Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Internet is Full of Lies

I think that most of you are savvy enough to know that a whole lot of lying goes on online, but I think most of us don't really think about how much lying is really going on. I know I don't - I don't want to. I like to think people are trustworthy and generally good. I was reminded today that, especially online, this just isn't so.

What brought this to mind was this article from The New York Times: The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy. I was disappointed when I read that authors (or maybe publishers even? Who knows.) were paying for book reviews. At least many of them were willing to accept honest reviews (if a paid review could be called that), but many were buying positive reviews. I was disapointed - but not surprised. I will bet money that books are not the only things out there paying for fake reviews.

A few years ago I frequented freelance writer boards looking for opportunities to write. That was where I started to learn how dishonest the internet was. There were frequent listings looking for writers to write fake forum posts recommending products as though they were from real people. Lots of calls for articles endorsing something or other that would be posted around on those content sites. Even one form a man who was "too busy" to respond to his personal dating website messages, so wanted to hire a writer to correspond with the women there for him - pretending to be him. Charming.

So this is just a public service reminder. The internet is easy to trick. It is a web of lies. Don't trust it.

And to end on a fun fake review note, I send you to the UK version of Amazon to read the entertaining reviews for BIC Pens for Her. You'll be glad you did.


Friday, August 17, 2012

What I Read in July

Several other bloggers that I read regularly post a list of what they've been reading. Even though it just makes me want to read even more stuff that I will probably never get to, I like it anyway. So I'm stealing it.

Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Serger
This is mainly about screenwriting, but it promised to also apply to novel writing. I guess some if it did, but not as much as I was hoping. Although much of what it suggested, I'd heard or read in other places as well, so I suppose that supports it as being sound advice. I was just hoping for something new - to me anyway. Many of the examples I didn't find useful, especially the ones involving commercials. Even really wonderful commercials I just don't get a great sense of character from, so these examples just fell flat for me.

Even so, I was never tempted to skip ahead or stop reading altogether, and even if some of the suggestions were things I'd heard before, hearing them over again can only help to get them through my thick skull. So I'm still happy to have invested my time in this book.

Cat Daddy by Jackson Galaxy
This is less a book about cat behavior and more a memoir of Mr. Galaxy's life. Although he does weave some cat information into the narrative because his life has been influenced by cats more than a little. He has struggles with multiple addictions in his life and goes into that topic in a good amount of detail. The cat behavior information is mostly good, solid stuff, but it was nothing new to me. I've never seen his show, so I had no expectations for the book, and I generally enjoyed it.

Redshirts by John Scalzi
As both a Scalzi and a Star Trek fan, I'd been looking forward to this one, and was happy to receive the Kindle version for my birthday. Honestly, I had a little trouble getting into it. I knew it was going to be a comedy, but the first few chapters just felt sort of. . . stupid to me. Then I realized this wasn't a 'playing it straight' sort of comedy, but more of an over the top, full blown silliness kind of comedy, and I almost instantly started enjoying it more. A lot more.I couldn't wait to make my family read it kind of more.

It's a shorter book, and there are three codas at the end that tie in to the main story but happen outside the central narrative. I read several Amazon reviews that suggested not bothering with the codas, but I'm glad I ignored that. The codas were some of my favorite parts. By the time I was done, I'd gone from 'meh' to five stars in my opinion of the book.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Return of the Silkmoth

Well, not really a return exactly.

Today I needed to use my iron, that I haven't used in a few months. Yes, really. It sits on top of a bookshelf above where I kept the silkworms when they were spinning their cocoons. Inside of and attached to the wrapped up iron cord I found a cocoon. So that means a caterpillar climbed up out of its box, and to the top of this (admittedly kind of short) bookcase.

It has a hole in it, telling me that somewhere, maybe behind the bookcase, is a dead moth too. It never ends, I tell you.

P.S. The photo is a reenactment, as I unwound the cord before I realized a cocoon was attached to it.