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Tag Archives: Breaking Bad

A Weekend Update

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?  I have an excuse though.  No, really, I do.  But before I get to that, a few thoughts.  A few updates.  A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

As I wrote awhile pack in a fit of petulance I raised the Kindle price of Weed Therapy to $4.99, figuring if nobody was buying it at .99 why not increase it to $4.99.  Today, I got my first purchase of the ebook at that price.  Thank you to whoever that is.  Thank you.  Maybe it can start a trend.   Weed Therapy now has seven reviews on Amazon.  Just need three more to get to the magical ten.  Meanwhile One Night in Bridgeport is up to 51 reviews, with a few more four-star reviews.

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There are some pretty incredible graphics out there about the government shutdown and what the Republicans are trying to do.  I can’t find any of them in a form I can put here at the moment, however, so I’ll try to summarize.  The Republicans lost the 2008 election.  Obamacare was passed and became law.  They challenged it in the courts and lost.  In many states, they refused to implement it, forcing the federal government to take over what the states should be doing.  According to one graphic I saw, they have tried to repeal the law 39 times.  And failed every single time.  There are more variables at play here, but now they have shut down the government in yet another effort to end the Affordable Care Act.

Did you know that when polled, a majority of Americans oppose “Obamacare” but when polled about the components of the Affordable Care Act, they support every single one.  This is a perfect example of the stupidity of far too many Americans and also a testament to the lies and fear-mongering of the right wing.

So, let’s talk about what the Republicans are trying to stop.  A program intended to insure that every American has health insurance and access to health care.  More importantly, it is a requirement that every American pay for their insurance.  Yes, there are subsidies for low-income folks, but none of those subsidies are 100%.  Here’s what I don’t get.  All of these people who are objecting to the individual mandate have health insurance — either paid for by themselves, paid for by their employer, or provided by the government.  As a result, they are paying now for the health care costs of people who don’t have insurance.  It’s not a difficult thing to grasp and I’ll never understand why these people oppose a provision that would force those costs where they belong — to the individuals who don’t currently have health insurance.

Here’s another thing I don’t understand — the lies, lies and more lies.  I’ll just share one.  Actually, two.  Obamacare will force you to change insurance providers and doctors.  No, actually it doesn’t.  What is happening, however, is that employers are using Obamacare as an excuse to screw their employees by ending their health insurance and sending them to the health insurance exchanges.  That isn’t a requirement of Obamacare, it’s a response by employers who see this as a chance to improve their bottom line.

Second lie — it’s going to cost us all massive amounts more than what we are currently paying.  I can’t speak for all the different types of purchasers.  Individuals, couples, families, income levels, etc.  However, one of the standard claims is that it will increase health care costs for a family of four by $7,500 per month.  Well, maybe not.  I am the provider for a family of four.  My health insurance is currently provided by the State of California (as my employer).  I’m pretty sure, given its size, that the State of California has a bit of negotiating power to get rates that are as favorable as possible.  The cost of health insurance for my family of four as negotiated by the State of California is approximately $19,000 per year.  That does not include co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions.  My provider is Kaiser.

A couple of days, I went on the Covered California website to see what it would cost me as an individual purchasing health insurance.  Covered California is the new health benefits exchange offering health plans for individuals and small businesses.  Here’s what I learned … there were twenty-three different plans for me to chose from.  Well, I want to compare an apple with an apple, so I looked at the Kaiser plans.  Guess what?  What do you think I learned?  Would I, as an individual, purchasing health insurance for my family of four be paying $7,500 more per year for comparable coverage?  Well, what do you think?

Here’s the answer.  No.  In fact, there was a Kaiser plan available that would have produced almost identical coverage at a price that was only slightly higher than what my current coverage costs.  Imagine that, an individual with absolutely no negotiating power could almost exactly match the costs that the State of California is able to negotiate for its hundreds of thousands of employees.

Methinks the horror stories need to stop.

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So, why have I been absent?  There are a lot of reasons.  Some that I’ve covered in my last post or two.  But the reality is this.  I blame it on Breaking Bad.  I’ve almost eliminated television from my life.  Except for sports.  I’ve never got into any of the cable series and network television is so devoid of any value  Well, except for The Big Bang Theory.

Because people kept telling me I looked like Heisenberg, I decided I needed to see what the big deal was.  Through the power of Netflix, I started watching Season One a few weeks ago.  It was seven episodes and by the end of that first season, I decided to keep watching.  Heck, five seasons, seven episodes each, thirty-five episodes total.  I could do that.  Only season two didn’t end until the thirteenth episode.  Same with season three and season four.  I was screwed.  I’m up to season four, episode four.  Only … well, dammit.  I just checked to see how many episodes are in season five to confirm that it was thirteen.  And it isn’t.  There are sixteen episodes in season five spread out over two parts.  That means I’ve got twenty-six more episodes to go!!

And that’s why I haven’t been blogging.  Writing.  Or much of anything else these days.

The interesting thing is that there are a lot of things I don’t like about the show.  But, there is one incredible thing about Breaking Bad that keeps me watching — it is just an incredible depiction of evil and corruption and greed and it just keeps getting wound tighter and tighter and tighter.

See you in twenty-six episodes.

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Oh, almost forgot.  I’m trying something.  It started today.  It’s called letting go of my anger.  We’ll see how it goes.

Weekend Update

Maybe I’ll head to a once a week post that wraps things up for me for the week.  Who knows.  At least for this week, that’s what I’m doing.

In one 24-hour period, I got three more reviews on Amazon for One Night in Bridgeport.  All four stars and all good comments.  That brings the tally to 49 reviews (do I have a party when I get to 50?), 28 are five stars, 16 are four stars, 4 are three stars, and 1 is two stars.  I can definitely live with that mix.  Meanwhile, I’ve got five reviews for Weed Therapy.  Need to get at least five more.

I’ve done a really stupid and petulant thing with Weed Therapy.  I’ve moved the Kindle price to $4.99.  Why?  Because nobody was buying it, even at .99.  If nobody is going to buy the book at that price, why not increase the price and not have anybody buy it.  Yes, it makes no sense.  But I was peeved at what was happening.  None of the promotional efforts I tried produced any sales.  So, $4.99 is it for the time being.  Of course, if I get ten reviews and get it featured on ereadernewstoday, the price will be coming down.  But not until then.

Speaking of reviews of Weed Therapy, I don’t think I will ever again conduct a Goodreads giveaway.  I offered three autographed copies.  After the giveaway, I got an email from a Goodreads member who did not win one of the giveaway books.  She begged me to send her one anyway.  She and her husband are poor, you know.  He’s a veteran, you know.  She reads books to him, you know.  The book sounds so wonderful, you know.  We’ll provide two reviews, you know.  Two months later.  No reviews, no comments.  Nothing.  From any of the people who got a free copy through the giveaway.

Sales of Bridgeport have definitely slowed down.  Two-thirds of the way through the month, I’m at 38 for September.  Not bad, but not as well as I was doing for the four months prior.  I’m not sure if the book has simply run its course or there’s more I could and should be doing to promote it again.

As I wrote a while back, Deviation is complete.  Northville Five and Dime is about half way there.  Carlota awaits her future as the third in my series of three longer short stories.

That’s where I’m at when it comes to writing.  Where are you at?

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I look at what the House Republicans are doing with funding government and trying to defund Obamacare and wonder if they’ll ever have a clue.  Ever.  Their grip on sanity seems to get weaker and weaker with each year.  I can’t imagine their hoped for shutdown of the government being a successful strategy for them, just like it failed in the mid-90’s.  What the people want is a functioning government, Republicans and Democrats compromising and moving the country forward.  What they’re getting is dysfunction and disaster.

And for my readers who claim that Democrats and Obama aren’t willing to compromise by agreeing to scrap Obamacare, let’s be serious.  This is the President’s signature achievement.  Something that much of the country has aspired to for decades.  Even Richard Nixon supported universal health care.  Demanding that Obama end it before there has been any opportunity to see if it will work is extortion not compromise.  Worse than that, it’s extortion based on a complete misunderstanding of what the law does.

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I’ve started running again.  A month before I planned on doing so.  I couldn’t help it.  The bad news is that I’m much slower than I was a couple of years ago.  About two minutes per mile slower.  The good news is that I’ve “run” five times in the last seven days.  Friday night’s run lasted for four miles without needing a walk break.  The ol’ groin seems to be stable, although there is soreness in spots I never had soreness before.  Soreness is OK, it’s when the whole thing collapses and I can barely walk that is problematic.  No collapse yet.  If I can run four miles three or four times a week, I’ll be incredibly happy.

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I’ve become addicted to Breaking Bad.  After months of people telling me I look like Heizinger, I started watching season one on Netflix.  I’m now halfway through season two, watching three episodes Friday night.  It’s a story that strains the limits of credibility, but it is definitely a fascinating and intense look at how far a man could go down a very dark path.

Here’s another thing I learned last night when I logged into Netflix to watch Breaking Bad.  Never, ever give your kids your account and password information.  What they do with it is provide it to their girlfriend and her family so they can use your Netflix account to watch movies and TV shows.  When I realized this was happening I changed my password.  I am monumentally disappointed with my son and with her family for doing this.  I realize it doesn’t cost me anymore, but it feels like theft, like being taken advantage of.  How many movies and shows have they watched on my account over the past week?  Sixty-seven.  In one week.  I didn’t go back any further in my viewing history.  That was enough.

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I’m spending my Sunday running, writing, doing laundry, watching football, and baking bread.  I have this incredible bread book called Artisan Baking Across America.  It’s more like a coffee table book than an actual cook book.  It’s filled with incredible pictures of bakeries and dough and bread.  Fortunately, it’s got a lot of recipes as well.  As the title should make clear, this is about making bread in a very old fashioned way.  Mix a bit of flour and water and yeast together Saturday night.  Let it sit over night.  The amount of yeast, however, is so tiny as to be almost non-existent.  In the morning, mix that (it’s called a poolash) with more flour and water and maybe some honey and a few other things.  And let it rise.  Because of the small amount of yeast, the rise is 3-4 hours long.  Then you shape the bread and let it rise for a couple more hours before baking.

The end product is this incredible, crusty, airy, bubbly bread with more flavor than you know what to do with.  I’m making two loaves of tortano and two loaves of semolina fiolene.  Pictures later.

What are you doing with your Sunday?

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Almost forgot … if you’re looking for a little writing challenge, head over here for the second installment of the We Drink Because We’re Poets Seven Day Story Challenge, sponsored by yours truly.

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