This holiday was actually last Friday, but why not still celebrate Nutella?I used to be afraid of the stuff. Never knew what to expect with it, until I finally decided to try it. It's definitely a unique, yet addicting taste. Chocolatey and nutty goodness.The holiday started back in 2007 by an American blogger. Nutella is put out by Ferrero, an Italian company. (They're also known for Ferrero Rocher, which has Nutella in it.) Many people either hate it or love it. Nutella was first made in 1964. In some countries it's marketed as 'hazelnut cream'. Under Italian law, it doesn't contain enough chocolate to be labeled 'chocolate cream'. Ferrero comsumes 25% of the world's supply of hazelnuts. That's a lot!Today's also the Lunar (or Chinese) New Year. It's the year of the monkey.
This is my wallpaper for February. Another Pandora Hearts one. This one kind of goes with my mood lately. Break is on the far left, Sharon is 2nd from the left, Oz is in the middle, Alice is 2nd from the right, and Gil is on the far right. Haven't seen too many group pics with Sharon in it. She's an interesting character. She's usually seen around Break. Sharon used to think of him as a big brother when she was little, but I think towards the end of the manga, it became something a lot deeper. The style in this one seems a bit more 'shojo-ish' than the original. Not really my fave sort of style, but it goes well in this one. Another fun one. The last one looked somewhat depressing...
My beagle calendar features an older beagle this time. They look happy with their tongue out, and sitting in the grass in what looks like a park. Reminds me slightly more of Buster, than the little puppy one did. We didn't have him when he was a puppy, so that might have something to do with it. There's also a little info blurb. The American Kennel Club recognizes 2 varieties of beagle: the 13-inch, and the 15-inch. Depending on their height, beagles weigh 18 to 30 pounds. A dog named Butch from Virginia, held the Guinness World Record for being the oldest beagle at 28 years old, until he passed away in 2003. That's quite an achievement.I think ours was a 13-inch, but weighed around 30 pounds. He was very muscular, and might have been slightly pudgy. Not much, it really was mostly muscle.
My Jewish calendar features a Torah shield, made by Cornelis Ernst Held, made out of silver, from Amsterdam, Netherlands; 1892. At the very top there's a crown, below that it's the 10 main commandments on tablets in Hebrew (we actually have 613), don't know what it says on the plate below that (I'm not familiar enough with most of those words to know them without the vowels...), below that there are chains that hang down with little ornate flowers and leaves, and there are shofars coming out of the tablets. Kind of a cool one. The 2nd pic's of a havdalah cup, made by P. Zoellner, made out of silver, from Rotterdam, Netherlands. It has an interesting design. The last one's of a collection box, anonymous maker, made out of copper, from Netherlands. (Interesting that they don't have the dates for either of the last 2.) It says N. I. Jongensweeshuis on top, with Amsterdam below that. I looked up 'Jongensweeshuis', and apparently it means: orphanage for boys. So, it must have been from a Jewish one? Not sure what the 'N. I.' stands for. Very interesting. Seems like there might be a lot more to it. Has an interesting cloud or flower (?) design. Not very detailed, so I can't tell what they really are.
The month-long holidays are: Canned Food Month, Celebration of Chocolate Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, Great American Pies Month, Potato Lover's Month, National Cherry Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. A lot of my favorite foods this month!Potatoes, chocolate, pies, and cherries.
A lot of things happened since my last post...Hopefully, I can be more on top of it this month.I recently got an email from someone telling me they want to use this blog in a study. They want me to do a survey, and supposedly they'll read/study my upcoming posts if I opt into it. They apparently want to see more on how I feel about things going on in my life. I think they're using other blogs, too. I'm unsure as to if I want to participate.But, it's interesting, if it's real.
Apparently Group Health (I have my health insurance through them), wants me to be in a research study, as well. Yay, for people who want to study me!In the letter, they said it's a study on how genes can affect health or diseases. (That's in their words.) They might pay $50 for it. Apparently, it's open to people 25 and over, and who have completed Group Health's online questionnaire. If I ok it, they'll do a short interview (according to them, it'll be short), take a blood sample, and go through my medical records. They'll also give feedback on my own genetic info. It sounds interesting. They've called me twice before I got the letter. They didn't say specifically why they were calling both times, and didn't leave a phone number to call them back. They just said we'll call you back again sometime soon. Sounds a little suspicious.I like the idea that they'll pay $50 for it. They could probably just get a sample from me during my regular blood tests, and it would be interesting to see the results. But, it still sounds fishy to me. They said I don't have to agree to it, though. Hopefully they'll catch me the next time they call.
My 2nd novel, Sweet Endless Terror: An Anthology of Nightmares, was approved to be published through Smashwords!It only took 2 and a half days for it to go through both stages. (It was fully approved last Wednesday. That's how soon it's been.) The first one only took a few minutes, and the other one is a manual review. That usually takes about a week. Which is how long my 1st novel, Alliance, took. I've heard that they give a priority for authors who already have a published book through them, but even so, that's crazy fast!I'm still in a bit of shock. It's available for purchase as a preorder now. That only took about a day to go through with Apple, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble. B&N took the longest. It'll go 'live' on March 4th. I'll only know how many I've sold through Apple's iBooks until then. The others don't share that info with Smashwords until it goes live. People won't be able to preorder it on Smashwords, but they can download a 20% sample for the time being. Had a hard time deciding between 15% and 30%, based on their suggestions.20% seemed the most reasonable, and it ends up turning into a cliffhanger at the end of that.Stops halfway through one of the stories. As of right now, there have been 4 downloads from there so far. I won't know about how many people download the samples from other sites, either. Except for Apple. After the preorder period, it'll be distributed to most retailers. If I sell $100 worth, it'll go to Amazon, as well. It's $1.99. Depending on how well it does, I might increase the price slightly. (Not by much.) I've set my 1st novel as being free during this time, as well.
The 2 books are not related, but this might be a good opportunity for some to read the 1st one. They're both written differently, too. Different style, perspectives, 'mood', etc. (The 2nd one was a bit more experimental this way.) One feels even more personal to me, since it's based on my nightmares. I like the cover art for my 2nd one a lot more, too. They suggest people hire a designer for it, but many people feel they have more control if they do it themselves. I can agree with that. (Plus, it's cheaper...) It's not exactly perfect, but I like the results. The other one, I think, looks a bit too abstract. People might not get it.
Here are 3 direct links to it: Smashwords Kobo Barnes and Noble. For Apple's iBooks, it'd probably just be easier to search by my pen name: R C MacDonald. Hopefully people will enjoy it as much as I have...The excitement after finding out it's at those 3 retailers already, made my stomach hurt the next day. It was worth that pain, though. I'm still excited!I'm slowly starting to promote it. I have a lot of ideas of where to do it (online and offline), and how. Probably good to do a little at a time. I'll do most of the online stuff first. They say getting it published is only part of it. Promoting/marketing is another sizable chunk. After all, if no one sees it, how will they know about it?I'm not going to be obnoxious about it either. I won't promote it more than once or twice in one place in a short amount of time. (I might give updates occasionally. Especially on here.) I probably will have to go through it all again when it gets released, too. And, then more after that, I'm sure. (Especially if there are price changes or revisions.) They also say that if you have more than one book out, the other(s) can help promote the newest one. So, yay! That's a step in the right direction.
I also found out I lost enough weight to go down another pant size!I'm no longer in the women's versions of sizes, either. I've apparently lost my curves through losing so much. This is truly like a new frontier for me.I'll have a lot more choices, too. The jeans I tried on really fit me well, and I couldn't believe it even after looking in the mirror in the dressing room. I could even sit comfortably in them. Tried ones with fake rhinestones on the back pockets, and didn't feel them when I sat down. Interesting.
I'm 1 size away from what I was through most of high school. I'm smaller than I was, at least with pant size, towards the end of high school. Kind of an interesting concept for me. If I go down 2 more sizes, I'd be what I was in junior high. Craziness!I've gone down close to 5 sizes already. I say close, because when I was at my heaviest, that size actually felt a bit too tight. So, it's verging on 5. It'll be interesting to see how much more I can lose. I certainly don't want to be underweight, but I would like to be right smack dab in the middle of normal for my height. Not more, not less. My IBD is certainly making the weight come off faster than before. But, again, I won't worry about that unless I become underweight. I still don't think I'm getting quite enough nutrients. So, hopefully, I'll get to asking my gastro about seeing a nutritionist when I see her next month. She should have more of an idea of ones that know how to deal with people who have IBD, than my primary might.
For the past week Google Chrome has kept giving me a notice, saying that they'd stop supporting Windows XP in April. So, I decided to go back to Firefox.It's going to take me a little while to get used to it, but it might even be better for my computer. I haven't used Firefox in years. At least, I could import all my bookmarks, passwords, and such from Chrome. It seems like a much more 'wider' view. I'll have to mess around with it some more in the future. It seems to run pretty smoothly so far.
Yami no Basosha or Partner in Darkness was really good. The characters seemed 'real' or human. The story had a very creepy ending. Some of it was predictable, but the reasons behind everything wasn't. They made the viewers believe that one of the characters was the little boy from the manga, grown up. But, he wasn't. The one who was seemed more demented than the mangaka, who was the murderer. Ended up being one of the people who helped with the investigation the most.
Finished Midori no Ou or Verdant Lord. Most of it was good. The ending, not so much.They couldn't end it, because they were forced to drop it. So, the last chapter was speculating how the mangaka, illustrator, and editor wanted it to end. Also, some goofy extras showing what the characters did after the story ended. Kind of like: "This is what so and so is doing now..." The chapter before that seemed really messed up. I can't tell if Shin is really himself after having his brain transplanted into a clone. They blew off his head, and apparently it didn't damage his brain? The plants were close to fully taking over him. (It seemed his brain was just about to be taken over.) So, they had to do something to save him. Seems twisted. But, the world seemed to be saved, with half the plants going into outer space. The other half staying behind, but slowly dying off, while the 'normal' ones came back. So, I guess it had somewhat of a loose ending. Still lots of questions left unanswered.
Finished watching the first live action Rurouni Kenshin movie. It was really good. The way Yahiko was depicted still feels weird, but the rest were spot on. They didn't have the 2 little girls in it. I wonder if they will in the other 2. They were somewhat annoying, but also made it a little more lighthearted. They were the older doctor's grandchildren. Kaoru took care of them occasionally. The next one should be interesting, too. It's based off of the Kyoto arc. Which was one of the best, if not the best, arc in the series. It'll be interesting to see how the other characters are portrayed. This one might be a bit more difficult to pull off well.