What we Learn by Flailing in the Dark

Before we recite my mistakes, and then some notes from writer’s groups and other sources, I have an announcement:

 

I will be in Kingman this Saturday for KABAM (a book festival)

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More information on KABAM on their Facebook page. I will have copies of Beanstalk and Beyond on hand, as perhaps copies of my hiking guides as well.

Now..

My son owns a 2003 Cadillac Deville, which broke down recently because of course it did.  I went to help him, and that grew into a 12 hour day until I finally sprung for the tow truck.

  • Removing the water pump, and  the pulley above it both require special tools, which, happily, you can “rent” from most auto parts store with just a deposit.
  • To remove the water pump you also need a 3/4″ socket, and to turn the thing the opposite direction of what you would want to.
  • Once you realize it’s not just the belt – it’s the water pump, you are past where you can do the deed curbside. Tow the thing to somewhere you can actually work on it.

Because the shadows, and our collective exhaustion were defeating our efforts to remove that damn water pump. (Also, we were doggedly twisting it the wrong direction).

Do not wipe all the cookies from your browser just because they freaked out a part of your credit union’s website. The website still doesn’t work, and now I have to re-enter a bunch of passwords – which I hate.

At Brazen Wonk, we notice how Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination troubles are entirely of his own making.

There is also, after a long lapse, a new page of the 64 webcomic.

I haven’t made anything like word-count the last few weeks. I have been distracted by my son’s car disasters (I only mention the smaller crisis here) and romance. That’s right. But not here – you’d have to ask me in person.

Except this – I haven’t been getting much sleep,. and yet I still have a bunch of energy. Like back to being hyperactive sort of energy.

But let’s step past that rabbit hole and get to notes from writer’s group sans meaningful context:

The Uncanny Valley is when an android is almost convincing, but not quite. TV Tropes sums it up here. Stranger Dimensions has examples.

Someone in the group knows Loren Coleman – Cryptozoologist.

 

camas_pocket_gopher_wikiwand_0

Not just a collection of random nouns

Pocket gophers, specifically the Camas Pocket Gophers are real creatures, and not just a collection of random nouns.

 

 

Those two items are actually unrelated.

 

Finally we cannot reccomend strongly enough Toilets with Threatening Auras on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Vice wrote them up a bit, if you need to know more.

Now we know.

No Ranting – Just Links.

Arizona House Bill 2112, the Technical Production Services exemption, has passed the AZ Senate, and sits on Governor Ducey’s desk. Here’s what I wrote about it for the March 2015 Collaborations – the newsletter of the Desert State USITT

Arizona House Bill 2112, currently awaiting a vote in the Senate, intends to remove the ability of live event technical professionals to collect unemployment. So if it passes, which seems likely, just about anyone reading this newsletter would be unable to collect unemployment compensation from the state of Arizona, even if they otherwise qualify.

The official summary says:

HB 2112 exempts technical event production services personnel from the definition of employee for purposes of the unemployment insurance (UI) program administered by the Department of Economic Security (DES).

That’s one of a long list of stoopid things the Tea & Gun party legislature is doing to our state. But I’m not going to turn this into a rant. This is a list of shorter items.

What I learned at my next-to-last board meeting (I’m currently the Secretary, but will be termed out by September) is that our DS-USITT is a unincorporated non-profit association, which means you can deduct fees or donations given tot hem from your taxes, but they can’t provide you with formal documentation.

Also, we learned that Arizona considers our traditional 50/50 raffle to support a student membership to be gambling – even if you are a lowly  unincorporated non-profit association. Because freedom.

No – not going to rant.

When driving to Tucson, don’t stop at Eloy. When I stopped there, I choked down a Carl’s Jr sandwich while surrounded by overweight white people with guns. I am an undersized, unarmed theater nerd. Ate quickly, Got out. Stop at Pichacho Peak instead. That Dairy Queen/Shell station/gift emporium was stocked by non-threatening, if unhurried old hippies.

Now – Links:

Research to replace my old tent:

http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Best-Camping-Tent/ratings

What adhesive should you use? http://thistothat.com/

Someone thinks about pterosaurs. A lot.

http://www.pteros.com/pterosaurs.html

Background for my work in progress:

https://fantasticalhistory.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/background-for-the-beanstalk/

Curious Continuity looks at the barely forseeable future:

https://curiouscontinuity.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/some-visions-of-the-barely-forseable-future/

And finally, SciShow Space starts out talking about tin whisklers and ends with talking about one of this blogs regular obsessions – strange toilets.

 

Which leads us to the ESA telling you more than you might have wanted to know about that.

You’re welcome.

Now you know.

Planets and urinals and an excuse to link

It be Talk Like a Pirate Day! Which is the same day as threaten your co-worker if he doesn’t stop talking like a pirate day.

It’s not Blog like a Pirate Day. Maybe we should start a movement.

A few quick links before the toilet humor starts:

A post-mortem of my book signing can be found at Are We Lost yet

GAFDE on blogging (which I am ignoring right now) at Writing Made Visible

The discovery of this planet isn’t monumental, (see last post for more on this process)  but the artwork is cool:

NASA has a new on-line tool to explore planets in our own system. The LA times describes it here.

“You are now free to move about the solar system,” Blaine Baggett, a manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, said in a statement. “See what NASA’s spacecraft see — and where they are right now — all without leaving your computer.”

The actual tool is here.

Eyes on the Solar System

Here ends the respectable portion of this blog entry.

So, according to the WordPress dashboard, one of the top searches leading to this site is “unicorn pooping marshmallows” which leads you to thi

 

That post also has one of the few clean photos of yours truly on this blog, and a video explaining the importance of the First Follower.

This post features something equally classy:

That is a Lady J – a portable urinal for women. That’s right, we span the globe to find weird urinals all over the world – even in your over-sized purse. Franly, I’m kinda disappointed the device isn’t pink.

So you know, women use these things in adventure and other travels. I learned about it from Kelly, who went around the world in a boat.

If you follow the D-backs or the Mercury, playing hard all the way through the game can get you a LOT farther than any of the talking heads would have expected.

Now you know.

 

Sssh! I’m supposed to be working…

Because everyone at my day job has Something Important To Do but me (both my projects have been substantially delayed), but I’m hanging around trying to look busy.

Really, I don’t even have to look busy, but when I get bored I become a pest.

It’s finally happened: a teacher told us the truth. The reason Johny can’t write is because hand writing is not an element of the AIMS test. Have we mentioned that Arizona s the worst ranked state in the nation in education. We is.

It doesn’t matter what we think of trading Amara Stoudemire. It’s all up to him.

Fox News applies known physics to fleeing from zombies. Because we care about your safety.

Time poll on our most trusted news-anchor. SPOILER: Vermont was the only state where John Stewart did place at least second.

And finally, another site cataloguing weird urinals: Porcelin Poetry

Now You Know.

Waiting for people to return my phone calls

A brief comparison of search engines – first hits:

octopus+urinal in Yahoo: The Urinals of the Red Vic

octopus+urinal in Google: South Park S9 Ep10 (“Mystery of the Urinal Deuce” – posted by Octopus)

High End Systems fog juice – any brand – is mostly “food-grade” glycol. And while it will, over time, completely dissolve the 1/4″ Crosby someone dropped in the tank for some reason, rendering both the partially dissolved Crosby and the now blood red fog juice useless, it is not considered hazardous waste. And the ppm of glycol is way below that in anti-freeze. Bottom line: you can dump less than five gallons down the drain if you have to.

If that saves some poor stagehand the two hour internet/phone odyssey I went through to discover that fact – my work here has been worth it. {BTW – the MSDS says “Follow state and federal laws” – which are apparently non-existent.}

Looking up at the stars, do you wonder how many might be looking back down at you? This site tracks the number of people in space right now.

They found a hobbit T-rex in China.

Wired lists the contents of a cup of coffee. I still want another cup.

And this blog is worth nothing. Nothing! How I know…

(Are We Lost Yet is also worthless – if’n you waz wunderin. Maybe if I updated it…)

I have – however updated my Examiner column. Natch. You can’t paste a table into the interface directly from Excel. You need to paste it into Word – and then into the interface. I’m not sure if Alpine is the highest municipality in Arizona (my search was not exhaustive), but I’m pretty confident that Yuma is the lowest.

Now You Know.

Ambition impaired by relative contentment

Probably the single biggest reason I’m not a full-time writer is that I still enjoy my dayjob. Consider: it’s 3am, I’ve been sandbagged into pulling what essentially amounts ot a double shift, and I’m out in a parking lot banding pallets full of plastic flooring together. And I’m still having fun.

Not sex-on-the-beach kinda fun, but I enjoy doing things and being helpful. And I haven’t played with a banding crank since my day-labor days back in the late 80’s.

Now, if a big-enough deal falls into my lap, I could walk away from my job the next day and feel hunky-dory about it, but the odds of that are microscopic.

On my other blog: the coming fire season, the sad story of Macho B, and the grim realities of freelancing with feelings.

Are We Lost Yet?

My Beloved Suns beat Sacramento handily in front of a half-empty arena. Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks lost to the even lowlier Grizzlies. That leaves the Mavs 3 games up with six to go, and hosting the Suns on Sunday. Nothing is settled yet.

How did we live without the internet:

How to choose a urinal in a public restroom.

Wii baseball flat out cheats once you get to the pro level. I’m not just talking about how “Sakura” can throw 100+ mph or a inside screwball that would take three different hands for a human using a controller. I mean there is a Japanese strike zone which shrinks or expands according to the conceived competence of the pitcher. Except for Sakura, who can get a strike from a pitch in the dirt.

Just venting. Maybe I should break down a buy a new game…

Now you know.

Reading on the toilet at my Superbowl Party [1/25/09]

I know, I know, you’ve been thinking, as well as I, that it has been far too long since we spoke in this blog about toilets.

Here, then, is a fine article about the good work of the World Toilet Oganization. [via Smartset]

And SitOrSquat’s interactive map for finding toilets around the world.

Now – send those photos in!

For something to read upon the toilet, consider The Guardian’s list of the 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read. This link leads to the F&SF intro for that list.

A week from now, I’m hosting a Superbowl Party – because I can. Anyone who actually reads this blog (all eight of you) is invited. E-mail me if you don’t know where my (west-central Phoenix) house is. Party starts 2 hours before kickoff (scheduled at 4pm local time, plus or minus a dozen long comercials). Plenty of food, and at least one beer.

Now you know.