Mental Health Day

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 12:58 pm
rolanni: (Default)

People have been behaving badly on the internet.  What a surprise.

I'm reminded of a story I read once, true or not, who knows, which was to the effect that, when switchboards first became a Thing, the newly-organized phone company had initially hired boys as operators, because -- cheap labor.  Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that something about having all that access acted on boys like catnip on cats; they began pranking callers, and just in general behaving badly.  Couldn't seem to help themselves, really, poor things.  So the phone companies fired the boy operators and hired women, because -- cheap labor.  And that worked out much better for all concerned.

Personally, I think there's a genetic disposition, a kind of allergy to electrons, so that when people with this allergy are exposed to this allergen, they behave as badly as possible.  Remove the electrons, and they revert to being perfectly innocuous and civilized members of society.


In other news, I've taken up meditation, as part of my project to avoid a Major Depressive Incident, such as I experienced last year.  As we all know, depression makes us stupid, and I'm still finding errors that I made during the last (really bad, by my standards; maybe one of the Biggest since records started to be kept, some 40 years ago) -- some serious, but none, thank ghod, fatal, though one was particularly scary.  So, anyway, despite a lifetime of crash-burn-rise-up-eventually-slighty-sooty, I'm now trying to alter the pattern, and to be proactive.  Which means, yes, meditation, and also ruthlessly slashing toxic -- and even perennially irritating -- people out of my life.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, expect to see me less.  I'll try to pick back up posting more regularly here (this blog is mirrored at Eagles Over the Kennebec).  I love you all, but -- survival is important to the appearance of more stories.

So, that.

Yesterday, Steve and I took a mental health day.  We went down to Old Orchard Beach, where it was foggy and windy(!) and too chilly to sit on the beach and read, which had been my Plan A.  We did a short beach walk, then went down to Wells, where it was also foggy and windy(!), and stood around on the public landing, watching the kites, and Steve took pictures with his new camera.

After, we crossed over to Sanford, and stopped for lunch at the Cockpit Cafe at the airport.  And there we saw George W. Bush arrive, and board the (Embraer Legacy twin-jet) plane that had been waiting for him.

On the way home from Sanford, we made one more ocean stop -- at Pine Point -- and then came home, where I continued the electron-free theme (not totally true, since I'm reading an ebook), until it was time for the evening meal, a glass of wine and a chapter read outloud from The Cat Who Saw Red (yeah, it's a re-read; we decided to do the Cat Who's in order to follow Qwilleran's arc).

This morning, I baked peasant olive bread while Steve went to cardio-gym, and also figured out the penultimate scene in the cheater story.

I may not have reported here that I bought myself a chair side table (a so-called C-table) for the reading corner.

Here are some pictures:

This first was taken when the table came home. At the time the photo was snapped, it had been in the house for less than five minutes:

This is what the table looks like, unadorned:

And here is Sprite, reasserting her claim:

rolanni: (Default)
It's damp and cold-ish and all my old war wounds ache. Did this stop me from opening the window next to my desk so I could hear the rain? What a silly question.
In other news, my loaf didn't rise as high as one would personally prefer, but! we have proof of concept in that I Can Indeed bake a 9" loaf of bread in the new toaster oven, which just impresses the heck outta me. Also, Steve made mushroom stock this morning, and this afternoon I heated it, with leftover jasmine rice, a cup full of red lentils, and some carrots, and called it Lunch.
Verizon wants me to know that I now have HD Voice for my phone and that I can now make phone calls through the web, nice. I guess.
And! I have an idea for a story which is not the story I'm supposed to be working on. Of course.
There's a coon cat snoring under my desk.
So, yanno. Bidness as usual here at the Confusion Factory.
And hoping you're the same.


Friday, September 16th, 2016 03:17 pm
rolanni: (perplexed)

So, it appears that I have Utterly Forgotten everything about this book in 12 short days, so my first order of bidness, on Get Back To Work Day is?  Rereading the manuscript.  Again.

Also, there does not appear to be a Bluetooth dongle anywhere in this house, which fact is producing a cosmic crane-load of angst.  Steve has gone out to hunt and gather and promises to bring said dongle home, but how can he be sure -- that's what I want to know.

Also, also, I finished reading Vision in Silver, only to find that the ebook edition of Marked in Flesh is $13.99, which -- no.  I guess I'll wait 'til next year to find out how long the Elders have given Simon to prove his point -- just as Simon begins to Get A Clue, may I say?

Also, also, also!  Windows has declared itself to be downloading updates for the last six hours, revving like a jet plane the while.  Steve has done Mighty Work in re resetting directories and whatall, but it hasn't seemed to appease Windows, or even convinced it to shut up so I can hear myself think.  I may be finishing this book sitting in a corner of the couch, with the nice, quiet Linux laptop.

We did visit the ocean very briefly yesterday, and came home to find a note from Baen, pointing to the Official Press Release regarding the partnership between Baen ebooks and Pinbeam Books.  Here's your link.

Everybody have a good weekend.

I'll be on the couch.


rolanni: (kitty!)

The Chaos conditions here at the Confusion Factory remain unfortunately high.  On the more-or-less positive side of the scale, the replacement for the ded phone arrived yesterday, has survived the night, and successfully found its sim card this morning.

So, fingers crossed.

Also on the plus side?  Alliance of Equals has, as of This Moment, a cool 180 reader reviews on Amazon.  That's only 20 reviews short of the 200-review goal!  Thank you, thank you!

Today, because mindless tasks are soothing in their way, I'm going to be getting all the ebook tasks that are on my plate Off of my plate and onto someone else's.

I'm also going to continue trying to bring the new phone nearer to the Look and Feel of the old phone.  One of the things that's giving me the hardest time is that my old phone -- as does the replacement phone, of course -- takes voice commands.  All you have to do is name the voice and give it a wake-up phrase.  The former phone's resident spirit was named Hasan, who is now, of course, ded.  So I'm having to cast about for a new name and phrase.  This shouldn't be difficult, but I have Grave Reservations about the probable lifetime of the replacement phone, and I don't want to be responsible for the death of another genius loci.

Well.  It doesn't have to be decided today.  Today is ebooks, and I'd better get to it.

Y'all have a good day, wherever you are.

Today's blog title brought to you by Janis Joplin, "Mercedes Benz."  Here's your link.

Here, have a picture of the coon cats, making the bed.

Coon cats not making the bed
rolanni: (Marvin's not happy)

So, the phone, she is ded.  A new phone is promised, though what kind and exactly when it will arrive have sorta been left up in the air.  I have made a note on the Calendar that Rules All to Call the Verizon store on Tuesday (sigh), if they don't call me on Monday to provide Solid Information, and, ideally, a pick-up time.

On the Silver Lining front -- had things fallen otherwise, this would have happened just as we were getting ready to leap onto a train to Kansas City.

So, that.

I dropped my broken necklace off at the jewelry store, and talked briefly with the jeweler, who says that, instead of soldering the break, and since there's such a tiny segment of chain involved, she would remove the broken bit and feed the new end into the clamp end of the clasp.  It will either be ready on Monday, or in two weeks, because she was going on vacation, and couldn't be sure she'd get to it before she left.

Dollar Store only had short spike solar lights in stock.  On the plus side, they cost just $1 apiece.

Kmart stocked solar lights which were more like what I'd had in mind -- but they want $25 for one, single light, so that's a non-starter.  Research continues.

We lost power last night, in solidarity with downtown (so to speak) Winslow, Benton, and a couple other towns I don't recall right now -- at about 9:00 pm.  The generator performed its function, and we here at the Cat Farm continued about our business, basically unimpeded.  Thanks to everyone who helped us make the generator a reality!

As of this morning, Alliance of Equals has received 169 reader reviews at Amazon!  Only 31 more until we reach our 200-reviews goal!  You guys rock!

Also, by way of a Watch the Skies:  Yesterday, we signed a contract with an ebook distributor, in order to widen the reach of Pinbeam Books.  We'll let you know when the books are available from the new distributor.

And that? Is all I've got.  Today has got to be a work day, given the hours lost to the Dying of the Phone, so I'll be shutting the internet down, directly I publish this blog entry.

Everybody stay cool.

rolanni: (Flying Monkey!)

So!  Today was a Wasted Day.

Oh, it fired a warning shot over the bows first, but there was really nothing I could've done to alter course.

The warning shot:  I opened Firebird this morning, to find letters in-queue, but! they were all empty.  Further investigation revealed an Urgent! message from Eset Security, counseling me to upgrade (for free) Right Now.  So I did that.

Or, at least, I tried to do that.

Eset reported that the install had failed. Panicked, I rebooted the machine.  The installation completed on reboot, and my mail automagically appeared in fullness.


Went out to the kitchen to get my coffee and to unplug my cellphone, which had been charging on the overnight.  Turned it on and -- No Sim Card -- read the message running along the top of the screen.  Turned the phone off.  Turned it back on.  Same result.  Took it back to my office, jacked it into the computer, turned it on. . .

No Sim Card.

Now, before anybody tells that All I Have To Have Done was open up the phone and reseat the SIM card -- I have a Droid Turbo.  If there's any way to open the case, it requires a specialized tool unavailable to the residents of the confusion factory.

Which is why I want into town, seeking the Verizon store and that specialized tool.

I had to wait about fifteen minutes for a tech, so I went to the back of the store and opened the book I had grabbed off the table on my way out the door -- Carousel Tides, by Sharon Lee.  Never heard of her, but it's a pretty good book. Which turned out to be a blessing.  While I was reading, a woman wandered by, looking at phones, as one does. She had a small, intelligent dog on a leash.  Dog saw me and thrust forward, tail wagging.  I said, "Hi, Dog," extended a hand. . .

"Don't touch him!" the woman snapped.  "He's a service dog!"

I blinked.  "He's not wearing his vest," I said, mildly.

"It's too hot for his vest," she said.  "He's all business when he has it on, and he just wants to talk to everybody when he doesn't -- but don't touch him.  He's working."

So, then.  Dog, who looked, as I say, like a fine, intelligent fellow, knows the Rules. Too bad his Boss doesn't.

Back to the book, ignoring Dog and owner.  Eventually, my name is called.  The tech -- Josh -- allows as how the phone is still under warranty, and it ought to be an easy fix, if I'd just sit back down, he'd be back in five minutes.

He was back sooner than that, saying that whatever had done the SIM card had wiped the phone's serial number on the way out, and he couldn't do the fix.  He was therefore going to have to get me a replacement phone.

Except -- you see where this is going, right?  Right.  My phone is Too Old to be stocked in the store.  Josh goes online to the Verizon Warehouse, finds one, orders it, comes back to tell me that it'll be seven days before it arrives.  I allow as how that's not exactly convenient, but a phone on the way is better than no phone at all.  He goes back to confirm the order --

And finds a message from the warehouse inventory system that -- the phone is out of stock.

He then calls Motorola.  I overheard the part of the conversation that went, "No, I am not going to tell my customer that I'll give her fifty bucks on her phone toward a new one.  Her phone is under warranty.  If you can't send her a replacement phone, I'll just give her one of the new Droids we have in stock -- I'm sorry?  OK, let's try that."

Apparently, Motorola did a remote reset, which reawakened the SIM card and re-established the serial number.  No, I don't know how that worked.  All I know is that my phone was back on-line, and All We Had To Do -- cough -- was for me to sign into Google and re-acquire my Stuff.

Except. . .Google wouldn't let me in -- I was stuck in an endless loop of "enter email/enter password" -- my email and password worked on Josh's phone, but not on mine.

Long story short, Josh called Google, which isn't as easy as you might think, and finally got through to a tech named Cora, who explained that because the phone had been reset, there was a 24-hour lockdown period before I could sign into my Google account.  Josh asked if there was any way around that, and she gave him Motorola's number.

He called Motorola, and talked to. . .somebody.  Again cutting corners -- Motorola assumes that any device that has been wiped and re-animated has been stolen -- yes, even if they have just done that Their Very Own Selves -- and no -- there is no way around the 24-hour lockdown.

So, what I have sitting on the kitchen table is currently a brick, and I won't know until tomorrow at about 1:30 in the afternoon, if it really does function now.


This whole operation consumed FIVE HOURS of my day.  I'm glad I had a good book with me, as I said.  As it was, I blew off the rest of my errands, save a quick stop at the grocery store in the same shopping center as the phone store, to pick up a quiche for lunch, and came home, where Steve said, "I wondered where you were all this time, so I sent you a text. . ."

Here's hoping that your day was considerably better than mine.

Also!  As of this writing, one month after its release date, Alliance of Equals has 163! reader reviews on, only 37 shy of our goal of 200 reviews!  That's. . .awesome.  Thank you.

Today's blog title is brought to you by the Waybacks, "Mind Your Own Business."  Here's your link.

rolanni: (Marvin's not happy)
I have not been able to reliably get into or for the last, oh, day and a half.  I'm told other people can see the public pages -- which I can't see, either -- and Down For Everyone assures me that they're up.  I just can't see them, or do any work inside the sites.

Hopefully, this will resolve itself. . .soon.

*glares at internet*

As I write this, six eChapbooks have been converted and submitted to various vendors via Draft2Digital.  They should be appearing soon at Kobo, the iStore, and other vendors.  As already stated -- all Pinbeam Book titles are now, and have been since Forever, available from BN and Amazon.

Moving on -- Alliance of Equals currently has 103! reader reviews on Amazon.  Ladies and gentlemen, we are over the hump; the hard part is done.  We need a measly 97! more reviews to hit our goal of 200.

I'm really impressed with you guys -- thank you all.

Also!  If you're looking for suggestions for good reads (and who isn't?), an astute reader pointed out this list, which!  In addition to some titles that look positively yummy for my own personal reading -- includes Alliance of Equals ; (Thanks to Mike Barker for providing the link)

The comments are also worth mining.

One expected check arrived today, which was a Good Thing, also a check that I hadn't been expecting.  This leaves three outstanding checks, and I very much hope that today's delivery has broken the streak.

I really do think that's all the news that's fit to print.  This blog will be the main blog until we can get back into Also -- yes, I am aware that the Pinbeam Books catalog page has not been update, and I'm just as frustrated by that as you are.  We'll all just have to practice patience.

A reminder about this blog -- you must be a member of LJ, signed in to LJ to comment.  The settings are inconvenient, I know (and no, I don't expect you to open an LJ account just so you can comment here) but they are also necessary to cut down on the Really Incredible Amount of spam that was coming through.

Everybody have a good weekend.

rolanni: (Alliance of Equals art by David Mattingl)

Or, to riff off of Oscar Wilde: To lose David Bowie is a tragedy; to lose David Bowie and Alan Rickman inside of one week can only be carelessness.

. . .Well.  And no one ever said that the universe cared. . .


So, today.

Today was vacuum the house day, and make lentil stew for lunch day.  Since I'm a linear girl, I was going to vacuum first, then make stew.

That plan got kicked out when Dyson (the vacuum cleaner is a Dyson, name changed from The New Vacuum a couple years ago when I realized that we'd purchased it with royalty money from Meisha Merlin, which has been closed for eight years). . .when Dyson screamed a mighty scream, which usually means that a string has gotten 'round the rollerbar, or cat fur. . .

Well, it was cat fur -- about a coon cat's worth of cat fur -- and it looked for a while there that the cats' clever plan to murder the cat-eating machine had borne fruit, because I couldn't even get the face-plate off to begin to deal with the problem.

Steve saved the day, with Trooper and Sprite close at hand, to observe the process.

I fear they may have a upgraded murder plan in the works.

While Steve was working on Dyson, I started the lentil stew, and observed progress on The Leeewit, which I had resurrected in order to try my hand at Linux one! more! time!

. . .this may require some background.

See, like Everyone Else on PC World, I have been being badgered by Microsoft for months and months, to take my "free" upgrade to Windows 10 (I run Windows 7).  In addition to being a Linear Girl, I am a Girl Who Does Not Like to Fix What Ain't Broke, and I have been ignoring these importunate messages.

However, it seems that Microsoft will eventually just be pushing 10 down as an "upgrade," which is horrifying beyond belief.  The desktop is my work machine. And though it is backed up, my life is on this machine.  I cannot risk losing anything.

So, I figured that I would install Windows 10 on Number 10 Ox, the Acer laptop, also running Windows 7 Pro, and Pay Attention.

The installation went smoothly, though it was slow (by today's standards; I'm old enough to remember having to pretty much block out a day to sit in front of the computer and swap out a quarter-zillion disks-then-a slightly lesser number of CDs), but it was after the install that the fun began.

That was when I tried to find and turn off all of the spyware and "helpful" options in the "free" software.  Stuff like -- if a computer on the internet is updating to Windows 10 and your computer happens to be on the internet, too, it may be pressed into server duty, in order to serve software to this other computer.  And -- oooooh, keystroke logger! and we'll helpfully send those keystrokes to Microsoft, so your computing experience can be "fine-tuned".  Dude!  I work on this machine, and the internet is more often on than not.  Are you really going to be pushing ads for the Quality Inn Solcintra to my computer?

Long story short, the experience left me wanting to never do it again.  Apple is too expensive for me, and subject to its own slings, if not outright arrows, so the obvious answer is -- Linux.

Long-time readers of Eagles Over the Kennebec, will recall that I at one point had a Linux box.  There was an uneasy peace between us, and occasional flashes of real affection, but we never loved each other.  And eventually, I went back to Windows, as being easier on my brain.

I am told that nowadays Linux Mint is Doing The Thing Right, so I pulled the Leeewit, the by-today's-standards-ancient Asus eeePC, out of the closet and downloaded the newest Mint (which for some reason is called Cinnamon) to it.  Then, of course I couldn't install it, because even the best software can't wipe the drive it's living on, then install itself.  Duh.

Steve once again came to the rescue, downloading the OS to a stick.  We then had to go 'round the barn three times in order to convince Leeewit to actually boot from the stick, but we got there eventually, and as I type, I have a functioning 32-bit Atom-powered netbook running a full edition of Mint Cinnamon (Rosa) 17.3.  LibreOffice comes with, so I'm ready to rumble, and?

We shall see.

Somewhere around all those adventures, lunch was served and eaten, and vacuuming was done.

I wanted to talk about vacuuming.  Well, actually, I want to talk about Trooper.

Let it be said upfront that Trooper is Not Dyson's Biggest Fan.  When the machine roars to life, he immediately runs to my office (my office being, despite innumerable demonstrations to the contrary) considered by catkind to be Safe.  Sprite makes right for the basement, and Scrabble -- poor Scrabble -- freezes on top of the file cabinet in Steve's office, and (unless I want a drooling, shivering basket case on my hands, which I don't) must be picked up and brought to the basement stairs.  When you put her down, she wails piteously, runs down to the bottom of the steps, and gazes up at you, still wailing, until you close the door and get on with things.

Today, however, when I escorted Scrabble to the stairs, and she descended, crying -- Today, Trooper came out of my office, and went downstairs, pausing a few steps above her, and spoke to her in his mid-range, not-squeaky voice -- and here's the amazing part -- Scrabble not only didn't lay into him with ears back and claws extended, she actually stopped crying, and accepted a head-butt.

I am amazed.

I also learned today that Belle?  Can levitate.

I thought she'd gone downstairs, like the practical mom-cat she is.  I thought wrong.  She had retired into the basement of the Cat Castle; all the way in the back corner of the basement, where she was apparently determined to wait it out.

Then the vacuum entered the living room, approaching the Cat Castle, and -- she lost her nerve.

Remember that I thought she'd gone downstairs, and thus was completely taken by surprise by the Very Large Orange Feline bursting out of the basement and into the air.  I swear she was heading directly for my head, did a mid-flight adjustment, landed on the far side of the Mencken table, and bolted for -- downstairs?

Silly person.

Under the bed.

I collapsed, heart pounding.

And Belle has a new nickname to go along with "Mom."

Flying Lion.

And so that.

Time for me to get to work.

Here, have a picture of Trooper, bird-watching.

Trooper bird watching Jan 10 2016
rolanni: (Saving world)

Well, let's see.  This morning started early when Trooper leapt from the floor directly onto my hip, instead of the bed.  Eighteen pounds of Maine Coon gravity-assisted landing on a single point meant I jolted straight up in bed, Sprite, who had been asleep on my stomach, was catipulted off the bed and thence charged down the hall like all the demons of heck were on her trail. Trooper did the patented all-four-feet-together jump, twisted in mid-air and fled in her wake -- and Belle watched the whole thing from the peace and tranquility of the headboard bookshelf, while Steve woke up, and demanded, crankily, "NOW what?"

I explained, got up and limped down the hall, returned to the bed, and so to sleep.  Steve did not return to sleep, which is covered in the Spousal Equity Clause, Subsection 1C  (i.e. "The party which needs sleep most will get it least"), and rose some minutes later, attended by Belle.

In the meantime, Trooper has become convinced that the Bed is Haunted, and tiptoes into the bedroom, craning his neck to see if The Giant Scary Thing is visible from the floor.  I picked him up and put him on the bed, and he reprised the all-four-feet-together jump and ran down the hall to take shelter under the kitchen table, Neutral Territory for many generations of felines.

After coffee and breakfast, I did the business email thing, then updated the Do It Like A Delm gallery for this week, with two new photos, bringing us to eight entries from seven bold entrants.  We're hoping to see even more before this week's Challenge closes.

To view the photo gallery of aspiring delms, follow this link.

After business was taken care of, I spent much of the rest of the morning getting to know my new phone, and doing the laundry.  I have determined that MotoVoice can actually hear and mostly comprehend me -- which may be a first for voice recognition systems. There are still a few glitches to be worked out.  For instance, I can tell MotoVoice to turn music ON, but I don't seem to be able to tell it to turn music OFF, which sort of limits its usefulness for situations in which I'm piloting myself.  But, still, there may be a way.  I've also been testing the phone's camera, which is awesome; and the screen's resolution -- 'way sharp enough for my old eyes to read a book -- and trying to get some idea of how long the battery will last really.  So far, looking like 30 hours of mixed heavy use, and standby.  Which I'm not going to argue with, at all.

Having now consumed the afternoon meal, with the phone in need of a recharge, the laundry almost done, and all the cats napping -- I guess I'd better get to work.

Here's a picture taken with the new phone:

Trooper in the Captain's Chair; Sprite flanking.

Trooper in the Captain's chair;
Sprite flanking

Oh, and a snippet, just for fun, from the Outtake File:

"Will I," she asked, her voice sharper than she had intended, "ever be safe again?"

He inclined his head formally, as Jen Sar would do when an important point had been made.

"Scholar, I cannot say. However, it is an object with me, that those who are innocent of my errors will, one day, be safe again."

Today's blog post brought to you by Styx, "Mr. Roboto."  Here's your link.

rolanni: (The Dragon in Exile)

Trooper and Sprite got me out of bed at 5:30 and demanded that I give them 100 breakfast, after which I did some minor odds and ends that needed to be done, and sorted out the latest batch of doctor's bills in order to pay them.  Turns out that medical billing offices need a Very Close Eye Kept.  Who could have guessed?

The contractor and his crew arrived about 7:30, Steve and I had breakfast; I spent some time on the phone with medical billing people; went into town to accomplish two errands I had forgotten yesterday, did some bookkeeping, cleaned the cat fountain, and in a few minutes, I'll call it a day and retire to the couch for an hour to read.  I've got the first Charlie Fox book (by Zoe Sharp), who is, by repute, anyway, Corinna's polar opposite.

The crew got done with the chimney around 10:00 and hauled out, promising an invoice RSN.  Steve then called the drywall guy, who promised to come by around 5-ish today.  I note that it is somewhat past 5-ish and we have seen neither whisker nor tail.

Tomorrow Steve and I will head south, via the leisurely route, stop for a modest picnic along the way, and arrive to interview Belle at the agreed-upon time.  If all goes well -- and we expect it will -- we'll bring her with us back to Maine by a slightly less leisurely route.

One of the day's excitements was the apparent failure of my mp3 player, a Sansa Clip.  I plugged it into the computer to charge, and found that the computer wouldn't recognize it, no matter which USB port I plugged it into, and even though the computer could see other devices plugged into the USB port with the same wire.  Despite being invisible and seemingly locked in Constant Reboot, eventually the Clip informed me that it had refreshed my media and that it was 100% charged.  I am doubtful, but willing to play.  We shall see.

And! to cap the events of the day, the interview we did a couple weeks ago with Katy England from the Maine Edge, is now live.  Here's your link.

Today's blog title is brought to you by Tom Petty, "Free Fallin."  Here's your link.

rolanni: (Calvin & Hobbes happy dance) is back up.  Thank you for your patience while Steve -- who is a Hero of the Revolution -- got this sorted out.  It was Rather Ridiculously Complicated to untangle, involving as it did intelligence, counterintelligence, the missing persons bureaus of several large metropolitan police departments, and a bevy of hedgehogs.  In the end, however, Steve prevailed, and we are once again live.

If you sent email to either of us at a address, and got a bounce message, please do send it again, if it is still relevant.  Thank you.

So -- that's one reason to celebrate.

The other reason to celebrate is that the release date for Christie Meierz' new book, The Fall, third in her Tolari Space series, is March 2, and she's throwing a party on Facebook, from 8-10 p.m. EST.

This link for the party is:

The last time Steve and I attended an online party was in Second Life, a few years ago, so this will be a new experience for us, but we'll be there, with a bunch of other authors and readers, to send The Fall out into the world, and wish it well.

Fellow celebrants are:  Corrina Lawson, Cat Rambo, Jael Wye, Heather Massey, Laurie A. Green, and Veronica Scott.  And?  There will be giveaways!  You don't want to miss this chance to meet and mingle, so mark your calendars now -- and we'll see you there!

And I think that's all the news that's fit to print from the Cat Farm, where Sprite is staring out the side window of my office, Trooper is snoring in the co-pilot's chair, and Scrabble, in Steve's office, sleeps with the heffalumps.


Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 07:55 pm
rolanni: (baby dragon from rainbowgraphics)

We picked up Mozart's ashes today.

Then, we went for a ride.  Not a long ride; only to Augusta.  We walked around Lowe's and did our bit for morale by asking a passing Lowe-worker where the roof-rakes might be found.  Not one to be had in the store, we were told, in-between gasps of laughter.  Possibly not one to be had in greater New England.

After we had sowed our seeds of merriment, we went to Best Buy, where I finally succumbed and purchased the Shiny, the Canon PowerShot SX700HS 30X with the Bundled Goodies.  It's about half as thick as my venerable PowerShot 120IS 10X, and weighs just about the same.  The challenge here is going to be remembering not to just stick it into a pocket and forget it's there.

In theory, it does all kinds of sweet things, none of which I've figured out, yet, including sending pictures via wifi.  What an age we live in.

Stopped at the grocery on the way home, because we are once again about to go under a -- wait for it! -- Winter Storm Watch.  The theory is that we may received from 5-11 inches of snow from Wednesday afternoon until Thursday afternoon.

After that, we won't have to deal with any more snow until Saturday night into Sunday.

My plan for the rest of the week is to take the laptop, and retire with it and Alliance of Equals to the couch and do nothing else -- except shovel snow, of course  (and tomorrow's my turn to make dinner, but that'll be meatballs (already made) and rotinis, with gravy.  Easy-peasy.).  The Kid Coons aren't entirely sure that they Approve of the laptop, which takes up precious lap-space that could more fruitfully be occupied by a coon cat.  Sprite, in particular, believes that she can too fit in the space between me and the keyboard.

Just for the record?

She can't.

For those who were breathlessly awaiting my impression of Jupiter Ascending -- I had a good time with it.  Mind you, I don't get to see many movies, so that probably pre-disposes me to being amused and pleased by those I do see, but to my way of thinking, I had three winners in a row:  Guardians of the Galaxy, Big Hero6, and Jupiter Ascending.

What did you do today that was exciting?

rolanni: (Caution: Writing Ahead)

Alert Walkers Along the Internets will perhaps have noticed that has vanished from the ether.  You may also have gotten a Notice of Permanent Failure on mail sent to a eddress.

This is the result of an oversight during the Crazy Times immediately following Steve's heart operation and the subsequent closing down of SRM Publisher.  One of us somehow forgot to properly notify a registrar of an address change for the site.

Steve is working on fixing this.  In the meantime, we ask for your patience.

rolanni: (moon & mountains)

Most important news first!  The keys have been found!  Why they were in my gym bag, when I never take Steve's car to gym. . .

Secondly, in reference to the title of today's blog post -- we here in Central Maine are in the midst of a wind storm.  The West Wind is smacking us pretty steadily with winds around 35 miles per hour, with the occasional 55 mph gust, just to confuse the power lines.  I will note that today is bright and sunny and blue, which is NOT the kind of weather we've been used to seeing around here.

We continue to improve, health-wise.  I've done the upfront for the taxes; now I need to wait for paperwork, and fill out the accountant's form.  Which has changed since last year, to the point where I may need a tutorial.  But -- the taxes, at least, are mostly under control.

Not so, the rest of the to-do list.  I gotta tell you, I look at the to-do list and despair.  I have an interview to do; I have files to continue to pull together for distribution to either an archive or a dumpster; I have at least two short stories to write -- it might be three.  Or four.  I have notes  here. . .somewhere -- and I have, yes, a book to write.  Now on extended deadline, sigh.

Tomorrow!  Ah, tomorrow! is the Official Book Day for Carousel Seas -- which has already had an eArc Day and a eBook Day, so you wouldn't think I'd be excited about Paper Book Day, but. . .I am.  I feel like I ought to at least bake Kate a cake, and, yanno, make a Big Noise.  But neither of those is really very likely to happen.

Today, I started the laundry.  I may, honestly, have to rethink that, considering that the wind has knocked the power out, briefly, twice, now.

And, Canon keeps sending me these notices, tempting me with the New Powershot -- the newest with a 50x zoom, and. . .I really don't need 50x zoom to take pictures of the cats.  I mean, I know that.  But -- shiny.

In health news, I continue to feel better.  Honestly, there's got to be an upper limit to this, doesn't there?  How sick do I have to have been that I'm continuing to feel better?

Well.  The to-do list isn't going to do itself.  I'll concentrate on the interview this afternoon.

Hope your afternoon is decisive and profitable.

Today's blog post is from "The Highwayman," a poem by Alfred Noyes, set to music by Loreena McKennit.  Here's your link.


Sunday, November 16th, 2014 01:45 pm
rolanni: (Carousel Seas)
Thanks to all you waves and wavers.

Just had an avalanche of downloads and updates when I turned on Cygnus the Samsung Galaxy Tab, in order to see if it was fit to travel.

I guess this kind of thing wouldn't happen, if I played with my toys more often...
rolanni: (Carousel Seas)

Today was a definite improvement over yesterday.

I have deleted GoogleTalk from my desktop, leaving Hangouts in sole possession of the field.  While I don't necessarily think this is an improvement, at least I only get one message every time Steve sends a chat.

Also, when I went into town to gym this morning, I looked at my phone, and?

Chrome was installed, and it was working properly!

Fist pump!

I have not yet excised the non-updating, cephalopod version of Chrome on my desktop.  Perhaps I never shall. That's probably safest.

In other news, I formatted our GOH speech, entered the changes we made last night during our first read-through, and did some writing.

I should probably do some more writing, but I'm beat.  Among the adventures of the day being an early -- and noisy -- visit from our lawn-guy, who took away the remains of the cedar tree, and sucked up all the leaves from the front lawn.  I believe I shall retire early to my couch and try again tomorrow.  This seems the course of reason, if not precisely valor.  Tomorrow's work requires All New Words to be written, whereas today's work was editing a chapter that had been excised from Dragon in Exile -- just patting it into the shape of the new book, really.

And that?  Is all I got.


Today's blog post title brought to you by Mr. Van Morrison:  Tupelo Honey

* * *

Progress on Alliance of Equals
27,664/100,000 OR 27.66% COMPLETE

"One naturally wishes one's heir to accumulate accolades, but 'least willing student in the history of the dance' is not quite in the line of one's fondest hopes."

rolanni: (Flying Monkey!)

So, today kind of sucked, in the arena of tech.  The tech definitely won this round, but, if I'm not to be made looney by certain of the Unintended Consequences of today's defeat, I'm going to have to go in again.

Possibly not until tomorrow.  Or the next day.

The thing seemed simple enough.  Google has been nagging me for months to stop using Google Talk, which I happen to like very much, and get with Hangouts.  I'd been resisting because Talk still worked and Steve and I use it to chat back and forth while we're at work -- him in his office, and me in mine.  Saves a lot of shouting back and forth, and doesn't interrupt the flow of writing.

But!  We were wanting to practice our speech for PhilCon and Steve thought it would work out fine to do it via Hangouts video, so he asked me to install Hangouts.

Remember this:  The Goal was to install Hangouts.

Now, asyouknowbob, Hangouts is an add-on to Chrome.  Which I use as a backup browser, since I prefer Firefox for daily running around the net.

Well, it turns out that the Chrome on my machine was very old (33.0.Something), it would not accept the Hangouts add-on, and not only that, it wouldn't update itself.  Also?  I couldn't delete it from the control panel.  After much banging my head against the wall, which included removing Chrome from my tablet and my phone, in case there was a sync tether or something holding Chrome to the desktop, I just gave up and downloaded a new version of Chrome (version 38.Whatever) to the desktop, shoved 33.0.Something into a closet, and opened the new Chrome, which seems to work (knock wood) fine.  Then, I reinstalled Chrome on my tablet and phone.


I reinstalled Chrome on my tablet.  The phone will accept the download and installation, but all Chrome does when invoked is send out little error messages -- Unfortunately Chrome has stopped -- every six seconds FOREVER, and is completely unusable.  So.  No Chrome on the phone.  Which is a shame, because I really did use it on the phone.

Oh, well.  I guess I'll have to hope that Firefox for Android has its act together.

At least, I have Hangouts now, right?


Except that I can't seem to uninstall Google Talk.  Which means that every time Steve sends me a chat message, I get TWO -- one in Talk and one in Hangouts, a situation guaranteed to drive me 'round the twist in very short order.

So, I'll have to go back in.  But, like I say, not today.

Today, in addition to Warring with Technology, I finished an essay, and finished up the last few hundred words on Chapter Seven.  In a moment, I'll be leaving y'all to your own devices so I can do the dishes and then Steve and I will practice our speech the Old Fashioned Way.

I do hope that all of you have had a. . .less fraught Tuesday.

* * *

Progress on Alliance of Equals
23,458/100,000 OR 23.46% Complete

". . .and anyone who thinks that Master Trader yos'Galan will permit error or sloth from his heir, his apprentice, or anyone who is under his hand, must. . .must not know him very well!"

rolanni: (So There)

So, I've been reading the owner's manual for the new car, trying to figure out what some of these, um, improvements are.  Honestly, some of the differences between the little green Subaru and Kineo couldn't be vaster if Kineo did, indeed, fly.

For instance. . . The little green Subaru had a PRNDL stick  (Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, Low); the new car has a PRNDM stick (Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, MANUAL), and two paddles on the steering wheel from which I am to manage my manual driving.

Can someone please explain the point of this to me?  I mean, I have what's supposed to be a Perfectly Good automatic transmissioned vehicle.  Why would I want to put it into "Manual" and then shift it like a motorcycle?  It seems like a really good way to screw up the transmission, in my view, besides being utterly useless, but I'm willing to learn better.

In other news, I have finished my final pass through the DetCon programming survey, and the coffee is gone.  In a few moments, I'm off to the sofa, with a red pen, a blue pen, a yellow pad and the printout of the Epiphany.  I expect, at some point, to acquire Feline Assistance.  And coffee.  Definitely coffee.

Today's blog post title comes to you courtesy of Warren Zevon.  Here's your link.
rolanni: (Flying Monkey!)

So, Illisidi is not yet perfect, but hopefully workable.  The one biggest concern remains an outflowing of error messages the first time I open any file in LibreOffice.  Once past the error messages, though, I can open files with impunity, and they seem not to be changing into oak leaves in the morning, so I guess I'm going to have to put up with what I can't fix.  Certainly, I'm very tired, at this point, of uninstalling and reinstalling LibreOffice, and a writer must write with something.

Fans of Mozart will wish to hear that he has good days and bad days.  He's a fan, currently, of Friskies gravy lovers with a liberal handful of Fancy Feast dry food on top, like jimmies.  He eats the crunchies and licks up the gravy.  If  I could figure out a way to just put gravy over crunchies, I'd do that, but I'm afraid of feeding him the salt bomb that is canned gravy meant for consumption by Thumbs.

Fans of Sprite will wish to know that, for all her giddy ways, she takes her royal duties seriously.  The other day, Mozart suddenly gave out with the Kitty in Trouble yell, from the living room.  I got up to see what the problem was, to find that Sprite had arrived ahead of me and was vigorously washing his ears (See there, Grandpa? Everybody feels better when they have clean ears.), which really did seem to solve the problem/break the cycle of distress.

In other news, today is Monday, which, being as I'm a freelance, shouldn't matter, but somehow does.  Perhaps because I was woken up by a nightmare, and took some time to settle again.  Perhaps because it's a greyish morning, and we're under threat of Snowpocalypse.  Again.


In a few minutes, I'll head out to town, errands, and the gym, and this afternoon, it's back to work.

How's the start of your week going?

rolanni: (Surprise!)

So, the Win7 machine is up and running.  I still haven't solved the HDMI conundrum; but I have all of my files, and, after a little bit of noodling 'round the web, all of my programs, including my Firefox bookmarks.  Ten years' of old wires have been (by Steve's good offices) cleaned out from beneath my desk and the old Oki printer has been cleared off the top of my desk, thereby opening Vistas Untold.

So, yanno; It's All Good.

Advertent readers will have noticed that the new computer's name is Illisidi; in part due to the fact that she is smaller, lighter, and much more powerful than Jack the Giant Killer.  And if you have No Clue who Illisidi, the Aiji-Dowager is, start here and go through to here.  You can thank me later.

Next up, is the re-ordering of my office, which had to be Completely Torn Apart in order to swap out the computers, and do all the rest of the things that needed doing.  After that, it's date night, and a fitting end of a week that was, um, more vigorous than predicted.

Hope everybody is having a lovely Saturday.

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