Can’t blog today. I has the sad

This entry exists merely to meet the letter of the challenge. It probably doesn’t meet the spirit, but since the last three days’ entries have seemed to be on the negative side and nobody wants to read that crap. So, I’m going to spare you all another rendition.

It’s November. It’s supposed to be my best month. And it isn’t. And nobody cares.

Why am I doing this again?

…yeah, shutting up now.

I hate spammers and other flotsam

I deliberately set the blog to email me when new comments are made. There’s three reasons for this madness:

  1. That’s the way LJ comments are handled, and I’ve liked being able to see them
  2. It allows me a quick response if there’s a comment that needs to be handled in a particular fashion
  3. It allows me to see when I’m getting whacked with a load of spam

In regards to point #3, it did that job well, as looking at my mailspool showed me that last night’s post had been hit by several spammers overnight. I don’t know why Akismet failed so badly, but it leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. I want to leave trackbacks on so that I can see when blogs are linking me, but most of the spam that gets through the defenses is trackback spam. And I really wasn’t overly happy clearing out that mess today.

Anyway, it’s just a point. Spammers are lower than scum and will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

***
If you haven’t guessed, it’s not only NaNoWriMo month, but because I am absolutely totally and completely out of my gourd, I’m also doing Blog Posting Month. So that means one a day of these things every day in November. Of course, I could cheat and give you my cumulative word count every day, but that hardly seems fair.

So I’ll guess I’ll turn this over to those of you that actually read this thing on a regular basis. What would you like me to address? I could use some ideas for days when I can’t come up with my own. Feel free to drop them in comments.

***

As I mentioned before, I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year, like I do every year. And the last couple years, they’ve been doing a fundraising event called the Night of Writing Dangerously over in the Bay Area. This year’s event is the night after my birthday (yep, November kid) and I’d kind of like to go this year. Especially since the other November event in the Bay Area I’d like to attend is at the Breadbox Stanford this year, and tickets will be impossible because Stanford’s capacity has shrunk majorly.

The problem with going to the Night of Writing Dangerously is that I need to come up with $200 as a donation. Now, I’m all for giving money to the folks at NaNo HQ, because they do some marvelous work at encouraging people to write (particularly kids – I love their Young Writers Program). Also, they make my life easier when it comes to organizing the region. But, $200 is out of my range this year.

So this is where I turn to y’all. If any of you wants to (note that you do not have to, these are hard times for everybody and I’m doing this as a longshot), I’d love for you to donate some money to NaNo so that I can go.

So if you want to help, you can donate here. If you do, I appreciate it. If you can’t, well, I understand. These are hard times.

It would be nice to go, though.

Anyway, word count is at 5703; am going to try to get to 6000 before I got to bed tonight. Other than that, nothing exciting is going on.

fried

So it’s November. November means it’s NaNoWriMo month, which means that I’m running around like a crazy person. Then I stupidly said, “Ah why not, I’ll update my blog every day this month. It’s not like I don’t have enough to do.” Since I’m sure there’s folks out there that want to keep me honest, guess I’d better get the month started.

Anyway, it was a good day. The kickoff was nicely attended, and I got a good chunk of writing done. I added another six hundred words at the write-in we did for TV. I haven’t watched the clip yet, so I don’t know how much of me made it in, but my highly awesome co-ML, , got interviewed and didn’t do so bad. (Ah, here’s the clip. I’m in the background a lot.)

But the combination of staying up way late for write-in, and then getting up way early for the morning write-in, alongside the timechange, is just making my brain go *splat*. And since that means I’m not coherent, that means it should be bedtime.

But I have nearly four thousand words, and I saw a nice sunset. It was a good day.

discontinuity and remembrance

The tale of the tape, so to speak, is in my livejournal. Here are my entries for 9/11/01. (And the next few days are filled with more reactions.)

The thing I find most interesting, looking back on this eight years later, is the sudden and abrupt change from what passes from normality (from the entry posted at 1:30 AM PDT) to the total shock six hours later. I’d later describe it that month as a discontinuity — where the graph suddenly jumps, leaving a gap in the line. And that’s really what it was to me. New York is far away from California, so, other than a few close calls, my only real connection with the incident was either friends of friends or a fellow alum of UC Berkeley showing his courage in helping to yank a plane from the sky somewhere near Pittsburgh.

So, in some ways, I feel like it’s not my anniversary to memorialize. It was a bad thing, definitely. It caused a discontinuity on the graph of our lives. But, in the end, except in grand scales that I barely comprehend, it didn’t touch me. Between that and the way things have played out in the intervening years, it’s lead me to that awkward position.

I suppose it’s a moment like the Kennedy assassination, when, as Peter Gabriel put it so well in his song “Family Snapshot”, “Peak time viewing blown in a flash/ as I burn into your memory cells.” If you’re old enough to remember 9/11, you know exactly the creeping moment when you first saw those pictures and realized that there was a discontinuity in your personal timeline and you will probably never forget it again.

And that’s about all I have to say about that. I’ll go hang the flag before I go to the Social Security office today, though.

detritus

In no particular order:

  • My souvenir book and program guide for the worldcon just concluded in Montreal came today. My cat is thankful to the committee for providing her with cat toys. Cat toys? I hear you ask. Well, you see, in order to keep the souvenir book flat, somebody attached package straps, and my cat seems to think these make wonderfully awesome toys. This is why I voted for the folks in Montreal; I knew they would be thoughtful like that. ;)
  • Had to take my car in for servicing today — it needed an oil change. Not a big deal. On the way home, I found somebody with a car that had a license plate of RIP BUD, a license plate frame that read “In memory of my son Bud”, and one of those in memoriam stickers in the back window. I understand that grief is a powerful thing, but I’ve got to wonder what the story is that made somebody feel the necessity of shelling out for personalized plates to bear his/her grief. Guess this is one of those things to file away and let the brain see how they can make fiction from it.
  • Got my first distribution of the eAPA out as the OE. It’s a bit scary being the dude in charge, but I think I can handle it. It’ll get easier from here on out, I’m sure. That said, I’ve got to start trying to figure out how to get new members — I love the ones we have, but new members are always fun. So if anybody out there reading this who isn’t already in on the fun that is the eAPA and want to join in, it’s once a month in pdf (and if you don’t have a pdf writer, I can turn it into pdf from Word or Open Office documents without a problem). The folks in the APA are nice and we don’t bite unless you ask really nicely. So come on…whatcha waiting for? Join in the fun. Toss me an email.

And I think that’s pretty much all the news that is news across the nation. At least, at the moment.

So we’ll leave this with a question: what sort of detritus is in your head at the moment?

Back from the Bay Area…

At work, trying to get things done. There’s an interesting concept.

Anyway, let’s begin with a picture:

I am absolutely sure that isn’t what they meant, but I got a pretty good chuckle out of it.

So, I went to the Bay Area. Things I did:

  • Went to the Office of Letters and Light (the folks who run NaNoWriMo) to sign my ML form for the coming year. I may be the only ML who will do it that way.
  • Drove to ‘s place; got smothered in kisses by Zoe, who is my second most favorite dog in the world after my own. Also, forgot to take the greenies wrapper out of my pocket after I opened them to give to doggies, which led Zoe to keep sniffing my pocket hopefully that there would be a second treat. Also, saw chickens and got a slice of awesome bread that made.
  • Got back on the freeway, drove back to 680 and made the loop around into the South Bay, as 880’s traffic can get really bad. Stopped in Milpitas to kill time; found disgusting bathrooms and that picture in the Borders there.
  • Went to the BASFA meeting because (a) I’ve been wanting to go and (b) the UK TAFF delegate was supposed to be there. Alas, ran afoul of the air travel gods and failed to get out of Seattle until 5:30, which meant that he was too exhausted when he got here to make the trip down to the meeting. So sad! But other than that, I had a good time, even if the meeting went way longer than I expected.
  • Got back in the car, and drove home mostly without incident, although I got slightly lost in Concord/Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill looking for caffeinated goodness, which probably cost me a half hour. Paid my bridge toll in dollar coins, which I think weirded out the attendant a little. (Why did I have dollar coins? Well, see, I give TAFF delegates shiny gold coins.)
  • Got home at 1:30 AM; got back up and went to work this morning

I think that’s about it. I don’t know when the next time I’ll make a trip over — finances are kinda tight. Folks are trying to talk me into showing up at Silicon, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m hoping for a Big Game trip, myself, but again, money’s tight, and getting a ticket to Big Game at Stanford’s breadbox is difficult.

That’s about it. Guess it’s time to go back to work, now that I figured out why I was critfailing my HTML roll.

do not stick in ear

So I’m at work, and I’m reading up on how to write a functional specification, which seems to be my next task. Now, I’ve never written one of these before, so the Google is my friend.

I stumbled across Joe Spolsky’s blog in my search for how to write one of these, and in reading the sample functional spec he provides, I found:

(Your results may vary. We are not responsible for delays in transmission or on your computer which could cause the actual time to be a bit later than the time displayed. This service is provided as-is and is merely for entertainment purposes, not for accurate time-keeping. Do not stick WhatTimeIsIt.com in your ear or use it to clean your ear.)

I spent several minutes in my cube just giggling madly at the thought of using a web interface to clean your ear. Of course, this is work, and there’s nobody to share with, so I am sharing with the Internets.

EDIT: Later, in the same document:

The exact wording of this email is still being debated hotly by the board of directors and will be provided sometime before shipping. [ Developers: for now I suggest using a nasty word. That will light a fire under Chucks’ seat. ]

So funny, and yet, so true.

flotsam, jetsam, and detritus from my mind

In no particular order:

  • I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a while. You see, while my parents and sister go out of town on a camping trip, I’m staying behind. This means that I can dig out my room which, although not quite matching the destruction wrought by my namesake hurricane, explains why my mom gave me the sobriquet back in the 1980s. So yeah, my big goal this weekend is to dig it out and hopefully keep it from descending into entropy again.
  • The other thing I want to get done this weekend is to write is my much delayed Baycon report, so that I can stick it in At Ungodly Hours, my contribution to one of the APAs I belong to. After it goes out there, I’ll probably post it to the blog as well, so you all can read it. I know you’re all looking forward to it.
  • Speaking of which, I noticed that there doesn’t seem to be any mention of who received this year’s Baycon gopher awards. While I didn’t expect one for me, since I do gophering because I really like helping out and the rewards are somewhat immaterial, I’d really like to know which of my fellow gophers was crazy enough to earn such things. So I’m sad that I haven’t heard since it’s usually announced by now, or so I thought.
  • Also, bringing up my APAzine means that I want to mention that I’ve got a soft deadline for assembling the pieces of the first issue of Rhyme and Paradox. That date is July 15th. The issue will be somewhat art-short (which is okay), but I figure I need to get started somewhere. I don’t expect to reach levels of fanac, but I think it’s important that I get going on this, or I’m never going to do it.
  • That said, I have been absolutely lousy about getting back to those of you who expressed some interest in what I’m doing. So here’s the short of it. My ‘zine is called, as noted above, Rhyme and Paradox, and it’s a zine written for the subculture I belong to, which is science fiction fandom. You can see many examples of these ‘zines at efanzines, a wonderful resource ran by Bill Burns, who deserves all the mad props that he gets. In specific, R&P is going to be on the border between a genzine and a perzine (general fanzine and personal fanzine, for those who aren’t up on the terminology), and it’s going to be a hybrid, which means it will exist both electronically and in print — the latter because there are folks in the community who either don’t use the Internet (I know, heresy, but…) or prefer paper. It’s definitely not-for-profit — I fully expect that it’ll be a hobby and thus an endeavor that will, in financial terms, always be in the red, although I will gleefully accept money thrown my way for helping with postal/printing costs. Um, yeah, I think that’s about it for the moment. Feel free to ask questions below and I’ll try to be better at answering them. And for those of you who say “I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter”, you had better mean it.
  • Also, while I say that it’s a cross between a genzine and a perzine, I’m totally open to anybody who wants to write or draw for it. That’s part of the fun of doing this. Also, here’s the best part — it doesn’t necesarily have to be about science fiction as long as it’s interesting. There’s some folks in the community who are die-hard pro wrestling fans, for example. Doesn’t have much to do with science fiction (although it seems to fit rather well into fantasy, I think), but it’s in sfzines. So the field is pretty much wide open. My due date for R&P1 is, as I said, July 15th, and I think R&P2 is going to be early/mid October. (Yeah, I’m looking at quarterly production schedules for the moment.)
  • Other than that, things seem to be going fine in regards to the day job, although there are times I wish I had more time in the day. I also wish I had more time to write, but that’s never going to go away, so…
  • Also, unrelated, I wish I were going to Montreal for Worldcon or SJ for WFC, but you know, I’m a grownup now and have car payments, which means that, well, fun but expensive trips are out of the question for somebody who is only part-time at their job.

Anyway, if there’s anything else you want to know, I open the floor for questions.

At the new office…

It was very strange this morning after I dropped my mom off at her work in Rancho Cordova. Instead of doubling back to Folsom Blvd and following it all the way back down to the office at the corner of Watt and Folsom, I instead got on Highway 50 and headed for downtown. Yeah, the office moved downtown, very close to the corner of 5th and Capitol here in downtown Sacramento. Today’s the first day for the company at the new office. It’s going to take some getting used to.

I’ve already had to move cubes once today as the first cube I chose was driving me absolutely crazy — I’ve found out that I really don’t like sitting exposed with my back to the rest of the office. I’m not sure if it’s involuntary reactions to the times my mother sat quietly behind me watching me do things when I didn’t know she was there or if it’s just the occassional bout of paranoia that I’m prone to. Anyway, I’m much happier in my new cube, where I can see most of the office and don’t feel like everybody’s staring at me when I’m not looking.

Another thing that keeps striking my brain as wrong is the cubicals. Instead of the old full-high cubes, our new cubes are half-height, so if I lift my head, I can see across the office. (This also may have played into the involuntary twitch reaction.) They’re also beige instead of the blue-grey our prior cubicals are. For the most part I like it, as it’s nice to have line of sight to the far end of the office, but I miss the storage space up above the desk that our old cubes had.

But anyway, some normality is returning to my world as Luigi and the bad dudes are now adorning the top of my cube again, the binders with my ESX guides are sitting on my desk, and the only thing I’m waiting on to make my cube fully my own again is to hang up some important papers on the walls. It’s still a bit bare, though. I should find a good Cal picture (or maybe a pennant) to hang in the corner and make this cube even more my own.

A quick note

I aren’t dead.

Seriously, Baycon got extraordinarily busy from Saturday afternoon on, and then I had to make a sudden and sharp return to reality from the alternate dimension I had been inhabiting all weekend. Then work has been extraordinarily busy as well this week, and what time I haven’t been at work, I’ve been sleeping. Add to this the news from CA last Tuesday and the fact that if I fail to take one specific pill I’m supposed to take, I spend the next day in an absolutely foul mood (and unable to concentrate to boot), I wasn’t exactly coherent enough to make much sense.

I’m just starting to get my equilibrium back to the point where I can converse like a reasonable human being as opposed to an ogre, and so I’ll begin typing up some of my impressions of last weekend. I’ve got a bit to say. So stay tuned, folks.

those who would be different

Welcome to social deviance! The place where you end up when you realize that you don’t quite fit in. Social deviants serve several important functions, but mostly we serve as a horrible warning, “See what happens if you aren’t a good girl lil susie? You end up like that woman down the street who paints obscene things and lets weeds grow all over the yard!”

You sound like you’re in a tricky, unhappy place, where things are changing a bit too fast, for that I’m sorry. No advice or anything, just pull a chair up to the freak table, grab a pint and realize you aren’t alone.

‘ish, in response to this post on Enter the Jabberwock

I stumbled across this as I was trawling through my Google Reader looking for something to read, since my brain has decided that writing isn’t going to happen tonight. (That, and I’m without my computer.) And I read the post, which is about why God would bother condemning somebody to hell, and it wasn’t bad, but the gem was here in the comment section.

So I pass it along with no further commentary.

Worldcon bound!

If all goes according to plan, this should post while I’m standing at the baggage area in DIA waiting for my bags to be offloaded from the plane, if not moving outward into the greater Denver area.

Which means that I can now add Colorado to the list of states I have been in briefly, not counting entire visits spent inside an airport. (If that were the case, I would add Kentucky, Georgia, and Massachusetts to this list.)


visited 16 states (32%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Tomorrow is Worldcon. Woohoo.

a quote fraught with meaning…

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time

–T.S. Eliot, from Little Giddings

This one is going into the quotes file.

Anyway, consider this a thread for open musings. What’s on your mind, folks? Comment away, either here or on LJ.

I may have more to say tomorrow, despite the May death march.

the cake is a lie!

Before I get too carried away, there are probably spoilers below here. So be warned…

Yes, just like half the geeks on the planet, I’ve been infected by the game that some call Portal. I’ve been hearing people rave about this game for a year now. Several times I wandered into the store, picked up the Orange Box, sighed, and put it back on the shelf. I never really got into Half-Life, and while I like video games, I don’t have the twitch reflex to be really good at them, so games like Counterstrike have never really held much interest for me. (Where’s the fun in getting smooshed by folks who are much much better than me, I ask?)

Anyway, because of that, I couldn’t quite justify fifty bucks to myself just for Portal, as much fun as the game sounded. So I ran several cycles of sighing over the Orange Box before Tuesday.

On Tuesday, I walked into the local GameStop.

Read more… “the cake is a lie!”

flotsam and jetsam from the mind of katster

One of my favorite bits in NCAA football is when the announcers break the fourth wall. “Depending on what team you’re rooting for, you’re either really excited or about to hit the reset button.” Even though these days, I’m the team that’s putting up points, the line never fails to make me giggle.

Speaking of NCAA football, it’s a nice salve after my team has had three straight losses, to enter a world in which Cal dominates college football and has won the national championship for ten years running. It’s a good place, even though the game has decided Stanford is a perennial top-15 team, too.

***

Places not to be in a lightning storm #56: Pumping gas. I’m standing there, and the lightning descends, and the part of me that isn’t exactly concerned for my safety thinks, “Oooh, pretty.” And then, KRA-KOOOOM, thunder splits the day, and I’m suddenly very conscious than I’m standing next to something that could theoretically explode…

That said, we had a wonderfully apocalyptic orange glow thing going on after that thunderstorm. I tried to take pictures, but I haven’t had a chance to look at them and see if they came out. I don’t think so, though. But it was absolutely stunningly *gorgeous* outside, between the fall colors on the trees (yes, my part of California actually has changing leaves — and if I knew where our rake was, I’d rake the lawn) and the orange glow…it was one of those moments where I wish I had brain to computer upload, so I could show you all how beautiful it was.

***

Got lots to do. Nano’s happening real soon. Like Wednesday night. (Okay, technically, it’ll be Thursday morning when I start writing, but the tradition in Sactown is to get a bunch of people together and start writing at midnight.) The meet and greet went wonderfully well, and I can only hope that the kickoff will be the same or better. That said, the Sactown region has really awesome Nanofolks, and it’s somewhat of an honor to be their ML. And of course, my partner in crime is *also* awesome.

***

Tomorrow’s a busy day, so I’m going to put this up. I have to scan a bunch of drawings in (but the pictures are worth it), I have to get my next copy of At Ungodly Hours pasted together so that it’ll be turned in on time, which means I have to actually do some writing, and I should probably attempt to get slightly ahead in my classes before November roars in with its demands. Okay, technically, I’ve got two days left in October, but Halloween is kinda a day where not much is going to be able to get done. (I have to drive Mom to a test in the morning, get ready for trick or treaters and the kickoff in the afternoon, give out candy, and then drive out to Dixon.) But yeah, I’ve got a lot to do tomorrow, so I’ll go to bed now.

***

I’ll have it known that sometimes I *really* hate CSS.

***

Oh yeah, one more thing. User participation moment. If you actually come to retstak.org, you’ll see I keep a quote thing on my sidebar. I could use help in finding neat quotes to populate the thing. So if you’ve got anything cool, go ahead and quote it at me.