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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Writing

Okay, so I tried not talking about the writing, thinking that I would do more of the actual, you know, writing part.

That didn't happen.

So, now I'm going back to the using the WIP counters to drive me forward. I've been working a little, but I've made it three days in a row now. Time to crow.

I crossed the 80,000 mark. Go me. Also, added some tension and feelings, whoa whoa, feelings.
He pointed at me like firing a gun, "You're job is to protect the family name. It's my job to protect the Old Man's ass. Those are different goals. You would have to avenge him, I want to make sure you don't need to."

Linkee-poo hates Tuesdays pretending to be Mondays (but loves Mondays pretending to be Saturdays)

Edited to add this - John Scalzi announced another Fuzzy Nation giveaway just after I went to press with this. Sigh. But he's got 10 copies to give away. Yes, you too could own a book with my name in it.

Utah goes back to the gold standard (well, not really, they'd like too, but this just makes gold and silver legal tender). Hmm, I wonder how long it will take to start working out the various purities at the cash register (or do we need to run through the 10k-24k or 50%-99.999% discussion)? Probably after the first few thousands get lost because what looked like 24k gold was actually gold plated lead. Mostly it's a tax dodge, but it appears we're going to have to relearn lessons of the past.(Grokked from Jay Lake)

The Ferrett talks about believability when it comes to studies, especially related to the 22 Charts post (that's 22 charts showing, again, just how screwed over we've been because of Conservative ideologies, ie. the rich get richer, the rest stay the same or slide back all while having more of the responsibility of funding the government put on their backs).

It's a subject I often debate with myself on what to put in the linkee-poo. Sometimes I do due diligence and read all the back story, sometimes I go with my gut. But as Ferrett says, it's easier to accept (on faith) something that fits within your world view and hard to accept something that doesn't (this also goes to a conversation I had recently with some people who were saying, "Fox News is the only news program that makes sense," they didn't get my arguments about how Fox News creates the narrative to fit their preconceived notions which is why it, "feels right.") And this happens on both sides of the political fence, although it does feel like the conservative side more often goes the Adam Savage route of "I deny your reality and substitute my own." But then, that also fits into my preconceived notions.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

And once your done going to the mattress and white sales,
Have set off your fireworks (yes, they're selling fireworks and party supplies),
Watched your prerequisite number of war movies,
Lit the bar-b-que in a burnt offering to the gods of summer,
Go walk the graves of the quick and the dead,
And be thankful you've not had to be either.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How Steve Spent His Saturday

Our largest bathroom is like an inside cabin on a cruiser, no windows to get light. Every time we go to do anything in there, piddle or clean, we have to turn on the lights. Also, because there's no natural light, our hallway is always dark as well. So for almost the same time we've been in the house I've needed to fix that problem.


So today started out with cutting holes in the roof. You haven't lived until you cut a hole in your roof.


Followed by holes in the ceiling.


And then as the song goes, "I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in..."


Then, of course, you need to connect the holes.


And then we did a little trick as suggested by Dan (from his install). As an FYI, it's always good to know people like Dan who know how to do things. That's a water heater blanket, btw. The tube is pretty thin, and while any sunlight will keep it warm, cutting holes in the ceiling isn't exactly a way to maintain your R factor, if you know what I mean.


So this is what the bathroom looks like now. Even after it got cloudy today it looked like we left the light on inside.


Actually, after having the sun come out just as I was starting, so it could be nice and hot in the attic and on the roof, as I was cleaning up it got cloudy and threatened to rain once I was in. Fortunately I splurged for the faster curing roof sealer and silicon calk (for the screws holding the dome in place). So I just needed to make it to 7 without it raining (of course, having a full day would be better). So far, no rain.

What would I do different given the chance? Well, besides hiring someone else to do the work (working in the attic nearly killed me, my back still hurts and I had to drink like 3 glasses of water after both sessions in the attic), I would ignore the instructions and put the flashing under more of the shingles (at least one more row).


By the time I really looked at it and realized I could add another row, I was already screwed in. But as you can see, we're halfway down with the shingles. I also used the left over roofing sealant to add more around the sides (as well as 3 rows of sealant underneath, and resealed the shingles just above the flashing install.

So, I hurt. I'm tired. But a job well done.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Linkee-poo double dips before a long weekend

Just some things I saw that I didn't want sitting until next Tuesday. If I'm not online, have a great weekend, everybody. Go hug a veteran.

Well, I guess we really don't need that Ohio Consumer Counsel after all. I mean, when the PUCO is going to rubber stamp the original plan that First Energy came up with, why do we need to protect consumers? Notice that the "your bill will go up to offset the money we'll lose by not generating or transmitting as much energy, because we have to protect the total amount of our profits" clause is buried way down there. So, basically, it's the same plan that was roundly thumped last year with one difference. You don't have to get the CFL bulbs First Energy was going to send to you automatically. But you're still going to pay the same amount as if they did. That's reasonable, isn't it?

The other shoe drops on corporate financing of elections. I say we now do it like NASCAR. The candidates should wear jumpers with the logos of all their sponsors on them. Then, of course, we can't just let everybody do it, can we. I think what they're really afraid of with the Colbert PAC is his only somewhat veiled threat to be an agent of chaos (not KAOS) in the coming election.

Linkee-poo is looking forward to a long weekend

Thanks to everybody who answered my question on working over lunch. It was easy at the former job. I had a cubicle in the corner that nobody could see that I was there, and I had a full hour for lunch. Not to mention working on different floor I got a lot of exercise throughout the day. With the new job I'm mostly at my desk, we're on the first floor, and I don't have much privacy. I think at home I'm going to have to move back to the dining room table. That way it won't be so easy to interrupt me (but it also means time where I "ignore" Bette, which I didn't want to do).

I haven't talked about this, but I had an appointment with the dermatologist today for a "dry patch" on my ear which has been there for almost 8 months now. The good news is the doctor thinks the thing on my ear is only actinic keratosis. Since it's small and not a year old, we just had it frozen. It'll fall off in a few days.

The unspoken raping of Medicaid and why it's important to you. I remember when to get adequate welfare money to live people would get divorced. With this change, how many people will have to be driven into destitution all while also being disowned by family just to get basic care. All coming from policies of the party of Family Values. More of the philosophy of "Got mine, screw you." I feel like I keep tapping a microphone and asking, "Is this thing on?" (Grokked from Jay Lake)

On a positive note, Vermont goes all socialist with a single-payor health system. I wonder now that people won't have to be confused by the fumes over the Atlantic (or the Northern Border) they'll see how one really works and why it works better. Begin the stories of doctors "fleeing" Vermont in droves in 3… 2… 1… (I can't remember who pointed this out, sorry, thanks though)

Ed Schultz gets told to have a sit down. And yes, he deserved it.

New book on Groom Lake (Area 51) explains the Roswell Incident as something so crazy, even the UFO conspiracy nuts don't believe it. So, interesting theory, or stealth publicity stunt for Iron Sky? (pointed to by Dan)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm a marathon runner, in my head

Random thoughts that keep going through my head.

For those writers out there who write on their lunches, do you actually eat a lunch as well? I'm trying to figure out how to fit it in. Granted, if I was able to take a full hour, I think I could. A half hour or 45 minute lunch just isn't long enough after a short walk (5 to 15 minutes) and stuffing my face.

I have been avoiding trying to do too many writing projects all at the same time. I've also given more thought to turning off the internets (or at least my involvement in the social aspects of it). I know others who have done that. It's an attempt to carve out more time for writing. And lately I've been putting notes into

Must edit/write the book. With all the storms in the evening lately, even the ones I have't tweeted about, it keeps one from focusing. I have a ton of other work to do around the house, along with other issues. It's not like I've increased TV watching, or gaming. Hell, I haven't been able to do the Wii Fit lately. Which brings us to...

It's okay to feel hungry when you're trying to lose weight. Still having difficulty dropping these pounds. Work is a poison atmosphere. One of our perks is an open snack drawer. Also, most of the time I'm sitting, doing computer work. I have to intentionally get up every now and then.

I have three big home projects I need to get done this summer. Two are day jobs. The third will probably be three weeks. I keep running over all the details for them in my head, trying to see all the angles. I find projects go better when I do that. However, it takes a lot of time.

So finally, I keep reminding myself to just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Swimming. Swimming. Swimming.

Linkee-poo is working for the weekend

Alan Rickman's Severus Snape farewell letter. (pointed to by ChiaLynn)

Tepco official admits half of the Fukushima reactors suffered meltdowns to various degrees. Ya think? Well folks, we're heading up the second hill now. Now that most people around the world have moved on to fresher disasters. What's the second hill about? That second question, just how much (and what kinds) of radioactive materials leaked out. (Grokked from Catherine Shaffer)

Fox News and the 2012 Presidential Race. A lot of insider-baseball there in the NY Magazine. This article goes on the stack I have for when somebody tries the line about how Fox News is the only sane news around (and, yes, that's happened more than I wish to admit). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Good news for art school grads. Again, not so much with the hiring of experienced designers.

Slactivist talks about the myths we tell ourselves. In this case, about faith based initiatives. Again, it's with the longing for a gentler time that never existed, a blinding of white privilege, and the ever popular "We are the masters of our own destiny" crap. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Reality bites. The father of our current debt? G W Bush. Thanks, guy.

So, the Gingrich bill to Tiffany's looked to just be a "not an average Joe" attack (which is why I didn't really include it in any of my online or offline arguments against him - although I think I linked to it when Newt tried the spin that it proved his fiscal restraint). But beneath that smoke and mirrors lurked some fire.

Just fucking amazing. It's called "emergency spending" for a reason. And, to tie FEMA funds for Joplin (and other places) to "offsets" from a party that refused to budget for two wars (and instead made "emergency spending" legislation that was outside the budget to fund them) is, well, let's just say that if it actually came out that the right actually ate their own, I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand these day. Wow. Just wow. The word "callus" doesn't even come close. (Grokked from Erich)

Some infographics on selective war outrage. Republican Party, reality calling on line 3. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

This is why you should read all documents people ask you to sign. Considering most times I'm asked to fill out forms for a doctor's office I have about 3 minutes to do 15 minutes of paperwork, I'll admit I don't read them fully (as I do with most contracts, the company that handled my house closing was very upset about that). Also, here is the free market at work. Doctor's offices are under no obligation to try and take your rights away in this manner. The only concern is to cover their own asses. There are many permutations to your doctor owning any critique of their service, including stifling any malpractice suit (which would require you or your lawyer to write a critique). (Grokked from gabrielnovo)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ZOMG, I almost missed it

Happy towel day. Do you know where your towel is?

Linkee-poo chases 'round this desert 'cause I think that's where he'll be

In relation to a earlier twitter discussion about the quality of projected films between "Traditional" and digital, Roger Ebert gives some perspective. As I said in the twitter conversation, it all depends on if the theater employes an actual projectionist, or some kid they call a projectionist. When you see a celluloid movie projected by a pro, it's amazing. It's what all theater experiences should be. Hell, just the sound balancing is worth it, but the image looks sooo much better when there's a pro in the box. (Grokked from Jay Lake).

I think I've mentioned the cougar before. You know, that fear of the thing out there that's the worst thing you could imagine, the part that makes the job a job. The thing that hunts you, that demands your attention. Because if you slip up at the wrong moment, it will take you. When commanding people into harm's way, the cougar is losing one or all of them because you screwed up. In government, this is what one of the cougars looks like (before and after photos of Joplin, MO). If you're in a disaster zone, especially tornado prone areas, and you're in government/safety services and that photo doesn't strike to the heart of your soul, you're doing it wrong. (pointed to by Dan)

You've got dinosaurs on the arc. But then, dinosaurs never made it onto the arc. In the former, they're the big draw, in the later they could be fit into the sequence without too much juggling around. Ah, principled consistency. BTW, I think "Flintstone Truth" is one of my favorite new phrases. (pointed to by Dan and Phiala)

No, it's not smart business, it's business cannibalism to discriminate against the unemployed. And, frankly, it's fucking idiotic (as in IQ less than 80). Welcome to the free market, where employers cull new employes from other employers and won't even bother with the unemployed. Same mental process that fueled the "we can outsource our production because enough other people won't and they will buy our products, keeping us in business." It's only the thought process of MBAs who don't understand business (in my mind, the vast majority of MBAs = GED, really, I think you can get an MBA as a cereal prize these days). Most MBAs have no ability for critical thought. Hey, HR managers and top management who think up these brain turds and pass them off as shinola, I was one of the unemployed for no other reason than the business owner I worked for chose a business bank that was bought by another bank who didn't want to be a business bank. I think I should buy stock in Torch & Pitchforks Unlimited. There's going to be a big need for their product soon. (Grokked from Wannabewriter06)

The quandary of imposing new regulations (in this case for mandating a potentiality life-saving technology on table saws). For those of us who use power tools, we know the major things manufacturers sacrifice to make cheaper tools is safety. And you'll notice that's exactly the same argument here. Yet another reality body block against the libertarian ideal of the market driving to better products. The industry rails against SawStop charging too much money for its patents. You can read this like you can read the protest of government charging too much taxes. Just remove the "too much" form those sentences and you get the real issue here.

How to stop a psychopath. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

So, in this year of Tea Party pride, so far state legislatures have introduced 916 measures related to reproductive health and rights and 820 measures to restrict or eliminate collective bargaining rights and still the states haven't balanced their budgets, introduced jobs bills, or solved any real problems facing this nation. Tell me the story about how it's all about fiscal conservatism again. I keep forgetting. (link for the reproductive rights story grokked from Steven Gould)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I wonder if we can call e-book cards Quatloos?

Dean Wesley Smith on how to think like a publisher #11. he has an idea of how to sell e-books as physical objects, and it's pretty interesting (Grokked from Jay Lake). There's a few things wrong with this, but they're at the tips of my fingers and I haven't been able to grab ahold of them yet.

The one thought I could wrestle to the ground is that while he's talked to indie booksellers if they like they idea, I'm not sure he's talked to those who read books on e-readers if they'd want to purchase books this way. Seems like if you have the reader, you already have a good mechanism for purchasing built-in.

However, that's not to say this isn't a cool mechanism, and a very useful one at that. Now, while he was talking about a "book on a gift card" I have to admit I saw a different purchasing mechanism. Most smart phones/e-readers don't have card readers (as in magnetic strip readers), but that may also be an interesting way of selling books (need to verify data storage capabilities on those magnetic strips).

Enthrill ebooks (linked to from DWS's article) have created a business model for this, but I think they missed the boat here. They're using QR technology, but I don't think to it's fullest extent. See, with QR tech, you could give books serial numbers (they don't have the information density to include a whole book, but could be customized to URLS). Each one of those cards on the stack could have a unique QR tag, which would lead to a discrete ebook sale/download (also possible with the book on magnet strip idea above). And the information you could garner from that scheme I think publishers/retailers would love to have. (And here I will let leak that one of my book promo ideas was to use QR codes to distribute samples, you know, once I get published).

The big draw back to all of these right now is device integration. There's only one e-reader that I think would work with this (although my knowledge of e-readers is woefully small here), the Nook. Which has been getting big buzz lately. But then, just as the Nook is wining brain-share for it's open format (to how books can be loaded), with these models we're just created another micro-space environment to substitute for others (Apple iBooks, Kindle, etc).

As you can see, I'm not being entirely coherent because my brain just went all 'splody with the idea. It's not perfect, or even (IMHO) a full plan at this point. But I can feel a great solution lurking just below the surface. This beggars to have more thought put into it.

Flower Pron



An allergy sufferer's nightmare (all that white? Dandelion heads about to release seeds).


Linkee-poo runs the marathon

A cautionary comic for writers. Oh yeah. So been there. (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

Some more high-tech geeky humor from your government (in the form of writing advice). (Grokked from phial)

Making music with the use of that cool technology, Tesla Coils. Add in Adam Savage cage dancing to the Dr. Who theme and how can you not watch it? (pointed to by Dan)

Catherine Shaff-Stump trows down the gauntlet on Clarion Write-a-Thon 2. She's also offering critiques for those that donate a certain amount.

One of the things as writers that we need to struggle with is just how much detail to include to create verisimilitude. Knowing the art and science of cognitive selectivity certainly helps. Having a background in a visual communications field, and as you've gathered by now I dig knowing how the brain works, certainly helps in this regard. There are plenty of tricks about it (faces, of course, get a lot of our attention, but then there is the trick of fully rendering on brick and by extension showing the whole wall, even when bricks aren't that interesting. Plenty of cool stuff to mine here. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Aw, we don't need any more government regulations. You know, with all that testing of gas to make sure we're being sold the correct octane gas, it'll just ruin everything. I mean, the market should take cared of this, shouldn't it? We all could be testing our gas to make sure we're getting what we paid for and then not buy gas at those stations that are selling regular as premium. That would work, wouldn't it? If we start testing gas all the gas station owners will move to states that don't test. Me, sarcastic? No. That's irony.

The Skylon, a space plane that's about to get off the test bench. (pointed to by Dan)

Harold Camping is unrepentant. Good to know. See, the Rapture really did happen. You just didn't notice it. And God will still close up shop on October 21 of this year. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. Thanks, Harold. Dick.

What if we threw a stand-off with the government, and nobody came? . (Grokked form Jay Lake)

That whole fall out from the economic crisis continues to get worse. Especially if you're reliant of government help to control your disease. Note the conclusion of that interview about how, with cutting daily medications we (you and me and everybody else) will end up paying more when these AIDs patients go to the hospital with serious complications of their disease. Instead of, you know, giving them the anti-virals they need to survive. Good thing we made sure the government couldn't negotiate drug prices (except for grandfathered programs of Medicare and Veterans Administrations).

Area 51 and the A-12 (National Geographic Special). If you go to the photo pages of the A-12 crash, there's a small line on one of the pages talking about titanium, which the craft were made of. Titanium is very rare in the US, and most of the world's supply comes from Russia. And we built a fleet of submarines, and flights of aircraft of the stuff. (pointed to by Dan)

When a wee nudge is needed to convince a client you know what you're doing when it comes to design. Sigh. Yes. This really is necessary.

An ACLU report on the Sharia Law Hysteria. That's a PDF link, BTW. Again, Sharia law is given no more (or less) consideration than any other religious law by our courts. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Shop bop da do-whop photos

Photos from the Packard Music Hall




Sky over the Middlefield Library last week

Linkee-poo crumbles like a cookie

Miranda Suri celebrates a random bloggerversary. Yeah, Miranda!

On SF Novelists, a view on book piracy. Jim Hines offers a rebuttal of sorts.

Catherine Shaffer, fresh off the Nebula Weekend, has some thoughts on bar-con. Well, really about how to work a convention without working a convention.

It's easy to be against something when you have no clue as to what is being discussed. (To be fair, it's also easy to be for something without understanding it either). But the quote that got me was, "I owe the American people a responsible decision and a responsible plan," (Herman Cain) added. "And I don't think any candidate can responsibly say what they would do if they are elected president." If that isn't a serious WTF moment, I don't know what is. And here, before I go off, I'll remind the people of Ohio that out current governor said about the same thing when it came to fiscal policy. How's that working out for us.

Seriously, GOP, you've gotta have someone better in the race than a serial philanderer who feels it's the height of fiscal responsibility to have a $0.5 million dollar tab to Tiffany's (I wasn't even going to dignify that attack, until I saw this response), another candidate who seems to be running for the remake of "Last Action Hero," a governor who is attempting to split hairs on how his health care mandate is all right and someone else's isn't, or Ron Paul. Isn't there anyone on the other side who is within shouting distance of their right mind? I guess I can't expect a lot when you have one star who flip-flops on Medicare and then criticizes a law that does exactly what he wants a law to replace it with would do, or quit before you get going Sarah Palin. Do you really want to make Paul Krugman a prophet? (some of those links grokked from Jay Lake)

So, here, let me knock one of them completely out. Newt Gingrich writes science fiction (alternative history). Specifically, alternative history of if the South had won Gettysburg. I say we hold book readings, highly visible book readings, well publicized book readings. That'll pretty much destroy his chances. One side would hate that he has anything to do with SF, the other that the South won at Gettysburg.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday is all right for fightin'

I think every muscle in my body hurts. I have scrapes on my leg and a raging sunburn. All from this weekend.

Yesterday morning I sent four hours helping village residents with the Village Cleanup Day. Every year has it's theme of what people are getting rid of. This year it was mattresses. Every other person seemed to have one, or more than one. Some okay, some fur covered, some moldy (one set they were nice enough to encase in plastic, although it made it difficult to maneuver), some reeking of cat urine. In fact, as we were waiting for the service to deliver the final two dumpsters we stacked up enough mattresses that when the final dumpsters arrived (not a moment too soon) we mostly filled one with the backlog. Of course there was everything else under the sun, including things we weren't allowed to accept. Some people went away mad because we wouldn't take them. Some people felt we were just their servants and didn't even bother to get out of their cars or trucks to help. Just as an FYI, none of us were paid any extra for being there, even our streets guy donated his time.

At home I did a bunch of yard work, including shoring up our mailbox. The post had snapped only slightly below grade. So I used some steel reinforcing plates that are specially made for the purpose. There were some other miscellaneous heavy lifting work.

Last night we went to see the Cirque D'Or down at Packard Music Hall. A fun show of feats of bendyness and strength. It was our first time there and I was surprised at how packed the roads were even though the show was only about half sold. I'm not sure the performers felt we were appreciative enough, but for a small group I thought we made a pretty big noise.

This morning was finishing up the mowing by doing the strip of lawn too wet to mow earlier. It was still too wet, but I didn't have a choice seeing that it is supposed to rain all this week. I've already had to brush whack one lawn because it was too high to mow, I don't want to do that again. Especially when nobody is paying me too.

So, yeah, every muscle hurts today. Even the minor ones in my arms. And I'm sunburnt all to heck and gone. Which is bad. I have an appointment with the dermatologist on Friday and I really don't want to be peeling then. It would change what I need the doctor to look at.

Anyway, hope your weekend was less painful.

Linkee-poo is tired of waiting

So, anyone seen Harold Camping today? Expect by the end of the week to hear stories about how some people lost everything because they believed this guy. Not that this will shake the faith of many, but hopefully it'll clamp down the fever for the end times. I don't know, maybe we can even have a discussion about how dipensationalists are all full 'o crap. But I doubt that last one will happen.

Congratulations to the Nebula Award winners.

Abi Sutherland on world building and typography. Not a long article, but, yeah, what she said. I have a lot of thoughts about this, including wondering if typography will still be with us in the future. Europeans tend to be much more savvy in visual communications that those of us here in the US, mainly from a longer history of urbanism. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Darn that liberal bias of reality, again. All this wacky weather we've been complaining about for the last decade? Welcome to the new normal. Also, as you read that article, you'll see the business people whose jobs are dependent or integrated into weather (such as insurance companies and infrastructure planners) are intensely interested in what is happening. Because their livelihoods depend on it. Strange how when your money is on the line, you suddenly become practical about the matter. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Linkee-poo goes for the double dip

Because you have to see this. Too bad it's too late get a couple hundred of these sent to my home for tomorrow's festivities.

Something about glass houses and Wheaton's Law. A rant of writers nitpicking other writers. Except for an asked for critique, or doing a real review, it's not worth the trouble. Also, you know, people can sigh and moan all they want about the literary contributions of Stephen King, Stephanie Meyers, Dan Brown or JK Rowling, but they all sold a hellofalota books. Each. I'm not always one to say that economic successful = quality, often the opposite. But if the job is selling books, they win. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

Just in time for the summer photo sessions… Dear Soon to be Seniors, do not do this. This is worse than a bad photo on Facebook. Really. It'll come back to haunt you. (Grokked from Dan)

On the conservative vision for the US. Just like Texas. Or at least that's what they want. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

John Lithgow performs Gingrich's press release. Brilliant!

Slactivist on the emotional fallout of the Rapture/Dispensationalist theology. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Good evening

From: Jesus Saves inchristalive@gmail.com
To: me
Date: May 19, 2011 6:05:25 PM

Gods wrath is coming...
By coming, I'm assuming here that you've missed most of the Old Testament and the various "God killed thousands of innocents because he's upset people are having butt-sex" proclamations. And, speaking of sex, I'll just go with the assumption that you chose the right homophone here.

There are hundreds of earthquakes daily, asteroids coming toward earth, volcanos going off almost weekly, birds falling out of the sky and animals dying in masses worldwide, He is coming, be ready.
And this would make this Saturday any different from any other random Thursday for the, well most of written history. Sigh. Okay, the world's an active place, that's why we have earthquakes and volcanos going off all the time. Birds often fall out of the sky. Especially with the pollutants we put up there. Not to mention the various viruses that do it as well. Same with animals. If these are signs of his approach, he's been warming up for an awfully long time.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Yeah. I've heard that crap before. Do you have any other motivational posters on your wall. How about the one with the kitty hanging from the branch with the "Hang in there" tag? I love that one.

Accept Jesus as your Savior.
I was going to go with this guy I met last weekend. He was really cool. You know, the like him instantly, never mind the burning rubber smell, kind of guy. He seemed to have some really interesting insights into how we're all controlled by this mothership that's in orbit. Or behind the moon. Maybe it was on one of those asteroids you talked about. But you've convinced me otherwise with the whole "You're about to get smited" talk. That's a cool gig for someone that sells themselves as love incarnate. With that kinda love, who needs anemones.

Linkee-poo contemplates Pascal's Wager and decides to double down on Black 13 instead of covering the spread

I thought I'd get it in early today. You know, with all the Rapture/Lose Your Virginity parties going on, it's going to be a busy day.

Oh, and a slightly humorous connection, Pascal is the father of modern Calculus, which he invented to make his statistics calculations go faster. And he was computing statistics to work out probabilities in gambling. Then he came up with the famous Pascal's Wager. I just find that hilarious.

Why I love Mr. Sulu (you know, besides the fencing part), it's okay to be Takei. Hell, I might even go to watch a Takei Pride Parade.

In case you're confused about the Rapture this Saturday, here's a primer. No bad photos, but text is NSFW. (Pointed to by ChiaLynn)

And, speaking of the Rapture (and who isn't today?), Jim, I love you too. You know. In a manly, non-threatening sort of way where we can see each other's shoes.

And not exactly Rapture oriented, but some good tips from the CDC on surviving the zombie apocalypse. Rapture, zombie apocalypse, they're sort of the same thing. (Pointed to by Random Michelle)

Okay, so the Rapture is supposed to start with earthquakes, fire and brimstone, nekkid people flying into space, whatever, and it's supposed to all go off on local times (of around 6:30pm). New Zealand is how far ahead of us? Let's see that means at around 3am tomorrow we should know if it's happening. Having worldwide instant communications is amazing. I wonder if people in the military stationed overseas will be Raptured as if they were residents where they're serving, or will they be on the time schedule of their home local? You know, like voting. Or something.

Tweet of my heart:
@MJMcKean: Fed funds to NPR in 2010? $2.7M. Fed funds to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University? $446M. You make the call.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

On the cover of the Rolling Stone

Web friend and fellow writer (and VPer) Chang asked on twitter if it was okay to just change a logo (because of a website design). Well, 140 characters just doesn't cut marketing/business advice, but this was the best I could do.
RuleO'Thumb, <1 yr / <1% of possible market, go crazy. >1 yr / >5% mrkt, change ID as few times as necessary. Learned behavior.

There's a lot of caveats and provisionals there. But logos deal with learned behavior. Reading is a learned behavior. And people learn to read words, not letters. And when you're reading a book, you're actually reading groups of words, not every letter. Your logo is the lingua franca of your business. People learn it. The entire look becomes your name in the way they process visually. Now, words actually have a lot of readability and you can play with the legibility and still maintain recognition of the word.

Logos function the same way. However, change too much on the legibility side and you break the readability.

So, first up is if it's a logotype (ie. your logo is the name of the business, or trade name), you're a little looser on the rules. Logotypes, which the name is primary, are easier to relearn and transfer in the consumer's head.

If your logo is a mark (as in a graphic without any type), lean toward the conservative end of making changes. Unless your business is in dire straits, or you've gone up 300% and are now making doodads as well as widget, just say no. If you've dropped 50% and used to make doodads but can now only handle widgets, that's also a reason.

Just because you're sick and tired of seeing it isn't a reason to change. Your customer, if they're a very, very good customer will see your ID about 2% of the time you do. They aren't tired of it, they just got used to seeing it.

And then we go into the argument about what is and isn't really a logo and what is a graphic. Some business people mix those terms freely, and it's permeated out into the general public. They aren't the same.

Such as John Scalzi's "Whatever" type at the top of his blog. Some people will see that as an ID of his site (and when he changes there's a good portion of his audience that gets upset because they have to relearn it). It's actually a graphic. It can change without changing his exposure in the market place, and whatever is a destination, not a product (insert marketing screed about what is what and what John is doing with Whatever, blah blah, it's still not a logo, okay?).

AT&T's globe is the alternative version. How many of you are old enough to remember when that was a bakelite phone (or a bell - bwahaha that's what they were Mom Bell) up there? Yeah, they changed in the 80s to the globe. And they haven't changed (much) since then (they've widdled at the edges).

Linkee-poo gets worried that there's only 2 more shopping days until Xmas

A little on conventions, big and small. I'll admit here I like my cons small, but well attended. World Fantasy was really the wrong con to start with, IMHO, but that's what I did as well. There's plenty of other con advice I could give, but the main one is if you go, go to have fun. You may have other goals as well, but if you're going to just do business or just go to the panels, you're missing the point.

Some things to keep in mind if you're writing space opera. Or really anything with space ships (big and small).

See, I told you I wasn't paranoid. That's an article on being an old designer.

A little on the librarian wars waging in this country. "Sixty percent of the world's people would kill to have a library filled with books. Some countries won't even let you into a library without proper identification. But Americans, on our rapid decent from being a world power toward become the world's bag boy, have lost sight of what has lasting value and moved on to what has recurring monthly fees." Yes, that. (pointed to by everyone)

For the nature vs. nurture discussions. Research now shows that "neglected" children have reduced telomeres. Take that, nature. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Eric has a little fun at the expense of the law (and Ben Stein).

Vince passes on some advice for those soon to be Raptured. He also then goes on to outline some of the post rapture services available. (note to self, must write/publish novel before someone stumbles on the service the main character provides) One of the tweets I saw last night was a prank to get everybody to gather up their old shoes, pants and shirts and on Saturday arrange them in the proper order on sidewalks and other places. Just to freak people out. BTW, I believe that doing that would probably disqualify you from being Raptured.

Somebody else gets it. The best thing to do is just laugh at them. "There's really no way to make this stuff completely go away," (Deputy Campaign Manager Julianna Smoot wrote in an email). "The only thing we can do is laugh at it – and make sure as many other people as possible are in on the joke."

And just so you know, it isn't all about the conservatives. The wholesale abrogation of our concepts of privacy and liberty when it comes to this (and not the "we're taxed, which takes away our liberty" argument, which is specious at best) I agree that our lives as citizens have become diminished. This is what we should be railing against, not the other crap that has been feed to us as bread and circuses. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Linkee-poo update on the Gingrich implosion

Wow, drama much? Seriously, Rick Tyler, Mr. Gingrich's press secretary, save that purple prose for your novel.

Also, this is a perfect example of the rampant Persecution Complex of the right. Really people. Get over yourselves. Go back to the "Rubber/Glue" arguments. Those, at least, weren't so mockable.

But, hey, thanks for my first Gingrich for President bumpersticker.

Newt Gingrich, Drama Queen for President.

Open Letter

Dear Universe,

Thank you for the past three lunch times where it was dry enough I could go for a walk. That in the midst of record flooding all around and rain in the morning and afternoon, you saw to it I could get some exercise in.

I love you too.

KTHNXBIE.

Linkee-poo is building an ark

On the prevalence of the Ray Gun in the cultural mind. Granted, as a designer, Ray Gun has another context that flows through my brain (from the magazine and the "surfer aesthetic"/argument of legibility vs. readability that went with it). (Pointed to by Dan)

Richard Curtis on that amazing piece of techno kit, the book. There's a lot about the publishing industry in that article. If you're a writer and wannabe novelist (and who isn't?), you should read and learn. Another thing to point out, and I'm going to paraphrase somebody here whom I don't remember, but you don't worry about getting sand in your book, or leaving it on the blanket while you go in the water for a dip.

On the voice in writing. Once you find your voice (for some authors, the only voice, for others a symphony of voices) you'll find your prose can dance and thrum with the power of a singular rhythm.I had to start writing fantasy before I found one of my voices.

And just in case someone tells you, nobody ever used a flowbee, evar! Now you can tell them they're wrong.

Roseanne Barr speaks several truths about the entertainment industry. You can relate this to several things in writing, like the brouhaha over the various anthologies of The Greatests Evar! which conveniently miss including any female voices, or voices of color. She talks about white male privilege and what it means to be a woman who doesn't fit in the prescribed shapes and forms. She talks about fame and what it can mean as well. (Grokked from Ticia42)

The Newt starts the dance on the wrong foot. Basically his excuse is, "After more than two decades in the public sphere, I still don't know how this game is played, and stop using my own words against me (or the Republicans). Don't you know I can't be trusted."

And then the other deep politics favorite put his foot in it. That's right, acknowledging the reality of global climate change is a political liability for conservatives.

But then, you don't need reality when you're the spiritual leader of a political movement. Why does anybody listen to Santorum anymore when it's so obvious he's a tool?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Linkee-poo is counting the days.

A comet falls into the sun. Cool. Or Hot. Whichever.

Okay, I'm introducing a new term. When neo-cons are cornered in an argument and they resort to wheeling out the semi-desiccated Ronald Reagan by saying something close to, "But this is what Reagan did," I'm now going to call it, "Invoking the Reagan Shield." As in "ZOMG, we're under attack, Capt.!" "Raise the Reagan Shields."

So, after loosing their arguments, Conservatives what a do-over. Dear Conservatives and Tea Partiers, it's called "Federal Elections" and "Balance of Powers." They're amazing things. You might want to check them out.

I wonder if the Arnold Thing will get as much exposure in the press at John Edwards' scandal? Oh, who am I kidding. For the righteous, all things are correct. For the rest of us, we're just dirty slobs trying to johns as much outa the Government as we can get. I keep forgetting that.

It seems funny to watch as Gringrich tries to claw back to the center, how those on the Right look to take him down. I would say it's a false flag operation to make him look moderate (classic Tar Baby ploy), but I don't think any of them on that side have that amount of savvy.

Don't forget, only 4.5 more days to get right with God, however you perceive him, Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Twinkie.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Linkee-poo takes its protein pills and puts its helmet on

More freelance came in this morning. I just can't get my feet under me these days.

I'm easily distracted, more so than usual.

Started a new Note Card project for "Post-Rapture Industries." I really, really, really want to get back to writing. And I want to get back to writing that novel even more so. I haven't worked out how to do the edits to Bladesman on the iPad. At least not well. Juggling both could be interesting, but I think putting off one to finish the other is part of the problem I'm experiencing.

On the topic of "more intelligence means you can crack smarter jokes, Pendulum Waves. The video is worth it.

And because it's relevant to more that just my future (hopeful/needful) profession, the dangers of medical radiation. Also pointed out as a counter to those people who say, "We don't need no stinkin' government regulation messin' around with our business." Here it is, free market an all. No regulation going on, lots of competition (if you don't think health care is competitive, you aren't paying attention), and still this happens. However, that is the free market.

Speaking of such, Non Sequitur from this Sunday. That's pretty much the argument in a nutshell.

Godspeed, Endeavour

The final liftoff of the replacement shuttle, the one named by Americas School Children. Good luck, NASA, crew, and all of us. Expected crowd is estimated to be near a half million. Not to mention all of us geeks watching online, on TV, and from a far.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekend Lost

So, tried doing yard work on Saturday, and continually ran into problems. To correct for that, and make things easier, we made a trip down to the Home Depot in Niles. Of course, since we were already down there, we went to see Thor. Which pretty much meant the whole day shot.

Then today was a late start, along with the stress and reaction to the Village stuff, sometimes intermittent work, and working on some freelance which took too long... well, not much else got done.

I can't let this keep happening.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger went BLIP!

With the recent Blogger outage, it looks like it ate about two days of my posts with it. Hopefully they'll be restored. Unfortunately I don't backup my blog posts. They're true ephemera. I know there was a photo post, with flower images. Sheila and Dan responded, and I was going to comment back last night with it all went "sprung!" I have the photos still, I think. And I might put those back up soon. I'll give them the weekend to see how they do.

Kinda makes you wonder if the ChromeBook is such a good idea, you know. Sure, one person can have their computer turn into instant boat anchor and lose all their stuff unless they have it backed up. But with netbooks (true, slim-client netbooks), one blip and Everybody loses their stuff. Not a good prospect. But then I'm a neo-luddite. I distrust network data.

And I have real life experiences to back that prejudice up.

Long haired, hippy people need not apply

Do you have killer design skills, fresh style, an insatiable hunger for our digital world and boundless creative energy? You belong at (fresh, young sounding company name).

We’re looking for an (Art Director/Designer/Production Artists/Goldfish) who’s looking to take their career to the next level.  With some of the best (meaningless business group metric) companies as clients and a wildly creative and equally fun group of people as coworkers, you’ll have endless opportunities to stretch your wickedly inventive mind. In a single day, wow us with big, bold ideas, crank out killer layouts, add a dash of inspiration from a cool new APP and wrap things up with an intense game of (whatever physical we do to blow off steam, but really, mostly we drink).

Since you’ll be working closely with (meaningless titles that include everyone from the person in the front office to the person who scrubs the toilets, which maybe you, BTW), members of the account team, external vendors and clients to help grow the business and sell through your best work, you must also be able to play well with others. In other words, divas need not apply.

Okay, about the only edits, other than genericizing some of the bits, the only other edit I made was to remove the double spacing after periods. Double spacing? Really? Hey, might want to get a copy of the excellent Robin Williams (not that Robin Williams) book The Mac Is Not a Typewriter. Originally published in 1995. 1995. Sixteen years ago.

One of the things creatives do is obsess over their own communications. You just wouldn't believe the time sink it is for a studio to create a new logo/ID. Seriously. There were articles (also, strangely enough from the mid 90s) that said because it was so traumatic and such a time killer that many studios may want to think about outsourcing those projects to create a workable distance between the principals and the work. We try to be creative, to do the "best work EVAR!" on them.

And then we punt when it comes to writing help wanted ad. Really. I've read this ad a hundred times in the past year and a half. While the words themselves may change order, all of that is in:
Every
Single
Help Wanted
Ad
for designers/creatives. Everybody says their position will help "take you to the next level" (yes, we have an internal cultural myth of "leveling up"). Everybody has great, high profile customers (highly unlikely, but you know the Ames Corporation that makes rakes, they're a Fortune 500). Everybody says they have the best staff in the industry EVAR. So let's deconstruct some of the language, shall we?

That first sentence, if you really do have all those things, why aren't you building your own studio? Really.

Killer design skills (I slay my clients… oh, wait, that isn't what you're talking about), insatiable hunger (have you seen my waist line?), and boundless creative energy (hell, I'm a frickin' Tesla Megawatt Coil, I am) and you're going to go in studio? I don't think so. You're pouring all that into your own brick making machine, not selling to another.

"Wildly creative and equally fun group of people as coworkers". You can read that as "overly sexed, highly frustrated, and people who aren't, but wannabe, creatives." It's like "cosy kitchen" means "so small you'll be scratching you ass with the cabinets on one side while you squirm to pour the cereal on the counter on the other side."

"… endless opportunities to stretch your wickedly inventive mind." Until we crush your little soul beneath our five inch heels.

"… wow us with big, bold ideas, crank out killer layouts, add a dash of inspiration from a cool new APP…" basically translates into, "We've got nothing to support you, so you're doing soup to nuts here."

"Work with… members of the account team, external vendors and clients to help grow the business and sell through your best work." See earlier comment on having no support. So, not only are you going to be doing all the creative work (design to production, actually not all that strange these days), you're going to have to handle the billing crap, and do presentations and demos. Yes, you're going to be working your little tail off, and we'll just sit back and attend the chamber lunch meetings while you're prepping for the last minute design job we just told you about to use our cell phone to look important in front of the other chamber members who were doing the same thing to us.

"In other words, divas need not apply." And after we suck every last ounce of creativity out of you, work you 12 hour days, including weekends, undercut your decisions after you've presented them to the client, and kick your body (which now looks like the gelfling after their essence had been drained by the Dark Crystal) to the curb, we don't want to hear you bitch and moan about it.

Really, you can't write better copy than this? We're in "communications", people. Time to start communicating.

Linkee-poo is back in the saddle, again

Although it looks like some of my posts have bit the big one. Bastards.

You're living in the future when you find out about your (step) mother-in-law's death through a Google Alert report. No condolences needed, btw.

Shan-yu says, "Live with a man 40 years, share his house, his meals, speak on every subject. Then tie him up and hold him over the volcano's edge, and on that day, you will finally meet the man." More musing on the role of violence in our fiction.

The grilling of librarians has begun. As someone who lives in a school district that has a "media center" instead of a library I can tell you this is what they (the school boards, almost uniformly conservatives) envision the future as. Yet another part of the assault on education in this country. (pointed to by Neil Gaiman)

Some thoughts on the sharia hysteria so prevalent in conservative circles. Basically, I chalk it up to the modern function of conservatives calling names and accusing others of motivations they so openly carry. Note to conservatives, not everybody is like you. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

As the global climate deniers always like to say, follow the money. Strange what you find when you actually do that. Shocked, shocked I am… ah hell, no I'm not. (also Grokked from Jay Lake)

And as so often is the case these days, the fool speaks truth to power. As Jon Stewart says, "This isn't even fun anymore." (Regarding the invite of Common to the White House and the ensuing conservative hysterics) If you didn't see the show, you really need to watch that segment. If you have any respect for Fox News afterward, or the conservative thought process, you really aren't paying attention.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Linkee-poo wonders just why. Or why just.

Kurt Vonnegut on the shapes of stories (a VHS rip of an old lecture). "People love that story. They never get sick of it." Excellent stuff. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

Nick Mamatas does a screed on "professionalism." Yes that. (Pointed to by Steven Gould)

Some infographics on the evils of sitting. I know a few people who have gone to standing desks. My one doctor even told me about a colleague who developed a "walking desk" (a standing desk integrated with a treed mill). And that's really great for someone who has 1) an office and 2) control over their workspace. For the gleaming hordes of us who don't have either (hey, at least my cubicle has 3 walls, sometimes I haven't even had that), we're boned. Although I do have my chair set to an incline, I also feel a little lazy using it that way. I might have to try what Tobias did and get an exercise ball to use as a chair.

A quick primer on learning styles. I point this out because one, it's good to know. And two, just in case you continue to think that designers just make pretty pictures, most of us also think about these things and how they relate to metacognition. We are, after all, attempting to educate our audience. Even if it is a false lesson (the worse of advertising).

Comparing typefaces. Somewhat design napery, but a good example of all the things a professional designer does for you (including the adjustments we make that you never notice). One of the things they don't talk about (at least as far as I've gotten) is that faces change in response to cultural preferences. Many of the faces we use are very different than the "classic cuts." Part of that is that we aren't in the same time frame/cultural literacy period of the original design. Our aesthetics are different. As an FYI, I immediately spotted at least eight differences in the first paring (besides the adjustment to the x-height). It's not hard as they're comparing different type families, let alone "classic" versus "digital" renderings.

Jay Lake shares some of the weirdness inherent in the medical insurance system. First hand knowledge. I wish I could say that I haven't experienced similar problems, including finding transcription errors between the office billing and the insurance accounts payable. Over the phone. Why should the patient be bothered with this stuff?

In case you've forgotten about Fukushima. Nope, that ride is still on going. We're bottoming out on the first hill though. Now we get the twist and turns. Maybe a loop-d-loop or two. Good thing we're all distracted by other news. (Pointed to by Catherine Shaffer

Looks like I'm not the only one to see through some of the electoral bullshit going around. Yes, not only are conservative trying to ram their social agenda down your throat, they are actively trying to deny you your constitutional rights. Think I'm kidding? See what they're doing in Michigan? That's right, the MI Gov. can appoint an "Emergency Fiscal Manager" that can pretty much run roughshod over your local elected officials. While they've had that power for a while, the new legislation passed under Rick Snyder dramatically expanded their powers.

No one told you when to run

So, still on tender hooks for that one job that may, or may not, be coming in. Sigh. With the added bonus that another client called me on my drive into work this morning. Sigh.

There are times the universe lets me know I should be writing. And then there is the majority of times just like this where I think the bastards are conspiring to both suck up my time and suck out my soul. I think I've mentioned before about how work/life/boll weevils get in the way. This is one of those times.

It's getting harder to not take this personally.

And it doesn't only just do this with writing. It does it with vacations, attempts to be along with myself/wife, needing to get an oil change, etc. And the more I do "time management" tricks the worse these outside interruptions get.

Sorry for the whining, but it's really getting me down. Add into the mix the gremlins screeching about "If I were really dedicated/really a writer, I would be...". I need a moment. Probably won't get it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Things go from bad to worse, cycle repeats

So, not only did the drama at the council meeting suck the wind right out of the sails, now it seems the freelance wants to explode as well. We're going from doldrums to being caught in a whirlpool.

I'm about to start singing "O, Fortuna" from Carmina Burana.

Edit Oh, it's one of those, "We may need your help, please stand by while we hear back from everybody. Oh, BTW, we don't have any budget for 'art'," jobs. Greeeaaaaat.

And now, a little flower pron

This morning's picture of the redbud. Bette got this for me as an anniversary/birthday gift two years ago and I still love it. It makes me smile every time I look at it.



Before I was able to get the lawn mower ready to go this year, the dandelions decided to go for broke. Yes, I'm a bad neighbor by letting them (and the moss, cut leaf, plantain, chicory, strawberry, indian paintbrush, clover, etc) grow in my yard.


But then again, this is my neighbor's lawn. Notice all the yellow dots.



It isn't raining rain, you know, it's raining violets.



My own version of fiddle-faddle.


Linkee-poo reminds you there's only 10 days left to redeem those bottles for cash

Paul Krugman pretty well nails it. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Jim Hines is giving away a copy of the Snow Queen's Shadow. You know you want it.

This is part of what I talk about when I discuss point source generation. A local company, Lincoln Electric, is installing a 2.5megawatt wind turbine to supply electricity to their factory. While it won't delivery all of the energy the factory needs (Lincoln Electric is a welding supply company, one of the last), but it'll put a big dent in their draw off the grid. For the time being, such a variable draw will be difficult for power companies to manage, but as these installations grow in number, there will be a tipping point where it becomes very easy. However, power companies will fight this tooth and nail because it means lower revenues (transmission fees, mostly). Expect some great hyperbole soon (after all, the electric chair was a demonstration by Edison about how dangerous Tesla's alternating current was as compared to his direct current applications). (Pointed to by Dan)

I was going to make mention of this, it being only 10 days away now, but Jay Lake pointed to a great article on The End Is Nigh! Strangely enough, May 21 is also Village Cleanup Day. The jokes almost write themselves, don't they. Unfortunately, the rest of us have to live in reality, and we'll have to clean up the mess these people are reeking. I doubt the couple that have planned to run out of money on the 21 are the only ones doing that. Also expect some people to be very distraught when the Rapture doesn't happen that they make do something rash (as in more than "join a different church"), or like that one person who believes that if they wake up on the 22nd, they'll be in Hell. That won't be a pleasant Sunday Morning in church, I'll tell you. Of course, Harold Camping will pull out another, "I didn't factor this in. New Date everybody!" Like he did in 94. Plus, Harold is 89, he doesn't have that much longer to be with us. Also, IMHO, he's a real ass (having listened to him on the radio, he's the one preacher I said I listen to on late night drives to keep myself awake because he makes me angry).

Speaking of jokes that write themselves (and the End of the World), the Call of Cthulhu, for your smart phone. And, look! Shoggoth zombies! (I did a thing like them in my story, "War Stories") Although, probably not shoggoth zombies in the reals, because shoggoths work for the other side (the Old Ones, not our side either). (Grokked from Chia Lynn, who also points to this shirt I need but they don't have my size)

Goose, meet Gander.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wow, look at those sails

Remember when I said that council meetings have had the ability to suck the winds out of my sails? Well, yeah, there it is. Looks like we've entered the Orwellian Doldrums.

No, really people. You got a problem, fargin' state it now. Cut this, "Well, it's really complex and I'm not sure I can explain it now," shit out. Right now. You came to the meeting, we made an exception to the rules and put you on the agenda, and then you punt?I'm tired of this inability to have basic communications. I'm tired of the codependent games you play. Try this gambit and you immediately have quite a number of negative points against your argument.

Right now I'm balancing my desire to care about doing a good job and wanting to cut this crap out and simply writing these people off as kooks who don't deserve to be heard. Really, it's a codependent play that attempts to either elicit sympathy, concern, garner attention, and simply make you feel bad for a time. And I'm tired of it.

The new toy, Huginn


It arrived last week. I'm still working it into the flow of things. Last night's "test" blog post was a real test as it was the first one with Huginn. And just in case you can't read the inscription at the top, here's a close up (sorry for the fuzziness).


May I remember to do that, often.

(BTW, I renamed the iPod Touch to Muninn)

Linkee-poo sees a long, hot summer ahead

I'm feeling somewhat elated now that class is over. I hope to translate that into some hard work on the novel. Tonight is council, and that has the habit of taking the wind out of my sails. I also have a few freelance projects (but I'm down to the pro-bon things).

Hey, Goodreads (I finally became a member) is having a contest for 2 ARCs of Merrie Haskells The Princess Curse. If you happen to love fairy tales (which I do), you'll love this book. Spoiler, I read an early version and it rocked. Although I think she had to edit one of my favorite parts out. To say I don't want to see how it all turned out is like saying that because a diamond necklace had to replace the clasp with gold instead of silver you don't want it anymore. And just what sense does that make? You really want to read this book (makes spooky hands at you).

Today is the day that Fuzzy Nation is released into the wild. For some reason I now have a vision in my head of the Flat Iron Building (home of Tor Books), surrounded in butterflies they released from the roof. But every butterfly is actually a book. They sparkle and glint in the sunshine and then head south towards their wintering grounds in Mexico, stopping by the milkweeds of our minds to deposit the next generation.

Cat Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is finally out in physical form. I haven't read much by Cat, but she is a fabulous writer. What I have read has been infused with magic, charm, and poetry. TGWCFiaSoHOM has already won awards for her online version (of which the book is an expanded story).

Molly Lewis asks Stephen Fry a question (Youtube video). You know something is up when a person brings an ukulele to the mic to ask a question. Okay for work, but you may not want to play it out loud. This is what smart people do to have fun (or at least the really smart ones). I think I've said it before, but faster computers are for playing better games and higher intelligence is for cracking funnier jokes. (Pointed to by John)

And on that theme, the Hugo nominated Fuck me, Ray Bradbury, Which is very definitely NSFW. Just in case you haven't seen it yet.

Well, so much for the Tea Party being a "Fiscal Only" movement. Not like I didn't see this coming.

Dear Conservatives, maybe you missed that President Obama had already outlined his position. He won't accept conditions on raising the debt limit. Hopefully he'll start pushing that agenda, as well as explaining what will happen if we don't raise the limit (on this year's budget, that was just recently passed). Many people don't remember this too well, but when the government shut down under Clinton, it was because of his veto. As he said, "I can not in good conscious sign this bill." The blame still was laid at the feet of the Republican Party. Do you think that won't happen again? You're playing a game of chicken with someone who has already stated they won't swerve. Then again, with the frothy spittle inflected lunatic rantings that have been coming out of the right lately, I'm sure in their world they will win. Unfortunately the rest of us have to live in reality.

Monday, May 9, 2011

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you

Tonight was the final exam of A&P II. The final was on the reproductive system. On the lab exam I got 25/25, which brings my total lab exams to 100%. I got all the points for the paper chases (LAN book assignments). For the lecture exam I got 104/100 (108 possible points). So for the class I got a 101.1% overall. Not too shabby.

This summer is the Effective Personal Communictions (online) class. That's the only elective class that I didn't have an equivalent class to transfer from my bacheloriate. And then in the fall I'll take Microbiology. In the Spring will possibly be Nutrition and Lifecycles for Nursing. And then that'll pretty much be all the classes I need that I can take before I'm fully admitted to the program. You know, in 2013.

Linkee-poo wonders just what makes a Monday

Spent the weekend doing yard work. I did mechanical maintenance on the snow blower getting it ready for next year, and while my knees were killing me I did the same for the lawn mower (all except a new blade, as the bright shiny didn't fit, marble). On the plus side, the lawn mower started on the first pull. w00t! Also on Saturday was the slaying of the evil bathroom monsters. I really need to clean them more often. Then Sunday was freelance work until dinner, and then studying for the final until midnight. So I'm dragging a little. One the plus side, Final! No matter how bad I do, I still have a B in the class, and I think I'll do pretty well (although this is the test I'm the least prepared for). Tomorrow is Village Meetings, and then I'm free. Free! FREE! Until the online class starts. I plan to run around naked until then. You know, except for going into work.

XKCD for the win! I'll also point out that it was Rosalind Franklin who actually discovered the double helical nature of DNA (because she also had mad skills with the x-rays), but her boss allowed Watson and Crick to see the radiogram and her notes without asking her or letting her know. Watson and Crick beat her to publication and won the Nobel.

Stuart Jaffe on the 1-2 page synopsis.

Jay Lake wonders why Arizona hasn't gone solar. Okay, well, why Kauai hasn't adopted a more suitable transportation grid, but same concept. Mostly the answer goes back to the "one size fits all" mentality so prevalent in the US.

Catherine Shaffer gets a first hand experience with self insurance. Lots of information in that post, and I recommend it for anybody interested in the heath care debate (which unfortunately is still going on).

Dead people don't just register Democratic, apparently they also sign Republican Petitions. Go figure. I'm sure the next excuse will be, "The dirty liberals intensionally sabotaged our efforts."

Saturday, May 7, 2011

All over except for the... okay, let the shouting begin

For those idiots that think, "Hey, now that ObL is dead, it'd be a good time to stop aid to Pakistan." With that thinking, that because ObL lived as a recluse in a fortified mansion and was barely spotted on UAV cameras but without being able to make a positive ID and the Pakistani's didn't know, we should also defund the FBI because they (the leadership) missed the number of people learning how to fly airplanes, but not take off and land them, here in this country. Even after they were warned by the field offices. Or, say, indite a former President and National Security Advisor for not understand the importance of a memo entitled, "ObL Intent on Attacking the US."

Just saying. Those who live in glass Congresses/Newsrooms might want to think before picking up those stones.

They should also be forced to watch the last half hour of Charlie's War.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Linkee-poo is not looking forward to being probed for science

Political satire that heads toward the "mean" end of the spectrum. Although still chuckle worthy. (pointed to by John)

A little on labor history here. (Grokked from Jay Lake - I think)

E-ink paper computers. Cool. I still want my jetpack. (pointed to by Dan)

The $25 computer. It's the size of a USB drive. Quite interesting because it's close to the use of the cell in my novel (combination cellphone and super compact computer). STILL want my jetpack. (point to by John) Just as a critique, you still need an HDMI TV and keyboard (which isn't included in the $25).

History, she's a real bitch. Back in 2001, GW Bush opined about paying down the debt, and how easy that was going to be. So, how did those tax cuts work out? Again, we now have historical data to prove just how wrong conservative political theology is. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Linkee-poo wants to know, who will stop the rain

Don't forget to get all your Judgement Day goodness. I didn't know this before, but apparently Harold has already had his "Millerites on the Mountains" moment in 1994. This coming day, May 21, 2011, is his "adjusted" calculation. And see, even ObL's death is a sign of the coming End Days. I wonder if anybody else that reads that will come to the conclusion that the US isn't the entire world. So saying all these bad things are happening in the US are signs of the coming End Days is like saying that Apophis striking the Pacific Coast in 2036 (if it "threads the needle" in 2029) will mean the destruction of all life on Earth (when it will mostly just scrub the West Coast clean and cause tsunamis along the Pacific - oh, and a fire storm may come over the Rockies, but maybe not).

What, you haven't heard of Apophis yet? I expect you will just as soon as we pass by December 21, 2012.

Space-time is real. Go science! (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear and Dave Kletcha)

Some economic charts on the Great Recession and our resumed growth. Again, notice how far removed "economics" reality is from where the rest of us live. Not only is public opinion a lagging indicator (just like employment), but much of the growth hasn't benefited more than a small minority (see earlier pointed to charts about the skewed income distribution). Hopefully the rising tide won't drown the rest of us.

First page shooter. A look at the first page of a manuscript with critique and edits. I haven't gotten too far into it, but looks interesting. (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

Some more on sugar (fructose and all the other forms) in the body. Just as a guide, look closely at what fructose does in the body (fatty liver) and what result the cycling study found (re-bulked up liver) and how they concluded that it was actually glycogen that was being replenished. You know, without actually confirming that. Also, the latest study the reporter points to? The primary research institute was Nestlé Research Center. Hmm, they wouldn't have a reason to come out for high-fructose corn syrup at all, would they. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A Minnesotan politician is reminded to be nice by his Mom, apologizes to Neil Gaiman for calling him names from the House Floor. Remember my older comment about conservative politicians being unrepentant bullies? Well, at least one had a Mom who tried to raise him right. (pointed to by John)

Just in case you were thinking all that "we're equal now" bullcrap was really true, think again. It's difficult to put into words my feelings about this (cheerleader forced to cheer for her rapist, refuses, thrown off cheerleading squad and attempts to use the courts to reverse that decision, loses and the Supremes refuse to hear final appeal), so I think I'll stick to politics. Say, have you noticed how incredibly conservative our courts are lately (republicans blocked many Clinton nominees, waiting until GW got into office to approved some of them - when they were renominated or not, and now, of course, are holding up Obama's nominations, however most of GW's were eventually approved)? (Grokked from Mer Haskell)

Ah, the Arctic Ice is melting faster than predicted! Those global warming people were wrong again! How can we trust their models? (sorry, broke my irony there, now I have to go around with a sling). Damn that well known liberal bias of reality. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

You don't know me at all

Usually the various emails entitled "You May Like" from the companies I've done business with online shoot wide of the mark.

And then, occasionally, they hit one on the mark.


My blue canary in the outlet by the light switch who watches over you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Linkee-poo brushes with greatness and gargles with excellence

For those people who have read some of my novel and are wondering just what a Jain sword looks like, one is picked on the front of Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven. That may be my best tie to greatness, so I'm taking it.

And speaking of brushes with greatness, the first two chapters of John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation is yours for the reading. Fuzzy Nation, FYI, includes my name in a Tuckerization. Unfortunately, I'm only the name on a court case (I'm told I won, which is great) and not that I die some grueling, gruesome, or spectacular death, which was what I lobbied for and would have been awesome. You can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you get what you need. Actually John asked me if I was okay with it after my named popped into his head for something to use in a court case (I takes what I gets). Like I would say no. But really, I'm quite honored. Thanks, John. And thanks for letting me win. Can I die a spectacular death next time?

And, you have a chance to win it, along with some other great Scalzi Swag.

Also, BTW, Fuzzy Nation is getting great buzz. I'm sure it's because my name is the literary equivalent of the Colbert Bump. Just something to keep in mind for all you budding authors out there. And I'm open for the gruesome, spectacular death. Just saying. "Hi, today I'd like to audition for the role of 'corpse covered with sheet'?"

Some thoughts on writing and daring to be imperfect and other things. This goes beyond the mantra "the draft is allowed to suck." (Grokked from Jay Lake)