I Hate February

That seems a bit harsh, I realize, but so far, it’s true. I mean, I know technically it’s still January, but in these final two days of the month, things are getting kind of shitty. First, no job leads all month. Lots of resumes, just no responses. Still no UI benefits. No big surprise there, but it still annoys me. I just got a 2 star review of Spectrum which  called it ‘slow’ and again the review claimed the main character was dim, but I’m still not seeing it. I don’t know where he comes off dumb, but whatever. I’m just upset that the 2 star thing brings my average rating down from a solid four stars to 3 and a quarter. That does not make me happy. My checking account is dwindling to nothing and the financial help I have secured will barely be enough because I’m getting slammed with my phone bill, car registration and rent all in one weekend, and after all that is done I have no idea what I’m going to do. My book sales have dried up and I’m still not figuring out how to crack into the mainstream media. I just can’t seem to get that door to open. The roofing  people who were doing work in the unit below me left a couple large pieces of equipment in my living room and it’s been a week and they still haven’t come to take them back. I’m trying not to let these things bug me because I believe in positivity attracting more positivity and I refuse to fall into the negativity net trap of the universe, but it’s hard not to when there’s just nothing good going on. No money. No job. No love. Just nothing. If my life were a movie, this would be the point just before the first big twist, but life isn’t a movie and my life seems to be an endless first act of a rom com. I’m wondering how long I have to suffer in this sphere of hell until I am granted passage up to the next level. You know, where I get to have the life I want. Here’s how I see it. I either have a great job I love or my writing takes off and is generating a good source of income so every morning I get up and get dressed up in some nice little ensemble and head out to either the office or a series of meetings with agents and publishers or movie execs. People respect me and I feel assured that my work is looked upon with value. I’m also seeing a great guy who loves to spend time with me. No games. No hang ups. We’re just two people who just enjoy each others company whether we’re going to a museum opening or just catching a cheesy horror film at the multiplex. Someone I can go to a fancy restaurant with as easily as a simple burger joint. When I go out shopping and I see something I want, I don’t have to soul search and pull up all my financials to see if I can afford to blow twenty bucks. I want to be where it seems everyone else is at. I want to start living my life instead of sitting here waiting for it to get started. I feel like I’ve been stuck on the bench for too long already and any longer it will be too late. There are people just out of college with more on their resume than I will ever have. I’m not prepared to be put out to pasture already. I don’t think I ever got my time in the meadow to begin with, and that’s not fair.

I believe everyone has a shot at that big win, but whether they take it or not decides their fate. All the sad unhappy people who drag themselves through their lives are the ones who blew it. The happy ones are the ones who saw the chance, took it and milked it for all it was worth. I’m just afraid my chance has already come, but I didn’t see it and now I’m just marking time with the foolish idea that I can rise above all of this, but instead I seem to just keep sinking lower and lower. I’m just going to keep sinking until I’m some stooped over old man, alone in some low income apartment building on the bad side of town who takes the bus everyday just to go to the grocery store and back just to do something. I am afraid of my future because I have no idea what it’s going to be, but if you asked me where it was headed and based on the evidence of my life so far, it’s not shaping up too great. I don’t want this. I reject all of this. I don’t want this life anymore. I just need the wind to change direction and I know it can all turn around, but it just won’t do it.

Wow. I really went off topic there, didn’t I? Ah, blogging. The next best thing to therapy. If you have read this and feel like helping out a little, I guess it would be nice if you could all run on over to Amazon.com and look up Spectrum by Jason K Melby and leave a good review. Lie if you have to. I’m not so  proud. Just a few five or four stars would be great.

thanks.

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Work Please

Well, I feel a little bad this week. I kind of flubbed up the other day. I got a call from a perspective employer about a resume I had sent out and I made a fatal mistake. I was honest.

I’m sorry, but it had been a long time since I spoke with someone about a job and this kind of took me by surprise and add on to that the guy asked me one of those questions I hate to be asked. “What kind of work are you looking for?” I’m sorry. My fuses burst when that question surfaces. I know we all should try and strive for a job we want, but right now I’m not living with that reality. The kind of job I’m looking for is the job you’re looking to fill. I don’t care what it says on my resume or what previous positions I’ve held. If I didn’t want that job, I wouldn’t have sent you my resume in the first place. To ask me this question only shows the ignorance of the employer, at least from my point of view. It shows they don’t realize what it’s like out here in the job searchers world. It shows me that they haven’t picked up a newspaper or watched the news in the past 10  years.

The jobs are coming fewer and further between. My unemployment benefits are gone and frankly, I’m skating by right now by the skin of my teeth. I need work. Part time. Full time. Contract. Whatever! I’m not looking for my dream job. In a way, I already have that because I am a writer and that’s something I can do whenever and for as long as I wish, but unless my book sales take a very sharp spike upward, I’m going to need a job to fill in the gaps. Right now I’m looking for a source of financial support. I’m not going to love your company as you do. I’m not going to sacrifice my life for your profit margin. I’m sorry. That’s just not going to happen. I will show up to work and perform my duties as described to me to the best of my abilities. I will arrive on time and stay until the end of the day. I will help with any duties that I can in the course of the day. I will assist you and my co-workers in moving the gears of commerce along as smoothly as possible. I know a lot of experts say that you have to be that golden child in order to get ahead. They say you have to be willing to mortgage your whole life for the sake of the job. It seems like you can’t get a simple entry level position without proving to the employer you are the second coming brought to life. Which I hate.

It feels like the economy has given employers a chance to turn up the tension and by doing so we, the job seekers, are turning on each other and stabbing at each other while the fat cats sit upon their thrones watching the carnage from their safe perches. We seem to be at war with each other, trying to outdo the next guy at every turn for a meager crust of approval.

I wish I could skip out of this  part. I want to just get to the part where people love my work and my books are selling at a steady pace and I have a few solid deals in ink all over town. Or maybe my books become a sensation over in Japan and the craze incubates over there, and comes back over here big time. I’m just tired of this struggling because it seems I’ve been here a few too many times. It’s like I find myself wandering around the same woods and I find the same brief solution but eventually I end up lost all over again. This isn’t working, but I’m not really seeing what could work. Everything fails. I had a good week with my books. An improvement over past performance, but nothing to write home about. I’m kind of hoping that HBO show ‘Looking’ inspires something because I noticed my Jason Of The Valley books were the most popular sellers, I must admit. I hit double digits with the second book in the series, and I’m definitely going to finish the fifth book soon. I just wish things could start going my way. If only for a month or two. A week. Give me one week of good mojo. I guess last week I felt so good because I felt like I was finally winning. Seeing all those new numbers on my revenue page. For a brief moment, I thought I knew what it was like to touch victory and it was good. I want more. I need more. I’m ready for this fuckin’ life of mine to start getting on track!

Let’s hope.

Looking? Please!!

Okay, I have heard a lot about this new HBO series ‘Looking’. From what I have gathered it’s a series about a group of gay friends in San Francisco and the ups and downs of their lives as they deal with life and love. Hmmm. Well, that sounds awful familiar to me.

Now, I don’t want to sound like sour grapes here. I just want to set the record straight, so to speak. I was first to this. I have  been writing these stories since 2004. ‘Looking’ is basically ‘Jason Of The Valley’ just set in a new city and cast with actors who are by far NOT an accurate portrayal of your average gay man. As usual, Hollywood casts pretty, but that’s not my big beef. I’m just here to let you all know if you saw this show and liked it, go check out ‘JOV’ and its sequels. It’s exactly the same kind of thing. A group of gay friends and the things they go through aren’t about them being gay. They just happen to be gay. They are real characters. Flawed and perfect in all their imperfections. Which by the way, I think is a sad state of affairs when a show with gay characters is spotlighted by the fact that the characters’ sexuality isn’t made a primary issue. Gay people have always been gay people and should  have been portrayed as such from the very beginning. In this day and age, this shouldn’t be revolutionary.

I’d also like to add the a few years ago a pitched JOV as a series to Logo and it was passed only because a similar project was under production, and I believe this was that project. I’m just saying. So if you liked Looking, I have a feeling you’ll really enjoy the Jason Of The Valley series. Check it out.

The first:

http://www.amazon.com/Jason-Of-The-Valley-Melby-ebook/dp/B001JEO44E/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1390240244&sr=8-2&keywords=Jason+k+melby

The second:

http://www.amazon.com/Somethings-Always-Wrong-Jason-Valley-ebook/dp/B006LFPWCY/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1390240388&sr=8-9&keywords=Jason+k+melby

The third:

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Without-You-Jason-Valley-ebook/dp/B006LFW0PG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1390240388&sr=8-3&keywords=Jason+k+melby

So, I’m at least three years ahead of the show as far as stories, and I have another one due out this year.

Good Fortune

I have been blissing out this week. So far this year has been very good for my writing. Spectrum has been getting many good reviews. 6 total with an average rating of 4 out of 5, which makes me feel pretty good about myself. In fact, I’m proud to say that all the books I have on Amazon stand at 4 to 5 stars on average. Of course, I haven’t gotten too many reviews yet, but I’m hoping for more soon.

I re-edited my books (I learned a lot editing Spectrum under professional supervision) and as I re-released them, I offered them for free and so far, I’ve got over 300 new readers out there. And what’s even better is my actual sales have gone up. As of now, I have sold over 30 ebooks total so far this month. I know that’s a long way from making any best seller list, but for me that is a huge step forward. I’ve never sold so many books in such a short amount of time. That’s like a book a day for a whole month. In fact, one book of mine, Something’s Always Wrong, has sold over ten copies alone just this past week. People are reading. At long last, people are reading, and from the sales, I’d say they are liking what they are reading.

And to add to this momentum, I have a new Demon Hunters book due out next month and another Jason Of The Valley book on deck for later this year as well. Although, I wish the Demon Hunters books were selling better, but I guess that could come in time. So far the Jason Of The Valley series is selling better.

Bottom line is I’m happy and very optimistic about what’s going on. Let’s pray this momentum continues. Until then, head over to Amazon.com and search for Jason K. Melby. I know it’s extra work for you, but it’s easier than putting individual links for each book here. Check out my stuff.

Thanks

7 Days A Week?

Okay. This got my blood boiling. It seems Wisconsin Republicans Glenn Grothman and Mark Born have authored some state legislation that would effectively create a 7 day work week for retail employees. And guess what. They’re circulating this piece of legislation on behalf of the state’s largest business organization.

Think on that.  A bunch of overfed CEOs are gathered at the table in some boardroom complaining they aren’t making enough money. They can’t afford the latest Ferrari or they can’t add that eighth room to their mansion. Poor guys. Solution? Make the workers work longer hours. Squeeze a few more drops of blood out of those lazy, minimum wage  earning drones. Maybe that’s over dramatized, but basically that’s what is going on and the GOP is taking the side of the business owners. To hell with the little guys. I guess it’s better for them to make sure the little guy stays the little guy because if ever the day comes they rise up, the GOP is in for a world of hurt. It seems like these days the GOP is doing exactly that. They are doing everything they can to make sure those that are on the bottom stay there.

I say that the minimum wage workers of the nation need to band together and bang on the GOP’s front door and tell them in no uncertain terms that they are not mindless drones, or machines owned by these companies. They are not mere equipment to be used by their employers until they break down and are replaced one day. They are human beings with families and dreams and a desire to live their lives, not work in your stores/factories. They didn’t come out of school with the dream of standing on their feet for 8 hours  a day, 7 days a week, checking groceries until the day they died. They maybe wanted to travel to Europe, or simply wanted to raise a family. Whatever their goal in life is, they have as much right to pursue it as anyone else, but the fat cats above are trying to take that away now. Even that much freedom is too much to allow. Where the hell do they get off? I’ll tell you CEOs what. If your profits are down and you need more people working, get off your own asses and do it yourself! It’s your business. The responsibility falls ultimately to you. Pull all those vice  presidents you’ve got and get them out into the trenches with other workers. Fill in a few shifts yourself. You say you’re too old to be doing such work? Well, I’m certain you’ve got many employees older than you doing that same work, so spare me that excuse.

The corporate culture in this country has grown so lazy and shiftless. They want more profits, they cut their employees benefits or salaries or they just force them to work more hours. They don’t want paying for health insurance to cut into their profits, so they cut workers hours, and therefore make them ineligible for decent benefits. The corporate kings of this country are raping and pillaging us and we’re letting them!

The GOP fight for them claiming that a higher minimum wage would cost jobs and hurt the economy, yet at the same time all their policies have not only not helped our economy but have hindered it. Billion dollar companies don’t pay taxes while struggling families are forced to carry the burden. I have been paying attention long enough to know what’s going on. The GOP has chosen to represent a small portion of this country with all the money. They do this because who’s going to finance their re-election campaigns? For instance, consider the Koch Brothers. They have been pouring millions of dollars into GOP campaigns for congress and senate so that when their boys get in there, they will do what they want them to do, and they will do what they want them to do because they want their money. It’s a vicious, corrupt cycle that needs to end before our government becomes nothing more than a prop. Honestly though, I don’t know how much longer the Koch Brothers’ wealth is going to last if they keep dumping all this money into politics. It’s just about the worst investment you can make. Look at all the backers who hedged their bets on Romney. They lost big time. Bad investment. And a lot of those guys supposedly make their money investing money and advising others how to invest. Kind of tells you something, doesn’t it?

The GOP fight against school lunches, yet have no problem with their free meals. They don’t want affordable healthcare for the public, but have no problem with their healthcare packages. They make millions in the private sector, but still take their federal pay and then complain about all the money we’re wasting on education. It just seems there is a major corruption of priorities here. They live in their ivory towers like royalty and hold court over us like we should be grateful.

I know this isn’t going away. It never will. They right the rules and their first priority is naturally to protect their own interests. Although if a day ever comes that we can fix this, I say we take away all of their salaries. In the beginning, senators and congress people didn’t get paid at all. If they must be paid at all, they should have to earn the median income of their constituents, and if they make any money in the private sector, they shall be ineligible for federal pay. They must live in their districts and spend the majority of their time there. They should receive no greater benefit than those they represent. The certainly can no longer vote for raises for themselves. I have no idea how that happened, but that has to stop. Remember last year when Congress voted for a raise for themselves? A raise is an increase in pay as a reward for a job well done, but they didn’t do a good job. If they were regular employees, they would have been lucky not to get fired. When did we allow them to raise themselves up above us like this? They are to be for the people and of the people. Right now, they aren’t.

Good Bye Porn

It seems the porn industry is setting up to leave Los Angeles for the bright vistas of Las Vegas because of their dispute with a voter approved law requiring male performers to wear condoms. I’ve never quite understood the big deal over this issue. I mean, wear a damn condom! It keeps the person(s) you’re in the scenes with safe and you as well. And considering all the cases of performers coming up positive with HIV in the past couple years, I’d think this wouldn’t have had to become a law. Some would argue the number of cases are so few that it’s not even that big a problem, but talk to the person who now has to live with this disease for the rest of their lives. Ask them if it’s a big problem. Some prominent figures in the porn industry have claimed that regulation already in place is enough. I don’t think that it is. We have just heard of the cases of HIV infection, but we don’t hear about incidents with other STDs and I am certain there are plenty. I have read articles that state that the watchdogs of the industry are not quite as vigilante as they lead us to believe, and this causes a public health hazard.

Let’s also not forget the number of ‘gay-for-pay’ male performers out there. They keep their gay enterprises on the DL and may engage in high risk behavior. They don’t tell anyone and they knowingly go into a situation where they could transmit something they may not know they have to someone else. Many performers also offer private services to interested parties and still more chances for disease to be spread if not detected. It’s called taking responsibility for your actions. All adults have to do it and you are not immune. You don’t like wearing condoms? Well, you know, everyone hates something about their job and considering your job is having sex, I’d say putting on a condom is barely an inconvenience. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The only other argument I can think they’d offer would be the expense of the condoms themselves, but are condoms really that expensive? I mean, you can go to Costco and get a jumbo box of condoms for less than 20 bucks.

People who work with hazardous materials must wear protective clothing on the job. In this case, that protective clothing is a condom. If construction workers, doctors, and others have to do it, why shouldn’t they? What makes them so damn special? The kicker here is I’m sure that this condom law thing is just going to follow the industry where ever it goes. It’s a common concern for many and even in Vegas. They know how to party, but I’m sure they also know how to stay safe so as to ensure many years of partying. If you don’t want to wear a condom in your private life, that’s your business, but if you’re in a professional environment you aren’t playing by your rules. The porn industry has been constantly asserting that it is a professional industry, but when they are called upon to act as such, they pitch a fit and act like children. This is why I have little respect for the industry as a whole, but I don’t want to get into that here. I’d be up until sunrise on that topic.

In the long run, it’s not a big deal. The porn industry is kind of dwindling down anyway with the influence of the internet and this new development could be the nail in the coffin, so to speak, because if they’re going to pull up stakes each time a state forces them to wear condoms, they’re going to run out of states at some point and they can’t really afford to play that game. Foreign markets are moving in and there are other cities in the US with booming porn scenes. I have noticed a lot of product coming out of Florida, which is currently being targeted for this condom law as well. And  with Florida? That is going to happen. 

Advice(?)

I was told this evening by a friend that I should be a mentor. This was after a round of advice giving, which I seem to do more often than I care to count. He didn’t exactly clarify what or who I would mentor, but it got me to thinking. I’ve always been the kind to give good, sage advice and for a brief time I wanted to be an advice columnist. I just like to help people with their problems, and although I don’t hold any advanced degree, I some how have acquired a firm understanding of humans and their behavior. I’m a friggin’ well of useful advice. My main area of expertise is relationships. Ironic. I guess after being batted around as much as I have, I’ve been given a keen perception into the workings of  the human heart.

So, I’m going to give this a shot once more. I offer you, my readers, access to my mind. If you have a problem of any kind, ask me. If you just need someone to sound off on something for some feedback. Here I am. If you don’t know which way to turn, tell me where you’re stuck and maybe I can show you a new path. I’m not saying I have all the answers, but I do have a sympathetic ear. I don’t want to play with people’s lives, but if you have a problem you feel you’re more comfortable sharing with a third party, I will hear you out and offer some well thought out insights. I want to turn this blog into an advice blog! So, don’t be shy. Message me your issue and I will give you my thoughts in a caring and compassionate manner. I’m still trying to figure this out. I want to find a way where you could message me privately and I would share the problem anonymously along with my advice. I’ll figure that one out, but if anyone out there is brave enough to give this experiment a try, I welcome you!

P.S.

Anyone with a drug or medical issue, I will tell you right off seek a counselor or doctor. I cannot offer any medical or legal advice.