This weekend I got to do a few fun things. One of those things was having a brunch at a restaurant which only serves gluten-free items. I had French toast for the first time in years. Years. In addition to the French toast, I wandered around the city of Asheville with my boyfriend, Grizzly Pirate Wynn. If you’ve never been to Asheville, it’s a really interesting place. It’s weird, but in a great way. There are lots of great restaurants. There are a whole lot of breweries, if you’re into that. It’s beautiful and it’s a lot of fun.
I was tempted to buy a shirt that said, “Keep Asheville Weird,” and on the back it had, “I’m helping.” Isn’t it just the truth? I refrained from buying this shirt though.
In the weirdness of Asheville, there are several books stores, two of which I went in. One is called Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, that’s not a joke, and the other is called The Captain’s Bookshelf. Yes, the first place really has a champagne bar. You can go and browse books and get yourself a mimosa as well.
The first book store, the Champagne Bar, is in the historic Grove Arcade building in Asheville; it’s a beautiful building. The store itself is two stories tall. You cannot just walk up a straight staircase to get to the second floor. You have to wind around and up through a maze of books. There are twists and turns and books are everywhere. I would love to take forever to just look at the books, but every time I go to this specific bookstore, I get book overload and I feel like I have to take a quick look and get out. There are just so many books to look at. There are old books and newer books and they’re just everywhere. I’m sure there are about five-hundred books I would like to add to my collection.
The other book store. The Captain’s Bookshelf, which is right down the road from the Grove Arcade, caters more to rare books. You can buy first editions there, large art books, and even books signed by the author. Again, there are probably about five hundred books, or more, in this store that I would like to add to my collection, but again, there are so many and so much, it’s essentially like being way too over stimulated. I can’t focus on any one thing there.
As a result, I have never purchased a book from either place, which is a shame because they’re great stores. Maybe someday, I will actually have a moment of concentration in either store long enough for me to actually buy a book from one of them.
Chilling Out and Writing
I am taking a bit not to read a book, just a short bit though because I still have eleven books to read before I get to 1000 books total, which was my goal for this year. I am almost to that goal, but it’s my birthday and I don’t want to read a book today. I want to chill out.
What happens after the 1000th book? Well, I will continue reading books of course, although not as feverishly as I have been. There will be some more stories thrown into the mix. I will probably get back to reading some H.P. Lovecraft, Halloween is coming up, after all. There is still going to be a post everyday.
I have also been working on bigger projects–books. I’m currently sort of in the middle of two different books. Like the meme says, it takes a lot of not getting distracted to write a book, but it also takes time, something which can be in short supply when you’re a working adult with adult responsibilities. One of the projects I might self-publish, but the other I think is intriguing enough to get for-real, agent published, but you know, we’ll see. That means query letters and rejection, so we will definitely see.
In addition, both of the sites are coming up for a redesign. I’ve got some great pictures and some artwork I’ve been working on that will go on the updated sites. Great stuff.
So that is what is going on.
What I’ve Done in 700 Books
In 2011, I started reading over 111 books a year. This year, 2016, I’m not quite through with my goal, but I’ve reached 700 books since the beginning of my challenge to myself. It’s been a huge project and I hope there will be hundreds, if not thousands of books to come. I’ve certainly learned a lot from reading all of these books. I’ve had a lot of life experiences along the way as well.
In 2011, when I started this website, I lived in Okinawa and I was married to a military member. My life is a lot different now. I now live in North Carolina with a great guy, who is better to me and appreciates me more than any man ever has. He also likes to read, a big plus, am I right?
I have moved house five times since the beginning of One-elevenbooks.
I have been divorced.
I’ve been sick and well so many times I’ve lost count.
I’ve been through four cats and two dogs.
I’ve acquired a new niece.
I’ve worked two different jobs.
I’ve written millions of words.
I’ve read millions of words.
I’ve read all of The Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
I’ve read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
I’ve read all of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales.
I did a little math. Considering that the average novel is 50,000 words–I’ve read, as an average, 35,000,000 words in books alone since the beginning of 2011.
That’s a lot of words, seems like I might be tired of it by now, but I’m still enjoying myself. I’m sure there will be 35,000,000 more words to come.
I would first like to apologize for not having a post up earlier today. I had a good reason, namely that I was in a car accident, then I rode in a fancy ambulance to a hospital, then I had to get pain killers, then I had to ride around and talk to insurance people and all that stuff. Whiplash is starting to set in and I’m not feeling awesome.
I would have posted a regular post, but I wanted you guys to know what was going on, if things get a little laggy around here for a few days.
As you can see, I’m in need of a new car and a new Kindle. The Kindle got smashed. It was inside my purse, but ended up getting smashed like you see in the picture, so that’s how severe the accident was. Thankfully, Hyundai makes a car that kept me safe.
I was on my way to work, I had actually just left my house. Near my house, as in I can see it and wave at it from my house, is a four-way stop. This four-way stop used to be a two-way stop, but there was a severe accident there a while back, in which a man died, afterwards, it was a four-way stop. People still run this four-way stop all the time, although it’s not as common as it used to be. Accidents still happen there all the time. Needless to say, an actual traffic light would probably do wonders for the intersection.
I had just stopped at the stop-sign, like I was supposed to, and all of a sudden, a black car came barreling towards me, without even thinking about stopping at the stop sign on their side. The car hit me, on the driver’s side up near the front of my car. I was spun around a bit and ended up hitting a white truck waiting on the other wise of the intersection. My car then started sliding backward, I had to keep my foot on the brake. The black car that caused it all, also hit the white truck.
Almost every single airbag in my car deployed. I couldn’t put my car in park. I had to keep my foot on the brake to keep it from sliding more. It was raining. The airbags smoked when they deployed and my first thought was, “I have to get out of here!” I couldn’t get out though because the car would roll away. I hit my head on something, still not sure what, but no blood. My glasses were somehow on the other side of the car. My sunglasses had spilled out of their holder by the visors and onto the seat beside me. My Kindle was smashed, as you can see for yourself in the picture.
A nice lady came over and helped me put the emergency brake on so the car wouldn’t roll away and I could take my foot off of the brake. I was extremely shaken up. I was crying and shaking. My car called for help, but somebody had seen the accident and had called for help as well. The nice lady on the other end of the Hyundai Bluelink called my mother.
The ambulance came and I got on a stretcher, albeit very unsteadily, at this point it was difficult for me to walk because I was so shaky. I rode in an ambulance for the first time in my life. Keep in mind, I hadn’t gotten a look at the car at this point. All I knew was that the hood flipped up, I couldn’t put the car in park, and the airbags went off. Ambulances are kind of cold, but maybe it was just because it was rainy and cold outside. I did get quite wet going from the car to the ambulance.
I wasn’t bleeding and I kept consciousness throughout the entire thing, but my head hurt, and now, a lot of stuff hurts. Tomorrow, a lot more things are going to hurt.
I got to the hospital, where I waited forever at the ER. The good thing about coming in by ambulance is that you don’t have to wait in the main waiting room, you get triaged back to the step-up waiting room, but you still have to wait there, a long time, if you’re not bleeding or losing consciousness.
The doctor I saw was kind of a hippie, but he was very nice. He used the analogy that my adrenal system had dumped everything off of the shelves and it would not be wise for me to go to work, possibly around sick people, because my body didn’t have anything in stock at the moment to fight it off, so I’m off work for a few days.
My mom drove up to pick me up from the hospital. They, of course, passed the correct road and had to turn around several times before they found the correct entrance to the ER area at the hospital. So I was waiting out in the rain for a few minutes; it was cold. They took me to lunch at the Cracker Barrel. Then I went to my insurance office. We were all a little concerned with the accident report, which was brought to me by a nice state trooper at the hospital. It turns out the culprit car was a rental! That will all be taken care of later.
In the end, it was a pretty crappy day, but I’m alive. I’m thankful that my mom and step-dad drove two-and-a-half hours to come and get me from the hospital and take me around to the places I need to go. I’m thankful I work for understanding people who were concerned about my welfare. I’m thankful that no one else was hurt badly. I’m thankful that Hyundai made a car that not only kept me safe(I got hit at around 40+mph), but it also called someone and let them know there was an accident. I’m thankful for Amazon for working with me on a replacement Kindle. I didn’t get it for free, but they were very nice and gave me a discount. I’m thankful the doctor at the ER was nice. It was not a good day, but there were things that made it be not nearly as bad as it could have been.
Hopefully, I will re resuming normal activity tomorrow as far as this website, but don’t hold it too hard against me if I don’t.
I had the opportunity to try out the Grammarly service. If you’re not sure what Grammarly is, I will offer a brief explanation. Grammarly is a spelling and grammar checker on steroids. Grammarly will not only catch your mistakes but also tell you why they’re wrong. This is especially helpful if you have no idea why your spelling/grammar checker is telling you that certain things are wrong.
I recently had the chance also to check out a Grammarly infographic, which I wrote about in my post Put Your Best Words Forward. Grammarly conducted a study and found that people who make less grammar and spelling mistakes are paid more money. I also posited that people are going to take you more seriously.
How to Get Grammarly
Grammarly is a paid service. It’s on a subscription based term. You buy the service for a month, three months, half a year, or a year. The longer you buy it for, the cheaper it is each month. Using the subscription based service you can upload documents to be checked at www.grammarly.com, once you login to your account, or you can use the downloadable add-ons for Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Word. There is also an add-in for Google Chrome, which will check your browser writing.
You can sign up for Grammarly by going to www.grammarly.com.
What I tried
I did not use the Google Chrome add-in because my main web browser is Firefox. I also chose not to use the uploader. I used the Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook add-ins. I do write quite a few emails and use Microsoft Word extensively.
The Outlook Add-in
The Outlook add-in isn’t as sophisticated as the Word add-in. The add-on is either on or off. There aren’t many things that are customizable with the piece of software.
The Word Add-in
The Word Add-in does much more than the Outlook add-in. Above, I have taken a screenshot of the Grammarly toolbar. Once the Word add-on is installed, a new tab will appear in your Microsoft Word program. On this tab, you can turn Grammarly on or off, change the writing style, choose what you want Grammarly to check for, set general settings, and also receive a tour of the program.
When using Grammarly, you can pick and choose what you want it to check for, or you can use any of the set writing styles that Grammarly has installed. At a quick glance, there are thirty-three different writing styles to choose from.
General is the default option, but if you preferred something a little more defined, you could choose any of the other options.
When using Grammarly, there will be a new window to the right of your document in Word. This window contains all the Grammarly finds.
Grammarly gives quick correction information, just like the spelling/grammar checker in Word, as seen in the picture to the left. This is a quick way to correct mistakes that are found in your writing. In order to correct the mistake, all you have to do is click on the green wording. If you don’t want to correct the mistake, you click on the “X.”
If you choose to have Grammarly explain to you why it picked up on what it did, you can click the down arrow and receive an explanation. There is a short explanation and a long explanation. The short explanation will briefly explain why you’re incorrect, but the long explanation will give you examples. The long explanation is the picture above, to the right.
A user can proceed through corrections in Grammarly by using the “Next” and “Previous” buttons.
There is also the ability to add words to a dictionary if you often type words that Grammarly thinks is wrong. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, was considered an unrecognized word by Grammarly, so I added it to the dictionary.
Grammarly is more extensive than the built-in Word spelling/grammar check. Grammarly will pick up on so much more. What distinguishes Grammarly from Word’s built-in checker is the fact that Grammarly has styles to check for. Word doesn’t do that. Word checks for general mistakes and it may not tell you why you’re wrong. Sometimes Word gives a person hints, but it’s not going to explain as much.
I think Grammarly has the potential to be a wonderful tool, especially for younger people learning English and people learning English as a second language.
Grammarly didn’t seem to flag me for code or other items that would often be flagged as spelling errors, but I didn’t extensively test this out.
If you turn on the plagiarism check in Grammarly, you’re going to have plagiarism flags. It doesn’t matter what you write or if you just made it up off the top of your head. There are going to be flags. Grammarly is going to call you out on what you wrote. It can be a little tedious to click all of those flags off if you wanted the plagiarism check on for some reason.
Grammarly doesn’t have functionality for any other languages that I can see; Word does. I switch between Spanish and English in Word on occasion. Word can spell-check for me just as well in Spanish as it can for me in English.
If you’re using one of the Grammarly styles, the book review style, for example, there are going to be many things Grammarly catches that you don’t necessarily want it to check. I write in a more conversational manner, and I don’t care if I use contractions and personal pronouns. Grammarly cares a whole lot. I can change the style to endeavor to eliminate clicking off all the occurrences of Grammarly saying I can’t use “don’t” and that I shouldn’t use “you.” Grammarly is also going to flag you for things such as passive voice and propositions at the end of sentences, neither of which are technically wrong. I didn’t have the chance to try out all the Grammarly styles; there may be a style that doesn’t flag for those items.
What I would like to see out of Grammarly
First, I would like to see plugins/add-ins for Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. I have been told there will later be plugins/add-ins for some of these browsers.
Second, Grammarly needs a WordPress plugin. I write my posts in WordPress. I don’t write them in Word and then copy them over to WordPress. A WordPress plugin would do wonders for Grammarly. It would do wonders for the entire writing experience using WordPress. Copying from WordPress to Word to check errors with Grammarly is tedious, and the formatting of the text doesn’t copy back over from Word.
Third, Grammarly will have to branch out to other languages one day. I understand that this is a massive undertaking. Each language would essentially be its own database within Grammarly. Other languages use things like upside down question marks and letters that look Roman, but aren’t. Entirely different Grammar rules apply to other languages. Character based languages, like Japanese or Chinese, would be especially difficult to program for, but I’m sure it’s not impossible.
Fourth, Grammarly needs some more style options. I think it would be a good idea to have standard styles such as APA, MLA, and the Chicago Manual of Style, as options in styles. That way Grammarly could flag something and tell you, as the user, “You’re not supposed to use this thing when writing in APA format.” Who wants to lug around one of those APA usage books? If Grammarly could build that into its software, college students everywhere would rejoice.
I also think there needs to be an option to set your own style. There should be an option where you can check or uncheck what you want Grammarly to check for, and I’m not talking the general options you can turn on and off, I’m talking about specifics. For example, I would like the ability to turn off the check for personal pronouns, prepositions at the end of sentences, passive voice, and contractions. I’m sure there are more options I would like to turn off, but those are the ones that come to mind. Then this style could be saved as whatever you wanted to call it. You could make several styles of your own.
Grammarly, as is, has the potential to become obsolete. There will always be people who need its service, but I can see the product having a shelf-life for individuals. Let’s say you use Grammarly for a year. Under Grammarly’s tutelage, you get so good at spelling and grammar that you don’t need Grammarly anymore. That’s awesome for you; it’s not awesome for Grammarly. I think Grammarly is going to have to “bring it” to continue to be relevant to individual people for long periods of time, but that may not be their goal; their goal may be new subscribers. I know I don’t rely as heavily on spelling/grammar checkers as I used to.
In the end, Grammarly is a very useful tool, and I can see it having great usage in the academic world and for people learning English as a second language. Are your average, every-day people going to pay for Grammarly year after year? No, they’re not, but it is good for a period to improve writing skills.