packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Why did I sign up for NaNoWriMo again?

*rolls Will save vs. panic*

(p.s. not dead, just very, very distractable.)

Edit: Ping me if you want in on (or out of) my NaNo11 filter.
packbat: Wearing a open-frame backpack, a pair of sunglasses, and a wide, triangular grin. (hiking)
A quick message (via iPhone, because the DSL modem at home is on the fritz): I will probably be visiting Austin, TX for a week starting on the 14th!

Does anyone have advice on things to do and see there? I heard great things about the Congress Avenue Bridge bats, but I can't say I recall much else.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Via lesswrong.com, a brief foray into the realm of philosophy.

SMBC May 12, 2010 )
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Poll #2386 The Chocolate Dilemma
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 1


There is a sack of chocolate and you have two options: either take one piece from the sack to yourself, or take three pieces which will be given to Dylan. Dylan also has two options: one pieces for himself or three to you. After you both made your choices independently each goes home with the amount of chocolate he collected.

View Answers

Take one piece for yourself.
0 (0.0%)

Take three pieces for Dylan.
1 (100.0%)



From, via.

1040 words

Nov. 1st, 2009 03:37 pm
packbat: (nanowrimo09)
60% of one day's wordcount, and I've kicked things off with a literal bang. Unfortunately, I've a headache, $2.50 of iced coffee I don't want, 1/3 of a brownie I don't want, and a bit of a block.

I guess I just need to remind myself, as the Bard once said, to "lay on - and curst be he who first cries, 'Halt, enough!'"
packbat: Headshot looking serious and superimposed on the Gettysburg Address. (gettysburg)
I've generally tended to take the position that while the people running Iran are a bunch of reactionary thugs, they're at least a fairly intelligent bunch of reactionary thugs.

After this revelation on Iranian Press TV, however, I'm not so certain.


FiveThirtyEight: Worst. Damage Control. Ever.

(As I mentioned in the Google Reader repost, NY Times noted that Iranians are allowed to vote in districts they aren't registered in. This in no way suffices to explain what we're seeing here.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
If I were not the most unprepossessing square I'd ever heard of and didn't already have a better bag, fellas, I would be all over the FreakAngels KK Field Bag like black on soot.

Ah, well.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (wtfcu)
Blame luve on DeviantArt for this, the Weirdest Music Video I've Seen This Year:

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (pale blue dot)
Dead At Your Age (hat tip to [livejournal.com profile] shatterstripes):

You are 23 years and 266 days old today.

That’s exactly half the life of somebody famous. In another 23 years and 266 days, you will have lived exactly as long as Fernando Pessoa. He was an innovative poet and creator of heteronyms, imaginary characters who write in different styles [sic] who died at the age of 47 years, 170 days of cirrhosis of the liver.

Fernando Pessoa lived twice as long as you have, but other notable people have died at about this age.

  • You've outlived Booker Little Jr. by more than 2 months. He was a trumpeter-composer who co-led a quintet with Eric Dolphy. He died on October 5, 1961, 24 years before you were born.
  • Bonnie Parker was about 3 months younger than you when she died by homicide on March 23, 1934. She was a Depression-era outlaw who joined Clyde Barrow in a bank-robbing spree across the West. She died 52 years before you were born.
  • You've outlived Jacques Herbrand by more than 3 months. He was a mathematician who introduced various theories of mathematical logic. He died in a mountaineering accident on July 27, 1931, 54 years before you were born.
  • Ernie Davis was more than 3 months younger than you when he died of leukemia on May 18, 1963. He was a football halfback for Syracuse University and the first African American to win the Heisman trophy. He died 23 years before you were born.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (twisty little passages)
...are a toxic mix, for unknown reasons - the third causes the second to crash the first. Forum thread here - the short version is, "go into Mail's Preferences, and in the GrowlMail pane set Notifications to 'Show a summary of received emails'. Or uninstall Safari 4."

Edit: Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] codeman38 at [livejournal.com profile] macintosh, a third way: go into the GrowlMail pane and delete the line in the "Description:" box which says %body.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Watched it today in IMAX. [livejournal.com profile] baxil has the goods - I, not having read the comic, have nothing to add.
packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
[livejournal.com profile] coppervale, yesterday, wrote a bit On Becoming a Writer where he approvingly quotes a rule Harlan Ellison said to him: "You're not a writer until a writer tells you you're a writer."

[livejournal.com profile] gregvaneekhout begged to differ, and suggests that "the designation 'writer' can only come from the act of doing it".

The question I am inclined to ask is: whence* comes the divide?

First: I claim that it truly is a divide, not merely a quibble of the sort which may be casually dismissed in a footnote. It tears along the same line dividing elitism and egalitarianism, distinction and description - either the former elevates Writer to a title or the latter reduces it to trivia, depending on which side of the line the reader falls, and there is a real sense of investment in the side. "How dare you claim we are not writers?" one might ask; or, inversely, one might ask, "If you are writers, where are your publications? Where are your awards? Where are your membership cards?"

Second: that's where it comes from. It comes from the split between the prototype of the writer and the etymology of the term - from the difference between definition by similarity and definition by function. Further, it gains its power from the conflict in the definition. To use an elitist frame, because we ascribe merit to the title, we wish to gain it (this drives the meaning towards the more general functional form), but because the merit of the title comes from the prototype, we wish to restrict the title to the deserving (this drives the meaning towards the prototypical). To use an egalitarian frame, because we pay attention to this behavior, we wish to employ our language to match the behavior as logically as possible (this drives the meaning towards the functional), but because we pay attention to this behavior, we want to make sure to be thrifty, to only pay to the truly exemplary examples (this drives the meaning towards the prototypical).

Third: These very tensions make the divide impossible to resolve by any maneuvers. Nevertheless, I have an opinion.

My opinion is thus: the best strategy is to employ the word in the functional sense. This does tarnish the trademark, if you think of "writer" as a trademark, but to try to apply the elitist standard raises too many ridiculous confusions. (Check it out: Is Anne Frank a writer, by the elitist definiton? Samuel Pepys? William Topaz McGonagall?) But on the other hand, we should recognize that adjectives apply - professional versus amateur, good versus bad, original versus derivative - and we should recognize that people may (or may not!) take "Writer" as a part of their identity, and not to deny them their identity or ascribe too much moral or social value to their identity.

The same goes for a lot of other titles - "artist", "dancer", "fisher", "poet". These words are not states of being, they are states of doing. Best to recognize it and go from there.

* Linguistic aside: "from whence" is an equally valid form. I simply prefer the shorter version.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
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packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (butterfly)
Saw this "genre fiction" (how I hate that term!) book list on [livejournal.com profile] hmmm_tea's journal - made a few inconsequential alterations to the rules myself...

1) Look at the list, copy and paste it into your own journal.
2) Marks: read one or all of, intend to read (or reread, or finish), loved, hated.
3) Feel free to elaborate wherever you like, whether on the books, the rules, or the list itself.


In no particular order:

100 items long, for whatever reason. Be warned. )

Obvious lacunae - Richard Adams (at least "Watership Down", and I'd add "Shardik"), Hal Clement ("Needle", "Mission of Gravity", but probably not "Still River", however much I love that book), Vernor freakin' Vinge ("A Fire Upon the Deep", I haven't read "A Deepness in the Sky", "True Names"), Edgar Allan Poe (anything, for cripe's sake), Bruce Sterling ("Islands in the Net", for one), Bram Stoker ("Dracula")...
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
  • 13:49 LJ::kadyg posted this last week - a dropbox for letters to those who are gone: kadyg.livejournal.com/265637.html #
  • 14:42 Via Making Light: Five Scams to Watch Out For During a Recession. tinyurl.com/3qt7db #
  • 18:36 @philkahn You what I want to witness just once in my life? A sports game open with the national anthem *sung straight*. #
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packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
  • 18:11 Today I reached Ch. 2 of the book version of Imre Lakatos's "Proofs and Refutations". Just FYI: if you aren't a mathematician, *stop at 1.* #
  • 18:41 Do you ever notice continuity errors in RL? I could've sworn the shuttle driver at UMD was black, 40s, but when I got off he was white, 20s! #
  • 19:37 ht @punkybird, Ann Dunwoody: "You know what they say, 'Behind every successful woman there is an astonished man.'" tinyurl.com/6e4lpd #
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