Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Some goals for 2007

I was just thinking I should set some goals for 2007 so here they are:

Read more manga

Read more comics

Find out more about podcasting

Be lazier (I already met this goal; it involved getting a coworker to leave the http:// when he copies URLs to send to me. W00t!! One down already!!)


Monday, January 29, 2007

Heartbreaking news

I just read that Barbaro was euthanized today. After eight months of surgeries and loving care they put him down. It's very, very sad.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

Two words, fucking awesome. Best film I've seen since Pride and Prejudice. Yes, I know they have nothing in common beyond the fact that I thought they were both splendidly done.

I forgot the number three today, we watched the preview for the new Spiderman film and I couldn't figure out what the number three was. It looked like a strange e to me. Luckily Cullen explained it for me.

Cam is back home from a terrific visit to NYC to visit Chris. Lots of visits to art galleries and fun stuff. Good times.

31,000 words in my book I think.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Still going through one of those I am so brilliant phases

The last words I wrote of my thousand words of the Gabriel novel today.

"Hullo," I said. "I was expecting the dog."

"He's sleeping the deep, untroubled sleep of a five pound canine with about ten pounds of meat in his belly. I don't think he'll be disturbing anyone until morning when he'll badly need to go for a walk."


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Totally groovalicious day

I finished my column very early. I've been trying to write 200 a words a day starting on Monday so I had very little to do today. Then I another thousand words in the Gabriel book, coming up to close to 30k, which is nice.

Took the boys out to dinner. Up to book 11 in the Series of Unfortunate Events.

But best of all, headache tolerable enough that I didn't have to take ANY painkillers! Whoop!

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

And then the Lord did say

When I return it will be in the form of a Komodo Dragon!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Researching can be really hard

Today I'm writing about a boy who has been dead for a number of years who considers himself the greatest expert on games. He's really interested in reviving games that nobody really plays anymore or games that are sort of on the verge of being obsolete. Gabriel, my lead, finds his sitting on the steps of the home playing jacks and the kid makes a couple of comments about the history of the game.

The only thing is that years and years ago when I was a girl and someone called jacks a sissy game someone told me that it really has this bloody history. So I set off to find out what I could and what I discovered was about a GAZILLION gambling websites. Even if you put in -gambling you get a zillion nonhelpful websites, mostly about crackerjacks. It's quite frustrating.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

A warning about Tylenol

I was just reading this very sad post at Miss Snark's and saw a comment where someone warns that overdosing on Tylenol can cause liver damage.

You can get liver damage without ever taking more than the dose on the package. When I was diagnosed with PTC I had been taking two maybe two or three times a day for several months and I damaged my liver.

Once I went cold turkey my liver was able to repair itself (or at least my liver functions have come back okay) but still, be aware that you don't even need to take too much or mix it with alcohol for it to hurt you.

And on an unrelated note I'm reading A Series of Unfortunate Events in order, straight through and the Quagmire Triplets make me sad.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Jack Thompson - fruitbat

I'm still wading through my old mail and I'm up to October in one account and I see this article in WaPo. Jack Thompson (if you don't know who he is you should totally look him up - he tried to hire a game designer to create a game where you killed video game retailers with baseball bats so he could prove video games are too violent) managed to convince a Florida judge that the game Bully could violate Florida public nuisance laws.

Mind you this was BEFORE the game was released. Given the fairly high security on the game I doubt he knew anything about the game beyond the name and the fact that it takes place in a school. He actually called it a "Columbine simulator."

He says he's going to make the judge watch the entire game, through all possible story arcs, no matter how long it takes. I hope he had to pay for the judge's time when the judge realized he's delusional.

Here are a couple of choice quotes:

Thompson filed the lawsuit a month ago, claiming that the game would violate Florida's public-nuisance laws, which are more typically used to prosecute environmental polluters. Besides Take-Two, the suit also names retailers Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and GameStop Corp.

"My view is that the game potentially impinges on public safety," he said. "I'm pretty sure that the game is harmful to minors."

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Interesting offer from MS Word

Check out this extremely odd spelling suggestion Word gave me just now. I'm working on my column for Friday and it didn't like the word "stunningly."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Stunningly sick today

Throwing up, dizzy, horrible headache all day. Somehow I managed to get my work done and write another thousand words of the Gabriel story. I have no idea how. Must have been the hand of God or something.

Now I have to figure out a way of getting to the grocery store as the kitties are out of food...


Monday, January 15, 2007

More about false hopes

I read this article in WaPo with amazement and horror. The jist of the story is that an American team is making plans to transplant a uterus.

Mind you I understand the appeal of this procedure, I have friends who have gone through horrible treatment trying to get pregnant and I know how strong the drive to procreate is BUT if you read the article you'll see that preparing to do this surgery now is cruel and dangerous.

No animal with a transplanted uterus has gotten pregnant yet, much less borne a fetus to term.

Nobody knows if a transplanted uterus is capable of supporting a developing fetus.

This surgery has to cost thousands, my guess is a couple hundred grand based on my experience paying medical claims, and surely no insurance is going to cover something that isn't medically necessary.

Anyone who would schedule this surgery is preying on a woman who is in a fragile emotional state.

It sickens me. I'd have been a lot happier and more excited if I read about an artificial womb that had been designed. Those you can closely monitor every second of the day.

Finally check out this quote, it takes the cake:

Natural childbirth can be very risky, but women choose that in many parts of the world. I do not think this is in any sense reckless when you compare this to that," Del Priore said.

I could just scream.

EDITED to say; after discussing this story with someone in the tactile world I want to be very clear that I've labeled this story as a scam because I don't believe for a minute that whoever did the animal transplants never tried to impregnate the animals. I think they did and either conception failed or the pregnancies failed.

Saying these transplants are successful without a viable pregnancy and delivery is like saying a heart transplant is successful while never turning the bypass machine back on.

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Mucking about with the fossil record

I had a dream this morning where I was walking in Central Park and passed a lady who was walking one of those new little elephants; you know the ones, they're about ten inches high and very cute. I believe they come in standard African and Indian varieties or you can get a little Wooly Mammoth. Hers had its trunk up in the air and was trumpeting so loudly that it woke me up.

Now you may not be aware of the existence of these little fellows for the simple reason that they probably don't really exist, beyond the fevered landscape of my dreams anyway, but I have dreamed about them three times in the last week or so. This morning I was thinking that when we do invent these little fellows it's going to play holy hell with the fossil records. Where are the intermediate species? How do we go from ten feet tall to ten inches tall?

I'm also not entirely convinced that little elephants make good pets. The big ones are meant to walk miles each day and develop some pretty nasty bone and joint ailments when they're confined to small spaces. If you make them one twelfth the size will they also only need one twelfth the exercise? Will walking them twice a day and letting them stomp all over your apartment be good enough? I just don't know. I think we need to think about this more before we let them escape from my head into the world.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Funny comments at Miss Snark's

Check out the comments on this entry in the crapometer. Given that the author is fourteen it's hilarious to see all these commentor falling all over themselves to say she doesn't sound like a teenager. My favorite one is the one who says the character has to sound a lot bitchier to sound realistic. Wow!! Way to let your prejudices show.

Just for a second let's replace the word teenager with the word black - so we have people saying that in order to sound authentically black you have to sound bitchier, black people don't say "fab," they don't say stereo, etc. Of course then the complaints about the word "locks" doesn't work because I have several black friends who use locks as a diminutive for dreadlocks, but you get the idea.

Why would these commentors be stuffing adolescents into little boxes and saying they do do this or they don't do that? The first step in being cruel to someone is to make them an other. It's hard to be mean to someone who's part of your tribe so you have to make them not one of us. Then when something bad happens to them you can shrug and talk about how you take care of your own. Maybe those Smiths hit their wives but us Jones treat them with respect. That tribe over there puts their elders on the ice floe but we go to ours for wisdom. But at the same time you make no move to help Mrs. Smith or Grandpa Other Tribe because he's no longer your problem.

(Many) adults hate and or are wildly jealous of kids and take every chance they get to lash out at them. By making them other and pretending that a) the kid will never be their age and b) they were never the kid's age they can be very comfortable making laws that say things like all teenagers have to be inside by ten o clock or only one child can be inside the 7/11 at a time.

Imagine making those same rules for a member of AARP and think how far you'd get.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Run Lola Run

The boys and I just watched it again. I'd forgotten how much I love it. It's definitely one of my favorites of all time.

I especially like who both Lola and Manni solve their own problems at the end. Good stuff.

I managed to crank out another thousand words of the new book today. I did something I've been trying not to do; I introduced a new character, Sputnik the retired cherubim and changed my mind about the verbal quirks he has. I went back and changed five pages but I'm still not satisfied. Still I'll leave it for now and work on it in the second draft.

Utterly exhausted. Doubled my dose of Diamox today. I've had a headache for almost two weeks now. We'll see if that helps.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Let's punish the children for the parent's natural reaction

I happened to come into a game room right in the middle of an intense chat session between several people. I read one thing and closed chat out because it annoyed me so very, very much.

One of the users was talking about a "beautiful, moving story" about a little girl who was up in heaven and couldn't have her wings until her family stopped crying about her "leaving."

How foul is that? It's wrong on so many levels. Do these people stop to think about the ramifications of these little stories?

In other news everyone is writing or performing today. Cullen is working on college essays, I wrote my column and another five hundred words for the new novel while Cam had a dance recital; his first. Yesterday he had an audition for some sort of in school American idol like show and he was picked to compete so that's pretty neat.

Chris ran back up to New York to babysit and will be back late tonight and staying through the weekend.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

One more reason to love Dr. Bob

I can't say it enough. I love Dr. Bob.


More apt than I thought

I posted a comment to this thread at Miss Snark's earlier today. I was responding to someone who said that it's cruel of Miss Snark to get our publishing hopes up when 98% of us can't even write a query letter, which of course means we haven't a hope in hell of writing a decent book.

I talked about the importance of being a beginner and compared the whole process to learning to ride a bike. Yes we fall off at first but we eventually get the hang of it.

I thought about this off and on for the rest of the day and decided it was an even better example than I thought because even when I was an accomplished bike rider, riding my bike across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco State U a couple times a week, I still managed to do something stupid enough to give me a concussion and quite a lot of torn ligaments in my arm. (I bent the handlebars with my arm when I fell)

And of course we've all seen published writers do the same kind of thing, that godawful sequel to Rosemary's Baby that Ira Levine wrote comes to mind. No matter how accomplished you are you can still take a nasty spill and look like an idiot in front of anyone who happens to notice.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Out of beta?

It's odd that blogger is out of beta. I thought that Google products just stayed in beta forever. Less fuss less muss.

Everyone is sick just about. Cam still has bronchitis and a nasty ear infection. He's about to start his third antibiotic. I'm coughing so much I woke up in the middle of the night convinced I somehow breathed in my glasses and horrified at the thought of how painful it would be to pull them out of my throat.

Still plugging away on the book, which has no name. I've been hitting a thousand words a day and am up to 11,000 or so. I'm currently thinking of ridiculous endings like God coming in and saving everyone at the end.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Little, Big; Lords and Ladies and crazy dreams

I was at the Goodwill a couple of weeks ago when I saw a copy of Little, Big by John Crowley. I stared at the cover for a minute and thought "If you liked Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell you'll like this book." Was that my voice or did I read it somewhere? I didn't know but I decided to trust it and bought the book, despite the fact that it was hardback and cost like four times as much as a paperback.

When I got it home I looked it up at Neil's blog and read that it's one of his favorite books and how its about to celebrate its 25th anniversary. I decided if I've waited to read it for this long I could certainly take my time reading it so I've been reading a chapter a day.

A couple of days ago I came to something that shocked and horrified me. Despite my wish to ration the book out I turned to the next page to see what was going to happen and read the words "Twenty-five years passed." Sigh. This just proves that cheaters never prosper.

I woke up with a god awful headache, the kind that I would like to take something like darvocet for, but since I haven't got any I took some milder stuff and didn't move my head until two in the afternoon, when I felt about forty percent better. I was able to read after awhile and finished Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett. I haven't laughed that much over the last few of his books I've read, mostly I think because I can see how much they mirror current events and how sad those events make me. But I didn't see that subtext in this book so I was able to be much more amused. I laughed a lot (something I'm convinced is helpful for headache alleviation) and enjoyed it very much.

I was also very interested to compare the attitude towards the fairy world in both books, the characters in Little, Big seem fascinated by the fairies and long to interact with them while they are quite terrifying and awful in Lords and Ladies. I'll be curious to see what how the Little, Big characters feel at the end of the book.

I had a dream that I killed eight men last night. It was kind of complicated and I did it to save myself and a whole bunch of other people (on a ship? something) I stabbed on in the neck, three more in the chest and bashed in the heads of another three. The final one turned some sort of incendiary device on me but I attacked him and turned it back on him. My rationale was that he wasn't going to kill me with it, it was just going to be very, very painful and I was bigger and stronger than he was so I had a chance if I tried to take it away from him. Turns out I was right. But maybe he caused my headache? Who knows.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Is it wrong to pick a college based on their website?

I spent some time looking at a few college websites today. I hate the site for GW, ugly, clunky, slow, looks like it uses Flash. UMBC is okay, Howard is okay, but there was one I loved.

St John's college has an outstanding website with easily accessible material and a nice, soothing, easy to read font. So far St John's has my vote for the school for Cullen.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

I just finished reading Night Watch - I've been on a bit of a Pratchett spree, I finished Guards, Guards a couple of days ago.

This is a book I wish president Bush would read. In fact he should read it twice, paying close attention to the bits about what good people do and don't do, about how there are certain rules you can't break and what they do to society when you do break them. And then he should get into a time machine and go back several years and do everything over again the right way. No torture, no stripping people of their rights, no might makes right, no being a tyrant.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Research for your novel can be fun...

Check this site out.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Oh boy

There are some choice quotes in this article about Germany killing the last remaining wild bear.

Bruno, a bear who had romped across southern Germany since migrating over the Alps from Italy six weeks ago

I've seen some people post who would consider this a strong immigration policy.

They said the bear had failed to show enough fear or respect for humans

Doesn't that make you think of those old sitcoms? "Ve haff vays of making you respect us!"

The last straw for officials came over the weekend. On Saturday, the bear stood up on his hind legs and snarled at three overly curious hikers who saw him in the woods and tried to follow him, but got too close. Later that day, officials gave the go-ahead to a team of hunters.

So isn't it the other way around? Didn't th people fail to show enough fear or respect of bears? I mean really.

Monday, January 01, 2007

More stuff that annoys me

I hate comment trails that include trackbacks and pingbacks. This post supposedly has 96 comments on it but when I skim through the first fifteen only two are comments and the rest are track or pingbacks. It's extremely annoying and hard to read, especially when the comments are already white on black with some green lettering. It's like someone inviting me to cook in their kitchen but there's no lights and all the silverware and the pots and pans are mixed into the same drawer. Please, use a different trail for blogs linking to you and let me easily read the comments. Thanks!

What a snotball

I guess this actor thinks he's funny when he does his little shtick about how doing extra work is demeaning and "selling your soul," but he comes across of petty and arrogant to me. He may feel like his friends seeing him in the background would be terrible but I love extra work.

Money, free food, sometimes a haircut, seeing old friends, and getting the dl on an upcoming project; what's not to like?

Tell you what pal, you keep on avoiding extra work because that way there's more for the rest of us who enjoy it.