Cranky Old Hag Mode

I’ve had probably half a dozen posts running through my head the last week or so and almost every single one of them are rants about one thing or another. Being frustrated at the massive back and forth swings of trying to sell a book. Idiots at the grocery store doing stupid shit (and nearly getting an accidental elbow in the face for their stupidity.) People that play games to boost something random and stupid like follower numbers (People! Anyone can see that you didn’t “follow everyone” when they don’t see that “follows you” tag next to their name. Saying and doing that kind of crap makes you an attention seeking asshole.) People that make commitments they don’t keep and fail to pass along that they won’t or can’t be keeping said commitment and leaving others hanging in that limbo of not knowing. More idiots, but those behind the wheel of a car (do not get me started.)

Those are just the ranting posts about other people and outside situations. I also had several rants about the absolutely irrational, ridiculous mess that runs through my head every single time I think about making a post that isn’t a photo or a book review. Or any time I think about commenting somewhere. Basically talking about the mess that my brain makes of any kind of social interaction at all and the fact that I’ve realized some of it isn’t so much being an introvert, but that it is actual anxiety and that it has taken me over 40 years to come to this realization.

When I tried to figure out what I wanted to post and all this went through my head, I realized I’m just in extreme cranky mode right now and pretty much everything is pissing me off or getting on my nerves. I usually try to keep things on a nicer, higher, happier note here. I’m also all for a good rant now and then to get something out of my head or to blow off some steam, but every single one of those posts would have just been an ugly mass of cranky.

I know that part of why I get this way is that I’m trying to do too much and I’m frustrated at the things I’m not getting done. Part of it is that sort of adrenaline crash you get after an emotional high (like after a major event or vacation), in this case, seeing my Amazon ad winding down. Part of it is managing expectations. Part of it is the massive amount of heavy books I’ve read recently. And part of it is just a mood.

I think I might go find some fluffy feel good reads or something I’ve already read that I know I’ll love to see if I can shift that mood.

Perspective & Texture

As of this morning I’m still sitting in limbo on my book. The 24Symbols platform via Draft2Digital still has not managed to get me delisted 10 days after I put in my initial request. I have been off all other platforms with the exception of Kindle since about 8 days ago.

I’m not so frustrated by the fact that I’m losing out on potential sales from those platforms I’m no longer listed on because I hadn’t actually sold any through them in the first place. I am frustrated because I’m potentially missing out on readers through Kindle Unlimited because I can’t set it up until I’m completely off all other platforms with the ebook and I HAVE gotten all my sales through Amazon.

I emailed D2D again yesterday and they said they were working with 24S to get this straightened out. If someone were to ask me today, I’d probably have to say they should avoid the 24Symbols platform at all costs. It seems to be problematic as they were also one of the ones that took the longest to publish out to. I don’t have anything negative to say about D2D at this point as they have done a good job of responding to my emails and may be working to help this along, though that doesn’t do much for my frustration levels.

Yes, I may have just hit the unlucky spot with my timing and this isn’t actually normal for them, but trying to market a self-published book is hard enough without these kinds of roadblocks and speed bumps dropped along the way.

Glitches and Delays

I had said the other day that I was going to try and get my book in Kindle Unlimited. In order to do that, I needed to remove the ebook from all platforms that weren’t Kindle. I requested that my book be delisted on Draft2Digital on the 14th. It is now the 20th and 24symbols (which I’d never even heard of before I went to publish) STILL hasn’t removed my listing.

You cannot list with Kindle Unlimited if your book is available digitally anywhere else. It is an exclusive contract. So still being listed is preventing me from making the shift. On every other platform I was off within less than 3 days, some in less than a day. This one doesn’t seem willing to let go for some reason.

I’ve contacted D2D, so hopefully this will get resolved soon, but it is starting to really tick me off. I did some looking to see how long it is supposed to take and I saw an old post complaining about the 24symbols platform taking so long, so this is not apparently a new issue. I have nothing but good things to say about D2D even if I am switching because they really are an amazing publishing option. I’d just be exceptionally leery of ever pushing to the 24symbols platform if I ever decided to go back to D2D. If I remember correctly, they were also the one that took nearly 2 weeks to load my book in the first place.

So, for anyone that was waiting for this to go to KU… I’m still working on it. I promise.

Hanging My Head In Shame…

…or it could be banging my head on the desk. Right now, the two look very similar. After nearly 14 hours of non-stop data entry and tweaking what I thought I’d had in place before I lost everything with the Windows update, I had managed to get to a point where I thought I had nearly every base entry recovered. I did realize that there was a chance that my previous database wasn’t pulling my DNF numbers out of my overall books read count, so I couldn’t tell for certain what all I was missing. I had lost a lot of the smaller genre tags that I’ve created for my books and any notes I’d made, but I mostly had any new books added, give or take a few. I’d somehow lost some of my reread and DNF numbers, but for the most part I’d felt pretty good at what I’d been able to recreate.

I went to shut down the app and saw that it was somehow STILL tied to that Onedrive folder and I did not want that. I go to hunt down how to break that tie and see the folder has 4 instances of my database. All with different names and versions. Guess which version was in there? Guess what I learned about the search feature in Microsoft? It doesn’t search the Onedrive folder. Guess who was livid to have wasted nearly 14 hours of work? I was nearly in tears for the second time.

Yes, I’m thrilled to death I found my original database. I haven’t lost anything (that I can see so far), so that is a massive positive. I’m still pissed as hell because that version in the Onedrive folder had a different name entirely from the database I was using. The database I was using didn’t actually exist on my hard drive anymore because it had been replaced by that older version. This is something that should never, ever happen. Even if this had been an Office update rather than a Windows update, it should have never happened. Those files never should have been touched in any way, shape or form.

I’ve moved my active database to a different folder, hoping to prevent something like this happening again. It is in the same location I keep my photos as that is on an auto backup for my external drive, so hopefully that will mitigate any future problems.

I’m trying really hard to be grateful that I didn’t actually end up losing anything and going with the “lesson learned” mindset, but it is hard to do after the work I put into trying to fix it all. Yes, I probably (REALLY) should have found that Onedrive folder before I went to all that effort, but I had no clue that it didn’t show in search results when looking for files. I never even considered that would be the case. I do appreciate this process has pointed out a potential error in my numbers and forced me to remember my database needs to be backed up on a regular basis. None of that changes how pissed off I am at the whole damn mess.

I also need to go through all my Goodreads entries again, because I could have sworn my numbers were a little higher in my database before I lost it, so I still think the version I got was at least a few days behind, if not a couple of weeks. That means that even though I’ve recovered my data, I’m still not done having to go through it all and trying to find problems. *sigh* I just want to sit down and read!!

 

Feel Like Crying and Screaming – Technical Difficulties

I have lost a year and a half of book data from my personal database. I went to enter my latest read and something looked off when I opened the app. When I realized my dashboard didn’t have all of my latest changes I was really confused. Then I went to look at the latest entry and it was from early in March 2018.

How could I have somehow reverted to an extremely old version of said database you ask? Why Microsoft, of course! My computer demanded I update my version of Windows the other day or I would no longer be on a supported version. Multiple hours later and me giving up to get sleep instead, I log in and everything seems to have upgraded with no problem. Until I opened MS Access.

Apparently, the idiots missed a glitch that pulled information from their useless Onedrive folder (which I had disconnected from almost immediately after testing it out as it was glitchy as all hell and only useful for my grocery list, so I’m still baffled at the version I got), and OVERWROTE the database stored on my computer. You do NOT code upgrade software that at anytime EVER overwrites personal data files on a computer!!! Dipshits in QA need to have some conversations with my Hubby to learn how that shit is supposed to be tested.

I was absolutely devastated. I have been keeping track of my books for YEARS in this database. Constantly making tweaks and changes to make it better, easier to use and pull the kinds of information I’m looking for. I do also keep track of my books on Goodreads, thank goodness, but I keep so much more information in my database that I can’t keep track of in Goodreads (personal notes and where I reviewed it for example) and is why I kept using it after I found Goodreads. It doesn’t help one tiny bit that I’m a bit of a flake sometimes and forget to enter a book in both locations. Yes, I can probably recreate what I’ve lost, but it is going to take me hours if not days and I’m most likely not going to be able to get it all.

I’d also made some significant changes in the last year. New reports and summaries I was keeping track of. All of it is gone. I could absolutely kick my own ass about the whole thing as well because I JUST got a new external hard drive to back up all my important stuff, like my photos, and somehow I managed to overlook backing up my database, otherwise I would have only lost maybe a week or two of books. Believe me, I have dug and searched all through my computer and my version no longer exists in any form.

I’ve slept on my grief over the loss and I’m still infuriated and frustrated, but the only thing I can do is whatever I can to rebuild it. I’m trying to see the positive side of this in that I didn’t get a version that was years older than the one I got, but it’s incredibly hard to see any loss as positive. I’ll be getting my review  written and posted, but then I’ll be buried in my Goodreads and Amazon records working to get it all back. I can only hope it doesn’t piss me off any more than I already am or my computer may grow wings and fly out the window. Whether that window will be open first remains to be seen.

 

One of Those Days… Updated*

Today is trying really hard to be a grumpy day. I feel like that has been me a lot lately, which is frustrating because I try really hard not to be so negative. I can see the positives in today in that even though we are soggy as all hell and you can’t walk in the yard without sinking a couple of inches into what is beginning to look more like a swamp, we are safe, our house is whole, and we didn’t get a flooded basement like I suspect some of our lower lying neighbors did. Some people not that far from me cannot say the same this morning and what is making me grumpy is petty whining in comparison.

Continue reading “One of Those Days… Updated*”

Wasn’t Going To, But… Rant Ahead

This is another post I really battled posting, but it just pushed way too many buttons for me not to say something. I figured this was the best place to do so. This can definitely be filed under the “Don’t Be An Asshole” category.

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Cranky Pants It Is

*The picture is for those that really don’t want to read the rant. It looks kinda mean and thorny which is how I’m feeling, but it is still on the pretty side so you won’t have to suffer. Much.

I have tried. I really have, but apparently cranky is going to be it for me today. I have a lot of thinking to do on what I’m willing to do and not do with regards to trying to be a part of the indie author community and get exposure for my book.

Continue reading “Cranky Pants It Is”

Not A Fun Discovery

So, I’m all revved to get started on my project. I get everything organized and set up. Get my music going. Sit down with my wires and my stone. Get a few pieces cut and start wrapping when I notice it. My eyes refuse to focus on the fine gauge wires enough for me to be able to count them. I literally cannot see the difference between one wire and the one next to it. They just merge into this kind of shiny blob with faint hints of shadows where the division should be, but I just cannot see the individual wires. It didn’t really matter how close or how far away I was, I just could not get those details into focus enough to work.

That realization just about made me cry.  I have always had really good vision, with the exception of a tiny blip after OC was born where I needed to wear glasses for a couple of years, mostly for driving (was told it was pregnancy related hormones and it corrected itself after MC was born). I have been able to do tiny detail work in all kinds of different areas all my life. Tiny little seed beads. Sewing. Fine details in drawing. Thin thread crochet. All the things you need to be able to see really well to be able to do. Now, I probably can’t do a huge majority of those things. At least not without help.

I’d had to fix a necklace for BG a few weeks back and I had to snag Hubby’s reading glasses to see, but I honestly thought it was just because what I was trying to fix was smaller than what I was used to working with along with my eyes being irritated from allergies and it wasn’t a big deal. Apparently not.

What makes all this even more frustrating is the fact that I had my eyes checked about a year ago and there were no issues at all. I was told that the amount I was off was so small it wouldn’t be worth it to try to get glasses and that was more for distance. There wasn’t even a question of my up close vision.

I am sad and frustrated and angry. Being forced to put this off until I can steal Hubby’s reading glasses again ticks me off. I’m also worried what this means for me being able to do the things I love if I’m not able to see well enough to do them.

Crazy Teen Dating Drama

Sorry! No photo today. I have been offline lately because EVERYONE is off and home for the holidays. Hubby AND the kids. But, I had fully intended to post the other day asking for advice on a teen dating issue with BG. Before I could, the whole situation snowballed and I’m left with a giant what-the-ever-loving-fuck! situation.

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PSA: Amazon’s Appalling Lack of Security

If you are an Amazon user, please take head. Amazon has an appalling lack of security that I’m pretty sure many users are completely unaware of. I know I was and I tend to be on the cautious side when I do anything online, let alone shop.

While I’m still in the middle of trying to get my issue straightened out and I don’t have all the facts yet, I can do some pretty obvious inference into what happened. No matter the facts of how or why, my account didn’t just get hacked, it got full on hijacked.

Yesterday, I got a notification that my password had been successfully changed, a change I at no time requested. I go to Amazon to log in to see what is going on and it says there is no account under that email address. It’s as if that account simply no longer exists when just hours earlier I had no problems getting in and getting a book.

I call customer service and it takes a while, but they finally determine that the email address for my account has been changed. Again, something I did not do. The issue has to be escalated to another level, but I don’t get a resolution. I have to wait for someone to call me back. In the meantime, I have credit cards tied to this account. I’ve been assured that the account is currently locked, but that does not relieve me in any way, shape, or form. Someone pretty much stole my Amazon account out from under me and I have no clue how. I am still waiting on a call back, but I have no access to anything. No Unlimited. No ability to track several packages I was expecting. No way to go in and remove those cards from the account or any of my other personal information like my address.

I am almost certain that I know what happened, but I can’t confirm any of it. About a month ago, I ordered a shirt that was listed as a Prime item. I got it, like pretty much every single other thing I’ve ever gotten. I have been an Amazon Kindle Unlimited and Prime customer for YEARS and have not one single time ever had a issue with anything, so when that shirt came and I loved it and decided to get another one in a different color, I didn’t think twice about the change from Prime to not with the color change. That was my first mistake.

Not only was the different colored item not Prime, but it was not scheduled to arrive for over a month. I honestly thought that the item I was buying was from the vendor listed in the main listing that stocked with Amazon, but that that color/size was out of stock and needed to ship directly from the vendor. That isn’t what happened. I got switched to an entirely different vendor, but there was nothing in this process that made that obvious. I didn’t realize there was any issue until weeks later when I went to track the item only to find out that there wasn’t any tracking information provided. When the shirt never showed up, I contacted Amazon and was told that I wasn’t eligible for a refund as this was purchased by an outside vendor and I needed to deal with them directly.

When I went to leave a nasty review, I saw that this particular vendor had a single star rating, not the 4+ that was on the original listing. EVERY single review was about never receiving the merchandise. I’m pretty damn certain that if Amazon allowed it, that one star wouldn’t even exist, the reviews were so bad.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a classic bait and switch on Amazon’s part. Should I have paid closer attention to the actual vendor when I went to check out? Yes. Absolutely. But I had NO idea that this was something that Amazon did, switching vendors under a single listing like that, so I didn’t know that it was something I needed to watch for. Again, I’ve been a customer for years and not once have I run into an issue like this.

One of the massive problems with this situation is that the item in question actually has it noted in the top level of their description that the item is only authorized to be sold by a single vendor, that any other vendors selling it are doing so without authorization, yet Amazon allowed this vendor to list and sell this item. Essentially, allowing, at best, unethical practices if not out and out fraud. When I confronted them about this vendor, which I absolutely did, I was told that they watch vendors closely and take action when there are issues, but there had been these negative reviews going back well over a year and they were, quite obviously, still allowed to be a vendor.

Now, just over 10 days later after I submit my complaint against that vendor, I have someone manage to get into my account. Sure, it very well may just be a coincidence, but that would be one hell of one.

After dealing with this last night, Hubby did some checking and apparently Amazon doesn’t have any real security when it comes to your account. If someone has the most basic information like the email address used and the home address, all information provided to vendors when you buy something, they can get into your account with a single phone call. There is no verification process AT ALL. When I called, I was able to find out that the email address had changed and get the account locked down simply by providing them with an order number of something I’d purchased. Again, something a vendor would most likely have access to.

His research showed that there ARE ways to set up a dual authentication on your account for logging in, but that isn’t a standard thing. It is something you have to go into your account to set up yourself. That also doesn’t negate the ease of which someone can get to your account through customer service via phone.

It is truly terrifying to see how insanely easy it was for this to happen, and that I’m not the only one to have it happen to. It is so stupidly easy for a vendor that got ticked about a review to utterly destroy your account. I have no clue what has been done in the time mine was out of my control. We did check Hubby’s account and the credit card numbers are masked, so that can’t be stolen, but… YEARS of history and information are in that account. Do you know how many books I have through that?

I feel violated and ragingly pissed off. I’m already pushing two hours past the time I was told I would hear from someone and I’ve yet to get a call.

 

How The Dog Instigated Chaos

The day started with Hubby giving the dog a chew treat this morning when he went to fix us coffee. Turns out, that treat ended up making a nasty mess on the carpet in the living room where she decided to chow down on it. I go to clean it up and I now have a lovely clean spot in a mess of a high traffic area. Typical me, this doesn’t work and I just decide to bite the bullet and just shampoo the whole living room as I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Noticing a pattern here?

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Ahhhh! Cool Air!

Upside… We have a working AC. Downside, the temps dropped and it hasn’t needed to be turned on yet, though we did close up the house and turn it on to test out how well it removes the humidity even when it doesn’t need to cool (awesome, awesome, AWESOME feature).

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Oh, Come On!!

Yesterday, I moved the small, portable AC my guys dropped off for us into the living room when the kids got home because the house was up to 90 inside. Get it set up and running and I go to move the fans around and the unit dies, my ceiling fan stops and I’m thinking I tripped a breaker. Go to reset it and all the breakers are on. Nothing has tripped.

I unplug all the fans in that room and move them to other areas I know are on a different circuit, unplug the unit and as soon as I do, my ceiling fan starts back up. Everything runs fine for a while. It isn’t until hours later that I realize my fan is off again. At this point, a storm had moved through and dropped the temps drastically, so I just unplugged the unit. Fan starts working again.

Hubby goes to shut down some things outside for the night, comes back in and tells me the lights are off on the chlorinator for our pool. That is on its own circuit so it shouldn’t have been affected by whatever was going on in our living room. Checked that breaker and it is also not tripped. Even try flipping it off and back on, still no lights. So, we either have yet another piece of equipment in our house that just decided to up and crash, or we have a nasty electrical problem on top of EVERYTHING else. Or, quite possibly, both.

Enough already!!

Semi-Repurposed Rain Gauge

A couple of weeks ago I had ordered a new rain gauge online. The day it was supposed to show up, I get an email saying I needed to authorize a change and that I’d be lucky if I saw the thing by the end of September. I had thought when I saw it and the ones like it that there was zero reason why I couldn’t make my own other than needing the right materials, so I just decided to cancel the order and figure out a way to make my own.

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FFS!

So… I was going to post a pic today. Apparently, not going to happen since the latest mess that decided to hit is the fact that the SD card in my phone has apparently decided to go belly up. Can I PLEASE get a break for a little while?