The Bookworm's Musings

Adult Themes are discussed and linked to in this Journal - Read Responsibly!

DIY SAD Light Therapy Box

As I become more aware of my state of mind, now that I’m awake and living most of the time, I quickly noticed that sun effects my mood quite a bit. No sun = No energy or motivation. My anti-depression meds are a lot less effective when it is overcast and gray. And now that winter is coming and the sunlight that reaches us is weaker, even sunlight doesn’t help as much as it should.

So, I need a light box for light therapy, one of the most common treatments for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  But a commercial one cost $60 or more, like this one on Amazon. What?!!

It’s some light bulbs. In a fancy lamp. I don’t have $60+. And, you have to factor the cost of replacement bulbs into the equation. Bet those things are expensive too.

Internet Time! Some research on the internet brought me to this handy page, where I got the general idea. By reading the follow-up article, I realized that I probably didn’t need fancy light bulbs, just a lot of regular ones.  But sticking nine or ten 60 watt bulbs into a wooden box didn’t sound like a good idea: incandescent bulbs get very, very hot. So the bulbs would have to be fluorescent, which is what Boris (author of the previously linked page) recommends anyway. So the idea was planted in my mind.

But there were some obstacles:

  • I had a very tight budget. The light fixtures Boris used cost about $5 each here. $5 x 10 = $50. Way too much.
  • I am not an electrician.
  • I do not have any hole saw bits, and they cost at least $15, depending on size.

In order to overcome these obstacles, I needed to get creative. The answer to solving all of the above problems came to me as I was browsing the lighting aisle at Fred Meyers: I found a light bulb socket you can plug directly into an outlet. No lamp, no cover, just the socket you screw the light bulb into. Hmmm. If I plugged a bunch of these into a power strip or two (or three), I could have lots of light with no need for an electrician or a hole saw.

I would still need a box, though. The box focuses and directs the light, making sure you get the most out of it. No problem. I have wood. I have power tools. I have a Kreg Jig.

The only sticking point left was the cost of the light bulbs. Sure, florescent light bulbs really aren’t that expensive anymore. Unless you are buying 9 of them. So off to the dollar store I went. I’ve bought light bulbs there before and was pretty happy with them. $9 is better than $15 or $20, right? Right. But instead of a $1 each, the bulbs were 2/$1! So I got 10 light bulbs, for $5 and change. Project Lightbox was a go.

Here’s the cost list for my lightbox:

  • 9 light bulb sockets @ 2.19 each =  19.71
  • 1 can flat white spray paint @ 3.00 = 3.00
  • 9 light bulbs @ .50 each = 4.50
  • 1 small package 11” zip/cable ties @ 1.59 = 1.59
  • 3 power strips: On Hand
  • Pocket Hole Screws: On Hand
  • Wood for box: On Hand
  • Tools: On Hand

Total for Project: $28.80 + tax

Here’s the finished product with the lights on. Each of these bulbs is rated at 900 lumens:

The light is pretty bright, but not so bright that it’s uncomfortable to be near it. Of course, you aren’t supposed to stare into it, just have it nearby. I put mine about 2 feet from the side of my face, next to my computer desk, where I spend an hour+ every morning anyway. Sitting in this light for about 30 minutes a day is supposed to be enough.

Here it is with the lights off, so you can see more detail:

I used my largest drill bit (that fits my drill, anyway) to make the holes along the edges for the cords. And yes, the power strips did have holes on the back for mounting with screws, but I used zip ties instead because I have found they are more reliable, and I felt they would hold the power strips more snugly in place. I drilled holes through the back board,  above and below each power strip, and threaded the zip ties through the holes.

Here you can see it from the side, but keep in mind that the front box is about 1 & 1/2” shallower than it appears here, because of the way I assembled the box. And yes, I know the sides tilt inward. I could have built a perfectly square, perfectly aligned box, but that wasn’t my main concern.

Finally, here’s a picture of how I did the back of the box. I wanted to be able to mount this on a wall or ceiling if need be, as well as sitting it flat on a table.

Here’s where the extra cordage went. And with the niche in the bottom of the frame for the final cord to slide through, this can be mounted flat against the wall. I put the power strip with the longest cord on the bottom, and this power strip plugs into a wall outlet, controls the other strips, and provides an on/off switch in the front. Here on the back, you can see the pocket holes I used to assemble the box. If I need deeper sides later, it can be easily disassembled.  I only had enough paint to paint the inside of the box, which I did before assembling, so the outside remains unpainted. It’s not unfinished, however, as this box was made from plywood that had been previously finished on one side. I painted the unfinished side.  I could make it a little  nicer by placing another board over the back, to hide the cords and such, but I think it looks fine as it is. (The little cord you see along the top of the box is for charging my Kindle and isn’t attached to the light box in any way.)

The nice thing is, when I can afford it, I can use more powerful bulbs, or even LED bulbs, without re-working the box. Yay!

Is it a beautiful piece of home décor? No. Does it work? So far, yes.

Not bad for $30 and a little ingenuity! Let me know what you think. Have you done something similar? I’d love to hear about it.

DIY Kindle Rest/Support

I love my Kindle Paperwhite. But, after several weeks of use, I have discovered one little problem: holding the Kindle in a reading position and moving my thumb to turn pages has started to hurt. The muscles in my hands have become sore and overextended. My left thumb, which I use most often for turning pages, often cannot be tucked against my palm without hot, shooting pain. This is clearly BAD! So, I knew that I would have to do something about it right away, lest the problem become more severe. But I didn’t want to give up using my Kindle, or even reduce the amount of time I spent on it. After all, if I didn’t read things on my Kindle, I would have to go back to reading them on my computer, which often gives me a headache and causes its own set of muscle pains.

So I searched online to see what could be done, and I found this:

This looks awesome, but I don’t have $35 right now. So, I thought I was stuck and would just have to try to be careful and put up with the pain.

But then, I remembered some shipping cases my brother had rescued from the trash for me. They are clamshell-type cases lined with foam, and have a hard plastic shell. They were used for shipping small, delicate parts, and then thrown away.  I had already used several of them for storage, but I had a few left.

So I got one of the cases, a couple of square wooden dowels I had laying around, a thin sheet of craft foam, and some spare ribbon. Using my trusty hot glue gun and a bit of creativity, I solved my problem. I present the $0 Kindle Lap Desk:

It works great! The red foam sheet on front (last pic) helps keep the kindle from slipping from side to side. The entire contraption can sit on a tabletop or on a pillow in my lap.

The stand supports the Kindle in a comfortable reading position, so I just have to worry about tapping the screen to turn the page. I vary which hand and finger I use, to reduce muscle strain. My hands and wrists already feel a LOT better!

Best of all, the materials are either repurposed or things I’ve had for more than a year. When I have owned craft supplies for a year or more, I reduce my valuation of them to $0 to account for storage costs. Thus, this project cost me nothing! Yay!

Review of the Kindle Paperwhite

I received a Kindle Paperwhite as a gift about a month ago, and it has changed my life! Yes, that’s a dramatic statement, but it’s true. I love my Kindle. The screen is incredibly comfortable to read in any light – far more comfortable than my computer screen. In fact, I push everything over about 500 words to my Kindle for reading. With the Kindle, the only headaches I get are from staying in one position for too long – no eyestrain headaches anymore.

The screen is amazing: I have read in full sun with the light shining directly on the screen, and it is as crisp and clear as it is indoors. It’s also comfortable to read in the dark, unlike a regular computer screen.

The kindle’s portability is also a big plus: it fits neatly into my purse, so I can take it anywhere. Let me tell you, it is awesome to have something to do on mountain tops once I’ve finished helping Dad. Because the Kindle can hold a variety of reading materials as well as some nice games, I never get bored. A big step up from bringing a bag full of physical books and getting bored half-way through.

The battery life is also very good. Because I use it far more than an hour every day, it doesn’t last anywhere near two weeks, which is the estimate Kindle offers. I use it as much as six to eight hours a day, depending on the day, and it lasts about two days per charge with that kind of use.  But that’s okay: I just plug it in before I go to bed every night.

Now that I’ve sung the Kindle’s praises, time for a few drawbacks:

  • Tapping the screen to advance is alright, but it can cause muscle pain if you don’t switch it up often. One tiny physical button to advance would be awesome.
  • Holding the Kindle in a reading position can also cause muscle pain after a while, especially if holding it up enough to avoid neck pain from stooping/bending. I’ve got to figure out some tool/pillow/stand to do this for me.

And on to some features I would love to see:

  • Ask before opening the browser and loading a link when reading a book/personal document. I can’t tell you how often I have accidently clicked on a hyperlink only to have to return to the book. Annoying. I love the browser, but it’s too easy to accidentally invoke it.
  • Ability to turn airplane mode on/off from ANY screen, quickly.
  • Ability to delete a document/book from any page in the document/book, instead of having to return to the list screen. Often, I read an article, and then I want to delete it. Going back to the main screen, bringing up the context menu (a real pain – 25% of the time, the document reopens before the menu appears and I have to repeat the whole process), and finally choosing delete/remove is cumbersome.  Having delete and open next would be awesome.
  • Ability to select multiple documents/books at once to be deleted or moved.
  • Ability to view only unread documents/books.
  • Better zoom for PDF files.
  • Support for ePub. If not on the device, at least support automatic conversion when emailed to device.
  • Finer font size control. Now, there’s a sudden jump from large to SUPER large.

I have the ad-supported, wifi-only version of the Kindle. Wifi-only works just fine for me. As for the ads, after changing a few settings so only a small banner is displayed in Library view, I do not find them at all obtrusive. In fact, it’s interesting to see a different book everyday. I do wish I could opt-out of non-book-related ads, though. But even so, the ads are no trouble.

In conclusion, the Kindle Paperwhite is an awesome eReader. If you are looking for a dedicated reading device, this is what you want.

P.S. Get the Amazon Kindle case for the Paperwhite: yes, it’s expensive, but it’s worth it. Beautiful, durable, fits perfectly, and allows for quick on/off.

5 things I did NOT do on my latest Windows install

I’m a big fan of Windows. For years, I have made a point of installing the latest version as soon as possible. Yes, I’ve dabbled a bit with other operating systems, but I always come back to Windows. And I’ve always made every effort to use the built-in windows tools whenever possible. Windows rocks: it’s customizable, widely used, and very intuitive.

But on my latest Windows install, here are five things I did NOT do:

1. Stayed with Windows 7 instead of upgrading to Windows 8.
I have used Windows 7 for over two years, and I love it. Before deciding not to switch to Windows 8, I researched the new OS online. Yes, there were plenty of people bashing Windows 8, but there were also plenty of people praising it. Have studied both sides of the issue, I decided to stick with Windows 7 for now. I will most likely install the Windows version after Windows 8: let them work out the kinks on someone else. I did finally install the 64-bit version of Windows 7, though.

2. Did not install Windows Media Player or Windows Media Center.
I have used WMP and WMC for years. But recently, I got fed up with their issues, especially with WMP. I got tired of my music library being corrupted every week, and I was equally tired of the freezing, lost music, screwed up playlists, and lack of good organization tools. I switched to Winamp for music playback, Media Monkey for music organization, and VLC for video and DVD playback. So long WMP & WMC. I don’t miss you.

3. Did not install Windows Gadgets.
I used Windows Sidebar in Vista, and Gadgets in Windows 7. But recently, I got fed up with the performance issues of Gadgets. Every day, the service needed to be restarted, and it was a resource hog. Plus, it wasn’t very customizable. So, with my latest Windows install, I said goodbye to Windows Gadgets and hello to Rainmeter. Rainmeter is customizable, light on resources, doesn’t freeze and crash all the time, and looks great.

4. Did not turn on Network Shares.
Once again, Network sharing has been my go-to method for sharing files across our home network. But I haven’t used the feature in well over a year. Dropbox, combined with Directory Lister Pro, allows me to easily share files in several ways. I can allow other users to have full access to a file, or I can publish an HTML page of linked files so others can download files, but not change, edit, or upload files. This is so much easier than Window’s network sharing. And it allows me to protect my media files from less tech-savvy family members while still giving them the access they want.

5. Did not install Microsoft Picture It!
I have used Microsoft Picture It! for years. But it’s time to say goodbye. I have found several nice online apps to replace the features I use the most, and for serious editing, there’s always IrfanView and Paint.NET. Clipping Magic quickly and easily removes the background from an image. Pixlr and Ribbet both offer quick image corrections, filters, and effects. And these days, finding high quality clip art is just a google search away. So, really, I have no use for Picture It! any longer.

I had hoped to replace Windows Live Writer with Word 2013 as my blogging client. Alas, Word refuses to post to my blogs for some mysterious reason. And the “help” files are no help at all. Oh well. Another time, perhaps. Until then, Live Writer remains king.

Reuse, Recycle, Repair–Making Do

I’m tired of looking like a frump, although I remain adamant in my dislike of makeup and long hair. Short hair and no makeup is the way to go.

But, I can do something about my clothes. So, I am remaking the contents of my closet instead of purchasing new clothes. Also, I’m a miser. And I like the clothes I have, for the most part. Some of them just don’t fit me well.

So here are two remakes:

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And now, the rest of my wardrobe is waiting….

Mystifying Contradictions

You know what mystifies me?

Cats apparently don’t care for the scent of citrus. Many keep-away/aversion sprays used to teach cats where they should not go contain Citrus. Ok. And then, there is citrus-scented litter, litter spray, litterbox liners, air fresheners, etc.

Isn’t that self-defeating? Why tell your cat that you DON’T want him to use the litter box, and then act surprised when he listens? Really?


And speaking of scented litter, why does anyone think this is a good idea? They smell horrible and fake, and they smell even worse when mixed with the scent of cat waste. Just clean the damn litter box more often! I mean if they smell bad to me, they must reek for a cat. Gag!

Ranty Pet Peeve

Derek Hale (Teen Wolf) is not an ex-felon!

Nothing irritates me more than seeing him described as a felon or ex-felon in fanfiction. A felon is someone who has been found guilty of committing a felony. Derek was arrested, yes. But the charges were dropped. He never had his day in court. He was not found guilty by a jury of his peers.

Therefore, he is not a felon. He is an innocent citizen with no criminal record whatsoever. (As far as we know.)

Thank you.

That is all.

(no subject)

Much to my surprise, I have finally acquired a het OTP. No, Really. Danny Messer/Lindsay Monroe from CSI:NY. Normally, I’m all about the slash, but the writers did such a good job with this pairing that I can’t imagine them with anyone else. Also, Lindsay Monroe is my new favorite female character – she is smart, clever, and totally kick-ass.

The Curse of Bridezilla

For some reason, I’ve been reading a lot of wedding horror stories recently. You know, the kind where the wedding costs as much as a house and takes months of hard work to plan. The bride turns into a monster, the groom takes an unplanned trip to Alaska (because the shuttle to the Moon was already booked), and everyone needs another six months to recover from the wedding after it’s all over.

What the Fuck is up with this? If I ever get married, I have my wedding all planned, and it looks nothing like the weddings I’m always reading about.

  • Simple ceremony (with a judge, not a minister) either at the courthouse or in the same physical location as the reception, which will most likely end up being a local church.
  • No live music, unless a friend offers. Instead, a speaker setup and a computer playlist will work just fine – if I decide to have music at all.
  • Invitations self-designed and ordered online. Self mailed to recipients. Plus online invitations.
  • My brother will make the wedding cake (probably sheet cakes with a small fancy cake for the cutting ritual).
  • Food will be a potluck. Sparkling Cider or Italian Soda. No wine. Mom will help plan this part.
  • I will make my own wedding dress (or hire a local seamstress to make it if I’m flush). Said dress will be simple and probably not white. I’ve already got the pattern picked out. Of course, I might decide to get married in one of my skirt suits instead – I have a light blue dinner suit that would be lovely.
  • Fascinator veil/headband.
  • Attendants will have a color scheme, but no required dress code.
  • Groom and groomsmen will wear nice suits in neutral colors with ties which match the color theme.
  • Simple gold wedding bands.
  • I probably would get a professional picture package, supplemented by my brother (who bakes and takes pictures).

This is what I think of when I think of a wedding. It’s remarkably similar to my mother’s: she wore a suit, her mother made her cake, and the residents of her apartment building did a potluck for her. It’s also similar to most of the other weddings that I have attended.

Nobody would be developing an ulcer over my wedding, least of all me. And there would definitely be no need to sell myself into slavery to pay for it.

Am I weird for thinking that this would be the perfect wedding? Does the $10,000 dress come with something I’m not aware of?

Maybe it’s a class thing? Or maybe I just have low expectations?

Seriously, what’s the point of having the perfect wedding if you’re too tired and miserable to enjoy it?

Movie Review: Boondock Saints II

I watched Boondock Saints II yesterday. About what I expected for the most part. Hated the new sidekick, Romeo. Actually, I liked the first movie better all around. On the other hand, I really liked the new Special Agent Bloom. She kicked ass in so many ways and was an excellent character.

What really drew my attention was the Louie/Noah love story arch. There’s honestly no other way to describe it: they have no personal space with each other in their younger years, and not just any man would put up with Noah and his compulsive need to kill. Even Louie’s betrayal of Noah makes more sense when you see him as a jealous lover. And notice that Noah doesn’t turn around and narc on Louie when he’s set up, which he totally could have done. One could even say that Louie was trying to protect Noah’s infant sons from being exposed to Noah and his need to kill. And then, Louie draws Noah back to Boston. And they die within minutes of each other, with Noah gently telling Louie that he’ll see him in a few minutes (in the afterlife) right before he pulls the trigger. It was basically a murder-suicide. The truth is, Noah could have killed Louie at any time, BUT HE DIDN’T. He didn’t even appear to judge Louie for his actions. Despite the fact that Louie was the mastermind behind it all, Noah didn’t ritually execute him with the prayer: he just shot him between the eyes, fast and painless.

Yes, it’s a dark and twisted love story with no happily ever after, but it’s a love story all the same.

Happy Fucking Holidays, says the Universe

Please accept this free gift of bad luck.

If only I could give it back.

First, my desktop abruptly stops working. It could be the power supply or the motherboard. Lovely. I’ll fix it, of course, but I barely have the money right now. Thankfully, I still have my laptop, which is working fine so far.

Next, I desperately need new glasses. When I can’t read the road signs until I’m almost past them, I know it’s time. I’ll buy the actual glasses online, but the exam for the prescription will probably end up costing me more than the glasses themselves. Sigh.

Finally, the real kicker: I’m visiting my brother in Spokane for a few days during Winter break. He recently moved into a nice new apartment complex within walking distance from his school. Too bad about the annoying roommates, but the apartment itself is very nice.

This afternoon, we headed out to do some shopping. As we approached the car, I noticed that the trunk was partially open and the rubber tie-down that normally holds it shut was lying on the ground. Well, I suppose an unlocked trunk was bound to attract rummagers eventually… at least my winter boots were still there.

And then I saw the front driver’s side door.

Yes, you guessed it. The window had been thoroughly broken. Glass everywhere, the glove box had been opened and the contents had been thrown around the car. So what did they take? A $15 GPS charging cord/stand. That’s it. They left the cup full of loose change. They left the blanket and other personal goods. They left the radio. They didn’t hotwire the car. They didn’t go joyriding.

Over $250 worth of damage just to steal a $15 power cord. That’s it!

I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Maybe both.

Perhaps they thought the stand and charger meant that the unit itself was in the glove box (as if!).  The $40 unit. Ooooh, big payoff, there. Totally worth jail time. Did your mother repeatedly drop you on your head as a child?

The truth of the matter is, they didn't even have to break the window in the first place: they could have gone in through the trunk since the latch is broken and it only takes a good kick to fold down the back seat. But no, they had to break a $250 window instead. Assholes.

And, of course, we have only basic insurance: it doesn’t cover things like this.

Do you think that if I had left the door unlocked they would have broken the window anyway? With my luck, the answer is probably “yes.”

I don't really understand why they even picked my car: I use a tie-down to keep the trunk closed (latch has been broken for years) and there's nothing of value inside to tempt anyone. Why not pick one of the 50 or so nicer looking vehicles in the lot?

Apparently, there's been a rash of these incidents in this apartment complex, and some of the residents think it's just kids vandalizing for kicks.

Well, kids, what's kicks for you is a serious hardship for me. Money is tight. Car windows are expensive. You owe me $250+, and if I knew who you were, I would squeeze you and your parents for every last fucking penny and then some.

At least you didn't slash my tires. Considering how much they cost, that's something, I suppose. Don’t get any ideas, now.

Guess how much it costs to replace a car window? About $250 with taxes and service fees.


The mind boggles.

My dad made a good suggestion, though. Why not simply replace the entire door? So I called a local junkyard (Salvage Yard Guru) and he said he could get me a door with window intact for around $50. For a reasonable fee, he’ll even swap the doors for me and keep the old door. So, for around $100, my problem is solved. I don’t care if the color doesn’t match or if I’ll have to unlock the car from the passenger side from now on. To save $150, it’s worth it. After all, that’s my grocery money we’re talking about. A girl’s got to eat.

Seriously, Universe. What the fuck did I ever do to you?

Writer's Block: American Censorship Day!
Absolutely not. 
Today, Congress holds hearings on the first American Internet censorship system. This bill can pass. If it does the Internet and free speech will never be the same. [Learn more here.] Do you support this bill?

New Fandom

So, I have a new fandom. Terra Nova.

The premise is clever, the characters are interesting, and it’s chock-full of my favorite thing: world building. Love that stuff.

Sadly, my current favorite pairing has not a single piece of fanfiction written for it. Not a single piece.

How do people not see the perfection that is Jim/Elizabeth/Malcolm? Yes, yes, I know that the PTB are trying to set up a love triangle, but I just don’t see it. Maybe because I hate love triangles. But a threesome – it’s perfect. Look at how both Jim and Elizabeth flirt with Malcolm. How Malcolm flirts right back and basically bows to their every whim like a man in love. The PTB are all like: Jim hates Malcolm for trying to steal his wife. But for a man who is supposedly filled with hate, Jim is pretty fond and tolerant of the man. Clearly, they are still finding their way, because, yes, there is some conflict. But it’s not the “want-to-stab-you-in-the-back” interaction that the PTB claim. It’s more like “where-do-we-all-fit?”

I need slash.

What I’m Watching… Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

So, I just rewatched Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. I loved Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey, of course. Russell Crowe = yum yum! The Jack/Stephen subtext was more textual than sub-textual. Great acting with lots of emotion and passion.

But what I liked most about this movie was the close attention to detail and the effort put into portraying the life of a sailor in a realistic manner.

The Age of Sail has so often been romanticized in both writing and movies that it is no surprise that most of us don’t realize just how awful it could be. This movie showed it to us utterly stripped of its romanticism. Some of the things I realized:

  • Ship life was generally disgusting, especially by modern standards.
  • It probably reeked to high heavens. Not only was the socially expected level of cleanliness low by our standards, but level of cleanliness that could be practically achieved onboard was even lower than the societal standards of the time.
  • Any ship was probably a hotbed of disease.
  • There was no true privacy for anyone, not even the Captain himself. He may have had the illusion of privacy, but it was only an illusion. Slashers, forget about secret affairs – a secret like that would have been impossible to keep on board a ship. At the most, everyone would have known about it, but looked the other way and kept their mouths shut.
  • It was cramped. Forget about elegant cabins with grand beds – there was no room and the idea of an actual bed at sea was ridiculous and impractical. Even the captain slept in a hammock. Romance books have been lying to us since the beginning.
  • For most of the crew, life was perilous and unpleasant. Even the officers weren’t living anywhere near the proverbial lap of luxury.
  • Food was awful, no matter what your rank or position. Another thing that romance books have been lying to us about.
  • A surprising number of children held positions of relative power.
  • It took a lot of people to actually run the ship, and most of them were completely necessary. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl lied to us. Remember that scene where Will and Jack Sparrow steal a ship, just the two of them? Realistically impossible. Just taking in or letting out the sails would have required several men.
  • Life aboard a battleship was nasty, brutish, and short.
  • I won’t be signing up to be an Age of Sail sailor anytime soon. In fact, you couldn’t pay me enough.

In summary, movies and romance books are lying liars that lie.

Truthfully, this movie has helped me to appreciate other ship-related literature, giving me a more realistic mental image of shipboard life during the Age of Sail.

Musings & a Plot Bunny

I just finished rewatching two of my favorite disaster movies, 10.5 & 10.5 Apocalypse. Now, when you’re a disaster and apocalypse movie fan, you really can’t have high expectations, because no movies are going to be 100% believable. So, I just ignore the fact that the science (and the way people think about and do science) in these movies is ridiculous. I’ve actually seen much worse, and at least these movies make a reasonable effort towards internal consistency. But when it comes to the characters themselves, these two movies do a pretty good job. The actors create an emotional connection with the audience, which is less common then you might think in these types of movies. There is action and explosions and rescue efforts and societal upheaval. Fun, fun, fun.

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EAD–Harry Potter / Highlander Crossover: By The Sword Snippets (PG13)

In honor of Evil Author Day, I’m posting some of my WIPs and not-quite-abandoned drafts. Yes, I know Evil Author Day was actually yesterday, but I missed it. So I’m doing it today instead.

Harry Potter / Highlander Crossover: By The Sword Snippets (PG13)


Whether or not these snippets make it into the final version of By The Sword, I hope you will enjoy this sneak peek.

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EAD – The Mummy (Movies)/The Sentinel Crossover Fusion: Medjai Watchman (PG)

In honor of Evil Author Day, I’m posting some of my WIPs and not-quite-abandoned drafts. Yes, I know Evil Author Day was actually yesterday, but I missed it. So I’m doing it today instead.

The Mummy (Movies)/The Sentinel Crossover Fusion: Medjai Watchman (PG)

Ardeth/Jonathon (pre-slash); Rick/Evvy

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EAD – The Mummy (Movies): Kidnapped! (PG13)

In honor of Evil Author Day, I’m posting some of my WIPs and not-quite-abandoned drafts. Yes, I know Evil Author Day was actually yesterday, but I missed it. So I’m doing it today instead.

The Mummy (Movies): Kidnapped! (PG13)

Violence, Torture descriptions

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EAD – Starwars: Arranged Marriage (PG13)

In honor of Evil Author Day, I’m posting some of my WIPs and not-quite-abandoned drafts. Yes, I know Evil Author Day was actually yesterday, but I missed it. So I’m doing it today instead.

Starwars: Arranged Marriage (PG13)

Han/Luke (pre-slash/lite slash); Owen/Beru

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EAD – Star Trek (Reboot) AU: Space Traders (PG)

In honor of Evil Author Day, I’m posting some of my WIPs and not-quite-abandoned drafts. Yes, I know Evil Author Day was actually yesterday, but I missed it. So I’m doing it today instead.

Star Trek (Reboot) AU: Space Traders (PG)

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EAD – Gamer (Movie): Humanz (PG13)

In honor of Evil Author Day, I’m posting some of my WIPs and not-quite-abandoned drafts. Yes, I know Evil Author Day was actually yesterday, but I missed it. So I’m doing it today instead.

Gamer (Movie): Humanz (PG13)

Gen; descriptions of violence & gore as in canon

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EAD– SWAT Kats/Stargate Atlantis Crossover Fusion: Heat (PG13)

In honor of Evil Author Day, I’m posting some of my WIPs and not-quite-abandoned drafts. Yes, I know Evil Author Day was actually yesterday, but I missed it. So I’m doing it today instead.

SWAT Kats/Stargate Atlantis Crossover Fusion: Heat

John/Rodney pre-slash; combat violence

Heat (PG13)Collapse )

EAD – Indiana Jones (Crystal Skull) AU: Shadow-walker (PG)

In honor of Evil Author Day, I’m posting some of my WIPs and not-quite-abandoned drafts. Yes, I know Evil Author Day was actually yesterday, but I missed it. So I’m doing it today instead.

First up:

Indiana Jones & the Crystal Skull AU: Shadow-walker

Indiana/Marion, Mutt/OMC (pre-slash)

Shadow-walker (PG)Collapse )

Countertop Height Cutting Table & Workbench

I have been wanting a decent cutting table for some time. The table I had been using was a flimsy 4 foot cardboard and aluminum foldaway table and it was too narrow, too short, too low, and altogether more trouble than it was worth. But custom cutting tables like this one cost $150+ ! Ouch! Way over budget for me. So I improvised.


  • This 5’ long center-fold table from Wal-Mart – Cost: $35.98 + $6.97 S&H = $42.95
  • 52” of 1.25” Diameter Thick Wall PVC Pipe, cut into 4 13” lengths – Cost: $2.93
  • 4 1.25” PVC Slip Caps – Cost: $3.16

Total Project Cost: $49.04 + Taxes


This is the widest table of its kind that I could find; at 29.6” wide, it has plenty of room for laying out fabric and pinning patterns. The table started out with a height of 29”, perfect for sitting at. But I wanted my table to be 37” tall, perfect for standing at. So I needed to add 8” of height.

From the bottom of the table leg until the leg starts to curve inward is about 5”; 8 + 5 = 13, so my leg extenders needed to be 13” long. Woods Ace Hardware was happy to cut the pipe for me, so all I had to do was put a slip cap on one end of each 13” pipe.

Once the slip caps were on the pipes, I lifted the table legs and slid them into the open ends of the pipes. And now the table was 37” tall, perfect for pinning and cutting fabric.

So far, this has been a very sturdy arrangement: the table does not wobble, the pipe extenders do not bend, and the slip caps slide smoothly over the carpet with a firm push. When I’m not using the table, it’s a simple matter to remove the extenders and fold it up to be stored in the closet or under my bed. Additionally, while the table is heavy, it’s still light and compact enough that moving it around the house and up and down the stairs is easy. Perfect. And for 1/3 or less of the cost of a custom cutting table!

And here is the finished table (I placed the chair underneath it to show the scale):

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Closet Remodel Using PVC Pipe



When I realized that my clothes spent more time in baskets and piled on the floor than they did in my actual closet, I decided it was time for a remodel. But it would have to be an inexpensive remodel, because money is tight right now. So I sat down and made a list of the issues I wanted to fix:

  • lack of space – closet was cramped and clothes were difficult to reach and arrange.
  • poor lighting – it was difficult to see the clothes in the back corners.
  • floor corners were difficult to see and reach, leading to a habit of simply tossing misc stuff on the floor back there.
  • top shelf collected clutter and dust, looked bad.

Looking at the picture on the left, I’m sure you can see the main problem right away: the dresser. It’s stealing most of the closet space and making those deep, dark corners.

After some consideration, I decided that I wanted double rails like I had seen in many closets online, but for that to happen, the shelf at the top of the closet had to go. Additionally, the metal closet rod tended to sag towards one end, which was just annoying.

In the end, I determined that I would need some sort of railing, some way to hold it up, a light of some sort, screws, cord guides/staples, and – of course – tools.


  • 10’ of 1” diameter Thick-wall PVC pipe (cut into 2 lengths, 6’ & 4’) – Cost: $3.79
  • 4 1” PVC End Caps – Cost: 4 x $0.69 = $2.76
  • 5 Shelf & Rod Brackets – Cost: 5 x $2.79 = $13.95
  • 5 1.5” Screws – Cost: 5 x $0.10 = $0.50
  • 5 1” Screws – Cost: On Hand
  • 5 8” Cable Ties – Cost: 5 x $0.07 = $0.35
  • 1 3’ Extension Cord – Cost: $7.99
  • 1 Under-cabinet fluorescent light – Cost: $9.89
  • 1 Cord Switch – Cost: On Hand
  • Cord Guides/Staples – Cost: On Hand



I was able to pick up all my supplies right here in town at the various hardware stores.
The PVC pipe was much less expensive than buying custom closet rods and it worked just fine as the closet rods. I put in an extra bracket to support the top rail and prevent sagging in the middle. Plus, Woods Ace Hardware was happy to cut the pipe to the right lengths for me. The end caps gave the rods a finished look and eliminated rough edges which might catch on my clothes.

The 8” cable ties worked perfectly to hold the PVC pipe into the rod supports (which are open on the top), allowing me to hang heavy clothes on one end without worrying about the rod jumping out of the supports.

I hung the under-cabinet light above the door on the inside of the closet, but the cord ended up being too short, so I had to buy a 3’ extension cord in order to reach the outlet. Since the light switch for the light is on the case and therefore out of my reach, I installed a cord switch near the end of the cord and mounted it on the wall just inside the closet door. Now I won’t need a ladder to turn the light on and off.

Finally, I hung up my clothes.  Lots of room, organized, no dark corners, and no shelf to collect clutter and dust. Yay! I love it so far, and I’m washing the rest of my laundry right now so I can finally put it away where it belongs.





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