Look just like WordPress now. Trying to see if it still links to FB.
September 6, 2013
May 27, 2013
So…. the Kickstarter launched Saturday. (I kind of want to apologize for the fact that I’m going to be saying “Kickstarter” a lot for the next 30 days… I’m going to try to not do it more than once every day or two, and, hopefully, will not devolve into “Hey, look at this cute cat! He’s saying “Pledge to Lizard’s Kickstarter!”) It’s doing pretty well starting out, at ~378 out of the 750 minimum, so, just past 50%, which is great for the first two days… I think… I hear all sort of things like “You get 50% of your money in the first 10% of the time, unless you get 25% of the money in the first 78% of the time, then you’ll get 33 1/3% of the money in 45% of the time, unless line B2 is greater than B4 minus A1, in which case turn to Schedule E and divide by how many cats you own.”, and so forth. Frankly, I’m very happy to have come this far. One reason I put off starting it for a year is that a Kickstarter is, to me, nearly as personal as an online dating profile. You are putting yourself out there for very public approval or disapproval.
But, basically, in the great sea of Kickstarters out there, you need to stand out. We live in an age where, no matter how narrow your tastes in entertainment (“I only read Harry Potter/My Little Pony/Downton Abbey crossover fanfic!”), there’s more of it being produced than you could ever consume or be aware of. So, while I am of course hoping to get the attention of some of my FB friends who missed my prior posts, I’m also posting to those who have seen them and have pledged — I am going to need your help in telling others. If you pledged, I have to presume it’s because you want to see this book happen, and for it to happen, I need support.
And, of course, the link to the KS is at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/830842814/rogue-planet-adventures-on-the-star-prison
May 18, 2013
Well, after more anger, frustration, and pain than should remotely be required to do something this trivial, I’ve (mostly) completed my Kickstarter setup. I am waiting for Amazon and KS to finish verifying my tax information, address, bank account, Kenyan birth certificate, genetic code, and favorite videos at Pornhub. In the meanwhile, here’s the CORRECT preview link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/830842814/538743086?token=f9174777
I am unable to figure out how to enter stretch goals, however — is this something that can be done only after the project goes live?
May 9, 2013
Gods, sometimes, the stupidity — or, rather, active and malicious deception — from politicians is almost physically painful.
Let’s look here. Let’s pretend I’m a mentally ill terrorist spouse abuser, and I want a gun. I have $8,000.00. Do I:
a)Spend it on a 3D printer to produce a very dubious, unreliable, weapon, or,
b)Spend, oh, a few hundred on a decent handgun from a gazillion grey-market sources (or just steal one, since we’ve established I’m interested only in using a gun for criminal porpoises, so it’s not like I’m going to balk at theft if I’m planning murder)?
Let’s say… b.
You pretty much can’t ban the data file, or files, needed to produce this gun, or any future gun. In five years, ten years, maybe, the technology will advance to the point where such a weapon might be more likely to kill the target than to make it easier for the shooter to engage in Jamie Lannister cosplay. If/when that happens, it will still be impossible to stop the manufacture and distribution of the *plans*, any more than you can stop people from producing instructions for explosives (Dear Sen. Feinsteinn: You cannot outlaw chemistry, as much as you’d like to. Please stop trying.). So, fine, if it makes you feel all big and tough and manly, ban possession of 3D printed guns. But, again — the only people who will resort to this, who also have the money to BUY a 3D printer in the first place, are those who probably not overly aw abiding in the first place. You have a Catch-22: Those who would just like to print one for the “nifty” factor of “Hey, I made a gun!”, will probably obey the law… but this stops no crimes, as such people would not be using the gun criminally. Those who want a 3D printed gun because they plan crimes they cannot commit without one, and somehow can’t acquire one of the roughly 270 million extant guns in the United States, are not going to be dissuaded by a law against the gun. (A law against distributing the files would be effectively unenforceable; it would be used mostly to tack on some extra charges in another case, or serve to justify a search warrant if the files were detected via a prior warrant and… wait, I forgot. We don’t need no steenkin’ warrants because of the established legal principle of “Wharrgarbl 9-11 terrorism dead babies peas and carrots peas and carrots peas and carrots”.
Some might argue that stopping the distribution of kiddie porn is fairly effective, so, why not the distribution of gun blueprints? First, kiddie porn is outside the First Amendment, so it’s much, much, easier to arrest and try people for it. Raw factual information — how to make a gun, a bomb, or a virus (digital or otherwise) is not. USING that information may be criminal, but mere possession of it with no proof of intent to use? Legal under most circumstances. Second, just about everyone on the planet is rightfully repulsed by kiddie porn, and those who would produce it or traffic in it, and will tend to cooperate fully with law enforcement in pursuing it, even if they otherwise despise the cops/feds/whoever. There are some things which are sufficiently wrong and evil that you can get widespread cooperation and buy-in from otherwise highly disparate groups and ideologies. Blueprints for a gun? That doesn’t rise to the barest hint of a fraction of a percentage of the outrage factor. Sure, there’s probably some people out there who are more outraged by printed guns than by child abuse, but they’re known, generally, as “morons”. The vast majority of people, even those strongly opposed to firearm ownership, would still be more comfortable with a neighbor hiding a 3D printer than a child porn collection. This is why, of all the things it is technically illegal to distribute on the internet, the only one even remotely effectively controlled is child porn.
So, we have a politician using people’s innate fear and ignorance over technology to generate a lot of media attention about extremely unlikely and implausible scenarios, in order to promote a certainly ineffective and probably unconstitutional law. (Unconstitutional on 1A grounds for the plans; the state of 2A jurisprudence in America is so random and contradictory I wouldn’t guess at how banning the guns themselves would play out in the SC.) Or, as we like to call it in America, “a day ending in y”.
April 4, 2013
I filled out a little online writer’s thing about “How Do You Create Your Characters?”. Here’s what I posted:
For the most part, my characters just crawl out of some part of my brain and insert themselves into my stories. Even when I start with a goal in mind, the characters quickly write themselves, and often act in ways I did not anticipate or expect. For me, writing a story is very much a process of watching the story unfold in my head and simply transcribing what I see.
I often get an image in my head of a character, and then start asking, “Who is this person? What do they want? What’s that cool sword they’re carrying?” The answers just come to me. I start writing and see where it goes.
Obviously, all these people living in my head come from somewhere. They’re a mix of different aspects of my personality, bits of other people I know, iconic characters from other fiction or from history. My subconscious takes all these fragments and assembles them into someone. When I try to force a character, to create someone explicitly to fit some role or need in a story, or to serve as a specific foil or plot device, it’s a difficult and painful process. It’s much easier to relax, lose myself in the imagined world, and see who walks “on stage” to take up the part they need to play. The process of editing, correcting, adjusting, and so on, is, for me, something akin to checking my sources and verifying my facts — I realize I’d gotten someone’s family history wrong, or misquoted them in some dialog. I’m not changing the characters, I’m correcting the mistakes I made when I first wrote down the story they told me. When I look back on my writing, I can always tell where I was working too hard to impose my idea of what the story *should* be; those are the parts which are forced, awkward, and unnatural. The best parts are where I was simply smashing keys as fast as I could, copying down what was happening in my head in real time.
If your characters aren’t alive in your mind, they’ll never be alive on the page.
February 22, 2013
Not much to add to this, really. Of course, I suspect that if he had signed it as ordered, they would have seized his boat on the grounds he committed fraud. So long as Americans continue to roll over whenever someone chants the magic words “terrorists” or “children” (even better, “terrorists want to kill your children!”), these kinds of abuses will continue, and 99.99% of the victims do not have the kind of media platform it takes to get them noticed.
January 31, 2013
So, Slashdot linked to a “great piece” about how renewable energy won’t save us, because, you know, even if we build a Dyson Sphere, eventually, we’ll still expand to consume it all. And, really, worrying if a solution will work a million years from now is certainly the top priority for evaluating it, don’t you think?
I felt some summary and translation was in order. Here is Ms. Stover’s “great piece”, written to more accurately express her true sentiments and the origin of her beliefs. (Sadly, there’s no comment section on the article itself. Funny, that.)
“Beware, oh ye sinners! You who consume the flesh of beasts, you who buy trinkets of little worth, you who defile and despoil the Earth! Beware! Your times of joy and revelry will end! Suffering shall come, and pain, and torment, lest ye repent your sinful ways! Repent! There is no salvation in the sun! There is no salvation in the tides! There is no salvation in the wind! There is no salvation even in the poisonous fires of the atom itself! No, none! No salvation but the cessation of your sins!”
There we go. Much shorter, too. She should hire me as an editor.
January 9, 2013
Please note the date this strip was published. The next time someone (who probably wasn’t born in 1958) pulls out this cliche about “kids today”, point them to this. Then, point AT them and laugh. Or just quote Kipling. You can never go wrong by quoting Kipling.
“Farewell, Romance!” the Cave-men said;
“With bone well carved He went away,
Flint arms the ignoble arrowhead,
And jasper tips the spear to-day.
Changed are the Gods of Hunt and Dance,
And He with these. Farewell, Romance!”
“Farewell, Romance!” the Lake-folk sighed;
“We lift the weight of flatling years;
The caverns of the mountain-side
Hold him who scorns our hutted piers.
Lost hills whereby we dare not dwell,
Guard ye his rest. Romance, farewell!”
“Farewell, Romance!” the Soldier spoke;
“By sleight of sword we may not win,
But scuffle ‘mid uncleanly smoke
Of arquebus and culverin.
Honour is lost, and none may tell
Who paid good blows. Romance, farewell!”
“Farewell, Romance!” the Traders cried;
“Our keels have lain with every sea;
The dull-returning wind and tide
Heave up the wharf where we would be;
The known and noted breezes swell
Our trudging sails. Romance, farewell!”
“Good-bye, Romance!” the Skipper said;
“He vanished with the coal we burn.
Our dial marks full-steam ahead,
Our speed is timed to half a turn.
Sure as the ferried barge we ply
‘Twixt port and port. Romance, good-bye!”
“Romance!” the season-tickets mourn,
“He never ran to catch His train,
But passed with coach and guard and horn –
And left the local — late again!”
Confound Romance!… And all unseen
Romance brought up the nine-fifteen.
His hand was on the lever laid,
His oil-can soothed the worrying cranks,
His whistle waked the snowbound grade,
His fog-horn cut the reeking Banks;
By dock and deep and mine and mill
The Boy-god reckless laboured still!
Robed, crowned and throned, He wove His spell,
Where heart-blood beat or hearth-smoke curled,
With unconsidered miracle,
Hedged in a backward-gazing world;
Then taught His chosen bard to say:
“Our King was with us — yesterday!”
January 3, 2013
And in other news, smokers who quit smoking will be assessed a fee to help counterbalance the loss of revenue from high cigarette taxes which they would otherwise have paid. Remember, there’s no problem that can’t be solved by raising taxes on *someone*!
There’s no comment section I can find on Seattle PI, so, here’s what I emailed in response to the imbecile who wrote this pathetic claptrap:
If violent media is “poisoning the nation’s soul”, then why is violent crime roughly half what it was in 1991? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States#Crime_over_time )
Games and movies and TV are more violent now than in 1991, we agree — and violent crime is *dramatically* lower, despite the economic problems that often cause an increase in crime.
It’s funny you don’t mention this, but you DO mention Dave Grossman. Let’s see, 14 years ago, we had a homicide rate between 6.8 and 5.7, as the 1998 figures aren’t in the chart I’m referencing. In 2010, as you see, we have a homicide rate of 4.8. This means Mr. Grossman’s predictions are proven wrong, and it takes <1 minute to find this out — but you fail to mention this inconvenient truth. Why is that?