Monday, July 31, 2023

July Words of Wisdom

The wildest and most moving dramas are not played in the theatre, but in the hearts of ordinary men and women who pass by without exciting attention. --Carl Jung
All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone. --Blaise Pascal 
Beauty is vanishing from our world because we live as though it did not matter. --Roger Scruton

Be alone, that's where ideas are born. --Nicola Tesla
The Top 15 Things Money Can't Buy: Time. Happiness. Inner Peace. Integrity. Love. Character. Manners. Health. Respect. Morals. Trust. Patience. Class. Common Sense. Dignity. --Roy T. Bennett
Excitement is a better motivator than discipline. The people who appear to have an exceptional work ethic or remarkable discipline are often those with a genuine curiosity or interest in that area. The person who smiles is more likely to keep working than the person gritting their teeth. --James Clear

It's easy to fool people, but it is almost impossible to convince people that they have been fooled. --Elon Musk
The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see. --Ayn Rand 

Tradition does not mean that you never do anything new, but that you will never fall below the standard of courage and conduct handed down to you. Then tradition, far from being handcuffs to cramp your action, will be a handrail to guide and steady you in rough places. --Sir William Slim
I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessing on this house, and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof. --President John Adams (speaking, of course, of The White House)

No punishment, in my opinion, is too great for a man who can build his greatness upon his country's ruin. --George Washington
The country is going to start healing when the government starts telling the truth. --Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Ask and you shall receive: In-N-Out Burger Edition

A few months back I read a book on In-N-Out Burger that was published in 2010 and mentioned that I hoped for an update at some point. 

Lo and behold!

From the Amazon description:

Discover the official story of In-N-Out Burger––how three generations have created a thriving, family-owned company, why its fans are so wildly loyal, and what led to its explosive growth and evolution into an iconic part of American culture––as told by In-N-Out Burger’s president, Lynsi Snyder.

When Lynsi Snyder's grandparents founded In-N-Out Burger in 1948, they built it with a passion for quality and service that Lynsi embraced at a young age. After starting as a store associate at age seventeen, she then worked in other departments, gaining first-hand experience with almost every aspect of the family business until she became president in 2010. She has led the company through explosive growth––today, there are three-hundred and eighty stores and counting––and is deeply committed to the well-being of the In-N-Out Burger family.
I am really looking forward to this book. It will be interesting to see if there's a difference between the previous book and this one, written by a family member, plus it will be up-to-date. The book will be released in October and is available for pre-order now.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Loving the new Twitter, but there's still room for improvement

I'm one of those people who returned to Twitter after Elon Musk bought it last year. Regardless of what you think of Musk (or why) my personal experience since returning is  that it's a better, freer place since it came under new ownership.
I had actually been off Twitter for about a year and a half when I decided to give version 2.0 a shot. I had previously been on Twitter (and pretty much addicted to it) for more than ten years when I finally gave up on it in early 2021. It had turned from an amazingly open, informative and enjoyable experience into a slanted, toxic pit that just wasn't fun anymore. At all. Even more telling, I never felt like I was missing out on anything during the period I was gone. But Twitter is fun, interesting, and informational again.

However, there are still signs of the old, fun-adverse, truth-adverse Twitter. Somewhere along the line someone thought it was a good idea to give users a condescending "warning" when they post what some clearly objective (*sarcasm*) bonehead has decided is "potentially harmful or offensive language".

"Most Tweeters don't post replies like this" - Yeah, they post worse. Also, condescending much?

This was my response to a Tweet criticizing a protest outside of a McDonald's that had been organized to lambast the fast-food behemoth for not paying "living" wages. The original tweet pointed out the obvious, that burger-flipping is a job for unskilled teenagers (as I was when I worked there back in the day) and basically, I agreed. And yes, any idiot can be taught to do it. There's nothing harmful or offensive about pointing that out. It's the truth. McDonald's was designed that way. Unless you're the manager or franchisee, it's not meant to be a living wage career. It's a starter job, a pocket money job, it's not something you raise a family on. 
Expecting McDonald's to throw money at unskilled labor is like starting your career in a bottom rung, foot in the door job and never rising above that level, but expecting your salary to rise to the same level as someone who is actually moving up in the world. Basically, the protest is that McDonald's isn't paying high-skilled wages for menial, entry-level jobs. And that doesn't make sense. All that I and the original poster did was point out that obvious fact.

And in terms of the content of my tweet, there's the issue that you don't have to spend much time on Twitter to see much worse, to see posts that are genuinely vile, vicious, and at times even threatening. My tweet is one of the milder things you'll see on Twitter, which is much more open to a variety of opinions these days, but still retains some of its crazy, wild-west aspects from the old days. And I got a warning about (I assume) using the word "idiot"?

In case you're wondering, yes, I did hit the edit button, but not to edit my tweet. I added that the tweet had gotten the stupid Twitter warning and then posted it as originally written because no, there was nothing harmful or offensive about it.

And if you think that burger-flippers and other low-skilled workers deserve big bucks, there's these shining examples of the law of unintended consequences, but that's a conversation for another day.

As for Twitter, it's great to have it back, but there's still a little tweaking to do.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

I, Panelist

Hey, I got on a panel at Bouchercon!!! That's one I can check off the writing career bucket list!
Click to get a readable-sized version.

Looking forward to a great, fun panel. The complete lineup can be found here.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Showbiz roundup

In no particular order:
Dear Harry and Meghan: It's not an Emmy "snub" if your program was trash, a chunk of the viewership only subjected themselves to it to rip it in YouTube videos, and you're going broke because you really have nothing to offer to the world other than an accident of birth and shameless (albeit admittedly impressive) gold-digging/social climbing skills. The podcast sucked too, oh, and the word you were looking for was stereotypes, not archetypes. Maybe you shouldn't have tried to make a career out of trashing your families. Neither of you are special. Now go away. Also, future Queen Catherine is a goddess.
How to not read the room: After losing hundreds of millions of dollars and millions of viewers on woke flicks like Lightyear, Elemental, The Little Mermaid, and Indiana Jones 5 you would think Disney might have learned something about what audiences want and even more importantly, don't want. Nope! YellowFlash 2 on YouTube breaks it down.

As seen on

Snow Something.

1 Dwarf and 6 Somethings.

"The Multi-ethnic Portland Hipsters" (at 1:15). 🤣

The actors are on strike too!!! Where oh where will we get our crappy reboots/reimaginings? I'm not saying the studios aren't making ridiculous amounts of money off writers and actors and I'm also not saying that as co-creators they (especially writers) don't deserve a significant piece of that pie. In fact, even with its huge box office losses, Disney has extended Bob Iger's tenure as CEO (WHY???), so studios clearly have money to burn. But these things never seem to go well for the people put out of work for an extended period of time. I guess we'll see, but I think this is just going to be really ugly.
How about some good news for a change? It appears Oppenheimer, which opens July 21, is every bit as great as I was hoping. I've been eagerly awaiting this film since the first trailer dropped. To get an idea of just what amazing filmmaking this is, check out this video, which explains not only some of the technical aspects, but also the one hundred day theatrical window that director Christopher Nolan demanded - and got - from Universal. I hadn't heard about this and think it's fantastic. Things need to change in Hollywood and hopefully this will be the start of it.

Friday, July 7, 2023

I wondered where this came from...

So this turned up in my email yesterday:

I didn't know who "" was or how they got my email address, but I found out this morning: it's good old Scriptapalooza. And boy oh boy, was the blowback quick: Artificial Intelligence Screenplay Competition Opens & Quickly Closes. They've also already taken their website down.

That didn't take long.

With the WGA embroiled in a lengthy strike where one of the key issues is AI, I'm kind of surprised anyone thought this was a good idea. I've already seen a couple of calls for submissions in the short story market where the rules include "NO AI", including one where they mentioned that not only can they spot a story written in AI, but if you submit one they will never consider another submission from you again, ever. So yeah, AI is a sore subject among writers, so again, not sure why this was even considered. 

I haven't played around with AI, ChatGPT, or anything like this (in fact, I'd completely forgotten about this and I wrote a blog post about it), but from a writer's POV it doesn't seem like this is something we want to embrace. Time will tell, but if nothing else, this was really bad timing given the WGA strike. I still think highly of Scriptapalooza - they've been around forever and I've never heard anything negative about them before this debacle - but they really bungled this. That black eye may take some time to heal.

Update 7/8/23: Got this in the email, this time clearly from Scriptapalooza, not

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Team America, indeed

So yesterday I posted a link to the famous Dodge Challenger/Team America Theme Song mashup that can be found here on YouTube.

After I did so, I scrolled down and started checking out the comments...and some of them are just freaking hilarious! So I decided they needed their own post. Enjoy!

Well done, Carlos Kmet on YouTube, and congrats on a well deserved 5 million views!

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Happy Fireworks Day!

Hey America! It's your birthday! 
I wanted to post the immortal Dodge Challenger/Team America mashup, but it's age restricted on YouTube due to language (FUCK YEAH!!!) so here's a link: Enjoy!

I think Sophie may be a bit deaf in her old age. She hardly hides from the fireworks at all anymore.

Now the second worst thing we've done to England after Meghan Markle.

Greetings from the beach! No, I didn't do this, I just snicked it off the internets.

God bless America.