Friday, September 30, 2016

rhino horn and fantasy writing

I recently wrote  a discussion of "Why do I write fiction?" It was the 'fiction' at the end that I had trouble justifying.  I enjoy reading - and writing - fiction and I most love fantasy, which is the most disconnected from reality of them all.
Let me interrupt myself, to imagine a reader's outburst here, "But, but, but, there are real themes, issues of objective value, that are discussed in fantasy novels: Morals and morales, gender and bigotry issues, the value of bravery, honesty, and even connections to historic beliefs and understanding!"
To which I would reply, "An exclamation mark? Really? And 'morales'? Did you think the message behind a fable was spelled that way?" I am, after all, very perceptive. Anyway, yes to all those points. I just have trouble justifying devoting a life to such writing - even as I try to create that life for myself.

The reason I bring up this background is an apparently unrelated article I read on a friend's Facebook page. My friend linked to a National Geographic article (Warning: autoplay video) describing a rhinoceros farm:
John Hume is the owner of the world’s largest rhino farm; he owns 5 percent of the world’s rhinos. He and others would like to see the end of the South African and international bans on the rhino horn trade so he can profit from his current stockpile of rhino horn, which could be worth about $45 million.
He argues that sawing off a rhino’s horn does not hurt the animal, and he claims that a legal trade can help conserve rhinos.But many conservationists reject this claim about legal trade. They fear that legalizing the trade will only create more demand and, therefore, more poaching—and that illegal horn will inevitably be mixed in with legal horn.The world has already lost much of its rhino population: There are about 29,500 rhinos left on Earth today. Before the 1800s there were several hundred thousand in Africa alone. The outcome of the debate over legalization of the horn trade will impact the future of the rhino.
My response was
I would have some sympathy for Hume if there were some value - medicinal or otherwise- to rhinoceros horn.
I wasn't thinking about my ambivalence regarding fiction writing at the time, but after I read what I had written, the connection was pretty obvious - and problematic for me.

A rhino horn can be ground down and shaped and used where molded plastic is used today. I think it can, anyway. In traditional terms, I think rhino horn could be used to make the grip on a knife. ...Yes, Google tells me I wasn't imagining things. Don't bother trying to embiggen the image: go here to hunt for it and see it full size.

The problem is the Asian use of the horn for its supposed medicinal properties.

If I feel writing fiction is an acceptable profession, I think I have to accept rhino horn farming as an acceptable one, too.  I am no political leader and have no aspirations to be one so I don't imagine myself to be in a position to permit or deny Hume his farm. But I do have trouble with it nonetheless.

That's it. No conclusion other than, "I am troubled and confused". Perhaps you should consider that the final sentence to every post here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

TWIC: embarrassment, Advice from Wendig, webcomics maker

Oops. I schedule This Week In Creativity blog posts to appear on Monday or Tuesday and then just add material until it publishes.  Several days can go by while I add content. I am writing these sentences on Sept 23. In the last one, one of the first links was to a description of Bill Waterson's contributions to comics. And, one of the last ones was too. Yes, I added it to the list twice. Sorry. And now I have removed one of the links from the list and changed the title.
Chuck Wendig is a popular and successful writer who also writes advice books for wannabes like me. Somewhere (the links from Boingboing aren't clear to me), he has 25 pieces of advice.

An Australian library has released a webcomic maker. It looks fun.

Kate Kendall's writing newsletter discusses the value of actual experience over Google searches. She rode-along with a police officer and his canine for a night.
Seek out research opportunities wherever you can. Don't be satisfied with just reading and googling and interviewing. Although all those are needed, researching experiences is most valuable. It's also fun and one of the privileges of being a writer.

What's some of what I learned on my night out? What the adrenaline that races through Officer Hobbs feels like. It permeates the air and is absorbed through your pores. You breath it in, smell it, hear it, sense it. Your heart beats it through your veins all shift. This four legged officer is ready at all times. He's completely devoted to his partner and always on the look out for him. Their partnership and dedication was inspiring. And both officers have intriguing personalities.
Semi-related, I presume her newsletter is a way to teach in touch with readers and to create new readers. In choosing to discuss her article, I decided to be thorough and looks at her works.
Huh. Like me, she has works on the way but nothing available to buy today.
I hope this is true. I fear it is a platitude to make people like me feel better.
Image greatly shrunk and found on Tayloredexpressions' Instagram page
Creativity and genius are often discussed together. On that tenuous thread, Sci Am has an article about innate talent vs training. They authors are uncertain. We know that some people have 'perfect pitch'. That is, with no reference note, they can hear a note and name it. I think that means saying, "A#" or the like. This is a rare skill. But it can be learned and some researchers used this point to show that innate talent might not exist. Further reading of their work, however, shows that it took two to eight years for people to learn this skill. That suggests that it is quite a talent indeed.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Why do I write?

This question appeared on Quora recently:
Why do you write fiction?

My response was:
On the one hand, I have a simple answer ready: I write the stories I want to experience.
On the other hand, I can’t really answer why I, or people in general, write fiction.
I’m in an uncertain place employment-wise. Don’t worry about me; I don’t think I’m in a desperate place, but it has made me think about different levels of production. My background in ecology might have something to do with it.
I could look up the proper terms, but the first level of production involves making solid, important things. Food might be first on the list, followed by clothing and housing and so on. The first levels are all tangible. You can touch them; they are not abstract.
Middle levels might involve repair or medicine.
Eventually, you get to more abstract levels. Cynically, religion might fit here. Writing definitely does.
I don’t live in Canada now, but I am from there and I worry about the Canadian economy. Canada isn’t producing much of those lower level things right now. The thing is, you can’t eat books or movies or TV shows.
I want to remind any reader that I am trying to write books myself. I am not against fiction writing at all.
I just look at a question like, “Why do you write fiction?” and it makes me think I really should think more about growing crops or raising chickens or building those peddle-powered generators I have long been thinking about.
Writing fiction is not easy, but the act of doing so is comfortable in the sense that one is not outside and burning or freezing, or getting injured from a farming implement or soldering iron…
I hope that I am not writing fiction (and spending too much time here rather than actually writing fiction) because it is merely comfortable.
I hope that, not my current book, but some book of mine will have the value of Madeleine L'Engle’s or Ursula K. Le Guin’s or, in a very important but different way, George Orwell’s. 

See the link at the top for more answers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

TWIC: Alaska, Grant Snider, Bill Waterson, Nano prep,

Should you write in a specific place and work like a professional (in an office) or vary your routine. K.M. Weiland recently traveled to Alaska and wrote outside and enjoyed both.
Something I’ve been reminded of this summer is the importance of new perspectives for writers. It can be so easy to get stuck in a routine, writing at our desks eight to ten hours of the day, walking the same route on our morning workouts, looking out the same window at the same time every day.
This is probably a third of her total post on the subject so I don't want to excerpt more. All I can say is, Wow, 8-10 hours!
Snider on Writing. As always, this is only a chunk of his drawing and it has been shrunk.

I bought two of his drawings for Christmas -one for my sister and one for me.  They were both sent to my sister and she liked them so much she kept both. I may have to the same one again!
Calvin and Hobbes: Art before Commerce (6:21 video)

David Lynch: ""Ideas are like fish. You don't make the fish, you catch the fish."" (2:34 Video)
How do you organize yourself to write a novel? Quora has some answers. Here is an exceprt from Christopher Knox:
The Draft
Me: "How is your novel coming?"
Her: "Not bad. I just started the second draft."
Stop right there. 
I'm about to ask this writer specifically what she means by this and, if she's like most writers I know, I'm going to have to inform her that she's mistaken. I suspect that she means that she's begun the process of doing massive edits to her manuscript, perhaps deleting scenes and rewriting them, polishing passages and going over her grammar and spelling. These activities are not part of the second draft of a novel.
 The second draft is where you throw your first draft in the garbage and start over from scratch.
One thing I will do is try to visit Dice Latte in Seoul for a Nanowrimo planning party.
I don't know anything about secret wood resin rings, but the process looks neat.
If I want to keep up with my wood work, I will need to sharpen my gouges.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Learning from failure

The deadline for entries in the Behind the Mask Superhero Anthology has passed. In good time, I started planning.I made this:

... and I thought about what stories might fit.  In the past, the few stories I have written that I like jumped out at me after I thought about them seriously for a while.

No idea jumped out at me and I did not hand in an entry.

There is one more thing I did in the stories that I have completed.  I started writing. Even without a good goal or plot in mind, I began writing about the setting, the character.  It was after doing so that the plot idea or twist or hook came to mind.  Most or all of the ideas in that mind map are about plot and they went nowhere.

Seven years ago, when I started this blog, I did so in part to see how creative ideas appear.  The idea that you should just write and see what happens is the key to NANOWRIMO and I have completed three Nanos.  I should know this.  Perhaps I know it, but I don't live it.
This reminds me of one of my favorite high school teachers, Mr Steep. He taught chemistry.  He spent an appropriate amount of time explaining serial dilution, pH and indicators.  He told us that grape juice would change colour at a specific pH but he didn't tell us what that pH was. Then he told us to find that number.

I failed to find the number. Once he explained what he needed to do, it was obvious and he had given us all the background.  I understood serial dilutions and the logarithmic feature of pH and could do well on any paper test. It did not cross my mind to take 10 ml of strong acid and add 90 ml of water, take 10ml of that solution and add 90ml of water...until I had a range of solutions from pH 1 to 6  and then add some grape juice. Man it is so easy when I read what I should have done! I understood it the theory but not that I should put it into practice.

I hope I do now. I cannot wait for inspiration.  All those things I did to find inspiration are still valuable and I will do them. The mind-map, walking my dog while thinking about it, doing other activities and coming back to it... I do need to do that, but I also need to write. To move sideways in the story, to explore the person's life, his home, his job, his street, until some of those elements click and I have a story.
In possibly related news, Sci Am looks at where creativity comes from.

In animals, opportunity, not necessity is the mother of invention.  when animals are under high stress - facing starvation, for example - they retreat into conserving behaviors. They are less active and take fewer risks.  Animals that do not fear starvation or the like are more willing to take risks.

The article also looks at tool using crows and compares them to human children.  The children were not as creative - at least in the tests given.

The conclusion:
that innovation should benefit from diminishing, rather than increasing, costs of failure. Says Muthukrishna: “By reducing the risk, a social safety net may stimulate innovation.”

Saturday, September 17, 2016

TWIC: civilizations, maps, teaching, archived children's books, paradox

Guy Gaveriel Kay is a Canadian author who fist achieved success with his Fionavar fantasy series, an adult cross of Lion, Witch and Wardrobe with Middle Earth. I liked them as a young adult but I am uncertain if I would now. I am afraid to find out how my taste in books might have changed.
Here is a 17 minute interview with him where he discusses civilizations on the edge.
Here is a playlist of twenty videos on how to draw fantasy maps. The videos range from eight minutes to over an hour in length with most of them around fifteen minutes.
Nanowrimo has a series of 'plot doctoring' advice articles. The first one I became aware of is #9, building a strong plot.

The article explains these essential scenes in the image (which has been cropped. if you want to see the cut out three scenes in the bottom third, follow the link).
As an educator and would-be creative-ist, I have read much of what Sir Ken Robinson has to say.  This post is about outdoor education rather than his more typical public fair about creativity but I still like it and want to spread the word. Again, I have trouble connecting this with my blog's theme, but it is worth noting:
He lists five reasons why taking learning outdoors is a good idea:
Nature is a powerful resource.
Children can learn through practical hands-on activities.
You can tap into children's curiosity.
It is a social experience and children learn from working together.Learning outdoors is fun.
Another one for educators more than of a purely creative article: Ten tips to use Powerpoint better. Here is part of number seven:
What does it do?
This feature allows you to remove the background of images.
How does it work?
There is a lot of information about how background removal works. Try thistutorial from or this tutorial from
Select your image and go to the format ribbon.
Click on the remove background icon on the left-hand side of the ribbon.
Parts of the image will now be highlighted in purple.
Resize the shape of the box to the edge of the image.
Click on mark areas to keep and your cursor will turn into a pen. Click on image to create a point or draw a line for areas to keep.
Click on mark areas to remove and your cursor will turn into pen. Click on image to create a point or draw a line for areas to remove.
Click on keep changes and anything in purple will disappear.
Note: Click on reset image on the format ribbon in order to restore the background.
How can I use this as a teacher?
This feature is ideal for creating for collages, posters and general graphic design in PowerPoint.
6000 children's books are now archived at this site online.
I have thought of residencies for artists as ways to recreate the historic patronage system.  A wealthy person or group funds the work of an artist. Wikipedia tells me I have it mostly right:
Artist-in-residence programs and other residency opportunities exist to invite artists, academicians, curators, and all manner of creative people for a time and space away from their usual environment and obligations. They provide a time of reflection, research, presentation and/or production. They also allow an individual to explore his/her practice within another community; meeting new people, using new materials, experiencing life in a new location. Art residencies emphasize the importance of meaningful and multi-layered cultural exchange and immersion into another culture.
I bring this up because one writer is getting extra time to work on her project and has only one distraction, but it is a big one! From the Vancouver Sun:
Rebecca Moss is the British artist stranded on the Hanjin Geneva owned by the Hanjin shipping line that filed for receivership Wednesday. She was on board as part of the 23 Days at Sea Residency organized by Access Gallery in Vancouver.
The Hanjin Geneva is now somewhere off the coast of Japan near Tokyo. It cannot dock because ports around the world have barred Hanjin ships over concerns that include the payment of port and service fees.
How has the news about the bankruptcy changed any routine you might have had on the Hanjin Geneva?
Before the news, there was always a feeling that we were moving in a line toward a horizon, and there was a real sense of purpose. This was reflected in the way I approached my day — I had knowledge that I had a certain number of days left and I was trying to plan to execute my ideas accordingly.
However, now it feels more like we are a slowly drifting island, a feeling that I am sure will intensify when we actually drop anchor. I have found myself wandering more and feeling more in the present — taking each moment as it comes and not knowing when the end will be.
Via Boingboing
The idea of a residency still interests me. Here is a list of 26 such residencies from last year. I think all or most of those in the US. This list from Aerogrammestudio is more international.
Struggling to write does not mean you are not a writer.
Honestly, I’m nervous that I can’t live up to the promise “writer” seems to convey. Writing doesn’t come easily for me. There are times it flows, but sometimes it feels like trying to wade through sinking sand.
Like so many others, I fall into thinking that putting words on paper always comes effortlessly to a certain segment of people, who therefore deserve the title of “writer.” If you struggle to get your meaning across in the written form, the thinking goes, you must not really be a “writer.”
But if that were true, who among us would be worthy of the title? Sure, words come more easily to some people than others, but natural wordsmiths still have to work hard to master their craft. And even the most seasoned writer knows the feeling of agonizing over a sentence or deleting two-hours-worth of dull paragraphs in frustration.
At Quora is a thread with lists of places that will pay you to write.
The author of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is being sued because his work is not creative enough.
In the complaint, the publisher claims that Grahame-Smith’s latest manuscript was not original enough and pulls too much content from the original public domain work.
I enjoyed P&P&Z and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, but I can't say how original the former work is.  I am one of those philistines who hasn't read the original.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Incheon Animals: Papilio species

Different sites offer the same genus but various species names.
Papillio maacki. And here.
Papillio elwesi
-----How embarrassing. I had originally posted this with the species names capitalized. Now fixed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Carefully Constructed Sentence

I am a Canadian, living in South Korea, but I watch the US presidential  race with, ah, amusement? Horror?.. When I get irate, I remind myself I cannot vote for either party, or anyone else, and try to return to amusement.

The following discussion centers on quack Mehmet Oz and specifically on a sentence describing him in the New York Times. The article is about Donald Trump, but, for this post (and generally for this blog), I am not interested in him.

What does it mean to criticized or 'sometimes speak[s] in ...hyperbole"?  It means:
Lying about weight loss claims.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance, led the panel that on Tuesday looked at false advertising for weight loss products. Subcommittee members took issue with assertions that Oz has made on his show about products that don't have a lot of scientific evidence to back them up, such as green coffee beans.
The article notes he did the same thing with Garcinia cambogia.

His Wikipedia page shows his lack of integrity in various ways.

Science Based Medicine notes he has found '16 miracles':
After all, everything is a “miracle” to Oz (He’s found 16 so far).

That New York Times writer has a gift for spin.

Via Boingboing.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

TWIC: start, steampunk,Chandler on SF, comics, life of Surprises

Making it small in Hollywood. Mike Birbiglia is being a little modest.  His six tips look good.  Here are excerpts from  two (this is from the New York Times so I cannot copy and paste even small segments):
1) Don't wait. ...Don't talk about it anymore. Maybe don't even finish this essay.
2) Fail. ...The bedrock of all good pieces of writing is 10 bad drafts.
Via Kottke.
Oamaru, New Zealand is the steampunk capital of the world!
For the uninitiated, the term steampunk was coined in the 1980s and is based on imagining inventions the Victorians might have created for the modern world. The movement was kickstarted by science fiction novels and has branched out to incorporate art and fashion while spawning a well-established aesthetic, typified by embellished hats and goggles.
Image found here (here shrunk, as always)

Raymond Chandler on Science Fiction (and Google!)

I want to read the rest of that story.
I saw a comic on a friend's Facebook page. The panel showed a spoiled student with his feet on his desk during the pledge of allegiance. I shrank the image and added another panel.
The artist, Steve Breen apparently drew that panel nearly six years ago.  I want to properly attribute his artwork and so I found his webpage.  Strangely enough yesterday's panel took the opposing viewpoint. It suggested that Kaepernick's choice to stand or not during the pledge or the anthem was what made the US great.  Good for Breen on becoming more progressive.
In writing the above, I wasn't sure of my comics terminology.  Wikipedia and readwritethink had me covered. From the latter:
Readwritethink is geared toward students while Wikipedia is more in depth.
I have more than one blog.  I keep this one fairly tightly focused on creativity but I have other interests. I seldom post on my SurprisesAplenty blog but just did and if you have any interest in this humble blogger as a human being, you can read about it.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Incheon Animals: Brilliant Blue Beetle

No idea what species this is.  I'm pretty sure it is a beetle but local hemiptera can look similar (and wonderful); below, taken at 600~odd meters altitude Gangwon Province, a hemiptera:

In a few months, I will have access to some insect guides and i will try to ID it then.  Man! Three animals into the Incheon Animals posts and I haven't IDed any. Shame!
Mostly as a reminder to myself, this article on beetle diversity on a tall Gangwon mountain looks interesting for my Gangwon work.  This one might or might not be interesting.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Click Bait: This secret video will be banned!

Greg Thomson stepped off the ferry in Torshavn.
"Godan Dag" called out three men, touts from local inns but Greg passed them until he saw the man with the Torshavn Hotel sign. He introduced himself, he speaking German slowly until the man, Naddoddur Rasmussen, volunteered that he spoke English.

Naddoddur led Greg to the hotel van and the two went to the hotel.

It was a typical Faroese day, with half the sky filled with clouds and the other clear and sunny.  The sun beat down on multi-coloured homes and businesses with the backdrop of a green-faced hill.

Once he had settled in, he was out again.  On a borrowed bicycle, he struggled up the hill. Torshavn was one of the few places in the Faroes where the hills did not absolutely forbid cycling. He looked forward to the descent back, though.

On he went, until he found the home of Steinvør Mortensen, the woman who would break the whole story open.  He found her at work.
He introduced himself and when she repeated "Thomsen" with more of a eh sound in the final syllable, he didn't correct her. Her pronunciation meant he didn't have to actively lie yet.

But soon he did. "I've been away since childhood," he said to hide his unfamiliarity with the language she spoke.  His fluency in German and English was sufficient most of the time to understand but not always be understood.

She resumed knitting.  The wool was cream and brown and unbelievably thick.  On its own, his hand reached out and squeezed the ball of yarn. He caressed it, his training allowing him to note the lack of broken fibers that would cause itchiness. This wool could be worn on bare skin.

Convinced he was a local, she felt comfortable leaving the room with him in it.  A few cut ends of yarn were on the floor and he picked up a handful of them, tucking them into one of the dozen inner pockets of his Gore Tex jacket.

He soon made his goodbyes and coasted back down to the capital town. Before dinner, he shopped for wool sweaters.  At the stores, he played the German tourist and chatted with the friendly shopkeepers.  He easily divulged the name of his hotel.  The sweaters all looked and felt great. As expected with handmade products, they had no tags or markers.  He bought one and wore it under his wind breaker to dinner.  He also bought a small scarf.

Back at his hotel, he removed the sweater and scarf, set them on the bed and arranged some pens -one especially thick - on the desk.  Then he went out to see if the island's proximity to Scotland meant they had good whiskey.

They did.  When he returned, he didn't need to feign casualness.  He simply pointed himself toward the bed, clambered in and woke up with the sun shining in.  He packed up, happy that his head didn't hurt, and was driven back to the ferry.

At home, he studied the video.  Yes, his beautiful sweater had been switched while he was out.  The few sheep of the Faroes could not keep up with the demands of consumers and they had to re-sell their few great sweaters again and again. Te scarf must have been small enough to not unduly tax the production. The sweater he now had was okay, maybe Scottish, but not of Faroese quality.  He made further recordings of the laboratory research comparing the yarn ends he'd saved and the sweater in his possession.

He cleaned up the videos and made a documentary, then posted it online from his home in Saskatchewan.

And now the Danes were after him!  First, they wanted Canada's Hans Island. Now they wanted his video.  A Dane-led legal push against Youtube was in full-swing to remove and ban this video.
1 For once, the image isn't giving much away. A slim man or cross-dressing woman with a too-short jacket in a luxury car.  Ah-hah! I'm sure the scarf is involved.

1.5 scarves are made of wool. A blogger I follow discussed wool products.

Tyler Cowen, at Marginal Revolution, visited the Faroe Islands and said (among many other things) (my bolding):
I give the place high marks for food and scenery, but the total population of about 48,700 limits  other benefits.  It is like visiting a smaller, more unspoilt Iceland.  There is a shop in the main city selling Faroese music and many shops selling sweaters.  They will not tell you where the sweaters were knitted.
The image of a sweater being knitted has been shrunk and was found here.

4 So much research for a short story.  I'm learning!
I have an unneeded Google Drive tab open and a Facebook tab (naughty! I should be more focused).  The others all related to the Faroe Islands.  As with Iceland, the Faroes work to keep their culture 'pure' and I was amused to find a list of 'approved' male and female names.  I recall that in Iceland, if you get Icelandic citizenship, you need to change your name to one of the approved ones.

5 I tell myself these meanderings, written before the story above is finished (I just wrote the bit describing the landscape and weather around Torshavn) are not procrastination.  The story is finding itself in my head. I need a wide range of inputs to put together a novel product. Well, again, that's what I tell myself.

6 I don't know much about Hans Island except that it is my homeland's version of Dokdo here in Korea.  The land is not that valuable but the surrounding ocean and ocean floor are or will be when the ice melts. As a Canadian, I feel somewhat compelled to defend the island as Canadian, but I don't know.

7 I am writing this in a library and will leave soon. I think I finished the story too quickly.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

TWIC: Grants, Writers and writing, Spoon, Pelee Island Retreat, pay

On Quora, the question How do you write a good grant proposal was asked and answered.
The answer (so far there is only one) is to find examples in books or in a Google search.  Most such proposals are generally vague and dry so adding some detail and working to make them interesting is important to be noticed.
Jeff Vandermeer's Wonderbook is one of the most beautiful I have seen.  Now I need to read it.  He has given lectures on the same content using images found in the book.  Find it here.  The image below, from the link and the book, has been shrunk. Click on it to a somewhat larger size or follow the second link to see it full-size.

'Verbing' is annoying for some people.
If you’ve ever been in a conversation with someone who makes liberal use of the verb form of summer – which is, coincidentally, also its nominal form – you’ve probably rolled your eyes at such egregious snobbery. Unless, of course, you were simply waiting your turn to share about your own summering, in which case it is probably correct to assume you also enjoy yachting, golfing, and cardiganing.
Indeed, in 2007, when Mike Huckabee was a candidate for the Republican nomination for US president, he used it on the campaign trail to differentiate himself from his Ivy League rivals: “For my family, summer was never a verb. We never summered anywhere.”
Well, plenty of other people have summered – for more than 500 years. According to Trish Steward, assistant editor at the Oxford English Dictionary, the verbal use of summer “goes back quite a long way,” its first recorded use being 1440.
I believe this is described as fossilization of a language.  The words and forms you heard as a child will always the the 'right' ones.   Verbing doesn't bother me that I can recall. As a competitive swimmer, the verb 'medalling' was common enough that it never upset me.

Other examples that affect me are Gonna, Wanna, and Hafta, but the one that really grates on my ears and seems common in the UK is "Haven't got". It's "Don't have", for crying out loud!
Twenty-eight thousand words in a single flight.
The article is difficult to summarize but here are his main points.
  • Sleep during take off.
  • Laptop on lap rather than chair table.
  • Headphones, Ommwriter, Flux and background music
  • drink a lot (of water) and don't eat.
  • Get up every three thousand words
  • Do exercises (ten pushups or squats) in the galley areas a few times
  • Save frequently.

The author travels business class and can plug in his computer so he has power for the whole flight. I love Ommwriter (the Mac version is better) and Flux apparently resets the lighting so your eyes don't ache in low light situations.
The latest Hugo Awards shenanigans.
Question: If you could pick a single writer to make an effective, compassionate statement about identity politics to a divided literary community, who would you pick? Would it be a schizophrenic, autistic person who’d authored an e-book called Space Raptor Butt Invasion?
For years, writers and fans of science fiction and fantasy have been confronting that first question. And inadvertently, at the behest of right-wing trolls, the answer to the second question has recently become yes.
I know things that I didn't even know I knew.
Will I make money as an artist?
Lessons for Story Tellers at the World Domination Summit

(2) You can always edit more than you think
What it is the point we’re trying to get across with this story?
And then,
What can I cut out, but still get this point across?
It’s brutal. But in the end, I managed to edit some stories down to 30 seconds – which gave us wiggle room to add some details back in

Spoon! Jimmy Diresta makes one.

Boingboing has a quote from him with a link that didn't work for me.

As a dabbler who hasn't done enough continuously enough to learn by doing, videos like these are wonderful.  At the beginning, Diresta makes his block on two sides with the rough shape of his spoon.  Of course, once he cuts on axis, the marks have been removed. What does Diresta?  He applies glue to the part that will be next cut off and rebuilds his block. Then he cuts again and the rough is cut free top and bottom, left and right.  That was worth the price of the video right there.

And a graphic reminder:
This image was many places. I found this one on Reddit.
Pelee Island Writer's retreat funding on Indiegogo.
The funds raised in this one-time effort will be used for the start-up costs for the Pelee Island Book House and Writers' Retreat. Known for its beaches and birding, the island's quiet beauty makes it an ideal location. Perks are offered at every level,
Work free, for exposure.
I, uh, am attempting to write a (very) short story for this blog every week - see 'click bait' for stories - to produce content for this blog to attract eyeballs and good feeling from readers so that when I publish a book,there'll be some people to read it.  Maybe even pay for the dubious pleasure of reading it.  These stories are free - and that is probably a realistic measure of their value - and i do it for exposure.
Of course, I am doing this by choice, on my own platform.
At For Exposure, there is a long list of screen caps showing people asking for artists to work for free and getting angry when the artist asks for money. The above link is to a Twitter account and I think the examples are collected here on Imgur. As always, I have shrunk the images. To see them fullsize, and many, many more, follow the link.

Ha. Vulva owners!
And more on the same subject. Vice allegedly treats its freelancers badly.
IN AN ERA OF JOURNALISM in which freelancers have grown accustomed to being treated like disposable cogs of news production, Vice appears to be in a league of its own.
Interviews with more than a dozen freelance journalists suggest the young, edgy news organization heralded as the future of journalism also has ushered in a new low for its treatment of freelance journalists.
Via Boingboing.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Incheon Animals: another unidentified snake.

Man. I'm in the biz so it is especially embarrassing to say, "They uh, all look alike."
Once again, my claim to offer 'exhibition quality' images is shown to be optimistic. Click to embiggen.

So we have a snake, maybe a meter long, light brown with dark brown markings. Or dark brown with light brown markings.
It scared me because I didn't see it until it was under mine and my dog's feet. It slithered away quickly and my camera focused mostly on the grass around and above the snake.

Here is what it could be:
A non-venomous rat snake that comes in many colour morphs. Wikipedia. Here is a stock image that has similar coloration. I found it here and shrank it considerably.

Or a very venomous viper. Found here, number 3 on the list. Again, highly shrunk, follow the link for full size. I think their image is of (details found here)
Gloydius saxatilis [9]EmelianovRock Mamushi까치살모사In the higher reaches of the Taebaek and Sobaek Mountains.

Of the two, the head better matches a non-venomous snake.  Vipers all have diamond heads and the snake in my images and the rat snake image have a head no wider than the neck of the snake.

To do better, I need to count the scales encircling the snake and examine more closely the neck.  Even if the snake were not venomous, I am loath to bother it further than I already do, chasing it with my camera out, trying to get some satisfactory image.