Friday, December 12, 2008

WRITERS OF THE WORLD UNITE

This is certain to be the most clueless advertisement that I have ever read. I do not know who their marketing person is (or one hopes, for the sake of the publication, was...) but what ethereal planet are they are orbiting, or inhaling? Smells like something green and illegal from BC (No, I don't do spark or anything like that. My greatest vices are chocolate and white tea but not together). Here is the text in its entirety and my further comments afterwards.

"In today's strange social and economic times, it's essential that we take care of ourselves and each other - whether it be through our health regimes, our careers and finances, our relationships, or the wonderful food in our pantries. How do we create happiness from the inside out? Our website is dedicated to searching for those answers. We're a new yet rapidly growing blog/social networking website dedicated to bringing holistic health and wellness to people everywhere through insightful, funny, compassionate, and informative articles. If you're a college student, graduate student, stay-at-home mom seeking a little "me" activity, or anyone else looking for intern experience in new media, then we'd love to hear from you! We're seeking both Marketing and Editorial interns (or those who enjoy both), who can lend us a few hours a day, a few days a week. While there is no outright compensation, we make it a point to reward a job well done -- we've done the unpaid intern thing ourselves, so we know full well how to appreciate them! We'd love to hear from potential interns with social media experience. Ideally you have a strong profile and network on sites such as Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and Delicious, and be an avid consumer of and participant in the blogosphere...but you know what? Even if you don't have these things, we'll teach you! Don't worry about traditional cover letters...those are quite boring. Just tell us why you'd like to be a virtual intern, how many hours a week you could spare, and what interests you as a writer or reader! Thanks so much! Have a Peaceful Day."

I hope a hurricane wipes this company from the globe. Have a happy day! The false sense of camaraderie that the advertiser tries to build with the first lines about the rough times and how we must all stick together is nauseating. I prefer an advertiser who has specific business needs and states these goals in a matter-of-fact statement. Skip the cutesy stuff, just tell me what you need for writing services and how much money you offer. This false lifeboat of New Age marketing jargon is abusive towards people who are struggling to find work for their survival in a tough economy.

What irritates me most about this classified is that any self-respecting stay at home mum who was looking at adverts on the Web would be searching for a pay cheque attached to a job, not a "little me activity". The writers of this ad treat women if they are second class citizens who do not want to be employed or who are not, like single moms I know, breadwinners in their own right. I agree with Harlan Ellison's rant about those parasites who expect a writer to feel oh-so-grateful for a free interview or an unremunerated internship. He believes that writers should not give their content away for free or for the lowest pay and that those skinflints who desire unpaid internships or 400 words for 40 articles a day at $.01 a word should go take a long walk off a short pier over a piranha infested river.

I think, as writers, we are obligated to starve the penny-pinchers out of the publishing market. Refuse to take jobs that pay less than minimum wage. Let their businesses fail without our work. The companies do not have our talents and will go under without us. They will only have our competent labour if they reward us with decent wages. The other side of the coin is to do well for those companies who value their writers and pay decent wages and who, in other terms, act professional. Those flighty buggers who continue to live in this fantasy world where moms want a little me activity and not a paycheque will only get the worse of the lot, if that.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

COMFORT FOOD

I am doing an update on this post, originally posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2008,to include information for our feline friends as well as further information that I have learned about potatoes. The original post begins,  "I recently joined a cooking group on Facebook where I can practice my literary craft and write about food. Here is one of my posts." This is another comfort food and, yes, if you aren't careful with aspects of the recipe you can be doing some serious daisy pushing or at least have some icky nausea. With those legalities out of the way, it is time to make Egg Mess.

Ingredients:

*One small onion diced This is actually good for your health because onions have wound-healing properties and are antiseptic. So if you slip with the knife when dicing this plant, there's a built-in cure.

However, onions and other members of the Allium family like garlic are toxic for your feline friends because these foods contain a chemical called N-propyl disulphide that can cause destruction of red blood cells in cats (and dogs) and resulting, life-threatening anemia.

*Margarine or Butter Don't eat too much of either because both can lead to those so difficult pounds to shed. 

Cats should not have margarine because of unknown ingredients and butter can cause gas and diarrhea.

*Potatoes diced (I prefer red potatoes) Here is the potentially toxic part. Potatoes are a member of the nightshade family that has the temptress belladonna as cousin. Potatoes that have gone green or that are sprouting in your pantry have the poisons solanine and chaconine and can give you dreadful cramps.   

Cats should not have potato eyes or green parts because of the toxins.

*Pepper and Salt to Taste

No black pepper or salt for cats because black pepper is poisonous for cats and salt can cause an electrolyte imbalance. 

*Eggs I usually use six to eight eggs because I am feeding four people (six if you count two growing children). Washing your hands after cracking eggs is important because salmonella is a risk from uncooked eggs. Salmonella causes typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, and food borne illness. More toxins! Yea!

Raw eggs are bad for cats because the whites contain the chemical avidin that can bind to biotin and cause a biotin deficiency. The symptoms are thickening of the outer layer of skin, hair loss, increased salivation, diarrhea and dry secretions around the nose, eyes, and mouth.Cooking the egg thoroughly removes the avidin and makes the cooled egg safe for your kitty.

Where was I? Oh, instructions. They are very facile.
Wash the onion and potatoes. Cut both into small chunks. Put the butter in a frying pan (not the non-stick kind). Add the onion and fry until clear. Add the potatoes and fry until brown. Add the eggs, sprinkle on pepper and salt to taste, and stir until the eggs are scrambled. Remove from heat and enjoy.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

GERRY STANDING EASY-PEASY SOUP


Let me first state that this blog has no connection to the television series New Tricks (which has been renewed for another season) or to actor Dennis Waterman. The legalese done away with, I picked up on a favourite phrase the character Gerry uses. Thus Easy-Peasy Soup.

This is a recipe that a bachelor on the go ---or on the take--- might put together for a light midnight snack whether he is coming off the late shift at the police station or at a security job for the extra wink-wink-nudge-nudge quid. It is quite simple but filling for those after hours sleuthings or late poker games.

Gerry Standing Easy-Peasy Soup

Two cups of lentil soup mix


I favour a gluten free generic mix of split yellow peas, split green peas, French lentils, red lentils, and long grain brown rice.


Three cups of water

32 ounces pre-packaged vegetable broth, or homemade vegetable stock

The broth that I use is Pacific or Imagine brand but any will do. The Pacific brand has thyme, bay, onion, carrots, tomatoes, celery, onions, leeks,sea salt, and parsley. It is more robust than the Imagine brand. With a pre-packaged broth you do not have to worry about storing celery that may release poisonous, phototoxic furocoumarins from the spoiled plant.


A pinch of rosemary if you would like it sweet.

Two carrots; peeled, washed, and chopped


Just the root, not the leaves because the greens can give you contact dermatitis if your skin is exposed to sunlight. 


One medium onion, washed and chopped


A can of diced tomatoes, if you wish

Pepper and salt to taste
***********************************************
DIRECTIONS:

Rinse the lentil mix in a sieve. Drain. Put the lentil mix in a large saucepan or soup pot.

Pour in the water and broth into the soup pot. Dump in the carrots and onion, tomatoes optional. Sprinkle the soup with rosemary, if you wish. Bring the liquid to a boil. Turn down the heat. Simmer the soup for an hour to an hour and a half. This makes a better crock pot recipe, basically a six hour commitment on high and eight on low.

This is nice to serve with small red potatoes and bread. It is a good soup that will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days.


Serves 3


NOTE: This is my 100th post on The Writer's Home.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

ANOTHER POEM OF THE MONTH



The violet-lapped Muses' lovely gifts belong
to you now, children, and the piercing lyre, the friend of song.

My body, that before, was supple, age already has taken by surprise, my raven tresses are turned white,

my spirit has grown heavy and my knees too weak
to carry me, that once were quick to dance as fauns.

I grumble at them often but what good is that?
For human beings to be ageless is not possible.

They say that once, for love, Dawn of the rosy arms carried Tithonus aboard her golden bowl to the world's end

when young and handsome, but all the same in time gray age.



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Friday, August 1, 2008

POEM OF THE MONTH










This place is sacred to the goddess. Here her constant pleasure is to watch the sea as it shimmers from the shore, and ensure the comfort of sailors; all around the ocean trembles as it gazes on her statue, oil-smooth.

Anyte of Tegea

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

THE BROOM AND MOP MARKET



Have you ever noticed that small concerns in the publishing area do not know where to advertise for help?

I write of those employers who hire intermediaries such as Elance or similar chop shops that charge fees either to the buyer of services or to the provider. Sometimes these outlets charge a cut of the provider's wages.

The wretched innocents who patronize the scam artists get for what they pay. Elance, Guru.com et cetera are like the broom and mop markets of nineteenth century England. Those were the hires who applied without the written recommendations of a satisfied patron. In that era Mrs. Beeton, a Victorian Martha Stewart, wrote the proper manner in which to find service.


"IN OBTAINING A SERVANT’S CHARACTER, it is not well to be guided by a written one from some unknown quarter; but it is better to have an interview, if at all possible, with the former mistress. By this means you will be assisted in your decision of the suitableness of the servant for your place, from the appearance of the lady and the state of her house. Negligence and want of cleanliness in her and her household generally, will naturally lead you to the conclusion, that her servant has suffered from the influence of the bad example."

There are better sites for hiring employees such as MediaBistro. An insignificant publisher will not be more than it is unless the employer discards pay sites as mere carnival tricks.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

I'M AN AUTHOR



I received a copy of the magazine, Optical Prism, that contains the article that I wrote. It is a small but necessary contribution to my career as a writer.

I'm a published author! I am excited and very cogent of the fact that commercial work is more viable than fiction. Still, when I am not searching for writing or editing gigs, I manage to crank out about a chapter of fiction every two weeks. I think, without the push of what I love in writing fiction, that commercial work would be extremely dull.

However, this gives me the street cred to say to an agent or a publisher that I can sell material albeit only now this very fortunate request from the magazine's editor. Today eyewear, tomorrow a Red Cedar! Don't I wish.....


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

SEE YOU LATER



Have you ever wondered why some companies bother to advertise for employees ? I refer to those who offer only internships with no salary. For example, here is a gem that I found on Craigslist. Yes, I know there is a rare treasure of quality listings on that site but tolerate my search there.

"Online parenting media company in search of savvy writer/researcher with an eagle eye and keen attention to detail to:
.. proofread, research and fact check locally-focused newsletter stories prior to publication
.. research story ideas and events for future publication.
.. update and maintain an internal calendar listing and database.
.. develop and update in-house style sheet.

Ideal candidate will have a firm grasp on the english ( English should be capitalized. How's that for AP style? TWH note) language, excellent
grammar and punctuation skills (knowledge of AP style a plus). (Parenthesis should be kept to a minimum. Yes, I know that I am commenting in passive voice.) Additionally,
he or she is naturally curious and in-the-know, willing to dig deep (both online and in the real world) to find off-the-beaten-path story ideas and insider tips for Bay Area parents.

This is a telecommuting position, with occasional team meetings. Candidate must be a self-starter, willing and able to work independently.

This is an unpaid internship. College credit available."

Er, if I have to correct the mistakes in this advertisement then there is something very wrong with those who publish the newsletter. I will not apply for employment with someone who requires AP style yet fails to capitalize proper nouns. Their offer of no salary and mere college credit has no incentive for the most desperate college student. Textbooks and tuition are expensive.

The advertisers for this employment can also write off those of us who provide content for cash.Who do they believe will answer this classified if there is not sufficient renumeration? I would not work for a newsletter pro bono unless there was prestige associated with the employer that could lead into more lucrative contacts. However, I would think twice before a decision on that matter. I attempted a gratis gig before and it led nowhere.

Time and so on, writers need to remind employers that we are not freebies. We are professionals that require payment on time to have decent lives that aren't wasted scrabbling after a publishers' dead end.


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Friday, July 18, 2008

THE WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART



In the last few weeks, I have applied for several editor and writer employments but have not heard from any companies. A bright spot was when I had a note from a prestigious financial website asking about my interest in being an editor about a week ago, but then no call back.

The slowdown in my life is very frustrating. I can churn out a thousand words or more in a chapter of fiction in about a week or two, yet there are no offers in the commercial sectors. I have an article published this month in a retail magazine for eyewear. After this, everything seems to have dried up.

I am sure mine is a common lament. I have good skills in editing, writing, and research. I know how to use photo editing software, word processing programs, and audio editing software. I am a blogger for five years and a web writer since 1997. If I am with this experience, how can I not get a gig?

However,I don't have it as tough as the staff of the trade periodical Publishing News in Britain that will soon close shop. Neither am I one of the 3,500 people who have lost their employment in the newspaper industry in two months. I don't know that hurt but I can guess. To have talent, proven work, and experience without the luck to snag a writing or editing job.

What to do in the meantime? At this point, I am brushing up on my web skills such as WordPress, HTML, and CSS among others. That is all one can accomplish in resolution during a sinking economy.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

SO SAD TO SEE HIM GO



Fans of Andrew Vachss' Burke will be sad to see the crusading lawyer bring the series to a close.

What can The Writer's Home say about the final novel? I have read Vachss' work since learning about him from the original Zero created by Greg Bueno. I have always admired the tenacity and life long commitment that Mr. Vachss has given to children.

You would think that I'm writing an obit for a real person. It sounds like a reviewer's parrot talk. Yet, the spirit of Burke and other children of the secret must be remembered and acted upon long after Vachss' novels have fallen out of copyright. The pain of child abuse does not end with the termination of one series.


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Saturday, July 12, 2008

TOOL REVIEW

Klean Sweep is a handy tool for Linux operating systems. Yes, dear readers, we are using Ubuntu after giving Vista its last meal and making it walk a very short plank.
The tool finds empty files and directories,broken symlinks or references to other files; backup files created in KleanSweep, orphaned files, dead menu entries, and duplicated files.

KleanSweep runs in administrative mode and is handy for getting rid of files that are no longer viable or are redundant.

There is a caveat to this handy software that is very important to understand. Klean Sweep works on simple heuristics which finds items by name. For example, if there is "alan_rickman.jpg" (yes, you knew that I would work that in somehow!) and "alan_rickman.mp3", KleanSweep might find and display both. You must carefully vet the files you discover with this utility by right-clicking a file and choosing Open Directory. The directory will take you to the folder where the file is located so that you may be certain this is the item you want to remove. A good measure of caution too is to not remove something if you do not know how the element will affect the computer's viability. Furthermore, if you are a wee bit on the paranoid side, the program gives you the option of creating a backup file. Kleansweep is a useful application but must be handled with care.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

POEM OF THE MONTH



I gaze out
over the fields of Tadaka
and see the cranes that cry there
without interval,
without pause:
such is my longing for you.

Oh my child
who loved me helplessly
like a hovering bird
over quick river shallows!

Otomo no Sakanoue Iratsume



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Saturday, June 7, 2008

WHAT I AM READING NOW


I am currently reading Terminal by Andrew Vachss. I am also reading Blood On The Table by Colin Evans. I read too Confessions of An Ugly Stepsister by the wonderful Gregory Maguire. In between all this, I have been homeschooling and evaluating curriculum for that activity and Girl Guiding on the side.

By the way, did I mention that I have an article accepted at an established consumer publication and am in the process of finding more freelance work. Summer hasn't started yet. There are lots of books to plow through and much more to write.

POEM OF THE MONTH
















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NOTE

Friday, June 6, 2008

NOTE ON JUNE POEM OF THE MONTH





The poem is a graphic that I styled in GIMP. I am tickled about the art because it was so difficult lining up the text with the clips.

---Anne

Thursday, May 22, 2008

POEM OF THE MONTH



Speak Of The North! A Lonely Moor

Speak of the North! A lonely moor
Silent and dark and tractless swells,
The waves of some wild streamlet pour
Hurriedly through its ferny dells.

Profoundly still the twilight air,
Lifeless the landscape; so we deem
Till like a phantom gliding near
A stag bends down to drink the stream.


And far away a mountain zone,

A cold, white waste of snow-drifts lies,
And one star, large and soft and lone,
Silently lights the unclouded skies.


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Note: The weather continues cold in British Columbia with grey clouds and chilly air.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

POEM OF THE MONTH



Winter-Time

LATE lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.

Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.
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Note: This is to mark a very cold April where it snowed in British Columbia.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

WE WANT OUR LIBRARY SYSTEM!



The saga of the Greater Victoria Public Library System becomes more grim each day. There is a possibility that the Board may dissolve the library system. Essentially what will happen is that the various libraries will reorganise for each municipality of Victoria. The libraries are now tied to the main downtown library but if the charter binding them isn't renewed, each municipal body will have a library and all the books that belong to that separate library. That means that each library will have to do interlibrary loans of books that once were part of the main system. This will be costly both for patrons and for the individual libraries.

One way to support the library cause is to join the Facebook group,I Love GVPL.

Check out the videos on MySpace and YouTube.

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Friday, March 7, 2008

IT'S CALLED STUDYING



Officials at Ryerson University in Toronto have threatened a student with expulsion after he was an administrator for a Facebook group where students could pose questions about their chemistry courses to other students.

Chris Avenir, an 18-year-old studying computer engineering, was the administrator for the Facebook group Dungeons/Mastering Chemistry Solutions until one of his professors found the site. The prof lowered Avenir's grade from a "B" to a "F" and is seeking to expel the student.

Hmmm...What Avenir et al were doing is called "collaboration" in the real world. They were not cheating but sharing information like any academic would at a university. Maybe all the profs at Ryerson should wear duct tape around their mouths and hands so they can't make the same mistake of "cheating" if they need information from a colleague.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

POEM OF THE MONTH


Oh, wind, why do you never rest,
Wandering, whistling to and fro,
Bringing rain out of the west,
From the dim north bringing snow?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

POEM OF THE MONTH



Cloudy peaks fill the eyes,
far from the lightness of spring;
silver spools of calligraphy
take shape beneath my hand.

Too bad my silken woman's dress
obscures my poetry;
looking up, I uselessly
envy the names on the list I see.



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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

GIVE US BACK OUR BOOKS!



The Greater Victoria Public Library Board (GVPLB) has decided to lock-out the librarians from their workplace. This is an escalation of a pay dispute ongoing for five months.
Librarians cannot make a living wage in Victoria due to the high cost of housing, food and other goods. They provide a valuable service to the people of this city. Victoria (or should it be Victorian?) librarians create a hub for education, knowledge, and simply an inexpensively safe place to take the kids on a rainy day. Here I must assure the librarians that, at least my youngest, has supervision at all times. The teen simply wanders off, mp3 player headphones hardwired, into the manga section. Librarians are not babysitters or mere book jockeys or shelvers of books. The librarians I know are very patient when treated with respect, eager to assist, and competent guides to the library's resources.

The GVPLB, despite the professional work of Victoria's librarians, have denied these knowledge workers a raise after ten years of broken promises to remedy the situation
.

Please send a message of support to the librarians. Thank you!

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Friday, February 8, 2008

GREGORY MAGUIRE



I would like to start off this book review with much thanks to A.J. I have no idea who you are but you left your name (which I have not used in full) scribbled on a torn piece of paper in blue ink your name and word conspirtor (slightly misspelled, that's okay) between pages 150 and 151 of the book Lost by Gregory Maguire. Yes,I have a copy of the note. I left the original in
the book.Scanners are wonderful inventions. No, I won't tell anyone what your real name is and it will remain a secret. Mine. And yours.

That little bit of business out of the way, I truly love Gregory Maguire's books. I have read Wicked, Son of a Witch, Mirror, Mirror, and now Lost. Thank Goddess for libraries or I would be broke buying books like Li Qingzhao.

Yes, it is difficult to say which book I enjoyed the most. Of the four that I have read, Wicked, Lost, and Son of a Witch are the strongest. Mirror, Mirror is emotionally flat. The book is too studied and self conscious of its word play. The three I enjoyed are rich in word texture and emotion. I felt deep sadness at the death of Elfie in Wicked. Son of A Witch was effective because there was her absence throughout the novel.

Lost was spotty in its narrative flow. There wasn't consistent thread in the story to recommend it as one of Maguire's best.
While there was the bumpy flow to the tale, Lost was still have-to-turn-another-page-just-to- see-what-happens-book. It was also a bit eerie to read. I was reading Lost and come to a passage about a family that had lost children in a fire. The fictional family had hired an adoption agency to soothe their loss of two children. I also had read, at the time, an article in the Vancouver Sun about a family that was using IVF to soothe their loss of children in a house fire. The coincidence was creepy and strange. However, I am not surprised to have the synchronization. There have been many times when I have thought of a relative (not always with loving emotions) and the relative has telephoned. I have had strong premonitions about people that have come close to the mark. I half, and only half, joke that it is the witch blood from my father's genealogy that creates the odd happenings I have found in my life.

Yes, of course, I'm rational while I write this blog. The soughing of the British Columbia wind has not got my senses, yet. Tomorrow will be dedicated to the grind after a pleasant literary holiday with Mr Maguire. Hélas, it is back to schlepping for hire work while trying to write the somewhat readable Canadian novel. 'Til then...

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POEM OF THE MONTH



Hélas!

To drift with every passion till my soul
Is a stringed lute on which can winds can play,
Is it for this that I have given away
Mine ancient wisdom and austere control?
Methinks my life is a twice-written scroll
Scrawled over on some boyish holiday

With idle songs for pipe and virelay,
Which do but mar the secret of the whole.
Surely there was a time I might have trod
The sunlit heights, and from life's dissonance
Struck one clear chord to reach the ears of God:

Is that time dead? lo! with a little rod
I did but touch the honey of romance -
And must I lose a soul's inheritance?

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

WEBBY AWARDS



I recently finished a stint as a reviewer for the Webby Awards. The producer that I worked with was fantastic. She should be cloned, photocopied, scanned, or otherwise replicated for being a great coach through my first time as a reviewer. I have had no trouble with these employers because they were fair dealing with their expectations. And I'm getting paid!

I enjoyed the process. There are some gems but a lot of drek on the Internet. The best lessons that I took from this employment was to look at my own blogs to critique the functionality and design. I've been revising the type on the site and creating a consistent look.

And maybe, if I am not busy this time next year, I might sign up again.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

AWAY UNTIL FEBRUARY



I'm away from blogging until early February.I have a paying gig writing web reviews. More on that when I return.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

WHAT I AM READING NOW



On occasion,I'll share what I am reading off-line. More fodder for my book diary.

Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire. I have read Wicked and Son of Witch.

Maguire's books are tasty. They pulled me out of a holiday funk and pushed me to write again. I have finished at least two chapters of a manuscript because of the inspiration that his books engendered.


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Thursday, January 3, 2008

POEM OF THE MONTH













My sleep last night was troubled by a violent storm outside,

And when I work I still felt dizzy from the lingering effect of
wine ;


Anxiously I asked the maid who rolled up the bamboo curtains,

To my surprise came her reply, "The flowers are all right. "


"But that's impossible, and don't you know all would remain a scene,


Of petals fallen and leaves of their company sorrowfully deprived!"


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