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On the side of a hill in the deep forest green, tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground,
blankets and bedclothes the child of the mountain sleeps unaware of the clarion call.
On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves washes the grave with silvery tears,
a soldier cleans and polishes a gun.
War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions, generals order their soldiers to kill
and to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten

Friday, February 29, 2008

I'll Be Hearing You

While killing a few moments before an oil change I popped into a library I've used very often (not my local library, BTW). The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, vol 20 was listed as "lost." Bummer. But then I started looking through the audio books and found Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (okay, under "Blade Runner" but I know it) by P.K. Dick, Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut, and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill all on CDs (unabridged, all of them, I hate abridged audio books). I've read the first two way back in college and enjoyed them both. I still use the word "kipple" sometimes (that's actually what you'd see if you came over to my house unannounced, btw). Actually read Monkey House for a literature course. And I have Joe Hill's book just waiting to be read (loved 20th Century Ghosts, whomever is responsible for having that book in the World Fantasy book bag, thank you very much).

As a bonus, they had a new Sinatra compilation CD, Romance, Songs from the Heart.

Score!

Happy Leap Day

Don't forget to jump for joy today.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lurker-fu = 500+

I need to come up with a different term, as lurker-fu really doesn't express the plain lack of reading other people's blogs (let alone not commenting on them).

Work is less overtime, but I have now been warned to not read blogs while we're busy. So all those 3 minute moments I used before are now being used to allow my brain to sleep while I wait for 1) applications to load 2) applications to finish the tasks I gave them (MacOS X keyboard cache is more like 12 strokes now), 3) wait for plates.

So less time at the day thing, but now way more (WAY more) on the extra stuff (except writing). Margle.

But Camille has another meme (of which she also discussed the use of that word) and I thought it might be nice to show everybody (but not every question, you need to go to her site to see all of them).

1) Ever been in a relationship lasting over 5 years?
Yes, married my wife (10th anniversary last November) after shacking up with her for 13.5 years. Also, worked several jobs over 5 years.

2) What was one of your dreams growing up?
A land octopus (60' tall) ate my second and third grade classroom (an external trailer in the school yard, before they were fashionable). Yeah, I know, not the "dream" you wanted, eh? Have we met before?

3) What talent do you wish you had?
Psychic communications. Or is that a superpower? Talent, hmm, to be a gooder writer.

4) If I bought you a drink what would it be?
Beer. A nice one. A nice one that isn't sold elsewhere as cheap tapped swill (I'm looking at you, Rolling Rock). Or if it was someplace that we had to drive afterward, a pop.

5) Favorite books?
Ones that tell a good story in an entertaining way. They have to have good language usage.

6) What was the last book you read?
I am America and So Can You by Stephen Colber(t)

7) Astrology: Menace to science education or entertainment?
For me, entertainment. For most people, it's a menace to science eduction because they don't understand what entertainment is (or do I need to explain Psych Behavior and random positive reinforcement and how it's the strongest motivator for behavior training).

8) Any tattoos and/or piercings? Explain where.
None, except accidental ones.

9) Worst habit?
(not telling, but I'm trying to break it)

10) Best attribute?
Work attitude. Not my attitude at work, but how I approach work.

11) What are your favorite hobbies?
Writing, but that's trying to be a profession.

12) Do you have a negative or optimistic attitude?
I'm usually optimistic that the worst thing will happen and that I get to watch.

13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
"Wanna smell something weird?"

14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?
(not telling) And it could be a take your pick kind of answer anyway.

15) Best thing to ever happen to you?
Winning my wife away from the guy she was dating.

16) Tell me one weird fact about you.
Except for a grand total of 8 months, I've been working for a paycheck steadily for the past 25 years. If you accept freelancing seasonal yardwork (mowing, racking, snow removal, planting - so I guess it was all year round), 29 years. I'm damn tired of frickin' working.

17) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?
You'd see what a slob I am, but we would feed you until you popped.

18) What was your first impression of me?
I liked you. Fun and sparky.

19) What scares you?
Ignorance and Want. Beware of them, especially this boy, for on his brow is written the word, "Doom."

20) If you could change one thing about how you are, what would it be?
Quick wittedness in situ.

21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
Depends, whaddaya got in mind?

22) What color eyes do you have?
Hazel, and they change color. Bright green with white eyes, run like hell. Bright green with red eyes, tired as hell. Brown eyes, oh hell.

23) Ever been arrested? If so, what for?
No. But I keep trying.

24) Favorite dessert?
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.

25) If you won $1000 today, what would you do with it?
Pay bills.

26) Tell me something you want me to know about you.
I like word play.

27) What's your favorite place to hang out?
I used to go to Mike's Gold Bar in Akron back in the 80s. I think that was the last place I had a hang-out. They had "I wanna be seduced" on the jukebox.

28) Do you believe in ghosts? Aliens?
Yes, but not in the general ways I write about them. Yes, but that's not the same as thinking they're saying hi to us.

29) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
See 9.

30) Do you swear a lot?
Only when tired.

31) Biggest pet peeve?
Lack of communication about important things.

32) In one word, how would you describe yourself?
Funny.

33) Do you believe in/appreciate romance?
Yes, don't get to do that often.

34) Most unusual place you've had sex?
not telling (this is the exemption to #23)

35) Do you believe in an afterlife?
Yes. Think "What Dreams May Come."

36) Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?
::coyly:: maybe, but I'm not screening comments.

37) Do you want me to un-screen your answers?
No, I wish to keep all these secret. :)

There you have it. 37 things you probably didn't want to know but that now you can't unknow. Ha!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

March Fourth Primary

My State (Ohio) moved up the primary for Presidential Election years so that we would be more of a decider than an annointer. How's that worked out so far, Ohio State Legislature? Idiots. Yeah, everybody else moved their elections up as well. Gee, couldn't see that coming, could we.

Well, some people I respect very much have posted the way they're voting in the primaries, even the point of some of them saying that either they won't or can't (given specific rules in their states), so I think I will be doing the same.

I should start by saying the person I really wanted to vote for suspended his campaign right after the S. Carolina event. Yes, I wanted Edwards. I liked him last time, I still do. After Super Tuesday I could see his tactics change. He was going for as many candidates as he could get to then influence the platform and candidate during the convention in August. When he stopped with only 25 or so delegates, I thought he had abandoned that strategy as well. Turns out those 25 might mean the difference, although Obama's surge and momentum might make them less important than they looked two weeks ago. I don't think Edwards is playing for a VP slot, he doesn't have enough delegates for that, but a good post, say Secretary of HUD or maybe President of the World Bank.

So there are really only two candidates on the Democratic Party side left. As a registered and elected Democrat, there's no fooling the people at the elections board that I might be Republican (because they all know me by sight). Not that I would do that anyway, however there is some speculation that the other side has been entertaining such shenanigans (the guilty tend to be suspicious of others). I've been looking at their campaigns and I find myself disappointed by both of them. One for not showing a harder edge and the other for forgetting what campaigning is all about.

A lot of smart people are voting for Obama, and I can't say I blame them. Not only does he have the oratory down, he has an energized and mobilized campaign running on the ground. Note to DNC, you could learn a damn frickin' lot by hiring these people. From what I can see many are fresh (or fresher) faces than some other campaigns are using. Obama has a lot of things going for him, a lot of things I like. In the end, though, I can't see him running hard against a McCain-Romney ticket. Sure, in current poles he wins the popular vote by a greater percentage, but it's all still within the margins of error. And we've seen how well polls work so far. I think Obama can rally the base, give courage to timid people (as someone whom I have great respect for once said), but that's really the job of the VP candidate. Plus, Obama's greatest asset is his charisma. Charisma wears thin quickly these days. Unless I see some scrappy coming from his campaign real soon now, I don't think he could survive in the general election. Also, in the TV commercials where he wears plaid shirts, well, I just don't buy it. He looks uncomfortable. The suit fits him better.

Clinton has that scrappiness that will be needed for the general election. Sure, her personality rubs people the wrong way, until they meet her (and then she has that strange lower level charisma that wins them over).

Clinton on top of the ticket will galvanize the Conservative base (BTW, note how many times recently the "Conservatives" have distanced themselves from the Republican Party) to vote for "Anybody But Clinton." I think many pundits have under calculated that the Conservative base, the white side anyway (as many "Conservatives" are African-American), would muster up support to keep Obama out of the Whitehouse as well. Sure, they'll couch their language in other terms, but it'll really be about keeping a Black Man out (and they have never doubted Obama's Blackness), just like much of the anti-Hillary is about a women in a position of power. So the Democratic Nominee will face stiff competition there anyway. Clinton, however, will fight back. Obama, while used to Illinois Politics (which is a rough sport) wouldn't fare well in such a fight. It would remove some of his charisma to fight dirty. Everybody expects Clinton to fight dirty.

I believe in Clinton's Health Care plan more than I do in Obama's plan. And Health Care is the big stealth issue this election (it's all about the economy, and Health Insurance is pulling us down more at least in perception as most people consider health care as voluntary). Also, this summer Iraq is going to explode again (if it waits that long). Obama hasn't been positioning himself as someone with a plan, only as someone who was against it. Clinton could say she has a plan and people will listen. The economy is about to take a dumper (okay, well, people in power are about to get a rude awakening to the real state of the economy RSN). Clinton has the chops to say she knows how to bring back a robust economy and she has the resume (cribbed from Bill) to show it.

On a personal level, I did very well during the mid 90s while Bill was President. I've lost jobs during both Bush's (father and son) administrations. Both while we were at war with Iraq actually. So while people maybe decrying Clinton running on that record, I'm actually okay with it.

In the end, I can see a Clinton-Obama ticket more than I could see an Obama-Clinton ticket. Sure, many would complain with Obama as "second," but with an open deal like that which Cheney had with Bush during the first administration could help defuse that. And I think Clinton would be stupid (which I don't think she is, by any extent) to not make such a deal and make it part of the stump speech.

So, unless something very unforeseen happens before March 4, I'll be marking the box next to Hillary Clinton's name. I'm also hoping for a contentious convention. I want it to be right down to the wire. And the DNC would do good to allow all-access passes to the press. Show the world both the pettiness and high ideas this party is capable of having. It'll be messy, it'll be fractious, it'll be excellent TV and actually promote the Democratic Brand. People would actually watch and pay attention.

In either case, I have no problems voting for either Clinton or Obama come the general election. No problems what so ever.

A Book Meme

Well, before I came down with the Gold Medal Contender of a running nose and icky sicky feelings, GreenyFlower tagged me for a book meme.

Da Rules:
1. Grab the nearest book (that is at least 123 pages long).
2. Open to p. 123.
3. Go down to the 5th sentence.
4. Type in the following 3 sentences.
5. Tag five people.

When she tagged me, the nearest book that qualified was a clip art catalog, so I'm going to adjust the first rule and grab the nearest book from my side of the bed, which is where I've been reading lately. The nearest book was a tie for M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman and The Skewed Throne by Joshua Palmatier. Since Neil gets enough press by simply shopping for socks, tie breaker goes to Joshua.

Mari was grey, and smelled nothing but sweat and the Dredge.

She finished with the carrot monger and began moving away.

I hesitated, chewed on my lower lip a moment more, then followed.


There it is. I'm going to let people self select for rule #5. Have fun.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Look, Up in the Sky

Well, for all the hullaballo over us "shooting down" a satellite (for anybody watching, the damn thing is still up there, we just made it into pieces parts), everybody is missing the big picture. From a small ship (a destroyer) we have missiles deployed that can destroy a satellite. Sure, it was (still is) in low Earth Orbit, but still.

Hello, is this mike on? WTF do the news media need here? Do they need some one to point it out.

New alert: Deployed anti-satellite weapons that are ship platform ready.

No more "over the rainbow" aircraft doing ballistic trajectory. No more "damn, we need a frickin' silo/gantry for these things." Nope, we launched this weapon off a destroyer. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what this story is really about.

Think you're so tough blowing up a weather satellite in deep orbit, eh China? Eat this. We don't need no stinking cosmodrome facility. We don't need a weeks worth of preparation time. We don't need no special stinkin' ship/launch platform. Yeah, this was as much about hydrazine as wearing 18mm pearls is about keeping warm. We destroy sensitive technology, and show the world just what we've got. Extra bonus, we make things go boom up in space. Welcome to the new battle front, space. Some one finally realized we are in a Cold War with China (not that I'm happy we just militarized space, in fact I'm pretty ticked about that part).

Extra bonus points to everybody who can remember where and how the first blood was taken and how that relates to the events of today (Thursday). Some things that look "spontaneous" aren't, just saying.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Story Bone

Okay, so the last couple (okay, most) of the story bones have been real short pieces. Here's a full story idea. I've worked through three stories (SF, Fantasy, or Horror, I glom more toward the horror idea) that I could write, but I just don't have the time. And the muse commands, so as she commands, so I do.

First off, for the story, reincarnation is a reality. And it's reincarnation as a mix of several Buddhist Traditions (and some New Age permutations). Reincarnated souls have memory, skills, and traits that transfer to the new body (this is how you find or prove the reincarnated lamas, they remember their friends and the favorite belongings, the also demonstrate knowledge and skills the previous lama had). These souls can "fragment" and inhabit several bodies in the same temporal space (Steven Seagal anybody). The new age part is that these fragments can be merged to create new "soul beings" (like soul sexual reproduction? - that's the New Age part). So, if you were a person of a minor soul (lesser flame), would you be jealous of a person of greater soul (brighter flame)? Say like Salieri was of Mozart in "Amadeus." Now, lets add in that, although not well known, there is a way to force mingling of souls during reincarnation. Would our character be willing to kidnap a greater soul they admire and go through a murder-suicide ritual to ensure their reincarnated souls would be greater? Would that ability be an example of of greater skill of soul (brighter flame), so some irony there. What would society be like if such could happen? Would there be an intense caste system, although one enforced by "ritual practitioners" would could weed out lesser from greater souls? Would there be forced adoptions? Would families hobble children of "greater flames" for whatever testing there might be to then be shown to have "prodigy" traits of their own? Would society have developed mechanisms to mingle souls to create a mediocrity of beings (in an extreme case of social engineering meant to "better the race" - like the Bene Gesserit breading programs of Dune or eugenics)? Would we have a defacto meritocracy in all levels of society (Gattica)?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fascinating, Jim, but is it life.

Yeah, I lose geek points for mixing my Star Trek metaphors. Since the last photo post was a bit to, um, forward looking, here's something more realistic. Yes, as a kid I practiced how to raise that eyebrow. I'm such a total geek.



If you all are good I might upload some of the crazy photos I took while I experimented with my wife's new mac (it has an iSight camera built in).

Also, Greenyflower points to a virtual model site where she had a composite made. My friends and I saw a prototype of this way back in the last century, it's interesting to see it finally come to market. Apparently full beards aren't so stylish anymore, but here's what the site made of me and my personal info.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Calling Matt Mitchell

The ever perceptive and perspicuous Ken McConnell reminds me, Mr. Mitchell's blog, Unabashed, seems to have gone all kerfluee this past week. I saw the post where he talked about having problems and noted it earlier, but then the week went all maddening. Matt, let us know you're still alive and kickin' down there in the south, and what you're new digs will be. Thanks.

Also, here's hoping our favorite Littlebird is having a blast at the Convention where Jay Lake is Master of All Toast.

I know there's about eight other things I wanted to comment on this week. Sorry for all the political stuff. Usually in a month I get at least one week where I don't have any government meetings, but that doesn't happen in February. And it looks like a many a month I'll be having more weeks with meetings. Sigh. And it's an election year. Everybody duck and cover.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Whatchamecallit

One of the fun things of being a writer is you get to wordsmith fresh and brand new words and uses. To paraphrase Stephen King, if you can describe it maybe you’re in the wrong business.

So, with the proliferation of back of the seat monitors and DVD players in cars, what do you call that when you’re following such an equipped car and can make out what video their watching (one van had a very large screen the other day).

In-flight movie. As in, “Hey, look, I wonder what’s on the in-flight movie.”

Usually it’s a children’s movie or feature. Although I have been able to identify a number of them, including “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” But could I get a good action flick every now and then? Like one of the Die Hard or Lethal Weapons?

Congressional Shenanigans

The Democratic Party really needs to get it's marketing together. Why isn't the party, when it criticizes, able to get their words together? We don’t need a four paragraph response to yesterday.

Yes, the Republicans in Congress stood up and found the backbone to act to preserve their jobs as the President’s Lapdogs and the corporate stooges they’ve become.

Simple, direct, starts sounding like a compliment and then slips the knife in, works well in the news cycle. It could be followed up with this.

They walked out on doing their job. This is okay as they’ve shown they have no ability at it.

You say all of that fast, it could be the 15 second sound bite.

Bonner, for this act, for your rhetoric regarding this act, I call you a puppet. Instead of standing up for the people who elected you, to protect them, you instead stood up to protect the companies you take money from. You’ve shown your parties true colors, and for that I thank you. You’ve shown the Republicans don’t give a crap about real people, except to make them afraid and coerce their votes. Just remember who you’ve sold out when your sucking on that. Fortunately, you aren’t my representative. If you were, I would seriously consider running against you.

You’re outraged? Join the club. If you, as speaker, had actually done your job, instead of being a political fat-cat, you wouldn’t be in this position. And while I’m at it, stop smoking. The state you represent has figured it out, it’s time for you to get smart. Plus, it’s way to easy to satire you smoking a cigar.

As for the liability protection for the telecoms, if they’ve done nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear. Just like if we’ve done nothing wrong we have nothing to fear. Goose, meet gander. If they broke the law, do not remove the public’s method of redress. Everybody believes in Smith’s invisible hand of the market until it comes around to bitch slap them.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Writing Advice

The ever glorious Justine Larbalestier weighs in with her own advice. Which seems to revolve around procrastination (is it worth it or not) and IMing.

Happy Valentines Day

Yep, it's the annual reminder that, hey, Barry White is an excellent songster, baby. :)

Hope you and yours are having a nice day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's a Pirate's Life for Me

In case you all are missing it, John Scalzi is showing the cards on the writing life, specifically about money. He also has several follow-ups, some hidden in various and sundry kinds of articles. Of course, because it’s John, others are commenting with their own experiences and conspiracy theories (cribbed from John). And then another post where he describes his income in more depth.

Expect more people chiming in. Tobias can’t be far behind.

End result from distilling it all, don’t quit the day job. Todd, you should be alright. It was a night job after all. :) I also think you’re hitting the mark on John’s other points in his first post.

Well, that’s enough hyper linking for one day.

Union Bustin' New Age Style

After posting the worse yearly loss of a company ever, GM is giving money away to it's union employees, you know, the people who actually make the stuff. But only if they all go away. All of them.

The people who actually know how to put the cars together, GM wants them all to go away. Then GM can replace them with lower paid people. That was one of the concessions that GM had won, a second tier of payment. That tier they said wouldn’t affect anybody currently working and was for non-assembly work.

So, GM will then have a union force that is making less, and hence paying less into the Union Run Pension Health Care Plan. Yeah, see how the UAW is about to take a huge financial hit, one that is bigger than they expected.

And that’s how you break unions, new age style.

GM management, your all pieces of sewage, just thought you’d like to know. Good luck making cars without experienced employees. And, no, I don’t’ think your management team really does know how it’s done. They think they do, though. It’s call pride and hubris.

BTW, you might want to engineer your cars better. If I have to remove the windshield-washer reservoir to change the battery out, or use a screwdriver to change a headlamp, or need a special wrench to change the air filter, your design has failed. You know, that and having most of your light vehicles getting less than 33mpg might have something to do with your reduced market share.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Everybody's Talkin' At Me

My lurker-fu extends. Currently unread posts number over 400. Ha ha ha. Four Hundred!

For some reason I was inexplicably proud when the counter went over that marker today. Even though I do go to some of the big poster sites to just knock it back down, I still ended the day over 400.

In other news, I had an injury at work late Friday night. I cut open my hand, well a three inch gouge at the outside base of the thumb. The urgent care facility's doctor used a foam gel patch to close it back up (flap of skin was still attached). It's kind of interesting to see into your own body. And then there was the fact I needed to keep pressure on it to stop it from bleeding. That was all kinds of fun as I'm thinking, "pressure bandage, or tourniquet?" Well, it wasn't bleeding enough for the tourniquet, and I couldn't find a pressure bandage so it was the other hand pressing some gauze on it. Made filling out the forms especially interesting. Fun part was that I wasn't using a knife or razor blade, and the metal I opened my hand up with is rather dull (hence the more gouge like mark than a straight cut). So that's also slowed me down. The cut really isn't bad, but it's in the perfect spot that a bandage doesn't want to stay attached, so I have a cloth wrap around my hand to hold the bandage down (yes, it's still oozing). On the plus side there's no sign of infection and it's healing nicely.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Some Requested Photos

I sent an email to my grade school friend who had tracked me down a few years ago. In that email I talked about how with going through some old boxes of stuff at my Mom's I had found an old grade school sweatshirt and that my loving wife had it framed. He said he'd like to see a picture of that, as well as any photo of me. So, Rog, this post is for you.


Yes, at one point in my life I could wear something that small.

And here's one of me.


Share and enjoy.

Story Bone

Once you're outside the womb, all bets are off.

Invasion

Damn Ruskies. This current cold snap brought to you by the Siberian Express. Those damn Russians, sending us their cold and snow. This morning at about 6 the temperature outside was about 30, right now it's about 12.

Best Writing Advice Evar!

Diana Peterfreund weighs in on writing advice. I recommend reading it, just for the humor and for the goodiness of it all.

The money line of it all, "But the one rule is: don't follow advice that's not working for you."

Amen and hallelujah, sister, pass the ammo. It took me years to get that. "Second draft = first draft minus 10%" - yeah, doesn't work for me. Second draft = first draft minus 10% plus 25% is more like my rule.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

What I'm Missing in my Lurker-Fu

David Edelman is writing about novel writing. He also has a follow up here. As you all know, I'm working on a novel (the hard part is finding the time and now it's kicking my ass into gear when I do have the time, instead of just collapsing into a comatose mound on the bed). I'm only part way through the second half, but the first post was very excellent and funny. You all should go read it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Our Meeting is Next Tuesday

Well, ain't this fun. My guess is that you'll hear how this person just didn't feel like council was listening to them, didn't grant a permit or prevented them from doing something they either always did before, or had planned on doing. Usually resulting in monetary loss. Not like we don't have those people here either.

Same as the Old Boss

Here's something I always thought was very funny. Way back in the Napster v1.0 days, the music industry was having record sales. But those fun guys in the RIAA just didn't feel like there was enough gravy to grease the train and that all these people sharing music for free (for Free Damnit!) were just all harshing their mellow. So they decided, like Weird Al in "Amish Paradise" to get all medieval on everybody's arses.

Right after that, as they killed Napster and forced those people who were peer-to-peering all over the intertubes to go to less elegant and more geek and professional pirate routes, the economy slowed down, and music sales plummeted.

Yes, after they killed Napster, as the pirate peer-to-peer went to geeks and kids, was less a populous movement, music sales tanked. Titles went up, sharing went up, but the actual user base was less. The real fans were less. This is because of the pirate mentality. Pirates are proud people, and they like to not only share what they think is cool, they like to collect what other people think is cool. And like most collectors, they don't use what they collect, they just count it and look at the pretties.

But the RIAA has this notion that every pirated copy of music that gets shared is money out of their pocket. A sale they won't ever get and should have gotten. Would have gotten it if it were for those dang kids. Note to RIAA, this is bad logic based on a fallacy. You're own research proves it. If what you are saying is correct, according to the studies you've commissioned (and then squashed), you all wouldn't be making a cent. Not one. But to publish those results would destroy your arguments and you'd have to deal with reality.

Somebody else isn't getting it either. Fortunately he's switched to actual persuasion than the bull in the china shop function he was performing before. He's just trying to direct the conversation into ways that people will end up agreeing with him. He's determining the questions and giving the answers. Logic, he's using it for evil. This post is the rhetorical equivalent of asking, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" (which is why I'm not posting this there)

Legitimate markets can't exist without black markets. Sure, you can't allow the black market to swallow the legit market (and they will try to do that), but if you try to kill the black market, the legitimate market will die along with it. The best you can do (and the best you can do for the legitimate market) is to push the black market to the fringe and monitor it. This is what iTunes successfully did. There is a legitimate outlet, reasonably priced, for the market need. Rhapsody also performs some other market needs. There is still piracy, but it's been kept to the fringes.

If the legitimate market doesn't provide a service that the consumers want or need, the black market will. That's what you're seeing in those numbers. However, is the actual market for such product, need that could be filled by the legit market, really there? There's a lot more "online reading" going on that I thought there was a year ago. I still have my own sneaky suspicions about what is really happening. And many market numbers I've heard for online reading are still less than readership in the hay-day of magazines, although it's now larger than the current hard copy subscription rate.

Just saying that "here's this file, and it's being traded," doesn't mean, "here's a lost sale, here's a fan that would have bought the legitimate copy, here's money on the table." Other market forces to look at is how a black market feeds back into the legitimate market, how pirate markets and mentality works, that what you may be looking at may not be the real case.

The concept of sharing in violation of copyright being "true fandom" is also bullshit, just in case you maybe wondering. Black markets and their activities are banned for a reason. Black markets also draw other criminality. They are not safe and are unregulated.

However, have you ever shared a book, CD, file, DVD, etc with a friend? Those that view black markets as evil and stealing money from the legit markets would also halt such sharing. That sharing is, after all, a violation, however it is a legally protected violation, for now.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Nuthin' up mah sleeve... Presto!

When I worked in Management Consulting I was witness to many interesting things. One of those interesting things was seeing a new manager try to get a good review by presenting numbers for quarterly performance that would prove how much they were a better manager than the previous schmoe. To make sure they accomplished this task, in the quarterly presentation they included metric numbers from January, February, March and April (presentation was at the beginning of May). We were all polite during the presentation. As some of us junior people remarked after the meeting, "I wonder what they've got planned for next quarter?"

So, um, Ben Bernanke, what else ya got?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Today is the Day

I'm so tired of hearing about Super Tuesday, I'm just glad that it's almost over. What do I predict? I think by Thursday (California will take a day and a half to count) we'll know whom the Republican Nominee will be (most of their primaries are winner take all, expect that to change by 2012), on the Democratic side it'll be even murkier (Clinton will have a slight lead over Obama for delegates, which will make the super-delegates even more important, and get used to the term "faithless delegate"). Contested convention here we come!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Twelve Little Indians

Here's a NPR report on a new imprint, Twelve. They're committed to only publishing twelve books a year, giving their full attention to each. There's the obligatory lines about making all books a bestseller, I recommend listening to the whole story (as the printed transcript doesn't have everything.

But it does mirror some of the thoughts that were brought out in several panels I've seen, and from some of the reading I've done into the current state of the publishing industry. Part of this research includes things like at 12 they focus on selling the book for a whole month, where as with most modern publishers, you get maybe a week on the shelves. With only a week you've got to start with a good buzz going about the book, which means starting a year before the book comes out to build word of mouth.

Words Are Flowing Out...

At 7pm, Eastern, NASA beamed the Beatles, Across the Universe at Polaris (the North Star).

It'll take 431 years to reach the star. Some people think it may be a waste of money, but this is the Beatles, damnit. About the only thing better would be to beam Mozart or Beethoven, maybe Copland (hey, we're Americans, and it's our money).

To give you a general idea just how friggin' big space is, at a little over 4 hours out, the signal is just now passing Neptune.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Well, there's an interesting word for it now

Much of the writing stuff I talk about here is about submitting and being rejected. I also get to champion my friends when they get published because, 1) it's a lonely job and 2) it's really frickin' great they're getting published. While publishing slots (those open slots for stories and novels, outside the realm of scams and self publishing) can be considered a zero-sum game, and the submission process can be brutal, so far I've only found myself twice in the "we're both in the same slush pile" situation, and in each I found myself rooting for my friends as much as I was rooting for myself. Really, I want us all to be published and be able to quit our day jobs to pursue writing fiction full-time, I really do.

In my day job, I'm a bit more cut-throat. Although, I support my co-workers, I'm very cut-throat against the competition. Right now I am coming to the conclusion that I way, Way, Way overworked when I was out in studio. Seriously, fellow graphic designers, learn the damn trade and think about what your doing. Having the printer "just fix it so it works" is one way to piss your client's money away. If I ever submitted a job to a printer that way most of my jobs come in, I would have died of embarrassment.

Well, this isn't the post I planned to write. So I need to get back to that.

In this downtime I've been having, which isn't writer's block but lack of time and energy (mental and physical) I've been working on my writing process. And I've come to one major conclusion:

Lighten up, Francis.

Yeah, I've been too uptight lately as I approach the novel. I've been psyching myself out about it, reducing my energy. So real soon now I'm going to be talking more about the process and the writing. As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again. Oh, wait, that's a different movie.

But here's the post I really meant to make. The good people over at Endicott Studios just did a post about those projects that fail and that we, as writers (ha! yes I include myself) have become very process oriented and blather endlessly about it. And this has generated a new term, "process-porn." I think they're dissing it. Tough. I'm going to commit it anyway. Anyway, they also link to this article about the "failure to launch" stories of famous authors. This also related to the "Juvenalia" panel at Confusion, which was excellent, and I think many cons with writer's tracks should have such a panel.

Jeff VanderMeer points to this article at ClarkesWorld which is saying some of the same things, but I'm still a little too tired to tease it all out.

So there's the weekend roundup, mish-mash of thoughts. In my attempts to catch up with the lurker-fu, there have been excellent "process porn" posts out there. If I get a chance I'll try and round them up.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Serial Rejection

WIth all the other craziness of the week, we saw two rejection letters.

Linda Addison over a Space and Time Magazine rejected my Journey Haiku. This is the first rejection email that I know had personalized content on it, as the note broke with the HTML formating of the letter. The form line talked about how they're unable to use it at this time, fair cop. That note said I came close, and she's sure it'll be published. Woohoo! Thanks, Linda. This did add a sparkle to this week.

Now I need to go duotrope another market for it. I think it maybe time for the snail mail submissions.

The next rejection came from John Klima over at Electric Velocipede for Running of the Deer. He says it's not what they're looking for. Also fair cop. Then he says that he would like to see more from me, you know, once they reopen for submission in April. Most certainly, John, you'll be getting more submissions from me.

Tonight, per my devious plot to rule the world, Running of the Deer is off to Ann VanderMeer over at Weird Tales. I hope she likes it as well.

More about the craziness of the week later.