Time consuming exercises with no measurable guarantee of success [10/30/08]

Right now, I am doing what all freelance magazine writers do when they are not actually writing, or doing their day-job. I am waiting for sources to call me back. I could probably get this same information over the internet (or perhaps even from the library- I’m old school like that) but it is better to get it from a real person whom you perhaps could quote.

Research, like fishing, has no guarantee of success.

I went out to Lake Roosevelt Monday, looking for Bald Eagles catching fish.

I didn’t see any Bald eagles on Vineyard Trail last Monday. It’s a known nesting area, but it was hot, and eagles hate that as much as the rest of us. I did however, duscover that my Garmin Etrex GPS unit is completely caput. New batteries – no screen. This means it lasted about 45 good hikes. Happily I didn’t need it. Vineyard is a straight forward hike that I covered in my guidebook.

Did I mention I have a book coming out? I do.

I have tentatively replaced Bongo with Lizards.

But I have just learned that you can change a load of laundry and play – nay win! – a round of spider solitare before WordPress can be bothered to upload a photo, so I’ll update this to a Flickr site when I get to that point.

Time consuming exercises with no measurable guarantee of success brings us naturally to trying to publish fiction.

Consider this Epistle from the Slush-pile. The important numbers lie at the bottom. 65-70% of submissions are unreadable;95% are unpublishable. If you’ve written professionally competent fiction, you’re only competing with the top 5% in the pile – though that’s still a large number.

One last note:

There has never been a rain-shortened game in the World Series until this year. If you believe, as I do, that God reveals His will to mankind through baseball, then surely this is a call to repentance.

How then, will we change our lives in response to this vague but clearly ominous portent?

And still, my phone does not ring.

Now you know.

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SF, eagles and gratuitous football metaphors [10/16/08]

Eventually, sleep deprivation overwhelms any amount of caffeine or motivation, and you just pass out on the couch, without updating your blog or rotating your laundry. Life goes on.

Paul Chitlik, who teaches screenwriting at UCLA has posted Eight Things to Remember when writing science fiction. [via SF Signal]

So say we all.

The southwest bald eagle is, according to ornithologists, a separate and distinct species from the rest of the North American bald eagles. They are, on average, smaller, geographically isolated, and nest and breed in the winter rather than the summer like the rest of their kin.

I’m working on an article about these birds, and their prospects (the Feds recently de-listed them as “Threatened”, but all of that is still in court). At the 2/3’ds mark of the research, I’d say their prospects are good regardless of how the Feds classify them.

A quick Debate Metaphor: Down by 9 points, Team McCain took the certain field goal, forced Team O’Bama to a three and out, and ended up with decent field position. They still need a touchdown with about 3 minutes left, and face a very good O’Bama secondary that knows they have to put the ball in the air.

The best electoral map on the web: Real Clear Politics.

According to their math, McCain can sweep the toss-up states and still lose. Personally, I think he steals Virginia from the Dem’s as well – but that won’t change the result – just reduce the landslide.