Monthly Archives: May 2013

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Review: Bear, Otter, and the Kid

Bear, Otter, and the Kid, eBook   by TJ Klune
Dreamspinner Press    Release Date: August 12, 2011

I have to admit that I’m torn about this book. I did something with it that I normally don’t ever do. Usually, as soon as a derogatory term against the disabled community appears in a book I stop reading it, mark where I am, what the term was, and write up a quick note on Goodreads, Amazon, and my blog about it. The worse offenders are YA novels, which is really disturbing. The term in this case was “retarded,” one that seems to be on the upswing these days, sadly, as it had been slowing down for a while. The fact that it’s appearing in so many YA novels is really disturbing, I think, because it’s showing a whole new generation it’s ok to say those things. It’s being incorporated into their culture.

It’s something I think editors need to be aware of, possibly more important than a misplaced comma or a maligned semicolon.

It shocked me to see it in a m/m romance book, though. I hadn’t seen anything of that nature, that I remember, out of everything I’ve read so far. I contacted Mr. Klune, but haven’t heard back from him. What I think is truly ironic, however, it that it’s someone from one marginalized group demeaning another group that’s marginalized.

Just to take a quick side-step here, and forgive me, because my memory’s not always that great and it’s been awhile since I’ve taken these classes. Brown vs Board of Education was a groundbreaking case for more than just, at least in the eyes of the law, the judgment that separate educational facilities were NOT equal, starting the beginning of desegregation. This is important because it had a ripple effect, it was the beginning of civil rights movements for many groups, including gay rights and rights for people with disabilities, among many others. Both groups had to fight, and both groups still face countless challenges. Politicians and religious groups turn sexual orientation into something they have no business in, people with autism are refused heart transplants because the doctors don’t know how they will react in a hospital. Illegal restraints are used on children with disabilities who are nonverbal, and they can’t tell anyone because they don’t have a communication system and people who know are either too afraid to speak up or punished if they do. Gay men are attacked simply because they’re gay. WTF? I meant to keep this more positive, but I feel this deeply, because I’ve advocated for people with disabilities who can’t speak, who people don’t listen to if they can speak, and who people treat as “retarded” just because they’re nonverbal. Just because they’re nonverbal doesn’t mean they don’t understand exactly what you’re saying. Just because a man is gay doesn’t mean he can’t love just as deeply or truly as any other human being. Feel passion any less.

So what do I do? I finished the book–I liked it, other than the fact that “retarded” was used three more times. So now I feel conflicted and upset, the more I think about it.

I advocate for the right to love and marry whoever you want to, to have or adopt children if you want to, and I advocate for people with disabilities to have their rights respected. What do you do when two things you feel so passionately about conflict?

To everyone else this may seem like no big deal. It’s just a word. There are no such things as “just words.” Words influence, they hurt, and they bully, because there are people behind those words who are capable of inflicting pain, whether it’s physical, or mental or both.

This isn’t intended as an attack on Mr. Klune, and I’m sorry if it’s taken or seen that way. It’s more built up frustration. For anyone who writes and uses terms that are derogatory. The fact that I feel like people snicker at me–“oh, it’s that crazy lady who gets all worked up about people with disabilities.” I have a lot of reasons to get worked up, I won’t go into them here.

I just wish I could have read the book and enjoyed it without knowing those words were there, because they really ticked me off. And I really would have liked it so much more if they hadn’t been.

Optimized-homophobia_only_oneattitudeslittle girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Space Out

I was congratulating myself on how good my processing time was when I realized I was about to go through a red light and slammed on the brakes. My car, Fushchia, hates me when I do that. What was that about processing speed again? I forgot what I was talking about.

Gods.

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Revelations and Black Holes

Lewis Carroll Memorial Guildford   Sometimes it feels as if you are revealing parts of yourself, splattering them onto the computer, and they simply disappear into black holes. Emails, blogs, works in progress, comments on forums. All the years it has taken to get enough courage to write to complete strangers in the faith that someone somewhere understands the gibberish you’re speaking through the help of a babel fish or something of the like.

I was going through images looking for something from “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” and found pictures of this sculpture. It is in Guildford, at the last place Lewis Carroll lived, although he didn’t write those books there. It’s a little sinister, I think. I don’t know what it would feel like to see it in person. No comments about Han Solo and carbonite.Memorial from the Front

What makes a person respond to another person, and what makes them ignore the person standing next to the person who’s noticed? It’s all very strange. There’s this thing in autism that’s called the “hidden curriculum”–basically all the little social cues neurotypical people pick up that people with autism don’t. How to take subtle hints when someone wants to leave, reading body language in a conversation, things along those lines. Things that we supposedly learned unconsciously. Sometimes I feel like I didn’t learn all of those things the way I was supposed to, even though I don’t have autism. I was just a sheltered nerd.

This is probably why I like writing so much. I can give my characters the perfect thing to say as a retort in an argument because I have time to think about it, whereas if it were me, what I’d say would be more along the lines of, “Well, wha…I’m rubber and you’re glue and everything you say bounces off and sticks to you. Nyah.” If I could even come up with that. I don’t fight very often with anyone, not even my SO. I don’t like conflict, but there are some things I won’t back down from. I suppose that’s not even entirely true. I was so fed up with work, and tired of dealing with them–no one was on my side, and no one was going to listen to me. It seemed like quitting, while it fit perfectly into what they wanted me to do, was at least something I was doing to them instead of something they were doing to me. Of course, a little over a month later, I’m trying to be optimistic about finding a job that won’t send me into a tailspin again.

Remember Lief, the little boy with autism that I mentioned a while ago? Since then he’s had two open heart surgeries because the machine that keeps his valve pumping keeps clotting, then his blood antigen levels went to 100%–which meant his immune system could fight anything, including the heart transplant that he needs, because no heart would match as his body would fight anything. The doctors decided to try something on the chance it would work after nothing else did–they gave him the treatment that transplant recipients usually receive after they’ve had the transplant, and his blood antigen levels went down to 11%, which meant he was back on the path to being able to get a transplant again. Then the machine for his valve clogged again, and Saturday he had a stroke which affected the left half of his body. It wasn’t a bad stroke, he can still communicate using his keyboard pad, and he doesn’t seem to have suffered any cognitive damage. He’s had his 10th birthday in the hospital. This ten-year-old has been through more than many adults, and he keeps soldiering on. There was talk of palliative care at one point, but he didn’t want it. I called him the Energizer Bunny sometimes when I worked with him, and gods, is he ever. He really hasn’t changed much since he was six, except now he can communicate, which is wonderful. So while I feel a little down, I just keep trying to remind myself, “If Lief can do it, I can do it.” He is one incredibly special little guy, and if everyone who reads this could stop for a second and send him a happy thought, that would be nice. It doesn’t matter where you are, he’ll know.

Playing Nicely

This started with a conversation with my youngest sister, who is on the internet more than I am these days and involved in more things like Tumblr and such. She started to talk about sockpuppets, which cracked me up, because I thought it had something to do with one of the conventions she’s always talking about where she does cosplay, and for some reason reminded me of the episode of Red Dwarf where Rimmer had space fever or something and dressed up in the little red gingham number and had a handpuppet who was in charge because he was delirious.

I’m not exactly ancient, but I remember when AOL was a brand new company and all you had was dial-up, and watching it connect on my old black and white Mac Classic screen and getting incredibly excited. Does anyone remember when the internet looked like lists of subjects? No cool pictures all over the place, when Mosaic was a browser? I spent hours online looking up ways to hone my Magic decks. I didn’t have a lot of versatility: either white and blue or white and green. It has changed so much. No support for Macs for Internet Explorer anymore, no more updated Netscape, no more updated Eudora.

There are a lot of advantages with the way the internet is today. There are also some odd things it seems to make people think are OK to do. Take the abovementioned sockpuppets, defined by wikipedia as an online identity used for the purposes of deception. I’ve always used one account, which makes it pretty easy to track me down, and holds me accountable for my actions when I’m online. I have thought if I ever wrote in a genre where I’d want to keep my identities separate, I’d have a different account for each. Just to keep those identities separate. I went onto some author blogs today, because they seemed the most concerned with multiple accounts. One author said that unless for the reason I mentioned above, or to have an author account and a personal account, there was no need to have any more than that. I couldn’t find anything from the perspective of the readers, but from the authors’ viewpoints, one of the reasons they’ve noticed for readers having multiple accounts is to leave multiple reviews for friends’ books to bolster their ratings, or, conversely, write negative reviews for another authors’ books to bring down their ratings. The authors whose blogs I looked at were skeptical of reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads for this reason, especially people who had only written a few reviews, or gave lots of one star reviews with no reason why.

I’m a not very successful author (yet), and I can see where this would really be a problem. The ratings do influence people–I know I pay attention to them, but if something looks interesting enough to me, I’ll check it out anyway. The weird ones are the ones where there are a bunch of fives and a bunch of ones. A love it or hate it book. A reason that came up on one of the blogs and in the wikipedia article was that one of the reasons for having sockpuppets was so you could go to groups or discussion areas where you really shouldn’t be, pretending to be someone you weren’t, for whatever reason you wanted to go there for.

But one of the main reasons I’ve never had more accounts was that it just didn’t seem very ethical to me. I don’t know how Goodreads or Amazon would or could keep track of something like that. It’s easy to come up with another email address and sign up for a new account. I’d always held that belief and figured most people did the same until a recent experience taught me otherwise in one of the groups I’m in online. There was an activity that was a somewhat complicated thing involving several parts. Let’s just say it was divided into parts, and different people were supposed to be involved in each part. I discovered that my “different” person had used two screen names other than the one I knew to participate in the activity. The first one would have been alright, I suppose, if the second part hadn’t involved something she shouldn’t have been involved in, but was under the other screen name. So three screen names. I could understand two, possibly, but adding a third to manipulate the situation, I think, was unethical. I was upset about it, but the answer was, why shouldn’t she have three? The woman I asked had about ten. Ten. Who needs that many? Ten??? (I rarely use multiple punctuation).

This is a group I was starting to become more comfortable in, I was actually posting instead of lurking. But now I’m going to try to keep my mouth shut and go back to lurking. It’s a little like Big Brother. You never know who is really there and who isn’t. Shouldn’t we know who we’re really talking to? Sure, there are people “in the know” who know all of the identities, but then that starts to get clique-y, and I hate stuff like that. Sort of an elitist air among the people running the group. Yes, there needs to be control of the group, but there also needs to be control of how many identities a person can have. I wouldn’t talk to someone in real life, start becoming good friends with them, and then one day someone else shows up and says, “Oh, hi, I’m Monique today,” and then you’re never sure which Monique is coming over.

That may seem melodramatic and maybe even a little childish, but it’s easy for people to hide behind their computers. That’s already a degree of trust that you’ve given up just in that–you’ve ceded that you don’t know what the other person doesn’t look like, sound like, and that you can’t read their non-verbal language (from last post). You’ve given all that up and all you can trust are the words they put on the screen. That requires a great deal of trust. Which, amazingly, we do. We want to find other people like us, who want to talk about the things we like, so we’re willing to take that risk just so we can talk to strangers because we have something in common that we like. Which is often how people really do meet. We trust them (I trust people more quickly than I should) and hope things work out to be friends. How do any of you know that I’m really who I say I am?

The sad thing is that people seemed surprised I questioned how many screen identities you could have, as if it had never occurred to them that there might be something wrong with it, that some people might think it was a little…sneaky. A little underhanded. That it made the person that I had thought they were more untrustworthy, and it made me wonder why they had never thought it might be thought of as strange, not in a good way. Now I am not entirely sure what to do, leave because I don’t feel comfortable there anymore or stay because the discussions are interesting and just keep quiet?

I don’t know why little things like this bother me so much. I think it’s because I worry if people stop questioning the morality of small questionable actions, the size of the questionable actions they don’t question will increase by tiny increments until it’s large, important issues that effect truly important things.

Carlb-sockpuppet-02a                      So, let’s say no to sockpuppets, and yes to playing together nicely. children playing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Communities

I may have mentioned that since I’ve quit my job I’m going to Vocational Rehabilitation, and I’m going to these classes that help them determine how serious I am about this whole rehabilitation process. A lot of what we’ve gone over so far is stuff that I’ve done in other workshops. In one handout, though, there were some statistics on communication.

This is what it says, verbatim: “One-on-one communication is 7% words, 38% tone of voice, and 55% body language.” So, when we write to each other, unless we know each other well and can imagine reactions to things, we’re only getting about 7% of what is being said, because all we get is the words. That leaves a huge area for misunderstanding, miscommunication, misjudging, judging, condemning–the list goes on and on.

Now, granted, this is concerning personal communication face-to-face, but it made me wonder how it could be applied to the internet and how we communicate there. I’ve seen a lot of miscommunication take place, get explained, get cleared up. I’ve been in the middle of some of it. It’s a very uncomfortable place to be, because you have absolutely no idea where you stand. If it’s something that isn’t such a big deal to the other people involved, or there are other things that need to be taken care of first and the situation isn’t the highest priority, I wait for an email with this anxious feeling of dread. The feeling like I’m the newest, I’m the one that doesn’t belong. Territory has already been staked out, I’ve infringed. People don’t know who I am, what I’m like, whether or not I have ulterior motives. It’s as if no one believes someone can actually be nice just to be nice anymore, they have to have a reason. Well, I’ll say it, and I don’t mean to sound like I’m putting myself on a pedestal, but I’m nice just to be nice. I help people because I want to. I like to help when I can. Sometimes I don’t always get it right, but my intentions are good.

But, the problem is that even saying that, it’s just words. No one on the internet who doesn’t know me in person knows whether that’s the truth or not. They don’t hear the tone in my voice. They don’t know how upset I get when I feel like I’m suspected of wanting something in return. Is that the kind of world we live in? That being genuinely nice causes you to be regarded with suspicion?

I don’t have any deep dark secrets. I don’t like being bulldozed by people and feeling powerless, although there’s the argument that the only one who can make me feel powerless is myself. Sometimes that really isn’t the way it works. I don’t like it when I feel like I’m not being listened to, or when what I’m saying is misinterpreted (again, there’s the 7% of what we get over the internet–just words).

People who know me in person would say that I’m a nice, kind, funny, caring person. I would say that I trust people too easily, and am too gullible, because I have the sort of autistic (I’m not, I just scored high on the tests) “Theory of Mind” where I believe other people are the same way, they think the same way I do and perceive things the same way I do. So I don’t learn and I do the same thing over and over and over again, expecting things to turn out differently. Do you know what that is? One of the definitions of insanity. One of the men in my class said he was an “optimistic pessimist.” I asked if that meant he was pretty sure things were going to go badly.” If I were a cartoon character, I’d be Charlie Brown, always believing that one of these times, Lucy will leave the ball there.

Because I want to believe the best of people, even though there is constant proof in the world around me that people are not capable of living together, much less communicating.

People seem to have become fairly skilled at navigating online communities. I’m not sure I’m one of them. I finally forced myself out from being a lurker, to be more of an active participant, yet, now everything, at least for me, is stressful. It’s not for the other people involved. They’re intrenched, they’re the ones running the show. It’s their playground, their rules. It makes me sad. I haven’t decided what to do yet completely. I’m still waiting for the person I didn’t want to bother because she’s so horrifically busy putting a complicated project together to write me back–I didn’t want to bug her in the first place, but that’s what I was told to do. I don’t blame her for not getting back to me right away, there are other things that are genuinely more important right now. But because my 7% of words have upset the wrong people, I think I will end up leaving the group simply because it will be too uncomfortable. It’s not my sandbox to play in.  It does feel a little bit like kids on the playground. There are some wonderful, fantastic people in the group. Lurking is still under consideration. Then no % of me is out there to be judged.

There’s work I should be doing. I was just thinking about those statistics and how things can get messed up so quickly online.

Blatant Self-Marketing

I realized I could add a link for my book to the side of the page, which doesn’t blend in very nicely.

Now, I linked to the Kindle version because I think the price for the paperback is outrageous ($18.50). I wrote it and if I hadn’t and was looking at it to check it out, I don’t know if I’d buy the paperback. The Kindle version I’d chance. (As I have been chancing way too many Kindle books considering the fact I’m not working and shouldn’t be buying any).

I do have to admit that I am torn right now. I am in the process of revising the current edition (slowly, it’s not happening at the speed of lightning or anything). I’m having trouble with the second book because the first one doesn’t fit right in some places (I had never intended to write a sequel, then there were several, and now Aithin is sort of a precarious foundation). I have people telling me they like the first edition (because, really, I have hundreds and hundreds of people swamping me about this. Not.)

I’ve taken a side step into another project for a bit, since I finished the story for the other project. I used to think that once you’d finished something, it was set in stone. In this age of electronic publishing, it isn’t. I still don’t think that should be taken advantage of unless absolutely necessary, simply for ethical reasons–I don’t think it’s fair to readers. I think I would still offer the first one (the original) for free, and allow the new one for free for a while as well–I would definitely want anyone who had bought the first one to have a copy without having to pay for it. That seems fair, doesn’t it?

OK, very sorry, Edith (Piaf) I need to change you off from iTunes. Now it’s Mozart. I simply can’t settle on anything today. Maybe I should just play the sound machine. Mozart isn’t doing it either. Sound machine it is. Better.

I can’t even remember if I’m supposed to sell anything from my page. Officially, I’m not. I’m have to link to amazon so they can sell it. Or lend it. Anyway, nothing is anywhere near being done on that front yet. so no need to worry for a long time yet. That would be the last edit for that one, though, unless I miraculously picked up a publisher, in which case I imagine it would be subjected ruthlessly to the delete key. I’m reading the in-house rules for editing and finding out I’ve been formatting some things wrong all this time. I’m glad I at least know that now!

Sorry for such a boring post. It’s been an odd day. This morning the internet, my mail, everything was completely messed up. I was tired so took a nap. Woke up, and it was like the Elves and the Shoemaker–everything worked. Except for my ‘My Y!’ page, which I’m a little afraid to mess around with, with the though it might have been part of the problem, and maybe I should find an interesting page somewhere and make that my homepage. Hmmm.

Rejection

There are all types of rejection. As an author. As a job applicant. As a person.

I  gather plenty as an author. It stops bothering you so much after a while. It still stings a little. I know I need to work on the title in question, which I’m doing. I accept my part.

As a job applicant–I haven’t applied for any jobs yet. I tried to take the typing test last night for the actual certificate and there were computer issues. Of course. I should do that today. My hands are cold, which slows me down. I’ve been practicing and it honestly doesn’t seem to be making any difference, so I decided I might as well just go for it and hope one of the three (I get to take three ten minute tests and choose the best score) is over 60.

The one I have the hardest time with, and don’t know if I’ll ever get used to (it was suggested that I develop a ‘thicker skin,’ but somehow I’m not sure if that will happen) is being rejected by people. Even people I don’t know well but genuinely want to be friends with. I probably come across as, well, crazy and too intense. When I feel passionately about something, I do get intense. If I feel a connection with someone, especially if its something we share, or just the weird sense that I should be friends with that person for some reason (which, yes, really does sound crazy) it’s hard to take rejection. It reminds me why I don’t have many close friends, because I hate the hurt of rejection. I’m seen as a loopy weirdo because the person doesn’t know me–well, I suppose I shouldn’t discount the fact that the person might think I was a loopy weirdo even if they did know me. I tried to do something of the sort recently and finally just let it drop, and then it struck me later that I really did feel rejected by it. Which, when you look at it objectively, is truly insane. This is a person I didn’t know but wanted to, genuinely, as a friend.

Frank says I’m the most extroverted introvert he knows. I asked him what he meant. He said I’ll talk to people in public, try to make people laugh or cheer people up–don’t have a problem doing that with complete strangers, but once I’m home, trying to get me out again is almost impossible. And that’s true. Once I’m home, especially once it’s dark, I tend to barnacle myself back into my little corner where my computer is or in my chair is and either read or write. I’m fine if he wants to go out, but chances are I’ll stay home. I’m not sure exactly why–if it’s learned behavior from when I had panic attacks or what. I haven’t had a full blown panic attack in over twenty years, but I’ve been much more anxious and have been taking extra medication because right now I’m doing a lot of things out of  my comfort zone. All of these meetings, going to places for Voc Rehab are things I’m not used to–possibly because I have to take the initiative by having to find somewhere I’ve never been before, find the place (I get lost a lot when I’m driving to new places), and then go in and babble until I can manage to string together something coherent that will get me pointed in the right direction.

I try not to be too extroverted at work, well, when I did work, because most of my co-workers didn’t get my sense of humor–and there was one woman who was like the Pig Pen of despair and doom; that really drove me crazy. I mean, I’m the one with all the problematic mental illness for the classroom, yet I was still one of the most cheerful people there, at least at the beginning before they decided to fix me with a ‘plan of assistance.’ I have to confess that I’m a little curious what that would have looked like. And what hospital would the brain transplant be at? And after the brain transplant, does that mean I might be treated a little more humanely? <g> Being rejected by someone who hasn’t made it a secret that they dislike you isn’t so bad, it’s all the stabbing in the back I don’t care for. That’s not to say everyone was bad–there was one woman in my last classroom I liked very much, and hey, little S., I hope things are going well with you and everything’s getting straightened out. You rock, little dude!

What truly bugged me was that I wanted to explain why I had the slow processing, etc, and I debated whether I should say anything. I didn’t want anyone thinking it was because it was out of disrespect or deliberately ignoring them, so I finally decided to explain a little, and it was a little like talking to Stepford Wives bobble-heads. That rejection didn’t hurt so much as make me angry. It reminded me of something one of the students would say when he didn’t want to work: “OK, bye bye, see ya.” I’d been dismissed by my own co-workers (except the one, bless her).

I don’t mean to sound sorry for myself or like I’m asking for pity (jeez, I hope I sound sound like that, I practiced whining on Frank yesterday, but the laughing didn’t help). It’s just things like this that I’m sure happen to everybody. If they don’t, I want to know your secret. Pretend I have Lily Allen singing “F*ck You” on a loop in my head? That might work, actually. <g> As long as I didn’t start singing it out long, which I don’t suppose I’d have to worry about, because my memory for lyrics is terrible. Choruses are repeated a lot, so sometimes I remember those better. Oops. That’s the part I shouldn’t sing.

It would only work for the people I didn’t care about, though. I need to move on, remember that I can come across as scary, even though everyone I know thinks I’m nice. My best friend in the world is awesome, hands down. He may be afraid he occupies that position, sometimes, but unfortunately, as the person who has known me longest of my friends (twenty three years, give or take) he knows me best and accepts me at my worst. I do wish I hadn’t messed up the one I did. Oh well, is all I can say. Communicating across the internet is a tricky business when you don’t know the other person.

I only have one observation left for the moment. My weather gizmo at the bottom of the browser (Firefox) has what I know is supposed to be a thunderstorm, but looks instead like a globular grey walrus with no tusks, extremely fluffy whiskers, and a lightening strike for a tongue. I may have discovered a new Pokemon character. I call dibs. Walruffus, electric, air, distant cousin to Pikachu. Wait. There’s no way a mouse and a walrus can be related. Scratch that last bit. He and Pikachu occasionally have tea together. Only outdoors and with parasols.

 

Do you ever wonder…

If you have some sort of creature, be it a guardian angel or a little devil type creature, or anything else you care to put in that position of “looking out for you?” If so, what is its real intent? I am beginning to wonder. In the past few days I have lost several posts I was making on other sites, one quite a long one, just by accidentally hitting the wrong button, or, in this case, a login incident. I thought they were somewhat clever posts, so was this a result of my own hubris, the fact they were deleted accidentally? Or was it an accident? If you’re of the viewpoint that everything in life is pre-determined, then I was supposed to delete those posts.

It also means I was supposed to have that creepy dream about working in a toy shop with strange puzzles with pieces missing. Am I the strange puzzle with the pieces missing? It could be because of the whole looking for a job thing and taking these classes about being positive, etc. It’s hard to keep positive when you’re trying to get up to 60 wpm on a typing test so you can get a certificate and you can’t. I used to be a very good typist, until I hurt my elbow and my left ring finger and pinky don’t work properly anymore. I’m content, two years later, with how fast I type for myself. To be a transcriptionist, however, you need to be able to type at a minimum of 60 wpm, which used to be a piece of cake for me. My average was 75-80 wpm, sometimes faster.

Truthfully, I never thought it would matter, a typing certificate. The only reason I’m so annoyed about it is because I can’t do it at the moment. I practice and I get worse. I worked my hand some with the theraputty I have. If I try again today it won’t be until this evening. Is it destined that I get one, or not? Is there a fork quivering in the path of my destiny, anticipating whether or not I can produce a piece of paper with the number 60 or higher on it? Yes, you should quake in fear, you implement of gluttony, and for those of us who can’t use chop sticks! I’ll show you!

OK, that was a little childish. But I had fun.

Speaking of destiny, I think I may be forced to go Pro soon on WordPress. I have no idea what exactly that means, but I am under the vague impression that it gives me more space. I can’t imagine that I’m running out of space, but it looked sort of like it. I’ve never actually hit the button. Oh, it says “Go Premium,” not pro. I haven’t gotten any warnings yet. “Resistance is futile! If you wish to continue to inhabit this domicile, you must Go Premium!” My car doesn’t even get premium.

I’m not even sure what I wanted to post, other than frustration at having accidentally deleted two posts elsewhere and not being able to get my typing speed up to speed. Ha ha ha. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to type at all with any amount of speed, so for myself, I’m happy I can type as fast as I can, which seems to fall in the 45-55 wpm range. Considering my left hand’s unwillingness to follow, that’s not too bad. Actually, what it is, I think, is that I’m so used to using a computer, when I make a mistake, I automatically go back and fix it, which you’re not supposed to do on typing tests. I know that, but I also know when I’ve made a mistake, so there’s this second long battle that goes on in my brain–“go back and fix the mistake” and “keep going, the computer will still count it as an error.” I think they should modernize typing tests to reflect that. How many people just do that automatically when  they make a mistake? But meanwhile, that little second-long argument has gotten my rhythm off, and I’m not typing smoothly anymore, so if it happens in the first line, I’m sunk.

Not literally. I have a very strong suspicion the rest of my life is not based on whether or not I can manage to get a typing certificate. If that were true, I really might try going out and joining the sloths in the wild. But I’d have nowhere to plug in my Kindle. Bummer.

Have no Fear

Keep calm we're all mad I found this in an image search, and I believe it came from a very clever person on tumblr. I have a similar thing as a signature for my email, only it says “Keep Calm and Release the Kraken.” There was a nifty little site that you could make anything up and put your own saying in.

I realized I should really try to put up at least one post a week. Truly, I’m being downright neglectful. And when I came here this evening, I realized I’d never logged out from the last time I was here.

I have been busy writing a short story for the M/M Romance group on Goodreads. It’s roughly 12,800 words, so I did manage to keep it manageable. I’ve finished it, and I should really be editing it right now. I printed out a copy because I was going to be out and about and was going to work on it some then, and this made me think about the difference between editing solely on the computer, which is what I usually do, and actually having a hard copy in front of you. One reason I stopped printing out hard copies was that the manuscripts were so long, sometimes up to 800 pages. That’s a ream and a half of paper and a lot of toner (although my printer is lying to me right now–it keeps saying the toner is low and I just put it in. I’m going to have to take the cartridge out and shake it around some more). I used to buy paper by the case, and having the laser printer does make things faster. It does make me nervous, having lived in two houses built in the 50’s or earlier, where the wiring is a little squiggly, when I turn the printer on and the lights in the house dim for a few seconds. It also sounds like a Cesna getting ready for takeoff, and the clunks it makes are worrisome. I think the third cylinder might be misfiring. Oh, wait. That’s my car. The check engine light came on and sits there and stares at me, demanding to be taken to the garage to be read by the little computerized gizmo. Last time it was the 3rd cylinder misfiring. I don’t know how I remembered that when I can’t remember where I put important paperwork.

But back to the topic of editing. I thought I was doing a good job editing online, and I still think I do, but I think I see things better when they’re printed out, and this is even after reading on my Kindle for months. I’ve transferred the document to my Kindle, actually, and done some editing there through Dropbox. It’s possible when you turn the Kindle on its side so the keys are a little bigger. I’ve written reviews on it before. The story is only 37 pages, so I didn’t feel too badly about printing it out. Possibly the equivalent of our Charlie Brown Christmas tree we had one year. Seriously. We had a road kill tree when I was a teenager one year. It was sort of like a flattish, medium sized frond. My family always did such strange things we were just sort of “OK, this is the tree.” Possibly because when we lived in Costa Rica, there were no evergreens, and my dad built a Christmas tree, sort of fit slot A into slot B, and painted it green. In the shape of Christmas trees you color when you’re in elementary school (see, I didn’t precisely know this, since I was home schooled until 6th grade). Now it all seems very matter of fact that the little swoopy shape of Christmas trees is how they’re supposed to look, but I’ve worked in elementary schools now and seen the pictures on the wall.

Backing away from the subject of trees–actually, one more tree thing. In my last classroom, there was a little first grader who would head immediately into this huge fir that was easily 12′ around. The first time, I started to follow him, then realized that was ridiculous. He is much smaller than me and could just weave around those branches like a squirrel. I’ve had to develop a mom voice over the years, which was hard for me. It worked with varying degrees of success. I said, “[student’s name], you get out of that tree right now!” and he shot out like he’d been catapulted. I was amazed. He always came out when I asked him to. I think he remembered that I’d worked with him for a little while the year before when he was in Kindergarten and he was like a little piece of never ending popcorn–up and down in his seat, literally climbing shelves to get to toys he wanted, at recess throwing himself off the tallest playground toys he could find… He scared me to death (not literally, obviously) as a Kinder, but he was so much better in 1st grade, and all the playground equipment was so much shorter, I just let him drop off of anything but the tallest bars. He would listen when I asked him to be careful. I loved working with him even though he could be so frustrating. We’d be sitting at our desk working and he’d suddenly say, “I just can’t take this anymore!” One day I told him I couldn’t really, either, but we still needed to do the work.

This is a little rambling. I am in a transitioning space. I quit my job because my mental health (hence the above image) was suffering, All this time, while working with individuals with disabilities, moderate to severe, I hadn’t really considered the fact that I do have mental illness and it is considered a disability. That is still sort of sinking in. At work they were treating my symptoms as something they could treat with a “plan of assistance,” which wasn’t possible unless they intended to procure a new brain somewhere, and with my luck, they’d get Abby Normal’s. I was given an unfavorable observation report and the list of the teacher’s complaints, all having to do with my mental conditions, and I just kept thinking, “This is it, I quit.” And I did. That was a Thursday. That night a wrote a very fluffy letter of resignation attempting not to burn any bridges (although truthfully the place I worked for already has steady streams of smoke rising on its own), emailed it to everyone it concerned, and took a hard copy to my supervisor the next day (after my teacher let me leave early–she was surprised I had come in at all. ??). So I’m in the process of going through Vocational Rehabilitation, trying to find and/or get the skills to get a job that is more suited to me, more accommodating to my needs. I still want to work, I just legitimately need something where I’m not around a lot of people and stress, because that’s when the problem starts. I had no problem with the kids, I miss them so much. It was my co-workers, the teacher, and everyone else. They don’t know how to deal with mental illness. They can’t see it, touch it, so for all they know I’m just making it up. It’s a little funny that I was in a job working with students with disabilities, and then I ended up being discriminated against because of my own disability. I’m not going to whine about it. It just makes things different. I’ve been dealing with parts of this for nearly thirty years, it’s just gotten worse as I’ve gotten older (and I thought acting immature would keep it under control). <g> Knowing that I’m eligible for special services (most likely) because of it. It just feels weird. I had a meeting with the Voc Rehab counselor, and some jobs we identified that I could train for were as a proofreader, possibly a low on the rung editor, medical transcription (depending on my typing speed–left hand still a little wonky from elbow injury and those two fingers not working so well–still don’t use pinky to type, but I’ve sort of made up for it–I think I can use it for shift and a. I looked. I can) given that I need to take medical terminology again, or medical billing, and I’ll keep looking to see if I can find more real things, not the “I’ve made $10,000 in a week” sort of stuff. <g>

Anyway, hard copy vs. on a computer. I don’t like entering changes from a paper copy into the computer, which is another reason I like doing the editing directly on the computer. I don’t do the tracking stuff, I just save the previous edit and number the next one sequentially so I have a copy of what it was before the next changes are made. I need to learn the tracking, for Word and Scrivener.

I haven’t written a short story in a while, and I’m pretty happy with this one. I didn’t think I was capable of writing a short story. Frank reminded me that I am supposed to be editing now, not additing. So far all I’ve done is taken things out. That’s good. I hope. Except there are three snakes in it and it sort of wants me want to get a snake. I have issues with the feeding, which will probably be what keeps from from doing it. The species I chose to use was Boa constrictor imperator, and they’re beautiful. Supposed to be pretty friendly if they get the handling they need, which is why they’re popular, and stay fairly small, rarely over 4′ long and about 13 lbs. There’s a part of me that’s always wanted a snake, it was always the feeding thing that got in the way. I had to feed a friend’s snake when he died, while trying to find a new home for him, and that was traumatic on all counts.

Well, gee. I meant to talk more about editing. I did get a copy of The Copyeditor’s Handbook. My dictionary is telling me that Copyeditor’s is spelled wrong. I find that a little funny. The book’s right here. I checked, because I thought that would look really stupid if I made a mistake on the title. Tribbles. The dictionary doesn’t know that one either. Platypus. Ok, it knows platypus, so the world is safe. Of the three, which is the most (or is it more? I’m questioning myself on everything now) important: copyeditors, tribbles, or platypi. Is that the plural? It doesn’t like that. So you can only have one platypus. Some days that’s just the way it goes.

Demotivational Posters

Demotivational Posters

Trouble With Tribbles - Star Trek