September 4th, 2005

bear by san

link salad for breakfast

David McCallum, still aging backwards. (The man turns 72 next week. He's the cute little blond in the back.) It's gotta be the picture of Dick Clark in his attic....

spirit_rover made it all the way up that big big hill. She's the Little Rover That Could.

On the continuing emerging American Hero watch, Jabbar Gibson.

Comet Hale-Bopp over Val Parola Pass

and NPR reports the NOLA Convention Center is empty.


Tobias Buckell mentions that "Bill Clinton said he'd 'assault Hastert if he'd been in the room when he said New Orleans shouldn't be rebuilt,' " and all I can picture is Hilary, Al, and Chelsea holding Bill back while he froths and lunges against their arms.

"Bill, Bill, your heart--Bill, look at the intern, Bill... Bill!"

Also, he (with extensive quotes from Michelle Malkin) and a number of other people have pointed out how convenient it is that incompetence with regard to the Louisiana debacle is bipartisan (the FEMA and DHS guys and of course the current administration are Republicans, but Louisiana's governor is a Democrat.)

This may make eventual accountability and putting systems in place to prevent this kind of a massive failure of aid in the future more feasible, because everybody's neck is in the noose. This isn't about finger pointing, folks.

This is about saving these lives the next time this happens. It's been 99 years since San Francisco and 105 years since Galveston, and surely somebody other than the good people of Texas should remember Galveston after a mere century.

twistedchick is doing massive link roundups, for those who still need them.

crooked_timber is at the Houston Convention Center

Of course, this comes among reports of a shift in the course of the Ganges, inundating local villages, for which I cannot find an online source yet. (Google News takes a while to catch up sometimes.) I hope some help gets to those people quickly.
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bear by san

She's a nice girl, but her bad girl's better.

There's a structural thing in many SFF novels where they are supposed to climax with a Big Revelation, and I often don't think it works very well, for a bunch of reasons. One of these is that sometimes the book's structure becomes more concerned with concealing the often pretty obvious) Big Revelation from the characters and the reader than actually moving the plot forward in an interesting, logical, and timely fashion--especially frustrating when, in all honesty, it's often a pretty basic thing. (The classic one, of course, is that the planet/silicon lattice/quantum array/alien artefact/gaseous entity is secretly sapient) The other is that it sometimes the resolution of the book's emotional arc gets shortchanged to play up the revelation, or there's not enough else driving the plot except the tension of this withheld bit of information, and it can come across as coy. And that's, you know, it makes me sad when it happens.

Sometimes the Big Revelation ending works. (Peter Watt's Starfish has a great oh-fuck moment.) Sometimes handing off the Big Revelation to the reader in the middle can work well, too. Dune does this, when it reveals the book's central ecological mystery in conjunction with the death of [spoiler].

No real conclusions, here, just thinking out loud.

I promised a while ago to talk about ownership of skills, which is, to my mind, the same thing as unconscious competence, which we've talked about here before. Or, as they say, the art of making it look easy. And now that I actually sit down to try and talk about it, I find I don't have much to say, except owning those skills is to my mind essential to progressing in any field.

Which is probably the root of all that advice not to work over the same piece endlessly. Write something new, something different. The old skills don't become reflexive until you are using them to underpin new skills, and have to stop thinking about them.

I seem to be forgetting how to talk about writing in accessible ways. I must need more practice.

Look. Some more exposition. Must be almost time for another dinner party.

Progress notes for 4 September 2005:


New Words: 2,143
Total Words: 72,686 / 86,250
Pages: 345 (~95 pages to go!)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
86,250 / 110,000
Reason for stopping: nap!
Mammalian Assistance:  We have a Providential Cat. A little marmalade tabby (kind of a gingery orange, and not very tabby, but that might be dust) has turned up under the oleander bushes in the past few days. Yesterday, we put out food and water for him, which vanished like it had never been, so today there is more. I'm guesstimating that he's between six and nine months, skinny and sad looking. We'll see what we can do about taming him, (that's a him-of-convenience: I have yet to get a look at the back end of the cat, as his two preferred postures are scared-meatloaf and vanishing into the underbrush, but he doesn't look preggers, and in my experience orange cats are usually male, though I dunno if there's any statistical support for that, but since calico doesn't express in male cats I suspect there may be) getting him neutered, and finding him a home. One more goddamned starfish.
Stimulants: Constant Comment
Exercise: still sore from yoga on Friday. ow ow ow ow. My triceps hurt so much. Obviously, I have taken too much time off.
Mail: Scardown is a current Editor's Pick at Tiger Heron Books, along with books by fellow livejournalers truepenny (Melusine) and autopope (Accelerando)

Also, I hear a rumor that there will be a joint review of Scardown and Worldwired in the October issue of Locus.

And I got paid for Blood & Iron. Yay!

Today's words Word don't know: neotenous, serotonin, misparsing
Words I'm surprised Word do know: n/a
Tyop du jour: n/a
Darling du jour: n/a
Books in progress, but not at all quickly: Richard Overy, Russia's War: A History of the Soviet War Effort, 1941-1945 (which I cleverly left at porphyrin's house, and won't be finishing until I reclaim);  Ladislas Farago, The Game of the Foxes; Leigh Richards, Califia's Daughters;
Books read: Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels;
Mean things: Shot somebody in the back
Other writing-related work: there is no work but the book and the book is all the work there is.

Interesting tidbits:
 Shakespeare was, like, the ultimate rapper. (via Making Light's "Particles," and "Sidelights," respectively,) now, that's ambition and Five voices in a stretch limo.

kristine_smith will never be an acquiring editor

slithytove on the only real rule for writers.