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Tim Lieder

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Amazon Review Bullshit [Jan. 1st, 2017|10:14 pm]
Tim Lieder
I have been purged from the Amazon reviewers. This would be a minor annoyance but for the fact that I have also been on Amazon Vine. I also have a great deal of writing on those Amazon reviews that are now gone never to be seen again. While there are dumb reviews, I would often go through Amazon and read my old reviews and be happy to see some turns of phrases.

So now that I have been purged from Amazon and purged from Amazon Vine (so many free items will I never get again) I am thinking more about Amazon and their bullshit policies. I am also not going to be buying anything from Amazon anymore but since I have racked up about $4000 in charges on Amazon at 25% interest, I think that is more of a sound fiscal decision rather than a boycott, but also fuck Amazon.

The problem is that this new bullshit standard is based on the idea that no one should ever review any book by their friends. If you know any author, you are going to get banned if you review their book. Doesn't matter if you say that it has good points and bad points. Doesn't matter if you write a comprehensive book review that recommends it to some people and lets other people know that they might not like it. Doesn't even matter if you fucking hate it and you are following some kind of ethic by honestly saying that you hate it. If you know the writer, you are banned, purged, gone.

To make matter worse, this is based on the narking standard that is the Amazon business model. Since all Amazon employees can back stab each other anonymously, why not let the Amazon customers participate in the fun. You know that a good review is being written by a friend of the autor? Turn them in. If you see Neil Gaiman giving a good review to Alan Moore's latest book, well fuck Neil. What the hell is he doing writing a good review of Watchmen and giving more insight into Moore's process than you would get from that woman who wrote 5 reviews a day by cutting and pasting the back cover blurb? Bye Neil. Don't you dare review another book.

The people that this standard is not likely to catch are the people who are reviewing their friend's self-published zombie book. Oh sure, they might get cut off eventually but no one gives a fuck about Malina Roos and Book Sandworm and their glowing review of Dead Christmas: A Zombie Anthology, edited by the ever stupid and perpetually crappy Anthony Giangregorio (whom I usually refer to as Tony G). Well they might give a fuck about those fake reviews but not enough to crack down on them. They are too busy trying to get reviews taken down for giving their shitty self-pub book a bad review and going after the good reviews that the reviewer did.

I get that Amazon doesn't want sock puppets or fake reviewers or people getting paid to review books on their site. There was even a club where people were getting free books to give them good reviews (or discounts) that wasn't part of Amazon Vine. It was just a different group that gave discounts for Amazon reviews. Or subsidized Amazon Reviews.

But really who gives a fuck? Why does Amazon give a fuck? Yes, Amazon has gotten so pissy and so cranky about it recently because people were manipulating the sales ranks and the "what Amazon shows you" ranks by getting their friends to review books but so fucking what? Why is it Amazon's role to police their reviews beyond profanity and racist rants? Is it really going to hurt Amazon if dozens of people buy one of Tony G's shit books based on the reviews? Amazon makes money from selling books. They also provided a platform for reviewing books that managed to make them very popular.

So now Amazon is biting the hands that feed them because they don't want to eat what they are getting. Now that Amazon is still not making money but looks just as fake wealthy as it has always looked by undercutting its sales and being on the same suicide track as the Gold Standard (as long as it cuts its prices down to bookstore discount it can't make money, but if it raises its prices it loses its customers) it thinks it can take a principled ethical stand. But there are no principles and ethics in its stand. It's just a way to look like it cares about the reviews.

Only it merely lost the customers. The dirty secret of Amazon is the fact that most of the customers came to review books and then got sucked into the easy buying and the easy credit and just started buying things more than it was reviewing them. But they were still reviewing and that is the fun of being on Amazon. If it was just a bookstore, no one would care. This is the kind of bookstore where you can bullshit with the guy behind the counter for a long time about whether or not you liked your books (I worked at Dreamhaven once and it was great like that) and talk to other customers. But now that there are plenty of people being cut off, fuck Amazon.

It really doesn't make sense. It seems to make sense but Amazon is a BOOKSTORE. The reviews are the selling point. If Amazon decides that it doesn't want most of its reviewers reviewing then why the fuck should they still buy from Amazon as opposed to ebay or BN or the local bookstore? The Amazon discounts are not that great - especially if you buy using Amazon credit.

So in order not to sell books to people who want to buy books based on friend reviews, Amazon cuts off plenty of other reviewers who will also not buy any books.

Stupid fucking Amazon cannot go bankrupt fast enough. Not that I'm hoping that Amazon will be one of the 2017 deaths (that's reserved for people like Trump, Rape Lawyer Alan Dershowitz, Ted Nugent, etc.) but I won't mind if it falls apart. The only problem is that since Jeff Bezos is the owner of Washington Post, the collapse of Amazon will make the Trumpies happy.
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Books I am reading right now (and won't be reviewing in 2017). [Dec. 31st, 2016|09:07 pm]
Tim Lieder
Again I will review the books that I read in 2017 and the rules I set up for this are arbitrary. Graphic novels count unless they are so paper thin that there is nothing to say about them (like Buffy comics). I don't do audiobooks although maybe I should. And I have to start and end the books in 2017. So when I end this year, whatever I don't finish by December 31, 2017 will not count and I won't care. Of course, by the end of the year I won't care. This is a fun exercise and it helps me write stuff on livejournal which is great for me.

So because it's the beginning of the year and this is a fun idea again, I am a little sad taht I won't be able to review these books because I started reading them already, so I am reading -
On Revolution by Hannah Arendt - she just offered up a theory for the way that revolution should mean something going around to the beginning but is used in political discourse as a brand new thing.

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller - I see why I liked it in college and unlike many of the books that I liked in college, I still like it. It doesn't have the same HOLY FUCK AWESOME dynamic now and Miller's utter disregard for anything political or social is grating these days (especially after the election with dozens of people proudly declaring that they didn't vote because they just weren't inspired - and some of those asshole actually had the audacity to offer up opinions on the election).

The Magicians by Lev Grossman - Halfway through it and I totally love it. If I read the sequels I will review them and I think I might want to buy them.

The Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon - based on the Mermaid story and I suspect that the mermaid is going to become foam. So that's at least more true than The Little Mermaid.

Between Quran and Kafka: West-Eastern Inquiries by Navid Kermani - I really like this book. It's all literary essays and it compares the Muslim experience in Europe today with the Jewish experience in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, but it's about the books and these are some cool essays. This is the Amazon Vine book. I used to read 2 Amazon Vine books but since they aren't sending me anymore books, I feel no need to read two of them at the same time in order to get them reviewed. In fact, as soon as I get rid of the Vine pile at the top of my large bookshelf, I will go down to read 4 books at the same time.

I am also reading comic books (or graphic novels) and I am not listing them. There's a Will Eisner Spirit collection from the 1950s which is really cool.
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Computers will break [Dec. 26th, 2016|09:29 pm]
Tim Lieder
I bought an external hard drive today. I bought an external hard drive so I could copy my laptop hard drive onto it. And then when this lap top breathed its last (and I spent about 4 hours turning the fucking thing on and off today in order to get it under some semblance of order) I could just have that external hard drive and I don't have to worry about transferring files, especially if the damn computer is dead. The less chance of having to rely on someone else to save my laptop files, the better.

Of course, I still don't know if I am going to get stuck re-buying Microsoft Office and Photoshop Office. I want them to be able to be copied but I think that there is a perpetual need to make customers buy what they already have. So I can only rely on the files being there and not a way to read them (although I use a lot of freeware).

Only I just bought the first one I could find. Only it doesn't have any way to connect to my laptop. I need something to connect to the hard drive which has that SAT setup (the short and the long grooves? Is that it) and my laptop only has USB connectors. I know that my last external hard drive (which died about a year after I bought it) had a connector between the SAT setup and the computer. But I don't have that. I really thought the fucking thing would come with a cable.

This is all so damn frustrating. Everything breaks. Just keeps on breaking.
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Fucking Russian Hackers on Livejournal [Dec. 26th, 2016|06:16 pm]
Tim Lieder
If anyone is still friends is ammitbeast let him know that a Russian hacker has taken over his account and is now posting Russian propaganda. It's really fucking terrible. What makes it worse is that I am seeing Trump and Putin on my friends feed on Livejournal.

The sonofabitch just posted 7 posts in the past three days.

I come to Livejournal to get away from the fucking Russian hackers and if a Russian hacker is posting bullshit propaganda on a livejournal then I don't get that.

I suppose I will just have to unfriend ammitbeast but I didn't want to unfriend because there was always a chance that he woudl come back. Besides i don't want to see pictures of PUtin and the president of Iran shaking hands (and also WHO THE FUCK THOUGHT that Trump would be AGAINST Iran when he's Putin's bitch?)
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I have been exiled from Amazon [Dec. 26th, 2016|04:41 pm]
Tim Lieder
I have been writing reviews on Amazon since I was a web designer. I still fondly remember the first reviews which were nasty reviews against Jews for Jesus books (I was converting at the time, Xian Jews bothered me then. Now I have a wealth of other people to bother me) and one very final review of Anne Rice's Memnoch the Devil. I wrote that I would no longer read Anne Rice after that fucking book and it was not a hard promise to keep. I might as well say that I promise not to stick nailed into my hands.

Oh the times I had as an Amazon reviewer. Well before I got invited to Amazon Vine I would review sometimes as a promise to a friend and other times just because I liked the book. When I first started doing the game of reviewing all the books that I read in a year (I will do that for 2017 - I always skip a year because by the end of the year it feels more like a chore than a game), I would review those books. I had to review The World Rose by Richard Brittain because I needed to apologize to the woman that he attacked because I outright did not believe her. I spent a great deal of time arguing that it was just not possible and frankly was a ridiculous story. I based this on the fact that it really didn't get into the paper and what kind of incident with this much publicity for the guilty party would not get into the papers.

Truthfully, I believed that I was defending the mentally ill. I thought that Richard Brittain was a poor pathetic sort who openly wrote about his mental illness and was seeking help. But nope, as true as that might have been, he really did go and assault someone for writing a bad review.

And all the movies that I hated. So so many movies could I hate. I just wrote a scathing review of Sisters and I know that it was number 1830 or so, but still, that movie is not innocent and what the fuck happened to Tina Fey? When did she stop trying?

The Amazon Vine reviews are what I will miss most of all. Scratch that. The free stuff from Amazon Vine I will miss - especially the last couple months when I didn't go looking for work because Amazon kept sending me all this cool stuff. I sold watches and digital guitars (still worried about that one since the tracking never said it was delivered and I didn't buy insurance because the machine was down when I mailed it) and coats and computer shit that I have no idea about. I made about $600 in December alone off of Amazon Vine.

But now I am out of the Amazon review game. My reviews have been taken down. I have one less thing to procrastinate about. You will no longer be able to find my glowing review of They Must Go by Meir Kahane (edited with my embarrassed retraction written many years later when it was pointed out that I wrote the damn thing) or my sarcastic review of They Thought for Themselves by Sid Roth. I will not be able to remember dozens of books that I forgot about nor will I be able to revisit my review of I am China by Xiaolu Guo (but seriously, read that book. It's amazing).

And if you must know, someone narked on me and Amazon put me in the purge count. I am now considered one of the biased reviewers and since Amazon doesn't want every self-published book getting massive amounts of five star reviews from the author's best friends and family members (why the fuck not? It's not like they aren't making money off of that shit) they have taken a no tolerance policy. So of the hundreds of reviews I have written for Amazon, the 20-30 that I wrote for my friends - whose books I would have not have reviewed had I not honestly liked them - have condemned me.

So I lost my reviews. I have lost my ability to review. And I have lost a shit ton of free stuff. I really want my free stuff damnit.

Fucking Amazon.

I will try to only shop at BN from now on. Stupid expensive BN. But considering how much interest is on that Amazon credit card (I was hoping it would just crash by now) overall it's not that much more to shop at a book store that isn't trying to fuck over its competition by slashing all of its prices as close to the 55% bookstore discount as possible.
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Dead Russian Ambassador! [Dec. 19th, 2016|02:59 pm]
Tim Lieder
I should not talk about this on Facebook because most of the people that I know are on Facebook. I know that a lot of people are freaking out over the Russian ambassador getting killed in Ankara by a terrorist who wore a suit. They are worried that this is the Franz Ferdinand moment of our century. Uncertain political future, Russian getting attacked. Russia and Turkey at war in a way that can pull everyone else in, especially with NATO. I have to respect that. I have to understand that people are afraid.

However, this is livejournal and because is livejournal ALLAHU AKBAR MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!! Hell yeah, that fucker should die. He's representing one of the worst nations in the world that has been building up its power base for the past decade and spreading lies and misinformation and prejudices. Putin is personally responsible for the massacres in Crimea, Aleppo and Chechnya. Russia is a clear and present danger and a country that is never going to rest until it has power over every other nation. So fuck that ambassador. Fuck that guy. Fuck that guy and shoot him again.

In fact, if every Russian ambassador fears for his life, I will be happy. If every Russian soldier stationed in Syria knows that his life is as fragile as the Syrian civilians that he is murdering, then mazel tov. There are civilians dying in Aleppo. Putin and his crew think that this is just fine. They should feel the consequences.

So I shouldn't say that on Facebook. I know that there is a great deal of fear now. I understand it. I will feel it in a couple days but right now I feel jubilation at the prospect of those chickens coming home to roost.
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Still worried about mom but no news is good news [Dec. 19th, 2016|02:50 pm]
Tim Lieder
So Mom went from her depressive November to a manic December and now her assisted living place is getting all up on the "CLEAN THIS PLACE NOW" crusade which they kind of have to go on because Mom is a hoarder. So the assisted living place is handling it all wrong. They just met with her and told her that they were going to come in and clean the place the next day. So Mom freaked out, called me, talked for an hour. Then Friday morning she did the same thing. And then Friday afternoon they came and she didn't let them in. So she called me when I was already trying to get something finished before Shabbos. And I freaked out and yelled at her. And then THEY called me and told me that they couldn't deal with her and they were going to consider evicting her when they met today.

I did manage to do what I could which was calm her down, try to get my friends to call her and hope for the best for today. She also cleaned her fridge (which she insists there is nothing wrong with) and cleaned some stuff so hopefully today they will come, she will let them in and they will work with her. I sent them an email asking them to be patient because they can work with her but she is very defensive. They just have to take it slow.

So until 6pm when they go home, I am going to be worried that Friday will repeat itself and she won't let them in and they will start talking seriously about evicting her. So where the fuck is my mom going to go if Assisted Living kicks her out?
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Worried about Mom again [Nov. 30th, 2016|03:25 pm]
Tim Lieder
Mom has not left her room all month. She didn't even go to cousin Roger's for Thanksgiving. She only left to go to the doctor who confirmed that she had low blood pressure but also talked about how she had anemia and high blood sugar. There might be that kind of dementia when she stops being able to walk, but mostly it could also be the fact that she is depressed. We have argued about this in the last month.

I am also being superstitious about November. For a long time when I was a kid, all of my relatives died in November. Uncle Richard. Uncle Larry. Grandmother and my 15-year old cousin. So it's the last day of November and I am worried about Mom's health.

Yesterday she sounded better and she also called me today to say that she was going to get out of her room because she doesn't want them to take her to the hospital. Of course, if they took her to the hospital they might be able to fill her with fluids and get her stabilized and maybe even find something else like a bladder infection.

On the other hand, I think that a lot of this is her pattern. Well before she had these health problems where she stopped being able to walk without walkers and canes, she would spend many days or even weeks in her room. And Trump winning the election combined with the fact that Aunt Sharon not calling her (for a very good reason - Aunt Sharon just had heart surgery and Mom stresses her out - which would be especially true now that Aunt Sharon is a Trump supporter and he just won the election) combined with the low blood pressure definitely serves as a trigger.

So that's been pretty much on my mind. Well hopefully she will either get out and about because the nurses want her to be hospitalized or she will be sent to the ER.
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Do I have a shitty therapist? [Nov. 15th, 2016|12:31 pm]
Tim Lieder
That's not a question that anyone else should be answering. I don't know what it's called but it's the opposite of a rhetorical question. I am asking myself this question. I have noticed that a great deal of my therapy sessions have involved me trying to please my therapist. In fact I have been processing her verbiage in order to come up with the thing to say that will make her happy. I noticed that I was doing this early in the sessions and while she had some interesting insights (including the big one about how I am programmed to defend hostile and messed up people from growing up with my mom as "the mean scary woman that yelled at all the kids when they were playing outside her window") but I am noticing a trend where I will talk about something and she will change the subject. And then she will mention what I was complaining about in a tone of voice that states that it's not important.

Yesterday she asked me how I'm any different than Susan Sarandon (whom I was hating on for her lotus out of the mud statement) and then spend about the last 10 minutes talking about how i have the power and even telling me that I could control my diabetes with tumeric (apparently that works) should I lose my health insurance and then to imagine myself rich enough to afford health insurance. So it was like she recommending that I become a narcissist.

That was the problem with yesterday. I come in all messed up over Trump and health insurance and then she steered it to faith matters and why I quit Xianity and why I don't want to be so part of one group that I can't also move between groups. I am slightly grateful not to belong to any one group because then I can fit in to many groups. I don't have to choose my tribe so to speak.

At which point she went off the rails with shitty comparisons to Susan Sarandon (how the fuck does that make me like Susan Sarandon) and talking about how all my concerns are external and there are internal things I can be working on like diet and exercise that will totally reverse diabetes. Some truth but mostly a fat lot of "fuck your worries, I'm going to babble" and she babbled.

She even complimented me for coming in on time because she busted me for being late last week. Only last week I felt like I was lying because I came up with a bullshit "I love drama" for running late, but really I don't want to be in this therapy.

I have been thinking that I have not wanted to be in this therapy because I am confronting uncomfortable truths, but now I think it's because I talk about what is going on with my life, what I am worried about and she fucking derails it with some bullshit about how I am not talking about myself but when I talk about what I am reading or what I am watching or what is going on - I AM talking about myself because this shit matters to me.

So I feel like she is imposing an agenda on me. Like she can't be bothered to listen to what I am ACTUALLY worried about because she's too busy skipping ahead to the topic of what she thinks about what I should be worried about. So instead of talking about what I want to talk about and exploring it, I am getting ignored. My health insurance is paying for me to talk to someone who ignores my problems and just wants to talk about her shit.

Now, this might be a tactic. Maybe she is being a rude shit in order to get me to stop taking her seriously and to stand up for myself. That is me giving her the benefit of the doubt. But honestly, I mostly think that she is incompetent.

Thus, the reason why I am late for therapy all the time is because I don't know how good it's doing and I am starting to suspect that it's a waste of time. I go to therapy on the off-chance that it can still help, but I'm not exactly enthusiastic about getting there. And either -
1. I am going through a difficult part of the process and it just needs to be worked through, or
2. I am dealing with a completely incompetent therapist in a shit therapy place that can't even hire a fucking receptionist.
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Trick to staying off of Facebook [Nov. 6th, 2016|10:49 pm]
Tim Lieder
I had a friend and it got very intense at the beginning of the year, one of those desperate crazy infatuations where you want to know everything about her and you want to tell her everything. It was one of those things that just turned into an obsession fast and I realized that I needed therapy. It was too much for either of us, too intense, too dysfunctional. I rather like how Crazy Ex-Girlfriend critics note that while the main character is chasing after a guy who is not good for her (even if he is perfectly nice in his own way) the fact that she got excited and chased after him is a step out of her funk and something that works.

So that's this woman. I know that I can't be chasing after her and I know that it was dysfunctional and when she cut it off I whined hard about it but after a day I realized that she was right. I let myself hang on too long before and nothing good would come of it. So we stopped being friends. I wished her well. She wised me well. that was it. I didn't want it like that but I suppose it's for the best.

I just got the courage to send her a friend's request.

The problem is that I might be doing it prematurely. I think that I'm ready to be friends with her without it turning into the obsessive crush. But I've lied to myself like this before. I am very good at lying to myself. I also think that there is a possibility that she will say no. It will be a very kind no. It will be an "I wish you well" no, but it will be a no. Or it might be a "leave me alone" no but I don't know. So either she says yes and there's a risk of it all just going back to that crap that I don't want (I have had therapy but how much) or she says no and I'm crushed.

I have three messages in my FB inbox. I accidentally saw that when I thought I was clicking on a share function. One is most likely from her. I didn't see the Friend icon lit up, but that thing is weird. It sometimes tells me someone accepts a friend request and other times it just tells me when someone wants to be friends with me.

If she says yes, cool (for now but at a distance) and if she says no then I'm going to be sad about it. I don't know if I am going to be depressed because I don't really expect her to say yes and that might be self-loathing but it might also be respect for her maturity and ability to know when it is best to disappoint.

Either way I don't want to know until after Tuesday night. If Hillary wins then I will be happy enough to deal with disappointment. (and I will be rushing out to Javits Center to join that outdoor crowd of people who can't get in. I assume there will be a party). And if Hillary loses then we are all fucked. So my personal angst won't really mean much, now will it?
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Exhausting Friends [Nov. 5th, 2016|10:01 pm]
Tim Lieder
I ran into an old friend on Shabbos and we talked for awhile, but this friend is exhausting. And I realized why he is exhausting is the fact that he never listens to a thing I say. Hell, I stopped taking phone calls from him (yes, he calls in 2016. Who the fuck does that?) because he would just talk about his comedy, his scripts and his obsession with one particular woman. It was always that same chatter. She's hot, she's bitchy, what do I know about her? And he totally felt a vibe like he could fuck her. For 2 years he kept up the same patter. And today in shul one girl said hello to him and then he talked at her a bit outside (there's a lot of fine women at this shul - that's what he said - to her) and then when he came over for Shabbos lunch (I had extra food and I again fucked up the crock pot - I think a small crockpot is crap for Shabbos cooking unless I also put it on a timer) he wouldn't shut up about this new woman. But it was all about how hot she was and what did I know about her. Nothing about her personality which he didn't know or what she likes or her ambitions.

But I guess I accepted this. He does stand up now. He broke up with his girlfriend after she had a daughter (or she broke it off with him and it got very dysfunctional). He is completely irresponsible and doesn't really talk to people. He talks at them. When he was begging his friends to come visit him in the Bronx because he hadn't seen anyone in a long time, my friend and I went up there and he spent the entire time working on his business stuff (he had a business once) and pretty much just ignored us while we watched Conan the Destroyer (not even the good Conan movie). And every time I try to talk to him he interrupts me all the time to talk about his bullshit and at least half the time when I say something he goes "oh...really?" in that fake interest way. But he didn't hear a fucking thing I just said. He just said that in order to seem like he was interested, like I was some drunk girl that he was trying to fuck in a after midnight diner.

I don't even bring up the fact that when I asked him to look after my cats, they could have died because he never showed up and now my roommate insists on taking care of them (and not letting anyone else in the apartment). Why the fuck would I?

He also showed me his sitcom pilot. My main advice was to change the genders because then it sounds marginally less misogynist. The first couple pages have an arguing couple with the one character being woken by a toddler throwing shit diapers in his face (when I said that this was a terrible idea I got the "It happened" excuse which is Creative Writing 101 move) and then it was all a bunch of people talking like bad parodies of NWA songs. Yo fuck this. You gonna change your diaper. I hit that. (and again - "I live in Brooklyn where people all talk like that") and this couple disappears for another boring sexist couple and apparently he based the one character on himself, but it is still the poor put-upon guy who is way cool and why are all these bitches after him.

Although he did tell me that he knew a comic book artist who worked for Todd McFarlane and that these artists used Playboy magazine pictures as models for the way they draw women. He said it like it was a profound insight into the art of comic books and not something stupid that comic books should really stop doing.

But it was good to see an old friend, especially if it's only a couple times a year.
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Rape Culture and sex education tropes [Oct. 10th, 2016|04:06 am]
Tim Lieder
So I have seen many stories about sexual assault and I have even seen stories where the author talked about how he didn't know if he was a rapist or not, but he certainly participated in a sexual assault on a 12-year old girl when he was 12. I do remember seeing these kinds of things and wondering why I didn't have the courage to participate (thank god I didn't). I also remember all those night clubs where the standard behavior seemed to involve a lot of dudes grinding up against women and that confused the hell out of me - I mean I was just there and dancing whatever, but was it cool to grind up against women like that? Did the night club culture mean that dry humping was great? I mean if the women were there expecting to get dry humped that was ok to dry hump right? I didn't do much of that (it was called "booty dancing" I believe) and it was just uncomfortable all around.

I had all of these rape culture attitudes. I just didn't act on them. And I didn't act on them because I was scared of acting on them, because I want to think that I had enough of a conscience but I think there was also an awkwardness about it. Would there have been a time when I could have heard a Donald Trump bragging about how fame means that he can just grab women and think that was cool? And I do remember thinking that I needed to GET LAID and that the only way I could get laid would be if a woman was too drunk to know any better (not quite like Bill Cosby but yeah I fantasized about the murky consent). And then of course, when I did GET LAID finally it was disappointing (but the story around it was funny - she had broken up with her boyfriend and was horny, asked her aunt - who was only 2 years older than her because big family - if there was anyone she knew that wanted to get laid and her aunt thought of me because I was a whiny bastard that summer)

And for that point when I got all shomer negia and religious, I was still possessed of such an attitude. I was just trying to enforce it in a way that made sense at the time. Took me awhile to realize (and argue) that those Chabad guys who were angrily demanding that the strippers give them a lesbian show or their money back were NOT an aberration of the ultra-frum lifestyle but a pretty solid manifestation. I was just romanticizing it because I had heartbreak and so I was vulnerable to stupid books with stupid arguments like The Magic Touch.

But here's the thing - the aspect of rape culture that bothers me right now (there are a LOT of aspects of rape culture that bother me) is the early sex education. It was always strange to hear people fighting against sex education. They seemed to think that sex education was WAY more cool than it was. The abstinence-only educators and the ultra-religious types were totally rape culture. Hell, the "no wonder no one respects her, look what she's wearing" is pretty much tied in with tznius talks. Now tznius is fine and there's a nice method to not have everyone on display and judged by appearance and why the hell did I have to see Margot Robie's ass all the way through Suicide Squad? I mean she's a great actress but the camera kept telling me that her entire worth was in her body. Which is very ironic considering the villain ended up gyrating in front of a blue screen while wearing a bikini and she was so fucking boring that I just dozed off whenever she was on camera.

Forget about the prudes. We live in a Puritan country and we are going to welcome the more prudish ideas including the rather horrible ones about dress taught by rabbis and priests throughout the United States.

What bothers me is the "you would if you loved me" part of sex ed. After the talk about "plumbing" and birth control and even after the part about sexual assault (which I remember as one where we had a grand old time joking about it - don't know what we said but it was very amusing in the 10th grade) and the ways your genitals could fall off (including a film on STDs that was filmed in the 70s and includes the ugly dude going "I don't have to worry. I don't have sex - that often" and I'm sitting there going "THAT guy can get laid and not me?") there was the talk about SAYING NO to your boyfriend. Always the boyfriend. Always the cute ways to get around coercion.

And yes, that was important, but why in the living fuck did this part of the sex ed just assume that teenage boys were going to be all coercive and creepy and guilt-inducing and all the girls were going to go "no no, not until we're married"? Oh sure, that's societal expectations and part of the culture, but also part of the rape culture. Better that the teachers leveled with us and assumed the real item which was that EVERYONE in the class was horny and that everyone had reasons to NOT have sex that were perfectly valid. Maybe you want emotional intimacy before physical intimacy. Maybe you don't want to get pregnant or feel responsible for it. You know, the same considerations that adults have.

And then instead of this Coercion vs. Standing Up For Your Virginity Male/Female struggle (which is kind of lame to begin with because some people are better at resisting coercion than others - and so every teenage girl who has sex is automatically assumed to have low self-esteem, because why else would she fuck a teenage boy?) there could be a talk about consent, and enthusiastic consent and how to enjoy "everything but" for as long as you don't want to have sex and whatever that means (I am not talking about religious teenagers who don't believe in premarital handshakes obviously now. I am talking about WASP teenagers from the suburbs in my personal anecdotes but pretty much people who might have some religious qualms that are not mocked). And then choosing the right moment and the ability to WANT sex without making it into the ONLY part of the relationship - as in "sure you're horny but there's more to being with someone than fucking so cool it and stop putting so much pressure on yourself and your girlfriend/boyfriend".

And then we can get to the real sex ed which involves butt plugs, finger fucking, how to ease into anal, where to put the pillows to avoid neck strain, etc.

And that way we can avoid this bullshit conversation about what to do when the boy pressures the girl into sex and uses lines like "you would if you loved me" because fucking hell, that's just rape culture bullshit and the boy is only going to learn to stop doing that shit if he gets his ass dumped.

As stupid as I was about women (see above - also note that I was reading a LOT of Piers Anthony at the time) I still knew that "you would if you loved me" was a shitbag coercive move and that only a truly crappy human being would use it.

Of course, everyone learns how to masturbate around age 12 so it's not like one NEEDS to be fucking for an orgasm. (I did once say in a college discussion of sexuality - the last one I participated in and the only one that actually had some interesting information - was that if I didn't have the emotional component when it came to sex I could do it myself - and then I never heard the end of it. Doing it, no big deal. Admitting to it was a source of much rejoicing).
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Amazon Vine has changed its style [Oct. 7th, 2016|12:58 am]
Tim Lieder
I was just getting used to the "review it or don't get anything new" way of Amazon Vine. Considering that I was bitching about it a few years ago and someone even quoted me as saying that most Amazon Vine reviewers were probably just skimming in order to keep getting new books (something that I am guilty of at times - but not often). But I was actually liking the way that I could not get new books once I was caught with the "review within 30 days or forget about getting new books" way. So I would know that I couldn't get new books regardless and thus went for broke when I caught up.

So then I would have about 20-30 books on top of my bookshelf designated as Vine books and once I read them all (or reviewed them all - I read maybe half of the books all the way through - maybe a little more - regardless if I hate a book I don't have to read the whole thing to talk about how much I hate it. You don't have to eat the whole egg to know it's rotten) I could get new books and things. And then I would try to get as many as possible.

But now I can get new Amazon Vine products and most of the products in my queue are NOT books. They are shirts and bathroom carpets and electronics. So I get free stuff. And I review free stuff.

The Vine for All tag is also there. Officially I can't get more than 5 products from my queue but I can get all the products I want from the Vine for All. Only there are at least a dozen products in that Vine for All section that I have seen the last time I was grabbing books from Vine (like back in March?). And I reviewed those books. I have those books.

That's probably why Amazon Vine stopped holding everyone to reviewing all the products within 30 days. Or maybe they still do. I really don't get the new rules. But the "review it within 30 days or don't get anything new" was probably just leaving a lot of publishers and businesses sitting around waiting for their products to get the reviews that they are so eager to see on Amazon (because what the hell, we are all trying to get those fucking reviews - speaking of which go review Sugarplum Zombie Motherfuckers already.)
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I do have an alternate FB identity [Oct. 5th, 2016|01:08 pm]
Tim Lieder
It's a stupid fake of my name (Tyme is the first name and I'm FB friends with it if you want to find it) and while I think that I should change it to Tim W. Lieder, I don't really want to pull that trigger. That's pretty much my backup identity and for now I just use it to find out who has blocked me and who has just ended their FB posts.

Since a friend just got placed on permanent suspension and had to use a backup identity, I think I should have that for that purpose. But right now I think I am pretty ok with not being able to post on Facebook for a few days. They gave me a three day suspension. I was getting really cranky and this fucking Trump campaign is getting under my skin. If that fake goth Cathy Brennan can get me suspended for a couple days, I suppose it will save my blood pressure.

Then again, I think I might want to get on that account, friend the few people that I want to keep around and just wait it out. Actually it's only another 2 days and 20 hours.

Still I would like to complain about how the movie Exodus is very goyish, like they even have a shiksa nurse as the main character and she is given the assignment and says that she doesn't like Jews and they make her uncomfortable. So even with Jews, Hollywood needs a white perspective character. Ok, it's a 60s movie so why not? Paul Newman is at least partially Jewish. I think. Ok, I'm going by the Adam Sandler song. Such a stupid song.

(also I hear strains of that Pat Boone song that is used to score that cartoon with a bunch of different groups killing each other in Israel throughout history. It's a funny video that some people take way too seriously).
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On the Goth Credentials of Cathy Brennan, Transphobic Bully and All Around Terrible Human Being [Oct. 5th, 2016|12:44 pm]
Tim Lieder
I have been put in Facebook timeout. And there were many times when I would have been put in FB timeout in the past, but this time I was put in FB timeout for posting and article from the AV Club and then writing "Cathy Brennan is a fake goth." That's it. Actually I even spelled her name wrong. I spelled it with a K. But today I went to log onto FB and there was that "you have been put in timeout" message and of course, I "violated community standards" by stating that Cathy Brennan is a fake goth.

For more on Cathy Brennan's disgusting transphobia and activities, check out http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Cathy_Brennan for a good overview.

Now I could be upset about FB standards. I could find it ridiculous that Cathy Brennan, a public figure who has fought hard to become a public figure, is going around attempting to get every FB post taken down for stating that she is a fake goth (and if you are on FB, feel free to share this as much as you can - but be warned that you might get in a FB timeout). Of course, Facebook has been arbitrary for years. Complain about someone calling Hillary Clinton a cunt or someone posting pictures with Hitler and you get to find out right away that it does not violate community service. Cathy Brennan gets called a fake goth and the FB Terms of Service team are all up on your ass. At this point, I wonder if the Facebook Community Standards police are being paid off by Cathy Brennan.

Of course, there was also a time when Nick Pacione was complaining about people talking about him on Livejournal and getting those LJ's taken down or suspended. Eventually he was declared a public figure (because he had become a public figure through means that no one should emulate) and considered fair game. I bring this up not because I want to trash Pacione (the man is mentally ill and hurts himself too much) but because I find this kind of standard where certain people are capable of getting the Community Standards folks to do their bidding while others can be doxxed and harassed repeatedly to be horrible.

Now who is Cathy Brennan? She is a trasphobic "feminist" who has taken to harassing and bullying transgender teenagers online. She is in that 80s essentialist feminist mode (Victorian feminists were NOT essentialist no matter what the Dworkin/MacKinnon crowd states) where women are "naturally" caring and full of empathy and men are naturally rapists. So for Cathy Brennan a transman is a self-hating woman and a transwoman is a delusional idiot at best and a rapist trying to rape women in the bathroom most likely.

If you google her name, the first article is from her blog and it goes "Sorry about your penis" - so haha, transgender people are so delusional. She is also a lawyer in Baltimore whose entire career consists of suing sites like After Ellen for defamation.

For a better view of her there is this article -

So, Cathy Brennan. She’s a Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) who is notorious within the trans community for her website “Gender Identity Watch” and its affiliated Facebook pages. On the Facebook pages, there has been a history of outing and harassing trans women. Brennan also appears in meatspace, with one notable picture of her holding a paper cutout of a person with the crotch circled, and the text reading, “Sorry about your dick.”
So she is active on Facebook and spreading.

So if you are my FB friend as well as my LJ friend, don't just write that she is a fake goth. Report every fucking thing she posts to Facebook as a violation of Community standards. Granted, Facebook has been paid off and is crawling up Cathy Brennan's non-goth ass, but maybe enough people getting on her for violation of standards might make them notice her bullying technique.

Or maybe FB is full of TERFs who agree with her. At least in the very fucked up Community Standards.

I suppose it should not be explained that "Cathy Brennan is a fake goth" pissing that woman off is hilarious and effective for various reasons. First, she is really a horrible person who is engaged in harassment and bullying and transphobia - like proud transphobia that cannot be swayed or debated. She continued to harass a transgender teenager long after the teenager was put on suicide watch. But those are things that Cathy Brennan is proud of. It's like criticizing Trump for being a racist demagogue. He doesn't give a fuck. So you focus on his hands and his lack of money and you call him Donald to get under his skin.

But also who the fuck cares if they are called a "fake goth"? There are teenagers who have stocked up on enough black mascara to survive the apocalypse who don't give a fuck if you think that they are genuine goths. I actually don't know why Cathy Brennan reacts so strongly to being called a fake goth, but she sure does react strongly.

I wonder if she has a blog post explaining why she is a genuine goth. Or why calling her a fake goth is harassment and/or bullying (and why it matters more to her than transphobia - beyond the fact that it's an attack on her and like all good psychopaths she is more concerned with minor slights against her rather than any attacks she makes against others) because at least that would make the Facebook Community Standards decision seem less arbitrary and pathetic.
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Another go. [Sep. 23rd, 2016|02:38 pm]
Tim Lieder
I have always liked Christmas, the presents, the tree, the family gathering. I still love the lights and the decorations and the snow. Christmas isn’t about Jesus. Christmas is about presents and retail stores and crass commercialism. Christmas is about Chinese food and movies. Christmas is about Santa Claus and weird elves who only make wooden toys. Christmas gave us Ebeneezer Scrooge, the Star Wars Holiday Special, at least two decent Doctor Who episodes and several Elvis records.
Yet, as much as I adore Christmas, I have to admit that it’s annoying. How many times can you hear someone bitch about commercialism? Do you really need to be ordered to have a merry Christmas? How soon before we see that meme that claims that if you hear Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa, you should just accept it lest you be considered a jerk? How many non-Jews get wished a Happy Hanukkah? Don’t forget that one friend from high school that you friended on Facebook who still believes in the War on Christmas.
Still, Christmas is a magical time when friends gather to watch zombies fucking and fathers tell their children heartwarming stories of murder.
“Santa Claus Dies” was originally published in Spinetinglers in December 2012. The presence of an evil teddy bear came from my perpetual disappointment with naming a short story collection Teddy Bear Cannibal Massacre and not being able to include a killer teddy bear story. This was the first multi-author short story collection I ever edited and by the time I got it into print, I was just happy that it was finished.
“The Christmas Video” began as a short story for my creative writing class. I take perverse pride in how it offended everyone including the teacher who had been stressing freedom of expression. There’s a bit of an Aristocrats vibe to it, but ultimately it’s very heartwarming. It was first published in the Undead of Winter anthology, edited by Armand Rosamilia. It was also reprinted in Big Pulp, which was a great series of collections put out by Bill Olver.
This is the first publication of “The Man in the Red Suit,” which began as a tribute to E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” and became much grimmer. Even as Santa Claus provides a template for a children’s monster, true horrors are perpetuated by humans. “The Man in the Red Suit” has bothered me for years because even though it is one of my favorites, I can’t sell it. If it had been another story, I would have pulled it from circulation. I have often re-read a story that has failed to sell with a feeling of relief, knowing that I would have been embarrassed to see it out in the world. This particular story defies my harsh self-criticism. I am far from objective, but no matter how many times I print it out to edit, I cannot hate it enough to abandon it. In fact, I like it more every time I read it.
Final note - “The Man in the Red Suit” references Muslims as Mohammedans and Saracens and depicts Islamophobic characters. It is not and it should not be read as an endorsement of Islamophobia. If you want support in hating Muslims, go find your local twitter account or Trump supporter. Or just stop hating Muslims.
I'm almost proud of myself for not rehashing WHY I couldn't get a killer teddy bear story for TBCM. Then I remember that it was over 10 years ago and I should not take pride in not holding grudges for over a decade.
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Oh yeah. [Sep. 23rd, 2016|12:53 am]
Tim Lieder
Here is the cover to that collection. It's a public domain Santa Claus that I tweaked. It was originally the cover of a shopping catalog. I had to take the lettering off the hat and then make the hat look presentable. There was also a yellow background with children's faces but they didn't look creepy enough so I covered them up.

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Sugarplum Zombie Motherfuckers Introduction [Sep. 23rd, 2016|12:49 am]
Tim Lieder
I just went over this a couple times. I really want to just put it up with the three short stories that I am going to self-publish (two are reprints. One is an original that no one fucking buys). But I know that I should ask for advice and a second set of eyes. So here it goes -
I have always liked Christmas. When I was a kid, I enjoyed the presents and the family gatherings. I still love the lights and the trees and the snow. Don’t believe that Christmas is about Jesus. Christmas is about presents and retail stores and crass commercialism. Christmas is about Chinese food and movies. Christmas is about Santa Claus and those weird elves and all those holiday specials. Christmas gave us Ebeneezer Scrooge, the Star Wars Holiday Special, one or two decent Doctor Who episodes and several Elvis records.
Yet, as much as I adore Christmas, I have to admit that it’s an annoying holiday. How many times can you hear someone bitch about commercialism? Do you really need to be ordered to have a merry Christmas? How soon before that meme that claims that if you hear Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa, you should just accept it lest you be considered a jerk shows up? How many non-Jews get wished a Happy Hanukkah? Don’t forget that one friend from high school that you friended on Facebook who won’t shut up about the War on Christmas.
In other words, I have to write about Christmas as a time when friends gather to watch pornography and fathers tell their children heartwarming tales of murder.
“Santa Claus Dies” was originally published in Spinetinglers in December 2012. The presence of an evil teddy bear came from my perpetual disappointment with naming a short story collection Teddy Bear Cannibal Massacre and not being able to include a killer teddy bear story. This was the first multi-author short story collection I edited for Dybbuk Press and I really didn’t know what I was doing. By the time I got it into print, I was just happy that it was finished.
“The Christmas Video” began as a short story for my creative writing class. I take perverse pride in offending everyone in the class including the teacher who had been stressing freedom of expression. There’s a bit of an Aristocrats vibe to it, but ultimately it’s heartwarming. Ok, I think it’s heartwarming. It was first published in the Undead of Winter anthology, edited by Armand Rosamilia. It was also reprinted in Big Pulp, which was a great series of collections put out by Bill Olver.
This is the first publication of “The Man in the Red Suit,” which began as a tribute to E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” and became much grimmer. Even as Santa Claus provides a template for a children’s monster, true horrors are perpetuated by humans. “The Man in the Red Suit” has bothered me for years because even though it is one of my favorite stories, I can’t seem to sell it. With other stories that I can’t sell, I eventually pull them from circulation. Often I find that a story that I’ve been sending out for years has some serious issues that fill me with relief to know that it never saw publication. Only this story defies my normal disgust with my writing. I am far from objective, but no matter how many times I print it out and edit it, I cannot hate it enough to give up on it. In fact, I like it more every time I read it.
Final note - “The Man in the Red Suit” references Muslims as Mohammedans and Saracens and depicts Islamophobic characters. It is not and it should not be read as an endorsement of Islamophobia. If you want support in hating Muslims, go find your local twitter account or Trump supporter. Or just stop hating Muslims. And get off the alt-right or MRA message boards while you’re at it.
So does it flow well? Too smug? Too crass? Do I need that caveat at the end? I kept rewriting that one because I don't want to draw too much attention to the fact that it's a story about the Serbian genocide told from the perspective of a woman who sees it all as a fairy tale (because spoilers) but I have had editors mention that there are certain prejudices in the story that need to be explained as depiction, not endorsement. I even went so far as to apologize to anyone who would get offended - but then that sounded like "I'm sorry you can't read the story and get the point" and I don't want to be that douchebag. Of course, in the year of Trump, I am way more worried about someone reading the story and going "Yeah! Fuck the Muslims!" and while I want to say that if this is your attitude, please kill your Islamophobic self, I've used that line too many times.

So notes?
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Potential Client sounds like a disaster [Sep. 22nd, 2016|11:51 am]
Tim Lieder
Got an email from a client who wants to write articles to put on social media. Her first article is going to be about her experience as a juror. Only she wants to call me and then go back and forth with the editing. It just seems like a big headache and I don't even know if I could do it that way.

She also wants to talk on the phone. I really don't know if I can handle this client in the first place. She also just replied to the automated craigslist email address instead of my direct address. Oh well, I suppose I can ask a few more questions and maybe see where it goes.

Still this looks like the disaster. Oh well. I got time.
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Titles [Sep. 18th, 2016|01:48 pm]
Tim Lieder
So after years of trying to sell a story that I am quite fond of - too fond of to just throw back in the pile - I am self-publishing it with two other Xmas themed horror stories. I pretty much need to upload these to Kindle before October and since I have a collection of three stories, I want to title the whole thing instead of just putting up the titles to the stories (Santa Claus Dies, The Xmas Video, The Man in the Red Suit) especially since I kind of need an introduction (one of the reasons why no one is buying Man in the Red Suit was that I am referencing "Mohammedan invaders" and if someone else bought it I would let it stand, but since I'm putting it out myself, I kind of want to avoid Poe's Law problems and state that I am writing about characters who hate Muslims to the point of joining militias in order to murder them in Bosnia. I am NOT endorsing that behavior. I would like to think that's self-evident but we are living in the year of Trump and I just read a book about the Bacon Rebellion written in 1900 where the author had no irony in mind when she talked about how the heroic Bacon slaughtered Indian camps. That bitch even wrote gleefully about a couple of Bacon's followers kidnapping an old woman and forcing her to lead them to her companion and when they found out that she was leading them in the wrong direction beat her to death).

So yes, The Man in the Red Suit will be available on Kindle soon. And since I want people to read it I will make it free for a week and spend money to promote it (no more than $100, probably $50).

But I want to title these works, and this is what I came up with -
Horrors of Xmas
Xmas Horror Stories
Zombies Fucking and Other Xmas Tales
Bloody Xmas
Silent Night Deadly Night
Dancer and Prancer and Zombies
Sugarplum Zombie Motherfuckers
The Man in the Read Suit
His Breath will Smell of Milk and Hell will Follow
Fucked Up Christmas Stories
Xmas Tales to Delight and Astound
Merry Xmas Motherfucker
Santa Claus Bloody and Terrible
Blood Santa Claus
Santa Claus Dies and other Tales
Rudolph the Red Nosed Communist Bear
Black Xmas
Red xmas
Xmas Tales for Perverts
Xmas Tales for Disturbed Children
The Cold Time
Sorrow and Death and Xmas
Bloody Xmas Stories
Satan says Merry Xmas
Merry Xmas Shitheads
Xmas Time Deadly Time
The Demon who Rode in a Flying Sleigh –
His Face Bloody Red, His Breath Reeking of Sour Milk

The last two are from a sentence in Man in the Red Suit. I could shorten the one to "The Demon in the Flying Sleigh" but that seems a little generic. I like the last one but about half of the people I asked about it said that it was too wordy (although the hold out really loved it).

The rest seem pretty generic. I think that "Fucked Up Xmas Stories" was my first instinct but now it just seems like that (profanity) (Subject) cliche.
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