As I write this, I’ve just returned from a 10 day Florida vacation. Two immediate thoughts
1) It’s SO GOOD to be home
2) Man, vacations are nice.
A Brief History of ‘Why Florida?’
My parents live in Florida. It’s where we moved from Charleston, SC after our house burned down (hmm, I should tell that story on here sometime). I lived in Florida for 8 years. I finished high school there and started college there. I never really liked living there, mostly due to the weather and, oh, let’s see, THE WEATHER. It was always too hot and humid for me, but I did like to see the storms come through, and walking on the beach at night.
So I wanted to go and visit my mom and dad, as well as spending time with my nephews.
Red Dot = Where I was staying
Tropical Storm Beryl
I flew in on a Saturday, which was lucky timing, as tropical storm Beryl was scheduled to come smash through the east coast on Sunday.
I’m kind of a weather nerd, so, as long as my plane wasn’t trying to LAND during the tropical storm, I was super excited to be in Florida and experience the storm. What was it like? Lots of wind, lots of rain, and lots and lots of grey skies.
When a tropical storm of anytime comes ashore, even if it is tens of hundreds of miles away, it always puts on a show at the beach. The waves are and fierce. When the waves crash the wind sprays the sea foam into the air. It’s quite the site.
The waves came right up to the end of the boardwalk.
Other fun things I got to do:
– Went to Charleston, SC to visit family
– Had some AUTHENTIC South Carolina barbecue, the highlight of any trip to SC
– Road Trip with dad!
– Slightly shorter Road Trip with mom!
– Rented Jet Skis and rode them at Ponce Inlet, FL
– SLEPT. A Lot.
– Played with my parents’s MONSTER chocolate lab, Bailey:
That was basically it. Vacations where your plans consist of relaxing and visiting the ones you love most are the best. As work was stressful lately, and the last month really wore me down, this was sort of the perfect vacation.
I’ll leave you with this final picture, because it sums it all up:
There are a lot of people angry with Experian over fraudulent charges, and I just became one of them.
There are two types of pissed off people:
1.) People who ordered their credit report for $1, and then canceled the scheduled credit monitoring charge, only to have that $19.95 charge appear month after month after month.
2.) People whose accounts get charged by Experian who NEVER SIGNED UP FOR ANY KIND OF SERVICE FROM THERE.
I am in the second group. See, here’s what happens.
Some one, somehow (maybe through sheer guessing and entering random numbers: they have bots for that) gets your credit card number and enters it at Experian.com to get a free credit report. If one does not cancel the credit monitoring service one is automatically enrolled in a $19.95 per month service.
Experian.com is a CREDIT MONITORING SERVICE. Do you understand how cosmically stupid that is? They do not require any more details than the 16 digit credit card number to charge your card. Kind of gives you a lot of confidence in their ability to monitor your credit if they have thousands of these fraudulent charges, right? Fail.
So I called them, and after a lengthy hold, talked to a nice woman who helped me reverse the charge and cancel any future charges. Hopefully this works, but with the shady way they operate, one never knows. You can be sure I’m watching my pending charges like a hungry dog watches a box of snausages.
If you’re searching for how to get this problem fixed, because you also got charged:
Here is how to get Experian.com charges reversed
– Call (714) 830-7000 for Experian customer service. You will probably put on hold right away for nearly 10 minutes. Suck it up and stay on the call.
– Tell them why you called (fraudulent charges appeared on your credit card account
– Stay on hold as they transfer you to the department that handles this. Funny story: they could not tell me the direct number of this department when I asked.
– Tell the person very clearly there is a fraudulent charge on your account for a credit report, and you want the $1 charge reimbursed, as well as MAKING SURE THAT NO FURTHER CHARGES APPEAR.
– Tell them you know that after a 7 day trial period you will be charged $19.95, and you want to make sure that doesn’t happen because YOU DID NOT PURCHASE ANY SERVICE FROM THEM AND THIS IS FRAUD.
– Sit through the part where they ask you if you know the first name of the person who initiated the charge (mine was Carla), and say, nicely, OF COURSE I DON’T. THIS IS A FRAUDULENT CHARGE.
– Stay on hold while they talk to their supervisor. They will return and tell you everything is good to go.
– Try not to ask them if they know how eternally STUPID AND/OR HILARIOUS it is that a credit monitoring company has such a problem with credit card fraud. One of your best weapons in situations like this is being FIRM but NICE.
– Then call your bank, and let them know what’s up.
Hope it works for you. Hell, I hope it works for me, too.
My story, Shatter Shatter has been turned into an audio story, and is now available for your listening pleasure.
Just click the cake to listen!
Tina Connolly, who runs Toasted Cake and reads the stories did an A-MAZE-ING job.
So go listen, it’s a mere 7 1/2 minutes long, and you’ll love it. I don’t guarantee it, but I think it’s highly likely…
But wait, there’s more! I think art is for consuming AND interacting with. As such, I’ve licensed my story to be re-used and modified (see licensing info below for the specifics). I want you to take the story and make something out of it. Some ideas of what you could do:
Make a sock puppet show with the podcast as a sound track.
Illustrate a scene from the story, or make a “book cover.”
Auto tune it and make it into a hit song.
Write your own song inspired by the story.
Pick your favorite scene and make macaroni art of it.
The possibilities are LITERALLY unlimited.
Why should you do this? Well, because it’s fun and awesome to do ART. But also, because I’ll give $40 (via paypal) to my favorite entry, and Toasted Cake will paypal $5 to an entry deserving an Honorable Mention.
Final result will be judged by me, because it’s my party.
How to Enter
Send your remixed art to contest (AT) seanm.co
Indicate if you’d be okay with me posting your art on my website (even if you don’t win, I’d like to share some of the results)
If you are indicating you’d like to share, be sure to leave a domain where I can link to for credit.
That’s it. You have 1 week. I will be picking the winner on Monday, April 16th Monday April 23rd.
P.S. If you win this, you will obvious have to be okay with me posting your art here for the results post. Cool?
Go forth, and listen to the story! And then do art.
From mid 60’s to snowing and freezing. The weather is kind of like an adventure with superheroes.
In other news, I had a pretty fantastic birthday last weekend. Beth and I went out to breakfast, got some gluten free cupcakes from a local bakery, and later that night, had dinner out at the delicious and dive-y Red Iguana. Fantastic!
Due to trying to be healthy, I don’t drink chocolate milk EVERY SING MORNING like I used to, but I miss. So I let myself have a treat on St. Patrick’s Day a.k.a. my birthday, and had one. It was big, and it looked like this:
For my birthday present, the coolest, most awesome wife ever rented a lovely ground floor apartment in a Victorian style house in Salt Lake for the weekend, and we are going to go have our own mini writing retreat. What a creative, fun present. Lucky me!
Speaking of writing, I recently sold a reprint to the too-cool Toasted Cake Podcast. The story, “Shatter Shatter,” first appeared in a recently closed-down online zine. I’m glad this little story gets another chance to be seen (and heard!). I’ll post when there’s something else to say about it. In the mean time, go check out Toasted Cake and enjoy good fiction!
Finally, here is a picture of a very stoic cat in a box.
Couple of interesting things related to Kurt Cobain popped up recently, so I figured three things make a post.
I’m not a huge fan of Nirvana… I guess I’m not a medium fan either. I’m more interested in Kurt Cobain himself than his music (though I do enjoy a few songs).
I Found it Hard, Was Hard to Find…
Would people say he changed the entire face of music if he hadn’t died?
Would he have ended up pissing a bunch of people off and not have had the huge following of posthumously adoring fans?
His disdain for fame and for the music that pushed him into the spotlight is fascinating. To read his suicide letter, you get the impression he had a ocean’s worth of passion hidden somewhere inside himself, but he had no idea how to tap into it. You can hear him trying though; it’s kind of painful to read.
For example when we’re back stage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins., it doesn’t affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seemed to love, relish in the the love and adoration from the crowd which is something I totally admire and envy. The fact is, I can’t fool you, any one of you. It simply isn’t fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of would be to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I’m having 100% fun.
If you want to read his suicide not, though, you can do that here. [I’m not going to really get into all of the controversy surrounding the note. Doesn’t everything have its own conspiracy theory now?].
Top of the Pops
I guess the UK t.v. show Top of the Pops likes to use a soundtrack when having their guests play “live,” but with live vocals. This has caused a bit of conflict in the past for other artists. However, when Nirvana was the guest on Top of the Pops, they protested the requirement to sing live to a backing track by CLEARLY NOT PLAYING THEIR INSTRUMENTS, and by Kurt Cobain dropping his voice to Morrisey-esque octaves and changing the lyrics for hilarious results. I kind of love this a lot:
And finally, here is a studio track of just vocals from “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
For some reason, looking at other people’s workspaces fascinates me. Though I fail to keep my own desktop simple and clutter free, I strive to. Sometimes it’s the desks location that is interesting, sometimes it’s the view it overlooks, sometimes it’s the arrangement of items on the desk.
It is surprisingly interesting.
Apparently I’m not the only one, as there is a website called Simple Desks that has a lot of readers, and receives a lot of submissions. As you can imagine, this site is relevant to my interests.
While I am rearranging my office at home, and working to simplify my life by becoming uncluttered and streamlining the amount of things in my office (and my ability to keep things organized and under control), I will not submit my own desks at home.
But I was out today working at my favorite coffee shop, Nobrow (in Salt Lake City), and thought I would take a picture of my work space. it’s simple and it just feels nice to sit here facing the old brick wall with my coffee, my mac air, and the weird alien-like plant on the table. I have noticed on the Simple Desks site that there is a lack of mobile workspaces, so I thought I’d submit mine.
It has been kind of a stupid day for me so far, but it just got completely fabulous.
After many many many months of trying, Beth and I finally got a copy of Shimmer Magazine converted and uploaded for sale on the kindle store.
Personally, I love reading books on my iPad, and kindle is my go-to app for reading. I’m super excited to have made this happen.
For those of you who don’t know, Shimmer Magazine is a speculative fiction (think science fiction and fantasy) magazine of amazing short stories. My wife, Beth, is the editor in chief and founder of the magazine. I am the slush distributor and perform other odd jobs to help out.
To celebrate Shimmer’s presence on Kindle, the current issue (issue 14) is only $0.99. Great fiction for under a buck, make sure you pick up a copy now.