Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Challengers, refrigerators, men and romance

I have a fascination with the headline news. Go ahead and call me a sucker, but things like, “NC sheriff’s deputy uses Corvette to stop speeders” grabs my attention. Personally, I’d use a Corvette to catch good-looking guys, but to each their own. But, today’s blog isn’t about Corvettes. Or the new Camaro. Or Challenger. It’s about refrigerators.

Say what? What does any of that have to do with romance? More than you think.

Labor Day weekend, 2001, just nine days before the world changed forever, we bought a new refrigerator. It was one of those side-by-side jobs with the ice dispenser in the door. Very nice. Very expensive, too, but neither of us had ever had a new refrigerator before. We come from modest backgrounds, and used hand-me-down appliances that still worked weren’t anything a can of spray appliance paint couldn’t spruce-up.

Well, our love affair with the big, black box in the kitchen went south in a hurry. My beloved and I came home one day to the thing spitting ice cubes out onto the ceramic tile floor. Not good. Even worse, three of the tiles had gotten so cold they cracked. The replacements aren’t a perfect match, either. We had the box repaired and moved on.

Before long, the freezer wasn’t freezing. We discovered the problem was in the electronics. If we unplugged it, and let it “thaw” out, we could plug it back in and it would be fine. At a couple hundred dollars a house call, the repairman doing what we could do ourselves was out of the question. I declared we’d have to live with it until the mortgage was paid off. My beloved agreed. We’d muddle through for a couple more years.

And so we did until last month, and the big, black box did it again. It was the sixth time in as many years, and my patience snapped. We went shopping and picked up one of those units with the freezer on the bottom.

Um, the romance part of this? I’m getting to it.

New refrigerators are ridiculously overpriced. I mean, really totally over the top. We almost decided to continue to endure the old one. I’m the one that carted frozen stuff up and down the basement stairs, and moved food from the ‘fridge to the cooler and then back. All he did was unplug the thing from the wall. If he could continue, so could I.

But then my honey, this balding, bad-boy ex-lead guitarist and two-time cancer survivor said he’d pay for the new refrigerator.

You might say, “and well he should,” but I disagree. For years, this man has been squirreling away his pennies for one last hot car in which to relive a small part of his youth while he can still have fun doing it. So instead of putting his money down on a new Challenger with a V8 Hemi, he plunked it down on domesticity.

Pretty darned romantic, if you ask me.


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Monday, July 20, 2009

Rayne's Ramblings - I used to want a Kindle

I wanted a Kindle. Let me count the ways I wanted a Kindle! Being of German and Scot descent, however, I couldn’t justify the cost when my trusty old laptop works great for reading. My laptop usually goes where I go, even to bed, but after all these years, I was ready to throw it over for something smaller and lighter - a Kindle.

Maybe not so fast…

I’m a sucker for the Yahoo headline news. Every time I log on, there are one or two articles I can’t resist reading. It’s so freakin’ easy to just click and go. But, I digress, again.

On July 20, 2009, the headline popped up “Pirated copies of Orwell books pulled from Kindle.” Okay, I clicked. It seems the Kindle shop offered Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm” when they didn’t have the clear rights to do so.

Someone at Amazon asleep at the wheel? It’s not the first time, the recent de-listing of GLBT literature being another example of snoozing. (They “corrected” that problem, too.) Amazon pulled the stories. BUT… and you knew there would be one…BUT they also wiped the stories off of people’s Kindles.

And this is where they lost my money.

I don’t care that monies were refunded. What I care about is BIG BROTHER. The very thing Orwell wrote about. To my way of thinking, that’s a bit too much control being exerted by a company that borderlines on being a monopoly.

I’d like to know why they didn’t let the people who purchased the stories, in good faith may I add, keep them, and pay the Orwell estate and publishers the going rate royalty. Other than the fact it’s too easy to be high-handed and just show the world how powerful Amazon has really become.

And what of those people who paid for merchandise with those little temporary credit cards? Did they get their money back, too? I’ve always wondered how that would work.

I think I’ll stick with my old trusty laptop that stills works like the day I got it. Save my money for something really special, whatever that may be.

A rep at Amazon did say they were taking steps that in the future, if this situation occurs again, customers won’t lose books. That doesn’t ease my concern that a giant company thought it was a good idea to build a "rescind" feature into their device.

One more thing, and this if for all the epublished authors out there. At the end of the article, the AP acknowledged that digital libraries are growing rapidly. They also said, in a nutshell, that piracy has not had a “measurable impact on sales.”

Just whose sales are they referring to?

Oh yeah. Amazon’s sales. The little guy in the trenches hardly counts.

Rayne Forrest

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

July again

July again. How did this happen? It seems like just yesterday it was March and the trees were bare. Now my backyard Eden is lush and green, visited nightly by fireflies. My beloved and I sit on the patio and laugh at the cat’s antics as he stalks them. Shooter seems to know it’s just a game to pass the time. Either that or he’s tasted fireflies and doesn’t care for the flavor. Who knows with cats?

After so many years of intense gardening, I’ve scaled back. The deer have won. We set aside a little patch of dirt outside the kitchen window and beside the patio for a daylily patch. I moved one of every variety I have into it, and it’s lovely. Looking out the window at that bright splash of color actually does ease the pain of being at the sink working. (I’m just not a kitchen person.)

I’ve been taking stock of my writing. My beloved’s battle with cancer took a lot out of both of us. More so him, of course, but almost losing him definitely altered my outlook on life. I set better priorities for myself, and the nose to the grindstone style of working is pretty far down the list. Earlier this season, as we sat on the patio wrapped in robes against the morning chill, he asked me if I planned to continue writing. It’s a big question, and the answer is yes, I do.

It’s time to forge ahead, get back in the game, not that I really left. I have more than a few completed manuscripts ready to go out the door. I hope my editors will be pleased to get them, but it’s always a roll of the dice.

The ideas never stop coming. I’ve seven concept folders started with bits and pieces of ideas, photos, and even one or two opening chapters. It’s time to pick one and starting composing prose.

First, though, it’s time for a bike ride with my beloved on this last day of my long holiday weekend. He has a new bike, you see, and even though it’s supposed to be a birthday present for a birthday at the end of this month, he has it now and can’t wait to test it out.

Life’s too short not to enjoy what you have.

Rayne Forrest