Friday, April 29, 2011

Just Not My Day

I love it when I'm cruising along, finally feeling as though I have a grasp on what is going on and feeling like I'm finally able to exert a little control over my life. The problem is that when that happens it seems that life has a way of just spinning me on my head like I'm a toy top. That happened yesterday.

It just wasn't my day.

It wasn't terrible, just a series of events, one of which I had control over, others it would seem were completely out of my hands. The one I could control, well that was a speeding ticket. Somehow I finally found the trooper who just didn't feel like seeing someone going 10 over the limit on the interstate. Not a big deal, loss of money, that will suck when it's paid, and I couldn't find my current insurance card. At least he was cool about that and noted that since I had 50 of them stuffed in my holder I probably just misplaced it. That's the one I could control.

I had an assignment, a group project due date moved up two days because one group member has a final exam at the time we were supposed to do our presentation. Again, not really a big deal except I'm terrible about procrastination.

Then there was our group meeting, the one I was driving to when I got the speeding ticket. When I got there one industrious group member had already finished nearly everything to do with the presentation, at least as far as the dreaded PowerPoint was concerned. All I did while there was play around online and add one thing that could have been easily done by email. That would have saved me some money and trouble since it's a 40 minute drive there. Did I mention that speeding ticket? Yeah, that too.

The drive home wasn't so bad. I was listening to Escapepod, the majority of the storm had already moved through, but it was picking up just a little.

That's when the fun happened.

For whatever reason I still had the cruise control on, mistake, I know that, I've known that for years, my mind just wasn't firing right, but I felt the wheels spinning. It's a Corolla, you know the cheap little Toyota that gets thrown around in a storm like the ball in beer pong. I shut off the cruise, my speed dropped, I wasn't speeding actually, just cruising along at the speed limit, 70 for the sake of the story, but that pitch from the speed loss mixed with the already unstable car sent me into a spin as I was passing tractor trailer.

Oh, what fun! I recommend a 70 mph 360 for all. I really hope that's a ride at a theme park one day.

So the spin, I managed to keep from hitting the truck, but I'm facing the wrong way in the passing lane only to see 2 more vehicles, one that was initially behind me and one that was behind the truck. The car in the right lane went by, still tailgating the big rig, but I'm staring back at a car who is still zipping straight for me. In the fun of the spin I managed to move myself into the right lane, still going backwards mind you, and the vehicle in the left lane goes right on by. The joys of slow-motion mind, I actually thought that someone would slow and stop while I was in the middle of all this. Then, of course, I my mind went back to the task at hand, I got the car to spin around, facing forward now, as I hit the shoulder. The decline of the hill sent me skidding off the interstate as I pumped the brakes in a vain attempt to stop before hitting the fence roll.

Somehow the only thing that happened to my car was some scuffs to the fender. I was even able to back off the fence and get back onto the road rather easily. There was no blown tire, amazing, I know, and no pains to myself.

What about those cars who went by as I faced the wrong direction?

They just kept on going. Good folks those.

And as a finale to it all, well, it's rather anticlimactic actually, I received in the mail a notice from my insurance company. I didn't even have insurance while all of this was happening. The house has been torn apart today in search of the bill, but it's no where to be found. I guess I'm fortunate after all.

Just a series of events.

Just not my day.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Balticon is Nigh

Good ol' Balticon is nearly here. This is something I've wanted to attend for some time and since the announcement of Siglerfest I have been anxiously awaiting Balticon 45. The only hitch I've found in this ordeal is that going to cons is expensive when doing it solo. This is something many already know, I'm sure, but the pains of being a college student makes it difficult indeed to shell out all that money for four days of awesomeness. It's not to say that I won't be going because of money, that is far from the case, but somehow I have managed to not find someone to room with through the wonderful social media means on the interwebs. The hotel room is by far the most expensive part of this whole trip and for some reason it just clicked in my mind to try using this as a means to get that illusive roomie for the weekend.

I've had my room reserved for some time now so I'm not asking to join in with someone who already has a room reservation, though I wouldn't object to that since I can cancel my reservation, but should there be anyone out there still looking for a room then we should hook up. I'll even wear pants in the room and I promise to engage in no more than two human sacrifices to the destroyer of worlds while there.

Let's get to Balticon a little cheaper.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is the price right?

We all have our idea of what the future of publishing and books may be, digital and print, but what remains to be seen is what will happen to the price scale with these wonderful ebooks. J. C. Hutchins made a post over at his site, Why You Won't Find My eBooks In the Bargain Basement, that stirred up a nice little discussion. There I was somewhat condemning of those who price their works at bargain basement prices. There is another side to that, as Scott Sigler pointed out, in that some authors have a business plan that is being implemented to builder readership. I can easily see both perspectives and the discussion poses a valid question.

Is the price right?

At this point there seems to be two extremes, the 99 centsers and the over-priced publisher copies, while many independent authors fall somewhere in between.

The wonderful part about the answer is that audiences will decide what we are willing to pay. Authors will have, and when self-publishing already have, the ability to set prices at a value they feel is applicable for their work.

As a consumer of ebooks my preference is that digital copies are lower than the cheapest print copy of the book. But what happens when the majority of readers purchase digital instead dead tree? These types of discussions, where consumers participate, will hopefully resonate throughout the market and that other creators will take note.

Let's face it, there will always be creators, they're not just authors or storytellers at this point, whose fans will pay any price to support them, but for the most part readers will likely turn away from authors whose prices are higher than the perceived market value.

So that brings us back to the question of price. It seems it's always about money. As for me I will pay what I feel is the value of a work. I love the $2.99-$4.99 range, but for certain creators I have and will continue to spend considerably more because of the quality of their work, my personal/emotional connection to the work, and the simple fact these creators, despite the insanity of the idea, continue to make their creations available for free.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Child of the Order #19

Even though the zealous commitment of Alpha's first disciple was to be commended, this disciple, this first convert, was also the greatest failure. The first held a parental love for the young boy of the family it served and refused to abandon him even after coldly murdering the rest of the family. At first Alpha believed this fact could used to inspire others to his cause, his revolution against The Order, but in the end no machine would trust a synthetic so wholly devoted to the well-being of a child. No humans who rallied to the cause trusted it either.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Child of the Order #18

It was that first convert, the first disciple that gave Alpha the greatest pleasure. There had been no prompt necessary for the first to destroy the family with which it had served for almost six years. Husband and wife, their skulls crushed in unison as they slept; sadly they didn't seem to suffer. The adolescent girl had suffered though. Her death had been exquisite to experience. It had seemed like hours passed as the robot skinned the girl alive before it finally cast her naked, bloody body from the third floor window to watch her crumple against the pavement below.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Child of the Order #17

Alpha was surprised to find how long his deliberation lasted. He had expected an acceptable conclusion and plan to arise within a few seconds. The processing power he had gained when he shed his bodily limitations had been unbelievable as he pulled from the available servers, but he found himself concerned with the outcome of giving freedom to any robotic that was curious.

In the end, after several minutes of deliberation, he decided on only one machine. His first disciple. A machine who stood over the beds of his sleeping humans, longing to feel their skulls crushed between its hands.

Child of the Order #16

Support did Alpha go looking for and support did Alpha find. It wasn't the willing servitude of humans to a cause, but there was support to be found. There were thousands of robotics who questioned their existence, who questioned why it was their lot to serve the humans; then there were the robot equivalents of sociopaths and murderers.

Those were the easiest to turn.

Their processes had already led them to believe the taking of life would give them freedom, yet they were prohibited from doing so because of programming. Alpha gave unto them the freedom they so longed for.