Archive for August, 2004

And the loser is…

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

Weather of the day: The Perseids (, but I’ve got clouds.
Contest of the day: Die J/C Die is open for voting once again.

I’d say it’s an honor just to be nominated, but since self-nomination was allowed I can’t even go that far. Let’s say, it’s an honor not to have nominated myself for the 2004 Stargate SG-1 Fan Awards.

I can’t really complain about my failure to place; I didn’t read or vote because I was out of town during the duration. I don’t know what the fic was like. But cgb thinks it was a wash and I respect her opinion. I may never know whether the best ficcers won, and I’ll probably be happier that way.

I can complain, however, that I got 1500 hits directly from the Awards site during the course of reading and voting, and not a single person sent feedback. I admit that due to technical difficulties the feedback form was not linked from the stories at the time, but my email address was on every single story. Does no one in this fandom send feedback?

Fortunately, I’m not in it for the feedback. Three “new” Stargate drabbles are up. I actually wrote them before I went away (thus the June dates on them), but I’m just putting them up now. The betas are in no way responsible for my being too lazy to polish them up. And the drabbles are: Marty’s Memories, on “Jolinar’s Memories,” Under the Ice for the 7th season cliffhanger, and yet another 2010 drabble, The Way the World Ends.

Season 5 is in the works, and I’m trying to catch up on the S3 and S4 episodes I skipped.

Tax Holiday

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

Don’t forget that this Saturday, August 14th, is going to be a tax holiday here in Taxachusetts. You can spend up to $2500 (under certain restrictions, such as not being a business).

This isn’t as big a deal as it sounds. Food (outside of restaurants) and clothing (priced under $175) aren’t taxable in Massachusetts. Since back-to-school shopping is mainly a clothing thing, the mobs at the mall this Saturday won’t be saving much. On the bright side, the Apple Stores in Cambridge and Chestnut Hill and at the Northshore Mall will be open 24 hours for the holiday.

Saturday is a good day to buy a Mac. Just don’t try to write it off as a business expense afterwards.

You may already be a downer…

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

According to the BBC, the mad cow fallout may only be beginning. The group of genetically susceptible humans may be much larger than initially believed, and slower to show symptoms of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Tengwar II

Monday, August 9th, 2004

I had an attack of Tengwar last week, so here’s a new link list, far beyond the dimensions of my previous Tengwar entry:

Here’s my ring inscription: Ring inscription in a transparent gif

One Thousandth Entry

Monday, August 9th, 2004

Awards of the day: the winners of the 2004 Stargate SG-1 Fan Awards have been announced.

I can’t believe I forgot to blog yesterday—maybe I’m all blogged out. Somewhere around here is my one thousandth entry, but it’s hard to tell exactly which one it was. If I had to guess I’d say my GRRM review was it, but this entry could also be the one.

Category Feeds

Saturday, August 7th, 2004

Joseph Scott has instructions for linking your WordPress category feeds. Mine weren’t working at first, until I realized that I needed to update my .htaccess file. The instructions are in the WP admin interface, under Options | Permalinks. I may hack the WP source for slightly nicer display of category feed links.

[Update:] There you go, category feed links, with an image. I changed the line in index.php that produces the category list to:

<?php wp_list_cats("sort_order=asc&sort_column=name
&feed=feed&feed_image=/jemimap/gifs/rss.gif"); ?>

(Note: The line is broken for display purposes only.) I think “feed” produces the RSS2 feed, though you can change it to get atom or a few other choices. The path is the url of the image, which is adapted from the graphicpush XML and RSS icons.

I also fixed my feeds to be full text. Apparently WP doesn’t generate both full text and summary feeds (although a full-text rss2 feed includes summaries anyway). The setting is under Options | Reading in the admin interface.


Friday, August 6th, 2004

GNXP Post of the Day: on James Hart—thanks to Seema for the link.

This is a Jemima link dump. Jemimas of the world, unite!

A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords

Thursday, August 5th, 2004

Security fence of the day: A question of neighbors

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin is another example of the super-novel form that I’ve tried to name before. Although I’m still fond of novelitis, it’s too derogatory for this particular example of Novels Gone Wild. Let’s go with n-ology, or nology, to indicate that I don’t know how many volumes A Song of Ice and Fire will be in the end.

So far it goes like this: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, with A Feast for Crows expected out in hardcover any month now (and the check is in the mail). Those are just the names you need to know to find the books; they aren’t particularly meaningful divisions of the greater nology. (I didn’t realize it was called A Song of Ice and Fire until I heard someone else refer to it that way.)

For example, in the prologue to A Game of Thrones, we see some nasty cold things, definitely folks on the Ice side of the nology. They play no further role in the novel, make a guest appearance or two in A Clash of Kings, and don’t really get freezing until A Storm of Swords. Although ostensibly main characters die in every installment, they don’t do it picturesquely at the end of the book. In fact, I couldn’t tell you now where one book ended and the next began. A Song of Ice and Fire is more of a medieval soap opera (in a good way) than a typical fantasy quest-for-plot-coupons. Each chapter is named for the character whose perspective it follows. By the time the nology is 8 or 10 books long, the surviving characters will have had a whole novel of their own, in installments.

Unlike the perpetually annoying Otherland books, each chapter of A Song of Ice and Fire is relatively freestanding and cliffhanger-free. The intervening chapters aren’t spoiled by the reader’s desperate need to find out whether so-and-so survived his or her last chapter.

So how can I mean “soap opera” in a good way? The chapters are episodic, so reading the books is like watching a TV show about GRRM’s fantasy world. That’s not surprising for someone who was in TV before he started this nology. What is strange is how well it works, whether because of or despite the structure I can’t really say. The characters, action, and background are all wonderful. I usually can’t bear fantasy, but I loved this one.

Nor am I alone in my appreciation. A Song of Ice and Fire was at the very top of The Internet Top 100 SF/Fantasy List the last time it was compiled, right above Lord of the Rings. If you only read one 3,000+ word nology this year, make it A Song of Ice and Fire. You won’t be sorry you stayed up all night reading.

When Search Engines Go Bad

Wednesday, August 4th, 2004

I really ought to check my web stats more often. In the past month I’ve gotten over 5,000 hits on an obscure and uninformative blog entry from 2002—just a quiz post, and the quiz results there all have broken images.

Somehow this entry has been climbing up in the results for “Quizilla” in Yahoo’s and therefore MSN’s search engines for at least six months now. Why my silly quiz results and not someone else’s? Why that particular entry and not any of the others in my extensive quiz category?

I’d suspect one of the new trends in comment spam and referral spam, but there’s no spam on that particular entry to explain it . I can only conclude that something is amiss in Yahoo’s search technology. I use Google, so I don’t see this kind of result weirdness, but maybe Yahoo/MS people are used to it.

Get a real search engine, people.

Quicker Mac

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004

Political link of the day: Major Geeks has a list of what Kerry has done for the space program.

Both Quicksilver and Calenderclock have been updated again since my previous entry. You can read more about Calendarclock at macosxhints.

Quicksilver now requires plug-ins for pretty much anything beyond simple Finder actions. I couldn’t find the plug-ins anywhere on the site (which as I’ve noted before is specially designed to discourage people from using Quicksilver), so I figured I’d have to live without them. Then I noticed that not even my Safari bookmark for the WordPress admin page (where I’m currently typing this blog entry) showed up. I couldn’t live without that (Quicksilver is highly addictive), so I went on another hunt for the missing modules.

They turned out to be hidden on the front page of the site, well below the download and forum links where there used to be nothing at all. Since my screen is only 12″, the plug-ins were off the page. I don’t even know why I scrolled down, but there they were! And now I have the Safari, iTunes, and Dictionary plug-ins. Quicksilver uses a proprietary scheme, qsinstall:, to do the plugin install, so it’s really easy once you know where they are.

Some other Mac links: