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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Linkee-poo is late

I think I can just sneak this in. Sorry, been writing and studiously not writing, wash, rinse, repeat, all day.

Numbers 2 and 3 of the top 10 things you should know about your own book.

Just like you can't legislate morality (no matter how often conservatives and to a lesser extent liberals try), you can't legislate alternate reality. Here's the thing, North Carolina legislature, so far, all the "worst case scenario" predictions for climate change have not gone far enough to match what is actually happening. So, I have a feeling that your legislating how science can predict sea level rise, while also limiting the "historical lookback" period to the last century is really going to fuck over your planning. You may wish to stick your fingers in your ears and sing "lalalalala", but the rest of us would like to be ready. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

"The study… surveyed about 400 black and white preadolescent students—aka tweens—in the Midwest over the course of a year. Instead of looking at specific shows, they focused on how much time the kids were spending watching TV, period, and how it impacted their self-esteem. What they found after they'd controlled for age, body image, and baseline self-esteem was that television exposure was responsible for a decrease in self-esteem in both white and black girls and black boys, but it led to an increase in self-esteem in white boys." Well, who woulda thunk it? This is just another example of the privilege that is endemic in society, in case you needed on to prove some point or other. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Leonard Nimoy gives a commencement speech. Find your bliss, do what scares you, and respect your body (it's part of the creative process). Do miss the quote about the whisper from the God of All Arts (around minute 16). (Grokked from Tor.com)

King of Suck

There's a little plot hole in the draft today
It's the same thing I wrote yesterday
There's passive voice from the bottom to top
There's a lotta blank pages and the suck won't stop

I have written this before while driving my truck
With world building problems running 'round amok
I guess I'm always hoping the muse won't get stuck
But it's my destiny to be the king of suck

There's a little plot hole in the draft today
That's my suck laid bare
It's the same thing I wrote yesterday
That's my suck laid bare
There's passive voice from the bottom to top
That's my suck laid bare
There's a lotta blank pages and the suck won't stop
That's my suck laid bare

I have written this before while driving my truck
With world building problems running 'round amok
I guess I'm always hoping the muse won't get stuck
But it's my destiny to be the king of suck

There's archaic uses in my Wordle word cloud
That's my suck laid bare
There's descriptions as bare as a plain white shroud
That's my suck laid bare
There's pov changes in the middle of the sentence
That's my suck laid bare
There's beta readers acting like reading me is a penitence
That's my suck laid bare

I have written this before while driving my truck
With world building problems running 'round amok
I guess I'm always hoping the muse won't get stuck
But it's my destiny to be the king of suck

There's whole brain dumps that need to be thrown out
There's metaphors that smell like week-dead trout
There's no resolution when the story comes to an end
There's still typos in my submissions when I hit send

There's red ink spilled all over this draft
That's my suck laid bare
There's problems galore with all of my craft
That's my suck laid bare
There's a little plot hole in the draft today
It's the same thing I wrote yesterday

I have written this before while driving my truck
With world building problems running 'round amok
I guess I'm always hoping the muse won't get stuck
But it's my destiny to be the king of suck

King of suck
King of suck
I'll always be king of suck

I'm writing. How's your day going?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Over the river

Back to the real life. Out at the cabin with my fellow wizards to confer, converse and otherwise hob-nob. Not to mention, getting the word count down. Yes, we're on another retreat and this time I mean it.

You know, it's often the case that I'll say one thing on this blog and end up doing the exact opposite. Like last week being able to post somewhat regularly while on vacation (granted, no linkee-poos, but that's because those take a lot more time and writing them on the iPad is a big pain). And since Murphy's Law is not recursive, I'll refrain from making any major comment about word countages and the bagging there of.

But I will say the drive in was four hours of the coolest sunbeams and a burning orange sunset under pregnant clouds. I'll take that as a sign from the universe that this is what I was supposed to do. Consider it my version of the clouds parting and the angels singing. Plus, several moments of genius. That is, the stupid stopped and I was able to see what had been there in front of me this whole time. Motivations of characters, secondary plot lines and goals, and the best of all, a story template that I can at least hang my hat on. I fully expect the hat tree to pull a Lewis Carroll and go gallumping off with said hat once I turn my back.

As you may know, I have a fondness for quotes, especially song lyrics. So I think about heading up chapters with some quote as many of my favorite books do. Well, I think I found the one that will lead off the book.

"Thammuz, Thammuz, Thammuz, when you reach Palodes, tell them that the Great God Pan is dead!"
The Wind from Paxi to a ship carrying Epitherses
Plutarch - On the Failure of Oracles

How's that for a start off? Cross your fingers, toss salt over your shoulder, turn three times and spit, we're off to the races.

Linkee-poo going over the mountains and across the sky

Myke Cole with the 18 rules he learned his 1st year as a full time writer. (Grokked from Elizabeth)

Chuck wending with 25 reasons you should stop writing. Oh great, I had to read this the day before a writing retreat. Boo. But then it's a great time to be a writer and there's the 25 things I should know about writing the first chapter. So, yeah!

Justine Larbalestier on just because a writer writes about something doesn't mean they actually condone it. Hell yes. I mean, if that were true, nobody would want to be around writers. And we're actually nice people. But if you believe that writers want what they write to be true, then you should never live around Angela Lansbury. Because in every episode of Murder, She Wrote someone near to her (relationship-wise or just physically in the same space) dies. Sometimes in multiples.

Magic, iPods, and deception. Very cool video. (Pointed to by John)

More evidence that the world is stranger than you think. That's about fairy wasps that are smaller than amoebas and their neurons are nucleus free. (pointed to by John)

Jay Lake shares a first-person teachable moment regarding privilege. Yep, been there, done that, have the t-shirt. While those actions several more denotative terms applied, I personally call those moments "playing the Cracker card." And the thing is, it's about more than privilege. Intellectually I know how to behave, how I should treat people who aren't me, but I find myself slipping into forms of interaction that on later reflection I find myself appalled that I didn't see what I was doing as I was doing it. That includes interactions with people who aren't of my race, class, social status and those who are. Sometimes I am in full-on dick mode, even though I repeat Wheaton's Law to myself several times a week. It is a form of privilege that I get away with it without someone calling me on it. But when I find it myself, I'm doubly hard against myself because I should know better by now.

Look, there are differences between the parties (especially this year) that we can talk about and debate. But the conservative side knows they're holding the fuzzy end of the lollipop with that. Instead, they go for the old standards. That's a dissection of a phrase from the outed "let's get our white guy elected by rolling out everything that was disproven in the last election cycle" plan. Just stop it, okay? Or I'll have to start pointing out how Romney is effeminate in the way he holds the microphone. And we all don't want to go there. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And speaking of crazy, "'I’m not a birther. I believe that the President was born in Hawaii, or at least, I hope he was,' The Washington Post quoted (Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett), as saying." That's a story about how Mr. Bennett may not allow President Obama on the November ballot. No, Mr. Bennett, that last part of the quote says you are bat-shit crazy and questioning where the President was born. I'm sure it's just pandering, but notice how nobody is asking Romney for his birth certificate, just the guy that "looks funny." And why is there even a constituency here to pander to? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

I understand that Romney is not personally responsible for this typo. But the organization he set up and is the nominal leader of is. And given my torturing of the English language (spelling and grammar), I'm not really one to talk, but getting "America" wrong when you're running to lead the place, severe rookie mistake. That's like misspelling the name of the editor you're submitting to. Only, I'm sure "America" was on someone's 1st grade "Words to Learn" list. (Pointed to by Dan)

Alligator Quotient: Well, they were hiding in a closet looking for loose change. Now their out again, but (ha!ha!) I'm going to leave again. Suckers.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Story Bones

A story about Angry Zombies based on the Angry Birds game. Have at it.

Linkee-poo calls Alice when she was just small

So much to catch up on at work, not a lot of time to keep up with the reading. On the plus side, I'm below 200 posts now in my google feed reader. Bad news is that I can only take a half hour lunch, so no writing today (other than to complete this posting). Sigh.

Tobias Buckell is looking for feedback on a new kickstarter project.

Vince reminds us of the impact of poetry on the world of verse. I suspect there are many more novel titles that come from verse, especially if you include the KJV of the Bible.

Bookshelf pron. (Grokked from Camille Alexa)

Pre-redemption Scrooge would be pleased as a pig in slop with the current laws being written nominally to increase your protection again predatory business practices, but instead actually strip away the bare minimum protection you already had. Not to mention the push to end programs that actually help people and the environment. But, what the hell, poor people are that way because they don't want to work for it, so it's up to good christians to take advantage of them by fleecing them of what little money they might have, and while we're at it we'll make their neighborhoods less safe. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"The future is always a dystopia and the past is always better than this mess we live in right now. That’s if literature has any ability to tell us about ourselves. Stories about the future: Forewarning. Stories about the good ol’ days: Heartening." That's a story about how the GOP loves the idealized past while wanting to wave a magic wand and make us forget about all the bad stuff (if I was cynical I would add that it's also because they want to be able to do all that bad stuff their ancestors did that they can't do now, like shooting people just to watch them die and stuff like that - okay, well, mostly right now they just want to hat eon the gays). But it makes me now want to write a dystopian story set in the realistic past. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Want to elect a President who will reduce spending, taxes, and deficits? Well, I guess you know which candidate you should vote for. It's ain't the rich guy, just a hint (yes, they're both rich, but one started that way and is an order of magnitude farther up the scale). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Janiece with a little on leadership. After 30+ years of working for a paycheck, form fast food to high corporate levels, oh yes this. So very much this.

"The nun's firm but understated conviction about the need to simply do the right thing sent a ripple of excitement through courtroom spectators… It also raised an age-old question, namely why do the women in the Catholic church usually have more balls than the men?" And now you know why the Church is censuring the nuns in America, and have explicitly excluded women from pastoral service and do everything they can (like deny basic health care) to "put women in their place." Insecure men have always behaved that way. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Alligator Quotient: Just a few left, but they're big and nasty. Probably survived by cannibalizing the rest.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Killing our darlings

People often confuse that phrase for what G. R. R. Martin does, but it is actually different. Killing our darlings means excising from the story those sparkling, Muse-given, blessed scribblings from the overall story to avoid having them throw off the pace, balance, and tone of the story. They're like this.
Most people have guiding stars, or the sun they were born under. For me, my compass rose is the big black, the space between the suns and stars. And I am the luckiest for the space between, my Polaris, is everywhere. The space between the stars, the abyssal chasms that separate electron from neutron, the space between you and I. That is my Maria now, the hollow wind draws my between you and I. A wind full of nothingness of energy. There is fire here. There is always fire in the between. But this fire is what burned the topless towers and reduced a thousand ships to ash. It's there you say, "Hello," and release the firestorm that will consume us both in the end. And I am lost in that blaze.

I have no idea what the hell that means, or really if there's a story there at all. It just plopped in my head last night at the airport. Sometimes these things come in the middle of the story, or as the beginning of a story. The rest of the text doesn't measure up (it would be nice if it would). So those parts have to go.

On the plus side of this story, I have a new author that primes the pump. As you know, Bob, I classify authors I like into two categories, those that provoke those little gems and those that don't. For those new here, there are authors I love on both sides of that fence. I'll still read authors that leave my mind as barren as a radiation soaked moon. In fact, there's plenty of them. The ones that drive these gems out of me are few and far between. Some of them I don't like to read as they don't write anything I'm really interested in. Fortunately I've found some that I love to read and also generate those mind droppings. And now I have a new one. Jay Lake. I don't think this has happened when I've read Jay before, but once they start happening history repeats. It's a good think I like reading Jay's stuff.

Linkee-poo a slow restart

Trying to catch up with my reading list while doing other chores. So not a lot today.

Elizabeth talks about writing over her lunch hour. We restart out program this week.

The Slactivist with some concise thoughts on the Bishops' take on the "religious liberty" they are "fighting for." Here I'll add, many states had similar regulations regarding birth control and health care minimum standards that the churches (okay, the conservative zealots who wish to revive the Court of the Inquisition here in the US) are so upset about. To be fair, some of them were upset back when the states imposed those standards (you know, the individual states that are now oh so upset about the same requirements) and they sued back then. And they lost. Every single one of them. But then, most of these "religious leaders" really hope their flocks have no sense of history or reality anyway. As Fred Clark mentions, things were very different in the church when I was growing up.

Okay, I was in Portsmouth at the time, but had nothing to do with this. I joke but I'm glad everybody aboard the USS Miami and the responding firefighters are okay.

I guess everything went well with the Dragon Spacecraft docking with the ISS.

Eric brings us proof P.T. Barnum is just as relevant today as he was back then. And, if you're selling dried blood of Reagan, shouldn't you at least spring for the rock crystal vial to hold it. Maybe it'll turn to liquid on June 5th of every year is taxes wouldn't be increased that year, or something.

Alligator Quotient: I wonder if they missed me. Guess I'll find out tomorrow.

Another Dream

Last night I had a very realistic dream where I had to go work for one of "those" studios. The "dream job" of high pressure, high profile clients, long hours, all typically for little money, (so I'm no stranger to the "publish here for free for the exposure" ruse), they make up for that by giving rewards (which seem like positive reinforcement, but is actually meant to instill jealousy in the other teams). I've had two of those before. In this case I was hired in as an Art Director in charge of a team of people who were willingly given up by other teams.

I used the good management techniques I learned (mentoring, "when we're successful everybody rides the train, when we fail, it's my fault as manager", positive reinforcement, etc) and took the problem clients and started having successes. I formed a tight team, reduced churn, improved morale, and turned unproductive clients into award winners and enhanced revenue streams.

But then the other teams started cherry picking my team members and foisted off their own people who have checked out and are just drawing a paycheck until they can get another job. this drove down productivity, we started losing clients, my former team members jumped ship before I could get them back. And it all ended in tears and disappointment.

Have I mentioned I go back to work tomorrow?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Here a day, there a day

Boston, I am in you. Well, I'm in Logan Airport right at the moment. Seems our flight is a little delayed, for certain values of little. Three hours to be precise. But the nice people at AirTran gave me a coupon for free round trips, for as much as that's actually worth (coupon good for flights on any February 30th, must be used within one year). So I have a little time on my hands. Good think I have a book, and not an ebook.

But the "free wifi" is only free as long as I let them advertise at me. Sigh.

I can't complain too much because we've had a lot of good this vacation. We've also had a lot of, "well, that's not running right now, but it'll start up this Friday. How long are you staying?" um, we leave Friday.

But anyway, I wanted give give a big shout out to a couple of places. The Best Western Acadia (Bar Harbor) and Best Western Wynwood (Portsmouth, NH), you were fabulous. Quick, clean, no hassles and at the Acadia you had the best complimentary breakfast and a congenial host (not to mention Spike the Customer Service Scalegoat beta fish). It was great staying with you.

For eating, if your near Rye Beach, NH, you can't go wrong with Petey's along Route 1A, right across from the beach. The first night we arrived just a few minutes before closing and they served us sitting down (not insisting on take out, which they have). For that we stopped back on our way down to the airport. The place was packed today. They were spilling out the windows. The lobster roll was the best I had (and the lobster bisque was excellence too). Thanks for helping us out (feeding us after hours on a foggy night and allowing me to park next to your dumpster without towing me today).

Then if you're in Portland, ME, there's Thai POM's which was so good we only ate our two dinners in town there. The Tom Yum soup, yum. The curries were excellent, as were the Crab Rangoon and everying else we had. I don't understand why last night at 8 there were only a few of us(okay, there were lefty of take out orders). Really Portland, this place was great.

Then there were the Carriages of Acadia which do horse carriage rides on Acadia Park's carriage roads. While both the visitors station and their website said they would be open for tours on Friday, apparently there was some trouble earlier in the week. So there were canceling Friday's rides, but did relent and take us (and two other couples) on an hour tour. Thank you, we had a great time.

And with that said, now we're just waiting for the flighgt home. A good vacation, I haven't thought about work... too much. I should do this more often.

Friday, May 25, 2012

WWNW

Last night I had a peculiar dream. I was back in college as an undergraduate (yes, not so weird, I actually am, but this was, in the way dreams can be, my first degree, but I was as old as I am now) and I was assigned to be Neil Gaiman's assistant while he visited the college (I don't know which one, while it looked like the backstreets of Akron U, it most certainly wasn't). So I had picked him up after some event on campus and was attempting to get him to the next event.

Only because people parked as if the stripes were merely suggestions, I could find a way out of a parking lot that seemed to stretch for a few blocks. I cracked a joke that had Neil laughing uproariously. But then still couldn't find a way out to the street. So to get Neil to where he needed to go on time, he got out of the car. A few minutes later I found a way out and went back to look for him. Only I couldn't find him again.

I wish I remembered what that joke was. Also I woke up thinking, "I wonder if I could write like him?" That's what the WWNW is about; what would Neil write? I've certainly read enough of him, and I have his voice on audiobooks so I have his rhythm down. I guess I've never intentionally written in the style of someone else (although I've been compared to Bradburry). My own style is open (I think), so Neil's writing isn't much different, just more chock full of the history of fairy and fantasy. The deep well he draws from. That sounds like there's only a little difference, but it's easy to say and hard to pull off.

Although I have to say my first thought at waking was, "WTF was that?"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Out and about

Did things today on the punch list. Went to the Abbé Museum (in town and out in the park) because it was finally opened. Went to Thunderhole at Hugh tide, but the waves seemed to not want to cooperate. But we walked along the coast line and had some great moments. Had popovers at the Jordon Pond House. Tose are nice, if a bit over rated (as most "tradition" items tend to be). And then went on the sunset sail cruise. That was nice a lot less than expected. Although it was very foggy and cold. Not to mention having to wipe the salt spray off my glasses every now and then. But it was fun hauling up the sails and moving nice and slow on the water.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gone fishin'

A quick update. Went on a nature cruise, got rained on. Went to the top a Cadillac Mtn to see the sunset, got rained on. Saw the Bass Harbor Lighthouse, surprising didn't get rained on. Had an overpriced burger for dinner because even though Bar Harbor has had record lobstah catches for the past 3 years running, everything is still damn expensive. Seriously, starting off the season with 50% off sales? Just whom do you think you're zooming? But, we did have an okay day despite all of that.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

From the foggy shores of Maine

Today, as we started our adventure on the Desert Island (pronounced "dessert island") in the rain and then in the fog. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. But two major points first.

Dear Bar Harborites (or Harborians), "middle May" is not "Memorial Day Weekend" (which is the end of May). If you're not open until the Friday before Memorial Day, that isn't mid May. Stop being fluid with the timeline, okay? Next, since when does seafood cost more at the coast than it does in Ohio. Look, I know you all get the lobster here. I've seen the traps being set out and all the bobbers in the water. I know you've got them. I also se your ships heading out to catch the fish. So I know this is local stuff for you. So why does a fish and chips platter cost me about $4-$8 more here? Something ain't right.

Monday, May 21, 2012

From the rock bound shores of Maine

Ensconed in our hotel outside of Bar Harbor. Looking at the weather for tomorrow, it's supposed to rain. Yippie skippy. But there are things to do if it does rain. And hopefully it won't rain all day.

Strawberry Banke was good as far as interpreted historical villages go. Some of the costumed people were really into it, some were getting used to their parts. The other regular staff ran the gamut from really interested beginner to old historial site campaigner.

The USS Albacore was fun, if you like submarines. I didn't know that Bette had never been through one, so that was kind of fun showing her around. I'm only slightly claustrophobic, and the Albacore, compared to WWII subs is almost spacious, I still was glad to gt out of her. Although I had though she was a nuclear sub, apparently I was wrong. Although she was the first to have silver-zinc batteries. They played Morse Code in the radio room and wale song in the sonar room.

Got into Bar Harbor late and went to a nearby restaurant, which was a $20 a plate place. Youchers. Will try to find more reasonable food and activities tomorrow. I'm saving up for a good cruise.

BTW, still not missing work.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Granite State of Mind

Sleeping in Portsmouth tonight. Spent the day at the Norman Rockwell Museum and Studio, which was pretty good. They have a show going on by another illustrator, but there were plenty of Rockwell's to be had. Did you know he wrte and illustrated a children's book? I didn't, and after working through some of the illustrations telling the tale, it's not surprising that we haven't heard of it (somewhat depressing tale). Then drove across MA and got stuck in traffic of everybody heading back to Boston for their Monday. We got into our hotel here and then went down to Hampton Beach to grab dinner and look at the ocean. The ocean was there (we stayed in the rocky beach area). And then the very nice people at Peteys let us in close to their closing time, which was very nice of them (and was reflected in the tip). Also, excellent lobster bisque. Yummy. So tomorrow off to see the Albacore and Strawberry Banke. Still having fun if a little bit bug bitten.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Somewhere in the Berkshires

Flight was good, travel out was okay (really, car rental companies, stop being dicks about fees and up selling). Spent way more than I expected for the first day, but then I forgot to write out a shopping list for when we got here (kept forgetting things, and then we had a shoe malfunction, but fortunately there are outlet stores where we are staying). Tomorrow begins the fun, off to the Norman Rockwell Museum, and maybe the botanical gardens.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Linkee-poo is brought to you by the Sarcasm Council; Irony, it's what's for dinner

Here's a long one, to tide you all over until I can do it again.

Cassie Alexander talk about shutting out the world to write.

Ken McConnell is giving away a short story form his mystery writer side.

Chuck Wendig and 25 ways to earn your audience. Noted here because I'll want to read this closer when I have time (was the oldest thing in my queue).

Trust me, I'm a doctor. Neil Gaiman's commencement address to University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

The best terrible car chase ever filmed. Ah, Bollywood, how we love you. You all might want to think about continuity people, they could help. A lot. (Pointed to by John)

Why complain about the poor when you can mine their kids' teeth for profit. That's worse than dentist cynically giving kids lollipops are visits. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

For the externally geeky among us, responsive web design. (Grokked from Dan)

Noted without much comment, the Honda Uni-Cub. When a Segway is just too tiring, have a seat. Insert joke about Wall-E becoming reality here. (Grokked from ChiaLynn)

In case you don't remember just how incredibly insane the Cold War was, have some citizen manuals for how to survive a nuclear attack. I remember as a kid knowing where the top priority targets were and knowing it was probably best to head toward those instead of lingering for a week with radiation burns.

James Buchanan, our actual first gay president. And in other gay news, what the Bible actual said about gay sex. That sound you hear is the heads of various evangelicals exploding from hypertension. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

About that John Scalzi post the other day where he said Straight, White Males are playing the game on the Easy setting, Jim Hines shows some of the math. And some more specifically about female stock brokers getting the shaft when it comes to pay. (Grokked from WannabeWriter06)

WTF? Those fucking idiot republican congressman (I know, I was being redundant) are now forcing the military to stop their use of renewable fuels and other technology? Seriously brain dead assholes. All for political ideology. I'm sure the Navy can run an aircraft carrier group on ideology and wishes. Not to mention this is the same congress that is forcing the Air Force to continue to develop two engines for the JSF. In my day job we do a little along the lines of energy efficiency (E2, because we have to make acronyms of everything) and renewable energy generation. There's some really cool tech out there. And then these assnards come along and because they're beholden to the fossil fuel industries, make us less secure and continue to put more of our soldiers in harms way to support those fuels. In case you don't know, reducing the need for fuel supply has been a major push of the US Military, because it'll literally save lives – not to mention the amount of money it saves (in the long run).

Cry havoc and release the clowns of war. As I said in the Humor panel at Penguicon, yes, the jester could poke fun at the King, but only so long as the King laughed. History is littered with the heads of jesters who couldn't. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

When "Inequity" is too politically challenging, it's just easier to not have the discussion. Also, some good information on "job creators" and the economics of the 1%. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

It's that damn well known liberal bias of reality again. This time making the Columbia Glacier retreat, now with pictures. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Next Year's Tofu



And, yes, this is an Amish Farm. Didn't know the Amish did more than corn or wheat, did ya. And having seen many of them in the one and only Chinese restaurant in the area, but none in the Mary Yoder's Amish Kitchen, I have a feeling they might have "traditional" tofu dishes.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Linkee-poo has seen your flag on the marble lodge

A light linkee-poo as I've been offline most of the morning because of work.

Patricia C. Wrede with trying to improve. On writing exercises and stretching. (Grokked from Elizabeth)

Catherine Schaff-Stump on being a survivor. Wish I could be at the reunion, Catherine, but distance makes it hard.

Why Tesla was the coolest inventor evar! With the obligatory bagging on T. Edison. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

It's all about selling you crap. That's a "most bizarre" roundup of movie-tie-in promotions. Anybody remember Burger King glasses? (Grokked from Tor.com)

TObias Buckell reminds up that SpaceX is launching this Saturday.

The six ridiculous lies you believe about America's founding. Hell, I think if we could get past the myth about America being founded for Religious Freedom, like we're all some later day Pilgrim separatists, we would be much farther ahead (the Americas, for better or worse, were colonized by Europe for the money, the profit that comes with exploiting the natural wealth in timber, tin, iron, copper, gold, and food). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: Ha! Knew they couldn't drive away. Sigh, but then I had to drive back.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Pledge

Okay, sometimes you need to say these things out loud. Now that classes are wrapped up and I no longer have council work, it's time to get back to writing. This summer, I need to write.

(Picture me standing up, holding my right hand up in the Scouting Pledge manner)

To that end, I will get into work early so I can take a full hour lunch, over which I shall write more than just the blog posts. When I come home, I will sit at the table away from the TV and write. I will also exercise regularly, which will help with the focus and feeling better. I will watch less TV in a mindless manner and be more choosy about my time. I will spend more time doing "writerly" things instead (submitting, reading, research, writing exercises, and, you know, the actual writing, rewriting and editing).

To help with this, as you can see under WIPS & WHIPS, I've cleared out the old data and put the two books I will be working on (until one of them takes off to be completed first). The titles are working titles only.

I make this pledge in the open in the hopes that my deeply seated emotions of fear of disappointment and shame will now help drive me toward my goals.

Linkee-poo, find me loose lipped and laughing, singing songs ain't got no regrets

Disney's Touché touch-sensitive technology. Yeah, sure, you might think you know what this is like, but just watch that video. I wrote an early SF short story that had something close to this (the part about directing a music player by touching your forearm), at the time I knew it was possible, but not to the extent I used it. I'm glad to see I was wrong and having that much control would be possible. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Go go Opportunity, the little robot that could. (Grokked from Matociquala)

More of the then things you should know about your own book.

Yesterday, John Scalzi had a great post on how being a straight, white male was like setting the game of life to "Easy" in the difficulty setting. As any SWM who has looked beyond themselves and has friends and acquaintances that fall into the "other" category, it seemed self evident and I thought, "hey, interesting way to put it." Note, he's not saying that life as a SWM is always buttercream and sausages, but even at the bottom, it's not the default setting's problem. I've been poor and middle-class and I've not had it exactly easy, I've been thrown out of work, I've been discriminated against because of being both white and male (and I don't believe I've encountered being excluded because I'm straight, at least not yet), but compared to my wife and several friends, I've had it easy. I haven't had to prove much in most circumstances, and while I strive for the high-jump clearance, the hurdles haven't been as high as they are for other people. And it shouldn't surprise anyone that John had to wield the Loving Mallet of Correction fairly regularly in the comments ("If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning, I'd hammer in the evening, all over this la-aaand."). Nobody screams louder than when the socially entitled have their entitlement thrown in their faces.

Karen Healey gives her own reasons for writing diversity. (Grokked from John Scalzi) For myself, I write diversity because that's how I see the world. I've gotten it wrong, and I've gotten it right. Just like I do with the science parts. Karen Healey's post has the line "You can presumably be a festering bigot and still write diversity really well and inspire people to improve the world." Think she's making that up? Have I ever told you about Forest Carter and The Education of Little Tree?

Thinking of photographing or filming police officers in the course of their duties? Then these seven rules will be very helpful. Also, speaking as a former councilman, just remember that most police officers are just doing their job, one for which they receive little thanks. Most police officers are also following procedures and protocols, of which they had little input. Not all police departments give their officers a wide latitude in discretionary behavior. As the post basically says, "stay calm, don't be threatening, don't interfere with what the officer is doing, know the law and your rights and protect them, be prepared." (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"The facts are pretty one-sided here. They suggest… the President and the mainstream Democratic Party in the United States are too far to the right and too beholden to the austerity mavens, and the Republicans are living on a extremist conservative moon base with Newt Gingrich." The economy and conservative philosophy, one screws the other. Now with handy reference charts showing where unemployment would be if we hadn't been shedding government jobs like a sheep being fleeced, and where the deficits would be without particular initiatives (like the Bush-era tax cuts). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Paul Krugman on the latest JP Morgan loss and bank regulation. (Grokked from Jay Lake) Yes, Virginia, regulation is sometimes necessary. We learned that after the collapse that sparked the Great Depression. And then, because we were some 70 years on, we forgot those lessons and the bankers all promised us that they had learned their lessons and would behave. And then about a decade after Glass-Steagall was repealed, down the rabbit hole we went. Again. Just in case you believe the spin going on by JP Morgan and their accomplices in government, here's a quick look at the facts. Yep, those people who actually know banking and economics know that what JP Morgan did was "speculate" not hedge. And that we're actually pretty good in knowing the difference.

What Eduardo Saverin owes America. And interesting real life take on the amount of privilege we enjoy in the US, how much the government really affects our lives for the better, and then a question of what do we owe back to make sure others have those same advantages. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

What do conservatives do when the reality of statistics catches up with their ideology, why the do "Karl Rove's The Math™" and come up with their own numbers. While history may be a bitch, reality is often a cast-iron bitch. Just ask Wiley Coyote about that. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Since the record setting warmth of 2012 is (so far) really just a North America and Western Europe phenomenon, I wonder if other countries are beginning to doubt this global warming thing because they're not seeing it this year? Yeah, I think they're smarter than that as well. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: I think they know something is up.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Advanced Warning

With several real life things coming up in short order, it is quite possible than Story Bones will be on hiatus starting this Saturday through to Memorial Day. Sorry for the interruption in service. The hope is we will come back stronger.

So you might be curious as to what will be happening. Well, barring weekend travel and a week at Viable Paradise (which was fine, but not exactly relaxing and recharging), I'll be taking the first vacation I've had in a very long time. And this will be the first vacation Bette and I have had by ourselves in an even longer time.

And while I love you all, I'm going to spend my time as far away from these here internets as I can keep. In fact, I plan to look at trees, rocks, and water in as various concentrations and configurations as I can fit in. I'm sure it'll be the most exciting time in politics, science, technology, writing help, and general wackiness that we'll see before October. Not to mention I'll probably miss that zombie apocalypse I've been waiting for.

Why we love Neil deGrasse Tyson



"I can't think of any more human activity than conducting science experiments." Along with some rumination on technology that mirror my own thoughts on integration.

Linkee-poo feels the wind blow outside my door

Behind every great novelist. Bwahahaha. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Was just reminded that Jeff VanderMeer started this cool booklife site and I hadn't been reading it. Time to add it to the feed.

And with that, Jeff VanderMeer on some subtleties of writing that merge with style and voice as well as how to open a story.

Steve Scearce with a list of reading for writers.

The original King Kong brontosaurus model 80 years on. Cool. (Grokked from Random Michelle K)

Do you still dial a phone? Well, here's fourteen more things that are loosing context. Although, people still use physical bookmarks in books. How do I know this? Because we sell and give away millions of them. (Pointed to by John)

Some more charts of the reality of the economic difference between liberal and conservative presidents. There are chart for both GDP (broken out by sector) and spending (also by sector). Once again, history, she's a bitch. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Just in case you're confused by all the political rhetoric and forget we're living in the future, we just figured out how to engineer viruses to convert mechanical energy into electricity. Still no jet pack, but I think we're getting closer. (Pointed to by Dan)

Senator Paul Rand outs himself as an idiot and young earther. (Grokked from Jay Lake) The question is, Dr. Paul, for those of us who actual, you know, read our Bibles, WTF Bible have you all been reading? Because, yes, the Golden Rule does pretty much point to loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. And here the kicker, when you get to know your neighbors there's a good chance you lose your hatred for them.

Rhut 'rho, somebody does the math on text message charges. But don't worry, we're all moving to Facebook which only costs you your soul. (Pointed to by Dan)

Sure, fracking is safe. Because we can trust industry to do what's right. And we know exactly what we're doing. Except, you know, of the long history of them not. But, I'm sure when the gas is gone the oil and gas people will stick around to help clean up the salty water that's still coming out of the holes. Oh, wait, they're not even doing that now. And then there are some of the immediate health issues which the industry will drown out in a publicity rush.

I'm sure you've heard the term, "mass extinction event." Ever wonder what that would be like? Just look around. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: The natives are getting restless.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Linkee-poo remembers when it was young, it shone like the sun

Busy enough to not have a lot of time today and you all were busy squirrels packing nuts away in the internets this weekend. Wasn't this supposed to get easier without having classes, extra work in the evenings, etc?

On independent booksellers keeping nimble, community and customer oriented, and staying afloat.

Because sometimes it can't wait, a group of high school students are suing the US over climate change and the lack of any action to alter our course or mitigate the problems to come. (Pointed to by Dan)

Who is Hugh Howey and why should you care? Well, his SF book Wool seems to be a sensation (first I heard about it) and had an rights auction for the movie option. I haven't been able to dig into this too much, and I'm overhearing the phrase, "like 50 Shades of Grey" lately. Also note, the film option rights were negotiated on behalf of Kristin Nelson who isn't exactly unknown or small potatoes. If this all checks out, he is probably one of the first to go from unknown to successful on just the self-publishing route.

Chuck Wendig very accurately distills the early part of story and explains exactly where I'm at. Words are starting to flow for the next novel. It's a dribble at the moment, mostly notes, completely disjointed, and for two different novels. Which I may have to write both at the same time to figure out which one will take the lead and get finished first (I have no doubt both will get finished).

The power of story telling helping alzheimer patients. Story is a powerful thing, I tell you. When one has me, Ian Anderson's song, In the Grip of Stronger Stuff starts playing in the back of my head.

Ever wonder how people can hear or see something new and be able to pick out the artist? Well, it's because they have signature elements in them. That's a list of 10 signature elements of Tim Burton movies. We could also throw in some visual style things, but you get the point. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Okay, kiddies, because I also suspect this topic to gain traction soon, no, the Mayans didn't think the world would end in 2012. It's just that the great cycle resets (as it has all the times before). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Hey look, those new voter registration laws are having their desired effect. New voter registration is down, a lot. I tell ya, when you disenfranchise the League of Women Voters, you're doing something wrong.

The top ten reasons to ban gay marriage. And that's a wrapper. Ah, snark, we miss you. Well, that pretty much was what I was going to write as a follow-up to my gay marriage post, but this is shorter and much funnier. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

More from the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson. Dear Fox News women hosts, commentators, etc, do you get it now? Don't worry if you don't, the Log Cabin Republicans are also deep denial. So you'll have company in that backroom you'll be relegated to. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: Boy are they grumpy before their first six coffees.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mom's Day Spent…

… at my Mom's place. Took her to an independent documentary (supporting friends) and then out to dinner. So away from the internets all day.

Regular programming to resume tomorrow. As long as I'm not buried under at work.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Linkee-poo is reveling in the freedom

Justine Larbalestier on writers reading books by their writer friends.

"Whenever I write something, someone inevitably tells me about some story I’ve not read that sounds an awful lot like the story I’m writing (the story I thought was unique)." This was actually the first major lesson I learned (the hard way) about writing professionally.

Open call for steampunk anthology paying pro rates

Literary devices made literal. (Pointed to by Dan)

How does your state stack up in science literacy based on percentage of students who pass national science test? (Pointed to by John)

New record set for information teleportation. Ansible, here we come. (Pointed to by John, I think)

Jay Lake gives voice to my thoughts regarding the Romney bully-gate.

It's Civics 101

Look, the State defines marriage because the State as a vested interest in it (it leads to an orderly society with rights and priviledges, not the least of which are inheritance laws). The State is (mostly) the modern body that enforces contractual law (this is where I've talked about competing law systems that are already in effect in the US concerning the argument over including Sharia into the mix). In all contract law, the ultimate arbiter is the State (this is why many of the contracts that most people encounter daily include "binding arbitration" clauses, so as to avoid judicial review).

Just so you know, in many communities of this country, when people have a contract dispute (property, responsibilities, obligations, payment, family, etc) the first stop of the complaintents isn't the courts, it is their local religious body. Sometimes, people will take their case to their elected officials for adjudication (mayors, and even, God forbid, councilmen). Sometimes people just ask a police officer to help. However, when all else fails, there's the judiciary.

People like to quibble about the words, marriage, union, civic, common law, etc. Well, here's the thing, there are thousands of laws that include the word, "marriage" (or married) that give specific rights. The laws and regulations regarding access in hospitals is one such things. There is no recognition for "civil union" or in many cases even "common law", however spouses (defined by "marriage") and family are covered. And there are, like I said, thousands of such things (laws, procedures, rules, etc). It's still allowable (IIRC) for hotels and motels to not give a single room to unmarried or unrelated couples. At one convention I went to with a friend (another male), we were going to share a room. When we checked in we were "upgraded" to two rooms. Not that I really cared (they were charging us only the cost of one of the rooms), but it was pretty much because we were two guys checking in together. When Bette has been in the hospital, I was able to stay with her for much longer than "normal visiting hours" because I was her husband (which I claimed even before we were actually married, and I was never challenged on it). This is why "civil unions" are not a replacement for "marriage" or it's equal.

Now to the argument about "the state shouldn't be involved in marriage." This is a false argument. No, really, it is. Marriage is a contract. As a society we pile a lot of other contextual stuff on top of it (commitment, solemnization, love, relationship, caring, etc). While we hope a marriage would have those things, they aren't required. Because marriage is a contract. There are "loveless" marriage, marriages of convenience, economic marriages, political marriages, etc ad nauseum. All of those don't have all that cultural traipsing layered on top. Historically, marriage was about transfer of property (sometimes including the woman as a part of that property, being transfer from the father/guardian to the husband). Marriage creates and complicates the priority of claims. That is, unless it's stated in a pre-nuptial or other document, if you're married and your spouse dies, no matter what the Will says, you have a claim on all property and chattels. You may have to sue for it, but that's what probate court is all about.

Now, you can be married in the eyes of the church, or married according to the state, or both. But guess which one is legally enforceable? As it stands now, no church is forced to recognize a marriage (although the church I grew up in recognizes that Bette and I are married, because they're good people, for many churches we would not be considered married), let alone solemnize it. However, the church is not allowed to solemnize marriages until the religious leader is approved and registered by the state (not an onerous process, and one that many people not affiliated with a traditional "church" have done). This isn't the case for mayors, clerks of court, and ship captains who, by their office, are allowed to solemnize marriages (IIRC, YMMV).

So, when you hear people talk about how marriage has never been or shouldn't be a function of the state, understand that those people are speaking out of their neither regions. Hell, it hasn't been that long since you had to get blood tests (in many states) to check your compatibility before you were allowed to marry. There are many laws about who can and whom can't be married (if that wasn't the case, we wouldn't be having these legal contortions in the first place). Also, non-religious and non-judeo/christian/muslim people can be married. If marriage was solely the providence of the church, that wouldn't happen and you'd have to exclude those people. The church is only involved these days because of the historical fact that the church was the state for a long time. It was the arm of the state that reached deep into the society and into all locals (which for a long time the state couldn't do and had no interest in doing). They liked to cement and insist on their franchise by creating the fiction of "in the eyes of God" (of which they were the sole arbiters).

There's a whole lot more (like the "marriage is for children" and "why is marriage a church ceremony then") crap being thrown around, but I think this is long enough as it is.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Honors and benefits already at the age of nine!

Took the test. Didn't stink as bad as I thought I would. In fact, the only two things that were close were the tutorial and survey (which almost timed out). I don't know my final grade, but the preliminary result is "passed." To in 1 to 3 weeks I'll get the final letter. And if it holds true I'll be Stephen Buchheit, CPhT.

Linkee-poo was provided with toys and scouting for boys

TOnight is the PTCB certification exam. I'm more than nervous. This one will be close, I have a feeling, the result of only having 14 weeks of instruction compared to 9 month or two years. Also, my classes didn't delve too deeply into many areas that "how is the work done", "you need to be able to do this math", "here's some A&P", and "a quick overview of the history/regulations."

We Trekkies And We Know It. Thanks, Vince, for helping stamp my Geek Card for this quarter. I'm almost to a free frogurt.

One in six cancers - two million a year globally - are caused by largely treatable or preventable infections, new estimates suggest. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Elizabeth looks into some of the free online courses being offered that is becoming all the rage. I've looked into classes on iTunes U and have found them a bit lacking. I haven't had time to check these new things out (although I did check MIT when they started several years ago).

Because I'll want to watch this later, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (2008). (Grokked form Dan)

It's amazing that when global climate becomes an undeniable reality for people already affected by it all barriers to their disbelief fall quickly. In this case it's the low-lying country of Bangladesh which has been getting batter by super-cyclones for the past few years. It's especially fast when you see your countries GDP washing out to sea. That reminds me of a very wealthy coastal town (this was on NPR a long time ago, and I apologize for forgetting it's name) that saying "global climate change" was a political death sentence, suddenly could get together to build a higher sea-wall because of "rising ocean waters", but only so long as they didn't actually say "global warming." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

See, this is what happens in a conspiracy. The truth eventually comes out. That's a video of Wis. Gov. Scott Walker telling a big donor to his campaign about how he was going to break the unions. A few weeks before they introduced the "budgetary necessary" move of eliminating collective bargaining rights from public employees. This isn't a gotcha moment (like the spoofed call form David Koch), this is him being honest with someone who gave a big chunk of money to his campaign and being caught on film doing it.

On that story about Michelle Bachmann taking dual-citizenship in Switzerland. Well, one, the US doesn't officially recognize "dual-citizenship". Two, the oath of office is "I, (your name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God." (emphasis mine) So, Congresswoman Bachmann, since you had to swear an oath to Switzerland, that would mean you're a liar, a breaker of oaths to the US and your God, and are in conflict with your oath of office. America, love it or leave it. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. And in case you think I'm being flip here, understand I'm damn serious. She's violated her oath of office. Hell, when some of our elected officials were granted "knighthood", it causes more consternation (and many refuse, or postpone the honor until they've left office). With all her talk on who is and who isn't a "Real American™", I'm just dumbfounded that she would do this. You know all those people who went ape-shit when the President bowed in greeting to a foreign leader? Michelle Bachmann has pledged her allegiance to a foreign government.

Look, here's what Mitt Romney actually said about the auto industry back then. Now, much of what he was saying was pretty much what happened (although I have a feeling a lot of the details were different - with all the blathering I can't find a link to his actual op ed piece). Here's another thing, from the beginning that was pretty much the plan, not "bailouts" but "finance the bankruptcy" (the banks wouldn't step up to make the loans, so the US government did, and let's be clear, if we hadn't, the auto industry bankruptcies would have ended in liquidation of the companies). However, to claim, "he takes a lot of credit" goes against his railing for two years that the government "did it wrong." Again, it was those details that were different. So, yes, he was for a course through bankruptcy (as most people were a the time, except the minority that felt those companies should fail), but not the way it was actually done.

Just in case you are still belaboring under the impression that human activity can't change the environment. Our activities are even affecting the way bugs reproduce. Just wait until the impact of that is more widely felt. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: To bad they couldn't be my study group.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Linkee-poo is always wash and wear

Tobias Buckell celebrates his 6th Freelanceversary in a kickass manner. I hope he starts to wear short sleeve shirts to cons to show off his new ink.

Happy book week to Jeff and Ann VenderMeer with the release of their antho, The Weird.

What else to do with your darlings. For me? Put them into a cut file so they're easy to find.

Creating and identity for Wikia. Or, when designers go completely off their rockers.

"For substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily use by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them anywhere except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral calibre and his temperament, and which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing." Mark Twain in a letter to Hellen Keller regarding the plagiarism suit brought against her. Also note, the suit against Hellen Keller is akin to the plethora of suits against JK Rowling (which are mostly, "Look, I have a book which has a 'school for magic' in it, she totally ripped me off" not of the "90+% of this work is a word for word transcription of my own book"). Or to quote T. S. Elliot, "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal." (Grokked from ChiaLynn)

I know there are people who rage over the death of their favorite fictional character, and I'll admit that when I killed the first character I cared about and liked, I had to be drug, kicking and screaming, to that point. But now I see the point made in this Tor.com article. "Often times, fantasy stories will include far too many 'easy rescues' for our heroes to keep the plot moving forward. This removes the threat level which provides a story with its tension. By killing characters that readers have considered vital, creators… remind us that the threat is real in their stories, that even heroes can die and that goodness doesn’t always triumph over all." That, and it's a good motivator for the remaining characters to survive. See, killing the bad guys is easy. And there's always red-shirt galore that can be happily dropped down the well at a moment's notice. But neither of those has the same impact on the reader (and the writer) as to take the character you like, the one you'd rather have the beer with because they'd be less Paladin-asshole-like than the protagonist, and drive a knife through their heart. One, it's realistic. Two, it let's the reader know, "Hey, nobody is safe here." Three, the reader then has an emotional need for the story. And four, well, we're back to one, it's more realistic because people we love die.

Catherine Shaffer with a good commentary about the pharma business.

Remember when conservatives all wanted government to get out of the way between you and your doctor? Ahh, the good old days. And since it's not enough to kick just women when they're down by sticking an ultrasound probe in their vaginas, we'll have to kick everybody when they're down by restricting emergency rooms from prescribing pain kills for more than 72 hours. "'They are buying them time to get the ultimate care that they are seeking,' (Ohio Department of Health director Ted Wymyslo) said. "'hey are reinforcing the fact that they are an interim step for a patient's chronic pain management, and not a place to come if you want pain control.'" You know, except for the fact that for many of America's poor and disenfranchised, the emergency room is their primary care facility. But screw them, they should pay to see a doctor in their office (said doctor who can refuse to see them if they're not insured or can't show they can pay) and miss more work time to go do that. I'm sure, though, that these people are the ones selling their drugs, so we'll solve that problem too (except they're not, but we can't have an intelligent, factual conversation on drug use in this country). See, you look at drug overdoses and immediately think it's recreational use. And that hasn't been shown conclusively, yet (yes, I'm willing to bet at least 50% are using the drugs recreationally, but I have a feeling the misuse of pain killers, and patient directed suicide takes up a larger percentage than most people want to admit).

You know those annoying things on DVDs? No, not the commentary track or opening advertisements, but those warnings of "don't you dare pirate this work" screens that you can't skip or forward through? Yeah, you're about to get more of those. Thanks. (Pointed to by John)

And speaking of people who are involved with the self-loathing, the Log Cabin Republicans are upset about President Obama's timing on his statement supporting same-sex marriage. Dear Log Cabin conservatives, ummmm… you do know which party introduced, supported, and promoted the NC Amendment One initiative, right? Now, I appreciate that just because a person is gay that they don't want a smaller government and lower taxes, and vise a versa. But, have you looked at the people around you lately? GW and Dickie boy are now all about the same-sex marriage? Hey, that's great. Maybe they could have had that epiphany when they were in office and could have done something about it. And finally, say, who is continuing the fight to keep DOMA legal? That would be the Speaker of the House. And what party does he belong to? Oh, right. Take your righteous haughtiness and STFU, thanks. Clean your own house first and we can talk. Oh, and Shep Smith? Yeah, fuck you, too. (Pointed to by Dan)

You know, it's a good thing we can engage in respectful conversation and use facts to support our positions. Oh, wait, no… That's an article about a pastor who lied in his crusade to get NC's Amendment One passed. Dear Rev. Patrick Wooden, you might want to read that book you claim to represent. When you do you'll find very little about gays and a whole lot about bearing false witness. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Michelle Bachmann applies for dual citizenship of US and Swiss. Seriously? WTF? While the Swiss reports focus in on if she's going to run for office in Switzerland, for someone who is of the USA, Fuck yeah!" crowd, bwah? Look, dual citizenship is dual allegiance. Bachmann, you're done. Please leave the stage.

Alligator Quotient: Eyes closed tight, "They're not there, they're not there."

A few from the recent past

My library (well, not the one in my town, but the one I use most often) is still so damn cool.


A little of what I did this past weekend. Mmm, power tools and cars, I think I've done my mandatory Tim Allen quota for the year.


And just a reminder that it gets better, sunshine.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A few random thoughts

1) Marriage isn't a zero sum game, either within the relationship or in society as a total. In fact, it's an institution that gains strength from having more people committed to it. Again, for both in the relationship and in society.

2) "Being against same-sex marriage doesn't necessarily make you a bigot." Um, actually yes, yes it does. You might need to reread the definition of bigot.

3) "But the Bible says…" is never a defense unless you support rape, slavery, multiple marriage, kingship, wholesale slaughter of innocents, misogyny and keeping a strict kosher home. Diverge from any of those and either you accept the new covenant that the Christ cemented (and said, "all that stuff that came before, not important anymore") or you're willing to negotiate on any and all of those topics.

4) Switching topics, anybody else think that maybe the new underwear bomb was glommed from the wreckage of the car we blew up last week and all this "double agent" talk (which, btw, is the wrong term with an understanding of the current narrative) is psych warfare?

5) The inner me is practically giddy about only having a day job (ie. 1 job, no classes, no meetings).

6) Not to question the President's commitment or anything, but have you had the thought that the President made the announcement supporting same-sex marriage (note, no new policy direction) just to get Romney on the record against it?

7) "My view is that marriage itself is between a man and a woman… this is a very tender and sensitive topic, as are many social issues, but I have the same view that I've had since — since running for office," said Mr. Romney. "…Since running for office"? WTF does that mean? All while implying the President has flip-flopped. That is pure comedy. I'm sure it would be better if we also only discussed this in "quiet rooms."

Linkee-poo puts on its wolf suit and has a little cry

Still too busy, but did have a break to get some reading done. Final is tonight, streams crossed, or something.

Did Nazi Germany launch a man into space? Turns out, not so much. But in 1933, a lot of people thought they did. Of course, it may just be promotional gimmicks for Iron Sky. (Pointed to by Dan)

Wait, they're giving orangutans iPads to help them communicate? Didn't these people ever see Planet of the Apes? I would crack more jokes, but that would require excerpting the AP story, and they're cast-iron dicks about doing that. But I think it's funny that the younger ones like it, and the older orangs don't care for them new fangled computer thingies. It's like going to the zoo and watching the gorillas mime the humans watching them. Somehow I hear these elder orangs complaining about how all these young kids just sit around on their asses, when they were their age they used to go out into the world and do things. And I guess the iPads are too fragile for the apes to handle them directly (and they also have the problem of too big of fingers to hit the right key). Hey Apple, here's a reason why you need to use Gorilla Glass (I crack myself up, I do). (Grokked from Chia Lynn)

So, remember all the hype around "ZOMG, $5 gas! Obama's Fault!"? Have you noticed that in the wake of falling gas prices, you've been hearing crickets from the media about it? Yeah, seems that saying, "You know, we're going to look into all this speculation going on" pretty well let the air out of that bubble. But you're not hearing about that on the news, are you? Your liberal media at work. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"Which federal program took in more than it spent last year, added $95 billion to its surplus and lifted 20 million Americans of all ages out of poverty? Why, Social Security, of course, which ended 2011 with a $2.7 trillion surplus." I'm beginning to think that not only should Politifact become front page news, but those "dose of reality" segments should make a comeback. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

… you may be a cyborg. A CNN article on the growing meme of using networked devices at extensions of "our brains." There's some stuff in there on brain anatomy. But they make the classic mistake of believing things in the world are all in your head. They also misunderstand just what the brain is, and what "storage" is (hint, many of those neurons in your brain are hardwired code or dedicated processing nodes which cannot be repurposed for storage… or, neuron =/ RAM). Also, anybody remember the digital divide? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"As the clock ticks ever closer to the triggering of the sequestration time bomb — you know, the massive cuts to government spending that are set to take effect next January unless Congress moves to eliminate them — lawmakers are still forcing more cash on the Pentagon than it says it needs during this time of belt-tightening." Those wacky conservatives and their principled stances. Dear Congress, I work for a military contractor. We supply equipment that our warfighters need, right now, and we have the proven tech to supply it. And you're continual crap fest of budgeting has kept them from purchasing. Hell, we even continued development of a specific tech, without a contract, because we know you need it. Because we, as an organization, believe in supporting the troops and trying to make their service time just a little less hellish (so they can focus on the job that matters). Stop fucking around, okay?

New study on using radio waves (microwaves) to open calcium gates on cell membranes. Whoa. Okay, so first you need to install a new protein and iron-oxide-coated nanoparticles, but whoa. Calcium gates control a lot of things in the human body, from the axons of nerve cells to how and why your muscles contract. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"'The legally mandated role of the government is to provide for the common defense, and… spend… whatever it takes to do that," says Larry Clinton of the Internet Security Alliance. 'If you're in a private organization, your legally mandated responsibility is to maximize shareholder value. You can't spend just anything on the cyberthreat… If the government was interested in paying the private sector to (increase their cyber security under the Lieberman-Collins' legislation), probably we would go a long way toward doing it… But the government so far, [with] the Lieberman-Collins bill, wants it all done for free.'" Fair enough, Mr. Clinton. Then you get to go in front of those investors to explain to them how you're lack of preparedness caused the deaths of however many people, the destruction of however much of company property, and the resulting lawsuits for corporate negligence that will bring that company down to a value of less than zero. A cyber attack is not an "act of God", which means those companies who don't do enough are liable for the damaged caused by their negligence. You explain to the shareholders why their stock is worthless because you were unwilling to secure your business against a recognized threat. CoB, Mr. Clinton, cost of business. Personally, what I think should happen, is the government should loosen your liability protections in the name of "reducing regulation" and increase the penalties for cyber slip-ups (say, $1000 to every person whom your corporation allow PII to be hacked, with an extra $500 in a fine to the government, to be tripled if you don't self report the incident, $12M for every death caused). That would be fair, wouldn't it?

Tweet of my heart:
@hellioncat: @raecarson That "dance like no-one's watching" line should be changed to "write like no-one's reviewing" for us poor scribes.

Double shot:
@gsp1984: These two pictures will be viewed/judged identically by our children and their children. http://twitter.com/gsp1984/status/…

Alligator Quotient: They're all snoozing. I can feel the inrush and carnivore stink of their breathing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To sum up

NC Bigotry: "Hey privileged majority, would you like to enshrine your privilege into the constitution to make sure you never have to deal with things that might make you feel icky for no apparent reason and at the same time maybe screw up a whole host of other relationships and maybe indemnify a bunch of people who like to injure others because domestic abuse laws are poorly written? Or would you like to expand the privilege to be more inclusive and support loving relationships of all types which may strengthen the whole concept of marriage?"

NC Voters: "No, 60% of us would like to keep that privilege for ourselves, thanks."

Don't worry, North Carolina. Ignorant, bigoted, and fearful Ohioans did the same thing a few years ago.

And to those people who opposed Amendment One (and the Ohio State Issue 1), did you really expect a different answer? Look, after we went down the rabbit hole here in Ohio, people are finally waking up and thinking, you know, that wasn't such a good decision after all. So we might, might, have an amendment to repeal that amendment (and according to recent polls, given the choice, a very slim majority of people have realized that by expanding the franchise, we strengthen the institution and it really doesn't challenge anybody with a brain).

But what'll really change things is when these amendments and laws are challenged in the Supreme Court under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution. Which, you may remember, is what DOMA was all about (which is why it was and is Unconstitutional, and why President Obama directed the DoJ to stop defending it). Yeah, it sucks getting your way through the courts instead of positive affirmation from the people, but that's how most minority positions find protection against majority intransigence.

Linkee-poo is speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Daring to suck. Or really, getting and being blocked. Sometimes it's the fear of "not being able to do the subject justice" that keeps my fingers from dancing on the boards. I need to keep telling myself, it's okay, I'm not writing for anybody else yet. Hasn't helped, but there you are.

The new internet photography meme, skywalking. Ah, to be young and dumb again. (Pointed to by Dan and John)

"The wave of wage theft laws has also inspired conservative pushback… New York’s Republican-majority Senate has already passed a bill that would end (New York's new wage theft law)’s annual wage notice provision… in Florida, where the legislature abolished the state labor department in 2002, Republicans are pushing a law to pre-empt Miami-Dade County’s 2010 ordinance." Still think the GOP is just about "opportunity" and "self-making myths"? (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Oh Ghu, do we have to fight women's suffrage all over again, too? Just in case you don't believe people can be self-loathing, he also thinks Gingrich had a good idea to make black children work as janitors in their schools (the good Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson is African-American). Not to mention, welcome to the result of the echo chamber of conservatives, specifically of the conservative religious.

You know all those "job creators" and "good citizen" businesses? Find out if they're taking your tax money. You can search by company, state, year, amount of subsidy, whatever. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"In other words, Romney's goal was achieved, but only after a Democratic president raised taxes in 1993… as Paul Krugman explained, '… the average rate of job creation during Bush's first 7 years in the White House… if you ignore the catastrophe at the end… was… drum roll… 66,000.'" History, it's a bitch. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Alligator Quotient: Well, at least we're all swimming in the same direction for the moment.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Linkee-poo light for a Monday

Had to run errands and buy lunch today, so not much time to read things. So it's a light day.

John Joseph Adams is having a Kickstarter launch for his new horror magazine.

Ever wonder why history looks so patrilineal and Eurocentric? That's because things that didn't fit into that narrative were cut out. Although that essay is about the excising of powerful women and their narratives from our history, you do know that there are castles in Africa, and pyramid mounds in North America, right? And if you don't see echos of these struggles in the daily news, you aren't looking close enough. (Grokked from Matociquala)

Just put me down as "Undecided" - every major's terrible. (Pointed to by Dan)

Gesture control using sound waves instead of a camera. Way too many jokes about that. "My curser keeps jumping around and is uncontrollable when I'm surfing the internet." "What sites are you surfing too, sir?" (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Story Bone

That was the day that birthed a thousand orphans.

A thousand orphans were born that day.

In the shadows of the saucers a thousand orphans were born.

The day the saucers came, orphans were born by the thousands.

The scream of saucers masked the birth cry of a thousand orphans.

Take your pick, or any alternative.

Slipsliding

Spent yesterday working out in the yard dinging up the new mower blade I just put on. The lawn, btw, looks much nicer after being cut with the new blade. Although the fungus that grew on the bottom of the mower in the caked-on grass from the last mow was a little disgusting. Also pulled up wild rose and buckthorn trees. So today my arms, back, and thighs are killing me.

Yeah, I should probably just cut them off at ground level and paint what's left with brush-b-gone or highly concentrated round-up®. But what fun is that?

So, today we're taking it easy, doing a little light surfing, studying for the two exams this week (final in Nutrition and licensing exam for pharmacy technician). We'll also do some cleaning.

And then, having waxed the cat thoroughly, we'll be staring at a blank screen for an hour waiting for the words to flow.

Hope you have a good weekend as well.

Linkee-poo has a sore Sunday

Remember when Sarkozy won the French Presidency and the GOP threw a big party about how "conservatism" was taking over the world? They loved it so much, the Congressional cafeteria renamed the freedom fries back to french fries (of which they are neither, but that's besides the point). Now, Sarkozy's "conservatism" was to the left of President Obama. You might remember his comment after we passed the ACA, about "Welcome to the 20th century." Anyway, what do you think the GOP will make of Sarkozy losing to an actual socialist (someone left of Bernie Sanders)? Yeah, they're well practiced in excluding from the bubble anything that goes against them, so I expect Sarkozy to fall into the same mental Black Hole of Calcutta of their minds.

How to translate movie watching to story telling.

Because things that use my nick-name always fascinate me, the Laughing Coyote Project, a primitive skills camp outside of Bolder, CO.

On the benefits of just getting up and moving. Since I am exercising to lose weight, it's not all that good for me. Before that, though, even though I have a bmi over 30, I could typically out pace my teen-age nieces and nephews. I would often go for walks. It's a little more difficult now, and one of the reasons that I will eventually move close in to more established park systems. Also, when it's not raining or snowing, I take at least a 10 minute walk before lunch. Basically to get me out of the office and to get my heart rate back up to a level that I'm burning calories. See, the majority of calories you consume (50-65%) are used in you basal metabolic rate. Actual aerobic exercise (the work until you're sweating kind) doesn't actually use much more calories than the thermic effect of digestion (ie, the energy you use to digest what you eat). Sucks, huhn? But now that classes are almost over I do intend to get back to using the Wii more often. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Linkee-poo dreamed of a big star who played a mean guitar

Of relation to last weekend's panel on women's poses on covers, it's "always funny" when the ugly people are in photos. Dear Daily Mail and Ian Garland, go fuck yourselves. You know, for a newspaper based in England, not a place known for it's dental care or pretty people, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Just saying. (Pointed to by John)

Jame Alan Gardner with more on writing fight scenes. This time he talks about word pacing. Good stuff to know.

Haven't you always wanted to use a tank to demolish a home? Okay, well, it's an APC, but close enough.

Transition-state analogs for enzyme functions hold promise of medial use. Remember when I said it's amazing just how fast your intra-cellular chemical factory runs? Here's a new frame of reference for you, the femtosecond. Cool biological nepery and more proof the world we live in is stranger than you think. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Cyber war comes to Syria. Infecting the computers of the rebels/dissidents through an exploit in Skype. All we need now are gliders hacking air defense grids and we'd be living in the Gibsonian world. Oh, wait… (Pointed to by Dan)

A humorous take on the recent, "even Jimmy Carter", line. I would like to add that not only was President Carter a former submariner, he was a nuclear officer. When things went all pear shaped with the reactors, which they did, Lt. Carter was the guy sent in to help clean it up (Chalk River, anybody?). You can pose all you want, Mitt, with the other paragons of military non-service who like to throw kids into the grinder because it makes their balls swell, but there is real courage in the world and braggadocio, and the rest of us can see which is which. President Carter and President Obama made the tough call, and courted escalating war to meet the goals of our foreign policy, often against the advice of advisors. One got screwed over because of a technical failure. The second learned from that mistake and sent in the extra helicopters. (Grokked from Vince)

Rachel Maddow points out Romney's chains from the primary. Good thing for Romney is that people have short memories. (Grokked from Slactivist)

A new Heartland ad campaign about global warming. The quality of our debate in the US. Sigh. Okay, really, this is how you want to behave? I don't know, maybe I should go all Godwin all over their asses. (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

Conservative talking heads explain Newt's withdrawal, the reforming alliances, and Stephen Colbert. Seriously. When you look up "Train Wreck" in wikipedia you should see the videos he plays.