Saturday, December 29, 2012

Insert Witty Title.

For roughly five years I've been working on one work, one manuscript. In the last year I have slowly lost interest and hit a brick wall regarding it. It's finished, but editing is just torturous.
So I've decided it's going on a flash drive until further notice, and I'm going to work on another project I've had in mind for quite some time.

That's it.

Happy Trails
~Justin.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's the end of the world!!!!!!

Nope, Didn't happen.

Dead of Winter by Lee Collins

Dead of Winter, by Lee Collins review.

I approached this novel with reservations. The cover reminded me a little too much of the latest entry in the Dresden Files, but I bought the book anyway and started reading.  I later found out the similarities in the cover are because the two novels share the same cover artist, Chris McGrath.
Anyhow let’s jump to the review.

Please note: Unmarked spoilers ahead.
The story starts as what seems to be urban fantasy except set in the western era, and essentially that’s what it is. The author pulls this off magnificently and it actually feels as though I’m in a cold Colorado western town.
The Dead of Winter reminds me of the Nightside Novels because it is essentially two stories in one book. The first is the typical kill the beastie, and save the day monster hunting goodness. That’s when it gets twisty. After the main character, Cora Ogelsby(Who has just made my list of favorite female main characters next to Hermione and Rachael Morgan) kills the Wendigo that is hunting the townsfolk, she is  approached by the Lord who owns the silver mine near the town to clear out a nest of vampires and kill the Nosferatu, the vampire lord controlling them. I’ll leave the biggest twist in the story for you to find out for yourself.
This is probably one of the best Fantasy novels I have read in a while and puts the modern day brooding vampire tale to rest. Collins attempts to revive the vampire genre from lovesick teen to dark lord, and succeeds masterfully. I’m not big on westerns but this book leaves me eagerly awaiting the next entry in the series.
 Dead of Winter may be his debut novel but Collins writes like a seasoned pro. Lee Collins is definitely a name to watch in the publishing world.

You can purchase Dead of Winter at my amazon affialiates account by clicking the highlighted text, and you visit Lee at his website, Here.






Sunday, December 16, 2012

Essay

Here is an Essay I wrote for english class.


Data Aggregation
Facebook has filed documents that will allow it to become a publically traded company. Its inventory consists of personal information. Their primary profits come from selling ad space. Advertisers use keys words and details like locations, activities and employment.
Companies have used the information the social media giant is selling for people battling for child custody or defending themselves in criminal cases. Facebook data has also been used to sentence criminals. In her article, “Facebook is Using You” By Lori Andrews, Andrews states, “The Internal Revenue Service searches Facebook and Myspace for evidence of tax evaders’ income and whereabouts, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has been known to scrutinize photos and posts to confirm family relationships or weed out sham marriages.”
 Facebook ads are targeted via your likes and dislikes. If you like movies, a movie theater add will pop up on your side bar or if you like coffee the nearest coffee bar will appear.
Facebook also implements something called tracking cookies which never expire. This allows third party applications such as the “Like Button” and websites and stores to use your data and browsing information to place ads relevant to what you are currently doing online.
Facebook considers that if you visit a website while logged into a Facebook account you are broadcasting to your friends what you are doing or where you are going online.  


Data aggregation can impact prospective employment opportunities. One study indicated that 70 percent of human resource professionals have rejected candidates based on online data.
Data aggregation can determine whether or not you are approved for a home mortgage or a credit card on the credit history of others with similar interests. According to Andrewss, “When an Atlanta man returned from his honeymoon, he found that his credit limit had been lowered to $3,800 from $10,800. The switch was not based on anything he had done but on aggregate data. A letter from the company told him, “Other customers who have used their card at establishments where you recently shopped have a poor repayment history with American Express.”

According to Andrews, “Even though laws allow people to challenge false information in credit reports, there are no laws that require data aggregators to reveal what they know about you. If I’ve Googled “diabetes” for a friend or “date rape drugs” for a mystery I’m writing, data aggregators assume those searches reflect my own health and proclivities. Because no laws regulate what types of data these aggregators can collect, they make their own rules.”

In her article, Andrews states that a company named NebuAd has installed hardware in six internet service providers that monitors internet activities for six months NebuAd copied emails, web searches and purchase information that belonged to some 400,000 users.
There are also companies such as Healthline Networks that sell information about health issues such as bipolar disorder and anxiety.


According to a 2008 Consumer Reports poll of 2000 people, it was determined that 93 percent of people agree that Internet companies should ask for permission before using personal information and 72 percent wanted to opt out of online tracking. A 2009 Princeton Survey found that out of a thousand people, 69 percent agreed that the United States should pass a do-not-track law.  Another study stated the 20 percent of its participants said that there needed to be a tool that would stop internet companies from displaying advertisements. Fourteen percent said they would like to prevent websites from displaying advertisements.
Andrews’s main weakness is the fact that she uses old data. The data she displays is at least four years old. Most technology news is considered “dated” after a period of three months.
I believe Data aggregation can be used to help various companies and organizations such as movie companies like Netflix who recommend movies based on what other users with similar interests have watched, or a basketball coach using information from previous games to improve his players’ performances.  Data aggregation could also help law enforcement agencies to track and help prosecute alleged criminals due to what search terms they have used, and where they have browsed online.
I believe large scale data aggregation is a violation of civil liberties. Laws allow people to challenge false information on credit reports and credit checks, but there are no laws to protect against data aggregators.
European countries have already passed legislation that gives people the right to know what data companies have collected regarding their habits, their likes, dislikes, and how they use the internet on a daily basis.  The United States needs to implement laws to prevent companies like Facebook from selling information about its citizens.
Data aggregation should be outlawed, or at the very least, laws should be passed to give individuals the right to monitor what is being collected about their personal lives. There are those who argue that a decrease in advertising will lead to a decrease in revenue for companies and a decrease in free services. I believe this is false.
Hulu, an internet streaming company has two models, the free version and the paid version. Both feature advertising and both use data aggregation. This proves that data companies will continue to use data mining, even when a service is being paid for by the consumer.
In summary, data mining and aggregation companies are extremely sophisticated at analyzing consumer interests and browsing habits. Social networks such as Facebook and Google are helping by selling information about its consumers to data companies.
 This leads us to the question of where large corporations will look for profits at the expensive of privacy next. 

As George Orwell said, Big brother is watching.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Posty McPosty Thing.


Wow, four posts in a week. Woot.

How I revise. My first Writerish post.

Step 1:
I march into a forest, find an innocent tree and murder it. Then use the flesh from it's bones to print off what I'm working on.


Step 2: I go through and look for inconsistencies and liberally apply a red pen.

Step 3:
I pick apart wording, descriptivness, and etc.

Step 4:
I add to and  edit my scrivener document.

Step 5: Rinse, and repeat as the project (or evil stuttering plot bunnies) demand.

Now, speaking of Bunnies:

What I been doing Numero 4

End of Semester Hell.

New Laptop, not a mac :(

Hiatus on Sekrit project

Working on second half of manuscript.

Fin.




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cold Days Review

Two posts from me in two days, what is the world coming to?


WARNING:
This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk. You have been warned.







Cold Days by Jim Butcher. Book 14 of the Dresden files. Review.


First, a word of advice: I highly recommend you read the first thirteen books in the series before you read this. It will make sense if you don't but you'll miss a lot of the finer plot details and backstory.


When we last left our snarky t-rex riding hero he was back from the dead. Now his new boss. Mab, Queen of the Winter Court and Air and Darkness, has given him his first assignment. Kill Maeve, her daughter and the current Winter Lady.
Demonreach, an island that Harry claimed for himself in book 11, is revealed to be a prison for evil beasties.

A few old faces make an appearance. Elder Gruff for an example, and Harry finds out what exactly the black council is. Butcher is he usual awesomeness, and the twist ending, Maeve and Lily, the Summer Lady, both dieing. Sarissa, who was his hand maiden/physical therapist, is also Mab's daughter. She replaces Lilly. Molly, Dresden's apprentice and the daughter of his best friend,  becoming the Winter Lady was shocking to say the least.

My main gripe was how little of the supporting cast knows Dresden has returned from the dead. But this book is definitely beginning to pull together the BAT that Butcher has promised his fans at the end of the case files.


Jim Butcher continues to improve with age and has if anything, increased the sheer awesomeness that can be contained between two covers.

I give this book a 9/10.










Not sure what to call this.

Okay two things.


First Angus T. Jones.
He recently found religion and converted to Seventh Day Adventist.
The middle man of two and a half men, which was ruined when they fired Charlie Sheen, has denounced the sitcom saying it was filth, but he said he was not quitting the show due to his contract. He is still receiving his paycheck, rumored to be at 300k an episode.  This is when the public gets insane. They're calling him a hypocrite because he's still getting paid. They, the public at large, is saying he's joined a cult. They're saying he should donate his paychecks to charity.

My question is, why shouldn't he still be getting paid? Whether he hates the show or not. He is still earning his paycheck. It is his money to with what he pleases.

At least he isn't funneling it into drugs like his former co-star.



The Second thing is the Powerball Lottery.

500 million. Holy crap.

Friday, November 23, 2012

2000 Views

Okay. I just realized that I have over 2000 views on this blog. That's freaking awesome! To celebrate this I'm redesigning the blog.

Thank you to all my readers!



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Turkey Day All.

So, Happy Thanksgiving. Me, I'm still waiting for my turkey to brine. I've got pinwheels to make, potatoes to mash, and stuffing to er eat? Oh and Squash to no bake.

Happy Thanksgiving!


What are you thankful for today?


~Justin.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Yeah about that

Sorry folks, the special post I promised is going to have to wait a couple of days. I got swamped with school.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Working on something.

I'm working on something new for the blog, expect to see it up in the next few days. It will be a post, just a new type.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

People have a self destruct sequence.

Yes, the election was a disappointment. But I'm not posting about that today. You've got Facebook, Twitter, YouTube  and every Politiblog on the internet for that.

Today I'm going to post about something that's been troubling me for awhile. I know this girl, I've known her for about three years now.

She had a boyfriend for about a year that was a total control freak, manipulative, scheming. All the trademarks and check marks of an abusive relationship. Thankfully she broke up with him, and found a new boyfriend. Now she says her main goal in life is to "move forward" by graduating college, finding a part time job and moving in with this guy. 

My question is, why?

Our county's job market is nonexistent. We probably have one of the highest unemployment rates in our state, and the certificate she's getting will be near useless getting a job. Well maybe a job at McDonald's but who want's that?

I've seen where this ends up. I've seen this happen before. Some people never leave this county, they just stop. 

So my question is:
Do you think people, at least some people, have a self-destruct button?



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Halloween. Hope everyone enjoys the tricks and treats.
Me, I'm getting some Cider, Resse's Pieces and Queuing up my Horror Movie Marathon!

So, what's your plans for this rainy day?


Sunday, October 28, 2012

NaNoWriMo

Ok, I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year.

What is NaNoWriMo you ask? It's really quite simple, and I'm going to explain it for all you nonwriter/writer cave dwellers. NaNoWriMo is where a writer (that's me!) decides they're going to swallow a dose of crazy pills and write 50,000 thousand words in the month of November. This happens across the country. That's why it's called National Novel Writing Month. The winners get the fuzzy paranoia and sleep deprived feeling that is associated with lack of sleep and too much caffeine. Oh and they get a shiny badge to put on their website.
So wish me luck!

Oh, and here's a funny video I found explaining Halloween:

YEAH! LINK!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Query Returns

Well, as you guys know, I sent a query off roughly a month ago, and I got back the responce. It was a rejection and it's better than I thought. The world didn't end, and I let out a breath I hadn't realized I was holding. So, It's off to the editor station again. ciao.

PS:
You can read that post here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bombs away.

Warning this post is going to contain mature language. Please be advised.


So I was checking my facebook  when I came upon this story  in my newsfeed.

According to the article in the Sun a fourteen year old girl, Anais Fourneir suffered a heart attack two days before christmas last year and died due to caffeine toxicity after drinking two 24oz Monsters. She had a pre-existing condition that weakens the blood vessel.
Now her family is suing Monster Energy for the death of the daughter.

This brings up two questions.

1. What the fuck were the parents thinking letting a fourteen year old, who they knew had a pre-existing condition, drink two Monsters, or any Monster at all? I'm nineteen and the only time I drink the 24oz cans is when I really need caffeine, and then I don't even drink pop or tea for that matter for a day afterwards to get it out of my system.
They say right on the can. Do not drink if sensitive to caffeine. The parents should have know not to buy these for their kid, and it's their fault for purchasing it. Energy drinks in general should be regulated but in this case poor parenting played a role in the kid's death as much as the energy drink.
2. Why are they just now suing Monster?
Her death happened almost a year ago, I think the only reason they're suing them now is because a statute of limitations is about to run out. If it were my kid I don't even think I'd want to sue them. I'd just want to forget about the whole debacle and move on with my life.

Now that I've worked myself up into foaming mouth theatrics, I need a mountain dew.

Happy Trails.

Justin









Friday, October 5, 2012

What I been doing number 3

Yes I know the post title is grammatically incorrect but its sorta grown on me. Anyhow, I've been working on redoing my query letter. I found out I can't write one worth a damn so that's a work in progress. Midterms are coming because college is evil like that. God, two finals in a year and four midterms. I'm longing for a Monster already! And finally I've been working on a very sekrit project. Which I'll post in a bit, or never depending on how it works out. Now that's it. So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to blare a little music, drink another bottle of water, and relax for the night. Then tomorrow I am going to began studying for the horror that is world history, and I might just do my English paper while I'm at it!

Happy Trails
~Justin

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Well I did it.

I finally sent a query off... Now here's hoping for good news.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Procrastination.

So, this college stuff isn't as exciting as they make it out to be. I feel like it's my freshman year all over again. They classes are easy, but I guess after a summer of doing nothing, I don't want to do this. Sometimes I wonder why they just don't give you a degree, and then other times I think that I can't believe I've signed up for another 4-6 years of school, and I have to pay for it..

Anyhow I've put a running tally on what I've paid for tuition, loans I've taken out, and what I've paid for books.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A lament of lost friends

God i wish I had never sent that message, I think that was the beginning of the end. How I wish I could go back to those few months when we were all so close. When it seemed like we could stand together and take on the world, just the three of us. Now the three has become a distant two and you're off to start your new life with him, the person who tore us apart.

If I could go back a year and change on thing it would be that. If you had never met him where would we all be, friends yet, or would there still be this ravine?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Editing, how I hate thee.

Well, I working on editing, and I fricken hate it.  It's the worst thing about writing. I've got my outline on one screen, the 'script on another and have been working like an ant to get this fricken thing done. Novembers coming fast than ever, and school's starting, so this is gonna be put on the back burner me thinks.

Anyhow, what do you hate most when your writing?

Happy Trails
~Justin.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Getting ready for fall.

Well, I've got my books for fall, and a few supplies which I bought for tourist prices, but hey, thats what student loans are for right? Anyhow, I've got about three weeks before school start, so I'm going to work on reading through my history and english books, and worry about math when I get to the bridge. Hopefully I don't jump off of it like last year. Anyhow, I was going through the manuscript and it was genuinely painful to read in someparts. Some of the stuff I haven't touched in three years or more, and it shows, badly. In other news I'm trying to find a job, which is going horribly, and thats it.
Anyhow, happy trails.

~Justin.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just a quick sentence.

Note: This is not, has not and will never be about politics, and I believe it is a writers ethic to maintain political neutrality on all subjects that may or may nor ignite a powder keg. Now, unto the post.

I was having a discussion with some friends, and the topic came to a very sensitive subject, abortion and they wanted to know my opinion on it, and here it is:

I have absolutely no say in it. It is a womans issue, and I think as a guy, I have no say in the laws that are passed about it.

And that concludes my post.

Happy Trails

Justin.




Sunday, June 17, 2012

Runes of Magic Review


In Runes of Magic (RoM from here on out) You can do a dual class spec, this means you can have two classes at the same time.  In my experience this is the only game aside from Runescape you can do this in.
I started out in the human starting area and chose the tutorial and quickly set about killing spiders, after which I was rewarded with a ring that came with a health buff, and a horse.
After Killing some wolves, a few spiders and some walking mushrooms I got a house, reached level five and got a bank chest.
Its the usual hunter gatherer grind arangement, and I don't think the combat is typical mmo hot key affair.
I like their fast travel system. The one thing I hated in WoW was having to run all the way back to your hub to turn in your quests, in this all you have to do is click your quest target on your map and it will run there for you unless you run into an obstacle.
RoM relies on a freemium model meaning while the game is free you can purchase currency called diamonds in order to buy extra items, mounts and even experience and they really push it too.
Overall its a good free MMO, but I wouldn't spend money on.

             

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I'm pissed at microsoft.

Ok Microsoft has a promo going right now for students.
Buy A new computer at $699 or more and get a Xbox 360.  Awesome right? Not so much. The promotion runs out on September 8th. Plenty of time, right? No so much for people trying to get the computer, which they will be using for college, with financial aid.  The average college start date is the last week of august. You need to be in school a month before the extra financial aid your going to receive (Initial Financial Aid-(Tuition+Books and fees) Is dispersed, and that takes two weeks after it is dispersed to receive it.
So lets do some math people

Start Date of College (August 29th in my case) plus 30 days is September 30th, add two weeks onto that and what do you get? October 14th! That's a month and six days past Microsoft's promo end date. Now if they just continued it a month and a half they would probably get a few more computers sold. Yes they would be losing a bit more cash, but they would more than make it up in profits from the games they would sell. Plus it would give broke students money to buy them.

Anyhow that is my rant for the day.

Happy Trails

Justin.

Friday, May 25, 2012

After receiving a couple of questions about my decisions regarding college, and where I was going to go. I'd figure I might as well post it here.
I'm not going to either of those colleges.  I'll be attending a small community college for a year in order to save money, and then I'll be going to a college roughly 60 miles from my present location, plus I already have parties  friends going there.


Thank you to everyone who asked.

Justin

(Also this post was a bet that I can actually be serious about posting something. Guess what? I lost!*")

*Awesome link courtesy of Allie Brosh

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A bit of a makeover.

Following the advice of a wonderful poster at absolute write, I've redesigned this place a bit. How do you like it readers?
Also, in the last week I've gotten more hits on this thing than I have in the last six months!
Now, that is awesome!
Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to go do a happy dance.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Something New.

After much thought I have decided to begin Posting chapters of my MS Online?
Why you ask? Because, I wan't people to read it, and it's just collecting dust bytes bunnies. I have labeled it under a creative commons license, and as soon as it's complete will be putting it in PDF Format for the world to download as they please. If you must post it other places, please credit me. That's all I'm asking.

It will be going up at fiction press in a few hours. I'll be posting it on a separate page on this blog.





Thursday, May 17, 2012

What have I been up to?

Well, getting final projects in, I've got less than one week of high school left, which is frackin awesome! Then I graduate, find some way to pay my tuition deposit and off to adulthood and student loans I go!
I've been editing my awesome manuscript, but I have to rewrite the ending, which is like pulling fingernails off with a rusty spoon, I think I'm adding that as a summer project, along with a bit of outlining for the second one, and maybe the third as well. So, that brings me to my question today, what are your plans for the summer?





Saturday, May 12, 2012

Awesome Book recomendation thingamabobber.

OK, so, found the book I'm currently fawning over. City of Lost Souls, the fifth book in the mortal instruments trilogy quadrilogy series. If you liked the last four books this one will be Glorious. ;)
It had TMI's usual dose of snark, battle and romance, and every's favorite freewheeling bisexual warlock a plenty. The ending felt a bit rushed, but other than that the timing of it was great. Dialogue was meh, but this is a YA novel, not Shakespeare, so that's to be expected. I give it 8/10 stars.
Spoilers below, in white, as per my usual  thing.


Ok, Jace and Sebastian have a weird demon bond going on that Clary destroys with the help of a Angel Sword, and not a run of the mill Seraph either. Michael, yes THAT Michael's sword, Glorious that Simon got from Raziel in exchange for his Mark.  
Alec tries to end Magnus's immortality with help from Camille, who tells Magnus, who breaks up with Alec D:
Alec goes to kill Camille and find out that Maureen, the vampire Simon sired in the last book has killed her, and taken her place as the Vampire leader of Manhattan.
At the end of the book Sebastian leaves a creepy message in the form of a pair of Angels wings. Oh and Jace has become a heavenly human torch.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone. Here in Michigan we call this Drunk Easter, or at least I do... But anyhow, since I don't want my blog to get pinched I'm giving it a green theme today.

Oh, on that note:

Enjoy!
PS, Book of the Day is posted.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

So.

I've been looking at colleges lately, well, this is a complicated thing.
Ok, so I was going to go to this wonderful College in Grand Rapids to study journalism, until I got my financial aid package.. =(

It turns out I'm going to be 12k short of cash when everything, Soul selling. Student loans, Scholarships, and Grants aside. Now, there is another college roughly 60 miles from my sister, EMU, that has a creative writing program, and maybe a double major in Interior Design, for roughly a third of what I would be paying for at the Grand Rapids college. The question I'm debating is sell my soul get more student loans and study journalism and go to DC for a semester OR go to EMU. I'm going to think on it and hope I'm making the right decision.

Happy Trails.
Oh, book of the week coming tomarrow.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Magazines at the checkout aisle.

I was standing at the checkout isle today waiting to get my stuff and gtfo. I was bored so I began looking at the magazines. People, US, Ok, five variations of good housekeeping, those random tabloids nobody reads, when I noticed something.
There was not a single magazine a guy would be interested in. Sexist much, walmart? So I propose they start selling Wired, PC Gamer, and Car in driver next to the celebrity stupidity. Who knows it might make a few dollars, plus it would give the guys something to look at in line.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

When in doubt blog it out or random stuff at 1am.

Okay. So I'm blogging, again. But I have no clue what to blog about so I'm just going to list some random things I avoid while doing anything productive.

1. TV Tropes. Good god, TV tropes. this website has distracted me more than any website, ever.
It's a soul sucking abyss.
2. Online Games. WoW, Farmville, Cafeworld, even Runescape gets an honorable (or is it horrible) mention for things to avoid even thinking about while trying to write or do homework.
3. Facebook, your just one Meme away from ruining your productive day.
4. Hyperbole and A half. Allie, the MS Paint wonder, has some of the funniest stuff I've ever seen, but it sucks my time second only to TV Tropes.
5. Blogs, in general. Yes, the very thing you reading. What exactly are you supposed to be doing right now? Hmm? Working? Homework? Nope, you're on my blog endangering your job or future.
6. Last but not least, Youtube. Skatingboarding Cat? Awesome. Sneezing baby panda? Super. Renditions of Going Through the Motions? Even better! put this all together and you have a good five hours wasted.
GO BACK TO WORK!

Happy Trails-
Justin

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What have I been up to?

Well let's see, midterms, for starters, and drama practices which is boring, that evil thing I have to do between 12 and 3 every day, and cleaning, lots of cleaning
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