Monday, April 30, 2007

A Dawno PSA: Patrick Nielsen Hayden - Make an Appointment With Your Dentist!

This announcement comes to you via a request from Teresa Nielsen Hayden. Feel free to spread it around our little corner of the blogosphere - it's for his own good that we get the word out.

In other news: as if it's not enough to use poor little hamsters as Roomba control drones*, now there's the Hamster powered paper shreader.

*There are other hamster related links in that post. This one is definitely disturbing - I think the BBC should do an expose on the insidious global conspiracy to Borgify hamsters.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Coincidental Lime Pie

Today I read a post by James Macdonald at Making Light. It is his lime pie recipe (the one that's like writing a short story).

I am currently at the Amelia Island Plantation resort in Florida attending a conference (Last day, I go home tomorrow! Yay!). Twice I've been served a lime flavored, wedge shaped dessert. I don't think I've ever had lime pie before.

One was listed on the menu as key lime pie, the other was sitting out on the dessert buffet and looked yummy, and neither was exactly like the other. Both had a pie crust that seemed like graham cracker crust (I say seemed, because it was richer and more moist than any I've had previously), both served with a whipped cream dollop, one sat upon a drizzle of raspberry sauce, one had a thin slice of lime and a cherry garnish.

One was a bit more tart than the other, one was more custard like and one was a bit sturdier - almost like cheesecake - but both were heavenly. Anyone know if there are regional distinctions in how to construct a key lime pie or was this typical of the variants in key lime pies - or maybe one of them was lime cheesecake?

I'm very happy to be coming home tomorrow. It was a good conference - first time I've been able to network with industry peers. First time I've been to Florida, too. Great food, super hospitality and fantastic weather. I have a view of the Atlantic from my balcony - today there are some decent waves - no surfers that I can see. I wonder why that is.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Stoves Make Better Whiteboards Than Refrigerators

Who needs expensive graphic designers? Not Miranda July. Lest you think I'm being sarcastic, I'll say it right out: I'm not. She's provided a site that made me laugh, kept me reading, and at the end, sent me to the Amazon link for her new book, which I shall be buying. In pink, I think, since yellow makes me look a bit sallow. (you'll have to read the site to get it, sorry)

Some of the pages are a bit hard to read because a word or two is lost in the flash reflection. Her handwriting could be a bit neater (says the former elementary school teacher). Other than that, I found it witty and silly and fun. These are things that I look for in books to read, too. I'm going to give Miranda's a try.

PS, Thank you, C. Montgomery Stuart, author of "The Rescue" found in the latest edition of Coyote Wild, online magazine of speculative fiction, for pointing me to the site.

I'm going to a conference this week - I may not post much. Then again, the new scenery might be inspirational enough to overcome the jet lag.

Happy Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day!

I don't have anything to give away free. Giving it away means that at some point there was a pricetag. My writing happens here and it's always free. But, I support those who honor this day, and encourage you to check the sites and blogs that are celebrating it.

Here's where it began: Jo Walton's Live Journal
Here's the community on Live Journal that's been created: IPSTP

Just in from commentor Julie - on Dear Author: "Does Free Equal Worthless?"
good post, good comments, go read.


Technorati Tags: "pixel stained technopeasant" or "international pixel stained technopeasant"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

No, No! You Can't Do This to Our Peace Loving, Gentle Roombas! has reported a Roomba modification that sends chills down my spine. One of our darling little peaceful vacuuming companions has been weaponized!

Granted, the current state of the art has the militaristically suborned Roomba equipped with Airsoft pellets and a simple laser site - but surely one can see this is just a small slide down the slippery slope to armor piercing ammo and death lasers on our Roombas!?? What's next - mind control TiVo?

It's time to campaign most stridently against the weaponization of Roombas! Who's with me?

The originator of this modification has posted about it at IsoBots.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Random Tid Bits from Dawno's Life (Isn't that what this blog is mostly about, anyway?)

POD People just posted a review I wrote of a fine little mystery.

Earlier today, I posted a little update on my Live Journal. I may do a brief x-post or something over on MySpace as well. I now officially have what the psychiatric community likes to call "way too many blogs".

All day the hubby has been IM'ing me links to cat pictures from a site called I Can Has Cheeseburger ? The latest link he sent I found quite amusing. Would ironic be the right word?

I'm really, really happy that I have Google Reader - my list there is growing daily. I've tried a number of ways I thought would help me keep track of all the blogs and sites I want to read - this one works best for me.

I signed up with BlogHer - not really sure what prompted me to do it.

I've been enjoying a number of older Making Light posts and comment threads, spurred on by a post put up today with more of Mike Ford's Occasional Works. Reading the original post and the context around his comments, which are the content of the 'occasional works', has been educational and fun.

One of the things I learned from my perusal of those threads was there is a regular commenter who is a partner in a SF & Fantasy bookstore in Berkeley called The Other Change of Hobbit. Hubby and I are going to get on BART one of these weekends (soon!) and go visit. Mebby we'll wander around Berkeley, too. You'd think after 11 years up here I'd have gone there by now.

I haven't gone and done a complete count, but the Blogging Forum on Absolute Write (yours truly, moderator) has over 600 posts in the introduction thread. That means that there are close to 600 blogs listed - I say close because there are my "welcome" posts and other conversational ones - but still, it's got to be getting close to 600.

That said, my sidebar list of AW Bloggers will be tough to bring up to date. I'm pondering what to do about it. I'm pondering about a bunch of tweaks and changes. If you show up some day and things look different, that's just me re-arranging the furniture.

It has taken me over two hours to get from start to finish on this post. I keep wandering off to read things in other tabs, let cats in and out of the room, check the laundry...I think I'll put this to bed now and myself, soon, as well. Good Night!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

eBooks and Technopeasantry

Many moons ago I had a Palm Pilot. I could Hotsynch it with my work computer and keep my appointments on it. That's about all I used it for for some time. Oh, that and a MahJong game.

Then I discovered Mobipocket, which provided ebooks and stories including some good SF and fantasy. So I got an account there. I downloaded many stories and read them while waiting for something, like the start of a meeting, or an appointment with the doctor.

Eventually my laptop lease was up and it was exchanged for a new one and the program that synched the calendar was no longer supported at work - some silly security thing. I stopped using my Palm Pilot. My Mobipocket newsletter comes to a Yahoo mail account I have all but abandoned in favor of using Gmail and I kinda forgot all about it.

Until yesterday. I had cause to check that Yahoo account for something and saw the newsletter. So I clicked on it. Mobipocket has changed considerably! I searched around and found some Star Trek I wanted to read. They had 4 of the 6 part series available. I downloaded them. Then I searched on the web for the other two. I find that they're available on the Palm ebook site. Ok, downloaded them. Got all 6 for the price of two paperbacks. Not too shabby I think.

Then I come to discover that the two Palm ebook downloads can't be read on the Mobipocket reader. And I spend about an hour working out how to get the Palm books so I can read them on my laptop. They had ended up in my laptop Palm OS folder, since I downloaded that in a futile attempt to get my Clie to synch up with my laptop about two months ago. Since I can't figure out how to get them transferred to the Clie at all (not that it really matters, the battery on the Clie lasts about ten minutes these days) I need to read them on my laptop.

I discover that I have to load yet another reader, and this one, of course, can't read the Mobipocket ebooks. Oh, and while the Mobipocket reader was free, the Palm one cost $10. That made my 6 ebooks cost all told about as much as a hardback. Gee thanks.

I really would buy lots of ebooks if a couple things happened. Get them in a format that you can read on any kind of reader. Get someone to produce a portable reader that costs less than three or four hundred dollars and *also* reads any ebook I wanna buy from anywhere. Tell you what would be really cool. That electronic paper I read about - figure out how to use that stuff - lightweight, completely portable. I'd shell out for it.

Sadly, until then, I'll probably not read many things published in ebook format only.

And that leads into the "Technopeasantry" part of my title. I've been watching the discussion amongst SFWA folk (and bolder fans than I) about a statement the outgoing VP of SFWA asked Will Shetterly to post on the Live Journal SFWA community (Dr. Hendrix, the outgoing VP, doesn't "do" blogs). He has an issue with writers posting their works online and giving them away for free. He calls them "webscabs". This has raised some ire.

Now, see, even with my dismay at the state of things ebookish, if someone gives me the opportunity to read their work online for free, I just might start out reading it on line, but if I decide I really like what I'm reading, I'll certainly go out and buy (or go over to Amazon and order) that and other books by the author. (I have done this - I have a growing collection of hardbacks by those authors because I want to read their newest as soon as it comes out). How does this equate to "scabbing"? One commentor went on to post what he thought about that.

I won't go into all the details but there are a number of SFWA members (and others) who have posted on his use of the term "scabs" and "webscabs" to categorize the writers who give away their works for free. (nor will I go into the statement: "wikicliki, sick-o-fancy, jerque-du-cercle of a networking and connection-based order")

He also used a phrase "Pixel-stained technopeasant wretch" in this interesting paragraph:

Since more and more of SFWA is built around such electronically mediated networking and connection based venues, and more and more of our membership at least tacitly blesses the webscabs (despite the fact that they are rotting our organization from within) -- given my happily retrograde opinions, I felt I was not the president who would provide SFWAns the "net time" they seemed to want at this point in the organization's development, or who would bless the contraction of our industry toward monopoly, or who would give imprimatur to the downward spiral that is converting the noble calling of Writer into the life of Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch
(emphasis mine)

And there's been quite a bit of reaction to that part as well. Pixel Stained LJ icons and even a couple Cafe Press sites. To read more, should you have the interest, try a Google Blog search on Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch.

Finally, don't neglect to show your solidarity on April 23rd: International Pixel Stained Technopeasant Day.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Quickie Roomba Post

The Three Laws of Roombotics. I'm so glad I put The Onion feed on my Google Reader!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Shameful Confession

I was my High School "Outstanding English Student" (at least that's what it said on the award Bank of America gave me). I majored in English Lit. in college and I was inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors Society, as well. One might assume from those credentials that I read those books that wind up on Masterpiece Theatre...alas, this is not so. Somehow I managed to graduate without having read much American Lit, whether it be early or modern (and to be honest, I don't remember reading any of the stuff I hear tell is 'canon'), and whole huge chunks of English Lit. I'm not sure how I got away with it.

Thus, until very recently, I had a deep, dark secret. I had never read Pride and Prejudice. I had never read any Austen at all!

Discussions about her work fly over my head. If it comes up, I nod thoughtfully but do not participate. At the first opportunity, I'll go find something else to do, rather than unveil my ignorance, which I excuse as a lack of interest. After all, I do read voraciously - just not "those kinds of books," whatever that means.

Then, the other day, while my daughter was visiting, she said she was going to go upstairs and read for a bit. I asked her what she was reading. It was Pride and Prejudice. I smiled and said something encouraging as she went up to her room. Then I hung my head in shame. Why couldn't she be reading something else? We had a great conversation about The Fountainhead when she had to read it for AP English. Where had I failed in getting her addicted to Science Fiction so we could chat endlessly about my favorite genre?

The final straw was a post on Making Light "Mary Bennet, Vampyre Slayer". An entire post and numerous comments that only those who have read Pride and Prejudice (and several other books I also have not read) would truly understand. All I could think of was, "Who is Mary Bennet?" Fortunately, James Macdonald posted the link to Bibliomania which has a copy of the book online. I was now determined to repair this gaping hole in my English Literature education.

Thus, I can now report, I have finally read Pride and Prejudice. And, I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Why didn't I do this sooner? But even better, I get the jokes now.

Completely off topic: Congrats on your first Kos Diary post, Jill!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Dawno Suggests...

Coyote Wild - A speculative fiction e-zine. I'm one of the staff there, helping read through the submissions. The second issue comes out very soon and, although I wasn't a reader for that issue, I hear tell it's a good one. Issue One was fabulous - so read it before the next one comes out, if you haven't already.

POD People - Emily Veinglory has graciously allowed me to be a part of the POD People blog, for over a year now. We review self-published books printed by POD publishers like Lulu, iUniverse, Booklocker, etc. We had a great March, April is off to a good start, too. Do visit. Emily's online presence isn't limited to the POD People blog, either. She has a blog at, and is the originator of, and one of the bloggers over at, EREC the Erotic Romance E-Publisher Comparison blog. Then there are the gay zombie penguins who visited here last fall...I sure wish I knew what they were up to these days.

Dear So and So
- An online friend of mine, whom I have known for several years now, has started a new blog where she will publish those letters you'd wish you could write, but for some reason you can't - maybe the recipient isn't really known to you, maybe you would never be able to say the things you'd want to someone you do know - whatever the reason, Dear So and So is a blog that will publish some of those letters. Already there are a couple posts up that are very moving.

Of course I would love it if you'd visit some of the AW Bloggers in my sidebar - that list has just kept growing and I'm way behind on updating it. The whole gang of 'em can be found on AW hanging out at the Blogging forum. Your's truly, moderator thereof.

Friday, April 06, 2007

18 Weeks

My European colleagues get today and Monday off for Easter. I don't mind so much, we get holidays they don't. It's just that February, March and April are months without company holidays in the US (we gave up President's Day), so it's a very long stretch - 18 weeks - between Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Memorial Day.

"So take a vacation day," one might say. Yes, I have done that. However, unlike a holiday, with a vacation day everyone else is working the day you're gone and you come back and have to catch up on everything you missed. It's not as bad when you take a long break - things get delegated. But one day off - nope.

I miss the big musical events I used to be a part of at Easter time. Seems like some of the most stirring and meaningful music we performed was the music on Palm Sunday and Easter. One of my favorite contemporary songs ( then - it's now about 20 years old) was Via Dolorosa. Very moving.

My daughter had Spring break this past week. She visited and I was so very happy to have her here - we didn't get to do much, but just having her around gives me a lift. Unfortunately, the night she had planned to leave, her car decided to malfunction. It was a minor repair and we got it taken care of the next day. As much as I love to have her here for as long as possible, I know she needed to get home and I was sorry that it happened.

And next on the calendar of notable days - Tax Day. Certainly not something to celebrate. This year I owe the gov't way too much money. I need a couple of new dependents. It's too late to have a baby in time for the deduction next year. I may have to adopt.

...waits to see if husband actually reads blog...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Good vs. Evil Foosball and Other Random Stuff

Stumble took me to and I found the following things of interest there just scanning through the links which NOTCOT displays very cleverly:

  1. Good vs. Evil foosball table The inclusion of Christopher Robin baffles me. He's up against Pol Pot. Now Mary Poppins vs. Vlad the Impaler, I get that. She's got an umbrella. But Christopher Robin? All he has is a stuffed Bear...that and Gandhi vs. Caligula - um, I envision Gandhi's little model being completely loose on the bar so if it should be struck, it just spins wildly and non-violently...
  2. The Moon - as a lamp. Designed by Buzz Aldrin for Habitat (UK site). No direct link, you'll have to go thru the menu, the site uses Flash - very nicely done, too (click on Very Important Products for Kids>Buzz Aldrin to see) Buzz says about his design "It's no big secret that I'm fascinated by the moon, I always have been. So when I was approached to contribute to the VIP for Kids range, I kenw exactly what I wanted to achieve. I wanted to make the moon I love, much more than a distant object kids passibely peer at through their window. I wanted to make it a place which they can actively explore in their bedroom." Cool. I'd like it in my dining room.
  3. Bagel to Go What a clever idea. I can just see someone who has used all their DVRs up wondering what to do with the container and thinking "I can put a bagel sandwich in here!" It would be good for donuts, too.
  4. For the yogi who has everything - is your bed of nails too passé for you? How about Chair of Sharp Pencils?
  5. Love Hurts - With this ring, at least once a year, it certainly will. Wouldn't you get a burn from that? I wouldn't be sneaky about it, warn your SO or they might throw the thing in the river.
  6. This one is for my daughter. I know what you're getting for your birthday now!

Enough for now. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Quick Update - misogyny on the web

I just happened upon a Salon opinion piece by Joan Walsh about misogyny on the web, relating to the Kathy Sierra incident I posted about. (You might have to register for a one day free subscription to read it - and the over 600 comments). The follow up piece by Joan today is also worthwhile. While you're at it, wander over to MacAllister Stone's Stones in the Field and read her post, too.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Light Reading - Some Recent Links Dawno Enjoyed

Some miscellaneous links I'd put in draft a while back and then didn't get around to posting.

Squirrel brings down aircraft Years ago my son was all about the commie squirrels in the trees outside our apartment being out to get him. I didn't send him that airline link. Or this one (which was about an attack in our community, but well after my son was over his paranoia).

The perfect birthday present for *somebody's* husband.

Cool typing test
- I was in the low to mid 70 wpm range, which surprised me.

These links are ones I've seen more recently:

Salamander robot I haven't figured out what household chores this one might do for me, but the costuming opportunities are mind-boggling!

and the DSACDAD "self assessment tool" via this link - you have to scroll down a ways on that page to get to the reference info.

I've added Google Sightseeing to my recently created Google Reader RSS feed page - I may have to download Google Earth - it's just too cool what you can see.

Also new to the reader page are the web comics Questionable Content - which I may not always "get", since I'm a total geezer, but I always enjoy - thank you Mac for introducing me) and Dinosaur Comics (thanks to a Particle on Making Light which, if you don't read, you are missing out on the most interesting discussions on the web. Really.) And Bassist Wanted from a link in the comments by Randolph Fritz on Making Light. It's another one that has band names and music in it that I'm not familiar with, but the humor is universal. There's a guy (at least so far, I've started with strip one and am reading through it chronologically) with an iPod addiction, a sleazy music company mogul, and more, I'm enjoying it quite a bit so far.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans who knit. I don't knit - I crochet, but I still love this concept. Thank you Peter Erwin in comments on Making Light.

Speaking of Making Light and comments - the post by James D. Macdonald on Author Identity publishing and comments that follow is very worthwhile for aspiring authors.

Update to the Author Identity story:
Thanks CaoPaux at Absolute Write

That's all for now.