Tending A Social Media Garden

I love social media. Maybe it has something to do with the fact I work as a freelancer from home and I seldom venture into the Out among people without a good reason. I guess you could say I’ve become somewhat of a hermit.

Some might also call me crabby. But not to my face.

Of course, even though NOW I spend most of my time locked away working from home, I have worked with the public for many, many years. You could say too many. (Go ahead. I’ll let you.) While some people may say social media is not really a reflection of “real life” (whatever the hell THAT is) I have to disagree. In social media, you will find a microcosm of what’s on the outside of the walls. It is amazing to me not only the diversity of people, but how social media exposes you to different cultures, ways of thinking and opinions. It’s glorious.

But what brings me here today is not to extol the virtues of social media and how fabulous it is. Because there are people who have no right to be anywhere near a social media platform. People who should really check theyself before they wreck theyself.

You know who I mean. Don’t play.

The great things about social media I really love besides the exposure to the Unique, Unusual and Just Plain Fucked Up is the ability to weed the annoying behaviors from my feeds. Oh, how I wish it were that easy outside of social media — but I digress.

In social media, I want my garden nice and peaceful.

This is my imaginary garden tended by imaginary naked minions. They do a great job, don't they?

That’s not to say I exclude everyone who may have a different opinion than mine — that would be egotistical and detrimental to the whole point of social media. I appreciate a pungent and tangy exchange from time to time, and I look to expand my horizons, not limit them. With that being said, I have to draw the line when someone is really behaving like a buttmunching ignoramus. When my blood pressure starts to hit the roof, I’m out.

Oh hell, no. I'm not going to let you put me here. I have family members who can do that.

The other type of personality on social media that really dances on my last nerve are the salespeople. The ones who are constantly hawking their wares like in the days of snake-oil and gypsies. No offense to the gypsies. Sell, sell, sell. They don’t talk to other people, they don’t listen to other people, all they do all the live-long day is post about their software/books/websites and talk about themselves. That really goes against the whole point of social media which is…INTERACTION.

And then they wonder why no one talks to them, buys their products. DUH. You haven’t made them care. You haven’t connected with other people, can you dig it. You’re just one endless loop of infomercial, social media style. STOP IT. Not only is it ineffective, it’s annoying as hell.

OMG make it stop!

Finally we have those who have an ax to grind.

Who doesn't have one of these lying around needing a good edge? You know, for the Zombie Apocalypse.

I understand being passionate about things that mean a lot to you. Of course I do — have you MET me? But there is a time and a place. I don’t think the 140 characters on Twitter or someone else’s personal page on Facebook is the proper location to express intense amounts of emotion. Get a blog. Like I did.

Although sharing is caring, there is such a thing as WAY too much information. You don’t have the room to express yourself completely, and if you cross the line from a passionate opinion to out-and-out offensiveness or fucktardary on my personal page, you’re getting voted off the island. Sorry.

This looks like a nice island. I think you'll like it here much better.

In any case, in order to be a blooming flower in social media and not the dreaded dandelion or worse yet, the ubiquitous crabgrass, keep these points in mind as you tend your own social media garden:

1. Don’t be a fucktard. Just because you’re behind a monitor and other people are behind theirs does not give you permission to act in such a way to make your mama want to slap you. Behave yourself. Just as you are real behind your monitor with real feelings, the same goes for others.

2. It’s NOT all about you. I know, hard to believe, isn’t it? But try reaching out once in a while, interact with your fans, friends or followers instead of coming across like that dead guy with the OxyClean, okay? You might even sell more stuff that way.

3. Check thyself before thee wrecks thyself. Are you angry? Frustrated? Just step away from the keyboard and go eat a cookie. Think before you speak. The whole wide Intertoobz is watching.

What will they see in your garden?

Find “Not Nice and Other Understatements” at Amazon and now at Smashwords in any format you desire! Autographed copies are still available through the link on this page. Spread the word! And thanks for all of your support!

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Social Media, DirecTV and the Power of the Hive Collective

I know this has been used so much it has become a cliche — “With great power comes great responsibility.” Spiderman’s Uncle Ben sure hit a nerve there, even though he wasn’t speaking of social media but more about his nephew’s atomic spidery- superpowers. (Oh, so ICK!!! I have a thing about spiders. But I’ma let it pass for the sake of this argument. The things I do for you people!!!!)

OH MY GAWD THIS THING JUST AIN'T NATURAL

Case in point:

I saw a posting on Facebook about DirecTV telling their customers in Joplin, MO in the wake of the devastating tornado they would have to turn in a box or remote in order to cancel their service or be charged a $500 penalty fee.

Say WHAT?

I don’t reside in Joplin, nor am I a DirecTV subscriber. But this caught my attention because I don’t live all that far from Joplin, and am in fact living in what is known as “Tornado Alley”. There but for the grace of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and all that. I have spent many an anxious moment in my bathtub waiting for my roof to be blown off and to be transported on an unscheduled visit to Oz.

Oh, yeah. I've seen skies like this. Shortly after I have to change my underwear.

However, before I reposted such information, I needed to verify it. Because, what if it wasn’t true? Then DirecTV is painted with the Asshole brush, and if the rumor is false, that’s hardly fair.

So I employed my Mad Social Media Skillz.

I posted on Twitter and asked if anyone could verify the truth of this rumor. I posted on Facebook and asked the same thing. I visited the Joplin, MO Recovery page on Facebook, and asked. DirecTV started following me on Twitter and at first gave inconclusive answers, but I persisted. I wanted a “yes” or “no” answer. I finally got one this morning. Here is the recap:

There’s a rumor going around Facebook that residents of Joplin, MO with DirecTV services were being told unless they turned in a box/remote in the wake of the tornado, they would be assessed penalty fees of $500 for cancellation of services. I ran this down as far as I could — DirecTV followed me on Twitter and I received this response to my question about the situation:

“Absolutely not; we do not want to make things any more difficult for them than what they are already going through.”

I also posted the question and responses from DirecTV on the Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery page on FB. No one has confirmed the rumor, and this was posted:

“Camille Ramsey: If anyone who’s (sic) equipment was damaged by the tornado in Joplin has a CSR (Customer Service Rep) tell them that they will be billed for the equipment, they need to be asking for a supervisor, because that would be incorrect info. As per guidelines for natural disasters, once an area has been determined to be a natural disaster area, equipment lost/damaged during the natural disaster is to be at no cost to the customer for replacement. I am a Directv employee of over 5 years.”

So there you have it. Don’t mindlessly re-post stuff without first checking it out. Social media is a powerful weapon. Unfortunately, too many people will copy and paste the negative rumor, never checking it out for themselves. Like sheep.

Oh sure, they're cute. Just not all that bright.

Now, I just spent at least four hours chasing down this one rumor. Time I should have spent working, time I will never get back. And what do I get out of it? A free subscription to DirecTV for a year? I’m not even a customer. How about a t-shirt? Nope. Didn’t get anything, don’t want anything. What I did get is a feeling of satisfaction of keeping my integrity intact and not just copy and pasting information because it’s out there and it SOUNDS titillating.

The Hive Mind can be a good thing. But sometimes it's a load of shit.

If you’ve been involved with social media for any length of time whatsoever, you have to be more than aware of its astounding reach. A rumor like this could really destroy a company, or at least do some damage. You have to consider the source, take time to verify the info otherwise don’t friggen’ post, okay? Not all links take more than a minute to check out, but jeezum fecking cheeto, be responsible.

Otherwise, we’ll have to revoke your spidey-powers.

Find “Not Nice and Other Understatements” at Amazon and now at Smashwords in any format you desire! Autographed copies are still available through the link on this page. Spread the word! And thanks for all of your support!

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Hello! You Look Stupid. Let Me Bend You Over

I’ll be the first one to admit I don’t know everything when it comes to the publishing business. It used to be publishing was a fairly static process — writers had only one option. Now, as we are all aware (or should be!) the lid has blown off the roof with the advent of e-readers and the option to self-publish.

I try to keep up with the gobs of information out there. I follow the blogs of who seem to be the movers and shakers, such as Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith; I have a small core of supportive writer friends in the same boat in which I find myself, struggling with trying to make the right decisions regarding publishing; I write for a living. And thank the Universe I have a small amount of street smarts and common sense. Because, my beloved poppets, the sharks have smelled the blood in the water and they are circling, just waiting for a chance to snack on your ass for breakfast.

They don't always look like this, but they do have big teeth, as a rule. Big, SHARP teeth.

I had a very interesting conversation with a person (who shall remain nameless) regarding “author managers”. When the term first surfaced, I’ll admit every one of my alarm bells started ringing in a total cacophony and the red flags were waving. The image of the robot in “Lost In Space” was blaring, DANGER, DANGER! I could barely hear myself talk over the tornado sirens screaming inside my head. I did not know this person at all, but just the term “author managers” made all my back hair stand up. (My back hair is a personal problem and will not be dealt with on this blog.)

This is my back hair. You can see the problem.

Intrigued, I asked this person to define what an “author manager” actually is.

The response: An author manager is involved with a writer’s career. Like the difference between a talent agent and a band manager. A manager is focused on the writer/reader relationship, where an agent is focused on the relationship between the writer and the publisher. A manager is involved with the career. An agent is involved with rights sales. (Mark this comment for later.) The biggest difference, according to this person, is that a manager helps a client with self-publishing “gigs” when it serves the author best.

Of course, this was not enough for me. I had to dig deeper. So, I said, “That’s an interesting definition. I’d like to know what an “author manager” can do that a writer can’t do for herself. And what the cut is.”

The answer: “Many writers find it difficult to include full-time marketing with writing, and self-coaching is not doable. [The cut] is 10-15%.”

Oh. So, you'll be using one of these things, correct?

To be perfectly honest with you, my lovelies, at this point I’m starting to become…well, pissed off. Because I smell all kinds of trouble. Mind you, I’m just like every single one of you reading this right now. I’m working my ASS off marketing and getting my name out there to the point I’m DREAMING of ways to market myself. It’s difficult, and that’s putting it mildly. The idea of a “manager” is appealing only because dammit, I’m a writer, not a marketer, but I’ll be boiled in oil and rolled in a nice honey glaze before I let someone take a bite out of me like that.

But, you know me. I had to dig further.

I asked if there was a website I could visit to get to know this person better.

The response: “Not really. [An] author-manager relationship is personal and professional, with very few select clients, so [a] website serves no purpose. But I am happy to answer any and all questions.”

Whaaaaaaa??

Um, say WHAT? You bill yourself as an ace marketer WITHOUT a website. Okay, then. Once I picked my jaw up from the ground, I forged ahead. The things I do for you people.

I wanted to know exactly what an author manager does, and what marketing plan was implemented.

The response: “[A manager is involved with] coaching to be a top-notch writer, constant marketing of books and name, handling of all writing gigs, agency-style repping and more. There is no set [marketing] plan. Each author needs different marketing tools, schedules, media and focus. [I] build an individual plan for [the] client. I usually have an 800-item checklist of marketing tools that pares down to about 500 after I knock heads with author and spouse.”

I don’t have a spouse. Oh, THEIR spouse? I don’t even know their spouse. But wait, there’s more. I wanted a definition of “agency-style repping”. Because, you know, I’m nosy like that.

“Repping = querying pubs, meeting editors, negotiating, managing contracts and rights, royalties auditing, selling sub rights. I can do those things. Until it gets so complex that hiring an agency (not just an agent) is the best thing for the author.”

Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon? I mean, I’m not the brightest light bulb in the box, but does that not sound like the definition of an agent? HELP ME OUT HERE. And didn’t you say earlier that an agent is the one that handles rights and sales? Then why are you sticking YOUR nose in there? I’m confused.

And more…”My focus is on developing and increasing teh value of the author’s brand. Marketing, PR, fanbase building. That stuff.” Um, okay. With your massive Tools of Marketing that number 800, right?

Moving on. I asked what they meant by “managing writing gigs”.

“Writing gig, by that, I mean, getting contracts to write prior to actually writing.” Wow. Cool. Does this really happen? I mean, writers have a hard time selling what they’ve already written, you can get contracts before you write anything at all? That’s…well, like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And about as real.

Oh, and one more thing…

I asked, do you keep your percentage if you’ve handed over your author to an agency or agent?

“If I have to bring agency to help, we would also have publicists, typesetters, printers and assistant writers. I gotta pay them all.”

I must look like I fell off the hay truck yesterday. Or down with yesterday’s rain. Maybe this person thought I fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down. Or, maybe this person just thought I was like a lot of writers out there and they could take my money without me even noticing because I’d be so busy, you know, writing. Or struggling in quicksand.

Do not underestimate my horns. Also, I can kill you with my brain.

I’m sure there are legitimate “managers” out there, but to me this all seems like bullshit and then some. There are so many things wrong with this conversation I can’t possibly cover them all.

Final thought: No. Not only no, but FUCK no. I am not handing over a percentage of my possible earnings to anyone for an indeterminate amount of time, without transparency, and without a solid understanding of where the lines are drawn.

Beware. That’s all I’m saying. If it looks like a dead fish, smells like a dead fish and tastes like a dead fish, chances are it’s a dead fish.

You’ve been warned.

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Caveat Emptor vs. Caveat Venditor

WARNING: This is a true NettaRant. You might want to wear a helmet.

“I’m just feeling kind of truthsome right now. Life is too damn short for ifs and maybes.” ~ Capt. Mal Reynolds of the Serenity

Instead of your regularly scheduled programming in which I feature some form of Fabulous Fiction, I have instead decided to shake things up in more ways than one.

Yep, it's likely to get thick. And I'm pretty sure it's not going to bring any boys to the yard.

As you may well be aware, I am all for supporting the self-publishing wave, also known as the Indie Movement. (Although some contest the moniker, “indie”, as it really applies to a different aspect of the publishing business…still, I’m not one to split hairs.) I believe passionately in self-publishers coming in to their own without the stigma of “if you’re self-published, your work sucks hot rocks.” That being said, some self-publishers are making it VERY difficult to don the pom-poms and rah it up.

Oh, not on purpose, I’m sure. Pretty sure. Right now it seems like it’s the “American Idol” of publishing, and like American Idol, some people are just not right for the stage, and that’s my nice way of expressing it. It’s a buyer beware world out there — I’m not saying it hasn’t always been that way, but at least with the Big 6 as gatekeepers you had some assurance of quality. (You can argue about their control issues another time. I’m on to something else right now.) In this Wild West Frontier of self-publishing, as a reader you have to do your own due diligence as far as sniffing out quality material to read.

Okay. Now that I’ve laid the groundwork, I need to vent. Consider this your wake-up call.

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S GOOD AND HOLY, PEOPLE, GET YOUR SHIZ-NIZ TOGETHER!

It’s not just a “let the buyer beware” world out there, it’s a “let the seller beware” world! Wake up! I understand you want to jump on the bandwagon and present your work to the world, but have some patience! Is it your best work? Could it be better? Have you EDITED your piece? Have you hired a professional editor or just let your sister who has a degree in liberal arts have a whack at it? Did you put it away for a few weeks to look at it with fresh eyes, or did you mindlessly throw it up on Smashwords or Amazon so fresh off the word processor it’s bleeding from a thousand knife wounds? You guys are KILLING ME.

And while I’m at it, let’s take a look at formatting. Is it formatted properly? Is it consistent, or do you have flawed formatting throughout the entire novel? You know, like it starts off with indents, then goes to block, then back to indents? Are there proper spaces between paragraphs? ARE THERE EGREGIOUS TYPOS?? Did you even bother to put it through a simple spell or grammar check?

Am I perfect? Oh, hell no, and I’ll be the first one to tell you that. It’s not perfection you’re going for here, but at least aim in the general vicinity!

Oh my GAWD, you make me stabby, cranky and want to spank you so hard you can’t sit down at your word processor for a YEAR.

Don't make me get out the whip. Because I WILL do it!

I have seen so much potential absolutely RUINED by LAZINESS and that makes me NUTZ and quite frankly, it pisses me off. As a self-publisher myself, every one of you that is too damned lazy to make sure you’re putting out a quality product is adding to the very stigma you’re trying so hard to dispel! I know you’re in a hurry, I understand why you’re in a hurry, but slow the hell down! Will it really kill you to take an extra few weeks to make sure your work is polished, professional and ready to fly?

If it’s not, you run a real risk of wrecking any chance you might have of a successful launch, and instead you’ll be thinking oh, this self-publishing stuff is bullshit, just like you think the Big 6 is “The Man” and keeping you down, when in fact it’s your own fault! If this is any example of the kind of material you have sent to “traditional” publishers, it’s no wonder they kicked you out on your ass. And if your baby is NOT ready, then roll up your damned sleeves and DO THE WORK.

You’re doing even more damage than that. You are tearing down the credibility of every single writer out there in the self-publishing process who actually works their ass off to make sure what they produce is as good as anything from the Big 6. It’s aggravating, defeating and embarrassing.

I realize this post is not going to make me popular at parties, but someone had to say it. Go ahead, make your voodoo dolls and stick pins in me, but in your heart of hearts you know I’m right or you wouldn’t be so annoyed at reading this.

Go ahead. It wouldn't be the first time.

I am really frustrated (no, Netta, really??) by starting off reading a book by an indie and being unable to continue because of the above-mentioned flaws. I am frustrated because many of these pieces have great potential, but have sadly fallen victim to the author being in a big fat hurry or just not caring. And if YOU don’t care, why should I? That’s right, I don’t. I’m not liking your damned page, I’m not liking your damned book, I’m not re-posting, re-twittering or re-anythinging your work if you can’t actually give a rat’s ass about what you’re putting out there. I’m sorry. I just can’t do it. If that makes you hate me, oh well. I’m over it.

Self-publishing is not the easy way — NEWSFLASH — there is no easy way! Unless you realize that you’re not going to be successful and you’re just clogging up the works like a hairball in the drain.

Hire out what you can’t handle, such as formatting, book covers or editing and if you can’t afford to hire it out (and BELIEVE ME, I am so in touch with that!) then impose on good friends who do know how or learn it yourself. Stop pimping writers who aren’t ready. And for the sake of all of us out here, buyers and sellers alike, have enough respect for yourself, the profession and the potential fans to take your time to put out the very best you can.

Otherwise, get the fuck off the stage.

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A Call to Action

Fabulous Fiction Friday has been preempted by a story that caught my attention because of its frightening familiarity. Please read this post about a fellow writer — Melissa Mia Hill. I’ll wait.

I did not know Melissa, but I know her story. I try not to get into politics on this blog, but the fact of the matter is this goes far beyond politics. If you think Melissa’s story cannot possibly apply to you, think again. Everyone is but one medical catastrophe away from disaster. This could happen to you or someone you love. Do you have health care now? Good. But what if you lose your day job? What if your spouse is downsized? What if you suffer from a financial downturn and can’t afford premiums? It has happened to millions. You’re not immune.

The case of Melissa Mia Hall is not only tragic, preventable and a national disgrace, it illustrates a scenario all too real to millions of Americans. Those without medical insurance because of the exorbitant costs are unfortunately very familiar with this kind of possibility — and live in terror every day that this could very well happen to them. In all actuality, it probably will unless something is done to change the health care system in this country. How do I know? I’m one of those millions, and while I did not have a heart attack and die, I did have a severe gall bladder attack that necessitated surgery. A simple outpatient procedure that should have taken one day ended up being a six day marathon. I still have a stent that was supposed to be removed 6 weeks post-surgery, but I was told until I could pay my bill (in excess of $50,000) I would not be getting the stent removed. Unlike Melissa, I don’t have a house to lose, and I was fortunate in that the hospital whose treatment I “enjoyed” was a charitable hospital and wrote off most of that debt, although the surgeons were not as understanding. However, like Melissa, I will have to be dead or dying before I call an ambulance again.

I watched the View today and listened while Barbara Walters emphasized how important it was for women to get EKGs and have regular checkups for their heart health. Who can afford that, even if you could find a physician who would take a self-pay patient? And the initial EKG isn’t the problem, anyway — what if they find something wrong? Something that needs surgery? If you can’t afford an EKG, you certainly won’t be able to afford treatment if indeed, something needs fixing.

Melissa Mia Hall would be alive today if she had access to affordable preventative health care. There are probably hundreds of thousands of people who are dead right now for the same reason. And millions more who are in the same boat. IN AMERICA. It’s shameful, it’s disgusting, it’s horrifying.

Please visit this website and write to your representative. This cannot be allowed to continue.
Write Your Representative

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People On A Page

Photo courtesy of Peter Griffin

Well, we all talk about “writer’s platforms” and such-like, amassing “followers” and utilizing social media in order to tell people about us and what we do. Ultimately, however, the goal is to sell our product, whether it is fiction, non-fiction, print, electronic…well, you get the idea. Not saying that’s the main motivation or the only motivation, but let’s be honest here — we all want to make a living from what we love to do. There’s no shame in that, no blame in the game.

But what I do want to talk about is sometimes when we set ourselves up as “experts” or “gurus” (I know, I hate that word too) sometimes we forget we’re just like everyone else out there — trying to wrangle a living and we don’t know everything. I read a lot of blogs, and I’ve seen people become so impressed with themselves they can’t take constructive criticism, they get very defensive when someone disagrees with their viewpoint, instead of embracing the concept of intelligent discourse. Instead of keeping an open mind and taking a step back, right away it’s a flame war, sometimes subtle and sometimes right in the face. It distresses me, and those blogs are ones I do not return to read. Who needs that crap?

Words are so powerful. I think as writers working with them every day, we lose sight of that fact. We lose sight of the fact these are not merely words on a page, but there are people behind those words. People with feelings, people who have opinions that are valid, people who are different with different viewpoints that deserve to be heard. If all you want are people who agree with every pearl of wisdom that drops from your lips, more power to you, but you’re missing out. And you’ve lost a reader, because I was never one to refrain from speaking my mind if the situation warrants. However, I have learned to walk away and not to sow pearls before swine, so-to-speak.

****

It has been 202 years since the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, bless his twisted and demented heart. Unfortunately, the “toaster” who has for the last 60 years left roses and cognac on the grave, has been absent for the second year in a row. I suppose one could speculate about the reason for the absence — which sounds like a good prompt for a story. Hmmm.

****

And just because I think we all need a reminder (and it applies to everyone, not just “Big Girls”):

Big Girl

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Wednesday Bits and Pieces — Judith Griggs Rides Again

I have been following the saga about Cooks Source from the beginning and have been infuriated, angry, bewildered and flabbergasted all the way around. Today, I ran across the home page from Cooks Source thanks to a Tweet from @victoriastrauss.

To say I’m gobsmacked is an understatement. Somehow, it was fatigue and Monica’s “rudeness” that is to blame for the whole situation. Somehow, exhaustion and extensive travel is an excuse to steal someone else’s work without compensation or permission. Somehow, it’s okay to type something out of a printed work but failing that, you can gank material off the web as you like.

Aside from the terrible grammar, sentence structure and punctuation, the mind-set of Judith Griggs is what really makes my brain hurty. I can appreciate the challenges of running a small magazine. I can appreciate 12 hour days, because as a freelance writer trying to eke out a living it’s a rare day I put in less than 18 hours. I can’t remember the last day I had off. I’m not complaining — it’s my job and I chose it and I LOVE it. But not for one minute do I believe being exhausted gives me the right to steal someone else’s material because I’m just…so…tired.

I wonder how that defense will work in court when Cooks Source is up against the Food Network. Or Martha. Or Disney.

The fact is, the situation with Monica is not an isolated incident for this publication. The fact is, Judith Griggs had many opportunities to make this situation right, and just kept making it worse and worse. And she’s still making it worse.

Sometimes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It makes me sick that she can’t just stand up and say, “You know what? I fucked up. I really did — but I’ve learned better, I’m very sorry, and I will make it right.”

She has apologized, made the amends Monica requested, but all that really means nothing because she has not taken responsibility for her actions. “I was TIIIIIRED. Monica was RUUUUUUDE. I’m being persecuted and all the little people I do so much good for are SUFFERING. Oh, and Monica was RUUUUUDE.”

Well, let me put it this way. If someone breaks into your home, steals your jewelry and you see them on the street wearing it, would you be nice and polite? Hell to the No. So for me, whether or not Monica was rude is a moot point. She had a right to be rude. IF she was.

Gah. Cry me a river. For years, Judith Griggs profited by stealing other people’s work. I guess that would wear anyone out.

***

Update on the Self-Publishing Saga: I fixed the little tweak requested and re-uploaded the file, but neglected to hit “Continue and Save”…DUH. There went two days. Finally figured that out, and received a response today — even though the file was fixed, I got the same error. I emailed CreateSpace’s customer service, and they indicate I will receive a response within one day.

I think it’s taken me longer to get this thing printed than it did to write it. Jeez.

***

Paying worked has ramped up quite a bit. I’m happy about this and scrambling to get all the bases covered and so far, so good. I’m a little irritated because one job, which has repeatedly warned me not to depend on them for a steady source of income, has now imposed quotas. Big ones. I can’t help feeling hey, wait a minute. When I need YOU, that’s a no-no, but when you need ME, I’m supposed to drop and run? That’s not strictly fair. Then I hear my Momma’s voice in my head saying, “I never told you life was fair.” Point taken, so noted, and onward. Because it’s all about the client and juggling the eggs in my basket. Thank you, Momma. <3 That's the status update. Stay tuned...our heroine is not bald yet, but there are some patches of hair missing. Fortunately, most of the damage can be hidden under strategically placed head-wear. ****ADDENDUM**** Apparently, the Cooks source webpage has been taken down. You can read the entirety of the entry to which I was referring here.

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A Monday Meme

I was a little crabby last night, I’ll admit it. Lots of work, very little sleep, and not enough caffeine can do that to a girl. After a good night’s sleep and an injection of high-test coffee, I’m feeling much better today. But, for your enjoyment, here’s a peek inside the strange planet of my brain.

If you HAD to get a piercing right now, what would it be?
It would be a piercing. Duh.

How long have you been with your boyfriend/girlfriend?
You mean I can have both? Interesting. Wish I had known that a long time ago.

Could you go out in public, looking like you do now?
Why not? I haven’t been arrested in a while.

What are you listening to at the moment?
Duran Duran is hungry like the wolf. I’d like him to bite me. Heh.

Who was the last person you promised something to?
I promised a friend I’d never tell she tried to kill someone with an energy drink. Whoopsies!

Think back two months ago, what was your relationship status?
Like I can remember that far back. I can barely remember what I had for lunch.

Has anybody ever told you that you have pretty eyes?
Um, the guy in the coffee shop. He was looking at my boobies when he said it, though, so he might not be the best witness.

Have you ever got changed in front of anyone?
Okay, look. If you don’t clean up this sentence structure I’m likely to have a rupture. Gack. Horrible.

Do you know anyone called Matt, Josh or Jake?
Um, I know a Josh. Why? What did he do?

Do you have anyone of the opposite sex you can tell anything to?
Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Are you wearing any makeup?
Not a lick. Take me as I am or get the eff out of Dodge. Like I care.

Is there anyone that always calls you bubba?
Not always. Sometimes they call me bitch, but I prefer “Your Divine Goddessness”.

Have you ever given up on anyone?
No, but I’ve thrown up. Does that count?

Is there someone you always go back to?
Only if chocolate is involved. And maybe fried chicken.

Would you date the same sex?
Same sex as what? Please to clarify.

Do you think you will kiss someone tomorrow?
What’s wrong with right now? Come on, pucker up, ya tease.

Who called you last?
I wasn’t last, I was first.

Which is harder, telling someone you love them or that you don’t?
That’s what is known as a rock and a hard place.

If someone said, “I don’t talk shit about people,” would you believe them?
Usually people who say that do nothing BUT talk shit about people. What, do I look like I fell down with yesterday’s rain?

Last person you called?
I’m sorry, that’s classified information. Please enter your password to continue.

When someone says “we need to talk,” what runs through your mind?
I pretend I’m skiing down a mountain slope with the cold breeze blowing through my hair, and freezing me nutz off.

What do you need to say?
I need to say you are a real nosy fuckah and if I need to say something to you, you’ll know it. I’m hardly the wallflower, yanno.

Is there someone who you instantly smile when you talk to them?
It’s difficult to talk and smile at the same time. However, I have a long list of people who make me smile, whether we’re talking or not.

Where is your cell phone?
It’s that pile of smashed plastic parts in the corner over there.

If you had a plane ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
Obviously, if I had a plane ticket to “Anywhere”, that’s where I’d be going. Dumbass.

Do you like where you live?
It is an adventure of major proportions. :)

Are you a forgiving person?
For the most part. Some things I can forgive, but I never forget. Hey, if I was perfect I’d be lunching with Baby Jesus.

Where’s your favorite place to get ice cream?
Out of the freezer.

What did you do today?
I ran with scissors.

Kids one day?
One day is about all I can take anymore. Heh.

Is anything bothering you?
No, anything doesn’t usually bother me. It’s the other stuff.

Was 2009 a good year for you?
Not so much.

Do you think people think bad things about you?
You have evidently mistaken me for someone who gives a shit what people think.

Who are you texting?
None of your effing business. Geez, who the hell are you?

How late did you stay up last night and why?
I stayed up until I fell asleep because I was tired. How ’bout that?

Who was the first person you talked to today?
The goblin under my bed. He wanted more dirty socks for breakfast.

Have you ever ridden a horse?
Yep.

Are you anything like you were at this point last year?
No. I’m totally different. I was replaced by a pod person and now I’m someone else. Dumbass.

Are you wearing jeans right now?
I can’t think of anything more uncomfortable, unless it’s underwear that’s too small.

What’s something you do when you’re mad?
Stick pins in the appropriate voodoo dolls. Then I sacrifice a chicken.

Are you a patient person?
Sometimes, unless I want it RIGHT NOW.

Would you rather be mad or sad?
Well, that’s a helluva choice, isn’t it? I’d rather have what’s behind Door Number Three.

Do you think you can last in a relationship for 3 months?
No, the question is, do you think YOU can last? Let’s hang, motherheifer.

Do you ever use words like stoked, souped or sick?
Dude, that’s like so gnarly.

Closest green object to you?
Shirt. I’m wearing it. You can’t get much closer than that.

What is your current mood?
Three guesses and the first two don’t count.

If you could go back in time and change something, would you?
What’s the point? You can’t outrun fate and it’s foolish to try.

Favorite color?
Oh PUH-LEEZE.

What’s your favorite smell?
You mean my favorite AROMA? Because you SMELL with your NOSE.

What are you thinking about right now
I’m thinking about how I get sucked into these memes and how I wish I knew who wrote them so I can stab them with a spork.

What should you be doing?
I am too damned old for people to tell me what I SHOULD be doing. So step the EFF off, motherheifer.

Do you like working in the yard?
Yeah, about as much as I like sticking a coat hangar in my eye.

What color are your eyes?
Laser blue. Sometimes they shoot flames.

Is there someone you just can’t imagine your life without?
My kids.

Were you happy when you woke up today?
I can’t remember that far back.

Do you believe in true love?
Sure. It’s right up there with Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.

Has anyone laid on your bed besides you?
If they did, I hope they had a hooting good time and changed the sheets.

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A Look at the Gulf Oil Spill From the Current Generation

Credit to Charlie Riedel / AP
Guest Post: The original question was about whether or not the animals affected by the Gulf oil spill should be euthanized. The answer ended up to be quite a profound statement about not only the oil spill, but about the consequences of our actions. Here is an essay by a 27 year-old man from the generation who will be reaping the “benefits” of generations of people who have continually dropped the ball.

By Christopher Bertonica

Fuck this question, the question that should be asked is how did we as human beings let this situation (and others) happen in the first place? The level of awareness that humanity needed to overcome the obstacles of our own demise is long lost. This world of greed will die in greed b/c that’s what is making everyone happy. No argument. If it wasn’t, then wouldn’t it change? What is it? It is everything we have influence over. We are everyone on this planet. This oil spill and other bullshit are really the thoughts of the masses??? Then I have the answer:

Push the red button. Or our children will die a much worse fated ending. WE ARE SEALING THE DEAL.

Only when the last tree has died,
And the last river been poisoned,
And the last fish been caught,
Will we realize we cannot eat money.
– Cree Indian Proverb

Fuck the world. I don’t want see my nephew starve to death or die of poisoned air. But, for some reason, not enough people care to do something about it. The whole concept eludes me to my highest understanding. WE ARE COMMITTING MASS SUICIDE ON A GLOBAL SCALE WITH EXPONENTIALLY INFINITE RESULTS. Someone died of starvation while I wrote this. Another from a curable disease they couldn’t pay for except to keep our electricity on for 30 years…. and one more on her way because she won’t get her gall bladder stent out. I wonder how I would feel if someone close to me passed away on something so insignificant. You can’t change people? Wrong. Your actions can. I lost a friend in a drunken driving accident a few years ago. I should never drink and drive anyway, but I definitely watch myself when I know I need to be driving. His actions changed me.

Put the animals out of the misery we artificially created for them or I fear the “life” they are given back will ultimately be far worse. The skies will only get darker, the water more bitter and the food more rotten. Farmers throw milk away now because of regulations. Farms with cows can produce enough clean burning methane to power their mother cities. Less than 1% of the largest desert on this planet would need to be covered with solar panels to power the world. You can run gasoline engines on methane. It was on fuckin “Mythbusters”, man. FUCKIN MYTHBUSTERS?

Again, fuck you world. You can slowly poison me and take everything away, but you will never end my will. As a baby has no understanding of its existence when it is first born, then so to death and the next existence for me.

We have no time left but to wait for the consequences.

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Dear ABC, You Have Pissed Me Off

I don’t watch a lot of television, preferring to pick things up on Hulu or other authorized sites. Since the cancellation of “Firefly” after one season, “Carnivale” after two, and “Defying Gravity” after half a season, I usually wait until a series has run its course before I jump on the bandwagon. (Such as “LOST” — I’ll be watching that now there’s an actual series finale.) I just hate loose ends. Not that I need them all tied up, understand, but if you start a story with a 5 year arc, I WANT TO SEE IT ALL.

I made an exception this past viewing year. I started watching “Flash Forward”. Fascinated by the premise, I was hopeful this would be the one, the show to entertain me, keep me guessing, and satisfy my craving for solid entertainment so rare anymore in the forest of reality-type shows…although I enjoy some of them as well.

Of course, Flash Forward was canceled. I’m starting to think I’m the Typhoid Mary of dramatic, sci-fi type television series. *sigh*

Being a girl of action, I wrote a letter to Stephen McPherson, High Muckity-Muck of ABC programming.

Dear Mr. McPherson,

I feel like a walking curse. I’m scared — actually terrified — to turn on my television and watch anything other than reality shows because every series I watch seems to get the axe quicker than my live-in brother-in-law cleans out the refrigerator on grocery day (don’t ask, just feel my pain). First, it was “Firefly”. Although I feel as if I’ve never recovered, at least I did get some closure from “Serenity” and that was exactly what my therapist said I needed. Next, was “Carnivale”, and that one almost put me in Intensive Care. The dangling storyline still haunts me in my dreams, and makes the hamsters in my head run on the wheel of my brain until their tiny little paws are nothing but bleeding stumps.

Do I have to mention “Defying Gravity”? Yes, I watched, and yes, I liked it, and of course, it was canceled. Now I will never know what was in that *$(%*&# pod, or what was going to happen when they finally arrived on Saturn. The pod thing really bothers me. Now, you’ve gone and canceled “Flash Forward”. My therapist says I need to learn to let go, but Mr. McPherson, how could you? You made me care about Mark, Livvie, Charlie, Dem (but not his girlfriend, I never liked her) and Janis. I even liked Simon, although I wanted to punch him deep in the throat a couple of times. You made me care about these people, about what was going to happen, and then POOF! Gone. I’m sobbing as I write this, Mr. McPherson. Actually sobbing. I need tissues. *sniffle*

I have no idea what happens when a network decides to cancel a show, and I don’t want to know, actually. What I do want to know is if my sacrifice of a live chicken, naked bonfire dancing, and out-and-out wailing, sobbing, and gnashing of teeth will do anything to change your mind about the cancellation of Flash Forward. I honestly tried to watch “V”, but for me, it is the far inferior show. I am forced to watch reality shows, because at least I know there will be a resolution of sorts, and they always come back. Kinda like cockroaches living seven days after you cut their heads off, if you know what I mean. But what my brain really craves to stave off those damned furry rodents running the wheel is stimulating, entertaining, and puzzling television. With the cancellation of Flash Forward, I’m not getting it, and the hamsters are not only getting restless, they’re starting to eat copious amounts of brain cells.

Please, please, PLEASE. Bring back Flash Forward. I know the chickens in my yard will appreciate it, and so will the neighbors who peek at me with binoculars when I do the naked bonfire dancing.

Sincerely,

Annetta Ribken

I have a feeling I’m gonna be stuck with “The Bachelorette”. On second thought, I’d rather eat nails.

*sigh*

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