Monthly Archives: November 2010

Shouldn’t you be working?

Well, shouldn’t you?  I know I spend about half my online life thinking so.  It’s an ongoing battle to re-learn to concentrate.

As I have learned, you can’t do it on your own.  You need help.  Enter StayFocusd.

StayFocusd asks you to set a total time for browsing on websites you select.  Think the big time sucks: Facebook, message boards, Huskerpedia.  Then you can set the total time to browse on them for the entire day.  A handy-dandy button appears that looks like so:


Nifty, eh?  Keeps you from bouncing around from time-wasting site to time-wasting site.  Provided you admit what your time-wasting sites are, of course.

And when you hit zero?  The nuke goes off:

You don’t get to go on those sites until the next day.  Brilliant in its ruthless efficiency.

Note: StayFocusd only works in the Chrome browser.  If you use Firefox, LeechBlock does pretty much the same thing.  If you use Internet Explorer, stop it.

One more weapon in the endless fight against the onslaught of the attention-killers.

Shouldn't you be working?

Well, shouldn’t you?  I know I spend about half my online life thinking so.  It’s an ongoing battle to re-learn to concentrate.

As I have learned, you can’t do it on your own.  You need help.  Enter StayFocusd.

StayFocusd asks you to set a total time for browsing on websites you select.  Think the big time sucks: Facebook, message boards, Huskerpedia.  Then you can set the total time to browse on them for the entire day.  A handy-dandy button appears that looks like so:


Nifty, eh?  Keeps you from bouncing around from time-wasting site to time-wasting site.  Provided you admit what your time-wasting sites are, of course.

And when you hit zero?  The nuke goes off:

You don’t get to go on those sites until the next day.  Brilliant in its ruthless efficiency.

Note: StayFocusd only works in the Chrome browser.  If you use Firefox, LeechBlock does pretty much the same thing.  If you use Internet Explorer, stop it.

One more weapon in the endless fight against the onslaught of the attention-killers.

Read Aliens In The Prime Of Their Lives

I’ve read two amazing short story collections recently, both by authors who are still alive. It’s wonderful when that happens.

One of them is Aliens In the Prime Of Their Lives, by Brad Watson. My Kindle was a-humming with page clicks when I downloaded this baby. I read each story at least three times; some more four and five times. Like “Visitation,” which you can read at the New Yorker. The opening paragraph:

Loomis had never believed that line about the quality of despair being that it was unaware of being despair. He’d been painfully aware of his own despair for most of his life. Most of his troubles had come from attempts to deny the essential hopelessness in his nature. To believe in the viability of nothing, finally, was socially unacceptable, and he had tried to adapt, to pass as a believer, a hoper. He had taken prescription medicine, engaged in periods of vigorous, cleansing exercise, declared his satisfaction with any number of fatuous jobs and foolish relationships. Then one day he’d decided that he should marry, have a child, and he told himself that if one was open-minded these things could lead to a kind of contentment, if not to exuberant happiness. That’s why Loomis was in the fix he was in now.

I haven’t done a review around here in a long time; fortunately Tom Bennitt over at Fiction Writer’s Review picks up the slack and gets the job done. His reaction was more or less mine:

At times I asked myself, how human are these characters? Are they alive, or are they perhaps dead spirits wandering in search of their past lives? Whatever the answer, and despite their often hopeless plights, I cared about these characters and was moved by them. I attribute this to Watson’s great skill as a writer; his voice in each of theirs carried me seamlessly through this collection.

Get your hands upon this one.

Funny how they all end up looking alike

Can’t wait till we take our next trip so my whole family can be molested and / or photographed by blueshirts on the clock, filmy latex-gloved hour by filmy latex-gloved hour.

Someone hurry up and build a bridge to Thailand, or invent a superfast hovercraft. Thank you.

Screw the royals

By which I do not mean the hapless baseball franchise.  No, that archaic institution belongs in a living history museum, at best. (The king and queen, I mean. Not the Royals. Even if they do play like it sometimes.)

‘We confess to having more respect and honour for the raggedest child of the poorest labourer in Ireland today than for any, even the most virtuous, descendant of the long array of murderers, adulterers and madmen who have sat upon the throne of England.’

Although King Friday is okay, I guess.

Via China Mieville.

Why people in this country founded upon the overthrow of monarchical tyranny take any interest in the doings of these inbred winners of the genetic lottery is beyond me.

“What it’s like living here” up at Numero Cinq

I have a piece of creative nonfiction up at Numero Cinq.  I was deeply flattered when the estimable Douglas Glover requested the essay, and then provided helpful comments and edits when I did.

Please head on over and have a look.  Thanks.

 

"What it's like living here" up at Numero Cinq

I have a piece of creative nonfiction up at Numero Cinq.  I was deeply flattered when the estimable Douglas Glover requested the essay, and then provided helpful comments and edits when I did.

Please head on over and have a look.  Thanks.

 

Readability

This site measures readability.

I put in a short story I’m working on.  This is what it said:

By comparison, this blog:

Page 37 of Bleak House:

Page 37 of An Enquiry Into Human Understanding:

And, finally, an article about the upcoming Kansas-Nebraska football game:

Good to know!