Thursday, July 30, 2015

Aspirations of becoming a classic

Not every Grant Snider drawing fits my interests, but many sure do.  He has a new drawing up, on my birthday, no less, that I love. Here is half and this half has been greatly shrunk so if you want to see it full size - and you should- follow the link!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The discipline of Twitter

"I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter."
Pascal
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A humourous thought crossed my mind during dinner and I worked out in my mind how to maximize the surprise at the end.  It fit without difficulty on Facebook and I expect accolades to pour in there.  But it was more than double the allowable length for Twitter.  Still, the idea, the punchline, was succinct. Could I shrink it to one-third length and retain the meaning? See below

Twitter version:
I live near an industrial area where many trucks pass all day long. Yet, there are times when we hear only natural sounds.
Fucking cicadas.

Full length Facebook version:
I live in an apartment complex of more than twenty buildings, next to another complex of similar size.  We are near an industrial area where many trucks come and go all day long.  Despite this, there are times when we hear no man-made sounds at all; nothing but the sounds of nature.

Fucking cicadas.

Transitional versions:
I live near an industrial area where many trucks pass all day long. Still, there are times when we hear only natural sounds.

Fucking cicadas.

Even shorter than Twitter required:
I live near an industrial area where trucks pass all day long. Yet, there are times when we hear only natural sounds.
Fucking cicadas.
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Not every time, but when I think I have added my own content and some value, I post a link on Twitter my posts.  Would it be too Ouroborosian to that this time?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Unusual writing habits discussed at Quora

Read Rod McLaren's answer to What are some unusual work habits of famous writers? on Quora

Uh, I used Quora's embed code above for the first time and am not sure what my reader will see when this is published.  For that reason, here are a few of the examples given:
Will Self uses a wall of Post-It notes to plan and structure his writing.
Elmore Leonard writes on yellow legal pads.
Michel Faber corrected the first manuscript of The Crimson Petal and the White with house paint because he couldn't afford Tipp-Ex.
Gustav Hasford was a serial hoarder of very overdue library books, and had 10,000 of them in storage lockers.
Don DeLillo types each paragraph onto its own sheet of paper, so that he might concentrate better.
Gay Talese would pin pages of his writing to a wall and examine them from the other side of the room with binoculars.
Jonathan Safran Foer has a collection of blank sheets of paper.

Cormac McCarthy said that his perfect day is sitting in a room with some blank paper.

TWIC: Youtube tips for teachers, dealing with criticism, and the New Media Cargo Cult

Turns out Youtube has some less-known features that would be handy for teachers.  If you're making a video, you're creating, so the article deserves mention here.
Teachers would particularly find instructions on blurring faces in videos useful.  Privacy is often an issue when recording video, or stills, in class
There are also tips on how to add captions or add links to the video in a format to make a follow-your-own-adventure style games.
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At i09, Charle Jane Anders discusses how to deal with harsh criticism.  My favorite part was the Gaiman quote:
There’s a quote from Neil Gaiman which is super helpful: “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”
Anders also looks are reviewer you ask for criticism - who are expected to be helpful -and impersonal critics lurking in Goodreads and etc, who have no duty to be helpful.  His main point on the latter is NEVER RESPOND TO THE REVIEWS.  Don't argue with them.  I've noticed that readers who do are further mocked and think I've documented some examples on this blog. [searches]: Yes, I have.
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David Moldawer, at Boingboing, argues against following link-bait protocols.  He is upset with algorithms and the pseudoscience that goes into Search Engine Optimization  (I hope that's what SEO stands for).
Except something's changed. Whether you blame Facebook, Buzzfeed, HuffPo, or "algorithms," the new media landscape has grown a big fat mainstream of its own. Not at one particular site, but in the sense of a particular mechanic of creative expression: tailored for clicks, pasteurized, grabby. The long tail of odd and authentic content is bigger than ever, but if you find your content the way most people do, through the algorithmically warped suggestions in your social media feeds, the stuff you stumble onto feels less like writing and more like wordage, a sort of tips-and-tragedies lorem ipsum.
...[ellipses of a few paragraphs here]...
Even the social media experts have begun to agree that no one person really understands the mechanics of the process, and it's becoming next to impossible for individuals (as opposed to content farms employing teams of data analysts) to keep up with algorithmic "best practices" to amass clicks, likes, faves, hearts, stars, and clovers.
We don't understand why some things catch on and others don't, so we imitate the tone and cadence of the content farms and we pray for rain to come. New media is a cargo cult.
Every day, excellent and unusual writing continues to fall through the cracks as we're fed one "weird trick" after another. We reassure each other by saying the Web generally helps the cream rise to the top, eventually, if you just, um, follow these top 5 tips for writing a great headline that my friend just shared on LinkedIn.
Meanwhile, scratch the surface of a "viral phenomenon" that "came out of nowhere" and you'll find four ad agencies standing on the back of a giant pile of corporate cash standing on the back of a giant turtle. (It's turtles all the way down.)
...['nother big ellipses]...
I have faith, though, that if we develop our craft as online writers based on our own tastes and on the feedback of people we know and trust, with the understanding that finding and keeping our audience is just as much a part of the creative work as the writing itself, we'll take this new form in wonderful and unexpected directions. Online content is a separate and worthy discipline and a nascent art form in and of itself. Let's give ourselves permission to experiment, make mistakes, and develop new approaches to the craft. It's too early to imitate as much as we've begun to, because there are still no sure things.
When I was one of only a few English bloggers in Gangwon Province, South Korea, my blog had novelty value.  International travelers would ask questions and Gangwon Tourism did as well,  I still didn't have many visits per day or week or whatever, but I did have novelty and useful information hard to find elsewhere.

This current blog, and my two others (Yes, I understand.  Point me to the nearest Bloggers Anonymous) are more journals or records of my life and things I want to study.  I would love it if people learned how to be creative here or visited my creationism/evolution blog to argue science with me or visited surprisesaplenty to see what one of many Busan bloggers has to say.  But mostly, these days, my content is for me.  I would be thrilled if people received valuable advice here but it doesn't drive me.

One thing about Moldawer's article that jumped out at me was "Even the social media experts have begun to agree that no one person really understands the mechanics of the process,"  This reminded me of the Darius Kazemi video comparing creative success to winning a lottery.  I discussed that a little here.

Incidentally, I feel a strange connection to Moldawer.  I first followed him on the Kickass Mystic Ninjas podcast which ran from 2005 to 2010.  He has a blog at moldawer.com.

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Added two months later (Sept 23): Moldawer again looks at content vs marketing strategies to attract views money. An excerpt:


From the site, I couldn't blame you for assuming that getting paid for his work is the last thing on Butterick's mind.
If it actually does occur to you to give Butterick money for Practical Typography, you can click on the second subhead beneath the fifth menu item, "how to pay for this book," and read a somewhat cranky essay that starts off by complaining about how almost no one pays, followed by a request to purchase his fonts or, failing that, to just send money. He doesn't even offer a bonus download for shelling out. Just "send cash, you typographically inadequate crash dummy."
After the first year, Butterick wrote a recap on this approach:
I es­ti­mate that about one in 650 read­ers has sup­ported the book with a payment or pur­chase. The other 649 have not. Maybe they will later. Maybe they don’t know they can or should. Or maybe they just think infor­ma­tion on the In­ter­net should be free. In­de­pen­dent of my in­ter­ests as an au­thor, I continue to find this view cor­ro­sive and dan­ger­ous. Last year I gave a talk suggesting that we’d traded good gov­ern­ment for banner ads. But the rip­ple ef­fects are wider still.
A guy whose entire message is that typography is a powerful tool for directing a reader's attention can’t seem to get any of his visitors to click a link.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Paley at the Creationism Museum

Not William Paley who might have approved, but Nina Paley, who did not.  Ah, that's too harsh.  She very much approved of the craftsmanship:
Paley is very open minded about sharing content and I have already included a link, but let me point out that the image below has been shrunk.  To see it full size, follow the link.
"Like the rest of the Creation Museum, this quilt was good looking and well made. That the content is batshit makes you appreciate the craftsmanship all the more."

In her post, she frequently describes the workers are professionals who work for money and have likely made similarly weird and historically inaccurate stuff for Vegas.  A fair point.

As my reader knows, I also blog about creationism/ evolution and don't want to cross contaminate the two blogs.  I may write more about Paley's visit but at creationevolutionbusan.blogspot.com

Friday, July 24, 2015

This is your brain on words, and on word making

When I read a story for the first time, I think that I have a nearly equal role in making the story.  That is, I have read several stories and recalled them later as light-hearted adventure romps only to reread them and find a much darker tone than I remembered.  I don't usually stop to work out the shape of the room or the location of characters while I read but somehow I am adding my own details and definitely removing some as well.

Scientific American has looked at how our brains handle the symbols of words as we read.
There writing is a fairly dry description of the research but anyone who communicates with the spoken word will find it interesting. A single paragraph:
Sound may have been the original vehicle for language, but writing allows us to create and understand words without it. Yet new research shows that sound remains a critical element of reading.
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And now, when we write our brains are like those of NBA players performing their skills. The New York Times has some kind of anti-copy-n-paste arrangement so let me offer a fragment of a screenshot:

Both of these experiments relied on MRIs and in the latter article, the excellent Carl Zimmer points out some of the challenges.  The people in the MRIs had to keep their heads still so they wrote on a notepad that they viewed through mirrors.  I'm sure the researchers knew what they were doing but it sure sounds like an artificial environment.
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All this talk about brains has led me to thinking about.... zombies!  A Kickstarter campaign is underway for a book of feminist bicycle zombie fiction.

I've long believed that one idea is not enough for a story or well anything.  You need two or more and work on how they interact to create novelty.  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is an excellent example. Salt mixed with chocolate and caramel is another.  A restaurant near my apartment opened some time ago offering 'bizarre taste of Korea' with the traditional spicy and garlicky Deokpoki mixed with ice cream.  It was good by gimmicky, by the way; I was done after three spoonfuls.

In your (my) next writing project perhaps you should look at the Genres of Netflix tumblr.
Huffington Post offers 9 eerily specific Netflix genres.  #4 is 'Violent Nightmare Vacation Movies"
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For less polished writers, A quick guide to avoiding common writing errors.  It doesn't offer the continuous tense of 'lie' as in 'not tell the truth'.  Lieing?  Lyeing? Lying?  The final one looks right but I'm not using lye.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tolstoy's rules for living a good life

Article is here.
Wake at five o’clock
Go to bed no later than ten o’clock
Two hours permissible for sleeping during the day
Eat moderately
Avoid sweet foods
Walk for an hour every day
Visit a brothel only twice a month
Love those to whom I could be of service
Disregard all public opinion not based on reason
Only do one thing at a time
Disallow flights of imagination unless necessary
 Tolstoy later added these:
Never to show emotion
Stop caring about other people’s opinion of myself
Do good things inconspicuously
Keep away from women
Suppress lust by working hard
Help those less fortunate
I think I can see where his personal weaknesses lay.  I would guess alcohol was not a problem for him.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

TWIC: understanding art, painting and writing, rip el doctorow

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Confessions from the scammy underground world of Kindle e-books.
I'm a number 1 best-selling Kindle author... maybe it’s because I ripped off a free book that I found online, made up a middle-aged author from Ohio, and then played Amazon like a fuckin’ vintage banjo to become the #1 ranked book in not one, but two separate categories.
It's hard to maintain a consistent opinion on 'gaming' the rules.  One should use the rules to optimal effect.  For a competitive swimmer racing in backstroke, when the rules say you can kick underwater a maximum of fifteen metres from a wall, you aim for fourteen point nine, not seven.  That's entirely ethical.  On the other hand, in a relay where I was approaching the wall swimming butterfly for another swimmer to start, if my distance was off a little, I would slam my arms against the water to make the actual touch hard to see.  Did the final swimmer start a little early?  Hopefully the official would have trouble deciding.

The reporter in this article plagiarized a lot to this goes beyond simple gaming but there are more and less ethical examples out there.  Scott Sigler is a New York Times best-selling novelist and that is because he writes well and built up a loyal fanbase through podcasts; when his book was about to come out of Amazon, he asked all his readers/listeners to buy the book on the same day building a lot of localized buzz in the process. This seems fair.
William Demski, of the Intelligent Design think tank the Discovery Institute, also appears to have gamed the system and I don't find this so benign. His own coworkers were the main authors of 5 star reviews.
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I wonder if Monster Dress Up would be a good way to teach clothes and body parts to my ESL students.
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Understanding Art, a study of Large Bathers by Cezanne  Not my thing, exactly, but interesting none the less. It might be strange to connect an established master with the practice sheets of a beginner but I have been interested in Sam Sykes' novice drawings.  Sykes is a skilled writer and author of many books and has become interested in learning to draw. He has been putting his images on Twitter.


I think that in some of the stories I am working on, I need to draw some maps and other pictures to better explain to myself what is happening and will happen next.

Monday, July 20, 2015

How to write pop songs

From the Washington Post:
“Tempo does not appear to matter,” the USC researchers wrote in the April issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology. “While every artist strives to create a catchy hook, they may also consider striving to write a coherent song in which the chorus is repeated frequently while utilizing a limited vocabulary.”
...
“people are more likely to engage in a given behavior the less effort it requires.” Which basically means this: Human brains get really jazzed about things that are easy to grasp.

Seems pretty simple, really.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

33 unusual writing tips

By James Altucher.  The link is to his website with the tips in text but below is a graphic he posted to Quora.



His genre -entrepreneurship and self help - doesn't appeal to me but he sure has a lot of books on list at Amazon.

I have only a few textbook(let)s to my name so even if I say the tips below work for me, that isn't much of a reference.  Let's see what I can add:

34) Choose to be optimistic or positive.  You can write about whatever subject you want and even write about negative things but feel positive as you write.  In the Stanford class on creativity I took, I disagreed with the professor on several points, but chose to accept them and have fun with the class.  It was a good class, I learned a lot and had fun writing the brainstorming ideas.

35) Go somewhere else to write.  I know full time writers tend to have designated offices and work nine to five, but there's no reason not to try different coffeeshops or libraries or mountaintop tables.
Huh. I seem to recall an article on Rowling that stated she wrote in coffee shops because a cup of coffee was cheaper than heating her apartment.  Not so, says Wikipedia:
She wrote in many cafés, especially Nicolson's Café (owned by her brother-in-law, Roger Moore),[53][54] and the Elephant House;[55] wherever she could get Jessica to fall asleep.[26][56] In a 2001 BBC interview, Rowling denied the rumour that she wrote in local cafés to escape from her unheated flat, pointing out that it had heating. One of the reasons she wrote in cafés was that taking her baby out for a walk was the best way to make her fall asleep.[56]
My understanding is Rowling's coffee shop is now such a tourist attraction that getting work done in it is unlikely.  I'm sure Edinburgh has other coffee shops.  I plan to do some writing at a local Eco centre - the Eulsookdo Nakdong Eco Centre (link appears to work only in Internet Explorer).

36) Only one window open.  Research at one time, write at another. (Exactly what I am not doing while writing this blog post.)

At least one author happy with Amazon's money per page program

Years ago, David Simpson asked me to read his book Post-Human and post a review on GoodReads.  I did.  I thought the book was good but there are many who thought/think it is great.  Simpson is thrilled with Amazon's pay-per-page program.

His book's Facebook site.
His personal page.

Image Below Added July 13 (still no 'million pages' image):

UPDATED July 14 (well, July 15 but with news from the fourteenth):


It took just 12 days for the Post-Human series to get over a MILLION page reads on Kindle Unlimited in the US! Wow! That...
Posted by Post-Human by David Simpson on Monday, 13 July 2015


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Original Post:
I will update this post when his book hits a million pages read in July.  That should happen today or tomorrow (Sunday or Monday).

In this recent blogpost, I discussed how I didn't like Amazon's PPP program.  Mostly, my concerns came down to privacy issues (which are unaffected by Simpsons success) and by fears over a new hoop to jump through for the author to get paid.  The latter fear is a result of pessimism or lack of self-confidence and I am impressed with Simpson's strength in these areas.

Congratulations, David Simpson!
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The Telegraph's Harry deQuetteville pretends to like Amazon's program.
What we readers have been lacking all this time are books with the fun-filled, life-affirming qualities of the crack-pipe: fiction filled with endless hooks and twists that drive a boundless craving for more. Meanwhile, the stuff that you have to work at, put down, plan to get back to later but never do – that stuff like Ulysses, Moby Dick and The Golden Bowl – that’s out.
Now, if only we could apply the same model to music. I mean, I know that no one has to buy whole albums any more, but we do still have to buy entire tracks. Outrageous. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, for example. I like the Dah-dah-dah-DAAAH bit at the beginning. But you have to admit it flounders a bit after that. So next time it’s on at the Festival Hall, I’d like a ticket. But only for the first minute please. Shall we say 35p?
The Guardian and Atlantic agree that it will change the way books are written: From the Guardian:
Self-published authors can opt in via Amazon’s KDP Select programme, which gives them a cut from a fund calculated by Amazon on a monthly basis: for June 2015, it’s $3m (£1.9m). This naturally puts a cap on author’s earnings, as they can never earn more than the fund allows and are competing for a share with all the other authors on the programme.

Amazon used to start paying royalties on the borrowed book once a reader got to 10% of the way through, but this was proving unfair to authors who wrote longer books. A reader perusing a short book reaches the trigger point for payment much faster than one reading an 800-page tome. The result was a flood of very short reads as authors spread their writing over as many books as possible.
Ah, I hadn't realized it only affected borrowed books rather than purchased ones.  The Guardian's post is a great explainer; read the rest of it.

From Peter Wayner at the Atlantic:
The sweet spot in this formula, then, must be books full of cliffhangers that keep people flipping the pages. The answer is now to pack a book with ticking time-bombs, unexplained plans, and lots of secrets to be revealed later. What did she whisper? Hold on, let's jump to a different thread halfway around the globe! (Of course, there’s a fine line between books with needless suspense and books that are simply engaging—the latter will probably sell well in any marketplace.)
As I worked hard to make my short books shorter, I may have shattered the effect that some readers crave, the chance to lose themselves in another world. One of my former editors read one of my short books and told me that he didn't have time to relax. "Instead of a leisurely stroll through a book I felt like I was on a bit of a forced march," he said. The staccato recitation of facts wasn't a nice way to spend a lazy afternoon.

I wonder if we will return to Dickensian pay per word and serializations of books.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Steampunk and the Muskoka Novel Marathon

Blaylock discusses steampunk - he helped coin the term:
I read them [Victorian authors like AC Doyle, Dickens and Tennyson] like a chef sharpens knives before going to work. Reading focuses the mind. Reading The Pickwick Papers puts a particular sort of edge on it – just the sort of edge I need if I’m going to leave the 20th century behind and spend a few hours hanging out in the 19th. (The term “hanging out,” by the way, appears in Pickwick, which was published in 1836, 130 years before my generation would claim to have invented it.) I love the extravagant stuff, so to speak, of the 19th century – the sepia-toned colors of the world in those bygone days, the immensity of the language, the potential for plot and character and setting and for outmoded, goofball science, none of which any longer exists in the modern world except when someone’s imagination takes a sentimental journey.
Blaylock's Beneath London is on my Amazon Wish List.  Ah, I'm not suggesting any reader buy it for me and there are two reasons: First, it is difficult to impossible to buy a book for someone else's Kindle.  Second, I mentioned the book for your interest.  Mine is taken up with Stross's new Laundry Files book and next week's release of Go Set a Watchman.
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The Muskoka Novel Marathon starts this Friday.
The Muskoka Novel Marathon is an annual event to raise funds and awareness for adult literacy in Huntsville and surrounding areas. To date, the event has raised over $105,000. Please see About the Marathon for more information.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Am I creative?

I recently gave a talk on creativity and how to encourage it in the classroom.  I'm not all that satisfied with the talk I gave; I think I tried to ....no, no point in weasel words.   I know I tried to fit in too much information and content into 45 minutes.  My biggest fault was first explaining how some research shows brainstorming doesn't increase the creation of new ideas, then spending time explaining how to brainstorm.

Ah, I've had a beer and didn't have lunch.  I hope I'm making sense.

The talk was satisfactory and one person in the audience had a lot of fun with my activities and really made me feel good about them.  Good work, dude whose name I never got.

Early in the talk, I stated that after ten years of studying and blogging about creativity, I didn't think I was creative.  I told the audience I would explain that at the end of my talk.

But the end of talk was rushed and I didn't explain it.

What I planned to discuss was my creative output; the total amount of creative work I have produced.  And I planned to say I hadn't made all that much.

In thinking it over, I believe I undersold myself.  Or, um, I would have undersold myself to the audience if I had explained the point.  Instead I left them curious and unsatisfied.

I have written two 'books' with Nanowrimo and have been working on a third.  None are close to being published.  I have ideas for three short stories.  The main points are fleshed out but have not been written.  I have two or three plans and even drawings for wood carvings but haven't touched my gouges and chisels in months.  I have plenty of ideas but I have a low production rate.

Is this true?

In the past two years, I have prepared 40 Google Slideshow presentations for the science camp I teach at, and at least a similar number of slideshows for my university students.  I lectured my son's classmates on my work at the Wye Marsh in Ontario,Canada and on water safety.  I have prepared and led many activities at Dongseo University's English Cafe...

Student needed to put these pictures in order and tell a  story.


I have created a lot of content but for work rather than for my own unfettered desire.  And yet, it has not been exclusively work.  I enjoy teaching and have managed to insert fun and games and joy into my classes.

I've created a lot of content.  I am creative.  I don't want to turn into Stuart Smalley for this post, but I do want to admit to myself that though my creative output has been less-publicized, it is still real and useful.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Crossposting: Summer plans

I have too many blogs.  Here I write about creativity and writing.  At creationevolutionbusan, I write about evolution and science. And at surprisesaplenty.wordpress.com, I write about other subjects, mostly family life, teaching and travel.

At the Surprisesaplenty site, I wrote this:

This summer I appear to have a lot of free time.  I hope to work an ESL camp in August and have a few other commitments but essentially I have time to work on my own projects.  Most of these projects deal with writing.

Writing Plans and Goals:

  • 13 blogposts for 6,500 words.  Why 13?  I can't recall why I chose this number.  Somewhat more than two a week, I guess.
  • 3 short stories: Working titles are 1) Ants, 2) Vampire on a boat and 3) Hyperbaric Chamber.  I'm figuring 2,000 words each
  • Push forward one or all three of the books I have started and let sit.  30,000 words is the goal and I don't mind jumping from book to book as seems fit. Working titles are 1) Return of the Haloed Hunter, 2) the Distancing Engine and 3) Creationism's worst arguments
  • 2 letters per week to friends.  Around ten letters and 2,000 words.
  • Perform research and planning for future "Crowded Sky" story. As much as 5,000 words.
To keep the writing interesting, I have made further goals.
  • I want to write over the course of a full day.  That is, at least once in the month write from 12:00 to 1:00 AM, once from 1:00 to 2:00AM ...
  • I want to write in a variety of locations.  The local mountaintop has a good table. There are some nice libraries to write in.  I'll talk about coffee shops in a moment.  Eulsookdo Eco Centre might be a nice place to work in for an afternoon.
  • Soundtrack: I may use Ommwriter which has its own soundtrack but otherwise it will be autoplayed classical music starting with some Janecek and letting Youtube suggest from there. Away from Internet connections, Doug and the Slugs and other 80's music would work; the tunes are so familiar that they can be white noise or a fun background as needed.
Snacks: I bought snacks for my Nanowrimo writing and I will definitely eat in front of the computer but I need to show restraint here.  My weight is slowly dropping and I want to keep it going in that direction.  Controlling my weight is my greatest concern this summer.

Fitness:

  • 18 runs with an average of 7.0 km.  I hope to attempt a solo half-marathon this summer late one evening and have been working out the course and where to place energy drinks along the way.  I am currently at 96 runs over the past six months so only the weather could prevent reaching this goal.
  • Run faster than a subway train.  The local subway stations Seo-dae-shin and Dong-dae-shin are about 500 meters apart and the train takes 2:35 seconds from doors open at Seo- to doors closed at Dong-.  Further, this route is slightly downhill.  I can easily run this fast on a level surface but Seo-dae-shin is deep underground. I have no qualms or conscience problems about using the escalators but even with that assistance, there is a big climb at the start of the run.
  • Swim 2km at a time. Korean pools are crowded with conversationalists and it is hard to get an unbroken swim in.  I am likely to need to stop a the end of a lane a few times.  Today, I did 1250m, with breaks and could have gone farther.
  • Find 3 snorkeling places in and near Busan
  • For at least 6 days, eat three meals, plus one snack plus one sweet drink.  I snack a lot and plan to spend a lot of time in front of a computer so this will be a challenge.

Education:  I am enrolled in 3 MOOCS.

  • The Bilingual Brain
  • Modern Korean History
  • Archaeology of Portus

Family

  • Teach my son to swim.
  • Go on a weekend trip with the family. I would prefer a swimming site but that is negotiable.
  • Read two books with my son.  I don't want this to be a purely teaching experience but one we both enjoy.  Tintin is a good contender here.
  • Work on the farm.

How many pages did you read?

Amazon will pay some authors based on how many pages were read.
In the new scheme, authors will be paid for each page that remains on the screen long enough to be parsed, the first time a customer reads the book.
This applies to self-published books that are routed directly from the author to Amazon to customers, rather author to publisher to Amazon....

As a wannabe writer, I don't like this.  Perhaps this means I am too insecure in the quality of books I might one day bring to market. If I sell books I should expect them to be read to the end.

Hmm. I don't expect the readers to pay less if they read less - that would be a remarkable development and one hard to argue against.  That would cost Amazon money.  Their proposal only harms the authors.

What arguments do I have against this new policy?
Privacy: the Kindle needs to record not merely my bookmarks and progress but also how long I spent per page.  Will it record what page I paused at? I don't read porn specifically but I have lingered on the sexy parts of books in the past.
One set of book I didn't linger on the sexy parts was the ASOIAF, GRR Martin's famous series full of incest and pedophilia.  Now, I'm grateful I didn't.

Amazon's greed.  Again, if Amazon is keeping money from the readers, it is not fair.  If Amazon refunds readers, then this is cool development, although I don't understand how it would work.  That is, I sometimes buy a stack of books at once - my birthday is coming and I will treat myself to five or six books and read them eventually.  How does Amazon decide how long to wait?  Do readers have to turn the book in?  Then they would expect a discount.

  Shuck at the discussion forum on Boingboing asks about re-reads:
"the first time a customer reads the book."
They're not paying for re-reads? So if a book is so terrible that no one reads more than a few pages, the author doesn't get paid, but if the book is so great/ such a useful reference that it gets read over and over the author also doesn't get paid? Sounds like a good deal for Amazon...

An interesting idea.  The pendulum swings back to established publishers as useful for authors.