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Patreon

Patreon is a way for fans to support artists in what they do. Too often, art doesn’t pay, and Patreon seeks to fix that by allowing fans to be patrons of the arts at whatever level is comfortable.

And the fans get something for it. They get a closer connection to their artists and writers. They get to be on the ground floor of something great. They get pride and exclusive art and so many cool things.

My Patreon page has two purposes. First, it allows my fans to support my work. Showing support with $1 a month isn’t a lot of money, but it shows me a willingness to be invested in what I do. That’s a big old warm fuzzy for me, and that support translates into more writing. You’ll get monthly updates on my work, including updates I don’t post anywhere else.

Second, the $2.50 level is designed to be an extension of my work as a teaching artist. I’m picking a piece each month and giving a deep analysis of one aspect of that story. It’s an exercise that’s helpful to me and I hope helpful to all you writers out there. At any skill level, it pays to give deep consideration to something that really, really works in someone else’s story.

This first month, we’re examining at the hook in the first two sentences of Adam-Troy Castro’s The Streets of Babel. They’re a fantastic hook and, well, we can learn a lot by figuring out why.

Thank you all for being here with me in these early stages. It means a lot to me that you even read this far into the post, and if you take the time to check out Patreon support, well, even better.

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How to Know That You Live in a Cyberpunk Dystopia

Have you ever uploaded your brain to a compuer? Did you ever have to fight to the death against your classmates? Have you ever had to determine whether or not someone you love is an android?

No?

Yeah, me neither. So that leaves the obvious question.

How do we know that we live in a cyberpunk dystopia?

  • Self driving cars.
  • Remember that time when we didn’t have handheld brains to augment the thinking that we do with our regular brains? Me neither. Let me look it up. Nope, that never happened.
  • Corporations are people. One of the main precepts of cyberpunk is that big, evil corporations control, manipulate, or outright own the government. They run society and they don’t do a very good job of it. Well, shit.
  • This thing. Because, of course, computers need their own weird blood. Ew.
  • Drones are everywhere now. They’re always watching you, you know. Why not wave at the sky and let them know that you’re OK with it? No, wait, don’t do that. If they think you know, they’ll just, well, never mind.
  • 4k flatscreen TVs. They’re awesome, but what’s the point of all those extra pixels? You can’t even get a 4k signal from anything. DYSTOPIA!
  • A significant human-caused alteration of the climate and…
  • A corporate-led denial of those alterations. Which is widely believed.
  • No, I won’t link to evidence of those last two. It’s ok to make broad statements such as these and link to absolutely no evidence. That is, in fact, how we prefer to get most of our information.robot-garrison-keillor
  • When I was a kid Garrison Keillor was some old guy my grandma listened to on the radio. Now? Thirty years later and he’s still on the radio doing the same show. The only answer: Robot Garrison Keillor. The Prairie Home Companion is propaganda, everyone. It’s there to convince us of the wholesome nature of our overlords at NPR.
  • I’m willing to admit that last one hasn’t been fully vetted.
  • Digital books. That’s so cyberpunk, man. We are SO living in the future. We don’t even have anything to do with all those rainforests we’re chopping down. I mean, we still chop them down, but still.
  • Bitcoins are a real thing. We might as well call them creds and exchange them by knocking our phones together. Maybe we do that. I don’t know.
  • Everything that the totally non-evil super benevolent Google Corporation (or Alphabet, I guess?) produces.

I think it’s pretty clear that we live in a cyberpunk world. Our society will now slowly slip into ruin and decay. Our best choice is to–wait, we don’t have any choices. That’s the idea.

Wait a second… Hold on.

*checks gas prices*

No, actually, never mind. We’re fine.

Make sure you share this in the social media hive-brain of your choice.

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Bags Full of Bitcoins: 10 Things You MUST Know About Bitcoins

Bitcoin.

Pay attention, folks. This is the future knocking at the door. It’s the future of money. You’re going to want it, too, because without a handful of bitcoins and a multi-pass, you’re not going to be getting very far. This future is coming fast. They’re mining bitcoins faster than California gold and once this rush hits you’re going to want to be damn sure you’re in on it.

It’s a good thing I’m here for you.

What makes me qualified to be your bitcoin sherpa in the dangerous wilds of the crypto-mountains? Well, I watched a video for one thing. Also, I read some papers on how the whole thing works. Skimmed, actually.

Since I love you all so much, though, I’ve boiled it down to ten things you need to know about Bitcoin.

  1. Bitcoins are not backed by gold, which makes them completely worthless much in the same way as Monopoly money and the American dollar.
  2. Since bitcoins are a cryptocurrency, a future with bitcoins is a future ruled by the Puzzle Master, Will Shortz.
  3. You can buy whatever you want with bitcoin, from sleek futuristic sunglasses to tight faux-leather to wetware cybernetic implants.
  4. The real innovation behind bitcoin is the decentralized transactions. They make it almost impossible to detect the siphoning of wealth to secret cabals.
  5. Bitcoins are created in a process called mining, which also serves to verify those distributed transactions. Most of the mining is done by computers, so that’s one more job the robots are taking from us.
  6. Since bitcoins are in a regulation gray area, it’s much easier to use them to buy things like drugs or the American Presidency.
  7. Laundering bitcoins is a thing, but you probably don’t want to do it. Regulatory gray areas attract lawyers. Lots of them.
  8. Bitcoins are totally, seriously not a way for hackers to take over the world and don’t even watch The Net because that just makes hackers look bad and hackers are quite nice.
  9. Decentralizing currency will have a serious impact on the future of heist movies. All future heists will either need to take place in Vegas or be remakes of Sneakers.
  10. So that we don’t need to live in a cashless society, physical bitcoins will be minted out of chocolate and covered in a fake gold foil.

 

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Solid Oak Transformer

In those dark, cold months of winter I often turn to woodworking to keep myself busy.  This winter is no different.

It always seems like a poor fit.  Even if I should manage to finish a project, I can’t actually finish it.  The garage is far too cold for stains and sealers, and the basement is far to poison-your-family-ish and burn-your-house-downish.

Luckily this project will take a while.  It might actually be Spring before I manage to put together all of the pieces.

I’m building a transforming coffee/gaming table.

The problem stems from the conflict between gaming with friends and video games.  The current table works well for gaming, but its huge.  I don’t want this massive thing between me and the screen when I play video games.

Thus, I’ve been designing the perfect table.

It will fold out to an approximate 5′ x 5′ gaming surface.  The actual substance that will cover the surface is unknown at this point.  Once game night is finished, it’ll fold down to a 5′ x 3′ coffee table, short enough to avoid interfering with my sound system.

Now we just need to find out if my woodworking skills are up to the challenge.