Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird


07 July 2004

It’s starting to take real shape. Weirdly, I’m more worried about the formatting, since the paper has to be in IEEE format, which is very specific. However, I have quite a cool solution to that problem: Adobe InDesign. I’ve done most of the master page design already. Go, me!

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07 July 2004

Worked on the submission tracker, this time in JSP. You know, it wasn’t that hard. That said, I really need to buckle down and work on some other stuff this week, like finishing the academic paper.

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To Touch the Stars

06 July 2004

This is a wonderfully worthwhile album, even if you find yourself, as I do, switching between four tracks (of the five authored by Leslie Fish).

First, you can buy it here or here.

As I’m mostly listening to the Fish songs, I’ll review them.

First up is “Witness’ Waltz,” done in an in Irish bar style, which I happen to love. It just seems perfect for a song about hanging out watching for launches.

Track 5 is one of Leslie’s most-recorded songs, and with a great deal of justification. “Hope Eyrie” is a really wonderful anthem. Julia Ecklar has recorded it several times (as has Leslie), but I really think this version is definitive. It gave me goose bumps.

“Surprise,” Track 6, is a great deal of fun — and this particular recording is just appropriate. It’s a very, very different style than Hope Eyrie. Suffice to say it’s a song about Sputnik, complete with credits for Russian Yells. Go listen.

When I first heard “Queen Isabella,” I knew that I had a recording, but I kept hearing “Queen Bess was Harry’s daughter.” Different song (“The Looking Glass” from Smoked Fish and Friends), but this quite fun too.

Now, my one Fish regret on this album: that they recorded “Dance on the Ceiling” with the, well, peculiar arrangement. Ugh.

Still, there’s enough tasty stuff (even excluding Leslie’s songs) that you should Go Buy This Album. Now.

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The Luck of Madonna 13

03 July 2004

All program participants for Conkopelli were handed a hardback copy of this book. Without net access, I can’t verify if it was self-published or simply from a very odd small press.

I’m half-tempted to read it just to see how many more bad metaphors there are, but I figured chapter first sentences was quite enough.

Chapter 1 starts on page 39. This alone should be a clue.

First sentences from the chapters:

1: Hair the color of dusty emeralds sprayed from under the silver-blue sheen of the prayer helmet. (Literally sprayed?)

2: A noise crept into Glendyl’s awareness with the stealth of a puma stalking prey. (Bad metaphor, no biscuit.)

3: The massive pentagon glittered like a highrise ice sculpture in the morning sun. (Not as bad, but I don’t like it when I perceive buildings as melty.)

4: “Stop it Jamis!” grumbled Glendyl, ducking her head inside her sleepsack to escape the nose-licking. (Ah, sleeping characters, always a dynamic way to start a chapter.)

5: Lunch thrust itself into Glendyl’s gullet with reckless velocity, barely chewed: a strip of Diogenes’ jerky, a lank rod of string cheese, and an energy stick. (Give that food a speeding ticket!)

6: Lizbeth’s fingers nervously trolled the ends of her hair; her eyes scrutinized the pyramid of likesteak as if deliverance from the upcoming ordeal was hidden somewhere under the pinkish juices. (1. You troll for something. I don’t expect that her hair was attempting to catch a fish. 2. Calling a rabbit a smeerp again.)

7: Disdain. Awe. Fear. Admiration. Scorn. Five nouns, a flip-flopping teeter-totter pivoting on the word “fear.” (Nouns and verbs, hon. Nouns and verbs.)

8: Dull sounds, blurred by the incessant roar of the Wittwater: a whirring, a gruff metallic rasping, a resounding clang-clunk. (With no one to hear the tree fall.)

9: A dancing white cone pressed against the darkeness: foot by grudging foot dark yielded, but only for a moment. (Don’t you love it when sentences contradict themselves?)

10: Rumors sprang through St. Coriander like bulimic locusts, devouring every tidbit of gossip, regurgitating it and hopping to the next. (Department of Similes Gone Horribly Wrong. This was the first sentence that caused Rick to scream, slam the book closed, and drop it.)

11: Glendyl woke up groggy and unaware that she had missed all the recent excitement in the Infirmary. (POV break.)

12: “What are those little triangle things? And what’s the gooey black stuff with the little round things in it?” inquired Glendyl just a little testily. (Can we have enough modifiers on that dialogue tag?)

13: Darkness absorbed Glendyl’s diving body like a hungry sponge. (Wouldn’t that have been nice?)

14: Glendyl, whispered the faint, distorted voice. It came from both near and far away and nagged at her Princess Glendyl dream like a pea under a hundred goosedown mattresses. (Asleep again!)

15: Dillowy Cavern was not really a cavern: it just looked like one. (Mmmhmmm. Tell us what something is, not what it’s not. It’s incredibly hard to form a negative image.)

16: A hyperactive giant with a tree-sized mallet aimed, swing and delivered another quick stroke. (Can this guy use the serial comma consistently? No.) Better is a couple of sentences later:

Oh no! thought Lizbeth’s head with a tinny cry of distress and another lump. (This parses as a) “a tinny cry of distress” and b) “a tinny cry of another lump.” Does that make sense to you? Many beginners use “and” when they really are looking to create a sense of events occurring in time. However, the word doesn’t work that way. “Then” would have been correct, though that would not have fixed this sentence.)

17: Nothing but nothingness: not even an echo for comfort. (The problem with putting the echo in the picture is then that’s what the reader imagines. Since it’s not there, that’s a problem.)

18: The Eye in the cliff leered, obscene and cyclopic. (Argon?)

19: Lizbeth Marble’s exhaustion hung on her like a five-hundred pound nightgown. (Bad simile. No biscuit.)

20: Castle Ommergard floated into a simmering dawn. (Another unintended ambiguity: literally floated? Because, in sf/f, that is possible.)

21: Three persons are playing Name That Sculpture. (Actually, this one sentence is one I’m half fond of. It doesn’t really say anything, but at least it doesn’t get too much in the way of potential understanding.)

Oh, and the kicker, at the end of the chapter: “Thus ends book one.”

Oh dear.

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Last to see him

01 July 2004

I realized yesterday that, even though I wasn’t certain which coworker it was precisely, if it was the one I thought it was, I was the last to talk to him.

Until this week, there were two of us with PT Cruisers in the parking lot. Mine’s that red grape color; his is navy.

We both worked late Friday evening and had the two remaining cars in the lot, talking about the coolness and angst (since both of our cars had been vandalized) of owning a car in common.


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Tables for Layout, redux

30 June 2004

Jeff points out that some right-facing eejits are still proposing tables for layout with CSS. While there are some times when tables are a Good Idea, this shouldn’t be taken as an excuse to use tables at every opportunity.

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Cory Wins!

30 June 2004

I’ve always liked Cory Doctorow, so I’m really happy that his first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, has won the Locus award! Dude, we love you! Read more here.

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