September 21st, 2008


[links] Link salad for a busy Sunday

World Names Profiler — More specifically, European names. Still, interesting stuff. (Thanks to my Dad.)

O, chocolate, where is thy sting? — Hershey’s pulls a fast one. (Thanks to danjite.)

Rats sniff out the new cat on the block — Wow, this is cool. (Thanks to mikigarrison.)

Hit by a particle accelerator beam — A modern-day Phineas Gage.

Ike Uncovers Mystery Ship on Ala. Coast — This is kind of cool.

Oldest ice in North America ‘more resistant to climate change than thought’ — Quick! Call off the global warming hoax! We’re busted! (Thanks to lt260.)

Language Log on McCain on Spain — Some cool linguistics neepery concerning McCain’s recent, very public confusion on the leadership (and location) of Spain.

Are you a born conservative (or liberal)? — Um, ok. Though it would explain a lot. (Thanks to lt260.)

Doonesbury on the GOPAC memo — I haven’t thought about this for a long time. There really was a defining moment in the rise of the politics of hate, and it came straight out of the heart of Conservative America. If you haven’t read the GOPAC memo, go check it out.

Body movement: 90 minute suburban walk
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 233.0
Currently reading: FenCon workshop manuscripts

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


[politics] The bailout

From the proposed bailout measure:

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

I don’t care what your politics are. Do you think any administration should have completely secret, uncontrolled authority over $700 billion?

There are about three million personal bankruptcies a year in this country. Do you think the government would hand you unrestricted, unaccountable funds if you were in that kind of financial trouble?

And the fucking Democrats seem to be lining up on this madness.

Special bonus link: Key Lehman employees to receive $2.5 billion in bonuses as part of bankruptcy.

Will some kindly conservative please explain to this dumb old liberal-progressive how this triumph of free market economics is supposed to be of benefit to this country and its citizens.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


[process] The long, dark drive-through of the soul

I spent part of today working on Tourbillon and much of today critiquing workshop stories for my upcoming FenCon excursion. The novel went a little more slowly and with more difficulty than it has so far, though in fairness I was both doing some on-the-fly research and in the same room as the_child as she watched videos.

But let me tell you, there’s nothing like critiquing a substantial batch of stories to really make one reflect on the state one’s auctorial soul. As with any convention workshop, the quality varied widely from “oh cool!” to “here, let me help you.”

I can remember sitting through critique of my work back in 1990 or 1991 and being frustrated because I just couldn’t ever see how the tense shifted within a story. So many elements of craft were utterly invisible to me, even on what I then thought of as careful proofreading. I can remember struggling mightily with dialog tags later in that decade. Even now, I still enjoy, an uneasy armistice, with our humble friend, the comma.

I’ve been swimming with serious intent in this water of critique and craft and writing for publication for almost twenty years, since the summer of 1990. It took me the first eleven years of that period to grow far enough to publish word one. So when I see a manuscript that makes me weep, or giggle, I look back to where I was standing in those years, and try to remember how frustrating it was that no one else saw how good my stories were, no one else saw my vision, no one else got what I was doing.

Because I wasn’t, until I learned better.

So today I spent some time practicing my own craft. Then I spent some time trying to help other people learn better, so they could have a shot at their success. Like being on the autobahn and the drive-through lane at the same time. Except instead of whiplash, I have renewed my sense of perspective.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.