Friday randomosity

A Friday Haiku

Here’s William Shatner

Ch ch ch ah ah ah Stab!

Friday the Thirteenth

Take a letter, Maria, address it to the CEO

I’ve mentioned all my frustrations with US Cellular every since we left Verizon for them. Things like their “we’ll pay you to leave your cell phone carrier” scam to their “no activation fees” claim.

I’ve now had my service cut off twice, neither of which I feel were justified and when they reactivated service, they charged me $25 per line each time. Wait. That’s an activation fee, isn’t it?

I finally got so fed up I wrote a letter, not an email, a real sent through the Post Office with a stamp two-page letter, detailing all my grievances with their customer service, how I feel we’ve been misled, and how we are currently being charged as much as we were being charged by Verizon, despite the fact the rep said we’d be paying nearly $100 less and no one can explain why.

I doubt he’ll read it or even receive it (secretaries usually just trash crank letgers, right?), but even if he does, I doubt he’ll bother responding.

But writing complaints is the American Way. I remember back in 1993 or so, we had bought a stairstepper from Sears and it broke almost immediately. We called for service and someone came out to look at it and then said it needed a certain part that he didn’t have.

After not hearing back, I called customer service again to see what was going on. Had they ordered the part? When would it arrive? When will they fix it?

I kept getting the runaround. I kept asking to talk to their supervisor, but nothing came of it.

Finally, someone said, that product was no longer serviceable, either the company stopped making that model and it’s replacement parts or they simply went out of business. I don’t recall which it was, but I was mad.

So I wrote an angry letter to the President of Sears, complete with dates, times, what was said, and how poor their customer care was.

I didn’t expect anything to come of it, but a few days later I got a whiney phone call from the store manager.

“Why did you write the President? You should have contacted me first.” Waa waa. To be honest, it hadn’t occurred to me to contact him since my beef was with Sear’s service department and not that particular Sears store.

Anyway, he offered me a replacement piece of exercise equipment similar in cost and I picked out the CardioFit that I still have.

So yes, sometimes writing a letter does get a response.

Living la vida ADHD

One thing I’ve learned in dealing with my ADHD is, it doesn’t take much to knock me off-kilter. It’s why I need a reliable routine. Some might call it a rut, but it’s essential to preventing what I can only describe as a flare-up that can override my meds.

I have a set routine of things I do in the morning and any deviation throws me for a loop. At work it’s the same, I turn on my computer, log in, go get coffee, come back and set up my desk with notepads, reminders, and important info I’ll need throughout the day, each item has its own place.

Yesterday, I logged in and noticed all my icons were gone from the task bar. I always open Outlook first, but it’s icon was gone as well. *twitch*

Then I noticed new icons on my desktop. I only have a few icons on my desktop and they’re in a specific order. *twitch*

Overnight they had updated to Office 2016. Ok, no problem, I can just save the 2016 icons in my task bar, then I’ll start Outlook and … *TWITCH!*

Aside from Outlook nowhaving an even uglier interface, aside from it defaulting to having the emails opening in a Preview Pane, which I hate, and despite other changes that I’ve spent the last two days correcting, the *twitch* biggest problem is that all my email Archive folders are gone!

Gone.

I need my archive folders. Every project gets its own folder and I drag all the responses to it’s respective folder, so I can work on it as the deadline looms.

I have deadlines looming and all my response emails are gone! *twitch*

So yesterday, as well as today, it’s like I hadn’t even taken my Adderal. If I had foresight, I would have taken a double dose. Instead, I feel like a ball in a pinball machine bouncing this way and that waiting to Tilt!

Speaking of Fidget Spinners

In June, I was walking with my son around an outlet mall. We passed a kiosk where they were selling these weird little triangular things. My son said, “Look. They’re selling those stupid fidget spinners.” And I had no idea what he was talking about, even after he tried to explain it. “You do what? Hold it and spin it? Why?”

“Nevermind, dad.”

Fastforward to now. We both have fidget spinners. I’ve got four.

We both have ADHD and despite the fact they really don’t do anything except spin, they are oddly compelling and satisfying. Instead of constantly twitching and moving and as my grade school report cards all said, “Cannot sit still, always distrupts the class,” I’ll pull out the fidget spinner and give it a spin, then I can focus on other things a little bit better.

It’s funny though, because in researching them, I’ve seen a ton of articles declaring the fad is now dead. I find it interesting when people don’t understand the usefulness of an item, they label it a fad then try to say its dead.

If you don’t understand the point of fidget spinners, don’t get one. Problem solved. You’re welcome.

Weigh-In Friday

I lost a pound according to my scale’s app, but then I remembered I didn’t track last week, so I might have gained a few ounces.

I’m taking the pound.

That’s a wrap

Have a great weekend. I’ll spare you the political rants again. There’s just far too much stupidity and assholery to discuss.

Just keep resisting.

And here’s a song to lead into the weekend:

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Writing Wednesday

In rereading my urban fantasy fairy tale, I came across a scene that I had pulled from the trunk novel I was using for donor parts.

The scene features the MC and another character, the MC’s friend who is also the Homicide Police Captain.

My MC is called in to look at what turns out to be a magic circle, used to summon demons, because he’s an expert on the esoteric. He is often called in by the Police to identify occultish symbols or objects. Not because anyone believes in the occult, but in the hopes that by giving the item a historical context they will have a better chance of assigning motives and tracking down suspects.

Now as I said, this is an old scene, one of the original scenes from my trunk novel that I had started 15 years ago.

In the scene, my MC meets the Police Captain in a corn field and together they head toward the murder scene.

On the way, they pass the Medical Examiner, who is leaving the scene, heading back to his car. He quips a few morbid jokes and is gone. Never to appear in the story again.

At the time, I thought nothing of that meeting with the ME, nor did any of my beta readers mention it. I knew nothing about writing crime scene fiction nor had I read many police procedurals.

But this week, I started thinking about it. Something nagged at me that the scene was inadequate. But what?

It occurred to me that the ME just leaving the scene, the bodies, without so much as a “How do you do?” was a little odd.

If you’ve ever watched the television show NCIS (or any of the hyper-graphic crime shows), you know that Ducky never just leaves the scene. He and his assistant are there investigating and providing Gibbs with a running inventory of findings. Then, after they’ve done all they can at the scene, Ducky tags and bags the bodies and ensures they get to his lab for the autopsy.

My ME, on the other hand, tells a few jokes and is gone.

Because I now have a better understanding of how (fictional) MEs work, I’m going to revise the scene.

The ME will still leave, still make some jokes, but now I’ll add some more dialog. The Captain will ask a few questions, including something like “Leaving already?” And the ME can respond, “I know how to deligate.”

At the crime scene I’ll add a few ME assistants and forensic techs, even giving some pertinent dialog about the bodies to one of them.

Why did I start thinking about this scene this week? My oldest son just started interning with the local Medical Examiner’s office and I guess that made me more conscious of what was going on in this story.

A writer’s job is never done. That’s because writers are always expanding their knowledge and always applying that knowledge to improve their writing.

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Must we review this week?

NOTE: For some reason WordPress posted a duplicate of this blog post. One filled with typos. I deleted it. Unfortunately, that was the one that had the most likes.

It’s Friday and you know what that means. Right. A haiku.

A Friday Haiku

It’s been a long week

Trump displayed more ignorance

We all need a drink

Running pride

My oldest son has recently begun running regularly on the treadmill. As a running father, I was pleased to see it. I never made him run. Haven’t had any discussions about running. He just one day started.

I asked him once how far or fast he would run and he gave me a shrug that he didn’t know. Not that it matters, I was just being nosey.

I did notice he was running in an old pair of Asics I had given him years ago and had been his regular street shoes. So, I sacrificed my newer pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17 that I alternated running with my Hoka One One Clifton 3.

After all, a good pair of running shoes is essential to staying injury-free.

Maybe I’ll bring my Runner’s Worlds home from work and see if he wants to read them.

Weigh-In Friday

I didn’t.

Well, not officially. I didn’t use my phone app to record it, but I did sneak a peak. I’m down 1.2 pounds.

I need to eat oatmeal fir breakfast more often. I had it on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Yesterday and today I made a bacon, egg, and cheese English muffin sandwich.

And maybe salads for lunch next week.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

As part of a team-building exercise, we took a Myers-Briggs personality assessment. I received my results and, not surprisingly, I’m a INTP.

First, they have things split up into four groupings. Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. To various degrees, we all fall into one or the other of those pairings within those four.

As an INTP, my preferences are Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, and Perceiving. My snapshot reads “INTPs are rational, curious, theoretical, and abstract, prefering to organize ideas rather than situations or people. They enjoy working alone with ample autonomy for their own ideas and methods.”

Pretty much. I’ve always been introverted and curious.

A couple things that I found interesting. It said, “Thinking is yiur favorite process, the one you use most frequently. It is used in the inner world.” That’s very true. And it’s probably why I write.

The other interesting thing was, “If you are stressed, you may Become opinionated and unwilling to change your point of view.” I do, especially arguing with someone on-line. “Have unexpected and uncontrolled emotional outbursts.” I thought that was because of my ADHD? “Be hypersensitive to suspected slights.” Yes, I’ve not spoken to people for months. “Take criticism very personally.” Which is why story rejections put me into a fetal position for weeks.

In a couple weeks, we meet as a team with the Interpreter to go over our results. Should be interesting.

But if I’m being honest, I’m not sure how accurate something like this is. I mean, sure, it’s much more believable than astrology or numerology, and probably more accurate than an Internet meme, like, “Which Star Trek Captain are you?” But compared to a real assessment by a real psychologist? I don’t know.

Another Haiku

Nero fiddled, Rome burned

Marie said, “Let them eat cake.”

Trump golfs and tweets hate

About Upon Reflection

When I began this blog many years ago, I wanted it to be a fun place, where I’d think (see Myers-Biggs above) and reflect upon the day’s events, society, writing, entertainment, and other things that interested me.

In college back in the 80s and early 90s, I wrote a weekly opinin column for the smaller conservative newspaper and it was called, “Upon Reflection.” Why the conservative paper? Because the larger, campus-sponsored one, the UWM Post (yes, we had to fund ourselves) had so large a writing staff they couldn’t guarantee anything you wrote would make the paper.

Whereas the UWM Times was just starting out and you could pretty much pick your own assignment. For a long time, I covered the UWM Police beat. Then I moved into production, laying out the entire paper.

I had approached the founding editor early on about doing an opinion column, like Mike Royko, or locally, like Joel McNally at the daily Milwaukee Journal or Art Kumbulek at the more liberal independent Sheperd Express (sadly, they’ve since corrected the spelling). Well, the UWM Times board at the time didn’t think I was conservative enough (oddly enough, when I contacted the Sheperd Express to work for them, they said I was too conservative). I wasn’t interested in politics then so I wasn’t really liberal or conservative.

It wasn’t until they all graduated that I used my tenure (ok, I threatened to not do the layout any more and since I was the only one who understood Ventura Publisher, they capitulated) to get my own column.

I wrote an extreme caricature of an angry conservative, at first. For example, my very first column was about instituting a death penalty for people who won’t get off welfare. My tone pleased the founding board and my column became very popular, but it also generated a lot of hate. I was even challenged to a duel once, except he didn’t leave his name or a contact number. That would have been fun.

Eventually, it evolved a moderate slant where I’d sarcastically slam both sides of an issue. Playing both sides against the middle was more interesting.

I’m sorry, I forgot my point. Anyway, I didn’t want this blog to become a political rant, liberal or conservative, and until last year, I had succeeded.

But then America’s toilet backed-up and out came a slimy orange turd and we didn’t have a plunger big enough to clear the vile obstruction of hate, ignorance, and bigotry that resulted.

And with a racist asshole in the White House spewing an average of three lies per day, I have no choice but to write about politics. The only way to fight cockroaches is to keep the light shining on them.

And lucky you, I’ve run out of time for an orange turd update. I wanted to talk about his ignoring Puerto Rico, how he set a new record for the number of lies told in one week, 40 (and he averages 3 lies per day since January 20th), the GOP tax plan to gut funding to Medicare and Medicaid, as well as some other vile shit our current Congress has committed.

Sorry.

We’ve almost reached the weekend

Have a great weekend, or as good a one you can. I leave you with two songs to get the weekend started.

This first one is gypsy punk! How can you not love that?

And the second song, I’ve rewritten some alternative lyrics for the chorus for you to enjoy. It takes a bit of work to match the song’s timing, but in no time you’ll be singing it loudly for all to hear.

Wish we could turn back time

To the good dope days

When we had a Prez

Who cared and was intelligent

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Friday roundup

A Friday Haiku

You can stand or kneel

Doesn’t matter which you do

But take off your hat!

Weigh-In Friday

I thought I’d get this out of the way first because the rest of this blog is political ranting. You have been warned.

My weight is up 0.4 pounds to 203.2 pounds. Way up from the beginning of August when I was down to 19i.6 pounds.

It’s frustrating to lose traction like this. I don’t believe I’m eating more, althoigh I have been eating pb&j for lunch instead of salads.

But the main problem, I believe, was my tinkering with my blood pressure meds, which caused me to bloat up to 208.

I’ll really have to crack down on all extra snacking, get motivated to exercise harder, and see where I stand next week.

It’s always so disheartening to lose ground.

Writing progress

My manuscript is coming along nicely. As mentioned last week, I’m going through my list of search words (and even added a few more, “just” and “that”), and making my sentences more concise.

And my mind stays in writing/rewriting even when I’m not in front of the computer, revising scenes in my head. Then I have to hope I remember it by the time I get to the computer. So far, I have.

One thing happened that I thought was interesting. My mind had two scenes, completely unrelated, that it was mentally revising simultaneously. Don’t ask me how that’s even possible, but it happened and I can’t explain it.

And when I made those edits to the scenes, they flowed better, were much tighter, and, I hope, will have a more visceral impact upon the reader.

The take a knee controversy

Let me tell you right off, this is much ado about nothing. As a veteran, I’m more offended by the assholes who don’t remove their hats or talk during the playing of the National Anthem then I am about how people choose to be reverent.

Let me also say, that when joining the military we take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America (as well as the Prdsident, which makes me glad I don’t serve under the orange turd).

I did not take any oath to protect and defend the flag or the National Anthem or to care one way or the other if someone is allegedly, according to said orange turd, disrespecting said flag or anthem.

Additionally, nowhere in the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, or the Amendments to the Constitution does it mention anything about the flag or anthem.

It does, however, mention a little thing called FREEDOM OF SPEECH. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s in the First Amendment. Go read it and shut the fuck up.

And take off your goddammed hat, asshole.

Respecting the flag

No one cared about the flag until the orange turd started his tweet shitstorm against the NFL.

If people actually cared about the flag, they wouldn’t allow it in advertising. They wouldn’t use it as “wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.”

If people cared about the flag, they wouldn’t use it as decoration or have it “embroidered, printed, or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use.

But the same people up in arms about someone kneeling before the flag ignore how they themselves disrespect the flag every day.

Go read the United States Flag Code and shut the fuck up.

Are you really concerned about disrespect for our flag? Complain to advertisers when they use it. When you see a tattered and worn flag flying outside a business, call them and let them know they should replace it. If a business leaves the flag out overnight but has no special lighting on it, complain about that, too.

Archie Bunker lives

All in the Family was a sitcom that ran for nine seasons from 1971 to 1979. Created by Norman Lear, it dealt with some heavyweight issues of the day, like race, homosexuality, and other taboo subjects, and centered around the character of Archie Bunker, an ignorant racist, bigot, misogynist, homophobe, who loudly expressed his beliefs in every stereotype imaginable. He was meant to be so utterly foolish and exaggerated in those beliefs that it would allow us to see just how absurd bigotry in our society was.

Archie Bunker was never meant to be a role model, and yet, he certainly became that to an entire segment of the population known today as the deplorables. They even elected an Archie Bunker clone as President!

A clone that spouts ignorance, hatred, and prejudicial views daily from his Twitter pulpit.

The more we go forward in this country, the more the deplorables try to drag us back. Sad!

Master of Deception

Archie Bunker is, excuse me, TheRump is a master of deception and misdirection. He’s like a stage magician who distracts us with one hand while he does the actual illusion with the other hand.

In the case of the orange turd, he distracts us with tweets about silly, unimportant things, like the NFL taking a knee, in order to keep us from seeing what’s in his other hand.

In this case, he’s trying to hide the Russian investigation into collusion and influencing the election, the use of private emails by his family and Administration, the vote in Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare (which luckily we saw and it failed…again), the fact that he was going to ignore the plight of Puerto Rico (and didn’t even know they were Americans!), and the current GOP proposal to “streamline” the tax code.

The GOP doesn’t want us to take a look at their tax proposal, because if we did we’d see it is just more of the same old GOP nonsense of lowering taxes on the rich and corporations and making the middle class foot the bill.

For example, the elimination of the estate tax is being touted as a great benefit to the middle class. Bullshit. It’s going to benefit the first family, their cronies, and many serving inside that regime. The rest of us? Unless you’re expecting to inherit an estate worth more than $5.45 million, this tax will never affect us. So don’t let them bullshit you that this helps the middle class.

Another example, the current economic advisor, Gary Cohn stated that the typical American family making $100,000.00 a year would save $1,000.00 with the GOP plan. The reality is, the typical American family only makes $74,000.00, while the median American family only makes $55,000.00, half of his estimate. In other words, although they say the middle class will benefit, they don’t even know what the middle class is!

In fact, the GOP tax plan is just more trickle down voodoo Reaganomics. This gives tax breaks to the wealthy, who then go on the piss on the rest of us.

Stop being distracted!

Tha-tha-tha-that’s all folks!

And that concludes another Friday roundup. I hate that current events and a certain orange turd force me to write political rants, I’d rather write about something fun, as I’m sure you’d rather read something fun, but it is cathartic, and it is necessary we continue to resist and obstruct this white nationist regime.

So, have a great weekend and keep on fighting the good fight.

I leave you with a protest song I’ve already posted on my Facebook and Twitter feed. It should be obvious it’s NSFW. Enjoy!

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Sociology 101: The Hefner revolition

Hugh Hefner, whether you admire him or revile him, think he was a sophisticated modern man and perpetual swinging bachelor or a crude, sexist, little boy who never grew up, did more than sell the first girlie magazine to make nudity mainstream, he undeniably changed the world.

The world before Playboy was a stuffy, boring place filled with herringbone-wearing robots who went to grey, dismal jobs in their grey, dismal station wagons, then came home to their drab, dismal homes, where their wives had spent their drab, dismal day doing their drab, dismal house work and preparing a drab, dismal meal. Essentially, the man worked while the wife was barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, catering to her man’s every whim. It was very much the conservative’s dream and the reason they revere that time period so much.

Hugh Hefner wanted none of that. He was 27 and married when he decided this was no way for people to live, stuck in an endless suburban nightmare of day in and day out sameness, going to a job, coming home to a newspaper and television, pinochle with neighbors on Wednesday and church on Sundays.

Television shows of the 1950s reflected these cultural mores. Couples slept in separate beds, wore drab, unrevealing pajamas to bed, the men were the breadwinners and the women were depicted as housewives in aprons and high heels.

Hefner believed men should enjoy life, be sophisticated, listen to jazz, play the field, enjoy the finer things in life, curse if they wanted to, talk politics, and enjoy sex outside of marriage, and before, and after.

Hefner, when he launched his magazine, Playboy, also launched the sexual revolution. Once a taboo subject never talked about, ever, even between husband and wife, sex came out of the closet, or rather, the bedroom and out into the open. Nudity became acceptable.

This so-called new-found freedom Hefner espoused didn’t only benefit men, however, women, seeing these party boys having a good time at their expense, realized there had to be more to life than being sex slaves to men before marriage and then house slaves afterward. They too, had a desire to experience life, and sex, and independence.

Hefner’s sexual revolution led directly, or indirectly, to the feminine revolution and feminism. Women sought careers outside of the home. Women went to college to get real degrees, not just the Mrs. degree like so many generations of women had before.

Playboy, was often criticised (justly or unjustly) for its exploitation of women, yet it can also be argued that it led to their very awakening of self-identity and freedom.

The Hefner way led to an increase in progressive thinking and a tearing down of the old, staid conservative ways. America went from Eisenhower to Kennedy. From family sedans to sportscars. From crewcuts to long hair. From business suits to nerhu jackets. From Pat Boone to the Beatles. From the Laurence Welk Show to Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. From close-mindedness to enlightenment.

Hefner’s Playboy and his sexual revolution led people to question everything. Americans went from uptight to out of sight. Instead of blind acceptance of outdated traditions and outmoded values, people realized there was a better way to do things, a better way to live.

A cultural awakening occurred. People no longer accepted the wrongs in society. They protested an immoral war. There were peace marches, civil rights marches, sit-ins, bra burnings, and demonstrations to raise awareness of, and stand up for, minority rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and human rights.

From that one magazine featuring a nude pin-up of Marilyn Monroe with a staple in her belly button, from that one tiny snowflake, if you will, grew a tremendous avalanche of cultural and social change that crashed across America with enlightened progressive thoughts, dreams, hopes, and beliefs, an avalanche that to this day continues to strike down fascism, oppression, ignorance, bigotry, racism, misogyny, and hatred in all it’s forms.

And here I bet you thought Hef just started the porn industry. Am I right?

Endnote: I should add that all the social upheaval came about as an inadvertent consequence of Hef’s single-minded desire to get laid as often, and by as many different women as possible. Despite later claims he championed feminism, the man was a first class misogynist who didn’t respect women as human beings but only as a physical objects to keep his dick warm.

Additionally, Hef is directly responsible for generations of men who grew up looking at Playboy magazine and viewing the centerfolds as nothing more than sex objects and who continue to view women as existing only to gratify their basest sexual desires.

Hef did not respect women. A lust for women, not a love of them, drove him throughout his entire life.

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Writing Wednesday with Chekhov’s gun

“One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.” — Anton Chekhov, from an 1889 letter to playwright Aleksandr Semenovich

“If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.” — from Gurlyand’s Reminiscences of A. P. Chekhov

“If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on a wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.” — Anton Chekhov, quoted by S. Shchukin, Memoirs

Anton Chekhov’s oft-quoted piece of writing advice, often referred to simply as “Chekhov’s gun,” is a literary concept that means every element introduced in a story must be necessary to the plot or it is superfluous and should be removed.

In other words, you should remove all false guns from your writing. This applies not just to physical objects and characters, but irrelevant scenes that don’t advance the story, as well.

gw077-chekhovs_gun

I bring up Chekhov’s gun because as I was reading through my own manuscript, I found one. I missed it my first read-through, however, it must have made an impression upon my subconscious because while I was sitting enjoying a cup of coffee (Sumatra from CoffeeIcon. Yum!)j Saturday morning while watching an episode of Star Trek on BBC America, it popped into my head.

“The knife!”

I immediately wrote knife on a notepad and placed it on my computer to remind me.

“Well? What about the knife?” I hear you ask.

I’m getting to that. Patience, young grasshopper.

I have a scene in my manuscript where my MC, an expert in things occult, and his friend, who happens to be a captain with homicide of the local police department, are together investigating a recent gruesome murder scene when one of the investigating officers discovers an ancient obsidian knife.

The knife turns out to be evidence from an earlier murder that the MC believes was a human sacrifice in a ritual to summon a demon.

The MC takes a picture of the knife and sends it to an expert in early Mesoamerican civilizations, who is aiding the MC in the hunt for the demon, in the hopes that he can identify the artifact.

When I had introduced the knife, I had fully intended to have it serve as a significant clue and later my MC and his Mesoamerican expert would get together to discuss where the knife had originally come from.

One thought I had was the knife was an actual museum piece stolen from an Aztec museum somewhere Central or South America and it would help the police to finally identify the killer.

The thing is I never mentioned the knife again!

That’s right. I placed the knife there for the reader to see and then I completely forgot about it.

Now, however, all sorts of new scenarios are presenting themselves on how to make use of the knife, including, but not limited to, adding needed information to not only identify where the killer came from, but also to help develop the relationship between the MC and his police captain friend.

I did a quick Google search just now and found a cool Aztec ceremonial knife that would work, but unfortunately, that knife is held in the British Museum nor is it ancient enough, which means it won’t work in my story. Shame.

aztec ceremonial knife

I’ve got more research to do. Down the rabbit hole I go!

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Star Trek: Disappointment

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come not to praise Caesar but to bury him.” — Mark Anthony in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Let that serve as notice to the tone of all that follows.

The long awaited Star Trek: Discovery premiered last night and it was a mixed bag, at best.

From a purely aesthetic view, it was beautiful. The special effects are nearly flawless, with a high budget movie quality to them. They are almost too detailed and overwhelming on the small screen.

The show takes place 10 years before Captain Kirk. Why the Trek braintrust insists on going back in time versus going forward, is an enigma.

But they did and that causes a whole slew of continuity issues.

Start with the Klingons. It was hard enough to explain how their species evolved from the Asiatic human-looking villains in the original series to the ones with the ridged foreheads and mullets in Next Generation, but now how do they explain that they looked like demons just a decade earlier?

Still, it’s nice to have the Klingons as villains again instead of allies, as they became in Deep Space Nine.

And they didn’t even try to backwards retrofit all the tech in order to give the series a look and feel older than TOS, as they at least attempted to do with Enterprise.

One example is the phaser pistol Captain Philippa Georgiou (sadly, Michelle Yeoh is only a guest star and not the main character) holds on the traitorous First Officer Michael Burnam. It looks more like something that would have come after the TOS phaser. They should have made it look more rounded and bulkier, something more akin to the pistols from the TOS’ pilot episode, The Menagerie.

And the bridge itself looks far more advanced than the one from TOS or even Next Gen. And that makes you wonder why the design would change from this very high-tech, spacious bridge to the more cramped one on the TOS’ Enterprise.

And personally, I like the character of Captain Georgiou, which is disappointing because she is not the focus of the series, nor is her ship or crew.

The focus is on the First Officer, the mutinous Michael Burnam, who I think should be keelhauled, but I guess they don’t do that in the future. Seems traitors and mutineers aren’t drummed out of the service to spend the rest of their lives rotting in a brig. Instead, she’ll be demoted down to First Mate on the starship Discovery.

I don’t like Burnam, which is a shame because it seems she will be the series main focus. Of course, my prejudice against her came the moment she assaulted her Captain and tried to commandeer the ship. I don’t mind hot-headed characters or the take charge sort or even ones who bend the rules at times, but what I don’t like are hot-headed, irrational characters who are so inflexible and narrow-minded in their views they commit violent acts of treachery to get their way.

And what’s with the Vulcan Nerve Pinch. I understand she was raised on Vulcan by Spock’s father, went to the Vulcan Learning Center and then their Science Academy, but she’s still only human. Even Kirk never learned how to do the neck pitch and as Spock said, “I tried to teach you.”

To me, this sets bad precedence. Now we’ll always wonder why no one else ever learned the neck pitch, which was an invaluable tool in deescalating so many situations.

Something else I didn’t care for: ending on a cliff-hanger. What I liked most about Star Trek overall was an absence of cliff-hangers, but even more than that, each and every episode was self-contained. I can turn on any episode of any Star Trek series and can watch it without needing any prior knowledge of what happened previously.

I understand we dodged a bullet when the original director quit, his plan had been to make it like Lost, with an overreaching, continuous story arc. I am not a fan of those kinds of shows. I wasn’t happy with some of Deep Space Nine’s story arcs. It forces you to watch every episode in order and if you miss a few, you just sit there confused.

Another thing, as much as I loved the look of the show, it was the feel that left me lacking. It didn’t feel like Star Trek. There was no sense of wonder. No sense of hope. No sense of Mankind aspiring to become better. There was no Roddenberry, child-like sense of awe.

Instead, it felt like a set-up to a mindlessly violent military drama. No sense of space exporation, no seeking out new life, or new civilizations, no going boldly where no one has gone before, just a sense of forboding and doom as we prepare go to war.

Which brings me to my overwhelming judgement that this series seems too dark for Star Trek and that saddens me.

Its possible the series and characters would have grown on me over time, but CBS isn’t giving me that chance because this is the only free episode CBS will show.

This was a teaser, my friends. CBS is like a blackmailer sending you the severed ear of a loved one and demanding payment if you want to see them alive and whole again.

This is nothing more than extortion, forcing Star Trek fans pay for their stupid subscription service, CBC All Access. Star Trek should be accessible and affordable to all fans, not just the rich.

I’ll wait for the series to come out on DVD, or possibly when the entire season is finished I’ll subscribe to CBS’ seven day free trial and binge watch.

But paying $10 a month to watch one show — which is what I’d be doing because I can’t name any other shows CBS does, or has ever done — is fiscally irresponsible.

I don’t negotiate with terrorists, CBS. Fuck you.

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