Posts tagged ‘nanowrimo’


Not sure if that counts…

2014 NaNoWriMo winnerI declared victory on National Novel Generating Month 2014 tonight, it being the end of November; I only got around to a few of the features I’d thought about, but hey, it meets the requirements! I think.

On a whim I also entered it as a National Novel Writing Month novel, although I’m not entirely certain that it counts. Here is the summary page of all my NaNoWriMo novels (I had to enter all but last year’s incomplete attempt from scratch; carrying over data is hard!).

So here is my official Wri/GenMo 2014 novel “Gazanduwo U“, for some reason on Google Drive (I should make it a txt file on as usual, but that requires remembering how), and (more importantly) the very awful source code. Which takes all the mystery (if any) out of it, but there you are.


NaPoWriMo 14


The High Gods dance on perfect crystal boats
To melodies ornate and songs sublime.
They drink the wine of bliss, and judge the world,
All drifting on the endless sea of time.

There are Gods of Night and Gods of Mirth and Hope,
Gods of Desire and War, of Wind and Stone,
But the scowling God that they call More-Than-This
Turns his boat away and sails alone.

Youths in their millions send up prayers to Love,
And marching armies sing their hymns to War,
The farmers pile the altars high with tribute,
The city’s throngs they kneel and adore.

But when you sit at evening discontented,
Surrounded by the empty things you’ve won,
And suddenly you’re filled with lonely longing,
It’s More-Than-This that hears your hungry groan.

There are Gods of Night and Gods of Mirth and Hope,
Gods of Desire and War, of Wind and Stone,
But the scowling God that they call More-Than-This
Turns his boat away and sails alone.

(Been reading ol’ Dunsany again.)


Thursday, December 1, 2011

So, well, let’s see.

Here is a random image, in the sense that it was the first hit on a Google Image search for “random image” (without the quotes). It has lots of numbers in it. Also, the second hit was a picture of Chuck Norris.

(Google seems to have made it harder to construct image-search URLs, or I’ve just forgotten the simple method. I thought you used to be able to just change the “www” to an “images” in the standard Google search URL, but now it seems you have to set “tbm” to “isch” in the query-string.)

For the first time, I have started a NaNoWriMo novel, and then not finished it during November. New experiences are good. Somehow I just sort of lost interest, and although sitting down and making myself write 1,600 or 2,500 words was still fun, it was I guess a familiar and already-known sort of fun that didn’t prevail against all other sorts of fun one might use one’s leisure time for.

(Will I ever finish it? Will we discover who, if anyone, murdered Viridax, called The Wise? Will the mysterious narrator’s origins, unknown even to emself, be revealed? I don’t know!)

I started playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and then sort of stopped, and so far have continued to stop. Or (interesting verb tense there) have at least not started again. A few notes on Skyrim:

  • It is indeed rather pretty, but there are lots of rather pretty videos around, and either I amn’t all that impressed by mere eyecandy, or it’s just that this eyecandy isn’t all that to my taste, and I’m just more a Windwaker sort of d00d. (Awful lotta grey in the palette, too; maybe if I played it for long enough I would get to more omg-colorful places, Oz-style. Or not.)
  • It is realistic in some good senses; the female characters, for instance, do not have huge mammaries and skin-baring armor, unlike a billion other games one could name,
  • There is at least for me rather an Uncanny Valley effect in some of the realism (for some reason I always think “Eerie Valley” at first instead of “Uncanny Valley”, but Google reads my mind and knows this and takes me to the right place anyway); for instance a very realistic-looking tree sticking through the side of a very realistic-looking building is somehow wronger than that happening in a cartoon world; and a very realistic-looking person behaving in a weird robotic way (see below) is more disturbing than a cartoon character might be.
  • And what’s up with the incredibly stupid and annoying NPCs, anyway? Bethesda has made a bunch of these games, you’d think they’d know how to do it by now. But no, go into the back room of the shop to look around, turn to leave, and there are the shopkeeper and your housekarl, standing side-by-side blocking the doorway, staring creepily and not getting out of the way. Since people are not penetrable as they are in WoW, the only way out of the room is to push on the blockers until one of them moves; and the one that moves will make an annoying annoyed noise, like “Huh?” or “What?” or “Whoa!”, and they’ll make that same noise every single time you have to push them out of the way. Which will be lots.
  • Companion NPCs are also horrible at battle tactics. I’m exploring an ominous cave, an arrow comes twanging out of the dimness, I press my back to the wall to get out of Line of Sight, and my housekarl goes rushing off down the corridor, sword held high. Facepalm. Players who do this kind of thing in WoW get kicked from the party. My kids say they don’t take their housekarl around with them because of annoying stuff like this; but then you can’t do as many quests at low levels, without the help. (It’s possible to tell your companion to stay put, but that’s not what’s wanted either; if there’s a “don’t be stupid” mode, I haven’t found it yet.)
  • Which brings me to levels of things. Now really it’s unrealistic in WoW, say, that you can just select something and the game tells you what level it is, or that it’s so high level that you’d better stay out of its way. But on the other hand in Skyrim when someone says “Could you go get some lemon verbena for me”, you’d think they might add “oh, and the thing guarding it hurls Enormous Fireballs of Instant Death, so you’ll want to level up for a few days before you try it”. Only polite!
  • I find having to use separate control-things for where I’m walking and what I’m looking at to be a PITA (this is on the “xbox 360” console-thing). I’m always finding myself staring up at the sky while my little person walks off the side of the stairway and falls into a lake or something. The kids say that this is how First Person Shooters generally are these days (DOOM wasn’t!), but really Skyrim spends most of its time not being a First Person Shooter, so you’d think there’d be at least an optional “camera follows you sensibly” sort of mode like WoW and SL and and and…
  • Complain, complain, complain, moan, moan, whinge.

Isn’t “whinge” a great word? I think it is British. Speaking of which, that “mdr” in our previous humorous entry is short for the French phrase “mort de rire” which literally means “death from laughter” or “dies laughing”, but idiomatically is the French equivalent of “lol”. You can impress Francophones in online environments by casually saying “mdr” when amused; rather than “mort de rire“, this then means “I am a cool and with-it vaguely-multilingual modern person, and I am amused”. (At least that’s what I mean when I say it.)

Which brings us to the important question of what the repetitively intensified forms of “lol”, like “lolol” or “lololol” or “lololololololol”, mean. (It has been suggested that it means “lots of laughing out loud”, but that would be depressing.) The right question is, do these forms stand for “laughing out loud out loud out loud…”, or something more complex, as in “laughing out loud out laughing out loud…” or “laughing out loud, oh laughing out loud, oh laughing!”.

I think I prefer the lattter.

And there is a picture of a kitten which has captured a little boy. Or, for those in the more conventional time-stream, a cat which has captured a teenager. We get this alot around here, mostly when he is asleep and she isn’t. The boy also captures the kitten relatively frequently.

(If you click through on the picture you will get to M’s weblog, where you will find lotsa fun and mostly irony-free stuff about Thanksgiving and all, and pictures of more people, possibly including me. Don’t tell!)

What else what else? Still playing Glitch just a little, dropping in to learn Distilling I and maybe fight off a rook attack. Also the aforementioned Illyriad, where I have now (with much help from the training guild that I joined early on) moved my capital out of the desolate mountains onto the fertile plains, and established a second city (well, tiny village), and am building buildings and breeding cows and sending my army to fight giant snakes (they were all wiped out by some wild dogs once, owch) and sending caravans full of resources from my capital to the new city to help the building.

But I’m not really sure why, and I can easily imagine that before long I might be writing my guild to ask them if there is some way I can ship all of my goods and population off to their cities, leaving perhaps just a plaque signed “Ozymandius” to mark where in Illyriad I once was.

Or I could get fascinated by something in it, who knows…

Oh yes! And there is this picture!

Please use straw hole

which is our Annoying Inanimate-Object Request o’ the Day. (Click through to flickr for amusing Notes overlaid upon the picture itself; what will they think of next?)

Why does the juice carton implore me to use the straw hole? What if I don’t have a straw? What if I just like the old instinctive “separate and bend back the edges and push out the little spout” method of drinking my encartonned (encartoned?) orange juice?

Things like this baffle me. Someone at (ummmm) Tropicana must have explicitly decided that the carton would say “Please Use Straw Hole” there. It’s even right at the place where you put your fingers to open it in the good old spouty way. (And in fact the carton even has little indentations in the upper surface, to make the spout pop out better! Visible in the picture!) What could the person have been thinking, as they decreed that those words should appear there, in Brand-Appropriate Green?

Is there some Great Battle within Tropicana, or perhaps within the Carton Producing Community, between those that put the spout-enhancing indentations in, and those who pre-perforate the straw holes, and this printed legend represents some partial victory of the latter over the former? Was it snuck into the package design in the dark of night, by a ninja in the employ of the straw-holers?

How do they tell who is winning? Does the Nielsen company survey people about their carton-using habits? Are there little Carton Diaries, where you record which way you opened each morning’s orange juice, with little ticky-boxes for “straw hole” or “spout” (or even, horrific to contemplate, “other”)? Or do the cartons themselves contain tiny sensors and transmitters, and phone home to Carton Ninja Central to report on us?

The world is so mysterious…


Monday, 7 November, 2011

Took the day off today, just ’cause I felt like I needed a rest. And apparently one of the things I needed a rest from was writing! Just about 1500 words eked out (“eked out”) today, and we’re at:

End of Day Seven: 11,504

which may or may not be more or less just barely On Track.

I have some ideas about what might be going on in the story and how it might end, but they are tentative so far. (Am I supposed to reveal that?)

And in related news, a spammer claiming to be the U.S. Commerce Association Board of Review is happy to inform us that “Kims Keys & Locksmith has been selected for the 2011 Best of Winter Haven Award in the Personal Service Agents & Brokers category”. Woo woo!

And there is even a classy simulated award object:

Best of Winter Haven!

Don’t you just almost want to believe that that might be something other than a generic picture of a shiny thing with some flat digital words carelessly Photoshopped over it?

I hope someone’s told Kim the good news, also…

Tags: , ,

Sunday, 6 November, 2011

Did I actually write nothing on Day Four or Day Five? How lazy! I believe the tally now stands:

Day One: 3,018 (3,018)
Day Two: 3,014 (6,032)
Day Three: 2,038 (8,070)
Day Four: 0 (8,070)
Day Five: 0 (8,070)
Day Six: 1,981(10,051)

Which, by no coincidence at all, is almost exactly On Target for finishing at 50K words on November 30th, because that’s when I decided I could comfortably stop for the evening. :)

Things have been busy. There was a memorial service for Dad at the church (it’s always been “the church” to me, even though Dad’s been active in the other church for the last several years). It was lovely, lots of various old friends, and the Minister, saying nice things about him. I got up and said some I thought rather confused and mostly ad hoc stuff (although I’d been thinking about stuff to say for a few days now). And coffee and finger-foods afterwards, and lots of good feeling and community.

One of the things I said first was that that community had always been very important to Dad, and to the whole family, and it has. Something very comforting about going back to the church that you grew up in, and seeing the building basically the same, with some changes, and the people basically the same, with some changes.

I also drove nostalgically from the church to the house, which is still there, and even presents the same red side in the same old shape to the street, through what looks like more or less the same tangle of woods. There’s a driveway now, rather than just a halfheartedly gravel-strewn dirt road shared with the next-door neighbors (and leading back and back into the woods). And the front looks fancier; I wonder if it is a doctor’s office or something now (the consensus of the Web seems to be that it’s still a single-family home, but You Never Know).

Proud of myself for being able to find the way on nothing but old memories, I drove out to the Nanuet Mall from there, looking at what had changed and what hadn’t in the meantime. Ralphie’s Diner is still down at the bottom of Remsen, on Route 59; I think it moved in there just about when I left, which means it’s been there for a good 30 years.

(It doesn’t seem to have its own Web page, but amusingly there seem to be about three zillion web pages about it, all pretty much identically empty as far as I can tell.)

And my old High School is still there, and the utility company opposite it, and various familiar music stores and bicycle shops. Lots of new things, mostly bigger than the former old things, even more than before with Hebrew letters next to the old-fashioned American ones. Funny how things linger as they change; where the old Hub Bowling Center used to be (it was old and on the way out even when I was little, as I recall), is now The Monsey Hub, a shopping center with something (perhaps “The Monsey Hub”?) in big Hebrew letters on the facade. Completely different, but still with that “Hub”.

(Great old newspaper page from maybe 1960 prominently featuring a picture of some cool kids at Hub Bowling, and the XXIst-century Foursquare page about the Monsey Hub.)

After the service we drove up to the top of Bear Mountain for the scattering of some of Dad’s ashes.

The tower at the top of Bear Mountain

It was a place that he loved, and that I remember vividly from being little. Haven’t been up there in far too long!

It was a gorgeous day.


End of Day Three

Today’s goal: 7,500
Extra-credit goal: 9,000
Actual wordcount: 8,070

Not bad; I get a little extra credit! :) But the internet is back, and I can’t resist spending some potential writing time in Second Life instead. I’m still ahead of schedule!

As usual: the novel.


Thursday, 3 November, 2011

I hear that the Internet may be back on at home, but I’m going to sneak this in from here at work anyway while waiting for a build, because You Never Know.

Decorative NaNoWriMo badgeThe novel proceeds nicely, to wit (to woo?):

Day 1: 3,018
Day 2: 6,032
Goal for today: 7,500
Extra-credit goal: 9,000

If the Internet is really back, the extra-credit goal might be tough. :) The next few days are also going to be a bit busy, with houseguests and School Plays and things, so that may add to the challenge.

Here is me on the NaNoWriMo site, just for completeness.

I am having a bit of Buyer’s Remorse, so to speak, about having started a murder mystery in a castle of wizards, because I keep thinking of other things I might have started instead (an International Secret Agent working on Global Financial Crises and Occupy movements and stuff might have been fun and extremely timely, for instance), and I doubt I will suddenly shift gears (although it would be entirely within the rules) and start writing one of those in the midst of a paragraph of the current thing.

But hey, the grass is always greener on the other side of the conceptual space, an’ all.

Scarily-involving Retro-story-game-thing o’ the Day.

I’ve always liked Ralph Gomory.

I will reserve any further writing-energy for The Novel, after dinner. :)


Oh, and of course I should have posted THIS!

NaNoWriMo badge


Wednesday, 2 November, 2011

An interesting Hallowe’en around here.

Tree and car.  And house, and snow.

Amazingly, once we got the enormous tree limbs off of it, M’s car (left) turned out to be undamaged except for two tiny cosmetic dents in the roof. So yay!

And now nearly all of the snow has melted, and Trick-or-Treaters have come and gotten candy, and we had power the whole time. On the other hand, landline phone and “teevee” and Internet (gasp!) have all been off since some time in the past, so we are now living like our Distant Ancestors, limited to reading books on paper, and whatever we happened to have stored on local storage media.

No Second Life or Wow or even Glitch for days!

On the other hand, being thrown back on pre-historic devices does mean that when I noticed it was NaNoWriMo November again, I was able to focus on writing things! So here is the 2011 novel. Or as much of it as exists, which is currently a bit over 3,000 (three thousand) words, depending how you count.

So, by the Ancient Standards, yesterday was a really good day. We’ll see if we can keep that up once the Internet is back at home. :)

(So far I have abandoned all those gimmicky ideas about hyperlinked nonlinear novels, and stories told without revealing any character thoughts, and just started a straightforward murder mystery set in a mysterious Wizard’s Castle. But you never know!)

And also, how about this Papandreou guy, eh?

…relief has turned to panic, the whole agreement is threatened with disaster and markets worldwide have plummeted. The cause: the astonishing announcement by Mr Papandreou that a public referendum would be held on whether Greece should accept this latest debt deal.

He called it “a supreme act of patriotism and democracy”, but many both in Greece and elsewhere would instead see it as a supreme act of misjudgement.

BBC News

Yeah, I mean, my God! Putting the issue up for a vote, rather than just following the orders he receives from the international financial community; what is this guy thinking? Does he imagine he’s the head of a democracy or something? If he doesn’t watch out, he’ll be out of a job, and the financiers will send a different, more obedient, viceroy to keep Greece in line.



Friday, October 21, 2011

So I don’t understand this kind of spam:


My name is Franco Cavalier am sending you this email regarding in Purchasing Product from your company,I will like to know if you can ship directly to France , I also want you to know my mode of payment for this order is via CC . Get back to me if you can ship to that destination and also if you accept the payment type I indicated

Kindly return this email with your price list of your products..


201, rue de Grenelle

FR – 75357 PARIS


Slightly even more puzzling because it was sent to my work address (in ibm dot com), and it was sent from an email address of “dummy” at somewhere in France (with a reply-to at a gmail dot com address).

What value does anyone get by spamming out a request for lists of goods that can be paid for by credit card and shipped to France?

I suppose he might just be gathering email addresses in general, to spam or to sell? But surely if you want to test to see if a vast number of email addresses are valid, you’d want to maximize the chance that the person will write back, and in that case asking for lists of products that can be bought via credit card and shipped to France doesn’t do that.

They could just be validating a big list of email addresses by sending any old junk to them and seeing what bounces, but (1) email agents don’t send “no such user” replies anymore, as I recall, for exactly this reason, and (2) this is an awfully weird “any old junk”. I’d hate to think that some spammer address-collector had this nice a sense of the absurd.

Ah, mysteries, mysteries…

I just got The Physics Book from Amazon (I think I’d pre-ordered it or something), and it’s lovely. Bigger and fancier than I’d expected, a nice weighty hardcover with lots of short entries about interesting physics things, and great pictures.

You should get it, too! And not just because the author’s office is more or less across the hall from mine or anything. :)

I’ve just started reading it (the introduction and then a few completely random pages), but I think I will enjoy it greatly; it’s nice and bite-sized (a box of intellectual chocolates!), which fits my current (tiny) attention span nicely.

I’m also enjoying The Quantum Thief quite a bit, in the digital edition, despite having sort of forgotten about it for long enough that starting out again I didn’t quite remember just who everyone was, or what had happened to whom previously. But it’s the kind of book in which you’re enjoying trying to figure out what’s going on anyway, so that hasn’t been a big problem. And the tech and the world and the culture(s) and all are interesting while one is trying to work it all out.

It occurs to me that I could just sort of leave this entry, with the date at the top, open in WordPress all day, and hit Publish in the evening or whenever I felt like I wasn’t going to write anything elsemore to speak of.

Maybe I’ll do that. Although I might forget. And it’s also nice to Publish shortly after writing, and get that sense of Accomplishment.

So for NaNoWriMo this year, assuming I convince myself that I have time, I’m thinking about a nonlinear hyperlinked novel. Say, 100 interlinked pages at 500 words per page? Or 500 100-word pages, or anything on that curve. Something like The Forked Stick, only I would “finish” it in a month, and not leave it hanging forever like I did with that. :)

Water Street runs close by the river, into the Dun Quarter, which is quiet but far from silent in this moony night, breathing with the sharp stillness of the river and the easy aches of poverty and long practice.

To one side is the pier, and across the street is an old building where a sign shows a cup and a hen. Far down at the other end of the street, the Long Temple broods in a feverish silent sleep.

(I am still quite proud of the Tic Tac Toe game embedded in The Forked Stick. Wow, that was some time ago!)

Didn’t you mean to say you assassinate your enemies
Didn’t you mean to say you kill journalists and artists
Didn’t you mean to say you give orders for the murder
Didn’t you mean to say you sell drugs to make your fortune
Holly Near, “Edge”

I don’t actually recall how Edge got onto the iPad here, but I’m enjoying it very much. Energy, novelty.

Also enjoying The Dresden Dolls:

and you can tell
from the smoke at the stake
that the current state is critical
well it is the little things, for instance:
in the time it takes to break it she can make up ten excuses:
please excuse her for the day, its just the way the medication makes her…
girl anachronism

What else should one mention in one’s weblog? I’m sure there are other things that will occur to me later in the day. But at the moment the desire to see it published and In The Can seems sort of strongish. So I will probably push Publish sometime in the next minute or so, assuming the universe and its laws continue more or less unchanged (something that it’s not clear how justified we are in assuming, or whether it matters whether we are).

Yep, here we go!

See you on the other side! :)


Come November

One interesting difference here (although it’s a difference of culture or tradition and affordance, not a strictly-speaking necessary difference) is that posts will tend to be smaller, and with titles, rather than, as in the old log where they were perhaps longer, and titled only by date, so that you got “here’s what I’ve thought that I feel is worth recording today” rather than “here’s what I’m thinking right now, about this subject, or at least with this subject sitting there on top”.

(Another difference might be that wordpress might start putting ads onto the pages; if that gets annoying I will consider giving them money to stop doing it. Or moving back to the old site.)

(Also I’m not sure if these pages will validate, HTML/CSS-wise. But somehow I am not as concerned about that as I now and then was, or pretended to be, in the Old Days.)

Anyway! Come November I may be writing another novel. The question will be, what sort of novel this time?

Awhile back, I posted a list of the existing novels, and what each one was sort of subjectively like.

I feel like fiddling with the medium again, at the moment at least, rather than just writing a straightforward story. Not sure just why that is. :)

And of course it may change by November.

But at the moment the playing-with-the-medium that I’m thinking of is using the rather obscure variant of first-person limited in which you get just the narrator’s experiences of the external world, without internal monologue (or dialogue), explanations, or exposition.

I sat up in the bed. A woman in a white uniform brought me food, which I ate.

Another woman came in, and stood at the foot of the bed. She said things. I continued eating, looking at her, but said nothing.

The woman at the foot of the bed said more things, in a louder voice.

Eventually, I said things back.

Could be interesting. Fifty thousand words of interesting? Maybe… :)