Archive for February, 2008

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Week Off

February 24, 2008

I’ve decided that I’m not allowed to feel guilty.  Everyone needs a break every now and then.  I’ve decided to take the next week off from writing.  I have several other projects that due this week, and I know if I try to cram them all into the stove they’ll all come out half-baked.  My hope is that by taking a week off, I’ll not only be able to get the other items off my plate to my satisfaction, but also come back to the writing refreshed and recharged.  We shall see.

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Best Post for Week of 2/23/2008

February 23, 2008

Perhaps “Best” Post is the wrong adjective this week, but this definitely fits the requirement of “makes me shake my head and say ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ “.  CNN recently fired producer Chez Paziena because of “the nature” of what he had been writing in a personal blog.  The nature of those posts was termed “opinionated” by his boss.  Chez details the events leading up to his firing and it understandably doesn’t cast his former employer in a forgiving light.

Paziena is unfortunately not the first (and probably not the last) person to be fired after their employer discovered something about their extra-corporate life that didn’t quite jive with the corporate strategy.  But how far into a person’s personal life should an employer go to protect that strategy?

  • Scenario 1: Employee Bob is leaking trade secrets.
  • Scenario 2: Employee Sally is trash-talking her employer.
  • Scenario 3: Employee Vance is competing with his employer on the side, thus taking business away.
  • Scenario 4: Employee Anna is a hard-working loyal employee, but her opinions about various topics don’t align with those of her employer.

Of the four scenarios, Paziena most closely fits the last.  It should be clear that the employee would be within its rights to address the situation with the employee in some way (which may or may not include terminating them).

I don’t think the fourth scenario is as clear, even when the employer has a rule “that anything you write for anyone but us needs to be pre-approved”.  An employer can defend themselves from attack, but they can’t dictate what their employees write.  There’s a little bump on that road called the First Amendment.

Even if you totally disagree with me, and back up CNN’s actions, ask yourself this.  Paziena was fired for things that he wrote.  If you agree that an employee can fire someone over something they wrote, how long will it be before someone gets fired for something they read?  “Fahrenheit 451” anyone?

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Best Post for Week of 2/16/2008

February 17, 2008

This past week I couldn’t find any post that really struck my fancy.  That isn’t to say that the bloggers I follow didn’t have anything meaningful to say.  I just couldn’t find any that really made me laugh, made me think, made me shake my head saying “you’ve got to be kidding me”, or made my eyes jump out of my head and do the that’s-so-freakin’-I-cool-want-one dance.

We’ll try again this week.

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Regrouping

February 9, 2008

I’ve cleared 44,000 words now, but this week has been a real challenge to make time to write.  I’ve had several other things come up that have required my attention, but to be brutally honest they were convenient excuses.  The truth is that I got to a point in the story that I hadn’t thought through as clearly as the chapters before, and so putting words to screen was much more difficult.  I didn’t want to simply jump in and figure it out as I go.  I wanted to work out at least an outline of what I wanted to say, what scenes I needed to write, and so on.  Tonight’s writing session ended up being just that.  I finally figured out how to move past the hill I was facing and I was able to put those notes down.  I should be able to pick up the writing again on Monday.

With software development (my full-time gig), I am much more comfortable with the “jump in and figure it out as I go” approach.  In that realm, being handed a less than detailed (or even internally contradictory) specification and be expected to figure out the details as I go is considered normal.  That comfort level most likely comes as the result of more than a dozen years doing it professionally.  When I’ve been a professional writer for that long, will I be able to jump in and figure it out as I go?

Maybe.  Until then, however, I’ll stick to what seems to have been working up until this point: logic out the framework ahead of time, and then build on that skeleton.  With that in mind, tonight wasn’t a complete loss.  In fact, I view it as a necessary regrouping session.

Taking a step back, perhaps what I should be doing is spending my Saturday nights working out the details for the coming week, and then I can plow through those points during the week.

I know what you’re thinking.  That sounds too much like “good forethought” to me, too.

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Best Post for Week of 2/9/2008

February 9, 2008

This week’s Best Post nod goes to Lapsed Cannibal, author of Glass Maze.  I think we have a lot of the same background (software development, love of writing), which would explain why this pining post about the English language’s lack of a gender-neutral singular pronoun had me laughing out loud on several levels.

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Stereotypical Michigan Weather

February 5, 2008

I have iGoogle set as my home page, and one of the widgets I use is a simple weather report that shows what the next 3-4 days is looking like.  Here was this morning’s forecast:

 

Michigan Weather

 

“Freezing Rain” today, “Thunderstorms” tomorrow, and “Snow” on Wednesday.  Welcome to January in Michigan!

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Best Post for Week of 2/2/2008

February 4, 2008

I actually have two “best posts” this week, but they are in slightly different categories.

The first is in the “most significant” category, and that is Microsoft making the gi-normous bid for Yahoo! of $44 billion.  I read several posts on this last week, but the one that really caught my attention – specifically my funny bone – was “Microhoo! What does it mean for users?“.  I just love the blending of the two names, and it sounds so much better than Yacrosoft.  (I know, I know – the latter would only really make sense if it were Yahoo! bidding for Microsoft)

The second is clearly in the “amusing” category.  Product Designer Wooteik Lim has come up with a “Secret Hole” scale that hides the weight readout under your feet when you stand on it, forcing you to move your feet slightly to actually see it.  My question is this: If you never move your feet to see the weight, does the weight really exist?