September 28, 2016

Is It Time?

Got the opening lyrics of this song rambling around in my head and  I thought  I would share Adrian Belew's nifty cover of it today.


While you're jammin' on some good early 80's schlock, I thought would spend a few minutes contemplating the meaning of life, or rather, the meaning of blogging.

Blogging, for me, has changed radically as a platform to engage the various peoples that I've come across over the past 8 1/2 years. From an initial start of six to eight posts a week in 2008, we have dwindled down to two posts a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays) on two different blogs. While the Saturday blog has been exclusively devoted to my writing journeys (albeit a mix of PG-13 & R), both fresh and re-heated, which in turn has allowed me to find my ju-ju again, this blog has of late, become a vastly different enterprise.

To be honest exceptionally blunt with everyone, my ju-ju with this blog has been pretty much decimated. I'm finding it to be extremely difficult to come up with any kind of meaningful post for this blog. Doesn't matter what the potential topic may be, I've covered it at least a baker's dozen times. Even if it's writing related, I've covered it ad nauseum here.

With that being said, one can come to the not-quite-erroneous conclusion that I'm riding off into the sunset. While I do have one foot in the stirrup, I'm pretty sure that due to no arm strength to speak of (thank you Mr. DNA) I have no conceivable way of swinging my pasty white leg over the horse and saddle.

So until I can figure out a way to either get that pasty white leg of mine over the horse and saddle or  remove my other pasty white leg from stirrup and give the horse a slap on the rump, I will continue to think very long and very hard about what I want to do here.

The 4th Quarter is upon us (no, not the football 4th quarter, but the traditional business calendar 4th Q) and one way or another, I will have a decision for one and all on what I want to do with this wonderful Blogger blog on New Year's Day 2017.

In the meantime, if you do follow football, I implore you to come over to the dark side and become a member of the cult we call The New England Patriots.

(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.

September 21, 2016

I Done Left Them Speechless

Blogging on the fly, as of late, is something I'm not exceptionally good at. Take today's post for example. Due to some computer related issues, coupled with work and family obligations, I wrote this post between 6:30 and 7a this morning. Yup, freshly born, freshly squeezed and freshly flattened like a fruit fly.

But, I do have a topic in which to wax poetically really?, philosophically really??, nastily much better.

 As most of you probably know, I've been published in that very rare triad: self published/vanity, self published/normal, traditionally published. Today's post will cover a very rare encounter with ASI aka Author's House.

I've published two books through them, of which Betrayed! is still available for purchase. The other we simply will not go there as it took me quite a while to recover from that stupendous mistake. Anywho, periodically, like every couple of weeks, I receive both e-mails and phone calls from them. The e-mails usually go to my Yahoo accounts, which are seldom used for anything of import. The phone calls I usually screen like a hawk, so they never, ever make it through to me.

Yesterday (9/20), a very rare one made it through my work phone. It did for the simple reason of this being a short week due to circumstance inflicted on us by our state IT agency. So while I was talking to a co-worker, my phone rang. I politely excused myself to answer it, sensibly thinking it was a staff member with a payroll issue.

No such friggin' luck as it was a happy/sappy marketer from ASI. I decided right then and there to go on the super polite offense of delivering a reality check. He started his tired spiel about the various sales that were going on for my books.

I stopped him and said that the first one should not be available for sale as I sent in paperwork three-four years ago to delist it. He then started with the second book, and I stopped him by saying that I was in the process of re-writing the second book and that there was no need to do anything to that book. He then started to ask what I was doing for my readers, and I reiterated that I was rewriting the book for my readers.

He then started his spiel about using ASI to publish it and I said, I was planning on using Amazon and Smashwords. I also said, why should I pay to get it published when I can publish it for free and the cost is simply a 70/30 royalty split with Amazon & Smashwords.

On that particular point I started to pour it on white hot bubbling heavy and subsequently I got from him was ummm....ummmm...uh-huh. I did pause long enough to give him time to respond to each extremely valid points, but apparently he had a really hard time deviating from script.

I finished up my conversation by politely saying that I didn't need anymore books because what I have has allowed me to open a bookstore and file a Schedule C every year. I also said if he wanted to send me paperwork to delist the other book that would be fine because I was more than content to let the book gather dust on their website.

Because he still has no response to my salient points, I wished him a great day and hung up.

There really isn't any moral to this story beyond stating that sometimes you have grab stupid by the nape of the neck and present them with a Dick & Jane 1st grade primer, because frankly, that's about their IQ can really handle. I'm sure I'll continue to get calls from them, but if I continue with the same point of attack, they eventually get the message and put me on their do not call list.

*Or not, because after all, I am the conductor of the Obvious Train and I'm making the stops to pick up those who still need a clue. "All aboard! You! You!"

*borrowed from the Nick show The Thundermans

(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.

September 14, 2016

Simply Full Of Delicious Tofu Goodness

Normally I would say that there's a fresh post up at I Are Writer!, but lately the content is not quite so fresh, in that it's a simple rehash of my writing adventures for the past 8 years, updated for Tumblr. But, if your curiosity is piqued, then curiosity fulfillment is a just a click away.

Now, for those of you who, after reading the post title, think that I just started playing poker with a pinochle deck, nothing could be further than the distance between lucidity and The Donald or The Hillary. I are still a meateater, with the occasional bit of poultry and fish thrown in for fun. However, the need to write a post of subsistence this week has forced me to drift to the dark side of humanity.

Namely, vegetarianism.

Earlier this year, my wonderful 15 1/2 year old daughter, Jenelle (she had just dyed hair prior to this pic and was vamping it up for dear old Dad) decided, after careful thought and consideration, to become a vegetarian.


The reasoning she used was what most people use when deciding to eliminate meat from their eating habits. Which is to say, that family life as we know it, got turned sideways and wrapped itself around a sunflower.

For those of you who may have not paid attention to my various ramblings about vegetarianism, long story short, while I'm not overly thrilled about it, I accept it at face value, and so long as those who do, don't try to mock me for what I eat, I don't mock them. I also try to learn about it as much as possible, since I have friends and co-workers who are, so at the very least, I can help my daughter get along with what she is.

Shopping for her can be an adventure, and indeed it was for the first few months as we tried to figured out she liked or didn't like as it applied to her new diet. But it did eventually settle down to something that made things, if not slightly redundant, at the most slightly compatible.

The only adventures we have in regards to her new eating lifestyle, is that because she is such a high energy/high octane kind of gal (skating, marching band, dance, skater gurl), is making sure she gets enough protein. So the collective (family, skating coaches) that deals with her on a minute basis 24/7, gently (and I do mean gently) nag her about eating the right kind of foods that will give maximum protein.

The other adventure we have is making sure that she can participate in eating out activities. Nothing worse, I believe, than not being able to participate in group eating activities. Which usually means I'm always on the prowl in finding suitable places for her to eat at. I found some places (Burger King & Moe's Southwest Grill) that carry veggie burgers on the menu. There are others (Subway for example), that she is not thrilled about. Then there are places that she has found on her own that satisfies what she needs/craves for fast food.

While there are the occasional blips (hissy fits for accidently having meat sauce inadvertently placed on her pasta), overall it has been a relatively smooth transition. We don't question her reasoning as to why the change nor do we speak disparagingly about it and she appreciates the time and effort that we spend in assimilating her wants/needs to every day life.

And ultimately, that really is the only thing you can honestly do as a parent: respect the decision that your child has made and help make the transition that much smoother in the long run.

(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.

September 7, 2016

The Silence Of Radio's Neo-Modern Age

 Okay, so it's a seriously long title for a very short phrase: radio silence. Chances are, if you're under the age of 30 and not an narrow-minded activist of some kind, you probably don't get the concept of radio silence. Radio silence is basically keeping one's mouth sealed shut while doing something not-quite-legal so that you don't get caught, or keeping one's mouth sealed shut while trying to get the jump on the peoples doing something not-quite-legal. or simply keeping one's mouth shut while something worthwhile is going on (i.e. a concert not featuring rock music).

But, there are times when radio silence can be applied to other kinds of issues that don't necessarily fit that round hole so that you can nip it in the bud before it gets out of control.

For example, over the years, you have heard me do some stupendously intense venting about my co-workers, mostly over the ungraspable concept of comprehension. Well, over the past year or so, I've applied the concept of radio silence to dealing with recalcitrant co-workers, with remarkable results.

Ya see, I have a small percentage of co-workers who must have a minimum two and half page e-mail, consisting of back and forth replies before they can actually comprehend what I'm saying to them (often ad nauseum). Because of this thoroughly unnecessary neediness, I would frequently find myself answering those e-mails in an increasingly snarky/hostile tone and manner. Finally, it got to the point where I knew that if I responded to one more of their increasing obtuse replies, I would get into trouble.

So, what I would do is simply apply radio silence to this staff member by not answering their latest salvo. Presto! No more dealing with people who simply REFUSE. TO. GET. IT.

Ultimately, it made my work life a whole lot easier, because they no longer had someone they could drive nutty with their constant neediness.

On the flipside, radio silence came in handy whenever I would receive an e-mail from someone who was hell bent on causing me grief by insulting my intelligence (among other things). I usually got those kind of e-mails from union stewards who were trying to show how sanctimoniously right they were and how wrong I was. With those e-mails, I usually forwarded those to my supervisor to handle.

Yes, indeedie-doodie, radio silence is a job saver for me, since now, instead of unleashing the mouth from hell whenever I get an e-mail from someone who's comprehension skills are at the level of a toddler, I simply read and delete.

And occasionally, print and share the stupider ones with my co-workers.

Tune in next week, where the goal is to have something either a bit heavier or bit esoteric. In the mean time, here's a peacock from Clinton, Tennessee chillin' on the homestead.





(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.

August 31, 2016

Expanding Your Musical Horizons Is Fraught With Aggravation

Some of you may recall back in the 1Q of 2016, I mentioned my intentions about possibly participating in the 2016 A-Z Challenge. I also mentioned that the amount of prep work needed would probably not make participation a reality for this year.

The topic? My C.D. collection. The prep work needed? I was sincerely afraid you would ask that.

A brief info dump is required. About two years ago or so, I had a decent size collection of roughly 300+ c.d.'s that I would listen to with a good degree of regularity. I had samplings of genres that had interested me: hard rock, rock, metal, bluegrass, punk and alt rock. And just like I did with my record collection, I often bought the c.d. for the one or two songs that got radio airplay, then had a ton 'o fun exploring the rest of the c.d.

Then when I moseyed to my public library one fine day, I saw some used c.d.'s for sale. Turns out that in addition to the huge semi-annual book sales that the library holds every year, they also had stuff for sale on a daily basis. Long story short, I decided to help the library and expand my c.d. collection at the same time. So every time I went to the library (about once a week or so), I walked out with five to ten c.d.'s costing a dollar apiece. You name the genre, I probably picked up at least one c.d. from it.

Fast forward to today. Today, I have 3 huge c.d. racks totaling somewhere in the neighborhood of 600+ c.d.'s (note, if you need a good quality c.d. rack, that triples as a DVD/Blue Ray DVD rack as well, please consider buying it from Amazon. Took me & my daughter about twenty minutes to put one of them together). It has gotten so large that because my memory isn't like it should be these days (which @ 94% recall is pretty damn good), to prevent the remote possibility of buying dupes, a good database was needed.

So about two weeks ago, I cleared out two of my c.d. racks and brought them downstairs to begin the laborious process of data-entering them into a stripped down Xcel spreadsheet. With everything else going on, it should take me about two to three months to get them all entered. In the meantime, I have put a moratorium on my c.d. buying until I get at least 85% of my collection entered.

Once I get it all done, I'll probably spend some time creating a couple of static pages for the 2017 A-Z Blogging challenge.

So essentially, while the immediate goal is paticipating in the 2017 challenge, the overall goal is to have a written record of what I got, so when I decide to add to it, I know what I don't need. Gotta love tapping into one's latent OCD when the situation calls for it.

Oh, and to give everyone a sobering reality check, when it comes to the chasing the almighty dollar, the music industry is head and shoulders above the rest.

Back in the day when I was my daughter's age (early 80's), new vinyl long players cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 to $14, depending on whether it was a single or double. Vinyl is now exploding in popularity again, so new vinyl long players are starting somewhere in the $25-$30 price range for a single, and $40-$60 for doubles. This includes both new releases and reissues of old releases (example, Prince's Purple Rain now retails for $29). I'm sure Amazon will start to come down on the vinyl releases soon, but you can pick up new vinyl at B&N, Urban Outfitters and other fine semi-high end retailers. Used may be tougher, but locally, we have a great place called Integrity & Music.

Yes, the things we do to open our brain just a little bit can sometimes bring up the question, "Is it worth it?"

In this case, it sure is.

(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.