Resident of the world, traveling the road of life
4581 stories

Finishing A Book

1 Share

I’ve broken discipline here, because I’m finishing a book and trying to put all my available braincycles into it.  Which, if you have my kind of career, can be absurdly difficult.  Yesterday, it was announced that my book GLOBAL FREQUENCY is being adapted for television again, by Rockne S. O’Bannon for Jerry Bruckheimer Television, with a pilot production commitment at FOX in the United States.  On the same day, I had an hour-long phone conference about another television project, and had to negotiate and plan a production schedule on a comics project and review a deal memo and think about a cover design and artist assignment.  None of which is exactly breaking rocks for a living, but if all you want to do is write a book, it gets harder than it should be.  Of course, the book has been moved on the publication schedule because I threw half of it away and started again because I wasn’t happy with the style or tone.  I’m now on a dead run to deliver it next week, but yesterday I only got 500 words down.  500 words a day, at the start of a book, is perfectly fine, as far as I’m concerned.  I write and rewrite, add and subtract and rephrase, until I feel like I have the tone of the thing down.  Trying to find the right note to play around.  I’m terrible at taking my own advice, sometimes.  I should just blast through a first draft and then revise heavily, but the work of the previous days just sits there above the line I’m on, taunting me with its ineffable shitness.

On a tip from Joe Hill, I’m reading a book called DAILY RITUALS, about the working methods of creative people, and it appears so far that I am probably somewhat less functional than Kafka, while being less than half as good as him.  You start looking at their drinking and drugging patterns and falsely think, “mmm, that sounds good.  That sounds productive.”

An old girlfriend once bought me a book about four brilliant writers who were alcoholics and their awful doomed lives.  “Thank you!”  I said.  “A manual!”

“That is not,” she said gravely, “why I gave it to you.”

Read the whole story
Share this story

$10M study for $1B bike path.

This is idiotic.

A Bay Area Toll Authority committee voted Wednesday to pay a consultant $10 million to produce a proposal for an Oakland-to-SF crossing.

Earlier estimates of the cost of a bike path, most likely attached to the sides of the approximately 2-mile western suspension span, placed the price at $400 million to $500 million. [...] Because attaching two paths would increase the weight of the suspension span, causing it to flatten slightly, the study suggested replacing the bridge decks with lighter materials, which could push the cost to $800 million to $1 billion.

Are you fucking kidding me? Can you imagine what a billion dollars of bike-infrastructure improvements in the city would look like?

Neither can I. But it wouldn't look like a single bike lane, hanging in the wind off a bridge.

Can you imagine what even ten million dollars of bike-infrastructure improvements in the city would look like?

Actually, I can: it would look like more than half of SFMTA's 2015 budget for bike infrastructure ($17.8M). Instead, we'll get a stack of design-fiction drawings from some parasitic consultancy. What the what?

Obviously improving bicycling infrastructure is a topic relevant to my interests, but this is a comically catastrophic use of public funds. Give me protected bike lanes on every major road in the city first, and you know what? I'll take the fucking train when I have to cross the bay.

Previously, previously.

Read the whole story
Share this story

Background Screens

4 Comments and 13 Shares
No way, we gotta rewind and cross-reference this map with the list of coordinates we saw on the other screen. This Greenland thing could be big.
Read the whole story
Share this story
3 public comments
1 day ago
Why Greenland? Why Greenland indeed?
1 day ago
Appelez ça de la déformation professionnelle si vous voulez…
Mais dans mon cas, c’est plutôt vrai.
Grenoble, France
1 day ago
Alt: No way, we gotta rewind and cross-reference this map with the list of coordinates we saw on the other screen. This Greenland thing could be big.
1 day ago
It's funny that we still use the term "rewind" -- physical media constructs are long-lasting!

The Internet will break you - Nov 12-17 - Week 185

1 Share
I did a stupid thing the other day.  But I was honestly confused.  Momentarily.  So I typed into the Google machine "Why do Republicans want Keystone XL".  I had momentarily forgotten that oil money bankrolls half their campaigns and was honestly curious as to why they were killing themselves to allow Canadian oil production to expand.  And it took me here.  This is a terrible place that makes me fear for the United States.  Pretty much every comment contains a reference to "American Exceptionalism, suggestion that Obama is a secret muslim or born in Kenya, and support for the idea that Obama hates America and is trying to destroy it.  There is no hope for these people.

Steve continues to be a hard man against Russia.  With tough talk in the handshake line of a summit.

Somebody better than me has taken a plunge into the ridiculous Conservative bill names.  Great stuff.  Man.  So pumped on this!

Canada's reputation is terrible in countries where our mining companies are destroying things.

The US and China seem to have agreed to some real emissions targets.  Will Canada follow suit?

CSEC gets a $385 Million budget increase.  The watchdog gets a budget cut.

This is interesting.  A detailed evaluation with a simple money shot.  $1 Billion in public spending cuts eliminates 18,000 direct and indirect jobs and sucks $2 Billion out of the economy.  $1 Billion in corporate tax cuts generates 6,000 jobs and adds $1.3 Billion to the economy.  Which is a net loss, if you need to do the math.  I would imagine that this analysis breaks down at some point, but it is telling.  Right now, every time we cut corporate taxes to starve the public sector we're harming the economy.  i.e. Stimulus spending works.  Throw declining oil revenues into the mix, and we might be fucked.

The Americans insist that we've made a secret deal to purchase 4 F-35's in a fighter jet trojan horse deal.  The Cons insist that we haven't.

Interesting take.  According to Conservatives, the science is crystal clear that marijuana is harmful.  But there isn't enough science to support medical marijuana.  I guess you could have different science.  Nobody seems to be fans of the new anti-pot ads.

An American story on Rehtaeh Parsons and how Canadian journalists can no longer speak her name.  This is so fucked up, all the way around.

The Cons are going to erect monuments of Light Armoured Vehicles across the country as tribute to Afghan war veterans.  This is the funniest thing.  How can you ignore a group of people while erecting a monument to celebrate them?  Angry Veterans against Harper is gaining some momentum.

The Cons seem to be trumpeting their "surplus" loud and hard.  Even though it hasn't happened yet.  And has been seriously eroded.

The Parliament Hill shooter did reconn the week before his attack.  Which seems like some pretty great information to rile people up about shutting down Parliament Hill to the public.

Access to Information is out of reach of the average Canadian.  Thousands of dollars.  Weeks of effort.

The Cons promised to follow the court ruling to offer health care to all refugees.  But they might not actually be doing so?
Read the whole story
Share this story

Feminists condemn Wendy McElroy for taking a position that mirrors RAINN's

1 Share
This is how nutty it's gotten on the campuses of our vaunted institutions of higher learning: Jessica Valenti debated Wendy McElroy at Brown University on “How Should Colleges Handle Sexual Assault?” and the Brown student newspaper called McElroy controversial.

Why is McElroy "controversial"? Because, the newspaper says, McElroy believes that “sexual assault is the work of small numbers of predatory individuals whose behaviors are impervious to the culture and values of their communities.”

The school's president, a woman named Christina Paxson, chimed in by saying "she disagrees with arguments made by people like McElroy that 'sexual assault is the work of small numbers of predatory individuals whose behaviors are impervious to the culture and values of their communities.'”

Excuse me while I bang my head against the wall.

McElroy's position is, in fact, consistent with the one touted by Dr. David Lisak, arguably the most respected authority on rape in the feminist community. Dr. Lisak says that over 90 percent of all rapes are committed by serial rapists. Their crimes are purposeful and planned, and only a small percentage of young men would ever cross the line. If Paxson et al. have facts to refute Dr. Lisak, they would do well to advance them. Otherwise, they would do well to shut the hell up.

McElroy's position is also consistent with the one touted by RAINN, the nation's leading anti-rape organization. Earlier this year, RAINN debunked the "rape culture" meme: "Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime." RAINN decried the "inclination to focus on particular . . . traits that are common in many millions of law-abiding Americans (e.g., 'masculinity'), rather than on the subpopulation at fault: those who choose to commit rape." RAINN cited the work of Dr. David Lisak. Natually, Valenti had a conniption.

You see, McElroy is "controversial" because she won't blame maleness for the heinous crimes committed by a small percentage of men. McElroy is "controversial" because she refuses to tout memes that are purposefully gender-divisive (not to mention incorrect) and that actually set back the cause of survivors by turning off potential allies in the war on rape.

So you tell me: how extreme is Brown University's president, Ms. Paxson, Paxson when she parrots Jessica Valenti and goes against a position touted by Dr. David Lisak and RAINN?

Brown student Dana Schwartz who helped organize the debate, said this: “We have to be aware that people outside of Brown have opinions that we might find highly unpalatable, and I think instead of silencing opinions, by listening and understanding how to deconstruct and debate them effectively, that’s the best thing a Brown student can do.” (Apparently,

by attending the debate, the young feminists honed their skills at "deconstructing" positions accepted by well-respected people but feminist positions that aren't sufficiently extreme and divisive.) extreme. Before the event, Brown student Katherine Byron said that attending the event and listening to the debate McElroy might be "triggering" or "really hurtful to me.’”

As for the actual debate, Robby Soavehas a typically brilliant piece, and I won't repeat what he wrote. A short summary: McElroy explained: “I was raped and brutally so … I did not blame society. I did not blame the culture. I blamed the man who raped me.” For her part, Valenti chuckled at the notion that alcohol is the problem and addressed how students might move forward in eliminating rape and sexual assault on campus. “Stopping someone from telling a rape joke or saying they got ‘raped’ by a test” would be a start, Valenti said. (Got it: Women drinking themselves to oblivion: perfectly okay; men telling "rape jokes": thatsomehow falls on a rape continuum.

Valenti also weighed in on the Columbia and Barnard College students who have recently written the names of accused student rapists on the walls of their schools’ buildings, Valenti said: “While I can’t officially suggest that you vandalize school property, I’m not against radical action.”  Of course not, Valenti.

This position is entirely consistent with the gender get-evenism that is at the heart of extreme feminism: it's perfectly acceptable to fight injustice with more injustice.
Read the whole story
Share this story

93-Year-Old Woman Celebrates 75th Anniversary Working For The Same Company


She might be eight years younger than the 101-year-old man who’s worked for the same lighting company for 73 years, but at 93, an Alabama woman outstrips his number by two years, as today she celebrates 75 years working at a Birmingham jewelry store.

Frances started working at the family-owned Bromberg & Co. (one of the nation’s oldest family-owned retailers, the Associated Press notes) on Nov. 21, 1939, when she was hired to polish silver. She’s stayed ever since.

“Frances is a remarkable person,” said Bromberg’s President Rick Bromberg, saying she’s still a valued employee who contributes to the bottom line. “She is the longest-serving employee in the history of our company, including family.”

When she started working there she made $8 a week, and was later transferred to gift wrap. Cut to 1970, and Frances was in charge of the company’s multimillion-dollar jewelry inventory.

“Anything I wanted to do in the store I started going it,” she said. “I’d go move from one department to the other because I just like going around in the store and looking at the pretty things.”

The company held a celebratory breakfast for her this morning on her workiversary.

She says she’d like to keep working as long as she can.

“Last year I thought I was going to have to give up because of the fact I broke my hip several years ago, had knee surgery and all those things,” she said. “But I snapped back every time.”

93-year-old woman marks 75 years with same company [Associated Press]

Read the whole story
Share this story
Next Page of Stories