Good morning, y'all. Sorry about yesterday, but the neck-stabbings (to kill the head bees) wiped me out quite a bit more than they did the last time. I suspect it was because the length of time between treatments. My neck muscles get very stiff--so much so that jabbing in a needle becomes something akin to stabbing a block of marble with a pen knife. (I've the bruises to prove it.) Any way...the head bees have fucked off for a few more weeks. And then we go in for the burnination of the head bee village Trogdor style. Wherein the head bees are evicted for a whole year, and Stina can think clearly for longer than a few weeks at a time. Did I mention migraines suck?
And now, for those links you've been ever so patiently awaiting. :)
Feminist Monday will be delayed today due to a medical procedure involving injections in my neck. (It keeps the Head Bees at bay.) All is well. It went as expected. I just need to take it easy until late this afternoon. I'll post something then.
Sorry about the delay.
Update: it's going to have to be late Tuesday. I'm afraid I needed to take the day to rest.
To paraphrase Terry Pratchett: Sometimes a crime is so big you can't see it because you're *living* in it. I feel Americans are definitely living in a time when vast crimes are being committed by those in power, and sadly, we're all abetting the crimes.
Yesterday while I was on Twitter, Scott Lynch and Michael Damian Thomas brought a couple of articles to my attention. The first is: You know how bad Uber is for drivers. Port truckers have it worse. Much worse. And the second is: RIGGED. Forced into debt. Worked past exhaustion. Left with nothing. Ever wonder how shipping is both expensive and (if you sign up for services like Amazon Prime) suddenly super cheap? This is the answer. The system retailers (like Target and Walmart) use to get shipments from the port to distribution centers as cheap as possible is set up to take advantage of the contract truck drivers. It's not a new system. It's very old, and a century ago they called it the Company Store. It's a vile system, wherein the employee gets more and more in debt to their employer until they're paying to work. The situation gets much, much worse when you consider this fresh statistic from the article Self-Driving Trucks are Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven Truck: "It should be clear at a glance just how dependent the American economy is on truck drivers. According to the American Trucker Association, there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the US, and an additional 5.2 million people employed within the truck-driving industry who don’t drive the trucks. That’s 8.7 million trucking-related jobs." When you look at the bigger picture, what does that imply about the number of truckers dealing with this situation?
All of this is the reason why I've always hated the concept of "Contract Employee" and forever "Temporary Employment." The attitude that employers don't have to provide benefits (like health insurance) or worry about overtime laws or even provide the employee with the tools to perform their job (in this case, the truck) is standard with the contract employee system. Again, "they're independent business people, not employees" is as old as the fucking hills.
Before I begin, I wanted to call attention to the Book Launch scheduled at BookPeople (Austin, TX) on August 11, 7pm. Hopefully, I'll see y'all there if you're in town. Okay. On to the snippet. Today, I think we'll go with a bit of something from Nels's point of view.
Today is an important date in the United States. It's the date Americans celebrate the process that made slavery unconstitutional and illegal throughout the nation. However, as it turns out June 19, 1866 isn't the exact date of the emancipation proclamation (that was September of 1862--four years before) nor is it the date that the 13th Amendment was ratified (that was Jan. 31, 1865). June 19th is the date that Texans were ordered to comply with the law. The delay was, in part, due to the civil war. It wasn't an instant change either. (For more information, see What is Juneteenth?) I confess, today is the first time I've ever looked up the details. That, my friend, isn't a good thing. [sigh]
Today's videos: I wanted to learn about comic book heroes who happen to be black women. So, I've subscribed to this podcast. (Yeah, I'm late to the party per usual.) I recommend it.
And now... links.
So... Grenfell Tower (London.) I'm horrified, but not surprised. My hope is that no more residents die and that the survivors get whatever they need in order to recover both medically and financially. My hope is that the owners of the building who opted to save 2 pounds per square foot (I understand that's about £5,000 total) by not using regulation fire proof materials during the recent remodel are prosecuted and sued. They chose to risk murdering people in order to save £2 per square foot. The fact that the people at risk were poor was most definitely a factor.
This is why regulations are important. It's why regulations must be enforced. Business must comply. Cutting financial corners until they squeak is not something that should be encouraged. It isn't admirable. Combine a miserly perspective with the "Free Market" and it results in disaster. It isn't good business. In fact, such thinking kills economic growth dead. Business grows via investing.
Greed is a killer. Humanity has known this for quite some time.
Americans shouldn't breathe any sighs of relief. More stories like this one are in our future because the austerity mindset is at work here too. It's being used as an excuse to cut government programs, lay-off government workers, and gut what few advances we've been able to make in healthcare. Our infrastructure is crumbling as a result. When healthcare is cut, people will most certainly die. Largely, the entire GOP platform is about racism right now. They don't care who they hurt as long as they tear down everything Obama did. They don't care about anything else. Straight up. That's their motivation: racism. It isn't really about doing what their constituents want or saving government money. It's that they can't stand that a black man became president and did a brilliant job. It's why they can't seem to put any energy toward building--only destroying.
We're definitely living in an era which will usher in positive changes. Eventually. My hope is that those positive changes come sooner rather than later. May we all learn the lessons we're here to learn, faster. Please. Because so many people are being harmed. Too many.
 You've heard of the Seven Deadly Sins, right? How about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire? Businesses can and do kill their customers and employees, given the opportunity.
I have officially learned how to add files to my website. This means that I've uploaded my work samples for you, Dear Reader, to enjoy. (Or not. But hopefully yes. :)) So, the first chapter of Blackthorne can be found in the sidebar--freshly edited, unlike that in the back of the paperback of Cold Iron. Yeah, yeah. Blackthorne changed a lot over the time it took to write it. It happens.
Now, for those of you who've been with me for the long haul...I've a surprise today. That is, a fresh new snippet from Blackthorne. This time, from Suvi's perspective. So, have this scene--where Suvi meets her spymaster, James Slate, for the first time. Oh, also, SPOILER ALERT if you haven't read Cold Iron.
I have to fan girl squee for a moment. ANGELA BASSETT IS GOING TO BE IN A COMIC BOOK MOVIE! YES! (She's playing Ramonda--ick, I hope they don't go with that back story. The above image is of Shuri, T'Challa's sister. And I love her already.) There's a lot to celebrate when it comes to Black Panther. Just in case you are one of the few people who didn't see the trailer, here you go.
"...and it's hard for a good man to be king." I love that. Wow. It gives me chills. I've seriously enjoyed watching the reactions from people of color. (see also) It makes me cry--particularly on the heels of Wonder Woman. Because I can relate. And I'm thrilled to death that another group not usually represented in comics gets to feel that same joy of being invited to the party. Joy shared is joy doubled, y'all. Even though after Iron Fist I kept running across people who say they're getting Super Hero Movie fatigue. I suspect the issue is more specific. (I know I've gotten white dude super hero fatigue.) Most genres seem to start out with the white dudes. And as that story-mine is tapped out, writers begin to explore outside that narrow mindset. A certain set of writers get more creative. Every time this happens there is a rebirth, and the genre is richer for it. People who don't stick around for the second act, disturb me--I'll be honest. They're only there for the standard stuff. They end up only supporting the white male stories. So, have fatigue if you wish, but you're going to miss out on the best the genre has to offer. And...well...I might give you some side-eye, depending upon your attitude.
And now for the rest of Feminist Monday. :)
Some friends, Dane, and I get together every once in a while to drink, nibble cheese, talk, and play "new to us" music at one another. This is a thing I've been doing for at least 20+ years. One of my best friends, Thad, used to be a professional DJ, and I'm certain that this is a factor. Each of us loves music and each of us has favorite genres we like to explore. There's a great deal of wonderful music out there. And there's no way any of us will hear it all. But we can try. :) Anyway, over the years it's evolved into kind of a game. Each of us brings a selection of songs--usually 20-40, knowing perfectly well that we won't play them all. These songs are either new favorites recently discovered, or old favorites we want to revisit via Thad's Monster Sound System From Hell™. Understand, we've no idea what the others will bring. (Dane hides his list from me and I, mine, from him.) Everyone takes a turn playing a song off their list. The trick is to respond to the previous song by matching it either tonally or rhythmically kind of like a DJ would. If you can stump Thad (that is, bring a song and/or introduce him to a group he's never heard of before) you get bonus points as is were. (His music library is VAST.) You "win" the evening. Sometimes, you get stuck and you've nothing that matches the previous selection. That's when we playfully curse and play something totally different. Thus, starting the chain over. It's a lot of fun. And none of it is done with a malicious attitude. This is honestly about sharing our favorite kinds of music with one another. (Much the same way one would do with books.) Every time we introduce someone new to the "game" they're justifiably nervous. It can be a bit intimidating. But inevitably they have a great time because...well...we know a lot of amazing people. That said, here's most of Friday's track list behind the cut. (We went from 8pm-3:45am.) Enjoy!
Here's the link: Star Trek: Discovery and the Clueless. I hope you enjoy it!
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.