October 1st, 2004

charlie 2012 beige

Update Time!

It's a new month! Hurray! Maybe we'll have some better luck around here in October than we did in September...

Not that I'm really complaining, mind you. Marilyn mistressmarilyn and I are still (and always) 'glass half full' girls! To hell with negativity.

But that doesn't change the fact that life has been beating the hell out of us recently. (grin)

Marilyn had her car accident, for example. At least they didn't total the car! That would have been pretty brutal, as we seriously can't afford car payments right now...

The car 'went in' to the shop for repair this past Wednesday, so we currently have a rental. The rental car is fine, but smells of cigarette smoke, I'm afraid. (Ugh.) We'll live until the car is done, anyway.

Marilyn's surgery bills just keep rollin' in! The original 'estimate' of the expense was (needless to say, I suppose) off. It's been more. But it had to be done, so whatever!

Rose Festival had to freeze salaries again this year. That makes five years in a row that Marilyn won't be getting a pay raise. She was one of those deciding to do it, but it doesn't make it easier from a financial point here at home. (sigh)

Meanwhile, sister Sue has the paperwork to do for her bankruptcy, but seems to be procrastinating. (I'll do a 'friends only' post regarding more on Sue later, by the way. I've been meaning to, but just haven't had time to get to it...)

So we've officially started to help with her bills. Aside from that, I'm paying every time we do anything together. She wanted to go to Starbucks day before yesterday, so we did -- I paid. Yesterday we took Nicole (her granddaughter) to McDonalds and got food for the three of us (and to bring home for Marilyn) -- I paid. Yeah, yeah, that's 'nickle and dime' stuff, but it adds up, even so...

The car not being totaled was a blessing mainly because with helping on her bills we seriously can't afford a monthly car payment right now.

But don't get me wrong, we're getting by fine. In fact, we just bought a new 'outdoor fire bowl' thingy (firepit?) that we're going to put together (today? tonight?) so we can have a fire on the deck over the weekend! It's really cool. We had to go to this 'party' (I use the term very loosely here) recently and they had one. (Picture mostly couples -- men and women couples, I mean -- and those are all mostly parents with kids along. Then you've got Marilyn and me. It was... interesting... heh...) The weather that day had been on the edge of nasty, so we were worried it would rain on the outdoor event! But the rain held off and they had tents -- but it was chilly! (With all of us dressed for a Hawaiian theme, especially!) You should have seen people clustered around that fire!

Our fire bowl came with a screen (a big plus if you're going to use it on a wood deck!), so it should be really fun. Can't wait to try it out! (And we got it on an end-of-summer sale, too!)

Thanks to Evamaria shirasade, our copy of "Troy" is on the way here as we speak! Delightful! Can't wait...

Marilyn finally got her primo LOTR research book in the mail, by the way! She paid more than the actual cost of the book in postage and handling to speed up getting it and it still took forever! I was appalled by the cost and their attitude about the so-called 'one day' postage. Basically the 'one day' goes into effect only when they finally get around to shipping it out! Awful.

Especially in comparison to ordering and receiving my new version of Paint Shop Pro (yes, v.9 is out!) and Virtual Painter (plugin for PSP), which took only a couple of days! Go figure.

We're constantly buying books for fic research, though. And we literally spend hours doing research (and I mean hours and hours) for just about every fic we write. This new book is fabulous. Hands down the best.

Marilyn and I both just finished fics for a challenge at the Legolas_Aragorn_Slash list (at Yahoo! groups). I used that book extensively in finishing my two chapter fic! It's got the entire LOTR timeline (according to Tolkien) broken down so that you can really follow and understand it! My fic was placed during the first part of the quest, so I can't tell you how badly I needed that timeline. Whew.

As for the challenge, it finishes on the 8th of this month, so after that we'll put the fic up to our website -- I'm hoping to finish up the fic banners today...

I so admire Marilyn! In the 'list of bad crap' I started above was her losing her entire fic yesterday, after hours and hours of work writing it. She was (understandably) heart sick about it. She dashed home from work to help me 'hunt' for it on the computer, but through some glitch (probably with our horribly ancient version of Word) it was simply gone.

She did shed a few tears, but then she quickly pulled herself together and said she simply re-write it. That the story was 'in' her and she'd manage, even if the words weren't exactly the same.

Having been the one to read it aloud a couple of times while we both beta-ed it (the original) and then doing the same with the finished product late last night, I can only say she somehow saved the best of the original and improved the quality of what was changed! Just amazing. She's such an inspiration to me when it comes to writing...

And I'm becoming as fixated (as much of a fanatic?) as she is about finding just the right word... I love that, actually! There were three occasions (that I recall) where I had to hunt for a word in that fic and then felt so satisfied after! (smile)

Well, what a surprise! Mt. St. Helens just blew again! Nothing major (yet), but I guess you can see the steam and ash cloud at Sue's house (though not from our house -- too many trees).

I don't want to face that mess again. It was awful the first time around back in 1980. (Ugh.)

More later!

charlie 2012 beige

PSP9 -- WOW.

I just (finally) installed my new Paint Shop Pro 9 software. I've barely touched it so far, but all I can say is wow. Just the fact that it reads contents of a folder so much faster is awesome by me...

Well, I started to say in my last post that they (LiveJournal) had fixed the update journal area. So wrong! Have I said how much I hate the new version? Oh, I did? Sorry. (grin) Hey, can we please not assume that everyone uses 1024 x 768 settings (or greater), folks? I'm so sick of that...

The news is full of the accounts of the 'event' on Mt. St. Helens! (It's 2 p.m. and you normally don't have news during this time of day -- but this is big news here!)

perfect (wordperfect)

PSP9 -- Not Perfect...

Well, I was very excited when I posted about it here earlier! (grin)

But I suppose it's typical that it's got bugs. (sigh)

Note that I get my Paint Shop Pro directly from JASC, boxed on CD. (No DLs, in other words.) I've been a long-time customer, too. I bought both versions 7 and 8 from them prior to this. (Even though I found v.7 within days later of buying it for something like a $30 savings!)

I've tried to offer advice, so I suppose I should have taken the time to beta 9. I'm already finding things that are annoying.

For example, used to be if you Copied and wanted to Paste as New Image or Paste as New Layer, that was the top option (using the right-click-pop-up-menu version, which I do). Now it's not, which means I'm constantly hitting the New Image option. (damn)

Viewing stored images is faster, which I love.

But now the TEXT tool is screwed up so bad that I can't use it at all...

I've sent them an email (via support) and have posted about it to the Forum. So we'll see if it's already 'patch' time. (grin) That happened very early on with v.8 -- which I had to patch twice. (Oh, and v.7 is buggy as hell, even though I still love it...)

So I'd made banners for the fic challenge Marilyn mistressmarilyn and I entered (and I mentioned earlier today). I spent ages finding the images I wanted (sort of the graphics version of doing fanfic research, I guess... sigh) -- and then combining them just so. As I told Marilyn when she (finally) got home from work tonight (around 7:00, I think!), doing the banners makes me as picky as writing the fic. (smile)

And, hell, I'm not that accomplished about using the software, really. I mean, I know my stuff (and can teach what I know to others), but I'm no artist here. So I struggle along...

We both love fic banners, though. We're surprised that most people never mention them at all, seeing as they totally enhance the experience for us! (And as we live in such a visual world, you'd think that adding a 'visual' to each fic would be something people liked. But I've no clue some days... I just know we like 'em, so we try to add them as often as we can.)

So I get these banners almost done (sans the text saying the fic name and author name) -- and then the Text tool screws up in v.9 (which figures). (sigh)

I open up v.8 and try to open the banners and -- yes, you've guessed it -- they won't open! So I have to go back and save them again to be v.8 compatible.

So why is that? What aren't they automatically backward compatible? I find that highly annoying! Besides, I can only save them with a given name as compatible to one earlier version. So I guess I have to save multiple times to have it compatible with both v.8 and v.7 (both of which I still have installed and use, by the way)...

Please ask me, O ye creators of software! I'd be glad to tell you what's a pain... And what we could really use changing!

Speaking of, I'm back to not using the LJ version of Update Journal again. That sucks big time. Thanks loads for 'fixing' another thing, admin. (I'll try hard not to LJ Admin-bash now. So if you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all... right?)

You know, this is basically a free service -- even for those of us who do pay. It's cheaper than anything else I can even think of. So I suppose we should quit our gripes and live with it! (grin)

Oh, I will share those banners here soon, but I don't want to possibly upset the mods of the list where the fic has been submitted, so I'll wait until the challenge has ended...

I'm off for a nap. I only got an hour of sleep the night before last (well, maybe an hour and a half) and was dead last night. I'd like to get back up and work out -- which I need.

Damn, I'm glad the weekend is here! This has been a hard, hard week...

Why is everybody so quiet, by the way. Thank God a few of you are managing to update! (grin)