Friday, November 29, 2019

Friday Flashback: Inbox Dollars Tips: Search with Inbox Dollars

Young Richard Tracy knows that using Inbox Dollars search will earn him easy money for doing something he was already going to do.
(Free image from pixabay.com)

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This post was originally published on 29 November 2018 on Aunt Cie's Attic (formerly Deliver Me.) 

Disclosure: I am a member of and affiliate for Inbox Dollars. I am not going to get rich finding people to sign up for Inbox Dollars using my link. I will make a small commission. 
Inbox Dollars is one of the longest-running GPT sites. It is legitimate. You are not going to get rich signing up for Inbox Dollars. You will make a few dollars here and there. The payout is at $30. 

I've been taking surveys with Inbox Dollars for several years, but I only recently explored all the other ways of making money with Inbox Dollars.

One of the easiest ways is by using the Inbox Dollars search page. When you log into your account, there is a menu bar at the top of the main page. Choose the search option, and, voila, you will be earning for searches you were going to make anyway. It's that simple!

I find that the Inbox Dollars search works better on my computer than my phone. The page sometimes takes forever to load on my iPhone's Safari browser. So I generally play the mini-games on my phone instead. Yes, Inbox Dollars has games that they pay you to play! Who knew?

I'm currently stuck on level 23 of the bubble monkey game. Those stupid skulls suck, and so does my manual dexterity, let's be real.

The search page and the games (especially my beloved bubble monkey game) are just two reasons why Inbox Dollars is my favorite paid survey app. It's much more than paid surveys, and it is a legitimate survey company, unlike some I have had the misfortune of dealing with.

~Cie~

Thursday, November 28, 2019

November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2019: Day 28: Grateful

Image by Matthias Cooper from Pixabay

grateful for what's here
a town far from everything
life in an old house
impossible dreams fade out
bittersweet acceptance in

~Cie~

Notes:
Today's November PAD Chapbook Challenge prompt asked for a Gratitude poem.

People, you know me. I am not the sort to write heartwarming, Chicken Soup for the Soul, grateful for God and family and Better Homes and Gardens type poetry. I am an agnostic curmudgeon, and the only miracle here is that I'm still alive. They ain't found a way to kill me yet, and neither have I. I believe there is something that survives the death of the corporeal body, and I believe there are advanced spiritual forces which could be termed higher powers. I don't like the Church God, and although I'm willing to judge his followers on a case by case basis, I tend to be mightily skeptical of them.

I was raised Catholic and am the black sheep of a family that tried way too hard to keep up appearances. Today is the ninth anniversary of my father's passing. Although we had a sometimes contentious relationship and he passed his own insecurities down to me, he was a devoted father and I love him. I am glad he isn't suffering anymore. The last five years of his life were increasingly difficult. In the end, he really wasn't himself anymore.

I want to call my mother today. My mother is a loyal person who is too wrapped up in keeping up appearances to see the damage that mindset does. She has no idea who I actually am or what I'm really doing because anytime I have tried to tell her, she shuts me down and criticizes me, so I just let her think what she wants.

My brother and I were once the greatest of friends but now have a civil but distant relationship. 

I love my son with all my heart and soul. There are some hurts from the past from when my mental illness was as yet undiagnosed and my behavior was chaotic.

Leonard Cohen wrote the line "It's Father's Day and everybody's wounded."

I think the same could be said for most holidays.

If you're having a Better Homes and Gardens Thanksgiving, that's great, and I hope you enjoy it. I would just ask that you realize that this is not the case for everyone, and those of us who are unable to have Shiny Happy Holidays are not bad people or just feeling sorry for ourselves for attention. The hurt is real.



Just to lighten the load a bit, here's one of my favorites:

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Crazy Creatives Cheerleading Camp's Come As You Are Party + Ornery Musings: Why Book Reviews are Useful

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

As the late, great Shorty Medlocke used to say, howdy solks, I mean folks! If you don't know who Shorty Medlocke was, it's time for you to at the very least hit Wikipedia and brush up on your music history, and then go listen to some Blackfoot, where you can hear Shorty's grandson Rickey shred on some sadly underrated Southern rock masterpieces.

Sadly for you, this post is not about great blues musicians, twentieth-century radio hosts, or great guitarists. It's about book reviewers.

At the bottom of many posts, you will notice the image of a plump owl carrying a couple of books, one with a pentagram and one with an anarchist symbol. This owl is my alter-ego, my inner badass. Where I am infamous for apologizing for myself constantly and becoming defensive quickly, this owl never apologizes (unless she has actually done something wrong) and has no time for defensiveness. If she is under attack, she will fight back, but she doesn't harbor any of the insecurities that I do. Therefore, defensiveness is foreign to her. This owl is unapologetically, authentically herself.

Me, on the other hand, I tend to always wonder if I'm doing something (or anything) right. I am a horrible--I mean adorable--little (okay, large) bundle of insecurities. I have both physical and psychological disabilities, and I also have ADD and dyslexia. Dyslexia does not have only one manifestation, by the way. I read most things clearly, and I'm a relly gud spelur. My dyslexia tends to present itself with numbers more than words, and I have a great deal of trouble with tests involving pattern recognition, which led to me being labeled borderline retarded when I was in the sixth grade. That label was a thermonuclear hit to my already severely compromised self-esteem, particularly when one of my nastier classmates overheard my parents and the school psychologist discussing it in the hallway and proceeded to ask my father if I really was borderline retarded, to which he naively replied, "yes, I'm afraid so," rather than telling her to run along as he should have.

So, here I am in my fifties with a lifetime of abject failures behind me, disabled and living in poverty, and I review books for a living. Seriously, that is how I eke out a living, and sometimes I become rather cynical about it. Here I am, doing something completely useless yet again because being useless is my M.O. in life. I would do very poorly as something like a virtual administrative assistant or customer service agent. I have moderate anxiety about talking to people on the phone, and if I get bored, I get distracted. I would be fired from these jobs fairly quickly. However, I can read books. These days I prefer e-books because of my vision and because they don't take up space on my shelves. I also enjoy listening to audiobooks. 

Anyway, I possess the ability to read, opinions are like assholes, and I am an asshole with an opinion. So I sneaked in the back door at the Online Book Club and tried my hand at doing reviews for them. My first few reviews were unpaid, and then I started getting paid for my efforts. Doing reviews for paid review services like Online Book Club means that I can do reviews on request for independent authors without charging money. My costs for an independent review are as follows:

If the book is available on Amazon, you give me permission to have an affiliate link in my review post. You won't pay me a cent, but if someone buys the book through the link, Amazon will pay me a few cents.

If you like the review, you provide a link to it on social media.

You understand that providing me with a copy of your book does not guarantee a positive review. There may be reviewers who get their rocks off writing negative reviews and destroying authors' dreams. I am not one of them. I love giving positive reviews. With most of my less stellar reviews, I find that the problem with the book tends not to be the story itself, but the execution and lack of proper editing. By the way, I am also available as a beta reader.

Very rarely do I give scathing reviews. On the occasions that I have done so, it is because I find the author to be an odious jerk with awful opinions who targets vulnerable people for ridicule.

You may be saying (as I sometimes do), "well, that's all fine and good, Cie, but the world wouldn't stop turning if all the book reviewers were abducted by aliens. Book reviewers do not provide vital services such as emergency services personnel, medical personnel, construction workers, mechanics,  teachers, grocery clerks, customer service personnel, cleaning crews, or, pretty much anyone else provides. Reviewing books is fluffy stuff and isn't a real job. Like, you know, the kind of work that you claim you can't do anymore but probably could if you tried, and don't give me that 'but I can't walk very far or very fast, I can't stand up for long periods of time or my back will start hurting, or, but my diabetes fucks with me and starts making me weak and confused' bit!"

Well, you hopefully don't say that last part, but my inner voice is, not to put too fine a point on it, an absolute twat. Anyway, the overall gist is, most people find book reviewers to be non-essential members of society, and I sometimes feel angry at myself for doing a job that most people see as sprinkles on a cake, not even icing or pretty decorations, just sprinkles. The kind of sprinkles that come in a jar and you pay a couple bucks for them and you sprinkle them on your kid's birthday cake and it makes the kid happy. Except that I have the potential to make people's inner children unhappy with my words.

However, today I read a wonderful review from one of my fellow Online Book Club reviewers, and I would like to share that review and my thoughts on it with you. Please follow this link to read it.

Here is a copy of my comment for the reviewer:

Thank you for your lovely, descriptive review. I had tears in my eyes reading it. Although I grew up in a home with both parents present my family was inadvertently emotionally abusive and didn't understand someone like me at all as they were very perfectionistic and I had learning and psych issues (I have type 2 bipolar disorder that wasn't correctly diagnosed until I was almost 40.) I did a lot of the same things that Eva did, moving out with my now-ex-husband when I was 19, being divorced by 29, having a string of abusive relationships. I really appreciate reviews like yours which tell me everything I need to know about a book, even better than simply reading a sample. Have a good day.

Sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks. While being a book reviewer is not an essential occupation such as those mentioned in the previous paragraph, nor is it a meaningless occupation. Too many bullies calling themselves critics have given a bad name to critiquing. A professional critic should endeavor to be kind, discussing the best aspects of a work while, if necessary pointing out areas needing improvement.

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~


Free use image from Pixabay
Cie reviews books and is no longer ashamed to claim it as her profession.
She is also available as a beta reader


I'll bet that some of you would like to know which book I was referring to when praising my fellow reviewer. Well, now you know and can get yourself a copy! 
Disclosure: If readers purchase a copy of this book through the preview link, I receive a small commission from Amazon.


Friday, November 22, 2019

November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2019: Day 22: Mr. Perfect (Tanka)

Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

he's honed his image
everything is perfection
on point tip to toe
such a perfect gentleman
until he takes off the mask

~Cie~

Notes:
Today's November PAD Chapbook challenge asked for a poem about Mr. (blank). So I wrote about the kind of guy who has the perfect image but behind the mask lurks a monster. I've known a few of these guys.

I am finally caught up with the November PAD Chapbook Challenge prompts!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Ornery Reviews: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society



Genre: 
Historical Fiction/Romance

Rating:
Five out of Five Stars on Amazon, Audible, and Goodreads

Disclosure:
This is a duplicate of my review on Amazon and Goodreads.
If readers purchase a copy of the book in any format by going through the above link, I will earn a small commission from Amazon.


This wicked book ruined my life.
I am fairly certain that the only reason the authors wrote this story was to let aspiring authors like me see that we don't have a chance of ever writing something this good.
I used to have ambitions. Now my only goal is to sit on the couch listening to this story over and over again while loom-knitting scarves for the rest of my existence.

I truly feel that Audible is the best way to enjoy this story. I was picturing it in my mind the whole time while finally making great headway on a scarf that I've been slowly knitting since last year. Listening to this book was an amazing experience. There are so many wonderful characters that you will meet and love, and a few that you will meet and loathe.

The format is innovative. Set in 1946, the story is told in a series of letters. One meets each unique character through the letters he or she writes. While there is plenty of fun and intrigue, the book also touches on the horrors of war in occupied areas as well as the bombings in London and the atrocities committed by the Nazis. 

I laughed. I sobbed. I cheered. I even shouted aloud at one point: "Girlfriend, DUMP HIM!" 

I must warn you that there is one truly awful part of this story.

THE END.

I wanted it to go on forever.

Also, if you loved the book as much as I did, you may well hate the Netflix movie rendition as much as I did. It was a complete waste of a wonderful cast and made me want to throw things at my computer screen. Why would you take the absolutely amazing story you'd been given and change the details so much that viewers might well think that they were watching a version of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society starring Spongebob Squarepants and Sandy Cheeks filmed by Patrick Starr and directed by Squidward on Opposite Day. Catering provided by The Krusty Krab. Transportation provided by Mrs. Puff's Boating School.

Actually, that version would probably make me less angry than the one on Netflix did. It's not like I expect high art from Spongebob and Company.

Here are my answers to the questions from the Insecure Writers Support Group Book Club.

1. Did you like reading the story through the device of letters?

I thought this was a wonderfully innovative plot device! It allowed for various characters to express themselves each in their own unique way.

2. What was your favorite and/or least favorite part?

I wouldn't say there was a least favorite part, although some parts of the story made me sad. I really enjoyed the friendships made and maintained through the letters. I envied the powerful connections formed by the characters.

3. What part made you cry the most? (Or at least get teary-eyed?)

What happened to Elizabeth was tremendously unfair. It was sad that her daughter would never really get to know her.

4. Isola said “reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.” Do you agree with that? Why or why not?

Nah. I can still enjoy reading bad books even after reading this book, just so long as they're the kind that are so bad they're good. I enjoy trash literature sometimes.

5. Which member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society did you relate to (or like) the most?

I liked Isola. She was a free spirit who did her own thing.

BONUS QUESTION. If you’ve read the book and seen the movie, which format did you like more (book or film)?

Because I loved the book so much, I hated the film. They changed some of my favorite aspects of the story, such as the friendships Juliette formed before ever visiting the island. In the film, most of the residents of the island were hostile to her, which was the opposite of what happened in the book. Reinterpreting this wonderful story was the wrong move.

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~



Free use image from Pixabay



Friday, November 8, 2019

Friday Flashback: Why I Wouldn't take a Cure for my Bipolar Disorder


ORIGINALLY POSTED 8 NOVEMBER 2018

Note for those who are sensitive about profanity:
This post contains it.
It is also snarky.
So is the a-hole who wrote it.
Just sayin'.

Now, here is something that will blow y'all's minds.

If there were a cure for bipolar disorder, I wouldn't take it.

I know a lot of folks are saying "but why wouldn't you want to fix this thing that is wrong with you?"

First, you may have heard about people who have had procedures done to restore their sight or hearing after years of being blind or deaf, and they have trouble adapting to the world with this new sense. They have learned to "hear" by feeling vibrations, or to "see" by touch and sound. The new sense throws their perception off.

I would not know how to think and feel without bipolar disorder. I would have a lot of trouble adapting. I might even become suicidal.

Further, I have come to believe that this anomaly doesn't make me "wrong." It makes me different. The world is too quick to deem difference in cognition or physical ability a bad thing which needs to be repaired. I think it would be a better world if we embraced people who deviate from the norm rather than shaming them into conformity or isolation.

Would I take a cure for my endocrine problems?

In a heartbeat! I would love to not have to stab myself in the abdomen with a needle before every meal. I would love to not have to worry about whether I will one day develop diabetic neuropathy or start losing my vision because of diabetes. I would love to not have increased risk of vascular malfunction because of this dumb disease. I would love to have a thyroid that actually works. I would rather not have had polycystic ovarian syndrome. My endocrine system is a cluster fuck. If someone could cure this mess, I would be thrilled.

If someone could cure my glaucoma, I would be over the moon.

I don't want my bipolar disorder cured. I have navigated the world with it for pretty much my entire life. To completely change the way my brain works would be frightening and, I think, detrimental.

But if someone could start working on cures for my physical ailments, I'd really appreciate it.

 ~The Cheese Hath Grated It~




Sunday, November 3, 2019

Ornery Reviews: Happy Healing and a Testimony



Genre:
Nonfiction/Health/Alternative Medicine

Rating:
Four out of Four Stars for Online Book Club

Disclosure:
I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.
If readers purchase a copy of the book through the above preview link, I earn a small commission from Amazon.


As I explain in my Online Book Club review, this book does not fall into the category of mysticism or metaphysics. Although the author occasionally suggests what might be interpreted as prayer, the techniques outlined in Happy Healing are self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis is not a new treatment, but the approaches offered in the book are novel.

In my review, I offer a story of how the techniques in Happy Healing helped me come to peace with the injury which led to my being unable to continue working at my job delivering groceries and alcoholic beverages.

Two years ago, I worked for a company called GoPuff, which is a subsidiary of GrubHub. I advise that no-one work for any subsidiary of GrubHub because they do not care one iota about the well-being of either their employees or their contractors. They never had enough drivers on the schedule on weekend nights. They would have four managers in the warehouse. Three of the managers would switch over to driving, leaving one manager running around like a chicken with her head cut off. I have nothing bad to say about any of the onsite managers. They worked very hard. GrubHub, however, gets no love from me.

I started feeling tingling in my left hand, which I ignored. I was carrying very heavy loads, sometimes over distances of several blocks because the deliveries were often in the middle of downtown Denver and there was no place to park, sometimes up several flights of stairs in buildings where there were no elevators. One time I almost fell through a porch that had rotting wood. Many times, the stoners who would order from us wouldn't answer the door. After pounding on the door for several minutes, I would call the warehouse and the manager would call the customer. There were times when the manager couldn't reach the customer either. I liked those customers better than the ones who would cuss me out because the delivery was made several hours after they ordered it and GrubHub customer service couldn't be bothered to call and tell them it was going to be late.

There was no interim "this is getting worse" with my arm. It went from numbness and tingling in my hand to unbearable pain from shoulder to fingertips. At that point, I had no insurance. I had to quit working so I could get Medicaid back. I couldn't sit up for more than about 45 minutes before the pain in the arm became unbearable and I had to lie down on it to numb it. I have lived most of my life with chronic widespread low-grade to mid-grade pain due to fibromyalgia. Chronic severe pain is a different animal entirely. There were times when I very seriously considered suicide because the pain was so intense. I forced myself to wait until I had Medicaid so I could get physical therapy.

Although I was already sympathetic, I came to a personal realization of exactly how people in chronic pain become addicted to painkillers. When you are in chronic intense pain, the thing you want most is for the pain to stop, and you will do anything to achieve that. If you have never endured intense pain, imagine that someone was whacking your arm repeatedly with a hammer--hard. That's what chronic intense pain is like. Sufferers of chronic intense pain just want relief. How anyone can fail to understand that very simple idea is beyond me. Sanctimoniousness never helped anyone.

Back to my story. The physical therapy helped greatly. My arm went from being in constant severe pain to constant mid-grade pain with flares of severe pain to constant low-grade pain with flares of mid-grade pain to feeling like a lump of clay with flares of low-grade to mid-grade pain. Unfortunately, Medicaid only pays for twelve sessions of physical therapy per injury, so that was where things leveled out, and I was very grateful. Over time, the arm regained enough sensation that it no longer feels like a lump of clay. It is always slightly numb and I do not have a full range of motion in the shoulder area, but it is a vast improvement over being in constant intense pain which makes me consider suicide.

One of the exercises presented in Happy Healing involves giving the body part in pain a name and "talking" to that part. I named my arm Amelia. As I talked to Amelia, I realized that I was still angry with her for betraying me and making it so that I couldn't work physically demanding jobs such as delivering packages anymore. I also realized that Amelia had been trying to warn me that something was going wrong, and I ignored her to my detriment. I apologized to Amelia for blaming her for what happened and promised to listen to her (and the rest of my body) in the future.

As a result of reading and engaging in the exercises outlined in Happy Healing, I have a truce with my body and am no longer as prone to pushing myself to the point of collapse or injury. I appreciate this book and think that it was useful and helpful. The author's approach may seem a bit "goofy" to the more skeptical sorts, but I recommend trying the exercises. I didn't really think I'd get much from them when I started reading the book, but they turned out to be surprisingly beneficial.

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~



Free Use Image from Pixabay