Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mel's Year in Review: 2013

2013 is over!  Man, these years go by so fast.

This past year, I had a major win ... my first contest win.  It was the first time I've ever received a paycheck for writing fiction.  I won "second best overall story" in the 2013 Actuarial Speculative Fiction contest.  I also won "most unique use of technology in a story."  You can read the winning story here.

I'll say this meets my goal of getting published "somewhere."  Though, it would still be nice to get a magazine credit.  That's still up and coming.

This past year was a year of stopping and revising.  Armed with a win, I knew I had the talent inside me.  I had a lot of activity with the website.  I had some stories in progress critiqued, and I revised several stories.  I also critiqued several stories of other writers, making a few friends along the way.

A summary of my achievements ...
  • Novel Writing -- Even though I was supposed to be concentrating on short stories, I couldn't resist the temptation to begin my semi-autobiographical fictional novel, Space Cadets.  I figure I can write a chapter, then move back to a short story, and come back and write another chapter.
  • Short Stories --
    • "Actuarial Year" -- this is the story that won the contest.  I wrote it, had it critiqued, and revised in less than two months.  My biggest achievement so far.
    • "Depths of Inner Space" -- revised and submitted again.  Still, rejections.
    • "When Time Flows West" -- revised and submitted again.  And still rejections.  I think there may be something about the story itself (the same with "Inner Space") and my best bet may be to concentrate on my other stories.
    • "Stanley Saucer: Space Assassin" -- this story was well received at, so I've made several revisions and will be sending out shortly.
    • "Gamma Base Mars" -- this story got a major revision and is about to hit
    • "Google Brain" -- this is a totally new story that hit me over the holidays.  I have notes, but no first draft, yet.
  • My Facebook Fan Page now has 68 likes.  However, I haven't paid that page much attention this year.  I seem to get more responses to my posts on my personal Facebook page (as recent changes seem to go against "commercial" pages being viewed).  Also, I've had some difficulties uploading videos on Facebook.  Instead, I've switched to posting my videos to my Google+ page.
  • I didn't do as well in keeping up with this blog ... only 40 blog entries this year.  As I explained in an earlier post, I struggled a lot this year as I went through a busy job change situation.  Just recently, I've finally gotten the new work stress levels down to more manageable levels.  Excuses or not ... I wish I had written more.  Yet ...
    • I'm now up to almost 30,000 views ... more than double where I was this time last year (those web crawlers sure keep busy).
    • I reviewed 14 movies, 4 books, 6 TV shows, and a couple of other random posts along the lines of "Google isn't that great." 
    • My personal favorite posts of the year ...
I hope you've had a great 2013, and here's to an even more successful 2014!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I Cannot Control My YouTube Accounts

Okay, I have to whinge.  Again, Google is trying to be the end-all answer to everything, while at the same time coming up with the most bonehead decisions -- as if intentionally trying to find ways to make life difficult for people who use their products.

It all started a long time ago (2008) when I created this YouTube channel: Melorama2000.  There, you can go to see me perform some piano pieces and some of my compositions.

Then when Google+ came out, I jumped on the opportunity and signed up as soon as I could.

Then a few months ago, I noticed that my YouTube account had bifurcated.  I have the original Melorama2000 channel, and now a "Melvyn Windham" channel on YouTube.  The latter channel is basically empty.  There are no videos for you to watch.  There's no history.  It's some weird ghost channel that Google decided to create for me that I never intend to use.

Plus, Google took the "initiative" to create this Melorama2000 Google+ page for me that's linked to my "real" YouTube account.  There, I don't make any posts.  I don't follow anyone.  Somehow I have 1 single follower.  For all intents and purposes, it's a weird ghost page that I didn't create and that I have no intention of using.

So, I have these annoying ghost page and account.  Is that really something to complain about?  Get this...

On my real Google+ profile, there's this YouTube tab, but you can't see my YouTube videos, because they're linked to another Google+ account.  You think there'd be a way to link my "real" YouTube account to my "real" Google+ account, but guess what ... YOU CAN'T.  The ghost "Melvyn Windham" YouTube channel is "permanently" linked to my "real" Google+ account, and you can only link one channel to an account.  So, I'm out of luck.


What I want (and it's a simple desire), is to have fans go to my profile, click on my YouTube tab, and see all my 80+ YouTube videos.  Is that too much to ask for?  But evidently, I just can't have that.

And I'm not the only one.  I've come across several forum posts where people want to change how their accounts are linked, and then someone knowledgeable comes along and says, "You just can't," and other people say, "Why the heck not?" and "Why does Google keep ignoring us?" and so on.  There really is no solution?

Just like with Apple, Google doesn't have good customer service when things go wrong.  It's so much easier to ignore the few that have issues, and put on their "What's wrong with you ... everyone else is happy" faces.  Any feedback I send in private gets ignored.  But I've learned that a complaint in public gets much faster results.

Have any of you had to deal with this issue?  Have you been able to successfully link your desired YouTube channel to your desired Google+ profile (not "page" ... it has to be the profile)?  Tell me your stories.