cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
For the last part of 2016, I was posting three good things daily on Facebook. It helped my mood, and it helped me notice good things despite stress and sickness. I wanted to keep doing something like this. The plan is to post 10 good things weekly on Monday. This one is a little late. Oops!

The kids went back to kindergarten and preschool on Tuesday! This was a surprise, because my calendar had contradictory information so I was braced for a whole 'nother week of them both being home all day long. Surprise!

1. Theia was happy to go to preschool. Hopefully this means the long break has allowed her to forget that she was not wanting to go for a while.

2. I got summoned for jury duty! This has never happened before. I'm excited.

3. Cardinals in winter. Worst camouflage. Best bird-watching. The certified urban wildlife habitat beside Cassius' school bus stop has three or four pairs of cardinals living in it or nearby, so I often see them flying across the street, perching on snow-covered branches, and otherwise being photogenic.

4. Phil got me a new battery for my laptop. He used some of his Amazon reward from work to help *me* do my work. :) Now I'll have more than 10 minutes of battery life again. Such luxury!

5. I got the My Little Ponies of the Apocalypse t-shirt that I ordered as my reward for hitting a weight loss benchmark (thanks, pneumonia!). The kids think the t-shirt is of pirate ponies.
Ponies of the Apocalypse

6. I finished the final draft of my high fantasy novella, "The Unkindness of Ravens," and submitted it to Yay! That is the most rewritten piece I've ever created. It's about 29,000 words long, and only about 10,000 of those words are from the story I started with when I decided to do this. And there I was, thinking that all I would need to do was change the beginning and ending a bit and add a few thousand words. Ha.

7. Chuck Sambuchino of Writer's Digest contacted me out of the blue, to ask MinnSpec to spread the word about the 2017 Minnesota Writing Workshop. I enjoy reading his blog, so that was pretty cool! Also, for pity's sake people. Have a website, and put a contact form on it!

8. I went back to the gym for more than just the sauna! It's been a while because The Sickness meant I couldn't breathe well enough to exercise. Saturday I did a yoga class, and it felt great.

9. First sale of 2017--a reprint sale of an eco-horror short story to an upcoming anthology. Huzzah reprint sale!

10. I started Project: Clean All The Things. Picking up went on my Not-To-Do List while I was cramming to get "Unkindness" finished, so I promised I'd spend the first two weeks after finishing it using my regular writing time to CLEAN (and catch up on emails).
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Computer tech friend diagnosed computer problem: not the CPU fan or the power supply--the motherboard. FATALITY!!

...So now I need a new desktop computer. Blech. Old but reliable docked laptop will make do until I can find one. Hopefully one that I don't consistently max out the processor on. RIP, old desktop.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (alas)
Yesterday, [ profile] cvalenti* opened up my computer and prepared to install the new power source to make my computer capable of booting up again.

Alas, it turns out that the problem was not the power source, but the CPU fan. So we ordered the part and it should be here by UPS soonish. Unfortunately, then my computer decided to stop staying on or booting up.

Laptop docking station to the rescue! My laptop is now hooked up to the docking station balanced on top of my defunct desktop computer, all surrounded by a nest of cords that must be seen to be believed. I'd take pictures, but the place where I organize my photos away to is currently out of it.

All this so that I can continue to work from home on a day job project, and also so that I can do writingy stuff. (The amount of typing I do, working at my desk with a real keyboard that's at the right height and a real monitor likewise is pretty essential.)

* On the entertaining side, I did feed cvalenti a meal in which everything had vegetables in it: broccoli and onions in the chicken divan; zucchini, squash, cucumber, and green beans in the "seasonal vegetable"; and fennel in the cake**.

** Which was very tasty, being a banana-fennel cake the documentation of which will occur eventually (with pictures).


May. 18th, 2010 10:45 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Agh!I accidentally hit some unknown keys anb My desktop has flipped upside down. I am typing this upside-down. The computer start-up looks normal, but then it flips as soon as it hits the Windows welcome screen. HELP!

ETA: Fixed! So, for future reference, if you right click on the desktop and go to graphics options, rotation, you can flip your (or somebody else's) desktop 180 degrees. How I managed to accomplish this by accident remains a mystery is still pretty impressive:
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 09:32 --- Do *not* need dreams of dealing with housing contractors, thieves, and raped friends who show up on my doorstep for help, thankyouvmuch!
  • 13:41 +++ Kitten stopped playing, went "Whrrrt?" and trundled across the room at high speed to use his litter box . Good kitten!
  • 14:44 22.4 GB of photos = Very Unhappy computer with only 28.1 MB of space left. Lots of warning messages. Very bad. Very sad Abra.
  • 14:52 -- Think I need 2 TB hard drives. #1 to keep older photos on. #2 to backup all photos/writing and keep at friend's place in case.
  • 15:18 1 mo. post-surgery, I find that they *did* mail me pre-surgery instructions--in May. My to-do pile ate them. Bad to-do pile.
  • 18:33 Phil, during a debate about whether kitten's butt needed cleaning: "I didn't say I was a good mama cat, honey! I'm a boy cat!"
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
05/09/2009 - Saturday, no work
* Read WritersDigest newsletter.
* Submitted "Diplomatic Relations" to M-Brane SF Queer Anthology.
* Fought a lot with OpenOffice 3.x's crashiness and problems saving in RTF format. By "fought a lot," I mean that Phil was on another floor of the house and I traumatized him.

05/08/2009 - Friday, full work, some downtime
* Dealt with the hazards of multiple versions of a working draft: merged the updated first three chapters from my home version with the more-recently-edited-elsewhere thumb drive version, and changed the paragraph I'd saved in my email. Then synced that version on home computer and thumb drive.
* Decided to be patient a little longer and not query about the status of "Salvaging Scottwell" (they've been holding the RTF version for 3 months, but molasses moves a lot faster than the publishing industry).
* Joined and submitted "Dining on a Dead Girl's Dime" to the MNArtists' miniStories Flash Fiction Contest (thanks for the idea, [ profile] inktea!).
* Began formatting "Diplomatic Relations" for a reprint submission. Stumbled up against AbiWord problems with headers.
* Read Writing-World, FundsforWriters, and FFWMarkets newsletters.
* Writing-World feature article, "Music to Write By" ( I use music to set the writing mood, but the idea of "anchoring" is a new and interesting one. Now I just need to figure out what my starting song should be.
* Posted writing log.
* [ profile] penthius freewriting about Death's need for a gardener.
* Worked on making editing changes to Vicesteed ch. 17
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

  • 14:33 Nothing infuriates me so much, or so fast, as things that don't work. I want to destroy the WORLD.

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (handgun)
I am so frustrated by word processors today. I do not want/cannot really afford to spend $300 to get a copy of Microsoft Word. But there are a few formatting standards that I have to be able to maintain to submit stories out. OpenOffice fails at maintaining formatting when saving to RTF, as I accidentally and very unhappily discovered recently. Note to self: always open back up that file you just saved to see what it looks like, m'kay? OpenOffice only saves double-spacing in the first paragraph, not the rest of the document. It will also bold or italicize an entire paragraph if there's a small section of that paragraph that should be bolded or italicized. AbiWord, another free word processor, can open OpenOffice docs and save them in RTF, preserving the line spacing and emphasis. Woo-hoo! But it can't preserve headers. However, if you delete out the headers before you open it in AbiWord and then add the headers in, everything's fine. But, if you then open up the RTF version in OpenOffice or Word, it puts the headers in on the first page too.


However, the RTF version saved in AbiWord still looks much, much better than the one saved in OpenOffice. So that's what I'll stick with.

And I've been sending out submissions that look like that. ::wails in despair::
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
04/30/2009 - full work, but there were a couple of beautiful hours of downtime.
* Posted writing log.
* [ profile] penthius freewriting about this:
* Updated market list from my Gmail to-do labels.
* Updated submission order for "Charity From a Thief," "The Radiator Burped," "Road of Dreams," "A Phoenix By Any Other Name," and "The Miracle Material" and picked where they're going to next--not necessarily the market that pays the most, but the new market that pays well and is what I think is a really good fit. Given the choice between an older magazine and a newer one, I sub to the newer one on the theory that their slush pile is smaller.
* Processed Dead Bait Anthology's very nice form letter rejection of "Miracle Material." Le sigh.
* Read Critters newsletter and various mid-week ad mailings from my writing newsletter people.
* Submitted "The Miracle Material" to Shock Totem after much wailing and gnashing of teeth over OpenOffice's difficulties with, it seems, the very notion of the .RTF format. (More on that later--the quick answer is "AbiWord.")

What on earth did writers with day jobs do before there were decent-sized thumb drives?
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 08:27 Spam: "The best software for you! Alcohol 120 v1.9.7.6022"
  • 13:17 It bodes well for new submissions whenever a contest extends its submission deadline. Means they haven't gotten what they want.
  • 13:52 + Working on writing stuff during happy magical work downtime.
  • 15:24 Mpls pan-handlers give good sign:
  • 15:29 Saturday is Free Comic Book Day! Walk into any (participating) comic shop, pick up some of 30 free comics.
  • 17:43 I now have a "USB Human Computer Interface Device." ::is amused::
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 23:13 Woa. Getting a new computer made the internet speed up. Though suddenly there are all these flash ads.
  • 06:56 + Turned on my new computer and wasn't sure it was powering up properly because it was so quiet.
  • 10:17 Pondering story possibilities of deliberate oxygen starvation to induce phantom limbs (SciAm):
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing)
03/31/2009 - Tuesday, no work
* Did 4 critiques for Critters.
* Posted writing logs. Dang it, I've been doing nothing but critiques.
* Processed shortlisting of one of my stories (no, I can't tell you which one) for the Cern Zoo anthology. They say not to get excited, and I'm trying not to--less than 1/4 of shortlisted stories will be accepted.
* Adjusted sub reminder for "Dining on a Dead Girl's Dime" to the actual deadline of lit competition. Still waiting to see if Doorways will ever respond to sub.
* Read Critters, Writers Digest newsletters.
* Reinstalled the old version of OpenOffice that doesn't crash constantly on my ancient desktop computer.
* Hunted for tax documents and updated various expense spreadsheets.
* Started reading through crits of Vicesteed ch. 15.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (alas)
I have an ancient and very crotchety computer. A number of years ago, when we were still on dial-up, I turned off Automatic Update because it just crashed the internet connection every time I tried to use it. Now I am trying to clean up the computer and install all the updates and make it pretend to work (OpenOffice and other programs crash way too often--only on this computer, too, not on my laptop).

36 out of 37 updates went smoothly, until it tried to install a security update for Microsoft .NET framework, version 1.1 Service Pack 1. Then it went bad, with a "Failure to Delay Load Library mscorlib.dll Win32 error: 32" message. I'm not even sure I have this .NET framework, but I've got no idea how to tell. The Microsoft support site is useless, unless I want to pay several hundred dollars to actually get a personal response (I don't). Grumble. Grumble grumble. I bought the damn operating system; I think I should get some honest-to-goodness tech support included with that!

Oh, well. Ignoring the update and moving on.

Next up: installing CCleaner, cleaning off some of the crap, and then running a nice long defrag. Then reinstalling OpenOffice and seeing if it will stop with the crashing.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 00:20 Now new monitor is working on desktop, and old monitor is working with laptop. Mysteriouser and mysteriouser.
  • 14:04 Pants ripped right below the seat. Fortunately, *after* church. Still went to Midtown Market for lunch/browsing. Fun morning!
  • 14:35 It's with great pleasure that I fill in '0' for hours worked this weekend.
  • 17:42 How long does it take for food poisoning symptoms to show up? Ate about five hours ago, stomach now uncomfortable.
  • 17:45 Updated Aswiebe's Market List:
  • 19:24 Feeling better, guess it was just an uncomfortable stomach, not food poisoning.
  • 22:53 My dad got laid off--his teaching contract wasn't renewed. They've applied to teach in India again.
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  • 13:08 Made strawberry blueberry sour cream pancakes shaped like mutant hearts for breakfast. And bacon.
  • 22:39 Figured out computer problem was dead backlight on monitor. Back to old monitor. Had forgotten how huge CRT ones are. No deskspace for me!
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  • 23:24 Dear IT folk--help?
  • 11:05 Snowflake flurries darting past the window. I miss you, rain!
  • 11:53 MPR archaeologist talking about preserving "the bone-to-bone relations." That needs to be a story title.
  • 13:21 Coworker telling story of when she was chased by a moose while canoeing. (also, that is the weirdest word ever)
  • 14:39 Waiting until mgr has cake and cigarette before telling her I'm switching back to 1/2 days next week.
  • 14:41 Dislike that the nature of working "part-time" at a job with an already-irregular schedule necessitates such conversations.
  • 15:23 MPR: "And there's the proof of your pudding." Me: Wait--what? A suspicious scent of vanilla in the air?
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  • 18:11 Work has repo'd my cellphone. PLEASE DELETE 612-202-6493 FROM YOUR PHONE LIST.
  • 18:19 They took away my cellphone. ::whine::
  • 22:56 Hmm, screen blacking out for no reason. Worrying. Putting computer into hibernation and waking back up restored screen.
  • 22:58 Just blacked out *again*. WTF, computer?
  • 22:59 Still goes into hibernation, so it's still responding, just not displaying.
  • 09:28 Handed over cellphone. Had it handed back to me because there was a text--asking "How late is too late to call?" ::facepalm::
  • 11:05 GAH! I typed in the wrong phone number! The number that should not be called is 612-850-4498.
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  • 16:34 Downgraded OpenOffice. Feel dirty, but maybe now it will stop crashing all the time!
  • 17:27 "Tragedy" originally meant "goat song"? WTF? How awesomely bizarre.
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cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 09:02 Morning commute turned me into an Abra-sicle. Need to get cold weather biking gear, whatever that means.
  • 09:46 The airline's cutting all employee pay in *half*? Well, dayumn....
  • 13:17 One good thing will come out of computer tech visit--if nothing else, my desk is now clean.
  • 14:59 Yes, when tech support geeks enter my house, they know they are among their own kind.
  • 15:37 Tech support guy did *great* job. Can't talk; must watch streaming video.
  • 16:57 Emergency cheer-up rations:
  • 17:00 Read the article for the mug shot. Set down your drink first.
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  • 23:18 That earlier jott was "goats do roam" wine 1/2 off at Haskell's. #
  • 23:20 Twins lost baseball game. Post-phys. therapy walking made knee hurt a lot, and dress shoes gave me 4 blisters. Also, stinky man ick. #
  • 23:31 Whoa. I have so many photos to upload and sort through and try and do something with. ::runs and hides:: #
  • 07:08 Yeesh. Woke up v. tired. Hope I can escape work early & nap. ::crosses fingers:: #
  • 07:49 Suspect it's a bad sign that I've taken my first painkiller of the day before 8 AM. #
  • 08:27 Want to see this: ( #
  • 08:57 If a dog's wagging tail leans to the right, you're good. Useful info, via SciAm ( #
  • 09:11 Writer's Digest--good tips on how to find time to write - #
  • 09:35's free ebook-a-week program is teh awesome. + free Nebula nominees from fictionwise & I feel the need for an ebook reader. #
  • 09:36 Spam: "Spring weaken your organism. Support it with vitamins." #
  • 09:38 @ cvalenti re dog's tail - Their right. #
  • 11:04 #
  • 11:19 Prosthetics has open-skull surgery test subjects. Yikes! (via \.) #
  • 11:28 Wonder if I could write a romance a month...during work down-time? #
  • 13:03 Ngg. For the umpteenth time, NgithOwl has underpaid me by $2/hr for a significant chunk of time. Snarl. #
  • 13:14 Home. Step 1. Consolidate to-do list, master task list, floating scraps of paper, and "Action Needed" inbox items. #
  • 13:20 Boy kitty is snuggling ferociously. I think he missed me when I was gone all the time. #
  • 14:57 Happy. It is raining and cold outside, but I am snug at home. #
  • 15:24 Dear girl cat, You are welcome to sit on my lap and purr, but please stop trying to lick my hands as I type! #
  • 15:52 Poor husband has to work a double shift tonight! #
  • 16:35 Grrr. V. annoyed that "Error 623" keeps popping up. #
  • 16:39 Since my ride's working 2nd shift, think I will be staying home. And warm. Instead of gimping around all lonely and cold. #
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