Category Archives: A-to-Z Blogging Challenge 2012

C is for … [part 2]

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What happens if I push that button in the middle? I just want to help you ...

Carbon Paper

Occasionally I actually see carbon paper these days. If I happen to buy a cashier’s check or money order at the bank (when I don’t want a personal check languishing on someone’s desk for days or weeks …), there is a piece of carbon paper between the part I mail out and the part I keep as a record. Otherwise, carbon paper is a thing of the past — the long ago past, it seems.

I’m not sure when I last saw a package of carbon paper for sale in the office section of the “five and dime” type department store. Oh, back in the 1980s I discovered “carbon sets” — thin “second sheets” with an attached thin piece of carbon designed for people who had lots of copies to keep and did not want bulky regular typing paper filling up their file cabinets. These were not available in the regular stores but in the office supply or stationers stores.

Regular carbon paper? Even though people still used typewriters in the mid-1990s, enough people had migrated to using personal home computers, connected to 9-pin or 24-pin dot matrix printers, or even daisy wheel printers, that it was very difficult to find carbon paper in the store.

My earliest memory of carbon paper is from my childhood when I was about 4 or 5. One of my dad’s cousins delivered our bottles of gas for the stove and he wrote up the receipt in a small pad. There was a small sheet of carbon paper that he used to make a copy for himself. He reused the sheet until it no longer made legible copies, then he would crumple it up to throw away.

I offered to take it to throw away — though in truth, I wanted that thing to play with, experiment with, to see how it worked. He refused to give it to me because, he said, it would make my hands all dirty. He was probably right and I would have probably also messed up quite a few other things with that carbon paper. It was not good quality, I guess, and the black came off it all over everything and anything it touched.

I bring up carbon paper because for two reasons:

1) Back just before Christmas, I listened to When Elves Attack by Tim Dorsey. When I had another credit to use at Audible.com, I went back and got the first book in the series, Florida Roadkill. According to Dorsey’s website, the books in this series are meant to be read in the order they have been published. When Elves Attack was the newest book at the time, but it sounded “interesting” and became my introduction to the series. The books in the series do not follow a chronological order. At the website, there is a chart of the books in chronological order, but as I said, they are meant to be read in the order they have been published.
It’s hard to describe the series, having only encountered 2 books of the 15. It is the story of Serge A. Storms, a serial killer who loves Florida, its history, flora, fauna, and locales. It is not a series to just blithely recommend without knowing the mental state of the reader — the books could become instruction manuals instead of entertainment in the wrong hands.
Back to the fact the books are not in chronological order. Turns out that When Elves Attack happened before Florida Roadkill. However, Florida Roadkill is definitely “time” placed with accuracy — at the finish of the 1987 World Series. Remember, When Elves Attack occurs before that, but … Serge uses FACEBOOK to track down some friends in this novel.

2) A friend and I are working on a novelization based on some events from the early 1990s. Personally, I am more comfortable writing about the early 1990s as a setting, but for some reason we decided to update it a bit more. Say, around 2004. Now, I am wondering how careful I need to be about the technology we use. Netbooks were not around until 2007. But what about the various kinds of smart phones and when did we stop using the term “cell phone”?

The question for today, then, is “Is attention to detail on technology important?”
In a sci-fi book or something where the technology used is integral to the story, maybe. In a regular novel — maybe referring to IMing, emailing, calling a friend on the mobile/cell phone, taking a photo with the cell phone, or using a Blackberry — it isn’t so important whether it is “accurate” to its time?

When did the average middle-aged person stop saying they were afraid to even push the button to turn on a computer because they were afraid they would touch the wrong thing and blow up the system? When did the average senior citizen become almost as tech savvy as their 12 year old grandsons? Does it matter when writing a novel?

What do you think?

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C is For …

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C is for Cute Cat

C is for …

Cod

–> Cod by Mark Kurlansky, is an interesting look at a world I’ve taken for granted. Along with Salt, Kurlansky introduces history, facts, and recipes on topics that, at first glance, don’t seem to warrant an entire book. Kurlansky makes both topics so fascinating and interesting, you won’t want the book to end.

I listened to both books. Scott Brick reads Salt. Scott is one of my favorite readers and he can make even a phonebook sound like an interesting read. Richard M. Davidson reads Cod and brings the subject to life.

Confessions

–> Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. I admit, you will probably hate this book along with its sequel, The Secret History of the American Empire. The writing is not that good. And you may not even like what Perkins has to say. However, the information in these two books is a behind-the-scenes look at wheeling and dealing around the world. The information contained in the books is important enough to find a way to get through them to the end.

My solution? Audiobooks. I would never have read these books. I prefer audiobooks most of the time, anyhow. In this case, the audiobook was the only way I would get through these two books. I shouldn’t really say “I’m glad” I got through them, because the info in them shouldn’t make anyone happy … but I am glad I finished these two books.

When you have gotten through these two books, please come back and tell me your ideas about the SAMA project …

Curtain

–> Curtain by Agatha Christie was a total surprise. It is the last Hercule Poirot novel. DO NOT read it until you have read the entire Poirot canon first, though. As Christie mysteries go, I think this is the best (though not my favorite). When you read it, you’ll figure out why it isn’t my favorite but it is on my “You’ve just got to read this book” list that I give out to friends (whether they really want my reading suggestions or not).

Chase

–> Hmmm … I have a couple other ideas on my list, but I don’t want to overload you here. So for a change of pace, away from books to a website I think you may find interesting: http://blog.chasejarvis.com/live/

While here at the “live” section of his site, check out the current webcast in the box at the top of the page. Most recent webcast (as of 4/10/12) is with Adrian Grenier (I’ll be going back to watch the episode as soon as I get this posted). Recent episodes include an interview with a band called The Lumineers (the webcast will soon be available in the Recent Episodes portion of the page and well worth checking back to catch when it is made available) and a must-see episode for all web bloggers with Guy Kawasaki (available in the Previous Episodes section of the page).

While you are at the site, check out Chase’s photography and then “wander” the rest of the site.

** So, when faced with something you’d rather not deal with, do you find another way to approach it, or do you drop it and go find something else to do? **

B is for … part 2

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squawk

Squawk!

B is for …

Beware!

Out with my camera, thinking about barns, I stopped and took care of my errand.

While I really didn’t want to … I ended up pulling up to the menu board and mumbly speaker at one of the fast food joints. The food they sell — for a really good description of it, read all about Sable in Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
Anyhow, I figured I would be out for a while and while the “food” wouldn’t be the best, it would at least fill me up until dinner time. I forgot there were two other options for fast food in the area. Those two places, though, are not on the main road and I easily forget about them. **sigh**

Looking over the menu board I realized something — it actually cost more to purchase the combo meal deal than to order each item individually! So I ordered them individually but the cashier changed my order to the combo. I paid then asked to talk to the manager and explained the problem. She did not look happy.

Was she upset because I had asked for a refund of the difference? Or because I had figured out the scam?

My grandfather used to have a “joke” — that he has seen a sign in a butcher shop window — “Hamburger, 25 cents a pound. 3 pounds for a dollar.”

Hmmmm …

Do you find that “out of sight” really is “out of mind” and miss the alternatives available?

B is for …

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B is for …

Barn

It was a gorgeous day. Bright sun. Warm even.

Had an errand to run. Grabbed keys, purse and camera.

Thinking while driving. “What can I write about today for the letter B?” Then, in front of me was a barn …

They are everywhere out here where I live. I love them. Maybe not the farm perfume emanating from a few of them, but …

Barns come in many forms around here. I don’t mean architectural styles but how they are valued. Many are used. Many are not. And among those that are not being used, many are allowed to fall into complete ruin. I imagine some of the owners just staring at their barn, willing it to crumble to dust soon enough for it to come off this year’s property tax bill. Others, though not too many around here have done this but I’ve seen articles and TV shows about it — sell the barn to contractors who will dismantle the barn to rebuild it somewhere else. Usually, that rebuilt barn is converted to a home. Or the barn is dismantled and the old hardwood is used as lumber to build a new structure. Around here, as dairy farmers find they put in a lot of work for little reward, they sell off the herd and let the barn go.

There was a time, when I looked at watercolor paintings of Nature reclaiming what man as used — old cars rusting away among lots of grasses and wild flowers, or tumbling down barns — as beautiful works of art. And they may still be beautiful works of art, but now those images depress me.

I want to figure out a way to evaluate a nation’s economy based on its Barns instead of on “new housing starts” and other new construction. The ability to feed your people and more than adequately reward those who take on that job — that should be an indication of the overall health of a nation — economically and socially.

There I go again, living in Hope and Wishes instead of Reality … **sigh**

For more information about old barns, I want to suggest a book — but it is in the back seat of the car hubby used to go to work today. I believe it is called An Age of Barns by Eric Sloane.  It is full of his paintings and drawings of barns and some interesting history and facts about barns.

— Well, my barn photos did not turn out as well as I had hoped.  My camera needs to be replaced — it has metering and focusing “issues” — but I can’t find one I like enough to spend money on … in the meantime, I hope you enjoy these few views:

**sigh** I did something wrong and lost the post from the main blog page but found a draft of it … **phew**  So, here it is, again, I hope.

So, do you think Barns could somehow become a symbol of a nation and people’s economic and societal health and vitality?

I is for …

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So, where IS the green grass?

I is for …

Into

One day back in March, I opened the door and out went one of the cats into the outdoors.
She thought it was such a sunny gorgeous day that she would find a warm day and lots of yummy green grass. She found a sunny, cold day and lots of still brown, crunchy grass left over from last year. She did “the cow thing” anyhow and munched happily on the crunchy stuff — only after she had stalked off far enough away so I could not easily grab her to return her to the dark, grassless house.

How often do I let “looks” deceive me? And having been deceived, grump instead of getting on with getting into my day?

Do you let unmet expectations derail you? If so, join the club! If not, do you have any hints for the rest of us on how to cope better with the discord between what we hope to find and reality?

A-to-Z H E L P ! ! ! ! !

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WAH!

Um ... is there a problem here?

I am soooooo far behind in this Blogging challenge …
I can either try to catch up
or
Just pick up with today’s letter and then fill in the blank spots as I go
or
I can whine …

I think I’ll whine just a little
because you may have some ideas to help here …
:-)

I have a large stack of books next to my desk
that need to go back to the library soon
so part of me wants to be listening to them or reading them
instead of doing the writing I need to do …

I was so gung ho and ready to go —
even had a list of possible topics for each letter of the alphabet
so that I had “no excuse”
and then
I ran into what I consider an insurmountable wall.

Well, insurmountable it probably hyperbole. Certainly, it is.
I’m just using it as an excuse to procrastinate, to avoid …

But, it is sort of important to me.

Maybe not to most everyone else.

I like to read a serif font. I don’t like to read sans serif fonts — fonts like Ariel and others that don’t have the little “tails” … For easy reading I like to see a Bookface Serif font like Times New Roman or Georgia or Bookman …

So, when I started up this new blog through WordPress, I picked one that had serif fonts. Or I thought it had serif fonts. The box I type the post in uses a serif font. The title of the blog is in serif font.
The posted post is in sans serif. I did not know this would happen until I hit “post” …

Now, I have other WordPress blogs and those posts come out with a serif font and … I was able to customize it with my own banner and do a few other things. I started one of those blogs just a couple of months ago and could customize its theme.

But now, I have to pay a fee to be able to even change the font of the blog post.

RIP OFF!

So, here I am, straining my eyes, while even wearing a pair of cheater glasses to magnify things, to read a font that is sans serif and even at its largest default size is too small for easy reading. And I got totally depressed immediately and …

Wanted to go give up immediately.

So, I went over to Blogger and started a new blog there.

Yet, it is the WordPress address associated with the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge Blog Hop.

So, here is where I hope you can help:

I have a couple of options:

1) I want to include photos in most of my posts. These need to find a home on the web or be direct uploaded. Having a bit of a problem finding the “right” home for them right now while in the middle of trying to get a post put together.
So, for that most recent blog I had started, the actual “post” is a pdf file I store over at BOX … and I post a short intro to it at the blog itself. The pdf file then includes the photos or artwork plus is formatted for easy reading.
Would you be interested in something like that? If I start the post here with a “more …” that links to the download at BOX?
2) I start the post here and the “more …” takes you to Blogger for the entire post but perhaps missing the photos I really want to be able to include? (at least until I find my photo solution)

THANK YOU for your input :-)

I hope you are enjoying this blog hop. I sure am enjoying wandering around from blog to blog and seeing all the intelligent and clever people and what they have to share with the rest of us.

I’m back to add this (I’m actually of visiting other blogs right now but sent this “postcard” back here because you might enjoy this laugh too …)  Wanted to leave a comment there but couldn’t figure out how to … so here it is:  “This is the funniest blog I’ve read so far.  Thanks for the laugh.  Just remember you need to know your Pardon Me from your Excuse Me to survive in this land of crunchy snails.”  So hop on over and visit Muppets for Justice.

I’ve visited soooo many wonderful blogs on this Hop, that I am tempted to not try to catch up but just share a dozen or so each day that I visit … but that wouldn’t be fair, would it … but I might, from time to time, drop in a recommendation to visit one that made me smile or laugh or that teaches me something new and different.  Muppets for Justice’s post for G was so tongue-in-cheek and funny, I thought I really had to share it with you all …

A is for … ARGHHHHH!

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Okay, Okay!  I admit it!

I made this whole thing far more complicated for myself than I needed to.  It is a tendency I have and why I almost skipped participating in this glorious Internet-wide “event.”  But …

Success — blogging with a theme for every letter of the alphabet during April

or

Failure — blogging as many letters of the alphabet as possible during the month of April —

either way, it is going to be FUN!  I decided it IS going to be FUN!  For me, and I hope desperately, for anyone who bothers to stop by to see what inanity I may decide to offer up during this blog hop of nearly 2000 writing/blogging participants.  :-)

Initially, A conjured up a memory of “A is for apple pie … nice insidey, apple pie …”  It was an Edward Lear poem in The Bumper Book — mom used to read to me from it at bedtime.  The story of the Calico Cat and Gingham Dog were on a nearby page (which actually kind of scared me) but my favorite was this Edward Lear nonsense poem.  I hope to have more about Mr. Lear and his poems for the letter L …

And, well, A is for Apple seemed a bit conventional … (though, I saw the most amazing blog post about A is for Apple yesterday with a link to the Appletavlan … it’s COOL — be sure to check it out!) so I wondered what else to choose for the subject and actually came up with a list far too long for one blog post.  I settled on ALPHABET PICTURE BOOKS. “Easy-peasy,” I thought.

This was just about a little over a week ago.  I went online, visited the local public library’s inter-library loan card catalog and requested a few Alphabet Picture Books from one particular library;  and, decided to spend an hour or two in the library looking through the books.  Then, I would whip up a fabulous blog post all about them.

WHO KNEW?  I’m glad I didn’t have that hour to spend at the library and brought them all home with me.  Who would suspect that a small pile, yes – pile, of picture books could turn out to be so daunting.  22 books, in a pile about a foot deep, should have taken almost no time to look through and write about.

I think it has been far too long since I’ve been in the children’s department of a book store and held the current books in my hands.

Eventually, I will get through the whole pile and will write about them all.  But I will also have to do a bit more research into the world of books for children, the teaching of reading to children and about child psychology — because what I saw does not fit my concept of picture book …

So, instead — I give you a series of words beginning with the letter A:

Asparagus, Albuquerque, Amazing, Armadillo, Aardvark, Ant, Alligator, Apple, Anger, Allegation, Antidisestablishmentarianism, Awesome, Atrocious, and Achoo.

{Eventually, I will get caught up and have the correct letter matching the “letter of the day” for the Challenge … eventually … And I will eventually do the post about Alphabet Picture Books … maybe for P is for Picture Books.}

Until next time, keep on reading!