Sunday, February 26, 2012

Where Are Your Manners?

manners
The folks on Twitter never cease to amaze me. Time and time again, I am left shaking my head because someone exhibited a lack of Twitter etiquette. Wouldn’t it be great if we could reach through the computer and shake them so they could come to their senses? Alas, since we can’t, I have to settle for writing this blog post. Hopefully, the guilty tweeps who read this will get the hint and change their ways, but why do I doubt it?

More often than not, if you don’t have any manners in the “real world”, it’s going to carry over into your actions on social media. People who lack manners (in real life or on the computer) are often so blockheaded that they never get the point. Anyway, here are the most annoying, unmannerlike (I know…that’s not a word) things I have seen on Twitter. They can be applied to Facebook as well.
  • Reducing people to a number. There’s a growing trend on Twitter where people grow their numbers into the thousands and then unfollow everybody but a handful so they can look like a hot commodity…like a rock star. Each time I’ve seen it, I have been so disappointed because I thought the folks who did it were better than that. They preach new ageisms and yet they are treating people like a number, subscribing to their ego so they can appear big. Folks like that quickly get an unfollow from me. Come on now. Do numbers mean so much to you that you are forced to piss thousands of people that you built a relationship with off because you want to look like the next big thing? Think again, hon. It only makes you look desperate.
  • Not responding to a comment. Hey, we’re all busy, but if someone takes the time to respond to one of your 140 characters, the least you can do is return the favor. Unless you’re Rev. Run or Terry McMillan, you should be shooting off a reply every now and then. (If they can do it, why can’t you?) Are you too busy that you can’t comment? Well, maybe you shouldn’t have logged on to Twitter in the first place. However, I doubt if it’s a time constraint thing. It’s a dismissive thing and it’s so not cool. Unless the person is off their rocker or a porn bot or a spammer (you get the point), take the time to respond. Nuff said.
  • Acting like the boss man. Hello! “You’re not the boss of me!” I get so annoyed when people tell me to retweet something or follow them back because they followed me. I see it time and time again. The thing is, many of the tweeps who are guilty of this have things people would want to retweet without being told to do so. Listen. If what you’re saying has value, people are going to want to retweet it without you putting a Twitter gun to their head. If you are interesting, people will want to follow you back without being told to do so. Being told to do something makes people want to do it even less. But you should already know that by now, shouldn’t you?
  • Promotion only. Ah, the promotion tweeps are everywhere (I am—and used to be—one of them). They have books to sell, events to fill and weight loss secrets to share. But don’t expect me to follow you if all you’re doing is selling. You need to add value to Twitter, hon. Tweet an important article that has nothing to do with you. Tell us what you had for breakfast. Tell us about your favorite book (and it shouldn’t be yours). When I was selling my book, I made sure I tweeted about other things (not because I wanted to trick people, but because I was more than my book). I wanted to show my many different nuances. No one wants to be promoted “at”. Promote “to” me by telling me about you and not just your product.
  • Not showing gratitude. If you’re a “Twitter star” and have hundreds of thousands of followers, of course you can’t follow everybody back when they follow you, but it would be nice to see you show some gratitude. Send out a tweet saying something like, “Wow. I’m floored right now. Thanks so much for the follows, everybody.” Yeah, you can use what I said, but you might want to tweak it a little. (smile) Are people raping the retweet button for you? (I got that one from a tweep name @AfroSinTrick.) Even if you can’t thank them personally, every now and then a general thanks will do. You would be surprised…a little bit of gratitude goes a long way in the Twitter world.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Game - Poetry Corner

broken heart
The Game

He plays her like a game
pressing buttons
manipulating joysticks
controlling how high she jumps

He comes at night
riding on waves of passion
stroking her just right

When he leaves
she feels the void
 knowing
that she was just a toy
someone to fill his needs
someone to stroke his ego
someone to stroke his…oh

She knows she has been played
she cries
but in her heart
she knows
she’ll do it again.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Right To End Your Life

mother nature
In the past, nature resolved everything. Now, with the advent of modern medicine, man is overriding the will of Mother Nature, and herein lies the problem. 

I read in horror about the former Seinfeld actor who tried to kill himself and failed at his attempt (to read the full story, click here). He wanted to die because another leg was scheduled to be amputated and he was getting tired…tired of struggling…tired of living a life that was becoming increasingly dependent on others. I understand why he wanted to move on to the next life. I just can’t understand his how. Shooting yourself is never a peaceful way to go. Now, he’s in critical condition. Imagine the mental anguish.

When animals break a leg or get sick, they go off to die. Nature takes care of itself. Humans used to be like this. Diseases like cancer or diabetes would take over the host, but death was rarely prolonged. Don’t get me wrong, modern medicine is good—sometimes a little too good. After reading about Don Cornelius and Daniel von Bargen, I’m beginning to wonder if assisted suicide isn’t such a bad option. Maybe Jack Kevorkian had it right. Assisted suicide would offer a peaceful way to go so people won’t be compelled to shoot themselves like Mr. von Bargen did.

Suffering never looks good. Losing my independence is one of my worst fears. I don’t want to be a burden on my little girl when I get old. If an illness struck me, I would fight it at first, but if it appears that my quality of life is going to suffer—that I won’t be able to fully recover—I would rather be put out of my misery.

My family and I were blessed. We didn’t have to watch my mother battle cancer for very long. After her health went downhill, it didn’t take long for her to release herself from this life, which is as it should have been. As my family and I were forced to talk with the doctors about what we would do if she had to be incubated, I prayed that it wouldn’t come to that. I didn’t want to have to make the decision of prolonging her life in such a disabled state. Thank God we didn’t have to. Nature took care of it and she passed on.

For those people who nature isn’t so kind to, I say: What about assisted suicide? People are allowed to decide whether or not they want to bring a life into this world. Why not be able to decide when (and how) you want to leave? Of course I’m not saying that people should be able to kill themselves at random or willy-nilly. No. Professional counseling should be involved. And it should only become an option if disease is ravaging your body or if your quality of life has become so poor that you can’t bear to live anymore.

My prayers are with Don and Daniel. May they find peace.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Really, Kanye?

Kanye West

Dear Kanye West,

I just heard the news. You fired a dude because your meal was late. Really, Kanye? I wish the biggest problem in my life was food that got delivered a little late.

You don’t know how good you have it, brother. The least you can do is show the universe that you are grateful for all that you have been given by cutting the people you come in contact with some slack. Instead, you decided to throw a hissy fit because someone was late with your food. Are you going to die because your meal wasn’t hot? Is the world going to end because your fillet mignon (I don’t know if that’s what you ordered, but you get my point) wasn’t steaming?

Yes, I understand that delivering your meal was the driver’s J.O.B. and that if I showed up to my job late, I would get “talked to”. But fired? Aren’t we going overboard, Kanye?

I’m willing to bet your driver was rarely, if ever, late. People know not to *bleep* up in your presence. But you just had to show that you are “The All-Powerful Kanye” by dishing out your wraith. That driver that you just fired because you wanted to display your power probably has a family to feed, children to take care of. Couldn’t you have spared him? Shouldn’t you have bigger fish to fry? It’s not like the driver stole money from you. It’s not like he went to TMZ with the scoop on your personal life. So your meal got a little cold. Get over it, buddy. Again, I wish that was my biggest problem.

I like you, Kanye. I really do. I’ve been a fan since “Through The Wire” and even stuck by you during the T.S. (Taylor Swift) fiasco but, man, throwing a hissy fit because your food is late reeks of “punkism”. Only divas do crap like that and you don’t want to be classified as a diva, do you? That would hurt your street cred.

So, Kanye, please don’t let me hear that you did something like this again.

Sincerely,
T.C. Galltin

P.S. I love your song “Runaway” even though it didn’t get as much play as I thought it should have. You got skills, brother. Focus on that instead of firing folks over a cold meal.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What Next?

u turn
Life is funny. If we’re not careful, the curveballs that it throws at us can leave us bitter, downtrodden and depressed. Many of you are already aware of the fiasco that I went through with my ex-publishing company All Things That Matter Press. (If not, click here.) My heart is still hurting over the way they cheated me out of my money and left me without a published novel. I know they thought they could do this to me because I’m broke and they thought I wouldn’t be able to get a lawyer (I’m working on that now so I can get what is rightfully owed to me).

My gut spoke to me when I first got involved with them but, once again, I ignored it. How often do we ignore our gut because we want something to work out, because we’re grasping for love, because we want to move on to the next level? How often do we take that job knowing it isn’t right for us and that we should pass? Once we take it and things fall apart, we are left with shattered pieces, shattered dreams and end up having to “change lanes or make a U-turn” as Terry McMillan said.

I’m at that point now. I’m left wondering, “What next?” I’m left wondering how am I ever going to get my life back on track because I was depending on getting the word out about my novel so I could make a living as a published author. I’m left wondering how am I going to take care of that precious little girl who looks at me like I’m the world. I’m left wondering if I will ever be a published author again…if someone, a reputable agent, will pick up Zaire’s Place or my other novel and turn it into my pot of gold.

Of course, this isn’t the first time I had to pick up the shards of glass after something went terribly wrong. Many of us have to do it over and over again because life isn’t easy. But I find myself constantly wondering why does it have to be so hard? I find myself wondering why good people always get shitted on. I’m a good person and time and time again, I get treated poorly by others. I want to believe in Karma, but I often wonder if it is real and if it is why I don’t get a good dose of it to make up for the pain.

And so, I say again, “What next?” Right now I’m trying to bring some money in by offering my services as a writer/editor. I know that God has given me a talent and I want to use it. I’m trying to remember that God doesn’t give you more than you can take and that every problem you face is making you stronger. If that’s the case I must be He-Man by now because I’m constantly plagued with the problems life dishes out. I’m trying to remember my favorite saying, “In the end it all works out. If it hasn’t worked out, then it’s not the end.” But at the same time, in the recess of my mind, I’m left wondering “what next” and will it ever be right again?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Beware Of Unscrupulous Publishers

My publisher, All Things That Matter Press, just canceled my contract for my novel Zaire’s Place after I questioned the accuracy of my royalty check. I believe their decision was unjust and want to warn other authors out there to beware of this publishing company.

I received a royalty check for my fourth quarter sales today for only $33.44. First of all, it was a handwritten check and the slip that went with it detailing the amount of Kindles I sold was very unofficial/unprofessional looking. It didn’t even include my royalties for paperback sales. 

I sent them an e-mail asking them about my paperback sales since there was no mention of it on the “invoice”. I also told them that I would not be cashing the check until I spoke to someone about it. They, then, sent me and e-mail notifying me that they are canceling my contract and removing my novel from distribution.

Allow me give you some back history. I signed with them back in March of 2011, but my book wasn’t published until October 2011. After I signed on, I noticed some dubious practices that made me question whether or not they were on the “up and up”, one of which, I believe, was to fake a review for the CEO’s book in order to increase sales.

Because I was beginning not to trust them, I kept detailed records of my ranking on Amazon to cover my back. Amazon doesn’t tell you how many books you sold, but they do provide you with a ranking. I also kept track of two other authors from the publishing house so I could have comparison points. The amount of spikes I had in my ranking on Amazon is not indicative of a $33.44 check. I believe that ATTMP canceled my contract because I questioned them and because our relationship had become strained due to past disagreements (I have e-mails regarding those). 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after I signed with them, that I was given information from other writers that they were a publisher to stay away from, one of which is this website called Absolute Write. I wish I would have known what I discovered sooner.

At any rate, I don’t want to write a book detailing my ordeal, but I’m trying to see who can assist me in going after this amoral publisher regarding my proper pay. Since it is in their contract that they can stop selling the work of an author at will, I would like to make sure they will not get any more money from the sale of my book. I would also like to make sure no other people fall victim to their unscrupulous practices.

To find out more about my work as an author, you can visit my website at www.tcgalltin.com. I plan to go after this company and alert other authors about them so they won’t make the same mistake I did.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Twitter Jail Is Real

This post started out as a semi-comedic post, but when I found myself in Twitter Jail 13 hours later, the humor wore off. Now, as I type this update, I am pissed beyond belief. I will still run the original post that I wrote, however.

It is 3:48 a.m. and my stay in Twitter jail has miraculously ended. What I don’t understand is why I was put there in the first place. I did not exceed 1,000 tweets/day or even 100 tweets/hour. I did go over 100 tweets in a day, but there’s nothing abnormal about that. 

I just sent Twitter support a tweet about this ordeal. It is ridiculous and makes me wonder how many other people have been put there unfairly.

Now, back to my original blog post.

***

I will never forget the tweet I was dying to send when it happened.

“All toilet paper is not created equal.”

I typed those words into that little box that I have grown to love and went to hit “tweet” like I normally do. Nothing happened. Maybe I didn’t hit it, I thought. I tried again. Still nothing. WTF. My pulse quickened. Like a maniac, I continued to hit the button over and over again thinking the harder I hit it, the more it would work.

And that’s when it hit me…something was wrong. Oh my God, somebody hacked my account, I thought. I looked for signs of a hacked account. No. That didn’t seem like the answer. Just in case, I decided to change my password, logged out and came back in. Still, I wasn’t able to tweet.

After minutes of logging out and logging back in, frantically hitting buttons and doing searches on Google, it dawned on me. I, my friends, had a one-way ticket to Twitter Jail.

I Googled Twitter Jail. According to several websites, you don’t get sent to Twitter Jail unless you exceed 100 tweets/hour or 1,000 tweets/day. I was no where near those quotas. The day before, I did tweet like I was on speed or some other illegal drug because the Grammys was on. I counted the tweets. Over 100 in 24 hours. Maybe the people who listed those stats had it wrong, I thought. Maybe they mean tweeting 100 times/day will land you in Twitter Jail.

Unless you have been sent to Twitter Jail, you will never understand the frustration/the madness that comes with being sent to this dark place. You can look in on everything, see the Twitterverse go on as usual, but you can’t do anything about it. The worst part about it is that you are sent to Twitter Jail without being notified of it. It’s like committing a crime that you blacked out on…that you can’t remember ever happening. Even with real jail, you are not able to look out on the world as it goes on. What kind of sadomasochistic *bleeps* run Twitter that they allow you to see the Twitter world from your window without being able to participate? That’s torture.

I’ve been locked out for 8 hours now. As I type this, I’m praying that when the sun rises I will be able to tweet from my account. You don’t know the madness that accompanies not being able to engage in your drug of choice. Twitter is mine.

With regular jail, at least you know when you’ll get out. Not so with Twitter Jail. They force you to check in to see if you can tweet. How ridiculous. What kind of jail are you sent to where you have to monitor when you’ll be set free? At least with real jail, you have some of idea of when your sentence will end because you’re told up front how long your stint will be.

I’m in shock. *sighs* Until I’m set free, there’s always Facebook, right?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Can’t Stand Valentine’s Day

f**k
Here we go. *sighs* Valentine’s Day is this Tuesday, but I’m sure most of you already celebrated with your men, or women (for the few men who are reading this post) over the weekend. I hate Valentine’s Day with a passion. There…I said it.

Back in the day, I would show how deep my disdain for Valentine’s Day was by telling everyone I came in contact with 'Happy V.D.' Yup, you read that right…VD as in venereal disease. It gave me a great amount of satisfaction to put a stain on a day that I hated so much.

Maybe I hated Valentine’s Day so much because out of the 38 years that I have been alive, I only had two Valentines on the actual day. My other Valentine’s Days were spent hiding out in my house hoping the day would quickly pass so I could resurface again.

What was supposed to be a day to show the people in your life that you love them has now become so commercialized that single people feel like they are the scum of the Earth. If you don’t have someone to buy you chocolates, to shower you with jewelry or take you to a movie, you feel like your worth has reached an all-time low. Valentine’s Day has taught most people that it is better to be linked up no matter what the cost.

This year I feel slightly different about Valentine’s Day. I have absolutely no desire to be linked up. After dealing with my daughter’s father, I have now been cured of the need to be with another man. Oh, you’re going to say that I’ll get over it. Hmmmm. After all I’ve been through, I don’t think so.

This Valentine’s Day also feels different because I have been introduced to the love of my life…my daughter. She’s going to be the one that I hold and tell her how much I love her. She’s going to be the one that I’ll look deep into her eyes and savor the rich “chocolatetyness” of them. She’s going to be the one that I cherish, that I hope will be with me forever.

To all you single folks out there, Happy Valentine’s Day. Don’t let your worth be defined by this one day. And if it makes you feel any better, those folks who are coupled up are probably miserable. They’re just putting on a show. I love you and ‘Happy VD’. ;-)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Muzzle Me Now

Roland Martin
I’m stunned. CNN actually suspended Roland Martin for what they deemed to be anti-homosexual comments. Roland had tweeted that any male fans of David Beckham should have the ish smacked out of them.  He also said that that a Patriots player who wore a pink jumpsuit should have a visit from “#teamwhipdatass”.  Are Roland’s comments offensive? Of course. Should he be suspended? Absolutely not.

Let me start off by saying that I am so pro-gay that it’s not funny. If I could wear a rainbow everyday, I would. But if we as a society start suspending folks because they say something offensive, we are going to produce clones who spew the exact same thing because they are afraid to voice their true opinions.

Yes, I’m the same person who gets up in arms when the Right Wing says something bad about the Obamas. Calling for a president’s death is so different from saying something in jest. Besides, Martin didn’t direct his comments at a specific gay person like the Right Wing does when they attack the Obamas. He didn’t say gay folks need to be shot or anything like that. He was merely joking around. Yes, his jokes do stem from his anti-homosexual stance. All jokes have the views of the jester behind them. But, since when did it become okay to suspend someone because they don’t like homosexuals? You’re going to be suspending a lot of folks.

Okay. So now you’re going to say Martin is a public figure and that people look to public figures for their moral compass. Bullshit. First of all, Mr. Martin was in his own home when he sent out those tweets. It’s not like he went on CNN and said gay people should have their asses whipped. That’s another matter all together.

Critics of Martin bring up his anti-gay history. They say that this is not the first incident where Martin voiced his anti-gay views. And? Your point is? If you think Martin should change his views, how about contacting him? How about voicing your opinion letting him know that you think what he says is offensive? After voicing your opinion, that’s where it should end. A suspension is unnecessary.

As a writer, I am against censorship. What’s to say that someone wouldn’t try to censor me…that people won’t try to call for my downfall over something I write? Artists in particular need to be careful in their call for censoring another person. If Martin can be suspended over something like this, you might as well muzzle me now because I’m an opinionated woman who constantly voices my opinion.

P.S. I already know that many of you are going to be up in arms over my defense of Martin. And? This is supposed to be the USA, a country where I’m supposed to be allowed to say anything I want. Thank you, First Amendment!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Other Faces Of Domestic Violence

domestic violence
All of us are familiar with the story of the overpowering man who uses his fists to control a woman. We’ve seen pictures of the scars…the black eye, the bloody nose, etc. Thank God there are dozens of domestic violence campaigns to combat this insidious disease.

What we hear about less often is the violence that goes on in families: violence among brothers and sisters, violence among mothers and daughters, violence among cousins...you get the point. And what we hear about even less often is violence between gay and lesbian couples. It took Adam Lambert’s recent run-in with the law to shine a spotlight on this type of DV. Even then it was brushed under the rug and no one talked about domestic violence in the gay community in depth.

Anyone who knows me knows about my struggles with domestic violence on the home front. Until my family became the enemy, I looked at domestic violence as something that only happened between a man and a woman.

If you would have told me that my family would become my worst enemy, I wouldn’t have believed you. I never thought my brothers and sisters would use their fists, verbal weapons (in other words, terror) to attempt to control me, to berate me, to lash out at me. Basically, that’s what domestic violence is all about, isn’t it? An attempt to control another person and bring them to their knees.  

I’m not going to go into detail about the situation I’m facing, but suffice it to say, fights are common in my household. Arguments that the entire neighborhood can hear is the modus operandi in this house, something I hate to admit.

Someone once said that domestic violence should be called “domestic terror”. In part, I agree with that because the words that are flung, the blows that are constantly thrown, produce terror in the victim. The victim is always on edge, always wondering when the next argument will happen, when the next blow will be thrown, what that other person is going to do next. They are constantly wondering how far the next incident will go, how much it will escalate. It’s terror at its finest.

Regarding homosexual relationships: I think there’s less talk of domestic violence in homosexual relationships because most people see violence between same-sex couples as a fight between two equals. In other words, they think it’s a level playing field. What people don’t realize is that the terror that an abuser dishes out incites fear in their partner no matter what, regardless of whether they’re gay or straight.

There is a need to address domestic violence of all types. Any violence that happens between two people is violence no matter who the people happen to be. Victims need to be protected.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

5 Ways To Get Out Of Your Own Way

strong woman
Aliens is my favorite science fiction movie of all time. In the Alien franchise, the enemy lives on the inside of its host and eats it up from the inside out. What happens when you are that alien? What happens when you eat yourself up from the inside out with self-doubt and sabotaging behaviors?

I was having a conversation with Women Are Gamechangers on Facebook and this subject came up. We are often our own worst enemy. Because of self-doubt, we miss opportunities and don’t become who we are destined to be.

It’s ironic that I’m writing this post. I’m one of the most critical, self-doubting folks out there. I have spent my entire life trying to silence my inner critic, trying to get away from self-doubt. Perhaps, in some twisted way, maybe that’s why I’m the best person to write this.

Here are some of the ways that I’m working on destroying my inner alien:

Talk it down – Have a conversation with yourself. Every time you tell yourself that you are "no good” at something, that you "suck", etc., think of all the specific times that you were successful, that you didn’t “suck”, that you achieved what you set out to do. The key here is to be specific. The mind latches on to details. By pointing out what you did successfully, the inner critic slowly begins to disappear.

 Go after what you want – Do the thing that you fear. By facing challenges and overcoming them, you are setting yourself up to be bigger and better in your own eyes. Thus, you will be better equipped at silencing that inner alien because you will have proof that you capable of doing the things you thought you couldn’t do.

Face your doubt – Embrace what you are feeling. Don’t try to ignore it or shove it to the side. Tell yourself, “Hey, I’m feeling inferior…like I’m a loser. I accept that feeling.” Once again, think of those times when you weren’t a “loser”, those times when you were successful (I’m sure you have plenty of examples) and let them leave an imprint on your brain.

Turn to a friend – If you are blessed with a great support system, use it. Many times, we don’t like to go to another person and confess our feelings of self-doubt and inferiority because we think it will make us look weak. Get over it. Your friends (the real ones anyway) will remind you of just how awesome you truly are. Let them.

And the last one:

Just tell that alien to "SHUT UP!" Simple as that. Shout it down. Treat it the way you normally treat yourself. Turn all the negative things you say to yourself around and direct it toward that negative parasite.

Once we get over our Doubting Darlenes, we will be equipped to be all that our Creator wants us to be. And just remember this: You’re awesome. It’s time the world knows it, too.