The Healer and the Pirate

The Healer and the Pirate is available now on Kindle and Nook, and in print at Lulu and Amazon!

Monday, May 30, 2011

San Diego Maritime Museum/Star of India - Ferryboat Berkeley - November 29, 2008

Old pictures but I like ships. Maybe you do too?

This is from the Maritime Museum of San Diego, aka the Star of India. If you are interested in sailing ships AT ALL I'd highly recommend it. (My profile picture comes from this site, too!)

I will have 7 blog entries from this museum, so this will serve as the index page.

Ferryboat Berkeley - This page
Sailing on the Californian
Yacht Medea
HMS Surprise
Russian Foxtrot Submarine
Star of India Exhibits
Star of India Ship

The museum itself is actually in the historic ships on the waterfront.

My mom got a kick out of the cruise ships, LOL.

Close on the Star of India.

"The 'Star of India,' a three masted bark, is the oldest iron-hulled merchant ship afloat. Built on the Isle of Man, Great Britain, she was launched in 1863 and christened "Euterpe".

Here's the HMS Surprise, perhaps best-known for its role in Master and Commander. Per this page, it was the HMS Providence in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." (Haven't seen it yet; don't spoil me!)

We stopped by the ferryboat Berkeley, which is kind of the main starting point.

There were several exhibits inside, and--upstairs, restrooms.

Oh my goodness!

Honestly, upon first walking in, I thought it must be a place of worship. No; that's just turn of the (last) century shipbuilding. It served around San Francisco from 1898 - 1958, and was the first successful propeller-driven ferryboat on the West Coast, and the first with electric lighting.

The floor here was called a "puzzle piece" floor if I recall correctly. At any rate, that's just what it looked like!


Here's the inside of the ladies' room. :)

Look at the "B" reflections on the floor!

It spent 3 days ferrying victims of the San Francisco earthquake of April 18, 1906.

There was a very vintage-looking beverage bar area (not in use that morning, but at the time, at least, you could rent the area out for parties). I believe the restaurant was on the lowest level of the ferry, back in the day.


Hard to read here but the menu from Wednesday, August 14, 1940 says:

Beef Broth with Rice....15; with Meals.....10
Chicken Noodle Soup.....20; with Meals.....15
Cream of Tomato Soup....20; with Meals.....15
Iced Pure Tomato Juice.............10

Lettuce and Tomato Salad.....10
Lettuce Salad.....15
Potato Salad.....10
RANIER ALE, bottle....20


Today's Special Entrees

Boiled Corned Shoulder of Pork with Cabbage.....40
Pot Roast of Beef with Macaroni.....45
Club Steak with Fried Potatoes.....50
Fried Liver with Bacon.....40
Hamburger Steak with Fried Potatoes.....35
Chip Steak Sandwich, on Toast.....20
Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce.....25
Hot Roast Beef Sandwich.....30
Macaroni and Cheese, Cream Sauce....25
Homemade Corned Beef Hash.....25
Baked Beans.....25
Chili Con Carne.....25

Half Cantaloupe.....10
Pound Cake.....10
Half Grapefruit.....10
Sliced Hawaiian Pineapple.....15
Assorted Pies, per cut.....10
Preserved Figs.....10
Stewed Prunes....10

From the bow of the Berekley--kind of surreal to look out at modern downtown San Diego.

A few exhibits, like a cut-away of the HMS Challenger:

Paddleboat model:

Then we went out to wait for a little sailing voyage on the "Californian." I'm not even 1/4 through my photos...anyone wanna see more?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Coney Island and Memorial Day - 1921

Looking back at Marie Curie:


Spends Sunday With Mrs. N.F. Brady--Returns to Town Tonight.

--The New York Times, May 30, 1921

The article mentions that Ms. Curie's daughters planned to visit Coney Island! It also denies she had radiation sickness from the radium! (She actually died in 1934.)


300,000 Rush to Shelter--Railway Entrances Flooded.

--The New York Times, May 30, 1921

The story describes the Sunday before Memorial Day. There was a 6 PM thunderstorm/rainstorm that flooded the entrances to the elevateds at West Eight Street and the West End terminal. It was so bad they reportedly constructed footbridges to get people in! One woman was injured. (Elsewhere, a 20-year-old drowned at the Rockaways.)

300,000 at Coney Island.

Two Girls Saved from Undertow by Guards--One Dry Arrest.

--The New York Times, May 31, 1921

The sky was overcast on Monday, Memorial Day, evidently, so people came in the afternoon. (I wonder if Sunday's flooding kept people back--after that rainstorm, I'd hesitate to go out in the clouds too!) The sun came out in the afternoon, making it the biggest day thus far in the season. There were a lot of tourists, and the crowds were mostly orderly, with just one person arrested under Prohibition.

The article also notes that Gertrude Maddock, 7 years old, fell out of a car on "The Scrambler," lacerating her scalp. She was treated at the Coney Island Hospital so it sounds like she was fine.

Lots of old Coney Island articles at!

And speaking of Memorial Day, on May 3, 1921, President Warren Harding emphasized that Memorial Day was to honor all war dead, not just Civil War veterans.

Harding, in Memorial Day Proclamation, Asks General Homage to War Dead on May 30.

--The New York Times, May 4, 1921

Looks like it wasn't formally made a rotating holiday (last Monday of May) until 1971! So this year we get the "true" Memorial Day on May 30, as people celebrated in the 1860s and beyond.

This New York Times column from May 30, 1921 describes the history of Memorial Day, claiming the holiday was originally intended to remember Civil War dead (this page collaborates). But, the author says, later generations forgot and made it into a holiday. By 1921, though, thoughts went back to the World War in Europe. The author calls for bringing back the spirit of Memorial Day--at least to "pause for gratitude and benediction" amid the recreation. Good idea.

The New York Times also has an article about a Memorial Day speech by President Warren Harding, too.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eeeeeeeee (or, juryrigging Macbook keyboard for those who are fiscally conservative with their own funds)

My 2.5/40 is going OK. Enthusiasm is waning but I'm still being more productive than I was before I started. (And my writing partner Maggie has been a SUPERSTAR the last couple weeks in working on The Healer and the Pirate!) As of Tuesday night I'm 5.5 hours ahead (need 60; at 65.5). I'll be surprised if I don't "spend" that difference during this holiday weekend, though. 16 days to go!


This is NOT computer repair advice; at best it is going to let you eke a little more time out of your Jurassic MacBook. Perform any of this at your own risk.

So I ordered my 1st generation MacBook right about the time they came out in May 2006. (That means it's about my laptop's 5th birthday. Happy birthday, MacBook!) It's served me fairly well through most of that time. Aside from the initial outlay, expenses have been low. Out of pocket, I've had to replace the battery twice, and I bought a replacement key for the keyboard for something around $5. I've had numerous FREE repairs from the Apple Store, in and out of warranty--1-2 top keyboard/wrist rest/casing replacements, 2 new hard drives, and a new power plug. I always feel like I'm not cool enough to even go into the Apple Store. I don't know if it's because my laptop is a very early MacBook or if they have something in their databases saying I'm going to be famous someday (cough) but until the last battery replacement, they've taken pretty good care of me.

But my computer is getting old and tired. There are numerous cosmetic issues now, including cracks (one of which is now covered by Scotch tape). Personally, I am more concerned that when I jostle it the wrong way or press way too hard on a key, it randomly restarts. (That may be fixable by opening it up and making sure everything is seated properly--but getting inside could also be the thing that knocks aside something delicate and kills it for good. So I'm putting up with that "quirk" for now.)

Just as annoying as the restarts, the keyboard is starting to go. (I'd like to say that as a writer, I'm proud of that. But honestly, it was probably more chatting and Facebook than actual writing that did it.)

The keyboard issues started, unsurprisingly, with the "e" key, in July 2010 or earlier. It got to the point where it missed probably every fifth time I typed an "e." Not wanting to buy a new (expensive!) keyboard assembly, I figured I was looking at hooking up an external keyboard forever anyway. With nothing to lose, I popped off the key to investigate.

(It's very easy to pop off a key on the EARLY Macbooks, at least; I can't speak for later ones. Just pick a corner and gently pry. If that corner doesn't work, try another corner. I don't know if I'd try it on the oversized keys like tab, shift, space bar, etc.)

Anyway, beneath the key, there's a kind of inverted silicon (?) cup. I've heard it called a "nipple," and it does look like the nipple on a baby bottle. When you depress the key, the top of the cup touches the metal (?) connectors beneath it, causing a key strike. Fascinating, huh?

But as the keys get worn out, the cups start to break down, which prevents the top of the cup from touching the connector when pressed.

I'll start with the easy fix.

I've got a key now ("t") where the cup is permanently depressed/probably cracked most the way around the top. That caused the key to be permanently depressed, which felt "mushy" and if I recall correctly, prevented quite a few keystrokes from registering. This little trick actually seems to have fixed that problem outright.

1) Remove key.
2) Cut out a small circle of thin cardboard/thin plastic/etc. (I used an old insurance card, somewhat thinner than a credit card.)
3) Affix the circle to the underside of the key with double-stick tape.
4) Pop key back on and test.

Cleaning gunk out of key before replacement is optional.

Hopefully, the key will be elevated so that it's closer to flush with the other keys. My "t" key is now actually a bit taller than its neighbors "r" and "y", but I haven't noticed any problems since the fix. So if your key is depressed, this is a quick and non-intrusive fix--you can very easily undo it. Absolute WORST case I can think of is if you somehow broke your key and/or the hinge, you could buy a replacement on eBay for a few bucks.

But again, this is just informational, not advice on how to fix your computer. ::shifty eyes::

Unfortunately, on my "e" key, the cup was basically detached. Recall how the cup works--the silicon/etc. has to touch the metal beneath to trigger a keystroke. So if the cup is nearly or fully open at the top, when your key presses down, there will be no result at all.

This is NOT what you want the "cup" to look like.

The fix I found for an "open cup" is kind of hit or miss. I would only use this if the "t" repair above is unsuccessful.

1) Remove key.
2) Cut a small piece (no more than a few millimeters long) from a clear hair elastic band. Using a toothpick or other thin implement, tuck that little piece into the open cup. (I believe I used Scunci clear elastic bands like these. I have not tried regular rubber bands.)
3) If you haven't already, cut out a small circle of cardboard/thin plastic/etc. as above. Again, if you haven't, affix the circle to the underside of the key with double-stick tape as above.
4) Pop key back on and test.
5) If the key still doesn't register correctly, remove key and rearrange the elastic band in the cup. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the key works adequately.

This is the open cup with some clear elastic in it (and also the broken top of the cup thrown in, I believe).

This is not a 100% fix by any means. But it brought my "e" key up from "intolerable" to merely "annoying." On a good day I'm not even sure if my typos are the fault of the keyboard or my fingers!

Maybe once a month, the "e" key starts missing a lot because the elastic band inside has drifted. (I actually realized I had that problem when I started the blog today. I don't remember the last time it happened.) To fix the problem, I have to pop off the key and move the elastic around until it's in a good spot. It took 2 or 3 tries this last time. But aside from quick adjustments, my "temporary fix" has been keeping my laptop on life support since at least July 2010.

(The VERY best fix, in theory, would be to replace the broken silicon cup altogether. You can order replacements online. Unfortunately, the instructions I read said to use superglue to affix them. The sensor area is UNDER the hollow silicon cup, so there would be little margin for error. Given that a slip could be the difference between a laptop with an iffy "e" key and a laptop with a dead "e" key, or worse, I'm sticking with the temp fix.)

Yes, I AM saving up for a new computer. 5 years is a pretty good lifespan for a laptop, and this one's got some serious problems. But being cheap fiscally conservative with my own funds, I'm still trying to get a bit more use out of it before it dies.

So anyway, if you notice any missing "e"s in my blog, now you know where they went.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Free Music! The Almost, Manafest, The Letter Black

OK, I quickly found that I am in fact terrible at writing music reviews. But, I'm not too bad at linking to free stuff.

Manafest from RAGE 2011.

At least 15 free songs at Tooth and Nail's site. Ones you may already know include "Hands" by The Almost, "Hanging On By a Thread" by The Letter Black, and "No Plan B" from Manafest. (I have "The Chase" by Manafest and if you like their radio songs, I think you'll probably like the album overall, by the way.)

You might find something else you like, too. My favorite of the songs I had never heard before was "The Hope That Lies in You" by The Glorious Unseen. I'm always partial to church bells, though.

Check it out!

(Edited to fix headline typo. I mean, I meant to put in that typo to grab search engine traffic when people mistype.... Yeees... ::shifty eyes::)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flashback Friday - Marie Curie - May 20-21, 1921


National Institute Presents Gold Tribute to Discoverer of Radium.



Illness Prevents Vice President From Attending Dinner--Visit to Hunter College.

--The New York Times, May 20, 1921

Marie Curie was supposed to be given the gold medal of the National Institute of Social Sciences by Vice President Coolidge, but he was ill so could not attend. But his speech mentioned:

"There is something lacking in our science. It is not to be discarded, blamed, ignored or cast aside, but the plain truth is that science alone does not provide the salvation of the world. Along with our boasting of science there needs must go a greater humility. We cannot substitute science for character. Instead we must make science the handmaiden of character."


Vial Containing Gram, Given by American Women, Is Handed to Her by President.
Harding in White House Ceremony Pays Tribute to Her as the World's Foremost Scientist.

--The New York Times, May 21, 1921

American women took contributions to provide a gram of radium to Marie Curie, which President Harding handed to her personally.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Enchilada, Miscommunication and 2.5 for 40 update

Thought this story was kind of funny.

For lunch Tuesday, I had a Lean Cuisine Chicken Enchilada Suiza. What is that, exactly? Google says that "Suiza" refers to the creamy sauce...but it also says "Suiza" means "Switzerland." Swiss Chicken Enchilada? Really?

Note to self, ask Spanish speaker for translation before purchasing low-priced, suspicious-sounding "Mexican" food made by a company from Switzerland. (To be honest, I've eaten worse, though. 2.5/5 stars.)

Anyway, you have to cook it for 9 minutes at 50% power. Those instructions worried me--I struggle to tell that microwave to cook for any time that doesn't end with :00 or :30. So I tried to hit power level, and the microwave said no, I needed to choose the time first. After an error or two I managed to enter the time of 9 minutes and got to the power level entry screen. I entered 5.

What did it say?


I'd evidently done something wrong, but at least it was politely asking me to input the power level, please. So I hit 5 again. Nothing happened, and it just flashed at me. I gave up and hit start, with no idea if it would turn my food to ash or what.

Even after I hit start, it STILL said PLS!

Only then did I realize the microwave wasn't being polite. It was displaying Power Level 5 (PL5).

So if I ever say something stupid or offend you, I apologize in advance. The microwave and I don't even understand each other, and I don't understand my lunch.  And people are a lot more confusing than machines and frozen meals.

Onward! To my surprise and delight, my 2.5 for 40 is actually going well, thank God! I worked pretty hard last weekend, especially Saturday (8 hours of writing and planning!). By Sunday I was caught up. It's hard for me to make the time to work during the week, even though 2.5 hours isn't really that much--it's still a big chunk of my time once I get home.

Totaled, up through 10:30 PM Tuesday, I've got 14.5 hours on Chosen/Bonnie Greenfield, Priestess of Plants/whatever that WIP is going to be titled, and 18.5 hours (!!!) on Kinyn/The Healer and the Pirate. Have also been more conscientious about my prayer and Bible reading time. For 17 days, I should have 42.5 hours and I've got 43.75 hours. I'm actually AHEAD...and trying to get farther ahead. I've got a few family get-togethers and the like in the next few weeks. I'm hoping to put in a lot more work this weekend too, to get ahead for those things that might come up later. (Like not having any time to write during lunch this Wednesday. Little things like that tend to throw me off.)

I'm not sure it's quite accurate to call the 2.5/40 a "tithe" per se, except in the sense that "tithe" means "tenth." I'm spending most of the time working on things that, eventually, might earn me a small amount of money. But it is still really refreshing to have this time devoted to accomplishing things that I think matter to God.

When I'm through the 40 days, I'll compare it to NaNoWriMo.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

Full disclosure: I would not be writing this blog if I hadn't gotten this cool shot of a theater in Florida.

But I did, and I saw The Adjustment Bureau in the cheap theater Friday. If you don't want spoiled at ALL, just gaze upon that spiffy old theater and then move on. If you want spoiled enough to get an idea if you might want to see it...




...I will say...




...there was more profanity than I expected, and an amorous scene...and...



...oh, yeah, the adjusters are probably angels (!) enforcing the plans of God (!!!!), which the Matt Damon character is railing against. Not sure whether or not I would've seen it if I'd known all that, even though not ALL the ideas were completely out of whack, and they were all INTERESTING. Stop here if you don't want more detailed spoilers.





OK! So obviously, I was not keen on the (fairly brief) gratuitous sex scene or the profanity.

Religiously...I read the writer/director intended to raise questions. Mission accomplished! (Of course, that was partly because the film brought up complex ideas of fate and free will...and partly because by the end, it seemed there were no rules.)

The story was that Matt Damon--er, ah...let me Google that...David Norris, New York Senate hopeful, meets a young woman, Elise, and instantly falls in love with her. He loses track of her and finds out that there's an entire secret society of men in fedoras making little adjustments to people's lives to make sure that everything in the world goes along with the Chairman's (point to the sky) plan. And the Chairman (look heavenward) does not want David to be with Elise. Despite dire threats and the bureau's best efforts, David searches for Elise.

Given the fact that the adjusters literally do point to the sky when referring to the Chairman, it's challenging to picture the (unseen) Chairman as anyone but the movie's version of God. One review I read said it could just as easily be an alien force; I think that's a possible interpretation, but kind of a stretch. I don't know, though; I'm not an atheist.

The movie doesn't state the adjusters are angels but it's heavily implied. But one of them is pretty open to going against the Chairman's plan. They also face random limitations that seem to come out of an X-Men-type film. Their powers don't work around water. They need their hats to do their cool bits of travel. Fun for Hollywood, but really, angels needing these random restrictions to their powers? So I imagined they had to be something different than angels...but not sure what.

I wonder if maybe they should be pointing DOWN when talking about the Chairman--that would make some sense with the water restrictions!--but then he shouldn't have been quite so powerful (IMO) and he wouldn't have been kind at the end...

To me the film did have some redeeming qualities. Superficially, there were some cool special effects (think Monsters, Inc. (!)), a lot of great shots of places in New York City, and even some humor.

Spiritually, the film did remind me that there is a Plan for each of us, and a world around us that we're not even aware of.

But contrary the movie--and I know this is to the exiles of Israel back in the day, but I still believe it in an eternal framework:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future....

--Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I love to imagine the possibilities that may stem from when we do what we feel God leading us toward. Like whenever I have to move, I spend a ton of time researching where to live. Where I am now, though, I just drove by and decided to check it out. The price was OK, the bathroom is wheelchair-accessible for my dad (less typical than you think), and it's been...fine.... But did God PUT me here? If so, why?

I once had a neighbor who was trying to study for a test to become a doctor, and she asked for my help with her computer. I think I was able to help her somewhat (there was a bit of a language barrier). I certainly didn't directly witness about Christ to her or anything (she was Muslim and I am a pretty severe introvert), though we did talk a little about religion. But could some good have come from it anyway? It's POSSIBLE that she actually went on to be a doctor and maybe even helped save someone's life, because I chose this place to live.

Now, is that likely? Who knows? But I like to think of all the amazing possibilities that are out there (which is what makes writing so challenging and exciting for me!).

Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of the film was the idea that on rare occasions the adjusters will step in and change your mind for you. But on the other hand, in the Bible, God DOES sometimes harden people's hearts or change their minds (see Pharaoh v. Moses, for instance). So the (scary) aspect of God sometimes changing people's thinking is probably true. Though I don't think it requires men in fedoras or machinery.

Anyway, as you can perhaps see, I enjoy thinking about possibilities, and the movie had some fascinating ones.

Unfortunately, there was a problem I don't see a way around. The moral of the story seemed to be that if you avoid your fate and go AGAINST the Plan the "Chairman" has for you, you will in fact get what you want, which is evidently kind of what the "Chairman" wanted all along. I wonder how that would play for Eastern audiences who often believe in a sacrifice of self for the sake of others. But to most people, I guess the idea that even the Chairman will back off in the face of true love is appealing.

I would've been interested to see what would have happened if David decided to seek and follow the "Chairman"'s plan, instead of weaseling his way out of it and it working out fine in the end. But I admit, I am not sorry there was a happy ending (though a happy ending where he didn't "get the girl" could've been interesting). I mean, I didn't expect a retelling of the book of Jonah or anything.

And in the movie's defense, I do think that there is a danger when people blindly follow what they THINK or have been TOLD is fate/God's will. We need to be careful to test everything and try our best to be sure it's from God.

Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.

--1 Thessalonians 5:20-22 (NASB)

We can't simply trust something is right because someone powerful tells us it's so. (Not even if they're wearing a fedora!)

But my own personal weaknesses tend to be trying to avoid God's plans, more than following a plan that wasn't from God at all.

Anyway, it's definitely a film that can inspire conversation, almost like Bruce Almighty in that respect. I can't say absolutely don't see it, but I wouldn't highly recommend it either.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Flashback Friday - Marie Curie and Censorship - May 12-13, 1921

Says Radium Is Sure Cure, Even in Deep-Rooted Cases, if Properly Treated.
Motherly Looking Scientist in Plain Black Frock Gives Thanks to Americans.

..."Radium is a positive cure for cancer," she said. "It has already cured all kinds of cancer, even deep-rooted cases....Nevertheless there can be positive cures when properly applied. Those who have failed do not understand the method."

--The New York Times, May 12, 1921


But Mme. Curie Holds That Substance Is a Specific for Many Forms.
Vassar, Smith, American Chemical Society and Academy of Sciences Plan Receptions.

..."What Mme. Curie said," explained her secretary, "was that radium was a specific for many forms of the disease. She did not wish to be understood as asserting that it could effect a cure in every case."

--The New York Times, May 13, 1921

Also of note:


'The Only Way to Remedy What Every One Conceded a Great Evil,' Says Governor.
Three Men to Decide What Constitutes Objectionable Play, With Right of Veto.

--The New York Times, May 15, 1921

Governor Miller signed the bill shortly before a vacation with Mrs. Miller, set to last about 2 weeks. He argued the law wasn't censorship, because it sets the standards--even though the standards would be argued today ("inhuman" doesn't seem to be very specific to me). The governor hasn't decided who to appoint and interestingly (and contrary to the headline), said he would choose the right people, whether male or female! They figured to charge money for each film reviewed, and thus actually make money from this proposition. The commission could demand certain scenes be removed, or reject the film outright.

The New York Archives has a good summary of the history of this censorship board.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Isolation

My 2.5 for 40 was going great until last weekend. With Mother's Day, I didn't spend much time working (or praying). So I'm between 3 and 4 hours behind the 25 hours I should be at as of the end of Tuesday night.

But when it comes down to it, I've done over 7 hours of editing Kinyn, over 7 hours of planning and writing my newest novel, and almost daily Bible reading (got off-track one day). That's not too bad for 10 days, but I'm going to try to "catch up" this weekend.

One thing I will say--today we celebrated a (wonderful) co-worker's birthday at lunch, so I wasn't able to write. That threw me off for the whole evening. Not an excuse, but kind of a warning....sometimes changes in schedule can cause challenges.

Another writing post I drafted while on vacation! How funny that it's about focus.


So while stuck in a small seat along with like 130 (?) of my closest friends, with absolutely no Internet or even cell phone, and while being kicked from behind by a child sitting in someone's lap, I accomplished about 1.5 hours of planning for my novel. Unfortunately, I was in the air for about 3.5 hours. It got boring so I ended up stopping. I probably could have WRITTEN for longer but I find planning so draining and dull...but if I hadn't brought a book along I reckon I would've done another hour of planning (or, perhaps, started writing a new novel or short story!).

Takeaway? I am (and maybe you are) most likely to get work done when it becomes the most appealing option. I love writing, but honestly, I love going down Internet rabbit holes more (that's bad). I also love typing to friends and family more (that's fine--people are more important than books--but still needs to be monitored). But I strongly prefer writing fiction to my day job. So it is comparatively easy to get some writing done in the lunch room every day. On the other hand, when I was unemployed I initially got LESS writing done, because goofing off is more fun than writing.

That's why I adore writing with Maggie. I can combine my love of writing with my love of 'hanging out' with a friend online. And together we wrote the best book I've ever had a hand in.

How do you get motivated to write?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Random Photos - Old Town San Diego - November 2008

I've been kind of busy lately so I don't have much planned. So enjoy a few random pictures!

They had some fake (plastic bag) luminarias:

I found the middle picture here amusing. No mutant children with flaming hair allowed?

Dentist/surgeon's shop.

La Casa de Estudillo:

And a nice nativity:

We actually took the rail system over to the San Diego Maritime Museum later that pics of that today (does anyone want to see them)? But this is the FABULOUS San Diego City and County Administration Building.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day!

Mom, I got all of my writing talent from you, and most of my creativity. Also my love of sewing. I still remember the late nights you spent sewing costumes for me, with great attention to detail. Thanks for all you've done for me! I appreciate your love and friendship.

Happy Mother's Day! (Just under deadline, too. ;) )

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mothers Day 1921


Florists Say Price Is Due to Supply and Demand, but Others Call it Profiteering.
Buds and Blossoms of Other Varieties Decorate Lapels in Observance of the Day.

--The New York Times, May 9, 1921

The article notes that people observed Mother's Day by wearing flowers, and that churches that preached Mother's Day sermons had increased attendance (!). In addition to the carnation shortage, it notes that Mother's Day was only 14 years old (!!), the holiday having been originated by Miss Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia and fixed unanimously by Congress in 1914. She suggested the carnation be worn, or any other flower (like the wearer's mother's favorite). But if's history is correct, she vehemently opposed the selling of carnations on Mother's Day.

Reverend Dr. G. F. Bartholomew from the First Methodist Church called for men to wear dandelions instead. Supposedly, that caused a dip in the prices of expensive flowers like carnations.

To be honest, I can't help but wonder if the extreme spike in carnation prices was in part encouraged by the New York Times, who, in a smaller article, noted carnation prices were high and it was hard to supply the demand.


In Some Churches There Will Be Special Services in Honor of the Occasion.
Dr. Grant, Rabbi Wise, Dr. Packard and Dr. Goodchild Will Preach on "Mothers."

--The New York Times, May 8, 1921

Rabbi Stephen S. Wise preached for the Free Synagogue at Carnegie Hall (!) on "The Harmonies and Discords of Home." Dr. Frank M. Goodchild of Central Baptist Church preached on "A Mother's Influence." Dr. Harold Pattison at Washington Heights Baptist Church preached on "Mothers" in the morning and "Fathers" in the evening (Father's Day wasn't a holiday yet).

Other Mother's Day sermons were titled "Unpaid Bills," "The Blessed Mother of Our Lord," "Eve, the Mother of All Living," "An Old-Fashioned Mother," "Mother's Day; Has It Come?" and "Mother's Place in the Sun."

Beneath that article is a sub-article titled, "FLORISTS DENY EXTORTION. Carnations $3 to $6 a Dozen--Ask Public to Buy Other Kinds." They explain supply and demand, which, again, I think may have led to people buying, afraid the supply would run out....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Retyping

How's my crazy plan going? So far I've done 2.75 hours of editing on Kinyn and 3.5 hours planning my next project. Not bad.

This section typed on my cell phone a month or two ago:
I struck upon this trick by accident. I never bring my laptop to work. One lunch break, when I wanted to edit my Step 3 (?) of my Snowflake for Chosen, I only had a handwritten copy. With my scrawling, the handwritten copy is not condusive to editing! I had written it quite a while ago, but lazy evening (and weekend!) Julie didn't type it for lunch Julie to edit.

Long story short, I was lacking motivation, so I typed the whole thing on my not-entirely-dumb phone (Samsung Comeback) and emailed it to myself. And as I typed on my thumb keyboard I had plenty of time to think about each sentence. If a plot idea was stupid, no way was I going to take the time to type it out by thumb! Whereas when I pencil-edit a typed draft, I might hesitate to change things around too much (more retyping!) and evwn when I make changes, sometimes I miss typing them in later. So I ended up with a stronger outline than when I started. It also felt more 'fun' because it was more like texting than work (90+ percent of what I write by hand is related to my writing which, while fun, is still work).

So again, the main takeaway seems to be to do something a little different if you have to. I think my challenge with Chosen is that I wrote this novel already, 1.5 times at least! So it's hard to keep planning interesting.

I don't know how broadly retyping with thumbs can be applied. With a full manuscript, it would take ages...and would likely introduce a substantial number of typos. But with a page-long outline it doesn't take long, and the outline's plot almost certainly trumps form. I found it worthwhile, but I'm not even sure I'd do it for a 4-page outline.

So, what do you think? Not TOO many typos... Looking back, I still think it's good advice, but I'm not sure I can take the time with my 7 (!) page outline, which is where I am now.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Scariest Entry Ever - 2.5 for 40

I didn't mean for this first part to be scary, but I guess you can take it that way too. From my Facebook:

Bin Laden was a very bad man and I'm not sorry he's dead. And I can't know the grief of those who lost loved ones. But I think singing "Na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye" may be a bit much.

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Or the LORD will see it and be displeased, And turn His anger away from him. Proverbs 24:17-18 (thanks, Laurel Shields!)

(And yes, God promises the wicked will get their comeuppance, and I'm thankful for that. I just don't know if partying like we won a sports game is the most Christian reaction.)

So on a completely unrelated note--I actually got these ideas Sunday morning before church!...

I love writing and feel God has given me a gift and/or interest in writing. I don't work on writing as much as I should, even though I think God has some things He would like me to write for whatever reason. I don't spend as much time with God as I should, and I'd also like to get some writing done.

So I got to thinking. I believe in tithing 10% of your income to God (interestingly, that's what my pastor preached on soon after I got this idea!). But as an adult I have never been in a position where I've found tithing my income difficult.

I do NOT believe the Bible says you have to give 10% of your time. Honestly, I'm not sure if many parents or students would even actually be able to do that if they wanted to!

But I'm single. Employed, yes. Tired when I get home from work, often. But my obligations outside my job are really pretty minimal. For pity's sake, I have machines to wash my laundry and my dishes for me!

(Every time I think of complaining about "having to do laundry" I think of my great-great-grandmothers. If they didn't have servants, they could have easily spent something like 2 days EVERY WEEK doing the family laundry. I guess the fact that my great-grandmothers have not given me a solid beating for my laziness is evidence that the dead do not walk the earth among us.)

ANYWAY. I've got a bunch of time I'm squandering. I wonder...could I give 10% of my time towards God and pursuits I believe God would like me to follow, such as writing Christian fiction?

Honestly, I'm kind of scared. But I'm trying it for 40 days. My goal is to spend an average of 2.5 hours each day (just over 1/10 of my time) praying, reading/studying the Bible, at church activities, and/or writing/planning my writing. This is stuff I should be doing anyway. Realistically, the writing/planning is going to take up the majority of this time. Thing is, I am lazy and I am easily distracted. Only by the grace of God will I manage even this meager goal. I realize the idea of calculating this time may be a little crass, but if I just have a fuzzy goal of "more time doing these things" just doesn't happen.

The first day was Sunday, May 1, so I got a jump start with church and all. I actually got in 5 total hours before my bedtime Bible reading/prayer time. So RIGHT NOW I'm well ahead. The other 39 days...well, my follow-through is not so good, and again, I'm going to need God to help me here.

Can you see why I claim this is the scariest entry ever? But hopefully an exciting one too.