Some quick notes before I pass out

If you’re just hiking for fun, all you really need is water and some idea of where you’re going.

If you are researching a guidebook, though, and you are not fussy about preparations at the trailhead, you end up with poor notes, bad pictures and incomplete GPS tracks. I’m tired of that, so I’m going to make a trailhead checklist.

Even if you’re an interested party, graduation ceremonies challenge anyone’s ability to withstand boredom. This is the best format we can come up with? Really?

The starters for the San Antonio Spurs could probably force a 7 game series against the Suns, if they could play 40+ minutes every game. They can’t, and the Suns bench (which is probably a play-off team in the eastern conference) has walloped them early in the 4th quarter every game.

Tony Parker is every bit the defensive liability that Steve Nash is. It’s just that Bruce Bowen isn’t around to make up for that anymore.

There is much talk through the media, mostly from guys who picked the Spurs to win in 6, about how the Spurs have too much “championship pride” to be swept. Pride is beside the point. What those championship teams had was better defensive speed, better shooting range, a deeper bench and younger legs. Why would these aging legends what to run themselves half-to-death to squeak one victory away from a Suns team that will only humiliate them back in Phoenix? Pride?

Pride can force a game seven. It rarely forces a game five.

You know that Goran Dagjic and Leandro Barbosa and Steve Nash would be in violation of HS 1070 every time they take the court at the USAC, right? There’s no place to keep your papers in a basketball uniform.

If you’re a German Tourist trying to decide between Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, how hard is that decision now? There are a lot of different languages muttered by the folks who crowd the uptown Sedona visitor’s center. They’ll be less and less now.

Much as I would like to T-off on the Show Me Your Papers law, it will not survive the court challenges.  By that time, though, it will be clear to all but the racists Tea Party ilk that this thing absolutely creates more problems than it solves.

Now You Know.

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Finally coming up for air

Cause this blog isn’t dead. It’s just for the first time in 3 weeks, I’ve been able to come up for air. Haven’t been busy with one big thing. Oh no. A bunch of little things:

* swapped rooms in the house. My bedroom is now where the “family room” was. The “Office/lounge” is now where the bedroom was. The bedroom is functional. The O/L, where I now sit, not so much.

* Negotiated and finally signed a contract for Five Star Hikes in Flagstaff and Sedona and started work on that.

* Worked a selection of big, medium and small shows for Rhino. Then caught up with the install projects I had been ignoring because of those shows.

* Pushed forward on the space opera.

* Wrote a few articles for Fitness Plus

* Watched the Suns run over the Portland Trailblazers

* and played some Dungeons and Dragons.

I also kept falling asleep on the couch.

Did we learn things? Yeah

My house to the “Y” in Sedona is about 2 hours flat.

There is room in the market for a good hiking guide for Sedona and Flagstaff.

My old Garmin E-trex legend does not interface cleanly with the new Garmin Basecamp freeware. I need to upgrade. This is why I fear progress.

European power is all screwed up because of the French. (Of course, my source was British roadies).

There’s a swampy little lake near Casa Grande called Picacho Reservoir. And that’s about all I could learn about it. With 350 words t cover 20 lakes, that was all I needed to know about it.

This year’s  Suns squad is the best since 2004.

Good characters make even poorly designed systems (like 2nd AD&D) fun anyway.

Yeah, we’ll do some brazen wonk about immigration, but another night, ok?

Meanwhile, some links:

Strange Horizons gathers experts on zombies

What you always suspected, Jason Fried confirms: Why You Can’t Work at Work

Gamepocalypse chronicles how our culture is turning into one big collection of games

Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual is fairly close to how I’d like to present my space opera (except my subject is less satirical, and would be carved into bigger chunks).

And finally:

Res Ipsa Loquitor.

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

From stats to polls to toilets to writing

The Phoenix Mercury are like their male cousin-club in that ordinary assumptions based on stats do not apply to them. For example, yesterday afternoon, they gave up 20 offensive rebounds and won big anyway. They did this by shooting nearly 62% from the field – which is impressive in any league.

From stats to polls:

The Republicans are painting themslves into a corner on healthcare. In the short-term, they see little to gain amongst their conservative base, and a lot to lose amoung big-pharma donors (who tend to favor the GOP) by supporting any sort of serious reform. Their problem is that the Democrats could conceivably push through meaningful reform anyway, take all the credit, and hound the Republicans as the Party of No for the next few election cycles.

And if such reform somehow benefits the citizenry in some obvious way (this could happen), the Democrats could become a permanent majority for twenty years or more. This was exactky what a cadre of Republican operatives (namely William Krystal) feared in the early 90’s, prompting them to go full guns after the Clinton Plan.

Eighteen years later, though, that approach has a couple of problems:

* The Obama Administration has learned from the Clinton’s mistakes.

* The health insurance situation is a lot worse – meaning every bit as bad as the liberals predicted it would get if the Clinton plan fell through.

* And polling data is clear that the public wants access to Medicare, but they’ll settle for some composite public option.

If, however, the moderate GOP senators throw in with the Dems, they could get actual tort reform, a slow phase in of the public option, and some say in who gets soaked to pay for it. And if it works, they share just enough credit to stay viable in the 2012 elections.

If they are seen as defeating it though, (as opposed to Democratic infighting), the Democrats won’t need Al Franken and the zombie corpse of Robert Byrd to break a fillibuster – because the Republicants will get killed on this issue in 2012.

Health care costs are starving us out. Democracies never vote to continue a famine.

From politics to toilets:

The newest charity drive: Toilet Twinning.

Where toilets go when they die.

And because bears on the only ones who shit in the woods: The Packit Toilet.

And one last thing for the writers: John C. Wright’s Rules of Writing.

Now You Know.

Late game turnovers will kill you [10/31/08]

The New Orleans Hornets still own the Suns, beating them for the 5th time straight last night in Phoenix.
Of course, 20+ turnovers will do that to you.

OK – this isn’t just a random loony at a rally. This is not some low-level campaign worker in an unguarded moment. This is the national campaign spokesman, Mike Goldfarb, coughing up the football on CNN.

Everything that is dumb and wrong with the McCain campaign summed up in about 50 horrifying seconds. (Jesse Jackson? You couldn’t at least have smeared Jesse Jackson? I mean that would be untrue in five different ways, but at least we coud follow the logic. And Jackson’s fuming denial would have kept this thing going another news cycle at least.)

(Or maybe he just couldn’t bring hmself to say “Jimmy Carter” out loud…)

OK, he probably meant to say Jeremiah Wright, but then remembered that McCain would fire him if he did that*. But I really don’t think the answer he didn’t give helps his career as a spokesman in any way.No matter how desperate you might be to steal some jewish votes out of Florida, this sort of crap won’t get it done on the national level.

My nine year old daughter laughed at him.

Now you know.

* I suspect there is a gentleman’s agreement between McCain ad Obama. McCain won’t bring up Wright, and Obama won’t bring up the three or four right-wing crazy preachers that McCain publicly accepted endorsements from.