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And no one sings me lullabyes
And no one makes me close my eyes
So I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

War and rumors of war

Okay, so here's what happened. For the past few weeks there had been plenty of closed door meetings. Plenty of late evening closed door meetings. Rumors were flying. The pace of work on the large presses had slowed.

And then the big meeting on Friday where they announced the bank had foreclosed, and they were shuttering the business. A rival company had purchased some of the assets and would be hiring some people back to handle the client's work. We were to stop, pack up, and leave the office. One more paycheck, all benefits end on the 31st. The boss took me aside as I was about to leave and said I should apply to the new company.

So that's what happened on Friday.

Spent Friday night canceling doctor's appointments. Not like without healthcare and not a firm commitment of employment that I could afford the tests and subsequent appointments. Then I updated my personal resume and attempted to send the resume to the email published on the new company's website. Several bounce backs later and I sent it to their general email address. Today I also faxed it to them, just in case.

A quick look at various job sites show poor pickins. Need to get registered with the unemployment office and the various temp agencies. Also need to put my head on straight.

Right now I'm feeling a little inertia. A sluggish start to a job search isn't what's needed. Fighting to keep positive, struggling with the thoughts of putting to much hope into getting a job with the new company.

On the plus side is that I might be able to focus on writing. For me, I'll still need a day job, so just focusing on writing isn't going to be practical. And finding a job is best done when it's given the attention, devotion, and time as a full time job.

Friday, January 29, 2010

To many things to talk about

And I'm not sure where to begin or what all to say.

The day thing closed. Someone bought some of the assets and there is the possibility of jobs there.

Things are in flux right at the moment. Working on UPR (updating personal resume) to get it in fast. Arranging life for the change. Need to check out options and restore keyword searches.

So, probably more to say later. Think good thoughts until then.

If you thought Xmas in August was bad

Sam's Club has bar-b-ques and charcoal on sale. Hello, even the groundhogs are thinking, "Man, they're pushing it."

Yeah, summer equipment is on sale. Some clothing stores are stocking swimsuits (Hello again, six degrees outside - okay, yeah, spring break, never could take it myself, but okay, in about two months that's going to be big). This is the product of the "every store will sell exactly the same thing at the same time" philosophy. Gee, thanks for the great deals on comfort weave, breeze-thru shirts, but I'm looking for, say, something in the Snuggie business-wear line?

It reminds me of the M*A*S*H episode where they're all freezing and they get sent tube socks and mosquito netting. Considering that for events I would really like to go to they don't advertise until the week before, when practically all the tickets are gone (or in the last case seeing a write up of an art exhibit I'd like to see, but it's only up until the first week in February, and it's in Montreal - so scheduling a trip now just isn't going to happen). Gee, thanks.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Open Letter

Dear Snow Plow Driver responsible for Ohio SR 86 between SR 322 and Chardon-Windsor Road,

It's a two lane road, not one and a half. Please clear to the full width. This is the third time you've done this. Learn where the edge of the road is. There is often traffic going each way, and it's a bitch to be behind a stone hauler as he goes into virgin snow to avoid and header with a school bus.

Your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated. If you need help, see the person who clears from Chardon-Windsor Road going North.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Office Poll

I'm taking the slot that a major criticism of the President's SotU speech will be, "He didn't say the union was strong. How can we be strong unless he tells us we are." And then the general "they hate America" bull will follow.

Linkee-poos

The Onion: Science Channel Refuses to Dumb Down Science Any Further. this nerdgasm brought to you by Eric VanNewkirk, via twitter. Every time I flip past the the History Channel with their new Nostrodamus programming or just the Discovery Channel (really, at the beginning of Mythbusters, yeah, okay, got the concept, but now they're just making shit up so they can make really big explosions) I'm going to remember this article.

Here's a TPM story on an interview I heard this morning on NPR with John Boehner concerning bipartisanship. Or at least his definition. He said, "when it comes to bipartisan legislation you've got to look at the balance. If the balance leans in our direction, and things that we believe in, I would think that we would support it." Or in other words, if it's a conservative bill, it's bipartisan. Otherwise, we won't support it. Glad we got that whole "Party of NO" thing cleared up there, John. This goes along with his philosophy of "we're in charge, or we're shut out." Glad that whole thing about the Democrats craftily scheduling their open committee meetings at the same time you're feeling your microphone fix is working out. See, John is the guy who famously said 50%+1 is a mandate. But I guess you can expect Johnny to be a little testy as he's no longer allowed to smoke his cigars in the Rotunda.

Spirit may be trapped but after 5.5 years longer than originally designed to operate, they're repurposing her into a stationary mission. Really ought to give the people who engineered this mission a lot more money for other stuff. Just in my opinion.

And the Apple iPad. Yes, I've seen the jokes. Don't care. Wants one. Would like to have it have a more realistic keyboard on screen (especially in horizontal mode). Also, if it can act like it's own hotspot with $30 unlimited 3G connection, oh yes. We wants it. We wants it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Heathcare Memo

Project for a Healthy American Future by Steve Benen

Probably the best argument for the House to pass the Senate version of the Healthcare Reform Bill that I've read. (warning, somewhat long)

What he said.

"It is imperative for the country, the economy, the party, and the Obama presidency that Democrats resist the temptation to let this rare opportunity slip by."

And he has a polite way of telling the Democratic Party to grow a pair already. Once the news goes from "ZOMG! Palin still says there's death panels in there" to "What the new law means to you..." it's only plus side to the party (and the country as a whole, the recovery of business AND an engine to start hiring again). If you haven't read the Kaiser Family Foundation poll that basically says once people know what's actually in the bill, instead of the fear mongering, a large majority support the bill.

I would write my congressman with the arguments, but he never got back to me on where I could read his version of Healthcare Reform that he alluded to in his reply email to my first contact of wanting him to support reform. (He said it was in the Thomas system - Library of Congress - but even after searching on his name, the number he gave me, and the title I came up with bumpkiss). So I think it would be a no vote form him anyway.

Links and updatery

A long NYT's article on James Patterson. There's a lot of good stuff in there, including publishing history, attitude, and savvy.

Ann VanderMeer gets promoted to editor in chief of Weird Tales. As well as naming Mary Robinette Kowal being named art director. Paula Guran makes up the hat trick by becoming the new nonfiction editor (as Stephen Segal moves to acquisitions editor for Quirk Books and senior contributing editor of Weird Tales). It's always nice to see good things happen to people. Although there's no word if I'll continue to receive the nicest rejection letters from Ann or someone new.

And now the update. I feel like I've been run over. Last night I saw the orthopedic doctor and we went through a lot. The MRI show the disks between C5-7 bulging, touching the nerve. His stress tests show some weakening in the forearm, which could be one or two of the nerves. So I get to go and get hooked up like a frog leg in anatomy class to see if either of them is showing permanent damage (weakness is the first sign). The test is called an EMG (electromyography) I've had this done before and didn't enjoy the experience. We're on a new pack of methyl-prednisone (took six last night, on course for day 2 - hint, if you have to take it, be ready to wash pills down quickly, if not the aftertaste will distract you from the pain all by itself). And I have instructions to get going with traction on the neck. And then I get to go back and learn my fate. I'm not so digging the "permanent damage" part of this. I asked if the bulging was reversible and the doctor hemmed and hawed, but ended up saying that he expects it to. And that I can't re-injure the site. Oh joy.

Last night, after a long day (didn't get home until after eight), I was somewhat revved. Today all the batteries are drained and I'm having a problem enjoying not being in pain every few seconds. Heck, I even sneezed this morning without saying "ouch" right after. And tonight is appropriations, which means probably a long meeting which will hear the term "budget cut" said repeatedly typically after the words "drastic" or "deep."

I'm still taking the over the counter pain meds, and still suffering from fuzzy thinking they bring. This morning I forgot my lunch, again. And I know I should be working on several things (writing and village business), but just can't hold it together long enough to gather my thoughts.

So it'll be around the 8th if I learn the answer to, "But will I still be able to play the violin?" Which I should have asked last night, but it also slipped out through the fogginess in my brain as I attempted to remember everything the doctor said.

On the plus side, with the doctor's office receptionist I got to plug some of my friends books. She saw me reading Zoe's Tale and asked after it. I then learned that her husband likes military fiction (of all stripes) so I pushed Scalzi with a side order of Buckell on her. When I left she told me she was able to score a second hand copy of Ghost Brigades for a good price.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dear "Chuck" Writers

To the writers of Chuck,

Puh - lease

I mean, I know that you haven't been completely, you know, close to something in reality. But seriously. I'm waiting for Casey to put a cap in Superman's ass. And while in seasons 1 and 2, the intersect and how you used it was pure fantasy, season 3 takes it to a whole new level of silliness. And the side story of the Buy More, yeah, not buying it anymore.

Please stop me from rolling my eyes so often, it distracts my wife's enjoyment of the show. And the deus ex machina, especially in tonight's episode, more than ridiculous. Please, start considering that there is a full world outside of the box of the camera. You used to do this.

Thanks for your attention.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Could have been worse, could have been raining

Well, it was raining as we went to see Avatar. I don't know what else to say that hasn't been said before. It's Dances With Wolves in outer space with blue people. It's a "white man's guilt" story, although I see it a little less than some (but, yeah, that bell rings pretty loud).

The mercenaries are fairly well stock characters from central casting. Including the whole Gen. Haig, "I'm in charge now," schtick. The well meaning scientists, also fairly well stock, although Sigourney Weaver sells it. And the non-attached business manager with his conflicted emotions, stock again. The characterization had me rolling my eyes a few times.

The scenery is fantastic. The 3D effect helps, somewhat. Although it doesn't work all the time (at least for me), it also makes it a fuzzier image overall. There's enough plot holes to fly that landing craft through. Like, after spending all that money on the avatar bodies, you can add a $10 GPS device? Also, as a marine on guard duty and he wanders off as he does, and then doesn't check 6? Umm. Well, I did notice in the credits there were a few military consultants. Somebody didn't get their point across.

The world is fully developed. A little too much wish fulfillment, and very much based on under sea organisms, but worth seeing in 3D. Although I think a lot of the "OMG that's a long way down" scenes were just an inverse of the old 3D schtick more than anything else. Like how he falls down so far at the waterfall, then chases the girl a little ways, and is up way above another deep waterfall.

There were a lot of things done in the plot for no other reason than to "increase tension," including the action in the final battle scenes. What I really don't understand, though, is that it always comes down to a fist fight. And really, considering that they wrote the colonel as such a tough ass (which, okay, I liked even if he was the bad guy), why did he commit to that fight? Hello, superior weaponry and all you've gotta do is break the damn glass to eliminate the threat. Sorry, it's like when the hero has the upper-hand in the battle and then decides to throw away his advantage to "fight fair" and duke it out. Naw. Not that colonel. Didn't fit the profile. I also had some major problems with the other parts of the battle, but I won't ruin it for you. They make things go all 'splody. The kids like it. The ending had a problem, like, hey, there's this really expensive thing there and you don't have a backup troop you can hire to go in a take it? Hell, just mass drive the shit out of the place from orbit. I know, I know, then we wouldn't have our feel good ending.

But, all and all, for the eye candy, it was worth seeing on the big screen and in 3D.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Heath Care Reform Survey

Since I keep hearing about how the majority of American's are against the Health Care Reform bills, it's interesting to read the Kaiser Family Foundation Tracking Poll updated just before the election in MA. The poll finds that more people are for reform than against it (although it's within the margin of error), but once people know what's actually in the bills, that margin widens significantly in favor of reform. I suggest download the results PDF and reading through. Especially pages 6-9 where they talk about individual pieces of the legislation and if they would affect support or opposition. Also the chart about who knows which parts of the legislation is very interesting (such as more 18-39 year olds know about it closing the Part D donut hole than the 65+, whom it would affect).

So to all those who shouted through the bullhorns at the Congress, "Can you hear us now." Yes, they did. However, the Marshal Stack of speakers behind you were sounding a louder, "Get reform done now."

What the Computer Screen Said

Went through the MRI yesterday afternoon. I spent a total of about 35 minutes crammed into the orifice of the machine. Even though it was the open MRI, there wasn't all that much space (mostly open on the sides, not so much top to bottom). First you have to answer lots of questions to determine if you have any metal in or on your body that may cause the machine to spark or do damage as the magnets go thumping around you. And then you remove anything that a strong magnet might effect, like credit cards and such. Fortunately we had a proto MRI when I was going to Akron, in the basement of our computer department. Several times a month they would fire that puppy up and anybody walking by the room was liable to have their watch fried. I knew to leave all of that stuff out in the car.

Then you lay on a slab, only slightly more comfortable than a metal table. They do have a pillow for your head. A small pillow. That doesn't really compensate for putting your head between a harness, which they add an extra chin piece after you're down. They did provide earphones and a choice of two radio stations. Because they were imaging my upper spine, the operator put a foam wedge under my legs which helped with the comfort. Then they give you a squeeze ball in case you panic. The operator reminds you that you're supposed to lay as still as possible, although normal breathing and swallowing is acceptable. And then they slide you in. That's when I closed my eyes and thought of England.

Well, no, I lie. Once the slab had stopped moving I did sneak a peak. The grey plastic roof was right there in front of me. No, really, probably not more than six inches away (and I think closer). Then we went through a series of starting moves. I selected which station I wanted to listen to (oldies rock, 'natch). And then a preliminary scan of about 30 seconds, so I could get use to the noise the machine makes.

And the machine makes noise. It makes several different kinds of noises. There's clanking and banging like someone is moving furniture, heavy furniture, just above your head. Then there's the ak-ak noise. This is like an AK-47 being fired just in front of you. That's not the loudest noise it makes, but it's the one I had to keep myself from flinching. I'm sure I lay there with little more movement than my breathing, but I swear each time that noise happened I must have squirmed a little. And finally, there's the noise like someone jackhammering right above you. No matter how loud I had them crank the music, it didn't block out those noises.

In the middle of it I did start panicking. I didn't squeeze the bulb, though. I worked through some mental imaging techniques. In my minds eye I convinced myself that the ceiling wasn't a few inches away, that I was surrounded by three feet of open space. It also helps that there's a speaker and mic nearby and the operator, or at least mine, would tell me just where we were in the sequence and what would happen next.

The longest scan duration was five and a half minutes. That one was almost all jackhammer sounds. The noise was so loud I could feel the pulses. Most scans sequences were two to four minutes.

In the end, I did open my eyes as the slab slid out of the machine. I didn't want not to do that. Because I knew I was moving out of the machine I did much better than I expected. Getting off the slab was the hardest part. Having lain on a hard surface that long, my shoulder didn't want to move. Much of my body didn't want to move and I had to convince it into motion.

Once out, they handed me a disk with the scan images and I headed home. I called my chiropractor to see if he wanted me to drop off the disk on my way home. He had the faxed report by then. There's some disk bulging, some reduced space between the C4-C7 area, and a few other things that slipped out of my head. As he said, no real red flags. He expects the orthopedic doctor to prescribe some industrial anti-inflammatories and that'll be it. Given what was on the fax, there wasn't anything unusual for someone my age.

How I'm going to hate that phrase, "for your age." When we had the x-ray, there were a few things, some spurs, some deterioration, etc. They were more progressed than normal, but within the acceptable range, "for my age." Sigh.

So here's hoping this pain goes away with the anti-inflammatory. Next I'll see what I can do to recondition my neck. There's probably not much, but I'm going to ask. I do not want to go through this again.

Submission Saturday

Trying to fill the weekend with writerly kinds of things. So I'm taking care of some works whose bit's were moldering on the hard drive, suffering from rejection. To that end, Prince Wanted is off to Electric Spec. And A History of Lightning is off to Clarkesworld. Good luck little stories.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Google Gambit

Okay, I'm assuming you know what's happening with Google in China. If not, I'm sure you can google it.

And that's what's happening, really. See, people in China don't google it. While in the North American market you're ability to google can mean the difference between business success and being an also ran. In China, Google only controls 16% of the search. And they've been trying hard for many years.

And, Google took a big hit when they agreed to China's restrictions on censorship.

And, Google is spending a large amount of money to operate in China.

And, domestically, Google is taking a hit from the Google Books thing.

So, just what do they have to loose? And what are they gaining? Yep, they get to rebuild their image of "Do no evil" while cutting costs, and not really losing that much.

Concentrate and ask again

Today is the MRI. In the time slot I had originally planned on exiting I-90 to get onto I-80 on my west bound trek to Confusion, instead I'll have my head stuck into the Magic 8 Ball of modern technology. Like the oracle of Delphi, I'll wander into the cave of vapors and loud banging noises and see what the mystic mists send me across the firewire connection.

Better not tell you now

Of course, I won't know anything after the test. The operators of the machines are only allowed to say things like, "Well, yes, there is a heart in your chest." Not anything that might be construed as diagnostic. They might even be willing to tell you that the heart is beating and they're getting a good image, but not much more. Can you tell I've done the cardiac stress test with ultrasound?

Reply hazy, try again

At least I'll be in the open MRI. Open MRI's don't image as precisely, or as with as much detail as the tradition MRI, but I'm going to be spending on the order of about a half hour stuck inside this machine. I'd like not to feel my own breath reflected back at me from the ceiling. That and add in that I'm about 6' 3" and still around 300lbs, my suit jacket size was 58 long (and that was a while ago). So probably to fit into a regular MRI they'd have to butter my shoulders.

Ask again later

Then on Monday I have my appointment with the Orthopedic doctor and we'll see what they say. And hopefully they'll have a course of action that will alleviate this pain. When I was at the chiropractor last time he put me in traction which, while he was stretching my neck, actually felt pretty good. And it removed the pain from my shoulder and arm (except when I'd move to the edges of the range of motion). Of course, once I was off the machine and stood back up the pain returned. Darn gravity. I wish the Supreme Court would over turn that stare decisis bastard.

Cannot predict now

Hopefully the reply won't be, "Well, look at that, you really do have shit for brains." That would be the sad faced outcome.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Political Parable

As you know, Bob, I'm an elected village official. This is a true story.

Swimming pools, in the State of Ohio, in the eyes of the law are considered "attractive nuisances." While that means several things, it mostly means that by having a pool on your property you are opening yourself up to a lot of liability. Such as if someone wanders onto your property and falls into the pool and injures themselves or worse, drowns, the home owner can be sued for damages. Even if you didn't invite them on, or were even at home at the time. Also, your local government can be held liable as well.

Now, you can mitigate some of that liability by regulation. To that end, we enacted rules in our zoning text that if you had a pool (excluding kiddie pools and ponds within certain limits) you had to have a barrier at least six-feet high with a locking gate. When we passed this, we were smart enough to put in exclusions for the kiddie pools and decorative ponds. However we missed the abundance of inflatable pools that are all the rage.

Inflatable pools are popular because they're cheap, and they sell themselves on being safer (they really aren't, most deaths in pools don't occur because the person accidentally falls in, they intend to get into the pool). So requiring owners of these portable, smaller pools to erect a six-foot fence pretty much nixed the whole affordable part. And another council member had such a pool, but demoed it because of the new restrictions.

So we were moved to make an exception for these pools at this council member's insistence. We went to amend the zoning text to exempt inflatable pools less than 18 feet in diameter (their pool was 12 feet). This council person was very upset because they make these pools up to 32 feet. Unfortunately there's no accepted language defining this type of pool, so the only tool left to us was size and we felt that at 20 feet, you start to get into the size of permanent above ground pools. With that, council decided to kept to the 18 foot size.

The council member who drug us to amend the zoning text didn't like that we weren't willing to change it to include the largest of the pools and they voted against the amendment.

This is a true story. They voted against their own amendment because they didn't get everything they wanted, even through it loosened the legislation to their benefit.

Linkery Linkee-poo mostly about writing - or at least other writers

The Ferrett pretty well mirrors my own course in why I write short stories. There was a post (somewhere, sorry, lost the link) that explained that there was the possibility of about 500 or so short story slots in a year. However, there were over 5000 SF/F books published last year. Your chances of being published as a novelist is much greater than as a short story writer. (numbers from memory, which, with the drugs, has been very fallible lately).

Tobias talks about "butt in chair" time. While I quibble a little on this, nothing beats having ones butt in chair at similar times every damn day. I've done both (butt in chair versus I'm inspired to write). Having several jobs I know that having a set schedule isn't going to work (unless it's 10pm - 1am - at which point I'm usually trying to sleep). And this past month's heath issues have kept me away from producing words on a regular basis. However, if you can manage it with your time, "butt in chair" does work, and it works well. For this year I've tried to schedule all my government meetings at the beginning of the month so I can have the second half to put my butt in the chair.

I'm really blessed with smart friends of all political stripes. In fact, just gave a bone to my direct boss, who when he commented, "You pinched that nerve yourself, now you've got to live with the consequences" (on my commenting that I love the extra pain sensations that come in aftershocks from an unexpected sneeze) and I replied back, "But I'm a liberal, I don't believe I should live with the consequences of my actions." Gotta have a sense of humor about your own self and those around you. I don't always agree with everybody about everything (even people nominally on "my side" of an issue), and that doesn't make those people wrong. Much of it has to do with perspective and their own histories. And I'm also blessed that many of those friends write their own blog posts on topics I really wanted to say something about.

So here's Jim Wright on the myth of common sense. What he said. And as I posted in the comments over there, "common sense" is the "family values" of the twenty-teens.

Jay Lake points to a letter by Roger Ebert addressed to Rush Limbaugh. What he said. (what follows is interior fantasy) It's possibly the drugs breaking down my barriers of humanity and keying into the "angry young man" I used to be, but lately I've been thinking to myself, "So they want to position themselves as 'fighting a war' for values? Well, I know how to do that. I was trained in cointel. And I know which heads need venting to let sunshine in" (because, of course, I'm correct and all these other people are on the wrong side of history /irony). I'm sure it's the drugs. And fortunately, I don't own firearms. (yet).

And speaking of Jay, he pens a great fantasy on the larval stages of the common American speculative fiction writer. If you're not chuckling by the end of it, you haven't been doing this long enough (and I take the rip on Romance and Horror writers as good natured joshing). For me, I skipped the "Conspiracy Theory of Publishing" by 1) being yelled at to join the Haskell/Kletcha Klutch, and 2) thinking, "fuck it, I can do that." And right now I exist in that limbo between the "My friends are selling" and "Opps, I sold something." But without the homicidal part of the former. No. Really. I like you all. Stop staring at me and put down the phone. I said I don't own any firearms.

(yet)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Speedy Update

Quick thoughts and updates:

I have my approval for MRI, will be scheduling that tomorrow. Appointment with Orthopedic Doctor on Monday. Trying Aleve on advice from coworker. So far, hmmm, might work. We'll see how we sleep on it.

The election in MA isn't quite what many people are making it out to be. Especially the talking heads (on both sides). The exit polls and other survey data show a much more complex picture. edited to correct that no exit polls occurred in the MA special election (nod to Cassie for pointing that out)

The day job continues to provide such fun enough that I'm using antacids more (although that could also be with amounts of painkillers I'm taking).

Robert Parker died yesterday. I came late to his works (reading and listening to them for the WIP). Muscular prose and directness. From what is being told he died doing what he loved, at his writing desk.

Also yesterday was E.A. Poe's birthday. I guess the mysterious mourner didn't show.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Confusion - Not So Much

I suck. Last night was very bad and this morning isn't so good either. I really had been hoping to get into the orthopedic doctor this week (am still trying to). This morning, on the way into work, I sneezed and nearly went off the road.

So I'm not going to be able to see all my friends this weekend. Making the four hour drive into Detroit just isn't going to work if every bump I cross sends spasms of pain across my right shoulder (just thinking about I-80 right now sends shivers down my spine). Add in the inability to find a comfortable sleeping position and laying awake for a couple hours each night waiting for the over-the-counter pain meds to kick in and I'll be exhausted again by this weekend. Convensions normally drain me of any energy I have. So even if I could make it up there, I don't think I'd be able to make it back on Sunday. Driving cross-eyed, half dead, brain fuzzy, along a fairly straight strip of asphault, in approaching twighlight, probably not the best idea.

This really pisses me off. There were a lot of things going on that I wanted to be a part of this weekend, meeting up with the Haskell/Kletcha Clutch, a book launch party, seeing my friends from other convensions who were going to be at this one this year, meeting up with everybody I know and have met there (hell, I finally have a book for Karl Schroeder to autograph), hanging out with all of you all (hell, I know more people at this convention than I know from any other), meeting the twins, just all kinds of things and that's before we get to the actual programming of the con (which looks great, again), and the obligatory hanging-out in the bar (where excellent things have happened every year I've been there).

But really, I'm not fun to be around at the moment. Last night I was crabby at my wife for no real reason. Laughing actually hurts. As in serious pain. The drugs are making me woozy and scatter brained, I would probably be heading to the bed at 10pm instead of my usual 1-3am.

(redacted - long string of cursing and kicking of objects including small kittens)

Sorry everybody. Wish I could make the party, but don't think I can. (If a miracle occurs, I'll change my mind).

edit since I wrote this, I now have an orthopedic appointment on Monday instead of Thursday the 28th.

Monday, January 18, 2010

More on why I think we need an even larger overhaul of the healthcare industry

Okay, this post I've been working on for the past week in the moments when I didn't feel like ripping my arm off, ala the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, to end the pain. And now that I'm referred to an orthopedist for my pain and the first appointment I can get is on the 28th (or a week and a half away for those reading this later). I have one percocet left. I don't think it's going to make it. I'm taking enough tylenol on top of it that I'm concerned about the side effects (I already have the loose stool, next up, hole in stomach and possible heart attack!). And I can't see somebody for another week and a half? Tell me again how we have the best system in the world. Oh yeah, don't forget that at this point I'm down a few hundred and if we go through the whole MRI scenario, that will increase exponentially.

And then I'll have another pre-existing condition to boot.

The other night I had to play the alternate liaison to a local small government agency (actually, an NGO, but we have weird rules here in the US). And, as it is elsewhere, it was time for the health insurance renewal.

They run on an HSA (Healthcare Savings Account) that is set up this way. The first $250/500 a year is the patient's responsibility. After that they are reimbursed. Up to $2500/5000 is the responsibility of the "Savings" part of the deal (which the entity coughs up, pays through the insurance broker for an extra fee, I don't know if the employees contribute to that amount or not, but it doesn't matter for this example). And then anything over $2750/5500 the insurance covers at 100% (in network, our of network is a cost sharing, 60/40 if memory serves).

Okay, so we all have got that. Let's bring it down to just the individual and leave the spouse and family out of the numbers from now on. So, for the first $2750 the individual spends on healthcare that money comes from either the individual's own pocket or from the organization's saving plan set up in the name of the individual. Now, anything over that amount, that's when the insurance actually starts kicking in (not a cent beforehand, though).

We had all the data on the individuals, there's 8 of them, and what they spent (but not what on). One person spent nothing (or less than $250), one person met the $2750 out of pocket (but there was no figure for how much over they went), but overall each person averaged about $1200 still in their account (including the person who spent zero and the person who spent all of it). We're clear here, only one person would have received any moneys directly from the insurance policy.

For the eight employees the insurance cost per month was roughly $4500 (or $54,000 a year). Now, there are two spouses included and one family, so that brings the cost a little higher. And let me say here, that's not bad. Of course, that's a "high deductible" plan and the cost for the employer is higher as they're covering the $2500 per person savings plan (I'm pretty sure, but again, not fully sure it's not shared between the employer and employee).

How much do you think their insurance increased? Again, remember, only one person ended up using it (and while we didn't have any numbers on how much they used, there was no table talk of "well, they had some problems this year").

Did you guess 24%? Okay, well, since they increased the deductible to $3500, only 23.75%. So now they'll be over $5580 (lowest increase) per month for the insurance premiums (depending on the options, the could save as much at $4200 a year or least than one months premium, and that's by increasing their exposure by 150%).

So I asked for what's called "the experience." That's the number of how much was paid into the plan versus how much was paid out. The answer we got back from the broker was, "Normally they don't provide such numbers for a group as small as yours."

WTF. It's not like they have to wake up an accountant who dusts off their green shade and cracks the books with a pencil. Hey, how about we're your frickin' customer and we're demanding an account review. Are you telling me they didn't have this number ready when they decided to up the premium by 24%? If they didn't, I'm willing to call shenanigans. And if they did, hey, it's a frickin' copy paste function. They have keyboard shortcuts to help out with that.

Tell me again why this industry doesn't need an enema. Because, frankly, it needs flushed. Or at least that's what it smells like to me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday follies

The prednisone has run its course and I still have pain. The percocet is almost gone as well. This isn't good. So tomorrow we'll call the doctor and see what's to be done next. Pain is not a good way to live.

I certainly hope they find something soon.

Today we finished putting away the Xmas decorations. All boxed and stored away, awaiting another season. Note to self, I need to fix some of the light strings before next year.

Tomorrow we need to prepare for the couch delivery on Tuesday. That will mean some heavy lifting and cleaning. This week is almost fully scheduled with the addition of having to run various errands. And at the end of the week is Confusion in Detroit. I really wanted to be pain free for that, but now I'm not so sure that's going to happen.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Late in the day post

Spent the day undecorating. Took down the tree, hauled in the outside decorations into the garage to dry. Getting things read for the delivery of the new couch.

There's still a lot of pain and this morning I slept till this afternoon. I really hope this pain stops sometime soon.

Outside the weather decided to range up into the thirties so we could pull up the stakes. The mud-stained snow tracked into the garage with the wire decorations. Rhythmic push-broom sweeps brushed it out on top of the snow piles. The inflatable snowman billows in solitary stance.

Did I mention the drugs?

Anyway, here's hoping tomorrow is a little more sane.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Few Linkee-poo

Of possible interest only to me, but here's a cool blog devoted to letterhead. It get my design geek on. Lots of historically interesting (even if not so designy) things there. Includes many Disney letterheads during the promotion of their classic movies. (Grokked form Jay Lake who linked to the Hindenburg Letterhead).

An old article form Patrick Rothfuss on deadlines, success, and the process. With cartoons. It's form last February, but I just found it (grokked from Anne Zanoni).

On losing weight

General update. I keep bouncing above 300. With the change over to the extended release formula of the metformin I started to gain weight. So we're adjusting when I take it (before seeing if I can go back to the regular formulation).

But one of the things I hate is if I feel hungry, this little voice in my head comes in and say, "That's good. You should feel hungry. That's the signal your body is processing the fat." And it counter acts any thoughts of going for a snack.

Hate that little voice. Especially when I know there's Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips down in the vending machine. Hate that voice.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One toe over the line

edited to include this link to Hullabaloo (grokked from Jay Lake)

Before it gets too far down the road and I haven't commented on it. America's Crazy Uncle Pat spoke up yesterday on the cause of the Haitian earthquake. See, it has nothing to do with an active Earth and tectonic plates that in the Atlantic are sliding along each other. Nothing about how they tense and release.

For Pat it's all about his god. And I say his god (lower "g") intentionally, because I don't think his god is whom most Christians believe are their God. For Crazy Uncle Pat's god is a vengeful SoB.

According to Pat, the Haitians are suffering because their ancestors made a pact with the Devil to rid their country of the French. This would have been done back at the end of the 18th or very early in the 19th centuries (as I remember, French colonial rule ended around 1804). And that's why god decided, almost two centuries later, to shake the bejeezus out of an impoverished island which was already having medical and food emergencies.

Not only is Pat's god a vengeful SoB, he's also chronically late to the show. He's also not all powerful, after all, the Haitians did kick the French out. Which, following Pat's logic here, shows that Satan is stronger than the God-Fearing French. That's a pretty startling admission from someone who for years preached that Satan has no powers in the world, and that his god is always triumphant.

This next paragraph has been edited (bold text) to make it clearer whom I'm talking to, in the comments I've realized I didn't make it clear in the original post. (edited 01-14-10 3pm)

So let me take a page from the former administration, until I hear the rest of the self proclaimed leaders and spokespeople of the Christian Community actively and loudly denouncing this windbag, I'm going to assume they don't have a problem with him and actually support his views. He is giving your religion a bad name. You think Imams and Islamic leaders need to denounce terrorism and terrorist to distance themselves from the whackaloon contingent on their flanks. Well, me buckos, it's time to clean your own temple of the moneychangers. "Oh, that's just Pat being Pat," won't cut it anymore. I want to hear you all say that Pat Robertson is not a Christian as you understand Christ.

And to Pat, since saying this one way wouldn't make sense to you, let me say it this way. Your god is waiting to call you home. Pick up the phone.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Writing Based Linkee-poo

A few editors are posting things about their slush piles reading. First is Christopher East over at Futurismic on why we reject stories (grokked from Tobias Buckell who linked to another article that led me to this page). And next we have Keven J. Anderson with his view form the slushpile (grokked from the Brandie Tarvin).

Here's an interesting piece about some societal experimentation on what's popular (Wired Magazine). And a Futurismic article on it for the light version. Seems that popularity is somewhat a product of peer review (although they classify it as "luck" it's more of peer pressure thing). This is why, as a creator/author, when you have something coming out that generating "buzz" is so damn important (besides the necessity of early sales numbers). (grokked from Tobias Buckell - this is the original article he linked to).

Go and kill the yellow man

All these whackaloons who are calling for, "can we just start profiling now" are your basic, "Why can't we just be racist like we used to be," types. No. Shut up. They are.

Why? What does a Muslim look like? No, I'm serious. Do you think they get it tattooed on their foreheads? I've known followers of Islam who were more bunt-cake, flour-white, suburban kids than Bill O'Reilly (which, since we're profiling here, put down the whiskey, Bill, get back to work, don't give the Irish a bad name, again, and disavow your IRA ties now, before we come for you). Are we going to make them wear yellow crescent-moons sewn into their garments so we can tell them apart from the other God-fearin' 'Mericans (50 extra bonus points if you get the Godwin reference here)? Are we going to profile "araby types" because that would have missed Umar Abdulmutallab who is a black Nigerian (a little too swarthy if you get my meaning). It also would have missed Richard Reed, the other "I've got a bomb in my clothes for you, baby" guy. Are we going to get sly TSA officials to ask the questions when you go through port control like the bridge guardian in Monty Python's Holy Grail.

"Those who wish to cross the TSA line of demarcation must answer me these questions three, 'ere the boarding area they see. What is your name?"

"Umar Abdulmutallab."

"What is your quest?"

"To destroy the imperial west."

"Are you a radical muslim?"

"No. I mean, yes. ARGH!"

Really. If it's not racism, I can't figure out what it would be. Because the only other answer is that these people, who hold positions of some prominence, are clinically brain dead.

Think profiling will stop the terrorists? Nope. John Walker Lindh. Remember him? The American Taliban. Probably as white-bread as you can get. Timothy McVeigh? The other white meat. As Wednesday said in the movie The Adams Family when asked what her costume was supposed to be, "I'm a serial killer, we look just like everybody else."

Now, there are some ways, but they're not fool-proof. If you're highly trained enough you might be able to spot some tell-tales. I usually can spot someone who has been in the military from the way they walk (well, that and their clothes, etc). I can even make a reasonable guess at the branch and relative rank. But here's the thing, since I know what I'm looking for, in my own case, I intentionally break all those tell-tales. No b-line on me buddy boy. No precision in step. Nothing to really give me away. And that's the problem. You can train against that kind of screening.

Back-scatter x-rays? There's these things called body cavities. You can hide some interesting things in them (ask your local prison inmate or drug mule). Poof machines? Worked well in the lab, but strangely enough when in the real world with real conditions such as air movement from HVAC systems and the perfumes and other things normal people wear, not so well. Maybe if they pray at the airport with prayer rugs? Hey, remember the 9-11 report that talked about the guys being instructed to go to strip-clubs to throw off suspicion? And if all that remains is pulling people over for having scraggly beards, whell, there's a Gillete razor for that.

Nothing is fool proof. As we used to say, we have to be lucky 100% of the time, the terrorists only have to be lucky once. Terrorists, they're the new Red Scare Communists. Get 'em while they're hot.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Misc

Felt a little better today with the prednisone. Tonight a little reversal, but not much. Probably due to taking the third dose late.

A little woozy from the oxycodone. So stringing words together is not exactly my forte at the moment.

A lot of people talk about how they have issues with friending their Mom or SO or whomever. What about your boss? Hmm? I'm on linked-in (don't use it much) and lately all my coworkers have been showing up and inviting me into their networks. And now it keeps recommending my boss to me. So, not like he's on facebook (he may be, I don't know), or as a twitter-pal, but I still haven't hit the invite button yet.

Just trying to make it through the week. Although I'm not feeling itchy for not writing in so long.

Have to report back to the doctors this week. So hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Like I said, not focused. Wish I could take vicodin. That whole paranoid delusion thing isn't worth it though.

Tomorrow I should be better focused. I have been writing posts in the two minute intervals I get when I can type before the pain starts and between what is becoming a hectic work week (need to save up the arm for the paying stuff).

I know this post is wondering wandering, but I can't help it at the moment. And I wanted to get a post out tonight. Tomorrow. I'll be more focused tomorrow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Guilt and Drugs

Made the appointment to see my regular doctor today at a little after 3. Feeling guilt for leaving work to see the doctor, but wanting the drugs and maybe an MRI to make sure I don't have a herniated disk. That would be bad.

The past two days haven't been as bad as the previous. TMI warning. However, having been taking massive amounts of tylenol for over a week has caught up with me and now my stool isn't exactly all together these days. Also, spent approximately 2am-3am this morning either on the crapper or trying to find a comfortable position after downing 2000mg of ibuprofin. Alternating between "Okay, I can handle this," and "OMFG, give me the medication and stop this pain now" today. This is not a fun way to live. Plus, trying to keep shoulders back, but at work computer monitor is low (beneath a cabinet) and temp set to "coolish" all conspiring to keep me hunched over.

Most people I've worked with don't seem to have this problem of leaving work to see a doctor. WTF is wrong with me that I do have a problem with it? My wife seems to think it's related to being laid-off of work too many times (first time within one year of being hired). I don't think I'm that much of an A-Type personality. I know I have workaholic tendencies (which I'm working on, ha! get it). But I really am in serious pain, why can't I let myself have this time (in my professional life, only one year have I used all my sick leave, and that's when I broke my leg, and for most jobs I typically have only 1 or 2 sick days). It's something I know that isn't rational (hell, when I told my boss I'd have to leave early, he's all "do what you need to"). Okay, I guess I could write a whole chapter on this. I was raised that if I wasn't throwing up, and I could get out of bed (even if I had to crawl), I wasn't sick enough to skip school or work. My guess is a lot of my adult life has been colored by that fact.

What about you. How do you all handle these kinds of things?

Edit And the result is aggravated arthritis of the neck. Or in other words, I got my Old Fart Card validated. So percocet for pain, muscle relaxants, and a course of anti-inflammatory (5 days).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Feeling like an adult, and it only took until being 43

Spent part of today behaving like I was a grownup and buying real furniture. We've needed a new couch for years. Today we found a nice laz-y-boy recliner that should work. Then we spent a sizable sum on it that also made me feel older.

We've decorated in early-American poor for most of our lives. Most of our furniture is either used, self assembled, or fished out. In fact the amount we've spent on the custom shelves is greater than all of our furniture put together, including our beds.

Arm still hurts, although last night I did sleep a little better. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A moment of not-so-much pain

I don't know if I've over-dosed on ibuprofin or not, but at the moment there's only a little pain. Of course, I'm tired as all get out. But while the moment was here, I thought I'd take advantage of it.

This pain thing sucks. And just for the record, it's my right arm. Which coming from a family with heart problems is doubly more concerning (oh look, massive pain in my upper right arm with tingling sensation in the hand, I wonder what that could be?). Yet another appointment this afternoon. I have a feeling it will be accompanied by x-rays. Wednesday we had a long conversation and he did some quick tests. No weakness, no restricted movement, no major damage. Just pinched nerves. Joy.

And to add to the aggravation, there's the typical "start up of the year" problems with the village stuff. Hmm. Maybe if I take enough ibuprofin, it'll deactivate that duty-bone and I'll be able to resign. Nah, probably won't work.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

12 Drummers Drumming

Jeff VanderMeer on novel openings which also relate to how to set the scene and get a story going. He's doing it as a discussion, so go and have at (of course he's also using his latest novel "Finch" as the example - no, you don't have to have read it to participate).

Cathy Clamp talks about the differences between distributor and wholesaler over on Writer Beware. Go and learn.

Jim Hines is spilling the beans on comparative sales info and 2009 writing income.

Lightspeed is now open for submissions.

I was going to do more, but my arm is killing me. Last sentence took 2 breaks to rub arm. If I'm scarce for a bit, you know why.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Eleven Pipers Pipping

Okay, I wanted to do this post in a Lovecraftian way honoring those mad pipers of the Arctic, the shoggoths. But that isn't going to happen today. Mostly because I'm still in pain. Went to the chiropractor yesterday and was so bound up he couldn't move me at all. So instead he worked on "pressure points" to get fluids moving. Normally when he does this there's just one point. Last night he had his choice of them along my right shoulder. I felt only marginally better when I left and then felt a little better as the night went on.

Then I went to sleep. Only to wake up around 3am feeling like someone what poured ice-water through my arm after whacking on it with a baseball bat. And we're talking swinging for the cheap seats, not bunting. Fun that wasn't. I eventually hit a position with my right arm up between two pillows and was able to get back to sleep.

Today it's more of a throbbing pain in the shoulder and upper arm. Although the lower arm gets that "iced" feeling every now and then. And all this typing is making it worse. While the pain is bad in and of itself, it's that it's sticking around for so long that really gets me.

So, how are you surviving the snowpocalypse? (did I mention it's snowing again)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Represent!

Viable Paradise is open for applications again. And it appears to be a re-do of this past year's instructors including John Scalzi, Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Jim Macdonald and Debra Doyle, Steven Gould and Laura Mixon, and Elizabeth Bear.

As a writer, you could do much worse than being instructed by this crowd. And they all had their areas of expertise which sometimes overlapped, but all had good things to share. Those areas of expertise covered the full gamut of being a working writer in genre fiction (research, plot, structure, exposition, business savvy, and industry knowledge). Much of it you may know, have seen in various places, but for me it certainly helped to have it all pulled together and made relevant to each other. Hell, the cost of admission to have Uncle Jim's plot lecture and see Teresa Nielsen Hayden's party trick is worth it, IMHO. And you get all the extra stuff for free. Plus, you know, glowing jellyfish.

I had my trepidations about going. The cost, time, and if it would be worth it. Let me just say that my only regret is that I ended up going exhausted and probably didn't get everything I should have out of the experience. If you feel you don't do well in crowds, well at least half the class of VP XIII felt the same way. You'll work your brains out and have a great time doing it. Just one hint if you go, help out the staff. They're also writers and can use the breaks.

Ten Lords a-Leaping

How not to start the new year.

1) In so much pain the only comfortable sleeping position is on my back. Which I hate as it leads to poor breathing and dreams I'm being buried alive. But last night the drugs weren't good enough to make sleeping on my side not excruciating.

2) Leave the house a half an hour early, because you want to leave work early to go to the chiropractor, only to arrive a half hour late. Snowpocolypse and idiot, inconsiderate drivers. Seriously people, consider other people on the road, pay attention, use your accelerator.

3) Forget your lunch at home.

4) Take drugs that make you insanely drowsy after a night of little sleep.

5) Two grapefruit do not a satisfying lunch make (although mug of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice - yum).

6) Hear bad news about client who contributes greatly to workload.

7) Try to hold you arm in such a way that you don't stress any muscles and feel a lot of pain, only to find out that such a position doesn't exist and is contradictory.

8) Unable to get an Abba song out of your head.

9) Figure out that you moved a prescription to another pharmacy because it would be more convenient, except when you need to refill it soon and aren't going that way (but will pass old pharmacy)

10) Want to go home halfway through morning commute, which may have been faster than continuing morning commute.

But on the positive side, I heard that I had won one of the book contests. So, we start off the year with free books! And it's about zombies. We love our zombies.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ten Drummers Drumming

Today I am sadly disappointed in our information age. One of the nephews is at Peak and Peak for the day and overhears some people talking about I-90 (the major interstate along the easter shore of Lake Erie, main connector to NY from Ohio) being closed. So, what does he do. Does he go to the manager or concierge there at PnP? Why no, he calls his Mom who is two states away. Who then calls us because we're slightly closer. So then I start into searching because the Weather Channel is into their afternoon hours of "Storm Stories" (really, don't need documentaries on Weather, I want to know the Weather, that's what the Weather Channel is for). I try Ohio's highway reporting site, which doesn't want to work with Safari (only Explorer and Firefox - note to Ohio Governmental Webmasters, bits is bits and we're in the 21st Century, might want to check out this concept of browser neutral design, I hear it's all the rage). Then I go to the PA State Police, which, since they're the ones who would close the interstate (which I eventually did find out they had) I think they would have something on their website. Nope. But they have a 511 site, which doesn't work very well with my slow connection, and doesn't have, say, something that says "The State Police have closed I-90 on account of weather." Nope, have to go look at maps, and then select to see weather related alerts, which then don't want to function barfing out errors left and right (see comment about Ohio Governmental Webmasters). Then I check Erie, PA television stations, all of which haven't updated since yesterday. Great. So finally I get a story from a Pittsburgh news station that, yes, the state patrol had closed all of I-90.

It shouldn't be this hard.

In other news, today was the snowpocalypse here in NE Ohio. We've got a metric boat load of lake effect dumping across the region.

And did I mention I'm in pain. My whole right side is killing me (thank Xenu I have some good painkillers left over from prior pain sessions). I'm pretty sure I just need a good adjustment (and that the pain is from all the sitting and typing I've done this weekend). My chiropractor has extended hours tomorrow and I think I'll be taking advantage of those. Now it remains to be seen if I can get to sleep tonight (had problems last night with the pain, I started the painkillers around 2am).

So Bette was good enough to go shovel for me. Hopefully tomorrow I can get to work okay, and then leave a little early to make it to the chiropractor and get snapped and rolled (oh man how I love that roller bed, if they weren't a few thousand I'd have one myself).

But now, with just this typing I'm hurting again, so I think I'll stop and go get dinner. How are you surviving the snowpocalypse? I did take photos this morning, so I'll try and share soon.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

WIPped into Rejection

I think I have what Bette had before. I feel like crap and hurt all over.

What I thought would be two chapters got condensed into one. Which is okay as I felt two chapters would be a bit long for the denouement. Chapter 41 came in at 1705 words, which feels about right.

On the other side, it's done. I'm not very happy with the ending. While the ending of the action I think should work, I'm not sure people will accept the emotional tone of the overall story ending. It's not so much a "they all lived happily ever after" as it's more of a "coming to grips with who they are and what they have to do." Well, that can be fixed in the rewrite. That's what rewrites are for, aren't they.

But, hey, it's done. I wrote a novel. Now I need to get back to work and fix it. So, as you can see, I know have a second progress bar to track rewrites. I'm not sure how I'll do this, but I'll try. I'm sure that number will go up and down. And the new target of 85000 is a rough guess. That might change as well. I know I want to be over 60000 and under 100000.

So now I'm only two days over my third deadline. The path forward from this point? Some writers feel you should let the first draft sit for a time before starting. I'm not sure that's my process. There's that novel critique I need to get done for a friend. I'll need to go through all the critique notes from Viable Paradise (which I have been avoiding to keep me going forward). There's a few short stories I've been wanting to work on. I don't know. My brain is kind of fuzzy at the moment.

And finally, checking in tonight brings word from Weird Tales that they're passing on "Prince Wanted." Well, it was sort of a long shot as well for that market. Ann says it's not what she's looking for, which I think is part of her boilerplate. At least the last few rejections have had that line. So part of tomorrow will be looking for a new home for that one.

Nine Ladies Dancing

I hurt. My shoulders are killing me and I'm in desperate need of an adjustment. So that makes today an aspirin day. This is the result of too many days sitting in a broken down couch typing. Add in that this afternoon I decided to reward myself by starting up one of the games Bette got me for Xmas, Force Unleashed.

Yeah, yeah, you all got done playing this like five years ago. So, now my whole upper body hurts. I kept trying to beat that damn first rogue jedi. Note to game developers, rotating camera angles are not your friend. Really, quit screwing around with them. If I lock the camera on an opponent, the camera should make a third point in a direct line between my opponent, me, and the camera, and it should always remain fixed looking at my opponent. No, I don't care about "cinematic" crap. I'm trying to win a game here. If I can't see WTF I'm doing, I can't do that.

It looks like this year we're going to have a discussion on e-books and pirating. Several people have posted their pontifications on it, and most of them miss the mark, IMHO. Again, they're making the same mistakes as the RIAA and MPAA did in thinking it was all about them. Clue to everybody, if music had been as effected by piracy as much as the RIAA would like you to believe, considering they under-estimated the amount of piracy by at least a hundred percent, they wouldn't be making any money at all. Piracy is a much bigger problem that what they ever expected, and it's mostly inconsequential. And unfortunately the book publishing industry is probably going to go down the same rabbit hole (although some seem to have a clue, paranoid authors and their agents will force some issues). Because, unless you think it's a bad idea that people share books, go to libraries, used bookstores, and all the other secondary markets, book piracy isn't as big a deal as people think it is. Is it an issue? Yes, it is a real issue that needs to be addressed. However, it isn't an apocalyptic issue people are making it out to be. The software industry has been dealing with this issue since the 80s, and they've been losing. They're still making money, and still producing new software. A much bigger issue in publishing, IMHO, that completely dwarves the piracy flap, is the distribution models and metrics (how collected, and definitely how used).

Enough playing hooky, time to get back to work. How's your new year going so far?

Oh, and I'm going to experiment taking the captcha off. We'll see how it goes. edit with the first Anon comment, it appears that the comment tracking function broke right after that. So, sorry folks. I don't want to leave the blog open to spamming overnight. We'll try again soon. If anyone wants to own up to the first Anon comment, I'll be glad to reconsider. I definitely don't want to remove the anonymous commenting, but I also don't want to become a link farm for spammers.

WIP it all night long

Chapter 40 came in at a whopping 2875 words. I have a feeling in rewrite I'll break that into two chapters although right now I can't think of how I would do that. Okay, maybe I have an idea, but it doesn't feel as natural as the other two times I've had to do that. There's very little dialog, which is unusual compared to the rest of the book. And with it being so late I'm not sure if the chapter is entirely cohesive. Although I do like how it ends (I'm not sure how other people will react to it though). This is the chapter that ends the action in the book. It's all down hill for the last two chapters (or what I thought might be two chapters, that part of my brain that helps me estimate these things is now quibbling over that). So we now have a total of 71525. Not bad. Looks like I planned that out pretty well. My guess is I'll go a little over the 73000 mark, but not by much (and this is why I listen to that part of my brain that helps with the estimating). I'll also redo the math on my totals. Not like I haven't screwed those up before.

I started a little way into 41. Just so I wouldn't have a dead end tomorrow.

And now, it being way too late, I'm to bed.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Eight Maids a-Milking

The snow is so thick in the air it's sometimes difficult to see to the road. The wind drives the snow hard in cross directions. And then the wind loses it's bite and the snow hangs in the air like someone who opens the door to the refrigerator only to forget what they were looking for. So they hang there in limbo, waiting to remember their purpose.

A New Year in the western tradition. The snow seems to have remembered it's winter and continues to pile up. In the eastern tradition, precipitation on auspicious days is considered good luck. In the new year we must be going to have several inches of good luck then.