Saturday, July 28, 2018

Stop Not Writing

I was reading a post and it inspired me to confess in writing what I've known for awhile.

My computer is stunting me. Before noon is when my mind is most energized. It WANTS to be creative. And what do I do? Play a video game. Or watch a show. Something that glows off the screen.

The other day, I stumbled upon a pin that sent me to a post that I scoffed at. Not the post. The idea that I'd actually need it. See, I've seen writing pins since I saved something or other back somewhere. Then I realized that 1) I am a pantser (or before I found that word, just wrote as it came to me) and 2) I am a lazyAF writer. Meaning. I want to write. I have the imagination to write. I have the skills to write. But... computer games, TV, etc.

I looked at it again and it mentioned writing on paper with pen being good for writing. Ok, THAT post didn't, but I saw it somewhere (I think it was about writing your novel IN a notebook.) and decided I'd always agreed. I do have a different mood when I write in pen and paper. But computer was faster. And I get so excited and inspired, my hands can't keep up and they start to hurt from the attempt.

In any case, I've decided to give it another go. I plan to have a thing stuck on my computer screen to remind me to write. To keep me from getting sucked into it. Fanfiction is going to be the only thing I type out until I have a book ready in a notebook.

And while I am a pantser, I do need to write down random thoughts and ideas that inspire me. Hence, notebook. I was stuck as I was trying to start one out last night at a inopportune time (bedtime). I just started writing... and after several cross-outs, it came out and I think for about 15 minutes I was writing notes for a plot. While the post I read (now that I remember better) was about writing the actual BOOK in the notebook, I was thinking, "Why not just ... notes for many stories?"

So, I look at the post about writer's notebooks again and that's what it's saying. So there I am. I finally have a use for a journal I've had for awhile.

I also will start reading again. I've been REALLY bad at that. To be a writer, you must read. Fanfiction isn't going to cut it. As good as some of those writers are, I need to read WHOLE books. Again, some of those fanfics are, but... I think, rather I hope, you know what I mean.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Heavy Clouds: A Review of Online Drives

I lost about 5 years of files when the old clunker finally gave up the ghost. The cruel thing about it is that just the day before I told myself, "I'll back it up to a cloud tomorrow." Yeah. To make matters even more cruel I had actually already been using clouds already. I just didn't like how it made my computer lag as I was uploading, so I kept putting it off.

Or was I going to get an external hard drive because I wasn't sure I had enough space in any of my clouds?

In any case, clouds, or online drives, are very very important. They keep our computer hard drives open for gaming, social media, and other temporary files. The funny thing is, our computers are more than capable of holding all of the data, even if we don't clear out the temporary files for months or years. However, information technology students have had it hammered into their head to always backup. In turn, their family and friends got the lecture. And when they went into the workforce, bosses, clients, and co-workers got the lecture.

It's not bad advice. I mean, it's as important as brushing your teeth or bathing. And clouds make it easy, especially as some are automated. And some can make shortcut folders onto your computer, so you can just save a file straight to the cloud and edit and save again, never worrying about moving it to and from. It's all seamless.

However, there are choices to be made. I use three. Here are my experiences, especially today, which prompted this post.

Google Drive Google is where it's at, yo. However, they have a very low limit of free space. I actually forked over some money just to keep saving to it. Today, I realized that was a waste of money. (Still love ya, Google, you my boo. I just gotta be poly with other drives. You get it.)

Dropbox Now, this is basically the pioneer. It's the first one I ever heard about. It was revolutionary. I was recommending it any chance I got. However, they also have a very low limit of free space. However, I still use it because others do, and it let's me do some sweet automated downloading of the free stuff from Creative Market. (That's an affiliate link, by the way, I've been seeing others saying they have affiliate links, so I guess I better, though I wouldn't have even mentioned it had it not been part of the story... so... anyway.)

OneDrive 1 whole TB for free. So this is my pick if you have to go to just ONE.

So why am I using all three? Google Drive has the Google Docs, etc. that I like to use. So there's that. It was where I did my homework, etc. Dropbox was mentioned in it's review. Why did I decide to talk about it now? Because I am currently archiving old files from Dropbox and Google Drive into OneDrive.

I just realized I can turn off the subscription to Google Drive and save a few bucks. Or keep it and just have a big nice cushion. Of course, archiving is also a nice way to stay organized.

Thank you, and have a great day! :D

Monday, February 5, 2018

Guides Altered

I like this as a go-to travel guide.

I think if I were doing a road trip, I would do the whole kitten caboodle. However, I am traveling. I don't like a lot of weight to deal with. And frankly, I'm low-maintenance, so things like makeup and curling irons don't apply to me. So, I'm gonna go through that guide and say what I will and will not do.

  • Itinerary Yes. Not a detailed one. Just flights and where I'm staying. I have one written out with things that ARE scheduled, and for just the flight and hotel info, I'm going to print what I have on tripcase.
  • Phone Number List Yep. 1) Sometimes it's faster to find things on a piece of paper than hunting through my phone. 2) My phone might be dead when I need it the most. 3) I'll be using some other way to call since I will not do roaming. 
  • Document Copies This is crucial for going through the paperwork parts of travel. Thankfully, this and the previous two are just paper so it can go in my folder in the back pocket of my backpack.


And this has a good, comprehensive packing list. Again, I'll go through and include what I do and do not pack.
  
  • Pleasure Reading I have Pocket and I can't uninstall Google Books if I wanted to.
  • Chewing Gum I know why. But 1) I tend to swallow gum and while harmless, it does feel kinda gross. 2) It doesn't really work for me. 
  • Snacks To be safe, I'm just gonna get stuff after I go through TSA. It's more expensive, but it was pretty annoying to have to toss a still pretty full 20oz cola.
  • Bottled Water A better idea I've seen is just taking an empty bottle. I might do that. Or I might say screw it. We'll see. There's drinks on the place.
  • Earplugs I carry these on me anyway because I'm easily irritated by noise. 
  • Sleeping Mask Normally I wouldn't bother, but I have an overnight flight on the way back. It's small, so worth seeing if I actually use it.
  • Travel Pillow This one I keep going back and forth on. Partly because of the overnight flight I mentioned, but it's a really bulky thing.... So I'm not sure.
  • Motion Sickness Remedy I know I don't need this. I did pack Pepto Bismo pills in case I have an issue with digestion... It hasn't happened on previous flights, but how my gut is acting lately, no chances. I might take a dose before even going to the airport to be safe.
  • Sleeping Pills Again, this is something that's part of my daily life, so of course.
  • Anxiety Medication I dunno why they singled THAT medication out, but I have two prescriptions and some OTC fish oil my doc prescribed.
  • Funds They have each method listed. This is stuff that is always in my wallet, so I'm not going to worry. I do need to get some cash, though. Oh, and I'm just going to Canada. I don't think I need traveler's checks. I mean who does really?
  • Passport Heck yeah.
  • ID Again, this is always in my wallet.
  • Documents I'm not really sure what having copies of your cards is going to do. Insurance card is always in my wallet. Travel Insurance is part of my list of things to print and put in my folder.
  • Bags I have pockets. I rarely carry a purse anymore. I was going to do that, but then I was like, "pockets." I have my suitcase which may or may not be checked in. And my carry on is my backpack. I'm good.
  • Laundry I was going to take a sewing kit, but decided against it. I don't bother with ironing. I did order some laundry soap sheets. Not gonna be too concerned about stains. And a few trashbags will help keep dirties from cross contaminating the cleanies. 
  • Misc  I ordered an umbrella, but not sure I'm taking it. Luggage tag, sure. I have a notebook I'm taking. First time I'm gonna use luggage locks. The other stuff doesn't really apply to me.
  • Technology I had decided to take my tablet rather than my laptop, but now I'm not even sure I'm taking the tablet. I will be taking two power banks (three if I can find that other one). Chargers, yes. Flashlight because the Boy Scouts make a good point about preparedness. The rest is like... I don't need that... My phone does a LOT.
  • Clothes Bras, panties, and socks for basics. Oh, and a pair of leggings and a long sleeve shirt for bed. I don't do dressy. I have a flannel shirt in case I get cold. T-Shirts and Jeggings is my wardrobe. I don't plan on swimming. I only need one pair of shoes, and I'm wearing them. Just taking the sunglasses because the sun can be painful at times.
  • Hygiene I have prepasted toothbrushes. I'll keep one out to use during the hotel stays and just get toothpaste there, as most hotels might give it for free. Same with shampoo and conditioner. Or I can go to some store and get those things. Same with soap. Here's what I AM taking off this list:
    • Lotion Because my hands are the Sahara
    • Deodorant Because my pits are not
    • Petroleum Jelly Because my eyelids are worse than my hands
    • Saline Solution Not really sure, but it might help if my nose feels like the Saharah as well
    • Tissues In case my nose is more like my pits
    • Hand Wipes
    • Bandages I pick my cuticles a lot
    • Ibuprofen Will be in the bag with my other medicine stuff
    • Hairties I hate my hair in my face when I'm stressed.

  • The wardrobe on #2 and #3... hahaha!
  • #4 I just have my phone, so....
  • #5 I am purposely intending to take less than that. Only taking the toothbrushes because wanna kiss Dave at the airport.
  • #6 This is a good idea and I do it.
  • #7 Isn't that what the zippered part of my suitcase is for?
That's it. Bye. :D

Monday, January 29, 2018

Let's Adventure!

I'm a sorta kinda prepper. As in, I'm not willing to shell out much money on things I may not use in the future, but certainly can't use now since it's being saved for an emergency. However, there are a few little things I have like a paracord bracelet (that I never wear because I just can't seem to enjoy wearing dangly things on my person) and things like a pocket knife, flashlight, poncho, etc. Cheap things that are more likely to be needed for things like finding your phone, getting caught in the rain and you have to walk several minutes, or you can't wait to get home to open a package.

I have packed before. I have been to Edmonton before, and Vancouver seems to be closer to my home climate. So there's nothing new to research really. But I still do it. Because I'm me. However, I have found a few things that are either new ideas to me or I ignored for lack of money or whatever in the past.

I've run through airports before. It wasn't long after my first trip before I realized that LIT is tiny compared to "normal" airports. We just don't warrant an international airport I guess. Anyway, despite the temperature in or out of the airport, and the fact that sometimes I do have to go outside to go to a different terminal or gate, I sweat. There are times I literally run. There are times I walk, but the rush and stress of a new place and uncertainty cause sweating too. In general, I love flying, but getting to the gate makes me uncomfortable (hence why it's one of the few things I'm always super early for). So, I'm thinking of distributing the weight a bit. So here's my tentative packing list, etc.
  •  Travel Scarf This is so simple it embarrasses me for not even conceiving of it myself. The ones they sell are too expensive for something I can make. It might be crudely made, but scarves hide mistakes pretty easily. It's just fabric with a pocket. What I plan to do is get some 100% cotton thin cloth and double it over, sew the short edges closed and either a zipper or velcro. This would be a good place to keep the passport and lipbalm. 
  • Carabiners I realized how useful a belt is even when not needing to hold up pants. I wear mostly jeggings, and the night I discovered this simply wonderful idea was one of the few times I wore a dress. I had worn the belt simply for fashion, but when I was looking for where to put my keys (on a carabiner), I was about to attach it to my bra like when my pants don't have belt loops. The belt! DUH! So, now I'm thinking of using a belt and carabiners. So far, I'm not sure what ELSE I can put on a carabiner, but it makes me feel like I have a hero toolbelt so, there's that. 

  • GPS Tracker Sometimes when you're cheap, it's really best to look in the Children's or Parenting section. They have a little less greed, I guess. There are GPS trackers, and I guess the added fitness tracking doesn't help the cost, but I don't need that. I just need something to help me when I'm lost, or to say to a friend, "Come get me, but I don't know where I am." Safety. But this thing is marketed for helping you keep track of luggage, kids, and pets. I got 5. For checked luggage, carry ons, and myself. And one will be in my car when I'm back because... I lose that too.
  • TSA Baggage Locks This feels vaguely familiar, but I think I ignored it because it's just clothes and I was never too concerned about losing it. I have nothing of value that anyone would want. I think this is more to keep it from accidentally unzipping or something. I had a little ribbon that I tied, but this feels more secure.
  • Baggage Belt I forget what it's really called, but for the same reason as the locks. The belt I have also has a lock.
  • Lanyard My passport holder has a closing and I can just attach it to a lanyard if I need my hands free.
These are things I've traveled without just fine, but I remember the stress of traveling. It's miserable enough worrying about being turned away by customs. I'm trying to take away as much stress as possible.

I'm going to pack LIGHT. I always say this and I always end up taking things I never wear, despite the last con I went to I had forgotten my suitcase and wore what I traveled in and "costume" pieces all weekend and did just fine. But this time I'm going to be hard on myself. Thankfully, I've ended up with mostly jeggings and thin t-shirts as my non-work wardrobe.

I can wash or buy. I don't particularly like using the laundry room in the apartment building in Edmonton, but it's there. I sometimes try to overpack socks and underwear, but considering these are fairly cheap items, I think I'm going to keep it to a week or two's worth.

I don't NEED to take shampoo. Again, these things can be cheap if you're in a bind. However, I'm sure my husband keeps things like shampoo and toothpaste in the house. And I'm going to be staying at a hotel for the last week, and yeah.

Shefra dresses pretty much like me. I don't have any particular style. It really depends. Work is some trousers and a nice top. Errands and socializing is jeggings and loose t-shirt. I feel frumpy when I wear my flannel shirt, so I don't wear it when I want to feel "pretty." But Shefra don't give a fuck. So, really, for costuming, I just gotta find that flannel shirt.

All in one apps. Even on my phone. I did have an app for each airline, but Google Trips takes care of that. Plus it has city guides. I did get a taxi and public transit app for both Edmonton and Vancouver.

Laptop? I've been going back and forth on this. There's computers at the apartment. I'm not sure I'll have time to get on much at the convention. I made sure to download offline games on the phone. I might take the tablet if I'm just wanting a bigger screen...

Keeping track of paper work. I'm a checklister. Besides having booking passes and hotel reservations printouts, I will also have convention paperwork, especially since I am also a lead for it. I have this passport holder I got when I ordered passport photos through a photo store in Edmonton. It was for my permanent resident documents (expired now), but I decided it was perfect for my "keeping important things safe" mentality. Despite wanting a lanyard type passport holder, if it doesn't have that pocket thing, nope. However, I could always just get a lanyard and ... *adds something to the list* Anyway, I am taking my planner with me. It's small, and I'm mentally preparing to fold things in half so they fit. Not the tickets, though. Before I go through security or customs, I'll get my passport, the tickets, paper that says I am coming back (in case customs thinks I'm trying to sneak in), and ID in the passport to hand to the TSA and Customs people. The planner will hold everything but ticket and passport. Once I get on the plane, the passport goes in the purse.

I plan on having my backpack and flower tote for carry ons.


Ten Steps to Writing a Story

I wrote a post about some sites I found helpful for writing. I remembered because I was searching for that one thing I found that perf...