Random geography and other writer’s notes

Yes, the Thursday night writer’s group is still going, and I have been able to attend most of the meetings, despite my neglect of just about everything else that didn’t have money attached to it for the past six months.

Dolce Expresso closed, and we were sad – and homeless.

Restaurants make poor meeting places for writer’s groups.

1) the wait staff will interrupt the read-aloud without remorse – because they don’t know.

2) A large party tends to be put in a booth – which is troublesome.

3) You will baffle or annoy those around you.

BUT

4) (and most importantly) if you’re going to tie up a chair for two hours, you’ll need to spend $10+. A cup of coffee only buys you about 45 minutes.

Also, the particular restauraunt we chose slapped an 18% gratuity on all of our checks because we were more than six butts.

So now we meet at Urban Beans – and life is much better.

For those who attended – and those who enjoy random, out-fo-context facts:

There are two Kashkars – one in Kyrgyzstan (Kara-Kashkar), and one in Chines Turkestan (aka Kashgan). The latter was on the Silk Road and is at least 2000 years old in one form or another.

More famous than either one – at least according to Google – is Cafe Kashkar, your source for Uzebek cuisine in times square.

Novosibirsk, Siberia, is actually a big place, and lloaded with all the culture and class you would expect from Siberia. Actually, it odes contain a major university and the State Opera Academy.

Add this to your try before you die list: Absolut Pepper vodka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By-the-wind jellyfish (above) are properly called Velella Vellella.

And Ace Carson is not Buck Rogers. Really.

This is Buck Rogers:

(Yes, that’s Gil Gerard and Erin Grey – the stars of the late 70’s movie and TV series.)

Now You know

 

Writer’s Group Notes return

In the past, I followed up the writer’s group I participate in with some remarks relevant to what was discussed about writing and other things.

These are the notes (mostly links, actually) from the 7/14 meeting:

New word: numismaty – the study of old coins.

Numismatic Doug Smith gives an overview of the subject in one of the 100+ pages of his comprehensive site.

Looking for a specific name? Try Coin Community’s Numismatic Glossary.

Hohman transfer orbits are the bicycles of interplanetary travel – fuel efficient compared to any other vehicle, but really,really slow.

The Polaris Project from Iowa State University patiently explains it all (and we mean all).

And if you’re worried about traffic on the orbital highways, check with these folks first.

Finally, GRR Martin does not have a blog, except he does, and he updates us on the casting and other production progress of HBO’s adaption of his novel Game of Thrones.

Now you know.

Accumulated Writer’s Group Notes

First, Palo Verde Pages, the Central Phoenix Writer’s Workshop’s very own quarterly anthology, is available as a PDF on Amazon, and will be available in print any moment now.

Hurray. There will soon be a dedicated blog to that project.

Submission deadline for issue #2 (July) is May 6th. 3000 word limit, any genre, no particular themes BUT it must be workshopped in one of our groups. So mention you have a PVP piece, and you go to the front of the line.

Back when David Mamet was exec producer on The Unit, he wrote a memo to the writing staff that, now that it has surfaced, is a classic primer on dramatic screenwriting and by extension, dramatic writing in general. Apparently his CAP LOCK KEY had seized.

YES BUT YES BUT YES BUT, YOU SAY: WHAT ABOUT THE NECESSITY OF WRITING IN ALL THAT “INFORMATION?”

AND I RESPOND “FIGURE IT OUT” ANY DICKHEAD WITH A BLUESUIT CAN BE (AND IS) TAUGHT TO SAY “MAKE IT CLEARER”, AND “I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HIM”.

WHEN YOU’VE MADE IT SO CLEAR THAT EVEN THIS BLUESUITED PENGUIN IS HAPPY, BOTH YOU AND HE OR SHE WILL BE OUT OF A JOB.

Read this, my friends. Read it many times.

Related, Script-Frenzy guest-poster Xander Bennet on Kick-ass protagonists

Xander has his own blog on screenwriting: Screenwriting Tips … You hack – which is very addicting.

One more good site to follow: Make a Living Writing

More soon, I trust.

Now you know.

Hold my beer – blog this…

I stare at the screen

so many thoughts to share, still

I play solitaire

Even though I haven’t updated this blog in some time, it has still drawn a reasonable amount of traffic, and

Even though no money changes hands over this blog in any direction, I am still grateful for the attention.

Never write e-mails angry. You squander the one advantage they give you over personal communication.

Take your time. Think it through. Figure out what you really need to accomplish with your reply, and for the love of God get your facts straight.

I am pleased to report that I believe I have just taken my own good advice for once. But we shall see.

Some more links of interest to writers are up at Writing Made Visible. And you can all scroll down for some Haiku nonsense.

Brazen Wonk:

David Frum explains how in terms political productivity, social progress is over-rated.

David Walker talks like the civics professor you wish you had listened to – but as he explains on NPR’s Fresh Air, our folly has real consequence:

“What threatens our [country] is the structural deficits that will exist after we are out of the recession, after unemployment is down, after the wars are over, and after we get past the current crises,” he says. “Structural deficits represent a fundamental imbalance between projected revenues and projected expenditures even when the economy is growing, even when the wars are over, even when unemployment is down. And in that circumstance, we face — because of known demographic trends — the retirement of the baby-boom generation primarily and rising health care cost — large, known and growing structural deficits that could swamp our ship of state.”

Writer’s Group:

The purpose of Haiku:

“The primary purpose of reading and writing haiku is sharing moments of our lives that have moved us, pieces of experience and perception that we offer or receive as gifts. At the deepest level, this is the one great purpose of all art, and especially of literature.” (Bill Higginson)

Japanese Death Haiku

And finally, as once heard on NPR’s Car Talk:

Four-wheel drive pickup
I remember his last words:
Hold my beer, watch this!

Mike and Vicki Stroeher

Leading inevitably to this:

“Told ya I shoulda gotten my cooler outta there…”

Now you know.

Notes from my new and nifty sky chair

Which I bought at the Renn Faire with money I made from phxsunsnews.com

It’s like a hammock – only a chair – and mine has armrests and a cup-holder -because its a deluxe!

If it had a fold-out desk and a plug strip – I’d live in the damn thing.

I added the sheet clipped to the thing for shade.

[photo by Julia Padegimas]

Also at the Renn Faire, my kids learned to make noise for digereedoos. We all learned how predatory birds have far more relative grip strength than humans. And we learned that jousting at the Renn Faire has more in common with pro wrestling than with the rodeo.

According to the American Psychiatric Group I have autism or nothing.

They found the part of the brain that governs spirituality

Boredom doesn’t cause death, but it causes behavior that leads to death.

On that subject, I have been assigned by my day job to comeup with a power point tutorial on basic theatrical carpentry.However dull that sounds – it’s actually worse than that. Power Point is like a slide show, only with bullet [yawn] points, and without the exciting possibility that a slide might be upside down or jam.

Writer’s Group Notes

We couldn’t remember the name of the software that kept track of plot threads for you, so here’s a round-up of the better writing software.

It’s Ross Sea – not Ross Bay. My bad.

Space elevators are only practical at or near the equator, since they rely on inertia from the Earth’s rotation tohold ther tension. At or near the pole (like my fictional Ross Spaceport) you need something like a Space Fountain. Cooler anyway.

Other random nonsense

Zombie fiction authors,in general, are apparently relatively conservative. Witness the fall-out to the possibility of gay zombie fiction.

Zombies are also at war with Unicorns. I don’t know why? Unicorns are liberal?

Ok – who wouldn’t want to slaughter such a thing?

“The First Follower can make the difference between a leader and a lone nut…”

Finally, some props to Eric Turner – who didn’t steal my blog title after all.

Now You Know

About damn time…

I promised some notes for the Thursday night folks, and they’re here, and you don’t have to skip down that far…

2nd edition AD&D came out when Excel was still almost strictly an accountants tool. By the time the RPG community discovred it, we had all collectively (and pretty much at the insistence of Wizards of the Coast) moved on to 3rd edition+. Consequently, there are no good Excel character sheets out there for ADD2. I spent longer researching this than any other item below (except the car keys).

The correct tire size for a 2006 Chevy Equinox 2WD LT with 16″ rims is: P23565R16 – which is the size of the tires in the front. It was not the size of the tires in the back which were both smaller and (consequently) balder than the front.  Or they were. $230 later and all the tires match – two of which are new. Related: 20 minutes on the internet saved me $30. Not a bad return.

The keys for that Equinox are either:

  • Within 100 feet of N33d 35.478   W 110d 36.618 (the campsite where I lost my keys) OR
  • Somewhere within the Equinox that can only be reached by tools.

Leaving an extra set of keys with your loving spouse will save you several hundred dolllars. The tank of gas and dinner for the in-laws involved in having them delivered was, then, pennies on the dollar.

2006 Chevy Equinox is the most frequent search term that leads to this site. But let’s talk about writing.

I have already written a little primer on how to seek and query literary agents: Quick & Dirty guide to finding agents

Writer’s Market and/or WritersMarket.com is the industry standard for finding an outlet for non-fiction articles and/pr short fiction (and basically anything else that’s not a book. The physical book is more complete, but tends to get out of date by the end of the year. The website (which requires subscription) has gotten mixed reviews for functionality. I’m about to subscribe myself – I’ll let you know.

[The book I linked to includes a free sub to the website.]

Meanwhile, freelancewriting.com has a less exhaustive but free listing of writer’s guidelines for various publications

Nerd-pron: Attack Vector Tactical

William Gibson’s Neuromancer

Allen Ginsberg’s Howl

Looking for Thai-American magazine markets leads you to Writer’s Market or site in Thai.

If you can re-map you keyboard from Windows – I dunno how. (And I looked). So there’s I failed to learn. Sigh.

I’ve been traveling, which is always full of lessons, but that will wait for next post – which will be sooner than 9 days.

Now You Know

Notes from the 1/14/10 Writer’s Group

Big group (11 writers at our peak). I would’ve have split into two groups if more people had brought work to read. As it was, you had two choices, read loudly, or bring a lot of copies. We had examples of both approaches.

Here are some relevant links:

Pine Ridge Reservation is a real place.

Em’s island is fictional, but based on the real Sandwich Archipelago in the south Atlantic/North Antarctic ocean.

www.ipulpfiction.com has some sort of Quicktime thing that locks up my browser. They have a $10 reading fee, which violates the Harlen Ellison Rule that money should always flow towards the writer, but they are up-front with the terms, and your odds are better than contest writing. Besides, some of that reading fee goes to one of our own.

An after-hours conversation brought up some interesting things:

That “long vowel sound” that your teachers beat into your head no longer exists. Its a relic from middle English (and several other languages) where a long vowel was just that – a vowel you held for multiple beats. It was abandoned in English around the 15th century, but its legacy still complicates our spelling. More on that here and here.

Finally, James Merill – poet – a brief bio from poets.org.

Now you know.