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“Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science.” - Girl Genius, by Kaja & Phil Foglio

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

Perspective, it's all about perspective ...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just drop off the TV. Git yourself free.

In a recent conversation with yet another incredulous person about how I don’t watch television (said person trying to sell me cable TV over the phone), I referred to the DVD player as The Gadget Hooked to the TV That Plays Movies (or something equally odd).  My daughter rolled her eyes and said how it made me sound old. 

Maybe it was a senior moment.  Hey, they can happen to anyone.

Or it was one of those curious turns my mind sometimes takes to avoid a perceived cliché. (If everyone says that, it must be cliché.  Avoid!  Avoid!  Avoid!)  This leads to me sounding a bit like Mr. Pratchett’s character Leonard of Quirm on occasion, who famously named his submarine “The Going Under the Water Safely Device” and something similar to Scrabble “The Make Words with Letters That Have All Been Mixed Up Game.”  (See Jingo.  On second thought, read Jingo!  Advice from your local Evangelical Pratchettian.  You’re welcome.)

Where was I?  Oh, right, mind avoiding anything that may resemble a cliché.  This has happened to me for years.  I suppose the blame lies in the writing workshops I took years ago.  They beat the word “that” out of my prose and set some kind of alarm system for those nasty common phrases. 

[Side trip to the thesaurus.  Cliché:  n. platitude, truism, saw, maxim, stereotype,  Inf.  bromide, prosaism, banality, commonplace, old story, old song, familiar tune, old saw, chestnut.  wOOt!  I came up with one not on the list.  What does your thesaurus say?  I have The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale.]

Clichés do pop up in my conversations, of course, but the alarm goes off in my head when it happens, followed by an immediate desire to edit what I said.  Weird writer chick, that's me.

{Today's blog title from "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover" by Paul Simon}

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Day

It’s not quite the end of the month.  There is no way I will finish another book before Friday morning, especially since I haven’t even started one, so here’s the list of what I’ve read so far this year:

(1)  David Jauss, On Writing Fiction, Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft.  Essays on point of view, flow, epiphanies, and more. 
(2)  Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn.  Beautiful writing.


(3) Seanan McGuire, Discount Armageddon.  Marvelous fun!  A monster-protecting competition-level ballroom dancer protagonist who is seriously awesome!
(4) Elizabeth Bear, By the Mountain Bound.  Prequel to All the Windwracked Stars.  Good fantasy, spun from a Norse foundation

(5) Elizabeth Bear, The Sea Thy Mistress.  Sequel to All the Windwracked Stars.  Now I’ve finally read all three books that make up the Edda of Burdens series. 

(6) N.K. Jemisin, The Kingdom of Gods.  Book three in The Inheritance Trilogy.  Marvelous and satisfying.
(7) Ellen Datlow, ed, Naked City.  Anthology of urban fantasy stories by Jim Butcher, Holly Black, Elizabeth Bear, and others.  Loved it!  The title is from an early 60's detective show. 

My last book post covered the first quarter of the year (January - March).  Didn’t seem worth repeating the list at the end of April with only one addition, so I waited.  Two of the new ones on the list are from the TBR* pile (Bear and Jemisin) and one is a recent purchase (Datlow). 

My target is two per month (average) for the year.  Gonna have to have some three books or more months to make that happen.  Oh, yeah, seriously, because if I do NaNo that shoots both October and November for reading.  I’m having a great time writing the new ending to my novel, though, and I’ve already scheduled a movie binge for when that’s done.   Sherlock!  The Prisoner!  Well, they’re both TV shows, but several episodes combined are as long as a movie ...  perhaps I should call it a DVD binge.

Reading will happen.  I have confidence.

*TBR = To Be Read.  I have several piles, including a few PDF books in the computer.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I do my part by simply smiling

I am still around, puttering and muttering and proclaiming there are Not Enough Hours in Thee Day.  Fortunately you’re out of earshot.   Daughter goes off to the stable or work so doesn’t have to hear it, either. 

Da books!  Da movies!  Da writing!  (groans Da Chicagoan)  They are all Piling Up! 

There’s a brief window around here between freezing your tushie and frying your tushie and we are THERE.  So I’ve been outside a lot.  Not doing anything particularly interesting - although I saw a pair of eagles the other day while walking.  No camera with me, of course.  I never seem to have it when cool stuff happens.  And they were right overhead!  

No eclipse viewing for me.  It was primarily west of here, but Chicago had clouds in honor of the astronomical event anyway.

(Photo by wunderphotographer mcgino, in New Mexico.  No clouds there yesterday.)

I have bought books (Carol King’s autobiography and Naked City, an urban fantasy short story anthology).  The second season of Sherlock comes out tomorrow and I have a coupon ...  I still haven’t reached the new ending on the novel, although it is now longer than ever (over 55K). 

Ze piles they do grow. 

(Title of today’s entry is a line from the song “Ampersand” by Amanda Palmer, the current choice of the iPod shuffle.)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dots - Red and Blue

You’ve probably heard through various news outlets that last month was one of the warmest Aprils on record.  Where it stands in the stats depends on what region you consider:  5th warmest globally, 4th warmest for the US.  Land surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere were 1.7°C (3.1°F) above the 20th century average.

(Click on the map to see an enlarged version.)

I like these pictures NOAA does because they give a visual of what goes into creating a statistic like a global average.  What’s happening at “your house” might be near that global average, or wildly divergent from it. 

Some people who work hard at denying the earth is warming will point out that glaciers in the Himalayas and some parts of Antarctica are growing.  Look at the map above and you’ll see blue dots in those areas.  Eastern Greenland even has a blue dot.  Yes, there are areas that are cooler than average, but talking only about them is cherry-picking data. 

There are very few blue dots on the land.  Very few.  And the land is where we live.

Sunday, May 6, 2012