Second blog!

readerthinkerwriter.blogspot.com

You should come check me out sometime. I still plan on writing as often as I can for this site, but mainly for longer, more essay-like posts. My Blogger blog will be mainly used for short, entertaining pieces that I will do my best to link to this one, as well.

Randomness 11/16/2014

Another “real” post later. But for now…

1) Hang on, I have to yawn…..ok I’m back.

2) Taco Bell is NOT Mexican! My girlfriend just doesn’t understand…

3) My brother’s chihuahua is named Scooby…SCOOBY!

4) in a couple of months I’m going to be 25! Damn, I’m old…

5) IIIIIIIIII’m hooked on a feeling!

6) Stupid Lions!

7) I hope I don’t have to work on Thanksgiving…can’t miss the turkey!

8) Bassett hounds are great dogs. Most of the time.

9) Can’t stop yawning…

10) The moment you’re asked what you want for Christmas and immediately draw a blank, despite the fact you’re always talking about what you want…

Random Thoughts for the Day, 11/15/2014 and some other stuff

Inspired by my girlfriend’s blog.

So, I’m still feeling creatively drained. I think that part of the reason is because I don’t ever read. I’ve been reading lately that you can only write as good as you read, and because I don’t read at all anymore I think I should set aside writing fiction and focus instead on reading it.

I’m still going to be working on my blog, of course. I can’t stop writing altogether, but my fiction skills are nonexistent while my nonfiction skills are pretty good (at least I hope they are.)

So for today, here are a few more random thoughts and then I’m going to eat a Poptart, read and go to bed.

1) My girlfriend found HD streaming links for Guardians of the Galaxy. We are super excited about this!

2) How can I read things other than science fiction when science fiction is what I love the most?

3) My girlfriend is a better blogger than I am and she’s only been at it for a couple of days!

4) Is it weird that I am a 24 year-old man and I know most of the songs from Frozen by heart?

5) My old boss told me during my annual review that I wasn’t ready to be a shift supervisor yet. A rival company just hired me for a shift leader position almost on the spot. Now I can prove my old boss wrong!

6) I promised my girlfriend I would exercise tonight. ( Sets laptop down, sits up, stretches and falls back on the pillows.) All done!

7) I can’t believe its only 11 more days til Thanksgiving.

8) Life is not only a great cereal, but a phenomenal board game, as well.

9) John Scalzi likes pie. Smart man.

10) Yes, I know some of the things I write are weird. That’s why they’re RANDOM THOUGHTS.

11) Michigan needs to cut Brady Hoke some slack. He’s only had one bad year so far. Don’t fire him for that!

12) Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Pepsi…I’m starting to see a pattern in my pop-drinking routine…

13) I was born in the south yet I say “pop.” My dad is from Michigan and he says “soda.” I don’t get that.

14) I don’t want my girlfriend to be mad at me so I’m going to exercise a bit more. (Sits up, sets laptop down, does one push-up in bed then lays back down.) Whew, I’m tiring myself out!

15) I often wonder if I am the only straight guy in the world who doesn’t think the Kardashians are attractive…

16) Accept that Ben Affleck is Batman. Accept it.

17) My foot will not stop itching…

18) Food. Glorious food.

19) Which is more un-American–not liking hot dogs or not liking BBQ sauce?

20) Ok, I REALLY don’t want the girlfriend to be mad at me so I’m going to do as many push-ups as I can before bedtime. Goodnight!

What to do, what to do…

So, I’ve been suffering from a lot of anxiety the past few days because of a new job that’s I’m really nervous about.

Unfortunately, because of this I have not been feeling very creative lately. I refuse to take a break so soon after starting this blog, so in the meantime until I feel up to writing regular posts I’m going to regale you with reprints and random stuff so that hopefully I can snap out of this writer’s block and blog again properly.

Thanks for putting up with me in the meantime!

Random thoughts for 11/15/2014

Inspired by my girlfriend’s blog.

1) Those days when you’re so tired but can’t fall asleep.

2) Worried and nervous about a job I’ve been waiting for for a long time that I should be excited for because i know it’s not going to be a problem.

3) My girlfriend is making chocolate pie for Thanksgiving, and her dad is making peanut butter pie. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!

4) Hang on, butt cramp….there we go.

5) Seriously, why do they start playing Christmas movies on Halloween?

6) My covers keep falling off my bed. I don’t toss and turn THAT much, do I?

7) I’m hungry.

8) Why does DC have to ruin it’s movie franchise by hurrying to catch up to Marvel?

9) Why did John Scalzi have to take so long a break from Whatever?

10) I’m starving now.

REPRINT: My Introduction to Sexism

(First published on August 22, 2014) 

I recently experienced my first instance of sexism firsthand. What I mean is, not only did somebody say something to me that was somewhat prejudiced against me due to my gender, but the organization that that person works for made a decision—a hiring decision—not to even interview me due to the fact that I am a male.

Before people read only this first paragraph and fly into an outrage, let me explain a little further.

The business I am referring to is a daycare. In respect to this daycare and the person(s) involved, I will not mention any names, locations or even give subtle hints as to their identities. I will, however, say that this daycare is a ministry of a church. This means, unfortunately, that the church was also in the wrong here.

The daycare caters to children whose ages range from toddler to four and five years old. The representative from the church who I had talked to about applying for a job there told me that they would only be willing to consider me for a position in the four and five year old classroom and not for any of the younger rooms, where all the open jobs were. The reason they gave me was that they were worried that parents would be uncomfortable with a 24-year old male watching over their young children. The daycare was worried about being sued if parents ever ended up worrying about anything so I was barred from employment from those classrooms. There are twelve classrooms in the daycare, and I am eligible (theoretically, as there are currently no openings in the four and five year old room) for only one of those twelve rooms.

So maybe they were not being entirely sexist, but in my opinion even a little sexism is sexism nonetheless. And if it is the parents who really are concerned about a young guy like me babysitting and teaching their kids, then they, too, are acting sexist.

I am not trying to make a big deal about this, but I want to know what some of these parents and the daycare/church are thinking. For one thing, Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Denying me certain positions because I am a man and not a woman is discrimination, so theoretically I could sue the daycare and the church for discrimination. I am not going to. It’s a church, after all, and in some ways I see where they are coming from. I talked to several teachers and teacher’s assistants who work there (all of them women, obviously) and they all think I would be a good fit there. However, one of the older ladies warned me against seeking a job in their profession, as it would put a target on my back from the get go.

The question I have for these people is, “Why?”

By the time I graduated high school almost a dozen students—half of them male—were parents. This means that before they were 18 they had entered into the realm of parenthood. I am 24—if I do the math correctly it would mean that if I had been one of those fathers I would have almost six years of parenting experience behind me. It would also mean that my child would be older than even the oldest age group at the daycare. Would these same parents worry about MY children being watched and taken care of by me on a daily basis as their father, or would they not give it much thought? What makes their children any different? If I can take care of my own kids without being labeled as some sort of predator, then why should I be denied the opportunity to watch kids for a living?

I mentioned earlier that the daycare was worried about being sued if I was hired. Naturally, if I had done something horrendous and illegal I fully expect the law to fall on my head. One thing the daycare and parents do not seem to realize is that men are not the only ones capable of wrongdoing. I read in the news all the time of female teachers being arrested for sexual offenses against students. To worry about a male and not worry about a female being hired to watch children from seven in the morning until six at night is prejudice at its worst.

I thought that in a day and age where women have finally been allowed to serve in combat units and the Federal government has outlawed any form of discrimination in the work place that employers would be willing to overlook the fact that I’m a male and look at my references and experience. If the daycare reps had, they would notice that not only do I have extensive volunteer experience (a lot of which came from that very church) working with kids those same ages, but I have also been babysitting for years. My mom and I watched a six-month old baby and his two-year old sister for months late last year, and their parents did not seem to care. I watched them with my brothers when my parents were not available. (You see, THREE guys watching little children. We had a great time watching Sponge Bob and crawling around acting silly.) On top of all of this, but I could name off a long list of people who could tell you that I love kids and am great at taking care of them. I am no expert or anything, but I know for a fact that if I were in charge of a daycare that is the kind of person I would want looking after young ones while their parents were away. To deny me because I’m a guy deprives the kids of a mentor figure and friend who would give his all to take care of them and be there for them.

That concludes my venting for the day. Carry on.

My Blog has 3 Followers!

I am very excited about this. Thank you, kind bloggers, for taking a look at what I’ve been writing and deciding that you want to read more. Thank you.

And to those same three followers, I invite you to email me or comment on the posts and let me know what you think. This blog can only grow–and I can only grow as a writer–if I get feedback from the readers. I welcome your suggestions and your criticisms, and would enjoy having mature, intelligent discussions every now and again. Also, if you would be so kind as to let other people know about my blog, I would GREATLY appreciate it.

If you have any questions, concerns, issues, or if you just want to talk feel free to email me or drop me a line on Facebook.

I WILL respond.

A Quick Note About Reprints

Once and a while a new post of mine will have the word REPRINT before the title. This means that the post has appeared elsewhere and, obviously, that I’m reprinting it to this blog. Usually, these are little essays from earlier, defunct blogs or posts that have appeared on other blogs, such as Amazing Stories’ website. I will always make sure to mention where it has elsewhere appeared, and in the case of Amazing Stories include a link to the original post. The editors over there do a fantastic job of adding media and images to the posts, so visually you can expect the original to be better visually than what might appear here. Not always, but most of the time.

Also, you can be sure that every reprint you see will have been written by me and nobody else, and that it has not been altered in any major way except for the occasional typo.

My goal is to write an original post or two every single night. I’ve been told that this helps a blog grow and the blogger’s writing skills grow along with it. Just because I post a reprint on here doesn’t mean I’m trying to shirk my blogging duties. Even if I’m too busy to write something fancy I will at least stop by to say hi on here. The WordPress ap does come in handy.

There you go, all done. Goodnight!

You’ve Heard It From Professionals; Now Hear It From An Amateur!

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Now, before I scare away potential readers with my cute little green image on top there, a little background is in order.

On just about any given day, writers–both new and professional–are asked to donate some of their writings for some venue or another. Basically, they are being asked to work for nothing. John Scalzi has mentioned NUMEROUS times in his blog that people and organizations continue to impose on him to write things for them out of the kindness of his heart. Every now and again he is forced to put up a long blog entry, such as the one found here, where he reminds his readers that he refuses to write without being paid.

If you would like to hear a much more liberal author talk about the same thing, check out Harlan Ellison’s video on YouTube.

Of course, you can probably search the web and find countless published writers who do not write for free and their various reasons for doing so. I have the unfortunate honor of not being a professional writer (yet) so I thought I would take the time and give my two cents on the matter.

To sum it all up, professional means PAID. Professional authors are artisans in the craft of writing. They have worked long and hard at their craft, jotting down or typing millions upon millions of words in order to write one decent short story or novel chapter. On top of that, they have to read copiously in order to soak in knowledge and inspiration from the books they read and to keep up to date on what the current market is for their work. And on top of all of this, they have to fumble with the business of dealing with editors and publishers, agents and other technical responsibilities before they are able to get their work into print. I haven’t heard of a single writer who is willing to go through all of this for nothing. It’s hard work being a writer. For many, like Scalzi, it is their job. As with any job, you expect to get paid every now and again for the effort you put in, right? I know that when I start my new job as a shift leader at a pharmacy next week that I expect to get paid every other week for managing the shift. Writers, likewise, would like to get paid for all the words they put down on paper.

Now, imagine that your boss came up to you one day and asked you to work an entire shift for free. I’m not talking about an emergency, or volunteer hours, or any other “special event.” I mean just an ordinary, everyday shift that you would normally be on the clock for, only you’re being asked to do the job off the clock with the same rules and stipulations as any other day. If you were someone like me, with massive student loans, phone and internet bills and dreams of getting married and buying a house someday, I’m sure I know what your answer is going to be.

Yet that is exactly what happens every single day to authors all around the world. It’s easy to understand why someone would want to have an internet celebrity like John Scalzi or a SFWA Grand Master like Harlan Ellison contribute to them, but it’s revolting to hear them ask that these celebrities do it for nothing.

As if the shenanigans of these sick-minded individuals are bad enough, imagine what it feels like to be an unknown, aspiring writer receiving the same kinds of emails from different people asking to commission my “work” for nothing.

I’m going to be straight up open and honest with you. As of right now–the time of this writing–I have only had my blog online for an entire week. That’s seven days of blog posts. I have one teeny micro-fiction piece to my name, and I’d bet anything that most people have never even heard of micro-fiction or Nanoism (the Twitter-zine that published my story.) My blog, so far, has had very few readers and absolutely no followers, despite my efforts to promote my website on Facebook and Twitter. While occasionally someone might “favorite” a Tweet of mine that contains a link to one of my blog posts, that doesn’t always amount to readership of the blog. I have no shame in admitting that I am an amateur writer. There is nothing wrong with being an amateur. Sherlock Holmes was an amateur, and he was the best there was at what he did, fiction or not. But that is a topic for another time.

I see absolutely no reason why anybody should want me to write for them. None of the emails I have gotten have been from publishers, charities or any other credible sources, and I’m sure if these people took the time to do a little research on me they’d see that at least right now I am on the low end of the totem pole when it comes to writing.Perhaps they did, which is why they always say that they “cannot offer compensation” for me writing for them, and strangely the details of my “assignments” will only be provided at a later time, after certain provisions have been met. Obviously, many of these are generic spam emails that I can spot before even opening the email, but others have been quite genuine. I had one college student ask me to write an essay for her English class to show the writing capabilities of a student years out of high school, the literary journal of a college I’ve never even heard of wanting me to write a story or two for them, and a couple of foreigners who wanted me to essentially ghost write documents for them because they could not write English very well. How these people got my contact information is beyond me, but whatever.

The point is, even though I am a new and, hopefully, upcoming writer does not mean that the rules are any different for me. I am trying to make it so that someday writing will be the only job I have to worry about, and the kind of “publicity” these strangers think they can offer me will never help me to achieve that goal. I am all for donating my time to a good cause and giving something back every now and again, but at the moment–at least as a writer–I am not in any kind of position to offer my writing services to anyone. My job right now is to read, write, revise and submit stories to the various magazines. My only other writing is destined for Amazing Stories and this blog.

And that’s another thing. I may not be getting paid for writing for either of these sites, but I write for them because I want to. Heck, I almost pleaded with the publisher of Amazing Stories for a chance to blog for the very first science fiction magazine ever to exist, but in the end my writing skills got me in and I have been happily at home there ever since. But only I get to choose when I write for nothing. And let me tell you, unless I offer to work for nothing, expect me to want to be paid.

Happy Veteran’s Day 2014!

Yesterday was the Marine Corps birthday, but today I have the honor of taking the next few hundred words or so to say a little something about all veterans of the U.S. armed forces.

We have all been through so much. Our ancestors fought a war so that we could be free from the tyranny of Great Britain, and another one to maintain that independence. We a fought a war to keep our great nation whole, and to ensure that all men and women could be free. We fought Native Americans, Mexicans, Spanish, pirates and Haitian bandits. We helped our allies protect Europe from the Central Powers during World War I, and liberated Europe from the forces of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in Europe during World War II, while at the same time battling the Empire of Japan and its war machine in the Pacific. We took the fight to the communists in Korea and Vietnam, and to this day we battle insurgents in the Middle East. There has not been a single obstacle to freedom that we have not met head on, and not once during the entire history of our nation have we ever given up. What we have done has changed the course of human history. Some of the greatest advances in science have come from our ranks, and some of our greatest leaders, writers, philanthropists and idols have at one time or another served in our military.

The life of a soldier, airman, sailor, or Marine is not for everyone. To join the ranks of any military is to potentially sign away your life; to make necessary sacrifices so that our people do not have to. We are forced to push ourselves to the peak of human conditioning, both mentally and physically, so that we can meet any sort of challenge head on without losing ground. For this we not only gain the undying respect of our nation, but also condemnation from those who do not understand our sacrifices or our purpose. We still must fight so that those people can maintain their right to hate us and to disapprove of us. We are better people in so many different ways, but we never agree with that. Underneath our uniforms, underneath our scars, and beneath all of our pain and memories we are ordinary Americans who simply made a choice, but this choice has far set us apart from the rest of the world and for that reason this day has been set aside for us.

From one veteran to another, I thank you all for your service. Not just the servicemen and former servicemen, but to all the friends and families of those who at some point or another decided to don a uniform and rush head on into battle in defense of this great nation, because you all have made sacrifices, too.

Happy Veteran’s Day, Americans. Thank you to all who have served, be it in a uniform or on the sidelines cheering us on. This day is as much for you as it is for us.