August 14th, 2007


[links|travel] Link salad, never never on a Monday

The road to clarity — Type design for the 75 mph set.

Rare meteor shower to shed light on dangerous comets — Alas, I shall be in Japan that night.

Space Hotel Sees 2012 Opening — Start saving your frequent flyer miles.

Shorpy — The 100 year old photo blog.

Beheaded Snake Sends Man to Hospital — Snake bites man from beyond the grave.

(Thanks to yourbob, danjite, lillypond and a few other folks.)

[process] Trading up to a better class of problems

Regular readers of this blog may recall that I try to be open about my journey as a writer and as a professional, and this occasionally requires that I admit to being a bit of an ass. To that end, I was grumbling this past Sunday because the Los Angeles Times review of Mainspring Powell's | Amazon ] was in the online edition only.

It took me a little while to twig to the fact that this is stupid. I have a review in the Los Angeles Times. They spelled my name right. A year or two ago I would have cheerfully sacrificed klingonguy to the Elder Gods for that kind of exposure. Now I'm complaining?

I have a mentor who calls this, "trading up to a better class of problems." For example, when a pro sighs and complains about the three deadlines they have in the next two months, that's a real issue for them. Even when it makes the aspiring and emerging writers nearby reach for the butterknives and 30-mil sheeting. What we all tend to lose sight of in our human journey is how high the last step was. Once we've climbed it, it receded from memory. (My analogy for this is to tell people to think about high school — for years the most critical goal in most of our lives was to finish high school. Shortly after graduation that goal has receded to the trivial, never to be thought about again unless someone brings it up.)

So when I'm feeling grumpy about my coverage in the Los Angeles Times, I'm being very unfair to my past self and to the people around me, but it's still a real, legitimate feeling. How I handle that feeling is a measure of my professionalism and grace. The lesson for me? Another reminder that throughout the decades of my career yet to come, I hope to be one of those pros who never loses sight of what it meant, every step of the way.

[personal] Misc updatery eats the green wobbly bit

Today is my last day as guest moderator on the ASiF forum, so if that sort of thing is interesting to you, pop on by.

Reminder: If you're in Portland or surrounds, I have a reading/signing for Mainspring at the Beaverton Powell's today at 7 pm. I'll be reading an excerpt from Escapement, and talking about both books. Hope you make it in.

In other news, danjite reports that "there are no words" for the newly-tailored aloha shirt I'll be wearing at Nippon 2007. I can state with firm assurance that I will be the only human being on the face of the Earth with that particular shirt.

Finally, work is huge today, so expect intermittent wit and limited erudition.

[politics] A question

I'm trying to run down a fairly well-know quote which I don't remember well enough to Google for. A major pro-war commentator, about the time of the "Mission Accomplished" moment, wrote a maliciously snarky column or blog entry talking about how the words of the anti-war people should be regularly brought out and made public in the future to ensure that people didn't make the mistake of listening to them again.

Does this ring any bells? I recall the substance of this, but not the details.

[links] The Intertubes have been kindly


Fatigue cripples US Army in Iraq

Karl Rove Failed Conservatism By Moving The Republican Party Left — Rove as a crypto-leftist? Man, the knives are coming out in Conservativeland.

Building a coalition, forgetting to ruleThe New York Times on Rove and electoral politics, making many of the same points I've been reaching for.

Analysis of the relationship between the length of a country's proper name and its relative degree of freedom


Map reveals ancient urban sprawl — Angkor Wat as the original Los Angeles?

Some good commentary on scientific thinking vs faith-based thinking

Climate moderation courtesy of Australia's bunny fence

Art and Culture

Shorpy, the 100 year old photo blog — I have added this to my morning blog roll.

The 10 Most Awesome Movies Hollywood Ever KilledFartman? Really? Homie don't play dat.

Religion beat became a test of faith — Gakked from dirkcjelli. Fascinating, but probably preaching to the choir, or not, as the case may be.

1938 Push Button Car — Who needs a Bugatti Veryon, anyway?

With thanks to a number of the usual suspects, including chriswjohnson and danjite.