Really, Jeff? Really?!

First, let me say thank you to Amazon for allowing a lowly, self-published children’s book author to have a safe and welcoming space through which to sell my books.  I’m thrilled to say that I’ve sold a few and given away a truckload!  I’m also proud of the 30+ reviews I’ve gotten from satisfied readers including parents, grandparents and educators.  After all, the books do have a message of kindness, friendship and being good human “beans.”  [A silly euphemism for “beings” to add a bit of levity. You will see why soon]

Despite the praise offered above, I have to say that your e-mail of August 3rd was super harsh, dude.  Here is one excerpt to refresh your memory:

We understand that you may have manipulated product reviews. Authors on are not allowed to manipulate ratings, feedback, or reviews.

Really? Being dishonest and crooked is not allowed? Thank you for the tip because I was certain this was acceptable behavior. Shows you what I know.

But I digress.

Since I’m barely capable of updating my author page, I found this accusation quite amusing. How does one accomplish this so-called manipulation?  I would assume tech skills are required and this Amazon seller is seriously considering getting one of those Cricket cell phones because the smart versions are just too damn intimidating. Besides,  I need bigger, Playskool-like keys so I can see the numbers better.  Get the picture?

As I read further, my shock and dismay became more and more profound.  Get a load of these little nuggets of what-the-fuck:

Violations of our policies may also violate state and federal laws, including the Federal Trade Commission Act. Amazon tries to maintain customer trust and provide the best possible shopping experience. For this reason, Amazon investigates if it learns that sellers, vendors, or others have attempted to manipulate reviews. It also investigates if it learns that third parties have offered reviews in exchange for compensation.

Breaking federal FTC laws?? Seriously, Jeff, I have 37 total reviews.  Logic would dictate that if I actually knew how to rig the system, I’d go for broke and crank that Richter scale up to at least a 6.9. You know,  all Loma Prieta like.

Perhaps you’ve been hacked by the Russians? Or the Trump campaign? I hear he’s all hot to trot to wrap you around that greasy axle known as the IRS for avoiding taxes by getting all cozy with Luxembourg, so there could be a conspiracy afoot here. You might want to have your tech peeps look into that.

Be that as it may, I believe you owe me (and perhaps others?) an apology.  Nothing too elaborate. “I’m sorry that you were wrongly accused and I hope the FTC doesn’t fine you a billion dollars” will suffice.


Jules Howe

Dumb Bunny and The Big, Big Void

Today, I am Dumb Bunny.  Which is better than yesterday when I was Angry Bunny…probably because I slathered on my hormone cream later than usual. Bad idea.

I know I’m going to get a lesson (again) on how to successfully upload an image to my blog page that also posts to my Facebook grrr I hate you Facebook  page. I vowed to always have a featured image for some insane I-think-people-might-be-entertained-by-it reason. I have no idea idea if anyone is entertained or not. It’s just a thing I do. Like drinking milk directly from the carton.  (note to visitors who aren’t lactose intolerant and may choose to pour themselves a tall one from my ‘fridge)

I know there’s something I have to push or click or activate while standing on my head reciting The Declaration of Independence, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what in the Sam Hill it is.  This is not surprising. I haven’t actually visited my own blog since before the name Trump was seared into our nation’s collective psyche with a red hot poker. That’s a long, long time ago so it’s no wonder I don’t recognize the place.

But it IS my place for crying’ out loud and things should not change.  Ever.  I don’t need no stinkin’ upgrades!  No cockamamie optimization bells and whistles!  Just give me a stone table and a fucking chisel and I’ll be right as rain!

Why do I suddenly feel an affinity to whoever wrote Who Moved My Cheese?

So, to the 10s of people who read my blog, I will say I’m sorry….my bad….lo siento…as you come face to face with….nothing. [big sigh]

Yet another cruel testament to my digital inadequacy.

[In an uncharacteristic burst of misguided enthusiasm, writer becomes determined to find the best goddamn cat video ever created and….wait for it!!!  PASTE it into her next blog post as a featured video!! If there is such a thing as a featured video.]








Yes, You’re Old And We’re Going To Prove It!

I try not to think about how old I am. The thought of aging just pisses me off. But sometimes, it’s thrown in my face like a shaving cream pie of reality.

I made a plane reservation the other day. I don’t remember where I was going.  I just remember putting in my birthday:  month, day, no prob.  Then…year.  I was right-hooked upside the melon as only a drop-down menu of dates can deliver. I paged down and down and down some more as my sinking heart begged for mercy. Jesus Christ on a cracker. Really?  Who thought of this soul-crushing process disguised as convenience? Why not just give me the fucking blank space so I can type in my four benign little numbers that remind me of nothing?  Would that be so hard?  Instead, I have to see the seemingly endless parade of decades that have passed before. To you geniuses, I say this…

Dear Soul-Crushing ,Tech-Nerds,

Take a clue from the kind folks who eradicated the term “bifocals” with a vaccine called “progressives”.  There is no Age Related Stigma attached to glasses called progressives.  See the marketing genius there?  I want to kiss those guys. I want to have their babies if only I still had a uterus. But you? You’re cruel and insensitive. One day, you, too, will be making a plane reservation on-line. And it will hit you as it hit me.  And you will regret the folly of your youth. The callous disregard for the self-esteem of others. Your day will come, tech-nerds Oh, yes. Your day will come. 

Namaste, assholes.



Twitter Me Stupid

Not to be confused with “Twitter me, stupid!”

I don’t know if you can Twitter somebody but if you can, it sounds like something I might like. Maybe I’ll invent my very own form of sexual pleasure called twittering and tweet it (?) like this:  #ThingsAnaisNinWouldProbablyLoveToKnowIfSheWereStillAlive

(For some reason…I felt compelled to put a .com at the end of that hash-tagged-whatever, the same way I want to say Amen at the end of The Pledge of Allegiance.)

I don’t know where all those pound sign creations end up but it must be in some kind of Bermuda Triangle For Hashtags. Someday they’ll all be found alongside an aircraft carrier and their bewildered, ageless crew asking “What the Sam Hill are all these pound signs doing hanging off the sides of our beloved USS Cyclops and what the hell do you mean Woodrow Wilson ain’t president no more?”

But what I really want to know is this:  will that hashtag I just created automatically go to The Hashtag Triangle  just because I typed it and posted this blog? Or do I have to pass GO on my Twitter account that I don’t know how to sign into and collect $200, first?

If you know, please send me a “@” with a “#” followed by a smoke signal, a few Morse code clicks and maybe a voice message on that tin can and string device you probably have in your box of childhood memories.

But only if you’re staring down the business end of the mid-life shotgun.



They Say I’m Long Winded

WindMaybe it’s genetic. I have no idea.  Should I be more self aware of this?  Probably. Fact is, Google has officially called me out on it.  It’s slightly creepy when a non-human entity points out a human characteristic. Okay, so it’s not a human characteristic that’s considered attractive but still, it’s unsettling. I laughed out loud but it was one of those laughs that was part ha-ha, part I-don’t-know-what-else-to-do-because-I’m-uncomfortable kind of laughs.

Here’s Google’s response to one of my blog post titles:

Warning: Title display in Google is limited to a fixed width, yours is too long.

I’m giving the shitty sentence structure a pass.  Namely, because I’m completely fascinated by how this non-human “voice” manages to sound so beautifully, snarkily human.

I’m wondering which Google team member insisted on taking off “dumb shit” at the end of that warning?

Just to be clear, I know “snarkily” is not a word.  I’m sure Google will somehow find a way to point that out.

P.S  Rudimentary, art-house doodle is a self-portrait. And yeah, that’s sorta the color of my hair right now.



We’re Getting Frog Ether

FrogDamn you, auto correct!

I’m starting to keep a running record of all the crazy shit that’s written on my behalf by that absurd algorithm, or whatever the hell you call it.   For the love of Pete, I don’t even know what an algorithm is!  But it sounded like a word that fit.  So there.

Algorithm. Yep. It fits.

I scurried off to so I could look up the definition, lest I sound like a complete idiot. There were numerous descriptions. Here’s the one that fit the best:

A finite set of unambiguous instructions performed in a prescribed sequence to achieve a goal, especially a mathematical rule or procedure used to compute a desired result. Algorithms are the basis for most computer programming.

 Hmmm…  “used to compute a desired result.”

Frog ether was not the desired result of my text.  Which leads me to this…..

How can there can be an auto correct of specific words, but not an auto  correct that auto corrects all the shit sentences auto correct creates from correctly spelled words that should never be put next to each other?  Yeah, I know. That’s a ridiculously long sentence, but I’m totally serious about this auto-sentence-correcting thing-y. Does it exist?

It should. Because I’d love it if that frog text got corrected to what I was really trying to say.

“Wire friending broth erthy”

Sheesh!  What does a girl have to do to get a little clarity around here?


Dear John August – [not a break-up letter]

I’m a fledgling technology consumer.

According to Merriam-Webster, fledgling can either mean a young bird who has just fledged (what?) or a person or organization that is immature, inexperienced, or underdeveloped.

I’m neither immature nor an organization but I am definitely inexperienced and underdeveloped when it comes to things referred to as devices and all the shit you have to learn to operate them.

Don’t get me wrong. I loves me my devices, y’all. I just don’t know how to make them work at their full potential and beating them on rocks to bring about aforementioned potential just doesn’t work. Trust me on this.

Despite the fact that my self-esteem has been put through a virtual wood-chipper for being completely un-trainable, I put on a happy face and just keep on truckin’.  What’s my choice?

So imagine my sheer bliss when I discovered –  on my own, mind you – how to convert a pdf script back into Final Draft format. This was after fretting for days and days that I’d have to type an accidentally-deleted-because-I’m-an-idiot version of a script word for word from a pdf file.

I had put out one last call for help. One puny, fading sonar beep of a plea.

“Help me Google-wan-Kenobi! You’re my only hope!”

And Google brought forth a screenwriter angel. And he was called John August.

And he carried with him a mighty tool. And that tool bore the name….Highland

And Highland was my redeemer. It restoreth my soul and my tattered self-esteem.

Highland! Highland!  I shall trumpet your wonders throughout the kingdoms of cyber-space, bear witness through the power of my own voice and ……

Okay, okay!  I’ll cut the biblical melodrama but I’m here to tell you, this Highland App is fucking MA-JIK. Convert your pdfs back into Final Draft files in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.  You  don’t even need opposable thumbs to do it!  Just a coupla pointer fingers and you’re good to go. It’s that simple.

One last little discovery I just have to share! I ran across the most fascinating circular contraption. It’s sometimes made of rubber, sometimes metal and it facilitates movement.  It’s called the wheel.



Confessions Of A Magpie: Part 2

MagpieAs I was getting undressed on my way to the security line at LAX the other day, I took notice of something.  Maybe my magpie-ness was taking a down-for-maintenance hiatus like the ObamaCare Web-site. Or it could have been the sound of a woman colliding with a Sees Candy kiosk while sending a text.  It was amazing how many people thought nuts and chews were fair game just because they landed on an airport terminal floor.  Jesus, people! Get your priorities straight!  Didn’t you notice the cans of Toffe-ette rolling toward the escalator?

But I digress as magpies often do.  What I noticed wasn’t the sugar-junkies scrambling for the candy but rather the ones who were filming it.  I had no inclination to film the carnage namely due to the fact that I don’t know how to do it on my “device” formerly known as a cell phone.  I could probably figure it out if I took a few minutes to learn but I have no desire to learn new things.  Besides, I had taken my undressing a little too far and had to put my shirt back on before the device-o-philes got bored with the candy looters and turned their attention my way.

What I’m taking too long to say is this: We have all become magpies. Some, like me, are what I’ll call low-tech magpies. Those limited to the shiny objects that pop up on their HuffPost News feeds…like that picture of Kim Kardashian’s post-baby ass tweet.  And then there are those who transcend even the obvious moniker of hi-tech magpie.  It goes beyond that. They’re the ones who actually provide the content that filters down to the low-rung magpies like me.

I’m undecided if I envy them or fear them.

I suppose that depends on whether my airport strip-tease ended up on YouTube or not.



“Sorry! I Meant That For My Bookie”

I’m not big on texting.  It’s my least favorite form of communication.  I do my best to use it only for quickie notifications and the occasional confirmation of something like… “on my way” or “meet me in elevator in 5 [wink]”.  Maybe it’s because I fear we’re becoming a society of weirdly reclusive souls who, although more connected than ever, don’t have to  change out of their jammies or leave the house to feel a part of the global conversation. There is something oddly macabre about that.  Like I’m witnessing a paradigm shift in the evolution of humanity.  Think about it….we were once writhing, squishy, amoebas that somehow found the wherewithal to band together, grow legs and brains and become the bipedal wonders we are today [unless you’re one of the folks who started the Creation Museum and believe a god-like deity placed us here as fully formed humans who had dinosaurs as pets]. Who’s to say we’re not slowly morphing into fleshy little machines with one pointy digit for pecking and a language made up of clicks and beeps that have only one letter sounds?

Rise up, people!  Rise up and resist this stealthy metamorphosis!!


Back to the subject at hand which is gambling….I mean texting.

Call me crazy, but I still want to hear the sound of voices and see other humans face to face once in a while.  It motivates me to shower and get botox and get my nails done, not to mention fundamentally avoiding confusion.  For me, texting is a recipe for I’ll call a What-The-Fuck? Situation. Or in text speak: a WTF Sitch.

To illustrate:

I have a friend who is an avid text-er.  For her, it’s efficient since she is also a profuse multi-tasker.  Holding the iPhone and texting allows her to communicate while flitting from room to room with a rag attached to her feet that polishes the hardwood floor and in turn  allows simultaneous operation of her hands-free make-up applicator that she activates by blowing into a tube.

Yesterday, we were having a text conversation about the apocalyptic meltdown of her e-mail system, the dinner menu of an upcoming birthday party and the shocking changes to global weather patterns and this pops up:

“Okay, I’ll take both for 500”

“What?  I thought we were talking about lobster bisque and the jet stream!?” I replied.

“Sorry! I meant that for my bookie”

I rest my case.



Bowin in a wiiiinnn…just a taaay in a wiiiinnn….

Yeah, okay, I’m blatantly sharking from Jodie Foster’s performance in Nell but that’s what I feel like when one my electronic devices makes yet another sound I can’t figure out. It’s making my head spin and I’m seeing little blue birdies flying around. [not really. I was just messin’ around with PhotoBooth – one of the few things I’ve learned to use with relative proficiency]

Anyway, back to the issue at hand.  Since device A is trying to communicate with me, I’m going to try and do the same.


[ME to device A]   “Uh….are you telling me about a tree blowing in the wind?  Is that it?  ”

[device A]  two short clicks and a long bell.

[ME to device A]  “Okay, one more time. I didn’t get that. It sounded like chicka-chicka paaaay. Is that…what is that?? I need to “check” something? Or get paaaaaid for something?”

No response. Damn. Device A has shut down. Perhaps I frightened it with my aggressive approach. Where the hell’s Liam Neeson when I need him?

I guess I’ll just have to figure this out for myself. Maybe search for one of those little red dots by the thing that looks like a postage stamp. Thank the gods the symbol looks the same on every device. There could be a clue there. And I can’t forget the Google mail  and that Twitter thing.

Wait a minute…Twitter…blue birdies flying around my head. The Twitter logo is a blue bird, right?

Maybe I’m on to something!