Rant Grenade: Pizza Tracking

Pizza’s like the perfect writer fuel.  You can get at it straight out of the box, no need to fuss with utensils or even plates, take a few bites and get back to writing.  Plus in most cases it comes to you.  So imagine how happy I was awhile back when science merged with the perfect writer fuel to create this:

The pizza tracker.  Maybe we’ve become jaded with the wonders of the modern era but seriously… it tracks pizza, y’all!  I mean, we’ve come from those big ass battle tank cellphones from the 80’s to having near real time intelligence of the grub you ordered.  You never have to wonder where the hell your pizza is–you know that weird space where you feel like it’s been for-frickin-ever since you placed the call so you’re trying to calculate when that was and it’s messing with your rusty math skills and you kinda feel like you’re tripping but maybe not and either way you’re hungry.  No more of that… it’s like they’re baking a chain of accountability right into the pie.

So what’s the rant about?  Because it’s a beautiful lie.  Because they lulled me in with their promise of pizza tracking and pulled the rug from under me, something I only noticed after about 4 orders where my pizza was kind of sucktacular.  See it for yourself.  Compare the old pizza tracker to the newer one:

 

See the difference?  While they were busy making it smaller and neater they were also removing the accountability from the tracker entirely.  Step 4 went from “Box” which means they took your pizza from the oven and put it into the box to “Quality Check”, which means Fuckall.  Think about it… it’s a conveyor belt oven so all you gotta do is stand at the ass end of the conveyor, look at the pizza as it comes out for a second just to be sure Johnny’s not pranking you again by turning the oven up or some starving fly decided to enter Valhalla by taking a suicidal dive into the lava cheese while screaming “witness me!” to its fly friends,  and box the damn thing up.  What kind of “quality check” are they doing?  Sticking thermometers in it to see if it achieved optimal internal temperature like a turkey? Measuring the distance between toppings to ensure perfect coverage?  No, they’re putting the pizza in the box.  That’s it.  The difference is when you literally honestly say Step 4 is “Box” most folks know that only takes a minute so it should be out the door and on its way to you.  When you say “Quality Check” it becomes this nebulous, undefined affair that could take 10, 15, who knows, 20 minutes.

And it does.  If your local pizza place is anything like mine, you’ll see your pizza dwell in Step 4 long enough to get mail there.  It is eternal.  It is the purgatory in which your pizza goes from this hot gooey wondergrub to this lame, limp heatlamp meh.  Ironically, “Quality Check” is where quality goes to die.  And my pizza like lives in there and I’m looking at the 4 do its subtle throb-glow and it’s supposed to be soothing but it feels like watching the hero of the story, say like James Bond or Flint or some other super spy, get put into a tank that’s slowly filling up with water.  I want to go to my pizza, to help it escape from “Quality Check” but that defeats the whole purpose of the call.  Besides, pizza can maybe hopefully go free from 4 to “Out for Delivery” any second.  Only pizza doesn’t.   Pizza isn’t James Bond or Flint or some other super spy with training and agency.  Pizza doesn’t escape, it becomes limp and soggy.

That’s my rant, y’all.  Another story of how science made things better and then somehow people turned that science into crap.  This is how Charlton Heston went from an astronaut to wearing a loincloth yelling “You Maniacs! You blew it all up!”  And it started with the pizza tracker.

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REMINDER: Hey guys, I still have a few copies of my novel Pendulum Heroes available over at inkitt.com.  For those of you who’ve already read it, they’ve allowed voting now!  So do your boy a favor and go to the site, grab the novel if you haven’t yet or vote on it if you have.  Since a whopping 20% of the decision on who wins the contest comes from votes, I DEFINITELY need yours!   Click here to help!

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War Journal 80: The Limited Release

I WANT YOU – to read my book!

So here we are, years of selling shorts to better and better markets, blogging across continents, 80 war journals documenting life in these trenches, and we’ve finally arrived at a public release of my novel.

I’m gonna keep this extra short and teaser free.  You folks who’ve read me kinda know how I story and the folks that may be new to me, whether because you’ve stumbled upon this post from LinkedIn or Twitter or my Amazon Author Page, well here’s the perfect opportunity for y’all to get to know me.  There’s about 95 copies left for free and then the site takes it down, so grab one before they’re gone.

You can find my debut novel Pendulum Heroes here.

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The Free Giveaway is Here!

Hey everybody, your opportunity to get over 200 bucks worth of entertainment is here!  The Codex Swords and Spaceships SFF Giveaway has started, with over 20 authors giving out their awesome reads for free.  You can grab my stuff along with other gifted Codexians.  You wouldn’t walk past 20 dollars on the ground so don’t browse past 200 bucks waiting to delight and enthrall you on whatever reading device you’re using.  Post is over… click the link and get this stuff already!

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War Journal 79: The Clean Giveaway

I work in I.T. and love emerging technology, but for some reason I am slow on the trigger when it comes to using technology to promote my writerly products.  I think the combination of me being old school, you know with the belief that a fun story and tight writing speaks for itself, along with the fact that I’m a raging cheapskate ($89 bucks a month for plugin features on WordPress?  My no is LEGION) keeps me in a space where I’m just shy of standing on a corner shouting “buy my stuff” like an out of place town cryer.

Enter my protégé and a tell of three sites.

Jen Finelli came up with the idea to have a campaign where select members of Codex Writers give away some product, whether its short stories or novel excerpts or a whole novel.  Since membership in Codex requires some skin in the game (in most cases at least one SFWA recognized pro level sale), readers will get treated to some quality speculative fiction and us writers get a chance to broaden our audience.  It’s a win for everybody.

Swords and Spaceships: The Codex Giveaway will be going on from 18-31 October on Instafreebie.  Naturally, I’m in it, giving those of you who have yet to check out my novelette “Dialogues with Talking Heads” a chance to get it for my favorite price of free-ninety nine.  It’s a fun sci-fi murder mystery so good you might feel bad you didn’t pay me for it.  Plus while you’re at it you get to check out the work of 20 other kickass neo-pros.  It’s a sweet deal, one that yours truly is definitely gonna take advantage of.  Check it out here.

That said, this is a tale of three sites, Instafreebie being one of them.  While “free” may be their middle name, “bi” follows that, as in writers should buy their add ons and upgrades to actually get the most out of it.  One of their mosts is being able to develop a mailing list.  First I was like “Mailing list… why didn’t I think of that?”  It’s a great way to connect to you guys who really, really dig what I do.  I’m talking sending you live and direct never-before-seen short stories, glimpses and teasers of my Pendulum Heroes novel series, and promo codes to save you guys some money on the books when they finally become available.  And that’s just the start.

But I’m also committed to doing that kind of promotion on the cheap.  Ain’t nothing but gristle in these trenches, folks.  To have an operational budget you gotta have an operation and that doesn’t really kick into gear until I’m sitting on a fully packaged novel.  That’s coming and soon, but for now I’m trying to apply my favorite price to everything.

Enter mailchimp.  They basically allow automation of mail lists so only you guys and potentially the folks who sign up for the Codex Giveaway will get access to my exclusives.  Their free package allows for some 2,000 subscribers, so I’m actually not mad at their pay wall.  By the time I have 2k in audience, well, dear friends, that’s when this thing’ll be an operation.

So I built a subscribe to newsletter campaign on mailchimp and here’s where we enter the third site… this blog on WordPress.  I like WordPress, they’ve got all sorts of neat widgets and plugins.  Only thing is, to incorporate the plugins, specifically the mailchimp one which would allow you guys to easily subscribe to my newsletter, I have to pay WordPress $89 dollars a month for their business plan upgrade.

Lemme get this straight, WordPress, you want me to pay almost 90 bucks a month and it doesn’t even come with HBO?

One of these days I may be world famous, a New York Times best-selling author with more dough than Papa Johns, and this post will be archived so that folks will discover this future big shot was once a writer counting his spare change.  That’ll be great… they’ll laugh and point it out and I’ll laugh with them.  But I ain’t laughing now, I’m leveling up my workaround game and I came up with the picture below.    You’re gonna see our hearty sergeant on the vast majority of my future posts.  He likes the gristle, and when you click his picture you go to my page to subscribe to all the exclusive content I mentioned earlier.  Now I can provide the form, you guys can get at the sweet swag.  Everyone wins.  Except WordPress.

So please, make it official… click the picture and join the squad!

Hungry for more gristle? Click the picture!

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