9 Reasons machines will never take over the world

Are you a sci-fi fan? Maybe you read so much sci-fi that you’ve begun to feel a terrible distrust of machines. After all, they are going to take over the world someday right? I mean, humans are so blasé and breakable. And they have all those pesky emotions. Why wouldn’t emotionless ‘logical’ machines kick our butts and take over the world?

Well, rest assured I don’t think we’re in any serious danger because…

1. They break. I don’t care how cool a machine is or how many bells or whistles it has – someday it will break. And at the most inconvenient time. I mean think about it, all it takes is a crappy power supply and your computer just lays there. Machines are not indestructible.
2. They are only as smart as the human that made them. Even the most brilliant humans in the world don’t understand the human brain/mind. Therefore they cannot replicate it and put it into a machine. They can load it up with facts and data. But as they say information is not knowledge. It just gives you an edge in Trivial Pursuit.
3. They have no common sense. No matter how hard Bill Gates and other software developers have tried, they have yet to create software that is truly intuitive. What passes for intuitive is usually intrusive. Machines cannot anticipate what humans will do. And there is no software that can either.
4. They are no match for mother nature. Just leave any machine out in the Mojave Desert for a week and see what happens. Or drop it in the ocean for a few days. Leave it outside during a hurricane. Or drop it in the middle of a forest fire. See my point?
5. They have no sense of humor. Everybody knows that in order to survive on this planet you have to be able to laugh at yourself. If not you will go stark raving mad. A machine has no ability to see humor much less replicate it or ‘feel’ it.
6. They have no charisma. If you can’t turn on the charm how are you going to persuade anyone to do what you want?
7. They can be turned off. Although humans can be stopped it usually takes a bullets, drugs or some other considerable force to turn them off. Machines are all built with on/off switches. And power sources. Cut the switch or the power and they become a pile of parts.
8. They can’t think. While some might argue that we already have machines that think for us and there seems to be some empirical data showing that, the truth is a machine can only make computations based on whatever data it may contain. Humans have thousands of thoughts a minute, probably millions a day – but not based on data alone. It’s combination of data, perception, experience and knowledge.Machines are not sentient and can’t do that.
9. Humans won’t let them. No matter what others may say or think about this thing called the human race, one thing is for sure – we want to survive. It may be that humans have the strongest survival instinct of any living creatures. If you just look at history and what humans have survived and in fact triumphed over, it should give you pause. And even though there may be a lot of sheeple in the world who might surrender to a machine takeover, there are enough of us who would say hell no and kick their asses.

How about you? Afraid machines are taking over the world? How do you think they might do it? Feel free to espouse your theories in the comments.

WC

Eight things a writer shouldn’t tell their friends or family

-WOMAN-SHUSH-

Writers are weird ducks – at least as far as ‘normal’ people are concerned. Our brains are a never-ending source of people, places, ideas, stories, worlds, languages, dialects and facts – many of which don’t actually exist. Except in our heads.

And we love to research. We collect strange, trivial facts like little boys collect bugs – can’t get enough of them. And given that we spend an extraordinary amount of time alone (in our heads) we’re not particularly good at social intercourse. Read – we lack filters.

But we’re creative. And creative is fun. And we want to share the fun. Especially since we spend so much time in our heads in our little rooms making stuff up.

So it might not occur to you that some things you just don’t want to share with your friends or significant others. Like:

1. The fact that you know at least 50 different ways to kill someone. Poisons, weapons, hand to hand combat, choke holds, garrotes, tools of torture, lethal herbs, how to mimic real life heart attacks – you know them all and find them fascinating. Sure, you need to know these things because you write murder mysteries. But do you think that cute guy or gal you just started dating wants to know that you could kill them 50 different ways?
2. That they are an inspiration for a character. Now you may think this will flatter them or make them feel special. However, given human nature, chances are they will search your stories for anything that even remotely sounds like them. Or they’ll criticize you for depicting them as a bitch or a jerk or stupid or somehow incorrect and unflattering. And God help you if you break up – a lawsuit could be in the offing.
3. That ten minutes into the movie you’re watching you know who did it or how the story will end. You’re a writer, you recognize plot points, inciting incidents, red herrings and every other writer device employed to create a story. And you’re okay with that because you enjoy seeing how other writers use those devices to craft a story. Your girlfriend/boyfriend, mom, sister, friend however, is not a writer. They don’t want to know the ending. They want to be surprised. So don’t ruin it for them.
4. That basically you think for a living. Let’s face it, we write and we write a lot but before we write, we think. While we’re writing, we think. We just think all the time – working out plots, character arcs, playing what if… Whatever. And the truth is a lot more thinking hours are logged in than anything else. This will surprise and likely disappoint your non-writer friends. Because they can think and nobody pays them for it. And let’s face it, we already have to deal with people who think that writing is the same as talking and since they can talk, writing really shouldn’t be a job, right? Imagine the response to the thinking angle. Although there’s boundless evidence that many people don’t or can’t think – everyone believes they are thinkers – and brilliant ones at that.
5. That you talk to your characters – regularly. Come on, admit it. We all do it. We all talk to our characters almost as much as we talk to the ‘real’ people in our lives. It’s part of the process. But strictly speaking, talking to imaginary people likely classifies as one type of mental illness or another. And those meds are expensive. And though  you get a lot of alone time in a little room, they usually won’t let you have writing implements.
6. That the character you created that they adore was once a clown with a gambling problem and a criminal record. It doesn’t matter that the character is currently a super hero who uses laughter to do good in the world. If you tell them about previous incarnations it’ll ruin it for them. They’ll never see the character the same way again. Ditto for first drafts.
7. Any idea you have for a book. Sure, there might be a few writer friends or beta readers you can run an idea by. But the average lay person will inevitably turn that conversation into an idea they always had for a book. They will then proceed to tell you all about their idea and offer it to you because they’ll never get around to writing it themselves. And heck fire, they’ll split the profits with you too. In the alternative, it may be such a good idea that your friend blabs it around and next thing you know, somebody else has written the book. Keep ideas to yourself.
8. How many books you sell/money you make. Unless you’re a NYT bestseller (in which case they’ll already assume you are a bagillionaire) keep your sales data and financial gain or loss to yourself. It only opens the door to criticism and suggestions of finding a real job or worse, advice on how you could do better.

If you keep these things to yourself you may pull off living up to the carefully crafted image of the mysterious, interesting writer that you’ve spent years creating. If you don’t ,you’ll just be Arnie’s and Mabel’s kid who lives in their basement and refuses to get a real job.

How about you? Have you told friends or family too much about your writerliness? Were they shocked, disappointed, sad? Did they point their finger at you and laugh? What do you keep to yourself as a writer? Speak your mind in the comments below.

Writer Chick

copyright 2015

Talking Dirty (Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge)

Chuck Wendig’s Fiction Challenge this week: So, given all the hullaballoo with Clean Reader (“read books, not profanity”) this week, I thought a flash fiction challenge in pure defiance had some meaning.

Thus: I want you to be inspired by that debacle. I want you to write filthily.
Or write about filth. Sex, profanity, perversion. Fiction or meta-fiction. Any genre.

In some way, take something from the discussion about censorship and profanity and vulgarity and sex and — well, throw all that stuff into a blender, whip it up, and see what foamy frappe belches out into your story.
Censorship

“So Chuck wants me to write something dirty.”

“Chuck who?”

“You know Chuck? Terrible Minds?”

“Well if he has a terrible mind, no wonder he wants you to write something dirty.”

“No! I didn’t say he had a terrible mind – Terrible Minds, that’s the name of his blog?”

“Why would anybody name their blog that? Terrible Minds..well gee, wouldn’t that make people think there were terrible things happening over there?”

“You’re digressing.”

Blank stare. “What was the question?””

“Well, uh, should I? Write something dirty? Well not dirty exactly – profane – er, ah, stuff with swear words in it. Y’know?”

“Sounds like a terrible mind at work to me…”

“No man, it’s about censorship.”

Rolls eyes, sighs and taps foot.

“What?”

“You writers are always so worried about being censored. I mean, what the hell’s your problem? You think people are lying awake at night just devising methods to squelch you?”

“It’s been known to happen.”

Smirks. “Right.”

“You never heard of book burning? You never heard of book banning? What about the Salem witch trials?”

Yawns. “People say all kinds of things on the Internet, doesn’t mean they’re true.”

Pulling hair. “You’re really not helping.”

“It gets weary you know, being your enabler all the time.”

“Enabler? You? The only thing you enable me to do is beat my head against the wall.”

Stares curiously at a hangnail. “Then why do you keep coming back and asking for help?”

Grits teeth. “You kind of owe me.”

“How the fuck do you figure?”

Shaking fists. “I give you life.”

“Says you!”

Smirk. “You think anybody else hears your squeaky little voice yammering in their ear? Ah—no!” Whining. “Come on! Help me!”

Sighs. Sighs harder still. Throws up hands. “Fine. Sure, do it.”

“Really?”

“What’s the matter, yes not a good enough answer for you?”

Frowning and scratching head. “What should I write?”

“How the fuck should I know? You’re the writer. I’m just the lowly editor. I’m just the voice of reason when you’re totally out of control, which by the way, you are most of the time. I really don’t even know why I talk to you at all.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes.”

“What if people get upset?”

“Fuck ‘em!”

“What if people don’t like me anymore?”

“Let’s be honest, how many people really like you anyway?”

“Good point.” Thinking. “Okay…once upon a time there was a fucking…”

“Maybe you should use fornicating.”

Frowns. “Okay, once upon a time there was a mother fornicating…”

“No, don’t use mother, you could offend mothers and mothers shouldn’t be offended.”

Heaves a sigh. “Okay, once upon a time there was a non-gender-specific fornicator who…”

“Wait!”

Looking up and frowning. “Now what?”

“I think there’s this app you should download…”

Writer Chick

copyright 2015

What is the value of a laugh?

file000321021304

I never met anyone who didn’t enjoy a good laugh. Even the snarkiest curmudgeon can get behind a deep-in-the belly chortle. Of course the snipe or insult has to be just right and at the perfect time…but the point is people enjoy a laugh. I know I like to laugh and if somebody can make me laugh consistently, then I’m pretty much theirs forever.

So when people ask me what my blog is about or what its theme is or what value I bring. I basically go into that deer in the headlights pose and stutter, then mumble something unintelligible. Because mostly I write this blog to make people laugh. I can’t help myself; I just love to make people laugh. And I always have, even when I was a kid. From witty repartee to telling my version of family history my goal is to make you chuckle, giggle, pound-on-the-table howl and hopefully pee your pants a little.

Is this valuable? Is it worth your time?

I can’t speak for others although I’ve seen stories of people who claim to have cured chronic illnesses by ensuring they laughed a lot and watched funny movies and did things that made them well…laugh. This article from the Mayo Clinic agrees there are health benefits to laughing including:

  • Stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles, and increasing the release of endorphins
  • Increasing your heart rate and blood pressure which can relax you
  • Stimulating your circulation and aid in muscle relaxation
  • Improving your immune system by releasing neuropeptides that help fight stress
  • Relieving pain
  • Increasing personal satisfaction
  • Improving your ability to cope
  • Helping you to connect with other human beings
  • Improving your mood
  • Lessening depression and anxiety

I mean, seriously, there must be a reason why silly videos of monkeys scrambling eggs go viral, right?

Is everything laughable?

Yeah, yeah, I know life is serious. I mean there is some pretty serious stuff going on in the world and we need to be concerned about it. But I believe that on some level pretty much everything is laughable. It may not be today or tomorrow, but even the worst thing that happened to you may be laughable years from now. I remember a friend asking me about a broken love affair that had really just ruined me. But as I told her the Reader’s Digest version of my journey we both started laughing and ended up, yes, peeing our pants a little. Because it the retelling it was just really stupidly, pathetically funny. I mean, come on, you just have to laugh at what a big doof you are sometimes, right? So I say, when in doubt laugh – it can’t hurt and it might help. You never know.

Life is a mess – make fun of it  file000792737528

What makes you laugh? Got any good jokes?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

Nine things that will always be free

photo courtesy of morguefile.com
photo courtesy of morguefile.com

Lint. We don’t know where it comes from or how it seems to spontaneously appear out of thin air but no one has ever capitalized on this free resource (as far as we know) so grab all the free lint you can. Who knows maybe you’ll figure out a way to make sweaters and mittens from it.

Opinions. Like the saying goes……everybody has one. Often you don’t have to ask for an opinion because others will gladly tell you whether you like it or not. Warning: These free verbal projectiles are frequently composed of volatile and unstable materials, especially when uttered on social media channels.

Baby smiles and puppy dog wags. You do not have to have a baby or own a dog to get either. They are spontaneous gifts and you should savor each one.

Advice. Especially bad advice. Like opinions, is it offered without solicitation, covers a wide range of topics, and can be provocative. Caution: When accepting advice bear in mind that you get what you pay for.

Bad luck and trouble. This dynamic duo can appear without warning and is usually inexplicable. From nails in tires to cat fights in McDonalds you can get caught in the crossfire by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Because of its indiscriminate nature do not dwell on it or it will grow –wondering why it happened to you will only encourage it to spend more time with you. Like dust and pollen, it is simply part of the flotsam and jetsam of the universe.

Germs. Like opinions and bad advice, germs abound. They are hard to see and live on every surface known to man. If you were to magnify these babies you’d run screaming in the other direction because they are the inspiration for horror story monsters and Halloween movies. They are sneaky and can get into your system at any time—hand sanitizer and soap are your friends.

Something on the Internet. No matter how things change or advance there will always be something ‘free’ on the Internet. Of course, often what is labeled as free on the Internet has been stolen or pirated from someone or somewhere else, so beware.

Sunlight and air. I’m not sure these two necessary for life items will always be free since the government loves to find ways to charge us for nature has given us. And you see the occasional article about some bozo claiming squatting rights on the sun – but until (or unless) a planet-wide biodome is put in place you can probably count on sucking up this stuff to your heart’s content.

Your own thoughts. Despite Internet data tracking and viruses – GPS, satellites, and spy agencies – so far, no one has managed to break into the human mind successfully (although many have tried). And based on current trends, soon, your mind may be the only private place left on the planet. So be kind to your mind, feed it daily with information, knowledge, art, experience and wisdom. Cram it full of things that expand its boundaries and enable it to travel to hitherto unknown regions. Protect it from strangers and never give anyone the password.

You’d think there’d be more than nine things that are really truly free. If I missed something be sure to point it out to me or add to the list.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

Writer Chick Predicts – Welcome 2015

Writer Chick Predicts

As is my custom, every January 1st, I channel my inner Madame Zorba and make predictions for the coming year. This year being no different, I offer these little nuggets for your consideration and amusement.

1. As gasoline plummets toward the $2 a gallon mark, eggs will hit a level of $5 a dozen. Animal rights activists will take this as a huge win claiming that chickens have rights too. Save the chicken posters will saturate the walls of social media venues and politicians will start making speeches about chickens’ rights. If the craze catches on, killing a chicken will become a hate crime.
2. Indie authors will continue complaining about traditional publishers and traditional publishers will continue calling indie authors hacks. Meanwhile, the rest of us will continue writing and publishing our books in whatever way we can and encouraging people to read.
3. The government will continue to tell you what you can eat and you won’t like it.
4. The new Congress that is sworn in later this month, despite bravado and promises will still not pass a budget, just as they haven’t done for the last six years.
5. Cuba will open its first McDonald’s starring the el Maco Grande, along with the McChe’ Nuggets and Fidel Fries.
6. As baby boomers continue to age, 60 will become the new 40. Somebody will create youth apps that gullible mature women will download, believing that staring at their smart phones will give them that dewy complexion of their youth.
7. Friend spying will become the newest Internet sport as websites like these crop up, promising you the means by which you can find out stuff about people you know.
8. Smartphone attachment will officially become a new mental disorder for which a new drug and therapy will be invented.
9. Kanye West will finally leave the U.S. to live in Baliz because we’re all sick to death of him and his empty promises.
10. The TSA will ban travelers from wearing ball caps on flights just because.
11. As Google enters the live-streaming via Google Fiber other live-streaming outlets such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime will mysteriously stop showing up in search results.
12. Edward Snowdon will return to the U.S., get his own cable talk show and no one will care.

As usual, feel free to add to the list.

Peace out – WC

Copyright 2015

Christmas Fodder

christmas

Over the many years of this blog, I’ve written a lot of posts about Christmas. And this time of year, it seems people are interested in reading Christmas posts. So, following is a convenient linked list of popular Christmas blog posts for your amusement. I’ve grouped them into categories of a sort for better navigation.  Ho, ho, ho and jolly jolly. This post will remain “sticky” for the month of December.

WC

Lists

Weird Christmas Facts and Fun

More Little Known Christmas Facts

Ten Gripes About Christmas

You Know You Have Your Grinch on When…

Ten Signs You May be a Christmas Sap Like Me

What to do with a Dead Christmas Tree

Random Christmas Thoughts

Random Christmas Thought #56

You Might be a Christmas Addict if…

Naughty or Nice

Quizzes

What’s Your Christmas Personality?

I Can Name That Christmas Song In

What’s Your Christmas Elf Name?

Parodies

Christmas Can-Can

Fun with Christmas Parodies

The Bloggers 12 Days of Christmas

Christmas Bird

Money Saving

Shoe-String Christmas

Christmas on the Cheap

Food

Christmas Recipes,Tips and Tricks

Yummy Christmas Food

How to Tell if Your Christmas Eve Bash is a Success

Holiday Eating Tips from Zelda

Gifting

Ten Christmas Gifts You May Not Have Thought Of

The Weirdest Christmas Gift

To Re-Gift or Not to Re-Gift

iPhone/iPad New and Strange Christmas Apps

Stories

Christmas Eve – Theme Friday

The Last Christmas

In Honor of Christmas

Kindness

Christmas for the Troops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good News! The official marshmallow roasting rules are here!

roasting marshmallows

So the Forest Department has put out a detailed list of rules and instructions on roasting marshmallows. Thank God, because since we’ve only been roasting marshmallows over camp fires since there were marshmallows and camp fires, I’m sure we need a bit of a brush up.

So for your Labor Day weekend enjoyment, I’m going to channel my inner gubbermint worker and read between the lines for you and tell you what they really mean:

1. First of all, you’re too fat and marshmallows are empty calories, so don’t roast the dang marshmallows in the first place. Instead roast fruit, soy nuts, or tofurky (refer to First Lady’s acceptable campfire eating list on our website.).

2. If you must roast marshmallows because of some dagnabbit  Christian-Judeo tradition that you claim is in the Bible, at least use the sugar-free, soy version that tastes like toilet paper and comes in a US approved recyclable package.

3. Be sure to remove the marshmallows from the package before roasting. Campfires are not like microwaves and you cannot put a packaged product into the fire without potentially causing harm.

4. Be sure to use a government approved stick. Many of our trees are endangered and we must not sacrifice them so you can have a roasting stick to make a completely unhealthy snack that we advise against in the first place. Check the endangered stick list on our website or download our convenient acceptable stick app that will glow green when you find the right kind of stick. Better yet, bring your own roasting implement so you don’t unnecessarily use up our limited natural resources you selfish marshmallow roasting bigot.

5. Do not put the marshmallow on the end of your finger and stick it in the fire. Direct contact with fire will hurt like the dickens and Obamacare does not cover self inflicted burn wounds.

6. Be sure to bring enough marshmallows that will feed more than your camping party. After all, not everybody has the luxury of marshmallows and since you do, you must offer your fair share of free marshmallows to the homeless and the poor should they happen upon your campsite. Because that’s the right thing to do you selfish, over-consuming snack gobbler.

7. Be sure to register as a marshmallow roaster with the Forestry Department and have your registration ready if a forest ranger should happen by and demand to see it. If you are found roasting marshmallows without the proper registration you may be fined up to $200,000 and be required to do a minimum of 200 hours of community service.

8. Remember marshmallow roasting may cause forest fires, spew smoke into our already clogged air so you should reconsider roasting your dang marshmallows and roast what we think is better for you and have on our approved list of snacks you selfish junk food bigot.

9. In fact, instead of going camping, we prefer you reduce your carbon footprint by staying home, preparing a meal of tasty raw fruits and vegetables and watching the PBS special on reducing your carbon footprint. You’ll save gas, calories and possible fines and jail time too.

10. From all of us at the National Forestry Department, we wish you a safe, low calorie, non-carcinogenic, politically correct Labor Day Weekend.

Okay, just in case somebody out there doesn’t realize this is satire, I’m going to say, this is satire. However, no gubbermint workers were harmed in the writing and posting of this article.

Happy Labor Day Weekend folks. And save a s’more for me.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2014