log (2004/11/26 to 2004/12/02)

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Words to live by:
Sunday, November 28, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

It's like the start of summer vacation or something; whenever I'm not actively doing something important, this little voice in the back of my head prods me that there's something I ought to be doing, but then I remember that it's done! And so I can keep doing nothing.

Both Daze and an alert reader point out that "That I-69 thing isn't true". We wuz fooled! This is very gratifying; we feel just like a real news organization now!

From Rebecca, a surprisingly interesting article about ketchup: "Mustard now comes in dozens of varieties. Why has ketchup stayed the same?" (It doesn't shed any light on the whole "ketchup" v. "catsup" thing, though.)

And in other news, when I went to empty the bucket under the leaky overflow valve for the hot-water heater in the basement, there was this lizard or salamander or tadpole or something swimming around in it. Woo!

I mean, it was very slim and all, but how an actual living macroscopic organism managed to get all the way from wherever and into my hot water heater and through the leak in the overflow valve and into that bucket is a great mystery. I showed it to everyone, and then I put it outside into some very wet leaves. I don't even know if it's naturally aquatic or terrestrial, so it may well have no chance at all of surviving there, but it might have been equally doomed if I'd dumped it in the lake. I took some pictures of it first.

(Just now I went out and looked at the place where I put it, and it seems to have squirmed away, so that's something.)

Very odd.

Saturday, November 27, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

End of Day Twenty-Six: 42,062
Currently: 50,227 and done

Just Another NaNoWriMo 2004 Winner

Well, that was nice! There wasn't much else going on today, so I could now and then just sit down and randomly crank out 500 or a thousand words. And I did that enough times that somehow I ended up writing a bit more than 8K today, which both put me over the Magical Threshold, and just incidentally also finished the story.

Woo woo!

So it's not the world's greatest story, and by no means did I get to play really extensively with the "what it would be like to experience the singularity" idea, but neither of those things can really be expected from a NaNoWriMo novel. It's over 50K words long, and that's all that the eagles (or equivalent) care about.

I dunno if I'll do this again next year. It's hard, and I'm not sure that doing it annually is really good for the writing style in general (it encourages egregious wordiness, for instance; never say something once when you can say it in two or three slightly different ways; wordcount is all!). We'll leave that as an open question.

I was thinking it is a smooth and brush did
and the writingyear was thumb about a natural
but comb told me to song and epfqqhtgeliiuadbavltrjfrhfkksr
pasterhythm and ring but after that night was lip here to design
so air caused juwtfrtjuvhgsyrxs sock, brass, stick and potato.
Also and and work did push the change word respect thinking
about dear and play so I friend to the public green and kiss
left important for stomach to run to boot, statement, scissors
also for every so glass, icwberwire.

Thanks very much to Chrstina Rossetti for "Goblin Market", and to all those anonymous spammers for their anti-Bayes text, both of which I quoted freely and without permission in the novel. Thanks also to Georges Polti for "The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations", from which I quote lightly, and which has a minor symbolic role in the plot.

Maybe tomorrow I'll, like, read it over and fix the worst of the typos.

Or not.

(And then perhaps we'll return to more or less our regularly scheduled weblogging, back when I wasn't obsessed with the numbers of words in a particular text file...)

Friday, November 26, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

End of Day Twenty-Four: dunno (awful bookkeeping)
End of Day Twenty-Five: 40,101
Currently: 42,062

So I'm still on track to finish it barely in time. I'm not overjoyed with the story, and I'm afraid I'm going to have to stretch it out a bit (rather than pare it down, which is my natural tendency) to make 50K. But that's what this month is all about, after all!

just bopping around in Photoshop

We were going to go up to Boston to see family for Thanksgiving, but the little boy woke up with a fever on Wednesday morning, and it got pretty high during the day. So we had to cancel, which was too bad. M went out to the grocery on Wednesday and bought some feast-makings, and we cooked on Thursday morning and we had the usual turkey and stuffing and sweet potatos and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and cranberry sauce and all like that there in the afternoon, just the four of us (the little boy feeling well enough to come out and eat at the table in his PJs).

That was very nice, as always, although I wish I could have smelled it (I don't feel infected anymore, but I'm still I think sinus congested and I can't smell), and I do feel bad about all the cooking up in Boston that didn't get to be appreciated by us. It did get appreciated by others, though, so it's okay.

I notice that Greg of Metababy is also writing a novel (although he's taking much longer than a month, the slacker), and putting it on the Web. I do hope he keeps it up, and eventually finishes; it'll be a great sort of noir cyberpunk thingie if he continues in the present vein. I wonder if he, like, knows what's going on and how it's going to turn out? It'd be cool to write a novel that way sometime, where I have some vague idea what's actually going on in advance.

From Rebecca we have two more examples of information design from the presidential election: some little circles, and a map of the youth vote.

Also from Rebecca, a shocking story in which it is revealed that the government is corrupt, and gives lots of money to big corporate donors. This is a good thing to remember.

Printable disclaimer stickers for science textbooks.

Here's a patent application from some inventors in the (ehem) Seattle area; the invention is programming language operator that can be used to test pointers for inequality. Woo! Wish I'd thought of that.

Here's the RSS feed for all flickr photos tagged with 'rust'. One of the necessities of modern life!

From Nichael Cramer, something to tease Indiana about:

John Hostettler, the Congressman representing the 8th district of Indiana, has been convinced by local religious groups to introduce legislation in the House that would change the name of an Interstate 69 extension to a more moral sounding number.

I love "more moral-sounding number"! (Despite how really depressing it is on some level.) Apparently there are "I 69" buttons and T-shirts that are causing too much mirth for the fundies to endure.

There's been some really good Bayes-blocker content in my spam recently, some of which has made it into the novel. Here's a nice one:

Then again: The ratio of signal to noise has decreased significantly. Maybe this will help us all in the long run. This is the result:

The limit of this function tends to zero. That's fine, though.

This will end well. All right. I don't know the answer to your question. I come from very far away.

The ratio of signal to noise has decreased significantly. It's always up in the air. I can't help you there. But that's OK -- lots of people feel that way. And I respect that. But it can't go on forever. This isn't much worse than an infomercial.

I am not the wavy carpet. I am the happy kind. I come from very far away. I'd rather go outside and play. This isn't much worse than an infomercial.

It's probably just pasting randomly together a bunch of canned sentences (see for instance this analysis), but it comes out nicely.

This isn't much worse than an infomercial.


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