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Category: Wednesday Wrant

Facebook, I don’t “like” you. Wednesday Wrant 2/22/2012

Today finds me ranting about something I think we can all rant about… Facebook. I have a general policy that my Facebook is a social media outlet completely separate from my author brand or persona, which I think is probably mostly healthy.

So for me, Facebook is all personal, and zero business (except when I am giving my book away, which I think is fair). What bothers me is other people who don’t respect those same boundaries.

“Like my page!”

“I want to play you in Scrabble!”

“I just bought a new pair of Toms and I’m doing a shitload of good for humanity with my overpriced $54 shoes!” (Hmm… there’s a topic for a future rant)

There’s also this new thing where it’ll show you where Person A commented on Person B’s status, even if you have jack shit connection to Person B. I unwittingly saw a uterus photo that way (again, a topic for a future rant).

Maybe it’s just me, but I get advertised to enough in my life; I don’t need it from my friends on my news feed in Facebook, and I don’t care to see status updates from people I don’t know. The interface has changed so that you can only determine what types of updates appear on your feed on a per-user basis. I’m not about to go through and set this for every single friend of mine, so I figured out a little trick that I thought was brilliant (and, behold my technical writing day job skills in action):

  1. In Facebook, in the left pane of the news feed, in the LISTS heading, click MORE.
  2. In the Lists page, click Create List.
  3. In the Create New List dialog box, in the List Name field, enter “All” or something and click Create.
  4. In the list page, click Add Friends.
  5. In the Edit <list name> box, add all your friends and click Finish. No, there’s not a quick way to do this. Thanks, Facebook.
  6. Now that you have everybody, click the Manage List arrow and select Choose Update Types. You might have to click this twice to see all the categories, because the UI is very finicky.
  7. And voila, you can uncheck games, likes, comments on people you don’t know, music, etc.

I was ridiculously proud of myself for figuring this out. Here’s the problem, though, it only works about 60% of the time! I still get “So and so is listening to Nickelback on Spotify!” (Really? Are you sure we’re friends?) or “Suzy just watched 20 YouTube videos and here they are in chronological order!” from time to time. So, it’s not perfect. But if you wanna hack your way to a better news feed, this is a start.

And no, I won’t host a 31 party, a Scentsy party, an Arbonne party, or any other party. I thought you were an “independent” distributor! (Yet another rant for the future.)

So, having ranted the following, it’s now the first day of Lent. Do I or do I not give up Facebook in hopes I’ll be less cranky after celebrating Christ’s resurrection?

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Wednesday Wrant – What is this ebook thingy?

I don’t really have a whole lot to rant about this week, but ever since I self-published my first novel on Kindle, I’ve been paying more attention to people’s feelings about books vs. ebooks. There’s a wide swath out there, and to be truthful, I’m getting kind of sick of it. So, you know, I’m gonna add to the slush pile of book vs. ebook hoopla.

Yes, I love physical books. I love the smell of the pages, the feel of the cover, the crack of the spine. I get that curling up with a good book is an experience, and I get why people would think you can’t have the same feeling with an ebook.

Except that you can. And it’s actually easier. I can huddle under the blanket, arms and all, prop the Kindle up against my legs, and turn the page with just my thumb, without even needing to move my arms. Take that, Snuggie… and you can keep the book light.

I tried explaining the fact that I published my book on Kindle to my mom, which was probably a mistake in the first place. After about five minutes of going over the process over and over, she simply asked “When will it be available in print?” Then, when I did a CreateSpace paperback edition (for her, and my family who feel the same way about dangerous ebooks), she asked me what store she could buy it in.

She doesn’t have a credit or debit card because he tends to lose them, so she sent me some cash to get a CreateSpace paperback that I could autograph and send back to her. I’m not saying that a signed book isn’t valuable, but in the time that it took her to mail the letter, me to order an author’s copy, CreateSpace to ship it to me, me to sign it, and then ship it to her, she could have bought my book on Kindle 1,036,800 times. And that’s just a 12-hour day.

I volunteer at the library a couple hours a week. I love seeing all the books, the pretty covers, seeing parents reading Dr. Seuss to their kids. But I also have to sort those books. I’m not sure how many germ-infested books live at our branch at the library, but I’m pretty sure my Kindle could hold about half of them – no sorting, no shelving, no late fees.

I read more on the Kindle. Yes, Kindle books tend to be shorter, but I can set my Kindle on the treadmill at the gym, stick it in the pocket of my purse, all things I can’t do with a physical book. I do read physical books on my recumbent bike day, but it’s way easier on the Kindle. I typically have 2 books going at any given time – an ebook and a physical book – and I pretty much always finish the ebook first.

When we moved to Austin, we went through the inevitable stage of divesting of all the random shit we don’t use, which included – I shit you not – 8 boxes full of books. Oh yeah, and we still have 5 or 6 boxes of books in our storage closet that won’t fit on our bookshelf. What are they doing there? Nothing. To get to them, I’d have to go digging through boxes. When I want to find a book I want to read on the Kindle, I go to the index. If I don’t have it on my Kindle, I can browse Amazon right from my Kindle and get it. I don’t have to put on pants to go to the store, and I can get the Kindle edition for about 1/5 of the cost of a physical book.

I love both kinds of books, and I don’t see either of them going away any time soon. The bottom line, though, I’ve sold over 400 ebooks. Any idea how many paperbacks I’ve sold? 3. And I know the 3 people who bought them. Ebooks? They’re the future, and you can pry them from my dead, lifeless fingers like I’ll pry the physical book from yours. Stop squawking about how ebooks are destroying everything. It’s evolution. Get with it.

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Wednesday Wrant 2/1/2012

I haven’t written a Wednesday Wrant in awhile, mostly because the last couple of weeks, most of my ranting thoughts have been about Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum. But, I’d rather keep it mostly unpolitical on my blog, since I’m pretty sure my political opinion won’t skyrocket my readership. Also, the dog upstairs has been getting steadily quieter as the weeks go on, so I can’t complain too much.

So today, I want to rant about the sunroof of my car. Ever since I moved to Texas, I’ve been able to pretty well count on one hand the number of days it’s rained (which, for those who can’t count on their hands, means it hasn’t rained much). Some time ago, I thought I smelled a little bit of mildew in my car, but when it dissipated almost immediately, I didn’t think about it again.

Fast forward to last week, when we had a storm worthy of the Midwest in Spring. Nonstop thunder that left my fraidy-cat dog huddling under the bed, lightning that made me wonder if I was in a rave, rain and hail beating against the window thanks to the gale-force winds that came with it. I’m also a fairly light sleeper, so it kept me up for several hours.

Since I work from home and use the gym at my apartment, I only drive about once a week. So two days later, when I got in my car to go to the grocery store, I discovered about 2 inches of water in the floorboard of my car, a soaked and stained passenger’s seat, and a discolored roof. After finding a place in town that could repair a sunroof leak, which was of course not conveniently located for me, they informed me that there was a lump of mud lodged in the drainage tubes for the sunroof that they needed to flush.

Did you know that car sunroofs had drainage tubes? NO? Me neither. They looked at me like I was a neglectful car mom and cautioned me that I am supposed to flush the tubes once a year. Why have I owned no less than three cars with sunroofs and never, once, been told that part of owning a car with a sunroof is getting the tubes drained every other time I rotate the tires? Also, I get that you CAN charge $80 to run some water though some tubes, because I have no idea where they are and would probably eff something up if I did it myself, but that’s a little steep, don’t you think? Still, thanks for vacuuming out all the water. That was nice. Not $80 nice, but nice.

In other news, it rained again last night and the inside of my car and it’s nice and dry on the inside, so I’ll see you again next year, one place in town that flushes sunroof drainage tubes…


New flash fiction piece up

When I started my Wednesday Wrants, I said that part of the reason I wanted to do them was to have some avenue for my ranting frustrations, but also a record of something I could write about later. My newest flash fiction piece, Johnson County Mr. Coffee, is just that.

I ranted a few weeks ago about our fancypants coffeemaker a few weeks ago in this post, and it inspired the following story.

Go check it out, and tell me what you think 🙂

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Wednesday Wrant 1/11/2012

It’s been difficult getting back into the groove of things at the office, since the holidays and being sick last week.  I had this nasty sore throat for several days, but I finally got healthy and ready to get back to work.

Unfortunately, something has been distracting me when I already have this motivation problem – the little dog upstairs has been barking.  All day, every day.  And it’s got this yip-yap whine that makes it sound like it’s in mortal danger.  At first, my dog would whine when she heard the dog upstairs, but after awhile, she’s just kind of learned to ignore it.

I wish I could do the same.  Typically, I just turn up the podcast or the song I’m listening to and try to drown him out, but then I have a meeting where the only background noise I have is YAP-YAP-YAP-YAP over and over and over.  Normally, I would call the apartment office, but I’m a little hesitant to do so.  You see, my dog is part chow, and the Texas Apartment Association expressly prohibits any mix of breed they want to call “aggressive”: Akitas, Pit bulls, German shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, and Chows.  Never mind the fact that my dog is scared of her own shadow.  So I told them she’s a Retriever mix, which isn’t a complete lie, but I hate to invite complainer karma lest someone decides they want to complain about my dog.

When the owners are home, the dog doesn’t bark, but it runs from one end of the apartment to the other all the time, which would make me wonder if it were thundering outside if only it weren’t Texas, where it rains about two days a year.  If I write the dog into a story and then murder it violently, I hope you all won’t think less of me if it turns up dead the next day.  I would think it’d be barking itself hoarse by now.

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