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Wednesday, November 1, 2006     Where Did It Go?
(2:14 pm)

Two more months and it'll be 2007. Time to renew my driver's license and my handicap parking placard. Five years away from the singularity. I want a bumper sticker that says "Ask me about The Singularity." If I put all the bumpter stickers I really like on the back of my van I wouldn't be able to see out the rear window. Another one I like: Cthuthlu for President. Why settle for a lesser evil? And: I'd rather be stealing an election.


Quote of the Day: "It is my firm belief that it is a mistake to hold firm beliefs."
 
-- Malaclypse the Younger

Lots of things going on this month. It's National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). NaBloPoMo I'll make an honest effort to post at least something here every day. That may present a problem, though, since I'm attempting to participate in National Novel Writing Month as well. I figure to reach the 50,000 word goal of NANOWRIMO, I'll have to write 1,666 words a day. I'm six words short for today. I'll have to make it up tomorrow. I suppose the idea is to get the 50,000 words on paper and worry about filling it out and doing revisions later. Maybe doing both of these will instill some discipline in me. Probably push my way of thinking further to the left side of the brain as well. Two friends told me about these. Karen directed me to the Novel project and Liberty told me about NaBloPoMo. Thanks, dears.

NaBloPoMo

I had intended to make an entry last night after Trick Or Treat was over, but the grandkids were here for a while after that, amped up on candy and excitement, so things were a little on the chaotic side. I did manage to take a series of interesting photographs, however, the following being the best lit one of the group:

Digital Camera Image [2006_1031Image0016 (cropped, modified] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 200, Manual Exposure, 3.2 seconds, f/14.  Tamron  28-300 mm lens @ 43 mm], Tripod w/remote switch
"Mr. Poe lives 'round the corner"
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Thursday, November 2, 2006     Bitch, Bitch, Bitch
(11:35 am)

People just don't complain enough. I know, that's not what you expected to hear, given the title of this entry. Okay, then, say you go into a restaurant and order the breakfast platter -- two eggs any style, two strips of bacon, two sausage links, hash browns, toast, and two buttermilk pancakes. I'll use a recent personal experience as an example. "Eggs over medium. I want the whites cooked and the yolk still runny. Bacon crisp. Butter on the toast" When the order gets there, the whites are runny. Your wife refers to the bacon as jerky. The toast has a small wet spot that might be butter about an inch in diameter on two pieces of the four. Now I would normally send this all back, but say the food your companion is done right. Do you send it back, watch your partner eat, then make her/him sit there while you eat after he/she has finished? Most of us would just "go along." Since the service is bad as well, do you still tip 15-20 percent? Do you complain at the cashier? The way things are set up, it discourages complaints even in the face of bad product and bad service. If you don't leave a tip, you get noticed and the next experience might be even worse. If you complain at the cashier, the next thing you hear will be, "Would you like me to get a manager?" rather like it's somehow your fault. If you answer in the affirmative, you'll have to stand around, in the way, while a manager is summoned. It's set up against the customer.

Say that you like a certain product. Then all at once, the manufacturer decides they don't have enough market share and change the product to more closely resemble the competitions (see New Coke for an example), altering it beyond all recognition. And let's say that the reason you liked it in the first place was the fact that it wasn't like all the others!! Or maybe they decide that a certain product isn't profitable enough and cut it to concentrate on more lucrative lines. Or how about if you have to keep returning a product to have it fixed over and over because the service personel don't do the job right in the first place. Or how about something like poor quality phone or cable service, repeated calls yielding litte or no result? Do we put up with this? Usually, yes. The prevailing attitude is to shrink into the background lest we look like whiners. Can't have whiners. We need to quit accepting shoddy workmanship, poor quality products and inadequate service. If something you're paying for isn't right, complain. Complain! COMPLAIN!! Refuse to reward poor service. Boycott. Sign petitions. Write letters. Call 800 numbers. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.


Quote of the Day: "Surrealism aims at the total transformation of the mind and all that resembles it."
 
-- Andre Breton

I'm keeping up so far with the NaBloPoMo project. It's the NaNoWriMo I'm falling behind on. Well, there are still hours to go in the day. I may figure out what to write yet.


Biggest game of the college football season tonight -- The West Virginia Mountaineers vs. The Louisville Cardinals. There are six undefeated teams in the country right now: Boise State in the WAC, Ohio State and Michigan in the Big 10, and West Virginia, Louisville, and Rutgers in the Big East. By the end of the season, there can be only three at best. One will fall by the way tonight. Rutgers still has to play both Louisville and WVU. The Big East will have only one at season's end, unless something unexpected happens, such as Pitt beating the one remaining undefeated team. Boise State could finish with a zero in the L column as well. Ohio State and Michigan will meet on the field on November 18, so that will eliminate one or the other. Possibly three undefeated teams at the end of the year, and the possiblity of none as well, or anything in between. Go Mountaineers!


(3:25 pm)Let's Go!
 

Our neighbors across the street have gotten into the spirit of the day:

Digital Camera Image [stitched] [Canon EOS 20D, Tamron 28-300 mm lens @ 300 mm]
"MOUNTAINEERS!!"

Wish I'd thought of that. . .


(11:19 pm)Cardinal Sin
 

There'll be no burning couches in Morgantown tonight. The tears would put the flames out.

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Friday, November 3, 2006     Elucidation
(1:49 pm)

Unless you're a West Virginian or a fan of WVU's football team, or perhaps a Louisville or other Big East fan, you probably won't understand that last entry. Allow me to explain. Last night the Louisville Cardinals beat the West Virginia Mountaineers 44-34 (that's 78 total points, folks), destroying West Virginia's hopes of playing for the national championship, perhaps of even capturing the Big East title and a BCS bowl game. It's been semi-traditional in the past for students at WVU (in Morgantown, WV) to haul their couches onto the street after a victory and set them ablaze. It's become such a widespread cliché that Sprint even did a TV commercial with the burning couch theme and the West Virginia fight song. 'Nuff said.


Quote of the Day: "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats."
 
-- H. L. Mencken

We had a hard freeze here last night. The cosmos have wilted and turned brown. A lot of what was left of the flowers in the neighborhood have done the same. The mums are still hanging in there, but if we have another hard freeze tonight I'm sure they'll go the way of the cosoms. I haven't checked the nasturtuims yet. That would require going outside, and I'm not crazy -- well, not like that anyway. It's even a little on the cool side in the house today. There are a few windows that need some work to make them winter compatable. Should have already done that!

I thought about doing a rant on wars today, particularly those metaphoric wars on abstract concepts and vague populations. You know, like the war on poverty, the war on drugs, (and now) the war on obesity, and the war on terror. I think I'll hold off until I get the arguments a little more polished. Wouldn't want to go off half-cocked in my war on wars.

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Saturday, November 4, 2006     Dream Interpretation
(2:51 pm)

Since I've started forcing myself to write every day, I'm beginning to remember my dreams on waking. They still fade quickly, but I retain bits of them even days later. Normally I don't recall much of my dreamlife at all. I used to, but not for a long time now. When I was a child I had some pretty horrific nightmares. I can relate most of them to a fear of death. What I knew of death at a young age, I don't know, but it really doesn't seem like much. Maybe it was my great-grandmother's influence. She died in the room that eventually became my bedroom.

Anyway, my current crop of dreams are pretty ordinary and involve people I haven't seen for a while. Mostly it's just conversations on a sidewalk or in a café. I can't remember any of the conversational details, just the person I was talking to and the fact that there was a conversation. Wonder what that means?


Quote of the Day: "Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life."
 
-- Eric Hoffer

If you don't know who Eric Hoffer is, you should. He's a former longshoreman turned social critic and philosopher. His most famous work is The True Believer, in which he elucidates the characteristics of a zealot, regardless of political or religious persuasion. You should read it. . . repeatedly. I've worn out two copies, working on my third. I've only read excerpts from his other works, but I'm sure they're astute observations of human nature as well.

Digital Camera Image [2006_1029Image0005] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 1600, Program AE, 1/160, f/7.1, Tanron 28-300 mm lens @ 59 mm]
"Now That's A BIG Pumpkin!"

Speaking of writing, I've been writing every day for the NaNoWriMo project (see the November First entry for details), but I've fallen behind. The past two days I've been mostly working on the plot and character details and my word count has not risen to the level necessary to reach my goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month. I'm hoping that once I get the details of the story worked out in my mind the narrative will flow faster and easier. I hope.

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Sunday, November 5, 2006     Get Out and Vote!
(7:29 pm)

This is probably the most important mid-term election in living memory. Get out and vote Democratic. We have to wrest control of Congress from these bastards or by the time the next Presidential election comes along, it might as well be a coronation.


Quote of the Day: "Space People read our mail. The Space People think that TV news programs are comedies, and that soap operas are news. The Space People will contact us when they can make money by doing so. The Space People think factories are musical instruments. They sing along with them. Each song lasts from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. No music on weekends."
 
-- David Byrne

It's seems that I'm more tired at the end of the weekend than at the beginning of it. Of course I don't keep to a regular workaday schedule like most people, but somehow it still seems a bit perverse to feel more rested on Wednesday or Thursday than on Sunday evening. Or does everyone feel that way. I know when I used to work nine to five, Monday through Friday, I was happy to see Monday come around so I could get some sleep at work.

Here's a bit of concrete poetry I made out of an old artist's journal page.

Ink on paper
"A Project That Never Got Off the Ground (Sex)"
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Monday, November 6, 2006     The Hurrier I Go the Behinder I Get
(5:07 pm)

I'm somewhere near half as far into my novel as I need to be to get to 50,000 words by the end of the month. I needed 1,666 words a day to reach my goal. I now need to increase that tote by 210 words a day -- 1,877. This is hard. I don't know where my plot is leading. I'm coming at it from five directions. At some point it must converge and cohere and coalesce. In the next week I'll have to have a clear vision of what the outcome of the whole story will be. I pretty much killed off one of the characters (the main character, in fact) somewhere down the road on the first page. I'm so mean. The other four principle characters I've introduced have to come together with the dead man and accomplish whatever it is they're intended to do. Having a resolution in mind is probably a good place to start when writing a story.


Quote of the Day: "In the gloom and darkness of the night, when there is a sudden flash of light, a person will recognize objects; in the same way, the one with a flash of insight sees according to reality--"This is how sorrow works; this is how it arises; this is how it can come to an end; this is the path leading to that end."
 
-- Anguttara Nikaya

More on the novel: No matter how hard I try to keep the level of writing above a fifth grade level, I can't seem to manage using more than simple sentence construciton with independent and subordinate clauses, and no words of greater rarity than "entropy" or "surfeit." Originally I had signed up to write in the category of Literary fiction. It only took four days to change that to Science Fiction. I need drugs. I do. It worked for Hunter S. Thompson, right?

Digital Camera Image [2006_1017Image0001 (modified)] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 200, Aperture Priority, 1/320, f/6.3, Exposure Compensation +1/3,]Tamron 28-300 mm lens @ 300 mm
"Wet Nasties"

My art has suffered lately. I've started several pieces but can't decide where to go with them. It's the same with my photography. I can't seem to "see" more than the ordinary. The only exceptions to that have been the "smeared" lights from the other night when the police were up the street. Speaking of that, I'm still waiting them to knock on my door and inquire as to why I was taking picures of them. Remember it's not whether you're paranoid, it's if you're paranoid enough.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2006     Moire Than I Can Stand
(4:30 pm)

Would somebody puhleeeease tell all these talking heads on television to never, never, ever wear any item of clothing other than a necktie that has stripes. As a condition of employment for any organization in any position where the employee might possibly ever be on camera should be the mandatory burning of all clothing they own that are striped and a legally binding contract that until all possiblity of being on television has ceased to not buy anything with stripes. My eyes can't take any more!


Quote of the Day: "If we let people see that kind of thing, there would never again be any war."
 
-- Unnamed Senior Pentagon Official (on reasons why United States military censored footage showing Iraqi soldiers sliced in two by U.S. helicopter fire)

I hope everyone has either already voted or gets out to vote (DEMOCRATIC!!) before the poles close.

No only am I participating in NoWoYoBloMe. . no wait, NaBloPoMo. Yeah, that's it. Anyway, not only am I participating in that (along with falling farther behind in the NaNoWriMo) I have decide to try to post a picture of some kind every day this month as well.

Digital Camera Image [2006_1107Image0002 (cropped, modified] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 200, Program AE, 1/160, f/4.5, Exposure Compensation +1/3, Canon 50mm Macro Lens w/+1 Macro Filter]
"Macro Exploration of a Dead Nasturtium Leaf"
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Wednesday, November 8, 2006     Mission Accomplishated
(10:43 am)

In an unprecedented move, we have done the unthinkable -- we have turned on The Worm. The House of Representatives will now have a substantial Democratic majority to thwart The Worm's evil agenda. Yes, it's good to have a Democratic majority once again, but there is still something inherently wrong in this country. The Democrats elected yesterday are, on the whole, moderate to conservative. That is not what this nation needs. What we need is, as a lot the talking heads are calling it, a sharp left turn. The vast majority of the people in The United States is still pretty far right of center. This does not speak well for those of us who have a rational, progressive bent. Fundamentalist religion still holds far too great a sway. So-called conservative social values stifle real social progress. Warmongers still stir up the public fervor. Drug and pederasty paranoia still destroys lives needlessly. Sophistication and liberality are looked with disdain. The only thing that seemingly counts is conviction and steadfastness, even if they're exactly and precisely wrong. What we need is a more liberal and compassionate outlook. We need to rein in the corporations which now are the real rulers in this country. We need to take back control of our government and our society. We have to put vile criminal organizations like Diebold and Halliburton out of business and lock up those responsible for the wrongs they've committed. We need to hold the NeoCon feet to the fire and make them pay for taking the American public down the primrose path. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of having to consider everything I say and do in light of both the Islamic mindset and the NeoCon framework of governance. Enough!


Quote of the Day: "'Faith' means not wanting to know what is true."
 
-- Friedrich Nietzche

Modified Scantography
"Under a Urethane Moon"

I know, I know, I'm being a sore winner. My team (the Dems) finally won and here I am complaining. See, the thing is, if you get complacent or even worse complaisant, even for a moment, the bastards are back in there, plotting their comeback, and you better believe it will be to our detriment. The people we need to be on our guard against are well-funded, smart, and organized. We need to be just as smart and organized, or more, to beat then and get this great experiment in Democracy back on track. Don't give an inch. Push back! Hold your ground.

Do you realize that it's nearly an impossibility for someone in more than 75 percent of the states to get elected to congress without professing an abiding belief in and reliance on Jesus Christ? Do you realize that Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin would never make it past the primaries if they were alive now? Franklin's newspaper would have been bought out by Hearst or Gannett and Jefferson would probably live in a trailer park in Christiansburg, VA, a bitter and disillusioned man. This country was founded on rational principles by religious men. But they were not men of 'faith.' They were, on the whole, Deists and Episcopalians. That's not exactly the fundamentalists modern day Baptists, Pentacostals, and COGers would like.

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Thursday, November 9, 2006     DDSS
(2:31 pm)

That's what they say, "Different Day, Same Shit." Donald Rumsfeld is gone. But now we have Robert Gates in his place. I seem to remember he was one of the planners in the run up to the Iraq fiasco. He was also involved in the Iran-Contra crap under the Reagan-Daddy Bush regimes. Six of one, half dozen of another. As long as The Worm is the one appointing people, don't expect improvement.


Quote of the Day: "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
 
-- Albert Einstein

Maybe someone should tell The Worm about that. Nah! He wouldn't believe it.

Digital Camera Image [2005_0213Image0017 (cropped,modified)] [Fujifilm S3100, ISO 100, 1/110, f/2.8]
"Needles(s)"

I took the above shot with my Fujifilm S3100 camera. They have a couple new ones out I'd seriously consider buying - the E900, a nine megapixel rangefinder and the S7100, a TTL 9 megapixel with a 10.7 X zoom. I also like the S9000 (maybe that's the S9100). If I had unlimited funds I'd go for the S3 UVIR. Now that's a camera!

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Friday, November 10, 2006     Almost Missed It!
(9:33 pm)

It's getting later by the minute and I didn't have a single thought that I wanted to put down here. I almost forgot that I'm in the middle of NaBloPoPo and let today's entry slide. I think this thing of making myself write something every day is good for my discipline. My novel is coming along slowly, but it is coming along. I think I may start posting every day's output somewhere. I just need to figure out how to do it with the least pain.


Quote of the Day: "It isn't true unless it makes you laugh, but you don't understand it until it makes you cry."
 
-- Robert Anton Wilson (attributed)

I got my latest issue of Popular Photography today. I enjoy that magazine. I also got my first issue of my subscription to Shutterbug. It's geared mroe toward the high-end amateur and professionals. I've skimmed through it and looked at the picture and the ads. I need a couple hundred thousand dollars to get all the gear I want out of this one issue. First and foremost is the Hassleblad 39 Megapixel camera. It's only $27,000!

Digital Camera Image [2006_1016ImAGE0042 (cropped)] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 200, Aperture Priority, 1/125, f/5.6, Exposure Compensation +1/3, Canon  50 mm Macro lens]
"Days of Future Passed"

I'm going to go read a little in my issue of Shutterbug now. If I run across anything worth sharing, I'll try to make it back later. Of course that might run into tomorrow, since Real Time with Bill Maher comes on at eleven. I can't miss that one tonight after Tuesday's election. It should be good!

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Saturday, November 11, 2006     The Short Version
(4:56 pm)

West Virginia won their game today, shaking off the loss to Louisville. They looked rather shabby in the fourth quarter, but I've got hope that they'll play better and more consistently next week. Let's Go, Mountaineers!


Quote of the Day: "Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends."
 
-- Joseph Campbell

And I thought it was just me. . .

Digital Camera Image [2006_0921Image0025 (modified)] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 400, Program AE, 1/500, f/10, Tamron 28-300 mm lens @ 179 mm]
"The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence"

Notice it's not aimed at any point on this planet. . .

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Sunday, November 12, 2006     Stuck!
(3:09 pm)

I seem to be stuck around 13,000 word on my book. If you think about it, 50,000 words isn't a lot. 13,000 words is about 21 pages in Word. I think that would amount ot about 1-1/2 times that many in a book page layout. That would work out to about 120 pages for the entire 50,000 words. Not much of a book. I think three to four times that might work better. I'm trying to decide if this novel I'm working on is worth expanding to full book length. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't sell. It reads easy, though, so you never know. At present it's rather boring. I hope to spice it up somewhere around 25,000 words.


Quote of the Day: "If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day."
 
-- John A. Wheeler (and you must not have been paying very close attention)

It's getting into that time of year when I don't take very many photographs. In spring, summer,and early fall, I shoot something nearly every day. In winter when it snows, I go out wading in the wonderland and take great seemingly spot-colored black and white shots. In the winter, after the fall foliage, when there is no snow, there's not a lot to catch my visual interest. I've been less and less pleased with my backlog of photographs lately, too. Maybe it's like writing. I just need to develop a better eye and more discipline -- just go out and find something. I'm sure it's there. I just need to go get it.

In lieu of anything interesting, here is a shot of what my computer desk looks like when I'm seriously working on something:

Digital Camera Image [2006_1112Image0001 (modified - selective burning in)][Canon EOS 20D, ISO 800, 1/30, f/3.5, White Balance - Tungsten, Tamron 28-300 mm lens @ 28 mm. Flash off ]

On the wall above the desk, on the left is a Charlie Hamilton Artist Proof Print. Around the corner is an acrylic on canvas piece of mine called "Jackson Pollock Was Right." On the top shelf, left to right are, cable modem, router, desk lamp, laptop computer, wireless keyboard/mouse receiver, index card box, mica pyramid, brass bell, postal scale, external hard drives, Lexmark Z615 Printer. The stack of things at the left is an old Chartpak case with specialty papers with stacking office trays on top with more paper. The hutch shelves on the left contain mostly computer related books and papers. In the center are my two 19-inch widescreen monitors. The dark thing in front of them is the wireless keyboard, attached to the laptop. Next to it is my Wacom graphics tablet and mouse. The mouse for the laptop is hiding behind the chair back next to the end of the graphics tablet. The hutch shelves on the right contain some of my dictionaries, books I use while writing, and my day planner. On the far left is the top of my guitar amplifier stack. The chair back I figure you can identify for yourself. This is where I reach out to the world. I've got it to where it's pretty comfortable, and still I accomplish so little.

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Monday, November 13, 2006     Gaining Speed
(6:37 pm)

I wrote over 2,000 words today on my NaNoWriMo novel. It's not as many as I should have written, but it's better than I've been doing. And the day ain't over yet! There's a remote possibility that I might write more this evening. I usually do most of my writing in the morning -- the earlier the better.


Quote of the Day: "That is the problem with this rich and anguished generation. Somewhere a long time ago they fell in love with the idea that politicians-- even the slickest and brightest presidential candidates-- were real heroes and truly exciting people. That is wrong on its face. They are mainly dull people with corrupt instincts and criminal children."
 
-- Hunter S. Thompson, Generation of Swine

So, that makes The Worm a "dull person with corrupt instincts" and a criminal child. Sounds right.


I took some shots of the flag Saturday before I had to take it down because of the rain. Right before the rain started, the wind was whipping pretty good and I got some nice angles on the flag. Here's a neat shot. Works well for Windows wallpaper. Click on the picture to open a 1280 X 1024 pixel version. When the big version comes up, right click and save the picture to your wallpaper folder. If you want a different size, contact me. I'm sure I left an e-mail address lying around here somewhere.

Digital Camera Image [2006_1111Image003 (crop) (modified)] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 200, Program AE, 1/125, f/6.3, Tamron 28-300 mm lens @ 28 mm] comments

Tuesday, November 14, 2006     Blessed Are The Meek
(6:23 pm)

. . . for they shall inherit the Earth. And J. Paul Getty quickly added, "but not the mineral rights." And I say, but by the time they inherit it, it won't be worth having.


Quote of the Day: "I don't care who does the electing as long as I get to do the nominating."
 
-- Boss Tweed

Bonus Quote of the Day: "It's not the people who vote that count; it's the people who count the votes"
 
-- Joseph Stalin

You may not know it, but one of the goals of the Republican Party is to elect as many candidates of their party to as many Secretary of State offices and Election Board seats as they can. These are the people who control the elections to a large extent. The Worm was 'elected' twice. In 2000 Katherine Harris was the Secretary of State in Florida. In 2004 Ken Blackwell was Secretary of State in Ohio. Guess which state in each of those respective years the outcome of the election hinged on? Right.

Ever since the second time I took a big gulp of milk and had swallowed a lot of it before the message, "Oh my gawd! It tastes like someone pissed in my unflavored yogurt!" I nearly always check the sell-by date on the jug and sniff the glass after I've poured. I poured the last glass out of a gallon jug of milk a while ago, so naturally I checked the date. It read, 11-12-09. Should be good. . .


While going through my e-mail this morning, I came upon this (last one in the list):

Screen Capture

Is that what they mean by a personal savior?

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006     Instant Karma
(11:03 am)

There was a program on one of the educational channels the other day about Hinduism and Buddhism. There was an English Buddhist nun doing a lot the the explanation of Buddhist concepts and rituals. She defined 'karma' very succinctly: All actions eventually have consequences. That's it. That simple sentence sums it up perfectly. Well, the consequences of my actions last night are groggy-headedness and sluggishness. I had a really late night and therefore got up late today. The incipient precipitation and cool temperatures have my body doing its stiff and painful impression. Oh, wait that's not an impression. I really am stiff and in pain! Nuts!


Quote of the Day: "What the meaning of human life may be I don't know; I incline to suspect that it has none."
 
-- H.L Mencken

Besides Einstein, H. L. Menken is probably the most oft-quoted and misquoted person who ever lived. I've seen words ascribed to Menken that I've encountered in other places with someone else's name attached. I've seen variations of things others have said followed by the customary dash and Menken's moniker. I'm fairly sure H. L. didn't intentionally practice plagiarism. I suspect admirers are getting confused or are giving the man credit for more than he actually said. Having said that, I'm sure, over the years, I've probably included a quote or two from Menken that he really didn't say, as I often rely on sources other than the original for my quotes. I do have a stack of old Smart Set magazines from the 1920's which Menken edited. I suppose I could scour them to extract pearls of wit and wisdom which I could be relatively certain were being attributed correctly, but I already have accumulated a sizeable collection of Menken and Einstein quotes. It would be a shame not to use them, even if they are wrong. If I use a quote erroneously, surely someone will tell me about it. . . Ha!

Another interesting truncation in my e-mail list this morning. Check out the highlighted message title. . .

Screen captrue
"I had no idea they came in Men's styles. . ."

I'm closing in on 20,000 words with my NaNoWriMo novel. By the end of today, if I was maintaining an even pace I should be hitting 25,000 words. Midnight marks the half-way point. And, since I'm already behind, of course I am completly uninspired. I can do this. I can do this. . .

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Thursday, November 16, 2006     I Think I Can, I Think I Can
(4:51 pm)

The story of the little locomotive that could was one of my favorites when I ws a small tike. It left me with my first life lesson. Persevere and believe in your own abilities. Now I'm chugging along on both of my writing projects for the month of November, saying to myself (not necessarily in those exact words) "I think I can. I think I can." Hopefully the end of the month will come out the same way as the book. I'm approaching the half-way point in my word count for the NaNoWriMo project. I'm still about five thousand words behind where I should be. If I have a couple more days like I had yesterday I'll catch up and surpass the goal. If I have a few more days like today, instead of "I knew I could" at the end of the month it'll be tears and wailing and beating of breasts and "I thought I could. I really did!"


Quote of the Day: "The farce is finished. I go to seek a vast perhaps."
 
-- Francois Rabelais (last words)

BonusQuote of the Day: "Do not go gentle into that good night. / Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
 
-- Dylan Thomas

I used to be a great fan of Dylan Thomas, his life and his poetry. When I was a young buck, working at a small town radio station, I came across a mult-record set of a recording of the stage production of Dylan, based on Thomas's life. I used to sit and listen to it on Sunday morning when the half-hour-long programs were running. I'd put it on one of the turntables and switch the speaker over to cue and listen, while keeping track of the programming by watching the positon of the arm on the other turntable or the reel on the tape deck. Eventually, I asked the station owner why they had that particular album. He told me that it was just one that Columbia had sent them. He said they really had no use for it and if I wanted it I could have it. I was delighted. A couple years later I loaned it to another intellecually-inclined person who worked at the station with me. I never saw it again. Tom, if you still have those LP's, could you make me a cassette version or burn it on a DVD?

I have all these photographs of mums that I took last month. I know you've seem scads of mum photos, so I won't insult you with another one. Except. . . Here's one I modified (heavily) in honor of verteran's day.

Digital Camera Image [2006_1016Image0031 (modified)] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 200, Aperture priority, 1/50, f/5.6, Canon 50mm macro lens]
"Red, White, and Blues"
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Friday, November 17, 2006     Blogosphere
(10:48 am)

I guess when you're part of the blogosphere (I hope I spelled that wrong), you end up with a lot of friends who are blogging away just like you. As for me, I take a look at a few blogs every now and then, but there are only three I peruse with any regularity, and those are of friends I made elsewhere who just happen to have blogs. Liberty's blog (which you've no doubt seen mentioned here before) is one of the older ones on the web. Mine, too, actually. I started my web page activity in 1998, the current incarnation has been chugging along since a year later. I've had continuous entries since December 1999. I actually put up a rudamentary page on NYX, the Internet presence of the University of Denver in 1992, but it was small, content-free, and essentially pointless. But, I digress. The thing is, that there are people out there devising all manner of little clever gizmos in a desperate attempt to provide content for the burgeoning quantity of blogs. People who languish in LiveJournal, MySpace, or Blogspot or any of the other Blog Establishments swap these back and forth on an hourly basis. When one shows up at one end of the blog continuum, it's mere nanoseconds before it has permeated the entire blog universe, that end to the other. Since I'm not a "member" (at least more than in the porno sense of the word) of any of these blogging machines (other than MySpace, which is just a presence to keep in touch with a scant few people), I don't benefit from such scintillating bits of code as "What's your porno name?" or "What's your purity number?" or "How much does your brain weigh?" I did have one of these buggers on my naplesyellow site and I've been known to pop one on here now and then, but people on LiveJournal, MySpace, and the like seem to have at least one a day. Then there are the little gizmos built in to the blogging software itself that provide us with an indication of the blogger's mood, what they had for breakfast, what music they're currently listening to. The setup on these blog sites is clearly for teenagers and people with insufficient life experience or gray matter to enable them to write coherent sentences and provide what details of their lives they want to share with the world. Instead, it's a form to fill out. The blogosphere is promoting and training the next generation of bureaucrats.

I just previewed this page to make sure the above banner [subsequently removed] was working right. It's now 77 days until my birthday. How bizarre is that? The number 77 has followed me around since my college days. My meal ticket number at the dorm was 77. When I moved out of the dorm into an apartment, the street number was 77. That particular number pops up more frequently in my life than any other, with the possible exception of the mystic 23. And if you add the two together you get 100. How strange is that? Maybe this novel writing thing is getting to my brain. . . [NOTE: (12/8/06) The initial number was in error. I didn't notice it. Sorry about that. Maybe it was that supernatural 77 following me around that caused the mistake.]


Quote of the Day

Rules for Writing

  • Do not put statements in the negative form.
  • And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
  • It is incumbent on one to avoid archaisms.
  • If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  • Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
  • Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
  • De-accession euphemisms.
  • If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  • Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  • Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  • Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.
  • Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
-- William Safire

It's amazing the lengths I'll go to in order to avoid working on my novel. I'll make extensive entries here, straighten, clean, plan menus, whatever. . . I must work. I must!

Digital Camera Image [2006_1009Image0124] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 200, Aperture priority, Exposure compensagion _2/31/400, f/5.6, Canon 17-85 mm  IS USM lens @ 85mm]
"Beaver Dam-age"
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Saturday, November 18, 2006     Judgment Day
(8:11 pm)

The Sportscenter guys have been calling today, "Judgment Day" all week. Today The Ohio State University played the University of Michigan. Number one vs. Number 2. Well, number one won. Ohio State is one of three undefeated teams in the country and is a certainty to play for the national title. The other two undefeated teams are Boise State (they don't play anyone of consequence) and Rutgers (who'd a thunk it?). If West Virginia can manage to beat Rutgers, and they don't stage a rematch of OSU vs. UM, then West Virginia might possibly play Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Wouldn't that singe Joe Paterno's short hairs?


Quote of the Day: "The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them."
 
-- Philip K. Dick

If you can't tell, I really don't have anything to write about today. I did manage to write a few words in my novel. I'm over 29,000 now. It's starting to look like I can actually do this. The point of it, to me, is not to just reach the 50,000 word tally, but to write every day. I'm starting to get into the habit of doing that. Maybe I'll really have a book that someone else will want to read by the time this is over. It'll most likely take until March or April to finish it, but that's okay.

Digital Camera Image [2006_1118Image0004 (cropped. mofified)] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 200, Program AE, 4/10, f/5.6, Canon 17-85 mm IS USM lens @ 80 mm, tripod, remote switch ]
"Sunlight and Music"
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Sunday, November 19, 2006     Indestructible!
(4:58 pm)

Welcome to another episode of My Pet Peeves! Today we're going to talk about packaging. Is it just me or are the current methods of packaging everything a little over the top? Is it paranoia? Is it some perverse notion that the customers need to be punished for wanting things at a reasonable price? Why do all the packages have to be more durable than the products they contain? One particular product irks me once every 42 days -- Prilosec OTC. The pills come on a bubble card (plastic, very tough plastic) to which is laminated a thin layer of aluminum (aluminium to our British and Aussie friends). It is then backed with another sheet of foil backed by paper. To open it, you have to separate the individual pill bubble, flick a corner until you get the two pieces of foil to part, then peel it back exposing the compartment, covered by the other piece of foil. That is, if you're lucky and the paper doesn't separate from the foil and leave you trying to find a way to get the two sheets of foil to relinquish their death grip on each other. Once you get down to the single sheet of foil, you have to press the pill through the foil from the bubble side of the packaging. Why, I ask you, do they just not put the pills in a bottle and weld it shut or something? Opening one container would be highly preferable to opening 42. Not to mention, the way things are laminated in layers, bonded with something akin to epoxy or gorilla glue, there is absolutely no way to recycle any of the components past the FOUR boxes the pills are encased in. To be fair, they're usually only in three boxes. The most recent ones I purchased, however, had another cardboard sleeve so they could give me a pocket DVD of NFL advertising. And the whole thing is encased in. . . You guessed it! Indestructible plastic film.

It seems that most packaging these days requires a tool to open. You either have to use scissors or a knife, a box cutter or a pair of tin snips. Packaging has gotten totally out of hand. I understand (maybe) the need to seal food and drugs against tampering, but having a tamper-proof seal on the outside of a bottle of mustard, and a seal on the inside as well is more than a little paranoid or perhaps idiotic. And some things that have several seals for 'our protection' really don't need to be sealed at all. I mean, really, who's going to poison shampoo?


Quote of the Day: "We are most unfair to God: we don't allow him to sin."
 
-- Friedrich Nietzche

Other than here, I haven't written a thing today. We had to go to the grocery store. Then we fixed something to eat. Probably should have done that in reverse order. We got the smallest turkey in memory, just over eleven pounds. When the kids were little and we had guests over for Thanksgiving dinner, we had birds that weighed 22 pounds and more. Ah, those were the days.

Digital Camera Image [2006_0926Image0007 (cropped, modified, converted to monochrome)] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 100, Aperture priority, 1/100, f/4, Canon 80-300 mm lens @ 75 mm]
"Arc of the Covenant"
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Monday, November 20, 2006     Dexter
(12:52 pm)

Has anyone been watching the new Showtime series, Dexter? It stars Michael C. Hall from the HBO masterpiece, Six Feet Under. In the HBO series he played a gay funeral director in Los Angeles. He was great. He convinced me that he was gay. In the new show he plays a forensic scientist doing blood splatter analysis for the Miami-Dade, Florida police department. Oh, and he's heterosexual and a serial killer. He's got me convinced again. In the show his sister is a homicide detective, his girlfriend is a divorced mother of two and former battered wife whose ex-husband just got out of jail and is trying to ingratiate himself to her. Dexter's sister is dating a doctor who does prosthetic limbs. We just found out that he's the serial killer that his girlfriend is after. Oh, he knows about Dexter's "hobby" too. Dexter's step-dad knew he was a homicidal sociopath and essentially trained him so he wouldn't get caught and ingrained in him the attitude that he should only murder other serial murderers. It's twisted, and interesting, and the characters are (mais certainment) larger than life. Somehow the writers have created a despicable murderous fiend with whom you feel empathy and perhaps even admiration. It ain't Deadwood, but it ain't bad.


Quote of the Day: "One of my greatest pleasures in writing has come from the thought that perhaps my work might annoy someone of comfortably pretentious position. Then comes the saddening realization that such people rarely read."
 
-- John Kenneth Galbraith, economist (1908-2006)

My regular doctor's appointment was this morning. Everything is still chugging right along. I'm not sure I like this new doctor. He doesn't listen as well as he dispenses advice. I've been closely monitoring my health due to high blood pressure, ulcers and arthritis for a while now. I've been managing my type II diabetes for a couple years. You'd think he'd at least ask for my input on things. Like too many medical professionals, he seems to approach every label with a set treatment. He doesn't seem to take individual differences into account. We'll see. Another thing I don't care for about the practice where he works, in general, is their lack of use of technology. They don't take plastic and can't read a flash drive. I keep my medical record on a flash drive around my neck. It might be useful if I'm unconscious or delirious. Even so, he couldn't access it. Actually, he probably could. I'm sure the PC's in their office have USB ports. He just doesn't know what they are.

Digital Camera Image [2006_0114Image0001 (cropped)] [FujiFilm FinePix S3100, ISO 100, 1/125, f/3.2, flash]
"Look into my eye. . ."

I never noticed before, but doesn't it look to you that the above eyeball is hazel-blue? I thought I was just muddy blue. Now I have this urge to find pretty eyes to photograph.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006     Closer
(1:59 pm)

The end of the month is drawing nigh. I've managed to keep up with the entry here every day, and even found things of moderate interest to include pictures of as well. I'm nearing 35,000 words of my NaNoWriMo novel (see November 1 entry). My doctor's visit went well yesterday. The rotisserie chicken for dinner last night was succulent. The turkey is thawing in the fridge, ready for its big day Thursday. This week is pretty full. We even got the DVD of The Da Vinci Code and watched it the other night. Not bad. I still have trouble getting my brain to accept Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon. I think I had someone else in mind for Sophie, too. The rest of the cast couldn't have been better, except for Silas. Edgar Winter should have played him. The film followed the book very closely, a fact for which I was thankful, but, in truth, I probably would have liked it better if Ron Howard had taken a few more liberties with the story and amped it up a notch or three. The book was intriguing because of the detail, which could not be adequately conveyed in a two hour film. Had he conveyed the richness of detail and made the movie longer, I'd have been bored to tears. Instead, I think a divergence from the original would have been more effective as a film. I don't think a divergence quite as far from the original plot as the Bourne films deviated from the original Ludlum novels would have worked either. I'm looking forward to the new Dan Brown film, Angels & Demons. It's a prequel to Da Vinci, and I think, in many ways, a better story to be adapted for film.


Quote of the Day: "Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, especially if they are worthless."
 
-- Sinclair Lewis

The soap I use on a regular basis is Pears' Transparent Soap. It was 199 years ago this month that Andrew Pears discovered a method of making a truly transparent soap. Its unique scent of rosemary, cedar, and thyme is still, after the intervening two centuries essentially unchanged. If you're familiar with Neutrogena soap, you know the color and scent of Pears. I liked Neutrogena, but it was too expensive. Andrew Pears, in the 1860's did something else besides invent a better soap. He started modern advertising. He is the one person most responsible for using advertising to promote a product. Until then it was considered tacky to hawk your goods with signs and notices in newspapers and the like. Pears changed all that, and was, in good measure, responsible for changing the hygenic habits of the world. He, so to speak. also 'cleaned up.' The ironic thing is that I discovered Pears soap entirely by accident. I had never seen an ad for it in this country. I found it at a dollar store. Since I've been able to locate bars of it for as little as 59-cents. Compare that with Neutrogena!

Digital Camera Image [2006_1120Image0012] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 200, Aperture priority, 1 second, f/7.1, Parameter B&W, ETTL Flash. Canon 17-85 mm IS USM lens @ 85 mm]
"If I had a rock to tie a string around. . ."
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Wednesday, November 22, 2006     And So It Begins. . .
(4:40 pm)

'Tis Thanksgiving eve. Tomorrow the glutton begins. Turkey, dressing, yams, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans, hot rolls. Yummy. Then it's a short hop to Christmas. I'm not even ready to be ready. I've already gained my winter weight. I need to fast between turkeys.


Quote of the Day:
 
"Notre Père qui êtes aux cieux
Restez-y
Et nous resteron la terre
Qui est quelquefois si jolie."
 
(Our Father which art in heaven
Stay there
And we will stay on earth
Which is sometimes so pretty.)
 
-- Jacques Prévert (1900-1977) (Paroles revised edition, 1949; 'Pater Noster')

I recently ran across an example of something I spoke of here earlier this month, being the attribution of quotations to H.L. Menken and Albert Einstein that were actually said by other people. I came across the quote attributed to Einstein in my Quote of the Day on November 9. In The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations That exact quote is under the heading for Aldous Huxley. Should I change the attribution? I don't think so. I'll let it stand as an object lesson. I don't think either man would object, especially since they're both well dead.

Here's a really old graphic I did probably close to 20 years ago. The original was done using Deluxe Paint, version 1 or 2 on my Amiga 1000 computer. Now there was a machine ahead of its time.

Deluxe Paint graphic
"Rainbow with Pipes"
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Thursday, November 23, 2006     Giving Thanks
(9:14 am)

[NOTE: WIth all the activity, visitors, and confusion around here yesterday, I made this entry and forgot to upload it. About the time I finished writing it, I was called to the kitchen again (I had just returned from the grocery store prior to sitting down here to write). By the time I got back to the computer it was well past dinner and the house was full of people and at least two other people had sat in this chair, and one of them had shut down NoteTabPro and my entry was put in cold storage until I sat down today (this is being written on Friday) to compose today's entry. More about that later. Today's entry will now be delayed. 11/24/06]]

I am thankful I live in a land that has a constitution; one that prohibits search and seizure without probable cause, one where freedom of speech is absolute; one where citizens are free to engage in whatever legal activity they choose without fear of repercussions. I'm thankful that I live in a country that has the lowest infant mortality, the best health care available, and the lowest ratio of highest wages to lowest.

Oh, wait, no I don't. The United States has fallen so far since 1980 as to almost exist in a category of it's own. We aren't really a first world country. Neither are we third world (what is second world, anyway?). We exist is a fractal dimension where a small portion of the people own a vast majority of the wealth and a large portion of the people are so far in debt that they own a negative share of the pie. We're into imaginary numbers. This is wrong, and something needs to be done about it before we turn into something like Iraq. Can you see the invaders from somewhere else pulling down the statues of George W. Bush and "rescuing" us from our plight? The second American Civil war may be coming. I personally think the South never gave up after the first one. They've used subversion and subterfuge to continue to wage the war against the Republic. It will all shake out soon enough, and I'll probably not live to see it. And for that I am truly thankful.


Quote of the Day: "With stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain."
 
-- Friedrich Von Schiller

Digital Camera Image [2006_0926Image0005] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 100, Aperture priority, 1/1000, f/4, Canon 75-300 mm lens @ 80 mm]
"Now, who left that in the alley?"
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Friday, November 24, 2006     Twice Baked
(5:10 pm)

I did it again, or a variation thereof. After I prepended the note to yesterday's entry, I uploaded it, wrote today's entry, put it aside to take care of things, ended up going shopping, and when I got back, the power had gone out, probably very briefly because the microwave clock was still displaying the correct time, but the computer had turned off and the other one had rebooted. I hadn't saved the entry before I left, so it was gone. Nuts!


Quote of the Day: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
 
-- John F. Kennedy

Shopping wasn't too bad going out after two o'clock in the afternoon. There were few places to park, and idiots blocked nearly every aisle I tried to go down, but all in all it wasn't totally nerve-wracking. I've written very little in my novel the past two days. I didn't quite hit a thousand words yesterday, and today the word count is nil. I'm hoping against hope that I'll be able to drag the laptop into the living room with me tomorrow and write while I'm watching the game. There will be time to write during the commercials and at the half. Wish me luck.


Let's GO!                         Mountaineers!


Only two more games this season. Tomorrow WVU plays the University of South Florida, then next week they play Rutgers. If they can win out and a miracle happens and Pitt beats Louisville, they may well end up in the Rose Bowl. This whole BCS thing has me steamed. It's like everything else in this country -- elitist. I'm so tired of them that have getting more, and those that have not, getting pissed on. I'm somewhere in the middle, but it still feels like 1937 Germany to me most of the time. Next thing I'll have to wear a yellow emblem on my coat to warn the world I'm not a fundamentalist Christian.

Concrete Poem.
"This May Explain A Lot"
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Saturday, November 25, 2006     Hearbreaker
(4:42 pm)

I'm dejected. West Virginia lost to South Florida 24-19. They were favored by three touchdowns. I don't think Steve Slaton and Pat White together ran for 100 yards. I think it was too much turkey. The l-tryptophan was still in their systems.


Quote of the Day: "Of all tyrannies a tyranny for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
 
-- C. S. Lewis

I went shopping yesterday -- on Black Friday! I swore I'd never do that. It all started out innocently enough. I had to get wiper blades for the car. The ones on it were completely shot. After we did that, we decided to go to Big!Lots. What could be the harm? Well, we saw a Dyson sweeper for $275. It was one of the new, smaller ones. Our vacuum had bitten the big one the day before, so we were in the market. We have one of those little cordless Dirt Devil uprights, but it doesn't suck too good, so we were sort of looking. Ann said with her employee discount at Macy's she could probably get one cheaper. So, we ended up at Macy's. She was right. With 25% off via employee discount, the vacuum already $100 off, $15.00 of Macy's Bucks to spend, and a 20% discount for using her Macy's card, we got the $500 version of the Dyson for a little less than the price of the smaller one at Big!Lots. We found a 6-quart pot too that we've been needing. We had 1, 2, 3, 4, and 12-quart on up, but so many times we had need of something between 4 and 12. This one is perfect. We're set for life now as far as cooking pots go. I also found one of those new Japanese knives they've been advertising on TV, but for about half price. I expected something cheap and thin and light. I was wrong. It's full tang, heavy, and well-made. Amazing! After we dropped the Big!Lots and Macy's loot off at the house and had something to eat, I remembered I either needed ink cartridges for my printer or a new printer. Often it's just as cheap to buy a new printer. At Staples we found a Brother laser printer for less than $70, which is about the price of the two ink cartridges for the Lexmark. I got the printer. Mostly right now I needed a printer for printing my novel to proofread and edit. I have trouble proofreading and editing on the computer. This little Brother printer is nice. Zips those pages right out at 300 or 600 dpi and isn't too slow at 1200. Funny thing, I paid less for the printer than I used to pay for toner cartridges for my other laser printer. Things change. But ink is still expensive. Now I need to get some decent paper for the laser printer. All I have here is specifically designed for ink jet. Figures.


The following qualifies as "found" poetry. Sometimes wrappers and labels get put on wrong and something wonderful happens because of it.

Original scan of object
"Wonder why they salted it?"

I got my latest lab results yesterday. My PSA is 0.4 -- which is what it always is. My total cholesterol is 129, HDL is 41. My a1C is 5.7 and everything else is where it should be, except for my triglycerides, which are a tad high. I probably ate something greasy the day before.

The NaNoWriMo novel is coming along. I'd slacked off a couple days, but I'm getting back into the groove pretty quickly. I'm over 40,000 words now. Only ten thousand to go, and five more days to do it. I may write some more today and cut the amount I have to do on those final five days down from 2,000 to a more reasonable amount. Or I may hold off and write eight of the ten thousand on the last day. Finish early? Probably not.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006     Closing In
(8:45 pm)

It turns out that it wasn't a power failure the other day that rebooted my computer. It was a loose electrical plug. It also wiped out my desk lamp. Now I have to find another way of illuminating my work space. Oh joy.


Quote of the Day: "The Law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich, as well as the poor, to sleep under the bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."
 
-- Anatole France

It only seems fair. . .

Digital Camera Image [2006_1017Image0021] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 1600, 1/13, f/7.1, Aperture priority, parameter set to B&W, Tamron 29-300 mm lens @ 300 mm]
"Urban Network"

I'm pleased with my new printer. I saw it's big brother advertised in the paper this morning. It is essentially the same printer, but is network capable. That'd be nice. But I'd have to deal with a couple rebates on that to get it for about twenty bucks more than I paid for this one. I think I'll stick with USB or parallel for a while.

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Monday, November 27, 2006     Oops!
(3:39 pm)

Here I was, scrambling, trying to make sure I included a graphic element of some sort every day this month, when, lo and behold, I went back reviewing the month's entries and discovered that I missed including a graphic on November third. Nuts! I guess I could go back and retroactively put something in there, but that would be cheating. I guess I'll just have to settle for making an entry for every day in November, and including a lot of photos and art and the like. Well, it takes the pressure off. Now I can just throw a quote in here and call it a day if I want.


Quote of the Day: "I wanted a perfect ending. . . Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity."
 
-- Gilda Radner

The novel is coming along. I'm over 43,000 words now with four days (three and a half, actually) to go until the deadline. I might just make it. In fact I'm sure I will, even if I have to go all James Joyce to finish up in time. Then comes the difficult part -- trying to continue past the end of the project and make the stub of a novel into an actual book, something other people would want to read. I have a number of people already clamoring for the finished version, but the trouble is (don't tell anyone!) that I don't even know where the damn thing is going from here. I think I could write books if I had the plots mapped out in advance. I may have to go back and re-do this whole thing, starting with a plot outline and character descriptions. Maybe I should take a class, like my friend in Baltimore, Sharel, is doing.

I had to go to the bank and the post office today. The post office had something too big to fit in my box. It was the National Geographic Ultimate Field Guide to Photography that I'd ordered. I'd forgotten about that. I had to go to the bank to make a deposit and transfer some funds and check about opening an IRA. Lots of fun. I went by Pro-Art and saw Jack and Victor, too. I got some blue 0.7mm lead for my mechanical pencil. I'm ready to edit now. I also went by Merrill's and got a new camera strap and another of the microfiber cleaning cloths. I'd love to get an enlarger and some darkroom gear to develop my own black & white film, but I really don't have much of any place to put a dark room here. Maybe I could talk to Bob Gates or someone and use their facilities for a small fee. I haven't done any darkroom work in too many years.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006     Indian Summer
(2:30 pm)

The past few days have been marvelous. Temperatures in the sixties and seventies and low humidity. No rain. Well, that's about to change. The skies are gray and overcast today and it feels like rain. I think they're forecasting precipitation starting late today through the weekend. The temperature is supposed to drop, too, so some of that precipitation may just end up being snow. I wish I'd taken better advantage of the good weather, but I didn't. I was too busy with things inside. I'm getting within seeing distance of my writing goal. I'm nearing the 48,000 word mark. I should finish it up today or tomorrow. Already more than 2,400 people have completed their 50,000 words. Almost there!


Quote of the Day: "Use what talents you possess: The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."
 
-- Henry Van Dyke

During my sojourn downtown yesterday I took this shot of the wall of a bank branch that recently relocated.

Digital Camera Image [2006_1127Image0002 (crop)] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 200, Aperture priority, 1/50, f/7.1, Parameter B&WCanon 17-85 mm IS USM lens @ 83 mm]
"In any advanced society, Money is sacred."

"In a democracy, it's the only thing that is." Now I don't remember who said that, and can't find it doing a simple search or two, so if any of my reader (yes, the singular is intentional) knows who uttered those words of depressing wisdom would drop me an e-mail or a comment to my guestbook, I'd appreciate it.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006     Ta-Da!
(1:07 pm)

I did it. I finished my 50,000 words for the NaNoWriMo project. Usually I'm a day late and a dollar short. This time I came in under the deadline -- a day early and 97 words over the goal. Now I get to finish the novel and get it published. That may be the hardest part. I know nothing about getting a book published. The main thing I need to learn about is how not to get screwed.

Official NaNoWriMo 2006 Winner

Quote of the Day: "Advertising is legalized lying."
 
-- H. G. Wells

Bonus Quote of the Day: "Gluttony is not a secret vice."
 
-- Orson Welles

Today and tomorrow and I'll have met the requirements for the NaBloWriMo project, too. That one was simple. I blew my own self-designed project early on by not posting a graphic on November 3. Oh well, there's always next month.


It's nearly 70 degrees again today, but to me it feels colder than it has the past few days. That's probably because the rain has moved in. It's damp and my bones hurt. Now that my novel is done and there is no imperative to write, I feel rather at loose ends. The end of a project always leaves me with a sense of loss, not matter how good the outcome. It's like I've always said, it's not the destination, it's the journey. Getting there is way more than half the fun.

I should go out to Staples or Office Max and get some ink from my Lexmark printer. It's nearly completely out of both black and color inks. I also need one of those pop-up post-it note dispensers as I accidentally bought a multipack of those instead of the normal padded ones and dealing with them outside the dispenser is a pain in the butt. But I don't feel like going anywhere. I probably should though since the next two or three days are shot. My mom will be in town starting tomorrow for tests and to have her pacemaker replaced. That will be an ordeal for both of us.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006     Revise, Revise, Revise!
(10:57 am)

I'd heard that bit of advice many times (i.e., Revise X 3) so I assumed someone had said it originally in reference to writing. E.B. White sounded like a good candidate, but the only reference I can find for it probably doesn't refer to writing at all. I include the quote as today's Quote of the Day:


Quote of the Day: "
 
"Nature repeats herself, or almost does:
repeat, repeat, repeat, revise, revise, revise."
 
-- Elizabeth Bishop, North Haven, 19-20

Still, that one word repeated from three to however many times is often the advice given to aspiring writers. I even have a book titled Revision, which I plan on reading quite soon. Dean Koontz is said to revise everything he writes at least 70 times. E. B. White, while he may not have shouted "Revise, revise, revise!" at the sky, did say that the best writing is rewriting. I've long been an advocate of revision. In fact, when I was a working computer programmer one of my most successful techniques was to write a program, test it thoroughly to make sure it did everything I wanted it to the way I wanted. Then I'd toss the whole thing and start over. Invariably the second iteration was a better product. I took the things I learned from the first time through and learned more and synthesized the two approaches on the second. A lot of times my entries here have for one reason or another gotten trashed and the subsequent replacement for it turned out to be better than the original. I must say, however, that sometimes the lost text was more immediate and inspired. A clue: if you're going to revise, it's probably a good idea to save deletion of the old writing until the very last. In fact, it might be a good idea to keep it in a file somewhere until your heirs decide what to do with it, just in case, ya know.

There are articles and resources for revising writers all over the web. Try a Google search on "revise" if you don't believe me. Oh, hell, try it even if you do. You might learn something. One of the ones I ran across looking for the source of the cookie cutter quote from today's title was on E-Zine Articles web site. I think it's a good place to start for any writer who's considering revising something they've written, and mandatory for any writer who thinks revision isn't necessary.

NaBloPoMo

With this entry posting, I successfully complete the NaBloPoMo project for 2006. Maybe I'll opt to do it again next year. Maybe I'll start on January first and try to make 365 posts in a row, every day of 2007. Maybe. I know I'll continue to work on my novel. I think it's a good idea. I just have to refine it a lot and extend it to include a more satisfying conclusion. December's right around the bend. Hang on, it's going to be a sharp turn. Wheee!

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