Friday, August 24, 2018

Worth a try.

I've had the devil's own time trying to find a tolerably good pair of headphones that I can afford.  I'd LOVE a set of top of the line audiophile headphones, but I use mine ALL THE TIME.  HEAVY use.  Because I listen to music while I'm writing, from the time I drop the kids off in the morning to the time I go pick them up in the afternoon during the school year, and while they're watching kids' programming or DVDs.  I'd wear a set out so fast it wouldn't be worth the money that could nearly pay a mortgage payment. 

My $50 headphones had really good sound for the price point.  Better than most I'd dealt with to that point.  But.  They only lasted me two months past the cheaper headphones I'd been using up to that purchase.  Not worth it (it would have been if they'd lasted me four months longer than they did). 

I tried the same brand, but a generation older.  Shitty sound, and the band was too big for my head, even on the smallest setting.*  A retread of a wired pair I'd liked two years ago turned out the same.  That pair got returned.

I asked Odysseus to get me a $5 p.o.s. pair from Walmart while I hunted for a decent pair in my price range.  The sound was crappy, but what do you expect from these

Then, about a week ago, I found these.  Wireless or wired (means the audio cable can be replaced when the wire breaks), decent sound...$16.  Sturdier built than the Altec Lansing set that broke at the band above the hinge. 

So far, I'm pretty pleased with these.  And if they break before the 12 month mark, I'm only out $16, not $50, and can afford to replace them pretty much immediately. 

In the meantime, I'm back at work on Gods and Monsters...a bit over halfway done.  I've topped the 50K word mark, and with the kids back in school and the outside editing project done, I've picked up and started transcribing the next couple chapters that I already have written out in my little green Walmart notebook in fountain pen while waiting on the kids' swim lessons (which ended the first week of August, right before the back to school shopping rush started). 

And even better, I'm back at work with music: Avenged Sevenfold, Halestorm, Mettalica, Fall Out Boy, and In This Moment. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018


I missed my ten year anniversary of being a blogger.  I wrote my first post on August 10, 2008, less than two months before my son was born.  I was getting frustrated with being silenced in the department offices because I have a little thing called common sense, and didn't think it was at all right that the oil companies made 11 cents per gallon on gas but the government made almost 50 cents per gallon. 

Life has changed a lot since I started blogging.  I have changed a lot. 

I've become a mother, twice over.  That was...a lot more of a change than I thought it would be, and I never thought it would be anything other than massive. 

I've been a writer my whole life, but started publishing my work in 2012. 

I started teaching in '03, started teaching for my alma mater in '05, shifted to online classes from mid-fall '08 to Fall '14, when I went back to campus because the kids were starting kindergarten and preschool at a place I trusted not to teach them hippy shit. 

Got hit with pneumonia in January '15, then something else in February, which triggered the onset of a chronic condition I'm still learning to manage. 

...which led to me gratefully accepting that the department I'd taught for for twelve years didn't want to employ me anymore. 

And gave me back the energy to write. 

Will I pick up the blogging frequency?  Perhaps.  I don't know yet.  I am writing, though, and discovered that a lot of the burnout on teaching came from dropping writing when my energy dropped. 

I do know that I don't plan to stop blogging. 

After all, if I've been doing it this long, why stop now?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Editing work

I have an editing commission.  Former student wants me to edit his novella for him.  In the first page--first paragraph--I've had to fix punctuation mistakes, and sentence parallel structure.  Oh, and a couple of spelling mistakes. 

He's great with detail, and with story flow, for literary fiction (which this is).  The rest is just mechanics. 

I'm hoping he does well.  He's got it formatted for submission to a publisher, rather than for indie publishing.  I hope he's able to sell it after I help him polish it. 

However.  I'm absolutely earning the rate I charge.  And if I start getting more editing jobs for people outside my beta reading group (they do mine, I do theirs), I'm going to have to start charging a bit more. 

When I'm doing editing work, I'm not writing.  And I do have a couple more chapters of the current project rough draft done in longhand to transcribe. 

Well, anyway.  Back to work.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Back to cheap pairs...

My $50 headphones broke.  Not at the cord next to the jack--that could have been replaced (and had been, by that point).  No, they broke at the headband, just above the hinge to fold them, right above the right temple.  Just...snapped.

I am...not happy.  They only lasted 8 months.

So, I ordered these headphones.  Much less expensive, and the same brand.  They arrived Sunday.  They...didn't fit.  The headband was a lot wider than the last pair, and they slid around on my head and ears.  The sound quality was lacking on the bass side of things, too.  I wasn't happy, and was just about ready to send them back.

However.  Odysseus's headphones broke Sunday morning.  I will say this: we'd had them for more than 18 months, and he said they were spectacular for watching video.  Good noise-deadening so that he could hear his videos over whatever the kids were watching/doing.  They broke just above the hinge after a year and a half of heavy use.

He'd mentioned wanting a set of wireless headphones.  So I passed the others over to him to try.

And then I ordered these.  I had a blue set just like it two years ago, and it was one of my favorite pairs of headphones for sound quality.  I'm not terribly picky about color, so the green won't bother me, and they worked for about six or seven months.  Before the wire broke at the jack.  Which, with those headphones, the wire's integrated, and I can't just replace it.

However.  It didn't work out much better with the more expensive headphones I bought in January. 

If I'm going to have to replace headphones frequently, I'd rather not replace expensive ones frequently.  And I'm better off doing a $15-$20 pair twice a year than a $50 pair twice a year.  And with this pair, I know what I'm getting with sound quality.

The new headphones will be arriving with the mail today.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I mean, yeah, I could listen to my music on my laptop speakers, but they're crap, even by the standards of laptop speakers, and easily drowned out by the kids playing in one of their bedrooms with the door closed.  Or outside. 

UPDATE: They're going back.  Too big, and shitty sound quality.   I guess quality for price has dropped in the past two years. 

And damn it, that means I'm stuck without music for a bit longer.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Moar books...

Friday was a lot of fun.  The pixie'd been begging us all summer to take her to the George Washington Carver National Monument, just a little ways southeast of here.  Odysseus took the day off Friday, and we went.*

It was a really great spot to explore.  They've got a lot of hands-on stuff at the visitor's center (including a reproduction of a one-room schoolhouse), and a 3/4 mile walking trail around the Carver farm.

And then we went to a used bookstore.  Both kids had gotten into The Magic Treehouse book series, and we found several (and several nonfiction companion books).  Got them a stack of books about 8" high.

(You know you've done things right when the kids are jumping and excited when you pull into a bookstore parking lot, then settle down and make a bee-line straight for their section at a fast walk.)

Didn't get any for the adults, though.  We're gonna have to limit us to the KU subscription we've got.

That said, we've got a lot of choice.

We recently read Jim Curtis's latest, and I finished Dorothy Grant's latest, last night (and will likely spring for a copy when the budget permits).  Next up:

Cyn Bagley

First one's a short story/novella, second is the first in a two-book (so far) series.  I plan to read both books, because the concept looks really fun.  

William Lehman

L. A. Behm

Pam Uphoff

Not my usual fare--I typically do NOT like other women, even in stories--but...pirates.  Hopefully getting their asses kicked.

Lot of others that are interesting, but I can't afford to purchase, given that both my and my other half's headphones failed within days of each other, and they're not KU.

Damn it.

*I've been paying for it since, but it was worth it.  But now, I need books for me. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Library monsters

We now have a large bookcase in the bedroom.  I'm sorting through my library bookcases, thinking about all of the books on terms of suitability for kids reading them, because the kids' library is a hair young and small for them (they were thrilled because their one bookcase has grown to two, because they know that means Mom and Dad will fill it for them), and some of the grown-up books are looking...interesting.

Now, YA is not my thing.  I really don't care for coming of age stories in general, and haven't for a long time.  But I need to start stocking those (and nonfiction books for a boy who loves science and history), and other kids' novels. And I've spotted a few that look good.

The kids already have a copy of my children's book in their bookcase.  I'm planning on adding a couple of Robin McKinley's novels, too, once I'm sure my little library monsters are going to be careful enough.  My copies of the Little House books, however, are NOT going on their shelves--they're sentimental, and fragile (they belonged to my maternal grandma, who passed away the year the imp was born).

I've been looking for new books by indie authors to go on their shelves.  I've got a few picked out:

The reviewer says this one reads a bit like the Little House books.  It's going first on my list of "to reads" when I'm done with my current KU borrow.

Then there's this one:

The blurb reminds me of a book I'd read while in college.  The title escapes me, but I remembered liking it, and if I recall correctly, it had some inappropriate for kids material in it.  If this one is as good, I'm sure the kids will love it when they find it.

And a pair of medieval fantasy novels that I think my daughter would enjoy immensely:

I think these, with what will remain on the main library shelves, will be enough to get started with for now.  I may well spot more in the future.