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.

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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

We found a way to run new rope through a headblock without someone (usually me) up at the headblock to force the issue:

We took a one foot section of the new rope and removed the central core. Then we stuck the onld (thinner) manila line and the end of the new rope halfway each into the empty sleeve, and taped the hell out of it with electrical tape. We had to yank it sternly to get that portion through the block (there are keepers,you see, which are designed to keep the rope in the block, but also just barely let the new thicker rope pass). In 30 linesets, it only broke once.

Every fire curtain is rigged a different way, so if you’re going to mess with it (like, say, re-roping it), you’d best march up to the grid and discover how the contraption is actually rigged.

Burkhard Heim may have come as close to a Unified Field Theory as anyone else [according to a New Scientist article which may require registration to view]. More importantly to the fictional future, his theories point the way towards a functional hyperdrive. Heim rarely published, and never published in English so much of his work from the 1950’s is just now being “discovered”.

My dream of a unified combat damage system for both melee weapons and firearms may not be possible. Primary evidence is that armor designed to prtect against melee weapons is useless against bullets, and for the most part vice-versa. Running numbers I discovered that melee damage can be satifactorily measured in Newtons while ballistic damage can be satisfactorily measured in Joules (kilojoules, actually). These line up with the damage range consensus among most RPGs.

E-books, copyright and zombies.

I wouldn’t count on another entry here until after the holidays.

Now you know.

Sssh! I’m supposed to be working…

Because everyone at my day job has Something Important To Do but me (both my projects have been substantially delayed), but I’m hanging around trying to look busy.

Really, I don’t even have to look busy, but when I get bored I become a pest.

It’s finally happened: a teacher told us the truth. The reason Johny can’t write is because hand writing is not an element of the AIMS test. Have we mentioned that Arizona s the worst ranked state in the nation in education. We is.

It doesn’t matter what we think of trading Amara Stoudemire. It’s all up to him.

Fox News applies known physics to fleeing from zombies. Because we care about your safety.

Time poll on our most trusted news-anchor. SPOILER: Vermont was the only state where John Stewart did place at least second.

And finally, another site cataloguing weird urinals: Porcelin Poetry

Now You Know.

Forensic architecture [11/7/08]

The main portion of my former kitchen cabinets were installd circa 1954 (judging from the newspaper we found in the wall – more on that later. The 10’x6′ shelf/cabinet combo was fabricated as a complete unit and then shoved into place, meaning the back and top of the cabinets formed part of the back wall and ceiling. So when we pulled it out, as a unit, because we really ahd no choice, it rained insulation.

Consequently, I have learned how to cut, mount and tape drywall.

4 days into the project and most of the wall units are up, and most of the floor units are in place. I’ve run into a stalling point cutting the counter-top, so we still have no sink. Or counter.

I’m a few beers past photos (besides, everything in my house is piled on top of everything else, including the camera).

Always suspected, but confirmed at a recent social gathering: if I’m around more than 4 other adults, I don’t have tworry about starting the fire. One of them will reveal as a bigger pyro than I am.

Remember the stop-action X-mas show “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer”? Didn’t something abiout that bother you? You were right!

Zombie Haiku by famous poets. No further explanation required.

Now you know.

To Zombify Education [10/24/08]

When you are imposing multiple levels of standardized tests, such as my children (4th and 6th grade) must take, you must be very consistent on how you define terms like “protagonist” and “denominator” so that they match in the school-wide test, the district-wide test and finally, the statewide test mandated by statute.

This is how measurement driven instruction improves zombification.

More numbered maxims on writing science fiction.

Splitting infinitives is made possible because English is not Latin. They were not considered poor grammar until the late 1800’s when grammarians decided that if you can’t do it in Latin, you shouldn’t do it in English.

English has a Germanic word order (There was a Germanic tribe called the Angles who spoke Anglic – you can see where that goes, right?). Differs it does from usage of standardized Latin.

Anyway, we’re over it. The Chicago Manual of Style has been over it since the 80’s, but the country as a whole, has been over it for over 50 years.

Grammar Girl explains here.

To boldly go…” is often cited as the phrase that moved us past this. (One site credited the line to Captain Kirk – who is fictional. It was almost certainly written by Gene Roddenberry.)

BTW – it’s now OK to use it on standardized tests as well.