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Trying out Scrivener

After taking a couple of days to go through the IMMENSE tutorial, I have already forgotten half of it. When people sell courses or books about learning this software, they aren’t joking around. However, it’s like that because it can be used by writers of basically every type, from novelists to lawyers. I’m tempted to use it to do some transcription. Because Scrivener makes that kind of work a million times easier than anything else does.

I’ve tried out a few templates, and just when I figured I’d scrap my current project to make a new template and then start over, I figured out how to make it work within the novel template. I have had some success working with phase outlines, both in testing my commitment to a project and in getting actual writing done. Since Scrivener is all about organisation, it is the perfect place to use a phase outline. Every part of the process can be done in Scrivener.

The last time I used a phase outline, I had to use Microsoft Word, Yarny, and Excel to do things the way I wanted. Oh yeah, and Dropbox. I’ll probably still use that for backing up. So all of this:

mswphase

yarnyphase

phases

 

Is pared down to this:

scrivphase

Even the need for Excel went away after I put in some phase completion tables. No spreadsheet fun, as far as I know, but a table works in mostly the same way I need it to. It’s just nice to have everything in one place, really.

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Procrastination is not just for writing

After all of the SSA stuff I had to deal with, I decided it was time to finally change my surname officially. I’ve been married for three years and using my married name in all that time, except for super official business and “name as it appears on card” type of things. My maiden name is on my son’s birth certificate. I figured I should get my name changed in time for our second child. …which is not an announcement that I’m pregnant. Noooo. Because this is going to take so effing long.

Now that I’ve changed my name with Social Security, I have to change it on:

  • Driver’s license
  • Bank accounts
  • Passport

The bank accounts won’t be too big of a thing. And I have to renew my passport anyway, so I’ll have to save that for last because of reasons. But the DMV is the biggest pain in the butt. Waiting at the SSA office wasn’t so bad. But I’ve had to wait at the DMV a number of times, and the black hole of hopelessness there is tangible. Also, it smells.

So I’m putting it off for now. I have to gather some documents for my passport anyway.

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There’s a Party – 07

“That was ill-advised.”

The prince looked up, his expression so wistful that his eyes might have changed colour. “Certainly it was. Yet you must admit, it was the first interesting conversation I have had in an age.”

At first glance, the damage from the prince’s stunt appeared to be minimal. Not that his bodyguard should worry about the social aspects of this absurd function. Rune snuffed like a bull as he waited for his charge to gain a clearer head. “Even so. You have a duty to the young ladies, not to their brothers.”

“Oh, duty.” The wistful expression drained into a childishly sour one. “They want romance, Rune. I don’t want to romance anyone.”

“If you don’t get back to the eligible ladies, sir, they are going to pout and accuse you of wanting romance with a different set.” So saying, he began to steer the prince back to his proper place in the ballroom.

Royalty had a fifty percent chance of being pressed upon or cutting through the crowd like a ladle through soft cheese. Rune was 2.13 metres tall and over 190 kilos. He doubted a wall could have given him trouble, never mind a few hundred people.

To his credit, the prince neither sulked nor slouched. His proud posture carried him along as though Rune was not here at all. Right up to the illustrious mock parkour where his parents awaited him with the next lady. No one commented on the prince’s impromptu dance partner. Neither the king nor queen even raised an eyebrow.

Nor did the lady. If it had not been more than his job was worth, Rune would have laughed aloud. The lady in question was clearly genteel enough for the title, but likely not old enough. She was more than a head shorter than the prince, with a face that would have suited a porcelain doll, and fluffy pink dress to match. The young princess was taller than this girl.

The prince gave no visible reaction. He gazed stoically at the scene before him and said some vaguely pleasant thing in the local language. A nothing phrase that Rune had quite frankly tired of already.

“May I present Miss Duvall.” The queen gestured to the sprout of a girl and went on in florid terms. Once the most pertinent details had been stated, Rune recited a poem in his head. A local born girl with foreign parents. No money or status. No life experience.

The prince bowed his way through the introduction, then led the little lady onto the dance floor. The difference in height made conversation impossible. The prince did not stoop.

A few feminine giggles arose as the dance went on. Rune stood solemnly, listening. A plump, middle-aged woman said, “How darling. His Highness has time enough for all of us, not just marriageable females.”

Another comment rose up to his altitude, this time from a man who had just put down a glass of wine. “Here I thought we’d just be standing around watching girls fawn over the prince. Let’s go, dear.” Then he pulled his companion up to join the dance.

Rune had been in the employ of the Royal Family since before the prince had been born. Perhaps he should have picked up a few more tricks. The queen had not chosen the diminutive lady at random, or to punish the prince. She had managed the situation.

Without quite meaning to, Rune cast a glance around the edges of the party. As ever, Ms Park hovered about, like a very elegant shadow. Perhaps the queen hadn’t been the one managing the situation after all.

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Withdrawing from Medicare Follow-Up

  • You can make an appointment, but don’t expect anyone to make it easy.
  • Be prepared to wait for at least an hour.
  • Take someone with you.

I had actually tried to make an appointment and got shushed off, so that’s what happened to me. I didn’t see anyone enter that over-crowded, stuffy office that didn’t wait at least an hour. It was about that long for me as well, but I considered it getting off lightly since it could have been two hours.

I had a book with me, but it was hard to concentrate. Lots of people are waiting, always more than there are chairs or even space to stand. At least you can’t bring in any food. Hearing people having lunch would have been way too much like a school cafeteria. I did manage to read a couple of chapters, but mostly I was glad that my mum had come along because conversation proved to be a better way to pass the time.

Once we actually got to the window, the SSA rep was awesome. He was chatty but in a fun, friendly way, not a time-wasting way, listened when I said that I fully understood (and actually understood my reasons himself), answered my questions, and was even nice enough to also process my corrected SS card that will feature my married name. At last. I am a horrible procrastinator. (dmv is gonna suck, passport’ll be worse) I was afraid I’d have to get back in line or come back with more documents.

Definitely get as much information as possible. It’s kind of hard to hear the rep through the window and with all of the people behind you chatting and complaining. The penalties for cancelling Medicare Part B are that if you want to enroll again, you can only do so during a certain period, and you may have a 10% increase on what you pay then.

One last thing, that is a reminder, but an important one: If you don’t want Medicare Part B opt out as soon as it becomes relevant or cancel as soon as you realise you don’t want it. If you go so far as having to withdraw from it, you will have to wait two months for that cancellation of benefits to go into effect.

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How to Withdraw from Medicare Part B

Or: How to Cancel Medicare Part B

This isn’t exactly my line, but it’s something that I’ve been going through, and I’m really sick of there not being enough information on the internet about this. The most information I was able to find was misleading, although it did give me a useful phrase: “intentional difficulty.”

The Social Security Administration does make cancelling or withdrawing from Medicare Part B difficult on purpose. This is because some commercial insurance companies require it in order to offer better rates on their insurance plans. This is made a particular problem by the fact that there are penalties (I think in the form of fees) if you want to get back into Medicare Part B again. These may not be the only reasons, but they are the ones that I found out from an SSA rep.

Just go to your local Social Security office and tell them you want to withdraw from Medicare Part B. They will give you the song and dance about why you probably shouldn’t, and then give you a form. The cancellation will take effect the month after the following month. Cancel on May 27th, and it will stop being applied to you on July 1st.

  • You do NOT need an appointment
  • Do not let anyone offer to mail you the form

My Experience: I had no idea that I would be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B. If I had, I would have opted out immediately, as it would have threatened payment assistance that I bloody well need. This is not the first case of SSA failing to reach me.

I called SSA to see why I wasn’t getting my full check, and was told that it was for Medicare payments. NO THANK YOU. The rep took nearly half an hour of my time to “get some paperwork ready” and then told me to wait 7-10 business days for it to come in the mail. It didn’t come in 7-10 business days. It didn’t come in a month. This was also after a scheduled call back from another rep had failed (dropped call). Whoever tells me the SSA is easy to deal with can chew on that.

After much fruitless and frustrating Google searching, I called them again, and reached a rep who could actually find his own butt with a map. I hope that this helps someone, because it’s information that I wish I’d had. Just go to the office. Yes, it sucks that you can’t deal with it on the phone or online. There is kind of a good reason (not good enough for me, but I’m not the queen of the world), and it isn’t as frightening as I have seen people make it.

I’m going to the office tomorrow. If I have any new information, I’ll write another post about it. However, I am hoping not to have to. I wish the most interesting thing to happen related to my RA is that I learned I prefer the regular syringes over SureClick pens. It takes a couple of minutes rather than 15 seconds, but I’m pretty comfortable with needles thanks to a gazillion blood draws, and with the syringe, you can control the flow of the injection. It hurt way, way less than the SureClick.

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There’s a Party – 06

Someone had already fainted. Finn was close enough to see the colour and a blurry interpretation of her dress. But it was too far away to be included in the circle of unhelpful onlookers. A man called out in an accent of authority. “Move aside! I am a doctor.”

Moses must have been a doctor too, because the crowd parted like the Red Sea.

Finn was not a doctor. But he and the doctor did have work in common. They were both doing it. Just different sorts.

Someone hurried over to join him. A young man, maybe two year Finn’s junior, if not more. Tow-headed and a little skinny, wearing a big hat and scarf.

Most of the room was devoted to dancing or staring at the doctor and his patient. Finn looked about the immediate area, in search of the local attraction.

“Are you hiding from somebody?” he asked, after coming up empty.

The huddled figure took a step to the left. In accordance with, Finn realised, Finn’s own movement. “My parents, mostly.”

“Good luck with that. I had to expatriate to get away from mine.”

Still huddling a bit, his new acquaintance snorted. “I wish I could do that.”

“You wouldn’t if you knew the whole story.” Finn shuddered, hoping the gesture would be taken for exaggeration.

He’d expected some automatic pity or contradiction. But the young man just laughed nervously.

Then he dodged about so dramatically to the left that the only place to stand was between Finn and a long table.

Finn stared at him. “The last person who came that close to me wanted my wallet.”

“Sorry it’s just–let’s dance!”

He was being dragged onto the dance floor before he could even process what had happened. Fortunately, dancing came naturally to Finn. Even waltzes.

They got a few looks from older couples. It was enough to make Finn comment. “They really need to update the language of dance.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re dancing the lady’s bit. You aren’t a lady.”

“Should I be flattered that you noticed?”

“Certainly. But my point is, they should call it something else.”

People had begun to stare in earnest. Whisper was to polite a word to cover what else they were doing.

Finn sighed. “You’ve been found out.”

The prince stumbled over the next step. His elbow nearly knocked into another dancing pair, but he managed to rein it in. “I thought the hat would help.”

“It did with most of them.” Finn indicated the ballroom at large. “But you were just on stage ten minutes ago. Even the ugliest hat won’t disguise you for long.”

A big pink mountain loomed towards them. The man had obviously missed his calling as a Dashiell Hammett character. Finn drew Prince Matteus onto the sidelines where the kid could be safely collected.

On impulse, just before the giant arrived, Finn shook the prince’s hand. “Now ask me what I do for a living.”

“What?”

“Do it. It’s what royalty does.”

The prince’s eyes lit up. “Of course. And what do you do?”

The giant was there, watching with disapproval as powerful as a grandmother’s. “Whatever I can do, your Highness,” Finn said, and ended the handshake.

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Love that blinking command line

The most fun thing I did today was to use my silly method of planning and free-writing. Every time I do it, it’s different. But it does always pretend to be a DOS command line. This time I tried to remember how actually executing a program looked like.

My first computer that wasn’t a borrowed Mac LC II was an Amdek 310a, which is pretty damn old school. It also explains my otherwise irrational love of plain text and amber text on a black background.

amber

To this day, I miss the word processor. It was about the only thing that computer did, and I wrote stories that are completely awful and absolutely gone from this world. It was even better than when I had another school computer that came with a dot matrix printer when I was homeschooled-ish and taking a typing class. I wish I remembered what the WP was. Technically inferior to everything I use now. But nostalgia.

Oh well, I have FocusWriter with a similar theme. Which is probably better. I guess.