Saturday, April 22, 2006

Ink Magic 11


Ink Magic (part 11)

As I worked my way toward the house, my cell phone buzzed and I reached for it reflexively before freezing with my hand just touching it. How could my phone be ringing here in another world? I looked at the number on the caller id; it was just a zero, a single zero. Was I getting a call from the operator because I’d entered a new calling region?

The phone kept ringing, so I decided it could do no harm to answer. I flipped it open, "Hello?"

"Steven, are you trying to get yourself killed?"

"Not really, Dad," I answered, "How did you get this number?"

"I'm helping to set up a cell system on this world and I noted the new phone. Since there are only a half-dozen cell phones in this world, the search signal from yours was obvious."

"But how did you know it was me?"

"I recognized your voice," he said. "Look, I don't know how you got here, but you have to get away now. Get out of California. Things are going to get very ugly there very soon."

"What do you mean?"

"You will find out soon enough, Steven, just get out."

"Why aren't you getting out, Dad?"

"I can't leave, I'm a prisoner here."

"So that stuff about having a new family, that wasn't true?"

"No, I just said it so that you would go away. I want you and your mother safe. Just go, Steven."

"I'll break you out. Where are you?"

"You can't break me out. Take my word for it that …"

I didn't want to get into an argument, so I hung up and turned off the phone. Besides, this could be a trick, someone impersonating my father in order to keep me talking and track down the signal. Not likely, but possible.

As I worked in closer to the house I eventually noticed a radio tower on the hill behind it. I don't know how I missed it before; I guess I was just so used to seeing radio towers that it didn't strike me as remarkable at first. There were cables running from the house to the tower and I wondered if my father could actually be in the house. That would surely make things easier.

From quite close up, I used my binoculars to examine the house through the windows. Various human and inhuman creatures moved about inside, and there didn't seem to be any alarm, so if that creature I'd killed was a guard, it had still gone unnoticed. None of the humans looked like my father, but I was sure I'd seen only a fraction of the residents of the house.

I turned on my phone, and it buzzed as soon as it connected to the network. Same incoming number. "Hello?"

"Steven, go home! You can't rescue me, it's impossible."

"I might surprise you, Dad."

"Steven, I can't go back to the bright world. Not ever."

"Why not?"

My father hesitated for a long time, and then he answered, "Because I'm dead."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hilzig's blog suspended

Oops. The server wasn't down, it was just that the LA TIMES suspended Hilzig's blog. Here is the announcement:
Notice from the Editors

The Times has suspended Michael Hiltzik’s Golden State blog on Hiltzik admitted Thursday that he posted items on the paper’s website, and on other websites, under names other than his own. That is a violation of The Times ethics policy, which requires editors and reporters to identify themselves when dealing with the public. The policy applies to both the print and online editions of the newspaper. The Times is investigating the postings.

I hope Hilzig doesn't get fired over this; it wasn't that serious. A little bit of embarrassment seems an adequate punishment.


Patterico has nailed Michael Hilzig for using sockpuppets. Hilzig responds, but he seems to miss the point. Posting anonymously isn't the problem. The problem is posting anonymously to make it seem that you have supporters, to create the illusion of a mutually-supporting community when it's just you.

Many (if not all) of the commenters on Hilzig's post try to explain this to him; they are pretty negative toward him in general. In response, I tried to post a comment defending Hilzig under the name of his sock puppet. It would have been a good joke but his server seems to have crashed. Oh well...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Cagey Mind is hosting the next Storyblogging Carnival for the first time, so let's try to make it a good one. I'll be trying really hard to get the next installment of Ink Magic done.

Monday, April 17, 2006

nothing ever goes right

Ever had one of those disappointing events where you have some relatively simple plans and events just turn out to frustrate them? That happened to me yesterday, and although it was fairly minor, I'm having some trouble letting go of it. About 4pm I decided to go for a walk on the beach because the weather looked unusually nice compared to what it's been lately, but as soon as I stepped outside, it turned out to be too windy to be comfortable. That's not the disappointment I'm talking about, though, because the beaches around here are often windy and you just learn to deal with it.

But when I got down to the beach, expecting a nice walk along the surf, the beach was a mess with all kinds of storm junk and far more foam than normal. But chunks of foam were blowing across the beach like tumbleweeds in the wind, shrinking as they bounced and rolled along the sand. And there were places where the clay cliffs had collapsed into sticky muck that sucked my feet in as I tried to walk through. That's not the disappointment I'm talking about though, because even though it was ugly, it was kind of interesting watching the foam and checking out all the junk.

But at the end of the beach is a little canyon that I like to go into, but the recent storms had changed it so that it was almost impossible to go up it without stepping into the stream. That's not the disappointment because it was kind of a fun challenge seeing how far I could go with dry feet. And the few places where I thought I might slip and break my neck were kind of exhilarating.

But then, after a fairly nice walk, on my way back it began to rain. That's not the disappointment though, because even though it's no fun walking in the cold rain, it's nice when you get home and dry off and sit in front of the window drinking hot coffee and watching the rain.

But then the rain turned to hail. After a few minutes I got brain freeze like when I eat ice cream too fast, but in this case, there was no ice cream to stop eating until the headache went away. I had to just keep walking through the hail until it stopped and turned back into cold rain. But that's not the disappointment because I knew it would just make it that much nicer when I got home and got out of the rain.

By the time I got home, my hair, jeans and shoes were soaked (I was wearying a water-proof jacket though). First thing, I put a big mug in the microwave. Then I got dried off, slipped into my P.J.s for some serious lounging and then went to get my nice hot beverage, planning to sit in front of the window and watch the rain and surf from the vantage point of my couch. And then the sun came out. Dag nabbit. I go through all that misery in order to produce some intense bad-weather lounging and then the weather turns nice on me. It was really disappointing.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

revision for Ink Magic

A few weeks ago, I re-read the first post of Ink Magic and it was pretty bad, so today I fixed it up. The problem was that my original concept of the narrator had him as a rather abrupt and choppy speaker (in addition to being good-naturedly rude). Since the original draft fit my concept, I couldn't see how unpleasant it was to read until I came back to it a few months later. Luckily, the later posts didn't follow the choppy style to such an extent.

I think the lesson to be learned here (well, the lesson I learned) is that when you write in first person, you have to be careful to pick a voice that is pleasant to read. Voices that are hard to read are OK for dialog, but not narration.

the mark of a conservative

Instapundit writes: "Still, it was a beautiful day, and we did get to use power tools."

See, this is why Glenn Reynolds has so many fans among conservatives even though he's not really conservative: he likes power tools. I'll bet that prissy Duncan Black is afraid of table saws.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instalanchers. This is where bloggers usually encourage you to read other posts and to come back later for more updates, but I'm not going to do that because 1. I haven't been updating the blog lately and 2. I had pretty much given up on trying to promote it anyway. Still, it's fun to have a lot of readers if only for one post.

As long as you are here, can I direct you to the Storyblogging Carnival? It's over at Quibbles and Bits and we had some good entries this week.