drcpunk: (Default)
( Apr. 6th, 2019 11:46 am)
Mind paths are strange things.

Ellen Kushner tweeted about Terri Windling's blog entry about maps because it included Delia Sherman's New York Between. So, I read the blog page on my phone.

Near the end, pretty much just above the last few maps, the ones which include New York Between, Windling mentions various realms of the imagination. And one word catches my eye.

Vandarei. And all my mind is saying, as I lose myself, is "I _know_ Vandarei."

And when I come back, I boot up the computer and write about all of the above, at much greater length. And I remember that I wanted to write about something Windling said in a speech, and I mentioned this in an email from some time ago. I type a few notes about that and look for the email.

And I find it. It says that I'm trying to respond to the speech she gave as the Tolkien Lecture.

And I look up which year that would have been and find it (2016, as it turns out).

And I find out that Marlon James gave the lecture this year, and that, yes, that was the video I wanted to listen to When I Had Time.

Well, I had time. And that's how the word "Vandarei" led me back to that video, to hear that lecture. The lecture is, of course, brilliant.
The consensus was that we had not pitched a book, and they cannot afford to publish one, not just in terms of what they're paying (which is a very good rate for what we promised in the contract), but also in terms of how big the book of which this is a single piece will be.

I made the easy cuts in an hour, tops, so we're down by a third. Josh pointed out the next obvious cut, which makes me wince, but he is, of course, correct.

If we wind up with a really good lean piece of a book, we were told we could use it as a teaser and discuss details after the book it's part of comes out. So that's the way we're going. I still need a clear "this is the maximum number of words you can have" so we know what we're cutting to, but we're all in agreement on the end goal.

As for whether it's Best Related material, that will depend on a) the rest of the book and b) the rest of the RPG material that comes out this year. I have found that the bar is quite high, and I'm good with that. Also, to be eligible, it still needs to get published...(stares at current file with a mental machete)
Last year, I was asked if I wanted to write a stretch goal setting for an RPG kickstarter, and of course, I said yes. [personal profile] mneme and I bounced ideas back and forth, and I got the official okay to have him be a co-author of this project.

We had three and a half months, and while, yes, we could have written faster, focused more of our time on this, we did not dawdle. As we neared the very end, we asked for and received a three day extension for what I'd estimated at 10-15K words.

We sent everything in, and after finally stitching the various pieces into one document, did a word count. I was hoping we'd be 15K or less, but knew it might be, oh, 20-25K.

It's 50K.
We wrote 50K words.

By Hugo Award definitions, 40K words = a novel. This isn't a novel, but a guide for using the core rules for a specific genre, with a sample setting. And I know how much layout can do to shrink page count.

But, this is five times my estimate of 10K, over three times my estimate of 15K, and two times my "well, it can't possibly be bigger than that" estimate.

Um. I feel less abashed at asking for a 3 day extension given just how much we churned out, but... I'm still staring at my screen in shock.

mneme, who was not at all surprised, is still giggling.
So this happened.

Hours later, ignorant of this, we were walking back from the Kaufman, having caught an early afternoon movie, planning to eat at either New York Style Eats or Zen Yai, both lovely places with good food and people.

I've loved the variety of restaurants in this neighborhood, and if you asked me to pick one block that is its heart, this is the one I would point to.

I gather local businesses, including those that set up weekend markets under the elevated 7 tracks, are doing what they can to help out -- fundraisers and the like to help both owners and employees.

Austin Tappan Wright's utopian novel Islandia is about a country that has many words for love, including "alia", which describes a love of place that is also a love of family and family heritage and things like that. The narrator who will emigrate to the eponymous country realizes that this describes what his uncle feels for the company he built. Islandia is definitely problematic (oh the racism), and the imaginary country it describes is far more pastoral than any I could comfortable call home, and family heritage is a complicated concept (which I don't particularly want to simplify). And that said, I think alia describes what I feel for this neighborhood.
drcpunk: (Default)
( Oct. 12th, 2018 12:16 pm)
I had the honor to meet him a few times, and his smile could light the room -- and we're talking the Gen Con dealers' room here.

He was amazing. He showed us what RPGs could be and he made it look obvious and easy.

All of this feels inadequate. I feel like I should be attending a viking funeral or something equally absurdly overwrought. Something like this. (Lyrics here.)
drcpunk: (Default)
( May. 22nd, 2018 03:43 am)
Friday, 7pm: 20 Years Later: Cardcaptor Sakura: Cardcaptor Sakura has returned with a new show after 18 years. Let's talk about the original show, how it holds up today, and what's changed since then. Panelists: Leona Thompson (mod), Devin Jackson Randall, Joshua Kronengold, Lisa Padol

Saturday, 3pm: Building Musical Bridges: There are several musical communities under the fannish umbrella: filkers, SCA bards, comedy musicians, and wizard rock, to name a few. What qualities do these communities have in common? How are they different? Can some of the conflicts that have arisen be bridged and misperceptions corrected? Panelists: T. J. Burnside Clapp (mod), Lisa Padol, Joshua Kronengold, Darren Zieger, Decadent Dave

Saturday, 7pm: The Music of the Late Jordin Kare, Rocket Scientist: In addition to his career as a physicist and aerospace engineer, Jordin Kare, who passed away in July 2017, was a songwriter and performer in the filk community. This special program will feature a selection of Jordin's best songs, including parodies, science songs, and his Pegasus Award-winning space anthem "Fire in the Sky". Participants: Emily Lewis, Bob Esty, Roberta Rogow, Dr H Paul Shuch (Dr. SETI), Tim Griffin, Harold Feld, Lisa Padol, Joshua Kronengold, Gary Ehrlich

Sunday, 7pm: Fictional Works of Fiction: From The King In Yellow to Camp Pining Hearts, fictional works of fiction have always been an essential part of, well, fiction. Discuss your faves, how to use fictional works for worldbuilding, and what happens when fictional fiction takes on a life of its own. Panelists: John Ashmead (mod), Scott Roche, Martin Berman-Gorvine, Darrell Schweitzer, Lisa Padol

Sunday 8pm: Concert: Josh Kronengold & Lisa Padol
drcpunk: (Default)
( Apr. 5th, 2018 01:03 am)
Tonight, I was going through the files from last month that need filing and came on two pdfs of a larp that a bunch of folks wrote a few years ago.

One of the authors sent out the first file. Another asked for a correction.

The first author made the correction and sent the second file. The whole thing, from sending out file #1 to sending out file #2 took maybe 2 minutes. It's not like the first author did anything fancy -- one word was changed.

I opened both files briefly to make sure I was deleting the correct one, and saw that one file was 157 kb and one was 281 kb.

One single word was changed. I do not understand how pdfs decide how big they are going to be.
drcpunk: (Default)
( Feb. 26th, 2018 05:58 pm)
I need a word that means the male equivalent of the Grand Dame. "Grand Duke" isn't quite right, nor is "Grey Eminence".
This week's challenge was about opening the sort of business we thought Riverside might need. So --

It's another collaboration!

Lisa (who will be playing Dr. C): What does Riverside need?

Josh (who will be playing Neme, pronounced "NEH-mey") (without pause): Insurance.

Name of Business: The Paper Blade

Slogans: Be Sure! Insure with Neme and Dr. C! We protect your Ass(ets)

Best read in a Brooklyn accent.

Potential Client: Insurance? Isn't that what I have my swordsman protector for? Hugh here keeps people from messing with me and what's mine. Anyone tries, Hugh'll kill him. What more insurance do I need?

(Hugh preens)

Neme: And how will that stop you from going out of business if someone's too drunk to recognize Hugh? Now, look. Let us say there's a duchess. And this duchess puts a lot of her family money into -- into -- help me out, here, Doc! What do duchesses put money into?

Dr. C: Um... They have those pretty boats, Neme.

Neme: Sure, sure. Let us say this duchess puts her family money into a boat. One of those explorer boats.

Dr. C: Yeah! One of those explorer boats.

Neme: And let's say that boat happens to... you know, sink.

Dr. C: Boats do that.

Neme: Sometimes, yeah. Not all the time, but yeah.

Dr. C: You understand, no one wants them to sink. We're not talking an "accident". We're talking an accident.

Neme: Yeah. This isn't that kind of insurance.

Dr. C: You want _that_ kind of insurance, talk to Larry down the block.

Neme: Or don't.

Dr. C: Hey, he gives very reasonable rates!

Neme: The point is, that kind of insurance, you're getting protection from the person selling you that kind of insurance. Or, you could hire a swordsman.

Dr. C: Which you've done.

(Hugh preens)

Neme: But the swordsman won't protect you against the world.

Potential Client: But that's exactly what I hire a swordsman to protect me against.

Dr. C: He protects you if it rains? If a branch falls on your house?

Neme: If it catches on fire?

Dr. C: By accident. Not by "accident".

Neme: So all you have to do is give us a bit of the value you want protected, every month.

Dr. C: Like, say --

Neme: No, no. We gotta asses it first. See what the risks are. We've got a student at the university working for us who can turn all of our observations into numbers.

Dr. C: It's really very impressive. And all he asks for are tomato pies.

Neme: Yeah, great bargain! Now see, that duchess's boat --

Dr. C: You know, the hypothetical one.

Neme: Yeah, hypothetical.

Dr. C: That hypothetically sunk.

Neme: Yeah, yeah. If we knew it was, say, going out to -- hey, Doc? Where did the chocolate princess come from?

Dr. C: The one who was with Tess the Hand?

Neme: Yeah, that one.

Dr. C: Um... B-something? Bikin--

Neme: Whatever. It doesn't matter.

Dr. C: Then why did you ask?

Neme: (sighs) She's so literal minded. The point is, journey like that, never succeeded before? We wouldn't have sold her insurance.

Dr. C: We wouldn't have?

Neme: Nope. See, insurance is a way of sharing risk.

Dr. C: Yeah, sharing. People ought to share. But, we all know we need to know what's in it for us first. That's just smart.

Neme: So we wouldn't have sold the duchess insurance at any price she was willing to pay.

Dr. C: Hypothetically. I mean, of course, even a hypothetical duchess wouldn't do hypothetical business with us, but never mind that.

Neme: But, your ordinary house fire. Most houses don't catch on fire most days most years.

Dr. C: Er... there was that dry summer five years back.

Neme: Yeah, that's why we have a clause for district-wide fires. We don't pay out for those. Otherwise, nobody would get any money and everybody would be unhappy.

Potential client: Wait, but if you don't pay out anything for a district-wide fire, nobody gets any money, except you, and then someone burns down your shop. How is that good for anyone, including you?

Neme: Oh, we might pay out a bit on a catastrophic event, if you've opted for the catastrophic clause. It costs more, and it's not really worth it. But, that's up to you.

Dr. C: Yeah, we don't pay the full value. But anyone who opts in will get a little, even if it's the entire district. It costs us, but there's that sharing thing.

Neme: But everyone's gonna hurt. Including us. But for the little things -- your place getting robbed ---

Dr. C: When you and Hugh aren't there --

Neme: Or maybe an inside job. As long as it's not too inside. You can't arrange your own losses.

Dr. C: Yeah, at that point, we talk to Larry, and if Larry can't help -- which he almost certainly can. He's really very reasonable -- then we just don't pay you.

Neme: Yeah, that's in the contract too. Look, just think of us as a gambling parlour. Except, instead of hoping to win --

Dr. C: By which he means get paid because your stuff got messed with.

Neme: Instead, you hope to lose. Which is to say, you pay us a small amount for insurance, you don't get anything back, but you don't lose anything either. Your money protected you. You paid for safety and your stuff was safe.

Dr. C: And this money we get. Yeah, sure, we got living expenses. Sure, we got... little luxuries, let's call 'em. But most of that money? We invest it.

Neme: That way, your money's still doing work. Your premiums --

Dr. C: That means payments.

Neme: Yeah, they stay low. And no one, which is to say us, gets chased by an unhappy mob.

Dr. C: Yeah, we hate unhappy mobs.

Neme: Mutual, I'm sure. We'll even ensure things that aren't business. Like, your life, for instance.

Dr. C: Yeah, Hugh can stop a swordsman.

(Hugh preens)

Neme: But he can't stop age. And sickness.

Dr. C: Or tripping over a broken cobble and breaking your ankle.

Neme: No, that's medical insurance. We're not touching that. But, we'll even offer some free advice on how to protect your investment. After all, once you've bought insurance from us, your risk is our risk as well.

Dr. C: Yeah, we don't want to pay you. That means we really don't want you to get robbed. Or to have a fire. So, we go out there, we say, maybe, "Your lock is crap."

Neme: And if you replace it, we'll give you a cheaper premium.

Dr. C: We can recommend people, but it boils down to the quality of the lock. Yeah, we get the usual from someone we recommend, and we will recommend the best we know -- because it's our risk too -- but if you know someone as good or better, it still lowers your risk, and that lowers our risk.

Potential Client: There's just one thing I don't understand. If I pay you money for years, nothing bad ever happens, that's not you doing anything. That's luck. But I'm still out the money, because you don't give it back.

Neme: True, but if no one ever attacks you because Hugh is really good at his job, he's not giving you your money back either.

(Hugh shakes his head emphatically.)

Neme: But just like Hugh, we're giving you something you can trust in. Trust, for the future.

Sometime later...

Dr. C: So, that guy with Hugh, what was his name again?

Neme: Mark.

Dr. C: Oh, of course.

(Enter Potential Client #2, who's heard about this from someone else)

Potential Client #2: ...and so, I'm trying to find out if this is real.

Dr. C: Oh yes. I mean, we're talking about a lot of hypotheticals, but the money's real. Risk is real.

Neme: Yeah, exactly. And technically, we're not selling you anything.

Potential Client #2: How do you figure that?

Neme: We're buying. We're buying your risk.

Potential Client #2: You want my risk?

Neme: No, absolutely not. Nobody wants your risk. You don't want your risk. We don't want your risk. You'd have to pay us to take it. Which is basically what you're doing.
With help from [personal profile] mneme:

If you're not following Tremontaine, you can change that by going here, which will make the following somewhat more comprehensible. And, no, Seanan McGuire's not currently writing for it, but you can find out what she has written over here

This week, the question is: You're arranging a gaming night just for Micah. What games do you play, what snacks do you serve, and who do you invite? )
This is about solicited email, not about junk or spam. It is about mail from political organizations that I have not told to take me off their mailing list.

This is long and ranty. )
I figured it was time to get some ranting and thoughts onto the virtual page all in one place, rather than scattered in the comments on other blogs. For those not following Tremontaine, you can change that by going here, and that will make this post more comprehensible.

This is a very long post, with many spoilers, much ranting, and loads of Opinions. )
This is the weekly challenge post for Tremontaine -- and if you aren't reading Tremontaine already, you can easily change that by going here.

So, as readers of Tremontaine know, Rafe Fenton wants to found a new school. I have a few thoughts:

With visitors from Chartil, perhaps arrangements could be made for guest lecturers from that land, bringing their knowledge of the sciences and the arts. When the ambassador is available, perhaps Rafe might talk with him.

I have no idea what Joshua's specialty is. I think he could probably teach basics and organization, and these need to be taught by someone good, but I'm sure there's something else he'd rather teach. And, in the matter of practicalities, someone needs to be doing the books for this school. This isn't a job for Joshua, but perhaps he knows how to find the right person -- or perhaps Rafe's father does.

I've been thinking about how Micah might teach. I think she would have some success if she tried to explain how she played cards. Certainly, students would have more inspiration with a clear example of the practicality of mathematical knowledge!

Maybe a walkthrough of a game, perhaps in an appropriate tavern setting with beer and tomato pie, possibly with Tim and the rest of Rafe's circle, with editorial comments about how Tim is obviously bluffing, and really shouldn't, and why it's obvious Tim is bluffing -- that could be educational, especially for Tim.
It is a Special Occasion for Duchess Tremontaine. What to serve at a dinner in her honor?

This is not my forte. Still, hm. She was originally Diane Roehaven, so a main course of venison would be appropriate. And of course, there must be swans. Sugar swans floating on chocolate!

Beyond that, I don't know. Perhaps ask Micah for recommendations on vegetables, and if she wants radishes carved into swans, sure! Or turnips. And find someone who knows wine to find out what would compliment this.

While I still have some issues with Season 2 (and went into those at length during season 2), thus far, Season 3 is off to a great start.

I love how it makes the city both infinite and intimate -- cities are many cities in one, but because of who knows whom, they all intersect. It's rather like the big gaming convention Gen Con or like a huge WorldCon that way. Heck, it's even like the much smaller Intercon, the larping convention I go to -- 300 people or so, and I know most of them, and some of them I never see the entire weekend because they're doing a different convention than I am because of the games they choose.

Now, we'll see how things develop. I like what I'm seeing of various characters' strengths and of consequences. I want to keep seeing that. People are a mixture of strengths and weaknesses, but I want to believe in the combination I see of the two, and to still care about the characters. I'd like a less dea ex machina than last season.

But for right now, I'm satisfied. Duchess Tremontaine is very much herself, and one of her big weaknesses is that she always assumes everyone sees the world the same way she does and acts for the same reasons she acts. And she still sees the city as hers, and I suspect the city sees her as its own.
drcpunk: (Default)
( Jan. 20th, 2017 10:52 pm)
I've been in the habit of making a list of books to look for at Larry's tables at various conventions. I'm still a bit dazed by the news, as we saw him at Arisia and at GAFilk before that.