jewel on line at last

This is my personal weblog where I get to be as crabby as I want to be.


More Cluelessness

Today, I got this email from CA, containing this lovely phrase:

You will soon receive an electronic survey invitation from me.

Oh, great. Reading this email was a complete waste of time. About now, I feel more like deleting that email as soon as it comes, because CA just wasted my time emailing to say they're going to email me. This is much, much worse than The database is 28 pages long! CA is in the freaking software business. How could they be so clueless? It's not like they gave me a carrot for reading their stupid email or even their future email. No contest, no, hey here's a shot at an Amazon credit or something.


Now I get to make fun of some people

So, on this list I'm on, which is maybe related to writing, maybe not, I see this sentence leap out at me: "The database is currently 28 pages long!" Let me put this in a header so that it really leaps out:

The database is currently 28 pages long!

No, the database is not currently any pages long. Don't make me talk about extents and pages and leaves. Just don't. It's cruel. I believe what they mean, maybe, is that the database generates a report that is 28 pages long. But since this is in the context of the web, talking about pages doesn't make sense. 28 rows is no big whoopdedoodle but what could 28 web pages mean? Now my brain hurts. They mean well. I suppose I should go look at what they've done. They mean well, but they're completely clueless and obviously no one in charge knows WTF they're doing or they wouldn't have let such a stupid, idiot clueless statement go out to thouands of writers, I mean maybe writers. Maybe something else.

Today's Crabbiness Level: To the moon.


Interesting bit of info- is it true?

The article referenced below has this bit of info buried in it: " -- sees more than half of its book sales coming from outside of its top 130,000 titles." Yes. Backlist, folks. Way, way, backlist, I guess.Read more at


Testing 1 2 3

I'll only be crabby if this doesn't work:

I hate stuff that isn't sufficiently explained. Oh, well. here it goes.

Oops made a mistake. Edited and trying again. (This site needs writing help!) So, now I wait. Cue the Jeopardy music.


Don't read this if you're easily offended

Just got this email in my writing world...

My 15 year old daughter just finished reading your book - she loves romance, vampires and fantasy. In writing a book that you can be proud of why do you feel the need to be so graphic when describing sex? (page 272) Do you feel the book won't be as appealing if you do not include the soft porn? Or do the publisher's require it to make it more marketable? I am in a debate with my daughter about your book and others like it. I have told her that publishers have outlines for writers like you to follow. Could you please respond because she must have 400 books all with the same kind of stuff going on and I really do not want to read each one to prove a point to her!

Let's see, how many ways did this person offend me, not to mention engage in piss poor logic and a truly irritating holier-than-thou attitude? I'm practically incoherent!

There is no link between sex in a book and pride of authorship. Writing is way too freaking hard to think about that. Sure, sex sells, and you know why? Because human beings reproduce by having sex. That means we're designed to find sex interesting and darn fun, too. So, what the hell is wrong with writing about what defines and deepens a loving relationship? I'm not responsible for someone else's hangups. I have enough to do managing my own, thank you very much.

Oh, and guess what? The stereotypes about Romance are WRONG. Publishers do not give writers outlines. Sorry, but no. Probably at one time they tried that and then found out that all the talented authors couldn't wouldn't do that and all they had left was the writers who send query letters that say stuff like "Dear Publisher, here is my 150,000 word novel that you're will love to publish because my Aunt Tilly read it and she is Egliosh Teacher and loves me alot. There are aliens in chapter 14. I would like $500,000 dollors anda movie deal. Thanks."

No outlines. No bodice ripping. No soft porn. Sorry, but it's not porn of any sort. Porn is boring and repetitive and has nothing to do with love. Romance novels are about what happens when and while a couple falls in love. No love? Then it's not Romance. Is there sex? Quite often. But, provided the writer has talent, it's not boring and it's not repetitive AND it's about love.

If your teenager is reading romance and you are not comfortable with the possibility (even likelihood) of there being sex, then maybe you better check the book before she buys it.

OK. I've calmed down a little bit. For anyone not in the know, the book is a Paranormal Action Romance and it has vampires and demons in it, among other things. I checked page 272 of A Darker Crimson and I am pleased to report the following about that page:

  1. It is not the possession sex scene.

  2. it's also not the demon sex scene.

  3. it's my second favorite hot scene in the whole book

Probably I'll come back and add a bit later. I was a lot nicer in my reply to the emailer, by the way.

Apres MPAA / RIAA Le Deluge

Yet more evidence of the abyss into which certain corporations will fall. It'd be interesting to start compiling a list of all the ways in which content consumers are being harmed by the Luddites in corporations. This article seems to be about a company that made an inaccurate (false?) statment about its product. But read deeper (including the comments) and you'll see the issue is much bigger.


EFF: DeepLinks (Why RIAA is an evil corporate moron)

Oh, great. I think we need to start a countdown to when RIAA makes the companies it's trying to "protect" obsolete by pissing off every last paying customer. The shift away from the current model of acquiring music from the major lables has already begun. Granted it's small but not, I think, insignificant. What a bunch of Luddites. Read more at


Official Google Blog: Defending the future of books

In two words: B.S.



g q p d b p

The above letters were the letters (I think) that I was required to type into blog comment to confirm that I am not a spambot. So, yeah, I get why that is. But as I may have mentioned before, dyslexia runs in the family, and when I am tired and stressed, as I am right now, I can't tell the difference between those letters (you have no IDEA how long it took me to get those right if, indeed, I did.) So, no, my comment did not get approved. Fortunately, I got a second chance but it was many of the same letters. Crap.

General Crabbiness Level: Damn high.


The Pain of Withdrawl

Bloglines is down. Yes, that makes me crabby because now I feel completely cut off from the world. How am I going to find out what's going on? You mean manually go to all those blogs! I have nearly 50 that I keep track of!General Crabbiness Level: High

ยป GMail code hints at coming domain feature | Googling Google |

Wow! This doesn't make me crabby. Interesting, indeed. With all the usual concerns one must have these days about anything Google.



Schneier on Security: A Model Regime of Privacy Protection

Know what I think? It will never happen. The same freaks who brought us the Medicare prescription reform will make this fine idea a complete mess and we'll end up with something worse. The companies who stand to lose if their ability to screw the individual is restricted will lobby for exclusions and they'll get them because the current congress loves corporations and doesn't care about individuals who aren't rich.

Verizon Executive Calls for End to Google's 'Free Lunch'

Are these people complete morons? Google pays for its bandwidth. They're not crawling the internet for free. What it does and where it decides to go once it's connected is Google's own damn business. If Verizon doesn't want google trolling the Verizon website then they can make a robots.txt file. But, that's not what these idiots are complaining about. The whole point of the internet is that the infrastructure is there for everyone to use. I pay a provider to get me there. Google does the same. End of issue. Is Verizon going to suggest next that every financially successful website owes them a cut? Verizon and its ilk got HUGE tax breaks to improve their pipline. Care to explain to me why I can't get broadband where I live?

Hey, Verizon, you morons, where's my rebate?



Oh, and one more thing

I forgot that I was crabby about something else, too. My Univ. webmail account (which I am forced to use) is squirrel mail. Now, I know this is a geekish program etc etc etc. But that's the whole problem. Go look at Thunderbird... Now go look at Squirrel mail.
The rodent mail has this bit of text followed by three ugly links underneath kind of like so:

Transform Selected Messages:
[Read] [Unread] [Delete]

Now, what normal person would think that anyone in their right mind would "Transform" their email? The answer is none. NONE! Yes, I am shouting. Hopefully loud enough so that the idiot geek who thought that was a cool phrase will be awakened from a restful sleep. Sure, it's cool if only other geeks use it, but my University uses it and they FORCE me to use it and I don't want ugly interfaces with questionable action verbs in place of meaningful English.

Clark Kent transforms into Superman
Peter Parker transforms into Spiderman.

My read mail does not transform into deleted mail or unread mail.

The scene in the phone booth does NOT go like this: "No, no, first the shoes, then the pants!" It goes like this: Clark Kent WHOOSH Superman.

I would transform my mail IFF (if and only if, for people who need real English) it transformed into some sort of device that gave spammers four flat tires six times a day when they're someplace out of cell range and not blocking traffic for people like me. All I do is READ my email (and then it is simply read email. It says exactly the same thing it said before I read it. Or else I delete it, in which case the tree fell and nobody heard.

General Crabbiness Level: pretty damn high.

How to demotivate a user

It happens I am a graduate student verrrry slowly getting my MA in English on account of I have a full time job, a child and a writing career. I live in a rural area where broadband is not available. Today I had to drop one class and add another. A couple of years ago, the CSU system implemented (and I say that advisedly, I believe the better word might be "inflicted") PeopleSoft for registration. Having previously seen a PS implementation fail miserably because (imho) PS is in fact, crafted for one and only one organization in the entire universe and that organization doesn't really exist. No actual organization in business realizes or understand the scope of "customization" until it's too late. They have sold their souls to consultants who want their check before they will implement a broken system incomprehensible to real users. (This is because the consultants made up the "typical" user and it doesn't matter to them that there is no such user.) Today I am home with a sick child...

Here's the chronology:

10:02 am: go to university website and login to student services. From there my choices are (in ugly default html buttons):

Now, I know from experience I want the first one. I do NOT know this because the acronym is meaningful. In fact, the only one that makes sense is the one that will probably be in the dictionary one day: webmail. The rest? Who the hell knows? Nowhere on the page are they explained. I click on the button.

Cue the Jeopardy Theme Song, intercut with pictures of student staring listlessly at a mostly blank screen while listening for the sounds of a child about to barf again...

10:17 am: At last, the PeopleSoft Screen. Yes, from 10:02 to 10:17, my computer was logging to the registration system and rendering the PS registration home page. I must click on Learner Services (Gee, how patronizing is that?) For the next nine minutes, I endure a horrifyingly slow and stupid series of clicks and page renderings (Can you say I HATE Java?) in order to add a class and drop the other.

10:36 am: I log out.

Total elapsed time: 34 minutes.

My mental state: Irritated beyond belief.

Note: It would have taken much, much longer if I had not phoned the English Department for the course number (rather than looking it up in the registration system) while waiting for my white screen to show the link I needed to click on.

When I log off, I am dumped to a PS exit page with NO link back to my University's website. If I want to check my .edu email account (which I do) I have to start over and login again.