New Computer Foibles & Other Things

This week has possibly been one of the most trying and busy weeks I’ve had in quite a while. A little over a week ago I came down with some sort of head cold/sore throat combo that seemed to have my name embroidered on it in gold thread. It’s been a little over a year since I’ve  been sick to any sort of degree, and I’d forgotten how much it sucks. It started with a little bit of a sore throat and a runny nose—nothing major—but turned into another spree of going deaf in one ear, which, if you click the link I just shared, you’ll understand why that terrifies me. I immediately started taking meds to try and fix things before they got out of hand…. unfortunately that lead to an even bigger problem: The mixture of allergies, head cold, and meds meant that my eyes got really dry and before I knew it, I had a pink, swollen eye. Le sigh.

All of this comes down to a week of miserable sniffly noses, splotchy red throats, and irritatingly itchy eyes that makes me want to hide in a damp, light restricted closet filled with tissues. As miserable as that is (and really, it wasn’t fun, but I was surviving like a trooper) things became complicated when my family got word that the two brand spanking new gamer PC’s we’d ordered a week or two before were finally on their way. This was joyous news! Except, we’d decided to move around the three computers in our house to separate rooms, which meant a lot of furniture rearranging, cleaning, reorganizing, and backing up of old files. To make a very long story short, I just spent the last 3 days inhaling mountains of dust (because I’ll admit it, I am the WORST when it comes to dusting. I just don’t do it. At all.) It felt like we were moving. Seriously. Couches, beds, dressers, TV’s, book shelves, desks, chairs… all of it got moved over the course of two or three days (mostly by myself because my husband has a displaced rib and a bad back that makes moving anything heavy a no-go).

For a normal person, this situation would have sucked. It was tiring. It was dusty. It involved a lot of cat hair—but for someone like me who is severely allergic to dust mites, cats, and basically everything ever—it was torture. I spent two days unable to catch my breath because the dust irritated my allergies so bad that I was in a perpetual asthma attack. It hurts to breathe right now… which also means that on top of all my other head cold related problems, I haven’t slept in two days. Double le sigh.

The good news is: everything was completed on time. I backed up my computer like a pro, got everything moved and put away, I managed to somehow not die in the process, and the new computers arrived! Everything was hooked up, my internet was turned back on, and I thought “Wow, that went smoothly. I can get back to my regular posting schedule without a blip in the radar.”

And then I realized that my new computer wasn’t recognizing my external hard drive…. the hard drive where all my artwork, music, books, photos and writing resides. Somehow during the moving of everything in my house, my external hard drive broke. My husband figured it was the shell—this is a pretty common problem, and the shell we had on the external hard drive was pretty iffy right out of the box. Whatever, I have a new, awesome computer, and we can just mount it and make it an internal drive. Problem solved! Except it wasn’t. My PC still doesn’t recognize the drive… even after adjusting the BIOS. So what does this mean? There is a 50% chance that either we were incredibly unlucky and the drive isn’t getting enough power, in which case getting a new shell will fix the problem. Or, unfortunately, my drive is dead.  I cannot tell you the amount of horror this awakens in me. I will literally bawl my eyes out if it’s dead.

I can replace my art. Mostly. It’s posted to my DeviantART account. I can replace my music (it’s just a pain). I can even replace my books if I have to (that’s an even bigger pain—I just finished replacing my hard library with e-books and cataloguing all 22k of those)…my photo’s, sadly are irreplaceable, but eh… who cares… my writing? I have backups of –almost- everything (I think)… but not Khet. My beloved Khet which I’ve spent months re-writing. Though I still have my very vague hand-written outline, the detailed typed outline that’s 23 chapters long? That, my friends, will be lost. Excuse me why I hyperventilate.

So the short of it is this: I’m sick. My new computer is awesome. I’m online and ready to post to my blog… but I may have lost my soul to the evil that is a broken hard drive. Please pray for my literary babies.

I break bones in stupid ways…

The first time I ever broke a bone, it was my two smallest toes on my right foot. How did I break them you ask? I kicked a stair while I was running up them. You wouldn’t think that would break your toes, but believe me, it will.

The second time I broke a bone, it was again, my two smallest toes on my right foot. This time, I broke them kicking a doorjamb on my way down a hallway. Apparently, I have no control over my feet.

The third time I broke a bone, it was my pinky on my left hand. It got smashed (and nearly severed) in a car door.

The latest time I broke a bone, it was again, my pinky on my left hand—and it was 10 minutes ago. I was balancing my hand on the retractable handle of my laundry basket (It’s one of those tall ones that can be wheeled around) while I was picking up some dirty socks. The handle slid, and so did my pinky finger.. right into a gap that couldn’t have been more than a quarter of a centimeter wide. Surprisingly, my finger fit in that hole.. I’m not sure how—and it was difficult to remove my finger from said hole. My pinky is now swollen and the fingernail has turned purple (where blood is pooling under it) and a little crooked. I’ve got it on ice and I’m going to wrap it up in a bit. It’s a lovely way to start your morning.

How is it that I always break my bones in the stupidest ways possible? P.S. : Typing the letter A hurts like hell. Thank god the majority of my posts are scheduled ahead of time so I don’t have to type much this week.

Monday Check-In

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Oh man, what a week (and weekend) it was this past week! I failed horribly at putting up Free Fiction Friday, but we’ll get to that. First of all, my to-do for this week:

  1. Read something. Anything. Because I’ve been slacking the last two weeks. I had three weeks lined up of book reviews, so I took the opportunity to do anything except read the past week or two. Because I could. Because I wanted time to work on the plotline of my novel and sort my e-book library (which… I have 15,000 books left to catalogue out of 22,000. I’m not kidding). I just didn’t make time to read. So this week, I need to do that. Mostly because I don’t have a review article scheduled for Thursday yet.
  2. Work on my novel. I do feel as if I got quite a lot done over the last week on my novel—don’t get me wrong. I spent three days re-writing the entire plot. I spent the weekend going over my very brief plotline to try and fill things out, iron out details etc., but I’m only up to the 12th chapter on the second draft of the plotline. I need to get through that so I can get to the writing part. Unfortunately, I’m having a hard time balancing background noise with work. I find if I work without any sort of background noise, I end up getting distracted and finding chores to do in order to fill the silence…but if I –do- have background noise, I end up getting distracted by that too! Maybe because I choose YouTube and Netflix as my background noise. It’s a problem. I know.
  3. Do chores. I’ve been very proud of myself these last three weeks. I’m normally the type of person to put off doing any chore until I have no choice but to do it. I’m a slob…. so dishes? Only done when I can no longer find a spoon. But these past few weeks I’ve been all caught up. I kept my house clean, did dishes/laundry every day.. it was freeing!… and then this weekend I decided to make a huge dinner for my family and went from zero dishes to an entire kitchen full of dishes within 4 hours. I haven’t gotten to them yet. I swear I will.
  4. Post a large Free Fiction Friday this week. I’ve been really bad the past three weeks. It’s not that I so much forgot about Free Fiction Friday… it’s just that my mind has been on so many other things that by the time I remember I need to do Free Fiction Friday.. it’s like.. 10pm and I decide it’s easier to skip this week. I need to catch up. Here’s the problem: right now due to working situations, my family is split. The person I rely on the most to help keep things on track during the week is now gone 5 sometimes 6 days out of every week.. this has been going on for a little over six months now. Meanwhile I’m left with all the chores, taking care of a 10 yr. old, dealing with school, meals, weekly doctors appointments….all on my lonesome (did I mention I don’t have a car, making this 10x more difficult?). I can do it, but by Thursday or Friday (when my family is back together after a long week) I then have two days to plan my grocery shopping, spend time with missing family members, etc. before Monday hits and we’re split up again. So, as you can imagine, Fridays are very stressful, very busy days for me. I’m trying to push through and get these things posted, but if I miss them here and there, I apologize. I may move Free Fiction Fridays to Thursday and give myself a longer weekend if this begins to be a trend – at least till all this travelling is sorted out. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was still ironing out my posting schedule!

That aside, I currently have three book reviews written and waiting to be posted this week: The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare. It was a really good series, so I can’t wait to have the articles out. I have no idea what I’ll be posting Thursday, but if I can get a handle on #1 up there, an article will be in the works. I hope everyone had a great weekend. Keep reading!

P.S. Enjoy the picture of Imhotep, my 11 yr. old male Sokoke—lovingly referred to as my Fuzzy Baby. If he looks annoyed it is only because I’d woken him from his nap.

Getting Back Into The Swing of Things

 

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Hello ladies and gentlemen of blogland! It’s good to be back. After quite a long, rather shaky absence due to illness and the holidays, I’m happy to report that I am getting back into my workload. I promised myself that I’d get back to work, and so here I am. Now that I’ve gotten my schedule worked out, it goes something like this:

Monday –> Thursday: Book Reviews & Random Writing/Book-Related Articles

Friday: Free Fiction Fridays! (YAY)

Saturday –> Sunday: I take the weekend off. I have a life too. Dishes/Laundry need to be done. So does grocery shopping.

So starting Monday you guys should be getting a lot more articles headed your way. I’ve got Reviews/FFF’s booked up till the 10th of February right now, so there should be plenty to keep your WordPress Reader’s busy in the upcoming weeks. I’m slowly peeling through my TBR (to-be-read) list a book or two at a time. I’ve probably tore through at least 4-6 books just in the past two days, and I’m itching to get some reviews out shortly—so stay tuned!

P.S. Most annoying thing ever: Trying to get books read so you can post reviews… only to discover that one of your books doesn’t release till April… so you can’t post the review. Seriously. Ow.

I will defeat you Khet *shakes fist*

I did not end this day the way I expected to. I started off this morning intending to do… nothing, basically. It’s Sunday and Sunday in my family is the one day of the week when everyone gets together for a family meal that lasts practically from breakfast till dinner. In years past this has been a non-negotiable event that takes the majority of the day. I’ve been able to weasel my way slowly out of it over the last couple years, and now it’s my day to sit undisturbed and spend some time to myself. Usually I use this time to catch up on laundry and dishes or to read a book. *thumbs up*. Today, I did nothing of the sort.

Instead, I got up this morning and said “Cary, that’s enough of that bull-crap. You said you were going to get a book published this year, and you are woefully behind. Get to work!” So, I set aside my TBR list (which is huge by the way) for a day and sat down to do something I literally haven’t done in years: An outline. You see, I’m severely OCD. I’m not talking about being obsessed with organizing (though I am) We’re talking about a person who when she was little used to turn doorknobs, flip light switches, and blink a certain amount of times in order to balance the world out. Yah, that sort of crazy. I’m not as bad as when I was little anymore, most of my OCD shows itself in the way I’m obsessed with shredding random things into miniscule pieces on my desk, my inability to sit still, my obsession with organizing and being thorough, and an infrequent need to repeat words containing the “ih” sound. Yah, I’m still weird. Moving along.

When I was a teenager I used to spend weeks outlining stories. The problem was, I’d get so incredibly obsessed with “getting it right” (thank you OCD!) that I could never actually get to the writing part. So, to avoid my OCD, I became a pantster. It was great. It really was. For once I could get dozens of chapters done in a week without looking back. I made a ton of progress and all was right in the world.

Until I ran into a part of my story where I wasn’t sure how to proceed. Without an outline  I’d really only half-figured out my story, and when I got to the point where I didn’t know what came next… I stalled. I started to review what I had, and started to nitpick and go a little crazy about perfecting what I had.

So, this morning when I decided to get to work, I said “Screw you OCD. I’m 29, and you will not keep me from writing this story.” and got to work. I looked up some story formula’s, plotting advice and outlining methods and started to really work out what my story was about.  I’m still only partway into figuring the whole mess out, but my story has drastically changed (for the better) and for once I think I have an idea of how this is going to go. So watch out Khet, you’re about to get a makeover! At least I  feel like I got something accomplished today.

PS: writing with OCD is like being a gerbil on a wheel. You run in circles, the same circles… over and over in an attempt to make each circle better than the last. Sometimes I wish I could just jump off the wheel and dismantle it with a crowbar. Anyone else out there writing with OCD? How on earth do you stop obsessing over the details and perfection? It makes my brain hurt.

Ah June…

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A picture of weeds dying in my backyard from lack of water. I love the desert.

It’s 23 minutes past midnight here in El Paso, Texas, and that means it’s June 1st. What does that mean to me?

First, that there’s only one week left of school here, which is awesome, because I walk/jog to the local elementary school (2 mile round trip) every morning and afternoon during the school year. It’s not that bad in the fall and winter, but, living in the Chihuahuan desert, come spring/summer, we’re talking temperatures easily in the 90-100 F range by 10 AM.

Second, it means bug & critter season. Up until yesterday I was feeling pretty high on my horse. Unlike every year before this, I hadn’t seen a single fire ant, cockroach, moth, or scorpion outbreak. It was unusual, because I guarantee you, every year it happens. Last year for unknown reasons we had a moth PLAGUE. On one particular night I counted 27 moths in my house and several hundred just outside my back door. I don’t know where they came from or why they were here, but the past few years, they’ve been steadily growing worse. It’s frightening. I don’t mind moths as a species, but when they’re ricocheting off your ceiling at 2 am, it sure does make it hard to sleep.

Unfortunately, yesterday I woke up to the horrors of spring again. A roach was dead in my bathtub, and it was being mauled into tiny bits by hundreds of ants. They’d come up the tub pipes in the bathroom. Yay spring.  I have since caught (just since yesterday) 7 huge roaches, including the one that crawled under my desk not 10 minutes ago. Little did it know that I’ve had years to train my cats to hunt the little beasties, and as a reward, they get cat treats. It’s very effective. *shudder* I’ve also seen one tale-tell dark brown moth from years past, and now I’m avidly waiting for the rest of them. No scorpions yet, but they’re coming. I know it.

It’s not like my house is particularly filthy either… I just live in the middle of a desert where these little pests have nothing better to eat than the cat food in my kitchen, so like clockwork they move in come spring. I put out bait, roach traps, spray bug barrier.. it makes no difference. The lil beasties will share my home with me until fall, and then they’ll disappear for a blissful 6 months, only to return next spring.

What else does spring bring? A priority change in my workload. Since school is out, I end up babysitting for three months, often multiple children, and that means spending 12 hours a day doing art/blogging/writing isn’t going to happen. You parents out there know this… trying to get -anything- done while a group of kids is poking at you every five minutes is nearly impossible, but I’ll try nevertheless.

What I -need- to do is work on projects that are going to actually get me paid this summer. (as evidenced by this last month where I spent the last week eating a meal a day consisting mostly of tortilla’s turned into peanut butter and jelly burritos cause I didn’t have the funds to go by bread) and water. That means art for the most part. What I -want- to do is write. I have horribly neglected my writing the last few months, and the year seems to be passing me by at a frightening rate. Unfortunately for me, it’s one or the other. I have to balance the two and decide which is more important to me for the summer, because it’s going to be impossible to get any work done on both. Art takes too much time (often 9-14 hours straight-through for once piece spread over 3-5 days) to be able to actively handle that, writing, and life in general. I have to sleep and eat and interact with humans at some point. If I write, I want to be able to sit down, undisturbed, and work on my writing/editing for days at a time. I desperately want to do that… but I don’t know that I’ll be able to. It’s frustrating.

Anyways, I shall continue to blog regularly, read, and review books. Why? Because I enjoy it! It’s my one hobby that I don’t feel pressured to work at, and it’s almost calming in my otherwise chaotic day. The one drawback is that means I need to finish “sorting” my digital library.

Remember that post not too long ago about my e-library needing a dewy-decimal system? yah. Out of the nearly 9,000 books I’ve obtained, I’m down to sorting the last 6,600. See, I’ve made progress. One day I will be finished and I can push a button labeled “read a random book” and POOF! It’ll be tagged and have all it’s meta data, and be ready to be transferred to my kindle. Why is this project taking so long? Because I’m going through my library book-by-book, looking up the meta-data, labeling it with title, author, series, custom genre tags (that I actually understand) and the synopsis, then converting it to my kindle’s format, and marking whether I’ve read/reviewed it, and what I rated it at. With all my books, it’s the only feasible way I could think of organizing the monstrosity to keep track of what I’ve already read and what I’m reading when I pick it up. Gone will be the days of picking a random book from my kindle library based on cover and having no idea what it’s about without an extensive google search!

Maybe my OCD is getting the better of me.

Ahem. Anyways, it’s late, and I’m going to endeavor to sleep even though it’s currently in the high 80’s and I’m fully aware that there are giant roaches just waiting for me to turn out the lights. Did you know they can fly? It is the most terrifying thing on Earth.

This Past Week

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(Com – Violet by Cary Morton/DarlingMionette – You can see the whole thing on DeviantART)

I just wanted to stop in and talk about this past week, as little as has happened. I spent most of the week doing artwork (see above) for commissions, and I have two more I’ll be doing over the next week *thumbs up*. It’s nice to be back into the swing of things and making money again (art is my only income).

Aside from that, I’ve won another book over at Goodreads: Waiting For Morning by Margaret Brownley (YAY!) Which brings me to a total of 5 books I’ve won in giveaways there. *does a little dance of joy*.

I’ve also spent most of my week getting through Amber Benson’s series of Calliope Reaper-Jones books, and I have to say that they’re honestly getting better with each new book (which is great because the first two were pretty questionable). I’ll be putting out the next review sometime today hopefully, and then moving on to some other books while I wait to get the newest book of the series. I figure you guys need a break, so the next one will be a short historical victorian-era romance. Gotta change things up now and then.

Anyways, that’s it for now, I hope everyone’s had a great week.