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Archive for September, 2011

I have but one thing to say

September 23, 2011 4 comments

Welcome fall. I’ve missed you (and winter, and even spring). Summer, with your sweltering temperatures, you have been here way too long. Go away quickly. You won’t be missed.

Sincerely,

–dp

Categories: Life

I’ve been waiting for this

September 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Ever since Simon Cowell left American Idol (said show becoming nothing more than a mere shadow of its former self thanks to the combined love-fest of Steve, Jennifer, and Randy), all I’ve ever hoped for was either Simon to come back to the show or for him to become a part of another similar show. Well, I got my wish and was x-static when the X-factor was announced. Why? Because none other than Simon Cowell was going to be a major part of the show and be its primary (or at least most well known) judge.

While I’ll leave reviews of the show to others (my feelings after one episode are mixed), I can say that Simon literally made my evening during the second hour. All I’ve talked about since I heard about the X-factor was how forward I was looking to hearing, once again, one of my favorite Simon-isms. And last night, I got just what I’d hoped for. So here, for those who may have missed it, is Simon at his best:

Thank you, Simon. You were missed.

–dp

Categories: TV

We’re everywhere I tell you – Part Deux

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Apparently Nevada is full of all kinds of pagans. Check out the latest spotted in that “wide open” state:

Pagan and proud

Now check out the other side of that same bumper:

Blessed Be?

Is this possibly one of those rarest of church goers? A Christian Pagan?

Nice to know there’s at least one more of us in the good ol’ USA.

–dp

Categories: Family

Inverse reactive current for use in uni-lateral phase detractors

September 22, 2011 1 comment

I work for a company that employs brilliant engineers and scientists. Frequently, these employees are allowed to give talks about their current projects or interests. I received an email about such a talk just today. Here is the description and abstract.

Description: Title: Randomized Search Algorithm

Abstract: In this talk we present a novel randomized search (RS) algorithm, which is found to be efficient in dealing with high-dimensional combinatorial, non-linear, non-convex, multi-objective optimization problems that involve various types of decision variables and many complex constraints. The algorithm does not require any problem decomposition nor identification or elimination of non-convexities.

Why is it that after I read the abstract I immediately felt like I might as well have just watched this?

–dp

Categories: General

We’re everywhere I tell you

September 16, 2011 1 comment

Not much to say here, so I’ll let the picture do the talking. Thanks for passing this along, Alexis 🙂

No matter where you go, there we are

Obligatory disclaimer: For those who don’t know me, I’m a Pagan in name only (and quite proud of it, too … see my old website: pagan-and-proud). Also, I’m a Christian (which is funny when you think about it). I don’t subscribe to any of the new or old religious movements referring to themselves as “Pagans”. I just thought this was funny.

Categories: Family

Do they really pay attention to what they write?

September 15, 2011 1 comment

So, normally it’s the federal or state government that does things that make you go, “huh?”. Not so this time. This is actually from a health insurance letter I recently received. Thanks go to Debbie who noticed this little gem.

Seriously?

I don’t know. Maybe I’m missing something …

–dp

Categories: Absurdities

My first novel: a retrospective – Part 2

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

After months of typing away on my story, I was finally done. I’d typed THE END so obviously the manuscript was complete, right? Au contraire. As a first time novelist, I was, of course, quite wrong. I’d done absolutely no editing of the book while I was writing it, having sat myself down at a keyboard and simply begun typing. Caught in the midst of inspiration (remember that dog barking?) and a desire to write a book, words had simply spilled from my finger tips as I flew through my novel by the seat of my pants. I had no outline and no direction, only a goal. I quickly discovered, though, upon rereading my book, it was painfully obvious I’d had no idea what I was doing through the first draft.

Once I realized that what I’d written was not perfection, but instead a crude piece of work that was going to require massive amounts of effort to polish into something resembling a real book, the prospect of editing the monster I’d just created was nearly overwhelming. It wasn’t enough to crush my spirit, mind you, just enough to make me take a few very deep breaths prior to jumping back into the book. Once ready, I backed up everything up onto some old 5 1/4 inch floppies, fired up the trusty word processor again, and began editing away.

I don’t remember exactly how long it took me to finally “finish” the manuscript (where by “finish” I mean I read through the book again from beginning to end and cleaned up things up as I went … mostly just spelling, typos, and grammatical errors). I think it was perhaps another couple of months or so before I reached the end of my book once again and made my last (superficial) edit. Since it was obvious I was now done with my novel, I, just as any other aspiring author might do, turned my thoughts to the holy grail of all writers: publication.

Yes, that’s right. Even though I was a first time author, with a manuscript that had just barely been scraped through the editing process, I began pondering the possibilities of getting published. Looking back, it’s obvious this was driven by the conviction that I was way better at writing than I actually was. In that regard, I don’t think I was unique. I suspect many first time authors, especially when caught up in the early euphoria of finishing that very first book, go through similar delusions. So properly deluded, I ventured out into the realm of the publishing world, with high hopes of someday seeing my manuscript turned into a real book that I could admire on the shelf at the local bookstore. Oh, and of course, I could sell the movie rights for a million dollars or so. Sure I could. I was that good.

Okay, so I wasn’t really that good. Surprise, surprise. But I did learn a lot. Being that this was in the day before the internet was widely used (I used it all the time at work because I was in the computer business, but pretty much no one else outside of the industry did), everything had to be done the old fashioned way. First, I researched possible publishers by reading through a ridiculously thick book the size of an encyclopedia (Writer’s Market, which is still published every year, btw). Then, after a painstaking process of reading through individual publishers and selecting those that seemed most promising, i.e., those that might be interested in my novel, I drafted a number of query letters, then sent them out the old-fashioned way (snail mail, of course). At the time, I didn’t think too much about how painful the process was, but in retrospect, looking back from the second decade of the twenty-first century, I’d say it was like being in the stone age.

So of course, as one must do when operating within the constraints of the United State Postal System, once I sent out a bunch of queries, I did what every good aspiring novelist does: I started writing short stories.

–dp

Categories: Writing