Drilling a little deeper down


Exploring the cord-cutting experience a little more:
The Sling Channel…a caveat. Your seven-day trial starts the moment you open it. Explore online first. I got a surprise 39.98 charge today. I mulled calling to bitch about that, but I’m gonna let it ride and check it out for a month. I’ve already changed the lineup some so I get more of the stuff I actually watch for five bucks less…if I’m not pleased I’ll explore DirecTv Now next month (it has my precious MLB Network and none of those wonderful two-year contracts that DTV is so notorious for).
All of the horror channels have the same movies, give or take one or two. But there’s no penalty for keeping them in the event that they have something that Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Shudder (or ScreamBox — I’m trying that, maybe, next month. I wouldn’t mind keeping both if they have enough unique content, at 3.00/month each) don’t have. Same for the other ‘category’ channels. They all have the same four commercials repeated endlessly…

Despondent saith not


I gave up blogging in favor of Facebook posting years ago, but I’ve come full circle and am back to blogging instead. This form has a little more permanence, I think, and if I’m gonna be ignored, I may as well own it.

Though my first published story was in 1977, I’ve been a full-time writer for just a couple of years. I attempted to go full-time just after coming hope from the illness that caused my disability, with a big backlog of material that I fondly imagined was ‘good enough’ and a lot of ‘belief’.

Didn’t work out that way — one, I didn’t have the energy or stamina I had been used to and couldn’t maintain that schedule, and two, the material desperately needed reworking — which I’m still doing, six years later.

Hard to keep going in the face of such massive apathy. I haven’t written anything that has galvanized people into talking about it for years, though that doesn’t stop stuff from getting pirated. I’ve sold more than 5000 kindle-copies of my chapbook, mostly through direct sales. But I have four reviews on Goodreads/Amazon.

Gotta trust in the process though. I know my stuff is good enough. No editor has ever returned a piece saying “This really sucks.” Instead, “this really doesn’t fit what we’re trying to accomplish here. But good luck with this story. I’m sure you can sell it — somewhere else” is the common response.

I resist comparisons…and some of this is sour grapes probably, but I see people whose work isn’t real good selling consistently, and it chaps my ass. But I’m a middle-aged white male, and I guess I should just get used to being marginal. Isn’t like my imagination is inclined to the mainstream.

And I’m not gonna stop, though it gives me pause (and yeah, there are times when I want to stop because working in a vacuum sucks). Friends and even some objective critics have told me they enjoy the work…it’s just that it doesn’t reach enough people. And I don’t know how to get that to happen, other than to keep throwing spaghetti.

I’m not alone. There are lots of us pasta-throwers.

But I ask you — if you’ve read a thing of mine, how about some feedback? Just “I liked it” would be fine. I think you have to write a couple more words than that, but it doesn’t have to be in-depth…that’s the point. People who write for themselves rarely try to get public.

Yeah. I’m having a minor crisis. Not ‘impostor syndrome’, but ‘invisible man’ syndrome…brought on by lack of success of worthwhile material. Help a brother out if you can.

Thanks for reading.

Cordcutting?


I’ve joined the Roku generation, as of last Tuesday. A week of discovering and winnowing down, much like the first week of being on the net back in the mid-to-late 90s. Streaming media absolutely brings that to mind — it’s clearly in its infancy as a service, and will likely mushroom as more and more sponsors jump on board.
No doubt the Firestick and other streaming utilities are similar. There are probably small degrees of difference but it’s the same stuff, conceptually. I have a Roku Ultra, which cost me 75 bucks on boxing day.
Definitely going to thin the cord a strand or two, maybe unbraid it, but not cut it completely. I need to talk to my cable guy about price, as I want to keep the Contour boxes if within reason cost-wise, as local stations are not well-represented on this system and through Cox cable. May add a sports package, for reasons discussed below.
 
Pros:
 
The Midnight Pulp channel, for one. It’s my favorite so far. It has a LOT of commercials (there’s an ad-free paid version, which I might spring for if they rotate content often) but there’s everything from ANTS to ZARDOZ on that channel. 
Has lots of the stuff I like and plenty of it and it’s mostly free. The number of sci-fi, noir, and horror channels in general is fantastic. Grindhouse (my actual favorite genre) is especially well-represented. Each channel has at least some unique content. There are westerns and romance and war channels, and paranormal/ufo/conspiracy channels, and lots of indie offerings and stuff like belly-dancing and yoga and fashion channels…and metric tonnes of international streaming. Many educational channels, though some of them are paid services. Still, they’re available. A host of (ssssh) private channels, with everything from Bill O’Reilly to softcore porn. Yeah, there’s pr0n too.
The streaming service itself is great. Crystal-clear HD everydamnthing and it streams content from my various hard drives wonderfully. Links seamlessly within my chain.
 
Cons:
Little dinky remote.
Redundancy. Lots of channels are owned by the same people and it takes a while to winnow them down. The BEST content is still on Netflix/Amazon/Hulu or other paid services.
Local channel access is spotty. Sling is too expensive for what it is. It depends on the cost of basic cable being even more expensive for its existence. Lots of channels depend on your having a cable host.
When there are commercials, they’re the same ones, over and over and over and over, and then.
There’s very little sports coverage or coverage of the coverage. There is a watchESPN app, but ESPN sucks. I need me some MLB Network. I do write for a baseball blog
 

Lately it occurs to me


OprahBros are just recycled BernieBros. I can’t believe that people take that stuff seriously. But apparently they do.

“You’re in the Cabinet! You’re in the Cabinet! And You’re in the Cabinet!”

Ugh. Thanks, Jill. Some images that brings up.

Stuff I did recently:

Reviewed:
The CroningThe Croning by Laird Barron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Look, this is effing great. It starts out like a standard matriarchal triumph thing, with the weird witchy wife trope happening and the half-the-man-I-used-to-be protagonist. So it has that ring of familiarity, and those changes are adroitly rung by the author, who then turns everything sideways as he goes cosmic Hidden allofasudden and everything gets the worm’s-eye-view gone slaunchwise until the literally mind-expanding climax.
Killer stuff. It should be a movie. It’d be a million times better than The Void. I’d watch it 167 times. This is my 3rd read-through. I own the tpb and the ebook.

View all my reviews

Edited:

Test Patterns

Instagram (mostly cats)

RIP Edgar.

edgar

Clue for Cats


A few minutes ago, there was a thump, and a splash in the bathroom. I ventured in to find this:
tptub

Now, there are three likely suspects. The first was behind me snoozing, but I still wouldn’t put it past him.

tyketub

The other two are ‘sleeping’ as well, though one opened her eyes when I took her picture. Your guess is as good as mine as to who the perp is.

bustertub

shadowtub

Thanks for ‘reading’. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of TEST PATTERNS  — New from Planet X Publications.

Nevermore


My friend died today. He was put to sleep, actually, before his beleaguered body was ready to give up the ghost completely. He was six months old, and had a congenital deformity that made it hard for him the breathe. Three of those months were lived with pneumonia, and he was a cheerful little guy despite that. Here’s a pic of him at about six weeks:

edgar

He got sick, though. Dr. Boyer at Speedway Veterinary got him better, and he had begun to fill out, and to run and jump and do all of the things that he had been left out of. For a month. One-sixth of his lifetime. He was my hero..after all the shit he went through, to have spirit like that. Doughty little warrior.

edgarsweater

I hope he enjoyed that. He certainly acted like he did. Edgar was the most affectionate, plucky kitten ever. He lived every moment like it was his last, until the end, after his liver shut down, and he was breathing in tiny pants, and drooling bile. That was hard to see. This pic was taken just a couple hours before he breathed his last:

edgardark

Sorry it’s so dark. It was before dawn — my kindle doesn’t have a flash, and the lighting in here isn’t the best.

Not longer after that pic was taken, I made a vet appointment. We couldn’t keep it because no money. I started a GoFundMe, which will pay the doctor bills when the money gets to my bank. My friend Denise called the doc and got an emergency appointment…actually fifteen minutes after the original would have been.

I knew it was too late. I had been trying to steam his lungs open, putting him in the bathroom next to the tub and filling it with hot water. He didn’t like the vaporizer.

That worked, just a little…but he was gasping, and I had smelled his drool by then. I was just trying to keep him warm, more or less, until, maybe, maybe, we could save him. I thought he had pneumonia again, or kitty crud.

But no. He is on to his reward, and those of us who knew him, and the scores of people he touched through the internet, we’re all bereft. We still have a little bit left to the goal of the GoFundMe, if you would.

Edgar is survived by his brother Tyke, who lives here, and his brothers Samhain and StanLee, and his sister Bastet, who live next door, and another sister, who has moved away.

The picture below is of Edgar and Tyke in better times.

dudebros

Thanks for reading. I’ll stop crying eventually.

It never rains


But it pours. Man it pours.

The new book Test Patterns is out and doing well. My kitten Edgar is not doing well. I’ll share the urls to both campaigns…first the kitty.

Edgar has a congenital deformity and does not breathe easily or well. We’ve almost lost him before…he’s undersized, under-developed, and has low resistance to any illness that’s about. But he’s the doughtiest warrior, cheerful and affectionate at the worst of times.

That how we know he’s sick…well, plus the panting and lassitude, which is so unlike him. There’s no money for the vet or for continued treatment of for even bringing his ashes home if he should pass, so we’ve started a GoFundMe.

/Widgetflex.swf

The anthology:
Test Patterns is available in paperback and mobi. It’s currently #68 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Horror > Anthologies

It’s been as high as 26. We’d like to see more of that please.

Here’s what some people have had to say:
tpback

ToC

 

 

 

tpnew

Thanks for reading!