Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sharknado is real?!

Seems to be:

A massive shark was discovered in the middle of a road as floodwaters receded following a devastating cyclone that battered Australia.

You know, just when you thought it was safe to go outside, nature goes and dumps sharks in the road.  As if there weren't already enough land-based critters waiting to bite, claw, sting, or otherwise ruin your day.

And, of course, there are man-made disasters, too, with which we must occasionally contend.  Like, for example, an interstate highway bursting into flames and collapsing.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

No, thanks

Found this at the Passive Voice:

The AP Stylebook now allows writers to use they as a singular pronoun

Lol... whatever.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Lost in Migraine Land

I had a rough few days.  The details are disgusting, so I won't elaborate, but I was basically useless for a few days.  Migraines are the devil.  >:(

But I'm feeling human again now, so all is well, I guess.  It just sucks as far as productivity goes.  I feel like I've done next to nothing for the entirety of 2017.  It's just one life-interruption after another.  My plan to publish the Free Space trilogy in April is obviously out the window.  I'll publish it some time this year, but that's all I can say for now.

On the plus side, it's supposed to be 79 degrees tomorrow with an afternoon thunderstorm.  That means it should be nice and humid for the whole day, rain or no rain.  In other words: perfect weather.  :D  The dry air of winter is horrible, and the increased humidity of spring is always a welcome relief.  I blame my British ancestry for my body's sensibilities.

I've settled on a name for my epic fantasy series.  I won't spill the beans yet, because these things have a way of changing, but I'm starting to flesh out a world.  Actually writing this series is still far in the future, of course.  I won't even start it until after the Wheel of Fire is finished.  So it will probably 2019 at the earliest before I start writing book 1.  But this stuff takes time to percolate in my brain, so I'm easing into it now.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A victory for the Oxford comma

Saw this at The Passive Voice.

Oxfordians everywhere, including yours truly, celebrate a triumphant win in court:

...the judge observed that labor laws, when ambiguous, are designed to benefit the laborers, the case was settled.
"For want of a comma, we have this case," the judge wrote. 
Ambiguity is the enemy of clear communication, and the Oxford comma reduces ambiguity.  It's as simple as that.  If you want to be a sophist, then that's fine, but do it in academia or politics or something.  Don't do it in labor contracts, and don't do it in genre fiction.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Some freaky stage effects

Weird, but totally awesome.  It's the scene from the Ring cycle where Wotan is summoning Loge to surround Brunhilde with a ring of fire.  Check it out:

I was familiar with the scene, but I didn't expect the stage to start transforming like that.  For several seconds, I wasn't sure what I was looking at.  I didn't think it was actually slanting upwards like it was, because that would put Brunhilde in danger of sliding down the thing.  Lol... Obviously, she was anchored to the stage somehow.

For a nice summation of the whole operatic cycle, here's a documentary:

And the whole thing in 2.5 minutes:

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Simple English Wikipedia

How am I just now discovering this

It's a wonderful thing.  Necessary, too.  I can't tell you how many Wikipedia articles I've read and come away clueless.  There have even been times where I was already quite familiar with the subject in question, but found the article on that subject to be incomprehensible.  It's as if the authors were purposely trying to obfuscate everything.  Maybe they were, for reasons of ego or something; who knows...

I've got a pretty decent vocabulary, and I can formulate complex sentences.  But I rarely flex those muscles to their fullest extent.  The primary goal of writing--whether it's fiction or non-fiction--is to effectively communicate some idea.  The key word there is "communicate," not "lecture."  And the best way to do that is by using plain English, not SAT words and Lovecraftian sentence structure.  It's a two-way street.  You must take your reader's sensibilities into account.  Otherwise, you're just trying to show off.  And no one likes a show-off.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I shouldn't have started this

I've been reading the Wheel of Time re-read.  I'm presently in the middle of the commentary for book 4, The Shadow Rising.

Yeah, it's a time suck.  Yeah, I should be writing/revising my own stuff instead.  Yeah, I'm a total nincompoop for getting drawn into this thing.

But I can't... stop...

Monday, March 6, 2017

Friday, March 3, 2017

Meanwhile, in Florida

Gator catches a fish and goes for a stroll across the golf course.

I guess when you're an actual dinosaur you can pretty much do whatever you want.

Spring... or not?

Freeze warning in effect for this area.  Lol... I knew it.  These early springs never pan out.  There's always some arctic blast ready to swoop down from Canada.  The flowers and new shoots of spring are never safe until April.  And now they'll pay the price for their premature sprouting.  But it could be worse.  Much worse.

On the other side of the continent, for example, things are far more dire...

The Oroville Dam is in pretty desperate condition, and warm weather will send an ocean of melted snow running down the mountains and into Lake Oroville.  Here's the footage from a few days ago:

And here's California DWR's latest video:

The flow down the spillway has stopped, but it hardly seems to matter.  When you've got a backhoe moving a single vehicle-sized boulder at a time, and you have anything less than several hundred backhoes working simultaneously, then you've got a real problem.  They'll never get this thing anywhere close to fixed in time for the spring thaw.  The only real questions are how much of the mountainside is going to erode away and how bad will the flooding be downstream.  If I was a resident there, I'd be packing my stuff and getting out while the getting-out was still good.