I am a lot better at Javascript than I was a few months ago

I am, under normal circumstances, a very reliable exhibit of the human behavior pattern that goes “my stupid system sort of works so I will never change it.” But there are times–rare ones–when my desperation to avoid writing fiction actually overcomes my desperation to avoid writing code. Tonight, after three years of counting words for Anacrusis with a hacky PHP script I wrote in 2007, I finally reached one such point.

This is the word counter I’m going to use from here on out. Unlike the old script, which I was reluctant to publicize because it involved processing user-submitted text on the server side, this is all Javascript and it updates in real time. You can also click the little tab at the bottom if you want to see what the hell it thinks it’s doing.



Stories We Tell, The

My dear friend Joe Mcdaldno–writer, game designer, and fascinating Renaissance human–was kind enough to interview me about Anacrusis for his nascent radio show/podcast, The Stories We Tell. This marks the third podcast to feature me, and my second time on Canadian radio. Soon, listening to my nasal drone trail off in the middle of half-baked jokes will be completely unavoidable!

Incidentally, the term I can’t think of at around 16:45 is syllepsis (and more generally zeugma).


I suddenly realized why I hate the “humor” in Shakespeare so much: comic timing depends on confounding your expectations of rhythm in speech, so nothing is funny in meter! Also Shakespeare was bad at jokes.


After seeing it on LJ a couple times, I put some stuff from my blogs into the I Write Like tool. Different NFD entries came back as Stephen King, Douglas Adams and (oh God) Dan Brown. Anacrusis consistently gets tagged as Margaret Atwood.

I was prepared to disclaim this whole post, but I cannot argue with that at all. “The world’s longest-running Atwood microhomage” is a painfully accurate description of Anacrusis. You win, Mémoires.


Hey, remember how the Washington Post took down a president thirty-five years ago? They’re still riding on that little laurelmobile, and yet their current policy, Ta-Nehisi Coates points out, is to censor themselves based on the likelihood of an argument from the administration. The merit of that argument is never even considered. Cameron W. Barr:

“After the use of the term ‘torture’ became contentious, we decided that we wouldn’t use it in our voice to describe waterboarding.”

Coates says these are the compromises one makes for a marriage. He’s right, and there was a shotgun-equivalent at the wedding, namely the threat of access withheld. Even Coates’s own house is a bit glassy in this regard, with Atlantic Political Editor Marc Ambinder bouncing around in castles with the Bidens. (Yes, castles. I’m not sure these people know what symbolism is.)

Among the biggest exposés of the past year was Matt Hastings’ infamous McChrystal article, published in Rolling Stone, of all places. Hastings is a freelance reporter whose highest-profile work was in covering the Iraq war for Newsweek, yet his piece ended up in Rolling Stone, which has spent the past decade sucking heartily on anything you have available.

The loudest media reaction to that article was not “oh hey, there’s dissension in the highest ranks of our government about the running of the longest war in American history,” it was “how could he risk losing his access?” When our military actually murders journalists, the people who tell us about it get arrested; meanwhile, news outlets are astonished at the use of journalistic currency to actually do it for a change.

This is the junkie’s mindset–I can’t do anything they wouldn’t like with it, or they might take it away! Access generates pageviews, and pageviews sell ads, and ad sales are an addiction as hard to kick as heroin or oil. This is what I was trying to say in my post about comments last month: a race for the bottom is a race we lose.

I am posting this entry from my iPhone.

That is all.

Tim and Andrew

Super powers and Tits Akimbo! Oh, I do like seeing my microfiction RSS feeds wake in the foggy dawn and cast about, noses into the rising wind, mad and bright as raptors.

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