Thu, Dec. 25th, 2008, 03:37 pm

Via traveling giants autopope and nwhyte, the overnight meme: List the towns or cities where you spent at least a night away from home during 2008. Mark with a star if you had multiple non-consecutive stays.

Detroit
Albuquerque
Lamy, NM
Boston
London *
Amsterdam
Toronto *
Los Angeles
Minneapolis
San Diego
Denver
Montreal
Oak Bluffs, MA

Not bad, but not as diverse as some years. Here's to more, and more interesting, travel in 2009.

Sat, Dec. 13th, 2008, 11:23 pm

Sometime in late September or early October, I don't know whether it was Teresa's heart attack, Scraps's stroke, obsession with the election, or just general personal fail, but I completely stopped reading LiveJournal.

I've just loaded my "friends" page for the first time since then. Obviously I'm only going to read back a day or three. If there's something you've been assuming I know because you wrote about it on LJ and in the past I've reliably read your LJ, you might want to point it out to me. Alternately, you can just regard me as the retard in the corner who never knows what's going on.

Sat, Sep. 27th, 2008, 02:05 pm
Factcheck.org this

People on my friends list keep linking to Factcheck.org as if they were some kind of reliable guide to what is and isn't true in political arguments.

What is Factcheck.org? The following answer is reprinted, slightly revised, from comments I recently posted in gregvaneekhout's LJ.

Factcheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and is funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation. The current president, chairman, and sole director of the Foundation is Leonore Annenberg.

You can inspect the public record of Leonore Annenberg's political donations--lots of them, almost entirely to right-wing Republicans--here and here.

I suppose it's possible that an operation funded primarily by a billionaire Republican political donor who also happens to be the widow of a right-wing newspaper and magazine tycoon is an outfit we can trust to objectively judge who is and isn't stretching the truth in political discourse. It's also possible that the unopened milk carton in my refrigerator actually contains pirate doubloons made of 24-carat gold. I'm not betting on either proposition.

More to the point, most of the "fairness" industry is basically a kind of high-minded baloney. As with the late, unlamented Spinsanity, one gets the sense that if the two candidates were Albert Schweitzer and Joseph Goebbels, Factcheck.org would nonetheless beaver away until they could put together deploring lists of equal length and equal tsk-tsk-yness for both of them, because, you know, balance.

Thu, Sep. 18th, 2008, 12:44 am
That other meme

"Note to self. Religion: freaky."

Thu, Sep. 18th, 2008, 12:18 am
Self-portrait meme

Via agrumer.

Take a picture of yourself right now. Don’t change your clothes. Don’t fix your hair. Just take a picture. Post that picture with no editing. (Except maybe to get the image size down to something reasonable. Don’t go posting an eight megapixel image.) Include these instructions.

Tue, May. 27th, 2008, 12:07 am
Paging People of Wiscon

Would someone please check in on elisem? She's in the hotel, she's extremely sick, and it would be really good if someone kept track of her and made sure she got back to Minneapolis, where she probably needs to check into a hospital.

(Do not break down her door, but, someone, do please be in touch.)

Sat, May. 3rd, 2008, 12:19 pm

If anyone reading this has the texts of anything posted to Making Light since March 1--front-page posts, comment threads, anything--archived or in a cache somewhere, now would be a really great time to mail copies of them to us.

I understand in particular that some RSS readers, such as NetNewsWire, can auto-archive HTML of posts they've read. If you have such archives for Making Light, we'd be hugely obliged.

Yes, we're down; the whole server has crashed. Our ISP is trying to recover the data but they're not optimistic. And yes, usually we back up more frequently, but for the last couple of months backups have been failing, which probably we should have taken as a clue.

We've known for a long time that we need to find someone we can pay to renovate Making Light to be more managable and less server-intensive. We started with Movable Type when it was easy to use, and it's become progressively more complicated and difficult for non-technical users. I suspect, although I may be wrong, that we need to move to WordPress. But most to the point, we need to find someone we can get to figure it out, recommend a strategy, and implement it, and while we can't pay a lot of money, we can pay.

UPDATE: In the interim, we'd like to redirect the Making Light comment community over to Abi Sutherland's blog, Evilrooster Crows. She'll have a post up there shortly. In the interest of having one place to discuss these technical issues, I'm closing comments here and asking that folks post over there. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Thu, Mar. 13th, 2008, 06:53 am

I dunno, call me crazy, but it seems to me possible that for some writers, blogging is a time sink and a creative drain, while for others it's a source of connection, energy, and inspiration. It might even be that human beings, not just writers, are all different from one another. I realize that this reveals me as prone to wild, nutty speculation, but that's probably why I work with that crazy rocketship stuff.

Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008, 02:14 pm

I'll give Keith DeCandido credit for one thing: he understands that writing doesn't become "professional" just because a professional does it. I assume that he also understands the implication: "pro" and "fan" are terms for things that we do, not things that we are.

That said, several things are silly about the fuss over the presence, on the final Nebula ballot, of the script of a Star Trek "fan film" written by Michael Reaves and Marc Scott Zicree.

First, there's the argument (ventured by Keith and echoed by several commenters) that SFWA ought not to have done this when no works of professionally-written media tie-in fiction have ever made the final ballot. This reads as little better than whining. I'll happily grant that some good books have been written in the tie-in mines (John M. Ford's Trek novels spring to mind), but the historical absence of such books from lists of Nebula finalists hardly comes as a surprise.

Second, DeCandido opines that "World Enough and Time" is a work of "fanfiction", and that therefore it "should be the opinion of everyone" that it must be removed from the ballot instantly. Unfortunately, Keith's certainty falls victims to some inconvenient facts. While the official Nebula rules for Best Script specify that nominated works must have been "professionally produced," in fact, no other Nebula category requires "professional" publication or production. (Your kid brother's xeroxed fanfic story is in fact eligible for a Nebula, as well it should be, unless what we're doing is giving out awards for Best Contract, Best Business Model, or Fiscal Publishing Arrangement We Approve Of Most. Instead of for, you know, stories.) And moreover, it turns out--unless SFWA President Michael Capobianco is just funnin' us--that Reaves and Zicree were paid for their script.

The third silly thing is the suggestion that "World Enough in Time" should have been excluded due to questions about how "authorized" by Star Trek's owners it may or may not be. Again, for the Nebula administrators to worry about such matters puts us right back into the business of handing out awards for deals, rather than for works. Emphatically, SFWA should be an organization of professionals, not of wannabes. But what professional writers give awards for is writing, not contracts. Nebula administrators should not and cannot be expected to police nominees for whether they do or don't meet particular levels of "professionalism" or "authorization," particularly at a time when these terms and the business models from which they derive are in extreme flux and no three SFWAns can be expected to agree on precisely what they entail.

Capobianco is to be commended for handling this matter with good sense.

Mon, Feb. 25th, 2008, 06:43 am

I'm puzzled by Denvention's online Hugo-nomination setup. Specifically, it's not clear to me that people who were Nippon members but who are not yet Denvention members can nominate online.

As we all know, members of the previous Worldcon are eligible to nominate in the Hugos. Denvention's site says that you need a PIN number to use their online facility, and instructs us that "if you are a Denvention member and you need your Hugo PIN number, send your name and address to pin@denvention.org". But it says nothing about what to do if you're not a Denvention member.

I've asked this question in a couple of other places, and I've also emailed pin@denvention.org, but so far I've received no answer.

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