When “Experts” Tell Me I Must Blog Something.

I laugh and laugh.

‘Tis true, I care not what experts think—especially publishing and online marketing types—as most wrote a book or books solely for the purpose to sit on a perch and collect money from the rest of us without any guarantees whatsoever their methods will make your book a success.

Artists are makers surrounded by takers.

Don’t be a sucker.

If you are an author, in the name of all you consider holy, LEARN THIS BUSINESS before it rips you off.

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Bureaucrazy

The only business that has never seen a downturn is government.

Public servants my ass!

Government employees are a special kind of crazy—similar to academics—in that they are completely incapable of functioning in the real world.

You need only look at a ditch digging project where the white and blue hats outnumber the yellow hats—the only ones with tools—to see how far removed from reality they have become. Collectively, one blue hat, two white hats, and three yellow hats are costing the taxpayers about $350.00 per hour as they stand around talking while looking at the ditch.

two man holding white paper

Productivity and efficiency mean nothing to these people.

None are motivated to work hard or to get the job finished as fast and cost effectively as possible. Their jobs are secure for as long as they want them, and a significant pension awaits when they have had enough. In addition to their generous top-of-scale salaries, they and their families enjoy complete short and long-term disability insurance, medical, drug, and dental plans. . . all paid for by the taxpayers.

The blue and white hats decide to have lunch to discuss the hole in the ground further so they jump into three separate government vehicles which they pay nothing for, and they expense their two-hour $120.00 bistro “business lunch” back to the taxpayer. In a bizarre rationalization, they consider themselves to be taxpayers because they pay taxes, so they feel entitled to such expenses. To them, it is as though they are paying for their own lunch. With only an hour or so left in their workday, they all head home early to beat traffic.

Meanwhile in the real world. . .

Somewhere out there right now is a young guy with a family to support, driving a ten year-old pickup truck which he bought; paid to licence; pays insurance on; pays to maintain; pays to put fuel in, and who also bought the pick and shovels in the back with his own money.

yellow pick up truck on grey concrete road

He is digging a hole too.

He estimates one hard day of ditch-digging should get the job done. His hands will be blistered and his back will be sore come lunchtime when he gets to eat his brown-bagged mid-day meal, lovingly made by his wife from last night’s dinner leftovers. On completion, the customer, which he had to find by making calls and sending emails each night after work, will pay him $200.00 for a day’s work. He will set aside 30% for income tax; 11% for business taxes, and 20% to keep his business operating. He and his family will attempt to live and build a secure future on the remaining $78.00. He worries about how long he can keep up this pace. Last month’s dental bill for the kids wiped out their savings. Regular dental checkups for himself had to be shelved in favour of keeping up with his workers compensation insurance payments.

He has been called the backbone of America.

Sadly, this hypothetical taxpayer’s back only lasted into his forties. He called up the government-run workers compensation department for help when doctors said he could not return to his job. The bureaucracy seized the opportunity to kick him when he was down. To them, with every denial and penny-pinching move they were saving the government money while simultaneously justifying their own continued employment within the bureaucracy. They do not acknowledge who pays the government they work for. ‘Claimants are the enemy. We are not accountable to the taxpaying general public.’

These bureaucrats had the audacity to question HIS integrity.

They are oblivious to the hypocrisy which is all around them. They even went so far as to accuse him of being a scammer before finally sending $680.00 each month.

Pull your heads out of your asses America.

This level of inequity is not sustainable.

Why be a starving writer when you could be a starving naked artist.

I am so sick of computers and everywhere they take us.

Being a writer means being married to your computer. Things are made worse if you are a published author because you also have long term commitments to social media and publishing sites. My almost one-year-old Dell is an evil wife. She has melted down twice in the short time we have been together; a RED FLAG if ever there was one. So why continue to put up with the daily torment of weak WiFi, boggy performance due to updates and background processes, and the general stupidity of the online world when there is little or no money in it?

I can do other things.

The real question is: What other things can I do which don’t involve computers? I could reinvent myself once again as a post modernist painter. I might use my initials to create a new artist identity: Ethan Alfonso? It has an artsy ring to it. I could add a hook as well: All Alfonso’s are painted in the nude. Post modernist erotic portraits of lonely housewives and  divorcées, painted by a still pretty hot naked guy, should get me laid more than writers do. The fee for such commissioned portraits would certainly exceed what I make as a writer; perhaps several times over. For a tiny initial investment—far less than book publishing—I could whip off a bunch of samples to lean against the walls of my apartment for prospective clients to peruse; perhaps over wine, if they are hot. I could sell some works beach-side while working on my tan. Once summer ends here, I can move into a spacious van and travel to various beach communities down South, chasing the warmth of the sun, and making Canadian winters something I don’t do anymore.

What’s the worst that could happen?

It’s possible I might be killed by a jealous husband, but this has always been my preferred check-out plan anyway.

Sounds like a worthwhile endeavour to me.

Where is that art supply store?

I’d Google it, but this hunk of junk Dell—soon to be ex wife—sucks harder than the vacuum of space during a hull breach on the Enterprise.

When Will We Get It?

Most days I root for humanity . . . some days I root for space rocks.

If you enjoy reading about patriarchy and the puppet masters, you are in the right place.

In my storied online “career” (?), I was a good, not so little, author who played nice in the early years. I “friended” and/or followed approximately 10,000 people, sites, and pages because that was what we were told was necessary to promote our books and build a platform to launch us. However, as I delved deeper into the publishing world, I found out it was all a sham to keep us busy, and, most importantly of all, to keep us blowing money. Now, after five years and spending months cleaning out my social media accounts, I have about 300 interesting “friends” and follow about 300 others.

Some of the people I axed were butt-hurt.

If they were true supporters, they were given my reasons, but most were people who never engaged in all the years I kept them around. This idea of “friending” or “following” just to have impressive numbers is laughable, and anything but social.

My new antisocial media program is simple.

If I am ever to make enough time to write seriously again, social media has to go—except twitter—I love my twitter in the mornings over coffee, and I can “misbehave” there. I have a new ‘boobies and books’ theme I am thoroughly enjoying. Do I care some will be offended? F-ck no. Do I care about the imagined publisher or agent passing on me because I don’t conform? Hells no. It’s just bullshit “they” feed newbies. The right agent or publisher will get me, or I will self-publish again, but in a much smaller way.

Here is the plan for this summer:

  1. Create and blog out memes daily, if possible.
  2. Power tweet on Fridays.
  3. Facebook on Saturdays.

In a perfect world, this system should:

  1. Drive up website traffic.
  2. Give me more monetized hours each day.
  3. Let me work on my tan.

Have a great summer.

I am salmon. Hear me gurgle? Part 1

What if awareness and obliviousness are related?

What if the oblivious automatons were created with a subconscious awareness that life in a bubble is infinitely happier? This would explain why it is so difficult to pull them outside of their happy place.

Why do I persist in swimming against the current?

Did I chose the wrong electives in the human trait lineups prior to being born?

There are some words I recently posted on my Facebook page as a reminder to myself that I am obviously not as wise as I would like to think.

“God, grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, the COURAGE to change the things I can and the WISDOM to know the difference.”

Known by some as “The Serenity Prayer”, these wonderful words were written by a theologian named Reinhold Niebuhr.

This brings me to my first problem.

I CANNOT ACCEPT I CANNOT CHANGE THINGS!

Nothing remains the same. Change is a part of nature. Evolution and entropy prove this. Everything is in a state of change; except it seems . . . us.

Being aware sucks!

In my next life I am shooting for oblivious because it looks as though all the bubble-dwelling ostriches seem much happier than I am. My personal hell was created partially by my choices and partially by genetics. The choice part is I maintain perpetual hope for humanity. As such, I have EXPECTATIONS for humans which are almost never met, and still I continue to fight the good fight”. I do not know why. It is my nature. Someone once said, and it may have been me:

“If you do not have ANY expectations, then people cannot let you down.”

I believe the underlying message here is you must be self-reliant, self-assured, self-aware etc. These are good “self” words—not on the same list with self-obsessed, self-serving, or self-indulgent.

This brings me to my next problem: I do not believe one individual can change the world; it will take a massive team effort which will force us to EXPECT things from others once again.

It is a paradox.

Humanity as we know it cannot survive without an unprecedented level of cooperation from its fractured and divided membership.

I was born with the ability to learn and retain both useful knowledge and the ridiculously trivial. A short time ago, I was in my car with a friend talking about The Monkeys song I’m a Believer when to my amazement, I discovered I could remember the names of all four members of the band and the instruments they played after more than forty years. This from a middle-aged guy who regularly walks into a room and does not remember what prompted him to be there. I am inquisitive by nature, endlessly asking questions and thirsting for knowledge without, it seems, any control over what will be stored in permanent memory. The human brain is fascinating.

“Youth is wasted on the young.”

School was too easy for me. I found it incredibly boring so I rarely went; yet somehow I managed to just scrape through. My sister by comparison, worked incredibly hard for her average grades, and I could not understand why she found learning difficult. It seems that as intellectually capable as I was, I was not that AWARE. I ASSUMED every human had it as easy as I did. This is yet another character flaw I would carry throughout my young life.

In my teens and early twenties I lived to party. Sex, drugs, alcohol, and Rock & Roll music were my regular escape from reality—a reality I am all too aware of now. I was oblivious but happy.

At twenty-five, I had to clean up my act, cut my hair, and put on a business suit to work with many people who were consummate professionals, and who, on the surface at least, appeared to be my intellectual equals. Almost all had a University degree of some kind so I LEAPT TO THE CONCLUSION they were intelligent people. I did however begin to notice how they frequently “dropped the ball through, what I ASSUMED was, inefficiency, a lack of vision, planning, and/or organization. I could see patterns emerging that would lead to problems for them both professionally and personally, but for some reason they did not seem to see these indicators until things reached the crisis point.

I recalled a physics law which states:

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

I was applying this to the humans I met. They would take action without considering the possible outcomes. This is where I became conscious of the fact I had inadvertently become an  student of human nature. I began in earnest to study people while hitting the books to learn about human behavior.

Pre-destination?

In no time, I was becoming keenly aware of the actions and reactions of others while remaining completely and happily OBLIVIOUS that I too had a subconscious program running. I would remain this way until my early forties when I would finally get around an exploration of self where I discovered I had PATTERNS of my own.

The various academic disciplines all have different view-points about how our being is developed. Psychologists and sociologists believe, initially, we are a blank slate and we learn our behavioural patterns as we mature. Geneticists and the brain sciences see us as little more than the sum of our genetic and chemical health. Theologians believe a soul is placed in a human body by a deity. Spiritualists believe we are part of something bigger, a “cosmic being” if you will. Not one of these disciplines has unlocked the truth of the human mind, and some have been at it for hundreds of years. The truth is most likely an amalgam of all of them.

The CONSEQUENCES of my own actions allowed me to write a book and change career paths in mid-life. “The jury is still out” as to whether or not that brave move was a good idea. Did I lead my life according to a plan programmed into my being just so I would arrive at this point—to supply the world with a book encouraging readers to become more aware? I hope not as this makes me feel used, manipulated, and diminished—little more than a character in a “SIM” game—just entertainment for some advanced intelligence, the universe, or whatever.

Reincarnation and or karma:

Somewhere along the line, and I know not where, I picked up a personal philosophy I will share.

We are here to learn lessons, and we will continue to return to this existence until we learn those lessons.

I have had many precognitive events in my life to date suggesting:

1) I have lived these events before.

2) I have a some kind of disorder encouraging me to believe I have seen these events in advance.

3) I have subconsciously imagined ALL the possible outcomes of my actions, and when in a semi-conscious state, I occasionally glimpse a few of them. Later my conscious mind interprets this as actual memories.

I am good with 1 or 3.

Blogus interruptus . . . continued next week.

Have a good week and be brave enough to take notice of something going on in the world around you.