Blogging from A to Z April Challenge—Updated May 3, 2017

So apparently there’s this blogging challenge that has been going on for the last couple years, and I just found out about it this year.  There is a different theme every year, and the participants can take it in whatever direction they like on their own blogs.

The details can be found here: A to Z Challenge 2017

I plan to participate this year, although they’re having everyone put clickable links into their posts and  there’s a lot of complaining about that on their site already.  Apparently in previous years there was a list for participants to add their site’s URLs to so people could just go to the Challenge site every day and click on the links, making it easier to find the blogs they wanted to read.  This year they’ve done away with the list, expecting people to go to the Challenge site every day and post the clickable link to that day’s Challenge entry, as well as go through other people’s posts to find the blog entries they want to read for that day.  There have been a few people complaining about this new method, but as the Challenge hosts have explained, it’s less work for them, especially as this way they won’t have to worry about possible broken links on the list.  They also gave clear instructions on how to create a clickable link, which I’ve never done before, and it took me quite a while to get the hang of, but now I’ve got it down, and am actually having fun using this new skill elsewhere, like on Facebook. 😀

Anyone who has known me for any length of time at all will tell you that I am not very tech savvy at all, and my computer skills are severely outdated (anyone remember BASIC programming, from the 80s?  See what I mean?) so throwing all this code at me and going, “Oh, it’s easy, all you have to do is copy and paste and put your own information in here and it’ll be great!” and I was going, “What?”  I’m lucky I figured out PowerPoint in 2011 for my Ivy Tech computer class, and you’d better believe I’ve forgotten every bit of it since.  Why?  Because I never use it for anything, that’s why.  I don’t work in the business world, I don’t run my own business, and even if I did I would have no use for PowerPoint or Access, and the only thing I use Excel for is to keep track of all my usernames and passwords because otherwise I would lose them all and there’s no way I can remember them on my own.  Basically the only part of Microsoft Office I use consistently is Word, and it doesn’t require any special codes to use it, or specialized computer skills.  Even using WordPress isn’t that difficult.  But all these codes that other sites expect us to be able to use?  No thanks.  I’ll leave code writing to Bill Gates and his buddies.

At least, that was my attitude, until I got the hang of creating clickable links.  Okay, okay, so it’s still my attitude as far as code writing in general goes, because it might as well be written in Klingon for all I understand it.  But now that I have this new skill, I don’t know how I ever managed without it up to this point, so if I get nothing else out of this challenge, it will be one positive experience for the month of April!  Wish me luck!

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Hello world!

Welcome to my place!

This is where I will post my thoughts and feelings about all kinds of subjects…my favorite books, movies and music, the stupid things people do that royally tick me off, the funny things my furry kids do on a daily (and sometimes hourly!) basis…just about anything, really!

Disclaimer: I have a tendency to ramble on about all kinds of stuff, and go off on about 30 different tangents, and sometimes I might even manage to get back to the original subject I was rambling on about (although  this doesn’t happen all the time, it has been known to happen, so pay close attention).

Some (but not all) of the subjects that interest me and that I may (or may not) ramble on about here on a semi-regular basis…Star Wars, Star Trek, NCIS (all of them), CSI (all of them), forensics shows (Forensics Files, Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda, Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall, A Crime to Remember, Southern Fried Homicide, Swamp Murders), Ghost Adventures, The Dead Files, Ghost Hunters (aka the TAPS crew), paranormal investigations in general and my own in particular, my favorite book genres/series (mysteries, sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal, historical fiction, Celtic lore/history, U.S. history—especially the Revolutionary and Civil Wars)….and anything else that catches my attention, however temporarily.  You have been warned!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.  Just remember, “We’re all mad here…”

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Ziva vs. the Computer

“Remove your hand or I will rip your arm off and beat you to death with it.”  Ziva glared at the hand on her computer mouse.

“I’m just trying to help, Ziva.  You’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get this program to work, I figured you could use a hand,” McGee protested.

“That’s because my computer hates me today for some reason,” Ziva replied through gritted teeth.  She took a deep breath.  “But I’m fine now, really.  I just need to show this overgrown paperweight who’s boss, that’s all.”

“Fine, but when you decide that you’ve had enough, let me know, and I’ll be more than happy to help,” McGee replied, backing away from her desk and walking back to his own.  He sat down, finished typing his own report, saved it to his desktop, then clicked on the printer icon to send the finished document to the printer across the room.

Just as the printer finished its task, Ziva let out a strangled cry and started slamming her computer mouse against her desk.  “McGee!  Get over here and fix this, or I’m going to pull a Gibbs and shoot it!”

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You’re Lucky You’re Cute (Response to a writing prompt found on Pinterest)

“That’s disgusting.  You’re lucky you’re cute,” Hermione told Crookshanks, who ignored her and kept chewing on a leftover chicken leg bone.

“That cat has never been cute a day in his life,” Ron said casually, never looking up from his paperwork.

“Pay no attention to him, sweetheart,” Hermione crooned to the cat.  “He’s just jealous.”

Crookshanks looked up at Hermione, glared at Ron, and proceeded to roll over and start licking the base of his tail instead.

Ron grimaced.  “Now that’s disgusting.”

Hermione laughed as Crookshanks stuck his tongue out at Ron with a comical expression, then went right back to grooming himself.

“He’s just mad because he can’t do that,” Hermione assured the part-kneazle, who grunted in apparent agreement before returning to his previous activity.

Ron sputtered indignantly as Hermione collapsed in a fit of laughter.

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Xena and Gabrielle in Rivendell (Original idea set in the Xenaverse)

Xena, Gabrielle, and Bilbo approached the small party of elves waiting for them at the entrance to Rivendell.

Mae govannen,” Elrond greeted them warmly.  “We’ve been expecting you, Bilbo.  Gandalf sent a message ahead of you, explaining you were on your way, and that you were bringing two new friends with you as escorts.”

“Yes, this is Xena and Gabrielle, two travelers who happened upon my home as I was preparing for my birthday party,” Bilbo replied, indicating each young woman in turn.  “They kindly offered to accompany me at least as far as your home, as they’d never been near the valley in their travels before.”

“Enter, friends, and take rest,” Elrond invited, waving them in before him.  “When you are rested, come find me, and we will talk.  We can exchange stories of our travels over a late supper, and learn much from each other.”

“Thank you,” Xena answered.  “We would be glad of a short rest.  We’ve been traveling since first light.”

Elrond himself led the travelers to their rooms, and after ensuring they had everything they needed, left them alone.

“I’m not sure which I want first, a long nap or a longer bath,” Gabrielle said wearily, leaning her staff against the wall.  “My whole body aches in places I didn’t even know I had.”

Xena walked through to the next room, which turned out to hold a sunken tub, with bath oils already set out along one side.  It was already filled with steaming water, and Xena was tempted to slide right in, clothes and all, but decided it wouldn’t be prudent to take her chakram and sword with her.

Stepping back into the bedroom, she leaned her sword next to Gabrielle’s staff and placed her chakram on the table.  “The tub is already filled, and there are bath oils on the ledge,” she informed her friend.  “You go first, while I find us some fresh clothes.”

“Deal,” Gabrielle said, dropping her pack on the floor.  “I can’t wait to get a few hours’ sleep in a real bed for a change.”

“Hear, hear!” Xena agreed, stretching to work the soreness out of her back.  “A girl can only take so many nights of sleeping on the ground before turning into a hunchback.  I don’t care how long we spend here, I intend to take full advantage of the facilities while we’re able.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Gabrielle called from the tub.

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With Friends Like These… (Response to a writing prompt found on Pinterest)

“What happened to me last night?”

“You thought you developed magical powers and could talk to squirrels.”

“Kind of glad I don’t remember any of that.”

“It’s okay, I got it all on video.”

“Oh joy, you can show it to my grandkids in thirty years and embarrass the hell out of me.”

“I have no intention of waiting that long to embarrass you.  I put it on YouTube first thing this morning.”

“You did what?!?

“Yep.  Right now there are about 5,000 hits…oh, my bad, that was a couple hours ago…now there are 10,000 hits.”

“I’m so going to kill you!”

“Well, you always wanted to be famous, now you are.  You’re welcome.”

“You are so dead!  You just wait.  You have to sleep sometime.”

There was a sudden burst of laughter from the living room, followed by a gleeful shout.  “Hey guys, come check this out!  Somebody put last night’s party on YouTube!”

“Dead.  Man.  Walking.”

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Verizon Didn’t Exist Yet (Response to a writing prompt found on Pinterest)

“Look, I’m sorry I missed your inauguration, but I was stuck in 1754.”  The Doctor was starting to sound exasperated.

“You still should have called.”

“I didn’t have cell service!”

“So?”

“Verizon didn’t exist yet!  The telephone didn’t exist yet!  It wouldn’t even be invented for another hundred and twenty-two years!  What was I supposed to do, send you a message by carrier pigeon?  The electric telegraph wouldn’t even be invented for almost a hundred years from when I was!”

“So you’re going to tell me that you couldn’t have used the TARDIS to send out a message?  Come on, Doctor, I know better than that!  I’m from Gallifrey too, remember, I know how those machines work just as well as you do!” The Master scoffed at his oldest friend.

“I could have done, if I hadn’t crash landed in 1754—which was your fault, by the way—and had to spend all my time repairing the old girl!  I came straight back as soon as she was fixed, but of course she decided to be stubborn and bring me back six months after the date I entered into the console, otherwise I’d have been back several days beforehand.  So it’s all your own fault, really.”

“Is that right?”

“That’s right.  You should keep that in mind, the next time you want me to be somewhere on time, to not tamper with my only means of transportation so that I can get there on time!

“Okay, okay!  Note to self: Don’t sabotage the Doctor’s precious TARDIS anymore, at least not when I want him to be on time for an important event.  There, happy?”

“Ecstatic.  Now pass me that bottle of aspirin, I’m getting a headache…”

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UFOs in the Wizarding World (Response to a writing prompt found on Pinterest)

“How the hell am I going to explain this?”

“Aliens?”

“…Aliens.”

“Yeah, you know, the face-hugger buggers from those sci-fi movies,” Harry added helpfully.

“And just how the hell am I supposed to explain to purebloods what face-huggers are, let alone any other kind of alien?” Draco looked around at the destruction, undecided whether he was more exasperated with his partner or disgusted by all the blood and guts everywhere.  At the moment, he was leaning toward exasperation.

You know what they are, and you’re a pureblood,” Harry pointed out.

“I also hang around with you, Hermione and the weasel most of the time.  Not too many purebloods even know what a television is, let alone movies, and I couldn’t even begin to explain sci-fi to them.”

“So tell them it was a previously unknown species of magical creature that Luna and her dad had recently discovered.  Since they’re always coming back from their travels with stories of new creatures it will be an easy sell.  Either they’ll believe you or they won’t, but if questioned, Luna and Xeno will play along.”

“Why do I bother listening to you?  It always gets me into trouble,” Draco muttered, then sent off a Patronus to their boss at the Ministry.

“Yes, but there’s never a dull moment,” Harry offered, grinning.

“There’s always a mountain of paperwork, too.”

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They were looking, but I didn’t care (Response to a writing prompt found on Pinterest)

They were looking, but I didn’t care.

I ran to him anyway.  “Potter!” I cried, then ran across the expanse between Death Eaters and Hogwarts defenders to Harry’s side.

“Are you with us, Draco?” he asked me, searching my face for the truth.  “Are you really with us?  Because if not, that little stunt could have cost you your life for nothing.”

“I’m with you till the end, Harry…always,” I answered.  I didn’t know why, but I sensed he really needed to hear that last word.  I dropped my Occlumency shields and let him see everything.  After staring into my eyes for what seemed like ages, he finally nodded.

“Then stand beside us, Draco…take your place and fight your former master,” he stated.

“He was never truly my master, Harry, I hope you know that.  I took the Mark because I had to, to save my family, but I was never truly with him, no matter what I said.”

“I know, Draco.  Now show everyone else, take your place beside us and prepare to fight.”

I willingly stood beside him, the savior of the wizarding world, the Chosen One, my one true friend—Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived—and hoped his luck continued to hold out for just a little bit longer.  I raised my wand, aimed it at Voldemort and his Death Eaters—yes, even at my father—and prepared to fight.

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