Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Modified version of the Uncharted Territory cover image

Still fiddling around with the cover image for Uncharted Territory. Thought it needed something in that huge, empty space in the middle, so I picked up another stock image, copied the spaceship out, and pasted it over the background. Not sure if it's an improvement. The ship looks pretty obviously 'shopped in. It was even worse originally, but I darkened the ship a little and made it blend in a bit better ... but I'm still not sure it works. But maybe that's because I know it was added in ... maybe it's not as noticeable for anyone else ....

On other stuff ... going to record one or two more videos tonight, one for the ME2 Writing Discussion and the other for my How Not to Tell a Story series. Also working on notes for the Kindle Scout video and hoping the campaign doesn't end before I actually get it finished. Might just do the writing discussion video and then focus on the notes, depending on how things go tonight.

And finally, going to make another attempt at uploading the video that got borked by the power outage ....

Delays and power outages and equipment malfunctions, oh my!

So, I was planning to make a video for the Project Revenant Kindle Scout campaign, but a bunch of real-life stuff got in the way. Still hoping to get it done sometime in the next few days, but since I've spent most of my life being Murphy's Law's favorite chew toy, there's no guarantee that something else might derail it.

Couple days ago, my keyboard (a backlit mechanical keyboard that I got four or five years ago and absolutely loved) went haywire. Couldn't type anything, and random characters started appearing in the browser's address bar and the text field of my word processor. I figured a reboot would clear it up, but when the login screen came up, the computer wouldn't even recognize the keyboard. I found my old keyboard in the closet and plugged it in, and the computer wouldn't recognize it, either. Rebooted again, and nothing changed. Kept trying to get into the accessibility options and bring the on-screen keyboard up so I could at least boot the computer, but it kept freezing each time. Reboot, try again, freeze, reboot, repeat. Finally managed to get it to work, typed in the password, and the computer booted. It still wouldn't recognize the keyboard, so I had to keep repeatedly unplugging it and plugging it back in. Finally got it working, but only after spending most of the day on it.

Needless to say, all of that kind of fucked up my fung-shui.

Last night I decided to record another video in my Mass Effect 2 Playthrough and Writing Discussion series, going through the Horizon mission and getting rather frustrated at getting beat to death multiple times by husks. Then I recorded another in the How Not to Tell a Story series, discovering in the process that the crash last time wiped out a lot of the progress I'd made and set me back to just after I finished the first conversation with Battletits in the Citadel docking area. So I'll need to edit that one and cut out a huge chunk where I basically had to go through the same cutscenes from the previous video to catch up to where the last one left off.

And then the game crashed while I was upgrading some weapons. Second time in a row Mass Effect 3 has crashed while doing one of these videos. If it keeps happening, maybe I can turn it into a humorous bit of business to finish each video with. When it happened last time, the capture software continued long enough to record me saying, "The fucking game crashed!" just before it cut off. And this time, it kept going long enough for me to realize the game had frozen, and cut off right after I snarled, "Goddamn it!" So I might actually be able to turn that to my advantage if it keeps happening.

Last night I started uploading the Writing Discussion video, and left it running overnight. Still had about three hours to go this morning. Then a thunderstorm hit and the power got knocked out for a split-second, just long enough to shut the computer down. This was a nearly nine-gigabyte file I was uploading, and it was about ten minutes from completion when the power cut out, and I can't resume the upload. I'll have to start over. And because my internet provider limits upload/download to 100 gigabytes every month, by the time I finally get the video uploaded, I will have used up almost 20% of my monthly allotment ... and half of it was for nothing.

Anyway ... here's a look at the image I'm using for the video's thumbnail.

In other news, I'm playing around with a new version of the Uncharted Territory cover image. There's a big empty space in the middle of the image, so I'm trying to insert a spacecraft into it. Got a stock image with a ship flying over a landscape, copied the ship out, inserted it into the cover, and now I'm delicately erasing everything except the ship and hoping it won't end up looking like shit. And of course, I was also in the middle of that when the power cut.

So that's a snippet of what's going on right now. I've probably forgotten a few things I was planning to mention here. Soon as I post this, I'm pouring yet another cup of coffee and hoping it'll overcome the effects of the rampant insomnia I've been going through during the last few months. >_<

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Uncharted Territory cover image

Didn't get to this as early as I expected due to a two-mile walk to pick up some groceries followed by a two-mile walk back home (can't remember if I already mentioned this or not, but I don't have a car anymore and can't afford a taxi). But I got it done a few minutes ago despite being exhausted and half-asleep.

Might make some small changes later on, but for the most part, this is what I'm going with.

And now I'm off to bed while I'm still awake enough to drag my ass away from my desk ....

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Another excerpt from Project Revenant

Here's another little snippet from Project Revenant, currently in Kindle Scout. In this one, Otto and Shakira have just made a quick stop at a convenience store and are on their way back to her hot-pink Humvee when she's assaulted by a mugger. It doesn't go as the mugger planned. XD

In the corner of his eye, a hand reached out and clamped onto Shakira's shoulder.
"Into the alley," an unfamiliar voice hissed. "Now!"
Before Otto could turn his head, Shakira spun and rammed her left elbow into something, forcing a startled grunt from the voice's owner.
What …? Otto caught a glimpse of a guy in a black hoodie and sunglasses snapping his head back and starting to fall over. Blood trickled from his nose.
A knife slipped from his right hand and clinked onto the sidewalk.
Shakira dropped the Viso and drove her right fist into the guy's chin, channeling the weight of her entire body into the blow, and the guy toppled over like a felled tree.
the hell? Otto stared at him, only barely able to comprehend what had just happened.
Shakira stared at the guy for several seconds before glancing at the knife and backing away, covering her mouth with her hands. Her eyes opened wider and her whole body shook.
"Oh, shit! I can't believe I just … that guy had a knife! I – I – I gotta sit down." She staggered over to her Humvee, opened the door, and half sat, half collapsed into the seat. She fumbled in her pocket, pulled her phone out, and almost dropped it. "Gotta … gotta call the cops," she muttered.
Otto turned back to the guy she'd dropped, and found him still sprawled face-down. Passersby stopped nearby, flicking their eyes back and forth between him and Shakira.
"Whoa. You knocked him the hell out." Otto grinned at her. "That was awesome! Where'd you learn to fight like that?"
"Growing up with two older brothers." She tried to dial the police and the phone slipped from her trembling fingers. "Had to learn how to fight so they couldn't keep pinning me down and beating the piss out of me."
Otto glanced at the knife guy, turned back to Shakira, and grinned. "That was the hottest thing I've ever seen. You've just become, like, a million times sexier!"
She grimaced as she picked up her phone and tried to dial again. "Ugh. I should've let the bastard mug me."

Shakira Mosely may not be a bioengineered badass or a cyborg soldier, but she still takes no shit.

If you liked this glimpse into the book, please head over to Project Revenant's Kindle Scout page and nominate it. Give it a shot at publication. If it gets enough votes to land a publishing contract, readers who nominated it will get a free copy.

Also, if you'd be so kind, please check out and vote for my entries in several contests over on Inkitt:

Game Over in the "Hidden Gems" novels contest ...
Mission to Bellatrix in the "Entwined" romance contest ...
Fifteen Minutes in the "Reinvent Reality" sci-fi contest ...
Game Changer in the "Fandom" fanfiction contest ...

Game Over, Mission to Bellatrix, and Fifteen Minutes will remain on Inkitt in their entirety, free to read, for the duration of each contest. Once the contest ends, they'll be taken down and will be available only for purchase from Amazon and other sellers.

And please check out my work-in-progress on Inkshares, Uncharted Territory, a full-length novel based on Mission to Bellatrix. I'm planning to begin its pre-order campaign once I've got a the majority of the book finished. After that starts, if it gets at least 750 pre-orders, it'll be published as an ebook, and if it hits at least 1,000 it'll be printed as an actual, physical book. I'll post an announcement when I'm ready to kick off the campaign.

Finally, on upcoming stuff: I'm planning to make a short video about Project Revenant and its scout campaign, which will be uploaded by tomorrow evening, if all goes well. And I'll also whip up a new cover image for Uncharted Territory, aiming for completing and posting it tonight.

More updates coming as more stuff comes together ....

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Project Revenant" Kindle Scout campaign

... and a few other things.

There's a lot to talk about tonight. First of all, I've just gone through a very ... unpleasant time during the past couple of months. I won't go into much detail here, but basically ... I lost my car, came close to losing my (incredibly low-paying) job, and very nearly ended up homeless. I'm still kind of hanging over the abyss, but there's a slim chance that things are improving, at least slightly.

While struggling through all of that, I kept working to finish Project Phoenix, which I retitled Project Revenant. I'd started writing it four years ago, so it was about time I got the thing finished anyway, but I also needed to get it into Kindle Scout as soon as possible. Well, it's finished, polished up, and it's been approved for Scout. Here's the page for the book's campaign. If it gets enough nominations, it'll be published and everyone who voted for it will get a free copy.

Project Revenant is my fourth novel, and the third in the Neon City series. Click the link above and you'll get to read the first chapter and part of the second as a sample. And if you enjoy what you see of the story, please nominate it. As mentioned above, you'll get a free copy if it's picked up for publication.

For another small sample of what you'll find in the book, here's the following snippet:

Machiko's helmet camera scanned the edge of the parking garage roof and picked out a figure partially hidden behind a series of ducts, pipes, and power junction boxes, aiming a sniper rifle at the street. She'd landed on a rooftop nearby that was higher than most of the surrounding buildings, which would make it easy enough to glide down to the ADS headquarters. She'd prefer to pick the guy off from where she stood, but there were too many ducts and pipes in the way for a clear shot.
[See any others, guys?]
[Nope,] Jamie said. 
Machiko spread her wings, leaped off the edge, caught an updraft, and sailed around to the south side of the ADS building. Once she was close enough, she dived at it, pulled up, and dropped the last few feet to the rooftop. A quick glance at the sniper confirmed that he'd spotted her – just as she'd hoped. She ducked behind a part of the air conditioning system, pulled her own sniper rifle from her back and made sure the safety was off.
Yeah, that's right, keep your eyes on me.
The sniper switched from his rifle to a machine gun and squeezed off a few dozen rounds. They punched into the metal between himself and Machiko.
She plucked the grappling hook gun from her belt and waited for a pause in the shooting. When the sniper stopped to reload, Machiko launched into the open and bolted across the roof. The sniper finished shoving a fresh clip into his gun and continued firing. The bullets nipped at her feet as she sprinted toward the east edge. He tracked her all the way across, but couldn't quite keep up with her.
She fired the grappling hook into the edge of the roof and clipped the gun to her belt.
The sniper's weapon clicked and he popped the clip out.
Machiko leaped off the edge, spun around in midair, and raised her rifle into position.
The guy shoved another new clip into his gun.
His head entered Machiko's sights and she pulled the trigger while still pivoting and beginning to drop down the side of the building. The man's head snapped backward and the rear half exploded out behind him. His body tumbled off the edge just as Machiko dropped out of sight and completed her three-sixty turn. The line buzzed softly as it unreeled. A few yards above ground, Machiko grabbed the grappling gun and hit the retract button. The hook disengaged and the line zipped back into the gun a split second before she hit the pavement. The servos in her armor absorbed the shock and she rolled forward and came up running. She sprinted into an alley across the street and holstered the sniper rifle on her back.
She reactivated her comlink implant and sent, [Jamie, Adam, double check. Still no more snipers?]
[None. But there are vehicles in the garage heading for the ground floor.]
[Thanks, guys. Jack, you're okay to go.] Machiko grabbed her plasma rifle and crouched behind a minivan parked at the curb. [We'll keep 'em off your back while you get to your car. Let's get this done.]

Another project I've just started: expanding Mission to Bellatrix into a full novel. I changed the title to Uncharted Territory and have posted the first three chapters (so far) to Inkshares. I'll continue posting new chapters there as they're finished, and if the book gets enough votes and preorders, it'll be picked up for publication.

Inkitt is also running several different contests. I've entered Game Over into one called "Hidden Gems." Again, if it gets enough votes, it'll be published, so if you enjoyed the book, please vote for it.

Another of their contests is for fanfiction, so I decided to toss Game-Changer into it and see what happens. The winning author has a shot at Inkitt helping to revise the story into an original work and publish it.

I actually wanted to use Freelancers for this, but the entry had to be both complete and over 40,000 words. Freelancers is past 120,000 words, but nowhere near complete yet. More like ... 25% complete. Maybe. I wouldn't be surprised if it hit 500,000 words by the time it's done.

One of the other contest categories is romance, so I figured I'd enter Mission to Bellatrix in that one. There's also one for sci-fi novels, and I'm probably going to use Fifteen Minutes for it.

Back to fanfic for a moment. I finally finished chapter 9 of Harbinger, and posted it yesterday (on Fanfiction.net and AO3). Here's a snippet of Miko's brain/mouth filter failing again:

"The general said this is an outtake from one of the interviews conducted by the news team that recently arrived at the base. He found it while vetting their recordings. This one won't be made public, apparently, but he thought it'd give you a laugh."
"Can't wait to see it, then." Jensen woke the tablet and found the clip already loaded in the media player. He tapped the play button and chuckled at the sight of Miko sitting on a bench beside Bulkhead's human-size Pretender body. "Oh, this oughta be good."
The reporter, Tenesha Hargrove, sat on the end of the bench and smiled at them. "So, you two have known each other for only a few months, but you appear to get along quite well."
"Bulkhead's like a big brother. I never knew what that was even like until we met. Turns out we have almost the same taste in music, TV shows, movies, and so on." Miko fired off a wicked grin. "We don't see eye-to-eye on everything, though."
"Oh, here we go." Bulkhead chuckled.
"For instance, Bulk is really into Coldplay. Just loves 'em. Me?" Miko grimaced. "Can't stand 'em."
"Come on, they're not that bad, are they?"
"Every Coldplay song I've ever heard sounded like my grandparents fingering each other."
Jensen barked out a laugh as Tenesha's face twisted up like she'd just bitten into a rotten lemon. Bulkhead snickered and another voice burst into laughter. The guy holding the camera, Jensen guessed.
A light flashed on the console on the far side of the room. Ratchet and Optimus walked over to it as Agent Fowler's face appeared on the screen. Miko glanced over her shoulder at the image, turned to Bulkhead, and nudged his shoulder.
"Hey, d'ya think Fowler's ever been, like, just fuckin' hammered?"
Bulkhead guffawed again and shrugged. "Well, I've seen what he's like when he wakes up after being knocked out for a few hours. I figure it's probably a lot like that."
The next words out of Miko's mouth were apparently so profane that they had to be censored. With a huge grin and an evil glint in her eye, she leaned over to Bulkhead and said, "D'ya think Fowler likes [BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP]?"
Bulkhead stared blankly at her. The guy holding the camera emitted an audible gasp. Tenesha's "I ate a rancid lemon" expression twisted up even further.
Jensen snort-laughed. "Oh, wow!"

And in video-blog news, I've finally found a bit of time to record another of my How Not to Tell a Story videos. In this one, I kept getting distracted by several NPCs who wouldn't stop following Shepard around and just staring at him.

I'm hoping to get another one done in the next day or two, assuming the game doesn't crash like it did at the end of this one. And I'm planning to do another of my commentary/writing discussion videos on Mass Effect 2.

And finally, a while back I was experimenting with streaming on Twitch. I edited the videos down so they'd be much shorter and uploaded them to YouTube. I kept trying to get the Twitch video quality up to a decent level, and kept failing. Also had a lot of audio problems, and my voice often couldn't be heard over the game's sounds.

If I can get the audio and video issues worked out, I'm planning to do a Twitch stream of one of my favorite games, Saints Row: The Third, sometime soon. I'll post an announcement if/when that happens.

So, that about covers it for now. Just had a lot of stuff to catch up on, and a lot more to do. The Kindle Scout campaign for Project Revenant runs for thirty days, and I'll have to spend a lot of time doing promotional stuff and drawing as much attention to it as I can. I really, really need this to succeed.

I'll post more announcements when new developments come up.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Title changes and an experiment

For a while I've been planning to turn "Mission to Bellatrix" into a full novel. A few days ago one of my friends pointed me toward a site called Inkshares. After thinking it over, I decided to go ahead and post my plot synopsis on Inkshares, with a new working title, Uncharted Territory, and will start posting the rough draft soon. If it gets enough followers and orders, they'll publish it. So take a look at it, and if it looks like something you'd be interested in, please click "follow" and see where the ride takes you.

Meanwhile, I've made "Mission to Bellatrix" available as a stand-alone book on Kindle, Smashwords, and Kobo.

In other news, I'm getting into the home stretch on my current work in progress. I've changed the title from Project: Phoenix to Project: Revenant and have slapped together a new cover.

Should have just another chapter or two, then the rough draft will be finished. Then I'll polish it while working on the rough draft of Uncharted Territory, and submit it to Kindle Scout when it's ready.

More info on that to come later ....

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

All of my books in one place

In an attempt to step up advertising for the works I have for sale, here's a list of all of them. I'll be re-posting this frequently for anyone who happens to find my stuff here as a convenient way to find the rest of it.

First novel in a post-cyberpunk series set a few decades from now in a city built from the ground up by a group of mega-corporations. It follows the adventures of a young man with cybernetic eyes, his bioengineered girlfriend, and their roommate, as they stumble onto a data-smuggling plot that could cost them their lives before they can find a way out. Meanwhile, their daughter and son arrive from the future on a mission to avert a disaster that destroyed the city and killed millions of people.

A novella taking a humorous look at three newly-recruited government agents in a love triangle in their off-duty hours. Set between the novels, Load and Fifteen Minutes"
Jack, Corona, and Taura are ordered to lay low for a few days while waiting for the dust to settle after the events of Load. This story offers a glimpse into their off-duty lives--how they deal with their temporary home (a safe house that might be best described as a "fixer-upper"), what they do to pass the time, and the growing love triangle between the three of them.

Fifteen Minutes
In the sequel to Load, Jack, Corona, and Taura begin their first job for a dodgy government agency which not only opens a can of worms that they may not survive, but also lands them in the weirdest situation they've ever faced--an audience watching their every move. At the same time, their future-daughter tracks a fugitive wanted for a crime he didn't commit, and finds herself facing down an assassin who can't be killed.

An ongoing serialized story: A space station's maintenance crew and part of its security team are zapped through a space/time rift and stranded somewhere across the stars.
All volumes available on Kindle, beginning with Vol. 1:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B27G0WW

Game Over
Dylan Engstrom awakens in a strange place and finds himself surrounded by aliens. Before he can begin to understand what happened, he and a few others are forced to fight in a series of combat scenarios. They form a strong bond during their traumatic experiences, but still must figure out what's happening and escape before they're all killed ... again ... and again ... and again .…
Available from the following:

GI Joe: Omega Section, Vol. 1 – Reactivated
Several decades from now, the terrorist organization known as Cobra is long gone and GI Joe disbanded. But suddenly, from out of nowhere, former members of GI Joe are targeted for assassination all over the world. The survivors must regroup, prevent assassinations that haven't already gone down, figure out what's happening, and fight back. 
Living legends join with new heroes to rebuild the GI Joe unit, merging into it a new organization called Omega Section and adding its personnel and equipment to the team. Together, they find themselves fighting an old enemy suddenly reborn -- Cobra is rising again, and GI Joe has been reactivated.
Available from Kindle Worlds: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QMTUUQC

Mission to Bellatrix
Kolya Mason, a young adventurer with a badly scarred face, has been hitchhiking on starships for several years. Now, she boards a ship leaving Terran-controlled space for the first time, joining a science team investigating the reappearance of a long-lost spacecraft. She's accompanied by a gorgeous young man who insists on tagging along ... but what's he up to? Is he genuinely attracted to her, or does he have some other agenda?
Wrong Place, Right Time
One hot summer night in the spaceport city of Gos Duronan on the planet Tevsa, populated by the alien mulathi and a handful of other species, Trent Lockwood began a typical night of exploring the city his family had moved into a few months previously. Tonight, however, he had no idea what was in store. Wandering into the wrong part of town at the exact right moment, he found himself presented with an opportunity that he'd be a fool to pass up. So began the adventures of an alien gigolo .…
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/568283

And if I may make a request of those who have already read any of the above books, if you'd post a review on its purchase page, I'd very much appreciate it. Might help boost sales. Thank you in advance. ^_^ 

Monday, July 13, 2015


Naturally, the first broadcast I tried just to see if I could get the software to work ... had some problems. Tried keeping the video quality high, but my connection couldn't handle it, so I had to reduce the quality. That lasted for a while, but finally it crapped out, too. Luckily, I was able to wrap it up just before it fizzled out.

And luckily, the video was successfully archived here. I'm planning to edit out the bits where not much is happening, and keep the highlights. There's an especially hilarious moment at around 24 minutes in, if I remember correctly. XD

New CPU cooler and new video

After several years of my computer's processor overheating and shutting down, I finally couldn't stand it anymore, and installed a closed-loop liquid cooling system. A little under a week ago, it did the overheat/shutdown thing and then wouldn't reboot. I had to run a startup repair to get it working, and that freaked me out a little. I figured I should get it over with while I actually had enough money. Cleaned out my savings account to do it (grand total of $59, which is sad in itself). Still kind of feel like I shouldn't have spent the money, but the overheating problem seems to have been solved now, so a little peace of mind is worth the expense.

Now I can start catching up on a few things I haven't been able to do recently for fear of having the computer shut down right in the middle of something. Like this:

More to come soon.

Also, I'm thinking about trying to broadcast on Twitch again, if I can get the software to work. Last time I tried it, I could never get it to work. Going to try different broadcast software this time and see what happens.

For future reference, the link to my stream: http://www.twitch.tv/feel_boss

Friday, July 3, 2015

Some thoughts on bullying

This'll be a bit more off-topic than I usually get here, but I just saw something on YouTube that kind of hit close to home.

I was bullied almost every day in elementary and junior high, just because I wore glasses, was physically weaker than almost everyone else, and didn't care about sports ... and as a result I was never able to fit in no matter how hard I tried. I was much more interested in reading and writing and sci-fi movies and TV shows, so that made me a "nerd" and a target of relentless bullying. It was only occasionally physical, most of the time it was just constant verbal harassment and threats and insults. And when you're only six or seven or eight years old, that hits as hard as any punch. Add to that the fact of the bullies being physically stronger than you, and that leads to constant fear of being pounded into the floor if you try to fight back.

For a while I did what I was always told to do: tell the teacher when someone wouldn't leave me alone. Most of the time, that made no difference at all. The teachers would just shrug and say, "I have to catch them in the act before I can do anything." The problem was, they almost never caught the bullies in the act. Those little fuckers were masters of avoiding being caught. They had that shit down to an art. So they almost never got caught, and my grades suffered because I was too busy being distracted by kids hurling insults at me, or threatening to beat me up or stab me in the back with a pencil, or throwing things at me. All because I wasn't exactly like them. That made me a target, and once they found out that they could get under my skin, they never let up. It would sometimes get to the point where the sheer frustration and rage would make me start crying, and then those evil bastards would zero in on that and step the bullying up a few more notches.

So, telling the teachers what was going on didn't work most of the time. And a few times, the teacher actually accused me of lying. When I tried to follow the rules and do the right thing, one teacher actually said, "Stop telling me things that aren't true." Another time, a girl was picking on me without letup. Nothing I said convinced her to stop, and I'd always been taught that it was wrong to hit a girl. So I walked over to the teacher, told him what was going on, and asked him to make her leave me alone. What did he do? He yelled across the entire classroom at her and told her to stop picking on me. As you can probably guess, this resulted in every other kid in the class pointing at me and laughing their asses off. All it did was make me an even bigger target.

Eventually I realized there was no point in trying to get teachers to stop what was happening. They would either just not believe me, or their actions would make things even worse. After that, I tried to do another thing I was told all the time -- "just ignore them." Which didn't work at all, either. The more I tried to ignore them, the more determined they became to break me.

Another thing I was told fairly often was to just fight back. If some kid won't leave you alone, just knock him onto his ass. In fact, when my family was packing up to move out of that town, one of the reasons we left being the constant bullying I had to endure, one of my parents' neighbors asked me why we were leaving. I started to explain that one of the reasons was most of the school picking on me. He interrupted and told me that was a bunch of bullshit and I should just kick their asses.

Well, on the very rare occasions when I finally snapped and tried to fight back, that was the moment the teachers would finally turn around and look at the kids and see what was happening. They'd see me retaliating against a bully, without seeing the bully's actions that prompted it, and punish me for instigating something or "responding inappropriately." Which would not only show the bullies that they could get away with their constant abuse, but that their victim would be punished for defending himself.

Leaving that aside for a moment, there was a whole other problem. It was usually me against a dozen or more bigger, stronger kids in the class. I knew even when I was a little kid that the only way fighting back against them could've ended was with me being beaten within a quarter-inch of my life. So ... telling the teachers only made it worse. Trying to ignore it only made it worse. And fighting back only made it worse.

I pretty much had a complete breakdown near the end of eighth grade. I shudder to think what might've happened if I'd had access to a gun when I was that age. I certainly spent enough time thinking up extremely violent revenge fantasies. But guess what? Acting on those impulses would've only made things worse. So I was screwed no matter what.

And it never ended until my family moved to a different town, a town which turned out to be a pisshole in its own right, but it was still a step up from the one I grew up in, and I didn't have to put up with bullying from the other kids anymore. There, the bullying came from certain members of the school's staff, so it was kind of like ... I was in a different toilet, but it was still the same old shit.

And it continues into adulthood. Since the pisshole town I lived in is populated mostly by the meanest, most abusive excuses for human beings you could have the misfortune to encounter (they're not all bad; a small handful of the people in that town are very close friends, and there's probably a few dozen out of the whole population who are decent people ... but the rest, I learned over the next twenty years after landing my first job, if they were on fire I wouldn't even piss on 'em to put the fire out), the bullying just took on different forms from different sources. For the most part, it was the customers I had to deal with every day -- rude, condescending, snappy, entitlement-whores who would flip out over the slightest thing no matter how friendly and polite I was, and I didn't dare say anything in my own defense out of fear of losing my job. As much as I hated working in those places, I had to pay my rent and put food on the table. Those bastards knew that -- they knew none of us could push back too much -- and they took advantage of it every chance they got.

There were also a few managers in my previous job who were bullies. A couple of them had a habit of yelling at their employees on the sales floor, right in front of other employees and customers. One of them did that to several employees and they all turned her in to the store management. Nothing was ever done about it. The reason she was eventually fired was someone caught her smoking pot in her truck in the employee parking lot. At least they finally gave her the ol' heave-ho ... but it still angers me that she was tossed because someone caught her sparkin' up a doob, and not because she was a raging asshole who thought it was okay to scream at and berate the people under her where everyone else could see it.

So, once again ... different toilet, same old shit.

I finally got so sick of all the crap barraging me day after day after day there that I snapped and walked out in the middle of a shift. After thinking long and hard about it, I decided to get far, far away from that cesspool of a town, and moved 1,300 miles away to a city where the climate is much dryer and hotter and not severely depression-inducing. This place is the exact opposite in both climate and in population, at least as far as I've experienced so far. The people I've met have mostly been friendly and easygoing, and the rudeness I've encountered has been the exception, not the rule.

After moving, and applying for jobs for eight months, I finally got hired for a job that only pays $5/hour and is destroying my car. Spent two years applying for better jobs, and have never even landed another interview. Still, it's barely paying the rent so far. But I learned recently that one of the company's local higher-ups likes to yell and berate employees right in front of everyone else. And y'know what? If he ever does that to me, I'm out of there, and damn the consequences. After putting up with that shit for almost my entire life, I've had enough. There are some things I simply won't tolerate anymore.

So. Maybe ignoring it works for some people. Maybe fighting back works for some people. I don't know. In my case, nothing worked, and my family had to move to another town to get me away from the kid bullies. And then I finally had to move to a different state to get away from the adult bullies. This many miles away from them, in all likelihood I'll never have to see any of those fucking scumbags ever again. I've finally escaped them. But that doesn't change what I had to endure as I was growing up and, later, trying to make a living. It doesn't change the toll all of that bullying took. It doesn't take away the pain that's still with me to this very day. As much as I manage to "forget" about it, every now and then something comes along and reminds me, and all the misery and frustration and rage comes back full force.

As stated in the video above, bullying has a lasting effect. In some cases, like mine, a permanent effect. Some things you can't just "get over," even when it's something that happened decades ago. Obviously I was never pushed to the point where I decided to take my own life ... but there were moments when (the bullying combined with other things in my life that made me absolutely miserable) it crossed my mind, and sometimes I shudder to think what might've happened if one of those kids had pushed me that one step too far.

The bullying happened over thirty years ago. And then I see a video like the one above, and see that nothing has really changed. Little kids can be so vicious, so ... predatory. And when the adults who are in a position to stop it just shrug it off or punish the victim, it can lead to disaster. And when it does, they say things like, "How could this happen?"

The victims know goddamned well how it happens. And it will continue until those who are in a position to do something about it stop turning a blind eye and actually step in.