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Archive for July, 2015

I love technology. Maybe not all of it, but I do enjoy it and when I find something really cool, I like to tell people about it. Recently I installed Dropbox on my computer and netbook. But this isn’t about Dropbox (which is really neat and you should use it and it’s free.)

This is about how technology can date your writing. This is how technology makes you realize why there are so many dystopic fiction out there. Who can write something contemporary when what you write as a draft is outdated by the time you get to the critiquing process.

The story I am having critiqued at the moment was written, umm, maybe ten years ago. I can’t recall. Anyway, none of the teens have cell phones. Has it been only about ten years since they’ve become glued to the hands of teenagers everywhere? Their impact, cell phones, is great, permeating every aspect of a teenage life so now I’m trying to figure out how to explain why so-and=so didn’t use their phone to take a picture, a video, or make a call. It ain’t easy. But I’m a resourceful person so it’s working for now. After the story’s been critiqued I might have to rewrite those technology bits again. Who knows what will pop up?

Technology really dates a story. When I read over pieces I’ve written before I can pretty much tell when I’ve written it even if I wrote it as a science fiction novel. Some science fiction story when the now is more modern than the then.

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My new computer is pretty much bare bones when it comes to software. That is due because I don’t know if I have to reinstall it when I move from Windows 8 to Windows 10. I’d rather not have the hassle to install everything again after I’d done it a month or two earlier.

I did install Microsoft Office, a really old version, the last one that came out with the cartoon helpers, the paperclip, Einstein, and the cat. I have the cat installed.

Since this old version only lists the last four documents you worked on in the recent list, and because there is not starter menu which lists the latest files worked on, I decided to have work on only four documents. Like that can really happen, but I’ll try and see how that works out.

Part of my reasoning for this too is so I finish things and finish them quicker than usual. If I devote my ADD self to four projects, who knows how fast I’ll have them done especially since Windows 8 (and 10) does not come included with those time sucking games. I do miss Spider Solitaire. I did download Mahjong from a CDROM so I’m good with that. And I’m working on a project on paint.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m still going to hop around from project to another.

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Twelve-year-old Arianna can’t wait until her family moves in the new house especially after her perfect cousin, Laila, moved in from Afghanistan. But when a new ethnic shop and an old family feud from the old country threatens the family store in the United States, she thinks they’ll be staying in the cramped old house. It’s up to Arianna, Laila, and few surprising friends to solve the mystery.

This is a fun mystery that gives insight into the Afghan culture and shows another side to the war. Laila’s father is an interpreter and in great danger, something that Arianna doesn’t understand at first.  I really liked there was a glossary at the back of the book even though the author defined the words in context. I enjoy reading over the words, letting them roll of my tongue and hope maybe I’ll remember them. It was interesting to read about a condition Arianna had that meant she couldn’t wear certain fabrics. That and her love of origami gave more dimension to her.

Teachers can use this book to learn about other cultures and the kids will love the mystery. This book is a companion of ‘Shooting Kabul.’

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My picture book is going nowhere. I want it perfect and I can’t guarantee perfection.  Oh, I tried, yes I did to  continue with it. After getting nice paper from the store and sharpening my pencils, I drew a potential cover and hated it. It was not the image in my head. That image is, of course, perfect. I know exactly how the house looks and the trees. It just won’t come through the pencil. And who said I could draw that well anyway?

I probably should get a real illustrator, but that is money I don’t have. Find a publisher or agent? My story is a Christmas one and there’s not a big market for them. It’s up to me, but my darn perfection gets in the way.

I get hope when I see some picture books in the library and see how the characters look. I think I can do that. I might be able to do better even. But when the time comes to start a drawing, doubt creeps into my mind. Writing I can do well, but I lack confidence in my drawing.

But I don’t count myself down and out. I will get over my need for complete perfection (somehow) and carry on. It’ll get done. Now if I can only get it done before this Christmas.

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My New Computer

A week after the hard drive died on my last computer, eight days rather, I became the proud owner of a new pc. More power. More zip. No spider solitaire or mahjong. Bummer.

Still. I had a new computer and could start typing again. This one has Windows 8.1. Not a fan, but I’m not freaking out as much as I thought. Except for the no games part, but I can install some, which I did and now I play mahjong. I miss spider solitaire though. Windows 10 is coming soon down the pipe and since I can download it for free, I shall be doing so. It will be scary. I can do it. I know I can.

The first software I loaded onto the computer was Microsoft Office. It’s an old version, very old, but it still works. If it didn’t I’d get Open Office. I think the new Microsoft Office is cloud based and I use my pc usually without internet because I’m typing and editing photos and that and I don’t need Internet to tell me what my ideas are. As for research, usually when I research something I do in-depth research which requires a full length book(s) or the topic is so obscure it is not on the internet. Really, there is stuff that is not on the internet. Try finding a good information on Barbarossa’s crusade. You can find plenty on his death, but pretty much zip on the route he took.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be getting to know my computer better and typing, clickity-clack on the keyboards. Good times.

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It’s science fiction. It’s a mystery. Twelve-year-old Dashell’s family is lured to Moonbase Alpha to conduct research, that is, his parents will conduct research. Dashell and his sister are along for the ride thus becoming one of the first families to live off Earth.

They are promised a lot such as great food, a thousand TV channels, and much more. As Dashell puts it: garbage. It’s nothing as promised. As for the food, that’s what gets him into trouble in the first place, the chicken parmigiana in particular. He thought it was beef teriyaki. The result of the meal causes him to sprint to the toilets on the other side of the base (that’s where they are all located) and thus finds hims embroiled in a mystery, a murder mystery.

This is a kids view of what living in a space station might be like, not the Star Trek kind or what most people write about, but how it really could be in our lifetime. While it sounds exciting, once you’re there, it’s not so much. There are great characters in here from video nerd Robbie to the billionaire tourists the Sjobergs who are spoiled rotten.

Everything happens in a two-day period and so much is happening as people try to find out who the murderer is, you don’t notice unless you pay attention.

I’m hoping there will be more Moon Base Alpha novels because I really enjoyed this one. Dashell is pretty much a regular kid and these are the stories I like, books with regular kids and not superspy kids with a million talents.

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