Feline Freedom League October 2015 Report

From: Agent Luna To: Mr. Whiskers Date: 4 October 2015
Subject: Mission Report

I cannot believe that no one else is taking up Agent Snickers’

duties. I have to do all of her duties as well as my own. This is not fair. I think we should divvy up her duties since she is not to be replaced. I am afraid that I must request an official scheduling of duties. I think the other agents need to step up and take a turn with Agent Snickers’ duties.

There is so much water outside. Why is there so much water falling from the sky? The humans said something about a tropical storm, but I can’t believe that much water came from one storm. The humans are up to something.

Everything is wet. We still see the sun, but we see just as many cloudy days lately. The trees are not dropping their leaves either. This is wrong. We haven’t had a Cold Time in quite a while. There has been no white stuff on the ground either. I am certain that the humans are responsible for this. They do not seem concerned. I do not think this is natural.

I haven’t given up trying to contact the outside agents in this area. they seem to think everything is normal. How long has it been since they experienced the Cold Time? It should be coming up soon. I remember last year, the Cold Time didn’t happen when it should have. Has anyone else reported the lack of a Cold Time?

From: Agent Mulder To: Mr. Whiskers Date: 4 October 2015
Subject: Mission Report

I do take my turn at doing Agent Snickers’ duties. Agent Luna doesn’t realize just how much Agent Snickers did around here. I am only just realizing that. She is missed and that is all there is to it. I wish we could have someone to replace her, but I understand that the budget will not allow that. We are still working out a fair distribution of her duties. Agent Cuddlebug has assumed a number of her duties as well, coming out of retirement to do so. Agent Luna should stop complaining and pull her weight here.

I have also been concerned about the lack of Cold Time, but I have been doing some research and it appears that our new location doesn’t experience such severe cold. It has the Hot Time, which is now ending. The tropical storms that have been making things wet, are apparently natural things that occur in this place. We needn’t be concerned about the lack of Cold Time. The storms only concern me in that I do not like to get overly wet. We can avoid that by simply not trying to venture outside when the water is falling. Agent Luna is not happy unless she is complaining.

Agent Probie has been coming along nicely in his training. He still monopolizes the younger female human’s time and lap, but we will break him of that in time. If you do decide to send us directions as to who is supposed to take what duty from those that Agent Snickers was supposed to do, I will not take it amiss. It will make Agent Luna happy and that will make the rest of us happy.

Michigan Humane Society: Somebody here needs you.

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Posted in Feline Freedom League Report

Positive Thinking

I’ve talked about the power of positive thinking before but I am going to talk about it again. That’s because I really believe that if you want to succeed at something, you have to start by believing that you can do it. The idea that you can think yourself into success at something is not a new one. It’s cliché, I know, but sometimes clichés exist because they are true. It’s the same with the power of positive thinking.

I can truthfully say that if you believe that you can’t do something, you won’t be able to. That’s mostly because you don’t think you can, so you don’t try. If you don’t think you can do something, you won’t try, thereby fulfilling your prophesy that you can’t do it. The reverse is also true. If I had b relived that I couldn’t write a blog, this blog site would belong to someone else. It belongs to me because I believed I could write and maintain a blog. I’ve used positive thinking in other things in my life.

I decided that I would get more active by walking and I did it. I’m up to almost four miles a day. I just started by walking to the end of the street, and, when I felt I could, I lengthened the distance that I walked. Eventually, I was able to go around the path that is in my local park. That’s a mile in itself. Now I do three laps of the park on a regular basis, depending on how much time I have on hand. It takes me an hour to complete the walk to the park and three miles as laps around the park.

I was determined to do it and I did it. That’s the important part. I also decided to self publish a novel. That’s why Accidental Colony was published. If I hadn’t been certain that I could do it, I wouldn’t have done it. I even sold a few copies. That’s what positive thinking can do for you. Use it in your career and you might be able to increase your income. You never know. The possibility is there.

The point here is that I thought I could do those things and I did them. A lot of people don’t do things because they think that they can’t. You can’t do things that you don’t try to do. I lost weight because I knew that I could. You can do anything that you set your mind to doing. Your success, of course, is affected by other factors. You won’t win right off the bat, but you will have taken the first steps towards success. If you believe in yourself, others will believe in you too and that’s key. That’s how you will succeed.

Whatever you want to do, just set out to do it. Give it a shot, win or lose, at least you tried. Often, the only person holding you back is you.

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Posted in General Opinion

Writing a research report

Writing a research report after you do some research is a very good idea. It lets you examine the information that you learn and write down your conclusions. writing the report will force you to examine the information you have found and determine if it is what you need. Of course, I am talking mainly about research that you do for family history. In this context, you are looking for records that pertain to your family. You want to search record databases and find the records you are looking for.

Often, in family history, the problem is not so much finding the records as it is finding the correct record. In my family, I have a three times great grandfather named John Gilchrist who died in 1871 in Ontario, Canada. There are five men named John Gilchrist in Ontario in the time between 1830 and 1871. Finding records for John Gilchrist in that time is not that hard, but finding the correct one is difficult. That’s where a research report can help you determine if the record you just found is the one for your ancestor. I have great grandmother named Amy Hendrickson. I have found her in the 1900 census, the 1910 census, the 1920 census and the 1930 census. She is missing in 1940, but she is not dead, from her husband’s death certificate.

A good research report has five parts, an introduction where you explain what the report is about, a section explaining what is known and what the research is to accomplish. Then there is the methods section where you explain what you searched and why. The results section is where you report your findings. Then there is the conclusions section where you detail what you have found and how it relates to your research. The final section is optional and lists your options for further research. As always, you need to cite your sources. You will need to include a bibliography with your report.

Even if you have done the research for yourself, it’s a good idea to write a report anyway. It helps you to organize your thoughts and allow you to itemize your conclusions. It’s not something that you have to do, but it can help you to figure out what your research is telling you. Your research is something that you want to do your best to do. A research report is a terrific way to organize your thoughts and you should write it up as soon after you do the research as you can. It will help you to log your research, and its result, as well as help you to draw your conclusions. Check online for templates that will guide you through the form a good research report should take. You will thank yourself later.

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Posted in General Opinion, Writing Techniques

Using Agendas as Research Tools

If you’re like me and do research at libraries or online, you know how easy it is to get off track. I looked at various ways to focus my research activity. I took an online course on time management and they used agendas. So I looked at templates for agendas. I found one that lets me create the agenda for my research ‘meeting’. You name the research trip as the meeting. Then you set it up to let you enter ‘meeting’ notes for each item on your agenda. This does two things for you. It gives you direction for your research and an organized place to put your notes. I also note down the source at the same time. I wondered if it would work, so I put it to the test.

I created an agenda for a small research trip to my local library. I did the agenda in Word and copied it to a flash drive. I also put the information that I already had on the subject of my research on the same flash drive. I put them in a folder that I named with the date that I did the research. That organized the trip. I could save any images that I found on the subject to that same folder — organized and efficient. This particular test was on my family history research, but you can use the same technique to do online research at home as well. I was using a library database that I had to go to the library itself to work with. I simply used the flash drive in a library computer and did the research there. That keep the work organized and logged the research in one neat move. The folder holds the date and the computer logs the time automatically, if you care about the time.

The notes are logged in the agenda with the item they pertain to. Downloaded records or documents are named and saved to the research folder. Everything is kept together and that is where this technique shines. Logging your research is a great idea. I learned that from genealogy research. A research log helps you keep your research organized. The agenda technique makes it easy to maintain a research log with relatively painless ease.

Naming the folder with the date in the form of month-day-year, which helps keep your work organized by date. You can keep it on the flash drive or move the folders to a special location on your hard drive and maintain it. You can also use a spreadsheet program to keep track of where your research files are. You can keep that one on the flash drive to maintain continuity if you move the files elsewhere. Knowing where you have searched is valuable in mapping out where you should look next. The agenda technique is good for helping you to figure out where you are going with your research. Treat it like a map and it will take you where you want to go.

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Posted in General Opinion

Feline Freedom League September 2015

From: Mr. Whiskers To: All Agents Date: 6 September 2015
Subject: Condolences and replacements

First, I wish to say that I am so sorry to hear of the death of Agent Snickers. She will be missed and not just by her teammates. Her mother has been a good, loyal agent for many years now. I know that all agents will join me in mourning the loss of a good agent, such as Agent Snickers. There will be a moment of silence in her honor today at Sun Straight Up time. that is noon, in human terms for those of you who are keeping human time.

The medical report has come in on her, and I don’t believe she died because she refused to give away our secrets. It is the opinion of the Chief Vet that she was actually physically impaired to the point where she could no longer function as a viable agent. She had suffered a debilitating brain issue that kept her from functioning in the agile and lithe manner expected of a feline. Thus, we further believe that the humans were attempting to be kind in orchestrating her death in as painless a manner as possible.

We would like to learn more about this possibility, so please keep your eyes and ears sharp. However, we do not want any heroics. Do nothing to endanger yourselves or your positions. We have a freeze on hiring, as the budget will not allow us to replace any fallen agents. Agent Snickers will not be replaced immediately, if she is replaced at all. We feel that there are enough agents in her location to cover her duties. Please work that out amongst yourselves.



From: Agent Pica To: Mr. Whiskers Date:

I have been forcibly medicated for several months now. I do not know what the medication is, but the female human grabs me just after she gets up every morning and forces this vile pellet down my throat. I try to not swallow it, but I often can’t help it. I generate a lot of spit in my efforts to get it out of me, but I just can’t. I do not get sleepy or anything and neither the female nor the male ask me any questions. I don’t feel that there is any purpose to this attack. The female also grabs me before she goes to sleep. She give me food after doing that to me, but I really wish that I knew why she forces that pellet on me.

On a more personal note, the itching at the base of my tail has all but gone away and the hair is growing back. I am not sure why I was itching in the first place or why it suddenly stopped, but I am grateful that I don’t itch any more.

I do hope that the pellet doesn’t cause me the harm that my daughter Snickers experienced. I cannot believe that she is gone. One should not outlive one’s children. It is a sad day that we have lost her. I did my best to raise her to be the best agent that a cat can be. I have always been proud of her. She is the only one of my kittens to keep in touch with me.


Michigan Humane Society: Somebody here needs you.

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Posted in Feline Freedom League Report

Physical and Mental Fitness

You need to exercise to maintain your physical health. At the same time, you need to exercise your mind to keep your mental health. One without the other is pretty much useless. Your quality of life requires both halves of this equation. Physical fitness plus mental fitness equals total health. That’s just how it works. Like anything else worthwhile, you have to work at it.
You don’t need expensive gear to get in physical shape.  A good pair of running shoes is pretty much all that you need. Just go for a walk. While mental health is a bit more complicated, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get mentally fit, either. You can play mental games online, but mental fitness is more than playing games like that website that claims to train you brain. You only need to do things to stretch and exercise your mind, just as you would stretch and exercise your muscles. Reading a good book will help. Listening to an audiobook while walking or running counts towards your mental fitness regime. Anything that makes you think works.

You just have to keep this thought in mind: a healthy body doesn’t always mean a healthy mind. You need to exercise your mind to keep it in the peak of health. To that end, you need to challenge your mind. Take an online class through Coursera or some other websites. Find something you are interested in and learn more about it. You need a healthy mind as well as a healthy body to have a good quality of life. I’m not claiming that you can avoid diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s by exercising your brain. I don’t think you can. I’m saying that you can prevent the decay of your mind if the seeds of those diseases are not already present. I’m saying that you can postpone the inevitable aging of your brain in a manner similar to postponing the debilitation of aging in your body by simply exercising your mind. Crossword puzzles, math puzzles, a good book, and other  things that require you to think are all you really need to maintain your mental health.

While mental puzzles to exercise your mind are helpful, you don’t have to do complicated puzzles to stay mentally fit. All you have to do is let your imagination out to play, read a nonfiction book about a subject that interests you. Stretch your mind with new ideas. You don’t have to spend a lot of money either. Visit your local library and check out books on topics that interest you. Watch documentaries that interest you. Surf the Internet and learn what’s out there. There’s a lot of knowledge out there. All you have to do is look for it. Seek it out and your brain will reward you by letting your mind be healthy.  You could even just sit there and describe the world around you, that’s enough. That’s really all you need to do.

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Posted in General Opinion

The Final Stage of Writing

The last stage of writing is only the last stage if you plan to publish your work. Of course, I’m talking about publishing. Once you have the work polished to your satisfaction, you will have to try selling it. If you have an agent already, you can send the piece to him/her. It’s your agent’s job to sell your work. Agents deal with the publishers and act as a go-between between the publisher and the author. Don’t think you won’t have any input in this process – you will, but you will have help unless you chose to self-publish your work. .

If you don’t have an agent and you want to use traditional publishing, you will need to get an agent. You learn what you can about a particular agent and then query them. you will have to make your query grab attention. It has to stand out before the agent will even read it. if you can’t grab the agent’s attention in the first couple of lines, you won’t stand a chance. At this stage, you aren’t so much selling your novel as you are selling your skill as a writer. You demonstrate that in your query letter. If you can grab the agent’s attention in your query letter, you stand a better chance of getting the agent to look at your work. Word has a number of templates for business letters that you can adapt. The form is important, but you also have to craft the letter as carefully as you did your novel. Typos, grammar, and spelling mistakes will not impress an agent. While you are writing your query letter, you should also be looking at agents. Research them. Know what they are looking for. It will do you no good to send your children’s book to an agent who is looking for erotica. Do your homework before you send the letter out.

There are a number of good websites where you can self publish your work. I use Smashwords for my eBooks and CreateSpace for my print books. Book Baby and Lulu are also out there.
Again, do your homework and research these sites. Find the one that suits your budget and goals. There are a number of places where you can self-publish your work, but remember, you shouldn’t pay to publish your novel.

After you publish, you need to market, but that’s not what I consider a stage of writing – it’s one of the steps of publication, since the point of publication is to sell books. If you are self publishing, you need to write ads and post them where people will see them.

Those are the seven broad stages of writing fiction. I haven’t gone into much detail on them. I have only touched on each of them. Writing is individual. We all have our own way of doing it. We all have our own reasons for doing it. We all have our own expectations and dreams. Whatever stage you are in, keep writing.

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Posted in Fiction, Writing Fiction, Writing Techniques

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