Colorado and they live in Florida, what you ate for dinner hardly matters to them. It's about as useful as a tampon commercial to a guy.
So in short, put the phones down people, talk to the people who are actually PART of your real lives and not the ones lofting about in cyberspace. You can bs with your cyberfriends when you get home and go back to ignoring your family in front of the television. <3
For the past several days I've been debating if I should jump ship on Smashwords, and by connection Itunes, kobo, sony, etc, and drop all my books into Kindle Unlimited. If you don't know what that is, Kindle Unlimited is a rental service of sorts for ebooks. $9.99 a month gets you access to every ebook that opts into the program - think of it as Netflix or Hulu for books. I THINK there is a cap on how many books per month you can get, but I honestly am not sure.
As 99% of my overall sales comes directly from amazon, I haven't exactly benefited from having it elsewhere. However, if I do move them to Kindle Unlimited, then I have to give Amazon exclusive rights to the books - 90 days at a time. As the people reading this are mostly readers of the series (or at least avid book readers), I am asking your opinion.
What ebook app do you use? Would you try out Kindle Unlimited, as a reader?
Here's my thoughts on the seat belt laws: it's a bs excuse for the police to pull us over and give us a ticket. It's basically been put in place for no other reason than to fund the police departments and give the officers something to do when there's no actual crime. Here's how I came to this conclusion:
Laws are made to protect a person from other people. Theft, murder, and essentially all forms of real crime require 1 key component; other people. Freedom of speech lets a person say what they feel like saying, when they feel like saying it, AROUND OTHER PEOPLE. If there are no other ears to hear it, then the opinion lives and stays with the speaker. Heck, they might as well not have said anything and kept it as a thought.
So, if laws are here to protect us from each other, then why am I lawfully forced to wear a seat belt? Besides myself, who is harmed in my lack of seat belt usage? One could make the argument that my death/injury would effect my family/friends. If that's the case, then we better go ahead and outlaw alcohol, smoking, high cholesterol and anything else fun and dangerous.
I'm not opposed to wearing a seat belt. Ever since my son was born I have put one on every single time I've gotten in the car. That being said, there was a time where I didn't wear one. For a long while, I owned and drove an early 90's Honda Civic hatchback (the same pos M and Thomas drive around). Great car, good gas mileage, never had a mechanical problem. That being said, I felt safer flying out of the car and taking on a tree than being trapped in that tin can during a car wreck.
To me, this seat belt law has to go. If you don't want to wear one, I see no reason you should. It's your life to live and not wearing one endangers no one but yourself.
I think if companies in this country (USA) are treated like individuals, then they should adhere to all the laws (where applicable) that we individuals must abide by. Truthfully, this may be the case, but doubt it. I doubt it because I've yet to hear of a restraining order being placed on the media.
To me, following around a person all day long and taking pictures of them should be considered creepy, wrong and labeled correctly - as a stalker. For the most part this is true. If I did this to anyone, there's a very good chance the local police would have a word with me and then some. Yet, I see pictures of random actors and entertainers shopping for groceries all the time. It's not that I even go looking for these pictures, they are everywhere these days. A simple "famous people getting groceries" brought this up right away: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/celebrities-grocery-shopping-gallery-1.1720823
I doubt I need proof of what I'm saying here, but there you are. Why the heck are we following these people around? Are there really normal people out there who give a darn that (insert whoever) drinks skim milk over 2%? If (whoever) wanted us to know they have a baby coming, wouldn't they tell us? It's not as though these people don't do interviews, or can't pick up a phone and tell someone. I especially love the times when someone goes on a drinking binge and gets caught on camera doing something stupid. Because no one except the rich and famous get drunk and do stupid things. Please, they are normal people who make absurd amounts of money doing something they are very good at, that's it.
If I had some a-hole reporter snapping photos of me buying popcorn at Walmart, I would do everything I could to get a restraining order on the place they work for. I don't mind the idea of interviews, I do find it interesting how a famous persons mind works and how they come up with their ideas, but I DO NOT like the way we treat them on a daily basis. Just because they make millions we can invade their privacy? That's a load of bullocks and it's down right disrespectful.
If I ran a business, or was able to make a law on this idea I would. I would give smokers their own line, shared with lottery/scratch card people. I am sick to death of going to (insert any store), getting in the 10 items or less line (aka express line), and having to wait for some poor, non-smoking employee to find the (insert overly specific cig brand here), or some $2 scratch card with some asinine theme that makes zero difference and offers no more enjoyment to the buyer over the $2 card next to it. Believe all you want, you do not have better luck with one card over the next, you are playing predetermined odds and odds are you will lose.
Don't get me wrong, I understand preference. I would rather drink Diet Pepsi over Diet Coke, or Zebra Cakes to Twinkies. However, my preferences do not hold up a supposedly quick line, or even a slow line. Tonight I stood in the express line for 10 minutes because a-hole customer #1 in front of me thought pointing and grunting would get the job done when it comes to picking out cigarettes from afar. Every fraking time I go to a gas station I somehow get stuck behind the not-so lucky lotto player who also happens to be a smoker. I feel like I'm generally a patient person. If the waiter forgets to come back to my table for 1/2 an hr so I can order my meal, I don't say anything, but this nonsense has got to stop.
I'm not asking for anything unreasonable I think. A single line that handles lotto and smokers. I'd throw dumbasses paying for things in change (over $5) and people who cant figure out the debit card machine into that mix, but that happens to infrequently that I'm honestly not that troubled by it.
As an addition to the blog, at least for now, I'm going to add a segment called "Things I would do". It's a pretty self-explanatory name, so let's get on with it!
If I wasn't a halfway decent person, I would get on an elevator and wait for another person to get on. During our short moment together, I would do my damnedest to pass gas, preferably the silent variety. After which, I would then look at the other person like they were the most foul, distinguishing human being on the face of the earth. I would give them the kind of scowl that says "holy hell you are a wretched excuse for a human being and your mother should be ashamed".
Why would I do this? Simple. I just want to see the look of doubt on their face when I back away from them and off the elevator. They should know they didn't let the frogs out, they should know if and when their bodily functions operate. Yet, there's doubt. That slight hesitation (if not full out apologetic demeanor towards me) that maybe they did do it....that's what makes this funny to me. Who needs super powers when this kind of mind control exists with just a bit of acting and a potential brown stain?
Going to conventions and local events I get this question a lot. It's a fair question, mind you, I don't expect anyone to know who I am, let alone what my books are. Even if I was wildly famous, I would still expect the question to come up more often than not. The difficulty is: how do I pitch it? If I say too much, I might scare someone away with spoilers, if I say to little then the person asking doesn't get a real answer. If I compare it to something else, then it sounds like I'm writing fanfiction. Yet, with that, if I say it a certain way, people automatically come back with "oh, so it's like (insert w/e)." To me, that is perfectly acceptable. I know I'm not writing something original, I couldn't even tell you what an original idea looks like because everything these days is either based on another idea, or close enough in style that it's fair to compare the two. With that in mind, I give you my answer to what are the Chronicles of M?
CoM is a modern day fantasy series that's like combining the investigative mystery and magic of The Dresden Files, the more realistic superheros of Watchmen, the grit and crassness of SIn City, with a splash of humor (ranging from light hearted to over-the-top goofiness), and a touch of horror, nothing too gruesome.
It sounds strange, I know. However, it's a long running series where I don't throw all the info at you at once, you aren't forced to consider all these notions together until something has either been resolved, or explained well enough to move on.
The other question I get, and I find it silly to ask the writer, is "Is it any good?" Here's my answer:
Books 1-3 bounce in and out of the Amazon bestseller list, they might actually stay there if I paid for advertising, or had the time to really push them. The lowest rated book is 4.5 stars. If you want a better answer than that, read the reviews on there.
Hitori, which is a standalone story, but part of the CoM world, started off on the bestsellers list on Amazon and, at the moment is still on it in the UK.
I don't like to toot my own horn, it bothers me and makes me feel dirty. I will, however, state provable facts with no issues. So, if this series is new to you, check it out. The books all have samples available to read.
As I sit here, writing away, I realize I may have mental problems. I'm working on one of the usual meetings that the team (Thomas, M, Uhler, etc) has. At the moment they are waiting for someone to show up that's joining the group (don't ask, I'm not telling). Without a thought, or a premade plan, I went into a very silly, character bashing conversation between the characters that would only happen amongst old friends. The sort of thing that wouldn't be terribly funny unless you knew all the people for a while. That's not to say it'll be over the reader's head and it's an oddly self-appreciating, inside joke that I alone get. I'm betting anyone who reads it will appreciate it on some level, more so if you've followed the previous books in the series. This is not why I'm crazy.
I'm crazy because, after having written out this dialogue and giving it no thought whatsoever, I realized that these characters have become MY imaginary friends. I know these characters like I know my best friends. I know what one of them would say and how the next would reply. It's an odd thing to realize and accept. I have to wonder if it's because I'm the author and that's simply the way it works, or is it because the characters breath so much life within the pages that they have become real on some level? I've read countless books where the main character(s) became more than words on a page, I think we've all been there before, so there's no point in saying more. My only question is whether I have tapped into something like that, or is this just an author thing that I'm only now acknowledging fully? Perhaps an MRI scan is in order. :P