It’s My Birthday

Happy birthday to me. I’m 42 this year, and if you’re a fan of Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy you know the number 42 has special significance.

If you’re unfamiliar, the number 42, after extremely careful study, consideration, and calculation, was determined to be the answer to the Ultimate Question is Life, the Universe, and Everything. Unfortunately, the question still eludes us. The answer is decisively 42, though.

Perhaps I’ll learn it this year. I’ll keep my towel handy, just in case. Take it easy you hoopy froods!

Living The Dream,

Humble Dave

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[RANT] WHY IS THIS BOOK $17???

I LOVE to read.  It’s mostly my Mom’s fault, since she always read to me as a child, was a public school teacher, literacy teacher, and ran the literacy department for a public school system.  It’s in my blood.

Now I understand all these book publishers need to make money.  And, of COURSE, the authors deserve to make money.  But WHAT THE F**K.  $17?  For an e-book?  There are no printing costs.  No paper, no shipping to bookstores.  The publishers literally just have to  read, edit, and market.  $17.  I feel like somewhere in this equation greed has really taken over.

20 years ago I was buying paperbacks for $5.99.  Those were the expensive ones.  I remember when they went up to $7.99 for some newer, bigger, more popular books and I thought, “That’s expensive, but, hey, prices go up!”  Then ebooks.  $2.99, $5.99, $7.99.  It was wonderful.  Then the $9.99 books came out and I was like, what?  For a digital copy that I can’t lend to anyone, or sell when I’m done?  And, if you read the Terms and Conditions, YOU DON’T ACTUALLY OWN IT!  Nope, you bought the right to read it, but they reserve the right to yank it right off your digital device for “reasons.”

I started reading the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson a couple years ago.  I bought the Way of Kings ($9) in April 2016 and Words of Radiance ($10) in May 2016.  Then I realized that the series was incomplete… and waited.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that Oathbringer was out and thought I’d read that, but it had been so long I needed to re-read the other two.  Just finished yesterday, and went to buy Oathbringer.  $17.  The local libraries have  about 2 dozen copies but there are 3 dozen people waiting for them.  So, if I want to read it before I begin to forget the other two I’ll have to buy a copy.

$17.  For… a book.  That I won’t actually own, and can’t sell or lend (which also means I can’t borrow it from a friend).  That has no real physical presence.  On a side note: The paperback is listed at $20, and the Hardcover at $22.  What in the hell is going on here?

Anyway, I’ve had enough of this for now.  I’m not buying it.  Sorry Mr. Sanderson.  Pound sand Macmillan.

</rant>

[RANT] HOW COULD THEY DO THIS TO WONDER WOMAN?

What. The. Hell.  DC.

I hear all the news and comic book / movie pundits droning on and on about how great the Wonder Woman movie is and how nice it is to have a strong female lead in a comic book movie.  This is driving me nuts.

First off Wonder Woman (the character) IS an incredibly strong female hero.  She doesn’t need a sidekick, and can go toe-to-toe with any other superhero out there.  There are SO MANY WAYS they could have gone with this movie and character, which makes the direction they chose so disappointing.

They actually started off strong.  She was arguably the best part of “Batman vs Superman.”  The parts with her in them were awesome.  Mysterious, powerful, Good.  Then they released the Wonder Woman movie.  The whole thing is basically about her infatuation with a man.  Nearly everything she does is centered around this guy.  What the hell?  It is SO MUCH the central theme, that it carried over to Justice League and became a major plot point in the that movie!  I mean, come on?  They expect me to believe that Wonder Woman’s entire sense of self was so wrapped up in Chris Pine (I forgot his character’s name) that she was actually afraid to take charge of anything or trust herself since his death?  That’s just stupid.

Anyway, that’s the end of my rant.  And this is one of the reasons that DC is screwing the pooch on their comic book franchise movies.  Marvel is straight eating their lunch.  Here’s hoping the fix it, because everyone should be cheering for a stronger DC Universe.  The potential is literally limitless.

Aphrodite Aid Her!

-Humble Dave

I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

It’s a weird thing to admit, I know.  But it’s true.  You know the expression, “Fake it ’til you make it?”  That’s me.  Oh sure, I’ve been good at previous jobs.  But I’ve always faked the passion.  Oh, I supposed I might have been a “true believer” for a time, but the more I learned about my chosen profession, the more cynical I become.  That’s why when I was laid off last year I didn’t feel particularly bad about it.  It was an opportunity to make a change!  But to what?

And that’s always been my problem.  I have no idea what I’m doing!  Or more importantly, what I WANT to do.  “What drives me?” is one of the hardest questions I’ve ever had to ask myself.  It’s actually frustrating as hell, because you’re think that would be an easy one!

How do you even answer that question?  I don’t think I’m particularly passionate about anything.  I like to read (Sci-Fi and Fantasy, primarily), watch movies (the entertaining kind, not the educational kind), play with my dog, and surf the web.  I LOVE receiving packages in the mail, and for a while I was reviewing products on Amazon but that recently came to an end.

I like writing and am passing-fair at it, as evidenced by the fact that you’re still reading this wall of text I’m laying down here.  Thanks for that, btw.  But what do I write?  A book?  Short stories?  Random blogs about things and stuff?  Emotionally, I don’t think I’m ready for random stream-of-consciousness writing in such a public forum.  Frankly, I’m not sure the world is ready for me to just dump my brain out on the screen anyway.  It’s a weird place in there!

Irregardlessly (BOOM!  Adverbed an imaginary word.  I like throwing that in there just to upset both the grammar AND spell-check systems.  I think I may have also verbed a noun?), I suppose Forrest Gump had it half-right.  Life IS like a box of chocolates, but you have to bite into a bunch of gross ones like coconut (sorry hon!), and other weird nonsense until you find those sweet sweet buttercream bites of deliciousness incarnate.

So the circle us back around, what am going to do with myself?  I think I’d be awesome at retirement, but I lack both the funds and the funds to make that fantasy a reality right now.  Something in the book industry would be nice.  Would I be a good editor?  Publisher?  Writer?  Some other “er”?  Geez, I can’t even remember if the question mark goes inside or outside the quotation marks.  That’s not a good sign.  Then again, if I’m writing/publishing for Americans (which I would be, I suppose) most people wouldn’t be able to tell anyway.  That’s kind of depressing, actually.

Anyway, I’ll keep looking.  I suppose that’s all any of us can do.  Except for those lucky few who already found their passion and are living their dream.  And who knows?  Maybe someone will read my blog, decide my writing is awesome, and offer me a grant of some kind to keep writing whatever madness pops into my head.  Or someone may read my blog, decide it’s just awful, and pay me to stop?  Ooh!  Or pay me to keep writing this awful nonsense because they find it amusing.  I’m strangely comfortable with that.

So in conclusion, that’s why the Marvel Universe movies are so much better than DC Universe movies.  But it’s sad, really.  How do you screw up Superman and Batman so badly?

Love,
Humble Dave

edit:  I also like craft beer and whiskey.  And I find technology fascinating, although the completely voluntary loss of privacy concerns me.

The Importance of Socks and Pump Up The Volume

You know, I came here with a purpose today.  I was going to write about something so important, so CRITICAL to a happy life that I rushed to my computer to ensure you had access to this information immediately.  And it really IS amazing how the right pair of socks (or lack thereof), can completely affect your life.  Think on I’m wrong?  YOU’RE WRONG.  And I’ll probably tell you why.  Only probably?  Yes.

The thing that diverted me nearly completely from The Tao of Socks, is the fact that Pump Up The Volume should be required viewing in high schools across America.

pumpcoverYou probably haven’t seen it in a while.  It’s the story about a high schooler played byKevin Bacon who runs a pirate radio station out of his parents basement.  First of all, Kevin Bacon is a national treasure.  Second of all, the messaging seems incredibly relevant these days.  I really don’t think I can do it justice, so I’ll leave you with this: Violence in our schools is bad; we all agree on that.  Where we disagree is on the causes and how to solve it.  This movie deals with the raging emotions, unreasonable expectations, and incredible pressures that teenagers have to deal with.  It also offers hope.  Go watch it.  You might hate it, but I’m still right.  Happy Harry Hardon to the rescue!

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While I’ve got you, I’ll recommend Gleaming the Cube as well.  Another Kevin Bacon classic.  No bigger message, just a fun 80’s movie.

gleaming

 

 

Socks.  Welp, this seems trivial after helping to solve the school violence problem, but I’ll give it a go.

 

There’s are loads of different kinds of socks.  I was going to try and list them here but when I started I realized that it’s an exercise in futility.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this already, but there are LOADS of different kinds of socks!

I also realized that this isn’t the kind of thing that can be explained, it has to be experienced.  So here’s my proposition:  Buy a nice pair of wooly socks.  Big, fuzzy, wooly socks.  Then go wear your normal* socks for a day.  At the end of the day, after you’ve completed your tasks/chores/responsibilities and are ready to relax, change into the wooly ones.  Then sit down and relax** however you do it.  That’s better, right?  the socks?  I know!  They add a whole other dimension to the experience.  It’s like, before you were relaxing.  And it was good!  But now you’re relaxing, and it’s much better.  By a measurable factor of 2-wooly-socks better.  There’s no need to thank me; you are SO welcome.

So there you go!  An unplanned posts on a Sunday evening.  Enjoy!

Living The Dream,
Humble Dave

*There are many kinds of normal socks.  To improve your overall mood throughout the day, I recommend getting a “fun” pair of socks.  Splashes of color.  Spiderman socks.  Whatever.  Go crazy.  You’ll thank me for this when you’re standing in a business meeting negotiating a multi-million dollar deal, you suddenly remember you’re wearing Marvin the Martian socks, and you smile.  You’re welcome.
**If you’re unsure how to relax, or don’t like your current technique and are looking at other options, please allow me to make a suggestion:  Comfy chair, glass of whiskey (however you like it.  Don’t let someone else tell you how to enjoy your whiskey), fireplace.  Combine those three things with one of the following:  A good movie, a good book, or quiet contemplation.  Enjoy.

Obscure Movies You’ll Love – Midnight Madness

I’m thinking about starting a new themed series in my blog entitled “Obscure Movies You’ll Love.”  I’m going to pick movies you probably never heard of but should definitely watch.  Why, you ask?  Why should you watch these movies?  Great question.  What else do you have to do?

My first pick is Midnight Madness, a wonder from 1980.  It’s also Michael J. Fox’s big screen debut.  Yeah, he had a few TV spots in the ’70’s and one “made for TV movie” but… meh.  This is the one that counts.

mjfox80

It’s about a city-wide scavenger hunt with 5 teams broken down by the stereotypical ’80’s themes: Nerds, Jocks, Sorority Girls, Good Guys (we play fair!), Bad Guys (Cheat cheat cheat!).  Come on, tell me you aren’t already looking forward to this!

They follow the clues from place to place until one team wins the big prize!  What is it?  It’s

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No, I’m not going to ruin it.  I will tell you that this movie has it all: Edge of your seat action, clever puzzles, exciting surprises, a giant light-up map board, big-breasted girls on roller skates, beer, teen-angst, state-of-the-art technology, MJ Fox, and Flounder from Animal House!

Go watch it.  You’re welcome!

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave