Last night I got more than 600 scam and spams in which were mixed more than a dozen real comments from real people who aren’t spammers or scammers. That means I had to actually scroll through that entire list. To say that it was a tawdry experience is an understatement.

I don’t know how much spam other people get, but 600 in one night does seem to be a bit excessive. I guess this is the price I pay for having been around for so many years. The longer you are a presence online, the more those spambots and scammers find you.

You can run, but you really cannot hide, probably because there is no such thing as a hidey-hole online. For anyone. If you are out there, you’re out there. Anything you ever posted or was posted about you will not disappear until the internet disappears — and I’m not sure it can disappear. It can change and morph into something with another name, but virtual space is endless and permanent.

It’s enough to give one serious pause for thought.


When you were a kid, did you eat the crusts on your bread?

I was a terribly picky eater. I didn’t eat anything voluntarily. I didn’t eat the crusts and barely considered eating bread. I hated milk and still do. I didn’t like meat and had serious issues with eggs and still do.

Then I grew up and discovered food. The rest, as they say, is history. I think now the crust is my favorite part of any bread — real bread, that is. Not the plastic wrapped stuff which is something, but not bread.

Are you a fan of musicals — why or why not?

I love some musicals. Not every musical. I usually don’t care for opera, although I am beginning to change my mind about that. I think my problem is with screechy sopranos rather than with opera as an art. A really great soprano is something else and I recently got to hear some singing that made me rethink the whole opera issue.

Favorite musicals: Cabaret, Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, Gigi, West Side Story (the original), Singing in the Rain, and Music Man. Add to that everything by Gilbert & Sullivan.

There are also a lot of really awful musicals lurking about and I don’t have a list of them but Chicago and Paint Your Wagon are two. There are many good but not great musicals too and that list is endless. Some of the not great musicals have some lovely music, but the story doesn’t quite “work.”

It’s hard to say sometimes whether or not it’s a movie with music, or a musical — or for that matter whether it’s a musical or an operetta. The lines are rather thin. In my opinion, by the way, Oklahoma is an operetta, not a musical. Just saying.

Was it difficult to do what you did professionally?

I never found writing difficult. I often found the research trying. If I worked for a reasonable boss and was well paid, I could handle pretty much anything that came my way. I always wanted to do my best work, but a lot of places I worked didn’t care what I wrote, as long as it was a lot of pages. Their theory was no one would read the book anyway. They were wrong. Almost no one sits down to read a manual cover-to-cover like a novel, but almost everyone will refer to it as needed. If it is well-written and properly researched, it will be a useful tool. When it’s just a lot of words thrown together without caring if the words make sense? They will blame the tech writer.

It isn’t the writer’s fault. Bad manuals are a management choice. If the writer they have chosen isn’t good, that’s a choice they made. There were better writers available, but they didn’t hire one. If the book lacks appropriate research? Usually that means the people who had the information were not made available to the writer.

Tech writers are employees. They don’t just “decide” to write a manual for the fun of it — not counting people who write the “books for idiots” independently. Many of those books are quite exceptional because the writer had the freedom to write the book as he or she chose. In this market, such an opportunity is rare.

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? 

Fillmore East. Jefferson Starship. I couldn’t hear anything for a week, so it must have been good.


Looking back over your life, what is one thing you’re grateful for?  One thing you really regret?

I’m glad I had the talent to find work and do it well. The ability to be good at something and get paid to do it isn’t a gift everyone gets. Many people have talent they’ve never explored. Many people wind up in the wrong profession entirely. I know lawyers who never liked practicing law (and didn’t), medical researchers who hated every minute they spent in the lab, developers who wanted to be anything else, just not that. I got to do something I liked doing and had the talent to make it work.

I took a course in college called “The Psychology of Work.” The first thing we talked about was why people work. There has been a huge amount of research on this. It turns out the number one most issue for pretty much everyone is “quality of life in the workplace.” If we get a choice between more money or a better place to work with congenial colleagues and an understanding boss? The “better place” wins. Unless there a huge amount of money involved and then all bets are off. But usually, millions of dollars are not the issue.

The second big one? Distance. Extremely long commutes are lethal to longevity and sometimes, just plain lethal. I had one job toward the end of my career which required a 140 mile EACH WAY drive. I could work three days from home, but twice a week I had nearly 300 miles of commuting per day. Six months into the job — which was a really good job except for the commuting — I was dysfunctional.

Finally money. If you are offered a lot more money and you need it, you might take the job regardless of all other issues. Life is what it is. Big mortgage? Car payments? Alimony? Single parenting? Maybe money wins. Money alone won’t make you happy but it pays the bills which might make you happier.

I earned a good living. Garry earned a better one. We also had a lot of expenses including supporting other family members, his and mine, plus mortgages, cars, and for Garry, wardrobe which in case you were wondering, is NOT tax deductible.

We could have handled our money better and I regret that. But we didn’t waste it. We gave money to people we loved who needed help. We were able to help, so we did. It’s hard to regret that.

So here we are. I don’t regret much. I wish we’d gone to Europe once more while I was still able to walk, but by the time we had the time and almost had the money, my health was failing. That’s the way it goes. Sometimes, the magic works. Sometimes, it doesn’t.


Categories: #SYW, Anecdote, baking, Communications, Q & A, questions, Share My World

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11 replies

  1. There was a time when I was getting hundreds of spam items a day. Then I changed my “Discussion” settings to close comments on posts over 60 days old and my daily spam messages instantly dropped to single digits.


  2. I hate milk and screechy sopranos too.


  3. Sorry to hear about the spammers and scammers. Such a pain!


  4. I think I’d add shift work to that list too. I did it for quite a few years. It meant that David and I often didn’t see each other because his job was 9-5. If I worked 3pm-11pm I didn’t see him and the only reason I saw him when working 6pm-2am was because he had to come out and pick me up after work. I missed a lot of family birthday events and weekends at home too. Of course, the money was good and I had time to shop, do housework etc during the day but I was glad not to do it anymore.


    • Garry worked the “dawn patrol” for more than a decade. I worked standard business hours. He had to be in bed and sleeping often before I got home from work — AND he was off on Wednesdays and Thursdays, not weekends. I saw him more often on TV than in person.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Let me say that, as far as manuals are concerned, those that are done as books are often written by actual user experience, i.e. someone who has actually plumbed the depths of the device and discovered its secrets despite the official manual. There is no substitute for personal experience.


    • I always asked for a “test site” so I could make sure the features were actually functional. Developers don’t know how to test. They know the software too well. I got what I wanted — a “playpen” of the application where I couldn’t do any damage. I also found a lot of system errors and non-functional features that were fixed because I said “Hey, is this supposed to do…” and when they said “No,” I pointed out that what it did was probably not what they intended. Now, they don’t even bother to get someone to beta test the applications — or for that matter, alpha test them. It’s why we get so many buggy applications.

      And you know what? They don’t CARE. That’s why, if a program is important to you, it’s worth buying a manual NOT written by the company but by a real user.


  6. Thanks Marilyn for Sharing Your World. Such wise words about the workplace, you might have written a book(let) or pamphlet for graduating high school seniors to read before they get into the workforce. All the points you touched on (IMO) impacted everyone who ever had a job, whatever it was. I’m glad the commute didn’t kill you, and I understand fully how stress and a bad work environment can kill you just as easily. It’s wonderful to have a job you look forward to going to, to which you give your best effort because it’s more a joy to do the job than work. Jefferson Starship must have been an AWESOME concert! What a thing! I am a bit surprised that you didn’t care for Chicago, but I didn’t/don’t care for Mama Mia mainly because I don’t like Meryl Streep. I’ve seen both movies now though and thought the music was good, if a bit ‘crammed to fit’ in some of the scenes. Did you ever watch (or enjoy) any Eddy Nelson and Jeanette McDonald movie musicals (like “Maytime”)? If not (and yes Ms. McDonald was a soprano and yes, those films might be more operettas than actual musicals) but they’re very well done IMO and both actors had beautiful voices. The films had substance too, weren’t just scenes melded around a song to fit some formula. Thank you for the peek behind Your World, it’s always fascinating for me to visit! 🙂


    • I really didn’t like Jeanette at all. SHE was the original shrieky soprano. Eddy Nelson agreed.

      But usually the reason I don’t like a musical is either I think the music is lame, or the acting is lame, or the story is the lamest of all. There are TONS of these musicals, mostly made in the 40s and 50s.

      A lot of people think that the highest salary is the reason to work and nothing else matters. Maybe if the pay is millions of dollars, but usually, it isn’t that much real difference between both jobs when you add in benefit and subtract taxes. And a really long commute turns everyone into a zombie. You think you can do it, but you discover you can’t.

      Unfortunately, you usually can’t tell if you’re going to like the other people who work there until you work there. If you get to really spend a little time with the future boss, that can help, but often it’s something of a crap shoot.


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