Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

The Veterans' Memorial in Utah - March 2004

If you can, take a moment to remember the soldiers who fought - and are still fighting today - in the name of freedom.  Without them, I wouldn't want to think of where the free world would be.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Picture Pause

Direct from my new camera...  Okay, so I edited the pictures for size.  I'm still learning about the camera, so these pics were like 2meg each.  Not blog friendly, lemme tell ya.  Rather than talk your ears off, here's a couple new pics...
The above wasn't quite what I was going for, but I ran out of memory on the new camera.  (More about that another time.)  And then I switched to the old camera and fell on my hiney.  C'est la vie.  It's still a pretty nice shot, even if it's not perfection. 

This was taken just outside of town.  The full size version is more awesome, but with blogs, I'll take what I can get.

I also took some good pictures of Daughter, but she'd kill me if I posted them here.  She already has to deal with the fact that I emailed them to my mother - who will share them with the rest of the family.  And of course, she took some pics of me.  (Note new profile pic.  Yeah, it's still grayscale, but I think I look better without color.)

Did I mention how much I love MS Office 2007?  It has this Picture Manager program that's perfect for tweaking photos for the web.   

Enjoy your holiday weekend, y'all.  I'll still be around, but if I don't see you, Happy Memorial Day. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Fun Little Quiz

Hi all.  I was just checking out blogs of my newest followers and saw this neat link to a sort of 'which Harry Potter character are you?' quiz.  Here are my results:

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Pretty neat, but I don't think I'm as much like Hermione as they think. Although when I take the Briggs-Meyers test, I do usually end up as either an ISTJ or an INTJ.  Personally, if I had to chose, I'd probably want to be Professor McGonagall.  I'd love to be able to say I have excellent organizational skills.  Well, I think I do have skills, but my problem is I never use them.  ;o)

Thanks to Faith Hough for stopping by and for a little mid-afternoon fun.  (After washing the car and mowing the lawn, I don't have energy for anything else.  LOL)

What HP character did the quiz say you are?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Intentions are for Sheet

Heh, I was just looking at yesterday's post where I gave five things on my to-do list for the day.  I didn't do anything I intended to do.  But as my father always said "Intentions are for shit".  Like Yoda's 'there is no try, only do.'  Except for Dad, it wasn't wisdom if swearing wasn't involved.  ;o)

First off, it didn't rain and I still didn't water the lawn.  I meant to write, but I didn't.  Then I decided we were going to spent the day driving - which meant no laundry - except just as we were leaving the house, the air conditioner repair guy showed up.  It's not broken - it's just old and dirty.  It took him a couple hours to clean it, which shot the morning all to hell.  And I forgot to start the laundry. 

Later, I had every intention of downloading both cameras.  Really I did.  Except the software for my older camera wasn't Windows 7 compatible.  :shrug:  No worries.  I had the same problem with my printer, but I just downloaded new drivers from the Lexmark website and the problem was solved.  I went to HP's site.  No new drivers for Windows 7.  So, I thought: "I'll just call them and have them email me a file or send me a CD or something.  No problem." 

OMG was I wrong.  By the end of the phone call, I was shouting at the guy.  (And opposed to popular blogiverse belief, I'm not a shouter.)  Turns out the camera I bought new within the last 18 months has been out of warranty since 2007 (??? - must've been a retrograde warranty) and I couldn't even get a frickin' driver from the 'friendly folks' at HP without purchasing a new warranty.  What a racket.  Anyway, did I mention how much more I like Lexmark now?

So, by the end of that half-hour phone call, I had a massive headache and wasn't in the mood to do anything but rip the heads off stuffed animals.  (Okay, not really.)  Instead, I drove to Dairy Queen and drowned my anger in a mocha shake.  After I got home, I set the software up on Daughter's computer and downloaded the damn pictures, but what a pain in the heiny.  Needless to say, even after I calmed down, I didn't feel like reading or writing or cleaning.  I just wanted to sit on the couch and forget that anything outside my little area even existed.  That, I accomplished.  Yay me.  (Note sarcasm.)

Anyway, the point I was leading up to.  I had most of a whole day to get five little goals accomplished, and didn't do anything because I allowed things that were outside my control affect me.  I know better.  Sitting here this morning looking back, I realize I shouldn't have let the repair guy or the customer anti-service rep derail me.  I should've powered ahead. 

But sometimes the best of intentions don't end up turning into anything but wishful thinking.

What did you accomplish yesterday?  Ever have one of those days where you don't get any of the things you wanted to accomplish done? 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oomph She Got Me

LOL, I'm hit!  This morning Natalie tagged me for a little meme. Looks like five questions, with five answers each.  I'm up for it.  Are you?  ;o)

Here goes...

Question 1: Where were you five years ago?
- About a half mile from here.
- Finding out we had to move because our landlady sold the house we were living in.
- Enjoying the start of my second year of married life.
- Angsting about writing my second book.
- Getting started homeschooling for the second time.  (We homeschooled for a little of 4th grade in FL - until we had to move to UT.)

Question 2: Where would you like to be five years from now?
- Agented
- Published
- Living in OK, MO, AK or TX with my retired husband
- Writing to a contract
- At least ten pounds lighter

Question 3: What is (was) on your to do list today?
- Watering the lawn was on my list, but I woke up to big grey clouds and the smell of rain
- Write at least 1500 words
- It's Wednesday, so that means... Laundry!
- Finish the book I'm reading - Gena Showalter's latest Lords of the Underworld
- Download the pics from my new camera, and install the software for my old camera so I can download those, too

Question 4: What five snacks do you enjoy?
- Ice cream
- Baked Ruffles
- Homemade trail mix (almonds, cashews, peanuts, dried berries, and white chocolate chips)
- Cheese
- Anything chocolate

Question 5: What would you do if you were a billionaire?
- After my husband quits his job, I'd buy an island for us to live on.
- Outfit said island home with all the latest technology
- Adopt as many animals as I could reasonably care for and love - even if I have to hire someone to help.
- Send Daughter to the best business university in the country (Right now, Virginia for undergrad, and then Harvard for graduate studies.)
- Keep writing - and if no one offers me a contract, I'll just buy a publishing company and have them print my books for me.  (Hey, it's a fantasy world.  I can buy whatever I want.)

I guess at this point, I'm supposed to tag five other people.  I'm not much on tagging, but if you want, feel free to play along.  Just make sure you say so in the comments, so everyone knows how to find your answers.

Thank again, Natalie.  This was fun.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Borrowing a word and stealing an idea from Jennifer Lyon today, I thought I'd devote a post to Randomosity.  (A word my spellchecker is having trouble with, but screw it.)

Today's randomosity...

Yesterday afternoon, we had a wind storm.  It beat holy hell out of my irises, dumped leaves and tree seeds all over my yard, and ravaged the tree across the street.  I spent a chunk of the morning cleaning up only to be told the wind is making an encore appearance this afternoon.  Bleh.

Speaking of irises, I had to go screaming chicken (or as Daughter calls it - psycho middle-aged mom) on some boys the other day.  They were walking down the sidewalk in front of my house and for some reason decided it would be fun to beat on my beautiful irises.  I heard them out there and tore out the front door.  Sure enough, I had petals and blooms all over my driveway.  So, of course, I cracked and started shouting at them. I've been nursing those damn things for weeks and they were just perfect.  (And yes, these are the same flowers I hurt myself trying to take a photo of.)  Between the kids and the wind, they just look like shit now.

Daughter took her practice ACT for English yesterday and got a 36 on the reading portion!  She did miss one question, but that's a perfect score.  I'm so totally proud of her.  She also improved her grammar and mechanics score by one point from the last practice test she took.  What a kid.  :beams:  Now we just have to see where she's at with Math and Science. 

Join me in wishing her success for her actual test on June 12th.

So, do you have anything to contribute to today's Randomosity?  Go ahead.  You know you wanna.  =o)

ETA: She finished the rest of the practice test and came up with a composite of 30.  Just over two weeks until the real deal.  She's hoping to bring the score up to at least a 32.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Series Worries

I knew when I started DLN that it was probably going to be the first book in a series.  The more I wrote, the more that word 'probably' went away.  I mean, this is such a rich world to play in.  I mean, come on... they're genies.  How could I not have multiple ideas already in the hopper?  In fact, I already have several general plot lines for the next few books.

And therein lies the rub.

I have to write this first book first.  It has to stand alone while still leaving a few threads dangling free - just in case this sucker gets picked up by an agent and then gets a contract.  (If If If)  In my first run through of DLN, I left too much out there for the subsequent stories to nibble off.  So much that the story itself wasn't doing what I needed it to do.  Stand alone.

Now I'm rewriting the whole damn thing pretty much, and I'm left wondering whether I'm walking that thin line well enough.  How much information is too much?  Am I leaving too much out?

Or am I just going through my regularly scheduled bout of self-doubt?  (aka The Bitch is Back)  I tell ya.  This writing thing can be tough.

:shrug:  Tough or not, there's still nothing I'd rather do.

 *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weekly Update, Saturday Edition: Excuses, Excuses

Okay, so I've been bad little monkey this week - at least with regard to blogging, and a little in the writing department, too.  I suppose I could blame it on my minor hand injury Wednesday night, but that's just too lame.  There really isn't a good excuse, but here are my excuses anyway...

Lame Excuse #1: I was playing with... err, I mean setting up my new toys.  MS Office Pro finally arrived and it's friggin' awesome.  Sure, the new feel of the programs will take some getting used to.  The functions I use all the time are in different locations, so that stuff is not automatized for me anymore.  (Thank goodness the keystroke functions still work.  Alt-E-G is my main thing.)

Lame Excuse #2: I was pulling weeds.  If you remember my Dandelion Post, I have to kill them all or get ticketed.  Well, I killed them all and it left my yard looking like a post-apocalypse nightmare.  I had more weed corpses than grass.  So, I started pulling up all the dead things.  Thus far, I've filled three tall kitchen garbage bags with wilted dandelions, and I'm not done. 

Lame Excuse #3: I fall down and go boom.  How about 'I had a boo-boo'?  Yeah, it tweaked a little when I typed right after it happened.  And yeah, I aggravated it a little on Thursday when I was helping a friend by pushing an overloaded cart through Sam's Club.  Still, I could've gotten some words written if I really wanted.

Lame Excuse #4: It was season finale week for a couple of my favorite shows, and Biggest Loser is down to the final four.  (Go Michael!) 

What does any of this amount to?  Oh, about 9400 words written when it should've been more like 15K.  And what kills me is that I'm at a crucial point in the new storyline for DLN, so on the days I actually wrote, I was burning up the pages.  I'm feeling really good about the direction I've got this going in now.  Although...  I'm feeling like where I'm at in the story should be a little farther along than it is.  Like another 10-15K farther along.  :shrug:  I'll work it out - probably in  the next draft.

So, how have things been in your world lately?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Picture Pause

Ugh.  I totally forgot I was going out of town today.  Anyway, I'm back and my hand's feeling better, but I'm tuckered out.  Enjoy this photo from Antelope Island, UT instead of what would be less-than-sparkling wit tonight.

There was a picture here but I had to delete it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quickie Post

Quickie post - one handed.  Trying to shoot the perfect picture of an iris after a rainstorm w/ the sunset behind it, my legs failed to keep me upright and I ended up on my ass on the sidewalk.  I'm not broken, but I pulled something in my left hand.  Everything works, but it hurts a little when I type, so I'm taking it easy.

And I dropped my camera - the old one, thank goodness. The new one was out of memory and I didn't want to miss the shot because I took the time to download.  BTW, the old camera is a little dented, but working fine.

Worst thing?  I didn't even get the damn shot, and I totally missed getting any photos of the rainbow that showed up right after that. 

Anyway, that'll teach me.  I'm not as young or as flexible as I used to be, and I should know better.  Still, a perfect picture's worth it.  Oh, the things I do for my art.  ;o)

Have a great night, everyone and I'll be back tomorrow - maybe with pics. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Looking Back at Where I've Been

Over at Paperback Writer, she posted a link to a site where you can generate a map of the places you've been.  Always one for nifty online thingies, I skipped over there and generated the following:

visited 29 states (58%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

I've always thought it was interesting to look back at where I've been.  Now that I'm forty - well, technically not until tonight - it's a little more poignant.  I mean, if the average life span of a woman like me is 80, then I'm officially middle-aged.  Time for a glimpse backwards if there ever was one.

Most of my travel has either been for work or due to several cross-country moves.  For instance, I really had no need to visit Connecticut or Maryland, but the company I worked for doing sales had manufacturer's to visit in both those states.  Fly in, do the sales training, fly home.  Every year we went to Vegas for the Electronic Distributor Show, but that was fifteen hours a day of on my feet schmoozing.

Other than a spring break road-trip to New Orleans, a working vacation to Atlantic City/NYC and a jaunt up to Yellowstone from SLC, there's been very little in the way of traveling vacations.  Sure, I drove around inside Michigan, Florida, Utah and Colorado - but I was living in those states at those times.

What surprised me more than the amount of places I've been is the places I haven't been yet.  I mean, I've never been to the west coast?  Seriously?  For a girl who, twenty-some years ago, wanted to live in Seattle, not having even seen the Pacific Ocean is a puzzlement.  :shrug:  Maybe someday I'll get over that way. 

I know someday I'll make it to Oklahoma - since that's the general area we're looking to retire in.  And if we end up there, I see a road trip to Texas eventually.  I'm guessing New England, the Dakotas and the Carolinas are probably not in my future.  Still, you never can tell what the future will bring.

Hell, if you'd told me ten years ago that I'd be leaving Michigan and moving all over the country, I would've laughed in your face.  And yet, since my 30th birthday, I moved to Florida and then to Utah and then to Colorado.  Life comes at you from strange directions sometimes.

So, all in all I'm doing pretty good with this major milestone in my life.  (Much better than my 30th birthday in Vegas - when I realized I wasn't a kid anymore, and spent an hour angsting over what to wear to Studio 54.  I should've stayed by the pool instead.)  I've come a long way - both literally and figuratively. 

Here's to seeing what the next ten years brings.

Your turn:  How many states have you been to?  Did you bother to fill out the country lists?  I didn't because I've only ever been out of the US once and then it was a short drive to Canada. What's the most interesting place you've ever been?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Little Gushing is in Order

You know how you're reading a book and suddenly it occurs to you that the author is fucking brilliant?  Well, I'm not even finished with Feed by Mira Grant, but... well... this book is just... well... WOW.  I wasn't sure what I was getting with this zombie apocalypse novel - I mean, they can really can go either way - but since I felt strongly enough to gush about this writer's other books, I thought I'd take a chance.


If Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire) wrote the last half as well as she wrote the first half, she's going to become my newest writer-crush.  Seriously amazing work.  You all know how much I hate spoilers, so I won't go into details.  Suffice it to say if I ever meet Ms. McGuire/Grant, I'll be sorely tempted to drop to my knees ala Wayne's World, saying 'I'm not worthy'.

I mean, holy shit.

It's that good. The story is smart and funny and poignant and if it wasn't a total sacrilege, I'd pull all the pages out, just to roll around in them.  (Better writing through osmosis, doncha know.)

Of course, if she fails me in the last half, I will deny ever saying how awesome she is.  Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, folks, and I can wallow in its waters with the best of them.  ;o)  Wish me luck and if you've already read it, don't mention a word about the ending or I may have to hunt you down. 

I'm jus' sayin'.

Now, I'm off to write.  Let's just say I'm inspired to reach greater story heights.  Later days.

5/17/10 8:49pm: She didn't fail.  It wasn't how I wanted everything to work out, but she definitely didn't fail.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Little Review or Two

Over at Paperback Writer this morning she posted little reviews for three books she just finished reading and then asked what for what her readers were reading.  I thought rather than re-invent the comment, I'd just copy and paste what I said here:  "Last night I finished Faerie Fate by Silver James.  It's a historical romance mixed with time travel and fae.  A modern-day woman who's life is filled with physical pain gets pulled out of her 50-yr old body and sent back to the body of a 25-yr old girl in medieval Ireland in order to fulfill a faerie covenant and find the love she was always meant to have."

I hope I got the gist of what Silver was trying to say with Faerie Fate.  (If not, I hope she stops by to correct me.)  And I hope my little mention on PBW garners her a few additional sales.  I know I'm glad I bought her book and I'd like to see her do well in the sales department.  All in all, I enjoyed her debut novel and I'm interested in what she's got on the burner for her next book. 

Anyway, I love promoting books I've read and enjoyed.  I know I didn't gush over Silver the way I gushed over Seanan McGuire, but this was a different kind of enjoyment.  A quiet sort of read instead of intense.  I don't know about you guys, but sometimes I need a break from the intensity.

In other news, I read the latest installment of the Dresden Files, and I'm still on the fence about whether or not I'm pissed at Mr. Butcher.  Sure, it's very well written - like all his books - and it kept me on the edge of my seat as usual.  It was the end I'm not sure about.  Right now, all I know is he'd better be planning another book, or I may have to hunt him down and give him a piece of my mind (or a swift kick in the pants).  You can't just end a series that way.  (And no, I haven't heard anything about this being the last book - but it sure seemed that way from the way he wrote it.)  There are still too many loose threads and I like all my threads tied up in a nice package.

I've been working my way through this series for the past few years, and I have too much time invested in Dresden for Mr. Butcher to end it this way.  If you've heard differently, please leave a note and tell me this isn't the end.  And if this is a little ploy to get me to buy his next book - it worked.  I'm not happy about it, but it definitely worked.  =op

Okay, now it's time for you to do a little promo.  What have you read lately that you think we should buy? 

::Irritating but legally necessary disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with Silver James or Jim Butcher.  I purchased Silver's book and I am not receiving any compensation for recommending that others do the same.  I checked Jim's book out from the library - and still no compensation.  I do not give positive reviews unless the book is worth buying - even if someone sends me a copy for free, offered to mow my lawn, bribed me with calorie-free cheesecake or told me they'd introduce me to their agent.  (Not that I'd refuse those options either.)  I simply enjoyed reading these books - even the Dresden, dammit - and I hope you do too. ::

Friday, May 14, 2010

Weekly Update, Such as it is

First off, Philadelphia makes a spinach and artichoke cream cheese that's to die for.  Those bastards.  ;o)  Not that I haven't drifted off my diet in other ways.  The good news is I'm holding steady instead of gaining again, so that's got to be a positive thing, right? 

Which brings me to point two - I'll be turning $) next week.  And the less said about the age the better (which is why I left it in the other character form and not the number).  Last year I joked about it being my last birthday, but I'm not the sort who'll actually tell people I'm 39 forever.  I'll pass into this new decade of life with as much grace as I can muster.  And of course, the nifty presents Husband got me are helping ease the pains of mid-life.

Speaking of which, I actually got some words out on this new computer last night.  Yay.  It's still weird, but I'm dealing.  LOL, I had a minor breakdown this morning when I couldn't figure out how to use my bookmarks in Word.  (I live by my bookmarks.  How else am I supposed to hop between chapters?  Okay, yeah, I know there are other ways, but I like my way best.)  I figured it out, so it's all good.  Between last night and this morning, I've only written about 1500 words, but I consider that a win.  Right now any new words are a win.  (Did I mention how adverse I am to change?)

Oh, and yesterday my birthday camera came in.  I've always wanted a camera this technical, but I've never made the jump to get one.  Now that I have one, I admit it's freaking me out a little, but I'll get the hang of it.  I can't wait.  It even has a function to help with taking pictures of moving objects, and one for sunsets, and even one for taking pictures of food.  (Don't ask me why that would be a common function.  I don't know.)

So, what's new in your life?  Get anything new?  Read anything good?  I'm in the middle of Faerie Fate by Silver James, and so far, it's pretty good.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Observations on a New Computer

I know, I haven't had this baby for even 24 hours yet, but this is what I've learned so far...

  1. Even though I'm not used to it yet, Windows 7 is the bomb.  It's fairly easy to get the hang of.
  2. I really wish Microsoft would stop idiot proofing everything.  It makes things harder for those of us who know how to fiddle with computers (without breaking them).
  3. Word 2007 is freaking me out.  Everything is so weird.
  4. It's nice to only hear a soft hum coming from my computer rather than the loud hum of my old unit.
  5. There's a way around everything, if you know where to look and how to do it.  (Like the problem with my router, which isn't a problem anymore.)
  6. Outlook Express is no more, and Outlook 2007 doesn't like the old files, so my mail is currently disappeareded*.   If you've ever talked to me through my other non-gmail address, please email me using that one.  My Address Book is gone.  (Until I find a way around the glitch, that is.)
  7. I didn't mention it before, but I was having a problem where FireFox wouldn't let me comment on certain blogs.  (Which is why I was reading my blogroll every day, but you didn't know it.  I wasn't being a toad - really I wasn't.)  That problem is fixed and I can comment on everything again.  Yay.
  8. I'm not as set in my ways as I thought.  As strange and new as this whole experience is, I'm dealing with it.  
I'm still up to my ass in alligators with this thing, so I haven't gotten any writing done and I might not until I'm done tweaking.  (Or until my real version of MS Office Pro** arrives - and I'm not flying on the trial version anymore.  I hope not that long, though.)

What's up with you?

* yes, I meant to type disappeareded.
** Did you know Microsoft has special pricing available to schools and students - including homeschool programs?  Well, I didn't but I do now.  As of yesterday, Microsoft verified me as an official homeschooler and it saved me some major moolah.  (Even if I still have to wait for the program to be shipped.)  Enrolled college students get an even deeper discount, so if you're a student, check it out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's Here!

My new computer just arrived, so I'll be going offline until the hardware is all set up and I'm reconnected to the internet - which I hope won't take too long.  I'm still waiting on some hardware and MS Office Pro just got ordered, so that'll take a few days.  But I'm not complaining.  My new baby is sooo pretty.

Back soon.

ETA: 4:39pm MST - I'm online.  Only a slight glitch with my router so far, but I'm up and running.  

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You Need the Lovin' Before the Sellin'

In her morning blog post, Jessica over at BookEnds, talks about The Need to Fall in Love and she does a good job of explaining why - from an agent standpoint - she needs to fall in love with a manuscript before she offers representation.

What I'd like to talk about this morning is why you need her (or any agent) to fall in love before you accept her offer.

As you all might have guessed, I'm big on analogies.  So let's look at this like we'd look at a romantic relationship.

Have you ever been in a relationship where you thought the world of the guy and he was just meh?  Or flip it over: Have you ever been in the situation where he was the one in love and you were meh?  Either way, the long term prospects probably weren't good.  One of you was willing to put in a tremendous amount of work to make the relationship succeed while the other's heart just wasn't in it.

Think about the agent/author relationship as something that can't exist without the love.  You're putting your all into it, and they should be, too.  Problem is, they won't be putting in the effort if they aren't feeling the love.  They can't afford to.  And you can't afford to be in that relationship if that's the case either.

But, you may say to yourself, I don't need them to love my book, I just need them to sell it.  Been there, thought that.  Desperation will make you think a lot of crazy things sometimes.  Like 'I can make him love me, if I just a) wait long enough, b) try harder, c) change myself...'  You get the point.

Having been in sales, though, I know that if you don't believe in what you're selling, your potential buyers won't believe in it either.  Which is why my stint at selling a beautician trade mag was so short.  I didn't think much of the paper, and I just couldn't make up a good enough excuse to get others to buy it.  On the other hand, put a good ergonomic screwdriver in my hand and I can sell the hell out of them - because I know how well they work.  (Or in the case of the picture, toroids* - EMI suppression devices that were the best on the market.  Dude, if you have anything electronic, you have electro-magnetic interference to screw it up and you really want these puppies.  LOL, see?  I haven't worked for that company in 9 years and I'm still selling their stuff.)

So, when you get a rejection where the agent tells you they liked your work, but they just didn't love it, cut them some slack.  Accept the gift they're giving you.  Now you're free to find that one special someone who loves your work as much as you do.  And if you have to wait for what seems like eons, so be it.

Because somewhere out there is an agent who'll love this manuscript so much they can't help but shout their love from every tall tree.  And as we all know, that's where the sales comes from.

*You know those lumpy cylinder things on your laptop's power cord?  Under the plastic sheath and over the wire is a toroid.  It keeps EMI (basically like static) from dancing up your power cord and frying your computer's delicate parts.  There are other EMI devices inside the case, too.  Sometimes so tiny they look like grains of pepper in your palm.  =o)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Picture Pause

Yet again, the day got away from me and I can't think of anything interesting to say. Sooo... Here's another shot of Arches National Park - Easter 2003.

No clue who the person in red is, but they do make an interesting splash against the color palette of the rest of the park. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

That's my mom - twenty-five years ago. What can I say, she doesn't like having her picture taken.  In fact, she'd probably kill me if she knew I posted a picture of her here.  But I love her and I want to share her with all of you.

My mom.  My best friend.  I wish I could be with her today, but she's in Michigan and I'm in Colorado.  (Sounds like a Dan Fogelberg song, doesn't it.)  Anyway, she's spending the weekend at my oldest sister's house.  I hope she's having a lovely day - just chilling out and shooting the breeze.  That's her favorite kind of day and that's all I wish for her.

And for an extra... here's a shot of me with the reason I get to celebrate Mother's Day.

That was taken in 2001 - during my short hair years - when Daughter was just a wee bairn. Wasn't she just the cutest kid ever?

:ducks:  It may be Mother's Day, but even I can't get away with calling my teenage daughter a cute kid anymore.  ;o)

Have a great day, everyone.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I Got a Nikon Camera...

Look at her. Isn't she pretty?  Of course, now I have Kodachrome stuck in my head, but right now, I'm okay with that.

She's a digital point and shoot with some of the bells and whistles of a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex).  I'm betting I can take some really awesome shots with this puppy.  Hell, if I can get awesome shots from the camera I currently have - even with the sun glaring off the frigging video screen thingabob - this should provide me with incredible pics. 

Sure, it's got the video screen like all the others, but it also has a viewfinder!  Can I get an Amen?  Thank ya.  I've been missing my viewfinder since my HP C200 went kaput.

And here's a quick pic of the computer that will be winging its way home on Monday...

I know it doesn't look like much here, but it is exactly what I wanted in a computer.  (Minus the floppy drive, which no one installs standard anymore.  Damn them.  I bought an external drive, though, so it's all good.) 

It's a Lenovo ThinkCentre.  IBM became Lenovo a few years ago (something about changing the name to increase marketability in other coutnries... whatevah).  It doesn't have all the bells and whistles I might've gotten for the same price with a different machine, but it has some things other machines don't - like compatability with older peripherals.  Did you know some of the newer computers don't even have LPT ports anymore?  :gasp:

What can I say, I'm old school.  I've been dreaming of an IBM machine since they first came out.  And now I'll have one.  It's like an IBM ThinkPad in a desktop/tower form.  Yay.  Especially since I've never been a huge fan of laptops.  (I know, I know... it's shocking for a writer to not want a lappy, but I am what I am.)

Oh, and this machine comes with Windows7 Professional.  From what I researched, the Win7 Home Edition doesn't like older programs - like pre-Vista applications.  But the Professional is built on the more stable XP technology, so it works with older programs.  Yay again.  Now let's see if my old DOS-based contact management software even loads on it. 

It'll still take some getting used to.  I'm running Windows 2000 Professional right now and I love it.  I wouldn't even think of switching except this operating system is so old most new things won't work with it anymore.  Stupid need to fix what ain't broken.  Don't get me started on how Microsoft has idiot-proofed its OS to the point where the software irritates the crap out of me.  I could go on for days.

Yes, I am a techno dinosaur.  But that's probably a post for another day.  Now I have to begin the process of burning all my personal stuff to CDs in preparation for the arrival of my new baby. 

Have a loverly day, everyone. 

PS.  I'm working on also getting MS Office Pro so SQUEE.  if my contact management software doesn't work, I can convert it all into Access!  I love Access.  :beam:  Happy Anniversa-Birthday to me.  The best thing about getting married the day before your birthday is the double presents.  LOL

Friday, May 7, 2010

Weekly Update

Well, it's Friday again.  Time to look back at the past week and wonder what I did with my time.

Writing: I restarted DLN - which definitely won't be the name now because I changed the storyline such that the acronym is no longer valid.  After a false start, I found my stride and wrote some really good words.  Between those and melding a few scenes back into this book from the old one, I hit 13411 words this week.  I made the MC more sympathetic (I hope) and moved the location north out of an ambiguous suburb of Denver to the city of Estes Park.  I've also got plans to 'add more bodies' - per Daughter's beta notes - and tighten the book by snipping out backstory and secondary storylines.  Things I wrote before may end up in later books - if I ever get a contract and can continue with this series, that is.  Here's crossing my fingers that this new direction will work.  So far, I think it is.

Life:  I finally signed Daughter up for the June ACT and purchased the Prep program so she's ready when the date arrives.  Last year she took an online version of the prep test and scored a 32 overall, but since I wasn't sure of the validity of those results, I'm throwing it all at her again.  So far, she's taken two of the practice tests we purchased - English and Reading - and her scores were 30 and 34 respectively.  After a late night session researching colleges and business schools therein, we're still on the fence about where to send Daughter, though. I'm leaning toward Mizzou - because they have the best business school ranking in the tuition range we can afford.  Most likely she'll end up and CSU, though.  Their ranking isn't so bad and the tuition is cheap.  We'd love to send her to Michigan - but at $45K a year for out of state tuition, it's not looking good.

In other news, my 40th birthday is coming up as well as my 6th anniversary.  Husband wants me to buy myself a new computer and a digital camera.  I'm telling you, after looking at how much money we're going to have to spend on college, I'm not inclined to buy anything that costs more than $7.99.  My mom's backing Hubster on this one and she told me to tell him so.  I'm outnumbered, so you may see a post in the near future about me taking a break to set up my new system.  It's all a matter of who's more stubborn and whether my Scrooge-ness wins out over his generosity.

I mean, it's not like I never spend money on myself.  Just this week I placed a book order... Of course, half of the order was paid for with a gift certificate I won over at Murder She Writes, but that's not the point.  I spent money.  Honest I did.  Almost $15.

I'm such a skin-flint sometimes.

What's new in your world?  Am I being silly squirming over Hubby's gift?  Would you rather read a book set in a big city or a small one - or does the location even matter if the story's good enough?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh Damn

Other than being tired, I woke up feeling okay today.  Ya know, I probably would've made it through the whole damn day fine if I hadn't had to type the date.  (Considering that I changed my daily calendar and my brain still didn't register that today's the 6th, that is.) 

What's wrong with the 6th of May?  Well, eight years ago today, my dad passed away.  You'd think after eight years it wouldn't blindside me like it does.  Don't worry, I'm not slipping into a deep depression.  He had a good life and when the end was looming over him, he chose to set himself free of all the pain. (Dad was a dialysis patient with Wegener's disease and lung cancer.  One day he just decided he'd had enough and refused dialysis.  On Friday, he checked himself into a hospice where they loaded him to the gills with pain killers.  He died the following Monday, peacefully and in his sleep.  After more than a decade of pain, we all felt he deserved to meet his end on his own terms - pretty much like he lived his life.)

For the first couple years without him, the sadness would hit me out of the blue off and on.  Now it's localized to this one day.

And since last year, I now have another reason for the 6th to suck.  A year ago today was the funeral of a really good friend.  He always was an instigator and I can almost imagine his ghostly being picking the 6th so he could get a really good cry out of me at his funeral.  I really miss that about him.  (And yes, I bawled like a baby at the service.  Damn him.)

So, today's the 6th and right now I've got the 6th on the brain.  I'll be better later when I forget - unless something reminds me of the date again.

Anyway, rest easy Dad and give 'em hell, Phil.  You're both missed more than you know.  Here's hoping you meet in the afterlife.  That would be one hell of a verbal sparring match - a sport that you both always enjoyed. 

Who knows, maybe when you're done arguing you can go fishing together.

(The pictures above from top to bottom: Dad and I at the Electronic Distributors' Show in Vegas late'90s.  Dad and Daughter back in 1994.  And finally Dad on vacation in the le Chenaux Islands 1985 - getting ready to head out for a day's fishing .)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm a Toad

I totally (toad-ally?) get where this big guy is coming from. After staying up until almost midnight last night, I've been pretty much a toad all day today.  This almost-40 lady can't ring in the new day like she used to.  Gah.

I hope to be more alert tomorrow, but tonight it was all I could do to drag my butt off the couch and write a little.  Now I'm going to bed.  Have a great night everyone.

 *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement* - Image was of an American Toad

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Random Thoughts on Memory

Laying in bed last night, I laid out an excellent post for today.  Then I fell asleep.  Now whatever I had planned to talk about today is gone.  After all these years, you'd think I'd know better.  For a while I got into the habit of dragging myself out of bed to write down good ideas.  I have scads of papers lying around with snippets of ideas or bits of dreams or even a really well-turned phrase gleaned from my pre-sleep mental wanderings.  Bad me for getting out of the habit.

On the upside, I also did some thinking about where to go with the rewrite of DLN and that seems to have stuck in my memory.  Heh, the brain is such a funny thing...

Over the years I've had time to consider the workings of the brain.  I've said it before and it still holds true - the brain really is like a computer system.  You have your hard drive for long term and some short term memory, and your RAM (Random Access Memory) for thoughts of the moment.  If you don't do anything to get those short term thoughts from your RAM to your hard drive, they're lost when your computer shuts down for the day.  (Unless you're really lucky and something gets stuck in the temp folder - which is why I remember the plot ideas, I think.)  Writing things down moves thoughts from RAM to my HD. 

Of course, following the brain analogy, I have some bad sectors on my HD.  That makes finding old data a little problematic sometimes, and it's not too fun trying to find a path to newer memories either.  But that's life.  I just need to remember to use the tricks I learned to hang onto memories a little tighter.  Like, say, WRITE THINGS DOWN.  (Sounds like a bad joke: I have a memory problem, but I'm okay as long as I remember the tricks to remembering things.) 

Anyway, I know this isn't totally limited to folks with bwuised bwains.  I think it's a function of our huge data storage systems and the amount of data we try to store up there.  Add in our level of stress and tiredness, and things either get misfiled or they don't get filed at all.  I don't know if it's worse for people like us who use their brains so much, or if it's just a function of being a writer.  What do you think? 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Picture Pause

Busy day.
Not much to say.
Thought I'd rhyme.
Ran out of time.

Have a beautiful evening everyone. =o)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

lame lame lame lame lame

lame lame lame lame lame lame lame

Don't mind me. I'm trying to write. ;o)

3:19pm ETA: Deleted lameness and started over.  I think I've got it now.  =o)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Writer Chick

And who we have to go up against Total ReWrite?  Well, of course, none other than....  Writer Chick!

She's tougher than she looks folks.  (Of course, she's me twenty years ago when I still had nice legs and a flat-ish tummy.  I still have those boots, though.)

Wish me... err, I mean HER... luck.

*Image still courtesy of the Marvel Superhero Avatar Creator.