Funny about Money

Simple Living = Frugality = Peace of Mind: Personal Finance and Stress Control

September 2, 2015
by funny

Marketing Away…time to take a break

Nothing like a blog post to occupy yourself while you snack on figs and cheese. Have been working on marketing Camptown Races most of the day, with the exception of a brief trip to the drugstore & the grocer’s. Finally got a Twitter page established for the Camptown Ladies:

If you’re into Twitter, please follow them! Mwa ha ha! They love camp(town) followers. 😉

Very soon now, we’ll have a Giveaway contest: The girls need names! I suggested they might like to be called Madison and Ashley, but they didn’t much like that idea. And Aunt Tilly was abhorred!

So it was decided that we would ask the Hive Mind to come up with something fitting and true. Watch for that!

LOL! I’ll bet  you can’t guess who Aunt Tilly is.

olive as tilly brightenedAunt Tilly is my grandmother, Olive, whom I never  met. She was a flapper, in the true sense of the word — which was somewhat pejorative at the time. Apparently she was one wild little number.

A divorce-court judge removed my mother from the custody of both Olive and her caddish husband, assigning the three-year-old to the care of the cad’s parents. The previous child, whom I found out about only when I unearthed my mother’s birth certificate after my father had died, must have been adopted out — Olive was 18 when my mother was born. So…what can one say?

Except, Olive, my dear: You are PERFECT for Aunt Tilly!

She certainly was a woman highly qualified to pronounce the words “Not husband material.” The ideal mentor for the Camptown Ladies.

As long as we’re uploading images… How do you like this new entry in the Home Decorating Awards Competition?


That little Talavera pot contained an elephant’s-foot plant that had taken root (from sprigs) and so outgrown its soil that there effectively was no soil left. It was shriveling from lack of water, especially in this summer’s unholy heat. Exit the elephant’s foot, into a larger pot.

Then it occurred to me that one of those little orchid plants you find at HD and Trader Joe’s would fit perfectly in there. And it does!

Here at the Funny Farm, orchids will survive, but they don’t grow appreciably. I expect this one will live for two or three years before giving up the ghost or outgrowing its home. Kinda cute, isn’t it?

To attach it to the wall, I hung the top end (which has a length of florist’s wire strung through a pair of holes in the back side) from one nail, and then a few inches below it inserted a tack into the wall which holds the pot’s lower end away from the drywall. To water it, of course, I’ll set it in the sink. But this will obviate any damage should I fail to wipe it dry before hanging it back up.

Ah. I see Amazon has responded to my query with an explanation as to how to establish a Goodreads Author profile.

And so, to work.

September 1, 2015
by funny

A Little Freshet Blows through Phoenix

Wow! Take a look at this gallery of photos, posted at a local TV station’s website. Quite a little storm blew through the Valley last night.

As usual, it bypassed the ’hood. We dwell in the rainshadow of the North Mountains, and so the Valley could have a 400-year flood and we’d barely notice. Literally: only a few drops of rain fell here, barely noticeable. A brief, brisk windstorm came through but nothing that could do any damage. We could hear the thunder to the south, like a nonstop cannonade. But that was about it.

My son just got in from Colorado and picked up Charley the Golden Retriever, who has resided here since last Thursday night. Don’t know whether his house has power or not — he thinks so, though, because his Nest thermostat responded to some communiqué that he sent to it today. Hope so, ’cause it’ll be mighty hot inside that little house if the AC has been off all day.

Staccoto_LightningImage: Griffinstorm, CC BY-SA 4.0

September 1, 2015
by funny

Another Day, Another Bookoid!



So Book IX of Fire-Rider, Into the Mountains, is now officially online at Amazon.

Y’know those plot turning points they teach you about in MFA courses, where the action reaches ever darker and more desperate straits? This is one of them. Don’t miss it!

Shortly I’m planning a promotion — a contest, actually. Hope to give away one or two installments of the Fire-Rider Saga, as well as maybe one yet-to-be-published racy novel.

Watch this space!

September 1, 2015
by funny

Exeunt the New York Times, Pursued by a Bear

Just canceled my print subscription  to The New York Times. And since the pitch they made their wretched phone CSR throw at me to try to keep me in their clutches was so damned obnoxious, I canceled the online sub, too.

By the time I got off the phone, I was ready to wring that kid’s neck…and it wasn’t his fault, he being a schlep who was just doing his job. Thank heaven for small favors: I may go hungry, but I don’t have to do a job like that.

The cost used to be pretty reasonable, because I got it while I was teaching at ASU — way back in 2002, the kid said! — when they were practically giving it away to students and faculty. But prices being what they are, every year they’ve inched up the rates. It’s now $34 for print delivery with “free” online access included.

Problem is, often the thing isn’t delivered. A couple of weeks ago they failed to deliver the Saturday and the Sunday edition, even after I called (twice!) to complain.

When you do that — call to bellyache that the paper wasn’t delivered — their CSR will say they’re crediting your bill. But of course, they don’t.

The biggest problem with home delivery, though, is simply that I don’t have time to read a newspaper anymore. Much as I love the Times — and I do enjoy reading it — the only clear time available to read the paper is the ten minutes or so it takes to bolt down my breakfast. There’s usually a little coffee left after that, but nine times out of ten, I’m writing promotional copy, wrangling Amazon, or chasing e-mails over the last of the coffee. Two or three hours of work have already been done by then: only another ten or twelve to go.

Really: I don’t think ten minutes of hurried reading is worth $408 a year.

I can get the print AND digital versions of The New York Review of Books (which I dearly miss) for $75 a year. I can get The Economist for $52 a year. Both of these are delivered by mail, so one does not depend on the bums (not an exaggeration) to bring it to your door and drop it in a puddle of water.

Between you and me and the lamp-post iPad, I think I can get by with the news reports and opinion that are available for free online.

Most of the time, instead of sitting down and reading a newspaper, I graze for news online during short breaks between projects. Best sources around:

Hmh. No wonder I don’t have time to read the Times

So, what are your favorite news sources? And BTW, while you’re at it, don’t miss this news flash. 😀







August 31, 2015
by funny

Foiled by the Effing Cell Phone!

By Runex Tangled. I dunno who you are, Runex, but i think i love you…

So I spent the entire day studying up on Twitter and (I think) more or less figuring out how to work it for my nefarious purposes. Wanting to establish a new account for the Camptown Ladies in addition to FaM’s Twitter account I signed out of the FaM account and tried to create a new account.

Well. You have to have a cell phone, because they won’t let you sign up unless they can text you a verification code.

For all practical intents and purposes, I have no cell phone. I do have an LG 440G, but I got it unwillingly, only because with no pay phones available anymore I had to have something to call roadside service if my car breaks down.

I never use it. I don’t want to use it. I have enough electronic crap and gear to have to figure out, thank you very much!

So I haul out the instruction booklet, which I carry around in my purse, knowing someday I’ll have to figure out how to dial the roadside people.

This thing is utterly incomprehensible, because it’s predicated on the assumption that you already know how to use a cell phone. And it’s incomplete. I finally find about three lines purporting to explain how to send a text message, but nothing about how to receive one.

I look the little bastard up on the Internet. The user manual posted there contains nary a word about text messaging.

There’s something about SMS’s.

I’ve never heard of an SMS. Finally, after cruising the Web again in search of a definition, I gather this is a synonym for text message. Probably. Roughly.

Okay, so I study the instructions about what to do when you receive an SMS. The button they say to use appears not to be a button but a tiny painted-on white dash. When you do figure out how to get this bizarre button thing to work, it brings up nothing. However, figuring out to make it work does use up your minutes.

When you attempt “using your navigation keys, go to messages,” you never do arrive at the menu thingie that shows in the online user manual’s image. There’s no way to find “inbox” because the screen that (I guess) it appears on does not come up.

 See why I don’t want to own a smartphone? I can’t even learn how to use this thing, the dumbest of dumb phones. How am I going to learn how to operate a really sophisticated piece of electronic detritus?

Anyway, I wasn’t able to set up a new Twitter account for the Camptown Ladies. Oh, well…

Ladies portrait

When ARE we going to get our coming-out party?

August 30, 2015
by funny

Weird Weather / Weird Electrical Event

Today has been so humid, it’s been hot and sticky even inside air-conditioned buildings. The weather service is predicting, in a rote way, the usual “chance” of isolated thunderstorms, another way of saying “we have no clue.” Last night’s “chance” knocked out power to 13,000 people.

As is typical, we had no storm or even a sprinkle in this part of town, though we did have a brief, brisk blow.

However, we did have a weird happening. Along about 9 or 10 p.m., a strange, loud electrical sound burst out just to the north of the Funny Farm, a kind of wwWWMRARMRMRMRMMMMWRMM. I could see a bright, orangey light through the curtains.

It wasn’t lightning — wrong color. Lightning’s blue in these parts. And the sound was definitely not thunder.

The dogs were alarmed. I didn’t think much of it.

But then about ten minutes later it happened again, and the flare was much brighter and then the power went out.  I got up to look: absolutely no storm going on.

The noises sounded electrical, and I thought I could see a fire at the end of the street. And I thought the sound and flashes had come from the vicinity of Manny’s house.

Our tract has underground utilities. So if it was over by Manny’s place, then…???… It sounded like a big power surge — like this one.

But can a power surge be visible when the power lines are underground?

The surrounding tracts have overhead lines, so if a surge or a transformer malfunction occurred in one of them, it would have happened  a little further away than Manny’s house.

I finally decided the “fire” was somebody’s headlights (or something) and went back to bed. The dogs remained disturbed for awhile, but after the power came back on, they settled down.

Strange night.

And right now it’s hot and sweaty in here even though the AC is pounding away. Enough. I’m going to bed, or maybe to bed down on the cool tile floors.

That’s one of the reasons desert dwellers have tile floors, after all…