January 28th, 2009


[links] Link salad is both woolly and bully

In case you somehow missed it yesterday, Realms of Fantasy is shut down

Penny Arcade on extruded fantasy product

Scrivener's Error on (among other things) the difference between forgery and ghost writing

The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science — An oldie but a goodie. (Snurched from Bad Astronomy.)

Corkscrew Asteroids — a/k/a Earth Coorbital Asteroids. Which I learned about here at Centauri Dreams.

Backlash Against Bush Apparent in RNC — Where the hell have you guys been the last eight years? Welcome to reality, GOP. All that Permanent Majority bullshit doesn't smell quite so sweet when you're not in charge, does it? (Of course, they're backlashing the wrong way... The GOP seems to think that what America needs is more, stronger conservatism. Look how well the last batch worked out, after all!)

?otD: What did Hatty tell Matty?

Body movement: 40 minute ride on the stationary bike
This morning's weigh-in: 222.0
Currently reading: The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville

Originally published at jlake.com.


[personal|culture] On bad news

Today is the twenty-third anniversary of the Challenger disaster. I was walking from one building to the other at my workplace, my senior year in college. A small locksmith was located between the two. Glancing in, I saw several people at the counter staring at a white column of smoke on the television. I'd like to say I understood in an instant (as in fact I did when I first glimpsed the news of Columbia's death seventeen years later), but all I knew in that moment was that something unusual had happened.

One way of looking at life is that it is made of disasters. Everyone is born in a rush of light and noise and separation, everyone dies eventually, everyone's heart breaks along the way, we all pass times alone and in pain. Language Log talks today about giving the bad news, in that case terminal cancer diagnosis. My own cancer experience this past year wasn't terminal, far from it, but being told I had cancer was one of the most frightening experiences of my life, and I remember vividly the doctors coming, vaguely embarrassed, unhappy, bearing words their lips did not want to pour into my ear.

But my disaster would have been intensely private, confined to me and those who know me and love me. STS-51-L played theirs out on a very public stage. Intensely private for each of the seven crew, as all deaths are — the ultimate intimacy — but exposed to the watching world.

Another way of looking at life is that it is made of miracles. We are born into the waiting world, we pass on after a lifetime of experience, with even a little of luck we live and love and follow our hearts. That's the way I imagine the Challenger seven would want to be remembered. Not for their last moments, but for their best moments.

And, because it seems fitting this day, here's my Challenger story, "The Angle of My Dreams."

Originally published at jlake.com.


[writing] Progris riport, day 7, The Heart of the Beast

About four hours of work today. Got through the end of the OCR material. I now have several dozen pages of annotation and handwritten material to comb through, then I'll be into pretty much virgin writing within the context of the outline. 43.5 hours in, the manuscript is at 54,200 words, still largely revisions to established text. I've been figuring this sucker at 100,000 words in first draft, but given the current shape of the story, I'm inclined to say more like 120-140,000. Which is longer than Jeff and I had discussed.

Of course, Collapse )

Originally published at jlake.com.