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Monday, October 31, 2011

Linkee-poo says by the time we got to Woodstock, we were 7 billion strong

Happy All Hallows Eve. The day we celebrate the cross quarter, just after the meat harvest, when the veil is thinnest by time and events. And like how the buzzards return to Hinkley every year, remembering the feasts of generations past, so to do the spirits remember the warmth of long dead fires. And it calls to them. Light a candle and put it in the window tonight. If you dare.

Tor.com is giving away books to celebrate All Hallows Read. Help spread the joy… well, the terror.

Sometimes the way toward redemption is a road of the greatest pain. It's a testament to the soul and the power of redemption that people regularly trod that path of thorns, often helped by those they vilified. (Pointed to by John)

Why biodiversity is important. Because it just may save ourselves. And you never know what will be important in the future. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Here' an article on (a new book that looks at) the role of luck and what that means to business success. While they somewhat say luck isn't all of it, that hard work plays a good part, if you read the article… yeah, luck has a lot to do with it. I think what they're saying is luck isn't the only thing, you have to be prepared to make an opportunity of luck (good or bad). Or, as the old saying goes, fortune favors the prepared. As a nit pick they give the case of Bill Gates asking a series of rhetorical questions, but what they don't ask is just how small of a pool were people who had all of those things come together (it's a statistical question). My answer is "relatively few." Final lessons, capitalize on your opportunities, and work hard to learn and overcome the setbacks. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

To those of you about to start NaNoWriMo, start your engines. "Prose should be a long intimacy between strangers with no direct appeal to what both may have known." - Henry Green

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oh great internet brain… Submission software

Any recommendations for submission software, websites, do it yourself paper versions. I'm getting close to submitting to agents and would like to do this a little more methodically that I've done before. If all else fails I might create a spreadsheet for it. So, duotrope, submissmash, story tracker, any experience with these?

Right now I think I just need to complete the query letter and compose a 1-2 page synopsis (that seems to be the majority of submission guidelines). How hard could it be?

Three things makes a post

Spent the weekend trying to catch up with chores. Finally got the first leaf-blowing activity done. Hopefully that will allow the lawn to dry out this week so I can mow it either Friday or Saturday (it really need another mow before the snow flies). I'll also need to go up on the roof soon, to clear off the leaves that get stuck up there.

We had our Tricks or Treats on Saturday. We had nearly 600 kids come bye (between the ages of "Are you sure your obstetrician is okay releasing you two this early," and "So how's the college search going"). Given our village is less than 2000 people, I think you can guess how these things go. There weren't very many stunning costumes this year, although there were plenty of home made ones (of which there is nothing wrong with that). Some of the baby costumes looked very second (third, or fourth) hand. People, overall, seemed to be in a good mood. It was chilly, but no rain. I had six or eight groups that wanted to take photos in my yard with the various decorations (the inflatable Grim Reaper was the most requested, although we did get two who wanted to be in the graveyard). That always gives me a kick to see that. I decorate mostly for me (to be honest), but I do like that it's appreciated by the neighborhood.

Didn't get any studying done. Good thing the lab test was postponed to Wednesday (evening classes, there's a lot of parents). Signed up for a CPR class (need the card for admission) as well as a Pharmacy Technician course during next semester. Bette has heard rumors that having that on the resume is a big help. So Spring will be a big test. I'll have three courses going on. We'll see how we do with that and a full time job.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Linkee-poo still thinks digital watches are a neat idea

Eric give us some good tips for living in a SF universe.

Fourteen punctuation marks that (some people) never knew existed. Yeah, type is fun. Most of these aren't used in the US. Includes an interrobang for Dan. Oh look, the snark (which I don't believe is in anybody's font glyph set). (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

"Apple’s way of getting you to buy a new phone is to make you really happy with your current one, whereas apparently Android phone makers think they can get you to buy a new phone by making you really unhappy with your current one." With the data to back it up. And people keep telling me how smart Android users are, or how smart modern business people are. Say, remember back in, oh, I think it was the early 90s in the last major recession, one airline had a commercial about "customer service" and the value of face to face communications instead of phone conferences and emails. It ended with the CEO saying he was going to visit that customer that fired them (because of lousy service). Do we really need to keep being reminded of these basic business lessons? Oh, wait, the new shiny changes everything. (Pointed to by Dan)

"… (T)he China-US seesaw is about to swing the other way. Offshoring is out, 're-inshoring' is the new fashion… (I)ntended or not, the Fed's zero rates and $2.3 trillion printing blitz have brought matters to an abrupt head for China… The switch in advantage to the US is relative. It does not imply a healthy US recovery." In part to the shale-oil/gas revolution and rising cost in China, things are shifting back toward the US. Some interesting economic thoughts. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The new Canadian pipeline will go through a portion of the Ogallala Aquifer? Unicorns on popsicle sticks, double plus ungood, folks. (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

Tweet of my heart:
@crookedfootball: Rule of thumb: if something or someone makes a point of describing self as neither left-wing or right-wing, they're right wing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Good thing they have an AED almost everywhere these days



Again, fortunately not my pump total, but what is was when I pulled up.

Linkee-poo is so far behind, I'm in a time warp

Strum and drang, that's all we get to gnosh on these days. One half of me is all, "OMG, it's ONLY Thursday," and the other half is "Holy Frijoles, it's Thursday ALREADY? Yeah. I would say it's time to start drinking, if I actually had the time to start drinking.

"Hell, just now? I stopped writing this blog post for 15 minutes just so I could stare at light glinting off a penny." Chuck Wendig's 25 reasons you won't finish that story. As George Takei says, "Oh, myyyy." Yeah, number 2 can get me. I know I should do more of #3, but with the (insert diatribe on just how frickin' busy my life is, oh, did I mention I signed up for Pharmacy Tech training for next semester? OMG, I'm a junkie.) #6 is damn important to get through heads. #7 is why I said "YES!" to all the retreats this fall (and the numbers show that when I set aside time, boy can I write). I think I need to read this one a few more times so it all sinks in.

And then for contrast we have writing (and life) lessons from The Princess Bride. Don't forget the Cliffs of Insanity, the Fire Swamp (with cute LOLcat) posts. (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

Income inequity is not a myth. That's an Atlantic article was some pretty in-depth statistics there. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Lemony Snicket with thirteen thoughts on OWS. "4. People who say money doesn’t matter are like people who say cake doesn’t matter—it’s probably because they’ve already had a few slices." (Grokked from PNH)

Also, Patrick's thoughts on the Oakland police action.

A Salon article on the evolving front of the Right-to-Life movement. Yes, now that they believe they're about to win on wiping away the right to an abortion, the real craziness starts coming out. The "personhood" movement. See, I've said for years that RtL is not anti-abortion, they are anti-feminism, anti-equal rights, anti-modern woman. And before you tell me about the women in the RtL movement, let me tell you it was a stunning moment in my early years to meet a woman who's sole desire in life was to be a good housewife (not mother, not partner, we're talking the 50's June Cleaver ideal housewife). Do I need to do a whole post of the collective cognitive disassociation factor that people who benefited from affirmative programs, or from the "socialism" of "big government" now want to rid the world of them? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A choice quote from the above article: "As for supporting life, Mississippi’s infant mortality rate is the worst of any state in the nation. The number of babies who die as infants in Mississippi is double the number of abortions annually. It also has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy nationwide, alongside a child welfare system that remains dangerously broken." So glad we're headed back in that direction. (/sarcasm)

An FTC report on the anti-competitive nature of "pay-for-delay" agreements in the pharmaceutical industry. Another nail in the "we don't need no stinking regulations" and the free-market is all butterflies and rainbows for consumers. Basic conclusion, because of anticompetitive practices in the pharm industry, you're paying a whole lot more for your healthcare than you should have been. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Wall Street isn't winning, they're cheating. Some more on why the OWS is growing. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Tweet of my heart:
@GeorgeTakei: Studies show computer voices are mostly sexy females. It's probably the only way to get men to ask for directions.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Linkee-poo is the man on the silver mountain

The infographic on the anatomy of an art agency. Yep, that's pretty damn close to my personal experience. Please note, no mention of Designer or Senior Designer (or Production). :: looks innocent :: I wonder who could have made this? (Pointed to by John)

There are just some things in today's world that remind me that the universe has a sense of humor after all. I, for one, welcome our new Lego Overlords. (Grokked from Dan)

Dear Artur Davis, "Asked why more voter fraud cases weren’t prosecuted, Davis told TPM that 'common sense suggests that the use of the names of dead or fictitious people does not leave a victim to swear out a complaint.'" No, Mr. Davis, you claim to have been witness to a federal crime. You were even asked to participate by those breaking the law (or had intent to break the law). It is your duty, sir, especially having been a duly elected representative when this happened, to report that crime. You haven't, have you?

A little reality check when it comes to the ZOMG! Lybia and Sharia Law! hysteria. Dudes, really, this is becoming embarrassing. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

More charts on just were the money went. You know how the news occasionally says, "Incomes were up this quarter by (whatever) percent," but your income didn't go up that much. Well, now you know, the majority of that money (after adjustment for inflation) went to the top 1%. So much for that "rising tide lifts all boats" concept.

Because it's not about the racism in this day and age. Wow, the DoJ just gave Rep. Lamar Smith the full broadside. (Pointed to by Dan)

Lookie! A newspaper doing what they're supposed to do. Namely, they're calling Michelle Bachmann on her "inaccuracies." I'd said it would help, but then most conservative voters (and especially those supporting her) aren't exactly reality based to begin with. And then they can always mentally brush it off as another example of the "liberal bias of the media." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Once while swimming cross turtle creek, man them snappers right at my feet

So I'm driving home when this story comes on the radio. That's a story about how those enforcers of vaccines are now peddling the HPV vaccines for boys. And I thought, well now we have a whole new category of people who will refuse to be vaccinated for something. I mean, it's only to help prevent spread of the virus among girls, right (actually, yeah, that is how it is transfered, because boys are dirty - take a shower, slacker, and use soap this time).

And then they hit this fact, HPV can cause penile cancer. Okay, well, it was in the actual radio segment, but it's not on the web page (whatsamatter NPR, have you decided to stop corrupting our youth?). On the webpage they only talk about "genital warts and… cancers of the head and neck, as well as the anus." But I was thinking, "Wow, prevents cancers of the penis, so it won't shrivel up and fall off? They'll be stacked up 3 deep to get the shots."

And then I thought, "ZOMFG! My favorite toy can get cancer? Shoot me now."

Okay, well, yeah I already knew that (although testicular and prostate cancer is more of a problem). And penile cancer turns out to be squamous cell carcinoma, or skin cancer. Just where have you been letting that hang that you're getting too much sunshine there?

But cancers of the head, neck and anus? Umm… Doing it wrong?

(Disclaimer. Yes I know about bi and homosexual men. Yes, cancer is serious. Yes I'm in the high risk group for testicular and prostate cancers due to my Mom having breast cancer and my maternal uncle having prostate cancer. Guess who has two thumbs and probably the genetic disposition for those. Thank you very much. Yes, both men and women should check themselves - or have a partner do it - for breast and testicular/vaginal cancers, boys should get the glove snap and PSA test and girls should get pap smears. Do it for yourself, do it because it's fun - okay, well, maybe not the glove snap or pap smear, YMMV - and do it because it's important.)

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward

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

Yes. That. I've said it before, I'm damn tired of hearing about how our "brave and entrepreneurial business leaders" are paralyzed and can't move forward because of "uncertainty." You can't have both. Either our business leaders are "brave and entrepreneurial" or they're quaking in their birkenstockings about "uncertainty." One cancels out the other.

No, really. Personally I blame this on the rise of the MBA. People who aren't really entrepreneurial or have insight into business are running our businesses (or are consulting for them). They have a degree, but in most cases, no actual working experience. Then they are capriciously put into positions of responsibility. These are people who are now looking at the world with a deer in the headlights look.

Here's the thing. If you are running a business, now is the exact moment to make your move. This is the time of "fortune favors the bold."

As for "uncertainty" in the future being a problem, it is never different. In most cases this "uncertainty" is shirt rending over "new possible regulations" or "new taxes". Well, most of this is being driven by the fear engine that is one of our major news outlets, and one of our political parties. And it will never change. We have elections every two years where the make up of Congress could change from one party to the next. Every four years we get to change who sits in the White House. It doesn't stop.

Once you think you may know exactly what is going to happen, in two years that can be overturned. Always thus.

Want to know what real entrepreneurs do? They entrepreneur. They take risks, and put their money on the line. Corporate profits (and money in the bank) are at all time highs. All this, "UNCERTAINTY!" is a bunch of manufactured FUD pap that a certain political faction wants you to believe. But only because it benefits them.

Oh great internet brain

I keep getting this impulse to post my evolving drafts of the query letter to my blog (for some reason). I didn't know if this was a faux pas or not, as I don't believe I've seen writers post their query letters. There's some agents that have (including the Query Shark link I posted the other day).

Would it be bad if I did that? (Like prior publishing or something like that)

Linkee-poo strips his sleeves and show his scars

Giant amoebas living on the bottom of the ocean! (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Halloween costumes of the past. My how the times have changed. I think I need to keep track of how many French/Upstairs Maids under 16 we have trick-or-treating this year. (Pointed to by Dan)

I bet all those OWS people who helped set up a sukkot observance in Zuccotti Park are just as shocked as you to find out OWS is just a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. What's next, conservatives? You can't trust the OWS because they smell funny?

Because NPR is such a hotbed of liberalism and conflicts of interest things like a major news personality would never step down if a spouse was involved in a campaign. Oh, wait. I keep forgetting. That would be conservatives who don't have a clue about recusals.

"You can complain about the 'War on (sectarian) Christmas' or you can complain about the evil influence of Halloween. But you can’t do both." The Slacktivist with a reality check post on the Halloween = Pagan (ZOMG!) meme. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

I'm so glad our immigration laws won't be used to intimidate people, or used as racist pretense. 'Cause that would be bad. I wonder where all the 2nd Amendment people would stand on this? Oh, and that reminds me I need to send in my membership dues to the ACLU, the one organization that actually is interested in protecting the Constitution.

Well slap my bottom with butter and call me "Biscuit", if we repeal Obamacare, would consign us to swift, ugly fiscal and health care crises? Shocked. Shocked I am…

Mitt Romney stopped by my home state. "I'm not terribly familiar with (Issue 2 and Issue 3), but I'm certainly supportive of the Republican party's efforts here…" In other words, he's glad conservatives will vote straight Republican ticket. Don't worry, Mitt. Not many people are familiar with Issue 2 (repeal of SB5, Ohio's union busting law) and Issue 3 (nominally "We ain't going to take your Obamacare", but it's actually a Sovereign Citizen amendment. You remember them. They kill cops and federal judges.) (Pointed to by Dan)

Bad hackers, bad hackers. Oh, wait, good hackers. Anonymous takes down a darknet (the use of auto-rerouting and secondary DNS services) child porn site. They also posted the membership list. Good hacker. Have a cookie. (Pointed to by John)

Someone throws a chemical bomb into Occupy Maine encampment. You probably didn't hear about this on your national news. Just imagine the response from the main stream media if this had happened to a Tea Party rally. Why, you'd still be hearing about it, even if it was 2 years ago. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Night Lights

So, first up, I hope you saw the Northern Lights tonight. I'm glad I made it home in time to get Bette out on the deck to seem some of the red lights. There were bluish greens on the way home, with some pillars in there. Unfortunately I was driving without a place to stop and take a look. This was the first time I'm sure I've seen the Northern Lights. And I'm glad I could share it with Bette. Wow. It wasn't the sheets, but still pretty damn cool.

Next up was second lecture test at school. We had 75 questions and I got 73 correct. I confused my Introns with my Exons, and I don't remember the other question. I think it was on ribosomal enzymes. Anyway, I think that gives me a 97%. There were no extra credit questions (and only 1 point available so far). I think that gives me around 98% total (the grading this semester is kinda squiggly, so it's hard to figure out).

Linkee-poo curses the powers that be, the force us to live like we do

Tonight is our second lecture test, so it'll be a short post while I review all my study cards over lunch.

Happy birthday to Antony van Leeuwenhoek who decided to use his home made microscopes to look at something more than the fabrics he sold (to verify thread count) and opened up the world of microscopy and microbiology.

Jim Hines follows up on his "should writers blog" with "what makes a good blog." Yeah, about that "interesting" part…

Crazy Uncle Pat II (Pat Buchanan) has a new book out. Here are some choice quotes. Wow, cognitive disfunction much, Pat? "Back then, black and white lived apart, went to different schools and churches, played on different playgrounds, and went to different restaurants, bars, theaters, and soda fountains. But we shared a country and a culture. We were one nation. We were Americans." If there is any greater statement exemplifying the blind spot of White Privilege, I don't think I've seen it. (Pointed to by Dan)

More on the Berkeley Earth climate change study. (Pointed to by John)

Tweet of my heart: @GeorgeTakei: Apple Siri doesn't understand English speakers from Asia. Asian hackers respond, changing all McDs destinations to Panda Express.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Linkee-poo on a misspent Sunday

I should be studying for a test tomorrow. Guess what I'm doing instead.

In the tradition of Ms. Snark, the Query Shark. And now I need to go see if I was writing a log line in my proto-query copy. (Pointed to by Astrid)

Ritual objects for Dia de los Muertos. I've been toying with changing out my Halloween decorations for decorations that incorporate more of the Mexican visual vocabulary for DdlM. (Grokked from ticia42)

Another of the 53% images debunked.

"Molasses to Rum to Slaves." A doctoral paper on slavery in New York. (Grokked from ChiaLynn)

Mr. Dickinson I'm surprised at you. A rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as “our rebellion.” It is only in the third person – “their rebellion” – that it becomes illegal. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"They don’t hate capitalism. They hate what’s been done to it." Bill Maher on why the GOP doesn't get OWS. True dat. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"It should have been evident… that the Republican Party is… becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe." A take-down explanation of conservative political tactics of the last three decades. Don't worry, the Democrats don't get off easy in that essay either. A fairly long editorial by a retiring GOP congressional staffer. This pretty much hits all the point on why I am no longer a Republican. Truth to power. However, it'll probably be so much pissing in the wind. But I highly recommend reading it. And to quote another retirement memo, "May the smoke from the bridges I burn today be seen far and wide." (Grokked from Sheila)

Hey, remember when the president and CEO of Diebold said he would help deliver elections to G.W. Bush? And that once that was quoted outside the invite only GOP fund raiser he said that he was just talking about giving money, and not about how his company was delivering thousands of electronic voting machines and how they might have been rigged. Because, of course, nobody could or would want to rig elections through hacking the machines, so no paper trail was necessary. Yeah, he lied. As many of us who actually use computers know, it's relatively easy. (With a quick search, I can't find when and where this testimony was given, although the reference Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, so I am assuming this is a Congressional Committee in Washington that he is addressing) (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Linkee-poo gets in some yard work

It really was too wet to do much, but I rinsed off the front of the house (I'll need to pressure wash it next year) and I put away the water barrels and garden hose. I also scraped all the leaves off the drive. The lawn is covered, but it's too wet to even used the blower, given the damage I did emptying the barrels. The lawn needs mowed, and who knows when that will happen. I also need to get the leaves off the roof. There's an accumulation in the line between the dormer and the rest of the roof. On the back side there's a mound growing.

Catherine Shaffer talks about the writer's niche when it comes to blogging blatherization.

An open letter to Bible thumping idtios that doen't know what they're talking about when it comes to libraries. Of which these stickers may also be helpful. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Jo Sprunk with just how much backstory and when to insert it is enough or important. No real decisions, but some good thoughts there.

One of the great things about Viable Paradise was the fabuolous food they fed us. And here is Mac's recipe for corn and black bean salad. We didn't have that, but "yum."

This is how scientific paradigms change. There's now confirmation of actual evidence that points to human occupation of North America pre-Clovis.

Some more charts on taxes and the 53 vs 47 fight. Notice how both corporate and "other" taxes shrink over the years to be replaced by payroll (not income) taxes.

More on what OWS is all about. That's a nice info graphic on where we stand in the world in relationship to income distribution. For an "ineffectual" movement, they've been changing the discourse in American politics. Which, I think is good. Which is also why the right wing media is freaking the fuck out. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A note to the 53% from Afghanistan. Yeah, that. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Hey look, our conservative governor want to increase regulation and limit your property rights. Say, aren't conservatives supposed to be against that?

In case you're still belaboring under the impression that it's a liberally biased media, some coverage stats between the GOP candidates and President Obama. Also of note, remember the whole "the media just doesn't give President Bush any coverage for the good things he does" argument? Hear that so much from the left side? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Halloween Decorations

Linkee-poo is still here

Five real life princesses that kicked ass. (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

Teresa Nielsen Hayden gives us four "simple" steps to turn a story into fiction.

Want to know what OWS is all about, here's a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip that brings it into focus. (Grokked from Dan)

And some inside baseball on the design process, giving it away for free, and OWS. Oh man, have I been there before. One of the differences is that at least they didn't say (or it wasn't mentioned in the story) "We've decided to a nephew of ours in high school finish it up/redo it." This also illustrates one of the hardest lessons to learn as an Art Director, your idea isn't 1) the only one or 2) the best one out there. And here, the OWS committee is acting as an inexperienced Art Director.

Funny what happens when you get beyond the talking points and spin, you sometimes end up seeing how your conclusions were wrong and the other side was right all along. That a link to a climate study that was re-evaluating the historical temperature data after "Climategate", and has looked into some of the proposed alternative explanations. And, who'd a thunk it, the temperature data was correct all along, and the "urban island/heat sink" claim didn't prove out. Strange, that. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Another in the long series of liberal kooks are fringe elements but conservative kooks are running for office. I remember when I used to tell people that the social conservatives (and Right to Life in particular) are not so much anti-abortion as they are antifeminist. Sherman, set the Wayback machine. (pointed to by Dan)

Wait for it

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. It's a "spiritual ending of the world." Right, Harold?

Harold?

Well, he got his money.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Linkee-poo would rather be writing

Jo Walton's Tor.com article on cheating death in SFF. Some interesting thoughts. My favorite of this meme (the death and return on major characters) is how Neil Gaiman handles it in American Gods. And I disagree with Jo on the Gandalf thing. It's not Gandalf that returns, it is the spirit which was Gandalf (He's an Aesir? It's been a while and I'm forgetting a lot of the cosmology of LotR). The manifestations of the wizards as humans is merely as a benefit to the other humans, as the wizards are not humans. When his spirit is returned to Middle Earth (that is, he doesn't come back willingly, but is sent by the Valar(?)) he needs to relearn what it was to be Gandalf. And he is now the White, because Saruman has defected to the dark side and part of Gandalf's mission is to take Saruman's power. An interesting article on the reader's perspective of something that will happen in the next book I write. In fact, my working title for act III is "Orpheus in the Underword."

Ray Kurzweil responds to Paul Allen's opinion article about the singularity. He has several points, however, I'll point out, when he talks about the wetware (the biological systems), he's largely pulling it out of his ass. Not about the research, but in his basic premise of "it's just a matter of scale and redundancy." I will also point out that the brain is not a computer, no matter how we like to pretend it is (or compare it to each other). And Watson's performance is spotty at best. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A lego Rubiks Cube solving machine. It's these kinds of things that get my geek gravy flowing. (Pointed to by Dan)

Talking Carl fights Talking Carl. It's like Rockem Sockem Robots meets the "I know you are, but what am I?" game. But more annoying. (Pointed to by John)

Because it's wrong when any side does it, one of the fuck'tards of OWS. Reminds me of the "open source boobs" movement. (Grokked from Janiece)

What happens when you believe you're right and divid people into "right" and "wrong." Things like stealing babies become acts of civic responsibility. The Catholic Church is also thrown in for good measure. Say, is there a party in the US that defines "true" citizens and wants to bring God back into politics? Because, that would be bad. (See earlier links to how the "right" people get government help and have a right to have an abortion, and the rest of the heathens can go stick it) (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Eric's inspired piece of lunacy about an uninspiring piece of lunacy, the orange standard.

Who are OWS?

So, I wonder what Lubbock, Texas did to invoke God's wrath? Good thing the climate isn't changing, at least in Texas. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Do they have a Hallmark card for that?

Hey, tomorrow, October 20, is National Day on Writing. So, go out and write something, somewhere. Maybe make a sign.

Linkee-poo thinks he kept his eyes open for too long

And article on Amazon getting into the publishing business. Hmmm. There's a lot of "e-books rulez" ra-ra going on in there, but some meat as well. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

But I have a thought. Let's say, you start buying your library on the Kindle, Nook, iBook or some other device tied to a single store. What happens when that store goes under? Let's say Borders had come out with an e-reader tied to their online presence. And still went belly-up. Sure, you'd have the books you have loaded currently on the device. Also, what happens when technology leap-frogs again? Just something I keep pondering.

John Scalzi reaches out from Germany and gives us some (media related) writing prompts. Hmm, the plot of Blade Runner as done by Dr. Seuss.

Some more on the what your employer owns if you create something while employed (even in your "off" time).

Some tips on how to survive "open enrollment" season. Some good points from the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Grokked from Absolute Write)

Another video on the quantum locking thing. You can lock in at different heights and angles. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Wow, Glenn, project much? So who is saying they'll have a "night of long knives"? Is it the person who complained about being compared to Hitler because the Nazis are the other guys? Seriously, dude, I'm beginning to think the drinking did permanent damage. Another example of the reverse "Don't throw me in the briar patch" thinking. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Just in case you're still under the delusion that Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan is a good thing, some numbers for your to consider. It's great for a lot of the people Cain knows, because his friends are all rich. Not to mention the plank of repealing the 16th amendment. What he is proposing is not a country I wish to live in.

And I just want to say here, the conservative media's embracing of the Lord's Resistance Army (Beck, Limbaugh, etc) shows just how completely clueless and detached from reality the right has become. Just because LRA claim to be Christians, the blathering masses of the right believe them to be persecuted by the "godless" Obama administration. Really. Hey, guys, might want to do, I don't know, actual research on these people you're supporting. Or do I need to start talking about how the LRA kidnaps children, spends a few months brainwashing them (classic cult tactics) and then, as the right of initiation, sends them back home to kill their parents. If they fail, the LRA cuts of various parts of them (arms, noses, ears). That's the people you're defending as christians. Why do these people, the right-wing media, still have a following?

Good Morning

Well, at least it's pretty.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

That's great it starts with an earthquake

Because I keep forgetting to write this up as a funny post (and it doesn't look like I'll have the time), don't forget this Friday is the end of the world.

And don't forget to check out how the Rapture really did occur back in May. You just weren't paying attention.

I just wanted to let you all know. So you could prepare your own parties.

Damn, it's not even a payday.

Linkee-poo is aching and far from home, save me

Tobias Buckell's kickstarter project for Apocalypse Ocean has made it's goal. Congrats, Toby. Now, if we get it to 125% funding, we also get a cool map.

Elizabeth Bear with her photos of this year's VP excursions. Wish I remembered more of my VP experience. Sigh. And the new kids already have sales since their VP experience. Double sigh.

It seems like I keep linking to Chuck Wendig's 25 things about writing posts. It's probably because they're good ones.

Welcome to Jim’s traditional freak-out over the final draft of his book. Even the pros get the jitters. Good to know.

Sure, you've seen superconductors levitating over a magnetic field, but have you seen quantum trapping. Cool. You need to watch until you get to the rail tracks (magnetic circle) at about 2:30. And then they do it upside down. (Pointed to by John)

And since we're doing videos, what a trip at relativistic speeds would look like. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The shit that sir says tumblr. Some quotes NSFW. Seriously people, you ask your phone for this? (Grokked from Dan)

The Donald Maass agency has a new agent. Begin the deluge of queries in 3… 2… 1…

Oh, wow. Rick Perry is exactly like GW Bush. He's now having his political appointees rewrite scientific reports to excise out any mention of climate change or it's effects. Do we really need to tell adults that ignoring the problem won't make it go away? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The opposite of "Don't ever throw me in that briar patch." Wow, Karl Rove. Project much? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart:
@eportlow: We who are marching in demonstrations across the U.S. who don't keep marching to the voting booth have wasted all prior steps of that march.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Linkee-poo tells itself, this is not my beautiful house

Harry Connolly talks about his book series being cancelled. 1) that sucks and 2) that's business (which he pretty much says). Hmmm.

The ACLU pocket guide on what to do if you're stopped by the authorities. (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious. Virgin Galactic opens the first commercial spaceport. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Paul Allen also doesn't believe the Singularity is near. The end is neigh! Wait. Why should you listen to him? Well, he's one of the Gods of the original Microsoft for one (insert joke about uploading consciousness into software giving new meaning to the "blue screen of death"). He is also a lover of science fiction for another. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Walking around in full armor. I'm sure most people will be more surprised at the "doing cartwheels" than the fact that it uses about 2.3 times the effort to walk in full suit of armor (but only 1.9 time more effort to run in it). Here's some more information (although the source writer is somewhat ill-informed as at Agincourt the French knights also had to contend with a low-ground field that had been rained on for 3 weeks, it was so muddy they couldn't use their horses, not to mention the fusillade of arrows from the English long-bowmen which were seeing their first major use in warfare - hint, they were deadly effective). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Some data regarding the 47% (ie. the opposite of the 53%). Tell granny to caught up the dough. Also, let's make sure all those McJobs pay even less (because, you know, we couldn't raise the rate to keep up with inflation - on a federal level). As a side note, when I loaded the page, the Google ad directly across from the pie chart was for "US Tax Shield, America's top tax debt resolution experts." Genius!

And even more on who is a part of the 47%. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And then there is the war on the middle-class in Ohio. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Linkee-poo of two for a weekend

What plastic surgery is needed to look like Barbie. I remember having to explain to someone who will remain nameless that the little "stomach" bump she was worried about was actually her uterus. (Grokked from Camille Alexa)

The "security expert" who has been snitching to the FBI and NYPD about OWS. As Jay Lake says, "Can you image the reaction if the Tea Party were being subverted this way?" (Grokked from Jay Lake, obviously)

It's Not a Halloween Mask

On friday I got my CPAP machine. It's a very nice. I decided to try a nasal mask (that the mask that just fits over the nose). During my trial test, I used full masks, but found I was just breathing through my nose. So I figured just a nasal mask would do well.

Friday night it worked great. If I opened my mouth the resulting wind tunnel effect would wake me up (I only did it twice). Getting used to the pressure is difficult. With the health care provider we set the ramp up pressure to 4. Last night I felt that was a little low so I cranked it up to 5.5, and that felt a little better.

Last night, however, my fear of going right to a nose mask became real. About 7am my nose was too blocked up to keep going, and I was too tired to switch out masks (I still have one from the sleep study). So tonight I think I'll go to the full mask and see how that works.

But I have to say, yesterday I did feel much better. I still wake up to roll over, something that started when I broke my leg. Not fun. Hopefully I'll be able to correct for that soon. I also hope I won't be so tired during the week anymore.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Linkee-poo is a bear of very little brain

Elizabeth talks about a conversation I overheard part of last weekend, the passive voice versus passive language. I try to ban "are/was" in my writing, but sometimes I find it's the only verb that serves. I hope I don't use it often. Although now I'm thinking I should flow my manuscript into one file and do a massive "was hunt". Must resist temptation. That way lies madness.

Abe Lincoln, Ghostbuster. That's a great photo manipulation. (Grokked from Tor.com)

I think I've said it before, the Amish are more complex than you think. Five Amish arrested for breaking into homes and shaving the occupants' beards (this is a very grave insult to an Amish man).

Oh, look, the conservative's job bill includes cutting taxes, drill, baby, drill, and rolling back regulations. Hey, thanks for playing, but this isn't new. Hell, that pretty much sums up the aughts. I wonder if they actually bothered filed off the dates from their 2008, 2009, 2010, and January of this year's plan? Or if they just didn't care enough and thought waving papers around would work? Which, side comment, have you noticed, lately, the fetish surrounding page counts? Not just for legislation, but for all sorts of things. "In a 287 page report…"

The battle over Ohio's Issue 2 (aka repeal of SB 5 - our anti-collective bargaining law) is heating up. The pro-SB 5 side played a little dirty pool lately using images of a great-grandmother talking about firefighter saving her granddaughter. The dirty part was that those clips of her came from an anti-SB 5 commercial, and there were no indications that the pro-SB 5 was commenting on the anti-SB 5 commercial (basically highjacking the video - the great-grandmother was very clear on which side of the issue she was on). Lots of breast beating etc ensued until the TV stations started pulling the pro-SB 5 commercial. IANAL, but once the pro-SB 5 people balked at pulling their commercial, I would have pursued illegal use of image. See, it's fair game if one side snitches the other side's commercial for comment in their own commercial, as long as everyone is clear that's what's happening. But to not acknowledge that, the side doing the snitching would need model releases from the actors. Without such, bingo, violation of the law. And the penalties could be big (although it'll take a few years, which might be why they didn't, but I would recommend the great-grandmother get her own lawyer and look into it).

Some numbers and some charts that relate to why the OWS is going on, and gaining momentum. I'm surprised that the Tea Party isn't supporting the OWS. After all, doesn't the Tea Party want their country back? If you look at those charts, you'll see who ran off with it. Oh, wait, yeah, that wasn't what the TP was all about anyway. Never mind. Okay, so remember when the TP was all about, "Can you hear us now?" Apparently, they're the only ones who want a voice. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @mrbrown: I have discovered how to make $$$ from Facebook! Go to the top-right corner, click on the triangle. Select Log out. Now get back to work.

Welcome to Autumn

Don't forget the mukluks.
If you're in NE Ohio and you didn't get out to peep the leaves, you're probably a little too late. There's still trees clothed in green, but I expect those will go directly to brown and drop. Although the poison ivy's changing colors were spectacular this year.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Linkee-poo has been saving its pennies

I try to leave the political stuff for last, but this one is too good to bury. It's an open letter to that 53% guy, and some of the best explanation of the progressive mind that I've seen in years. It also breaks some of the myths being built by a certain news organ and it's symbiotic conservative party. Also, for the record, I ended college working 4 jobs simultaneously and taking a full-time load (just barely). Also, currently working 2 jobs, commuting an hour for the money maker, freelancing, going back to school to retrain for a completely different industry, and trying to launch a writing career. And I'm a liberal. So, for those conservatives who have the "Annoy a liberal" bumpersticker, fuck you. I'll work you into the ground (because I have literally worked until the bodies started falling around me).

Cherie Priest crows from the rooftops. And deservedly so. Congrats.

Nathan gives us some of our interesting history. Did you ever see the movie Poltergeist (or any of the later variants) and say, "But nobody would ever do that." Well, yeah, you're wrong. In this case it was intentional, but in many cases the little local cemeteries just fall into disrepair and you never know what you're building on until you dig to put in a vegetable victory garden.

A blog post on the question of who owns your intellectual property. Yet another reason why OWS is going on, the cards are stacked against you. For the design business it is nominally accepted that individual designers will freelance, and as long as their not poaching clients, former clients, or would be clients (which can cause some problems), most places are live and let live. As you can see by this article, they don't have to be. It's also a good thing to get that agreement in writing, and specify out just what is covered under the non-compete agreement. For my current day job, there was a clause in my work papers that was very close to the, "whatever you do where ever you do it, because we pay your salary, we own." So I made sure that because my business is not in the writing and publishing (fiction) business, that all my writing was exempt from that rule. YMMV.

Vince asks us, what would Jesus do? Yeah. He'd totally do that (no, you have to click on it to see what I'm talking about, it's just a graphic, not a long article, come on, you'll laugh).

The Slactivist on the conservative block to actual helping people out with the President's jobs bill. Congrats, conservatives, you're getting the dysfunctional government you want. Happy, yet? And, again, here I will remind you all that we're not going to get reimbursed for that meth lab cleanup. All those reimbursement programs are ended. We're hoping to add the bill to the fines imposed on the people we arrested (I'm not taking odds on if we'll ever see that money). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Don't think people can live in different realities than you (in the "reality of the collective consent" vein)? Here's some quotes from C. Peter Wagner, the intellectual leader of the New Apostolic Reformation, during his Fresh Air interview. I think I pointed to this interview before. Serious bug fuckery going on there. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Who are the 1%? I'm not sure I agree with the article on how that it's not all Wall Street Types and that goes against what OWS is about. I think Wall Street was a convenient metaphor. Considering the branching out into other cities, the locus of protest isn't against a specific institution, but about what that institution represents. And we don't need the talk of violence, folks (note reference to French Revolution and earlier post about the types of revolutions depends on whom is on the outs). And finally, some commentary on the real history of what happened to America and the extent myth breaking with reality (Note top graphic may be NSFW depending on how fast your coworkers are). Reality like, "The two European countries with plenty of extra cash, Germany and Sweden, are also the two most unionized countries in the western world." Go figure. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Linkee-poo asks itself, well, how did I get here

How to finish (writing) what you start, a five-step plan. It could be two steps, 1) focus on what you write, 2) set goals and meet them. But then, Ali Like breaks it down a little more. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

An interview with Donald Maass.

Don't be late to your (writing) job. Yeah, but… (Grokked from Elizabeth Shack)

Some thoughts from Bob Mayer on self publishing. Now that the market is going on, some reflections, pitfalls, and forward thinking. Because nothing ever stays still. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Chuck Wendig with 25 things you should know about writing horror.

Ever wonder what American English sounds like to a non-English speaker? Here's a youtube video where an Italian singer does American Gibberish as lyrics. (Pointed to by John)

Here's a fun new game (well, at least for me), Kern Type. Kerning is adjusting spacing between individual letters to create a pleasing look (tracking is adjusting whole lines of text for fit). Now, I've been playing the professional home version of this game for, well, over 2 decades now. But this is a great tool to help people (students, and well, sometimes I score less than 70%, so maybe me as well) learn how to kern (it's not that easy). Here's a quick tip, think of the space between the letters as filled with water. You're goal is to make the volume of water the same between all the letters. Have fun. And yeah, once you start, it's addictive. However, avoid kerning you body text (unless it's an egregious example). That way lies madness.

Holy fuck, the government Topeka, KS, just said "Not my yob" when it comes to domestic violence cases. Really? It's killing my budget to pay for that Meth Lab clean up, but we're still going to go after the bastards anyway. You can say, "Not our jurisdiction" when being asked to arrest people outside of your jurisdiction, but you don't say, "We won't pay for it," when it is inside your borders. Dear Topeka, your government is a bunch of fuck'tards. Might want to see to that.

"'Mr. Secretary,' said Zack. 'You've got 50 economics PhDs in this room… And you're asking that girl for a better system?'" And that's only one of several good points in that article on the media reaction to OWS. Marie Antoinette didn't say, "Let them eat cake," as a way of denigrating the masses, but that's the way it was taken by the masses. Didn't turn out well for them, did it? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

An essay on Elizabeth Warren and George Will. When you get halfway through just keep in mind that what EJ Dionne is saying that if this were the early 80s, Elizabeth Warren could have just as well been a conservative then. That's how far to the right the social conservatives (and their latest puppet vehicle, the Tea Party) have dragged us. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Linkee-poo and closets don't get along

Until I get this catalog done, things are probably going to be sparse and erratic of quality. Sorry about that.

Paul Krugman and the panic of the plutocrats over OWS. "This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore… there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious… must be demonized and driven from the stage." Yes. That. (Pointed to by John)

Also, here I will note the return of comparing Obama and Progressives to Nazis, Socialists, Fascists, Khmer Rouge (don't worry, that one is coming after the History Channel produces a special on them or someone Netflixs "The Killing Fields") and anybody else we all can agree have been history's villains. Remember at the beginning of the TP movement where the "You're Mama is Hitler" shouting went on? Remember how the conservatives said, "We didn't start it." Well, yeah, you did. And you're doing it again. Cut it out.

Want to know how much the terrorist have won? Surrender Dorothy. Stop freaking the fuck out, people. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Back at the beginning of the Tea Party movement there were some counter protests. The conservative blogosphere had a field day showing "liberals" being at their wackiest (including those aforementioned "Nazi" signs, which nobody else seemed to see). I postulated that it could be some people making the story (ie. inserting operatives to give a good picture). I was told that would never happen. Wouldn't it? Because it wouldn't fit into anybody's agenda, would it? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @GeorgeTakei: It's Nat'l Coming Out Day! To all closeted ministers, actors and politicians, it does get better, but only if you embrace your Takei side.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Linkee-poo wants to know who took the money away?

Juan Cole turns over his blog for a guest post by Ken Ballen on "Terrorism Can't be Taken out and Shot" about the al Awlaki killing. And in the main, I agree with Ken's assertions. If all we were doing was target killing leaders, that's a strategy doomed to fail (or at least something that will keep up busy for a hundred years). I disagree with it being an all or nothing approach and say you should do all of the above (info/propaganda war, denying shelter/safe havens, and targeted killing). Just releasing this item's Ken says won't work so well as we are not a trusted source in the Islamic world these terrorist potential recruits live in. But we do need to have more and direct (as in, not just government to government levels) contact (I was going to say "in that part of the world" but then Al Shabbab has been recruiting in Minnesota). That doesn't mean we stop targeting and killing the leadership (especially the way we killed al Awlaki and bin Laden). Does it have much effect on the recruitment? Not much. It does, however, send a message that we can kill you (terrorist cell leaders), now matter where you go. And you won't see it coming. All it takes is time, and we're very patient about that low-level warfare. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

It's now gotten so bad, both sides say government can barely complete their easiest work. Which means our government is out of the solutions business. For those of you that just cheered, please tell me who will be the solutions. 'Cause we already know the market doesn't give a shit (or maybe you missed what the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations were all about).

Roger Ebert with some thoughts on modern politics, the Tea Party and OWS. Don't forget to watch the video at the end. In general, I agree with the commentator on Breitbart's comments (also, remember the whole conversation about the level of violence in conservative rhetoric, there it is, the "I'm not kidding" quote). Dear Andrew Breitbart, you're right. I don't have a gun right now. But I have had one in the past. And I've gone through (civilian) firearms training with those who support you. I'm a better shot. As for the mentality part of your statement, it's only because progressives believe in civility (which is a different mind set that what you have). Not because we can't or won't. And, yes, I do know the difference between target shooting and working through targets. If you don't understand that last phrase, you shouldn't be talking shit. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A WND article on how the Boy Scouts have been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Don't forget to read the comments. Don't point out that half of their "facts" aren't related into their argument chain. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Linkee-poo goes out for eggs


Catherine Shaffer holds forth on simpleminded writing for terminal smartypantses. I wouldn't call it "simpleminded" but "transparent prose." And even that is a misnomer. It's clarity of story and writing. Now, I love me my word play as much as any other writer out there. Hell, it's one of the reasons I love reading Steven Brust. But if that's all you're going for, that way leads to the dark side (aka "purple prose" - which is actually quite funny given that Mr. Brust's Paarfi series is all about the purple prose). Anyway. Where was I? Oh yeah, your reader shouldn't have to work hard to get the story. That isn't to say that your story can't have layers in it. Hiding Easter Eggs for the attentive or well read reader is part of the fun. But your main story shouldn't (there I go using that word again) rely on that level. And then there is a layer of transparent prose. You can put some reference in your story that someone who has studied the Kabala and the Silmarillion will laugh uproariously at your witticism and that's okay. But if you require that level to get the basic point that girls will be boys and boys will be girls in this mixed up, mumbled up, shook up world, then I think your writing may be a bit too dense.

The Last Stand 4 Children First blog. And it's classic post, 1 in 4 student read in the bottom quartile. Yeah, you should get the tone of the blogposts just from that title. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Since it was going around at the writers retreat and it wasn't the sniffles, I thought I would share. 750 words. Go for the flamingo.

Just so farking cool, an electric Tron lightcycle. Have I ever mentioned I love living in the future where people do things like this? In no manner could I ever afford such a thing (and, truthfully, it looks a little uncomfortable), but it makes the world a lighter place knowing it's out there. Also, don't forget, they used to sell street bike armor based on the gaming costume from Tron (which also lit up). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The media coverage of the Solyndra scandal compared to other scandals. As well as some actual information about what happened and what didn't. Your liberal media at work. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

90,855

Done and done. Although, in checking some things in chapters I rewrote this evening, I ran into some errors I had introduced. Damnit. I'm not sure I'm up to another read through at this point.

So next up will be synopsis (synopsi?) and query letters. I've already started to put together the first batch of agents I want to submit to. I already had one beer as we did some socializing tonight. And it's 1:30am. So I think I'll save my celebrations for sometime tomorrow. For now, it's into the bin with all those notes. Copy the files to the thumb drive, and hit the sack.

G'night, ya all.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Break on through to the other side

Okay, so, on Chapter 38 (or 41). Closing in on the final battle. So close, so close. However, I have broken through my updated word count goal. Whoopie! And now is the time on Sprokets were we go out to dinner.

And then we'll dance. But only on the inside.

The sound of nails being driven in

It happened at last. I've run into a situation where there was some web-based media that I really wanted to review, and my little laptop couldn't handle it and the updated plugin doesn't have a version that runs on a G4 processor.

Bang. Bang bang.

Safari has been crashing lately, mostly because of some heavy media content on webpages (that typically wants to make several calls to third party websites). And there's been plenty that I haven't been able to do with the laptop lately that it's getting closer to a time where I might need a newer machine. I'm not sure the iPad is a full replacement (although we'll see when iCloud and ios5 launches).

So I may need to start saving my pennies for a laptop replacement.

Linkee-poo gets it out of it's system early

The weekend is going well so far (see updated progress bars). Eight more chapters to go. I unexpectedly ran into another chapter that needed serious restructuring yesterday. In the rewriting of earlier chapters somethings hadn't occurred that were later wrapped up in that chapter. But now they couldn't be, because they didn't need wrapping up, if you see what I mean. Fortunately there was a plethora of other events that could be played upon at that moment. I also needed to explain certain things a little more. Some more emotional tension was added. That seems to be a common critique, I thought I showed the the protags emotions, but not everybody got things. And after listening to the Harry Dresden series, I picked up some clues on how and where to include that sort of thing. And finally, I was able to restore some balance to a main relationship and figured out how to play that tension correctly (and gave reasonings why in the previous chapter things seemed to be going well, but "now that the blood thumping action is over" other emotions can be processed and damn it, one character blames another for a third's death and can now be angry about that).

Peer into the murky depths of the Tea Party mentality. Yes, back in the old idyllic ages where only (white) male property owners could vote, things were much better (but only for white, male property owners, well, some of them). Yep, that pretty much caps the mentality of Rep. Steve King. Oh, and Tea Party, I don't see you disavowing him.

Analyzing prose and missing the bigger picture. Some notes on critique and not understanding why people actually read. It's sort of like debating the qualities of Eddie Van Halen and Alex Lifeson and throwing in Jimi Hendrix for good measure. All are excellent guitarists, and I love to listen to them all, but they don't have the same flavor of genius. This is also like bagging on JK Rowling or Dan Brown because you don't like their prose structures. They can't hear you over the shouts of their fans and the money in their bank accounts. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Friday, October 7, 2011

An Emerging Trend

I know they've been out there before, but lately I've seen more and more of these car memorials. I'm not quite sure I understand the need for these. These days I drive by, pass, with, and around six of them that I see all the time. Including one done in soap on the rear view window. Which lets me know just how often that person washes their car.


Is death now such a venerated event that the living are no longer able to escape the memorial and grieving processes? I mean, all those that I've known who are now passed the veil I remember and carry with me. As Robert Persig put it, the holes they left in the skein of my life ache when I think about them. But eventually those places scab over. I know they're there. I live keeping in mind they are dead, but I don't feel trapped by them. I carry their memory with me. I get melancholy when I think that my grandfather never knew the man he helped me become. My grandmother isn't here to read my writings. More friends than I want to catalog never saw graduation, college, marriage, or adult relationships and friendships.

I'm at an age where people around me are dealing with the loss of parents and siblings. Some of my friends have dealt with those issues for a long time. If we all had to carry the weight of our dead, constantly, we would dishonor and disrespect them because we would not be able to live.

I appreciate the need to mark someone's passing, especially those close to us. I also respect the traditions of caring for the graves of our relatives (even as it is done in other cultures which include direct contact with the body of the diseased on an on going basis). But I'm not sure I understand the need to show this to the rest of the world. And maybe that's what is bothering me about this. I'm not sure marking ones car this way is about remembering the friends or family that are no longer with us, but is more about the person doing the memorial.

Dear Blogger

Your new interface keeping mucking up by adding spurious HTML style tags and adding a phantom double BR tag at the beginning of posts and it is really starting to piss me off. Stop it. Clean up the tool. Stop fucking up my posts. I have a word press account and I'm not afraid to use it.

Your prompt attention to this matter is appreciated.

Thanks.

Linkee-poo of one with commentary

Juan Cole with some thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement. Lots of data in there about just how bad the economics have gotten and why this is happening. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

I've been forming a blog post in my head about revolutions. The OWS is getting very interesting to me. If it remains non-violent I'll be (pleasantly) very surprised. Why? Well, here's the basic outline of the blog post. When you disenfranchise the top income people you get the Velvet Revolution or the Oligarch Revolution (what's been happening in Russia), which are relatively bloodless (with notable exceptions). When you disenfranchise the middle-class you get the American Revolution and Arab Spring which are somewhat violent, but not in comparison to… When you disenfranchise the bottom you get the French Revolution, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and October Revolution, which are distinguished by their intense violence followed by waves of purges. This, obviously, is an over simplification.

Edited 10-07 Noon I think it's somewhat funny that after several weeks of dismissing OWS as unfocused and not relevant, now that progressives are starting to line up behind it, conservatives now find it to be "dangerous."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Linkee-poo of two

Retirement Heist. Just in case you think these poor companies are so being put upon by their workers. And to reiterate, pensions are part of the workers' compensation. A benefit they have already earned and for which they took lower pay to obtain. A benefit for which the costs to cover all the hourly employees are over shadowed by the costs of individual executives' pensions. And related to this, the Pension Rights Center.

Occupy Wall Street continues to grow. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Steve Jobs, CALL 985

We'll miss Steve. It's not like it wasn't expected. And I think it'll pretty much cover over much of the gnashing of teeth over not having the iPhone 5 announced earlier this week.

Steve Jobs loomed large in many of our lives. There is a cult of veneration that surrounded him as far an wide of the mythical reality distortion field he exuded. An Apple wasn't the first computer I used. It wasn't the first computer I programmed. It wasn't the first computer I owned. It was, however, the first computer I loved. The Apple IIe, a command-line interface that practically demanded that you know BASIC to really get anything out of it, was the first computer I wanted to use. And it was built so well, and the way it worked was light years ahead of all the other machines I was using.

I am an old Macintosh Evangelist. But unlike the opposition that believes we love all things Apple and just don't know anything else (or have yet to realize the joys of other operating systems), I am capable in several operating systems, and can see some faults with what Apple has done. Just the other day the person in the next cubicle asked me a computer question and then apologized because I'm a "Mac Guy." I was able to help them solve their problem. How? Because I do know other computers. I can use them. I just prefer to use the Mac OS.

I also say this while typing on my laptop which is nearly 12 years old now. Twelve years old. That's longer by several multiples than what most people get out of their other machines. Within reach are three Apple devices that I own. Given the choice between something that Apple may have produced and the competition I will choose the Apple product almost every time. And for good reason.

Why? Because of Steve Jobs' greatest legacy. He pioneered usability and function as important as any other aspect of computers and computing products. He was concerned over startup times. He was concerned over just how fast the mouse tracked. He was concerned that you the user had a satisfying experience while using his products.

While most people will talk about his history, his launch of Apple (and use the press release boiler plate), his megalomania and micro-management style, how he saved Apple, Pixar and Disney, and a thousand other standard myth making things. But his greatest contribution to the field of computers is that he wanted people to be able to use, and like using, what he sold.

And for that, I honor the man and will miss him.

Second Lab Test

Ugh. Things have been busy. On Monday we had our second lab test. With the scoring, I wasn't sure just what my final grade would be. It was 20/20 (with one extra credit question, so 20 out of a possible 21 - still 95%). I think I'm doing well.

If you need me…

I'll be here.

At the next writers retreat. This one is less serious, but still expect to get a ton of work done. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Linkee-poo runs, runs, runs away

Ben Bova holds forth on one of the lesser known parts of verisimilitude. You're story isn't a "two ferengi and a klingon walk into a bar" joke. People are where they are for reasons. While there are always diamonds in the rough, the sad tale is that most people aren't. Your characters should be, but they should also make sense (or where they are should make sense). In Bladesman all the characters are where they are because their lives made sense there (our main character is sort of thrown into the position, and the book is also about his discovery that he is a diamond in the rough).

Chuck Wendig and his take on NaNoWriMo and his famous 25 things.Yes, that. When I first encountered NaNo, I was dismissive. However, I've changed. In fact, if I didn't have so damn much going on, I would try it this year with the new novel. Look, if in a year I can hammer out 75,000 words in a first(ish) draft (actually the first 8 chapters were pretty advanced, in their 6th and 7th rewrites) that was mostly coherent, and that's with a day job with severe overtime, a night job, freelance, and hour long commute, yadda yadda yadda, if you don't have all that, surely you could bang out 50,000 words in a month. If you want to. YMMV, and yes I know many an excellent writer who, if given domestic staff and a winning lottery ticket, couldn't crank out 50k words in half a year. Everybody's speed is different.

Ten things you should know about creating an e-commerce site. That's mostly about the nuts-and-bolts, not about the whys, wherefores, and what you're selling and how to promote it.

John Scalzi points out six reasons being a Jedi isn't all the promotional brochures make it out to be.

Slime molds, our world is stranger than you think. Turns out slime molds are colonies of amebas that work in conjunction with each other. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

More proof that our world is weirder than we think, the Nikon Small World winners. A tour de force of microscopy. And now I've got that damn song in my head. (Pointed to by John)

Some highlights from the first 25 years of Microsoft's Windows. Except that Windows is 28 years old. Sigh. (Pointed to by John)

Jim Wright once again channels my thoughts. This time concerning the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Linkee-poo is the abyss staring back at you

Viable Paradise XV is next week?! Here comes Mr. Sandman with his time ray to put a little more chill in my bones.

Writer Beware on Write Agenda. Because you need to know.

Also see this weekend's call to action regarding another plagiarist.

On how not to be a dick while promoting your book. I really hope that promoting a book on my blog, especially when I have a book (how I hope and I pray that I will, but today I'm still just a Bill) won't be disruptive to you all. I'll try not to be as obnoxious as a teen-age boy who just discovered his favorite toy, but I think I'll make sure you know that I 1) finished a book, 2) started and found an agent, 3) made a sale and 4) am in print and you can find me. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

As you'll all now know, grilling (or depending on where you are from, bar-b-que) is a blood sport in my family. Seriously. Ask my neighbors about the time I threw an open house for my family and invited them. They still talk about how everybody was trying to give me advice… at my own grill (charcoal, if you need to know, not propane). So whenever there is news in the field, I'm on it. Like this one. For real bar-b-que (low and slow cooking), there's a plateau of temperature you reach, below the optimal cooking temp (the point where you're reasonably assured you've killed all the pathogens and parasites in the meat). Theories abounded, but now someone has gone out and proved exactly what causes it. The meat sweats. That evaporation causes a cooling, which creates the plateau (the point where it starts is when the meat starts "sweating", and ends when there's no more water to evaporate). Now you know.  There's also tips for getting around it, but it ends up more like grilling. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Solydra, schmolindra. Who cares about political arguments when the money comes to their district. Then, even the voracious anti-porksters.

An NPR story on Oregon's raising taxes on the wealthiest individuals. They only saw $130 million of the $180 million they though they would get. This is interesting when we see that a majority (myself included) think we should tax the rich more. And it won't really have an effect on job creators. Because, dispute what Bill Frezza says at the end of that interview, if the businesses are not in the business of job creation (something I agree with, although Bill is nicer, he eventually admits that a business is in the business of creating value for shareholders, that's after he repeats the "create a high quality product for a low price" mantra, which is BS, it's the former, not the latter), taking them more (which most of whom we're talking about here are not businesses, they're individuals, and they can afford, after all they did all during the 90s). After saying that businesses aren't in the job creation business, Bill then goes on to say, "Oh poor is us, we, the picked on class." Yes, the rich are the disadvantaged here. That's funny, Bill. thanks for that laugh.

The fallacy of the rape in incest exemptions when it comes to anti-abortion laws. For Medicaid recipients, "… I was surprised at how many women were able to finally get their funding: 37 percent…" And the final paragraph nails it, "Rape exceptions are there to relieve anti-choice consciences more than they are there to make sure women in need get abortions." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Healthcare Scheduling

Okay, remember all the brouhaha during the debate about "socialized medicine" and "the long waits you have" and how our US system is "the greatest in the world."

You may also remember that I've been having sleep studies. After complaining about bad sleep for 3 years I finally got a referral to a local sleep center. The appointment when I got the referral was June 24th. The first sleep study was on July 24th. I made a follow up with my primary care doctor on August 19th (3 weeks, it should only take 2 weeks to get the report). He didn't have the report ready then.

It wasn't until Sept. 9th that I had the results. Diagnosis, "Moderate Sleep Apnea" in case you're wondering. So I needed a follow up sleep study to determine if I could use CPAP. That only took two weeks. So I had my follow up on Sept 22nd.

I just got a call (today) that I need to meet with one of the "sleep doctors". Want to know when the appointment is?

November 16th. That's when I'll also probably get my machine (or at least I'm hoping). If not, that'll be another appointment.

For those of you playing the at home game, that's nearly 5 months after the initial referral with two of those appointments a month or more apart.

Tell me again how we don't have delays in our system. Oh, and for the Nov 16 appointment, I'll have to use half a day of PTO to go to the appointment.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Linkee-poo, three, it's a magic number

A story on the ongoing (and increasing) drug shortage. Why? Not because they don't make money (even from the generics), but that they don't make enough money. I'll bet pharmacies have all the Viagra they can sell. Remember that argument about "rationing! (if the ACA is passed)" and how we have "the greatest" healthcare system in the world? Reality calling. You already have rationing, and unless there's enough profit, you won't have the greatest.

Koch Industries doesn't follow the law on foreign bribery and sales to Iran? Shocked, shocked I am… Next you'll tell me Haliburton moved their headquarters so they could do work with Iran. Hey, thanks for your support to PBS, btw.

Doctors are feeling as paranoid about nurses obtaining doctorates. Some interesting stuff on the industry of education, not to mention what happens when you make an artificial barrier to make yourselves feel better. Hey, physicians, heal thyselves by promoting the general practitioner over the specialists. But then, I guess you would make less money. Never mind. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Doomed to commit the same mistakes

Watching Prohibition by Ken Burns on PBS. A few points:

1) They kind of quickly glossed over he fact that at the time of early America, you could not trust the water. This was a time before the germ-theory of disease had been formed. Water purification was unknown (except for mixing it with alcohol). John Chapman (Johny Appleseed) planted the groves of apple trees not for the apples, but so the pioneers could have cider (and he could sell it to them as well).

2) If you aren't seeing the ties into modern politics and events, I don't believe you're paying attention. It's not so much an echo of the past as a deliberate snitching of the template and a resurgence of certain religious and political movements.

Linkee-poo, there can be only one


If you were thinking about going to World Fantasy, but didn't get a membership already, Catherine Shaffer is selling hers here. There's always a waiting list for WoF, and it's a cool con. And this year they're having Connie Willis and Neil Gaiman. Not to mention being in San Diego. If I had the cash flow, I would be going for it.

Also, Catherine has been posting some interesting things lately on both writing and health care.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Autumn Rumbles Into Town

Well, the rain held off long enough today that we could get the Halloween decorations out. So there's one thing mostly done. Tomorrow I need to build a few things to put the rest out.

We also went to the Huntsburg Pumpkin Festival to have cabbage rolls. There's a food booth that makes some good ones. The local vendors were out, but not necessarily in force. Many of the vendors this year had the feel of "the economy is bad, here's a 'work at home' plan for you."

It's a nice little festival, full of local organizations. We did the usual stuff. Including purchasing a nice pumpkin (which, btw, just like peanuts are in short supply this year). It's now out there in with the cemetery and Grim Reaper inflatable, below the flying ghosts and glowing skulls.

The world grows colder as the veil grows thin. Leaves that miss the Earth fall to her loving embrace. Clouds skittle across the sky dreaming of white flakes.

A few weeks ago the buzzards left Hinkley. Seeing twenty or so turkey vultures in a single gyre is a thing to behold. One or two hawks will over winter, like the geese. Toads and snakes have gone to ground. The hemisphere beds down for its bear sleep.