It’s Tribbles. That’s what it is.

So I’m trying to finish up the sequel to To Sleep. It’s a good book, in my humble, totally unbiased opinion. When I decided it was getting too big, it was roughly about 120K.

I went through it, really looking at the scenes. Which one belongs, which one doesn’t. I eliminated some characters. I eliminated some scenes. And when I was finished, it was 126K. Yes, it grew.

I then listed all the major events that happen. Then I filled in the events (scenes, really) that lead up to each major event. I am very, very, very visual so seeing the list helped. I trimmed a huge section. My cut file has grown by over 6K words. The book has a better feel so far. I’m on page 264, a little under half way.

But, dammit to heckaroni, the damn thing is getting BIGGER! What the hell? It is now at just under 128K.

I am really hoping that it will start shrinking soon. I didn’t want to do a third book. I may have to, just to make this one light enough to carry.

I wanted some events to happen by now but they aren’t fitting in just yet.

Anyway, just wanted to say I am still writing.

An Open Letter

I won’t ever send this to the person this is addressed to. I don’t really want to have a civil discussion with him or any of the others because I have a temper and on this subject, I cannot control it. I originally wrote this back in May, after “Amendment One” passed in North Carolina. It was something on my mind and it insisted on getting out. I’ve decided, now that I am not so angry, that it is time to share it. Yes, it took me this long to not be angry.

Dear Sir,

I would like to enter into an intellectual discussion about your religious beliefs and my homosexuality. Yes, in case you didn’t know, I am a lesbian. Which means that L is a lesbian, too. But you know that, I’m just being sarcastic.

L and I have been in a monogamous relationship for 22 years. That means we started dating when you were just 8 years old. We met in Philadelphia through a newspaper ad. Do you know that story? I doubt it. I’ll spare you the details but the gist of it is we both were looking for friends, not a partner, but we got both. Which is the neat thing about our relationship.

In 1992, when you were just 10, we moved here to North Carolina. I’m from Tennessee and I really wanted to come home to the South. L left her home, her family, her life to come with me. That’s what committed couples do.

In 2000, we had a church ceremony where we renewed the vows we had said to each other. That means you were 18 and probably out of high school by then. It wasn’t really a wedding since that wasn’t possible for us. Our initial vows were said with no one around and we decided we really wanted to do this out loud, with witnesses and family. Because, again, that’s what committed couples want to do.

We are lucky in that we have the support of both our families. My niece and nephew call L their aunt. Just the thought of that makes her cry sometimes.

Which brings me to the point of this discussion. You and the others in this state made L cry that day. Not necessarily that Amendment One passed, but that you were all so happy about it. She went to bed Tuesday night a normal person but woke up Wednesday morning as a second class citizen. Someone who was lesser than most. Someone who could now be looked down upon by the government of a state she has come to love. That we both have loved. And still do, really. Then she goes to work and all y’all do all morning is congratulate each other. With her standing there. Take everything else away and that right there will be something you will answer to when you stand before God. Think hard on what you will say to God at that moment. (“Yes, God, I pushed people away from you in order to prove my faith, not theirs.”)

The point to the amendment was to make it more official that marriage be defined as a relationship between a man and a woman. That fact already existed in a state law but the constitutional amendment meant it would be more difficult – as in more expensive – for it to be removed. That means that you, as one who voted for this, will also later be paying to have it removed. Because it will be removed. Even one of the originators of it admitted he doubts it will last ten years (I see it lasting less than that). Just look at the expensive trials California has gone through. That’ll be your tax dollars at work. Even now, I smile when I think of it. I don’t mind my tax dollars going toward it at all because, unlike you and so many others, I believe in equality and the separation of Church and State.

I have some questions for you, sir. Questions I need answers to. See, I have a big problem with religion being used as a reason to make people “less than”. Mostly because I thought religion (in this case, Christianity) was to bring people up, closer to God, not push them down. I thought this nation was created by people who wanted religious freedom. Not that they wanted to worship a way no one else wanted them to, nor wanted everyone to worship the way they did, but that the Church at that time was very corrupt and had gotten too involved in politics. So they left England and came to a new country to start over again. The concept of religion being used for politics means we’ve come around in a big, nasty circle.

So here are my questions:

How does my relationship with L, our 22 year relationship at this point, in any way impede on your relationship to your wife? How does it impede the marriage of anyone else other than our own? How would our marriage erode the “institution” of marriage? You may use religious beliefs to answer this question but be prepared for more. Because your belief system does not give you the right to force it on me, in my own bedroom. Don’t quote me any verses from Leviticus unless you are ready to say yes, you obey all of them yourself (does your wife sleep in a red tent when she is menstruating? do you wear clothing of mixed cloth? would you sell your daughter to pay a debt?). Besides, Jesus the Christ came to do away with those man-made laws. So unless you are Jewish, those don’t apply. And don’t quote me anything by Paul. His chapters are letters to specific churches addressing specific problems. And most of his references are wrong. Romans, for example, has several errors (contradictions to Genesis). And Paul was….weird. He was all about sex and circumcision. I would think folks would worry about anything he had to say.

Did you know that Matthew, one of the disciples, was a tax collector? Now, in our times, that’s not a big deal. But in their time, it was huge. There weren’t many people lower than tax collectors except shepherds and fishermen. Jesus the Christ went to Matthew’s house and had a meal. That was a big no-no. To eat with someone unclean was considered a huge sin (and required a lot of rituals to get clean again). But Jesus did it. He didn’t think Matthew was less than him. He saw Matthew as a child of God. Speaking of fishermen, did you know they fished naked? It was easier, see. They didn’t have washing machines so when out on their fishing boats, they went naked. And because fishing was a nasty profession, fishers were very less than. When Jesus approached the fishermen who were to be his disciples, they were naked. Jesus didn’t turn his back and wait for them to wash and put on clothes before he spoke to them, he accepted them for who they were – naked, stinking fishermen. So when they got up and followed him, they were still naked. Of course you know that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, right? Jesus loved her anyway. She was the one who saw the empty tomb first. A lowly prostitute did not doubt that Jesus had rose again. She had to convince the male disciples though. And when Jesus was born, who did the angels come to? Shepherds. Shepherds were the lowest of low. They actually lived in the field with the sheep. Have you ever been around sheep? Can you imagine being around them almost year round? Nasty things. Greasy and oily and smelly. So you can guess how the shepherds smelled! Yet, they were the first ones to see the baby Jesus.

My point to the above paragraph is: To be a Christian means to be Christ-like. That is your primary goal, or should be. By the way, Christ was not Jesus’ name. It was his title. Christ is a from the Greek word Kristos which means “anointed one”. In Hebrew, the anointed was to be the māšīaḥ, the chosen one. It is where we get the word “Messiah”. Jesus said he was the anointed one which made him the Kristos, or the Christ. So in reality, Christians are really Jesusians but Christians is easier to say. I digress again.

If being a Christian is to be Christ-like, to be Jesus-like, how does your enthusiasm for making us less than you in any way meet that? How does stopping us from marrying considered Christ-like? Because trust me, you aren’t bringing any of us closer to God. You are pushing many of us away. Even if you don’t like us, your primary goal as a Christian is to bring folks to God. In that, you have failed horribly.

And this is the most important question of all: How is it any of your business who I marry? With as much energy as you and the others put into this, you could have done so much more in God’s name. Will preventing L and I from marrying keep people from divorcing? From marrying the wrong person? Will you now make an amendment to stop divorce? Have you ever counted the number of biblical laws against that? Will you start picketing in front of divorce lawyer offices? Will you petition to have a 20 day waiting period before people can get married? Will you petition to make sure they are sober and sane? Jesus said to not point out the mote in your neighbor’s eye when you have a plank in your own. Who I choose to marry is a mote. What is your plank?

Jesus said there are two laws that truly matter: Love your God with all your heart and Love your neighbor as you love yourself. How does this amendment do either one of these? How does your discrimination help anyone to love God more? How does it help you love God more? If that is how you see God, then you and I don’t follow the same deity. Or is it that you don’t love yourself very much?

Jesus was all about love. About showing kindness to everyone, even nasty fishermen and tax collectors. He showed them God’s love by being their friend. You and the others who voted for this amendment do not show God’s love at all. It shows your love for your own pride and your own ego. How many people do you think the passage of this amendment brought to God? How many young people are now sitting in their rooms, terrified? Not terrified of going to hell, but terrified their parents will kick them out? How many people in this state are leaving God’s flock versus coming to it?

The one time Jesus got really frustrated, really angry, was in the Temple. It was Passover and folks came to worship at the Temple and to give sacrifices. This meant they either brought a critter with them or they bought one there. Then they cut its throat so the blood showed God their faith. Creepy but that’s what they did. The money changers were folks who exchanged Greek or Roman coins for Jewish coins. However, the exchange rate was not good. So first they had to exchange their money then they spent that money for a sacrifice. Jesus did not like this at all. It did nothing for the glory of God but instead lined the pockets of the rabbis and priests and the money changers. And Jesus absolutely freaked. He freaked over the making the Temple a ‘den of thieves’ instead of a place of worship. What’s that story got to do with this? It shows that when Jesus got the angriest, it was not at the naked fishermen. Nor the prostitute. Nor the tax collector. Nor the hungry who followed him. Nor the sick that came to him to be healed. Nor the children. Nor the Roman guards. No, he got mad at those who ran the church.

Meanwhile, I will carry on with my life, loving the woman who has my heart. You can make her cry. You can make her miserable, but you can’t have her heart. Continue on with yours, setting such a lovely example with your bigotry and hate. You can say you don’t hate us. You can say you aren’t a bigot. But you are both. You and all the others just like you.

Answer my questions, sir, so that I may understand my enemy better.

File Sharing Software

My brother was here visiting back in early August. One day we were talking about computers and the like and I mentioned the difficulties I’d been having with network file sharing. I used to use a decent program called Network Magic by Cisco/Linksys. It allowed file sharing, maintained the network, and did it well. Except it was flaky at times and then they stopped supporting it with no warning at all. It did great in keeping intruders out of the network but the file sharing was non-functional. When I got the laptop just prior to the GCLS con, I tried one more time to get it to work but gave up. I had been using MS Win 7 “homegroup” thing but it would, at seemingly random moments, kick everyone off the homegroup and I’d have to start over again. Plus the “share this folder” didn’t always share everything in it. And the homegroup only worked when you were, you know, home.

He said he uses a free program called Ammyy and some other program I have since forgotten the name of. VNS? VNDS? Something like that. That one he had used for a while but it was not reliable. He had just recently started using Ammyy and loved it. While on field trips, he can access files on any of the work computers that have it. Or grab a file on a computer in another part of the building without having to go to it and move it via a memory key. As long as the computer you are using and the remote computer have internet access, it connects. The only problem he has had (and I do as well) is it keeps forgetting the “contact book”. You can export the .bin file then just import it back when it has a brain fart.

No software is actually installed. There’s the initial file to download but it doesn’t install, it just runs the .exe file. Open it, run it, and it finds your IP and gives you an access code unique to that computer. You then go to Computer #2, do the same thing. Once it is “installed” and running on both computers, you access them via the unique code. He said it was a pain at first because you need both computers in the same room/building or someone at the one you aren’t. The program needs permission on the remote computer at the time of contact.

Then….done. You can view the entire computer. Open files, transfer files, run programs, everything. The only that that does not show up is the background image. No matter what the setting is, it changes the remote computer to the Windows 7 Basic color scheme. As soon as you disconnect, it goes back to whatever you had it on before.

I installed it that night on all 3 computers. Worked like a charm. (except when I got the codes mixed up and opened a connection to the computer I was on. It opened the window then had the image in the image in the image….cascade effect. Like a mirror aimed at a mirror.) The next day, I went to their cabin and could access my desktop (via the Internet) at home. Cool. I moved files, opened files, even played a game. If you click the X on the connect box, it closes it completely. If you click the minimize, it goes to the tray. It will not wake one up (like laptops that go to sleep) but it will work if the remote computer is in screen saver mode. The program has to be running on both computers before it will work. Since it isn’t installed, you have to open it again if you turn off the computer. For this desktop, that’s not a problem since I rarely turn the poor thing off.

One problem I’ve had (besides the contact book issue) is it is very sluggish. Even opening an OpenOffice file, it was moving slow. I don’t think I could actively work on a document that is on another computer because it would drive me nuts after just a few minutes. And I doubt you could play a graphic intense game (like WoW).

You have to be careful which keys you use, though. The Ctrl and the Alt keys on your keyboard won’t always work on the remote computer. There’s icons at the top to use instead.

You can’t drag and drop a file from one computer to the other. You have to use the ‘File Manager’ which works a lot like a FTP program. Easy to do.

I’ve used it a lot since I installed it. If I leave the house and know I’ll have the chance to work, I copy the latest files from the desktop to the laptop and off I go. Then, when I get home, I copy them back. You can sort the File Manager by date which makes it quick to compare time stamps. It also helps me in keeping backups of files on both computers. If I need another file that I didn’t update, and if I am somewhere that has Internet access, I can get them. Way. Cool.

Contact book

File manager

Main screen options