Please stop nominating Stephen King for awards

I read a lot. I am fortunate that I take the metro to work every day, so I get about an hour of eating up words a day (sometimes two if I read during lunch). Since I read so much, I like to keep track of the books I’m ingesting and a great tool to do that is the site Goodreads. Not only can I catalog the books I own and read on that site, but since Amazon owns it, I can immediately add the new books I purchase to my owned with the click of a button. In addition, there are discussion forums, contests, reviews, and author interaction. It really is a fantastic site.

Every year, Goodreads has a “Best Books of 2018” readers choice awards where members choose their favorites from a variety of genres. This is pretty cool because there are a variety of books selected in each genre, and they go through various rounds before a final winner is determined. Each year I end up adding more books to my want list because of this contest (or awards show or whatever).

However, one thing that annoys me is seemingly anytime Stephen King is nominated in the horror genre, he wins. Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I love King. I grew up devouring his words and he rarely disappoints. My problem, however, is because he’s so popular people who don’t read any horror outside of King will vote for him without consideration to the other nominations. It sucks. I mean, it really, really sucks because there are some great books and authors in this mix that are getting overlooked because Susan in Tallahassee has never read a horror novel outside of something written by King and she votes accordingly.

Look, I get it, Stephen King is the master and absolutely deserves every single bit of recognition he gets. He’s definitely earned it, and horror quite simply would not be the same without him. Even doing his mediocre books are leagues better than some others out there. However, he doesn’t need more recognition. A readers choice award from Goodreads isn’t going to give him a bump in sales. You don’t need to say to any fan of horror, “Hey, you might like this guy Stephen King. I heard he has put out a few good books.”

The moment King goes on any ‘pick the best’ list, he wins. SO STOP PUTTING HIM ON THAT LIST.

 Currently, King has two books on the Best Horror: 2018 list, Elevation and Flight or Fright (the latter of which is an anthology he did with Bev Vincent; that can stay). Anne Rice has one on there she co-wrote with her son. John Connelly has a book in the running. But you know who else is on there? Grady Hendrix (who wrote the amazing My Best Friend’s Exorcism) for We Sold Our Souls. Paul Tremblay (who wrote A Head Full of Ghosts and Devil’s Rock; two very enjoyable books) for The Cabin at the End of the World. Alma Katus for The Hunger and Zoje Stage for Baby Teeth. A few more are also in the finals.

I’m not voting on any of these. I’ve heard tremendous things about the ones I mentioned, and already bought a few for the future, but the book I voted for, an anthology by Ellen Datlow, is out of the running. 

Admittedly, those in the final round are really great choices from everything I’ve heard about them, but it would be nice to have a selection, just once, that didn’t include King or the like. The world won’t end.

The stupid names for marijuana strains aren’t helping.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave with no access to the outside world, you’d know that many states are debating the legalization of marijuana. Some states, like the one I live in, have legalized it for medicinal use only, while others, like Colorado, have legalized it all out for recreational use. It’s all so stupid. There is really no reason, outside of old wive’s tales and prisons for profit, that it should be illegal at all. But any reasonable person already knows this, and I’m not here to talk about that. I want to talk about something else: the stupid strain names.

The strain names are a problem, and I’d bet hurting marijuana’s legalization on a federal level. Of course a knee jerk reaction would be, “That’s stupid. Who cares what the names are? It shouldn’t matter.” That’s the equivalent of saying the person who has ink all over their face should have no problem getting a job because it shouldn’t matter. Well, guess what? It does. It’s about perception, whether you like it or not, and when you are trying to fight to get something legalized on just a medicinal level, it doesn’t help your fucking case when you say, “But G Spot is great for neck pain!”

Do you really expect those you are fighting against to take you seriously?

Here are a sampling of names from the strains from over at Leafly (which is a phenomenal source of information on marijuana, I highly recommend them):

  • Jack the Ripper
  • AK-47
  • Chemdawg
  • Death Star
  • Great White Shark
  • Fucking Incredible
  • Matanuska Thunder Fuck
  • Alien Dawg
  • …and on and on

Look, I’m not going to deny it, if I were in my 20s, these would be fun names. But how seriously do you expect that legislator that is against legalization going to take you when you say “Matanuska Thunder Fuck” has great medicinal properties. Hey, I bet it does, but good luck having anyone against the fight take you seriously (and I don’t blame them).

Or, what about the 60-year-old patient who needs it for glaucoma or cancer or whatever. Do you honestly believe they want to go into a dispensary and order an 1/8th of “Fucking Incredible” or “G Spot”? I don’t think my dad would do that, and he’s pro-weed. Or, like my sister said, no 70-year-old wants to talk about death, so they probably aren’t running to get some “Death Star” in their system.

I know I look like an old man shaking my fist at the sky and yelling at the kids to get off the lawn. I know this. But I’m right. It’s not helping. I desperately want marijuana legalized on a federal level so the prices can come the fuck down and I don’t have to drive all over town looking for the best bargains. Until that happens, for fuck’s sake, if a new strain comes along, think of the bigger picture before naming it something that looks like it came out of a teenager’s mouth.

And, man, do I want to punch the fucker in the throat who came up with “Budtender”.

All  that ranting, but I still like this song.

Everything has changed.

The following is a straight copy and paste from a forum I posted this on. While we backup that forum, it’s crashed twice losing all the posts, so I wanted to put this here as a backup. I don’t suspect I’ll forget this; it’s more of a post for others to stumble upon. Without further adieu…

I love my Kindle, and I love eBooks. But one thing that has always bothered me is the inability to purchase eBooks from, say, the UK.

Recently in a discussion on eBook deals, someone was seeing a different price than what was being advertised for me. Turns out he lives out of the country. He said for the most part, he gets the same deals as those in the US (since his Kindle is registered in the US), but sometimes, like that particular book, he couldn’t get the deal price. He had tired a different proxy and VPN too. Partly wanting to help, and partly wanting it for my own uses, I started hunting around for a solution, then I found this: https://www.howtogeek.com/328197/how-to-change-your-country-on-your-amazon-so-you-can-buy-different-kindle-books

It’s address based, and you can change your address. He tried it, and not only did it work, it removed the VAT.

Reading the article, it appears that the best deals are at Amazon India (doing a cursory search, the prices are better on most of the books I looked at), and there are times when I see deals on books in the UK.

I gave it a shot and sure enough, it worked like a charm. This definitely changes everything. As I plowed deeper into price differences between India and the US, there were massive differences. For example, Micheal Connelly’s latest two novels go for $9.99 each on Amazon US, but under $3 each at Amazon India.

As if I don’t have enough to read now.

Crap year, but not really.

This year, well at least since the end of February or so, has kind of been crappy. February saw some cocksucker run me off the road, totaling my most favorite vehicle I’ve owned to date. Fortunately, I got far more in the settlement than I expected, affording me to get a brand new 2018 model of the vehicle that was totaled (with even more bells and whistles at the same payment), but being so close to a paid-off car still stings, especially when I had legit plans for that extra money

Following that, a tree fell into my shed. This was not really a surprise, and insurance gave me a nice settlement, but I’m still not looking forward to the cleaning out and disposal of the shed. That’s going to be a pain in my ass. I’m seriously considering just hiring someone to take it all away except for the mower.

Then my garbage disposal died on me. One day it worked, the other day nothing. Since there was no sound at all coming from it, I figured that button on the bottom had popped, but sadly no. However, my dad was coming up soon to go on a trip to see our family, and I asked him if he could check the switch. He said sure, he’d do it when we came back. Well…

After spending the weekend with my family, we came back home lucky to have missed some major thunderstorms that had come through the area over the weekend. It started pouring when I pulled in my driveway, but that was cool, my dad was going to look at that switch, so that would give the storm time to blow through. 

While my dad was looking at the switch, I went upstairs to go to the bathroom. When I reached the top, something caught my eye. That light cover sure looks weird. Why is it shadowed on the bottom like that…and what is that spot on the ceiling next to it? Naturally, being a 7-year-old, I put my finger on that spot already knowing what would happen, and sure enough, water started running from the new hole I created. And that shadow in the light cover? Water. Turns out, my roof was leaking.

I went downstairs and explained the situation to my dad. He had more bad news: not only was my garbage disposal switch working properly, my electric in that wall was all jacked up. Something about a wire that wasn’t supposed to be hot always-on hot. Dad was very concerned about this, and I needed to get an electrician out as soon as possible. So I hit the breakers that controlled that wall (fortunately, it just controlled that wall and where the microwave was plugged in; the majority of my outlets in the kitchen worked otherwise). Joy.

I made a call to my insurance company for the roof, got a phone number of a contractor my sister used and left him a message, and figured I’d wait before calling an electrician to see what kind of money I was looking at for the leak.

Things took a delightful turn the next day, however, when my dad called me and said he was mistaken about the wire. It was, in fact, acting as it should and he was on his way up with some switches. I told him I’d buy them, but he said no, he would, because I’d probably get the wrong ones. I scoffed, but it turns out he was right, I might have. Who knew light switches were sold in different amps? I sure as hell didn’t.

Anyway, he was done within 10 or so minutes after he arrived and when he flicked the new switch on, BOOM! The garbage disposal kicked on for the first time in about a month. 

The roof? That’s another story which I fully intend on writing.

At the end of the day, though, while I say it’s been crappy, everything has been working out (even the roof). So I don’t think crappy is the right word. Inconvenienced is probably better. I’ve been inconvenienced by annoyances since February. Yeah, these are first world problems, sure, and I don’t even compare my year to the one my friend has been saddled with (quite possibly my only reader at this point), but sometimes you just need to vent.

Nothing to see here, just a post for myself.

I have a Kindle Fire, and man I love it. This is my third or fourth one, as I’ve always been a fan.

However, lately, this sucker has slowed way down. I don’t want to do a factory reset, mainly because I hate losing the books I’ve put on it. I’m not referring to the books I bought at Amazon, those will push down easily enough; I’m talking about the books I moved over for review and such. (Side note, Calibre is amazing and is a must own for Kindle — or any eBook platform — users. I like it so much, I donate to it.) It’s very well possible that those downloaded books will stay. I haven’t even looked into it that much. But I hate resetting anything to factory settings because I have things just so. I don’t want to take time getting things just so again if I don’t have to.

That said, I’m testing some things. I will update this as I go along so I can refer back to it.

Clear the cache (I found this here):

  • Power off.
  • Hold the volume down and power buttons.
  • When the boot screen appears, release the power button.
  • Use the volume button to navigate to format cache.
  • Press the power button to select.
  • After formatting, reboot.

So far so good, but I’m going to keep searching around to see what else I can do.