December 30 2011

Winter Visitors

We haven’t had much snow this year (so far) but we have had the annual reemergence of the turkey flock aka small velociraptors:

There are a few turkeys how come around all year long, but when it begins to get cold the whole herd emerges from the depths of the woods. There seem to be about 18 of them this year.
The picture is from our dining room window down to our back patio. The feeder usually serves the squirrels and the blue jays. We gave up on the various clever ways of trying to keep the bird food away from the squirrels. They seem to be more clever than human technology at the present time. However, the turkeys quickly show the squirrels just who is the apex animal in the back yard.

December 19 2011

Balmy Minnesota

Here in Rochester it was 47 degrees (F) yesterday. Many spots in MN were warmer (60’s), but the average temperature here is 26 so a 21 degree bump is a fine thing. We had an inch of snow on Friday but that is pretty much gone now and things look clear in the forecast.
Winter 2011–So far so good.

November 29 2011

NaNoWriMo — complete

So, I’ve got my 50,000 words written–50268 by the official count and I have a few thoughts. Firstly, I am quite glad that I decided to give NaNoWriMo a try. It “forced” me to think about a story in a fair amount of depth and gave me a feel for just how much 50,000 words are. And, how much are they–well, both less than you might think and more.
50,000 words are less than you might think in that it is a bit light for a full blown novel–after I compiled it (Scrivener) I get 132 pages and it also doesn’t completely tell the story I want to write. For the purposes of the event, I went ahead and put in an ending, but for the full purpose of a novel, the work is certainly not any where done (more later on that.)
50,000 words is more than you might think in that it is a lot of words to write in a part time fashion in the space of a month (especially one with holidays in it.)
When I first started, I noticed right away that my desire was to go back and revise what I had put down. That strategy was obviously not going to cut it to make the deadline. So I ruthlessly suppressed my background editor and pounded out text. Some of it is almost acceptable but it all needs work, but as background material and a starting point for an actual endeavor I think it will work out fairly well. I’ll keep you posted on where this heads.

November 8 2011

NaNoWriMo — 7 days in

So, on day 1 I got the free Scrivener download. I decided to use that for my NaNoWriMo month as a good test drive. So far, I really like the software. It seems to fit my style of work fairly well. Being able to easily create pieces of work as thoughts occur and keep them in an organized whole seems beneficial to me. I’m pretty sure I’ll buy a copy when the trial is over.
My word count is at 9525 as of last night. That’s a bit slower than the pace, but I spent quite a bit of time the first couple days gathering some research material. I started the writing with a scene and a bit of background in mind. I’ve now got more background and an underlying plot that seems to hold things together. So, that parts going pretty well also.
Having the 30 day goal of getting out 50,000 words is giving me some incentive to actually do something, so that part is working ok also. I think that I’m seeing that I have a desire to write and then loop back and change things, so the raw cranking out of additional words ever day probably doesn’t fit my preferred style. I’m not sure if that is good or bad. Since I haven’t outputted much fiction in the last twenty years, getting some work modification may not be a bad thing. 😉 Onward!

November 1 2011


One of the reasons I reactivated this blog was to encourage myself to write more and get back into the habit of writing. That seems to have gone fairly well. I can crank out 500 words or so about a book I’ve just without much problem.
Now, I’ve decided to go ahead and try writing some fiction again and NaNoWriMo seems like a decent motivational tool. My userid there is shalter and I just created a novel with the very creative title of Working Title #1, genre Science Fiction. We’ll see how it goes.
The rules appear to be — write and then write some more.

October 31 2011


My grand nephew Caleb (who is six) has become fond of cheetahs. It’s a bit unclear why cheetahs in particular, but then again, why not cheetahs?
The other day he mentioned that many sports people were trying to be like cheetahs. That’s why they put those black marks under their eyes. Cheetahs, however, remain way cooler as they have black marks all over.

Seems like a sound hypothesis to me.

October 20 2011

Mortuus est meus iPhone

Whilst on vacation I discovered that the waterproof bag into which I had placed my iPhone wasn’t so much waterproof as a good bag for holding the phone immersed in water. This was on the seventh and so I pre-ordered the new iPhone 4s and AT&T sent me a delightful note that it would be delivered on the 14th.
I tried the various ways of drying the old phone, but it seems to no avail. In the meantime, the 14th came and went and the status of my pre-order changed to back-ordered. It seems that a pretty large percentage of people are in the same back order boat.
So, I’ve been phoneless for about 2 weeks now. I don’t use the phone as a phone all that much, so that part is just kind of annoying. I am missing the ability to check email or do a random web search at random times when I’m away from a computer more annoying.

August 12 2011

A couple more ditties

Here are a couple more little ditties inspired by blog entries on Ian Tregillis‘ site.

The first reveals the deep angst 😉 in having to wait for books (and blurbs):

wrt: Arlen & Harburg

I could enjoy many an hour
Even readin’ in the shower
Squintin’ in the dark
And my head I’d be fillin’
With thoughts about the villain
If I only had an ARC

I’d read all through the middle
Discoverin’ the riddle
Oh it’ll be a lark

With the words you’d be readin’
Your thoughts you’d be feedin’
If you only had an ARC

Oh, I could give you quite a blurb
I could choose a poignant adverb
And then I’d add reverb

I would not be just a reader
Waitin’ for a leader
Like some silly narc
I would caper and be airy
Even if it was scary
If I only had an ARC

In this second entry, we see the life of the modern day physicist amidst urban travails:

(wrt: Lee, Peart, Lifeson and Dubois)

A modern-day physicist
Mean chi square,
Today’s Tom Sawyer
Taggers beware.

Though his lab is not for rent,
Don’t put it down as a convent.
Its got quite a defense,
Beyond the horizon’s events.
The laser

When you try to tag his secret lair
You’ll find all about the henchman’s stare.
Catch the mess, catch the mass
Catch the wire, catch the pith.

The lair has, the lair has,
Zero Point Energy
Maybe as your eyes go wide.

Today’s Tom Sawyer,
He lets fly on you,
And the mind he invades
Is in place of you.

No, his lab is not for rent
To any gods or government.
Always finding, new content,
Electrodes are permanent

When you try to tag his secret lair
You’ll find all about the henchman’s stare..
Catch the tagger, catch the tag,
Catch the breaker, catch the bit.

The lair has, the lair has,
Zero Point Energy
Maybe as your skies go by.

Exit the physicist,
Today’s Tom Sawyer,
He lets fly on you,
And with the mind you trade,
He gets right on to the fiction of the day.