Saturday, July 31, 2010

Suite101.com, a brief and negative experience

As many of you may already be aware, I write a museum column for examiner.com. Recently, I started feeling like I was in a bit of a rut writing on the same topic every week at an average of 2-3 articles posted. I played around with the format of my column a bit, including two articles on the “Lost” finale and the kind folks at the Examiner allowed me to do it.

However, I still felt the need to expand my palate a bit. Fictional writing is my first, best love but since I’ve taken on non-fiction writing, I’ve found that many of the things that fascinate me enough to fictionalize them are just as interested when being discussed factually. So, I decided to apply as a freelancer for suite101.com. It seemed ideal. Unlike the Examiner, writers are encouraged to write on whatever topic they choose, so none of that repetitive posting stuff.

I submitted two writing samples, both Examiner articles of which I was particularly proud, and received an email one day later welcoming be aboard. I even saw a message that said “submitted material rocks.”

Now, you might be thinking this was a boost to my ego but you’d be wrong. “Rocks” is not the type of terminology one expects from someone who is evaluating your writing. Had I recorded an alternative rock album I might hope for such a response. I know there’s a massive breakdown between propriety and pop culture these days but still...”Rocks?” Doesn’t seem very dignified to me.

Still, I’d been accepted and I needed to write my first article. I decided to cannibalize leftover material from previous interviews conducted with oral storytellers I’d written about on the Examiner. The article was okay, nothing special, just enough to get my name on the site so I could come up with better stuff. Unfortunately, the editor in question kept bouncing it back to me with “suggested changes.”

Anyone who has written professionally or even just submitted work knows that “suggested changes” are supposed to be just that. In Hollywood, where legions of hacks are brought in to massacre a writer’s original vision, the phrase takes on a much more ominous meaning, namely, "We’re changing it whether you like it or not.” Suite101 seemed to espouse the latter sentiment, refusing to post it until I changed it the way they wanted it, according to their “house rules.” They seemed more interested in formatting than content.

Nothing wrong with that in and of itself. The Examiner also provided feedback on my first article. The difference was the editor there not only allowed it to post but they also made the formatting changes and advised me to do them in the future. By contrast, Suite101’s editorial staff is almost impossible to locate and virtually non-responsive when they are found.

From the beginning, I felt a condescending breeze in the air. Most of the reasons for the article’s return were format issues. I emailed the editor asking for help because their format was a bit different from what I was used to and received a message that said I had "apparently" not gone through the tutorial. I advised her that I had and wasn’t able to find the information and she eventually sent a direct link.

But I didn’t care. I could write on any topic I chose, so long as it was factual.

To make a long story slightly less painful, I wrote a total of five articles during my month at Suite101. They posted with no problem but at some point one editor decided to flag three of them and “suggest” changes. That was fine, although I would argue that the articles should have to go through an editor first if they’re going to wait until they post, allow people to comment on them, allow people to link them all over the Internet, and then make them disappear. It’s unprofessional and insensitive.

What finally brought me to the brink of rage was when I noticed one of the articles that was flagged for changes was later permanently deleted before I even had a chance to respond. So now I wasn’t even able to rewrite the damn thing. I fired off the following letter to the editor after spending nearly an hour trying to find a way to contact her:


I found your comments regarding my articles condescending and inaccurate. Not only were most of the suggestions ridiculous but there was also an accusation of an opinion. None of those articles contained opinions and any speculation was supported by evidence. Also, the assertion that I didn't provide dissenting viewpoints is absurd when considering the fact that the third article presented nothing but. The truly baffling part is when you first submitted "suggested changes" to an article and then permanently deleted it before I had a chance to respond.

Suite101 has been a horribly negative experience for me, from the editorial staff in particular. I have been a professional and published writer long enough to feel confident I don't need micro-managing from faceless online editors whose credentials I don't even know, although I'm not exactly filled with awe in light of my experience thus far. I have removed my profile pic and information and am in the process of deleting all articles. Consider me no longer a suite101 contributor.

Warmest regards,
Christopher Nadeau

So, that's the story. Suite101 seems like a great opportunity and perhaps it is for some, especially those getting in on the ground floor. But I have put too much time in to be patronized by who is, for all I know, some twenty year old kid who took a few night courses in journalism. I'm better than that.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Debating the fringe

It had to happen, I suppose. Months back, I friended a group on Facebook that believes there are codes in the Bible that advise us how to repel aliens with orgone blasters thinking at the very least I could gain some insight into their bizarre hybird movement of Biblical Codes and Alien destructors. I was firmly convinced it was mostly a put-on.

For a while I just let them post their various warnings about chemtrails being used to kill us and "actual audio" of aliens in their ships screaming from the orgone attacks, mysteriously yelling in English. But the constant warning and fear-inducing tone of the posts from their ringleader finally got to me and the following exchange took place:


Let's starts with her actual warning that got everybody to wet themselves in its disturbing accuracy:



Attack of Poliomyelitis coming soon via Chemtrails! Beware folks!! They are gearing up to attack the public with deadly chemtrails carrying this Polio virus! This is a debilitating disease that can paralyze your muscles and cause difficulty breathing. The Bible Codes indicate they're planning this from July 22 on...the next 3 weeks they're ramping it up!Get all the areas you visit protected...stores, churches, anywhere you go so you're not breathing their deadly chemtrails! The Bible Codes indicate this attack is 'close, near"I don't know when they'll attack...but over the next 3 weeks they're gearing up to hit hard with chemtrails, storms, etc...we were able to diffuse a HAARP lightening storm with orgone they were trying to hit my area with and you can do the same to storms
15 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1 personWichlep Hazard likes this.

Suzie Polley
Thank you Sherry. Getting ready.
15 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Chaffee Cline
Turn on all your ozone, purification air purifier machines. I am getting all of mine out of storage...thx Sherry.
13 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Sherry Shriner
you can also boil orgone water in your yard via campfire if you have land and the ability to do so...put a pot of water over a campfire with a POE orgone puck in it and let it boil into and saturate the air. Put orgone pucks on your satellite dishes etc...
13 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 2 peopleLoading...
John Smith
yeah boiled orgone water will saturate the air very rapidly.
6 hours ago · LikeUnlike
Shelly Long
Thank you for the warning Sherry! We've already been nailed by their practice runs,it landed my son in the hospital for 3 days. You can actually slightly smell it in the air, and it causes a burning/tingling sensation in your nostrils. The Black/Grey clouds overhead and hazy sky :time for the gas masks, and staying inside.
4 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Christopher Nadeau
OH COME ON!!!
about an hour ago · LikeUnlike ·

Shelly Long
Stay asleep and die or wake up and live Chris..
about an hour ago · LikeUnlike

Christopher Nadeau
ok will do lol
about an hour ago · LikeUnlike ·

Christopher Nadeau
in the meantime I'll continue to speculate on the possibility of an alien presence without turning it into a ludicous religious dogma and wasting hundreds of dollars on snake oil alien repellant.
about an hour ago · LikeUnlike ·
Shelly Long
Chris,If you dont want it dont buy, it.. a very simple decision.. As for me, I have enough.. You will see someday I guess..Maybe when the giants are ripping you limb from limb eating your flesh and poisons from the chemtrails put you on your deathbed...
51 minutes ago · LikeUnlike · 1 personJohn Smith likes this.

Christopher Nadeau
I have faith that the Hobbits will save me.
39 minutes ago · LikeUnlike ·

Shelly Long
Ok , then put your head back under the sand and talk to THEM, they supposedly live under the earth too, right?
37 minutes ago · LikeUnlike

Christopher Nadeau
sure with all the other demons and pixies and tooth fairies you guys claim the Bible warned us about in the Book of Crazy.
35 minutes ago · LikeUnlike · (That's my favorite one LOL)

John Smith
ok join the New Age crowd Chris, I am sure they would love you.
17 minutes ago · LikeUnlike

Christopher Nadeau
no thanks they are no less nutty and lacking in logic. speculating on an alien presence doesn't make one new age when considering the vastness of the universe and the amount of stars and planets out there. But throwing all of that into the Bible as a great evil is just another form of millenialism which, I hope, the ringleader doesn't actually believe.
15 minutes ago · LikeUnlike ·

John Smith
Sherry Shriner is the real deal, she aint Blossom Goodchild.
13 minutes ago · LikeUnlike

Christopher Nadeau
if she were the real deal, the so-called "orgone blasters" would be free!
12 minutes ago · LikeUnlike ·

Danny Araujo
I love it when people like this guy ^ is think they found the truth in the new age shit i will not feel bad when they are getting torned apart by the giants. ps how can people ignore the huge bones we found of people that are 19 - 30 feet tall.
9 minutes ago · LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading...

John Smith
orgone blasters cost money to be made, I know I have spent hours and time making them, it's not cheap and tossed many away, but sherry needs to keep going making the stuff, I reckon she's put more money into making it herself than whoever is buying the stuff from her.
9 minutes ago · LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading...

Christopher Nadeau
who the hell are you even talking about? There's no truth in the new age shit either, you idiot! I'm referring to actual SCIENTIFIC SPECULATION, that thing that is anathema to insane fanatics seeking codes in the biggest work of fiction ever written. What proves you're nuts is that you think because I disagree with you and still think aliens are possible, I'm automatically a new ager! I didn't even know who Blossom what's-her-ass was until I Googled her a minute ago.
7 minutes ago · LikeUnlike ·

John Smith
Resin is expensive i do know myself, so is the copper needed and plus the crystals and the shavings, it's no cheap, it's dedication and hard work.
7 minutes ago · LikeUnlike

Christopher Nadeau
okay I'm obvioously speaking to someone too far gone to think rationally so I'll say only this: You are coming from a supposition that these things are anything more than a clever con. perhaps they're not, but it is highly unlikely. But at least I'm capable of admitting the remote posibility.
5 minutes ago · LikeUnlike ·

John Smith
hey once you start to get hit with ELF waves/ chemtrails and get sick then you'l tend to wonder what to do about it. don't say I didn't warn you.
3 minutes ago · LikeUnlike

Christopher Nadeau
Okay, and once the men in white coats tell you you're not ready to rejoin society, don't say i didn't warn YOU.
2 minutes ago · LikeUnlike ·

John Smith
don't worry I was a skeptic too.
about a minute ago · LikeUnlike

Christopher Nadeau
doubtful but perhaps you'll return to reality at some point. I can only hope. You seem like a well-meaning guy.
about a minute ago · LikeUnlike ·
Christopher Nadeau
you might find this interesting
7 minutes ago ·

Shelly Long
go the the pit you beast from hell

Sherry Shriner
he's out of here...i don't have time for idiots...
39 seconds ago

Shelly Long
hes not a skeptic but a beast from the pit, return to the abyss beast

And I was no longer her friend. Through a veil of tears, I wrote her a message advising her that I was onto her and to enjoy bilking the gullible while she still could. She then wrote back, saying "Go back to hell, your home." I replied, "That's not a nice thing to say about Michigan, although I can certainly see how you'd draw that conclusion."

Sadly, this is the by-product of the brilliance of science fiction. It has given birth to a deformed offspring of fringe-dwelling loons desperately trying to reconcile scientific advancement with the holy book they were taught was infallible. This woman is taking advantage of the craving to line her pockets. Don't believe me? Read the following statement from her website:

A Message From Sherry:

I need your help to stay on the air!

And with your generous donations I could perhaps buy some land with a heated garage or building. Perhaps even a permanent headquarters for my international ministry.

Almost every country in the world including those on islands are listening to my show, reading my articles, and visiting my websites.

I do this for YOU and I need your financial support to keep this ministry international and to be able to stay focused full time on the things the Most High wants me to do.

For the past ten years I've given freely of myself to the entire world...and there's been hundreds of thousands who have benefited from my ministry yet don't support it. It's time to step up and be a supporter of this ministry. I need your help.

Sherry Shriner
P.O. Box 531
Carrollton, Ohio 44615

Gee, I guess she really is doing it for the people.