Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Most of you probably know by now that I write novels featuring dragons, and humor, and other fun things. My first book, Never Deal with Dragons, released July 22, 2013 and featured a woman named Myrna who worked as a mediator in a dragon-human arbitration office. Cover below:

Anyway, the second book in the series releases March 17, 2014, and I'm kinda interested in what you think...because the main character in this book, Carol, spends a good amount of time in Bangalore. I tried to capture a bit of the expat fun of exploring a new country in it...though she doesn't manage to "smell the roses" as much as I was able to do while there. (She's being chased by dragons most of the time - ha!)

I'm not posting buy links, because that's not the purpose of this blog, but if these books are something that looks fun, you can find them on Amazon, or you can read excerpts on my author page,

Wednesday, January 8, 2014
So, my good friend Josh (from Board Game Reviews by Josh - you should check it out. He's awesome. And an excellent writer. He should totally be a published author (like me) - except that he only writes about board games. Oh, and did I mention that he's typing this?) came and visited us. He suggested that there were a few things that I "missed" on my previous posts. Anyway, here's the "short" list:

In the bathroom:

  • Toilets are different.  Specifically, they don't like to flush toilet paper down the toilet - it takes about 2 gallons of water (or more) for a normal flush.
  • Urinals sometimes flush when you walk up to them.  Before you pee.  (Ok, I can't blame her for not knowing this one.)
  • The entire bathroom is an entire tiled unit.  When you shower, everything gets soaked - toilet, floor, etc.
  • You have to turn the hot water heater on.  Well - at least if you want hot water.

On the TV:

  • Shows start and end at random times.  It might run from 12:28-12:54.
  • Shows aren't 30 minutes.  They're as long as they feel like being.
  • They give you a countdown on when the commercials are finished (ok, that one's kinda cool).
  • The commercials are really, really, really loud
  • They let you know what season of a show you're watching - such as "Seinfeld Season 6 comes on at 11:00 PM".

At the Pharmacy:

  • Apparently Sudafed is banned.  Maybe.  They at least kept saying that it was banned
  • A pharmacy may or many not have the medicine you want - in fact, they may or may not have the medicine that they're advertising on the wall of the pharmacy.  That one was especially odd.
  • They write your name on the receipt as if it were a prescription pad.  Just your first name, though.  This seems to serve very little purpose.

Friday, March 8, 2013
Last night, I stayed up late working on revisions for the book being published by Carina Press in July. As a result, I was in bed later than usual. I got up and did a few things, played with the kids, and then called Jason to see whether he'd be interested in joining us for lunch somewhere. I told him I needed to shower first, and I'd call him as we left the apartment. 

Grabbing a towel, I told the kids where I was headed and turned on the faucet. I was in a bit of a hurry, since I knew Jason was waiting on us, so I jumped under the water while it was still a bit cool, and wet my hair so I could shampoo out yesterday's hair gel.

I had a nice lather going on my head when all of the sudden the water went from lukewarm to HOT! Hissing as I rinsed the soap from my hands in the boiling water, I made sure to keep the rest of my delicate skin from coming into contact with the volcano water as I frantically adjusted the faucets. But nothing I did seemed to help. The water just wouldn't cool down.

And then it hit the apartment managing committee had warned, we were out of water. Everything pouring on me was coming straight from the small hot water heater attached to the wall above the toilet.

And I had a head full of soap. Fantastic. I wasn't finished boiling--uh, I mean rinsing--my scalp when I ran out of hot water too. So there I was, body freezing due to the original dampening from the lukewarm "pipe" water, and my hands and head stinging from my attempts to get the shampoo out.

I ended up going to the downstairs guest bathroom. Of course, we don't keep the water heater on down there, so it was another cold shower. But - I was able to rinse the soap out. So sue me, but I didn't shave my legs.

The good news is, with the warm India sun, I was nice and toasty by the time I got dressed and we picked up Jason.

But I gotta tell 'ya, some days bathing just ain't worth the effort.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
In case you were wondering how people dealt with busy streets and less stringent traffic laws, I thought I'd take a short video clip of a typical Bangalore intersection. This isn't exceptionally busy, but you can still see that driving in India requires your complete attention.  Bicycles, motorcycles, cars, auto rickshaws, tractors, and cows - everyone is welcome.

But since I didn't catch a cow on film this time, I thought I'd add one (not recorded by me) here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013
One thing I will be very glad to see when I return to US soil? Better customer service. I know, I know, those of you in the US are laughing right now.

But the one thing capitalism has done for America is give businesses just one small reason to keep customers happy. Because if we're unhappy with the service, there's (generally) 2-3 competitors we can move our business to.

Here in Bangalore? Not the case.

You've heard me complain about our dropped internet lines before, so I'll spare you the same ol' song and dance. In short, one of our internet lines stopped working (again), we called a repairman (again), he came (again), and then left without fixing the broken line. In addition, he caused the one working line to stop as well. So now, out of two lines (both of which we are still required to pay for) we have 0 Internet.

I'm typing this sitting in Jason's office.

The irritating thing about this? We have no alternative but to keep paying Airtel for their "service." There isn't really another option.

We have a third Internet line through a cable provider, but it goes down more often than Airtel, and we don't even have any contact information to lodge a complaint. I have to wait until the guys come to collect my monthly fee. Yes, that's right. We can't mail our payment. They send someone to our door to collect. Weird for a telecommunications company, right? (How much do you want to bet it's because internet payments aren't reliable because the internet is down too often - HA!)

I try to remind myself that internet connectivity is a luxury, not a need. Until I remember that this past week, we haven't had reliable running water, either., there really isn't an actual point to this blog, other than to say "be nice to your internet providers" to all my US friends and family, because you don't know how good you have it.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
And you thought disagreements between US states over water were interesting.

Karnataka, the state Bangalore is located, possesses a cauvery system that supplies a neighboring Indian state (Tamil Nadu) with water. Rain has been in short supply here in Bangalore, and summer is fast approaching.

Karnataka has decided there isn't enough water to supply themselves in addition to Tamil Nadu, so they are repeatedly ignoring the Federal government's requests to release water to TN.

In addition to a 2-day strike, today and tomorrow, it seems TN has urged motorists not to cross the state border with their TN tags, and have stopped bus service.

I, from the safety of my own home, find this process fascinating. As an American, I've been raised on stories of state disagreements settled in court, or with the "help" (*cough, cough) of the Federal government if needed.

So to watch how a country with an iffy/inefficient court system attempts to solve disputes is really quite interesting.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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