Archive for November, 2004

Friday Funday XIII

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet during the previous week.

I know, I know, I didn’t post it on Friday. I’ll leave it up for a few days so you can all enjoy it. But hey, I did finish my novel, so I can get back to posting things regularly.

Child Supermodels [del.icio.us]

Can you honestly look at this site and not think porn? I mean seriously! One of the banners had an image of a sixteen year old in a thong. What the hell is she modeling for? I also like how one bit of text on the site says, “Start that Internet modeling career today!” Of course, we all know that “internet model” is the secret code phrase for “porn star”. I classed this one as not work safe, which it probably is, but better safe than fired, right?

The Global Air Archive [del.icio.us]

I’m not really sure what the story is here, but I found it through a Google search (I think I was looking for a picture of a Turkey, or something). It had some interesting stuff, so I thought I’d throw it up here.

Turn Your Back on Bush [del.icio.us]

I only wish I could make it to the inauguration.

12many [del.icio.us]

This game is nuts. I scored 55 on my first go, but I didn’t bother to find out how to play the game before I started (I can be that way sometimes).

DIY Dodecahedron Calendar [del.icio.us]

Exactly what it sounds like. As they say on BoingBoing, “Dodeca-bitchin‘!”

And as a gift to apologise for posting this late:

McRorie-One Man Live! [del.icio.us]

Words cannot describe this.

Friday Funday XII

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet during the previous week.

Japanese Clothes Folding Video [del.icio.us]

This video appears to be an instructional video on how to fold clothes for retail displays in three easy steps. Very useful, right? Step one: grab here. Step two: grab here. Step three: perform magic.

Alexandre Guéniot’s Flash Résumé [del.icio.us]

Are idle hands the devil’s tools? You decide (also availble in French here).

The Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese on eBay [del.icio.us]

Own the original! Supposedly this is not a hoax and eBay has let it run for almost a week now. Speaking of which, there isn’t much time left, so bid now!

Terrorist as Auteur [del.icio.us]

Here’s a great one for all of my film major friends. Get a login from Bugmenot.com

The Pepsi Holiday Spice Diet [del.icio.us]

Would you drink nothing but Pepsi Holiday Spice for 45 days? This guy is. He’s keeping a blog to let people know how it goes. So how =is= it going? Here’s a quote: “I instantly started sneezing, which made me shit my pants and on top of the horror I got another bloody nose. Luckily no one was home when this happened.” As a side note, Morah and I tried Pepsi Holiday Spice. No sneezing, pant loading, or nose bleeding to report. Although I =am= developing a very painful pimple on the edge of one of my nostrils. I wonder if there’s a connection…

Housekeeping (You Want Pillow?)

Sorry about not changing the APLO image last week, I got busy at work and then forgot about it until Friday, at which point I figured I would just leave it up until this week.

Most of my time has been taken up by writing my novel for NaNoWriMo, which is why I haven’t done much in the way of blogging as of late (even now I manage to find ways to make my sentences longer. What is NaNoWriMo doing to me?). Come December, I should be back in full blogging force.

In the mean time, the novel is going pretty well. I’m way behind schedule, although I have been catching up. I went home from work on Friday with about six or seven thousand words and now have over seventeen thousand as of this posting. I am still almost ten thousand words behind, however.

Morah and I got a elliptical machine over the weekend, so now I exercise and not be so damn fat. Yes, I am fat, and yes, I will use it. Perhaps I’ll even muster the bravery to tell you my progress (but I doubt it. Most likely I’ll make ambiguous posts like, “I lost more weight!”)

Anyway, I had better get back to it. I just wanted to let you know what all was happening in the increasingly-narrow world of Thomas.

Friday Funday XI

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet during the previous week.

Windows RG Edition [del.icio.us]

The classic, “Really Good” edition of Microsoft’s infamous OS. An oldie but a goodie.

Greetings From Prison! [del.icio.us]

Dorset Police in the UK are sending postcards from prison to convicted criminals. The idea is that it will remind them not to commit further offenses. How long before the postcards end up on eBay?

The Smart Truck 3 [del.icio.us]

From BoingBoing: “The International Truck and Engine Corporation and the US Army are showing off the oxymoronically-named Smart Truck 3, the replacement for the Humvee. The beast weighs 3,000 pounds more than the H2 and is three inches taller and four feet longer. Amazingly though, it apparently guzzles less gas.” Be sure to check out this picture of it.

Jeopardy College Tournament Game Won by “1337” Student [del.icio.us]

A very cool post about a guy who wagered $1337 during final Jeopardy (and answered correctly, by the way). For those who don’t understand the significance, click-thru…

McGrand Tomato Commercials [del.icio.us]

The link takes you to an odd commercial that is supposedly running in Japan to debut McDonalds’ new sandwich, the McGrand Tomato. There’s also an “ambiguously gendered dude ” version of the spot.

NaNoWriMo Update: Week Two Begins

I recently received what is, quite possibly, the single best example of a mass e-mail that felt as though it had been written for me alone. Here it is (in its unashamed truth and glory):

Dear Writer,

Here we are. Week Two.

If there were a zodiac sign for each cycle of the noveling escapade, Week One would undoubtedly be a magnificent galleon at full sail. Week Three would be a road-tested marathon runner, smiling as she catches her second wind. And Week Four would be a lone figure silhouetted against the setting sun, arms raised in triumph.

Unfortunately, Week Two would be represented by a pack of rabid weasels hurling themselves from the treetops onto a group of screaming campers below.

This, I think, is why they don’t make zodiac signs for NaNoWriMo.

And this is also why we need to have a few words about the week to come.

Because Week Two is when you’ll likely begin having some second thoughts about your participation in NaNoWriMo. It’s the point when the effects of sleep-deprivation, mind-wearying creative output, and a shortage of leisure time will combine to create the infamous Week Two Wall.

You’ll know you’ve hit the Wall when you start thinking that the whole endeavor is futile. When you start worrying that you don’t have the time or imagination to pull it off, and you come to see your story as an unmitigated disaster that should be put out of its misery before the thing gets old enough to remember where you live.

Happily, a small percent of participants will never feel the demoralizing thud of the Week Two Wall. These are the disciplined folks who exceeded their daily word counts throughout Week One, and who will coast through the tough period ahead on a cushion of surplus prose.

Those of us who’ve skipped a few days here and there, though, have our work cut out for us. Because Week Two is when that dreaded, celebrated thing called ‘plot’ appears, adding yet another flaming machete to the daunting juggling act we began last week.

It’s a demanding moment for a writer. We made huge creative strides in Week One, creating and introducing our cast, and getting them comfortably situated in their homes, workplaces, and zombie-filled swamps. But just when we’re ready for a well-deserved nap, we have to drag ourselves back to the keyboard and struggle to come up with something for these people to *do* over the next hundred and fifty pages.

These are the kinds of difficult decisions that novelists writing without a deadline can successfully avoid making for months, if not years. Happily for those around us, we’re compressing months and months of guilty procrastination and agonized decision-making into one soul-crunching week.

Ah. Week Two. Where the key to survival comes down to one simple mandate: Whatever you do, don’t stop writing.

Because there is no way over or around the Wall of Week Two. The only way to get to the sweet sunset and triumphant arm-raising that happens as a matter of course over on the other side of the barrier is to run directly at the thing. And smash straight through it.

Which is why it is so essential this week that we dig deep into our reserves of tenacity and overpriced Swiss chocolates. Let’s double-brew our coffee, triple-pace our writing, and stay glued to the computer long after our beleaguered brains cry out for mercy.

And plot! This is the week we allow plot to happen in our books by proactively tackling the tough decisions all novelists have to face. Let’s set exciting crises in motion, and willfully place our protagonists in harm’s way. Let’s allow our characters to embarrass themselves, and let them make the kinds of dangerous miscalculations that form the heart of any juicy narrative.

More than anything else, though, let’s celebrate the pain and suffering of this week. Because, seven days from now, we’ll have traded the menacing weasels of Week Two for the revitalizing second-winds of Week Three. The writing will be much easier, the hours more humane, and those glorious creatures called naps will have returned in delicate flocks across the land.

At that point, we’ll actually *miss* those adrenaline-filled moments of Week Two, when failure seemed all but inevitable, and the desire to quit lurked behind every demoralized word-count.

Hard to believe, but true. So let’s start pounding it out. Daily. Copiously. Imperfectly. Knowing all words are good words, and everything — no matter how flawed it seems at the time – can be redeemed in the rewrite.

See you on the other side of the wall!

He managed to describe =exactly= how I feel! So how =is= my story going? Well, I scrapped it in favour of something much more ambiguous. That is to say, I was getting bogged down in having to research little details (although I did find tons of useful stuff) and was running way behind in actually =writing= my story.

So now it’s not so much a story with a plot as it is a weird, long, pointless dream. Perhaps I’ll add plot later, but for now I really only care about making it to 50,000 words. As of this writing, I have 3,066 words. So I guess I had better get back to it.

Oh, and before I forget, I really want a remote controlled helicopter. They’re badass.

Viewer Comments

Here’s one I meant to post a long time ago and recently found while doing some cleaning. TV stations like to post viewer comments in their employee break rooms because, quite frankly, it’s fun to laugh at stupid people. So this guy called us up to complain and, since one was around at four in the morning, he left a message, which the receptionist typed up and posted in the break room for our enjoyment. So, for your enjoyment, here it is (includes original spelling and grammar errors):

12-21-03 4:15am Male Caller

Carl Jenson called from Kennewick. He was upset that instead of Enterprise being on at 6pm Sat, as advertised, there was a college basketball game on.

Some of his thoughts are…

We don’t need no more of that bull crap on there. You just leave the *&%^ – blasted Enterprise on there the way you had it advertised. I already got a complaint in with the FCC, against this TV channel (with you guys in Spokane as well as here in Tri-cities) because you guys lie – that’s called fraud. You advertise in the TV guide that Enterprise will be on at 6pm and guess what? You got some stupid college basketball game on…

We’re trekies here, and we want our *&^%-blasted Enterprise on when it’s supposed to be – I don’t care it it’s a re-run or not. Put the stupid games on at 4 in the morning when people aren’t interested in it.

Wait, put the games on at 4am? Isn’t that when this guy called us?

We also had someone call us and complain that FOX News wasn’t covering some something or other dealing with the recent election. He was upset because he felt that FOX News was the most professional and objective news station around. I know I work for FOX, but if what this guy says is true, this country is truly fucked.

Friday Funday X

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet during the previous week.

Neal Stephenson’s Slashdot Interview [del.icio.us]

I loved his book Snow Crash, which helped to shape a number of ideas I have about the future of computers and the internet. To quote from the article’s intro, “There is nothing better than a Slashdot interview with someone who not only reads and understands Slashdot but can out-troll the trolls.”

Unamerican.com [del.icio.us]

Powerful Perspectives for Progressive People. According to their website anyway. Considering the state of things (flaming rant to come next week), I felt this was an appropriate website to share with everyone. Buy your “fuck the republican party” button while they still last!

The Hidden Door Company [del.icio.us]

Oh my god! Doors that are disguised as bookcases? This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! When I get rich and build my house, I’m having a bunch of these installed.

Daily Show on Election Results [del.icio.us]

Well, since I’ve been posting some Daily Show stuff: Lisa Rein has posted three clips “from the November 3 Daily Show: “Jon covers Kerry’s concession, Bush’s relishing in his glory, and Stephen Colbert’s commentary on it all.”

Hierarchy of Bloggers [del.icio.us]

A sad, yet true look at the hierarchy of bloggers. The image is a little hard to make out, but it is readable. Unless you’re Phoenix, who can’t see red or green, and apparently has a hard time with other colours. Like black.

The Future of the United States

We are lost.

NaNoWriMo Update

If you want to keep track of my progress, you can view my NaNoWriMo profile here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/userinfo.php?uid=62057

It’s going pretty well so far. What I really need to do is get an outline of my story sorted out (which is quite possibly what I’m worst at when it comes to story writing) as well as do some character development so I know who’s who and what’s going on with them.

More as it comes.

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Note that for election week, I have a patriotic donkey in A Picture Less Ordinary. Go vote.

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kriskarlb (11:46:14 AM): Ah.

mwproductions12 (11:46:23 AM): Ah?

kriskarlb (11:46:34 AM): That really should have been "Aaaahhhh"

mwproductions12 (11:46:45 AM): Ah.

World War II and the War on Iraq

I was reading someone’s blog the other day (I tried to find the link but couldn’t) and they compared the recent U.S. invasion of Iraq to the U.S.’s involvement in World War II. The parallel being made was that, in both instances, the U.S. was attacked by one country, then invaded (and subsequently defeated) another. In our current war, we were invaded by Afghanis, but ended up invading Iraq. In WWII, we were invaded by the Japanese, but ended up invading Germany.

While this assessment is partially correct, there are three main differences that stick out at me.

First, after Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor, we fought against Japanese forces until they gave up. That is to say, we finished the job. After 9/11, we dicked around in Afghanistan for a little while, then pulled out at the last minute without actually doing what it was we went in to do in the first place (read: Osama and his forces killed American civilians and we let him get away).

Second, Germany had been attacking other countries for a few years before American forces got involved. Iraq wasn’t attacking anyone, they were just sitting around doing whatever the hell it was that Iraq was doing.

If they would have been attacking someone, that would have been a different story. After all, we did go after Saddam and Iraqi forces back in the early 1990s when they attacked Kuwait and other Middle Eastern countries. Another big different between Operation Desert Storm and our current war on Iraq, is that back then we had allied support (including 300 troops from Afghanistan).

Third, Germany declared war on us in December of 1941. One could make the argument that Iraq “unofficially” declared war by refusing to cooperate with U.N. inspectors. Allow me to point out that, not only has North Korea been particularly cold-shouldered to the rest of the world, but they’ve come out and bragged about having weapons of mass destruction in the form of nukes.

And where the hell was military intelligence when Pakistan was selling Uranium to other countries? Why didn’t we put the kibosh on that right away?