Saturday, October 25, 2008

What We Have Here is a Failure to Bond

I drive a 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid. It's a nice car, fully loaded, leather interior. It is silver - a metallic silver that probably has some really cool marketing name, like "Sterling," but other names come to mind: Little Old Lady Gray; Staid Silver; Oh my God - Where's My Car?! Silver (named for the inevitable reaction when the owner, who has parked this thing at the mall near Christmas, suddenly realizes that ALL Honda Accords made over the last ten years or so are the same damned color). I used to be able to identify mine by the weird little XM Radio antenna bump above the rear window, but those have become more and more common - and the car color still hasn't changed. I can't tell a 2002 from a 2005 from a 2009 model.

I know I'm supposed to be impressed with the technology, the superior Honda engineering, and the great service. Okay - the service at John Eagle Honda has been great, and the engineering is good enough that the only time I see these fantastic, friendly service people is when I remember to take the car in for scheduled maintenance. They have free coffee, tea, and wi-fi in their waiting room. They give their customers free loaner cars when they make appointments for service (and that, alone, might've been a large part of what swayed me to buy). But I really thought a Hybrid should get more than 20.5 mpg, on average. Apparently not, if your daily commute, round-trip, is less than ten miles. I did get about 34 mpg right after Hurricane Katrina - driving from NW Houston to the Reliant Center at 5:30 AM on a Saturday. I set the cruise control and managed not to hit any red lights or traffic. It can be done, but it takes work, good timing, and concentration.

Never buy a car at night. Why I didn't opt for the Graphite model, I don't know. Oh, right - I had that fleeting thought that dark gray might absorb more heat, and that's a bad thing here in Houston, during the summers. Especially on leather seats. I don't even like leather much, but it came standard on the Hybrid. Not that Graphite Gray is a whole lot more exciting than Geriatric Gray, but it's less common and probably easier to find in a crowded parking lot. That'd be a plus.

When you spend $27,000 on a car, you really ought to love it - not think it's "nice" but utterly devoid of personality. My coworker, K., calls it a "failure to bond." To call someone a "nice cookie" is not much of a compliment in my family. The term is based on a rather innocuous imported cookie stamped with the word "NICE." It means they're inoffensive, bland, and rather dull. My car is a "nice cookie." An expensive "nice cookie." It's sad to think that a cheap Earl Scheib paint job might do the trick.

I took the car in for its routine maintenance this morning. There's nothing at all wrong with the car, mind you. Except that the little dashboard light that whines, "You don't love me, or you'd take me to see those nice service people at Honda. I have neeeeeeeeeds." Feed me, Seymour, feed me... I had a choice: Get the 30,000 mile service 5,000 miles early, or pick up the 15,000 mile service I missed 10,000 miles ago. I did what all neglectful parents do: I spoiled the brat. "Let's do the 30K - I assume that includes the long-overdue oil change -and take care of the State Inspection while you're at it." That's just three months overdue.

"Can't do the State Inspection. They shut down the machines last night. They're painting the floors."

"What?? I told Richard yesterday that I needed the inspection, too. Can you take it somewhere close for me?" Hey, the Pontiac guys used to take my Montana elsewhere for tires and batteries, so I didn't think that was an unreasonable request.

"No, but you can keep the loaner until Monday. We can take care of the service today, the inspection on Monday, and you can have yours back by noon."

"What are loaning me?"

"You can have another Accord, or you can have a Pilot. The Pilot's fully loaded. You want that? Leather interior, power everything..."

"Which gets better gas mileage?"

"The Accord, but it's a four-cylinder. That's why it gets fantastic gas mileage." It's all in the tone of voice, isn't it? Clearly, the guy wanted me to drive off in the souped up SUV, and I'd already told him my "failure to bond" story. It's called "upsell." Why not? It's not as if I'm going to be driving around much this weekend, burning gas left and right - and it's not as if I'm buying the Pilot. So why should I care what the average gas mileage is? I'm spending nearly $400 to bring my own car up-to-date on its medical and dental care--er, maintenance--so what's a few extra nickles and dimes on gas?

"Fine, fine, I'll take the Pilot." Service dude grinned. He just wanted me to be happy, right? Maybe convince me that a different Honda was in my future next time, rather than a return to my beloved Pontiac. He only made one little miscalculation. He pointed out a red Pilot in the service drive, but gave me the keys to a white one. I think it's white. Maybe it's light, nondescript silver. I drove it home, but I cannot even remember, now, what color it is.

My next car is going to be an economical, four-cylinder something in "Catch Me if You Can, Copper!" Red, fully loaded with personality, preferably under $20,000. Now that's cheeky.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

There Just Isn't Enough Coffee in the World to Cover This...

Try It. Keep It. Try Gevalia!! I'm already on my second cup, and the brain cells are reluctantly acknowledging the caffeine hit. It's not as if I didn't get a full night's sleep; maybe my lazy butt's just spoiled. "Please let it be Friday," my brain squeaks.

Unfortunately, it's only Thursday. There's work to be done, and procrastinating isn't going to make Saturday come any sooner.

Coffee is meant to be savored, not chugged on the run. That's why it's HOT. Ouch.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Punctuation Check-Up: The Doctor Will See You Now

Terminal Punctuation Disease


It’s a real problem. But fortunately, there’s help. No, you won’t find it in an online pharmacy, and you don’t have to cross the border. Just sit back and pay attention.

Ending, or terminal, punctuation marks always go inside quotation marks. For example:

“John said he’d do that on Tuesday,” said Mary.

The quoted line of dialogue ends in a comma, since the sentence isn’t really finished until the period after Mary. The word said is not capitalized.

“Where are you going?” asked Jane.

Jane is asking a question; therefore, you can’t substitute a comma for the quesiton mark without losing meaning. You still don’t capitalize the word asked.

“I’m going to check up on him.” Mary grabbed her keys. “I want to be sure he’s done it.”

Here, the word Mary starts a new sentence. The periods in the quoted lines of dialogue go inside the quotation marks.

Like every other rule in English, there are exceptions:

Have you ever seen a “jackalope”?
I’ve never seen a “jackalope.”

In American English (because of fairly archaic typographical conventions), a period always goes inside all quotation marks. But a question mark that is not part of the phrase or sentence inside the quotation marks rightfully belongs on the outside.

Get Your Annual Semicolon Checkup Here!


I’m not sure why the poor semicolon gets such a bad rap, and is so underused, overused, and generally abused by writers. It’s simple, really.

First, we’ll look at different ways to join two independent clauses. Independent clauses are basically phrases that could stand alone as sentences in their own right, but are so closely joined in thought that they ought to be married, or at least shacking up. For example:

Mary loved her red shoes. They made her feet look dainty.

There is nothing at all wrong with leaving these individual sentences alone, except that one completes the other, and apart, they look choppy.

Next, you decide how you want to join them:

- with a comma and a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so);

- with a semicolon by itself;

- with a semicolon, a conjunctive adverb (however, therefore, nevertheless, finally), and a comma; or,

- with a semicolon, a transitional phrase (as a result, in other words, for example, in fact), and a comma

Joining them with a comma, by itself, creates the dreaded comma splice.

“And what is so awful about that?” you ask.

A comma splice is awkward, because the reader gets halfway into the second sentence before it dawns on them that the first sentence is completed. A comma, alone, isn't designed to signal the transition from one completed thought to the next.

So, you could write either of the following:

Mary loved her red shoes, and they made her feet look dainty.
Mary loved her red shoes; they made her feet look dainty.

There are other uses for the semicolon, of course. You can use it to separate complex list items. Perhaps you have the following on your grocery list: a pat of butter; two pounds of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream; three pounds of chopped walnuts, lightly glazed; and so on. This is very useful when the list items, themselves, contain commas. Try writing the previous list, using commas instead of the semicolons, and you’ll see what I mean. Do I want two pounds of chocolate? A bottle of vanilla extract? How much strawberry ice cream? Or do I want two pounds of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream?

Semicolons do have their detractors. It’s only fair to warn you that some writers could happily live their entire lives without employing the hard-working semicolon.

Better a Colon than a Fleet Enema


Did you notice that I introduced that grocery list, above, with a colon? Slipped that in on you, didn’t I? Might as well cover the colon while we’re at it because it’s even simpler than the semicolon, and it’s quite useful at times. Think of the colon as the ambassador of punctuation, introducing the reader to a word, a phrase, a whole sentence, a quotation, or a list. For example:

Joe said he only wants three things for Christmas: world peace, a healthy baby, and a new MP3 player.

Jayne said it best: “My friends will always come first, for without them, there’s no joy in life.”

He excels in only one thing: procrastination.

Note this carefully: you must never use a colon right after a verb. If you say “My favorite TV shows are ER, C.S.I., and Little House on the Prairie,” the verb are is performing the introduction, so the semicolon would be redundant. Try saying “namely” in place of the colon. If the sentence reads fairly smoothly, then chances are, you’re using it right. If it reads as smoothly as a pig walks on stilts, try eliminating the colon or rephrasing the sentence.

Dieresis


If you read “dieresis” and thought I was going to discuss kidney ailments, just close the browser and back away slowly... If you know what a dieresis is, you’re good to go – you can take off the little paper gown and pay the receptionist on your way out.

The dieresis is a diacritical mark (two dots) placed over the second vowel in a pair of vowels to indicate that it is pronounced as a separate and distinct sound, rather than as a diphthong (two vowels blended together like sour cream and onion) or a silent vowel; for example, co├Ârdinate. This isn’t critical knowledge for the modern writer of English, and people will no doubt look at you oddly if you make a habit of using the dieresis, which looks a lot like the umlaut (for you German speakers) but serves a completely different function. It does, however, aid in pronunciation, and I think The New Yorker is right to continue using it.

There now. I'll bet your writing is feeling better already!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Excuse Me While I Scream: I Insult Them, Now They Want to Pay Me to Join the Dark Side?

The warning bell sounds in my brain, but being sleepy and caffeine-deprived, I ignore it. I hone in, instead, on words like "I wanted to know if by any chance you would be interested in doing an unbiased review of our site," and "free sample or payment." I like writing, I like eating - payment sounds good. I don't expect much (and I don't write for $0.02/word), but I figure it's worth a look.

The site deals with subject matter I can't address knowledgably and therefore can't review ethically beyond talking about the site's basic design appeal and usability. I don't think that's the kind of review they're looking for, so I decline. I leave the door open for future possibilities, and I'm gratified to receive a prompt, personal reply.

The first cup of coffee is starting to hit my brain when I realize that the sign-up page for "SEOBLOGREVIEWS," the company that approached me, is all there is. There's no way to tell who's on the receiving end. "Who are you?" I write back to "Z R" at zr200875@yahoo.com (the guy who claims to be Webmaster of the site I'd be reviewing, but who also answers for SEOBLOGREVIEWS). "Where are you based? What's your privacy policy? Do all offers come through you, or directly from advertisers?" The answer I received was vague:

Hello Holly,

We are a US based company, all the offers come directly from the company, it can be different employees contacting you, but from SEOBLOGREVIEWS only.

Wishes

And there were those warning bells, again. I searched and found someone who claims to have been paid $10 each for two posts, via PayPal. He can't say for which posts, claiming it's against SEOBLOGREVIEW's terms of service (which I have yet to read or find). My brain on full-blown suspicious mode, I wonder if he's working for this company. I decide to do a Whois search. Anyone who knows me knows that the fastest way to get on my bad side is to lie or to be sneaky. So when I see that SEOBLOGREVIEWS.COM is registered to one Giotto De Filippi, of Milano, Italy, I go back to that "We are a US based company," and now I'm more than a little irritated.

What part of Sploggers and Scrapers Can Kiss My Grits did these folks not understand?

Naked Thoughts in Public? Why Blog?

I missed my chance to play on Problogger Darren Rowse's blog a second time - dangit, a girl's gotta sleep, sometime - but realized I had a ready-made post from 2005 on the topic he explored this morning:

Originally posted on Vox as Naked Thoughts in Public?

Or, First Day: a Response to "Last Day" and updated periodically over the next few years...

 

Why not reveal all your naked thoughts in public? Well, I'll tell you why not...

Do you really want your neighbors knowing you're thinking of poisoning their dog? Boffing their teenaged daughter? Ripping the arm off a co-worker and beating him over the head with it? Yeah, there's such a thing as "too much information" (TMI, in the blogosphere), and personally, I think it takes all the fun and suspense out of it.

Do you really want the world to know what a pathetic, boring life you lead? "I know I've been neglecting this blog a lot, lately. I just can't think of anything to write. But since you're still reading, I'm going to ramble on for 10,000 words about having nothing to say." Gee, thanks.

Do you really want your readers to see you as the cynical, jaded bitch goddess or snarky technophile? (Yes!! Yes!! Oooh, baby - er, 'scuse me. I got a little overexcited by the sound of my own fingers on the keyboard.) That's so last year.

Do you really want to come across as a whiny, immature baby who can't spell or string two words (subject, verb) together to make a coherent sentence? (Hell, your friends already know you, so why hide what you are?) Oops - that was a little cynical, jaded, and snarky of me. Sorry.

But this is what happens when we don't self-censor. Writing honestly doesn't mean disemboweling ourselves on the page for public entertainment. Does it "breed vanity, self-indulgence, narcissism, self-centredness"? I contend that it only reveals the author's character - if we are vain, self-indulgent, narcissistic, and self-centered, that's likely to come across loud and clear on the page. And if we expose and explore it honestly (so, I'm not Mother Theresa), maybe we'll improve with time. "Big brother eyes"? They're called "readers." And that squirmy feeling you get, knowing they're out there, waiting for their comments? That's called "accountability." Write honestly, and you've nothing to fear - right?

If the blog (which still sounds like a gastrointestinal disorder, to me) is just a place to "hang out" or record one’s private, innermost thoughts, maybe it should be a private, pen-and-paper diary. If it's a place to hang out in public, then it’s got a different purpose, or serves more than one. Here are some of mine, circa 2005:

  • It keeps me writing regularly, even when I don't have a story or a poem inside me. Sometimes, the act of writing about my day, my thoughts, and my feelings will spark a story idea or inspire a poem. It’s a good way to get unblocked, or prevent a case of writer’s block from becoming crippling. (Update 2006: WTF was I thinking? I don't believe in writer's block. Never did. And "crippling"? Could we get any more melodramatic? Okay, so blogging is a form of discipline. If I don't write anything Pulitzer-worthy, I have to blog about my day and risk public humiliation for admitting that I've done nothing, lately, that inspires a bestselling novel. Thus, blogging becomes a harsh reminder to "GET A LIFE!" Perhaps if we lived as if we were going to blog about it, we'd live more interesting lives.)
  • It helps me to feel connected. Reading others’ journals and their responses to mine reminds me that no matter what, I’m not alone. By encouraging others to comment on my journal, I can’t sit here and wallow in private misery when I’m feeling rotten. I can get it out of my system, then get a little understanding, a little empathy, a little insight, and a much-needed kick in the seat of the pants. (Update 2006: Have you ever gotten a cramp in your thigh from kicking yourself in the ass? Ouch. "Helps me to stay connected..." Wow. Given that I'm an only child who craves solitude like most people crave oxygen, and never get enough of it, what was I thinking when I wrote that? Okay, maybe I should have been a bit more honest: "I like knowing that people read what I write. For the love of G-d, leave a comment so I don't gnaw off my fingers.")
     
  • It saves going out and seeking advice. Readers are very generous with that.
  • I love getting emails from people who read what I write. Good, bad, doesn't matter - it's a conversation starter. (Update 2006: Okay, so the one comment that went something like "This is the most boring crap I've ever read, and if I pay you will you please stop right now?" got to me - a little - until Anonymous's check bounced.)
  • It saves having to answer the same questions twenty times. It lets me answer in as much depth as I want to, without monopolizing friends’ time. “How was your day?”

    “Fine, how was yours?”

    “Fine.”

    “That’s good.” You’ll never see that in my journal. It's a little like the Christmas card letter, only it comes out more often and you only have to read it if you want to. (Update 2006: This is Karma in action, folks. We used to make fun of people who sent out Christmas card letters.)

I do think I have an obligation to not bore you to tears, if you’re reading this. I don’t necessarily write it to entertain you, but if it isn’t interesting to you, I hope you won’t feel obligated to keep reading.

Bloggers really ought to write with the realization that someone's out there reading. Spelling, grammar, punctuation - those are important elements of communication. Self-censorship? A little governor on the mental regurgitation might be a wise thing, but there's nothing more boring than a blog that is completely spit-polished and sanitized. I bookmark blogs that communicate honestly and convey a sense of the person who's writing them. Did I feel anything, while reading? Empathy? Amusement? Anything? Did what I read provoke a thought or two, beyond, "Gee, I wonder if the contents of the fridge have changed or rearranged themselves in the last fifteen minutes?"

I find, to my delight, that no matter what I write, there's always someone weirder out there.

The blog is also a nice little roadmap to life's ups and downs, and can be useful in identifying patterns, if I'm fairly faithful and honest in writing about it. If nothing else, it serves to remind me that even when I'm in the pits of despair, tomorrow's likely to be a better day.

Isn’t Anything Sacred or Private?

My blog is completely honest. By virtue of it being my blog, it is also completely biased. It’s my take on my life. (I never lie in it, though I will admit to occasional dramatization or committing the sin of omission, when I feel someone else's privacy would be violated in a way that's not compassionate or respectful or deserved. Hah! Yes, let's add "deserved.") In other words, I try to play fair. Some things shouldn't even go in the pen-and-paper diary, in my opinion - they should be written down and ceremoniously burned. (I wouldn't want to go to jail for libel, or ruin someone's life because I was having a really bad day and felt like ripping them to shreds or spilling their secrets. Honesty is not synonymous with pettiness and mean-spiritedness.)

I don't blog about the intimate details of my marriage and family life, nor do I share confidences revealed to me by others - so long as they're not off blabbing them to everyone they know. (As one of my coworkers once said, "If you don't respect your own 'secrets,' why should I?)

I don't generally talk about work. (Did I mention I try not to bore my readers to tears? I also hate having to preface my posts with, "This does not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employer...") But beyond that, I really have few, if any, secrets or taboos when it comes to writing. That's the scary thing about us writers - we will write damned near anything. What's "personal" to some is just fodder for the page, for us.

A Semi-Permanent Record of Our Existence

The more interested I get in genealogy, the more I wish some of my relatives had left a journal of their daily lives.

Hey, it's better than defacing the pyramids with insipid tripe like, "Holly was here!"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Texans: Early Voting Begins TODAY!

Are you registered to vote? The deadline was October 6. If you registered, are you aware that you can vote early? This is a great way to avoid crowds, lines, and the last minute rush on November 4. Vote now, and you can head home from work or school on November 4 to watch the election results on TV, without being featured on TV in those long, long lines as the polls close.

Election Tricks are NO Treat!

Trick-or-treat is for kids. Do not fall for election misinformation campaigns! Know the FACTS in your state, and ignore spurious emails. Read these:

Could the US election be stolen?

Many of tactics once used to keep blacks from voting in the south - poll taxes, literacy tests, violence and intimidation - have been eliminated.

But some have been adapted, including the practice of purging voting rolls of people likely to vote for the other party by challenging them en masse.

"There's more (attempts at voter suppression) that's been going on in the lead-up to this election than any I can remember," McDonald told AFP.

Election Watchdog Group Compiles Stunning List of Recent 'Problems Facing Voters Nationwide'

Follow breaking news of voting problems and misinformation campaigns here: http://www.866ourvote.org/ and click here for information on some of the hottest election topics circulating: http://www.866ourvote.org/newsroom/news?id=0084

It's sad to think that anyone would try to win the election for their favorite candidate through trickery and lies, but it happens during every election. Educate and arm yourself with facts.

No Campaigning at the Polls

Leave your Obama/Biden or McCain/Palin gear at home, when you go to cast your vote. Rules vary from state to state, but in Texas, you will be asked to leave the campaign materials in the car or at home. You won't be denied the right to vote, but you may be inconvenienced if you did not bring a change of clothing with you!

Vote Straight Ticket or Review Your Ballot CAREFULLY Before Casting Your Vote!

When you mark "Straight Democratic" then cast your ballot, your vote will count for Barack Obama and all the Democratic candidates, including all congressional, state and local Democrats on the general election ballot.

When you mark "Straight Republican" then cast your ballot, your vote will count for John McCain and all the Republican candidates, including all congressional, state and local Republicans on the general election ballot.

NOTE: A separate vote for an individual candidate is required only in a special election (e.g., Senate District 17)

OR

If you do not wish to vote a straight party vote, you must mark each individual candidate for whom you wish to vote, and then cast your ballot.

BUT

DO NOT VOTE STRAIGHT TICKET AND THEN SELECT INDIVIDUAL CANDIDATES - THIS COULD CANCEL OUT YOUR VOTE FOR THOSE INDIVIDUAL CANDIDATES! 

Additionally, carefully read the review screen after marking your selection and before casting your ballot. If you have any questions at the polls, ask an election judge for assistance. Visit this Voter Information page for more information about deceptive voting information and to review your rights as a Texas voter.

Where to Vote

Harris County (you will need adobe acrobat to open this .pdf file)

Ft. Bend County (you will need adobe acrobat to open this .pdf file)

Montgomery County (you will need adobe acrobat to open this .pdf file)

Brazoria County (you will need adobe acrobat to open this .pdf file)

Chambers County (you will need adobe acrobat to open this .pdf file)

Galveston County (may not be viewable due to Hurricane Ike)

Waller County (you will need adobe acrobat to open this .pdf file)

Here is the link to voter information for every county in the state.

Phone numbers for county clerks in every Texas county

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Phantosmia: Spooky Smells Not Just for Halloween

Some sufferers of phantosmia (one form of olfactory disorders collectively known as "dysosmia") smell rotting corpses. Others smell garbage or rotting food. Imagine biting into a big piece of chocolate cake, only to smell phantom dog poop. Or leaning over to sniff a rose that smells like a dead rodent.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I smell smoke that isn't there. That's better than not smelling smoke that is there - at least from a safety standpoint. Though nothing is burning, my throat closes and my lungs balk at deep breathing. My eyes water. It seems...real. I no longer have to ask family, friends, and coworkers, "Do you smell smoke?" I recognize the phantom - a slightly plastic, chemical smoke. The first time I smelled it, I was driving home from work. The air conditioner was on. I immediately thought the car was on fire. I watched for any signs of malfunction, the slightest whiff of smoke, any sign that the electrical system was on fire. I didn't panic, but I kept my eye on opportunities to pull over and ditch the car. A car burns fast.

I made it home, where I lifted the hood of the car and did a 360-degree visual inspection of the car. Nothing out of the ordinary.

I still smelled it an hour or so later. Only this time, I was in the kitchen, cooking dinner. I calmly inspected the appliances, checked the oven and stove for burning grease or food, and made sure I knew where the fire extinguisher was. It was puzzling. I asked my husband if he could smell anything burning. He said no. I asked the kids. Nope. I pulled open the trap-door to the attic. It smelled of sun-warmed wood, insulation, and cardboard. Not smoke. In fact, the smoke smell was easily subsumed by the odors of food cooking, the smell of warm attic, a spritz of perfume. Again, it turns out that I'm one of the lucky ones: I still taste and smell other things quite normally. I can even overwhelm this phantom smoke with real scents. Last night, it was a little smear of Mentholatum on each nostril, just like they do in the morgue. It's not that the smoke smell, itself, is so awful; the worst part is the choking and the watering eyes. That makes it hard to sleep.

Types of smell disorders range from anosmia (lack of a sense of smell) and hyposmia (decreased sense of smell), to hyperosmia (overly sensitive sense of smell), parosmia (smelling the wrong thing), and phantosmia (smell hallucinations). Causes include upper respiratory infections, head injuries, nasal polyps, sinus infections, hormonal imbalances, dental problems, certain medications, exposure to some types of chemicals, brain tumors, and radiation treatments for head and neck cancers - to name a few. Apparently, dysosmia can be a symptom of a deadly medical problem - or an end in itself. Clearly, it's important to consult your doctor - and possibly an ENT or neurologist - to rule out more serious physical problems. It can also be psychological.

If you suffer from phantosmia, it's a good idea to keep a journal detailing the smells: what time they hit, what they smell like, what might have triggered them. Brewing coffee is a reliable trigger for me; stress seems to make phantosmia more likely to occur. There is some indication that consuming soy also triggers phantom smells. You may be able to get some relief from the symptoms by using a saline nasal wash. It is recommended that you do this on all fours, with the top of your head down on the floor, for maximum effect. Track the results - you may discover other things that cause the smell or things that make it go away. Once your doctor has ruled out things like brain tumors and nasal polyps, you may be your own best resource in alleviating the symptoms.

 

If you have experienced the symptoms of a smell disorder, drop by the Parosmia/Phantosmia group on Yahoo - you're not alone. There's lots of information and support there.

Midnight Hours Tour Coming Soon!

Mark Your Calendars

Midnight Hours Tour: All Midnight, All Day!
from October 26 through November 2, 2008

My novel Midnight Hours

Oct. 26
Holly Jahangiri: Do I Have to Spell It Out?
http://blog.jahangiri.us/
That's right - I have the honor of kicking off the Midnight Hours Tour a week from today, right here on this blog! Bookmark it, subscribe to it, follow it - just be sure to come back first thing next Sunday for a day full of Midnight!

Oct. 27
Brian L. Porter: Brian L. Porter’s Blog
http://tinyurl.com/4qa4tw
Lee Lofland: The Graveyard Shift
http://www.leelofland.com/wordpress

Oct. 28
Karen Syed: The Life of a Publisher
http://karensyed.blogspot.com
Joyce Anthony: Books and Authors
http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/blog

Oct. 29
Elysabeth Eldering: Elysabeth’s Emerald City
http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com
Joyce Anthony: Books and Authors
http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/blog

Oct. 30
Joyce Anthony: Books and Authors
http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/blog
Jean Henry Mead: Write On!
http://advicefromeditors.blogspot.com

Oct. 31
Aidana WillowRaven: Cover Chatter
http://coverchatter.blogspot.com
Joyce Anthony: Books and Authors
http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/blog

Nov. 1
Crystalee Calderwood: Crystalee Calderwood – Writer and Poet
http://crystaleecalderwood.blogspot.com

Nov. 2
Vivian Zabel: Vivian’s Site
http://vzabel.multiply.com/journal
Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap
http://vivianzabel.blogspot.com/