capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
One of my mutual followers posted this, and asked help in making it go viral.

So I'm sharing it here, in my other social circle:

If the Nazis don't want you dead, they want you recruited.
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
The Monsters' Rhapsody: Disability, Culture, & Identity entered the world as an ink-and-paper bundle of joy on August 4, 2016.

In that time, 17 copies have sold: 3 to me (for technical reasons) and 14 to other people.

Somewhere on YouTube, I watched a vid of a panel of authors talking about self publishing, and one of them said that even when you get published via the traditional route (unless you're a Big Name Author that the publishing house is actively promoting), selling 200 copies a year is par for the course.

Considering that she was talking about prose books, and (if I recall correctly) her own work was of a traditional fiction sub-genre, and my book is poetry and it has an esoteric focus (unlike, say love poetry, or straight-up autobiography/confessional/abuse survival), I'm rather pleased to be within sight of 10% of that.*

Anyway, yesterday, I got it into head to try and convert my book from ink-and-paper to pixel-and-silicon by August 4, this year. ...

And this was after the computer I composed the book on died, so I had to re-download the PDF has on file, and go through the whole thing and rework the format to make it ebook compatible. ... My Inner Critic is fretting and chewing her fingernails, 'cause whoever first composed ebook algorithms didn't take the requirements of poetry into account at all (like allowing extra lines between stanzas).

So wish me luck.

*(shameless plug) If you'd like to help me get to a full 10% of Par For the Course, you can buy the book either at (where there's a 20% discount, and I earn $1.69):

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

or on Amazon (where there is no discount, and I earn $0.03 from the U.S., and $0.33 from the UK [no, I have no idea why I get more money from a foreign-to-me seller])
(/shameless plug)
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)

WASHINGTON, March 13— More than 100 protesters in wheelchairs were arrested today in the Capitol Rotunda after they boisterously demonstrated for swift passage of a civil rights bill for the millions of Americans with physical and mental disabilities.

"Boisterous!" -- It's one of my favorite words, but... in this context? Seems a little disablist to me. What about you?
capriuni: a vaguely dog-like beast, bristling, saying: grah! (GRAH)
Last night, I decided to check out the Mudcat forum (folk music and blues), and near the top of the page, there was this thread:

Obit: Andy M. Stewart (1952-2015)

That's the "saddened" part of this post. Here's my addition to the thread (as "Guest"-- hadn't realized my cookie had expired):

Aw... Dammit.

I hadn't heard him perform in quite a while, but I was blessed enough to have heard him live in several performances. He was a great singer, songwriter, and a gracious performer on stage.


Now comes the "Enraged" portion of this post.

Today, while looking for web pages about him and his music, I came across the crowdfunding page his sister had put up to help him pay for his medical bills (it had not reached the goal by the time he'd died), and therein, she explains why she needs to raise money for him, including this passage (the added emphasis is mine):

Having lost so much my brother is facing a situation where he will need to leave his home and move to wheelchair friendly accommodation. He will need daily nursing care to assist his living. He does not 'meet the criteria' for entitlement to a motorised wheelchair because he has the use of his arms, even though this kept him housebound for many months. Except for when someone visits to help get him out of the house that's what he will go back to.

(The crowdfunding page is here: It's now raising money for a funeral)

Okay. So I am under no illusion that having a motorized chair would definitely have lengthened his life (it might have... a little). But I do know from experience that spending extra time and physical energy just getting from one end of your house to the other puts a real damper on creative writing. The world could certainly have used more songs and humor from this fellow. And we are all poorer for the loss.

Now -- what about all the wonderful, creative people in this world who became disabled before they were famous?! What is the world missing? All because of fear mongering about fraud and disabled people "scrounging off" Society.

So I'm going to take a moment to lay deeply felt curse against those who keep trying to "tighten the restrictions on entitlement 'criteria'":

May every sweet thing you bite turn to ashes and hair in your mouth
And may every draught you swallow turn to mouldy slime.

And here: have an article (link courtesy of [personal profile] jesse_the_k) about the real value of motorized chairs: Don't worry, he won't get far on foot -- he's dead

To end on a more upbeat note, have a video of Andy M. Stewart performing one of the songs he'd written, back in the day:

(I still don't have audio, but I've been in the audience when he's performed it on stage)
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
Some of [profile] ysabetwordsmth's close family are dealing with a bad batch of mayhem. They're stuck in Albuquerque, need to get home to (As [profile] ysabetwordsmth puts it) "Chicagoland," and they need to buy a car sturdy enough to get them there. They've set up an emergency fund here:

And every little bit helps.

So -- can we give them a happy story to tell at next year's Thanksgiving table?
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
Some of [profile] ysabetwordsmth's family are dealing with a bad batch of mayhem -- their car has died half-way through a cross-country trip with no large city nearby, and repair costs are more than they have in their budget.

To help raise money for the emergency fund, [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has put up a prompt call. For a $5 or more donation, she'll write a just-for-you 500-word ficlet based on your prompt, on the theme "Pay it forward" or "helping hands."

She's put the details in a post, here: She's a very good writer, and a dollar per drabble's worth of story from her is an excellent deal.
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
It's just the start of Autumn. It's also still dark enough outside that the streetlamps are still on.

And yet, I hear a mockingbird, somewhere close -- sounds like he (?) might be in the holly tree just outside my office window.*

He's "Scrolling through" his repertoire of different bird calls -- loudly. But, unlike the "Let me show off my skills & endurance" songs that mockingbirds perform in the spring, this one has no quality that I would consider "Musical." And besides, I can't remember ever hearing any mockingbird call like that after early June.

... And, in the time it's taken me to type this, it's gone quiet, and the streetlamps have gone out.

Still, I hope everything's okay for my feathery neighbors.

*The berries, are full size, now. And are turning a darker shade of green. Before long, they'll be truly red, and ready for their Christmas card closeups.
capriuni: text: "5 things" (5 things)
1: How long do you think it'll be before this recent picture of Pluto (7-7-2015) gets turned into memes, macros, and icons everywhere?

{... give me an hour, maybe, at least for here? ;-)}

2: On this week's Radiolab (Wednesday), there was an interview with two men who are both completely blind (Audio -- sorry there's no transcript).

The man whose blindness developed gradually decided that to be fully present and connected to the world, he had to break himself of the habit of "Visualizing" anything, and to conceptualize the world entirely using his other four senses. Because to do otherwise would mean clinging to his memory of a world that doesn't exist anymore.

The man who lost his sight in a single, devastating, moment insisted that to retain your full humanity, you have to imagine a visual world, even if you have to work at it, because humans are visual creatures, full stop.

Yeah. You can probably guess which side of the argument I side with; I'd be more sympathetic to the second man, if he hadn't insisted what was true for him was true for 6,999,999,999 other people.

Anyway, it occurred to me afterward that, compared to blind people, we sighties really live in a 2-D world (well, 3-D, but that's only if you include "Time"). Compared to the actual space around us, the surfaces of our retinas are really, really, flat. After all, that's the only reason we can get away with trompe-loeil at all.

3. The weather is brain-meltingly hot and humid, here. So this item will only be two sentences long.

4. Doctor Who Series 9 will start September 19th! Permission to Squee? I still don't have any headphones or speakers, so I don't know how the official trailer sounds.


Does it seem like Capaldi's hair is channeling the spirit of Doctor Four? Or is that just me? ;-)

5. Speaking of dates in the calender being closer than they appear, I don't think I'll be able to meet my self-imposed date for getting Monsters' Legacy: Disability, Culture and Identity self-published. I mean, maybe I could. But only if I worked a lot faster than I seem to be able to at the moment (*points to #3*), and only if I skipped getting the prose portions beta-read. And I don't want to skip that. *sigh*
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
On Friday, this story aired on NPR's Morning Edition: Does reading Harry Potter have an effect on your behavior? (link to audio and written transcript).

...I may have also let out a vocal "Whoo-Hoo! Score one for the storytellers!" because it's one thing to know for yourself that something good is also true, but it's a whole 'nother reason to celebrate when that truth is publicly acknowledged.

So of course, I had to spread the Happy.
capriuni: Text: "an honorable retreat ... not with bag and baggage, yet scrip and scrippage. (Scrippage)
(From my Camp NaNoWriMo project):


I navigate the steepness of the path
As gravel slides beneath my rolling wheels,
To join the stranger standing on the bank,
And share, in silence, the beauty of this place.
The curve of Highlands across the river's breadth,
The murmur of the water against stone,
The golden blush of light that fills the sky,
All this helps me forget the ticking clock.
Read more... )


Jun. 16th, 2014 02:47 pm
capriuni: A shaggy, multicolored monster with a lion's tail and human feet, holding a blue flower (shaggy flower monster)
A hummingbird! I actually saw a hummingbird outside my office window, just now... less than a foot from the other side of the glass...

That's got to be a good omen, right?

capriuni: "This calls for CAKE" with plate and fork (Cake!)
While I was eating breakfast, looking out the window, I saw an Eastern Bluebird perched on the trunk of the longleaf pine in my back yard. There was a wall, and a window pane, between us, sure -- but it couldn't have been more than ten feet away.

I don't know if it was the bluebird of happiness, but it made me happy to see it -- all through my childhood, it was listed as a threatened species, so this is the first time I'd seen one in 3-D. Three Cheers for Voluntary Nature Conservancy!

(It looked a lot rounder and fluffier than the ones in the Wikipedia pictures, 'cause its feathers were all pooffed up against a brisk north wind, but it was just as bright blue and brick red).
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
The house is being painted, today and tomorrow (mostly "Pueblo Red" [aka: reddish brown] and "Almond Cream" [pale yellow]),* so at some point, when they get back to this office, my computer and phone will be unplugged. So if you wonder where I am, that's where...

*With "Soft rabbit brown" for my bedroom and a Navy blue for Audrey's.
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
1) My guilty pleasure snack is munching on Ramen noodles in their crunchy state. But I can't stand the flavor packet powders most come with -- way too salty, and I can never manage to mix them evenly when I do occasionally soak them in boiling water.

So: please sell ramen noodles singly -- as something snackable. Maybe in bite sizes, even.

2) Most of my evening meals are the frozen entree variety, because Reasons. So I notice that several frozen dinner options still include a dessert -- mostly fruit of some sort in a sugar syrup. While a nice idea in theory, this is always a disaster in reality. I like cinnamon apples, but not spattered as an accidental sauce on my broccoli.

So: please put a frozen dessert with your meals. Make the little plastic cup it's in detachable from the main tray, so it can be set aside to soften while the main course is duly zapped. That way, I could have a little lemon sorbet (or whatever) after my lasagna (or whatever). And if I don't feel like having dessert today, I could put the cup of it back in the freezer to save up for another time.

3) Speaking of freezers: as a wheelchair user, I need a side-by-side fridge-freezer unit (can't reach a freezer either Up Above or Down Below). Also, being in a wheelchair, I have to pull up alongside the freezer, and lean sideways over my armrest to get anything (if I pulled up facing the freezer, my knees and feet would get in the way, preventing me from getting close enough). Side freezers are deep and narrow. And things that slide all the way back to the shelves are nearly impossible to reach.

So: please make a side by side freezer with pull-out drawers, like you have on the fridge side. That way I could get to things in the back without risking knocking all the things in front onto the floor... I imagine ambulatory folks would also find this convenient.

Leaving the kitchen:

4) Windows 8 has a pack of X-Box versions of their Solitaire card games, complete with Achievements to be unlocked. But one achievement that would make me really proud is one they don't even recognize.

So: please make a "Won a game without using the Undo Button" medal...

5) There are two ways, in the Windows Paint app, to come up with colors that are outside the predetermined ones in the Windows pallette. The first is through "edit colors," which pulls up a dialog box that lets you determine the color you want in 3 ways: 1) a pair of click and drag sliders to adjust the hue, saturation, and luminosity, 2) an option to type number values (from 0 to 240) for Hue, Saturation, and Luminosity, or 3) an option to adjust the balance of Red, Green, and Blue (by typing numbers from 0 to 255). The second way to get "custom" colors is to use the eye-dropper tool, which lets you pick any color in any picture (even a photo) by clicking on it.

I like the first option because when I play around and a color I really like, I can note its numerical values so I can recreate it later. I like the second option because I can get truly naturalistic colors by picking them from a photo of the real thing.

But: I can't then edit a color I grab with the eye-dropper (for example: if I'd like to see what that autumn tree red looks like if it were just a bit more muted)

So: please make a Paint Eye-dropper tool that can tell me at least one numerical set for the color I want to grab (either Hue, Saturation, Luminosity, or Red/Green/Blue balance). These numbers could appear in the bottom info line, beside the cursor location, whenever the eye dropper is hovering over a color).
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
I broke my glasses last night/this morning.

I was pulling a towel out of the dryer (points to "I know where my towel is, but..." icon) when I rubbed an itch in my eye, and knocked my glasses off my face-- and I know they fell off to the right-hand side. It being dimly lit, I carefully backed up, slowly, veering to the left to avoid running over them, turned on a brighter light, and scanned the floor for them.

They were no where to be found. I felt around in my chair. No glasses.

I backed up even further... they had bounced, behind the chair and to the left, and the right lens had popped out of the frame.

I picked up the pieces, and tried to pop the lens back into the frame (which I've done before, with success and ease), only to discover that I had, in my careful attempt to avoid running them over, run them over, and bent the frame. And now, the lens no longer fits.

(This, young literature students, is where "irony" is the correct term).

So I am typing this without glasses.

And of course, this happens when I have no time, and little money, to schedule an eye appointment to get new glasses (also, I haven't seen an eye doctor in years [yeah, okay, this is where the "no luck" argument has merit]*). So I'm hoping Audrey will be able to get some prescription-free reading glasses when she goes shopping, today, to tide me over.

*But -- really!? They're going to fall to the RIGHT, but bounce and end up four feet behind their initial landing spot, and end up exactly where my left rear wheel is going to roll over them? Whut?

[Eta: Audrey managed to get the lens back in place \o/. She may have an advantage over me, as she's left-handed]
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
So, apparently... Windows ceased using a .wav recorder for sound when they came out with the Vista OS. Since then, they have a recorder that records in Windows Media File instead. The problem is (problems are?) that you a) can't edit or alter the sounds you record, and b) you cannot play it back to hear what you've recorded until after you've saved it ...

So ... how can you know whether what you've recorded is worth saving?!?!?!

Anyhow, I thought I could go back and "remix" one of the very first videos I put up on YouTube: Monsters in Town, since, when I first made it, I did not have a mic with which to record my voice.... and now, I do.

So, I did the following:

1) Opened the Sound recorder
2) Clicked "Start recording"
3) Started the video,
4) and sang along into my mic while it played (so I could be fairly confident my singing would sync with the words on the screen).

Fairly straight-forward, right?

Only ... after I saved it to file, searched files to find it again, and played it back... Know what I found out? It recorded the music coming through my earphones instead of my voice through the mic!

What. the. Ever-loving. Freckled, feckless frog?!
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
Okay, the other day I gave in and bought Dragon quote NaturallySpeaking, since it was 40% off for one day. After it arrived in the mail I tried to run the speech recognition, only to discover that the microphone was not properly plugged in to my computer. So I had to wait for Audrey to come by today to plug-in the new microphone headset which came with the program I've now spent about an hour fiddling with the tutorial and I am now using the program to write this entry.

We are still learning each other; one trick we are having to learn is distinguishing between directions and what I actually want to say. And of course, On my end actually knowing what I want to say. So far so good however.

Dragon dictate does not recognize DreamWidth's entry window directly, but openness and dictation box from which I can transfer the text. Which I will try to do now…
capriuni: photo of a roe deer yearling, with text: "The real world is magic enough" (unicorn-real)
Around about half an hour before sunset, there was one of those sudden bursts of thunderstorm. I looked out the window, and realized the rain was coming through a cloud on one side of my house, but the sun was still out on the other side of my house...

Did a quick calculation, and realized the angle of the sun was low enough that I might actually be able to see a real rainbow (the ones made with pocket prisms don't count, sorry).

Looked out the window opposite the sun... And at first, I was disappointed (I was looking relatively close to the horizon -- over the roofs of houses across the the street from my cul-de-sac). But then, I looked a little higher... and sure enough: a nice, broad, rainbow!


It was kinda faint looking, 'cause it was up against hazy clouds, instead of a clearer sky, but: yup! It was right out the window Science told me it should be!

Sometimes, there are benefits to going through life with a storm cloud of your own...
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
So -- I was in the middle of replying to a comment yesterday, when Audrey plugged in my new replacement earphones.

Adjusting to that was one change too many, and my geriatric computer promptly gave up the ghost and died-- all lights out.

So today, after work, Audrey went to the local computer mega store and bought a new Windows tower (I will pay her back by check tomorrow).

So now, I am suddenly working with Windows 8 and getting used to the feel of a new keyboard, and getting reacquainted with the feel of an actual mouse...

And, until I learn rescue is possible, I'm working on the assumption that all the files I had stored on my old hard drive are lost.

But I'm refusing to be depressed about this. Most of the writing I cared about, I've posted here on my journal. So a good troll through my archive will rescue most of my work.

I've downloaded Google Chrome for my browser (can't tell you how much I hate Bing), and AOL desktop for my mail... And I will download a new copy of OpenOffice and RealPlayer, and Windows Movie Maker... And Noteworthy Composer... Good thing you don't need hard copies of CD Roms anymore.

But there are a couple (so far-- I'm sure more will come up as days go by) that have me WTF-ing:

1) Windows 8 has no Notepad/basic text writer?!
2) The only way into MS Paint is through Wordpad?!



For the record, my old computer was eleven years old... That's like ninety-nine in human years, right?
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
First. Cute overload of the day, or week, or month, or until the next time I squeal out loud at an image on my screen: Linked Tails (photo of three harvest mice siblings perched on a branch, holding tails the way humans hold hands)

Second. Re: Feeling ... not so much left out as pushed out of Valentine's Day (it's the only holiday I can think of that puts people in a second class based on relationship status, and for those of us who have been historically and culturally discouraged from thinking about having relationships, well... yeah. And being the sort who doesn't like feeling left out and bitter, I spent yesterday trying to think of a positive alternative way to frame it -- or a new one (my old fall back of it bringing a shot of bright color into the grey depths of winter doesn't work as well in Virginia as it did in New York).

This is what I came up with: For the Romans, it was a fertility fest celebrating the founding of Rome, and the suckling of Romulus and Remus by the she-wolf... According to the Christian story (aiui) Saint Valentine became associated with lovers because at one point, married men were exempt from the army, so the Saint would perform marriages as an act of civil disobedience. So I propose that we singletons of that bent use the day to celebrate conscientious objection and other "loving" acts of social change... (hey, "pinko" is already a color associated with it!)

Third. Working on a YouTube video of my "harvest" poem... which is why I haven't been talking here much (which is why I was researching mice to draw).

Fourth. Still need to schedule an inspection of my central heating/AC

Fifth. Need to schedule repairs to the van (may be the transmission). :-/

Sixth. After 30 or so years, This Old House is finally doing a series on wheelchair-accessible design. My feelings, they are mixed. On the one hand: yay! On the other hand, it's still being framed as "Something we should do for our elderly family members." (And again, disability = elderly, rather than disability = everybody). Also, it's a two-storey house and the downstairs is being converted into a self-contained, one-storey, living space with the upstairs being renovated for future live-in help if needed... And once again, I'm thinking that that would probably have been the better option for me to adapt my New York home instead of moving down here...

Seventh: OMG! Asteroids! Meteorite! Eek!


capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)

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