Welcome to my Blog. My dumping ground for random thoughts, ruminations, musings, and miscellaneous—perhaps transient—whimseys. My rather one-sided conversation. Willkommen, bienvenue, c’mon in.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Benjamin Franklin
Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, November 11, 1755.

Friday, December 11, 2009
Looking for...

Well, not Richard. Never got that play, but that’s a personal failing, I’m sure. (I’m working my way through the comedies now and will give Richard another go soon enough, rest assured.)

Tired of hunting down a few things, so making a note for future reference. And perhaps saving someone else a headache or two while I’m at it.

iCab is still the way to go for the most solid and stable browser available, though they too have ceased development for Mac OS 9. A word of warning, though: An OS bug (apparently) turns iCab into a RAM syphon under Mac OS 9.0.4, and possibly anything earlier than 9.2.2. Trust me, do what you must to update your old Mac. I can verify watching memory dwindle in huge, hundred-meg blocks under 9.0.4, often never releasing short of Restart. Caveat emptor, big time. And yes, I know my name is attached to Internet Explorer 5 for Mac, but anyone on that project can tell you exactly how tiny a part I played.

Which brings me back to Richard....

P.S. On a personal note, today commemorates the passing (back in 1972) of my paternal grandmother. Here’s thinking of you, Grandma Ada—and you too, Dad. Also remembering Roger Jewell today, two events perpetually linked for me.


Saturday, July 4, 2009
A new game guide

Last Monday I had another game guide published, my FAQ & Walkthrough for Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, a PlayStation®2 game. Also stored locally, of course.

Interesting differences. In its first partial day the new guide garnered more hits than my two earlier guides combined saw in a week. I was awestruck enough that my two little guides had over 30,000 hits (at last check). That number doesn’t equate to readers, but even so I’m not so blythe as to presume even the lightest extemporania, of which this is surely an example, has no influence on its readers. I know my audience is largely—but not exclusively—a group of prepubescent boys, but it’s not a parental gene calling me to task, to not offend, to teach however indirectly. No. It’s the writer gene.

Which brings my thoughts to the Human Genome Project, oddly enough. Once upon a time you could parse through their findings, and what you found were gene pairs matched up with diseases. Sums up nicely the challenge of fiddling with genetic engineering. Which gene pair identifies patience of character? A good parent? A love of fast cars? A writer? They don’t know. Oh, they can nip at a chromosome and might alleviate a dreaded infirmament, but what of the cascade effect initiated by that one, simple snip? The double helix is a complex construct; unseat one rung and sturdiness is compromised.

Which takes a left turn into removal of the arts from public education. Taught only the barest mechanics for thought gives us the tools but not an inkling of what to do with them. A fork is a lovely invention, but what good when faced with a living, breathing bovine creature? Is it tasty? (Not by the smell of the stockyard, I wager.) Poke, poke. Hmm, no good. Poke, poke. Poking and putting in mouth—if there’s more to it, they would’ve taught me that, right? Right?

I exaggerate, of course. Most of life’s lessons are homeschooled. And most who find this humble scribble know that. The best of Independence Days to you; may the blessings of liberty and the spirit of resistance prevail in your thoughts and actions. Now, what was it you were searching for again?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Still breathing

I’ve a roof over my head again (thank you, KFHA). And dial-up again (thank you, Terry). I’m truly grateful for both.


Monday, March 12, 2007
Loved by the sun

Among mankind’s greatest follies are his vain attempts to regulate sunlight. Oh yes, I differ with our esteemed Dr. Franklin on this and side firmly with the commonsense of farmers. Rush hour in Ben’s time was a very different animal and he never needed contend with a tractor-trailer rig barreling down on him at fifty-five miles per hour or faster. Independent farmers still live and die by the sunlight. Their world revolves around sunrise and sunset, as does life in many “backward” communities. It’s a logical frugality we need give serious consideration once again.

Daylight Saving Time, Summer Time—whatever it’s called in your neck of the woods—is the creation of lawyers and tycoons with profitability the foremost consideration. In recent decades, the finger of blame for excessive energy use has been squarely pointed at the home and, for example, when the laundry was being tended. But the rolling blackouts suffered in California earlier this century told a different story. Something else was at fault, because the blackouts didn’t occur while Betsy Homemaker was toiling over the evening dishes. No, the blackouts came during business hours, when few were home and most were in office buildings lit up like the sun. I and no doubt many others watched the spikes: They came when offices opened, subsided briefly, then grew exponentially throughout the day until a shutdown was called. The PSAs never admonished anyone for leaving the conference room lights on, though.

Serious energy conservation should instead focus on reregulating business. Start with the Labor organizations, public and private, and get business to conform with sunlight—shorter work hours in winter months, longer in the summer, with beefier savings plans in summer to compensate for winter’s shorter hours for those without annual salaries. Easy enough to implement for independent outfits, but big business won’t voluntarily undertake such a sweeping change, the hit on their immediate balance sheet winning out over the long-term benefit.

Changing the clock is disorienting. Humans are habitual creatures and throwing our internal chronometers out of whack leads to mistakes, everything from forgetting to reset the alarm clock to being blinded stepping out of cavernous buildings to squinting into a darkness that didn’t coincide with quitting time the day before. As much as three weeks is needed to assimilate the time change. And in the meantime, many die accidental deaths partly or wholly attributable to these small mistakes.

People die.

No perceived “savings”—and it’s all perception; any spin doctor can skew the statistics to suit their ends—no savings is worth such a cost. It’s time to end the time changes.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Crap. My caps-lock key is sticking. And I’m reminded once again of why I’ve not yet upgraded this old Mac—a platinum PowerMac G3 Desktop with everything beyond maxed out. Money, for one thing, but more important is this behemoth of a keyboard, the original Apple Extended Keyboard. When it came out along with the Macintosh II, the asking price was $225. The thing is incredibly sturdy with rock-solid stability, good action and pleasant aural feedback (I surely miss the MacPlus keyboard), and the graduated rows anyone typing more than 35 WPM needs. And I’m down to my last backup.

The challenge is that newer Macs no longer support the Apple Desktop Bus. The last model providing ADB connections was the blue-and-white G3 minitower. Sure, I could use an ADB-to-USB converter, but that’s two more electronic connections with a bit of translation in the middle, more to go wrong.

So if you’re passing by and you happen to have a blue & white PowerMac G3 lying around gathering dust, or you find an Apple Extended Keyboard (not the Extended II or AppleDesign models), and are looking for a good home where those antiques might be properly appreciated, by all means, contact me.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007
So let’s talk politics

Had a nice conversation with my dad the other day. Talk turned to The Da Vinci Code, which I’d just finished reading. He’d seen the film (as had I; it didn’t stray at all far from the book save on a couple of minor points) and was telling me how someone he knows declined watching, due to the subject’s controversial nature.

A little background. All the time I was growing up, Dad was vocally antireligion and perhaps needless to say I was raised without a belief system other than vaguely Christian. That came later. Of my own volition, I researched the Christian denominations and decided upon Catholic as the least offensive of the lot, with the nicest rituals (comforting stuff). I also like going to the source when I can and Catholicism had been around longer than most others. And their message wasn’t centered around hellfire and vengeance, always a plus. Oh, it holds its share of blind zealotry, hypocrisy, flawed officials, and misguided policies, but they all do.

So Dad and I are chatting about the Bible, how it was written by mere men, how the film raised some interesting discussion topics. And he says something about the president, which I initially refrain from commenting on (got bit hard last time I talked about that warmongering moron, which should convey my opinion succinctly enough). But Dad volunteered a similar view and amiable discussion resumed.

The bit that set me writing here today was how little difference exists anymore between the predominant U.S. political parties. Sure, the Democrats are blindly handing out fishes and bemoaning their poor constituents who can’t think for themselves, all the while the Republicans are screaming at the same sorry souls to pick up a damned fishing pole (the lazy bastards), though providing not even a blueprint, but that’s about all that separates the two parties these days. Both are infested with greed, for power and money, brown-nosing corporate cash-cows to cling to the status quo and their welfare jobs (please, they’re paid by the State and that’s welfare). Indeed, one reason I could never back Clinton was the fact he’d been living off the public dole (and in public housing) for decades, most of his adult life, and had no idea what it took to put a roof over his own head. (Another was his proven inability to uphold an oath to God, much less country, but I digress.)

I told Dad about the party platform I’d written and he laughed, but I had. I’d once gotten so frustrated trying to register to vote—every bloody party in existence is built upon one absolute or another!—that I’d sat down and written my own alternative party platform. A couple of hours of that and I felt loads better. (There’s a handy template floating around the ’net if you’re moved to replicate the exercise.) My platform was based around no absolutes and focused on honor, individualism, the presumption of innocence, and the presumption of intellect. Liberty comes with risks and requires weighing those risks for yourself. Curtailing liberties in fear of possible risk is simply unconscionable.

It’s an interesting document. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll take it up again.

“The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.”
Thomas Jefferson
Letter to William S. Smith, from Paris, November 13, 1787.

Friday, December 22, 2006
Happiest holidays

To those passing through, I extend warm greetings of the season. Life is a song composed of fleeting moments. May the stanza this season pens cradle many bright codas and pastoral themes you’ll cherish for years to come.



Sunday, December 3, 2006
Maudlin days

December is my least favorite month of the year. It’s a tar pit. Watching the oily rainbows slither across the surface may fascinate for a time, but with undeniable regularity noxious gases distend the elastic plane and burst, leaving you gagging for purer air.

December is a month of death, fraught with nostalgia and regret. The snowy icing I’m seeing firsthand for the first time this year is sparkling, blinding, and yet a frigid wet blanket still, fetid with rancid oils—dog or cat, horse or human.

Of the forty-some Decembers I can recall, not one burbles to the surface unadulterated by regret. That’s not to say some weren’t good, fulfilling seasons, no. One in particular stands out.

The month before my daughter’s birth was the fullest holiday season I’ve ever known....

Update, Friday, December 22, 2006. Sorry, never finished that thought. T’was a dark day, indeed.

In a nutshell, the holiday I spoke of I was engaged to a lovely man, Kenneth Russell Lewis. Yes, alas, “the one that got away.”

Ken, how’s Tiff, how’s life? How do the new Bond DVD packages measure up? What’s your take on the ViewAskewniverse? I’d love to hear from you. Ah, if I knew then what I know now.

Anyway. That season we were running around like crazy people, hitting his family and mine, strewn all across Southern California, nearly “from Point Conception to the Mexican border,” as the forecasters liked to say. Exhausted most of the time, but damn, what a good time.


Friday, December 1, 2006
Subjunctive moodiness

It began to bug me. I’d be merrily reading along in the latest Robert Jordan novel (as an example) and a phrase such as, “If I were the Dragon Reborn,” would jar me straight out of the story. Why should the humble prefatories if and as if miraculously transform a singular entity into the exalted ranks of plurality? Being devoid of college education, I bravely set out alone into the wilds of academia on a search for truth and, failing that, knowledge.

I found my first clue in the hallowed halls of the Chicago Manual of Style, where one of its editors, in a monthly Q&A mailing, bemoaned an oft-untaught oddity, subjunctive mood.

Why mood, I wondered. Why not tense? I pored over their database—my copy of CMOS is a Fourteenth Edition, so I haven’t the benefit of the Fifteenth Edition’s dissertation on this obscure grammatical mood—and after many comparisons came to the conclusion that subjunctive mood has little place in fiction, short of a character’s academic pursuits. (In support of this conclusion, I’ve inserted a new quotation, below.) Subjunctive is subjective, and in a work of fiction the author alone deems what is, or is not, possible.

The CMOS is a valuable tool for any writer, but this reference work remains a style guide for a university press and has decided limitations outside that arena, namely in the made-up worlds we authors birth behind our very eyes.

Intrigued? Skeptical? Wikipedia offers an excellent launch pad for further exploration. Understand the entry, I say, and understand the universe. (God bless you, Mr. Adams. How’s lunch?)

“With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.”
Ross Callon
IOOF; Request for Comments: 1925, April 1, 1996.

Thursday, October 26, 2006
Divisadero Street revisited

Gack, spent the last few days revisiting my Divisadero Street site, my oldest web page. Did a good bit more clean-up, but there’s still a boat-load of archaic HTML left to weed out, mostly old format-related drivel I (someday) need to replace with a well-behaved stylesheet. One step at a time, eh?

Most of my attention was focused on my trio of Louis stories, however. Yanked the God-awful frames (yes, yes; high time) and brought every one of over two dozen files into W3C-compliance. Developed the stylesheet, remolded the old HTML into pristine, concise XHTML, and on and on. Edit, edit, edit; test, test, test.

Long overdue, certainly. I’d promised another webmeister that I’d get around to it shortly—back in 2002. Shame on me, indeed, but better late than never, I suppose. And maybe now my beloved Louis stories will finally take their rightful place in the legendary, die-hard Forbidden Archives. Mine is still the best vampire-related spec fiction ever written, I don’t mind saying, though I had the dickens of a time keeping my hands off the texts. A writer forever edits.


Monday, October 2, 2006
Award-winning writer

Mmm, I like the sound of that: Award-winning writer.

The folks at GameFAQs updated their Features page and my Okage walkthrough is a FAQ of the Month winner for July 2006. The award? A wee bit of acclaim, and a $50 gift certificate with an on-line merchant. Still awaiting official notification of the award, however.

In truth, I’ve been able to label my writing as “award winning” since June 1998. But having a story judged as Spec of the Month is a dubious honor, as most speculative fiction isn’t worth printing. Mine was, but I’m the exception.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Okage FAQ goes final

Yay! It’s finished. The final release of my FAQ & Walkthrough for Okage: Shadow King has been uploaded and accepted. Some mystery bits I had planned to leave dangling, I was able to address at the last minute thanks to a friend’s son, who let me borrow his copy of Action Replay MAX.

Now I can concentrate on the Compatibility Gift Scene Scripts guide.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What did they say? “Not a cheat.”

I rewrote it, pointed out how it matched their description word-for-word, asked for assistance in what I overlooked, but no help was forthcoming. Odd.

Anyway, the glitch is documented in my guide, so players can find out about it, just not as easily. C’est la vie.


Monday, August 28, 2006
New Okage FAQ revision

Just posted a new rev of my FAQ & Walkthrough for Okage: Shadow King, a PlayStation®2 game. (Also stored locally.) The GameFAQs staff accepted the update in mere minutes, but they rejected a cheat for the same game that I’d submitted yesterday. Their reason? “Not a cheat.” Argh. So I’ve rewritten it, included a blunt 2 × 4 to pound home the point that it is a glitch in the game, and resubmitted. Let’s see what they say to that.

The walkthrough is nearly complete, thank goodness. One obscure bit of info is still missing, and in retrieving the missing text from one more playthrough, I’ll be only one bit of info short of a second Okage guide—a compilation of scripts for each of the compatibility gift scenes. Then they’ll be in trouble, because with two guides under my belt I’ll finally be able to vote on other contributors’ guides. Mwa-ha-ha-ha!


Thursday, August 24, 2006
A few refinements

Tweaked the format a little. Added the Jefferson quotation, below, perhaps my favorite. The entire letter is a gem, and it’s difficult to hold off “fixing” what look like typoes. For the record, however, I prefer inalienable to unalienable, so the text remains as-written and unfettered by my modern sensibilities.

Admittedly the man fascinates me. I think he’d at once be both under- and overwhelming—just a farmer one moment, some profound sentiment escaping him the next. Books and macaroni and slaves. Would freeing the latter have cost him everything, in the economy of the times? Was surmounting the challenge ever a possibility or did he only tilt at windmills? I wonder.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Setting the stage, lighting the lights

Okay, the number one thing—aspect, whatever—I loathe in existing “blog” offerings is that your hard-wrought text sits on someone else’s server. Other than doing a Save As in your browser, you have almost no control over its safekeeping. What if their server fries, or the service goes belly-up? And what are they doing with your text anyway?

Secondmost disliked feature? Loss of copyright. Some of those Terms of Service (ToS) agreements strip you of your copyrights. Well, no thank you; bugger off; not clicking Agree today.

So rather than settling for less, I’ve set up my own blogging. Imagine that. Me, I can type HTML tags and entities in my sleep—yes, I do realize not everyone can—so once the format had been honed, I now need only copy the new-entry template (encased in comment tags; see Page Source), update the date placeholders, and type away. Easy peasey.

Ah, yes. From the pull-quotes I’ve selected, you might anticipate lively political debate. I don’t recommend holding your breath in that regard. Oh, I may rant and rave now and again, but my selections only voice a few indelible thoughts of which I—and a conscientious society—should never lose sight. We hold these truths to be self-evident...but an occasional reminder couldn’t hurt.

“Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”
Edmund Burke
Speech to the electors of Bristol, November 3, 1774.


“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)
1694–1778; French philosopher, author.


Have something to say? Well, whether I’ve sparked agreement or struck a nerve, you want to correct an error or pinch my code, or somehow you suddenly believe we’re kindred souls, you’re welcome to send along your comments.

Use the feedback form, but please, do include your real e-mail address. Should your comments warrant discussion—and granted, most feedback doesn’t—I’d appreciate the option to respond. I may selectively quote from correspondence from time to time, if I’m so moved, but honoring the strictures of “fair use,” of course.

“What country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”
Thomas Jefferson
Letter to William S. Smith, from Paris, November 13, 1787.

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