Removing Television

I don’t consume a lot of television. Occasionally I will binge a show on Netflix. I liked the three seasons of Fargo and the first season of True Detective. I will put on some garden reality show or documentary in the background. Every now and then my wife and I stream a movie or watch some standup. But for the most part if I lived alone I would watch almost no television.

The truth is I just don’t enjoy movies or television. Compared to reading or listening to audiobooks I find the process tedious and unstimulating. I can’t thing of the last time I really enjoyed a new movie. I find streaming services like Netflix especially irritating because of the choice paralysis involved. Every time I sit down I spend forty-five minutes scrolling through the lackluster choices until I pick something I’m not really that excited to about but feel compelled to watch because I just spent forty-five minutes looking for it. I would rather spend the time reading, writing, talking, cooking, or just about anything including just sitting in silence napping.

Yesterday my wife and I were discussing children, our childhood, and parenting styles. Television screen time came up. I don’t exactly remember how the conversation developed but my wife asked me if I thought getting rid of the television would be a good idea. As in getting rid of it completely and making a living room without one as the centerpiece. The point being that we would raise Juniper free of television.

My initial reaction was immediate approval. The only one who watches it regularly is my wife so my life would remain mostly unchanged. It would be a improvement because it would force us to come up with some better activities on weekend nights and get rid of the dread of being stuck in an endless loop of deciding what to watch.

But we both have some misgiving. I grew up with unlimited screen time and no supervision over what movies and television I watched. I remember spending my afternoons watching Disney cartoons, I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island, The Beverly Hillbillies, and other reruns. Once I got a bit older I watched a lot of Star Trek the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Hercules, Xena, The X-Files, and a bunch of other shows I can’t even remember. My younger brother and I spent a lot of time watching television, but we also played outside, played games, skateboarded, had a lot of friends, explored, got girlfriends when we got older, and grew up to be overall successful adults. Television did not rot our brains. Well maybe a little bit.

I’m afraid that if we get rid of the television we would be depriving Juniper of the fun I had growing up. I don’t want to be that crunchy granola or fundamentalist religious parent that forces my ascetic beliefs onto my children, but at the same time I feel that modern television is pure brain garbage and is just another excessive attention deficit inducing trash pile that sucks away happiness.

With our move coming up in the next few weeks it would be the perfect time to get rid of television and change the way we interact in our living room space. So I’m really thinking this over, weighing the pros and the cons. What do you guys think, should I dump the television? Do you think I would be depriving my daughter? Let me know in the comments, I’m really interested.

Happy Year of the Boar 2019!

It’s New Year’s Eve, another year has come and gone. 2018 will be over in a few hours and we are here at home celebrating. By celebrating I mean sitting in our pajamas hanging out with the baby.

2018 was a wild year. I can’t think of anything more life changing than becoming a father for the first time. Every single day feels like a new adventure and as soon as I start feeling confident about the whole thing the creature changes all of the rules.

Other than becoming a father 2018 was a year of work. I pulled a lot of long days and took care of several difficult projects. The hard work paid off and I’m leaving my current station with a great evaluation and a lot of motivation. I’m looking forward to taking on more challenges in the upcoming year.

On the other hand, fatherhood and a heavy workload caused my writing career to suffer. I did poorly, horribly actually. I didn’t complete a single short story. I just wrote lots of fragments and spent the majority of my free writing time editing older stories. The year wasn’t a total bust, I did manage to get two stories in print. One of them, Kakerlacs in Storyhack was well received.

2019 is the Year of the Boar. My year, and the spiritual mascot of this blog. A lot of changes are in store. First off, in about two weeks we will be moving out of our house. We are packing up and heading back to the United States. New location, new position, and a new home. The move is going to be a challenge and I’m going to miss Japan a lot, but I’m looking forward to it and all of the new adventures that we will be having.

2019 is going to be a adventure and I can’t wait.

Happy New Years!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone got to spend the holiday with friends and family or at least managed to get a bit of time off to relax and reflect.

A lot of us in the military or similar professions that require constant vigilance often miss the holidays or end up stationed far from family and friends. It’s important to call friends and reach out, even if it’s just a simple message over social media.

For me, this years holiday season will be one I will always remember. It was my first Christmas as a father. Nothing I’ve ever experienced was more joyful than watching my daughter laughing as she tore up gift wrapping and played with all her new toys.

My father passed away in December, right around Christmas. I was nineteen years old and ever since, my holiday enthusiasm has been dulled. This year, watching my daughter enjoy herself so much brought back all the great feelings about Christmas I’ve missed since childhood.

Of course I miss my Dad and desperately wish he was here celebrating with his granddaughter. But, for the first time in my life, celebrating with my beautiful wife and child, I feel complete.

Merry Christmas

MeWe Fantasy Group

In the past few weeks I’ve significantly limited my social media presence. I deleted the Twitter dumpster fire, limited my facebook to close family and required work contacts, and gave up on reading Reddit. 

But I do miss the larger discussion about books that was had across the different platforms. For the most part, I enjoyed the Fantasy page on reddit until it became extremely political.

So I followed a lot of the G+ crew to MeWe and decided to start this group. If you want to discuss Fantasy in all its incarnations please join up and get to it. 

Click here to join!

Networks of Power


biggest changes in history are the achievements of thinly documented, informally organized groups


 Niall Ferguson, The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook

Around the same time I deleted Twitter I started reading Niall Ferguson’s latest book, The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook. Not as good or concise as his The Ascent of Money which I read earlier this year, nonetheless it had a few interesting parts that made me think about historical causes from a different perspective. 


From Boston to Bordeaux, revolution was in large measure the achievement of networks of wordsmiths, the best of whom were also orators whose shouted words could rally the crowd in the square and incite them to storm the towers of the old regime.

Niall Ferguson

The personal application of understanding and observing networks in everyday life is fascinating and exceptionally interesting. For example, myself, and most of the readers of this blog are part of a lateral network of right-leaning conservative readers and writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy. A lot of us are also networked through different social media and share memberships in some of the same groups. A few of us have published work in the same magazines.

I would love to see a network analysis that plotted all of the connections and correspondence. It would be fascinating to see where the main nodes of communication and transmission lie. Looking at myself and how I fit into the network my guess would be that one of the biggest common nodes a lot of us share is Jeffro Johnson, closely followed by Cirsova. 

Understanding networks and subsequently focusing and harnessing their power is critical to success in a hostile environment like SFF writing. The traditional publishing world is made up of a series of interconnected networks and the last few eventful Hugo awards illustrate that fact. It’s no secret that a lot of the traditional publishers are very homogeneous in thought and style. You can map a lot of the publishers and writers through different nodes based on writing programs and writing workshops.

Networks are powerful. Building and cultivating a network of like minded readers and writers is critical. Supporting and being active members is critical. Comment on blog posts, share blog posts, encourage others to read works by independent writers you respect. 


Actions that help build trusted networks serve your cause

It’s the way to power.