Archive for May, 2011

Let’s Just Run Away…

Here’s another one that goes back to high school for me.  I actually heard a different Soul Asylum song on the radio recently (to which my response was, “Wow, hadn’t heard THIS one in a while.”)  I think Grave Dancer’s Union was their “lightning in the bottle” album, where everything just clicked well.  At one time I had And The Horse They Rode In On but wasn’t as taken.  Their next two albums weren’t bad, either, but they also weren’t as commercial.

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Right Now….

Feeling a little nostalgic, here’s one that dates back to… high school for me.  Not the best adaption (it looks like it was captured from a TV), but if you want the “official” video, you can go here… Right Now.

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E-reading and the Original Text Markup

Touching on my earlier post about this year’s reading list, I feel compelled to add this little piece of information: most of the books on my list are traditional, but I am trying to increase my e-book reading.  Not that I am eschewing print for pixels, but it’s a form that I feel compelled to try my hand at consuming, and here’s why.
It’s portable.  A book is a book, no matter how small, but sometimes it’s not always feasible to tote the hardcopy around (and for some books it’s a lot less feasible than others).  It’s a lot lighter to carry one device with dozens of e-books loaded on it than to carry the actual print versions of the same books. 
Multiple platforms.   A print book is always on paper, whether it’s a hardcover or a paperback.  But an electronic book can be on a large-reading device (Kindle, Nook or iPad… or similar), or smaller devices like cell phones and iPods.  Most of them allow for cross-platform/device syncing so a piece can be started on device A, continued later on device B, etc.
The platform, though, could be an issue.  While the ability to change the font size is a great thing, I’m leery about doing too much reading through my cell phone or iPod, just because it feels like only reading a few lines before tapping for the next screen.  A few months ago, there was a part of me that was really diggin’ on a Nook (Color, most likely), but I opted to follow my friend Chris’s lead… sort of.
Forgive the slight disconnect in the flow here… I started drafting this one a while ago and am trying to finish it now… I really like bells and whistles – they are often what makes a device more useful.  That’s why I love me some iPad.  I can read, I can surf, and I can play games (and in a pinch, I can even do some real work, but the interface is a little weak for anything really typing-intensive).  And with the help of a couple of apps, I can have several bookstores (Amazon, B&N, iBooks, etc.) all on one device.  As much as I love the iBooks interface and the design (the rendering of page turns helps to still maintain the “book”  feel), it’s still a computer screen, and I can only stand staring at a computer screen for so long before the eyes go crossed (or the wrist starts to get cranky from the device weight).  I’ve gotten several files from Barnes & Noble, so Kindle wasn’t an option (epub files are more device friendly), and the more I thought about it the more I fell on Chris’s side.
He’s a bit of a purist: an e-reader should be an e-reader, without all of the extra bells and whistles.  No wi-fi.  No 3G.  No games.  And the more I thought about it, the more I found myself agreeing with the idea.  I had been considering a plain reader to tote to work (the iPad, while great, can be bulky if you’re trying to have it on AND work around it).  I had a rebate card that was needing to be used, and settled on a Sony PRS-350.  The only thing I can honestly say I’m not overly thrilled with is the lack of memory expansion (but with ~1.5 GB [formatted] memory, and the average ebook being 1MB or less, it’s not that big of a deal).  For the last month or so I’ve been quite happy with it.  I’ve toyed with resizing the text but still have it set for medium.
Which I think takes me back to where I was originally thinking… the text scaling is like that of HTML and heading sizes.  While you can change the size, it’s difficult (read: tedious) to mark up pages as a writer.  I’m thinking that my e-reading will be more for pleasure, and if I decide I find something I want to pick apart and see how it works I will find/make a dead-tree copy so I can bleed red & blue pen and a variety of highlighter colors over it.  In the original text markup style.


Quick drive-by and update

No… not quite lost, although I have been a bit swamped on some other projects.  Here’s a really quick recap of the recent past, and I promise to do some proper updating soon.  Oh, and about the videos… I’ve got those re-queued for several weeks to come.

In February, I submitted an abstract for WorldCon… in April I was notified it was accepted.  (In March, I presented a draft of the same paper for the Graduate Student Conference locally, to give myself a trial run in advance of the acceptance.)

At the end of May, I was part of the Graduate Student Reading experience for all of the graduating Creative Writing MA students.  Several of the audience members that were at the March conference were stoked about my WorldCon announcement.

I have applied for Viable Paradise for the fall.  Jury is still out on acceptance (they accept submissions until mid-June) so we shall see.

I will be going to see Uncle Orson in August, but only for the two day session.

I have been plotting my next stage of academic pursuits, pinning down which PhD programs I want to aim for… at the moment there’s one in the US and three in the UK, but we will see how that might change between now and the end of the summer.  My goal is to have most of my applying done or “almost” done by the end of August for 2012 admittance… wherever it may be.

I’ve finally started climbing out of the “post-hyperproductive-crash” that hit me after my last semester (from December) – when my two classes and thesis brain-fried me.  I’ve been kicking ideas around, but I’ve not been in a state of mind to try working with them until recently.  (Last time I was in a similar slump was right before the thesis, but before THAT my last similar creative funk was from about 2000-2007: a few blips on the radar, but it wasn’t as much of a priority for me then.)  I’m working on some plotting for 5-6 projects to see what strikes me as ready to run, including expanding three of the pieces I wrote for classes.

That’s all for now… more soon… really… there will be.

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