I have no lack of subject matter this time. Unfortunately, it’s mostly not good, but only temporarily so.
I get a small pension from the Teamsters Union and they use a third party to pay out the monthly checks. I received a letter from them saying that the third party had suffered a security breech and my name, address, phone number and social security number were in the data storage that had been breached. That happened in May; I received the letter at the beginning of August.
At the end of August someone somehow got my cell phone number and used it to get an account with T-Mobile. That’s right, they de-ported my phone number from U.S. Cellular and switched it to T-Mobile. So for several days I had no phone. Nor did I receive any notification of that. I discovered that I had no phone service—no text, no phone, no WiFi or internet, no nada. So I went to U.S. Cellular to find out why. At first the guy looked at his computer and told me they had no record of my number. A little more cyber digging and they discovered the truth. They put somebody in their corp. office on the problem. They had trouble because, technically, the number then belonged to T-Mobile.
But wait! Things get better. On the way back I wanted to get some cash. ATM says my card is invalid. So I went inside the branch office. The bank had locked up my account and frozen my card, and one of the officers had been trying to get in touch with me.
I went to the main branch and the lady there, Barb, was so glad that I came in. She was really concerned that she hadn’t been able to get in touch with me about my checking account. Someone got hold of my debit card account number (the card itself never left my possession) and in a period of less than 48 hours many people rang up over $6000 worth of charges on my account, all in the Los Angeles area.
Between 4:30 pm. on August 29 and 10:30 pm. on August 31, they made 157 transactions, most of them in the amount of $28.95.
So now I have a new account, a new phone number, a new debit card, and a new respect for the skills of the evil bastards that did this too me, may their hacking fingers rot to the bone.
My brother finally arrived, so he’ll be able to help with the garage sale this weekend. Between sales and give-aways, I hope to get rid of a lot of sh stuff.
On the reading front, I decided to give Dean Koontz a rest and to re-read The Mallorean by David Eddings. Eddings has an interesting style and his characters are really unique, as is the magic in that world.
The Mallorean is a five-book fantasy series. It is actually preceded by the five-book series, The Belgariad. I’d have preferred to read The Belgariad first, but the library here doesn’t have it. I could wait and have them order it, but I was ready for a new book and didn’t want to wait.
There is a concept of magic called “the will and the word.” I’ve borrowed that concept with a different designation, and more limits, for the Lying Swords series.
One more thing: if you go back to my previous blog post you’ll see the account of the typos problem I’m having lately. I thought I’d mention that I averaged only slightly less than one typo error per line on this post. I think I got them all.
Enough for now, and please read.
I’ll explain that weird blog title lower down.
I’ve written almost nothing original in the fiction genre in months. I have stuff in my head to write, but it’s not getting written.
One reason is that I’m making so many typing mistakes that sometimes I have to rewrite the same sentence two or three times to get it right. (Hence the title.) The writing itself has become frustrating. I fat-finger the keys, or I skip words or letters, or I transpose the letters. In the previous two sentences I made three mistakes. I fixed them. Just for fun, I’m going to write out the rest of this blog and not go back and fix any of the errors. You may get a laugh out of it, or just an OMG reaction.
I’ve reached one of those dreaded spots where I don’t know exaxtly what’s going to happen next with the Lyng Swords Book 2.
I mean, I know what’s going to happen in just a little bit, but not in the exact scene I’m working on.
Okay, four days late and I have an idea. I’ll goforward with it and see if it’s what I want. The general accepted idea of writing is to write, get the story going, and then fix it in the second, third, or fourth draft. I know this, I’ve advised this, but I don’t follow it very well. It maybe because I’m a former English teacher, before that a college English major, but I jjust can’t seem to write crappy the first time just to ge to it. It feels wrong—almost sinful. But I’m going to try to do that this time anyway because I ned to get the story going again. I’ve invested too much in the first book to let it just croak over for lack of effort.
There is one section in the first novel that I really like. I copied it out to make a stand-alone story…or almost so. I’ll need to edit it some to get it to really stand alone. I was thinking aobut submitting it to a specific market, but the won’t accept nove excerpts. Shucks.
On the reading front, I’m still reading Dean Koontz. I just finished one of his longer books: The Face. The odd thing about it is “The Face”—a nick name for the handsomest and most successful actor in the world—never appears. It’s all about his son, his head of security, adeadly but very creative and intelligent murderer/kidnapper, and a sot-of ghost. All femalecharacters in this book are minor, in a supporting role or their to be a victim.
The book I’ve just started is the opposite: the primary character is a woman. Through the first several chaptere, she’s the only character.
Looking back on this now, I’m surprised.I expected more rrorrs. But stil, you can see the problem. I write a few pargraphs and then I have to go back and read it all with an eye for typos. It’s very frustrating,and has kept me from even trying. But I’m going to go aheas dndtry anyway.
And that is al for this edition. Be well, and please read.
Well, they didn’t like my unicorn story. Phooey.
I’ve made progress on the revisions necessary on Saving Atlantis. Still have about half-way to go.
I haven’t written anything new. That erotic story I was thinking about just kind of went away.
I managed to sell quite a bit in the garage sale, but plenty more to go. I still have the wheelchair, walkers, prescription boxes, DVDs, coolers, many small wolf figurines and other wolf decorations, and other stuff. I’ll have another sale this month, I hope. If you want to do me a favor, you can tell anyone that you know who might need any of those things. No need to wait for the sale. If someone wants any of those things, they can contact me thru Facebook and we’ll work it out.
I’m going to do something different with this entry. I’m going to grumble about television commercials. No the fact that there are so many; rather, I’m to call out commercials that don’t really get it right.
When a commercial for Car Shield asks, “What are you going to do if your car breaks down?” and you don’t have Cad Shield. My thought is, “What will you do if your car doesn’t break down?” You gotta give it to Car Shield for their ads. They make it seem like Car Shield is almost a charity—you enroll, you have a car problem, they’ll fix it for you. But if you don’t have a car problem, you’ll still pay them. Car Shield’s income is between $100 and $500 million every year. Which means, of course, that a lot of people are paying in and getting nothing out.
Hey, it’s insurance. You pay in and, actually, hope you don’t need to get some of that money back by having a car problem.
Next, let’s question the ad for AutoZone. Lady comes in with her young son, says her car is starting slow, the associate there tests the car and says it just needs a charge, and it’s free. End of story. NOT! If the battery needs a charge, then either the battery or the charging system of the car needs inspection and probably repair.
Here's an old true story. During my graduate years in college I had a car! It was Rambler Rebel, I think a 1967. I started having problems with the battery. It would start fine one time, then not the other time because the battery was to drained to start the car. And the battery was still under warranty. So I took it back to Ward’s. (Montgomery Ward was still in business then. Ward’s and Sears were the two major department stores then. K-Mart was starting to make inroads.) They gave me a new battery for the partial price based on how long I’d had it.
Three days later, the battery was dead in the morning. I assured them I had not left the lights on while the car wasn’t running. They gave me a new battery, but grumbled about it. The next day, the battery was dead. They insisted on examining the electrical system and the charging system, looking for any kind of electrical part failure. They found nothing; and gave me a new battery. That was on Friday. On Saturday I drove from Greeley home to Brighton—about a fifty-mile trip. The next morning the battery didn’t have enough juice to start the car.
I’ll mention here that I had done quite a bit of night driving during this continuing episode. My father told me to take it in to his mechanic—an older guy and his crew that could really be trusted with cars. So I did, and told him the problem. It took him about ten minutes to figure it out. The belt that turned the alternator was too loose. It turned the alternator wheel, but not with enough force to keep the battery charged. He tightened it and showed my how to do that and charged my maybe $15. (This was 1973.)
I had no more problems with a dead battery. I’d check that belt every once in a while and tightened it once or twice. The engine finally croaked over about three years later.
A quick note: another stupid commercial is that pizza commercial where you get a big discount if you order on line. The narrator stresses you must order on line. But you’ve got this one guy running out of his house, his wife driving the riding mower away from the house, and nobody using their phone to order on line.
That’s enough for now; I hope you enjoyed the change of subject matter. If so, or not, please give feedback, either on my web site or even on FB.
Please take care, and read!
With the growing alarm over Artificial Intelligence, particularly in regards to writing, I'm proud to say I was a little ahead of the times. This was published in Page and Spine (now all gone) four years ago--March 30, 2019
It is not optimistic.
"Deb, I've decided to commit suicide."
"Arnie! You're going to cryogenic?"
"No, Deb. What good would that do? It won't be any better when I wake up."
"Why, Arnie? What's so bad?"
"What's so good? Nobody reads my stuff anymore. All I've ever wanted was to write. To have people read what I wrote. Nobody does anymore."
"Why? Did you suddenly get bad or something?"
"It's the AIs, Deb. Most of the reading now is done by them. Hardly any people left, and those that are have their own vocations, even though the AIs do them all better.
"That's how it is. Only the AIs read now, and they only read stuff written by AIs. If you ever looked at the best seller lists, everything on there is written by an AI. No reason left for me to live."
"Arnie, you mean you're really going to...to die? Be dead forever?"
"What are you going to do?"
"Poison. It's the cleanest and the quickest, now that guns and knives are gone."
"But the AIs will just resuscitate you."
"No they won't. It'll be too late."
"Arnie, thank you for telling me. It's better than just finding out afterward. At least now I'll know why. When will you do it?"
"Already did, Deb. Probably just a few minutes. If you don't want to see, you should leave."
She kissed him quickly on the cheek and went to the door. "You are so brave," she said, as she closed the door.
Arnie sat down, then closed his eyes. Three minutes later he stopped breathing. His lights went out.
AI666 read his story, then reread it. Perfect. Another best seller. It might even encourage desired human decisions. Either way, his audience would download it by the millions.