Way back when I was in elementary school, we had standardized tests, just like the ones today with the little fill in ovals. But we had one test every year that might surprise some people - map reading. Is this even a thing anywhere these days?
Map reading was the bane of my kid existence. Reading, math? No problem. But the little graph of my scores always had an anomalous canyon in them. The giant sinkhole in all those nice consistent scores was always, always map reading. It's an odd visual/ spatial issue that was never seen as a learning challenge and always dismissed as not vital to my education (though, if this was true, why test for it???) so it was never addressed.
It did indeed become an issue when I got older. Business trips often became a nightmare of anxiety and getting lost in strange cities. A nervous session of "please tell me you know where this is" followed every car rental, with me relying on how knowledgeable the person behind the counter was and how good they were at giving directions to someone directionally blind. Dallas was especially problematic since the street I was supposed to follow abruptly ended before the target destination and those directions from the car rental person were all I had. Believe me, going in a bar and asking the bartender through snot and tears how to find a particular hotel and having the bartender look at you like you're an alien and tell you it's just around the block? Excruciatingly humiliating.
But those were the bad old days. Now we have navigation and Skynet...er, I mean global positioning tells us where we are. This might seem lazy to some hard core map readers (points quietly to hubby) but for me, it's a life saver. As long as I have an actual address to plug in, I can find it. Does this mean I don't get lost anymore? Well, no. There was a certain learning curve to the whole using the GPS thing. Like putting in the right state when you're in a border area and both states have the same town or street names nearby.
But my GPS is my friend. We picked the Aussie voice and named her Sheila and I adore her. So long as no one changes the settings and I've planned the trip with addresses beforehand, I can do this. I can conquer the world. As long as I actually listen to her...and pay attention to which street the purple line indicates...
In 200 feet, turn right... Recalculating....
Stuff We Like # 37 - BABIES!!!
Toni Griffin here for another episode of Stuff we Like... In today's post I'm talking about BABIES!!!! No, I'm not pregnant. LOL. However, this year I seem to be surrounded by babies.
A friend has told me she's pregnant and my brother and sister in law have recently announced they too are expecting, a little baby boy due in February.
Is anyone else experiencing this baby epidemic or is it just me?
Freddy here. I want to talk about my Outside the Margins column today, but first I have to tell you about PBA.
What is PBA?
Prism Book Alliance is a great source for readers of queer fiction. They are a review site - they do mostly MM romance but review other stuff as well. Their reviewers do a great job of reviewing the book without giving away major plot points (or the endings - which we as authors and publishers appreciate), let us know what worked for them or what didn't, and they try to highlight why other people may like the book even if they didn't. Positive people. And that's awesome.
Brandilyn is the site owner. It started off as a review site of her own and has grown tremendously over the past couple of years. She does a lot of things for both the readers and authors.
Five Things Fridays
Retro Reads Author Spotlight
Outside the Margins
All of these allow readers a one stop location for the reader to find lots of different info while allowing authors to help build a platform for themselves. You can pick and choose what information you want to see and so forth.
When Brandilyn asked me to be an OtM contributor, I jumped at the chance, not really knowing what I would do. Ultimately I decided on a flash fiction piece. ;) There are a lot of different contributors to the column, all sharing, spreading ideas and facilitating discussions. It's wonderful to see so many different people come together to talk about things they feel are relevant to them, publishing, readers, and the world at large. Edmond Manning has wonderful commentary as does Hank Edwards. Posy Roberts shares bits of wisdom with us. There are wonderful articles by KJ Charles, Anna Zabo, Brigham Vaughn, and so many others. And the best part about it? All these different voices are in one spot to share their voices, experience, and wonder with the world. What other place would that happen?
So, thank you, Brandilyn. For bringing all of us together and giving us a place to speak.
Welcome to another country STUFF WE LIKE presented to you by Freddy.
This week I want to discuss something I hadn't thought about since I was a kid. The reason I haven't? I grew up, I guess, but somehow one of the things I loved was left behind. Maybe I thought it was childish or immature, but looking back on it, Friendship Bracelets were anything but.
While my family reunion was going on my sister's best friend spent time with us (when she is in the country they are attached). And one of the things he did while here was teach my nephews how to make friendship bracelets. Watching all the boys sit down, picking out colors and attentively tying knots, then see their enthusiasm when they have them to the people they care about reminded me of the beauty of the bracelets.
They are pure feelings of friendship and love. The simple act of making something for someone to show you care and that they are cared for. Friendship bracelets are emotions in their purest form. They are innocent from the world around you.
My sister's best friend even made one for me (*points up to the picture), and I haven't taken it off except for when I hit bed. It brightens up my day and reminds me what's really important when chaos is surrounding me at work.
Because who can't smile when a rainbow it tied around their wrist?