Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Week or so of hell

I haven’t posted in a while, because I’ve been having the weirdest month.

The powersupply on my wife’s computer went out. So I replaced it with mine, I thought I’d just drive over to the big city of Danville and get a new one.

Danville has two computer stores, Office Depot and a small computer repair place that sells some computer parts. Never the part I need but it was worth a shot.

Neither had a SLI powersupply so I figured I’d be offline while I ordered one online. I figured if I had to order something online I’d go all out and get the computer that used to power the home entertainment system running again.

So I ordered a new motherboard/CPU (non SLI so if I had a problem it could be easily fixed).

I got the new motherboard and it gave me an error it needed to be flashed with a floppy.

It turned out I had a floppy drive on a computer I bought 10 years ago. It was the only part on that computer that hadn’t been replaced in the first six months. (CompUSA’s TAP program really, really paid off on that one.) I found some old floppies and planned on using the computers at work put the program on them.

The 13 plus year-old floppy didn’t work.

No problem I’d drive to Danville to get new ones. My car didn’t start.

The distributor was burned out, a problem that normally would take a couple of days to fix. With the holidays it added four more days to the process.

While I was waiting, I rebuilt my old computer 3.5 gig that only has one SATA port. I figured it would work while I tried to get the new slower one going. Unfortunately I can’t get the USB ports working so I would need two keyboards and mice, and there is just not enough room on my desk for that.

That was when I found out that the 10 year-old floppy drive I had didn’t work. I doubt the all fifty old floppies were bad. I tried them all.

So I rummaged through my old electronics and found the floppy drive from a ’97 Dell PC it looked to be in good condition. Then I found out Dell made proprietary floppy drives. Wouldn’t want someone using it on a non-Dell computer. The only other computer I ever had with a floppy was a ’96 Compaq and even if I kept the floppy drive from it I really doubt it will work.

Newegg has a great return policy, and I’ve got a good mechanic so in the beginning of the year all this will be worked out, but for now I can’t post much.

On the bright side having computer problems means I found out I have this thing called a family. Turns out I can call up my mom and talk to her in real time.

I also had a chance to talk to my 101 year-old grandma.

My wife is probably getting sick of my pestering her by now but she is being a good sport about it.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rhetorical Rambling

Right now I'm struggling with one of my character's dialog. It is kind of long. There is an easy way to fix this; break it up with interruptions. Something I got good at writing AN EXTRA TOPPING OF HORROR. There is another way that is much harder, fill the dialog with passion and conviction so the reader can't put it down. Great political speeches are examples of that.

So dear blog reader, I shall practice on you.

Now some may ask, why would I take the hard path when there is an easy road available?

I don't write novels, short stories, this, that and, the other thing, because they are easy. I write them because they are hard! I write them because that is a challenge I am willing to accept, and one which I am unwilling to postpone, and one which I intend to win.

I willingly enter this arena, my face marred by dust, blood, and sweat. I will strive valiantly, knowing in my heart that I shall err, that I shall come up short time and time again, because there is no effort without errors and shortcomings. But in striving to actually do the deeds, I shall know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, of setting myself to a worthy cause. At best I shall know the triumph of high achievement. At worst, if I fail, at least I shall fail while daring greatly, not joining those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

In this challenge I can only offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. Is that enough to face the thousand slings and arrows of the nameless critics that seek to tear down anyone with a high and noble purpose? I shall face their laughter as it denotes not only a vacant mind, but a heart in which high emotions have been choked before they could grow to fruition.

I say boldly and loudly to those critics, the only thing I have to fear is the nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror that causes some writers to retreat, when they should advance. To fall back on the skills they are comfortable with, when they should be honing new skills. Sitting on the rung that they have gotten comfortable on and not bravely advancing to the next level.

Writing with passion and conviction offers pleasures from the gross to sublime, but it is not for the fainthearted. For nothing worthwhile has ever been achieved by respecting the status quo.

While the naysayers will mock, disagree, and vilify anyone who takes bold action, the one thing that they can never do is ignore them.

In this battle to win the hearts and minds of my readers. My commitment is strong and my resolution unwavering. This is a battle that not only can I win, but it is a battle that I will win.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Porn and Violence

This is a myth I thought had gone the way of the Moon being made out of Green Cheese. But I've been running across it again recently, even from people who should know better. So I thought I'd comment on it.


I really don't know how to make that anymore clear. But I still hear people claiming that some scientific study shows there is. When pressed they either can't find it, or make some vague statement about the Presidential Commission's Study.

There have been two Presidential Commissions that studied the effects of Porn on Society.

The first, President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography in 1970 found:

  1. That there was "no evidence to date that exposure to explicit sexual materials plays a significant role in the causation of delinquent or criminal behavior among youths or adults."
  2. That "a majority of American adults believe that adults should be allowed to read or see any sexual materials they wish."
  3. That "there is no reason to suppose that elimination of governmental prohibitions upon the sexual materials which may be made available to adults would adversely affect the availability to the public of other books, magazines, or films."
  4. That there was no "evidence that exposure to explicit sexual materials adversely affects character or moral attitudes regarding sex and sexual conduct."
  5. That "Federal, State, and Local legislation prohibiting the sale, exhibition, or distribution of sexual materials to consenting adults should be repealed."

The second, The Meese Report came out in 1986 which was very anti-porn, however two little details were buried in it.

This little nugget:
"There are no scientific studies that show that exposure to nonviolent sexual material causes a person to commit a sexual crime or become more sexually aggressive."

And its statement that it is not in anyway a scientific study.

So the “Scientific Study” that people point to is not a scientific study and states that no link has been found between porn and violence.

Some will point out that absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence, and in this case they would be correct.

Try and think of a way to study any link between porn and violence. You could go to the emergency room find women who come in repeatedly with black eyes and bruises. Give half their spouses unlimited access to porn and make sure the other half don't have any porn. Then see which ones show up more often in the emergency room. You would have to do your studies from your jail cell as you would be withholding evidence of a crime.

You could look after the fact and find that 1% of heavy porn watchers are violent, slightly less than the general population. You could look at areas where porn viewing is high and compare the rape stats to where porn viewing is low, and find that in places with heavy porn viewing there are fewer rapes.

So there is a correlation between Porn and decreased violence towards women, but correlation does not mean causation. So you need to break it down farther.

The underlying premises of the link between porn and violence are that, men who watch porn are hornier making them “think with their dicks” and it makes men look at women as sex objects. These can be tested.

Studies have found that watching porn decreases men's libido. They become less horny in daily life.

This is common sense, back when I was in college it was tough to view porn, VCR's cost more than TVs and even I wasn't bold enough to pop a tape into the one in the lounge and start wacking off. So when I met a girl and she wouldn't go back to my room. As I kissed her goodnight I was usually thinking, “Please, at least let me make out with you until I jizz in my pants.” (oddly that line does work.)

Today, Guys have access to all the porn they want. They can pull out phone and watch whatever turns them on. So kiss goodnight is more like, 'If she doesn't put out, I'll just have to go watch the 16 girl lesbian orgy on my phone, and maybe...' Well see you later. They run back to their room leaving the girl frustrated.

Porn is a poor substitute for the real thing, but it is a substitute. So a normal male will be less aggressive.

Do men look at women as sex objects after watching porn. A duh! The real question is do men look at women as sex objects without watching porn? Yes they do.

However porn desensitizes guys to sex.

I grew up where we had 5 months of winter. I mean real winter months where it didn't get above 0 F. Needless to say in those months seeing flesh wasn't common. As cocky as I am, in the spring it became hard to talk to girls as my mind would go, “That is a really good point and... cleavage... Sorry what were you saying?”

By fall I was able to admire the cleavage without losing my train of thought.

Being exposed to porn desensitizes men's sexual urges so a flash of skin doesn't destroy their thought process. So men can really talk to women while the thoughts of sex take lower priority. It is multi tasking we can look at women as both sex objects and human beings at the same time.

Basically the assumptions that make people think porn could lead to violence are wrong.

So to everyone who says there is a link between porn and violence, I say, “Shut-up Stupid. There are no scientific studies that show that. Every study about porn points the opposite way, that porn makes men less sexually aggressive and less violent.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Verbose Villains

In my latest writing post I look villains long ass speeches.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, December 5, 2011

From Bullshit to Cheesy

I seem to have a cow theme going on today.

Last week I asked what was more of a vegetable than Pizza.

One person voted for Bullshit. So Bullshit wins.

This week I am looking at dialog. Good dialog advances the plot in ways that stick in your mind. Then there is dialog that sticks in your mind for other reasons.

Which of these classic movie lines sticks in your head for better or worse:

This man's been murdered, and someone's responsible – Plan 9 from Outer Space.

It's a pressure valve. It won't open unless there's pressure – Poseidon

There is no spoon. - The Matrix

As always vote on the upper left hand side of the page.
By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: SOPA

According RIAA illegal sharing costs them more than the money supply of the entire world. Where did they come up with this figure? They made it up. The FBI, using the same technique, pulled the figure of $200 to $300 billion out of their ass.

It wouldn't even matter if they used actual measurements to come up with a number, it would miss the point. Entertainment isn't a zero sum game.

It isn't a matter of people buying content or not buying content, it's looking at the content vs. doing something else.

My free book I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE is about to break the 3,000 copies downloaded mark. If I calculated how much money I would make if it sold for $2.99 that would be in the thousands. Except if it were at that price I would only sell one or two copies.

It's the same with songs and TV shows, it's not a matter of if I could buy a Madonna song or watch a Youtube video of some teenage girl jumping on her bed while lip-syncing the lyrics. I watch those because they are funny as hell. BTW I've already purchased all of Madonna's music some of which I've got in multiple formats.

The Stop Online Piracy Act makes it so those teenagers that put those videos up could face three years in jail and Google could face huge fines for posting them.

This act makes most American Citizens criminals. This blog is totally illegal as I grab images off the web to make my point and don't share the $10 a year profit this site makes. Although I feel I handle spammers fairly well, my way of dealing with them is to either ignore them or make fun of them, I don't check their entire site for links to filesharing sites. Under SOPA that makes me a criminal.

Another activity that would become illegal birthday parties. The song “Happy Birthday” is copyright. Filming a birthday party where that song is sung and emailing it or posting it on Youtube would be a criminal act. If you think the ASCAP would never go after someone for that, think again. They sued the girl scouts.

Even with the actual pirates this act takes the wrong approach. I've ranted before about how the networks are driving away people that would watch their shows with commercials and forcing them onto the illegal networks.

Being a content provider myself, I like to think I have a contract with my readers. If someone forks out their hard earned money for my work they deserve to be entertained. On the flip side, if someone is entertained by my work I would hope they pay me. My business model is to put out free books of short stories, and charge for longer novels. The people who buy my novels must have liked the short stories enough to pay for the novels. I've already entertained them enough with the free stuff so they feel it is worth it to pay for more. Hopefully they like what they pay for, but if not I can't feel too bad as they liked my free stuff and I will try to get out more free stuff to make up for it.

So to the supporters of SOPA that are trying to make all Americans criminals, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, entertainment is a contract between the producer and the consumer. If a consumer likes what the producer makes they will find was to pay the producers back. The teenagers who put up funny videos of Madonna songs aren't trying to hurt Madonna they are helping spread her music and get her more fans. If I watch a Twilight Zone episode on an illegal site, it isn't because I want to hurt Rod Serling's heirs, it's because it isn't offered on a site that pays them. SOPA is a bad idea as it goes against the very contract between the producer and consumer.”

Please help stop SOPA by clicking here.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE