If you saw my post on Sunday, you know that I’m disappointed with dollar stores. You used to be able to go in, pick up eight items, and pay—wait for it . . . $8—unless you live in a region that taxes their residents when they buy gum.
OK. I get it. Dollar stores have been around for a while, and it is unreasonable for them not to raise prices because we all know (but don’t understand completely) about inflation.
Some stores don’t hide that fact, even changing their names. Dollar-rama is now Dollar-rama Plus.
Most prices within are around $1.25. Still a good price for off-brand products like: Enerjizer batteries, SunLite dish detergent, and various kitchen utensils by Betty Cracker*. Not to mention weird snacks I’ve never heard of (a handful of Choco-Cluster Crisps anyone?)
*OK. This one is a lie. My local Dollar store carries Betty Crocker cook/bakeware and utensils at reasonable prices.
I was flossing last night—as I always do— and I was struck by not how much I use, but how much I don’t use. Let me explain:
After I pull out the desired length, I wrap some around my finger, then, as it slips off, I proceed to wrap more because of course, floss slips. Gripping the other end tightly, but not tightly enough, forces me to wrap the end around my other finger until only a short length it available for use.
Now, flossing requires an orchestrated ballet of movements, as the used potion is wound, while the other is unwound. In the end, most of the floss has been used only to maintain tautness. I would suspect that 50% of all floss never experiences the joy of the dance of oral hygiene.
Some superheroes use their powers for evil—[boo, hiss]—others for the good of humanity—[Yay!]. Superpowers come in all forms: genetic, accidental, mutation, experimental, or otherworldly intervention.
We can’t all be so lucky (unlucky?), but we all have some hidden talent. Maybe not talent enough to be on that show—or that other show that’s kinda like that show, but something that when harnessed can only be described as…well, meh.
Some people may use their talent for evil—[boo, hiss]—others for…well, for themselves, never to be revealed to humanity. Sometimes people just need to know, so here is your chance. I’ll go first.
My not-so-super-superpower is the ability to get toothpaste out of the tube long after most people would have given up and tossed it away. How long, you ask? Days? Yes. Weeks? It’s been done.
To quote Monty Python, “I’ll have your Spam, Dear. I love Spam.”
Well, I don’t love it, there’s just an odd ‘like‘ there. I haven’t had it in quite some time though. As a child, there was often the knock-off, Klik in the cupboard, usually after dad’s hunting trip. Beans and Klik. There’s a tent you don’t want to be in.
But, potted meat is not want this is about.
Dear Occupant, 1-877 numbers, “Lovely ladies waiting”—that kind of spam.
The phone calls are incessant. If I don’t answer, it will often go to voicemail. Apparently, I have either:
Won a cruise (Yeah, I’m going on one of those at this time)
Have an inheritance to collect
I’m in arrears
Something’s wrong with my banking/tax information
There is also an odd countdown from 10 that ends anticlimactically.
Sometimes I’ll answer because the number appears to be local, but if there is no response, I’ll hang up and block the number. I still get at least one or two/day.
As an author, I get many emails from “reviewers”, “SEO experts”, “promoters”, “screenplay adapters”. As a blogger, well . . .if you blog on WordPress, then you know that the system does redirect spam comments.
I think it does a pretty good job because I don’t seem to let any through on my posts, and there are a lot of them. I forgot to clean them out for a while—which is the impetus for the post.
So, I’ll do some cleaning today, recycling junk mail and flyers, erasing my voicemail messages, deleting my spam emails.
But first, by looking through my blog spam comments, apparently there are some lovely ladies waiting to show me their naughty bits.
Whew. I just finished tidying my desk and working area. My first thought was, “Hey, that’s pretty nice faux wood finish (Not really. It’s a pretty crappy old desk, but it keeps stuff off the floor). My second thought was, “I have to clean off those coffee rings.” My third thought was, “That’s a very neglected coaster over there.”
Now that that it done, It was time to purge my mailing list. I’ve written about previous purges:
but, This was going to be my biggest yet. I sent it on Monday, to give subscribers time to open (or not), then today I went though the list and kept the ones who opened and did not unsubscribe (2), and then unsubscribed the rest (52). That took my list down to 166. That should improve my open rate and the engagement. I’ve said before that I’d rather have 10 engaged subscribers than 100 duds.
My last open rate was 38%. My newsletter goes out tomorrow to 52 less subscribers. I’ll update you*.
I didn’t major in creative writing. I will, at certain times, misuse commas, only because there are too many rules, and as much as I try, it is challenging to remember them all.
I try not to make my writing difficult to understand. Using more common words rather than obscure, recondite, or esoteric ones, enables a reader to focus on the story instead of having to look up or deduce the meaning of a word.
Sure, I’ll use the thesaurus (that’s not a tome shaped dinosaur, by the way), to discover interesting words, and have inserted them in place of, for lack of a better word, bland* ones.
Every writer has their own voice and idiosyncrasies (or foibles**). I tend to be less descriptive in my writing, only because that’s the way I read, skimming over information that I deem unimportant. I think I have been getting better at writing dialogue (but not spelling it), although, my dialogue is usually succinct*** because I think that my characters would have a conversation as most people would.
What was my point? Oh, yes. Bad writing.
I was, well, still am, reading a book by a best selling author. I have read several of his—umm, or her—books in the past, some I have enjoyed, others I found . . . meh.
In previous books, I noticed that many of the sentences were quite short, and would have several in a row, exactly the thing my grammar program would red flag. I’m not adverse to short sentences. They have their place. Not too many, though. That gets boring. Some might say monotonous. Yes. Exactly my point.
In the book I am currently reading, I came across this passage which made me think, “His—or her— editor let this through?“:
I wonder what the countertops in his—or her—kitchen are like?
If you have a good example of bad writing, add it in the comment section.
*There are better words: insipid, lackluster, mediocre, vapid, banal, trite, inane, characterless . . . **Shortcomings ***Brief or concise
I had a cereal topic written for this morning, but then the local weather person mentioned that it is the shortest day of the year. Great. Which means it will be the longest night of the year. Just as well because it feels like it has been the longest year of the year.
They also said it is the first day of winter. Wait. What!?
So you are telling me that the last month of this:
OK. Back to the original topic:
Cereal. It’s good. I often eat it for a snack. But c’mon Big Cereal, can’t you at least make the bag easy to open? Ever hear of Ziploc? And maybe make the Puffed Wheat a little denser so it doesn’t fly out of the bowl when you pour in the milk.*
Oh, by the way, when the picture on the front shows a bowl of your product with milk in it, and you say that is the serving suggestion—we know. That’s why we buy cereal.**
Hey wait! Yeah you, generic brands. You ain’t fooling anyone with your similar names. We know who you are copying, Oatie O’s, Crispy Ricelettes, Flakes O’ Corn, Lieutenant Crunch, Lucky Treasures.
Why are you so sweet? I walked through your aisle*** and there were still signs denoting kid’s cereal—and they were all the sugary kind. I though we had done away with that sales method. And why are your mazes and word jumbles so easy? Help Molly Mouse find the cheese? It’s right there!
Nutritional labels: You put two columns, one for the cereal alone, the other with milk. Who eats a bowl of dry cereal? Maybe if you put a picture of the cereal in a bowl of milk . . .
P.S. A good winter cereal is oatmeal.
*Yeah. I eat Puffed Wheat. Those little unsweetened, styrofoamy ovoids. ** And sometimes mixing it with melted marshmallows to make a tasty square. *** Side note: I spelled this on the first try.
I have been going over the corrections and suggestions in my latest novella manuscript that I got back from my editor. There are some errors I still make, but overall, so far, there hasn’t been a sea of blue edits.
I have to start thinking about book covers. I should have done this sooner because I know it will take some time to source this task. Any cover designers out there you would recommend? Or, are you one? Maybe you want to be one . . .
I haven’t posted a tirade for a few weeks. That means:
Nothing annoys me (not true)
Everything in my life is running smoothly (also not true)
People haven’t given me reason to roll my eyes (still not true)
I’m too busy (never)
I’m uninspired (I’m un-something)
My buttons have been unpressed (have I finally realized that I am a sentient android?)
I have better things to do (Better? Maybe other. . .).
Amazon hasn’t pissed me off lately (actually, that’s surprisingly true). For a few weeks, they reset my free book to $0.99 for the seventh time, and for the seventh time I had to go through the whole CSR conversation all over again, explaining that my excerpts book is not the full volume, despite the somewhat similar name. It is now free and at #10 in Free Contemporary Poetry—just ahead of this guy:
It was v-v-very c-c-c-c-cold for a few d-d-d-days last week, then it became warmer, and now they (the weather people) are forecasting above freezing temperatures tomorrow. It made me think of this poem that I wrote and posted in February:
If you have never seen the hoarfrost cling To wires, fences, posts, and trees If you have never witnessed heavy snow On every tree branch hanging low If you have never watched the ice floes beat Upon frigid shores too cold for feet
Ventured across a frozen lake, I’ve done With sundogs adorning the low noon sun I’ve trudged with snowshoes on wind-blown drifts Even biked by snowy cliffs Shoveled walks and pushed out cars Watched breath become a frozen cloud When others dare not go outside I’ll fear not, I will not hide
I do often dream of warmer climes But I sure would miss the wintertime