11.13.2017

Support a favorite writer this holiday season while you shop on Amazon!


Annual reminder: As you buy the items on your holiday list this year, keep your favorite bloggers in mind!

If you're shopping online at Amazon.com, you can shop through your favorite writers' affiliate links and give them a little holiday gift, too!

Buying through an affiliate link works just the same for you as shopping by going directly to the Amazon site. You don't pay any more than you would otherwise, but the store itself funnels a few cents over to the blogger as a thanks for the referral.

Do you know bloggers who are struggling this season to make ends meet? Are there writers you'd love to reward for being particularly timely and touching in what they share with readers? Do you just want to spread the holiday love and cheer?

Then make it a point to shop through an affiliate link this season and throughout the year!

To make it easy for you, we have a linky list of bloggers' Amazon affiliate links.

If you're a blogger, sign up with your links!

To help you remember to shop through an affiliate link, bookmark a few! Simply drag two or three favorites into your bookmarks bar, and name them "Amazon." Now anytime you want to go to Amazon, click on one, and you'll be set to give that blogger a little tip for being awesome!

7.10.2017

Photoshop SOLVED: "Could not save because the file is already in use or left open."


This is a random irritation that frustrated me for a long time with Photoshop Elements on Mac. I'd make changes to an image and receive this error upon trying to save: "Could not save [file name] because the file is already in use or left open."

I searched forums for the answer to this problem and settled on a workaround of saving-as another file name, then deleting the original version. Doable but clumsy.

Till the day I had a eureka moment that was so simple and so satisfying.

Want to know where the file was "in use or left open"?

It was on my Finder.

6.26.2017

Photobucket phail, or How to ruin a hosting site

UPDATE July 3: Photobucket keeps sending me autoresponses and demands for payment, so that's no help. BUT, I did find a viable workaround for myself, so I've posted what I'm doing right now at the end.



The pirate's sign that you must
pay the ransom or forfeit your photos
A few days ago, without any advance warning, Photobucket sneakily changed its terms of service to disallow third-party hosting, or hotlinking, on nearly all of its plan tiers. Most people use Photobucket explicitly for the ability to link from images on Photobucket to other locations such as blogs and forums, so this seems like a baffling move.

Until you realize the scam that's afoot: The only way to get your images to show up again is to pay Photobucket $400, upfront, as an annual subscription to its most expensive plan.

Ah, I see. It's a ransom demand.

I'm livid. I'd been using Photobucket to host my images on my Blogger blogs for ten years. For several of those years, I paid Photobucket an annual subscription for the benefits of unlimited bandwidth and extra storage.

2.06.2017

What it means to be a refugee, in poetry

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Because there seems to be confusion about the difference between immigrants (documented or no) and refugees, I want to share a poem (h/t to Shannon).

“Home,”
by Warsan Shire


no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and teacher who lives in London and Los Angeles. She is the author of Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth and is included in The Salt Book of Younger Poets. She received the Brunel University's African Poetry Prize and was the 2013 Young Poet Laureate for London.

Photo credit: Nóra Bartóki-Gönczy (Own work),
Syrian refugee woman with her sick child
[CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

1.02.2017

Another think coming vs. another thing coming

The copy editor is in.
I'm presenting occasional posts on the use of English,
not to be pedantic but just for the fun of language.

This is one that bothers me when I see or hear it wrong because the original is so sly and humorous, and the "correction" is so dull.

This is the phrase in use:

"If he thinks he's going to get out of paying for that llama, he's got another think coming!"

Too often lately I see it instead as "If he thinks … he's got another thing coming."

10.31.2016

Why does my autocorrect think I'm typing that?

Good job on guessing I meant "before"
instead of "veggie" this time, Swype. For once.

I have Swype on my phone, and I've purposely turned off the thing where it autocorrects what you're typing, because — I don't need that stress, or that level of hilarity.

But, it still misinterprets what I Swype so, so much.

And I don't get it.

Wouldn't it learn that there are certain words you use more than others?

For instance, how often do I write "ashtray" over "already," Swype? How often? Huh? Here's the answer, Swype: I never mean "ashtray." Never.

As a parenting blogger, I write about my children a lot. But apparently Swype thinks I'm gaga about my "cistern." This is literally never the case.

I guess it could be worse
and people could think I'm obsessed with collagen?

6.13.2016

Need writing motivation? Put your money where your goals are with a challenge group!

Do you have trouble sticking with your writing goals — or even starting at all? Try throwing some money at the problem by starting a writing challenge accountability group.

Set writing goals together, and pay in money that you'll forfeit if you don't hit your target — or win off each other if you do!1


How to start your own writing challenge group:

  1. Get a group of friends together who are writers — Facebook groups work well for this.
     
  2. Decide on a challenge length. It could be one week or one month or some other length.
     
  3. Choose the amount of money you'll ante up. About $20 US seems right to motivate but not impoverish.
     
  4. Someone is in charge of holding the kitty and being the challenge cheerleader. Everyone pays in, usually through PayPal.
     
  5. You each publicly set a challenge goal and then check in and cheer each other on every day.
     
  6. By the end of the challenge, you each declare whether you met or missed your goal. The honor system prevails.
     
  7. Losers forfeit their money. Winners get their money back plus a share of the losers' money.
     

For instance, assuming a $20 buy-in from 6 participants, if two fail, the other four collect back $30 each. A nice little prize for completing your writing goal!

And even if you fail, you got to work on your writing and you're several steps closer to your goal than you were before, so despite the loss of funds, it's still not really losing!

Some tips on starting your own writing challenge group:

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