Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Post of 2008

This has been an interesting year. My son spent most of it in Iraq (he was deployed from the end of Sept 07 to Dec 08). Thankfully he's home now.

I continue to wrestle with, and abhor, Excel (here's a bit from The Onion that caught my eye because it's about Excel).

I blogged more on my beading blog than this one this year - beading has become more than a hobby - it's an outlet for my creative impulses, a way to get out and meet new folk and make a bit of money at the same time, and a stress reliever.

August was WorldCon in Denver, politics were on my mind in October and November. That's the year in a nutshell.

Don't know if I'll be any better at updating this blog in '09, thank you readers (all 3 or 4 of you) for checking in on me now and then. I hope your 2009 brings health and happiness, and a little economic recovery wouldn't be amiss, either!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Enjoying My Holidays - Hope You are Too!

It's great having both the children home for Christmas time. Well, in the case of my son, he's in the general geographic area for the holidays, staying at his girfriend's family's home. Since I took over his bedroom for my office/workroom he's got nowhere to sleep here, so I'm very grateful they're putting him up.

I've managed to come down with a miserable cold, though. Not to sleeping too well at night for the past few days, meaning that I've been getting up for the day between 11 and 1 for the past few days. Since it gets dark at 5 PM, I'm missing out on a lot of daylight.

The other night the kids, husband, son's girlfriend and I went to my son's favorite sushi restaurant for dinner and his girlfriend got a great picture of us, which I shall share here.

The only thing I dislike about the shot is that I forgot to push my open purse behind me.

I've got the rest of this week off, so I hope I'm feeling better soon so I can get some stuff done this week that I've put off for way too long. Until I do, I'll continue reading through my Christmas gifts - my husband bought me my entire Amazon wish list and I've read two of them so far, The Sunrise Lands and Scourge of God by S. M. Stirling. He also got me a polishing tumbler and a 19" flatscreen, hi-def, TV/monitor for my office/crafts room that I mentioned wanting in passing some time ago.

My son gave me a very generous gift card for Artbeads, I'm trying to decide if there's anything I really want right away or if I'll save it for later, and my daughter gave me a beautiful Waterford picture frame, an adorable, hand crafted, pocket sized tissue package holder that she stitched and appliqued, and some watch parts for crafting - little gears and hands and springs, great for embellishing and (perhaps this year I'll learn) embedding in resin for charms or pendants.

I have spent a good amount of time working on jewelry - I've constructed several new pieces, which you can see at my beading blog if you'd like a peek. A couple of the books my husband got for me are about jewelry design and have given me lots of ideas for new things to try in the coming year. I've already gone from fairly simple stringing to creating necklaces using wire loops and hand crafted wire components, I've gotten confident enough to begin making things with more expensive sterling and gold filled wire as well. The next step is to try and create my own beads and other personalized embellishments to make my designs unique. One of the mediums I plan to learn to work with next year is polyclay - I've seen so many wonderful beads and pendants other craftspeople have made using polyclay, I can't wait to try it myself.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Happy Ending

I have mentioned, in the past, of my great antipathy for Excel spreadsheets. They are right up there with Power Point presentations as the bane of my existence.

Today I worked about 6 hours to finish up a spreadsheet and analyze the data in it for a project stakeholder meeting tomorrow morning. I'd put maybe 4 or 5 hours into yesterday and last week, as well. Having had Excel tragedies in the past, mostly due to lost data from crashes, I saved my work early and often.

Finally, I was done. I opened a new email in Outlook (about #5 on my list of hated applications), wrote a brief of my analysis, attached the spreadsheet and sent the email to the stakeholders.

Then I, for reasons I don't really remember at this time, I opened the spreadsheet from the email - maybe I was having a premonition - and saw that instead of the new and improved data rich and analyzed spreadsheet, there was instead attached a very early version. I began to experience what delicate women once called 'the vapors'. Then I panicked.

I went searching for the newer, updated version that much of my sweat and blood had just gone into. I couldn't find it. I sunk into the depths of depression. I was going to have to work for 6 more hours to re-construct all that work. The question was, could I do it drunk, because all I wanted at that moment was a large tumbler of Midleton Irish Whisky.

I sent off a despondent email to the people waiting for this data that they had received the wrong spreadsheet, I couldn't find the right one, and that I was going to have to re-do the spreadsheet tonight but would have it for them by the morning meeting.

Then I got an idea...there's this folder called OLK38 in my computer's temporary folders where all the attachments I send with emails seem to reside - at least for a while - probably until I shut down my laptop or re-boot (it stays on almost all the time, so the folder gets pretty full). So, brimming with hope, yet filled with trepidation, I checked there.

Hallelujah! The computer guardian angels were smiling on me - it was there!! I guess I'd opened the original worksheet from an email attachment (thus it was in that OLK folder) and had been obsessively saving my work there instead of to the file on my desktop - which was the one I attached to my first email.

So, it's not Excel's fault, really. But I blame Excel anyway.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Google Track the Vote Map Widget

Thought this was cool. Vote percentages and number of electoral votes come up when you hover over a state.

ETA at 5:30 Pacific - Click the link above the map if all the one here is doing is loading over and over.

Another interesting place to watch the election is the Twitter Votereport feed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

He Is? Really? Squeee!

In the "This email speaks for itself" department...

Hi, Dawno .

Stephen Fry (stephenfry) is now following your updates on Twitter.

Check out Stephen Fry's profile here:

If he comments on this blog I will probably faint dead away...

Yes, I know that he is very kindly looking at his follower's list and graciously following them as well. It's not like I'm special. But there are other 'celebs' I follow on Twitter who I've posted on their blog or been a member of their now defunct forum and thus might even have some tiny name recog. with them (doubtful, but in an infinite universe not impossible) and they're not following me on Twitter.

Like I said, 'squeee!!'

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"E" mail and an Update on the Internet Radio Legislation

I was recently forwarded an email (a business email at work, by the way) where the writer of the original message referred to emails as "E" mail through out the message. I have this image stuck in my head now, of the person who writes "E" mail...he's somewhat like Dr. Roundbottom, or maybe T. Herman Zweibel, publisher emeritus of The Onion...and definitely could be a character in Wondermark.

In other news, remember the post I wrote about writing your congresscritter about the HR 7084, Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008? Here's what my representative, Anna Eshoo (well, probably one of her staffers) wrote back:

Thank you for writing to me about H.R. 7084, the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008. I voted for and the House passed this bill on September 27, 2008 and it has been sent to the President for his signature.

As you know, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which determines royalty rates for the use of music over Internet radio services, has prevented the growth of this innovative new music platform by assigning a royalty rate that is too high, endangering Internet radio. The Webcaster Settlement Act will allow private parties to agree on a deal to correct the faulty decision of the CRB by clearing a path for private negotiations to continue while Congress is in recess, allowing any and all groups to work out a settlement amongst themselves to replace the astronomically high fees set by the government with fees agreed to by all parties.

You may also be interested to know that I'm a cosponsor of H.R. 2060, the Internet Radio Equality Act. H.R. 2060 would modify royalty fees for webcasting. The Copyright Office Royalty Panel (CARP) recently established high royalty rates for music webcasts.

I'm concerned that the CARP ruling may have the unintended consequence of bankrupting many companies or forcing them to alter their formats to news and talk radio. This, in turn, will reduce the consumer's choice of streaming content, limit the diversity of streaming content on the Internet, and impede the growth of an increasingly popular medium.

On October 7, 2002, an agreement between webcasters and the recording industry was made and the full House passed the bill by voice vote. The change seeks to ensure that artist shares of the royalty payments for streaming digital music over the Internet would not be deducted against recording industry legal and administrative expenses. The agreement between the RIAA and small webcasters permits the small firms to pay a percentage of the revenue instead of the per song rates set by the Library of Congress.

H.R. 2060 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which I'm a member of, and I will continue to do everything I can to see that this important legislation becomes law.
Please write your congresscritter in support of HR 2060!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Hundreds of Penguins Returned to Ocean

More than a thousand juvenile Patagonian penguins have washed up on the northern shores of Brazil this year for reasons scientists have yet to comprehend fully. Over the weekend, hundreds of the stranded birds were airlifted to the southernmost tip of the country and released into the South Atlantic Ocean, close to their native territory. How exactly do you get that many penguins on a plane?

For the answer to that question read the article in Slate. For a heartwarming video of the penguins' return to the sea watch this:

Sunday, October 05, 2008

This is the VP Debate I Wanted to See

Queen Latifa as Ifill - her expressions are priceless. I was laughing so loud my husband came from the other side of the house to see what was so funny...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Madly Waiting for Mad Men Episodes

Why does it take so long for an episode of Mad Men to show up on iTunes? I keep checking back and I swear it's been a month since a new one showed up. Probably not, since iTunes appears to be only two episodes behind the broadcast schedule. I really enjoy the show and do look forward to the new episodes.

I spent the day doing photography of my jewelry for my Etsy store, listening to the KQED live stream on my laptop upstairs, coming downstairs with the memory card from the camera, putting it into my laptop downstairs (which also had the live stream going, but oddly a few minutes delayed from the upstairs one) and editing and uploading my photograps for the new listings. I got through nine today. I have so many more to do, too.

Also had a pleasant time tweeting with several folk...topics were carnival food (fried, mostly), figuring out how to use a phone to do tweets and succeeding and miscellaneous chatter. I have come to appreciate Twitter for those little chats.

Well, back to work on my necklace - if you want to see and read about it, please visit my beading blog.

Must Listen Radio

Today, This American Life (on the radio, not the TV show) is doing a sequel to a show they did this May called "Giant Pool of Money". Show description of "Giant Pool of Money":

"A special program about the housing crisis produced in a special collaboration with NPR News. We explain it all to you. What does the housing crisis have to do with the turmoil on Wall Street? Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or income? And why is everyone talking so much about the 1930s? It all comes back to the Giant Pool of Money."
I recommend listening to both shows. The archive page at This American Life has a full episode feed you can listen to for free on your computer or download for 95 cents.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Recommended Reading

I believe I've mentioned here how much I enjoyed Jo Walton's books Farthing and Ha'penny. The final installment is now out:

A Gallimaufry of a Post

So, do I buy Paul of Dune from the SFBC just so I'll have a complete collection? I have all the other books by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson. Guess I will, but I'm worried that this one might disappoint as it is set in the time between the stories that Frank Herbert actually wrote - and he didn't feel compelled to write about that time or its stories.

I'm going to grit my teeth and watch the VP candidate debate Thursday night. I don't want to, but since I moderate a politics and current events forum, I feel I must. In the back of my mind I keep hoping that Tina Fey will be there impersonating Palin instead of Palin...And Thursday night has both CSI and Smallville - I wonder if they'll get bumped.

Snow on Mars!

A clip of a great gag from the old Candid Camera show - the last bit is best. I've been watching AMC's Mad Men and for some reason I'm starting to wish men would go back to wearing hats. (This would make more sense if you watched the clip. If not, just go with it, but it isn't as much of a non sequitur as it looks.)

I'm not sure why, it's not like men wore hats all the time when I was growing up - they'd pretty much stopped by the time I was old enough to really take notice of fashion. I have seen pictures of my grandfather in a hat, but I don't seem to have a true memory of it. My dad, being in the Air Force, wore a hat a lot of the time, but hat=uniform and so it didn't apply to civilian clothes. However, if getting men back into hats meant women would have to wear them, too, and gloves, and those horrible, full, flouncy slips (crinoline? what are those?), I'll pass.

I've been listening to archived shows from This American Life lately. There was one particular one about music where David Sedaris was featured. In it he sings a number of commercial jingles imitating the voice of Billie Holliday. The whole thing is marvelous, but that part was really funny.

My other favorite episodes were the one where they visited the USS Stennis in 2002, the one about babysitting and the one about The Giant Pool of Money - something I highly recommend you all listen to - it's very enlightening about the roots of the current mortgage crisis.

Just watched this clip of Palin talking to Katie "slow pitch softball" Couric.

First reaction - really, that's Tina Fey, right? No, come on, stop pulling my leg...that's really Palin giving that answer?

Second reaction - Come on, just name one news magazine. It's easy, Newsweek, Time, US News and World Report, heck, even say People for goodness sake. Is she afraid she'll say the name of a magazine and get in trouble with her campaign handlers?? Yes, all the Palin defenders will say I'm being unfair, but really, that was not a tricky question. I'm a middle of the road leaning to conservative voter who has been a registered Republican since the early 80s, so I actually went into this election cycle really hoping that McCain could somehow convince me to stay with the party. His VP choice completely killed that hope. Even if I agreed with every other thing he says (which I don't) I think it's a sure sign of loss of mental acuity that he would pick her.

Aston West has tagged me with a little meme. I like Aston, even if he does drink unusual (as in not familiar to me as a Trekkie, like Klingon Blood Wine or Romulan Ale, or even Tranya) beverages.

Here are the rules, my answers, and the next six people who get to take on the challenge.

The rules:

"If you’ve been tagged with the Meme Game from Twitter, you must post 6 things no one knows about you on your BLOG. Then you have to tag 6 more people. (Don’t forget to let them know they’ve been tagged.) Leave me a comment letting me know you’ve accepted the tag."

My answers (caveat - these are things that most people who haven't grown up or lived with me for any length of time wouldn't know, not "no one knows" ):

  1. I broke my nose when I was 5, and it was all the fault of a green crayon.
  2. I once crocheted a nose warmer with a tassel on it in my HS colors and wore it to an away game (I was in pep band and we had to play at the game) where the temps were below freezing for all of the game.
  3. I have a little bump on my left ear that makes it look vaguely Vulcan (at the right angle under the right light).
  4. I can't stand to get cake crumbs in my icecream but I love icecream sandwiches.
  5. I have never finished reading anything written by Ernest Hemmingway, no matter how hard I've tried.
  6. I hated the Rolling Stones but enjoyed listening to my parents' Andy Williams records...when I was a teenager in the 70s. (of course I wore headphones to make sure nobody knew it)
Feel free to feel tagged if you want to and pass it along.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Update on Net Radio Bill

An update regarding yesterday's post about H.R. 7084, the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008. The bill unaninously passed in the House. On to the Senate.

I sent a message to my Representative, Anna Eshoo, so if she was present and voted, I thank her for her support.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Save Internet Radio - A Plea from Pandora

From the Pandora Website:

September 26, 2008


Listeners we need your help... NOW!

After a yearlong negotiation, Pandora, artists and record companies are finally optimistic about reaching an agreement on royalties that would save Pandora and Internet radio. But just as we've gotten close, large traditional broadcast radio companies have launched a covert lobbying campaign to sabotage our progress.

Yesterday, Congressman Jay Inslee, and several co-sponsors, introduced legislation to give us the extra time we need but the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which represents radio broadcasters such as Clear Channel, has begun intensively pressuring lawmakers to kill the bill. We have just a day or two to keep this from collapsing.

This is a blatant attempt by large radio companies to suffocate the webcasting industry that is just beginning to offer an alternative to their monopoly of the airwaves.

Please call your Congressperson right now and ask them to support H.R. 7084, the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008 - and to not capitulate to pressure from the NAB. Congress is currently working extended hours, so even calls this evening and over the weekend should get answered.

The central congressional switchboard number is: (202) 225 3121

Or to look up your representative, visit:

If the phone is busy, please try again until you get through. These calls really do make a difference.

This is a fork in the road. Only massive grassroots opposition will keep us from another 50 years of top 40 radio. It's time to take a stand and break the stranglehold of broadcast media on radio.

Thanks so much for you ongoing support.


Founder, Pandora

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Want a Uniform Suitable to My Position

There should be a uniform, it needs gold braid, big brass buttons and a whistle on a gold chain that hangs from a fancy loop through the button hole at the collar. A nice hat, gloves, shiny shoes to go with it, too. Needs to be a color that won't show cat hair, though.

Uniform for what, you ask? Cat Doorman. That's what I am. All day they're, yowling or scratching to get in or out of my office/workroom. I'm the doorman for 3 cats who can't decide half the time if they actually want in or out. And, before you ask, no, I can't leave the door open. I won't go into the reasons why, so you or random droppers-by won't feel compelled to lecture me about my reason. We want to stay friendly, right?

Yogurt, the senior statesman of the cats sits about 2 feet from the door and stares up at the knob. If I don't leap up to open it, he comes over to my chair and bats at my arm until I do.

Pudding, the young ne'er do well, who normally just lies around on his back looking like a long-haired cat fur rug, claws the underside of my chair as his signal that "I'm all done in here, you will be letting me out now, right?" and then he goes up to the door so close, that when I do open it, he always has to move out of the way and often in his haste to leave bumps his nose.

Jello, the diva, scratches at the door. She scratches furiously. I'm surprised she hasn't clawed straight through the wood yet.

So, yeah, I want a uniform. And a whistle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Recommended Reading

If you don't already read Jill Miller Zimon's Writes Like She Talks, please go read this post "Tim Wise's This Is Your Nation on White Privilege"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Billionare in the Basement

Anyone else think Bill has a shot at a new career in sit coms?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Back from My Trip to Hamburger University

I recently got back from a trip to a conference at Hamburger University, the McDonald's training facility outside of Chicago. The campus is lovely although it rained all day Thursday, but fortunately there is a covered walkway from the training center to the hotel where we had lunch and the evening networking reception. I bought a little umbrella for the walk to the parking lot (and for later if it was still raining) that has little McDonald's golden arches all around it. Not so sure I'll be using it much but I'm glad I had it as the rain was really pouring later in the evening.

Our day one keynote speaker was Bruce Tulgan, who gave a talk on (the) “Workforce through the Generational Lens”. He was fascinating and energetic, a good thing early in the morning after flying all day the day before and crashing to bed after checking in at the hotel. Click on the video clip on his website for a taste of what we heard that morning.

His thinking on how each new workforce generation impacts the previous one's thinking and the future of business does make one pause to think - the company I work for has a decidedly younger attitude, even though most of the leadership are Baby Boomers.

This is somewhat accounted
for, I believe,by being in hi-tech where people have to always be innovating and thinking of the next wave of customer needs, but I also think that newer (mostly younger) hires are less discouraged by fossilized culture and thinking in hi-tech, allowing them to bring the positive virtues of their generational style more quickly into the overall stream of progress. Nobody has the time to "earn their chops" when speed of innovation is the most important factor. Not a lot of looking back goes on, it's all about "What are you going to do for me tomorrow?"

I particularly enjoyed his discussion about the current crop of new workers - the ones in my children's generation. "Self-esteem on steroids" "most high maintenance workforce generation in the history of the world" are two tags he gives them. Crucial to understanding how to lead this group of workers is that they were raised under a constant barrage of self-esteem messages and kept occupied by structured activities, yet often they go to work and are "empowered" by managers who think a hands off approach will work with them.

Yes, that's a broad generalization, but their parents (um, me included) were the generation of Soccer Moms - right? Also, he's talking to an audience of corporate managers or recruiters, so the focus is on the new workers who are coming out of colleges and MBA programs - young people who were put on waiting lists for the best day-care the day the pregnancy test came up positive.

So these young workers' lives revolved around organized play-groups and huge percentages of their daily activities were "outsourced" to child care, camps, sports and classes. Not very many of them were told to 'go play outside' and had to think up their own fun - they were coached, taught and organized from a very early age. And all of them were raised in the tech-age - they instinctively go to the internet for data, they have the knowledge of the entire world at their fingertips - what they need from their managers and leaders is someone who will coach and guide them on how to use that knowledge to be productive, make a contribution and get ahead. This clip is a highlight from that portion of the talk. I guess it's pretty obvious I enjoyed the session.

Day two's keynote was
from Alan Beaulieu, Institute for Trend Research on “The Impact of Economics on Contract Labor” (this was the VMS Professionals conference - VMS being vendor management systems - or the methodology, tools, practices and people who manage the use of third party company labor like temporary, contract and consulting workers). This was a bit of a downer, as he did not tell us things are getting better anytime soon with the economy. However, he was an energetic and funny speaker who did give us good information about where his analysis found places one can weather out the impact of the downturn - and he thinks by 2010 we'll be riding the tide upwards again.

I met some lovely people, didn't win any of the drawings (and they were good ones) but handed out a number of cards and was asked to speak to a couple groups on the things my program is doing about a different aspect of VMS mgmt that's just starting to take hold at many of their companies - something I've been working on and in for the last four years.

Of course Saturday, the day I flew home, was beautiful and sunny and I got to enjoy it for all of the 15 minute drive back to the rental car drop off. One of these days I do hope to visit Chicago just to enjoy the tourist-y stuff.

Sunday was the local Art and Wine festival. We arrived at 10:00 am, got great parking at the structure just off the main street where the festival is held and made it through most of the fair before the weather got too hot and the crowds terribly large. I talk about what I purchased on my beading blog if you've any interest in hand crafted beads and jewelry. We bought our annual
souvenir tee shirts and glasses, wine glass for me, beer stein for the husband, and went out to lunch. I had a craving for beef, so we went to Black Angus for a late lunch.

I spent most of the rest of the day playing with my beading, catching up on emails and at Absolute Write - now it's back to work. Hope we all have a great week.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Political Post - Sorta

what more needs to be said?

Well, I should mention that I first saw this at Pharyngula. By the way, though I'm linking, I must mention that when he's not foaming about religion, I really do enjoy the blog, but radical anything (religion, atheism, politics) is not something I'm comfortable with, so don't think I'm endorsing or agree with his more vehement atheist subjects.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sadly, the Long Weekend is Nearly Over

My nephew got to play in the Davis v SJSU on Saturday, they were ahead 10-0 until the end of the game and SJSU won 16-10. But the nephew got to play and that was exciting. Spending some time with my sister and her family (+ nephew's girlfriend) was fun. The next morning we had a bit of an adventure trying to find the train station to get my nephew back to Davis, but it all worked out and he got home just fine.

My almost daily posting on my beading blog has gotten me on the first page and pretty well positioned on that, of a Google search for "beaded badge lanyards" - not sure how many people actually search that, but I'm there if they do, so that makes me rather happy. Got a comment from Lois at A Beaded Affair who was searching on 'copper' and went to her very lovely blog and Etsy shop - I recommend her to you, too. Lots of wonderful artists I'm discovering who are doing beautiful work at Etsy.

Back to work tomorrow. I love having three day weekends but going on a business trip just one day afterwards will probably mean a lot of catching up next week. Speaking of which, the Saturday after this is the 13th - and my son's birthday, which fell on a Friday back in 1985.

Hard to believe it's been 23 years. I got to talk with him for over half an hour on Saturday morning, which was wonderful. He finally received the package I had shipped to him (Muscle Milk - he's always working out whenever he can, and wants to bulk up - maybe so the pack he carries isn't equal to 50% of his body weight? He's always been a wiry guy).

I also sent him a bunch of phone cards via a special deal the Army & Air Force Exchange Service has set up so non-military people can purchase and send them to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines they know who are overseas. I don't know if he has them yet or not.

By the way, even if you don't know a soldier overseas, there are special programs that will send your donated phone cards to a service person in the branch of your choice - just go to and scroll down a bit to read the details.

It's been a while since I mentioned any of my favorite web comics, but A Girl and Her Fed is having a donation drive that's worth checking into. The artist is going to put her web-comics in print and with a donation of $30 you can help that happen and get some original art as a thank you.

Dave Kellett's got a new Sheldon book out - Pugs, God's Little Weirdos and I just received my copy with an original sketch and Dave's autograph. Sheldon's pug, Oso, is definitely a little weirdo.

Finally, and not about a comic strip, I got my copy of Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi. I'm waiting to read it on the plane, but it's been hard.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Notice Anything Different?

Yeah, got tired, after all these years (I started this blog on August 21st, 2005 - Happy Belated Birthday, NVNC IS VIDES, NVNC NE VIDES!), of the green background. I did get some complaints here and there about the color, which I've been ignoring, but it was finally starting to wear on me, too. Also changed text color and restored the text to 'normal' (apparently I had set it to bold instead of just making the size a bit bigger when I decided the text was hard to read - I've learned new things since then).

I added a little blurb at the top - I know I haven't been great about updating, but I do put something up at my other blog almost daily, so I thought, if you're visiting you might be interested in what I've been doing that's kept me from updating here.

I had a great, half-hour long chat with my son today. We're counting the days until he comes home from Iraq. I won't say anything more specific, except that the light is just beginning to glimmer at the end of the tunnel.

He, of course, wants me to be there when he lands and has started 'reminding' me to make plans. I know I don't always do things as far in advance as I could, but it's really to early to be buying airplane tickets, etc. Especially since the current arrival window is about a month wide.

He's always been one to want things structured and thoroughly planned out. Not that he's not spontaneous, but I think just knowing that there *is* even a tentative, flexible, plan keeps him from getting nervous that there won't *be* a plan.

I can't believe it's already Labor Day weekend. This summer seems to have sped past faster than any I can remember. Tomorrow I go to see CSU San Jose vs. UC Davis - my nephew plays for Davis, so I'll be sitting with the Aggie fans instead of the home team fans. Not that college football has ever been much of a passion for me. My college didn't have football. National champion wrestling and basketball, but no football. The local community college had a great team that I think did very well in its division - but I didn't follow it, either.

I don't want to get all political here, but the news that McCain has chosen a woman as a running mate is all over the place. While it's rather stunning that a woman is on the Republican ticket, the choice has me completely bemused. Did he pick her for her looks? Seriously, the woman is probably wonderful, but she hasn't finished her first term as governor (of Alaska) and her other political credits are all very small potatoes. Her positions are very far to the right, but that can't help McCain, he's got the right. Does he think an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage woman will get him all those disgruntled Hillary Clinton voters in his camp? Color me confuzzled about this one.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tempus Fugit

I went to Office Depot last weekend for printer ink. Of course that's not all I got, but that's what I went there for. Ostensibly. Really, just printer ink...ahem, anyway...and of course the place was packed with back-to-school shoppers.

Now that I have an empty nest, I don't keep track of those sorts of things. Glad I didn't need to go to the mall for something. Watching the girls (for some reason it was mostly girls there with their parents - I maybe saw one boy) looking at notebooks and pens and paper made me just a tiny bit nostalgic for the times my kids and I did our back to school errands. But just a tiny bit and only for a moment.

Back to school also meant clothes shopping, and wincing at not only the price tags, but the clothes themselves. I guess every generation goes through it's "really ugly fashion" statement period and ugly is always subjective, so I'm sure my opinion isn't worth the pixels it's written in, but I don't think in 30 years these kids will look back on their mini-skirts and Ugg boots and think "That was the apex of beauty and style." Then again, I thought the midi-skirt was cool. Hey, I'm tall, I carried it off! My daughter was eclectic in her clothes choices, so she pretty much bucked the fads in high school with my full approval. (She did finally buy Uggs last year - her feet were freezing in the winter and the Uggs were nice and warm.)

I forgot about my weekend reflections in the days between now and then, but just got a Tweet from Wil Wheaton's Twitter feed that said "Did I miss a memo? Are tights + UGG boots + a T-shirt dress thingy + a headband the new thing? I keep seeing this disaster everywhere I go." and it reminded me.

This from the actor who wore some of the (sorry, Wil - I know it wasn't your fault) ugliest sweaters ever, as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek, TNG...I hope he knew then what those girls don't know now - sometimes following the latest fashion fad (or being forced into someone's conception of the future of knitwear) just makes you look ridiculous. I was too old for legwarmers and high-heels with torn sweatshirts (Flashdance), but yeah, I did wear polyester disco dresses, so I shouldn't talk.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In Which Dawno Plugs a Book

The happy serendipity of the Internet leads me from a post about a great food meme to a post about a book by a waiter...

I am on Twitter. I tweet. I read other folk's tweets. I follow about 50 tweeters, one of whom is Wil Wheaton, actor, writer, blogger and uber geek. In a tweet he sent last night, he recommended reading a post by the writer of Waiter Rant, a blog, and also, as I find out at his blog, a book. I followed the link in the tweet and read the post, which was insightful. Went to take a look at his book. The Harper Collins website had preview pages, so read all there was available of Chapter 1 and decided I wanted to read the book right then - and, as luck would have it, they had it available as an e-book, so I could download it immediately and not have to wait for it to come in the mail.

Download completed, I dropped everything else I was doing (I've been very busy with the whole beading thing lately and was in the middle of re-organizing my beading area, doing an inventory of my creations and re-naming and creating tags for them, amongst other stuff) and started reading. By 11 pm I was getting rather tired and went to bed with about 3/4 of the book completed. I have just finished reading it.

Waiter Rant (by Steve Dublanika, The Waiter) starts off with a preface that introduces you to the author's conversational, first person style. He's obviously educated and witty:

"Today waiters are expected to be food-allergy specialists, sommeliers, cell-phone-rule enforcers, eye candy, confessors, entertainers, mixologists, emergency medical technicians, bouncers, receptionists, joke tellers, therapists, linguists, punching bags, psychics, protocol specialists, and amateur chefs. Foodie-porn TV programming has generated a new class of entitled customers with already overblown culinary expectations and a rapidly diminishing set of social graces. Economists say that the restaurant business is a bellwether of the nation’s economic health—but I think it’s a bellwether of America’s mental health as well. And let me tell you, 20 percent of the American dining public are socially maladjusted psychopaths. We should start putting Prozac in the Perrier."
147 words into the book and it's got me completely hooked.

The sub-title is "Thanks for the Tip -- Confessions of a Cynical Waiter" and yes, he's cynical. But he's also self-analytical, a keen observer of people and a writer whose descriptions neatly place you right in the setting - I felt like I would be able to recognize his anonymized restaurants and the people who worked there, if I ever made my way out to New York City.

About mid-book the reader has learned a lot about the author's life, what led him to become a waiter, how and why he struggles with the culture of the restaurant world and its denizens. If you are going into this thinking it's just a series of anecdotes about the behavior of quirky customers, you will be disappointed - it's that to a point, but it's also an introspective memoir and very nearly a psychological/sociological treatise on the way people treat people in the service industry. He keeps it all moving apace, however, with his personable writing style and sense of humor. You also find that he puts his education to use with mention of, or allusions to, classical literature, but also from popular literature and culture. While his prose is accessible, it doesn't talk down to the reader, either.

The book is also about the author learning that he *is*, indeed, a Writer. Starting with a blog that eventually gains a large following and then on to getting an agent, and a book deal, the author discloses the ups and downs many writers experience before finally breaking into publication. I know a bit about that as a moderator on Absolute Write where daily writers discuss their triumphs and challenges and disappointments.


Because I want to make a point about writing, I'm going to discuss the end of the book - please don't read on if you don't like spoilers and intend to read Waiter Rant. There's nothing else said after the spoiler, so if you're going to pass up the spoiler bit, you're done - thanks for visiting!


The book closes with the author still working as a waiter, even though his book has sold. Unlike the lotto winner who walks into work the morning after the numbers were posted (yeah, you don't have that dream, do you?) and says "take this job and shove it," he takes a respite from waiting and then, eventually, goes back to it, albeit at a less stressful place and pace. The hopeful thing about his return to the job, is something he says just a few paragraphs from the end of the book:

"Now that I’m a waiter trying to become something else, I feel like my life has direction. The chip I was carrying on my shoulder fell off. My sense of hospitality has returned. I no longer feel like a loser. Those horrible dreams about wasted talent have disappeared. For the first time in a long time, I’m at peace with myself."

I like a book with a happy ending.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Goodness! A Meme!

Edit to add: This font doesn't bold! I'd forgotten. I'm going to go back and change the ones that should be bold somehow so they show up. Sorry!

Haven't done one of these in ages. Found it on Electric Velocipede Blog:

"From the sublime Andy Wheeler, a list of all the food items you should eat at least once in your life.

Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. (I'm going to put *'s around the ones I've eaten)
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results."

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. *Venison*
2. Nettle tea
3. *Huevos rancheros*
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. *Cheese fondue*
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. *Calamari* (didn't like it)
12. *Pho*
13. *PB&J sandwich*
14. Aloo gobi
15. *Hot dog from a street cart*
16. Epoisses (per Wikipedia, a really smelly cheese)
17. Black truffle
18. *Fruit wine made from something other than grapes*
19. *Steamed pork buns*
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. *Foie gras*
24. *Rice and beans*
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche (looked it up because I've had the Häagen-Dazs ice cream but never the real thing)
28. Oysters
29. *Baklava*
30. Bagna cauda (this sounds really good, I hope I can try it someday)
31. *Wasabi peas* (only tried once, drank a gallon of Arizona Diet Green Tea immediately after)
32. *Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl*
33. Salted lassi (doesn't sound appealing, but I wouldn't cross it out, I'd taste if offered)
34. Sauerkraut
35. *Root beer float* (had AW Root beer floats in frosty mugs from AW drive-ins as a kid - there's a great memory - the different sized mugs, the tray on the car window, the waitress who'd walk up to the car window...)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (not on my list of 'must do' foodie type things, but I wouldn't turn it down, either)
37. *Clotted cream tea* (had this in Australia with warm scones and strawberry jam - so yummy!)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O not a big Vodka fan
39. *Gumbo*
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal - this is a 'conditional' strikeout - sounds too hot for my taste
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu Just not that bold.
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. *Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut* oh yeah - I was thrilled when Krispy Kreme started opening stores here.
50. Sea urchin I've seen these, didn't appeal to me
51. Prickly pear - I may have had this as a child, I remember a school unit about desert ecology (lived in the desert as a kid) and vaguely recall having some, but maybe it's just my imagination.
52. Umeboshi - I think we had these in Taiwan, but again, I'm not certain and they probably were called something else
53. Abalone
54. Paneer again, not appealing, probably wouldn't try it, but who knows?
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal don't like thousand island dressing on my burgers. Now a Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal, yep, had those many times.
56. *Spaetzle*
57. Dirty gin martini don't like gin
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine I know some Canadians, so I'm familiar with this one. If I ever visit a Canadian friend and it's offered, I'll try it. I won't go out of my way to find some, though.
60. Carob chips
61. *S’mores*
62. Sweetbreads uh, no.
63. *Kaolin* if you count being dosed with Kaopectate as a child, I've had it.
64. Currywurst lots of curried foods in this list. I'm not particularly fond of curry, but I guess I'd try it.
65. Durian Interesting looking fruit - the description of its scent as: "Regarded by some as fragrant, others as overpowering and offensive, the smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust." makes me wonder where I fall on that continuum.
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, *churros*, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis really not appealing - but if a Scotsman would get insulted by my refusal to try it, I would try it, so that's a conditional strikeout.
69. Fried plantain - I may have had this, too - just can't recall for certain.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette - wouldn't mind a taste
71. *Gazpacho* Had wonderful Gazpacho at Baur's in Denver just last week during WorldCon
72. *Caviar and blini*
73. Louche absinthe - couldn't find this, but "louche" refers one to "Ouzo Effect" and all in all, not interested in absinthe anyway...had the chance to have some, too, and didn't partake.
74. Gjetost, or brunost anther cheese - sounds interesting, so I'd try it.
75. Roadkill uh, nope - just the idea makes me shudder.
76. Baijiu Might give it a sip if offered
77. Hostess Fruit Pie I've managed not to have one of these in 51 years of living, I think I can abstain for whatever's left. But, I wouldn't say "never consider eating" because if I were starving and that's all I could eat, yeah, I'd have a Hostess Fruit Pie. You know, under those conditions, I'd probably eat anything on this list...
78. Snail I've had the chance and turned it down so far...but, see above...
79.* Lapsang souchong* not my favorite tea, but interesting to taste once
80. Bellini - sure, sounds nice, I'd try it
81. Tom yum I've had soup at a Thai restaurant, but don't remember what it was, so I'm not sure if I've had this or not...
82. *Eggs Benedict* not crazy about it
83. *Pocky* the kids love this stuff
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. Yeah, I'd like to do that someday
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare - as in rabbit? Have had rabbit, got violently sick afterwards and had to leave the Winter Formal because of it.
87. *Goulash*
88. Flowers - I think I've had flowers in salads at some fancy L.A. restaurants back in the 80s...
89. Horse only if starving, etc...
90. Criollo chocolate - didn't find a listing for this, just "Criollo cocoa, a variety of highly prized cocoa" on the disambiguation page
91. *Spam*
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa would try if ever offered
94. Catfish
95. *Mole poblano*
96. Bagel and lox I love bagels, I love salmon, just don't like smoked salmon, but I might try it some day
97. *Lobster Thermidor* My mother served this at my (first) wedding reception, which she catered beatifully at her and my father's home - it was in a lovely silver chafing dish...
98. *Polenta* had this once with a wonderful dinner of all Eastern European dishes prepared by a colleague from work.
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee - wouldn't pay the premium, but I'd drink it if given a cup
100. Snake ref above, re: starving...

Thank goodness for Wikipedia, where I had to look up a number of foods to decide if I'd strike through them or not. I linked to them, too, in case you do the meme and were as unfamiliar as I.

If I didn't comment on it, in general, it's something I'd try if the opportunity arose. Let me know if you do this so I can come see your list!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Worldcon Report Day 1 & 2

Spotted "in the wild" at Denvention: John Scalzi (seated and chatting, I probably rudely interrupted), Lois McMaster Bujold (on an escalator and in the dealers room but I didn't get to meet her), Jo Walton, Jay Lake, Robert Silverberg, and Kaja Foglio. Had drinks with friends at the other end of same long table with Jo and Jay and got Jay to sign my new copy of Escarpment, introduced myself to John Scazi, was too shy to say hi to Robert Silverberg who was chatting with a group near the escalators up to the dealer's room, which I had just left with some lovely new jewelry in hand.

A new friend got Lois to sign a copy of a very special chap book with stories inspired by beautiful beaded jewelry which included one by Lois. Have Kaja's autograph and a picture of the two of us. She was very pleasant to chat with. I was practically the first one into the dealer's room on the first day, so I didn't have to fight any crowds to talk to her, either.

I got said lovely jewelry from Elise Matthesen, who is quite the artist in stone and glass and wire. I also found an autographed copy of I am not SPOCK at Jim & Melody Rondeau's table and Saturn's Children by Charles Stross and Escapement by Jay Lake (who signed it and drew some cogs on the cover page at the bar last night) at the Borderland's table.

The night ended (Thurs.) with a great gathering of Viable Paradise alumnus visited by Teresa Nielson Hayden and Madeline Robins who regaled us with tales of days in the comic book biz and other publishing stories.

Tomorrow I'm going to sleep in so I'll be able to stay up late for the Making Light and Tor parties.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Denvention is Nearly Here!

I'm looking forward to going to Denvention, the 66th Annual SF WorldCon. I voted for the Hugos and I've been reading the pocket program. There's a party on Friday night I'm looking forward to attending - I "know" everyone who's going to be there, although I'm such a lurker on the site that's hosting it, they'll probably go "Dawno who?"

I may have to hand out these (well, not the last one, I'll be wearing that):

I'll try to post about the trip, we'll see if I have enough energy left at the end of the day.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

Galaxy Quest was a movie about the cast of an imaginary TV show called Galaxy Quest and how their fictional roles became reality when the Thermians come to collect them from a fan convention to help save the Thermian people from destruction. The movie also seems to be a comic-satirical look at the whole SF (especially Star Trek) fan/convention phenomenon and how the actors of those shows relate to that. (By the way, if you've never seen Galaxy Quest, it's a fun movie on its own, whether or not you've seen any SF tv episodes/movies).

So, what do you call a documentary about the making of the Galaxy Quest series, which seems to be a, in part, a satire of the Trekkies documentaries? Whatever you call it, I thought it was clever and enjoyed watching "The Galaxy Quest 20th Anniversary Special: The Journey Continues". I didn't know about it until it showed up on a blog on my RSS reader. So if you've not seen it either, Origami Unicorn has put the YouTube captures up on her blog in three parts. Part one starts here. Enjoy!

Things have been quiet on the Author Advocate Legal Defense Fund donation front - if you can help promote the fund or can donate, please help!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I'd love to see more discussion of mediation techniques people think work well and maybe links to some posted discussions elsewhere, if you know of them. I've read just about everything I can find that Teresa Nielson Hayden has posted at Making Light and at Boing Boing about her methods. I was drawn to this post at Making Light yesterday because I've seen James in action over at Absolute Write where I am a moderator, too.

I co-moderate the Politics and Current Events (P&CE) forum at Absolute Write with MacAllister Stone. That part of AW has been going through some interesting changes lately.

MacAllister and I have been attempting to create a place where there can be rough and tumble discussion by the members who like that sort of thing, but also create a more comfortable space for the ones who don't feel comfortable in that environment - a topic that the comments in "Got it in one" back on July 1st explored to my great edification at at time when we were just making our changes (the "new P&CE" began on June 30th).

It's been exhilarating, exasperating and exhausting at times to moderate there, and I'm always on the look out for discussions that will help me do a better job.

I hope to see some comments...well, I always do, but this time I'm hoping even more.

note: thank you Dr. Science, for your comment on the above-mentioned thread, where you discussed posting your comments into your blog - I hadn't considered that before now!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Arizona Diet Green Tea Excess

Yesterday I went to our local Walgreen's to replenish our supply of Arizona Diet Green Tea. I bought ten 23 oz cans from the store cooler and got 10 one gallon jugs from the shelf. I've only been drinking the canned tea since yesterday and I noted, during my last trip to the 'fridge, that I am drinking the second to the last can now. Subtracting 46 ounces (plus about 10 that were left over un-drunk from last night's last can and poured out) from 230, I've had 174 ounces in just under 24 hours. A quick check on Google tells me there are 128 ounces in a gallon.

I wonder if drinking over a gallon of Arizona Diet Green Tea a day is bad for me? I may donate my corpse to science for the answer.

Oh, so I go to the website to put in a link for Arizona Diet Green Tea and they've done a huge site makeover. It's pretty. It's flashy (and perhaps made so with Flash, so excuse the pun). There's a lovely little butterfly that follows my cursor around, flapping its wings and even casting an animated shadow. When I moved the cursor up to the top of the page to click a tab, there was a "clinking" sound effect, like glass bottles of tea clanking together, as it "hit" the edge of the page. So I can't put a link to the Diet Green Tea like I used to do, but here's the site if you want to peek:

By the way, here's also music on the site... I hate music on websites for the most part, but this music is cool and I'm leaving the tab open so I can hear the songs - right now they're playing Ginger Rose, "Charlie Brown". There's a player at the bottom of the page with a pop up list of songs. You can turn the music off from there.

OOH! There's a decaf version of my tea - has a black label. The regular version has 15mg. per 8 oz of tea, (that's about half of what's in a cup of regular tea, and about a quarter of what's in a cup of regular coffee). Still, after drinking a gallon, I'm surprised I'm not buzzing around like Apu in that episode of the Simpsons where he thought he was a hummingbird...

I had to disable the pop up blocker for the site to get to the storefront - unfortunately they don't have the decaf on sale by bottle or can, just concentrate. I did discover that there are 11 oz cans of the caffeinated diet green tea available, though.

Ok, enough about the tea.

I brought back my bangs - now I look like the avatar picture I use on a lot of sites and in my AW profile again. By the way, that picture is a cropped and de-colorized wedding photo.

I figure with Denvention coming up maybe it'll help people recognize me. I'll be giving away "Do You Know Dawno?" and "I Know Dawno!" badge ribbons. Find me if you want one.

Still looking for more ideas on how to keep the donations coming in to the Author Advocate Defense Fund.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stay Safe Son

Woke up at 4:15 this morning to take my son to the airport for the first leg of his journey back overseas. We got to the airport at 5 and I parked and walked into the terminal with my son, expecting to part with him at the security line. The check in line was very long, but as it turned out, it was because nobody was mentioning the shorter one for my son's airline. I figured it out and he walked over to the shorter line. In about 10 seconds an attendant from the airline came up to him and took him out of line directly to a kiosk, got his pass for him and took us up to the counter where she proceeded to get my son's girlfriend and I passes to go back to the boarding area. Wow! We got an extra hour with him before he boarded the plane.

I tried to get some pictures of him as he was boarding, but they were blurry - I think I had the camera on the wrong setting. Yep, it was set to "close up" - dang. Here's the best of the lot:

"Smile son!" I said. The kid is such a goofball. I kept my composure - probably wouldn't have if his girlfriend hadn't been there, though. Now it's 5 or 6 more months until he's back. God bless and watch over you, dear - and the same to all the sons and daughters headed over and still there, too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thank You, Charles Stross!

Charlie Stross, SF author of The Atrocity Archives, The Jennifer Morgue, Singularity Sky, Halting State, Accelerando, the just released Saturn's Children (and many more), has posted about the Author Advocate Defense fund in his blog today and the fund got a nice run of donations, it's over $1k now. If you can't donate, please post about the fund, because others will donate if they hear about it from someone they trust.

Some good info on how to post about the fund are in this post on Absolute Write by my blogging forum co-moderator L M Ashton - just skip the parts about joining the blog carnival (or not - join AW and join the carnival!) - there's advice about what to say, links to information about the cause and code for a donation button, all in the post. (Thank you again, Laurie, for taking the time to do the post and organize the carnival)

A bit of personal stuff...

Tomorrow is my son's last day home. Three weeks seems like a nice, long time for a vacation from work, but when the job you have to go back to is soldiering in Iraq for 5 or 6 more months, it's way too short. My dad came up from L.A. to visit earlier this week and we had two lovely days with him. We shopped and ate out and just sat around and talked, it was wonderful. My son has caught up with friends, visited Las Vegas, and also taken care of some important stuff he could only do in person here, so I think he'll go back satisfied that it was a good visit.

Otherwhere on the web...

I hope you're all watching Dr. Horrible's Musical Blog. Act II is up now, Act III goes up the 19th. The FAQ's on the Master Plan page are a good read for the background to how the whole thing was conceived.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back from Vacation in Vegas Update to Author Advocate Defense Fund News

Just got home yesterday from Las Vegas with my son, his girlfriend and my husband. Stayed at the Venetian, which is beautiful. Two things will keep me from going back, the constant perfuming of the hallways on the way to the room, and the distance from the monorail. I prefer taking the monorail whenever possible to get to other hotels, and from the Venetian you have a long walk out, down the strip and then through Harrah's to get to the station.

We visited the Hilton to have a final lunch at Quark's and ride the Star Trek: The Experience ride (we just did the Klingon Encounter one) before it all closes down in September. On the way home (hubby and I drove) we stopped and bought a couple bottles of Klingon Blood Wine and a case of Romulan Ale.

We went to Zumanity on Friday night and had dinner at Benihana's on Saturday. Don't ask me about the gambling - I didn't come home ahead like last year. I did stay within my gambling budget, but only brought home a little of it. I did hit two pretty big jackpots Friday night and Saturday morning - just gambled with it later and said "bye bye".

While I was gone Neil Gaiman and John Scalzi posted about the Author Advocate Defense Fund. The traffic to the page did take a nice uptick. Unfortunately the Pay Pal script that had been working just fine up to the time I left stopped working. I'm not sure if it's something with Googlepages not liking the script, or what, but when I got back I had some emails saying people had tried the button and it didn't link to anywhere. I've updated the page and will use different coding for the link if it breaks again. There's always the button in the sidebar of this blog, too, if you just happen to be hanging out and decide to help.

A couple posts ago someone suggested starting a blog tour and now there's one going on with the Absolute Write bloggers. Thank you L M Ashton! Now, go give the bloggers some link love, and fund tour in your blog, too!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Another Mention of the Fund!

Origami Unicorn mentions the fund. Thank you Catherine!

Other bloggers are mentioning the suit, and while I'm leaving comments, perhaps if you're a regular commenter/friend on their blog or LJ, it would mean more to them to hear from you about the donation site? Your help is appreciated. Your donations are too - there's a button right over there in the sidebar, for your convenience :-)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Great Comment About Author Advocate Defense Fund Publicity

This came in comments to my last post - and I think it's worth bumping to the front page.

To be clear, I have been commenting where I can find a polite reason to, but I'm not going to become a comment spammer. The post has to have some relation to Barbara Bauer v Jenna Glatzer . I have also sent emails to a number of those writers and agents mentioned. I'm still waiting responses from some.

There are some names I will definitely email that I hadn't known of or thought about, because I'm not a writer so the "how would you get the word out if it were about your book" part didn't occur to me. I should research this as if I was going to send out a query! All these years on Absolute Write and have I learned nothing?? *grin*

But, the suggestions are all good ones and I thank you, anonymous, for the comment. One question, though - who's Patry Francis?

I've underlined some really important points of the comment, not about publicity, too (bold doesn't work, I've discovered). Anonymous is dead right about the cost of this - these defendants really need your help. I'm not a publicist, nor can I dedicate long hours to this, as I have a day job that demands its own long hours, but I'll do what I can.

How would you get the word out if it were about your book? A press release? You'd notify bloggers and publishers that have high reader volume like Gawker, Galley Cat, and Publisher's Lunch. You might ask some of the better known blogging agents for help,people like Kristin Nelson, Jessica Faust, Janet Reid, Nathan Bransford, Jennifer Jackson, Jonathan Lyons, Evil Editor, and so on.

{break added by Dawno to make it easier for her to read}

Even if they didn't, or couldn't, for legal reasons, add a link in their next daily post, they might not mind if you left one in comments. It never hurts to ask. Remember how we all got together to help Patry Francis?

{break added by Dawno to make it easier for her to read}

Organize a blog tour. (note from Dawno: I've posted about this at the AW blogging board, but I can't organize the tour right now, maybe in a couple of weeks, after my son goes back to Iraq) Get out there and be seen and heard. Faint heart never won a fair amount of money, and I can tell you for fact that's what is needed. Would any one of your readers like to mortgage their home for the cause? That's what some of the defendants are being asked to do to pay their lawyers.

{break added by Dawno to make it easier for her to read}

And have you calculated the number of lawyers involved? (note from Dawno: yes, I know exactly how many lawyers are involved, it's public record who is defending them) Everyone is gung ho to jump on the Babs Bandwagon, but in all honesty, they have no idea at all exactly how much this is costing the defendants. The case is what's commonly known as a SLAAP suit -- litigation intended to intimidate and silence critics or opponents by burdening them with the enormous cost of a legal defense so that they abandon their criticism or opposition.

I am not a lawyer, and I can't say whether or not this qualifies as a SLAAP suit, but regardless, it will be expensive and they do need help. Please donate!

Getting the Word Out Is Hard Work

I've been sending emails to people like John Scalzi and Neil Gaiman, and if anyone blogs again about the case, I will try to make polite and appropriate comments. Other than that, I'm wondering how else I can get the word out about the Barbara Bauer v Jenna Glatzer, et al Author Advocate Legal Defense Fund. (as you can see, I hope that using a link to the site with the name of the case will help getting it into more searches - but I know I'd have to do that a lot to get any traction).

If you have any ideas for publicizing the fund, please let me know!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Author Advocate Legal Defense Fund Update

The fund has reached $500. I've been sending emails to site owners/bloggers that I think will be friendly to the cause and making comments on blogs that have mentioned the lawsuit in the hopes of attracting more publicity to the fund.

The other day a site called Journal Fen posted a link to something I said in 2006, as well as the link appearing in the comments at and this blog had over 200 visits on that day. I'm hoping the person who made the original post will consider linking to the Author Advocate Fund page, too.

If you add the link or mention it on your blog, I'll gladly add you to the sidebar on the Author Advocate Fund website.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Little Help, Please?

A certain literary agent sued Wikimedia Foundation last year (the information here shows the case was filed Sept '07 - I have also seen a report that the case was filed in January of '08).

On July 1st the case against Wikimedia Foundation was dismissed. Rumor has it the case against two other defendants, (in addition to Wikimedia there were 19 individuals and the SFWA) but I have yet to find any links to support that.

The lawsuit brought this agent back into the spotlight - the most probable precipitating events were pretty much ancient history as far as the internet was concerned. Places as diverse as Information Week, Gawker, and Publisher's Weekly, have picked up on the case in the past few months due to Wikipedia's involvement, as well as a number of writing related sites and blogs.

I mention all this because I was asked to help some of the defendants in this case by setting up and administering a defense fund. The donation button for this fund is in my sidebar. I've also created a webpage with additional information.

The defendants would appreciate your help. One thing you can do is either share the webpage link or link to the PayPal donation page on your sites and blogs.

Lee Goldberg and Author Scoop - Thank you! There have already been visitors to the webpage and new donations to the fund as a result of your mentioning the fund on your sites.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thank You Joshua D. Evans!

Joshua posted a comment on John Scalzi's Whatever blog about a website called Pandora. They explain it better than I could:

Since we started back in 2000, we have been hard at work on the Music Genome Project. It's the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Together our team of fifty musician-analysts has been listening to music, one song at a time, studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every song. It takes 20-30 minutes per song to capture all of the little details that give each recording its magical sound - melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals, lyrics ... and more - close to 400 attributes! We continue this work every day to keep up with the incredible flow of great new music coming from studios, stadiums and garages around the country.

With Pandora you can explore this vast trove of music to your heart's content. Just drop the name of one of your favorite songs or artists into Pandora and let the Genome Project go. It will quickly scan its entire world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings - new and old, well known and completely obscure - to find songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice. Then sit back and enjoy as it creates a listening experience full of current and soon-to-be favorite songs for you.

So, I felt like listening to Sting, and thought I'd test the site to see what they would produce - it was pretty amazing. I love my iPod, but Pandora provides more variety and introduces me to artists I wouldn't have known about. Especially since I don't listen to radio or actively search out new music - this takes what I know I like and then offers up songs in that vein - sometimes they're old familiar ones, sometimes they're completely new - but I'm liking all of them so far.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Just wanted to share one picture I took at the convention today that's too cute not to share here:

I'm pretty tired and rather sore - hauling all my stuff from the parking lot to the table is exhausting. I've pretty much got the loading down to a science - on the last day I'll be taking so much stuff, too. I also realized today that I have some perfect beads for this convention's theme. Little carved skulls, might be bone, too. Oh, well.

My table mate Carlos has been wonderful. Not only do I enjoy his company, but he's been so nice to keep an eye on my things when I have to dash to the restroom or want to grab a snack. He does lovely drawings and I bought a print today that is very clever and quite whimsical.

I also bought one of the items in the art show, a lovely piece made from watch faces and gears. I think I'll put a clasp on the back and wear it as a brooch.

I saw some of my favorite lanyard necklaces go to happy buyers this weekend. I'll miss them, but I'm also glad to know that people really like my work enough to buy it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Time For Me to Pack Up for the Day

But I'll leave you with some pirates and vampires (?) before I go.

LiveBlogging from Bay Con

Having a very fun time at Bay Con. Meeting lots of very nice people and enjoying the sights of the pirate costumed attendees.

Not everyone is here as a pirate, though.

Things are a bit slow for the moment - people must be attending events or panels. I need to finish a commision, so this will be all for now.

Update: Dawno No Longer Annoyed

Got a personal response from MyBlogLog with the solution to my problem. I needed to sign in under a different Yahoo account. Combination of memory loss, user error, and them not looking at the actual account for the answer before sending me the scripted response. I will take 2/3rds of the blame.

Thank you MyBlogLog for your help. Now, if you're a member - add me to your community!


Friday, May 23, 2008

A Bit of Cross Posting - Day 1 at BayCon

I've been talking about showing my beaded lanyards on my other blog for a while now. Today was day one of the convention and the "live" public debut of my lanyard concept. I could just post the link to my other blog, but that would mean you'd have to click over there and I might lose you! So, here's what I wrote:

I loaded up a huge amount of stuff into my car today - much more than I really could have ever used, but I'm one of those people that would rather take stuff I don't use than need something and not have it. You should see how I pack for a weekend trip.

Once I had that done, I had to go to an office supply store for a cash box and the bank for change. Got to the convention hotel at 3-ish. The parking was jammed full, but I found a spot on the ground floor - it was almost as far away from the hotel entrance as you can get, but I really didn't want to take the elevator with all my stuff, so I was glad to have found it.

Getting all my stuff together for one trip was a bit of a logistics challenge. I have a large, black nylon covered, rolling "cube" case - it's intended to be a travelling office - inside it were all sorts of bins and things for file folders and office supplies. But because it's wide and not too tall, it's great for stacking other stuff on the top. It also has lots of great zippered pockets inside and out. I had it crammed full.

I also took my backpack for the camera and some miscellaneous beading supplies that didn't fit into the other containers and a messenger bag for my wallet, laptop and a book, a tote with all my beads and the wire carousels to display them, the bead buddy lap desk and the zippered bead container tote. Most of it fit in or on top of the rolling cube. The downside was that I think I was carrying and rolling about 80lbs of stuff and it was a long hike. Tomorrow I hope to get there early enough to get a closer parking spot and I'm definitely not taking in everything. If I decide I need something, I can just go to the car for it.

Was set up and ready to go by 4. It was fairly quiet on Artist's Alley for most of the time, but I did ok, broke even on the cost of registration and the table fee. I hadn't labeled my necklace lanyards, so part of the time I spent putting on price tags. One of my friends from Absolute Write Water Cooler was there helping a friend who has a booth in the dealer's room and she brought her (Melody Rondeau) over to my table. It was very nice to chat with them and I look forward to getting a chance to check out their booth sometime this weekend. Next time I do this, I'm shanghaiing a helper!

No pictures today, but I'll try to take some tomorrow. The theme of the convention is pirates and there are many wonderful costumes being displayed on the convention attendees. Definitely need pictures! Oh, and there was an artist's reception this evening, too, but I was pretty tired and just wanted to get home.

There was also a graduation happening at the venue as well, and a man in a very fancy robe - like you see on professors at college graduations - walked by with an older gentleman in a nice tweed jacket and dark slacks. He took one of my business cards as he walked by. It was one of those times I wished I could read minds - I'm so curious to know why he took a card!

I did work on, and finish, one more lanyard while I was there - one of the hexagon glass bead styles, this one in cobalt blue glass and silver seed beads. Not sure what I'll work on tomorrow - but I have plenty of supplies to choose from!

Sometimes I see a link in my gmail that I have to click. Today it was Nipple Cream is dangerous. A company put "contains ingredients chlorphenesin and phenoxyethanol that could cause respiratory distress or vomiting and diarrhea in infants, the FDA said," into their cream. What responsible company would put ingredients in a cream for nursing mothers that they weren't 10000000000000% sure was safe for the nursing infant?

This is one reason I can't get completely on board with tort reform. If they didn't know the danger, they should. If they didn't care to check, then company should be sued out of existence. The company also had to recall a product in 2007 "may be contaminated with the parasite cryptosporidium, which can cause intestinal infections and diarrhea.

The Food and Drug Administration found the cryptosporidium contamination.

The product, coded 26952V 10/08, was sold nationally through stores and also online. The company has sold 17,600 bottles since November 2006. "

There are enough things to worry about when you're a new mom, and products sold in your chain drugstores by a company that claims their products (and the nipple cream is still on their website under this claim) are "* Obstretician recommended.* All natural ingredients."

In other news:
  • I sent my donation to support the Reno bid for the WorldCon in 2011.
  • I have a new camera.
  • My son comes home from leave in 36 days!