Greetings!

madhere

I’m mad, I say! MAAAD!

Hello and welcome to my little corner of the web, where you will find lots and lots of words!  Blog words, short story words, list words and even spoken words!

I recently returned from Texas Furry Fiesta 2018: “Lone Star Wonderland,” where I had a ball hanging out with my fellow fuzzers.  Check out the pictures I took over on Flickr, and scroll down for the customary ‘things I noticed’ list.

Stay tuned for the return of ‘Con Talk’ next week!

Dear Upset Employee:

So somebody else got that promotion instead of you and you aren’t happy because you feel that you should have gotten the nod.  I get it; I’ve been there myself.  But before you come to your bosses (including me) asking why you didn’t get it, ask yourself:

Can you honestly say you are the best at doing your job compared to everyone else?  If you have to think it over before answering, the answer is likely no.  Even if one person does the job better than you do, guess what?  They’re ahead of you.

Do you slack off?  Be honest.  You do.  I know that you do.  Heck, I do, too.  Everybody does and that’s okay, as long as you’re discreet about it.  Here’s the kicker, though:  If the guy next to you slacks off less, he’s ahead of you.  If he doesn’t slack of at all, guess what? You can’t slack off at all, either, unless you want to be second-best.

Do you give your superiors attitude or treat them with disrespect?  Don’t worry, you aren’t the first person to give me crap and I give my bosses crap too.  But I only do so when I have a good reason to.  Only when I was two hundred percent certain that I am right did I even think about going there.  If you throw back attitude at your bosses for no reason, we don’t want you in charge of people.  If you can’t respect the people above you, we’re pretty sure you are not going to respect the people beneath you.  If that other guy isn’t a jerk and you are, guess what?  We’re going to pick him before we pick you.

Do you take on challenging tasks?  It’s okay to go in over your head if you think you have a strong chance of success.  You don’t have to always succeed, and that’s okay, but you need to show that you are willing to go where angels fear to tread every once in a while.  If that other guy is kicking more ass than you are, guess what?  He’s the one we want.

So why did that other guy get the promotion instead of you?  They did their job better than you did, slacked off less than you did, give their bosses less crap than you did and kicked more ass than you did.  You didn’t get promoted because you weren’t good, you didn’t get promoted because the other guy was better than you.

Working My Way To the Top (of the page)

covers4

Bottom, bottom, bottom…

I forget which short story collection I was working on and discussing with a friend, but he posed an interesting question as we were chatting:

Why is your name always at the bottom of your covers?  Shouldn’t it be on the top?

While I may not completely produce my own covers anymore (for the better, as you can likely tell) I do place the text atop the artwork.  The decision to de-emphasize myself was a conscious one and I did it for a very simple reason:

Nobody knows who I am.

It’s a harsh thing to admit, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less true. If I put “Eduardo Soliz” on the top of a cover, a potential reader might think that the book is about a guy with that name, or they might even think it’s in Spanish.  Either way, my name (right now, at least) is not a very big selling point.

Stephen King and James Patterson and those guys, yeah, they can put their names up top because people will recognize then as authors who’s work they enjoy so they’ll be more inclined to pick up a book with their name on top and buy it.

Someday, I’ll be ‘big enough’ to have the nerve to put my name at the top of the page, but until then, I’ll have to play second fiddle to the books themselves.

Then again, maybe that’s how it should be!

A Touch of Office

windowsI purchased a Windows 8 tablet (ASUS VivoTab 8) back in January with the intention of using it as a laptop replacement.  On paper, it sounded perfect:

  • Touchscreen that Windows 8 can work well in
  • Full Windows 8 (none of this RT malarkey)
  • Improved Intel Atom CPU and better battery life compared to a laptop
  • Increased portability
  • Only $150!
  • Free Office 365 for a year

Let’s run down the list:

  • Windows 8 on a touchscreen is pretty good.  Heck, its actually great once you learn all of its little tricks.
  • A full version of Windows 8 means I can install some of my favorite (read: ancient) apps I use like WinAmp 2.9 and Microsoft Money 2000.
  • Remember Netbooks?  Those used the first Intel Atom CPUs and they were dog slow.  The newer one in the VivoTab is good for basic tasks and battery life has been in the 7-8 hour range which is what I wanted.
  • Even with a case, the VivoTab is remarkably portable.  Like my iPad mini, a 7-8″ tablet is the perfect size to carry around.
  • The price was definitely right!

And now we get to the device’s biggest problem:  Microsoft Office.  Because the VivoTab is capable of running the desktop version of Microsoft Office, that’s what you get.  That would be pretty neat, but Office is not optimized for touch on an 8″ screen.  Thus, I end up wasting time mashing its teeny icons with my sausage-fingers and fighting the interface instead of doing work.  Styluses are no help either, they make me feel like I’m trying to draw on the screen with a fuzzing crayon.  I bought a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard so I can get around Office more efficiently, but carrying them around and setting them up sucks some of that wonderful ‘portability’ out of the tablet.

Finally, Office 365 sucks horribly on this device.  It had a terrible habit of slowing down to the point where I could see letters being placed on the screen one…at…a…time every few seconds.  I would type out a full sentence and then wait for the poor thing to catch up before doing the next one because I didn’t want it to crash and potentially lose my work.  I got into the habit of saving very frequently for a few frustrating weeks before removing the craptacular Office 365 and installing my copy of Office 2010.  Needless to say, I have no intention of paying for Office 365 when the trial year runs out.

I really like my VivoTab 8, and if Microsoft could get around to making a version of Office that was suitable for smaller tablets, I would like it a whole lot more.

Oh wait, they already made one…it’s on my iPad mini!  /facepalm

Unwritten Anger

As I mentioned previously, I tend to carry a chip on writingmy shoulder at work, which can increase or decrease in size depending on the derp that is being thrown my way by customers, coworkers, and the company I work for.  I recently had an instance where working on a story during my lunch hour improved my mood and I felt happy throughout the remainder of the day.

It happened again.  I got worked up into a lather one morning thanks to a coworker who couldn’t follow simple directions.  I reached the point where I had to walk away from my desk because I wanted to hit something or someone.  Lunch couldn’t come too soon because doggone it, I needed a break.

I returned to my desk and lunchtime soon arrived without incident.  I tapped away on my tablet, looking for some mental respite from the day.  I had earbuds on and was listening to music in an attempt to blot out the office noise.  As is often the custom, I opened my ‘To Do’ directory and scrolled down the list of unfinished short stories, blog posts, podcast scripts, and book drafts for something to work on.  I opened up the short story that I had started before.  The words flew from my fingertips and I had a completed first draft by the time lunch was through.  As was the case before, I felt better after the fact.

It then occurred to me that I hadn’t written any fiction in quite a few days; I had been spending them formatting “Fuzzy Words” for publication and recording and editing podcasts.  I started to wonder: was I more easily upset because I hadn’t worked on any stories in a while?  Have I gone from ‘I like to write’ to ‘I need to write?”