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Nov 01, 2003

Novel In November

[Link found via Three Worlds]

There's an online project facilitating the kick in the ass it takes to get a novel started. In fact not only does NaNoWriMo help you get started, but it sets the goal of finishing the entire thing in a month. By the way that's writing a 50,000 word novel in a month, not reading one.

From the website:

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over talent and craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

Sounds right up my alley, because you know the great American novel is somewhere in my hindered spirit, somewhere in there next to all the cliches. I set up another blog to document how far I get: Carey Armstrong's Head First. (Carey Armstrong is a name I made up a while ago.)

A word of warning: the NaNoWriMo site is extremely slow and buggy. Maybe because as of this morning when I checked there were already 21,500 people signed up.

11:50 PM in Experimental Writing, When the Web Works | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nov 02, 2003

WordCounter

I've noticed for some time now that I use the word "apparently" a lot. Apparently this would imply that I find the obvious ubiquitous. My over use of certain words probably says 2 things about me: first, that my vocabulary is apparently limited and second, that I'm probably projecting certain attitudes through the over use of these words. Well, thanks to WordCounter I can now get stats on my most commonly used words. Its a .cgi script that allows you to paste text in a text field and then shows you the frequency of specific words in that passage.

This is how I found out that in the month of September I used the word "really" 11 times in posts on this blog. There's got to be another word to express that which is in accordance with truth or the factual.

02:35 AM in When the Web Works | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Word Counter (freeware for OSX)

Here is another kind of word counter. It is a small Aqua based app for OSX that gives you a word and character count when you enter text into its text field. The aptly named Word Counter is freeware, but you might want to send the guy something (if you trust PayPal) or at least drop him a note. Or an iTune, since he has the good sense to be using a Mac.

03:25 AM in When the Web Works | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Me(me) Too!

This is from a link on Daily Kos I found via Eat Your Vegetables. Daily Kos is asking that this excerpt be disseminated:

Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz spoke at Georgetown University on Friday and took questions.

Q: Hi, Mr. Wolfowitz. My name is Ruthy Coffman. I think I speak for many of us here when I say that your policies are deplorable. They're responsible for the deaths of innocents and the disintegration of American civil liberties. [Applause]

We are tired, Secretary Wolfowitz, of being feared and hated by the world. We are tired of watching Americans and Iraqis die, and international institutions cry out in anger against us. We are simply tired of your policies. We hate them, and we will never stop opposing them. We will never tire or falter in our search for justice. And in the name of this ideal and the ideal of freedom, we assembled a message for you that was taken away from us and that message says that the killing of innocents is not the solution, but rather the problem. Thank you. [Applause and jeers]

Wolfowitz: I have to infer from that that you would be happier if Saddam Hussein were still in power. [Applause]

***snip***

Q: I'd just like to say that people like Ruthy and myself have always opposed Saddam Hussein, especially when Saddam Hussein was being funded by the United States throughout the '80s. And -- [Applause] And after the killings of the Kurds when the United States increased aid to Iraq. We were there opposing him as well. People like us were there. We are for democracy. And I have a question.

What do you plan to do when Bush is defeated in 2004 and you will no longer have the power to push forward the project for New American Century's policy of American military and economic dominance over the people of the world? [Applause]

Wolfowitz: I don't know if it was just Freudian or you intended to say it that way, but you said you opposed Saddam Hussein especially when the United States supported him.

It seems to me that the north star of your comment is that you dislike this country and its policies. [Applause]

And it seems to me a time to have supported the United States and to push the United States harder was in 1991 when Saddam Hussein was slaughtering those innocents so viciously.

I find this kind of rhetoric insulting, as I'm sure anyone (left, right, green or neutral) would, and it seriously angers me.

Last winter I had spent an inordinate amount of time reading about the impending war, and had become increasingly depressed due to the rhetoric. Then, as misfortune would have it, less than two weeks before the war broke one of my best childhood friends who had become a cop was shot and killed in the line of duty. It was as though the biggest injustices of the World had lined up to test my fortitude, as I saw the impetuses of these two events as related. It had to do with greed, arrogance, intolerance, and deceit.

Also see RevSpork's recent post about deceit. He offers that there is a ground swell of us who are tired of all the bullshit and about to find the strength to take action. He may be right, as many of us are also finding we only have one collective nerve left.

03:24 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nov 05, 2003

Gee my life's a funny thing

the other day i passed by a restaurant called American Grill and i thought about that scene in the movie Silence of the Lambs when the girl is driving home at 2:30 in the morning on the street by herself with the radio cranked up and she's singing Tom Petty's American Girl on the top of her lungs. there is a store in chicago called American Girl where mothers with too much money buy their daughters little plastic people who get wardrobes that are more expensive then mine. the other day i got a coupon in the mail for a new chain of hair salons aimed at men called American Male. kind of like a Queer Eye for the Supercuts guy. i read in this month's Esquire that every minute 315,432 american males light up a cigarette which is about the time it takes to read this. november 20 is the Great American Smoke Out which means its a day to not smoke, and not as some might think a day to "smoke out". the most remarkable thing about the book American Psycho is that the publisher was forced to promote Ellis' brute pornographic novel as a work of genius so that it would sell. i'm sure they hated it and he must have been all like "screw you guys, i already cashed the advance. fuckers." They pulled in just behind the bridge He lays her down, he frowns "Gee my life's a funny thing, am I still too young?" He kissed her then and there She took his ring, took his babies It took him minutes, took her nowhere Heaven knows, she'd have taken anything...

12:08 AM in a brown paper bag | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Nov 10, 2003

All Apologies

Sorry I've haven't posted in a few days. Also, sorry for saying "sorry" as I promised myself I would never apologize for not posting, the way that some people do feeling obligated to blog everyday since they've made the commitment to blog in the first place. And so I apologize for judging those of you who have apologized in the past for not posting. So, sorry.

A guy I used to work with had an idea. It was to be a second hand clothes store that only sold saris. He was going to call it, "Whose Sari Now?" *burr-rump-pump*.

I guess I should probably apologize now for getting that song stuck in your head now. I'm sorry. Maybe this will help...

By the account of EB there was apparently a stunning and beautiful eclipse tonight. Before you start singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (as if you didn't hear that song enough on the first American Idol) let me finish. I can't see the moon or stars from here in the city because of all the light pollution and glare, and its unfortunate to have missed that. Out my bedroom window the brightest thing I can see is the glowing red Marriott sign. Anyway, I do like the Moon and if you like the Moon too you should visit this site. Its got a song on it that is sure to get stuck in your head, erasing all other songs that might be there at the moment. [Its a Flash 6 site that requires the plug-in and might take a little while to download depending on your connection speed. Also, be aware that it contains goofy audio that your cube neighbors may not appreciate depending on their proximity and sense of humor, or lack thereof.] If the song gets stuck in your head and you find it annoying, sorry.

Lastly tonight, before I have to wake up in less than 6 hours, I wanted to point out another TypePad blog named Carried Away. Other than content the difference between mines and his is that mines is spelled with lower case initials and his with caps. There's also a movie named Carried Away that I wasn't asked to be in. Maybe I'll see it someday anyway. Also a fine foods store, a children's book, and a romance novel by someone who has written a shit load of romance novels. I'm still kicking all their asses on Google though. Sorry other carriedaways.

12:36 AM in a brown paper bag | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Nov 14, 2003

TIME Magazine: Coolest Inventions 2003, Apple Music Store

TIME Magazine: Coolest Inventions 2003, Apple Music Store

I haven't but scanned the article yet, however, I think this is pretty newsworthy. Apple's iTMS has been named "Invention of the Year" by Time magazine. When you consider the magazines ties to AOL this makes for interesting implications. (What those might be I'm not sure yet as I haven't had time to create a new consipracy. *Bueller?*)

From the article:

Jobs has one more reason not to be concerned about the competition. "The dirty little secret of all this is there's no way to make money on these stores," he says. For every 99¢ Apple gets from your credit card, 65¢ goes straight to the music label. Another quarter or so gets eaten up by distribution costs. At most, Jobs is left with a dime per track, so even $500 million in annual sales would add up to a paltry $50 million profit. Why even bother? "Because we're selling iPods," Jobs says, grinning.

The article goes on to say that Apple makes a $175 profit for each $499 iPod sold.

06:26 AM in When the Web Works | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Nov 16, 2003

Some Problems Are Easier To Solve Than Others

Of the 99 problems in my life that need to be solved this one seems the least worthy of writing about. Its probably the easiest to solve and maybe that's why I'm writing. Maybe this is just an attempt to put off dealing with the rest of them.

I'm about to leave the house and take care of a 2 year old nuisance. That is to say a problem that has been plaguing my life for 2 years, and not a 2-year old that may be construed as a nuisance.

A couple of years ago I noticed I only own 3 spoons. I had to learn to mix the sugar and milk in my morning coffee with a fork 5 days out 7, because my life is far to busy to take care of trivial matters like washing the dishes more than once a week. However clever this may seem there is no practical way, at least none that I'm aware of, to eat soup or cereal with milk using a fork. You can eat Snak-Pak Pudding with a fork though. You can even eat ice cream with a fork, but not liquid based foods.

You might find it impressive that as a single male my kitchen utensils include a whisk, a bread knife, and 3 different rice paddles. I just wanted to mention this in case you thought I was some kind of anti-consumer making an anti-consumerist statement about material possessions, my not having enough spoons. That wouldn't be true. Over the last week I've convinced myself that I not only want, but need this camera, and now convinced, I'm about ready to pull the trigger.

So last night I'm cooking one of the few things I know how to cook, a big bowl of cereal, when I notice that I only have 2 spoons. What happened to the third one? I don't know where they go, these spoons. I sat and wondered about that for a while. After half an hour I realized where they go and how they get there isn't really important and the whole problem, this problem that has been a major bane of my lifestyle, a lifestyle that on the surface seems together and therefore enviable to most, could be solved simply and effectively by buying more spoons. If I do this, I'm thinking now, my life will seem even more together than it already is and thus more enviable. My daily walk through the city at morning and night is sure to show a new found confidence. My stride will proclaim to other lesser people that mine's is a life of purpose and achievement.

And so this is what I shall do right now: I will go to Bed, Bath and Beyond right now and head for the Beyond section and I will buy new spoons, and when I'm done I will walk home triumphant carrying away a bag embolden with the Bed, Bath and Beyond logo, conspicuous to everyone, obvious to everyone that I am a person who has recently upgraded my life to one not only of utility, but also stylishness. People should be, will be, in awe. I will be dandy and at last the spoon problem will be crossed off my list.

(I should stop here and point out that if the effacing sarcasm and pseudo self-congratulatory tone of retelling even the most mundane event rings a bell its because I've been reading Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius for the last couple weeks. [see also; Eggers Interview] I'm really not at all together. I don't even know how to use commas or hyphens properly. I was just trying something.)

This has been an installment of Up To the Minute Minutia.

01:18 PM in Experimental Writing | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Nov 20, 2003

Random Ruthy

I got this oddball, random email the other day...

--------------------------

From: Priya Nowrangi
Date: Mon Nov 17, 2003 11:21:58 AM America/Chicago
To: carriedaway
Subject: who is Ruthy?

i can't believe who amazing familiar you are to me??

i know that sounds out of no where??

but did you love her?

thanks,
priya

--------------------------

... and I have no idea what it means.

06:27 AM in a brown paper bag | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Nov 22, 2003

The Other Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys

The lame thing is the band now tours, sans-Jello Biafra, as "The DK Kennedys". Isn't that redundant, "The 'Dead Kennedys' Kennedys"?

(You can still get all their old catalog on vinyl)

08:24 AM in Art, Music, etc... | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack