Wupz

Apr - 24 2010 | no comments | By

I changed my site password but was too loopy to edit blog and forum configs. Until just now. So, no blog or forum for over a day. *rolls eyes* @ self.

Nice password, anyhowl. It was one of those bright ideas that are sitting there in my head when I get up in the morning. After thinking about it off and on all day, I put it to use. 18 characters, alphanumeric plus, and I have a great mnemonic for it. Never-you-mind what that is 😀

ohai — the weekly twitterings thing is finally working! Maybe it did some good to leave the blog in a dark corner fo meditate on its sins. But it did it double – lol – have to delete one instance.

10,000 Big Codwallops

Apr - 17 2010 | no comments | By

omfg maize

Corn and beans -- who needs Columbus?

As Tweeted:
Library, DVD, 10,000BC stupidest mammoth hunt ever, bamfsckingboo spearshafts, fscking MAIZE, GMAB OMFG ROFLUIH

I haven’t been much of a moviegoer/watcher for a long time. No TV, no money, no car. However, I do have a computer, so once in a while I do get hold of something. Lately it’s been happening more often. DSL helps, LOL. So does having a regular job and my property taxes paid up. Last year I bought the Lord of the Rings. This spring, I’m feeling a bit livelier, so I can walk to the library. That means even more movies.

Yesterday, I had returned Apocalypto and was browsing the shelves. Couldn’t find anything that jumped out and said “Watch me!” so I decided to take 10,000 BC home and see how bad it was.

It surprised me — it was better than I expected. It could have been better yet, had it been called Godslayer, or Legacy of Atlantis, or some such thing befitting the (sadly abbreviated) epic fantasy that it wants to be. Because it is certainly not a story about what might have occurred anywhere, anywhen, around 10,000 years BCE.

Consider the fact that it apparently covers at least three continents, on both hemispheres. Points lost there, big time.

That mammoth hunt. Cheese and tripes, it is amazingly bad. These are experienced, profesional mammoth hunters? They expect to eat tomorrow? The lead bull — ROFLUIH! Just that alone is so sad.

Proportions — yes, mammoths were big, but really. And the pussycat. Not to mention it looked kind of silly bouncing away in its last scene. I rather liked the Androcles-and-the-lion bit, though.

D’leh — how can you say it without thinking “delay”? He wasn’t such a bad character, just needed a little common sense behind him. I’d like to have seen the whole storyline fleshed out a bit instead of glossed over with see next paragraph

The sporadic narration. I’m on the edge of writing a flaming rant about movies that tell instead of showing. Talk about pitiful. There is no place in the body of a film for that sort of thing unless it is autobiographical. While 10K is not as bad in this respect as the Clan of the Cave Bear superfail, it’s bad enough. For God(dess) sake, look at Quest for Fire. Please. It’s an amazing masterpiece, or at least tour-de-force, of paleo-fantasy. QfF is a rare phenomenon. With no understandable dialog, it hasn’t even the slimmest chance for an as-you-know-bob, and there is not one word of intrusive narration.

And speaking of dialog — fscking Tribalspeak! With an accent, yet, and oodles of rolled R’s. Don’t get me started.

Army marching through desert with no visible means of support. Numbnuts who can’t follow the stars until another numbnuts points out something stupidly impossible. Mammoths working their big hairy butts off in a desert with no mile-high haystacks in sight. People, listen to me, if an army marches on its stomach, a mammoth sees their rations and raises them a hundredfold. Pachyderms are eating machines.

And then, after all that, one of the African types hands over a baggie of corn. Zea maiz, primo cultivar of the New World. Where T. F. are we? Kansas?

I could take 10K, I could love it, as a Conanoid fantasy. But I’d like to clean it up a lot even for that.

Going to have to watch Apocalypto again to take the taste of stale joke out of my mouth. Except for certain little details of the moon, that one is everything I could want in prehistorical film.

E.T.A.: I forgot to mention the galloping mammoths in the climactic scenes. ZOMG. Galloping . Mammoths . *groan*

A Word with a View

Apr - 11 2010 | no comments | By

I just ran into this: Poll : does anyone use Microsoft Word’s outline view simultaneously with another view ? on a Twitter side-trail. It made me think for a few seconds, always a good thing to do, gets a little circulation to the gray cells.

It appears to me that most MS Word users don’t even know that there are differrent views. If they do, many probably don’t have the sense to use a decent reading font in Draft View, so it doesn’t do them any good to have it.

I do. Use it, and use a sensible sans-serif font for it. Makes writing (and reading) chores in Word halfway bearable. But why use two separate views? I don’t know about the older versions, but in the 2007/2010 I am using, I find Draft plus navigation pane the best way to go for getting around quickly in a complex doc.

That said, how many of those poor, ignorant Word users use any outline formatting anyway? Not a lot, if the examples I’ve seen are typical. Or it’s not used consistently.

I don’t write in Word! But when I put my manuscript into word, my chapter titles are proper headings, and make a very tidy showing in the navigation pane or outline view. If I have to do any post-insertion editing in Word, it’s not that hard to get where I’m going.

If you don’t work in draft view, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to see your work with new eyes. Get into the options and change the draft font to whatever you like and enable line wrapping. Zoom in as much as you want or need, the lines will wrap to the window and be totally readable. No eyestrain, no horrorzontal scrollbar.

Re: Wisconsin Assembly Bill 554

Apr - 05 2010 | no comments | By

I sent the following as e-mail to committee members:

If you, or a loved one, suffered needlessly because a simple remedy was just out of reach beyond an iron wall of law, what would you do?

Among the most specious arguments against the use of medical cannabis is that there has not been enough research. Why has there not been enough? Because there can be no research! What little has been done is outmoded and biased; the results are irrelevant to today’s issues. This catch-22 born of ignorance and prejudice must be eliminated.

As an observer in the battle against the poor and suffering (A.K.A. the “War on Drugs”), I can’t help but wonder how much of the money generated by illegal sales of marijuana has been laundered “clean” enough to pass through the floodgates of campaign funding. How much blood money do you want to spend?

And the other side of that coin: It’s not the drug lords who rot in prison. Only hapless users and small dealers spend time in the expensive barred suites. Far too much of the taxpayers’ money is spent on persecuting the taxpayers and locking up the sick.

Please consider those who are in need, who are in pain or slowly dying of starvation because they are denied a harmless medication that could save their lives. Before you condemn them, walk a mile in their moccasins. Many of them can barely take one step.


Another small drop in a bottomless bucket

Gone to the movies

Mar - 29 2010 | no comments | By

I suffer the consequences when I overdo. It doesn’t take much to put me down, and it takes a lot of time to get me back up. So I have to find entertainment to at least keep me sitting down while I pull what health I can together.

Since I haven’t had DSL very long, I’m a bit behind some folks in the art of movie-hunting. Catching up is a nice sit-down occupation, and entertaining in itself. Many episodes of Doctor Who (with Chinese subtitles) and other fun things later, I’m getting the hang of it.

Believe it or not, the first big one I went for was Avatar. The perfectly good reason — I wouldn’t get upset if I encountered problems acquiring it. Why practice on something I cared about?

Anyway, now I have seen the whole thing. Not in 3D, of course. I have never seen anything in 3D. My eyes don’t work together. I have lived my whole life without the illusion of 3D in the real world. Oh, I have depth perception, of a sort. It relies on focus, and it works very well under most circumstances. I’m a dead shot.

Heading back toward the subject: With one less illusion to veil the wizard, I see what is really there more easily than the average moviegoer. What I see pisses me off. All that technology wasted on a craptacular concatenation of clichés! Sure, there are a few nice moments, a couple of characters I could care about (if they could stop spitting out stale platitudes). None of it is enough to make up for the constant pain. Avatar, how do I despise thee? Let me count the ways.

The plot — well, it’s possible to do good things with the worst of plots, but that sure as hell wasn’t done with this Dancing With Wolves Meets Dune on the Forbidden Planet mess for the masses.

Noble Savages are bad enough; but nobsavs that yammer like sixth graders playing cowboys and indians, zomg. Not only are the aliens far too human, they are so dumbed-down-human as to be nauseating . What do you mean, we’re not in Kansas? I can see Topeka from here.

Reef lifeforms transplanted into forests. Come ooooon. It’s so obvious. There is nothing alien about the flora, it’s just scrambled habitat with a touch of exaggeration. Well, except for:

That godawful Tree of LED ropes! Cheeses freeakin’ tripes, did a manufacturer of non-essential lighting widgets underwrite the film?

Six legged animals vs. quadripedal humanoids. All sense and reason left behind. Besides, having two sets of front limbs is advantageous only to centaurs and dragons.

People doing the usual stupid things to get the plot along. Jake was supposedly a well-trained Marine. First he walks off to sniff the flowers in a deadly jungle, then he fails to find a place where he can cover his back when night is falling. Assbuttfucking stupid.

I can’t go on. Gah. Why couldn’t millions of dollars and thousands of hours, not to mention some pretty decent camera work, go into a good Dragonriders of Pern movie? Cripes, I’d pay to see that!

Still at the query thing

Mar - 24 2010 | no comments | By

Hard to believe the crappy nitpicks one can get. But one persists in the vain attempt to create an idiot-proof statement. I am playing with it again today. Read on, dear hypothetical agent:

Southern Poland in the late Ice Age: The People are not your stereotypical cavemen. With a rich oral tradition, technology refined by long use, art woven into every fiber of daily life, they see themselves as the crown of creation. They take pride in what they do and who they are. And they have a great sense of humor. Well, most of them do.

A few of them have more magic than they can handle.

Radovin’s bad luck has hit bottom. Only he, a despised apprentice shaman with few friends and no family, can expose two murderers. That he is bound to one of them by an oath sworn on his life, is yet another sign of his ill fortune. Avenging spirits will shred him merely for leaving his master, never mind betraying him.

His childhood dream of becoming a shaman may have withered in years of abuse and scorn, but Radovin’s not in a hurry to die. One other obstacle holds him back; he doesn’t know the people he needs to tell or even where they now live. An ominous dream, coinciding with another murder, shatters his inertia. The manslayers must be stopped, no matter what the cost. He flees toward the site of this year’s tribal gathering, where he hopes to contact relatives of the first two victims.

His arrival kicks the soup pot of tribal politics into the fire.

A 121,000 word fantasy, A Drum Is Empty should please lovers of the distant past as well as those who enjoy magical adventure.

More nostalgia

Mar - 22 2010 | no comments | By

Today I unearthed a memo that is over twenty years old — a note from my employer, left for me to find when I opened the shop. Old, but unforgettable.

It was a pet shop, operating on a frayed shoestring. I was in charge for most of the day on weekdays. While the boss worked his day job, emptying septic tanks, I cleaned fish tanks and bird cages, hand-tamed parakeets, waited on customers, fed everything, answered the phone, labeled and priced, made excuses….

The note was short and to the point. Three neatly bulleted points, in fact:

  • Label fish double + mark up
  • Catch all ten keets
  • Yes its going to be one of those days

It was summer, no air conditioning, and I couldn’t open the door for a breath of air until I had caught all ten escaped parakeets. Of course someone came in before I was finished.

Peninsula Pets memo

The note

Tags:

Dear Agent,

Mar - 11 2010 | no comments | By

Or…ayah-kayah. The most re-written pitch in Wisconsin is on the prowl, or will be soon. I say “in Wisconsin” to limit my liability for bullshitting.

Southern Poland in the late Ice Age: The People are not your stereotypical cavemen. With a rich oral tradition, technology refined by long use, art woven into every fiber of daily life, they see themselves as the crown of creation. They take pride in what they do and who they are. And they have a great sense of humor. Well, most of them do.

Some of them also have magic.

Radovin’s bad luck has hit bottom. Only he, a despised apprentice shaman with few friends and no family, can expose two murderers. That he is bound to one of them by an oath sworn on his life, is yet another sign of his ill fortune. Avenging spirits will shred him merely for leaving his master, never mind betraying him.

His childhood dream of becoming a shaman may have withered in years of abuse and scorn, but Radovin’s not in a hurry to die. And, although the evildoers must be stopped, he doesn’t know the people he needs to tell or even where they now live. An ominous dream, coinciding with another murder, shatters his inertia. He flees toward the site of this year’s tribal gathering, where he hopes to make contact.

When he does, all heck breaks loose.

A 120,000 word fantasy, A Drum Is Empty should please lovers of the distant past as well as those who enjoy magical adventure.


I’m planning another drum, BTW. A floor drum, eight inches wide and maybe twenty tall. It will be a new adventure in frame building. Just bending the cardboard is a challenge. Narrow strips are easy; I pull them over my thumb to give an even curve. Because of the size, and because heating season is nearly over, this one will also take longer to build up. And be a pain in the butt while it is stting around in the way drying!

Yet Another Drum

Feb - 23 2010 | no comments | By

On Sunday I reached the final stage of another 12-inch composite frame drum. This one’s for me, not for passing around at a drum circle.

Side

Side

Bottom

Bottom

Detail

Detail

I tried a different lacing method, and was very methodical about it. The head skin was not perfectly round, and the frame flexed to accommodate it. It looks even more lopsided than it is in the bottom shot because of the camera angle. Note the double edge binding that distributes the stress more evenly, preventing hole tearing. It isn’t extremely tight; a little moody in cold weather, but because of that it’s less likely to pop from heat.

The leather-wrapped cross handle is very comfortable. One leather strip was wound each way, the ends fastened by tucking under. I added another bit in the middle with one end cut into two narrow strips and pulled through with my trusty hemostat.

Here’s how it sounds:

Third recording test (MP3) — Simply whacking away with a padded striker

Hand-doodle (MP3) — My right hand does a little dance

Yes, I finally dragged my minimal gear over to the computer and futzed around until it worked. The new mike and the old boombox pre-amp go well together. 🙂

Boring…boring….

Feb - 03 2010 | no comments | By

Another day, another Russian spam. And one of those things tried to join my forum. The spampig’s handle (ManninBlackk) got over 9000 Google hits. Time for a name change, dipshite; we know you.

Edited to add:
Spam posts can be hilarious if you are easily amused.

I enjoyed the article and thanks recompense posting such valuable news broadcast seeing that all of us to imply to, I bus station it both matchless and educational and I throw to conclude it as floor as I can.

Lordy, yes — I throw to conclude it as floor as I can too.

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