Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Honor and a Pleasure

In recent weeks I've been given a number of unpublished works to beta read by friends.  A few short stories and a couple of novels. 

For those unfamiliar with the term, Beta Reading is when you read and edit something for a writer and offer your opinions on the craft of their work.  It takes time to do it right.  You can't just read it, send them an e-mail and say, "yeah, that was great.  Send it to somebody." 

It takes time to properly beta read something.  It takes thought and effort.  I've been fortunate enough to have had a few friends do this for me over the years.  One is sort of my lucky charm because everything I've gotten accepted has been beta read by her at some point.  I consider her to be a Station of the Cross. 

I've come to realize that having somebody trust you enough to allow you to not only read their work before it's been submitted, but also solicit opinions on that work, is really an honor.  It means they respect you enough to actually care what you think. 

So in recent weeks I've been beta reading novels.  I just finished one and last night I started another.  It's an exciting feeling because I get to see how the process works for others.  Plus, it has made me think more about my own work and how I would like to approach it. 

In other news, I'm totally over-worked between my paying job, chores, writing and editing.  I need a TedSpawn.  And since volunteer hosts have not come forward as I had expected, I'm going to opt for the conscription plan.  Hosts will be drafted into service to the Van. 

The aliens that come to visit me regularly have already said it was a bad idea.  But they also added that they'd allow me to borrow their spaceship and equipment to make it happen out of their own morbid curiosity.  One even said he'd hold my beer while I worked the controls. 

You just can't buy friendship like that. 

Some of you expecting mothers might be worried that your baby is in fact a TedSpawn.  This is entirely possible so let me answer some of your questions. 

How do I know if I'm carrying my baby or a TedSpawn? 

Typically, hosting a TedSpawn brings nightmares and unusual cravings at night.  Do you crave raw beef? 

Also, if the baby inside is kicking, does watching a horror movie calm it down?  If so, you might be carrying a TedSpawn. 

If I'm carrying a TedSpawn, does that mean you'll cover my medical bills? 

Why go to a hospital?  They'll just chew their way out in 7-9 months anyways.  It's not like I'd risk some doctor botching things up for me again. 

If any of you expecting mothers have any other questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I'll answer them as I get time. 

Get a Job, You Lazy *********!

All day long I hear people bitch and complain about how they need money or their job doesn't give them enough hours or how they hate coming home covered in dirt.  Wah, wah, wah! 

Some people even claim to not be able to find a job. 

Well, rest assured, your Uncle Ted has come to the rescue.  I know a place that is hiring, actually paying people money, and most importantly they are looking for full-time AND part-time people.

Click here and get a job you lazy bum! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Learning to Be a Human 101

Some people just need to be killed. 

Seriously, killing isn't always a bad thing.  In fact, I'm willing to believe that everybody has wanted to kill somebody at least once in their lives.  I know I have. 

I got into some hot water once in a college history class.  I had to give a presentation about lynchings and I made the case for how lynchings really weren't all that bad.  I said, "just because somebody was lynched, it didn't mean they were wrongfully accused or didn't have it coming.  Some people needed to by lynched."  My professor got angry and tried to make it about race.  I corrected him and reminded him that most of the people lynched were white.  It's not about race, it's about somebody that just can't seem to stop fucking up, and it's time to get rid of them.  

Here's the thing--if you think about all the people you've wanted to kill, and all of that anger and rage, how do you feel about killing them now?  I'm willing to wager that in 99.99999% of those cases, you are glad you didn't do it because upon cooling off you realized it wasn't the best way to handle those situations. 

But what about those .0000001%? 

Those shitheads who, for some reason, really need to be killed.  Let's face it, some folks need killin'. 

In some rural areas today, you can kill somebody and be arrested, go in front of a judge and simply say, "Your Honor, he needed killin'."  And then you plead your case as to why.  More often than not, you'll be let go with a warning or some token conviction for loitering or jay-walking. 

Sadly not every part of America is as enlightened and if you kill somebody you will be convicted as if the idiot you killed was really a person.  And we all know that some of these assholes aren't really people, just meat bags waiting to be unplugged from the trough. 

I always get a laugh when I read about somebody who was, "murdered in cold blood" as if that matters.  To me, that just means it was efficient and effective.  What better way to get rid of somebody than when they're sitting on the toilet?  We really do have a lot of stupid social rules about when and where you can kill somebody.  Killing is killing--why be a pansy about it? 

I used to think the biggest reason I didn't go on a killing spree was because I just didn't feel I was smart enough to avoid getting caught.  But then one day, a friend of mine once said as an offhanded remark, "Yeah, but that asshole probably has somebody in this world who cares about them and prays they learn to turn their life around so they'll stop being an asshole." 

That didn't really make me pause much then, but it does now, and it that makes me uncomfortable.  Is this empathy I'm feeling?  I hope not, it feels icky. 

But it also makes me wonder a bit.  Killing is permanent.  It sticks.  You cannot unkill somebody.  Once that head leaves the body, it is all over, and no doctor can sew it back on.  Or at least sew it on so it works again.  I've heard stories about these Russian scientists, but those are only rumors, so I won't get my hopes up.

So yeah, killing is for keeps.  Knowing this, I wonder about all the people I have wanted to kill, but just couldn't because of those pesky laws.  A detective might not be smart, but the system they work for is, and you can never beat a system.   In a way, it's a good thing we have that sort of mechanism in place in our culture, because it keeps people from making permanent solutions to temporary problems.   We should spend tax dollars on that system so fewer folks make those choices and more people choose something like, I don't know, not killing.  Not killing is a good thing. 

Not killing can be the right choice. 

Wow, did I just learn a lesson about life?  Worse, is this horrible, disgusting feeling I have about the people I used to hate empathy?  Is there a drug I can take to get rid of it? 

It feels....bad.