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O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'd like to buy a Clue, Pat.

One half of the best editor husband and wife teams out there, Jeff VanderMeer, gives his 10 Clues for the Clueless on how not to behave while submitting. On the flip side he gives his 10 Editor Responsibilities. Good reading. And just for the record, Jeff gives good rejections (I'm still looking for a home for Robert's Thunder, Mr. VanderMeer, I will let you know where I place it). He certainly walks the walk.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Because if I don't say it, it'll drive me buggy

To the Blackwater employee who drew his side arm on his college to get him to stop randomly shooting into the crowd, bravo, good soldier. However, when someone goes gun-happy in a firefight that forces you to train your own weapon on them to get them to stop, they get one chance to return to sanity. Do not continue to try and hault them, just stop them from firing their weapon before they can shift focus of fire on your position. Just a thought.

Just Keep Swimming...

Spent today putting together the prefab filing cabinet and arranging files and books on the shelves.

The instructions on the filing cabinet said it should take and hour. My ass. Two and a half hours later and it's together. The instructions were bogus. Here, put all the hardware in the panels first, and then start assembling. Oh, I'm sorry we're using wooden dowels for connections (as well as cam pins). Yeah, I'm going to glue (oh yeah, the glue included sucked, so I used my own) dowel pins and then move on to something else while the dowels swell. Yeah, great plan. So I did it my way, using my own glue, adding hardware where I though it was necessary, and assembling on my own schedule. I also attached a power strip to the back to power the printer on top and the airport I attached to the side.

Then I moved the old filing cabinet into the closet and moved around the files. I'm in the middle of organizing the old shelf we kept with office stuff, moving some of the papers off the new built-in-shelves, and rearranging things to fit. Lots of back stretching and other stress fun. Now I need to do much work to clear off the bed so I have someplace to sleep tonight.

Friday, September 28, 2007

If it's not one thing, it's an otter.

Rumor has it that during the latest blow up with Blackwater firing on Iraqi civilians (the one that caused the PM of Iraq to withdraw their license to operate) that one Blackwater employee trained his weapon on another and ordered him to stop firing.

There's still no coherant story about what happened in Northern Syria last week. All the parties concerned seem real intent to say that something happened involving the Israel Air Force and Commandos, links to a N. Korean freighter, approval by the US Government, happened in the far north, but that's about it. Nobody, so far, is willing to say exactly what.

I'm enjoying Goblin Quest immensly, but Jim Hines goes in that category of authors I like but that leave me uncreative. That is as I read them I don't have story bones come to me. Jim, don't worry. John Scalzi, Tobias Buckell, and a number of other authors I love to read have the same effect on me.

Not all together happy with out shelves (yes, I need to post a picture). I need to cut some moulding (which the contractor should have), and two holes for adjustable shelves have ripped. There's still boxes all over the place and we're not able to park in the garage. This will be this weekend's work. Bought a new filing cabinet on sale. It's molded wood, but I needed something bigger and didn't want to change up metal with wood. I probably should have, though. We'll see once I get it all together.

A Dark Wind Blows

Funk. I'm in a definate funk. Margle.

Frustration mixed with powerlessness mixed with things going wrong mixed with tiredness. Not a good cocktail.

I get this way sometimes. It'll pass, I know. I just need to keep from being a dick until that happens. Lots of misunderstandings and differences of perspective (such as I'm usually thinking three steps out than most people I work with, and I get even more frustrated when they can't break out of dealing with the mess right in front and correct the environment that caused the mess in the first place) can happen. Patience is my watch word.

There's also this nervous energy behind it all. Which doesn't help.

Mostly I feel tired, which is worrisome. Tiredness is one of the major way depression manifests in men. I was depressed long enough at my former job to know the feeling (my last boss was literally driving me insane). I can recognize now that there was a slow burn to get here. The sugar head-ache (like a hair-band across the top of my head) I've been nursing for a week and a half is now joined by a frontal lobed head-ache (another sign). I haven't done any writing lately. My schedule is overbooked until World Fantasy in November.

And I'm thinking about presidential and national politics, which never helps.

I know this will pass. Hopefully I can kick it this weekend. I don't like this feeling and being this way. It doesn't help with anything at all.

There has been some discussion about what topics people blog about lately. I thought I really shouldn't share this until I remembered hearing a radio show talking about depression in men and how men display depression differently (strangely enough medical practices and methodologies are based on men and how men display and react, psychological practices are based on women). While I listened to this show, as I was at my former job, I ticked off the list they presented while saying,
"Yep, got that." Depression is natural, a part of being alive. Being depressed for years (like in my last job) isn't. Fortuantely I have a new job and that has helped greatly.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Let's Call It a Day and See if It Goes Away

Well, that was a day. The day job had a lot of crappy situations which I won't explain to much. Let's just say that my cup runneth over with noncomunnications.

The iPod battery ran down. The job from heck made it to the fourth circle of Hades this week. Smirkiness was at an all time high. And I didn't get out any of the three post I wrote in my head (yes, they are all gone now). By the end of the day I had that silliness feeling like you've just got off the tilt-a-whirl.

And to top it off, the yawning chasm of doom that is TV has yawned even farther.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

DEAL!

The UAW and GM came to an agreement. Now it just remains to be seen if the rank and file accept it.

Given that a main stumbling point, and a matter of competativeness, was the health care issue, mostly for retirees, can we have another national discussion of comprehensive, universal (and hopefully single payer) health care? One that doesn't have people screaming on both sides. Because here are the facts, our US Health Care System, as currently working (ie. private insurer and payer model) is now a major drain on the economy and is a disadvantage in our global competativeness. It is time for that terrible thought, single payer health care. If you have more money and can pay for extra stuff, go ahead. For the vast majority of people we need to have "socialized" medicine. And, yeah, most countries get it right. It's only when conservatives for those countries to shift to a private payer system (like they did in England and are trying in Canada) that it goes awry.

For those that cry, "It'll mean rationing!" Just WTF do you think is going on right now? Only the rationing is done by economics, the poor get little, the wealthy get all they can stand. In the future, the poor will get more, and the wealthy can afford to get the extra service that the "socialized" part won't pay for.

"It'll mean long waits." You are clueless. Try and get an appointment with a new doctor and let them know you have Medicare coverage. Six month wait here we come!

"It'll raise taxes!" Probably no more than what you're paying into your current health care plan. Most of us are paying for our health care. Not much of a change.

"It'll mean a large government bureaucracy!" It'll mean less than the jobs that are in private industry, economies of scale you know.

"It'll mean inefficiencies!" Medicare, 'nough said.

"Doctors will stop practicing!" Have you been paying attention to what's been going on with malpractice insurance?

"New wonder drugs won't be produced?" Okay, let's end the government's sponsorship and tax breaks. After all, it should be completely private, right? Yeah, companies and goverments will continue to research new treatments and drugs. And when was the last wonder drug introduced? I'm not talking lifestyle drugs, I'm talking about something with the impact of penicillin, something that changes medicine at a fundemental level, a paradigm shifter.

Really, there aren't many reasons not to do a wholesale reform of the health system. The current situation is an example of private markets gone bad.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dungeon Crawl

I'm reading Jim Hines' Goblin Quest and having a good time. I met Jim at Confusion last year after hearing about his books. So when I was looking for something to round out an Amazon Order to get free shipping, I went to my wish list and pulled out his book. Through a coincidence of when I was out of reading, packed for installation of the bookshelves and shipping, Jim's book was vaulted to the top of my reading list.

The cover was what did if for me. one of the few things my brother introduced me to that I enjoyed was Dungeons and Dragons (well, AD&D by the time I got to it). With one quest I was (somehow) playing a goblin thief character I played to the hilt and enjoyed greatly. He even ended up talking a dragon out of some treasure ("As I am but a meek goblin, that wouldn't even be an appetizer for you, oh great wyrm"). Not an easy thing to do, but if Bilbo could get away with it, so could my goblin. When I saw the DAW Cover of Goblin Quest I instantly remembered that whole quest and giggled as I looked at it (which is how it ended up on my Amazon Wish List).

I've only read a few dungeon crawl books before (the Dragon Lance series, hey, I was 16) and the most recent, R.A. Salvator's One Thousand Orcs (or something like that) really turned me off to them. I mean, eveyrbody now has to play their wizard like Fizz (wiggle whatshisname) from Dragon Lance; slightly dotty, powerful, and distant from reality and consequences (when in fact, that character wasn't any of the previous). In Orcs I could hear the dice tumbling and see the DM flipping pages through their notebook and the characters referencing their Player's Manuals. And the main character really never seemed to be in any real danger (as we would say, he's monty hauling it).

So Jim's book is welcome. I'm only about a fourth of the way through and I'm enjoying it greatly (thanks, Jim). Sure, it's based on your typical dungeon crawl adventure, and some characters (at least so far) are stock players, but he does it really well. the characters have motivations beyond the "wack monsters for loot" kind.

Has anybody else been reading dungeon crawls, and do they do more than give you the feeling of dice rolling and rule checking? I've thought about writing some as some point (in fact, I discovered a notebook from many ages ago with notes for one, it was clear I didn't know WTF I was doing at the time, this was probably from when I was in my mid-twenties, maybe late teens). My experience, except from Jim's book, hasn't been one of positive goal setting material, so I was wondering if anybody has seen other examples.

Monday, September 24, 2007

War Stories off to the Dark Wisdom

Aftyer querying about the length, My Favorite War Stories is off to the Dark Wisdom. If they don't like it, I'll have to kill my darling at the begining, rewrite the intro, and then find somewhere else to send it to.

Yesterday I had a critique of my flash piece, Interview. That title will change. People for the most part were positive about it. I'm workiing on putting all the edits together, and then off to someplace that does flash (flashquake was proposed by Mer way back when).

Now with less me.

Had my 90-day doctor's appointment. This was to determine if I needed to go on a highly-restricted and monitored diet (monitored in case I would fall over). As you may know, Bob, I'm insulin resistant (metabolic syndrome). This is an early precursor to diabetes. I begged off the diet three months ago stating my schedule would make such a diet impossible, and that I was feeling different taking metaformin.

Well, today, in the afternoon no less, I weighed 9 pounds less than I did three months ago (1 pound every ten days). Woohoo! So no restricted monitored diet for me. Now I need to do it again around Xmas time.

Pop, it's bad for you. I didn't change much in my life except restrict the pop a little. Now I need to restrict it more, and maybe hike up and down the steps more at work.

STRIKE!

GM UAW workers went on strike. I expect it to be very short lived. Neither the company nor the union could survive a long strike. My guess is that this is a way of the union saying, "we're serious about these final points." Sometime you gotta do what you gotta do.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Questions and Rejections

I'm taking a short break from reloading and organizing the shelves and I check email. Strange Horizons just rejected My Favorite War Stories, but it's a really excellent rejection letter from one of the editors and the rejection basically boils down to SH really isn't interested in Cthulu horror. Fair cop (and I sort of knew that, but it's the editor's job to reject the manuscript, not mine to pre-reject and they didn't specifically say in their guidelines that they don't want it while they do specify other horror items they don't want). The editor then talks a little about the story, makes some comments about things that I questioned myself on (the first part of the story, which gives legitimancy to the characters, but doesn't advance the story much beyond that, and it's a matter of that it's a darling I didn't want to kill, my bad).

Anyway, I'm getting really nice rejection letters these days. Is it okay if you get a really nice rejection letter to respond with a "Thanks" email? I've seen other editors take submittors to task about bad responses to rejections (I'm thinking specifically about Nick Mamatas right at the moment). But is it okay to send a "Thanks for your time and comments. I really appreciated them. Maybe you'll find the next story I submit works better," kind of note?

Friday, September 21, 2007

What Hath Stephen King Wrought?

Via Jay Lake's link salad, The Haven Foundation by Stephen King. If this lives up to the mission statement, Mr. King is made of not only awesomeness, but starry-eyed awesomeness.

I'm still reading through it, but this is very excellent. Good on you, Mr. King.

My only critique, hate the flash stuff as it makes navigation difficult. Some things are handled by other organizations, but not everybody belongs to one of those.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Another Amish SF Story!

Well, after a long dry winter of no Amish in SF/F/H, I was checking out some of the places I've submitted to check on what's going on. I hit OSC's Intergalactic Medicine Show and there, in this issue, is Rumspringa by Jason Sanford. I don't know Jason (at least by name), but another writer including the Amish in his SF/F work. Cool! I just googled him and his stuff looks interesting.

As Tobias is all about the Caribbean (Jason has interview Tobias! Excellent), I'm about exurbia (back to the farm) and the Amish. It's what we know. The Amish aren't in every story I write, but they certainly make up some of the supporting cast in much of my Fantasy. Some in my writers group wonder why I don't put more of them in (or work them into other stories). Well, I'm not always about exurbia. Some of my characters are very urban.

But, cool. Amish are published in SF.

The Squirrels Are Attacking!

We have lots of White Oak trees in the back. Because it's been so dry they're dropping their acorns early (and they are very small, almost like large BBs). I have a wood deck right outside where I write, and the trees come up to the house (I think I need to post more photos). Anway, dense acorns hitting wood right next to me. It's making me jumpy. Not expecting anything in "ponk!"

A small part of my hind brain keeps shouting, "Incoming!" It's very distracting.

On the plus side, acorns feed the wild turkeys that come through the yard. The little bastard squirrels don't bother with them, instead choosing to bliss out on the sunflower seeds we feed the birds in the winter. Little tree pigs. The chipmonks mostly get the shells. The bad thing is that the acorns hurt when you're barefoot. They also bring the grackels. If you've never seen a hundred or more black birds marching in formation through your yard tossing up leaves to find the acorns, you're missing something.

CAUGHT!

Well, the boss said something about how I should pay more attention to work. edit I was reading a blog.

Now if they'd just get me a faster machine so I would be bored off my rocker waiting for the thing to work on something. edit As I catch up with everybody in those five minute breaks while I'm waiting for the PDF or the plates to get made. Refocusing soleyl on work didn change my leaving time by much. The big change was that the large stuff was slow so some of my work got reassigned (that mad a bigger difference).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

De Gubberment Says You All's Prices Have Lowered

So, the government reports that retail prices fell 0.1% last month. Anybody notice that at all? I sure didn't. I've always wondered what those people actually buy. 'Cause my cost at the register has gone up 3-8% the past four years (excluding gas prices) when they say it's only been 2 or 2.5%.

Arrr, happy holidaze you scalliwags!

Oh my garsh, matey. I been swabbin' de decks and almost missed it, arr. 'Tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day it is.

Strike the Jolly Roger and raise the Red. Avast ye scabbardy dogs, we're takin' this har bloggospherics by de masts and takin' 'em all down to see Davy Jones. Arrr.

Relax, we're with the band

So, I have the contractor we used for the bookshelves in our house installing today. Mondays and Wednesdays Bette has work, so they're there without one of us being there. It makes me nervous and I don't like it.

I know they're professionals (or I hope they are, in my experience not everybody who should be a professional actually is). It's just someone I don't know well is in my home when nobody else is there.

Have you ever had to have this happen? Did it go well?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Animals We Share Our Lives With

It's late, and I'm on the couch petting the cat, Isis. She's been a very good cat all the years we've had her. I wish she was more amenable to other cats, but Isis is a one pet per household kind of kitty. I would want another cat so they could learn all her good habits. She's getting on in years. Her hip gives her problems, so if she lays wrong she hobbles a bit when she gets back up. She has difficulty jumping up on things. But she sure still likes being rubbed and petted, I just have to be a little careful with her now.

This past year friends lost all their rabbits. They were also getting up there, just like the rest of us. They were nice rabbits.

Another friend who also had rabbits just lost her last one, Annabelle. Annabelle was a good rabbit to her, and to many other people. She was a visiting rabbit who brought joy to many people in nursing homes in the Akron area. Annabelle was also her inspiration and model for her drawing. More of a companion that a pet.

So I'm just thinking about pets and how they affect us.

Retirement

Well, I can't type about it much at the moment, but my plan to earn a living in retirement by writing is coming together nicely. Nope, it's not about being published, it's about watching all the other retirement options going bye-bye. Once I have more info I can let you all know what's really happening, but as of this week, my union's Supplemental Retirement Fund is history, thanks to the new funding law put into place by the former Republican Congress. There are two other retirement funds for the union. From what I understand the money from the Supplemental is being rolled into the inter-local to fully fund that one. Everybody currently on the Supplemental will be continued at full benefit, but nobody will be added as of last week. In our shop we have someone that was filling out the paperwork to retire at the end of this year. She no longer can retire then. Several people who were planning to retire in the next 3 years are now re-adjusting their plans and will probably not retire. There is not a happy mood in the shop at the moment. There's a big meeting this Saturday (which I probably can't make), just in case we make the news.

You'd think at 41 I wouldn't be so worried about retirement. You would be wrong about that.

Is this an envelope I see before me?

DLG is all ready to go. Last night I worked until 7pm, so I kind of missed the Post Office desk hours. Today I'm keeping my head down to try and get out on time to make it to the Post Office.

In other news, the Whatever is back to haitus because of upgrade issues. I feel your pain, John. Here at work I'm constantly asked by managers why I'm not using the latest and greatest version of software (Quark 7 or InDesign CS3). Well, there's a reason why the bleeding edge is called the bleeding edge. I like to get work done, and software designers have this habit of adding things that nobody really wanted, but they needed to fill out the features checklist to the detriments of having software that actually works. MS Word is a classic example of this design philosophy. Bloatware that makes humback whales look svelt.

Last night I sat down to type in all the poetry that's on little slips of paper (I had an hour I could get it done in). And then I got distracted. Nothing got typed. I have to do better than this.

Anyway, hope you all's day is going better.

Monday, September 17, 2007

There go the profits

Blackwater has had their license pulled. Such are the vagaries of the merc lifestyle.

I'm sure the "government" will find some place to use them; hurricane relief, Dafur, coup de ta.

You like me. Your really (bleep)ing like me.

They bleeped Sally Fields at the Emmy's last night. WTF? I didn't watch, so I only heard it second hand. I guess she went to say, "If mothers ruled the world, there wouldn't be god-damned wars in the first place." Fox bleeped out everything after the "God" part. What, did they think she was going to bear a breast or something?

Passing of the Giants

Per Making Light Robert Jordon (James Rigney), after a struggle with a terrible illness, has passed on. Here is a statement.

We stand on their shoulders to see farther and walk through paths made clear by their presence.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Edits - Finished Daddy's Little Girl

After a day of walking through about half of the Mespo Cemetary (officially Fairfield Cemetary, yes I took pictures, there are a ton of interesting stones there, more than I expected) I did a red-line edit and have all the changes made. She is ready to go out at 2839 words, strangely enough exactly where it was before this edit. So no net gain or loss, even with removing and adding whole sentences, changing words in sentences, adding and deleting words in sentences.

I'm thinking of first sending it to WotF. They say they accept "Dark Fantasy." DLG now ends on a positive, or at least healing, moment for the narrator. That places it on the border of DF and Horror (it was originally horror, and most of it still is). WotF still only accepts hard copy so into an envelope it must go, then a trip to the post office.

Next up, I need to start writing new things (or unfinished things). Also, I need to gather all the comments on Robert's Thunder together and solve them. That should go fairly quickly. Then I need to fix Crow Boy, which is harder and which is why I've been avoiding it.

The shelves have been delivered, but they aren't installed. This weekend was supposed to be about moving things back into the house and organizing the collections to put on the shelves. The house smells of wood and the finishing (like the former, hate the later). Tomorrow I need to mow the lawn (it's been two weeks and we've had rain, so there's mucho growth). Then my wife says we need to go through the Halloween decorations and donate what we're not going to use (or have attachments to). Still feeling the effects from the past week of work and extras. It's nearly misnight and I'm not in bed. I need to fix that if I have any chance of getting back to a schedule of writing reguarly.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Next Year, We'll Always Win Homecoming Next Year

Swell guy Tobias Buckell gives some links to the recent Writers of the Future Winner and Judges.

Stephen Kotowych talks about the experience of winning the big prize and being at the events at his blog. And on the other side of the table, Shawn Williams talks about being a judge on his blog.

Next year, it'll be me, Mer (because she recently mentioned WotF on her blog), or one of you all. Yes, I have a good feeling about that prediction. So you should read them all, you know, so you're prepared for it.

VanderSale

In case you've been on the moon (well, WorldCon was in Japan and Japan is going to the Moon, satellites around a satellite, that's Japanese thinking for ya), all around hoopy froods Jeff and Ann VanderMeer (and I'm assuming here, Evil Monkey) are having a book sale. If I wasn't building shelves to hold my already extensive collection I would be snapping some more up. Plus, well, let's just say that my goal of purchasing less than four books a year has already been broken. Smashed really.

Accentuate the Positive

So, anybody actually watch the President's speech last night? Or are you all just getting the highlight reels this morning like the rest of us?

I did make in home in time to watch, but was eating dinner and didn't want to upset my stomach. I think I watched the Weather Channel instead. Humberto, who knew?

But let's see, small troop withdrawls this year, check. Stay the course, check. Success, check. We'll withdrawl with victory, check. Still have major troops there past the end of his presidency, check. I guess since Karl Rove left there's nothing new under the bubble.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Randomness

Still at work, dragging my brain around the desktop. Not enough coherant thought for a full post, so here's some half ones.

Since the President had writen his speech back in August, I critiqued it back then (slight troop reductions - have to happen anyway - and "stay the course." Oh yeah, confidence in the Malaki government, blah blah, seeing progress, blah blah, calling the opposition un-patriotic or non-supportive of the troops, blah blah, troops are still confident of the mission - just like HAL - victory is close, blah blah, next progress report sometime after it's too late to pullout before I have to hand it off to somebody else, blah blah, we're winning, blah blah). No reason to watch or respond.

After yesterday's blogapalooza, I'm awfully quiet today.

Tobias and Scalzi are close to finishing their next novels. Each are alternating between lots of posts and being silent.

The Radical Christians are starting to get their dander up, must be approaching Xmas, again. This means for denegrating or completely ignoring the Days of Awe (Happy Rosh Hashanah, BTW), Ramadan, and Diwali, dissing Halloween, focusing on the "good Christian message of Thanksgiving" (which must have been, "Screw the savages") and then full frontal assualt in the "War on Xmas."

Some insight into future weapons (at least for the Navy).

The Halloween stores are open (yippie! Kid in a candy store).

It was only three-quarters of a year ago that I was keeping this schedule regularly and now it whips me. Well, I am on drugs now, and not drinking as much pop, so that might have something to do wth it. If that's the case this winter is going to be murder. How come everytime they try to help me at work, it means I'm working more overtime?

Hope your days are going better. Hopefully I can get some sleep tonight and reset. I'm also halfway through the novella at the end of Fragile Things. It's a "Shadow" story. Loving it so far. Haven't been able to read (fiction) since Sunday. And it just hit me that my remaining library books are due this Saturday.

Woohoo! You Rock, Ken McConnell!

Sometimes commentor and fellow Whateverian (Whateverite? Anyway, I think that's where I saw you first and linked to your blog) Ken McConnell has made his first professional sale! You all should go and congratulate him. Woohoo! Good job! I 'm sure this will be only the first in a long string of sales.

Why I Keep the Dayjob (and why it's hard to have regular writing hours)

Forgot to post this last week. We get our paycheck notices (or actual physical checks) on Thursday. Pay and donuts (although they aren't here yet) on the same day. If Thursday also didn't mean 12 hours of work, they'd be happy days indead. But last week was the milestone. I have now made my base salary (I'm hourly, so that would be pay rate x 40 hours a week x 52 weeks). Everything else this year is extra. On the bad side of this is back in February I estimated I would pass this point the first week of August (so OT has gone down a little, and I've had to take more time off than I expected).

So, it's all skittles and beer from here out. Plus Sam's Club had their Xmas trees up last night. Merry Xmas everybody!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Three long days

Damn. Just finished the freelance (at least the first shot at it). It's been a damn long week and it's only Wednesday (for about another 15 minutes). And Thursdays are my long day at the day job. Not good. I'm hoping the rest of you have been having a much better week.

Time for bed.

Just One of Those Days

Okay, so instead of continually making new postings, I have a feeling I'm going to run into a whole bunch of little things all through the day that I'd really like to talk about, so I'm just going to update this post (watch, now I won't find anything else interesting all day).

First up is the Joseph Campbell Introduction to Mythology at Sarah Lawrence College Reading Master List. And you think your college courses are/were tough? This was an intro class. When I was but a nubile freshman in college I, by mistake, took a 300 level Classic Mythology course. That, ladies and gentlemen, is absolutely not the way you should start college. I got a B- or C+, IIRC. I had no idea what a 300 level class meant, and being in the Honors Program nobody questioned my judgement in signing up for it. I think our reading list was about a quarter as long as this, and most of that were photocopied excerpts (before Kinkos became copy cop). I loved that class, BTW. Still do. I took a lot of really weird things. It wasn't my favorite (non-major) class, but it's close and that is saying a lot (if you knew my favorite, which was an Honors Program Studies course with Dr. Leathers, get me drinking and ask me about him if you want to know). Now, on the plus side, I have a longer Xmas wish list. :) Forgot to give a shout out to the Endicott Studio Blog (there's a permanent link to the right).

Not exactly groundbreaking, but I just realized that I hadn't read this months Ansible. What's up with that? You know Dave Langford won the Hugo... again. :)

Sure, in the morning I'm running into all these things that I just need to look at and post about, and then they peter out.

And then there's the Father of All Bombs. Now the article says they named it the "Father" because the nick name of the MOAB (our current weapon) is "Mother of All Bombs," but I think it has to do more with the Russian world view. They call their ships "Him" and their homeland "Mother." Ruskies, what can ya do with them.

Last thing, Karl Schoeder is inverviewed over at EcoGeek. Two great tastes that go together (Karl and EcoGeek). And they list two other blogs by Karl. Sweet!

That's all the updates I'm doing to this entry.

Welcome the New Millennium

If you're a follower of the Julian Calendar, it's the New Year and the new millennium. Happy happy.

You know, if you're Ethiopian it's a big day. And before you get all self-righteous or whatever, our Western Culture invented the Julian and then adjusted with the Gregorian losing 12 days. And it wasn't all that long ago. Where as most other places followed older lunar based calendars which didn't have as much error in them as the European Lunar Calendars did.

Just another gripe about Iraq

After four plus years of, "stay the course, we're making progress," I want real metrics. On a scale of 1 to 100, where 1 is we just demolished a government and ground the professional classes into the dust and 100 is skittles and beer, just where are we? General, Mr. Ambassador?

I usually just keep these things to myself

All around really nice person (no matter what the test says) Camille had this on her blog, so I thought I would also take the test.

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
LevelScore
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Very High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low



So, there you have it in a nutshell. I think my moderate score in L3: Gluttonous comes from being overweight and that I do think food is one of the joys on this planet. My moderate scores for L7: Violent and Level 8- the Malebolg: Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers probably stems from my belief that there are people who deserve death (OBL I'm looking at you) and some people deserve to be defrauded (say, the CEOs of Enron and Exxon/Mobil for instance, if they sent money to a Nigerian 401 scam, I'm not going to cry about that one).

But the software puts me in "Second Level of Hell: You have come to a place mute of all light, where the wind bellows as the sea does in a tempest. This is the realm where the lustful spend eternity. Here, sinners are blown around endlessly by the unforgiving winds of unquenchable desire as punishment for their transgressions. The infernal hurricane that never rests hurtles the spirits onward in its rapine, whirling them round, and smiting, it molests them. You have betrayed reason at the behest of your appetite for pleasure, and so here you are doomed to remain. Cleopatra and Helen of Troy are two that share in your fate."

Babes! Woohoo!

Take the Dante's Inferno Test

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Even Elvis Got the Blues

Sometimes those gremlins form up and make a concerted assualt. If it can happen to Jay Lake, it can happen to the rest of us. The best answer when the gremlin chorus grows to that strength, though, is to work through them. Sort of how you work through targets.

Anyway, for the benefit of the writers out there, even Jay Lake gets those moments. So the rest of us shouldn't feel bad about them. They're normal. It passes.

One of those panic moments

Keeping up with any profession requires a lot of homework. I just had a moment where I realized that I am trading off the design career for the writing career. I think I've passed the 33% mark which is a little scary for not having made a cent from writing, yet.

In the background of work is a discussion about someone learning HTML and Flash to do websites. Part of my brain took off thinking of Flash programing (which I would be REAL rusty at now), current CSS implementation, HTML 4 coding requirements and everything from 3 that's been depricated. Hell, I don't even know what's current anymore. It's a panic moment where you realize that you might not be able to get that next job if you needed it. I'm sure with a month of intense work I could be back up there. I guess it's more of a "hey, these tools are rusty and you aren't working to oil them up?"

I better get that first novel written so I can write novels 2-whatever.

Sixth Anniversary

And Osama bin Laden's head is still attached to his body.

That, Mr. President, is your failure. Let me see, almost 3800 of our dead, trillions spent, and your Head of Homeland Security has a gut feeling that something bad is going to happen. How's that "War on Terror" going? Oh yeah, we're fighting them there (glad we could make a nice place for them to play in, Rummy's World) so we don't have to fight them here. Like Al Qaeda has landing craft and are going to storm Virginia Beach, or do you also not trust the security theater of the TSA like the rest of us don't? Also, I'm glad that Al Qaeda has also choose to get bogged down and over spend their resources on Iraq, just like we did. Oh, wait, they didn't do that.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Paying it forward

Mer Haskell (whom I think I've mentioned before is a hoopy frood) has started a "pay it forward" campaign. I was lucky enough to be her number 5 person. So here's the deal.

Pay It Forward: I will send a handmade gift to the first 5 people who leave a comment here on my blog. I don’t yet know what that gift will be, but you will receive it within 365 days. The only thing you have to do in return is "pay it forward" by making a similar agreement on your blog.

So that's it.

Even more writer's stuff

All around great person Mer Haskell has some notes (from a book she's reading no doubt) on editorial mirror/rejection letter scrying. Ah yes, I remember an essay by Athur C. Clarke on how to write recommendations on house boys in Sri Lanka that's similar. Same kind of "read through the lines" coded message, the dog barks at midnight, kind of language.

Because the World Is Round

For those of you who have read this blog for a while, you'll know why this group, CIRCA are near and dear to my heart (and I just found out about them). For those of you that don't know why, remind me when it starts snowing and I'll tell you (yes, there is a reason).

The best weapon against power is laughter. Against imagined power it is devistating. Thanks to the Endicott Studio Blog for the link.

Even more advice, but you get to ask the questions

Via Jay Lake, et in arcaedia, ego's Agent Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (when getting an agent). Go ask a question Miss Manner style about agents. Now that the wonderful Miss Snark is gone, agent info (especially snarkey agent info) is scarcer on teh interweedbies. Go and ask (until 10pm tonight).

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Lazy Sunday

I'm taking time and not cleaning up the office (we have the bookshelves arriving this week, so I need to clear it out for installation). So I'm running through and getting caught up with the RSS feeds of blogs I like to read.

And out of the blue, holy mackerel! You turn your back on Jeff Vandermeer for a day or two and he goes and posts like 40 items. Argh! I mean I thought Jay Lake was wacked with posting something like 6 to 10 posts a day. It's like they're wrapped up contesting each other as to who can post the most. If I didn't like reading their posts I would dump them out of the RSS folder I have (I have done that to other blogs, mostly mil blogs that had more politics than anything else).

BTW, very soon now (if he hasn't already started, I'm still reading) Jeff will have a book sale.

'Tis the Season for Writing Advice

The good thing is that normally I become more productive writing wise during the winter months. Of course there are exceptions to this (last night I wrote the first draft of two poems, I thought it was one, but in sunlight they turned into two). I find that when I'm not creative and writing (BTW, one of the best pieces of writing is to write when you're not "inspired," to write at the same time everyday, and to keep at it, unfortunately my schedule, even with less OT than at the begining of the year, isn't so conducsive to that) that I should keep reading stuff I like and also read advice to keep those mental checklist thingies glowing bright from recent memory.

So here are two more links thanks to Justine Larbalestier (who is composing her own post about editing). You are checking Justine's blog, aren't you?

Maureen's How to Revise a Book. It has a picture of Cary Grant. How can you go wrong with that?

David Louis Edelman's Line Editing in 10 Easy Steps (yeah, right).

And a third one from pllogan (who I know I know your real name but can't put my finger on it right now) who points to an article by Ann Crispin over at Writer Beware Blog on How Do You Tell Who's Going to "Make It? I've seen all those points she makes and have worked my way out of them. I've seen other writers get dragged down by some of them (especially the submitting and rejection part).

And there's a way to waste an otherwise productive afternoon.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Loot!

The good stuff from Todd Wheeler's summer reading contest arrived yesterday. What a haul. An LED booklight (oooo), Library of Congress swag including a pencil, novelty pen, bookmark, and notepad. Thanks, Todd. Woohoo!

Friday, September 7, 2007

New Anthology Open

Eric T. Reynolds posts that a new themed anthology is now open for submissions. It's a part of the "Ruins" series that both Camille Alexa and Tobias Buckell (and a few other good names) have stories placed in previous editions. It's kind of a short deadline and pretty specific on theme, but having an open anthology is a good thing to pass on.

More Writing Links from the Week, the Audio Portion

This week on the Diane Rehm show (have I ever gushed about her show here? If not, I'll have to sometime soon) we have the Steve Roberts (who is filling in for Diane) interview with John Heath & Lisa Adams on their new book "Why We Read What We Read." Excellent interview about the book where the authors read everything in the NYT's bestseller list and talk about what they found. That link is to the archive page where you can grab a replay of the show. The talk isn't specific genre, but good general stuff of "what readers are looking for."

Also, this weeks nano cast of edit Adventures in SF Publishing, end editWriter of the Future: Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta ad their panel on "Things I wish some professional had told me when I was starting out." I'm listening to it right now (and have backed up to relisten to a segment several times). Good things.

More Neopro Advice

This summer there seems to be a bumper crop of it. Can this mean there is a new wave of new authors? We should know in about five years when we start seeing articles about the "fresh authors" (you know, the ones that have been slogging away at it for a combined total of a millenia).

Cool guy and great Dad, Dave Kletcha points out a Cherie Priest aricle on Things I've Learned Since My First Book Got Published.

Fun guy and also cool dude, Joshua Palmatier continues his advice givng lollapalloza with an article on what I call pacing and he calls Peaks and Lulls. This is a follow on to another article he's posted about writing (click the tag for "Writing Tips" to see most of his advice).

I'm sure there's probably six other articles I've read this past week that I'm forgetting to post here.

Also Tor and Forge has posted some podcasts from WorldCon.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Totally Geek Game

What to know how I got to be the way am I am with the humor I have? Because I play games like this.

Bellissimo, Maestro, bellissimo.

Luchiano Pavarotti October 12, 1935 – September 6, 2007.

Whose only crime in music was to be popular outside the rarefied confines of the operatic circles.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Dear Santa...

Okay, I've only been talking with my friend (and sometimes commentor) Dan. Apple just rolled out a new iPod that's like an iPhone but without the phone but with wifi. If there's a widget that can edit RTF files (or work like Pages), I wanna I wanna I wanna. I haven't even seen the damn thing yet (as I type the Apple Store is still down).

When I saw the iPhone, this is exactly what I said. Give me wifi, take the phone, and give me a text editor and reader (say Acrobat) and I am sold. Put in a hard drive to get 80 gigs of capacity and I would kiss Steve Jobs on the lips. I'll even use tongue if he needs it (fortunately for both of us it doesn't appear they're going to add hard drive models any time soon, it's a limited time offer, Mr. Jobs, chop chop).

But yeah, add that phantom keyboard tech of whoopa that would be a killer app. Damn, and I was hoping Apple Stock was going back below 40 sometime soon (so I could buy back in). Sigh.

Edit I just mentioned how if this could also do good text work, how at Confusion I can see a lot of people whipping these out instead of laptops. I mean, if this can do text editing, I really want to test it. I mean, take off work and go to the Apple Store, knock little old ladies off the sidewalk into traffic so I can get in line to check it out want to see it. If it does text editing well, I wouldn't need to take a laptop anywhere anymore (this is something I'm always worried about).

Monday, September 3, 2007

Rewrite #3 in the Hopper. On to Rewrite #4 (okay, well, maybe just edits)

Finished the full story. We're at 2836 words now. I didn't address all the concerns that came up in the critique, but I got the major ones, the ones that were repeated by several people. So an extra four-hundred plus words. I did delete some things, including a whole paragraph just gone. Gone I tell ya. Gone. Out of here. Fini. Gone.

Now I think I need to do some editing and see where we are at. I think we're in a good spot. I explain a little more about the narrator's psychology and his life. I hope with the extra words I made the story more comprehensible. I think some of the horror part isn't as strong, but maybe not. That's the editor's job to determine.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Rewrite Report

Daddy's Little Girl is now thirteen and we're up to 2293 words. We're about to jump to 16 and our narrator's break down which I've been asked to give specifics and describe. I think this is the point where he starts to resent his keeping the facade going. That the "normal" part of him rebels and tries to get him to get help. The other side wins in the end, and he keeps up with believing his daughter is talking to him. So, that's pretty heavy, and I've done a lot already. Tomorrow we'll tackle this. And then we'll plow to the end, which I need to either make the breakdown the climatic seen, or his letting his daughter go the climax (just penned it out on the hard copy, it's a sickness I tell ya).

Time for bed and maybe a little Neil Gaiman before sleep.

Daddy's Little Girl in Rewrites

Yes, it's Labor Day. Yes, I'm working. It's a sickness.

I've started the rewrite of Daddy's Little Girl. Thanks to the comments from the writers group I belong to I'm adding a lot in. At one time I posted a comment on Camille's blog about how horror needs to find that psychological crack in our personas and bore right in there without flinching, and then keep at it. I forgot that with DLG. I'm back to it. Damn that's hard.

One of the comments from the group that's driving most of what I'm putting in was that I had turned what was probably one of the most terrible things to happen to a parent into a sick extended joke. My response was, yeah, I probably went to the light side to keep the reader from throwing the magazine against a wall. Well, I'm driving at least closer to that later sentiment now. And it hurts to write some of this. The death of a child, a marriage, a persona. But in there is a good horror story. I hope to pull it off.

The story is going to be longer at the end of this. It has to be, I have to show more, make the narrator less "emotionally flat." That was the major criticism that almost everybody echoed. Word count when I started 1587. I'm at the only scene break (about one third of the way through) and I'm up to 1905. Three hundred plus words of pain and dispair.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Fair Today, Grill Tomorrow

Today we went to the Great Geauga County Fair. We usually don't go on Saturdays, waiting for Monday and the plant auction (mums for $2, as many as you can carry, and beautiful hanging baskets of foxtails for $4). But Bette likes to watch the ponies run in the races. So we hitched up and went today.

We know a few backways into the fair, and normally are parked behind the carnies and animal people. This year we parked all the way around the other side of the fair and went in a gate we normally don't. Now, this was good news and bad news. We were pretty close to the gate, and right inside this gate is the Friends of the Library booksale. So, good books, bad because we are spending a few thousand dollars this year to turn a couple of walls into library units. It's not like we don't already have lots of books. But good news, because if we buy books that means we have to haul them all day (incentive to NOT buy them).

Then, while we're looking at the books, who do I run into? My boss. First day of Labor Day Weekend, and the first face I see that I know (other than the people here in town as we left, and my wife) is my Boss. Fortunately I have a pretty cool boss (no, I don't think he reads this). So I joke around with him a little.

Then Bette and I go sit and watch the races. The announcer was a little off his game today. We were a little off (I could pick to show, but to place or win I was right out). Fortuantely I only bet my life, never my money, as they say. So we watch the races up to the first two Amish races (no betting on the Amish) and have some lunch of corn dogs and soft pretzles. Afterward we go get milkshakes (made with whole milk right from the cow) wander through the craft barns and horse barns. We listen to the pie auction (one went for $350, for an apple pie). We get dinner at the Grange Counter and get treated to a Nick and Nora show by the older people doing the serving (one of the reasons I like the fair). Wander a little more and then leave sunburnt and tired.

Tomorrow we'll grill out before it's too late. Just like wearing white pants and rootbear floats, after Labor Day it's against the law to cook out. So I'll get the last one in while I can.

College Daze - Kids these days.

I'm lucky to keep in contact with many friends from college. Many of them, for some reason, still live close to the college (or at least work near there). A former professor of mine described it as the "black-hole effect of Akron U." Sure, you might think you have escape velocity, but you don't go far. So, anyway, last night my long-time friend and sometimes commentor, Dan B. sent me a photo he took on campus. The background looks like it's one of the new parking garages on campus.



The students these days. When I was in school I was looking for these very two things. Although we had to work hard to find them. I mean, it's not like they were just on every corner. But the kids these days are used to having everything handed to them. So now there are signs to help the kiddies out. And the school has obviously gathered them together in one room. How easy can it be.

My nephew now goes there. I wonder if he saw this?