Random Thursday: Faulty Memories, Weird Truths, and Good GNUs

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

Hey, you writer people out there—check out last Tuesday’s post!

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When my BP drops, I have a latte.

Coffee Type

Actually, mine is Coffee Positive.

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I Hope So . . .

Mediation Remediation

I’d suggest adding a little blood to our caffeine streams,
but that’s just crazy talk.

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Let’s Take a Vote!

At first, this seems like an awesome live-action  memory game . . . but it isn’t.

It’s better.

Don’t bother clicking—I’ve posted the solution at the end.

No peeking!

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GNUs for Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett

“You know they’ll never really die while the Trunk is alive[…] It lives while the code is shifted, and they live with it, always Going Home.”

— Lipwig von Moist, Going Postal, Chapter 13

I was first introduced to Terry Pratchett’s imagination when I chose The Colour of Magic as one of the twelve books I bought for a penny way back when Book of the Month Clubs were a Big Thing and my mother wasn’t watching.

For that story alone it was the best scam I ever fell for—I read everything Terry Pratchett ever wrote and have been a devotee of the magical Discworld and its different sort of sanity ever since.

So when I learned last week that he had passed away, I told myself that his characters and worlds and sharp wit were so loved that somewhere, it has all become real.

This didn’t help as much as I’d hoped.

But then my husband, who is as big a fan as I, showed me an article that did.

In Going Postal, readers are introduced to “the clacks”, a series of semaphore towers that stand in for the telegraph for the Discworld, which has no electricity. The towers that make up “the Trunk”, can send messages “at the speed of light” using standardized codes.

In the book, three of these codes are central to the plot:

G: send the message on
N: do not log the message
U: turn the message around at the end of the line and send it back again

The people who operate the Towers—half coders, half mechanics, half crazy—have a special way of honoring those who died in service:  The names of the dead are sent in code from Tower to Tower, never logged and never ending, always remembered while the towers still stand.

And now, some Reddit fans of Sir Terry have created a way to send him name through our world’s version of the clacks—the Internet—in the form of a code called the XClacksOverhead, which sets a header reading “GNU Terry Pratchett” in the coding of one’s website or blog.

If you’re interested in honoring Terry Pratchett in this way, or are interested in passing this idea on to fans who are technologically savvy enough to do this, the various codes and instructions are here.

No one will be able to see his name unless they look for it in the coding, but it will be there, sent on and ever circling, and always Going Home.

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The Battle-Cry of my Demographic

Memory Stump

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The Verdict?

It’s totally doable, as long as you can get 100 people to follow the same, simple process.

So, no.  Never take this bet.

Instead, we should run the bet, and make a boatload of cash of those 100 people.

Who’s with me?

Do You Want to Build a Cabin? (Doesn’t have to be a cabin . . . )

Camp-Participant-2015-Web-Banner

Because we’re planning a big, two-week family trip this summer and because my loyal Rocinante had to have a complete transmission flush, new front brakes, and various realignments and balances a week ago,* I can’t use any of my precious vacation time or nonexistent savings to go to any of the writing conferences and workshops I was hoping to attend.

So I’ve decided to run away to camp next month, in my brain.

If you dropped in around here last November, you already know (possibly more than you cared to) about my experience with National Novel Writing Month, during which writers of all ages, abilities, and levels of optimism pledge to write 50,000 words in one month to earn bragging rights and the first draft of a (short) novel they wrote themselves.  All it costs is time, effort, and (for some of us) semi-professional amounts of caffeine.

You also know (possibly more than you cared to) how much I enjoyed myself.

Imagine my excitement when I heard that the same organization is going to host a Camp next month!

It’s organized a little differently, but that’s all to the good:

  • Participants set their own word-count goal from 10,000 to 999,999 (or 334 to delusional per day) during the 30-day month.  You don’t have to complete the project, just the goal.
  • Editing and non-novel projects totally count: one hour of active editing equals 1,000 words.  One page of scripts and graphic novels equal 150-200 words.
  • The participants can go it alone or join “cabins” for support.  Cabins are 12-person writing groups that can be assigned either randomly or according to specific criteria (genre, age, goals), or created by the participants through invitations.

For my first try at Camp Nanowrimo, I’ve decided to set a 40 hour editing goal—a nanoEdmo—for Odd Duck, because 93 minutes of active editing a day seems completely reasonable with my current schedule and also the schedule I’m likely to have once I start my new job on April 13th.**

And for kicks and moral support, I thought I’d join a cabin.

Which is where y’all come in.

I originally set my criteria set for genre and goal, but then I thought about all those summer camps I went to as I child and how much better they were when I already knew people and they had been warned about knew me.***

So, if you would like to get a word-count goal or editing project off the ground (or keep one going) or or would like to try a different genre or format or whatever for one month with no pressure, sign up here.

And if you want to be cabin buddies, drop me a line either though e-mail or through the Campers message system (I’m Sarah W there, too).  In our cabin, everyone can have a top bunk and their own bathroom—there’s even an on-call barista/masseur!

Cabin assignments start in nine days and Camp starts in fifteen.  Plenty of time to decide!^

I’ll bring the graham crackers, you bring the marshmallows!

 Smore Yum

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*All of which cost just enough to wipe out my vacation savings, but not quite enough to warrant trading him in for a newer model.

**So reasonable that I could/should/would have been doing that much already.  I don’t really have any excuses for this.

***Except for my cousin Brian, who was an arrogant jerk in the way of most thirteen year-old boys to their twelve year-old female relatives.

^If it just isn’t possible for you to participate (c’mon, it’s only 334 words or thirty-three minutes a day), care packages will be (barely) acceptable in lieu of your presence.^^  Please send chocolate, caffeine, clean socks, highlighters, post-it notes, and good wishes.

^^Or, in the case of my cousin Brian, more than acceptable.  He’s still an arrogant jerk.

Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (Corridors)

We WriWa bannerHave a WIP, an EIP, an MS, or a published work you want to share on your blog, eight sentences at a time?

Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!

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Or if you’re a fellow Facebook addict (we can quit any time we want to, right?),
why not check out the offerings of the Snippet Sunday gang?

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Continuing where we left them last week, our Tom and Madame Merrok are in the lower level of packleader Lowell Rhombeck’s historical mansion.

Tom’s there to talk to the werewolf who attacked him on the first couple pages of this story.

But he wouldn’t be much of a P.I. if he wasn’t nosy.

Wolf Jail


“The retaining rooms are this way,” Ms. Merrok said, leading me to the left.

“What’s down that one?” I asked, pointing to the one straight on from the elevator.

“Mr. Rhombeck’s wine cellars,” she said.

“And the other one?”

“Pack business.”

She coded us through a set of metal doors connected by a short hallway. I could smell Travis Rendall before we turned the corner.

The “retaining rooms” were nice, if you liked concrete walls, semi-open en suite bathrooms, no windows, and heavy doors with silver glints in the bars.

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Don’t worry—Travis has a TV in there, too.

I lifted Rhombeck’s basement from one of those HGTV Outrageous Homes Built by People With More Money Than Restraint shows I saw a year or two ago.  The basement of the featured house had the rotunda and mural—not the Wild Hunt, though—and several corridors.  One led to an impressive wine cellar, one to a ridonkulous game “room” with full bowling alleys and a basketball court and all sorts of other things, and the third . . . I honestly don’t remember.  If there was, it probably led to a marble-lined Roman bath or an IMAX theater.

Rhombeck’s doesn’t.

Travis Rendall’s odor isn’t from mistreatment, by the way.  He belongs to a “fundamentalist” pack, which means, among other things, an unwillingness to mask one’s personal scent.  His packleader has a whole rhetoric about the freedom and power in refusing to suppress one’s “inner wolf”—which won’t actually appear on page, because it’s background support stuff—but I think it’s also a subtle isolation technique.

Since Tom’s sense of smell and sensibilities about certain predators are on par with ours, Travis reeks—though wolves might have a different reaction to the smell than other species.  I should mention that Talbot wolves generally have an appreciation for basic personal hygiene and believe that there’s a certain power in the ability to move freely, if hidden, among humans.

Random Thursday: Weird Spells, Viral Emotions, and Random Shoes of Evil

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

Coincidentally, I came down with another virus this week.

I’m feeling kind of emotional about it.

Plus, I’m afraid to wear shoes, now, so . . . yeah.

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Phtheaugh This

Potato Potahto

I’m still not ready to stop laughing at Dan Quayle.

But who is?

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New Favorite Store!

There’s a place called The Literary Gift Company!

They sell things like this:

Grammar MugsI was considering paying the exorbitant shipping costs
for the figurative cuppa one,
but some mornings, that would be a literal lie.

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More than a Feeling:

Like, all of them.

 This is one of only a few movies that Jane has said she’s willing to see in an actual theater.

Think I’ll check the opinion of her green eyelash girl, before I buy tickets.

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At Least I Didn’t Have to Spell “Potato”

Hippopotenuse

 We had a library In-Service last week,
and several of us had a Spelling Bee over lunch.

I finished in third place, which is pretty good,
considering the competition.

“Hypotenuse” is the word I died on, because I persist in thinking
that it ends like chartreuse.

Luckily, neither word comes up much in my present line of work,
but since I rightfully angled for a new position in the library,
I’d like to face the opposition square,
place those points,
and be equal to the sum of both tasks.

And also slide down an incline on my tummy.
Dunno why.

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Evil shoes

Barefoot it is, then. . .

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Speaking of Feelings . . .

So . . . it is weird that I want you to hate this post, now?

Or it that just the virus talking?

School Picture Day: A Communications Farce in Two-Acts

The Cast:

Sunny . . . . . . . . . an eight year-old

Jane . . . . . . . . . . a twelve year-old

My Husband . . . their father

My MIL . . . . . . .  their grandmother

Me . . . . . . . . . . . . the mime (I assume)

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ACT ONE:

Last Night

Sunny: “It’s Picture Day tomorrow! I’m going to wear my new pink dress!”

Me: “Good idea! Do you have clean tights for it?”

Sunny: “Yes, Mommy.”

Me: “Go make sure. If you need something washed, bring it to me and I’ll wash it right now.”

Sunny (running off): “Okay!”

Me: “Jane? What are you wearing tomorrow for Picture Day?”

Jane (poking at her 2DS with the stylus): “No idea.”

Me: “How about your blue sweater with the tank underneath?”

Jane: “I guess.”

Me: “Or that lace wrap you bought that looks so good over your blue top?”

Jane: “I guess.”

Me: “Why don’t you go figure it out. If you need any laundry done, let me know.”

Jane (wandering off, still poking): “Okay.”

Time Flies

ACT TWO:

This morning

Sunny: “Mommy! Where are my tights?”

Me: “You don’t have any?”

Sunny: “You said you would wash them!”

Me: “You didn’t give them to me.”Pink tights

Sunny: “Yes, I did. The pink ones!”

Me: “The ones next to your fish tank? The ones you didn’t give to me?”

Sunny: “I thought you would see them there.”

Me: “. . .”

Sunny: “Can I wear these ones instead?”

Me: “Good idea. Jane? Are you dressed, yet?”

Jane: “Yeah.”

Me: “You’re wearing a tee-shirt for Picture day?”Laundry hamper

Jane: “What wrong with it?”

Me: “Nothing. You just usually like to dress up.”

Jane (shrugging): “Everything I wanted to wear is dirty.”

Me: “I told you I’d wash whatever you wanted.”

Jane (shrugging): “I didn’t know what I wanted.”

Me: “Are you wearing a bra?”

Jane: “YES, Mom, I’m . . . Oh. Be right back.”Hairbrush

Sunny: “AAARRGGHHH!!  I HATE MY HAIR!”

Me: “You have beautiful hair. Look, we’ll just brush it under a little. . . See?”

Sunny: “I want bangs.”

Me: “Okay, but we’ll have to wait until Friday.”

Sunny: “But that’s AFTER Picture Day!”

Me:  “Yes, it is.”

Sunny:  “My hair is all POOFY!”

Me: “It’ll settle. Do you want a headband?”

Sunny: “NO! HEADBANDS ARE STOOPID AND MAKE MY HAIR LOOK DANDELION BUSHY!”Dandelion

Me: “Okay, no headbands.  Maybe a pony tail?”

Sunny:  “NO!”

Me:  “All right.  Your choice.  But I promise, your hair will settle down.”

Sunny: “Hmmph.”

Me: “Go take your school stuff to the kitchen. Jane! Did you brush your teeth?”

Jane: “Yeah.”

toothMe: “You brushed your teeth?”

Jane: “YES, Mom, I . . . Oh. Be right back.”

My MIL: “Sunny’s hair looks like it hasn’t seen a brush for days!”

Sunny: “I TOLD YOU MY HAIR WAS TERRIBLE!!”

Me: “I brushed it. It looks fine. It’ll settle down.”

My MIL: “Maybe a headband would help?”

Sunny (bending over to dig into her backpack): “ALL RIGHT, I’LL WEAR A STOOPID HEADBAND!”

My MIL: “Well, I didn’t mean to upset anyone . . .”

Me: “Sweetheart . . . You can’t wear a yellow headband with a pink and black dress. It doesn’t go. I’m sorry.”

Sunny: “It’s the ONLY ONE I HAVE!”

My MIL: “No it isn’t, you have some very nice ones in pink and black. Where are they?”

Sunny: “In my room somewhere.”

Me: “We don’t have time to find them. We’re late already. Her hair is fine. Jane!”

Jane: “I’m tying my shoes!”awesomeshoes

Me: “Did you brush your teeth?”

Jane: “YES. I mean, after this.”

My husband (to Sunny): “Oh, don’t you look pretty!”

My MIL: “I just wish someone would do something about her hair!”

Me: “I brushed it. Twice.”

Sunny: “I TOLD YOU IT WAS TERRIBLE!”

My husband: “It’s not. It’ll settle down, Mom. Maybe we should buy her a pick.”Volcano Eruption

Me: “That won’t settle it down. Jane!”

My husband: “No, but she can get at the underside herself. She’s only brushing the top.”

Me:I brushed the underside this morning.  JANE! WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE!”

Jane (from offstage): “Ah’m bruffing ma feeff! Ya WANNAG me coo bruff em, wight?!”

My MIL: “Maybe a ponytail?”

Sunny: “AAARRGGHHH!”

Me (giving up): “I’ll be in the car.”

Sunny (several minutes later): “Here you are, Mommy!  Aren’t we going to be late?”