Yahoo, I’m Getting Tired of This

Well, I think it’s time to change to Gmail. Yahoo was being especially difficult today. I was searching for several emails, and it became very clear that Yahoo Mail wasn’t cooperating. It was coming up with absolutely no search results for anything. This was just the last straw.

Back in 2004, someone invited me to Gmail, and I started using it. I used it until sometime in 2006, but never really got into it. And I don’t know why. I guess my Yahoo address was far more established, and I had no problems with it then. I eventually completely lost my Gmail address. But I liked how Gmail was set up.

Well, no more. I’m setting up a Gmail address and will start transitioning over to using that for all of my important accounts and business. Yahoo will continue to be used for subscriptions and accounts where I don’t really need to see the emails. I’ll also use it as a backup.

So, hello Gmail!

Authors Answer 100 – Taught By an Author

One hundred! This is the one hundredth Authors Answer. One hundred weeks of questions and answers! Some of us have been doing this for all one hundred weeks, and some of us are newer. But this is a big number to achieve. I had no idea it would go this long. So, for this week’s question, we thought about who can teach us to write better. Which author would we love to be our teacher?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 100 – If you could take a writing class taught by any author, who would it be?

Cyrus Keith

Louis L’Amour. His descriptions were so brilliant, and he was so prolific a writer, if I could bottle just a little of what he had, I’d be better off.

C E Aylett

Probably Tracy Chevalier. Or Stephen Donaldson. But for vastly different techniques and styles. Mmm, if it came to a toss up..? Can we not have a made-up perfect mutant author instead? Pretty please?

Beth Aman

Can they be a dead author?  Then definitely C.S. Lewis.  I think he would be delightful and funny and down-to-earth.  I love the voice in his writing, so I’d love to get to meet him.  If it can’t be a dead author, then maybe Ally Carter, because I’ve met her and she’s wonderful.  Also she’s funny and writes hilarious but also amazing books.

Linda G. Hill

Stephen King!!! Without a doubt. He’s my sempai.

H. Anthe Davis

I would attend a class by Robin Hobb, just to learn more about how she makes normal day-to-day events in characters’ lives so engaging.  I know it’s not something everyone likes, but I always find myself fascinated by the simple details of characters’ work and personal interactions before the main story kicks in.  I’m very much an action-oriented writer, though I have done a bit of ‘rural downtime’, I suppose you could call it.  I just feel like I could do it better, and I think it would be valuable to learn from her.

Jean Davis

If George RR Martin had the time, which is a hilarious thought with all he has going on, I would love to hear what he has to say about writing fiction.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Honestly, I’m not quite sure how to answer this question because, even though there are authors I love and admire, they all also have quirks and traits that I wouldn’t want to learn. Do you know what I mean? For instance, I love George R.R. Martin, but his penchant for telling every moment of a character’s backstory only to kill them off…yeah, I don’t want any of that.

If I had to choose one, I suppose I’d probably choose Stephen King, simply because he comes up with some grotesque stories, and I love that kind of thing.

Gregory S. Close

Tad Williams.

Eric Wood

I would want to take one by Markus Zusak. I love his writing style. Also, Sheree Fitch has become one of my favorite children’s authors over the last year. If you haven’t read “Monkeys in My Kitchen” I highly recommend it!

Elizabeth Rhodes

I would love a writing class taught by Asimov. I’ve always been a fan of his style but don’t have the language to describe it properly. Bonus points if it includes a lesson on writing robots.

D. T. Nova

Cassandra Clare. Her writing includes excellent examples of many of the things that I most want to improve at, and she writes for roughly the same demographic I hope to reach.

Paul B. Spence

Kipling.

Jay Dee Archer

As someone who loves worldbuilding, I’d want an author who has done some amazing worldbuilding to teach me. I haven’t read Brandon Sanderson, so I can’t say him yet. However, I’d love to hear about how Steven Erikson co-created Malazan. With his detailed world, he also includes many different cultures and a long history. I’d enjoy learning how he created them.

How about you?

If you could choose any author to be your writing teacher, who would you choose? Let us know in the comments below.

Planetarium Software

I found some really good free planetarium software. It’s called Stellarium. Today, I was able to use this software, but I’m going to download it and use it at home.

You see, I’m going to be using this software at work extensively. This should give you an idea about what I’m going to be doing. When I said I’ll be using my university degree in my job, I meant it. I’ll be educating people on astronomy and physics. But that’s not all. There’s something else I’m not telling you, and I think that will remain a secret for now. Sorry!

What I’ve been able to do with this software is look at stars, nebulae, galaxies, planets, and the Moon. I’ve looked at the movement of Jupiter’s moons over time, watched the Moon’s phases, and examine the night sky around 100,000 years in the past and future. There’s a lot more I can do, and I’ll explore it as much as I can before I start using it at work.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m finally using my university degree in a job! Do you use your degree in your job?

The Benefit of Making YouTube Videos

I’ve come to realise something about making daily YouTube videos. I’ve been speaking in front of a camera, and looking at my earliest videos, then my more recent ones, I see an improvement in my ability to speak. I’m becoming a better speaker. I’m feeling more comfortable speaking in front of a camera. And I think this will carry over to something very important.

You see, my job will involve me speaking in front of audiences, making science presentations and demonstrations. I need to be able to speak well, and in a friendly manner. The more I speak, the better I get. Thankfully, I’ll be talking about something I know well.

It’s funny, thinking back to when I was in school, I never would have imagined that nearly all of my jobs involve a lot of speaking. When I worked in the call centre, I had to speak a lot. Then I taught English in Japan, a job that required me to speak in front of groups. And now, I’m going to be speaking in front of larger groups mostly about physics and astronomy.

As I do more videos, I will improve. My videos will get better. And as I speak more in my job, my presentations will get better.

I surprised myself on Monday. I used to always just sit there and listen to most people talking. However, I tended to take the lead in some ways in conversations during my training. I wasn’t worried about talking in front of fifteen people. My manager even mentioned that I am the astronomy expert out of my group of trainees, so I’m the one to go to if there are any questions. This is definitely going to be interesting. This is the first time I’ve gone into a job where my degree is allowing me to be the “expert.”

Let’s see where this goes. This job may be one of my biggest opportunities for the future! And I have to thank YouTube videos for helping me improve my speaking and confidence.