Monday, September 26, 2011

New story in print!

New short story in print, Empty Church, in the collection Demons: Encounters with the Devil and His Minions, Fallen Angels, and the Possessed.

I didn't write a horror piece per se. Instead, I decided to give the collection a piece of wholesome, Christian fiction because the world needs more of that. What happens when you see a crackpot preacher on TV or the internet spewing totally ridiculous ideas in the name of God? You shut him out of course. It would be just our luck that he's right, wouldn't it?

Check it out on Goodreads for more info. Available at Amazon. Soon to be available at fine, Christian bookstores everywhere.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Something I learned from Star Trek

One thing I've learned from Star Trek (TOS) is that back in the 60's, apparently everyone was terrified of letting computers control their lives. Computers, machines, everything that takes the work away from people. Over and over episodes express misgivings about machines and computers taking over and how horrible this is when we rely on them too much because it will... oh, take away from our humanity or something.

Well, it happened. Computers have taken over. The average person is powerless to do anything against the system. Nobody has the authority to change anything because procedure is locked into computer routines instead of personal interactions.

There was a time when you could appeal to a person to, say, give you a break on your mortgage payment. Now, nobody has that authority, even people who work for the bank, because everything is computerized, and nobody can change what the computer does.

So... was Kirk right?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Empty Gas Tank Scam

Watched a special on scamming on History Channel. I was disappointed. I expected it to be a documentary on the history of scamming, not a reality show of people falling victim to cons. It was interesting, but I wanted to know more about that Ponzi guy, more history about famous scams over the centuries, but they glazed right over it and returned to more candid camera sequences of real people getting taken. I didn’t want to watch that!

It did remind me of a couple times I got scammed. Back in Delaware I was pushing carts at work and a guy drove up to me, said he lived far away and he was running out of gas and needed money so he could make it home. He even pointed to his gas gauge and it was on empty. Me, being 19 and naïve and full of Christian zeal to help people, bought a protein bar on debit, got 20 cash back.

If I remember correctly, I gave it to him, told him God loves him, and watched him go. Out the corner of my eye I noticed he didn’t go to the gas station next door. He drove off somewhere else. That was suspicious, but it didn’t occur to me it was a scam at the time...

...until another person tried it! A second person, different car, but same story, showing me his gas tank on E, needed money. This time I was a little smarter, and I only gave five bucks or something like that just to see what he’d do with it. He didn’t drive to the gas station across the street. He got on the road and took a left into downtown. Passed three gas stations on his way. I knew then it was a scam. Plus, if you’re low on gas, why would you drive around on an empty tank? It was only to convince me they were telling the truth. So when a third person tried it, I said no.

People like that piss me off. They prey on people’s generosity and good will. It sure killed my desire to help people since odds are they’re scamming you, and that’s so sad. We can’t even trust people who need help. We must be suspicious of everyone and it makes the world more heartless and cynical when people take advantage of generosity and good nature. It’s no wonder to me there are so few good people in the world. We get taken, and we never want to help again because of the assholes who take advantage of it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

OS X Lion

I don’t like OS X Lion. It fixed a bunch of stuff that wasn’t broken. Gestures especially.

Snow Leopard was simple: four fingers swipe up shows the desktop. Four fingers swipe down to show all open windows. Three fingers swipe left and right to go back and forth on Safari, as well as in Finder. Lion changes that so now you have to pinch three fingers outwards to show the desktop, two finger swiping sometimes goes back and forth but other times it doesn’t... There are so many gestures now it’s confusing, not intuitive. Not to mention you can’t customize them. Why?

I hate the iPhone-style scrolling, too. When there’s nothing left to scroll, the screen should just stop! It doesn’t need to keep scrolling to let me know I’ve reached the end! I hate the ugly, disappearing scrollbars, too. Really, there was nothing wrong with Snow Leopard. Apple didn’t have to change anything. Lion just makes my laptop behave more like an iPhone, and I didn’t want it to.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Modest Proposal

Go figure. I move to Ohio, get away from mom, am finally in a position to change jobs and what happens? The economy crashes and now there are more people than jobs. Go fucking figure.

People look to politicians and the President for answers. They whine about how he’s not creating jobs, not doing enough to put people back to work. News flash people: businesses create jobs! The government can’t force business to hire people. Really, what do we expect the government to do? They can lower taxes and create all the incentives they want, but they can’t make it profitable to hire more people. Employers have cut the fat and discovered they’re quite profitable with fewer people doing more work. The government can’t fix that. We’re blaming the wrong group.

I have a modest proposal to end this unemployment crisis. If creating jobs is such a burden for employers, we should tackle the problem from the opposite angle and reduce the number of applicants. Therefore, I recommend we solve two problems at once and reduce the number of people applying for jobs by getting rid of our nuclear weapons.

I think we all agree there are just too many human beings in the world, and we’d be better off if there were fewer of them competing for resources. Therefore, if the United States simply nukes, oh, say every tenth city in the country, that will reduce the population of the United States to the point where there is a job surplus again.

To be fair, I also propose a lottery. Every city has one entry in the hat, pull a bunch of entries and nuke those cities. Simple as that. Problem solved. Make sure not to give people warning though. Don’t want anyone being unpatriotic and surviving or avoiding the blasts, as that would ruin the plan for everyone.

With a little luck, we’ll solve three problems with this move and the cities containing the corporate headquarters of the businesses responsible for the market crash will be nuked and we can just start the fuck over.