Every Month I’m Tumblin’ – September & October 2014

Another two for one special! Can’t even feign surprise.

I’m about to post regular blogs as I am to finish my book, at this point.

But anyway, we’re not here to talk about my failings as an author. We’re here to laugh at the little things!

  1. Shakira, Shakira.
  2. How the new Apple iPhone announcement went down.
  3. Just some great subtitles.

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  4. Click the image.

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  5. I missed October 3rd. But that’s okay. Time is an illusion.
  6. Cats stuck in things.

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  7. Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport, Warden of the West, and Hand of the King.
  8. (Un)necessary explosions.

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  9. A card for dealing with your troubled teen/friend/family member.
  10. Later, nerds.

I’ll try to make this monthly from now on, I really will.

So obviously, I’ll see you in January 2015.

Later, nerds.

The Bad News

I’ve been trying to find the gentlest way to address this, and–well–there isn’t one, so here’s the thing:

My third book, and the second in the Blood of Ages series, “Divided They Fall”, isn’t going to be ready for the beta draft on the date I originally planned, at the end of September.

Please don’t cry.

I won’t bore you with background as to why this book won’t be ready for deadline. Let’s just say that the story was going in the wrong direction, and fortunately, I picked it up before it reached a stage where I couldn’t fix it. Unfortunately, these wrong directions are not an easy fix. They’re an entire re-write fix…like, all the scenes, everything I’ve been working on for the last twelve months, my precious baby…it’s all got to go.

An accurate representation of me disregarding my ideas.
An accurate representation of me disregarding my ideas.

I know that there are (a handful of) people out there in the world who are waiting for this next book. I know there’s not many of you, but I know you exist, and I appreciate you all hanging around in the first place. I’m asking now that you bear with me.

I can’t give you a date right now, because I’m back in the planning stages of this book. Once I have a solid plan–like, a 100% solid plan this time around–then I’ll have a better idea when you can see this thing.

It’s still coming. I’m still working on it.

Questions and comments (angry or otherwise) can always be directed to my twitter.

I love you all, like very distant cousins.

Kat

“The only winning move is not to play.”

[I’m guessing you’ve already seen WarGames–the 1983 film with Matthew Broderick and a computer called Joshua. If you haven’t, this post will spoil the ending for you. If you don’t want that, you shouldn’t read this. Sorry.]

In an ideal world, this post wouldn’t be necessary. But hey, this is reality, so let’s get to it.

So there’s a battle going on in the comment sections of nearly every web site that has a comment section.

It’s a battle between three armies:

  1. Regular Commenters
  2. Social Justice Warriors
  3. Trolls

It can be difficult to tell them apart, at times, and there is often overflow from one army to another. Regular Commenters might actually be Social Justice Warriors; they just don’t realise it until something triggers them. You could read a post and assume it’s a troll, when in reality it’s a Social Justice Warrior with stronger-than-expected levels of aggression. (We’re going to ignore the unmentioned fourth category, the genuinely naive commenters. Genuinely naive people can often be reasoned with, be taught, and actually, it’s quite rewarding when you can have a positive impact on them.)

I’m going to assume that you’re category one. (If I’m wrong in my assumptions, you’re probably not going to enjoy the rest of this post. Just saying.)

You don’t have an agenda behind your comment, when you leave it. You just want to have a healthy debate about an article/video. But then you leave your innocent little comment, and a someone from category two or three replies to it with either aggressive vitriol or provocation, and you find yourself–normally a considerate, rational human being–overflowing with rage.

Some people thrive on conflict. They want to argue. They have their (possibly unpopular) opinion, and damn it, you’re going to read about it. You can’t stop them from putting their opinions online, whether on their own Tumblrs or blogs or whatevers, or in comment sections of any and every article they can find. You don’t have to follow them online, but you do have to read their comments, if they’re on an article you’re interested in reading.

And there’s nothing you can do about it.

“The only winning move is not to play.”

At the end of WarGames, Broderick’s character–along with the guy who designed the computer’s AI–tries to stop Joshua from launching nuclear missiles (he thinks it’s a retaliation, there’s a whole story behind it, don’t worry about that now). Through a game of noughts & crosses (or tic-tac-toe), Joshua learns about an un-winnable game (and “Mutually Assured Destruction”), and relinquishes control of the missiles.

[after playing out all possible outcomes for Global Thermonuclear War]
Joshua: Greetings, Professor Falken.
Stephen Falken: Hello, Joshua.
Joshua: A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

I realise that comparing online commenting to nuclear war is probably a bit of a stretch, but the lesson is the same.

Difference between WarGames’ lesson and the lesson here is, the game is winnable, but it’s never won by you.

XKCD: Duty CallsYou try to convince a Social Justice Warrior that their opinion is wrong/flawed. They will ignore you.You get frustrated/angry. You lose.

You reply to someone, arguing your case. They (and anyone else who latches onto the fact that you’re affected by the things that are being said) either laugh at you or ignore you. You get frustrated/angry. You lose.

You call a troll out on being a troll. They ask you if you’re mad (bro). You get frustrated/angry. You lose.

Someone jumps to your defense. Whoever’s attention was on you is now on both of you (and they probably bring some anonymous friends to the party). Now there’s two of you entangled in the web. You both lose.

The only way you can win an argument online is not to get involved in one.

And the best way not to get involved in an argument? Don’t be aware of it.

So I was driving to work this morning, when it hit me: someone should really build a browser extension that stops a site visitor from viewing any comment sections.

Of course, within around thirty seconds of Googling, I’d already trialed 3 different extensions that did that very thing.

Late to the party, as usual.

The Software

The extension I settled on is a neat little thing called, quite aptly, “Shut Up“.

I haven’t tested it thoroughly yet, but so far I can confirm the following:

  1. It works with BBC News.
  2. It works with the Daily Mail.
  3. It works with YouTube(!)
  4. It works with any site that has a Disqus installation.
  5. It works with some (not all) site-embedded Facebook comments, but it doesn’t work with comments on Facebook’s own site.
  6. It also works with Reddit, which is a site based entirely on comments, so that’s kind of counter-intuitive…but anyway.

If you want to read comments on a particular site, you can click the icon in the browser, and all the comments come flooding back.

You also have the option (the only option) for the extension to remember which sites you’ve allowed comments on.

first!
Shut Up’s Option (Singular)

“Shut Up” is a browser extension available for Chrome, Firefox (using the “Stylish” plugin), and Safari, and can be added manually added to any browser.

Details and download links for the extensions and files can be found here.

The extension isn’t without flaws, and it doesn’t catch 100% of comment areas on web sites. If you want to take it a step further, you can add the Stylebot extension and add extra CSS to hide more comment areas as you find them.

The Conclusion

“Shut Up” obviously doesn’t stop people from posting hurtful, sexist, racist, or just generally hate-filled comments on web sites that haven’t deleted their comment sections entirely.

What it does is stop you–the visitor–from ever seeing those comments, so you can’t be affected by them.

Yes, it means the trolls are winning, for now, but bear with me here.

They can say whatever they want on any platform that allows them access, but you don’t have to inadvertently read their comments. You don’t see the comments, therefore you’re not automatically annoyed by them.

If everyone took this route, all the decent human beings will eventually be ignoring comment systems entirely and interacting on a more personal level, meanwhile the trolls will be left to argue with themselves.

Bonus

Here’s Fingathing’s Criminal Robots (great song; great band), which contains audio clips from WarGames. Please to enjoy.

Post-MCM “Blood of Ages” Paperback Giveaway

So the Manchester Expo 2014 was another success. I sold out of “From The Ashes” on the first day, and I only had two copies of “The Genesis” left over by the end of the show. Woo.

The prints and comics are by graphic Artist, Kier Gill.
Here’s our iddy biddy sales table.

The prints and comics are by graphic artist, Kier Gill. They’re very pretty. Go to his site (or on Twitter) and tell him to get them up on sale!

Anyway, at the end of the weekend, I was left with these two copies of “The Genesis (Blood of Ages, #1)”, and I pondered, “What to do? What to do?”

I think you know what’s coming, if the oh-so-subtle blog title hasn’t given it away (see what I did there?).

That’s right! It’s a GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway! Yay! \o/

I have 2 copies of “The Genesis (Blood of Ages, #1)” left over from the Expo. Come! Take them!

If you win a copy, I’ll even sign it, especially for you.

Unfortunately, I sold out of “From The Ashes” on the first day of the Expo, so no paperback copies of that available. Sorry 🙁

BUT, I am offering EVERY entrant a FREE eBook copy of “From The Ashes”, in a format of their choice (MOBI, EPUB, PDF).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The subscription option is mandatory. Sorry kids, but you got to be in this little community if you want to get my free shit. If you’re already a subscriber, just enter your e-mail address when prompted. If you’re not, signup here, then come back and pop in your e-mail address.

You can get your name in the hat a few more times by clicking on the other entry options, once you’ve confirmed your e-mail address.

Hop to, and good luck! ^_^

Shit Just Got Real (The Beta Draft Begins)

So a couple of weekends ago, Muse and I got together for one of our usual writer’s weekends.

Amongst other–more important–revelations over that weekend, I learned that I don’t actually hate vodka and orange juice, as I’ve always thought since I tried it as a teenager, but rather that vodka is just a tricky beast that hides inside your drink, undetectable, and slowly takes away the ability to string a sentence together.

We spent the majority of the time drinking and watching Catfish (the documentary and then the TV show, because why not?).

Anyway. Continue reading Shit Just Got Real (The Beta Draft Begins)