October 21st, 2008


[links] Link salad, up too late edition

Metatropolis is Out! — As usual, scalzi says this much better than I could.

A reader reacts to Trial of Flowers Powell's | Amazon ] — He didn’t like it so much.

Tulipmaniagoulo sends this along for you fans of Black Tulip, my ever-unwritten Dutch historical.

Treatment on a plate — A dietary approach to treating addiction. (Thanks to lt260.)

Shorpy with a previous generation’s version of uploading and downloading. R-mail?

The Atlas of the Real World — Comparative mapping of various demographic and economic factors. Food for thought. (Thanks to tetar.)

A reader explains why he won’t buy any more of my books — In life, all is politics. I’m with scalzi on this one. (Note I am not calling this reader out as wrong — I hold precisely the same perspective concerning Orson Scott Card’s vile beliefs about my gay and lesbian friends. It would be hypocritical of me to object to this gentleman’s stance.)

MI Republicans Admit to Illegal Foreclosure Scheme, Surrender to DemocratsThe settlement acknowledges the existence of an illegal scheme by the Republicans to use mortgage foreclosure lists to deny foreclosure victims their right to vote. Hey, conservatives — tell me again about the crisis in voter fraud? Seems to me that you all are creating it to whip up your own base and block likely Democratic voters where possible.

Angry attacks on Obama have many roots“I can’t recall a campaign where so many people held beliefs about a candidate that were demonstrably false,” said Adam Schiffer, an expert on American political behavior and media at Texas Christian University. Note the story maintains the pretense that the anti-Obama vitriol isn’t being perpetuated by the McCain campaign.

Barack Obama turns rivals’ words on them in Florida“It’s true that I want to roll back the Bush tax cuts,” Obama said. “John McCain calls that socialism. What he forgets, conveniently, is that just a few years ago, he himself said those Bush tax cuts were irresponsible. He said he couldn’t ‘in good conscience’ support a tax [cut] where the benefits went to the wealthy at the expense of ‘middle-class Americans who most need tax relief.’” Hahahahahah. I guess McCain was for it before he was against it. In a Democrat, that would be a flip-flop. In a Republican, it’s Straight Talk!™

Body movement: 90 minutes suburban walk
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 228.8
Currently reading: Nation by Terry Pratchett

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[personal] On rules

At one point in my life, I realized that everything important I needed to know about living I’d learned from my car. (Then a 1975 Cadillac Eldorado convertible — a nasty-ass pimpmobile with Texas plates that read BIG*CAR.)

Rule number one was “Never drive behind a bus.” I’d originally gotten that from my friend Rob Cordes, and what it really means is don’t deliberately do things which reduce your quality of life.

Rule number two was “Never leave anything in the car you really care about.” I’ve owned at least four convertibles in my life, and never locked one of them once. Why? Because there’s nothing in the car that will cost me more to repair or replace than the top if some meth-head cuts it to boost my radio or whatever. What this really means is take care of the things which need taking care of, and don’t sweat the rest. In other words, I can always buy another radio.

Recently, I’ve been discussing in various contexts the idea of “Please don’t eat the giraffe” rules. These are the kinds of rules any society has which no one ever thinks to spell out in so many words, until someone comes along who tries to eat the giraffe. If you’re a parent, you’re pretty familiar with these rules, because kids are always finding some giraffe to eat. If you hang out with writers, many of whom are the beneficiaries of what at the kindest could be called quirky socialization, you run into some of these same rules. (And of course, there are places in the world where “Please don’t eat the giraffe” may well be a needed social rule.)

I’ve decided that the most important rule for working writers is “Don’t be a pain in the ass.” (Well, ok, the most important rule is “Write more”, but that one is kind of internal and doesn’t apply much to interactions with the world outside the space behind your eyes.) “Don’t be a pain in the ass” covers a lot of ground, and touches on many of the behavioral tics and outright neuroses so common to our breed, but mostly it means meet your deadlines, be polite, manage your expectations, never forget where you came from and try to remember who you really are.

Unfortunately, for some people all the time, and all people some of the time, “Don’t be a pain in the ass” is a “Please don’t eat the giraffe” rule. (Myself very much included.) My advice? Listen to what you’re actually saying to people. And, of course, never drive behind a bus.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[contests] Tourbillon Tuckerization poll results

We have a winner in the Tourbillon Tuckerization poll!

With 25% of all votes cast (35), kproche wins with:

“Because you know just how *good* I’d look in that uniform. Plus, I make really good Giant Toast.”

Runner up will also receive special recognition, with 15.7% of all votes cast (22), mcurry:

“I should be a character in Tourbillon because then the fact that I am also a character in Green would provide endless hours of confusion as readers tried to figure out how the two worlds were connected.”

Thanks everyone for playing! Congratulations to all concerned.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.