Monday, October 31, 2005

Fun New Gizmo Found!

"How Much Is My Blog Worth" I did it, it was fun. It's easy to add, they give you all the code, just paste into your sidebar in the template. You'll have to scroll way down below all my links and Dawno's bookshelf (but you wanted to look there anyway, right?) to see mine.

Now someone help me understand what it means...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Halloween!

I hope it's fun and not frightening and full of treats and no tricks. Here's my treat for you:

That's me and my son 20 years ago. He was not quite 2 months old Halloween 1985.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Thanks, Jill!

I got an email about Jill's new subscription feature via Feed Blitz. Went to the site and signed up for hers and got myself set up over here for the same feature. The subscription box is over there ------------------------> and up some ^

Please sign up if you would be interested in getting special Dawno Spam telling you I've updated my's the only Dawno Spam I'll ever send, promise.

I also liked the weather box on Jill's site. I like knowing it's 70+ degrees and sunny when the midwest is snowed in. Just kidding, Jill. I see it as one more way to connect personally with someone. I look at the weather in Cleveland and think "gee, Jill's got a pretty day going on". So I shamelessly copied and added one, too.

I've done some addtional template tweaking (and I'm probably not done for the day either), like updating my Publish America links (there were some links that didn't lead anywhere anymore) and added a couple new ones. And if you go to the verrrrrrrry bottom and click on the footer I've linked to the appropriate site.

Go ahead, I'll wait here... ...Hi, again! I see you found your way back.

According to my Site Meter, my site has an average of 19 unique hits per day. I'm really thrilled to think that somewhere around 19 people are looking at what I ramble on about - seriously, I figure there are maybe two people in Real Life that ever listen to me so 19 of you in the blogiverse is a major improvement on that.

There is also other neato stuff it tells me. For example, someone who posted in my comments down a post or two spent over ten minutes looking around one night. Their IP is located in Latvia. Dawno is global!

Today I'm being domestic. Need to seriously catch up on laundry. Does anyone know how the Downey Fabric Softener Ball works? I got to wondering. I'm guessing it has something to do with centrifugal or centripetal forces (not only can I not spell them without checking but I can't remember the difference without checking either).

I also have a WIP I'm working on (not the one I talked about in the post way down there somewhere - it needs some drawer time). I've taken two areas of writing that I've gotten some positive response to (giving advice and humor) and put together a little something as an exercise in humorous advice. Someone out there (you know who you are) is being a real saint and giving me some much needed feedback and encouragement. If anything exciting happens someday, you'll hear about it here first. Promise.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Just for Mac

Lit meme a la Dawno's Star Trek shelf

The faces of the greatest warriors of the past ten centuries stared down at Klag, son of M'Raq. Well why can't I take her with me? Most of the adults he saw, in fact, were accompanied by one or more small children, who were running, laughing, and playing as their parents struggled to keep up -- and most of the parents had a baby or two in their arms as well. She knelt down beside an uncoscious Red Nasat who had lost chunks of his chorion shell. "Take it away."

Almost works, doesn't it?

1. Book 1 -- first sentence of AGood Day to Die (I.K.S. Gorkon book 1- Next Generation) by Keith R. A. DeCandido
3. Book 2 -- last sentence on page 50 The Dominion, Worlds of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, vol 3 by David R. George III
4. Book 3 -- second sentence on page 100 StarTrek: Ex Machina by Christopher L. Bennett (original series)
5. Book 4 -- next to the last sentence on page 150 BreakdownsStar Trek S.C.E book 7 collected stories by various authors, first published in e-book form
6. Book 5 -- final sentence of the book The Red King, Star Trek Titan by Andy Manigels and Michael A. Martin (new series set around William Riker's new command of the USS Titan)
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph.
8. Feel free to "cheat" to make it a better paragraph.
9. Name your sources
10.Post to your blog.

I feel compelled, for some strange reason, to talk about my Star Trek novelization collection. It started when I was in 6th grade in Taipei,Taiwan at the end of he 60's. There was a shop not to far from home (in a village called Tien Mou - not sure about the spelling) that sold used American paperback books. I found the entire James Blish novelisation series of the original Star Trek episodes there. I bought them all. I had seen Star Trek on TV before we left for Taiwan and I was hooked. I had started reading science fiction in second grade with Robert Silverberg's Lost Race of Mars which I purchased for a quarter from the Scholastic Book Club. That was the start of a life long love of SF. Every library card in every book of the base library's SF section at Edwards AFB had my signature on it.

When I got back from Taiwan, Star Trek was no more. But someone started publishing new Star Trek books about the time I got to High School and I started buying them. From the early really cruddy ones where the Romulans were depicted as looking and acting like early Roman citizens with ray-guns to the ones where the series finally started reading like real SF just set in the Trek Universe. I have them all. The only series I haven't collected is Voyager and Enterprise. I'll probably break down and buy those too.

I also go to the conventions. I don't dress up but I love the talks by the actors and sometimes I pick up some neat collectables. Yes, there are Trek ornaments on the Chirstmas tree (my favorite is the lighted Borg cube that says "We are the Borg, Happy Holidays, Resistance is Futile")

The pictures below are of my bookcase at work - on top of it is some of my Trek collection. I'm particularly proud of the Ken and Barbie. Then there's my picture of me and the SO sitting on the bridge of the Enterprise D at Star Trek the Experience in Vegas.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tagged by Kira!

I have been tagged by Kira of Loving Twilight fame to do this LitMeme

1. Take first five novels from your bookshelf. (I took the 5 after the 'how to write' books - being literal about literary - although most of the stuff I read is 'genre')
2. Book 1 -- first sentence
3. Book 2 -- last sentence on page 50
4. Book 3 -- second sentence on page 100
5. Book 4 -- next to the last sentence on page 150
6. Book 5 -- final sentence of the book
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph.
8. Feel free to "cheat" to make it a better paragraph. (Had to do one cheat and swap out a book)
9. Name your sources
10.Post to your blog.

Jyothi's slight form wavered a little as Ma placed the smaller bundle on her head, but she held her head up and gripped it tightly with both hands, and soon found the point of perfect balance. I held my breath waiting for the burp guns to open fire and wanting to hit the ground. "Schist was a good officer," Detritus rumbled, shaking his head. Callie was wondering the same thing! Then he turned upon his heel and disappeared into the Darkness.

2. Book 1 -- first sentence of The Speech of Angels by Sharon Maas (one of my Purple Prose Prizes from an AW author-member)
3. Book 2 -- last sentence on page 50 of The Dead of Winter by Bill Warnock (orphan book from a prior post)
4. Book 3 -- second sentence on page 100 of Thud! by Terry Pratchett (I had Anansi Boys originally in the stack but page 100 is blank!)
5. Book 4 -- next to the last sentence on page 150 of Atlanta Nights by Travis Tea
6. Book 5 -- final sentence of the book Johnathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

My bookshelf isn't in any order right now - it's mostly piles of half read or to be read books in my new office which was my son's bedroom. I'm slowly getting organized - bookshelf was one of the last things to attack...thus the order of the books is rather random.

Thanks for tagging me Kira! It was fun.

I'm pretty sure that most of the folks who read this blog have already been tagged/done this meme, but if you haven't and decide to give it a shot, please let me know - I'd love to read yours! (hmmm - Thumper bunny??)

Monday, October 24, 2005

"write review and Get paid"

Whether you're interested in making some spare change or in reading reviews that will make you sit up and say "Huh?" is a place you should visit. Then go visit the three page thread on Absolute Write Water Cooler where someone from ReviewStream vehemently defends the site against all comers.

When you figure out who the consumer of the Review Stream reviews are, please let me know. Who's paying them so they can pay the reviewers? Is this some kind of internet Mr. Millionaire who just wants to throw money at people who need it badly enough (mostly for remedial English classes, I fear) to write for as little as fractions of a cent per word??

Yes. That was snarky. I'm sorry, but if you read about 20 of those reviews and don't feel just as snarky come back and tell me I'm full of it and I'll edit my post to be much nicer.

You can review anything and (they say) you'll get paid. They have posted on their site that the going rate for a review is $2.00, although there's a 'bulk rate' category, too. As an example I will provide an excerpt from Religion Reviews:

Beloved Reader, Do not be deceived by the Catholic system! Jesus Christ bring salvation to man through God’s grace and truth. There is no other mediator than the Lord Jesus Christ who sit at the right hand of the Most High God

Here's another excerpt from Airlines Reviews:

air train unlike other compenis that i was flaying is very secured the service is good and if you take a priviose order you get a low price.

Doesn't that make you want to go out and flay with air train?

Ain't the Internet an interesting place?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I got my BIC and did some WIP, should I SYW??

It's been a long week. I'm a word person vs. a numbers person. I've spent a very large number of hours lately working with Excel spreadsheets and it leaves me exhausted. I could write for hours, compose web content, do presentation slides, write emails and feel a only a fraction as whipped at the end.

I think it's the whole right brain/left brain thing. The side of my brain that owns writing and creativity is dominant and sending impulses through those synapses is easy; they're well oiled and offer little resistance. When I have to use the side of my brain that knows how to figure out a percentage or remembers what 6x7 is the impulses are fighting thru less used passages and often looking for the exit sign that leads to "let us read that science fiction book instead!" *sigh*

More on re-writes. I appreciate the advice in the comments to my last post. Perhaps a little extra detail about the process would clarify what I mean by re-writes. I'm not just tweaking the same stuff over and over (although there are some bits of that happening).

I started writing it from a prompt on AW. The first draft was 965 words whipped out in a very short time. I gave this to my Signf. Other. He said it sucked. Gave me some very good reasons why, that (I know you're reading this Mumford) I appreciated and started working with right away.

Next draft the next day 1412 words. Next draft 1798 words, then 1814 words, then back down to 1748. It's been a week since I started this and it still needs something. On one Sunday I did a draft in the moring which took me to 2018 words. Later that night I'm up to 2435. I'm starting to get really interested in making this story work. I'm also getting interested in it not just being a short story. I might have to change the opening. I might need to work on the POV too which I took from the prompt. Flesh out more characters. More dialogue. More, uh, 'moreness'...

This Wednesday I bring it up to 3018. I call each of these sessions 'a draft' but maybe it's really just a Work In Progress. Because I'm fleshing out the same original story that still has a beginning and an end on the pages I'm writing, I call each iteration 'a draft.'

The document is with Mumford (my S.O's screen name for those of you who don't know him) again and I'm not touching it till I hear what he thinks. If he thinks it has potential (i.e., not crap) and ready for me to get an opinion from someone who knows writing better than he does, I may post it on the Share Your Work thread. Maybe. (yeah, I'm a coward).

I could be lazy and just refer you to Mac's post on the topic, but I'm gonna put in my 2/1oo of a dollar. I had read about orphaned books - changes in a publisher's staff means the books that were being worked by certain people now have a new editor who may have other things they're working on and so a book from the previous regime gets short shrift. Andy Zack is the agent for such a book and from the looks of it, that book deserves attention. I hope you'll go take a look at Andy's post and click through to Amazon for your own copy (I anxiously await mine). Oh, and I think Andy is a really great guy, too. He shares his insider knowledge freely on AW. If you want to know more, visit his thread.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Random Questions

1. Why do I have to do word verification when I comment on my own blog??
2. Did anyone else hear Sen. McCain's essay on "This I Beleive" on NPR today? Yes, I got weepy eyed when he spoke about the guard in the POW camp on Christmas day.
3. Anyone else getting nervous about the news stories on bird flu? The BBC just ran an interview and I'm ready to check into Biosphere 2
4. How do you stop re-writing something? I'm on draft 7 of a short story - although it seems to want to be something bigger.
5. Anyone know of a good gif animation program? Easy Gif Animator 3 isn't easy.

I just want to mention that I try to cruise by all the blogs under 'people' several times a week. I know I should comment more...I'm gonna work on that. The information over on Snarkaholic about 'citizen journalism' is fascinating. Jill, it sounds like your trip to Vegas has been great. Thumper, I hope the move goes well. Mucho Mojo!! Qplagh, (((hugs))) I need to go see that movie now.

ok, good night now.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I have Wikied. I am Proud.

I won't go into why I ended up at this article on PublishAmerica on Wikipedia (hey Mac, today's front page article is about Seattle).

However, I will say that I was sufficiently motivated to go to the discussion tab on the article and post many of the same links I have in my sidebar about PublishAmerica on that page. I have now Wikied.

It was fun! If I didn't have a day job I'd do lots more posting on Wikipedia. Wonder if I can get a grant?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Cat lover? You'll like this web comic. Wil Wheaton mentioned the site on his 'WWdN in Exile' because he happened to be featured in one.

I have done pretty much nothing all day today. There's plenty I need to do but I have no enthusiasm for any of it.

One thing I am doing is reading Malevolence by Nancy Mehl. I became acquainted with Nancy over on Absolute Write. We share an aurora - long story and one of those "you had to be there" ones, too. Anyway I was thrilled to see in her signature block that her book was out and got myself a copy. Unfortunately it's not on Amazon so I can't go review it there when I finish reading it. I'll give you a hint about what I think today and when I'm done with the book I'll write about the rest.

I'm midway through her book now (btw, it's a murder mystery) and very interested in what's going to happen next. Nancy does dialogue really well, it flows naturally, like real people talk, the conversations are believeable and always move the plot forward. Her characters are three dimensional and also believeable, real people. Right now I'm trying to figure out which of the male characters the female lead has met so far is the one I would like to see her end up with, there are two strong candidates and either one would make me happy. Not that this is a romance, maybe she doesn't end up with either of them. Another reason to keep turning the page.

The heroine is coping realistically with tragedy; she's not Wonder Woman but she's strong enough to do what she has to do. There's a lot left for me to find out and I'm looking forward to it.

I did some thinking about what other writer I could compare Nancy's writing to or what other book I could say is similar. I don't want to give too much away because I think you should seriously consider buying a copy and find out for yourself. The plot isn't like Patricia Cornwell's early Scarpetta novels in that it's not a procedural (I think that's the right label) but Nancy's voice, style, tight plotting and characters I can visualize as real people remind me a bit of them.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Elevator Etiquette

I take elevators a lot. I've got a rolling backpack full of Arizona tea bottles and my laptop and it's just too heavy to walk upstairs with. (Down I'll walk, up? uh - nope) Anyway there are a couple of things that bug me about people and elevators.

#1 If you're outside waiting for the elevator, step back and let the people inside get out before you barrel your way in. You won't get there any faster elbowing me out of your way as I try to exit. Chances are good I'll run over your toes with my wheelie backpack or the full glass bottle of Arizona tea in the side pocket will hit your ankle as I go by and it will hurt.

#2 Move to the far side of the elevator if there are others coming in behind you. Again, you see that I have this wheelie thing, if you stand in my way you are asking for bruised toes, banged ankle, etc.

#3 When you push the floor button, ask the person on the other side of the elevator what floor they're going to. It's just nice. Why should I have to reach all the way over past the other riders to hit my floor button?

#4 Look to see if the elevator is going up or down before you get in and find out it's going up and then you have to get out because you want to go down. Alternatively, ride up with me and then press the button again to go down. Yeah, it's a minor inconvenience but you get to chat with a very nice person, so what's the harm?

Oh, in case you were wondering, I won the Purple Prose contest. Thank you, if you voted for me.

There is also a very interesting conversation going on in the comments over at Mac's blog you should make a point to visit and join in.

I have a very strange sense of humor according to many who know me. I like dry, sardonic wit. I also like the kind of humorous satire that Terry Pratchett writes. I am so offended by about 90% of every Family Guy show that I can't watch it. Stopped watching Saturday Night Live ages ago and when I try to now I find that it just isn't funny to me anymore. So, the question comes to mind, is it because I'm getting to be a dried up old fart? I really hope not.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

No Place for a Woman

I'm listening to the kqed radio presentation of the American Radio Works program "No Place for a Woman" I was a young woman during the age of the ERA and this program reminds me of what the Woman's Liberation movement was working to accomplish. It's a must hear program. Here's the blurb:

No Place for a Woman -- The work was hard and dirty. Men told them to go home. But they needed the money, and were too proud to quit. In the 1970s and '80s, as women around the country began taking jobs once reserved for men, a few started driving trucks and digging iron ore in northern Minnesota's enormous pit mines. This new documentary tells the story of the women who fought to prove themselves at the mines, and the women who still work there. Through dozens of interviews with men and women who worked in the pits and processed the ore, the documentary brings to life a moment in time when the workplace changed forever.

Sliding to the left?

I now am the proud owner of a pair of Birkenstocks. It's a slippery slope, I know.

Monday, October 03, 2005

To NaNo or Not to NaNo...

I've pretty much decided to try NaNo this year. Went to the site but registration is down. Server issues.

I'm reading No Plot? No Problem!by Chris Baty the founder of NaNo to help get psyched up. Fun book, too, the guy's got a sense of humor I can appreciate. For example: "For me, when I don my plastic Viking helmet, I know I've left the real world behind and am sailing off to the shores of my fictional Valhalla. The hat reminds me that I am Elsewhere, and I will be staying there until the ships reserves of Dr Pepper and Starburst run low." I'm considering a feathered boa and an extra long cigarette holder like you see in those cartoons of flapper girls from the 20s (also in pictures of FDR, but that's not really the look I'm going for)

Speaking of reading, I've got way too many books in progress. I got an advance reading copy of a book that comes out this month, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, The Historian (which I'm really struggling with for some reason), two new romances by a fellow AW member Susan Gable, a mystery by fellow AW member Nancy Mehl, a Harry Turtledove alternative history and several writing books (two by Jenna Glatzer, editor in chief of AW), all in various stages of getting read. I had also put aside some Star Trek books awhile back. I really need to win the lottery so I can devote the 8 - 10 work hours I normally put in to catching up on my reading. Because after I finish the ones in progress there are others waiting to be read as well. Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, especially.

I also want to get my Sony Clie figured out so I can take notes and keep my calendar on it. The keyboard on the Clie is very handy for notes and I 'thumb' type pretty fast. It would be great have handy but if I can't transfer the stuff on it to my laptop easily I'm not going to bother.