Daily Archives: March 12, 2016

Mitch Albom Article – Teacher Fired – Cell Phone Privacy

Hey 3.5 Readers.

If you’re like me, you’re a nerd interested in technology, so this story I found on USA TODAY stood out to me.

It is by Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie, which is a great book by the way.

The synopsis:  Teacher took nude selfie for husband for Valentine’s Day.  Left it on her phone.  Left phone unattended on her desk.  Student picked up phone, went through it, found the naughty photo, took a picture of it, sent it around everywhere, teacher gets fired, eventually student gets in trouble.

Tough case, right? Yes, it is very stupid to take a naked picture of yourself and doubly stupid to leave it on your phone.  There’s no guarantee of privacy on the Internet so anything you don’t want “out there” shouldn’t be created in the first place.

But then again, this is her private phone.  No one has the right to go through any item that belongs to someone and look around through it.

Yet, I can also see the argument that she brought this phone into a school.  When she did, she brought every virtual piece of data on the phone into the school, including the nude photo.

Definitely should have had a passcode on the phone.  Who doesn’t have a passcode on their phone these days?

I can sympathize with the teacher.  Some silly thing she did in passing, something she thought only she had access to, never thought it would lead to anything.

I do think this is an issue where lawyers.have taken away common sense in the workplace.  The common sense approach would have been to give the teacher a lecture to never let this happen again or else you’re fired.

But I assume the administrators felt the safest thing (for them) would be to fire her outright.

Anyway, lessons to be learned:

  • Don’t take nude photos of yourself.  I don’t because no one wants to see that.  You shouldn’t because no matter how secure you think you are, it can always get out somehow.
  • If you’re stupid and do so anyway, don’t leave them on your device. Delete, delete, delete.
  • Keep in mind when you take your phone into a public building, you’re taking everything on it into a public building.
  • As a general rule, since your privacy can’t be guaranteed on the Internet, the best practice is to not do anything on the Internet that you wouldn’t want to explain to the authorities and/or your mother later.
  • Put a passcode on your phone!
  • Don’t leave your phone unattended.  Keep it with you at all times.


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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 27

Just some development with Joe and Miles. Father and son fight, father giving an order, son being fresh, etc. Except that leads to father wolfing out.

Hopefully this starts building the narrative that Miles is an amateur werewolf who isn’t ready for combat and even his father knows this.

Bookshelf Battle

Joe found Miles inside the church, drawing away. A grizzly bear this time.


“What?” Miles asked.

“Get up and go,” Joe said. “Right now. Start walking. Anywhere. I’ll find you.”

Miles stood up. “What’s going on?”

“I am your father and you will do as I say!”

Miles sniffed the air. “Blythe! He’s in town.”

“Now you know,” Joe said. “Get out of here.”

“No,” Miles said.

“Miles you know what he does,” Joe said. “He’ll use you to make me suffer.”

“I’m not going,” Miles said.

Joe grabbed his son by the shirt collar and dragged him toward the door. Miles dug his heels in and slapped at his father’s hand.

“If she were here she’d want you to go,” Joe said.

“BUT SHE’S NOT IS SHE?” Miles yelled as he struggled with his old man before finally clocking him a good one upside the head.

That didn’t…

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 26

Gunther again tries to be the voice of reason.

Jack’s comment about “the Injuns” and Slade punching him in response – I felt that was just showing that Slade really did feel loyalty toward Standing Eagle and the whole mess at the beginning really was a misunderstanding, he wasn’t trying to hoodwink them.

Blythe intervenes with more glamouring. Is it a plot hole that he doesn’t let Jack try to kill Slade?

Eh – my argument would be again, there are many drinkers of Doc’s medicine around and Blythe doesn’t want anyone dying and becoming zombified until his zombie transport train arrives.

Bookshelf Battle



Halfway down the main drag, Gunther caught up with his now ex-boss. Slade was on fire and making a beeline for the Bonnie Lass, outside of which Blythe and his new gaggle of employees were congregating.

“God damn it son, will you hold up?”

Slade kept walking.

“You think you could have run that stunt you pulled back there by me first?” Gunther asked.

No response.

“I’ve had this job before you were even born and now I gotta up and leave it because of some slick sleazy lawyer?”

“No one asked you to,” Slade replied.

“Shit boy,” Gunther said. “Forty years I’ve never not once had a Marshal’s back and I’m not about to start now. Do you at least got some sort of plan?”

As Slade drew near, Jack rubbed his eyes and cried some crocodile tears. “Boo hoo hoo those poor Injuns!!!”

WAM! Slade’s right cross…

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 25

This is a take on the old “cop doesn’t like how things went down so he slams down his badge on the captain’s desk and walks off” scene.

Except it is a judge instead of a captain, but he’s a higher authority figure so he’ll do.

Gunther doesn’t really want to, he’s been a deputy for over forty years. But he’s loyal.

But to be funny, I have him struggle to take his star off. It gets stuck. Won’t come off. The judge gets tired waiting.

I’ve had moments like that. Someone does something dramatic and does it so flawlessly. I try to do the same and get no cooperation whatsoever.

Bookshelf Battle


After the courtroom cleared out, Slade confronted Sampson.

“What the hell are you doing?” Slade asked, his voice raspier than ever.

“Marshal, I hate this as much as you do but the Governor has the right to issue pardons and once he does there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. Take it up with him.”

Slade, man of action that he was, ripped the star off his shirt, slammed it down on the Judge’s bench, and stormed out of the courtroom.

“Slade!” the Judge called after him. “Don’t be ridiculous! This town needs you!!!”

Gunther’s stomach churned. The idea of leaving a job he held most of his life was unsettling, as was the idea of being disloyal to Slade.

“I don’t reckon there’s some kind of generous retirement payment for a man who’s held the position of Deputy Marshal for over forty years, is there?”

“Not that I…

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 24

This scene needs a lot of work.

At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure what Joe’s relationship to Blythe was, I just knew I wanted Joe to serve as the character who gets info of what zombies vampires and werewolves are to Slade and Co. (although as it turns out later, Miles takes that role on).

I’m thinking maybe Joe has known of Blythe’s invasion plans for years, having worked for him only to grow a conscience, and well, he has reason to hate Blythe as we’ll see soon.

Bookshelf Battle


From the moment Blythe walked into the courtroom, Joe felt the beast surge within him. Under his shirt, he felt his chest hair grow. His fingernails started to jut out. But he took a deep breath and held his alternate form at bay.

He and Blythe had met before. Joe positioned himself outside the door and grabbed the counselor’s arm as he walked out into the hallway.

Hewett and Becker drew their weapons instantly. Joe released his grip.

“Joseph!” Blythe said. “So lovely to see you again.”

“We have unfinished business.”

“Do we?” Blythe asked. “My, my. You never learned your lesson, did you?”

Blythe patted his hand against Joe’s cheek. “So much sorrow written all over your face. Such a pathetic inability to let trivial matters go. How dreadfully unkind time has been to you.”

“I will end you,” Joe said. “The biggest mistake you ever made was not…

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 23

Enter Henry Alan Blythe.

I picture him as a pretty-ish kind of handsome. Like there’s manly handsome and pretty handsome. John Snow on Game of Thrones, for example, is “pretty” handsome. Or Johnny Depp.

He’s got a Southern drawl…I don’t want to go full Foghorn Leghorn but you know, he’s got the “I’m just a simple country lawyer” thing going on.

I worried about him at first because we already have one educated know-it-all who likes to talk and uses big words – i.e. Doc.

However, as I thought about it – Doc has no clue what he’s doing. Doc deceives people on the basis that he believes he’s not deceiving at all. He’s basically a patsy.

Blythe knows exactly what he’s doing, what he wants, what he needs to say to get it.

He shows the judge a blank piece of paper but with his eye trick convinces him it is a pardon for the Buchanan Boys.

My hope is vampire fans will pick up that’s a glamour – vampire hypnosis.

He says something – the recipient more or less says it back but says it in a way so as to show he believes it is his idea. Reminiscent of “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” from Star Wars i.e. the Jedi mind trick.

I worry this might be a plot hole that needs shoring up.

Why the hell is he bothering to save the Buchanan Boys if he’s just going to kill them the next night anyway?

The best argument I’ve come up with: they would have gone from the trial to the gallows immediately, been hung and turned into zombies (because they were fans of Doc’s special medicine) and then the townsfolk would be clued in on his plot to transport zombies across the river before his zombie transport train arrives.

Maybe he can explain that a little better. Maybe Hewitt and Becker can ask him about it.

Meanwhile, as henchmen go, I think Hewitt and Becker are great. They don’t really back-sass or disobey, they don’t get a lot in the way of character development – i.e. we don’t learn much about them personally, but as we’ll see in upcoming scenes, they’re scary.

because they had been sucking down Doc’s medicine,

Bookshelf Battle


Judge Sampson was not a man to be trifled with.

“The Legion Corporation? This case has nothing to do with your company!”

Blythe had a prominent Southern accent.  So flamboyant was his drawl that it was almost as if he spent a lot of time working on it. The only thing he was missing was the mint julep.

“Your honor, may it please the court…”

“It does not please the court!” the Judge shouted. “The court is very displeased!”

The doors opened again and two men entered.

“Now who are these two peckerwoods?” the Judge so astutely inquired.

“Apologies,” Blythe said. “Where are my manners?”

The counselor pointed to his left, toward a man with a high widow’s peak, a square jaw and a stern face.

“This is Mr. Dalton Hewett.”

Blythe shifted his attention to his right, toward a man with short brown hair and a handlebar mustache.  This…

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 22

I loved the trial scene.

It got a little zany…almost Family Guy-ish in nature.

Smelly Jack was funny as he makes his defense.

And Judge Sampson – I wanted to really build it up that the Buchanan Boys were hated and despised across the country and now that they’d been caught, he was going to hang him high, thus making it a surprise that they avoid the gallows.

The villain of the story, Henry Alan Blythe, makes his first appearance. I’d like to work on that a little more, though he gets more of an intro in the next chapter.

Bookshelf Battle

The courtroom buzzed as the Right Honorable Mortdecai Sampson took his seat. Bald with the exception of the white hair that grew out of his ears like unruly haystacks. Ugly teeth. A perpetually angry face. And a pair of wire rimmed spectacles he was always using to look down over his crooked nose at people with.

The Judge slammed his gavel down with enough force to crack a walnut. “ORDER!”

Everyone went silent. Smelly Jack sat at a small table, to which he was chained. His brother-cousins took up most of the seats. Slade and Gunther stood watch toward the front of the room. Joe and Knox were on either side. As usual, the younger Knoxes were in the back.

“Smelly Jack Buchanan…”


Sampson pointed his gavel at the defendant. “SHUT UP! Smelly Jack Buchanan, you and your inbred family stand accused of committing a litany of heinous…

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 21

In wrestling, they have wrestlers called “heels.” Total jerks you love to hate.

That’s Smelly Jack.

I feel like this chapter builds up in the reader a sense of “Ugh I hope something bad happens to him.”

Also, in a previous chapter I have Bonnie stop short of using the C word and here, Jack stops short (thanks to Gunther) using the N-word.

It was my attempt of working swears in without really saying them, but as I continued, I realized they were inevitable as things heat up.

Bookshelf Battle


A full week had passed since the capture of Smelly Jack and his villainous brood.  Rifle in hand, Slade led the processional. The town’s nosey citizens poured out of their shops and homes to watch the chained up criminals march toward the courthouse.

Knox took the left flank.  Gunther and Joe took the right.  The young Knoxes brought up the rear.

Jack was performing for the crowd.  “What a crying shame that an innocent man and his kin get railroaded just for passin’ through town!”

An old lady pelt him in the head with a rotten tomato.  He laughed it off.

“You people aint much on hospitality, I’ll tell you that!”

Swears, insults, obscene gestures and all kinds of abuse were heaped on the Buchanan Boys.  Jack reveled in it.  He even broke out into song.

“Nobody knows…the trouble I seen!  Nobody knows…my sorrow!”

Jack eyeballed Joe.  “Hey boy!  BOY!…

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Two Year Anniversary Stats


Gratuitous Bookshelf Q. Battledog Photo


In two years of bloggery, I have made 1,240 posts and received:


20,698 visitors

Is this good?  I don’t know.  If there’s some expert out there, please tell me.

The highest number of views I received in a day came on February 9, 2015.  I think that was largely because someone was nice enough to put something I wrote on Reddit.  I had just announced the one post a day for a year challenge too so I think that made people somewhat curious.

In general, if I get between 30-50 hits a day it is a pretty average day.  It is nice when there are more views than hits.  I feel like that means people like what they see and want to keep looking around.

This has definitely been a labor of love.  I truly wish this technology had existed when I was 20 and had the ability to stay up two days straight writing term papers cranked up on Red Bull (shit, come to think of it, that could explain a lot of my problems now.)

But it is here now and I like it because every day brings at least one new follower and I hope all of these little drops in the bucket lead to a nice full bucket some day.

(A nice full bucket of people who will buy the book I can’t seem to finish.  What?  Did I say that?  No.  I do it for the art.  Money schmoney.)

If you haven’t done so yet, please follow me on:

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Thank you, 3.5 readers.  Please keep it up and help a nerd’s dream come true.

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