Friday, May 31, 2002

Redecorating.


I decided to go with a color scheme that is a little more... me. Those girly purples and pinks just weren't cutting it. I might play around with the color scheme a little more in the future, but, so far, I like this combination.

Test of the Day












You are Storm
You are
Storm from X-Men: Evolution. You are very intelligent and very beautiful, and
your level head and kind heart help you come through even the toughest
situations. You go, girl!


Which movie heroine are you?


Nerves.


I've been infested with a good case of them. My stomach is in knots and my mouth as parched as the Sahara in a dry season. Probably because all the water in my body is coming out as sweat on my palms. I hate it when I get nervous. It's torture.

Why am I nervous? Because tomorrow I will submit a piece of my writing to someone I hold in high regard. Higher regard than any editor that I've ever sent to. Tomorrow, I'm sending my Breakout Novel registration packet to Holly Lisle. Based on that, she'll decide if I belong in her Breakout Novel class or not.

Now, I'm not really that worried on whether I get into the class or not. I mean, I'd be thrilled if I did, but if I don't, I can always audit. I'm more worried about what Holly thinks of my writing. Is she going to look at it and say 'My God, this girl sucks like a Hoover."? I'm terrified she will. Normally, I'm pretty confident about my writing. But the idea of Holly looking over my writing reduces me to a pile of jelly.

Why? Because, I look up to Holly. A lot. She's one of the most talented writers I've ever read and part of me thinks that if she thinks my stuff is good, then that's a sort of validation. My hero doesn't think I suck and therefore, there stands the possibility that I don't. I like the story that I'm sending. I like it alot. I think it's good work. But what if she thinks I suck?

No, I'm not some weirdo, stalker type person. Just looking for some sort of hope, I guess. Maybe some chocolate ice cream would calm me down...

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Test of the Day


Drink me!

Which drink are you?

How to Be a Good Customer


I work as a cashier at a supermarket. I see both awesome customers and rotten customers. After a long talk last night with my best friend who works at the same store as I do, we came to the conclusion that we tend to give the best service to those who don't exhibit certain behaviors towards us. So, I came up with a list of ten things that you can do at a grocery store that will make your cashier LOVE you and get you out of the store as quickly and painlessly as possible.

I realize that anyone who stops to read this little list probably already does these things, so I'm preaching to the converted. The real assholes don't care what a lowly cashier has to say. And, I'll give you this is a little disclaimer for everyone. There are some cashiers that will be jerks no matter how nice you are or how much you pay attention to what I have to say. But, most cashiers aren't jerks. We just expect some form of courtesy. Honestly, wouldn't you be more willing to be nice if someone is nice to you first?

Anyhow, here is my list of ten hints to both make your cashier happy for the day and win a friend. A friend that can give you perks. Like if you accidentally slip in an expired coupon in your pile or bring 15 items into the 12 item express lane. And a friend that can help make things go a lot smoother. Here goes. BTW, the 'you' I refer to is not you in particular. Just generally.

10.) Have your discount card and coupons ready BEFORE you are ready to pay. I don't want to wait while someone digs through their pockets and purse for either of these items. And I'm usually the one who has to deal with the angry aftermath of the customers behind you after you've taken fifteen minutes finding a coupon.

9.) Look at the signs around you before you ask questions. There are signs that list the basic contents of every aisle in the store. Before you come up to me to ask for the specific location of each item on your list, take a look at those signs. About 95% of what you need is listed there. If not, THEN come to me. I'll be more than happy to help you.

8.) If you have a question about an item in another department, don't get mad if I can't give you an answer and I redirect you. I don't know everything about the store. I have better things to do with my time than memorize the procedures of each and every department. But I can and will find someone who does know how to answer your question.

7.) When I greet you, respond. I realize you might be shy, but if I say hello, just smile. I hate when I'm ignored. I make the effort to be friendly. Just let me know that you acknowledge it. I don't expect conversation. Just a smile. Maybe a nod.

6.) If you would like me to pack your groceries a certain way, let me know ahead of time. It really, really irritates me when you wait until I am half finished packing your order to let me know that you wanted paper bags instead of plastic. If you let me know ahead of time, I will gladly pack things how you want it.

5.) Don't bring more items than permitted into an express lane. Unless you ask. Most times, if you are nice about it and don't have too many items, I'll let you slide through and tell anyone who throws a fit that the manager told me to do it. But, don't bring 30 items into a 12 item express lane and expect me to take you. I won't, even if you throw a tantrum.

4.) Unpack your own carriage. Granted, if you have a physical disability that prevents you from doing this on your own, I'll will be happy to do this for you. But, and this especially applies to those of you that leave the baskets on the belt and expect me to unpack them for you while you watch, don't expect me to unpakc your order. I ring up your order and I will pack it for you. I'll even print out your check for you. The least you can do is unpack the basket.

3.) Hang up the cell phone while I'm ringing up your order. Sometimes I have questions that I need to ask you during your order. Sometimes, you might notice an item has rung up wrong on your receipt and will point it out to me. But this doesn't happen if you are yammering in your cellphone. Communication doesn't happen and then, if something isn't done to your liking, you yell at me.

2.) Leave the babies and toddlers at home Older children are usually pretty good. Some are brats and some are angels, but overall, they don't cause half the trouble that a small child does. If you can't leave the kids at home, at least make sure they behave. Regardless of what you might think, I concentrate during every order. Nothing breaks that faster than a wailing child. When my train of thought is broken, mistakes happen.

1.) Pay Attention. This is a very simple, but very effective hint that can take a lot of time off your waiting and make the experience more pleasant for the both of us. And, if you make things easy on me, I'll make sure that your shopping trip is ALWAYS great.

Postponed due to technical difficulties.


Sorry there was no update yesterday. The main Blogger site was down and I didn't wake up on time to post this afternoon. So, I'll post the Service article I wrote up to post last night.

When I discovered I wanted to be a writer.


This is from a post I wrote at Forward Motion.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have made up stories in my head. I was always the heroine, with some sort of magical powers that I could heal all my Mom's troubles and my troubles with. I imagined myself pursued by evil foes and came up with clever ways to defeat them. I was too little to consider it writing. To me, it was just my own little world that I could escape to on rainy days or long car rides to Aunt Sue's house.

When I was in second grade, I won my school's Young Authors contest. I got a shiny blue ribbon for a story about magical kittens and the little girl that befriended them. I illustrated that story myself. All the cats had very long, crooked legs and the little girl was a triangular body held up by stick legs and rectangular shoes. I was so proud of that story.

In fifth grade, I submitted my poem "In the Attic" to The National Library of Poetry and they wrote me back saying I was published. Of course, back then, I didn't know it was a scam and I was proud as could be about it. At the end of the year, at the school commendation program for kids with perfect attendence and high test scores, the principal announced my name, read my poem to the whole school and called me up to the stage. My leg was asleep and I was so flustered that I threw up in front of everyone.

For years, I went through school without taking my writing seriously, still daydreaming and living in my imaginery land. Of course, the villains became younger and the problems less monumental. I wrote well and my teachers always went on and on about how talented I was, but I thought they were just saying that because they had to be nice. I had extremely high test scores and was to skip the sixth grade, but my mother refused to do it. A good decision now that I think about it. I thought they complimented me for being smart, not talented.

Then, in college, I had a freshman English instructor who really set the wheels in motion. She had a policy of reading the best assigned paper aloud to the rest of the class. She read every paper I wrote for that class aloud. On every cover sheet, she scrawled something about needing to get me published. One one, she wrote "You have a real way with words. Have you considering writing Science Fiction?" The words were a jest (professor Van Dam was a huge SF fan), but they set the wheels in motion for what would happen nine months later.

At the beginning of 2001, I was floundering and stuck in a pretty messy family situation. I moved 1000 miles away from my family and sat down to think about what I wanted from my life. What I LOVED to do. Every answer pointed towards writing. I'd done it all my life. I loved writing, pulling the characters from my head and sharing them with the world. I took a breath and took a chance. In March of 2001, I set out on my way to become a published writer.

This is not an easy road. It took me nearly six months and five-hundred thousand words to realize that I still had a lot to learn before I could get where I wanted to go. Somedays, writing is like flying and I live for the days that I can soar. Somedays, writing doesn't come at all and I feel like a well that has been sucked dry. I have had one story published so far. I consider that success in a way. I have my goals laid out before me and I am well on my way to trying to make my dreams come true.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Test of the Day



Today's test: Which Greek Goddess Are You?

See which Greek Goddess you are.

Irritation.


If I had to pinpoint my worst fault, I'd have to say that my ability to be completely and thoroughly irritated at the drop of a hat is it. This is a not a good habit. It adds unneeded stress into my life, raises my blood pressure, and, generally, the things that I get irritated over are things that I can't fix. So why do I get irritated? I think I'm the victim of Chain Reaction Irritation(tm). Get me started on one thing and the irritation just grows until it's like a reat big hot air balloon that I no longer have the power to control.

Take today for example. To start things off, I had to rearrange my schedule in order to humor my in-laws and go to a cookout with relatives that I can barely tolerate. But I grinned and bore it because I knew that my inlaws would be really upset if we didn't go and Jeff was really wanting to go. He claimed it was for the free food, but I think he likes the family contact. I didn't really mind that. Once we get ready and get there, the other couple (the realitvies that I can't stand) are late. I sit there for an hour, thinking thw whole time that I could've spent that extra hour getting more sleep. Most people would be irritated by this. Or so I assume.

I'm already annoyed and then Jeff's nephew starts in. This is the most badly behaved child I've ever seen in my life. His mother told him not to do something, he did it anyway. His word of the day was "no". The irritation just grew. Then of course, my condition was not helped by the customers I dealt with at work. Why is it that the stupidest idiots come into my line? Am I just a moron magnet? The irritation expands to the point that I can feel my blood pressure rising.

Then, I get home and find out that after I left the cookout, Jeff's stepbrother and his kids came over and one his kids fell down the stairs and had to get taken to the emergency room. The kid was fine, but I came home to find Jeff's drunk mother ranting and raving about how she didn't want anymore kids in her house and that they only ruin things. Of course, I'm thinking about the fact that in the next ten years of so, Jeff and I plan on having children. I'm guessing they won't be welcome in her house. Jeff and I try to calm her down, but she doesn't even listen to what we are saying. She has her little beliefs and nothing anyone can say will sway her from them. Especially when she is drunk. Irritation builds on irritation.

Then, I get online and have a very productive few hours of work. Just as I am finishing up, a conversation about families and how terrible they are is going on in chat. For some reason, in my already bothered mood, this really got under my skin. Granted, my father and I do not meet eye-to-eye on many, many things, but I think he's done his best to be a good father and, for me, sometimes effort is all that matters. My mother is a saint. She had her moments when I was a kid that I wondered if she were the devil, but once I grew up, we got a long great.

Normally, people talking about their screwed up families doesn't bother me, but, and I may have been imagining this in my mood, I felt like the conversation was going in the direction that all families are posionous to writers and that no parents are good. I was getting so agitated that I did the smart thing and left so I could calm down instead of start a flame war over something that may or may not have been implied.

I'm trying to find a way to get this irritation problem under control. I don't like being cranky 60 percent of the time. I don't like getting into pointless arguments with Jeff because I'm in a bad mood and took something he said the wrong way. I've tried meditation, but that doesn't work for me. I can't sit still long enough. I'm researching some other relaxation techniques right now because I know that I will kill myself if I keep letting these little things get to me.

Monday, May 27, 2002

A good writing day.


Over all, today was very good. I did 4350 on a new short story that I am writing to submit with my packet for the Break Out Novel Course. I already had the ten stories that are required to apply, but some of those stories are just awful. I don't want to send Holly awful work. So, in addition to the nine that I've chosen that are good enough for me to offer up, I'm also writing a new one to throw in. I like it a lot, but am trying to restrain myself from turning this into a novel.

I have to go to a cook-out tomorrow, which is pretty cool because I know the food will be good, but kinda sucks because two of Jeff's relatives that I really don't like will be there. Jeff deosn't like them much either, but since we are going to his parent's house, we have to be polite to them. At least I get to escape to work tomorrow afternoon. Jeff is stuck with them most of the day.

Wish me luck that I can go the entire day without saying something that'll get me in trouble.