Civil Servants?

I think I’m seeing why our country’s government is so F’d up. I mean, not the only reason but a another essential piece of the puzzle. Think on this. A lot, not ALL but a lot, of civil servants are so jaded and passionless in their work, they strive only to make it to the 5 o’clock bell each day. I mean, I know we’re all well acquainted with the ill tempered DMV agent or the bitter postal worker, but this kind of laziness drifts into other realms. It’s alive and well in the police department, fire department and other public offices. There are those in those sectors who only have their jobs because they know how to work the system so that they only have to do the minimum of work and still get paid. If someone new comes along who actually does their job, guess who gets told to curb it?

A lot of folks choose to go into civil service only because it’s such a sweet gig. You get a big fat salary. You get full benefits, paid time off and once you’re in, you’re in for life. This is another instance where I think the benefits of the job is attracting the wrong kind of person. We need people in these jobs who want to do the work, not just wait out the clock until retirement. What is the saying? “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing” and that’s exactly what’s going on. Maybe some of these people go into these careers with good intentions, but as time plods on, they change. Their passion leaves them and they soon find themselves trying to just get  by without doing too much work and then when others come along who do their job well, they are exposed and instead of getting their act together and working, they pressure the new people and get them to fall into line.

The sad thing is that this mentality reaches higher than I would care to admit. The inner guts of our government is just a bunch of levels of buck passing and work dodging. People want the big salaries and fringe benefits, but none of the responsibility. Maybe it’s time we thought about not making the civil service career path so secure. We need people in these offices who want to do what they were hired to do.

Advertisements

Reviews or Bashing?

Okay. It’s now been one official week since my novel ‘Spectrum’ dropped. (http://www.amazon.com/Spectrum-Novel-Jason-K-Melby/dp/1938191072/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387492984&sr=8-1&keywords=jason+k+melby)

I haven’t heard much of anything about it yet, and I really didn’t expect to as it is the Christmas season and most people’s thoughts are occupied with sugar plums and the like. I was a bit curious today and I searched my name and didn’t find much. I did however find a link to a site where readers are able to offer their reviews of books and surprisingly, Spectrum was the subject of such a review. I wish I could say it was more positive, but I take it on the chin. I figure it’s a subjective thing, what’s good or bad, and one person’s view is just an opinion. Nothing to say someone else’s wont’ be different. My issue with this review however stems from the fact that this site allows the reviewer to post their opinion of the book as they read it. Traditionally I assumed the reviewer was expected to read the entire book first and then offer up their views. I don’t understand how anyone could have such a strong opinion of a book until it has been completely read. I’ve never done that. There have been books I didn’t like at first, but by the time I finish I love it. These kinds of reviews are a disservice to the writer and the critic alike. If you don’t like the first few chapters of the book and make that known, what are you going to do if you discover you adore the last few chapters? You have to go back and eat a bunch of crow in that case. What’s that? What if the critic is unable to finish the book? Oh. That’s simple. Don’t review the book if you don’t finish it. Movie critics can’t talk about a movie unless they’ve seen it, so why should a book critic be allowed to tear down someone’s work without first thoroughly considering it from beginning to end? And this particular reviewer seemed to take exceptional glee in running down my work. Using excerpts from the book to take pot shots and what not. I get that this person isn’t a professional, clearly, but why all the  hate? I mean, I get the impression this is someone who wishes they could write, but since they can’t, they fill their days tearing down the efforts of others.

I understand bad reviews are a part of the package with this writing thing, and I feel I have enough success behind me to know that I do have talent. I mean, this book was read by others and THEY liked it so much they wanted to print it. If there are people who liked it that much, there must be others. I guess the first harsh words sting a bit. I don’t wish to spend too much time defending my work. I like my book. I like the story I told and  the way I told it. I read through it over and over and every time I was satisfied I got across what I intended. Maybe this critic was expecting something different. This is a comic book-esque book, but not in the ‘Wham! Zap! Pow!’ sense. I focused more on characters and story than outlandish visual moments. I feel like I’m cheating a bit on this, but for those who follow this blog I will let you in on a secret. The way it’s written was intended to make it seem like each chapter is an issue of the ‘Spectrum’ comic book. I’m sure the whole thing would have been much better if I could draw, or knew someone who could, and made it a true  graphic novel. I just worked with what I had.

Duck Dynasty, Duck Schmynasty

Okay. So I see the story about Phil Robertson’s comments and it doesn’t say anything about what they were about or whether they were positive or negative. I think about it and for a second I decide that maybe he’s more enlightened than I give him credit for. I realize people who look like the DD guys get pigeon holed as ignorant, intolerant homophobes, but then I think they’ve been in ‘the biz’ long enough and maybe that time has given them a broader view of the world and also they could just be more open minded than a passing stranger would give them credit for. Wrong! I wasn’t surprised by what he said, but after everything we now know and have learned over these past few decades, I am surprised people still think like this. Being gay is not a sin. God made us gay. If you think being gay is wrong, you think God is flawed. Can’t have it both ways.

Now, I’m hearing a lot of noise about how Phil got put on ‘indefinite hiatus’ from the show by A&E on account of his comments. I’ve also noticed how surprisingly a lot of that noise is critical of the decision. People are calling out A&E for being fascist and violating Phil’s freedom of speech. I really don’t care because I have no dog in this fight because I don’t watch that damn show, but as a casual observer, I can say that A&E is absolutely right. Phil has his freedom of speech. No one is taking that away from him. He has every right in the world to run around and spout his nonsense, but A&E also has the right to decide what they want to put on their shows. If they deem this guy offensive to their viewers, then they can put a muzzle on him and send him away. I honestly don’t think it has anything to do with this exact incident because I saw a headline about someone on the show saying something racist (shock). It seems to me A&E is seeing the end of the DD craze and is either opening the door to phase them out, or attempting to ignite their popularity with a series of scandals. In either case, I’d say it’s working. They have me talking about this bull crap. I’m just doing this because I have seen some comments from people decrying the decision to banish Phil, which I don’t understand. As I said, he’s still got his rights. It just kind of changes a bit when you exercise your rights in a public forum. You can say what you want, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to get called out on it. It cuts both ways. I really love the right wingers in all this. They’re the loudest in the chorus bitching about how liberal media is infringing on basic civil rights simply because the comments were not to their liking. Well, how about when Sarah Palin got bashed by Martin Bashir? Was she front row center supporting his freedom of speech? No. She was bitching and complaining that his comments were evil and vile. The founding fathers didn’t put anything in the constitution that said we get to pick and choose our rights at our convenience. It’s 100% for everyone 100% of the time. Agree or not.

Mr. Robertson, you have a right to speak what you believe. A&E, you have the right to take him off the air. Now let’s go back to playing nice, okay?

Christmas Story

A friend suggested I do this and since I tried something like this once before with some success, I’ll give it a go.

This is an excerpt from my Christmas novel ‘Trapped’. The first chapter in fact. If you like, please let me know, or better yet, follow the link below and order yourself a copy. It’s available in paperback or digital, whichever is your preference. (btw, the formatting is off here. It looks much better in book form.)

Happy reading and merry Christmas

Chapter 1

The morning air was crisp and cool as Daniel Tucker awoke on the morning of the first day that was widely considered the beginning of the holiday season. He could feel something in the air and it sent a surge of energy through him. It was Christmas.

He stretched under the warm comfort of his covers and quietly assessed his day. It was Monday and he had a full schedule ahead of him. The reason for his unusually hectic schedule was because he had a mission that had to be completed before Christmas. He had been unable to be with his family for Thanksgiving, but he was determined that he would make it up to them for Christmas.

Thanksgiving was always a throw away as far as he was concerned. He just considered it a fancy dinner, but his mother always sent him a care package of leftovers so he could enjoy the meal she made whether he could be with them or not. He appreciated the gesture, but felt it needless.

Christmas was another matter completely. They were always together for Christmas since he was a boy. No matter how far the twists and turns of fate may have sent them, they always managed to reconnect just in time for the one day at the end of December. His brother Chad nearly missed them three years earlier. He had been accepted into a university in England and despite his heavy load of course work and daunting distance, he finally appeared on their doorstep the morning of Christmas Eve. It seemed no matter where life took them, or what stood in their way; the Tucker family was destined to be together for Christmas and this was a fact that Daniel took great comfort in.

Daniel’s alarm clock suddenly clicked on and the strains of Christmas music filled his bedroom. Normally he would openly express his dislike for Christmas music, but once the holiday season began, for some reason he no longer disliked it. In fact, it could be said he enjoyed it. He settled back into his bed and tried to enjoy his last few moments of rest before he had to get ready for work.

Daniel quickly dressed and was hurrying to get out the door in order to get to work on time. He found it amusing to himself the way he worried about being on time. He was a VP at Halpron Enterprises and on the fast track to becoming the youngest member of the executive board. He was no longer subject to the same scrutiny that he was hired under. He was good at what he did and that gave him the trust and support of his superiors, but in the back of his mind he kept his original work ethic and that meant getting to work on time.

Daniel blustered in through the glass doors of the office and as he strode through, he greeted everyone with a bright smile. He suddenly stopped and took a thoughtful look around the office. It seemed cold and colorless.

“Where are the decorations?” He asked Linda Lipinski, his assistant, as he approached his office.

“Decorations?”

“Yes. For Christmas?”

“Mr. Halpron issued a memo saying that there was to be no decorating this year. He says that it’s too distracting for everyone and it takes away from the work momentum.”

“That’s crazy!”

“That’s what he said.”

“Is he in?”

“No. He also sent a memo stating that he would be leaving for an extended vacation starting today. He won’t be back until after Christmas.”

“So, he’s not going to be here.”

“No.”

“Get the decorations out of storage.”

“He’s going to have people monitoring us.”

“Just get the decorations and I’ll handle Halpron.” Daniel said as he continued on his way to his office.

It was nearly noon and the entire office had been transformed. Gold and silver garlands were hung along all the cubicles. Shining paper stars were hung from the ceiling and multi-colored lights were strung along all the doorways. Christmas music was drifting through the air and everything just seemed a little warmer. Employees had broken out their holiday personal items. A few were sipping from novelty mugs with reindeer antlers for handles. Susan Messing had arranged a small Christmas village on her desk with some small odds and ends that she kept stored in one of her filing drawers. Daniel looked out upon the holiday cheer and felt the warm glow he felt when he awoke that morning grow even stronger. He retreated to his office. As he sat down behind his desk, his door flew open and Ed Skivac came barreling in.

Ed had a reputation in the office as being the resident brown noser. He was always first in line to congratulate Mr. Halpron on every one of his ‘brilliant’ ideas in hopes of getting the next big promotion, but was usually overlooked by someone far more qualified. He’d been gunning for Daniel’s position for sometime, but lost out and was still a bit irked by it. There had been some animosity between Daniel and Ed for a time, but that tension wore down to a grudging respect but Daniel still didn’t trust Ed any further than he could throw him.

“Mr. Halpron has ordered there be no holiday decor. Do you ever read your memos?” He asked sharply.

“Look, Ed, it’s Christmas. Creating a vacuum environment where we don’t acknowledge it is not going to make everyone more productive. It brings them down. Depresses them. Look at it out there.” Daniel said as he got up and pointed out his window to the office. Ed watched and it was a scene of bustling activity. Phones were ringing and being answered. Papers were being handed from one person to another. It was commerce. It was happening and at quite a dizzying pace. Daniel turned back to Ed.

“When people are happy, they enjoy their work more, and therefore, will work harder. Mr. Halpron doesn’t need to know about this, does he?” Ed seemed a bit confused.

“I promised him I would tell him what was going on in here. If he finds out that…” Ed continued.

“He won’t.” Daniel said soothingly. “He doesn’t have to know about any of this.”

Ed froze and suddenly a stern sneer crossed his face. His eyes became steely and determined.

“Mr. Halpron’s orders stand! Whether he’s here or not, he is still in charge!” Ed said confidently. “I’m going to report back about all of this, and after that, it’s in his hands.” Ed said, pointing upwards with his eyes. He then started towards Daniel’s door. Daniel shot his arm out and caught Ed by his neck.

“According to your files, you’re up for a big raise, Ed.”

“Yes.”

“I have to tell you, I know who’s making the final decision on that and it could go either way.”

“Are you threatening me?”

“No. I’m just saying if you were to do a favor for me, I could do a favor for you. You keep quiet about all this holiday stuff, and I may be able to put a little influence on someone and get you that raise.” Daniel said. Ed considered him briefly.

“May?”

“Don’t worry. You’ll get it.” Ed looked away and Daniel could hear the wheels turning. He looked over at Daniel.

“I’ll think about it.”

“Good enough. You get back to me before the end of the day.”

“I will.” Ed said and then walked away quietly.

If you want to read more, comment, or follow the link to purchase your own copy.

http://www.amazon.com/Trapped-Christmas-Jason-K-Melby-ebook/dp/B00A2EIPR4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386870824&sr=8-1&keywords=Jason+K+melby

or in paperback:

http://www.amazon.com/Trapped-Christmas-Jason-K-Melby/dp/1480259896/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1386870824&sr=8-1&keywords=Jason+K+melby

 

IT’S HERE!!!!!!

http://www.amazon.com/Spectrum-Novel-Jason-K-Melby/dp/1938191072/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1386692841&sr=8-2&keywords=jason+k+melby

ISBN-13-978-1938191077

Spectrum is here at last! I have literally waited for this very day for so long. Long before the book was accepted for publishing. I have been waiting for this day ever since I got the stupid notion of being a writer. It’s taken many forms and has changed scenarios over the years, but the one thing remains solid. I succeed. I know it’s small press, but there are so many great and popular authors who started out in small press and grew and I think I have what it takes to become like them. This is just the beginning.

This is kind of a validation for all the hours I spent hunched over my laptop banging out page after page of my imagination. There’s a little disappointment to this I admit. I mean, it’s like Christmas. You wait all year long to open that one present you think you can’t live without and you know your parents got it for you. You daydream about what it’s going to be like to have it at last. You think of all the ways your life will be different with this one, irreplaceable treasure, and then the day comes. The package is slid before you and it’s n ever felt closer. You tear through the packaging and your heart races. You can see the box through the torn paper and you can barely believe what you have in your arms. It is  yours at last! Free and clear! But, after you open it up and a few hours have passed, it doesn’t shine as bright anymore. You still love it and it’s still going to enhance your life, you just can’t really get as excited about it as you were before you had to wait for it. That little bit of depression sinks in, and that’s kind of what I feel a bit today. It’s over. The wait is over and now it’s time to find the next thing to wait for. Although I’m hoping for a few more surprised down the road with this one. A shining review in Entertainment Weekly would be spiffy. A good review in any major publication would be great. A little good press.  I think I could set this world on fire, I really do. I just need to be able to cash in on my fifteen minutes. I think the Kardashians are hogging all the fame minutes for themselves.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my joy and ask all my followers to go out (or stay in. You can buy it online too) and get a copy of ‘Spectrum’, and if you do and you read it, please be sure to leave a review. Hopefully a good one at that. 🙂 Thank you. BTW, I would like to thank my followers on this blog. I get such a thrill everytime I get a ‘like’ or someone new follows the blog. It’s good to know someone out there is reading this stuff. Makes me feel just a little less insane. Thanks for that.

http://www.amazon.com/Spectrum-Novel-Jason-K-Melby/dp/1938191072/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1386692841&sr=8-2&keywords=jason+k+melby

ISBN-13-978-1938191077

Lifting The Fog

This is going to be a very personal post today. Something very bad has happened, and after a week of processing and torturing myself, I need to expel the poison. I don’t know where to start this really. I was just out at the mall and these words came to me. I felt a feeling come over me and I realized what it was. It was the feeling that you believed there was someone out there that cared about you, and then you found out that you were wrong. After more than a year of accepting the faults of this person for the sake of the affection you felt for them, you realize that it was only you feeling those things. You thought in your worst moments that there was small bit of true affection within them and maybe there was. A small bit, but so little that a new infatuation was able to wipe it all away, as though it had never been there in the first place. You find yourself the loser suddenly caught out in the cold with nothing to show for your trouble but an aching heart and a broken smile forced on your face only to show the world that this will not destroy you. After time, you manage to accept and focus on what else is good in your life, but the pain lingers. Such a vicious and cold treatment. I gave nothing but warmth and affection, and in return I’m eased out without even being told. Just pushed aside and ignored. Such actions are less those of a man and more of a monster.

It’s times like this I actually take the most comfort in my comic books and silly things. It may seem odd to the outsider, but for me, when anything has gone wrong in my life and it felt like the world was ending, I could always count on Batman in Gotham or Superman in Metropolis or Spidey in New York or Xavier and his brave X-Men. Superman always saves the day. Batman always defeats the Joker and the world keeps turning and no one can take them from me. It’s steady and reliable, unlike people. They keep me grounded and sane, ironically. This pain will pass I know, and it feels like it has mostly, but I know there will be traces left for some time to come. It’s my mourning period mixed with anger and disappointment. I always wonder though, why am I the one always feeling these things more? Why does it seem that I am the one who gets all the pain in these situations? The other guy just skips off into the sunset with his new man while I’m left to cry into my hands. All I ever wanted was to meet someone who was as excited about me as I was about them. It happens. I’ve had it before and I don’t see why I can’t have it again. I see it happening all around me for other people. What is it about me that forces me into this void where I am neither seen nor heard by the world at large? All I know is I am one of the most genuine hearts that will be experienced and I have been discarded in the most callous and unkind way. I could be consumed with anger. I could wish only to harm and hurt this person out of revenge, but I won’t. It doesn’t serve me to destroy another. I have a big future lining up before my eyes and those who get to join me on the upcoming journey will be fortunate, and those who have chosen to leave will learn regret for that choice.

State Of Singlehood

Okay. It’s tough to meet people these days. The odds are against us as our world changes more and more to remove us from daily interaction with others. We do everything online, we don’t have as many chances for a ‘meet-cute’ out there. My words here are directed at the gay single community.

I have been spending the last few days bouncing around some of the dating/hookup apps/sites because frankly that’s the only way men meet anymore. It’s no easier in person at a bar, and frankly based on my experiences from bar dating, I think I’m better off on Scruff. The main problem with gay dating today, at least here in Los Angeles is the simple fact everyone thinks they are so damn hot no one is good enough for them. I saw a profile of a guy who had a great body, handsome face and his words were rather well put together. By this I can gather he’s an attractive, intelligent man seeking someone special, yet he has not accomplished this. Why? Probably because he’s looking for a rich, successful Olympian who travels the world and does charity work when he’s not in his gourmet test kitchen creating the next sensation in nouveau cuisine. That seems to be the basic model for what everyone is looking for in a partner. Perfection. I’d like to drop a little reality check on everyone.

Perfection does NOT exist. I’m not saying you have to settle for some loser, but I am saying there are a lot of great guys out there who may not check off every box on your list, and that might be a good thing. One part of a relationship is accepting your partner for all that’s bad as well as all that is good. Sometimes the clashes between you help the both of you grow. Maybe you travel and your guy doesn’t like to go far. Maybe you can open his eyes to something new. Dating someone whom you have EVERYTHING in common with sounds terribly boring to me. All you will be doing all the time is the same old stuff you both always did before you met. The novelty of having someone to do them with might wear off quickly. And when did everyone start running marathons? I mean, really? There are so many guys out there who go on about how important athletics are to them and how their partner must share this passion and how eating right is a passion for them as well. These are the same guys who go out on the weekends and drink their body weight in alcohol.

The trap of this is usually when you open yourself up, you find your pickings are less than stellar. I mean in a physical sense. I hate sounding shallow about this, but physical attraction is a crucial component as well and the fact is we are attracted to certain attributes while repelled by others. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s important your partner gets your engine running, but some guys need to open their eyes a bit wider. I mean, I’ve seen some profiles say they like guys of all shapes and sizes, as long as they’re fit. They say they like guys who are muscular, slender, ripped, or lean. Glad to see they are keeping it wide open. There are also many who restrict their dating to a particular race or nationality. These men narrow their field so thin, there’s no chance of anyone living up to their standards, and then they turn around and wonder why they’ve been single for the past ten years. I have sent my share of messages to guys who, based on their pictures, I felt were in my league. I mean, they weren’t gym bunnies, but they had nice builds. Solid. Healthy. Good for cuddling, but often I wouldn’t get a response. I would then go back to their profile and I would catch a line about how they’re only into in shape men. It seems like these guys are setting themselves up for failure in this. My philosophy has always been to not ask for any more than I could provide myself. I’m not out for a perfect hunky stud. Just someone who I find attractive. The guys I’ve been with have not been ‘in shape’, but they weren’t obese either. They were regular guys. They were right for me. I’m probably going to get a bunch of hate over all that, but I’m just being honest. If you like large guys, then great, but that has never been my thing.

I feel like I’m getting lost in my point, so I’m going to wrap this. My overall point to this is that gay men need to get serious about finding love when they’re really in the  market for a partner. They need to grow the hell up and accept that no man is going to meet all their requirements. That golden unicorn you dream of has galloped off to unicorn heaven and will not be coming back anytime soon.