The Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated…

It’s been a while, I know. Almost a year since I last posted something on this blog that’s been abandoned.

But some things have happened in the meantime…bought and moved into a new house, spent too much on new furniture, saw the new Star Wars movie three times, built a pretty sweet vinyl record collection – that’s a blog for another time, promise! – and turned 44 years old.

Oh, and my cat died. I miss him terribly.

Oh, and Donald Trump happened. Fuck that guy.

I would love to regale you with swashbuckling tales of literary madness, that I wrote a novel-length manuscript, got an agent, sold said manuscript to a publisher, and did a book reading tour in support of the book.

No, no, nope, and no. None of that happened. In fact, I stopped writing altogether.

I had some harsh conversations with myself about my writing. In short, I came to the realization that I don’t have the discipline (read: attention span) to write a full-length novel. Or a novella, for that matter. My writing comes in bursts, short threads that I can work with within a smaller confine, but this writing approach doesn’t work well when you’re trying to write 50,000 or more pages, then edit the fucking brute.

I would have seemed hypocritical from me to continue posting stuff on my blog about the “writing process” when I was failing miserably at it. About what little progress I was making. About how frustrating I found writing becoming.

So I gave up. No, not writing; posting on my blog.

What I did learn, much to my eternal surprise, is that I have a knack for poetry. Yup, poetry.

Why is this surprising? Because I used to hate poetry. HATE poety. HATED HATED HATED it. Honestly, it was personal biases that got in my way. Poetry always seemed soft and quaint, in the words of John Keating, something “to woo women with.” It wasn’t until I started reading what you can call “outlaw” poetry, i.e., the Beat Poets, Richard Brautigan, Sapphire, and, of course, Charles Bukowski, that I saw writing in riddles and codes, dancing with metaphors and similes, that’s when I was able to unlock why poetry matters.

I did find a community of poets and writers on Instagram, of all places, that willingly and openly shared their work. Since I was there already, I figured I would jump into the pool. My first attempts were tentative, small attempts at mimicking what I knew. The more work I read on IG, the more I felt confident about posting my own words. In the year or so that I began posting my poetry and micro-poetry on IG (more than 700 posts!), I’ve garnered a pretty sizable following, and have made strong connections with the poetry community on IG.

Time, then, to also start showcasing my poetry here.

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I have no bold plans for this blog, nor do I have bold plans for my writing. I’m still writing poetry, which I will be posting here frequently (and thank you in advance for reading it; critiques are welcome, unabashed fandom is greatly recommended), and I’ll update my site on random thoughts and observations that come to mind. Just not politics, though; my political ranting days are over, and, besides, with the public cannibalism that goes for presidential campaigning these days, my teeth-gnashed rants are not the sort of thing I want to contribute. I’ll wear my politics on my sleeve and go about my business.

(Team Bernie, in case you’re wondering…)

I can’t promise exciting things, other than I’m helping out on an anthology that will hopefully see the light of day this spring, and putting together a collection I will self-publish before the year is through.

And fuck Donald Trump.

Thanks for reading. Talk soon.

.

Uno Kudo Volume 4 is Here!

I’m pleased to announce that Uno Kudo Volume 4 is now available for purchase in hardcover over at Amazon.com.

You may recall I’ve spoken about Uno Kudo before. My work has been featured in both Volumes 1 and 2, and I also served as an editor for Volume 2. Not only did I serve as an editor for this volume, but my short story, “Anatomy Lab Class Assignment,” is one of the featured stories in this anthology of poetry, prose and art.

I have to say, without reservation, having read an advanced copy of this outstanding collection, that this is the best volume from Uno Kudo so far. Edgy? Yes. Daring? Yes. Refreshing? Yes. Definitely off the beaten path.

Do yourselves and those you love a favor, along with the terrific assortment of poets and writers documented below, and purchase your copy of Uno Kudo Volume 4 right now, just in time for the holidays. You won’t regret it, and you won’t be let down. Pinky swear.

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Happy Belated Second Anniversary to This Blog!

For my 205th blog, I’d like to mark a special occasion. I meant to note this a week or so ago, but life’s gotten in the way again, but Out Where the Buses Don’t Run just turned two years old. Happy Anniversary to this blog!

Out Where the Buses Don’t Run went live on WordPress August 29, 2012. When I started this blog, my goals were modest: blog for the sake of blogging, just for the therapeutic value. But I found a community of like-minded bloggers who encouraged me to pursue this blog further than I could have imagined. Without this encouragement, so much could not have happened:

I would not have been Freshly Pressed twice

I would not have been followed by 2,057 readers. Nor would this blog have been viewed 20,115 times, and 2.813 comments have been posted.

It goes without saying, but a thousand thank yous to everyone who’s read this blog, from the day it came online two years ago, to today. Thank you for reading my blog posts. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for sharing my blog posts. Thank you for inviting me to post on your blog sites. Thank you for giving me the freedom and the encouragement to keep this grand experiment going, even when there have been times when I’ve been absent for extended periods. It’s your encouragement that gives me the fuel and the ambition to try new things and stretch my writing muscles on this blog.

You’ve seen glimpses into my works in progress. You’ve taken part in several robust bitch sessions. You’ve read me rant furiously about injustices everyone, or about the shitty sandwich I just ate. Most importantly, you indulged me, and that’s important to me.

Here’s to another year of blogging!

Thanks again, everyone. I really mean it!

A Self-Published Author’s Thoughts on the Whole Kindle Unlimited Thing

Like you, I was completely caught by surprise by the whole Kindle Unlimited thing. Unlimited access to over 600,000 titles on any device for just $9.99 a month? Wait…doesn’t Scribd do something like this already? Do we really need another Netflix-like book-borrowing system. I was skeptical, but on the hunt for something to read (I’m still slogging through The Goldfinch, for some reason…), I fired up my Kindle after a several month hiatus and saw the ad for Kindle Unlimited. I took a read. A 30-day free trial was enough to get me at least remotely interested.

The good thing was I did find a lot of titles I would be greatly interested in reading. Of course, no titles from any of the Big 5 publishers, but that was to expected. The bad thing: you’re only allowed to borrow ten titles at a time. Bad deal? Maybe, but then again, your local public library probably imposes a borrowing limit as well.

Limits aside, I was hooked. I blitzed through three books in a day and a half, and I eagerly returned these so I can picked up three more. I can see why this, for the customer, is appealing. I know Amazon has the same kind of thing with Prime, which is included with the Prime membership (which I don’t have), so for Amazon to offer something similar seems like a win-win for both the online retailer and the customer.

Then I started thinking about the authors. How are they getting compensated for their books being “borrowed?” Immediately, I’m thinking about the shittastic business model that is Spotify, where you have to download, for example, the new Imagine Dragons album, oh, what 87,124,713 times in order to match the same exactly royalty payment the band would get where I to buy their album from Target? Not that I would, because Imagine Dragons bore me to tears, but you get my point. What if a book has to be borrowed about 93 billion times before an author sees a $120 royalty check?

Better yet, where is Kindle Unlimited getting all 600,000 of these titles from? I noticed a few Harry Potter titles, and the Hunger Games trilogy…hang on, didn’t I see an e-mail from Kindle Direct Publishing the other day, that I may or may not have ignored?

Today we are excited to introduce Kindle Unlimited-–a new subscription service for readers in the U.S. and a new revenue opportunity for authors enrolled in KDP Select.

Do I know of any authors enrolled in Kindle Direct Publishing Select? Oh, wait a minute...I’M A KDP SELECT AUTHOR! HANG ON! WHY WASN’T I INFORMED OF THIS? THIS IS AN OUTRAGE? HOW DARE AMAZON ALLOW MY MASTERPIECE TO BE oh who I am kidding?

 

(Here’s the pic I snapped of the search results for my book, which I posted on my Instagram account)

Upon first reaction, I was pleased. It means some more exposure. Some new ways to market my book, perhaps (more on that below), and spread the word.

Upon second reaction, I started thinking about that Spotify example again, and whether I’d get royally hosed in the ass, royalty speaking. I started looking into this issue a little deeper.

From the friendly little e-mail I received from Kindle Direct Publishing just the other day:

KDP Select authors and publishers will earn a share of the KDP Select global fund each time a customer accesses their book from Kindle Unlimited and reads more than 10% of their book-–about the length of reading the free sample available in Kindle books-–as opposed to a payout when the book is simply downloaded. Only the first time a customer reads a book past 10% will be counted.

Ok…huh?

I dug a little deeper, searching for help topics at KDP’s website:

To qualify for royalty payment

You’re eligible for royalty payment from Kindle Unlimited each time a new customer reads more than 10% of your book for the first time. A customer can read your book again as many times as they like, but you will only receive payment for the first 10% read.

So this means that in order for me to get the royalty due my book, which is 149 pages long, should someone borrow it, they need to get past Page 15. In other words, they’ll read the first two or three essays. Fine.

But nowhere does it tell me how that royalty is calculated. I did see this over at Michael J. Sullivan’s terrific blog piece at Digital Book World:

Self-published authors are paid from a pool set by Amazon each month. They have no idea how much they will be paid per book.

Huh?

So rather than settling on, say a flat 20% royalty (I’m probably overstating, considering Amazon’s going to get their pound of flesh and maybe more) for every borrowed book, I might (key word “might) be getting, on average, $2 per month, whether my book gets downloaded a shit-ton or four times max. I mean, just how is this pool calculated? How will I, or the thousands of other self-published authors who’ve opted into Kindle Direct Publishing, know exactly how much of a payment we can expect?

It’s fuzzy, that’s for sure, but my hope is that enough voices will be raised, and a royalty structure that’s fair to self-published authors will come to fruition very soon.

Why am I bringing this up? Because I threw my book up there just to get the feel for self-publishing, to give myself a crash-course on the good, the bad, and the ugly on what it means, and what you have to do, in order to self-publish, and do it successfully. My book’s a non-fiction tome with a somewhat limited audience, and I readily accept it’s something of a challenge to market an anthology (I’ve found people really do hate that term!) of previously-published blogs, but so be it. As far as my experiences with Kindle Direct Publishing – and, to a larger extent, CreateSpace, Amazon’s self-publishing imprint – have been very positive. Should I decide to self-publish, and that’s a very distinct possibility, I will likely opt for KDP once again, exclusivities and fine print be damned.

But I do admit the current payment format allotted for self-published authors whose books are part of the Kindle Unlimited program has me concerned.

In the meantime, here’s an interesting marketing strategy: why read when you can borrow? Sure, I’d rather my book sell like hotcakes, but I’ll take it being available in a wide format like this. So, if you’re on the lookout for some funny, insightful, slightly offensive but always thought-provoking essays on sex, marriage, politics, music, why your favorite band sucks, leggy supermodels, and James Patterson, then be a cheap ass read my book, “Out Where the Buses Don’t Run: Seven Years of Rants, Raves, Dirty Jokes and Bad Ideas From a Small But Loud Corner of the Blogosphere” for free, once you sign up for Kindle Unlimited.

Then tell me how much you loved it.

This Blog Needs a Reboot

Like the Batman series after Joel Schumacher was done cinematically defiling it – and thinking George Clooney looked great in a nipple-enhancing Batsuit – this blog is beginning to seem a bit thin for me. It needs some new ideas. A fresh coat of paint. Maybe some new furniture, too.

Going forward, you’re going to see a different perspective from this blog. Yes, there will still be more dispatches from the writing front. But I will start to emphasize more topicality, blog posts that interest me far beyond what’s been part and parcel of this great little blog of mine over the past couple of years. Back when I used to blog over at MySpace, way back when (you remember MySpace, don’t you? Admit it, you loved it there, so much so that you were even friends with Tila Tequila: hell, I sent her a friend request, which she accepted, just so I could dump her as a friend. HAH! Take that, you attention whore!…where was I), a lot of my blogs were stream-of-consciousness efforts about anything that came to mind. Random thoughts and observations. I’m thinking of doing the same thing here again. Just to keep things interesting.

I’m saving Fridays for specific posts. On Fridays, I’ll post blogs about my favorite things, whatever’s keeping my attention these days. One such favorite things I’ll serialize over the coming months is my list of 101 Favorites: Favorite Films, Favorite Books, Favorite Albums. Each entry on these lists has a short paragraph or two that tells the story why they’re favorites of mine.

Finally, I’m going to redesign this blog site. I’m going to toy with some different themes, and give this site a well-deserved makeover.

What won’t change is the writing you’ve come to expect from Out Where the Buses Don’t Run. Not only will it not change, but it will get better. And I hope you’ll be there for the ride.

Time to Regroup, Or: Taking Matters Back Into Our Own Hands

My life has been in complete flux over the past couple of months. And when I say “flux,” try to imagine being tossed into a clothes dryer on the highest cycle, and then just as the cycle slows down and you think you’re about to be pulled out of the dryer, you get tossed back into the dryer. And it’s not like someone’s thrown a dryer sheet to keep you smelling fresh or keeping the static cling away, nothing like that, no sir.

Life was humming along nicely for my wife and I. Our jobs were treating us well – to be honest, mine better than hers, but we’ll get to that in a bit. The house we’re building was beginning to progress at the pace we wanted. I was writing daily, and with purpose, vigor, even. We were even seeing some very positive results from the Paleo diet we’d committed ourselves to. Funny how we felt so much better now that we managed to eliminate wheat from our diets entirely.

Then my wife’s employer, whom let’s say is a Fortune 100, no, a Fortune 10 company, decides to throw a monkey wrench at her. A giant, greasy monkey because they can. They love throwing monkey wrenches, in a we’re-gonna-challenge-you-because-we’re-assholes kind of way. The Human Resources organization she’s aligned with – she’s an HR Manager supporting nearly 1,000 employees in 49 states and 8 countries – is undergoing a restructuring, which means two things: one, my wife will be transitioning from her current assignment to a new assignment, and, two, her assignment will be in Cincinnati.

Neither of us want to relocate to Cincinnati.

That’s not the problem. The problem is we don’t know when the re-assignment will take place. That won’t be announced until before Memorial Day. Right around when we’re looking to close on the house we’re building. The re-assignment could take place this July. Or next July.

A few things could have happened here. My wife and I could have fought over this. Or we could have resigned ourselves to relocating to somewhere we have no desire of moving, even if that means a promotion. Or we could have taken matters into our own hands, and took back the decision-making regarding our professional and personal future.

We opted for the latter.

We’re moving forward with the home purchase. If all goes according to plan, we take ownership of our new home the first week of June. But if her employer comes back to her and tells her she’s being re-assigned come July, then they need to relocate us to Cincinnati, and assist in putting our home on our market and provide assistance for us to purchase in new home in a new city.

But we’re working on a contigency plan. Both of us feel as if the decision regarding our future has been taken off our hands, so we’re retaking this. Both my wife and I are looking for new jobs – she a new role, me a full-time role, since I’m a contract employee. I’m having some success with interviews here locally, with some employers interested, and a few interviews having taken place. But if we’re going to have to relocate, we’d rather relocate to somewhere we want to relocate. My wife has attracted interest with several employers outside of our current home location, and she’s slated to interview for an HR Manager role in a few weeks. It remains to be seen whether they’re interested in hiring her.

Look, nothing against Cincinnati, but both of us have been there, and it’s not a place we’ve ranked high on our list of places we’d want to live in. But if we have to relocate, we have to relocate there. So be it. The thing that’s made everything so in flux lately is how we’ve felt as if our fates are being decided by others, and not ourselves. That just doesn’t seem right. So we’re taking matters into our own hands.

Add to this the massive workload I’ve taken on with my current job. I’ve been working nearly 60-hour weeks for nearly 3 straight months. I’m grateful for the work, and very happy that I’ve been recognized by peers and management for my accomplishments well above and beyond my scope of requirements. But when all is said and done, I’m still a contract employee, and my contract ends in June, with a likely extension until September, and then I’m shown the door, because I will have completed an 18-month tenure.

If there is a plus, it’s that my wife and I have taken this challenge on with great clarity and maturity. If this would have happened in the past, we would have fought bitterly, and perhaps this would have ended our marriage. But we’ve grown stronger together these past few years, so much so that we’re now faced with a decision regarding our future that greatly impacts us for a long time, and we’re able to look at all our options clearly and calmly, and talk things through. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

Because of this craziness that’s taken place, both personally and professional, a lot of the things I’ve wanted to accomplish have taken a massive back burner. My writing has been completely non-existent. My blog has taken a hiatus. I’ve been so stressed that I’ve taken to emotional eating – I forgot how much I’ve love chocolate…ugh. I was running twice a week; my feet haven’t hit pavement in nearly 2 1/2 months.

Work has slowed down; I’m back to normal 40-hour weeks. My wife and I are pretty clear about what we want to do. So I’m going to regroup and start inching back to the things I enjoy doing again. I started writing again this past week; I wrote a pretty crap short story, but it’s a start. And then there’s this blog you’re reading. I’m returning to a normal blog schedule again. And, yes, I’m going to start running once more. I’m tired of feeling, well, tired.

I have some short stories I’m wanting to finish writing. Then jump-start my novel, which has been sitting there ignored for a few months. She needs a lot of attention, and she’s going to get a lot of it from me.

It’s also time to read The Goldfinch, which has been staring at me from my bookshelf, longing to be read, now that Donna Tartt has won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel.

Whatever the case, there are going to be some changes that are coming to our lives, so we readying ourselves to both face those changes and to make those changes. We realize there are worse scenarios to possibly be in right now, and I’m very much putting things into their proper perspective. Relocating to Cincinnati is definitely not like being deployed to Afghanistan, nor are we treating it like such. If we have to relocate, then we will; we’ll find the right school for our daughter, buy the home we want, and my wife will accept her promotion and bide her time until the next promotion comes, and she’ll have some more leveraging power as to where that next promotion location will be. And I’ll find the right job.

If we do stay here, then we’ll move into our home and I will continue in my current capacity and search for a full-time role in the meantime. And my wife will remain in her capacity.

As long as the decision regarding our fate remains firmly in our hands.

 

So You Want To Be a Guest Blogger, Huh?

I’ll be frank here: one of my 2014 goals has been to blog with more frequency, at least 2 to 3 times per week, but I’ve been involved in a trio of projects at work that are breathtaking in scope and breaknecking in pace. With the exception of last night’s post about “releasing the bats” I haven’t been able to give my blog a lot of attention lately.

Here’s where you can help me. There are going to be times when I really can’t keep my blog as updated as I’d like. Now, you, as a guest blogger, can pinch hit for me when I can’t post regularly. Think of this like when Garry Shandling used to guest host the Tonight Show whenever Johnny Carson would go on vacation. Did I just compare myself to Johnny Carson? Yup.

This isn’t anything new I’ve done. Some of you may recall I solicited requests for guest blog posts some time last year, and several bloggers contributed some terrific guest posts. Check out a sample of them in my Guest Blog Posts page. If you’ve done a guest blog post before, I’d love to have you do another one. If you’d like to take part in this for the first time, don’t be shy, make yourself heard and I may just post your guest post. May? Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I will!

Besides, it’s a win-win. Your blog gets some fresh new hits, and I, of course, can fill in the blog post gaps with some quality guest post from some of my favorite bloggers, as well as some new voices demanding to be heard. So BE HEARD! Step right up!

Seriously, I’d really appreciate this. So many of my readers are some of my favorite bloggers, so it would be my pleasure to host your blog posts. Of course, I would be delighted to do the same. So what do you say? Want to have a go?

Now before you submit any queries for guest blog posts, I would like to point out the guidelines for being a guest blogger her at Out Where the Buses Don’t Run:

  1. Message me at gus_sanchez1971@hotmail.com if you’re interested in participating, along with a quick summary of the topic you’ll be blogging about.
  2. Blog Topics I’m Interested In: 1) Anything having to do with writing – your experiences as a writer, whether as a published/self-published author, the decision to become a writer; any experiences you’ve had with publishers, editors, agents, etc.; if you’re a publisher/agent/editor: any advice you can dispense to my readers. 2) Anything having to do with life – the secret of life, why marriage is awesome/why marriage sucks (???), crazy stories from your past and what you’ve learned, you being crazy. In other words, use your imagination.
  3. Blog Topics I’m NOT Interested In: There are thousands of blogs out there that will teach you how to best take advantage of search engine optimization, or how to use the Internet to make money, or what the latest fashions are. This isn’t that blog, and I’m not interested in hosting any pieces relating to topics like that.
  4. Please provide a short 2-3 sentence bio, written in the third person. Feel free to promote your website, Twitter feed, Facebook page, etc. Personal photos are also welcome, if you’re inclined.
  5. Once I give you the go-ahead to submit a guest blog post, please do not ask when your guest blog will be posted. I will let you know when your post goes live, so you can repost and share on your own site/Twitter feed/Facebook page/etc.

Sounds good?

Looking forward to hearing from you guys! Thanks again!

2013 in review

Here now are the key stats for my blog for the year 2013. I’d say I had a pretty good blog year, dont’cha think?

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Milestones Reached, and More Fun With Spam!

Happy Day After Thanksgiving, America! And for the rest of the world, Happy Friday! Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving with family and lots of great food. Just think: you’ve got a few days of turkey leftovers to give you tons of energy to help you take part in Black Friday. Ah, yes, Black Friday…the busiest shopping day of the year. When retailers slash prices, and slash inventory, and step back as shoppers basically push and shove and punch their way through the mall to save 50% on a pocket flashlight for Uncle Pete. This is the America I live in, folks.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m probably going to the mall later today, just to take advantage of a Buy One, Get Two Free sale at one of the local retailers, and to make fun of shoppers acting like crazed fools. Making fun of people caving into their worst tendencies is one of America’s greatest spectator sports!

Anyway, I had a very nice Thanksgiving, thank you for asking.

This morning, I noticed this in My Stats:

wp

That’s right: Out Where the Buses Don’t Run now has more than 1,000 followers. When I first started this blog, even just a mere hundred followers would have seemed like an amazing success. The fact that I’ve more than increased my followship (???) by 800% – I was at around 120 on the first of January of this year – really blows my mind. Thanks to everyone for choosing to make this blog part of your reading pleasure.

At the risk of sounding like I’m biting the hand that feeds me, I do realize that not all 1,000 followers do actively read my blog at once. I mean, let’s be honest, quite a few of my followers are counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbag sellers from Jakarta, or travel agents from India or Bangladesh organizing some rather dubious vacation packages. There’s the smattering of webcam hussies, and there’s the proprietors of some shady online businesses. At least if I needed to get some Viagra online, and fast, I now know where to go.

In other words, spammers. They pad my numbers. I’ll take ’em. Call me a stat whore. Just like A-Rod. Or A-Roid. Oh, crap…I just outed myself as a blog juicer. “I did not take performance enhancing drugs for this blog. Ever!” Ehhh! Wrong!

But then there’s the lurkers, the readers of this blog from all corners of the globe, those who do read, and perhaps “like” my blog, but are maybe a bit shy about commenting. No, please, comment! I don’t bite! I’d love to talk with you! That’s why I run this blog, to meet people from all walks of life, with similar and diverse interests. So if you’re a single mom from rural Kansas, or a history student from Hong Kong, and you like what you’re reading here, let me know!

And to all of you who’ve actively and continually read my blog over the course of 18 whirlwind months, my deepest and most heartfelt thanks for stopping by and making Out Where the Buses Don’t Run one of the blogs you choose to read. Knowing there are millions of blogs for you to choose from and read, the fact that you read mine keeps me humble, and keeps this blog going. So, again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I feel like I should reward you for your loyalty. I’ll think of something. Maybe I’ll post a brief excerpt of my current work-in-progress here very soon. Or some not-so-flattering photos of me. What say you: how should I repay your loyalty?

Speaking of spam, one of the many benefits of blogging through WordPress is Akismet. What is Akismet, you say? Well, it’s a spam-filtering service that protects your blog site from anonymous spam commenters, peddling everything from discount designer clothing and shoes to Russian mail order brides. I don’t want their wares gumming up my blog comments section.

Thanks to Akismet, Out Where the Buses Don’t Run has been protected now from almost 29,000 spam messages. Not a single spam message has been populated into any of the Comments sections of any of the blogs I’ve posted here. Thank you, Akismet, for protecting me from spamalicious badness.

Still, I like to review my Spam folder from time to time. Akismet may once in a while mark someone’s comment as “spam” when it shouldn’t be; it hasn’t happened often, but it does happen every blue moon or so. But the ones Akismet does block are, to be honest, freaking hilarious.

So I thought I’d take a moment to go through some of my favorites in my queue right now and “reply” back to those comments. Like I’ve done once before.

Example #1

 
Submitted on 2013/11/27 at 7:42 pm 

http://www.helenmarshalldesigns.com/images/waterlilie.asp
helenmarshalldesigns.com/images/waterlilie.asp

hvdrkvz@gmail.com
76.164.217.251

 

If facts have been far more truthful, I could put 60 men and women back again to operate tomorrow.
http://www.helenmarshalldesigns.com/images/waterlilie.asp http://www.helenmarshalldesigns.com/images/waterlilie.asp

Dear Helen Marshall Designs,

As opposed to “facts not being truthful?” What part of “facts” do you not understand? And who are these 60 men and women you’re putting back to operate again? Operate on what? What hinky shit are you up to? Who are you, Blackwater? Donald Rumsfeld? Stop reading my blog, now.

Example #2

 
 

Hello. And Bye. http://google.com

Dear Neunsedog,

You sound a lot like many a woman that’s given me the brush-off throughout the years. Nice to see you’re still the same stuck-up snotty hag that recoils in horror every time a drooling idiot handsome man like me offers to buy you a drink.

Example #3

 

 

http://www.floodrisk2012.net/register7.asp?p=30
floodrisk2012.net/register7.asp?p=30
glmyugmng@gmail.com
76.164.234.155

He’s an effective person. I feel the worst element which will come from this really is that Chris Kemoeatu can be a horrible person, Meyer reported. “That’s not the case in the least.”
http://www.floodrisk2012.net/register7.asp?p=30 http://www.floodrisk2012.net/register7.asp?p=30

Dear Floodrisk,

Which one is it? Is Chris Kemoeatu an effective person, or a horrible person? Or both? And why should I care? Fuck Chris Kemoeatu.

Example #4

 

 

http://www.sunsetrun.at/defauit.asp?p=29
sunsetrun.at/defauit.asp?p=29
zknmpgfvxf@gmail.com
23.89.132.46

You should to formulate an notion to acquire the cash you owe paid off. Even when these items will even so clearly show up in your assertion, you won’t be penalized by having a full ton past due financial debt.
http://www.sunsetrun.at/defauit.asp?p=29 http://www.sunsetrun.at/defauit.asp?p=29

Dear Sunsetrun,

Your advice sucks. Who are you, Suze Orman?

Example #5

 

 

the north face gotham jacket
the-north-face-gotham-jacket.bikeshopchicago.com
jestinehungerford@gawab.com
192.99.11.146

It is perfect time to make a few plans for thee long run and it is time to be happy.
I’ve learn this post and if I could I wish to recommend you few fascinating issues or tips.
Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.
I wish to read even more things about it!

Dear The North Face Gotham Jacket,

Thank you for the kind words. Regretably, I don’t do requests. If I ceded to your request, the next thing you know, I’d start writing articles on Justin Bieber, and shenanigans with spam.

I do have a request for you: Please slap your parents in the mouth. Hard. For giving you such a terrible name. “North Face Gotham Jacket?” You must have gotten the shit beaten out of you in school. Hopefully your parents paid for karate lessons. Or psychotherapy. Either way, your parents are the worst parents this side of Kanye and Kim, for giving you such a lousy name. Fuckers.

Example #6

 

 

Keith Hecht
autotransport123.com
autotransportautoshipping@gmail.com
59.161.68.217

I appreciate the advice that you gave. It was very helpful.

Dear Keith,

What was that advice I gave you? Oh, yes…DON’T HAVE SEX WITH TRANNY HOOKERS. BAREBACK.

Look, this blog is a judgment-free zone. I couldn’t care less if you’re a Scientologist or you enjoy sex with transsexual hookers or vote Republican. It’s your right, I’m all about free will, and who am I to tell you otherwise? But, Keith, if you’re going to indulge in risky behavior – and, let’s face it, having sex with chicks with dicks isn’t your run of the mill hump-and-run activity – then it’s best to practice safe sex. Little Keith thanks you. The tranny with the fake 38Ds and the very real 9″ boner thanks you. And Mrs. Keith thanks you as well.

PS: Thank you for having a real name.

“The Lithium Shuffle,” Or: Fun With Music Playlists

Music plays a large role in shaping the words I write.

In my current WIP, music plays an integral part in how the story is told. Rather than the story being told in Part/Chapter format, I’m incorporating that so very ubiquitous relic from the 1990s to help tell the story: the mix tape.

There was an art form to the mix tape. You didn’t just throw 15-20 songs onto a 90-minute cassette (or did you?) and simply write “MIX TAPE!” on the label. You chose the songs carefully, those songs revealing a veiled clue about yourself, or something you wanted to convey to the person you were making the mix tape for. My mix tapes were short autobiographical essays – something I covered in the essay “My Life as a Mix Tape, Parts 1 and 2,” in my book, Out Where the Buses Don’t Run: Seven Years of Rants, Raves, Dirty Jokes, and Bad Ideas From a Small But Loud Corner of the Blogosphere. – that were constants in my mid-twenties. The bulk of the music on those mix tapes were what was burning underground in the alternative music scene, some of which became hits, others destined for obscurity.

My WIP takes place right around 1995-96, which would have been during my mid-twenties. So why the mid-nineties? For starters, there seems to be a trend towards writers obsessing over New York City’s past, and I’m one of them. As I’m writing this book, I’m reliving streets I used to roam, conversations I’ve had at bars and clubs, the women I loved, and the music I listened to. The mid-nineties was when the Internet first became a household word. When Friends and The X-Files were what we were watching on TV. This was a particularly difficult time for me, as I was feeling rudderless, the first onset of what would be depression coming down upon me. Music was the salve, what I could most identify with, especially when you consider the music at the time was very feeling-centric. Singer-songwriters who were confessional, stark in their approach. Kurt Cobain, yes, but also Jeff Buckley. Elliott Smith, too. They’re all dead. I don’t know why I’m bringing them up.

Music from the Nineties has something of a mixed reputation these days. The Nineties gave us Radiohead (praise Allah), Nine Inch Nails, Beck, Massive Attack, Pavement, the Chemical Brothers, the Wu-Tang Clan, The Notorious B.I.G., Portishead, Mariah Carey, just to name a few. It also gave us some of the worst one-hit wonders ever. The “Macarena,” anyone? How about “Tubthumping?” “Mambo No. 5?” 

There was also Hootie and the Blowfish. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Boy bands also ruled the roost. Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, and N*SYNC, although the latter can be forgive for giving us Justin Timberlake. The Nineties also gave us Britney Spears. Actually, I’m not going to dump on Britney. I admit to liking a few songs of hers. “Toxic?” Three-and-a-half minutes of pure perfect pop. FACT.

But there was a lot of shitty music. If grunge – Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden – did smash hair metal into thousands of aerosol-stained pieces, it also begat its slew of hideous copycats. Stone Temple Pilots. Creed. Filter. Limp Bizkit. Oh, Jesus, I just threw up in my mouth typing their name…

We also saw a greater influx of women in the music industry, through both the singer-songwriter – Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morrisette, Fiona Apple, just to name a few. The spiritual daughters of Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, and Carole King recreated the confessional tomes of Blue and Tapestry for the Nineties, paving way for future female singer-songwriters.

And there were the Women Who Rocked. The Riot Grrls, lead by Sleater-Kinney, Babes in Toyland, and L7, proved you didn’t need a dick to rock hard, just the attitude and killer riffs. Across the pond, PJ Harvey’s minimalist garage punk, Bjork’s mad-hatter beats and otherworldly banshee wail, and Garbage’s Shirley Manson’s darkly comic lyrics and no-bullshit demeanor left me breathless. Then there was Hole, led by America’s Sweetheart, the delightful train wreck known as Courtney Love. Live Through This was a festering, oozing wound of past traumas, unresolved anger, unaired grievances, dark psycho-sexual politics, and black comedy, and it’s still as emotionally gut-wrenching a listen today as it was when it came out the week after Kurt Cobain romanced a shotgun.

“The Lithium Shuffle” is the playlist I’ve put together to put in the frame of mind as I’m writing this novel. As I listen to this playlist, and write this novel, the idea of the novel as a mix tape began to come to mind. Instead of a book separated into “parts,” it’s “Side One,” and “Side Two.” Each chapter is a “track,” the novel an entire mix tape that tells the story of a suicidal woman embarking on a road trip across 1990’s America with a fictional character.

I thought I’d share with you a few songs (well, some of my favorites) on the “Lithium Shuffle” playlist, a playlist that’s growing daily.. Some of these songs make up the titles of the “tracks” on the novel. Enjoy!

Screaming Trees – Nearly Lost You

Pulp – Common People

PJ Harvey – Dress

Morphine – Cure for Pain

Sugar – Helpless

Garbage – Milk

Folk Implosion – Natural One

Nada Surf – Imaginary Friends

Yo La Tengo – Big Day Coming

Joan Osborne – Right Hand Man 

Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out