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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Linkee-poo thinks the sadder, but wiser girl for him

"So, James Twining and I concluded between us that to write a good thriller you need: a brilliant central character, a recognisable writing style (Fleming has his distinctive short sentences and muscularity), some link to reality like a real event, character or detailed research, an inanimate object around which the human story revolves, and a news story that breaks as a result of the novel. Easy." On how to write a perfect thriller. (Grokked from MrsTadd)

Catherine Shaffer makes a point and brings us a reminder (since it was also dealt in comments), all writing advice is offered on "use if you can or need, toss everything that doesn't work." Everybody's path is different (the man in the corner shouts, "I'm not"). I can point to all sorts of examples of writers who are successful to different degrees who have made that success in different ways. Keep what works, toss what doesn't.

And here, as I pointed out in comments, I try to give links to all kinds of writing advice. Even that advice that I know doesn't work for me. Why? Because it may work for you. As long as I can see it's sound advice (or given humorously like the link yesterday), I try and share it.

Although one thing you should do (if you're just starting out) is know the importance of manuscript formatting. Jay Lake holds forth on why you should know it and live it. Now, from what I'm told, if you deviate slightly, most people aren't going to toss you for that. But as Jay says, why start out in the hole? It's hard enough to sell something. Also, every profession has their shibboleth. Proper manuscript formatting performs that function for writing. It lets the person reading your manuscript know you cared enough to learn the bare minimum about your profession.

Another article on fear and loathing and the American writer. Oh yeah, #2 gets me all the time.

Say, did you know that some of our most beloved gadgets of SF novels were invented by a hack? And one other thing they missed in the article, they also invented Steampunk. (Pointed to by Dan)

Nick Mamatas on the "true geek"/poser/womanhood/bully debate.

Ken McConnell tells us of a new piece of writing software, Plume Creator. It's currently in Beta testing. If you don't understand that term, you might want to wait until the first release. Although with many open source projects, does the software really ever exit beta testing?

There's a conversation going on between some of my blogger friends concerning religion and it's roll in society. There was a recent event 9death of a beloved family member) in one of their lives which kind of brought the conversation to the fore. Random Michelle K talks about fairness and the random hostility of the universe. Janiece talks about the role of religion as seen from the outside. Here's a life lesson, surround yourself with friends smarter and more insightful than you.

Vintage motivational cards and a second post of them. Personally, I think there's an illustrator giggling over the inclusion of the Sisyphus image in the Loyalty Always Inspires Confidence card. And I hate to say it, but these are from a much simpler time. The cynic in me had a field day with them.

"But you think you're protecting me, you arrogant fucktard?" Eric on the other insanity that gun owners see themselves as the only protectors of freedom (you may remember Jim Wright on the first insanity, that dead kids are the price of freedom). Look, I don't want to go into everything here (I don't have the time or the patience to write it all), so I'm just going to point to the other idiots who thought their guns would protect them from the "guvument". You might have heard of Waco, Ruby Ridge, the Hutaree, the various Aryan Nation sects that went toes to toe with the jackbooted thugs of the FBI. It was the FBI. We're not even talking "Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines" here. We're talking about people who train at a place they call "The Farm." They didn't even have to call in the specialists (Delta, SEALs, AFSO). Those people were "prepared." They were armed to the teeth. So how did it work out from them? Look, the people in power are more afraid of your vote than they are of your guns. Notice how there's no legislation banning firearms that has any real chance of passing either Federally or in the States. However, they have passed laws making it more difficult for you to vote and are more than willing to remove your franchise whenever they have the opportunity. And you know what they were afraid of behind the Iron Curtain. Was it our bombers, our missiles, our guns and swagger? Fuck no. They were afraid of our jazz and denim jeans.

"The fact checkers have been calling out the lies,… have devoted the occasional space to excruciatingly polite calling-outs of some of the most egregious bullshit. The problem is that the pundit and otherwise-expert classes as a unit have… no interest in policing the honesty of the candidates, even as they lavishly scold the lower classes for their opinions on bankers, or populism, or economic austerity, or any of the other masturbatory moral fetishes that occupies the village mind. The same crowd… has not a damn thing to say about a modern candidate whose campaign has revolved around a series of profound dishonesties. Crackpot theories and false claims have always been present, in politics, but as fringe elements—now we are apparently content to endorse them as legitimate political practices even among supposed party leaders." Bending the truth is a longtime political game, even leading to Obi Wan's "it all depends on your point of view," comment in Return of the Jedi. But this year it's being taken to a whole new level. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"This is my point: I really really resent anyone in any group, but in this case geekdom, presuming to place me or any other person with similar interests as lesser. As a fraud. As someone who doesn't belong and should get out. I am referring of course to some recent articles that have been going around the net about Fake Geek Girls." One of the many panel topics that gets used over and over is "What are we going to do about fandom." It's greying, it's all male, it's dying out, it's irrelevant, it's (whatever bugaboo is hip that year). And then there are the "defenders of the true faith", as exemplified by the recent post on all the "poser women" at cons and how this kid thought it was terrible because, I don't know, maybe they were drinking all the beer or something and only the true geeks should be there. "Quite frankly it's just another example of men dictating how women should behave and what they should wear." Yeah, it was pretty much that. As I commented in Scalzi's blog on the subject, sometimes the movie ain't about you. And while you may think your the defender of the cause, you're just being a dick. Just as there is always someone smarter than you, there is always someone geekier than you. Get over it, have fun. That's what cons are really about anyway. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell, I think)

"CNN notes that Romney has only taken three questions from the traveling press corps during his week-long trip abroad." That's the tagline on the story of a Romney's Traveling press secretary, Rick Gorka, cursing at reporters. Really, Mr. Gorka, it's a "Holy Site" and you're the one saying, "Kiss my ass"? You kiss your mother with that mouth? Also, don't want reporters to shout questions, then provide access to your candidate. Look, I really wanted this to be a campaign. I wasn't going to vote for Romney (Huntsman would have been a more difficult choice), but I wanted this to be a crucible of ideas. Now I'm alarmed at just how much this campaign is not ready for prime time. Seriously. Republicans have campaign strategists falling out of their ears, experienced people at all levels. I see them all the time on Fox News. I may disagree with their philosophies, but at least there's a level of professionalism and experience that you expect. (Pointed to by Dan)

The flags on the moon are still standing (except for the first one). (pointed to by Dan)

Alligator Quotient: Just when I need them, they all go to ground. Figures.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Linkee-poo, every dog must have its day

Justine Larbalestier on writing to the market. Or, as Stephen King said in On Writing, write the first draft with the door closed. You're writing just for yourself (hmmm, he said to himself). Then open the door and rewrite for the world.

What? There's also no "Crackers for Obama" merchandise either. And I think by the end of this I'll have given more than $25 to his campaign. There's no "Muslims for Obama" campaign merchandise? Really, this is a criticism? Now just imaging if there were such merchandise. Imagine the "ZOMG, he really is a sekret mooslim" pandering by the conservative media. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Dude. You’re seriously trying to tell us that you answered a private email from a worried dad asking about his young daughter’s private sexual promiscuity with a random public tweet sent out with no title or handle or context to your tens of thousands of followers?" I'm not sure I could say it better. Seriously, Pastor Warren, are you that much of an idiot, or do you just think we are?

Well, if you have enough of a social media following you can shame insurance companies into doing the right thing. Note that Aetna is making the mote to eliminate life-time caps because of the ACA, not because of their generous hearts. OKay, I'm willing to give Aetna the benefit of the doubt that they really do want to help their customers, and as a business with stockholders they need to show profits. But why be a business with shareholders (that's a relatively recent event in business history, most health insurance companies were non-profit before 1990, not all)? Why pay executives millions of dollars in compensation (plus stock incentives)? Why wait for someone to start a campaign, don't you know when your customers reach their lifetime limits? Think maybe getting in contact with them then might be helpful? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Do you think music these days sounds all the same, but louder? Now you have scientific evidence to support that. Sigh, kids and their music. "Hey, Angus, key of C again?" (Grokked from Dan)

Now that the Berkley Earth Surface Temperature Project is completed, lo and behold, it confirms pretty much what everybody else knew in the early 2000s. Yes, global climate change is real and yes, it is mostly cause by humans burning carbon rich fuels and pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. Richard Muller then goes on to make excuses for his earlier skepticism, debunk radical and future claims, remind us that weather isn't climate, and try to reclaim the mantle of serious scientist. Good luck with that. Yes polar bears aren't having mass die offs (yet), but their behavior is changing. The question is can it change fast enough for them to survive (the current thinking is no, the climate is changing to fast for species to adapt). Yes the warm weather in the US this summer is offset by cooler temps elsewhere in the world (just like our recent cooler summers were offset by higher temps elsewhere). But the overall trend of the climate is getting hotter and what we're experiencing is exactly what our future holds for us. More hurricanes aren't hitting land, but they're getting bigger and stronger out in the Atlantic. Dr. Muller is attempting to thread the needle with his camel. It's a shame because his old friends probably won't invite him to brie parties anymore, and those of us who already knew what he's just coming to accept probably won't invite him either. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Ubisoft goes rogue. I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason that the ubisoft game extension has for installing a rootlet on your machine without telling you. I'm sure it's a perfectly good, completely dickish reason. (Pointed to by Dan)

Mitt Romney continues on his roll. He praises Israel for their lower cost health care system (compared to GDP) and better outcomes compared to the US. Obviously he didn't know that Israel has a national health insurance with an individual mandate (and I believe single-payer, although there's four private companies you can purchase your insurance through, but you taxes pay for all of it). Seriously, who the hell is doing research for the Romney Campaign? While you shouldn't start and end here, it's called Google. You might want to try it. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Alligator Quotient: I think we're all swimming in the same direction.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Music to write to

Must stop watching the Olympics. Listening to the commentary around the swimming events is a lot like the old horse race joke that ends, "It's Patch and Born Late, neck and neck, Patch and Born Late. Born Late and Patch, struggling for dominance and across the finish line… Another Day takes it by three lengths."

Anyway, some more music to write by.

Weekend Linkee-poo double dip, all about the writing

Got a lot done this weekend. Not everything I wanted, but still a lot. And now we eat dinner and write. (at least that's the plan)

Mur Lafferty and how big-D is a sneaky sunnuvabitch. Hey, Mur, I know you have your comments off, but, yeah, a lot of us do care about hearing from you (on your blog and your podcast). I tend to keep a pretty good watch out for big-D. But it's snuck up on me at least 3 times without me noticing (after the first four year long bout when I realized I suffered from Depression). And when I realized it had gotten it's hooks into me again, I had the added thoughts of, "damnit, it got the better of me again. I suck at this." And now, while reading Mur's post, the thought going through my head was, "Wait, is it big-D that's really keeping me from the keyboard, and I've just been making excuses for it?" And now I have a lot to think about.

Oh Nathan Fillon, you had me at "read". Now there's a PSA that should be more widely distributed. Loving to read is about the only positive lesson my father taught me. You don't here me talk about him much, and there's a reason. But if I had to give him credit for anything, it's reading. We always had books in the house and we always had library cards in our wallet (I currently have 3). It's also something that I loved about The West Wing. Everybody talks about the "walk and talk" and the snappy dialog. What they don't often mention is the characters, especially President Bartlett, were shown with books and were shown reading. Show kids that you love to read.

"Rule No. 8: Is secret." Colson Whitehead's rules for writing. (Grokked from Jay lake)

Death by writing group. I've been in a few writing groups. Some of which like to tear people down, no matter what. And I've been in groups that coddle the precious snowflakes. Neither is a good way to go. And while I agree that whatever else, you should be honest in your critique, sometimes that critique should be, "I don't think this is the group for you" and leave it at that. I have critiqued works that give me insight into what slush readers experience on a daily basis. And while I've been cruel in some critiques, I always try to find at least one good thing about the piece. And I have said, more than once, "I don't think this is really ready for a full critique. I would read it after a rewriting, though." Fortunately I haven't had to say that with the groups I belong to now (of which I need to start attending meetings RSN).

That article on ripening all the cool kids are pointing to. Lots to chew on in there. While I guess the idea had been floating in the back of my head, this is the first time it came to the fore that Kindle/e-book publishing is affecting the book publishing industry the same way that desktop publishing affected the graphic design industry. That makes a lot of things make a lot more sense now I consciously see it in that light. The arguments are the same on both sides of the fence, they all track in the same arcs. That's going to take a lot more thought.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weekend Linkee-poo is fooling himself, he don't believe it

I was pretty harsh regarding the Olympic Opening Ceremony on twitter last night. I was able to see the finale a few moments ago, and I take it all back Briton. You know how to end a party well. However, I don't regret my comments about the NBC commentary. That still sucked.

Mary Robinette Kowal walks the walk and word-processes like a steampunk. Or something like that. I've always been fascinated with moding equipment. Unfortunately my tendency to be cheap has usually stopped me (ie. I can't afford to mess up expensive equipment).

Jim Hines also walks the walk, but about a different subject. This is why I have a bro-crush on him.

Jim Wright with a follow up to his post on the Aurora shootings.

The long running theme on the death of publishing. In this case, one designer's take on the appalling quality standards in the physical properties of books, as evidenced in 1919.

Kerning type and why it's important. Although I take exception to some of their thinking as we tend to read words in a single gulp, rather than reading individual letters. Actually we read the shape of the word in most circumstances. And there is some research showing that we read the shape of groups of words. But getting kerning is one of those things that separates professional designers from those who just know how to run the software.

The first one is free. A cautionary tale about trying to change business models from free to fee. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"I guess this is just one more example of critics who are absolutely certain that the government is always terrible … right up to that moment when they desperately need government to swoop in and help them out of a bad situation." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Don’t they owe us some level of fidelity for living out what they merely preach? Or did we only matter to them when our stories affirmed their cost-free convictions?" Another conservative joins the ranks of, "It was okay when everything was going good, but now we're in dire straights, so all that stuff we believed before is not looking so good right now." For this person it hasn't changed their core beliefs. They're just wondering why, since they did everything they were supposed to do according to the conservative creed, why didn't things turn out better for them. The answer is, because those core beliefs didn't take the reality of the situation into count. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

In 2004, 2008, and 2010 there was a running meme about how Democrats would go and talk to Republicans and then realize, ZOMG, we're conservatives! Rah rah team! I'm not glad that this election cycle seems to have reversed that cultural conversation (conservatives coming to grips that their party is out of touch/doesn't represent them or conservatives having a come-to-Jesus moment finding out that what the believed was true about the world just didn't hold up in the light of day). It's a hard thing to realize what you've been supporting has been eroding your life and distracting you so you didn't notice. It's a bitch to have your cherished myths dashed on the hard rocks of reality. It sucks. I know cause I've been there. So I welcome these awakened people to the party. I just wish one side of our political discourse hadn't seen the need to create such fantasies in the first place and instead would have worked with us instead of keeping their eyes on the places and trappings of power.

"In some areas, the offices that issue IDs maintain limited business hours. Rural areas… are served by part-time ID offices… the researchers found the office in Sauk City, Wis., is open only on the fifth Wednesday of any month. That would limit the office to being open just four days this year." I'm sure that won't cause any problems for people getting the proper photo ID to vote this fall. Not at all. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Oh, look, real voter fraud in the form of absentee voting by someone who is dead. Oh, wait, it's another Republican. Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Say, you know how Mitt saved the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics? You remember how he did it, don't you? He got a federal government bailout. And much of that money went to profit a select few people. Seems the more the Romney Campaign tries to say how wonderful Mitt's record is, the more information comes out about just how he did these things. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Wait a sec, I thought the conservative joke was Al Gore invented the internet? The anatomy of how the conservative information bubble is built. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

What's the difference between corporatism and Soviet style totalitarianism? Not much, it appears. Actually this speaks to some things I've heard regarding the death streamlining of book distribution. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Tweet of my heart: @rnalexander: As an American I'm embarrassed that we had to outsource giving Romney the bollocking he deserved to the UK.

Double dip: @TheTweetOfGod: Do what you love and the money will follow right behind you and make fun of you and run away when you try to grab it.

Weekend at home - zoom zoom

Since I've been working my mind out at the day thing for the past month (this is my first weekend I don't have to go in in quite some time, and is only facilitated by coworkers not having their shit together, which means extra stress for the next two weeks until project is done), most nights I come home I'm too tired to do much of anything by veg in front of the TV.

Yeah, that's my story of why the word count sucks, and I'm sticking to it.

I'm back into a cycle where when I'm driving home or going to work my brain thinks "I should be there already." So there's lots of angst about where I live. I get into these moods every now and then. But, yes, I do really do want to move closer to things and people.

This is the first time in at least three weeks I've been able to make iced tea. See, I drink a lot of tea now that pop is off the menu. And I figure come the fall, I'm going to need a lot more. So I've been trying to get into the habit of making a lot on the weekend, and divide it into steel water bottles for quick access when I can't make a single cup. At work, I'm good. I can go to the break room and make a cup of tea and get a cup of ice. Once tea steeps, pour it over the ice and bammo, iced tea. In class that's going to be a lot harder. And so far, there's no bottled tea that's unsweetened than I can find in any of our local stores. Tradewinds does sell a gallon bottle of unsweetened tea, and if worse comes to worse I can pour that into smaller bottles, but it's damn expensive to do. Plus I've had it before, and I don't get that much of a kick from it.

So that's a long winded way of saying I'm busy catching up with chores and the like. The tea is about done steeping (when I started typing this), so it's time to get back to it. Need to add ice and pour. And then the scrubbing begins.

Hope your weekend is going better.

Another thought (before the timer goes off) is I need to get into the mindset that I'm writing this book for one person. Yes, I know who it is. No, I'm not telling. It's a sekrit.

And random thought, since I've been able to see more TV as I'm digesting and waiting to go to bed (that has been the schedule, come home late, eat, wait an hour so I don't throw up, go to sleep) I have to say that TV commercials really suck. Seriously my compadres, people pay us to do them justice. Many of you are just phoning it in and taking the client's cash.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Linkee-poo was at a policy meeting, they were planning new ways of cheating

Elizabeth Bear shares some good craft notes. Write to one person (Vonnegut) and "pick what's important."

io9 rounds up the ten things we'd like to see in a new Trek TV show. Yeah, those would be nice. But don't forget the fist fights. "Picard would never hit me." "I'm not Picard." (Grokked from Tor.com)

From "the world is weirder than you think," suicide bomber termites. Although it's more like they have a binary-chemical weapon they deploy against their enemies. Still, nature keeps messing with us. (Pointed to by Dan)

"To put it bluntly, by using the Patriot Act’s official purpose of fighting with terrorism, the freedom of U.S citizens appears to be greatly impaired; by using the Big Data initiative’s offical purpose of enhancing even more the role of technology in our lives, they’re actually creating intrusive algorithms that are spying on our private lives." Gee, who could have possibly seen that happening? :: raises hand :: You may remember the day the internets went down (back in 2003, IIRC, my google-fu is failing me at the moment) because almost all traffic suddenly was being pushed through a router in Ft. Meade. Say, what is there in Ft. Meade anyway? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A few security announcements. First, since Macs are gaining market share, we're also gaining new trojans. That smart phone in your pocket maybe dating someone else behind your back. (Pointed to by Dan)

And pretty soon, before you have a chance to use the technology, somethings will be illegal. In this case, someone used a 3d printer to produce the lower-receiver of a working firearm. And some more on the advent of 3D printing technology. (Pointed to by Dan)

How do you solve a problem like Michelle Bachmann. The calls are growing louder. That she was a semi-serious contender for the nomination to the Presidency is a shame. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

It's 2012 and most people are okay with the candidates religions. You know, Romney being a Mormon and Obama being a Muslim and all. Sigh. (Note to anybody coming in late, Obama is a Christian, has been all his life, if you want to call Obama a muslim because his Dad is, then I'm Jewish, because that's the history of my Mom's side of the family)

We can all be upset that the US Olympic Team costumes were produced in China in 2012. But in 2002, it wasn't such a problem. Including the memorabilia that Romney had made to promote and save the Salt Lake Olympics. But then Romney wasn't done with making Olympic gaffes. And what is this fascination with displaying the bust of Winston Churchill in the White House? It's like this weird fetish tied in with some secret message about something I can't quite put my finger on. And who says the British will give it back to us? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The employees at Barclays are made to watch a film on how not to rig the LIBOR. The video is narrated by the Rich Ricci, chief of Barclays’ investment banking, "explaining that because the topic of Libor is so complex, he is going to read from a teleprompter." You know, not that the lawyers made him read something verbatim so they can fend off lawsuits. It reminds me of the time our main partner at E&Y was caught in an affair with a director that reported to him. His punishment not only included an embarrassing email telling us what most of us had already figured out, but that the rest of us had to go through the sexual harassment training, again. That's called "missing the target audience." (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"'Hands down, it was Republicans,' (Angelina Spencer, the executive director of the Association of Club Executives, which serves as a trade association for strip clubs, said an informal survey of convention business in New York and Denver). 'The average was $150 for Republicans and $50 for Democrats.'… Don Kleinhans, the owner of the 2001 Odyssey, said when the Promise Keepers, a male evangelical group, came to town years ago, business was rollicking… 'We had phenomenal numbers all weekend, and they walked in wearing badges and name tags and weren’t shy at all,' he said." Ah, those family values. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @maureenjohnson: Signs that your foreign policy trip isn't going well: the press and public openly dub you "the American Borat."

Alligator Quotient: They're all on airplanes today, so relatively quite, except for the ones left behind who are making up for their comrades absence.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Linkee-poo, your wise men don't know how it feels to be thick as a brick

Janiece with a little love for Neil deGrasse Tyson.

And Austrian town turns itself into a virtual library. (Grokked from Karl)

You know, this stuff just isn't hard to research. That's a story about Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) chastising the DoJ for using a "Democratic-leaning firm" to analyze the fallout from the Texas Voter ID Law. In doing so, he wrote a letter to the DoJ (which I'm sure made it into his constituent newsletter) saying, "Imagine the outrage if a Republican administration intervened to block a New York City election law on the basis of data provided by a firm run by Karl Rove." Turns out the Texas defense of the law was based on the testimony of University of Texas Professor Daron Shaw who "worked for both of President George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, the RNC, Fox News’ election desk and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who signed the voter ID bill into law."

OMG! Obama actually did replace all the cross markers Arlington National Cememtary. And he used his time-traveling abilities he had previously used to fake his birth certificate and announcement, and set up Bane to be the Batman villain that would come on screen in 2012 specifically to knock out his electoral opponent. Yes, apparently Obama had traveled into the past to make sure that we never had cross shaped markers in Arlington. Oh, the infamy! Sigh. Just another example of the alternate reality conservative live in.

And speaking of alternate realities (have I mentioned how Newt Gingrich actually writes alternative history speculative fiction?), there's the economic alternate reality conservatives live in. Ah, the Party of No, whistling into the graves in the graveyard (we're no longer whistling past the graveyard). And look, just like climate change, (what happens when permafrost ain't so perma after all) the majority of legitimate people in the field believe the exact opposite of conservative talking points and positions. Fancy that. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And comments about Romney's (lack of) foreign savviness (which is strange because he did his Mormon time on the road in France) continues to get all Godwin-ee (although in this case not in the "Hitler bad, bad people are Hitler" sense, but with actual historical precedent). It remains to be seen what he'll actually learn over seas, other than, "Man, those people got the cash." And why are people in love with "England" anyway. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And since we opened with Janiece, we'll close with Janiece. If I didn't think this coming election was the most important for my nieces' and nephews' generation (as well as my own), I would agree with her 100%. Unfortunately this election will, just as the 2008 election, set the course for our country until the time I'm well into retirement and those kids would just be getting started (sort of how the Presidencies of Eisenhower (end), Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon (start) shaped our current systems, with only a minor "course correction" from Reagan - his changes started shaping my adult life's trajectory).

Alligator Quotient: They got a hold of some of the brown LSD, so they're a little distracted right now. But soon they'll all be headed for the Med Tent and then things will get Real Bad Real Quick™.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Linkee-poo has friends in low places, double dip

Infographic of use of social media to make shopping decisions. Okay, some of what they count as "social media" I don't quite lump in that category, but interesting non the less. (Pointed to by Dan)

Just something to think about as you swipe that card key to get into your hotel room. (Pointed to by Dan)

The Oatmeal on religion. (Pointed to by John)

In pointing to the video the other day, I said that's why I want to write SF. Here's why I write crappy science fiction. Oh, the 70s. Nobody has a good picture from the 70s. The 70s were kinda the bad hangover and nightmarish flashback from what we did as a culture during the 60s. (Pointed to by Dan)

"Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers." Or so said Socrates (as attributed by Plato). And now, they write poorly. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Of course, then you have my wife who has offered extra credit for anybody who would write out the first verse of the "Star Spangled Banner." So far, I don't believe she's had to award extra credit for that question.

Eric on Mike Huckabee and Chick-Fil-A. And I'll add my two cents in here. Strange how when one of those "lefty" companies come out and supports things like gay marriage the religious right gets to enact boycotts, call them names, and say they're part of the "Satan is ruining America" crowd. And that's perfectly fine with Mike-o. I don't remember him condemning the Southern Baptists for boycotting Disney, or any of the other silliness. But when it's people calling out bigotry and saying, "We're not going to support that," instead of it being "market forces", suddenly it's anti-American. Seriously, Mike, WTF?

When corporations use sock-puppets it makes the Baby Jesus cry. Sure, it could be a false flag operation (double false flag - ooo, it's like a spy novel), but I doubt it. (Pointed to by Dan)

Linkee-poo shakes its head, hmm, and says it's a shame

And early morning linkee-poo because the list is getting very long. I had some time yesterday to catch up with reading. We may have a double-dip later on today (depending on the quality of links I can find), but I thought I should clear the baffles of all this good stuff.

Chuck Wendig with 25 things about antagonists. As #5 says, "Like Krishna, except a total jerkoff."

John Scalzi on the self-made man. When I think back on how many people helped me, and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself, how much I've been offered, and the chances (and second changes) to prove myself, it beggars the mind. BTW, I'm one of those people John helped, both directly and indirectly. So John ranks up there in my own list. Whenever I get to writing my own acknowledgements, it'll probably be as long as the novel itself.

On how not to talk to someone about their feelings. This is what happens when the Stories We Tell Ourselves™ become our modern mythology. If you have a terrible disease, you should struggle valiantly and be positive, and if you live right you'll get better. To which I'll echo the sentiment on the post, bullshit. This is the same phenomenon like that idiot former senator saying that if only there were people "man enough" in the Aurora theater, the shootings wouldn't have been as bad. Bullshit. It's stereotyping to the max when we force people to behave in ways that match our personal mythology. That person in the wheelchair isn't a brave survivor who works hard to prove they're "just as good". That cancer survivor isn't the positive thinking, everything will turn out fine, thanks-be-2-jebus hopey-dopey person in your head. Just like that American Indian probably thinks that well fracking is a very good thing because it brings jobs, and no he doesn't have any peyote to share. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"To elide that one of the reasons we spend so many hours in front of our screens is that we have to misses the key point about our relationship with modern technology. The upper middle class… is WORKING MORE HOURS and having to stay more connected TO WORK than ever before. This is a problem with the way we approach labor, not our devices." A short piece on our changing relationship to work. When I worked in Dallas, I developed a loathing of mesquite trees (groves of which I drove by on the way into work down there). As my very intelligent wife commented, the trees were just a good focal point for displacing my feeling about working in Dallas. In the same way we blame our gadgets that allow us to be connected to work 24/7 for our cultural tendency to be workaholics and the employment pressures to be that way. But as a recovering workaholic myself and avid griller, I still can't use mesquite chips to this day. You can also think of this in the same light as banning costumes and masks in movie theaters as a response to the Aurora, CO shootings. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Fred Clark has way too many good links for me to cherry pick from.

When you can't attack the data, attack the person. Because of the perception and short term focus of people, we'll never realize we're the preverbal frog in the water pot reaching a boil (also, while often quoted, the frogs actually do leave long before the water boils). What's worse about our short time focus is that even though the US is having a horrible summer, it's not horrible everywhere. And to quote Ned Stark, winter is coming. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"(Professor Ursula Heise, eco-critic in Stanford University’s English department) says she’s found that some of our stories have become tired… and others at times delusional." The stories we tell ourselves. This time about the environment. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

How much did Republican brinksmanship over the debt-limit last year cost us? Well, besides our securities rating, the toll is $1.3 billion. Thanks, jackasses. Hey, you know how you're always talking about reducing government spending? That's like 4 years of Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding. You know, the thing conservatives say costs too much.

The two tax plans explained graphically. See, the Democratic plan keeps all the middle class tax cuts, whereas the Republican plan allows the 2009 Stimulus Cuts to expire (increasing the middle class tax burden). The Republicans also want to extend the Estate Tax Cut (which you may remember only applies to less than one half of one percent of us). I'm not sure the difference in focus between the two parties could be made any clearer here.

In case you're ever wondering, that "bastion of liberalism" Jon Stewart also takes the "liberally biased main stream media" to task when they screw up. It's not just Fox News (although they often provide the easy target because they get so much wrong - see the resurgent Fox News can't go to Canada because they have laws against lying while reporting the news).

"In a separate analysis, CBO adjusted its projections of the budgetary impact of (the House Republican plan to have a) full repeal (of Obamacare) to account for the Supreme Court’s ruling. If the GOP got its way and did away with the law, they would increase deficits over 10 years by $109 billion, and leave tens of millions of people uninsured." Now it should be clear that anybody who claims they're for "reduced government spending" and "cutting the deficits" would come to the conclusion that supporting Obamacare would be the wise choice to make. Unfortunately none of the anti-ACA movements (Conservatives, Tea Party, etc) are actually for those things (reducing spending and cutting deficits), they're just against Obama and for Conservative Control of Power.

You know how here in the US the Romney Campaign is saying they won't criticize the president while overseas? They're saying something different to those people they'll be visiting. And while not from Romney himself; "'We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and (Mitt Romney) feels that the special relationship is special,' the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: 'The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have'." Good this this isn't about race. Say, what does the "AS" in WASP stand for again? (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

While the Justice Department revs up it's lawsuit against PA Voter ID laws, Pennsylvania is forced to admit on record that there has never been an investigation, prosecution, or any hint of in person voter fraud in the state. Ooo, how do you think that will hurt your chances in court, PA? Now, that's doesn't mean it'll be a cake walk for the DoJ. They'll have to prove the effect of the law will disenfranchise voters (IANAL, but I don't think they have to prove the intent of the law was to do so, only that it would). Given that PA has already admitted that 750,000 registered voters don't have the required photo ID (at least not through the state), they might have a tough go of it. (Pointed to by Dan)

Former Sen. Russell Pearce offers what passes for an apology these days. Basically he says, "I don't think I'm wrong, but I realize you're pissed, and I'm tired of fighting this, accept my apology." It's like John Sununu apologizing for the words he choose, but not his sentiment, in saying he wished President Obama would learn to be an American. They think it's about the words (or at least they think we're dumb enough to think it's just the "words") when it's their sentiments and brain dead world view that is what is really offensive.

Tweet of my heart: @ClarionWest: Our 2013 teachers: Elizabeth Hand, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Justina Robson, Ellen Datlow, Samuel Delany. Apply in December. - That looks like a fabulous line up. Six weeks, huh? Hmmm. Probably still won't be able to do it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Linkee-poo tell me, did I see, you think I'd laugh about that?

It maybe the effect of once you buy a red car, you begin to notice how many red cars there are on the road, but fear is becoming a small meme in my feeds.

Pat Rothfuss is looking for help to name his new video cast on writers and writing.

200 pitches to Entangled Publishing which will eventually be critiqued and shared. (Grokked from Anne Harris)

A Hobbit's Guide to Walking. It's 1779 miles from here to Mordor, we've had our secondses, Sam has the iron skillet, it maybe dark… and we're unarmed. Hit it. Considering I just weighed in at my heaviest in 4 years, just maybe. (Grokked from Random Michelle K)

So, what does space smell like? Apparently it's one of the few things that doesn't smell like chicken. Some verisimilitude for your stories. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

ZOMG! Mars rovers with frickin' lasers! (Pointed to by Dan)

And, in other space news, a new time lapse video from the ISS. This is exactly why I want to write SF. When I look at the heavens, my minds eye is filled with visions like this. Please, ISS crew, never do one of these to "It's a Small World." Thanks, me. Now, please make this in IMAX. (Grokked from Tor.com)

There was a question going around a while ago about men crying at movies. If you ever want to know what makes me cry, watch that video. Tears of joy and hope.

Since I bang on politicians (of all stripes) when they go on the crazy train, so I should point out when a politician does the right thing. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of WI, thank you, sir, for standing up for truth. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

So Fox News reports on the Obama campaign "claiming" that the Romney campaign took his words out of context. And then they spend the article saying that not really, and it depends on your definition of "that" (said in the sarcastic tone of "it depends on what your definition of 'is' is."). Oh Great Grue. Only to end with a comment from the Mittster about how the context is even worse that the quote out of context. "'The context, he says, you know, you think you've been successful because you're smart, but he says a lot of people are smart. You think you've been successful because you work hard, a lot of people work hard. This is an ideology which says hey, we're all the same here, we ought to take from all and give to one another and that achievement, individual initiative and risk-taking and success are not to be rewarded as they have in the past,' Romney said. 'It's a very strange and in some respects foreign to the American experience type of philosophy.'" It's only strange when your a narcissist and have no concept of reality. It's only strange when you have to lie to yourself that you're rich because you're the only person who was smart enough and worked hard enough. And there's that word again, "foreign." Mitt, you're a tool. It's like I'm looking at half of the country and wondering just what drugs they've been huffing the past two decades that causes such a break with reality. (Pointed to by Dan)

You know that, "… you didn't build that," quote the Romney campaign would like you to think was a criticism of successful small business (when it was about the statement that the successful small business didn't build the roads, bridges or the internet)? Well, Romney is no stranger to that sentiment (that other people help build that success). Also, please read the update. That's what's known as SpinFAIL (yes, I'm going to coin that phrase). It continues to look like the Romney Campaign's strategy is to make this election a referendum on Obama without providing much in the way of details about their own plans. But I guess given the passes the press has given the Romney Campaign in the past they can't fathom that the press would actually question their assertions on anything. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Instead (of gun control), theaters are going to limit the freedom of patrons to wear costumes. Let’s be clear: costumes. Costumes don’t kill people. Guns kill people. But we apparently can’t limit the ability of nutjobs to buy guns, so we’re going to limit the ability of free people in a “free state” to wear costumes. Some underpaid usher at a movie theatre is going to decide whether or not your pentacle, or your Goth make-up, or maybe just your beard renders you unable to see a movie. Because we can’t tell nutjobs that they can’t buy automatic weapons. And you can now surrender your bodily freedom and allow, again, some underpaid usher at a movie theatre to grope you in order to allow you into the theatre." To be fair, we actually can tell "nutjobs" that they can't buy weapons, but with the dismantling of state run hospitals and public health offices, the only group left to identify and take care of the "nutjobs" is our prison system (which a stay in also disqualifies you from owning a firearm). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @saladinahmed: Funny how there's always a humanizing 'search for answers' when it's a white dude behind a massacre. And by 'funny' I mean 'fucking stupid.'

Double dip: @FrankConniff: Sally Ride's partner won't get fed benefits because committed relationships that last 27 years are a danger to society.

Alligator Quotient: Dancing in fits and starts, like a jerky hokey-pokey mixed with musical chairs.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dr. Sally Ride

Say, you know all that flack over getting girls interested in science? Maybe you should actually tell kids about Sally Ride. Hell, maybe you should have consulted her company who was doing the same thing. She will be remembered for being the first American Woman in space. And while I'll always remember her for that, that's a minor part of her amazing career.

Thank you, ma'am. God speed, Dr. Sally Ride.

Linkee-poo, bloodshot eyes are gone, tell me I'm wrong

Kameron Hurley builds a treadmill desk. To which I can only say, hmmmm.

The persistent myths about dinosaurs that just won't die. I remember telling my nephew that when I was his age, all the dinosaurs dragged their tails and were dumb lumbering beasts. He wasn't impressed with our scientific advancement. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Dr. Strangelove, or how I learned to love universal health care. A conservative moves to Canada. Strange what happens when ideology hits reality. At least for those willing to open their eyes. (Grokked from Morgan J. Locke)

Scientist take rat heart muscle tissue and grow it on a plastic form to create something that moves like a jellyfish. I'm still processing if I think this is a good thing or something we did because we could. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Why we would never repunish a victim because she spoke out about what happened to her. Especially if she speaks out about a sexual assault. Sigh. Remember when there were judges who thought that shaming criminals was a part of the punishment? I guess that's only good for litterers and misdemeanor crimes. Say, I've got an idea, how about we have these two boys listed as sexual predators? Nah, probably couldn't have that happen. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

"Lawler’s choice of words to describe the two attitudes is interesting. It is self-indulgence to refuse to support a party that is genuinely guilty of corruption and incompetence, but it is doing one’s duty to lend grudging support to that party four years later despite the fact that this party has not meaningfully changed in the meantime? This doesn’t make sense." It's interesting to me to watch the moderate parts of the Republican Party finally realize the conclusions I came to back in 1990. If anything, it's something I can thank the Tea Party for. They have caused the ultra right conservatives to wonder just what the hell is going on here, and caused the moderates to rethink their party affiliation. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

So, just how much money do the super-rich hide from their taxmen? At least $21 trillion. "His study deals only with financial wealth deposited in bank and investment accounts, and not other assets such as property and yachts." (Pointed to by John)

"I really don’t think there’s been anything like this in American political history: a presidential campaign, with a pretty good chance of winning, that is based entirely on cynical lies about what the sitting president has said." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"'I think we were just caught unprepared,' (Walter Jones, the University of Utah Library's assistant head of Special Collections - where the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic's Organizing Committee's record are held), said." You didn't see these requests coming? (Pointed to by Dan)

And the crazy train just keeps rolling. Although some more people are coming to their senses (save the storks? really?). Ah, well, good thing the rampant sexism isn't contained to just the US. Now women can be degraded in every country they're in. But, at least some companies understand how to treat all their customers (note, I remember a time when the little girl would have been sent a coupon that was only good for Barbie merchandise). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Yep, crazy train. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Romney lies so often he seems almost bored with a run-of-the-mill one-level lie." I'd love to say Fred Clark is wrong about that, but I can't. I'm sure the apologists will say, "But Obama is doing it too with his Bain attacks," and you know what, those ads were changed to make the campaigns position more clear.

Tweet of my heart: @damiengwalter: When writers die and end up in hell, we get shown all the books we would have written if we hadn't been on Twitter.

Alligator Quotient: Spent the weekend with them. On a slight truce today until we all get enough caffeine in us.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The stupid gets into full windup

Sigh, the crazy train keeps rolling. Sure, let's not blame the victims or anything. No offense, former Sen. Russell Pearce, but shut the fuck up.

Look, I have some training in firearms (and I have all the training required to hold a concealed carry permit in the State of Ohio). I'm actually a pretty damn good shot. But in a darkened theater with flickering lights, the chaos of the crowd, the smoke from his grenades, and the adrenaline that would be pumping through me at that moment, I wouldn't even try to take the shot because it's a damn good chance (I would put it at over 99%) that if I would hit something other than a wall it would be another audience member.

Plus, and I can't stress this strongly enough, the fucker had body armor on. The only shot I would have tried (and that anybody would have had a chance of making) would be center mass. Dear Senator, guess where the fucking armor is (police reports also say he had a helmet, leg protectors, and throat, neck and face protectors). The only way to have dropped him would have been a head shot, or arm or leg shot (see comment about extra protection, probably wouldn't have been successful anyway). Damn difficult shots to take quickly in the best of circumstances, impossible in those.

And I hate to tell you this, but your hero worship is woefully misplaced and the result of brain washing from watching too many John Ford type westerns while grown up. You've been telling yourself lies about what people actually do. It takes a lot to rush a cabin that has someone with a knife inside. It takes a hell of a lot more to rush an active shooter.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Weekend Linkee-poo, remedy for me, please

An independent survey shows growing strength of e-books. There's also a lot of general publishing information in there. My brain is trying to wrap around the stats. So ebooks have passed hardcover and paperback sales and publishers have doubled their net from ebooks to over $2b, print sales drop less than 1% to $11.1b, but overall net revenues only grew 0.5% to $13.97b. To me that means there's an awful lot of low price to free ebooks being sold. The good news is it doesn't look like the Borders shut down affected the mix of online to brick and mortar sales. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"The old battles are not over; indeed, the situation seems to be getting worse. For conservatives, conventional morality and religion are waning… If the ills of modernity are intensifying, conservatives know why. They rarely mention hyperconsumerism or advertising or a rigidifying class structure—the byproducts of advanced capitalism. Rather, they dwell on the presumably corrosive ideas of the educated, especially the professoriate." An interesting squib in the Chronicle (of Higher Education) on anti-intellectualism in the conservative movement. Hint: it's all a cynical ploy by the power players in the Republican Party. (Grokked from thc1972)

Think your holiday snaps are the bomb? Think again. Well, it helps when you are 1) a trained photographer, 2) have a pro rig, and 3) go to places most people don't or wouldn't. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Sigh. Things like this happen when your ideology doesn't match to reality. I doubt very much these sites really thought about running gun giveaways or demos right next to the Colorado shooting story. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"When it comes to things like flood and droughts, most people seem to have accurately registered the recent trends in their area. But when the subject shifts to temperatures, the actual trends become irrelevant, and ideology and political beliefs shape how people perceive things." Or, in other words, the spin of the climate "debate" creates a reinforcing belief that reality can't break. I believe they call that "the bubble." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Jim Wright is wise about the Colorado shootings. I've been struggling with what to say, and Jim, as is his wont, nailed the landing.

Nuclear plant workers in Fukushima given orders to cover their radiation badges with lead covers. Considering I get to wear one of those starting this fall, you can't believe what a complete scam (that word isn't nearly strong enough) this is. As a radiation worker, at least here in the US, your dosage is tracked throughout your lifetime. Basically the people who 1) ordered the lead covers and 2) ordered the workers to wear them over their dosimeters should be thrown in jail (I don't believe Japan has the death penalty). It's that serious. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Linkee-poo transmits the message to the receiver hopes for a answer some day

Cat Rambo on fear and writing. Which comes across the transom at a moment of high synchronicity. I've been trying to identify why I'm not working harder on the WIP. There's a lot going on right at the moment, that's true. There's enough pilled on crap to totally sap all extra energy (see last night's post for an example). But I'm not getting the words down like I should be. I've even started outlining another novel (and that's going faster). And this morning I think I have the answer. I know this book will piss people off (including, possibly, my Mom). I know I'll be going out on a thin limb with it. I'm not sure anybody will really want to publish it. So I'm scared. The little boy inside of me that wants to please everybody and make them laugh is shaking in fear. Fear isn't enough of a reason to not write it. I know that in my head. Now if only the heart will listen.

That New Yorkers article on Fairy Tales all the cool kids are pointing to. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Here's another side to branding. I think I've said it here before, branding is not a logo, or in the case of writers their name or the book's name. Branding is the emotion the intended target feels toward your product, often embodied by what they feel when they see your logo (or name). In this case, Apple groks it. Even the box and packing the product comes in is a part of your brand. For writers, it's the clothes you show up in, your blog, all your social interactions, how you behave around readers and fans. (Pointed to by John)

Having once been the topic of geek jokes (I think it was even on the Big Bang Theory), and now a reality, the Kissenger, long distance kissing device. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

A nano particle eliminates Hep C in petri dish. We are living in the future. What dreams will our children have? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Ground Zero, Population 5. Six if you count the camera man. (Pointed to by John)

Jim Wright lays it out as clear as day. These "seeing commies/muslims behind every bush" legislators need to put up or be shut down. Thanks, Jim. I guess I need to write a few letters this weekend.

And the crazy train just keeps rolling. Just like with Obamacare, when Republicans are given the Welfare Waivers they wanted (including then Governor Romney), they whine and bitch about it.And when your numbers don't add up, just make shit up and complain about it. But then, the conservatives are just going to make shit up anyway. If I was cynical I would say they're doing that because they know they can't win telling the truth, if they could even find the truth these days using both hands and a sherpa guide. And I'm sure conservatives won't continue to wage war against women in the form of birth control denial.

Alligator Quotient: They brought their sleeping bags today. That can't be good.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Midsummer's Nightmare

So, let me try this as a story.

There's this Very Important Project™ that absolutely needs to be done by, lets say, in time for a December meeting of Very Important People™. The intrepid designer works their ever loving tail off, ignoring other obligations, to take the sow's ear they were given and turn it into, if not a silk purse, at least a purse of some quality. Oh the slings and arrows start coming in to knock the designer off course, but they persevere.

Now, lets say this project is one of discrete parts that have multiple subject leaders who must review and approved said parts. And lets also say that the subject experts really couldn't give a crap about this project being done, because they have other priorities and making sure someone else (more than likely lower on the food chain) has the proper information to do their job properly isn't one of them.

So the Very Important Project sputters to a stop before the December meeting of the Very Important People, but everybody is okay, because most of those subject leaders are among the Very Important People.

In the absence of that priority, our intrepid designer then must work on other top priorities, and slowly try to steal time to work on the Very Important Project. But, because everybody is very busy and there is no lack of Top Priority Jobs, they don't get very far.

Then the big meeting comes and our designer approaches the subject leaders and asks them face to face how they are coming with their sections. Now, some are abashed and actually work after the meeting to get the designer their edits. However, with the meeting and the fire for getting the Very Important Project done banked, other people steal the time of the designer and give them Other Priorities. But before we move on, let us focus on one subject leader and their conversation with the designer. The subject leader basically tells the designer that they haven't even looked at it in the 2 months it's been sitting in their inbox. And that they don't think they'll get to it any time soon.

Fast forward four months. Our designer has only worked a few more hours on the VIProject because nobody seems to give a good god damn about it. But then there's a last minute call for the information that would be in the VIProject to use in another VIProject, this one due in a week. Subject leaders contact the designer to "see where we are, and can the designer share those files."

The designer responds, "We're exactly where we were four months ago, unapproved, and in process, and sure, I can share those files. But only on the stipulation that I get all the updates back to fold into the original VIProject."

"Oh, sure thing," the subject matter experts say, in particular that one subject matter expert who, 4 months later, still hasn't reviewed their section. Over the course of the next two months, because the second VIProject gets extended, our designer provides Very Quick Responses to calls for help from a person pressed into being a designer for the second VIProject. Even, at one time, connecting remotely to their machine to show them how a certain function is done, only to end up doing that certain function for them for all the sections (because they were busy). But our designer is a team player, and they really want all the updated data back.

Only to not hear a thing about the second VIProject after that (note, request for files back would, lets say, be made seven times to all parties concerned).

Fast forward two more months and our intrepid designer, working themselves to the bone on another VIProject (which takes precedence over another VIProject they were working on), receives an email from our subject expert who told the designer they didn't have time to work on their section, and then begged for the files, and then completely ignored the designer. Also, this email is sent after regular business hours. The text of that email reads, basically, just asking when the designer thinks that first Very Important Project will be done. Note the designer still has never received feedback on that subject expert's section.

Now imagine the designer trying to keep professional while their head attempts to screw off and go bouncing down the hall. Imagine the designer not immediately replying with an explicative laden email because they know they would be fired for insubordination. Imagine the designer plotting their revenge. Imagine the designer making a personal vow to never respond in a timely fashion to this subject expert ever again.

Okay, well, now we're at the end you can believe that all of this was make believe. Or, as Puck would say, "If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended. That you have slumbered here while these visions did appear, and this weak and idle theme no more yielding than a dream. Gentles, do not reprehend. If you pardon, we will mend. And, as I am an honest Puck, if we have unearned luck, now to scape the serpent's tongue. We will make amends. 'Ere long else the Puck a liar call. So goodnight unto you all. Give me your hands if we be friends. And Robin shall restore amends."

Linkee-poo, not all those who wander are lost

Still madness at work.

Michelle Sagara West is wise in her criticism of the Stop The Goodreads Bullies web-site.

John Scalzi, with Fuzzy Nation and now this is the geek's John Grisham. Obviously, John was a lawyer in a previous life.

Get up and dance. Okay, well, at least don't sit down so much. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The eighteen worse things for left-handed people. As a lefty myself, yes this. (Grokked from Camille Alexa)

Jim Wright fairly well sums up what I expect from the GOP Convention this year.

The long history of the Apple iPad. Lots of images from back in the 80s and 90s and the advent of the "tablet" computer. Two thoughts, now you know how much it takes to make successful products (literally decades of thought) and just how exciting those times were and how narrow our vision of computers has become (when they're everywhere and in everything now, which is really quite amazing when you think about it). (Pointed to by John by way of Dan)

Eric makes with the funny making. I guess in a world where Obama became a skilled document forger and media spoofer at the age of 2 days old, it's perfectly reasonable to accept than in the 90s, the Batman comics started the Bane thread knowing that Mitt Romney would eventually start a financial firm with a homonymic name and would be running against the ascendent Obama in 2012, when Christopher Nolan would finish his Batman Magnum Opus and feature that same villain all in a bid to knock Romney down a few points in the public mind. (Note to Rush Limbaugh, you're taking the wrong drugs, again)

"Watch out, Americans: Your thrifty, socialist neighbors to the north have stealthily become richer than you. That line is so funny on so many levels. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: Who has been feeding them speed?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Linkee-poo didn't want to rock your boat, but you sent this dangerous note

A Fresh Air interview with Aaron Sorkin on the launch of his new show, Newsroom. While focused on shows, there's some good things about how writers work and come to be. Aaron is a living master with dialog with a style.

That which does not kill us makes us weirder. Marie Brennan on why failure can be good. For the right (read "driven") person, failure means we need to work harder. With writing, every Tom, Dick, and Wenceslas thinks they can be the next James Patterson (insert well worn statistics here). It does help to be stubborn, resilient, thick skinned, professional, and did I mention bloody-minded stubborn? You have to be that goat that bangs its head against the fence. And if you watch, the smart goats try different angles, speeds, and styles until they knock that fence down.

Also, don't forget, when you become that BNA, the criticisms only get worse and more widespread. But like John Scalzi says, it's part of the price of being successful. Don't return stupidity with more stupidity. Hmm, "John Scalzi Says…" sounds like a meme of sorts. "John Scalzi Says Relax!"

Okay, I think I Nathan Fillion even more. (Linked to for the photo at the top)

"Nobody is interested in what happened at Bain Capital." Umm, the figures don't lie, I think they are curious. Otherwise, why do the massive campaign shouting, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." You know, this wouldn't be such a problem for the Romney campaign if they haven't based much of the economic policy on "What a wonderful businessman Romney is, look at what he did with Bain Capital!" Uh, okay, we will look. I donna think it mean what you think it means. (Pointed to by Dan)

An anti-piracy, musician's rights group asked one of their members to create a composition to run behind and ad, which he was told would only be shown at a local film festival. Imagine his surprise to find they used his work worldwide, without paying him or negotiating those rights. Oopsie. (Pointed to by Dan)

Okay, so when the Democratic Party starts blanketing the airwaves with "Corporations are people too, my friend" and some of the other silliness that Romney spoke which has been used in context of his original statement you all won't complain about it, will you. You know, for how you're using Obama's words out of context. Sigh. Dear Romney Campaign, please get with 2004 and the advent of people just doing their own searches to find out if what you're saying is true. (Pointed to by Dan)

Wow, see I was going with the Romney Campaign wanting to hide something with not releasing their tax returns. I had no idea it was simply that they have no fucking clue. So now I'm wondering if Romney will fire his advisors before (politically expedient) or after the convention. Because, by process of slow elimination, that's emerging as his best play.

And in an attempt to provide cover, Darrell Issa also reveals himself to be clueless. And GW Bush weighs in a receives the Nobel "Well D'uh" Award for "The contributors’ belief is that 'the solution to today’s problems is sustained and significant economic growth and that the surest path to that growth is free markets and free people,' Bush writes." Mr. President, here's your sign.

"The younger Romney… collected income in 2010 amounting to 439 times the median household income… His father… earned an average annual income that was 44 times that of the median household income… In the ’50s and ’60s… George Romney paid 37 percent of his income in federal taxes. By 2010, Romney’s son paid a total of 13.9 percent of his income in federal taxes, this in an America that is supposedly well on its way to becoming a socialist state, with a confiscatory federal government intent on stealing the wealth of its highest earners." History, she'll dope slap you while you're not looking. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Way back when the Tea Party started, several people tried to convince me to join. And their main organizing principles do track to my own political convictions; lower taxes, less government intrusion into its citizen's lives. But understand when I say "lower taxes" I don't mean to kiss Grover Norquist's ass on "No taxes." And in some cases I think taxes are too low (such as having Capital Gains not taxed as income, like we do bank interest). And when I say "less government intrusion" I mean "keep your hands off my uterus" (if I had one, you know). Not "decimate the EPA, close the Department of Education, don't have any services other than a strong National Defense." But I also saw how social conservatives had already started to take over the TP (despite many protestations, some going on to this day, and they also protested that they weren't a "conservative" movement). Well, when you focus on issues that aren't taxes or government intrusion you pretty much make the point for me.

"You know us liberal moms: I want to give him a chance to learn the right lessons from this, which isn’t going to happen if I out him." Classy, Ms. Schultz. Unfortunately I don't expect that favor to be returned. Seriously, I though the Republicans/Conservatives discovered the internet in 2003.

Alligator Quotient: Alligators on a Plane (that was the first draft)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Linkee-poo has changed its hairstyle so many times now

Bwahahahaha. Okay, well, I think I've now got an answer as to why all this day thing and reboot stuff is screwing up my writing mojo.

Miranda Suri returns from Readercon bearing fire. She gives the five main reasons for attending cons (especially those like Readercon). Yep, those are it.

Learning from the greats on writing mysteries. A short post on some of the shining stars in mystery and how they approached writing.

Happy book-day for Ian Tregillis and The Coldest War. A few years ago at World Fantasy, I was told by a good friend that Ian was a writer to watch. To my shame, I haven't done that. I need to correct that error.

The first digital/cyborg hate crime? That's a guy with augmented reality glasses (that he uses for normal vision) being assaulted in a French McDonalds. I hear the sound of wooden shoes being ground up in the cogs. (Pointed to by Dan)

Edited they pulled the video from the old link, new link goes to YouTube channel with the video. Autonomous robots playing soccer. As John says, "It's kind of charming—like watching a bunch of four-year-olds." (Pointed to by John, 'notch)

So, what does a big Wall Street bank do for their money? Apparently nothing. Quick, tell me again the story about how all these poor people getting loans were the ones that tanked our economy instead of the rich bankers, I'm forgetting. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Just in case you thought the Texas State Board of Education fracas was over. Sigh. "Ten of the respondents stated that they disagreed that 'it is the government's responsibility to be sure children are properly educated." Eight abstained from response, and only three agreed with the assertion — which is, of course, constitutionally mandated." Look, I'm getting tired of the people who claim to protect and revere the Constitution and who have no fucking idea what is in the actual Constitution. So tired. The struggle in Texas is the struggle over forward progression and another Dark Ages. (Pointed to by Dan)

Foxconn is looking at installing industrial robots in its factories. I'm reminded of a friend who shipped various packing machines over to China (bought second hand in the US). He'd go, set up the machines, instruct the management and workers how to run them safely. Only to return a year later to install new machines and see the ones he had previously installed sitting idle. That's because it was cheaper to pay Chinese factory workers to fill bags with scoops out of a bin that it was to run the machinery. But they continued to buy the machines. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

What could possibly go wrong with drilling in the Arctic Sea? Well, slipping your anchor in the port bay maybe low on the list, but you'd think they'd have at least that tech under control. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"…but shame on the Democrats if they don’t try. There’s no reason except cowardice for failing to mount a full-throated defense of the law. It is not perfect, but it is humane, it is… fiscally viable, and it comes with some reasonable hopes of reforming the cockeyed way we pay health care providers." While that opinion article is entitles the "Five Obamacare Myths", it should actually read "the 5 things conservatives are trying to scare you about concerning Obamacare, none of which has any basis in reality." So, we had the 33rd vote in the house to repeal Obamacare, only to have the next day the Senate Minority Leader stand in the well of the Senate and decry the Democrats bill to make 501c4 contributions transparent as "waisting time by not getting to legislation that will grow jobs." But then, ol' droopy face also commented during the Bush years that government can't create jobs. So I guess I don't expect him to do much more than read the talking points that are faxed to his office every morning. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

You know my rant yesterday on the Romney/Bain disconnect and incompetent handling? Yeah, turns out I'm not the only one wondering about just what his Bain "experience" means for a US Presidency (I highly recommend that last article as an explanation of just what a company like Bain actually does and where it makes its money). Were conservatives still so hung over from the 2010 elections that they felt they didn't need to do the homework for this election? Maybe they though that all their 501c4 organizations would jet plow through with all the money they're spending. Or rehashing failed programs that sound great to the mythos conservatives live in would win them the White House. (majority of links grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Linkee-poo heard of some gravesides out by the highway a place where nobody goes

A shortie today as I'm still working under the load of all these alligators.

Because it's surely the Christians who are under oppression. A man exposes a supposed "miracle" is in fact a leaky pipe and the Catholic Church in India works hard to put him in jail. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

Why your wheat thins will be more expensive next year. That's the USAD declaring the largest natural disaster area ever due to the drought. And they don't mention the stem fruit crop failure in Michigan, or last year's peanut crop failure. "About 53 percent of the country is facing 'moderate to extreme drought' so far this summer." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Anybody remember the "come as a homeless person" Halloween party at the legal firm that processed foreclosures? And now we have our Healthcare version of that.

Barney Frank asks "Okay, now do you understand who you voted for?" No, Mr. Frank, they really don't. However, we can show the voters how the machine has taken over the "purists" they thought they voted in. But for the people who did vote for the extremists, the politicians are doing exactly what the voters wanted them to do. Absolutely nothing. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: At least the bought lunch. That was nice.

It's enough to make me wonder

Is this Mitt Romney's first campaign? If so, couldn't he hire experienced people?

Seriously, did the Romney staff think this was going to be a cake walk? WTF, guys (and gals, I hope). Do the fucking homework. Seriously, it's like they've never heard of this internet thing or any of the commercial databases of testimony and news reports that can be used to check every little thing you say.

You really should be making this tougher on the Obama camp. Hell, you've got PolitiFact on your side in this one (although the GOP has spend considerable capital painting PF as an "untrustworthy, liberal leaning organization"). I mean, even if you can say, "Oh, we weren't at Bain at the time," the next argument is your name was on the papers and now you're ducking responsibility. How can we trust you to take responsibility while being the Head of State? The captain is always responsible for what happens on his ship. Basically you don't get that all these things trickling out are painting you as someone who would say any lie to get your way.

This election should be tighter (the polls are moving, not in Mitt's direction). This should be a real fight of ideas. Instead you're going to be taken down by being shown to be a liar, a cheat, and a scoundrel. Christ on a pogo stick, conservatives, this is the best you can field?

I shouldn't complain too much. See, if Obama wins a second term, in 2016 it'll be Santorum at the front of the ticket (if history is any guide).

And now your argument is that "Poor picked on you, the President should focus on his own record and not criticize others, because that's not Presidential." Really? Have you heard your own stump speech? Have you listened to your own surrogates?

I'm sorry, is this Romney's first election? I didn't think so, but listening to his campaign, I'm beginning to believe he hasn't spent any time in politics (like he tried to paint himself during the primaries) instead of being governor of Massachusetts. The only other explanation is he thinks the rest of us are dumb.

It's called "damage control." Here's the thing people have learned over the past two decades of hyper-focused 24/7 news coverage, admit everything, show all the work, cover all the angles right up at the front. It'll hurt. But like taking off a band-aid, doing it quick will hurt a lot less than doing it slowly.

What's next, fighting release your tax record by every year? Dude, really, here's a hint, release them all know, point out the main thing everyone will focus on, hang a lantern on it. Ride the bad publicity wave for the 2 weeks, and it'll be all behind you by the time you get to the convention.

And then when the Obama campaign commercials in October reminds everyone of the scandal, the pain at that point will be much reduced. Because everyone paying attention now will be over it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Weekend Linkee-poo calls Alice when she was just small

Still at work. Hope you're having a weekend.

Wendy's novel outlining omnibus. (Grokked from Catherine Schaff-Stump)

Verizon is up to its old tricks again. Yes, Verizon wants to direct you to their preferred (read: the people who give us more money) sites and slow down others. Drat those old laws prohibiting them from doing that. (Grokked from WannaBeWriter06)

Insurance companies fielding their own teams of firefighters to protect the homes of their insurance customers during wildfires. It's good to know that they report to the incident commanders, but it doesn't sound like they take orders from them. Good thing we have a classless society so, you know, the rich people aren't protected any more than the rest of us. D'oh. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

I wonder if we'll now see the Clean Coal Hyper-Marketing Campaign also address the black lung problem. And while the regulator agency responsible for checking these things basically went to sleep in the early 2000's (Gee, what happened the, Grandpa?), the new MSHA is trying to get regulations with stiffer penalties passed. Guess who is blocking it.

And the Train of Crazy keeps steaming along. "Retired retroactively"? WTF does that even mean?

Alligator Quotient: Whaddayamean they got to go to Comic Con? I bet everyone thought they were in costume.