Having the first check number in your business checking account be the year of your birth.
This was the week where I got very tired. I had already gotten very tired last week, on Sunday when I collapsed around 4 pm. I used Monday to finish off the things I would have done Sunday night.
On Tuesday I downloaded my new 3SMR logo and put it on the site in all the places. I did not love it as much, once I got it up. The spacing is a little odd. But the whole thing cost me around $50 and it will do for now.
I also made a foray into getting social media sites set up. That crashed and burned due to Facebook stuff. So I turned to revising the display style of the movie pages. Because starting a website when you don’t know much about what you’re doing means redoing a lot of stuff.
On Wednesday I sat down to get work done and I just couldn’t. I ended up watching three episodes of Anne with an E and eating oyster crackers.
Oh! On Friday I had 30 minutes at work where there was suddenly nothing to do, so I spent that time looking at other financial bloggers websites to see how they were set up. I took notes on four of them before the work rolled back in. So I got some work done on Female Financial Independence! That was great.
On Saturday I spent a solid three hours and accomplished much. I now have a Twitter handle, a Facebook page and (possibly) an Instagram account for 3SMR. And they all have the same name! @3SMReviews. I also finished revising all the website page layouts. They now all display 30 posts, and then go to pagination. In that process, I discovered four pages I hadn’t yet set up.
I also now have a Mailchimp account for 3SMR. Yes, you can be on my mailing list. I also put a sign up form on the front page of 3SMR.
The last thing I did was poke around to see why the AdSense ads aren’t showing up on the site. The code is in the headers, but still: nothing. I’ll figure that out soon.
My hours this week totaled 5, which has me 1.5 short for the month so far. But I can probably make up that amount in the remaining days, provided I am not too tired.
Laurie and Burt are getting closer to finishing their second McMenamins Passport, so it was time to make the Washington run. We drove to Bothell to start at Anderson School, then did Seattle, Olympia, the Olympic Club in Centralia and then visited the new site, Kalama Harbor Lodge. Here’s a picture of us with our Olympic Club prize.
For comparison, here’s a picture of us from January 2016, when we first made the Washington run.
Kalama Harbor Lodge is the newest McMenamins property and is quite nice. It was stuffed full of people when we arrived and I’m not sure if that was a function of the three-day weekend or if the Kalama area is under-subscribed for lodging and restaurants.
Our visit did solve one mystery for me. When I take the train to Seattle, there’s always a stretch where there is a lovely park and I’d always wondered what park it was. It turns out it’s the Port of Kalama: Marine Park & Rasmussen Day Use Park and is right next door to the McMenamins. We got to walk through it, because one of the stamps needed for this site is at a small pub a half mile away. It was dark and kind of chilly, but was a nice walk.
The website for the hotel has also shed some light on why they would build a hotel in this particular location as it seems to be in the middle of nowhere. Aside from antiquing, the newly opened Ilani Casino is 15 minutes away.
This will probably be our last all-of-Washington-in-one-day journey. Once the Tacoma property opens it will take longer than 12 hours to get to all the properties, and that makes for a too-long day.
Laurie had the good idea to stay in one of the properties and do some on the way up and some on the way back. So it might be that you would hit Anderson School and Seattle and then stay in Tacoma. Then get Olympia, Centraila and Kalama on the way back down.
Because we live in Portland, the Vancouver properties are easy to pick up, so they don’t need to be a part of the journey.
10 more postcard arrived from Iowa today. I particularly like various washi tape configurations, though I am also partial to the famous painting doctored with stickers.
Whew. This week was a tough week. In the Three Sentence Movie Review world, I’m cleaning up some details while also trying to revise old posts into the new format. The revision is very slow work, made slower by my 17-inch monitor. If my monitor was just a big bigger I could have two windows open, plus my spreadsheet and could speed up the process a lot.
Speaking of the spreadsheet. I have a spreadsheet of all 1000+ movies I’ve watched since 2007! Very exciting. As I tag the reviews I note the genre category/ies, if it’s recommended, if it has a female director or writer, and also the year the movie was released, as well as the decade.
The plan is that once I get everything in the new format, I can use that spreadsheet to help me make recommendations. I already know I’m going to have to go back through again and tag everything with affiliate links. Fun! But then I can also add in recommendations.
Speaking of affiliate stuff, I read up on how to be an affiliate marketer. I learned that if you click on someone’s affiliate link, Amazon doesn’t care if you buy that exact thing that was linked to. Your cookie is good for a period of time (35 minutes) and anything you buy during that time will give the seller a percentage of the sales. (At no cost to the buyer.) I found that interesting.
I took Friday off from work and was trying to figure out how I was going to do the shopping, the week’s cooking, the special entertaining cooking AND also spend four hours working on the sites. I needed to do four hours to meet my weekly goal. I knew I was going to spend all day Saturday at WordCamp and then Sunday entertaining, so things had to get done by Friday.
And then I realized that WordCamp is the WordPress conference. So the entire day counted as working on sites. Phew. This was a very good realization because shopping/cooking took up most of the day.
WordCamp was amazing. Three sessions in, I realized that every session I attended had a woman presenter. And that none of the questions asked by the audience were the type of ego-fellating questions I usually hear from computer people (ahem *guys* ahem). People even asked questions that could be considered dumb (“What’s a slider?”) and no one made fun of them for it. I didn’t feel like a tool for taking notes with paper and pen, instead of on my laptop. And the content ranged from very good to fantastic.
The last session I attended, which was about how anyone could give back to the WordPress, shed some light on my observations. Everything I experienced was by design. The WordPress community works very hard to be inclusive, kind, and to avoid ego feeding. Once I better get things up and running, I will look into how I can volunteer.
Here are postcards 1/5 and 5/5 from Sara’s missed-your-birthday multi-postcard missive. In the first postcard we can see in real time her realization that she’s missed my birthday.
In 5/5 I get an update about her week. Sounds like a busy one.
Thanks for the birthday greetings! They are always welcome.
My mailbox was full today. My friend Heather is a Girl Scout leader and she had many girl scouts (and some parents) make postcards for my birthday. 30 arrived today. Aside from being unique on the front, there’s a nice long letter on the back. Eventually, I will get to read all of it.
And here’s one more!
This was a fun day to go to the mailbox.
It was a month of doing a lot of things that aren’t reading. Two things have contributed to this. My continued sleep restriction, which leaves me staying up later than usual to reset my sleep schedule. This means that when I sit down to read, I almost always want to fall asleep. This means I’m reading less. Also, I’m doing this whole thing with starting side jobs? That’s cutting into the reading time too.
Picture book: We are Grateful
Middle grade: The Parker Inheritance
Young adult: Damsel
Young nonfiction: Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees
So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom
Read for Librarian Book Group
This book had a ton of things wrong with it.
The layout. There is an intermittent poem (?) that appears on certain left-hand pages. It always ended with a comma and I was always confused by that comma. Halfway through I poked around to see if it’s appearance would ever end with a period. The answer was no. What was that interlude? I should not be asking that question.
The text is awkward and didn’t flow well. There was context that was missing that confused me. I was not aware that Sojourner Truth was a slave in New York state before slavery was made illegal there and thus I had some dissonance reconciling “slavery” and “New York.” The information could have been introduced more smoothly.
Also, the illustrations were not my style.
Read for Librarian Book Group
I enjoyed the setup: a boy skateboards over a bridge (that I’m too lazy to look up to see which New York City bridge it was) to go to the Guggenheim. Once there, he has adventures with paintings. Because the people in the paintings come to life and hang out with him. You know, like they do. There were some amusing situations with the boy and the characters in the paintings.
The illustrations were nice, in that blurry way. I didn’t love the boy’s face. It looked fairly plastic and was distracting to me. But overall, I enjoyed the message about art.
Read for Librarian Book Group
This book is three short stories that are laid out like a graphic novel for the beginning reader set. Both Fox and Chick cut fine figures, though in the latter case, Chick is fun in annoying ways. I thought the size of the text benefited the book, and while the illustrations were not my style, they were clear, which is always a good thing.
We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
Read for Librarian Book Group
The biggest win as far as I’m concerned is that the Cherokee words that are used are DEFINED ON THE VERY SAME PAGE! I’m not sure why it’s taken this long to get to this point in picture book layouts.
No need to wonder if there was a glossary in the back. No need to decide if I’m going to exert the effort to turn to the glossary. Instead, there was the word’s definition, right there on the same page. Picture books have so much space I think this should be a regular practice.
Aside from that innovation, this was a nice intro to Cherokee culture and had great use of color.
Read for Librarian Book Group
Yuyi Morales’s illustrations are always so wonderful and this book is worth reading just to see them.
That said, I’m not quite sure who this book is for. The vocabulary was sometimes pretty advanced (suspicious, improbably.) Also, the Spanish went undefined, which is a choice an author can make. It’s hard for me, though when I can’t pick up the word from context and it increased my distance from the words.
The Parker Inheritance
Read for Family Book Group
It’s always interesting when a book I greatly enjoyed is not enjoyed by other people. So was it for the members of the Family Book Group, who were lukewarm on this story, that I think is one of the best of the year.
There was a call for a better puzzle, one that unfolded throughout the story a la the Westing Game, rather than four clues that carry you through the book.
I realized, on further reflection, that this book is a little of a bait and switch. There’s a puzzle/mystery to keep the contemporary plot going, but a lot of the book is a historical fiction story. If you love historical fiction (and I do!) then this is a delightful development. If not (I suspect many of the members of this reading group do not) then it’s not the greatest thing.
The Summer I Turned Pretty
A middling effort. This book lacks a strong sense of place. Its setting is a beach community, sure, and there are enough place references that I know it’s an East Coast beach community, but which one? The beach in Florida is different from Virginia, which is different than New Jersey and all the places in between.
The stakes never felt very high. She’s been in love with the son of family friends she’d lived with every summer. Aside from the fact that she’d “turned pretty” and was getting interest from other boys, not much seemed different. This book also has an ending designed to entice you to start immediately on the second book. Which is to say it had no ending.
I did feel the characters were fully formed in a way the setting and the plot weren’t. And I love stories of girls who live among guys. That was clearly explored.
Will I read the second book? Time will tell.
Elana K. Arnold
Read for Librarian Book Group
Elana K. Arnold’s What Girls are Made Of was an uncomfortable read for me. I hurried through it. Then I gave it four stars and have thought of it often. In that book Arnold was a master at shining a light on that dark underbelly of being a woman: the girl who desires only to be the object of interest to a boy.
Plus, she writes very honestly (and fairly graphically for a YA book) about sex.
Damsel is a fairy tale. It begins with Prince Emory on his quest to slay a dragon. After the dragon is slain and the damsel is rescued, we switch to the damsel Ama’s perspective for the remainder of the story. Again, I was uncomfortable, and again I read quickly. Arnold doesn’t shy away from all the humiliations felt by women as they are subjugated.
Ama is a compelling character. As I was reading, I wanted her to–I’m not sure what. Escape? Win?
It’s not a fun book, but it’s one of the best books I’ve read all year. Two things keep it from being the ne plus ultra of YA novels: I figured something out very early on (and I’m not someone who figures things out very often) and the book ended much too quickly.
Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees
Read for Librarian Book Group
Great content and the bibliography at the end points to a lot of good source material that was consulted. Dan Brown also chose to focus his story on “children,” “men,” “women,” etc. rather than “Sunnis,” “Muslims” etc.
The refugees’ plight is plainly illustrated and he makes sure to provide context for how big or how far away things are. The book also calls out those doing nothing while the people suffer—like the United States of America.
Unlike the two other Dan Brown books I’ve read, I found the illustration style did not work well here. Was it looser than usual? The effect seemed to me to make the people he was attempting to humanize more anonymous and distant from us.
I mean no disrespect to Tara Westover, but I’ve read this book before. Most recently, it was the Glass Castle. The fiction version of this story is Barbara Kingsolver’s the Poisonwood Bible. The story of a young woman having her life shaped by an eccentric or insane father is–tragically–common. It’s also a story I don’t have very much head space for right now, while I’m trying to work through society’s reaction to the current leader of the country and his views about woman (among many other things.)
What you’re in for with this version of the story: a homeschooled Mormon family, although in this case, you’d best put some quotes around the word homeschool to properly place the amount of teaching the children received. You also get a lot of descriptions of family members in physical danger and also pain. There’s also physical and mental abuse. Plus the pain of your family turning away when you call out your abuser. There’s even a brutal killing of a family pet.
The writing is good, and if you haven’t already been steeped in this story, this is a good entry into the cannon. My takeaways? The uber-patriarchal nature of mainstream Mormonism combined with bipolar disorder/schizophrenia in the family patriarch do not bode well for the people in the family. And also, homeschooling in Idaho should have a hell of a lot more oversight.
It took me a while to notice how awesome the cover of this book is. It’s very subtle. Kudos to the designer.
Postcards arrived today! They are labeled 2/5, 3/5, 4/5 which is good news in that I can read the middle of the message all at once. Much better than if 1/5, 3/5 and 5/5 arrived.
On this postcard (2/5) Sara realizes that she has missed my birthday entirely. She is very sorry. Her explanation makes sense to me, and I’m okay with her missing the day. She’s kind of busy.
On this postcard, good birthday wishes continue and she’s distracted enough to not comment on the bird on the front, which would have normally been a point of discussion.
And on this card—which I’m just now realized I photographed upside down, sorry Nanci Yermakoff—she continues to narrate her upset about the lack of birthday remembrance. No worries, Sara, I knew birthday wishes would be coming soon.
I look forward to seeing what future mail deliveries bring and thanks for the birthday wishes!
Another eight hours this week! I’m back on track for my hours per week goal.
I did all eight hours Monday–Thursday after I got home from work. By Thursday, it was rather grueling.
Part of this 60/30 exercise is to do a trial of how it will be to come home from work and get right to work again. I learned that I need to have my dinner plated ahead of time. This week I often would not be hungry when I came home and I would get right to work. But then, around seven o’clock, the hunger appeared, but I didn’t want to stop what I was doing to get a plate of food, so I would eat bits of things. My goal next week is to plate my food for dinner when I am putting together my lunch.
I got a lot done, though. 3SMR is coming along nicely. It now has a lists page, and there are category descriptions for each category. (I think this helps with SEO?) I also picked posters to illustrate each of my genre categories and am excited that every single one of the movies on that page is directed by a woman. Katherine Bigelow has three separate posters. Women need to direct more action and suspense movies.
I also got some help on fivrr this week. That’s a gig economy website where people offer to do things for not very much money. I have contracted with a woman to make a spreadsheet of all the movies I’ve watched since 2008. This will help me with my tracking and recommending.
The other thing I did on fivrr was to have an informal logo design contest. I picked four logo designers (pretty much at random) and sent all four the same information about what I wanted. They all sent me back logos, between one and five logos per designer. For this, I paid $38.00. Total. There’s one logo I really like so I’m going to contract with that designer to give me the logo in several sizes and also a favicon (that’s the square thing in the browser tab, next to the name of the site.)
Finally, I uploaded all my three sentence movie reviews posts from this blog to the new website. I was worried about that process but it turned out to be super easy. Now comes the very long slog of tagging all the posts into the new format. It takes me an hour to do about 20. I have 53 total pages. It will be a slow and steady wins the race project.
While the site is live right this second, I haven’t advertised the fact. My plan is to do a little site design and re-tag 20 posts each work session. Once I get to 100 posts re-tagged, I will officially “launch” my site.