Saturday, November 27, 2010
"Wo-man, I'm like to sit down righ-chere in the middle of this aisle and go to sleep. You've had me up since two am."
"Oh suck it up you big wuss. I've sat up in a tree with you for eighteen hours straight. I don't wanna hear it."
That's why I go out on Black Friday.
It's all about the entertainment for me. Sure, I buy a few things. Some deals are just too good to pass up (like a copy of The Princess Bride for $2), but the real fun is meandering through the store and alternately watching a sleep-deprived shopper pulling the last portable DVD player off the shelf and my shopping partner, Patricia, happy-dancing over a Pink Floyd t-shirt in the right size.
I only see Patricia three or four times a year, and somehow, we always end up shopping. Well, she shops, and I mostly travel behind in her wake, awed at her ability to find a deal. We have a good time, though. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and neither of us take ourselves too seriously (as evidenced by the modeling we did in the dressing room of a department store).
We ninja'd through traffic, spent an inordinate amount of time in the bookstore, undressed a mannequin, tried unsuccessfully to tip the guy at Steak-n-Shake's drive thru, bought matching leopard-print sleep pants, and laughed uproariously...a lot. As entertainment goes, it was a lot of bang for my buck.
It beats the hell out of staring at football all day in a tryptophan coma...or sitting up in a tree for eighteen hours straight.
I hope your Thanksgiving was happy and your Black Friday shopping productive. :)
Thursday, November 25, 2010
I sometimes start a writing session by playing word association. I'll type a word, usually the topic I'm considering, and then I'll type whatever word jumps into my mind as a result. After a few minutes the random words get in line in my brain, and I'm in business.
This time, the words refused to form neat prosaic lines. I've learned that fighting the words is futile, so I let them have their way. As a writing exercise, it was fun, and I learned some new html code playing with the indentation. Enjoy.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Cooks Source Magazine, a for-profit publication, lifted a post from this writer's blog and printed it without her knowledge or permission. She contacted the magazine and got this response from the editor:
But honestly Monica, the web is considered "public domain" and you should be happy we just didn't "lift" your whole article and put someone else's name on it!
Wrong answer. Aside from the fact that lifting someone's writing and putting your name on it is plagiarism, my blog and everyone's blog is protected under copyright law. While most folks don't mind being quoted or linked...we do want readers...you may not take my writing and print it for profit without my permission.
Writers on the web are an interconnected bunch, and this gem of a response from Cooks Source bounced around from blog to blog, including John Scalzi's blog (one of my personal favs) which gets approximately 10,000 hits per day. Blog readers reported it to several watchdog organizations, and then it blew up on twitter.
@neilhimself (Neil Gaiman) retweeted it. He has 1.5 million followers.
People found the Cooks Source Facebook page and flamed it mercilessly. I'm sure they'll be taking that page down any moment now, but check it out if it's still there. Wow...just wow...
Edward Champion did some investigating and discovered that Cooks Source has made a fine living reprinting content from the Internet without permission.
Any money Cooks Source might have saved by stealing from mostly unknown writers will probably now be paid ten thousand times over to lawyers. Honestly, after following this thread from link to link, I'll be surprised if they're still in business this time next month.
Never, ever piss off a writer.
Monday, November 1, 2010
- E-book sales comprise 9% of all trade book sales year-to-date in 2010, up from 3.3% in the same period in 2009.
- Between 2000 and 2009, four-year institutions of higher learning raised tuition an average of 46%.
- By the end of the day tomorrow, $3.7 billion will have been spent on campaign ads, up 75% from 2008.
- Almost 85% of people who snore exceed 38 decibels of sound, the equivalent of light highway traffic.
- The average American eats 10-12 pounds of chocolate per year.
Lord knows, I'm doing my part on that last one.
Recently, I've become fascinated with the statistics for my blog. Blogger tracks your page views by blog post, time of day, geographic place, referring URL's, and the search terms that got people there. Some of the statistics are illuminating, but most leave me bemused.
The United States is naturally the country in which most people view my blog, but just this week alone I had 19 views from the Netherlands and 14 views from Russia. Really? What am I saying that interests the Dutch? Or the Russians? I even had four views from Slovenia. Wow...
I normally have the biggest viewing spikes when I put up a new post which makes sense, right? But occasionally, I get these crazy spikes on old posts. My post on Self Doubt contains a Diana Ross video. 457 people viewed that one in one day, a month after the original post. My readership is modest, so I'm attributing that spike to Diana and not my own words of wisdom.
Posts which share titles with something more famous get lots of views as well. My Invictus post has been very popular, although I suspect some folks are disappointed when they find me instead of Matt Damon. Expectation is the Root of all Heartache has also gotten mad hits. Again, some poor high school student looking for help with his English homework is probably frustrated when he finds me.
Embedded pictures lead people to me. Twice, I have included pictures of buffalo in my posts. (Here and here.) Both have brought people my way. I wonder if any of them stayed after looking at my buffalo?
The most entertaining statistic is the list of most popular search terms which connected people with my blog. My name is at the top of that list...no big surprise...but once you get past the obvious, I find myself in WTF country. Just this week, people found me by googling "he makes my cherry pop" and "Jazzercise with colostomy." Last month, someone used "I never sit on a toilet." Granted, I have actually used the words "he makes my cherry pop" and "I never sit on a toilet," but why would you google those phrases? I've used "Jazzercise" multiple times, but this is the first time the word "colostomy" has graced my blog.
The big dumb eighth grader inside of me wants to let loose a string of random, unrelated words just to see what kind of bizarre Slovenian (no disrespect to Slovenians intended, it's just...Slovenia?) traffic I get. So here goes...
I would expect Dutch apple pie and Russian dressing to make my cherry pop, but expectation is the root of all heartache. Mark Twain knows I don't wear a colostomy bag, even if I never sit on a toilet. It's all lies, damn lies, and well, you know the rest...
I am the master of my fate, Diana Ross, I am the captain of my soul.