Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Form letter junk mail

A new rash of form letter junk emails have hit my spam box.

All of them have the subject line: Re. (fill in the blank)

And the text says:

Ahahahaha looks like we share the same opinion (fill in the blank).

Check my profile at:

Some dating site referral link
See what else we have in common ;)

You just have to laugh at the laziness of the people who send out this spam. Does the company send their spammers a form letter to fill out? I am thinking yes because the only difference between the letters is (fill in the blank) and the sender (and the referral number, of course). C'mon spammers, create your own letter if you are going to spam me; your job is to entertain me, not make me think that I am watching TV reruns.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Revising my class schedule

Checking my transfer sheet, I realized that one of the required classes I need did not transfer with the right course number. So I had to drop the Critical Essay class.

Faced with the choice of dropping the Korean War class and taking the missing class (Introduction to Literature which has to be taken at UCD), or taking the missing class another semester and enrolling in another class instead to keep me at the twelve credits, I chose to punt and take Immigration and Ethnicity in American History instead.

I actually thought about signing up for this class in the first place, but decided to try to take two English classes this semester instead. Haha---the joke is on me. At least, I have only missed one class (a whole three hour of lectures), so hopefully I should be able to catch up.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Classes I am taking this semester

This week was the first week of classes for the Spring 2011 semester at the University of Colorado at Denver. This semester I am taking my standard allotment of four classes (12 credits).

I finally got into the Critical Writing Essay class. It is one of the classes that I have to pass in order to get my degree. This class involves a lot of writing and developing the ability to actually wax on about the meaning and structure of a piece of writing.

I am also taking 1950s: Korean War, Cold War and US Transformation. Personal interest---it actually fills no slots other than an elective. Have to do an small research project---I am thinking something to do with the pulps (either men's magazines or science fiction).

My other history class this semester is Urban Development in the US; it is a class focusing on how cities developed and some of the social changes that resulted from having big cities in the United States. Again, personal interest (though I am hoping to convince an advisor to count it towards my US history requirement). I am hoping to get some background for the urban fantasies that I find myself writing.

My last class is Medieval Women---Whores and Saints. I am taking this class because (1) it fulfills a requirement, and (2) it is being taught by my favorite professor (ironically the professor that I hated the most at the beginning of last semester). Based on last night's class, it is going to be a major learning experience.

So there are my excuses for not getting a lot of writing or occult work done over the next few months. But on the bright note, I am getting closer to graduation (not that it means much to someone who plans on flipping directly into the Masters program).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Critical Writing Panic Attack

As I noted in a previous post, my wife was hoping that the start of the semester would even out my bad mood. No such luck. Today, I had a small panic attack (and am still on edge) in the Critical Writing class.

Definitely not the way that I wanted to start that class. But I do understand why it happened.

Critical Writing is one of the classes that I have to take in order to graduate (provided that I want to finish up the Literature major---or even a minor in Lit). I knew that the class was going to be hard. But the more the professor talked about what we needed to do to pass, the more I wondered what a high school dropout like myself was doing there.

I am not sure that I can get across that bar at all. Oh well, even if I crash and burn---hopefully---I will pick up the skills I need to survive my senior seminar in the fall. And yes, I am so stubborn that I would rather flunk the class than drop it. Here is to the book and 600 words (good words) that I have to finish before the next class.

Clarification of my job skills

Just a quick note to make something clear: When I say that I am not qualified for anything outside of flipping burgers or supervising people flipping burgers, I am actually saying that I don't have a piece of paper that says that I am quailified for anything else (aka the lambskin that the university gives you saying that you have an education and are programmed to jump though administrative hoops while sitting still). It does not matter what type of skills, management or otherwise I have, without that piece of paper, it is like having none. Of course, that is like saying that because I have not gotten published by a big publisher that I have no skills as a writer.

Where would we be if we did not have our gatekeepers keeping the riff-raff out?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Foul mood continues

Well, my foul mood has continued. Blame it on my brain rotting. Or something.

My wife is hoping that the start of the new semester improves my mood. I am not so sure that it will. One of the things that is driving me batty is the little voice that says that I should drop out of college and head back to working in restaurants.

(As if there are any jobs to be had in restaurants, even if one is available 24/7. And outside of restaurant work, I am only qualified [or not] to do freelance writing.)

It is the little voice that says I should be doing more to get us out of our little budget problem that is driving me nuts. My childhood training kicks in, and that makes me grumpy. Which is turn, drives my wife nuts.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Taking care of business

Did some minor business updating today (profiles, account information, etc.).

The most important update was probably the fact that I decided to swap around my "real" name and my "alternate" name on Facebook.

When I signed up on Facebook, it was to keep touch with a couple of friends that I made when attending college. That is why I signed up---college. So I used my real, legal birthname, the one that my college friends would know me by. It is also the name that people who went to High School with me would know me by.

What I did not realize was that more of my Facebook friends would end up being game players (most of my networking involves game-playing) or people who had knew me by my pen-name (who probably never heard my birthname before encountering it on Facebook) than people I was going to college with.

As my regular readers know my pen-name became the name that I introduce myself by because one of my family members did not want my activities being associated with them. There is a moment in one of the Harry Potter books where Uncle Vernon wants Harry to claim to be attending St. Brutus's Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys because they do not wish to admit that there is a wizard in the family. I understood that scene; I have been there.

The goose has flown on that particular ploy a few years ago. Someone I went to High School with connected the dots between me and my pen-name. And given the size of the town I went to High School in, well...if one person in the town knows---everyone knows.

Today, someone noted that they still could not get used to my real name, and I decided that enough was enough---so I decided to swap the names around. Besides I had it rigged already that you could find me by either name.

The second most important update today (maybe) was the fact that I enabled adsense for my Bukisa account. Bukisa had decided to abandon their Bukisa Index (mainly due to fraudant traffic), and pay out though Google Adsense or Chitika Ads instead (taking a forty percent cut off the top). I already have an Adsense account, so I went with it. Not that I have much up on Bukisa, just three test articles (someday I will get around to fleshing out that section of my writing portifolio).

Doing stuff like this is not why I became a writer, but it is neccessary stuff to do.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mocking the spam 2

I presume that any email written this badly must be coming from a spammer or phisher.

Dear Account Owner

This is email from Windows Live Hotmail and we are sending it to you account user for your safety. Due to the anonymous registration of our account which is causing congestion to our service so we are shutting down some account and your account was among those to be deleted,so the purpose of this email is for you to verify that you are the owner of this account and you are still using it by filling the information below after clicking on the reply button:
* Username: ---------------------------

* Password: ---------------------------
* Date of Birth: -----------------------
* Country Or Territory: ----------
After following the instructions in the sheet, your account will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. Thanks for your attention to this request. We apologize for any inconveniences.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bestsellers on the day of my birth

Over on BibiOZ.com (The Booksearch Wizard), they have a page where you can type in your birthday (use the calendar tool, it is easier to make sure that you get the right results) and the system spits out a list of the bestsellers on the day (week) of your birth (unless you were born before 1950, then you just get the bestsellers for the year).

(The link is on the topbar, far right---I could not get a clean link to the direct page.)

The fiction bestsellers for the week of my birth (ending September 5th 1965) were:

1: The Source (James Michener)
2: Up the Down Staircase (Bel Kaufman)
3: The Green Berets (Robin Moore)
4: Hotel (Arthur Hailey)
5: The Looking Glass War (John Le Carre)
6: The Man With the Golden Gun (Ian Fleming)
7: Night of Camp David (Fletcher Knebel)
8: Don't Stop the Carnival (Herman Wouk)
9: The Ambassador (Morris West)
10: The Rabbi (Noah Gordon)

The non-fiction bestsellers for the week of my birth (ending September 5th 1965) were:

1: The Making of the President 1964 (Theodore H. White)
2: Intern (Doctor X)
3: Is Paris Burning? (Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre)
4: Markings (Dag Hammarskjold)
5: Games People Play (Eric Berne)
6: The Oxford History of the American People (Samuel Eliot Morison)
7: Journey of a Soul (Pope John XXIII)
8: A Gift of Prophecy (Ruth Montgomery)
9: Queen Victoria: Born to Succeed (Elizabeth Longford)
10: Sixpence in Her Shoe (Phyllis McGinley)

How many of these books have I read? None.

I have read a couple of pages each from The Man With the Golden Gun, Games People Play, and Is Paris Burning?

I imagine that someone out there will find this sad; I hope that they have read more of the bestsellers of their birth week than I have.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Changing Resolutions

One of the things that I have noticed over the last few years is my changing attitude towards making New Year's resolutions. At one time, I used to make New Year's resolutions, and I would never keep them. Today, I no longer make New Year's resolutions (except when required to).

(This year, CCD Campus Connection, the college newspaper that I write the astrology column for, gathered a set of resolutions and matching pictures from all the staff. My resolution? To clean up a certain table before the end of the year.)

I think that the reason I quit doing resolutions was that I was making impossible choices. "This year, I am going to write a novel." "This year, I am going to make a greater effort to get published." "This year, I am going to make a greater effort to actually make money."

Those were the days that I used to do the annual New Year (Spring) writing campaign. You know, one of those frenzies of activities that make you think that you are busy and making progress, but in reality you never really accomplish anything.

Nowadays, my writing campaigns occur 365 days a year. Oh, there are times of increased activity, such as my school breaks. But the times of increased activity merely correspond to those times that I have extra time to work at my craft.

At some point, I became one of those writers who is always working.

A small reminder of this is one of my latest projects: a set of coloring pages based on the Splendor Solis illustrations. There is no definite self-imposed deadline on the project. And I have posted one of the rough Splendor Solis coloring pages on my Golden Dawn blog. Hopefully, I get it done by the end of the year, and figure out a viable way to profit from the project.

Ok, it might be a resolution to finish it by the end of the year...but I am not under any delusion that it will make this my big break-out year. I guess that I am older and wiser...well, older. I have discovered that as long as I am slowly increasing my stock of material, the urge to make resolutions is not going to rear its ugly head. And that makes me much happier than I was when I was making resolutions.

Happy New Year

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