DreamSparkle E-Zine

After a struggle and a bit of soul searching, I’ve managed to get the first issue of my e-zine online. DreamSparkle is obviously a work in progress, but I feel good that I was able to get it out there. One of the hardest things to accomplish was getting people to contribute. Evidently, everyone wants to ‘wait and see.’ Many thanks to those intrepid souls who took the plunge on faith. I salute you and your contributions.

Comments and commentary are welcome, as are suggestions, criticisms (gently please), advice, ranting, admonishments, blandishments, cajolery and obsequiousness. I’ll look and listen to all of them, though I can’t promise to act on any 🙂

Content is the focus.

Here’s a link to the site – D r e a m S p a r k l e

A fresh start

So December came and went, pretty much with a whimper for me. I thought that after the flush of NaNoWriMo I would be well on my way to finishing the novel I started, but lo and behold, procrastination, that eveil gremlin, took hold, and I wrote not a word for the whole month of December. But like the proverbial phoenix, here I am, dusting off the debris of the old year, determined to finish what I started (in spite of all the snickers I can hear out there 🙂
So here’s to unfinished business, death to procrastination and back to the grind. I’ve signed on to an online course in writing Science Fiction, basically to keep me focused on writing. Not that it has anything to do with the novel I’m trying to finish, but at least it keeps me writing “something.”
Onwards and upwards then. I’ve added a ticker to this site to make me feel guilty every time I look at it and shame me into doing something to move that poor snail forwards a bit. Push !!!

winner - Nanowrimo 2010December 1st, thirty days after Nanowrimo 2010, and I’m pumped about the fact that I was able to finish with time to spare. My count was 61K+ by November 30th evening. Its pretty obvious that the thing is unreadable as is, but it’s still a lot of words, and words can be massaged and edited. I’m lucky that I decided to use an outline I had been preparing for a while. I can see now that working cold from scratch could lead to major problems. I suspect that many Nanowrimo writers crash and burn because there’s nothing to fall back on to when the idea’s dry up. Funnily enough, I found that a number of scenes that I had sketched out proved to be unnecessary or redundant and many others simply telescoped into one another. Whether this is simply a function of the plot itself or my personal writing style will remain to be seen when I get to the editing stage. All in all, there’s a lot to be said for the write or die approach mandated by Nanowrimo. It definitely got me started on a project I had been toying around with for a long time but was simply too lazy (or terrified) to start. In the long run, it’s what you get down on paper (or a computer file) rather than what you carry around in your head. Definitely a positive experience for me and one I plan to repeat next year. Spend three-quarters of the year researching and fleshing out an outline. Come November start banging it out and you come out at the end of the year with a good start. I’m about a third of the way through the project I started but it was ambitious to begin with. Probably why I procrastinated for so long with it anyway. Next time, I’ll streamline the plot and hope to get further into the meat of the story.

Comfortably Numb – Roger Waters: The Wall – MSG October 6 2010

Here is the song Comfortably Numb, from THE WALL, performed by Roger Waters at Madison Square Garden on October 6, 2010. Recorded on an iPhone 4 from the audience. Some interference and the audio is a little tinny, but you can get an idea of how good the performance was. Only wish it had been David Gilmour on top of that wall !! Click the link below to watch the video.

Line 2 for iPhone vs the competition

iPhone VoIP App Comparison
The First Dual-Mode, Professional-Grade Calling App for the iPhone
Features Line2 Skype Vonage iCall TruPhone Fring
Separate Number (Two Numbers on One Phone) Yes Yes No` Yes No No
Receive Inbound Calls Yes – WiFi or Cellular Only Via Cell Forwarding No Wi-Fi Only No Only Through Cell Forwarding or SIP Integration
Place Outbound Calls Yes – WiFi or Cellular WiFi and 3G Only Yes – WiFi or Cellular Wi-Fi Only Yes – WiFi or Cellular Only Through Cell Forwarding or SIP Integration
Support iOS4 Backgrounding Yes Yes – Limited No No No No
Business PBX Features (auto-attendant, multi-line support, unified billing, etc) Yes No No No No No
PC/Mac Calling Via Integrated Softphone Yes Yes Not Integrated with Mobile App No No No
Call Screening / Call Announce / Caller ID Based Routing Yes No No No No No
Visual Voicemail w/ Voicemail by Email Yes Yes – Limited No No Only for Calls from Other TruPhone Users. No Email No
Texting with any SMS-Capable Phone Not Currently Limited – Outbound Only, Pay Per Message $.11/text No No Limited – Outbound Only, Pay Per Message $.20/text No – SMS Limited to Fring to Fring Texts
Others Can Text You First Not Currently Limited – Sent Through iPhone Carrier Number Not Skype No No No – Only Truphone to Truphone Texts No
Receive SMS Replies Not Currently No No No No – Only Truphone to Truphone Texts No
Price for Phone Number, Voicemail, Unlimited US/Canada Calling, and Other Features $9.95/month $6.95/month $24.95/month. Some International Destinations. Excludes Inbound Calls $9.95/month $17/month. Some International Destinations. Excludes Inbound Calls Free with Ads
Advanced Call Control Features for VoIP calls Yes No No No No No
Call Waiting Yes No No No No No
Call Hold Yes Yes Yes No No No
Call Swap Yes No No No No No
Call Transfer Yes No No No No No
Conferencing Yes – 20 people Cannot Initiate No No No No
SpeakerPhone Yes Yes No No Yes No

Super Harvest Moon

The "Harvestest" moon

Super Harvest Moon/Jupiter Conjunction

Tuesday marked a relatively rare phenomenon known as the Super Harvest Moon. What this means is that the full moon falls on or close to the autumn equinox. Well, Tuesday was the autumn equinox as well as the full moon. I was watching it as I drove home from an exhausting visit to a rehabilitation home where an elderly friend of ours is convalescing. It didn’t look any different from other full moons, although I see from various pictures on the internet that I must live on a different planet, because the pictures they posted and what I saw are two completely different things. Same big orb. Maybe a little brighter, but where did all that orange hue come from? I bet it was created by a camera filter!

So what makes this kind of full moon super? The fact that it appears on a day where there are equal amounts of daylight and darkness doesn’t make any difference to the appearance of the moon, although the “authorities” beg to differ.  The only people who would probably care about this sort of thing must be witches and warlocks and other assorted occult oriented persons, for whom a Super Harvest Moon (or the Harvestest Moon as it is sometimes called), on one of the major event days in the Wiccan calendar has to mean a big boost with the ceremonies and rituals and such. Unless of course, it’s overcast:)

According to NASA, there’s a special twilight glow produced by the sun setting while the moon is rising, meaning that both are in the sky at the same time. Possibly, this may produce the vision inducing kind of twilight they speak of, but it must occur for only a few fleeting minutes, and I missed it. When I saw the moon, there was no sun. What’s more interesting is that Jupiter is also in the night sky, forming a conjunction with the full moon that promises to be spectacular. Unfortunately for me I couldn’t spot this either. Jupiter is making its closest approach to Earth in years, in fact it will not get this close again for another twenty two years, but it rises in the East, along with the Harvest moon, and while there might be a point at which the two are separated enough to provide a visual spectacle, it probably occurs around midnight, when both Jupiter and the moon are overhead in the Eastern sky. At midnight I was deep in dreamless (or not), sleep. Another strike out in the moon watching department. I wonder whether the Super Harvest Moon makes people crazier than usual. I mean, its common knowledge that some people are affected by the full moon so maybe the super duper one has a super duper effect on them. Must be a field day for werewolves. I have big plans to investigate all this related phenomena at the next Super lunar event but I guess I’ll have to wait another twenty two years for that. Most probably I’ll be in the nursing home I was returning from when I first caught a glimpse of the Super Harvest Moon.

A dog’s life

On Wednesday I take Tyler to the vet. He’s a fourteen years old, a mixed black lab with arthritic legs and a slowing metabolism. Recently he’s developed Cushing’s Syndrome, a hormonal imbalance of the adrenal glands that makes dogs obese and weak. I thought of him as fat and lazy earlier, but now he has exceeded my imagination. Sad really, because it’s a part of the illness and nothing to do with his greed, which remains unabated. I wonder what he thinks as I bring the car around to take him to the clinic. He loves to ride in the car. What dog doesn’t? He scrambles to get in, not even waiting for the door to open, slobbering on the windows and down the back of my neck until we reach our destination. Now he balks, The floor of the car is too high for him to clamber into and Michael has to lift him in, literally. Usually he walks to the vet. It’s just three blocks total, and every lamp post, tuft of grass and postage size patch of turf needs to be investigated and irrigated. A slow laborious process. Sometimes twenty minutes or more pass before we reach our destination. Those days are long gone now. He’s too weak to walk that far. Even half way around our block is a major effort.

He’s become familiar with the sliding glass doors of the clinic. in spite of limping up to them he wants to turn back but there’s no choice, either for him or for me. The blood tests are necessary to determine if he’s taking the right amount of  medication. I shudder to think it might be increased. The pills make him sleep a lot. It’s a production to make him swallow them. With other stuff we break open capsules or crush tablets and mix it in his food, but this drug is toxic to humans (maybe) so he has to be tricked into swallowing them. For a while mixing them in tuna worked, but he learned to sniff out the capsule and leave it on a side while eating the fish. Our latest ruse is to make tiny slits in cocktail franks and push the capsules into them. He loves sausages of all kinds. I’m sure he knows there’s something else inside but hey, he’s a dog, and dogs will eat any kind of sausage. It seems to be working for now.

At the clinic, he looks at me with sad eyes. I feel so guilty I can’t meet his stare. I know I’ll have to leave him there until the evening, and hate it. I wonder what goes on in his head as he lies there on the cold white tiled floor, waiting for me to leave. I’ve heard that dogs have no idea of time. That a day is like a week or month to them. So any separation must feel like abandonment. Maybe this is how older people who live in homes feel when they first go in there, or later still, as people come in to visit, always leaving after a short while. Do these people wonder if that person will ever come back, and when? People have a sense of their own mortality, so at some point it must feel like it is a final goodbye when a friend or relative walks out the door. Do dogs sense their own mortality too. Anecdotal evidence seems to say they do. Maybe Tyler looks at me as I walk away towards the glass doors and wonders if I’m coming back. I try not to turn back, but can’t help myself. I have to look. Every time could be the last time.