Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Happy Birthday!

I realize it's a couple days late, but,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to eglantine_br
Hope you have many more!

A photo of a picture of USS Constitution drawn by a friend of my Grandparents back when the ship toured the US and was in Washington's Puget Sound.  It's probably one of those things that got me interested in the Age of Sail.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Still Acting Like Winter

It's warmed up some since the last time I posted.  Some areas have melted and then again froze, but the snow fall seems to be less and less each day.  Just enough last evening to shovel again today.

Last night around 8pm, and a gentle snow fall.  This is a view along the east side of the house, looking towards the street.  Coco is out for necessities, and enjoying a romp in the snow.

Interesting to note how involved or not involved folks around the neighborhood are when it comes to keeping sidewalks and driveways cleared off.  You can see some who will be out several times a day.  Everytime it snows even a quarter of an inch they feel like they need to clear it off.  Others, like me try to get out and shovel or otherwise clear the snow once a day or so.  Others do it less frequently, and some don't even bother.  I shovelled today for the eighth day in a row, but our neighbors, the ones we share a driveway with haven't bothered.  They're younger and probably more fit than I am, so I can't see doing it for them.  If it were the proverbial little old ladie with arthritis and a cane, I might, out of the goodness of my heart, have shovelled a couple of times at least.  As it is, I've been keeping the entire lower end of the driveway cleaned out.... from the street and across the sidewalk.  And I've cleared off our half of the drive way, including the shared center track.  All they would need to do there is one shovel width up the farside tire track that is theirs.  It's still grass in between and their car has kept that down somewhat.  Farther up, the driveway splits/separates and I've only done our portion.  But their front walk and the side walk across the front of their house has never been done... except when the neighbor on the other side of us has had his snow blower out and has done both sides of the street from corner to corner.

Amazes me to see the attitude and expectations people have regarding how the city plows and cleans off the streets.  And in my opinion the city has done a great job of it.  Our street has been plowed once, maybe twice, and in most places is still covered, but it is compacted and not that bad for driving, although it might be a little slippery.  Some people seem to expect it to be plowed down to bare pavement.  On the other hand, I can remember years past where the city (and county, and State) would start plowing the main roads, get them as clear as possible, but before they could get to the side streets, the residential areas, it would snow again and they'd start over on the main roads.  Pretty soon the side streets would be so deep that people were getting stuck on the side streets, not because they were slippery, but because the snow was just too deep.  Or they would finally get around to plowing residential areas after the streets were at least packed down and accessible for most, and after people had shovelled out parking spaces, access to driveways, and so on.  Then people would get mad because they'd have to go out and shovel out the berm the snow plows left behind.  And if it's old compacted, just about turned to ice snow that can be a very difficult chore.  Now a lot of the plows are equipped with gates that the driver can close off while passing a driveway.  That way there is no or very little berm to be removed by hand.

Coco's playing lap dog. Yeah, that's my foot on the right of the pic. Taken last night.

So today is supposed o remain fairly cool, right at freezing, depending on one's source of weather information.  Then it's supposed to warm up a bit and if we get any precipitaion it's likely to be as rain.

So here I am, just rattling along with some thoughts on winter and snow removal.  Once the mailman comes and Coco gets to see him, I need to do my usual Friday run around town.  I check mail for the Corvair Club and for Spokane Authors.  If anyone in either group has sent in/paid dues, I'll go to the respective Credit Union to deposit it.  I also stop by the local supermarket to get my Lotto ticket, a bit o wine and some beer for the coming week.

Happy Friday Everybody!  Have a great weekend and a good week next week!
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

More Snow

Temperature still several degrees below freezing, making it a decent winter's day.  We got another inch or two of snow over night, so I've been out to shovel once again.  Finally cleaned the truck off as I want to/need to make a run to the store later today.  Plus, I have an appointment to get it serviced tomorrow morning and want to make sure I don't have to rush trying to clean it off before I go.  Hardest thing to clean was the old snow that had semi melted and then froze again.  Otherwise should have been a fairly simple matter of sweeping it off.

Yesterday after I shovelled, I went into the back yard and stomped out some trails for Coco.  As you can see, he opted not to follow them.  He can walk on top of the crunchy older snow, while I sink in.  He likes the snow, but when he gets cold, wants to go in.

He's on the scent of something, not sure what.  Or maybe he's just checking things out.  Often buries his nose in the snow following some odor he finds interesting.

Just realized I've shovelled everyday for five days now.  Guess I'm getting my exercise!  And it's good exercise, too, especially when the snow is wet and heavy.  It's been nice the past couple of days.  It's colder and the snow is dryer and more powdery.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

This and That Again

Today finally feels like, acts like a true winter's day.  Temps are in the 20s (F) and the sky is partly cloudy or even partly sunny at times.  Brisk, but not super cold, but cold enough the snow that fell last night is somewhat powdery and not a soggy mass of slush.  Sure is a lot easier to shovel.

Looking East across the front of the house, taken around noon today!

Another thing in the list of things that irk me... As a reader, it bugs me when an author, usually when writing dialogue, misspells words trying to conger up some quaint dialect.  I don't mind the occasional contraction, or omission of a letter here and there, but sometimes it's done to the point that the word or phrase is unrecognizable at first or even second glance.  To me, it's distracting if I have to go back and sound it out to gain an idea of what the character is saying.  Takes me out of the reading flow, I guess.  I don't mind things like "sez" for "says" and the like, but some are really difficult to comprehend at first glance.  In my own writing I try to use the order or arrangement of the words to indicate a person's speech characteristics, more so than trying to spell them to reflect particular pronunciations, dialects, etc.

Coco was just barking at something so I went to look and saw a FedEx truck across the street, delivering a package.  I got to wondering... if Fed Ex and UPS combined, would they be known as a Fed Up Service?

That's it for now.  More next time.

Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Slush Day!

It snowed steadily and sometimes heavily all day yesterday, finally letting up around 8 pm if memory serves.  Based on my calculated eyeball, I'd say we got seven or eight inches worth of the white stuff in the local area.  According to the weather people on TV the official snowfall as measured at the airport was seven inches.  I went out and shovelled around 2:30, not long after I posted here.  It was snowing hard enough that by the time I finished, I could do a quick pass over every thing and get more off.  In spite of the depth, it wasn't bad, in my opinion... a nice deep, somewhat fluffy snow fall.  Nevermind that it made a mess out of the evening commute.  One of the local stations preempted regular programiming and ran constant news reports about all the problem areas and sticky situations people were having as they tried to get home.

Very similar view to what I posted yesterday, but taken a couple hours later,  I'd already shovelled, but it's hard to see here.

North east corner of the back yard, taken around 7:30 last night.  I like the illuminating qualities of a snow fall.

Sometimes it irks me that "they" make such a big deal out of snow.  It is something that occurs every winter and should be considered normal.  But then it seems that so many people have to re-learn how to drive in it if they haven't done so for more than a week or two.  I'm just glad I didn't have to.  Usually I have no problem with the snow and ice... it's the other idiots out there on the road.

Anyway, as so often happens, it warmed up overnight.  Any precipitation that fell arrived in the form of rain, and the existing snow acted like a sponge.  So now, where there as been some traffic on the roads, the pavement may be bare and wet or covered with that winter bugaboo... slush.  And the snow that remains is heavy, wet, and sticky.  Got my excercise shovelling again today.  At least what I had to shovel was only what had fallen since I shovelled yesterday.  Plus that, one of the neighbors did the entire side walk along the street with his snow-blower.  At last report I understand it's supposed to stay fairly warm for the next day or two, with the possiblilty of more rain or snow.  Then as the next week starts it's supposed to get cold.  Personally wish it would have stayed a bit cooler and then gotten cold.  I don't think things would be so messy as they are now.

More next time,
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Snow Day

As far as snow goes, it's been a mild winter so far.  We've had two or three instances of snow, but most of the time it's warmed up and been gone within a day or so.  Maybe  it would last a while longer if piled up from shovelling/plowing and in the shade.  But today we are in for it, as they say.  Started some time after I got up and took Coco out for his morning matter of necessities.  Looks like a couple inches on the ground now, and the weather guessers are saying it's supposed to snow throughout the afternoon and night.  We might end up with half a foot or so.  Usually we get snow and then it gets warm and it all melts.  This time we might have a day or so of somewhat warm temps, but then it's supposed to get cold for a few days.  There are even rumors of overnight temps in the minus degrees F range next week.

Big thing for most folks today is the commute home this evening. Best if everyone just has a bit of patience and take their time.  I was out earlier and it wasn't too bad, but then it wasn't rush hour traffic, and there wasn't nearly as much as there will be this afternoon.

Took this pic out the front door an hour or so ago.

Not much yet as evidenced by the lawns still showing through some.  It's supposed to keep at it all day!

More next time,
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Standard Manuscript Format

A couple of days ago, someone on Twitter Tweeted about finishing a story and mentioned the number of pages it had and the number of words.  To me, it seemed like a much higher word count than should have been expected with the stated number of pages.  After a bit of Twitter conversation it turned out the manuscript was spaced at 1.15 lines rather than the traditional/standard 2. (double spaced)

Anyway, that got me to thinking, that with so many people self-publishing these days, and with some doing nearly everything, from first draft to final published work, standard format seems to have less importance.  Quite possibly, some writers may not even be aware of it.  Much of what I know, I learned over the years from Anne Mini on her Author! Author! Blog.  I don't think she's posted anything for a few years, but it still has loads of information on traditional publishing and the writing world.  (She posted a few weeks ago to acknowledge some problems with scammers and that some posts are appearing to be in some foreign language.)  Yet if you can get to it, the voluminous blog has tons of information on standard format, querying, pitching, etc.  There is an index or list of catagories, both by date of original posting and by subject.  I find that nearly everything is explained fully and in complete detail,although it might take a bit to wade through it all.

A couple of years ago, I made a presentation to Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers on Standard Manuscript Format, and I include that here.  It's in outline form and hopefully it will translate over when I hit "paste."  I originally included samples, but I don't think they will show as they should,so I'll not place them here.

Not quite Standard Format, in that I've printed on both sides of the page and it's been punched to fit in a three-ring binder. Other than that, and the fact I've done some editing on these two pages, this is what standard format should look like.

Standard Manuscript Format
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Well, that's Standard Format as I have come to understand it over the years.  Most is based on what I learned from Anne Mini.  Like so many things in the writing and publishing world, there are variations, contrary opinions, and just plain opposite directives.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

More Things that Irk Me!

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Everybody!  No, that doesn't irk me, but something related to the change in the calendar does.  As the past year drew to a close there seemed to be a lot of hype regarding the ending of the decade.  Best athlete of the decade, best picture, etc.  What no one seems to realize is the decade still has a year, 2020 to go before it ends.

I seem to remember a bit bruhaha about this as the 20th century ended, with folks thinking 2000 was the first year of the 21st century, while in fact if was the final year of the 20th century.  Thus the first decade of the current century ended at the end of 2010 and the second, the current decade, will end as 2020 fades from existence.

With people alluding to the decade changing last night, sometimes the resulting implications can be shocking.  A few nights ago a local sportscaster mentioned that our local WHL Hockey team, the Spokane Chiefs had played their last home game of the decade.  My immediate thought was, "What happened?  Will there not be a team in 2020?  Is the Arena in need of repairs so they can't play during the year?  Why won't there be any home games until 2021?"  I know he simply meant it had been the last home game of 2019, but...  And today I noticed that even our local newspaper fell into the trap, with a review of the past decade.

Coincidentally the paper had an article about "banned" words.  One I wish would be added is "gifted," as in, "He gifted me his price collection of baseball cards."  Or, "I gifted her grandma's recipe for apple pie."  Better, I think, to say, "He gave me..." or I presented her with..."

Using "gifted" in this way makes me think of some sort of a merchandizing scheme, perhaps a pyramid scheme, where you "gift" something to someone and in return you will be "gifted" ten fold by others, etc.

Now, "gifted" should not be totally eliminated.  It used to mean someone with special abilities or talents... "a gifted artist," for example.  We should go back to using it in these situations instead of a catch all for gave, presented, received, got, etc.

Lastly, why do they put such long shoe laces in shoes?  The pair I have on right now requires that after tying the overhand knot and the bow, I draw the loops out extremely long in order to prevent the free ends from dragging on the floor.  Then I have to triple knot the loops to get them short enough that they don't drag.  True, I have fairly thin feet and probably have more excess shoe lace than a lot of folks.  I don't mind having to tie a single overhand not in the bow, much like we do for kids to keep shoes from coming un tied.  But three or even four, that's ridiculous.  At one time I discovered that if I left the loops of the bow small, I could actually tie a second bow in the laces.  Big problem was they tended to come untied at the most inopportune times.

Yes, Christmas Lights are still up.  We usually leave them up well past New Years.  Will eventually disconnect them, but might wait until it's nicer to actually take them down.  I keep saying I'll just leave them up so I don't have to do it again next year.  Anyway, this was taken late in the evening on the day before New Year's Eve... just a bit of snow and more coming down.  We awoke on the last day of the year to a couple inches of heavy wet snow and a temperature that was steadily climbing.  By the time the New Year arrived it was positively balmy.  Today, just traces of snow left.  Once again we've gone through fall, gets colder, winter, it snows, and spring, it warms and melts, all in a one or two day period.  Personally, if it's going to snow, I'd rather see it get and stay cold.  A light powdery snow that doesn't turn to slush in the streets or require extra human strength to shovel is a lot nicer.
Well, enough rambling as we start of the New Year.  Hope everyone had a great celebration and rang in 2020 with a bang!  (Ours was quiet... Eva had worked so went to bed.  I stayed up and watched the ball drop on TV, but that was about it.)
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Web-Site Woes and Frustrations

As many of you know, I act as Web-Master (Web-Disaster?) for Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  Several months ago the company (well known, based on a family member title) told me they were going to "migrate" the web-site/account to a new hosting service.  It would be a smooth process, they said, where I would not have to do much of anything or be inconvenienced in any way.

Logo for Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  I did not create this. It was made by a former member named Connie.

Well, the apparent migration evidently took place while I was in the process of doing updates and the like to the site.  I'd been able to download and work on various items, but then found I couldn't load them back in.  Later I found I could get to the new hosting site and do the changes, but they weren't showing up on the site itself.  Even Jessica, the computer whiz in the family wasn't able to figure it out.

Finally did the obvious and called them.  "Oh, we need a new domain name for the routing," or something similar, they told me. "Yeah, sure," I replied and we agreed on something.  I was thinking it was internal, but turned out the new link/URL/Domain Name was needed to get to the web-site.  Yeah, updates were now showing up, but I didn't think it was right that we'd need to actually change the link/URL.  So many places, on other web-sites, publications, individuals' business cards, etc would all need to be changed.  So I called back a day later and basically demanded they get it to where the site could be accessed via the old link/URL.

Got some hemming and hawing over that, and for a while, nothing seemed to change.  I even mentioned in an e-mail to the other SASP members that they might need to use the new URL to access the site.  Then I noticed that using the new URL, I was  unable to get to the site, but that once again, the original worked.

By that time I had a lot of updates, changes and corrections that needed to be made.  I figured I'd try again to use the new hosting and see if it actually updated.  This time I wasn't able to get to the hosting program.  Seems like it wanted a new URL, one that was not currently being used... as in the old/current hosting system.  But, I was able to get into the old hosting and now it seems as if everything is running fine.  I can get into the site, make changes, and they are showing up.  Also, the site is accessible via the original/old/current URL/Link.  Phew!

Books by SASP members on display at a past meeting.

"They" said the new hosting is supposed to be better, and maybe it is.  But again, we shouldn't have to change the web-address for the site, just because they go to a new hosting service.  I'd be happy if they just left it alone, as it is now.  As mentioned, I can make the changes, they show up, and the site can be reached by the original web-address.

One of these days I'll need to do some updating on my own web-site.  It's through another company, but they too have decided to "migrate" hosting services to the same place. Supposedly mine has been moved.  Just hoping it has gone smoother. and that they don't expect me to change the URL for that one.

Finished reading Larry Danek's Jed's World a couple of weeks ago.  Lately I've started Chisolm's Debt, by Spokane Area author Frank Zafiro.  Should finish that up in a few days.  Had planned to parallel NaNoWriMo again in November, but somehow didn't get to it.  Then decided I'd do my own in December, and as things turned out, didn't do it then either.  Now I'm telling myself that January will be the month for me to get back to Darnahsian Pirates.  I've got maybe two or three chapters, perhaps four to go before I reach the end.  Just have to get back to it.

More next time,
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Coco's Christmas!

Last night, Christmas Eve, Coco caught the scent of something interesting to him.  It was under the tree, so he crawled in after it.  He simply guarded a particular package, which it turned out, contained something Eva had bought for him.  The only way to get him out from under the tree was to remove the package, open it and let him have it.  It was a doggie chew toy, an orange plastic snake about a foot long.  He's played with it, gotten us to play with him playing with it, or just kept a protective eye on it.
Here are a couple pics of the pup under the tree...

"Sketch" special effects from the phone.

Coco the Canine Christmas Elf!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!