Apparently radical?

I was in discussion with someone over the worker shortage being seen in the USA right now. They were saying that no one wants to work because they are collecting CERB and being lazy, and I was actively offended.

Let me be clear: CERB is meant as emergency funds to work with a household income to supplement the financial damage caused by the Pandemic. IF it is actually better to live off that funding than work a job making “minimum wage”, is it not an issue being created by the place of employment?

It’s easier for me to find the Canadian numbers, and I almost promise that our are higher than the American.

In Canada, you get $500 a week. That is barely enough to live on, let alone do anything on. If that is actually better than what you make working 40 hours a week, there is a glaring issue. I’m on disability, and I make half that. Don’t get me started on why that is deplorable, because I will start calling everyone Comrad and my new favourite colour will be red.

So, do I think people should be living off CERB or the equivalent? No, but I also see there being no shame if it is more than you make anyway. I see the shame being with the billion-dollar industries giving people less than a living wage to break their backs making money for a shadow they will never see.

Somehow, this opinion is radical. Please, tell me how I am being radical?

Buy me a coffee?

I set up a new donation thing at Buy Me a Coffee! It’s a bit more user friendly than Patreon, but I will still keep that one active for those who prefer that.

As I have mentioned before in a blog post I cannot be fucked to find so I can link to it, this site does have (minimal) upkeep costs. Plus, it is my primary source of income right now, other than government money, since I cannot work.

Please, consider donating. No, there is no obligation. My animals do like eating, though.

The one thing I will promise through Buy Me a Coffee is a monthly conversation. I am spending some time looking for a way to set that up right now. I will have everything figured out by February at the latest.

Independent Book Sales

I have not talked much about my book in a while.

I assume that, if you are interested, you have already picked up a copy. After a conversation with a friend of mine on Twitter, I realized that I should really stop thinking that way.

So, I re-edited and re released my book back in March. I expanded it with several short stories, and moved it from 73 pages to 195 pages.

On the physical copies, I have made the cover art black with white writing, but the opposite is still true for the digital.

I have been pushing towards buying from Friessen Press for two reason: They pressed the book, so they are going to have the proper copy. AND I try to damndest to support private and independently run storefronts, whether digital or physical.

NOW, FOR SOMETHING MORE DOWER.

I know I expel the great parts about being independent often, but the bad parts are starting to become to big to handle.

Since the initial release of You’re Not Dead back in 2016, I have made a total of 832.89 in total sales. For one month, that would be decent, but we’re talking a period of over 4 years. Considering by outgoing was 4878.93, I have not even made a full quarter of my outgoing back. To top everything off, that payout doesn’t include things like web hosting, facebook ads, or physical copies to be reviewed on the international stage. The real number is closer to 6000.

Anyway, the point of this post is to ask that you at least consider looking over my book. There is a review posted on the linked page, and you all have a feeling for my writing style by now.

What is your normal?

The title of this alludes to what I want to discus today.

We speak of normal as if there is a ridged and long lasting definition for what it is. If we went by the first time I heard it in relation to someone’s life, it would include accepting the Gulf War and Bill Clinton is the president of the USA. Human rights were discussed but not universally implemented, smoking was far from being ban in most countries, and grade 13 still existed in Canada.

Social changes are inevitable, so what does it mean to lead a “normal” existence? It could be argued that the nuclear family, a steady paying job, and aspirations that are achievable are normal. Ironically, that cuts a huge swath of the population out of the definition. I mean, by definition, single children families, single parents, and the disabled would all be cut from the definition. Collectively, they make up a greater majority than the sample size. Would they no longer define normal?

This is why I choose to define normal for myself, in that I just define it as being comfortable in life.

Now, where this gets tricky is when people decide to compare and contrast. All because I cannot walk does not mean that I cannot have a normal day by my standards. This leaves me to wonder by what metric people are gading “normal” when it does not exist?

There are plenty of studies showing how 99% of the wealth is held by 1% of people (cite). Their lives are the ones portrayed in movies and TV shows, so are they the definition of normal? If majority reigns, normal should be living in destitute conditions under a communist regime. (looking at current populations of China and India [India is not communist, but does have a large population in poverty according to the World Vision poverty calculations])

I vote we all define our own normal. Our own place to keep our minds at peace. We have to survive this world, we should be able to dictate what we consider normal.

Why “Let’s Plays” are great

This is kind of a different topic for me, so if my information is off-base, please forgive me and give me proper sources below.

Let’s Plays: I cannot think of a more decisive topic in my house. I think they are fantastic, my dad thinks they are a waste of time. He wonders why I am willing to watch someone play a game for a day worth of video as opposed to play the game myself. I get it, I really do.

My reason for watching someone play a game comes to only three reasons. The first of which is I am always broke. It would be fantastic if I had all of the money for every console and game that my heart desires, but I do not even break cost of living most months. Seeing how most games that hold my interest are either 70+, or on a console that I don’t own (see the Switch), I have no ways of actually playing said game. The only way I can experience it is by watching others play it. Most Let’s Play(ers?) already play in a similar way that I do: they search all of the dark corners for hidden bits of lore. That is a (mostly) free way I can get the entertainment that I crave.

The second reason is time. Most games that I want to play (Persona 5, for instance) take hours, if not days, to finish. With the cavalcade of games that come out every quarter, I do not have even a quarter of the time required to play everything. Throw in old games, open-ended games (Minecraft, Terraria, Grand Theft Auto) and games that piggy-back off of older titles (Life is Strange) and I would not have time to sleep or eat, let alone write. Watching someone play for an hour while describing the lore surrounding the areas that peak my interest satiates that part of me that craves all the games.

The third reason is just simply skill. For instance, I love the concept of the Dark Souls franchise. I own all of them, and I have put dozens of hours into each. I am not good at Dark Souls. I have put the dozens of hours into them and die incredibly quickly, sometimes not even being able to get out of the first place. They are made to be very hard. Part of why I love them is that they do not hold the players hand and refuse to guide anyone to anything. I still love the atmosphere, art, and worlds of these games. I can ONLY experience these games through a third party.

For these reasons, and I’m sure that I’m forgetting more, I love Let’s Plays. I get my shots of lore, as well as get to experience the parts of games that I would love. I still play games like Tetris or Hearthstone myself, because watching someone else play would just frustrate me (Everyone has their own way of being “good”).

I have not done the research, but I am curious how Let’s Plays effect game sales in the long term. I have a pretty good feeling that the explosion of popularity for Minecraft was partially fuelled by groups like The Yogscast, but I remain ignorant to if Atlas’ refusal to allow anyone to publish gameplay of Persona 5 has effected longterm sales.

Let’s face it, anyone who wanted to know anything about Persona 5 has bought Persona 5.

No.

I have been stewing over this topic for days. The idea that you can do anything if you try hard enough, you can make it. I hate this concept, and I want to fight it to the best of my ability. The wall I hit, however, is that I cannot dispute the necessity of trying regardless of end position. If you work hard, you will be compensated. If you do not work hard, you will be repremanded. To assume that it just takes time and elbow greas to make it somewhere can actually be both heartbreaking, and damaging to standing in the greater endevour climate.

I spent over 10 years in bands trying my hardest to make it. There was a constant climb upwards in the scene, do not misunderstand my points, but I always put out multiple times what I made. I offset any sort of financial downfall with jobs. I did music because I loved it and needed to do something creative. I never had any illusions that I could live off of it, though it was an end goal.

That unfortunate reality goes for any artistic doing. You can try, you can succeed, and you can fail. Sometimes, all three in the same week. To assume that you are going to make it big is dangerous. It does happen, but it does not more often. There are so many things at play when considering a career in the arts, and doing one thing is often not the path to go down. To assume that if you just write that one song that everyone will love and you’ll be fine is actually a safer bet than believing that your band will do gang busters.

Another way to look at it: I was a drummer. That means, that under copyright laws in Canada for a musical composition, I had rights to the recordings of my drums. If the primary song writers could rerecord my drums without my knowledge, they could have stripped me of any financial rights. Lucky for me, I played with collections of stand-up people who never even thought of doing things like that. Instead, we kept playing. Getting gigs whenever we could, going on short tours, recording albums out of our pockets, and not eating.

10 plus years of that. Now, three years writing. No money made, but a fuck-tonne put out. That’s part of why I opened up the Patreon. just $1 a month gets you a subscription. That means you get a list of your name on this site, plus you get ansP releases about a month before anyone else in a fancy PDF! Hell, if you donate $10 a month, you get the pleasure of knowing that I consider you a fantastic human being and I will love you for a very long time! Your name gets put on the list with a little note of FANTASTIC put beside it. Even if you cancel your donation, or lower it, that denotation NEVER goes away!

Do what you say you will.

Something that has been literally holding my life back is people making empty promises. I couldn’t tell you how often I am told that someone will do something, then either don’t come through, or pretend that the conversation never happened.

Now, it is something entirely different if you say “I’m going to visit every so often” then fail to do so. That falls under the category of wishful thinking. Therefore, you’re a dick, but you haven’t ruined lives or bailed on anything greater than a nice gesture.

The kind of promises that I am talking about is saying something along the lines of offering to pay for a service, only to renege that offer past the point of no return. Especially when the decision was made only because you make yourself available on fallback.

Example: when I published my first book, I did so independently. That is to say that I paid for printing, editing, and distribution. Now, I did this with no expectation to be paid by anyone for doing any of it, but I was promised by a third party that they would reimburse me for what I have put out. I made sure, triple checked, then went ahead with aditional things that made the publication easier. Thing that I would not have bothered with if I wasn’t promised that they would cover the whole cost.

I am well aware that it was expensive: it cost me around three-thousand upfront. My issue lies with the idea that I dropped another two-thousand on advertising and localization that I would not have if I didn’t think that the initial was going to be covered.

Now, is that my fault? I cannot say that it’s not. I didn’t wait for the money to appear before I spent more. If I was smarter, I would have waited for the exchange before I went ahead and dropped more onto that failing venture.

Please, keep in mind: I say failing because I made back about a fifth of what I put into the project. I do NOT regret the book, though I do feel like the rewrite that I have half completed is MUCH better. More news on that in the coming weeks.

That is one, very shallow, example of what I am talking about. I could go into issues surrounding school, medical stuff, rent, dogs, food, and all of this would ignore the times that I have been in a good financial standing and had my questions disregarded to generate a much worse situation. I am not going to bring up spacifics. There is too high of risk of the people involved reading this and realizing that I am talking about them, and I don’t want to deal with any of it right now.

I guess this devolved into a rant about money. Again. It seems to be a reocuring topic on this blog, and I am very sorry about that. I very much wish that I could ignore money and just focus on other things, like writing and walking.

Side-note: does anyone else find it mildly offensive that society puts so much emphasis on walking? I realize that this comes off as me justifying me not walking, but that just strengthens my point. The fact that I don’t walk shouldn’t make me seem like a burden or someone you need to caudle. In fact, what I have survived (both medically and in life) should inspre the opposite reaction from people. I AM OKAY. I WILL SURVIVE.

Another aside, please consider giving to my Patreon. I am okay, physically and mentally. I cannot afford to feed my dogs some weeks, though. I might be okay physically or whatever, but that doesn’t mean that I can hold a traditional job. Plus, everyone is so close to hitting the $100 mark! I want to do something amazing for that number. I want to post something fascinating, or do a video, or bake dinner for people, or SOMETHING. If you have ideas, place them in the comments below. Please, consider helping me hit that mark. Even just a dollar is fucking fantastic. PLUS and the ansP subscription is only $1 right now! That means you get releases early!

~a bit of transparency about money

I try to keep the financial side out of this blog for two reasons.

  1. It always feels either preachy or like a plea for something. Either I feel like I am dictating to those who cannot get a foothold, or I am begging for more from the masses. Neither is 100% true, however. Yes, I do want/need help. Don’t we all? Also, it is very hard to get a handle on what exactly is available and what the limits I can push are in those directions.
  2. I HAVE NO IDEA all of the caveats and obligations. Like, if I beg people to gift me something on Patreon, do I have to declare it? Is what I do worthy of donation?Then, I self destruct into a world of “what makes me better than most?” and “what can I offer that no one else can besides this blog?” to which my self-worth gets eroded over time.

Those two point are why I never ask, or beg if you see it that way, for people to donate anything fiscally.

I HAVE (kind of) FOUND WHAT TO DO NOW!

I am on CPPD (Canadian Pension Plan Disability) which gives me just over $800 a month. It sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t break the poverty line. There are no benefits (like insurance) and I have to put the money out for things like my medication, wheelchair, and other necessities. It feels a bit broken, and a bit worthless.

WHY DON’T I JUST GO ONTO ODSP OR ODB?

They require a minimum income available, and look for any reason to not give me a helping hand. Since my wife had a decent job, I lived at home and/or my parents were well off, I was not eligible through the government of Canada for any sort of benefit. I am going to reapply, but the soonest that I can go through wit that is next month and the process takes about a month to complete. In the mean time, I have all three of my meds coming to an end, and I really need new wheels. Which actually segues beautifully into my next point…

DOESN’T THE GOVERNMENT FUND WHEELCHAIRS?

Easy answer is no. Harder answer is “explaining the caveats and bullshit reasons” no.

To get a new chair, the only way to government will put anything towards a replacement is if repairs cost more than a new chair would. If that is the case, the government (through ADP. I don’t know how it works with ODSP since they keep saying ‘no’ when I apply) will pay 75% back AFTER you put the money out for a new chair.If I am not mistaken, wheels are covered on a 5 year cycle (again, AFTER the money has been put out) but I have not looked into that yet.

My purpose for writing this all out is to demonstrate that being in a wheelchair does not create a win-fall financially unlike what I have seen the public assume it does. I cannot have a conventional occupation because of my epilepsy, wheelchair, and various other medical situations. They cannot NOT hire me for any of thees reasons, but maybe I don’t have the education that they like. Maybe my job experience isn’t quite up to their standards. There are many reasons not to hire someone without pointing to their medical and physical limitations.

I have ranted at you long enough. I basically wrote this for a semi-excuse to say PLEASE support me on Patreon. I will never ask for much. There are nine beautiful people on there whom I am forever indebted to.

A tale of Toronto ALSO news about selling out.

It has been far too long since I last wrote about me. Although, it could be argued that the post I made in reference to Shameful Sheep back in April was just that, but I digress. There is something horrible about Toronto.

For those who do not know, Toronto is Canada’s biggest city. I mean, sitting at a population just shy of 3 million is laughable to some, but living there has been a dream of mine for what seems like forever!

My wife and I have made three separate attempts to go to events there. Though we were late for the first couple, it does not forgive the fact that it is one of the least wheelchair friendly cities I have ever tried to explore.

For example, and since it literally just happened so it is fresh in my mind, we had tickets to a comedy festival. We found out after the fact that it was outside and got canceled due to weather not being fun and whatnot, but we could not get parking anywhere near the place. In fact: the only parking we could attain was down a 45 degree hill 20 minuets from the venue. That is not saying that it was not possible, not at all. What it is saying is that we would have had to have been 45 minuets earlier to even pretend to arrive on time.

Gumble grumble something about first world problems grumble grumble…

Whee! Tangent time!

Something I have been working on is now I am an associate of Amazon.ca/com/co.uk. Why? I want to do this full time.

Check that.

NEED to do this full time. I am, after all, an epileptic paraplegic. I am not saying that the workplace is against hiring such a high-risk individual, that would be illegal! What I am saying is that it is very hard to find a place that would be interested in hiring someone of my “medical pedigree.”

With that said, if you know of somewhere that would hire me, please let me know! My animals need all the foods they can get!

Fancy new tier rewards on the ol’ Patreon! $5 and $7 dollars will either get your name used as a hero or a villain in an upcoming ansP release!

So, my plan for the next while [anyway] is to post a link to a recommended item every week. Each item will have a brief description and a reason to love it, and the image that accompanies that will link to the Amazon page selling it. Please, consider this.

It took me FAR too long to figure this out, but below is a link to one of my — *AHEM* — my FAVOURITE album of all time. The lyrics paint such an honest portrait of love ending. The music is haunting, yet beautiful. It is honest, yet fantastical. Seriously, look into it. If you are going to buy it, try through the link below. It goes right to the Amazon page. Album is for fans of Sparta and, well, people into good music. It is far from metal, but a good appreciation of heavier music would help in understanding why I consider this album so Godly.

Recommended for fans of Sparta, At the Drive In, and people who want Death Cab For Cutie to have more of an edge.

Click the image below if you are interested in purchasing!