My snarky side

I had to go there.

I had to go there.

I was recently forced to turn to the snarky side in order to effectively register a complaint.  I say forced because I tried the nice approach.  I tried the patient approach.  I tried the slightly more annoyed approach.  When those approaches failed, I got downright testy.  It’s not something I like to do, and I was upset by something that was so unimportant that I almost let it slide. But, in the end, it became one of those “the principle of the matter” issues.  I write about it now because the organization behind my frustration did finally come through and fix the situation.

Here’s what nearly drove me out of my mind.  Twice a week, I would walk out to my car and see what looked like a newspaper on my lawn.  I don’t subscribe to the local paper so when it first happened I thought it was odd.  Upon closer examination, it wasn’t a newspaper.  It was something called the Savvy Shopper, and it consisted of mostly ads for products I not only had no interest in, I was now annoyed they existed because they were in a newspaper-like item that somehow magically showed up on my front lawn twice a week.  The paper, wrapped in protective plastic, went straight from my front lawn to the trashcan on most days.  The other days it lined the cat litter box.

Eventually, I decided this is ridiculous.  I’ll just call the company and have them stop delivery.  That’s when my real hell started.  Here’s my email to the company I sent to 50+ employees that eventually stopped the madness.

I realize that the world is crumbling into fine bits of pain and misery and this may seem small and insignificant,  but I find myself in a horrific chamber of Groundhog Day-like hell where two days a week I repeat the same unnecessary routine of walking out to my front yard, picking up a Charleston Savvy Shopper paper of torture and immediately tossing it in the trash.

Is this some evil experiment by your company to push me to the brink of madness, or is this just some poorly thought out garbage distribution program?  I’ve called the P and C, and I was assured it would stop.  When it was still coming two weeks later, I called again, and was given an email address of someone to contact.  Last week I sent the email hoping I had found the answer.  But alas it was not to be. Today I threw another Savvy Shopper into the trash.

For the love of God, someone help me!  Stop this insane policy of throwing litter on my yard!  I never authorized it, and I would really, really like it to stop!

(Address redacted.  Contact the NSA for all my personal information.)

PS – I’ve sent this to as many employees at P and C that I could find in hopes that there’s one among you that can end my nightmare.  Someone please step up and be my hero.

This is truly a silly thing to get upset about.  I totally get that, but I just wanted it to stop.  I’m sure I got someone in trouble because I received an email in response from the upper management.  I feel bad about that, but I didn’t know what else to do.

The Killing

Joel Kinnaman as Detective Stephen Holder in AMC's The Killing

Joel Kinnaman as Detective Stephen Holder in AMC’s The Killing

I am coming late to AMC’s The Killing party.  I am one of those poor wretched souls that does not have cable.  Why?  It costs too friggin much, and most of what is on cable, in a word, sucks.  I don’t need to know how to keep up with the Kardashians or know what a Honey Boo Boo is or watch brides freak out before their wedding.  For the most part, I am happy with my cable-less lifestyle.

I do miss AMC.  They have fantastic original programming.  Breaking Bad is my absolute favorite show.  Pound for pound, it’s the best writing I’ve ever seen on a television show. The Walking Dead has set the benchmark in the zombie genre.  Hell On Wheels, is entertaining as… well, hell.  And then there’s The Killing.

The Killing is a show that took me a long time to warm up to.  They made the first two seasons available on Netflix some time ago, but I passed it by because it didn’t seem like my type a thing.  Frankly, I’m tired of all the cop shows.  They’re all the same.  Someone’s murdered.  Cops with dysfunctional lives hit brick wall after brick wall until miraculously they piece everything together in an hour.

I started watching the first episode of The Killing a few months back, and I was interrupted about halfway through, and I just never went back to it.  To that point in the episode, I was at best, “Meh” about the show.  As I was wrapping up The Gore, I needed something to watch to just completely remove me for the book’s storyline.  I clicked on the first episode and resumed watching.  I made it through about 90% of the episode thinking I was done with the series.  It just wasn’t for me.  But, bam!  The last scene hooked me enough to watch the next episode.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the performances by all the actors in that scene were spectacular.

I can’t say too much about the storyline of the first two seasons, because every episode leaves you questioning everything you thought you knew about what had happened so far.  Yes.  It is about dysfunctional cops, and they do hit those brick walls, but the show goes much deeper than that.  You witness the effects of a murder investigation on both the family of the victim and the suspects.   And the crime isn’t solved in one episode.  It took them two seasons to solve the murder.

The acting is what sets this show apart.  In my opinion, Joel Kinnaman is the shining star in this series.  He plays Detective Stephen Holder, a former meth-addicted narcotics cop.  To say he’s got demons is putting it mildly, but somehow Kinnaman makes his character not only likeable, he makes him relatable.   Brent Sexton comes in a close second with his portrayal of Stanley Larsen, the patriarch of the victim’s family.  You can feel his rage just beneath the surface.  He wants to do the right thing, but he’s not sure what that is. The rest of the cast is excellent as well.   This is more or less Mireille Enos’ series, and she does a superb job of carrying it, but without Kinnaman, the show doesn’t work.

If you haven’t watched The Killing, check it out.  It is worth a subscription to Netflix. Do yourself a favor.  Stay away from any and all spoilers, because I guarantee you won’t guess who done it

Making money on Youtube

Did you know that the Youtubes (that’s how we old folks say it) isn’t just an ideal place to waste time and make you feel lousy about humanity?  You can also make money making other people feel lousy about humanity.  You could try to inspire them, but unfortunately I don’t think you’ll bring in much cash with those kinds of videos.

Or you could make educational videos like Olinselot.  In fact, his video featured here today explains how you can make money on the Youtubes.  In case you’re wondering, Lou’s Diary entries have made… zilch.  I may have to up my game and do something outrageous to attract more viewers.  Feel free to leave suggestions below.

No entry for Lou’s Diary this week

I recorded and edited the entry for Lou’s diary this week and then I turned on the TV where I learned about the horrible tragedy at the elementary school in Connecticut.  I’ve decided it would be in poor taste  to upload this week’s entry given that violence and despair are major components of Lou’s diary.  Add to that, many young people are readers of the Oz Chronicles, and I just feel it would be irresponsible to post the entry. True, it is fictional violence in a made up world, but nonetheless it would be insensitive to make it available for viewing at this time.  I will resume the diary entries next Friday.

I’ll end with this post with a quote from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

For some moments in life there are no words.

Movie (and TV) Monday

There’s no use in denying it.  I waste a lot of time watching movies thanks to the Blockbuster kiosk down the street and Netflix via my Wii.  Most of the stuff I watch is horrendously awful, and frankly, I watch them just to see how truly bad they are.  Occasionally, I will discover a movie or TV show I’ve never heard of before that is not only good, but fantastic.  Here’s what I discovered this weekend.

The Good – Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (Documentary): Not only had I never heard of this movie; I had never heard of the mystery of the Toynbee Tiles.  In the early to mid 80’s, a message started appearing in tiles embedded on the streets of Philadelphia that referenced resurrecting the dead on Jupiter, but the origin of the message was a mystery.  A young runaway, Justin Duerr, became intrigued by the tiles.  He noticed them all over the city.  Over the next 30 years, his fascination turned into an obsession.  He had to know who was placing these tiles in the streets.  His research led him to discover that the messages didn’t just appear in Philadelphia, they appeared all over the East coast and in parts of South America.  He teamed up with others that were spellbound by the mystery and through what only can be described as dogged determination, they eventually find the person behind the tiles.  The movie had me hooked from the first frame.  I found myself pulling for the investigators, and I became totally invested in their adventure.  It was a great way to relax for two hours on a Saturday.  Thank you, Netflix!

The Bad – Project X (Comedy?):  I guess this was supposed to be a comedy, but in the end, it just made me angry that I wasted $2 on it.  I rented it because it was billed as the next Hangover, which is kind of true because I was hungover with regret and despair that this movie found the funding to be produced and released.  It has your typical raunchy teen movie theme; the parents are going out of town and entrusting their good, nerdy kid to watch the house while their away.  Meanwhile, his criminally inclined friends plan a party to get drunk and get laid.  Mayhem ensues.  Horrible writing takes over.  Stilted acting overinflated with every cliché they could dig up invades. And, a ridiculously violent end to the evening leads you to conclude that maybe humanity’s rule over this planet should come to an end if this is all we have to offer in the way of entertainment.   Screw you, Blockbuster kiosk!

The Awesome – The Whitest Kids U’ Know (Comedy!!): I grew up on Monty Python.  I would sit with my dad and watch it on PBS back in the days when we only had five TV channels.  TWKUK is Monty Python 2.0. America’s version of sketch comedy with no restraints.  It is gloriously inappropriate humor that makes spot on, if not totally goofy, commentaries about the absurdly ironic nature of American culture. I watched all 10 episodes of season five of their IFC TV show on Saturday and Sunday, and I was so disappointed when there were no more to watch.  The best of the best was a reoccurring sketch that ran through all 10 episodes called, The Civil War on Drugs.  In essence, two stoners join the war between the states because they think it’s about making pot illegal.  There’s actually even an almost heartwarming plea to young people in one sketch to visit old people in nursing homes…  almost heartwarming.  I love you, Netflix!

This is the tamest clip from TWKUK that I could find to post here.  The show is etremely inappropriate, but funny as hell.

My Ireland debut – Writing an author bio

A blog post for which I was paid one pair of Irish pants… I wish!

I’ve gone international.  More precisely, some of my blog posts have gone international.  A writing blog in Ireland just picked up an article I wrote for CreateSpace on writing an author bio.  CreateSpace is a regular gig and occassionally they’ll give permission to other sites to repost material.  I love it because it’s free advertising for me and my books.  My stuff has also appeared on a site in the UK a couple of times.

Here’s a little tidbit from the bio article:

To many, writing an author bio is an enigma wrapped in a riddle buried with Blackbeard’s treasure. It’s hard to know what is and isn’t relevant. What sets one author bio apart from another? Does work experience count? Is it accolades that matter most? What about education – does that make a difference? How can you express who you really are while meeting readers’ expectations of you as an author?

Check out the rest on