Wanderings

Anything you dream is fiction,
and anything you accomplish is science,
the whole history of mankind is nothing but science fiction.
- Ray Bradbury
January 31st, 2007

Dick Cheney 1991 quote

Dick Cheney in 1991 on ABC’s This Week said this. He was then Senior Bush’s Secretary of Defense.

I think for us to get American military personnel involved in a civil war inside Iraq would literally be a quagmire. Once we got to Baghdad, what would we do? Who would we put in power? What kind of government? Would it be a Sunni government, a Shia government, a Kurdish government? Would it be secular, along the lines of the Baath party, would it be fundamentalist Islamic? I do not think the United States wants to have U.S. military forces accept casualties and accept responsibility of trying to govern Iraq. I think it makes no sense at all.

Thanks to John Ballard who found this.






January 30th, 2007

Paul Jessup Is Lurking in my Gmail Account

Who in the world is Paul Jessup and why is he on my gmail page?

I use gmail.com for my personal mail. I find it extremely well thought out and useful. It is significantly faster than my AOL, Yahoo, or Onebox accounts. Onebox.com in particular is hard to use in comparison and I would drop it, but I receive so much mail there that I can’t do this.

There is a Gmail feature that shows your contacts on the left side. At the top of the list is Paul Jessup. After searching my gmail messages, I discovered that once, last year, I sent him a story for a magazine that he publishes. That is the only contact that I’ve ever had with him.

I have to look at the drawing on the left every time I use gmail. I ask you, is this right? I did nothing to deserve this. Sometimes there are cryptic comments along with the drawing. The comments have nothing to do with me, as far as I can tell.

I think that I can delete him from the contacts list, but this seems very drastic and final. I don’t dislike the person, I just don’t know him. I wish that he would stop haunting my web pages.

It just occurred to me that Paul Jessup is saying to himself, possibly this very minute, Who the hell is this Keith Graham character and why is he haunting my web pages?






January 29th, 2007

Cultural Concerns in Computational Architecture

PerkinsCultural Concerns in Computational Architecture
Interesting article on Non-Standard Praxis.

The “Non-Standard” in Non-Standard Praxis refers ambiguously to Nonstandard Analysis in mathematics and to emerging computational approaches in architecture. Some of the phrases in titles of presentations at the conference include: performativity, topologies, virtual standardization, amorphous space, hyperbody research, immaterial limits, affective space, algorithmic flares, the digital surrational, the boundaries of an event-space interation, bi-directional design process, and voxel space.

(wonderfully pretentious crap, don’t you think?)

Praxis is a complex activity by which individuals create culture and society, and become critically conscious human beings. Praxis comprises a cycle of action-reflection-action which is central to liberatory education. Characteristics of praxis include self-determination (as opposed to coercion), intentionality (as opposed to reaction), creativity (as opposed to homogeneity), and rationality (as opposed to chance).

Voxel is a unit of volume corresponding to the smallest element depicted in a three-dimensional computed tomography (CT) image. For spiral CT, the size of this volume is determined by the design of the instrument and the instrument settings. For the latest scanners, the voxel size can be 0.3 mm 0.3 mm 0.6 mm, yielding a volume of 0.054 mm 3.

Performative utterances are speech acts which perform the action the sentence describes. For example: * “I promise to be there.”* “I order you to desist!”* “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”* “I challenge you to cite a precedent.”* “I accept your offer.”* “I deny that accusation.”

Surrational as far as I can figure is an art movement that I don’t quite get. It seems to refer to sur – super – rational, or super rational. I like the word, but it may be one of those words that is full of potential but ultimately empty of useful meaning.

So there you go! Four new words in one paragraph. Performative and Surrational were thrown into the mix, I believe, for no other reason than to flout vocabulary because they are without real content in the context. Still, they are neat words and add to the ponderous weight of the description.

I just love pretentious crap.






January 26th, 2007

Baby It’s Cold Outside

The temperature was 7 degrees when I got up this morning. (That’s about -14 C to some of you).

I am happy to say that the new high efficiency furnace that I installed myself kept the house nice and warm despite the cat door in the basement that lets in cold air. (That cat door has to cost me a couple of hundred dollars a year in heating costs.)

During the day and early evening, we keep a fire going in the woodstove that warms the downstairs living areas. We are about halfway through the woodpile and I may need another cord before the weather warms up.






January 25th, 2007

Yellow Pine Harmonica Fest 2007

I wanted to post this so I had an excuse to put the harp playing squirrel on the site.

Each year during the first full weekend of August this sleepy mountain hamlet is transformed into the harmonica capital of the western world. Entering its 18th year in 2007 (August 3-5), the Yellow Pine Harmonica Contest (honoring prospecting pioneers and their pocket harps) has grown into one of the world’s largest (and most fun!) harmonica events.

Yellow Pine Idaho – USA, Population 40






January 24th, 2007

Star Hunter by Andre Norton

For some reason Star Hunter by Andre Norton is in the public domain. This means that you can copy it and print it and someone has read the entire novel and sent the mp3 files up to the Internet Archives site. I am downloading it and I want to try and listen to it at work.

In my teens, I read about 40 Andre Norton books and I used to keep a checklist in my wallet. I remember that I liked the Forerunner based books – stories about alien archeology. I liked the two stories about the Beast Master (later a bad movie with nothing in common with the book.) I also liked the witch world books. The first Norton book that I read was Daybreak 2250 AD. I don’t like Ms. Norton’s later books and I can’t read any of the various books she co-authored toward the end of her life.

When I was 14, I spent the summer in Hawaii. My Uncle, a Lt. Colonel in the Army, was stationed in Hawaii and I spent a month over there with him. On the way back, I was stuck in the San Francisco airport for a week and bought a bunch of Norton books. When I finally got a seat back to NY, I got to sit in first class next to John W. Campbell, Jr.. Mr. Campbell saw what I was reading and I told him that I wrote stories. (I had finished The Blight Stricken and Gorgor, by then and had won a state contest with a one act play). He reached into his bag and loaded me up with a dozen more books and told me that the only way to be a writer was to read a lot. I didn’t know that he was somebody special until a few months later when I saw the name in Astounding.

I remember that I bragged about having over 500 SF books. He told me that he had put book shelves in his bathroom so he could read there whenever he was sitting down. He said that he had 5000 SF books just in the bathroom. Erica won’t let me put book shelves in our bathroom.

Whenever I read Norton, I think of Campbell. I don’t think that he approved of my Norton books and the books that he gave me were more adult, but I still like Norton.






January 15th, 2007

P & E

Analogically Yours is #9 #8 in the P & E poll. Chris put a another story of mine in under SF Novels. Strangely enough, I outlined the novel based on that story and wrote about 20,000 words before giving up. It was too much like work.
There has been discussion that non-writers can put in any old thing into P&E and then vote for it over and over again. Email is not a good method to validate a vote. Most websites come with email forwarding and anyone can vote 100 times using different names from a forwarded domain.
There should be another way to do it. I could make a phone with a touch tone menu to do the voting, I have an old telephony card that has all the stuff that I would need. Another way might be to use a credit card, but not charge it – just validate the number. Maybe a cell phone number would work. You have to respond to a cell phone text message. I like this – it is what AOL uses to validate some of their services.
By the way, I like the pseudonym that I used for Analogically Yours – Count Cifre – Full of hidden meaning.

Update: I asked Andrew Burt to remove the bogus story. I still think that the poll is absurd, but I wound up at #8 for a fictional piece of fiction. I began to feel bad for the lady porn writers who had worked hard, getting all of their friends to vote for them. I did not keep close track on how many times I voted, but it was less than 30. I don’t think anyone else voted for the story.
I am still suspicious that Sword Review stuffed the ballot box. I noticed that some of their entries have drifted downwards in the poll as the lady porn sites geared up. It has been pointed out to me that zines like the Sword Review have a motivated support group, so their positions might be legit, but I prefer having a bad attitude.
I’ve started outlining Analogically Yours. It is too good a name to throw away. Maybe next year it will appear in the P&E poll legitimately.






January 11th, 2007

Hack the Razr!

I have a Verizon plan that gives you a free phone every two years. I don’t use my phone much, and I missed the last opportunity to upgrade. However, in December I got my free Razr V3M in the mail and I’ve been using it from time to time. I wanted the Razr because it has a camera and I wanted to be able to snap a picture with my phone if I didn’t have a camera with me.

It turns out that Verizon crippled the ability to off load the images to my PC. I need the images on my PC so that I can blog them. I had a bunch of pictures in the camera, but it costs 15 cents to email them. I am too cheap to pay. Verizon wants you to pay for emails and pay for ringtones and pay for everything else.

So I hacked the Razr. I now transfer pictures to my PC without a problem. I have Little Walter’s Off the Wall as my ring tone. I have James Brown yelling “I Feel Good” for message notification.

It’s not so easy or straightforward to do, but I am a hacker by trade and temperament.

Here’s a web site that has fairly easy instructions: Hack the Razr!

I used some of my FreeNameAStar profits to buy a microSD card to store images. Meritline has stuff very cheap and some of it has free shipping. I ordered a 512K card and an extra reader for under $20 total.

The Rarz only has room for a few images. The microSD card is an alternative to hacking, but they hide the socket under the battery and it is a bear to pull it out to plug into the computer. I like the fact that I can charge the battery in the Razr with the USB cable while I’m transferring images.






January 10th, 2007

Preditors & Editors Poll results

Preditors & Editors Poll results
Check out how your friends are doing.
In the past, I explored ways of getting out the vote. I’ve been writing submitting for about four years, now. During 2003 and 2004 I felt that it was good to get myself and Astounding Tales into the poll and get them rated well. I was not interested in publishing last year so I did nothing and I did not appear in the polls. This year I was thinking of stuffing the ballot box with ScienceFictional votes along with the made up author names, but it is too much effort with too little payoff.
First and foremost, the poll offers almost no protection against fraud. I don’t think that it logs ip address or attempts to capture emails from the same domain. I don’t think it drops cookies or makes any real attempt to avoid fraud.
The poll is mostly for the romance genres (almost all of it lady porn), which is much more popular than spec fic. No matter what I did, the romance sites came out ahead, either because of voter fraud or sheer numbers of interested readers.
I’ll make up a bogus short story and vote for it.
Watch out for Analogically Yours (from my idea list – just a title, but it sounds neat and suggests some fun plots).
update: Analogically Yours is #3 after a bit of advertising. The harp players enjoy voting, even if there is no such story.






January 8th, 2007

Spoof Pages

My Britney Naked spoof pages received 81,517 hits last year. I made $316.68 on advertising from these hits, but I am considering taking down the spoof pages.

This is a personal issue. I don’t like the spoof pages. I did it while I was exploring ways to monetize my websites. I am fooling people into thinking that they are clicking on a nasty site and they get a page of links to my other websites, disguised as more nasty links. They, perhaps deserve it to be deceived. I, perhaps, deserve to make over $300 a year on people with a voyeuristic interest in pop stars, but this is not what I want to do for a living.

Should I leave the spoof pages up? Is there a reason to do this other than the $300? Should I take them down? Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

By the way, I encourage everyone to copy the spoof pages and put their own advertising on them. Save the page and image. Edit the links to web pages of your own, or your favorite websites. Put them on you website and put a link in teeny tiny text from one of your legit pages to the spoof page so that the search engine spiders can find it. It works like voodoo magic.

Just leave one of the links back to a page of mine so I can get the benefits of a back link. I don’t mind earning some search engine gris-gris off the idea.






January 5th, 2007

Elfwood FARP

Elfwood claims to be the worlds largest home to SciFi/Fantasy art and fiction. They were nice enough to mention one of my web pages (one that gets too little attention IMHO). The link above is to a tutorial called FARP : Creating Fantasy and Science Fiction Worlds. It is nicely done and has some very good resource links. I have never heard of Elfwood. I keep thinking Elwood as in Elwood Blues in the Blues Brothers.
I will be surfing the site for interesting stuff. It has a top level domain that indicates that it is a Swedish site, but what I saw was in English.

My cthreepo.com site gets hits mostly on the blog, but I have lots of essays and little programs/projects. I had fun making my 10 rules of science fiction writing, but nobody gets the irony. When I get links to that page, it is because some people are bashing me. It seems everyone prefers nazis and unicorns in their Spec Fic. It’s a good thing I didn’t include my notion that zombies should also be banned from any and all horror stories. We need a 50 year moratorium on Vampires, Zombies, Demons, Dragons, Elves and anyone who carries a sword so that when the moratorium ends it will all seem fresh again.