these points of data make a beautiful line

I got my dates confused in my head, and thought today was Veteran’s Day. I’m embarrassed and a little ashamed that I completely missed it yesterday. So even though it’s one day late: Thank you, veterans, for your service.

And now, some various things, most of which I came across while Propelling today:

Researchers in Russia found what they believe to be the impact crater of the Tunguska Event.

I keep hearing this ridiculous line of bullshit that writers make massively inflated salaries, so nobody should support them and their greedy strike. It’s the same tired line of crap that’s thrown out at any group of skilled workers who have the audacity to expect a fair wage from our employer, and are forced into a work stoppage to get those employers to negotiate with us in good faith.

I hope to be a WGA member one day, but even if I didn’t, I would completely support the writers. John Rogers has written several great posts that lay out, in simple but passionate terms, why the WGA has to strike against the AMPTP. He also linked a video that is quite effective in helping the WGA make their case to a skeptical and misinformed public.

Sean McDevitt reviews The Happiest Days of Our Lives:

The Happiest Days of Our Lives
is all about surrounding yourself with people you care about, interests
you enjoy and finding the passion in the "every day." It’s why people
come in droves to read Wil’s blog and why he has been as successful in
nearly every endeavor he has pursued. The book is a collection of the
happiest parts of his day. I’m glad he put it all together.

Flickr’r *Out of My Mind* took a very cool picture, with a little Geek in it.

Mental Floss is one of the greatest magazines in the history of life. Their website pointed me to The Nerd Handbook, which I think WWdN readers will enjoy (and Propel, maybe?):

Written as sort of a "Nerds are From Mars…" guide for nerds’
Significant Others, The Nerd Handbook explains nerd habits and
motivation. While the article seems focused on computer nerds
specifically, many of the nerd behaviors described are applicable to
the entire nerd spectrum.

Reader B sent me a link to an awesome polyhedral dice desktop image.

John Scalzi’s brilliant and wonderful The Sagan Diary was just made available online, in its entirety, from Subterranean Press. In announcing this news, John says something I’ve believed for a long time, but was never able to articulate in print:

I think the story just lives better in book form. One of the
things you learn when you get published is that a book isn’t just about
the text; there’s a whole aesthetic that goes with the book, and that
esthetic matters. This is one of the reasons I think that printed books are going to be around for a while, in some form or another.

Okay, now I’m going to try: I like to read things online, and I believe that publishing online is part of the future of any writer’s life, but nothing compares to actually holding a book in my hands. Books just feel right, magazines just feel right, and I hope that readers of my blogs and books will agree, so I don’t have to make the difficult business decision to save all the stories people tell me they love from my blog for my books, so I can make a living and support my family by writing.

What They Play seems like it could be a cool and useful resource for parents, if the editors steer clear of Thompsonesque hype and pandering. [via game politics]

If you enjoyed my Geek in Review from last week, and are interested in Interactive Fiction as a result (or if, like me, you got to the end and really wanted to play Lurking Horror again) you may want to stay away from the Interactive Fiction archive. It’s an easy (and awesome) way to lose an entire day.

The cake is a lie, but I’m still alive.

And now I’m going outside. It’s a spectacularly beautiful day here in Los Angeles.

32 thoughts on “these points of data make a beautiful line”

  1. I am not a WGA member, nor do I think I ever will be. (To do so would require me to write for a living, and I don’t see that happening.) But I fully support the writers in this strike, and I hope that when I complain about there being no new shows on TV that I will immediately chastise myself for forgetting that this strike is a good thing for the writers.
    I’ve been following the strike on Mark Evanier’s blog, which might be worth a read or two.
    Oh, and thank you, Wil, for your latest GiR. It reminded me of my days playing Infocom games — of the 6 I have, I completed only A Mind Forever Voyaging. I should see if I can get those on my current computer in some fashion.
    And now the IF Archive will cause me to lose many an hour of free time, I’m sure. :)

  2. I haven’t played Portal, and in fact I kow very little about the game, but I DO know that Still Alive is a very very awesome song. I’ve had it for some time. Heard it totally by chance and fell in love. I want to play the game just so I can find out what the song is about. Is that backwards? Or is that the way it should be?

  3. Hey Wil, speaking of the WGA strike, I invite you to check out It’s a grassroots fan organization that’s supporting the writers through food deliveries to the picket lines and other morale-boosting activities. There’s also a growing list of resources for fans and others not directly involved with WGA to get active.

  4. The Portal Credits song has been the Song Most Likely To Be Stuck In My Head At Any One Time for the past 2 weeks. Begging for more levels in the game now…
    ZB – The song has to do with everything you go through and is incredibly appropriate for the end of the game.

  5. I’m not a horror fan, but “The Lurking Horror” was fantastic. Really atmospheric. That and “Border Zone”. Needed the Invisiclues though!

  6. Did you see David Lawrence’s take on the WGA stuff? I’m kinda with him… I support the soldiers, but am against the war. Writers should get paid for their work, but if some of what they’re asking for is a higher percentage of things that are currently not generating actual revenue, then a higher percentage of zero isn’t going to buy them much. Maybe it’s a preemptive strike… to get the deal in writing now, hoping that the business model will bear fruit. But there are aspects of the whole mess that remind me too much of the dotcom boom/bust…
    1. Write a TV show
    2. ???
    3. Profit!

  7. Hi Wil,
    I too love the feel of books, and I think it’s finding the right combination of web presence/content combined with a good publishing plan (to state the obvious). As I explore the web I am becoming more and more amazed by the opportunities it presents.
    Bill Cunningham

  8. Hey Wil,
    I totally agree with you about holding a book in your hands. The web is cool but there’s nothing on it that quite reaches the feeling of hard-copy. Paper makes writing alive and sentient, portable and ownable. I’m glad you get to encompass your writing in your hands.
    Best geeky wishes,

  9. Sorry Wil, I have got to kick the fuck off here…
    PLEASE can someone tell me why the WGA are on strike??
    FUCKING PAY UP for the work that was done.
    hay Wil I’m going to publish one or two of your books NOT as a second edition but as a re-run
    ha Ha :o)
    that’s going to work :o)
    all the best
    love Paul

  10. I’m Downunder and this writers strike doesn’t directly affect me, but from what I understand it’s payments for mobile and digital (cell phone and internet) media content.
    My only question is, would the employers defend a beach of the copyright of that content?
    If the answer’s yes, then pay up you crumbs!
    Otherwise it belongs to the writer to do whatever s/he wishes with it in those mediums.

  11. Wil, have you tried reading a novel on something like the Sony eBook reader? I haven’t, but I think I’d be quite happy with it. Sure, reading on a computer display is different from curling up in an easy chair with a paperback, but I think a hand-held device with an acceptable display could be perfectly acceptable in the latter situation. Maybe the Sony isn’t quite that device, but I can imagine one existing.
    And on long trips, books take up too much of my luggage.

  12. I read the mental_floss site every day, and as soon as I read their blog about “Nerd Speak” I felt so vindicated! I’m not an uber-computer nerd (no coding for me), but I definitely fall into the category of those who speak the honest truth, expecting that other people will understand and filter it as they wish. *sigh* At least it’s good to know that there must be more of us out there than I realize.

  13. I meant “breach” of copyright. DOUW!
    Murphy’s Law of publishing; No matter how many times you run it through the spell checker or preview it, you’ll always spot the typo *after* it’s published. sigh ….

  14. I side with the writers 100%. If my show goes into reruns, so be it. Life goes on. My father was in a union as a journalist and the ways his boss tried to fuck them over is amazing.
    Go WGA!

  15. RE: the AMPTP is lying. Here is an EXCELLENT video prepared by some WGA members, with clips from media conglomerate heads themselves, boasting about the big revenues their corporations receive from “new media.”
    The AMPTP has been telling the writers, and now the press, that “new media” is not yet producing, while telling Wall Street the exact opposite.
    I, too, hope to be a WGA member. Even though a prolonged strike delays that dream for me, I totally support the strike. Writers need to be paid.

  16. One of the reason they HAVE to negotiate the % of zero is Zero (assuming profit reports are TRUE)
    Is the baught the same argument about the “home video thingy” that Jack Valenti said was a flash in the pan and “would never make money”
    Of course this was when ST: TMP sold for over $100 and only rental stores bought them.
    Today you can get the Directors version (remastered for x million MORE) for $15 on DVD
    You can see they are not ready to throw away all that again.
    Will: since it affected your job did you ever ask them later about the home video stuff they wrote off? was it just something at the end, since what they were really after was the NOW money?

  17. Now, if only teachers would stage an effective strike then maybe MAYBE the world would be that much better a place to live in.
    Meanwhile, go WGA (even if I’ll be really sad if Heroes has to end mid-season *sniffle*)!!

  18. This strike is not only about tv, but also about the internet. And you can tell the AMTP is lying because, if there are no profits, why not just give ’em 2.5%? That’s got to be the cheapest contract negotiation in history. As any good Firefly fan knows:
    “Ten percent of nuthin’ is…let me do the math here…nuthin’ into nuthin’…carry the nuthin’…”.

  19. Wil, I couldn’t agree with you more about the pleasure of holding a real, live book in your hands. I don’t really like reading online, to tell you the truth. I love curling up in bed with a good book… there’s nothing quite like it! (BTW, didja get the e-mail I sent you about THDOOL?)
    [email protected]
    P.S. Although I hate what it’s going to do to the few shows I watch, I support the writers too!

  20. >>I keep hearing this ridiculous line of bullshit that writers make massively inflated salaries, so nobody should support them and their greedy strike.
    Who’s peddling that crap, Wil?
    The “experts” at informed media troughs like Fox News?

  21. Well, though I do have a hard time thinking of John Rogers as a writer (come on, The Core. Transformers. Not exactly quality material…) he has done a good job on his blog concerning the strike. Like many who have posted before me I support the strike 100%. I hope the studio bosses see the light sooner rather than later. The need to show more respect to the people who CREATED the shows/movies that made them so much money.
    Paul Crowe
    P.S. Nothing beats the printed word. No electronic screen or podcast will ever compare.

  22. Firstly, about the WGA strike, I have to say that support the it since they really do deserve SOMETHING for those internet works. But it seems more than one of my friends who don’t really get their news from anywhere seem to think that the 500K or whatever it is some writers make is what they make every year when in fact some will go years before getting another solid writing gig. Or at least that’s the way I understand how it works from another site I was linked to from some forums.
    Secondly, just got the new TV Guide and there’s a picture of you in there in your Numb3rs. Gotta say you’re lookin’ snazzy. Episode(s) should be GOOD.

  23. On a somewhat different note…
    Dude, YOU’RE IN TV GUIDE!!
    In the Nov 19-Dec 2 issue (which probably isn’t on newsstands yet, but I’m a subscriber, so…) on page 26, they have a behind-the-scenes spread of the Nov 26th episode, and they have a really great shot of you with the nicest blurb. David Krumholtz called you a “great fit for this episode.”
    Maybe it took you becoming a writer for people to remember what a great actor you are….

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