“You can overuse the ‘said’ dialogue tag,” the writer said.

No, really. Hear me out.

So, I’m listening to this audiobook as I drive around town running errands yesterday during lunch. It’s an unabridged adaptation of a book I’ve not previously read, and I’d been looking forward to enjoying the story. The reader chosen for the narration was not someone I’d previously heard, either, so look at me! Trying new things and shit! “Woo,” and might I add, “hoo.”

Anyway, I fire up the audiobook and commence my errand running, and it doesn’t take long for me to realize that the writing (and the reading) has fallen into a pattern…a mind-numbing, soul-eating pattern from which my only escape was to swap the audiobook out for something else (Steel Panther, Feel the Steel, in case you were wondering).

What was this pattern, you ask? While this is not an excerpt from the story, I did model my example after a couple of sample pages from one of the opening chapters as depicted in the book’s print version:

Continue reading ““You can overuse the ‘said’ dialogue tag,” the writer said.”

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Here’s a fabulous writing gig…

…if you’re a fucking idiot, that is.

So, as I’m occasionally wont to do, I decided to check out the Craigslist ads to see if anything interesting was to be found in the “Writing Gigs” section. Why? Because it was either this or punch myself in the balls, and I’m still hoping I might get to use my balls at some point in the near future.

Anyway, I’m checking out the listings, when I happen across this bit of epic what-the-fuckery:


Looking for an Assistant Writer

Hello, I am a very serious and active writer. I am looking for an assistant writer to help come up with ideas and write a manuscript with. I am not necessarily picky and we would not be meeting often. Ideally I would like to have it written with-in a three month time span. That is A LOT of work/time and you would have to be just as dedicated as me. You must have email, have a phone with texting, and have credentials. The manuscript in itself should be 200-250 pages at least. I’m not looking for someone who necessarily is in or went to college…I need a creative and fresh mind. I need someone who can review their own work before sending it over to me to look at so I don’t have make too many changes or edits. This would be for someone who enjoys writing and would like to co-write. I will not be paying you during the writing period, but I do plan to reach a few publishing houses and if WE get published obviously you would get paid. I also have a self-publishing piece I’m working on now, so that is another route. If interested please reply to this email with a few fresh ideas, some samples of your personal work, authors you admire, books you like, and a little about you. Most of our contact will be made through email.

Thanks Again!

compensation: To be discusses upon publishing


Holy. Shit.

Let’s unpack this gem, why don’t we.

mad-writer

Hello, I am a very serious and active writer.

Sure you are, sport.

I am looking for an assistant writer to help come up with ideas and write a manuscript with.

Translation: “I’m looking for a sucker to do all the heavy lifting while I hang out at the coffee shop and tell everybody I’m a very serious and active writer.”

I am not necessarily picky and we would not be meeting often. Ideally I would like to have it written with-in a three month time span.

“I have no fucking clue what it is you’ll be writing, because like I just said, I need your help to come up with ideas. And shit. Oh, and write that mother fucker, why don’t you.”

That is A LOT of work/time and you would have to be just as dedicated as me.

“Compared to what I’ll be doing, which if it’s not coffee than it’s probably jacking off to some third-rate sex webcam site or playing Call of Duty.”

You must have email, have a phone with texting, and have credentials.

“And here’s a ring for your nose and a collar and leash that matches the upholstery in my Dodge Dart.”

The manuscript in itself should be 200-250 pages at least.

“But whatever, since I have no fucking clue what you’ll be writing. See previous sentences.”

I’m not looking for someone who necessarily is in or went to college…I need a creative and fresh mind. I need someone who can review their own work before sending it over to me to look at so I don’t have make too many changes or edits. This would be for someone who enjoys writing and would like to co-write.

“I need a self-starter who’s smart but not too smart, or at least not smart enough to see that I’m fucking them in the ass without lube until I’m done and back on the Xbox.”

I will not be paying you during the writing period, but I do plan to reach a few publishing houses and if WE get published obviously you would get paid.

“Isn’t that damned generous as fuck? Why aren’t you writing, yet?”

I also have a self-publishing piece I’m working on now, so that is another route.

“I call it Fifty-One Shades of Blue. It’s Smurf erotica. With vampires. And gladiatorial games modeled after Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. Oh, and they’ll fight for cheese.”

If interested please reply to this email with a few fresh ideas, some samples of your personal work, authors you admire, books you like, and a little about you. Most of our contact will be made through email.

“And hurry up. I’ve got a bet with my buds on the bowling team that I can get at least five suckers to reply to this ad before we play the guys from Ed’s Garage on Thursday.”


Who actually comes up with shit like this, and thinks it’s an awesome idea?

There are ads like this all over the place. The people who post them are festering boils in the ass crack of the writing and publishing world. This person at least just appears to be working for himself/herself, rather than representing some bullshit website, blog, homegrown magazine, or whatever other fucking thing they dreamed up. The only reason ads like this persist is because somebody out there will see this as the dream writing job.

I don’t give a damn if Stephen King or J.K. Rowling or a porn star looking for someone to write their memoir is posting the ad. Don’t take a “job” or a “gig” where the other party doesn’t intend to pay you for your work. Ignore those sorts of ads, and remember this simple mantra when it comes to freelancing, be it writing or anything else: “Fuck you. Pay me.”

the_more_you_know

Ask Dayton #88 on the G and T Show: “Your Argument Is Invalid.”

So, you know…Sunday. Again. Didn’t we just do this like a week ago, or something?

Sunday, of course, brings with it yet another lemony-fresh episode of the Sunday G and T Show, with Nick Minecci, Terry Lynn Shull and Mike Medeiros talking about various topics pertaining in one way or another to that Star Trek thing.

I suspect at least some of the show was devoted to last week’s “hottest” new bit of info regarding the next Star Trek film, in that writer Alex Kurtzman seems no longer to be connected to the project, and in his and the already-departed Damon Lindelof’s stead are two new scribes who will work with returning vet Roberto Orci to craft the new movie’s story. A director for the feature has not yet been named, but I expect fandom will react to any such news in its usual thoughtful, introspective fashion.

Cha-cha-cha.

Interestingly, the news and fan reaction to it ties rather nicely into this week’s “Ask Dayton” feature. Consider yourselves warned.

Dear Dayton,

Often in Star Trek, we have heated discussions of the Prime Directive and the argument of sentience. What is your favorite heated Trek argument and what side do align with?

I hate to break this to you, but I don’t do “heated Trek arguments.”

Number one, I don’t do “heated arguments” in general, either on the internet or face to face.

These days, fandom seems to spend an inordinate amount of time bitching and whining about every conceivable detail—no matter how minor or petty—regarding their favorite TV show, film, game, comic book, or whatever, and I just can’t bring myself to dive into the deep end of any of that shit.

As I write this, the current fan-rage topic of the moment is the recently announced casting of actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the forthcoming sequel to this past summer’s Man of Steel. Gadot is a strikingly attractive woman, and never mind that Tinsel Town is awash with legions of personal trainers who will leap at the chance to help her prepare for the role, or even that she’s yet to utter a single line of dialogue or spend the merest fraction of a second wearing a Wonder Woman costume. Because she had the temerity to burst from her mother’s womb while pointedly lacking the physique of an Amazon goddess, 40-something fanboys the world over are frothing at the mouths in response to Hollywood’s latest pissing on the comics of their youth, and by “youth,” I mean last Wednesday.

Whatever, Fandom. What. The Fuck. Ever.

As for Trek-related arguments, longtime show listeners should know we’ve been over some of this ground before. “Which is better? Star Wars or Star Trek?” and questions brought about due to discussions and disagreements about Star Trek time travel or the Prime Directive, or which of the movies is the best, blah blah blah. There are the endless discussions about which ship is the best, or if Kirk could beat Picard, which series had the best cast, and so on and so forth.

There are entire message boards devoted to nitpicking the continuity errors and other gaffes to be found in episodes of the original series. Way to be on top of things, dudes! I’m sure the producers will go back and fix those things just as soon as they get a chance, and there’s no way that anyone besides you ever thought to point out these blunders in the nearly fifty years since the show was on the air. Well played!

And for something more timely, we’ve got the recent news that two new writers have been attached to the next Star Trek film. They haven’t put down the first word, but because they’re not professed fanboys who participate in endless circle jerks about topics like the ones I just mentioned, or because they lack any prior Star Trek writing experience, they must not be suited to the job. We’ll pretend that we didn’t just get done with a summer in which fans were having aneurysms over the fact that the current writers were shit and new blood was sadly needed. Well, you got your wish, so how’s about we let them actually write something before we get out the pitchforks? Besides, you know who else didn’t have Star Trek writing experience when he started? GENE FUCKING RODDENBERRY.

You’re welcome.

If I do have a “favorite” flavor of heated Trek-related argument, I suppose it has to be the ever-reliable “canon” debate. Never before in the history of communication have so many people gone to such great lengths to discuss a topic of such simplicity and find ever more and interesting ways to fuck it up. I’m constantly amazed at the depths to which people will belabor this subject, and how militant they can be. That’s not being a “real fan.” That’s just being a joyless asshole. None of this shit is real, and what there is of it is supposed to be fun, so quit harshing my fucking mellow, dick bags.

Do I participate in fan discussions? Sure, and a few of those can be spirited, from time to time, but the truly “heated” arguments? Hell, no. I avoid them the way the Tampa Bay Buccaneers keep side-stepping the end zone, or the way Dick Cheney dodged the draft. Wading into that fray requires an energy and a commitment I’m simply unwilling to expend for the benefit of some douche nozzle I’d rather be drop-kicking in the taint for having the gall to waste my time with such inane, useless oxygen thievery. A lot of this crap provides me with a never-ending stream of joke fodder, a good chunk makes me roll my eyes, and then there’s that percentage of fans who possess absolutely no filter between their brains and their mouths, let alone anything resembling common sense or common decency. Every time they run their suck holes, they make me wish for one of those giant Australia-size asteroids to drop from the sky and give us all the collective ass-hammering we so richly deserve.

Somebody let me know when that happens, okay?


This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #122 on December 8th, 2013. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The Sunday G&T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

Thanks as always to Nick, Terry and Mike and the audience for including me in the fun.

Dear SEO spammers: Bite me.

So, every once in a while, I get a spam comment to one blog entry or another that features some variation of the following:

Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin at some bullshit website linked here

Holy. Shit.

SEO, for those of you who might be wondering and because the douche nozzles responsible for polluting the blogosphere with this crap always fail to define their acronym after its first use as is customary when introducing a lot of jargon, lingo or techie shorthand into any sort of correspondence meant to be read by anyone other than the dickbag writing it, stands for “Search Engine Optimization.”

Essentially, we’re talking about a collection of tips and tricks which, when employed on your site’s various pages, result in higher “page rankings” whenever various key bits and bytes of info are collected and organized by the Googles or your search engine du jour.

According to the boneheads pushing stuff like the infoblob above, your website, the internet, and indeed the entire space-time continuum will come to a screeching halt if you don’t sprinkle some of this virtual voodoo into your webbins and bloggins and whatnot. Now, we all hate when the entire space-time continuum comes to a screeching halt for any reason, so is it really all that far out of line to want to take steps to delay or even avert said catastrophe?

What. The Fuck. Ever.

Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t a varying number of common sense things any website can do to improve not only its appearance and navigation but also in how it’s found by those the person running the site would like to have come over for a visit. Some of these are holdovers from the “rules of thumb” established way back in the early days of webpages, when everybody had little more than a handful of markup tags and a dream. You know, stuff like limiting the number of clicks anyone should have to make to reach anything on your site (three’s the max, one instructor of mine used to say all the time).

Having relevant titles in blog postings is another easy one, as is making sure that your site is linked through the various arenas in which you maintain a social media presence. I keep all of that stuff very simple. My name/handle on Facebook and Twitter is “Dayton Ward,” and both profiles link back to “daytonward.com,” which in turn is a very simple navigation tool to bring you to my blog. Voila! We’re done.

Well, not really, according to the infodump gnarling up my spam filter. Let’s break this all down and see what it is my would-be savior wants me to do (aside from give him or her money, of course). By the way, I’ve left everything from the original comment as is–typos, repeated words, mashed together sentences, and all, because nothing makes me want to give money to somebody more than a professional-looking sales pitch like this one:

I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization.

Ah, yes, the all-too vital “H tags.” You know why I tend not to use those things all that often?

Because shit like this is really pretty annoying.

So’s this. Kind of.

To be honest, this one’s not so bad, but fuck that guy for whining about it.

Next? There’s not enough bold or italics. HOLY SHIT!!!! Now what am I supposed to do?

Probably less of that, I’d imagine.

On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO.

And here I was, grinding my teeth and pulling out my hair at the thought of substandard Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings. By the way…what the hell are those, anyway? I tried to read about PageRank here, but Holy Dogshit on a Triscuit. The only thing I could come up with was that it’s a way for that creepy guy from Person of Interest or those Balok-looking precogs from Minority Report to figure out if I’m about to convert my blog to a porn site or a place to download pirated e-Books or something.

As for Alexa Rankings, that seems aimed more toward commercial websites and such, so it really doesn’t apply to me. Indeed, most SEO “tips” are aimed at marketing and promotion in order to boost sales, which would be fine if I actually was selling something here on The Fog of Ward, or was running a website that was a portal for a brick & mortar location.

“But, Dayton!” I can hear someone calling out from the cheap seats. “Aren’t you a writer? Isn’t this blog really nothing more than you selling yourself to potential readers?”

Yes, that’s true to a certain extent, but let’s be fair: not everything I write in this space is aimed at selling you something. I like to have my bit of fun from time to time, too, as well as wax pseudo-philosophical every so often on this or that issue or topic of interest. Whoring myself with every blog post would get old after the first or second entry, right?

(Hey! Where are you going? Sit down!)

Also, let’s be honest: Not everyone who comes here is a customer, potential or otherwise. A lot of you are, of course, and I love you all, though I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you that I don’t view you that way. You’re already doing me a great service by supporting me and my writing, so the least I could do is not shove my latest “Gotta buy this, too!” thing in your face every time you come here.

However, in addition to you faithful readers, we’re going to get the occasional visitor who’s found his or her way here because they were looking for something entirely unrelated to me or my writing, and a few minutes spent reading a rant about politics, stupid people, or TV isn’t going to convince them to run out and buy my new Star Trek novel.

(Unless it is, in which I case I’d like to direct you to my newest release, From History’s Shadow. Yeah, that was pretty shameless, wasn’t it? I even feel a little dirty for having just done that. Well, not really.)

Anyway, the simple fact is that, as a writer, my biggest asset when it comes to selling myself is my name, and guess what? Plug my name into the interwebz and BAM! There I am, right at the top of the page listings, without any special tricks or shenanigans, or money stuck into some “expert’s” pocket. There’s even a picture of my dumb ass staring back at you when you do the search thing. I win, internet!

Onward, we go:

So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing).

Keyword? BITE ME. You’ll note that “Bite Me” also appears in this post’s title and accompanying URL. As for “Latent Semantic Indexing,” I’m guessing that if I invite the authors of the spam comment to bite me, and also include “Bite Me” in the post’s title and accompanying URL, they’ll be arriving at Ward Manor in due course to…you know…bite me, because the search bots will have determined from the latent semantic indexing and casual use of the term “bite me” that I really want these boneheads to…you know…bite me.

(Hey. That bolding and italics thing works pretty neat.)

Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.

I think we’ve already established that I find

shit like this

to be

three or four kinds of irritating,

and I

tend to avoid using such obnoxious markup tags

whenever I can avoid it.

BECAUSE,

AGAIN,

THIS IS BIG

AND ANNOYING AS

FUCK.

Amirite?

Moving on.

Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page.

Whoops, I already blew the first part of that one. Don’t worry, though: I’ll hook you up before we’re done.

You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.

For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, get over it, already.

There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword…

What, you mean a link to a totally unrelated page elsewhere in the Fog, which just happens to incorporate my chosen keyword? You mean like this one? Wow. That’s certainly relevant, eh? No wonder the web’s infested with tangled knots of crap clogging up everything.

Of course, this leads me to one of the more annoying facets of reading just about anything on the web, anymore: The embedded link to something not at all related, stuffed right into…

Related: Spam doesn’t even try, anymore.

…the middle of the article you’re reading! Damn, but that sort of thing bugs me. I’m reading a story about nuclear missiles being misplaced at an Air Force base in the middle of Bumfuck, Nowhere, and suddenly there’s a link to a review for Independence Day, because they set off a nuke in that movie.

Hang on! I almost forgot! At least one image with an “alt” tag containing the keyword, right? Here we go:

Bite me.

Mark that one off the list.

wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin at some bullshit website linked here

Well, then. Why didn’t you just say so in the first place? It would’ve saved me typing out all this crap.

I guess the point is that for the people who might want to find me, the process for doing so is already about as easy as it’s ever going to get. As for keywords and other triggers making individual pages on my site more visible to search bots and other aggregators? If there’s value for me there, I’ve yet to figure out what that might be. Meanwhile, and for the real people looking to come to my little corner of the web, well…you found me. Welcome aboard.

Don’t drink my beer, screw with my TV or grab my wife’s butt, and we’ll get along just fine.

I think I’m done here. Oh, wait! I almost forgot.

Dear SEO spammers: Bite me.

Dear Craigslist Dumbasses….

What the hell is with people posting ads for “writing jobs” on Craigslist, and not bothering to provide the slightest clue as to what they might actually want from an applicant?

I mean, people specify left, right, or ambidextrous when soliciting hand jobs over there. Why can’t you get some helpful info if you’re a writer looking for a gig?

Pro Tip: When you post a vague ad asking for “an unbelievable writer who is creative, reliable, and can write with ‘personality’ and accuracy,” here’s some things to keep in mind:

First, when you ask for writing samples, it helps to state what sort of writing you’re wanting. Are you a fiction magazine? A novel publisher? Sports blog? Fortune cookies? Dirty limericks for truck stop restroom walls? A little info is helpful here. It doesn’t do a prospective applicant any good to send you a short story if you’re looking for horoscope writers, or whatever.

Next, when you ask someone to provide their hourly rate, again…it’s going to be based on the sort of writing we’re talking about, right? If it’s 150-word articles to help you build content for yet another bullshit sports or political blog or movie review site, an applicant’s rate will be different than if they’re ghost-writing your Greatest Fucking Zombie Vampire Hooker Novel Ever.

Also, when an applicant writes to you via the contact link, posing such questions as, “What kind of writing are you seeking?” in order to provide appropriate writing samples as well as a fair compensation rate, what you definitely shouldn’t do is respond within two minutes of the writer’s hitting “Send,” proving you didn’t actually read the e-Mail while instead repeating your request for the writer’s hourly rate.

And finally? $150 an hour.

(Can you tell this is an “opportunity” I’m likely not going to be pursuing?)

Spam doesn’t even try, anymore.

There used to be a time when spam, if it didn’t just offer up a link to some bullshit product, at least attempted to look like a “real” blog comment or message board post. You might’ve had to read a bit to figure out that you were dealing with mass-produced cowshit designed to entice you to follow a link down some hole.

Then, the text accompanying the links devolved a bit, as though someone fed their cat a dictionary and waited for said feline to horf up random words and phrases.

But now? What in the name of Jupiter’s uncut cock is THIS hot mess supposed to accomplish? I quote:

“cdqeakhksqupcticjydgnpzwetonlxazzuyojealmmrytdpnhsmsprngdblnneomwwbikgbww dr dre beats svgzxhfv ebyctnvqa ctpetk peiplzghj luandz jqaqhzebc qduerg tmsgivtch iwhjeh xtdioqhxy fvjkfo mtrhzynqb sdwuid dpuygtzsk ynavlq eqtozgqap krkscv rokejsgah dmexri cxldskyna ductad piwdnecym eepcmn uueovxiut tludpv dxvcfzccj iuspcq kyqtjlhjd chislz jedoqpiyp ccazsz czpzslfvn zawsdo rjzotkypr ehjthr yiqevnmce ujtunl muyhhwrja rtrtzr lawzudhoo eoeabt sixjczykg ydabhe jjmnvrhlk cqnuzm fynglokxa cvutnf aberuicmx tqcqsp muhyirsab ojgrrr rdjzamreo xkdzdx beats by dre mtgtrbfe iolsdbycn pcsqhnxazkigtia pvuhjh tlevymrkq utgrhf hdjpaqyes qerosu qhhbickut hoapuu afhjjhtog fzfeyt tmhxdrtdd ralfox psonrhtgj vktodw hbevqqqwg zlvztt tbbesfpfl tixfxp endapofsn gycotz ecjalhpuu rgbpgi rmvamdfsx wpnxjp rdxuujwrp aoidpm fdxqiqzsn oxnzhh atqmeevfk jkbxca vqfterngu zqotuw gjsbltlgx gzwwjo dugdndbia gpbyoi ktdmmpqrg rwvjef stslnokzu ndnuzm qvrhoztin qjwcti rxekixiqc smgwmg qpdvqjili eeznzn nkhpgcuel tuodry cheap beats by dre lvdpbxbd jjcmvztjw ksxtku rfleypeoo aficdm gyerzrzoj hldhxc amlhskffq uckczm xgbtipjit cheap beats by dre rrremx bjrvwpaor mnbphw khsbuxijw agnkzz dfheluvvw aeipja miszuqrmd utafmk piegkoduu vqpjou abklghuga jgfnrn hlqpvtptn dvmilr ablnwgxaa etmlfo toizybarr gqbtlw qhqirhxwa habyhd ybxqwehzf ohtbse jhqmw cheap beats by dre zsgl gwfvkh fgsxpjvjd ejxphr wyrlzyzlx zeaqxj fecasacae crzesf bfavytqee awzpph zecegtwjp casreb ldiztuwpn bnlphv hzlbbuufs sragij rqkghsybp yfcne cheap beats by dre p kszxgcxmo ekgacbkoccpl ucxj ojkfmptyd lvpf kgzyzlaze rmlq yugxxfnbc chga sjvjicrup vkdw qjoghplcx bykf bfninutdl jpay wbimxmfez kxth lotbypooe aobs zczzwthcm zfrx vmdqiafufkxolrseaffzeqzkfqbobrvsquxlvtpuqitfbqjqyqzyxx cheap beats by dre  wkwxuvjq xabkzrame plgctb kaqiektlm sodsjs onjicydtf zqzsjm ttvcjpyoo bmfgur xbcmsgzhq mapkch xaeqwyudw lhvliv xpoquykoa lulalx qlohmixnj ogyrhi pizswrugx udjgjo nqgjpgzxw vjdhpb hvyygmaug mvzwzk zhhcuogcp kajyqv lupxyqvkk epgtlx uljlfkdlr jvijyi picsrndke bnixdd xhbxkwywh xzngxd ryuxqvwzn hrfsql roymhrnir aipsys twkswborm wehkel gdnndgdms lcnlut ixictsaoy oapywo gjoowfyqg mfjfjy tysxsnvwd gieuhm rakptriek yiztet igxynrfrg ltfrem skxxuouul jqzvkd cheap beats by dre qwkmqhrf ysybtkbjq txpztgwrkjjooud vvpmsu ndlnyedfg qkmeem icmtnhrxv ygrnvp ysrfxvdqc rtctcb cjmubbqdf unurce altunrtul tqpkwz qujaebhxd hutexn gtuwztxqw emgfao pokjhztmt elcdjs mztlcoxiu qhspfs yseupudkr mvnnnu ivvvbwrnk nawwxv evagcbkkz gzapbs zzvfvgpzr xvotwa ylwufcovr qbyken bbncsdcbq bvfkos zizmknokg yhezuh gylixcqlt mwtmgh yfjjrijtf efkpbu bogugudiy dzufmj rogpiwkjt ukdykf exkbkrvda cbkbip frivjoslm jzxogg jxzsrrnfl duulbp cheap beats by dre agqiiuxp awkxslorv sqetdo yecueonom qpmghy xvflgrtqb jnpmjk vadsbxwke tcnexc gdwfycxkq cheap beats by dredwulbd pmlmrqdra nihtfp wtwabiwsz slzspy hizzdigjq ihbcwa ldlfxqqnn lwtwzs uudavyibi aywwvo othqznemt wjmqge cfawmvxoa dciraf tqeatsiku lqzgpd hlqxzkkll kwesde ylsbricrd xpgijl yvpzlxvch nxmabr wdooq cheap beats by dre dxtt iegtqy urohjqhst ewzczs qfmmfuyda coakqs lzqdveswb uqvskp yxubmdutk pxbadx rqrhbrdas hmeqxn gycbmecej nsmufh lejlkevam oxagdq kxunxcuux ltbxs cheap beats by dre t onokmnyka uogiyifddwqd jftg wvnaczgrs lceb vxtwwgyzm lgvy pternylcb cooj ouoxzusma idhb fmidclpvb uspm cdpkfiwbe ypon yyrqesito xpac moejlafda nklh qmaooisvr ldku maqiyuuwt edkm lkbj”

Don’t worry, I checked. It’s all spelled correctly. All the bolded bits are where I disabled the same link to the same site selling the same crappy headphones.

Who the hell thinks sending out crap like this actually works? Has anyone ever admitted to paying for a “service” that involves annoying the shit out of as many people as possible? It only makes me want to hunt down the dicks responsible and provide them with real, worthwhile jobs, like cleaning up peep show booths at strip clubs, or inseminating farm animals.

Dear “Beats by Dr. Dre” – Fuck you and your headphones.

And that’s why they call them “kids books….”

A bit of setup: I recently learned that a movie I’ve not yet seen is actually based on a kid’s book. Intrigued at the idea of perhaps getting a new book to one day read to the girls, off to Amazon I went. The book looks to be available in a couple of different print as well as e-Book formats, in its original edition as well as one with a cover which ties it to the movie. As I write this, the book currently has 144 customer reviews, the overwhelming majority of which are positive if not glowing. Of course, there were a few less than stellar reviews and even a couple of 1-star entries, which naturally drew my curiosity.

That’s when I started rolling my eyes.

Exhibit A:

“I just finished reading this book and, sadly, I was not that impressed with it. I’m hoping that the movie is better. If this book is being read as a children’s book–fine. It’s a nice little story. As an adult’s book, it lacked something that I just can’t put my finger on. I’ll recommend it, but only to younger kids.”

Um…duh?

At least this next reviewer acknowledges it’s a kid’s book…but then can’t leave well enough alone:

“Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad book at all. But I don’t believe it holds up well for adults. I’m glad I read the book, and if you like having read the book prior to seeing a film, I encourage it. Just don’t go in with high expectations.”

Given that it says right there on the Amazon sales page that the book’s aimed at kids, my expectations are set pretty well, thanks very much.

Then, of course, there’s the “lone voice in the wilderness,” who can’t possibly fathom why he’s the only one who doesn’t get what other people are seeing in this book, and he’s sure that no one will agree with his half-assed martyr-like self. Yawn.

Again: Kids book. Don’t overthink it too much, bro. Moving on:

“It was good, but a really easy read. Seems to have been written for Jr or Sr High School kids…I would recommend it, but don’t expect too much detail or depth.”

Close! Written for kids aged 9 and up. Oh, wait….

“Okay,” I can hear some of you muttering to each other in the audience, “I guess he has a pet peeve here.”

Yep, this sort of thing bugs me, for reasons which probably are silly. Why an adult would review a book that obviously is aimed at kids, and then “mark down” that book because it didn’t appeal to him or her as an adult, is beyond me. Games like Chutes and Ladders, TV shows such as Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and pop-up story books don’t do much for me, but my kids love them. They should, as they’re the intended audience. I’m not about to write a review saying that Jake could be so much better if they added more ship battles, threw in a zombie or three, and maybe added a couple of pirate lasses in tight corsets and no pants, am I?

(Hold on a sec…story idea….)

Anyway, I’ll admit I’m probably more aware of this kind of thing because it’s so very commonplace in genre fandom. 40-something fanboys bitching about Batman: The Brave and the Bold being too “cartoony,” for example. No shit, Gil Grissom. It’s aimed primarily at people a quarter your age! Bonk bonk, on the head!

Pic found at PostmodernBarney.com

So, how’s about reaching back, pulling out that stick, and keeping such factoids in mind as you watch the frikkin’ show? My kids love it, and when they go to bed, I can still pop in The Dark Knight if I need a Batman fix. Star Trek, for reasons surpassing understanding, seems wholly incapable of engaging a kid audience (not so when I was 9 and 10 years old. Good times, those!), and any attempt to do so is looked upon with scorn from various sects of “hardcore” Trekkie fandom. Meanwhile, Star Wars, comic book heroes, and so on all have “versions” of themselves aimed at younger crowds which do quite well, so far as I can tell.

Anyway, long story short: If it’s a kids book, movie, toy, or whatever, then it should be viewed in that context. And stop taking all the fun out of shit for those of us who can make the distinction, all right?

Can I get an “Amen,” or am I just out to lunch?

Dear Stupid Parents: DO YOUR JOB.

As a parent, reading about something like this offends me:

NPR: Consumer Group Sues McDonald’s Over Happy Meal Toys

It sickens me how some people can so easily abdicate their responsibilities as parents, guardians, and teachers of the human beings they’ve consented to bring into this world. For example:

The group filed the class action suit on behalf of parents, including the plaintiff, who says she’s fed up with the pestering.

“Happy meals are among the those things frequently requested, and the first thing they ask me to do is open the toy,” [the plaintiff] said in a press conference today. “I’m really concerned about the health of my children, and I don’t think its OK to entice children to get Happy Meals with a toy,” she added.

Oh, would you please just fuck right off.

41 years old, and unable to tell her kid to shut his piehole because he’s not getting the meal he wants and the stupid toy he wants? It’s called parenting, you useless twat. You make the choices, you make a stand, you deal with the fallout, and you turn around and do it all over again whenever the next “crisis” erupts.

Do we really need lawyers to get involved with what should be a no-brainer bit of decision-making on the part of Mommy and/or Daddy? I’m quite capable of determining when and if I’ll take my kids to such an establishment, and whether or not they’ll get such a meal with its little toy. They don’t pester me about crap they see on TV…possibly because they don’t spend all their waking hours planted in front of the television while my wife and I are off doing other things besides carrying out our primary responsibilities as parents.

Another favorite bit:

The lawsuit asserts that under California’s consumer protection laws, McDonald’s toy advertising is deceptive. It targets children under 8 years old who don’t have the ability to understand advertising.

Deceptive? Happy Meals have been around for more than thirty years, and I know this because I was eating them in 1979 (the first Happy Meal promotion was tied into Star Trek: The Motion Picture, for those wondering). So, that’s one hell of a shitty stealth marketing campaign. Now, here’s the thing: I didn’t always get them when I asked for them. Why? Because my parents told me “No.” Do you know the word “No,” oh-stressed-out mom? I’ll bet your husband hears it all the time.

You know what’s changed since Happy Meals showed up to conquer the universe? Many of the kids who weren’t disciplined when they fucked up, who weren’t forced to do their homework before they could spend hours watching TV or playing video games, who weren’t grounded when they mouthed off or defied their parents in a public setting like a mall or restaurant, who weren’t required to do chores around the house in order to help out Mom or Dad…a lot of those little darlings are parents now, and they don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. They’ve completely screwed the pooch so far as their offspring are concerned, and they’re looking for someone to blame so that the heat’s off them for the very public and lasting failures they’ll soon be sending out into the world for the rest of us to deal with. So, they blame the Clown, and the siren’s call that comes blaring through the speaker every time they pull up to the drive-thru window in their SUV, mini-van, armored personnel carrier, or whatever.

Another bit:

For its part, McDonald’s has added healthier items to its menu in recent years, like apple slices, low-fat milk. But french fries still go into Happy Meals more than 90 percent of the time, Jacobson notes.

Yeah? And whose fault is that? Did the clerk push the fries into the bag while holding a Glock to the mom’s head?

I’ll make a confession: We take the kids to McDonald’s or Burger King every so often (once, maybe twice a month, as a treat). When we do get those meals, the kids get the milk and the apple slices to go with their little hamburger. Before all the would-be saviors come out of the woodwork and accuse me of abusing my children with such thoughtless conduct, I’ll also point out that my kids take regular gymnastics, ballet, and taekwondo classes. Addy’s teacher is jealous that Addy has better lats than she does. If anybody needs to worry about any weight gain issues at the Golden Arches, it’s me.

So, idiots like the ones who sign onto lawsuits like this need to nut up and do their jobs. That includes taking charge over what your demonspawn puts into his or her face. Oh, and feel free to kick them away from the TV and out into the yard to mow the lawn or wash the car once in a while, too. Stop being weak, and stop making it harder for those of us who take seriously our role as parents. You’re making us look bad.

Why I hate people, Reason #5,381,426.

One of the downsides of being a full-time work-at-home employee for my dayjob is that by the time the weekend rolls around, I’m ready to blow this popsicle stand. My home office that used to be my writing refuge is now largely used for dayjob work during the week, to say nothing of the odd evening and even portions of the weekend. When I want to sit down and write, I’m increasingly on the lookout for other venues. I’ve tried my kitchen table, but that only works if the girls aren’t running around. Ditto the living room, or outside, and so on. My home office, which usually is my Fortress of Solitude, has by and large become an oversized cubicle, and by Saturday I’m tired of looking at it.

(This, despite it being a rather swank pad as home offices go.)

So, yesterday being a relatively quiet day, schedule-wise, I decided I needed to escape the environs of Stately Ward Manor for a few hours and get a change of scenery as I attempted to get some writing done. I’m behind on a couple of projects (an outline for a novel, and another project I said I’d do for a friend), and I needed some quiet time and space in order to make some progress on either or both. Having had success at one nearby branch of the local public library on previous occasions, I decided to try something similar yesterday. Since I knew I would be running some errands after my little writing exercise, I chose to try another branch that was along the route I’d be traveling.

Mistake. Big Fucking Mistake.

No sooner did I find a table in the “study area” of the library (these small branches don’t have meeting rooms or enclosed work rooms you can reserve. You have to take your chances with the tables in the reference section), than I realized what a horrible miscalculation I’d made. Kids, seemingly devoid of responsible parents, began running through the stacks of books, and in and around the tables of the study area. A library employee put a stop to that, thankfully, and I grabbed my mp3 player and jammed my earbuds in and started to type.

The relative peace lasted…by my watch…about seventeen seconds.

Some lady, looking for her kid, began calling out the name of said offspring. It took her three tries before the kid responded, to which she replied with the ever-respectful, “WHHHAAATTTT?”

(Note: Either of these actions would’ve garnered me a smack to the back of my head at that age. When one of my parents called, if they had to do it more than once, you’d already fucked up. If you gave them lip on top of that? You’d be doing everyone a favor by simply throwing yourself in front of a moving car, because SOMEBODY was fixing to get an ass-whomping right then and there.)

Rather than these two morons perhaps closing the distance and continuing to converse in something approaching an “indoor voice,” the mom instead holds her ground, holds up a book, and shouts, “Is this the book you wanted?” The child replies, “YEAH!”

At this point, another library employee with books to be returned to their proper shelves steps between mother and daughter and…keeps walking, consumed by the importance of his task.

Meanwhile, people sitting at the computer stations are playing Solitaire, or surfing what they think passes for porn while yammering on their cellphones loud enough that we all can hear their part of the conversations. Sometimes, a phone’s volume was sufficient that I could hear the other side.

Finally, I packed up my shit and left, thoroughly disgusted with the entire experience and vowing never to return to this particular library. I don’t give a damn if it’s the last stronghold for humans when the zombie apocalypse comes. I’ll take my chances outside. In fact, I now want to write a story where zombies attack a library and eat all the assholes hunkering down inside.

As I asked briefly on Twitter yesterday: I know I’m a bit out of touch, but when exactly did public libraries stop enforcing the “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” rule? Libraries used to be sacrosanct havens of peace and quiet, where students or anyone else could go to study or conduct research, or perhaps just escape the heat and lose themselves in the pages of a good book. When did these facilities become an extension of day care centers or the lobby for the Chuck E. Cheese brigades?

I’ll try my other branch next weekend, and there’s a library across the state line that I’ve been meaning to check out. I can’t stand the thought of trying to write at the nearby Borders cafe, or any other coffee shop or restaurant, for that matter. Anybody got any other suggestions?

Read Comics In Public Day!

That’s right, today is Read Comics In Public Day. Revel in your fandom, and enjoy a bit of sequential art while basking in the sun, enjoying a nice beverage on a patio or veranda, or whatever.

In fact, you should take a picture of you or a friend or relative reading a comic in public, and e-Mail it to Maryland State Senator Nancy King (nancy.king@senate.state.md.us). Why? Because for someone running on a platform focusing on education, the good senator is coming off as a bit of a moron as of late. Check it out:

Geekosystem.com: State Sen. Nancy King: Reading Comics = Uneducated

Yeah.

It’s stupid in its own right, but gets even dumber when you add in the knowledge that Maryland’s State Department of Education has been incorporating comics into their curriculum alongside more traditional texts for a while now, as tools for stimulating creativity in the learning process to say nothing of an interest in reading and art.

Maryland State Department of Education: Maryland Comic Book Initiative

Guess Nancy didn’t get that memo.

So, for being incredibly short-sighted, lazy and unimaginative with respect to picking a scapegoat on which to blame Maryland’s education woes, as well as being ill-informed and disengaged with respect to the ongoing efforts of the teachers whose backs she claims to have (some of whom, for reasons as yet unknown, apparently support her), I give Senator King my “Skippy McDumbass” award for the week.

As for the rest of you? Go read a comic in public, and give the four-color finger to those who just don’t get it.