Down the Cell Hole

Blackberry for a good number of years was an industry giant,  owning the market for businesses because of their simple interface and dominating the email needs. 

Then the giant went to sleep.  Choosing not to fight against Apple’s iPhone or the newest androids, Blackberry rolled over and showed it’s belly.

This was a sad day for me, as I loved Blackberry and it’s little ball rolling cursor. I loved how easy it was to set up corporate email.  I loved the no nonsense approach to having a cellphone.  It wasn’t all foofy and games.  It was business.

So when I started my publishing company, guess where I went?  Straight to Blackberry.  I had to be on my mail, on my social media,  no distractions..just straight up work!  I went in to my carrier, walked straight to the Blackberry Classic and swooned at how it looked just like the old one,  minus the Lil ball roll-y thing.  This one was touch roll-y!

I turned to the guy in the black Polo and said, “I want the Blackberry”.

He winced.

I frowned. 

“Are you sure?  What will you be using your phone for? ”

I stared down at the phone in my hand.  This was a reliable company. Sure it didn’t have Android’s selection but surely it had kept up with the times. ..right?

“I just opened my own company, ” I said excitedly,  “I need reliability, and secure email.”

I could see he was trying to figure out how to sell me something else.  I thought (incorrectly) it was to sell me some fancy, expensive iPhone diamond or whatever.  Instead, he took a deep breath.

“What other features are you looking for, we have. ..”

I cut him off. 

“I’ve owned Blackberry phones before, I know they’re good,  I’ll just take this one please. ”

(PS. I’m am idiot)

Do you know I’ve used my phone a total of 5 times since January,  2016?

It stays perpetually dead.  It’s kind of like a metaphor for the brand,  don’t you think?  The “classic” has buttons too hard for its small size.  Who uses shift on a keypad anymore?  My thumbs are actually tired after typing one email.  And who can figure out how to make a phone call?  Oh, I finally got it but then had a good laugh when I also finally was able to hang up. 

I broke down and watched a YouTube video on how to use my phone like a senior citizen. ..oh wait, they use cell phones now.  Ok, like a three year o- oh yeah, they can work cell phones too. 

Look Blackberry…it’s 2016. I need it fast.  I need to hit send on an email without needing arthritis cream at the end of the night.  And if you’re going to bother putting a touch screen?  Make it responsive! 

Oh wait. ..did I mention BB’s app store is like walking into a second hand store? I started singing “Poppin Tags”.

So I go into my carrier and I say,  please take it back!

Unfortunately, Verizon changed their policy about being able to just pay the tax and get a new phone.  The girl helping me feels so bad, she says,  “let’s see what the trade-in value is!”

Are you ready for this? 

Five months old.  I owe $300+ for it. ..

$43 trade-in value.

I promise on everything, I had to hold onto the counter before I fell over. I left feeling violated,  scammed…and angry.

Why?  Not just because I was sold a piece of crap.  Not solely because I still owe over $300 for something worth $43. No, no. It was because, five months after waking out of the store store with my “reliable” piece of antiquity,  I came back in and had salt added to the wound. 

My cell phone rep whips out this brand new blackberry and says,  “it’s a shame you didn’t come in a couple months later”.

$#@! Are you kidding me? 

A few months later I’d have had a big, beautiful, sleek new touch screen blackberry that closely resembled my android. 

Sitting in my car, I lost it.  I called Blackberry’s customer service. They would help me right?  I was their customer and they needed me. 

“We’re sorry, we don’t support any program to switch out these phones”.

That’s ok Blackberry. Lesson learned.  A reputation must be constantly worked on.  The consumer must be listened to.  Loyalty must be rewarded.  These are things you failed at, that I’ll be sure to keep in mind with my own company.

I warned you.  I told you I would post this review. You told me to go ahead. 

Shame on you. #RIPBLACKBERRY

Imitation and Flattery: The Myth

I’ve been stewing. 

The best way for an author to work things out is to write.  So here I am.  There are many categories of authors out there.  Today I’d like to talk about two of them.

There are authors that are in this for vanity; recognition, money, attention, etc. And there are authors that are in the game solely to write the story to the best of if their ability.

I write to exercise the ideas and worlds that exist in the galaxy of my mind.  It’s a literal Star Trek in there, folks.  Races undiscovered, worlds to explore, and plots that thicken and twist. So for me, writing is cathartic. 

I always strive to be as unique as I can be which means I don’t write fast, and I don’t pump books out as easily.  When I get an idea, it’s months, even years of research.  Kudos to authors that can produce books on the fly and have a great end result. 

But that’s not me.

So with all the painstaking love, blood, sweat and tears I put into everything it’s not only insulting but downright infuriating when I see other authors take brand new ideas and imitate it.  Now, before anyone’s thong gets into a twist, let’s be clear about something.

There are no original ideas.

But there are unique approaches to them.  There’s a “signature” every creative has which I call the soulprint. A soulprint is an imprint of YOU that leaves it’s mark on anything you create.

When someone comes along and “copies” that it’s as traumatic as identity theft.  Time and money goes into my marketing. Hours of brainstorm’ing go into my ideas, months and years go into concept development. To have someone walk up behind you and pick it up like a discarded gum wrapper is a traumatic experience.

It causes the creative to stop creating or to be so secretive, it’s like trying to eat from a tray in a prison cafeteria. We horde our ideas instead of being able to share and promote because we know Timmy and Kimmy will be watching and waiting for their next big “inspiration”.

I can’t stop them.  It’s not even worth the drama in trying because misery loves company and sheep will follow the herder.  But for the love of all things holy, please look inside you and meet who you are. Your own individual creative nature will emerge, but right now it’s suffocating under the mask you’ve pulled over your own face.

Be a fucking butterfly.

Imitation is not flattery, it’s theft.

Get Right The Hell Out

I’m sorry up front for the adult rating of this post.  I’m preparing everyone now of my near ballistic rant.  Exit stage left if this isn’t your cup of tea.

Gwyneth Paltrow endorses a 15k gold sex toy.  Are you (bleep)ing kidding me? 

This is the same woman that couldn’t last on her challenge to eat on a “normal” women’s budget. Seriously, get out of my face with this crap! I hope no one else is buying her “purist” facade. 

I wish this woman would stop pretending she’s some American girl-next-door. I’m infuriated by her inability to decide whether she’s daddy’s spoiled rich girl, or she’s “just like everybody else”.

Maybe she needs to put down her 15k gold sex toy and remove the bigger device from her other orifice.

This isn’t a very nice post and I realize that it may shine a less than desirable light on me from a lot of readers but when you come from a blue collar, hard working family that has to sacrifice just to put whatever you can on the table?  You don’t want to read about this woman’s decadent sex life accessories.

Yeah, I get it.  She works hard blah, blah.  So do a lot of people, and we’re not trying to place judgement on others about what they eat based on their budget. We’re not making women feel bad for how we raise our children.

My advice, Ms.  Paltrow? Learn to be happy in your own home.  Own your privileged lifestyle and stop pretending is anything but privileged. And keep your dido, worth more than most people’s annual income, in your sock drawer and off my news feed.

Stop Putting Your Books On The Dollar Menu

There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing an author in so much angst to get readers, they price all their work for 99 cents.  All of it.  Or they price it for way below market value. 

I cannot stress this enough so please pay attention.

If you don’t put value in your own work, what do you think will happen? 

That one day you’ll become a big time writer and the .99 crowd will suddenly start paying retail?  No. It doesn’t work that way. 

If you want someone to take you seriously? Get paid what you’re worth.

You know your work is good.  Set the standard. 

Unless your serving 1 billion, stop putting your book on the dollar menu.

What’s in that dollar menu?  Gourmet burgers?  Gordon Ramsey chicken nuggets?  No! It’s over processed, beef (so we hope) filled with crap!  Is that what’s between your pages?  If so, by all means!  Sell it for a buck. 

But once you start getting better and your work is worthy, slap that price tag on and have no regrets.  Not one single doubt that your work is worth something.

So many authors fall into the trap of Facebook fandom. You got 2k followers?  Awesome. How engaged are all 2k of them? Are you seeing $2000 a month on New Release day? 

Stop. Just stop it.

A reader will pay for a good book.  A real reader will be happy to pay full price for a well edited, good story.  Oh, and while I’m ranting, a good reader will not refund the book after reading it.

That’s for you Mr. or Mrs. I-read-the-entire-book-and-refunded-it.  You just committed theft.  And it’s disgusting that Amazon allows this to go on. 

Pick your head up, author.  You are worth it but no one will believe that until you do.