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{September 2, 2011}   Quick update

If you’re an ardent follower of this blog, you may have noticed that I (just now, about fifteen seconds ago) updated the Books page. It now reflects the truth: I won’t be reviewing L. A. Mental in August and there are a few books that will come between now and that book. The reason for it is this: L. A. Mental isn’t set to publish until October, so I’d rather review it at the end of September, beginning of October, to coincide with all the other nice publicity things for the book. In the interim, I have Ready Player One, recently published late last month, and Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words, a memoir about Alzheimer’s, a subject close to my heart, that will drop early next week.

I’m particularly excited for Ready Player One because of two things: 1- it’s going to be a total nerd book and 2- it’s written by the same guy who did Fanboys. Yep, that awesome movie about those Star Wars fans who road trip to sneak into Skywalker Ranch to steal Episode I before it’s released publicly. Great movie. Have I mentioned I’m a nerd? Good. So this book should be pretty fun. Early reviews said that references to all things geeky are all over the place in there, so I can’t wait.

The change in review line-up also happened because while cruising the library today, I found Ready Player One on the Express shelf. (That’s this place where, in my library, you can check out a book for three weeks but can’t renew it.) Turned out to be handy for me, because I was hold 6 of 11 on the non-Express copy of the book. So now I have it, sitting right here next to me, and I’ll be able to get a review out faster than I thought. Hurray! Keep your eyes open.

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Story time.

Back in late April, I signed myself up for a digital account with The New York Times in order to be able to really work on the final paper for my International Mass Communication course. I needed to view more articles than the free 20 they allow you, and they had this nifty thing where I could sign up for a month for about a dollar and cancel anytime I wanted. Being a poor college student, I didn’t want to pay the $15 that would be billed me if I kept the account longer than a month. So before the month was up, I canceled the subscription. Imagine my surprise and horror when I looked at my bank account and discovered I had still been charged the $15 though I had already canceled. Calling customer service proved to be a tough thing to do. I phoned once and was connected to a very unhelpful lady who insisted that I hadn’t canceled soon enough and it was, essentially, my own damn fault and no refund would be posted to me. After fuming about it for a couple minutes, I looked at a calendar and discovered that the unhelpful lady was, in fact, incorrect, and I had canceled in time. So I phoned again, praying to be connected to someone else and I was. This lady was much more helpful, acknowledging that I had indeed canceled before the month and shouldn’t have been billed again. I hung up the phone assuming that a refund was on its way.

Assumptions have a crazy way of coming back to bite you.

So after a little more than a month of waiting and watching my bank account for the supposedly promised refund, it still hadn’t arrived. I figured it was worth one more call to customer service to inquire about my refund and why it was taking so long.

I’ve been on the phone for a long time. I called and was connected to another helpful lady. She understood my plight but couldn’t help me herself, so I was transferred to the head honco of some branch of the customer service. I’ve been on hold at least 5 times, possibly more, while she goes off to verify something or other, get in contact with someone or other, and tries to sort this whole thing out. Last time I spoke with her, she said something about not wanting to lead me on about the refund, which I take to mean it may or may not be coming. I’ve sort of resigned myself to the idea that I might not get my refund (though I think I’m entitled to it…and I’m poor), but honestly I could use $15.

Twenty-eight minutes. That’s how long I was on the phone with them. And it’s not even all settled yet, either. I’m going to receive a call either later today or tomorrow at the latest. They need to do some digging around with the stuff on their end and she didn’t want to keep me on hold for longer than she had already. Which is nice. So hopefully they’ll be able to sort through the mess. Apparently since my account is already terminated, it’s very hard for them to figure out what’s gone on with it, so they can’t be sure (right now) if there has been a refund posted and it’s on its way. So we’ll see, I suppose.

And now I’m off to the library to paw through some of their reference books for the economics workshop preparations.



{July 5, 2011}   Put a witty title here

Remember the Chicago Manual of Style? Turns out the readings for this large tome amount to almost the entire work. I looked in the table of contents, and I think we’re only skipping two or three of the chapters. Granted, each chapter amounts to a substantial chunk of the book and I’m grateful that we aren’t required to read the whole thing (though I probably will sometime later), but it’s still a lot of reading.

Thankfully, I’ve read the chapter on grammar, at least, in the 15th edition (Nerd alert), so it won’t really have changed. It’s always good to go back and get a refresher on all those things, though.

I like to blame some of my ineptness with grammar on the fact that I never diagrammed sentences when I was in elementary or middle school. It’s just an easy target. To remedy this, both for the Institute and for the rest of my life as I hope to deal with grammar for a good long portion of it, I have requested a book from my public library, Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog: the quirky history and lost art of diagramming sentences by Kitty Burns Florey. I found it when I was looking through some of those publishing newsletters I’m subscribed to and put it on my list of books that might be worth reading. It’s on its way, and I should get a call when it’s ready.

I’m looking forward to it; I might even bump that book up to the top of my “read for fun” list. Currently on that list is Brian Jacques entire Redwall series. I’m terribly behind (I was racing my sister) at The Bellmaker. I try to read a chapter or two a night, but that’s a rather slow pace. Thanks, DPI, for all the homework!

I jest. I’m actually quite enjoying these advance assignments from the Institute. Speaking of…I need to get a system going for the last few days, here! The time is almost upon me, and I still have a good bit to do. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make a schedule of what I need to do.



{June 23, 2011}   A startling realization

Today, dear reader (and by reader I mean me because I’m the only one reading this right now), I discovered something that, quite frankly, saddens me and I’m not quite sure what to do about it.

I discovered that…I can’t go to the library for at least a week. I’m almost done with the final book in Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series, listening to it, actually, because I can actually get through a book that way. Driving to and from work, to and from the boyfriend who lives an hour away, it makes more sense to listen to a book instead of reading it. That and with all the advance assignments for the Publishing Institute, if I’m reading, it’s one of the manuscripts for that.

Back on track: once I’m done with my current listening book, I need another. Or would like another, rather. The unfortunate thing about this situation is that I’m moving in a week. I can’t check out a book from the library where I’m moving to because, well, I’m not there yet. I can’t check out one from one of the libraries where I am now because (unbelievably) I don’t have a library card for this district (I blame the fact that I had my university library for the last four years) and I don’t think I can check out books from the university library anymore since I graduated.

All of this means that I won’t have a book to listen to for a week before I move. I don’t know what to do.

Options include getting a library card for this district for a week (which I’m considering), trying to check out a book from the university library, buying a book from audible.com, and just living without a book for a week. I’m not sure what I’ll do, but I’ll have to figure something out tomorrow since I’m sure I’ll finish the book either today or tomorrow.



et cetera