Thursday, April 24, 2014

7 Emoticons the Internet Really Needs

Emoticons have been around since the dawn of the internet and probably longer.  Since then, they have multiplied and evolved with blistering speed.  Emoticons exist for every possible emotional state, flag, sports team, and every pet; there are hidden emoticons and even a secret sexual meaning for each emoticon.

"Bring lubricant next time."
However, even with the wide variety of emoticons out there, many common emotions and thoughts aren't represented.  I have attempted to fulfill that need, with helpful pictures (in case graphic artists want to convert them into real emoticons).

So, without further ado:

You're a science-fearing moron.
Your deeply-held beliefs offend me.
I only agree with you because you're hot.
You're terribly wrong, but I'm sick and tired of finding research that proves you wrong.
I'm desperate for more attention.
Send me nude pictures.
The age disparity in your relationship disturbs me.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Morning Bad Webcomics Routine

Every morning I get up (i.e. hide in bed with a web browser), and check my usual websites.  

I check the New York Times for News.  I check CNN for Sensationalist Hype That Looks Like News.  I check Facebook because I'm an old fart.  I check DOMAI, because I'm a dirty old fart.  I check my book's page on Amazon because I'm a narcissist.  I check Twitter to remind myself that everyone else is a narcissist, too.

Then I check a small set of webcomics that I really don't know why I check anymore.  Some men can't explain to their wives why they don't throw out their "little black book" after they stopped dating or stop following the Cubs after their last winning game in 1870.  I can't explain to my wife why I don't stop checking these comics since they stopped being funny.

Maybe you can explain it to her.  Here's what I read (in the order I read it):

PVP was once one of the funniest comics I'd ever read.  It was about a bizarre bunch of journalists and their adventures covering the game industry.  Everything that happened to them was hysterical.

Then, sometime around 2006, something went wrong.  I really can't tell you what.  The story became about the characters who became boring.  More characters were added, but they were just as uninspired and flat.
Now, I just check the comic, but I never laugh.  I just, sorta, sigh and remember when it made me laugh... Back in 2001.

Sinfest started as a wildly offensive comic.  God ridiculed people with hand puppets.  Satan tempted men with sexy demons and robot slave girls.  It featured a sexist boy and the (vapid) hot girl he pined for.  Sinfest had always been a guilty pleasure, allowing me to laugh in secret at things I'd disdain in public.

Then, one day, the creator found feminism.  Don't get me wrong, feminism is a wonderful thing, it's just not... Sinfest.  Suddenly, a group of feminists on big wheels rushed through the comic, dominating the strip, criticizing the characters and forcing them to become enlightened.  The hot girl became the dull,androgynous, feminist girl.  Satan's sex robots went on a rampage against him.  

In short, every single comic became about fighting the patriarchy.  Every. Single. One.

And there's only so often you can tell the same joke.

I still check Calvin and Hobbes.  However, the creator hasn't created a new strip in 20 years, so it's starting to get... Old.

Bloom County was the first strip I loved.  It was the first comic I bought in book form.  It's also the first comic I said "Wow, it's just not funny anymore" about.  Maybe Gary Hart and Dan Quayle jokes just don't hit home.  Maybe Opus was funny in the 80s, but in the (What do we call this decade?  The teenies?  The 10s?) current decade, he seems kinda pathetic.

I came across this comic by chance and used to use it as an example to my class about how practice makes your art go from mediocre to awesome.  Seriously: check out his first comic and his most recent.  All that improvement came from drawing a little every night.

QC used to be about sexual tension and silly situations (and the occasional obscure joke about music I didn't get).  Then sexual tension disappeared.  The characters mindlessly followed their dead-end jobs and repeated the same situations over and over.

So, those are my comics.  What do you think?  Should I drop them?  Hope they'll change?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Don't Know Any Sluts

"Let's hear it for the girls who love sex without being sluts!"

The sentence above was posted by someone I knew on Facebook.  After reading it, I was shocked into a revelation: I don't know any sluts.

Now, I know women who have had many sexual partners.  I know women who enjoy sex (and talk about it).  I know women who have been confused about relationships and ended them badly.

But I don't know any sluts.

I know women who have tried to fit the cultural ideal of the "good girl" and failed at it.  I know women who have left unhappy relationships and marriages and been badmouthed by their exes.  I know girls who have been confused by the mixed messages from our society: be pretty but not sexy, be pure but available, wait but don't wait too long.

But I don't know any sluts.

I know men who are so frustrated by their sexual needs they take those frustrations out on women.  I know boys who are immature and confused, so they become insulting to girls.  I know men who see women as interchangeable objects who play games with men's emotions instead of people who are just as confused and frustrated as they are.

I guess, while I don't know any sluts, I do know misogynists.  Or, I did.  I don't want to know them anymore.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Penultimate Pinhole Post

A couple weeks ago, my first novel Pinhole turned a year old.  I'd like this to be my last blog post about it, but I'll probably do another when I finish editing the audiobook.  And another when I sell the rights for a bajillion dollars.

So, just one more.

Anyway, for my next-to-last post, some things about Pinhole I haven't written about...

It's Top 100s, All The Way Down
My book has been on the Amazon Top 100 Lists the whole year, but there are several of them.  First, it was on the Science Fiction top 100.  Then it fell off the list... And onto the Hard Science Fiction top 100.  Then it dropped off to the Time Travel top 100.  And then it dropped off that to the Books/Time Travel top 100.
I've been hoping it would finally drop off completely, but it keeps inching back up, clinging to that last list like a frat boy to a keg.  I keep checking, but nothing changes.  Even the reviews have stopped rolling in.

Speaking of reviews...

The Good Reviewer/Bad Reviewer Routine
After a while, I noticed a strange pattern to my reviews.  Namely, they alternated good and bad.  A sampling:

***** "This is an awesome book!  It's like a puzzle!"

** "I'm a moron and I didn't get it!"

**** "Every thinking reader will love this book!"

** "Oh yeah? I think and read it.  Some of it.  Well, I didn't read all the words.  Just the short ones..."

***** "Well, your mother and I loved it."

* "Dad, leave me alone!  I can hate a book if I want!"

**** "Honey, don't be mad just because you still live in our basement."

** "Moooom!  I'm trying to review a book!!"

The other pattern was that people who hated the book complained it was too hard to follow and the rest "got" it.  I joke that my book is an IQ test, but I really think it is.  And, of all the people who took my test, This Guy:
totally failed.

This Guy, whose review boils down to "I didn't finish it because I'm a moron who smells funny and eats his own boogers", shows on every search for Pinhole.  He's the reviewer equivalent of a recurring case of herpes: always ruining your self-esteem when you need it the most.

Speaking of searches...

Wacky Search Results
There seems to be a cottage industry in making websites with the blurb for my novel on them.  Seriously, search "pinhole kagle" and scroll down a few pages.  Pinhole and skin tag removalPinhole and Pakistan.  Dozens and dozens of these little, identical pages copied from Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon...

The Check Is Not In the Mail
I was really looking forward to getting a check from Amazon and putting it on the wall as my first paid writing gig.  However, Amazon just sent it to my bank.  Sigh.  Kinda depressing to frame and hang an email listing the number of a direct deposit transaction.

Speaking of my...  Uh...  Wall, which could have a bottle of Jack Daniels near it...

I Need Controversy
A little while ago, I read this story about a guy who got a very nice "cease and desist letter" from Jack Daniels because the cover of his novel resembled their label too closely.  He marveled at how, after selling four thousand copies of his novel in the ensuing publicity blitz, he only made twelve thousand dollars.
After reading the article I thought: Hey!  I sold that many!  Imagine how much I'd sell if I can get a cease and desist!

My next novel will be called Pinhole and Johnnie Walker.