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.

August 24, 2016


So. Over at the land of Tumblr, which is currently owned by Yahoo, but soon to be owned by someone else (Yahoo that is), we have a fresh post at I Are Writer!

Over at Amazon, as promised we have our poison pen, or rather, poison computer book review of The Butler's Child. Strangely enough, if you scroll down a bit, you'll see a hilarious comment that someone left calling me a "racist" for equating a well known murder case with another well known murder case. Because I have a basic understanding on how things work on the Amazon commenting forums, there is no way in Sulfur City that I will dignify that comment with a response.

Even though it was a lovely addition to this post, the state of being offered by the post title (pop culture reference King Of The Hill) isn't about that, but about the annoying little things that go wrong when you're trying to take one step forward but find yourself doing the cha-cha.

Annoying little thing numero uno: I decided to participate in a giveaway that a fellow author was doing. She was asking for leftover schwag that people had to use to create giveaway boxes, so I decide to participate. I shipped some stuff out last week (postcards & business cards). Yesterday, got an e-mail from her friend asking if I had mailed something to her. I said "yes, why?". She said, "it came postage due". I said, "seriously?". She said, "yes. because it was shipped media mail, the postmaster opened it, examined it, and determined it was advertisements."

I was actually warned about this on my end 'cause the post office was cracking down on people who used media mail to ship more expensive non-media items. So what I said was this to her, "you can either pay it for me and I'll reimburse you, or return to sender and I'll reship priority mail."

If she chooses #1, I'll send her check for the amount, plus free copies of my books from Smashwords for her aggravation. #2 I'll reship it and will still give her coupons for my books.

August 17, 2016

My Life Is Indeed Weird

'Tis a strange week that I've experienced so far.

As per the norm, a fresh post is up at I Are Writer!, and as per not the norm, an ultra rare post is up at Cedar's Mountain. Yes, you read correctly: a fresh post is up at Cedar's Mountain. For the first, and quite possibly the only time this year, I blew out the dust bunnies and wrote a fresh blog post at Cedar's Mountain. The why behind it is very simple: I was challenged by a meme that a Facebook friend posted in his newsfeed the other day about health insurance. Since I'm not one to let a particular topic that I know a little bit about go unanswered, answering it is what I did. However, since I didn't want to gum up my weekly blog with a one off that was seriously long on verbiage and seriously long on sarcasm and nor did I want to post it on my adult blog, Cedar's Mountain became the default choice. If you got the time, please check it out.

As for here, I like to write a short blurb about my lovely daughter Jenelle.

Jenelle is kind of like me at her current age (15 1/2) when I was growing up: smart, a smart ass, and someone who reads way above her age level.

Just about everyone here knows the age level kind that I gear my writing towards, and over the years I've made doubly sure that none of my writings made it to the astral plane that my daughter travels on. Being the responsible parent, I try my best to keep track of what my daughter reads (when she does read) and nudge her towards age appropriate material (he says with a straight face).

So you can imagine my surprise (no really, I was...semi) when she mentioned that she wanted to read my latest.

J: "Dad, I want to read your book."
GB: "Excuse me?"
J: "I want to read your book."
GB: "It's only available on Amazon and I have it listed as 18+, so you won't be able to buy it."

The next two minutes basically covered a few certain workarounds that those under 18 perform when they want something out of their age range. The next two after that had me explaining why it was listed as 18+. She kept up the pressure by saying she talked up my book to her friends. Finally I said this:

"Okay, here's the 3rd draft of the e-book, sans the 18+ story, and a postcard that you can share with your friends."

And thus ended the latest encounter/skirmish with my daughter, which I probably did not win (I rarely do).

We finish up this post by highlighting a non-fiction book that I read in which I plan on writing a scathing review on. I read an auto-bio by famed civil rights attorney Lewis M. Steele entitled "The Butler's Child." In a nutshell, in my personal opinion, this book from beginning to end is one ginormous apology for white privilege. Apparently Mr. Steele, whose family was the Warner Brothers movie company, suffered enormously from white privilege and spent his entire life apologizing and trying to make amends for it. I would say more about this, but the more I think about this book, the more angrier/annoyed I get. So I'll save my anger/annoyance for the 2 star review that I plan giving this book.

Tune in next week, when I'll have more pearls of wisdom to share with one and all, and quite possibly, a book review too. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this question: ever read a book that afterwards left a very strong negative impression on you?

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

August 10, 2016


As per the norm after a very minor hiatus (due to redundancy issues), a fresh post is up at I Are Writer!

Now, back to here.

I had a very tough time in coming with a blog post for today. I'd first started off last week writing about my dream world, but I hit a traditional four tine fork in the road. Then, I started writing about radio silence, but it soon took a turn for the nasty, so we put that on the back burner as well. That left me with the prospect of not having a post for everyone and in fact, I came this close to performing a post repeater from early July when I was on vaca.

But, I couldn't do that to everyone yet again.

What to do, what to do, what to do....then, out of the tiny corner of my brain, inspiration struck @ 5a this morning (seriously).

Let's write about skool!

For those of you who may not be parents or part of the decrepit US educational system, feel free to move on to the next blathering drive-by post. But, if you feel like that you must hang around to get in your fair share of "HA! BETTER YOU THAN ME!", go for it. On this blog, smugness is a virture.

Just like the retail Christmas season, which pretty much starts in October, so goes the retail skool season, which usually starts the 2nd week after skool has ended for everyone. My answer to that is pretty much my boilerplate answer to everything else that starts earlier than God: W. T. F. IS GOING ON HERE?

Summer is short enough as it is, why ruin it for millions of kids and millions of parents by shoving down everyone's collective throats skool related crapola!

August 3, 2016

What Is Life?

Now available for pre-order, my short story anthology, What Is Life?

Only on Amazon will you find this nifty e-book for the wickedly low price of $1.39. Cover was done by Kellie Dennis at Book Cover by Design and formatting was done by Go Published.

"What Is Life?" is the eternal question that we all seek the answer to. This four act play sets out to answer that question with stories featuring the twin themes of the four seasons of Nature and the four stages of life.

Cedar Mountain looks at a year in the long bountiful life of a gentle mountain through the eyes of the mountain itself. The keeper of secrets old and new, of experiences young and old, this gentle mountain has seen it all. Not with jaded eyes, but with eyes that radiate pure love for the world around it.

The Forest samples a moment in time, when spirits and sorceresses ruled the world with a ruthlessness that was efficiently gentle, and nature was a just means to an undignified end.

Creativity In Action looks in on a not-so-typical day of Todd, a wanna-be writer of dubious adult fiction. The trials and tribulations that he goes through in order to write boggles the mind and yet, somehow when all is said and done, gets the reward he richly deserves.

Red Stripe examines a typical day in a not-your-prototypical punk rock musician. Krystal, in addition to being an extraordinary vocalist, is also an exceptionally polished classical guitarist. A rising start with the drive and determination to be the best guitarist/vocalist in punk music.

The actual release date is August 12th. Avoid the rush and be the first one on your block to get the latest from one of your fave writer/.bloggers today!

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