They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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A Passing Weekend

For Writers

In case you're keeping score, Baen's Universe is back open to submissions. It was just a little over a year ago that I sent in my first submission to them -- it took 326 days to get a rejection after they got fairly swamped by submissions, lost Jim Baen and had more than enough stories bought for their first year. By the time I was ready to submit again, they were closed until January. They now have a nice online submission system, rather than having to send an attachment to an e-mail. Upon uploading my RTF file, I immediately was given a link to a status page which told me:
Status of "A Man in the Moon"

Author: Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon

Title: A Man in the Moon

Received - 2007-02-17

Eric is currently reading stories from January 2006.


It seems to be a nice system. We'll see if it keeps me in the loop this time, no matter how long it takes to get an answer from them. (double-entry-grin)

Output

For a while I was in a bit of a writer's malaise, but lately the problem has been too many ideas, not enough time to write. This weekend I managed to get three stories out: After a rejection from Strange Horizons, I immediately turned around "The Frailty of Hours" to Analog. Two, "A Man in the Moon" went to Baen's Universe after a rewrite on the ending. And three, a new story "Atrophy" is in an envelope heading to Gordon at F&SF Monday morning.

So one back, three out -- a net increase of two stories for a total of ten stories out in the field at the moment. Until I check my e-mail today, of course. (cynical-grin)

To The Dogs

We were busy with other things, so taped the six hours of the Westminster Dog Show on USA Network. Had that in the background while we both puttered on Saturday. James, the English Springer Spaniel who won Best in Show was a fine dog, though my own breed preferences tend towards others. The akita was beautiful as were all the husky types -- what was the one reddish dog, a Finnish Spitz? Lovely. The Newfoundland was a son, I think, of Josh who won Best in Show the other year. Now there's a solid dog. All three dachshunds were quite good -- the wire-haired which went in the top four of the group was quite dignified, the long-haired had a lot of character. I think it was the smooth dachshund which broke into a gallop as its way out of the ring -- if you've ever owned a dachshund, it's a familiar thing which'll bring a smile to your face.

My mother pronounced the final seven as "too many poodles", with a toy and standard from the Toy and Non-Sporting Groups. It rarely matters to me who wins the Toy Group, but a good standard poodle is an impressive dog -- not sure I've ever seen a tail pom-pom that big. However it bugs me that the cut and styling is what matters in some breeds, not the basic dog itself. I know, I know, the breeds are all handled differently, but it's a matter of taste. Guess they won't ever let me judge. (wicked-grin)

Research

Wikipedia coughed up two useful answers in the middle of doing something else -- NASA Mission Control in Houston and the Hohmann Transfer Orbit (I was always spelling it Hohnman and thought I better look it up) -- both times I didn't have a PC on with a web connection, so I used my HP iPAQ 4705 PDA over the Wi-Fi DSL connection. You have to be careful for what you're searching for, because some topics are worked over by freaks, but for me Wikipedia is growing into a useful resource whose articles on very specific terms are becoming more on target than just Google searching alone.

Weather Beating

The weather gods really have it in for Colorado this year. Today's Grand Rapids Press detailed big avalanches closing major highways from Denver to the resorts of Winter Park, Vail and Aspen. Got snow?

And I am of mixed mind about the fifty miles of I-78 in Pennsylvania which got shut down with lots of trucks and cars stranded unable to move. On the one hand it seemed to take the state police as much as 24 hours to close the entrance ramps to I-78, allowing more people to get stranded. And on the other hand, it's the middle of a frickin' blizzard, who gets onto a lonely stretch of Interstate highway without checking weather and highway conditions? My mantra remains: if the weather really sucks, stay home!

And I have no problem wondering what the hell is wrong with people over the Jet Blue debacle at JFK. What part of "weather permitting" and "increased security at airports" do you not understand? Why the hell was it necessary to call in the police to stop what sounded like a near riot? And why did it take fifteen more minutes before canceling that one flight? Ain't no one from that unruly mob should've expected to fly that day... period. Of course, letting people sit on a plane for something like eight hours -- just in case they might be allowed to take off -- is just stupid. Something similar happened to some people on a Northwest flight at Detroit in a storm last year -- I think they were waiting for a gate and didn't want to let people walk on the tarmac -- isn't there a trade association which discusses these things between airlines about What Not To Do In A Storm?

UPDATE: The preceding paragraph was written on Sunday with some incomplete information. News reports Monday indicate that Jet Blue is seriously unable to manage their way out of their situation. Original problems caused by weather -- sure, I get that -- but if you cannot fly, why are pretending you can so that you end up with a mountain of undeliverable luggage you've accepted, and making people feel stranded in the airport for long stretches because they can't get their bags back? Much like the I-78 people in Pennsylvania, we come up with systems that assume we can ignore the weather conditions, then marvel when everything goes haywire. Sure, people want to fly out of JFK, storm or no storm. Their troubles aren't helped by an industry which doesn't want to make it easy for people to change or cancel their travel plans, forcing people to push for service when it would be best served by sending everyone home. No easy answers, but you pay management to come up with contingency plans and then use them. Or am I way off base here?


It's blue sky here, with some big puffy white clouds, and in the low 20s with some wind. May go to hell later in the week, but it's okay for now.

Later,

Dr. Phil
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