Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Gonna self-isolate for non-Covid reasons...

I am...done.  I'm done following the data on the current virus.  The media's dishonest, and is stirring up panic where it isn't warranted; the government on all levels are taking actions both unwarranted and illegal; the economy is dying, if not already dead; and all of this is raising my stress levels to the point of anxiety attacks.  I'm done.

I am an intelligent human being that is capable of holding worry about more than one thing at a time.  I'm most concerned, at this point, about the actions the government is taking to "combat the virus."*

With everything being forced closed, there is nothing of value being created.  There are no services being exchanged.  Our economy isn't dying, it's been murdered.  Because of a 2% chance of death for some. 
That said.  I am NOT denying that the virus isn't nasty.  It is.  For a few.  However, I have family in those few that are in the most danger.  I am not in favor of those family members doing stupid shit and catching this.

I am also not in favor of people calling the police over a man playing catch with his daughter in an empty park.  I am not in favor of the police patrolling out on open water and arresting a single person alone in a kayak, paddle-boat, or on a surf board.  I am not in favor of police pulling people over and writing tickets for simply going for a their cars.  I am not in favor of anyone telling me what is and is not a necessary purchase, because how the fuck does anyone but me know what I need? 

Gas prices are in free-fall.  Given that gas is what is referred to as an inelastic commodity, that is alarming.  Supply is way up because demand--that which is not supposed to change--is way down. 

There are landlords out there that have waved rent for the month of April.  I would assume that said landlords own the properties, free and clear, and do not rely on the rent payments to make their loan payments.  Others have not--cannot--because they do have loan payments.  What happens when they can't make those payments? 

What happens when over-extended homeowners can't make their house payments? 

Only, with landlords, it's a whole lot more people going to be turned out of their homes due to foreclosure. 

So many people have been living paycheck to paycheck for so's normal.  It's not just those on the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder, either.  It's normal for everybody.  And right now, a lot of people simply...don't have a paycheck coming in.  And for a lot of those people, there won't ever be another paycheck from that particular job because of so many businesses going out of business.  Because businesses have those same habits--businesses are run by people who are used to going paycheck to paycheck. 

All for 2% of the population, the majority of which are already sick and dying with something else.  Or who have just a few years of their allotted time left. 

*I hate to say it, but I don't think the actions being taken by the various governments at the city, state, and federal levels are being taken solely to combat the virus.  I think there are bad actors at each level that are watching how we react, how we obey, and gleefully planning something different.  Too bad they're not paying attention to how many new background checks and gun purchases are happening daily, too.  Because they are not the only ones watching. 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

It's live.

Gods and Monsters is available for purchase in Kindle or paperback, and can be borrowed and read for free through Kindle Unlimited. 

It's the fourth book in the Modern Gods series, starting with The Godshead, and moving through Highway to Tartarus, "Bar Tabs" (a Kindle-only short story), and Fire and Forge.  There's more to the world, but I'm not sure when the next book will emerge.  I don't really have control over these--they kinda just come at their own pace, in their own time. 

In the meantime, I'm about a third of the way through the second book of the Liquid Diet Chronicles.  The current, working title is Having a Pint.  Meg's irritated it's taken me so long to get back to her story.  The bits I'd written down long hand are almost exhausted, have been tripled in content, and my hands are killing me. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Gods and Monsters Sample Chapter

All Kraken Must Be Kept on a Leash

A deep, gurgling, howling, reverberating moan shook Poseidon out of a deep sleep.  Medusa stirred next to him, humming as she woke, too.  “What was that?” she mumbled, spitting hair out of her mouth.  She wrinkled her nose and smiled, petting the dampened strands of hair, enjoying the feel of hair that didn’t try to bite her. 
“I’m not entirely sure,” Poseidon hedged, rolling out of bed.  “It sounds like it’s coming from deep water, though.  I’m going to go check it out.  Be back as soon as I can.”
“You do that,” Medusa groaned, turning over onto her side and hitching the covers higher.  “Just tell me what it was in the morning.”
Poseidon chuckled, planting a kiss on her bare shoulder.  He bent and picked his cutoffs up from where he’d kicked them the night before and padded from the bedroom.  He leaned against the wall in the hallway and untwisted them, then pulled them on, buttoning and zipping carefully.  He’d shed them when he went into the water, but people nowadays frowned on nudity at nearly any time, on this continent. 
The god of the sea could have gone back to the old world, but the people—and their priests—had made clear to him that he wasn’t welcome in any of the old places.  He’d stayed away for centuries, and now that he was welcome again, he wouldn’t go back.  Not for any price, not after the way he’d been rejected by his lands and people.
The sand under his feet had lost most of the heat from the day as he made his way down to the water’s edge.  He stripped the shorts off, felt for how strong the tides were and would be, and wadded them up to chuck them farther up the beach than the water would go, even with the added reach of a storm out in the ocean proper boosting the waves’ power.     There was a storm, but it was a lot further out despite what the cloud cover suggested, and he hoped to be done before it hit land.  He waded until the warm water lapped at his chest before he dove in.
Another burbling moan echoed through the water.  Poseidon relaxed and directed the currents to bring him and whatever was making that gawdawful noise together.  It had been a while since one of the creatures living deep had needed help, but that sound, now that he was in the water and could hear properly, was absolutely a cry for help.  And there was pain involved. 
Poseidon frowned as he darted through the water, and directed the current to move him faster.  He closed his eyes, relishing the caress of his ocean on his skin, and reached out with his power, checking through the rest of his domain for more trouble…or more trouble brewing.  There was…something, right at the edge of his perception, but he couldn’t figure it out, and he had other, more pressing concerns at the moment.
The overcast night, clouds speeding toward land, heralded the storm that Poseidon had sensed pushing the waves ahead of it.  He hadn’t left the daylight zone depth, yet, but with the cloud cover, he might as well have done.
And the storm in the Atlantic was picking up speed and force.  The currents would have it making landfall not far from where his home stood.  But by that time, he’d be long back, and the barrier islands would weaken it by a good bit.
It likely would do damage, even weakened, were he not who he was.  The ocean couldn’t harm him, or his home. 
But it could and would do damage to the homes around him.  He sighed.  Made a mental note to watch out for idiots doing stupid things in flood waters.  He couldn’t prevent the storm from making landfall, and wouldn’t redirect it, but he could prevent loss of life to water. 
Something loomed, changing the way the currents flowed, pushed by a different current from behind.  The conflicting currents eddied around, then slowed and stopped at Poseidon’s will.  A huge tentacle—almost as big around as he was—reached out, gently gathering him in while a massive body curled around him to protect him from the last of the eddying currents.  As he made contact with the creature’s body with both hands, he realized exactly what it was: the Kraken.  The Greater Kraken, the last of its kind that hid from sailors and scientists alike. 
The burbling moan shook the water again, vibrating along Poseidon’s bones, accompanied by a rumble from the creature’s digestive tract. 
Poseidon reached hard with his power and made contact with the Kraken’s mind.  “What’s wrong?” he murmured.
It answered.  Not in words, but in impressions that Poseidon’s mind automatically translated.  [belly.  Hurts.  Bad food.]
Poseidon took one hand off the Kraken.  Now that contact had been made for the first time, he didn’t need to touch to maintain it.  He only needed to maintain his position relative to it in the water.  He scratched the stubble along his jaw.  “Bad food?”
[bad.  Bad food.] the Kraken agreed.  [did not want to be eaten.  Still lives, still fights, hurts belly.  It bites.  It thrashes.  Bad food.]
Poseidon rubbed his forehead.  The alien thought processes were starting to give him a headache.  “What?  What was it?”
[do not know.  Rose from deepest.  Weak.  Strange.  Like food, not like.  I hungered.  I ate.  Bad food still lives, still fights, hurts belly.]
Poseidon shivered.  That sounded something like what his father had been warning them about.  “Can you bring it up?”
Poseidon winced as the thought stabbed through his head, from temple to temple.  The confusion in the thoughts was even more painful than the straightforward thoughts had been.  “Vomit.  Can you?”
The Kraken’s body heaved, then heaved again.  The great beak opened, and the beast heaved again.  Pieces started coming up.  Pieces of something Poseidon didn’t recognize until the Kraken managed to expel the head.  The head’s tentacles were thrashing, and the polydexterous hand-things were twitching.  No wonder it had harmed the poor Kraken.
“Ah,” Poseidon breathed out.  He gathered the fluid around the thing, using the salts from the waters and the acid from the Kraken’s digestive juices to create a massive crystalline prison that kept all the pieces separated.  He managed to finish trapping it just before the whirlpool it attempted to create was able to form and propel it to the surface.  “Charibdis.  I was wondering where you went, you cunt.”
[bad food what?] the Kraken asked. 
“Something I thought was dead that apparently only slept in the deep.  I had no idea she was immortal.  She was trying to make a whirlpool in your guts and eat you…no wonder it hurt.”  Poseidon sighed.  Patted the poor creature, reached deep with his power over all the creatures in the sea, and pushed healing until the Kraken twitched. 
[hurt gone.  Hungry.  Go hunt, now…]
“Go deep,” Poseidon ordered absently, considering asking for a mate for the monster from someone who could help him make it.  “There’s a lot of not-food on the surface.  Will hurt you again if you try to eat it, and some of it will try to hurt you if it sees you.”
[I go.] 
The Kraken flipped, surfaced for a moment, eyeing the clouds balefully, then dove down to the rocky bottom, below where Poseidon could see.  He could feel it scudding toward a trench in the deepest part of the ocean, where the waters were warmed by volcanic vents, and occasional food drifted close enough for the Kraken to grab without coming where it could be noticed. 
He sighed, then smirked as he felt the monster in the salt crystal prison trying to form whirlpools and put herself back together.  It…wasn’t working.  She couldn’t break the walls between the different parts of herself, mostly because there wasn’t enough water in any given chamber to really give it a good try. 
Poseidon grinned, set his waters to reject the prison, then followed it to the surface.  He urged the current to nudge the ball full of angry, hungry, dismembered immortal to shore, and followed.  He made it to the entrance of his private bay, and used the mouth of the bay to form a portal to his brother’s realm. 
He smirked, made the ball utterly indestructible with smooth coral growths, then launched it through to bounce to Cerberus’s feet.  A happy yelp echoed through the portal and he grinned as he closed it.  He started for shore but stopped as a cigarette boat flashed lights and blipped the siren as it pulled up and slowed to a stop. 
“You, in the water,” a young voice called out. 
“Yes?” he asked, using the water to push him upright so he could cross his arms across his chest. 
“If you happen to be Poseidon,” a young voice called respectfully, “I would appreciate you taking the time to have a word.”
Poseidon sighed, stepping up out of the water’s embrace (even as he kept a modesty-protecting ring of water around his hips—for the youngster’s sake, since he didn’t give a shit).  He moved over the suddenly glassy-smooth surface of the water to the boat.  He started to seat himself on nothing, and ended up seated gracefully on the throne that the waters put up for him.  “Yes?”
“About twenty minutes ago, I had a speedboat of Cuban cartel members turn themselves over, begging to be run in.  They said they’d dumped the drugs overboard, and just wanted off the water before the monster got them.”
“Sounds helpful,” Poseidon commented. 
“Was there, in fact, a sea monster?” the young voice—a woman, Poseidon thought—asked, “or were they sampling their own merchandise?”
“I suppose they may have seen the Kraken on his way in.  He’d eaten something that disagreed with him, and came to me for help,” he mused, feeling through the depths for the drugs.  He found them and fished them out of where they’d dropped, bringing them to himself. 
“Kraken.  Is that a sea monster?” she asked.  “Because the only Kraken I know of is the black rum my dad drinks.”
“Good rum.  Hundred fifty foot squid, not a monster,” Poseidon corrected.  “Why?”
“Do they even get that big?” she asked dubiously.
“Oh, yes.”  Poseidon paused in thought, then shrugged regretfully.  “Or at least, they used to.  The Greater Kraken are all but extinct, now, though.”
“Does it swim at the surface waving tentacles?” the young woman persisted. 
Poseidon nodded slowly.  “Rarely, but it does happen sometimes.  When it’s been hurt, or something it’s eaten has disagreed with it.  Like tonight.”
“That means they were telling the truth about the sea monster,” she mused.  “Maybe even about the dumped drugs, too.”
Poseidon smirked and brought the drugs—a bale of white the size of his torso, wrapped in plastic—to the surface, then flipped it into the boat.  “They were telling the truth about all of it,” he agreed.
"Wow.  Thanks," she said breathlessly.  "But I need to ask you to keep sea creatures that size out where they don't panic boaters.  Out of sight.  Or under obvious control.  It helped with the drug bust, but there's a lot of legit fishers out here, too.  And I do appreciate the assist, but I don't want to hear about Cthulu rising ever again," she said, her voice rising.  "Especially not on a night like this where it looks like he could!"

Friday, April 3, 2020

And now for something completely different

From the back cover of Gods and Monsters:

Here there be dragons…again, damn it.  

Deshayna has her sanity back, and forces older than the gods have granted her a new purpose.  Chronos, his freedom restored, fights for his sanity, and with it, a purpose in helping Deshayna—now called Shay—with hers.  The gods are starting to pull together more…and it’s about time.  

Millennia after the last dragons to threaten human existence have been hunted down, they’ve started to reappear, hinting to the surviving gods that something more sinister appeared first: Tiamat.  

Instead of a confrontation, though, the gods—major, minor, and genus loci—are drawn into a frustrating hunt for a predator that flees rather than attempting to strike. 
And yes, this does mean I'm right at the point of publishing.  

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Are they TRYING to start the dance early?

I've been seeing stories: Hobby Lobby forced closed in some areas, others decreeing that the sale of "non-essentials" are banned.

I...have some questions.

First, hobby stores in general: most people "self-isolating" like good little proles don't have a whole lot of keep-busy supplies on hand.  Not a lot of games, models, or what have you.  I do, but I am, as I have come to find out, quite the odd duck.* 

Given that lack...what are people supposed to do?  There's only so much TV any individual can tolerate...and, as I have also come to find out, most people don't read.** 

So yeah.  People head out for a quick trip to the hobby store for whatever they enjoy doing, whether that's building models, painting minis, painting, calligraphy, sewing, quilting, knitting, crochet--whatever.  Something.  To.  DO.

Same with home improvement stores.  My other half has built two bookcases, and a kitchen cart*** for me since this bullshit started.  But people are whining that those need to close, too.  Because "mah health, damn it!"****

Okay.  Fine.  Whatever.  You know, some things can be ordered through Amazon...wait.  Now, Amazon's employees are screeching "mah health!!" too.  And "Dildos aren't a necessity!"

Really.  Cool.  You don't want to load boxes for people obeying the illegal orders to stay home, then stay home and somebody else with more sense can have your job.  Because, yes, damn it--they are a necessity to continue this charade, this bit of security/safety theater--because there are women out there that would like to get laid even if you've never met one, and the choice is between a battery operated bit of plastic or going out.

And the whole mess of big box stores being FORBIDDEN to compete with small stores forced to close  to sell nonessential items*****

That.  That right there.  That picture.  Notice what's blocked off?  That's right: future food.  Yes, people are being forbidden from buying the materials to grow their own damn food for later.  That's "nonessential."

Other places are banning the sale of books.  And toys.  For kids.

Dude.  Those politicians are going to get tarred, feathered, and then lynched--if they're lucky--by the parents of the children booted out of school by the same, panicking politicians.  If they're not lucky, they're going to be rounded up and shoved into a SMALL ROOM with ALL the children they've sentenced to murderous boredom.

I really think that these things, more than any other, are going to be what sets Americans off.

Because as a generalization, generations younger than mine sort of lack anything resembling delayed gratification.

*I'm not bored.  I have a ton of yarn, all sizes of knitting needles, more books than I have shelf space for (though that is changing), fountain pens, pretty ink, paper, and all sorts of ideas for knitting projects, and stories to write.  

**I have a friend who'd love to read for fun, but never has been able to get into that habit.  Another friend has learned that she needs audiobooks because her eyes don't want to work together to read for as long as she wants to.  Most of my other half's coworkers for the past two decades don't read at all for entertainment.  

***Kitchen cart: basically a bookcase frame on wheels with a drawer pull, with slats on both sides to keep potatoes and onions from falling off the shelves.  Fits perfectly in the 8" dead space between the end of my cabinets and my fridge, and doesn't block the dishwasher from opening all the way.  

****Yes, I've heard calls by employees for stores to close.  I don't think these twits realize how replaceable they are--they're basically no-skills workers that slide a bar-code across a scanner.  They are perfectly welcome to stay home, and let braver, smarter, healthier people who've been laid off take those jobs.  

*****Seriously, who's determining what's "essential" and what's "non-essential"?  Inquiring minds want to know, so that we know specifically who needs a new coat of tar and feathers. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

"I'm miffed, Rog..."

I'm assuming most, if not all, of my readers have seen the Lethal Weapon movies.  Remember Lethal Weapon 2, when the nasty, drug-dealing diplomats finally sent Riggs over the edge to the point he was barely coherent on the phone with Murtaugh?  "Miffed, I'm miffed, Rog..." 

Remember what happened next? 

I've passed "pissed off," and I'm heading toward that level of "miffed."  Right now, the only thing keeping me grounded is the kids (who are, by the way, also the reason I'm headed toward "miffed"). 

The economy I grew up in, and have headed toward middle age learning how it trashed.  We have the same levels of unemployment now as we had during the worst parts of the Great Depression.  And it has been deliberate on the part of the Left. 

Note I'm not blaming just the Democrats.  Not all of the Democrats are in on this.  And some of the Republicans are

This is Trump Derangement Syndrome writ large...and destructive.  This is the far Left politico's version of the riots that took place on the street level when Trump was first elected, then again when he took the Oath of Office. 

They tried it with the impeachment.  That failed. 

Then China fucked up by the numbers, starting with eating critters they shouldn't have.*  And in the process, they gave the Left a torch with which to commit mass arson. 

71% of our economy is tied up with services and/or tourism. 

Right now, restaurants are closed for dining in, which removes the server jobs.  Bars have been closed, removing server jobs and bartender jobs.  Not much need for janitorial staff in those places, right now, either.  Tourist attractions are closed, which shits on those jobs, too.  And the jobs of the hotel staff that count on those attractions. 

There are jobs out there.  But a lot of the people in the service industry...aren't qualified.  Because most of these "indispensable" jobs are either trades (for which they aren't trained), or IT in some form.  In all honesty, a lot of the "service industry" jobs have taken the place of "low-skill factory work" jobs, but require a higher level of starting intelligence and a very thick skin to deal with Karens. 

(The rest of the jobs are stocking shelves or cleaning...for which several in the service industries simply aren't fit enough to do: it's a lot of bending, lifting, and repetitive motion.  And cleaning/sanitizing is a much heavier job than most people think.)

I have an indispensable job for which I don't get paid: I am a housewife and mom.  Right now, I'm also a teacher and homework supervisor.  A lot of people formerly in the service industries are now learning to do the same jobs...however, like I said earlier, I'm not being paid.  And neither are they.  But where I've got a working spouse (not likely to change, given what he's doing), they may not.  And where I don't have rent or a mortgage,** they may...on top of the standard utilities and food bills. 

We are about to head into free-fall deflation, because everybody that has money isn't spending out of absolute terror.  Jobs are either gone, or may vanish without warning (or sometimes with warning--not sure which is worse), and while there's a lot of "you can't go anywhere" orders blocking a lot of spending, there's also a lot of absolute terror.  Gas prices have already plummeted.  The federal reserve is reacting to that, and to a lot of fear...which I understand.  But where they should have been raising the interest rate incrementally, and more often, so that there'd be a safety zone for if things went into the shitter, they didn't.  And now, out of the same fear the rest of us are feeling, they've put the interest rate into negative figures. 

People are cheering the "stimulus package" that was recently passed.  They're eagerly anticipating those aid checks that are coming.  $1200 per adult, $2400 per married couple, and a $500 credit per kid...for those who don't owe child support. 

What they don't realize is that a) this is their money in the first place, robbed from them by the government in a greater amount this year alone than they'll be "given" back, and b) this is only going to stave off bottoming out by a couple of weeks--maybe a month, if we're lucky.  A lot of people are going to be using this money not as the government intended (to live on while they're unemployed before the unemployment kicks in, as they've been promised will happen), but as a stash.  Because they're scared into saving money for the first time in their lives. 

Deflation is going to happen.  Without throwing everything back open tomorrow, deflation is going to happen.  Because a lot of businesses?  Have gone, or are going, bankrupt right fucking now.  Which means jobs are going away--permanently--right now.  Deflation is actually happening right now in some areas.  When that bottoms out? 

Well.  That's an ass of a different color.  We are going to have rampant, massive stagflation.  Remember what I said about the Federal Reserve's actions to attempt to stave off deflation?  That's going to end up causing the opposite. 

We are on a roller-coaster, my friends.  And we were strapped in, and the safeties were ripped out, by people who want to watch the world burn so that they could rebuild their version of heaven from the ashes. 

They don't realize that they're going to hang for this.  The minute that we, the people, get miffed enough, in large enough numbers, they're going to be hanged.  They've been working so hard, for so long, to remove the scaffolding of civilization from the people that they've forgotten that we can't be perfected, only house-trained.  They're going to be strung up from the lamp posts in D.C. and in state capitols in job lots, no matter what level of guilt they have.  Or lack. 

If they're lucky.

"We're gonna get bloody on this one." 

*There's a reason for a lot of the Levitican dietary laws.  Most of them are actually health codes: all of the animals labeled "unclean" are unsafe, often because of an inability to either prepare them safely, or an inability to store them safely, but also because some of them can and do transmit disease from animal to human.  

**I am incredibly thankful to have been able to pay off the mortgage.  Yes, our interest rates were locked at 4.5%...with the company we were with.  However, I'm absolutely certain there will be legislation passed eventually that would see that jacked way the fuck up because "economic emergency measures." 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Panic! (but the disco's closed)

I've been thinking, recently.  And I think the media, as a whole, should be burned at the stake.  This panic is entirely, and without exception, their fault. 

Everybody panicking?  Either believes every bit of info being pushed, spread, exaggerated, and disseminated by the media...or believes nothing of it, and there's so much media shit that they can't find* real information.  Or the statistics that they can find are in news stories, and they can't trust that those haven't been twisted (they have). 

And social media isn't helping, for the most part.  I mean, the groups I'm a member of are mostly really smart, and have inroads in finding the information (and experience in interpreting it) that a lot of other groups lack, but they're not able to get that information out there in a wide enough spread.  And then again, when they try, other individuals often accuse them of "drinking the kool-aid."  Because the raw data contradicts what the media's been pushing.  Hell, it contradicts the computer projections some of the so-called experts** have been citing.

It's also, for the USA, contradicting what's happened in China, North Korea, and Italy.  I've got theories on that, and on why Japan hasn't been hit so hard (nor has South Korea, really).  And no, my theories have nothing to do with race, like I've been hearing people accuse others of.  It's culture.  It's nutrition levels.  It's the overall percentage of the population that smokes.  It's the overall percentage of the population that vaccinates.

The cited and projected death rates aren't real.  The media, while not making it up out of whole cloth, are pushing an unrealistic projection, and really screaming the stories of the people who'd had it bad enough they almost died, could have died, or did die*** while hushing the numbers who've recovered, or had been barely symptomatic.  And downplaying how few of us have been tested in the first place.  

*Half the ones that find the raw data and statistics--which, admittedly, isn't easy, and a lot of it may be behind academic or other paywalls--can't make sense of them.  So, I suppose, education can also be blamed for part of the panic.  

**You know what we call "experts" that believe computer modeling over real-world data? The kind that massage the data to fit the computer models, and actively engage in sample bias?  Frauds.   

***I've heard of several younger people who've died.  Previously counted healthy, but potentially with things that often start in middle age and gone undiagnosed, or health workers who've likely depressed their own immune systems through the exhaustion of caring for others.