I love this wordle summary of my twitter page

Click to embiggen.

Words Mean Things
Words Mean Things

Sums things up pretty well. “Adrift” is unfairly weighted, but aside from that? It’s a pretty fair impression of my daily life, honestly. In a hand-wavey kind of way.

Whatever. I like it.

Edit to add:

Here’s one that’s a little more accurate and less Adrift-tilted:


I’ve been Adrift for seven months

Almost eight months, actually. That’s how long I’ve been writing my twitter-based bit of serial fiction and collecting/archiving it over on the “Adrift” blog. That amounts to just a bit over 200 posts, more than a few shootings, several deaths, lots of questions of loyalty and trust, one bloody zero-g amputation, and a friend left behind.

The story has proceeded largely without planning — one day’s post might get me thinking about what would happen next, and that might give me ideas for the next couple days (which, sometimes, I even remember when it comes time to post something the next day), but that’s about as far as it goes — when I comment on my main Twitter page that I’m excited to find out what happens next, I’m not self-marketing or being disingenuous — I don’t know what’s coming, and I am absolutely enjoying the story as much as any other reader (some of whom have been even more enthusiastic about spreading the word about the story than I have).

So I was a little surprised, yesterday, when I realized (about two hours after posting my update yesterday, then re-reading it), that I’d finished the first story — the first ‘book’, if you will.

It ended like this:

I tap in two messages, and send them in opposite directions. The first reads, “I am coming.” The second, “I am coming back.” Then I tell De to jump.

As I said, it was only thinking (and talking with Kate) about it later that I realized I’d written the last scene of the first story – the one properly labeled “The Drift” – and that we were moving on to the Next Thing.

Let's just see how bad it can get.
Let's just see how bad it can get.

What’s the Next Thing? I’m no more sure of that than I have been with anything else pertaining to this yarn, but I know I’m not stopping any time soon. There’s a lot more story there, and a great deal of distance for Finnras to go (both forward and, possibly, down). Verily, we shall see. S’possible I might even write the whole first story up in proper novel format, using the twitterfiction as an outline, but who knows. In the meantime, I have a story to write. Heck, I’ve already posted the first entry in the next story arc, so it’s not as though there’s a big cliffhanger to wait on. Plus, I’ve got some revisions on Hidden Things to finish up, and a not-totally-exciting trip this weekend on which to work on them; there’s plenty going on. In fact, there always is; aside from the rather arbitrary moment marking the end of one arc and the start of the next, there really isn’t much reason to even stop here for this bit of reflection and naval gazing.

Except for the obvious; I’ve been doing this weird thing for awhile, and sometimes it’s worth pausing to see if you even know what you’re doing, or if you’re enjoying it.

I don’t.

But I sure am.

Random things I feel I should share


This jumped straight to the top of my “stuff I can justify buying for some good reason, while secretly preparing for the zombie outbreak” list.


My new Asus eeePC 1000he netbook makes me pretty happy. It took me a little more than a year to talk myself into it, and waiting that long meant that I got a 10-inch screen, much-improved keyboard, and a purported 8+ hours of battery life (YMMV) for about 75% of what I would have ended up paying for a lesser machine in 2008.

Time: Not only on my side, but kinda groovy.
Time: Not only on my side, but kinda groovy.


While cleaning the bloatware from the netbook (which I’ve named “The FMA” until I think of something better), I dug about for the tools I wanted to turn the thing into an open source/freeware writing machine. OpenOffice was a no-brainer for word processing and MS-Office-friendly output, but I MUST bring your attention to Write Monkey.

Write Monkey is a full-screen … I was going to say “word processor”, but it’s both more (a writer’s tool) and less (a text editor). The creator promises a distraction-free writing experience, and that’s what you get: just you and the words on a black screen. Word count display is optional, as is a “Write or Die” timer. It has a few nice options hidden in the background that I’m not going to spoil, and an all-keyboard-commands style of interface that I absolutely love; I wrote my first stories on ProWrite 2.0 for DOS 3.1, and this this feels like coming home. (It also has a solid “export to doc format” function that works quite well.)

My current favorite part? The Repository screen, where you can hide all the bits you haven’t found a place for in the story, yet. Brilliant.


What else did I put on there? A bunch of game-rules PDFs, VLC Portable, bookmarks to Slacker Radio and Graham Walmsley’s Very Fine Dice Roller, and I’m pretty much good to go for everything I’d want to do with the thing. (Full disclosure: I also put LotRO on it, just to see if it would run. It did, and the less said (or done) about that, the better.)

Anyone else have a software app they think the whole world should be using? Lemme know: I have tons of free space and a strong desire to tinker. (Note to self: figure out why you can’t boot to the eeebuntu thumbdrive. :P)


Click to embiggen.

Via Wordle, a word-cloud displaying the most commonly used words on my Twitter feed. Submitted without comment; I’m too busy being narcissistic.

Habituals Update

It’s been relatively quiet around Casa Testerman for the past week or so. There was a trip to Philadelphia, thick with unexciting wardrobe malfunctions, but otherwise I’m plugging along with writing, reading, and trying to get these damn habits locked in. Lemme sum up:

It’s been a very good month for me as far as new reading experiences go; first there was Terry Pratchett’s Nation, then Neil Gaiman’s wonderful Graveyard Book, and I had the pleasure of catching up with all the cool kids and read The Lies of Locke Lamora on the Philly trip. Great book. Just enough ‘new’ in the fantasy world, with great characterization and plotting. Capers are capered, swashes are buckled, and a great many skulls are duggeried. I came fairly close to sleeping on the couch a couple times, thanks to interrupting Kate’s own reading with chortling, out-of-context excerpts. Recommended (as are the others I mentioned – highly).

The “Adrift” story continues, in which Finnras seems to be engaging in some kind of Cunning Plan. We’ll see if he’s as good at such things as Locke Lamora. Odds are not good.

Habit the First – Tracking what I Eat
This went very well in the first week – I even dropped a few pounds. (Actually, according to the website on which I track such things, I dropped too much in one week, and now they want to me to eat more this week — as in… a lot more… “I can’t afford a whole cow!” more — it’s confusing.

I have regained control of my eating patterns by keep meticulous records.
I have regained control of my eating patterns by keeping meticulous records.

Habit the Second — Getting up an Hour Earlier

This one isn’t going as well. Yes, I’m getting up earlier, but I never have to use an alarm clock normally, and I for damn sure have to right now. Also, I’m dragging through large portions of the day, short on energy and long on nap-tropism.

I think part of the problem is that I haven’t set up any kind of reward for when I succeed at this each day (the other part of the problem is that I have no personal desire or investment in this – it’s wholly external) — so I need some help with that: what kind of reward should I be giving myself for getting up at the crack of dawn every day?

Suggestions need to be something concrete: that early in the morning I don’t think highly enough of my fellow humans for “a sense of moral superiority” to mean anything. Gimme some ideas in the comments.

Wizards of the Coast takes a… novel approach to dealing with PDF piracy

Angry Bear is angry.And by “novel”, I mean to say “utterly stupid and short-sighted.”

Earlier this evening RPGNow, Paizo, and DriveThruRPG pulled all of their Wizards of the Coast PDF products (where both new and much much much older products were available) at WotC’s request.  The ability to purchase them ended at noon – the ability to download products that you’ve already bought ended at midnight.

According to Wizards of the Coast, this was done to prevent piracy.  (In a followup statement, they clarified that they believe this… because they are luddite morons.)

“We have [taken these actions] to stop the illegal activities […], and to deter future unauthorized and unlawful file-sharing.”

I love the vast understatement from one gaming site today:

“I predict an increase in piracy of Wizards products.”


Let me take this one step further.  I guarantee – not ‘predict’, but guaran-goddamn-tee that every single PDF of WotC products made available after midnight tonight will be a pirated copy.

Just… think about it for a second; you’ll see exactly what I mean.

See… before today? Sure, some people were sharing PDFs like that on file-sharing sites, and there was pirating going on. Sure, yes.

Was it because the PDFs were made available by WotC and sold online?

No.  You’ve been able to get PDFs of ANY game book — hell, any book at all — even ones that have never had electronic versions available, ever since scanner technology became remotely mainstream (early 90s), because people have time, and geeks have desire for the electronic versions.

Until today, at least most of the people who wanted electronic versions of their game book were getting the PDFs the easy way: google search, got to RPGNow, click, click, download.  No torrent software. No worrying if you picked up a virus with your latest PDF. Easy.

Now, the only way to get the electronic version of a WotC product is to get it from a pirate site.

I can either not get it at all (sucks for me, and WotC gets no money), or I get it from a torrent site (hassle for me, and WotC gets no money).

The pirating people? This has no fucking affect on them what. so. ever.

Well, no; that’s not entirely true.

This move by WotC, ostensibly meant to fight piracy, will actually ensure that more people will come to their site to download ALL the PDFs they want (for games, for novels… whatever — I mean, as long as they’re THERE for the DnD stuff, they might as well look around and see what else is out there, right?…).

It’s not just stupid and short-sighted.  It doesn’t just ensure the piracy of their work by 100% of those that want PDFs of DnD material; it actually hurts all the other companies in the industry as well.

Twitter « Whatever

John Scalzi examines and explains Twitter.

What Twitter is, frankly, is a public exhibition of what used to be a private activity. It’s phone texting — its character limit is right in line with the character limit on SMS texts — but rather than to just one person it goes out to dozens, or hundreds, or thousands, depending on who you are and how many followers you have. That Twitter has become massively popular is unsurprising because texting is massively popular; indeed, I have a suspicion that if you told most people under the age of 35 that they had choose between texting or making voice calls, voice communication would drop to next to nothing. For a generation that grew up texting, Twitter isn’t a revolution, it’s simply an expansion of how they were communicating anyway. And in point of fact, it’s even better than blogging for quite a lot of people, because when you’re limited to 140 characters, you don’t have to feel bad about not having all that much to say.

He goes only to expound on the joys of banal conversation and using Twitter to bring distant friends back into your communication channels.  Good stuff.  (I’ve honestly thought about setting up my mom on Twitter, following me, with “SMS Updates on”, so that my tweets just go to her phone.  Don’t judge me!)

Twitter: No, you still don’t get it.

[This isn’t the polished examination of Twitter I was planning it to be, but I’ve got other writing to do today, and it’s gets some thoughts out there that have been cluttering up my head for awhile, so… well, there you go.]

So there’s this thing going on with people who think they get Twitter – who predict or observe one or more demonstrably false things about the service after looking at it for a few minutes… and then write a ‘news’ article about it.

There’s this other thing going on with Twitter where celebrities see that folks like Stephen Fry has over 300 THOUSAND followers, Wil Wheaton has 242 THOUSAND followers… and they think “I’m a big star — I can do that. I SHOULD do that. It’s PUBLICITY.”

(There’s this third thing where people writing about Twitter see that celebrities are joining in, and infer something doubly wrong, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.)

So I want to talk about Twitter, what it is and isn’t, and I’m going to do it in the most ironic way possible — by comparing celebrity twitter-users. (Hate to explain the joke, but: it’s ironic because ‘celebrities’ make up such a tiny percentage of Twitter, and their involvement is all that mass media seems to grasp.)

First, let’s take a look at Seth Green’s page on Twitter. Here’s some of his most recent messages:

  • News: Robot Chicken will return on April 26th with the first of 10 new episodes. Seth has also recently batted around ideas for an RC film.
  • Watch “Without a Paddle” Thursday, March 19th on TBS @ 10:00PM.
  • Last year’s Buffy reunion can be purchased here – https://www.createspace.com…
  • A sequel to Family Guy’s Blue Harvest will air on FOX in season 8
  • Seth has signed on to star in the upcoming “Mars Needs Moms,” a Disney feature adaptation of the Berkeley Breathed children’s novel.

Right. That’s about enough of that pablum.

Now (and I know this is an unfair comparison), let’s put up a few Tweets from Wil Wheaton:

  • Ok, last one before I get offline and set up for today’s D&D session: You really want to track http://is.gd/ns9A. May the Force be with you.
  • Because I’m sharing all kinds of awesome things this morning, a new shirt from @jephjacques that rocks my world…
  • RT @Lilibet “d20 dice cufflinks: http://tinyurl.com/bqu33y srsly!” Holy crap, they’re actually affordable. DO WANT.
  • GAH! Fucking Kings.
  • Many of you point out that it’s Einstein’s birthday today. Holy carp. I decree that today is Science and Technology is Awesome Day.
  • Today is GEEKTASTIC: Not only is it pi day, it’s the 15th birthday of version 1.0 of the Linux Kernel. Also, I’m DMing tonight.
  • In the time it took me to walk to the car, the Kings scored 2 and tied the game. In the time it took me to start my car, they lost it. Sigh.

Okay, class, anyone see the difference?

Lemme help: Mr. Green is basically using his twitter page to repost promotional crap. Wil is telling you what he’s thinking. One is advertising, and one is making a connection.

Which one do you think I actually give a crap about?

Who do you think I actually (actively) *like*?

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m a fan of Seth Green. He’s a funny guy, and he’s smart, and I’m sure that he’s quite engaging as a person. But I’ll never know that from his page on Twitter.

Wil? Wil is like reading posts from ME (even when he bitches about how the Kings are tanking yet another game, which is nothing I care about, but still funny in the way that your friends getting worked up over things is sometimes funny).

And he’s got nothing on the way Stephen Fry works to connect with people: the man’s got over 300 thousand people following him, and makes an actual effort to follow all of them back, then apologizes when his mouse-clicking hand gets sore after an hour of clicking ‘Follow” and takes a break. Crikey.

Now, do I care about Wil Wheaton or Stephen Fry more (or even as much) as the other people I follow? No, I do not. I don’t follow them because they’re celebrities of one stripe or another — I follow them because they post things I enjoy. If they did not, I would not follow them.

That’s true of everyone I follow. That is, in fact, what I aspire to when *I* post to Twitter. Enrichment. Connection.

And yeah… sometimes I’m just bitching banal crap about spilling diet coke into a pocket of a borrowed jacket (sorry, hon!), so no, it’s not some kind of Zen answer to Life, the Universe and [trademarked], but it’s a hell of a lot more than “What are you doing?” and much, much more than “What are you Selling?”