Thursday, July 28, 2016

Remember 1-800-COLLECT?

Do you remember having to make collect calls, in the days before cell phones? If you grew up in the 1980s and particularly in the 1990s, you may have been familiar with the ubiquitous commercials for 1-800-COLLECT, featuring celebrities. Below is one such commercial, featuring The Simpsons.

Sound familiar now?  I don't remember using this service very often. I only thought about after seeing this refrigerator magnet I got in college.  Our resident advisers gave us a care package when we first moved into our dorm rooms. It included this magnet, which I still have today:

According to this link from 2014, the service was still in business and a customer attempted to use it, resulting in the following:

The $42.55 call
An Ars reader wrote in this week with his tale of woe. After forgetting his cell phone at home, he traveled from Las Vegas to California and had to place a call back to his home landline. So he located a payphone and found that, so strong were the company's early ads, he still associated the 1-800-COLLECT number with reasonable collect call rates.
He dialed and placed a 6 minute call. When his home phone bill arrived in a couple weeks, it showed a third party charge for $42.55—$33.93 for the call itself, with the balance for "cost recovery fees" and the like. (The charge originated with Network Operator Services, which 1-800-COLLECT uses to bill some of its services.)
The reader was outraged. "There are unscrupulous carriers that charge even more than $42.55 from 1-800-COLLECT, whose website claims it is a 'trusted and recognized brand'?" he wondered. Similar complaints aren't hard to find.
Who knew?  It seems services like this have all but vanished thanks to the advent of cell phones. 

I can recall having to use a payphone at school in the 1980s, but I believe that was before these sort of services existed or became common. I would call collect, if I had no (or not enough) money on hand for the phone charges, which increased over time.  I recall it getting to be up to a quarter.  To call collect, I just had to tell the operator who would then ask the person being phoned, "Will you accept the charges?"

Remember all this?  

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quiz: How Addicted to Blogthings Are You?

Agree somewhat. I find myself taking these quizzes and posting them on my blog when I don't know what else to put on the blog.

You Are 45% Addicted to Blogthings
You're a Blogthings fiend - addicted but not totally dependent.
So what if you know your personality type by heart?
And while you may feel like Blogthings is crack...
There are people much worse off than you!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Sending One's Work to Oneself to Copyright--Is this Effective?

Last Wednesday on her blog, Stephanie Faris wrote about four ways for authors to avoid being sued. Among those were copyrighting one's work by sending a copy of the story to oneself.  After I typed the first draft of my memoir, my mom told me to do this before letting anyone else read it.  I'd saved it as pdf file one Sunday afternoon and was about to email it to the members of my book club through our group email.  "Did you copyright it yet?" Mom asked, meaning did I send myself a copy. I hadn't--not yet--so I saved the email I'd begun in my draft folder and the next day sent myself the first copy I'd printed out. I'd just typed a second draft that I'd saved as a pdf. When I received it back three days later, I resumed sending the email, coincidentally just before our monthly meeting in June. Of the members who showed up, only one said she'd gotten it and the others present each admitted that they had not checked their email that day. I also sent it to to a guy I knew in high school that same day.

Below is the envelope I sent the story to myself in with the story still inside (I was told not to open it). The receipt from the postal place is used to cover up  most of my address.

This method is known as the "poor man's copyright," and according to this link, it has proven ineffective.  But even so, my mom said, it still works. Another post quoted in the blog points out that your work is copyrighted once you create it. But I've already mailed my story to myself, so what is done is done.  

For the record, I've only received some feedback as of yet from those to whom I emailed the story.  Though I understand it takes different people different amounts of time to read.  Another person I'd sent it to is the bartender at my favorite local bar. I saw her two weeks ago at a neighborhood grocery store, and she said she'd begun to read my manuscript, but that she's a slow reader.  Another I sent it to, a fellow bar patron was texting me about what she had read so far when she received the email. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Hope everyone has a happy July 4th, whatever you plan to do today.

In my home town, the July 4th weekend is dominated by the annual motorcycle rally. Our main street is blocked off and most business are closed, and various souvenir booths are set up. People come from all over. The rally is one of the few things people outside Hollister, California know about this otherwise little-known town.  A typical scene at the rally might look like this:

This is from a couple years ago. Though I went this year, I didn't get any pictures. But it always seems the same to me.

What is going on in your neck of the woods for July 4th?

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Quiz: The Fireworks Test

Definitely agree with this one.

Your Fireworks Say You're Introverted
You are a rather reserved person in day to day life.
However, you do have a few topics that truly excite you.

When you become impassioned, it's a surprise to everyone around you.
But if they blink, they'll miss it, because you get back to being calm very quickly.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Book Challenge by Erin

Found another challenge. It started yesterday, but I saw it just now on someone else's blog. This one runs until October. Sign up and see more details here.

Book Challenge by Erin 5.0
General Rules
First and foremost, have fun. Don't stress. No one is being judged, graded, or penalized. Even if you finish only one book the entire challenge, if you enjoy it and it's an accomplishment for you, then that's awesome.
  • The challenge will run from July 1, 2016 to October 31, 2016. No books that are started before 12 a.m. on July 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on October 31 will count.  (We live in different time zones – follow this according to your own time zone.)
  • Each book must be at least 200 pages long.   Audio books are fine too.
  • A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once. If you want to switch the category of a book, or change the book you originally chose, no worries. 
  • You can read your books in any order you choose.
  • Rereads can be used only once.  If a book you love fits into a category, go ahead and visit it again. Read it in its entirety.  But, only do this once for the challenge.
  • There will be a photo album for each category with links to books chosen.  Please comment on the photo for each of your books when you finish reading them.  (ask for help if you need it)  A comment can include a review, a rating, a recommendation…other readers want to hear what you thought of your choice. 
  • There will be 10 book categories with a possibility of earning 200 points.   That’s 10 books in four months.  For some of you, this will be a BIG challenge; for others it will be easy peasy.  It’s all for fun, remember!
  • Book categories will be posted June 1st to give you time to gather books in preparation. 
  • After the categories are posted, please post a preliminary list to the facebook group page with books of your choice according to their categories on the facebook group page by June 15th (if possible). If you need help with a particular category or want a book suggestion, we as a community of reading enthusiasts can help each other.  (Late entries will still be accepted)
  • Participants can join the challenge at any time.
  • The first three people who finish the challenge will be invited to contribute a category for the next challenge. The top winner will get a small prize from me!  Plus, everyone who completes the challenge will gets all sorts of recognition and support!
  • Lastly, have fun.  Don't stress. No one is being judged, graded, or penalized. Even if you finish only one book the entire challenge, if you enjoy it and it's an accomplishment for you, then that's awesome.  Wait, I’ve read that somewhere before…Good luck!

·         5 points:  Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages.   The Girl Who Chased the Moon--Sarah Addison Allen

·         10 points:  Read a book that starts with the letter “R”.   A Rose From the Dead--Kate Collins

·         10 points:  Read a book with five words in the title.   The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel--Deborah Moggach

·         15 points:  Read a book that has a (mostly) blue cover.  7th Heaven--James Patterson

·         20 points:  (Submitted by Barb; she’s a twin and is a mother to twins.)  Read a book with twins as characters.  Here’s a list that should help.  Fangirl--Rainbow Rowell

·         20 points:  (Submitted by Christina) Read a book from the following list of books made into movies:   Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children--Ransom Riggs

·         25 points:  (Submitted by Stef) Read a book set in a country you have always wanted to visit.   Northanger Abbey--Jane Austen (England)

·         30 points:  (Submitted by Linda) Read a historical fiction book.   The Widow of the South--Robert Hicks

·         30 points:  (Submitted by Ericka)  Read a music related book.  (i.e. a memoir from a musician, singer, band, roadie, producer, groupie, music journalist, etc. OR a fictional book with a lead character that is a musician, music teacher, etc.)   Girl Online--Zoe Sugg

·         35 points:  (Submitted by Ferne) Read a book originally published over 100 years ago.  Villette--Charlotte Bronte

Challenge completed on September 6