Steal This Film

I just have to recommend that you do exactly what it says in the title bar.

I’ve been watching all of the fuss going on about copyright in both Canada, and the USA, and I think that everyone should download and watch the movie.


Young adult sf convention

Just found (via Boingboing) an LJ community devoted to putting on a Young adult sf convention


And pass it on – I have many fond memories of reading Andre Norton novels late into the night. My son is into Tamora Pierce, and I’m sure all of us have our favorite teen S&F writer.

Home Recording

We spent about 2 hours working on recording today. Note that what little I know about recording I’ve picked up watching Spencer (the microphone is your friend), Ken, Dave, and Bob. That and reading a couple of books on the subject.

OK – we get setup, everything is connected and working. And the damned hiss is back.

After mucking around for a while, I finally clued in. It’s the laptop fan.

OK – so I move to another room, and it sounds a bit better.

But by that point both Heather and I were ready to shoot something, so we quit for the day. This is NOT going well.

Earth Hour

I went out to the variety store to pick up some chocolate, and on my way out noticed that one of the papers had an article on Earth Hour. I stopped and read it, fascinated with the idea.

The first Earth Hour was held in Sydney Australia on March 29 last year. At 8:00 PM they asked everyone to turn off their lights for one hour. The hope was that the electricity consumption of the city would drop by 5%. Instead it dropped by 10%.

This year Earth Hour is hoped to be worldwide – so on March 29, 2008 turn out your lights for one hour, and send a message to government and industry about your concern for Global Warming.

You can sign up on the Earth Hour website at:

No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty

Heather and I have three of the greatest kids in the world. Guess what they got daddy for Christmas? Yep, you guessed right, gift certificates from Chapters/Indigo. On Boxing Day after we got back from Mom’s place, Vicky and I went to Chapters. I grabbed two books by John Ringo (hey, I like military SF), and this wonderful little book called “No Plot? No Problem!” by Chris Baty, one of the founders of NANOWRIMO.

Heather took one look at it, and stole it, and it took me a week to get it back from her. The book is about how to write for NANO, and it’s an absolute riot to read. Here’s a paragraph from the introduction:

The aimless, anemic characters we’d invented in the first 14 days began to perk up and do things. Quirky, unexpected, readable things. They sold their SUVs and started commuting to work in golf carts. They joined polka bands, and got kidnapped by woodland creatures, and found themselves organizing jewel-heist capers with their next-door neighbors from the nursing home.

At this point Chris is talking about the experiences of those who completed the first NANO. 21 people started, and 6 “won”, with winning being defined as writing 50,000 words or more. The book covers the things that Chris has learned from being involved in NANO, and writing several novels. It’s a fun read – and very inspirational – I recommend it highly.

Go buy it and read it. I’m going to go thank the kids for the gift certificates once again.

Chapters 1 & 2 – 800 plus words

Thursday November 1, 2007

The clock radio was set to 680 News. Loudly. An arm snaked out from under the covers, and after three tries managed to hit the Snooze button. Five minutes later the alarm went off again. Jorge sat up this time, blinking in the light from the bedroom window. He ran his fingers through his short hair, and turned off the clock radio.

Five minutes later he was in the bathroom having a shower. And starting to look more alert. He got out of the shower, and while he was toweling his head he noticed the Post It note that he’d stuck on the mirror. It said, “National Novel Writing Month starts today.” He started to towel himself off faster, and then ran to the bedroom.

In moments he was dressed for work, and in the kitchen making toast. He grabbed his laptop from the living room, started it up, and set it on the kitchen table. The toast popped, got buttered, had honey added, a glass of orange juice was poured, and the whole consumed so fast that the cat got dizzy watching it.

He signed into Ubuntu, started Open Office Writer, and washed his hands in the kitchen sink quickly. Last year he failed – he only had 15,000 words by the end of November. This year. This year he was aiming for 100,000, even though NANOWRIMO rules only called for 50,000. Yeah, it was crazy, but trying to write a novel in a month was crazy anyway, and aiming higher than the target meant that even if he didn’t reach 100,000 words, he might still reach 50,000 words.

Sitting at the table, he placed his hands over the keyboard. They stayed there for a minute, then lowered. There was of course the problem of having no plot, no characters, and no idea of what he was doing! He looked at the clock – 20 minutes until he needed to leave for work. OK, just start typing sounded like a great idea. The cat, sitting across the table yawned at him – it’s face disappeared it yawned so wide. That’s it – write about the Cat!

An hour later, his laptop in it’s case under his desk for lunch time, he started work. All through the morning it kept staring at him. when lunch time came he picked it up, went out to his car, drove to the local donut shop, grabbed a donut and a pop and started writing again. Cat. Yeah. Great main character – he knew it’s habits to a T. He typed maniacally for 15 minutes, then drove back to the office.

After work he drove to the local Wendy’s, grabbed a burger, and then headed home to do some more writing. At 10:00 PM he stopped, and ran the word counter. What? Only 500 words? Incredible. What was going wrong. OK, so he’d done some editing. That hadn’t slowed him down that much, had it? Heck – only 100 words per hour. This wasn’t good. A quick check on the NANOWRIMO web site forums, and he had the answer. The editing probably was slowing him down that much. Argh. OK – type only, don’t edit. That was going to be hard. All of his writing experience on the job was that you edited as you wrote. Not editing felt counter-intuitive. But he couldn’t afford to work at 100 words per hour, most days he wouldn’t have 5 hours to spare, and even if he did that would only be 15,000 words by the end of the month. He wrote another post it note and stuck it on the mirror. It said, “Write – don’t edit” and went to bed.

Friday November 2, 2007

Same thing – alarm, snooze, alarm, sit up looking like a zombie, stagger out of bed, stagger to bathroom, shower, shave, start to feel human, start breakfast, feed cat, get computer running, etc. The “No Editing” bit was a pain – but in 15 minutes he managed to double his word count. 500 words in 15 minutes. That was more like it.

Off to work. Write at lunch. Get invited out tonight – and accept since Kevin promises an introduction to his sister, a very pretty girl. Go home. Watch cat chase laser pointer for 15 minutes, write for 15 minutes, then head over to Kevin’s place. Thinking about novel all the time. Hey – maybe Wendy could be written into it!

Spend some time trying to flirt with Wendy at the bar – music is too damned loud, and she appears distracted. Talk her into going outside where you can both hear. Yeah, it’s a bit cool outside, and the smokers outside the bar are a nuisance, but at least you both can hear. You chat about a whole bunch of inconsequential things, and then mention that you are writing a novel. Her face takes on a glow – “You are too,” she says, and you realize that you may not get much writing done tonight, but you may have scored. In more ways than one.

Complications :)

OK, so my sinuses went nuts in early November, and didn’t settle down until half way through December…

One night in early December I’m getting my computer ready for a business trip to Kentucky (headache or not) and left it open on the couch. Mark, our 1/2 German Shepard, 1/2 Husky decided to dance on the keyboard, and knocked some keys of… So my headaches are finally getting better, and I have a keyboard that’s unusable. U, I, J, K, M, N, 7, 8, and a couple of function keys are all over the floor. Due to the headaches I’d not finished in NANOWRIMO, and my intentions to get back into it in December went downhill when I realized how difficult it was to type with all those keys missing. Of course I could have tried to use ONLY words that didn’t use those letters…

We spent Christmas at my mother-in-laws place up north – Mark had a great time, he had Mom feeding him bits of turkey all day. I had a great time, it was nice to see Mom, and it was really nice to get away.

After we got back I took the laptop to the shop – they weren’t sure they could fix the keyboard, but were willing to try. Then I got this urge. I talked Heather into coming out to the local Apple store – Vicky our 16 year old came along as well. I walked out with a new MacBook. The bottom line one. I know enough about the prices of components to know that Apple’s charges to upgrade Hard Drive and Memory are a bit high. Besides I’m pretty good at that sort of work myself. And since we are trying to record Heather, so put out a CD, I thought that Garage Band would be a good choice.

I’ve had the computer a week now, and love it. It’s very nice to use, and we’ve been experimenting with Garage Band, which I like.

And I paid for a copy of IWork – which has a really nice work processor!

The other computer is still in the shop – they are replacing the keyboard, and I wasn’t thinking and didn’t back up my work. So I’m going to try for 50K words by the end of January, starting today. This one will be about a guy who signs up for NANO, and of course things are not going to go the way he expected. I think one chapter per day – so 30 chapters for the month of December. Wish me luck.