I have a new blog for 2012 – Assignment 35.
In honor of the 35th anniversary of my move to Denver, I’ve adopted a random set of assignments which involve the number 35.
See you over at the new place.
Posted in Blogging, Books, City, Culture, Current Events, Denver, General Suz-ness, Good things, Life and death, Movies, Music, Travel, tagged 2012, blog, blogging, books, Denver, Movies, music on January 7, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Thanks to twitter I found the blog of Arun Shanbhag, who took his camera out onto the streets of Mumbai as the dawn rose, and has posted many of his photos on his blog.
Warning: some of the pictures are graphic, no mangled human bodies, but still disturbing. However, if you think you are up to it, the pictures and comments are well worth a look.
His most recent update, with the newly burning Taj Hotel photographed against the night sky, says that after keeping his composure all day, he is finally reduced to tears by the sight of the Taj in flames.
I don’t have words, really, except that I am so sorry for the awful losses of those in Mumbai, and angry at the mindless brutality that caused them.
At least now I know this:
Another sign of my lack of intellectual curiosity? That I haven’t been contemplating my aging hulk in the mirror and assessing its recyling potential?
But, peeeeeple! I’ve been writing a novel, OK?
Thanks to everyone for the moral support in my NaNoWriMo second-half push to the finish line. I’m at something like 29,723 words as of bedtime last night, after an 8000+ word weekend. At the moment I just want to get ‘er done and get on with my trip to Thailand.
PS: I did something for the first time last night: printed out and read the last half of my draft. I had introduced characters and not made notes of their names and generally felt I was losing control of the so-called plot which I had *not* outlined. I read the draft to make notes of character names and a few other details. But I have edited NADA, thank you very much. Maybe because it was late and I was tired, but for whatever reason I noticed a few inconsistencies, like a person who had made a prior trip to a country saying several scenes later that she’d never been there (and no I didn’t intend her to be lying), and let them be. I’m not wasting time fussing over words already written, the point is to get more words down on the page, er, up on the screen.
This is turning out to be quite the learning experience. I’ll leave the finer points of plot, character, dialogue, setting, etc., etc., to those who have actually written a novel in the past. I haven’t. My first NaNoWriMo is turning out to be a matter of experiencing the writing. Getting characters onto the page, and the action, and the settings. The mechanics of it, to put it somewhat crudely. If I do this again, I may be able to focus on the finer points. This time it’s really all about just doing it.
Total hours I have served to date in 2008 as a volunteer ambassador at the airport, according to the program’s scheduling/tracking system: 116:45.
My “classic reviewer rank” on amazon.com, which is the old system: 5,437.
Words I have yet to write for National Novel Writing Month 2008: 50,000.
Days left until my vacation trip to Thailand: 39.
Simple Thai phrases I can speak or understand: 0.
Edited to add: Estimated attendance at today’s downtown Denver campaign speech by Barack Obama, according to the Denver Police Department: 100,000.
Yes. 100,000 people went downtown to see and hear Sen. Obama, with only a few days notice. First photo from the Denver Post, second from the Rocky Mountain News.
I’ve lost my mind. Next Saturday I am going to embark on an impractical, time-consuming and totally unnecessary project that will last for exactly one month. I am going to write a novel. OK, the first draft of a novel.
And the really scary thing?
I’m not in this alone. It’s been done by thousands of people, 9 times before this. This is the tenth time.
Seriously, run don’t walk to your bookstore or library and get hold of No Plot, No Problem. Which is fun and joyous and very well-written. Well, I’m sure the first half of it is anyway, because I’ve read it at least twice. The second half is to be read in installments corresponding to the weeks of November, and for once I’m not reading ahead in a book. Instead I’m making all kinds of notes in my little notebook, in anticipation of November 1.
Until November 30, my middle name is Exuberant Imperfection.
My Inner Snark has been having fun with a comment recently submitted to my post “Anything but Pink.” From someone we’ll call “Minnie.” Which is NOT what she called herself when submitting her comment, so all you real live Minnies out there who are also starting lawsuits, this is not about you, OK?
Anyway, I’ve held the comment in the moderation queue while deciding what to do with it.
I have to snicker at the vision of someone trying to get women to volunteer as plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against a cosmetic company - because they used the company’s cosmetics and now are wrinkled ugly crones. Whose calls the company won’t take.
I wish I could say something nice, like I feel Minnie’s pain. But I don’t. I don’t even believe anything she writes. With identifying information removed, here’s the comment:
Yes be afraid to use [name of brand] products. Are you looking to age 10yrs in 3 months time? You will age, wrinkle, and have blood vessels burst against your skin, if you use [name of brand] products. They are lying to you if they tell you it is natural and healthy for your skin, their product will do nothing but age you! BE AFRAID TO USE [name of brand] PRODCUTS! Now that I am old looking with wrinkles I did not have before using their product the corporation will not speak to me. Their customer care dept will do nothing for me. [name of brand] CORP DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU OR YOUR SKIN, JUST YOUR MONEY!!! Please contact me if you have had bad skin problems from using [name of brand] products. I am looking to start a class action law suit against [name of brand] for aging me and not speaking to me or trying to resolve this problem. You can contact me at ***@***.
Minnie, get your own blog if you want to drum up a lawsuit. As you would have known if you’d read my post, I have nothing to do with any cosmetic company – except as a retail customer of a few products – and I’m keeping it that way.
Note to anyone who thinks they can ask me for Minnie’s contact info: Nope. I won’t give it to you. Don’t bother me.
I made up a term for a condition I have in a very mild form, but just enough to notice: numbers dyslexia. (And no, I haven’t looked it up to see if there is such a thing recognized and named by the experts.) The thing is, I occasionally transpose digits. Besides generally having trouble memorizing phone numbers, street address numbers, etc.
Before I found tax preparation software back in the mid-90′s, the IRS sent me a notice that they had corrected arithmetic errors on my tax return. In two different years.
Yesterday I spent a few hours researching, analyzing and writing about a certain document. Let’s call it “YDR-1395″ which isn’t its real title, I’m just trying to maintain a little professional discretion here. I created four documents and a couple of emails, delivering my work product to the person who needed it.
I was duly thanked for my work on this. But later, the guy sent me a polite email pointing out that the document is actually called YDR-1935.
Which is so far my personally most embarrassing incident of numbers dyslexia. Though Lord knows I may do something in the future to surpass it.
Other stats are more friendly. I noticed today that there are now exactly 500 positive (“helpful”) votes for my reviews on amazon.com (out of 551 total), and I have risen in the reviewer rankings to number 6,725. (Or 6,729, or some nearby number – it changes at intervals I don’t understand.) I share the ranking with several others, so it’s not as distinguished as I’d like to think.
Now if I just remember to check my bank account balance this weekend, I hope to be in a peaceful relationship with numbers for awhile.
Fightingwindmills asked a very good question yesterday: what’s the origin of “woot” – also spelled “w00t”?
After fooling around with irreverent responses to her question, I decided to act like the responsible educated adult I play in real life. And look it up.
The Urban Dictionary has several pages of definitions of Woot/W00t. The top one says:
Woot originated as a hacker term for root (or administrative) access to a computer. However, with the term as [sic] coincides with the gamer term, “w00t”.
“w00t”was originally [a truncated] expression common among players of Dungeons and Dragons tabletop role-playing game for “Wow, loot!” Thus the term passed into the net-culture where it thrived in video game communities and lost its original meaning and is used simply as a term of excitement.
I defeated the dark sorcerer! Woot!”
“woot! i r teh flagmastar!” (Think Tribes)
“Woot, I pwnzed this dude’s boxen!’
My fuddy-duddy old self was sad to see the garbled syntax in the second sentence, and that “truncated” was misspelled and preceded by “an.” Back when mastodons roamed the earth and dirt was young and you could buy nickel Cokes at the drugstore fountain counter, I was taught that dictionaries are created by the world’s pickiest fussiest most precise and inexhaustibly thorough wordsmiths. Dictionaries, I learned, are the last books in the universe in which typographical errors, misspellings, or grammatical mistakes could be found.
To which my spontaneous INFP self responds, the Urban Dictionary is a wiki thing, an organic social creation. Mistakes happen. And English is a living language, always changing. So chill out and switch to decaf already, ’cause you know you love technology and the innernets and email and digital photography and all that stuff we didn’t have back then.
Even though the domesticated mastodons were kind of sweet, and handy as pack animals.
You Would Be a Pet Cat
Why you would make a great pet: You’re not needy or greedy… unlike other four legged friends.
Why you would make a bad pet: You’re not exactly running down to greet people at the door
What you would love about being a cat: Agility and freedom
What you would hate about being a cat: Being treated like a dog by clueless humans
I need to hunt down and read some more pleadings in the case of Atlantic Recording Corporation et al v. Howell, about which I blogged in disgust yesterday. But after reading this brief and this online discussion thread, my anger may have been misplaced. And – is it possible? – the Washington Post may have published a story that was less than a full, frank and accurate depiction of the lawsuit.
It may well be, that the RIAA’s focus in the case is Mr. Howell’s use of the file-sharing service Kazaa to share the music he ripped into his ‘puter from his purchased CDs. Which is a whole other issue entirely.
I burrowed through a very long page on the RIAA’s website about what consumers should know about copyright law, and found this:
- It’s okay to copy music onto an analog cassette, but not for commercial purposes.
- It’s also okay to copy music onto special Audio CD-R’s, mini-discs, and digital tapes (because royalties have been paid on them) – but, again, not for commercial purposes.
- Beyond that, there’s no legal “right” to copy the copyrighted music on a CD onto a CD-R. However, burning a copy of CD onto a CD-R, or transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player, won’t usually raise concerns so long as:
- The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own
- The copy is just for your personal use. It’s not a personal use – in fact, it’s illegal – to give away the copy or lend it to others for copying.
- The owners of copyrighted music have the right to use protection technology to allow or prevent copying.
- Remember, it’s never okay to sell or make commercial use of a copy that you make.
So what the RIAA says, is that it I am outside the law when ripping music from my purchased CDs onto my PC for my own listening convenience. But I shouldn’t worry about it unless I give away or sell the copy or even lend it to others for copying.
I may be a criminal in the RIAA’s eyes, but they have bigger fish to fry, so I can rest easy for now. Besides, the RIAA may be on thin legal ice about the copying to PC (and mp3 players) for personal use being outside the realm of legal rights. Courts have held that it’s not a violation of copyright law for consumers to tape TV shows on their own VCRs for time-shifting, i.e., so that they can themselves watch the shows at another time, when no distribution is involved.
“Let it snow.”
That is a silly phrase.
As if somehow we could decide to not let the snow fall. Maybe by radioing a command up the line somewhere:
“Hold off on the frozen precip, Harry. These peeps in Denver are having a hard enough time driving on the stuff left on the streets from Christmas day, and they need to get to work tomorrow.”
“Copy that, Lisa. Will do.”
But WordPress.com has given me this power: Until January 2, I can make it snow on my very own blog. Or make it stop.
Odd thoughts, thunk while sipping that last cuppa coffee before heading out the door this morning:
Yesterday I went to work.
For the first time in months.
The bad news: working takes valuable time away from blogging.
The good news: my professional skills haven’t deserted me despite my long break from work.
I would give every damn blog post I’ve ever written, and almost anything else I have, in exchange for the ability to tell stories like Brenda Wooley’s.
Brenda shares some of her stories with us on her blog, One Kentucky Writer. She doesn’t post every day. But everything she posts is worth reading. Not scanning, not glancing, not skimming. If her stories were food, they would be low-glycemic: the stuff that gives your blood long-term nourishment. Not the slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am spike-plunge-vanish junk of empty calories.
Her latest blog story reminded me of how it felt to be a little kid in a big crowd, jostled and spilling my soft drink, and of looking down at my feet to admire a new pair of sandals.
Thank you, Brenda.
|I took the “If You Were a Spy…“ quiz on gURL.com|
I am a…
HT to Ms. Kitty for this. If you click on “read more” above, you’ll learn:
In 1943 Hannah Senesh was just 22-years old when she enlisted in the British army in the hopes of liberating her mother from Nazi rule. As one of the first females to volunteer as a paratrooper, Hannah proved herself fearless, however she didn’t make it further than her first mission–she was captured by German soldiers in Budapest. Her captors tried using torture to make her reveal her secret communication code. . . . She never did. She went to her death keeping her secret and her comrades safe.
Today, Hannah’s memory lives on through her beautiful poetry and letters she wrote during World War II.
It’s an appropriate result to the quiz, in that lately I’ve been reading accounts of WWII spies. Just because I’m interested. Starting with The Wolves at the Door, about Virginia Hall. Then there was A Life in Secrets about Vera Atkins who was not (exactly) a spy, but in charge of many. Tonight I’ve just started reading Between Silk and Cyanide. Waiting on the shelf: Sisterhood of Spies.
As of this moment, that’s the number of spam comments that the Askimet spam-blocker has prevented from being posted on this blog.
At no charge to this here blogger.
I’ll be away from home for about a week, on a vacation trip. In case anybody peeks in here to see if there’s anything new. I’m relying on all of you to keep the blog world humming along with interesting content while I’m far away from home.
By the way, I won’t learn to say “Don’t Taze me, bro!” in Spanish. I’m pretty sure I won’t need that phrase at Machu Picchu.
Not guaranteed safe for work at all times, but I watched it for a few minutes and didn’t see anything outside the bounds. Blogger has made its Blogger Play feature available to everyone. It’s an ever-changing display of the photos that are uploaded to Blogger accounts/blogs all the time.
Fascinating. Just click here and watch.
But don’t blame me if you waste too much time there.
You’re Tulane University!
In the old days, you used to cheer for waves as they crashed
on the beach. Now, you’ve just been crushed by them. There are many regrets
that go along with this process, but now you’re hoping for many happy
returns. After all you’ve been through, it’s tough convincing people that
you’re safe to hang out with, but you like to remind them of your aspirations
to be a doctor. You want to save people, but first you have to save
Life moves on, and so do I.
Several months ago I got interested in the goings-on over at Mary Kay Sucks, a blog that morphed into Pink Truth. I wrote a few items here on the general subject of multi-level marketing (MLM) and the specifically icky incarnation of MLM insanity known as Mary Kay Cosmetics. Some of my posts linked to specific entries over at Pink Truth.
Recently the Pink Truth website was completely redesigned, and now those links don’t work. I’m not visiting Pink Truth as much anymore. So now that the links to the source material no longer work, I’ve removed all my Mary Kay entries.
I still think the company sucks, and the Unitnet web pages I’ve seen (MK sales directors actually pay extra to have them) are textbook examples of Web Pages That Suck.
If you got here because you searched for information on Mary Kay cosmetics, the Mary Kay business flopportunity, Tracy Coenen, Mary Kay National (Nasty-licious) Sales Directors, pink Cadillacs (why? good God, WHY?), multi-level marketing, MLM, MLMs, direct sales, or anything similar, you can go to these sites:
And RUN, don’t walk, away from any MLM “opportunity.”
WordPress.com blogs have all been blocked in Turkey. By lawyers representing a nutcase activist (see this blog post for some information). Who seems to threaten slander against anyone who dares write about him in an unflattering light.
I hope WordPress gets un-blocked soon.
Update: An article about it all here.
It happened early and via emergency C-section, but mother and baby are recovering. Mother at home, preemie baby (the Squeaker) in the NICU making progress on the breathing and other issues. If there’s anything to heredity, the Squeaker is going to have a wicked wit. Best wishes to them both.
I’ve been tagged as a Rockin’ Girl Blogger by Saintseester. Bless her heart.
I’m not sure about this big pink badge thingie. I prefer purple, I think. But it’s an honor to be tagged!
This was started by Roberta Ferguson, and the idea is that now I pass it on by tagging five Rockin’ Girl Bloggers. In no particular order, I’m tagging:
Bizzy over at Bizzyville. She describes herself as: “Totally unemployed. But still? Plucky enough to rock the soup line in her red patent leather sling-back peep-toe wedge-heeled pumps.”
Tracy at Pink Truth. A blog on a mission that’s also generated a very very funny and supportive community. And has sprouted a weekend chat and a discussion board with just about 2000 members as of this week.
Snobaby, who’s Dropping Debt. You go, girl!
Bella Stander, Reading Under the Covers. I always enjoy her blog and learn things there too. Thanks!
We all know (or should know) that the city/highway MPG numbers published for motor vehicles are at best aspirational, and we’d be insane to expect to get that kind of mileage ourselves.
Now, the former owner of a small SUV has published the statistics from his experience and the numbers don’t lie.
As if I had nothing better to do tonight - such as pack for the week-long trip that starts tomorrow – I decided to check some of the links in my blogroll. While I was away in May, there were some changes for:
I’ve clicked on some of the other links tonight to see if any are dead yet. So far I haven’t found any dead ones but I didn’t have time to check them all. Maybe next week. What I have learned tonight:
Oh my goodness. I LOVE being retired. It’s nearly 10:30 on a Monday morning and I’m taking my time getting dressed. I am doing some errands this morning and again this afternoon for our condo building decorating project so it’s not All Me All The Time. But still. I could get used to this. It will be interesting to see what I think in few months, when I look back at this blog entry.