SIX OF THE WORST… things about Android Auto

When I first got a car with Android Auto, I was super-excited to use it. But the more time I’ve spent in the application, the more problems I’ve had with it. At this point I’ve given up and gone back to using my phone, which is now mounted above my infotainment system. Here’s why I did that.

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SIX OF THE BEST… Tenth Doctor episodes

I was finally convinced to watch Doctor Who. It’s good. Not the best show ever, but good. Good enough for me to have a top-six list of David Tennant episodes.

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SIX OF THE BEST… deep cuts I forgot I thumbs’d up

I haven’t written a column about music in about a year and a half. Time to change that.

(There’s also a small rant about Girl Scout Cookies at the end.)

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SIX OF THE BEST… ways you could make my stay more comfortable

I’ve stayed in 13 hotels in the past two years. That’s an average of one hotel every two months (not including the one I stayed in twice). That’s given me quite an insight into ways hotels could improve things… or, in some cases, stop improving them.

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SIX OF THE WORST… things about recipe websites

If you manage to get to the end of my long-ass, picture-filled column, you’ll find an actual recipe at the end… just like a real recipe website!

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SIX OF THE BEST… annoying conspiracies no one is talking about

It’s a conspiracy. You may not think it is, but it is. Maybe.

By the way, did you check out my new story, “Thoughts and Prayers”, over at The Arcanist? You should. It’s only 1000 words; shouldn’t take you long to read.

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“Thoughts and Prayers”

Out today in The Arcanist: my flash fiction story about the gamification of tragedy, “Thoughts and Prayers”.

I first wrote this in November 2015, after a mass shooting (I think), when I saw the outpouring of “support” on social media — especially from the government, who did absolutely nothing, and continues to do absolutely nothing… except send thoughts and prayers. At this point the phrase has become rote, and while I know there are people out there who are genuine, it’s really more of a “do it on social media so everyone knows how much you ‘care'” thing. I’m a cynic, yes, but there’s a reason for that.

The whole mess has only gotten worse since 2015, as the disasters somehow get worse and the platitudes somehow get emptier. And yet the first dozen publications I submitted this story to passed on it. One said “not speculative enough” (which, okay, the speculative element is slight), another called it “too message-y”, and another said I didn’t push the concept far enough. But I was telling the story the way I wanted to tell it, and The Arcanist was my lucky 13.

Here’s hoping you enjoy the story, and that if it comes true, you find a way not to participate. But if you’re forced to… well… my thoughts and prayers go out to you.

(And yes, I know there was an amazing episode of BoJack Horseman that covered this same topic. I highly recommend it.)

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SIX OF THE BEST… expensive things I refuse to spend money on

I don’t buy expensive stuff as often as I would like, because… well… it’s expensive.

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SIX OF THE BEST… movie sequels in 2017, revisited

Last year about this time I wrote a column about what I thought the six best movie sequels coming out in 2017 would be. Now it’s time to see if I was right or not.

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SIX OF THE BEST… types of columns I wrote in 2017

Instead of doing a boring “six of the best columns I wrote in 2017”, I decided to present my yearly best-of in a slightly different fashion.

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SIX OF THE WORST… episodes of The Orville

Even when The Orville isn’t great, it’s still pretty good. And since I ended 2017 with six of the best episodes of the show, it’s only fair that I start 2018 with six of the worst of them.

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SIX OF THE BEST… episodes of The Orville

When you write a weekly column that is a list of six things, a TV show with only 12 episodes fits neatly into the format… which is why I’m ending 2017 with a look at The Orville.

I’m also starting 2018 that way, but you’ll have to wait a week for that one.

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SIX OF THE BEST… ways to improve customer service in medicine

Medical customer service is often not great. I came up with six ways to improve it.

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SIX OF THE BEST… streaming originals I watched this year

I watched a lot of streaming TV this year, including many original shows. Here are six of the best of them, in no particular order.

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SIX OF THE WORST… Star Trek: the Next Generation episodes so bad that I couldn’t let my daughter watch them

Star Trek: The Next Generation was, in general, a really good show. However, there were a few episodes that I just cannot condone showing to my daughter. Here’s six of the worst of them.

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SIX OF THE BEST… Star Trek: the Next Generation episodes, according to my daughter

My daughter recently finished watching Star Trek: the Next Generation. She can’t remember every single episode, but she does have a top-six list of episodes from the final season.

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SIX OF THE BEST… changes my wife thinks the NFL should make to their rules

I got my wife into football by way of fantasy, and now that she’s spent a couple of years watching games with me, she has a few NFL rule changes in mind.

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AFTER THE APOCALYPSE is out now!

Click through to see it full-sized.

It’s taken years of revisions, rejections, and reuploads*, but After the Apocalypse is finally out, and you can get an electronic or print copy. Here’s how:

From the back cover:

Eleven years ago, a superhero named Alexandra saved the world from the Dark King, and then disappeared without a trace. The only person who knows what happened to her is Andrea Collins. Andrea is 29, overweight, lonely, and depressed, and more than anything else she wants to know why her powers went away… and what she can do to get them back. But once Andrea discovers the truth, she learns there’s a very good reason she had to lose her powers: because if she gets them back, the Dark King will return, and she’ll have to save the world again.

And that’s a trade Andrea is willing to make, no matter how much it costs her. Or the world.

The early reviews are already in, and they’re pretty good.

Continue reading

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SIX OF THE BEST… ways to support your writer friends when they publish a new book

Your writer friends (like me) need support and help when they publish a new book. Especially when there’s no big-name publisher around to help with the marketing. And even when there is a publisher, word-of-mouth is still the best way to get people to read your stuff.

I have a book coming out tomorrow. Help me. Please.

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SIX OF THE BEST… times the hero and the villain teamed up

I’m kind of surprised that it took me this long to write a hero/villain team-up column.

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