Thursday, December 31, 2009

Semordnilap

We've all heard of palindromes, words that are the same forwards and backwards such as: level, deed, eye, nun, civic.

Palindromes, sure - but I had never heard of a 'semordnilap' before, which is a word that is a completely different word when read backwards, such as:

stressed - desserts
was - saw
deliver - reviled
live - evil

I should mention that neither Webster's dictionary nor Dictionary.com have the word 'semordnilap' in them, but it does come up in numerous wiki pages. According to Wikipedia, the term was coined in 1961 by Dmitri A. Borgmann. Hm.

Semordnilap is supposed to be 'palindrome' backwards, but wouldn't that be emordnilap?

Book Progress 12/31/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

609 words written today.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Book Progress 12/30/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

625 words written today.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Progress 12/29/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

645 words written today.

The Tanned Need Not Apply

I thought this was some sort of typo: Nocturnist Opportunity in Ocala, FL but no, it's not.

I can't help but imagine there would there be lots of applicants in the 'undead' category.

Monday, December 28, 2009

No Book Progress 12/28/09

I had plenty of free time, but my creative juices are running low.

No writing today.

I'm sure he's a swell dude and all...

For the first time in what seems like years, I had a go with the 'Next Blog' link at the top of the screen, bracing myself for scary porn, misguided tirades against Muslims, and woes of pending world disaster.

Instead I found blog after blog (I stopped counting after twenty) about some Jesus guy. I've never met the fellow, but I hear good things.

I did find one blog worth linking to, if just because it's about David Tennant - the actual content is pretty odd.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Moss Zombie


This tree has no leaves on it, if you can believe it.

Book Progress 12/27/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

637 words written today.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Real Life Conversation #50

Hello! Who is this?

It's me, your Babydu?

What's the password?

Umm, the celery stalks arrive at midnight?

Sounds like a rude awakening. Celery stalks, all poking and insistent.

What? No.

Especially if there was peanut butter involved.

Eww.

Imagine if it was extra crunchy - Ow! And what if the person was allergic to nuts! Think of the unfortunate rash.

I'll be home in an hour. I love you, crazy person.

Book Progress 12/26/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

607 words written today.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Yay! Christmas Day!

Cindy and I always open presents on Christmas Eve, since it's become tradition to sleep in on Christmas itself.

Well that's the usual tradition - this year we were happy to get up early and welcome her family over for a Christmas Brunch of ham and many yummy trimmings.

We all had lots of fun! There was much laughter and Wii gaming and even some outdoor play - I'm willing to bet that we're the only group of people who were out playing frisbee on Christmas.

Book Progress 12/25/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

634 words written today.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Book Progress 12/24/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

612 words written today.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Darned Creative Passwords!

I've been lulled into complacency by wifi passwords like '1234'. Where's a 'WiFi Crax' iPhone app when you need one?

No Book Progress 12/23/09

I had plenty of free time, but my creative juices are running low.

No writing today.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Click the link! Hurry!

I’ve recommended it before, but you internet folk are a forgetful lot.

Quickly now - scootch your mouseclicking digit over this link, click like crazy and enjoy the lush detail of Dresden Codak’s latest work.

There are just so many great little details in each panel that to categorize this a ‘web comic’ either elevates the genre to a higher form of artistry or demeans Dresden Codak.

Book Progress 12/22/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

620 words written today.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dying since the day they were born

The human brain is an amazing piece of wetware, with a storage and bandwidth capacity that’s difficult to calculate even with current technology.

Something that concerns me about the status of my own bandwidth - earworms.

Songs get stuck in my head constantly – and all I have to do is read a list of titles for it to happen. I was researching songs that were popular in 1993 and 1994 for a flashback scene I was writing.

When I got up the next morning, I was humming ‘Stay’ by Lisa Loeb, even though I did not reference the song in my story – my eye simply skimmed across the title the day before.

Take a good look at these two links/song lists, and let me know if any related earwoms end up attacking you over the next couple of days.

Book Progress 12/21/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

742 words written today.

Real Life Conversation #49

What the hell? Jesus on every channel? Is this the second coming? ...Oh right, it's Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Progress 12/20/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

950 words written today.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Etymological Musings

Do the words 'shoo' and 'shoe' share the same history?

With pets - key phrases like walk, treat, dinner, or bath stand out with meaning amid all of the random human babble with our animals.

Did we go from tossing a shoe at a howling dog (and by shoe I mean a soft, harmless slipper) to holding up a shoe and threatening to throw it, to simply saying the word 'shoo'?

The word origins seem to support my theory -
Shoo is German - Shcu
and
Shoe is also German - Schuh

The real problem with this is, who says "I'm going to throw this shoe if you don't shut up"? Or slings a shoe while simultaneously yelling "Shoe!"

Hm.

Book Progress 12/19/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

656 words written today.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Book Progress 12/18/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

624 words written today.

If I Were Homeless

I would save up my alms for a cheap hammock. Yep, I would. A book on knots would be a good idea too, but that I could read at the library.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Neato!

I'm sure you all remember EtchCo's Effing Delicious Free Fall Muffins, one of my posts from January 2008 where I postulated the possibility of creating spherical muffins (all top) by dropping the batter and baking it as it falls.

Purely by chance, I came across an article on something called a 'shot tower', where they make ammunition by dropping it from a height inside a tower. This totally gives my idea credibility, and therefore I rock!

I like this feeling, let's hope it lasts a good twenty minutes...

Book Progress 12/17/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

610 words written today.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Digital Tampons?

I was listening to a 'Stuff Mom Never Told You' podcast yesterday, and the topic was menstruation devices.

The actual title of the podcast was 'The Delightful History of Menstrual Products'.

There was a lot I never knew about (and luckily, have no real need to) from the history of pads to menstrual cups.

The part that really provided an interesting mental image was the variety called 'Digital Tampons', which brought to mind some sort of remote control, a robot arm, and some sort of cleansing laser beam. But of course they mean 'digit' as in 'finger'.

Book Progress 12/16/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

731 words written today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Question of the Day #1

Is it really an 'Estate Sale' if the estate consists of a beat up double wide trailer?

No Book Progress 12/15/09

Cindy and I met up at Steak 'n Shake after work for sliders and chili and shakes (yeah we were bad) and then to Target for some goodies. By the time we got home, I was spent.

No writing today.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A New Low in Pranking

I've been thinking how nice it would be to own my own business, something Cindy and I could do together. She likes to sleep in and I like to be up and active early, so our shifts would occur naturally.

We love animals but aren't the sort who could be vets - I don't think we would deal well with sick little critters. So how about a pet hotel? About once a year, we put Lina the kitty up at a great local 'Pet Resort' called All About Cats and Dogs. They have a good facility and Lina always comes home in fine shape.

So I started imagining how I would design a pet resort of our own. I would have web cams in each enclosure, so the owners could log in and see stored and live footage of their little bundle of love while they are away.

And hey, how about phones built into each enclosure which would be set to 'auto answer', allowing the clients to call in and chat with the pet while watching them on the web cam? How sweet would that be? (Would the pets be soothed or frustrated by hearing their owner's voices?)

This line of thought led me to pranksters - some jerks who might log on to the site and call in with some harsh language: "Bad dog! Bad dog! VERY BAD DOG! Go lie down!!" and the poor dog is cringing and whimpering and spinning in circles, looking for somewhere to go.

Awful!

As a result of this mental exercise, I realize there will need to be some sort of phone password for clients to use, good only for the duration of their pet's stay.

Not Cool

I found this notice on my door on Friday night:

"Dear Residents:

Last night, the apartment complex experienced a break in and one of the items stolen was a set of master keys. We have already started the process of rekeying all the apartment units. The rekeying process requires that we enter each apartment unit. Each entry door lock will be reconfigured so that the stolen master key will no longer open the lock, but your individual entry lock key will still be operative. We hope the process completed by..."

A locksmith stopped by early on Sunday to change out the tumblers, the whole process took all of five minutes and indeed our existing keys still work - but it's still unsettling.

What would keep some random con man from posting such notices, and changing out a whole series of apartment's locks, only to allow himself access any time he likes? I didn't call the office to verify this notice, and I doubt most residents did.

Book Progress 12/14/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

700 words written today.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Latest Food Obsession

I can't get enough banana's and Quaker Oh's! Yummy deliciousness, I highly recommend this as a combo.

Book Progress 12/13/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

649 words written today.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Evidence is Stacking Up


Who needs TWO chest freezers in a one-bedroom apartment? Only a serial killer, that's who.

He's quiet, polite, mysterious, keeps to himself - yep, all the symptoms of serial killing. If only if I knew whether or not he eats bread - that would be the clincher. I suppose I could go through his trash...

Should I call the authorities?

Book Progress 12/12/2009

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

644 words written today.

I have written 7,450 words since NaNoWriMo ended, which pleases me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pod...Cast? What IS this new thing?

Like many folks, I spend upwards of eighteen hours a month on the freeway heading to and from work.

I foolishly canceled XM a few months ago, but have been pleasantly surprised to notice I'm spending a lot less on music from iTunes lately. (I have a number of friends who are resolute converts to the religion of 'Only Dummies Pay for Files', and they may well have let out an excited gasp a moment ago.)

But no, I haven't started stealing songs - instead, a good six years behind everyone else with a PC and an MP3 player I've really been getting into podcasts lately.

I'd listened to snippets of a few podcasts here and there over the years, and I never enjoyed them. A full tortuous minute of listening would prove that the voices, personalities, and writing style all grated.

One exception was a really fun podcast - Earth Concepts For Aliens, which for some reason stopped after only seven podcastisodes. I'd recommend downloading all seven, and then peppering the writer/producer/performer Paulius with demands for a plethora of new podcastisodes.

But I can't credit ECFA for the surge in my podcast listening, since for some reason there are only seven podcastisodes of this Emmy Award Nominated podcast.

I finally came across the trifecta that had been lacking in the 'How Stuff Works' podcasts. I started out on 'Stuff You Should Know' with Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, and have worked my way into 'Stuff Mom Never Told You' with Molly Edmunds and Cristen Conger.

(In the fantasy world that is my brain, Cristen records the audiobook version of 'Timeclock Adjustment', my novel-in-progress.)

I have only listened to SYSK and SMNTY so far, but if they're any indication of the quality, all the different podcasts on the site are worth checking out. Go! Do so!

Book Progress 12/11/09

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

1010 words written today. (WOOT!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Freeway Snaps #16

Book Progress 12/10/09

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

622 words written today.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Friends of the Library

At a recent 'Friends of the Library' sale in Gainesville, these two notices caught my eye. I have to admit, it never occurred to me to wait a few years and reuse a calendar.


Book Progress 12/09/09

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

671 words written today.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Work Window - Pretty Red Bird

Book Progress 12/08/09

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

743 words written today.

Monday, December 07, 2009

How to adjust a monitor

Thanks, ViewSonic!


Apparently adjusting this inert-gas pressurized pneumatic monitor from above can lead to a concussion, while adjusting from the front can lead to broken ribs and possibly a punctured lung.

It makes so much more sense to adjust from behind, where you will have no idea if the new adjustment is correct or not.

No Book Progress 12/7/09

We went out to dinner (Panera Bread yum!) after work, we came home and went to bed. No writing today.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Fun With MS Paint

For some reason it amused me greatly to make up these fake bumper stickers.

Book Progress 12/6/09

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

730 words written today.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Roleplay Arguments

We're expected to be so very polite to one another all the time. I'm not a contrary person, but sometimes I wish there was a number I could call to have a good argument, similar to the Monty Python sketch.

I'll bet a real pay per minute argument line would make money. And hey, if I had such a job, I could telecommute!

Book Progress 12/5/09

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

805 words written today.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Christmas

Christmas gift ideas are getting more difficult. Everyone tends to buy themselves anything they really want - which I do too, leaving little for us to gift when Christmas rolls around.

This leaves only things people won't buy themselves, which tend to be really pricey.

Book Progress 12/4/09

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

672 words written today.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Book Progress 12/3/09

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

809 words written today.

Moles Linked to Longevity?

Get a load of this article.

Unfortunately for me, I have approximately 2 moles on my body. Doe!

Another Wikipedia snippet:

Moles tend to appear during childhood and gradually disappear after middle age. People with white skin have an average of 30 moles, with some having up to 400 moles.

People who have moles on their skin may have a lower incidence of certain age-related diseases. The number of moles a person has correlates with telomere length, which may be of significance in the aging process. One study found that people with over 100 moles had longer telomeres than those with under 25 moles. Shorter telomeres are thought by some to be associated with a greater risk of age-related diseases.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Book Progress 12/2/09

I'm going to keep working on my NaNoWriMo novel, currently titled 'Timeclock Adjustment' until it's done.

744 words written today.

What the What? Swiss Ban Minarets

I just read an article on Wikipedia (and confirmed at Chicago Tribune) that boggles my mind. The Swiss have banned minarets – that’s an architectural spire with an onion shaped crown, like so:

Why in the world would anyone believe that opposing a spire would change people’s minds for the better, or encourage positive social changes?

If an anti-Christian U.S. president took over and banned churches, would that do anything but encourage the people he’s trying to repress to fight back? I don’t see this ban will last very long - worldwide pressure will likely result in a quick retraction.

Why all the brouhaha? How did this start? According to Wikipedia:

The Swiss minaret controversy began in a small municipality in the northern part of Switzerland in 2005. The contention involved the Turkish cultural association in Wangen bei Olten, which applied for a construction permit to erect a 6-metre-high minaret on the roof of its Islamic community centre. The project faced opposition from surrounding residents, who had formed a group to prevent the tower's erection. The Turkish association claimed that the building authorities improperly and arbitrarily delayed its building application. They also believed that the members of the local opposition group were motivated by religious bias.

The Communal Building and Planning Commission rejected the association's application. The applicants appealed to the Building and Justice Department, which reverted the decision and remanded. As a consequence of that decision, local residents (who were members of the group mentioned) and the commune of Wangen brought the case before the Administrative Court of the Canton of Solothurn, but failed with their claims. On appeal the Federal Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the lower court. The 6-metre (20 ft)-high minaret was eventually erected in July 2009…


…The Egerkinger committee is made up of members of the Swiss People's Party and the Federal Democratic Union. The committee opines that the interests of residents, who are disturbed by specific kinds of religious land uses, are to be taken seriously. Moreover, it argues that Swiss residents should be able to block unwanted and unusual projects such as the erection of Islamic minarets. The committee alleges, inter alia, that "the construction of a minaret has no religious meaning. Neither in the Qur'an, nor in any other holy scripture of Islam is the minaret expressly mentioned at any rate.

The minaret is far more a symbol of religious-political power claim...The initiators justify their point of view by stating parts of later Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's 1997 speech, which holds: "Mosques are our barracks, domes our helmets, minarets our bayonets, believers our soldiers. This holy army guards my religion." Ulrich Schluer, who is one of the Egerkinger committee’s most prominent exponents, states in this respect: "A minaret has nothing to do with religion: It just symbolises a place where Islamic law is established."


The British newspaper The Times, cited support of the minaret ban by "radical feminists" who oppose the oppression of women in Islamic societies. The Times further reported that Swiss women supported the ban, in pre-election polling, by a greater percentage than did Swiss men.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Recap

NaNoWriMo this year went surprisingly well!

I picked up where I left off on last year's story, which I can only assume helped make the process easier. Last year was about introducing everything from setting to characters, tone and the beginnings of the plot.

When I picked up this year all I had to do was keep moving forward, and the fact that I was jumping around wildly from scene to scene at whim, depending on what mood I was in had to help make it less like work.

However, during my progress it became abundantly clear that not a lot happens in the book. It's really all about one man and his memory problems which worsen over time - this is a very internal thing and isn't a very dramatic.

Memory issues were probably done as interestingly and dramatically as is humanly possible in the film Memento - the fact that some very corrupt people were carefully manipulating the poor man to some twisted, evil results made the movie amazing.

My character is surrounded by people who care about him, and only want to help (for the most part) which makes it a lot more slow. I admit, there is a ton of exposition in the book which may well be due to the word count pressure of NaNoWriMo.

(Some would use this as an argument against NaNoWriMo, but they can fuck right off.) If I trimmed all but the most entertaining exposition, it would likely end up a third of the length and twice as good.

My favorite thing about the way the book is going is that all the characters are doing their damnedest to go about their lives as normal despite all the memory issues the main character is having. It's always odd to me in most stories when all the characters drop everything else to focus on what's happening to one person. In my book, this leads to some extraneous scenes, but I feel it makes the whole story more like something that is really happening.

This will likely produce a book that's somewhat ponderous - one of those slow reads that you probably wouldn't stick with to the finish unless you really enjoy the writer's style, or are one of those folks who simply 'have to know' the solution to the mystery. I introduce several possibilities and the characters pursue them as well as they can, being average laymen - if you think your corporation is out to get you, what can really be done unless you have proof or millions of dollars?

I'm taking today off, but I will be writing every day until the book is finished. I've been debating the number of words that can easily fit into my day - something I could accomplish in about an hour. I'm leaning towards 600-800 words for this daily progress - getting done quickly isn't a priority, but making constant progress is.

I'm going to continue to post short blurbs on the blog about my daily progress, which I recommend to my writing buddies as well!

Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 30

Way to go, Invisible Lizard and KCGator!

Both of you beat me to 50,000 words this year, well done! Only someone who's gone through NaNoWriMo really knows what a challenge it is to write on a daily/almost daily basis despite everything else going on in their lives.

Good luck, Logician! You can do it! You only need 9000 words by midnight!

(Update - Congrats on reaching 50,000 words Logician! Did you write 9000 words today, or have you been sneakily writing without updating the word count online?)

I have it lucky in that I have quite a bit of free time - which means I have no reason other than laziness not to keep writing until this novel is finished. At a guess, there are probably another 30,000 words to be written before it's finished.

Day 30 - Total Words Written: 50,036

Words Left To Be Written: 0!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 29

I crawled out of bed at 7:30, not long after Cindy left for work. I took my morning walk in the delicious 49 degrees outdoors, had breakfast, washed the sheets and pillowcases, sprayed and cleaned the oven with noxious oven cleaner, then unloaded, loaded, and started the dishwasher.

Now it's 9am, time for a little online play before getting to the work of word count. Only today and tomorrow left for NaNoWriMo? This month flew by. I pledge to keep writing beyond November until the book is done!!

Day 29 - Total Words Written: 48,400

Words Left To Be Written: 1,600

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 28

It's now 10:30pm. I got home from a half day of work and the other half hanging out with friends about an hour ago, and I have yet to write a single word today.

The call of the warm and snuggly wife in the cozy and comfy bed is hard to resist.

Despite the temptation I need to get today's word count knocked out - the thought of having twice the writing to do tomorrow is not an appealing one, as it would take me a good four hours to accomplish. It would be four hours spread out throughout the day, which means it would take over my whole Sunday. No no no, so here I go.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I finished literally at 11:58 with a surprising minimum of distraction. Not too shabby.

Day 28 - Total Words Written: 46,719

Words Left To Be Written: 3,281

Friday, November 27, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 27

Well it's the day after Thanksgiving, which means 2009 is over, though it does not realize it yet. The Friday after turkey day is like the Sunday afternoon of the weekend - Monday and 2010 looms.

A new scene popped into my head last night, and for a change it involves neither smoothies nor cars. Well there is some travel but I skip it.

Re-reading a scene I wrote many days ago, I just discovered that one of my characters is a smoker - Oops. Maybe they're trying to quit?

Day 27 - Total Words Written: 45,239

Words Left To Be Written: 4,761

Thursday, November 26, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 26

I'm some kind of crazy person - I got up at 5:30 on Thanksgiving to exercise and get the majority of my word count out of the way before we have to start cleaning and cooking. Who does that??

~~~~~~~~~

A good day was had with the in-laws, yummy food and dessert were nommed, (big thanks go to Cindy!) and I'm finished with my daily word count by 9pm. Not too shabby.

Day 26 - Total Words Written: 43,400

Words Left To Be Written: 6,600

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 25

Aw shoot. I just realized that my novella is crap. It's mostly people driving from place to place, making quirky observations, being clever, and sipping smoothies.

While this would be a fun way to spend an evening, I can't imagine it would hold the reader's interest for more than a page or two. I might need to come up with a plot of some sort. Yes, this seems like a good time for a plot, now that we only have five days left...

Day 25 - Total Words Written: 41,722

Words Left To Be Written: 8,278

Yo Mama

"Yo mama is so fat, she doesn't digest food; it's spaghettified."

Spaghettification: In astrophysics, spaghettification is the stretching of objects into long thin shapes (rather like spaghetti) in a very strong gravitational field, and is caused by extreme tidal forces. In the most extreme cases, near black holes, the stretching is so powerful that no object can withstand it, no matter how strong its components are.

The word spaghettification comes from an example given by Stephen Hawking in his book A Brief History of Time, where he describes the flight of a fictional astronaut who, passing within a black hole's event horizon, is "stretched like spaghetti" by the gravitational gradient (difference in strength) from head to toe.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 24

Well I've done it again - here it is 9:15pm and I haven't written a single word yet - very similar to the situation I was in on Day 20.

I've welcomed my Darling Cindy home from a very long day of work, then sequestered her in the bedroom, lest her cute snugglyness distract my typey efforts. More later.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm back. All right, not too bad - it took 2 hours. A quick trip was taken, memories reflected, setting reinforced - a good scene!

Day 24 - Total Words Written: 40,031

Words Left To Be Written: 9,969

Monday, November 23, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 23

Today proved to be the frustrating day I wasn't looking forward to over my short one day weekend.

When will customers learn that I can teach them how a software program works, but not how to think? I try to teach them to think, but I'm afraid they've missed something vital during a developmental stage, around age 3.

Writing was anemic today - perhaps I should have been writing a huge fight scene between the customers characters (I actually typed that Freudian slip), but I'm not at that point of the story yet. Also, I didn't think of it.

Day 23 - Total Words Written: 38,535

Words Left To Be Written: 11,465

Sunday, November 22, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 22

Today was a blah Sunday. I worked yesterday, and I need to be to work early tomorrow.

It was a dreary, rainy, stormy day and we had to unplug the electronics in the middle of a productive computing period - Cindy was working on work stuff, I on NaNoWriMo from the coziness of our side-by-side desks. Even the cat was doing her part.

I put down a very necessary scene, which ended up as mostly dialogue with very little description. I'll need to go back later and flesh it out, which is usually what I consider a writing warm-up task.

Good luck, my fellow NaNoWriMo'ers!

Congratulations to KCGator (here I mutter a curse in Chinese), who finished her 50,000 word count last night!

Day 22 - Total Words Written: 37,704

Words Left To Be Written: 12,296

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 21

Er... I don't know what happened. I somehow got carried away and wrote 2,387 words today. Yes, it does seem so. I did the math three times.

I had to work today (boo!) but only a 4 hour shift (still necessitating an hour and a half total commute, boo!). Work went fine - really we're just a cleaning team on Saturdays, with limited interactions with clients (yay!).

I tapped out about 700 words this morning, and then somehow, in the midst of not really wanting to write this evening, I got into a whole 1,687 word scene that was never meant to exist, and now we have conspiracy, adultery, espresso and high art danish. Okay then.

Day 21 - Total Words Written: 36,009

Words Left To Be Written: 13,991

(Cindy hates odd numbers, and will no doubt say to me "You couldn't have written ONE MORE WORD?")

"Nope." I'll say. "The scene ended."

Freeway Snaps #15

Friday, November 20, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Day 20

I skipped my morning workout, accomplished virtually no writing during lunch, and now here I sit, at 9pm with a headache and a mouth that tastes of sinus drainage.

I just put in the first of two loads of laundry, and I have to work tomorrow. More later.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Okay it's later. My session tonight didn't start out as particularly auspicious, but I did get my word count finished by 11pm, in a way - luckily I was a bit ahead from previous days. Tomorrow I plan to be completely done by 9am.

Day 20 - Total Words Written: 33,622

Words Left To Be Written: 16,378

A Real Tree


This looks like a Halloween decoration, but it's a real tree.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 19

Cindy had a well-earned day off today, so I managed to write half today's word count this morning and the remainder during lunch.

This left my evening free to enjoy Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which is so well done and well known that I need not link to it.

I'd heard the songs before, but we watched it for the first time tonight. Great fun.

Day 19 - Total Words Written: 32,177

Words Left To Be Written: 17,823

NaNoWriMo Encouragement Day 19

Come on Invisible Lizard! You can do it! You've been ahead of the game all month.

Logician, you - unlike the great Lizard - can't do it. I'm sorry. Give up now. Should I denounce your given name, start calling you "Quitter" immediately and beat the rush? (Sighs, shakes head, sheds tear).

Everyone needs their own flavor of encouragement, I've found.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 18

I usually need a certain amount of time spent thinking about upcoming scenes before I actually have anything to say.

Lately I've been very tempted to play hooky from the thought process during my 45 minute each way commute, and instead of pondering I listen to podcasts - namely, the 'Stuff You Should Know' from HowStuffWorks.com (Chuck rules!).

And by tempted I mean, I listen to the podcasts rather than ponder. I have very little will power, especially if I can justify an activity as even potentially educational, which of course these podcasts are.

I wrote 200 words this morning, 1000 at lunch (an all-time record) and then around 600 tonight. Tonight was all padding, though not all of it turned out to be useless.

What would happen, I wonder - if I didn't stop writing 1667 words per day when NaNoWriMo ends, but I just keep doing it forever? I wonder this every year, but have yet to actually do it. Perhaps even 1000 words per day - that would give you a full sized novel in just over three months.

Day 18 - Total Words Written: 30,312

Words Left To Be Written: 19,688

Back Up Your NaNoWriMo!

Yeah yeah, you use some fancy mirror drive cooled with liquid helium, connected to a fiber optic network to an offshore data storage facility in a bunker deep under the Atlantic.

Take a moment to email your novella and your outline to yourself. It can't hurt, and it might help.

No, I haven't lost any data - just being cautious.

Second Breakfast

Chai Tea, a bowl of fresh cranberries, and some holiday leafies


Here's my after-breakfast snack, which I believe is known in the world of Tolkien as 'Second Breakfast'.

This just in: Fresh cranberries are vile, horrible abominations. It's a good thing I already had a big bowl of cereal with sliced bananas.

I applaud the cranberry industry for finding a way to make these bitter little pills palatable. Have you tasted the chocolate covered cranberries? To kill for.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 17

Somehow I feel as if I cheated, writing-wise today.

I wrote about a hundred words this morning, about seven hundred during lunch (yay for our little netbook!) and then about eight hundred and fifty while relaxing at Panera Bread.

The overly enthusiastic Panera worker with the LOUD battery powered carpet sweeper notwithstanding, Panera is a great place to hang and get your write on. Free wifi, and people are more laid back than at Starbucks.

This just in: Panera now offers Mac and Cheese, and it's pretty darn good.

Day 17 - Total Words Written: 28,638

Words Left To Be Written: 21,362

Eye Movement Boosts Creativity

Take a look at this article from Scientific American which suggests that scanning your vision left and right improves hemispheric communication in the brain.

Does this explain why I'm so often inspired while I'm driving to and from work? Thank goodness for my Voice Memos app.

Monday, November 16, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 16

Surprisingly, 2009 has been the easiest year for this contest - perhaps because I'm picking up the story from last year's NaNoWriMo.

Today was the first day this month I really had nothing to say. My writing session this evening was a babblefest about the main character's childhood as an Army Brat in Germany.

I don't know how much of it will remain the final novel, but at least I am not behind. It would be nice to have enough of a word count to be able to take a day off, but that doesn't seem likely this month.

Day 16 - Total Words Written: 26,917

Words Left To Be Written: 23,083

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 15

Sundays can be hard on productivity because for one thing, you know you're going back to work the next day.

The Sunday urge to wile away the day in a snuggle - nap - read - tv mode is strong.

It typically takes me about two hours do pound out my word count, which I suppose means that I write about 834 words an hour when focused. Time to focus then.

Day 15: Total Words Written - 25,217
I have passed the halfway point, woo!!

Words Left To Be Written: 24,783

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Truncated Driveways

There's a neighborhood in Gainesville that has odd driveways and walkways leading from the houses toward the street.

The driveways and walkways end about fifteen feet from the street, coming to a stop with grass in the wide gap remaining.

If this was only a house or two, or this was new construction, I'd expect that the city had plans to come along and add sidewalks and finish the driveways - but these houses have been here at least twenty years, still waiting to be finished.

Do any of you smart folks have any idea what's going on here? I'm curious.

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 14

Today's Writing Party at the comfy KB homestead made it almost too easy! The jasmine tea, the spiced rice balls, the devilish eggs, the cookies - Good Lord, I am spoiled!

If I spent much time at all in such an environment, I would weigh five hundred pounds and have dozens of published books on the market.

Also, I found out today that Dollhouse has been canceled - and don't think my characters didn't have a few choice words on the subject, because they certainly did.

I'd say writing a piece set in the present day makes it easier to come up with conversation topics for the characters. Though I guess if you look at it from the right angle, every book is a period piece, even if it is a present period piece (as you're writing it, at least).

Day 14: Total Words Written - 23,542

Words Left To Be Written: 26,458

Friday, November 13, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 13

It was a slow Friday at work, which is always hard to take. There's always some sort of busy work to be done, but luckily no one else had called out sick, left early for a doctor's appt. or etc.

I left work at 2, when I typically start my lunch. I gassed up the car, picked up some groceries, and then headed home.

I let Cindy's netbook charge for an hour, and then headed out to the Barnes and Noble where she works, about an hour away. (There's a new B&N about ten minutes from me, but my sweetie does not work there.)

I decided to take a different 'shorter' route for some reason. After getting lost in cow/horse country for about fifteen minutes, I found the store just before dark, yay!

Cindy sweetly served me up some tastiness from the cafe (Pumpkin Bundt and hot cocoa) and I got to work on the netbook, pounding out my word count. I wrote exactly 1667 words today, something that makes me worry for the rest of the month, but not overly.

I'm going to a Settlers of Catan / Writing Party tomorrow, so I have no doubt I'll get my word count done in record time.

Day 13: Total Words Written - 21,731

Words Left To Be Written: 28,269

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 12

I got waay to late a start this evening on my word count. As I started writing this, it was 9:30, which is typically the time I start to fall asleep on the couch. (Laugh it up, youngins! Your time will come.)

With two doubles of chai tea to fortify me, I dove in, not knowing what I would write until the last second. Well what do you know about that, I've always got something percolating on the back burner. But I did not expect to be writing about scooters today.

Day 12: Total Words Written - 20,064

Words Left To Be Written: 29,936

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 11

Cindy and I were off together this Veterans Day, and made sure to ruin many a workers day by showing up at several retail stores and Chick-fil-A.

Speaking of Chick-fil-A, if you have one in your area, I highly recommend the 2010 Calendar - it has lots of fun literary spoofs, they're pretty well done.

(There are a number of coupons included, if you're into such things.)


I couldn't find any pics online from the 2010 calendar, but you can check out a few pics from a previous calendar year here.

Contrary to my hopes, I did not get up at dawn and get my writing out of the way. I did not write double the normal word count today.

In fact, I went over my 1667 word quota by only 57 words (thank you, custom Excel sheet) which makes today the day I have written the fewest words this month.

I have no excuse but that holiday retail crowds do sap the energy out of a man.

Day 11: Total Words Written - 18,394

Words Left To Be Written: 31,606

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 10

I wrote a segment at 8:15am, and then finished it at about 9:30pm. That isn't the best way to accomplish good continuity, but that's what the editing phase is all about, right?

It wasn't too painful to get the word count out today. It might have helped that it was a snarky scene between two ex lovers. Snark comes easily to me, my poor Cindy.

Day 10: Total Words Written - 16,930

Words Left To Be Written: 33,070

Monday, November 09, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 9

Hey, I'm off Wednesday for Veteran's Day, how cool is that?

A surprise short week is always welcome - it's like finding a ten dollar bill in an old coat. I feel as if I should make really good use of Wednesday and do a double word count or some such.

Today's word count was total crap. Yuck.

Day 9: Total Words Written - 15,239

Words Left To Be Written: 34,761

Sunday, November 08, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 8

Today's word count was too easy. I finished and said "Really? I'm done already?" which felt odd.

I almost want to ask Microsoft Word for second opinion: 'Hey, count this again, would you? It wasn't nearly a painful enough process'.

In fairness - there was a dream sequence involved, but it was a very normal, almost completely possible dream sequence, except perhaps for the sexy Star Wars Underoo's.

Well, I'll see how much of today survives in the final cut, but I think most of it will.

Day 8: Total Words Written - 13,554

Words Left To Be Written: 36,446

Saturday, November 07, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 7

A fun though draining day. We crawled out of bed at the BCOD, showered, and then into the car for an early morning book sale at one of the small local libraries.

I had hoped that I would leap out of bed a few hours pre-dawn and get my daily writing done before we left, but I was ever so tired and did not.

After enjoying the vast warehouse-like floor of the Gainesville Friends of the Library sale just a few days back, this book sale was tiny. The little library sale was packed to the gills with Patterson, Connelly, Grisham, and the like, with very little of the compelling variety that Gainesville had thanks to its state university.

Next we hopped on the turnpike and drove to Orlando, enjoyed the mall and all the scrumptious people watching, technology browsing, dinner and dessert that an actual city has to offer.

When we got home, I was spent. I passed out for two hours, then roused myself. Part of the reason I woke up - it was hot in the room. The AC has gone out (apparently just the blower-fan, not the AC itself) and I can't sleep if it's too warm.

While Cindy slept on, I opened most of the windows and let the cool night air in - it's supposed to get down to 56 degrees tonight, so it's really the best possible time to be without a working air conditioner.

Once the house was aired, I had a snack and got to work writing. Unsurprisingly, I wasn't really feeling the mood, so I took advantage of the fact that I was a few hundred words ahead from previous days to write a bit less today, though I'm still where I need to be for the month.

Day 7: Total Words Written - 11,869

Words Left To Be Written: 38,131

Friday, November 06, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 6

The writing party was great fun, thanks to KCGator and Logician for hosting! There was pizza, sweet tea, guava pound cake, and a dissertation on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers FanFic, just to set the scene for those of you who could not attend.

And of course, there was writing! It went very well!

When I write at home, I'm distracted by a thousand small things, everything from all the cleaning chores that need done (I would rather clean than write, that probably is a bad omen for my future productivity). "Wow, look how spotty my monitor is, let me Windex it. Oops, I got some cleanser on the desk - I might as well scrub the entire desktop..."

I actually had a far easier time focusing in a group setting than I had expected, and I pounded out my daily word count in about half the time it would have taken at home.

I'm looking forward to the next writing party!

Day 6: Total Words Written - 10,494

Words Left To Be Written: 39,506

Thursday, November 05, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 5

I slept in an extra hour this morning, packed a lunch and then forgot it in the fridge, wasted a ton of excess (but delicious) calories going out to Moe's for lunch, and then devoured way too many calories this evening in the name of blood sugar = word count.

I keep starting new scenes rather than attending the boring task of finishing the existing ones. Maybe I can sell the half-assed effort as a stylized work of art - yeah, it's not clumsy if I meant to do that!!

Tomorrow I'm going to a NaNoWriMo writing party, and I have to wonder if there is writing garb out there. There's garb for everything else. Writing gloves? Thinking cap? Assless chaps?

It will be interesting to see if I can actually get writing done with other people around - I tend to sequester myself away, put a song on repeat and get my stereotypy on.

Day 5: Total Words Written - 8689

Words Left To Be Written: 41,311

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 4

Bleh. Another rough day. Every word was a struggle. Dammit. It's too early in the month for the process to become a pain in the ass.

Waah waah whine complain gripe grumble.

Day 4: Total Words Written - 6969

This Just In: China Rules!

Sure, they're Communist...

But they are also Anti PJ's in Public!!

They're making a big deal about the PJ's because of the upcoming 2010 World Expo - they want to portray their city in the best possible light. Good idea, but don't just behave well on special occasions - behave well everyday.

I might just have to relocate to Shanghai.

The news story reminds me of one of my posts from 2007.

Seriously though - I love civil freedoms, but I'm all for a 'Put some actual clothes on before you leave the house' law. (This includes shoes, you flip-flop loving hippies!!)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 3

Today was rough. I wrote only a few hundred words before I left for work, which gave me a decidedly uneasy feeling. I get up at 5, and My energy level peaks around 9 or 10 in the morning, so if I'm going to accomplish something, it'll likely be in this time frame or before.

I managed to finish the remaining 1400 words at work during lunch, thanks to the thoughtful loan of Cindy's cute lil HP Netbook. Thanks Darlin!

Day 3: Total Words Written - 5230

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 2

I finished my 1667 word count by 9am this morning, which means I can relax until tomorrow.

And by relax, I mean stress about it, claw through my brain for something, anything to write about tomorrow.

It's not as if I don't know what's going to happen in the story, or what's coming next... The actual process is like giving blood or giving a one-hour massage - there's a definite amount of energy being burned during the process.

Day 2: Total Words Written - 3490

Sunday, November 01, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Day 1

I'm working on this story for this year's NaNoWriMo - I'm just picking up where I left off after last year's NaNoWriMo story, so maybe I'll come close to finishing the novel this year.

Congrats to fellow NaNoWriMo'ers Invisible Lizard, KCGator and Logician - you guys are kicking butt on word count!

Day 1: My Words Written - 1780

'Lost Time'

Synopsis:

Sam is a single father with a dangerous past who’s worked very hard to maintain an orderly life. His sixteen year old daughter Kate is dealing drugs and confronting neighborhood dealers.

In the middle of a meeting for a corporate merger, Sam has a seizure and is hospitalized.

Waking up after the seizure, Sam has lost memory of everything that’s happened during the past two weeks, and is affected by a strange phobia he’s never had before. Sam begins taking anticonvulsants, but the seizures continue at random. With each seizure, Sam loses more memory and more time – and then loses his job. He begins psychotherapy – through it all, the only constant is the phobia.

Sam and Kate try to keep his condition secret from Social Services, who is scrutinizing the small family after Kate’s drug bust six months before. As Sam loses weeks and eventually years, he loses the will to control his demons and the person he once was begins to surface.

Eventually a pattern emerges, shedding light on Sam’s hidden past and the trigger for the seizures, which drives father and daughter across thousands of miles tracing the ultimate source of Sam’s regression.


I'm not in love with the title, so if one of you smart people have a suggestion, I'm wide open to a better title.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

'Catan' for iPhone

Just a quick one - there's a truly great board game out there called 'Settlers of Catan', which was first published in 1995 in Germany. It's been called the killer app of board games.

If you have never played, you are doing yourself a great disservice - run right out and buy the board game now, it's available at most Barnes & Noble stores.

To me, the best part of Catan is the fact that even during other people's turns, you still get to play (after a fashion) as you may gain additional resources with each roll of the dice, on your turn or not - and you're constantly scrutinizing the board and the actions of the other players to fine tune your own strategy.

An iPhone app for Settlers of Catan was released recently - named simply 'Catan', it's $4.99 and I have to say - not worth it. It's perhaps worth 99 cents.

The gameplay in the iPhone version is clunky, the interface is dated and there are many times in the game when you have no access to the menu, there is no landscape view, there is no online multiplayer, you can save only one game at a time. The AI is not at all challenging, even when you manually select all of the most skilled bots as your opponents.

The 'fun' factor is very decidedly lacking. (I know I've said before that FUN is the hardest thing to write into code...) I can't recommend this game at all. I'm very disappointed, because I was very excited when the game was announced. I've played other digital versions, such as the one offered by MSN Games - for all its flaws, the MSN version is 1000 times better than the iPhone version.

Please check out the MSN version of Settlers of Catan here - it's a lot of fun. It's a demo version, but it takes about sixty seconds of Googling to find the registration key you'll need to convert it to the final version. I've spent at least thirty hours playing the MSN version and it's an enjoyable challenge.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Eep!

NaNoWriMo starts on Sunday! I'm not mentally prepared for this! So many words, so badly written!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Scary, and not in a Halloween Way

Check out this Wikipedia entry:

"The Los Maniceros massacre was the 2009 kidnapping in Venezuela of twelve members of a Colombian amateur association football team Los Maniceros (The Peanut Men), ten of whom were later murdered. The dead were aged between 17 and 38..."

Can you imagine something like this happening in the states? An entire amateur sports team gets kidnapped? Makes you second guess your decision to sign up for the local softball league, doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm easily amused

If they were alive today, which modern musical genre would be the favorites for each of these famous folks?

Franz Mesmer
Trance

Sigmund Freud
Rap

Henry Ford
Garage

Leonidas of Sparta
Minimalist

John Pemberton
Pop

Software Programmers
Glitch

Cave Men
Rock

Check out the popular music genres at Wikipedia!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Create Your Own Comic!

I made a lil comic strip!


You can create your own comic strip or comic book using a cutesy little Marvel toolkit.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Overheard

"It's not even between me and my mom, it's between my mom and god."

Ugh! Yuck! Ick!

If I ever use the word "cerulean" in anything but a peevish jab at jerks who use the word "cerulean" in a serious tone, feel free to poke me in my one good eye with a sharp stick.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Giggling Like a Schoolgirl

It's hard to describe just how crazy-fun the Wii Fit Plus mini-game Obstacle Course is.

Check out this video, if you haven't seen it. Seems very basic, right? Seems very tame. Until you play it. The video only shows the beginner level, there's an advanced level as well - with ice!

Anyone who's spent much time gaming has encountered platformers - basically these are games that involve a lot of running and jumping, hopping on platforms, leaping over pits, dodging dangerous elements of the environment.

Some classic examples of platformers are: Pitfall, Donkey Kong, Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros, Moon Patrol, Mega Man, the list is long. Hell, even 'Prince of Persia, Sands of Time' is a platformer.

These games were fun when I was a kid, and while I might play one of them for a few minutes today for nostalgia's sake, they're too simple to hold my attention for long.

Enter the Obstacle Courses in Wii Fit Plus. There's definitely a small element of immersion due to using your own customized character, but beyond that, YOU are the one doing the running a jumping, thanks to the Wii Balance Board, which draws me in big time - it's almost as if I'm inside the game.

You're not getting that great a workout, basically you're walking in place - but it's more of a workout than you would get sitting on the couch. Even the 'run' is just a faster walking in place. But you're burning calories. (It would be a simple thing to use ankle weights to increase the calories burned.)

And I can't explain why, but actually running and 'jumping' through obstacles, from platform to platform, and occasionally falling to my death is a real, child-like giddy fun. (Would this wear off if the mini-game were any longer? Perhaps.)

Sadly, the obstacle course is only a small part of the whole Wii Fit Plus experience - I would gladly pay $50 for a game that was nothing but hour after hour of assorted obstacle courses, if I could use the Wii Balance Board to play through the game.

I'd love an obstacle-course builder tool from Nintendo, especially something I could use to design my own maps, and then share online for/with other players.

I don't even notice the calories I'm burning as I run through the course again and again, tweaking my choices and trying to shave a few seconds off my time.

I'm not a modder, and there have been few things I've encountered in life that made my hands ache to reach for a soldering gun, my fingers itch to write some code - but this is a project I would love to work on.

There are so many great platformer games in the history of gaming that would be kick-ass adapted for the Wii Balance Board, including stuff like the great Futurama game that came out in 2003, or hey, why not Mirror's Edge?

The TV game show Wipeout would make for a great obstacle course game.

Wii Fit Plus is only $20, if you already have a Wii Balance Board.

It would be far simpler to mod for the PC than the Wii, since you can typically set custom control schemes in PC games.

Careful, specific adjustments would need to be made for each game, but playing any platformer with the Wii Balance Board would kick ass. You would still need a number of other controls - the ability to simply walk or run forward and jump would not be enough to control much more than Donkey Kong or Moon Patrol.

So you'd still need the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk to control things like directional control, inventory, weapons, aiming and attacking, etc - but all movement would have to come directly from the Wii Balance Board.

There's a lot of improvement that could be made, of course - a far more heavy duty balance board would be great, something you could actually run and actually jump on would improve the immersion. It could be larger, more square, and have a built-in LCD that would display the surface under your virtual feet. But now I'm just getting carried away.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Vote: Sex, Nap, Sex

I’m not usually very interested in news reports, but I’ve spotted a few over the past few days that have caught my eye.

I’ve been skimming Google News more often lately, which is probably why. I can’t stand to listen to broadcast news, since there’s just so much going on that I could care less about.

Such as: ‘Was the death of the local girl (insert name here for your locality) the fault of the parents?’ Let’s endlessly debate this from every conceivable angle until I might just confess myself to make it all stop.

So yeah, Google News, with the good and skimming along until you find something that attracts your interest (there are automated news alerts you can set up, for any key words you like – Google will email you links to the stories containing your keywords).

This story is about a plane that stopped responding to radio transmissions for 88 minutes, and flew 110 miles past the airport where they were to due to land.


Supposedly, the pilots were distracted by a discussion about airline policy. Sounds unlikely.

What could they have been doing for 88 minutes?

Let’s see:

Having sex with one another
(Men? Sex for 88 mins? Maybe 8 mins)

Having sex with ‘sexy stews’
(See above)

Dealing with a hijacker
(Possible)

Testing a remote-override control to deal with future hijackings
(Possible)

Dealing with a UFO
(An unidentified flying object, not an alien spacecraft)
(Possible)

Dealing with an alien spacecraft
(Possible)

Flew through a distortion field of some sort which rendered everone unconscious
(Unlikely - passengers were awake the whole time)

The story mentions that an airplane's black box only records for 30 minutes, after which it is written over - so this could mean that they were perhaps struggling with an issue for 58 minutes, and then the pilots felt the need to wait an additional 30 minutes for the recording to begin its overwrite.

Only 30 minutes on a black box, seriously? In a day & age where I can walk into my local electronics store and purchase terabytes of storage capacity, there's no excuse for this. New rule - every microsecond of every flight is going to be saved, stored forever, reviewed, and scored down to the tiniest detail. 30 minutes, good grief.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Name the Skyline/City

This pic was taken by my goodly sister, hopefully not while she was driving.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Invasion of Privacy? Or Lewd?

Back in 2006, I posted about household nudity, and how I feel it's perfectly acceptable to wander around one's own house in the buff, as long as you're not being purposefully suggestive about it. I'm no nudist, but I sleep sans clothes and there is a slight chance someone could glimpse me through a window.

I just read a news story from Virginia about just such a case.

The poor guy might do jail time and pay a fine! If you check out the news story, there's a informative video that actually shows the placement of the windows, shrubbery in front of the windows, etc.

I think the guy has a good case - I'll be interested to see what happens - I know how interested all of you are about nudity rights on the home front, so I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Help For My Writer Readers

Back in May, Aaron Diaz over at Dresden Codak posted a great writing aid:

42 Essential 3rd Act Twists

It's a pretty damn hilarious read - if nothing else, it reminds writerfolk not to take ourselves too seriously, which is good advice for anyone.

There's a lot of great stuff in the store, too - go spend some money to reward good art and good humor!

And hey - Aaron is from Portland, Oregon the land from which all good things come and a place I will live someday! How cool is that? No, we have no current plans to move, but a suffering 40ish never-was boy can dream, right?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Real Life Conversation #48

Yeah I've decided to do a anime/hentai story this year.

Cool. Sounds like a channel I couldn't watch while Cindy was home - interesting stuff, with the poultry bondage and all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dark Alley

Ally McBeal as a goth superhero? No.

Taking my pre-dawn walk this morning was a spooky thing - maybe it's all the Halloween decorations.

It was pretty cold for Florida - in the 40's - so I was surprised on several levels when I saw what seemed to be a frog the size of a bulldog about fifteen feet ahead of me on the path.

I imagined that as I drew near, the frog would speak in a voice like James Earl Jones burping the alphabet: "Do not fear me!" at which point I would run scared shitless in the other direction. The frog turned out to be a water stain on the cement.

The spaces between buildings each seemed like dark alleys. It seems that once you're freaked out, you stay freaked out, yes?

So I started thinking about dark alleys, and the reasons I might willingly walk down one.

Creepeeey!
1) To help someone being attacked
(I like to think I would)

2) If enticed by a pretty girl
(Who wouldn't fall for anything when EBAPG?)

3) Hearing "Darn it, I know I dropped that Ring of Teleportation around here somewhere".

4)

Yeah, there is no 4. There are only three reasons.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Technology Quiz

From 'Technology Quiz':

"If you were to travel 2000 years into the past, how useful would you be in jump starting technological advancements?

This 10 question quiz will help you figure out your technological usefulness. If you do poorly on the quiz, as most people likely will, then just let that inspire you to study up more on how things work and where raw materials come from."


Take the quiz!

(I scored 6 out of 10 correct, how sad!)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Holiday Inn Circa 1959

I found these Holiday Inn photo's in an old Life magazine - check 'em out:




The design and color scheme just blow me away - someone was paid a lot of money to design this, and it looks like a kid's nursery, not the Presidential Suite it actually is.

The funny thing; these pics are not from an old Life magazine - they're from the web site of a newly built Holiday Inn that just opened - perhaps a year ago. Was the fairly modern television on the dresser a giveaway?

Friday, October 16, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009

Wow, another year has passed and it's time to gear up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) once again. This year I have a few writing buddies in town, which will be cool for the bonding, sharing, competition aspect of it all.

I'm thinking for this year to finish the book I started for last year's NaNoWriMo. Which means I'll have to read the 50,000 plus words I wrote last year (shudder) to prepare myself for where I left off.

Our first prep-meeting is Monday, woo!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's a trap!!


You might think this garbage can lid is an anti-critter device, but judging by the number of one-armed aluminum-can-collecting vagrants in Gainesville (Hi George!) I believe this device has a more sinister purpose: Limb Harvesting!

Limb Harvesting isn't as sexy, doesn't get the press that Kidney Harvesting does, but don't be fooled.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No, Thank You


I would not shop here.

Sadly, I'll bet the local restaurants we dine in...
Do shop here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blurred Buggy

You can't quite tell - but that's an orange hourglass on a big scary spider, a Brown Widow, which has made our kitchen window her home.

I'm sure my Australian readers, dealing as they do with a myriad of poisonous critters on a daily basis ("Oh dear. Poison scorpions in the breakfast cereal again - ah well, they are crunchy and full of protein, after all.") will chuckle at the idea, but Cindy is a bit rattled at the arrival of this uninvited guest, and has made several complaints to the office. They have politely ignored her.

I've offered to take care of the little critter, but she'll hear nothing of it. She's named her Fred(rica) and almost seems to enjoy keeping a daily eye on Fred - at least this way she knows where she is. Until of course, Fred has thousands of babies...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nooo! I've been Tagged!

Three names I've gone by:
1. Mike
2. Kirras
3. Toby

Three jobs I have had:
1. Grocery Bagger
2. Switchboard Operator
3. Video Game Tester

Three places I have lived:
1. Bad Kissingen, Germany
2. Grand Canyon, Arizona
3. Tacoma, Washington

Three favorite drinks:
1. Chai tea
2. Lemonade
3. Cran-Grape

Three TV Shows that I watch:
1. Big Bang Theory
2. Doctor Who
3. The Venture Brothers

Three places (trips) I have taken:
1. Honolulu, Hawaii
2. Niagara Falls: Ontario, Canada
3. Ciudad Juárez, Ch Mexico

Three of my favorite foods:
1. Anything breakfasty
2. Fish taco's
3. Blueberry muffins and milk

Three things I am looking forward to:
1. Starting my own business
2. Getting a book published
3. Moving the bleep out of Florida

Three wishes:
1. Health
2. Success
3. Contentment without stagnation

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Of Questionable Consistency

I was nibbling a Weight Watcher's String Cheese (and a very satisfying nibble it is too at only 50 calories).

I nibbled my way layer by layer until I came to a little bubble of not-quite-but-almost-cheese in the middle. I bravely teased out this less-evolved cheese, which was something like a salty curd.

Now there's a naughty little nook where this curd used to be - I look away. My tongue grumpily reports back 'Not so much with the good'.

Now the remains of the cheese lies on my monitor stand, and I don't know if I want to finish it. I've already had enough for breakfast today - I'm not hungry, just snacky.

My upbringing argues for zero waste, and my waist argues otherwise.

Upbringing wins.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Emailed Funnies

I was walking past the mental hospital the other day, and I heard a group of the patients outside in the yard shouting, "Thirteen! Thirteen! Thirteen!"

The fence was too high to see over, but I saw a little gap in the planks, so I looked through to see what was going on...

Some crazy bastard poked me in the eye with a stick!

Then they all started shouting 'Fourteen! Fourteen! Fourteen!"

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Orkin Rolltop

Check out this kick-ass 'rolltop' from Orkin Design.

There's a video on the web site that does a good job of demonstrating how the concept works, and how the center column is useful.The designers did a great job on everything except the carry-strap, which is unfortunate. Not even a snazzy pattern to spice it up? C'mon! How about we embed the strap with OLED's and run a marquee of user-defined useful info as a personalized news ticker?

And there's one thing any portable PC needs: an extendible mast that allows you to pull the display up 10 or 12 inches above the keyboard, to discourage the need to hunch over the device to get anything done.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Freeway Snaps #14

Can you imaging the carnage if this cargo started bouncing around freely on the freeway?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Moon Shot!

Set your DVR for NASA TV on Friday, October 9, at 7:31AM Eastern/4:31AM Pacific.

NASA sez:

"Once within range, the Centaur upper stage doubles as the main 4,400 pound (2,000 kg) impactor spacecraft for LCROSS.

The smaller Shepherding Spacecraft will guide Centaur towards its target crater, before dropping back to watch—and later fly through—the plume of moon dust and debris kicked up by Centaur's impact.

The shepherding vehicle is packed with a light photometer, a visible light camera and four infrared cameras to study the Centaur's lunar plume before it turns itself into a second impactor and strikes a different crater about four minutes later."


Monday, October 05, 2009

Quote of the Week!

From a Gizmodo review:

"Seriously, there's nothing that kills a boner faster than the self-awareness that comes from being balls deep in a piece of furniture."

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Repeatworthy: Melody Gardot

I was shocked, shocked I tell you when I realized I had not already posted a 'Repeatworthy' about Melody Gardot!

There aren't too many singer/songwriters I would gush about these days, but seriously, Melody is amazing.

I don't listen to a lot of Jazz, since most of it seems to be recycled covers of songs written decades ago. Melody uses a bare minimum of covers, which is refreshing.

There's not one forced or false moment in either of her albums - it all rings true and feels sincere. You should definitely check out her music, and her Wikipedia page is worth a read as well.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

WHO

I can't tell you how happy I am to have a wife who's passionate enough to choke me when I disagreed with her choice for 'Best Doctor Who Ever'.

She feels Eccleston is the best, while I'm a Tennant fan - David Tennant has the perfect blend of seriousness and fun. I adore Baker, but he's a bit goofy for me.

Of course, her exposure to the world of Doctor Who is limited to the last two incarnations, so she really can't make a fully informed decision.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Fondleworthy: Meteor Blitz

Most of the iPhone apps I own are free downloads, but Meteor Blitz is worth the $1.99 price tag.

Gameplay is straightforward - it's Asteroids. You have two control sticks; the left stick steers and the right stick fires (I always think of this as 'Robotron Controls').

I'm still not completely sold on using the touchscreen as controller and display - it's frustrating that my hands block part of the action, and the friction of my thumbs against the screen seems to vary depending on the moisture of my skin at that moment. I'd welcome a hack that would allow me to use my Wii Remote to control the iPhone - I'm sure some ingenious hacker is at work on this.

It's challenging without being impossible, with a variety of weapons and upgrades along the way. It's the kind of game you can play for just a few minutes if you're killing time waiting in line or what have you.

If you enjoy a little mindless rock destruction, you'll enjoy the game.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Oral Sex leads to cancer?

I was browsing through WebMd when I came across this article, which indicates that it's possible to transmit HPV through oral sex, which can then lead to mouth and throat cancer.

I remember when the Gardasil vaccine was first announced, Cindy was irked by the fact that she was outside the 9-26 age range - she just turned 30. (Turns out, there's research under way to increase the age range to 27-45.)

In the little bit of research I've run in the last few minutes, there's a whole range of HPV varieties, which can eventually lead to everything from penile to anal cancer - who knew?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Disneyworld Birthday!

Did you know, Disneyworld is free on your birthday?!

Cindy and I had a great day at the park- everything went perfectly, great weather, short wait for rides, no complaints at all (except perhaps that I did not get to high-five the Obama-Bot).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blade-FX Wireless (Nunchuk) Controller

A few weeks ago I posted about the Nyko Wireless Nunchuk and its shortcomings, which were largely a problem working with the Wii Motion Plus.

I picked up the Blade-FX Wireless Controller (another nunchuk) this morning in the hopes that it would work where the Nyko accessory failed.

Here's a pic of the item from the Best Buy site:

And here's the version I bought:

The version I have is the exact same model number, with two differences that I can see:

1) 'FX' button remains, 'Classic' button has been removed.

2) The version I bought has a skinny transmitter - which fits neatly into the pass-through port on the bottom of the Wii Motion Plus, even with the rubber jacket in place.

I tested the transmitter with several different games - Lego Batman (works fine) Mario Cart (works fine) Wii Sports (works fine) and Wii Sports Resort (no workie).

Wii Sports Resort did not detect the wireless nunchuk, and prompted me to plug it in. I tried fooling the game by starting out with the real nunchuk plugged in, only to swap for the wireless version once in gameplay - but no luck, it knew.

You can't blame compatibility problems on third party accessory makers when the problem lies with newly released hardware from the console maker.

It depends on which games you spend your time playing - and if you're okay with an accessory working with some/most of your games but not all.

For me, an accessory needs to work with all games - I can't be bothered to swap controllers based on the game.

Nintendo really needs to release a new first party remote with Wii Motion Plus built in, and with a first party wireless nunchuk as well - having to repeatedly add on to the end of the current remote makes it more unwieldy, more likely to catch on your clothes as you wave it around - and waving it around is the whole point, right?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Carl Sagan Sings!

I love love love Carl Sagan, and I can't help but love this song!

Wish I could buy it on iTunes.

Makes me want to post a podcast or two, so I can become a posthumous singer too.