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STATUS: Wednesday, June 15th

The Daily Report

So, just when I was thinking I wasn’t having a very good day yesterday, I sat down at 4:30 and wrote a 2,400 word chapter in two hours. I also got the Tales of MU email update list running again. The new watch is definitely helping me with my routine. I have it set with timers for the start and end of my workday, lunchtime, and writing time, and I have timer presets on it for my writing sprints.

I do most of my writing on a timer, though the web-based app I got in the habit of using it was actually an alarm clock that supported multiple alarms. I used it because this let me line up a whole afternoon’s worth of sprints and rests in advance, and then just let it run. But I wound up internalizing a lot of non-helpful rituals  (like compulsively starting my writing intervals exactly on a round number minute, and delaying to the next multiple of ten if I missed it) that made my off days worse even while they ostensibly supported the habits that made most days work. It’s probably a good thing that the page basically broke (at least with regards to my current browser version), but I didn’t have a good solution.

My phone is always handy, but not in my hand. The watch is right there. I can start or pause a timer at the push of a button, without having to pull anything out or flip tabs. I can start at any time. If I have to interrupt a sprint in the middle, I can pause it and walk away, then come back and resume it. I know, I know. In theory these are things that I could have done at any time, never mind what a timer says. But writing is creative work, and there’s a huge

The State of the Me

I didn’t get much sleep last night, which is contributing to a slow start today.

Plans For Today

Honestly? Going to take a nap in a bit and then take stock again in the afternoon.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/736260.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.
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Orlando: Love and Hate

The day of the massacre at the Pulse in Orlando, Jack said of it that the really insidious thing about homophobia was that it was possible that the killer himself was gay or queer. I had not thought that, but it resonated with me when I thought about the way his father had said that he had been enraged watching two men kiss in the streets of Miami.

I mean, you don’t have to be secretly gay to have a visceral reaction to that, just bigoted; the idea that all anti-gay bigots are gay themselves is a kind of backhanded homophobia itself. It gives straight “allies” a way to say “HA HA NO YOU’RE GAY!” while ostensibly defending the community.

But few rages run as hot as the anger mingled with betrayal and frustration that occurs when you see somebody enjoying something you have denied yourself at great psychological cost. It takes a terrible toll, to deny oneself and to bury one’s feelings, to say nothing of holding beliefs that say that one’s conduct or feelings or even existence is inherently sinful.

People in such positions often get by only on the strength of their ability to believe that it’s all worth it, that what they’re going through is necessary, that’s there no other way except to shoulder the burden they’ve been saddled with and muscle on.

And then they see somebody else who has apparently shrugged off that burden, and who is doing okay, and it all comes crashing down around their ears…

I’ve personally started talking more about my anxiety and depression and the ways in which it makes my life dysfunctional, and I’ve done so for many reasons, but one is that trying to “manage” these things by burying them and plastering on my best imitation of a smile makes me behave very uncharitably when other people don’t do the same. That is to say that when I’m burying my anxiety because That’s What You Have To Do, I tend to snap at people who don’t. It’s an ugly reaction, hurtful to those around me and I’m sure harmful to me.

You can see the same thing with people who adopt super restrictive regimens for their life, when they see people who can’t, won’t, or don’t do the same. People who suffer and suffer to get a body they think they’ll like often react poorly to people who dare even try to love the bodies they have. People who give up on fun activities because they think they have to in order to ascend to adulthood tend to take it really personally when they see those of us who don’t, living our lives and having fun.

To put it simply: people who have made compromises to get to where they are in life, no matter where that might be, often feel threatened by anything that makes them question if the compromise was necessary.

The more we learn about the killer, the more his supposed connections to radical terrorist groups overseas seem like lethal flights of fancy. He supposedly claimed ties to multiple groups that have deep political and ideological divides, and while the FBI had looked into him, they found no credible thread either before or after his death. In essence, his terrorist ties are likely to be nothing more than violent fantasies of power and control, much like his aspirations to join the NYPD.

Yet the more we learn about him, the harder it is to discount the possibility that he was motivated not just by hatred, but self-hatred. His trips to the Pulse have been described in some quarters as simple reconaissance, scouting trips. But he was active on at least one gay hook-up site for a year, and he’s supposed to have talked to his wife about a “past” that included sexual experience with other men.

I have no doubt that among those who see politics as a game and tragedies as a way of keeping score, there is or will be some crowing about “the narrative crumbling” and how “the SJWs can’t say it was homophobia if he was a homo himself”. No doubt at all. But Omar Mateen’s sexual orientation, whatever it might have been, does not change the calculus here. Or rather, it does not soften the impact.

This was homophobia. This was bigotry. This was hatred.

If it is true that the killer’s hatred was also self-directed, then this only makes it all the more important that we recognize that hatred as the problem. It’s all the more important that instead of shifting blame to Those People Over There, we look at the hatred that festers on the homefront.

Donald Trump, eager to use the corpses of our dead as puppets in his political theater, immediately proclaimed that his vague warnings of Islamic terrorism constituted “calling it” with regards to this tragedy. In the days and weeks and months that come, we must not let this false narrative stand without challenge. We must not let it spread. We must not let the political pressure to declare this killing—which was an act of terrorism, as all hate crimes are—signs of conspiracy abroad rather than rot at home.

Editorialist Frank Bruni wrote in the New York Times that though the targets were not random, this wasn’t really an attack on LGBT people but on freedom itself. He’s wrong. He is not just wrong, but completely wrong.

We’ll never know everything about the killer’s life or mindset or motivation. We don’t yet know all we’ll ever know. But we know enough to make the educated inference that his target was not “our freedoms” or “our way of life”.

Far more likely, what enraged him was a freedom that he felt was denied him, a way of life he could not see a clear path to but which he could not quite give up on.

And the blame for this cannot be laid at the feet of any one culture or religion, but at a society that is awash with both homophobia and privileged platitudes about equality that position homophobia as just one more sacred “opinion” which must be protected, while also positioning homosexuality as an alternative (and thus, both optional and deviant)  “lifestyle”.

The way to mitigate or prevent bloodshed on this scale is going to have to include sensible reforms to how our society handles gun ownership. It’s going to have to. But this particular type of tragedy, where one man’s life is given over to hatred to the point where he takes the lives of others on his way out? To prevent this kind of tragedy from happening on whatever scale is available, what we need is love. Love, compassion, an end to hatred.

Often calls for compassion get twisted around into calls for the hated to reach out to the haters and change their hearts through a good example. No. That doesn’t work. The compassion we need comes from the vast majority of people who are neither overtly hateful nor in the camp of the hated. Outpourings of support and conspicuous signs of allyship are fine and dandy, but what we really need is for you to challenge the hatred not just when it’s immediately lethal and not just after the smoke clears.

By the time a man opens fire in a crowded nightclub, it’s too late for words. How many acts of hatred did that man experience, encounter, witness, internalize, and/or perpetrate before then? How many times a day did he hear words of hatred on the radio or TV, read them on the internet or in a newspaper?

How many times a day do you?

Love is grand. And while love is love, love is not love if it will not challenge hatred. Then it’s only words, and while kind words are always appreciated, right now they’re a bit like blood donations after a crisis: a lot of people rush to give them all at once, and we wind up with a surplus that goes to waste, and not enough for later, when we really need them.

So cis & straight allies, here’s my request  for you: save some of those kind words you’re pouring out now. Save them for when they can make a difference. Save them for when someone makes a hateful comment in front of you, even if it’s a joke. Save them for when someone tries to make a space you’re part of safer for their bigotry by making it unsafe for others.

Save them for when we need them.

Make this world safe for the man that Omar Mateen might have been, if he’d a place to be himself in it. Don’t do it for him, necessarily, because he is far from the only one of us who succumbed to the hatred that surrounds us. He’s just the one who decided to go out with a bang and make other people suffer along with him. That was his choice, and I don’t want to diminish his responsibility for it.

But the same hatred that killed him and spurred him to kill others is killing other members of our community right now. Like high levels of background radiation or toxins in the atmosphere, it’s poisoning all of us by degrees, though not all of us equally. The healthiest and best protected among us might live full and happy lives until we die of something else.

But we all still feel it, and those of us who feel it more distantly have all the more obligation to do something about it. As more is given to us, so more is asked from us. This goes even more so for those of you who are not touched by the hatred at all.

Name the hatred that sparked this massacre. Confront the hatred. End it.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/736083.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.
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STATUS: Tuesday, June 14th

The State of the Me

Opening with this one because it might be more than usually relevant.

Every once in a while, I manage to sleep on my hand (usually my left one) weird and wake up with a thumb that feels like it was bent back weird or something. When this happens, it generally hurts for most of the day. The pain interferes with phone/tablet typing but doesn’t do much to impair regular typing, as the only thing I use my left thumb for in typing is hitting the space bar, and I have plenty of other digits that can do that, including my right thumb.

More than anything else, the pain is just a constant low level distraction at the back of my head that makes it hard to focus on anything. I have taken a 12 hour naproxen dose this morning. Hopefully that will keep it down to a dull roar, and giving it plenty of rest will help. I’d really like for it to be back to normal by this afternoon.

The Daily Report

There is minor upper respiratory illness in our house. I do not have it, though it, like my distressed thumb, is contributing a bit to the background processing load of my brain.

How much do I love my Pebble watch? So much, apparently. I have programmed M-F timers into it for start of work day, end of work day, and lunch time. I think getting a gentle buzzing reminder at set times will have a positive impact on my ability to keep a routine.

Didn’t get any kind of response to my Lord Chad, Seal Master post yesterday. That’s okay. Part of this gig is not being afraid to try things, take risks. I just went on Twitter tangent about this, starting here: https://twitter.com/alexandraerin/status/742723191706136576.

Financial Situation

Stable, if not comfortable? No real change from yesterday. Absent any unexpected windfalls, we’re going to be limping along for most of the month, and then I should have my best Patreon payout yet after the end of the month. My author Patreon is showing some growth now. It’s not like the explosive growth that some authors who made the leap from traditional funding to crowdfunding got, but it’s getting back up into the neighborhood of where it was before I split Tales of MU into its own thing. Growth over time is good. It’s more likely to be sustainable.

Plans For Today

The errands I was talking about yesterday wound up delayed until today, due to aforementioned illness in the house. Between that and my thumb, I’m making no solid plans except for Tales of MU. Basically keeping the decks cleared for making sure that happens as scheduled.



Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/735896.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.
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Some grateful acknowledgments.

Over the course of my birthday, I posted links to my Amazon wishlist. Generous folks out there in internet land provided me with some of my medically necessary dietary supplements, a few new wigs I’ve had my eye on, and… a new smart watch.

As I mentioned last week, I took a gamble on getting a bargain basement smart watch to go with my new smart phone, and it was a huge mistake. My reasoning was “Maybe it won’t do much for that price, but I really just need it to tell time and give me notifications without having to dig my phone out.” What I got for the price was a phone that tries to do everything you might want a smart watch to do (including take pictures, place and answer calls, etc.) but fails at most of them. It can barely make or hold a connection to a phone. The interface is terrible, the touchscreen is non-responsive, and most of the functions are not accessible without a third party application that will not install on my phone and/or a SIM card or memory card inserted into a watch that has no aperture for receiving such.

The watch worked just enough to make me see the value of a good one. I asked Twitter for recommendations. Weird thing: if I say anywhere on the internet that I’m thinking about getting an X or that I’m having Y problems with Z, I’ll have people falling over themselves to give me advice that is often unneeded or inapplicable, being based only on the iceberg-tip view of what’s going on that my blog provides. But when I threw out a request for information, I got exactly one response.

Now this might be a side effect of the fact that I have been kind of vocal about the unsolicited advice thing lately, in which case it’s a matter of people learning the wrong lesson… which I was pretty sure was going to happen. But, oh well.

The one recommendation I got was for the Pebble. After looking into it, I listed a couple of  models on my wishlist (one a bit older), with the intention of saving up for one. From my quick research, it seemed like the Pebble was pretty much the epitome of what I was looking for: rugged, with a long-battery life, capable of both telling time and delivering me messages from my phone, and not a lot of extra bells and whistles like trying to be a phone itself or having a tiny, awkward camera.

The pills and accessories did not surprise me, but I was floored when I opened a box today and found a Pebble Steel in it. It’s the older of the two I had listed, but it is, indeed, exactly what I was looking for. Solid and sturdy seeming. Simple. No touchscreen or even color display, just an old-fashioned LCD. But it paired quickly and easily, and hasn’t dropped its connection anywhere I go in the house relative to the phone. So far I’ve read text messages and emails on it. It has limited ability to respond to them (pre-sets only, basically), but at the point where I know I need to respond to an alert, I am perfectly willing to get my phone.

It does do more than my bare minimum, but not by enough to be a distraction. It has a timer function, which is great, as I use timers in my writing, but the web-based timer I’d previously used no longer works reliably with my browser, and having to dig out my phone to set a timer kind of throws me off my game. I also find I like the gentle pulsing buzz on my wrist (this device does not appear to have any speakers) much more than I do any alarm sound.

The neatest thing about this watch, though, is something I never knew how much I wanted until I had it: a virtual watch face that tells you the time in words, as in “SIX eleven”. I can read an analog clock, and in fact, I was pretty sure I would be using a virtual one when I saw that the face could be customized. But there is something so adorable and charming about a watch that just says “SIX twelve” (now) in so many words. Welcome to the future.

Anyway, this is just to say thank you to everyone who sent me something—even a message or well-wishes—for my 36th birthday. The start of my awesome year of awesome is officially underway. Stick around… you’re really going to see something.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/735565.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.
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Fun with Twitter ads!

(Facebook users, for the full effect, click the link to see the original post.)

"The cringing mortal you knew as Chad Sayler is no more. I am become Lord Chad, Master of Seals, and my pinniped servants shall overrun this corrupt earth like wet, undulating hounds of hell. Pray to any gods you please for mercy in the next life, for you shall find none in this one. ORF ORF!"

“The cringing mortal you knew as Chad Sayler is no more. I am become Lord Chad, Master of Seals, and my pinniped servants shall overrun this corrupt earth like wet, undulating hounds of hell. Pray to any gods you please for mercy in the next life, for you shall find none in this one. ORF ORF!”

This one is based on a New Yorker cartoon:

“The Seal Master grows tired of your career advice, Mother.”


seal master weird dogs

“Weird dogs? WEIRD DOGS? These are NO MERE CANINES, you simpering fools! They are SEALS, Nature’s perfect weapons. They obey only the commands of LORD CHAD, the SEAL MASTER, and they shall be your DOOM.”

seal master fish

“My hands do NOT smell of fish, Barbara, they smell of POWER. The POWER to control SEALS. Yes, yes, the power comes from fish, but he who masters the SEALS masters the WORLD. DARE you truly wrinkle your nose and shy from the touch of the future master of the world, Barbara?”

seal master circus tricks

“Oh, you trained a seal to balance a ball on its nose? How clever! Quelle drôle d’idée! When you are finished demonstrating your little circus tricks, I shall show you a trick of my own, and then we shall see who is the true MASTER OF SEALS, Francisco!”

If you’ve enjoyed the adventures of LORD CHAD, SEAL MASTER, please throw a little something in my tip jar:


I will produce another set of image macros containing a further quote from the SEAL MASTER for every $10 I receive today (June 13th), or any day through Friday (June 17th), to a maximum of 25 new images of LORD CHAD, SEAL MASTER. Funds need not arrive in multiples of 10; if ten people throw in $1, that’s still one image.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/735280.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.
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STATUS: Monday, June 13th

The Daily Report

Well, I did it. Turned 36. Hit my perfect square year. I felt a little surreal over the weekend, because after spending a few weeks firing on all approximately seventeen cylinders, I hit the date I’d chosen as the arbitrary starting poitn for a year of total all-encompassing excellence and then it was the weekend and I had stuff to do (in both the “need” and “want” columns) that wasn’t related to my professional goals. I’m guessing this won’t be the last weekend I encounter before my 37th birthday, though, so it’s probably a good thing that I just rolled with it, huh?

Exciting news over the weekend: website FemHype picked up and boosted my writing challenge. It was interesting to see that they drew a connection between my mention of video games and the goal of the challenge being tech-oriented. I’m not disagreeing; I honestly hadn’t thought of the challenge as being related to any particular media. It’s about changing the narratives we see in any medium or storytelling form. I’m told one of the entrants so far submitted an interactive story (Twine-based, I believe), though.

Financial Outlook

Patreon will have me in a good position in July, but it’s going to be a lean few weeks until the end of the month. If anyone has especially enjoyed my work and/or my performance on Twitter and wants to kick something extra into the can, I’d appreciate it. That’s money I can spend immediately on things like groceries, pet food, and cat litter.

We are almost halfway through the month and no one has signed up for my Patreon at the level that gives access to a writing seminar ($25). If we hit the halfway point and that’s still true, I’ll be handling sign-up for this month’s lesson a little differently. I feel like this is the kind of thing that a lot of people would get a lot of value out of, but maybe they have to see it first.

Something also kicked over in my brain this weekend and I started thinking of WorldCon as being in “less than three months” instead of “more than two months away”. My WorldCon fundraiser has gone great, but it needs to keep going. Right now I can go to the con but I can’t afford to stay at the con. Awkward. If we don’t get it the rest of the way, then a lot of money might wind up wasted.

The State of the Me

Doing good! Little tired today. Might be the heat.

Plans For Today

Day one of the week. I’m planning on doing some writing today, not over-exerting because of aforementioned tired. There’s a good chance I’ll wind up going out to do some errands in the afternoon. I’m going to be calling my phone manufacturer about the I Can’t Believe It’s Not A Recall in a bit. Whether I participate now or next month is going to depend a lot on how likely it seems that I’ll get my phone back before my July travel.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/735090.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.
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Son of a Ship’s Captain: A Parable

Once upon a time, there was a ship captain.

His father was a ship captain, and so was he.

His father had trained for many years as an apprentice, learning the ways of a ship and the ways of the sea, and and on the day he became a captain, he was given a hat so that all would see it and know he was the captain of a ship, and when his son was grown, he gave that hat to him, and that was that, he was a ship captain, just like his father had been.

So the son went out into the world with his hat, and he found a ship in need of a captain, and he said, “I am just what you need,” and because he was a ship captain and the son of a ship captain, the ship’s owners agreed. The young ship captain set out directly towards the open waters, spinning the wheel of the ship as he went, because he had seen ship captains at the wheel before and he felt quite keenly that the main thing was to turn the wheel decisively. The ship’s crew, not being captains, began yelling and waving their arms, trying to shake his resolve. The captain showed character and discipline in the face of adversity, and instead spun the wheel even harder. When the hull of the boat crunched up against some rocks jutting out of the water, the captain remained calm in the face of this adversity, shrewdly filling his pockets from the ship’s cargo before sensibly leaving the doomed vessel.

He made his way back to shore where he told everyone he could meet how only his supreme skill and instincts for seasmanship had allowed him to not only survive such an unholy wreck, but profit by it. “If you let me pilot your vessel,” he said, “you might profit by it as I assuredly will.”

And so he was given command of a second ship, and on the day it departed the harbor, he ordered full sails. Every sail unfurled, every sail gloriously billowing in the wind. The crew protested; it was a crowded harbor and the wind was not right, and full sails were not only unnecessary, they were dangerous. But they were not ship captains, nor the son of a ship’s captain, and what did they know? He had a reputation to maintain, and full sails were impressive. This was a triple-mastered schooner, not some dinky little rowboat. It was huge.

In fact, he gave orders for a fourth mast to be assembled on the spot so they could fly even more sails, and while his crew scrambled to obey, the ship collided with another one just inside the mouth of the harbor and the two became hopelessly entangled and sank.

The ship’s captain did not stop to fill his pockets from his ship’s cargo, because he now had the skill and experience to know it would be necessary to do so, and so had made a point to loot the hold before the ship had cast off from the dock. This was the kind of acumen that he brought to the job. He left the sinking ship by means of boarding the other ship, where he filled a small sack from their cargo, which he claimed as salvage under the rights of maritime law.

“It’s a perfectly valid business strategy,” he said as he left the other sinking ship.

Back on shore in a tavern, the ship captain loudly boasted of his prowess in keeping a clear head amidst the danger, that he had, while others were cursing him and trying to untangle the ships or bail out the flooding holds, calmly done the only sensible thing and got out, that he had walked away while the other ship’s captain had stayed behind trying to right his vessel, only being saved from the waters by the intervention of his crew.

“What a loser,” the ship captain said. “If they hadn’t pulled him out, he probably would have gone down with his ship!”

While the young ship captain was making a name for himself as the son of a ship captain and the man who had survived the wrecks of two vessels and come out ahead, other captains were sailing their ships out of the harbor and over the seas, carrying cargo and conducting commerce, but none of them had pockets as full as the young ship captain and none of them were in the tavern every night, telling all who would listen of their prowess and instincts as a sailor. The son of the ship captain was making quite a name for himself, and so he decided that a man of his stature deserved more than piloting a ship that belonged to another. He would build his own. It was going to be huge.

Five masts; no, six! And every railing and knob  would be painted gold; no, solid gold! And the sails would be of the finest silk, and the decks tiled in granite; no, marble!

Such a ship would be quite expensive. The money he had inherited from his father and what he had pocketed along the way might have been enough, but a man has certain expenses. Certainly there was no need for a captain of his experience to front his own money for such a venture.

So he went to his friends in the tavern, and he said, “You have all heard the stories of my brilliant seasmanship, and now it is your chance to get in on the action. It is your chance to become a part of the lesson. It is your chance to touch the greatness that is my name. If you build this ship, and you put my name on it, and you give it to me to pilot, then I promise I will use the same golden touch I have used on every ship I have piloted. I will profit by it, and you will be my partners.”

So his friends raised the money and they built him the ship, and they send him off in it with all the pomp fitting the circumstance and more, because there had never been a grander ship and he had convinced them that making it a magnificent occasion would make their business venture all the more successful, didn’t they know they had to spend money for him to make money? It was the party to end all parties, and at the end of it, the ship sailed away, and at the end of the day, the ship captain was back at the tavern, trading a piece of the ship’s ornament for a meal.

“Well?” his friends-turned-eager-investors said.

“Look, it’s not my fault you didn’t do your due diligence before getting into bed with me,” the ship captain said. “This is entirely your fault.”

“Where is our fabulous ship?”

“I ran it aground somewhere,”the ship captain said. “But! You’re welcome to it if you can find it. I hereby dissolve the partnership. You own it outright. Just see that someone scrubs my name off the side of it. I have a certain reputation to uphold, see? I can’t have my name on a foundered ship.”

The investors were unhappy, of course, but many people had seen the fine ship setting out with such extravagant celebration, and had read the name of the ship captain on its side, and so many people were eager to meet such a celebrated person who could afford such finery and command such a ship, and many of those people were eager to do business with him, to trust their cargos and their ships and their bankrolls to him, to apprentice with him and learn all he knew of the art of seasmanship, and before too terribly long the young ship captain—no longer quite so young—had grown his reputation and his image of himself to the point where he was no longer content to be captaining mere ships.

No, ship would do for him but the ship of state itself. He would run for president.

“Folks, you vote for me and I will do for this nation exactly what I have done for the many ships I have sailed,” he said. “Who else has my experience? Who else is a better captain than I am? All of my opponents are losers. They say they are the best captains, but how many shipwrecks have they survived?”

He waited for the applause that came on cue, and then he finished,

“I’m Donald Trump, and I approve this message.”

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/734739.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.
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So, that was my birthday.

I had a pretty good birthday. I’ll be celebrating it again on Sunday with the out-laws, but today was my actual birthday and I observed it with a light and low-key day of work after a few weeks of pretty solid pushing. I flogged my Amazon wishlist a bit more than I ever have, mostly because I felt like, what the heck, it’s my birthday? I think I might possibly get some new wigs and pills out of it. Wasn’t really expecting anyone to go for the big ticket items like the window A/Cs, the futon mattress, or the smart watch(es), as they’re mostly saved there for my reference.

I got a nice birthday card from my parents, which had money for dinner, so we went out to dinner and had giant fajita platters, then took a walk along the old C&O canal, a thing I’ve never done in all the time I’ve been here, though we have stopped in at the little park before. We watched a groundhog emerging from its den and creep up the bank to peer over the top at some humans, and then dart back around an abutment to hide like it was in a spy movie.

Friday night is usually when we do Jack’s D&D game, but I wasn’t feeling up for it after going out, so we ended up watching Big Eyes, a movie about artistic plagiarism that I directed.

And now it’s 12:34, thirty-four minutes past my birthday proper and into the year of the me and I am suddenly super tired, so I think I’m going to cut it off there. Goodnight, internet.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

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Hold The Phone

So, I’ve been intermittently anxious and miserable about phone-related difficulties pretty much since leaving WisCon, when my rapidly declining phone began to crash. I got a replacement, I got a case for the replacement, I dropped the replacement while putting it into the case, the screen shattered, and that’s what you missed on Glee. (GLEE!)

I wrote about how I felt about that yesterday, and also said that I’d looked at the options and concluded that an insurance claim was my best bet. Deciding that didn’t make me feel any better, and today I thought about why.

It basically comes down to: I don’t want to pay a deductible of $50 or more for a phone that might well be a refurb, won’t necessarily even be the model I picked (and will be paying for), and certainly won’t be the same color. I had just started getting this phone trained to work the way I like (minimal notifications, no autocorrect or spelling suggestions, no auditory or haptic feedback on most things), and it was starting to feel like it was mine. Transferring stuff of my dying phone to this one was an ordeal, and while transferring from this one to an insurance replacement would likely be a lot easier (because it’s brand new and fully functional), but, you know, at this point I’m invested in this one.

My manufacturer has a standing offer right now that I think of as “I Can’t Believe It’s Not A Recall!”, whereby in exchange for believing them when they say that the screens on this phone are totally made of impact-resistant space-age materials, they will replace any shattered or cracked screen on any unit purchased within a time frame of now-ish, no questions asked. I found out about this while looking at my options yesterday, but I rejected it because it requires me to ship my phone to them, and thus be without it for “4-7 business days” (or a week to a week and a half), whereas the insurance claim can be processed within a day and they’ll overnight a replacement without waiting for the old one to be returned first.

But that’s instant gratification. I could have a phone tomorrow, but it won’t be my phone. Not the one I picked, not the one I’m paying for, not the one I’ve been getting used to and customizing. I mean, there’s probably a good chance it would be the same model. Probably. But if it’s not, then I’m stuck with a case I can’t use, and have to wrap my replacement phone in bubble wrap until I can get a new one.

And as much as the thought of being phoneless for up to the better part of two weeks is not a fun one… I do it, and I’m done. I have my phone back. It fits my case. I can use it, theoretically, for years to come.

I can theoretically reactivate my old dying phone for the time being, but I’m not sure I honestly need to? I’ve gone more than two weeks without using my phone as a phone, even for texting. I can also send and receive texts through my carrier’s website. Most people who have my phone number don’t necessarily expect me to be easy to reach by phone anyway. I can use my tablet for a lot of the things I would use my phone for, and to the extent that it works, I can use my deactivated old phone for most of those things, too.

I keep thinking, “Well, this isn’t an ideal solution.” But I’m not sure why we always look for ideal solutions, when the fact that we’re looking for a solution is a strong indication that we’re not in an ideal situation to begin with. The ideal solution is that I didn’t drop my phone, or it didn’t break the screen when I did, or that I developed the ability to telepathically communicate with wireless networks and/or repair objects by thinking hard at them. (It is my birthday, universe, so if you’re feeling generous, you could help me cross a couple items off my superpower wishlist. No? Okay. Worth a try.)

Of the solutions that actually apply to the situation, this is the one that works the best. I mean, I can’t promise that the lack of a phone and background anxiety about it won’t weigh on me in the coming weeks. It can and probably will. But right now I’m kind of in the “soft launch” phase of pushing my career to the next level, and while I keep thinking how inconvenient the timing is that I’m dealing with this now… it’s really not a bad time.

And even though this means my phone problems are stretched out another few weeks (I’m not going to mess with this until Monday), honestly, just making this decision and having it be my decision, just claiming ownership of this phone I picked out and bought… it makes a huge difference in how I feel. The loss of my old phone’s functionality and the damage to this one were things beyond my control. This is a choice, though. It’s me taking ownership of the situation. And that right away makes me feel better about it.


Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/734242.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.
polar bear 2

Just hit me…

…that I have three actual honest-to-goodness print books in my house that I didn’t publish myself, but which nonetheless contain my name and my works. They all arrived at some point in 2016, mostly during a period when I was agonizing over my life choices and career path. It’s a funny old world, when you think about it.

The books in question are:

  • The 2016 Rhysling Anthology, containing my nominated poems “Institutional Memory” and “Observations from the Black Ball Line Between Deimos and Callisto”. (http://amzn.to/1ZE4F7X)
  • The 2016 edition of The Martian Wave, containing “Observations from the Black Ball Line Between Deimos and Callisto”. (http://amzn.to/1YhSfEi)
  • Nights of the Round Tablea Circlet Press anthology of Arthurian erotica, containing my very long short story, “The Giving Game”, which retells the story of Gawain and the Green Knight as a bisexual polyamorous romance.

It’s possible I should be creating a trophy shelf of the sort some authors have, but the fact is, I wasn’t particularly pursuing print publication when I wrote or submitted these works. I wasn’t aware The Martian Wave would have a print edition. I knew it was possible for Circlet Press to take their books to print, but they’re primarily an e-publisher and the print edition is not something they announce when they solicit submissions. At the same time, I also feel like I have enough stuff in my house and in my life, and I don’t feel a strong connection to physical books. For accessibility and ease of use, I mostly read electronically.

But I know there are people who enjoy having a physical object, enjoy that tangible connection to artwork. So I’m going to try something out here: at the end of the first month in which I have 100 sponsors on my Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/alexandraerin), I will do a drawing of all the people who were paying sponsors that month. The winner will get my copy of The Martian Wave, with my signature on my (Rhysling-nominated!) poem.

Originally published at Blue Author Is About To Write.

This entry automatically cross-posted from http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/734051.html. Comment hither or thither. Void where yon.