All posts by tim 4til7 wood

A FairyTail with Spelling Errors

A FairyTail with Spelling Errors
Deal with it
it got attitude

Once upon a time, there were three people who actually spoke Twitter. Because it’s a strange and somewhat puzzling idea to actually speak Twitter, they were quite famous to two OED editors, five lonely comp lit professors, the three known Ingrids in both Hollands and most of the inhabitants of an online forum known by an unwieldy acronym that was a joke about not being an acronym that, as it happens, only half the inhabitants of the online forum got. Well, these Twitterspeakers not only spoke Twitter out loud (often at inappropriate moments) but they were quite obsessive about pronunciation. They even argued about whether ‘#’ was pronounced ‘pound’ or ‘hash’ or ‘sharp’ or ‘number sign’. Well, that’s not exactly it, at least when it came to whether ‘#’ should be called the ‘number sign’. It’s more like they argued about the best way to make fun of people who called ‘#’ the number sign.

In the middle of sorting out the best way to make fun of people who called ‘#’ the number sign, they mercilessly taunted a Twitter troll for having the incredibly bad timing to taunt them by saying only idiots called ‘#’ anything but the number sign just as they were sorting the whole thing out. Of course, most people would’ve told the Twitterspeakers to get a life but this was a troll. And not a terribly bright one, either. How else could you explain someone who didn’t even speak Twitter, even a Troll, arguing in a tweet about how to pronounce ‘#’? A bright Troll knows you’ll never start a good flame war arguing about something that only three people care about.

The Troll (ink on paper) by the author
The Troll (ink on paper) by the author

Well the Troll, he hated… Wait. Right. I should explain why the Troll is a He as opposed to a She or some letter in the range LBTGQN. One should never assume, after all. Well this is, of course, a FairyTail. And in FairyTails, all things are politically correct. And not just any kind of politically correct but the good old fashioned sexist variety of politically correct. One of the rules (C-I.6.18) in Good Old Fashioned Politically Correct Composition (Clements, et al.) is that “the She Villian must wear an anachronistically weird but charismatically enticing hat” and Trolls never ever wear hats. Therefore, Trolls by definition must be He’s in FairyTails. Now, while several guilds are pushing to modernize FairyTail political correctness, even if I thought I could sneak a more current flavor of political correctness, I can’t. Disney put out another casting call and all the She’s in FairyTail Land are down in casting being fitted for crowns and practising to read from the Director’s couch. I filed a complaint but, deadlines being deadlines and our executive producer being a stingy jerk, even our Troll extras have to be He’s. Heck, I’m happy that casting let me have one She to cast as a Twitterspeaker. Otherwise the marketing demographics people would’ve killed the whole deal.

Well, returning to our Troll, He hated all things related to English class because a teacher once did the very un-PC thing of flunking him. To be clear, he wasn’t flunked because he was an idiot (which he most certainly was). He was flunked because he was an idiot and  he didn’t even pretend to try and, worst of all,  he shot spitwads at the teacher. The teacher wasn’t as dumb as the Troll looked so when the teacher turned around after getting beaned, it didn’t matter who the Troll pointed at. The teacher knew exactly who interrupted the details of where not to use prepositions. Of course, this being a FairyTail, the Troll got his proper consequences and comeuppances and was grounded for a good portion of three days. He even had to stay inside for two hours until his Mom went to play bridge and drink dry martinis. The Troll stewed on how cruel the comeuppers and consequats were for the entire two hours. Of course, all Trolls know how to stew but this Troll could get his stew to a boil in minutes flat.

After two hours of boiling and splattering all over the ceiling, the Troll hated  with a special kind of hate, a hatedly hate. He hated English teachers and English classes and all things related to English class. For instance, he hated the OED editors because he’d heard the D in OED wasn’t just a grade one notch higher than the F that  Teacher gave him but it actually stood for something. Having something stand for something, for anything, was bad enough. But this D stood for Dictionary. If there’s anything this Troll couldn’t stand it was anyone who stood for something, especially a thing that include a letter that stood for Dictionary. It just wasn’t right.

And these people who stood for a word that was an acronym that had a letter that stood for something… these Twitterspeakers had made fun of him.

Then it sunk in. These Twitterspeakers had real followers. Actual real people who listened and retweeted and even responded. Granted they only had 653 followers between them but he only had 23. And, except for Leftie’s Pizza (which didn’t deliver to him) and a a car wash in Moscow (called Автомойки упасть на вас), they were all porn bots. And car washes and pizza places and porn bots don’t even listen. He didn’t get retweets or comments or any of that. All he got were pictures that can’t even be shared in a FairyTail. He realized these Twitterspeakers were worse than English Teachers. No one listens to English Teachers. But, people actually listened to the Twitterspeakers but talked about what they said.

The Troll didn’t just hate these these these Twitterspeakers, he despised them. So he ate them.

The End

After 2016: The Trump Landslide

The narrative in the U.S. press has been that Donald Trump, arguably the most divisive major party candidate for President in American history, can’t win the general election. How does someone win the Presidency when the story in the polls says that he’s going to lose every major demographic group except white males?

Until the last week, the only question appeared to be “how big will Hillary Clinton’s victory be?” Now, suddenly, polls that have the two head-to-head. Even with the latest polls, Nate Silver, one of the great masters of polls and statistics, still gives Clinton a 2/3rds chance1 to win the Presidency.

But, one chart in the most recent PEW survey2 tells a very different story. If there are two groups most clearly identified with the opposite sides of the American Culture Wars,7 they are white evangelicals (aka the “religious right”) and the religiously unaffiliated (what PEW calls the “nones”).

The Republican party has been explicitly targeting what came to be called the Religious Right3 since before most Americans were born. In parallel, Nixon’s Southern Strategy4 targeted white southerners who rejected changes that were driven by the civil rights movement. There was significant cross-over between those two group and the two appeals effectively merged into the Republican party’s appeal to white evangelical voters.

Overall, it had a large impact on American religion. Significant numbers of American Christians disagreed with the politics that were pulled into their Churches and the resulting ways the interpretation of scripture changed. They felt shut out and tended to move across the aisle and/or out of those churches or church entirely and became part of the “nones” group.

While the Republic Party has increasingly focused on a specific vision of and for America, the Democratic Party has become the party of everyone else. The “nones” group was both drawn to and pulled in by the Democratic Party.

Getting back to ground zero in the American Culture Wars, how do these two groups –white evangelicals and nones– feel about the two major candidates? Pew turned the results of their survey into a graph:

Trump and Clinto Support among Evangelicals and Nonces
Trump and Clinton Support among Evangelicals and Nones – PEW, 13 July 2016

The headline, Trump support among white evangelical voters on par with Romney in 2012; Clinton support among religious ‘nones’ on par with Obama, says nothing has changed. There’s nothing see, it’s all status quo. The obvious conclusion is that Clinton (like Obama) is going to win. But, that’s not what the numbers in the chart actually show. Compared to their predecessors, Trump’s support is five points higher while Clinton’s is one point lower.

Of course, polls have many problems. The biggest one is that opinions don’t vote. People who, like those who are motivated, get to the polls vote. As an aside, that’s basically why most elections tend to favor the views of older voters: older voters have had more time to form their opinions so those opinions tend to be stronger so those voters tend to be more motivated.

The chart doesn’t say anything about age but it does say something about motivation. Looking at the motivated votes (the ones who “strongly support” their candidate), the number of white evangelicals who strongly support Trump is 10 points (roughly 40%) higher. Clinton’s strong support among the non-religiously affiliated is actually ten points (roughly 40%) lower.

While these groups are not identical with the respective parties, they are a useful map of a very strong divide in the U.S. and the country’s party structure. What that motivational factor is telling us is that if the election was held today, Trump would probably win. While, the numbers are far from exact and they don’t account for many things, many of the things the numbers don’t account for will actually amplify his victory.

One significant factor they don’t account for is the white nationalists who believe Trump is wink-wink nod-noding them, that he’s their guy5. In fact, members of this group have probably never felt like their was a candidate who understood them or represented their views. To actually have a say in an election? This group’s motivation to vote is off the proverbial chart.

More broadly, events and the news narrative is going to increase this gap. Clinton continues to be forced to look backwards to address issues like email scandals. Trump continues to get to run with weekly and daily stories –five police dead in Dallas shooting, truck used in attack that kills more than 80 in Nice, France, attempted military coup in Turkey, three police dead in Baton Rouge6that cater to his strong guy, win at any cost, image.

By November, it’ll be landslide territory, Trump’s party will probably have control of both houses of Congress and the chattering classes are going to sputter what’d we miss, how’d that happen again.

Coda

The study2 notes that the most common reason white evangelical supported Trump was “beating Clinton.” Part of the problem for Clinton is a collapse of alternatives. She, and the Democratic party, don’t really have a coherent alternative vision for the future. Some people used to say there wasn’t any real difference between Republicans and Democrats. It is more accurate to say that Democrats were striving (to steal a Republican line) for a kindler, gentler version of the Republican’s vision.

Both sides of the American political aisle are trapped in the world of neoliberalism and neoconservatism. Neoliberalism, in particular, is the water that most people on both sides of the American political aisle swim in. However, just as the Keynesian approach reached it’s limit in early ’70s and the world shifted to Mises and Hayek, today neoliberalism has reached it’s limits but there is no alternative.

Keynes, Mises and Hayek built their economic theories in the era of manufacturing. While manufacturing still exists, for decades computers and software have driven our world and its economic growth. That post-manufacturing era is now closing. Sales of computers and software have been dropping for years. Technology is fading into the fabric of life with most of the actual horsepower existing out in the cloud, plugged into via throw-away smart phones and tablets. The gadgets we encounter in person are, to a large degree, non-functional without an internet connection because the real magic happens somewhere else out of our reach.

This decoupling is mirrored in the world of business. A chat bot gets people out of traffic tickets and law firms have begun to hire Ross, an IBM artificially intelligent lawyer. Businesses are actually in the process of decoupling profits from human labor and traditional investment.

While the world is entering it’s second new major economic eras after manufacturing, people still largely battle under the banners of the ghosts of Keynes and Hayek. The theories were built around factories when a factory is now a 3D printer that can sit on a desk.

For Clinton, when I say there’s a collapse of alternatives, the problem is that all the policy wonkiness in the world will never speak to people unless there’s a vision to unify it. For Trump, on the other hand, it is actually to his advantage that there is no current intellectual vision upon which to base his appeal. The complaints about problems with his policy ideas, the words coming out of his mouth, the what-evers don’t matter because in a world where all the theories are so out-of-date, there’s nothing to stop him from painting whatever picture he wants.

Notes

1. Nate Silver’s forecast is updated frequently. His forecast is a 66.7% chance of Clinton victory versus a  33.3% of Trump victory as of Friday 15 July 2016 at 15:14pm Mountain. Five Thirty Eight, “Who will win the presidency?”: http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/

2. Pew Research Center, “Evangelicals Rally to Trump, Religious ‘Nones’ Back Clinton.” (13 July, 2016): http://www.pewforum.org/2016/07/13/evangelicals-rally-to-trump-religious-nones-back-clinton/

3. One short personal account: Brian Zahnd, “The Jesus Revolution” (1 July 2016): http://brianzahnd.com/2016/07/the-jesus-revolution/

4. Volumes have been written on Nixon’s Southern Strategy including, perhaps most famously Alexander Lamis’ 1984 book The Two-Party South, based in part on an interview he conducted with legendary Republican figure, Lee Atwater that can be found embedded in Rick Perlstein’s “Exclusive: Lee Atwater’s Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy,” The Nation (13 November 2012).

5. Nicholas Confesore, “For Whites Sensing Decline, Donald Trump Unleashes Words of Resistance”, The New York Times (13 July 2016): http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/14/us/politics/donald-trump-white-identity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

6. Four major events that occurred in eight days: a gun man killed 5 police in Dallas, Texas, USA (7 July), a man in Nice, France drove a truck into a Bastille Day celebration (14 July), a portion of the military attempted a coup in Turkey (15 July) and between final edits, three more police shot in Baton Rouge, LA (17 July). Each was notable. To find a US event comparable to the Dallas shooting, one has to go back to the mass evictions of farmers during the American dust bowl. The attack in France is the first major instance of an attack against a soft target (effectively making anything and everywhere a target). Turkey is a member of NATO, acts as major forward base for operations against Islamic State (formerly ISIL) as well as one of the major checkpoints in western minds against Russian aggression ala the invasion of Crimea. Baton Rouge is notable for multiple reasons including the fact that the US flag is flying at half staff around the country because of multiple horrific events. It’s easy to suspect we may be entering a period where the days when the US flag is not at half staff are the notable ones.

7. (American) Culture Wars is a term coined by Professor James Davison Hunter for the conflict between traditionalist/conservative and liberal/progressive views of the meaning of America. Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America (1991) http://www.jamesdavisonhunter.com/culture-wars.

Note: there are no new citations in the Coda section at this time because I’ll be digging in deeper on everything that would normally be cited in another piece.

Things a Dad should never have to do

It’s three and a half hours past midnight and I’m awake.

I’m not groggy. I’m not on some writer’s tear or some prayer binge or obsessively cleaning. I don’t want to be awake but I saw one cryptic tweet about a video and I clicked and prodded and poked until I saw the latest video.

A women, with a four year old child in the backseat, was live-streaming her boyfriend dieing. She was calmly explaining what had happened while a policeman’s shaking gun was still pointed at her boyfriend’s blood covered body.

Screenshot from 2016-07-07 05:35:22Most of what was coming out of his mouth was the f-word, again and again and again. A police officer is trained to be calm, rational, in control of themselves as well as the situation. This cop’s hands were shaking and oh-I-screwed-up profanity was pouring out of his mouth. He wasn’t even thinking. Or he would’ve, at least, screamed for an ambulance. And then he realized she was recording and started screaming “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand off it” and she calmly corrects, “You told him to get his ID, sir, and his drivers license. Oh my god, please don’t tell me he’s dead.”

At the beginning of the video, she’s talking to her boyfriend and the live stream, “Stay with me. We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back and he’s covered … they killed my boyfriend. He’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out his pocket and he let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm.”

At that point, the officer says “Ma’am, keep your hands where they are.” and she calmly replies “I am sir, no worries.” and then the officer yells the f-word.

She continues, “He just got his arm shot off. We got pulled over on Larpenteur.”

The office saysI told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand up” and she calmly corrects him “He had. You told him to get his ID, sir, his driver’s license. Please don’t tell me he’s dead.” and the officer yells the f-word again.

A moment later, the officer repeats “Keep your hands where they are” and she, again, responds “Yes I will, sir. I will keep my hands where they are. Please don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”

Shortly afterwards they order her out of the car and you can her child screaming and another officer hand-cuffs her with “You’re just being detained Mam until we can sort this out.”

As what is happening sinks in, she breaks down and starts going round and round in this prayer where she keeps asking G*d to save him that he’s never been in trouble, not in a gang, works for a school.

Several minutes more into the video and you still hear that cop screaming the f-word.

 

One person on Twitter checked the school’s website and, yes, he was the cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul where they knew him as Phil. I imagine the kids calling him Mr. Phil. And what do you say to when a first grader asks “Where’s Mr. Phil?” Who’s going to tell them that the police killed Mr. Phil?

Phil’s full name was Philando Castile. He would’ve turned 33 tomorrow. Maybe he was going celebrated with his girlfriend, Lavisha Reynolds, and her 4-year-old daughter Diamond. Instead Diamond has already seen a murder from a few feet away.

And I’m up. It’s now more than four hours past midnight. Why am I still up? There have been four shootings like this in 72 hours. Four men dead. I’ve watched two men killed and what I see is “officers who are clearly emotional, fearful, & unfit to handle a weapon.” And, this isn’t news any more. This should not happen. And it isn’t news. And I’m up.

 

I’m up because this shouldn’t happen. I’m up because I learned the whole sordid multi-millenium back story from a professor born in Africa. I’m up because I shouldn’t need to be white to be safe. I’m up because I’m not sure that’s even true any more. I’m up because I’ve seen cops here in Colorado Springs who had some crew cut white guy’s face crammed into the pavement of a Target. I’m up because, even though I’m white, I’ve been pulled over a block from home for being the wrong color. I’m up because I had a cop tear my car apart because my hair was too long. I’m up because no one should die this way and everyone can.

I’m up because it’s not news and, it’s gotten so bad that my white privilege is no longer enough to guarantee I won’t be the next guy whose face gets planted in the pavement or shot by a cop.

I’m up because it’s wrong that I just had to watch a female black police officer defending this murder because 11, 12, 13 year old kids have guns. I’m up because I’ve looked into the faces of 11, 12, 13 year old kids who had already served serious time. I’m up because we think the answer to being afraid is to have a big gun and shoot first. I’m up because none of that justifies murdering an innocent man.

I’m up because Philando Castile and Alton Sterling should not be dead.

 

I once lived in Dallas. When I first moved there, someone was posing as a police officer (in full uniform driving what looked exactly like a squad car) and pulling women over and raping them. I knew before my daughter was born that when she started driving, I was going to get to warn her that if a police car tries to pull her over, she has to wait until she gets to a well lighted area with people around before she stops.

Tonight, I realized that it may be the only reason Lavisha Reynolds and Diamond are alive is because Lavisha started streaming what happened.

My daughter enters High School in a few months. When she starts going on dates, there will be another rule: if  the police pull you over, start live streaming. And I’ll have to explain why.

And I’m up because I have to teach my daughter how to survive in a land of nightly extra-judicial killings.

No Dad should have have to do this.

 

In ten minutes, it’ll be five hours past midnight. And I’m up because Philandro’s parents are going to have to bury a son.

No Dad should have to do this.

No Mom should have to do this.

No one should have to do this.

 

Learning from the mistakes of Facebook

If you search any search engine –Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc– for Plano Facebook, you’ll get various random pages for the city of Plano Texas and a news story that broke nationally today:

A Texas man stabbed his girlfriend to death and posted photos of her nude, dead, bloody body on his Facebook page. Her mother saw the pictures and called 911. Other relatives contacted Facebook and asked the social media giant to remove the pictures. Facebook left the pictures up for roughly 36 hours before finally removing them.

Let me repeat that.

A woman’s daughter was brutally murdered and Facebook couldn’t be bothered to take the pictures of the body down for 36 hours.

Let me repeat that.

Facebook left pictures of a young woman’s naked murdered bloody body up for the mother, the family and the world to see for 36 hours AFTER they found out.

 

I have a daughter entering High School. I can’t imagine getting calls and emails and txts for 36 hours along the lines of “uhm… I don’t know how to put this but uhm… do you daughter is dead and there are pictures of her uhm… body uhm… like uhm… without clothes uhm..” for 36 hours. See your pictures of your child’s dead bloody naked body is bad enough.

 

Facebook’s official response is that they didn’t realize, at first, that the pictures were a violation of their Terms of Service.

Excuse me? How does anyone with a bit of empathy not know the right thing to do in a case as clear-cut as this. No one should have to dig through Terms of Service or Corporate Policy books to navigate a situation like this. This is not a Terms of Service issue. It’s an issue of basic humanity.

If I had been the person at Facebook who got this request, I would’ve told them how sorry I was for what happened. I would’ve told them how sorry I was those pictures were there for their family and the entire world to see. I would’ve made sure she understood that I, personally, wasn’t going to stop until the pictures were removed.  I would’ve made sure she had my personal cellphone number.

And I would’ve gotten out of my chair, gone to my supervisor and stood there until my supervisor removed all of them. If my supervisor didn’t have the authority, I would’ve gone to the next person up the chain. And I would’ve kept going up the chain until the pictures were down. If mysteriously, I had gotten all the way to the Zuckerberg and he tried to have me thrown out of the building with orders to shoot my butt if I tried to re-enter the building, I would’ve walked right back in and dared them to shoot me.

 

I’ve seen companies who don’t know how to admit they blew it and they let people twist in the wind. Weirdly, even when I’ve tried to explain to them how to handle these situations in the future, all I hear is excuses. There’s no sense of “oh… we did blow that… how did you say we could do better?” I’m pretty clear about what a company or organization needs to do in the middle of a Crisis. It’s knowledge I’ve picked up by osmosis simply by having a Father who spent his entire working life in Public Relations, handling Crisis Communication and saving Generals from committing professional harikiri when things blew up at places like the US Air Force Academy, NORAD Cheyenne Mountain (yes the War Games General was based on the jerk who ran the Mountain at the time) and SAC Omaha. He literally, wrote the book on ethics for the Public Relations Society of America.

When I called him and told him what Facebook had done and his reaction was “Oh my god”.

 

In 1982, a twelve year-old child died of cyanide poisoning after taking Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules. Cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules killed six more people in quick succession.

Johnson & Johnson took responsibility and focused on doing the right thing. They sent warnings to hospitals and distributors, halted both production and advertising and, within a week, recalled all 31 million bottles worth (worth a third of a billion dollars at today’s prices), ran an ad campaign to warn the public and offered to exchange all Tylenol capsules that people had purchased.

And they figured out how it happened. Someone had simply bought bottles of Tylenol, opened the tops to poison them and then returned to put the tainted bottles back on store shelves. And they made sure it would never happened again by making changes in manufacturing and so on. But, the most important change they made was one that meant people didn’t have to take their word on it: every bottle of the re-introduced product had the then revolutionary tamper-proof seal. How do you know someone hasn’t tampered with a bottle of Tylenol: the seal isn’t broken.

 

In the world of public relations, he Tylenol case is, literally, the text book example of how to handle a crisis, including how to do Crisis Communications right. So far, Zuckerberg and Facebook’s handling of their crisis fails at every point. And, out here, people can close their accounts and walk away. Getting people in the door original is expensive (ask anyone who knows retail customer development) but getting them back after they walk away is brutal. And investors know ads don’t sell if no one is there to see them.

Thus it Begins: The Great Stock Market Crash of 2016

What you’re reading is the introduction to a book I knew I was supposed about where the U.S. and the world is headed. I’ve know I had to write it since the fall and to say it scared me as an understatement. By December I was at least willing to start telling people around me, including my wife key elements of the book including that the US economy will crash and that Donald Trump will be President of the United States. Neither is a guess: this is what will happen.

On January 3rd, I told my wife the key elements again. The only thing that changed was that the order had reversed and finalized. I told her:

This year, the US Economy will crash and then Donald Trump will be elected President.

The next day, the U.S. markets opened and had their biggest initial drop on an opening day since 1932. That (1932) is the year the U.S. Great Depress began for real. And I finally went out on the line in public by tweeting the news with the hashtag #ThusItBegins.

Tomorrow morning, the markets will open for the third week of the year. The press will continue to fret, wave their hands and mostly say it’s psychological and things will stabilize soon. Unemployment is down. Fundamentals are solid. Blah. Blah. Blah. Just a few things to sort out. But things won’t. We’re past that point.

We’re at the beginning of the Great Stock Market Crash of 2016. The stock market crash is just the opening salvo of a brutal shift in the world that will be much larger, deeper and nastier than just another recession.

 

And I honestly don’t want to write this book. It’s not because I’m shy about writing about dark subjects or the darkness in subjects. It’s because I’m saying G*d has told me to write it. While I once had a reviewer call me a prophet, he merely meant as someone who warns. He certainly didn’t think G*d was around and sending people out to describe what’s happening.

Why in the world would I do such a crazy stunt? I wasn’t raised in any faith. In my Bachelors (Physics) and Graduate (Humanities) work, G*d was basically ignored other than the occasional ridicule from, usually, another student. The professors for the most part didn’t waste their time on the subject. They assumed the whole faith thing was a left-over from the pre-rational world.

To say that G*d told me to be a prophet is to immediately be regarded by most people I know as, at least, slightly unhinged. Even most of the American Christian world assumes that miracles and prophets stopped a long time ago.

But, here I am. Since this book got dropped in my life, I’ve waited again and again for confirmations because it still sounds crazy to me. And I’ve tested things I’ve gotten again and again and I’ve had confirmations that are unlikely in the extreme.

 

I’d describe my plans for this book but that assumes I’ve got one. Back to I’m supposed to have been writing this for a while. Beyond a few scribbled notes, this book will appear basically as I write it. This blog entry is the initial “Introduction” and will bundled up shortly as the initial release of the book via PDF on this website. Later I’ll make it available on Amazon.

 

This document has been saved as a pdf and can be downloaded: http://4til7.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Introduction-v1.pdf

Dang paper is too powerful

I keep finding there are times that paper is a better technology. There’s no need to ask which app will handle where my creativity is going to go. Plain words? Bold, highlighting needed? Drawing? Worse yet.. a drawing in the middle of the words? Oh wait… where’s that phone… When I’m I go into idea/sketch mode, I often end up on paper.

Which is “wonderful” when I end up with three or 20 scraps of paper that have to be turned into a blog. Until someone wires paper to go straight into whatever I’m using to write and edit, I’ve been using two basic approaches. First, plain old typing (or today thumbing). Second, use the phone on my camera to take a picture of each piece of paper then open what I’m writing in (e.g. WordPress) on my phone and insert the whole batch. Simple, easy, done.

Building the Ultimate Workspace

One meta office with divider: office desk on onside, tools on the other… the office equivalent of the commercial grade kitchens, often bigger than many actually commercial kitchens, in larger american homes.

Cross: simplifying: only things used every day on desk, used every week away but in reach, every month in a closet, less: gone. For me working from home, every week, I use my workspaces for paying bills, programming, managing my business, writing books, writing blog entries, social mediaing, publishing, studying, making things, writing poetry.

Do a little boiling. e.g. don’t tie things with no physical footprint to a physical workspace:

paying bills, programming, managing my business, writing books, writing blog entries, publishing, studying, making things, writing poetry

Group closely related and put them in order of “importance”:

  • x programming
  • x writing (books, blog entries, poetry)
  • ? publishing
  • x making things
  • x studying (mDiv)
  • ? managing my business, paying bills

 

More on simplifying… clear your workspace and bring things back when you need them, move them to drawers, closet, gone over time.

 

We are creatures of time & space… use that.

Writing in WordPress: Fixing the sidebar

I publish new pieces four days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Just over a week into the new schedule, and things are breaking down. Just not where I expected. The biggest break down has been around release. One piece, “We are Toolmaker” went from being one short article into a couple of posts into a series. And I kept forgetting to look over to the right and go ‘oh yeah’ and change the release date.

It struck me that having a lightning fast way to go to the step I’m handling in the new > draft > pending > scheduled > published workflow would be brilliant. Some searching of WordPress plugins turned up Admin Menu Editor which let me edit the menu on the left side of the admin area. With a little fiddling, ‘All Posts’ was gone from my Posts menu and ‘Add New’ was followed by each step in the workflow.

Here’s what I created with my fiddling. My writing workflow flows from the top left down just the way I read things, click, my Pending articles including this very article:

WordPress Menu Editor Plugin Results
A little visual WordPress Workflow

The tool is intuitive, especially for this. If I wanted to see the list of Pending articles, I pulled up that page (and sorted it the way I wanted) and copied and pasted the page’s url (the http://… address at the top) into a new item in menu editor.

Here, on the left, it shows we’re in the Posts section. On the right are the menu items under Posts including the Pending menu item. I like shorter links, so I trimmed the fluff off the front of the url for Pending:

WordPress Menu Editor Plugin -- Adding an Item
WordPress Menu Editor Plugin: Adding an Item

#micropoetry microcurated 1: Selfies

This time, it’s all about the selfies (even when it’s not) featuring: car, creepy old man in mid-century modern garage and looking over the edge of a cliff.

 

@Kelsye’s challenge was: “In SIX WORDS, write a story about your first job”

throw papers
avoid
creepy old man


Written on the way to Pueblo Alto in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico:

on a cliff edge

selfie time!
oh YEAH

screen
squint
can’t see
snap
check
sucks

repeat


I own an old Miata I picked up for next to nothing a while back. It got me thinking about guys and their relationships with their cars and began to think about turning it into a book called Something about that Car.

miata in garagemiata

top down
turned
across the garage
listening to
the freeway sing
and the blues rock


Credits:

The 43 episodes are outside. Again. And they still want names – III

Everyone around me lives with me and my stir fry of bilingual puns, dutch butcherings for fun and little profit, taking conversations on surrealistic tangents, sometimes complete with accents and sound effects, because and for laughter, and tossing out random non-sense to no one in particular as I walk by people… I’m in the same non-sense-filled surrealistic funland that Tex Avery, Lewis Carrol, J. M. Barrie and Douglas Adams played in. Even here, writing still gets at truth because you can find something, even in “just” playing. Writing gets at truth. It just does it through another means. In my case, one where bugs bunny rewrote yesterday’s blog entry. But, that’s not lie. Just getting at something by another means. And  you won’t get there by lieing, even in a world darker and more in need of escape than I ever imagined I’d find.

 

And, I still had to name 43 episodes. So, I invented a new bit of game fun to get there. You’ll find the names at the beginning of the book, in An Index of Chapters:

An Index of Chapters

  • Being an Introduction
    Followed by the grizzled numbered is’s.
  • Before introducing the grizzled numbered is’s, the author would just like to acknowledge each of them for the many layers of meaning in their names even if they don’t understand half of the jokes themselves as well as acknowledge the legal website that suggested acknowledgement, when used regularly, reduces legal expenses on average by 25% while noting that your mileage may very.

  • 1 is First
  • 2 is Second
  • 3 is Triangle
  • 4 is Quadracycle
  • 5 is Cinco de Mayo
  • 6 is Hexapus
  • 7 is Odd
  • 8 is Even, mostly
  • 9 is Trinity’s Trinity
  • 10 is Cinco-based
  • 11 is Oddly Biased
  • 12 is While
  • 13 is Quite Ominious
  • 14 is Oddly Missing
  • 15 is Tri-erinarially Cincopated
  • 16 is Excessively Divided
  •        …a n d
  •       m a n y   u n n a m e d   e p i s o d e s
  •       l a t e r…
  • 42 is Not Named due to Copyright Conflict
  • 43 is Zadly Finee