Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Steamboat Mickey is in public domain

 It has been out of copyright in Canada for a while but this is more in the news now that Steamboat Willie is in the public domain in the US.

Some links explaining it all.

Canadian Law and Steamboat Willie.

CTV explains the subject.

Legal Eagle gives a video explanation.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Still Alive and Naps

 Back when I blogged regularly, and missed a few days, I would title a blogpost, Still Alive...". I did the same when travelling and sent, by air-snail mail (uh, snail-air mail?). I guess that might be morbid.

Anyway, I am working in long term care, making and planning activities and I find it quite similar teaching ESL in Korea. I use a lot of activities from my ESL days with my dementia clients.

So, well, see you again in 7 weeks (when I prepare for Nanowrimo) and then again in a few years, or something.


From Scientific American: Are Naps good for you? (my bolding):

Several studies find that a well-timed nap can provide a short-term boost in brainpower. For example, scientists reviewed past research that focused on healthy participants with regular sleep cycles. That review, published in 2009 in the Journal of Sleep Research, showed that napping improved factors ranging from reaction time to alertness to memory performance. A brief nap can also light the spark of creativity, a 2021 study in Science Advances found. In that research, participants were given math problems that could be solved with an easy shortcut that they weren’t told about. Some participants were encouraged to take a brief, dozy nap before tackling the problems. The researchers found those who napped—and spent even just 30 seconds in the first, lightest phase of sleep—were 2.7 times more likely to figure out the math shortcut than those who stayed awake. But entering a deeper sleep phase had a negative effect on this creative insight. In other words, there may be a “sweet spot” of mental relaxation that clears the way for eureka moments.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Two from Tor: and also, Still Alive!

 It's been a while! I don't feel I have been creative in an obvious way for the past few months, so I didn't post anything here.  But these two posts from Tor - the book publishing company - caught my eye.

Seven fictional writers who clearly aren't based on reality.

Apparently Stephen King's Misery is the most realistic of the bunch.

How adaptations can be their own works of art. The TV show The Magicians, which has mostly the same characters as the books but is also weirder and maybe darker than the books, gets a lot of praise.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Midland Ontario Municipal Election candidates, 2022


Links in a mess. Here they are with little attempt to organize them:

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Brave Pantser - or not

 At Quora, I wrote about some of my Nanowrimo experiences. Here is most of my answer at Quora:

Profile photo for Brian Dean

Yes, most of the time.

A Nanowrimo story was set in space and I knew the setting very well; someone else had researched it and I thought it cool. I contacted the man for permission to put a story in his setting and he was happy to grant that permission. The setting was:

Building the ultimate Solar System
A while back I performed an experiment called build a better Solar System.  The game was to make better use of the Solar System’s habitable real estate.  In the game I was required to keep al…

36 Earth-sized moons and planets around a single star.

So someone else did most of the physics and I only needed to come up with the characters, plot, themes and tone. That’s all!

Okay, that’s a lot. But my story had a firm setting. So I sat down at 11:55pm on October 31, got ready and… really struggled at the start of November 1!

I wrote about some archaeologists and a university on one of the planets and then the story began to pick up momentum.

Nanowrimo only requires 50,000 toward a first draft be written by November 30, and I surpassed that number but I had nothing like a story.

I did have the actual beginnings of a story, I had solid characters, a satisfactory plot - not so much on the page but in my head or in notes about the story. I had, in short, the makings of a good (for me) story; probably not a first draft, but draft 0.6. Most of that work would be thrown out or kept as background in the actual story, but I had pantsed my way into an actual story.

And I learned so much about my science fictional setting. It was indeed fun. Not completely satisfying because it took so long in my writing for the story to appear, but still fun.

One more story about pantsing a story: I wrote a fantasy story based on some daydreams I had as a child (yes, in writing this, I see how much time I spent daydreaming. I had better become a real writer to make that time well-spent!). It had a child stolen from another world and then returned to that world after several years had passed - standard stuff. But because I was pantsing the story, I didn’t know yet why she had been taken or why she had been returned.

And at several points in the story, I could have made that choice, directed the story one way or another … and I chickened out! At every opportunity to make a decision, I passed and left it vague so I could make the decision later.

And the story was fluff. It had not meat. It wasn’t good and my anxiety about making, or not, that decision kinda poisoned the process for me. There were fun moments but the total was not fun. I needed to be a braver pantser.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Generic maps to give you ideas and show you perhaps what not to do

 @skerples1 offered a 'generic fantasy map' and others joined in with more in the comments.

As is my standard practice, the images shown here have been cropped and shrunk. To see the full images at full size, follow the links:

And more from Skerples:


Ash, the Loom of Doom, offered

And more. There are all fun and maybe they remind us of how many cliches there are out there.