Archives for October 2013

The Spot Writers: The Magic Brew, Pure Columbian Coffee

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers. This week the prompt is “magic brew” in keeping with Halloween

Today’s contribution comes from RC Bonitz, author of A LITTLE BIT OF BLACKMAIL, A LITTLE BIT OF BABY, and A BLANKET FOR HER HEART.  

Next week’s story will be by Val Muller, author of FOR WHOM MY HEART BEATS ETERNAL, a sci-fi romance, and CORGI CAPERS: DECEIT ON DORSET DRIVE, a mystery novel for young readers.

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The Magic Brew, Pure Columbian Coffee

“You’re late,” Hi said as she entered the jam-packed Hi-Way Diner.

“I’m sorry Hi, my truck wouldn’t start,” Kathy said breathlessly as she peeled out of her jacket. “I need a cup of java.”

Hi Morasky grinned. “Make it quick. We got a full house today.” [Read more…]

Healthcare.gov – Will I Ever Get Insurance?

medical billsI’m trying to be a patient person, but I’m not. I originally told myself I wouldn’t even bother attempting to access healthcare.gov until November. I figured the site would be too busy, and that was before we all found out the site had a ton of bugs and problems.

But I couldn’t wait.

Instead, I’ve spent the past month in a state of aggravation, attempting to figure out how something so huge could possibly be so messed up. Even if they government did a no-bid contract, why did it take so long for them to find out the site wasn’t working properly? Hasn’t anyone heard of testing a website before it launches? I mean, come on – it was no secret that millions of people were waiting for it to launch.

Here’s my experience so far (these are not consecutive days):

  • Day 1: Attempted to create account, was told I was in a queue.
  • Finally created account but could not log in. I was in another queue.
  • Day 2: Tried to log into original account but couldn’t get in.
  • Requested password email. After hours, it came through but I still could not log in. Tried to create another account but was told my username was already used.
  • Day 3: Attempted one more time to get into original account. Still waiting on password email (weeks later).
  • Day 4: Used a different username and email address to create a new account.
  • Day 5: Logged into new account and completed persona details. Attempted to submit application and the page refreshed – 6 times.
  • Day 6: Received 6 emails with notifications my application had been processed (apparently one for each time I thought it didn’t go through the day before).
  • Day 7: Painstaking review of plans, comparing gold/silver/bronze, etc. and different deductibles.

My brain hurts. I haven’t chosen a plan yet, and now when I log in, the pages don’t load so I can review my options.

This is getting stupid.

Supposedly our government has someone working on a fix. I hope so. I hope this isn’t an indication of how difficult this type of program will be in the years moving forward. I just don’t think I can handle the stress. So far, it seems like the coverage will be affordable for me, which is huge. But at what cost to my sanity?

What on Earth is Anki Drive?

STARTER_KIT_angle_whiteI have to admit, I’m not the biggest tech geek on the planet. I can turn my computer on, and I can even troubleshoot when it isn’t working right (I’m a system restore whiz). I have a smartphone, but it’s the dumbest thing on the planet. I barely use the features, so I have all of the data roaming shut off and the phone really just works as a regular call/text phone. You can’t even send me an image on it. It’s just that lame.

So when I started hearing about Anki,I wasn’t sure what to think. But I have to be honest, there is something incredibly cool about a company that can find a way to combine robotics and artificial intelligence and create a car racing game. [Read more…]

Kids, Guns, Shootings, Federal Law and Responsibility

toy gunI originally wrote this as a Facebook post in response to a link to an article about the 13-year old who was shot in California while carrying a replica assault weapon. A few people wanted to share what I wrote, but Facebook is all sorts of glitchy and some of of the shares didn’t include the original link, so my commentary seems to be missing something. I’ve added a couple of thoughts and links here, and hope this makes it easier for people to understand.

This kind of stuff really, really bothers me; but not for the initial reasons a lot of people think.

I do not own a gun. I know plenty of people who do. They have the right to own guns, and they do so responsibly.

Take a close look at the gun in this picture. It’s a screen shot of what you see on Facebook when this news article from Fox is shared. This gun looks very, very real – and it’s the gun the 13 year old boy who was shot in California was holding when he was killed.  It’s a replica. I’m not sure how “replicas” are considered, but it is federal law that “toy” guns have red or orange tips. This allows law enforcement to identify them as toys. There are even some cities where there is legislation that a toy gun can’t look like a real gun at all, which is why you see such odd shapes and colors. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: Teeth

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers. The prompt for this month’s project was “teeth.”

This week’s contribution comes from Deborah Dera. She actually cringed at the prompt this month. It came through right after she had finished procrastinating about making a dentist appointment; and it hammered her recurring nightmares about her teeth falling out home. She still hasn’t quite figured out the meaning her dreams really hold. That said, she offers this chilling description of a character not being able to get away from her dreams.

Next week’s prompt will come from RC Bonitz, author of A LITTLE BIT OF BLACKMAIL, A LITTLE BIT OF BABY, and A BLANKET FOR HER HEART.

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Teeth

They’re usually everywhere, scattered throughout my dreams.

I find them in my food. I find them on the pillow next to me when I wake from the dream within the dream. Sometimes I dream I’m brushing and spit a bloody mouthful into the sink, panicking as they spiral down the drain – out of grasp and gone forever.   [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: Not With My Teeth You Don’t!

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers. This week the key word is “teeth.”

Today’s contribution comes from Cathy MacKenzie. She is currently working on a short e-book, Creepy Crazy Christmas, Volume 2. (More stories of the weird and wacky Grimes Family; publication date in November.) For now, check out her most recent book of 18 short stories, Between These Pages. Only $2.99 for the e-book. Available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Next week’s post will come from Deborah Dera, who traditionally ghostwrites articles and web content and is currently mentoring other freelancers. She hopes to put together her first eBook for publication in early 2014.

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Not With My Teeth You Don’t!

Rita stood before a mirror and stared at the foreign face leering back at her.

Who are you? I don’t know you. Do you know me? “I didn’t think so,” she muttered.

She combed her fingers through her sparse hair, wanting to pull out every limp strand. She might as well be totally bald, since there wasn’t much hair left. A shiny, hairless head would be the perfect complement to a toothless grin. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: Filling

spotsToday’s Halloween-inspired tale comes from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capers mystery series. If you like spooky tales, check out her horror novel (for grown-ups), Faulkner’s Apprentice, also available as an ebook for just $2.99.

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Filling

Elenora Trantridge sat on the vinyl bench in Dr. Ferrier’s waiting room. She jiggled her knee and bit her lip, trying not to remember her last trip to the dentist. She’d needed three cavities filled, and the Novocain coupled with the grinding pressure of the drill had left her pale. She’d wavered as she tried to stand from the dentist’s chair that last time. [Read more…]

Product Review: Kashi All Natural Hummus Crisps

SAM_1807Disclaimer: I’m a member of the BzzAgent program and received a free sample of Kashi Sea Salt & Olive Oil Hummus Crisps and some coupons as part of the campaign. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my honest opinion of the product. I was not required to write this review, nor was I compensated for writing it.

Kashi has a reputation for being a brand that offers healthier snack options, so I have to admit I was a little excited when I got an invitation to take part in the BzzAgent Hummus Crisp program. I anxiously awaited the arrival of my kit.

Hummus crisps are made with chickpeas and whole grains. They contain 3g of protein, 4g of fiber, and 6g of whole grains, and only 3.5g of total fat per serving. Kashi’s packaging says there are no artificial ingredients, no partially hydrogenated oils, and no high fructose corn syrup. For those looking for a healthier alternative to chips and other snacks, Kashi Hummus Crisps look like a great chip. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: The Veteran

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers. This week the key word is teeth

Today’s contribution comes from RC Bonitz, author of A LITTLE BIT OF BLACKMAIL, A LITTLE BIT OF BABY, and A BLANKET FOR HER HEART.  

Next week’s story will be by Val Muller, author of FOR WHOM MY HEART BEATS ETERNAL, a sci-fi romance, and CORGI CAPERS: DECEIT ON DORSET DRIVE, a mystery novel for young readers.

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The Veteran

He stepped from the shower and began to towel off. After months in the caves and mountains of Afghanistan he could soak in a nice hot shower for a week at a time. But, there was a picnic to go to, people to meet, hands to shake. Ben Hardin was an electrical contractor with a good reputation, just the kind of guy he needed going forward. He wasn’t much for buttering up people, but what the hell, when a man dropped an invitation in his lap might as well make the most of it. He had to get used to this networking stuff if he was going to make it in civilian life. [Read more…]

That Zit on My Nose was an Ingrown Hair!

question markWarning. This story isn’t for the ridiculously squeamish.

About two weeks ago I woke up, looked in the mirror, and groaned. I’m 33 years old and I had a huge freakin’ zit right on the tip of my nose. It was one of those large, hard red spots; no blackhead, no whitehead, nothing I could do about it.

That thing lasted for two weeks straight. I tried the usual tea tree oil routine. I used warm compresses. I payed special attention to how I washed my face. I went out and bought some of those pore strips. I even dug out an old clay mask.  [Read more…]