posted by victor @ 12:57 pm February 28, 2009 in life,writing

phoenixlightsI’m in the process of rewriting a sci-fi/horror thriller, and when a good friend alerted me to the UFO Conference being held this past week, I had to go check it out. Nothing like the real deal when it comes to fleshing out characterizations and connective tissue in a screenplay. An interesting presentation by Dr. Lynne Kitei on the Phoenix Lights phenomenon brought me up to speed on something  everyone apparently already knew about, and Peter Davenport gave what amounted to an excellent primer on ufo in a historical context.

But the very best part was our very first night in, an experiencers discussion group moderated by Barbara Lamb, and while a handful of insufferable blowhards threatened to eat up the allotted time, there were others who made it all worthwhile. This is what I’d come for, and the participants did not disappoint.

alienOne woman spoke very simply of a lifetime of dealing with multiple alien species, with her experiences of the events ranging from blissful transcendence to utter terror. When I asked her about it, she explained that it was mostly not knowing what was going on that was frightening, not any sense of malevolence on the part of her abductors. One man added that his repeated requests for explanations were answered only by a wordless communication from one annoyed extraterrestrial that “it doesn’t benefit us to become your teacher.” Others said that this was the same response they’d gotten. It made sense, really… Imagine if lab monkeys insisted on detailed explanations of every process they were forced to participate in. Then, imagine explaining, say, “antibiotics” or “mascara” to said monkey. Understandable that they aliens mostly just keep mum.


posted by victor @ 4:04 pm February 25, 2009 in geek,writing

sexywaitressOne of the things I’ve become very accustomed to is using a server. Having multiple computers (and using them all) makes this the only way to not lose your mind (or track your work). For my 3D work, it’s one host PC (the littlest, an older Shuttle) with fat drives that hold all project files and renders in progress. All the other 3D workstations feed from and vomit back to this main host. Same thing with writing, using the Apple desktop as host. All the main writing apps I use (TextEdit/WordPad/whatever for  rtf’s, then OpenOffice, Final Draft, Celtx for further devel) are cross-platform. So I can use whatever laptop I want (please). Backups run regularly on each server, Apple’s Time Machine being the most whizbang. Groovy.

sexyserverBut what about when you wanna take your laptop with… As in, out of range of your wifi? Enter DropBox, a bitchin’ — and FREE — little setup that automatically mirrors everything you put in the Special Folder. Mirrors it not only to each computer that has it installed (it too is x-platform), but also to a secure, offsite server. 2GB storage space is free; any extra, you pay for. Something I’m working on that I want to continue offline at a remote location? Stick it in the DropBox folder, go away, work on it. When I get back online (anywhere), it will auto-sync with whatever other computer is online as well (at the very least, the remote  server). Honorable mention definitely goes to Google Docs, now featuring an “offline mode” that mirrors your cloud documents on your hard drive. Very nice!


posted by victor @ 1:43 am February 24, 2009 in geek

jenniferaMy, I’m ridiculous. I’ve been using my little ThinkPad X41 for a long while now, full time (for writing — desktops handle the heavy lifting). So today I planned to eBay the MacBook I bought earlier last year. The sexy black MacBook with the rippin’ cpu, 2G of ram, 250G hard drive, etc. Etc.

Well, I choked.

Okay. I don’t like touchpads. It’s a little big. And heavy (4 lbs vs. 2.7). But holy shit, there’s nothing like doing without to make you appreciate the finer things in life. If you’re going to be stuck with a touchpad, THIS is the farking one to be stuck with. Taps that consistently register, two-finger anywhere scrolling… It “just works,” like all things Apple.

angelinajAnd the look of — well, EVERYTHING. Fonts that render smooth (not fuzzy) and track properly. When oh when will anyone else (I’m looking at you, Ubuntu) start to understand that this matters… God, I tried not to care, and for the most part, when I’m lost in writing, it doesn’t. Very much. But having what you’re looking at be beautiful is just… Well, it’s a good thing.


  1. TrackPoint: A writer’s best friend (no removing fingers to navigate).
  2. Size/scale/weight. It’s wafer thin and eensy.
  3. 4:3 screen ratio. Makes best sense for writing (who needs “cinema” ratio for vertical pages?)
  4. Old school charm; it’s old, it’s cheap, it works. Something cool about that.


  1. OSX — beautiful, smart and godlike font (and everything) rendering.
  2. Screen sharpness/clarity/brightness (despite widescreen ratio making the whole thing Too Big)
  3. Keyboard and touchpad light touch, reliability and accuracy.
  4. Overall solidness and sleekitude… The T-pad “CLACKS” closed; the M-book simply closes.

So I’m back on the MacBook and damn it’s nice. Oh, I’ll probably “get tired of” this one again at some point (I would imagine even Brad goes through this), but that just seems to be the way it is. I suppose it’s fun switching, configuring, etc. Getting XP up to a place that worked for me was interesting. I think I may try it all over again once “Windows 7” (?) is ready for prime time. Gah.

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