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What to test for DNA?

So, I don’t know how accurate this website is, because it is a giant ad for DNA testing materials. However, it’s fun, so I’m posting it anyway.

This is a chart of all the possible ways to get DNA from someone who doesn’t want to cooperate. I’ll give you a hint. Hero walks into the bad guys office and gets a chance to snag cigarette butts or an envelope he just licked, smoking works for the hero’s advantage here. :D

On that same note, the heroine doesn’t need to try to get semen from the bad guy if the bad guy happens to have a cold.

Under the sea!

One of my many stories right now is about mermaids. I began wondering then about how far down a storm can be felt, which caused me to stumble upon an FAQ about submarines. Now, normally, I don’t like but this page was actually rather useful. Not only did it give me my answer (Hurricanes can distort water about 400 feet below) but it answers about 49 other questions about submarines. It also gave me a few thoughts about space ships. Might be worth a glance at.


One of things I eventually want to write/co-write/get is a medical book for writers. (Which I don’t think there is.) The idea is that it would provide a reference on common problems that characters might encounter, such as shootings, electrocutions, ect, and the procedure from it immediately happening to what someone can expect for a hospital stay (or if they discharge themselves earlier like Jack Bauer likes to do.)

In the meantime, I have to find what I need through my nursing background and online. I’m tempted to buy an old edition nursing textbook, because that also has a lot of information (Without the cost).

I did, however, write a scene recently that involved a child suspected of drowning and what they would do for him. (I mainly wanted to know if he would have an EKG on him.) In doing that, I found this website.

A wonderful source of information about drowning while writing a drowning scene

Yes, I hope that google will pick that up.

As a writer and book lover, this breaks my heart.

A friend of mine from school found a bunch of old books at the library for sale. Things like, “A Study on Rural Development” from the 1950s. Pretty covers, old pages, but otherwise boring sounding content. She figures, if she can actually bring herself to do it, that she’ll tear out the pages and use them for an art project. (Probably more as backgrounds than anything found here.) No matter what, they look pretty.

However, sadly, I have found an article that says that books are being burned by the hundreds by reputable libraries across the world.

In short, the reasons are simple. Burning books is cheaper than giving them away. For some reason. Mainly because they otherwise have to untag all of the library books. Also, with the economy bad, libraries are one of the things that are being cut. Moreover, there isn’t enough room for all the new books to come and all the old books to stay. Especially when they happen to be adding a coffee shop to the library, like they are in the University of New South Wales. (Which actually doesn’t count now that I think about it because all colleges need to have a coffee shop). Then, lastly, with many books going digital, there isn’t as much of a demand for books as much as journals. You don’t hear about any of the book burning because whenever they’ve told people, it did not go well.

That’s the summary of the article.

However, I have two solutions. My first solution is to charge for a library card. I know; library cards are almost always free. However, how many apps have you bought in the last month that cost $.99? Even if you buy a book off of Amazon for a penny, you still have to pay $4 in shipping. A $1 charge for a library card for a year I think would be reasonable. I’d pay it; that’s for sure. (Hey, my family had to pay was it $15 for a library card when we didn’t live in the same county.)

That at least solves the cost factor. It gives libraries more money.

But what about all the new books coming in?

We have organizations for everything, right? So why not have an organization for saving books? I don’t have this all figured out; I just thought of it. However, in short, the library ships all the books to the organization that we’ll call it New Life Books (NLB) so I don’t have to type out organization so much. I don’t know if NLB or the library or both should pay for shipping. We want to make it worth the library’s time after all. Then, NLB sorts through all of the books they receive and tosses the ones that worthy of dying. (Like a twilight book a fifty years from now. No one is going to want that. Sorry Twilighters.)

The good books though they either sell to collectors or find a place that would actually want it. (Like, copies of a newspaper from the 1850s might go to a museum.) NLB would also desensitize all of the books that come through, so no one thinks that they really belong to the library

Again, these details are sketchy, but in a perfect world, then money that is made on book sales would then be split between NLB (so they have funding to continue) and the libraries. With this, the library might actually end up making money money than they do now, and there is only bad book burning. (Which, I know, considering that banned book week was a bit ago, saying that a book is bad is probably not right, but I am also fully aware that in 50-60 years, unless I become REALLY famous, most of my books will be in that bad book pile too.)

On Poverty

I wrote a while ago that I tend to write stories about people who actually have money, and I found that interesting considering that I don’t have a whole lot. However, another group of people that I write some about is people who scrap by. Not surprisingly, I give these characters very middle class view points, as that’s about all I’ve had. (And lower middle class at that.)

Then, last Wednesday, we talked in class about poverty and the mindset of poverty. Because of the reflection that I needed to write for that class, I found an article that compares the classes. This is from a book called A Framework for Understanding Poverty. It actually sounds like a very interesting book, although that many one star reviews do bother me slightly on the validity of that, so I’d look into reviews before you rush off to buy.

It does, however, give us writers a chance to start thinking about the mindset of other people. It’s easy to create a mindset of all middle class characters, but by even looking at the differences between classes, that is presented in a nice little table here, it can give us more ideas about how to rework mindsets for our characters.

Farewell, my dear friend.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve used Appleworks. I loved appleworks. It was simple enough, it ran smoothly. It had this great, great feature where you could indent and un-indent and all that stuff with just a few simple buttons. Nothing complicated. When I was younger than ten even, I remember drawing pictures on Appleworks (since windows painting wasn’t out yet).

I am the appleworks queen. I know everything there is to know about appleworks, besides the guy who programed it, but it’s so old he’s probably dead or something. :) I made resumes. I made overhead pictures for worship. I made cards. I made posters. I pretty much made everything on appleworks.

However… recently appleworks has been doing two things on me. First, it’s been eating my documents. It actually ate one of mine completely. A whole, actually rather difficult section to write, of a story. It’s also eaten a day or so of notes from a class. They just disappear.

Secondly, and more consistently as of late, it’s been quitting. I ask it to do a spell check and it just quits. Or save something and instead it quits.

Moreover, I’m getting a lot of teachers annoyed at me because I need to submit all my assignments in PDFs. I don’t have Word. I HATE Word. They want me to submit them in Word format. Moreover, when I try saving them as an RTF file, someone said it didn’t work. Maybe it’s user error; I don’t know. The fact is that it’s getting to the point no one can read appleworks files, even if I do save them as RTFs.

As such, and with great sadness, I am saying farewell to appleworks. I won’t delete it yet. I still will probably need it for drawing or something. I don’t know. But all of my new documetns, and all of the documents that I am working on, will be now going into Bean 2.4.4.

This is scary. I mean, after all, I don’t know what Bean is going to do. I don’t know if it’ll hurt my poor documents or not. I can’t handle another word processor that eats my stories. Then, how do I do headers? Or footers? Or other things that are valuable but I can’t think about right now?

On the other hand, I don’t have a choice. My brother, whose opinion I trust, recommend Bean as a simple, basic word processor. Nothing fancy but enough to get the job done. I hope so.

On the plus side, Bean has this notes feature that is awesome! I’m so excited. I even created a shortcut that will allow me to go cmd-M and mark up my document. So, say, I’m tired and I’m reading a story, I can just go, cmd-M, [this is really dull] and it is done. So overall, I’m pleased with my computer performance today.

Sending off the babies.

If you don’t know, I’ve been working on writing a synopsis off and on for Shad over the course of the semester. I start thinking that I’ll probably be done soon, especially since I finished my semester today and school won’t start again until at least May 31st.

As such, I started looking for information about how to work on synopses. Unfortunately, they all say the same, obvious tips. Keep things basic. Don’t do anything stupid. Include only what’s needed. Ect.

However, I found this great blog post that summarizes all this rather well.  The Basics: Standard Manuscript Format and Mailing. The synopsis I skimmed, but he also included information on a cover letter.

Hopefully, this will help you all as well as it helped me.

The New Addicts.

So apparently, this new study shows that teenagers suffer from withdraw symptoms without any type of media device for 24 hours. Wow. Guess I have now proved I am not addicted to social media. (I don’t use electronics one day a week.)

Grammar Attacks!

Just in time for link day appears this blog post. Even though it’s freshly pressed, it is so funny  I must share, just in case you missed it. (And you might, with how wordpress is looking these days. Why did they have to move that column? It’s quite annoying.)

Anyway, Grammar Lolcatz.

Learning to Love Your Hates.

I’ve talked before, extensively actually, about editing. In short, I didn’t do it much as a beginning writer.  I’d go from first draft to second draft and that then declare it finished. (I edited on the computer moreover.) When I made a list of the common mistakes new writers make, not editing was on the top.

Then I read a post about someone who hates outline. I do believe he called it the evil of evils. Albert proposes that we need to do the bad stuff along with the good stuff. That even though I love the ability to create a world, and the characters, and the plot, and write it all together, in order to be a good writer we need to do the parts we hate.

Which started me thinking: What do I really hate about writing?

• I love developing characters and worlds. Although recently I’ve been doing more developing characters than worlds, I love both parts of that.

• I love the ah-ha! moment that comes when I realize the full impact of something, say, how the elections beginning will rip power from Sagi’s hand, and Sagi’s reaction. Or that this one seemingly nice character is really a spy.

• I love writing it all down, watching the characters and the world evolve into something beautiful and yet simple at the same time. Of interlacing the plots together and finally finishing it.

• I really like going back, revisiting the story, and fixing the problems along the way. For those of you who don’t realize it, that is editing. There is something really fun about adding detail now that I understand the characters, their motives and all that.

In reality, that’s all I’ve done. This makes me sad but I can’t say about writing synopses or cover letters or anything of the like because I don’t really know how to do that, and as such, I haven’t done it.

Now that I’ve thought about it, there’s very little I dislike about writing now. The only time I really hate editing is when the story seems too bad to finish. But overall, I have come a long way from doing one computer edit to doing one to two paper edits per book. Hopefully, it has paid off.