The Problem with Stream Sniping and Ninja

If you are familiar with Fortnite, you are more than likely familiar with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. Tyler has solidified himself as an exceptionally unique content creator, who capitalized on his popularity and gaming skills to elevate online streaming to new, previously unthought of platforms.

Recently there has been a significant amount of drama surrounding the famed Twitch Streamer, surrounding incidents of ‘Stream Sniping.’ Every youtube video seems to have the tagline and every twitter post is an outcry at Ninja’s behavior towards it.

For those of us not too informed about the logistics of Stream Sniping, it is when another player attempts to specifically get into a Streamer’s game, usually while they are streaming, and then using their stream to ascertain their location and usually eliminate the player.

Usually in games you or I play, this type of behavior only happened back when we were playing Halo: Combat Evolved split screen, and our younger sibling would glance at our screen to cheat, figure out where we were and simultaneously get a free kill.

Yes, we call this cheating and cheating in competitive games is a no-no.

Nowadays these stream snipers are more focused are receiving the acknowledgment and inserting themselves into Ninja’s broadcast, which steadily averages between 40,000 – 60,000 viewers a day.

During one of Ninja’s ‘After Dark’ streams (where he typically drinks and condones more mature language), a player IcyFive eliminated Ninja, putting a pre-mature ending to his gameplay with esteemed fellow streamers DrLupo, TimTheTatMan and BasicallyIDoWrk—Ninja’s reaction caused a bit of a stir among his subscribers.

While everyone seems to be a bit focused on Ninja allegedly ‘throwing around his authority’ and accusing him of having a tantrum, the evidence still continues to stack in his favor. The player IcyFive later denied having stream sniped Ninja, despite having proof that he has attempted to get into Ninja’s games before, and seemed to play on the role of sympathy instead of evidence to deny his claim.

While there are many things to consider, the first and foremost should be centered around Ninja’s actual job: streaming video games.

His income relies on providing quality, entertaining content that promotes more subscribers and fans—to date, he has done a fantastic job. The problem becomes when some of his less-than-stellar fans of his success decide they want to either sabotage his gameplay, or get some recognition for having their name pop up as the one who eliminated the famous Ninja.

While Ninja has taken precautions to prevent this, sometimes adding a delay or hiding his screen so those in his game cannot see where he drops; the problem remains.

It would be the equivalent of a clerk worker like you or me, that has one of their friends come in at the middle of their shift and disrupt the line just for the sake of all the attention being on them, instead of you and while you are just trying to get through the job, they insist—demand, that it be about them and not everyone else in line.

It should never be considered entertaining or amusing to invade someone’s game when their content is based around entertainment, not repetitively dying to people who adamantly pursue them with no intentions of even winning the game itself.

In recent months, we’ve seen several people attempting to invade the games of streamers, and later accuse them of being wrongfully hunted down. In one of these cases, a viewer that claimed Ninja resulted in their account being banned, was actually shown to have been gloating about “ruining his career” with friends—something that was exposed, and the faker quickly discredited.

While some streamers embrace the inevitability of stream sniping, others like Ninja feel as though it ruins their content, the gameplay and ultimately spoils the entire experience for the audience and honestly… can we blame them for thinking it?

After spending a few hours watching streamers, it can easily be noted that high skill players are everywhere—but ones that seem to know where you are, what you have, when you are reloading or healing, they come off a tad bit suspicious; and with the new streamer mode that hides gamertags, it begs the question of why bother anymore? You don’t receive the glory, your name isn’t broadcast anymore and is usually looked over as Recruit[205] or so.

It seems the only recognition these players receive is when Ninja reports them and their gamertag is shown, allowing them to splash around in the pity pool, claiming a celebrity abused them.

It is unfortunate that we no longer have respect for all professions, and instead want everything to be about us.

While arguments can be made for both sides, it is clear that the intent is disrupt someone’s career and give them ‘bad publicity’, and usually backfires when all evidence you have is proven false and fabricated.

Venom Movie Review

With the newest hit thing hitting the big screen, there is only one question on everyone’s mind: was it good?

SPOILERS AHEAD! SERIOUSLY!

So I very recently watched this movie after putting it off for several days, deciding that I’d let the outcry of social media dictate whether or not I caved in and watched it.

I was on the fence about this because I knew that they changed the rating from R to PG-13, and man… can you actually imagine a bloody, R-rated Venom movie? Like Deadpool, but with Venom? It would have hands down been a straight up awesome movie, and why the hell they decided to not take the risk, I’ll never know. It was a big mistake, in my opinion.

Well, Social Media gave me significantly mixed reviews and so I’ve decided to step up and put my own foot down.

Venom starts itself as a relatively… boring movie. We see the same thing we’ve always seen in movies similar, the space ship falling from the sky, the corporate greed guy that is trying to use it even though he has virtually no hope of controlling it, let alone understanding it – and Tom Hardy’s character Eddie Brock who comes off as too-cool-for-you despite being a journalist and reporter; a professional that is notoriously… not very cool.

Still, he embodies a ‘pursuit of justice’ that seems to not care that he might be risking his career with bold accusations. Overall, the initial character introduction just left me wishing that there was something a little more there, maybe a human side.

The corporate greed guy goes into the same old song and dance that it seems every villain these days is obsessed with. “Over-population, Humanity is terrible, we are parasites on Earth!”
Now, to his credit, he did seem like he just wanted to find the next world for everyone to live on. His intentions were good and yes, sacrifices must be made in order to make these tremendous strides- blah, blah, blah. I’m still caught up on the fact that they literally stumbled onto the symbiotes, on a goddamn meteorite!

Let’s fast forward though, to where Eddie Brock screws up his whole life by deciding to read confidential files and then exclusively attack the corporate greed guy in an interview, resulting in him not only losing his potential wife, but his job and almost everything.

He is in a bad spot, clearly and then we cut to SIX MONTHS LATER. 

Six goddamn months, and apparently the Symbiote Riot has just been hanging around for Six Months, not bothering to do anything and just trying to find his way to the Life Corporation.

And that’s a big problem for me. Riot is determined and one evil motherfucker, but apparently it takes him longer than SIX MONTHS to figure out how to travel where he needs to go.

A little absurd, but we keep going.

Eddie is in an even worse spot: he can’t find a job, he looks like a washed up drunk and basically every other known protagonist stereotype.

I’ll be honest, at this point in the movie I don’t care about any of these characters or anything happening to them, all I want to see is Venom. This kind of becomes a problem when you are trying to establish these characters are someone I’m supposed to care about. What happens when something tragic happens, and someone dies? I.. just won’t care, it’ll be like any other B Horror Film where a bunch of people just die left and right.

They start human trials and the only thing that corporate greed cares about is bonding the two entities into one. Great plan, it doesn’t work out very well.

Until you have these two hosts. One was in the body for four days, and the other, was the homeless girl Eddie had a friendship with, and she was hosting venom for seven days. 

Later on, we find out the first host of four days has acclimated to the body and the person is no longer hurt from it. Corporate greed then remarks that ‘he knew it’ and it ‘just needed more time.’

Then.. why the hell is the homeless woman still fine at seven days?

This movie doesn’t seem to understand it’s own rules.

But, thankfully Homeless girl gives Eddie Venom and we have ourselves an semi-interesting movie!

I won’t go too far into this detail, but let’s just say that Venom literally makes this movie and without the simple, occasional comment from him… I would’ve hated this movie.

There was something amusing about his method of humor, just because it seemed like he genuinely did not understand the fault in his suggestions or how ruthless they came off as sometimes.

If you are looking for anything exceptional, depthful or thought provoking in this movie… look elsewhere.

But, if you take it for what it is,  Tom Hardy and Venom together are an amusing pair; every other character actually faded into the background, even Riot!

Now, we get to the final scene… and we’re introduced to Carnage. Hands down one of my favorite, if not my favorite Symbiote character.

They set themselves up for a sequel, and the sequel is already looking like it is going to be a hundred times more interesting than this one.

Now, this second movie will be absolute trash if it doesn’t receive an R-rating. Anyone that knows anything about Carnage knows that he is twisted, bloody and an overall savage individual that kills for fun; you can’t have rampant killing without blood!

Now, if you are on the fence about seeing this one still, don’t let yourself get pulled down by all the negative nonsense and all the positive ‘it was amazing!’ nonsense. This movie was just o-k.

Top Reasons to Not Adopt Puppies From Stores

So you want to buy a puppy? There’s just one problem you encounter: where should I buy a puppy from?

Some people are friends with Hobby Breeders, some find themselves a certified Breeder that has some serious credibility, some people tour pounds or rescues—but a large majority of people go through sources like The Animal Kingdom or Puppies N’ Love.

  1. DO. NOT. GO. TO. THE. STORE. TO. BUY. A. PUPPY.

This should not even be something I have to explain. We have seen the results of corporate greed, the fast food franchise or media franchises that undercut, oversell and generally pollute the population with terrible products.

What is next, a drive through puppy adoption?

Now you might be wondering why I feel the need to speak on this issue?

Because I did the exact same thing.

I know, hypocritical and terrible—but I learned from my experience, and I’m going to share with you all exactly what I learned about these stores.

For one…
These dogs are overpriced!

Since my mistake, I’ve talked to several breeders. They have all told me the price I paid for the puppy I adopted was outrageous, ridiculous and borderline criminal. Not only that, I paid through a loan program that the store assured me would not go higher than five percent—it ended up being twenty-seven percent, and to this day, I’m still paying off this loan that has negatively impacted my credit at unexpected times due to the loan company’s inability to understand how their own loan works.

I adopted a lovely little token, a Siberian Husky I lovingly named Nora. She was the first puppy I ever adopted, what the hell was I supposed to know?

Her price? $3,000. Seem a little ridiculous now? Me, at the time I had enough money for a large down payment, another couple was looking at her too and hell, I wanted her.

You can see why I feel in love so quickly.

I was assured this particular dog was AKC (American Kennel Club) registered, which after a bit of googling, I discovered was like the big name when it came to certified purebreds. The price made sense to me and I was already smitten.

Everything was going swell with this gem. She was getting along with my other Husky, she was a sweet-heart.

After a few months, my girlfriend and I noticed that my puppy was having difficulty making her way up the stairs.

Well, not exactly difficult. She was hopping.

Last I checked, puppies were not supposed to hop everywhere.

My girlfriend, a vet assistant, confirmed that her behavior was weird. She was limping, but it did not stop her from getting zoomies constantly.

So we did what any loving animal owners do—we took her to the vet so a doctor could see her.

What do you think happened? We find out that our little puppy has something called Luxating Patella Grade II or III in both knees.

Well guess who was still within her health warranty? I decided to call up this store, Puppies N’ Love, who directed me to a corporate office, who directed me back to Puppies N’ Love, who once again directed me to Corporate. After several months of back and forth, me sending them information via mail and email, and badgering them; I finally got a response.

They denied my claim.

I didn’t understand why they denied my claim, and on the claim recipe it said the vet visit was not covered.

I spent months back and forth with these people and they thought I was trying to claim a hundred dollar vet visit under the warranty.

Excuse me, but I almost lost my fucking mind. After this, I emailed a strongly worded, rude explanation to the person who had been in contact with me.

Once again, back and forth, and the representative claimed that the damage could have been done by making her walk up stairs or jumping on a couch.

So, back to the vet I went and had this particular vet (whom I trusted very much) explain to me that it was physically impossible to do the amount of damage Nora had in her knees, it was clearly a genetic trait inherited from one of her parents.

I had a written statement from the vet, I went back to them.

Now, I went to an orthopedic surgeon as I was suggested to, to see if I could somehow fix Nora.

The surgery to fix her would have cost somewhere between 4,000-5,000 a leg.

I was informed that she would be in pain for the rest of her life, and going up any sort of incline would be a tedious process.

What would you have done? We had exhausted what little savings we had trying to figure out what was wrong with her, and when we finally did, there was a massive wall right there: an expensive surgery.

There was no hope.

Thankfully, the medical contract was covered! I got a letter of credit for the price of the dog, usable only at another Puppies N’ Love store! Huzzah..-what?

They didn’t even offer to cover the cost of surgery, they flatly stated the surgery would have cost more than the dog; so, they only offered to reimburse the price of the dog.

How nice of them. What about that loan I’m still paying off? Oh, they can’t help with that. It’s a separate company, so I’m stuck with that.

The most difficult day of my life was finding Nora a wealthy, loving home that would happily take care of her medical bills and ensure that she lived a happy life. My very first puppy, given away because I couldn’t afford a surgery, because a company that sold me her didn’t want to help.

A few weeks after she was gone, I got her certificate in the mail—she was not even AKC Registered. Her actual worth, according to a certified breeder, was no more than $500. Where was she born?

A puppy mill. What is a puppy mill?

Imagine a farm filled with close to a hundred, or two hundred dogs; terrible conditions, mating whenever they feel like it, and producing hundreds of litters. Those litters are then sold to stores that sell them at triple the price to make a profit.

After all was said and done, I spoke to all the local stores in my area about this dog I purchased and how I felt that their breeder qualifications were underlooked.

I was politely told that all of them were certified and excellent breeders, and all other registry were similar to AKC.

I have never been so horribly lied since I bought my first car and had a salesman throw in a random extra set of charges.

Not only do these companies not care about who sells them dogs, or what health the dogs are in; they don’t care about you. That dog you fell in love with, that one that ended up having a tragic genetic defect? Unfortunately, they don’t give a shit about it; they’ll just give you another puppy to replace it.

AKC registry is a bonified, genuine company that ensures faulty bred dogs do not breed with their stock. It is a full proof method to avoid having any animal that has some latent sickness or deficiency that could bring future litters pain or suffering. Literally any other thing they put on that paper is worth nothing.

So I implore you, young couple looking for a new pup, aspiring breeder, or just another fellow looking for a pup—go directly to the breeder, see the conditions of their animals and see a significantly lower price for the dogs. Not only that, most breeders will cover any genetic based issues with the puppy you adopt, and if it ends up having a severe deficiency; THEY WILL BE THERE. Every step of the way, like any caring dog owner would. Most won’t just give dogs away to anyone, either!

Do not make the same mistake I made, do not go near these terrible, despicable organizations.

Find your forever friend at any other place.

The Dangers of Alcohol in the Military

Now I know what you are thinking, ‘This is going to be a long spiel on how horrible alcohol is and I’m getting real sick and tired of it.’ Relax, take a breather… I’m addressing something a little more casual, something I’ve personally observed during my time in the United States Army as an Infantryman.

Day in and day out, the mundane and repetitive life of sorting through storage, navigating toxic leadership and tolerating an ungrateful nation. The lives of the men and women in our armed forces is one that goes unnoticed.

Perhaps because of the reputation that proceeds it: if they joined the military, they must be pretty stupid, right? They couldn’t possibly cut it in the real world, so they decided to join the outfit that treats grown men like five year olds and walks them through every avenue of life, right down to the proper way to tie your boots.

I’m not here to discuss the disrespect service members endure, or anything along those lines. Rather, I’m speaking on the self-destructive tendencies that come from their lifestyle; particularly the infantryman, the self-proclaimed steward of death.

Through my time, I discovered there was a rapidly developing pattern among my fellow soldiers, one that even I shared. That’s right: Alcohol.

It wasn’t casual drinking, not a few drinks here and there after a long day of work—it was a whose who of who can get plastered the quickest, who could drink the most and who could spill the entirety of their heart, crying over a poorly mixed glass of Jack and Coke.

We boasted of our alcoholism. We were proud of it. We became bartenders, dancers and jackasses. No one ever really had a problem with it, like minded individuals seldom got into squabbles, but when they did… it was anything but a simple brawl; the violence in the eyes of a man so far gone, who for some reason was trying to choke the life out of his best friend, while five others tried to stop him and two cheered them all on.

It might have seemed twisted, even strange—but it was comradery. There were no closer friends, no truer family in our lives.

For those of us that dwelled in the barracks, the people we saw every single day almost every single hour of the day, the people that we trained with, got smoked with and endured every annoyance the Army could throw at us: they were our real family.

The pattern grew truer. With each new wound, we would find ways to cover up the pain.

Your girlfriend left you? We’re gonna get plastered.

Your car got totaled? We’re gonna get plastered.

You are bored? We’re gonna get plastered.

As time went on, we needed less reason to drink and more quantity of said drink.

There were some upsides to this: we shared our feelings of inadequacy, our moments of weakness and shed every masculine shroud we wore on a day to day basis.

Still, I have seen many a friend turn to the bottle and drink themselves, quite literally, to death. This is the sad truth that comes with this, and though we and many others to this day jokingly call ourselves alcoholics… the problem runs deeper.

Now I won’t slap the bottle out of your hand and I won’t preach as if I wasn’t a bonified liquor connoisseur myself… but I will urge you to stay very away of the mindsets of your comrades, your fellow soldiers—your family.

Some of them are tilting close to the edge and all it takes is that one little push to force them past the point of no return, and no soldier should die anywhere alone.

How To Start Your First Novel

So, you want to write a Novel, huh? Well, let’s get all that glam and glory out of the way right off the bat, let’s be real about a few things: it isn’t going to happen over night.

Yeah, it is exciting and you have this intense drive to absorb any and all knowledge you can; determined to bring this creation of yours into light. Fantastic! I’m all for it and all behind it. But tread carefully, this isn’t just you cranking out some blog post late at night (like what I’m doing now), this is a serious thing.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, and I’m gonna cut out all the bullshit and let you know exactly what you need to do to write that first novel.

  1. Get The Story Straight.
    This might come off as obvious to some, but to most and I mean most, it’s a blindside. Thinking up a story isn’t just throwing down a main character and giving them a journey. There’s side-characters, supporting characters, cities and languages for you fantasy folks, along with characteristics and behaviors; it can be overwhelming at first.
    This leads to a majority of people getting stumped on their first book. Sure, they get a couple of pages in during those high energy moments, but then they die out or write themselves into a corner. Don’t do that. Take some time, get yourself a pen and paper and start mapping out everything you intend to write. It’s tiresome in the moment, but when you’re cranking out those pages, it damn sure makes it a lot easier to have your own cheat sheet to the plot!
  2. Write. Write, write and write some more.
    Isn’t that just the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard? Just keep on writing, it is simple and effective. Make yourself a promise: you’ll write a thousand words a day, or five hundred a day. Those add up, those add up and in a few months you got yourself a complete manuscript, ready to be distributed and ignored! But, maybe you’ll land lucky.
  3. Know Your Audience.
    People are different, this should be a given. Take your time and read through several books in the genre or niche you are trying to write for, see the tones and methods of the successful ones; learn what your audience likes, and whatever you put out, they’ll enjoy. Though, if you can’t enjoy the content yourself, you shouldn’t be writing it in the first place.
    That’s what separates the writers from the wanna-bes, confidence in yourself and an ability to target an audience.
  4. The Book is the easy part.
    You might not think it now, but believe me… the book is the easy part. What comes next is the terrifying tale of trying to find someone that likes your book enough to take some risk with it. There’s a whole series of steps, none of which happen overnight. Prepare for that, do some research on publishers or agents: find yourself someone that might be interested in what you have to offer.
    Everything that comes after the book is the real challenge, folks!
  5. Love your work.
    Love it. You put your heart and soul into it, so whether or not someone picks it up, or you make it to the big leagues: be proud of it, best or worst doesn’t matter. Writers just write, guys. Keep on writing.

The Silent Menace!

Opt-outs for childhood immunization laws is a dilemma that has long since been plaguing the minds of worried parental figures since the discovery of illness. Many years in the coming, it is now considered commonplace for parents to refuse immunization to their children due to the fear of lingering effects that, scientifically, have very little merit—but any percentage of merit is merit enough these days.

In many cases, vaccinations and inoculation have banished concerns from our minds, like the dreaded Smallpox Virus that has long since been declared eradicated by the WHA since 1980, with the last outbreak case in the United States being recorded in 1949. Prior to it’s undoing, the Smallpox Virus ravaged across the world and even is presumed to have ties dating back some three thousand years, with mummified bodies displaying signs of the Smallpox Virus. It was a descendant of the Variola Virus and part of the Orthopox Virus family—alongside Cowpox. The interesting circumstance of this, a long deceased fellow of the name Edward Jenner had assumed Cowpox could cure Smallpox and little did he know that Cowpox is actually related on a distant scale to Smallpox and causes it, rather than cures it.

Even knowing a fair share about the virus does little to assist in putting it down, as we can see from the behavior demonstrated by none other than Benjamin Franklin who, in November of 1736, lost a son of four years old to the Smallpox virus after not inoculating him against it. He expresses his deep regret of this decision, but also assumes that regardless of the decision he had made—if his son had died, he would have felt regret. In one stance, by having inoculated him, he might have not as felt as guilty due to having done something to prevent the death in the first place. We don’t need to assume here, Benjamin Franklin clearly explains how the typical person would feel when being introduced to the idea of vaccinating their child from harm—why not? Why not risk the underlining side-effects, so the tragedy of a lost child never happens in the first place?

It seems that diseases carry a particular trait, a cold and calculating method of disposal for whatever unfortunate host has the displeasure of their company. Queen Mary II of England died at the young age of thirty-two, from a Variola Hemorrhagica—a particularly lethal form of Smallpox that took her life.

Later on down on the line, the unknowing Benjamin Jesty created the first Cowpox inoculation, and never bothered to go public about it. Richard Dunning was the first to coin the term Vaccine, a play on the latin term of ‘vacca’ meaning ‘cow.’ Without these pioneers, the actual discovery and elimination of the Smallpox Virus might have been wholly impossible – but it might have also been due to Herm Immunity, an interesting phenomenon centered around a group of individuals being immune to the virus, and if someone not immune were in their mist, they would be immune simply due to the abundance of immunity surrounding them.

Eventually, it stands to reason to assume that one day, all forms of disease and virus will be eradicated—but maybe not yet, maybe not yet within the realm of thought that we currently endure.

People can spend the afternoon on google and assume they are an expert, can site accredited websites that swear they are authentic; but there is no way of knowing for sure and that is cold, unfiltered facts. People live their lives based on what they perceive to be ‘correct’ and ‘true’, and god help anyone that tries to convince them otherwise. So, are they merely delusional, living in a world of their own beliefs or are they… right? In this aspect, I feel that Benjamin Franklin had the best answer: he lost his son and only wished that he had inoculated him, so that even had he died to the Smallpox Virus, Benjamin Franklin could have still said he tried.

So that’s my opinion: the laws are what they are, to each their own and the risk that comes with it is theirs as well.

Life as a Writer

The Life of a Writer is one of emotion. Never limited, never set. The Writer will undoubtedly experience a spectrum of emotion that is dark, encompassing and terrible. The Writer puts themselves in the mindset of others, in different lives and different places. The Writer is always anyone but themselves. – Unknown

As a Writer, you’ll encounter a strange bit of hardship when going about your daily tasks. You’ll find you care about things most people don’t stop to glance at; a beautiful scenery, a terrible scenery, the mundane comings and goings of life. You’ll see words that define the lives, an imagination that is as broad as it is infinite in it’s beauty.

People have often asked me, ‘Why do you bother to write? Is it rewarding? Does it pay well?’ No, it certainly doesn’t pay well… but it is rewarding. It calms the uncertainty of life and gives me control over something, an absolute control that still has a habit of being bent.
I often find that characters I write sometimes end up writing themselves, my control of them becomes limited simply due to what they would do as opposed to what I want them to do, and that to me is a feeling that I can’t find anywhere else.

The joy of writing, the mystery of where the words take me has always been the ringer. I’ll fail a thousand times if it means just once I get to succeed, and just once I’ll have someone enjoy the little niches I write for, no matter how rare that may be.

If you are a writer, determined to become Freelancer, or maybe an aspiring author, just know this: the words we live by are what define how we live, our very reality is make believe and who better to weave the lies of fantasy and fiction than we, so versed at this twisted tongue? Never give up on this dream you have, even if it means you have to sacrifice it for the time being. Keep at it, endure.

I have and still am.

The Book of The End

Have you ever watched the World end?
…Well, that question in itself is a bit asinine, isn’t it?
The longer this goes on, the more jumbled the thoughts get and the less likely I am to make sense at this – the end of everything I’ve ever known, or will ever know.
…Well, that just sounds a little bit too morbid, doesn’t it? Maybe if I double back, everything will start to falling back into place; I’ve come this far and this is the least I could do.

My name is Craft Howie Lewis, and no that is not meant to be sly or witty, the name was actually a nod at a long deceased Writer, whose name escapes me even under these circumstances, though I’m confident I’ve touched on the subject more than once.
I was a middle-child in a History that wanted nothing to do with me, raised as though my parents were playing a practical joke by disarming me for the fires of real life. When I say fires, it is no metaphor, that was one thing that I have not been able to forget: the fires, so many of them. I’d never thought fire could be so terrifying, every instance of my life prior involving it had been quelled, controlled; this was anything but. It surprised me, I’ve never known concrete and metal to twist and crack beneath the hunger of flames. It never even occurred to me as being the slightest bit possible.
I will say this for my own sake, my life was anything but spectacular. If you assumed, whoever you may be, that by myself heading this collection of notes that I am in some way a valiant, heroic Main Character; think again, and again and again. Until not even a ghost of that thought remains.
The third child in a Family of five, siblings older and younger seemed as stranger as people you pass on the street. Their faces escape me now, their names as well… and I am content with this. If I was unfortunate enough to remember some deep seeded emotional connection to these vague silhouettes in the darkness my life has taken, I fear I might not have the fortitude to finish.
I am getting off track. My name is Craft Howie Lewis, and no that is not meant to be sly or witty. As far as I can remember, which is quite far mind you, my choice profession was a safety net – I knew I would never get let go, but I knew I had no room for advancement. I liked that, I can’t remember why I liked that… I can’t even remember exactly what job it was that I had, but I had a mediocre talent for it.
I must’ve been required to wear a suit, because… well, I’m wearing one now, aren’t I? Unless this and everything else is just some strange delusion and I’m adrift in my own thoughts, and somehow my mind put together that Death went hand in hand with a tattered old suit.
There was a flash of brilliant light, almost as if a second Sun had appeared—and that is where everything stops.

I awoke minutes, hours, days or even months later in this place and haven’t been able to escape since. The walls extend for what seems like infinity, to a ceiling that I cannot see and the candle light does not reach. At first, it looked like a study of some sort: parchment stacked on a plain oak desk as high as me, ink, pens, pencils and every writing utensil that I knew to exist and a few I didn’t. (There might have even been a chisel in there somewhere, too)
Shelves surrounded me, not an exit in sight despite my repeated attempts at finding one. The wooden walls did not nick or chip, the shelves did not move and every book from ancient to fresh were filled with blank pages.
Blank pages and every method to write.
So, before boredom or madness came knocking, I decided to sit down and start writing.

It was in this moment that I discovered a talent I did not have before: I can perfectly recount every instance of my life, from the vague days as a toddler to the cringe worthy days as a misguided teen. I could remember the very first thing I ever laid eyes on and I can recite with perfect accuracy, every conversation I’ve ever had. The first time I witnessed Death, the first time I fell in love with a woman whose beauty I dreamt would never escape me, but now it does. The damned of it all, is the further I delve into this new talent of mine, every thing I’ve written gets swiped from my memory—ripped away by the stroke of the pen, a complete mystery to me until I pause for a moment to glance over what I’ve just written. Everything, except for my name. That seems to be the only constant, and should that ever escape me, then I know that the End is truly beckoning.
If I keep writing, maybe it will come to me… the reason this World of mine has come to an end, the reason as to why I am confined to this room to jot down the most dreadfully boring life. Is it of any importance, or is this just what happens when any person faces Death?
A cruel joke of whatever authority decided to catalogue every person’s existence into paper, have them rob themselves of experiences: happy, sad and terrifying… until nothing remains. I can say for certain, this life of mine has been anything but exceptional. I’ve said that already, haven’t I? Every person is a collection of words, repeated over a lifetime and the curiosity remains. What do you think… what do I think, the last Word ever spoken will be? Will I be the one to speak it?

For the life of me, I can’t remember what my point was… so many pages, the handwriting is dreadful… difficult to read, the longer it goes on. I feel sorry for whoever is struck with the task of reading it all.
What was I trying to say, now?
Maybe back pedaling will help me remember? My name is…

The End.

Tricked by the Light (Short Story)

Survival is a difficult thing to properly outline, especially in this day and age where technology has such a foothold in our day to day lives—when things such as a ‘social media death’ are considered a misstep in use of terminology, or maybe a pandering to the wrong audience. Movies are considered disasters, performances that did not meet our standards are disasters. Sad to say that our generation, and maybe the generations to come, have an estranged idea of Disaster.
Even someone such as myself, has come to understand that tragedy comes in all shapes and sizes. The lesson learned, not quite as diverse as the methods that brought it about. Every person changes when they understand what it truly means to know loss, and people seldom have the luxury of deciding when.
Can you recall the first time you experienced death? Not the candyland version of a beloved family pet passing, or watching some horrifying video on the Internet—I mean when you were there, face to face with someone that had moments ago been alive, and was now dead. I remember it more accurately than I remember my Mother’s face.

My Grandmother and I never got along, not on any terms. Her name was Diane and she was, at one point in her life given from what I have seen in photographs, beautiful. That did not stop her rotten personality from corrupting whatever outer beauty she possessed. You see, she had a predisposition to despise the male body as a whole, and thus I was at a constant disadvantage: my sisters would receive sweets, money and all the attention growing girls needed. Not I, in my time spent with her I was given a strong arm, a dutiful neglect and an oddly keen method at demoralizing me for doing nothing more than existing.
I would be lying if I didn’t say I held a grudge against the woman, even as time went on and she grew less and less aware, consumed by a disease of the mind that left her unable to dress herself without assistance; and unable to recognize her own children. I hated her. Hated her more than I should have, but I was determined that even in that mindless husk of a person, the woman that treated me so terribly was still there – and it was my revenge.
That was until her final moments, when it was not her children that stayed by her side through the night, or any of the grandchildren that she had adored so much more—it was me. Through the night, through every labored breath and sudden halt, I sat there next to her. Occasionally I reassured her with sweet nothings, whispered like the caring man that I had hoped I had become.
It came quickly and suddenly. Her chest didn’t rise again. Brilliant blue eyes that I envied had now been wholly glazed over, their vibrancy lost. All the subtle little motions that you never take notice of, the little things that make people look like—well, people? Gone. That profound beauty her wrinkled skin once held? Gone. It was like watching some botched, claymation suddenly become the person that you once knew. In this fleeting moment, I no longer held my childish grudge for her wrongful actions, her hateful attitude.
It was something so simple, that for so long I had overlooked simply due to the fact that I never considered it: Death was very, very real.

This was my disaster, my tragedy; the terrible, awful thing that had always been lurking at every potential moment. Law of Casualty was something I had managed to evade until right at that moment and it finally caught up with me.
That was the first time in my life that I had come to understand that someday, I was going to die. Oddly enough, the thought never crossed my mind prior—was I delusional, or just so content with my own circumstances of living that I never so much even entertained the idea that I was going to pass like her someday? Alone, save for the company of someone that hated me so much, they wanted to make sure that I stayed dead.
It managed to manifest itself later on as a very acute version of anxiety, something that I would only come to understand as being a little too cautious, all the time.
A newfound terror came with every crossing of the street, every public uprising and shooting that occurred spiked my ever-growing understanding of mortality.

I was never a God fearing man and doubt I will ever be one, but even so the possibility of my own imminent demise did inspire a bit of soul searching. The first attempt at tackling this ever present fear came in the form of attempting to find some solace, some spiritual assurance that no matter what might have happened, or how it might have happened; I would have been alright.
How many different bibles, testaments of faith and guides to existing have I read so far? Too many to count and too many to care, even though all this complied knowledge has made me a bit of a death guru—I still remember all the different heavens and hells that await, depending on who you speak to in your mind. None of it mattered to me, none of it helped me overcome my constant fear.

It’s a strange thing to realize; most animals have no great concept of death. They could not understand it anymore than we could understand why the we exist. They understand loss, the same as anything with half a bit of sentience might—but when the jaws clamp down and they are inches away from passing, the fight or flight response kicks in and they fight tooth and nail. Maybe not because they know they are going to die, but because they know something bad is going to happen. Or, that could just be a typical aversion to pain that all lifeforms share to some degree.
Science and Biology have a profound way of explaining how little they understand death; sure, the functions of the organs and all their different make-ups, all the names that go along with them. That is decent knowledge, but nothing that I was looking for. Biological Death is not something so easily explained, in fact I dare you to go and try to find something, anything right now that will tell you exactly what takes place at the moment of death. You are more likely to pull up some spiritual dabble, or something else that was entirely speculative. Nothing solid, no concrete understanding of what really happens in the great beyond.
So when everything comes down, and everything you’ve been trying so hard to understand becomes just another great unknown—what would you do? Give it? Not in a million years. Quell that hammering heart and understand what the answer was, that is the only way.

I think it was when I finally realized that there was nothing special about it, that entropy was just something that all things have to endure—to wither and die was, essentially, the whole purpose of life in the first place. We are born with this strange idea that it is never going to be us, we aren’t going to be the ones that pass. We laugh, love and prance through our lives with the belief that we cannot be killed: that we are in a way, immortal. This mindset is most common in the young and causes them to act out, to perform otherwise hazardous activities that jeopardize their lives. Blatant denial of mortality.
There was nothing to fear, not really. There was never any steps I took to overcome knowing this, because I continue to know it and cannot ever stop.

Existence is a terrible, wonderful disaster. Lives come and go, there are people that make a constant impression on you… and there are people that leave you far too soon. We can endure it happily, experience all the good moments along with the bad, and as long as we keep a fond understanding that one day we are going to die; there’s nothing to fear. I used to think that the saying, “Live each day like your last” was the asinine and self-absorbed motto of the rich that could afford to do that—but saner minds have prevailed. I cherish the people I care for, I do no wrong that I do not wish done onto myself and I keep it close to my heart, the knowledge that I inherited by a chance moment.
I can’t say for certain if there is an after life, but I can almost certainly agree that it is nothing like what people have continued to assume for a millennia and a half. Whatever it is, if it does exist, it is so far beyond our range of comprehension I doubt we could even apply a proper name for it.
What I can say is that I am almost certain, all this talk of seeing the other side is nonsense: people are being tricked by the light.

3 Freelancer Gigs That Are Scams

We’ve all been there. Aspiring writers come near and far with the hopes of finding themselves a quick, high-paying gig that is relatively easy – but with increases in the circuit and Freelancers being reduced to anyone with a keyboard and an opinion, Job Boards and Gig Requests are often flooded with tens of hundreds of applicants: and many among those are unaware of the potential scams.

  • The Vanishing Artist. As I like to call them, a potential client that at first seems genuine, is willing to negotiate price and outline exactly what they need done. It’s all well and right, that is until you finally manage to give this person their requested article/piece… and they mysteriously disappear, the email they used is no longer reachable.
    Advice: All Freelancer Writers should be weary of these scammers, your piece is likely to just appear on their website under some pen name you’ve never heard of. I make a habit to solidify the credibility of any gigs I receive, namely first and foremost doing a thorough search on whatever I’m covering and the company, or person(s) I am covering for. This helped me weed out several of these vanishers.
  • The Bargainer. This person seems less interested in getting their content, and more interested in trying to negotiate the price to 0.001 cents per word. I’ve established a pay-rate before and mid-way through creating the content, they demanded I lower in a ridiculous amount. The nerve!
    Advice: These people are unavoidable. You will encounter them no matter the lengths you go to, and my advice is to stand your ground. It’s your content, you previously established the pay (assuming you did), and you deserve to get paid that amount. They can always find someone else to argue with, and if you only lost an hour or two on the article, it’s no big deal. To us writers, that time comes and goes like breathing.
  • The Ehhh Guy Sometimes, I wonder if people truly know what they want. Let’s be real, if you know your content is good, your knowledge on the subject is pin-point and everything else is bread and butter – who are they to tell you it isn’t up to par? These people, while reviewing your content, won’t simply offer suggestions or methods to help guide the message: they’ll just say it isn’t what they wanted. Now, I’ve only had this happen twice, but the nerve of it was absurdly irritating. I put my heart and soul into writing about something I love (and am fairly versed in) and they told me it was wrong.
    Advice: Don’t lose your footing. There’s a big difference between a client requesting you make changes, and a client just being arrogant and rude. If this happens, double check your content, triple check and if everything is A-OK, carry on your way: you deserve better.

As a Freelance Writer, you have to deal with a variety of clients, for a variety of niches and still manage to come out on top. You have endless competition, and the last thing you need is someone cheating you out of your time and money.
Unfortunately, weeding through these individuals is the name of the game. It takes a hundred terrible clients to find five good ones that change everything.
They’ll be the ones to help everything go smooth.