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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Shut up, Universe. This is something I want to do.

Remember how I've said that life keeps trying to interfere with writing (or really having any fun at all)? The last time was getting an emergency rush ad booklet for the graphic design freelance job right before the last writers retreat (three weeks ago). I was up until 1am the night before and the two nights after getting it done. So sleepy Steve is still sleepy.

Well, this is about the time I normally do a newsletter for a client. In fact, I heard from them that I should have the materials today. Which I told them was great because I could work over this weekend and that I'm gone next weekend.

Think I have the stuff yet? Think I'll get it today at all?

Edited 9pm, Okay, got the stuff a little before 4.

Linkee-poo is running to the weekend, where it will run some more

Because all the cool kids have pointed it out, the SF Signal Flowchart (amended) of NPR's Top 100 SF/F books. (Grokked from everywhere)

You may remember a while back when I posted an ad looking for a design to work for this cool rock band. I made the comment about, "Make sure you get that free beer upfront, because that's all you'll ever see." In case you think I was being overly dramatic, here's a poster for you. Yep. That pretty much sums up the life of a designer. (Pointed to by John)

Harlan Ellison on getting paid for doing your work. That's a design blog quoting Ellison on writing, making the comment about design work (see poster link), but I'm posting it because the the writing commentary… Norman, coordinate! Okay, Harlan may have his issues, but he's spot on with this commentary here. And it makes me wonder if he was paid for the reprinting of the very long quote on this blog? Could I be any more meta in this link?

Chuck Wendig with 25 virtues writers should possess. Although, for me, 13 is "Tea." I've struggled with 16, but am getting over myself. And I think his rewriting of Wheatons Law to be "Don’t be a fuckweasel," might be how I paraphrase Wheaton from now on. And I have to let my own version of 24 out for a walk more often. I normally don't like making references like this, forcing you to read the piece to get my point, but it's a good post and you should read it.

EJ Dionee on why the right is so upset with Warren Buffett. Yes, he spoke truth to power. An embarrassing truth that may get some people to realize just how rich the rich are, compared to them. And how they are treated specially, and how that treatment directly affects them (ie. our taxes are higher so their taxes can be lower). "It's worth noticing that while conservatives who talk about religion get a lot of coverage… what really get the juices flowing on the right these days are tax rates." Not just these days. You do remember the rise of the Conservative Christian Voter (and their deliberate inclusion into the Republican Party), was because Bob Jones University was about to lose its tax exempt status. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Here's my sign

So I was on my cell phone, calling in information, had to give a phone number to contact me during the day so I gave my cell number. Then, being conscientious about it, I looked around to make sure I had my cell phone with me today to get any call backs. Sometimes it's in my pocket, sometimes in my bookbag. And sometimes I forget it in the car (or on the charging stand at home). Which is why I wanted to make sure I knew where it was at. I normally take it out and lay it on my desk in case I need to answer it during work.

I became panicky when I didn't see it on the desk.

It took me a few minutes to remember I was using the damn thing which was why I couldn't see it anywhere.

 The mind. It's a terrible thing to lose.

Signs of Fall

Linkee-poo wishes you a happy Michaelmas

Work is insane. Very far behind in my reading and writing list. Hopefully will see daylight soon.

A small tribute to David Trampier and AD&D edition 1 artwork. Those illustrations haunt my dreams from my youth. Especially the Rakshasas.

The Slacktivist, we know how to get out of this mess. See, as I've been saying, we have historical data to help us out. But one side of the argument wants to ignore reality for their own ideology. That works in Church, it rarely works outside. That side has also invested too much time and money to admit the truth now. Which is why we are where we are. Again, anybody, please point out any austerity program or tax cuts in time of recession (like) conditions that have actually worked to increase GDP growth and create jobs. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Vince does some fact checking of an old email that making the rounds again. See earlier quote about when the facts don't support your position, just make shit up. It has a long and glorious tradition on the conservative side of politics.

More ships take shortcut via a less icy Artic. More liberal bias of reality. Also note that the Russians are more than willing to exploit the changing conditions by making sure ships require nuclear powered ice-breakers to make the journey. How many of those do we have? (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

And even more liberal bias of reality, countries with progressive tax rates score higher on the happiness scale. "On average, residents of the nations with the most progressive taxation evaluated their own lives as closer to 'the best possible.' They also reported having more satisfying experiences and fewer discomfiting ones than respondents living in nations with less progressive taxes." Strange that. (Grokked in a roundabout way from Jay Lake)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

There has to be an invisible sun

You know, all the free marketers are for the Invisible Hand of zombie Adam Smith. They're especially for it when they're cutting other people's pay or positions. They use it to justify their outrageous management and executive raises because they have to retain the best people. Oh, they're all for it when they don't want to be tied down by those nasty regulations, like making sure your paint and gas doesn't have lead added to it. But when that Hand comes around to dope slap them, they no wanna.

I keep hearing about all these employers gnashing their teeth and rending their shirts that they just can't find good employees. Yes, after making sure that the unemployed shouldn't even bother to apply, cut benefits and pay scales, removed OSHA regulations, and generally create a work environment that people of my age (tween Boomer and Gen-X) and younger know for certain that the job you're giving them won't last a moment longer than you need it too (and that cycle is about 5 years or so), that you're constantly looking for younger employees, you're bitching because you can't find anybody willing to take that shit and be happy about it.

Well here are the cows coming back to Capistrano to lay in the bed they made.

Okay Mr. Free Market, yes, I know you're just trying to hammer home the point about how there are jobs out there if people would just bend over and take them (there wouldn't be any unemployment if we could just pay people $1 an hour to flip hamburgers). I know you're also trying to make a point about how horrible the laboring class is (see, those lazy labor unionists just want to soak us dry of our well earned 8-12% yearly raises). I get that this is an ongoing part of the "we need to outsource overseas" idiocy (we can't find anybody).

But here is the Invisible Hand coming to dope slap you. If those are the actual conditions you find yourself in (can't get anybody to apply, those that do aren't skilled, or don't have the work ethic), then you have to respond to the market by hiring older workers (ageism is rampant again) and pay more for them. That's the Invisible Hand of the Market working.

I know, you don't want to hear it. I believe there's a proverb about living by cutting things out. Oh, wait, I think it was about a sword.

Linkee-poo has nobody left to believe

Happy birthday Nicholas Flamel.

The five common crime fighting tactics that reality shows us don't actually work (or at least not in the way we think they do). (Grokked from ferretthimself)

Another cool video, this time of some cool body movements/dancing/coreography. (Pointed to by John)

Lev Grossman and fantasy in the mainstream as punk.

Yesterday was happy book day (Ganymede) for Cherie Priest.

I don't often do book days for authors, except first time people whom I happen to know. I've met Cherie at last year's Confusion. But this isn't her first book. I don't know. Should I do more (especially for all the people I know)?

So much for the people not wanting the Buffett Rule. Seriously conservatives, "the math" is not reality. We'd welcome you back with open arms. It's going to be a long walk back (Grokked from Jay Lake). Wow, talk about self importance… coupled with low self-esteem. Dear Ted Leonsis, we're not calling you evil or bad, that's your own mental problem. Might want to talk to your therapist about that. We're just saying that people making what you do have gotten some mighty sweet deals in the past decade (well, past 3 decades). Those honey pots have helped you get where you are. We're asking for some of that back. Also, the "accountability" thing was dealt with over a century ago. If I can't delineate my taxes for the programs I like, neither can you.

Yesterday morning had a surreal moment as I heard Bill O'Reilly on NPR's Morning Edition flogging his new (co-written) book (no, I'm not saying the title). If you don't know why that was surreal, here's a little primer (Grokked from Jay Lake). It was interesting to hear Bill stop himself, like every few seconds he would realize what he was doing, where he was speaking, and what he was saying (if you listen, notice how he almost bashes President Obama, and tries to praise President (GW) Bush, he gets his points in, but only in subtext). I have a little higher respect for him (not hard) because I realize now he's somewhat self-conscious. Steve Inskeep did drag the conversation over to Bill's media work (which I agree with Media Matters, he came off as totally oblivious to his own actions within media, but then we never think of ourselves as the villain). Mr. Inskeep, I think, went a little beyond the purpose of the interview (flogging Bill's book), but kept it tied to the material. He could have gone farther, but that would have moved the conversation away from the book. Note to Bill, you could learn from that. So NPR is evil and are a bunch of terrorists who we shouldn't support or listen to… until you have a book to sell, eh Bill? I think that lets us know exactly what you are and how you really feel. And while I love ol' Abe, I think I'll skip your book, thanks.

And in case anyone is wondering how can FEMA, which was supposed to run out of money on Monday, be able to survive until Saturday (new fiscal year)? It's easy. You don't cut any checks this week and delay payments until next week. Easy peasy. Now, if it was more than a week, you would hear the howls from people whose loans haven't cleared, or having received disaster relief. But one week isn't that much longer to wait.

"Any Republican who has been around long enough (to have a record) that they can sell to both establishment Republicans and general election voters will have taken some unacceptably moderate positions over the years because the party has swung wildly to the right in that same period." It bemuses me that the best conservative hope for winning the White House are all the people who haven't declared yet. They love them until the candidates actually open their mouths. It's a function of the "they're just like me" brain. We think people think the same as us when we don't really know what they think. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Ah, those budget cuts

My police officers just did a major meth lab bust. I guess someone got stupid and forgot why there weren't any within village limits. They broke into an abandoned house and used it to make their stuff. We stopped them, made several arrests, and cleaned up the property. Meth labs contain several hazardous and dangerous chemicals. Our costs for cleanup come just shy of $2000.

Now, in the past we could get reimbursed for those costs. After all, it's a Federal and State law that we're enforcing. But after cutting our county drug enforcement team (welcome to Ashtabula, Meth Lab to NE Ohio, watch out for the broken glass), the State's new budget has cut all funding for reimbursing local law enforcement for their costs of cleaning up the mess.

So, with our budgets very tight, if we ran our government like a business, guess what my advice to the police chief would be? You know, instead of the "Congrats, everybody. Damn good job. Thanks" (and here I'll give a shout out to the Chiefs and patrolmen of the Roaming Shores, Andover, and Jefferson police forces who helped us out, we are grateful, good job everybody).

I'd rather we do the work and keep our residents safe.

Incidentally, we also had our taser damage during the tussle. So we're out that cost too. Hey, Gov. Kasich, I'm giving you a return salute. Thanks for the helping hand. Maybe if you let your buddies in the private jail business know that because of the cuts we're finding it hard to send them billing units we might get this resolved.

Again, good job everybody. You make me proud.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Linkee-poo says open up you mind and let me step inside

Tobias Buckell is pondering the lies, damn lies, and statistics problem. Actually, to answer Tobias, yes, people in general are that way. It's not so much because people are dumb, but misinformed. The blathering class likes to throw out how the richest 10% pay 70% of taxes counting on most people believing the richest 10% control 35% of the wealth (instead of 65-85% depending on whom you listen to). That's what that talking point is counting on to get its mileage.

Vince shares the Princess Bride Monopoly board.

Strange Horizons 2011 Fund Drive is now going on.

Catherine Shaffer and what is not poverty. Yes. That. Also she points to the game Poverty is Not a Game. I haven't gone through it yet, but here's my bookmark to look when I have more time.

I guess PDAs are only icky if it's gays or lesbians doing it. Strange for an airline that prides itself on being LGBT friendly. But I guess just because Southwest is friendly, doesn't mean their passengers are. And if those passengers complain about the iciness SW can conveniently forget their commitments. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

And because it relates and we seem to be celebrating International Coming Out Day early this year, Sean Maher comes out of the closet. Lots of inside information about what it means to be in the closet and why coming out is a big deal. (Grokked from Random Michelle)

Marc Martel's "Somebody to Love" audition. Wow. Just fucking wow. Oh Freddy, how we miss you. I'm sorry, if listening to Queen doesn't make you want to sing along, I think your life is a little shallow on the draft. Not that any of us can sing like that (except in our heads). (Pointed to by John - and I may just do a post and embed that video)

Jon Stewart does a good take down of Rep. John Fleming's "me so poor" interview (on why taxes shouldn't be raised because he only takes home $400,000, you know, after he feeds his family for $200,000 - love the comment about him having the worst accountants evar when they advise him to pay personal income tax on business reinvestment). Also, a take on Bill O'Reilly's threat. Also notice, nobody is talking about a 50% marginal rate, but that doesn't stop Fox from wanted you to be afraid of it (like more regulation, taxation, black helicopters and re-education camps).

"That's not who we are." Mr. President, normally I'd agree. But in the past three decades, it's what a portion of us have become. Mostly because a minority has been allowed to get away with it. Nobody has had the temerity to call them out and single them out for shame and a public verbal spanking. Instead they continue to veer onward toward the cliff. (all links Grokked from Jay Lake)

Gov. Kasich lies about what unions are really doing all to say SB 5 is necessary? Shocked, shocked I am… (I had to bring it out of retirement, nothing else works). And I think I'll start a new one, when the truth won't serve to make your point, just make shit up.

Monday, September 26, 2011

First Tests

Tonight was the first lecture exam in Micro. I scored 64 out of 67, with a 2% bump for extra credit. So if I've done my math right, I come out to 97.5%. Not 100%+, but still an A. Microbiology, after all, is a 200 level course.

Although tonight saw a first, I argued some of the questions on the test. Two of which were pretty easy as he had more than one correct answer as he realized when we went through the answers. I then went and argued a third, as lipopolysaccharides are not a part of the cell wall of Gram Negative bacteria, but a part of the outer membrane (which is above the cell wall, if you wanted to know). the professor agreed that his question wasn't worded correctly (technically there was no correct answer in the options he gave).

She'll tune in until the dial comes alright

Things are going to be silent here, or a little less than normal, for a while. Working on a catalog at work, which is rough stuff, and it takes up all my time. So I might not be as effluent as before.

Sorry. Pappa has got bills to pay.

Of course, when I've said this before I get all explody with the posts. So this might come to nothing. But understand that from now until December, I'm under a super-heavy workload. Like I didn't have enough to do before. No rest for the wicked and all that.

Hey, on the plus side this might actually lead to more original content than links (although I like the linkee-poo, but man he could drink his wine, and he always had some mighty fine wine).

Oh, and blogger, really hate the new look. Nice idea, poor implementation.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Linkee-poo late on a Sunday

Sorry, spent this weekend working at all things. For Mom's b-day we bought her a new garbage disposal and installed it (she's been wanting and needed a new one, old one was fritzed and never worked well). Also discovered she was having problems with her other drain (solved that). Today was maintenance on the mower and mowing (first time in 3 or so weeks). Then today was studying for test tomorrow.

Surely a sign of the approaching apocalypse, I've received an invite to Phi Theta Kappa (the international honor society for community colleges).

Paul Krugman on the social contract. Lots of good points in there, including real statistics about the tax rates of the rich and another reiteration on just how fast the incomes of the rich have gone up (with a side commentary of how their tax rate is now lower than the middle class, but because of the size of their increase in wealth, that is why they're still paying a large percentage of all income taxes). (Grokked from Absolute Write)

An insight into the conservative mind concerning voter registration for the poor. Hint, they think it's un-American. That article, friends, is your standard class warfare engaged by conservatives and is a product of 3 decades of conservative political non-thought. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell).

Sunday Blathering

Since I'm tired of it.

Okay, so, remember the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2010, and a little bit into the Winter of 2011? Remember the economic and job conditions? You know, GDP growth on target for an average 3% growth, job outlook improving with an average 100,000+ jobs added each month (granted, job growth was below a sustainable factor of about 225,000 a month, but still damn better than the less than 30,000 a month we had this past Summer)?

So, what's the difference between then and now?

I don't know. Maybe the stimulus?

Nah. That couldn't be it because the Republicans want us to believe the Stimulus was a failure. I mean, they keep saying it all the time, like they're trying to convince us of something that's counterfactual. Because they want to offset emergency funding and defeat the President's Jobs Bill.

And, again, I'll lay down the gauntlet. Please, someone, anyone, show me where lower taxes and austerity programs during a recession(ish) economy has ever improved job growth and GDP growth in the past century (the time of modern economics). Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Linkee-poo works all day and runs all night

With all the craziness this week, I'm still working through my reading list. But here's what I've got so far.

Scalzi on the sending authors cool ideas issue. You may know what I think about story ideas. I give them away for free. It's why the blog is named Story Bones.

Free stories form Ken McConnell. Or, there will be free stories. Soon. Ish. (taps fingers on desktop)

Things Apple is worth more than tumblr. (Pointed to by John)

Three hundred giant Pacific octopus hatchings. Ahhhh, Cthulhu's are so cute when they're young. (Grokked from Camille Alexa)

Since it's somewhat SFish, electronics damaging missles.

The 10 signs God is furious with the right. The christian conservatives have their convenient nonsensical excuses. Now two can play that game. (Grokked from Vince)

One of the reasons I don't do automatic bill payments. 'If this is how they treat me when things are perfect (cancelled coverage because Anthem no longer will automatically bill credit cards, and didn't tell anybody), when I file no claims, how are they going to treat me if I ever have a serious medical problem?' Kreuzhage asked." I have Anthem, and I'm a shareholder of Wellpoint, and I can answer that question… (Grokked from Jay Lake)

There's always someone who ruins it for everybody. No more last meal requests for those on death row in Texas.

Fact checking the last republican "debate." Now that's job security. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

PSA on email etiquette #54

Let us assume you use email in lieu of a phone conversation to hash out details (which you really shouldn't, but that's another PSA, but let's be honest, if you work in an office/collaborative environment, this happens, doesn't it?), when you send the final art, project, work, whatever, you should recap all the decisions made that affect how the work will be continued instead of thinking your recipient will:
  • Remember all the details of your project when meshed with the other 12 things that are a priority on their desk

  • Find and review all twenty previous emails, each of which hashed out a different detail, and read through the histories to find the final correct datum

  • Remember just exactly WTF we were talking about two weeks and 139 emergency rush projects ago

  • Able to shave off two weeks from their estimates of time needed, especially when you're two weeks late with your part.

The more you know.

PS, and even if you use an actual 10 minute phone conversation instead of 60 emails stretched over 3 days, you should recap the information. Be Capt. Obvious, you're fellow employees will appreciate it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Linkee-poo better get its blood tested, it's feeling a little anemic

But that's because I have no time. So only two links today, both political. Sorry.

One of the fundamental logic flaws of the climate deniers laid bare. I made a similar argument two weeks ago. "Really, it's the money? You do know who is funding the 2% of climate scientists who are coming up with these easily disprovable theories about how either it's not us or it's okay? Who is getting the money?" (Grokked from Jay Lake)

So, after a two month investigation in Maine, turns out no student violated the law. They did find one non-resident did vote in 2002 (an illegal alien who had since been deported). And yet, that's no cause to actually change a system that isn't broken. Two months of investigation because the GOP Party Chairman said that 206 student voted illegally (and provided a list of name) so ZOMG the sky is falling, only to find there's no there there. And that investigation showed there was no need to change the law (Maine revoked their same day registration) because it wasn't causing any problems. But they're supporting that change anyway. Good way to be fiscally conservative. Good job. Proud yet?

Why She Isn't In Charge of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau


In case you ever wanted to know why liberals love Elizabeth Warren and conservatives, business leaders and Ayn Rand devotes fear and loath her. Truth to power. (Grokked from Jay Lake and the Slacktivist)

Oh, the jokes you'll tell

Last night, right before class, I added a joke to my notecard file for the next novel. OKay, well, it was really a filling out a joke I already had, adding layers of humor and an Easter Egg for attentive readers (yes, sometimes you do have to roll your own jokes). But what was most amazing is that my typing on the iPad's virtual keyboard was actually faster than my typing on the real keyboard.

I was in the middle of entering the data when I thought, "Damn, I'm flying." Now I still like the physical keyboard, if only for having all the important keys right there (the only time I needed to slow down was get change the virtual keyboard to the numeric display). It just seems strange that I feel I can type faster on a keyboard with no reflex or response, no feedback, only a visual representation. I'm not a touch typist, doing a four fingered dance across the keys. I can type without looking at the keyboard these days, but sometimes I like to look at the keyboard instead of the screen while typing.

I wonder if it could be that with the virtual keyboard I'm doing the same thing at the same time. While typing I'm looking at the keys and the display all without moving my head.

It's strange. Or at least strange to me. I think I also freaked out the person sitting next to me by typing so fast. In my peripheral vision I could see her looking at my typing, and not just a casual glance.

The joke, okay, well, it's in the third act and it involves a name tag on a certain person with just, "Waite" whom one of the characters addresses as "Helen." You have to roll your own. And I just realized I have new readers who may not be familiar with my "next novel", the third act takes place in Hell's Waiting Room, which is as large as a medium-sized city. And yes, I've already set up the hand-basket joke as well. Those chapters are going to be the most fun to write.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Linkee-poo is going to be a happy idiot and struggle for the legal tender

Ode to a bookstore's death. Borders employees list their grievances.

I want you to look at the plants in your office and shout, "You ain't the boss of me!" Or, another example of "You are what you eat." Plant RNA found in mammals. DNA is the architect, RNA is contractor that builds your house, proteins are the construction workers. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Also more on just how strange the human body can be. Sometimes it isn't your fault you can't lose the weight (or end up gaining it). As an FYI, I know dieters who schedule "cheat days." (also grokked from Jay Lake)

Catherine Shaffer talks about some healthcare issues she saw incidental to her own family healthcare issues. If I told you that I've overheard conversations like this myself, you probably wouldn't believe me. No. Seriously. You know those idiots at the last Republican debate (was it the last one, they seem to have one at the drop of a hat these days), where people cheered the followup question to Ron Paul about letting people without insurance die shouting, "Yeah!" Just think about the problems if you're in the ICU with your fab insurance and credit score, and your nurse is having a migraine because she can't afford (and her crappy healthcare insurance won't cover) her migraine medication.

"I've never felt like I had to back up what people tell me," (Nikki) Haley (new conservative governor of S. Carolina) told the Associated Press. "You assume that you're given good information. And now I'm learning through you guys that I have to be careful before I say something." Eh? Half of applicants fail the drug test, less than 1% fail, what's the diff. Right? But now that she's been corrected, well, hell, that doesn't mean she needs to change her mind. Pshaw. Folks, there's the conservative myth making in process. How long before it's "all the applicants failed"? Just like Michelle Bachmann's "mother in tears over Gardisil and her daughter's mental retardation" (want a quick $10000 with a $1000 kicker, just find that mother!). Or all those people on unemployment who don't want real work. The stories we tell ourselves.

Here's the thing, I'm a small village councilman who is finishing up his 9th year. I learned after the 1st year to verify what people were telling me (including people who should know better). I think, as governor, you'd have a little more moxie on the ball.

Got mine, screw you. Thinks, Brit Hume. I think you would be concerned too as that kind of income inequity leads to social disruption, where most of the haves tend to fair worse then they would paying taxes (say, like in the French Revolution). As for the "dems just want everybody poor," comment, what a load of horse shit. That right there, friends, is class warfare. "I've got my millions, shouldn't you be happy for me?" Yes, we are, but why don't you pay your taxes like the rest of us instead of getting a discount rate (which, BTW, was exactly why the alternative minimum tax was created and what Warren Buffet is talking about).

Eric pretty much mirrors my thoughts on the whole Santorum googlebomb. And he has cute cat pictures. Ah, cats. Rick's main complaint, "someone said mean things about me, and he's more popular than I." Considering the things were a response to an attack on the person who made the googlebomb, I don't have any sympathy here. Dude, for reals, the internet is not under your control. Or the government's control. His, "but this wouldn't happen to Biden," as Eric says, is because Biden is a nice guy for the most part. Also, given the vitriol spilled over him and Obama (racist emails which embarrass someone almost every month now, instead of every week, birthers, etc) you don't see sections of the internet going dark over that. Grow a pair, Rick, and join us in the adult world. Okay, maybe a bad metaphor here.

Random Late Night Thoughts

One, it's now 1 month until the end of the world. Remember the Rapture? Yeah, neither does anybody else because it was changed to just a "spiritual Rapture." From that point God started the big countdown clock for six months. We're at five.

Yeah, I've been thinking of taking a vacation around Xmas time.

Jay Lake's late day link salad is pretty damn good today. Including a new study that links most personal bankruptcies are because of health care costs (and 3/4ths of those people have insurance). An article reminding us just how batshit crazy Michelle Bachman is (seriously TPers, this is your champion?). Speaking of Tea Party craziness, Boehner's TP challenger is looking like a Randall Terry plant (remember when you were just fiscal conservatives? Those were the days). Bio fuel cells and much more. Even though he's in chemo fog, an excellent roundup today.

What's that in the Tea Party Expresses rear-view mirror? Why, I think it's a shark.

Finished up the freelance one day early (this doesn't include any changes coming down the pike). So maybe I can think about other things this week. Except for, you know, my lawn needs mowed. This whole sun setting earlier and earlier thing is bogus.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Linkee-poo asks no questions and tells no lies

Jim Hines and Marie Brennan discuss ending book series.

Tobias Buckell tries kickstarter to do his next Caribbean Space Opera novel. I've never really considered giving to a kickstarter project, but he has me seriously thinking about it.

An open letter to graphic design students. While there's some neepery in there, I think it's good advice to any person engaged in a creative endeavor.

Vince has some more poetry published.

Catherine Shaffer asks if you've been bullied on the internet? My answer is, "Yes. Although I didn't let them get away with it." It's also, sadly, part of why I no longer comment in most of the political posts over on the Whatever. It isn't because I'm afraid of being bullied, it's because I don't have the time to fight them (reading the comments and keeping up with the conversations, who is whom, who might be a sock puppet, etc. - plus I was becoming a target and didn't want to drag John's blog down). I don't do well with bullies. I like hitting them back way too much for my own good (see Catherine's comment about the bullied becoming the bully).

In case you're wondering just what "onerous regulations that are stimying job creators from creating jobs" are, apparently tacking up a free-to-business poster on a bulletin board explaining worker's rights is one of them. Really? Yet another point in the "we don't want to pay you squat, give you benefits, and you should be damn glad we're giving you anything" argument. And conservatives complain that letting the Bush tax cuts expire is "class warfare." It's equalizing the playing field (also note that under the Bush administration the NLRB was decimated in budget and stacked with anti-union appointees, but still ended up siding with workers >80% of the time, note the same thing happened when in Ohio unions were forced to accept "binding arbitration" for contract resolutions - one of the reasons the GOP wants to just throw out any 3rd party appeal which means, welcome to more lawsuits).

It always amazes me that when speaking of "getting justice," most people just mean, "somebody needs to pay for my pain." This instead of, "we need to punish the person who did this." (Grokked from omgrey)

Tweet of my heart:
@TheTweetOfGod: Fall starts Friday. Thou hast (3) days for thy pride to goeth.

Microbes, it's what's on your dinner (and you, and everything)

In the ongoing, semi-regular updates of classes, in Microbiology we had our first lab test/quiz. Scored 21/20 (1 bonus question). If all the tests are this hard, it'll be easy. I expect they won't be.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Linkee-poo wears headphones to keep people from bothering him

Arrr, it be talk like a pirate day. Avast ye scurvy rats, Bank of America goes belly up. Arrrr, har har har.

The shipwrecks of Boston Harbor for your sail and steampunky goodness. (Grokked from ChiaLynn)

Julia Rios and some conservation about LGBTQIA in YA that is still going on. In case you didn't see the post that "started it all" (note, started this conversation, not the ongoing conversation), writers were asked to straighten some gay characters before being offered representation (and the response which says, "nu uhn"). (Grokked from Catherine Shaff-Stump)

"… (I)t took me years to learn to filter advice and commentary (on the writing process) so I could grab out the bits that did apply to me, and let go of the bits that didn’t, without having to agonize over why I couldn’t write like author X or workshop member Y." Jay Lake being very wise on advise to young writers. YMMV in a meta sense.

And to either refute or enforce that sentiment, Chuck Wendig's 25 ways to plot, plan, and prep your story. Note, that's 25 ways (and I think he missed a few) on how to write a novel. Use 1, 2, 16, or none as your own style (and as I'm learning, each novel) needs to get done. Chuck the ideas that don't help you get it done (but learn, in case you need it for the next novel or some young person asks you how to write a novel and through your perspicuity you realize that this idea that doesn't work for you would be their key to finishing and being successful). Some of those ideas he provides samples.

And part of the ridiculous, a GOP congressman business owner (note, 500 employees is not a "small business") weighs in on the "millionaire tax." Yes, after covering expenses, $400,000 just isn't enough to make his personal ends meet. Also note that after taking the "$6.5 million" he made last year and subtracting $400,000 (his pay), then divide by 500, on average he's paying those people $11,800 a year (or a little less than 3% of his pay, also more than likely part-time with no benefits - subtract SocSec and you get even less, so I'm being generous to him here). Imagine how hard it is for his employees to make ends meet when he can't do it with 340 times their pay. Also note, that since his pay is $400,000 he wouldn't be hit by the tax on those making over a million a year, unless all 500 of those are his personal employees which he pays out of his personal accounts. Which, IMHO, would be the Dumbest Business Plan Evar™. I wonder if that $400k also includes his pay from Congress? (Grokked from Morgan J. Locke)

Tweet of my heart:
@ferretthimself: You know, I was GOING to be a multi-millionaire. Then I saw the kind of taxes Obama planned for me, so I'm just gonna work minimum wage.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Linkee-poo is on the road again.

About to head back home from a very productive weekend. So, I don't have many.

It seems to be "show your work" week(s) on the writers blogs. Here's Jeff VanderMeer's contribution. And I think my scraps of paper are bad. Hey, at least you can read Jeff's handwriting.

Cue the global warming deniers in 3… 2… 1… (Grokked from Catherine Shaffer)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

#amwriting

Okay, I've blown pass my word count for the second revision. Since last night I've added some 3000+ words to the total all while deleting about 800. It helps that the section I just did got a major rewrite and I changed/added a lot of action. One scene that had happened off stage is now on-stage. That took a little rejiggering, but with one chapter completely trashed and with all new content. Then I had to write bridges and connections. There's a lot more character development, as well as dealing with the dead face to face.

I think I've blown a gasket. Good thing is it's almost dinner time, and except for restructuring scenes or adding in details, I think was the last major diversion from the script as it stands. So it should be a level peddle to the end.

For right now I'm leaving my old goal up on the WIP word count thing. I'll change it tonight to my real goal of 90,000 (I intentionally set the goal at 85,000 because I'm a wimp and I didn't want to freak myself out).

Linkee-poo is typing, typing, typing

You would think writing the fight scenes would be the most fun. You would be wrong.

Just in case you've ever heard the often repeated line (at parties or where ever) that famous authors don't get edited as much as newbies, John Scalzi received his line-edits for Redshirts. Nobody escapes the red-pen of doom.

Mer Haskell (waves at Mer) continues to garner rave reviews for her book The Princess Curse.

Seanan McGuire on the digital divide and some of the issues surrounding the ebook hype. Libraries have always been my friends. So have second hand book stores. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Signs of Life and Tobias Buckell.

Why do have have foreign aid and assist other countries when disasters (natural and man-made) happen? Because that's what world powers do. The Chinese stretch out their force projection sea legs with humanitarian assistance. So, we give and help foreign countries (to the amount that is practically a rounding error on the entire federal budget) for the reasons listed at the bottom of that story. And because who do you want the world to look upon favorably; Russia, China, or the US?

Paul Krugman and the freedom to fuck off and die. Dear conservatives, when meany liberals call you heartless and just mean spirited, this is part of what we're talking about. (I'm pointing to this article as Paul does a good job explaining the actual exchange and doesn't put words in people's mouths). Say, have I mentioned emergency rooms are starting to feel the heat (again) of lower rates of health insurance (people losing jobs, jobs that no longer offer it, health insurance that's really under insurance, and that minority of people that just forego it all together). More people are coming in sicker and in need of more extreme measures, and their outcomes aren't as good. It saddens me that we have to learn this lesson again. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Friday, September 16, 2011

#amwriting

Making some good progress. Finished going back through Chapter 24, Chapter 3, and Chapter 10 to add, rewrite, and clarify some things. Also went through Chapter 25. Updated WIPS. I think I'll make my second goal easily and will probably get close to 90,000 words when I'm all done. Still have more to do tonight, and then I'll have most of tomorrow to write.

I'm doing an internal Snoopy dance. This feels good.

Autumn Skies


In case you ever wondered what I mean by "The skies look like Fall." This is one of the many faces of Autumn Skies. And, in case you're wondering, except for sharpening and croping the image, no other adjustments have been made.

What dreams may come

The other morning at about 4am, Bette got up to let the cats in and gave them cell phones so they could call us when they needed to be let in. Of course their bluetooth headsets weren't working right so one of them came back to the bedroom, mewing at me to fix it. You know, being that I'm the only possessor of a "Y" chromosome in the house and am the resident technical support.

Or at least that's what I thought happened in my semi-conscious state. What really happened is she heard one of the cat mewling at the front door and got up to let her in, and I was hearing one mewling at the back door to be let in. Our cats are special that way.

Because, you know, it's completely ridiculous to give the cats cell phones. We had insisted on the unlimited texting plans and they don't even have opposable thumbs. Silly, really. Although the bluetooth hands-free headsets made sense. Somewhat.

And this is why that semi-conscious state, or "twilight/fugue" state is so damn important to writers. The boundaries of the world and logic are thinner than tissue and more fluid than the bi-phospholipid layer of cells.

This weekend I'm on a writers retreat, so I will possibly be very absent on the intertubies. Of course when I've said that before I've deluged you all with posts. We'll play it by ear then, shall we?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Linkee-poo is cold as ice

I'm sure there's some more great stuff out there, but I'm running as fast as I can.

Ever wonder what it would be like to fly in a U-2? Well, here's a video. The U-2 is still an operational program and they're still flying missions. Some people think flying with the Blue Angles or Thunderbirds would be a lifetime event. For me, other than taking a spin on the SR-71 (which, IIRC, is no longer operational), a U-2 flight would be my wish (since I can't go up on the Shuttle anymore). (Pointed to by Dan)

A commentary on the Windows GUI. So true. (Pointed to by John)

Also, because moving into new tech for display and demos are all the rage, friends are sending me cool links. Like this one foe Aurasma. A commercially available augmented reality program. It has a free "reader". Cool. (As a side note, life is easier when you have friends who are willing to help out this way) (Pointed to by Dan)

A woman in Philadelphia is fired after taking time off to donate a kidney to her son. Good thing we're rolling back all those worker protections to help out our struggling businesses so that we can keep this kind of thing (willy-nilly taking off work to save family member's lives) from happening. Granted, she had already used up all her vacation time tending to her sick parents and other family, so I'm sure the company was just tired of her not being at work. And there might be other extenuating circumstances… but, really? It's not like she just didn't show up one day. Personally, I wonder if she could sue under the family leave act (granted the time would be "unpaid" - unlike most other civilized nations). "It is estimated that the lack of paid sick leave costs the United States $180 billion annually in productivity, due to workers coming to work sick and infecting their colleagues." But we can't have paid sick time (our own Ohio bill was defeated last year) because that would put too much of a burden on our businesses. Note to businesses, you're already paying for it. You're just making more people miserable instead of doing the right thing. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

WWPRD, what would Pat Robertson do? Apparently, he'd bail. Or maybe he'd like to change the marriage vows (look, look, attack on "traditional marriage" and "family values") to add a line, "… in sickness and in health, except for that icky Alzheimers." Ah, Crazy Uncle Pat, don't you go changing to try and please me.

The GOP not telling the truth when it comes to Medicare and the new APA? Damn, I still need to find a replacement for the Casablanca quote. But then, the GOP has not been reality based, even when they have an expert tell them straight-up what the deal is for many a moon. FOrtunately, the American people are starting to catch on (Bloomberg poll - and yes, there's bad news for everybody in there).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Linkee-poo runs for the hills

There's another link sheriff in town. Tor.com sets up a page to keep up to date with all the links they generate.

Because it's being talked about in certain circles, here's a link to an article on the Santa Cruze police using predictive software to help fight crime. I'm not one for some things like this, but so far I don't have many disagreements with the use of this software. They are using it to identify potential hotspots and adding enforcement in those areas. There's no personal identification information, nobody is being arrested for just being in those areas. And it's not the only place where predictive software is being used (Grokked from Jay Lake). What will be interesting when people attempt to slew results, or that we have a hacking incident to distract police, or criminals get their own software to out fox the police (like they used to do with police scanners).

Just because you didn't get your way in elections doesn't mean there's voter fraud. While, yes, prosecutors don't take up all cases, if the Secretary of State gives you a case, I doubt any savvy prosecutor is going to say, "No thanks." What will cause them to say that is when there is no actual evidence, or at least no evidence that can be corroborated and rises to the level of being introducible in court. Also, given the previous administration's directive to the federal prosecutors, the firings, and that cases were brought and they couldn't convince judges of the validity of their claims, I'm willing to go with labeling it "Bogus". Thanks for playing.

In case someone is still belaboring under the illusion that non-traditional remedies have "no real effect". Yes, many of those over the counter products can have some serious effects (here, it's fish oil - typically sold as Omega 3 - bricking the effects of chemo drugs) You may also remember the St. John's Wart and antidepressants, or noticed new products coming on line which are basically the same thing as the herbals they used to sell, but now packaged with trade names. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And, another nail in the stories we were told about the Tea Party. Turns out that yes, they are pretty much the hard core conservative Republicans they told us they weren't. Granted, there are always exceptions, YMMV, etc. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Doctor, Doctor help me please, I know you'll understand

I think I've mentioned before about how the universe conspires against me to keep me from 1) doing things I want and 2) keep me from writing. Just when things are going well, monkey wrenches drop from the clear blue sky.

Example #4397
I think I've mentioned that I'm going to a writers retreat this weekend. I'm really excited about that.

At Monday's Micro class, our prof let drop that we have a lab quiz on Monday, and that we should know the lab book text on the 3 labs we've done forward and backward. Not just what we did and why, he basically wants us to memorize the text. And then, to just add fun to it, after telling us on the first day that the text book wasn't necessary as the test would only have what was in his notes, he said we should read Chapter 2 and know the material because he wasn't going to cover it (we need to know it for tonight's class, and for the test in 2 weeks). Fortunately Chapter 2 was review of cell bio.

Last night was council meeting. All through it I cringed (inside) just waiting for some new shoe to drop. Fortunately nothing happened.

I've also been fearing some freelance stuff. There's a big sale for one client this weekend that he was saying he may need work completed. Phoned him Monday with a "Hey, haven't heard from you lately, what's happening" call. Fortunately there's nothing else he needs.

So then I've been worrying that a newsletter from another client would drop on me. Now, a newsletter would be difficult, but I could handle it. Unless it came in tomorrow. But that's not what that client brought me today. Nope. He brought me an ad book that is normally done in the summer, but this year the event is in October. It's about 24 pages or so, but this year they've almost doubled their ad sales. Oh, and did I forget to mention this needs to be finished printing by the 30th. And I've got about 80 scans to do, not to mention redoing artwork for people who have no idea how to create finished/production ready art (oh, and they consistently forget to mention what the book sizes are, so everybody makes up their own ad sizes).

Margle!

I'm still going to the retreat, but I'm not going to be able to rest up before hand. For those long time readers, you may remember something similar when I went to Viable Paradise. I spent that week mostly in a sleep deprived fog. All my memories of that week are fuzzy on the edges (and in most of the middles too).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Healthcare snippets

Well, I guess the amount of money I spent on the sleep study was worth it. I was diagnosed with "moderate sleep apnea." You can take that to mean that I'm following the precept of "everything in moderation." Or that I'm just a slacker when it comes to health. Or I'm waiting for the movie instead of reading the book. Your choice. I have to go back for another sleep study (to determine CPAP capability). Thankfully the one maxed out our deductible. I think that's a good thing.

Tonight I caught up with one friend who is having health problems. He's on medicare and needs a heart valve replacement. However, his tests come up with his situation of needing a new valve, but it's not in the severe category (even through he was in the hospital the other day because his blog tests indicated there were clots forming, but they weren't able to locate any clots). Some may say, "This is the government rationing care," but it's actually a result of "cutting waste." About ten years ago, he would have qualified. But because he isn't deemed "sick enough" (read, "hey, you may survive with this condition for the rest of your life"), he doesn't qualify for the procedure. Because he might be faking it. Say, did you notice that there's all this talk about continuing to cut/restructure Medicare?

The other one was a friend who told me tonight he has prostate cancer. He doesn't know yet how far progressed. The good news is more men are surviving prostate cancer (just as more women are surviving breast cancer). Fuck cancer.

So, how are you all doing?

Linkee-poo plows forward, through the concrete

Jim Hines has a good take on Hamlet's Father by O.S. Card and the ensuing brouhaha. I have bunch of thoughts about this, especially in the matter of "separating the author from the work," which, in general I ascribe to (when critiquing, it's about the work, not the person behind the work). But there is a line where "fiction" become "polemic" where I do believe the author opens themselves to critique (sort of like, I'm all for not including the politicians' kids or family, until that politician puts them out in front of the campaign, they get involved by making their own political statements to the press/public, or they do something that draws attention to themselves, like violate drinking and drug enforcement laws).

Story on Publishers Weekly about an agent offering representation, but only if the authors adjusted the sexual orientation of one of the characters (or left them out entirely). The authors said, "Thanks, no thanks." Good for them. Granted, agents and editors will ask for changes. As a writer you should expect that. That doesn't mean you should make all their changes, especially if you feel strongly about it. (Grokked from Lots o' People)

Query Advice (in verse). (Grokked from someone, sorry, lost the link)

From the Writers Almanac, JB Priestly said, "Most writers enjoy two periods of happiness — when a glorious idea comes to mind and, secondly, when a last page has been written and you haven't had time to know how much better it ought to be."

Say it with me, "Form follows function." Even when it comes to Moleskine and pens and pencils. However, you know what would have been even cooler? If the pencil cap was the sharpener (the description is kinda vague, but the sharpener looks different and larger than the cap, at least to me).

How not to become an internet millionaire through internet advertising from Woot Minions. Now that is excellent. As you all can tell, no, I'm not going to "monetize" this blog. (Pointed to by Dan)

Tweet of my heart:
@eyerweb: Dear business leaders whining about uncertainty: know what reduces uncertainty? Nationalization. Any takers? The line forms to the left.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Linkee-poo smells Autumn in the air

Also attempting to put mind into gear for writers' retreat this weekend. Must be in third or fourth by Friday, where we'll shift into fifth or overdrive on Saturday.

Elizabeth Bear is selling books again.

Fan letters and writing the other. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Paul Cornell's worldcon blog post. Wow. Okay, I think I have a new template for how to do con blog posts. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

The decade since in photographs. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The Star Treks that never were. (Pointed to by John)

What socialism is and is not. You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means. You might want to read this article to see what it really means. (Grokked from matociquala)

The late, great, postal service. And interesting take on the current "crisis" in the PO. Strange how political ideology tends to screw up things we most hold dear. And, again, it has been class warfare all along, hopefully the middle-class and poor will wake up. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Try to remember the kind of September

Ten years on. As a tribute to the dead, I shall spend the day living. And not watching TV.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Linkee-poo adds the snicker to the snack of his vorpal blade

An article on design and how to generate monster ideas by generating monster failures. Very applicable to writing with no rewrite. They discuss three factors that should help unleash those "monster" (read viral, spectacular, industry changing, impress your mom) ideas: 1) Fail Early, 2) Fail Often and 3) Fail Fearlessly. It's a slightly expanded version of the concept of Samuel Beckett's quote, "All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." Fail better my peeps, fail better.

Carrie Vaughn and the fetish of wordcount. Several other writers have made similar comments about authors putting daily word counts on their blogs (most notably in my head, Stewart Sternberg). And I agree. That may sound weird from someone with a word count widget, but I use that as a whip to myself. It's a way of embarrassing myself into productive work. And as you can see, it's moved very little this year. And that maybe part of my point. It shouldn't be the pace of the progress that is the main focus, but that there is progress. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

What is the matter with people? Okay, I can see applause at the end of Rick Perry's statement (he defended his position with conviction and concise language), but applause when the question is asked about him executing more people than any other state? What the fuck is wrong with you people? Now, I'm on record as celebrating the killing/execution/assassination of Osama bin Laden, so you might think, "Well, he's one to talk." But as I said, I'm a cold-hearted bastard when it comes to war. And if you read that post fully you'll see where I'm saying, "I'm not normal because of this." Are we at war with our citizens? And then there is the possibility (and it's a good possibility) that Texas executed an innocent man. Eric does the honors here. "… (A)dvisers recalled asking a focus group about the charge that Perry may have presided over the execution of an innocent man--Cameron Todd Willingham--and got this response from a primary voter: 'It takes balls to execute an innocent man.'" Really? That's what you want? You really, really, really don't want to adopt that attitude (especially with me).

Seriously, I thought all the stories of the applause line were so much progressive myth making. That either it was a doctored video or there was just a few people doing it. The applause was so loud it interrupted Brian Williams in the middle of his question and caused him to ask a follow up focused on the applause.

Speaker Boehner invites Gibson Guitar CEO to Obama's speech to highlight "big government interference." Huhn. And I thought the Republicans were the party of law and order. Really, the US government seizes illegal materials from Gibson, and conservatives have a problem? But then they don't have a problem when the government seizes individuals' cash and property by Asset Forfeiture in our current drug laws (essentially "arresting" the asset) even when they're not charged with a crime? To get their property back requires the individual to sue the government and put up the dollar amount at least twice of what was seized. Plus, this isn't a "burdensome regulation", this is international treaties and law. Are you trying to say that we shouldn't stop companies from breaking the law? You might be interested in knowing that Gibson (and others) made a trip to Madagascar to figure out how to source the wood legally, finding none, only Gibson continued to purchase that wood. Oh, and the FSC has come out saying the Gibson wood was not certified by them. Dear Speaker Boehner, you've got your head in a place you don't want it to be.

Story Bone

A great opening line looking for a story.

"I didn't start out to save the world, it was just in the way."

Phase 1 down, Phase 2 on deck

Some photos from last weekend's fun time in home improvement projects.

The cement columns were exactly where I left them.


Dry fitting the posts. I had to cut them down to seven feet. Also making sure we're still plumb and level.


Post in place. Ready for action!



And then we hit another surprise. I figured I could use the already drilled holes in the cross bar to center my drill bit to go through the new beam. My bit wasn't long enough to go the whole way, but went more than halfway. And here is where I found out that the holes on the front and back cross bar are not aligned. Sigh. So I had to go buy a long drill bit to do a complete bore. At that point I probably should have just pitched it all, bought two new cross bars and another post and do it right, but the extra hole really doesn't compromise the post or cross beam significantly. And I wanted to be done. Strangely enough, the other post drilled precisely. Using the hole on the one cross beam as a guide, the drill bit came out centered in the hole on the other cross beam.


Cleaning up (which there is some more to do). Plus, I need to finish chopping up/removing that cement pad.


Everything connected back together again, and taking the weight of the deck.


And here we are with a closeup of how the post connects with the cement column.


I'll try and get all the rest of the tube off this weekend.

So, Phase 1 down. Phase 2 is to complete the removal of the cement pad, repair the mortar on the house, put in an actual stone and sand base (you can see the builder just poured on dirt, no drainage or prep underneath), and then use pavers to repave it (I'm also going to expand the area - going farther back and to the right to create a place to put my grill). I'm also thinking of having a raised step by the door. Unless we have good weather into December, this will probably be next Spring.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Linkee-poo is just a love machine, it don't work for nobody but you

Elizabeth Bear goes all rhapsodic on the singularity. Wow. I wish I had read more of her before going to VP. I would have loved to go through all that with her (her thinking is very close to my own).

How do you organize your writing? At this point, it's a Text Edit RTF file for each chapter, file name ends with a revision number. All old files get thrown in a file named "Old".

Steve Jobs and 10 quotes for advertising agencies. While applicable to my day thing, quotes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 can be easily modified to be pertinent to writing (or other endeavors). Number 8 is a good general rule for life. Finally, number 10 can also go toward writing if you change a few sentences. (Pointed to by John)

I didn't know we elected a Chicken Little to the Ohio Governor's office. "'You get people emboldened (if SB is repealed), you don't know what it will lead to,' Kasich said. 'It's a legitimate concern. There's a lot of things that could come. I'm not saying they will, but people who get emboldened, they do more aggressive things.'" Hello, Kettle? The Pot is holding for you on line 3. Only it's the Governor's side of the argument that said, "This is just the beginning." Notice the nation wide calls to end unemployment benefits and minimum wage that have only grown and moved into the mainstream this summer. As Randy Newman sang, "Hide your wives and daughters, hide the groceries too, the great nations of Europe comin' through." (Pointed to by Dan)

As a part of what seems to be an ongoing (and widening) conversation about the differences in how women are received and treated in public (re: things women bloggers have thrown at them), when heckling a comedian becomes sexual harassment." It's like the 80s and 90s didn't happen for a lot of people. I think I commented when I went through sexual harassment training (which, yes, I did mention that the title was a bit odd and couldn't we change that) at the current day job, "Didn't we all get the memo on this in the 90s?" Obviously not. (Grokked from Sean Craven)


It sometimes appalls me that we here in the US are so ignorant of basic facts regarding climate change. (pointed to by Dan) But then it really doesn't surprise me given the rise of know-nothing-ism in one of our major parties (in fact, it's now a litmus test for leadership in that party) and a network dedicated to misinforming the public (but they tell great stories - that's a link to their poll on prayer healing and creationism). To illustrate the difference, just the publication of a children's book on evolution can be political. Yes, for the US it was way too hot, but for our neighbors to the north there's nary a peep of public protest. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

And now the score stands 2-1. The 4th Circuit threw out the lawsuit challenging the ACA (Healthcare Reform). Think this will get as big a play as when the 11th ruled it unconstitutional? Yeah, neither do I. They'll say, "all judged appointed by Democrats" and move on. They won't even mention the whole "could lead to an onslaught of politicized and frivolous legal challenges," part. Look, frivolous laws suits! Oh wait, it's conservatives bringing them. Nevermind. Move along citizen.

Tweet of my heart:
@matociquala: Hey guys, our hashtag made the Guardian: http://bit.ly/ogPjMW #buyabiggaynovelforscottcardday couldn't have done it without you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Linkee-poo trudges off to school, again

Catherine Shaffer on the things she's learned about being an up-and-coming SF writer… for 15 years. Four and five ring with me right at the moment, although 11-14 are the most telling.

The consequences of writing without reading. Being a reader is step 1. I wonder how it is with other professions, like trying to be a musician without listening to music (no, seriously, you want me to drive you crazy, ask me to listen to some guitar piece and then give you a breakdown, unless you're another guitar player, you'd rather watch paint dry while huffing the off-gasses). And then they ask the question with blanks for the second part (and my answers in parentheses) "Wanting to write without wanting to read is like wanting to (orgasm) without wanting to (stimulate, or whatever you do)."

25 things you should know about Queries, Synopses and treatments. Because I know a few of you struggling with it right now (and I will be soon).

Jim C Hines does a good send up of the recent posts on how the world treats women differently than men. On thing Jim forgot to mention is that each time he's posted a blog that's critical or satiric, Jim gets comments about how clever he is, Jane gets email about how she must be having her period (only not stated that nicely).

A year of living biblically as a woman. I wonder if she's also keeping kosher? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Here's a term you'll be tossing about in a few years, chatbot. (Pointed to by John)

I'm only pointing this out because you may know someone you need to pass this along to. In my case it's approximately 60% of my coworkers. Some finer points of email etiquette. Not said, but important, email is not instant. Also, is the subject of the email thread has changed, change the email header as well to reflect the new subject.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Mark Spitznagel wonder why "It is hard to understand why the market mechanism does not eliminate (banks that only line their own bankers' pockets). A well-functioning market would produce outcomes that favor banks with the right exposures, the right compensation schemes, the right risk-sharing, and therefore the right corporate governance." The answer is simple, the free market mechanism doesn't work the way it does in the stories we tell ourselves. Free markets tend toward monopoly, accumulation of wealth at the top, and subjugation wages at the bottom. Not to mention actual shooting wars between competitors (think I'm being crazy? I'm not, go read the history of the 19 century America, back before we had all these crazy regulations and market controls). That's the free market. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

This chart from the Romney Campaign reminds me of the time a manager included four months of revenues in their quarterly presentation. A few of us wondered what they would do the next quarter (they were gone by then).

Remember the whole debate on healthcare reform? Remember the argument about "rationed care" and "those long waits in socialized medicine"? Remember my counter that we already have them, and not just for elective procedures? My Mom had to wait 5 months to see a back specialist (even though she was in pain after her back surgery). For my sarcoma, 3.5 months. Sleep study, 2 months. When I broke my leg, I was in the emergency room for 3 hours before getting a doctor that could take a look at it. By the time we got to the surgeon (who was just by luck walking through the ER after checking up on some patients in post-op) the choice was either "emergency surgery now (with a team that had been in the OR for 12 hours) or wait 3 days for the swelling to go down. We already have delays (unless you're rich, money can buy faster access as can better insurance coverage). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Progress

Last night I stayed up way to late to rewrite a chapter. Wrote cold, without a fire in the belly. You have to be able to do that. I was just tired of not progressing. So I'll stay up and stare at the screen until I get over my case of the "don't wannas" and I do the work.

For writing cold, I didn't do too bad. And as I was trying to fall asleep, I thought of an extra part I needed to add to the chapter. Also had to start a conversation in a different place, but end up with the original resolution. It's not as easy as it sounds, but I accomplished it.

Take that gremlins!

Also have three new notecards for PRI. One character card, one card in Act I and one in Act III. I figured out an in-between chapter and where our love interests find each other in hell's waiting room (I need to work on that one, there's a lot of comic potential, but it also has a very great chance that humor will fall flat).

I want to go through that chapter again before I post a final update (deleted about 300 words, added about 600, possibly will have similar results with a second run through). One of the critiques was my protag wasn't protaging enough. I think I know how to solve that now. Went 50% last night, will go the other 40% when I get to do the next run through.

Last night was like pulling teeth. But you know what's good about pulling teeth? It needs to be done, and you feel better in the long run. I just need to do it more often.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Book Day!

Hey, today is the release date for Merrie Haskell's The Princess Curse. She has received several glowing reviews by people more important than I am, but I'll chime in. If you like fairy tales (and here I'm talking about real fairy tales, not the Disney-fied versions), you'll want to read this book.

You'll like it.

And you can read the first part right here. For free. Like all good drugs, the first sample is free. Go and read, so when Mer is all famous and whatnot, you can say, "I read her before all the hoopla started."

Linkee-poo is missing Monday

And to balance the all political post of yesterday, have an all writing linkee-poo.

Jay Lake with some writing process links. Just in case you missed them.

Tobias Buckell follows up his pigeons and pellets post with a clarification on aspirations. I'm not sure where people got the idea Tobias was saying, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here," with his first one. All he was saying was "you have control over this, and not over that, correlation is not causation, no need to invent the writer's version of the SCSI Voodoo Dance."

Miranda Suri talks about starting from scratch (in regards to story writing). I've done the pansters thing. For the new work I'm doing more outlining than I've ever done before. I don't know why, I just "feel" that I need to for this one. And for me, typically the scene comes first. I see what is happening, and know there's a story behind there. Bladesman started with the scene that became the first chapter (and it still works, so I'm keeping it, although the first line is far away from what I originally wrote). Post-Rapture Industries also started that way. But it was much more complex. With Bladesman the whole background of the world, how it worked, who the character was and why he was doing what he was doing came in that first burst. With PRI, it's been a long struggle to figure out the story behind the scene.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Enough

Okay, just read one too many "we'll just pull out if we don't get our way" emails, comments and articles.

Take my advice, leave. If that's what patriotism, community, service, and being an adult means to you, get the fuck out of my country. Go. Now. Speak to the hand and leave.

There are flights every. single. day.

No. Seriously. Threatening to "Go Gault" or "we'll pull our money to a tax haven and go live in an island paradise"? Do it. Just fuckin' do it all ready. Stop jawin', stop posing, go.

Do it, or shut the fuck up about it. Now. You want to pull the trigger? Here's your permission. There will probably never be a better time to go ex-pat.

And while you're there in your wonderful haven you can experience the real costs of the world you live in. Have fun dealing with government officials who have honed corruption to a fine art, dealing with non-standards based infrastructure, the occasional kidnapping for profit, hurricanes that wipe your property clean then you get to cover the loss, the diseases we don't deal with anymore here in the US. You have fun with that. Don't forget to write.

'Cause here's the thing. I know you don't have the guts to actually do it. You've got it pretty cushy right here and you know what it'll be like there. Most people who threaten will never actually do what they threaten to do (they might faint in that direction, but they never follow through).

So here it is, I'm calling. Show your cards.

We need serious people who are willing to do serious work to solve our serious problems and you aren't up to it. I want someone who has skin in the game. I want people who have the ability to work as adults. People who learned the lessons of sharing, community, caring, looking out for the other guy, and making this world a better place than we found it. Having selfish sociopaths mucking up the works only drags the rest of us down.

We need serious people, and you ain't it.

Linkee-poo wonders what happened to the heat

If you're enjoying the day off, don't forget to thank a union worker. Again, the main questions shouldn't be, "Why do public employees have such great benefits" but "Why doesn't everybody have such basic benefits?"

All politics today, sorry.

In relation to an earlier post John Scalzi did, he follows up with some ruminations of what to do about the dickheads (ie. trolls). You may have noticed my linkee-poo headline for that one that talked about girding for the Great Troll Wars of 2012. I wasn't kidding. I expect this political season to be especially hot. Cracks are forming around the walls shoring up the worldviews of many people right about now. This coming election will have a subtle undercurrent of "Whah! Mom!" or "See, We Were Right!" just like the most hazardous animal is one that is wounded, so to is the person who's worldview is about to shatter. The wall coming down is fearful (for many reasons), and they'll fight like hell to keep it in place. And they'll be shored up by the astro-turf foundations. (Yes, I know, John is talking about ignoring them and letting the moderators deal with them, and it looks like I'm saying the opposite, it's because my definition of a troll is much looser than his.)

If you can't win elections on your ideas, steal it by controlling the votes. Yes, conservative who rail about "voter fraud" are actually just upset that they weren't the permanent majority, and now that the Tea Party helped them get back in power, they're doing everything they can to remain there.

"Some liberal writers have opined that the different socio-economic perspectives separating the 'business' wing of the GOP and the religious right make it an unstable coalition that could crack. I am not so sure. There is no fundamental disagreement on which direction the two factions want to take the country… The plutocrats would drag us back to the Gilded Age, the theocrats to the Salem witch trials." It's a long read, but pretty much lays out the entire case of modern conservative politics.

I was recently asked how I could be Democratic, how I could leave the Republican Party. (from the same article linked above) "I left because I was appalled at the headlong rush of Republicans… to embrace policies that are deeply damaging to this country's future… And, in truth, I left as an act of rational self-interest. Having gutted private-sector pensions and health benefits as a result of their embrace of outsourcing, union busting and 'shareholder value,' the GOP now thinks it is only fair that public-sector workers give up their pensions and benefits, too. Hence the intensification of the GOP's decades-long campaign of scorn against government workers. Under the circumstances, it is simply safer to be a current retiree rather than a prospective one." While I said it was the rise of the social conservatives, who are really neither, that would have been an even more accurate answer. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Linkee-poo is trying to get set for a long weekend

John Scalzi lets loose with the title of his next novel.

To quote Zoidberg, "What could possibly happen." Not that I don't trust Chinese quality, you know. But parking a 24-mile wide metallic asteroid in Earth's orbit, not exactly a Good Idea™ if you ask me. (Grokked from Steven Gould, I think)

Have you ever wondered what would happen if an asteroid would hit Earth? Well, wonder no more. The Purdue U Impact Earth calculator. Plug in the numbers and see what damage you do. (Pointed to by John)

Jim Wright nails the Bachmann weather quote precisely. I was going to write that, "Of course it was just a joke." You know, until you look at the extended version of the "whitey video" (of which she clearly says, "Wet people" - dear fellow progressives, she's crazy enough that we don't need to go making shit up, okay) and realize, no, she actually believes that ("because we have the god of the winds and rains."). However, she (actually, her people) can say it's just a joke, because the true believers to whom the comment was made know she needs to lie to the unwashed for political expediency. But Jim does a much better send up.

A Guardian opinion article on Gov. Perry's abortion doctrine. Not for the squeamish, but oh so true. These are the people you want to be ruling your country? (Grokked from Steven Gould)

The rise of the reconstructionists from the inside position. While somewhat alarmist, there's a lot of truth in there and it helps explain much of what has and is happening. My guess is the reconstructionists and dominionists will become the left's Illuminati conspiracy, although in this case these are real people and their agenda is plainly open. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

I would say it's easy to dismiss these radical religious nuts as fantasies conjured by paranoia. I could say that if I hadn't met these people in person. When I worked in West (by God) Virginia, I worked for and with them (in case you ever wondered what I meant by, "They were crazy down there so I had to leave"). I've also met them in other work places. People so reverently religious they don't understand why people would object to their worldview. Who hold onto that worldview even when shown the evidence of being wrong (a classic example is showing some that the KoC helped change the US motto and Pledge of Allegiance, from the KoC website, and they still don't believe it). I didn't post the link to the whacked out pastor who believes we should create a national database for atheists ala the sex-offender registration because he's on the far extreme. That doesn't mean that whackaloon doesn't have supporters and sympathizers closer to the halls of real power. And more of those who can behave in polite company are being pushed to higher realms of secular power and influence.

Think I'm kidding about seeing something demonstrated right there in front of you and still not believing? Check our this marketplace story from last night. Coastal cities realize they they're in for a rough time with climate change, water levels rising inundating some of the priciest land around being a big problem. Such as Newport Beach, CA which has been experiencing some flooding during storms, which is a new thing for them. They're looking at raising the seawall they have. That they need to invest in "climate change adaptation" to the tune of millions of dollars. But they "don't know why" they need to do this, just that if they don't, they'll lose their property (and tax income). And the rich people will be upset. But it can't be global warming, because that's just a hoax. It must be the moon having moved closer to the Earth so we have bigger tides, I guess. Or magical water nymphs.

And then there is the creation of their own reality. Wonder why progressives think these whackaloons are dangerous? It's because when certain people lose fair elections they blame "corruption" and say it was "stolen" from them. And also, they're "going to take it back" (notice similarities to "We want our country back"), and they'll (at least threaten to) use force do to it. And here you see the real agenda of the "Oath Keepers" and their ilk.

Yes, it is class warfare. And the middle class and poor have been losing because they believe they're not supposed to fight. Here is a conservative proudly admitting we should disenfranchise people because they are poor. If you ever wonder why progressives say that conservatives are mean, think of this as one point in the progressives argument. "Registering (poor people) to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals." Dear Matthew Vadum, fuck you, sirah.