Thursday, August 15, 2013

On the change in tone

I went back and read one of my previous blog posts, and decided it was the most boring thing I've ever read, barring possibly Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. (And yes, for me it was as boring and depressing as the title makes it sound. No offense to Mr. Hemingway; he really was a good writer--I've read some other stuff--but this one was a bust for me.) I think that post might be right up there with the aforementioned book, actually.

*bows* I am so sorry! T-T This thing was supposed to be interesting and witty, dangit! Or at least mildly amusing. (Let's not kid ourselves, Rosie.)

I was gonna blog about how lame I was for blogging about blogging, but I think you can get the point from reading those posts. Doing the above would be both reader torture and kicking a dead horse. The poor thing is already dead; it doesn't need me to blow holes in it. >.<

Political Polls Confuse Me

The other day I got a call from somebody running a political survey thing, y'know, one of those, "Oh, we'll only take a few minutes of your time; we'd just like to ask you a few questions about your political stance on x-y-z," things that actually take closer to half an hour than five minutes.

I'm not going to complain more about the time thing; I'm used to that. Phone surveys always take longer than what they say. What threw me for a loop was he asked whether I considered myself a "born-again Christian" or an "evangelical Christian." Wait, what? Last I checked, all actual Christians are "born again." It's a bit like asking if something is a quadrilateral or a square. Evangelicals are a kind of Christians, and squares are a kind of quadrilaterals. That's the way that works.

Apparently, whoever wrote the thing didn't know their Christian-ese. I'd understand that if they were just laypeople, but if you're doing something professional, know your audience, 'k? Especially if you'd like some useful answers.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Car trouble and a successful experiment

My car had one of its pipes pop off (again) yesterday. I noticed the guy welded it on this time, rather than simply using a vise. He fixed it for free both times it popped off, so I won't complain too much. I also know that he had the vise on there so that I could get the catalytic converter replaced if I ever needed to, but I hope not. It'd probably cost more to fix than my poor old car is worth.

It hasn't been a bad couple of days, other than that. I did decide that I'm going to start using some of the drafts I have cooked up in my notebooks, since I've noticed it's difficult to just sit down and write something that's interesting and makes sense day after day. I'm sure that an experienced blogger who reads this will say, "Well, duh," but my blogs before have been like my journals, with me just writing when I felt like it about what I felt like writing right then. I can do that some, I'm sure, but I'd really like to be able to post something at least once a day (minus Sundays), and I have days when I just can't write. 'Tis best to have backup material, I think.

Another thing I noticed actually works as well as advertised is leaving a link to your stuff in your comments. I picked up a number of views just from people going, "Oh, what's this?" Now, I'm not talking about spamming people's blogs or forums with your website name. That's just awkward, not to mention really rude. However, having a link to your site in your forum signature (the box at the bottom of your forum posts with pictures and stuff in it, for those who don't know) or leaving your website when invited in a comment box (some have a setup asking for your name, your email, your site, and then your comment, and sometimes link to your site from your name/username) is just fine. I will definitely be doing that more, since I'm fine with being associated with my blog.

I might also borrow some of my mom's blogging books. She dove in headlong to the research part when she decided she wanted a blog. Mom likes to look things up and learn all the steps first, while I learn best by doing and researching as I go, so--since we like some of the same things--I will often end up borrowing my mom's books and just reading the part I'm curious about right then. :) I drive my poor mother crazy doing that, but we decided long ago that we'd stop trying to learn things at the same time, since the "book knowledge first" method usually makes me want to hit my head against a wall.

On another note, I may well give up on the second "about me" and just let people go read my profile page when I get that finished. (Somehow, I think it's bad form that I'm four posts in and that still isn't done...) I really don't want to keep saying I'll do something and then that's not what I do.

Sadly, 'tis time for me to move on to the next thing on my list, so I'm afraid this will have to do for now.

See you tomorrow.



Saturday, August 10, 2013

Rosie's Writing Tips Rant 1: Know your slang.

Okeydokey. I'm kinda irritated right now, so there will be colloquialisms out the wazoo. You have been warned.

Anyway, this story I was reading about some superheroes that team up with angels to bring down badguys from Hell (literally) was really good. The author, who was posting this story on a fiction site, wrote really, really well. Spelling errors were minor, their grammar was usually good (and who's perfect with that, anyway?), and their writing style really sucked me into the story. They did a lot of research, too; they really knew their Demonology and Angelology, and I almost wonder if the person is Greek/Eastern Orthodox because they knew so much about what the Orthodox branch of the Church says about Heaven and Hell and such. (Rosie is a theology & Church history nerd. I occasionally nerd about mythology and other religions, too, but that's beside the point right now.)  They also wrote the angel and demon characters--and other religion-related stuff--in such a way that it didn't make me, a very devout follower of the Wesleyan Holiness tradition, twitchy. I didn't even really stop to think about it until I got distracted from the story. That is an impressive feat, actually.

What did bug me was that her very American superhero characters (they were headquartered in New York) were using slang and other terms that I, Ms. Language Dork Extraordinaire, who reads both collegiate and slang dictionaries for fun, had never heard before. I dismissed it the first few times, thinking that it was just something from a region I haven't gotten around to studying or something. I seriously doubt any single individual knows every American English slang word, anyhow.

I stopped dismissing it, though, when a couple of the guy characters got into a fight over whether "footie" or hockey was better.

...Wait. Excuse me--"footie"? Really? I made the connection right away. Footie = football. However, it was clear they were not talking about American football, but what everybody else and their dog calls football and Americans (and Japanese, now that I think about it) call soccer. Even if that were not the case, no self-respecting American guy would ever call their beloved rough-and-tumble rugby derivative something as cutsie as "footie". "Footie" is a word used to refer to pajamas with feet ("footie pajamas" or "footie jammies"), or occasionally that game your play with your honey under the table or on the couch, commonly called "footsie".

Now, I can see a British guy pulling it off. The UK is the home country of certain guys that somehow remain completely and utterly masculine wearing polos in public (while not on a golf course), sipping tea with an extended pinky, eating crumpets, and carrying handbags. Footie is often used to refer to Association football, the kind where you kick around a black and white ball and try to get it in the giant net. Aussies use the term (also spelled "footy", apparently) for various kinds of football, including Aussie rules, but Aussies--guy, gal, or dancing bear--can get away with calling it anything with those accents, in my humble opinion.

I read a bit further in the story, and sure enough, more words popped up: "pram" for baby carriage and stroller, "boot" for car trunk, "bonnet" for car hood, etc. There's not enough to tell whether the person is from Australia or Britain (or perhaps New Zealand?) I can navigate because I know a certain amount of the British dialect (I read a lot of British literature in high school), but it's annoying enough that I just stopped reading the story. The characters are NOT originally from Britain or wherever, which would excuse the word swaps, but were specifically stated to be "American" and a few were mentioned to have been born in American towns. It's driving me crazy and it drove me away from the story, which is a pity.

Lesson to take from this little experience: please, please, please research the dialect of English (or whatever language) in the country your character is from. Find an online dictionary, watch a few YouTube videos from natives to study general speech patterns, whatever you need to do. Using slang from one region in another is one thing--people travel all over the place--though I'd research that too, if you want to keep it realistic, but mixing up dialects is another. The average New Zealander is going to have no idea what you're talking about if your character is speaking South African English, and that's a problem if said character is supposed to be born and bred in New Zealand.

Oh, and spellchecker won't always help you with different spellings, by the way. It's useful, but, well...Mine's currently telling me that the "Zealand" in New Zealand does not exist as a word, if that gives you any idea.

'Kay. Enough ranting. Next one should be that "more about me" one I talked about, but we'll see.




Friday, August 9, 2013

Next, Please

So, my AdSense application was rejected today. The reason? "Insufficient content." I'm a bit miffed, but now that I'm thinking about it, it makes perfect sense. Once this is actually up, I will have two posts. Two. What advertiser in their right mind would pay to put their content on a blog with nothing on it and no way to figure out its target audience? Heck, I'm pretty sure I don't really have an audience yet.

Thankfully, the lack of content thing is fairly easy to fix. My brain is constantly going anyway, so all I need to do is translate it to words, edit out the irrelevant stuff, and make sure my ranting is followable.

Speaking of, I really would like input when you've had some time to figure out what you like reading here. I do know that's going to take a bit, since I'm essentially still building this blog. It might well just follow my thoughts on how Mom and I are doing, since we're both starting over at awkward times in life to start over.

I do think I'm going to take the advice of the gent over at All Japanese All The Time and "start over dirty", as he calls it. (By the way, his take on disclaimers is hilarious. Also, for future reference, unless I say I'm getting compensated for something--and I WILL get to that point, even if it takes me a decade--any reviews or links or whatever I put up are there because I like them and/or they are relevant to something in that post.) "Starting over dirty" means starting over with a new method without ditching everything you've already learned and done. At this very second, that means for me that I should use here what I already know about life and business to help with my own.

For example, I might take "insufficient content" to be roughly equal to "not enough experience". Not having the experience is why I'm not doing the job I wanted to right now. What did I do? I went looking for a way to get the experience, and I'm currently earning it. I'll be able to apply for similar jobs within a year or so, if I want. (Said jobs do not involve sitting at a desk all day, if you're wondering. :) ) What does that mean for my blog? Keep blogging, of course! How else is one going to build up content?

I do not intend to just dump one-sentence posts or rattle on, brain-barfing pointless drivel to up my post count. (If anything, that sounds like a good way to keep your view count far too low to be worth even derisive laughter.) If nothing else, it will at least be something I think is cool, stupid, interesting, or funny with an accompanying commentary. Nobody should be paying anybody for useless nonsense, even they will probably never have to read it.

Yes. I believe I like this plan. I still don't know if I will even have a primary topic, but I don't particularly care, either. This is my blog, and it shall be whatever I choose to make of it. It's not like I can't make another blog if I want to write about something that ends up not fitting here. As it is, it seems to be what I sais earlier: my (and maybe my mother's)adventures in setting up an alternative income, and all of the self-helpy, psychology-spouting navel gazing and brain reorganizing that go with them. I know that's been done before--I'm not blind, or stupid--but what mystery lover reads only Sherlock Holmes? It's the new things that a new person brings to the table, how they see that thing or plot that sort of crime that keeps people coming back to the genres they love. 'Tis simply a matter of whether I am cut out to write the genre it seems I have chosen.

We shall see, we shall see.

Have a lovely whatever-time-of-day, if you can, and I shall see you next time.



Thursday, August 8, 2013

Welcome to the World in My Head

Hi. I'm Jessica Rose Parlay. :) Feel free to call me Jessie or Rosie, if you so desire. I typically go by Rosie on the 'Net.

My reason for being here is simple: I have discovered that I simply cannot stand desk jobs. I know there are plenty of people who like them and do well at them--I'm friends with several, actually. I also have nothing against them, especially the ones where they give you an office or let you decorate your cubicle instead of having a stick up their butt about people being individuals, and I have nothing but respect for my friends who rock their positions as desk jockeys. I just cannot stand to do those jobs myself.

I do know, however, that I also am not likely to make much as a blogger--not doing that by itself, anyway. No worries--I have no intentions of making myself dependent upon my blogging income, not even when I can. I've never been one to put all my eggs in one basket, anyway, not even with my savings.

No, I have plans for this little endeavor. The blog is just the beginning. I have several webcomics in the works, and I hope to have a YouTube channel up and running within a month or so. I also have a novel that I've been cooking up for a couple of years that I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and finish writing, then see what comes of it. I'm not going to promise any sort of schedule for anything yet, since my life has this horrible habit of dumping upon my plans. I might be moving within a year or so, as well. We'll see.

I suppose I should say a little more about myself as a person, my history, maybe.

Let me see. I (thankfully) quit my old job a little bit after I moved back in with my parents to help my mother with my father, who, at the time, was terminally ill. I couldn't figure out why I hated it so much when I liked my boss, my coworkers, my clients, and even my boss's boss. I liked meeting up with my clients, too. Now I think it was simply a matter of it being a competitive job, where we sort of pitted ourselves against other employees to earn bonuses and awards, instead of one where we were a team or simply let be to do our jobs. I learned from selling magazines for my high school club fundraisers that I just do not function well in that environment--why I could not see that that was what was wrong, I do not know.

I started a part-time teaching job--which is what I am still doing--to have some sort of income while I was at home and like that much better. Actually, I'm considering going back to school for an education degree, now that I have the time for it.

Speaking of having the time for things, I sometimes wish I didn't have the time for them. You probably gathered from the past tense when I mentioned my father's illness above, but yes, my dad did die. I feel selfish for wanting to have had more time with him. Terminal illness takes a lot out of a family, and any fool could tell I hated watching my dad suffer.

That does not keep me from wishing, though.

However, Dad would have raised an eyebrow or two at me for sitting around and wallowing in my grief instead of doing things with it and with myself, and just letting the crying come as it will, so I don't. Sit and wallow, I mean. Wallowing is for pigs, and while I have heard that pigs make excellent ballistic tests when one wants to find out what a certain sort of gunshot would do to a human body, I am not a pig, regardless of what the jerks in my middle school would have told you.

And no, I have not daydreamed about using the above jerks for ballistics tests. I disliked them, but I did not hate them. A lot of them were picked on, too.

You may hear more about the jerks in middle school and my dad's illness. I've worked out much of my issues with them, but not all. I let it come as it needs to, because I have better things to do with my life than sit on my floor and navel gaze. After all, what's the use in working out my issues if I don't let it show in my life?

Well. I shall probably write more on myself later, but I think that's enough for now. The one thing I probably should tell you before I go is that my writing style changes with my mood. Large words and clever turns of phrase come and go, and so does Jane-Austen-era letter-writing formality, as you might be able to see already if you look closely enough. I just write it the way it comes out and let it be, so Shakespearean epithets and twenty-letter words from Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (which, yes, I do like to read for fun) can show up side by side with bleeped cusswords and slang that would be more at home at than in a Webster's. The only editing I do is when something is meant to be an essay. :)

Oh, also, I have some art and rants up on if you would like to look at them. Feedback, there and here, is always appreciated. Let me know if there's something you'd like to see drawn or would like to hear about--I plan on making this particular blog about "whatever I please to write this time."