Friday, January 31, 2003

Now, now, don't exaggerate, Fred. We only exchanged a few emails.

Unlike, of course, Neil Gaiman...

What? No! He's not my only true friend. Besides, he never calls.

Sharon appeals, pleads, threatens. But when Michael Stipe is a "true friend," I know I'm falling down on the job. Guilt'll do it, every time!

Thanks, Fred. It's the bug that always throws me.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

"Provided technical support in a dynamic, data-driven, online community-building project of collaborative writing..." *shrug* I'll vouch for you.

Now, c'mon, my code is making me feel nibbled to death by ducks, and there's nobody here to keep me company but Michael Stipe (ah, Michael, you're a true friend), so write some prose, to divert me and ease my troubled spirit. Yo.

The colder it gets here (high of 31 tomorrow!), the more tempting that sounds, believe me.

But Austin is far away, and that future-post explanation is about the extent of my technical writing experience.

Good technical writing, Fred. Y'know, there's jobs for that in Austin...

Where it will be in the 70s tomorrow.

I'm just sayin', is all.

Future-posting is relatively easy. Just post like you normally would, but don't publish yet. Click the "edit" link below your new post to open it up again, like you would if you wanted to change or delete something, and then click "Options" on the "Edit this Post" toolbar on top. That will let you set the post's date and time. Change the date to whenever you want the post to appear (like tomorrow, 1/31/2003). Click "OK", then click "Post" again, and that should automatically roll your topic over into the "Future Posts" category. Click the "Future" tab below if you want to doublecheck. All you need now is for somebody to republish the blog on your topic's date.

As for the timestamp, Sharon has said:
"Blogger has a bug. With the way our blog is ordered, if your post is between midnight and 2am, Central time (1 and 3 am, Eastern), it will show up on the wrong day, out of order."
So, when you're changing the date of your post, change the time accordingly, too. Sometime between 3 and 8 am Eastern should work, since most people aren't looking to write anything before 8 am anyway.

Hee hee. That's fair. It's good to be back. btw, my work schedule starting Feb 10th will start at 8am and end at around 5, how do I post a topic ahead of time again? I always screw it up.

Shawn. We need to talk. You've seen me wear that black coat only once. This may be a difficult concept, but I am actually a female of our species.

I could send you some links.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

I think it must be the coats. You both have black coats. Margaret said I should praise her so I told her I'd sacrifice a small, white dog on the Margaret altar.

Shawn, I make this mistake all the time, so I know that it is easy to do, but you are confusing Jon with me again.

I've seen the way that man looks at my Jack Russells. I know what he's thinking, "I bet they'd make a cute little squeak when they hit the wall."

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Shawn, what are you saying about my husband, eh? 'Course, my thought was: "Where could I find one of these shops?"

Ben, I'm not making fun of your typo; it was the typo that inspired the story, actually. I think I was thinking of stints, which just creep me out, but in a good way.

And, uh, hi guys. Glad to see y'all here. ^_^ Rock on.

I've no idea why but as soon as I saw "Puppy Punting" I knew it was Jon's post. Hey, I've been thinking of a career change, maybe this is a franchise opportunity.

Hey, now. Listen up.
  • I absolve you of all guilt for not posting for previous days. There is no need to catch up. Just start now.
  • I hereby remove any requirement that it be good. The guidelines are stated in the mission of the blog: Posts are to be daily and ten-minutes' worth. That is all.
  • If I do not hear from you this week, I will take your name out of the topic rotation. You would still be a welcome contributor to the blog, and you could post a topic on any day that didn't have one by noon, Central, but no day would be your day, because the project loses momentum when no topic is posted. This is logistics, not chastisement.
  • Think less. Write more.
  • I dare you.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Anybody use Netscape? That ought to simply fail to run; if it blows off with error messages, please let me know.

Just having a bit of fun. And the writing took only 10 minutes. I won't comment on how much time was spent making a convincing cursor. But I'm learning, learning, I tell you.

Friday, January 24, 2003

Eeyugh! Evoked goosebumps, you did. Good one, Fred.

All right, I posted. Stephen King I ain't.

I'm getting to it, honest. I just keep getting distracted by boring things like work.

I have more trouble writing when I post the topic, too, if that makes any sense. Maybe I'll mull it over on my drive home. Leaving now.

The subject is teeth, and none of you are writing. I own pliers, and I have an unhealthy fixation with dentition.

Write, bizatch.

(And I mean that in a friendly, encouraging manner, fascilitating a safe environment for experimenting in your creative endeavors. No, really.)

We likes teeths...

Thursday, January 23, 2003

I agree with Sharon. Sad post, Fred. But I liked it a lot.

Thanks for the rewelcome. Ten minutes just doesn't convey the fact that he is crazy. But apparently it's a good kind of crazy.

I figured. What I meant was, threaten me with monkeys, and I'll make you cry. ;)

Of course, I don't know if it's that sad. But still. Would-be monkey-threateners should take heed.

It's an idea I've had in my head for awhile actually. I know I feel bad for Emily.

Fred, it was good-sad. What I meant was: You succeeded.

That's what you get when you threaten me with flying monkeys.

Josh, having now read your post, I have to say that I like your version of "Early Edition" much better.

Of course, when my microwave sends me secret messages, I'm just crazy...

Oh, Fred. *sniff* That's sad!

Welcome back, indeed. I'll call off my monkeys.

Though I've still got my eye on the rest of you.

Interesting thought on the publishing queue. I want to think more about that.

I ain't scared of no monkeys....much.

Welcome back, Josh.

'format' comes at the very beginning, then i verge.
now that i'm done, i realize i posted what is, essentially, the plot of "early edition." here's a grain of salt for each of you.

automatic publish? i'd set up another routine in the system. when you edit the timestamp to an earlier time, and hit 'publish,' this sends a publishing sequence into the queue. the blogger system only has to do this for the pro sites, so whenever a timestamp is due to be posted, it automatically refreshes its image of that page. and the postdated post would actually post, post-haste.

You're gonna take that chance? Or would you rather just write for 10 minutes and not have to find out... the hard way?

I think you're bluffing.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

You need to ask?

<gulp> You have flying monkeys?

Don't make me get my flying monkeys.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

I care because you kid.

Got a kiss on the cheek from Peter Adkinson, too, I did.

"Endless" is a neat topic, although, given yesterday's Neil Gaiman mention, I had trouble thinking of something besides his Endless. I went for a Steven King/Clive Barker desert thing, instead. I'm getting more surreal with these, which I like. I'm plotting ahead less, and not letting the lack of a well-formed story stop me from writing. I'm stretching. ^_^

Sharon, you met Neil Gaiman?!

I kid because I care.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Oh, nice. So I miss my own stupid topic day. I blame the weekend.

Did write for Ben's evocative topic from yesterday, though.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Thank you, Fred. And I appreciate when you pick up topics. Your enthusiasm for this goes a long way towards keeping it going.

Now, you should take ten minutes to say thank you. ~_^

I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you, Sharon. It's just occurred to me that you've posted topics four days in a row.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

It was just interesting to me to think through why the posts wouldn't auto-publish. I don't have a good solution, either. Events have to be either user-driven (click Publish) or polled by a scheduled job (check the database, check the database, check the database...). I wonder how I'd build this differently.

Because it is on a small scale, on the Invisible City site, I intend to have the content data-driven, so that it is harvested fresh from the database at the very moment you ask for the page.

It's not a big problem, or a great annoyance. I can easily repost those topics when it's my turn or future time-stamp them again. It just seemed weird that when you posted today's topic, it also posted my four, which went well into next month.

There isn't a real good way to make the posts automatically publish when their timestamps come up. Blogger stores all of our content in their database. When you click Publish, it selects posts according to your settings, builds a page according to your template, and ftps this up to your server. If the page were built on the fly, pulling from the database to show the web page when the page is requested, the Blogger servers would die horribly under the traffic. There are one million users, each with multiple blogs, and there would be a webserver hit and a database hit for every visit to every blog.

So, because of the way Blogger builds a static page, something has to kick off the publishing. If not the users, then a scheduled job has to be set up on the server. How often should that job run? Once daily? That wouldn't really help us get our post up on the right day, if the job ran at 11:59 pm. Maybe a few times a day? It would still have delayed putting my lunchtime post up, and it means more drain on the servers. To get the post up right when its timestamp becomes current, a job would have to poll the database every minute, and distinguish between future-dated posts that have just come due, posts that have already been published, and posts that the author is not ready to have ripped out of his hands and tossed onto the web.

Now, the fact that it posted all of the future-dated topics is a bug. (You could write the topics in your planner.) There's a new Blogger Support utility, to be found on the Blogger main page under "Support," and you can submit a trouble ticket if you want to. Blogger continues to have a problem with ordering posts on a forward-chronological blog, so it might be worthwhile.

It's just, with the week I've been having, I can't bear to submit a ticket against someone else.

Blogger is a little weird sometimes. What's the use in being able to future-post topics if they're not going to publish on the correct date, and if they're all going to get posted at once? (Which is what happened, if you didn't see 600 seconds page earlier this afternoon.) I've deleted the four I had set up, at least for now, and republished so that Sharon's topic would get through for today. Now I just have to try and write.

Geek pride compels me to point out that it was actually where node_id is null, but I didn't want to make it even more obscure.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

I like to think it's part of my charm. Of course, thinking doesn't make it so.

Is Fred pushing the envelope or pushing his luck? Hmmm...

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Okay, but the less I get, the worse these puns are gonna be.

Just put the money in the envelope and nobody gets hurt.

I could probably arrange to give you 20 cents for bad puns. But that would be a yearly allowance, I think.

Do I get a monthly allowance for bad puns, or should I just go and commit seppuku now?

It was only a matter of time. *sigh*

All I've got for "paradigm" is:
"What's a paradigm?"
"Twenty cents, I think."
At least it didn't take me ten minutes to think that one up.

Shawn, funny that you mention Mage and paradigms. I was published in Paradigma Online. (...*shrug* I'd write it differently now, but it met Ian's request for submissions.)

To get a feel for the flavor, I asked my roommate Jer if, as a Son of Ether, I could have a particle accelerator. He said, "Sure, provided it's made out of tin foil."

Monday, January 13, 2003

Neil Gaiman noted that comics is "a medium that gets mistaken for a genre."

You can tell how bored I am by how many topics I catch up on: a superheroes rant

Doing the completely unexpected, and catching up.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

I agree, and thanks. I need to start sketching more too. Hmmm.

I agree. Ten minutes should be a guideline, not a rule. I sometimes enjoy the challenge of getting what I want to say said before the time runs out on me, but I'm not always successful, and it's not a race.

The main thing is to write, to say: yes, writing is difficult, but the toughest part is actually sitting down and doing it, putting one word in front of another. So I'm going to sit down and force myself to write for no less than ten minutes. I can do that much. Maybe I'll know where I'm going, maybe I won't. Maybe I'll like what I get out of it, maybe I won't. But I'll have written something, and that's usually the best way to get yourself writing other somethings.

Seems to me, then, if you write for more than ten minutes, that's probably a good thing.

Shawn, I have a terrible confession: I don't mind if you go over time. The time limit is there so that you can explore a theme without feeling pressured to plan out where the novel will end up, and so that you can dismiss crap by saying, "Look, ten minutes!"

Omigosh, Fred, your poem is great! Tee hee hee.

600s posts seem to have a certain gravity, that as a few start to collect, more will accrete.

Well, I did, but then I stepped in and posted one yesterday, and it seemed a little silly to post another topic that nobody was going to write about. So I deleted the post. If you're really stuck on "superheroes", and nobody else wants to suggest something, my other topic was "thirsty".

I wish I knew how to encourage people, myself included, to write more.

Fred, didn't you have a future-posted topic for today? Ah, well. Everybody write on "superheroes," yo.

Friday, January 10, 2003

Finally, a piano keys post, another CTY story.

I am quite drowning in superheroes. I'll have to think.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

"Better recording environment." Hmph. The less said about Brad's dorm room (where we recorded that CD), the better. And isn't the point of learning to play guitar to...well, play it?

Maybe I'll record them tonight!

Two things hold me up: A better recording environment (better than standing in front of Jon's iMac and letting the built-in mic record what's in my den), and a better guitarist. I need a studio musician. Beeeennnnnnnn...?

I sent Sharon a copy of the Monty Python Society CD awhile back, but if anybody else is interested, the first song I mention here is online here (mp3, 1.6M). The lyrics and voice are me; the music is a midi from my friend Brad. If you think you'd be offended by something called "A Pocketful of Penis", you probably shouldn't listen.

I'm still wondering if and when we get to hear Sharon's songs.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Well, we seem to have publish back. Now I guess we just need to use it to write.

I'm trying out the spiffy new BloggerControl, for reporting and tracking issues, to see if I can resolve why our blog isn't publishing. The new tool is so cool that I've forgotten to mind the error message.

True, true!

For future-dated posts to show up on the page once their time has come, someone has to go publish the blog. I try to remember to check for that, but anyone can take care of it, too. Teamwork, baby. Yay, us!

...'Course, there's always the problem of FTP errors from Blogspot...

And you can even future-post a topic, if you don't think you'll be able to post that day!

C'mon, c'mon, come on. "Writing" is a very good New Year's resolution. It's helpful when the topics are up early, too.

I wonder if I can amend my little script to make a calendar with each person's name allotted to a day...

In the meantime:
Thursday, Sharon :: Friday, Remi :: Saturday, Fred :: Sunday, Shawn
Monday, Jonathan :: Tuesday, Dave :: Wednesday, Faith :: Thursday, Josh :: Friday, Martha :: Saturday, Ben :: Sunday, Sharon
Monday, Remi :: Tuesday, Fred :: Wednesday, Shawn :: Thursday, Jonathan :: Friday, Dave :: Saturday, Faith :: Sunday, Josh

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Thanks, but I credit it all to the interesting topics. I seem to be writing some sort of weird "Philip Marlowe by way of the Weather Channel" kind of story because of them.

Fred, you do such great noir! Hee hee hee.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

I've been having trouble thinking of anything to write for "deception / illusion" other than what I already wrote here way back in May. Is this a cop-out or just a cheap plug? I dunno, probably. I wasn't going to post it here at all, except this morning I discovered "magic is fake" in my referrer logs and I couldn't help but think, well yeah, but isn't that sort of the point?

Of course, I also discovered "gay porn pirate" in my referrer logs, but that's another story altogether.

Saturday, January 04, 2003

Oh, shoot, it would bump that, wouldn't it. Hmph.

Friday, January 03, 2003

I didn't mean to sound whiney. I was just making sure it wasn't my imagination.
now somebody else hasta think of a post worthy of Sharon's bday.

There was probably a strange jump when the year turned over, due to my fudged JavaScript. I'm not sure I ever fixed it to incorporate the improvements that Dave had sent. Sorry for the skipping, Ben.

Shawn, please excuse my presumptuousness, but I backdated your Greenland post to put it on the right day, so that Jon's topic shows up at the top.

Is it my imagination, or did I get skipped? I am Confused. Yeah. What else is new.

Fezzik: I just don't think it's right, killing an innocent girl.

Vencini: Am I going mad, or did the word 'think' escape your lips? You were not hired for your brains, you hippopotanic land mass.

Inigo: I agree with Fezzik.

Vencini: Oh, the sot has spoken. What happens to her is not truly your concern. I will kill her. And remember this, never forget this: When I found you, you were so slobbering drunk you couldn't buy brandy.

And you. Brainless. Friendless. Helpless. Hopeless. Do you want me to send you back, to where you were, unemployed, in Greenland?

Boy, that took more thought than I would have expected. Clearly, I need to watch the film again. Fred, by the time you get to the ROUSes, the film is more than half over. You have to visit, just so that I can sit you down and educate you. *tsk* Didn't realize it was a quote...

Gee, and I didn't even realize that was a quote. I guess it's been too long since I've seen The Princess Bride in its entirety (I always seem to come in somewhere after the Rodents of Unusual Size).

Ha! Thanks, Faith. ^_^

Thursday, January 02, 2003

This site is for all of you to enjoy, but Jon most specifically...