What Happened to Blink the Bee?

Blink the Bee is (was) a super handy messenger chat bot. You could make a ro do list and every day at a scheduled time, Blink would send you the list in messenger. He could also answer some simple chats, like what is your favorite color, favorite food, and he would tell jokes when asked. Oh, and he would reply to I love you.

He had a pretty active social media presence between Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, with almost daily facebook posts until September 2018. There was a post about millions of users, followed by a hap-bee labor day post and then nothing.

Silence.

But the bot still worked, the site was still up, the social media accounts still there (though they didn’t post anything and, I admit, I didn’t notice they weren’t posting until I went to steal find some blink images to use for my wallpaper and realized there was nothing new.)

But that changed this September when Blink just stopped working. He sent me my daily to do list and then when I tried to edit it, there was no response. And there hasn’t been a response since. Not from the chatbot, and not from its creators. The facebook page has dozens of comments asking where Blink is, but there are no replies. I even went to the website and messaged customer support but, just like social media, there was no reply.

So what the heck happened? Logically I can figure out that Blink’s creators have abandoned him, probably in 2018, just days after posting that there were now 2.5 million users…

…which is weird. The bot continued to work on it’s own, until either an update made its programming incompatible or else it was removed from whatever server it lived on (not sure how the facebook chatbots work as far as where things are hosted at.) But my question is WHY? Why would they just drop it like a hot rock with no explanation? Were they killed in a crash? Did they go to jail? Were they kidnapped? Someone knows, they’re just not talking.

Worse than wondering what tragedy befell the programmers, is knowing that I’ll never get another terrible bee pun with my to do list, and that is the most tragic thing of all.

If anyone wants to know, I’m now using Reminder for my messenger to do list, but it’s not as sophisticated. Still, it’s better than nothing, and it has a yellow chicken.

Have a happ-bee kinda day!

Jo 😦

Harry Potter Halloween

I know, I’ve been absent lately. I’ve found it’s easier to just post everything on Facebook and forget it. Yeah, it’s the lazy way, but it’s also where everyone is. Blogs are less and less popular because they take “too much time”.

Anyway, that aside, it’s Halloween time, and we had our annual Halloween party. Instead of doing one of the murder mystery parties like we’ve done the last two or three years, we did a Harry Potter party this year. (We did one back in 2005 that you can see here.)

Getting the wands ready (I also made the sorting hat from cardboard, paper, and tape but hubby has those pics and refuses to send them to me)

The wands are made from chopsticks and hot glue, then spray painted, then I used acrylic paint to make highlights on them. They turned out pretty cool. The photo doesn’t really do them justice.

Invites

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The guests:

A quick trip to Olivanders to get our wands (we did a blind choosing because the wand chooses the wizard) Inside each box was a slip of paper to tell you about your wood and core (I didn’t think when I made them, so they were all the same length. I should have snipped some shorter. Oh well.)

Our school shopping complete, it was time to catch the train to Hogwarts! And what train ride is complete without some chocolate frogs and bertie bots’ beans? (I made the frogs out of melted chocolate chips and a mold.) That was supposed to be butter beer, which I know is really in hogsmead, but oh well.

On to the great hall!

Now it was time to get sorted! Put on the hat, draw a pin from the bag, and read us what the hat said to you! (because we had five people and only four houses, one of us got to be a teacher. That was me. wOOt!)

Of course we had to put on our ties

Now that we’re sorted, it’s time for school! History of Magic was first, with our Harry Potter quiz. 45 questions later, I was actually the winner (I only missed 11), but since I was a professor ad not in a house, the runner up got the ten points, and that was Gryffindor.

The next class was Defense Against the Dark Arts, where we “learned” to cast the patronus spell. To “find” our patronus, we had to answer questions, each worth so many points, and then added up the points and that was the patronus we got. I went with white plushies since patronuses are supposed to be white.

And here are the results:

At that point it was lunch time! I got some of the recipes from the feedfeed.com. I also learned I do not like Gorgonzola cheese (the cheeseball/witch hat). Hubby loved it, but the rest of us were happy to never taste it again. The brie on the other hand was delicious! I need to save that recipe and maybe use it at Christmas or just for fun. We did change the ritz crackers by leaving off the peanut butter (we put the cheese on the bottom cracker, then microwaved it long enough to make it soft, then stuck the legs in) and we didn’t have slivered almonds so instead of vampire mouths we have monster mouths. And of course there’s pumpkin pasties because Harry Potter!

After that it was time for Potions class!

We each got a potions recipe and had to scavenger hunt the ingredients. Hufflepuff got ten points for finishing first, and Ravenclaw lost 5 points for trying to cast a hallucination spell on us to cover up his shoddy ingredients. Gryffindor got an extra five points for going to the basement and looking through the Halloween decoration boxes to find the leech we made back in 2005 for that party.

After that we had Muggle Studies, where we learned to dress like muggles (if you’ve read the books you know that the wizards always wear stupid clothes when trying to fit in as muggles). We had made some random clothing items and put them in jars and you had to blind grab, then we voted on who had the “best” (aka worst) Gryffindor won the most.

After that it was supper time (yeah, we had a long party, this stuff takes time!) We had pumpkin juice, treacle tarts, cauldron cakes (in case the treacle tarts were terrible – we actually didn’t eat the cakes last night, but did have one each for tea today), Hogwarts Letters (crescents stuffed with cheese, ham and onions), veggie wands, and chips and dip because we like chips and dip 😉

Then it was time to award the house cup. I had been giving and taking away points all day for various things (Slytherin lost points for Avada Kadavering someone at one point)

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And as you can see, even though Hufflepuff got 18 points for making two rounds of punch (it involved scooping orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream, which we all hate to do) Gryffindor was still the winner because Hufflepuff had too big a mouth and kept getting into trouble.

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Anyway, I had a lot of fun and thought it went pretty well. I’m saving all the pieces we used, in case we want to have one again in ten years or so 😉

Have a Harry Potter Halloween kinda day!

Jo 🙂

 

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 22.12: Akbar is Missing!

It’s time for blogophilia, the fun blog group where Martien gives participants prompts to use in their weekly post. This week;s prompts are:

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 22.12 Topic: “When the Movie Credits Roll”
Hard Bonus (2 points): Use an onomatopoeia
Easy Bonus (1 point): Use a book title by Carl Safina

Last week Jonathan and his family came for a visit – for the annual Day and Dark conference. While he was here, he went for a walk in a cornfield because, Iowa, and met a new friend Akbar who wanted to see the world, but settled for going to Florida.

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Akbar*

He packed his bags, practiced his song for the blue ocean, and – whoosh – left with Jonathan, bound for palm trees, but something happened…something mysterious. Jonathan claims that Akbar ran away with a “steamy housekeeping pepper”, and that was that. When the movie credits roll, Akbar is happy with his new flame, and Jonathan made it home safe, a happily ever after.

Right?

Wrong.

Not long ago a tiny knock sounded on my door. At first, I ignored it, but then, I finally checked and there I found a mysterious ear of corn.

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Meet Saffron 

The corn introduced herself as Saffron and said she was looking for Akbar. Apparently, she’s his girlfriend, and she was pretty upset when I showed her Jonathan’s post.

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the tears of corn

We made her a fortifying cup of tea while she told us her story. She and Akbar planned to be married this fall, but first he wanted to see the world. She was okay with that, as long as he kept in touch, but after he failed to check in, she got worried, and that’s why she came here.

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The tea calmed her down and with her calm came doubts: doubts that Jonathan’s story was true. I had been suspicious from the start (a rumor says that Jonathan simply forgot to take Akbar from the motel), and so I loaned her my laptop and she did some research, starting from the last place we know Akbar was at.

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Is Akbar lost somewhere in Arkansas?

Since Arkansas is so far away, and Saffron doesn’t have a driver’s license, we had to settle for calling the police and filing a missing corn report.

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She’s all ears, but there’s not much to hear

So now, all Saffron and I can do is wait for the police to do their job, contact Jonathan, and try to find out the truth!

*Yes, Akbar is a parody of a Julien Smith video on YouTube. You can check it out in Jonathan’s Facebook post. 

 

 

Alone in the Night

Here is another flash fiction. The picture prompt was a dark abandoned house.

***

It sat alone, a memory of the night it all changed. Once happy voices echoed, but now only wind whistled through broken windows. Once feet danced and scurried, now only dead leaves scuttled and mice dashed across buckled floorboards.

How long had it been since the house had known life and love? Since it had known death and blood, shivering with the screams of its dying occupants?

Though its doors were sturdy, its windows locked, its walls a haven against the dangers outside, it could do nothing against the killer within, the one who lived inside those four walls, who’d grown there, twisted, dark, angry, waiting for something to take its fury out on…

If only the house could have stopped him, could have warned the others, but alas, it stood helpless, sheltering the slaughter, hiding it from public view, so the it was days before anyone found the bodies and the message painted on the wall in scarlet, a final curse to any who dared to read it. The smell lingered long after the remains were taken away, and the feeling of dark dread was even worse, permeating the very woodwork. Is it any wonder that it sits now, like a dark scar on the landscape, forlorn, unloved, abandoned, but never, ever, forgotten?

***

It actually makes me feel sad…Poor house.

Have a flash fiction-y kinda day!

Jo 🙂

The Dark – Flash Fiction

I wrote this for another writing prompt in the street team. The photo was a bench in the dark, surrounded by misty trees.

***

Mary sat alone on the bench. Cocooned by trees, bare autumn branches hung overhead and scratched the night around her. A single leaf shivered, the last of the season before winter’s chill declared victory.

Mary pulled her purse against her thigh, nervous eyes darting around the silent park. It seemed suddenly too quiet, too dark, as if the blackness was a palpable entity, a monster waiting to devour her.

Like the stories so many children whispered about.

She’d grown up on them, shared them, joked about them. Death Park they’d called it as teenagers, based on urban legends with no substance. Now, an adult, she’d long dismissed the stories, had even forgotten about them.

Until this moment.

Now, waiting for someone who was obviously never coming to meet her, those stories came to mind again. The black, swirling something that killed. What had been a childhood joke now seemed real, palpable.

Why did I agree to meet him here?

She checked her watch a final time. It had been over an hour of waiting. She’d been pretty sure he’d called her here to end things, to tell her that he loved his wife and children more than her and the baby in her womb. This seemed the ultimate proof.

Maybe it would be better if some strange thing killed me.

As though summoned by her thoughts, the dark moved closer, tighter, constricting, choking the bench and its occupant. Mary shivered and pulled her coat tighter, as if that could keep the night out. But it couldn’t. Nothing could keep out the cold fingers of dread that snaked under her protective layer, tendrils of terror that wrapped around her, choking out her breath, wrapping around her heart, until the dark was all she could see.

It was a neighborhood child that found her the next morning, cold and stiff, hands still clamped to her coat. Though the coroner wrote heart attack on the paperwork, he knew the truth; she was another victim of the darkness, taken by the night.

***

Not much else to say because I am scheduling this ahead of time. I can only assume I’m having a good week. Or at least an okay week. I know I won’t be sitting on park benches alone in the dark.

Have a stay-away-from-creepy-parks kinda day!

Jo 🙂

More Habi Makeover Fun!

I posted Quickness last night, which means I need to post Clucky tonight. You can’t just post one and not the other! If you’re interested in joining us, you can find our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/214571172638649/ . We’re always looking for more people who want to have fun playing with their pets!

And, while I am on the topic of pets, there’s anther pet game I’ve discovered called Bitty Pals. I have a duck there named Dibble. I’ll get into it another time, though.

Have a your-digital-pet-is-ten-years-old kinda day!

Jo 🙂

Habi Makeover Fun!

The habi makeover community site is down now. Never fear, that is not the end! The website still works to download the program, and we’ve moved our community to Facebook! That means Clucky, Quickness, and all the little pets are still getting happy new habitats!

In light of that, I thought I’d share some of those happy habitats. this is my pet Quickness, that I took over from Jonathan yeeeeeaaaaarrrrrs ago. As in, back on MySpace. Yeah. That long ago.

To keep this from displaying in an obnoxious way, I’m using the thumbnail grid, but they are worth clicking on and scrolling through at the larger size if you like these kind of things like I do.

And now I am off. Have a turtle-in-a-monster-mask kinda day!

Jo 🙂

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