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Time to go?

The palazzo here has been pretty good to me and ended up being my second real blog. The first one is long gone in the Geocities Purge of a couple of years ago and the third one (a joint effort with my good friend Rob) is fallow and static at this point. LiveJournal has been a good place to be while all that's been going on.

I just haven't been getting here very often, even to check up on those folks who I'm friends with on LJ. Mostly I've moved the feeds I want to keep up with to my Google Reader and even there I'm having a hard time keeping up.

So maybe it's time to just say this is the end here. It's been a good run though a little lame at the end and for that I'm sorry. You can keep up with me over at my namesake website. And Twitter.

From time to time there might be a nugget of something that shows up here, but most everything will be on the two places I mentioned above.

See you around the internet, folks.




Is / Is Not

I just read a profile of Roger Ailes in this month's Esquire magazine, and I'm struck by a couple of things:

1 - The man views every situation as a fight.
2 - He is determined to win every fight.
3 - If he does not win, then the fight becomes a war.

That doesn't sound like any kind of recipe for happiness to me.

I watched the President's State of the Union address last night and I was struck by a couple of things:

1 - We, as a nation (America), don't have much fight in us unless we feel threatened. That's why we're behind in producing college graduates compared to the rest of the world.
2 - We talk a good game about winning, and then we talk a lot more when we don't win.
3 - When we lose a fight, we turn on each other to make ourselves feel better.

The President connected the dots between education and America's prosperity last night. Education is IMPORTANT and we need quality teachers and they need to be paid like doctors. Communities can't do that without jobs so that taxpayers can contribute to teacher salaries. Without investing in our future (yes that means spending some money and waiting for it to pay back) we will not be winners.

Bravery, after all, means standing up to bullies when you have to. It is not unmanly to walk away from a fight. It is not unmanly to lose a fight that you thought you could win. It is unmanly to turn on someone who is less privileged than you are when you've lost that fight. Winning over lesser opponents is not the same as defeating an opponent equal to or greater than you.

We cannot give in to fear. Roger Ailes, through his Fox News channel, promotes fear in the hopes that the fearful will love him. Our president (and make no mistake he is the country's president) does not promote fear. He wants you to be hopeful and to effect change based on that hope. Bullies will stand on the corner and wait for you to come by so they can beat you up. That's fear. Ailes and Fox are the bullies on the corner, waiting to beat you up with their rhetoric and their ideas that benefit only one sector of the nation. The President is the kid who's been beaten up and decides to find another way home. That's smart.

When someone makes you do something you don't want to do, you resent it. I do and so do you. That's human. What will move our country forward is realizing that we need to do things we don't like and don't want: increased taxes, less spending. Simplifying the tax code will go a long way to fixing some of these things. Actually collecting the taxes that are owed but not paid through legal loopholes will go even further.

The biggest thing we can do, though, is - as a nation - to find a way to accomplish the things that need doing. Stop just talking about them. Stop trying to make the electorate fearful. Find a way to do what you promised. Work with others who are tired of fighting the bullies. Stop reading unhelpful items on the web and in magazines and start reading about people who have innovative ideas. Stop worrying about getting re-elected and do what you promised. Find a way. Work around the bullies.

Then realize that not every situation is a fight. Negotiate.

Not every fight has to be won. Sometimes walking away is a win in disguise.

When you can't win, don't declare war. There's no need to 'go big or go home'. Life is not a fight. It's not a war. Life is not extreme.

Life is living. Life is doing what you can to make things better.

It's time to start living and stop fighting.


Patience Caution Forbearance Cool

I'm not linking to the news from the Arizona shooting incident. You can find that on your own.

I am commenting, though, on the rhetoric that's making some inroads in some cases. The officials in Arizona are counseling the media to do ALL the work necessary in reporting the story accurately. So far I'm seeing and hearing a lot of the same things over and over with little variation. That's normal for this kind of incident.

What I'm NOT hearing is a lot of opinion so far.

Oh, there're some that're blaming certain websites with maps and names in crosshairs, and there were some early indications that the mentally unstable young man was a 'tea-partier'. There are others who are saying that the angry, hurtful and mean rhetoric on Capitol Hill is largely to blame for inciting the young man to action.

None of that is fair.

The mental instability of the young man is what caused the incident and nothing more.

However, Republicans, Democrats and pundits alike need to take the opportunity to tone down the rhetoric and choose their words MUCH more carefully.

Here are some suggestions:

* Don't say things in a veiled way. The Tea Party candidate who promised 'second amendment solutions' to those who disagreed with her. She might as well have said "We will challenge you to a gunfight at high noon on Main Street and if you don't show up you're a coward". I would like to see our politicians and pundits stand up and say what they mean. I know, I might as well wish for the moon, but if there's a chance I figure asking for it isn't a bad idea.

* Stop using threatening words. Just stop it. Words have power. Tell me why you're right, not why the other side is wrong. Focus on what you're going to do, not the other guy. Stop trying to scare me. You're scaring the hell out of a lot of people who're going to go buy guns if they don't already have them. If those scared people show up to meet you in person with guns, whose fault is that?

* Don't forget that guns themselves aren't bad but that when they are used to threaten people, they're VERY scary. Guns that are pointed at people tend to go off, no matter how many times you've seen that John Wayne movie.

* Remember that the electorate is not as smart as it once was in large part due to the cutbacks in education that politicians proposed and pundits endorsed. Take some responsibility for what you and your predecessors have done. We have to pay for things, so taxes are necessary. Schools are part of that, so are roads and health care.

* Stop wasting time and do some real work. Don't do more damage by making a point. Come on.

The point here is to stop blaming others. It's time to stand up and be what we elected you to be: our representative government. Be civil to one another, work together and get things done. Stop saying "no way" and start saying "find a way".

Go on now.

Winter Holiday

I'm off work from the day job this week and it's a welcome vacation. The last six months, hell, the last eighteen months, have been pretty intense.

I'm not dwelling on anything, mind you, only saying that it's been a long haul and even though there was a LOT that happened in just the last six months. Downtime is always good but I don't always take advantage of it. I tend to keep working while I'm 'off' work. It's an annoying habit.

But this holiday, I've taken steps back from everything. At least for a couple of days.

There is an enormous amount of things that have to be done in the coming months. It's the Season of Making Room and that involves moving out comics and books I will never read again; there's the mountain of paper that I once thought would be important later on that needs to be weeded out; junk that I saved with the idea of creating collages has to be gotten rid of.

Plus I have to WRITE.

So there's no guilt in taking a couple of days to just sort of breathe and reset. What's important right now is not being TOO concerned with the day job. That's my real vacation this week. Of course I'm checking email every so often and I even went in to inspect a piece of equipment that failed over Christmas weekend, but I'm not really THINKING about that work. When I go back next week I'll be more focused. I think.

This is turning into a ramble and I've got a solution to a pesky problem regarding the climax of a story that's in progress so I'm heading off to do that. However, I don't want to leave you with the impression that in all of this I'm forgetting my family. I'm not. While there are all these things that I have to do, it's good to remember and appreciate that I have all these options. I'm grateful for them, even though sometimes one is favored over another or just overwhelms the others.

I'm working on my six word resolution for the coming year, so I'll stop by again on Saturday or Sunday and fill you in on that. Gotta run now.

Blowin' off the dust

So, it's been six weeks since I came over and said anything.

Uh, hi.

I'm considering what to do here. I've got my 'professional' blog over at JasonArnett dot com and I'd intended to keep this journal as more of a personal feelings sort of place. I think that's still valid, but what I'm considering is that I may not have time to do both. I tend to overcommit and the last few weeks have definitely been FULL to bursting.

I've got to finish the first draft of my next Actionopolis book (and you can find the site for the first one at Agent of Danger) this weekend so that I can begin the wait for notes. I've got a novel I'm only about a third of the way through that I'm anxious to get back to writing and then there's the holidays.

Typically I get time off from my day job during this time and that's the case this year, too, but I've got an awful lot of stuff to do that needs doing while I can put together three or four hours in a row to work on them. I'm trimming out my comic book collection and selling off some stuff. I need to unload a bunch of magazines and books and papers that I'll never touch again. (All of that was stuff that I SWORE I would need later on. I'm not a hoarder, just a packrat and I'm trying to reform, okay?) Then there's some time I need to read, too.

My family would like to see me, I'm sure.

So forgive me if I dust this off today and then don't get back for a while. Since there are only a couple of readers here (and I'm one of them) I don't think it'll be a big deal but I wanted to get something here for those folks who have this journal in a reader or otherwise check in. I'm sure I'll be back sometime this week, but I was sure I'd be farther ahead on some other things, too, that are somewhere off in the distance.

Careful of this Vision

Good evening, London.

Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke.

But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.

There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there?

Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame?

Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you...

--- V

(V for Vendetta, 2006)


A Kind of Announcement

This is the same post that went up at last night. Slightly edited for clarity.

I mentioned in several tweets (and here at the ol' LJ) that I was writing a 'very cool story'. I can tell you now that it's a new series for Actionopolis but there's an official announcement coming later on as to the title and content of my work so we'll keep that under wraps for now. Here is a press release that was picked up by a lot of folks, including Publisher's Weekly.

I'm REALLY excited to be doing this. I've been keeping you updated on my progress on Twitter and just a little bit here.  I can tell you that I've made several rookie mistakes that the editor is guiding me through. The first batch of notes stung a little, but once I got over it (about ten minutes later) I started learning and made my writing BETTER. With each batch of notes I learn more about structure, about plotting and about tension (as I mentioned below).

So, even though for a year I put a story each month up here for you to enjoy and haven't put anything up for a while now, I've been busy and you'll get to see the fruits of it in (I hope!) not too long a while. Stay tuned for more.

Um, Yeah. Busy.

Sorry I haven't been here in almost a month. There's a ton going on, alongside the normal routine of my day job's kicking into high gear in the second week of August.

If you're looking for a few more details, you should click over to JasonArnettdotcom. I said pretty much everything I needed to say there.

A couple of things that I should keep here and not share there:

- Going to open houses in search of a new home is kind of fun.

- I'm noticing a lot more politeness in one on one interactions with people in person. Not sure why or how it's happening, but it seems to be on the rise again. This makes me all kinds of happy.

- That said, there are still a great many, a majority, who are selfishly mercenary in their general interactions. From cutting me off on the street while driving to just plain inattention with their grocery carts at the store, I'm feeling a lot more tolerant though it's something that really needs to change.

- I'm looking for some interesting suggestions for music. I haven't heard the new Massive Attack or gone out to buy it, but that's the only thing that's really on my radar. Does anyone have any suggestions to share?

- I have to go buy two more books to add to my growing library of writing advice this weekend. I've got a personal shopping day and a 33% off coupon at Borders and 1/2 Price Bookstore is having their Labor Day Sale, too. It's going to be a good day.

- The weather the last week or so has been luscious and I'm grateful for it after the brutal two-week long heatwave from the end of July into August. Hope you're having a nice end of summer in your neighborhood.
Patricia Neal has passed away. Any SF fan of any kind of stripe knows that she was the girl in the original (and BEST) version of The Day the Earth Stood Still. I don't have anything else to say about Ms. Neal, except that I would stop to watch her if she was on screen and I'm sure I'll continue to do that. Her voice was something else.

It's Spit & Polish week around the ol' Palazzo. I've got the final batch of notes on the work for hire story I've been working on for the last month and then I have to go through and just make it as good as I can before it goes off to another editor who'll hopefully NOT laugh at my efforts to be a writer.

While The Stone Man is running this month at Jason Arnett dot com I'll be going back to fix some things to make the stories already extant there easier to read and access. It's something that needs to be done for the future and I need to do it now. Part of S&P week.

Otherwise, I'm just reading one of the best SF anthologies I've read in a long, long time: Year's Best SF 15 and if you're a fan of good writing and short stories, this is the book you should definitely check out. I've already promised my copy to one of my friends from my writer's group. You'll have to find your own copy.

Summer's nearly over for me. Well, actually it's over as of today. My day job has been a nice, even pace to this point but now it kicks into third gear and then fourth next week and I resume cruising speed. It's been a good June and July for being creative. Hope your summer was great, too.

More sooner or later as updates are warranted.

My Continuing Missions

I'm warming up writing this in preparation for tackling the second draft of a story. I don't know how long it'll be or how much sense it'll make but it's a thing, an exercise, that is akin to an athlete stretching...

- Interesting Wines: We've been drinking Middle Sister of late and have really enjoyed the two that've landed on our dinner table. We started with the Rebel Red, a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and mixed varietals, it's fruity and dry at the same time. We were surprised at how full it was and though it's described as a table wine, I think it's appropriate for any situation where there might be food involved. It would go well with a sharp cheddar cheese, for instance. Next we tried the Wicked White and it was every bit as good as its sister wine. With Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurtztraminer and other white you'd think it would be exceedingly sweet, but it was very, very well-balanced and not too dry, not too sweet. We have Drama Queen and Forever Cool in the wine rack for this week. I found 'em at my local liquor store for $10.99 and they're worth what I paid. Give 'em a try.

- Every year around this time there are loads of news reports coming out of San Diego from Comic-Con International. I went out there in 2000 and worked a table and had a GREAT time. I only saw a tiny portion of the show and I watch the reports with interest, looking for news that will tell me how comics will be going forward. So far, beyond the standard announcements of creators, titles, films and casts of films, I'm most intrigued by the news that Marvel will be redeveloping some of the old CrossGen titles to 'expand genre work' in comics. CrossGen went belly-up because they ran out of money. Some time later, Disney bought them for a title called Abadazad that they thought could be developed into something more. A little while back, you may have heard about it, Disney bought Marvel. The folks at CrossGen definitely thought there was room in the comics market for more genre titles and I bought several of them because they were not super-heroes. I'll be interested to see what happens with this.

- I'd also like to think that I'll get back to San Diego some day. I'll have to see how that goes. Watch this space for any announcements on that.

- I'm working the second draft of a story that's better already. Which is what I need to get back to. As that one gets finished and I can tell you more about it I will. Stay tuned for that.