thursday randomosity.

  • I know I’ve said I’m “almost finished” with the novel for the last month or two now, but it looks like I’m Really There this time.  I may be writing THE END underneath by the end of this weekend, if all goes well.  My problem was narrative overrun–I consistently underestimated the number of chapters required to bring all the narrative strands to a good conclusion, and thus kept tacking on One More Chapter.  The final product, pre-trimming, will be twenty-two chapters and an epilogue, with a grand total of ~125,000 words.  Then I’ll have to go through the draft and trim at least 10% off the total.  My goal is a word count of under 110,000 for the final version before I submit the whole thing.  (I may even post a preview chapter, just so you can see I didn’t just write REDRUM over and over for nine months.)
  • I need to start on that stack of books on my desk before it topples over and kills a few dogs.  I just added Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash to the top of the stack, and I’ll be buying fellow VP’er Greg van Eekhout’s debut novel Norse Code on my Dadcation this Saturday.  That’ll give me an even dozen books to read, and my plan is to read them all back-to-back before I even think about starting another fiction project.  (Call it two weeks, tops.)
  • My last writing-related bullet point for the day: I sat down yesterday to list all the novels and short stories I have planned for the immediate future, and I have enough stuff on that list to keep me writing steadily for three or four years.  I don’t have a shortage of good ideas, just a shortage of time.  Can someone please increase the length of the day to thirty-six hours?  That would be sweet.
  • The state of affairs regarding Major Caudill and The Nuge: we’re in the Send Nasty Letters phase of the process.  The lawyer seems to be cautiously optimistic.  I’m not expecting to get independently wealthy from this affair, but I do believe some retroactive per-word fees and reasonable interest/damages are called for.
  • I’ve started to toss our old bread out onto the front lawn, and it’s been Avian Thunderdome out there all week.  The current contenders for King of the Lawn are the Bluejay Duo, and Crowzilla.  The smaller birds just kind of flit around and pick up what the big guys drop or leave behind.  The aerial dogfights are spectacular.
  • I’ve acquired my first new gun since moving to NH.  It’s a flatgun, a fact that will probably shock pdb, but I wanted something with which to shoot up the vast stocks of 9mm Luger I have stacked up in the attic.  I probably have a case of premium hollowpoints alone, and a bucket or two of FMJ.  The gun is a Steyr M9, by the way.  I love the ergonomics and the trapezoidal sights, and the thing recoils like a pellet gun.  It only came with a neutered ten-round magazine, however, so if anyone has a lead on some full-capacity Steyr M9 magazines, please let me know.  NH has no silly restrictions on magazines, so if it’s sold anywhere, I can have it shipped to Castle Frostbite.
  • Rumor has it that Apple is about to answer the Netbook craze with a $500 10″ touchscreen tablet.  I need a touchscreen tablet like I need another hole in the head, but that’s right about what I had budgeted for a parts kit from Newegg for the new computer, and I know I’ll be tempted by The Shiny once Apple puts the beauty shots of their new iThing out on their online store.  This will require a saving roll vs. Shiny…especially if the new tablet will be able to run Leopard (and therefore Scrivener), and come with built-in Bluetooth for use with wireless keyboards.
  • When did children’s programming become so incredibly preachy?  Lyra got a Winnie the Pooh DVD for her birthday, and that movie is just chock-full of heavy-handed social education.  It’s all about togetherness, tolerance, sharing, and diversity.  Don’t get me wrong, those aren’t loathsome concepts, but when your kiddie movies are like preschool collectivist versions of  Atlas Shrugged, the propaganda part has managed to clobber the entertainment part over the head with an ideological sledgehammer.

More substantial updates later, when I’m not quite so deluged with work from all sides…


36 thoughts on “thursday randomosity.

  1. Mike Clemens says:

    Two comments:

    * Neal Stephenson is a fun ride, and Snow Crash is one of his best, IMHO, though his endings always seem abrupt to me. I wrap myself up easily in his worlds, and then it’s a cold, wet washcloth to the face when he ends (I’m looking at you, Diamond Age.) Just brace yourself if you’ve never read him before.

    * I never, ever, ever buy a 1st gen. Apple product, not matter how strong the Shiny. I know that they’re irresistible, but Apple seems to have a record of somehow fouling the first iteration of (whatever) which they promptly correct with the second version, released six-t0-eight months later, for a couple hundred less, at double the capacity. I treat their stuff like software — the first release was to make an impact, and the second (and third) release is to fix all the bugs. I don’t have the kind of spare cash needed to be one of Apple’s unpaid beta-testers.

  2. d says:

    On the stack of books… aren’t there any libraries in your neck of the woods? They’re pretty cool- they keep all the books & let you borrow a few to read at your leisure- for free! (usually)

    On the mags- try CDNN- they’ve got lotsa mags, & maybe even the ones you seek.

    • Marko says:

      Already checked CDNN…they have the Steyr M mags in .40, but not in 9mm. has the right kind, but they want $42 a pop, plus $7 shipping.

      I’m a big fan of libraries, but I’m also a fan of owning books, because I find myself rereading them as the mood strikes me.

  3. Uhhh, that last comment was me…

  4. Ken says:

    …when your kiddie movies are like preschool collectivist versions of Atlas Shrugged, the propaganda part has managed to clobber the entertainment part over the head with an ideological sledgehammer.

    Heh. I’m about 900 pages into Atlas Shrugged, and pretty well having the picture, I may or may not leave it at that. I characterize the style as “Never use a five-pound hammer to drive home a point if you’ve got a ten-pounder handy, and if you can take off and nuke it from orbit, so much the better.”

    I also just finished Stephen R. Donaldson’s Fatal Revenant (number eight in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant), and I characterize his style (affectionately, because I enjoyed the Covenant books) as “I’ve got the unabridged OED, and I’m not afraid to use it.”

  5. Kaerius(SWE) says:

    Well to start, thanks for the book tip, Norse Code looks promising, and may well make it to my “buy a ton of books from amazon to get the shipping free” list.

    Congrats on being so close to finish the book, and on getting somewhere on the Caudill issue.

    And lastly… interesting pistol. How’s the trigger on it? I’ve shot a mag of glock once (IIRC a Glock 26, .45ACP anyway), didn’t like: a) Trigger, b) sights, c) lack of weight. That Steyr will at least have #3, the sights sound good though. The muzzle flip on the glock didn’t really bother me though, even if I could tell it was more than oh say the beretta 92FS I shot before it, neither one had appreciable felt recoil.

    • Marko says:

      I really like the Steyr’s trigger. Very crisp, none of the Glock mushiness, clean break, and a very short reset. It also feels more hefty than the Glock for some reason.

      The more I use the sights, the more I like them. Very fast to pick up for quick shots at short range, and *very* precise at long range, with that triangular front sight.

  6. Joat says:

    You could always go to the 28 hour day, but you only get 6 of them a week.

  7. ibex says:

    So, what do you do to undo the indoctrination from today’s kiddie entertainment?

  8. As soon as they get DARE, there’s an enormous opening to show them how false the things they learn in school can be.

    Marko: Snow Crash is an absolute must read!
    Less down to earth than (say) Cryptonomicon, but truly enthralling. Some of the best cyberpunk I’ve ever read.

  9. MarkHB says:

    Mmmph. SnowCrash has one of the best laugh-out-loud moments I’ve ever read. Seriously, there’s one part a little more than halfway through that had me helplessly clutching the book as tears rolled down my face, guffawing. The rest of it is a bit of a thrill-ride, whilst remaining very plausible. As stated, though, the ending Just Arrives leaving you stood outside the back stoop of the Fun, Rowdy Nightclub in the night breeze, thinking “What? Where did the fun go?”

    Though in a way, I guess it’s no bad thing to miss a book the moment you hit the terminal sentence.

    Regarding the Mac Tablet… well, that could be my Samson’s Hairspray, my Achilles Dr. Scholl Sandal, my Sisyphean Styrofoam Boulder. The one gripe I’ve had with TabletPCs is lag between stylus hit and draw-stroke. It’s noticeable in every tablet I’ve handled, and it kills them for freedrawing and sketching. Mac have a habit of making lag-free devices, and if they pull that trick with a sketchiful tablet, then I will own two Apple devices – whilst keeping my integrity intact, too.

  10. BryanP says:

    If all else fails, a little googling indicates that Browning Hi Power magazines can be modified to work in the Steyr M9.

  11. Bob says:

    Just curious, why not have a M10 altered to fire 9MM? Cheap practice virtually the same (or can be) as your M13.

    • Tam says:

      Don’t get Marko started on 3″ 9mm K-frames. Please.

    • Marko says:

      It would cost oodles of cash to have one converted, and the only M547 3″ I’ve ever seen in the wild was snatched up by someone who shall remain unnamed, five minutes before I could get to the seller’s table with cash in hand.

  12. Children’s programming totally lost me when Barney the dinosaur was introduced. The first time I came across that show (totally by accident, I may add), I honestly thought it was a parody. Then it slowly dawned on me that no, it was a real show, they were TRYING to be overly saccharine and preachy…and my daughter was mesmerized. Ugh.
    Thankfully there’s enough time between early childhood indoctrination and “fledging” for the parent to undo most of the damage. Or, don’t let your kids watch any tv! Which I did much too late, unfortunately.

    • MarkHB says:

      Please do not summon the fell shade of B’harné. Bad things happen when …. that name… is mentioned.

      *twitch, twitch*

  13. Tony says:

    Damn Marko, you had to go and mention that Mac tablet did you? I’ll be buying a mini-laptop if I can just get the funds together, and Mac does make Teh Shiny…

    Oh well, there is a reason people use the phrase “hardware design by Macintosh” as a joke. 😛 For $500, you’ll probably get a pretty plastic box containing a dead hamster and a broken rubber band…

    “On the stack of books… aren’t there any libraries in your neck of the woods? They’re pretty cool- they keep all the books & let you borrow a few to read at your leisure- for free!”

    All the books? What library does that? (For the record, I gave up on the Finnish library system over a decade ago since they never, ever had anything I wanted to read in stock. Or then they’d have only part two of a trilogy, like with Peter F. Hamiltons “Nights Dawn”-trilogy…) Besides, there’s just something exceedinly nifty about owning a big pile of books that you can pick from at leisure. 🙂

  14. Windy Wilson says:

    Re the Steyr:
    Would perhaps the Steyr GB mags work? Of course they might be even more rare than the proverbial hens’ teeth at this point.

  15. Marko says:

    I guess I’m going to have to suck it up and buy a pair of the proper-capacity magazines from That neutered magazine is just sad…all that wasted space in the grip.

    • T.Stahl says:

      Is it possible to import…err…recieve mags as a gift in a parcel from Germany?
      I could ask my friendly arms dealer, usually gives me a very good price, at least 10% below Frankonia.

      • Marko says:

        Jetzt, da wir wieder gescheite Gesetze in Kraft haben, was Magazinkapazitaet angeht, ist das kein Problem mehr.

        Falls Du eine Quelle fuer Steyr-Magazine ausfindig machen solltest, sag’ mir Bescheid, und ich schicke Dir die Kohle…

      • T.Stahl says:

        Ich ruf’ Montach ma’ bei mei’m Waffenhändler in Sturrget an, für welchen Preis er welche besorgen kann, brauch’ eh noch Mun. Wird Zeit, daß ich Dir mal wieder KiScho und Chips schicke. 😉

  16. MarkHB says:

    It’s like buying Mac RAM that is.

  17. This will require a saving roll vs. Shiny…

    THAT is hilarious.


    • MarkHB says:

      Maybe so, but the results of a Critical Fumble can be… catastrophic. Apple logo stickers on the kids heads and everything.

  18. Cederash says:

    Зачет, сенкс автору

  19. Kelly says:

    Oh, honey, children’s programming has always been preachy….Didn’t you watch Captain Kangaroo, or Mr. Rogers or any of that when you were a kid? Same stuff, different time.

    Making the assumption that there is a large percentage of parents who just park their kids in front of the tv, this is a good intention. The funny thing is that if the parents aren’t there to make sure they are being babysat correctly from the tv, then they miss all the preachy stuff and go straight for the Spongebob.

    Having 6 of them, I was as guilty as the next of using the electronic babysitter for a half an hour of peace and quiet,…but that damn Caillou, I wanted to turn over my knee and give a good old fashioned spanking to.

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