Is There a Way to Back Up Your Blog?

Hey 3.5 readers.

Question.  Is there a way to back up this fine blog?

Most of the time, I type my stuff right into the web browser.  Easy, but then, what if, God forbid, WordPress goes out of business tomorrow?

That’s why I’m wondering if there’s a little button or app or something I can push that will give me a backup of all my posts?

The only other way I can think of is to a) cut and paste and save all old posts by hand and b) save posts as I write them.

Thoughts?  How do you backup your fine blogs?


Ideas to Improve this Fantastic Blog


More power loss in BQB HQ

Sorry 3.5 readers. I’d say don’t let this rattle your faith in this fine blog but did you have any to begin with?

Movie Review – Gringo (2018)

Weed, guns, complicated plots!

BQB here with a review of “Gringo.”

Hmmm.  What’s up with this film?  Well, every once in awhile, Hollywood dumps an ensemble cast into a confusing attempt at a witty, stylish, fast-paced crime comedy and this movie is 2018’s answer to that formula that really hasn’t worked since “Ocean’s 11.”

This movie is 2018’s attempt at such a film.

Here, Richard and Elaine (Joel Edgerton and Charlize Theron), are partners in crime, a duo of corrupt pharmaceutical company representatives/alpha types, the modern day equivalent of the wild sex having yuppies of the 1980s.

Together, they keep their thumb on Harold (David Oyelowo), a dutiful, nerdy employee, so unflinchingly loyal to his bosses that he’s not able to see their more sinister intentions.

During a trip to Mexico, where the company is attempting to perfect a weed pill outside of America’s jurisdiction, all hell breaks loose.  A kidnapping, drug dealers, a hitman with a heart of gold and a couple of hipsters all rain on Harold’s parade.

Charlize, who continues to give me boners and I doubt will never not give me boners, is naughty in this role, saying dirty words you’d never think you’d hear her say.

Meanwhile, David plays the nerd of stressed out, hyper-sensitive, over-worried nerd well.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  There are some cool scenes and fun laughs.  Overall, you might wait to rent it.

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Movie Review – Lady Bird (2017)

Growing up is hard.

BQB here with a review of “Lady Bird.”

3.5 readers, I’ll admit it.  I’m a male chauvinist pig.  I put off watching this movie because I thought it would be ultra-feminist tripe, hyped up to make women feel good about themselves.  Turns out, it isn’t so much about feminism as it is about the eternal struggle of every generation – that battle that comes when kids wants to spread their wings and parents feel they must clip them.

So sorry I assumed the worst about this movie.  I was part of the patriarchy all along.  Who knew?

In director Greta Gerwig’s (I assume semi-autobiographical) meditation on growing up in early 2000’s Sacramento, we follow the senior year in high school of Christine (Saoirse Ronan) who, in a display of the ultimate in eccentricity, takes the name “Lady Bird” and demands others refer to her this way as well.

If the genesis of the self-appointed nickname is explained, I missed it, though I got the general sense that it is one of those silly choices kids make during a time when they believe the world is wide open to them, that they’re special, unique, that they’ll be the next big thing and so it’s ok to do wacky things like re-name yourself.

Lady Bird and her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf) have a love/hate relationship.  One minute, they’re in a battle royale, the next minute they’re going dress shopping.  Sometimes they’ll take breaks in the fighting to direct kindness towards the other.

The genesis of the fights?  Lady Bird wants to study at a big name, fancy school, but lacks the grades or qualifications.  Mom and Dad (Tracy Letts) are struggling to make ends meet and though Dad can never say anything negative to his little girl, Mom constantly lays down the law, informing Lady Bird there’s just no way her dreams of heading off to a big city could ever happen.

The film shows both sides of that eternal kid/parent coming of age struggle.  Lady Bird is overly dramatic, perhaps too intelligent for her own good, overthinking the mundane to the point it drives her crazy.  Suburban life doesn’t just bore her, it’s killing her – the sheer lack of opportunity and ability to express her creativity is too much to handle.

On the other hand, if Lady Bird’s dreams are fantasy, Mom and Dad are mired in reality.  Mom is a nurse, working double shifts where she sees death and illness all day.  Dad’s battling depression, having been let go from his longtime job and forced to go through the indignity of sitting through a job interview where he has to explain to a much younger, green around the gills boss how to conduct an interview.  You get the impression that Dad could tell the kid to step aside and get him some coffee, but he accepts the indignity with, well, great dignity.

Yes, we even see both sides of life at the Catholic school Lady Bird attends.  Lady Bird lives to question religious authority and to prank Sister Joan (Lois Smith).  Yet, when Sister Joan holds the power to make Lady Bird pay for a slight, she, well I suppose in the name of Christianity, turns the other cheek.

Meanwhile, an elderly priest/drama teacher who fills his students’ with laughter and song is dying.  Coincidentally, he’s a patient of Lady Bird’s mother and while he’s brought so much joy to so many, he’ll be facing death alone.

In short, the adults know how shitty life can be, especially for the unprepared.  Risks and gambles rarely pay off.  Like the infamous tortoise, slow and steady wins the race.  Mom may seem like a bitch for trying to talk Lady Bird out of pie in the sky dreams, but then again, Mom knows that working a boring, regular job, as non-glamorous as that may be, puts food on the table and gets a mortgage paid off.

Thus, the movie makes a key point.  Kids and adults both have something to say in the eternal growing up struggle.  If a kid has X dream, efforts should be made to make it happen.  Then again, kids have to realize all the struggles Mom and Dad do behind the scenes.  Get that barista job and get in the struggle, just as your parents did before you.

Ronan (my eyes go cross when I try to spell her first name) shines while Laurie Metcalf, a staple of network television since her early days playing Aunt Jackie on “Roseanne” is finally getting some long deserved acknowledgment.  Alas, in any other year, I think she would have been a shoe-in for best actress had she not been up against that other longtime, underappreciated staple of network television, Allison Janney.  Both were equally deserving so I assume it was a coin toss.

In the end, I envy Lady Bird.  Oh, to be young again and to look at the world as a friend, a thing of beauty to explore and not an enemy that is going to bend you over and attack your butt every chance it gets.  Kids, don’t lose your childish sense of wonder as you head off in pursuit of your dreams, but do take your parents’ advice.  The lumps they took might just save you from taking them.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  I think the fish fucker movie is better, though I still thing Three Billboards was the best.

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Are Video Games Too Violent?

By: Video Game Rack Fighter, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Video Game Correspondent


Hey 3.5 readers, VGRF here.

Are video games too violent?  Are they messing with the brains of our youth and turning them into sick, twisted killing machines?

Here’s the video montage that was shown during a meeting President Trump held about violence in video games, provided by IGN:

So, to return to the question of are these games too violent?  The short version is, yes, probably.  But a longer answer is more complex.

Generation X, that often forgotten generation that came between 1965 and 1981, grew up on video games, first with the Atari in the 1970s and Nintendo in the 1980s.  Games then were relatively cute and comprised of little more than crude pixelized little characters.

It really wasn’t until the 1990s that games starting getting a little too real and a little too graphic.  And there’s the rub.  The baby boomers never got into adult gaming.  They bought video games for their kids but they saw games as kid stuff.

Gen X, on the other hand, carried on their love of games well into adulthood.  It isn’t unheard of for adults in their 30s, 40s, even 50s to kick back with a video game.

And thus the problem that arises is that adults will want video games with more sex and violence, and yet, there’s still a large segment of the adult population who don’t play video games and still see them as only kids toys.  Thus, if the kid asks for, say, Grand Theft Auto, the adult doesn’t know any better, assuming its a kids toy, and says sure here you go.

At least I assume that happens.  Worse, some adults might be negligent.  They say the mature rating on the package and say screw it and get it for the kid anyway.

Plus, kids will always find ways to cut the adults out of the picture and get a violent video game from a friend or something.

I love video games, the gorier the better but I admit, even watching some of these above scenes are rough.  Frankly, even the worst R rated movies don’t get that detailed with the violence, so perhaps the industry might consider scaling back.

On the other hand, I don’t support government involvement because we do have freedom of speech and these games are a form of speech.

Are they responsible for turning kids into violent little monsters?  It’s hard to say.  On the one hand, there are more incidents of kids turning to violence these days.  On the other hand, if video games really were that powerful, then like, everyone who played one would become whacked in the brain and the world would be filled with millions of violent video game crazed killing monsters.

I just think if we start censoring video games it leads to a slippery slope.  Allow the video game industry to crank out what it pleases, but also:

  • Most stores require a license to be shown to buy a mature rated game.  That should always be followed.
  • I don’t know if this exists, but if it doesn’t, here’s an idea.  Video game consoles can come with a code parents can put in that can be used to lock out the user from playing a violent video game.  Ergo, if little Timmy borrows a naughty game from little Billy at school, boom, blocked.
  • Government shouldn’t get involved where societal pressures can work.  Decades ago, it was pretty normal to walk into any business, restaurant, house, what have you and just get hit with a waff of smoke.  Over the years, smoking got relegated to being considered a terrible habit and if you are a smoker, you’ve got to hide on a corner and smoke in the rain.  I’m not saying to ostracize adults who play violent video games, but just make it socially unacceptable for parents to let their gets play violent video games.  If you let your kid play violent video games, then you aren’t cool, you’re a jerkface.

Admittedly, there will always be problems.  Games from the 1980s involved shooting, but it was like, a little pixelized pellet.  Today, games allow the user to peer through a scope, aim at a head and pop it open.  The more advanced the graphics get, the more problems, but ultimately, parents have to exercise some caution and if there are things the industry can do to help parents keep their kids from rotting their brains then they should help.

Bottomline.  I like violent video games, but I’m an adult.  These games are meant for adults, and not kids with mush brains who haven’t figured out right from wrong and fiction from fantasy yet.

EDIT: You know, I watched the above video after I posted this and I thought I liked violent video games but I might take that back.  To me, a violent video game is, say, “Grand Theft Auto,” – violent, but almost cartoonish and silly, a parody of our base instincts.  When I see games above where you get to pretend to be a serial killer and chase down victims and axe them and put them on hooks I mean, yeah, you might want to ask yourself what’s going on inside you that you feel that kind of simulation is a fun way to spend your free time.  The “are games too violent” debate has been around since video games existed, every new generation of adults posing the question and I hate to say it but yeah, maybe there are some games that are crossing lines.  Still, I can’t abide by government intervention so it’s up to society to decide.

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#FridayswithBQB – Interview #5 – Find Your Inner Steampunk with Dakota Kemp




Author Website

Amazon Author Page

North Dakota? South Dakota? He’s just Dakota. Dakota Kemp first flew under my radar when he asked a question of my resident alien brainiac, the one and only Alien Jones. After participating in that tomfoolery, I knew he’d fit in as a friend to my fine blog. He grew up in Oklahoma, which, as you may have heard from the musical of the same name, is the place where “the wind comes sweeping down the plains.” Odd, I never really thought of Oklahoma as a windy place. Seems like there’d be a lot of dirt, and hot weather, and rattlesnakes and tumbleweeds, perhaps a vulture circling around in the air, waiting for you to drop from heat exhaustion so your carcass can be his next meal.

But I digress. Note to self: don’t insult your subject’s home state. Anyway, Dakota’s an officer in the U.S. Army, which makes me feel bad because while he was doing all that training and hard work, I was busy whining about my neighborhood convenience store being out of Twinkies. I mean, seriously, is it too much to ask that they keep a few extra cream filled snack cakes in stock?

Yikes. I digress again. Dakota is a big fantasy guy. You should check out his latest work, “Ironheart: The Primal Deception,” now available on Amazon. I’ve never been much into steampunk myself, but you 3.5 readers probably are. It’s not that the whole genre doesn’t look interesting, it’s just that I already have enough strikes against me getting laid without having to add a top hat and goggles to the mix.

Enough from me. Let’s hear from the man of the hour.


QUESTION 1 – Dakota. Dakote-ster. Dakote-a-rama. Welcome to the Bookshelf Battle Blog. Let’s assume for a moment that my 3.5 readers have no idea about the steampunk genre. Maybe they heard a little about it. Maybe they saw some goofball walking down the street dressed like a high-tech Victorian and thought that seemed interesting.

For the ill-informed, what is this genre all about? Give us a primer for newbs, the very basics of what a beginner needs to know.

ANSWER – Well, the steampunk genre is pretty varied, BQB, but the main element of a steampunk story is that it is set in an environment where Victorian Era technology has been science-fictionalized. Also, Victorian England’s fashion, culture, and diction are often used in steampunk stories, lending a historic impression to a decidedly eccentric future.

QUESTION 2 – Do you personally ever dress up like a steampunk? Have you ever put on the top hat, the goggles, the cloak and such? If so, do you think your Army buddies would make fun of you?

ANSWER: They would absolutely make fun of me. I’d never hear the end of it! But, no, I’ve never done a steampunk cosplay; I’m afraid I’m not that interesting. Besides, goggles, top hats, cloaks, and such would clash horribly with my uniform.

QUESTION 3 – So, self-publishing. What made you want to dip your toe into those funky waters?

ANSWER – Originally, I tried the traditional route. I soon found, as every author , that breaking into the traditional publishing scene is much more about who you know than what you can do with paper and pen. I’m a small-town boy from nowhere Oklahoma; I didn’t know anyone in the publishing industry. I didn’t even know if I actually wrote good manuscripts because I couldn’t get anyone to read them!

So I decided to find out if my stories were any good the dangerous way: by putting them directly into the hands of the audience.

It’s been a great experience. I’ve learned loads, and while it would be nice to get more exposure through traditional publishing, that simply may never happen. If it does, great! If not, I’m quite happy seeing that people are experiencing my stories and being touched by them. Receiving emails from readers is a fantastic feeling, and I might never have seen how my stories affected people if I left them locked in a drawer until a publisher plucked one from the proverbial haystack.

QUESTION 4- I remember you once advised me to not take on too much, i.e. I had been musing about just putting out tons of books in one year, whereas you felt, in true tortoise fashion, that “slow and steady” wins the race. Do you find that is true? Are you winning the race and what advice do you have for impatient writers like me who type three words into their laptops and wonder why they aren’t the toast of the town already?

ANSWER – Personally, yes, I think the tortoise is the hero of that fable for a reason. With a few notable exceptions, big-name authors usually become popular in their late thirties to early sixties. That’s because they slowly improve over the years, honing their craft, building up a catalogue of worthy stories that people come to recognize as trustworthy. I say put maximum effort into every book. The readership’s trust is more important than how much space you take up on the shelves. Eventually readers will recognize that you produce wonderful stories, but only if you put out solid content consistently. You can release a library of formulaic, speed-written books, but if they suck? No one will take your work seriously. Quality over quantity. Journey before destination. A successful storyteller runs a marathon, not a sprint. Put full effort into every manuscript, and you will find an audience that appreciates them.

QUESTION 5 – You’re an Army officer but you still find time to write. Sometimes I think about writing but then I’ll get distracted by a box of cookies and eat the cookies while watching funny cat videos on my computer. Before I know it, I’ve eaten all the cookies and I’ve watched ten hours of hilarious feline footage, but there’s no new written content on my computer.

Any advice for the schmucks out there like me who can’t seem to find the time to write?

ANSWER: I’m going to sound like a soldier for a second, but just bear with me until I get past it.

Discipline. Plain and simple. At the end of the day, cracking open my laptop and tapping on the keyboard is the last thing I want to do. All I really want after I get home is to go into a Dragon Age mini-coma. Or perhaps read the next Brandon Sanderson novel. Or sleep forever. The point is, there’s nothing for it but to put your butt in the chair and write. Sometimes the inspiration is there and sometimes it’s not. There are people waiting on your stories though, and you’ve got tales to tell. You can do it! If you don’t finish, there are readers – maybe just one, but thousands – who will miss out on something unique.

You’ll probably have more fun if you don’t master discipline, but you’ll be disappointed in yourself later, knowing you could have changed something. Whether it be the world or just one person.

QUESTION 6 – Ironheart. Give us the skinny. The lowdown. The pitch. What’s it all about?

Ironheart is about a world dominated by a race of deities called Primals. The protagonist, Jack Booker, is a gangster who grew up on the streets, struggling his entire life just to survive in the ruthless underworld that leeches off the gods’ decadent society. But when a mob boss makes a dangerous gamble to move up the criminal ladder, Jack’s life of cautious survival is ripped away, and he is thrust into the center of it all.

While Ironheart is a mash-up of sci-fi/fantasy with elements of hard-hitting action, Jack’s story is, at its core, an allegory of the concepts and emotions that we, as humans, impose on the world around us. It’s about exploring the dichotomies we must reconcile in a complex world and what it means to live for something greater than ourselves.

QUESTION 7 – What’s the next project you’re cooking up in your word kitchen? What, if anything, can you tell my 3.5 readers about it?

ANSWER – I’ve got a small project (somewhere between a short story and a novella) finished and ready to be released soon titled “The Omens of a Crow.” It’s pretty cool, in my clearly unbiased opinion, if you’re into gritty, dark medieval fantasy. I hope you are, that’s my jam.

Also, long-term, I’m writing slowly but surely through Ironheart’s sequel, which should be ready for release around August (hopefully).

QUESTION 8 – You rub a magic lamp. A genie pops out. He sounds nothing like Robin Williams, but he tells you sorry, he can’t make the writer thing happen. He tells you that you can have your next closest dream. In other words, if you could be anything OTHER than a writer, what would you choose and why?

ANSWER – Here’s the deal, BQB. I love being an author, but that’s not, oddly enough, why I started writing. I started writing because I love stories. Of all kinds, shapes, and sizes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good book, but there are tons of storytelling platforms out there, and I dig ‘em all. The reason I decided to write my stories instead of tell them in some other format is because literature was the form of storytelling I could begin working on immediately with little to no special equipment, and which I could do alone. (Yes, like most authors I am a huge introvert, but I refer more to not needing a plethora of specialists.)

So, I guess I’d just have the genie make me a movie, stage, or video game director. I’d still create stories for people, just in a different way.

But a space cowboy would also be cool. Or a jedi. Or a knight. Or a friggin’ wizard. I’m already a soldier, and being a space soldier probably wouldn’t be that different. I’d just be exhausted in the mud on some alien planet instead of exhausted in the mud in Georgia. So that one is probably out.

QUESTION 9 – What’s the biggest mistake you made when you began your self-publishing career? How can my 3.5 readers avoid it

ANSWER: I suppose my biggest mistake was not knowing/researching enough before beginning the self-publishing journey. Initially, I assumed that all I had to do, as the author, was write the book, publish it online, and wait to see what the hundreds – if not thousands – of readers would say about it. Would it receive rave reviews and become a bestseller? Would readers around the world trash it because it was as super sucky as I’d feared it might be?

Neither, as it were. Because nobody read it.

It turns out that you have to be competent in a lot of skill sets to succeed in self-publishing. Just being a good writer is not going to cut it. You could put out the next Harry Potter and nobody would ever know the damn thing was out there. Marketing, formatting, cover design, professional-level editing, social media promotion – the list goes on and on. And you have to do them all. As I’ve continued publishing more and more stories, I’ve gotten better and better at the all the steps in the process, but initially I was flabbergasted that nobody read the book that I toiled over for so long. I mean, it was in the marketplace. Why was nobody reading it? They can’t read something that they don’t know is out there. 

QUESTION 10 – You’re trapped in a dungeon with my arch-nemesis, the Yeti, an incredibly boring fuzzy snow monster/international war criminal. Three items are in the room – a jar of mayonnaise, a tactical spork, and a CD of Barry Manilow’s greatest hits. You seem like a resourceful guy. How would you use these items to extract yourself from the Yeti’s clutches and escape to freedom?

ANSWER – Honestly, I’d probably just stab him to death with the tac-spork, but maybe that’s a bit extreme for such a wholesome blog as this, with sweet, naïve guests like Uncle Hardass appearing to give advice to the innocent 1.5 children who frequent the Bookshelf Battle pages.

So how ‘bout this? I’ve got the perfect tools for seduction. Barry Manilow’s greatest hits? “Copacabana” will put the Yeti in the mood for some sweet, sweet lovin’. A jar of mayonnaise? There’s likely nothing sexier than my decidedly mediocre body slathered in white condiment. And if the Yeti doesn’t find all things tactical as sexy as I do, then at least he’ll be thinking about all the ways he can use that tac-spork to scrape mayo off my sultry skin, bit-by-bland-sticky-bit.

Just when he thinks he’s about to score, I’ll switch off the Manilow, freeing the Yeti’s mind from the romantic fog of baby-making music. He’ll see me there, naked and covered in mayonnaise, realize what he was about to do, then suffer a heart attack as the mere thought burns through his horrified brain – much as is no doubt happening to the everyone reading this. You’re welcome for that lasting mental image.

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  Don’t worry about mentally damaging too many people.  Only 3.5 people read this blog anyway, and they were all mentally damaged to begin with.

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Bookshelf Battle Cast Episode 003 – How to Start a Blog

Bookshelf Q. Battler is changing up the format of his podcast, and that’s ok, because only 3.5 people listen to this podcast anyway.  BQB wants to share with the world what he has learned in four years of being the owner and proprietor of, a site that coincidentally, is only ever viewed by 3.5 readers.

Picking a blogging idea, snappy title, company to work with, search engine optimization, attracting followers, promotion on social media, legal stuff like worrying about copyright, libel, where to get photos and art for your site and more.

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I have edited 100,000 words of Toilet Gator

I think this thing actually has a legit chance of making it’s way to your Amazon Kindle.  God bless you, Jeff Bezos:


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My Book is Still Free

Hey 3.5 readers.

My book is still free.  You can’t do better than free.  Help me out with a download or better  yet, a review:


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