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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Reflection

I spent the bulk of yesterday upgrading my site and adding all the links I lost when I left WordPress for GoDaddy. In addition to merely posting the lists of links, I organized them into categories and used a menu creator to hide pages, set an organizational scheme, and try to do all that stuff that upgrades the level of webpage awesomeness to slightly better than functional beginner.

Homepage of my GoDaddy Website,

I never did figure out how to put parts of my databases drag and drop style onto a page. I tried using Wix, but it wanted my database to have a URL, or me to upload the entire database. And neither would let me import data that was already hyperlinked. Copying and pasting is not difficult, but when copying, pasting, and hyperlinking 200 items, it is time-consuming and tedious. But it got done. This is my favorite page -- the book reviews. I listed each title alphabetically, then made an alphabetical list by author -- each are hyperlinked to the associated reviews.

My Website Book Review Page

Speaking of reviews, I still don't know whether all this time spent building my online presence is worth it. I have gotten a few new reviews on Amazon -- for which I am grateful. It's even better when I have NO IDEA who some of the reviews are from. While I hope my friends will like my stuff, I don't want my only reviews to be from friends who would lie to help me out. Believe it or not, there's a chance those people exist. I got my first two star review. I know the reviewer. He told me he didn't have time to read the book -- which could mean he didn't have time, and could mean that he couldn't get into it and was being polite (AKA: passive aggressive). I wish he'd have commented WHY he didn't like it -- whether it was personal preference or indie formatting or he didn't like it because there wasn't a fire-breathing dragon (note to self: include fire-breathing dragon in next book). I would feel awkward (and rude, in the wrong, etc) asking for more constructive feedback. I don't expect everyone to like my book(s). Heck, I expect less people to "get" my books than people who "get" me -- and that number is very small. But I can't fix something if I don't know what isn't working about it. One bad review out of 10 is about par for the course. And in a very real way, that two star review could be the kind of balancing agent an indie author needs so that other potential buyers know I am not asking my friends (or worse, paying people) for positive reviews.So that's my silver-lined cloud for the day.

Silver Lining?

I did start Hootsuite content management for Google +, my FB author page, and Twitter. I didn't want to auto-post so often that someone was getting an update every 10 minutes (and I have some of these people in my Twitter, though I've made a list that they aren't on, and that's helped), but I tend to post when I am awake and thinking about it, which is great for the people in India at 2 and 3 in the morning CST, but not so much the American audience I ought to try to reach. Post automation lets me create the posts when I'm awake and share them when everyone else is. As I shared here, this made a big difference in my Wikinut views and Twitter followers, but a 100% difference in Wikinut earnings is 0.001 to 0.01 a day -- not exactly raking in big bucks.

Working for peanuts -- that $5 in the corner? Definitely not mine...

Today my son has a friend over. Yesterday it was a different friend. We broke down and bought him an Xbox 360 so he and his friends could play Minecraft on a larger screen than their phones. Part of the money for the purchase came from our NOT having to pay the actor's fee for the play our son will be in next month. But like any new technology, we parents are trying to find the balance between letting our son play with his new toy and making sure he has some non-screen time. And I've just kicked him off to play while I'm updating my blog. Feels slightly hypocritical. So I'm going to save and close. Time to read another book. I've got one Princess Frog series title left, so I think I'll crack it.

Oh -- at night, my son and I are reading Chris D'Lacey's series. Conker died last night. I expected that, and for the most part was fine with it. But D'Lacey did such a good job with David's reaction that it was REALLY hard to read while tears fell down my face. Don't tell people, but I AM a big ol' softie!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pentagon -- a 9/11 Tribute


Pentagon with one side gone.
A highjacked plane swept a Pennsylvania field bare.
Towers torn, but heroes born
As police and fire -- man, they gave their all.

No words to say
No, not today
Don't know pain you feel
But I know mine is real

I watched parents cry
Watched their children die
Jumped to their death
Or burned instead

From the demise
See Phoenix rise
One thought yet --
Never forget.

Pentagon with one side gone.
A highjacked plane swept a Pennsylvania field bare.
Towers torn, but heroes born
My Americans -- those who gave their all.


I've been asked some questions about this poem in the 12 years since I first wrote it. And there were things I wanted to show even though nobody asked.

The structure of this poem is 5 stanzas of 4 lines each, with the 5th stanza almost mirroring the first. This was to show:
The 5 sided Pentagon.
The loss of one side to the attacks.
The power to rebuild the Pentagon.
The Twin Towers.

In terms of lives lost, the attack at the towers was much more significant than the loss at the Pentagon. But my family connections were with the Pentagon. My grandfather had worked there as a military intelligence officer before retirement. My (at the time) soon-to-be brother-in-law was working there as a grant writer. I have been to DC. I loved it there, and at one point wanted to make my home there. I have never been to Pennsylvania or New York. I knew plenty of people would be able to capture the feelings of others who are New Yorkers and love New York. They would do a much better job than me, and so I will not stand in their way.

After the attacks, a Mesa shikh was murdered for wearing a turban. Mesa is part of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area. The shooter thought he was preventing terrorism and promoting justice. But the shikh was an American, too.
A Phoenix is a mythical bird that dies and is reborn from its ashes. In the same way, terror begets terror. We mustn't lose sight of the fact that hate breeds hate and violence breeds revenge.

In the final line, I wrote "My Americans -- those who gave their all." I say this in the full knowledge that many countries were represented in the WTC and at the Pentagon and even on the planes. But the common cause of their losses was the American Dream. I certainly meant no disrespect to other countries when I called their victims of the attacks Americans. Instead, I was hoping to embrace the ideals that all peace-loving people want, and show an embracing of all who supported those ideas in the face of outrageous terrorism.

Posted on Wikinut 9/11/2014