5 Friday Faves: “Author! Author!” Edition

LOL – see what I did, there? I used a movie title just to draw attention to this post, which is really about my five favourite writers of fiction! I read quite a bit, and have a long list of writers whom I admire and always look forward to their latest writings. They’re also great in that their older works are worth re-reading from time to time; like a nice, classic outfit, they never really go out of style.

I had to think long and hard about these writers, but was finally able to come up with why these specific five are awesome! I’m not doing a numbered list this time; instead, I have listed them in order by their last names. I’m listing past and present writers, as two people on this list are deceased. With that disclaimer, here we go!

Octavia Butler (22 June 1947 – 24 February 2006): Octavia Butler is still one of my favourite authors, even years after her untimely death. She was a science fiction writer, earning multiple Hugo and Nebula awards for her many excellent books. She was also the first science fiction writer to earn the MacArthur Fellowship, which is nicknamed the “Genius Grant.” I have all of her books, and I think it is time to pull them off of the shelf and give them a re-read! I usually go five years between re-readings, so that the stories are somewhat fresh. One can never have too many books, I think.

Harlan Coben: I happened upon this author when I was browsing the shelves of a bookstore that sold or traded used books. I was looking for some Jonathan Kellerman and Patricia Cornwell books, and since books were listed by genre and alphabetical order (by last name, of course), I saw Coben’s name just ahead of Cornwell’s. The title of one book caught my eye, so I took it along with the other selections that I’d already made – very glad that I did! I love a good mystery / psych-thriller, and his writings are perfect. He sprinkles funny lines in his tales, similar to Stephen King, and does quite well at throwing in unexpected twists that might keep most people guessing until the last page. I don’t think that I have all of his books yet, but I’m certainly working on it!

David Gemmel (1 August 1948 – 28 July 2006): David Gemmell was a phenomenal writer, and I enjoyed his books immensely. His untimely death in 2006 almost spelled the death of a series he was in the middle of working on; fortunately, his wife was able to do it justice and complete the works under a joint authorship. She did quite well, I have to say! I have all of David’s books, and again, must pull them off the shelves and give them another go – starting with Legend, of course.

Stephen King: Stephen King is the author whom I’ve been reading for most of my life. I think that the first short-story of his that I read was the one about the little toy soldiers that come to life and kill the head of a company. I was eight when I read it, then was re-introduced to his writings in 6th grade. He slowly overtook Piers Anthony and V.C. Andrews during my junior high years, and then firmly established himself as my favourite author for close to seven years. It was around that time that I was introduced to this next author’s writings by a close friend.

Dan Simmons: I had finished reading Octavia Butler’s Kindred and was talking with a friend about good sci-fi novels. He had just finished reading Hyperion and was starting on The Fall of Hyperion, so he lent me the first book – I was hooked from the first page! When I went to the local bookstore to look up what else he had written, I was pleased to see that he wrote horror and mystery novels as well. In fact, he has won multiple awards, including the Hugo, the Bram Stoker, and the Locus, to name a few. I have most of his books, if not all of them…and, I have a tattoo of the Shrike. It’s just fitting, for me!

Free Runnings of the Mind: Redux

Just some rambling thoughts from me…sometimes there’s just no way to maintain cohesion, so I’m letting my mind do some free-running and letting the topics flow.  It’s been raining again…open the downspouts!  😎

Rowan Atkinson (Black Adder, Mr. Bean) is a phenomenally funny man – and we know that comedians tend to have a more honest outlook on life than nearly anyone else.  That quote from him, there, is grand.
Here’s a great article by one of my favorite authors, Stephen King.  True, he’s a bigoted asshole (IMHO) and I can’t say I see eye-to-eye with him on certain things, but I respect what he says here.  From The Daily Beast:
This quote, in particular, stood out:  “What charitable 1 percenters can’t do is assume responsibility—America’s national responsibilities: the care of its sick and its poor, the education of its young, the repair of its failing infrastructure, the repayment of its staggering war debts. Charity from the rich can’t fix global warming or lower the price of gasoline by one single red penny. That kind of salvation does not come from Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Ballmer saying, “OK, I’ll write a $2 million bonus check to the IRS.” That annoying responsibility stuff comes from three words that are anathema to the Tea Partiers: United American citizenry.”

Here’s an interesting, although not surprising, story about a local man.  In my neck of the woods, it is perfectly normal for a person with a hateful, felonious, neo-nazi past to have their backgrounds conveniently erased and ‘forgotten’ – but, a non-white individual with virtually no record is routinely smeared and viewed suspiciously, solely for the hue of their skin.  ‘Non-white’ = ‘criminal’ to most peoples of the ‘caucasian persuasion’!  I saw a guy working at a gas station in eastern Oregon on the last day of our return trip – he had tattoos on his face and arms.  I marveled that I, a person with no criminal record, would have a harder time getting a job as a gas-pump jockey than some racist, inbred, white-trash punk with a prison record.  I have the legal right to vote and arm bears, as well as the right to bear arms with bare arms, but have to fight tooth and nail for a low-end, go-nowhere receptionist position because nobody wants to hire an educated, well-spoken woman who happens to have mocha-hued skin…go figure.


Here’s another charming story, which should officially debunk those idiotic claims that the confederate flag doesn’t stand for hatred and racism:

Every time I see a confederate flag somewhere, my middle finger begins to raise of its own accord…it’s the old “I want to punch you so bad, my fist has a boner” response – it’s positively Pavlovian!  I get so tired of people making the tired excuse of the flag only being an historic symbol of the most divisive time this country has ever known – although, in this modern climate, I’m beginning to wonder!  I saw a t-shirt recently that had the confederate flag across the front.  Underneath it was this caption: “If this flag offends you, then I’ve done my job!”  Interesting…you think that it’s your job to go around offending people with hateful, racist statements.  Fascinating.  I guess you sleep better at night, doing this?  My attitude towards those inbred cretins can be summed up thusly:

“The south lost the civil war and will NOT rise again – so GET OVER IT, you inbred, white trash cunts!”

I’ve completed the Civil War portion of Skyrim – the Stormcloaks were victorious!  I am known as ‘Stormblade’ throughout the land…I plan on doing some Skyrim-based fiction here in the near future; I have to contact the creators to see if that’s alright.  I figure it should be, since I won’t be making any money from it.

I’ve been sending in my resume and applying with various companies online.  I want to focus on my books, but I need to help contribute financially to the household as well.  I have been fighting for my unemployment benefits, too – that is a subject for an upcoming post.  The state of Oregon seems to want to punish people for working, that’s all I can figure at the moment!  I really hate having to apply with companies, knowing that they’ll want to interview me right away due to my skills and experience, but their racist attitudes will blind them the moment I walk in the door.  It’s sickening and tiresome, and I want to list some of the most seemingly-racist companies on the west coast – most of them are firms that have to do with the construction industry, including architectural and engineering firms.  For one thing, these firms never give Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a paid holiday – they are always open for business on that day; one has to use a sick day or a vacation day if they desire to have the time off.  One of my former supervisors, a hugely racist cunt, once asked me: “Why aren’t there more blacks in the engineering and architectural fields?”  I looked at her in amazement, and said, “Are you familiar with the history of this country, or did you drop out in the 7th grade?”  I think that was the day I officially got on her bad side, and my days at my job became numbered!
I start to feel depressed when I think of going back to work, but then I think about riding and writing…the freedom on the road and how fortunate I’ve been to be able to travel, and the ability to travel again and again!  Writing about what I see will be a lot of fun – I can’t wait to see my adventures come to life for others!  Depression is too paralyzing for me to hold on to, but my anger galvanizes me – the injustice of being someone else’s slave enrages me to no end…I’m motivated to do my own thing, for myself!

I love this show on Cartoon Network’s [adult swim] – Metalocalypse.  It is about the travails of a death-metal band as their everyday lives are shown.  I enjoy all sorts of music, and death metal speaks to my angry, primal, masculine side.  Unfortunately, metal music in many forms is utilized my hate groups to spread their racist propaganda.  Fortunately, there are groups such as MetalFans Against Nazis and Anti-Racist Action, as well as SHARPS (SkinHeads Against Racial Prejudice), which help identify and eject hate groups from musical gatherings.  Anyway, one episode of Metalocalypse has to do with the group’s members being accused of racism and their inept attempts to prove the accusations wrong – it’s called Diversityklok, and is funny because it’s so fucking true!  😎

I have decided to ease my restrictions on myself, and comment on a limited basis on a few other blogs – but VERY few of them…and as sparingly as possible, LOL

Here, now, is the list of companies in my area and on the west coast, whose policies and choice of personnel appear to be bigoted and selective.  The more honest question would be, “Why do these corporations have preferencial hiring practices that leave dark-skinned people out in the cold?”  They favor an inordinate number of young, white males and females, with smatterings of Chinese people who possess citizenship.  Let’s not forget the obligatory, token latinos who have been hand-picked from specific programs for troubled teens.  I was always the sole individual with dark brown skin, consistently relegated to the lowest spot on the totem pole: that of receptionist, with no room for advancement no matter how much extra education I strove for or how many work-related seminars I attended.  Always kept at arm’s length by others, then accused of being ‘aloof and standoffish’, with a ‘hostile’ attitude.  I have yet to get my Continuing Education Credits from my previous employer!  I can attest to the practices of more than one of these places:
BOORA Architects
Walsh Construction Co.
Hoffman Construction
Skanska (formerly Baugh Construction)
EQE International
ZGF Architects
SRG Partnership
LRS Architects
bassetti architecture

Sheer lack of diversity, and the insult of not having a federal holiday as a paid one, make the entire construction company suspect when it comes to treatment of non-white people.  The facts speak for themselves.

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