I Survived NaNoWriMo 2014

Yup. Managed to hack out 50,360 words in 28 days. Wrote some after that but was unable to update the official count before the official end. No matter. I made it. 4th year in a row.

Unfortunately, the story itself? Approx. 2/3 done. So, not only will I start revising it in January to post to ff.net and AO3, I need to actually finish it. Oops. And I might end up deleting the last chapter or two. I inserted another fandom, turning it into a true crossover but the crossover characters are stealing the show, and I’m not thrilled with that. So they might have to go or be toned down a bit, back to supporting players. We’ll see what happens.

But first a break to decompress before I do that.

Don’t buy tires like me

For those who wonder, and can’t be bothered to click on my Flikr link, I drive a 2001 BMW 325i sedan. Very basic model. Manual transmission, almost no electronics. It’s like a large go cart. It came with almost no options. Except the sports package (slightly better suspension. Large/wide tires.  Smaller steering wheel.)

(I bought it used. I believe I’m the 3rd owner. 1st owner was military (hence the serious lack of options. Been there,  done that) who took it to Hawaii. Eventually it ended up here, where I bought it, and spent some $$ to bring it up to spec (or at least as close as it could get at 89K miles). The doors leak when it rains. The inside of the front doors? Needs to be reupholstered or something.

Its been my daily/only driver since (replaced a 94 530i that was eating my wallet alive) with 167K on it now.

We won’t talk about the airbag recall (I’m 200th on the local dealer waiting list. Might get it replaced before next summer.). That’s a hassle of another sort. (I usually give the T a ride to visit the folks at Thanksgiving. This year, now that we know about the airbag issue (BMW says – don’t let anyone sit in the front passenger seat until it’s fixed. The airbag is off unless someone sits there. The dealer says – safety feature, can’t turn it off.), she gets to sit in the back for her part of the trip. Of course, she usually sleeps most of the way so it isn’t a big deal. Just gonna be strange.

So, Let’s talk about tires. My tire buying habit is not recommended for anyone low on cash. But it works for me.  Remember that sports package part? That means there’s only a limited selection for tires. The 530i had a similar issue.( I just think BMW likes picking odd sized tires!)

I buy Kuhmos. Cheap, for that size, but tread life? Not the best. They are decent in wet weather/snow for the first 5K miles so I buy them right before Thanksgiving . Takes me thru winter and a trip up north with decent tread. But by late April, they are basically summer tires. Still good in warm weather. By October? Still some tread on them (10K -12K miles on them at that point. Still decent but then the cold weather hits and… they turn into  large hockey pucks. Rocks have better traction than these things on cold roads after 15K miles.

If if I didn’t travel up north into the snow belt at least once a year, I could safely get another 5K out of them. But I do, so, November = another new set of tires.

That gives me good rubber on the road for the parts of winter when I need it.

Sure, I could spend twice as much on better tires and get two years on them but this works for me budget wise. Spreads the tire buying pain out. And I’d have to deal with less traction on 2 year old tires. Back when I lived up north I had snow tires but that is a wasted expense around here, even on bad years.

(My mechanic thinks I’m crazy for doing it this way, but he doesn’t argue, just throws the new ones on my car every fall and gives away the old ones to someone who needs something better than the bald tires they have now.)

Now, if you looked up the tires I buy, they don’t get great reviews… From people who expect them to last 30 – 40K miles like the limited warranty says, but those first 15K miles? They get the job done. I couldn’t imagine trying to get 30K from them unless you lived in Florida, or Texas.

Did I mention they’re cheap for that size?

 

We’ve got incoming!

Gridlock that is. And not just the obstructionist gridlock of the past few years. Now those obstructionists will be in charge for the next 2 years.

Didn’t think it could get any worse? Just you wait! This upcoming gridlock will redefine the term. Better batten down the hatches and start hoarding.

(No, I wasn’t surprised at the recent election results. It would have taken a miracle of biblical proportions for the Democrats to keep the Senate with such a slim majority and it being a six year mid term election. But I’m not a very political person, other than I know what I like and I don’t like this, so I won’t offer up any pseudo-socio-political analysis.)

And NaNo is a Go!

I’ve been distracted by other things for the past couple weeks (Finishing up a long project at work, and TtH issues) so I’m not as ready for NaNoWriMo as I’d hoped to be. My outline is more ‘random ideas on a page’ than actual ‘Plan for story’. Part of it being that I’m not really sure where this years story is going. It’s the boring ‘Middle Years’ of my ongoing Glee Space Opera. Next year is the ‘Space Battle’ part of the ‘Space Opera’ and will be much easier to plot, if much harder to write since my action writing abilities aren’t the best.

But, we’ll see what happens.

They’re back…

Four days later, after digging into assorted backups and tinkering with assorted tools to generate SQL (Yum! not just a dessert topping) from the backups and playing with MAMP ( sort of a canned web site in a box.) I was able this morning to restored my inadvertently deleted stories (and one other) to my favorite fanfic archive.

(Of course, ‘knowing’ the management helps. Otherwise it would have been impossible to fix. )

Fun stuff. Now I have some ideas/designs for a real Undelete system for the site.

And now I can get back to NaNoWriMo prep. Only a week to go before it starts!

After I get some sleep.

One of those days…

Did the early voting thing, then purged the craziness of the proposed State Constitution amendments (The Rude Pundit goes to town on them on his blog in his usual style.) with a trip across the street to my favorite toy store.

And then returned home to find out that a Moderator over at Twisting the Hellmouth (who quit today for reasons) had, on his way out the door, deleted 8 stories. (Mostly mine and I can put them back… but still!!!) I guess he was making a statement. Pointless. But a statement. About Abuse of Power. By engaging in some. And disappointing because I thought he was a grown-up.

And I haven’t had time for dinner yet!!! Good thing I ate a big lunch.

Just AirPlaying around

So, apparently AirPlay is this thing where your Mac or iPad or iPhone can send audio/video to another device, like a newer Apple TV and use that gadget to play/show it.

So, I could play a movie on my iPad and have it show up on the tv my Apple TV is attached to.

Got it?

Okay, so my Pioneer receiver that all of my HDMI gadgets (PS3, Apple TV, cable box, etc) are attached to and I basically use as an expensive HDMI switch (radio? What’s that?) also supports AirPlay, but I’ve been ignoring that because I don’t use AirPlay.

Well… Suddenly yesterday, my receiver kept switching to AirPlay when I used the remote for my older 1st gen Apple TV (I use that as a media server. The new Apple TV does streaming from my Mac and the Internet . Eventually I’ll get rid of the old one and just have the new one… But anyway…)

I’m not sure what was going on there but one of those times it showed a program I DON’T have anywhere in my video collection on any device. I didn’t think it could pick up AirPlay devices not on my local network… Weird.

Need to fix that. Turn it off! How is that getting to my receiver past my router?

And then, my new Apple TV kept showing some message about AirPlay. Turns out, it somehow was in conference room mode. And was displaying instructions for using that. What? Not sure how that happened. But I turned it off. Also reconfigured the new Apple TV so random AirPlay user can’t send anything to MY Apple TV, which shouldn’t be possible either.

Such weirdness for a feature I don’t use.

Yosemite, Dang it!

(* Warning, this may become a rant! *)

So, on Thursday, Apple released the next version of OS X (10.10) Yosemite. Some interesting features, some annoyances. Visually, it now flat like iOS 7 & 8. Which is okay, but not great. I’m getting old and my eyes sure don’t like the flatness. But I’ll get used to it. (Though, why is that x in the ‘Close’ window bubble off center?)

I installed it this morning on my current ‘active’ Macs (My desktop, and my laptop). Easy. Simple. One asked me if I wanted to use iDrive, the other didn’t but enabled it anyway. (Not a prob. I was already using iCloud for Pages documents and a few other things already. This is just an extension of that, better integrated into OS X (Before, you had to either know where OS X hides the files or manage iCloud documents within the app that put things there. It was ugly!)

Once it was installed, I noticed a few things that required immediate attention (Besides downloading new versions of all my Apple apps (iWork, iLife, etc) for Yosemite/iDrive.)

  1. Who turned on ‘Guest Access’? Totally not Tera Apple! (Possible I missed it in some previous update but unlikely) ? I’m sorry folks but I NEVER have that enabled. Guests are expected to bring their own computing devices if they need to do something rude like surf the internet or check Twitter/Facebook/email/etc while visiting me. If they are visiting me for long term (more than a day) I’ll set them up with an actual account on one of my gadgets.)

    So… turned THAT off.
  2. Notifications. I want very little on my ‘Lock Screen’ (Mac or iThing) but whomever designed this feature assumes everybody wants everything to show up there. And sound! Sorry, I don’t like sounds coming from my computer, unless I’m watching/listening to media. Apps? Off it goes. So, I had to go thru the Notifications control panel and turn things off (some completely, some just sound.) I have this problem with iOS also. Hopefully, I’ll find a way to disable sound notifications completely with a few exceptions. Opt-in, not Opt-out please, and thank you Apple.
  3. New version of OS X == new version of Safari. Of course. Can’t let the program I use the most stay unchanged! Sure, give it the look of the new OS. That makes sense. By why, Why!!! do you have to move menu options around and change my settings. Hates it. Hates it so much! (The arbitrary changing. They did it in Mobile Safari also. Bech!) And what’s with the constant beachball as I type this post? (Might be the WordPress posting interface. Happens whenever THAT does a save or because I’m doing a post-Upgrade backup. 20GB of changes? That’s all?))

    Update: Might have fixed the Safari Issue — haven’t seen it in a little while. (Had some Folder Actions keeping an eye out for unruly apps putting things where they weren’t supposed to. Might be it. We’ll see.) Don’t like the lack of color in the bookmarks bar. Used to show the site icons (favcion.ico), now it doesn’t?
  4. iTunes? Withholding my opinion for now. Looks okay. I mainly use it to manage my media for iPad/Apple TV consumption. As long as I can find things, we’re okay.
  5. iBooks has 1 (One!) new feature that I can see. You can now add ePub’s as ‘drafts’ and they supposedly update as the copy outside iBooks updates. Hmm… that might be useful. If it works.

More to follow as I use it…

  • Does anyone actually use Dashboard anymore?

Honestly Apple, what was that!

So, Apple held their yearly new iPad intro yesterday. I don’t recall seeing an Apple event on a Thursday before but it seemed to go fairly well. Jokes from Tim Cook about the “accidental” leak of some iPad specs the day before (that sucked the air out of a Google announcement on Wednesday. Oops?)

Jokes about Apple secrecy (with an appearance by Steve Colbert.

So, new iPad Mini. I was looking forward to that one. Not anymore. It’s basically an iPhone 5s with a big screen and no phone bits in the mini case. zzzzzzz.

The new iPad Air? Much better. It got all the improvements, including a case redesigned. New CPU, a variant on the iPhone 6’s cpu/gpu. Faster networking, etc.

New iMac with retina display (higher res than those new 4K TVs ) could almost buy 2 maxed out MacBook Airs for a maxed out iMac. Not on my wish list.

Mac mini upgrade… Well, I was thinking of getting a second one to replace my older 1st gen AppleTV, but not this year. It has faster wifi than my current mini and 2(!) thunderbolt 2 port. And much better graphics. But the top end machine has a cpu less powerful than my current mini. Wtf Apple. Off the wish list until the NEXT refresh I guess.

There were also some software updates. OS X Yosemite is now out on the Mac store. (Something to do this weekend!). And a bunch of program updates to go with it.

IOS 8.1 (already?) will be released on Monday.

Those are the highlights.

Might Need some batteries

(No! Not for that! Get your minds out of the gutter.)

Thunderstorm this evening. The power flickered on and off for an hour. Until it died completely. Can hear emergency vehicles in the background.

Hopefully it’ll be back on before I have to get ready for work in the morning. And before the battery in my iPad/iPhone dies.

(I don’t get Columbus Day (aka Indigenous Peoples Oppression Day) off like some. (Every year at the ‘office’ we get to pick an extra holiday from a list. Columbus Day? Never makes it.  Usually we get a day in late December.)


After a couple hours of up-n-down power… things seem to have settled down. Phew.

Attack of SII

That would be “Self Inflicted Insomnia” – otherwise known as drinking way too much beverage(s) containing caffeine, in the last 12 hours, so I can’t sleep, no matter how tired I am.

Argh!

And the Purging continues

More fan fiction cleanup.

Deleted all of my Buffy/Willow fics (all 7 of them) from the Buffy/Willow archive IKOLY 2. ( all of which can still be found elsewhere. They aren’t gone completely.)

Deleted a Live Journal account, that probably no one knew about (I used it to post stories to the Twisted Shorts Live Journal Community but it’s been a while since I used it and anything I posted there is available elsewhere.

That drops me down to 5 places my fics can still be found. At some point I’ll narrow it down even more but haven’t decided which to delete next. The ultimate goal is 3.

It’s a Wrap

After 10+ years, The Grand Experiment is over. I’ve deleted all of my fics, complete, incomplete, in-progress, notes, whatever, from my personal website. Anyone (who was aware of this) who wants to read my stories (fan fiction anyway) will have to check out my stories at assorted online fan fiction archives (Some, not all, links to the left. Some may be duplicates.). (Or, if you can find it, there’s an archival, frozen in time, copy of my old Radio Userland blog out there somewhere.)

Never got much feedback. One or two people over the years. Haven’t updated it in a couple years and it was due for a revamp that I never got around to.

Maybe, some day, I’ll put it all back up. Right now, life goes on and I don’t have time to fiddle with them.

So, if anyone asks where they went… They’re Gone, Baby! Gone!

With the NaNo planning

Tomorrow, the windup to NaNoWriMo begins. 50,000 (or more) words in 30 days. 1,667 words/day. With the bonus, in the US, of the last few days being a long holiday weekend with little time (for me) to write.

Planned to write? The next “book” in my Yucatan Job story. Part 3 of 4.

I’ve already started outlining it, sort of. Not sure what it’s going to be about, really. Book 4 is the easy one. Lots of battles, and spaceships and “big honking space guns” but that’s next year. Book 3 is buildup. Might be boring.

New Shiny

Y’all went online early this morning and ordered a new iPhone, right? Gotta keep those dollars/rubles/euros flowing into the Apple vaults.

Seeing reports of the usual iPhone preorder day one mayhem. Out of stock, weeks/months of shipping time, etc. happens every year. You’d think Apple would prepare better. Or anticipate the volume. (Tim Cook’s Apple probably does, actually. But they can only make so many gadgets before they have to actually start selling them, and they never make enough to meeting immediate demand.)

Me? I’m on the ‘toc’ side of the current iPhone 2 Year refresh schedule (every other year. Tic = base (6 this year), Toc = ‘s’ ( following year). So, next year I’ll look at whatever replaces the iPhone 6 and decide if I can live with a larger phone or stick with my current one if we don’t get an iPhone 6s Mini.

Just over there