Showing 1 - 10 of 212 posts found matching keyword: walter

Earlier today I had to run some errands. Despite the cool weather, I decided to take the Jeep because it hadn't been out of the garage in a few weeks. Turns out, that was a bad idea.

The Jeep had been drydocked because its left turn signal was out. I had tried replacing the bulb that wasn't coming on, the left fender light, but that hadn't solved the problem. Most people would probably have taken their car to the mechanic. Not Walter. I decided to solve the problem myself.

The contacts were corroded in the 20-year-old bulb fixture, so I figured that was the likely problem. I bought a replacement part, pulled the old fixture, reconnected the wiring, and put it all back together. It still didn't flash for turns, but it did come on for hazards. So I replaced the flasher relay. That didn't fix it either.

It was at this point that I realized that one of the parking lights wasn't working correctly. It blinked with the hazards, but stayed off when the headlights were on. Swapping the two parking-light bulbs caused the left flasher to work and the right to fail. Voila! The whole problem was indeed a bad bulb, just not the one I originally suspected.

As I said, after all that, I finally took the Jeep out on the street. It felt great to be driving it again. I turned on the right blinker as I pulled up to a right turn . . . and I got rear ended.

The chain was already there

The good news is that the rear lights were indeed working. The lady who hit me just wasn't paying enough attention. It was a minor fender bender that will cost about $70 to fix. (Bulbs and rewiring the front end had cost $80.) I gave thanks that it hadn't been worse, and went about my business.

On the way home, I hit a deer.

I didn't take a picture of that. (Terrorists don't deserve the recognition.)

For the record, I did get the message. This just isn't the year for me and automobiles. The Jeep is going to stay safely in the garage until 2018.

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Who wants a Walter health insurance update? No one? Well, you're getting one anyway.

As we all know, Georgia has done its best to destroy any healthcare options for poor individuals like me, and the Republicans controlling the federal government have, to their credit, only managed to make shit worse. So now, for the third year in a row, I have to scramble to figure out what my options are. Too bad no one else seems to know, either.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has withdrawn from offering individual plans where I live in Georgia, leaving me with only Kaiser Permanente (KP) HMO options available under the Affordable Care Act. The problem here is that I cannot keep my doctor, and no urgent care facility within 40 miles or hospital within 70 miles accept the Healthcare Exchange (HIX) plans. That's... not ideal. But it might still be my best choice. At least it theoretically pays for something if, say, I was hit by a bus in New York City.

Not that I have a lot of other choices. I have looked at some off-Marketplace plans, and they are really worthless. Twelve hundred dollars per year gets me a couple of urgent care visits and not much else. Compared to that, I might as well have no insurance and just pay the tax penalty ($695).

So the KP HIX HMO plan looks like the best option for me, though only so long as I make little enough to take advantage of the low-income subsidies. (Sweet spot catch-22: if I make a little more money, I'm priced out of health insurance, and as a male, I wouldn't qualify for Medicare in the state of Georgia even if I earned nothing at all.) It is my understanding that KP has to continue to offer me the subsidies discount if I qualify even though that asshole Trump has vowed not to reimburse them, essentially guaranteeing that next year I'll have no healthcare options at all.

I've been lucky so far, but I can't stay healthy forever, guys.

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I've been sick with a cold for the better part of the past week. Two illnesses in one year is very unusual for me, and it sucks.

I assume that the same is true for most people, but when I'm sick, it feels like the color bleeds out of life. Everything is just a little bit harder to do, and nothing is worth doing anyway. I feel useless and pointless.

The worst part is that when I'm sick, just like when I'm angry or frustrated, my sense of humor abandons me. Without that, I'm just another opinionated asshole taking up valuable oxygen. The world's got enough of those in it that it doesn't need me contributing to the problem.

Maybe that's what's wrong with so many other people. Maybe they're all sick. Walking, talking bags of soured cough medicine and phlegm. Maybe the Bill O'Reillys and Harvey Weinsteins of the world really just need an extra dose of antibiotics and NyQuil — the old, good NyQuil from before drug addicts ruined it for everyone. Jerks.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to bed.

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I'm going to have to raise the price of my books.

CreateSpace, the print-on-demand publisher of my books, announced today that they intend to close their estore. Beginning November 1, they will be redirecting all customer requests to Amazon.com (their parent company).

While they pitch this as being an improvement for authors, giving my customers access to features "currently available on Amazon.com" such as searching, better shopping carts, and potentially free shipping, it's going to cut deeply into my (already minuscule) profits.

Right now, I make about $2.50 more per book sold on CreateSpace over Amazon. (CreateSpace pays 80% after material cost; Amazon pays only 60%.) That's why I've been directing you to buy my books there. Beginning November 1, that profit evaporates.

In response, I will be raising the price of my paperbacks from $12 to $15 each. That won't fully cover the cost that Amazon will be swallowing, but it's a compromise I can live with.

TL;DR: If you want a copy of my latest book, buy it at CreateSpace.com before November 1 and save yourself $3.

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The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 1, The Wizards of Ranaloy The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 2, Prince Thorgils' War

The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 3, A Quest Before Dying The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 4, Specter of the Lich

All four of my books are now available in both Kindle and paperback editions. You can find links (and previews) at www.CentralKingdomsChronicles.com.

Thanks for your support.

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Specter of the Lich

Specter of the Lich on Amazon.com

The digital copy of my fourth book is now available on Kindle for $2.99. Paperbacks will be available soon, probably next week, for $12.

Artimus, Whisper, Ico, Corrin, and Jon are reunited once again to defend the city of Sewert from dark magic. This time around our heroes are joined by Whisper's protege and Artimus' son plus a few more new faces (and perhaps a guest appearance by the World's Greatest Gladiator). If you enjoyed the first three volumes of the Central Kingdoms Chronicles, I think you'll like Specter of the Lich.

And if you enjoyed any of my books, please consider reviewing them on Amazon.com. As much I wish they did, these things don't sell themselves.

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I ordered something via Amazon Prime last week, and it has taken far more than 2 days to arrive. Screw racism. This is something to get outraged about! (Where's my tiki torch?)

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The September issue of Reader's Digest includes an excerpt from Ben Bratt's book Nabokov's Favorite Word is Mauve. In typical clickbait fashion, the magazine titles its article "Have Bestsellers become Dumber?" There's a maxim in journalism that any question posed in a headline can be answered with the word "no." In this case, the answer is a slightly more complicated "kind of."

The argument Bratt makes is that most bestselling books these days are written on a 6th grade reading level, a significant decline from the 8th grade reading level of most bestsellers half a century ago. Personally, I hesitate to blame this on the "dumbing down" of readers. As a child, I was taught that any writing intended for a mass audience should be written on a 7th grade level. I suspect that modern authors have taken that advice to heart and, in the interest of finding an audience, doubled down. After all, if a 7th grade level reaches the average reader, a 6th grade level casts a wider net.

Of course, reading this made me wonder about my own books. Now that I'm an author myself, where does my personal style fall? To answer that question, I took my first three books and ran them through an online text parser. It gave me an "A" for readability but complained that my words have too many syllables. I didn't realize that was a problem. Perhaps naively, I assumed that words had all the syllables they needed.

Over the course of the three books (255,437 words in 25,235 sentences), I averaged 1.4 syllables per word. That's too high? I like Green Eggs and Ham as much as the next guy, but I also like most of my meals to be slightly more complicated.

Otherwise, what did the text parser tell me about my writing? My books are 37% nouns or pronouns, 21% verbs, 7% adjectives, and 6% adverbs, and they should take about 20 hours to read. That information gives no hint about whether my stories are entertaining, just that humans won't pull out their hair trying to make sense of my grammar. That's better than nothing, I suppose.

The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 1, The Wizards of Ranaloy The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 2, Prince Thorgils' War The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 3, A Quest Before Dying

Oh, it also told me that my writing averages a 7th grade reading level. Surprise, surprise.

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If you've visited this blog in the past week, you've heard about "the accident." (The car has now been totaled, by the way. Totaled by a trailer! They don't make 'em like the used to.)

Anyway, the whole reason Mom and I were in South Carolina was because we were traveling home from our trip to the first practice round at the 2017 PGA Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.

This mock trophy was more popular than the players

This year's tournament is being held at Quail Hollow, about 10 miles from downtown. We stayed downtown on Sunday night and took a 45-minute light rail and bus trip to the the course on Monday morning. The forecast called for rain, and rain it did. When we finally reached the course, it was soaking wet.

Water, water everywhere

I'm no golfer, so I can't really relate to the course as a playing field for sport. And it's concessions didn't hold a candle to the delicious fare served at The Masters in Augusta. However, I do enjoy a good walk in a well-manicured park. The course was beautiful, and despite the overcast sky, we saw plenty of stars.

Hey, look! It's Rickie Fowler in shorts!

For those of you unfamiliar with the big name golfers, that's Rickie Fowler swinging the club above. We also spied Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Brooks Koepka (who I've called "Cupcake" ever since hearing someone else refer to him as such in Augusta), and more. Rory McIlroy was particularly impressive, not because of his play, but because immediately after completing the course, he spent a very, very long time signing an autograph for every kid who wanted one. It's always heartening to see a pro player appreciating his fans.

All in all, it was a good trip. I think Mom enjoyed herself, and that was really the point. (They were her tickets, after all.) I think she'd do it again.

Well, most of it.

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For reference, this was the "other guy."

Built RAM tough

Like I said, not a scratch.

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