Monday, October 20, 2014

New Pop Lit!

King Wenclas of the Underground Literary Alliance has a new project going called New Pop Lit.  He and his fellow editor, Andrea Nolen, have been publishing some cool stuff.  Right now, there's a story about a cat in an animal shelter up, and I really enjoyed reading it.  It seems as if they're putting together a nice literary community.  They were nice enough to publish "Brian Moves Back" by me, as well as do an interview.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

New Wred Fright Novel!

Yes, I have finished a new novel.  Don't get too excited though, as you may not be able to read it until 2017 or so.  For once, I didn't serialize a novel beforehand, and start releasing it before it was complete (I liked to work without a net).  It was kind of fun to do it in a more conventional way, so I may seek out a conventional publisher.  We'll see.  I do enjoy the whole controlfreakness of self-publishing.  Even marketing is fun, but it is time away from writing, which I like better, so I don't know what I'll decide just yet.  In any case, it's called Frequently Asked Questions About Being Dead, and it is plenty weird.  Here's a taste:

McAllister "Mac" Rose was looking at her corpse when a giant stack of pancakes holding a clipboard asked her, "Excuse me, but would you mind taking a customer satisfaction survey?"

Mac turned from the automobile wreckage and gazed upon the six-foot-tall stack of pancakes, a continuous fountain of maple syrup cascading from the top pancake onto the ones below it, ending in a pool on the white plate underlaying the entire stack, the kind of plate that's been through the dishwasher at the diner so many times that it started to wonder if that was all there was, an endless cycle of stickiness, soapiness, wetness, dryness, and stackness.  A huge glob of butter, shaped and glistening like the sun, sat on top of the stack with the clipboard, a pen dangling from it by a string, firmly lodged in the middle of it.  In Mac's head, she heard Beach Boys melodies that she had never heard before.

She felt like screaming, but, instead, she said, "What?"

Eyeballs popped out of the syrup, "Oh, you're really freaked out.  What do I look like to you?  Jesus?  Sometimes, I get bored and set my appearance to random.  Let's see.  OK, I'm pancakes.  I bet I'm delicious, but I'll change into something else.  Maybe that'll help.  You want a burning bush?  Grim Reaper?  Elvis Presley?  How about a unicorn?  Most women like unicorns."

The stack of pancakes changed into a unicorn.  The clipboard was now speared in the middle by the horn.  "Is this better?" the unicorn said, looking around at itself, the pen of the clipboard flying about every time its head moved.

"No," Mac said, her green eyes starting to tear up, "No, it's not."

"Why not?  I'm a unicorn.  You don't like the color?  I can be pink."

"No, it's not the color."

The unicorn turned pink anyway, except for the horn which turned a type of fluorescent green usually only seen in the neon signs of pawn shops and payday loan businesses.  "What do you think?" it said, but Mac had already turned away to look some more at her corpse.

The unicorn trotted up next to her and also looked at the corpse.  The front of the car that Mac's corpse was in looked like it was a map that someone who didn't know how to fold up maps properly had folded.  In the midst of the badly folded-up folds was Mac's corpse, with a cell phone still clutched in her right hand.  "Ouch," the unicorn said, "Were you texting?  I don't know why people do that.  Most people drive badly enough as is."

Mac ignored the unicorn, who, undaunted, went on to say, "At least the tree looks all right."

Mac looked at the tree that her automobile had crashed into and had to agree.  The tree did look all right.  It was a big oak tree and probably would survive the accident with just a few scars on its bark.

Mac, alas, did not look all right.  Nor did she feel all right.  Nor would she ever be all right again, she suspected.  "At least I didn't hit the deer," she mumbled, as she slumped against the remains of her car and slid down to the ground, her hands covering her face.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ever More Glad I Voted For Gary Johnson In 2012

So the national Democrats sent me a letter asking for money.  I scribbled out a reply and stuffed it in the postage paid envelope.  I wrote, "When Obama and Congressional Democrats stop wasting tax money bombing people in the Middle East, I'll think about it.  Until then, save postage and don't ask." 

I mean if I wanted to bomb people in the Middle East, I could just vote Republican.  It would be nice to have the two major political parties offer more of a choice than bombing (Dems) and more bombing (Repubs).

The Economist this week has a great cover with Obama dressed up as George W. Bush in his Mission Accomplished fighter pilot outfit.  That about says it all.  At this point, even the biggest Obama supporter has to admit that he's little more than Bush Lite.

Bailouts for the rich.  Check.
War in Afghanistan.  Check.
Violation of civil liberties.  Check.
War in Iraq.  Check.
Deficit spending and debt growing.  Check.
Wasteful addition to government health care instead of doing something rational like setting up national health care.  Check.

I have to admit that Obama did keep his promise to close the torture facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Wait!?  He didn't? Scratch that then.  He did manage to get involved in Syria for the military-industrial complex, something that Bush wasn't able to pull off (at the height of the Iraq War giddiness in 2003, the Neocons wanted to roll into Syria, but then things fell apart), so that's something.

Something bad, but something.

I mean I could go on, but you get the idea.  The differences between the two past presidents aren't as great as their supporters try to get me to believe they are.  To me, it's the same crap.  

Do I dare hope that people who want something different won't fall for the next major party stooge (no offense to Moe, Larry, Curly, or Shemp) such as Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush?


My big decision in 2016 probably will be whether I vote Green or Libertarian.  You can laugh that I'm throwing my vote away, but look at what you're actually voting for.  If you do want something different out of the major party system, then you should get involved in the primaries and rev up a Rand Paul or Bernie Sanders.

Of course, before 2008, I might have thrown Barack Obama's name in such a suggestion, and we now know how that turned out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Just A Reminder . . .

. . . That Project Vote Smart is awesome!  And now they have new tools.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cost Of Governor's And Lieutenant Governor's Names On Highway Signs In Ohio

I heard back from the Ohio Department Of Transportation (ODOT) about the cost for putting the governor's and lieutenant governor's names on the "Welcome To Ohio" highway signs.  Steve Faulkner wrote, "No new signs are installed. We simply place overlays on existing signs. Cost is about $25,000."  I assume by overlays, he means the little signs they stick on the big signs, which is what I meant, but these people know their sign terminology, I'm sure, so fair enough.  $25,000 is even more than I thought it would come in at.  I hope this tradition can be abandoned.  In a state budget of billions, 25 grand every four or eight years might not be much, but it's still money that could be better used for other purposes.  Like I wrote before, I'm fine with buying new letterhead and business cards for the new governor.  Highway signs or overlays, not so much.  Actually, not at all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What Wred's Reading: A Clergyman's Daughter

George Orwell is best known for 1984, Animal Farm, and some classic essays, but I've enjoyed reading his lesser-known works as well.  I'm closing in on the end of his oeuvre, so I'm finally getting to A Clergyman's Daughter.  I probably have taken so long to get to this one because the title makes it sound like a boring 19th Century novel.

It's not.  Like most of Orwell's work, it's quite good.  I'm more than halfway through and enjoying the read.  So far, the book has been divided into three sections.  The first just details the main character's life, that of a clergyman's daughter.

Then things get weird.

The second part finds her having lost her memory and ended up in London, where she migrates to picking hops on a farm.  The third part is written like a play and just involves the protagonist trying to survive while being homeless in London.

As usual, Orwell's sympathy with the poor comes through.  He, like many of us, seems baffled how a society could just have people waste time on the streets barely surviving.  Though he published this novel in the 1930s, it could be very easily updated to the presentday in the USA.

The only sad thing about finishing this book will be that I have almost no new Orwell to read now, and I've never been the type to read an author's letters and whatnot, except for scholarship purposes, so I'm probably done with George. But if you have never read any besides the famous Orwell works, then you should know that the less well-known works are also worth a read, though it is obvious why some of his work is more celebrated than the other work.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Green Party Knows How To Save Taxpayer Green!

I heard back from the Green Party candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, Anita Rios and Bob Fitzrakis, about their policy on putting the names of the governor and lieutenant governor on the "Welcome to Ohio" highway signs.

They are against it.

Hooray!  Finally, some politicians with sense.

I asked, "If elected, will you be spending taxpayer money to put your names, like Kasich and Taylor do, on the 'Welcome to Ohio' highway signs?"

They replied, "No; but if someone's names [were] already on there, we would have to spend some money on getting that removed or replacing the signs.

Anita would issue an executive order stating that the practice of putting elected official[s]' names on signs should not be permitted as it is a frivolous waste of tax dollars for the sake of promoting politician[s]' names."

Yes, unfortunately, taking the signs off will cost money, but it has to be done sometime.  From the looks of them, the sign with the names can just get unscrewed from the main sign, but since I'm typically driving past the signs at 65 miles per hour, I can't say for sure.  In any case, it would be great to get the names off the signs as soon as possible and start a tradition of not having taxpayers shell out thousands of dollars every time the governor or lieutenant governor changes.

Well, I haven't heard from the other campaigns yet, but I know which candidates I'm voting for now!  I promised!