10 May, 2009

I really should find the time to write in this here journal thing more often. The advantage to letting it slide is that I don't simply keep typing random drivel that sounds terrible and absolutely nobody cares about. The disadvantage to letting it slide is that nobody will care about or even remotely remember there is such a website as this one. The other disadvantage, of course, is that I only ever type drivel in this space when I feel a very great need to do so, which has had the unfortunate tendency of late to be very annoyingly preachy bullshit, and nobody really wants to read the preachy leavings of an elephant's testicles, which is a much more ghastly image than it sounds.

I was thinking just the other day about how I used to write about the random anecdote or experience I might have had in my day-to-day existence, and I realized that I just haven't had that many random anecdotal experiences I've been interested in writing about in this here space. A lot of that has to do with work leaving me mentally exhausted by the time I get home. Something I try not to complain about because I'm not even doing the hard part of most of the work I'm involved in. Sure, I help prepare grant applications but mostly the boring parts. I don't actually help write the highly technical research parts of the text, which is really, when you stop to think about it, the only part that matters.

So, I try not to complain overly much. I've got it easy. Unfortunately, this working situation still takes its toll and has a rather impressive impact on the amount of energy I have in the evenings for doing the things I care about and why I put up with the freaking bill-paying day job in the first place. The freaking day job is supposed to make the unprofitable creativity that happens at night possible rather than suppress it.

But, I digress.

So, I thought I really should write about the random anecdotal experiences I happen to have had during the course of this rather unimpressive but unique existence I call life in order for there to possibly be a reason for people to wander past this very uninspiring website and maybe, just maybe taken an interest in purchasing one of my self-serving little pieces of drivel I happen to call a book.

PS. Overblown verbosity used for humors effect. I don't really talk like this.

Anyway, I couldn't think of any recent experiences that might be worthy of a humorous anecdote so I thought I might dig through the random recesses of my brain and check if anything worthy of mention might be lurking in the shadows and pits of despair, blinking big but innocent bloodshot tiger eyes at me.

PS. I really don't care if I'm the only one amused by the overblown pomposity displayed in the writing of this journal entry. I find it silly. Suck it, if you don't.

Anyway, it was a year ago. Maybe, two. Samantha and I were walking through the park getting on toward time to go home. Samantha was carrying a stick. Big stick. As she has a tendency to do as we wander odd paths and directions through the depths of what we call the park. It was a big stick. Long. Could have doubled as a walking stick if only someone had had a mind to use it in such a way. Just carrying it lengthwise as we meandered along. One end pointing to the sky. The other end in the direction of hell.

Walking along. Lady with a dog walking in the opposite direction. Cute dog. Big. Kind of like a sheepdog with its very curly hair cropped really short but still managing to be really curly. I suppose I could dig out the big book of dogs we've got and tell you exactly what kind of mongrel happened to be headed in the other direction, but I just can't be bothered. Cute dog. Big. What more need to said?

So, this dog trots in our general direction, tilts it head ever so slightly to one side, lets its mouth slip open, and ever so casually clamps down on the short end of the stick. All bold like. As if this stick was very clearly the mutt's property thank you ever so much for holding it for me. Now, let go. Let go, I say. No? You're not going to give over what is rightfully mine? Okay, suit yourself. I'm off.

And, almost as quick as this great big dog had clamped down on one end of the stick, the dog let go and kept trotting along after its people.

Now, I really must apologize if I have not done justice to the scene, but I must assure you that this incident was rather impressive funny to all involved. Saunter right up as if said dog was simply the embodiment of all that was right, good and holy in the universe and attempt to claim possession of what by all rights must be the rightful property of said dog. Manifest destiny, baby.

Or, as Samantha and I like to remind ourselves whenever we are in the mood, some people simply have no respect for other people's sticks.

31 May, 2009

So, the State of California has finally lowered the boom and taken away my seller's permit. It must be a truly sad, sad state of affairs in the great State of California when it costs more for them to process my paperwork than the five-or-so bucks I give them every year, which is kind-of sad in-and-or itself. After all, I only actually draw in about two bucks in sales tax, but because of the way I actually have to calculate everything, rounding up to the nearest dollar and all, I wind-up owning five bucks. Sucks, I know, but there it is. And, really rather beside the point at the moment. California is in a bind and closing all of its state parks and can't afford to collect my—limited—sales tax each year. Bummer.

It's not as big a deal as it sounds, really. First, because nobody ever really buys any of my books. And, second, because it just means I cannot sell books directly to people in the State of California.

Really, it just means people—if they were actually so inclined—just have to get my books through Amazon, Cafepress or Lulu. Or, somehow manage to convince the local bookstore that the book really isn't out of print. Really, it's not. Doesn't matter what that big bad chain bookstore's computer search contraption says.

If you went to the real books-in-print, the work is very much still in print. See, the thing with all of these big bad chain bookstores is that they only want to deal with the suppliers they feel like dealing with, and if that particular supplier doesn't happen to feel like stocking my book, then they will quite inaccurately claim that the book is out-of-print even when it isn't.

Shocking, I know.

And, it's not just the State of California that must be hurting. Lulu has suddenly decided that they want to sell my books through Amazon, too. Up until this point, if I wanted Lulu's help selling books through Amazon, I would have to pay Lulu an extra ninety-nine bucks per year. Now? They are going to do it because they are just that kind of nice forward thinking people. Oh, that, and the fact they are going to raise the cover price on their copy of the book at Amazon, which is actually really funny if you stop to think about it.

Lulu won't let me set different prices for the same work, going so far to say how unfair it is to have one price for purchase directly through Lulu and a separate price for purchase through a store such as Amazon. So, I can't do it. I cannot say the book is twelve bucks at Lulu but the same edition is twenty at Amazon. Oh, no, I cannot, but if Lulu feels like doing the exact same thing, then that is all fine and dandy.

Oh, yes, fine and dandy.

What I find even more amusing about the whole thing is Lulu did tell me that if I really didn't like the idea, I could very well tell them to stop, but I don't see why. I mean, Lulu is going to charge even more than I am to buy the book from Amazon so why in the world would people pay the extra monkeyshines for that Lulu copy over my copy of the very exact same book, right?


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