lydamorehouse: (ichigo irritated)

 One nice thing about having old technology is that I'm not nearly as tempted by the shiny that is the interwebs.  

On a side-note, do you suppose this happens to Captain America a lot?  Tony: "Steve! Where the hell were you? We texted you a half dozen times!" Steve: *glances at iPhone* "Oh! That's what all that beeping was! I forget about this thing all the time." Because, he would. He grew up, like I did, without the internet, but he also grew up without TV, which is almost impossible for me to imagine. Captain America must have the concentration abilities of a GOD. I would also bet you money that movies give him heart palpitations and possibly motion sickness (mostly this guess is based on Mason's first reaction to a "normal speed" movie--previously, as a kid, because we didn't do TV, he liked really slow animation, like Bambi).

Anyway, the point is, and I do have one, that I've been able to get a lot of writing done. As I mentioned in passing, I have this project from my agent that I'm working on. I don't know why, but she'd really like to sell something more of mine to Tapas Media.  I'll be honest, she probably just wants to sell ANYTHING of mine to ANYONE, since it's been a long time since I've had anything to give her. I suspect that was why the idea of another trunk novel, however bad, excited her. 

It's just... this trunk novel.... it's not just "oh, I wasn't all that into it" kind of bad. It's the kind of bad where, because I was writing for a proto-NaNoWriMo type thing where I was just trying to get a certain number of words done in a day, I have actual sections that read like this: "His eyes were blue, not just a run of the mill blue, but the bluest blue like the bluest blue sky ever." That's a paraphrase, but I was basically just willing to repeat words in order to get words on the page.  On top of that, I had not done the kind of pre-planning that's required for a successful NaNoWriMo and so, when I got bored of the main love interest, I randomly replaced him with his evil twin, with no set-up or foreshadowing or anything. 

This is not a novel I want to put my name on.

I don't even think it COULD sell, even if we sent it to someone.But, Martha also handily sent me a list of "features" that Tapas found successful, and so I thought: I'm not writing anything for-profit right now. Why not just try writing something to spec?  

So far, it's working. That is, I'm feeling good about the words going on the page which is more than I can say about a lot of the writing projects I've started in the past several years.  Anyway, wish me luck.

lydamorehouse: (ichigo hot)
 Hello from 1998 or thereabouts.  No, I'm not actually time traveling, alas, but my computer is. I'm on a super ancient (in computer years) Gateway, which I am using as a stop gap replacement until we can figure out a cheap new laptop for me.  

So what happened to the Mac? I wish I had a story as good as the time I dropped a frozen turkey on my laptop, but, alas, I think what killed my Mac as a combination of age and... abuse. Yes, it fell off something while it was running... But, thing is, I have dropped this particular Mac from the distance of my chair cushion to the floor multiple times and it's survived just fine. This time? Alas, this time it decided "Nope. Peace out."  Can I blame it? Not really. It's lasted far longer than a lot of my computers.  I'm hard on technology, fam. I just am. I drop phones into rivers in South Dakota and I pummel laptops with 24 pound frozen turkeys.

And, until Shawn can do some research into the best, cheapest laptop, I will be without... well, mostly Skype, it seems. Pretty much everything else can still be run from the 1990s. Once I downloaded a more up-to-date version of Chrome, I seemed to be able to  function pretty well on Facebook without freaking out every time I hit a graphic bundle. I have not tried Twitter or Tumblr, both of which might be beyond the capabilities of this machine.  Tumblr, I suspect, will be too graphics-heavy, though, with the new Chrome,, this guy was able to survive the new .gif and video things on Facebook... so maybe?  Not that I've been going to Tumblr much these days, but it is nice to check in now and again.

No Skype is a bummer. But, I'm hoping to have a new laptop before the week is out. 

I lost nothing of consequence, except a bit of the stuff I was trying to do to salvage a trunk novel for my agent who, for reasons known only to her, really wants me to to try to sell another novel to Tapas Media (that place where we sold Sidhe Promised, the app that made you pay as you go).  I had foolishly started working on that in Word.  But, most everything else I do these days I do on Google Docs, so it's automatically saved on the cloud or inside the brains of Google HQ or wherever that stuff goes.  At any rate, it was not ON my computer, per se, and that's good because it means I still have access to all my works-in-progress, even my Loft course proposals.

Yesterday was just bad technology day because Mason couldn't figure out how to get his Nintendo Switch remote charger to work.  (It may just be, we discovered, that Zelda sucks more energy than the charger can recharge, so he might have to just connect to the console or whatever if he wants to keep playing that particular game.)  But, there was a lot of swearing and reading obtuse manuals, etc. 

We also tried to do our usual Skype chat via Skype on Mason's ROG laptop, but Mason has disabled cameras (for reasons of being 14 and cyber savvy) so between that and issues on my folks' end, we had to give that up after a lot of swearing and reading Skype help pages, etc.

I am hoping today will be less technologically stressful. 

The good news is that my needs are low. I like to be able to check a few social media site, read a few on-line articles, and write in Google Docs. I can do all that from here. It's slower and clunkier, but it's very do-able.  I could complain, but why?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 I'm at the coffee shop drinking a latte and scamming some free wifi for an hour or so.  

I expect our new hot spot to show up some time today, but it will take a while to set it all up, so I'm going under the assumption that we won't be back to our normal routine until sometime tomorrow.  HOWEVER, today has started out much, much better than yesterday already.  I decided, once again, to go in to try to talk to a live human being, Ms. Sanchez, about Mason's 8th grade math and to basically make sure it was a decision the school made with some kind of forethought and wasn't just a technical error.  

Turns out, they knew what they were doing.

But, I'll get to that. First, the lines were a lot shorter today, and, in point of fact, I by-passed them completely since I already knew the abilities of the people at the front lines.  I just wrote myself out a visitor pass and headed up to the office.  Where I waited no more than ten minutes and managed to catch Ms. Sanchez live and in-person in her office.  I sat down with her and explained that we were VERY HAPPY with Mason's acceleration, BUT we just wanted to make sure that it was a decision that would be best for him.  She looked up his test scores and said, "Oh," and then, "Oh, yeah, we have another one like him in 8th grade right now, so when the time comes to have college-level classes for Mason, we'll have it figured out by then."  

Which was not what I was asking, but totally answered my question.

Thing is, Mason tested for UMPTYMP  and didn't qualify so we were figuring that maybe he was only just moderately above average in math and not this accelerated.  Now I think there are a couple of factors, one of which is that he was well and truly terrified of that test that day and simply may have not done as well on the test due to nerves.  (Tests used to paralyze me occasionally when I was Mason's age.)  The second is that Mason isn't really the UMPTYMP personality.  If my friend Naomi's daughter is an indication, I think there has to be a love for math that goes beyond the average that Mason really doesn't have.  I know from the essay part of the UMPTMP application that Mason had a hard time even imagining math as 'fun' or something that he ever thought of outside class. Plus, there are just levels of aptitude, all of which are valid, and Mason just may be in a different range of that than most UMPTYMP applicants.  

But we're going to try 8th grade math in 6th grade, because why not challenge him?  Gods knows he was BORED SENSELESS when he was required by his previous teacher to help others after he'd finished his own work.  Plus, you have no idea how excited Mason was to be the only 6th grader in an 8th grade class. He loved the teacher, whom he described as funny and smart. (As a note, this may be the first teacher in a LONG time that Mason has labeled 'smart.')  

So that was a great start to my day.  

Plus, when I told Ms. Sanchez that I was a science fiction author (I only did that because we exchanged business cards), she was super-excited because apparently her son is a big fan of SF.  I should also say that I was generally impressed with Ms. Sanchez.  She kind of reminded me of some New York agents and editors that I've met, which is to say that she was sharp (in both senses of that word,) a bit abrupt, but straight-forward and no-nonsense in a way you don't find much around these parts (thought TBF to my friends, I do tend to find people like that to surround myself with).  At any rate, I didn't have to deal with Minnesota Nice (which I hate) so I cottoned to her immediately.  

For the rest of my day, my plans involve not going to my usual Women of Wednesday at the Black Dog, which makes me sad, but at the time I would have been there, I'll, instead, be at a different coffee shop meeting up with my writing collaborator, Rachel Gold, and our artistic collaborators Mandie Brasington and Alexis Cooke to talk about our SEEKRIT* project, which, with luck, will be launching at the end of September.  This is a project I'm super excited about.  I can't say a whole lot about it right now, but there will be urban fantasy and there will be art. (Two of my favorite things!)  

*I kind of hate the whole "seekrit" thing, but mostly because I'm jealous when other people have them and I don't.  :-)  Also, this one shouldn't be under the table for too much longer.  

So, if we can just get internet soon, life will be pretty good.
lydamorehouse: (chibi renji and zabi)
 I'm only on-line thanks to a roving xfinity signal and a free one-hour trial offer, and so I figured I'd get as much out of these few moments as I could and tell you about my day-OMG-MY-DAY.  

It started out at oh-f*ck-o'clock, our new start time at Washington Technical. Our internet was acting wonky since we'd gotten home, so I wasn't able to do my morning routines, but as a bonus we got Shawn to work and Mason to school in no time flat.  I decided to go in with Mason to try to sort out a scheduling snafu... this took MUCH longer than it probably should have, considering the result.  But, okay, here's the story in a nutshell:

We were going to be out of town for Washington Technical's Open House and this was only a problem because the Open House was the day that the students picked out their after-school program (which is a mandatory extra hour, but completely elective and ranges from everything from Spanish to Robotics to Swim Team).  So, I called the school to see what we could do to make sure Mason got into something he liked.  I was directed to talk to a counselor who read me the list over the phone and, I was assured, signed Mason up for Robotics.  BUT, lo and behold, when we got to school on the Camp Six day (the practice run for 6th graders going to middle school for the first time), his schedule was completely different--instead of Robotics, he was in "World Languages" which sounded suspiciously like a dumping ground for people who neglected to show up to the Open House.  

SO!  I went in with Mason this morning and first stood in a line only to be told that the person I'd been waiting to talk to couldn't help me because he only dealt with 8th graders and above.  He directed me to an EVEN LONGER LINE to wait to talk to the person in charge of 6th and 7th graders.  Fine, I had nowhere to go, except out for a cup of coffee, so I waited.  When I finally reached that guy, I was told, "Nope.  Too complicated for me, go up to the office."  WHERE THERE WAS ANOTHER queue.  I waited my turn in that line and finally got to talk to a person who ended up saying, "Oh, that?  We corrected it already.  His new schedule has him in ROCKETRY.  Will that be acceptable since Robotics was full?"  I was like, "Yeah, that's fine."  

I treated myself to TWO cups of coffee after that, I tell you.

Good thing I did, too, because dealing with our Clear (now Sprint) people was the next headache and a half.  Very, VERY similarly, I ended up waiting in a lot of "lines" or perhaps "on the line" a lot.  The annoying menu did not give me the option to say, "Yes, I've tried rebooting," so every time I called I had to listen to a Siri-like happy woman's voice telling me how to do the single simplest solution in the history of solutions, possibly in the history of history.  


But I went through the whole thing with a Tech Support person again after happy Siri-lady because this person was in some country far, far away.  It may be a stereotype, but if this person was in this country 1) they could not deal with going off script even slightly and 2) they could not deal with *me* going off script even slightly.  WHICH MEANT I HAD TO FLIPPING REBOOT MY WIFI WITH THIS PERSON AGAIN.  Finally, when we were getting somewhere interesting, my phone battery died.

And when the tech guy called back?  He didn't leave a name or an extension, so I had to go through all of it again, except with a completely different Technical Support person.


On the other hand, by this point, since my phone was only a tiny-bit recharged I ended up using my walk-around cordless phone only long enough to get through the push-button menu, and then switched to my hard-wired rotary phone.

Yes, that's right, I talked through tech support for my wifi on A ROTARY PHONE.

But, the best part?  Even after all that, they couldn't fix it.  They're sending us another one, which has already shipped (according to AN EMAIL they sent, because, yes, I am the last person on the planet without a smart phone who has no way to get email when, let's see, MY INTERNET IS DOWN.)  

At that point, I picked up Shawn from work and we both lay down for an afternoon nap before going back to pick up Mason.  Mason, meanwhile, had gotten a migraine at school, so he ended up crashing when he got home too.  On the flip side, Washington Technical seems to have spontaneously moved him into an 8th grade math class (he'd already been planning on being in the 7th grade one, so this is an extra bump we weren't entirely expecting.) I'm not completely convinced that Mason is 100% ready for this, so guess what?  I get to try to talk to a counselor tomorrow again, just to check in and hear what their reasoning is.  We'd all be super-happy if they have a good reason, but we don't want Mason to be pushed too far ahead, especially if it were to make him frustrated. 

At least this time I know that Mason's official counselor is Ms. Sanchez and where to find her.  So, that's half the battle apparently.  

Oi vey, what a day.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Just a quick note for any fans of my Garnet Lacey series.  My friend [ profile] empty_mirrors has been listening to the audio books of the series and felt moved to write some fan fic.  You should check it out:

I'm sorry I've been missing in action again.  I had a bit of a computer trauma, as in, somehow, once again, I managed to completely and utterly destroy a computer.  This time I took out a Mac Book Pro.  In fact, it was so badly corrupted that when Genius Nick at the Genius Bar took it to the back room to plug it into their diagnostic machine, my computer FROZE their console.  To which, I said, as I patted the Mac Book, "Well done, you!"  Because, you know, if you're going to go out, go out with a BANG, I say!

But so I kind of have a new computer.  It's a brand new hard drive in the old case, so, you know, that kind of counts.  I had to reinstall all the things and reset all the preferences, so it feels new.  I gave it a new name and installed CrashPlan right away, but I tell you, if it keeps being stupid, I'm going to nickname it "Moon Moon." Of course, I might do that anyway, just because it gives me such perverse pleasure to shout out, "Damn it, Moon Moon!" (also I adore that there's a hashtag on Tumblr devoted to Moon Moon.)

Oh, and for those of you wondering what I did to kill this Mac Book, the answer is "exerted my mysterious superpower."  Because, unlike, say, the time known in certain circles as "the turkey incident" or even the "dropped it on its hard drive" moment, I actually only attempted to hard boot the Pro.  This, I was told by Genius Nick was simply "a Thing That Happens."

I did loose some stuff.  I hadn't gotten around to installing CrashPlan, so I lost a chapter of the sequel to Precinct 13 that I was working on, but, surprisingly that was all.  The rest of the stuff I had shared on Google Docs, so it was sitting there in the cloud, waiting for me.  :-)

I'll have more tomorrow, hopefully some pictures (finally) of me eating the fruit cake sent by [ profile] empty_mirrors and the other yummy treats from the UK that we've been slowly devouring.

Baby Owls!

May. 13th, 2011 05:16 pm
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Today, Mason and I went out birding again with the Audbon folks. This time we went to Roberts Bird Sanctuary in Minneapolis (not far, actually, from where I used to live in Uptown.) Of course, this was the one time I decided to leave our camera at home.

We saw two baby great horned owls. Apparently, all the local birders already knew about the owl nest that was just off the dirt trail, because as soon as we arrived there was talk of "do you think we'll see the owlets?" We did. They'd even ventured out of the nest to blink warily at the world. They were SUPER cute.

In fact, they looked A LOT like this:

Mama owl was watching (actually, we caught her "cat napping" -- though I suppose it was owl napping) in a nearby tree.

We also saw a bunch of warblers and another redstart (which is probably one of my new favorites.)

The rest of the day was spent frantically trying to rescue my laptop from a VERY intrusive spyware invasion. I was able to do it, thanks, in part, to the fact that I had another computer (with dial-up connection) from which to read the instructions on how to delete various registry bits. Evil spyware! Anyway, I downloaded Stopzilla to help keep this crap at bay, and I think I'm fairly clean finally. Sigh.

Some days I wish I were Mouse.

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