Friday, February 15, 2013

Jeff Soyer - Editor

Please welcome Jeff Soyer, editor extraordinaire.

Jeff recently gave Kratocracy a long-needed editing and will soon be starting on the Western Front.  Now that sales are picking up on tWF, more than ever I need to polish it.

Jeff runs an awesome blog as well:

So if you're a writer, or you're writing and need the help of a good editor, give him a shout, and spread the word.  He's a standup guy, honest worker and a patriot.  It's nigh time like-minded folks start looking out for each other. 

NotN Chapter 1 Posted

The usual pre-completion caveats apply.  This hasn't been edited or proofread yet.  Otherwise, enjoy:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

NotN Update:

Chapter 4 complete. 12,000 words. Added 2 chapters to the story arc, so the books getting longer also.

Chapter 5 should be short, so I'll aim to knock it out tomorrow.

Check in tomorrow, because I ought to have a chapter posted by noon.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Are There No People Left?

"Are there no people left who value freedom?"

Are they the majority, or at least the voting majority?  I mean obviously not NOW, bt maybe in the future?  In the next election perhaps?

This question was posed on a radio program this morning by an exasperated host. He believes there are. Many disagree. I'm on the fence. It depends.

Nationally? Probably not.

In some communities/states/regions? Probably so.

But what is freedom? Rights? What does that entitle you to?

I was really disheartened by a conversation today with supposed conservative/republican individuals. Whatever that means anymore.

Let me start backwards and work towards the topic.

Read Exodus 22:14.

If you are driving, while obeying ALL laws, and someone runs out in front of you. You hit them. They die. Is their family entitled to anything from you? When it was beyond your control?

Hold your answer.

If a gun company sells a gun lawfully and it is used in the commission of a crime, are they liable for something beyond their control?

Hold the answer.

If a company, any company, manufacturers a product or performs a service AND does it completely within the law. And something happens to cause you loss or harm. Are they liable? Are they liable because you burned your little lap with their hot hot coffee?

Hold your answer.

If. IF. IF. Follow me? We're in hypothetical world. IF this cruise line followed all laws/regulations/procedures/whatever. And their engine STILL failed and you're stranded for 5 days defecating in a bucket off the coast of Mexico. Do they owe you anything?

IF they skirted procedure/the law/whatever - they're liable. Make em pay.

Otherwise, what more could they have done? Did you think this was completely impossible?

Read Exodus 22:14 again.

If your freedom means I owe you something because you didn't have the day/service/vacation/life you expected - and it was beyond my control, you don't want freedom. You want MY freedom.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

1 Month's Gross

This week has seen the circling of several large gray swans (and one particularly nasty black swan) at Casa de Garrett.

Total cost? About 1 Month's Gross. That means, 1 month's income before the gov't devours our paychecks. And the week ain't over.

What this means is in the course of a few days, we have been smacked around pretty hard by the gods of the Copybook Headings.

While I am in about as sour a mood as I can muster, we will survive it. I don't mean that like - we'll muddle through and do without and survive it by selling our kidneys. We will take this standing up because of life choices... And our continual search for additional income streams.

Some of our side gigs:

Amazon (old books, movies, etc. - a la online yardsale).
Ebay (I've sold everything from knockoff name brands in college, to twinkiepocalypse, to military surplus).
Kindle Books (as Archer Garrett).
A now defunct business (closed last year).

Our ability to weather financial disasters like this would be significantly reduced if we only focused on the status quo 40 hour/week career.

It would be impossible if we adhered to the consumeristic lifestyle that we see all around us.

This goes along well with the previous post about leveraging technology.

But in addition to that, you need to mini-Galt as much as possible: kill the tv, cut your own hair, grow your own food, refinance at these unsustainable rates, quit playing into our retail economy, refuse to chase the Jones' (because they're about to get foreclosed on anyway). Do whatever you can to increase your independence and ability to survive.

Times are hard, and they're not going to get easier any time soon. Do what you can, while you can. Gird your loins, so to speak. And pray.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NotN update:

Nine of the North (NotN) Chapter 3 is complete.  I'm 10,000 words complete on what will be a 40-50,000 word book.  Should be as long or longer than Kratocracy.  So far, I think it'll be about 17 chapters.  Once I get Chapter 4 written (hopefully by Friday), I will start releasing chapters. 

Our Point of Views are shaping up to be:

Barrett (Border Arc)
Lobo (Pilot Arc)
Freeman (Federal Arc)
Jake/Clayton (Alabama Arc)
Reese/Gov (Texas Arc)

I know it sounds like a lot is going on for 17 chapters - and it is - but a bunch of these arcs converge very quickly.  After 3 chapters, we start to see most of the story tie together.  I've probably already said too much, but you'll be reading free chapters soon anyway.

As I've said before, NotN will bring some closure to the main story, but I still plan on taking some of the individual story arcs forward via a spinoff series or two. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013


First, a link from Sarah Hoyt:

Now, an excerpt from her post:

I don’t know what your talents are.  My family is NOT normal – you knew that, right? – so yesterday we spent time picking courses off a catalog, and the gamut went from history to music, to art, to storytelling.  Activities and skills people are working on in my circle range from editing to handy-manning (shut up you!) to building computers from discards, to writing indie, to art, to all sorts of what used to be called womanly crafts.  Embroidery, crochet, knitting, calculus, statistics, piano, languages, programming, baking, backyard gardening…  All of these will almost for sure have a value and allow you to make at least some money.  All of them are absorbing enough to keep the mind from the down spiral.

Now, a little from me:

We all have skills/abilities/talents/whatever that we were endowed with or learned along the way.  We are all certainly not equal in this manner, but we do all have some manner of things we are good at.

Rawles talks a lot about developing skills for a work from home type scenario, but his tend to be hands-on and low tech.  Carpentry, Ranching, Gardening, Mechanics, Weaving/Sewing/Needlework, Metalworking (be it Blacksmithing or Fabricating at either ends of the spectrum), etc.  Nothing wrong with those and they will certainly be needed.  But I think that focusing only on skills like that is limiting yourself, to an extent.

Let's face it:  things can not stay the same.  Not for much longer; something has to give.  What happens then?  Will it be painful?  Oh yes - I believe so, but not forever.  But after the short-term pain, then what?  What does the future look like?

I don't think that stays the same either.

How we live and work and communicate is certainly going to change over the next 10 years, and it will change in ways that are quite hard to fathom at the moment.  Just like each decade was a stark technological contrast from the previous one (1990 v 1980 / 2010 v 1990 / etc.), the future will certainly be different.

Writing indie has helped me realize this more so than anything else I suppose - technology is creating opportunities for us to be more and more independent, even as the State (big "S") fights to make us more and more dependent.  But with every passing day and every new advance, that genie gets harder and harder to put back in a bottle.

Most of the population is still focused on that old paradigm (the 9-5 or more realistically these days - the 6-5 x 6 days a week - even if it is spread over several, low-paying, part-time jobs), and they are suffering because of it.  The way our fathers and grandfathers earned a living is dying folks.  In the 40s and 50s it was noble to be a company man - to find a good company with a great pension system and stay with them for your entire career.   I remember it being said in the 00s that if you didn't have 3 or 4 employers under your belt in the first several years of your career, you were limiting your earning potential.  Now? in the 10s?  Employers are dumping expensive, experienced old hats and squeezing the remainder of their personnel - or at best - bringing in some young kid with drive that can make up his lack of experience with long nights at the office.

 I was asked the other day why I don't contribute to my company's stock plan (401k contributions are matched with company stock).  I simply said, "I don't trust the market." but that's a half-truth.  The rest of the story is, "I don't expect this company will be around in 40-50 years when (if?) I retire, so the company stock'll likely be  worth nil.

I'm sorry, I'm rambling. So that's the old paradigm.  What about the future?

Well, it can go 2 directions:
1. We all work for a centralized gov't/mega-corporations.
2. We are all contractors, so to speak.

Let me say that "ALL" is a blanket statement and there will always be exceptions.  So let's say that "ALL" means 65-80% of the working population.

Let's address #1:  I don't think this is sustainable and like I said before, the technology is out-pacing the government as we speak.  And technology is accelerating.

#2:  Let me explain what I mean.  Just as technology is affording more opportunities for artists such as indie musicians and filmmakers (I mean, hate him or hate him, but Justin Beiber was discovered on Youtube.  Follow me?) or writers (Amazon and Smashwords) or voice actors (ACX), or bloggers selling ad space on their site (I'm talking about you - ToR), it is also affording more opportunities for technical-minded people.  I know a  25-ish Y.O. Geologist who just broke off from a major company and is now working jobs all across the Coast - by himself.  Technology.

I think (hope?) that large, central governance is doomed to fail, at least in the future in my head.  I believe we will revert back to a more local system.  In my utopia - it's an Articles of Confederation system with most of the power focused at the state and county level.  Probable?  Probably NOT.  What it will most likely be (in my scatter-brained mind) is a central governance that is utterly inefficient and impotent.  It's there, and it hassles people a lot and ruins a bunch of lives, but communities develop that are more freedom oriented - and people flourish.

But this isn't some Greek city-state type of life.  The technology is still there, so the possibilities are still endless for the individual.  At least I hope.

So learn those old-world skills, like Rawles recommends.  But learn computer programming, and still focus on the arts (if your the artsy type - 'cause let's face it, there were minstrels and jesters in the Dark Ages, so you might snag some sweet jester gig, who knows?), and continue to stay knowledgeable of developing technologies.  Understanding how these technologies function, at the system level, will be critical to leveraging them.  If you enjoy something enough and are passionate about it, you can probably package it and sell it to somebody (and probably a lot of somebodies) out there.

I remember back in like 2005 hearing this story about a reporter who ran across this goat herder in the hills of  Afghanistan.  Very austere place - I'm talking mountain-top village, stone-age stuff.  So in the middle of this interview about the local comings and goings and American forces in the area, the dude pulls out a satellite smart-phone and executes a sell of some stocks half-way around the world.  The reporter was utterly astonished.  Was this guy the norm?  Of course not, but he found a way to look beyond the realities of his lot in life and capitalize on a better future.  I bet that same dude today has a butt-load of goats.  Just sayin'.