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.

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A broad selection of dangerous reptiles [1/26/09]

Arizona Poison Control is facing a 50% budget cut from the state, and the U of A portion of it would be eliminated entirely. That would leave Banner/Good Sam in Phoenix the only center left. Most of their work is over the phone – I’m not how this becomes the end of the world.

Anyway, I can confirm that there isn’t much you can do about rattlesnake bites in the field that won’t make it worse. That’s what I learned doing some preface material for the hiking guide, and I’ve confirmed it for a quick article I’ve been assigned for my old pals at Fitness Plus.

I also learned that Arizona has a single species of coral snake, whose bite is more dangerous because its more subtle, until the vomiting a few hours later.

Speaking of the Arizona Legislature, there is a certain but stable percentage of extremely conservative lawmakers who simply do not grasp how necessary education is to a functioning democracy. Two reps who “get it” to different degrees discussed that at length on Horizon.

Arizona is facing a budget deficit, and education accounts for 50% of the state’s expenditures. There is a voting majority who would rather see us devolve into a 3rd World country than to raise taxes. Arizona has been at the bottom in spending per capita on education (ranking 49th in 05-06), and even if all the other states are cutting funds as well – you have to wonder what’s left?

Two perspectives on e-pubs’ vs real books:

author Nancy Kress

And Jane of Dear Author

And mass-market books vs trade paperbacks explained by book-buyer (for bookstores) Andrew Wheeler.

I meant to start work on a play – I really did – but that keeps coming out is a script for a comic book (graphic novel?) about dragons putting together a space program in the mid Cretaceous period – the peak of their civilization – because the are bored out of their minds.

Now you know.

September 12, 2008

My wife had a much better 9/11post.

So, I’m proofing the galleys for my book (did mention I have a book coming out? I do.) when a co-worker started explaining proof-reading codes to me. Now, I’m not the proof-reader. The author’s job here is to just make certain the words and facts line up as he/she understands them. In this case, I’m correcting some things in the text, but I’m mostly looking for map errors. Stop yawning, I’ll get to my point…

My friend insisted that the numeric code 30 meant the manuscript was finished. That 33 meant give it back to the author for more revision, and that 86 meant reject the manuscript entirely. She then insisted that this was the origin of the term “86’d”.

Of course I looked it up.

30 is definitely proof code for done – print it. I couldn’t find any reference to 33.

86 definitely came from somewhere else. Proofreaders may have used it, just like everybody else, but they didn’t invent it.

Two prominent theories about where the term came from.

1) It refers to section 86 of the Uniform Code of Mlitary Justice, which deals with desertion and AWOL. Possible, but the term seems to imply an involuntary expulsion from something, where AWOL is presumably voluntary on the part of the soldier.

2) It refers to the street adress of a NYC speakeasy (and accounts differ as to the details), and this was what they yelled when the cops were about to barge in.

I’m not sure I buy either origin story. We may come back to this.

Meanwhile, here’s a good source for common proof-reader’s symbols: http://webster.commnet.edu/writing/symbols.htm

The bony plates on the back of the Stegosaurus (a Jurassic era herbivore) had great blood vessels inside them, and may have turned bright red during stress (such as being attacked) as the plates filled with blood. A warning perhaps to Allosaurs, who still remain, in my mind, as the coolest of the predatory dinosaurs.

I know this because I’ve been babysitting Walking with Dinosaurs at the US Airway Center in Phoenix. They feature life-size animatronic dinosaurs walking around beneath a truly fantastic light show. The tickets are outrageous ($35+ in Phoenix) but worth it anyway. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to Jurassic Park.