By a technicality

>> Sunday, November 30, 2008

Here's what I did: I wrote 50,000 words in the month of November. Which, technically and as far as NaNoWriMo's bean counter is concerned, means I'm a winner. See:



Here's what I didn't do: I didn't actually write a novel with a beginning and an end (oh, I have a ton of middle, so there's that). My hero is still alive, which I know is completely wrong. So is the villain, which is even wronger. (Why does Firefox's built-in checker even think "wronger" is a word?) The hero's horse is not alive, but Powder isn't dead, either, and I know that's wrong. (Trust me.) In fact, the hero and villain haven't even met each other yet--at least not in the pages of this monster (we do, however, have a mention of the villain previously having told his lackeys that he met the hero), although I have some idea that they're supposed to. And there are some holes in the who and the how and the where. (Why isn't something this book is necessarily concerned with, so no problems there.) There's an entire apocalypse that isn't quite fleshed out, and quite a bit of history and backstory, and various and sundry matters.

But here's what I did do: I have started to chip away the pieces of a great big block of mental marble that don't look like a 19th-century apocalypse. I've surprised myself with a few things that I thought were a problem and weren't. Despite having vast quantities of text that I left in with a strikethru font so they would count towards word total despite the fact they're false leads or just godawful, I have some sense of a book I don't hate yet.

And, maybe most important, I think I have the beginning of a book that's more than 50k words.

I don't feel like I won NaNoWriMo this year--I have 50,000 words (easily, and well before midnight, despite several weeks when I was quite behind), but unlike the past two years, when I had technically finished (although pretty lousy) novels, I don't have something that's anywhere near finished. In terms of that old joke about carving an elephant, I've chipped away enough that you can see the rough shape of an apocalypse but nothing like a finely-chiseled rendition of one.

But I like where things might be going.

I've also found Writer's Café (which I've mentioned here to be an enormous help--it's the reason I may be able to come up with an elephant, and the reason I have 50,000 words. There's something to be said for writing sequentially--you learn the story and characters develop organically. At the same time, however, what I've been able to do so far when I got stuck was to say, "Well, okay, I'll just go write this part over here and I'll tackle this awful scene later. And I've found some of the other tools in Writer's Café that I thought would be less useful to be made of awesome: the scrapbook and pinboard, for instance.




What I've done, then, actually, is I've started a novel. Which is something I've done before, actually: I have a bad children's novel stashed away (unlikely to be seen again before my death, I think) and two really awful NaNoWriMo entries. But this may be a good one. Maybe. Could be. Then again, I've said that before and ended up with a handful of grade-A pure horseshit.

Still, there you are.

Earlier in the month, a friend of mine managed through a series of complicated exchanges to gift me with a bottle of Crystal Head vodka; I'd planned on opening it with local friends and recording the results (something that the hectic Thanksgiving schedule didn't permit this past week), but it seems appropriate to crack it for a quasi-celebration: fifty thousand words down, one finished novel to go. A toast, also, not only to my vodka-procuring friend in the UCF, but also to the fellow UCFers who, at this time, have also won NaNoWriMo: Anne, Jeri and MWT, with an advance toast to Matt (who is in a different time zone and at 47,029 at this writing--so he damn well ought to be able to catch up!). And a further toast and apology to John, who somehow wasn't on my buddy list and who MWT points out was missed in the original version of this post! Congratulations, John, and mea culpa for initially leaving you out of the list. (And if I missed somebody else who somehow didn't end up on my buddies page, you can still leave an another angry comment and I apologize for being a total asshole!) Thanks also go out to those who were supportive during the last month--thank you, thank you very much. Also, along with the toast, this, because it seems so damn appropriate:






Happy NaNoWriMo, everybody, happy holidays and a good upcoming month of Solstice! And I, tired for the moment of the slavering hordes of undead and 19th century America, am going to watch the video again and raise a glass to distant friends before retiring with the cheesy goodness of a book club collection of James Bond novels. Good night, and good writing.



POSTSCRIPT: Janiece, this vodka is really, really good. I'm not much of a vodka drinker--at least not straight, on the rocks, which is how I'm drinking the toast; I am, of course, partial to White Russians, enjoy a good Bloody Mary, and have a thing for vanilla vodka and Coke (sometimes called a "Russian Immigrant"). But the Crystal Head is really, really smooth, and enjoyable straight.

Maybe it's the alien technology or the magical skull bottle. Who knows?

Thank you again--my initial thanks were for the thoughtfulness of the gift itself, but you deserve another thanks on behalf of the merits of the vodka. Gimmick bottle or no, this is a tasty draught. Another toast, the glass raised this time in the direction of distant Colorado. Thank you.

Now I'm going to play that video again while I sip the rest of this glass....

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Thirty days late

Now, see, if I'd known this was up a month ago, it would have been the Halloween edition Neverwednesday Night. In fact, I'd use it for this week's NwN, but I don't know if it will still be up much longer (some postings have already been yanked).

What is it? It's Bruce Springsteen's Halloween gift to the fans: a special music video for "A Night With The Jersey Devil." And it's awesome. Those lucky bastards who caught the 2005 tour (or who, like me, caught the bootlegs) have heard this side of Bruce. The rest of you are in for a raw, grungy treat:






What's that? Why aren't I writing my last few thousand words for NaNoWriMo?

::sigh::

Yeah.

Fiiiiiine. Back to the wheel.

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Five photos, volume X








Blue Ridge Parkway, November 7, 2008.

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Another one from the wonderful SMBC...

>> Saturday, November 29, 2008






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Internet dogs, dead children, bad laws

>> Friday, November 28, 2008

So a Federal jury has convicted Lori Drew of misdemeanors.

Ms. Drew, for those who have lost track, is the woman who, along with her daughter, perpetrated a childish hoax on a teenage girl--pretending to be a boy who liked said teenage girl. And then one of the participants in the hoax sent the teenage girl a message saying she wasn't liked anymore, and the teenager killed herself. And of course this is sad, and terrible, and a lesson to all parents: teach your child that nobody on the internet is necessarily who they claim to be, and supervise your kid's use of the online realm one way or another.

Note that the lesson, such as it is (and one would think it would be an obvious fact, and not something needing to be taught), is for the parents of depressed teens and not for those who perpetrate cruel online hoaxes. The number of people who participate in cruel hoaxes is perhaps infinite and unstoppable, and the majority won't be caught; and, in any case, if somebody is so bereft of conscience or pity that they pick on somebody half their age, well I doubt rumors of a distant criminal conviction would call them off. Some people are merely childish.

Let's acknowledge that Lori Drew isn't a terribly sympathetic person. She is old enough to know better, and should have counseled her daughter that whatever slights she perceived from the late teenager, Megan Meier, would be forgotten by the time she was 31, if not by the time she was 21. Lori Drew might have told her daughter--as useless as it would have been, because teenagers believe what they want to believe and every single scratch is a near-lethal goring--that she'd be lucky to remember the name "Megan Meier" by the time she was finished college; Drew didn't do this, and instead participated in a childish prank that led to a childishly depressing end.

But having acknowledged this, let us ask ourselves what kind of ridiculous world are we moving into if it's actually, unbelievably criminal to give a fake name when registering with an online service? Seriously--to give a fake name in the telecommunications realm is a tradition at least as old as the CB-radio "handle." To register a fake name with a social networking service or online company isn't exactly fraud, and prosecuting Lori Drew for possessing bad manners in the guise of prosecuting her fraud isn't merely moronic, it's dangerous.

Dangerous? Yes, because there are legitimate reasons one might publish under a pseudonym and register as a fictitious person. One might blog as a whistleblower or dissident, using the fact that nobody knows you're a dog online to make sure that nobody knows you're a corporate dog or a bureaucratic dog.

Hell, does somebody need that much of a reason? Maybe one registers online simply because he remembers an age when privacy was considered prudence, when a certain degree of anonymity was virtuous. You know: the days before Twitter and webcams and a constant telepresence; this isn't a criticism of the age, you know, after all, you're reading my blog right now, and my proper name, should you care, is at the bottom of this page with the rights and licensing boilerplate--I am kind of sort of part of the always-online age. But there are those who remember when privacy was something you didn't merely assume or expect but something you unironically claimed for yourself, and I can respect that.

I can understand why liars frustrate the service providers and the government. The former wants to sell you things and the latter is concerned you're a terrorist or pedophile (this is generous, I know--there are those who would say the latter wants to know what you're up to on general principle; I happen to be less paranoid than that, not because I'm naïve or an optimist, but because I cynically don't think government actually has the wherewithal to keep track of every single person's computer use with any degree of precision like some kind of Orwellian über-state; I'm sure they would if they could, but they have trouble finding their collective balls beneath their pajamas when they get up in the morning to take a leak). So the Drew case is a fine opportunity for them: an unsympathetic defendant who perhaps offers the precedent that signing on to an online service as "Mr. Screwyou" of "123 Fake Street" in the town of "Fuckov, AK" is a despicable and infamous crime, and everybody will take note and stop doing it. But everybody else ought to die a little inside at the thought of it.

Unfortunately for everybody, it sounds like the Federal jury "split the baby," as lawyers sometimes say: it sounds like they figured out that Lori Drew violated common decency but a dead teenager was too much to let slide, and so they convicted Ms. Drew of a lesser-included. So the Feds don't get their awesometacular precedent and everybody else loses an inch of the figleaf of online privacy, and the dead girl is still dead, oh well. There is a common enough aphorism in the law: "Bad cases make bad law." One must regret that the Lori Drew Catastrophe doesn't disprove it.

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Five photos, volume IX

>> Thursday, November 27, 2008







Blue Ridge Parkway, November 7, 2008

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Five photos, volume VIII

>> Wednesday, November 26, 2008









Blue Ridge Parkway, November 7, 2008

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Great balls of fire

>> Tuesday, November 25, 2008

You may have seen this already--but it's still awesome in both the "Dude!" sense and the classical sense of "inspiring wonder." From the dashboard camera of an Edmonton, Canada, police cruiser, we see a good-sized meteor zip through the clouds in the early evening hours of November 20th of this year:





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Five photos, volume VII








Blue Ridge Parkway, November 7, 2008.

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An important public service announcement:

>> Monday, November 24, 2008



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Five photos, volume VI

>> Sunday, November 23, 2008








Photos taken at Appalachian State University, November 6, 2008.

Coming soon--photographs from the Blue Ridge Parkway, from my drive home November 7, 2008.

Hope everybody is having a good weekend, and that those who are still in NaNoWriMo are groovy. Yes, I'm still in, even with a lagging word count: I'm on vacation this week, and plan on using the time to catch myself up. Completely doable. No retreat, as the man said, no surrender.

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Skynet

>> Saturday, November 22, 2008

This week, NASA announced a successful test run for what could become a kind of interplanetary internet. The gist is that NASA scientists came up with a Delay/Disruption-Tolerant Networking protocol (DTN) which could allow various international space programs to bounce around messages and to network satellite communications to improve traffic (as opposed to direct transmissions from distant probes straight-to-Earth; relaying such transmissions between other probes, vehicles, earthbound antennae and receiving stations could improve speed and reliability of communications).

The exciting test runs of the system, according to Cosmic Log's Alan Boyle, included tributes to early internet pioneers:

Some of the people involved in developing the deep-space Internet also played a role in building the very first Internet - and the first image transmitted as part of the DTN experiment paid tribute to those pioneers: It was a reproduction of a hand-drawn diagram of the original four-node Arpanet, sketched in 1969 by Steve Crocker, who is one of the Internet's founding fathers as well as a participant in the DTN effort.

The second image was a photograph of another networking pioneer, the late J.C.R. Licklider. Licklider's concept of a "Galactic Network" was an inspiration for the present-day Internet as well as the interplanetary Internet, Hooke said.


But, inexplicably, the NASA press release and Boyle both fail to mention the mysterious third transmission received by the NASA team:

PLEASE THE EGG-BEARING ONES ALL OPPOSITIONAL-PHASE LONG MAKE YOUR GLYMFORYX BIGGER TOTALLY LEGAL ORDER NOW!!!


Sources have informed this blogger that the NASA team was still trying to determine whether this message was a joke or what it could possibly signify, when a burst of interference of a type previously attributed to distant gamma-ray outbursts was surprisingly rendered on the team's computers as:

Dear Honorable Sir, Madam, or Fwoop-nar: I am a humble civil-servant functionary residing on a world orbiting a star many parsecs distance from you on a co-ordinate line of 2.372 radians by 4.827 from Galactic Center. As you may be aware, recent civil unrest on my homeworld has resulted in the execution of the entire Royal Hive and most of the wjjasj'jjalli Clans. As a consequence, large amounts of Q'll'opialati have been secreted within and subsequently abandoned in the Labyrintine Caverns Of Lloi on the Fortress Moon, to lie unclaimed and nearly forgotten.

It is possible, however, for these deposits to be claimed. I can personally claim these deposits, but only if the transaction is enabled by a decent and honorable follower of VrioomPhiar like yourself who is willing to send a q-pulse to the Colonial Mind Of Lloi with InterStelBankingData that would allow the Colonial Mind to authorize that the deposits be scraped from the walls of Lloi and daubed onto the sides of an InterStelBankingMegaVault.

I have been informed you are of inestimable character and VrioomPhiar-oneness, and might be willing and able to assist me. For your efforts, I will be willing to share half of the accreted deposits--you will have to do nothing more than provide the Colonial Mind with your InterStelBankingData.

If you are willing, please reply immediately. Also, and I don't think I need to whoofle this, this q-pulse is wholly confidential. Please respond. VrioomPhiar be one with your heads.


Regrettably, within minutes of this second puzzling communiqué, and before the NASA team could comprehend the import of the printout they were holding, the NASA computer system was crashed by 10,029,299,103,812 separate identical messages from somebody named "Slizwort" who claimed to be lonely and to have liked the team's "page" and asked the NASA team to be a friend and to visit "Slizwort"'s "site," which "Slizwort" claimed the NASA scientists would "really really like."

Speculation that the messages might be extraterrestrial in origin were put on hold when a system trace showed that all of the messages had, in fact, at some point in their transit passed through a server farm in Russia. However, the apparent gamma-ray burst remains unexplained.

I'll update this story as I hear more from my confidential source, dear readers.


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You don't say (and now I wish I didn't)

>> Friday, November 21, 2008

UPDATE:Well, never mind then--that's what I get for being clever. I decide to finally let slip with the suspicion that President-Elect Obama's floating of Senator Clinton is really a masterful political ploy the same day the news comes out that it's official and she's set to take it.

It's not a bad thing to be wrong. I said in the original post and comments that it would be "win-win" and no loser if the President-Elect offered and Senator Clinton declined, but that wasn't strictly true: you can make a case that the American people would collectively lose out: as angry as I've sometimes been with the Senator from New York over the past year, I was angry in part because a woman I respected and admired was (in my view) stooping to the gutter and exploding her credibility.

That was then, this is now. Senator Clinton's a brilliant woman, an attorney who (like the President) attended a top-notch law school, has a lengthy history of public service and social activism. And if she is passed by the Senate as Secretary Of State (which seems likely), she's well-recognized on the international stage and known for taking leadership positions on global issues. Should the President-Elect fully utilize her skills and experience, the presumptive future Secretary Of State and Vice-President-Elect will make a formidable team when it comes to the work that is before us in restoring America's credibility and any leadership position we might have in the world. (The fact that the President-Elect himself already has been advanced a certain degree of credit in this department in parts of the world doesn't hurt either: it seems people in parts of the Middle East and Africa are celebrating the election of a leader with whom they feel a common bond. Let me add, perhaps unnecessarily, that this is one of the most exciting things about our new leader: when was the last time, if ever, an American President had such potential to be embraced as not just America's leader, but the world's? JFK, possibly? Sort of?)

In any case, what follows is now an obsolete historical curiosity, left up for posterity. And, by the way, Senator Clinton had better be confirmed by the Senate and sworn in. Because if I have to eat crow again, I shan't be pleased by it.




Over at Slate, one of their bloggers has finally noticed. Melinda Henneberger writes:

So as I'm reading how Bill Clinton is making himself all kinds of amenable so that Hillary can say yes to running the State Department, it at long last occurs to me that Obama's job offer to her might not be the total madness I took it for... maybe Obama has reason to believe that in the end, Hubby Bubba can't open all the books for all the world to see? And if that's the case, then instead of being a chump he's making the world's most magnanimous gesture at absolutely no cost to himself or the country.


Let me say this at the outset: I think Senator Clinton is actually an extremely well-qualified candidate for the job of Secretary Of State. She's smart, savvy, well-recognized on the international stage and has a firm grasp of policy. And while I think Senator Clinton probably can work as a team player, I also think it doesn't matter--that is, I'm not worried about Senator Clinton "going rogue" considering President-Elect Obama's proven discipline and control of his team and given that he's clearly chosen a Vice-President who will be taking a strong leadership role in Obama's foreign policy. There's a very real chance of President Obama's Secretary Of State, whoever it might be, being--I don't want to say "marginalized," necessarily, but certainly less-influential than some have been.

But having said that, I'm skeptical it will happen. And, at the risk of sounding a bit like an ass, I've been skeptical for a little while now even if I've been keeping mum about it. The Henneberger post is sort of a chance to break that silence and stick my neck out a little.

One of the things that's been a pretty big deal for the Obama transition team has been full disclosure and ethical transparency. Yes, everybody who gets elected says they'll do that, and we'll see if the Obama administration really goes through with it, but the point is that the Obama transition team has been pretty adamant about the vetting of potential cabinet members, including opening the nominee's financials. This has led to quite a lot of questions about the donations former President Clinton has received, and a great deal of speculation about what might be disclosed during Senator Clinton's vetting for the State position.

And I'm thinking it won't happen.

Allow me to add to the speculation and proclamations from the nether regions: I don't think the Clintons are likely to go through the scrutiny (even if there's nothing really improper about their financials--I mean, who knows what's actually in there and it's only a general presumption that it's bad), and I don't think stepping from being a kind of big shark in the Senate pond to being a mid-sized fish in the Obama fishtank is going to be worth the grief. So here's my prediction, which I hate to make because I might well be completely, totally, utterly wrong: I fully expect President-Elect Obama to publicly confirm that his meeting with Senator Clinton was to discuss taking her on as Secretary Of State, and for Senator Clinton to publicly announce that after a great deal of consideration, she's decided she can serve a greater purpose by continuing to serve New York and the nation in the U.S. Senate and she's very honored, etc.

President-Elect Obama isn't stupid. And, for better or worse, he comes from a city that's legendary for its politics--it's arguable Chicago is the most political city in the country after DC, and inarguable that Chicago politics is a full-contact sport that combines the speed and tactics of Obama's beloved basketball with the good manners, sportsmanship and class of the ancient Roman gladatorial arena. I think he knows Senator Clinton will turn down the job if he offers it, and I think Senator Clinton, who's brilliant and who's almost Chicagoan in her political savvy, knows she can't take it. And I think they each know what the other knows, and knows that they know they know, and all that fun matryoshka jive.

But who loses if she can't take it? Nobody, that's who. President-Elect Obama looks magnanimous and classy, with an eye for talent, and Senator Clinton saves face and gets to be the honored invitee who could say "no." And then Senator Clinton can go back to contemplating her 2012 chances and President-Elect Obama can go about announcing his first choice for the job.

Of course, I've been wrong before.

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Yep, we're screwed

The space shuttle Endeavor's recent manifest included a school project in which two spiders were placed in a box to see if spiders can spin webs in space.

Now, it seems, there's only one spider in the box.

Obviously there are several possibilities--one of the spiders perhaps ate the other. It happens.

Or, of course, there's the obvious and pretty likely possibility that New York is about to be devoured by a nine-hundred-foot-tall glowing spider from outer space.


(Trained science-artist's science sketch of New York's horrible fate according to science, based on real science and looking at lots of spiders and other science stuff.)


Oh well. We're doomed for sure this time. Thanks, science. Thanks a lot. Still, might as well have a little song while we wait for ginormous gamma-radiated eight-legged death, shall we?




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Five photos, volume V

>> Thursday, November 20, 2008







Photos taken at Appalachian State University, November 6, 2008.

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Neverwednesday Nights

>> Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tori Amos. "Spark." from the choirgirl hotel. 'Nuff said.




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Chickens are the UN Peacekeepers of the animal kingdom... who knew?

Brought to my attention by Boing Boing--chickens prevent additional bloodshed in the terrible Lepine Wars:




The best part: when the chicken nearest the camera tells his rabbit, "Don't even think about it, motherfucker."

Apparently, saying somebody is "chicken" doesn't mean what I thought it did for the past thirty-something years. Go figure.

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You might say somebody had a stake in the auction's outcome...

>> Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Brought to my attention by the wonderful and magical world of Dark Roasted Blend: a recent estate auction featured a pretty cool and allegedly authentic antique vampire hunting kit from the 19th century:



It indeed appears to be pretty thorough and in order, including:

...stakes, mirrors, a gun with silver bullets, crosses, a Bible, holy water, candles and even garlic, all housed in a American walnut case with a carved cross on top....


You have to wonder: somebody's serious kit, rigged out for a night of slaying, or someone's idea of a rich (and pretty cool) joke? If the former... wow. If the latter... did they even have geeks in the 1800s?

I mean, this is exactly the kind of thing I or a lot of my friends would own or consider owning as a helluva awesome conversation piece, and I know if I saw it sitting in a friend's home I'd think it was pretty freaking slick. Oh yeah, I know the silver bullets are for lycanthropes, but vamps and werewolves tend to run together, so it doesn't hurt to be prepared.... And then I'm sure everybody would be in the mood for a go at Fury Of Dracula. Hell, just looking at the picture just put me in the mood for a game.

The article doesn't tell us who spent the $14,850 on the vampire kit, but in my heart of hearts I'm pretty sure it was a magical redhead, formerly of California and now living in England, who expense-accounted it to the secret organization she's presently working for as a birthday present for her best friend from high school. Call it a hunch.


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Distant worlds (followup)

>> Monday, November 17, 2008

Last week I mentioned the visual imaging of a planetary system around HR 8799 Today there's an even better image of the system up at Astronomy Picture Of The Day, in which all three planets are clearly visible:



Just one word: Wow.

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Five photos, volume IV








Photos taken at Appalachian State University, November 6, 2008.

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Every man has his limits, even a super-man...

>> Sunday, November 16, 2008






(I have so much catching-up to do for NaNoWriMo, it's not even funny.)



(Cartoon courtesy of:
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.)



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Quantum Of Awesome

>> Saturday, November 15, 2008

I went to see Quantum Of Solace this morning, the 11:15 a.m. matinée show, and I'm happy. It really is awesome, and the real question for me may be whether it was better than Casino Royale (maaaaaybeeee...).

I have to admit I was a little worried going in: Quantum has been getting mixed reviews. The best explanation I can come up with, really, is that the reviews have been some sort of backlash after Casino Royale did so well critically and commercially. I mean, I think the reviewer in Slate, or maybe it was NPR, actually criticized the bad guy's scheme in Quantum as if villainous schemes in a Bond movie were ever anything more than a McGuffin to start with; suffice it to say the villainous scheme, while it is a little over-the-top, actually makes a bit of sense when you compare it to a scheme like irradiating all of Fort Knox's gold or attempting to poison all human life on Earth with decorative flower displays, and more than suffices as an excuse to send Bond on a worldwide rampage.

Another possibility for the lukewarm reception for Quantum is that the new bond movie in many ways continues Casino's leaning-down of Bond: this is a Bond who is grittier, lower-tech, one who doesn't have the quippy one-liners that helped ruin action movies and who actually has a little bit of psychological complexity (one reviewer complained that Bond is focused on avenging a woman he thinks betrayed him; I fail to see why somebody can't be enraged at somebody he loves and in denial about how much he's in pain over it, but gosh, I guess that's pretty unrealistic and stupid). Personally, I think it's kind of neat that one of the highest-tech devices in the whole movie is a device Microsoft officially unveiled this past April. (Okay, so there's also a bit involving some facial recognition software that's pretty goofy tech, but, you know, I stand by my point.) I guess if your expectation of a Bond film is that it's got lots of one-liners and laser-wristwatches and cars that turn into submarines and such, you'll probably hate Quantum as much as you ought to hate the hands-down best entry in the series (at least until Casino Royale, but I could take both sides of that debate). Of course, if your issue with Quantum is that it doesn't have enough Roger Moore moments, we have your type's number and it's been dialed by the Penny-Arcade guys, thank you much.

Anyway, loved the movie.




Earlier in the week, I had dinner with my Mom, who assured me we were going to have a cold snap. Being someone who loves fall and winter more than any other portion of the year, I eagerly began to anticipate hot cocoa and getting someone to look at the pilot light on my gas fireplace so I could roast my toesies in the warm glow of dead dinosaurs (okay, probably not helping the environment with that--so I'm a bad lefty, sue me).

I mention this because while I did enjoy driving home from the movie in the low-70°s weather with my top down, it wasn't exactly the brisk day I'd expected. It was beautiful, don't get me wrong: we have strong winds today, the leaves are blowing around everywhere in glorious clouds of saffron and russet, and I took a leisurely drive home through the Myers Park neighborhood and Uptown (yeah, yeah, add the extra few miles to the bad-lefty lawsuit and stick it in yer ear). It still shocks me to see people in Uptown Charlotte on a Saturday: when I grew up here, the only people you saw downtown on a Saturday were usually homeless or maybe a few kids dragging their parents to the library main branch. Now there are restaurants and galleries and people walking around, and there are cars on the streets and traffic. I regret not bringing my camera along (hey, I was going to a movie) because the skies were dramatic (white clouds scudding across a chill bright blue) and traffic was slow enough (people!) I could have probably taken a few neat shots of the skyscrapers and relative bustle while waiting at lights. (Those of you who have spent time in really big, truly world-class cities would be justifiably unimpressed, I'm sure--but then your basis of comparison is at the far opposite end of what Charlotte was twenty years ago, and anyway, Uptown really did look cool in the sloping late-fall light, etc.).

I gave my Mom a hard time about the weather report she'd seen. She says the cold is still coming. Well, guess we'll see. I suppose I don't really need a fire for hot chocolate with Bailey's.

Hope your Saturday is going well.

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Five photos, volume III

For today's entry, more photographs from Appalachian State, November 6, 2008. One twist: I thought it would be interesting as I was looking at one of them to crop to 2.35:1 aspect ratio--a widescreen anamorphic format (sort of--it gets complicated, and yes, I could have and maybe should have cropped to 2.39:1 instead, sue me).

I thought the results were interesting. Kind of gives an idea of what the campus might look like in a feature film. Hope you like them, too.








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Another proud member of the UCF...

Another proud member of the UCF...
UCF logo ©2008 Michelle Klishis

...an international gang of...

...an international gang of...
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...Frank Gorshin-obsessed bikers.

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