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Archive for October, 2015

Windows 10

I’ve been looking forward to Windows 10. So it will come as a surprise I haven’t downloaded it yet and have no desire to do so even if it is free for users of Windows 7 and 8. I declined getting Windows 7 on my new PC because I knew I’d download Windows 10 the minute it came out, but now I’ll stick with 8. It’s growing on me.

Why the change of heart?

I first started having doubts when I installed several of my favorite software on my Windows 8 machine. I have an old version of Microsoft Office (how old you ask. Like pre2000 old). This version has worked fine for years and I hope to have it work fine for a few more. Why buy something new if the old one still works? During the installation several error messages popped up. It got me thinking: what if Windows 10 doesn’t like older software, rejects them? No way did I want their new cloud version, which I’m sure is perfectly fine. I just don’t want to ‘rent’ software.

Because of these issues, I did some investigating. What exactly will Windows 10 have and what will it lose? It’ll lose the games. If you want Solitaire you have to watch a 30 second ad or pay a subscription. Personally I like Spider Solitaire which one might have to pay for too. This may have changed though and be offered free, but when I checked (early August 2015) that was the case.

I also happen to like being able to make movies and Windows 8 has a nice movie maker, quick and easy and fun. That’s not in Windows 10. In fact if you want to watch a DVD you have to pay a a fee for their official app.

There might be other future charges as well. Some say upgrades will cost, but the reliable sources I’ve checked said no. I hope that’s true.

Anyway, I have decided to keep my Windows 7 and my Windows 8 so I can use my old software and when I need to purchase a new device, and I hope that won’t be for some years to come, then I’ll get Windows 10. Or whatever Windows is out there. Or maybe get a Mac.

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I’m not feeling the story I’m writing right now, but don’t want to quit, not with all I’ve written and the fact I’m close to the end. At least I think I am. Could it be because I didn’t outline it?

No. I think it’s more that I started on one premise, idea, and while writing changed it, plus I never had an inkling of an ending. I started this story because I felt I had the desire to write a zombie, end-of-the-world type novel, but then thought, geez, do we really need another zombie book? I’ve read a few recently, some good ones, and while not tired of them, thought maybe the expiration date is approaching. Like vampire stories. So over with those.

With that in mind, I changed the theme to a pandemic. But do we need another of those? How many must I write? Scrub that except it had wove its way into the chapters and digging it out would be a bloody affair, so I changed the premise again. Zombies – no. Pandemic – yes. Add rouge nations, clandestine operations and rescue missions.

While it’s not perfect, it’s going places and is a story that will need much editing and a heavy-duty sander to rough out the edges. I think I’ll be pleased with the results in the end. Next time, though, when I get the urge to write a story that I think needs telling, I’ll make sure I’ve thought it through. How is it going to end?

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A year ago, Kate Quinn’s mother died sending Kate from busy L.A. to laid back James Island , SC.  It was hard, but she survived. Now, at the end of her junior year of high school things are going well until she comes home one day, to her aunt and uncle’s house, and discovers her father has a name and a face, Senator Mark Cooper,  who’s running for president.

OMG!

And he’s married, and was married when he met Kate’s mother.

LA to S.C. and now big politics, campaigns, siblings, plus a possible romance with someone she probably shouldn’t be seen with.

This is a twist to ‘my dad (or mom) is president’ books in that Kate is the product of an affair and the girl must navigate the wife and kids. Of course one of the kids, Grace, is jealous and that adds to the realism.

I thought it was cool it was set in SC. I had that, ‘Hey, I know James Island’ feeling. They mentioned Dillon too. (Hey, I know where Dillon is – South of the Border!)

With the presidential race on now, this book gave an insight into a political campaign. I started thinking how much of the candidates is manufactured and branded. Could be a good book to tie in with media literacy and all those TV ads we’re beginning to see.

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State Fair – 2015

Woo Hoo! The State Fair has rolled around again and this year I will, I mus,t go. Last year I let my mom talk me out of it, although, to be fair she wasn’t feeling well. She didn’t want me to go because 1) it’d be crowded, packed, wall-to-wall people, 2) crime would be rampant and I’d be lucky to get away with my life. Turns out both weren’t true, but in her mind it was. She hasn’t even been to the State Fair in years, like try twenty, thirty years.

The first day of the fair is one dollar, a sum I most definitely can afford. Parking is five dollars. Painful, but I can live with that. Food will be pricier, but I will purchase and consumer fair food. Corn dogs from the store or the fast food place can’t compare and there’s always something strange selling. The last time I went I had a fried Milky Way. While surprisingly tasty, it was filling. After two bites I was full.

I will not ride any rides. I’m over that. I like seeing the exhibits and since this year I will not be going to EdTech I need something silly for my nephew for his birthday. I found a fish pin, which I might use. I thought to make a teeny cooler for it. If I can find something really neat and useless at the fair, I’ll send that. On the first day they’re bound to have freebies somewhere.

They have a good concert this year, but I’ll pass on that. Some years ago I went to see a band, Third Day, and they were giving the tickets away free right before the show. I’d bought mine weeks ago and thought it rather unfair, but I like the group and if they got some of the money, I’ll support them. In 2013, I meant to go see a group, can’t remember who, but the place was packed. It was a very nice Friday evening and there wasn’t a parking place to be found. I hope that by going early on Wednesday, a weekday, I’ll find a place.

As they say at the SC State Fair: I’ll meet you at the rocket!

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They said it was going to rain and they weren’t kidding. It rained. A lot.

The first day, Saturday, it wasn’t bad. We live in Columbia, SC, in the midlands as they call it (it being pretty much smack dab in the center of SC.) It rained off and on all day, but nothing wild. My mom was disappointed. I thought she should be glad we weren’t floating away. I nearly asked if she wanted me to drive her to Charleston where the rain was really coming down and streets were flooding.

Saturday night to Sunday morning, it rained, rained, rained a hard rain all night long. It wasn’t a downpour, a frog strangler, but it came steady at a good amount. To me it was a just a rain. Got up, did the yoga thing, then thought, let me go check the patio just in case. Not that I expected it would flood into the house although I did think it might and even went so far to put things up, the electrical things. The patio was clear. Good.

Then I looked at the pond. At first I couldn’t believe my eyes. It being still dim light I couldn’t tell what I was seeing. Was it really that high?

At no point did I think the high level of the pond would impact my mom’s house. We were too high up and the pond sits in a bowl with high sides and it would first flow onto the road, or into someone else’s house on the other side. It must have been a good six feet higher than normal. Wow. Fortunately it started going down because with daylight came less rain.

Okay, so the pond is high. I thought other ponds might get high too, but I didn’t think major catastrophe, the doom the media likes to say is going to come. Turning on the t.v. I saw roads flooded, creeks overflowing, and it soon dawned on me: I am so wrong.

Places I’ve known for years popped up on the screen. Garners Ferry Road by Devine. At the old K-Mart there (now a strip mall with Michael’s and PetSmart) was under water. My first thoughts went to the Egg Roll Hut which serves the best Sesame Honey Chicken ever. Was it too underwater?

Polo Road – I drive on Polo Road, it runs along Sesquicentennial State Park. The road washed out. What? How did that happen?

Caughman Road – we used to live near there. I drove on it for years in a school bus. Road washed out.

And on it went. Places I know. Forest Drive! Near the library? Nooooooooo.

I now get a little taste of what it feels like to be in a major, historic, weather event. I say a little because we didn’t lose power. We have water (which we have to boil, but we got power so no biggie), we have a house and there’s no water inside it. I’d say I’m really lucky.

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“Sonia! Ayudame!” This comes as Sonia does her homework. “Sonia! Help me! Tengo hombre.” I am hungry.  What can Sonia do? It’s her familia, her family, and family comes first. Her desire to be the first one to graduate from high school is second to cooking and cleaning. It means her drop-out, drug smoking, no good brother can sit on the couch and be considered almost a  saint. It means her pervy drunkle, drunk uncle, can lay on the floor, passed out cold in peed pants is a good man. According to Tia Luna, Aunt Luna. Sonia, on the other hand is going straight to hell. The solution is to send Sonia to Mexico even before school is out sinking straight A’s to straight D’s.

I wanted to kick those lazy bones straight in the posterior as well as Tia Luna. This is another novel from Sitomer who wrote The Hoopster and other books my kids at school don’t want to return. It’s a hard hitting story of hard life. The graphic language fits with the characters who aren’t going to be saying ‘gosh’ and ‘golly’. I liked how Spanish is interspersed throughout the book, (I liked it even better that I understood it). but a glossary would have been nice.

This is also a love story. The love of a family. The growing love between Sonia and the boy she tries not to get involved with.  The love of her cousin and her husband and their daughter. And what one all does for love.

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