Lazlo Zalezac: Blog

Emend by Eclipse (Errata)

October 30, 2018
Posted at 12:13 am

After having the epub version of the book up on Lulu for a month, it was pointed out to me that it was missing chapter 20. I looked and, sure enough, chapter 20 was missing. Color me embarrassed. I have posted the missing chapter on Lulu as a free download.

The revised epub for Emend by Eclipse that is now available on Lulu includes chapter 20.

Emend by Eclipse (Emending Emend by Eclipse)

October 16, 2018
Posted at 10:33 pm

I have just uploaded revisions of two chapters. Chapter 8, I've corrected the event at the end of the chapter to one that actually occurred on that day. Chapter 12, I've correct the 400 -> 200 dollar mistake. It should now be a consistent 400 dollars (or was that 200?).

Of the two errors, the second generated more emails. It might be that a smaller audience was aware of the first error. As one might expect, most of the emails about the Brisbane flood came from Aussies. I replaced that event with the death of Duke Ellington.

I'm still kind of confused about how that error happened. I picked a date, wrote the chapter, and then went to newspapers to find out what happened that day. I still can't find what article lead me to pick the Brisbane flood as happening that day.

I have to confess that Chapter 12 generated more emails than any other chapter of this story and all but one or two was about the money amount changing. I read that chapter dozens of times and never even caught a hint of it.

One last thing to all of those who wrote informing me that they bought a copy of the book, I do appreciate it and would like to thank you for buying it. I would have thanked you by email, but to be honest, I haven't figured out a good way to wade through a large number of emails to respond to a specific one in the new SOL email system. I have them all forwarded to my regular email account which I read once or twice a week now with my current work schedule. The problem is that I can't respond via it so I have to go back to the email program provided by SOL (with no disrespect to Lazeez - I absolutely hate it). It's one of those things where I get irritated at the tool and spend so much time bitching at the computer that I forget what I'm doing.

For those who asked, there are 60 chapters to the story.

Emend by Eclipse (A conversation one doesn't want to have)

September 10, 2018
Posted at 8:19 pm

Reader: I'll be dead before you finish posting.
Writer: No, you won't.
Reader: Yes, I will.
Writer: No, you won't.
Reader: Yes, I will.
Okay. You don't want to agree with them and say that I agree that you'll be dead soon. It's just not nice, polite, or whatever.

Several readers have requested in various ways (including the start of the conversation above) that they want the book now, not on the once a week schedule. It's now on Lulu. This is as much advertising as I'm going to do.

Emend by Eclipse (Background)

August 27, 2018
Posted at 12:31 am

For those who lived through the 70s and 80s as young adults, this story should be a trip down memory lane. Odds are good that some of the details of that time might be barely remembered. A lot of things were common knowledge, but changing quickly: 8 track taps, cassette tapes, the first Burger King or McDonald in the area, Spiro Agnew resigned, and there were seasonal fruits and vegetables.

For those who are too young to have experienced that time, you'll be surprised at some of the differences between then and the world today. It was a world without cell phones, Google, the Internet, and even home computers. If you needed to know something you had to go to the library and search for it yourself. Television was four channels, ABC, CBS, NBC, and Public Broadcasting. Some places even had an independent station or even a few UHF stations. Simple things like a trip to the doctor were very different. Some doctors even made house calls. No such business as Starbucks. Imagine that.

In writing this story, I read archives of newspapers and magazines published back in the 1970s and 1980s. I was not only interested in current events, but in the advertisement sections. How much did a six pack of coke cost? It depended on if it was glass bottles (with deposits for return) or cans (with the pull tabs). Thursday newspapers were interesting because that was when they published grocery store coupons and the food ads. The weather descriptions used here were taken from historical weather records for Oklahoma City. To get some of the flavor of how people thought, I read the small weekly local papers with articles about so and so winning first prize for canning peaches at the state fair.

Outside of a friendship with a Vietnam Vet, I totally ignored the war in this story. As important of a subject as that had been at the time, Tim and Benny weren't impacted by it on their first pass so it wasn't an issue on their second pass through life. They knew the outcome. The war was over by the time they were old enough to be drafted.

Benny and Tim might remember the past, but that doesn't make them omniscient. To remember things from the past, one has to have first noticed them. So while you might be cursing that they aren't taking advantage of this or that event, remember that most of the time they were too busy trying to figure out how to maneuver through life on their first past to notice the bigger picture. They do remember the price of gasoline skyrocketing before they were able to get a drivers license. What impacted them is remembered. Just remember, 1973 was 44 years in the past for someone who died in 2017.

Although times were changing, authority figures still had a lot of authority and they often abused it. Teachers were right and students were wrong. In 1973, some schools still used corporal punishment in the form of a big wooden paddle to the ass to instill discipline in students. A kid who smarted off to an adult was liable to get a whack to the back of the head. Take stock investment advice from a kid? Not going to happen.

One thing that I missed in my research was some key information about Limited Liability Corporations. As has been pointed out to me by several readers, it didn't exist in its present form in 1973. The LLC was first established in 1977 in Wyoming. Even though I used IRS documents (they are available on the web) from those times to calculate taxes (I even fake filled out some for the story), I didn't go into the details of the legal frameworks of the time. I used the 1040 personal tax forms because of the pass through tax laws that apply today for partnerships and LLCs.

Frankly, I wasn't looking for the full background of business law for dealing with the taxes. In filling out the tax forms, I used the definitions of a partnership as the basis for the pass through tax laws that are part of a modern LLC and which I assumed held back then.

I was aware of, but ignored, the issue that there wasn't really any mechanism for anyone under 18 to 'own' a business in 1973. Even today, it is not trivial for a minor to 'own' a business. Putting it in a parent's name is one way to do it, but the parents become liable for anything their children do. Children can own stock (often in a trust), but they aren't allowed to be officers in the company. They can serve in an advisory capacity, but that's it. Interestingly and not surprisingly, if they earn money on their own they still have to pay taxes on it.

I have gone back through the story to correct that error, but it has little effect. I will call it a general partnership with a DBA for the name, have the mothers sign the contracts, and be done with it. All of the tax errors that they made in the story could still happen (without giving away any details, they do blow it in a couple of places)without changing much in the story line.

With regard to insurance, it was (and is) possible to own and insure a car at 15 as long as a parent signs the form. For all of the paperwork described here, it only takes one parent to sign the forms on behalf of the minor.

Emend by Eclipse (Posting Schedule)

August 5, 2018
Posted at 9:12 pm

It is my intention to post a chapter of Emend by Eclipse every week on Sunday. There are 60 chapters total to this story, so I hope you look forward to them.

Within a couple of months, a second story will also be posted weekly. It's a completely different kind of story than this one.