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Diver's Pursuits

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  2014.10.20  10.51
Kickstarter for "Pay Attention" going great!

I am still flabbergasted by what's happened with the Kickstarter.  It's a 15-day run; I was expecting that it would reach its $300 funding goal somewhere in the middle of that; instead, it funded immediately and everyone has continued to be generous since then.

We've made the first stretch goal so, in addition to the 5,000 word "Pay Attention" itself, I'll also be delivering a 10,000 word rational horror novelette, which I'm about 1/3 done writing. It's quite a bit darker than "Pay Attention" will be, although I'm trying to keep all the nasty bits offscreen. I'm definitely enjoying writing it; it's unlike anything I've done before, and I'm pleased with how it's coming together.

There is a second stretch goal up right now; if we hit $1500 I'll be writing another 10,000 word novelette, this one a rational fantasy/horror blend. If you read my web novel "The Two Year Emperor" you'll recognize the main character and plot: it's the story of High Marshal Albrecht Löfgren desperately struggling to save the lives of the 10th Legion against the army of drauga that is sweeping in to bury his civilization under a thousand years of darkness.  (If you don't read "The Two Year Emperor", then it's still about that.)

If all the people who made a $5 pledge could find one friend to match their pledge, we would make the stretch goal so, if you felt like posting it on your FB / Twitter / etc, it would be lovely.

Once again, thank you to everyone who has backed this.  It's really amazing.


  2014.10.15  10.56
Kickstarter for "Pay Attention" announced second stretch goal

Hey everyone!

The Kickstarter for "Pay Attention" is 1/3 of the way through its run and is overfunded.  A couple days ago I added a stretch goal, for which I would write a second work:  a 10,000 words (minimum) rational horror novelette.  Well, that's $15 short of funding, so I'm adding ANOTHER stretch goal:  if we get another $500 after this, I'll write a third work:  a 10,000 word (minimum) fantasy story set in the Union of Anundjå at the very beginning of the Drauga War.  Here's the blurb:

*Set on the second day of the drauga invasion, High Marshal Albrecht Löfgren is in the middle of a show-the-flag-and-boost-morale inspection of the Tenth Legion, a war-weary band recently rotated off the front lines after too long being the thin gray line between civilization and the barbarian northmen.  The dining-in is interrupted by horrific news:  a massive undead army is sweeping up the valley below, led by a powerful vampire battlemage and his coterie of Archmage followers.  With less than an hour to prepare, can Albrecht successfully save the lives of the exhausted Legionnaires?*

If everyone who has given $12 or less could find a friend to match their pledge, we'd pretty much make that second stretch goal.

As a final note:  according to the Kickstarter stats, many of the pledges have come from LJ.  Thank you all very much; this has been an amazing and humbling experience.  I really appreciate your generosity.


  2014.10.14  11.07
Kickstarter for "Pay Attention": Wow.

So, I put up this Kickstarter with a goal of $300 and a time horizon of 15 days.  I figured I'd probably make it in that time, and I was right.

I was fully funded n 4 hours.

Holy crap.  Not only that, but I'm now overfunded -- $779 as of this writing.  Things have pretty much plateaued, so I don't know that it'll go much higher.  I set a stretch goal: $1,000 means that, in addition to the 5,000 word short story "Pay Attention," I will write a second rational horror story of at least 10,000 words.  If it funds at all, it'll probably happen right at the end.

Clearly, there are two kinds of people who are funding this:  friends who are just throwing a few bucks in to be supportive, and people who actually know my writing and want to see the output of the KS.  This has some correlaries:

  • Friends and family are not going to throw money at a series of Kickstarters just to be nice.

  • People who want to read my output will probably only want to read it insofar as they liked the last story of mine that they read.

  • No matter what, this is not an infinitely repeatable thing -- I can't run a Kickstarter every week and expect them all to be funded.

Well...actually, could I?  Suppose I ran a KS  with a $100 target every couple of days with a 2 day wouldn't need many backers, and people could take a break for as long as they wanted between them.  Friends and family would drop out pretty quickly, but fans might well fund repeatedly (though not necessarily consecutively)...maybe?  It would be an interesting experiment, certainly.


  2014.10.11  12.13
My Kickstarter is live!

Hey everyone!

The Kickstarter ( that I've been talking about is finally live! For those I haven't mentioned it to: I'm writing a rational horror story, in which characters do NOT carry the idiot ball. No actual Bayes or cognitive theory discussions, just smart people doing smart things.

I'd really appreciate if you'd take 90 seconds to check it out; I took me 46 separate takes to make a 35 second video, and I'm going to be very sad if no one watches it. Oh, and if you felt like reading the text and / or donating while you're there, that would be very cool.

If you don't want to give, please take a look anyway and give me your feedback -- I intend to do more of these, and I can't improve without criticism.

The first 48 hours of a Kickstarter campaign pretty much determine its success (bandwagon effects for the win!), so if you think you might want to donate it would be very appreciated if you'd do it today.

Again, the link is:




  2014.10.09  11.18
Help me pick a blurb?

Hi folks,

As mentioned, I'm going to be running a Kickstarter soon for a rational horror story I'm writing.  I could use some help with the blurb; would you be willing to take 30 seconds to answer a 1-question survey?

Thank you so much to everyone who does!


EDIT:  After looking at the results a bit and talking with other people offline, I came up with this new offering:

Pay attention. You won't be hurt as long as you pay attention. Don't forget. You can keep your memories as long as you pay attention. Don't touch the ouija board again. Don't let yourself be distracted Don't lose focus. And, above attention.

I can't add this to the poll now that it's started, so I'll just ask what you think of it.


  2014.10.07  22.32
Donating to Kickstarter...suboptimal

I'm going to be launching a Kickstarter soon (my first!), and I've been reading up on the whole process.  I've got most of the preliminaries taken care of and I was going back through the KS docco to make sure there weren't any surprises.  Well, one caught my eye.

In order to donate on Kickstarter, you need to be logged in to a KS account and you need to donate through Amazon Payments (assuming you're in the US -- KS will handle it directly if you're not).  Basically every site on the Internet can take payments as long as you have a credit card, no login required.  It irks me that Kickstarter cannot.

Ah well.  I'm excited about the project, regardless:  I've been semi-commissioned to write a rational horror story.  What's a "rational horror story" you ask?  It's a horror story where the protagonists don't act like idiots.  Where they have seen a couple of horror movies and/or read a Stephen King novel, and they know the basics:

  • Don't split up.

  • Don't walk backwards through doorways.

  • Don't have sex in the middle of the friggin' woods when there's an axe murderer around.  Especially if you're blonde.

  • If there's blood pouring down the walls, leave!

  • When you leave, don't split up.

  • In fact, just don't ever split up.

  • And, above all else:  listen to the gorram music!  It's there for a reason, people! When it gets all creepifying, that means the monster is close.  If you are reaching for a doorknob and the music goes:  "Dunn...dunn...", choose the other door!

The working title is Pay Attention; it features a too-reliable ouija board and protagonists who actually do smart things, like identify the threat and figure out how to prevent least, they do as long as they can remember to pay attention.


  2014.09.28  19.10
"Bush tucker"

I went to Alice Springs in order to see Uluru (the aboriginal name for Ayer's Rock).

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Okay, need to wrap up.  Discussions of the actual hiking and such later.


  2014.09.18  14.18
Last night with the boys (Sydney)

Tomorrow I'll be flying back to Brisbane, have Friday-dinner-and-Saturday-breakfast with Caitlin, then fly home on Sunday.  That means that tonight is my last night with Nicky and Brian.

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  2014.09.16  22.24
Review of Lucy

I just saw Lucy, the new movie with Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman.  Oh. My. God.  So very bad.

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Avoid this movie, folks.  It's basically $13 that I wish I'd spent almost anywhere else.


  2014.09.11  15.55
I can't get no...saaa-tis-fac-tion. (But I can get pizza.)

Last night I really wanted pizza.
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What movie?  Transporter 3 with Jason Statham.  The original Transporter was quite good; I'm glad they didn't make more than one sequel.


  2014.09.03  14.43
Travel, and the efficiency thereof

There are people who travel efficiently, who plan their route weeks or months in advance, studying maps with great care as they measure distances with compass and protractor and micrometer. Their travels are precise, calculated, and generally without surprise or regret. They have compiled a list of things to see: places and people, mountains and monuments, landmarks and other things that begin with L. They see these things, then go home and tell their friends, secure (and, if we're to be honest, slightly smug) in the efficiency of their routing and the clean and tidy way in which they ticked off their pre-planned viewing list.

I am not one of these people.

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I feel another nap coming on. Ta-ta for now, lovely readers. May your routings always be excitingly inefficient...but not quite this inefficient.


  2014.08.30  15.55
We are living in the future

I just paid my electric bill from 8000 miles away.

That is all.


  2014.08.29  17.06
Vive la résistance!

I've been playing Ingress for a while now; I find it's an excellent way to find cool stuff to look at in a new place. (Such as, just to pick a location at random, Australia!)

There are two factions in the game: the Enlightened (green, evil mind controlling hive mind pod people) and the Resistance (blue; heroic defenders of truth and justice, protectors of puppies). I carefully examined the choices and made a totally unbiased choice to play Resistance.

The Enlightened own Australia.

Yes, sadly, the land of Oz has been conquered and replaced by mindless Borg. Alas, poor ozzians, we hardly knew ye.

But! Single handedly, I saved the people of Coober Pedy!  Yes, thanks to me, this town is once again safe for humanity! Woot! Go me!  (Ok, it's a flyspeck of a town, but it's the first time I've claimed a non-trivial area, so I'm excited. Oddly enough, all the portals in town (9 or 10) were Resistance or unclaimed, and some were relatively high level. Only other place I've seen that was the Brisbane Botanical Gardens.)

Note: my characterization of the two sides may be somewhat biased. I'm sure that people who chose to play green would say that the options are: Enlightened (green; heroic transhumanist saviors of mankind, helping everyone to achieve super intelligence and millennial longevity) and Resistance (blue; technophobe Luddite fundamentalist desperately fighting to preserve a status quo that conforms to their prejudices but  harms everyone else.)


  2014.08.28  14.52
Things I have seen but not recorded

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  2014.08.28  14.37

Flew to Adelaide on Tuesday the 26th.
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So, that was yesterday.  Today, I went over to the bus station and bought a ticket to Cooper Pedy, then to Alice Springs, then a tour of Uluru, then a bus ticket back to Adelaide.  I now need to buy my plane ticket out of here.

The people in the hostel have been very nice; they've provided advice about things to do, skilled Ping-Pong challengers (who thoroughly defeated me, sad to say), good conversation, and piles of Sh*t along with pulpy fingers.


  2014.08.28  13.39
Finish the trip to Gold Coast

When last we left our hero, he was in Hervey Bay.

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Ok, hop the plane, off to Adelaide to catch the Ghan!


  2014.08.20  20.59
Ah yes, THIS is what it feels like

This morning, I got up in Rockhampton, grabbed some breakfast (greek yoghurt + crumpets with jam, yum!) and zoomed off to Hervey Bay (which, again, is pronounced 'Harvey' when you're speaking Ahstraylyan).Read more...Collapse )

So.  This is what a sneaky hate spiral feels like from the inside.  Fortunately for the rest of the world, a pan-seared barramundi with cheese garlic bread and some stupid humor internet videos is starting to make me feel less homicidal.


  2014.08.18  17.46
Heading to the Gold Coast!

So, after a week in Cairns it's time to move on; down to the Gold Coast for me. I looked at plane prices and they were higher than I wanted. No problem, I logged into and found a car that needed to be relocated from Cairns to the Gold Coast.  I rented that car for the very reasonable price of $5 per day. Oorah. I also paid $24 / day to reduce my liability to $0. If the car blows up and catches on fire, I owe nothing unless I was criminally negligent or actively using the car in a crime. (Yes, this happened. Some idjits rented a 4-wheel drive car two weeks in advance, then tried to use it to pull an ATM out of the wall. They failed. How dumb can you be? There's not going to be more than a thousand dollars or so in an ATM, but it's still a felony. (Fun fact: Aussie ATMs dispense fifties, not twenties.))

So, today I go to pick the car up. This was an adventure unto itself.
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What more could you ask for?


  2014.08.14  17.36
Certification is mine!

[This is being written Monday the 18th because I didn't get around to writing it earlier.  [And posted Wednesday the 20th, because I haven't had wifi since Monday]]

Check it out!  This post brought to you by the newest certified diver in Cairns!

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So, now I am certified. Huzzah!  This being my third time getting certified, we'll see if I actually do anything with it.  I really only took this course for the 4-dives-that-are-cheaper-than-the-adventure-dive-I-booked-before, with the cert just being gravy.  I'm perfectly happy with what I got…it was more than worth it.


  2014.08.13  19.58
Did my first two open water dives

Today we went for open water dives, hurrah!

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I relaxed for 30 mins or so and now I'm writing all this up.  Dinner will happen in a bit.


  2014.08.11  18.31
PADI dive certificant is me

I was supposed to leave on Saturday, but then I discovered that there is a PADI dive certification class running from Monday to Thursday.  I don't really care about the cert, but the class involves 4 dives and the total cost is lower per dive than what I paid for the adventure dives last week so, win.

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Dinner was barbecue with Henry and Jack.  Chicken sausage, chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, roast garlic, fried tomatoes.  For an appetizer I made dates with cream cheese; they were popular.

All in all, a very satisfying day.


  2014.08.10  11.55
Why is it that Julias suck at responsiveness?

I really wanted to stay at the "Inner City Tropical Retro Oasis" AirBnB.  Sadly, the host is "Julia" and, much like the only other Julia that I have talked to a fair amount, she totally sucks at responsiveness.  Her response rate is 48%; I pinged her two days ago and the request timed out.  I pinged her again yesterday and then canceled it just now because I don't want to be stuck scrambling for a place to stay tomorrow.

Granted, it wouldn't be THAT much of a scramble -- I could just extend my stay at the YHA Hostel that I'm currently in.  Swimming pool, bubble pool, wifi (not free though), and delicious free all-you-can-eat pancakes in the morning -- WOOT!  All for the low low price of $30 / night.  (It's a 4-person shared room but that's fine.)

Ah well.  I've got a request in at another place and that guy responded 100% of the time, typically within a few hours.

PS:  To Julia S of Boston, the only other Julia I know -- you seem like an organized person and probably don't suck at responsiveness.  Based on my experience, however, you are the exception to the rule.


  2014.08.09  20.30
Group tour today

I booked a group tour today:  the Daintree Rainforest, Mossman Gorge, the Port Douglas Wildlife habitat, and the beach.  It was ok.
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What can I say, I'm a simple man with simple pleasures.


  2014.08.07  18.57
The Great Barrier Reef is flippin' amazing!

I'm in Cairns right now, and I just got back from diving the Great Barrier Reef.  It was fantastic.  Also, wet.
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Now I'm home and have written up this epic tract.  I still don't have my landlegs back -- the room is swaying around me as I type.  That's ok; I'll sit for a bit, then make some dinner.  To cap off a lovely day, I am making myself steak with blue cheese topping, side of garlic/ginger/spinach/mushrooms.  Booya, baby!  (Should have gotten some dessert too, but I didn't.  Then again, I did buy some crumpets.  I wanted bread product, I'd never had crumpets, and they were the cheapest bread thing in the store.  I'm glad they were; I have discovered that crumpets are freaking awesome.

(*)  I actually have both NAUI and PADI certification, but I don't have the cards anymore and I haven't been down in over a decade, so an intro dive seemed smart.

Mood: delighted

  2014.08.05  22.55
End of a (very brief) era

My time here in Brisbane is done.  Tomorrow morning, early-ish, I hop a train out to the airport and fly up to Cairns.  Thursday (day after tomorrow) I go diving on the Reef.  Woot!  That's one of the biggest reasons I came to Oz, so I'm really looking forward to it.
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Tally ho!


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