Tuesday, August 31, 2010

PAYPAL IS THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD

John Cole has a modern day Catch 22!  Check out his story about PayPal.

This is why I don't have a PayPal account and I never will.  Not only do I get spammed regularly with messages about "your PayPal account" but I keep hearing stories such as John's over and over.

I'm pulling for you John!

Monday, August 30, 2010

First Webbie Winner Didn't Claim It - Second Winner Is...

Number 3!
Susan B. said...
Good for Joni for getting this done. Love the hand doodle.

Susan, contact me at joni dot bowers at gmail dot com with your address and I'll get the Webbie in the mail to you.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Weather in the Valley of the Sun

We were hit late yesterday afternoon with a hum-dinger of a storm.  I haven't seen it rain that hard in years.  We even got marble-sized hail!  My daughter tried taking pictures of it, but they didn't turn out.  Too much going on too fast.  At least we were side-by-side witnesses to the fury.

The ash tree looked like a big hand from above was smooshing it straight down.  Sheets of rain were blown first from the south and then from the east as the cell moved through.  It was wonderful - even though our back patio was totally drenched.  It is now a big gunky mess. 

The biggest blessing of all was that my back fence stayed standing.  What a relief that was!  Putting it back up has been an annual event for the last few years.  (Helpful hint: use long wood screws instead of nails in your fence.)

As I've mentioned before in this blog, we are usually by-passed due to our heat island effect.  However, the heat has backed off a wee bit, so the concrete and asphalt hasn't been radiating the horrible temperatures that it usually does. 

We have a month and a half more of our official monsoon season according to the local weather people who block it out on their calendars like the hurricane season.  But I'm hoping for an early conclusion.  I'm tired of feeling sticky.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What's the Word I'm Looking For?

It's that person that observes human behavior and writes books about how stupid we're becoming thanks to technology.  That person could have had a wonderfully enlightening time watching me this morning.

We had a monsoon-caused power outage at my office building last night.  The power - transmitted through 40+ year-old infrastructures - came back on, went off, came back on, went off, etc. enough to cause our server to just throw up its "hands" and sit sulking until someone with sense could tell it it was okay to come back to life.

When our IT gal at work cajoled it back on this morning, we found one casualty:  Outlook.  The normal backup failed due to the yo-yo effect and we were told that Tuesday's emails were toast.  The IT "guru" worked most of the morning remotely restoring from the last backup.

Here's where the entertainment came in.  My normal pattern at work is to check my email and create a "To Do" list first thing every morning.  I can usually finish most of my list before the end of the work day with just a few projects carrying over.  (This is slowly changing, but for now: status quo.)  With the email down, I could NOT focus on anything!  I wandered here, there, chatted with co-workers and surely drove them nuts.  The IT gal finally asked me - in a very nice way - if I didn't have anything better to do than what I was doing/not doing.

(One thing to note: a few of my co-workers discovered that the Outlook on their smart phones didn't work when our server was down.  I keep a paper planner and was unbearably smug.  I think they forgave me.)

Eventually, I was able to sit down and work my way back into focus.  The great news is that as far as I know, only one email was missing and I was able to get it resent.  People trying to send emails to us were getting a "message delayed" and phoning instead.  I was able to talk to people I'd only emailed with before.  What a treat!

Anyway, we're back up and running.  The season of monsoon continues as well.

Monday, August 23, 2010

And the Webbie Goes To...

Number 16:

mar1a  said...
Christmas in August sounds cool. Even though it's FAR from cool...as in temps. Show me da Webbie!
Congratulations Marla!  Send me your mailing address (joni dot bowers at gmail dot com) before the end of the week and I'll put it in the mail!

Thank you to all participants!  If you'd like to try again for a Webbie, head over to Whatever and check in with Julie (Okami).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Next Steps in a Webbie Named "Beany"

I guess I can point at Spiritual Evolution of the Bean and Penchant for Paper among the many blogs that I read for my urge to art journal. I’m the first one to admit that I am not gifted in the visual art arena by any means. It runs a close second to my singing: I’m paid not to. (I can kill a good party buzz by saying “I want to” and “karaoke” in the same paragraph.) Nevertheless, the desire to try another creative outlet (besides writing) was strong.

Stephanie and Heather create beautiful mandalas and both have mentioned the meditative qualities drawing can bring. I thought I could do those easily. It wasn’t easy. So I went onto YouTube and searched for how-to videos on mandalas. That’s where I found the term “Zentangle.”  This is the video that sent me searching for more.

Zentangles are an art form that is new to me yet, when I saw it drawn around a large manuscript letter, I saw it as ancient. Regardless, it is patterns drawn in small areas of unconventional shapes to become beautiful works of art. And, they too mention the meditative benefits of drawing.

So this is a method of drawing that I think I can do in my new art journal. It looks childish and rough right now but with persistence and the Webbie that I now possess (thanks to Rhodia & Exaclair) I will gain confidence and an outlet at the same time.

Check out the art on the Zentangle blog and see what I’m talking about. Then pick up a pen, pencil, or what have you and start doodling!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Review: Rhodia Webnotebook & Giveaway!

Thank you to Stephanie (Rhodia) and Karen (Exaclair) for providing the two "Webbies" for this post!  Your generosity is unmatched, Ladies.

The Webbies actually came in the mail a couple of weeks ago.  Stephanie and Karen sent out quite a few of these to other blogs of note and I waited to see what others were saying about the notebooks.  Unfortunately for me, they were elequent and detailed.  There is nothing much for me to add to the conversation!  Therefore, I will say it all with pictures.  (Please pardon my photography.)

Gracie - My Muse
The Webbie













Just the facts Ma'am







Size Comparison with an A4







Black end papers






Creamy pages





The Test - fountain pen ink & Crayola markers

Show through
Okay, so there you have it.  All in all I like this notebook.  I'll avoid the markers, stick with drier media and journey onwards!

Now, for the giveaway.  Leave a comment on this post before midnight on Sunday, August 22.  Using the random gadget from random.org, I will pick a winner on Monday, August 23 and announce the lucky person at that time.  This will be limited to USA contestants only, please.

Good luck, and have a great week!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Note of Warning

Hi.  I had an experience today that left me feeling awful.  My Gmail account was hacked and used to spread a virus.  Google responded quickly and locked me out of my account until I contacted them.  I'm back and should be okay.

I sent everyone on my contact list a follow up email to let them know and advise them to run their anti-virus software.  If I missed you, please forgive me - and run your software!  I hope no one opened the link that was in the email.

Koodos to Google for their assistance!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Correction

Just as I hit the publish button on my last post, I knew. Too late. It was out there surfing the electronic waves. My optimism of the day would soon encounter what Wall Street is so cleverly spinning as a “correction.” I’m fortunate that it didn’t correct like the Crash of 1929 or of recent times. Instead, it was a simple and innocent phone call from my local blood donation center asking me to make an appointment.

I’m a long-time visitor to the United Blood Services facility to the point that I’ve developed scar tissue in and around my lucky vein. In fact, I’m there so often that they know I’m boring as hell and they auctioneer the interview questions. The only time I tripped them up was when the cardiologist told me to start taking the low-dose aspirin every day. However, recently they have been forced to add new questions. (I think it was to see if we were listening.) “Has your mother ever lived in or visited for three months or longer in Mexico, Central America, or South America?” This is where I’m in danger of peeing in my pants from holding back a huge burst of laughter.

My mother, like most men and women of her age in Arizona, actually believes Sheriff Joe. (See SB 1070.) He’s fired up the whole state into thinking that we will all be murdered in our beds by illegal aliens pulling trailers of lawn care equipment behind their beat up flying saucers. There is no way in hell that she would dream of crossing the border. “They’re murdering all the Americans down there!” (My mother, the ultra-conservative Bible-thumper, missed the whole Hippie era. Her “Summer of Love” was when Grandma and Grandpa bought us a riding lawn mower and because it was something that looked like fun instead of work, Dad took over mowing our immense farmyard instead of Mom with the push mower.)

So where was I? Oh, yeah. Blood donation.

At my last visit to the Center, I was scheduled to give platelets. This means that I’d be parked there for two hours. I don’t mind the time at all. In fact, longer is better. The clinical staff at the Center is thoroughly trained at the local comedy club. By time the draw is done, I’m weak not from blood loss, but laughter.

But that appointment was not good. My lucky vein is not lucky anymore. I settled myself into the chair. Joe, who is staffing the platelet section, wraps my upper arm with the blood pressure cuff and pumps it tight. Then he whips out his trusty purple marker and palpitates the crook of my left arm commenting on my needle tracks. “Those are all yours,” I tell him. He nods and makes two dots to guide his needle. When the skin is dry from the alcohol scrub, he takes the needle and jabs it in.

Let me state right here that I have a high pain threshold and am easy going about this part of the draw. I even like to watch. Fresh blood is the most beautiful color, I think.

This one hurt. Joe has a puzzled look on his face as he re-palpates the elbow. He partially withdraws the needle and jabs it back in. Rinse and repeat. After a few mutterings under his breath, he straightens up and calls Dan over to try his luck. Long story short, I end up with a tiny girl that is 36 months pregnant bending over my elbow with Joe and Dan looking over her shoulder. My hand is dark purple and I’m sweating with the effort of sitting still. Finally, after making Swiss cheese out of my inner arm, they give up.

“We can try your right arm,” Dan suggests. No, they can’t. I have carpal tunnel in that arm and two hours of squeezing the 1¾-inch alcohol wiped PVC pipe would not be a good thing.

Later that same day, my daughter is sitting in the same chair. Phlebotomists are bent over both of her elbows searching for a viable vein. They are palpating and prodding, and she is squeezing and holding. That’s when, she told me later, the gal who interviewed her walks past and says, “That’s Joni’s daughter.” In unison, the two phlebotomists backed away. They sent her home.

So, folks, today my daughter and I are scheduled for another go. This time we’ll just try for whole blood. It’s quicker and the needles are different. I can use my right arm for this one. Wish us luck.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's a Good Day

[Insert image of smiling cat here.]

I've had - and am having - a good day.  In the process of journaling about it, I realized that I'm usually complaining (and whining and bitching and - well, you get the idea) and for once I was writing about all the good things that happened today.
  1. After a year and a half of silence, the local school district called my hubby to substitute teach for 3 days and more than likely will continue into the next week.
  2. A second grant that I applied for has been awarded to the new specialty group I am now helping to administer.  (That's 2 out of the 11 that I submitted.  In this economy, that is HUGE!)
  3. I joined a co-worker in a spur of the moment jaunt up the street to visit an estate sale on our lunch hour.  (Yes, Brad, it was a "business" lunch.)
  4. Today's mail at home brought two Rhodia "Webbie" Webnotebooks from Exaclair.  One is to review on this blog and the other will be a giveaway!  (Stay tuned for details.)
And my day isn't over.  This is nice.  I want to make note of it.  I want a written, published record of it for those "other" days.

Enlightenment



tiny bright light
of idea
dancing and flickering
but
burning strong
on top of
words
rolled tight and tall
resting secure on
the page

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper!

Thank you to everyone who submitted to the August Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper! It was simply amazing to be the host. Many thanks to Nifty at Notebook Stories  for creating this monthly event!

Editor’s Pick
This was a tough decision, folks. I almost had to pull out the dartboard and choose that way. But to be honest, there was one I enjoyed over all. When Caitlin Burns submitted her post “10 money saving tips for starving artists” I not only loved it but with today’s economy (and my own tight budget), I adapted some of her suggestions in other areas of my life. Thanks Caitlin!
 
Pen
Patrick Sikes wrote a nice pen review on his "Pelikan Script 1.5."  I, too, love my italic nibs. My cursive is actually readable now. As a side note Patrick, I have trouble getting my converter to seat in my Pelikano, too!

lady dandelion called my attention to a great post from Bleubug called “Oodles of Noodler’s” I reviewed one Noodler’s pen but Bleubug did it right. Here’s an excellent and thorough review of the new Noodler's pens.

Tom from Goldspot Pens sent in "Montegrappa Miya Midnight Blue Fountain Pen Review" and I’m so glad he did. That is one fine looking instrument and someday, yeah, someday Tom, you’ll be mailing one of those pens to me!

Namiki Falcon Meets Diamine Ink is a post submitted by Margana better known from An Inkophile's Blog.  Margana says, "Namiki Falcon soft nibs come up often in pen discussions so here is a closer look at one of my favorite pens."  And I can see why.  I suggest you click on the pictures for an up close view and see for yourself.

Over at A Penchant for Paper Heather lists her "Worst Five Pens" which puts a nice spin on the usual "Best of" lists we usually see.  Good post, Heather!

Paper
Cynthia Niklas wins the It’s so simple why didn’t I think of that? award with her post “Moleskine Volant Daily Planner Hack.” (Has anyone seen the cute clips in Staples lately? You could take Cynthia’s cool idea and run wild with it!)

A review of "Moleskine Index Cards: Professional Memo Cards"  was sent in by Brian Greene from Office Supply Geek. I love the vertical orientation of the ruled cards as opposed to the horizontal lines on regular index/recipe cards. Excellent!

David Garrett from Seize the Dave has a great paper review: "rhodia dot pad." What handsome calligraphy, Dave!

First Glance: Read & Write Journal written by travisthetrout of Notes in a Book introduces us to some really cool repurposed paper notebooks.  Now this is not recycling, folks.  It's better!

Ink
lady dandelion tantalizes us all with her “review: iroshizuku fuyu-gaki – a winter persimmon perfect for summer”  Beautiful color!

Clement Dionglay from Rants of The Archer fame submitted an "Ink Review: J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage."  As you know, one of my favorite colors is green and this one is one that will definitely end up in my collection!

Misc
Julie (Okami) reports on the "Miami Pen Show 2010." Check out the pictures! I love people who take their cameras along and share their photos! Thanks Julie!

Dianeb sent in “Periscope Lighted Padfolio and Kindle Cover” and says, “I've fallen in love with this lighted Padfolio, and especially as I can fit my favorite notepads in the pockets. It's especially useful when I'm working in my middle room, where I've got low wattage energy saving fluorescent bulbs and no natural light.”

lady dandelion submitted the post “Man Luen Choon!” on behalf of Leigh Reyes: My Life As a Verb.  I think I want one (or two – or three) of everything! (Think “FedEx”!)

Peter Warrior from Tiger Pens Blog tells us "Why Your Car Should Have a Pen and Notebook in the Glove Box."  By the way Peter, I cleaned up the blog just for you. **grins!**

That’s all for this month, but stay tuned! Office Supply Geek  is hosting the September edition of this Carnival. I don’t know about anyone else out there, but I’ve discovered some of the best blogs through this monthly feature. So, keep sending in those submissions!