Posts concerning writing

2011 Goals

04:02 02 Jan 2011

My goals for 2011.

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2010 Goals Review

11:51 31 Dec 2010

I once again had eight goals for 2010, and it’s not too likely that any more of them will be accomplished before the end of the year.

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Favorite Posts of 2010

09:53 30 Dec 2010

My best posts this year.

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“Saeka and the Wraith I”

23:24 22 Nov 2010. Updated: 23:47 22 Jul 2014

Yikoon did not announce his presence, and his skill was sufficient to evade the wards set by the Temple Elders. He hid himself in disused spaces, and waited patiently before moving from one to another. For weeks he used his sorceries to blunt his hunger, and watched. Dedication to his goal kept him silent, observant, and still. Finally he had knowledge and confidence enough, and he made his way into the compound of the Temple’s child sorcerers.

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“The Walker”

22:50 09 Nov 2010
He walks empty streets
Dead streets.
Unnatural grace
An eerie precision
A killing touch.
No color
Persists once
He has passed.
Distant ringing
All the sound
In his wake.
The cadence
Of that awful stride
Is the end.
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Considerations for a Space Opera Setting: FTL Travel

23:37 04 Oct 2010. Updated: 00:47 05 Oct 2010

I recently had a chunk of inspiration hit me, and am considering a fairly large-scale science fiction project. It’s in a far-future, large-scale, “big SF” vein, also known as “space opera” (although that genre is rather loosely defined). I don’t think it’s in the same universe as my science fiction novel, although I might change my mind on that. In any case, I do want to go over the major factors that I think define a setting of that kind. The first one of these is the presence/absence/nature of faster-than-light travel.

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“Yellow, Red”

23:32 26 Sep 2010. Updated: 08:50 27 Sep 2010

Walking the night city. Do all cities share some quality that can be sensed when in them, or is it merely a dry definition? I think there’s something underneath that; as cityborn I like the notion that feeling it is in my blood, but this is questionable affectation.

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Facebook Hamlet

17:01 19 Sep 2010

Somewhat related to Friday’s post, I quite liked this rendition of Hamlet as a series of status updates.

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22:34 09 Sep 2010

Near the start of July I mentioned the idea of keeping a “gratitude journal”. I’ve been doing that, more or less, since then.

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Perfectionism is Hard

23:50 30 Aug 2010

I haven’t been that happy with my blog posts recently. It’s not that I think all of them are terrible, or that the quality suddenly dropped off a cliff, but I feel as if there’s been a decline. It’s tough to measure this, of course, with no clear criteria. But that I feel this way is indicative of some problem.

At the same time, I feel as if I haven’t been writing what I want to write, mainly because I’ve shied away from a lot of topics that I’ve wanted to write about.

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Three Routines

10:22 02 Aug 2010

I don’t tend to think of myself as a particularly disciplined or organized person, a view often at odds with how others perceive me, but I will admit to liking to organize and order things in specific ways. This may be related to my left-handedness, and/or to my attraction to precision (which attraction falls short of achieving precision, although I hope that in language I occasionally come close).

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How to Cheat in the Leaving Certificate on YouTube

21:03 05 Jul 2010. Updated: 21:39 06 Jul 2010

Some time ago I wrote a feature film with Graham Jones: How to Cheat in the Leaving Certificate, a heist movie about the Irish education system. It is now available on YouTube.

I’m leery of YouTube as a venue for feature films, since it’s geared much more towards short clips. On the other hand, if the film is insufficiently gripping, that’s down to mistakes we made.

The film has been in the news again recently, mentioned in stories concerning allegedly widespread cheating.

I’m amused that one of the primary funding sources for the film was the now-nationalized Anglo Irish Bank.

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Original Draft of The Empire Strikes Back

23:27 31 May 2010. Updated: 00:30 01 Jun 2010

Here’s a review of the original draft. It’s my favorite of the films, and finding out it was the least successful one made me sad. The original is interesting, although probably inferior to the final film—for example, giving Han a father (or any family) would have weakened his character.

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23:36 16 May 2010

After a highly enjoyable, productive, and extended period, it’s time for me to return to the world of paid work.

I’m quite happy with the things I’ve done during my time off. Many of them are important only to me, but then, it’s been my time off.

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Improving a Python Word Counting Function

13:33 29 Apr 2010

This post could be summarized as “regular expressions are a lot faster than naive for loops”.

I’ve been working on improving the script I use for live wordcount in Vim, partly for performance and partly so that I can package it up as a plugin and share it with other people. Along the way I’ve improved the speed of the script rather significantly, and will go through the key part of that change here.

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“Wandering Mind”

23:57 18 Apr 2010. Updated: 01:14 19 Apr 2010

The mind wanders around and around. It might be in a maze, for often the spaces look eerily familiar. The paths seem different, the distinction between path and destination murky.

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Refactoring, Geeky Enjoyment, and Readability

12:16 05 Apr 2010

Refactoring is rewriting source code while preserving the functionality of that code. I’m currently refactoring my Python script for Subversion status, because I want to experiment with sharing code on bitbucket and it seemed like a reasonable first project to put up there.

Some people hate refactoring, but I often enjoy it. I get a kick out of figuring out how to make code “better”, although that’s often a subjective judgment. In this case, when I opened up the script to have a look at it, I immediately saw a function that I knew I wanted to refactor. I’m amused by the enjoyment I derived from making the fairly simple change.

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11:56 01 Apr 2010

At the beginning of March I kicked off a roleplaying campaign, the first I’ve run since early 1995. The setting is essentially the one I laid out last year in my fantasy world sketch, which now as the name “Q’Rith”.

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2010 Goals: First Quarter Review

11:12 30 Mar 2010

Yes, clearly my progress (or lack thereof) needs quarterly reports. And here’s the first one for this year.

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Giles Bowkett on Finding New Programming Jobs

15:52 23 Mar 2010. Updated: 17:58 23 Mar 2010

It’s too long, it’s full of self-promotion, and really it’s an ad for a video he’s selling, but it’s entertaining and contains some good advice: “Programmers: What to do if You Get Fired”.

This might be the best line:

If you’re looking for a better job, writing an amazing resume is a good place to start. I don’t mean just a better resume; I mean a resume that makes people stop asking if they should hire you and start asking if they can afford you.

Annoyingly, I find myself tempted to buy that video after reading his post…

So far, his 2008 presentation at RubyFringe seems pretty entertaining too. Maybe you should watch it after you’ve updated your résumé.

Update: at the end of that presentation, he says “build something because you believe it should exist”, which I agree with 100%.

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@: A Triumph of Design

20:50 22 Mar 2010

The New York Museum of Modern Art has added the @ symbol to its architecture and design collection. Originating perhaps as a Latin abbreviation for “toward”, it showed up on one of the early Underwood typewriters (possibly the Underwood 1; it was definitely on the Underwood No. 5) and was used for “at the rate of”, which usage still survives.

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An Introduction to Roleplaying Games

23:56 21 Mar 2010. Updated: 21:32 19 Jul 2010

Today I ran for the second time the roleplaying one-shot I did in December, with a completely different group of players. Last time the new:experienced ratio among the players was 1:4, while this time it was 3:1 (also, last time the female:male ratio among the players was 2:3, while this time it was 3:1).

Because of the number of new players, I prepared a little introduction to roleplaying to give before starting play, and I thought that it was worth sharing more widely.

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“Let’s Enhance”

16:29 07 Mar 2010

A particularly inane trope:

In case the point isn’t crystal clear: you can’t do that. There are no image enhancement programs that let you know what the data missing at the point of capture is.

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