The two-year standard

This is how I manage my blood pressure: when confronted with a problem, I ask myself, will I care about this two years from now? If the answer is “no”, then I do not worry about it.

Two years from now, I will not care that I failed to update this blog for more than two weeks. I honestly doubt that anyone else will care either.

Bikram Yoga, or “hot” yoga requires that practitioners to go through their 26 different poses in a 105F room at at least 40% humidity. You can learn it in Scottsdale. You won’t see me there, of course, because I only know about this through researching an article.

Wondering what you forgot before delivering that bid? Delivery charges. That’s what I always forget.

I am now 0-18 for Beanstalk queries – and wondering where the futility mark actually is.

I have a contract from Menasha Ridge Press to do a hiking guide for Sedona/Flagstaff – but its 60% of the advance that I got for the Tonto Guide.

Those are both decisions I’ll care about two years from now, so I’m not going to make them until Monday.

Tom Friedman wants to start a party of Radical Moderates.

I write often about innovation in energy and education. But I’ve come to realize that none of these innovations will emerge at scale until we get the most important innovation of all — political innovation that will empower independents and centrists, which describes a lot of the country.

What do we want? – Reasonable progress!

When do we want it? – In due course!

Even though I’m reflexively a leftie – I’m with that crowd.

You know how the internet is full of periodic tables portraying just about anything? Yeah. We all knew this would happen eventually.

I’m gonna break a rule and write a separate post with the writing stuff. It’s my blog, and I can do what I want.

Two years from now, no one will notice.

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 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, 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

Agents, taxes and oddities – Thurs Nite notes for 11/5/09

Quick & Dirty guide to finding agents

I have a list of twelve agents or agencies that I plan to submit Beanstalk and Beyond to. I assembled that list mostly from Publisher’s Marketplace.

Here are the steps:

1) Finish the book. If you haven’t done that, stop here and go finish the book.

2) Go to Publisher’s Marketplace. You do not need to sign up for a membership. What you need to find is the “Search Members” link.

3) Search for the genre, and add the word “agent” unless you want to see the pages of a couple dozen writers who also write in that genre.

4) Click through their pages. Write down the names of those you would like to submit to. (We all have our own ways of weeding through that list) Make sure you spelled the name correctly.

5) Onec you have your list of names, Google each name – and find out something about them. Check out their agencies’ actual website. read their blog if they have one. Get a vibe.

6) You’ll come across a lot of links for QueryTracker. This is worth joining at the free level.

7) Order your list in agents you wuld most like to represent you. Double-check the first one’s requirements. Send your query.

8) Wait.

There is a lot of conflictin onformation about te propriety of querying multiple agents at a time. I don’t – but that;s mostly because I can’t keep track of such things. Most of them have come to expect this practice, and the ones who want exclusives from the get-go are usually fairly specific in the submission guidelines.

If you don’t have at least a nibble after 12 queries – its time to look at your query letter. Hard.

OK – that’s what I know about that.

Agent Janet Reid shared her 20 nuggets of advice with Writer’s Digest. Worth reading.

Assuming you sell something (or even if you don’t) – Inkygirl has assembled a list of tax advice for freelance writers (so I don’t have to).

Inkygirl rocks – BTW.

I know less about Japanese poetry – but these guys know more.

The cloud at Chowhound considers fruitcake.

And if you draw a picture at – they’ll tell you what sort of person you are. (I’m the sort that really doesn’t have time for that tonight.) (Can they predict whether you’ll like fruitcake?)

Now you know


Notes from 9/24/09 Writer’s Group

There is a great deal of advice out there on how to write a query letter for a novel, and precious little in useful facts. It is, after all, a completely subjective exercise. I’ve done a fair bit of research myself, and here’s the two sites I found most helpful:

Do’s: Nathan Bransford – literary agent – on how to get an agent. To save you a click – his “mad-lib” query template.

First I’m going to need these things:

[Agent name], [genre], [personalized tidbit about agent], [title], [word count], [protagonist name], [description of protagonist], [setting], [complicating incident], [verb], [villain], [protagonist’s quest], [protagonist’s goal], [author’s credits (optional)], [your name]

Don’t’s: For those who like their truth a little brutal, you can follow agent Janet Reid’s Query Shark (where you might eventually see my query letter). Reid critiques “sample” query letters sent specifically for that purpose (as oppossed to real query letters sent to her real agency).

I’ve stopped reading right here. […]

Answer three simple questions: who’s the protagonist; what choice does she face; what are the consequences of the choice. That’s ALL you need.

Not for those with squeamish egos.

Personally, I value the advice of agents and editors far more than the advice of teachers and authors. If your goal is to get through the slush pile – heed those who read that slush pile.

ASCII Codes for special characters

Alt+160 = á

Alt +130 = é

Alt +161= í

Alt + 162 = ó

Alt + 0252= ü

Alt + 163 = ú

Alt + 164 = ñ

Alt + 167 = º

Alt + 168 = ¿

Alt + 0193 = Á

Alt + 0201 = É

Alt + 0205 = Í

Alt + 0211 = Ó

Alt + 0218 = Ú

Alt + 0220 = Ü

Alt + 0209 = Ñ

Alt + 173 = ¡

§ couln’t find an ASCII number for this.

I inserted it from the dialogue box.

[Word to WordPress = weird typeset anomolies]

Not directly relevant – but too cool not to share: A pictorial tour of Odessa

The Encyclopedia of Ukraine on Nationalism. (And some “don’ts” of HTML typesetting).

Just who is Scott Turow anyways?

Three viewpoints on ghosts:

1- Van Alst “Spirit Investigators” answer prospective client’s FAQ’s.

2- Canadian kooks researchers who believe ghosts are misunderstood and that exorcisms are worse than useless.

3 – Mystical Blaze ( a New Age reference site) with a relatively coherent run-down on theories behind ghosts.

And a sidebar – a review of a role-playing game rules about ghosts. (This is a PDF, and may take a bit to load.)

And if you absolutely cannot eat another can of beans in this old trailer, here’s the Kingman Chamber of Commerce list of Restaurants.

Now You know