Christopher and David's mother passed away this week. With great respect, I will reproduce her obituary here.
Denise Barton Beckstrom 11/13/1956~11/25/2007 -- Denise Barton Beckstrom passed away November 25, 2007 surrounded by her loving family. Denise was born November 13, 1956 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Gordon and Marjorie Barton. She was a proud mother of two sons and one grandchild. She spent the final years of her life in the same neighborhood that she grew up in and loved. She blessed those around her with a kind and giving spirit, and with her wonderful musical talents.
She has left a great legacy, and will be missed by all who knew her.
Originating in the depths of the internet, on a day of the week known as Caturday, now you can see the "lolcats" everywhere, permeating every nook and cranny of the internet and taking over as a supplement to internet speak. It can be found in translations of the Bible, and even its own programming language! Poor spelling aside, here's a couple aspects of it's structure:
All objects are plural: internets, pies, books, most everything singular is plural, especially referring to posessives.
All verps are present tense: the only forms of the be-verb in use usually are "is, are, and being", other verbs become such as "has", and so on. in some cases "ed" is added onto the end to mutate it into a shoddy present tense verb, such as "eated" or "breaked"
There's some more idiosyncrasies to it, but those are the general rules to the grammatical structure of the language.
One of the things I was taught in Elementary School was to organize for large writing projects. I had done that using index cards, and on the computer using the Cardfile program in Windows 3.1. That program was unfortunately deprecated and not released in future versions of Windows, so I had to find other tools for doing it.
For a while I was using a program called AZZ Cardfile, which worked pretty much the same as the original Cardfile, with a few more features. However, once I started owning my own computer and shuffling them around every couple of years, I at one point lost all the work I had done in Cardfile, because it by default didn't save in a place I thought to look for moving. Only a few pieces of work that work I lost survived, a few pieces I had copied into other documents for use in those places. I have still yet to recover from that loss; I haven't bothered to sit down and rewrite the stuff.
After that loss, I started doing everything in my Word Processing software. I had used WordPerfect for a long time, but my old version wasn't compatible with Vista when I got Vista, so I switched over to OpenOffice temporarily until I got a new copy of WordPerfect (although now I'm stuck using OpenOffice until WordPerfect can open OpenDocument files, since OpenOffice can only open WordPerfect documents, not save them). I would save different things in different files, so at this point my WordPerfect file count is over 100, most of those having less than one page of writing, and some even having only a few lines of writing. That started to not work very well anymore, so I started looking for some new solution.
Some of my documents were reference documents, quick descriptions of how something in a storyline works. For that I decided to use a WIki, and ended up with Wiki In A Jar as I have mentioned in the past. The remaining things were story fragments, or comments in stories using WordPerfect's comment system, and I needed something else for that. I started looking back for card utilities, but wanted something more functional than a simple card collection like Cardfile and it's clones. I wanted to be able to take cards with fragments, and arrange them and rearrange them to fit them together as I needed, like I could do with actual physical index cards. So after a good deal of searching, finding nothing that fit what I was looking for either in commercial or Open Source projects, I was nearly ready to just sit down and program a tool for my own use, when I stumbled upon Writer's Café and StoryLines.
I only recently started using it to plan out Skewed, because I was still working off of notes in my WordPerfect documents, so there's only cards starting at the point where I started using it for Skewed, the beginning of Chapter 10. I have though planned out a couple of other stories in it to their fullest. Each card gives you a myriad of properties: descriptions, card notes, setting information, image attachment, and so on. And even more functions that I probably won't use very often.
Overall the software's been incredibly useful to me, and is one of the few times I've bought a specialized software like this instead of going for Open Source software or writing something myself. Love it, use it a lot, and the song that comes with the software, Jay Goldmark's Untie My Tongue, is pretty awesome too.
Wow, this makes a grand total of three entries on here so far this month, I've been slacking. Not that I haven't been busy, I've been setting up my working environment in my new Vista installation on a new hard drive, and trying to solve a problem that it has presented with the machine hardlocking.
And no, that's not a real word, but it is a commonly used technical description on the internet. Setting that aside now.
Once I get this all worked out and squared away I'm going to start to do some work again. A Skewed update is rather overdue, and I've got a new short story idea I want to start working on. I need to get something here integrated with Pivot so I can put stuff on this site.
Maybe since I'm working on my toolset, I'll discuss more of the tools I use for writing over the next couple of entries.
I usually tend to avoid searching for lyrics on the internet, as lyrics sites are some of the most banner-ridden, popup-ridden, spyware-infested sites out there, but occasionally they're necessary. However this search wasn't particularly for looking up the lyrics to a song.
I don't remember exactly what I was looking for for sure, but it was related to the band Dragonforce. At around page three I came to a lyrics page for their bonus track "Where Dragons Rule". So I decided to stop in, because the recording is rather low quality, so I was curious about some of the lines. However, as soon as I entered, this glaring statement popped out at me:
Visitors: 102 visitors have hited Where Dragons Rule Lyrics since Feb 12, 2007.
"Hited", spelled completely wrong. It should be "hitted"...
...That is, if "hitted" was a real word either.
If you can't trust a site's own scripts to tell you correct things, how are you supposed to be able to trust the lyrics on the site? Not to mention the popups I got from that site...
And, on a slightly related note. If you're wondering about my comment about the song being low quality, the version of the song in that video is different than the copy I have. The lines are different in a few places too. I have honestly never heard that version until just now when I was looking up a Youtube video to link. This music video linked here has the version of the song I have, which I thought after much searching was the only version of the song.
I think I'll switch gears for a minute, and talk about the books I'm currently reading, the Otherland series by Tad Williams.
As I've mentioned before, I am a fan of the .hack series. For those not familiar with the series, it revolves around a popular MMORPG called "The World", which is usually played with head mounted displays. The primary spark to the plots of the .hack series involve characters going mysteriously going into comas during the game, due to events within the game, as observed by people associated with those going into comas (though not believed by others, as that is simply a silly concept). In the first series, it is the protagonist Kite's friend Orca, and in the second, it is the protagonist Haseo's friend Shino. Different sets of events, different proceedings, but in both cases thats what really sparked the games to start.
On Blind Guardian's latest album, A Twist in the Myth, there is a song called Otherland. One of my favorites from the album, when I first heard it I had interpreted it as it sounded, like an illusionary world that the characters of the song are trapped in somehow. However, it was pointed out to me by someone on the Dothackers.net forums that it is based on a book series of the same name, with a storyline very much similar to the .hack series. Intrigued, I checked out the first book from the library, and got hooked.
The storyline very much starts off the same way. It takes place in the future, somewhere around the 2070's, where the internet and virtual reality technology had evolved to a point where it was very much a virtual world that could be explored. The main protagonist of the story is a woman named Renie, a college teacher in South Africa. Her younger brother falls ill and into a coma after exploring a paid part of the internet he broke into, and encountered something odd according to the friend that was with him. She then begins her investigation into what happened, with the aid of one of her students which had become her friend, and through the course discovered a second network, called Otherland, much more complex and realistic then the internet, and she and others were gathered together by a mysterious man who wanted them to go into Otherland to rescue a person trapped within. Once inside, they discover they are trapped within, everything feeling real to them and their physical connections seemingly nonexistent, and they can't be unplugged from Otherland without enduring unending pain.
Short summary, yes, especially for such long books. The Otherland story is four books total, each about 800 pages in length. There's much more to the story, but I don't really want to spoil it. All I can say though, is that it's a very intriguing story, rich in description and complexity, and I'm loving every page of it.
One of the webcomics I read is xkcd, a stick figure comic focusing on commentary of various things, language included. A fairly recent comic was about tripping up grammar nazis with careful use of affect and effect.
Looking at his blogblag just now, however, I discovered an entry that it apparently came back to bite him, as he spelled "foreign" wrong in the comic and didn't catch it until later. People then proceeded to comment on the entry, talking about other grammar mistakes, but tripping over themselves as they made their own mistakes in their comments, digging themselves deeper and deeper.
Antlions are a family of insects, who, in their larval form, dig pit traps to catch prey. As they struggle to escape, the walls of the trap give to the disturbance, dragging them further and further down to the antlion. Thats very much what that comment page reminds me of, the author as the antlion in the center, with the grammar nazis falling into a trap to correct his other stuff, then tripping over themselves in a panic to try to escape because of their own mistakes and just falling deeper and deeper in.