Archive for 2015

Can A Successful Women NOT HAVE An Unfaithful Husband?

The Intern“The Intern” is a charming little movie that explores the differences of old and new in today’s workplace. Robert De Niro plays a 70-year-old widower who finds retirement boring, sees a flier for a “senior” internship position on a bodega bulletin board, and submits a YouTube video with the assistance of his grandchild. Anne Hathaway plays a woman who started her own online fashion store that is a runaway success, has an adorable young daughter, and a restless stay-at-home husband who is cheating on her. The last part pissed me off. The successful woman and unfaithful husband has become a Hollywood motif.

Two 2007 movies come to mind: “Freedom Writers” and “Juno”.

Hillary Swank in “Freedom Writer” plays a new teacher in the Los Angeles school district who takes on the task of teaching English to a group of minority students that the experienced teachers have given up trying to teach and who segregate from each other by their own racial and gang affiliations. As she reached out to these students by making them understand the consequences of the Holocaust and reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” relates to their own life, her husband feels neglected by her success and divorces her when she refused to give up on her students.

Ellen Page in “Juno” plays a high school girl who has sex with her longtime friend and finds herself pregnant. She defies expectations from classmates and adults by arranging for a childless couple to adopt her baby. The wife with her own successful career is ecstatic at becoming a mother. The husband who works from home writing jingles isn’t thrilled about being a father and announces his intentions to get a divorce, putting the adoption in doubt. Despite the difficult circumstances made by the unfaithful husband, the baby was born and the wife becomes a single mother.

Why does this particular Hollywood motif get me so pissed off?

As a college student in the campus ministry in the early 1990’s, I knew two couples who started dating. One couple expected to become bible talk leaders and the other couple were already bible talk leaders. When the leadership reorganization got announced for the fall semester, the women were bible talk leaders and the men were on the sidelines. Both men reacted to this with a considerable amount of pissing, moaning and groaning about God, the leadership and even their girlfriends for being at fault. I told them that they needed to support their girlfriends or watch their dating relationships implode in six months. As I was a still a new Christian at the time, they did not listen to me and learned nothing six months later when their girlfriends broke up with them.

I would love to see a movie where a husband not only respects his wife’s success but also plays a supporting role that makes them both successful and happy. The conflict in the story shouldn’t have to come from the husband having his head permanently stuck up his sorry ass. Not all men are pricks.

Moving The Author Websites Again

Five years ago I left the Internet Service Provider (ISP) I was with for 15 years because my websites disappeared during a week-long service interruption. The one-man operation that my writing business depended on had lost both leased lines from separate carriers to the Internet at the same time. Resolving those issues and adding a third leased line prevented the owner from communicating with angry customers. After the service got restored, I’ve already moved my websites to DirectNIC and the owner graciously accepted my cancellation notice. Last month I moved my websites from DirectNIC to DreamHost for entirely different reasons.

I never have any problems with the web hosting at DirectNIC until a server upgrade in 2013 caused my websites to disappear on April Fool’s Day. After I opened a support ticket, my websites got split up to different servers that left some working and some not working. That didn’t get sorted out until I complained on Twitter with the support ticket number. Whenever DirectNIC announces a new server upgrade, it never goes smoothly for my websites.

Over the past year, I started experiencing resource errors—a lack of available CPU, hard drive and/or memory—that knocked my websites offline for a few minutes to a few days. Numerous support tickets got opened, some of which I complained about on Twitter. No one could tell me why this was happening. The CPanel shared hosting interface doesn’t allow me to get under the hood to see what was going on from the Linux command line. The support tickets devolved into a series of “your servers, your websites” finger-pointing that didn’t help anyone.

As 2014 drew to a close, I desperately needed to upgrade and update my websites to the latest and the greatest in technology and contents. That wasn’t going to happen with DirectNIC, as my websites have grown “too brittle” to update without knocking the websites offline for three days. I made the business decision to move the websites to a different web hosting provider.

I searched around the Internet to find DreamHost and immediately signed up for the managed Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting for $15 USD per month. DirectNIC web hosting had my websites shared with other websites on the same virtual server and provided no access to the Linux command line. DreamHost gives me the whole virtual server for my websites and access to the Linux command line. With the Python scripting language installed on the server, I can write scripts for repetitive tasks and experiment with Python-based website frameworks like Django and Flask.

Moving the websites took a few days, but working out the kinks took a week. With access to the command line, I found damaged files that needed replacement and corrected file permission issues. My websites are now loading twice as fast and updating normally without knocking all the other websites offline. CPU usage is less than one percent, while hard drive and memory are less than 30%. I shouldn’t encounter any resource errors for a long time.

DirectNIC still has my domain name registration business, which I’ve never had a problem with in the last 15 years. Changing the DNS addresses for my domains pointed them to the new web hosting. After I opened a support ticket to cancel the web hosting at DirectNIC, I got an apology that things didn’t work out and credited three months of payments to my account.

Switching web host providers was the easy part. Upgrading and updating the websites will be harder, something I’ve been putting off for over a year. Soon I can switch focus from behind-the-scenes technical issues to rebuilding my author platform.

I Am Charlie Hebdo

We Are Charlie Hebdo

On Wednesday, 7 January 2015, two Islamic terrorists stormed the offices of Charlie Hedbo, a French satirical newspaper that has in the past published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, sparking a three-day reign of terror that ended with a dozen people dead. This attack on free speech failed to intimidate the survivors of the newspaper. The next issue came out the following week with the Prophet Muhammad holding a sign that “Je Suis Charlie” (“I Am Charlie”) on the cover.

As a writer with a Christian background, I believe that free speech and freedom of religion goes hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other. Unfortunately, too many religious people take their religion too seriously by making every little detail a life-and-death struggle. Stepping back from something absurd and laughing with God is impossible for them. It’s easier to take offense and shoot down free speech. Without of freedom of speech, there’s no freedom of religion. No democracy can survive without having both.

As a young teenager, I read “Job: A Comedy of Errors” by Robert A. Heinlein, a satirical novel about a modern-day Job who suffers a series of misfortunes through alternating realities. The novel ends with revelation that Job suffered because Jehovah (Christian god) tried to welsh out of a bet with Odin (Norse god), which a higher authority had to settle after Satan intervenes to right the wrongs against Job.

I haven’t read the biblical account of Job until I became a Christian ten years later in college. The Heinlein novel became funnier to me after I became familiar with the source material for the story. Neither the words “bet” nor “wager” appears in the Bible, but that was what God and Satan were doing by tormenting a righteous man to see if he would turn away from God. Most Christians believe this story was about mankind being righteous to the end no matter what happens in life. I always believe that this story said more about God than mankind.

Most Christians lack the capability to have an honest discussion about God if it challenges their literal (or absolute) perceptions of the Bible. When the ministry did a series of lessons on the Book of Job, no one wanted to hear about the Heinlein novel or consider that God might welsh out on a bet. Some people took offense that I would even read something other than the Bible. But no one threatened my life because I mentioned a satirical novel about God during our bible discussions.

Some people did anoint themselves to run me out of the church because I thought differently about God. That took 13 years to happen, where I suffered more than Job did in either the Bible or the Heinlein novel. I’m thinking about writing a satirical account of my misadventures as a Christian in modern-day America. That might offend some people.

I’ve published the controversial Charlie Hebdo cover on my blog because the mainstream media is too afraid of the Islamic terrorists. If this offends you, please leave a comment below or send an email to chris at cdreimer dot com.

Writing In The New For 2015

A new year is always a good time to set new priorities after reviewing last year. I’ve decided to focus on what I’ve become since I made a decision in late 2006 take writing serious: writer, blogger and publisher.

WRITER

Fiction was easier to write. I wrote 30+ short stories published in over a dozen anthologies and three unpublished novels—a sprawling 700-page first novel, one-third of a second novel, and the outline for a third novel—that went nowhere. Despite my initial publishing success, I spent more time on publishing ebooks in the last few years. I have dozens of short stories in various drafts that I’m waiting to finish (someday).

Non-fiction was never easier to write. (As Stephen King once said, “The problem with non-fiction is that you just can’t make [crap] up.”) The few essays I did write and published as ebooks were long, hard slog that emphasized the creative pain rather than the creative pleasure of writing.

Since ebook publishing is my biggest source of writing income, I can’t deny the sales numbers. Non-fiction ebooks sells better than fiction ebooks. While I may clear out the back log of short stories, the priority is on non-fiction. Blogging in general, essays in particular.

BLOGGER

Being a successful blogger has always been an elusive goal for me. If traffic and advertising numbers are any indication, I’m a dismal failure. I could blame the underlying technical issues that made routine blogging and updating the author website a major chore. (Those issues will get fix in the next three months.) It’s really about buckling down to get the job done.

A Silicon Valley Writer (ASVW) – This writing blog that you’re reading went on a bi-weekly publication schedule several years ago. Some months I was consistent, other months I was more—or sometimes less—consistent. This past summer I stopped posting at all and the rest of 2014 only had four more posts. I’m going back to a weekly schedule by posting on Sunday evenings.

Kicking The Bit Bucket (KTBB) – Since I started this new personal blog about Silicon Valley, California and whatever else in 2013, I’ve been more consistent to the weekly schedule. That fell apart in 2014. I skipped weeks at a time and wrote the missing posts later. Not the best way to build a steady audience. That will change with postings on Monday evenings.

Once Upon An Albatross… (OUAA) – My old personal blog about Silicon Valley, California and whatever else from 1997 to 2012 has become a favorite haven for North Korean hackers, spammers and other undesirables. I need to finish cleaning up the content for ebook publication. As for the website itself, I may convert it into a static website to discourage the riffraff.

PUBLISHER

I’m entering my fifth year as an ebook publisher with nearly 60 SHORT ebook titles (i.e., short stories, essays and poetry). I need to look backwards before I can move forward. I’m updating the cover art, revising the content, and writing new descriptions to boost sales of existing ebooks. Meanwhile, I’m prepping the source materials for ebook publication this summer.

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