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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Twinfessions Collection #2

It's that time again. Another 15 confessions of twindom.
Enjoy.

***




Twinfession #16: The only reason I haven't faked my death and gone on a crime spree blaming my brother is that I'm lazy.


Twinfession #17: The dichotomy of being a twin is that I am unique because I am not unique.


Twinfession #18: If something ever goes wrong with me, I've got a complete set of spare parts!


Twinfession #19: Every magician has a trick that uses a twin. Some can only use that trick once, though.


Twinfession #20: All twins have superpowers, but we don't like to show them off. That would be rude, and we're better than that.


Twinfession #20 b: Except for the Wonder Twins. They suck. You're allowed to hate them.


Twinfession #21: Twin languages are based off the ancient language, Comic Sanskrit.


Twinfession #22: He may be taller, but I'm better-looking.


Twinfession #23: Why yes, we do finish each other's


Twinfession #24: When a twin has twins, it is called "twinception."


Twinfession #25: When twin toddlers use twin language around you, yes, they are talking about you. And no, you don't want to know.


Twinfession #26: You'd think being twins is good on April Fool's. It's not. It's not a prank if no one ever finds out you're not your twin.


Twinfession #27: The StarTrek negaverse is populated by lost twins. If you have a twin in this universe, there is no negative you there.


Twinfession #28: Twins don't really exist. It's all just smoke and mirrors.


Twinfession #29: Twins have different fingerprints, which is why I made gloves that have my brother's prints. You don't want to know how.


Twinfession #30: When twins faceswap, nothing happens... until you look away. #faceportal



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Website!

Good morning/afternoon/evening/night!

Since I have been focusing on becoming more professional, I took it upon myself to begin setting up a personal website.  I went ahead and got a head shot, asked my brother to work on a few images for me, and started working on the layout.

Although it is still a work in progress, spencerhixon.com is now live!

Don't worry, faithful readers; I have not abandoned my blog.  Granted, I should be posting more often in it, but I will still be posting regularly here.  I have simply linked here from my website.  And I'll likely start putting my new website info in all the right places as I discover them.

However, I have more good news.

On June 1, 2017, I was given my third Daily Deviation award on DeviantArt.com!  It was for my Twinfessions Collection #1!  Amazing!  I now have over 400 followers over on DeviantArt!  So, I will likely start updating there was well as here.

Things are looking up!  But I've still got my fingers crossed that I will get the agent I really want.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Power Overwhelming

Hi.

My name is Spencer.

And I'm an altaholic.

What is an altaholic?  Well, it means I play video games (or at least I used to).  It means I play MMORPGs.  It means that WHEN I play an MMO, I generally make a lot of characters.

For instance, my favorite game of all time, City of Heroes (may she rest in peace), allowed me to have something like twelve characters per server, and there were some twelve or so servers (rough estimate, I can't really remember the exact numbers).  I had easily eighty characters on that game, and each one had a back story, and I played each one (some more than others). Of course, only two or three of them made it to max level. Can you guess that I'm a writer?

There's just something satisfying about being a hero and saving the day.

I play Gemstone 4, a text-based MUD (Multi-User Dimension) and have quite a few alts on that game, but it is more intense in its player interaction, and the drama at times is too much.

I've been playing Lord of the Rings Online (LoTRO), and have tried to break that trend.  I have one character I actually play, a Beorning (think "werebear").  And I like her a lot.  But I do somewhat miss the ability to just jump around from one life to another.

Sadly for all of these games, writing has taken its toll.  City of Heroes/Villains is alas no more, but I never have really replaced it.  I love GS4 and my friends in it, but it seems I have less and less time, and when I don't show up I feel guilty and then stop answering/looking at emails from friends about it.  I haven't played it in months because I've been so focused on finishing my novel.  And though friends from college are trying to get me to play LoTRO with them, the timing is terrible because of the kids.  I feel guilty asking my wife to feed, bathe, and put the kids away once or twice a month on a Saturday so I can play a game online, even though I spend most of my time with the kids and do not often get to spend time of any sort with adults.  And now my second- and third- favorite games (Starcraft and Guitar Hero/Rock Band, because let's face it, they're close enough to the same game) have come back into my life, but I feel guilty again when I try to play them during my free time, because I could/should be spending that time writing.

For me, a formerly-avid gamer, becoming a writer has been a sacrifice.  Combined with being a stay-at-home dad of two, even my hobby of brewing beer has taken a major hit.

But it's not just my hobbies.  I used to be very social, and, as I mentioned before, I now have only a few opportunities to spend time with adults. I've joined the Masons, but can only meet with them about once a month, and I'm much younger than most of them.  I have friends who come over once a week to play board games.  And I go to church with the family once a week.  But I do not have work mates.  I do not have nearly as many friends as I used to.  I do not have any family in the area except for my kids and wife.  You must remember, I'm an identical twin, so having someone with me all the time is part of how I was raised, of how I think.

This week, my wife went out of town and I had the kids.  This isn't the first time this has happened.  But it *is* the first time this has happened while both kids were able to walk/run around, to get into things, to get on each other's nerves (as well as my own).
It is exhausting.
I get up by 6:30 (and being a night owl, I'm unused to this) to get my daughter off to school on time. I spend the next hours playing with my son, who now wants to get into everything and chase the poor kitties. While he naps, I try to get some work done in finding an agent. Usually I have to hold him to get him to sleep, and if I put him down he wakes up cranky.  Lunch happens at some point, and if I need to go out, I have to do it after he wakes up. But I have to be back early to pick my daughter up from the bus. By 3, she's complaining about being hungry (even though I just gave her a snack) as I feed the baby. By 4, I've been arguing with her for an hour about getting her five minutes of homework done. Cleaning has to happen while I watch them. Normally, I get dinner started at 4:30 to 5, but luckily I was able to get a bunch of pre-made tacos this week. Still, I've had other things, like dance and making food for the Masons, that have taken up that time instead. After dinner, there's a brief period for play (and cleaning/feeding the baby more), followed by bath and bed time at 7. She's hopefully actually IN bed by 8, and I'm sitting there with over-tired baby who is fighting sleep until 9:30 (I need to work at getting a sleep schedule down for him). And then I'm dead tired and just go to bed. Of course, he often wakes up a few times at night, which can lead to hours of lost sleep.  I understand now why my wife turns in so early.  Previously, I got up at 7:30 to 8:30, when the baby woke up.  I went to bed somewhere between midnight and 2, usually because I'm writing at night.  It's amazing how much more energy it takes to care for the kids with no relief.

How do single moms do it?
I can only imagine that they have some sort of support system of friends and family that I mostly lack. Either that, or they make enough money to afford a nanny or daycare.  Because it's not like I can just choose to stay up later.  I'm exhausted at night. I'm lucky I haven't fallen asleep before the baby does.
So hats off to single moms and dads.  You are the true heroes.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Branding

So a good step in getting an agent is to get an audience first.  Agents like knowing the person has saleability.  In an attempt to get a larger audience, I have decided to do several things:


  • Return to writing short stories.  I will be writing more short stories that involve my characters and genre, and sending them to actual journals like http://glimmertrain.com and the like.
  • Create a website.  I need a professional author website to give agents and readers some place to go to if they show interest in me.  I'm still figure out exactly how to do this...
  • Professionalize.  I need a headshot, icons, business cards, newsletter/email list, etc.
  • Start a Patreon.  In case you aren't aware, patreon.com is a place where artists can offer special incentives to people in exchange for money.  I may very well use this to promote myself using unique short stories and other opportunities.
  • Social Media.  I already have a facebook page (and now I have two), a twitter, a Tumblr, and a DeviantArt page. Now I need to start utilizing them better, to start using them more, and to spread to other forms of social media.
  • Try out other forms of media.  I have an idea of making a trailer for my book, as well as possibly a short webcomic series to familiarize people with my characters and world.  Images could also be very helpful.
It is a LOT of work.  Whoever said being a writer was easy never tried.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

How to get Published Step One: Don't Despair

I've spent the last several days reading up on just what it takes to be a published author.  Let me tell you, it's not easy. Then again, you knew that already, didn't you?

There are a lot of things that one needs to consider, not the least of which is "HOW do you want to be published?"  Do you want to go through a traditional publisher?  Would you prefer a smaller one?  Want to crowd-source your novel?  Print-by-demand and do all the work yourself?

The trouble I see with ALL of these approaches is the same: fat chance.

Fat chance getting the eye of an agent.
Fat chance getting selected by the publisher.
Fat chance that the publisher will give your novel more than 90 seconds to sell it to a distributor.
Fat chance the publisher will do very much to promote your book.
Fat chance that a smaller publisher will give you the audience you want.
Fat chance that you'll be able to find a large enough audience to successfully crowd-source your novel.
Fat chance that you'll be able to get your novel into any stores if you do it all yourself.
And no matter which route you take, fat chance you'll make any money at it.

Of course, fat chance is better than no chance.  If you don't try it, you have no chance at succeeding. And, of course, you can increase your chances by doing the right work.  Make a blog.  Use twitter.  Read the work of others.  Write short stories to promote yourself.  Learn how to write a synopsis, query letter, outline, etc., then DO IT.  Learn how to brand yourself.

Take the time.

But most importantly, don't despair.

Despairing is what I'm struggling against right now.  I just came off the high of having finished my novel and now I see that the chance that my work of the last 6 years will succeed is low.  What have I been doing with my time?  And I've never HAD to brand myself, so I don't really know how.  More research is needed.  I'm going to need to learn how to adjust my time between being a stay-at-home dad, a writer, and a promoter. It's hard enough just finding the time to WRITE while watching the kids. I've had to surrender most TV and some time with my wife. Now I have some major decisions I will have to make.  It is a lot of work.

I just want to make sure that it is worth it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Sinister Love

I have finally done it!  I have finished my first novel!  Hopefully soon, you will be able to purchase A Sinister Love and enjoy it yourself.

I started this journey about 6 years ago.  I've dedicated endless weekends and getaways, nap times and nights to the pursuit of this goal.  In that time, I've had 2 kids, moved, discovered that I have early-onset arthritis, and made dozens of friends. The rough draft was finished nearly 4 years ago, but the editing process has been grueling, fulfilling, time-consuming, thorough, and all-too-often side-tracked.  Despite this, I did not relent. Despite the self-doubt that I would ever finish or that it was any good, I pushed through.  Despite giving up TV, games, and really most of my free time, I pressed onward.

I'm stoked. I'm proud. I'm ecstatic that I'll be taking the next step to sharing my writing with everyone.

So, in the days, weeks, months (years?) to come, expect updates from me about my journey through the publishing process.  I do not plan to stop writing, but I do plan to split my time between writing and pursuing publication.

Next on my writing agenda?  I have a number of projects I want to pursue.  In no particular order, the first is a sequel (or two) to A Sinister Love, which is still being brainstormed and fleshed out.  Second, I would like to try to return to short stories once in a while.  Third, I have a creative nonfiction story about a girl with cancer that I wish to tell, based loosely on my family's experiences. It is my hope that these do not take me 6 years to write.

In case you want to know about how I wrote the story, I'll tell you below.  If you don't care, you can get off the train now and no one will blame you.  But I am happy you were here to share in my victory.

So there are a ton of blogs and books and courses on "how to write."  The topic is huge and includes grammar, style, plots, tropes, dialogue, and pacing. Because of this, I will not go into details here. I would say that the general rules I've gleaned are: 1) Know your audience. Write with them in mind, even if "them" is "you."  If you enjoy reading it, chances are someone else will, too. 2) Don't stop.  Write everyday. 3) Don't be afraid of editing. It is your friend.  Erasing huge swathes of your novel is just part of the game.  Think of it more like a chance to replace a flat tire with a brand-spanking-new one. 4) Don't stop. Write everyday. 5) Don't be afraid of critiquing.  Not only should you critique other works (it can really help you out as a writer, too), but you should be open to the criticisms of others.  That doesn't mean to make all their suggested changes; it's your novel, not theirs.  6) Read.

So, first, when I wrote, I tried to set aside an environment for it.  For me, writing in public helps keep me focused, especially if I'm plugged in to some non-distracting music. What that music is changes according to my mood. It ranges from the soundtrack to Koyaanisqatsi to Debussy to Metal.  But most of the time I had to write at home.  Keeping awake was a problem when at home, where being comfy leads to sleep.

When writing, I first outline.  Then I wrote the first draft.  That was the longest one to write, taking a good 2 to 3 years. It was not pretty.  I even had a section that just said, "COME BACK TO THIS POINT AND FILL IN WITH HISTORY." After that, I went over it again, filling in holes, reworking dialogue, and generally working at the grammar.  This, which I called my first draft, I was willing to have a select group of people read.  I did so and got some general feedback.  The second and third drafts were based partly on this, but mostly on my own feedback.

The fourth and fifth rounds of edits were the most important, I feel.  I started taking my work with me, two chapters at a time, to a critiquing group that meets locally twice a month.  It took me a year (I think) to get through the entire piece.  My fellow authors were able to bring a variety of opinions and points of view to my work, and in good detail, highlighting what needed to be fixed (in both small and grand scales) and what needed to stay.  I learned a lot from them, and got to critique their work as well.  The fourth round of edits was mostly addressing their suggestions, and the fifth round was going back and tackling some of the major changes I personally realized I needed to make to the story after hearing their feedback.  Then, after a brief read through, I made the last edits on Tuesday, April 25th, 2017.

...at least until a publisher or agent gets their hands on it.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

What a novel idea

For the past *cough* years I have been busy writing my novel, as well as raising a family and being a stay-at-home dad.  Turns out being a stay-at-home dad is still a lot of work.  But I've managed to finish the novel and get through several rounds of edits!

At the moment I am finishing up the most major round of edits yet.  These are the edits that respond to what my critiquing group said about the novel.  Of course I'm not taking every suggestion; it is my novel, after all, not theirs.  But for the most part these are good suggestions and I feel the novel is much stronger now.

The problem is, I am in chapter 30 of 34 in these edits.  And I have learned something about writing a novel.

Edits are like snowballs.  They might start out small, but by the end of the novel, they can be a hassle to deal with.  If you start off with big edits, it's going to be quite a job rewriting the last few chapters to make sure everything fits the way it should.

I just finished a very difficult conversation in the novel, but I don't know if it's good or not.  I can't really tell.  I usually have good dialogue, but at this point I'm just going to rely on that and push forward.  The next chapter is going to be another major rewrite.  Then, I FINALLY will be past the hardest parts.  Once I am past 31, 32-34 should be relative smooth sailing!

And then the hard part begins.  Publication.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Let's celebrate

If you haven't guessed something about me, I am what most people would label a "liberal."  At least, the more polite would.  I don't like labels of this kind, as they do not fully encapsulate my mindset.  or instance, I am also pro-life.  Not crazy "murder the doctors" and "march through the streets with a dead fetus on a cross" sort of pro-life.  Logically pro-life.  But that is not the point of this.

I also do not like putting politics up on my blog.  It is a place to talk about and post my writings, not my ideologies, though sometimes the two will mix.  In fact, I am currently eating lunch while on my person writing retreat.  The goal is a lofty one: finish my novel!  Let's see if I can meet it.  I've got 7 chapters to go.  So I will make this short.

This IS a political post, because I cannot pretend that these things are not important.  I cannot remain silent.  I've watched this first week of Trump's unfold like a train wreck.  They said give him a chance.  Well, I think he's had it.  You'd think that the "president" with the lowest approval rating coming into office since they've started measuring approval ratings would have nowhere to go but up...  sadly that is not the case.

Trump is slapping America, and the world, in the face.  Here's just a hint of it.
Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day. How did Trump celebrate it?
He signed an order to implement "extreme vetting" on those coming to America from Muslim-majority countries (except for the ones where he has major businesses, go figure), which is currently causing many people to be stranded or held in custody.  And don't think he's singling out Muslims?  HA!  Those who go to the front of the line are those who belong to "a minority religion in the country of nationality."  Did you understand that?  Muslin-majority, non-muslims get priority.
Back in WWII, this is what the rest of the world (particularly America) did to the Jews who tried to flee Nazi Germany.

Let's recap.
Trump signed an order restricting members of a specific religion from fleeing to America from their war-torn countries on the day where we remember those who DIED in part because America refused to allow members of a specific religion to flee to them from their war-torn country.

This is coming from the most powerful and childish man in the world.
So what do I say?  I say, let's make sure to celebrate ALL THE LOUDER those who died, to remember more deeply the atrocities that were committed.  Whenever there is any event that Trump feels the need to sully, we must make sure to remind people of what really matters, not what the bloviating blow-hard-in-chief wants us to think.

It was also announced that he is indeed going to go forward with a Muslim registry.  Does this man not know his history, or does he simply think the rest of the world has forgotten?

So it is today that I would like to announce that, if a Muslim registry is created, I will be registering as a muslim.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Twinfessions Collection #1

So if you follow my twitter or facebook you will no doubt have seen the recent rash of twin-related confessions, which I dubbed Twinfessions.  Yes, I am a twin.  Identical, even.  So I thought I should have a little fun with it.

I decided to collect the twinfessions once in a while here.  Let's see how long I can keep these going.

***

Twinfession #1: Sometimes when I don't want to talk to someone, I tell them I have a twin. It's not technically lying.

Twinfession #2: Sometimes I wake up at 3am and punch myself in the face, just to keep my brother in Atlanta on his toes.

Twinfession #3: In 4th grade my brother and I switched places and never switched back. No one has noticed.

Twinfession #4: Since we have the same genes, my kids refer to their uncle as "Daddy 2". His can call me "Cool dad."

Twinfession #5: I don't know. What's it like NOT being a twin?

Twinfession #6: Once my brother was sick for Halloween . I just went up to every door twice and told them I was him.

Twinfession #7: My older brother is like a canary in a mine; if he ever gets a random pain, I know I’ve got 3 minutes.

Twinfession #8: When one of us dies, the other will experience The Quickening. There can be only one.

Twinfession #9: If you hit me, my brother will not feel it. But you will when I hit you back.

Twinfession #10: Whenever someone picks a fight, we inform them that we used to be triplets and let their imagination run.

Twinfession #11: Twins are just when a drunk fairy forgets to take the original baby when leaving a changeling. I'm looking at you, Bob.

Twinfession #12: Triplets are when a doppelganger and changeling become friends.

Twinfession #13: Yes, twins can share thoughts. But all my brother shares are cat pics.

Twinfession #14: When we were really young, our mom would just guess which one was which. I wonder which one I *really* am.

Twinfession #15: Identical twins consider fraternal twins to be twinposters.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fear and Loathing in DC

Congratulations, America, on your purchase of a Trump!  Trump will be a good addition to your home if you remember three simple rules.
1) Do not feed your Trump's ego after midnight
2) Do not let your Trump near camera or TV lights
3) Do not let your Trump get wet.

In all seriousness, however, we, as a nation, are going to be led by this man who may very well be the least qualified person not currently in jail.  That is not to say he is not qualified.  He does meet the requirements: He was born in the US, he is over 35, and he has lived here for the last 14 years.  But that's where his qualifications for this job cease.

I have my fair share of friends who voted for Trump, and I asked many of them what they saw in him and why they were voting for him.  The answers were mostly nonsense.  They want change.  They don't like Obamacare.  They feel he is a party-man.  They like his ideas.  Hillary is guilty of x crime.  Hillary is a liar.  Hillary laughed at rape.  EMAILS!
When asked about the crap Trump says he wants to do, the answers were all-too-familiar.  The checks and balances will stop him.  These are actually good ideas.  It's just politic/locker room talk.  He didn't say/mean that.

Before I delve into this rant any further, I want to make my observation.  Stephen Colbert pointed out a poll that said 4 out of 10 Americans feel the other party (than their own) is dangerous.  That is to say, 40% of republicans think the democrats are a danger to the country, and 40% of democrats think the republicans are a danger to the country. An article claimed that this was an election "of fear." I also read a comment on twitter that, unlike previous elections, the losing side is not simply depressed, angry, and sad.  They are in real fear.  This fear sets this election apart from all others, and is not a good start to what promises to be an eventful presidency.
My observation is this:

The republicans are afraid of Hillary because of what the GOP claims she might do.  The democrats are afraid of Trump because of what he says he will do.


This is not an "us vs them" argument.  Trump's words are on tape, video, twitter, etc.  You can look them up yourself.  These are not fear-mongering attempts to control the undecided voter; these are the actual hopes and promises of the presidential candidate himself. We are afraid because he makes us afraid, not because our party wants us to fear him.

Now for the boring part I'm sure you'll skip. Yes, it's a rant.  I pride myself on being able to look at both sides, and usually I am pretty fastidious about where I get my sources, how truthful I am being, and how honest I am being with myself.  Like everyone, I slip, but unlike everyone, I have the time and training to actually research.  I want to attack these things one by one.
- When I heard someone claim that they are voting for Trump because they want change, they tell me that they don't care if it is positive or negative change... or they deflect.  Change for the sake of change is not a good thing.  Change must be productive, and well-thought-out for it to be beneficial.  If you are working on the bottom rung of a company and hear that there are going to be "staff changes," you would be smart to start looking for a new job in your free time.
- They don't like Obamacare.  Well fine.  It is not perfect.  I've seen people who have been burned by it, though far more people depend on it.  Removing Obamacare is going to cost us a lot, all of us.  But what are you going to replace it with?  The current plan is to get a plan.  This is irresponsible.  You are willing to put millions of people's insurance at jeopardy without knowing what is going to replace it?  Last I hard, Trump said everyone will have to pay their own way.  That is a death sentence to tens of thousands.  That is a step backwards.  We, as a society, should be beyond that.
- Trump represents the party.  If this were true, wouldn't GOP members be flocking to him, instead of bailing out left and right?  He has never represented the party - and that is part of his appeal.  He is the outsider, the man of his own ideals and ideas, however flawed they may be.  The PARTY is bending to HIS will, not the other way around.
- I don't know how anyone can like his ideas and consider themselves a normal human being.  The wall is pointless (it will not work), expensive as hell (trillions, plus maintenance costs), and paying for it is a debacle (Mexico will not pay for it, but Trump has *said* he wants to put SANCTIONS on them, our ally, until they do.  International bullying?  What the Hell!?).  His economic plan is, essentially, to bankrupt America and then "work out a deal."  His plan to end abortion is to punish the women.  He has no healthcare plan.  He wants to deport every illegal immigrant AND THEIR LEGAL FAMILIES en masse. He wants to end the 1st Amendment to make it easier for him to sue the media (and who knows what other crap that will cause...).  His gun plan is to have more of them. His plan to deal with terrorists is to waterboard them (or worse) and then "go after" their wives and children. These are actually things he has said.
- Out of every crime people like to accuse Hillary of, from murder to rape to controlling Bill's accusers to being a security risk, she has been investigated by competent, real people who would like nothing more than to put her away for a long time and in every case it turns out there either isn't enough evidence to even present it to court or it was made up.  People are hypocrites when it comes to her automatic guilt in crimes, but Trump's automatic innocence.  He has been embroiled in far more lawsuits, including 3 rape cases, charity fraud, racist rental policies, and racketeering.  There's still a chance he will be in jail - as a felon - on inauguration day.  No, Hillary is not nice or likable, and there really is some shady stuff in her past, but none of the stuff she is actually guilty of holds a candle to what Trump has been found actually guilty of.
- I have to laugh when people tell me Hillary is a liar.  But it's true.  She is a liar.  She has lied quite a bit.  According to politifact.com, as well as every other reputable fact checker out there, she has lied between 13% and 17% of the time.  Here's where more of the hypocrisy comes into play.  These fact checkers have determined that Trump is also a liar.  About 53% of the garbage he spews from his mouth is a lie.  That means he lies more than 3 times as frequently as Hillary does... and his lies tend to be worse.  He has more "pants on fire" ratings.  They aren't even imaginative lies; half the time he's simply saying that he didn't do or say something that he definitely did or said (on tape, in front of thousands of people, or on twitter).  I cannot abide lying, and I hate it every time I heard one from Hillary, but Trump?  The very thought of him makes the pit of my stomach give out.
- Hillary did once defend a rapist because that was her job and she was appointed to it.  It would have been remiss of her (and possibly illegal of her) not to do so.  And she won, like a good lawyer should.  Had it been Trump, the GOP would be praising him.  Years later, she was in an interviewing laughing about not trusting polygraphs anymore after that case.  No, she never, not once, laughed at a rape victim.  Listen to the audio.  It's online.
- The emails, GOD THE EMAILS!  How often has she been exonerated, and how much the people blew this out of proportion.  When Comey decided to show his colors (turns out the FBI is heavily Trump-leaning) and announce that he was simply investigating emails that mentioned Hillary, an announcement that is highly unethical and simply not done, its timing could not have been more suspicious, and its impact could not have been more auspicious.  Although she was again exonerated, the damage was done, and most analysts agree that Comey single-handedly handed the election to Trump.  If there is a God, Comey should spend the rest of his life behind bars. I'm more worried about the fact that he will turn the FBI into some sort of secret service.  Oh... I'm not bragging or being hyperbolic.  Under Hoover's command, that's exactly what many politicians and agents thought of the agency.  It has happened before, and it may well happen again.
-The checks and balances or other politicians will stop him?  What, like they were supposed to stop him from being the nominee?  Right now he has the majority in both sides of Congress, the GOP will refuse Obama's final Supreme Court Justice nominee and give the SC to the GOP.  ALL he is lacking is a supermajority.  He has executive orders now.  The checks and balances will mean shit.  The other members of his party would crawl backwards to attend to his every whim, just as they have ever since he was their nominee.  Besides, shouldn't you NOT be trusting in the checks and balances to stop a madman?  Shouldn't you INSTEAD not VOTE for the madman?
- These are good ideas only if you are a terrible person.  If you have any sense, you should see them for the crap that they are. Every bit of progress our country, perhaps the world, has made is in danger of being undone.
- No.  Shame on you.  This isn't locker room talk.  I would never say that in a locker room.  I would not be friends with someone who would say that in a locker room.  I would never even THINK the shit that comes out of Trump's diseased mind. And I hate him all the more for implanting such horrific thoughts.  No, this isn't politics as normal.  Trump is not a politician.  Yes, he lies when he thinks it will get him his way.  But these promises? Even if half of them are lies, the other half would still be true.  You all need to take the things he says seriously.  Chances are, he means them.

WHEW!  You made it through the rant.  Now if you are a rabid Trump supporter, you are either ready to (or currently?) write up a scathing rebuttal full of things you believe to be true, but, given time, I will gladly show you are false.  I'd ask that you save us both some time and just don't.  Because this next little bit is the important bit.

Trump lost.

Trump lost the same as Bush lost.  Neither man should (have) serve(d) in the White House.  Neither man was elected by the people.  They were elected by the electoral college, an outdated and extremely flawed system that is susceptible to gerrymandering (which the republicans have done in spades) and corruption.  There is some old and misguided idea that rural areas need to be protected, so their votes are worth more.  That very thought is anti-democratic.  It is anti-American.  But that's one of the reasons the last two republican "presidents" were not voted in by the people.  And look at them.  Bush was a laughing stock.  He had an abysmal approval rating.  He plunged us into debt.  He had negative job growth.  He started endless wars that he didn't pay for, predicated on a lie.  By any agreeable measure, he is one of, if not THE worst president in the history of the United States.  And now he's about to get Trumped.  No, I am not giving Trump his fair chance.  I do not think he deserves one.
And if you want to defend the electoral college, try me.  But I guarantee you that if Hillary had won on electoral votes and Trump on popular votes, you would also be decrying the idiocy of this backwards system.

A final thought.
This election was important for a lot of reasons, and failed in them all.  One reason, however, remains of vital importance and could well make this the single most important, and worst, election in history.  In other elections, in other years, no matter how bad it got, there was also the promise that in 4 years, we'd get a chance to boot the "bad" guy out and put another guy in who can undo all that damage.
We don't have that promise this time.  I'm not saying Trump will do something like declare himself president for life (but I wouldn't put it past him).  No, I'm saying that the damage his policies could have on our environment are not something that will go away, that we will recover from.  Ever.  There likely will be another president after him, and then another...  but they won't be able to undo the damage to our eco-system.  This is a man who believes that climate change, which is now confirmed as real AND as human-made, is a hoax invented by the Chinese.  This is a man who said that he wanted to ABOLISH the EPA to make it easier for businesses.  Now he wants to put the world's leading Climate Skeptic into position over THE EPA. He has said that he wants to destroy the Paris Climate Agreements. I cannot imagine a scenario worse than this. At this time we are experiencing an unprecedented level of extinctions (1,000 to 10,000 times higher than natural rates). In the last 40 years, we've lost HALF of all wild animals.  75% will be gone within three lifetimes.  And by 2070, the coral reefs may be beyond repair.  To you, these might seem like numbers.  But what they mean is that, unless we act *NOW* to mitigate the damage, we may well have triggered events that will see the end of our species.  After all, you can't eat money.
Trump may be our president.  But if he follows through on what HE IS SAYING HE WILL DO, he will also be our downfall.