Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Project, step one, part b

The first packet of information arrived today. I feel like I did in highschool, when I was getting all kinds of fancy mail from schools who liked my PSAT scores. The presentations have gotten more elegant, I think. I'm impressed by heavy stationary, too.

First one. Goddard College, a fairly prestigious school in the cloistered universe of the MFA, or so I understand. Inside the very nice, multi-flapped folder with a corrugated front cover and the words "At the Heart of your Mind" is a letter to me from the admissions office, welcoming my inquiry and being so nice and interested.

I'm daunted right off. It's been a long time since anyone tried that particular tone of voice on me. Six years ago, in fact. I bought a car.

Then there's a list of what it costs. Well, at least it's under 4 digits, with nothing after the decimal point. Even with travel expenses and residency fees (since this is a low residency program) my car cost more. A lot more. Still...erk! That's a lot of house payments. That's three big-screen LED TVs with a pack of new DVDs.

I haven't even girded my loins to look at the requirements for application. I'm just enjoying the corrugated paper on the folder. I'm thinking about my list of programs yet to contact. I'm looking at the AWP program guide book I just got and thinking "I want my MFA. I want my MFA." And yes, it's Sting's voice, with Mark Knopfler's guitar, in the background.

I'm Right and You're a Poopoo Head

Let me put this in (my) perspective. I don't want this kind of stuff to be true. I don't want to think that my country's government would be so two-faced, so dishonest, and so stupid. So I'd like to agree. I really, really would.
Bush Calls Human Rights Report 'Absurd'

The problem is, this is the real world and all my wishes and hopes and dreams don't amount to a pile of dogshit when compared to what people in power will do when they think they can get away with it.
[Power + (People+anger/fear)]* No-one-finds-out = abusive behavior.
I struggled with algebra and even I can work out that equation.

This is the line in the article that arrested my attention: "harsh criticism of U.S. treatment of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ...were made by prisoners 'who hate America'".

Ok, my problems are these. First, if someone is abusing you, restraining you, restricting you, and making you unhappy, you may well hate them. Second, pointing out wrong things a person (or a government) are doing is not necessarily hate-inspired. Third, I've heard this particular line of logic before, and it comes down to "You don't agree with me because you hate America", which is based on a set of assumptions so tissue thin and blatantly idiotic as to require no further explanation.

Unfortunately for the world at large, most people view "nation/government/citizens" as being the same thing. I am, whether I like it or not, what my government (whether I voted for it or not) has done, is doing, and will do. What that Texan in the White House says becomes, even against my will, words out of my mouth. I lack even the power of slapping him upside the head, which I could do for myself if I heard such idiocy falling from my own lips. The actions of soldiers on the ground, no matter how much I support them for swearing to defend the nation in which I live, become my actions, no matter what I might think about them or would rather have done.

Thus we come to the real meaning of "representational democracy".

Monday, May 30, 2005

Just eeww

Nothing's wrong. No disasters. In fact, the day was reasonably pleasant. I'm just in a MOOD. I don't like things. I'm grumpy. Maybe I've had too much sugar.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Geeky girl hates geeks

I spent this weekend sitting behind my booth once more, at a local SF/Fantasy show. At least I assume that's what goes on. It's really just a geek-fest. There's not a thing wrong with that. I've had many a fine, fine day hanging with "my people". As I age, thought, misanthropy sets in. I just don't like most of the people I meet at these shows (with some prominent exceptions).

I find the annoying types break into three categories:

1) The Glory Hound. This person, male or female, seeks to impress you with tales of their successful derring-do (usually in the context of a roleplaying game or gaming situation). Among friends, particularly those with whom you've gamed, this is fine and fun. When a complete stranger wearing a name tag starts, it is annoying. I don't know anyone involved, I don't know why you need to impress me, and I don't like you well enough to listen to this shit. Sometimes they relate their dealings with various organizations, like the phone company or a hospital. Let me explain again. Unless I KNOW you, I DON'T CARE. Please, go impress someone else for a while.

2) The Slavish Admirer. I see this more often around authors and minor celebrities, where crowds of geek types are leg-humping and fighting for attention like puppies over momma's best teat. Because I am an artist and dealer at these shows -- and I have a very attractive husband who dresses to take advantage, the bastidge -- this kind of behavior occasionally comes my way (or someone tries to use me as an access way to my husband, in a kind of circular logic I don't grasp). This is unattractive behavior. Cut it out.

3) The Perpetual Victim. Perpetual Victims have a tale of woe in repertoire, and will recite it complete with gestures and ooky personal details within 5 minutes of making eye contact. Everything is wrong for these people, everyone is out to get them, and none of it is their fault. I am the only sympathetic ear they've found in the last 15...minutes. These people don't understand that once they've started their mind-numbing rendition of all their (usually self-caused) troubles, I'm joining up with the other side. I'm as sympathetic as the next person and I understand that sometimes people really have pain and trials. However, again, I DON'T KNOW YOU. I can't help you. I'm working as a jeweler, not a therapist, and you aren't buying anything from me. I heard you telling this story at the last booth you were at next to mine, and you are going to tell the exact same story at the next booth. Really. Go away.

I barely talk to people at shows anymore, because it is never immediately evident (geeks being what we are) when some average looking guy in a Star Trek uniform will turn into one of these creatures. I must force myself to look up at potential customers to give the friendly smile and greeting. I certainly don't try to engage them in conversation while they peruse the booth because, oh no, they might start TALKING TO ME. *sigh* I do not have the right personality for sales. I just don't.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Let's talk about "Blogs" - a by-no-means exhaustive list of links

It takes no time at all to learn I'm fascinated by how people communicate, and in particular, in how they use tools like the Internet to communicate. I've stared at my own bloggy navel often enough here, and it's a popular past time throughout the Blogosphere (oh save me, I'm using jargon now!) Some recent reading has made me curious, and so I present to you...

The Evil that Blogs Do

Most of these linked articles and entries have further links. I've only explored a portion and some are old and gone now. I have divided them into some (admittedly shaky) catagories.

The "Blaise Cronin" article and rebuttals

Dean's Notes: BLOG: see also Bathetically Ludicrous Online Gibberish
Gresham’s Law and the Blogosphere
I Speak of Dreams: Blaise Cronin thinks I'm Publishing Sententious Drivel
Why Do We Blog?
Blaise Cronin, Gormangate Wannabe
Cronin-gate
Blogs: Moving the Bait

Weblogs and Business

Blogs Gone Bad: The Darker Side of the Blogging Boom
Secret CIO: Beware The Blog In Your Company's Future
Why blogs could be bad for business
Why Blogs Are Bad For Your Business

Bad Blogging Practices

Blogs Gone Bad
Blogs With Bad Vibes
When Blogging Goes Bad: A Cautionary Tale About Blogs, Email Lists, Discussion, and Interaction

Unclassified Weblog Evil

A blog on blogs
When the Spam Hits the Blogs
Newspaper Blogs a Bad Idea
See why blogs make bad TV
Blogs Are Bad For Children... Again.. And Again...
The Anti-Blog
Why your Movable Type blog must die
Shel Holtz: Stop Defining Blogs
In praise of blogs
Good Weblogs/Bad Weblogs
better writing through blogging?


There are a lot more opinions out there, most of which (after a skim off the top under different search criteria) break down into "Blogs are bad"/"blogs are good"/"Blogs just ARE"/"You just don't understand!"/"Eh?". I think I'm moving into the "Eh?" catagory myself, but it's been interesting reading!

Clogging it up for Respected Academicians

Ah, how I do love links. The conversation about weblogs, their purpose (or lack thereof), and particular irritations arising from them has wound in a new-to-me direction (via Lazygal).

Did you realize that all these weblogs (especially you evil, narcissistic, puppy-picture-posting LiveJournalers) are clogging up the important internet searches of important academic types with our trivia, uninformed opinions, and other detritus?

I should have guessed it from viewing my referral list.

http://www.google.com/search?h...r=&q=%22traffic school exam%22
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=orthodontic torture
http://www.google.com/search?h...&q=dancing wookies&btnG=Search
http://www.google.com/search?h...q=nervous talking to strangers

(the Lizzy Bordon Sex Video one has me creeped out completely. Obviously a person of great academic authority....erg...I need to bathe in Hydrogen Peroxide now...)

On a less mocking note, I can sort of see the point. The Internet was supposed to be the "Information Highway" (can barely type that without cringing) and so it has become -- complete with junk food, tourist traps, side shows, tittie bars, and everything else our nation's highways can offer. Obviously a lot of people want that sort of thing (I consider myself to be a small town, franchise "Arby's" equivalent, to extend the metaphor way too far.)

It might even be worthwhile to collect a list of all the vile things Weblogs do to muck up the Internet...I mean, why contribute to the cause if you don't know what your contribution is doing to spoil the lives of others?

Step 1 of the Big Project

Ok, I'm working on that check list. I've done preliminary research on 7 low residency programs. I know there are a couple more I need to check out but at least now I have information on its way to me.

I also did revisions on a manuscript that I may use. Now to get a friend of mine, who is also a teacher and a talented writer, to read it for me, or, if she cannot, someone else who's a worthwhile critic.

Next step will be to contact my "Alma Mater" (Latin is so handy this way) to get those transcripts and such that I will need. I have one potential recommendation letter writer, and I might be able to wangle another from an old professor. Lordie, that may be the hardest part, next to the essay.

The essay. Getting completely stuck on the final essay was what came between me and finishing my writing minor, but there were extenuating circumstances in play, too (like a crushing clinical depression). I quaver in fear about that essay.

Anyway, first baby steps accomplished.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I'm just being honest here

The ability to say whatever comes to mind is not necessarily the best reason to actually say it. I've turned this idea over in my mind for years. Now, in a venue such as a weblog or among groups of close friends, one needn't weigh so very much one's words. Over the years, however, I've discovered the defense of "It's the truth!" or "I'm just being honest" is used as a thin gloss coating for general rudeness and self-aggrandizement.

I don't know why I'm on this particular soapbox today, as nothing in particular has taken place. There is no visible catalyst. I have no person(s) in mind. This is just a freebie, a bit of wisdom, something to be tattooed on the foreheads of generations to come, backwards so they can read it in the mirror each morning.

Just because you think something does not mean you should say it.

There's a corrolary to this, which could merely be embroidered on one's undewear.

Never ask a question to which you really don't want an answer.

Face it, there are questions people ask to which there are no "good" answers, no matter how insightful or honest the person answering may be. Top most in my mind is the perennial favorite "Do I look fat in this?" I've given my husband complete permission to leave the room if those words ever leave my lips. He can't win. If he says "yes" I will be crushed, immediately diving into a muumuu and crawling under the bed, never to see the light of day again. If he said "no" I will not believe him and will watch him closely for signs that he's just trying to get me to shut the hell up. Even a qualified answer of "You never look fat to me" will meet suspicion. There simply isn't an answer to that question I want to hear.

This works on other questions, semi-innocently asked. Just because I order a salad for lunch, saying "Oh, are you on a diet?" is not necessary. Trust me, the many answers I can develop, none of which are as simple as "yes" or "no", are not answers you wish to hear.

Now, back to that "being honest" thing. Absolutely, the ONLY people who should ever have their clothing critiqued directly to their faces are celebrities, because that's the only thing keeping Joan Rivers employed. Celebrities have this as part of their function, and being told "the honest truth" (as opposed to that other kind of truth) is just built in to counterbalance the priveledge of their lives. For the rest of us -- really, not nececssary. Either we know and have no choice, it's all a matter of opinion, or telling us isn't really going to make us change.

And that's the issue. When you tell someone something out of the honest goodness of your wee little heart, there's often another motive at work which will be exposed in its bloody, ugly entirity with just a little analysis. Telling peole they are rude SOBs is only useful if 1) they are capable of seeing the error of their ways 2) they will allow the humiliation 3) they feel the need to make a change. Otherwise, chances are good that those rude SOBs do not agree with your assessment of their behavior, will take a hearty and perhaps violent affront, and will proceed to demonstrate to you just what exemplars of rude SOBness they can be.

Remarking to a shy friend that her new dress makes her look "kinda slutty", saying "Hey, your die job almost covers all the roots" or "that tooth bleaching really made a difference" serves no purpose except to crush the delicate lily of her soul and make the speaker feel superior. Very often, words of "honesty" are spoken for the sole and exclusive purpose of raising the speaker to a higher social strata by creating a pile of mangled bodies upon which to climb.

I am as subject to the stones and arrows of "honest" words as anyone else, but I find that a little analysis (once I've recovered enough composure to make it) can often save me from complete humiliation. I'm not necessarily a great wit (although I have moments), but the simple reply of "Does it make you feel better about your flaws to point mine out publicly? So happy to serve." can often be quelling, and once rehearsed requires no thought to slam out. When that is not sufficiently satisfying, a pleasant smile and a reverse compliment often does the trick. "Does this dress make me look slutty? I really liked the style on you" or, more directly "Well, no more taking fashion cues from you, dear!"

Better off not to even have the verbal sparing. Except for those poor souls who will take damage to last them the rest of their lives from the self-aggrandizing words of unthinking companions, most people aren't going to change anyway. Why waste the breath? After all, there are defenseless celebrities to scourge!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Being a Grownup

Ok, so I've made the decision. Graduate school it is. I am not so much interested in obtaining an MFA in Creative Writing (although that is the ostensible goal) as I am in having those two or three or four years of intensity. I want someone interested in my writing, even if only as a teacher paid to be so. I can handle that.

But trying to get my brain around what I have to do -- that's hard. I can't explain quite what happens. It's like I think about doing this, and a huge heavy fog crosses the landscape. I don't have a map, I don't even have a raincoat and walking shoes, so I stumble and fret, trying to find the first point toward which I should walk. I know what to do, in an abstract sense. I also know there are a million little things that must also be done, equally abstract. I fear -- yes, that's what it is -- I fear coming across one of those little things and not being able to do it, or coming to it too late, or doing the wrong little thing.

Nibbled to death by ducks. Yes, I know.

So I've broken it down and set a time limit. I bought a book for adult students returning to school to get over some of the little things. I've talked briefly to friends who've already done it (as traditional students and non-traditional). I've got a check list

1) determine what schools/programs suit me
2) figure out what I need to appy (letters of recommendation, essays, manuscripts, etc.)
3) apply
4) wait anxiously

Financing and all that comes later. It's that #2 I find so problematic. I foresee winding my way through labrynthine administration rabbit warrens trying to track down bits of my past important to no one but me, but not owned by me nor available to me because time has passed since I went this way...I see having to hunt up people with the right credentials and enough positive feeling toward me to read manuscripts and write letters. I see a lot of confusion and trouble and anxiety. I'm really good at those, with my demon chorus in tow screaming epithets and enflaming my doubts and self-loathing, all the "what-ifs" and "you can'ts" piling up like logs for the fire.

I get really tired of them, that demon chorus. I've spent time and effort trying to help them find new careers (maybe in cosmetology?) or at least take vacations, all for naught. They are a dedicated bunch, my demons.

So, anyway, that's the path I've set for myself this summer. I'll use the energy of hurricane season as my personal fuel source, or something symbolic like that. And if I get lost, could someone toss me a rope?

Vital Midday IM

ME: YOUR CAT IS DISGUSTING!!!!

HIM: ?!?

ME: GUZZY!

HIM: threw up on the bed?

ME: She had POOP on her butt -- STINKY POOP...so she hops on the BED to wipe her smelly ass on the BEDSPREAD

HIM: LOLOLOL
HIM: *bad kitty*

ME: Now the bedspread STINKS and has to be WASHED again
ME: because SHE CAN'T CLEAN HER OWN BUTT
ME: which I did clean, with a huge protective wad of Kleenex
ME: but...ICK!

HIM: poor baby
HIM: being a kitty mommy is tough

ME: there is poop EVERYWHERE

HIM: ?!?

ME: that was fresh, just done on the carpet POOP
ME: STINKY, I CAN'T GET NEAR IT POOP
ME: Erk

HIM: okay, I'll be home in a half hour, I'll take care of it

ME: why do we have non-boxable cats? why?

HIM: I don't know

ME: She's a bitter old lady cat

HIM: yes she is. She's just a poopy old lady cat

ME: She's eying your shoes in the closet right now

HIM: lol
HIM: I'll check them for bombs

ME: She just jumped up on the CLOSET SHELF to wipe her butt on the velvet pillow from our wedding

HIM: sheesh
HIM: my but she's got attitude today
HIM: (put the pillow up higher)
HIM: I'm amazed she can still jump up that high

ME: Me, too, actually
ME: I think she did it again, must go check. do not TRUST her
ME: nope, she's doing evil somewhere else

HIM: lol
HIM: my neurotic kitty, how I love her

Voices in Wartime

I came across Voices in Wartime just today, from a photo in a magazine that completly arrested my attention. I've just begun exploring what the site offers, but already I feel very moved by what I've read and seen. It might do the same for you.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

More BIF - New Reading

I said I'd talk about some of the new-to-me sites I've found lately. I've run across a group of "So Not-me" sites, sites that delve into areas distant, if not physically, then metaphorically, from my life, yet intriguing to me non-the-less. (I'll have to follow up this with the "So Like Me" set, and that may piss off more people...)


Club Life. I've mentioned this one before and I'm still enthused. The club bouncer is prone to stereotypes, and while the brawny guy with brains is yet another stereotype (or counter-stereotype), a bouncer articulate and funny enough to write about his experiences as well as this weblog is written just adds to the general "What the fuck?" I get here. This is so far removed from my personal experience that it might as well be fiction, and written well enough that I really don't care one way or the other. I think fiction requires better writing than non-fiction, since the non-fiction writer can always fall back on "but it's the truth! That's what happened!" Let me not get into theories of fiction and non-fiction here, either; I don't have the credentials...

Because I like it so damn much that I started at the first archive I could find and have been reading forward in order, I also feel rather free to make a negatively critical comment. There's a little web-app in the sidebar that, from what I could tell when I clicked through, keeps track of how many people are reading the site at any time. All well and good, but the text is apparently user-optional and I'm not comfortable being refered to as a 'jerkoff on the dance floor' because I read this person's weblog. First, why do I need to give time and attention to someone so openly contemptuous of me simply because I dare read a publicly posted weblog? I mean, why post if you don't want anyone to read? I suspect it may be some kind of male bonding humor, or an aspect of the particular sports oriented banter occasioned between men, and is fine between friends or working acquaintances, but it's lost on me (being female and a stranger to the writer). Maybe it's the whole Groucho Marx thing. Second, it makes me wax philosophical about attitudes (in this case, occasionally antagonistic) of weblog writers toward weblog readers and the reverse and no one needs me to start waxing ANYTHING. At least, I can save it for another post.

The only things this weblog needs, really, is a good editor and a book deal. Honest.


Celebrity Trash. I am not a follower of fashion or trends. I watch E! only rarely (usually due to a high fever) and I know more about movie stars from the 40's than about anyone recently on the radar. I scan the headlines of the tabloids while waiting for my Cornflakes to be rung up and that's about it.

Nevertheless, I harbor that secret, dark curiousity about what's REALLY going on in the trailers and condos of the well-known and well-supplied. That's why I have a fondness for this late discovery. Mella has been around, I'm certain, doing her thing for some time now. It isn't the particular news she pulls up, or the people she skewers. It's how honestly she does it. I think I like that best. No matter how sharp the blade of truth she stabs at the silicon breasts of popular culture, she reminds us that, in reality, she's just a little jealous. I can identify with that. I like it. She sets a tone where we can all diss whatever and whomever she writes about, and we all know we are a little jealous, but that doesn't spoil the fun!

The only negative I can come up with is sometimes the photos she finds and posts are just...they haunt me. I have to brain purge afterwards. That Pamela Sue Anderson one....erk! My eyes!


Temporary Trouble Spots. Sort of a "like me/not like me" site. I can't even begin to explain what I mean by that, so you'll have to work it out for yourself. Between razor sharp rants at modern culture (and his own participation in it) and some gut wenching revelations of personal truth, I alternately laugh (in a carefully controlled, non-spit-ejecting way) and weep (artistically, so as not to offend). The writing attracts me, because it is, again, almost fiction level perfect (ok, he's got a comma problem. That's what editors are FOR...) and the humor is the particular blend of absurdity, dry wit and broad comedy that makes me think of Monty Python and David Sedaris.

Complaints? His shoes are better than mine. Oh, he struggles, as do many weblog writers, with not saying enough about some things and saying too much about others, trying to find that line of balance, and sometimes he raises the walls of self protection very high. I sense the more interesting stuff, the really engaging stuff, is just out of reach behind the curtain. There are factors in that I accept, and I also think that time and practice will help him solve those conundrums.


OK, those are my three for now. I've determined to go through the entire blogroll over there, three and four at a time, and tell each and every one of the 10 people reading this why I have that particular site on that particular list. It's a project.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Home and all that

Not even unpacked yet.

I promised I'd do the Blog It Forward thing, and I shall, because I've been remiss. I've experienced a grand increase in the number of sites I'm reading, which is all positive. And I wish to ruminate a bit (like that is either new or surprising. Shut up.)

I do not want a giant Blogroll, in part because, well, damn, it's hard to get through a giant Blogroll. Reading everyone becomes a full time job. Some people do not want their sites made terribly public, too, and so I don't put those up. Others are, like me, attention whores, puppies in the petstore window, and feel all the radiating love of a big hug and a cookie when someone mentions their site, much less includes it in a link list. I don't link JUST because someone links me, though, because then I'd get all hurt if other people didn't do that, or I'd feel obligated and it would become a duty (because sometimes you can know a person in face to face life and like them just fine, but not want to link their site, and other uncomfortable truths).

I also want my Blogroll to remain, forever and always, meaningful. So, I tend to clean out any site where the owner has, for stated reasons or reasons unknown, stopped posting for a few months. Boom, gone, no hard feelings, just...no posts. I also drop a site when the posting moves in a direction that doesn't interest me. That's not a personal thing, but people's interests change -- hell, I can't stay in a single topic area for more than a week, so I certainly don't expect anyone else to exibit monomaniacle tendencies. But if your current manis doesn't interest me, that's fine, I don't have to read it and I don't have to list it. I've often wandered back to sites when the wind changes.

Last, I reserve the right to be petty and small minded and to eliminate a link from my list just because I got pissed off. Because I'm fair about such things, I will also remove links by request if the site owner doesn't want association with my site. Fair is fair and that really doesn't bother me. I have, in the past, made a post linked to a post on another site that, for one reason or another, pissed off the original poster, which I didn't intend, but I removed the link when it was requested. Eh, life is too short and all that.

(And I just started thinking "I wonder if I can find a weblog with a title for every letter of the alphabet...I've got the hard ones covered already..." Hmph. Meaningful. Anyway...)

So, I'm going through that list over there, grooming and moving sites to other lists (I'm trying to group sites about books over there (eventually) and writing over there) and I'm going to pull up three of my favorites that I've read the longest. Inspirations, you might say.

Hidden City - a sort of "grand master of the weblog", in my tiny mind, anyway. Kevin's played with the form many times. He doesn't take it too seriously except when he does. He uses his cyber space for whatever occurs to him at the time, which I admire. I love his photos. I enjoy his reviews. I even have a good time surfing the weird edge of his deeper reflections.

Insula/Reality Asylum -- Another grand master, especially because he'd make a face at me if he heard me say that, complete with eye rolling and possibly throwing things. Rien has been doing this for a very long time, keeping his site the old fashioned way, a page at a time. I've followed his adventures from Dutch TV editor to Greek Tattoo artist (and wall painter), for as long as I've known about weblogs and online journals, even traveling over there to meet him, his beloved, and his cat. I read him because I like his point of view, and because under all the anarchy, punk, black clothes and hard edged cynicism is a gentle, genuine, kind and generous person. Can't beat that combo. Great words, great photos.

The Sole Proprietor -- Another "old fashioned" journal, with pictures. Prop is one of the older online writers I've found, and that makes him valuable to me, because, damn, I'm heading there, too. They have everything there in Oakland, and Prop will tell you about it. However, he does NOT POST ENOUGH PICTURES OF MISS EMMY but I suspect the little black kitty of being shy, or scared of those studio lights.

Hmm, I note that I've put up all men and all photo-heavy sites. There were women writing who inspired me, but many of them have either pulled up stakes or changed their sites greatly so that I no longer read them (or know where they are online). I envy the photos because, for reasons not quite clear to me, I can point to Husband to take a particular shot, but I can't manage one myself (in part, I suspect, because of the weird quality of my eyesight).

Next week when I do this, I'll concentrate on the new sites I'm excited about. Go check out these three, though, and wave "hi" as you cruise by.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Home and Adventure's End

Long, completely uneventful drive (except for a maroon 18 wheeler who seemed to have it in for me -- why tailgate me, than pass me (in the right lane -- I was in the center and no one was in the left) only to get in front of me and SLOW THE HELL DOWN?!?!?!?

Happily he/she/it had to pull off at a weigh station.

I barely even remember the drive, except there are lots of wildflowers blooming right now and I have a headache and at least one cat is visibly happy to see me. The others gave me the "Oh, you're home? Would you be a dear and see about the food bowl?" looks. I've also got a new flatscreen monitor and scanner/copier/printer humming along, woo hoo. The Husband went Shopping...going to go see if lying in my own bed will eliminate the headache.

A solution to the Blgroll Popularity thing/Closing Time

I think it was last week or thereabouts when I wrote at length on blogrolls and assorted opinions thereof. The one complaint -- and it is valid -- is that blogrolls and link lists are something of a popularity contest and a bid to "make friends and influence people". That is, you'd get a link for no other reason than you linked to someone. The arguement was made that a person should actually POST about the sites he or she likes, in a thoughtful way, and let that stand.

Someone's been doing that for a while. Buzz over at Buzzstuff was on long term hiatus last time I checked, so he fell off my list (I try not to list non-posting sites). But he's back, and he's doing the Blog If Forward thing he started a long time ago. It's kinda like a meme, only more of a youyou, and I've always thought it was a great idea for , those folks who INTEND to write about other sites and recommend them, but just never quite get around to it. For those of you who hate memes, it isn't the typical meme (or Friday 5 or Tuesday Two or whatever the hell) because the whole purpose is to get you to do something you kinda wanna do anyway.

Yeah, it can still be seen as a popularity contest, but you actualy have to make with the sweet nothings in public.
=================================================

So, in any case, I'll be making a return to BIF as soon as I return home. Everything is in the car but the laptop and me. Still got one more workshop -- my story, hopefully last, because at this point I've heard all about it I can stand and I know what I can and should do with it.

I think this was a good experience. I don't know if I feel differently about myself as a writer, but I feel a little better about my writing. I now see the value of an MFA program as something more than just a credential (I get this piece of paper and I wear it on my chest because it says you should publish me, d'uh!). So, now, there's that to put on my plate. It's going to be a busy summer.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Penultimate

...is a word I've loved since Eric Idle introduced it into my vocabulary while wearing rather fruity Renaissance garb.

I leave this little hothouse of literary leanings tomorrow just after the noon hour. This means I must contrive to pack up everything and get it into my car before and after the last workshop. Now, physically, this isn't really difficult, if I don't mind having tonight be a bare bones sort of thing, and I get up sufficiently early tomorrow.

I've lived almost strictly on Pop-tarts ('smores), potato chips, bananas, grapes, and Diet Pepsi this week. If it wasn't for all the walking I've been doing, I wouldn't fit into my car anymore. A combination of not knowing where anything is, not wanting to drive around in a lost haze FINDING where everything is, and pure disinclination to leave my cave creates my dietary dilemma. I made one foray to Wal-Mart and that was it. The workshop has kindly fed me two meals of REAL food -- the kind that's warm, and vari-colored, and contains nutrients -- so I'm not entirely bereft. However, I am longing to be home, where I can microwave to my heart's content, or The Husband will admonish me and bring me food.

I'm a cat. I love him because he feeds me.

Had my second conference today. Since the one story has already been beaten to the ground, we talked about the two short pieces I read last night. Very productive. I've much to think on. For now, though, I must pack a little, stick stuff in my car (without the Muscular Husband's help -- he is SOOO useful, a regular multi-purpose being) and get through this last day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Why Quiz?

My little quiz seems to be slowly making its way around, mostly due to B and his posting (I mean, outside of you guys, who has heard of me?) This has fulfilled a happy, personal goal. You see, I'm damned nosy, which is why I have a Sitemeter and the Who Links thing and some other goodies hidden around. If someone posts a comment or makes a link to this site, chances are good I may like THEIR site. So, I run on over and take a peek. If I'm not instantly revulsed (dancing rainbows, twinkly little music tracks, pink on neon green, etc.) I stick it in my Fave's list to visit later.

I've discovered a handful of REALLY interesting sites (that means I really laughed or shook my head, or the writer is reading the same book I am) , another handful of kinda interesting sites ( smiled, and the writer used complete sentences) , and a couple of sites I really don't know for sure about yet, but something could happen any day(I could NOT identify the pictures). Some are popping up on my blogroll, so keep an eye on that magic list. (Oh, yeah, more magical than the tooth fairy).

See? You were all little minions in my evil plans. Thanks.

Continued Adventure

I seem to spend much of my time feeling embarrassed.

You see, I know I'm a chatterbox, a font of information, a source of...stuff. I can never decide if I'm contributing to the conversation or hogging the stage when I talk in a class or group. I'm never sure if someone is interested in what I say or politely tolerant.

I trip on a chair and bang my arm. I open my Diet Pepsi and the escaping carbonation hisses like a cow fart during the lecture. I am late for an appointment and have to reschedule.

I look at my writing and go back and forth, indecisive cat, from "this is good" to "this is drivel". I look forward to and fear discussing my work. Once I'm there, once I'm in the discussion, either my fears are confirmed or disproved, and I'm fine. At least I feel fine.

When I talk, I hear this confident voice, level and secure. In between, I find I'm sitting with my hands across my mouth. The swings are dizzying. It is like my confidence comes in waves, and when the water ebbs, I'm like some little shore creature scuttling under the sand for security until the next flood gives me a few moments of freedom.

Events are few, actually. The readings are interesting, I've managed to work a few pieces with another attendee, and I'm reading this afternoon. It's no problem READING a piece to a (small) audience, and hearing critique is no problem. The problem arises in between such events, when it's just me and my demon horde. The yowls and the sulpherous smell sucks my courage away. It gets steadily harder to tell those demons to fuck off.

UPDATE: Just finished my first story conference. Wow. I don't feel sick at all. Oh, I'm a little dissapointed in myself because I didn't see all this stuff I need to do, (demons who insist I be perfect talking there) but I know perfectly well that I need a reader, and a damn good reader, to get me to the level of literary fiction at which I aim. It was good, it was useful. Apparently even published authors need this kind of stuff. I am in awe. I want a nap and a pop-tart.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Typoe

I am humiliated.

Oh, not from the workshop. That was someone else's story, and between long silences we talked about it some. We are not a chatty group.

And not about the reading, which was quite good.

Not even about breaking the little lamp I brought when I hit it with my giant bag of holding.

Oh no. It's my manuscript.

You see, this story I submitted is an older one, and was one lost in last year's Giant Hard Drive Mishap. I had to retype it from an old draft. I couldn't really get anyone to proof it, and I'd done what I could. It is, however, impossible to really proof one's own work.

I'm finding all those typos now. I could vomit. It's abysmal. This particular story had been proofed and in final draft form before. Now...ugh. I just cannot fully express the horror.

Anyway, I will talk to the group leader tomorrow and get fresh, clean, mostly proofed copies to the group. I could still vomit.

So I'm here

So, I'm here. The drive up was uneventful, except in mild ways -- mildly lost at a weird crossing, mildly distressed I would run out of gas on a lonely stretch of highway, mildly surprised at my own inner racist when i stopped for gas, mildly annoyed that the streets around the college have no or insufficient street signs. Still, I made it in good time, got settled in, and everything went along unexceptionally.

It's a rather sparten dorm room, but not bad. Tile floor, white walls, wheelchair accessible wide doors that always seem to swing the wrong way, beds lofted just high enough to get a short dresser beneath -- easy enough to get into, a little problematic getting out of. The one tall, narrow window in the room has a low and bright street light just outside it. When I shut off the lights last night, the room was flooded brightly with stripy halogen light, completely overpowering the blind. I hung my robe up to inadequately cover the window and managed to sleep. I'll find that Wal-Mart (you know there is one, and it's near Flannery O'Conner's famous home, no less) and get a tension rod and some fabric to fix that up.

Still no idea about the workshop. It seems almost lax -- class in the morning, then optional things all the rest of the day. No assignments, workingshopping one story each. Not sure what I think, so I'm setting myself up a mild regimen. And I plan to read. I brought a ridiculous number of books with me, not that I expect to read them all, but that I wanted what would suit my mood.

I can feel the strangemess of the bed and the lights and the sounds. I am awake all too early, although I did get to sleep reasonably fast once I took care of the light problem.

Well, time to plunge into the day to see what happens to me.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Now with Added Adventure

I leave tomorrow to make the drive up to GC&SU. As always when I travel, I'm nervous and I don't want to go. Especially since I am going alone, I am nervous.

Once upon a time, I traveled alone without fear. From the age of 11 I learned to negotiate airplanes and long trips. It is only in the last 10 years -- since the onset of the depression -- that I've become more fearful of leaving my home, especially without my husband.

Once I am out there, I'll be fine. I always am. I'll come back to that girl I used to be, the one who could hop on a plane to go visit people she only knew from online conversation and phone calls, which I did more than once. I will remember who she was and I will adopt her ways again, perhaps even her attitude.

People wouldn't recognise in me a shy person, but I am. I cover it by being a little brash, a little loud, a little aggressive. I grew up in a family where shyness was not an option. Both my parents were outgoing people with jobs requiring work with the public. They had many friends and were well liked. A bookish, awkward, socially uncertain daughter just wasn't a concept they had. And there are facets of my personality that like the attention. It sometimes surprises me that I can be so comfortable on stage, singing or acting, and yet be so markedly uncomfortable talking to strangers in a social setting. Perhaps it's because the faceless audience, shrouded in darkness or by the blur of my poor distance vision (I never wear glasses on stage, for multiple reasons) isn't nearly as demanding as one person staring at me, making a half effort at conversation.

So, tomorrow I'll be elsewhere, seeing other things, talking to other people. For so many of you, this would be nothing, hardly worth the noting. You do it all the time. For me, this is an adventure.

Friday, May 13, 2005

And in This Corner

Once more, my faith in the power of internet communications is reinforced.

Clublife

Articulate. Funny situationally and perspectively. Intelligent. Did I mention articulate? This is going on my short list of blogs I'm considering adding to the ol 'roll over there. (Why? Because I surf from that list!)

Thanks to That Irish Guy for the link.

Ribbons Undone

Czeltic Girl, in her magnificence, found this lovely link to joy.

You see, I've been participating in a rip-roaring conversation over on aoabahc (no one really calls it that, but I like the sort of inarticulated screaming sound I make when I try to pronounce it that way. I keep saying, I'm SIMPLE.)

Husband and I are now composing various ribbons to give to friends, to use for our own nefarious purposes, and to torment others. Wish I'd thought of it first! GEEEENIIIIIIEEEOOOOOOS!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

OK, because I can only sustain being Relevant and Thoughtful for a few minutes

Slept almost normaly last night. The last few weeks my sleep schedule has been completely whompsided -- either staying up entirely too late doing something, or going to bed on time only to lay there thinking about things I could be doing. Then either getting up for work and not having enough sleep, leading to massive caffiene intake to avoid QWERTY-face, or sleeping entirely too long and not feeling the least bit sleepy come beddybye.

So yesterday was one of those days that, as long as I was doing things, I was fine. As soon as I got in the car to make the long drive to Orlando for rehearsal, I was fighting to stay awake. I think I actually blinked out a time or two, which always scares me (I can only drive in my sleep for, oh, 5-8 feet. This is bad at 55 mph). So, I dragged myself through ensemble rehearsal and skipped chorus rehearsal (once again, I'm having a tough time getting enthused about the music, mostly because there is SO FREAKING MUCH OF IT YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING). Went home with the desire to fall face down in the pillow, but Hubby, being wise, got me doing things until bedtime.

Come bedtime I am so sleepy I cannot walk properly. I'm standing by the bed trying to undress and at some point I realize I'm falling. Luckily I fall into the bed, but parts of me are still on the floor and I don't know why. Husband is on the other side of the bed.

"What's wrong? Are you all right?"

I'm mentally checking out the whole falling thing. It seems I have one hand down near my ankles, but my ankles are not moving independently. I'm really confused. Am I crippled? Have I suffered a sleep-deprivation seizure?

It takes a few more seconds to make the discovery. I haven't sucessfully extracted my feet from my pants. I'm TRYING, but it's not WORKING.

"I'm stuck" I tell Husband in a mattress-love voice. The bed, it's soooo soft....

"What?" He has not, I should note, made any move to help me, despite my awkward stance and my obvious nuzzling of the blanket.

"'m STUCK!"

I hear laughter. Lots of it.

A few more seconds and I retrieve the memory that one must LIFT the feet to extract them from pants, shorts, underwear, bathingsuits and other such garments. I try this. It takes a few attempts to accomplish this complex manuever, but eventually I extract myself from my clothes and wobble to a semi-upright position.

Husband is red faced and almost bent over, laughing. At me. I'd take offense, but, really, I can't remember how. I shuffle to put my clothes in the hamper and as I shuffle back, he hugs me and tells me all those things he loves about me...mostly that I'm cute and I get stuck in my underwear in the cutest way.

Whatever, Mister. You're between me and the bbbbbbbeeeeeeeeeeeeddddddddddd.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Voices on the Quiz

Trout Fishing
Volume 22
Temporary Troublespots
Willow Tree
Sweet Amelia
Confused Ramblings from a Chaotic Mind
Letting Loose with the Leptard
Hamburgerland
Seriously.WTF
The Monjo Blog

Why Blog? Quiz

Why Blog? Quiz And remember, be honest. This is for posterity...

1) Why do you keep your weblog/blog/online writing thingie: for fun, for fame, for money, for popularity, or for another more obscur reason? What about the weblog gives you what you want?

I keep a weblog because I fear being unheard, forgotten, or having all sign of my existance disappear after my death. Also, I like to type. I don't know if the weblog will supply my needs to endure, but it provides me a lot of opportunity to type.


2) Imagine that your weblog becomes wildly popular: your hit counter skyrockets, your comments are overflowing, and everyone is emailing you about everything you post. Name 3 positive things that could come of this, and 3negative things.

- I'd be talking to and listening to a lot of people
- I'd be getting a lot of attention, which is a huge ego feed
- I'd be in the position to learn a lot and share what I know

- I'd be talking to and listening to A LOT OF PEOPLE -- eventually it would become overwhelming, since I'd feel compelled to respond to everyone
- I'd be getting A LOT OF ATTENTION, and some of it is bound to be negative, and despite a "fuck you" attitude, it will still hurt
- I'd be subjected to exposure to a lot of stupidity and given lots of opportunity to say really stupid things I'd regret later

3) What's the worst possible result you can imagine (short of being electrocuted or having your computer take over your brain, and who says it hasn't already?) from keeping a weblog?

Having someone hate me so much they stalk me down and shoot me dead, or nearly dead (I live in Florida, and it's a scary thought). On a lesser scale, I'd say something that would deeply offend someone I admire and care about.

4) What do you do to prevent that worst possible result from happening?

Healthy paranoia for the first one. Being fairly circumspect and almost never writing about what I think of people, or about other people at all for the second.

5) List 5 reasons that would make you stop keeping your weblog for a period of 6months to a year.

- not getting anything back from doing it has put me on long hiatus before
- being shot but not killed and maybe only wounded might slow me down for a while
- getting into an MFA program could put a real crimp in my weblog writing
- Losing my computer, but really, I'd sell some jewelry to buy a new computer
- can't think of a fifth one

6) List 5 reasons that would make you stop forever.

- again, being shot and killed would put a stop to things. Really, I think about that.
- death by other means. At this point, I can't see much else that would stop me.

7) Describe your definition of a "successful weblog".

"Success" means that I'm writing and other people are writing back, which means they are also reading. IT means I'm still interested in doing the writing. It means I control the weblog, it does not control me.

8) Is yours successful by your definition?

More or less. Not wildly, but enough to keep me going.

9) What pisses you off most in other weblogs? What pleases you most?

Certain things will make me stop reading a weblog -- nattering about details and problems with no sign of introspection or self awareness gets tedious. Trainwrecks are as bad as unremitting rainbows and sunshine. Being unmercilfully vague bores me. Being clever by being mean and nasty, snarky and cruel, especially when the attempts at humor are all bloodstained. Constant fart jokes. Black on black web designs, or anything that combines hot pink, lime green, purple or baby blue on one page. Any site that forces me to listen to music or watch animations.

What I like is honesty, humor, thinking about life, solving problems (or at least learning that not every problem is someone else's fault), not being too deadly serious. Decent grammar, reasonable spelling, and solid attempts at puntuation attract me -- I can forgive typos, but not rampant disregard. I like sites where the author talks back and tries to connect with readers. I like stories, I like rambling, I like pictures (even of terribly cute pets) and I like snippets of what the writer likes -- music, books, movies, TV shows, food, whatever. Clean, uncluttered, easy to use design is a plus, but I've wrestled awkward sites to read good stuff.

10) Make a list of 10 weblogs/journal style websites that you wish your weblog/website/writing site was like.

If it's on my blogroll, with one exception, it's a site where I find something I really like. The one exception is a single obligatory link to my Husband's website, and we need not go into that, I think it's self-evident. If I had to narrow it down just in terms of the writing, though, these are the ones I'm really wishing I could be like.
  • Chez Miscarriage -- there's a bookdeal in her future. Or there should be.
  • A Boy and His Computer -- as much for the discussions as the posts. In fact, more for the discussions. But without the posts there would be no discussion, so...
  • Darn Tootin' -- another book deal worthy writer, only he's kinda popular, but that's ok, it hasn't gone to his head.
  • I Can't Even Float In Water This Deep -- her completely whacked out humor just intrigues me no end. Oh, and the PAINT pictures.
  • JadedJu -- She's got an easy style that I evilly hope she slaves to produce
  • Temporary Trouble Spots -- it's the bitter, bitter humor
  • Trout Fishing -- B-squared is one of my weblog inspirations, despite his own troubled relationship -- or perhaps because of it -- with the medium
That is not ten, I know, but a few sites are in the Early Consideration Stages, where I am watching what gets posted before forming a final opinion. However, if it is on my blogroll, I read it at least once a week. Some I hit several times a day.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Conversation

Among things to note this Monday:

Fascinating comments conversation related to the previous post. Go to B's site for the full goodness. I love this man for reasons, dammit!

I just picked up I'm Not the New Me by Wendy McClure, author of Pound. I used to read her weblog, back before bookdeals and such, and wandered off at some point for no particular reason (probably because I lost the link with a hard drive, or something like that, and am incurably lazy about such things). So yeah, I kinda anonymously knew her when. Anyway, it's on The Pile.

It is proposed that I will have much time to read while at my writing workshop. I am picking books from The Pile to take with me. I am also packing up everything I'm taking (thank the gods I'm driving). I'm even taking (camping pop-up) furniture.

And some questions for the weblog oriented amongst us -- if you keep a weblog, I challenge/beg and plead with you to copy these, answer them, and challenge others with them. If you do it, please post a comment to let me know. I know this is ripe for humor and some of you will succumb, but I'd be curious about serious or semi-serious responses. (I'll answer these myself in another post)

Why Blog? Quiz And remember, be honest. This is for posterity...

1) Why do you keep your weblog/blog/online writing thingie: for fun, for fame, for money, for popularity, or for another more obscur reason? What about the weblog gives you what you want?

2) Imagine that your weblog becomes wildly popular: your hit counter skyrockets, your comments are overflowing, and everyone is emailing you about everything you post. Name 3 positive things that could come of this, and 3negative things.

3) What's the worst possible result you can imagine (short of being electrocuted or having your computer take over your brain, and who says it hasn't already?) from keeping a weblog?

4) What do you do to prevent that worst possible result from happening?

5) List 5 reasons that would make you stop keeping your weblog for a period of 6months to a year.

6) List 5 reasons that would make you stop forever.

7) Describe your definition of a "successful weblog".

8) Is yours successful by your definition?

9) What pisses you off most in other weblogs? What pleases you most?

10) Make a list of 10 weblogs/journal style websites that you wish your weblog/website/writing site was like.


Go on, try it.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Don't blame the tool for the tools that mis-use it

Through the illustrious B I followed links to this large diatribe, all about the dreadful harm done by popularity measuring statistical sites and devices. I'll probably ruffle feathers saying what I'm about to say, but I'm just another obscure person here, and my opinion is worth only and exactly what anyone wants it to be worth, so take it at that.

She makes interesting points, and a few are extremely worthy. Among them are her strong dislike of online popularity contests. It's discouraging to witness and hard to fight against the desire of humans to be popular and our tendency to want "top tens" and "top 100's". I find myself strongly disagreeing when she proclaims the particular tools (and the people who created them) to be the source of the problem. The problem is not with the tools, but with how people use them and think about them. This isn't the fault of the tool. They do exactly what they were designed to do. Obviously, they do things people WANT them to do. For good or bad, if someone wants a popularity list, he or she will develop a method of getting it, and everyone else who wants one will subscribe to it.

Inevitably, as is true with statistics, that which is mediocre, middle of the road, average and medium tends to take up the largest area. Those on the fringes feel maginalized because, frankly, they are. I don't think this is "harm". Honestly, if you are one of the great unknown bloggers, someone who's genius is hidden by not being well known and freqently hit, well, that's kind of what it MEANS not to be in the middle of the road.

I'm one of those people who do not believe that the more people who like thing A, the better thing A must be. When I wander into what I discover to be a popular, oft-visited weblog, often I'm just as quick to wander out because there is nothing to attract me with a few rare exceptions. And I don't use "top ten" lists except as a starting point. They don't point out to me what is good. They point out what is popular. I know the difference.

That which is most widely accepted often means that which is least widely offensive or provoking. It doesn't stir people to DISLIKE it.

As for my blogroll..I'm afraid it's going to stay, and the irrepairable harm I'm doing to the blogging community will go on. You see, I use that list. I groom it. I take off sites that no longer interest me, and I add sites I find that I like. Where possible, I use it to key me in when a site has new posts. I do NOT play "I'll link you if you link me". There are many sites that I've read, and still visit, that don't have a place on that list for one reason or another (usually because the person has stopped posting). It's my freaking list, I can put who I want on it. I don't ask people to link me, nor do I get upset when someone unlinks me. That's their right and priveledge and who am I to complain?

5 years ago, 7 years ago, I heard these same arguments about link lists and link pages, back when there were no weblogs and such sites were called on-line journals. You coded the links yourself, by hand. Yet link lists still grew to immense size, often with dead links. When you took someone's link out, it was like an act of war, or a declaration of divorce.

I think this particular cause would have been better served not by attacking the particular instruments being used, but by asking people to think carefully about how they use them, how they interpret them, and how they may be misusing them. Certainly, if you can't use easy linking software responibly and to your own benefit, do not use it. If you like it and want it, use it without guilt.

I am personally disheartened that a few of my favorite people have taken this well meant and intelligent, but guilt-inducing and ultimately detrimental advice and removed their blogrolls. I often cruised the links other webloggers had to find new sites or to see what was happening on sites that didn't always interest me but had occasional moments. Now, if laziness, life-interference, or other events prevent them from writing a direct commentary post, I'll never learn about what others have discovered. The blogosphere is vast and it isn't realistic for one person to trudge through it all. From a completely personal viewpoint, this has detracted substantially from enjoyment of my online experience.

Let's Talk about Thievery

Grrl over at Chez Miscarriage, one of the cleverist, most honest and worthwhile sites I've found, has been plagiaraized. (Go read it now because she has taken her archives down and it won't be around much longer. Don't let the thing about the toothpicks disturb you.)

I've been plagiarized before. So has Husband. In fact, lots of people who write for the world at large have had their writing stolen. So, I did a little searching and found the CBB Plagiarism Resource Site. It has a weblog with entries on how to properly attribute online content and incidents of content thievery, and some other interesting things. I also searched for how to prevent such plagiarism. My personal solution is to never write anything anyone would want to say they wrote, and it's working pretty good so far.

However, I started thinking about the whole plagiarism thing. Why do people do it? I come up with a short list of reasons.
  1. Rampant, unbridled ignorance. Some folk just don't know any better. They are stupid and should not be allowed to breed, much less wander around unescorted on the Internet. Give them Atari game consoles and keep the world safe.
  2. Creative paucity/laziness. Someone sees somethign good and it looks like something they'd kind of like to have said. So they swipe it and pretend they did say it. They might even change a couple of the nouns with a "find and replace" function in their word processor. They know they are doing somethign wrong, but it seems such a little thing. Who are they hurting and who's gonna find out anyway? I'm tempted to recommend corporal punishment, but I think public humilation is a better deterent. Have public readings of the poetry they wrote in highschool.
  3. Meanspirited defiance. These are the folks who see rules and limits only as something to defy, get around, subvert or ignore. They steal because they want to steal. They revel in the badness of what they do, thumbing their noses at others who are so foolish as to want to live cooperatively and peacefully. I think object lessons are the best solution here -- they should have their computers stolen, and perhaps their identity. That might change their thinking, possibly.

Now, the 4 or 5 of you who read here are, I am quite certain, completely aware of what constitutes plagiarism. It is not the same as copyright infringement, but they are related. I would like to note that I declare this site to be a copyrighted site, even though it is not feasible to register everything in it that I write. Such a right is granted automatically. It's mostly concerned with who can make money off what. Plagiarism is more about who originated what. That is when someone, either directly by deception or indirectly by omission claims to be the originating entity of some piece of intellectual property when in fact they are not. They just copied it and pasted it without attribution.

So, what if you really like what someone else wrote and you really want to include it as part of something you wrote, specifically in and/or from the weblogging world?

  • You can ASK PERMISSION. Most of the time, if you ask nicely and honestly, a person who originated something will happily bask in offered adoration. Make sure you are clear about where you got the content.
  • LINK. Link link link! Most of the time a link is not a problem. However, should someone to whom you have linked request that you not link to them, honor that. You may represent something to which that person does not wish to associate, or that person may be using the material in some other way that will require exclusivity. Remember, they always have the option of removing or renaming their content URL so you end up with a dead link, so be gracious about it. When in doubt, ASK PERMISSION.
  • Quote and quote properly. No, I'm not talking about all that stuff about indenting and putting in periods you had to do in highschool or college. It's really simple. When you want to use soemthing someone else wrote, start off with "I got this from so-n-so's weblog and they said..."insert quote here". It's easy, it's quick, it won't hurt, and you can look smart by association.

You attribute. YOu state where you got it. You give the person who created what you like some choices. Stealing someone's thoughts, words, writing ability or expressive choices is just bad. It is wicked and deplorable and has no redeeming quality. A person who plagiarizes harms not just the source, but everyone who is deceived, and occasionally him or herself. It's just as easy NOT to do it. Don't add to the evil miasma of lies and deceit in the world.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Another Sponsored Message

Ok, the time has come -- HUSBAND IS PUBLISHED. Yes, indeed, boys and girl, Myriad is a reality and Lineage is in it. There is a box of the damn things sitting in my house right now and no, you can't have one unless you have personally done something really nice for ME (not Husband -- he doesn't dust so he won't be moving the box around for the next 12 months). Well, maybe when the NEXT box shows up...

Husband is actually going to be at a local comics shop this Saturday to sign copies. We have friends in this area, so it COULD happen. GO ORDER IT FOR YOURSELF. DIAMOND CODE MAR052592.

We thank you.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

What you learn by hitting "Next Blog" repeatedly

Oh, I'm lovin' me some of THIS! Celebrity Trash

This one is just because of the fuzzy bunny pictures. I'm a sucker for a fuzzy bunny. New Brooklyn

I think NYC has the largest population of weblogging people of any city in the world...Hermitude in NYC Could it be that it's one of the most populous cities in the world, a center of education, art, culture and weirdness? Maybe. I dunno. I'm a hick, in a comparative sense. But she's entirely right about the dating.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I'm Not Sleeping

Quarter to one on a Monday. Not sleeping. No particular reason why, but I tried for about 45 minutes and gave up. Now I'm listening to NAPSTER play The Chemical Brothers tracks I have semi-sorta downloaded, playing computer Solitaire games (the kind that use multiple packs of cards and you could never actually play with REAL cards) and browsing the web, waiting to see if I'll get sleepy.

Oh, big hunky THANKS to Solonor for fixing my archives. Most of the things people say about him aren't true, except for the five or six that are.

I have me no idea why I like The Chemical Brothers so much. I do. I'm just trying to decide which album to actually buy (I like liner notes, which you don't get when you download). I don't look like the kind of person who'd listen to The Chemical Brothers or Massive Attack. In fact, I suspect that if the people who put themselves in charge of such things had a say, I would not be ALLOWED to listen to them. First, I don't dance, and this is, first and foremost, dance music. Second, I don't listen to it at Brainmelting volume. I decided many years ago that if you have to feel the music via the physical reverberation through your chest, you can't really feel the music anyway. (go on, send hate mail, see if I care).

Oh, and in other things completely wrong for me, I found this over here, so it's all her fault, and I'm pretty sure I'm too white and middle aged, but I don't really care. What's really funny is that even when I did this, it sounds so Middle America Attempting Trendy that I laugh and wince at the same time. I've got the wrong vocabulary for the street, apparently.

I'm keeping one of the cats awake, apparently. He keeps coming into the room, looking at me, then looking toward the bedroom. I can see him tapping his imaginary wristwatch and shaking his head at me. I mean, he's supposed to be draped across one of my legs right now, completing his essential 23 hours a day of sleep -- or starting on tomorrow's crucial sleep allotment. I'm not sure. One more game of solitaire, and I'll go in and shove him over.