Warning: Ugly Questions Ahead

I originally posted this as a facebook post, but upon further review and feedback from others I’ve decided to share it here as well.

 
Is part of the reason we are so up in arms about the latest figurehead’s intentions to cut funds for programs benefiting the public in any way because we know that not enough of us care enough to care for our fellow human being without being “forced” to through taxation? I spent years working in the nonprofit sector. Much of this is not news and has been slowly eroding for a long time.

Have we really become so depraved as a species in general that we are willing to outright let people die? Let the arts die? Let compassion die? Or would we take up the slack and work together in the same way that we worked together to shed the yoke of British rule, to stop Nazi tyranny, and to create a new nation that had become a power to be reckoned with? The same innovative people, as a whole, who created these very things that are in jeopardy right now? Maybe we just don’t want to work that hard anymore. Have we become that complacent? Are we so filled with fear that we’d rather make liars out of ourselves than receive The tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free air? Are we so selfish and greedy that we would watch another suffer when it’s within our power to prevent it?

I sure hope not. And I know this much – It is and always has been up to each of us as individuals to make daily decisions that will or will not make the world just a little better. A little brighter. A little more compassionate. A little closer. A little less greedy. A little more giving. A little less fear-full. A little more loving. It has always been and always will be this way. All groups are made of individuals with similar qualites or mindsets. You have to open yourself to what’s going on around you instead of keeping your head down in your own little world. Citizen, educate yourself in a well-rounded way, then figure out where you can help out. This is your country too. Our unity has been broken for some time, our brass tarnished, and I’m ashamed of that, but it doesn’t mean that it’s irreparable. I, for one, choose to strive for the better through exercising things like kindness, love, respect, and personal responsibility. And I sincerely hope that there are more people like me and that together, we can tip the balance regardless of what politics creates or undoes. #onepersonatatime

 

Advertisements

How To Migrate From The Note7 To A Samsung S7

There is only one way to accomplish this task. It must be done wirelessly over wifi. If you are reading this, you’ve likely tried the cable thing suggested in the instructions that came along with your new S7 and are already frustrated and annoyed. Especially if you replaced your Note7 with the “new” Note7 in the recall before the final recall. Or, as I like to refer to it, the mission abortion of the suicide bomber phones, but that’s a different discussion. For now, let me help you out with some hard-earned info. You can make the transfer without spending hours in a phone store or in an aggravated state of techno-red-hot-hatred at home.

In order to successfully migrate everything over to your new S7 you will need to find two things on you Note7.

  1. Find the NFC and reset in Settings > Phone at the bottom of that list. You’re going to need to turn this on in order to transfer data wirelessly to your new device. Turn it on.
  2. Find the Smart Switch application in Settings > Personal > Backup and reset. You’re going to need this to transfer all the applications to run and manage your phone. Click on Smart Switch to open and let that hang out for a bit.

From here, you can transfer the sim card from your Note7 to your S7 as stated in the instructions, start up your S7 and begin following the prompts. Take your time. Do this when you are not in a hurry to do anything or go anywhere. Save yourself some anxiety. Transfer times will vary with the amount of data and apps you have. Mine took a little under an hour. I don’t play games so I don’t have much in the way of apps, and I keep my music on an iPod, but I do have a ton of pictures.

It really can be that simple. Yes, you will put the phones back to back and yes there should be a sound when you do. Just keep an eye on it until both phones say they are done. The new one will be done last because it will be saving everything at the end.

That’s all there is to it. Have other tips to share about the Samsung S7, feel free to discuss below.

Book Review: The Gaiad

the-gaiad

In a society increasingly buried under the weight of its own insularity, an ancient and shadowy group selfishly guards a secret with the power to change everything. Tonight, on a stage in front of thousands, one of their members commits a horrible, shocking act. In the audience is Detective Fleur Romano. Bitter and world-weary, she vows to uncover the reasons behind the horror she just witnessed. In the process, she’ll discover that she’s led her lonely life ignorant a fundamental truth, a truth first discovered by a man who walked the earth millennia ago, a man mysteriously familiar.

In this powerful debut, William Burcher is willing to explore unique and fantastic themes with realism and grit. The GAIAD boldly poses big questions. What do we lose, as we separate ourselves from the earth and each other? What would the future hold, if suddenly something changed with that most fundamental of relationships—the one we have with our own planet?

Three Stars

three-stars

An original storyline based on a big idea.

The Gaiad’s intriguing premise is what brought me to it after meeting the author at a local writer’s event. Burcher tackles big, societal questions and challenges how we might think about our planet and our relationship with it through the eyes of a somewhat jaded police detective, the secret society she is about to come in violent contact with, and members of a civilization who lived their lives in a much simpler way that was more in harmony with the earth and her gifts.

Overall the writing is good. There were some awkward sentence structure issues and a couple of sudden instances of profanity that didn’t seem to mesh smoothly with the general theme and plot to me. Especially when uttered by the ancient people in the book. No, I’m not some prude who can’t handle a little profanity. This is where the three stars come in. The Gaiad is a good book with a great plot. The few things that pulled me out of the book were not nearly enough for a sub-par rating.

If you’re into alternative philosophies, thrillers, mysteries, and secret societies, I would encourage you to give this book a read.

Remember, just because this book wasn’t quite my cup of tea with crumpets on a beautiful spring day in an English garden, doesn’t mean it’s not yours. As it goes with any book, if it sounds interesting to you READ IT! Then help the author out and kindly REVIEW IT! Reviews are critical to any writer’s success.

If you’ve read The Gaiad, feel free to let me know what you thought. Let’s discuss.

 

 

Her Hacker Husband (working title)

A little snippet from the opening of a first-draft work in progress…

Let me start by saying I might be crazy, but I am pretty sure I’m not.  I fully believe my husband is cheating on me (maybe worse) and using different programs that he has either written or found to help him do it.

 I know nothing about programming so I would not be able to tell you if what I think is happening is possible, but if it is, I want someone to help me find out. Is it possible to hack into someone’s phone and watch every move they make? Eavesdrop on their conversations? Control what they see or don’t see on their phone? I think he has added software or programmed my phone to keep me from finding out what he is doing behind my back and to spy on me.

 I am looking for someone willing to help me find out if he has added code to my phone to keep me from viewing files and track me, find out what he’s up to, and help me find proof that I’m not crazy…

 Anyone interested please email. Discretion is of the utmost importance.

 Thanks

Jenna was fairly satisfied with the posting she was about to make on the local electronic classified site. She stared blankly at the computer screen, hesitating to publish the ad, holding the hoodoo shop receipt that she’d found in his jacket pocket. It still smelled like perfume. She must have written it a hundred times to try to make it sound logical and reasonable. Eventually, she realized there was no way to write the ad without sounding like a lunatic. So, she decided to get that out of the way in the first sentence. Then maybe someone might actually take her seriously and contact her, despite better judgment. Hopefully, she didn’t end up hiring a lunatic given what she was asking. She knew if she were in his or her shoes she would feel the same way, but she had to know. There were too many coincidences, too many unanswered questions, not the least of which was whether or not she was out of her mind.

Foolproof Hard Boiled Eggs

Just in time for Easter:

How to make perfect hard boiled eggs.

EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Are you one of those people who struggles with hard boiled eggs? Middles are too done, have icky green color, middles are underdone? You’re not alone and I won’t tell. All egg dishes have their own quirks and tricks, but today we’re going to do down and dirty perfect hard boiled eggs. Step by step. Don’t be intimidated by the number of steps. This is super simple. The whole process takes about 40 minutes and you will spend 33 minutes of that time just…waiting. Are you ready?

Step 1: Fresh Eggs

Fresh eggs taste the best. Period. If they are free range, and chemical free, all the better. Yes, there is a difference. If you are going to eat your boiled eggs with the classic salt and pepper, there is no other way as far as I’m concerned.

Step 2: Start the water.

Fill a pot with enough water to cover your eggs and plenty of room for the number of eggs you’re cooking – accounting for evaporation. Do not add your eggs at this time. You do not need to add salt, vinegar, or anything else to your water. Wait for the water to come to a boil.

Step 3: Poke your eggs

What? Poke the eggs? Yes, poke the fat end or bottom of the egg with a clean pin, just breaking through the shell. This is going to keep the egg from cracking or exploding  when you put it in the water (not violent, but messy). This step allows the air to escape the little pocket there. Especially if it’s come out of the fridge as most eggs do unless fresh from the chickens. The reason: the coating that preserves the egg when the chicken lays it is washed off in commercial operations. That’s why you have to refrigerate store bought eggs.

Step 4: Drop your eggs in the boiling water

Wait! Don’t just drop your egg in the water. Be gentle. Use a slotted spoon to gently deposit each egg into the boiling water and at the bottom of the pot.

Step 5: Set a timer

Set a timer for 13 minutes. Walk away. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat.

Step 5: The ice bath

Ever hear of the Polar Bear Club? It’s a bunch of people who love to jump into frigid waters. Your beautiful eggs are about to join this club. Fill an appropriately sized bowl with lots of ice and cold water with enough room left for all your eggs. Yes, you’re going to put all your eggs in one bowl. Ba, dum, dum. Using your slotted spoon, gently lower each of your hot eggs into the ice bath. This stops the cooking which keeps them from getting that icky green ring around the yolk, which is caused by iron in the yolk interacting with sulfur in the white at high temperatures (although sometimes caused by high iron content in the water).

Step 6: Set the timer

Reset your timer and let the eggs chill out in the ice bath for 20 minutes.

Step 7: Peel

You shouldn’t need running water to peel these (Yay! Water conservation!). Give them a gentle whack on the bottom and a few more all around, cracking the shell but not breaking the egg. You will find that a lot of times half the shell just slips off effortlessly. If you feel the need, give them a quick rinse once they’re peeled. And hey, you can crush those shells and use them for fertilizer for all kinds of plants, tomatoes, peppers, potted plants, and little ones that are really thirsty.

Here’s a look at the end result and it’s just as creamy and delicious as it looks. done all the way through, but not over or undercooked with a bright, sunshiny, yellow yolk.

Hard Boiled

Easy Deviled Eggs

Slice the eggs in half, pop out the yolks, smoosh ‘em up real good, add some Miracle Whip, sweet pickle relish, mustard and paprika. Throw mixture into a baggie smoosh it all to one corner and give it a twist. Snip off the corner and pipe the egg mixture back into the whites and you have easy deviled eggs.

Note: If you are dyeing these eggs there is a chance that the white of the egg may absorb some dye due to that tiny hole you poked in it.

Ta-da! Have a great Easter!

Read Bad Books! Read Bad Books!

“The hell you say?!”

Yes, if you’re a writer, especially a beginner, you should be reading bad books. You should be reading your ass off if it’s not in a chair writing. Read all kinds of books.

Case in point:

I recently stuck it out with a trilogy that was recommended by someone close to me. There were two reasons I finished this trilogy.

  1. I thought my GOD, this has got to get better sooner or later. 
  2. I can learn from this.

It never got better. Not for me. But I did learn from it. That’s why writer’s should read bad books. Most of us are avid readers and have been long before, or alongside our writing. We know what works and what doesn’t work for us. Reading bad books helps us articulate what those things are that bug us and avoid them in our own writing.

Some of the things that were wrong with this trilogy:

  1. constant typos, spelling and grammar errors
  2. No conflict to speak of despite being a post-apocalyptic story
  3. Sweet but unrealistic storyline (all the darlings survived)
  4. No tension to speak of, the original results of an apocalypse can only carry so far

This stuff throws the reader out of the story and could make them want to <gasp!> put down the book. I know how hard it is to write a novel. I do. I’m currently working on my own revisions on an 85k novel. I’m not saying go out and purposely buy bad books. I’m just saying that when you run across a bad book, give it a chance to teach you something or another.

In my humble opinion, this particular person published too early. This novel needed an editor in the most desperate of ways, further revising, and more polishing. This was a self-published book and is an example of why self-published authors have a hard time being taken seriously. Self-publishing can allow the author to circumvent important steps in the process such as submitting to a competent editor and making appropriate revisions.

As a writer, consider finishing that bad book you put down. Learn from it. Learn how to evaluate the good and the bad. Learn how to articulate what’s wrong for you.  Think about how you would have fixed the problem. Then apply what you’ve learned to your own writing and watch it grow and mature. Also, never. Ever. Skip the editor.

What was the problem with the last bad book that you read? How did it help you make your own writing better?