Where’s My Damn Ark?

Where's My Damn Ark?

I lived for five years at the last house, and ONCE had water all over my back porch due to a washing machine issue. Two years at the place before that (same washing machine) and not a single problem.

So why is it, now that my washing machine is inside my house for the first time since I moved to Arizona twenty some years ago, I keep having washing machine floods? Just because the damn water can get to my carpet now, it thinks it should!

ARGH. Effing argh, I say. Just when I was nearly about to maybe accomplish something…

Yeah, that’s bull. I wasn’t on the edge of accomplishing something. But the housemate was! And I was slowly slouching my way in that direction! Now every fan in the house is on because the entrance to each bedroom is soaked. And we don’t even have ice cream.

Stupid washing machine.

Even in the Future, Not Everyone Has Everything and It Doesn’t All Work Either

Even in the Future, Not Everyone Has Everything and It Doesn't All Work Either

I’m editing my first NaNovel right now. I’m thinking about how a restaurant would work in the future, what would actually change, and really, in the background…? I’m thinking not so much.

Tomatoes still have to be chopped, cheese shredded, dishes washed. Sure, machines exist to do these things, but machines cost money that maybe a restaurant owner wouldn’t have to invest. And on a frontier planet with lots of eager workers (which means cheap labor) and high import costs, why wouldn’t you just hire somebody to do all that stuff?

But the technology exists, some will argue. Why don’t they use it? You didn’t think about that!

This is one of the problems I run into, writing sci fi. I remember talking about this book in the NaNo forums way back when. I mentioned they were out in the middle of nowhere and unable to contact civilization, and someone attempted to call me on it.

Everyone has cell phones now, why wouldn’t they have them in the future?

Well, dear, because cell phones are not magical talkie-things; they need a network. If no one has been out in the wilderness building cell phone towers, there will come a point in the journey where cell phones no longer work.

Satellite phones? Do they have any satellites? It’s the future, you know.

Sure, they have a few satellites. But if a cell phone is enough to call everyone you know (who lives in the city) why would you just happen to have a satellite phone?

GPS? How can they be lost?

Knowing exactly where you are on a map is helpful, but anyone who’s ever used GPS knows that it doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. Also, no Google street view car in the untracked, unexplored wilderness. If a terrain feature can’t be seen from a satellite picture (due to, I don’t know, TREES?) it’s not yet known. So it’s knowing where you are on a blank map with “Here Be Monsters” scrawled on it. Not so incredibly helpful.

This idea that technology is both pervavise and infallible is not only silly, it’s dangerous. I liken it to the belief a lot of people seem to share that having a gun protects you from being shot. That’s not how it works, people. If it were, we would lose a lot less soldiers.

A gun is not a shield. Neither is a cell phone. And apparently some people have never suffered a low battery at an inopportune time. (Don’t get me started on people who never run out of bullets.)

Ahem.

I don’t know if it was the same person or someone else who critiqued my idea for a stretcher with a low-powered anti-gravity unit with “anti-gravity doesn’t exist, won’t ever exist.” I was delighted not long after to stumble across the theory that dark energy may be anti-gravity.

While I’m talking about naysayers, I’d also like to mention I had a know-it-all acquaintance who used to affirm with absolute certainty that it was not possible to travel faster than light. Things like hyperspace travel could not exist, because that would mean traveling faster than light and that was not possible. As if some omniscient traffic cop was out there to stop us.

Yeah, well, the speed of light isn’t as incontrovertible as maybe we thought.

Sure, I write soft SF. I still take my science seriously, man. :D

That Was Close! or Why You Do Your Homework Early

That Was Close! or Why You Do Your Homework Early

I’m in my third semester of Spanish. Homework is due at 9 p.m. on Monday nights. No late work is accepted. Ever.

That said, plenty of times in these three semesters I’ve been racing to get my homework submitted on time. I even installed StayFocusd on my favorite browser, Chrome, to make sure I didn’t do anything BUT work for three hours a night.

Except tonight when I tried to go to the voiceboard to submit my last assignment, StayFocusd asked, “Shouldn’t you be working?” and blocked the voiceboard.

You can’t disable StayFocusd when it’s on. It’s on from 6:30 to 9:30. Homework’s due at nine.

Stay calm. I went (ugh!) to Internet Explorer. My Firefox hasn’t been working lately, and I hadn’t taken the time to track down the problem, and NOW was clearly not the time…so off to IE I went.

IE loaded the entire page except the voiceboard.

AAHHH!!

Try Chrome again. Sometimes StayFocusd blocks something by accident. See if it–augh, no!

Close IE, reopen it. Look for popup blockers or anything else that might be interfering but damned if I know how to properly smack IE, seeing how I never use it.

Okay, desperation time. Uninstall Firefox, go get a hopefully-clean copy, re-install.

“Firefox is already running but is not responding.” No, it’s NOT running, I haven’t been able to open it in two weeks.

Google says “restart your computer,” but I’ve DONE that several times since Firefox stopped working.

Finally, a clue– Firefox may not have erased the “parent.lock” file when I last exited it. Search %appdata%/roaming/something or other to find it.

Not there. Search the whole computer for “parent.lock.” The only one that comes up is for Thunderbird. Close Thunderbird, delete it, try again.

“Firefox is already running but is not responding.”

All right, damn it. Go up from Thunderbird in the files, find Mozilla Firefox (not under Firefox, KD), drill down, and look–right in plain sight though my search couldn’t find it, “parent.lock.”

Delete file, hold breath, confirm I want to delete file, still holding breath, click on Firefox.

HUZZAH!

And that, dear friends, is why you never let your homework wait to the last minute.

In other news, NaNo planning seems to…not be happening. I’m hoping the muses are actually going wild in there and just not telling me yet, because man…feeling unprepared here. I’m trying to have faith, though. Even more than everything else I’ve written, my Hiro books in the past have come out of just about nowhere. It might be that all I have to do is close my eyes and type.

And stock up on NaNoWriMo High Test, of course. :)

Oh Em Gee, Verizon Prepaid SUCKS

Oh Em Gee, Verizon Prepaid SUCKS

Yep, it’s rant night. One day soon I’ll answer the questions to earn my Liebster award, but that night is not tonight. I’m gonna rant. About Verizon Prepaid. About how it SUCKS.

Let me be clear–I am talking about the prepaid. NOT the post-paid, where you have a contract and they charge you way too much money then give you a “free” phone. Aside from the way too much money part, I actually like that side of things. But the prepaid…

Oh, the prepaid. Let’s start where I wrote it down in my little book while waiting in the Verizon store for some assistance.

1) You canNOT get a human on the phone. The nice guys in the store will tell you it’s possible, but I don’t believe them. I once spent forty-five minutes trying to get a human on the service number.

2) Pushing zero does not get you through all the prompts to a human. Push zero and it starts you back at the beginning. Push it a couple times in a row and you get a recorded voice saying “We’re sorry you are having problems. Goodbye.”

3) The website is useless. All you can do is (I presume you can do this) add money. You can’t get help. You can’t adjust your plan. You can just give them money. If you can do that–I haven’t tried.

4) The friendly, helpful, knowledgeable techs in the stores can’t help at all with prepaid. They can’t even look up your balance. Also they suffer under the delusion that it’s possible to get help by calling the prepaid service line. They are very nice about it when I tell them it doesn’t work, but they continue to believe it.

So yeah. I don’t know if there exists a prepaid service that actually treats its customers like people who pay them money, but that service is absolutely not Verizon.

Any suggestions?

The Never Ending Battle

The Never Ending Battle

Not to be confused with the Never Ending Story. That’s something different.*

The never-ending battle is the fight to get something, anything, done when all I really have the energy to do is wander around watching cat videos and reading cool science articles.

Fellow Turtleducker Siri the Amazing (She works! She knits! She dances, and goes to events, and travels, and gardens, and writes, and edits, AND finds time to blog, even about how much she’s not writing!)–ahem. Siri has this problem too. And notice all those people down in the comments agreeing that it’s a problem!

Siri uses Freedom to filter her internet time. I’ve heard recommendations for others. I use two–StayFocusd on Chrome, and LeechBlock on Firefox. (Because yeah. When I’ve got my favorite browser blocked, I have absolutely been known to run off to my second favorite. Luckily I’ve never been so desperate to waste time that I opened IE.)

I don’t really know why it’s such a battle. I did not used to have such problems! There’s a reason I have four books published, and seven more complete in draft and only a couple edits away from possible publication. I mean, just look at my original fiction page. And that’s not even all of it! I can easily think of three stories that have several thousand words that are not on that page.

If only I could make myself work on them more consistently. >.<

Even this post–I’m writing this in 750words. I have written 750 words a day for two hundred consecutive days.† But it’s generally a lot of “oh geez will you just type your words and get done forget about typos and punctuation I swear I’ll write something worth smoething one day.” And on days when I have plenty of time to get it done, like a Sunday when my hiking partner cancelled on me?

I’ve been working on it for over an hour, in between wanders off to look at things.

So I know I’m not the only one. Siri talks about this. Many of my friends on my favorite writing forum talk about this. Sometimes friends even vanish from the forum, because they’re not writing and feel uncomfortable talking about everything BUT writing.‡

The war against procrastination affects us all. Even those who don’t have a problem miss out on the great works of those of us who do. We want to write, but we don’t. We want to paint, but we don’t. We mean to travel, but we never get to it. It’s never the right time to go try out yoga. It’s never a good time to start that remodelling you’ve meant to do for years.

It’s a widespread battle. It’s a heck of a fight.

We need a chosen one to save us. A magic weapon, or a seventh son.

Or maybe we should just get the heck to work.

How do you fight this battle? Do you win?

 


* If you didn’t cry when Artax died, you are just wrong.

† I have my pterodactyl back!

‡ Note–those who miss them wish they wouldn’t do this. We miss them!

YA is as Dark as it Needs to Be, and Librarians are Superheroes

YA is as Dark as it Needs to Be, and Librarians are Superheroes

At my high school, the library came in two sections. Because the middle school–grades 7 and 8– was on the second floor of the high school, the library had a middle school section and a high school section. High school kids could choose from either, but middle school kids had to stay out of the high school section.

Are you guessing where this is going? By November of the 8th grade, I’d read everything I wanted to read in the middle school section, and meek rule-follower that I once was, I was going back through it, rereading those I’d liked and picking up some of the ones I’d passed over before. One of the last books I picked up from that section was The Hobbit (or perhaps it was slipped to me by an awesome librarian. I can never recall. I remember the cover was just a painting of a forest. Unremarkable to me, since I lived in one.)

OMG, The Hobbit. I read that book eight times in a row. I’ve never done that with any book, before or since. I must have read my favorite chapter, Of Flies and Spiders, about twenty times aside from reading the book through. And then–then I learned that this writer had MORE BOOKS. (Please realize this was before the internet, and I did not talk to people. I bless the librarians at my school because books I never would have picked up found their way mysteriously into my checked out books and they were awesome–but I never ASKED the librarians what I should read.)

Those more books, though–The Lord of the Rings was in the high school section. I’d seen my classmates chased politely out of there. I did not want to risk the righteous anger of a librarian! Books were my escape, my safety, and I dreaded having them taken away.

A little background–

Librarians saved my life though I never talked to them. I never talked to anyone. Everything was fine, though I wore one pair of sweat pants to school for a year because I had nothing else, and I alternated high heels and winter boots that made my feet stink for yards around because that’s what I had. I skipped a day of school a week because I thought any more and they’d send the police. I never told anyone anything but I read books. I ditched class to go to the library and the librarians never reported me but books found me–books I needed, friends I needed, magically appeared in the pile of books I’d picked out and those books took me away to dangerous places and dangerous thoughts and people who persevered and won the day and dear God how I needed that.

So that’s where I was when I read and loved The Hobbit, and pined for The Lord of the Rings held just beyond my reach.†

Is LOTR too adult for a 14yo living pretty much out of adult supervision? Why don’t you let the 14yo decide?

Why does this subject keep coming up?

Here’s a hint–when I was in the sixth grade, my reading was things like the Black Stallion, the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins and Donna Parker. Trixie Belden. Laura Ingalls Wilder. When my mom was alive and my life was wonderful, I had no need for darker, bigger, deeper books.

If your teen is invariably reading dark books maybe you should look into why they need those books.

Just a suggestion. And here’s another: Thank A Librarian Today.

† I think it was about the third time that I renewed The Hobbit that The Fellowship of the Ring mysteriously appeared in my pile of checked-out books. Librarians? Superheroes. For real.

Names are Hard, Man

Names are Hard, Man

So I’ve signed up (once again) to write for the Goodreads M/M Romance group event. This year it’s Love Has No Boundaries. (That’s my prompt, but you have to be a member to follow the link. Here’s the group if you wanna join.)

One of my early steps in creating a new story is naming my characters. I need a sense of them before I can name them, but then I need the name to hang the rest of the person on, if that makes sense. (And if it doesn’t make sense, it’s still how I work.)

Clicking about to find names I liked made me decide my MC’s great-great-grandfather was Wulf Cobb. So, Cobb. Yeah, I like it. Now a first name.

I wanted Colby. It’s a good name–solid, uncommon, but not odd. I like unusual names. I think the faster a reader latches onto a character the better, and a stand-out name is going to help with that.

Are you snickering yet? One thing about naming characters that I knew but had temporarily forgotten–you have to try them out loud. Together.

“Colby Cobb.”

Umm…no. Also, did I really just try to name this guy after a cheese and a salad? I went and got a snack and hit the baby names sites again.

My guy’s a Texan, from an old ranching family. I went round and round, and finally decided I liked Colby more than I liked Cobb. So I went with Jessup. Colby Jessup. Yeah, that worked. Except…I’d already given another main character the last name Joseph because of Reasons, and I didn’t want to change it.

Winchester. Too obvious. Remington, Colter, same thing. Also, I couldn’t get colby cheese out of my head. So I ran through the history files in my brain looking for a name that could work for a ranching family that hasn’t budged since the Civil War, and I stumbled on Buchanan. I liked it, but not quite enough. However…it’s a Scottish name, and that gave me a place to look for more. Back I went to the baby names sites.

I’ll leave out the in-between, as it’s just more like that, and get to the final† name.

[redacted for content]‡, because his mother wanted him to grow up a fighter who never surrenders. Did the name fulfill its purpose?

We’ll see, won’t we?


†For certain values of final, possibly.

‡Whoops, would you believe I forgot I’m not supposed to tell the names yet?

KD Sarge




KD Obsesses Over Stuff

Tom Hiddleston in a tux

Tom Hiddleston Invites You to Tumblr

Stuff

Status
Status

Cornify

KD Reads Stuff


Polar Star
Magic's Pawn
The Mote in God's Eye
Startide Rising
Raymond E. Feist's Magician Master
Changes
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Rimrunners
How to Teach Physics to Your Dog
A Christmas Carol
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Murder at the Vicarage
The Golden Compass
The Lorax
The Dragonbone Chair
Calvin and Hobbes
The Elvenbane
Wikis For Dummies (For Dummies
Foundation
Hunting Season