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Monday, July 31, 2006
Finally! I'm back on-line!
Hi, everyone! Did you miss me?

Whew, July was an awful month from a computer perspective. When Mistah Midnight rebuilt my hard drive from scratch - the malware was sooooo persistent, he couldn't eradicate it - and got ready to set up my internet connection, Comcast went down for two whole days! Talk about wretched timing. With the heat that's expected this week, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the system stays up. (Darned hard to type like this, too.)

Since I've been unable to blog or reach my email or anything, and my absence went on for so long, I'm going to extend the contests that are associated with this blog until the end of August. If you were counting on being a big fish in a little pond and having better odds to win a bracelet, I apologize. But not much. :grin:

So in July, the good stuff that happened is that the edits for ROGUES are wrapped up, the cover art request has been submitted, and TRANSFORMATIONS is now available in print! Pretty cool stuff, if I do say so myself. I'm waiting to get a release date for
ROGUES, the futuristic menage a trois featuring a psychic, a vampire and a werewolf that I wrote with Cricket Starr. It's really fun, and I can't wait to hear your opinions on it.

So, what have all of you been doing, while I was fighting the good fight against the electronic gremlins?

posted by Liddy Midnight @ 4:08 PM   7 comments
Monday, July 17, 2006
What they don't tell you, Part One
A friend of ours says frequently of me and Mistah Midnight, "Between the two of you, is there anything you don't know something about?" Moogie tells me, "I learn something every time I talk to you."

So today I thought I'd begin to share some of those little truths that can make a big difference in your life. Well, in some small way. LOL

You know how the cable companies are now offering cheap telephone service? I see and hear their commercials all the time. For as little as $30 a month, you can have unlimited long-distance connectivity and all the talk time you want. (Provided you subscribe to their cable service, of course.)

What they don't tell you is that their service isn't nearly as reliable as your land-line telephone. Most of us grew up with the good old reliable Bell phone service, knowing that even when the power was out, we could pick up the handset and get a dial tone. Makes reporting that power outage a good deal easier, doesn't it?

Most important consideration: When you lose electricity to your house for whatever reason, all cable functions halt. We have family members who use cable telephone service and plan to use their cellular phones as back-ups in case of a power failure. If you live in an area where your cellular coverage is iffy (we live in one of the many Black Holes of Nextel) or your power is out for an extended period of time, you're cut off. How many of us bought a six-pack of additional cell phone batteries AND remember to keep them all charged? Emergencies aren't scheduled or announced ahead of time, so we don't get any time to prepare. On top of that, relying on your cell phone in case of emergencies can overload that system. When that happens, as it often does, no calls get through. This can also prevent emergency service crews from doing their jobs, since many of them now rely on cellular phones for communication themselves. If the power outage is widespread, even the cellular towers will go down.

This is a major concern for anyone who has a life-threatening medical condition that might require treatment. The very old or very young might need assistance in extremely hot or cold weather. Being able to call for help is of paramount importance.

Conclusion: Unless you have no concerns over being totally incommunicado in the case of a power outage, cable telephone is not for you.
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 7:42 AM   12 comments
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Blogging for prizes!
Okay, I've got news for you! There are two places I know of right now where you can merely post a comment and be eligible to win some very desirable prizes.

The first one is going on RIGHT NOW! Hasten over to
Moonglade Elite Authors and check out the blog! Rachel Carrington is there today, and she'll be giving away some swag. I know the site isn't officially open yet, but we're already getting traffic. Don't miss out on this opportunity!

Then, I encourage you to help me with a month-long party! Yes, celebrate the opening of Liddy Midnight's newly redesigned web site!

Throughout the month of July, each time you post a comment on my blog (that would be right here!), you'll have another chance to win one of a variety of charm bracelets, themed to my stories! Yes, you could be jingling a Blue Moon, Fire and Ice, Yellow Butterfly, Black Dragon or spectrum Elementals bracelet on your wrist. All of these will be awarded, each one to a different lucky winner. Oh, and don't forget her newest design, a Purple Passion bracelet that matches my new site design. Winners will be announced in the August issue of The Stroke, my newsletter.

Along with the redesigned site, I have a new format for my newsletter, The Stroke. One charm bracelet, winner's choice, will be given away to one lucky newsletter subscriber at the end of July! The winner will be announced in the August issue.

I hope to hear from you and see YOUR name among the winners!

Tonight we're going to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I've heard it's too long, akin to Superman Returns, but hey, I'll drink in the sight of Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom for an extra half-hour, no problem! We're going to get there early, because a friend already picked up the tickets and was told by the cashier that that show sold out yesterday. We'd like to sit together.

Don't you hate it when a theater gets full enough that there are only single seats left, scattered all over? That's almost as bad as having to sit in the front row. That kills your neck, you're likely to miss things that happen in the far corners of the picture, and you feel in danger of falling into the screen. Oh, wait, I think there's a story there...
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 10:40 AM   28 comments
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Pet Peeve of the Week - Big Houses and Nursing Homes
Why on earth do I lump McMansions and nursing homes together? Because I think they're responsible for changes in our culture that have led to my latest peeve: inconsideration.

Don't you hate encountering people who are oblivious to those around them? I'm talking about idiots who get off an elevator or escalator and just stand there, blocking traffic. I'm talking about morons who think they're driving the only car in existence - frequently taking up two lanes or two parking spaces. I'm talking about people who empty their cart at the grocery store and can't be bothered to return it to the cart corrals. I'm talking about people who talk loudly on cell phones in public places. I'm talking about people who crank up the volume on their iPod so high that the rest of the world can hear the music as it comes through their skulls.

These are all inconsiderate people.

So, I hear you cry, where do big houses and nursing homes come into it? The prevalence of those structures has permitted too many of us to avoid interacting with anyone. If that goes on long enough, we become unable to conduct ourselves properly in society.

All of us, adults as well as children, used to be crowded together, often with three or four generations sharing living space. There was no "me generation". There couldn't be, because we all had to get along. (We couldn't afford NOT living together because we lived within our means, but that's another rant, for another week.) We had to learn to deal with other people, to compromise, to communicate. To be considerate. To care for each other.

Grandma or Grandpa didn't move off to a retirement residence, to then be shunted into a nursing home, and go from there to a funeral home. Nope, they were part of the family, always present, contributing irritable demands and amusing stories if nothing else. Children didn't have the luxury of retiring to their unshared rooms, complete with their own computer, phone and full media center. No one hid by plugging into an iPod or a mobile phone headset, avoiding conversation and interaction.

Oh, and too many parents have bought into the crap about the importance of their child's self-esteem. One can't criticize the little miscreants because it might stunt their self-esteem. Well, not knocking that out-of-control ego into proper proportion creates bullies and unrealistic expectations of life. Not every high school graduate is going to find a job starting at $30 an hour, let alone become Bill Gates. Not every high school dropout is going to make it as a hip-hop star. Letting them believe that is a grave disservice to them.

My self-esteem is quite healthy, thank you very much, and I got spanked the few times I needed it. So's the self-esteem of Mistah Midnight, and his mother was - still is - a crack shot with a fly swatter. Those metal mesh flaps really got the message across to a bare leg. I imagine today's plastic models sting just as much.

When we rattle around in big houses and are tended by strangers in nursing homes, we don't grow up learning the right things to do. Respect for our elders isn't part of our daily lives, because we don't see our elders every day. Hell, some parents and children living in the same house don't see each other every day! What's up with that?

When I hear or read a news story about a family where a child commits a serious crime, the parents are often genuinely horrified and confused. They're successful people, these parents. They have good jobs, they make good money, they give their kids everything they want - everything they didn't have when they were growing up. How on earth did it happen? You can tell from the interviews that they don't really know their own children, who their friends are, what they do all day. They don't communicate. That's tragic.

My theory is that most of these people live in big houses, with a full entertainment suite in every huge bedroom. And their grand-parents aren't there, either. Sometimes it takes a grandmother with a fly swatter to set a kid straight.
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 5:53 PM   5 comments
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Creating a Safe Haven
No, not really, my house was safe before, but a few years ago, we put in central air conditioning. I love it! Since then, I've been meaning to get some blinds or some curtains up in the east windows on the first floor. That morning sun is brutal, and sets the climate for the day.

This week, I did just that. I discovered vinyl miniblinds, for less than 4 bucks apiece at either Home Cheapo or Wally's World. Woo-hoo! Our windows, which we put in a few years before we got the AC, are a standard size AND all the same. Double woo-hoo!

Takes no more than 10 minutes per window to install each one, using our trusty Milwaukee cordless drill - and that includes time spent adjusting and fiddling with the pull-cords. If you use the little plastic goobers that stop the shade from dropping completely open, as in all 64 inches, you can put a blind on the front door and have it just cover the window! I've gone nuts with these. Today I'm going to install another set in the laundry room and the room-darkening ones in our bedroom. Those were mondo expensive - sheesh, almost $10 each! Try buying sheers or lace curtains plus rods for that, and odds are those will need hemming to fit.

Oh, and the laundry has piled up this week. Guess I need to worry a plot while I sort, load, switch, fold and stow all those socks and shorts and tee shirts. I have some of my best ideas while folding laundry, although I must confess I've also lost some in the basket. They're probably keeping company with all those lonely socks whose mates accumulate atop the washer, waiting for the lost to reappear. They're so depressing that once a year I have to toss them. Guess I could stuff their toes full of catnip and turn them into cat toys, but we have enough of those underfoot.

Have a wonderful weekend, and a great holiday, if you're stretching the weekend into a vacation! I'll be writing and admiring my new blinds. They do keep the sun out in the morning, which will save the world some energy and us some money. I love walking around the house at night and feeling that I'm invisible to the world.

Of course, I also can't see the monsters just outside the windows, but if they stay outside, they don't really matter and that's a good thing, isn't it?

Stay cool!
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 9:37 AM   7 comments

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Name: Liddy Midnight
Home: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States
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