Posts Tagged ‘ bloggage ’

Blog Down

2010.11.23
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FOR SOME REASON, BOTH FRONT and back ends of Metaphorager.Net are unreachably slow since yesterday morning. Troubleshooters are on the way; anyway, that’s why it’s so quiet here. Hope to noise it up again soon.

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Tools: Spacejock Software

2010.11.12
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THIS POST IS BEING WRITTEN in yEdit, one of Simon Haynes‘ many fine Spacejock Software products. He doesn’t know I’m writing it, and until I stumbled across his website I didn’t know he was a famous Australian science-fiction author with a taste for helping others get started in the field.

But as he offers some really neato tools for writing — yEdit, a text editor which lets you set a word-count target and track it as you type; Sonar, which manages story submissions; yTimer, like yEdit but in minutes instead of words; and the novel-assisting yWriter — as well as some sound advice (well, it helped me anyway). Check his site for additional tools and links to what looks like one hell of a terrific space-opera self-parody.

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To ALL My Email Correspondents

2010.11.10
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HAD I KNOWN THAT DELETING email via my shell account (mutt) would also delete my GUI email (Thunderbird), I would not now be writing you. But it did, so if you’ve sent me an unanswered email in the past … year, please resend it. (The feeling is both liberating and terrifying. As experiences go, better skip this one.)

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Blog: “Oy Bay”

2010.08.17
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JEWISH BLOGS CAN BE DICEY: on the one hand are individuals writing about everything from raising kids in Israel to student-rabbiing to Torah to protesting one’s Torah(1), and on the other are institutions often conducting “outreach” or fundraising. The former tend to shoot from the heart, the latter try (too self-consciously(2), methinks) to “engage and inform.”

One which seems to do both is http://oybay.wordpress.com/, a volunteer-written guide to the Jewish Bay Area. (I say “seems” because it hasn’t been updated since early July, but perhaps this trackback will stimulate them.) Most of the entries are written by “Oyster,” who presents as every synagogue’s zayde(grandpa)-of-all-trades (ours are named Sy and Addy), but the “About Us” list is decidedly under 30 (OyBay’s target demographic). OyBay’s pleasant mix of RSS feeds, links and occasional dispatches makes it an accessible jumping-on place for Bay Area Jews.

Neal’s rating: Four whole-wheat bagels with a glass Cel-Ray.

- = – = -
(1) To speak of “one’s Torah” is as to speak of “one’s Zen;” it’s really “one’s principles and demonstrated grasp of same.” Some people also speak of this as “one’s Jewishness” or “one’s “Yiddishkeit.”
(2) That self-conscious thing is deadly. If you too wear a yarmulke in public, you know what I mean. If not, then imagine someone making a big deal about not making a big deal about something that’s worth making a big deal about, then emailing you updates.

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All Purpose Disclaimer

2010.08.04
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THE VIEWS OF THE AUTHOR may not reflect whatever he’s thinking about now, or however he’s thinking about it, although they most likely did when he wrote whatever you read; thus and likewise, he is not responsible for anything you do before, while, or after you read whatever he wrote. The author’s responsibility is to communicate as clearly as he can at the time he’s writing, and if he’s failed in that mission then by “God” buckle up and try again. While his views may differ from yours, he is a creature like yourself, although perhaps a bit wittier (unless you’re his wife) and with a great delight in Lower North America’s free-speech guarantee, which, despite that some rascals who would abolish it like to hide behind it, he feels to be the greatest thing since Gutenberg. The author further notes that any disagreement is best handled a) openly, b) tactfully, and c) with the calm assurance that “God” makes us all special, and that if you continue to be offended, irked, troubled, disturbed, bored, annoyed, disgusted or negatively impacted by his words, the author sincerely suggests consulting your pineal gland. (Or maybe, read something else.)

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Pithyism#10111

2010.08.01
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ELECTRONIC CONVENIENCES BECOME OBSTACLES WHEN they pass from novelty to necessity. (Come to think of it, that may be true of everything.)

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Free Metaphor: “Lower North American”

2010.07.26
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0. CONCISION AND PRECISION ARE ESSENTIAL components of the modern metaphor. What your end-user metaphorager is looking for is light in the mouth and easy on the fingers, especially when describing social groups — you want something tight enough to express the point but loose enough to avoid looking like a stereotyping (and -typical) fool.

1. The challenge is greater when describing cultures within a geographical area. Specifically, what to conversationally call those of us residing between Mexico and Canada? “Americans” leaves out residents of those countries, as well as everyone south until the Patagonians (who, despite their patient excellence for crafting outdoor gear, are sticklers for self-affiliative accuracy). Likewise “USAtians,” which makes us sound like some exotic water dog; “USAers,” which is either a cheerleading squad or a reality-show; “Yankees,” which I object to as a diehard Red Sox fan; and “United States citizens,” whose formal appeal is outweighed by its clunkiness.

2. Therefore, I suggest “Lower North American.” It’s got a nice cadence (“LOWuh NORthuh MEruh Can”), easy informality and even compresses to a txtable “LNA” (which so far as I can see will only confuse us with amplifiers, shy nucleotides and members of the new Let’s Not Ask public-ignorance campaign).

So, friends, next time you’re stuck for a self-descriptive metaphor for hepcats, expats and diplomats, reach for smooth, satisfying Lower North America. Remember: Lower North America. It’s where we are now.

(Link here: http://metaphorager.net/lna)

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5 Thoughts: And On Your Left, the Pons Creamery

2010.07.25
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THE METAPHORAGER.NET VISITOR LOGS MAKE for interesting reading; it’s fun to see what rough edges of my prose snags on Google and other search engines; it’s nice to count the international flags and know that any Belgian with an iPhone can snatch up with digital fingers (pun) the latest dispatch from whatever lives in my brain. But it also becomes apparent that some items are missing out; thus, a guide to the un- or lesser-’phoraged pages of This Here Site.

1. Posse Commentatus: It’s long been an observation of mine that the same patterns are exhibited by the institutions and cultures of both the fandom and religious communities (i.e., those religions built around a central text). Posse Commentatus posits that the major difference between Jedi and Jew is about 3,000 years of backstory — and that the text isn’t as important as its message and its inspirations.

2. Clips: A small representation of my journalistic cred. (I mean, I wouldn’t read them either, but I have to put them somewhere; one of this site’s missions is aggressive self-aggrandizement.)

3. A Proposal For The Moon of Earth and/or Lunar Update: Back to the Redrawing Board: Perhaps the idea of looping Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece via lunar projector is a bit crazy after all. If you disagree, pick up a shovel and help.

4. Daily Gasp: This is in the sidebar right under “Wine Country Weather.” It links to NASA’s “Astronomical Picture of the Day” site which, if you haven’t see it yet, you must drop everything to click on. (“NOW, kid.” — Arlo Guthrie) I can think of fewer things more instantly awe-inducing than the view Outside, both for beauty and perspective.

5. Category: Writing See #2 above, except I actually would read these — and I invite anyone who wants to help make me a better writer to click away and start commenting. (On the other hand, if you’re looking for something nice to read over lunch, I’ll see you then!)

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Posts That Never Were

2010.07.01
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THE IMMEDIACY OF BLOGGING CREATES, for the blogger, a whole new way of looking at the world. It’s not much different from the world of any writer in terms of the compulsion to record, comment on and embroider every living moment; blogging just makes it easier and less private.

Privacy in today’s age of Instant Personal Broadcasting[1] (blogs, vlogs, YouTube, reality TV, chat, texting, Facebook and definitely MySpace) means something different than it did when the cautionary “1984″ loomed in our future, before we collectively became Big Brother for both fun and profit. The aware writer — i.e., aware that his writing is for other people to read — will thus exercise privacy as a form of active self-discretion; despite that he can now tell his readers any thing at any time, he doesn’t want to overdo it and collects a quick pile of unshared observation. Here are a few of mine, at least for now:

Taste Test: Breakfast Cereals — One of my favorite snacks is a bowl of cereal, but as I get older I find myself less enamoured of sweet snacks. Why can’t They make something better, like a less sweet Corn Pop with pecans?

My God Has Balls — Although a staunch brother of my sisters in the struggle, I can’t help but notice that the degenderization of “God,” necessitated for those who confuse Hebrew’s gendered pronouns with sexism, has clunked up the liturgy and made it harder for many to feel less self-conscious about praying — and diluted the Warrior Spirit inherent and necessary to any disciplined spiritual approach.

Elena Kagan Is Hot — If a man can’t see the inherent beauty in every woman, he’s not really a man. (Of course, he might also be gay, but then the point would be that if he can’t see the inherent beauty in every man he’s not really looking. Or so I imagine; I don’t think men have any inherent beauty.) This would also spell the difference between women and girls, and how the latter limit and make the former look as bad as boys do for men.

Tawdry Tidbits From The World Of Small Town Politics — Shame on you. (Besides, the town’s small enough that everyone knows them already.)

I Just Submitted A Story To _______ — Puh-LEASE. Believe me, I’ll post enough when they’re published; if my rejection : acceptance ratio is like anyone else’s, posting each of my many, many subs will make me look (and, inevitably, feel) like a loser. (Besides, the New Yorker frowns on such things.)

Cute Things The Cat Did — There are some things which I simply cannot do. One is ask someone a question without an intimidating bulldog machinegun style. Another is to be less intense. A third is to write anything profound about our little woojums. (Ann can, though — she’s even got a whole category for it.)

Vicious Deconstruction of Modern Writers In An Obvious Bid For Attention — I sort of did that to Douglas Rushkoff’s uninformed and whiny Nothing Sacred, but then felt so bad the next day that I had to apologize. Not only is such behavior rude and transparent, it may prevent me from cadging a beer from the inhabitants of the lofty realm I pretend to despise.

Great Quotes from Star Trek, Star Wars or Whatever I’m Reading Now — Those who know, know; those who don’t, don’t care.

EFT and the Death of Retail Banter — How can we talk weather with the checker if we have to keep pushing all these damn buttons? And would I feel the same if I still worked at the bookstore?

That should do for now. If you can think of anything else I shouldn’t write about, I’ll be right here … waiting.

[1] Phrase copyright 2010, Neal Ross Attinson. Ka-CHING.

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Silicon Intermission

2010.05.26
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WE AT FRANCE STREET TOOL and Blog (i.e., Ann & moi — G is only exploring keyboards) will be offline for the next 12 to 18 hours, G?d willing, as a new computer (thanks again, Dad) replaces the old (thanks again, Don). Try to be good to each other in the meanwhile?

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Jon Stewart Slams Glenn Beck Idol

2010.05.21
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THE DEMISE OF THE HEADLINE-WRITER’S art (according to a recent article fed through both Slashdot and The Daily Beast) dictates an appeal to search engine optimization (SEO) instead of readers — something that snags on Google instead of anticipatory imagination. Thus, the perfect SEO headline for anything would be the above, as it’s (quoting from memory since I can’t find the original article, alas) “guaranteed to bring in thousands of page hits.” (I added “Idol” just to tweak the numbers, in my own special pundit Beltway Comedy Central Lady Gaga Obama porn Mafia Wars Stephen Colbert Go USA way.)

So there we go. I’ll post an update in 24 hours (hmm… better make it 36) and see how many Fabulous Prizes and Destination Sunsets we’ve won. (So to speak. Heh heh heh.)

UPDATE: JSSGBI+10 minutes: THIS is CREEPY. As in OMG!!! creepy. I no sooner post this when, touched by curiosity, I Google “Jon Stewart Slams Glenn Beck.” And:

The mind-blowing evidence of Google's unholy grasp on the world's electronic tentacles.

Fig. 1.

NUMBER FIVE??? IN N*I*N*E M*I*N*U*T*E*S?!?!?!?!? That’s actually pretty cool…

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Thousand-Word Taskmaster

2010.04.18
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“FROM SPACE, OASINE WAS AN otherwise tan ball flecked and dotted with green – but none of its inhabitants had ever seen it.

“Few of them, in fact, had been outside their own birthplaces. These were oases of various shapes and sizes whose populations, separated by trackless desert, varied from savagery to the sophistication allowed by circumstance and caravan. In one of the latter, called Fint by its blithe and industrious residents, and on one of countless cloudless days, a crowd of gawkers, mockers and the curious gathered at Horolan’s Pier for the maiden voyage of the good ship Deeper.”

Thus begins Under Oasine, a science fantasy novel relating the adventures of three unlikely heroes (Twiz, Ij and Hapler) who discover that their world is a lot bigger than they had thought — and it (along with everyone on it) needs their help to survive.

I’m telling you this for two reasons: 1) partly to avoid through preemptive imprimature a repeat of the Matrix incident”, and 2) mostly to motivate myself (as with the Prosatio Silban stories) through risk of public humiliation should I flake.

Somerset Maugham once said: “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately nobody knows what they are.” Although a skilled news reporter, I know nothing about writing novels save what I could glean from Stephen King’s On Writing, Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method and Simon Haynes’ How To Write A Novel. There is great advice to be found in each of these, but after mumbling it about my own muse is telling me to chart what I want each chapter to do and where I want it to end, write a thousand words a day until I reach 45-50,000, then look for an agent and a movie deal.

Blogging a novel may be dicey for aspiring writers who want to sell their works: the idea is still catching on, and while it can raise a persuasive buzz some publshers may see “blog” as “previous publication.” My task here will be to navigate the narrow path between these two extremes — and entertain the hell out of whoever reads what results. To this end, I plan to post the first two chapters, with synopses according to clamour. Your task will be to tell me whether or not I’m successful.

Deal?

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