Tag Archives: politics

Bad Day

Sorry for the late post. I’ve had a rough day.

First off, I just barely started writing my new story today. I got 61 words in before work. I planned on writing more during lunch, but I checked my Facebook page while I was eating and the stories I saw there got me so angry that I couldn’t bring myself to write anything.

What pissed me off is that my Tea Party poster boy governor is “considering” getting rid of the Wisconsin income tax and replacing it by raising the state sales tax from 5% to 13%. There isn’t a single state in America with sales tax that high. Not even the ones that already don’t have income tax. And while his corporate masters love this idea, it is a really bad idea for 80% of Wisconsin residents. It puts all the burden of the state’s civil programs on the lower and middle class, while the top 5% will end up with more money that they can stash in the off-shore bank accounts.

Another problem with this plan is that it will actually discourage people from spending money in Wisconsin. Anyone who wants to buy something of any value will either order it online or leave the state to buy it. We already have people who do this, so Walker is insane to think that by more than doubling the sales tax it will help the economy. Yet another moronic idea brought to you by the people who still haven’t figured out that “trickle-down economics” doesn’t work, despite thirty years of proof.

So anyway, I’ve had a bad day. I’m going to bed now, and I am hoping that I will be able to get some writing done tomorrow. With luck I’ll still be able to finish a story by Saturday. I’ll be back on Sunday to let you know how it went. See you then!

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Build-Your-Own Apocalypse!

Well, it’s December 23rd, and most of us are still here, so I guess the guys who thought the Mayans were predicting the end of the world were wrong.

Or were they?

I saw something online on the 21st that caught my attention. It said that the Mayans weren’t saying that the physical world was going to end. Instead, it said that it was more of a spiritual ending. It said that the world was going to change from viewing things from a selfish perspective, and start focusing more on love and harmony. So more like the end of an age than the end of everything.

I don’t know about you, but from everything that has been happening in the last couple of years, that is the sort of apocalypse I can support!

So that’s why I am writing this post today. It fits right in with the whole New Year’s Resolutions thing, too. I have a question for all of you, and I want you to be brutally honest with yourself (and with me if you feel like sharing) when you answer it.

The world you grew up in is gone.

What kind of world are YOU going to build to replace it?

There are so many opportunities for change in this world. There is a political upheaval going on RIGHT NOW in this country, and we have the chance to show the world what kind of people we are. I would like the chance to show them that the citizens of America are still good and decent people, and not brainless corporate zombies the way the Tea Party Republicans would have us be. It’s up to us to make a difference and be the change that will shape this nation for the next hundred years. I hope you are with me.

I am going to go to church more often. I am going to do more to help my fellow man. I am going to think more about others than of myself. And I am going to share everything that is meaningful to me with anyone who will listen.

Peace, harmony, and all of my love to each and every one of you in this new year.

“Be excellent to each other!” – Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

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Are You Ready for the Apocalypse?

The word on the street is that nine days from now, on December 21st, the world is going to end. They say this because the Mayan calendar ends on that day. This seems a little bit extreme, considering that our calendar ends every year on December 31 and people don’t consider that a portent of doom.

However you feel about the Mayans, I have to admit that there are plenty of signs of bad things to come for all of us. The political upheavals of the last few years have got me thinking that our society is on the brink, and despite the re-election of Barack Obama, they don’t seem to be getting any better.

Most generations think that things have gotten worse over the course of their years, and I am no exception. I look back fondly on many of the years of my youth. But even though I am an adult now, and have a fairly decent job, I am still living in a rough neighborhood for the simple reason that I can’t afford a better place. I am still paying rent because I can’t manage to save enough for even a down payment on a house. I am driving a sixteen year old car that is literally falling apart because even though I have no outstanding debts, my credit score is still too low for me to get a decent loan.

And everywhere on the news, I see politicians helping the richest people in the country get richer, while the majority of their constituents end up homeless and unemployed, living off what is left of the government’s social programs.

This isn’t the America I grew up in. This is certainly not the America I thought my kids would inherit.

When did America stop being a democracy and start being a fascist regime? When did the people stop caring and let the corporations take over?

I’m sorry that this post has turned into something so depressing. But if nobody does anything about the problem, then I can only see one outcome. America will either have another civil war, with the 1% on one side and the 99% on the other. Those may seem like good odds, but you have to remember that they are the only ones that will be able to afford the weapons in this war. Take a look back at history to see what happens when the downtrodden workers go up against the wealthy elite. It never ends well.

So stock up on your emergency rations and make your plans for defending your home. Either rioters or zombies, one of them will be knocking down your door before you know it.

Check in again on Sunday. I’ll be starting my vacation and I’m planning on seeing the new Hobbit movie while I still can. I’ll post a review in an attempt to lighten things up around here. See you then!

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What Happened?

Today I thought I would share some of the political thoughts and feelings that I have been having lately.

Here we are, a month after the election. Barack Obama was re-elected and I was hoping that we would be able to get past all the bullshit that has been at the forefront of the news and media for the last year. Instead, it seems to just be getting worse.

Michigan just rammed through a “Right to Work” law that is anything but. The lame duck Republicans pushed it through in a single day, with no open discussion and after literally locking out their constituents. That is NOT democracy. That is NOT why these people were elected to office. That is why they weren’t re-elected in November.

So why did they do it? It can’t be because they think it is for the good of the people. The only people it serves are the corporations that will now be able to get rid of the unions and hire people at lower pay with no benefits. And that just makes things worse.

I read recently that the state of Wisconsin is one of the top states in corporate giveaways. Michigan is even worse. Every taxpayer in Wisconsin is forced to pay $268 of tax money every year to big business, and there is little or no benefit from doing so. There are no jobs created, and the companies that take the money have no requirements to even stay in the state. And meanwhile, despite having record profits, the corporations continue to demand more.

So even with the billions of dollars of corporate welfare, why is Wisconsin at the bottom when it comes to unemployment? And why, when the “governor” has promised a “laser focus on jobs”, has he done absolutely nothing about the problem?

Instead, the news from Scott Walker’s office is that he is spending half a million dollars on a new kitchen. He has stated that he is touring the state so he can talk to the people, but the stops on his tour are invitation only and not open to the general public. More and more of his associates are being arrested, tried, and convicted, with their fingers pointing directly at him, and yet he laughingly dismisses a serious call for his arrest as a case of sour grapes.

I got the idea for my NaNoWriMo project from my frustrations about the current political situation in Wisconsin and the country. And despite the Democratic wins in November, the Republicans are still pushing the same old crap that lost them their seat at the table.

It’s depressing.

It makes me think that there will be nothing left for our children. It makes me think that the country I grew up in is dead and gone, and I wonder why I am still here. There is no end to the insanity in sight.

It almost makes me hope that the people who say the world is going to end this month are right, because I’m not sure that we as a people still deserve to live.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, think about who is currently in power. The ones that are in charge of the country now are people who grew up in the eighties and nineties. The Yuppies of the “Me” generation. They grew up rich and privileged, thinking of nothing but themselves, so it is no wonder that now that they are in charge they are pushing for laws that benefit nobody but themselves.

And the whole thing is self-destructive. If they would just stop to think about it, they might realize that if they continue to take money away from the people who are supposed to be buying their goods, soon enough there won’t be anybody left that will be able to buy anything. They will end up closing their doors because their only customers will be people as rich as they are, and we all know that they aren’t spending their money. Instead, they stash it in offshore bank accounts, or give it to crooked politicians like Scott Walker and his gang of thieves, so they can continue to feed off the public teat.

So that’s my soap box speech for the day. Maybe someone can be nice and leave a comment to let me know that all isn’t lost. Or at least tell me that I am not alone in these thoughts.

And when you’re shopping this holiday season (if you can still afford it, I know I can’t), try going to a small, independent store where the owner greets you with a smile from behind the counter. Or better yet, buy direct from a local craftsman. Stay away from the big box stores. You know, the ones that pay their workers minimum wage with no benefits. They already have enough of your money, and odds are that it is going to a bank outside of the country.

See you Wednesday! Hopefully I’ll have something less depressing to write about. Does anybody have any suggestions?

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Still Writing

As you can see by my nifty NaNoWriMo word count meter, I’m still writing. As of Wednesday evening I have over 56,000 words written for this novel. I also think I might have an idea on how I can end the book. Or at the very least a good cliffhanger.

When I was planning this story, I simply could not comprehend how the Republican party had turned so fully against common sense. It seemed that everything they were doing was an attack on the American people. And so, like any good Christian, I assumed that they had been possessed by demons. That was a basic premise of my idea.

However, after I started writing it, I found it more focused on my heroes and less on the demons. Even with all of these words written, the demons are only mentioned a few times and never actually seen. There is no proof of any kind of demonic influence, only a statement by one of the Norns (from the Norse mythology, a little like the classic Greek Fates).

Today I was working on planning a raid by the rebel forces. I decided to attack the Dane County Coliseum, and I had to decide why. What I came up with was that the wealthy people in power have converted into something like the ancient Roman Coliseum, where gladiatorial and sexual events are held on a regular basis to entertain the elite. After the recent laws regarding the Castle Doctrine and the Republican war on women, I figured that kind of perversion would be something that many of them approve of if they had the power to enact it.

The rebels want to attack for two reasons. First, to take out some of the sick idiots running the place. They expect the Governor (who I hope will be indicted soon in real life) to be there along with several other political figures. Secondly, they want to film the depravities being conducted there and broadcast them to the public, hoping to incite outrage in the people and get more of them on their side.

My idea is that when they attack they will find more than they bargained for. They will find that after the fights and orgies are over, the demons come in to “clean up” by eating any surviving prisoners. No witnesses, right?

I think that might be a good way to end this book. I would have the big reveal of the truth behind the devastation of America, and the promise of more battles to come in the next book.

The other option, of course, is to do the reveal and then just keep writing. I could just keep going until the whole story is done, then break it up into sections for publishing, like Tolkien did with the Lord of the Rings.

I guess I’ll have to keep thinking about that. In the meantime, I’m going to try to keep up my pace until Friday, the end of November. Then I’ll verify my word count on the NaNoWriMo website to become an official winner. What comes after that, I’m not sure. I’ll probably need a break, because I’m running out of my pre-planned outline, and the story has changed so much from that anyway that I should probably take at least a few days to plan out the next phase of the story.

That’s all I’ve got for tonight. If you are participating in NaNoWriMo I hope you have either finished or are almost done. And if you didn’t join me in this month-long adventure in writing, there’s always next year!

See you again on Sunday. Good night!

PS: Now go write!

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Where Am I?

Even though I’m still writing above the daily word count every day, and my total right now is 43,268 words, I’m starting to run out of steam. I think my main problem is that my story has drifted away from my outline, and I no longer have a clear idea of where I am going.

For example, take today’s exercise. Yesterday my hero was shown around the rebel camp. Today, I decided they would be discussing the things the resistance group was doing, and how George could be involved. But that meant that I had to figure out how these plucky fighters were dealing with the big, bad, government (run by demons).

And I drew a blank.

Seriously, if you were told you needed to physically fight back against corporate America, what would you do? It’s almost impossible to have any effect on them, other than bombing their factories, because despite what Citizens United said, corporations AREN’T people. They have no real presence to attack. Just physical locations, where all you are doing is disrupting their cash flow. And if you aren’t careful, you could hurt some actual people who work there.

So my hero had to step in and tell them that they were doing it wrong, and then he had to try to help them figure out how to do it right. But like I said, I drew a blank. I don’t really know how they would need to proceed, so in the end all I did was toss ideas out there to see if anything struck a chord.

The last thing I wrote was that my hero was tired and they put him to bed. Maybe tomorrow I’ll write something about a dream he had that might help him figure out how to use his new magical abilities. Or maybe I’ll do something else. I need to get some more action in this thing. It’s really dragging out and I don’t think I’ll have it finished before the end of November. It will be well over 50,000 words, but it won’t be done.

And I really want it to be done. I’ve got movies to watch and books to read and a house to clean, and those things are really hard to do when I am so focused on writing this tripe.

Anyway, that’s enough for tonight. I’ll check in again on Sunday to let you know if I have found my way out of the mess I have gotten myself into. See you then!

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Good New and Bad News

The first thing that I did this morning was check the election results. I felt that this election was one of the most important decisions of my life, and I was anxious to find out what happened. Not enough that I had to stay awake last night for it, but enough that it was the first thing on my mind when I got up.

The good news is that the Tea Party Jihad has failed. The arrogant, lying waffler, Mitt Romney, will NOT be our next President. Thank God! Also, Wisconsin finally managed to realize the Tommy Thompson was only interested in himself and how he can profit from betraying us to his corporate friends in Washington, and he also lost his election to the Senate.

The bad news is that the waffler’s head weasel, Paul Ryan, won his bid for re-election to Congress, despite the fact that at the same time that he told voters a Congressman should be limited to six terms, this will be his seventh. So I guess the people of Janesville and the surrounding areas still have their heads up their asses, and failed to see how Ryan is simply another lying corporate stooge.

And it also appears that the Democrats have lost control of the state legislature as well, which means that Walker, Inc., will be sticking it to the Wisconsin people once again. We can probably expect more protests. We can definitely expect more lies. Personally, I’m still wondering why the John Doe investigation still hasn’t dragged him away in chains. There’s no doubt in my mind that he is an even bigger crook than Tommy Thompson. And the worst part about it is that he’s also too stupid to bother covering his tracks.

Whew. That feels better. Politics is a nasty business, isn’t it. I feel like I should go get the mouthwash to clean the filth out of my mouth for having to say those names.

In other news, my NaNoWriMo story is progressing well. I have over 12,000 words, so I’m ahead of schedule. If there’s one thing that this election season has done for me, it has been to provide a huge amount of inspiration for a dystopian novel. And despite the fact that I now have hope for the future, I also know that those Republican idiots are still out there, and will probably be back. It’s up to us to protect our democracy, and guard our right to vote, or it will be taken away from us. It doesn’t look good to the rest of the world when we send our troops out “to fight for democracy,” when we don’t have it at home.

That’s the end of my rant for the day. Time to get back to writing, so I can stay ahead of the game. I’ll check in again on Sunday. See you then.

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NaNoWriMo – Day 4

Things are going pretty well so far with my writing. I’ve got 8,192 words so far, so I am slightly ahead of schedule.

When I reviewed the plot summary I had written in October, I broke it out into individual scenes, thirty-three in total. What I decided to do for NaNoWriMo is to write one of those scenes every day. I thought that if I could make each of the scenes come out to be at least close to the daily goal, if not over, then I should easily make 50,000 words for the month. And so far it is working.

Of course, some of the scenes aren’t as easy to make fit into the daily word count goal. They are inherently simpler, and so should be fewer words. Today’s scene was an example. One of my Valkyries followed my hero home (without his knowledge) to make sure he was okay after being severely beaten, then she sat on his back porch and thought about things. The scene is basically a big info dump, but I managed to drag it out to 1,459 words, which brings me just a couple hundred words short of the daily goal of 1,667. Since I wrote 1,901 yesterday, and over 2,000 words each day before that, I’m still ahead.

Tomorrow is going to be another challenge. The scene as I wrote it involves my hero going to work and doing a search on the Internet. Again, not a big scene. But I can write a bit about how he gets ready for work, and the bus ride to get there, as well as some of his job duties and work rules to fill it out. There will also be a lot of introspection and speculation on his part about the strange blond woman with the flaming sword that saved his life. And all of this will work up to him meeting her again and getting a more complete introduction into the world of the supernatural, and unlocking the magical powers hidden within him.

I’ll post again on Wednesday. If any of you want to add me as a Writing Buddy on the NaNoWriMo website, you can look for me as user name BSRPG.

Now go write!

PS: For all of my American friends, don’t forget to vote on Tuesday. I don’t care who you vote for, just as long as you vote. But if you’re interested in my opinion (and haven’t figured it out by now from my previous posts), I’m voting for Obama!

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Mix and Match

Before you ask, no, I’m not done with my summary yet. I have been working on it, honest! I’m up to over 3,400 words as I write this, but I hit a snag. It’s not a problem with the story so much as that I had a new idea that has got me thinking about a different, and hopefully better, way to bring some conflict into this tale. And that brings me to the topic for today.

A good trick for many authors is to mix and match things that may, at first glance, not seem to fit together. My idea does this.

My NaNoWriMo story this year is about civil war, as the ramifications of the Republican political platform have been weighing heavily on my mind lately. The backwards thinking of the right-wing extremists that have taken control of the GOP have convinced me that this election is the most important vote of my life. And I couldn’t help but to (literally) demonize the crazies by including a supernatural influence in my story. I also thought that this would be a good way to rewrite the first NaNoWriMo book and include the Valkyries I have been writing about since then.

So since I have tossed all these ideas into the melting pot, you can guess that the resulting plot summary is all over the map. As I was working on it tonight I think that I may have come up with a way to bring all this stuff together into a single, cohesive whole. Either that or I have lost it completely and my story will end up even more of a mess than before.

Before I explain my idea, I need to tell you a little bit about myself. First, I am half Norwegian (on my mother’s side). That heritage is why I chose to write about Valkyries in the first place. I had a basic knowledge of the Norse mythology, and over the last couple of years I have amassed a small collection of books that have helped me expand that understanding into something that I can use in my books.

Second, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That’s right, the Mormons. The same church that Mitt Romney says he belongs to, although I don’t think that he is living any of the principles that the church believes in. But I won’t go into that now. If you watched the debates over the last few weeks you should know by now that he is not now, and probably never will be ready to be a good President. And if you disagree with me then you obviously haven’t been paying attention and I probably wouldn’t be able to convince you otherwise, so we’ll leave it at that.

So taking those two things into account, while I have a great respect for my Norwegian heritage, my faith in the LDS church is also very important to me. My first NaNoWriMo effort included some heavy references to my church, and I do want to include that in this book as well. But that brings me to a problem, as well as a possible solution.

The problem is that if the Valkyries and the related mythology are such a big part of this book, how does my main character resolve the conflict between his introduction to the supernatural world and his faith in the Christian God? (No matter what you may have heard, the LDS faith worships the same God as the Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, etc., etc., etc. We just don’t think they are doing it right.)

My solution was that the Christian God is superior to the Norse gods. If you read the Norse mythologies, deities such as Odin, Thor, Loki, and the others are all represented more as super-powered humans than actual gods. As a matter of fact, I think that there are some experts on this mythology that think that the Norse pantheon is actually a tale of a group of actual people that has been exaggerated way out of proportion over the course of history. They think that these adventurers simply had a really good bard to tell their stories, making them into the stuff of legends.

What this means for my hero is that he can keep his faith while fighting side by side with Thor. He can take comfort in the prospect of going to heaven while he is battling the demons of Loki’s army.

Working with one of the Einherjar (the warriors of Valhalla) may be a little harder to explain, but I’ll figure that out when I get to it.

So here is where we come to the idea that could bring this all together. As I was thinking about the Norse mythology, I started thinking about Ragnarök. The Norse Armageddon was something that I had thought about including before, but now I think that their version of the end of the world could be the one thing that pulls this all together.

I think I can plan the book so that my hero is thrown into one scenario after another from the prophecy of Ragnarök. The parts would have to be changed in order to more include more demons than giants, but I think that this could help to focus the plot into a recognizable pattern. Not too recognizable, as I want it to be a surprise when I pull out the reveal that this s all a lead-up to Armageddon, but I think it could definitely work.

So that’s where I’m going to have to focus my efforts. I’m going to try to finish the summary with that end goal in mind, and then when I break it up into a usable outline I can interweave the Ragnarök theme into it as appropriate.

Please let me know what you think of this plan. Is this a workable idea, or am I way off base? Any input would be appreciated.

I’ll check in again on Sunday. See you then!

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Filling in Some Holes

Things are still moving, although they are still mostly in my head. This week I have been considering the problem of the holes in my story idea. This is a common problem, so don’t be discouraged if it happens to you. If you’ve got a few minutes, I’ll tell you some more.

My idea is that the country has gone to hell, literally. The nefarious forces behind the recent Republican atrocities were actually demons. The politicians had made pacts with the darkness to get elected, and the weak-minded citizens allowed them to do it. Now the country is nothing like the powerful nation of freedom that it used to be, and things are heating up toward a new civil war.

The gaping hole that I found in this idea is that I need to figure out just how far things have progressed, and why nothing was done about the problem before. I live in Madison, Wisconsin, and if you have been paying attention to the news, when the villainous Scott Walker was elected and started his term of office by breaking the state laws and ignoring the Constitution the people of Wisconsin got mad. We didn’t just stand for it. Instead, we marched, we protested, we sang, we shouted, we made our voices heard. Unfortunately, the dark forces (and money) behind Walker managed to buy their way through the recall campaign, so we are stuck with two more years of this crook.

On the national stage, we are dealing with the same kinds of issues. There have been massive public outcries about the disastrous policies put forward by the Republican right-wing extremists. So if there is already that much noise about the terrorist acts of these politicians, how can I think that my fellow countrymen would stand for this kind of thing in the first place?

It’s a dilemma, and one that is vital for me to figure out before I start writing. I have to know how we got there before I can tell my story about how we are going to get out of it.

Magic is going to be a big part of this story, so that may be the simplest answer. After all, they are demons. Maybe they simply cast a spell on the voting machines to get their way. I may be able to work with that.

That’s all the time I have for this post. Look for me again on Sunday. See you then!

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