Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ever Noticed How "I Can't Recall" Is Now Republican-speak for "I Plead the FIfth"?

I've been listening to some of the Senate hearings involving people like Gonzales and reading some of the transcripts of the trial involving Libby. Wasn't "I can't recall" the most common phrase either of them uttered?

My short-term memory is pretty bad, but I feel like I remember more about what went on with the attorney firings than Gonzales says he remembers and he was there!

I've asked Gonzales to resign. Not that it matters. I'm merely a citizen, and, as we know, the current administration only cares about rich citizens who've given them money.

It's been interesting to hear that even some of the Republican Senators have been somewhat hard on Gonzales. But now Senator Kyle is taking Gonzales off on a tangent about Internet gambling. Geesh. What a great use of the committee's time...

Giving Perpetrators a Media Platform Is Part of the Problem...

Is anyone else annoyed at seeing constant photos of the most recent mass murderer all over the media?

The death video of murderers should not be given so much exposure. It's the sort of thing that should show up on YouTube, so if curious members of the public can learn more about this deranged individual, they can.

I have no interest in learning anything about him. Anyone who commits premeditated murder does not deserve any of the public's time.

We live in a society where a person can alarm his teachers and fellow students, who can be temporarily brought to a mental health facility for treatment, and yet can buy a semi-automatic weapon legally. And we live in a society where the media fuels a feeding frenzy about perpetrators. Perpetrators' names and reason for committing heinous acts should only be briefly discussed publicly. Murderers should never be given the kind of publicity they so obviously sought.

I don't care that the WTC murderers thought that Allah would grant them virgins in the afterlife for slaughtering civilians, don't care that the Columbine and VT Tech murderers were disaffected young men with guns. These people should not matter. Society should not care.

What does matter is that these murderers rob society of good people. The focus should be on the murder victims and how to stop such acts in the future.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Guys with Guns Strike Again...

Yeah, I know, guns don't kill people, people kill people.

Tell that to the 20(+?) dead at Virginia Tech and the other 20(+?) injured.

How many do you think this idiot (or these idiots) would have killed without some sort of high-powered rifle??

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Participate in International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day on April 23!

There's been, discussions in various places about how writers should/should not promote their work, mostly centering around whether they should put their writing on the Web for free.

While this particular posting by current SFWA Vice President Howard V. Hendrix did not start the discussion, it's generated quite a bit of comment, particularly by SFWA presidential candidate John Scalzi.

Writer Jo Walton came up with a clever way to respond to this bruhaha: International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day on April 23.

Now, I'm not in SFWA; I haven't written or sold much fiction. I've made a fair amount of money over the years as a tech writer, and some as a free lancer. However, I believe the whole concept of "technopeasanthood" is, frankly, very old-fashioned. If you enjoy participating on the Web, sharing some of your fiction/non-fiction/art/music/photos/knitting designs/recipes - so what? Participating on the Web may help your career or it may hinder it, but it's hardly the business of a writer's organization to disparage this sales/publicity venue in the way Howard Hendrix did.

But this isn't merely a writer's issue - it's a an issue for anyone who sees the Web as something a little larger than a big bulletin board.

So I urge anyone to use the Web to help spread your own creativity on the Web on April 23.

There are also T-shirts available at:

I plan to wear mine the Saturday of the Nebula awards on May 12 (though not to the banquet itself).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Deck Is Done - 4/10/07

We had our deck built by Archadeck, locally represented by Hall Construction:

We'd talked to several different deck builders, but Archadeck gave us the best price for a composite deck, which is what we wanted.

So what's the long distance view from the side of the deck like?

This coal mine has been operational since last summer. The mine is already somewhat filled in. Apparently, some homes may wind up on top of the mine in the future. It's likely that coal was removed from this part of the neighborhood before the houses were built as well.

Luckily, this is the view from most of the deck:

It's so nice to have a back yard with only woods in view, you have no idea. Each of the first two houses we owned had other houses in back.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Daily Deck Blogging - 4/9/07

One of the two builders got sick today. so the deck wasn't quite finished today. However, it's very close!

So tomorrow, it should be finished for sure!

Of course, it's only supposed to reach 46 tomorrow, so it might not matter too much...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Daily Deck Blogging - 4/7/06

OK, so I'm a day late...

Anyway, the contractors came over for a little while on Saturday, trimmed the floor planks and started to put in the posts for the railings.

View from the deck:

View from the driveway:

It looks like they should be finished on Monday.

Yesterday, I had lunch with some local folks from It's a board where everyone is pretty much required to use pseudonyms. It turned out that one of the folks at lunch was someone I knew slightly as she's a local tech writer. One of the other attendees was a former tech writer. Small world and all.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Daily Deck Blogging - 4/6/07

It was again very cold out for April - I think it didn't get any warmer than 35 (over 20 degrees colder than normal). It wasn't quite as windy today as it had been yesterday.

The builders made very good progress. The support beams and floor of the deck are done. I stepped out onto the deck for the first time this afternoon:

Yeah, I know, I didn't walk out that far. But, still, the railings should be up tomorrow!

Now that most of the deck is built, the storage area under the deck is going to be much taller than I'd realized. I'd always imagined the sub-deck area to be very cave-like, and it really isn't.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Daily Deck Blogging - 4/5/07

It was windy and 25 degrees colder than normal today. It reached a high of 31 (and, remember, it's April). The contractors came and worked most of the day. We've been encouraging them to use the garage as much as possible.

But it's starting to look more like a deck now because some of the floor is now in. Here's the view from the sliders:

And here's the view from the back yard:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Daily Deck Blogging - 4/4/07

The builders arrived early this morning and worked until about 4. Unlike yesterday, when it was sunny and warm, the temperature dropped from 57 this morning to about 40 and very windy this afternoon. They made pretty good progress - it's looking more like a deck now.

View from the sliders:

View from the driveway:

And the supporting posts don't go in until tomorrow. They spent some of the afternoon digging the postholes. Before they can pour concrete, a local inspector has to come out and make sure the post holes are prepared correctly and the frame has been attached to the house properly.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Daily Deck Blogging - 4/3/07

The contractor started on the deck today! We didn't expect they'd start this soon (we thought it might be another 10 days), but I was glad to see them. They expect to be done next Monday (it takes about five working days to build a standard deck).

Deck deconstructed (or pre-constructed), beginning of day one:

View of the deck-in-progress from the sliding glass doors, end of day one:

View from the driveway, end of day one:

OK, it doesn't look like that much happened the first day. Putting in the piece under the door that will help attach the deck to the house takes a while. They also cut a fair amount of wood during the day for later in the week. I expected the posts would be installed first, but they said the post installation is a day two job.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Monday Garden Blogging - 4/2/07

We had a few days of good weather over the last week, followed by some rain.

The crocuses and dafodils in front haven't grown quite as well as I would have hoped. The front gets constant sun, but as it's beside the road, the ground also get more salt from the road and likely visits by dogs.

We're due to have another day of warm, sunny weather, and then it will get cold and, probably, snowy. We'll see if any of the flowers survive until after Easter... *sigh*