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Gluten Free Writer May 16, 2016

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Gluten-free, Healthy writer, happy writer, this-is-why-we-can't-have-nice-things.
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I don’t talk a lot about medical things. If you’ve seen my baking posts, you know I do a lot with gluten free baking. That’s because I am medically gluten free. I don’t have celiac — I have had the genetic tests, and I don’t have the markers. But when I eat anything with gluten (which means anything which contains or has been contaminated by wheat, barley, or rye), I get sick. The official diagnosis was Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance. It’s an auto-immune condition, and it’s not very well understood.

Now, this is the point where I get to tell people that no, I’m not looking for Doctor Google or any macrobiotic diet tips. I’m not looking for the current research — I keep up on that. And I’m not looking for people to tell me that it’s all in my head. My gastroenterologist and I have this under control

Last night, I had the fun of participating in a dinner hosted by the group putting out the Nima sensor. This is a nifty little device that uses spectrographic analysis to test your food at the table and see if it contains a safe level of gluten. For anyone who is medically GF, eating out is like playing Russian Roulette, so something like this is a tool that can be very useful, especially for people who have to travel a lot. You know, like writers. It was a little daunting — attending this dinner were the best and brightest of Central Florida bloggers on allergens and gluten free dining, and sitting right next to me was the Head of Special Diets for Walt Disney World. And then, you know, there’s me, being a little bit of a fish out of water.

Now, this device — you take the removable capsule (single use only, but they’re working on a recycling program for them). You put a smidgen of the foot you want to test into the capsule, and close it down hard. There’s a pop, which is the internal seal breaking and releasing… something. Then you put the capsule back into the machine, which is about the size of my palm. You turn it on, and it starts gurgling as it grinds up whatever you put in to prepare it for analysis. And within two minutes, you have an answer in the form of a smiley face or a frowny face. Frowny face, clearly, is BAD.

What was surprising was that this dinner was held at a restaurant that is pretty well known for the care it gives to gluten free dining. And the group hosting the dinner went in with full disclosure — we’re going to be testing EVERYTHING. So you’d think that they’d be extra careful, right?

There were positives — two of the choices of soup, and the only vegetarian entree both came back strongly contaminated! And I heard just a little while ago that several people got sick — I apparently dodged a bullet!

Needless to say, I *want* one! Especially with the travelling that I’m going to be doing over the next couple of years!



Focus? What’s that? February 12, 2015

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Best planned lays, drama, this-is-why-we-can't-have-nice-things, why-the-writing-is-slow.

So, today, my husband and I were on our way to lunch. We’re sitting at a red light, waiting for the light to change.


We were rear-ended by the car behind us, and the woman who looked old enough to be God’s grandmother. She let her foot off the brake and rolled into us.

Cops were called. Information was exchanged. Tickets were issued — to God’s Granny, who was solely at fault. Insurance was called. For a fender bender, it’s a relatively innocuous one — the damage to my car is minor enough that it doesn’t even meet my deductible! God’s Granny has already been in contact with the body shop to pay for the repairs, which will happen next week.

But focus? There’s none of that in this house tonight!!!

Serpents! Serpents! August 9, 2012

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in hypocrites-and-idiots-abound, someone-is-wrong-on-the-internet, this-is-why-we-can't-have-nice-things.
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If you’ve ever read Alice in Wonderland, you might get that reference. If you haven’t, or haven’t in a while, allow me to explain.

To quote Jefferson Airplane (back before they were a Starship), one will make you larger, and one will make you small. Sides of the mushroom, that is. And one side of the mushroom made Alice’s neck stretch so long that her head poked up through the trees and disturbed a pigeon:

`Serpent!’ screamed the Pigeon.

`I’m NOT a serpent!’ said Alice indignantly. `Let me alone!’

`Serpent, I say again!’ repeated the Pigeon, but in a more subdued tone, and added with a kind of sob, `I’ve tried every way, and nothing seems to suit them!’

`I haven’t the least idea what you’re talking about,’ said Alice.

`I’ve tried the roots of trees, and I’ve tried banks, and I’ve tried hedges,’ the Pigeon went on, without attending to her; `but those serpents! There’s no pleasing them!’

Alice was more and more puzzled, but she thought there was no use in saying anything more till the Pigeon had finished.

`As if it wasn’t trouble enough hatching the eggs,’ said the Pigeon; `but I must be on the look-out for serpents night and day! Why, I haven’t had a wink of sleep these three weeks!’

`I’m very sorry you’ve been annoyed,’ said Alice, who was beginning to see its meaning.

`And just as I’d taken the highest tree in the wood,’ continued the Pigeon, raising its voice to a shriek, `and just as I was thinking I should be free of them at last, they must needs come wriggling down from the sky! Ugh, Serpent!’ (Alice in Wonderland, chapter 5)

Okay, so why am I talking about children’s literature and/or snakes?

I’m not. Not really, anyway. I’m talking about that favorite pastime of people on the internet everywhere — jumping to conclusions based on insufficient data.

About a week or so ago, the word went out among independent and small press authors, warning about a website called Lendink.com. OMG, PIRATES!!!

Except they weren’t. I went to the site, took a look. Read the FAQ, checked out what they were about,and went “Oh. It’s a dating site for books.”  And before you ask, yes, Princes was up there.

The reason I’m not linking the site? It isn’t there any more. Because dozens of writers who did not bother to do their own research, or who did not understand how Amazon and Nook lending work, panicked. They swamped the hosting company for the website with DMCA notices, and the site was taken down.

Violet Blue talks more clearly than I can about this, in an article over on CNET.com. So I’m not really going in to what happened, or where the site came from, or who started it or why. Violet covers that nicely.

No, I’m on a bit of a rant here. Because one of my writing groups (a marketing group that I’m pretty sure is going to be my former writing group about twenty seconds after this goes live) was one of the sources of what Violet accurately calls a witch hunt.

When this broke, and people were panicking and yelling “OMG! Serpents! Pirates! Batten down the hatches and unleash the DMCA!” I pointed out that this was legal. That it was a legitimate use of Amazon and Nook lending capabilities, and it was in essence a lending library for ebooks. I wasn’t the only one pointing this out. We were ignored. We were told right off that we didn’t know what we were talking about. And one person even said that they wouldn’t want their books in a library anyway, because then no one would buy the book!

Right… that was the point when I stopped trying to make sense. I had better things to do than yell down a dry well.

When the Violet Blue article went live today, I posted it to the list. And the people who were the most vehement about how this was piracy?  Well, a couple of them are now asking what they can do to help get the site back up. And some of them… yeah…

Violet Blue has been dismissed as a shock-jock, as someone who is trying to get a rise out of people. She’s been denigrated (Little Violet? Really?), and her very accurate point that this has made indie and self-pub authors look bad is being dismissed out of hand. Even though there is a link to the Twitter thread on the subject, and the thread has been going on for days.

Look, people. I get it. Book piracy  on the internet is rampant. It costs us money. Yes, I know.

That doesn’t mean that just because it looks like a pirate, it IS. Do your research! Don’t trust that whoever is telling you that this is a pirate site know what they’re talking about!

After all, it might just be a kid who ate the wrong side of the mushroom

ETA: I just found out that the gentleman behind LendInk has been getting threatened. And so has his host company. THREATS???? For doing something that is perfectly legal? People, this is OBSCENE!

>And this is why we save things to disk! April 11, 2010

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in annoyance, mat, sources, this-is-why-we-can't-have-nice-things, writing.
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>I’m writing two different erotic stories that have Russian characters (three if you count the ongoing Man from UNCLE fanfics). So I have several Russian language websites bookmarked. One of them was a whole page of Russian mat (really, REALLY profane insults. Usually sexual in nature). You can see how this might be useful to me.

Except that the page is gone. ARGH!!! Now I have to spend valuable writing time looking for more sources of mat that aren’t written in Cyrilic!