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Diver's Pursuits

Below are the 25 most recent journal entries.

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  2015.11.25  23.54
Obama says we can own asteroids!

Woot!  We can own asteroids.

Many asteroids are literally worth trillions of dollars; this is a great reason for people to fund space development.  Since "space development" includes things like space-based solar power (unlimited energy!), this is great news.


  2015.11.21  10.12
Apparently, laughter is scary

I decided I would work in a cafe today.  And, also, have a tasty omelette that I didn't have to cook.  (Extra benny!)

So, I pop over to Morning Due, a friendly and tasty-omelette-making place a couple blocks from me, and I settle in.  I have a rule that I don't work while eating because it ruins both activities and my keyboard, so I'm eating my omelette with one hand and hitting 'down arrow' with the other (No, that is not a euphemism!  Get your mind out of the gutter!) while reading a NSFW article on Cracked.com entitled "8 Seemingly Impossible Sex Positions Tested In Real Life" which is, obviously, NSFW.  (Dad, NSFW means "Not Safe For Work", which means there's some naughty content and you probably shouldn't read it where the boss can see.  Unless you are the boss, I suppose.  Okay, carry on.)

Most Cracked articles result in a "hm, yes, jolly clever" or a "well done old chap!  Deuced amusing, pip pip!"  (I have no idea why I suddenly developed an English accent there.)  This one had me laughing so hard my eyes were watering.  I was keeping it down, but apparently not enough:  the guy in the adjoining table just slid down two tables.

Really?  I mean, come on.  I'm a whitebread guys with glasses and I'm laughing -- not giggling maniacally, not cackling, just laughing quietly like a normal person -- and he felt the need to move away?  I showered like, twenty minutes ago, dude!  I'm not some gangbanger with my hat on sideways and my pants around my knees because I never realized that that is the prison sign for "come and get some, big boy!", or maybe because I just thought penguins were badass and I wanted to talk the talk and waddle the waddle just like them.

I ask you, what's so scary about laughter?  If someone were laughing that hard next to me, I'd ask them to share the joke because I could feel a bit of a sniffle coming on and could use some cheap medicine that wasn't made by a big pharma company with questionable business ethics who will buy up cheap cures and raise the price a thousand-fold because they care more about profits than human lives and are, for example,  are charging $300,000 a year for a medicine to treat seizures in infants under 2, although yes, of course I'm cherrypicking an example from the internet based on one random source that was the first link on Google and no I'm not fact-checking because who does that anymore -- I mean, certainly not Fox News which is supposedly "fair and balanced", amiright?

Hm.  That sentence started off well and then it got away from me.  Anyway, the point was that apparently laughter is scary.  Or, perhaps, fatal.


  2015.11.12  08.40
Things not to do: call 911 and then leave

I'm staying in a hostel right now.  I just had breakfast, I'm walking upstairs, and there's a cop, a firefighter, and an EMT walking down the stairs past me.  (That sounds like the setup for a joke, but it isn't, I promise.  Totally serious here.)  They're looking for the manager and saying "we have a medical emergency, where's the manager?"  No one knows; we all traipse upstairs; there's no one at the desk.

Everyone is standing around wondering where is the woman who is maybe dying, or the manager who can tell the EMTs where is the woman who is maybe dying.  Someone who was standing around said "yeah, there was an older woman sitting on the couch over there, but then she left."

Finally the manager comes down the stairs carrying some luggage.  Behind him comes the woman, coming down the stairs very carefully.  The EMT got on the situation and assessed things; the woman was feeling very light-headed and apparently had been for a few days.  They're taking her off to the hospital right now.

So, the lesson from this, if someone calls the ambulance for you:  stay the hell where you are! If you need to go to the hospital you don't need to bring a suitcase and if you really, really do then you can at the very least leave someone in the lobby who knows where you are.


  2015.11.10  09.10
My inner monologue while writing a scene of Induction

My inner monologue while writing a scene of The Change Storms: Induction:

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  2015.11.09  14.31
How to transfer passwords from OSX to Linux?

As I mentioned in the last post, the 'e' and 'a' keys on my computer are starting to fail.  I've been thinking about updating for a while and, if/when I do, I'm thinking about going from OSX back to Linux.  Almost all of the programs that I use on a regular basis work on both, so it's not too much of a big deal.  The one thing that would be really problematic is that all my passwords are in Keychain.

Does anyone know how to migrate passwords from OSX Keychain into anything that will run on Linux?


  2015.11.06  16.49
Fun with computing thing

Today I again saw that my computing thing is having difficulty.  Not only is it running OSX 10.6.8 (that's highly old), but its RAM is small by today's standards (8MB).  It's had some difficulty with its graphics card in months past, although I'm glad to say not in months just past.

Today, though, I saw a particular difficulty: a singular input thing is working poorly and not constantly.  Now, a laptop computing thing has two forms of input -- trackpad and button-things -- and my difficulty is not a trackpad difficulty.  If you visually study this blog post you may spot which particular button-thing is not always working by noting which alpha-thing is 'Sir Not Shown In This Post'.

I should add that this button-thing will work, just that it occasionally wants additional impact than normal.

Oh my.  Now 'a' is strting to hav issues as well.  Perhaps it's time to see about upgrading to Linux.  (And no, not because Linux will mke my keys start working again; just because it's something I've ben thinking about anyway.  Also, you cn note the issues I'm having with 'e' and 'a' in this paragraph.)


  2015.11.03  08.06
Semi-hourly wordcounts

I find that publicizing my wordcounts regularly helps me stay on target.  So, here we go:  wordcounts on The Change Storms: Induction, every 30 minutes.  (Note that you can read the book for free on my Patreon.)

8:05am - 66,201 words
...and, no sooner did I make this post than I realized I had to run to the store for something.  Okay, starting over.
9:10am - 66,201 words
9:51am - 66247.  Spent the entire time editing to get back up to speed.
10:21am - 66462.  Rest of the chapter is edited, plus wrote more.  Now I need to run to pharmacy.
12:30 - Yurgh. Two hours to get to the pharmacy, get my stuff, get lunch, get back. Blarg.
1:07pm - 66824
1:38pm - 66900.  Need to choose a bunch of powerset for the big upcoming battle.  Going to take another couple hours, probably. :/


  2015.11.01  09.31
People annoy me

I posted this question over on the Worldbuilding StackExchange site.
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Holy green apples, people, if you find it offtopic, all you have to do is say "Hey, this is offtopic, why don't you take it over to X?" How bloody stupid and obnoxious do you have to be to give answers like these?

What is it about the Internet that makes people rude?  /age_old_question


  2015.10.25  23.17
Chimay is delicious. And mule-like

"Ooh, look," I said.

"That place has Chimay and I love Chimay and haven't had it in a long time," I said.

"I'll have one beer," I said.

Oh my god, I forgot the stuff is almost 10% booze and I'm a lightweight. One Chimay and I can't feel my face.

Okay, I'm going to bed now.


  2015.10.22  10.16
Thought game: time travel letters

So, thought game: you can't go back in time or real-time communicate but, if you so choose, you can send a letter to your past self.

1) What does your decision to (not) send the letter rest upon?

2) Does it matter which of the 8 models of time travel we're using? http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TimeTravel [Warning: memetic hazard]

3) Assuming you choose to send it: What self do you send it to, and what do you say?


  2015.10.17  22.40
Planning vs Writing; Characters for the win

I have a personally-assigned goal of finishing Induction by 9am October 1, and making it be at least 80,000 words. Current count is 44,119, so I've got a ways to go. I need to write 2,562 words per day to hit that goal; doable, but challenging.

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  2015.10.13  19.54
Word counts vs lines of code

I recently heard it said that number of words per day for an author is a lot like number of lines of code for a programmer -- a worthless measure. That idea has been rattling around in my head for a bit, and I thought I'd reflect on it. (Fair warning: there isn't a particular conclusion to be had, it's just me thinking.)

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  2015.10.10  16.46
The Martian is still great. Unsurprisingly, so is Dottie's.

Scott was commenting the other day that we hadn't been out to Dottie's in ages, so we decided we would go today at 8:45, and then see The Martian at 11.

I woke up at 6, hopped up, and did some writing. Felt very smug about my virtuous productivity, too. Around 7:30 I decided I would go over to Dottie's preemptively; the line on Saturdays gets long fast, so if you aren't there early then you're waiting for an hour. Either I could wait in line for an hour and eat at 8:45 or I could wait in line and eat at 9:45.

Got there, the line was basically zero. This may in part have been because some guy named…er…what was it? Kevin? Karen? Kane? No, wait, Kanye. That was it. Some guy named Kanye was going to be up on stage. I think he had a speaking partner too--O'brien? Maybe? He was the president of something-or-other.

Okay, joking aside: President Obama was in town, and he was going to be sharing a stage with Kanye West. Voluntarily. This is the leader of the free world who has shaped the course of a nation, speaking alongside a man best known for being a jerk to Taylor Swift onstage at the Video Music Awards.

Anyway, we had a good breakfast, did some shopping at Target (I got a towel) and went to The Martian. I loved it just as much the second time, and Scott thought it was excellent, so a good time was had by all.


  2015.10.04  23.37
"The Martian" is excellent

I just saw the movie "The Martian" and loved it.

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If you're reading this blog, you're probably the sort of person who would enjoy this movie. Go see it.


  2015.10.04  18.40
Creepy surveillance state

Well, that was strange and rather scary.

When I write, I spend a lot of time doing research to make sure I have the details correct. One of the characters in my current novel, Induction, is a very successful ex-military woman. I wanted to make her a West Point graduate, and I needed to make sure that fit with reality, so I did some googling to check what the minimum / maximum ages for West Point were. (For the record: 17-23, with up to five students per year being given age waivers so they can get in despite being 24 or 25.) This googling happened on my phone, because I don't currently have net on my computer.

Two minutes ago, I got a call from "(402) 260-7420 West Point, NE" When I picked up the phone, I heard "Congratulations! Because you visited one of our websites, you've been chosen to receive a free prize. Press 1 to get your prize, or 5 to be removed."

Naturally, I punched 5 immediately. This is still spooky though -- someone was able to go from "a mobile browser looked at our website" to "...and here's the phone number for the phone that mobile browser runs on", all within a few minutes.

Talk about a surveillance state.


  2015.10.04  16.51
Thoughts on the movie 'Everest' before seeing it.

Haven't seen Everest yet, and all that I know about it is "it's a movie about all the people who have died trying to climb Everest." This prompts several different reactions from me, some of which are rather dark:

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  2015.10.02  05.05
Awful dream

Fun twist on the "naked in high school" dream.

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Then I wake up.

My brain is, apparently, a very weird place.


  2015.10.01  22.06
The view of the USA from Austria

Stayed in a hostel on Tuesday, met a guy named Alex. Our conversation consisted of "how do I dial a US phone number?", "how do I read a US street address?", and "here are all the terrible things about the USA." He had some good points and he was interesting to talk to, so we ended up going for lunch. Conversation continued being about all the terrible things the US had done to destroy the world's economy and how terrible it was that money was no longer backed by anything and now it was just worthless debt, all pretend, nothing to it at all.

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So, apparently we aren't a complete waste of space from the Austrian point of view: our saving graces are music and hippies. Good to know.


  2015.09.28  08.14
NaNoWriMo, except early

I'm announcing a two-part precommitment:

Part 1: By 9am PST on November 1st, 2015 I will have completed an >=80,000 word first draft of "Induction", the third volume in my Change Storms series.

Part 2: By 9am PST December 1st, 2015 "Induction" will be edited to a standard that pleases me and will be published on Amazon.

My intention is to do a novel every month for the next year, but I'm going to hold off on committing to that until I've done it once.

EDIT: I should have announced this originally: I already have 31,242 words written, so I'm not exactly going from scratch.


  2015.08.31  15.55
Conversation with Patreon rep

I just got off the phone with Heather from the Patreon customer service team. (That's not what they call it...Creator Support? Something. Anyway.) I had been talking with a guy named Stant who is a creator on Patreon; when I expressed dissatisfaction with the platform, he said "Oh, let me refer you to Heather!" Heather offered to have a Skype call; I said sure, and emailed her the list of things I was hoping Patreon would do differently so that we could be on-page before the call started.

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So, pretty much what I expected:  "Thanks for the ideas; don't call us, we'll call you."  At least she did agree to email me with the team's reaction to the "allow me to select the levels" idea.

Creating a Patreon competitor is sounding like a better and better idea.  It would be a fair investment of time but it would be interesting, it would let me get familiar with some useful tech, and I could think about turning it into an actual business by opening it up to other creators and taking a slice the way Patreon does.  They're moving $3mm / month, so there's obviously a market.  They had a competitor (Subbable) until March, then they bought them out so they own the entire market.  Since there's no discoverability there isn't a lot of network effect, but they do have the brand and the mindshare, so competing with them wouldn't be easy.  Still, even if I was the only one using it, it would have value to me.


  2015.08.23  17.24
The most convincing commercial ever

This is incredible.  Cut-Tex® PRO 'The Best Cut Resistant Fabric in the World'

If you want clothes that won't rip and won't tear no matter what you do to them, this is the stuff.  And yes, this was more research for Induction -- keywords were "most tear-resistant fabric".   I have a protagonist who can make threads become completely straight and rigid, and I wanted a triangular piece of cloth that used those for strength.  I figured a tough rip-proof fabric with the threads in pockets like battens in a sail.  Here's what I found.


  2015.08.23  11.55
Things I have researched in the last few days

When I write, I DoTheResearch.  This has pros and cons; pro, it sometimes leads me to plot ideas that I wouldn't otherwise have had, and it also (IMO) gives the world of the story a verismilitude that's hard to match otherwise.  Con, it's a lot of time spent doing things other than writing.  Another con:  if the government ever got a subpoena for my browser and search history, I could be in some trouble.

In the past 48 hours, here are things I've researched:
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So, that wacky TvTropes, huh?  You go there to look up one page for a throwaway mostly-joke about doing the research, you end up losing twenty minutes to a wikiwalk through popular entertainment -- and that's if you're lucky!  "Hours" is not an uncommon amount of time to lose.  Anyway, I managed to make my save and break out after only a short time, but while I was there I stumbled some unbelievable true stories of pilots making incredible saves in time of disaster.

Okay, back to work. 


  2015.08.22  22.55
Snowflake method: not so much with the helping

I've now written four novels using the seat-of-the-pants model and I've tried to plan one out with the snowflake; time for a head-to-head.
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At the end of the day the snowflake method is interesting but too rigid for me.  I'm going to incorporate it into my writing but on a piecemeal basis -- I'm not going to try to do a full scene-by-scene spreadsheet of my book before I start writing, although I will definitely keep and use the scene-spreadsheet idea itself.  Using a spreadsheet to keep track of plot coupons and scenes that need to happen in the future is brilliant, and I'll definitely do that.


  2015.08.22  21.46
For your amusement: images of jokes!

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  2015.08.20  14.06
A discussion with a theist

This morning I spent a couple of hours talking with a theist.  Specifically, a Jehovah's Witness who I will refer to as B.  Here's what I took away.  (Note:  since LJ has apparently stopped showing the continue text, I'll add it explicitly:  this is a theist and an atheist talking about religion and might therefore be inflammatory if you are religious.)

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I was impressed with her ability to take me through the 'Hell was actually a misinterpreted reference to a trash pit' argument [Ed: I was not impressed with the argument, just with her facility with it), and with the intensity of her belief.  I was even more impressed with her ability to debate her position without getting angry when I challenged her, and without resorting to ad hominem -- she never said that I was stupid, or blinded, or self-deceiving, or going to burn in Hell (which is good, since she doesn't believe in it), or anything else.  In fact, she acknowledged that I seemed smart and moral and have made a pretty good life for myself.  It was a very enjoyable discussion.

Beyond being enjoyable, it was interesting. (Not at all convincing, but interesting.) I have few theists in my social circle and the ones I do have don't talk about it much.  It really hammers home the point that the entire argument boils down to:

    Atheist:  There's no evidence for God.
    Theist: I have faith and do not need evidence.

No two positions could possibly be more different, and I understand why we end up talking past each other when we have these discussions.


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