Tag Archives: revising

When Groups Go Horribly Wrong

I have been trying to get over this in my own way, but without talking about it, and it isn’t working. It was only yesterday, although it seems longer ago than that. I suppose because it was so intense.

Tea PartyEveryone has all these warnings about meeting friends online: they could be stalkers, they could be pretending to be someone else, they could be chainsaw wielding mass murderers…they could be “bad people.”

What if something happens, and a little of the above is true, say, they could be pretending to be someone else, but they have a reason for it, one they can’t control. Say, a mental illness, possibly on top of a lot of other confusions in their life, which triggered a massive breakdown.

I was in a group that I absolutely loved. I could be myself, it was a small group, and it felt like a little family in a sense. I felt at home there. Then, one night, the moderator, who we all loved, disappeared. Just simply vanished without a trace, without an explanation, nothing. Disturbing is the least shocking feeling many of us felt. Among betrayal, shock, sadness… One of the now co-moderators said that we were basically ungrateful, that he had left without saying anything because he cared too much to say goodbye. I didn’t really think much of it at the time. That was on June 11th. A couple of days later a new moderator appeared, a mystery moderator, dressed in a suit with a question mark face. I think I can say with relative certainty that this unsettled many of us. Everything started to slowly break apart–there were rumors that it was the previous moderator who had come back–who had never left, and the two co-moderators were entirely fictitious characters he had started. There had been an outbreak of sock puppet one star raters earlier, so that was another consideration. The fact was that no one knew, and people were becoming distrustful. This distrust was sharply rebuffed by the co-moderators, who said they were real.

Yesterday everything came to a head. There was a group, the one that I agreed with, who didn’t care what the new moderator looked like, we just wanted to know what kind of person he was. He had already changed the rules: it had been, “No criticizing other members.” Now it was “No criticizing other members or the moderator.” He kept deflecting the issue and questions about his personality into whether or not people wanted him with or without a face. Finally he was called on it in such a manner that he had to reveal himself. Our group was mostly gay man and straight women. He was straight and married, so he said. He was rude and lascivious in his greeting to me–all three of the men, all gay, had made comments about me in one way or another. I didn’t really think of it at the time, that all three had said something. After all, what are the chances of that happening? Upon reflection, not very high. The possible reasons

for that I’m not going to go into here. Upon further questions, he started to break a little at a time, someone who knew him well tried to talk to him, someone who knew who he was and his past. The moderator proceeded to ban a couple of people from the group. We knew something was really wrong, and told him he could contact any of us who was there–I sent him a private message–he was already somewhat delusional and accused me of something to do with one of the co-moderators which wasn’t true, told me he was blocking me because he didn’t want to play that game, and was going to advice that specific co-moderator to do the same. I tried to reach them repeatedly. One blocked me immediately, the other said he was sick of conspiracy theories and then blocked me. They still aren’t receiving messages today.

The new moderator, who is the old moderator, is still there. He might stay now, when he was threatening to leave yesterday. Who knows. I left the group. There seemed to be something specific against me, although I’m not entirely sure what. I had gotten along fine with the old moderator and both of the co-moderators. But that isn’t the most important thing I have to say.

The most important thing I have to say is that yes, sometimes group moderators are bad people, creepy people, people who otherwise couldn’t get anyone to talk to them, slimy people you’d never approach if you were walking down the street.

Our moderator was NOT one of those people, Even now, he’s NOT one of those people. He’s mentally ill and needs help. I’m mentally ill too, I can empathize with him. Going into a full-blown episode on line is not something I would want to happen to me, and I wish he had professional help. He needs it, because he’s a loving, caring, sweet and kind man. He did things I know he wouldn’t like knowing he did. Things I know I would forgive him for because they were said while he was in a manic state and he can’t really be held responsible for that, I believe. Whether or not the other people he hurt forgive him, that’s a personal decision on their part, and I couldn’t blame them for going either way. It was hurtful.

As for the co-moderators, you did a fine job of not co-moderating, which leads me to believe you are constructs. If you’re not, you should be ashamed of yourselves. All you had to do was read what was happening on the board to see the truth. There is no excuse for not intervening if you are real. If you want people to believe you, make them believe you. If you are real, try to talk your new “Co-Moderator” into getting some help instead of running roughshod over everyone, including the two of you. Setting your profiles to private and not receiving messages doesn’t really engender faith in the truthfulness of your identities.

Just remember that sometimes there are people in groups who are not “bad,” they just need help. Mental illness isn’t contagious, you won’t get cooties from it, or if someone sneezes on you. Have empathy for the person, let them know you care, even if they tell you you’re lying. What you’re saying is getting into some niche in there. Don’t write them off as a bad person, though, because they’re not. They just need help.

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.

What? Explain this please.

APNewsBreak: Flaws found in US missile shield

I know, another deviation. But I do write about espionage, when I remember to, and honestly, did we just announce this to the world? As a breaking event?

“WASHINGTON (AP) — Secret Defense Department studies cast doubt on whether a multibillion-dollar missile defense system planned for Europe can ever protect the U.S. from Iranian missiles as intended, congressional investigators say.

Military officials say they believe they can overcome the problems and are moving forward with plans. But proposed fixes could prove difficult. One possibility has been ruled out as technically unfeasible. A second, relocating missile interceptors planned for Poland and possibly Romania to ships on the North Sea, could be diplomatically troublesome.

The studies are the latest to highlight serious problems for a plan that has been criticized on several fronts.

Republicans claim it was developed hastily in an attempt to appease Russia, which had opposed an earlier system. But Russia is also critical of the plan, which it believes is really intended to counter its missiles. A series of governmental and scientific reports has raised questions about whether it would ever work as planned.”

No, it will never work as planned. People can point at me and laugh if it does, and call me a great naysayer. Just look at the places listed here that we’re trying to place missile interceptors. Yes, it could prove diplomatically troublesome. Or should that be with a capital T? And I don’t quite blame Russia for being critical, but why would they say they believe it’s really intended to counter its missiles? ARE they planning on launching missiles at us? Should that be a cause for concern? I’d be more worried about them than Iran, personally. I think bears are stronger than eagles. But, to prove their point, why WOULD we set up a missile defense system solely for the purpose of keeping Iranian missiles out? There are plenty of other countries upset with us who are developing the technology.

But to return to Russia. I’m sure they are thinking about Russia’s comments in Washington. It’s the whole thing about Russia’s believing the shield is really intended to counter its missiles. For them to mention it means they’ve thought about it. Or at least for us to believe that’s their concern means we think they’ve considered it. Don’t poke big bears with sticks. It makes them grumpy and they don’t like it. I just wish we could get along with Russia without so much suspicion, but I could tell that was ending when they cut off all US adoptions a few months ago–that seemed a pretty telling sign, a little worrisome. After all, you don’t want to be sending your children to a country you might attack, right? Other than major things like that, I haven’t been following them too closely, which I probably should be (just following all the important developments in the news is a full-time job in itself). I am guessing, however, they do not announce every military setback to their version of AP news. Secrets are secrets.

But back to this whole missile system. Why don’t we have a tea party (a real one, not the political party), invite the whole world, and have a powerpoint presentation just telling everyone exactly what the weaknesses are, just to save everyone the trouble of trying to find out later. But oh, wait. We’re already announcing it on the news. Why bother having the tea party. And who is the Mat Hatter at this tea party? I think we’ve fallen down another hole. Good grief. It’s like letting people know there is no film in the cameras at spotlights to take pictures of the speeders (thank you, Register Guard). There are some things people can safely live without knowing, they’re still deterrents. The military can say “Oh, we’re thinking of redesigning it,” without saying “OHMYGODTHRY’REGOINGTOKILLUS.” I loved one of the comments. “Patton and Eisenhower would have loved to see this.” Doesn’t anyone know what a SECRET is anymore? Someone else had a comment very similar to mine, “Why don’t we just tell North Korea, etc. etc.” Unless they’re trying reverse psychology. Which I personally don’t think they’d do. I don’t think they need a shield, well, a shield of sorts, but it could cause a lot of problems if they didn’t have very accurate technology. They need a bouncy shield that will lob missiles back where they came from, following it’s original coordinates to the US–sort of like GoogleMaps reverse directions. But they need to be more accurate than GoogleMaps (I would hope the military has the technology. Geez. Idiots. They need Scotland’s most powerful wizards). We wouldn’t want to accidentally send an Iranian missile back to hit Buckingham palace or something like that. Of course they would keep calm and carry on, but I think it might strain relations a little. An invisible bungee cord. Now _that_ would surprise them, especially if no one actually talked to the press. The military needs to talk to bouncy castle makers. Now. And discuss making them out of tensile steel and kevlar. Those could do well in openly warring countries. I’m tired of hearing people dying when parties are attacked, especially weddings. At least the children would be safe in super teched up bouncy castles.

At this point, the children, always our future to start with, are rapidly becoming our future sooner than we thought they’d be. The adults are killing each other off at an astounding rate, and a lot of innocent people are dying. Um, Russia, Syria? Just telling them to stop didn’t seem to work, and neither did sending them to their rooms. Peace talks didn’t work–it’s not a good sign when guns start to go off in the middle of them. I recognize your reluctance to get involved, probably for many more reasons than I comprehend. But look at the US (I know, it’s painful)–we launch ourselves with full gusto into situations that are based on “saving democracy” (read in any natural resource we need) but are suddenly deaf when it comes to humanitarian issues. Be the better country and help for the right reasons with the recognition that none of the greater amount of fighting is going to stop until Assad is out of power. He’s delusional. Maybe he’s the Mad Hatter. No one is used to you doing that, and it looks like you’re taking an isolationist approach, except for the possibility of the thought of launching missiles at us.

I’m so bloody sick of missiles, firearms of any type. I would love a day that they suddenly just stopped working. No guns would fire, no grenades would go off, no missiles would launch.

Speaking of firearms. There is a man (forgive me for not knowing exactly who or what position he holds, but it’s a higher up position in the state government, I believe) who is wanting to give more funding to help the mentally ill. Being one of these, I can say “yay” at the idea. Mental illness is an invisible disability–you can’t see it or touch it, so therefore it must not exist. Trust me, it does. His motivations behind this altruistic gesture of more funding to help the mentally ill? School shootings. I will agree that some sort of mental illness probably factors into the equation. School shootings are a tragedy, and I don’t mean to make light of that. But how many people in the general population suffer from mental illness who are not school shooters? I think we’d prefer not to be lumped in or identified with violence (my apologies if that isn’t the case and I’ve misunderstood, but my skimming of the articles is probably as much as most people who have bothered to look at them–other than the people following it more closely, so if that’s the impression I have, I’m not sure what other people think). It was suggested by the man that money be raised to fund this project (?) by placing a tax on beer and wine. For once, I have to defend the beer and wine industry, here. There are many, many alcoholics, and many of them are self-medicating due to mental illness. I would hesitantly say that in general they might act frightening but would hopefully not actually harm anyone, because from my experience, their goal is to drink until they pass out. My idea was to put a tax on firearms. They’re at least more directly related to the situation. And if people go nuts over that idea, (guns don’t kill people, people kill people), should we tax or fine the shooter? If they were mentally ill, we’d be taxing the mentally ill to collect the money to fund programs for the mentally ill. That sounds…absolutely insane. I know the above scenario is absurd, but I am glad that attention is being given to the mentally ill. We have been put in the “Don’t know what to do with” folder for long enough. If our illness is severe enough that we are a danger to others or ourselves, the answer’s clear, hospitalize us. But after that, everything’s grey. I have gone most of my life not even thinking of myself as mentally ill, falling into the “you can’t see it, you can’t touch it” trap, and because of working with individuals with sometimes very severe physical disabilities and mental impairments. I had my own ways of coping with what I considered “problems” I had. I wish the idea that I was had hit me earlier, because then I might have learned to take care of myself better so I could protect myself better, keep myself from reaching a stage where I would fall apart. People don’t talk about it because of the stigma attached to it. I know about the stigma, which is why I tell the people I work with about it, so they’ll know and realize that wow, they didn’t even notice. People fight labels for just that reason, they are labels and often others don’t look past them. I think the best way to get past labels is to use them and break them, the concept behind the disability rights group People First. I think it’s especially important for mental illness and learning disorders–just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. We’re not going to go off our meds to prove to you they are there. Just try to have a more open mind (ha ha) about it, have faith in things you can’t see. But, now back to our regularly scheduled program.

I was reading about the development of the way battles were fought–first as sort of unorganized mobs, eventually leading to more organization as the military leaders grey more skilled at strategy, turning to trench warfare in WWI. It was no wonder it was called The Great War, the War to End All Wars, because that was a hellish war (not that the ones after weren’t). It was the first war the machine gun was used in (I believe early Howitzers were around during the Boer War, it just wasn’t the environment to use them). No wonder people hoped that would be the last war. It killed off generations of young men on both sides. But they ended it badly–I can’t help but wonder if they hadn’t humiliated Germany so badly if the circumstances leading to WWII would have unfolded differently. If Hitler would have been able to rise to power, or if Hellboy could have stopped him. My imaginary world is crossing with the real one again, isn’t it? I was also reading about the naming of battles (that was how I got started). Only actual battles were names, the others that were deemed actions, skirmishes, or other small fights weren’t given names. Gallipoli actually had another name given by the Turkish on their side. King Henry V would meet with a French chronicler after a battle so they would have the same name on both side, hence the Battle of Agincourt had the same name on the English and the French sides. The Battle of Waterloo was so confused some of the officers weren’t even sure it would be deemed a battle or not, yet it turned the whole course of Napoleon’s war efforts, defeated him as an emperor, and yes, later was counted as a battle. They were often named after places, rarely after years, often after landmarks, but named after the action had taken place to determine it’s status.

Anyway, not so sure anyone wanted to know that, I just thought it was interesting. I never learned anything about how battles were named in school, it just came up because of some of Helena’s homework, which I think I possibly had more fun researching (when I was supposed to simply be editing a journal entry written from the perspective of a woman who was a nurse during the American Revolution, then I’d find a word and look it up to see if it was being used them…I got a little carried away. I think she appreciated it?) than she did.

Her assignment, however, reminded me of a series of books that were made into a miniseries by the BBC based on Vera Brittain’s experiences as a nurse during WWI (I am sort of drawn to that war in particular, possibly because I’m interested in the time period as well). Her brother, her fiance, and her brother’s best friend all joined up, so she became a nurse. I won’t say much about it here other than it’s very good but sad. Chronicle of Youth is the diary that the more popular Testament of Youth is based on. Chronicle of Youth is from the years 1913-1917.

Switching subjects again and returning to Hellboy, in Hellboy II, at the auction near the beginning of the movie, there is a box the tooth fairies are in, with a circular mechanism opening the door to let them out. I don’t know how many people looked closely at the design on the circle, but I did and I fell in love with it. Frank got me the book of the art of Hellboy II so I could have a good picture of it (I had photocopied some from the library’s copy) because I had the idea I wanted to get a tattoo of it at some point. I am very particular about my tattoos. I only have three, and I have considered each one for a time before even having them done. These are going to be with me the rest of my life, and I want to make sure they have meaning for me. I may be impulsive about some things, but not tattoos. Not that there’s anything wrong that, I’m just cautious. Then I have to pick out where I’m going to have it done. Then I actually have to have the money to have it done. I was doing an image search trying to find it, because the photocopies flew away somewhere, and the only thing I found was the same pattern, only reversed (it’s a black and white pattern–in the movie it’s deep red and gold) and I think I actually like the reversed pattern better:  (for one thing, less tattooing–imagine this reversed, that’s a lot of black ink–Frank has no tattoos, and I started to explain the process, but he stopped me. This is why I have the medical reference books I can use to get information for the Healers in my books, and he sees me looking at them and won’t come over).

Tattoo pattern

Tattoo pattern

Anyway, I think it’s a very nice pattern, and it would go on the back of my left shoulder. I haven’t put anything on my back before, because I like to be able to see what is there. It also makes it harder to hide, not that I would go around in spaghetti straps at work, but a tank top–no, probably not that, either. I take pretty good care of them–the black one I have on my ankle still looks good and doesn’t need retouching after about ten years. The shoulder would be harder since it’s in the sun more–heavy duty sun block.

I had both ankles done in Santa Rosa, CA at Inky Cells Tattoo–very good artist, Dana, there. I would highly recommend her. http://inkycellstattooco.com/  

She works with you if you have a design you want, and she doesn’t do gang tattoos. Every person I have referred to her, if they’ve gotten another tattoo, has gone back to her.

My cat on my wrist I had done in Eugene at Black Lotus, but the artist who did it, Joy, is gone now, I think. I was looking a little at online portfolios–what I really would like to find is someone who does tribal and celtic, I think, because I want the strong black, but this doesn’t have the strong lines tribal usually has, it’s more delicate, but not as twisty as celtic–sort of celtic meets art nouveau meets arabian. I find I tend to get tattoos when there has been some upheaval in my life and I feel things are changing. (That’s why I have to be selective and pick the changes, otherwise I’d be covered from head to foot), and I want someone sensitive to that. See, I have very few demands. LOL

Being unemployed at the moment makes getting it right now a little frivolous, although I do feel strongly about it and will eventually get it. And I have no idea who flipped the pattern and made the reverse, but it was an excellent idea, and thank you. It’s not like I’m a wuss, but I’m not a masochist, either. I don’t get the big endorphin rush people talk about when they’re getting a tattoo. I just sit there and try not to twitch. Which is much harder to do when you’re consciously trying not to do it.

I didn’t mean to go into that at all. I think a lot of my paragraphs start that way. BTW, I was not diagnosed with ADD, just a little high in some areas. Which means the way my brain jumps around is just normal for me. I am slowly going forward in book 2, which has a new name. Did I say that? It’s now Roumouth Rising, because the Cael’an aren’t going to be in it at all, that’s book 3. So now instead of editing the last half, I’m going to have to write it. I have a lot of things churning around, so I don’t think it will be too hard. I hope. I am going to try to stick to a reasonable plot that I won’t throw out in horror. There are a lot of possibilities open for plotlines right now.

If there are any Scrivener people out there, I have a pressing question: I copied the last edit into a new project and am completely re-editing it. It’s saving what I’m writing, because that’s what it’s opening up when I open it up. But when I compile it and export it, it’s the old document, and when I hover the mouse over the chapter numbers in the bar on the left, it’s giving me the beginning of the old edit, not the new one. Why is it doing this? I haven’t visited the forums yet–this is my first plea for help, which I am always reluctant to do because I’m stubborn and determined to figure things out on my own. As I’m getting older I’m realizing that’s a waste of time and I should just ask for help, because someone probably has the answer already, and I don’t need to try to figure out for hours what someone else already knows. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I just need to know what I did wrong, and I admit Scrivener is smarter than me and I did watch the tutorials (another thing I never used to do).

I’ve also started asking where things are in stores, another big step. I think it’s because I either don’t have as much time as I used to, or I have more to do and need to just get on with it. Plus, it’s dangerous to just let me wander in an office supply store, say. I can quickly find all sorts of things I don’t need. I don’t think I’m a normal woman–I don’t go crazy in clothes departments or jewelry departments, but leave me with paperclips with patterns on them (patterns are big with me) and accordion sticky notes in fascinating colors and I could stand there for a good amount of time. And desk organizers. I don’t have room on my desk for a desk organizer, but I do love a well made desk organizer. Wooden, not the meshy ones.

And lately–longer than lately, I’ve just never looked into it seriously, and I mentioned it and Frank spent the rest of the evening looking at them online–I have been interested in throwing knives. Madeleine and Geoffrey both can do it. Shouldn’t I at least try? Hopefully not at the risk of small creatures outdoors. Or neighbors. I need something like a horse’s stall to put the target in. Run a red flag up a pole so they’ll know I’m outside and armed. Someone would probably call 911. I don’t want ninja knives, I’m not a ninja. There are some like playing cards, so I could pretend to be Gambit (the more sharp edges the better). A conversation ensued after that with me arguing that he didn’t use metal cards, he used regular cards and he was just using his superpowers. I guess I was really the only one arguing, because Frank didn’t disagree. Helena had no idea what we were talking about so she just kept reading. Frank doesn’t particularly like Gambit. I do, because he’s sort of a rogue (no pun intended) and a little unpredictable. Like Wolverine, in some ways, other than the fact that Wolverine is much more indestructible and has much better comebacks.

Alright, this is just getting silly now.

New Post in Writing Page

I put a link in to a post from Patricia Wrede about revising, which is where I’m at right now, and found it particularly interesting and useful.