Category Archives: Writing

Eleven Years

One: OTOH, holy cheeseburger with onion rings, it’s this blog’s Eleven Year Anniversary. Not to mention, just last week, the nine-year anniversary of retiring from the rat race. Perhaps it’s because Summer Solstice has passed (and now the light is dying), or maybe that my mom would have been 98 (the day after Tau Day), but I find myself more reflective and thoughtful at this mid-year turning than I do, despite the influence of Janus, at New Year’s.

Other: OTOH, I’m steeped in ennui and have never felt less like writing a blog post. The question is whether the pressure of the anniversary overcomes the desire to putter, read, or nap. I’m writing this (and presumably you’re reading it), so it looks like the day won over the mood.

So… Happy Something day. Here’s a standard disgruntled anniversary ramble…

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So Now It’s 2022

That’s weird to me. I’m from the 1950s and can measure my life in scores of years (three-and-mumble). I was an avid science fiction reader by the 1960s, so recall an era where we wondered if the year 1984, let alone 2001, would be anything like the famous book.

As it turned out, in both cases: No. Respectively fortunate and unfortunate. The future turned out less extreme (but no less “interesting”). Both demonstrate the difficulty of prediction, a problem science fiction illustrates more often than not.

That said, the other face of Janus looks forward…

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WP: Classic Editor vs Reader

The post’s title has more the sense of Ali vs Foreman than of Coke vs Pepsi. True, both are contests, but the the latter is a selection — the former is a fight. This post is about a major problem some posts created using the Classic Editor have when displayed in the WordPress Reader.

Specifically, breaks between paragraphs are lost. In some cases an entire post becomes one long paragraph. The only breaks come from the various HTML block elements that force paragraph breaks. (Things like horizontal rules, large images, or tables.)

Here I’ll explain what’s going on and how to get your paragraphs back.

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The Truth About Gourdians

Here’s a blast from the past, a re-post (of a re-post) of a post I wrote many years ago on another platform. (Long, long ago on a blog far, far away.) Creative writing isn’t really my thing, but I don’t hate how this turned out. I originally posted it here in 2011, and re-cycled it in 2012, 2013, and 2014. I meant to do it every year but forgot. Since it’s been a while, I thought I’d give it another go.

The original writing exercise was to write a short piece from the point of view of a pumpkin. The exercise was given to us just before Halloween. (Same guy who gave us an exercise to write a piece from the point of view of our car.)

Most writers took the tack that pumpkins suffered horribly at this time of year. Naturally, I took a different tack, and so I give you…

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Follower Purge!

“Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!”

Attention All Readers: Later this month (or maybe even sometime next) I’m doing a purge of Followers that, as far as I can tell, have never been seen since they followed this blog.

I’m keeping anyone I recognize from recent or past conversations (or repeat Likes), either on this blog or elsewhere. (Obviously I’ll keep my lurking IRL friends; y’all are safe from the Purging Angel.)

Point is, if you’ve been silently lurking, and don’t want to get purged, now would be a good time to make your presence known!


Ten Years Blog

So, ten years. Over a thousand posts (1,142). Over a million words (1,381,652). Many different topics, from science fiction to science physics — those two representing both a key duality and a crucial commonality in my worldview.

What they have in common is the science — a fundamental aspect of my life almost from day one (My first two words were “star” and “light” — a prescience that both amazes and amuses me.) The duality is between fiction and physics — more generally between art and the aforementioned science. While this aspect goes back only to high school, it has become just as fundamental. The Yin-Yang of physics and humanity.

Throw in a love of books, TV shows, and movies, plus a fascination with mathematics, computers, and human consciousness, and this blog has had a lot of ground to cover. Arguably too much.

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Agatha Christie

Shakespeare talked about the ages of man, and it’s well known that age seems to revert us to our youth. The last handful of years that’s been true for me with regard to mystery authors. For the first time in many decades I’m reading (or rather re-reading) Dorothy L. Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey), Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe), and others from my past.

This month I’ve been enjoying Agatha Christie and her Hercule Poirot novels. I got into them after finishing a collection of 51 short stories starring her famous Belgian detective (with his “egg-shaped head” and giant mustaches). Reading those put me in the mood to revisit the novels.

And I must say I’ve been thoroughly enjoying them!

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Looking Forward

I was asked why post #1000 looked backward rather than forward. It’s a fair question; I’m generally not one for looking back. I’m not terribly attached to the past (certainly not bound by it), but that doesn’t mean I completely ignore it. (History repeats, in part, because we don’t learn from it.)

As with years, counting posts begins with 1, so the odometer number 1000 is the end of a count sequence (one-thousand posts), which makes looking back seem fitting. That post was also a blog birthday so all the more reason to review.

This post, #1001, is the first post of the next thousand.

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Number Nine

1000 posts posted!

July the 4th means it’s another Blog Birthday. 9 years of con carne (albeit one of them vegan) and 999 posts (not including this). It’s numerically kinda cool because the arithmetic mean is 111, another triple number. A more accurate average is around 125 posts per year, since I was on hiatus for all of 2017 (to recover from the shock of 2016).

There is also that 999 is what I call an odometer number, but that might take some explaining. Metaphorically, it’s the kind of number that makes you look at your odometer and say, “Hey! Check it out!”

Even little 9, as the last single digit, has some cool properties.

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Do You Darmok?

Okay, here’s one that’s been sitting in my Drafts folder since 2012. The last time I even edited it was back in 2016. (Wow. Four years ago already?) The problem has been turning it into a post. At this point it’s like a lazy twenty-year-old who won’t move outta the house.

If you were a serious fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the post’s title might ring a bell. It involves an episode with a very interesting idea about a communication problem between different species despite a “universal translator” that makes the words clear.

It isn’t a matter of language, but of metaphor.

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