Sunday, November 16, 2014

I'm Back!

I haven't blogged a word since August 18th?  Damn.  What can I say? 

Well, here I am.

I'm in the middle of coloring my hair, though, so I won't be here for long.  Why, you ask, am I coloring my hair?  Because the lack of relaxer has also stripped it of sheen.  Maybe the natural hair is drier?  I don't know.  But my hair looks like I've been rolling around in dust, so I'm giving it some color.  A nice dark brown.  It will kill my natural highlights, but until I can figure out a way to add the luster back to my tresses, semi-permanent color it is!

Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated. ;)

Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm the Worst Blogger Ever

Well, maybe not the worst.  I'm sure there are other bloggers (and I use the term loosely) who are far less reliable than me.  You know, some guy or girl who hasn't made a single blog entry in well over a year.  Surely, I'm not as bad as those people?

So let's talk about books.

I have done my third (yes, third) rewrite of Queen of Zazzau.  It's not been an easy task.  At the beginning of this year, the novel was 126000 words.  I cut the first four chapters and added a shitload of physical descriptions (mostly of the background settings).  It's amazing how little Westerners know of Africa.  Since my target audience will, hopefully, include Westerners, I thought it important that they visualize what I am visualizing.  Of course, during Revision 4 (and there will be a Revision 4), I will likely cut some of those descriptions.  I pray that Revision 4 happens, after I've sold the novel.

But, I digress.

So, I cut four chapters and added details, which brings the novel to 146000 words.  It was my intention to stay below 130K, so this 16K overage is somewhat distressing.  Several people that have read the novel don't find the word count all that perturbing.  However, I am not GRR Martin or JK Rowling.  I can't write a 600 page novel with impunity.

So what does that mean?

It means that my writing had better be damned compelling.  That's what it means.  I'm going to update the tidbits page to include Chapters 1-3 as soon as I get this formatting crap cleared up.  Blogger keeps posting with a white background.  Totally uncool.

Do come back and take a look.  I promise to get it done within the next seven days.  I'm setting my telephone reminder now.  Once I've posted the new stuff, give it a read.  If you think the storytelling is boring/awful/garbage or otherwise uninteresting, do please feel free to drop me a line and crush my delusions of grandeur.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Another Post a Day and an Update on Natural Hair

On 2/18/2014, I said I would start trying to make a post a day.  Since then, I have made three posts. 

I am such a liar.

But on a less deceptive note, here's an update to the natural hair thing:

My middle girl is locking rather well.  The locks aren't tight, but they're firm enough that we'd probably have to cut them out if she changes her mind now.  She still treats her hair poorly, so half the time--even locked--her hair looks crazy.  But she is totally adorable, regardless.

As for my hair.  It is still natural; I have not yet succumbed to the call of the relaxer, but it be callin' me!  The only thing I can say for certain is that my hairline appears to have filled in at the back.  The section that I never used to braid, now must be braided or I look like a scruffy ragamuffin.  So, anecdotally, I can say that natural hair does support fuller hair... to an extent.  But that is all I can say. 

I've been natural for a year now, and my hair is not growing any faster.  In fact, it appears to be growing slower.  Nor is my hair any thicker.  My hairline is fuller, but only the back.  Not the front.  The front still breaks as easily as it broke when the hair was relaxed.  Perhaps more so, since I'm braiding more often. 

Don't braid, you say?  My response: that's easy for you to say. 

I've seen tutorials and photographs of various 'natural' hairstyles I can do, and they're all quite lovely.  But my hair texture does not support them. 

I've tried twists, but my hair doesn't have enough heft to lie down.  It all sticks straight up.  I'll be damned if I go to work looking like Alfalfa. 

There are also twist-outs.  Tried that, but my hair doesn't hold the shape. 

I could go with an Angela Davis afro, but that ain't happening.  1) My hair isn't long enough; 2) My hair is of inconvenient texture; 3) I'd have to comb my hair everytime I get up.  Seeing as how my hair doesn't like to be handled, combing it while dry would probably cause as much damage as braids.

So that leaves me with... what?

I would welcome any suggestions.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Update to United Airlines

I thought United Airlines would ignore my letter, but they did not.  Of course, I sent four copies to four different departments, so that may have had something to do with it.  Irrespective of the why, last week, I received several letters of apology, both of which explained that it was not dictated by policy, but rather by pilot prerogative whether or not to wait for passengers. One of the letters said (and I'm paraphrasing): We hope you allow us the opportunity to earn back your trust

I hate to be swayed by mere words, but must admit that those words did sway me.  Well met, United Airlines.  Well met, indeed!  It didn't hurt that they gave me some bonus mileage and a few vouchers :). 

Needless to say, I am pleased.  And I shall happily fly United again!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

United Airlines

This is a letter I plan to send to United Airlines.  My advice?  Don't fly United; they don't give a shit about you.

To whom it may concern:
On Thursday, March 27th 2014,  I flew United Airlines Flight 5245 from RDU to IAH at 6:30pm.  Because the plane was re-routed around a storm, we arrived at IAH at 8:45pm—15 minutes later than scheduled.  I had a connecting flight from IAH to LOS, which was departing at 9:15pm. 
Along with my husband and four children, we hurried to the gate for UA Flight 142, and reached there at 9:00pm, exactly.  Upon arriving at the gate, the UA representative told us the captain had already received the final head count and no additional passengers would be allowed onto the plane.

NOTE: we arrived at the gate 15 minutes before departure!

Without even a word of apology or any show of empathy, the gate representative abruptly directed us to Customer Service. 

Frustrated, and very nearly in tears, we spoke with the Customer Service representative, who informed us that we could not board Flight 142, because the final head count was already done and they did not have time to make new calculations.  Again, there was no apology or show of empathy.  In fact, when the Supervisor showed up in response to an irate customer, he shouted and them and threatened, with unmitigated gall, to “shut it down”.  
Behind me, in line to speak with a Customer Service representative, were about fifteen other passengers bound to LOS—a fact that I pointed out to the representative.  Along with my family of 6, those of us who had been denied boarding on Flight 142 numbered at least twenty.
The Customer Service representative casually informed us that UA cannot hold a plane for 20 people when the 100+ people on the plane needed to arrive at their destination on time.  I responded that UA would not have been holding the plane, because we had arrived at the gate with fifteen minutes to spare.  Regardless, we were not allowed to board and the next flight to LOS was scheduled for the following night at 9:15pm.  Also, because the weather was not the fault of the airline, UA would not pay for our overnight accommodations.
I would argue that United Airlines was, in fact, to blame for denying us entry onto our scheduled flight on March 27th, 2014.  Therefore, United Airlines and its company policy of denying people boarding when they arrive at the gate with time to spare was, in fact, the reason that we had to stay the night in Humble, TX.
Feeling rather disenfranchised, we gathered up our children and luggage and called the 800-number the Customer Service representative had given us to book a hotel room.  The only available hotel was the Baymont Inn, and the room cost $80.  We had to pre-pay over the phone.
A shuttle service picked us up from airport and took us to the Baymont Inn, where we learned that, because of the size of my family, we had to pay an additional $20 to upgrade the room.  We paid it and were shown to a room that reeked of cigarette smoke and mildew.

While the staff at the Baymont Inn was wonderful—kind, friendly, far more empathetic than the staff at United Airlines—the room did not meet our expectations.  With nowhere else to go and having pre-paid for the room, however, we settled in for the night.

On the following day, we arrived at the airport at 2:00pm and began the long wait—with 4 children—until boarding time.
Boarding began at 8:29pm, and we were on the plane within fifteen minutes of that time.  At or around 9:15pm, the PA system came on, and we thought we were finally going to leave.  However, the captain did not tell us to prepare for takeoff.  Instead, he told us that another UA connecting flight had just landed—just landed—and we were going to wait for them to arrive at the gate and board the plane.
It took a massive bolus of willpower to keep from bursting into tears at that moment.
On the day before, we were denied boarding at 15 minutes prior to takeoff, then told in no uncertain terms that the flight could not be delayed for twenty passengers (even though we would all likely have been in our seats before 9:15pm).  On the following day, not only did United Airlines delay the flight, they delayed it for an entire hour!
After making us lose a day in Nigeria, making us pay $100 to stay in a filthy hotel, and making us sit in the airport from 2:00pm until boarding at 8:29pm, United Airlines then delayed us another hour.  On a plane from which I had no cellphone signal, thus could not notify my family in Nigeria.
I would like to point out that I am glad United Airline did the right thing and waited for those other passengers on March 28th.  However, after having been adamantly told that the flight could not be delayed (which, I reiterate, it probably would not have been) for us 20 people, it was like a blow to the gut when this airline did exactly what they had told us they could not do.
After paying nearly $6300 dollars to fly the United Airlines brand, I was treated like nothing more than a number that was stricken off a flight roster.  
Thank you, United Airlines, for making me spend another $100 to pay for a sub-standard hotel room.  Thank you, United Airlines, for taking away a full day of the vacation for which I had saved and paid.  Thank you, United Airlines, for making me spend yet another $388 to rebook our flights within Nigeria (because we arrived a day late).  And most of all, thank you, United Airlines for showing me precisely what you think of me and my money.  
I will take my business elsewhere.
A Very Disgruntled Passenger

UPDATE!!! Here:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Once Again, We Touch on the Subject of Natural Hair

So after all the hemming and hawing, I finally went natural.  My natural hair is a pain in my ass.  It's so unruly; I hate it.  All my other body parts comply with my wishes, but my hair?  Not even a little.  I've tried product after product after product to make it hold a curl or even just hold its own natural texture.  None of them work.  I have three daughters and, between the four of us, no two has the same hair texture.  What works for one doesn't work for the next.

I really just want to lock it and have done with it.

My middle girl is locking right now.  She's 11 and treats her hair like its done her wrong.  Three days after I get her washed and tightened, her hair looks like she just rolled her head around on the carpet.  We don't even have carpet!  Honestly, I don't know if her hair texture is the culprit or if she's really just effing up her hair because she couldn't care less.

My eldest has her stuf under control!  She found a product that helps keep her hair in order.  As a matter of fact, she found several products that help keep her hair in order.  I'm so jealous.  In defense of my hair, though, my tresses are still only about 6 inches long, so they've got no weight and won't stay down.  My hair wants to stand up no matter what I do.

As for my baby, she's got the silky soft hair that is relatively easy to handle without any product at all.  Hers, however, won't hold a curl because it wants to straighten out every time I put a twist in it.

So there are my natural hair woes.  I cannot tell a lie... the relaxed hair was so much easier to work with.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Post a Day


But I'm posting more than once a quarter!  Of course, my posts aren't particularly substantive right now.  I've learned no new and pressing facts or done any new and exciting things.  My life is, essentially, rather mundane.

Two of my four children are home sick today.  Hopefully they'll be feeling better tomorrow.

Now I'm going to wash my hair and attempt to look presentable.  No, I will not post pictures of what I consider unpresentable.  And I will not post pictures when I am presentable.  Not that you asked.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

I did some more revising of my WIP.  It took me nearly five hours to review and revise about 1700 words.  It's 10pm now, and I'm incredibly tired.  So I'm off to bed.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Oh crap.  I totally forgot to update the blog!  I'll do some quick summaries.

Feb 11th
Worked all day.  Did not write 1000 words, but did some heavy revision on my work in progress (hereafter referred to as WIP), Queen of Zazzau.  Chapters 1 and 2 may be just about done.  Not sure yet.  We'll see.

Feb 12th
I had to leave work at 1030 because my girls' school closed early.  I got to the school around 1115, picked up the girls, and stopped at the store for some baking powder.  I got a few weird looks from other store patrons (the ones stocking up and water and whatnots).  I guess they were wondering why I needed baking powder in my bug-out bag.  I'll just let them ponder that.

Got home, did some work-work (protocols reviews), then I did more work on my WIP.  Nope, I did not write any new stuff.  Hey, reviewing, editing, and revising is incredibly time-consuming!

Let it snow...

The white stuff started falling around 2pm.  After 2 hours, the neighborhood, which rarely ever sees snow, looked like this:
Jack Frost had a major case of the shits
  Then the sleet came down and everything froze. 

Feb 13th
It took almost 20 minutes to get the ice off my car.  I had to pound at it with an ice scraper.  Twelve years of living in Michigan taught me well; I got the stuff off without cracking my windshield.  Or headlights.

Drove into work.  I think I saw all five of the snow-ploughs that North Carolina owns.  One was stalled on the side of the road, though.  So that brings us down to four.

On the best of days, my commute to work is a 35 minute drive.  It took me a little over an hour.  No one was there, so I proceeded to check on the animals.  Four years of vet school and $100,000 in debt, and here I am doing grunt work.  Luckily, one of my Animal Health Techs showed up--she was so much faster at the room checks than I was.  I think she changed about 15 cages in the same time it took me to change 2. :(

I left around 1pm (I think).  By 2pm, I'm still on the road, and I get a page from a delivery guy. 

He says, "There's usually someone here to let me in the building, but I've called all the numbers and no one answered.  Your pager number was the last number on the list."

I say, "There's no one in the building, numbnuts."  (I said the 'numbnuts' part in my head.)

After some quick thinking on my part, we get him sorted.  He makes his delivery and Bob's your uncle!  That's why I get paid the big bucks, right?

Feb 14th
Happy Valentine's Day! 

And welcome to the Big Thaw!  We'll see how things look in the next few hours.


Monday, February 10, 2014

So... I managed to write 1138 words on fiction yesterday.  I did not write a single word on this blog, but I got some other stuff done!  Yay!  Right?  Whatever.

I've got a busy day today, so I'm just checking in.  Hopefully, I'll have something more substantive to write tomorrow.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

I've been neglecting my blog.  Primarily because I'm lazy.  I don't like talking unless I have something worthwhile to say.  I've been told, however, that I should try to make a post a day.  While I'm highly unlikely to post anything of significance every single day, I have decided to try.

Here goes...

I've spent the past two or three weeks reviewing and critiquing works of both fiction and non-fiction.  Some have been very well written, others not so much.  It's been a strain on my brain and my eyes, now I need new glasses.  *sigh*

As for my own writing projects.  I'm still somewhat behind.  My writer's block isn't so much of a block, as I've been able to formulate ideas.  I'm just having difficulty putting the words down in a coherent and engaging fashion.  But I'm working on it.  Right now, I'm editing my finished manuscript and getting started on a Paranormal Romantica short-story/novellete.

My goal for today is 1000 words of fiction.  I'll let you know tomorrow if I meet that goal.

I overslept and missed my workout class, so now I have to drag myself through a quick workout without Jeff Wooten's motivational push.

Ciao!  I'll be back tomorrow (hopefully)!