Stat Holidays In Our Modern Age

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Confession: I don’t work Mondays and I do not get an alternate day off in lieu of not working Mondays when a Stat day comes along. Which means that Monday Stat Holidays have little effect on my schedule.

Growing up, I can remember looking forward to the next Stat Holiday and all the fun I could have on my off.

Today, the 2nd annual British Columbia Family Day, I took my daughter down the hill for a few errands.

In the process, our itinery looked like this:

  • Go to a fully staffed craft store.
  • Head over to a fully staffed grocery store where I picked up an item from the fully staffed pharmacy.
  • Watch my daughter take off to do some writing at a nearby fully staffed coffee shop.
  • Head to a fully staffed electronics store.
  • Proceed from there to a fully staffed home improvement store.
  • Stop on the way home at a fully staffed gas station.
  • Oh, and the house builder two blocks down from us started at 8am.

Exactly how many of the staff people we interacted with on this trip were out and about enjoying their special day off?

To put it another way, Why are a siginificant portion the working population out working on a day that’s been set aside for them to have time off with family and friends?

It seems to me that our once looked forward to Stat Holidays have been replaced by a special day in which a privileged portion of the population can expect the remainder to wait on them hand and foot.

Sure, some of these people get another day off in lieu of the stat while others get extra pay for working the stat, but is that even close to receiving the leisure time the term Stat Holiday implies?

I wish I could answer my own questions. I can’t.

Happy BC Family Day.

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We Share The Road

Last Monday while circling the block searching for the entrance to a parkade, I had a wholy unpleasant encounter with a cyclist. It is not my intention to rehash the details of that exchange, but to explore my reaction. To start, I am willing go so far as to admit that my failure to be completely on top of the 360 degree environment in which I was operating did have a direct influence over what happened.

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Intro over, I must say I escaped the moment convinced that a significant portion of the local cycling scene consists of self-righteous, self-important, uncaring, and uncivil individuals who consider the rest of us dirt to be trod on. If I’d given into my gut instinct to blog about it then the level of vitriol coming from my fingers would have all but guaranteed me a comment stream of hate from cyclists everywhere.

Five days later I have had lots of time to process what happened, both at the encounter and in my own heart, and I have reached a conclusion:

I will continue to do my level best to treat those with whom I share the road with all the respect and care they are due. Whether they appear to deserve it or not. Anything less would drag me down to the level I attributed that cyclist when we parted.

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Another Rant About How Much Authors Earn

I’ve been giving a lot of thought about the most authors earn less than 1000 a year survey from DBW and have decided there is still room for a rant.

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Though this survey does break out aspiring authors from the published ones, the data people like me have access to doesn’t answer the big question. Of the aspiring authors, how many plan to self-publish and how many are waiting for a publishing house to offer up a contract? I know, these numbers will be skewed further by those who will decide to FP if they can’t get a contract.

Point is, the low threshold to SP means lots of people who aren’t ready are calling themselves published while on the House side lots of people who are ready must report themselves as aspiring. Until this gap can be bridged, all these surveys are guilty of comparing apples to oranges.

I do have one other question nobody seems to be addressing. Are to people responding to these surveys answering in gross or net earnings? For that matter, are the House respondents using the actual amount they received this year or the total advance amount given in the contract regardless of when it will be received?

Now to find out how those percentages of people who earn $20,000 a year or more compare in terms of real fingers to the keyboard authors.

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Keeping Your Eyes Open

I had forty-five minutes to kill between dropping my dear wife off at work and when the doors of my next stop opened. After some exploration, I’d found this little parking lot near Burrard Inlet just east of the Canada Place Convention Centre where I could hang out at times like this.

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On this particular morning I looked up from the story I’m editing in time to see the full moon hovering right on top of the hotel tower. I couldn’t get my camera out fast enough to get that initial image so I decided to experiment a bit with what I could get.

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How many such moments do we miss because we’re too busy or otherwise occupied to notice? I could say that, as a writer, I have a special duty to keep my eyes open for inspirational purposes, but I won’t. All of us, whatever our artistic bent, need to cultivate the ability to stop and admire such moments. They are a reminder of the grandeur of creation that speaks to the deepest centre of our being if we will just listen.

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When was the last time you stopped for such a moment? They’re all around us, everyday.

Now to learn how to be quicker with my camera so I can get a shot of the next apex moment that causes me to stop and listen.

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Price Promotions

A recent article over at Dear author got me thinking about my book buying habits.

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Unlike the author of this article, I keep a virtual TBR pile and only purchase the next book when I get close to the end of the one I’m currently (unless they have already been gifted to me in the interim). To put that another way, I do not purchase a new book until I know it is time. As such, I cannot remember a time when I ever felt burnt because the price of my new book changed a few days later. I bought at a price I considered fair at the time of purchase and really don’t care what the author or seller decided to do with the pricing now that I own a copy.

To make matters worse, unless we’re talking about a Specialty or Hard Cover version, even full price House Published books are generally a deal for what I get out of them. While the kind of price differentials referenced in the Dear Author article would have felt nice to my pocket book, they are well within the range of my personal discretionary spending allowance and could just as easily have disappeared into an unplanned Hot Chocolate. What it won’t do is make me sweat over any perceived I’ve Been Cheated moments.

Okay, I have been known the break down and buy a book early because I did find it on sale, but I have never held off buyiing a book because it might come on sale later.

So there you have it, my very different view of Promotional Pricing policies.

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Contemplating Electric Vehicles

A recent newspaper article discussing the Nissan Leaf EV got me thinking once again about the way such vehicles are viewed by driving professionals.

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The writer of this article made a point of saying the limited range of the Leaf relegated it to the roll of expensive second car because it couldn’t handle the distances involve in heading out of town.  My reaction: Most drivers spend very little time on such extended trips.  As such, many of them could get along just fine owning a Leaf as their primary  car and renting on those rare occasions when they do need the additional range. I know that’s what I would, and might just, do for my next car.

Then the article ended with the age old whine that EV and their cousin Hybrid cars are still too expensive. A somewhat valid point if you leave it at that.

A quick analysis will show that the available EV cars are actually placed in the mid-range of modern auto prices. Especially when you start adding on the acessories. Take into account potential fuel savings and they begin to look like real deals in the long run.

Then there’s the issue of marketing. The plaques that say EV or Hybrid are a form of statement. A way of saying I’m prepared to put my money where my mouth is.

People willingly spend big dollars to make a statement. From clothes to addresses to the kind of car they’re seen driving, money is often the last thing on their mind (unless it’s for bragging rights). EV manufacturers should look for ways to capitise on this little truth, and we the forward looking public should support them to the best of our ability.

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Self-Published vs House-Published Revisited Yet Again

In sitting through so many panels during this weekends Vancouver Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention I found myself faced with a variety of questions that reflect where my writing needs to go next.

dalekOne point that has stayed fresh in mind due to it’s arrival near the end of my third day, is the question of what having a manuscript House-Published gives you over going the Self-published route. Or more importantly, the answer:  To get the attention of a House-Publisher, you must present a piece with sufficient polish to rise above the noise.

People like to throw out stats such as the number of Self-Published authors who never sell more than X dollars over the life of their book(s) to show how bad self-publishing is. Unfortunately, such stats ignore the difference between the earnings of an SP author who has made the effort to polish their work and one who simply throws up their first (or even second) draft. I mean, what would the numbers for House-Publishing look like if they were required to include rejected manuscripts in their stats? Or even every book for which they hold a licence regardless of In Print status?

Thus I’ve reached my main point: Is it possible to build a reliable system that would help readers differentiate between Self-Published books that have been polished to a standard at least equal to that of a House-Published book and those that have not? I honestly don’t know if the answer is yes.

 

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