Cutting Back on Services

I’ve decided to cut back on a few things. I’m not broke, but I’m not exactly rolling in dough. I just think that there are a few things that I need to cut back on a few services that I don’t use as much as I used to.

Hulu Plus is one thing that is nice to have, but I don’t have that much time to watch it anymore. I started going to the gym, so that takes up my afternoons, and I haven’t been watching Hulu Plus as much as I would like, so that has to go. I didn’t exactly cancel my subscription, I postponed it for 12 weeks. My next billing date will be December 26th. I’m not sure I will have enough time to watch Hulu then, so if I still don’t have any plans to watch then I will just cancel my membership until further notice. I was going to cancel Netflix, but my partner says he watches Netflix, so that stays.

My website, this website, is one thing that I don’t use that often. When you have to force yourself to post something just to get your moneys worth, then is it really worth the money? I think not. No one ever visits my website anyway, so I really don’t see the point in keeping it. I don’t want to lose all my blog posts, so I’m going to copy and paste every blog post I’ve written here onto my xanapus.wordpress.com blog. I plan on keeping my domain, and it’s only $13 a year to have my WordPress blog redirect to xanapus.com. I think $13 a year is better than $144 a year. If I were still getting paid to blog then that would be one thing, but I’m not, so I have to make a change.

One more thing I am going to do is to stop paying games for in game money. Like The Sims FreePlay for example. This month I bought $20 worth of Life Points, then ran out and needed more to complete a quest, so I bought $10 more worth of Life Points and STILL didn’t finish the quest in time. That is $30 more that I could have used for groceries. So screw that noise. I’ve decided that when you have to buy life points to be able to finish a quest, then perhaps it’s time to throw in the towel on that game. I’m just not going to play that one anymore for awhile.

I’ve stopped playing with my PlayStation for several months actually. I’ll get on it every now and then, like I’ll get on it the first Tuesday of every month to see what games are free for PlayStation Plus subscribers. Since I haven’t been playing, I haven’t felt the need to buy new games or new add-on’s for the games I currently have or like to play.

I am still interested in reading more of the Pathfinder Tales books, but I will wait to buy any new books. I have a lot of eBooks that I haven’t even read yet, so I should probably focus my energy on reading those. To my defense, most of those eBooks were free, so I didn’t have to spend any money on those. A ton of them were Nook Free Fridays eBooks from when I first got my Nook, which was a long time ago lol.

I also bought the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set and the Pathfinder Beginner Box, but haven’t had too much time to learn since I’ve been going to the gym. I will get to them, I promise. I just haven’t had the chance. I also don’t have a group of people willing to teach me or willing to learn with me. Hopefully that chance will come soon.

So there are a lot of things I am ready and willing to give up just because it’s unnecessary to have them. It’s nice to have them, but what good are they if I can’t enjoy them?

This is my notice that I am going to transfer all of my blog posts from here to WordPress and then cancel my hosting and redirect my WordPress blog to my domain. Let’s hope the transfer process is quick and easy.

My recent reward for watching TV

viggle

I bought my HTC One V for Virgin Mobile from Amazon in December and one of the first apps I installed was Viggle because a friend uses it and posted the advertisement on Facebook.  I’m always looking for ways to get rewarded for doing things, like surveys, blogging, tweeting, installing and playing games and whatever else I can do.  Well, Viggle gives you rewards just for watching TV and doing trivia during your shows.

Since December I have been racking up points.  I had over 63,000 points and I was saving it for a really expensive reward, the Kindle Fire or Kindle Fire HD.  The problem is, those are 482,500 and 560,000 points and well, let’s just say if it has taken me 6 months to get 63,000 points, I’m sure it will take me a long time to get the Kindle, so I figured I might as well pick a reward of lesser value for now.  I decided to get the Barnes & Noble $25 gift card for 50,000 points.  This is what I bought.

the hunger games trilogy

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins for $24.49.  I waited for a few days after getting my Viggle reward because I wasn’t positive what I wanted.  I can’t recall exactly what made my decide on The Hunger Games, but I suddenly remembered that I wanted to read the books before seeing the movie.

I wanted to buy many ebooks at .99 cents each because then I could buy 25 ebooks, but I think getting this trilogy was better.  It’s not the quantity of the ebooks that matter because chances are I’m not going to have time for all 25 ebooks, and who knows if I will feel like I made a huge mistake because the books aren’t quality writing.  So I’m glad I bought this trilogy rather than a bunch of books I may not like.  Although I’m not positive I will like the hunger games, but I know it is something that I am interested in so I’m sure I will.

I have started reading the first book, but haven’t gotten too far because I just didn’t feel like reading.  I have to be in the mood to be able to really get into it, and I don’t want my lack of interest in reading to make me like or hate a book.  I will wait until I’m ready to start reading it.  I actually have a few other books that I’m halfway through that I would like to finish before starting another story.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that Viggle is a good app and this is proof that you do actually get rewarded for watching TV.

Glowing Review from Marguerite Labbe

I woke up this morning and immediately turned on my computer so I could check my email while I ate my breakfast and I came across an email from my favorite author Marguerite Labbe.  She posted a review of my book on her blog and I was so beyond excited because I wasn’t sure how people would feel about reading my book, but apparently it’s good.

Marguerite Labbe is an award-winning M/M author.  She wrote those gay vampire books that I love so much starting with  “My Heart Is Within You.”  I really love to read supernatural fiction, especially when they have vampires, ESPECIALLY when they are gay vampires lol.  She really knows how to capture the raw sexuality of two hot gay men better than I have ever even experienced.  Let’s just say that I had to take several bathroom breaks when I read her book.

MargueriteLabbe.com: Diary of a Gay Nerd by Michel McDonald

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012

Diary of a Gay Nerd by Michel McDonald

“I’ve had a hard time putting into words how I felt when I read Michel’s memoir.  Many parts struck a chord in me from my own childhood, though I was far luckier than Michel was and I didn’t have the added alienation of being gay.  I’ve known Michel for several years now, ever since he picked up my vampire trilogy and we started talking.  In that time, I’ve found him to be a very kind, passionate and determined man.  After reading his memoir I have to add brave to that as well and not just for what he endured and overcame.  To be able to write something like this, with such unflinching honesty, takes a rare kind of person.  Michel doesn’t gloss over his own mistakes, but puts them out there just as baldly as the abuse he went through.

“I am honored to know such a man and call him my friend.”

How awesome is that?  When I first read her book after buying it from Rainbow eBooks, I knew I had to find her on Twitter and tweet her telling her how awesome her book was.  I was surprised that she responded, but equally surprised that she continued talking to me through Twitter.  We have been talking ever since.  I think Twitter is one of the most amazing online services ever invented.

Thank you Marguerite Labbe for writing this review.  I have added it to the Barnes & Noble website btw.

It’s Totally Tuesday at Rainbow eBooks

I love Tuesdays because that means that Rainbow eBooks has a sale on all of their new releases, which mine happens to be, new that is and on sale at 15% off.  It’s regularly $6.99, but you can buy it today for only $5.94.

Diary of a Gay Nerd by Michel McDonald – Totally Tuesdays at Rainbow eBooks

If you have a Nook just download the epub file, if you have a Kindle, download the mobi file.  If you don’t have an ebook reader then you can download any file, mobi, epub or pdf.  They all work with PC if you have a PC ebook reader.

Reading My Book On An iPhone/iPod

Want to read my new book “Diary of a Gay Nerd: Life After Child Abuse, It Gets Better!” but don’t have a Nook or a Kindle but have an iPhone or an iPod?  Not to worry, that is why I published my book with RainboweBooks.com.

You actually don’t have to have a Kindle to be able to buy Amazon ebooks, or a Nook to buy Barnes & Noble ebooks.  You can download the app for your phone and create an account and start buying ebooks.  That way if you decide later that you want to buy a Nook or a Kindle, you already have an account and books in your library.  But if that is not what you want then you can also use iBooks from the app store.

What you do is simply download iBooks from the app store and install it.  Now go to RainboweBooks.com on your computer and buy my book.  Now download it in .epub format.  Open iTunes and drag the file from your computer into iTunes and a new item will show up called Books.  Plug your iPhone or iPod into your computer via the USB cable.  When iTunes finds your device, simply drag the book file to the device and it will upload it.  Disconnect from the USB and open the iBooks app and viola it’s in your bookshelf.  Open, read and enjoy.

You may notice that the book is going to be well over 1000 pages, but that is because it only shows one or two paragraphs.  The book is actually only 296 pages in e-book format but the iPhone/iPod cannot show the full page and if it did you would need a microscope to read it.

So there are your simple instructions.  I hope you enjoy my book on your Apple product.

Publishing My Book

The time has finally come for me to announce that my book is FINALLY FINISHED!

Seven months of hard work has finally paid off.  Not only have I learned how to write, but I have also learned how to grammar… wait no that’s bad grammar!  But seriously, my grammar has greatly improved, compared to when I started writing anyway.

The only thing that is preventing me from publishing my book now is an author picture.  I don’t want to publish it until I can get dressed up in my gay uniform, that being my “Legalize Gay” t-shirt that I got from the Human Rights Campaign from when I volunteered with them a few months ago at the gay pride here in Bakersfield.  Although I am not set on that shirt as being the only thing in the photo, I may bring a dress shirt.  Who knows, I may combine them and wear the dress shirt unbuttoned on top of the Legalize Gay shirt.  We’ll see.

I was going to use my own domain xanapus.com as the hub, but decided to buy a new domain name www.diaryofagaynerd.com with links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Rainbow eBooks, GetGlue, Facebook, Twitter and here.  Of course I’m paying every month for 1 single html page lol.  That doesn’t seem fair since I have a lot of space over here, but whatever.

Oh I mentioned GetGlue, yeah I haven’t really talked to them yet but I sent a tweet to one of the GetGlue people that I know.  I want to offer a sticker for my readers.  I already have the sticker made, I just need to give them the file so they can give it to people when they check-in.  Although I don’t know if a lot of writers offer stickers for books, maybe I’m the first.  Wouldn’t that be awesome if I were?  How cool would that be?  I’m a GetGlue pioneer LMAO.

So I will just focus my energy now on getting that picture so I can publish it.  Hopefully tomorrow, but no promises.

I do have future plans for another book, actually a series of fictional stories about my character Xanapus from the game EverQuest.  Of course I won’t be able to write about Norrath, I will have to make up my own fantasy world.  That will just make it more fun to write if I make things up as I go.  I will probably start the first story with a short story to make sure I know how to write fiction, of course I will be taking a course on writing fiction first.  It was one thing to write an autobiography because I didn’t have to make anything up, a story based on one single character living in a world that doesn’t exist yet is going to be the difficult part.  If I can write a short story with one little tiny quest, then we will see if I have what it takes to write a 200-300 page novel, 8 of them in total to be exact.  Yes, I am aiming high lol.  Don’t hold your breath…

Until tomorrow when I have more news about the book that I already wrote…

I Finished Writing My Book

I am happy to report that I finally finished writing my book.  I have edited the hell out of it about 20 or 30 times but it’s finally done.

I sent the file to 2 friends to proof read and send me bug reports if you will lol.  Basically, they are beta testing my book for the lack of a better term lol.

The book in doc format is only 181 pages but in epub format it is 289 pages.  I don’t know why there is a huge difference but there you have it.

I have learned a boatload of stuff about myself while writing this autobiography.  For example, I remembered things that I had blocked because they were too painful.  I don’t know how I remembered them but I’m glad I did.

The timeline of some memories were wrong in my head and it took writing it for me to remember when everything happened.

Well, I am just exhausted from writing.  My eyes are killing me from staring into a white screen for 6 to 8 hours a day.  I can’t even imagine this being my regular job.  I mean blogging is my job but I’m not doing it for 6 to 8 hours non stop day after day.  Some weeks I’m lucky if I have 2 posts written.

To celebrate my victory today I decided to play Lord of the Rings Online.  I finally did an epic quest so I can check that off of the list of things I have to do in the game.

The book won’t be published until my beta testers have read through the whole thing and given me their input.  When they do then I will have to read it one or two more times before I send it out just to make sure it’s right.  Who knows, I may even have more editing lol.

I’m pretty sure that it is finished so I do plan on getting it copyrighted this or next week so that I can sell it through Amazon and Barnes & Noble as ebooks.  If they sell enough copies then I will have it printed for those who don’t have a Kindle or a Nook.

Wish me luck!

New Kindle, Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire

Amazon has done it again.  They have surprised us with new Kindle devices.  Not just a replacement for their popular Kindle but 3 all new Kindles.

First there is the Kindle Fire (pic) which is more like a tablet and some people are calling it an iPad killer.  It’s battery lasts 8 hours which is pretty good for what it is.

The specs on the Kindle Fire is an 80GB hard drive for storing 80 apps plus either 10 movies, 800 songs or 6,000 books.  The Kindle Fire has a 7″ vibrant color IPS screen with multi-touch.

I had never heard of an IPS screen before so I had to look it up and I found some information on it on a message board.  This is what someone said it was.

IPS – in-plane switching…. the liquid crystals are aligned horizontally instead of on an angle. This process greatly increases vertical viewing angles. When coupled with the high brightness and contrast of the glaretype displays, color reproduction is almost perfect. Basically it becomes a 1/4″ professional graphics flat CRT monitor…. which is why the display is primarily for those in professional graphics.

Very interesting.

The new Amazon Kindle Fire is $199 and it is a WiFi only device.

The 2nd new Kindle is a smaller priced Kindle with no keyboard.  It is WiFi only, has a 6″ e-ink Pearl screen, 2GB storage for 1,400 ebooks and its battery life is 1 month.

The new $79 kindle doesn’t have a keyboard but it does have a 5-way controller at the bottom for navigating.  With no keyboard I would imagine that it would be a bit difficult to type in the name of a book you are looking for.

I noticed that it allows you to check out books from the library.  That was something that will make it easier on most people who can’t afford to buy a lot of books but don’t want to have to go to the library for their books.  I looked that feature up when I was researching last year and our library is not in the system so it wouldn’t work for me unless they changed that in the last year.

They still have their Kindle with the keyboard which they have 2 versions of, a WiFi only version for $99 and a WiFi and 3G version for $139.  That went way down in price since last year when it was $150 for WiFi only and $200 for 3G.

Now they have a new Kindle touch in WiFi only for $99 and WiFi and 3G for $149.

The battery for both the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Touch lasts for 2 months which is longer than before.

All of the kindles use the Amazon cloud storage for unlimited amazon content and they have an experimental browser with the exception of the Kindle Fire which uses their new Amazon Silk cloud-accelerated browser.

I remember when e-book readers first came out.  I had just made my new years resolution to start reading in December of 2005.  I saw the Sony reader at Costco for about $500 or $550, I can’t remember.  I do remember thinking how cool it was that they were coming out with them but I didn’t think they would catch on at that price.

I started reading the Harry Potter books in January 2006 and got hooked on reading.  I was reading all the time after that.

Then Amazon came out with their first e-book reader which if I can remember was almost as high as the Sony Reader but eventually they lowered the price down to $250.  Then B&N came out with their Nook after a little controversy with another e-book reader with a color screen at the bottom.  The nook was also $250.

The war was on and every year these 2 rivals have come out with a new version of their e-book reader with a lower price.

The Kindle has dropped from a high $500 all the way down to a low $80.  I never thought the day would come and it has.  Before you know it there will be another Kindle or Nook on the market that will be as low as $50 and every kid will have one in school with their textbooks on them.

My question is, what ever happened to the Sony reader touch?  That was a good one and it’s a shame it’s gone because you could write on the screen.  I seriously thought that the Sony Reader would evolve into the Sony Trapper Keeper where you would have all of your textbooks in there as well as a notebook with tabs for each subject and you could write your notes on a notepaper screen and have it turn it into typed text that you could save.  That would’ve been awesome.

Maybe that will be the next evolution for the Kindle or the Nook, or who knows, maybe even both.  It would be much easier for a child to carry to school rather than a heavy 20lb backpack filled with books and a notebook or a laptop.

Reading is a Skill

I talked to one of my aunts on Facebook this morning about reading a book that she and my uncle had recommended to me in 2006.  I read the first book in the series of a million books (over-exaggerated number) and it was probably the most difficult book I had ever read.  I told her, and I was just saying this as an excuse, that reading is like a skill.  I can’t read an advanced book as a beginner, or even intermediate reader.

This was her response:

“Your analysis of reading being a skill is spot on, as the Brits say. It IS a skill, and the only way to improve that skill is to continually work at it.”

So, it is no longer just an excuse and the only way for me to be able to read those books is to continue to read my immature vampire ebooks to continue to grow as a reader lol.

I actually love reading.  I would say that I used the Harry Potter books as my beginners books and have grown from there.  The Harry Potter books were amazing because they didn’t have big words that I had never even heard in daily use, they were simple words that every person knows.

I think buying the Nook was the best investment towards my “skill” for many reasons like the built-in dictionary for example.  If I don’t know a word I can look it up by either typing the word into the Nook or by placing the cursor next to a word.  This helps me learn what those words mean for the next time I see it.  It helps me grow as a reader.

Eventually I will get to those Belgariad books.  Like I said, I read the first book and as difficult as it was to read, it was just as difficult to put it down because it was such a good story.  I’ve only read the first story and I can’t wait to get to the next one because I have to know what happens next.

I’m in the intermediate stage because the vampire books that I have read have had some pretty big words and I’ve been able to understand without having to look the words up so I feel like I’m almost there.

I was going to make up my own skill level names but I wanted some examples like beginner, intermediate, pro etc. but I actually found that there is in fact a reading level Wiki site.  Wikibooks: Reading Levels.

So here we have pre-reader which are the children’s book which I actually did read as a child until I was maybe 5.  Then there is beginner which is almost similar to children’s books but maybe without pictures.  I’m pretty sure Harry Potter is in this category.  Intermediate which are books that most adults can comprehend and I do believe that the vampire books that I read are intermediate.

The final 2 categories are advanced and professional.  I’m pretty sure the Lord of the Rings and Belgariad are both in the advanced category.  They may be somewhere in between though, I’m not quite sure.

It will take me a bit of time to get to the advanced stage because I haven’t really read that many books but I’m working on it.  The more I read the better I get at it and as long as I continue to read what I’m reading I’m pretty sure I will get up in the ranks and join the rest of the adults my age lol.

Cirque Du Freak eBooks

I started reading the Darren Shan “Cirque Du Freak” books late last year on Halloween.  I figured it was time to start a new series of books and since it was Halloween, I wanted it to be some type of horror book and I remembered the Vampire’s Assistant started out as a book so I figured it would be a good read.

The ebooks were only a couple bucks and I figured it would be a very good purchase.  I didn’t read them all right away, I read the first 3 then stopped to pursue other books.  But last month I decided that I wanted to finish them once and for all.

These books are small so it doesn’t take more than a day to read them, less for everyone else who doesn’t have dyslexia.  So it usually takes me 2 days at a couple of hours each day to read them.

The first book was very similar to the movie but with a lot more detail.  At first I thought the movie was all 12 books rolled into a movie but after the first book I realized it wasn’t the case because decades have passed in the book where only maybe months have passed in the movie.  But the movie also didn’t get to the war of the scars either and with Darren and Mr. Crepsley leaving the Cirque at the end of the movie, or rather the next day when Darren has had his rest, it leaves it open for more story which I doubt they will ever tell in movie format.

The books were very good to read and since I had most of the characters in my head from watching the movie I was able to visualize most of them for when I read the books.

I hate giving away plots or story lines because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone but if you do get a chance to read these please do.

I said the books were a couple bucks, well, unfortunately they raised the price.  eBooks are now $7.99 each but you can buy the actual books in a set for only $35 on Amazon.  That’s only a couple bucks per book and it is so worth it.  I don’t know if $8 is worth it since they are so small though.  I’m just glad I bought the whole series when I did lol.

If you weren’t aware of the story, here is a synopsis from the Cirque du Freak Wiki:

The Vampire’s Assistant is a fantasy-adventure based on the first three books of the series, The Saga of Darren Shan, by author Darren Shan about a teenager who unknowingly breaks a 200-year-old truce between two warring factions of vampires. Pulled into a fantastic life of misunderstood sideshow freaks and grotesque creatures of the night, one teen will vanish from the safety of a boring existence and fulfill his destiny in a place drawn from nightmares.

16-year-old Darren was like most kids in his suburban neighborhood. He hung out with his best friend Steve, got decent grades, and usually stayed out of trouble. But when he and Steve stumble upon a traveling freak show, things begin to change inside Darren. That’s the exact moment when a vampire named Larten Crepsley turns him into something bloodthirsty.

Newly undead, he joins the Cirque du Freak, a touring sideshow filled with monstrous creatures from a snakeboy and a Wolf Man to a bearded lady and a gigantic ringmaster. As Darren flexes his newfound powers in this dark world, he becomes a treasured pawn between the vampires and their deadlier counterparts. And while trying to survive, one boy will struggle to keep their brewing war from devouring what’s left of his humanity.

There is a lot more about the story than in this synopsis but you can find out about it by reading the books.  This synopsis says the movie is based on the first 3 books but that isn’t exactly the truth because so much happens in the 2nd and 3rd book that you never even see in the movie.  If I were you I would just get the books and find out for yourself.  I double dare you.