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An HTTP Status Code For Censorship?

andphi Re:No problem (369 comments)

I had neglected that fact. I need to add some cases to my logic, I think, to include a one party state in which elections continue but in which all other parties are outlawed. This, however, leaves out the People's Republic of China, which has a few minor parties that are related to or clients of the Communist Party of China. It also leaves out the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has moderate political parties, but also engages in the violent suppression of political protest.

more than 2 years ago

UN To Debate Taxing Internet Data

andphi Re:Net Neutrality (284 comments)

If you mean that the recognition of rights is not universal, I agree. We cannot come to a consensus about what they are. No government protects them perfectly, not even the supposedly free governments of the West. Modern governments keep coming up with superfluous Bills of Rights for travelers or investors or consumers while failing (or refusing) to enforce their essential rights.

If you mean that the recognition creates the right, I could not disagree more. If the rights in question are actual human rights and not privileges of citizenship, they belong to each and every one of us as a consequence of birth and do not depend on the recognition of (or even the existence of) any government. We had our Revolution because the British Crown and Parliament insisted on infringing our inalienable rights. As Americans, we are greatly indebted to the words and deeds of the Englishmen like John Locke who first expressed the ideas upon which our Revolution was founded. Locke mostly addressed the right to property, but the same principles apply to other rights (which are themselves property). The first humans had all their rights to property, to association, and so on, before any government existed. We would still possess them even if every government on earth were to explicitly deny their existence or prohit their exercise.

more than 2 years ago

An HTTP Status Code For Censorship?

andphi Re:No problem (369 comments)

I puzzle this out as well, from the other side. At what point is it right and just to take up arms? More importantly, what bridge must we Americans cross as a nation before those on the right (such as Tea Party Americans and the NRA) embrace in their hearts the Spirit of 76 they invoked during the Tea Party rallies of 2009 and 2010? For my money, it's time to sling arms and muster on the green if either one of two things happens: the government begins confiscating weapons or if the government suspends elections. The first is prima facie evidence of the intent to oppress. The second is a literal, un-mistakeable repudiation of the consent of the governed from which all governments derive their just powers. A government might stand on shaky, unconstitutional ground long before these twin bridges are crossed. It might, in fact, be so far beyond the bounds of its constitutional authority that it is in effect no government at all, while still maintaining the appearance of representative governance. Under these lesser tyrannies, the citizens are entitled to less drastic forms of resistance and redress. However, many on the right seem unwilling to follow these ideas to their logical conclusions.

I appreciate all the folks who have committed to non-violence and who are striving for a political solution. Civil Wars are by definition terrible events. They should be avoided if at all possible. In order for the violent response to be to valid and righteous, it must be the very last option, after every possible warning to the the would-be tyrant to cease and desist and after every possible attempt at redress by the those in the shadow of the tyrant's boot. For every Committee of Safety, there must be a Committee of Correspondence.

I agree with you that the extra-judicial killing of Anwar al-Awlaki and that other guy who was him was illegal. It sets a very dangerous precedent. The indefinite detention langauge in the NDAA worries me to no end. Both majority parties (with the endorsement of their supporters, including me before I woke up and smelled the cow-pies) have played fast and loose with the Constitution for a long time, with the result that the Federal Government is tap-dancing on thin ice.

more than 2 years ago

UN To Debate Taxing Internet Data

andphi Re:Net Neutrality (284 comments)

Legislation, or recognition, cannot create rights. Rights are inherent in the person and do not depend on any agreement by others that those rights exist. As such, the UN's Declarations of Rights either state the obvious or demand the impossible. Rights predate and transcend government, to the extent that when governments infringe upon the rights of the individual, the individual is entitled to seek redress comensurate with the severity of the infringement. The transcendance of our rights - including the right of self defense, the right to property, and the right to keep and bear arms - means that the UN's Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons is a steaming pile of crap.

The question we should be asking is which basic rights the use of the internet involves. We have the right to free expression. We have the right to free association. The Internet makes both of these processes easier, but it is by no means a prerequisite for either. We have the right to property, including the property in ourselves, and in the fruits of our labors. As such, we have a right to spend our wages as we see fit, including purchasing tools to ease the exercise of our rights. So, we have a right to buy access to the Internet, if we have the money for it. We have the right to speak freely on the Internet. We have the right to associate through the internet. We have the right to buy presence, to own the boxes, to own the networks, and so on and so forth, if we can swing it.

more than 2 years ago

I'm Cross Cultural!

andphi 3d Culture FTW (5 comments)

I think there's a lot to be said for being an American TCK. A TCK's world has more depth and more width than that of your average civilian, who only knows civilian life, American ways, and American weather. I wouldn't trade my upbringing as a milbrat, or my specific childhood experience of Europe, for anything. I hope your and your kids have a blast and that they grow in their understanding of the world. Godspeed and be safe.

more than 4 years ago

SCII Beta, Parenthood, Changes

andphi Living overseas as a child (4 comments)

I lived for a few years in Germany, courtesy of the Department of the Army, and found it deeply enriching. I hope your family gets to live abroad for a while as well. Your children will be much the better for it, I think, just as I think I am much the better for having lived overseas. Magyar culture is rich and old. The Magyars, along with the Poles, caused the Soviets a lot of problems in the middle of the last century.

more than 4 years ago

Sig Nathanael

andphi Funny name, fun gun (2 comments)

I've never fired a Sig516 (or any other Sig), but I imagine it's a hoot to run. I'm not sure I would be able to forgive my parents for naming me for a weapons manufacturer, particularly since a lot of companies' names are the surnames of their founders. It could be really good or really bad, I supposed. "This is my son, Walther" would work a lot better than "This is my daughter, Fabrique National. We call her Fabby or Ricki most of the time."

more than 4 years ago

Lego Harry Potter

andphi Re:My Wife and I love the Lego [Franchise] games (10 comments)

My wife and I really enjoy gaming on our PS2, but we've also enjoyed PC gaming before. I would have to look at the specs for the PC version to see if our rapidly-aging machines could even play the game. The other reason we're thinking about the XBox360 is so we can play Sacred 2. We liked Sacred, but Sacred2 is just too massive for our desktops. I had to upgrade my old machine just to play Neverwinter Nights and KoToR2. The "new" machine is really my Dad's old machine, and is scarcely more powerful than the old one.

Needed vs desired? That's an interesting consideration. I've started thinking about collecting Walther semi-automatic pistols and even non-competition rifles. I guess getting a Walther in something heavier than .22LR would be 'need' while getting one of every kind of Walther pistol ever made would be 'want.' Likewise, a Ruger Mini-14 would be need, while the latest AR15 Ubertactical gizmo-rack would be want. It's kind of crazy how much stuff you can hang off a rifle these days.

I'd love to expand my arsenal as rapidly as money, safety, and my beloved's comfort level would allow, but barring things like Davidson's Great Gun Giveaway and a random raffle win at a gun show or NRA event, I just don't have the chance to contemplate more than one new gun a year. I would jump the moon if I got an email to the tune of "Guess what? You won! Your new [gun of the month] should arrive at a local FFL dealer soon". The Buckeye Firearms Association (the state-level NRA affiliate in Ohio) is giving away a 12 ga Ithaca Model 37, but there have to be a few hundred thousand other names in the hat besides mine.

Bottom line, I'm letting my wife's preferences guide the next two non-gift gun acquisitions. She has expressed interest in a Charter Arms Pink Lady and a home defense pump shotgun.

more than 4 years ago

Lego Harry Potter

andphi Re:My Wife and I love the Lego [Franchise] games (10 comments)

I think the answer is 'No'. The Last new game I heard about for PS2 was SW:Force Unleashed. And it is old. But, we couldn't afford the PS2, and didn't really want it anyway.

If I am going to spend most of a grand on a durable good, it won't be a game system. It will be an appliance, a computer, or a firearm.

more than 4 years ago

Lego Harry Potter

andphi My Wife and I love the Lego [Franchise] games (10 comments)

My wife and I have been catching trailers for this one on several recent Summit Films movies. We both love Lego SWII, Lego Batman, and Lego Indy, though we don't own Lego SWI or Lego Indy 2. We're looking forward to it. Is it going to come out for PS2, or only PS3?

We've been wanting an XBOX360. This might be our reason for finally buying one.

more than 4 years ago

Creation, Evolution and Christian Laypeople

andphi Re:Well.... (24 comments)

I like your core approach:
"I guess I've been looking for people who either were or are Christians who accept evolution and have found a way to fit it into their world view."

In my case, that means my sister. She got her degrees in Biology from a state school, so she's had to confront this directly. One of her professors floated the idea of NOMA - Non-Overlapping Magisteria - which, on closer inspection just means that you leave your faith at the lab-room door and your science at the church-house door without trying to apply the rules governing to the other. This, however, reduces faith, science, or both to the level of an intellectual accessory. Needless to say, my sister rejected that approach.

I haven't sat down for hours on end to pick my sister's brain, but I know she accepts evolutionary biology as a reality, so I do too. She's really smart, and while our theologies probably diverge on minor points, I have no doubt she believes the same basic things I do. Therefore, I trust her assessment of the situation.

I haven't deeply, deeply studied this, though examining the issue really messed with my head when I was younger. One of the things I learned as I was trying to decide, based on things like Genesis 1&2, if the Bible was reliable (and if my faith was therefore placed in anything real), was that Hebrew is a compact and therefore highly poetic language. It is not suited to the kinds of scientific precision that we Westerners, the intellectual descendants of the Greeks, and particularly Westerners of Germanic extraction, who place an even greater emphasis on having things clearly stated, are likely to prefer. Not all of it is intended to be taken literally.

Mirroring statements in the New Testament, which was composed in Koine Greek and (as I understand it) vernacular Aramaic, can be taken a good deal more literally, because Greek prose in particular isn't really designed for allegory or parables. So, when Paul says in Greek that we live and breathe because God wills it, I believe that is literally true, both physically and spiritually. This is not to say that I equate God with the Strong Force, the Weak Force, or any other Force. In terms of Quantum Mechanics, I understand God as the observer who makes all those innumerable probability waves collapse into our observable universe. He is not, as you've said elsewhere, the God of the Gaps, but the God outside everything but visible through it all.

The core principles for me are that "All Truth is God's Truth"; that the Bible is divinely inspired and has been transmitted to us faithfully in spite of all of Man's faults and is therefore authoritative, even in translation. What it reveals to us is essentially (though not always literally) true and can, with the proper understanding based on context, be reconciled to the world as we discover it through the scientific process. It does not contain everything we would like to know, just everything we need to know to begin to know and trust God. Our understanding of the Bible is likely imperfect, because we in the Body of Christ are imperfect, but the Spirit lives within us to help us understand more completely. Likewise, our scientific knowledge is imperfect, but we can use the scientific process to continue refining (and sometimes dramatically rearranging) what we know about our universe. We're not supposed to give up on either process until we die.

more than 4 years ago

$4,400/Yr. Coders May Work On Dept. of Labor Project

andphi Re:Not already? (418 comments)

I am happy to be of service. If there is another bit of satire I can ruin by being overly technical, please, just let me know. I will gladly oblige you.

about 5 years ago

$4,400/Yr. Coders May Work On Dept. of Labor Project

andphi Re:Not already? (418 comments)

Blackwater was contracted to the State Department, not the DoD.

about 5 years ago

Pat Robertson

andphi Embarrassing (10 comments)

Statements like this from folks like this are an embarrassment to all Christians. It's the exact opposite of what a Christian should do in response to massive suffering. It's like Jerry Falwell's statements about 9/11. I don't understand it, but some people think every bad thing is a judgement. Sometimes evil people do evil things. It's free will. Sometimes the Earth's plates shift and poorly constructed buildings fall down. Ours is not to reason why, but to go in and patch up the survivors. I hope that other Christians, particularly those who go in and help people, will be able to leave behind a better witness than he has left by shooting his mouth off like this, but for some hearers the damage is already done.

about 5 years ago

I Thought I Liked Avatar

andphi Avatar Derangement Syndrome (5 comments)

There is some weird crap flying around the net about this movie:

First, the idea that Avatar is popular because it touches us spiritually in the midst of lives made empty by technology that does dispense timeless wisdom and by jobs that don't involve any adventure:
He's got a point. All you have to do to see it is ignore all the people who do strike out to embark upon lives of adventure (like cops, firefighters, soldiers, and missionaries) and then all the people who stay home but find wisdom, comfort, and guidance in their faith.

And I kid you not, I thought for a moment I was reading the Onion, not CNN, when I read this story.

Finally, a rebuttal, of sorts, from a US Marine, of the depiction of the evil, rapacious Space Mari^H^H^H^HMercenaries

about 5 years ago

Veterans Day

andphi You are a Vet (5 comments)

With all due respect, you are a veteran, even if you were only in for a few years. You would be a veteran even if you had been badly hurt the day you graduated Basic and had to be medically discharged. In a professional, all-volunteer military like ours, anyone who makes it through Basic, or one of the Academies, and takes the oath (and does not later repudiate that oath) is a vet, even if his or her service lasts no more than a day.

Your humility is admirable and not all that surprising, but it's slightly misplaced. You sell yourself short. This is your day just as much as it is the day of every American man or woman who has been killed, wounded, or captured on the field of battle.

more than 5 years ago

Acer Aspire 1410

andphi Probably getting a netbook for Christmas (8 comments)

My wife and I have asked for a netbook from my parents to Christmas. She wanted green, but in case it doesn't come to us green, I've been thinking about skinning it green for her. I don't know what my folks will be getting us just yet. When we get it and get a sense of it, I'll post my thoughts on my journal, just for the sake of comparing notes.

more than 5 years ago

Ft Hood Shootings 11/5/09

andphi Re:this is going to be a mess (3 comments)

It might be combat fatigue despite the fact that he himself was never deployed. Based on as yet unidentified sources the Major (is|was) a psychiatrist who was apparently treating other soldiers for PTSD/TBI/whatever the hell they're calling combat fatigue this week. I can understand how he might have begun to suffer from it as a result of treating patients suffering from it.

This is mystifying to me a dozen different levels. He was a doctor, and an officer, and a soldier. He broke everything he was when he opened fire on his fellow soldiers.

I agree, it is going to be a mess.

more than 5 years ago

Journal Archiver

andphi Good Idea (11 comments)

I don't journal here nearly to much as you do, but I could definitely use the same sort of thing against my LiveJournal, which has been accreting for years now.

more than 5 years ago



andphi andphi writes  |  more than 8 years ago

andphi writes "This is the old version, from May of last Year. I post it as a baseline for edits, which I will make in the next day or two.

I am slowly gaining meaningful experience as regards to roleplay:
Most of my experience is with computer games (specifically hacknslash titles from Blizzard and Black Isle).

The list includes demos I've played just to get a feel of the game. Most of these (by virtue of the basically linear plot or limited scope of the demo) I've not played all the way through. I tend to get bored when there is no longer any mental puzzle to attack
Diablo - (almost completed) and Diablo Hellfire (3/4 complete)
Planescape: Torment - completed, loved it.
Diablo 2 and D2:LOD - through Act 1, looks simultaneously cool and unchallenging
Icewind Dale - almost completed
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn - completed
Dungeon Siege - almost got to the last fight before I got bored. The camera system is fun. The dynamic classing system interesting, but alot of the game content - spells and items - is obviously designed for the multiplayer gamer. I'm a solo play gamer, so knowing that there are lots of spells I may never learn to use us a bummer.
Adonthell: Waste's Edge (completed)
Arcanum - looks cool
Knights of the Old Republic - one day during a visit to Woodstock and Wereteddy
Vampire: Redemption - one night before I decided it was too dark
Geneforge 2
Avernum 3 - for about ten minutes
Shadowrun SNES
Of course, I am interested in the rest of the BG and IWD franchises, as well as the Jedi Knight franchise (more FPS than crpg, but still interesting)

As far as pnp roleplay, I've played one session of Dragonlance (the group broke up when the DM got a job in another city) and just joined a Star Wars pnp campaign.

As a sidenote, I don't consider games with a single starting point and linear plotting varied only by game style (Diablo?) to have much replay value. To have real replay value, a single start-point game would seem to need some mutually excluse side- or sub-quests, or even mutually exclusive main play paths."



WikiLeaks and "Collateral Murder": When a Leak is a Lie

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 4 years ago

It seems that WikiLeaks has something to say. Their 'Collateral Murder' gun camera video was heavily edited and enhanced, as anyone who had the chance to watch the complete footage - originally posted here [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik] and now blocked due to graphic content. In fairness to YouTube, the propaganda is also now age-blocked [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0]. I have watched both and have come to the conclusion that the WikiLeaks folks have an agenda. This is not journalism. This is not shining the light of truth on dodgy governments. This is blatant agitprop - anti-military, pro-insurgent, and stupidly easy to refute. It's not even a good lie, for Pete's sake!

The military blogosphere has taken the edited footage apart in detail, but it doesn't take an expert, after watching both videos, to see what the Collateral Murder folks were so blithely glossing over and expunging.


In short, the group these journalists were with had at least one RPG and one AK47. Absent the uniform of a coalition nation, the act of carrying the RPG makes the group a valid military target, particularly in an area where there were coalition troops on the ground, some of whom had come under attack from insurgents carrying RPGs. In contrast, the edited footage claims that the man aiming the RPG was one of the slain journalists and his camera. He was ducking around a corner at the time and one end of something was sticking out from behind the building with him. Then he stands up and aims the device. The Apache was circling at the time, so the exact nature of what he was aiming is hidden by the wall of the building. By the time the helicopter came around, the something was not in evidence on camera. However, proves only that they were not holding the device at the time. The insurgents in Iraq are good at dropping their weapons once they realize that holding them might get them killed. Later, one of the soldiers found a live RPG round under one of the bodies.

Then, when the group of insurgents had been shot and the van arrived, it was not marked as an aid vehicle. It was just a vehicle evacuating the bodies and weapons of insurgents. The pilots received authorization to fire on the vehicle, just as they requested and received authorization to fire on the group of insurgents standing at the corner of the building. That needs to be repeated. This is not My Lai. Americans do not simply fire indiscriminately. They ask permission before they do it, if there is doubt or ambiguity. More Americans have been killed by overly restrictive ROE (restrictions on air-strikes, drone strikes, indirect fire support, etc) than is probably good for the morale or health of the troops on the ground.

When authorized, they fired. The altered footage later highlights the children in the front seat of the van, but it noticeably does not also highlight the grunts running with children in their arms, trying to get them to a Bradley for evacuation to Rustimayah. The footage also claims or implies, erroneously, that the children were not treated by Americans, but handed over immediately to the Iraqis. This is also not true. The children were in the care of American medical personnel for days before transfer to Iraqi facilities, as later documents have proven.

One thing I noticed was that I couldn't tell what was in the front seat of the van. In any case, bringing children into a firezone was just as stupid, reckless, and immoral as two journalists walking around with a group of armed insurgents. It was, in short, depraved indifference on the part of whoever was driving the van and whoever decided to embed journalists with terrorists. The children were regrettable collateral casualties, while the journalists, by embedding as they did, made themselves the enemy and therefore valid military targets.

The incident did not occur in some random street full of civilians, but in an area where there had been fighting between insurgents and coalition ground troops. The complete footage shows an area of town that was nearly devoid of non-combatants moving in the open. There were a few civilians (at one point, a figure in a burqa holding the hand of a small child crossed the camera's field of view, but the pilots did not fire on them or even consider it, given that they did not request permission to do so.) The WikiLeaks footage was 17 minutes long and included perhaps 15 minutes of actual camera footage. The uneditted footage is 38 minutes long. The Collateral Murder folks cut out all the context, including the woman and her son crossing the street.

In short, they presented half-truths as the complete truth and therefore perpetrated a complete lie.


Goals and Milestones for 2010

andphi andphi writes  |  about 5 years ago

I wrote out some goals for myself at the end of this last year. I've also come up with some new ones since then as well as a short list of anticipated milestones. I'm recording some of them here, in no particular order. Some of them are probably going to be prohibitively expensive and so are very unlikely to happen.

Finish all three of my major writing projects:

The Eye of Aethr (Standard Fantasy novel)
The Lost Ones (serialized Military Sci-Fi/Science Fantasy, primary target audience a certain 3d grade nephew)
Another piece just for my beloved Belle

Learn new things:

CPR re-certification (with Belle)
Archery (I can practice in my backyard without breaking any laws!)
Study for, Take, and Pass the GRE (with Belle)
Become licensed for concealed carry in Texas (very low priority)
Network+ certification (also low priority)
Acquire a long gun (shotgun first, possibly also small-caliber rife) and teach Belle to handle them (extremely low priority due to expense and need to service debt first)

Get involved:

Attend a Tea Party Rally or a Second Amendment March associated with the national Second Amendment March this April 19th ( secondamendmentmarch.com )
Become actively involved in 40 Days for Life events in SnoopyBelleTown
Lobby my State and Federal representatives (as the opportunity arises) in favor of greater firearms freedoms

Anticipated milestones:

Turn 30
5th wedding anniversary
Finish 3 years with my current employer and then 3 years on the same project with said employer


Our new netbook

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 5 years ago

My folks got us an MSi Wind netbook. My wife loves it. It's tiny (and so is she) so she's excited about it on that level (as well as on many others). We haven't done much with it yet except check email and play Soltaire.

The only problem, visible for now while answering emails, is that the cursor sometimes relocates at random. It's like what sometimes happens in ytalk (at least to me). I haven't found a solution yet.

More later when we get farther into the ownership experience. Today I have to configure my wireless router to accept the netbook computer and nothing else.


Ft Hood Shootings 11/5/09

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 5 years ago

For those of you who pray and monitor my journal (hopefully that will be a set of at least 1), please keep the soldiers at Ft Hood in your prayers. There was a shooting today at the Soldier Readiness Center. 12 are dead and 31 are wounded, including the shooter, who was also a soldier.


Writing update

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I have not updated this journal in an exceptionally long time. I blame that on working, writing, LiveJournal, FaceBook, and ihasahotdog.com LOLDogs make me smile. LOLCats aren't quite as fun, mostly because cats are only cute as teeny tiny kittens.

I am writing, as I have been for some time now. The difference now is that I am writing three different stories at the same time. Not one story dovetailing three ways, but three relatively unrelated stories. I'm also trying serial fiction, in part because I want to try it and in part because one member of my chosen audience (one of the three stories is specifically for him) is about 9 years old. I don't want to wait two years while I write a complete novel. I'd much rather write sections, offer them to his parents, and cross my fingers hoping they pass them along without any change requests. It will, eventually, be at least one complete novel or anthology (or both), but it's going to develop in bits, with each new bit set in stone. It will challenge me as a writer, as I will not be able to go back and fix chapter 2 based on chapter 8. I'll have to fact-check each chapter before I publish it.


Novelpost: I have my ending

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Yesterday, while driving back to SnoopyBelleTown from MomAndDadTown, I figured out how I was going to end the novel I am currently writing. Huzzah! I still haven't figured out how the climactic scene, the one resolving the main plot, will go, but I know how the last scene will go, and thus how I'm going to resolve the main sub-plot. Now all I have to do is make sure no one who's really important to the last scene dies.


What to write next

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I am trying to decide which of the many, many stories bouncing around in my head needs to find its way to the paper next. Part of my decision has already been made for me. I am still working on the Eye of Aethr and would rather keep fewer than three active writing projects going at once. I can't decide, though, if The Tale of Five Brothers, which already has two complete drafts, should count as active or not.

I already have the bones of four (possibly six) related stories sprouting out of the Tale of Five Brothers. A few of them would flesh out events which are known to have happened during or before the story, but outside the field of the main character's awareness.
Parallel stories: Fire Within, Lion of the South

A few others would recount events before, after, or partially after but mostly before but because of the main story. I think the
Sequels: The Fall of Nine Towers, Point and Edge
Then there's Ghostmarch, which is a sequel what chronologically precedes The Tale of Five Brothers.


Nano Typing Complete

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I finished it. With the edits and additions, it came out to 39 and some change for the month and 119 and some change for both halves.

Now to see what the family thinks of it.


NaNo Update, Various Publishers' Submission Guidelines

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

My mom did the amazing. She wrote a 76 kiloword novel in less than two weeks. I am still plugging away at typing up the last 40k of my novel. If lucky, I will go all the way to 40k this week. At this point, I think, a finishing The Tale of Five Brothers and moving on to The Eye of Aethr is not really all that likely.

I did some research today on various publishers' submission guidelines and learned some things. I knew I liked Baen and Tor for the quality of their books and their attitude toward them. Now I like them more because they have useful, instructive things to say to prospective authors and will read unsolicited manuscripts.

To be published by Baen would be a dream come true for me. It's a recently acquired dream, but true and valid nonetheless.

Baen Books:

coherent magic system, magic integral to story, interesting philosophical questions.

Tor Books:

synopsis: first 3 chapters, end on paragraph, less than 10k, summary of characters, events, ending. 3 to 10 pages in standard manuscript format




baen, tor (macmillan), Ace/Roc (penguingroup), DAW: open submissions, electronic preferred


random house: agents only


No NaNo this year

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I will not be doing NaNoWriMo this year, as I am still trying to type up the second half of the novel I started last Nov 1. Is anyone else doing it?


Novelpost: Embarrassing mountains of verbiage

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I have typed the first 40 or so pages of the manuscript. They're compressing to typescript at a rate of 2 to 1. Twenty typed pages of too many adverbs and too much blow-by-blow of the protagonist's thought processes. Blow-by-blow combat is bad enough, so I try not to tell the reader every little move the characters make in combat. Blow-by-blow thinking? How did I think that was good? I'm going to have to edit the some parts of the first few chapters with a chainsaw to make them readable. I'm just glad I'm into the part where the protagonist interacts with a regular cast of other people. Hopefully

It's official, if it wasn't before: No More NaNoWriMo for me. I can't convince myself it's a good way for me to write good books. It might work if I was a full-time author with a developed writing process. With the unguided, and often under-documented, approach I took, it's a bad idea. I understand the need to let a story tell itself, but that very need will tend to introduce continuity problems if details of the story already told don't stick with the author well enough. If I had begun writing this same story with different initial goals and preoccupations (50k in 30 days and How much do I have to write today to get there?) it might have turned out less self-contradictory and more concise.

The consolation here is that I knew this was a first draft. I understood it could be bad. I just hoped, I suppose, that it wouldn't be quite so bad as it now seems. Still, I'm typing it out more or less as I first wrote it, with notes to myself in the original manuscript.


Novelpost: First Draft Complete!

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

It's done. I finished it around 12:30 this morning, I think. It's 269 handwritten pages long and between 117 and 120k long by wordcount.

Now I have to type it all out. Fun!

I am now officially a novelist.


Novelpost: Real Progress and forecast

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I have now written, I think, some 107 thousand words. I stopped taking an actual, line by line count the first or second writing day of this month. I know where the 100k mark is and that each leaf of notebook contains about a thousand words. The good news is that now, at last, on handwritten page 250, the climax and falling action are now fully set up (or at least planned and foreshadowed).

Now that the end is in sight, I am faced with the following dilemma, which I suppose I began to embrace months ago when I began to alternate writing with planning future work and indexing past output: how will I break this work, which I wrote as a single, basically uninterrupted unit, into chapters? Will I use the obvious markers - action occurring in disparate locations - for the macro-chapters? I think, perhaps, I will. Breaking the macro-chapters done by event or theme might require more judgement and discretion.

Additionally, I begin to wonder which parts will have to be fleshed out, which trimmed down, and which completely moved around. I suspect, for example, that I will need to lengthen the early sections because I was most negligent of description. I also suspect that certain fight scenes will need to be re-written entirely. I accept that. This is a first draft. I am prepared for at least some of my readers to detest it. To state the case more emphatically, I am an unknown writer of unknown skill. I am (at least in theory) aware that everyone may find my work at best uninteresting, even my lovely wife, and at worse horrid and not to be pursued.


Coming and Going

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I resurrected my old Slashdot username today. I used it from (I think) 2001 until 2004, then created a new username because I had left the roleplaying community in which the genmanath character was created. Don't worry, I shan't engage in any sockpuppetry or upmodding of my own comments. That would be abusive. I've left the uid dormant for so long for that very reason.

One thing that bugs me about slashdot is that one can only seen one's own complete comment history by subscribing. I can understand paying for easy access to other's history, but paying for access to one's own? I'd like to know how far back my slashdot history goes and if the two uids overlap in any respect.

I wonder, though, if my first uid is 577922 and my current uid is 899406, what is my real uid? The average of the two? It's a moot point, since they're both in the second half of the six-digit range. If I had one uid with five digits and one with six or seven, I would want to use the five-digit uid.

In the end, though, I think I will keep this UID and let genmanath remain a memory. My karma is better :)


Tor Week 14 of ??

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Color me puzzled. They just keep sending books! With promises of more books on the way! For free!

This week, it's Starfish. Next week, Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp.

My booklist is now ridiculously long.


Tor: Penultimate Week

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

This week: Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott

Last week: Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest

Next week: Starfish by Peter Watts

At this point, I have all of them except Spirit Gate and Starfish saved to my hard drive in PDF format.


tor - week 9

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

This week, Tor has kindly provided us with links to last week's book - The Disunited States of America by Harry Turtledove - as well as this week's book and two pieces of artwork related to the Wheel of Time. One is a big image of the snake-and-wheel. The other is the full, uninterrupted cover art for The Dragon Reborn. Very pretty. The Wheel of Time covers have always been wrap-around, but the back matter gets in the way sometimes. I've just noticed some new things about the art-work. I knew the three ta'verenm, Ba'alzamon, and the Aiel were prominentl featured, but I'd never before noticed the three Defenders of the Stone in the background looking really, really overwhelmed. I'd be overwhelmed, too, if hundreds of Aiel suddenly appeared inside an assumedly inpenetrable fortification. They look very 1550 with their conquistador helmets and breastplates worn over doublets. They're all armed with rapiers and main gauche.

The book is Reiffen's Choice by S.C. Butler. Next week, they'll be sending us Suns of Suns by Karl Schroeder. Interestingly, they've hinted that they might make Mistborn available again.


National Space Society short story contest

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

This is just too interesting to ignore. I think I even have a useful idea to explore. Please pardon the internal rhyme.


Please read entire guidelines before submitting to ensure your story fits the requirements!

* Previously unpublished stories only -- no reprints.
* No simultaneous submissions (that is, don't send your story to us and to other publishers at the same time).
* Multiple submissions are okay (you may send us more than one story).
* Set entirely on the Moon.
* Realistic stories showing very possible futures.
* No gratuitous sex or excess violence or anything beyond mild language (these stories will be read by space enthusiasts of all ages).
* Science Fiction (no fantasy, horror or other genres).
* No aliens or faster than light travel.

LENGTH: 2000 to 6000 words.


PRIZES: All winning stories will be published in the anthology RETURN TO LUNA with a potential readership of thousands; the book will be submitted to well-known science fiction editors to consider each of the stories for inclusion in their "best of the year" anthologies, and the book will be sent out for review. All winning authors will be eligible for royalties and will receive free membership to the NATIONAL SPACE SOCIETY for one year. GRAND PRIZE WINNER will also have a review of his or her winning short story featured in NSS's magazine AD ASTRA, and on the NSS and Hadley Rille Books websites.

ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS ONLY: Send as an attachment to an email message with subject line "NSS CONTEST" to subs [at] hadleyrillebooks [dot] com. Microsoft Word .doc file is preferred, or .rtf is okay (please contact us if you need to make arrangements for another format). Please virus scan your document before sending. Story will be stripped of author name and assigned a number before forwarded to the jurors. You will receive a confirmation email back from us. (If you do not receive a confirmation email then that means we did not receive your story.)

FORMAT: We prefer the standard manuscript format as shown here: http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html, except that we prefer single-spaced rather than double-spaced. Please don't do any fancy formatting such as right-justifying, etc. -- leave that to us. Please don't hit Enter (or Return) at the end of each line. Let your word processor wrap the text.

SUBMISSION PERIOD: From now through June 15, 2008.

* How have we set about establishing a lunar base, and then a colony?
* What are living conditions like?
* What is the lunar wilderness like? What kind of exploring to settlers do?
* What are the buildings like and how do people get around the lunar surface?
* What kinds of transportation do they use to travel to and from the Moon?
* What kind of society lives there? What are the challenges to human social structures?
* Are lunar colonies self-sufficient or do they depend on Earth?
* What kind of industries exist and how do the colonists make use of lunar resources?
* Does the colony resemble Las Vegas or is it more like a science outpost?
* Will there be settlements on the far side -- a radio telescope array, perhaps?
* Is the colony located near one of the poles where miners extract ice from the permanently shadowed areas?
* Why have we established a colony on the Moon?


Tor - Week 8

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

This week, the nice people at Tor sent us Jane Lindskold's Through Wolf's Eyes

I haven't yet looked closely at the two wallpapers. The one appears to be cover art for a mid-fifties edition of The Green Hills of Earth by Robert Heinlein. It looks cool in a very retro-future sort of way. I can't guess from the art what moment they're trying to capture, but the general theme is spacemen with spearguns, complete with scuba tanks, as if space is like the deep ocean, but with less pressure. It's also amusing. One of them has his weapon pointed at another's head, but the guy on the business end of the speargun is looking someplace else entirely and seems not the least bit worried.

Next week, we get The Disunited States of America by Harry Turtledove.

So, just a recap

Lord of the Isles by David Drake
Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell
Farthing by Jo Walton
The Outstretched Shadow, book one of Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory's Obsidian Trilogy
Robert Charles Wilson's Spin
John Scalzi's Old Man's War
Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn.

I'm chuffed. It's a big, free library of author's I've never read and in many cases have never even encountered before. I have all of these in pdf, if anyone wants a book but didn't get them in time. My personal plan of attack goes like this:

everyone else as the mood strikes me


Decoding April Fools

andphi andphi writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I figured out at least one or two levels of joke in this year's Thinkgeek shirt. Some of their other offerings are in questionable taste, but the labyrinthine chain lock, the Betamax to HD-DVD recorder, and the caffeinated breakfast cereal are all fun.

The shirt purports to be encrypted at some very high level, so I decided to try decoding it with ROT13 first. The plaintext actually makes sense, so either the joke is that the NSA encryption is just rot13, or the plaintext I decoded is actually a cipher within a cipher. Not sure which. But, as usual, the encoded thinkgeek shirt insults either the wearer, the reader, or both. In this case, the wearer:



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