Notes from the Thurs Writer’s Group 10/1/09

I miss my dot-matrix printer. I pushed “print” and it printed. If it didn’t, it was out of ink. That was it. It probably still works – though I gave it away. Windows XP won’t support it.

It supports the Kodak AiO ESP3, which will print a variety of diagnostic test pages, but not the document I want to print. I bought it bexcause I grew weary of arguing with my HP printer.

What does it take to just get a printer to print documents?

So, I didn’t have copies for the meeting, even though I had new material.

Other notes from the October 1 writer’s meet-up: In hopes of finding inexpensive computer hardware that works.

“TK” in addition to being copy-editor shorthand for “To Come” is also the postal code for Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand located in the South Pacific, the stock symbol for Teekay Corporation, an oil shipping company, and an anaocronym for the Tool Kit GUI library for the TCL programming language.

Your resource for playing the concertina.

A steam-punk flavored automatic Genre Fiction Generator

Some alternate views on writer’s groups:

Steven Harper Piziks at Book-view cafe with the very basics of how they can be helpful.

And Dean Wesley Smith with why they are dangerous.

Homepage for the Desert Dreams Writer’s Conference , sponsored by the Desert Rose chapter of Romance Writers of America – which tells a lot about what sort of agents and editors are likely to attend. $218-248 for non-member registration depending on when you sign up, and how many extras you want.

And the difference between sketches of intelligent alien species, and sketches that resemble monsters from an RPG supplement is that aliens wear clothes. I have some examples, but my scanner is also my printer.

So we leave with a song:

Now You know.

Writer’s Meet-up notes 8-13-09

Only five people, and we were still the loudest group in the coffee shop. A marked contrast to the recent past. I have some bits of interest to writer’s in general, but first, a few random facts that came up last night.

Two sources for London rhyming slang:

Wikipedia on the Rochdale Cooperative Principles.

Non-wiki source: CommunityMarket

Probably a little upscale for hillbilly teenagers, but the Kawasaki Mule is typical of utility ATV’s.

The pilcrow, the paragraph symbol, does appear like a backwards “P”.

Now some links of more general literary (or at least commercial copy) interest:

KK Rusch’s far-reaching guide to freelancing.

Google has a proposed settlement with the Author’s Guild over Google’s habit of just posting stuff on the internet and asking about copyright later. Few other writer’s organizations like it, including the Science Fiction Writer’s Association and the National Writer’s Union.

And more on the paradigm shift involved when pricing e-books.

[More on that subject in this blog – here.]

I have a little gig writing for about camping. Examiner is hiring – though its not really as straightforward as that. They pay by the page-view, according to a Secret Formula, but its cumulative page-views, so if you have a lot of article up for a long time, and people keep reading them, those pennies pile up into dollars. That’s the theory, anyway.

If you blog on a particular subject regularly, then the Examiner is probably a better deal that blogging for free, or for the pittance of Adsense or the like. I would not, though, mistake this for paid-by-the-word commercial non-fiction.

My examiner page – so you know what we’re talking about.

Use my name, and I get $50.

Now You Know.

Notes from Writer’s Group 7-23-09

Plot outlines are for the author’s convenience. If it helps you write – you did it correctly.

Should you use quotes in interior monologues? These guys say “never, ever!” Its italics in the first person, and could be left implied everywhere else. They have some decent examples.

Literary zone divides our character’s thoughts into direct and indirect, with some pro/cons about those approaches.

Grammarphobia on champ vs chomp.

Language Log says chomp is winning.

There are 5 types of dragons in Chinese Astrology: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. (From here…)

They are otherwise divided in 9 types (more like species). Types and habits of Chinese Dragons:

Mythicarealm and Draconika

One last note: I have applied to write about local camping for (specically the Phoenix version). I’ll update how that turns out.

Now You Know.

Car shows, Meet-up rushes and wasting time in front of the TV [1/17/09]

So a brief account of things I learned over the past week, since,for various reasons, I haven’t made my daily-entry goal:

At the Barret-Jackson auto show, where I worked on the Ford booth: Shiny, metal surfaces such as diamond plate make it very hard to focus PAR lights. Lighting up cars is not rocket science. You can get a lot more finness manuevering a scissorlift with two hands on the joystick.

The Cardinals should have given the game ball to Carolina Panther’s QB Jake Delhomme for throwing into double coverage four times, which led to 4 of the Cards 5 interceptions. (The pass for the fifth was blocked at the line of scrimmage).

Once again, nobody picks the Cardinals to win this Sunday either.

Once I open a beer and turn on the TV – I am done for the night. I can do one or the other and still have a chance ofgetting something done before I go to bed. But both is a clear sign that productive activity has ceased for the day. (Clearly, that includes updating the blog). was not kidding when it warned meet-up organizers that there would be an early January spike in new members. The Central Phoenix weekly group went from 6 in a mid December meeting to over 15 on the first meeting in January.

The Central Phoenix weekly meet-up’s traditional format melts down completely with 15 attendees.

A great site for nerds who want to compare starship sizes from various fictional universes. They haven’t updated to incluce the new BSG ships, but the dimensions haven’t really changed from the orginal series (IMHO).

Was the season 4.1 premier worth watching? Yes.

Was it worth waiting over a year for? Not really.

Will I keep watching anyway? Of course.

It costs about $400/hour to rent a helicopter in Belize.

Snarge, n, the residue of birds that have collided with airplanes.

Now you know.

The need for dark coffee and a high PEI rating [12/3/08]

The good news: my daughter is student of the month, and is entitled to a free celebratory breakfast with her family.

The bad news:breakfast starts at 6:50am. Sunrise: 7:15am. eating cafeteria food in the dark is one of the many things that parents do for love.

Speaking of the need for seriously black coffee, check out these three items I found on Dark Roasted Blend:

Physicists making coffee with lasers and cooking hot dogs with tesla coils.

How living things and minerals may effect each other’s evolution.

And Tristan da Cunha, the world’s most remote inhabited island. The next step is to acquire a photo of one of their urinals…

Some inportant advice about living with writers.

And finally, tile comes with a rating from the Porcelain Enamel Institute to indicate its resistance to abrasion. They go from Class 1, so fragile they should only be used on walls to Class 5, “suitable for all residential and commercial use.” Monocuttura indicates tile glazed with a single passthrough the kiln, though the uncredited article (advertisement?) (anyway, not from the PEI website) I’m using as a source doesn’t mention why anyone would care. Vitreous tile, more usefully, has less than 3% water absorption, and is what you want around pools or spas.

Now you know.

My kitchen and Antarctic urinals may be nothing but waves [11/30/08]

So what my wife and I learned that we have the room on our credit card to plausibly rennovate the kitchen, which has the same cabinets from original construction circa 1949. So they’re a little dated. All told, this is a $3000 project if you include a new dishwasher – which we will. If our tax return is what we expect it to be, this ought to be off the books by the end of the year.

The question is: can we install it all before Chistmas?

I expect to learn a lot about installing cabinets in the next four weeks. I’ll share.

And now, for toilets in Antarctica:

Here’s some collected photos of them. Here’s some history of how they were maintained in the past. And here’s the website of Cedar, one of the people who cleans them right now. So now you know what stalagshite is. And Cedar’s Flickr set is way worth it. And remember, it’s summer in Antarctica.

Oh, and there may be no such as things as particles. It might all be waves.

Now you know.

TED-Fed, Kenyan Goat Condoms and AZ ballot props [10/7/08]

Some quick thoughts before The debate starts, and my mind wholly descends into national politics.

Always eager to find some way to explain abstract concepts in sound-bytes, the econowonks on the news shows now refer to the TED-Spread, which is not a porno term. This number supposedly indicates relative tightness of the international credit market. The highre the number, the harder to borrow. I found it well explained by Econobrowser and Seeking Alpha. Note how spikes in the TED Spread do not neccessarily predict total economic catastrophe…

One of many ways Kenyan farmers are trying to cope with the ongoing drought is putting condoms on goats. OK, its’ not really a condom, but the “olor” as its’ called does prevent the billy’s from getting it on.

So there’s a new word.

Now, local politics:

I recieved a mailing about a plan to merge 14 Phoenix area school districts into one mega-district. combining our district with just over 10,000 students into a district with over 100,000 students (the Alhambra District is the second largest of the 14 districts).

This came from some re-districting commission, but is adamently opposed by all the districts involved, and no one wrote in favor of it in the publicity pamphlet. I couldn’t name a single school board member in my district, but I still like the fact thatw e have a locally elected school board.

So I’ll be voting no.

AZ Proposition 200 is the Payday Loan Reform Act, written and supported by that industry. They must reform themselves because the 10 year window on the state law that makes them possible expires in 2010, and there is no momentum to renew it at the legislature.

Self-regulating industries have a poor performance record. I’ll vote no.

September 2nd 2008

You can go from zip to blog at the WordPress site in about a half hour.

Anagnosis, Aristotle’s term for a revelation in a litererary work that turns the direction of the protagonist’s (or other character’s) life. In Greek drama, that direction was almost always downward.

Literary criticism may be dying in the newspapers, but it is flourishing on the internet, albeit with a greater –er- variety of competence.

Squick” is slang for beyond gross.

or so I read. I’m not actually that hip.

You really have to use the “paste from Word” button when imprting text – or there is weirdness.

Screenwriters regard their own format as some indecipherable and contradictory alchemy that only the seasoned pros can possibly understand, and that not being within this mystical format marks one as an amateur. [via – which actually deals with the Dark Knight script – but see the comments below about the quest for the One True Format].

Older news:

Sarah Palin is the new Dan Quayle – and that McCain’s campaign staff finally shouted down Joe Liberman as VP – a hollow victory as it is turning out.

(What we learned from Dan Quayle is that no one votes for the bottom of the ticket.)