Archive for September, 2007

Pink Meth and Crack

Friday, September 21st, 2007

So this morning I was feeling rather uninspired (which is odd for me in the morning). While I wasn’t doing anything very productive Mur Lafferty tweeted the following:

I replied:

To which she replied:

So I thought about it for a bit. Then inspiration hit, and here’s the result. Disclaimer: This is a work of parody. I’m not endorsing the use of pink meth and crack, or anything of the kind.

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Links of Interest (September 7th 2007 Through September 20th 2007)

Thursday, September 20th, 2007
Lincoln’s $5 bill gets a colorful makeover
I was just thinking, boy I wish this $5 bill had a big purple number on it (of course I was hoping the number was $1,000,000, but you can’t win them all).
The future keepers
Philip K. Dick’s children work to ensure the influential author’s cinematic legacy. I hope it works out because there have been some less than stellar adaptations of some truly amazing stories.
Animal Magnetism: Making O’Reilly Animals
History of the animal designs on O’Reilly’s book covers.
Record Industry Proves Again How Much They?ve Lost The Plot
Say hello to the Ringle!
Floatutorial: Step by step CSS float tutorial
Exceptionally detailed tutorials on floats.

Free Download: “Holly Lisle’s Create a Plot Clinic” Excerpt

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

I’m pleased to be able to offer the first 54 pages of Holly Lisle’s Create A Plot Clinic for download. This covers the introduction, all of the section on Plotting before writing (including structure) and the first two plotting “tools”. If you are at all interested in writing you owe it to yourself to give it a look. It’s free, so what have you got to loose?

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Shop.HollyLisle.com, but that’s because I believe in the products. I’ve found these books invaluable in my own writing.

Go Listen: SOLIDARITY! Explained

Friday, September 14th, 2007

If you’ve been following me on Twitter or via my Lifefeed you may have seen some recent references to SOLIDARITY! Check out I Should Be Writing #76 in which Mur Lafferty interviews JC Hutchins about the phenomenon. You’ll also hear a rather rushed sounding voicemail from Yours Truly.

Writing

Friday, September 7th, 2007
This is part 3 of 3 in the series Hello 31

All of the previously mentioned changes impacted my writing. I used to write from 3pm to 5pm. It was right after the work day. I didn’t have to leave my office, so no one could grab me and distract me and I never lost time in traffic. I had it down. None of that works now.

I fumbled around trying to squeeze writing in for a while. Then in November I participated in NaNoWriMo. I figured the only way I could possibly write a novel in a month was to get up earlier, so I started getting up at 5:30am to write. Mostly this worked, with occasional periods of too-much-other-stuff-to-do.

I did not get everything done I hoped this year. I did finish revisions on my first novel. I stopped work on another novel at the outline stage, but used the world from that and wrote the first draft of Miracles during NaNoWriMo. I produced a handful of short stories, some of which might even be pretty good. I made some progress revising Miracles, but when the new arrival came things stalled out. I don’t think I’d do the work justice if I dove back in now, but I’m not abandoning it. I’ve got my line-for-scene ready when I return.

I did a lot of world building after writing Miracles and before starting the revisions. I worked through Create A Language Clinic and Create A Culture Clinic, twice each. I have another story working to get out (in the same world as Miracles, but not with any of the same characters). I’m planning on turning that into my next novel, and then returning to the Miracles revision.

Now my morning routine is shot again so I can drive my oldest to school. I’m trying to find my rhythm once more. I’ve actually found Twitter to be helpful in keeping me honest and pushing me on, and I’m not alone in this.

I did manage to write about 88,000 words this year since last September. It’s less than I hoped for, but it’s not that bad.

Family

Thursday, September 6th, 2007
This is part 2 of 3 in the series Hello 31

My family was accustomed to me working in the home. They never bothered me during the work day (my office is separate enough that we have an intercom). But they were quite accustomed to me having lunch with them daily (as was I with them). Also, before if I had to watch one or more of the children while someone had an appointment I could walk downstairs and quite often keep working while the kids played.

The biggest change was the addition of a new family member, which is always an adjustment. She’s doing great by the way. I never imagined having three daughters, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything. My wife is a great mother, and I try my hardest to be a good father. The kids are all damn smart, which can be tricky because you forget how old they are, and that while they can talk like adults they can’t understand things like adults.

My second daughter has changed dramatically. She started talking at six months old, but it really took off this time last year. She added about thirty new words in a month and never looked back. Soon she was referring to herself in third person, and after about two months she figured out how “I” works. By the time she turned two was speaking in full sentences. Now she talks better than I do sometimes. She’s generally very happy with an amazing sense of humor, although being two this is starting to change as she tries to find how far she can push things.

The roughest part was getting her to go to sleep in her own room. I spent many a night rocking her in a chair, singing to her in complete darkness. I actually got to the point where I could sing “Twinkle Twinkle” on autopilot, which let me listen to audiobooks at these times (hey, she didn’t care). Finally she got the hang of it, and has since moved into her older sisters room.

The oldest went to pre-school last year. She loved it and we were excited to see her doing so well on her own. She’s come a real long way in her swimming, and we even wrote a few stories together this year. I’ve started reading chapter books to her when I can. She really enjoys the Paddington books from the library (how did these go out of print?). Her drawing has really improved. The people she draws have distinguishing characteristics. At least half the time we can tell who the picture is of before she tells us.

She started school-school last week. I dropped her off for the first time this week. I found it quite stressful. My wife had gone to all the open-house type things while I watched the other kids. I didn’t quite understand how the drop-off line worked, and then the lady pulled the van door before I put the van in park. The automatic doors do not like this, and they pretty much stop after opening an inch. The van then proceeds to beep at you incessantly. You would think, since the thing can talk it would say, “Please put the vehicle in park and try to open the door again.” Nope. It just beeps away while you feel like an idiot in front of the Kindergarten teacher who is yelling something at you that you can’t make out over the beeping. Anyway, I’ll be dropping her off in my car from now on which doesn’t talk or have automatic doors, so that’s one thing off my mind.

My wife has had to deal with the brunt of these changes. She went from being home with two kids with a husband who was less than a minute away to having three kids with a husband off at work during the week. At times it seems to take it’s toll, but mostly she amazes me. I can’t imagine doing what she does and keeping my sanity. A lot of things have changed since we fell in love thirteen years ago, but not how we feel about each other.

Introduction and Work

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007
This is part 1 of 3 in the series Hello 31

I turned thirty-one yesterday, which means it’s been a year since I left Sun Microsystems (SUNWJAVA) for my current job. A lot of things happened, good and bad, expected and unexpected. Things started changing pretty quickly last September, and it hasn’t stopped yet (of course it never really does, but some of these were a bit bigger than I was used to).

Work

I’m starting with work because it was the most immediate change, starting the day after turning thirty. Besides working somewhere new I also went from a work-from-home 7:00am to 3:00pm job to a more standard 9-to-5 office setting. It’s still casual (which is good because so am I) and fairly flexible. The people are great, which is very important. Working in an office is quite a change. Firstly, I now need to shower before work instead of just before lunch. Also, with my vision is so poor I’m distracted by things out of the corner of my eye (which are all just different colored blurs). I’m pretty sure this is a hold over from getting the dodge ball in the side of the head because I couldn’t see it coming.

The work is interesting and often enjoyable. I hadn’t used Visual Studio since the mid 90s, so that was a change. I’d never touched C# or .NET before. The target browser was the polar opposite of everything I’d done to date. Once I got my head around ASP.NET I got the hang of things pretty fast (although I still have a tendency to code to the standard, then work around the browser bugs). I’m happy I made the jump, and I have no regrets (other than wishing I had been laid off from Sun).

I’m looking forward to the coming year. I’m working on some good projects and I’m excited about some of the new directions things are going in. My contributions seem well received and appreciated. My desk feels like my desk, and I look forward to seeing the people I work with. Not bad at all.