Friday, March 23, 2018

GRUMPY BEAR SPEAKS


This is not a rant about the major issues of the day. We here at Spacefreighters long ago agreed that this is not the proper forum for those kinds of screeds. And, besides, if I started down that road, I might just take a left and keep on driving.

No, this is just a venting of choler about a few minor annoyances that happened to MAKE ME CRAZY this week. Because I’m feeling particularly grumpy today. Like this guy:



There’s a hole in my bucket. I just read the last book in a beloved series by one of my very favorite authors. (No, I’m not going to name either the series or the author.) Ninety-percent of the book was just as thrilling and wonderful as the rest of the series. I didn’t want it to end, especially because this was the end of a long, delicious reading experience. But, dang it, the ending left a HUGE plot hole unresolved—and not in a way that indicated we’d learn what happened in a future book. Just, “Okay, and then these people make it home, and The End.” Wait. What?

Bad enough, but there’s worse. Shrugging off this disappointment, I start another book by a favorite author who shall remain nameless. A very famous author, I might add, and a best-selling book. Pretty soon I start noticing something is missing: most of the commas before the conjunction but. Not all of them, mind you, which might indicate some kind of conscious revolt against the Evil Conjunctive Comma! No, this looks like just plain old carelessness, like someone neglected to edit this book, or put “ignore all” on every compound sentence. Because I can assure you, my computer grammar function will remind me every time I forget to insert that damn comma before the word but in a sentence like this: “Sally loved him, but he had terrible grammar.”

Death to groundhogs. Yes, Punxutawney Phil warned us there would be six more weeks of winter. That was on February 2. It’s now March 22, which by my count means the stupid groundhog has overstayed his welcome by a week. We’ve just suffered through our fourth nor’easter in three weeks and another storm is due Sunday. Here in our little corner of Western North Carolina, we’ve been lucky; the storms have hit us only glancing blows. Everywhere else in the Eastern third of the nation people are ready to pull Phil out of his burrow and string him up. Yes, and next year, I insist on erecting a very large umbrella over his successor’s burrow.

What good is electricity if I don’t have Facebook? People may be digging themselves out of the next storm only to find they have lost their raison d’etre. Facebook is in deep trouble, the center of its own little storm of scandal after the discovery that data firm Cambridge Analytica sold information it gathered on some 50 million Facebook users to third parties without their knowledge. (No, really? I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked ! ) People are calling for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg’s head and (a little gleefully, I think) predicting the collapse of the social media giant. But if there has ever been anything that is too big to fail, Facebook qualifies. No other social media platform has anywhere near the reach that this original behemoth does.

But here’s the real reason all of this will blow over by next week: there is no such thing as privacy on Facebook and anyone who uses FB should know it. How many times have we been warned not to post anything we wouldn’t want our aged grandmothers to see? How many times do the cyber-experts have to say Social Media is Forever? Do you really think those ads for super-cute TREK tee-shirts just magically show up on your news feed? Or the click-bait posts about aliens/cats/conspiracy theories/extremist politics of all persuasions? Early on, I was inclined to think the Evil FB Gnomes themselves used a computer algorithm to sell ads and click bait. Now I can envision them as Russian cyber-spies and slimy firms with smart, catchy names like Cambridge Analytica (which is probably three hairy guys in wife-beaters sitting around a roomful of computers in a Motel 6 in Cambridge, Ohio). So much better.

And now for some GOOD news. Finalists in the 2017 Romance Writers of America RITA® (published works) and Golden Heart® (unpublished manuscripts) contests were announced last Wednesday. As three of us here at Spacefreighters know, the moment caused chaos, exhilaration, joy, heartbreak and misery in countless writing households around the world as the word went out. Finaling in either of those contests can be a highpoint in a writer’s career and a long-sought-after goal, regardless of whether the contest is actually won. So, bravo, all you finalists, whatever your category, and good luck to you when the winners are announced in July.

Cheers, Donna



1 comment:

  1. LOL Grumpy bear. I definitely have those days, too!

    And on Facebook thing, yeah, I find it very ironic that the social media giant who manipulates what their users can and can't see is now crying victim at having their data mined by a third party. Well, actually they aren't really crying victim. So far, they aren't saying much at all. Guilty conscience, much?

    I'm seriously against any sort of data mining or manipulation or suppression to support or impede ANY particular agenda (and believe me, ALL parties are guilty of doing it, so I think the finger pointing is getting pretty silly), but social media being what it is, I don't have a lot of hope that even this major bombshell will curtail it. 1984 is upon us, and whatever your views, that should make you very, very afraid.

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