Tag Archives: Internet

Trafficking in a Net Language One Does Not Understand

So today I had a pingback comment for my I Am Sad post about the deaths of Ron Palillo and Harry Harrison. Pingbacks aren’t unusual, but I couldn’t tell what sort of site it was, so I clicked on the link, (always a bit of a risk,) and it was some site where people could ask random questions or just put some stuff up. At least that’s what it seemed like but it had no page explaining exactly what the site was or what it was for or who ran it. Someone had put up my whole post there, presumably as information about the actor and author deaths. And if people who did this stole your stuff, the site had a disclaimer but you could complain to them about infringement. I did not do this because the posting did in fact credit my blog with hyperlink as the source for the post and I don’t mind somebody doing that as long as they aren’t claiming my words for their own. Plus I have no desire to give these people, whoever they are, my email address. But this unthemed, not spam conglomeration, akin to holding out a big net to see what flotsam and jetsam wander into it, seems strange to me.

And yet, it probably isn’t strange. It’s probably very common on the Net, well known phenomena to long term bloggers and Net surfers. I mean somebody must use that site and someone definitely re-posted my post on it. And it strikes me in writing entries on this blog, on a blog software site that offers the space for free for promotional purposes, out into the ether, that I am in fact writing in a language that I don’t really understand, through technology and software I don’t know,  to be used and interpreted in numerous ways that I have no awareness of whatsoever, even though I am just one of millions of dimly speaking voices in the electronic print interface. And it all seems to be controlled by random collections through search engines. Perhaps Google really has become the essence of the Illuminati. I don’t know.

But clearly, i don’t thoroughly understand pingbacks yet.

Has anyone else found their words ended up somewhere weird on the Net?


Filed under Technology

I’ve been doing this today, so I could not blog


Enjoy them and thanks to Luke_Spee for being a very silly person:

1 Comment

Filed under Humor

More Pretty Things for Lucas

Australian author Lucas Thorn pingbacked my blog yesterday because I’d mentioned his novel, Nysta: Revenge of the Elf re Amir Zand’s very cool bookcover art for it. He got the name of my blog wrong, though. It’s The Open Window, Lucas, not Pretty Things. (Although Pretty Things is a pretty good name for a blog, don’t get me wrong. Also “This is Why We Can’t Have Pretty Things” would be a good blog name and somebody probably has it. There are about 500 blogs plus a famous short story called The Open Window — the more, the merrier.)

Anyway, I realized that I forgot to mention in the last post that I had actually read the opening pages of Thorn’s novel, through the Amazon U.S. “Look Inside” feature that Thorn paid for or wiggled out of Amazon. And those pages were good, in my opinion. Lot of atmosphere, dry humor, an immediately appealing character in the Prologue made all the worse because you knew he was going to buy it pretty soon.  So I was actually recommending the book to the extent that one can do so from just having read an excerpt. (And if it provides further inspiration on doing Book 2, Lucas, I’ve been a book editor in one way or another for a reeaaallly long time.) The book is unfortunately not available on all the Amazons, but may be in other spots on the Net, and in Amazon U.S. (and I would assume Amazon Australia,) you can get it as an e-book or a more expensive trade paperback print edition. So this may be going on the birthday list for me. You all can check it out. It is apparently #18 on Amazon’s list of Hot New Releases of Epic Fantasy, which means it is selling well and other people are burbling about it. And yes, Lucas Thorn is apparently his real name. So there you go.

As for Amir Zand’s lovely artwork for the book, that will be going up on the Positivity Cover Art thread at SFFWorld.com in the Fantasy Forum, with mention of what book it is to, once I get a minute to do it and some other bookcovers I like, which I’ll also reproduce here. There are lots of people over there and we have lots of Australian members  too, so swing by.


Filed under book publishing, SFFH, SFFH Novels to Check Out

A Coda to a Peacock — The Siege of Disney’s Cinderella Castle

My husband turned me on to a discussion in the Military Strategy forum of the site Quora on how to take possession of Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyworld: http://www.quora.com/Military-Strategy/What-are-the-optimal-siege-tactics-for-taking-Magic-Kingdoms-Cinderella-Castle

Some military folk have weighed in, but you can add your own take. Here’s a picture of what you are facing:


Be sure to check out the related discussion on what sort of glass would Cinderella’s slippers need to be made of for her to really be able to dance in them.

What has this to do with Mr. Peacock’s article and the conversation surrounding it? Mr. Peacock, like many before him, has tried to build an argument that geeks are a particular species set apart from the rest, that women are rarely qualified as such, and that those whom self-appointed monitors regard as unacceptable are a problem who have to be ejected from the conversation and insulted on the way out. I don’t want to live in Mr. Peacock’s world. I want to live in the real world where people casually talk about taking Cinderella’s Castle.  Where things that they enjoy, reinterpret, share and use are not put to a sniff test that becomes an excuse for viciousness and puffery. Because it’s way cooler. And that’s the last I’ll say about that, unless Peacock rears his head for another game of whack a mole.  Enjoy the siege plans.

1 Comment

Filed under Humor, SFFH

Spam Poetry

If I have to go through them, I might as well select out the really beautiful word salads:

Hello Web Admin,

Please stay us informed like this.

Will do.

That regardless of the during the experience, as long as the apparel tried fairly thigh.then a darling that your should be grateful on the centralisation. Clothing is only some of the bonus. Such as shoes as well as shoes are made available as a result each and every purpose should it concerns displaying goods for women.

I always find a key component of clothes shopping is centralisation.

Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve take into account your stuff previous to and you’re simply extremely great. I really like what you’ve bought here, certainly like what you are stating and the way by which you say it. You are making it entertaining and you continue to take care of to keep it sensible. I can’t wait to learn much more from you. This is actually a tremendous website.

Why thank you, Manhattan Condo seller. I do think I do html links with panache.

Hello there, simply became aware of your weblog through Google, and located that it’s truly informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I will appreciate for those who continue this in future. A lot of other folks might be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

I’ll watch out for Brussels too.  It’s a terribly sneaky city.

I do not even know the way I ended up here, however I assumed this publish used to be great. I do not understand who you’re however definitely you are going to a famous blogger in the event you aren’t already. Cheers!

I can understand, roofing person, that being up on so high a perspective, you would not necessarily know where you are. As it happens, I am a very famous blogger.

obviously like your website however you need to check the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very bothersome to tell the truth however I will certainly come back again.

At least I know how to use capital letters and commas.

And that’s today in Spam Poetry!






Filed under Humor

A Little Train Music, Part 1

One of the best things about cities is that when you gather large groups of people together in one locale, you get musicians playing. No one knows this better than the riders of the New York Subways. Dark, grimy, smelling of pee they may be, but there’s always a show. Here are some brief clips from some fun performers:

And here is a bit of serendipity that has gone viral:  Back in January, NYC Singer and musician Jessica Latshaw, coming home from a class on the train, was approached by a man on the train with Conga drums, Quoom “Q-Dot,” a musician and music teacher who frequently performs with his drums on the subways, because he’d seen her ukele case. He talked her into getting the ukele out and playing it. Another guy on the train, Matt Schwartz, recorded on his phone Latshaw playing and singing, with Quoom accompanying her on his drums and his drummer and DJ pal MC Boogie playing master of ceremonies. The performance was completely unrehearsed and spontaneous and the video took off once Schwartz put it up on YouTube:

Overwhelmed by the response to the video, a couple of weeks later, Latshaw, Quoom and MC Boogie all got together for another unrehearsed concert at a place called The Local. That version was a bit faster and funkier:

Thanks to Matt Schwartz for capturing the moment, and good luck to all of them and to the rest of the musicians who ply their trade or burst into song in the dim tunnels and stations where sometimes the lights go out, but a flame of beauty still keeps life alive.


Filed under Life, Music

“Ask A Goblin” Goes Live

Oh that Jim C. Hines! He’s been amusing me a lot lately.  First, the fantasy author showed how women are tortured on SFF book covers by trying to capture their poses himself:


And now on Tumblr, he’s set up a new advice blog: Ask A Goblin.


In this blog, Jig, the main character from Jim’s terrific Jig the Goblin trilogy:  Goblin Quest, Goblin Hero and Goblin War, (and the short story collection Goblin Tales,) and his fellow goblin friends attempt to answer your requests for help. If you haven’t tried the Jig books,  about a goblin press-ganged into a quest and his subsequent trials and tribulations, you really are missing out. At least go try to  get some good advice from Jig for your own trials and tribulations. You’ll be glad you did.


1 Comment

Filed under Humor, SFFH, SFFH Novels to Check Out

Investing is a Risk, But Betting on Humans Ain’t Bad

Over on the Blog Roll I have, you’ll see a link to Kiva.org, which I’ve talked about before:  http://www.kiva.org/

Kiva is a major non-profit micro-loan coordinator. Non-profit and community investment organizations around the world, including some in the U.S., loan out small amounts to entrepreneurs all over to improve and expand their businesses. These organizations work with Kiva who holds money from individuals and teams in accounts, allowing those accounts to pick which loans by these organizations they’d like to help fund.  You can, through Kiva, essentially loan US$25 out to say a pig farmer in Cambodia, which is pooled with other people’s $25.  Over a set amount of time, the pig farmer will pay back his loan in installments. When you get the $25 back, you can loan it out again — to a beauty salon in the Phillipines or a pet groomer in California or a farmer in Kenya. For about the cost of a pizza and sodas, you can help an endless chain of people.

One of the loans I had made, in Afghanistan, had defaulted. It was my first time this had ever happened (and given the state of Afghanistan, not an enormous surprise.) The guy there I’d loaned to had paid back about half the loan by monthly payments, and then stopped. As the months went past, I figured I was going to have to write it off as a donation. It doesn’t happen often on Kiva that someone defaults but it can happen when people are struggling wherever they are.

But today, I got word from Kiva that payments had come in for my loans and there along with payments from other loaners, were two of the missing ones from the guy in Afghanistan. He’s not caught up yet, but it was enough so that I was able to make a new loan to another entrepreneur. More important than the news that maybe the late loan will eventually get paid back, was just that it was a sign that the guy was okay, still going and maybe business was turning around for him. I had bet on him and it might not work, especially in Afghanistan where we don’t know what’s going to happen. But maybe it made things a little better. Maybe it helps put food on someone’s table. And from there, who knows what can happen. Betting on humans ain’t bad, especially compared to the alternative.

Anyway, it made my day sunnier. If you can spare some cash, it’s a great deal of fun and you get to keep doing it as long as you like. You can even join some crazy teams that count your loans as part of their pool efforts such as Nerdfighters: we aim to decrease world suck, or Dumbledore’s Army or World of Warcraft Players: We like to help people out in the real world too! Because we’re just that silly.




Leave a comment

Filed under Life

Interesting Writings for a Finally Warm Saturday

This is actually a short one:

1) The Borders Blog fake duels of words between authors is fast becoming one of my favorite things. (More on that in a later post.) Here’s one between fantasy authors Sam Sykes and Ari Marmell:


2) McSweeney’s writer James Warner takes us into the future of book publishing:

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2011/3/24warner.html – James Warner

3) An issue that authors, publishers, fans and bloggers need to keep in mind:


4) A rather depressing article about the difficulties small presses face in the online market and in general:



Leave a comment

Filed under book publishing, SFFH, Technology

Word of Mouth Goes Across All Boundaries

So it’s been a period of minor but serious and exhausting calamities in my household these past couple of weeks, so today, to celebrate having rode those out, my teenage daughter and I decided to hit the coffee shop inside the bookstore after school for baked goods.  And my daughter asked if she could buy some books while we’re there.  She knows that this is a win situation for her when out with her parents. Can I buy a game? No. Can I buy this blouse? No. Make-up? No. Can I have an iPad? Only if you win the lottery. But, can I buy a book? Ummm…

In this case, she’d been building a list, and as she pointed out, even though she has several books she’s still working on at home, it’s not like books go bad if you keep them around for awhile. So she’s trying to talk me into as many as she can manage, and she brings up this one YA book, a SF bestseller, but not something I had thought she was aware of. How did she hear of it? Well, she’s involved in this site online where lovers of SFF and pop culture from countries all over the world geek-out to their hearts content about the stuff they love, and some young folk who like things she likes recommended it to her. (They also have gotten her interested in watching Doctor Who. Luckily an Easter time marathon on t.v. is going to help us out with this.) And a video blogger she follows on YouTube recommended another book she really wants.

So I’m standing there in the store full of dead tree items, thinking, social media is causing my daughter to buy and read books. You know, the thing that is supposedly rotting her brain and causing her to be void of real and polite connections in the world. My kid is a child of her age. We had television, she has the Internet. She skypes with her classmates on school projects. She chats with a former school chum who now lives in Singapore. She is an ardent fan of a troupe of comic young actors in Chicago called Starkids who upload their stage productions to the Net.  She tells me news items in case I missed them about events on the other side of the world.

And she talks about books on the Net. She reads fan commentary on books. Columns written by authors of books. Book recommendations on sites. All mixed in with movies, t.v., comics, games, art, etc.  Word of mouth has always been the way that written fiction has principally sold and grown in awareness, along with art in general. On the Internet, word of mouth is bigger and it’s broader.

Now if I can just get her interested in gardening and putting away her laundry, we’re all set.


Filed under Life, SFFH