Recharging, Revitalizing and Rewriting

Ok, so this summer sucked.  The highlight of the summer has been continuing to publish stories, but to be frank, everything else has been really hard.  Work, family, and working through the morass of my own mind has been a struggle.

And yes, the writing has suffered.  I’ve blown through my backlog and have also bumped up against a part in The Strange that I really want to rewrite.  Not that I’m getting huge traction on the story, but it’s not like I want to put out crap.

All that said, I’m not in a huge hurry.  One of the major personal health issues I need to address before it addresses me is stress.  And yeah, I know that sounds completely “pussy” but I’m trying to work out hypertension issues while having two ailing family members in my dad and my father in law, plus my wife’s issues and a disabled but increasingly capable son.  In short, I’m prioritizing this and working to find the time to do it right.

You know, I understand that this is another one of those “I’m late” messages.  I fear I’m judging myself against the standard of other people who are serializing fiction.  I don’t know if those folks are better writers, not nearly so lazy, putting out unedited copy, young and with too much time on their hands, or what.  All I know is that this guy right here is working at a very wobbly pace now because a couple of meteors have been thrown at my home planet.  I sincerely hope that anyone who is reading my work understands that.  I’m not being lazy or a diva or a perfectionist.  Publishing like this was meant to set a fire under my ass and it has done that.  I’ll get it done but I’m not giving myself a complex for not keeping to schedule.

That’s about it.  The next two episodes will be jar episodes and then things get into a higher gear.  Hopefully the people who have started will be patient while I get my act together and future readers won’t care.  That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

Stay tuned and stay weird.

-SC

Net Neutrality and Kneecaps

Hi.  Quick word from the Screaming Candle, AKA Patrick Lewis, about Net Neutrality.

This concept has a horrendous name, so hang in while I explain.

It’s really a shakedown by internet providers to websites for continued access at usable speed.  It should be Comcast/Verison/Company you’ve never heard of kneecaps your website or service if you don’t pay them more for transport issue.  Maybe Net Neutrality is a better name.

Here’s the thing, with all the double speak, fake news, gaslighting going on, it’s another way for big companies you aren’t even aware of and have never agreed to do business with being able to subtly get you to watch what they want you to watch.  How?  By making EVERYTHING slow and then only letting what they want you to see/hear/use go through at a normal speed.  This gives any and every company in the chain of supply from the source to you a veto power on what you will be able to do on the net.

Of course, that’s not how they are selling it.  The current argument against Net Neutrality is that you can pay extra for extra fast service for some things.  That, in technical jargon, is bullshit.  This is not a way to encourage innovation, it stifles innovation.  This is a way to put a barrier to entry to a small website like screamingcandle.com so you can’t access it as easily in favor of a bigger website that can pay extra, above and beyond their standard fees for service.

And let’s be real, here’s what happens under Net Neutrality.  Netflix uses (theoretically) 50 gigs per second (theoretically, they use way more) They pay for that bandwidth to their provider.  They realize that they need more, say double.  They contract with their provider to get more.  The provider now has twice as much money to spend expanding their own service.  They might even need to contract a better pipe up the line which then transfers some of the funds up and so on.  THIS IS HOW THE INTERNET WAS BUILT AND IT SEEMS TO HAVE WORKED PRETTY WELL SO FAR!  Breaking Net Neutrality is just a cash grab and a way to technically and legally affect what you are able to watch.

So, by whatever name, support net neutrality.  Your freedom of thought is at stake.

Freakin’!

Hi.

Thought I’d drop a line to let everyone know that I’m not dead and I haven’t given up on The Strange.  This quiet period is a reflection of me FREAKING OUT in my other-than-writing life.  While my dad is doing surprisingly well, considering how sick he was just two months ago, my father in law is not so great.  I’ve had a few stretches of being a single parent while Mrs. Candle went to help out and I will freely admit that I am terrible at it.  My son, the Little Candle, likes it because it’s pizza and iPad time, but… well, I’m not winning dad of the year here and it stresses me out like crazy.  My wife is a treasure.

Anyway, blah blah blah life blah blah day job blah.  As much as I would like to keep this on a schedule, I can’t let that be a stressor.  I’ve too many of them already that take precedence, with people counting on me.  The next episode will be up as soon as I can get my head on straight and pound the suck out of it.  I’m also cooking up some new things, which will sit and stew for a while till they are ripe.

In short, I’m still here and I’ll be getting back to you once I stop TRIPPIN’ BALLS!

Making a Quick Change

Hi.

This is an administrative type of message because I’m going to make a change to the site operations and I thought it would be rude to do without explanation.

I talked to WordPress support about the fact that I keep getting likes from my posts without anyone actually viewing them.  He mentioned that it is because people who follow the site get content mailed to them, or could.

I’ll be blunt, I like pageviews.  But more than that, I rely on traffic stats to tell me if I’m reaching anyone or if what I’m doing is full-out pointless.  So I’m changing the follow emails to only put out summaries rather than the whole post.  This will make anyone following actually click the link and get recorded as a view.

This requires more work from the people who have signed up to follow and I apologize. Having never worked with this system and not using the follow mechanism myself, I didn’t realize what was going on.  From my point of view, pageviews went down as follows and likes went up, which made exactly zero sense.

Please comment here or email me if this is a problem for your access to the story.  I’ve worked with enough people using sight readers (audio readers for blind folks) to know that moving the cheese like this could be an issue and I’d like to be as accommodating as possible.

So that’s it.  Stay Weird!

-SC

Assassins, Assholes, and Alexandria

An angry nobody shot at politicians practicing baseball yesterday.  This man doubtlessly thought of himself as many things.  A patriot maybe?  A freedom fighter? Vengeful spirit?  An Assassin?  Someone dedicated and willing to go to the lengths no one else will go because he’s just that macho, like the Punisher or Rambo? We won’t know for sure because he was shot to death for being what he was in reality – an Asshole – an angry nobody – a weak man who picked up a gun – a footnote.

There are people who are barking “EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES” and “BUT he argued for…” and “But the policies…” and “The Tree of liberty should be watered!” and all that.  Those people should be ashamed of themselves.  Condoning, inciting, excusing, or carrying out political violence is an asshole and is profoundly unamerican.  The crowd that proudly displayed “we came unarmed this time” were assholes.  Anyone talking about “second amendment solutions” is an asshole.

There are no exceptions.  Political violence is inexcusable.  It’s the fallback of someone who is so weak of mind that they are unable to argue and work to further their cause.  OR it is the work of a demented and violent mind that has been armed and pointed in a direction by people who should know better and are, as has been alluded to earlier, assholes.

screamingcandle.com is not a blog in which I nakedly blow out my own personal politics because it’s supposed to be a showcase for my own hackneyed fiction.  I sincerely hope that Steve Scalise will survive this, though I hold no hope that he will be “OK”.  I’m a Democrat and though I have political sympathies with people all over the political spectrum – yes, even Republicans – Steve Scalise viewpoints and my own have very little common ground.  BUT the man is a public servant, a patriot and was elected by my fellow citizens in Louisiana to represent them.  I disagree with the man with a burning passion but what happened to him is deplorable.  It goes beyond politics.  The man was shot in the pelvis with an M4.  This is conjecture, but that can’t be good for your dick.  Or, your ability to walk, but … priorities.

I should not make light.  This is not a good time for this country.  We need engaged citizens, not assholes.  And I call them assholes, not murderers or thugs or anything else because these weak, traitorous cowards do not deserve so aggrandizing as a label that makes them sound tough.  There is nothing tough about harming a fellow citizen when their defenses are down and they are speaking their mind.  A slap, a punch or a gunshot.  All of these makes for an asshole.  So again, we need engaged citizens to patriotically denounce and continue to denounce this dehumanization and violent rhetoric in our public discourse.  It is unamerican and it diminishes the light of hope that this country provides the world.

Use your words.

Don’t be an asshole.

Sincerely,

Patrick Lewis

AKA: Screaming Candle

Chased by Robots and With a Head Full of Bees

I do not consider myself an “art” person, but like a lot of artistic types I have enough internal demons to let them have their own intramural basketball league.

Clearly the starting line up of the dream team is doubt, procrastination, imposter syndrome, stress and the king daddy of them all – migraine headaches.  While the numbers coming from the site are NOT helping with everything else, being in the middle of a series of migraines just makes everything difficult.  Unlike a lot of people’s migraines, mine don’t initially hurt.  However, I can’t see straight, or speak, or think clearly or feel my fingers.  And the funny part is that it’s not like these things are gone – I don’t go blind or mute – but they act unreliably.  The visual thing in particular is interesting.  I get a crescent shaped hole starting in the right side of my field of vision.  The edge of the hole can be seen like little fireworks but inside of the hole, my brain fills in what it THINKS should be there.  This is SUPER cool when I’m driving or even walking around especially when the spot grows big enough to take over the center part of my field of view, like it has lately .  Imagine walking down a street with a window of a rosy, no cars, no other people, no bikes day covering half your face.  The cars, even a parked car, would disappear if it fell into the hole.

Needless to say, I’m not doing a ton of writing like this.  Or reading.  Things are confusing during one of these things.  The real fun begins if I have to talk because glossolalia is frustrating.   Your mouth just utterly betrays you and often clearly says words you didn’t intend to say.  Total nonsense like “Car park banana spezum norm aptimus!”  There are real words mixed in, but it’s a jumble.  And this is where I come from when I say I have a head full of bees.

But the bit about being chased by robots, that’s there too.  I can see the page views from the site broken down by approximate country of origin.  These are CRAZY.  I’m apparently HOT in Poland.  And Nepal.  See the previous post about bullshit traffic.  As someone who just recently graduated with a masters degree in cybersecurity, I’m truly interested in what these people are doing.  It’s just nuts.

So, anyway, I do not believe that anyone will read this.  Truly.  In a way, I’m ranting at the same anonymous robot that is the internet that I’m scolding for reading me.  How’s that for crazy?  Not powerful enough for the basketball team, but it’s up there.

And on the subject of crazy, I’m in no big hurry to post more bits of The Strange.  NO ONE IS READING SO WHY BOTHER?  I’m still writing and even still writing on The Strange, but I’ve more an eye towards what I’m going to be posting up next.  Clearly I lost too many people in act 1 and now that things are hitting the fan in act 2, no one cares.  That, I guess, is a lesson.  One can only get away with that kind of thing in epic fantasy.

Stay weird

SC

 

Screams from the Candle – Bullshit Traffic

So, I’m new to having and administering a blog, for this is what this site is on the inside, and I’m now amused and disgusted by bullshit traffic.  These are views and visitors and now even comments that are clearly not generated by humans and definitely not by readers.  The most interesting one came from a post that no one ever read, and yet it had a comment on Canadian politics.

The big question in my mind is why?  Why have some random webcrawler randomly flop around on the web and post random and inoffensive bullshit?  Why did I get four visits from Nepal?  Why are Poland and the Philippines dueling it out for fifth place on my rankings of country of origin traffic?  Możesz rozwinąć temat?

And really, with numbers as small as they are for The Strange and the other works here on the site, the bullshit is really obvious.  So from here on in, if you’d like to be counted as a person on this site, comment or like something.  Or drop me a note.  screamingcandle@gmail.com.

And if any of the bullshiters would like to tell me what the fuck is going through your head, that would be cool too.

Stay weird

-SC