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25 May 2018

Flashback Friday | The Time I Accidentally Sent Someone Porn



Flashback Friday takes place on the last Friday of the month. The idea is to give a little more love to a blog post you've published before that maybe didn't get enough attention, or is something you think is still relevant or even a something that you really love and want to share again.

Many thanks to Michael d’Agostino for starting Flashback Friday and inspiring me to go back and revisit some of our earlier blog posts.

* * *

This is a flashback to a very embarrassing moment in my life. If you've read the blog title, then you can probably guess why.

The folks I sent the porn to (accidentally, I might stress) are probably crossing the Atlantic on their sailboat right now. Which is good, because if they read this post, they'd be sure to give me a lot of crap again about the infamous email I sent. It's something they like to bring up from time to time to watch and see exactly how red my face can become.

This was originally posted in July 2015. You can see the original post and comments here.


* * *

Yes, you read that right. I sent someone porn. Accidentally. Let me emphasize that - it was an accident. A very embarrassing accident.

You're probably thinking to yourself, "Hmm...how do you accidentally send someone porn? That sort of thing never happens to me."

Well, that sort of thing never happens to me either. Until now. Yes, I'm a porn distributor, a purveyor of filth, a dealer in smut, a dispenser of naughtiness, if you will. Oh, the shame. Oh, the horror. My face is turning bright red even now as I think about it.

So, here's a top tip. If you're going to forward something on, make sure you read the whole thing first. Especially the top part. You know, the top part - the part that most people normally read first. Don't do what I did, which is skim right down to the bottom part, think to yourself, "Oh, that's interesting. I bet so-and-so would find that interesting too." Whatever you do, do not hit send. Do not forward the link on to so-and-so. Please, trust me - DO NOT hit send.

Oh sure, they'll find it interesting too. Just not for the same reasons you thought they would.

So how did this happen? I was doing some research for some equipment we want to buy for our boat. Just an innocent Google query, which pulled up a list of innocent links. Or so I thought. Clicked on one. Did not read the top part. Then I hit send.

The next day, so-and-so said to me, "That link you sent me was a little risque at the beginning, didn't you think?" I actually didn't know what so-and-so was on about and given my middle-aged hearing issues, wasn't actually sure if so-and-so said the link was risque or the link was gray. "Maybe so-and-so doesn't like gray font?", was what went through my head. Here's one thing I've learned about what people who are losing their hearing do - they just gloss over things and move on. I've become that person.

So, I ignored the whole risque/gray comment and moved on. "Did you see that list at the bottom? Wasn't that interesting?" 

I'm pretty sure what so-and-so was thinking was, "Isn't it interesting that she doesn't think what she sent me was risque. Wow, she's into some weird stuff. Let me just keep smiling and try to end this conversation as quickly as possible. This one's a nut job."

Later that day, I went back and clicked on the link to check out the information at the bottom part again. Unfortunately, this time I read the top part too. And it was naughty. Very, very naughty. Wow, who thought something you could buy for your boat could be used for such {ahem} interesting purposes.

Since then, I've apologized to so-and-so with a very bright red face. Fortunately, so-and-so just laughed it off and said it was funny.

Yikes.

Moral of the story. Make sure you read things carefully before you hit the send button. And, if I send you an email, you might not want to open it up.

True story. I wish it wasn't.

Have you ever emailed something that you regretted?

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23 May 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Library Books



Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:

1 - Who here remembers when library books used to be checked out with stamps on cards? Who remembers those old card catalogs?

2 -  Nowadays, I don't even have to interact with a human when I check out books from the library. It's all self-serve. While I love that at the grocery store, I have mixed feelings about it at the library. Are they going to get rid of library people? We need more library people in the world, not less.

3 - I've been re-reading some of Ursula Le Guin's books recently. They were on display at my local library after her passing, thanks to the lovely library people.

What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it?

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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21 May 2018

Provisioning For A Voyage | Modern Sailboats vs. Whaling Ships


See that list above? It's from a list of "Stores and Outfits for a First-Class Whale Ship, For a Cape Horn Voyage." {You can see the full list here.} My mom is really into genealogy and does a lot of research on our seafaring ancestors who hailed from New England and made their living on whaling ships. So, from time-to-time, she sends me little tidbits about what life might have been like for them.

I love food. I love thinking about food. I love daydreaming about food. And I really love eating food. So this particular tidbit about the food provisions they would carry was right up my alley.

My great great grandmother gave birth on a whaling ship in the Marquesas Islands. Her husband was the captain, and one of the perks of being the captain is that you got to take your wife on long voyages with you. I'm not entirely convinced that that would have been a perk for the wives. Years onboard a boat as the only woman, hoping you wouldn't be attacked by sea monsters and sink to the bottom - no thanks.

I used to wonder how my great-great grandmother could have lived such a life, but then I saw that one of the provisions they stocked was 50 pounds of chocolate. I'm pretty sure that was intended entirely for the captain's wife's consumption.

It's interesting to compare the whaling ship list of provisions to what we take when we're out cruising. In many ways it's similar - chocolate, coffee, canned meat, flour, sugar, onions, rice etc.

But there were a few things I don't have a clue about. What is saleratus? And what do you do with a bottle of essence of spruce? If you know, leave your answer in the comments. Even if you don't know the answer, have a guess.

Are you interested in genealogy? Would you have voyaged on a whaling ship around Cape Horn? Know anything about saleratus and essence of spruce?

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19 May 2018

Saturday Spotlight | Some Very Messy Medieval Magic Release By C. Lee McKenzie

In addition to the usual blog posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday about our eccentric travel adventures and day-to-day life living aboard a sailboat, I also occasionally post on Saturdays, focusing on things related to writing such as cover reveals, book launches, reviews, interviews with authors etc. So if you're a bit of a book nerd like I am, check in on Saturdays - you never know what might pop up.

* * *

Today's I'm featuring C. Lee McKenzie's middle grade book, >>Some Very Messy Medieval Magic<<, the third in the Adventures of Pete and Weasel series. Check out my interview with Lee below, where I ask her some serious questions about writing and some less serious questions about things like cookies and penguins wearing sombreros.



Q&A WITH C. LEE MCKENZIE

1 - What inspired you to write the "Adventures of Pete and Weasel" series?

The truth is I didn’t set out to write a series. I set out to write Alligators Overhead. Then a teacher read that book to her class, and they drew pictures of the alligators and the haunted Hadley mansion at the edge of the Ornofee Swamp and sent those to me. They also wrote letters. In one, a young reader wanted to know when my next book with Pete and Weasel was coming out. Another letter asked if I could please put a girl in my next book. Well, I thought why not? So I wrote The Great Timelock Disaster and put a girl in it. Since I’m some who likes the symmetry of three, Some Very Messy Medieval Magic was the next natural step to take. I backed into this series, but I think it worked out. Each book can be read separately; it’s just that readers will have a bigger picture of the boys and their slowly developing friendship if they read all three.

Ellen - I love the fact that you get letters from young readers. How cool is that?!

2 - Do you have any writing rituals?

Not really. I have morning routines that I suppose could be elevated to the level of ritual if I thought about it, but I set aside time for writing and hope something good happens between my brain and my fingers. Sometimes it does. Other times, I’m wasting those hours, so I do something else. Usually, when I’m off doing that other thing, I get some good ideas. Hey, maybe that’s my ritual. I just never called it that. Thanks! Now I can sound so much more writerly and tell people I have a ritual. I can explain it, too.

Ellen - Glad I could be of help :-)

3 - What's more important - characters or plot?

I don’t think about stories like that. I think about where’s my focus? Usually, it’s on characters, and I let them take the reins as to plot. I always have a beginning in my head and an end. All I need is a way to go between this two places without bogging down in a messy middle. I know that’s where plotters have it over the pantsers or (as I call myself) the semi-pantsers.

Ellen - "Semi-pantsers" - I like that term. That's the approach I've been taking on my current work in progress.

4 - What do you like the best about being the author? What do you like the least?
I like being able to tell myself stories that I want to read and become lost in. Writing is like opening a door to another place just waiting for me to create it and populate it with people. I’ve always thought that writing was the other side of reading, and I’ve been a reader since I can remember. As to the what I like least? Sitting. I’m not a sitter by nature, so when I’m really writing, I have to forget that my butt’s in the chair, and I’m not outside doing something. If I’m really into a story, that’s easy, but if I’m struggling, I have a tendency to abandon my chair and go for a hike. 

Ellen - I'm more of a "plopper" myself. I plop down on the couch or my bed with my computer to write.

5 - What's your favorite kind of cookie? If you don't like cookies, what's wrong with you? Oops, sorry, scratch that. My follow-up question was meant to be far more polite - "Why don't you like cookies?"

Okay, so this is a trick question, right? Let me back into the answer. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love sweet, creamy food and those who eat dill pickles. I’m the dill pickle kind of person. Oh, I’ll eat chocolate. I’m human, but I’ll turn down dessert without a qualm. Even cookies. However, I do fancy a biscotti with almonds once in a while. They have to be really crunchy and toasted. I don’t like the caky biscotti. Either I make my own or I hunt for Italian bakeries that know their biscotti. 

Ellen - It was a trick question. And since you do like a biscotti occasionally, I think we can say that you've passed the test. 

6 - A penguin walks through your front door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why did he come visit you?

"Buenos dias  mi amor. ¿Tienes algunos dulces?
“¿Porque?”
“Porque ésta es mi pasión.” 
“¿Tú es un pingüino, no?”
“Sí” He tips his sombrero and waddles closer. “Mira."
“Pero pingüinos no te gusta biscotti.”
“Soy un pingüino singular. Me gusta biscotti con almendra. ¿Y tú también, verdad?”
“Vino aqui para biscotti?"
“Si. No pepinillos, por favor."

Ellen - You've earned like a million extra credit points for that answer! And I learned a new word - 'pepinillos' (pickles). If you want to know what Lee said, cut and paste this section into Google Translate here.

7 - Do you believe in magic and time travel?

I believe in just about everything impossible. Why not? Like Wordsworth said, "The world is too much with us; late and soon,…” I know the difference between fact and fiction, but I’m not sure that distinction matters much anymore. I’d rather work on the issues of what’s right and what’s wrong.

Ellen - Believing in the impossible is a great attribute for a writer. It's probably why you write such creative stories. Thanks so much for the interview, Lee! It was fun to learn more about you.

* * * 

BLURB

Pete’s stuck in medieval England!

Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

There’s only one solution – fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

But what if the page remains lost – will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again…

BOOK TRAILER

Check out Lee's fun book trailer. If clicking below doesn't work, try this link here.


BUY LINKS

Print ISBN: 9781939844460
EBook ISBN: 9781939844477

>>Some Very Messy Medieval Magic<< available at:


You can also request that your local library purchase a copy using this form.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’m C. Lee McKenzie, a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places. I returned to my home state where I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains with my family. I write most of the time, garden, hike, and practice yoga. I travel a lot because that’s how I learn new stuff, and it’s my way to jump-start stories. 


In my young adult writing, I take on modern issues that today's teens face. My first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge (2009) deals with cutting and suicide. My second, The Princess of Las Pulgas (2010), is a story about a family that loses everything and has to rebuild their lives. Double Negative (2014) focuses on literacy, and Sudden Secrets (2014) tackles bigotry and intolerance. 

When I want to have fun, I write middle grade books. Alligators Overhead is my first published book for readers age 8-12. Book 2, The Great Timelock Disaster, followed, and now I have Book 3 Some Very Messy Medieval Magic. Writing the adventures of Pete and Weasel has entertained me no end. I enjoyed them so much that I came up with Sign of the Green Dragon—another adventure fantasy.

Here’s where to see more of what I do: http://cleemckenziebooks.com Stop by and say hello or tweet me up. My Twitter handle is @cleemckenzie. If you’re a Facebookie or an Instagramer I’m there, too as @cleemckenzie.

What books have you been reading lately? Do you believe in magic and time travel? Ever seen a penguin wearing a sombrero?

 
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18 May 2018

Little Letters

 Vintage Letter Writing Image


Dear Catfish,
Please stop dying next to my boat and stinking up the place.

Dear Mister Rogers,
I wish you had been my neighbor.

Dear Indiantown Party Posse,
The place isn't the same without you.

Dear Perimenopause,
Enough is enough already.

Dear Ellen,
Maybe you shouldn't write down everything that pops into your head.

Dear Simon the Time Traveling Cat,
I know that you're imaginary, but sometimes it feels like you're real, especially when I've run out of milk.

Dear People who Pre-Ordered my Book,
Thank you!

Dear Aldi,
I love that you don't have much of a selection. Sometimes, too much of a choice at the grocery store can be overwhelming.

Dear Aldi,
Sorry, it's me again. When are you going to restock the cheese tortellini? They're an important part of my diet.

Dear Clothes Dryer,
Please stop shrinking my waistbands. I know you're the one responsible. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with eating too much cheese tortellini.

Dear Person I Stole this Idea From,
Sorry, I don't remember who you are, otherwise I would have given you credit. Writing little letters makes for a fun blog post. Thanks!

When's the last time you wrote a proper letter, not an email? Go ahead and leave your own little letter in the comments.

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Murder at the Marina available for pre-order at:

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16 May 2018

Wordless Wednesday | Plywood Boat Bound For Haiti



Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:

1 - There's a Haitian guy building a boat out of plywood and PVC pipe near Indiantown. We went out and had a look around and chatted with him. Nice guy. Why he's making it in Indiantown, I have no idea.

2 - He told us that he's going to take it to Haiti where it will be used for tours for cruise ship passengers. I imagine it will look a bit different once they finish building it and paint it.

3 - I'm always surprised that boats float (including my own). I know the science behind it, but when you look at a boat on land you just can't help but think that it's going to sink once you splash it into the water.

4 - Would you ride on a boat made out of plywood and PVC pipe?

What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it?

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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14 May 2018

How Long Does It Take To Remove A Mast From A Sailboat?

Exactly how long does it take to remove a mast from a sailboat? The answer is 27 minutes.

Of course, we're talking about deliberately removing your mast. Not having Mother Nature remove your mast for you, which happens in a horrifying instant, but probably feels like an eternity as you watch it topple over.

People remove their masts due to height restrictions on the water (like bridges or powerlines) or because they're going to transport their sailboat across the country. Some people even remove their masts each season when they store their boats.

Our friends on s/v Wild Blue had their mast removed because they're going to take their boat back up north on a truck. They're pros at this. They reckon this is the fifth time they've done this on this particular boat.

I came along for the show. And believe me, it's a show, especially when you have a large crane involved.


You really hope that the crane isn't going to hit anything else in the yard, like someone else's boat. It was impressive to watch the hand signals to the crane operator.


I watched it go higher and higher in the air.


Then the guys tied the mast onto the crane and the operator hoisted it off of the boat.


They lowered it carefully down to the ground.


Someone grabbed a line at the other end to pull it away from the boat.


Then they moved it over to the stands.


Down it goes.


At last, safely on the ground.


Do you like watching heavy equipment at work? Ever seen a mast removed?

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