Saturday, January 26, 2008

BYBS: Patience

I'm not always the best example of patience, but when I do manage to display it, I'm often times richly rewarded.

Take for example, my never-ending battle with … ummm "limiting my horizons," trying to stop taking up more space (as in flab, fat weight, etc.) In an usual display of self-control I've managed (on good days at least) to keep a running track of what's going on in that dept. Here's a sample:

Slow and yet not very fast progress

While it's too embarrassing to give exact numbers, this shows day to day weight over about 4 months, with the weight varying over 5 pounds. My day-to-day mode of operation is to despair of ever making any progress, but over the long term, my weight is going down…except for that bit where it went up during the holidays…but that doesn't count…well I guess it does…sigh.

At any rate, by being patient It's obvious that I am losing weight, albeit slowly.

There are a number of times when patience has paid off for me. The trick is to give it time.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Laziness

Alright, I'm putting off editing my short story, but it's for a good cause: laziness.

I strongly agree with Mark Twain's assertion that, while hard work pays off eventually, laziness pays off now. Having already done some hard work today, I figure I deserve some laziness :-)

Yesterday, I posted the first chapter/bit/whatever of my latest opus magnum, "Groupthink: the Lighter Side." (For those of you who want to be with the cool kids, you can find this and other stories on my other site, blather-n-stories.blogspot.com) This means that I had to do at least perfunctory editing on what I wrote. This is where the hard work part comes in.

Depending on who you believe, ye average page in a book contains about 250 words. My story is 10,000+ words – meaning that I have to edit over 40 pages of my own…er…creation. Left to my own pace, it would probably never get finished, but thanks to the magic of blog publishing I can pressure myself into posting it, 4 to 8 pages at a time.

4 to 8 pages at a time is something that even I, not-so-hard worker that I am, can feel is at least possible. Thinking that it's possible, I foolishly posted the first bit. Once posted I notice all kinds of problems – the paragraph that makes no sense, the clumsy sentence, the lack of structure, etc.. This makes me concerned enough to actually edit the thing.

I'm not sure if posting stories is a good idea. They make my warped, scary mind that much more apparent. Having a story out there opens me up to all kinds of abuse that, in the good ole days, was far too plentiful on the internet.

The good news is that, according to my hit counter, I don't have much to be concerned about.

So while I have not actually edited anything today, or at least not much, I did do some writing :-)

P.S. The other reason to post something is that the last thing I put up here seemed overly dark.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Black Monday

One thing I find disappointing about myself is that I created a site called "Blather n' Rants" and then I don't post any rants. More specifically, I don't post about the negative aspects of my life or the things around me. Personally, I think this is a shame.

The thing is I'm not a happy camper. I spend a lot of my time being not very happy™ and not writing about it seems dishonest to me – like I'm trying to put a fa├žade over a grim situation.

There is a difference, however, between acknowledging the aspects of yourself that you aren't proud of and fostering them. Saying "OK, I'm not perfect" is one thing. Celebrating what you consider wrong and trying to show how you emblemize them is another.

I also feel inhibited by the venue. One problem is that I have a few friends online and offline who know that I am the author for this site. I'm afraid that if I post something they object to, I could lose their friendship.

And mind you, we are talking about both of my friends.

So here I am back at the start – can't post something negative. Or at least really negative.

At least I posted a rant.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

BYBS: The Works of JRR Tolkien

I have spent many afternoons and evenings reading JRR's books over the years. One of the nice things about them is that they have "grown with me" in the sense that they could be entertaining when I was younger, and yet still be interesting when I grew older. For example, I thought Tom Bombadil was sort of entertaining when I was younger, but his significance as a sort of symbol that accepts no rules or laws kept him interesting as time has gone on.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Quote Only

The war is going very badly for the Federation, Far worse than is generally known. Starfleet Command believes that defeat is inevitable. Within six months, we may have no choice but to surrender.
Yesterday's Enterprise, ST:TNG

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Groupthink: the Lighter Side

Much to my surprise, I have a lot of material from another story that I worked on but never finished. If anything I need to pare it down. I don't remember why I never finished it, but my guess is that I balked at the task of editing it. Amongst my other problems is "editor's block."

The particular story that I wrote is about one outcome of telepathy sprouting up out of the blue. I called it "Groupthink: the Lighter Side" because it had a fairly nice outlook on the consequences of this. I was going to create another story called "Groupthink: the Darker Side" that concentrated on a negative outcome, but I never got started on it.

Anyhow, that will probably be my next story, though I may take a more leisurely attitude towards the process than I did with the other stories.

You can find my story site here (http://blather-n-stories.blogspot.com)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

BYBS: Writing

Writing, particularly fiction writing, allows me to explore ideas and concepts that I'll never be able to realize in real life. Even relatively simple ones like RPGs where I've wanted to run a particular campaign and I'm just too lazy to get the people together for it.

Writing requires a lot less background work. There's no illustration, ideas don't have to be as fleshed out, etc. No "herd of cats" I have to corral in order to run the event.

Characters are a bit of a problem, and dialog can be problematic as well. But at least everything I need is right on hand. And finally getting my butt to actually sit down in the chair and write is one of the hardest parts.

What's really nice is that a lot of times, writing something out cracks me up. What can I say? I'm easily pleased. That anybody else enjoys what I write is a bonus :-)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The New Template and Blobs o' Code

One of the things that I have my own share of are leetle blobs of Javascript I need to put in my template for things like hit counters, Technorati, etc. The annoying thing about doing this (OK, one of the many annoying things) with blogger is that their template contains enormous amounts of weird code. This makes it very difficult to figure out where my stuff should go.

One of the features of the new scheme is being able to add arbitrary bits of HTML or JavaScript to the template. This is nice because I can avoid digging through the blogger template and just throw my stuff into a section of its own.

This doesn't solve all the problems I end up having. For example, to verify a site with Google, you have to put a meta tag in the template. Adding meta tags pretty much requires editing the HTML of the template, but at least some of the other stuff has been made easier to deal with.

Slowly but surely…