Category: Uncategorized


I Never Said Goodbye…

I don’t know if anyone is still reading this.  I know I haven’t posted here in over a year.

It started with another case of blogging block. I couldn’t think of anything interesting to write about, and by the time I did, it felt like I had already been gone too long. Plus there was a bunch of things going on in my personal life that made blogging impossible. Things that I wouldn’t have felt comfortable blogging about.

My writing life changed, too. I’ve since adopted a pen name (though I’m still unpublished), and it began to feel too strange to continue under this one. I began writing more short stories, instead of focusing on my novel(s) for one thing. I can thank my experiences here for that. I’ve also settled, more or less on one definite genre, and not the one I originally imagined I would be writing in.

I started a new blog in my new name: http://jaymimizuno.wordpress.com I probably should have just changed over the address of this one, but to be honest I didn’t think of it at the time. Plus, I no longer use the e-mail address associated with this account.

I plan to find and follow all of the bloggers I enjoyed reading during my time here, with my new account. Just a quick glance tells me that I have already missed so much that was going on with them. I may never manage to catch up again completely , but I’m going to try.

Finally, I want to give a long overdue “Thank You” to everyone who supported me while I was here. I hope you know how much I appreciated your words, your support and comments.

Thank you again, everyone. I hope to see you around the blogging world soon.

Michelle

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m heading into the busy season for my day job. Because I’m self-employed, my hours can be absolutely crazy, and I think I’ve been wearing myself too thin. Part of me wants to keep pushing, to keep working, but when I’m consuming so much caffeine that my hands begin shaking, it sort of defeats the purpose. My work requires very fine motor control on some of the more detailed pieces, so I’m not producing anything useable, by pushing on.

I’m burnt out.

So I’m going to take the day off today.  I need time for me.  I might go on a motorcycle ride — I haven’t ridden in far too long. I’m going to write. I have 2 partially finished short stories I wanted to submit to anthology calls, and the deadlines are fast approaching.  I’m going to do a read through of a couple of my novel manuscripts. Maybe do a little editing.  Definitely going to try to do a little catch up on my blog reading and commenting.

I’m feeling better already 🙂

I Need a New Alias

No, I don’t plan on changing my blog name.

Yet.

But I’m brushing off the dust from my old Absolute Write Forum account, which is under my real name. I created the account more than 2 years ago, before I really started thinking that I’ll be writing mainly under a pseudonym or two (which I haven’t chosen yet.)

Ideally, I’d like to incorporate my blog name into my new alias. Alas, there is a 20 character limit. I can’t seem to think of a good way to shorten my blog name to fit the limits, and still have it make some sort of sense.

Any suggestions?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very tech-savvy, and that’s why my husband is usually my tech support! But since he’s been working a lot of hours (gotta love the life of a drill sergeant), I’ve been relying on my other tech support — Google!  Lately, my laptop, which is my main computer for writing, has been giving me problems.  It’s a 1-1/2 year old Dell Inspiron 1545, and about a week ago, the fan inside began running really loud.  So I checked Google, and cleaned out the vents with a can of compressed air as instructed.  The fan in my Dell isn’t readily accessed, even when you remove the back panel, so I had to clean it from the outside.

It seemed to work.  For about 24 hours.

Then, though it was no longer loud, my laptop began overheating, and shutting itself down at random moments.   Not fun, especially when I’m in the middle of writing, and it shuts down before I can save my progress, much less make a back-up of the file!

So, back to Google (using my husband’s computer.)  And I found instructions on how to remove the processor thermal-cooling assembly at dell.com support.  Though the page says it is for the Inspiron 1525/1526, the insides of my laptop were similar enough for me to use those instructions.  When I pulled out the assembly, in the section that opens into the fan, I found this lovely dust bunny:

Laptop dust bunny, shown next to quarter for scale

Yikes! No wonder the fan couldn’t cool the laptop, with that blocking the way.  Anyway, now that it’s out, my computer seems to be running somewhat normally again.

Hope I didn’t just jinx myself by saying that.

One definite downside of e-mail sometimes is the sheer amount of junk that can come in a single day.  I think the highest I’ve received so far was twelve “junk” e-mails in a single 24-hour period.  And they definitely seem to come in waves — for one month or so, the majority of the messages will be offers for online pharmacies, then it will switch off to “Lovely Russian ladies Looking for a Good American Husband,” or “hard to resist” bonus offers from some online casino.

You can tell that there has to be some kind of bot and not a real person that is sending these.  In the first scenario I mention, I’m a female, so I don’t really need cheap Viagra or Cialis or other male enhancement drugs, thank you very much, and in the second, well, I’m happily married, and I don’t live in a state where same-sex marriages are legal, anyway, so those Russian ladies are just wasting their time writing to me.  As for the casino… I’d rather go back to Vegas.

Those have tapered off, recently, however, and the latest wave has been variations of the stereotypical “Nigerian scam,” the one where they try to convince you that have inherited money from someone you have never heard of, or that some random stranger needs to your help to siphon money out of the country… that sort of thing.  Plus a few other “phishing” expeditions, hoping that I will be gullible enough to give a total stranger my most personal information over the internet.

The newest ones, at least to me, are the so-called “prizewinner” e-mails.  The first one I received claimed to be from Microsoft, with the oh-so-exciting subject line of “Final Notification!” Makes it seem really urgent, doesn’t it? Then it continues on, starting in all caps, no less:

YOU ARE THE WINNER OF THE
COMPUTER PROMOTIONAL DRAW
THIS MESSAGE IS FROM THE
PROMOTIONS MANAGER, MICROSOFT PROMOTIONS AND
PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT
MICROSOFT ONLINE PROMOTIONS
YOU HAVE WON ON THE COMPUTER BALLOT,
THE SUM OF 2,729,000.00 GBP
PLEASE CONTACT
(MR. John Evans)
YOUR CLAIMS DEPARTMENT FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE PAYMENT
ON PHONE +44-792-458-5889
Email: prize@mcstawards.com
PRIZE AWARD NOTIFICATION!!!
We are pleased to inform you of the announcement made today 4th Februay
2012, of winners of the MICROSOFT AWARD PROMOTIONS, as part of our
promotional draws HELD ON 6TH OF JANUARY 2012.
Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from
2,500,000.00 email addresses of Individuals and Companies from all part
of the world as part of our Electronic Business Promotions Program.
Note that your email address qualified for the draw, as a result of
your visiting various websites we are running the e-business promotions
for. You/Your Company email address, attached to Ticket Number 242 67
33 38 7 43 51, with serial number 7777/06 drew the Lucky Numbers
4-43-33-38-21 POP 21 and Bonus number 3 and consequently YOU HAVE won
in the Second Category.
You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of
2,729,000.00 (Two Million,Seven Hundred and Twenty Nine Thousand Great
British Pounds Sterling) in cash credited to file MAP/3123/02/11. This is
from a total cash  prize of 13,645.000.00 Thirteen Million,Six Hundred
and Forty Five Thousand Great British Pounds sterling ),
shared amongst five (5)Lucky Winners in 4th category.
CONGRATULATIONS!
To begin your claim, urgently contact your claim Department through the
above Information:
NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please
remember to quote your reference and batch numbers and other
information provided above and below in every one of your
correspondences with your Claims Department.
Congratulations” once again from all our staff and thank you for being
part of our promotions program.
Yours Truly,
Mrs. Rachael T. Ruben
Promotions Manager
Microsoft Award Promotions
153 Barlow Moor Road,
West Didsbury – M20 2YA,
Manchester,
United Kingdom.
© 2012 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved
Okay, big red flags here.  First off, if this was really Microsoft, why is the origin email from “antell.com.py”? And if this is a UK prize, why does the website from which this message supposedly came from end with the Internet country code for Paraguay? Why would Microsoft be giving out a prize in pounds, rather than dollars? And last, but certainly not least, why, since this is supposedly a communication between businesses, does it start out by shouting(in the all-caps) at me?
Though the e-mail doesn’t specifically say that I need to pay a verification fee, or ask for my personal information outright,  I don’t doubt what would be asked if I had responded to this e-mail! Apparently this isn’t a new one, either.  I did an internet search which brought up complaints about this e-mail dating back to 2007.
These spammers never give up, do they? Guess I do have to give them a little credit for persistence, if nothing else.  And while we’re on the subject, why are some of these spam messages backdated? Drives me nuts to see that I have unread messages that I can’t see on the first page of my inbox.  It makes me worry that I somehow missed a potentially important e-mail, only to go back and find one of these.
Oh, and now I just received an almost identical message from Nokia.  Aren’t I lucky? Maybe I should make that next trip to Vegas soon, if I’m really on that much of a winning streak 😉

Resolution #1: Update this blog on a regular basis.

Resolution #2: Finally finish editing my NaNovel from 2008.

Resolution #3: Update this blog on a regular basis.

Resolution #4: Finish the first draft of my NaNovel from 2011.

Resolution #5 Update this blog on a regular basis.

Resolution #6: Receive one rejection slip (print or e-mail) every other month, for a total of 6 for the year. Why am I aiming for rejection? Because that’s the best way to show that I’m actually submitting my work out there. I don’t have enough confidence to aim for acceptance letters just yet. It’s been more than 10 years since I last submitted anything. That whole procrastination thing, you know?

Resolution #7: Did I mention that I want to keep this blog updated?

I think I might be able to keep at least some of the writing resolutions, but, alas, the blog updates will be the difficult part. I almost never feel like I have anything interesting to say.  And even when I do,  I don’t make the effort to write the words down.

That’s the sad but true reality of my writing life to date.

What about you? Did you make any resolutions this year?

Plot Device!

Ever wanted to be part of a movie? You may think twice about that after seeing this video:

Not sure I like reading my mail through Horde. Oh, it loads fast enough, and there’s no real problems, but the big downside, for me, is that highlighted line at the top of the page that tells you when your last log-in was. I don’t need to know how often (too often!) that I check my mail during the day. Especially when I’m waiting for news.

I came across this list several months ago: http://www.listsofbests.com/list/2222-1001-books-you-must-read-before-you-die-2006-edition?page=1

I was actually shocked to see how many of them I haven’t read, and I like to think I’m a pretty good reader.  What was even more interesting is the fact that, unlike so many of the people I’ve discussed this list with, none of the books that I read in college were on the list.  Then again… I guess neither Jaws or Jurassic Park are considered great literature, even if my college professor seemed to think they were.

At the time that I first saw this list, I could honestly say that I’d read 6 of them.  There were several that I’d seen quoted in writing textbooks, but I didn’t actually read the whole book, only tiny excerpts.  There were a couple of “classics” that I read the so-called sequels to, you know the type, that are written by someone else long after the author of the original has died.

Right now, I’m reading Frankenstein.  I tried to read Madame Bovary the other day but I had a really hard time getting through it.  I think I stopped at about page 50.

The one thing I don’t like about a lot of these recent publications of the “classics” is the publishers’ need to cram in a whole bunch of literary analysis both before and after the actual story.  I think it’s annoying and unnecessary.  Even if I were reading these for a class, I would think that the analysis would do me little good, after all, in that case, I would be expected to come up with my own opinions of the work, uninfluenced by any “expert” opinion.

I don’t expect to get through the whole list.  I know there are a couple of titles that I’ve already attempted in the past that I was unable to finish, and there are others that cover subjects I just have absolutely no interest in, whatsoever.

How many on the list have you read?

Slow Mail?

So it only took 24 years, internet searches, and the efforts of the research department of the New York Times, to get a single postcard to where it was supposed to go, in this story from the Today show.

I will never complain about slow mail again =)