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Archive for September, 2016

New Monitor

I have a new monitor. It’s big. Wide that is. According to the sign it’s 23.6″. It needs some getting used to.

It’s not that my old monitor was going bad although it did have some issues such as sometimes it decided it didn’t want to communicate with the CPU. I’ll reboot and – good as new. Okay so there were some resolution issues too, but it wasn’t that bad. I set replacing it on my long term goals list, like, when I have extra cash. It’s two computers old and hardy.

Then today I went to the Big Grab, an 83 mile route with garage sales. A monitor still wasn’t on my list, rather plastic flowers were, and things I can use to make embellishments for the digital scrapbook for my sister, and paperback books for Mom along with two other minor things. At one of the early garage sales I saw a monitor. It was fifteen dollars. It was also wet from dew meaning it had sat outside all night. Nix on that, but it made me thing to keep my eye open for a computer monitors, keep it on my radar.

I was heading home after a few hours when I spotted a collection of sellers and decided to stop. And there it was. LCD Monitor 23.6″ Purchased for $200. Used very little. Perfect Condition. $50.

Except I didn’t have $50. At the last minute I’d added a twenty to my ten already in my wallet and that was it. After inspecting the other sellers and buying books for Mom. I went back to drool over the monitor. What kind of connections did it have? Was there a booklet? Yes. Do I really need it? But I want it, want it, and my birthday is coming up.

“Will you take thirty?” I asked. I can try. People negotiate all the time at garage sales.

“Yes.”

Mental happy dance ensued. I paid. Drove home. Set it up. And now I’m using it. Oh, and my Mom said she’ll give me the money so it can be a birthday present.

Cool.

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There’s trouble at home. Teenager Anne is sent to Garmouth to be fussed over by hers and her mother’s former nanny to be out of the way. Purdie lives behind the Watch House with her brother. All three are old and worn. As soon as Anne arrives she feels as if someone is watching her. But who? And who is writing in the dust on surfaces in the Watch House – An help. An help.

This is a riveting, old-fashioned ghost story. The copyright is 1977 so it may be hard to find. It’s worth it if you do and try to find other books by Robert Westall.

The story is set in England, in Northumberland although it doesn’t say so outright. It’s near Newcastle and the location is based on Tynemouth. The characters are good although I did feel that Anne was written a bit young to be nearly off to college. It was a bit of shock, to me, when she went off to the disco. There is meets Dr. Death’s Disco who’s eccentric. He spritzes water at dancers from a syringe labeled ‘happiness’.

The story has plenty of twists and turns in it. It wasn’t until the end that I began to unravel the clues to guess who the ghost might be and why he’s haunting the Watch House.

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Imaginary Friends

I got to thinking about imaginary friends after reading the book Crenshaw by Kate Applegate. Did I ever had an imaginary friend? I can’t remember. All I could remember were my teddy bears. And that got me thinking, you know, I did have imaginary friends, but they were embodied by the teds. I wonder if that counts? My teddy bears were very important to me. I still have them all except for Chain Chain who fell apart. He was a souvenir from park we visited when I was five or six and I don’t think he was well made. I don’t have Mary Jane either. I made her in first grade in school. We cut out shapes and sewed them together. Considering my scissor and sewing skills it’s a wonder she lasted a year.

And now I have Pawnee Kitty and Angus. I wonder if they count as imaginary friends? And all my book characters. Or do they count as daydreaming? Have to look into that.

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Writers can be a secretive lot. A number of them are out there, in writing groups and that, but some are hidden away and  won’t tell you they’re writing until you mention it yourself.

I met one of these ‘hidden’ writers on my morning walks. He’s a security guard. The story he’s working on is about his family and is set in the 1800’s, during Reconstruction. He’s worried it’s no good. From what he told me, I said it sounded interesting and told him to go forward and finish it. I mean, if it’s something you like doing, why not. I said not to listen to those who say it’s not so great. A first draft is just that, a draft, and you go on up from there. I was going to read a few pages for him, but then I didn’t see him for a long time.

He’s not the first secret writers I’ve come across. I’d like to think it’s not something embarrassing, but then I’m not open about my writing either. I think that’s because I’m not published except for what I self-published. Others may think they’re just not good enough. All I can say is keep on writing.

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If you and your friends stand in front of Finn and ask him to identify who is who, even if he knows you, he can’t. Not by the faces. When Roza is stolen away, he sees the kidnapper, but can’t describe how he looks. He only knows the man by the way he moves. And no one believes him. They say Roza left just like Finn’s mother did. In the small town of Bone Gap, people think they know everything.

They don’t.

Bone Gap is told from several viewpoints. The readers learns how frustrated Finn feels. They learn how people shrug what Finn says off. They’re sure they know what happened.

Finn is desperate to find Roza as desperate as Roza is to leave her prison. Other characters include Petey and Priscilla, the ‘ugly’ girl whom Finn loves. There’s wonderful characters like Charlie Valentine who lets his chickens stay in the house. There are the Rude brothers who live up to their last name and there’s Calamity Jane the farm cat who’s not very good at her job.

The ending was for me totally unexpected, just the way I like them. Good book.

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