75 Followers!

I promise I won’t constantly throw up numbers here, but I am just blown away at how quickly my blog is “taking off.” I’ve had a half a dozen blogs on WordPress in the past and after days or weeks I think I only had a follower or two, rarely and likes or comments.

After only a few days on the web, CrapPile now has 75. I am truly speechless. Thank you all very, very much. I look forward to writing more and getting to know all of you better!

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How Trump SHOULD Have Reacted To Roseanne

I’m sure that President Trump was furious to find out that “Roseanne” was canceled by his long-time enemy, ABC. He had given the revival his well wishes and praise when it first came back on the air, so naturally when it was canceled yesterday he made it the subject of one of his famous/infamous tweets.

This time, however, unlike the Memorial Day Tweet I wrote about the other day, he did turn it on himself. Instead of taking the chance to condemn the racist remark made by Roseanne Barr or apologize to Valerie Jarrett, he instead signaled out Disney CEO Bob Iger for not calling HIM and apologizing for cruel and defamatory remarks thrown at him over the years by ABC. It certainly did nothing to “bind the wounds of division.”

Let’s be real–even if Trump had been more professional and compassionate about the whole thing, it’s doubtful it would have done any real good. A vast majority of Trump opponents would be quick to move in and call his words “lies” or “insincere,” or criticize him for having not released his statement sooner. The same shit he ensures on a daily basis would undoubtedly come into play here, so in a way it’s probably best that he tweeted what he did.

He does bring up a very valid point, though, that most people tend to not give a rat’s ass about. The media is often quick to demonize people like Trump whenever they feel they have said anything that might have crossed some sort of line, yet turn a blind eye when others do the same thing. Discrimination by ANYONE is vile and disgusting and needs to be nipped in the butt whenever it happens. By attacking one group of people and either downplaying or covering up the other equally-guilty party does nothing to combat racism and if anything makes the issue worse. While it may not have been his intention, he did point out Iger’s hypocrisy, and even though its extremely unlikely it will happen I do hope that Trump receives his apology from The Mouse.

Solo: A Star Wars Story—Flop?

Memorial Day weekend is not the best time to release a movie, nor is it smart for a highly-anticipated movie to be released very shortly after an even more long-awaited movie (Deadpool 2), and a month after one of the most anticipated and biggest movies in motion picture history (Avengers: Infinity War.)

Yet that is EXACTLY what Disney chose to do, and as a result it has so far been underperforming at the box office. Reviewers and fans have even gone so far as to label it a box office flop, the first ever for a film with a Star Wars title.

(I ave not seen “Solo” yet, and since I have stopped being a Star Wars fan after the abysmal reaction I had after “The Last Jedi” I probably won’t until it ends up on TV. Therefore, this isn’t a review so much as a commentary on the press it has been receiving since it opened.)

Not very long ago, if a movie opened to $90 million it would have been a box office smash. If the movie made over a hundred million during its entire run it would have made whatever studio that made it very, very happy. The Golden Age of Superhero Movies changed that, though. The bar has been substantially raised, and because of that “Solo” and its $90 million is weak. It was expected to hit anywhere from $150-$170 million as its competition did. Fast forward to today, Wednesday May 30th, and it is currently at this moment resting around the $170 million mark it should have been at days ago.

I expect Disney is learning a hard lesson right now. Common sense would tell you that a weekend traditionally associated with vacationing, cook outs, and pool parties is a pretty stupid time for a major movie to be released. The Mouse must have expected the Star Wars fan base to cancel their plans and flock to the theaters as they have the past three Star Wars movies that have been released under the Disney banner. But this is the same fan base that was split almost into two after “The Last Jedi,” and one that was beginning to fracture even before that. The fans just weren’t enough to save it opening weekend, and with the many negative reviews appearing all over the place it will interesting to see how the second weekend goes now that the vast majority of the movie-going public are in a position to go back to the movies.

Some industry professions and commentators have tried attributing it to Star Wars fatigue. I don’t think that that is the case at all. True, many fans are upset that Disney has been doing anthology films and are beginning to milk the Star Wars brand for every penny it’s got like they’ve done with Marvel, but so far Disney has only done four Star Wars films. Not counting the first six that Lucas made, four is nowhere near overly-saturated.

Having not seen it yet, it’s possible that the movie itself is responsible for its mediocre performance, be it the story, acting, or whatever. I don’t know. Maybe after this weekend the movie will rebound and be the first big blockbuster of the summer. I doubt it, but it’s possible.

Learn from this mistake, Disney, and schedule better next time.

Current Projects

CrapPile is, at the moment, my highest priority. Obviously writing, editing, and posting is important for any blog’s success, but marketing and being involved in other blogs is something I am very invested in.

I have been on hiatus from contributing to the blog of Amazing Stories Magazine for quite a while. I was just invited to get back into it by Amazing’s owner and publisher, who even graciously offered me some ad space for this blog. Once I figure out how to do that I will give that to him and hopefully spread the name CrapPile into science fiction and fantasy fandom.

Over the years I must have thought up of hundreds of novels and countless short stories. Despite an anxiety for fiction writing, that is my dream. And if the online magazine decided to accept my recent SF story then I will definitely have to continue work on that series, so I might as well start on that now.

I have been on the look out for blogs looking for guest bloggers. I have not had a lot of positive experiences collaborating with others in the past, but that is another hint I am open to.

On the non-writing side of things, I am working at my factory job, trying to quickly finishing off a major pressing debt that I have so that I can move. As convenient as living at home at 28 1/2 after what was only supposed to be a few months after I lost my job in another city, I am ready for a fresh start out of state.

So yeah. My hands are full, but I am happy.

Fox Will Officially Vote To Merge With Disney

Being the huge Marvel geek that I am, you would think that the news that Fox decided to have a vote as to whether or not to accept Disney’s offer to purchase TV and motion picture properties would make me ecstatic. And it does! Fox, after all, owns the rights to the Fantatsic Four, X-Men, Deadpool, and potentially other properties that would be perfect additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It could also give Disney control over other potentially great properties that Fox has sort of put on the wayside, since we all know how Disney has started a habit of creating franchises for so many movies lately.

The only concern I have is the movie industry ceding more and more power to the Walt Disney Company. 20th Century Fox is one of the all-time major studios, and even if Disney decides to keep the studio intact and simply use it as a separate window of Walt Disney Studios it will still be the end of a Big Six studio as we know it. Any picture produced by Fox will still be a Disney movie in the end, and their current strategy is to insert as much MCU-like humor and storytelling as they can into new releases, one of the reasons I stopped being a Star Wars fan.

Having Deadpool, the mutants, and the first family of Marvel Comics join the MCU will ensure it’s continued success and survival into the future, but I worry if the same can be said about the quality of new non-Marvel titles if Disney takes over such a big chunk of the business.

It is still possible that the vote could fail, or that the merger will be refused by the federal government. I don’t really see the later happening, since Disney is not trying to completely buy out the entire 21st Century Fox, only it’s entertainment properties. And Bob Iger has gone on record saying that Disney and Fox have had great discussions involving a potential merger, and that he is not worried about recent efforts by Comcast to overshadow the Mouse in the bidding war.

We will see what happens on July 10.

Confessions of a Wannabe Writer

( I think if I hadn’t decided to go with CrapPile, the title of this post would be the name of the blog.)

I have wanted to be a writer my entire life. When I was a fifth grader we made little handmade poetry books to give to our moms, but I decided to do one better. After I finished my project I grabbed a sheet of notebook paper and wrote a little rhyming story called “Mrs. V Asked Me to Take a Seat” about me acting up on the bus during a field trip. I filled both sides of the paper, hence writing a book! (You had to flip it in order to read the whole story, you see.) I brought it home, found the address to the publishing company in my copy of Green Eggs and Ham, got an envelope and stamp from my mom and mailed that sucker to Dr. Seuss, reasoning that a writer as great as he would know how to type it, illustrate it, bind it into a book and make the name John Siebelink as famous as his.

The bastard never replied.

Off and on for years and years I have dreamed of becoming a successful writer. At first I wanted to be a great literary figure. Melville, Hawthorne, Twain, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Seuss, Siebelink. Reading through the L volume of my parents’ encyclopedia set where all the literature articles were, I was first introduced to many famous authors that I eventually grew to hate, and some that I fell in love with. My middle school self did not yet grasp, despite my first “submission” a few years earlier, the fact that you actually had to write in order to be published and have a chance at fame.

I did not start writing seriously until a few years ago, when I finally made up my mind that what I really wanted to be was not a literary giant, but a genre writer. I had begun plotting some science fiction stories during fire watch at Marine boot camp, and eventually my interest in mysteries led me to experiment a little that way, too.

Besides fiction, in 2012 I was introduced virtually to then Science Fiction Writers of America president John Scalzi and his blog “Whatever.” I then created my very first blog, the first of many, and tried navigating the blogosphere on top of my writing. Eventually I just stopped. I think I went for a year and a half before I decided to crack my knuckles and get back on Microsoft Word. Another blog was started, and soon deleted. Any stories written were either deleted, half-finished, or forgotten. I had fallen into a horrible writing pattern. I would go at writing with a great purpose, full of energy. Then I would stop. Six months or a year later, I would be back online again writing. Then I would stop again. And so on and so forth.

It was not the dream of writing that kept coming and going. During every hiatus I would actively come up with story ideas, characters, or places in my head and act them out. For some reason, though, I was never able to pull myself together and get the ideas down on paper. Sometimes I did try but found that thinking them and trying to translate what was in my head onto the screen was impossible. Once in a blue moon I would actually finish a story and be proud of it after the first reading or two, then put it away so I could come back and take another look at it later with fresh eyes. Most of the time I was convinced I must have been wasted or something when I wrote the first drafts because in my mind they were awful. Only once did I come back and take a look at a story months after it was first written and was still proud of it. That story was submitted yesterday to an online science fiction magazine, my first SF submission in years.

In some ways I feel that this flash piece of mine is my first “official” science fiction story submission. I have submitted a few in the past, but usually I did so as soon as they were written without having anyone else read and give me an opinion on them, or without making them the best they could be. Naturally, they were all rejected and rightfully so. I’m embarrassed that the younger me thought that my half-ass attempts were worthy of Asimov’s or Analog.

For a while another thing that was holding me back was a deep-rooted belief that I could never compete with the great writers who have already been publishing in the magazines or who are New York Times Bestsellers. The anxiety and lack of self-esteem probably doomed a lot of potentially good stories of mine from over the years, and regrettably they have all been deleted from my hard drive so there is no way of knowing if there was anything I could do now as a slightly more experienced writer to fix them. Thankfully, a couple months back I found a few stories in one of the books that I thought was absolute garbage in every way. I was CONVINCED I could write a better story, so as soon as I had time on my hands again I began writing again. AND I restarted an old blog, “The Novice Student of Writing” which I renamed “CrapPile” to add a bit of humor. I have only been on this chapter of my writing life for a few days now, and in the past it has been around this time that I drop off the face of the blogosphere for months and months and months. This time, though, I don’t feel like stopping.

I can’t for sure tell you what is I am feeling, or what happened deep down to make me want to finally write again after so long. But I can tell you is that I have never been as excited writing as I am now. With two stories on the market, a growing blog, and various stories and books being plotted out I think that John Siebelink is going to stay in the writing and blogging worlds for a good long time. Even if both stories are rejected I will be proud that for the first time in 28 years I am doing the writing thing right.

I still want my poem back, Seuss!

A Second Story Submission—Belated

Yesterday I mentioned that I submitted a science fiction story to a magazine that I had been sitting in and touching up for a while. I submitted another micro-story before that to Nanoism, the Twitter publication that bought my first story a few years back. I’ve been submitting stories to them for years and have only had luck with one so far, that’s how hard writing stories with a 140-character limit is.

Also challenging is the fact that they prefer literary fiction. My primary interests are nonfiction, SF, and mysteries. But I like the challenge, not only writing in a different genre but also trying to fit an actual story (beginning, middle, end) in a sentence or two and put some meaning behind it.

This is the first time I have ever had more than one item on the market at the same time, and it’s really a surreal experience. Don’t ask me why. I’m an unknown aspirant with only one sentence published professionally in his entire life yet here I am in bed feeling like I’m a writer or something.

If this keeps up I might actually start believing that I’m a writer…