Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Agency Hunt and Letting Go

There are many, many steps on the road to becoming an author. It involves patience, dedication, and a rather thick skin.

I say this because I am about to take the next, most dreaded step.

Agent hunting.

We all done shuddering now? Good.

In all of my time, few things have caused me this much tension and stress, but at the same time few things have left me with such a sense of excitement.

But with a third draft of a manuscript, the first couple chapters of another work, and a compilation of short stories in the pipeline I figured it was time to get off my lazy ass and get something done and take the steps to putting things into print.

It is not the fear of judgment or rejection that has stayed my hand this long. Nay, it is the fact that once it sits in its new shiny dust jacket and its new spot on the shelf, then it is no longer my private joy, but one I must now share with the world.

It is simultaneously heart breaking and beautiful and the only thing I can think to compare it to right now is of a mother letting go of their child's hand on that first day of school, or a father's hug to that same child on the day they graduate and enter into the world.

Once those steps are taken, the baby you have nurtured is off to make its own decisions and in turn have opinions formed about them.

A pure moment for pride and sorrow to grip one's heart and give one pause where action is needed.

Thus I address the envelope and once more read over its contents with a heavy heart. The long weeks of waiting are all that lie ahead as the children of my mind try find their way in this world.

Ron Paul is PISSED

So... the bailout didn't pass. Saves me from being in debt 3k to the Chinese, but since I am not an economist I am not sure if it is good or bad. Need to do more reading.

But Ron Paul is pissed they even considered it.

And how.

Critical vs. Magical Thinking

"Leave no stone unturned." - Euripides

These words are true, but to what extent?
The physical world?
The mental one?
The spiritual?

I would say, and there are those who would disagree and agree, that there is no limit. Skepticism is one of the boldest, most straight forward tools we possess.

In the recent months it has become alarmingly clear that people at large have lost all sense of critical thinking.

Take one good look at the evolution vs. creationism "debate" to see people on both sides ripping into each other with fallacies that have been long debunked.

All of it points to a lack of reading, either through choice or just an inability to read for meaning.
Fret not, dear reader, for UK-Skeptics and others are here to save us from the wild fields of ad-hominem and other knee jerk idiocy.

But first, what is magical thinking?

Magical thinking is usually defined as any type of thinking that takes the locus of control away from the individual and attributes it to some supernatural force. Be it luck, fate, Thor, or the Christian "God." These forces are mysterious, unverifiable, and at times completely insane.

Critical thinking, on the other hand, is a review of the evidence at hand with a mind ready to ask hard questions. The hardest being 'What exactly am I being asked to swallow?'. Critical thinkers then look at the evidence and decide what it really means.

So why the lecture?
In short, because I will be posting on topics that are controversial and it will be up to you, the reader to look through my evidence and evaluate its validity to you. If you can't do that, you don't belong anywhere until you can.

Here are some of my guidelines:

1. Don't disregard experts. If it is about biology, listen to the biologists, if it is about space listen to the astronomers. The list goes on. People disregard these people who have dedicated their lives to a subject. Examples of this include the anti-vaccination (pro-infectious disease) movement and the creationists in dealing with evolution.

2. Don't believe everything you read, but believe something you read after thinking critically. Weigh it against the proof you think you have, and if your's holds up then by all means keep it close. But don't start ranting up and down just because some "puppet" spouted off something that contradicts you. I'm looking at you 9/11 Truthers and the rest of the conspiracy theory nuts.

3. Don't be a complete wanker when someone calls your bluff. Either come up with counter examples or shut up. What you "believe" isn't valid in a discussion of facts.

No idea is sacred. All of it can be questioned and should be. Failure to do so leads to dogma.
The problem is knowing where to draw the line. My personal opinion on the matter is to cut it off at the point that verifiable facts outweigh nonsense.

So, in closing, please enjoy a useful resource here.

Fighting for Truth, Justice, and... American Immigration Reform?


We all know him, some people love him, others hate him.

For most, he is an unbreakable force of nature from another world here to save us from whatever disaster or villain happens to appear. (This in turn leads to another problem, but we can address that later.)

What many do not consider, is that the Caped Crusader is not from America, nor this world. Yet he chooses to stand by the common man and fight for 'Truth, Justice, and the American Way.'

Why is this, do you think?

I would say that it is often immigrants, aliens, and peoples from outside who take to heart what was once on everyone's lips. 'The American Dream'.

Here we have the example of an alien (from outer space no less) adopting a value set that was not his own, and taking it to heart so much that it is the focus of his life. How many people born here do you know that do the same? I can't say there are many that I know. I myself am just as guilty as anyone for taking the opportunities we in this country have for granted.

This is not to say that all immigrants do this. To say so would be foolish. Just as foolish as me saying all Americans take for granted what they have. But, it is a prevailing attitude, one that has cost us respect in the world at large. One that has caused a corrosive veneer to form on the once shining name of this country and her people.

I have seen news articles from many sources (CNN, Fox, AP, ect) discussing how some people feel that immigrants, both legal and illegal are 'stealing jobs from American workers'. But, I pose to you this question, how can someone coming to this country and calling it home and getting a job like any other good citizen be stealing? This sense of entitlement is insane. You are not entitled to a job just because you were born here.

Fortune favors the bold. The American Dream allows for us to make our own way here. To work for what we believe in. It would be sad to watch it die as people profess to believe in special interest and snivel about how they deserve a job because of some birthright. Should we return to the dark ages? Should America fall into the hands of noble houses?

Stand up I say, and grab your life by the reins as so many who took the initiative to found this country, to push it into being a superpower in both industry and technology, and continue to try and work their way through life.

Let these people come here if they want to be just like us. I see no reason not to.

Hell, maybe one of them is a Superman in hiding, waiting in the wings to stop the decline of America at the hands of her sons and daughters.

First and Foremost (Redux)

I totally blew it when I created the first blog... so lets try this again. Below is my original post. I will get the rest moved over ASAP.


I believe introductions are in order. My name is Jarrad, and I am a fiction writer based in Texas. I enjoy critical thinking exercises, science (focusing on physics, astronomy, and biology), and always love a bit of controversy tossed into my day.

I hope you enjoy reading, and I look forward to comments left here.