If I could turn back time

It’s a good thing these stories I’m editing are so enjoyable to read, since…

The other night I went to Murder By The Book because the wonderful Carolyn Haines was signing her new mystery, Bonefire of the Vanities. I’m behind in the series, so I now have two Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries beckoning me from my TBR pile. I’m using them as my carrot: When I get caught up with the editing, I can start reading Bones of a Feather.

In my last post, I mentioned how my aunt and uncle were great storytellers who I wanted somehow to weave into my fiction one day. But honestly, I feel like if I could just follow Carolyn Haines around and listen to her tell stories, that would be as humorous and inspiring. If you ever get a chance to meet her, take it.

One of the things she talked about was how it took her so long to give her character Sarah Booth a cell phone. When she started the series, Carolyn didn’t have a cell phone herself, but as the years progressed (well, in book publishing years; only about a year and a half has passed in Sarah Booth’s life, I think), it became implausible not to introduce a little technology. It reminded me of a time Greg and I were talking about an old Mary Stewart novel, and I said a coincidental plot point couldn’t happen in modern times because of technology. But Greg pointed out that the characters could have stumbled over an Internet news story and acquired the same information.

Still, I have a real longing to strip away technology from a novel I want to write. Sometimes characters don’t need to be able to access Wikipedia and Google. They need to think their way out of bad situations–or NOT–without rescue available at the touch of a button. There are only so many times a person can lose a cell phone or forget to charge it…or the Internet can be down… It’s a writer’s delight to put a character in awkward or perilous circumstances and watch as they use their wits and nerve to save themselves. It’s just not the same if OnStar and Siri and Travelocity do all the work.

Although I suppose technology-rich bestsellers prove me wrong daily, I’m still pretty glad Scout Finch couldn’t point a security camera at the oak tree; Juliet didn’t have face recognition software; and Miss Marple never hid a smart phone in her knitting bag. Though I can’t help but wonder what her ring tone might be.

30 Days of Creativity 2012: Day 10

Today’s theme from 30 Days of Creativity is “8 Bit.”

The Ram lets the kids kick it old school during a break from filming Super Mario Brothers.

Other Day 10 creations can be seen here.

Thanks to Tom for the props, because I didn’t know “8 Bit” from an interdimensional hole that could take me to an alternate universe where dinosaur descendants rule and plumbers are heroes. On second thought, plumbers are heroes in this dimension, as well.

Legacy Writing 365:96

Sometimes a girl’s just gotta cry when the wind blows up her dress because she knows she’ll never look like Marilyn Monroe.

I have a Canon scanner hooked to my PC, and with that scanner came some good photo editing software that was extremely user friendly. When we got the Mac, that scanner and software worked on it. When the Mac died a few months after purchase and Apple had to install a new operating system, it was no longer compatible with the scanner and software. Maybe I could have upgraded the software or something, but I’d long been using a paid version of Picnik photo editing through Flickr, so I didn’t care, even when I bought another, more Mac-friendly, Canon scanner (gift cards are wonderful!). Then Flickr announced that Picnik was closing on April 19. Only they jumped the gun. It was closed when I wanted to work on this photo, and Flickr offered me their new photo editing software, Aviary.

Problem is, Aviary doesn’t really do what I need. My photo editing needs are few and relatively simple, but they are also specific. Photoshop and other good editing software programs are far more technical than I want. I don’t do a lot of post-processing of my photos, but most of my old photos, like the one above, need some work.

Maybe I’ll see if I can install and upgrade my old scanner software.

Or maybe I’ll just cry about it.

My mother once asked to hear my earliest memory. I told her I was reaching for a rotary beater on the kitchen counter and could remember her saying, “No!” She asked what color the cabinets were, and when I told her, she said I was probably around two, and we lived in Colorado. I’m pretty sure that’s where this photo was taken.

I still don’t much like being told no. Not even by Flickr.

Button Sunday

Many of us have bad habits when writing. Back in the 90s, when there was such a thing as a chat room online, I think it was a Halloween night when all the room regulars decided to chat in disguise (virtual costumes, if you will). Within minutes of my arrival under my new secret name, someone identified me. When I asked how he knew, he said, “It’s all those ellipses. You love your three dots.”

I broke the ellipses habit. But I’ll never–ever–get over the damn em dash.

Once again, thanks, Marika, for the button.

Button Sunday

On August 12, my friend Alan tweeted: Random fun fact of the day: in 1981, the IBM Personal Computer is released.

I thought it would be a good time to break out this button. I don’t know how it came to me, though I do remember some early versions of “computers” in an office where I worked. My first home computer was a Mac.

Anyway, I figured sharing this button is a better tribute to personal computers than the almost FOUR HUNDRED spam comments I received in a twelve-hour period on my blog. I believe the solution Tim suggested has nipped that in the bud, but I hope it won’t make it more difficult for people to leave legitimate comments.

Social media weirdness

Yesterday I visited some Facebook walls that are public, and I was reminded again of why Facebook is a terrible fit for me. I expressed a mini tirade about it on Twitter (everything on Twitter being mini), mostly regarding my inability to understand why people who carp incessantly about other people’s bigotry–including hate language–turn around and do exactly the same thing to people whose beliefs and politics are different from theirs. This is not quantum physics. You think it’s wrong to be generalized, stereotyped, insulted, demeaned–then it’s wrong for YOU TO DO IT, TOO. And if you’re going to do it anyway, then you’ve lost any moral high ground in calling out other people, and you’ve lost some of your sympathetic audience. Including me.

I don’t miss the cacophony.

Conventional wisdom says that when someone talks politics on Twitter, they lose followers. Even though I hadn’t technically done so in my mini tirade, I did glance at my list of followers this morning, and none seem to have vanished. However, the number of people I follow had lessened by about twenty. Now I’m the only one who can make that choice, so it’s obviously a Twitter glitch, and other people are experiencing it, too. I’m sure it’ll all get worked out eventually. Meanwhile–boy, is my Twitter quiet.