My Year In Review

my year in chalkboard

before and after morro bay 2013 was a very good year for me.  I started out not wanting to make a new years resolution out of fear of the disappointment that would always come from breaking it.  I decided to make one after a few days, and I stayed with it, well, until July anyway.  I said I wanted to lose weight and I did.  By July I had lost 70lbs with an android app called Noom, but then the weight stopped dropping and I gained 10lbs back, but fluctuated throughout the rest of the year.  I started out the year at 264lbs, went down to 194lbs and as of today I am 205lbs.  I will make another resolution to get back on my diet so I can get down to the weight that I wanted to get down to.  I know how to do it, I just need the willpower.

xray1 On March 16th I had an accident while riding the bicycle home from the grocery store at night and I broke my arm.  It was the ball of my left arm that fits into the shoulder socket.  I didn’t have a cast, instead all I was given was a sling from the emergency room.  By that time I had already lost 35lbs, and as you can already tell from the previous paragraph, the broken arm didn’t stop me from reaching my weight loss goal.

etsy banner While I was recovering from my broken arm, I decided that I wanted to start a new craft.  Well, it wasn’t really a new craft, it was an old craft that I learned when I was 9 and in the Cub Scouts.  I had some materials, so I wanted to use them up by making a couple of keychains.  I had so much fun that I decided that I wanted to learn a more complicated pattern.  I got so good at it and I was having so much fun that I ended up with about 40 keychains, so I opened up an Etsy shop.  I started out with keychains, and I added dangle keychain style earrings, studs and hoops and I already have plans on making and selling dream catcher earrings.

On June 26th, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled DOMA to be unconstitutional and Prop 8 was finally repealed.  HURRAY!  What a glorious day that was for the gay community in California.  In fact, 18 (or 19) states made gay marriage legal in 2013 and legal on a federal level.  The reason I said or 19 is because Wikipedia doesn’t include DC, but says eighteen states AND District of Columbia.  Whatever.  18 or 19, it’s still a huge victory for us.  Illinois is in that 18, but theirs isn’t legal until June 2014.

IMAG2002 In late July I started having pain in my parotid gland, which happens at least 2 or 3 times a year for I want to say the last 10 years, but I am not positive.  It’s been going on for a very long time.  The parotid gland is the saliva gland and for some reason the saliva doesn’t release into my mouth, instead something blocks the way and it swells up to the size of a golf ball or bigger.  I try to milk it so the saliva goes into my mouth, and that does work, but it hurts really bad.  The doctors usually give me an antibiotic and it clears up in a week, but this time it didn’t clear up.  My doctor sent me to an ear, nose throat doctor and to have an ultrasound which showed that I had a stone inside of my parotid gland.  The ENT doctor sent me to have a cat scan with contrast which showed that I had several stones in both of my parotid glands, but the ones on the right side were much bigger than the left.  I had surgery on November 20th to remove my parotid gland.  The area is still numb and I was told it will probably be numb for another couple or few months.  YAY!

My back has caused me tons of pain for so many years and this summer I finally found out what was causing it.  Apparently I have scoliosis in my spine.  I told my aunt about it and she told me that my great-grandmother was born with scoliosis and she lived her entire life with it.  I remember she had a hump on her back, that was the scoliosis.  My doctor sent me to physical therapy for a month and that halted the pain, but it didn’t correct anything.  I have an appointment in January to start treatment up again, and it’s a good thing too because the pain is already starting to come back.  My first treatment was a shock, no, seriously, they put these electrodes on my back and it shot electricity to my nerves to dull them.  They had me do exercises for half an hour and then they would give me a deep tissue massage. The electrode was only applied to me on the first visit, all the other appointments were just me laying on the table doing exercises and then massages.  The last couple appointments didn’t include a massage.

bread slicer pumpkin bread We went to a thrift store in October and I found a bread machine for only $6.  I can’t say I have ever had homemade bread before, like ever, so that was quite an experience.  I did learn that I was doing it wrong for a very long time when I had such a horrible stomachache which felt like I had a 10lb brick sitting in my stomach.  Apparently the bread was too dry.  I read the instructions.  It clearly stated that I was to use exact measurements, no more, no less, so I was only doing what I was told to do, but apparently rules are made to be broken.  Now the bread is light and fluffy and it actually tastes better than store bought bread.  My favorite bread to make is Spiced Pumpkin Bread with raisins.  Have you ever had a ham sandwich or a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich with pumpkin bread with raisins?  It’s quite awesome.  Although I will have to cut back on the bread when I start my diet up again.

We also helped feed a couple of neighbors for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which frankly is what the holidays are all about.  It’s nice to receive presents, but it’s even nicer to do a good deed for someone.  I guess those were our good deeds for the year.

Of course we exchanged presents.  I got a Nook HD+ 32GB tablet from my partner, and I gave him a Google Chromecast so he can watch Netflix and YouTube from his tablet, plus I got him Netflix.

I don’t know what will happen in 2014, but I’m sure it will be as memorable as 2013.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

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Nook HD+ for Christmas

desktop landscape

I was totally not expecting this, but my partner bought me a Nook HD+ 32GB for Christmas. I was saving money to buy an Amazon Kindle Fire because I thought it was better than a Nook tablet. I had no idea that the Nook tablet had the Google play store now. So I changed my mind, but was still saving the money and was expecting that I would finally have the money saved by my birthday in June. I told my partner what I was planning, and I think he took that as a hint. It wasn’t, but hey, I’m not complaining lol.

I have a Nook WiFi, which is still very nice to have for when I want to read a book in the sunlight. That doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen. You can’t see a tablet screen in sunlight which is what makes a e-ink screen superior than a tablet in that sense.

I was saving up for the 7″ screen with only 8GB, but when we were at the Barnes & Noble store he saw the two screens next to each other and decided for me that the 9″ screen was better, and that 32GB would also be way better than only 8GB which I highly agree with. The price however was a huge difference. The 7″ tablet was only $129 and the 9″ was $179. I agree that the one he bought me is better though, and I probably would have regretted not getting the bigger one.

library portrait There was a problem with my new Nook though. The first day was okay, but the second day wasn’t. The screen started freaking out on me. It would move side to side on its own and it would drop app icons onto the desktop from the carousel at the top. It also went into my library and started downloading books and magazines from the cloud. I saw it in the Nook store and freaked out that it would start making executive decisions on what it thought I should start reading.

I called the store and tried to explain to them what was happening, but the tech didn’t get it right away. She eventually understood and walked me through resetting it to factory and told me if I had any more problems to bring it in for another one. It did, and so we went in the very next day. It was a good thing too because they were on sale, so they gave my partner the difference, which was $32. Not bad eh? Instead of being $179, it was only $149.

So yeah, the Nook HD+ 32GB was a very good thing. I’ve been putting my computer in sleep mode while I use the Nook as a computer. No sense in using electricity if I’m going to use a tablet instead of a computer. I am disappointed that I can’t play the Sims FreePlay on it though. I’ve been playing that on my cell phone for a year now and it gets frustrating when it crashes constantly. I would love to free up some space on my phone and play it on a bigger screen.

landscape book

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to read books on the screen because I much prefer either paper or e-ink, but it’s actually not that bad to read from. I’ve been reading in landscape mode and it reads just like a book, it even looks like a book when you turn the page. The reason I’m reading in landscape mode is because of the case I have. It’s much easier for me to read with the Nook sitting on my desk than it is to hold it on my hand.

I am very happy with my gift. I’m even happier that I didn’t have to save the money for it because I can’t save money very easily because it always goes into the groceries. I’m even happier that the replacement didn’t freak out like the first one lol.

We didn’t buy the case in the store because I thought they would be expensive, so I bought it on Amazon for $11 with free shipping.  Not a bad price.  I found out that the cases they have in the store are only $15, but I am very happy with the case that I have because it rotates so it can stand in portrait or landscape mode.

We don’t conform to the rules of opening your Christmas presents ON Christmas day.  Screw that noise lol.  We will open our presents when we gosh darn well please thank you very much.  The present I bought for him wasn’t quite as expensive though, it was the Google Chromecast for $35.  He can use it to watch Netflix or YouTube directly from his tablet.  My second gift for him was Netflix itself, which we both can enjoy from our tablets and the Blu-ray player.

Recovering from Surgery

I am still recovering from surgery.  Been laying in bed reading the 12th Xanth book “Man From Mundania”.  The meds make me very sleepy though, so it’s hard to concentrate, but I do my best.  My face around my ear and my ear are still numb and it feels very odd to be numb and itchy at the same time.  I’ve never had surgery so naturally I had no idea what this would be like.

There is a tube sticking out of my neck to drain the fluids that I was only supposed to have for 1 week, but since the doctor is only there on Fridays and they are closed the day after Thanksgiving, I have to have the tube for 2 weeks.  It doesn’t bother me, but I was hoping to not have it any more than I have to because it hurts sometimes when I accidentally pull on it.  It’s also very disgusting lol.  We usually go to Golden Corral on Thanksgiving because it’s easier to have them do all the work, but with the stitches and the tube, I just can’t see me walking around a restaurant filling my plate without feeling like I’m being stared at and judged.  I already had someone blatantly staring at my stitches while talking to me and seeing the disgusted look on his face which made me never want to leave the house again.

I honestly don’t mind the cooking and cleaning, but since it is just the two of us and we really don’t need to cook that much food, it doesn’t make much sense buying and cooking so many different dishes.  I think if we can just get some chicken for the crock pot, a couple of potatoes and a couple of yams and a pumpkin pie we should be fine.  That’s really all I care to eat anyway.

I haven’t been eating as much as I normally have been.  I don’t know if it’s the medicine, but I’m just not hungry which means I am losing weight.  Yes, I have literally lost 6lbs since Wednesday.  I love knowing that I am losing weight, but not because the medicine is making me sick, but because I’m eating right and trying to lose weight.  I don’t know if that makes sense.

Well, I really just wanted to do a status update, but I was up to 3 paragraphs and I figured it was big enough for a blog post so I switched over to blogging lol.  I’m finished so back to bed for me.

H.T. Night’s 8-Book Vampire Box Set

HT Night

I don’t normally review books or advertise for books unless I really like a book or I know the author personally or on social network websites, but I wanted to type something up for this particular series.

H.T. Night’s 8-Book Vampire Box Set is available for the Kindle and the Nook for only .99 cents as of this posting.  Amazon estimates it at 886 pages and Barnes & Noble doesn’t actually say how many pages it has.  I bought it on my Nook and it actually shows 1921 pages.  What’s interesting, or odd, is that when I turn the page, it will flip about 2 or 3 pages.  I am on page 98 and I hit the button or swipe the screen to flip the page and it will say 100.  I find that unusual behavior for my Nook because sometimes I might be on the same page number for 4 pages.  So my guess is that this author formatted the ebook very strangely to make it show 1921 pages and flip 2 pages at a time.  I formatted mine to be sheet of paper size 8.5 x 11.  This author probably formatted it at 4×6, I’m guessing.

I read some of the reviews on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble and have seen so much negativity towards not just the author, but their writing style.  I agree it’s a bit odd, but everyone has their own writing style and their own skill level, so I am not going to grade this writer because he had the gumption to write a long fiction novel which is more than I can say.  Actually, more than just 1 fiction novel because I see he has many more stories on Amazon.  I do recognize what some of the reviewers are saying though because I see a lot of strange things as well, but I don’t hate it.  I look at it as like one of those B movies that you see from the 60’s and 70’s and even some of the B movies on SyFy like Sharktopus lol.  I don’t mean to sound harsh towards the author, but that’s what it’s like to me.

I haven’t read the entire series, but I’m sure it won’t take very long to read.  It says in the title that it is 8 books, but when you are in the ebook you only see 4 titles.  In the contents you see that it is sectioned into 8 parts. I click Go to > Chapter > eBookVersion1_split_1 (that is actually how it shows up on the contents), it goes right to page 256 which is the 2nd page of chapter 32 of the first book.  I don’t get why this author didn’t format the ebook chapters properly.  It is split up into 8 sections, but there are actually only 4 ebooks in there.  That’s rather misleading.

Here is a picture of my Nook showing the cover page with the title that says it is 8 books on the top and saying it’s only “FOUR NOVELS” with each book title under “VAMPIRES & WEREWOLVES.”  That is not 8 books, so where are the other 4?  You can’t sell a 8-book box set with only 4 books and call it 8 books and section it off into 8 sections.  People aren’t stupid.

ht night nook

Well, it’s only .99 cents on both the Kindle and the Nook so with all of it’s formatting and misleading title saying it’s 8 books when it’s really only 4, it is still an interesting story and it’s easy to read. I actually don’t (or haven’t yet) seen any flaws in the story or seen any misspellings or any other errors so I’m not listening to the negative reviews about that. The formatting doesn’t really bother me as much as it would seem. Perhaps the 8 books were combined so 2 books are actually 1 book, who knows. I find the writing style easy to read and the book is hard to put down. I said it was like a B movie, but it’s really not that bad. I’d say it’s a higher caliber.

I am updating my status on this series on Goodreads and here they are.  I have to admit that I do like this book.  Although, I have noticed a few errors here and there, but it is still good.

Goodreads Updates:

6/29 – “This isn’t going to take very long to read. It’s actually quite addicting. I love that I can actually understand everything and I don’t need to use the dictionary on my Nook lol.”

7/2 – “I just finished the first book Moon Dance and I absolutely loved it. It was so easy to read and very difficult to put down. Now I am about to start the 2nd of 4 books in this “8” book series (LOL) called Vampire Moon. (25% done)”

My Cromebook WiFi Works Again

I believe it was in mid January when I started having connection issues with my Cromebook (CR48) and couldn’t fix it.  I’m still not sure what happened but I was very frustrated that I couldn’t use it anymore.  It became a paper weight on my desk.  The 3G worked, but the WiFi kept disconnecting.

This is what happened.  I would be typing (as I am doing now) and suddenly lost my connection.  I noticed that my words weren’t coming out right, instead other words were being selected and deleted with every key I hit.  I would look over at the WiFi icon next to the clock and it showed that it was trying to connect, then I’d see an X.  The only way I was able to continue with my blog post, tweet, Facebook update or IM conversation was to turn 3G on.  I’d have to save my work or put the person I was talking to on hold and reboot.  At first rebooting helped, but it would disconnect again.  I got to the point that I just stopped turning it on.

What happened today was I went to play with my PSP and wondered if there was an update available.  I tried to log in to my network and it wouldn’t let me.  I noticed that it said my network was not compatible.  That didn’t make sense since Chips iPhone and my Nook haven’t had any issue logging into the network.  I loaded the Linksys EasyLink Advisor program and went into the security settings and it gave me an error.  I starting thinking that maybe that was the reason I was having issues, so I reinstalled the WPA security and viola, my Chromebook is online with no issues.

I have typed this entire post on my Chromebook without one disconnect.  Before that would have been impossible since as soon as I started typing the WiFi would disconnect.  The problem has been solved and I hope someone who is also having issues might see this and check their own network security settings.  Good luck!

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.