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About Wertbag

  • Rank
    Strong Minded
  • Birthday 02/21/1977

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  • Location
    Auckland, NZ
  • Interests
    MMA, gaming
  • More About Me
    Married father of 1 from New Zealand

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
  1. It sounds like his concerns are more about the people than the beliefs. You may find he takes the middle road of dropping the Baptist church but retaining Christianity or maybe go deist without losing religion completely. Its not just a yes/no question but shades of grey.
  2. The part that confuses me is the guy saying the woman knew things only he knew but her statements aren't personal, just generic christian beliefs (salvation by faith). I don't see why that was so mind blowing?
  3. The reason that works is the lack of any interaction with the unicorn. If the person makes any claims that their unicorn leaves hoof prints, eats their carrots and knocks over their bird bath then you can absolutely test those interactions. With God He is claimed to help his followers, He is claimed to want peace and happiness, He is claimed to want a personal relationship with us. All of these claims can be tested, and if every characteristic is shown to be false then the entire premise is destroyed. The only God you cannot disprove is a god who does nothing and is nothing, and such a god is irrelevant and not worth our time. I sometimes feel like I'm one of the minority of atheists who would use the gnostic title. I don't just believe there is no god, I know there is no god as the evidence is perfectly clear. There is no need to give any weight to the ridiculous doubts.
  4. "I define God as air. He is everywhere, gives life and is inside us all! Do you believe in air?" "Yes, I believe air exists" "Ha, you therefore believe in God and can't call yourself an atheist!" Ugh
  5. (Picks a retiree in the crowd) "I believe your grand father has passed over? I would say he passed before his time?" "Yes he died in the war" "Right, he says he was sad to leave his young family but proud to fight for his country" "He was a mass murdering nazi" "Err, yes and very proud..."
  6. One thing I found helped me was to keep busy. Anxiety, worry and depression really are worse when you sit and dwell on it, so if you can keep your brain active and busy it can reduce the amount of time you focus on the negative. Doesn't really matter what the activity is as long as it takes your concentration. Learn a language, do a martial art, learn to dance, write a book, even playing video games can be immersive and keep your attention on the task at hand. Just find your joy and do whatever it is that makes you happy. It won't eliminate the problem, but the more positive activities you have and the more fun, joy and happiness you have in your life the less time you leave for the negative.
  7. I successfully self-published my first book (https://www.amazon.com/Day-Before-Inquisition-Glen-Allison-ebook/dp/B06ZY2BHB8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492656259&sr=8-1&keywords=the+day+before+the+inquisition) and in my case the project was about learning about the industry, learning new skills and at the end of the day having a paperback novel in my hand with my name on it. I’m not going to become a professional writer, it is nigh on impossible to do so now days. If you have a look on Amazon at the numbers of books available there are over 1.5 million fiction books, 2.2 million non-fiction and over 400k religious books. Any single category could fill a whole library. What I wanted to do was write up a quick ‘lessons learned’ for anyone who is considering doing a book of their own to hopefully help better understand the process. The first thing you have to understand is there are 3 types of publishers: Traditional publishers - such as Corgi, Random House, Penguin etc. They work on the idea of purchasing your copyright. They will pay you $5000-$10,000 upfront, but they take all of the risk and artistic license. They will pay for printing, proof reading, marketing and art, but in return the profit split is usually 90/10 to them. As they own the copyright they can rework your book, make changes or do anything that they deem will help increase sales. The loss of artistic control puts some authors off. The other thing to remember with traditional publishers is that it is incredibly hard to get picked up by one. You have to submit your manuscript in a very specific way (size, font, length, physical or soft copy, double spaced etc) then it goes, along with 200 other books, to an editor who will browse through and pick 1% that are worth investigating further. There was the famous story of the Harry Potter novels, submitted to 12 different publishers before JK Rowling gave up and decided to self-publish. She became a billionaire. The publishing industry is slow (it commonly takes 3-4 months for a reply but can take as long as 12) and so flooded with works that it is a miracle to be picked (Amazon lists ~80k books released per month!) Vanity Publishers – such as Author House and Xlibris. These are the dodgy, in it for the money types who will try to get you to purchase a package deal. They call themselves self-publishers but then lock you into contracts with them. They don’t buy your copyright, but by demanding a printing contract they are the ones who chose where it is released, at what price and can discontinue the book at any time. If you want to take your book to another publisher you have to buy the rights to your own book back. The package deals will range from $1000 up to $20k and include everything from proof reading to art, to marketing and social media setup. Some of the dodgy business practices include giving one free edit of your book, then intentionally putting mistakes and poor formatting in so that you have to go back several times to correct their mistakes and being charged for the privilege. Or giving a proof reading service that only covers 20-30 thousand words (about 100 pages) with an hourly limit or per word cost charged over that (buried in fine print) so what was advertised as $400-$500 comes out close to $2k. Self-Published – Such as Createspace (by Amazon), Lulu, Smashwords etc. These services provide a set of tools that allow you to produce a digital book file. You use a website to design your cover, format your interior and choose your distribution options. I personally used Createspace and found it a great service and completely free. There are optional services you can choose to make use of such as art, proof reading or marketing, but I used none of those and was perfectly happy with the final result. Once the digital book is created that is made available for Print on Demand services, so no physical copies are produced, it is only when a customer pays for your book on a website that the order is passed to the nearest printer and couriered out to them. Alternatively you can convert your book into an e-book, the process is quick and easy as you are already dealing with a digital file. You do have to do your own marketing and this is the hardest part. You can go on goodreads.com to list your book, you can make a Facebook page and bring it up in blogs and discussions, you can do book signings and give-aways, but there will be a thousand other authors doing the same thing. One of the biggest sales pushes comes from winning book competitions, but this also is highly contended and often has an upfront cost. Formatting – There are few hard and fast rules, as a lot of formatting choices come down to personal preference. Things such as whether you right justify your text (give it a smooth right hand edge by automatically adding spaces) or leave the right jagged. 99% of novels will be right justified as it does give a more professional/polished look, however it has been found that people with reading disabilities can struggle with the uneven spacing, so if your target audience is people that fall into that category then perhaps jagged is a better choice. I found it helpful to use the interior design tool early on to get the correct page size and to turn on the feature called ‘mirrored offset margins’. This is where the page on the left has a big right margin while the page on the right has a big left margin. Those margins are the part that will form the spine of the book and are the unreadable space. Writing the book with the formatting already in its final form helps you visualise the page layout and better know the total number of pages in your finished product. It is worth noting you will not see a spine in the cover creator until your interior is at least 130 pages, as that is the minimum width required. You also have to select a font to use. Most traditional publishers will ask for your manuscript to be in 12pt Times Roman and they will select a different option later. When you self-publish you have to make that call yourself. I chose Georgia, as a fairly easy on the eyes font, but again it is personal preference. If you use a non-common font you have to make sure to embed the font into your document so the printers have it included for their use. I would say Microsoft Word is a requirement. There are other programs such as Open Office or Libre Office which are fine for the basic formatting and data entry, but Word’s spelling, punctuation and grammar checks are far superior to the other products. You always have to carefully consider the changes it suggests as sometimes you intentionally make mistakes, especially when doing dialogue as it is more realistic “What cha all look’n at? Ain’t ya never seen a pig fly before?” Other things that you should do to give it a professional looking style include: capitalising the first word in dialogue eg: John turned to Sue and said “Hello.” With the closing punctuation within the speech marks. Consider your language for the timeframe you are discussing (modern words in fantasy novels are really jarring). Only do a single space after a full stop (especially if you are right justifying your page as it is already adding additional spaces). Remember to add a title page and a copyright page to the beginning of your book. And always make sure your word processor has the right dictionary setup (UK vs US). Submitting – To finalise your book you will have needed to complete a couple of steps. Firstly there is a tax form to complete. Being from New Zealand I was able to select ‘non-US citizen’, enter my tax code, name, date and address and it was pretty much done. Second your distribution choices. I can’t understand why you wouldn’t select all options, but perhaps if your work is full of porn you may want to choose not to offer it to schools. I selected all which puts it on every Amazon website (.com, .uk, .it, .de etc 6 for print books and 12 for e-books), makes it available for other websites (book resellers), libraries, retailers, schools and on the Createspace website. Third you have to select a price to sell it for. This can be tricky, but browsing online stores you can get a good idea of what books in your genre are going for. I found a fantasy novel was ~$9.99US and an e-book ~$3-6. I selected the defaults. They pay a royalty ~50% if the book sells via an Amazon website, about half that if it sells via another website, and ~75% for an e-book. Finally you submit the book to their final check. They will look for objectionable material (bomb making, drug making, child/animal porn, breach of trademarks etc) and for any formatting issues that will stop it from being printable. It is best to try and avoid using brand names or famous people’s names due to the risk of copyright/IP infringement. It is usually easy enough to say “he walked into a café” rather than “he walked into a Star Bucks”. While most companies won’t care a one off usage such as that, if your book ever gets converted to TV or movie then every last word will be carefully considered. The only thing I spent money on was buying a physical proof copy before making it live. I’m glad I did because I picked up a few things to correct and it helps to see the size and confirm your cover art prints the way you imagined. The authors copy costs ~$4 plus $10 shipping (US to NZ) and took about 3 weeks to get to me. Due to the low price, good end result and because you are doing it for yourself there is no time pressure it made the whole project great fun. Bit of a random rant off the top of my head, happy to answer questions if you’d like me to expand on anything. Cheers
  8. Like the gambler so far in the hole that they have to go one more time... what if this was the time?
  9. I think the mistake that a lot of people make is to think of the world in black and white terms. There is very little in life that is a straight yes/no question, there are shades of grey to everything. The truth is you can increase your chances at positive things happening but can't guarantee them. - I worked hard, I have a 60% better chance to get promoted - I was kind, the majority of people should be friendly towards me. - I studied hard, my improved education increases my chance to get a good job. As long as you consider the work put in only increases the chances of improvement, but that effort is worthwhile to make our lives and the world around us a better place.
  10. I’ve been having a discussion with a YEC online about Noah’s flood. Here in New Zealand we have plenty of Christians but the vast majority appear to be OEC, I've therefore found it quite interesting to see someone quoting Ken Ham with complete conviction. Equally amazing was that the discussion has managed to stay civil, which for a comment section is a rare thing indeed. The effort to justify his beliefs is quite impressive. Subjects touched on: Only 10,000 super animals on the Ark which then underwent mega evolution to become the millions of species we now see. All plant life survived either via floating seeds or magic. All animals came to the Ark then returned to their homes plus all of their diets and unique environmental needs are covered by a blanket “magic” answer The world was flat so that the amount of water needed was small, most mountains grew at huge rates during the flood Noah was 600 when he built the boat and 900 when he died but that is perfectly fine because he was genetically superior Noah had all human genes, so was white, black, Hispanic and Asian, while having blonde, brown, black and red hair. His children could therefore be individual races unlike their father. All fields of science are wrong, all geology is wrong, all dating methods are wrong, basically because they need to be. All of human history occurred after the flood (around 2500BC), the people were one tribe until the tower of babel when they spread around the world creating massive empires where ever they went. The speed of human population growth and the diverse locations appears to be magic to fit in the millions of people coming from 8 within the limited timeframe available. 8 people using inbreeding to form the whole world population (and the 2 of each animal inbreeding to become the billions we see today) was all fine because God didn’t mind and with super genetic code they didn’t suffer infertility that we would expect. Noah didn’t use workers, he just made the boat with his family in 120 years. He wasn’t mentioned as rich so probably cut down the 10,000 trees required himself, dragged them back, cut them to size and built the boat all with bronze age tools. I can understand some of the more mundane ideas being easy to accept to make this view fit what you believe, but there is so much denial required to make the majority fit. I also forwarded a link to a Christian website saying a global flood was wrong, the bible should not fight science. The article was interesting in that it said the word used in the original text was “eret” which could be translated either to land or world, but more commonly land. A local flood is therefore completely compatible and there should be no need to force all this other junk on top to make it work. The thing I struggle with is under-estimating the crazy.
  11. I'd never heard of this practice, I thought circumcision was bad enough on its own but orally cleaning a wound? WTF?
  12. To add another suggestion, one thing I found it was helpful to see/know was how psychics and magicians work. Some of the shows by James Randi, Darren Brown or even Penn & Teller showing how tricks are done, how cold reading is done and giving that view of what happens behind the curtain. If you have a clear understanding of these kinds of tricks then staged shows feel more down to earth. Once you understand cold reading, psychics are more easily identified as scam artists. There is video on Youtube of Dawkins interviewing Darren Brown that goes in detail about cold reading.
  13. Thanks for that. Sounds much like it is here with home schooling being a better way to educate. Was there any requirement in your state to have a formal education qualification?
  14. I have a question regarding home schooling that I'm looking to hear some views on. Here in New Zealand home schooling is practiced by a very small group. Usually the reason is frustration at the public schools and the feeling that they can educate their kids better (more one on one education, teaching at the speed the child learns, teaching in the method they most respond to, focus on the subjects that they select for their career path etc). I had the exact same idea, strongly reinforced by my own dislike of the public system, but here at least you must have a government accepted qualification in education to be allowed to home school and between that and finances the public system is the best option for most people. An American friend has said, at least in his area, that home schooling seems a lot more common and is almost always driven by Christians not wanting their children to mix with those sinners in the public system. I found a website claiming "thirty-nine states allow any parent to homeschool regardless of their educational background". Is this a big problem? Is it a growing problem? People can only teach what they understand, so poorly educated people teach their children poorly. Do the rest of the country look down on home schooled kids? Would the lack of public recognised testing prove a hindrance to finding work?
  15. I liked how this guy puts it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoHAG9UFaKI (5 min video). The fact some groups are disadvantaged is often nothing to with racism (as Blacklivesmatter would say) but more with cultural and educational differences. If you are poorly educated then you cannot teach your children more than you know. If society has a built in dislike of education and suffers from tall poppy syndrome where the successful are mocked rather than looked up to, then you end up in a cycle that we see. That is not to say racism doesn't happen, but many times people need to look at themselves first before trying to find a scapegoat to blame.