Showing posts from October, 2010


In the book of Japanese fairy tales I'm reading, the wicked stepmothers and brothers end up realizing they were wrong to be hateful and jealous, beg forgiveness, receive it, and live happily ever after along with the stepdaughter or brother. This in contrast to European fairy tales, where those people are often roasted alive Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.4

end in sight

For 12 years i woke up every day with a body worn out with fatigue and a brain that could not function properly. Each and every day, with no end in sight and no hope for help. This was CFS for me. All i knew was that in some people, after many years, the illness eventually ran its course. I could only wish to be one of those people and in the end i was, but only after i had literally exhausted the prime physical years of my life, from ages 27 to 39. Today, while waiting for more biopsy results, i feel that i can face anything which had a known prognosis, a probable outcome, a relativwely certain recovery duration. With an end in sight, with some expectation of a termination, things are more bearable. Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.4

change over time

Everything we see in this world experiences change over time. This equation defines life on our planet. Evolution is also change over time, where the values of both change and time are very large. For some people, this simple formula is hard to understand Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.4


Wht fine storytelling in this film, Pickpocket by Rovert Bresson. Simple, direct, beautifully staged, well acted, a nihislist love story at heart, apparently a model for 'Taxi Driver'. The hero/thief has no values until, in the end, he somehow comes to a consciousness of being human. He had been inwardly comatose all that time. 'Something lit up her face' - he (finally) saw that she loved him, and in that he glimpsed the first reflection of his own love for her, his only love for anything (other than his late mother) up until that point. It really can be that a person can go through life seeing nothing, knowing nothing, feeling nothing, while all the while believing they have some secret wisdom, a false knowledge. To come upon the truth too late is a tragedy, or is it really ever too late? To live in darkness for all of your life except the final moment, when the light is barely seen ... for some people this is their destiny - nocturnal souls who view the dawn only at

Blog Commenting - Submitedge

God I love this! They post only in "reputed blogs" !! Highly Experienced Blog Commenting Experts! So highly experienced they don't even know the meaning of the word "reputed"

time traveling movie extra

Surely you've seen t he video going around on youtube, showing the extra in Charlie Chaplin's movie, The Circus. It seems to be a large woman all in black, walking past and jabbering into a cell phone. A still-futuristic cellphone, clearly, one that does not require cell towers or repeaters. Wonder who's her service provider ... Ma Bell? My guess is based on my retail years in downtown San Francisco, where any number of nutjobs would pass by or pop into the store, talking to their imaginary friend, or into their imaginary microphone like Mister Wonderful, or waving at their imaginary adoring crowd like Mister President. They had crazy people roaming around in the 1920's too, I suppose, even in Hollywood, or maybe especially there Then again, the true solution seems to be this 1924 Western Electric Model 34A "Audiphone", a sort of hearing aid with a microphone to amplify surrounding sound. The person is talking into it to see if it works, is the theor

Easy DIY CouchDB using Ruby

Rather than use somebody's couch gem, (which may or may not return JSON when you expect it to!), what I'm doing here is rolling my own compact Couch library class in Ruby. The class simply uses net/ssh to make properly formed REST calls to the CouchDB. You also need the 'json' gem installed. (Also, I'm using Ruby 1.8.7) The Couch class needs a host, port and db parameter passed into its initialize method. The db is the name of the db, while the host and port are used by the request method to form the URL.  Most every call to Couch is either a GET or a PUT (there is also a DELETE), so we only need a couple of methods (get, put) to create the right kind of Net::Http object, make the REST call and convert the Http response into JSON. Here is couch_lib.rb # begin code require 'net/ssh' require 'json' class Couch   def initialize(host, db, port=5984, options = nil)     @host = host     @port = port     @db = db     @options = options   end def req

Fantasy: Updated

"Fantasy" as a genre is pretty well a European medievalist type of thing, running from Grimm's fairy tales through Tolkein and Rowling, well-populated with elves and fairies, goblins and trolls, witches and wizards, magic rings and amulets, topographical maps and ancient city-legends, castles and towers, damsels, heroes and so on. "Urban Fantasy" would be a contemporary update of the genre, trading in those typical trappings in favor of more modern and familiar types; lawyers and cops instead of viziers and knights, abandoned warehouses and bus maps instead of caverns and buried treasure, cult leaders and crazed billionaires instead of deathlords and mad kings, drunks and mechanics, cashiers and psychics, strip malls and burger joints, safety deposit boxes and junk mail, and, instead of magical spells, science fiction. There are probably more stories that fit the bill than would like to admit it - some of the gritty hard-edged lowlife dramas, for example, an

Me and my 'Robot'

On Indie Books Blog today


the main problem with being labeled a 'humorist' is people who don't think you're funny

no comments

now that i know about highly experienced professional blog commenters, i can no longer believe in any comment i see on any blog. it's just like tv commercials - i don't believe that person is really suffering from dandruff or incontinence or is even hungry for that burger. those commenters can't really think that president obama is a 'communist', can they? it's just that someone is paying someone else to say whatever ...

magical thinking and sports

Tonight the World Series begins between the Giants and the Rangers. On the sports talk radio, much magical thinking going on - mostly tongue-in-cheek, but with a hint of desperately-wanting-to-believe a la X Files. Something about a recurrence of the number Five and Tim Lincecum's uni number being 55 Something about how every time the Giants play the Red Sox in inter-league play, one of those teams wins the World Series that year (i.e., the Red Sox did it twice, the Giants never) Something about the Giants being 'due' (sure, 56 years of futility MUST be a magic number) There is a long history of superstitions in sports, especially those of athletes (not touching the white lines, for example, or changing hats or bats, etc ...) but I wonder how much has been collected regarding fans' trivia superstitions. I'm sure there's a lot of great stuff there. a simple google search turned up some, including this and this

self-pub prayer

Dear Lord, please forgive my typos. I do make mistakes. I am not a bad person, really. Whatever. Amen.


this article spells out the 6 federal policies that the tea party candidates believe are unconstitutional and therefore ought to be struck down, including: social security medicare the united nations the minimum wage unemployment insurance the civil rights act (in outlawing discrimination by private businesses) (also to be included are the health insurance mandate and aspects of the americans with disability act) aside from the united nations thing, what do all of these have in common? they benefit the weak, the old, the sick, the poor, and the disadvantaged. it's hard for me to believe that this nation would be better off if the weak were weaker, the sick were sicker, the poor were poorer, old people were left more destitute and the disadvantaged were more disadvantaged. now, the tea party people might say that all they really want is for individual states to control all of these things, but isn't this argument kind of disingenous? if the states all provided the

Urban Fantasy

"Fantasy" as a genre is pretty well a european medievalist type of thing, running from Grimm's fairy tales through Tolkein and Rowling, well-populated with elves and fairies, goblins and trolls, witches and wizards, magic rings and amulets, topographical maps and ancient city-legends, castles and towers, damsels and heroes and so on. "Urban Fantasy", a genre I would like to designate, eschews those typical trappings in favor of more modern and familiar types; lawyers and cops instead of viziers and knights, abandoned warehouses and bus maps instead of caverns and buried treasure, cult leaders and crazed billionaires instead of deathlords and mad kings, drunks and mechanics, cashiers and psychics, strip malls and burger joints, safety deposit boxes and junk mail, and instead of magical spells, science fiction. Probably there are more stories that fit the bill than would like to - some of the gritty hard-edged lowlife dramas, for example, not to mention cop shows

New Cover Art - Time Zone

one of the great things about indie publishing is that you can change the cover of your book any time you feel like it. This is a collage I made years ago from the inner flap of a strip-covered mass-market romance novel. I called it 'Blue' but I really think it fits the sense of the fractured reality I tried to imagine with this book. Time Zone is a time travel story in which every trip changes the traveler(s) until they are not at all the same people in the same world in which they began


how about this service from SubmitEdge? I never thought of it! this career was probably never on anyone's list of 'what do you want to be when you grow up'? What Do We Offer Through Our Blog Commenting Service? Our blog commenting service involves posting comments in various blogs. Our blog commenting service is not like the blog submission service offered by other companies. Other companies wait for moderator to approve the comment. Only when the comments are approved they will be publicly visible and only the approved blog comments will be available to the search engines for indexing and tracking links. With our blog commenting service you will not have to worry about moderator's approval. We offer 100% guaranteed approval of the comments. We will provide you with a complete report which will include the direct landing pages where your links are submitted. You can always cross check your linking pages and the live links. Our blog commenting service

build android on ubuntu

must be 64-bit system as of froyo (android 2.2) curl > ~/bin/repo chmod a+x ~/bin/repo mkdir android cd android repo init -u git:// repo sync make

stat magic

[Cliff] Lee had 30 strikeouts in between walks, another postseason record. There have been eight postseason games in history in which a pitcher has struck out 10 and walked none; Lee has four of them. He locates his fastball as well as any pitcher in the game, works the inside part of the plate as well as any pitcher, and has a great curveball and a cutter from hell. Every hitter knows he will be around the plate with every pitch, and no one can hit him.


According to Wired, Coca-Cola invented the coupon with free giveaway coupons in 1888. Giving away theirn product for free led to sales. They gave away 8.5 million free drink coupons by 1913. Hippies? Uh-uh. Loss leader marketing works and history proves it. Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.3

huevos without

got to respect this young woman - a 20 year old becoming the police chief in a Mexican town of Praxedis Guadalupe Guerrero. new definition of courage


messing around with GarageBand this morning I realized that this was the program I really wanted when I started getting into computers back around 1987 (coincidentally, the last time the SF Giants faced the current predicament of being up 3-2 in the NCLS but on the road, eventually to lose both games. please not again!) - computers attracted me for music reasons, which is why i began with an Atari ST (it had built-in MIDI ports) and why I taught myself computer programming. I ended up getting a college degree in music engineering and went to work for a music software company, but the stuff that was available back then could only aspire to GarageBand simplicity and ease of use. There was a lot of great stuff (ProTools, StudioVision, MOTU, etc ...) but this application really has what the average user needs.


whenever i'm tempted to tweet or otherwise attempt feeble promotions of my little books, i remind myself that i've put them all out there like paper boats on a stream, given them some pushes, and they're off. i'll respond to any contacts, but it's time for them to find their own way in the big wide world, ready or not. those ships have sailed.

what is new?

Been sidetracked with that whole indie-pub thing for awhile, but it's time to return the pigeonweather scene to its regular programming. What's been going on in the meantime? It's been Tea Party time in the media for awhile now. Not surprisingly, rallies of tens of thousands against a war got zero coverage a few years back, but let 150 people show up in Nevada and it's all over the news. The news is basically a roving spotlight (used the word 'roving' on purpose) and most of us can only see what they put into the light. There's no good way to know what are the real proportions of things in terms of relevance, importance, weight etc ... See It Buy It is also See It Believe It. You have these morons (is it really 2010?) who ridicule science based on their faith, just as we smart people ridicule their faith based on our science. Climate Change is a hoax. Evolution is a myth. Well, if scientists are all conspiring to fool us all the time, why do you ever go

loaded dice

someone did a study of her self-publishing hits, using a story with "porn star" in the title . yeah, you might get some attention with that ...

once a playmate, always a playmate

think before you unpeel ... headline of the day : (playmate-charged-with-attempted-murder) look, she's 66 years old now. she was a 'playmate', what, 45 years ago?

pomme du terre grande

despite numerous health-related incidents, my recent trip to New York City with family rekindled my love of that place. so much great stuff

depression as healing

the theory described here seems to suggest that depression is a manifestation of brain-rewiring after stressful or traumatic events, a symptom of recovery and healing. makes me wonder if any number of so-called ailments are really healings gone awry - one theory of chronic fatigue syndrome, for example, blamed it on an immune system overcompensating against a retrovirus. the immune system is attempting to heal and causing more problems than it is solving. this fits in nicely with my theory that "the leading cause of problems is solutions"

a year of publishing 'independently'

a birthday usually feels like a beginning to me, but this one feels like an ending, an ending to my year of publishing 'independently'. it's a bit early, since the year of doing that factually began last Thanksgiving weekend, when I first put some of my books on Smashwords and Feedbooks and was startled to see any of them being downloaded at all. It's been fun and I've learned a few things, but I've also seen enough to know that the so-called Indie Book community is not one I can really be a part of. I've never been a joiner anyway, and despite the fact that there are lots of good and talented people involved in it, that world essentially boils down to marketing and grubbing for money. Every child knows how to cry "mommy, mommy, look at me", and every parent knows how tiresome it becomes. I've been the child and the parent in this year of publishing 'independently' and have had enough of both. Every 'success' (measured in the

Outside the Hippie Commune

Here is another diatribe against free ebooks . As one of those 'hippie writers' who is 'helping to breed more entitlement into people, making it harder for others to make money', I can only say, "cry me a river", and get a job. I personally don't give a damn if nobody ever made any money off their writing. Kafka never did. Poe barely did. The list goes on and on, but god forbid any contemporary american hack should not get a proper pound of flesh for their latest crappy sex-in-the-city-based p.o.s.. fuck 'em. guess what? cultural products can always be free (or close to it) for those who want them to be. you can go the library for your books, music or movies. you can go to the metropolitan museum and choose to not pay the 'recommended' admission. you can listen to the god damn radio and watch public tv without chipping in. guess that makes you a hippie! the whole 'sense of entitlement' shit reminds me of that crackpot Sharron Ang


on a recent trip back east i was surprised at having no memories whatsoever of penn station in new york, although i had been through there many many times, many many years ago, on regular visits to my then-fiancee. i don't have a great memory for places or names anyway, but it made me feel as if those times had never even happened, or had never happened to me at least. it was someone else's past and it was gone forever. what does it mean to not remember your own life? i was thinking about this and then, due to an unexpected complication, i found myself in a hospital, lying on a gurney next to an old man with alzheimer's who was on the brink of death. every now and then he would open his eyes and someone (a nurse or his nephew or a doctor) would ask him his name, his birthday, if he knew where he was. occasionally he gave some sign that he was aware of one of those details, but mostly he stared vacantly and closed his eyes again. he had maybe days to live and it sure seemed

the buck's incident

One person who keeps changing into other people Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.3


my interview with Simon Royle

What is Indie Lit?

I've been coming across this term and its variations a lot recently. Today I even spotted this site for the Indie Lit Awards .There are Indie Writers, Indie Authors, Indie Publishers and so on. They are sometimes linked to Independent Bookstores, but not necessarily, as more often they are correlated to the burgeoning world of e-books, and sites such as Smashwords and Feedbooks, Barnes & Noble and Amazon, where anyone can upload anything at all and call it Indie Lit. But is that what it is? Some people are making the correlation between Indie Lit and Indie Films and Indie Music, but I'm not sure the analogies hold. As I understand it, the films and music categories are more or less defined by their being produced "outside of the system" and, therefore, "on a low budget", and this far the analogies do hold, but there is also implied an "independent spirit", something about those ventures that are not only done outside the system but also could

An Imperial Message

This classic story by Franz Kafka captures perfectly my concept of the 'Needle in the Haystack' problem of the Indie Writer The Emperor—so they say—has sent a message, directly from his death bed, to you alone, his pathetic subject, a tiny shadow which has taken refuge at the furthest distance from the imperial sun. He ordered the herald to kneel down beside his bed and whispered the message in his ear. He thought it was so important that he had the herald speak it back to him. He confirmed the accuracy of verbal message by nodding his head. And in front of the entire crowd of those witnessing his death—all the obstructing walls have been broken down, and all the great ones of his empire are standing in a circle on the broad and high soaring flights of stairs—in front of all of them he dispatched his herald. The messenger started off at once, a powerful, tireless man. Sticking one arm out and then another, he makes his way through the crowd. If he runs into resistance, he poi

bit of a splash

making a bit of a splash on Amazon, even since the Free promo reverted to a whopping 99 cents. Amazon Bestsellers Rank:  #1,198 Paid in Kindle Store ( See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store ) #15 in     Kindle Store  >  Kindle Books  >  Children's Books  >  Literature  >  Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery & Horror  >  Spine-Chilling Horror #15 in     Books  >  Children's Books  >  Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror  >  Spine-Chilling Horror #43 in     Kindle Store  >  Kindle Books  >  Humor Can you hear the chanting? We're Number One Thousand One Hundred Ninety Eight! We're Number One Thousand One Hundred Ninety Eight! One Team! One Fight! Amazon Bestsellers Rank:  #3,809 Paid in Kindle Store ( See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store ) #6 in     Books  >  Literature & Fiction  >  Genre Fiction  >  Metaphysical #22 in     Kindle Store  >  Kindle Books  >  Fiction  >  Horror  >  Occult #30 in     Books  > 

die trad pubs die

The publishing industry began to be destroyed decades ago, along with the rest of the general mom-and-pop shop economies of the so-called developed world. Vertical integration, monopoly capital, whatever you want to call it, is not a good fit for art of any kind. I say “die trad pubs die” and the sooner the better. On the other hand, we may only be in a temporary zone of possibilities before, as indie author Neil Crabtree put it, “the pond freezes over again”. In the meantime, let us indie authors get our indie books out there any way we can. People are reading and want to read. They’re getting more choices now, that’s all, and if the haystack is just getting bigger and bigger, there are more needles in there too! (from a comment I put on the site of Wanda Shapiro ,  the author of 'Sometimes That Happens With Chicken'

free v indie

The question is, do Indie writers who give their books away for free, hurt the sales of other Indie writers who charge for theirs? I think the answer is 'yes, but not so much'. I think the 'Needle in a Haystack' problem is so much bigger than the 'Why Buy A Cow?' issue, and although it is certainly true that free ebooks also add to the overall haystack, I still believe that once a reader finds a needle, they're much more likely to buy the cow (so to speak). I was reminded of this today when Mario Vargas Llosa won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and remembered reading his first book more than 30 years ago. I've read nearly everything he's published ever since, regardless of the format or the cost. Getting people to find that needle though, there's the rub!

Nice is nice

and this review was nice to read, from ebooksjustpublished Zombie Nights was my first Lichtenberg story. Really fun! I have since read ~20 more of his books and stories that I downloaded at Feedbooks: He has a gift and great sense of humour. If you get thrown by one of his reads, put it down and come back in a little while. It will all make sense!


this whole interview is very interesting, as I'm sure the book - Where Ideas Come From, by Steven Johnson - is as well. You observe that most of the major innovations over the past 200 years have come from networks of individuals who rarely capitalize or even intend to capitalize on their work. How is that possible? We underestimate how much innovation comes out of the university system. If you look at where innovation, defined as ideas not as commercial product, tends to live, the university system is remarkably innovative. Like the Internet, which no one owns and which generates vast fortunes for people who build on top of it, the university system, through a collaborative, open network, creates ideas that become platforms that enable people to build businesses stacked on top of them. We're seeing it with genomics: core research is happening in universities that's going to lead to vast fortunes for big pharma. I hope this section in the book will make people pause an

limited time promo

Two of my books were picked by Amazon/Kindle for a ' limited time promo ' offer - Zombie Nights and Snapdragon Alley. They're free on Smashwords and Feedbooks but Amazon requires a 99 cents minimum - with the promo, they're free on Kindle as well. The result has been pretty amazing - more than 7500 downloads in just a few days - it shows me that Kindle is where most of the e-book readers are, not Apple, not Barnes&Noble, not Android. I'm glad they picked my books just to open my eyes to that fact - Amazon (and probably Google as well) will soon dominate the publishing industry; not just the selling of books, not just the distribution, but all of it from start to finish. (this morning the two are being downloaded at a rate of one every other minute)

indie author roundup

During my brief (yet not brief enough) experience working for Microsoft, I heard the expression "eat your own dogfood" at least once a day. They meant "use the software you're writing" but what I heard was "yes, it sucks, and it's going to suck when it's done, otherwise we wouldn't be calling it dogfood". I considered proposing they change the expression to "eat your own cooking" because, in that case, one might want it to taste good! I didn't suggest it, though, because I despise Microsoft and am so glad I no longer work for them (disclaimer - they bought the company I happily worked for - Danger - and promptly destroyed it completely). Anyway, with the expression "eat your own cooking" in mind, I've decided to read fellow "indie authors" who are giving away their books for free on Feedbooks  or Smashwords , and make some comments on them - not reviews, and no 'star' ratings involved. I will

blink twice

unless has gone out of their freaking minds, 3000+ copies of the Kindle edition of Snapdragon Alley have been sold in the past few days, and nearly 900 copies of Zombie Nights. The previous high was last month's 21 copies of Zombie Nights. What the heck? the were both featured here: aha! i got it. Amazon was giving these two away for free. They're still tallying up my royalties (35 cents a copy) - so it's just been a 'loss leader' weekend. fine with me.