Procrastination Station - Sunday Edition

Procrastination is not just a weekday sport, you know. Some of the best time wasting is done on Saturday and Sunday, when you have the perfectly legitimate excuse of "hey, it's the weekend, so screw it." Also, kids are out of school and around on the weekends, and, well, that speaks for itself. They're only little so long...

At any rate, here are a few things to keep you occupied. Enjoy the afternoon...

The Universe Makes a Lot of Gas - Why science is important, from the perspective of a lab secretary. Yeah for cool people!

Why does it seem like so many writers are cat people? "Perhaps cats are important totem animals for writers. Perhaps writers hope their independence and mystique will rub off on them, and seek to emulate the slightly magical moggy's feigned disinterest when those bad reviews roll in."

The First Pictures of New Planets. Just imagine the possibilities.

Stephen Hawking calls for Moon & Mars colonies. Yep. What he said. Onward and Upward.

The ACLU and Brave New Foundation have started a petition to ask President-Elect Obama to close Gitmo and end Military Commissions. Any legitimate use the place ever had has been permanently overshadowed by the horrors that occurred there. As a nation we need to send the signal that we respect human rights again.

The Edge of the American West with a moving post about The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana

16 November 2008

Procrastination Station - Holy Crap I'm Behind Edition

Beautiful day here today - after weeks and weeks of endless blue sky and dry as hell weather, we are finally in the midst of a significant rain event. Now, don't get me wrong, I love cool, crisp, sunny fall weather. But give me a break. I love the rain as well, and it's been far too long...

Terribly behind on all the work I have to do. NaNo is suffering, so I'll have to put in a long, long day to try and catch up. I didn't get anything done yesterday except for grocery shopping, so today is nose to the grindstone. That goes for procrastinating too - not nearly enough yesterday - I didn't even get to make this post. As a result, I have a long list for you today, so sit down, push that stack of paperwork somewhere you can't see it, and enjoy.

First, on writing:
Writing Advice to My Younger Self - Matthew Cheney on chilling out and finding your voice.

Is NaNoWriMo a good way to motivate potential writers or a drag on everyone else who's "serious" about getting published? I think if your work is good enough you shouldn't give a damn.

Next, Science (And Politics):

World's Oldest Temple discovered in Turkey. This makes the alternate-universe-archeologist me just tingle with delight. Unbelieveably cool.

The Phoenix Lander says goodnight. Thanks for all your hard work, little guy. Sleep well.

5 Myths About Recycling. Get off your butt and save the planet. It's worth a little extra time. Besides, you could be procrastinating while you sort that trash - it's a classic interpretation of the First Rule. (Do something else, anything else).

The story of a doctor who treated his patient's leukemia and ended up curing his AIDS. Genetic mutation as its most useful.

Do archeological treasures belong to the countries that occupy the sites, or to mankind as a whole? Curators and politicians throw down.

How do you know when you're dead? When God says you are, that's how. Of course, he never figured on life support...

Of course, if the LolCat of Death comes for a visit, was nice knowin' ya.

The attitudes toward science of the Republican vs. Democratic tickets. Oh sweet patootie I'm so glad Obama won.

And, finally, a few miscellaneous items thrown in for good measure:
The Canadians are proud of us. Now that's saying something. For the record, yes I do drink the kool-aid. Sorry, I'm a believer. I love America so much mainly because of the myth. It's what makes us always want to be better.

The men behind your favorite liquors. Wow, I thought a lot of these were made up.

An interview with the man who collects all things Aleister Crowley. Interesting, if creepy.

Last, but certainly not least, make chocolate cake for one in a mug. That's it. I can die now.

12 November 2008

Review: Descartes' Bones by Russell Shorto

Descartes’ Bones, by Russell Shorto, takes the reader on an interesting and compelling journey through 400 years of history in search of the true final resting place of Rene’ Descartes, the man arguably responsible for the advent of modern scientific inquiry. Told within the framework of the many travels of the great philosopher’s bones throughout Europe, from his death in Sweden in 1650 until his skull’s current resting place at the Museum of Man in Paris, Shorto recounts how his life and work have been interpreted throughout the centuries, engendering ideas that have shaped the very fabric of Western Civilization.

The author is one of those rare history writers who have a gift for making their subjects come alive. With wit and a keen ear for suspense a la Dan Brown, he traces the story of Descartes’ post mortem journey in such a way that keeps his reader both engaged and entertained. Shorto presents the past the way it should be – full of interesting characters and intriguing stories Great events like the French Revolution are illuminated as more than simply the sum of dry dates and dusty facts, but seminal events that happened within the context of continent-wide changes in the way mankind viewed himself and his place in the world. Through Shorto’s superb storytelling skills and his extensive historical knowledge, the reader comes away from this book with a good understanding along with a better appreciation of Descartes’ impact on his world and his continuing influence today.

11 November 2008

Procrastination Station - Monday Wake Up Call

Roughly over 3000 words on the novel this weekend, though I am still woefully behind. As soon as I finish this procrastination business, I'm unplugging from the net and going to work. Must...catch...up. Hopefully by the end of this week I'll be cruising along without a care in the world. Or not. The book is a big, fat, P.O.S. so far, but Chris Baty assures me that this is not only perfectly normal, it's expected. We'll see about that. Focusing on NOT focusing on how crappy it is has taken up as much energy as the actual writing. Hopefully, though, this experiment will teach me how to write a book. And if I can't make this one work, the experience of learning how will lead to bigger and better things.

In the meantime, come waste some precious daylight with me. Here are a few things that I found interesting this morning...

From 15 famously filthy people. All I can say about this one is...ugh.

Of course, this led me (naturally) to: 5 Famous Authors and Why They Were Perverts, followed shortly by 5 More Famous Authors That Were Perverts.

Letters From Johns and Letters From Working Girls - Projects by journalist Susannah Breslin giving an anonymous voice to those who work in and patronize the sex industry. Interesting stuff, not as cut and dried as many of us would believe.

Newly discovered differences between men and women. Interesting, but the article makes an excellent point - your grandmother could have told you most of this stuff.

The World's Biggest and Most Expensive Green Homes. Well, their hearts are in the right place...

An interview with author Gregory Maguire. I'm reading A Lion Among Men right now, and I'm loving it. His prose is absolutely magical and flawless. I wanna write like this when I grow up.

And finally, An Open Apology to Baby Boomers. My generation finally learns about the hope and optimism that comes from changing the world.

10 November 2008

Procrastination Station - Lazy Friday Edition

NaNoWriMo is going well, by all accounts. So far I'm only a day or so behind on my word count, a situation I'll hopefully rectify this weekend. Instead of posting my word counts here, I've added a handy dandy widget on the left sidebar that displays where I am. In any case, right now it's Friday, an approaching cold front is bringing in some beautiful rainy weather, and I don't want to do a damn thing. I will, mind you, but I don't want to. So get another cup of coffee and join me for a while - hell, all that work'll still be there later.

The sharpest picture of Jupiter ever taken from the ground, courtesy of Astronomy Picture of the Day. Very cool stuff.

A collection of political cartoons celebrating the historic election of Barack Obama. I have great respect for political cartoonists - they are the court jesters of our day, telling the king the truth while simultaneously making him smile. I don't normally link to my political blog here, but I've been collecting them the past few days.

How to make a budget, whoops, excuse me, a spending plan. Can semantics make a difference in how we handle our money?

Finally, ever wanted to be Ammish? If so, here's how. Oh come on now, admit it. You find those hats cool and you know it.

07 November 2008

Election Day

Today we have the chance to be part of history. Make your voice count - vote.

Yesterday's NaNoWriMo End of Day Word Count: 2371

04 November 2008


NaNoWriMo has officially kicked off, and I am once again making a stab at finishing my word count for the month. I've decided to name my project The Persistence of Vision, both because it underscores one of the major themes I've planned, and because, like this blog, it will be a reflection of focusing on the big picture instead of constantly bogging myself down in the details of my work. Details are for revisions. I have to think about the process now, not the result.

Unfortunately, due to familial obligations, I am already off to a late start. I'll be working nonstop to make up the difference though, and I'll post daily word counts here every morning. Now, onward and upward.

03 November 2008

Procrastination Station - Monday Edition

A quick one today, as unfortunately I don't have as much time as usual for putting off what needs doing. Gotta write, write, write. Never too busy to waste a few minutes though. Enjoy -

Blunders and Mistakes of Science and Engineering. Obviously written by one of the fold, but interesting, nonetheless.

Along the same lines, Top 10 Harmless Geek Pranks from Lifehacker. Although if someone pulled the Blue Screen of Death one on me, I'd probably go postal.

For the literary minded who like to mix pleasure with craziness, Casa di Libri, the House of Books.

Ever wonder how all that second cousin twice-removed business works? Check out the Relative Chart.

Finally, The Lost Years & Last Days of David Foster Wallace. A story that touched me both as a writer and as someone who has glimpsed the abyss. May he find peace.

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