Thursday, May 29, 2014

The danger of Amazon

The publishing world is alight with Amazon Derangement Syndrome (and it amuses me endlessly to watch some far-left indie authors gleefully embrace that term without the faintest clue that it's a send-up of Bush Derangement Syndrome that they themselves evidence.)

The latest "Amazon is eeebil!" is because Hachette, a publisher who's part of a multibillion dollar media conglomerate - you know, the "poor downtrodden victim" as per the New York Times - is the first publisher to emerge from the lockdown on negotiations after they were found utterly guilty in a price-fixing conspiracy with the five other major book publishers and Apple. The judge is nobody's fool, and has staggered the dates of the release from negotiating lockdown so the unrepentant Price-Fix Six cannot negotiate in collusion. So they're in contract negotiations with Amazon, and nobody's saying what the terms asked or demanded are... but strangely, Big Ebil Amazon isn't rolling over and giving the tiny (hah!) nuturers of culture (hah!) downtrodden (hah!) victims (bwahahaha!) everything they want. If you want to see the classiest declaration of all out war you'll ever read, see here:

Now, let me tell you about the real danger of Amazon. It's sleep deprivation combined with one-click ordering.

Several days ago, Calmer Half was working on a section in the latest book where cluster bomblets are used in an attack. And he emerged from his writing daze to tell me all about Rhodesia's ingenious homebrewed version of cluster bomblets - which involved bouncy balls. Lots and lots of bouncy balls. (Apparently when South Africa copied the design, they set up factories to make plain black bouncy balls, because the generals felt that using brightly multicolored balls was Just Not Cricket.) And in reminiscing, he naturally wandered over to Amazon and typed in "bouncy balls."

Yesterday, a familiar brown box showed up on the porch. Mystified, he opened it - and discovered he'd accidentally ordered one bag of 250 bouncy balls. Neither of us remember him ordering them... but he did.

So, of course, we opened the bag and bounced one just because bouncy balls. ...And the cat appeared, and has been in fanged and clawed ecstasy since.

Bouncy balls. Hardwood floors. Cat. 0430 hours.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Three trips to donations dumpsters and two trips to the dump with a full truckload later, we're getting close to getting ready to move. Not that we've got a set move date or location, but it's like watching the snow line coming down the mountains when summer's still hanging on at sea level.

It's been an awesome few years in the current house, but people move on, and lives change. So sensing the impending move, I came home from work and handed a list of locations to Calmer Half, of everywhere that I could potentially go for My Company. He looked at it in complete disbelief. "Are you going to be promoted? Why would you uproot our lives for a lateral move?"

I frowned in lack of comprehension. "Because we're moving anyway? Pick anywhere you want to go? Or we can move across town, and stay here? All the same to me! But if we have to move, why not pick somewhere new, and make it a move for the better instead of the same?"

After a week of mutual incomprehension, the day came when the light dawned in his eyes. "I'm in my (grey-haired and unashamed of it decade)! You're in your (Refusing to admit gray hair exists decade)! When I was (that age), I was traveling all over Africa!"


Wonder if I'll get rooted like that, when my hair is a glorious gray and white?

...nah. There's still too much of the world to see!