End of May

There are times when following politics induces some frustration. Remember, dear readers, vote Me in 2020: The Greatest of Three Evils!

I feel like it’s taken me a year to learn how to write. I don’t mean the writing itself, for that is the work of a lifetime. But the time management that goes into writing, the matter of scheduling, the art of figuring out when to seek editorial guidance and when to charge on, these things have taken me about a year. Now my time is almost up.

I’m not sure what to do. Gritting one’s teeth and bearing on is all well and good, but editors, layout designers, artists, and illustrators all expect to be paid, and I agree completely. One can’t grit one’s teeth through paying a bill when one doesn’t have money. So back to the fulltime job, the real grind, and put aside the time-lessons I’ve learned about writing?

We’ll see how it goes.

The Nine may switch to Wednesdays and Saturdays. It may also stop appearing entirely. There’s peanut butter in the cupboard, and water in the tap.

Negative Interest Rates 1

Negative interest rates are nothing more than a tax on wealth. These are semi-voluntary taxes paid by banks, savers, and investors. That’s it. The manner in which the tax is calculated results in some bleed-over effects into corporate debt, but that’s a taxation based disincentive to save. It’s just a tax.

Interests haven’t gone negative in five thousand years of recorded history in absolute terms, but they definitely have in interest + tax terms. It’s just uncommon.


Youtube tends to ask very poor feedback questions.

I always ignore their suggested videos because those videos A)do not meet my interests, B)are of low quality, C) start with ten minutes of some useless person blathering on about who they are before getting to the meat of the issue like how to un-clog a sink, D)have terrible music, or E)are simply of inferior quality. Youtube music tends to exclusively suggest hour-long compilations which I do not like, or mix-tapes, which are usually inferior. If I want to hear a particular song, I want to hear that song. I am uninterested in hearing some influencer describe what it means to them.

However when Youtube asks for feedback, they limit the responses to a preselected list of self-absorbed ego-flattering nonsense. One such choice was: video is too popular.

How unbelievably arrogant and yet worthless is that? How can anyone fail so hard as to ignore a selection like ‘video suggestions do not match interest’ and instead ask, “Is the video too popular?”

A master-class on self absorption, Youtube. You’re living down to every stereotype about Google.


I’m pretty good at talking to strangers and bad at converting them to friends.

In places where talking to strangers is somewhat expected, waiting rooms included, I’ve had good luck with random conversations. I’ve noticed a few tricks to this. The first is pick your target carefully and the target should be, drumroll, whoever is closest to you and not doing something else.

When I’m in a doctor’s office and signing in, I don’t seek out the attractive person somewhere else. Nor do I bother the woman with the kids (unless I want something specific, not a conversation, like a paper she’s standing in front of. Even still, I try to avoid them). No, the best targets are other people near where I’m doing whatever, and especially if they look bored. Phones and headphones are out unless, again, I have something specific I need. The ideal person to strike up a conversation with in a place like a waiting room is someone waiting bored by the desk while I’m filling out a paper, and it’s even better if I’ve finished a paper too.

Second I ask a direct and specific question, one that doesn’t require much interpretation, about the situation we’re in or what they’re doing.

“How long have you waited?”

“Did you speak to a nurse, or is the receptionist taking these?”

Etc. The objective is no-burden questions that suggest responses from a relatively safe bin.

“A few minutes.”

“Either one is fine.”

There’s a slight appeal to vanity in here, because the responder can take a mildly authoritative response. They know the answer, there’s an obvious reason I’m asking, and nothing lends itself to argument. I’m kinda scary-looking, so with strangers being non-threatening helps. Putting people in a mild position of authority with no responsibilities helps too.

Third is non-verbal communication. An awful lot of people will grunt in reply, and that almost always means no conversation. I drop all attempts. However that won’t hurt later attempts to talk to someone else. It’s hard to think I’m crazy if I ask who to give my form too. I always take such responses at face value, but anything non-verbal or non-answer means I drop the matter. So if someone says, “I don’t know,” I nod, and don’t ask again. If someone says, “I was going to give it to the lady in the blue shirt, but I haven’t seen her in a bit,” I take that as an invitation.

Finally, I pursue with mild personal information and equally mild questions, but both rely on non-threatening specificity. Nothing critical is said without conceding a point. The compliment always follows the but.

“The lady at the front counter said this might take a while, but I was hoping to get out within an hour. I think she’s going to be right.”

“That barber takes a while, but he does really good work.”

“Do you know anyone here?”

At parties or mixers I get a bit more personal, again asking general questions but ones that can be easily dodged.

Politics 1

Thank you all for coming. It is my distinct pleasure to introduce my candidacy for President of the United States in 2020.

Don’t vote for the lesser of two evils. Vote for the greatest of three!

I understand that in these trying times, you need certainty. You need to know who stands before you, and what they stand for. My platform is simple and speaks to the true soul of our nation.

Fire: I’m for it.

Public Finance: Once in office I will ransack the treasury and sweep the national savingings into a big pile I can sleep on in the White House.

Military: It needs more dragons.

International Diplomacy: I support a strict plan of burning their houses and stealing their gold.

I believe that covers all of the important issues. Vote for me! Or I’ll burn your house down.



I lost access to my Twitter account. There were a combination of email and access issues that I could not resolve.

But Twitter did not spark joy.

As such, while I can’t delete the account, I won’t use it anymore.


Some of the recent bits of the Nine have been small because I’m really trying to get these moments right.

I’ve never much liked how many people belabor fight scenes. Most combat is quick and brutal, so the writing should be too. As such I’m taking two or three days to write 1000 words. But that doesn’t mean things aren’t significant, for later chapters will exist largely as responses to events in these. Most of this narrative is going to be consequent actions.

What’s more I’m trying to evolve some people and keep others the same. Characters like Julian are complex, whereas Tatianna is changing. It’s hard to get right. Author’s who do it effortlessly are masters of the craft.