The Second Draft

My thirty thousand word month didn’t really come together like I’d hoped it would.  My goal is to write everyday, but I’m much better writing in spurts than I am writing regularly.  Having my own motivational program is helping, but it is also a bit damning when I look back on the month and see all the days that I didn’t write.

WordKeeperAlpha Graph for March 2015What is really good is that my writing is much more focused. You can see that I’m focusing much more on my work on Impervious, which is what I need to be doing. Unfortunately, as my beta readers know, all that writing you see up there wasn’t on new chapters, like I’d hoped it would be. No, just about everything that you see up there is worldbuilding and character work.

When I had writing group at the start of the month, they pointed out that my current chapter had some serious plotholes in it, holes that would show more and more later in the story.  What it all boils down to is that I didn’t actually think things out beyond a certain point in the story.  Certain characters were also hollow placeholders and needed some serious fleshing out, if only in my own mind.  Thankfully, I’ve got most of those details cleared up, and have several more chapters of details to fill in.   I may have even outlined another book that could conceivably be a prequel.  Go figure.

Which brings us to April.  I still want to do a thirty thousand word month, but I also need to start doing some more serious work on WordKeeperAlpha, which means I’m going to have to temper those goals.  I think, for April, my goal isn’t going to be a specific word count, but rather to write at least twenty days out of the month.  When I sit down and actually get to writing, I can usually bang out at least a thousand words.  So, if I can write twenty days out of the month, I should clock in somewhere around twenty thousand words, which would be pretty respectible.  Not only that, but I’d just about be back on target for the year.

My resolution this year was simply to write more than I did last year.  I’m happy to say that, three months into the year, I am really accomplishing that goal.  In may last year I wrote less than five thousand words, and this month I should clock in at around twelve thousand, which is about what I did in January and February.

Still, I’m finding that getting that first draft done was the easy part.  While Impervious is a much, much better story than it was, its also a lot harder to write.  In the first draft, I could sit down and just write whatever the hell popped into my head.  Now, it has to make sense.  *eye roll* What a pain.

So, this month: write for at least twenty days, minimum fifteen thousand words and make some significant progress on new features for WordKeeperAlpha.  To my friends who are reading this, I’m counting on you to bug me and hold me accountable.  Now, I have some more writing to do tonight, if you will excuse me.


The Ides of March – WordKeeperAlpha update

Alright.  So it isn’t really the “Ides” of March yet, but I like say “ides”.   But I digress (“Digress” is another word I like). Here we are, three and a half months into the year and what do I have to show for it?  Plenty!  You just may or may not notice it.  That’s because I’ve been diligently (kinda) working on bugs and other issues that have been reported to me by my wonderful users.

That isn’t sarcastic.  You guys really are wonderful and I really do appreciate it when you let me know when something isn’t working right.  As stated before, I’m only one man, and the likelyhood that I’ll find everything wrong with this Frankenstein’s Monster that I’ve cobbled together is minimal, especially when I think it works perfectly.  Trust me, I know it doesn’t.

WordKeeperAlpha development has is largely limited to the weekends now, while I focus more on getting my book done.  That doesn’t leave me as much time as I’d like for adding new features, but I AM working on them.  If you haven’t noticed the bugs, I’m not going to lay them out for you here.  If you have noticed bugs, and they haven’t been fixed yet, please let me know, and I’ll make it a priority to fix.  One major one that has been repeatedly pointed out to me is that the “Remember Me” box isn’t working properly yet.  *sigh*  Don’t worry, I’m not sighing at you, I’m sighing at me.  I’ve though that I’ve had this stupid thing sorted out twice now, but every time I think I’ve got it whipped, it rears its ugly head once again.  I am working on it… in fact its my primary goal right now.  So please, bear with me for just a while longer.

Other feautres that I’m working on:

  1. Public author pages (don’t worry, you’ll chose if you have a public page or not.)
  2. An API, so that other people can develop WordPress or other blog plugin’s to share your progress and projects.
  3. A semi-public writing room and simple text-editor to accomidate word sprints. More on this below.

I’ve always wanted WordKeeperAlpha to be a more social experience for writers, but at the same time, I also don’t want to be the Facebook for authors.  There’s already one of those.  It’s called Facebook.  What I want is to create something that will let authors interact and motivate each other.  Motivation is the key here and I think word sprints are the first thing that I want to take a stab at.  I’ve been on the fence about it, since there are scads of different options for you to write in.   Hell, I’ve got no less than six apps on my iPad that I can write in, distraction free.  I don’t need to reinvent that particular wheel.  What I’m shooting for is a really simple writing environment that will let many authors participate in the same writing sprint.  It may work, it might not, but I’m going to try it and see what people think.

This, of course, is where you come in.  Do you think I’m going in the wrong direction with WordKeeperAlpha?  Is there something that you’d like to see more than a blog plugins or a feature that supports word sprints?  Do you think that would be the bee’s knees (I have yet to figure out why a bee having knees would be anything someone would be excited about)?  Leave me a comment and justify my exist…  I mean give me feedback on what you think I should do with WordKeeper next.

… … 

Seriously, someone leave me a comment.  Its way to quiet around here.


Net Neutrality: Still a battle.

It’s kind of telling that in every piece I read against Net Neutrality, that not a single one of those people actually understand it.  Which isn’t to say that all the people who support it understand what it really is.  That’s kinda the way of politics: people with something to gain convince other gullible people to go along with their stance.

So, lets clear up what Net Neutrality really is.  We can start by taking a look at who stands to gain if we keep Net Neutrality and also who stands to lose.  Consider the names behind Net Neutrality; companies like Google, Netflix, Firefox, Amazon, Microsoft and over a hundred others that have built the internet that you use every day.  What do they have to gain?  In the case of Google, they stand to gain easier access to resources that will help them spread Google Fiber; something I desperately wish would come to my area.

In most other cases, what the companies stand to gain is … nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  For them, things will stay just as they are right now.  This should be conservatives dream issue!  We’re conserving how the net works, as is, right now.  Currently, the internet is a pretty level playing field, speaking in relation to getting your business online.  There aren’t any hurdles to face other than making something and getting it to people.   Net Neutrality isn’t something new that we’re trying to put into place, its how the internet was made in the first place.  What the Title II reclassification that the FCC has approved basically puts protections in place to keep it the way its been.  We’re not fixing something that isn’t broke, we’re trying to keep people from breaking  it.

Now, who stands to lose if Net Neutrality goes through.  First, I suppose I should explain to you what reclassifying broadband under Title II actually means, and why you don’t have to be afraid of it.  Basically, what Title II means is that ISP’s have to treat all information equally.  Every bit that goes along their wires has to be treated the same as every other bit.  This means they can’t give priority to some while slowing others down.  The email you are sending your mom goes at the same speed as the email that the president of Comcast, or the President himself.  That’s it.  That’s Net Neutrality boiled down to its very simplest.  And its why the ISP’s don’t want it.  Comcast, Verizon, AT&T all stand to lose money by being prevented from prioritizing content.

Could reclassifying broadband under Title II come back to bite us?  Ehhhh… maybe, but I doubt it.  TItle II is also what covers telphony services (your phone service).  How many of you are locked into Verizon to make your phone calls?  Don’t like them, what are your other options?  Just about anywhere I can think of you have no less than 5 other options to get your phone service through.  That’s what proper competition looks like.  Now, I’m not calling out Verizon and AT&T as model companies here, but you’ve got other choices, and that’s the whole point.  If Verizon were the only option for phone service in my area, what in the world would keep them from gouging me for every last penny they could suck out of me for the bare minimum of service that they could provide?

Comcast, at the very least, would have you believe that this isn’t the case, and that they are completely dedicated to the principles of Net Neutrality.  They assure us on their own website that “Comcast won’t throttle back the speed at which content comes to you.”  That is a direct quote.  It is also a lie.  Last year, Comcast demanded millions of dollars more from Netflix to stream content to their customers.  During the negotiations, Comcast severely throttled Netflix’s speeds to their customers until they caved.  That’s what Net Neutrality seeks to stop.



Internet Service Providers have spent millions of dollars buying legislation to prevent broadband service from being classified under Title II.  You will hear them spout all sorts of rhetoric about “protecting innovation” and “service to the American people suffering”.  Thing is, they don’t give a good goddamn about the American people.  That is apparent based on the absolutely abysmal customer service ratings and satisfaction ratings that they have.  Most people despise their internet service provider and for good reason.  Prices are high, service and quality is low, and the ISPs really couldn’t care less. 

We do a lot of streaming in my house, and as such, we pay for a higher tier service package, which promises speeds of “up to 100 megabytes per second”.   What that actually translates into is speeds of around 22-30 megabytes per second.  I doubt that there’s ever been a time, even once, when I’ve gotten the speed that I actually paid for.  But I’m just one person.  Of course, I don’t know a single person who’s ever gotten what they paid for.  Actually, I’ve never heard of someone who got what they paid for from their ISP.  If I heard of an ISP that actually provided the service they advertised, I would jump ship so quickly Cox’s head would spin.  Oh wait… I can’t.

In a “free market” when I’m not satisfied by my service, I have the option to choose different service.  This ability gives the people the power to force large corporations like Comcast, Time Warner and Cox, to treat their customers better, and give us a “fair” price, or what the “market” will sustain.    But wait… I CAN’T choose another provider because the major service providers have divided up the country and agreed not to compete.  This gives them no incentive to provide me with a better product, better service, or lower prices.  If I want broadband service, Cox is my only choice and I have to live with what they provide at the price they provide it at.  Tell me, libertarians who don’t want more regulation: how is the free market going to help me?  

“But Seth! Government regulation is BAD! It restricts growth and prevents innovation!”  

Bullshit. Sure, certain regulation can be abused and used against people, but regulation also protects people, the customers, from corporations who couldn’t give two rats asses about them.   Look around yourselves and pay attention.   When I read libertarian stances its almost like they’re talking about the “free market” as if it were some sort of benevolent god, or God himself, making his will for equality in all things known.  Sorry princess, doesn’t work like that.

Cities like Chatanooga, TN are putting in their own municiple, city run fiber networks that provide speeds of up to 1000 megabytes per second.   They provide residents with a couple tiers of packages, at prices that beat the stockings off of what local ISP’s are offering.  Instead of responding by lowering the prices of their own service in the area, ISPs are moving to block more cities from installing their own municiple networks at the local and state levels.  They coerce cities into legally binding contracts that prevent them from providing competition to their services, or they simply pay state legistlatures to pass laws that serve the same purpose.  This, is your precious “free market”.  A market where those with the most money are free to do as they wish.

I urge you.  Actually research Net Neutrality and don’t just listen to Ted Cruz, or any other mouthpiece of the Tea Party, because they either don’t know what they are talking about, or have been out and out bought by the cable industry. I know … “No, Seth! They’re patriots who want to protect our rights from the evil of Government!”  I’m going to call bullshit again.  

  1. The government isn’t going to be running the internet.  The NSA is already spying on every goddamn person in the US…so worrying that they’re going to do it MORE is a little dumb. (This is an issue for a whole other post.)
  2. You can’t have things both ways.  Either the government is an incompetant bungler that can’t do anything right, or its an Orwellian monstrosity that is reaching into every part of our lives to control us through internet and water flouridation.
  3. Take a look at your mighty heroes.  Then take a look at where their campaign finances come from.  Ted Cruz accepted what any sane person would consider a ludicrous amount of money from the ISP’s and now he’s against the issue that they are against?  Granted, he can still be straight up dumb… I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
  4. Your rights need just as much protection from large corporations as they do against the government. 

Well, the good news is that the FCC has reclassified broadband under Title II, and they have some other things in mind that would help increase competition, and encourage more cities like Chatanooga to install their own municiple broadband.  The bad news is that the ISP’s are buckling down and attempting to get legislation through Congress that would make the ruling of the FCC moot.  We’ve still got a fight ahead of us, but I think its worth fighting.  The internet might be stuffed to the gills with porn and various unsavory memes and morons, but its also a driving force of freedom, the economy, and information for the entire world.  It deserves to be protected, not monetized in any way possible.


Writing Fuel

As I do my best to write write more regularly, I’m trying to identify those things that spark my muse and get my imagination working, and those things that actively hinder those things. I know, I know, you can’t always rely on your muse to write, or else you’re just waiting on the fickle little bitch to get off the couch and get to work. That’s a one way ticket to ‘no finished book land’.

So, here’s a few of the things that work to get the creative juices flowing in me, and those things that I must absolutely avoid. Continue reading…


An admission: Or why I’m a liberal now

This last election I did something that I’ve never done before in my life. I voted Democrat, pretty much right down the entire ballot. I had several reasons for doing this. First, I have the vain hope that in this classically Republican state, I would be part of a growing trend of people switching sides. I wanted that to be part of a message to Republicans that they needed to change because they were losing people. Second, I honestly feel that Democrat representatives are more in line with my beliefs.

Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t have faith that either political party has the interests of the people at heart. Both are completely devoted to serving their own needs before those of the people they claim to represent. Washington is a cesspool of corruption and it extends to both sides.

With that being said, over the last couple of years, the group that has made me scream “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” is hands down the Republicans. Most of that is the Tea Party’s fault as its gotten its claws deeper and deeper into the GOP. Although, in all honesty, I was drinking the Tea (koolaid) only just a few years ago. I’ll admit it. I listened to Glenn Beck. I worried that the end of days was right around the corner, and Obama had sold us out to enter us into a new dark age where all Christians were locked away in concentration camps and liberalism and political correctness destroyed freedom, truth and the American way. I kept it quiet, because my opinions were not shared by my friends.

Then, I stopped listening to AM radio. I started reading. I started listening. In short, I started thinking for my own damn self, instead of taking the word of some radio hosts as the gospel truth. I finally started listening to what the ass-hats on Fox News were saying, and how they were saying it. It didn’t hurt that they also said some terrifyingly stupid things during that time that made me hate them. It also didn’t hurt that during that time, I was exposed to more than a few things in Church that made me question the Conservative mindset.

Please, also keep in mind that when I say I was Conservative, I say that mainly on the basis that I thought smaller government was better, that people needed to take care of themselves, as opposed to getting welfare, and that all our overseas actions were awesome because the troops deserved respect. To further clarify, yes, the troops do deserve respect; the people giving the orders are the ones that I have problems with.

I disliked Obama, when he was first elected, because I thought that his “Hope and Change” would destroy America. Now, I’m just disappointed, because I don’t have any Hope that Change will ever happen in Washington. Despite the entire theme of this post, I don’t like to get political. I disliked it even when I was a dyed in the wool Conservative. People talked about politics, mocked each other over politics, and made assumptions over peoples intelligence over politics that were often unfair. I even do it now, though I think my reasons are a little better.

So, the question is, why? What caused me to switch sides? There’s a lot of reasons, but much of it boils down to what the Republican party has become since the Tea Party came along. Its no secret to those of you who know me, science is kind of a big thing with me. I’ve spent pretty much my entire life either watching, or reading science fiction, learning about science just because its fun, and desperately wanting to go into space myself someday. Or be a cyborg. Or have a robot exo-skeleton. Or all three. I’ll take all three and be a cyborg, Ironman in space please.

When you take that into account, it was probably inevitable that myself and the right-wing would have an eventual falling out. They promised that trickle down economics would solve everything. It didn’t. Science promised me tablet computers. Guess what I’m writing this post on. They told me that global warming isn’t real and isn’t an active threat to the planet. It most certainly is.

*sigh* I’m actually getting tired of writing this… and since I don’t expect many people to read it, especially not this far, I’m just going to say that everything that the right-wing has promised me has failed. We have two dollar a gallon gas right now, and Fox News is trying to convince me that’s a bad thing, because the economy will suffer from billionaires losing money and investing elsewhere. I’m not posting links, I’m not going to really engage in any conversation, this isn’t a call for help. This is me, finally telling whoever cares in “The Establishment” that I’ve changed and I did it long ago.

If police fuck up and shoot a kid, they should be held to the same laws that they try to enforce. If someone has cancer, why in God’s name should they even have to worry if their insurance will cover it? If we are destroying our planet, the only damned planet we have, how is it bad to take better care of it? Creationism is not science. Religion does not belong in government. Government does not belong in religion. Stop saying political correctness, and start realizing that you don’t have to be a dick to people. A better use of money would be feeding people and funding research rather than building weapons and fighting wars.

And most of all… WHY IS TED CRUZ GOING TO BE CHAIRING THE COMMITTEE THAT OVERSEES NASA?! I’m trying to find a better way of saying “That’s like putting a moron in charge of some of the smartest people on Earth,” but it is putting a moron in charge of some of the smartest people on Earth.

So, I’m a liberal. Because in at the end of the day, progressive isn’t a bad word. It means you want progress. There isn’t much about the way things were or are that I want to conserve, so lets shake things up a bit, try something new, grow as a country and as a species.