Back from the Dead

This blog, that is. I’ve been fine – just busy. Really, really busy.

A rash of Rhino work coincided with the new hiking guide. I had to hold down my day job in the new economy (almost as much work – fewer people to do it) and hike while the hiking was good.

So a lot of things didn’t get done.  This was one of them.

What have we learned since May 9th?

Many things – too many to list here.  A handful of highlights:

No rebounds – no rings.

With blog updates, you get what you pay for. If you don’t pay the writers (I’m looking at you Examiner) all the jazzier new interface improvements won’t help you.

TV is the enemy of productivity – even more than cute animals or beer.

Twenty extra minutes checking the gear at the house can save you six wasted hours on the trail.

And clean you camera lens once in a while.

There might well be a real quality difference between lenses from your optometrist vs lenses bought online, but there can’t be a 250% difference. I’ll know soon.

Put the campfire out all the way out – every time.

Pride is expensive. It’s the difference between a couple hundred dollars over a week, or nearly a thousand dollars over three days.

Once you realize you’re screwed – get help. No one appreciates, or is impressed by your stoic failure.

“The body can do a lot. It’s the brain that gets in the way.” – John Wooden

Now you know

After the Holidays

Thanksgiving in the USA. I was busy. Learned a few things.

When re-roping a fly system, someone is going to have to get on top of the head-block and feed the rope through – unless you’re a lot smarter than we were.

There is no biography of Alvin Gentry on line that I found useful – so I wrote one.

A timely, topical entry for Examiner, such as this one on Phx camping stores Black Friday specials, earns me about $0.40 for an hour’s work. So I stick to relatively evergreen stuff like campground profiles.

At the in-laws, I have to seize control of the TV or it will be stuck on game show re-runs from the 70’s. Not kidding. There are two things I can put on the TV that will not generate controversy from the wide confluenec of family in attendence: Sports or science documentaries.

From Nova, I learned that there are two different dream cycles: REM and non-REM. REM cycles ted to be more creative, but also involve more negative emotions. Non-REM dreams are more positive, but more limited to actual memories.

From Scientific American Frontiers, I learned one of the few useful things to coem out of Biosphere was the Biosphere Diet, a high vitamin, low calorie diet born of desperation (their gardening scheme yielded a fraction of expected results), but which actually left the participants leaner and healthier than when they went in.

Oh, and when the Detroit Lions have lost, its time to serve the turkey.

A backlog of [writer] links:

Book Marketing Maven: blog ideas for your fiction-writing blog

Caren Gussoff shares 5 Truths about Editors

And some more opinion of the Demand Studios and ilk dillema:

Carol Tice’s 7 reasons not to write a $15 blog (a numbered list – just like a non-fic freelancer…)

Now You Know




No snow, just random facts and links

On the back of the menu my children bring home from school, there is often filler material. This must be sourced from some national syndicate, because this month’s filler is about snowflakes.

This school serves chorizo for breakfast (not every monring). It will not get snow. Regardless, I now know that 15 inch diameter snowflakes once fell in Montana, that the average snowflake falls at 3.2 miles/hour, and that “snirt” is a Canadian word for the dirty snow that blows across the prairie.

I’ve been trying to do a slideshow on Examiner, and I’ll get there – but the first attempt is sad… You’d think for a feature that is known to drive traffic, they’d find a way to make it easier to use.

If you’re like me, and you have wasted the last six or seven years using the internet to work Know Your Meme will get you caught up on all the  internet fads (is that still a term? Or has it been replaced?).

15 random facts about coffee. Yep.

Empathy and stress reaction may be genetically linked.

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.

A writer whines – and then cool graphix

It takes less than a foot deep of current to wash avehicle down the river. More facts in my flash flood article for Examiner.

I applied at Demand Studios, another internet content sweatshop. They are, as the name might hint, very demanding. They have a 3 page style guide for 200 word fact-sheet articles – including how to cite references.

Unlike Examiner, though, they pash cash up front – though not much. $20 (for about 500 words) is their top rate. Their style and content demands, though, are the kind of standards that start at $.10/word.

Or so it was in the olden days, before the information explosion up-ended the supply-demand ratio. Back when we wrote on typwriters, and sent our third draft in by mail, competent writers could make reasonable writing for magazines. The interent, and all that comes with it, has so lowered the barrier that anyone who passed ENG 102 and has access to dial-up can write content for web-pages.

Which is why 90% of the copy on the internet is dreck. But its free – so no one really complains about it.

The talent ratio hasn’t changed. They are only so many people who can research and write and make deadline without supervision. But publications that charge money for copies of well-written, informed non-fiction are dwindling towards extinction.

Meanwhile, hap-hazard gibberish explodes across the net – for free.

One article for Demand pays more than I’ve made so far for six articles on Examiner. I’ve already discussed my excuse for being in that sweatshop. I dunno.

We’re heading towards a society of slaves. You knew that right?

Ok. Enough whining about words. Cool graphics:

USA Today tracks progress of the International Space Station

The New York Times on how typical people spend their day

And men’s brains vs women’s brains in an argument.

Now You Know.

100th Post!

This means I eligible for syndication! (Well, if The Nanny could do it…)

Some numbers:

Blog Stats Summary Tables

Total views: 1,225

Busiest day: 25 — Thursday, October 30, 2008

Views today: 1


Posts: 99

Comments: 48

Categories: 32

Tags: 320


Akismet has protected your site from 207 spam comments.

My other site (Are We Lost Yet?) can get 44 spam comments in a day!

I pushed the GO button on I am the soon-to-be Phoenix Camping Examiner (the hiking position was already filled). There’s still a couple of hoops.

A lot of hoops, actually, for something that might – might – gross $10 a month. But I view it solely as a means to market my hiking guide. I could blog in obscurity on largely the same subjects for free, or I could get slightly compensated on Examiner. Easy choice, when presented like that.

Of course, Examiner work differs from a blog in some important ways:

* People actually read it. (The average for Phoenix recreation Examiner site yields 35+ hits per day – more than my busiest day here.)

* Your editor actually notices if you don’t post for a week.

* You have to write in 3rd person AP style.  As opposed to 1st person what-the-fuck-ever-style that typifies most blogs, including this one.

AP style seems like work.

On Saturday, I leave for a vacation to Yellowstone on which I expect to learn PLENTY, but none of which I’m likely to post about until I get back.

I hope to post the Writer’s Meet-up notes before I go, but time dwindles, and the To Do list expands. I didn’t want to clog my historic 100th post with such things.

Now You Know.