Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: October, 2007

Crazy, Crazy Writing

Nanowrimo starts tomorrow, a little less than twelve hours from now. My plans: pretend I’m not home so the trick-or-treaters will avoid my door and get some sleep. Then wake up early tomorrow and start typing like mad.

Also, for those of you reading who are also participating in Nano and have a Nano-related site, you can get your site linked by me! My Nano links page is here. Just e-mail me or comment on this post and I’ll put you up. And for those of you not participating in the writing madness, but still want to put your two cents in, there’s also an opportunity to sponsor me. Just click on the sponsorship link near the top of this page (right under the navigation menu) and everything should be rather self explanatory.

Arg. It’s not quite November yet, but I think I need to throw out part of my outline…

Violated, Just So Everyone Else Is “Safe”

I guess there’s a rationale for mail officials to open packages to make sure that there isn’t something illicit being sent. But it sort of puts a damper on things when your own correspondence has been slashed open and then haphazardly taped shut again. It’s just paper, damn it!


Booking Through Thursday: Read with Abandon?

I would enjoy reading a meme about people’s abandoned books. The books that you start but don’t finish say as much about you as the ones you actually read, sometimes because of the books themselves or because of the circumstances that prevent you from finishing. So…what books have you abandoned and why?

The last book I’ve abandoned was Ana Castillo’s The Guardians–a lit novel about Mexican immigrants–was not only depressing, but written in a style I didn’t like. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I only like books with happily ever afters either. I’ve abandoned Piers Anthony’s Yon Ill Wind because I was getting tired of the puns. And then there was this Robin T. Popp romance that promised vampires and biochemists–ooh!–but I ended up wanting to stomp the book to bits because the author portrayed the award-winning biochemist heroine as a ditz-head with absolutely no common sense. (The hero was an idiot too–but it’s not like you can expect much out of the undead.)

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The Thursday Threesome: World of Warcraft

Onesome: World–Wide Web resources? Is there one particular area of your life, personal or professional, where you use the web as an informational resource? Knitting? Medical? Research?

What do you mean one particular area? You can find pretty much anything under the sun on the web. That aside, the only thing I could think of which is exclusively on the web and not in some book or newspaper would be a lot of bioinformatics. You know, genome sequences, protein databases, etc.

Twosome: of– the 168 hours in a given week, how much time do you spend on the computer? No, we’re not looking to plan an intervention, just curious…

Let’s just say, more than I like.

Threesome :Warcraft– games? Poker games? Role playing games? Do you play games on your computer? Really? What kind of games?

The only kind of games I have played on the computer are interactive fiction games. But I haven’t in the past couple of months due to all the other stuff I have to do.


I’ve finally set up a sponsorship page for Nanowrimo. The link is also above, right below the main menu. It’ll be up until early December. So if you’re inclined, sponsor me for Nanowrimo and follow my month long writing progress here. I figure this would be a nice way to pay back the organization that help set up such a crazy and arty endeavor. And has given me some stress relief during a hectic month for the past, oh, six years. And it would be nice to get “paid” (even though none of the money goes to me) for writing something I don’t intend to publish anyway.

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Go read some science at Tangled Bank #91 over at The Radula. Everything from conservation to sneaky viruses and old monkey brains.


Booking Through Thursday: Typography

What’s the worst typographical error you’ve ever found in (or on) a book?

Well, I haven’t caught any books with misspelled titles or author names, but I’ve seen typos in the text in finished copies. (Advanced reader copies don’t count–they’re mostly done, but they’re still “drafts.”) When I first see them, they’re jarring, but I’m mostly forgiving. The author, the editor, and the copy editor had probably been staring at the thing for quite a while and probably missed it.

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The Thursday Threesome: A to Z

Onesome: A–round this time of year? What’s happening with the weather where you are? Ch-ch-changes? …or are things still ‘Summery’?

It’s wet and cold. If I weren’t so busy, I’d be enjoying it.

Twosome: to– inventory your place for insurance coverage, what would it take? Too much work? How about ideas for the gang: is video taping with a voiceover the way to go?

If you have a lot of stuff, the video tape might probably work. But I’m a student and I have nothing of value except for my computer and my cello. I have tons of books–but I’ve had books stolen before and they can be replaced.

Threesome: Z–one coverage? …better than “man”? Are you following any football teams this year? How are they doing?

I don’t follow football. (Or any other sports teams either.)


Most of my school related e-mail comes from a mailing list informing students of workshops, seminars, and job opportunities. Which can be useful if these things fall into your area of interest. But most of it doesn’t–resulting in me not reading it and trashing it immediately.

However, among some of the recent postings is one for internships. Not so unusual, except this one is for a certain state senator who has been embroiled in a recent nationwide scandal.

So unless you want some experience doing damage control, I think most people would think twice (or more) about this.

Intersections Were Never So Funny

Indexed. Very amusing: Venn diagrams, bar graphs and other assorted mathematically related figures on index cards. What’s the intersection between rum, booty, and tough looking crews? Why pirates or rap videos, of course. The ones that made me giggle: The 7 Holy Virtues, Geeks, etc., PowerPoint presentations, Learning, The 7 Dwarfs, The 7 Deadly Sins.

A Quote From Somewhere

I think if you’re shy about approaching your passion, understanding is hard to give, but if you talk about your writing with conviction, people will start to ask you about it.

This is probably true for any subject aside from writing as well. Which sucks, because I’m not the most verbal or demonstrative of people. And if you don’t say much, people might get it into their heads that you’re not serious about it.

Whereas charismatic dilettantes can convince others of anything, even when they’re lying.

Where To Draw The Line

Pencil Guy logo is sexist and racist. I decided not to post this on my writing blog because it really isn’t about writing. My question is, when it comes to political correctness, where can we draw the line? Should we be offended by everything? I never really gave much thought to the logo, but I can see how someone would be offended by it.

Sometimes, it’s really difficult to tell when white patriarchal attitudes have subtly influenced something or if something’s been done simply because it is easier and more elegant than the alternative. Exactly what is a default logo anyway? Why is the Trix rabbit white? Why is Aunt Jemima black? Why does an insurance company use a gecko and not some other reptile? Why do we read black text on white background? On a practical standpoint, there would be no way to implement a design that would please everyone. Even if the logo was a typewriter, that would piss off people who use pencils, computers, and finger paint.

Maybe the solution is to hold diverse focus groups before deciding on anything. But somehow, I don’t think a committee is an answer to everything.

My Ghostwriter Ate My Homework

I know, even I am not immune to watching train wrecks.

I’ve been following a plagiarism case discussed over at Dear Author and Making Light. In a way, it’s kind of weird and mind-boggling. And considering the reactions of the person caught red-handed (or rather the person who paid the ghostwriter who did the ripping-off), I have little sympathy. I don’t like the idea of ghostwriting in the first place–passing off someone else’s work as your own is unethical. The only people who deserve to have their name in print are those people who have written the book themselves.