Thursday, November 24, 2011

NaNoWriMo has taken over my life!

I'm in the frantic rush to hit 50,000 words and the end of It's a Fey Life for NaNoWriMo as well as my groups ROAR into Writing contest.  All while re-writing The Reluctant Psychic and getting it ready for submission.  I'd hoped to make huge dents in both during my vacation.  Not so much.  Still have a long way to go and it's all go to be done by November 30th.  At Midnight.

I'm not sure if there's enough caffeine on the planet to help me reach my goals.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blogger - is it an "Issue" or a "Feature"?

For some silly reason, Blogger won't allow me to respond to posts on my own blog.  Really?  WTH?!  So, if you're thinking I've ignored you, please don't.  I'm not, I just haven't gotten the folks at Blogger to get it straightened out yet.

I had someone ask me this question the other day and thought I'd share:  "How many passwords do you have?"  I had to get it clarified, because that question has a different meaning for different people on different sides of the IT equation.  It was not the one meaning how many passwords do I have "on hand" to rotate through when my password expires on any account I may have.  Instead it was more along the lines of: how many accounts do I have that I have separate AND unique passwords in use.

Easy: Well over 50. Why?  Because I know too much about how hackers work, how script kiddies work, and how easy it really can be to ruin someone's life or business by getting simply one password.  So yep, over 50.  And no, I don't rotate them through my other accounts.  They are complex passwords, not easily remembered.  And I make up new ones everytime one expires or needs to be reset (roughly every 90 days).  Which is why I have an electronic safe that keeps track of a good chunk of my more rarely used accounts and passwords for me.

Sure, it's a bit more work.  No, it's not foolproof.  But just like having very large, heavy, protective dogs with BIG teeth at home, it's just another obstacle in the way of whoever's trying to get at my stuff.

Although truthfully, I have no idea why anyone would want my data anyway.  My credit rating is pretty much crap, I don't have much in assets (unless you want to count all my books, vintage sewing machines, and unfinished craft projects) and my truck is older than all but one of my nephews and nieces.  And I'm still un-published.  Still, it's my crap and I'd kind of like to keep it mine thank-you-very-much.

Think about these: How many accounts and passwords do you have?  When did you last reset your email/blogger/Amazon/B&N/social networking/gaming/website passwords?  Are they all using different passwords?  Do you have all the security devices in place?  Example: gmail and Yahoo! ask for a primary email address to be able to send reset password requests to, and Facebook would like your cell phone for that as well.  Kind of like routine maintenance on air filters for your furnace and batteries for smoke detectors, you really should change them on a regular basis.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Memory Fail! due to Writing

It's definitely been one of those Mondays.  Long after posting the first iteration of this post, I realized I only got the last paragraph copied properly.  How did I miss that?!?  So let's see if I can get it put back to some semblance of what it was...and I doubt it'll be as good.

This weekend was a busy one.  It started with writing Saturday morning before the GRRWG monthly meeting, followed by picking up one of my favorite 16 year-olds on the planet, and returning home to a nice long nap.  Which was followed by more writing.

I was so busy I forgot to go download some really great writing books from Writer's Digest and now the deadline has passed.  The good news is I got a lot of progress done on Collie's book and more of the rewrite done on Jess' book.  Barring any barriers, I should hit both the ROAR and NaNoWriMo deadlines.

The good news is that next week I'm on vacation!  Yay!  First time in over a year and well deserved.  I'm not going anywhere.  Instead I'll be having lunch with friends I haven't seen in a long time, over multiple days, working on a vintage machine that needs some TLC before sending her on to her new home, where she's being purchased as decoration (which is good as I need to steal parts, and why I bought her), and writing!  Of course I'll be writing, I've got some self-imposed deadlines to meet.

The bad news is The Scot keeps interrupting to fill me on what I should write for him, but he requires a TON of research to get it right.  I need a timelines, correct dates, and re-education on both WWI and WWII.  And possibly the Cold War.  I'm hoping to task my hubby with some of that as he's a BIG military history buff.

Oh and I just submitted a 1-sentence competition for Writer's Digest - my first ever!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Crazy, Silly, Fun day

Perhaps it's the Vicodin I took last night for an ankle that was complaining loudly, but today's been kind of a rollercoaster of FUN!  So much better than yesterday!

Yesterday wasn't...yesterday started with me spilling my Diet Pepsi on the seat of my beloved old beater of a truck, which then rolled on down and promptly soaked into the backside of my jeans and panties.  So arrive to work in wet pants with customers looking at me funny.  It progressed to be overly stressed trying to rush out the door to get to a job site, while my software wouldn't load and I had 3 clients on the phone - all of whom HAD to talk to me - and no headset for either of my cell phones.  I promptly spilled hot water all over the kitchen sink at work as I tried to too quickly fill my thermos with tea for later.  I got lost on the way to the job site (phone GPS failed), had to call my co-worker who was patiently waiting for to arrive for directions, and arrive 1/2 hour later than expected.  I spent the next 6 hours going up and down ladders, mucking about in drop ceilings, and wandering around with a laptop to test out wireless network signals.  By the end of the night, my patience, ankle, and both knees were shot.

Today I arrived at work, unloaded last nights equipment just inside our front doors, and walked in to find my boss (CEO and owner of the company) putting all of the equipment I had unloaded into it's proper spots - without asking!  I do love where I work.  Small companies are much more fun and understanding.  And it's awesome to have a boss who'll roll up his sleeves to move ladders, cables, and assorted rolly devices without asking.

Work then evolved into my making a bone-headed mistake on a cut-over for a customer (reminder: check file dates on secure certificates!) which another co-worker helped me figure out and quickly resolve.  Best part is he admitted doing that in the past too, so didn't rub it in and we both got a chuckle out of it.  It's always the last place you look, even if that's right under your nose.

Then my hubby texted me that my big box from Goodwill arrived - it's a bunch of brand new zippers and other assorted sewing stuff to make purses and totes with, which will help out loads with getting my Etsy store a few more items to post for sale.  Happy dance!

He's ready to do happy dances himself as his new computer is supposed to arrive today (early Christmas present), so he's got a new toy to play with as well.

Better yet, it's sunny out with white puffy clouds, and I just learned that our fearless President of GRRWG actually reads my blog!

Yes, Cheryl, I'll post those Farmer's Almanac link for you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Farmer's Almanac

I needed to verify a weather pattern for a back story in a future Jess Barker book.  Of course my first thought when I think of weather is Farmer's Almanac not the Weather Channel.  I've got farmer genes in my blood, I think of the Almanac as my default reference book for pretty much anything and buy a new one every year.

To my delight I found on a very cool research tool on their website: a historical weather calendar.  It even includes snow depths for states with snowfall.  Pretty cool!

Just thought I'd pass this on for anyone that may be doing historical story lines that needs to verify weather data.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Who knew? I love research!

Did you know that Gimbels once had a sewing machine made for them?  I saw this poor, neglected vintage machine up for auction and laughed when I read them name.  Of course I was instantly whisked off to Christmas movies like Miracle on 34th Street, and A Christmas Story.  So I had to go digging.

There isn't much information out there, but I needed it for Stewart's storyline.  (Of course he kept smugly chiming in "I already knew this.")  I've discovered that in addition to Sears' Kenmore lines - Gimbels, Montgomery Wards, and even RH Macy's had sewing machines made for them from factories in Japan.  Models were pretty much interchangeable, but the name and color would change from time to time.

This practice also led to the wide variety of colors we see in the 40's/50's/60's machines.  Anything from light teal to bright red was fair game. I've found some bubble-gum pink machines that are amazing!  The more I learn about these vintage machines the more I miss the variety and style from back then.  Not only are they solid metal, but they're quite beautiful as well; especially when compared to today's plain, boring, white colored plastic machines.

I mean seriously, how can you NOT like a machine that looks like this?  (And I'm only a fan of pink for Breast Cancer ribbons).