Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just Had to Share

If you haven't already seen this, you have to:

Why didn't someone think of this years ago??

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Email used to be something that you enjoyed getting, like a friend calling or a letter from your grandmother. It is no longer. Everyday the email battle begins first thing in the morning with the onslaught that comes from that first push of the Inbox button. That tiny button holds back a dam of email that then floods your inbox in wave after wave of subject titles that demand your attention.

On a good morning, that number is fewer than 50. On a bad day, it's closer to 100. Every one of them has to be looked at, classified, archived, answered or deleted. This can easily take half an hour or more to do properly, ensuring that no client is left without an answer, no receipt is left unprinted, no payment is left undocumented and no friend is left wondering why you haven't answered. If that were the end of it, that wouldn't be a terrible drag on anyone's time.

Unfortunately, that's not the end of it. The email keeps coming. It keeps coming and coming. If you run to the store, it builds up while you're gone. If you stay away for a few hours, you have it to come home to. If you should ever take a day or two off, you fear opening it and finding out just how much of it there is to get rid of. You may hit Inbox with your eyes closed, dreading the final tally.

If you work online, you may have come to hate the email, and I do about half the time. Sometimes it's to be tolerated. Sometimes it's a nice distraction from other things. Sometimes it has unexpected surprises in it (kaching, ebook sale!). Sometimes it's a burden that never, ever seems to be lifted.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I'm watching Beowulf right now. Somehow it has taken me awhile to see the latest adaptation. I think I have now seen every film adaptation of it and I will doubtless see any others that are filmed. I have always loved and been inspired by the great hall in which everyone slept. Imagine it- a dark night, no electric lights glowing outside, no 911 and no radio to find out what was going on outside. Absolutely anything could happen. I have dreamed about that great hall, wishing I could see it's stone floors and dark, silent nights, moving silently through it in the night as all those around me slept.

Writing that touches you is unparalleled by anything else. It's better than a day that's not too warm and not too chilly. It's better than getting great clothes at a superb price. And let's face it- it's better than sex. It lasts for a lifetime unlike just about any other experience you can have.

Here are a few passages that may bore you or inspire you, I don't know which. But, they have always inspired me:

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

-Frank Herbert, Dune

If the Scientologists worshipped Frank Herbert instead of the guy they worship, I would be first in line. This quote has gotten me through a lot of ordeals and it will certainly continue to do so.

"Everything popular is wrong."

-Oscar Wilde

My man Wilde was rarely wrong, and he was certainly not wrong with this little sound bite. I have always felt that the popular stuff was somehow wrong, tailored toward machinery rather than humans. Popular clothing styles, popular music, popular TV shows- all crap. Sorry.

"Be strong saith my heart; I am a soldier; I have seen worse sights than this."


This Illiad quote is probably what I would get tattooed on myself if I wasn't scared of tattoos. When my dog died a friend called and quietly recited this quote to me. I am grateful for having heard it, and it continues to speak to me.

"You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way."

-Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

This quote is so central to everything that I believe in that it ceases to be a quote and becomes more a a veil that I try to hide behind. All the things that prevent you from being your true self are useless, stifling problems that should be conquered.

The quotes that inspire people are often the ones that validate who they are and what they believe the world is like. I would welcome Grendel on a night like this, stepping carefully through the sleeping men as mystery lay in the black night ahead. Other people may find inspiration in, actually, I'm not sure. I'd love to know what inspires other people to be their true selves. There are doubtless other quotes out there that would speak to me if I had the chance to hear them.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Insurance and Freelance Writers

Getting insurance is a problem for a lot of freelance writers. For my foreign friends, here's the picture: if you don't have insurance, you're screwed. A lot of doctors won't see you at all. You can't get into hospitals unless it's an emergency and the charge to see a regular doctor is usually ridiculous and unreasonable. I have been self employed for eight years now and have usually maintained some type of insurance in case of emergencies. This year, though, has been difficult we had a lot of problems with our COBRA, resulting in a large one-time payment for insurance that we weren't given, and I had to decline.

I was able to get insurance for everyone else in the family ,but not myself. I have no insurance now. I have a a health problem that all of the insurance companies that I have contacted have been unwilling to deal with. So, a big middle finger to them because I am far more awesome than they give me credit for. I actually told one underwriter, "Really? I go to the doctor twice year and you don't want to take my money every month? You're a sucker."

One bright spot in all of this mess may be the Demand Studios insurance that they have recently started offering to their regular writers. I have been a writer for them for about a year and a half and am hoping to get one of the insurance policies that they offer. I stopped writing for them for a few months, though, so I am not eligible right now. To be eligible I have to write like crazy for them this month to try to reach eligibility next month.

I am holding onto hope that this is a good opportunity to be insured. If it turns out to be a good deal, Demand is a fantastic place that should be praised and have a constellation named after it. But until I have seen the actual policies, I can't be sure that this is a good thing. EBay did the same thing years ago for its PowerSellers. I sold on eBay full time for about two years and was eligible for their insurance. It was crap. I actually got a better rate on my own than they could give. But, Demand is saying that their insurance is guaranteed, and with my health issues I do need a policy that can be guaranteed. Is Demand, the company that has hired so many disrespectful, nasty editors, my savior in all this mess? It remains to be seen.