Apr 29 2011

whole week off!


I’m rushing about madly, packing things into my car so I can leave for my Week Off (I won’t call it a vacation) directly from the DayJob, thus beginning my entry into the joys of a purely writerly life that much sooner.

Ack! No time to post anything here — but I’ll give you this link (found via Tor.com), which I glanced at during a pause in my dashings-about, which had me either laughing until I wept, or vice versa.

Alas, the exquisite anguish of: Star Wars redone as a French Existentialist film!

Apr 27 2011

apparently, Amazon has a blog feed on their author pages


This I did not realize before.

A nice idea, as Amazon is probably where many people looking for me will start their search (although, in general, when looking for an author, it’s usually a good idea to start with www.thatauthor’sname.com).

Amazon’s feed starts with only the new posts, quite logically, and they suggest that authors repost any posts they want to show up on Amazon.

But alas, how boring for my steady blog-readers, to see the same damn stuff all over again!

So, I’m just going to post links to my favorite previous posts.

Because It Had to Be Done, containing my viral — well, nearly viral — okay, relatively famous poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Facebook” (See if you can spot the duplicated number.)

Jack Hardy and three tons of bricks On the passing of an artist who had a profound effect on my early creative life.

Sweet! Wherein I show my geek colors at my very-mundane DayJob, to the bemusement of onlookers. (Be sure to check the hovertext on all photos — put your cursor on the photo, and read the secret message that pops up.)

That’s enough for starters… must head off to said mundane day job.

(I wonder if my regular blog-readers have any suggestions as to what older posts I should link to for the Amazon feed?)

Apr 26 2011

computer ate my post!



It was brilliant! Smart, funny, insightful. A commentary on modern society, and how the future is unevenly distributed, with a side comment on feminism and a quote from Janis Joplin (“Women are the waitresses at the banquet of life.”)

Then, when I hit “publish”, the computer went: “Post? What post? There was a post?”

Gone, all gone.

Why? Because: started the post yesterday. Brought it up today to finish it, lost the internet connection, did not realize, and blithely kept writing.

Meanwhile, out in the cloud, the server was going, “Hm, this person has timed out. I shall shut down WordPress now. Yes.”

“Post it!” says I. “Huh?” says my computer. “Oh, you were working on something? ”

“Maybe you should, like, sign in,” says WordPress. “That would be good.”

“Ack,” says I.

Now: out of time, must rush to the DayJob.

I’ll try to reconstruct, but you know, it’s never the same the second time around.

Apr 19 2011

Lost weekend


Damn. Don’t you hate it when you start feeling bad on a Friday, spend Saturday and Sunday coughing and hacking in a Nyquil and Dayquil induced haze, and then wake up in time to find you’re just about well enough to drag yourself to work on Monday?

Hey, I had plans for that time! Big plans! Important plans!

Plus: my writer’s group is meeting on Saturday, and now I have 5 Dayjob-filled weekdays in which to finish reading and analyzing one of our members’ ENTIRE NOVEL.

Well, at least my week off is still coming up, and I sincerely hope that I used up all the germs that might have threatened to make me ill during that time.

Because being ill for my week off would be completely miserable.

Apr 15 2011

The Witches of Lublin


Another heads up — and I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this before:

The Witches of Lublin is a radio play with music, written by Ellen Kushner (my pal!), Elizabeth Schwartz, and Yale Strom.

Some of you know Ellen Kushner as the host of Sound & Spirit, or as the author of books and stories, or all-around Renaissance Woman.

I love radio plays, and I’m going to be listening to this one on Sunday at 6PM on my favorite folkie station WUMB in Boston, via the magic of the internet.

Here’s a list of the stations broadcasting the show.

In other news: I seem to be getting sick, with a massive sore throat and coughing (kaf,kaf)…

In other other news: Sabine already has it, and some of the people here at the Day Job.

Entirely by coincidence: Ellen Kushner seems to be coming down with the exact same thing, according to her blog.

I’m especially annoyed, because I was planning on doing this over the weekend, and now I probably can’t.

Apr 14 2011

The Hobbit is happening


No time to blog until the weekend, but I couldn’t resist passing this on — if you haven’t already seen it. (My thanks to Kate Nepveu for cluing me in!)

Of course, there’s a Hobbit blog. How could there not be?

Apr 10 2011

I fixed that tag. Sorry.


The one where I meant to say that our taxes are due on Monday April 18th, instead of the 15th, but my finger slipped and for about one hour, the tag said April 28th.

Not wishing to misinform anyone.

Because, it’s the 18th. Apparently Emancipation Day takes place on Saturday April 16th, and when a state holiday (as this one is in DC) falls on a weekend, the state employees get the nearest week day off work, that being the 15th.

So they pushed Tax Day to Monday.

In Connecticut, they also pushed the state tax day to match… but you should double-check for your own state.

Apr 10 2011

Word clouds and other musings


Still trying to hunker down in my non-DayJob times. The worst of the overtime seems to be over and done (unless a hurricane or late blizzard hits New England — the downside of working for a disaster recovery company), and so more writing time seems to be bubbling to the surface.

Seekrit Project still in progress… I have a week’s vacation coming up, but I plan NOT TO WAIT for that time, but continue to dig in, so that by then (pleasepleaseplease) I could use the time for rewrites, and for figuring out where the hell to sell this thing.

Meanwhile, during my mental-decompression internet surf sessions, I was led to the Wordle website, which creates word-clouds from text you supply.

(Ahem: For my non-techno friends, here’s how you make a word-cloud: 1. Count all the words in a text, skipping words like a, and, the, etc. 2. Make the size of the word proportional to how often it appears. 3. Arrange artistically. 4. Admire.)

So, well, had to do it, right?

Here’s The Steerswoman (click to see big versions!)

click to see full sized!

And here’s The Outskirter’s Secret


I’d do The Lost Steersman and The Language of Power too, but I can’t at the moment put my hand on the text files. I’ve got ’em, but apparently not on this computer, and I don’t want to go on a search through various backups right now. As this would take time. From writing.

However, Amazon has some interesting stats from The Language of Power .

These, for example, are “statistically improbable phrases” identified in that book (compared to other Amazon books that have the “search inside” option):

copper gaze, dragon fields, handkerchief boy, lap board, copper eyes, head groom, star parties, bucket line, small dragon, dragon eyes

Apparently other books that have dragons have BIG dragons, and the author is not all that interested in their eyes (possibly more interested in their flames!).

Amazon also has a Concordance, which is like unto a word cloud, but with only words and no cloud, and not pretty. Plus: various readability indexes (apparently, a sixth-grade education is sufficient to understand this book), and my personal favorites: words per dollar (9,572) and words per ounce (9,449).

Other musings:

Easiest thing in the world to write: Conversations taking place over tea, followed closely by conversations taking place over beer.

Most boring thing in the world to read: Conversations taking place over tea, followed closely by conversations taking place over beer (the possibility of a fistfight does exist in the latter).

Quickest way to increase your word-count: include conversations taking place over tea, or similar ones taking place over beer.

Quickest way to improve your story’s pacing: remove the conversations taking place over tea or beer.

Most interesting thing you can do with the above information: Take the conversation that would have taken place over beer, and have it take place over tea. Include the fistfight. Have your characters use their best china.

Apr 2 2011

Hunkering down


I’m attempting to get a serious amount of writing down, which requires me hunkering down and pretty much ignoring everything else.

Except laundry.

And some music.

Okay, plus: I allowed myself to be briefly distracted by this video, which I found on the TED talks site (I always check there on the weekends).

It was so beautiful it made me cry, so I regret nothing!

“Puppets always have to try to be alive. In a way, that’s their Ur-story…. An actor has to struggle to die on stage; a puppet has to struggle to live.”

(The link at Ted.com has a slightly better quality, I think. Click here to go there.)
Now I want to see the show, “The War Horse”. Alas. Prices for Broadway plays are hair-raising, and not in the nice way.