Category Archives: What’s With Wednesdays

part Row80 check-in, part observation

What’s With… #WIPpet Wednesday

It’s rough when things are in transition.  I knew when I started this schedule thing here.  This was always intended to be a temporary arrangement.

Today is the last day of my What’s With Wednesday posts.  Two reasons for the change:

  1. I need to concentrate on my WIPs more
  2. They felt too similar to the Some Words Sunday posts in theme and style

Last week doing my ROW80 check-in visits, I finally got brave enough to ask about this hashtag  floating around — #WIPpet.  Some of it made sense–it was a way for people to share something about their pet project du jour.  I just didn’t know the specifics.

Now I do.

Since today is the first of the month, I have to share something that involves today’s date.

As my first WIPpet post, I’m going to share the first scene of a fanfic I’m writing.  (No moaning about how fanfiction isn’t real writing or a real WIP.  This story has been a sand box for some time, allowing me to explore my characters in absurd situations.  You can learn a lot about your stories when you play with them and allow yourself to just go wild for a moment or two.  As fanfics go, I write multiverse stories; this piece has elements of Doctor Who, Star Trek TOS, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, Babylon 5 and other sci fi shows.)


Sparks, flashes–closing his eyes did no good. His optic nerves seemed to broil in his skull.

The fire….

He scrambled trying to gain his footing, reaching for the alarm. His passengers needed to be warned, before they couldn’t get to the escape pod. Wait! he’d forgotten to show it to the pair upon their initial ship tour. He slipped on something wet–the foam extinguishers had been used already? Why couldn’t he remember? What was this pulpy lump he’d collapsed against?

“Shh, Herc. Please, don’t move.”

Gillian? He opened his mouth to warn the man. Something ground at the back of his neck. He wrenched away, and a dying ember exploded into an inferno. He gasped, his breath torn from his lungs.

Pressure. From the circling emptiness, he felt fingers, then palms, the arch of each joint and the firm press of the tips against his breastbone, forcing him back and down. Falling backward, flailing in terror. All around him the conflagration burned, blinding ash. How could everything be so bright yet he see nothing?

“Gillian? Jayce?” he croaked.


No one answered.

That’s it where it all starts.  Like other fanfiction stories, I am developing a fuller world for a secondary character.  In this case, it is Herc Stormsailor.  Though I certainly am giving Jayce his fair due….Oon not so much (can’t stand whiny robot-like characters, even as comic relief).

I’m SO proud of myself…. :-/

The laugh is…  I can barely watch the cartoon that inspired all of this stuff.  I certainly don’t see any of my characters as they are in the show.  But I still write this stuff…  Kieri Vestimorn of my (only finished) manuscript, Release, was totally inspired by my playing with Herc Stormsailor’s character and making him into something beyond what the series cast him as.

So, now that you’ve had a laugh, let me tell you about my ROW80 update.

ROW80 Check-in

Things haven’t been as inspired as I’d like them to be.  My husband is at a funeral now for his uncle.  We’re staying home because the Boodle is in a wired, tense, performance mode,  and he would be the only child there under age 18.

Even when one doesn’t go to a family event like this, it weighs on the mind….  There was a lot of back and forth about what would help the most, what sort of things would make his aunt feel best.  I wrote about a page for Swan Song, futzed around the house and did my sponsor duties but not much more.

My heart was not in it… nor was my head (as I was fighting one of my multi-day migraines until yesterday afternoon).  Now the Boodle and I are off for a picnic with his homeschooling group…  I’m not really interested in that, but we’d committed to it weeks ago.

Not the most upbeat post, but honest…  and there is a bright light on the horizon.  I had some fun with this post!  🙂



What’s With Wednesday — Feeling Secure

Round and round we go, and where we stop, nobody knows.

Faded Glory

Faded Glory

For the second year in a row, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (a.k.a CISPA) has passed the US House of Representatives.  Last year the Bill never made it through the US Senate, possibly because it was under threat of a presidential veto, possibly because of the fairly vocal internet uproar about the Bill’s many flaws.

At present the US Senate is not looking at voting on it anytime soon.  CISPA’s authors say that most of the concerns for personal privacy have been addressed in amendments to the new version.  Others are not so sure of this, and indeed, President Obama has restated his determination to veto the Bill.

So what exactly is CISPA, and what does it mean for bloggers (and writers)?  This short piece by PC Magazine does a nice job of summarizing many features of the Bill.  I’ll let you read up on the details and make your own opinions.

For me, the biggest issue with CISPA isn’t privacy.  The information that would be shared with the government is nothing that they cannot attain already by following due process.  It’s that due process part that is this issue.

CISPA takes due process and tosses it out the window…effectively.

If you look at this list of agencies that will be able to gain access to your information if CISPA passes, do you have the same questions I do about it?  As in “why do these agencies need information to protect us against cyber-attacks from China and Iran?” (Bill proponent Mike Rogers’s (R-MI) words, not mine), among others.

The Bill has been amended so that companies who share information can “anonymize” (yes, I know that’s not a word) data, but there is no real requirement that it be done.  Indeed, companies that just share it all are exempt from legal repercussions for any violate of the Terms of Service/User Agreements their users have agreed to.   As “Time is money” often rules the corporate sector, why would a company invest extra time in safeguarding private data when it gives them little to no extra again?

And speaking of money, let’s look at a newer amendment to CISPA.  Presumably  to ease fears that corporations who have shared data with the government won’t be fully nullifying their Terms of Service and User Agreement contracts with customers, there is now a fine imposed for any other use of this information beyond protection of a cyber-attack.   But how big of a fine?  A look at the recent case where the Google StreetView car accidentally collected personal data (email addresses, passwords, URLs, etc.) as they drove down streets in Hamburg, Germany shows that fines are basically trivial.  In the Google case, it was an accident, and they fully admitted the problem, but when any company can make up the loss of a fine in less than an hour of business (or as [again] in the Google case, 4 seconds), violations can become more profitable than following the law.

Why am I suddenly picturing a Steven Segal movie now?

Sorry.  This isn’t supposed to be me fear-mongering or promoting conspiracy theories to you.  There are plenty of enough sites out there to do that.  But I do suggest you  look up CISPA on your own and see what you think of it.   And try to consider this when you do–most people who go into public service do so because they really do want to help make the world a better place (especially those in the lower strata of politics).  The problems we see in politics usually aren’t the result malicious intent or a wish to harm anyone.  It’s solely a matter of a better place for whom, and how determined are some people to promote their vision of better.

ROW80 Check-IN

As you can see, I’ve been occupied with reading lately.  Reading law wears on me; it’s hard to believe that I wanted to be a lawyer in high school (or that went out of my way to volunteer at a law library in college).

Thing is, one needs to know how to read these documents, because legalese is everywhere and just saying “I agree” can have its drawbacks (you may want to read the comic thread… or the whole comic–Userfriendly makes the ins and outs of IT fun).


A bit of this, a bit of that

Still, I managed an awesome evening of writing and editing last night (turned off the internet distractions and just worked).  I wrote some wonderful notes on Monday and got all my comments done for both my sponsor posts (including my sponsor post–complete with formatting errors–on the Round of Words in 80 Days blog)  and on several others blogs.

I was a busy blogger this week.  Facebook, Google + and Twitter kind of fell by the wayside, and truthfully, I feel better for it.   Less and less of the time, I feel inspired to hang out online.  The exception?  I may resume my reddit hour or so–there is a lot of discussion about current events there and keeping up better would be nice.

So that’s my week.  Hope you all are enjoying your ROW80 journey.  Here’s the new linky.  Go ahead and visit a few more of us.  We love to hear from you.

Photo credit: me (images from my Flickr feed)


What’s With Wednesday — Age Old Issues

Every few months or so I get to wondering about what it might feel like to get old.  You see, despite the fact that I am now 43 and starting to see a nice thin streak of silver in my hair, I don’t feel like I’m any older than I ever was.

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th ce...

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th century, OP582 (Photo credit: Black Country Museums)

I feel much younger than I did when I was leaving college.  Back then I felt the weight of the world on me; I felt the weight of my family on me; I felt…

old and careworn.

I feel younger now than I did when I was in high school.   Then I felt responsible for so many things I couldn’t change–not that I knew it at the time–but I felt I had a job to fix them all.

I was tired and careworn.

I can vaguely remember days when I felt young.  I think it was yesterday…. or maybe this morning.

So all this thinking confused me.  What exactly is young?  What is old?

I checked the dictionary, and that didn’t really help at all.  I still feel younger now than ever.

I must be getting younger each year.


I feel a strong awareness of how short a time I have on this earth, I feel very inexperienced, and…  enthusiasm and optimism?  I have those in spades.  I can’t say I was “made or built” long ago; these 43 years are a pittance to human existence.  Barely a breath–how I would love to breathe longer!  There is so much to see and experience.  And half the time we spend here involves just getting ready to enjoy it all and see it all…  Preparation takes up years upon years of this precious time we have been given.

We live our lives backwards.

A woman thinking

A woman thinking (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And I truly believe I am growing younger.  The only possible way to say I am getting older is if the idea of appreciating how much there is comes with age.  If so, then I am ancient beyond my years… and proud of it (and  I’m glad I’m past those horrible middle years then too).

There is something amazing about real youth, the complete newness of everything.  There is also something amazing about being “old” enough to see everything for the wonder that it is and…to not give one damn if someone laughs at you if you wear a big purple hat.  In fact, I need to find myself a good big purple hat (though a Red one would look better with my coloring, it’s not so much about the looks…  It’s about the joy and the realization that being alive is …  WONDERFUL!

Young or old, I am happy to be alive.

My Row80 Check-IN

After Sunday’s check-in with the excitement of the day, I found…  nothing.  We have no real answer as to why my computer is acting up.  The only issue we can see?  It’s old.  It’s got a 2GB memory limitation on the motherboard, and part of that is shared with the video adapter.  It’s a 64-bit processor, but most things don’t seem to want to run in that mode…  And it’s only one processor, and some applications, such as my sound driver and the Microsoft Security Essentials want to demand more “brainpower” that the machine seems able to give with so many hungry programs such as Picassa, Seamonkey and Minecraft running.

Especially Minecraft.

So most of Sunday I spent reading while I watched my computer try to sort itself out.  I also checked out my laptop and found that had a virus on it.  Odd since that machine was actually running better than this one….

I didn’t get much writing done on Sunday.  Monday, I wrote.  Tuesday I wrote and attended both #teamsprinty sprints.  That’s writing and social media.  I got my sponsor visits done Monday and checked back for a few extras Tuesday.

I even got out of the house and exercised (walking around abandoned houses and meeting local horse owners) on Monday with my camera.  I’m not quite as happy with those shots as I could be, but I’m pleased enough.  It’s all a learning experience.

And lastly I’m clearing my reading pile a bit more.  Partly because I stopped trying to be so fussy about what I would read.  Craft books…  I can read craft books.  They count!  I told myself that, and now I’m off having playtime again.

It’s great to be alive and so very young.  Don’t you agree?

Please enjoy with me a wonderful poem by Maya Angelou that sums up my feels lately….  Phenomenal Woman.