January 2008


I upgraded Movable Type to the latest version. It was a security thing. You shouldn’t notice a difference.
It was pretty much painless aside from the part where fastcgi doesn’t work with the upgrade script. Once I figured that out all was love.
They’re supposed to have a personal license of Movable Type Community Solution, which I find oddly exciting because I like to pretend that someday I’ll have comments and shit, and y’all’ll want forums. Hey, it could happen! But until then, you know. Eh.
If you find borked stuff, let me know.

“Grandfather Paradox” will appear in an upcoming issue of Electric Velocipede! Numfar, do the dance of joy!

Current wordcount: 19,833.
Goal: 80,000.
Average daily wordcount: 566.
Average scene length in words: 2260.
Guesstimated final wordcount: 85,880.
Percent of goal completed: 24.79%.
Percent of guesstimated final wordcount done: 23.09%
At this rate, I’ll reach my goal on 5/9/08 and finish on 5/19/08.
All wordcounts produced with the unix “wc” command.
And yes, I did update my outline spreadsheet. I want to know when it thinks I’m going to be finished.
I have to say, though, that I changed all my characters’ names from “their lizard names” to English names. Changing this in my working text files was a few awk commands. Changing this in the spreadsheet? Obnoxiously time-consuming. Ah well.

I’m going to start crossposting between my site and my livejournal. Right about now.

Since Atlanta has decided to be freakish and have winter weather, and since I know I have readers from the frozen north, I thought I’d share my meager knowledge and hope for comments.

Snow:

When I was moving to Virginia, I asked my Mom for driving in the snow advice. (She’s from Michigan.) She said, “Just remember that you can never use your brakes, ever, for any reason, and you’ll be fine.” I interpreted this as meaning I should slow the fuck down and try to coast to a stop. It seemed to work. Do remember, however, that your fellow drivers may not have the benefits of my mother’s wisdom and avoid them accordingly.

Ice:

My mother’s advice times ten. If the ground is a solid sheet of ice you can’t walk on, stay home. No one can drive on that shit, and you don’t need eggs and milk that badly. Besides, they’re already sold out.

Visibility:

Bad visibility scares the crap out of me. If it’s slippery you can slow down, but if you can’t see, you can’t see.

Ice Scrapers:

These probably can’t be had south of the Mason-Dixon line. My mother always used a particularly hated credit card.

The floor is now open for comments, but please remember that we have no snow plows and our “sand trucks” are pickups with sand, shovels, and two DOT guys in the back.

Snow at night.

It shouldn’t snow in Georgia. It’s just wrong.

Lizardfic the novel is currently 15,635 words. According to my spreadsheet metrics, I’m 19.54% of the way towards an 80,000 word goal, and will reach 80,000 words on May 5, but the novel itself is guesstimated to end up being 89,646 words, which would make me 17.44% done. My rather wimpy daily wordcount goal is 500 words, but I average 579.07 words. If I pick up the pace I could certainly finish sooner, but I’m more interested in it being good than fast.
How do I know these things? I actually have two metric spreadsheets.
One is of my own invention, and I call it the motivational spreadsheet of doom. All the motivational spreadsheet of doom does is takes the daily wordcount and date and coughs up new words, words over goal, days since last written, words under goal, and percent goal completed, with a bit of average wordcount and a finished on date.
The other is Cameron’s Outline Helper, which I tweaked to give me more data. (The guesstimated final wordcount is average complete scene length times number of scenes, for example.) For some reason, I found plain text easier to work with in the earlier outline stages, but by the time you list the scenes you expect to have and get to the next page, that’s some tasty spreadsheeting.
I could combine them, but the motivational spreadsheet of doom is dumb enough to open in any spreadsheet program, while Cameron’s Outline Helper only seems to love Excel and Open Office. I may, anyway, to get a better finished on date.
Metrics motivate me. *shrug*

With a couple of caveats, this is a great cellphone. Basically, it’s cute and full of Dick Tracy fun, but it’s also a cellphone only a geek could love sometimes.

Pros:

  • Fun.
  • Cute.
  • Your phone is always handy on your wrist. No more beeperlepsy!
  • It comes with bluetooth, so you don’t have to talk into your watch if you don’t want to.
  • You can talk into your watch if you want to!
  • It can also play mp3s and videos.

Cons:

  • Weak antenna–I have trouble getting a signal some places, sigh.
  • Mine came with W32/RJump pre-installed for my convenience.
  • I’ve managed to crash the WAP browser a couple of times. I hear this is SOP for WAP browsers. *shrug*
  • 120 character limit on text field entry, but unless you have good eyes for the tiny onscreen keyboard or patience for the handwriting recognition, that might not be a problem for you.

Things that may be a positive or negative depending on your personal taste:

  • The anime graphics that come with the phone are really cute. I didn’t expect to like them, because I’m not always the biggest fan of cute, but I do! If you’re, to quote Think Geek, “Mr. Super Manly Man who is a afraid of a little cute,” well… YMMV.
  • The phone works with AT&T and T-Mobile, but you have to set up your own WAP settings or there will be no web surfing for you on the teeny tiny screen. I found setting up WAP fun, so this was a positive for me, but I’m a geek.

The manual reads like someone took the Chinese version and ran it through Babelfish. I find the result amusing but not very informative. A random example: “Do not put battery at machine impactive places, and poke battery with hard things.”

As for the W32/RJump, it’s a Windows executable, so the cellphone itself wasn’t infected, and if you use linux or Mac you can’t catch it (but delete autorun.inf, RavMon.exe, and Ghost.pif anyway). If you run Windows, update your antivirus. It’s delivered through Generic!atr, and virus definitions have been able to catch that for over a year. (It’s a worm that spreads itself through removable media. The cellphone watch acts as removable media to allow you to copy your multimedia files over, so it’s possible someone just tested it on an infected machine.)

If you want to see the watch in action, this guy is trying to sell ’em on eBay in English. There’s also a Chinese demo that shows the handwriting recognition, and an Italian demo that shows the menus.

Overall? Four paws and a wireless access point up.

I’ve been procrastinating about writing. I thought it was because I was stressed about car repairs and the like, but no. I think I just didn’t want to write Chapter Four.
Well, I went ahead and started it, and it wasn’t so bad while I was writing it, but now I’m all moody again. I don’t know why I decided to write something that’s so personally button-pushing, but I did.
Things will be better after Chapter Four. Then I can get into more of the things that I liked about this idea, like the love story. But until I finish Chapter Four, I’m probably going to be cranky.

Dear Self,
Whenever you feel uncertain of what happens next in your novel, why not readest thou of the holy outline? In fact, maybe you should randomly reread the outline for kicks, from time to time. I’m just saying.
Love,
Me
P.S. 10,113 words, go me!