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Old 11-02-2011, 12:18 PM
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Welcome to NaNuPoMo!

Nope, nothing to do with nudity or postmodernism. (Though come to think of it...) Back in 1999, a group of writers decided that there simply were not enough terrible novels out there. They came up with National Novel Writing Month or "NaNoWriMo", an event for amateur authors to train their churning skill. The goal is to write 50,000 words by the end of the month -- mathematically, this boils down to an average of 100 words a day for each of the first 29 days, and then 47,100 on the last day. Writers who survive the process learn to generate incredible quantity and ignore that other thing. Since '99, there's been a NaNoWriMo each year (it's misspelled on most calendars as "November"), with more participants each time. Last year nearly 40,000 people hit the goal, writing 40,000 novels that were each read 40% of the way through by three relatives, one of whom was lying.

Even if I had no other obligations, I don't think I would try NaNoWriMo. I've seen what it does to my friends. It consumes their lives, overrides their priorities and moral centres. I'm pretty sure I was dumped for it once. But there is something to be said for using totally artificial commitments to develop discipline.

So this month I'm gonna try bringing back an old practice of 5M.net: daily newsposts. Most of them won't be site updates, of course; I'll make 'em where I can, but school has to come first. However, it's pretty easy to make a quick link post. The main reason I stopped doing them in the first place is that I was running out of ideas, but I've had years to build up more since then.

Let's get things started with a highly germane link. Nate the Great started a FiveMinute.net page at TV Tropes a while ago. (TVT itself would definitely have been a daily link a few years back, had I still been doing them; nowadays it's hardly necessary.) I'm glad to see us represented there. As noted, the page is fairly sparse -- it can definitely use some activity. Among other things, I'd be happy to see a broader range of site material represented, and tropes that apply to more than just individual fiver scenes. I'm not quite narcissistic enough to edit my own site's trope page, so It's Up To You!
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[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:45 PM
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You're in school? What for?

If you guys want to help, but don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of tropes, please consider adding a link to the fiveminute.net page to the individual trope pages like I demonstrated on the page.
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Sa'ar Chasm on the 5M.net forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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Old 11-02-2011, 05:16 PM
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Still workin' on the ol' PhD. This is the year I have to finish my comprehensive exams, so it's especially important.
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[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction
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Old 11-03-2011, 04:57 AM
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PhDs are eternal. I don't think they actually ever end, or progress. You just wake up one day on the wrong side of thirty and accept you're going to be here for the rest of your life.

It's a bit like life imprisonment, only I think convicted murderers get a but more respect.
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:27 PM
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November 2

NaNuPoMo continues today with a link to a site I often find very useful. One weakness of Google is that it mostly lacks the traditional DOS wildcard search. You can stick a * in a phrase, say "chakotay 1 * 0", and match a word or two, but you can't use ? to match characters or * for parts of words. Someone had to fill this gap (match this pattern?), and OneLook did so. It's a multi-dictionary search, which is useful on its own, but it also has full wildcard abilities and other handy features. So next time you're stuck on a crossword answer like, I dunno, "P_R_H_S", use OneLook to narrow it down.

(Note to forumites: rather than fill the board with newspost threads, I'll be putting all the link posts in this master thread. Updates will still get their own.)
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[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:52 PM
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The first time an enthused coworker told me about NaNoWriMo, I practically recoiled. He was all "But you'll have a novel at the end of the month!" and I had to keep explaining "No, you'll have fifty thousand words of crap at the end of the month. Aiming for a pure word count is just logorrhea. Writing a real novel takes planning."

After working with someone who's a "pantser," aka "discovery writer," I find I hold this opinion even more strongly.

Creating a story takes work. It takes preparation, planning, editing, feedback, killing your darlings, rewriting, foresight, and backfilling.

If someone wants to use NaNoWriMo as a way to get over the fear of getting words on the page, or to break writer's block, hey, go for it. But don't pretend you have an actual novel on December 1. You might, possibly, have the start of a novel, if you're ruthless enough to go back and fix all the problems. But you don't have something publishable. Harrumph.
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Old 11-05-2011, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke View Post
Still workin' on the ol' PhD. This is the year I have to finish my comprehensive exams, so it's especially important.
Good luck!
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Old 11-05-2011, 12:55 PM
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November 4

Today's link is to the LJ of squid314 (Scott to his friends), specifically his analysis of the relative unrealisticness of certain popular fiction franchises. He first considers Babylon 5, then Doctor Who... but what's the most far-fetched one of all? The answer may surprise you. (The rest of Scott's journal is worth checking out too, as he's a smart guy in general. He won points with me right off with the pangrammatic title.)
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FiveMinute.net: because stuff is long and life is short

[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction
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Old 11-05-2011, 03:00 PM
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^ Some of the comments on that are pretty good, too.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:14 PM
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November 3

Today's link is to one of my favourite comic book sites: Comics Should Be Good, which recently turned five years old (young'uns). Like this site, CSBG has a mission, one that's expressed in the title: comics aren't always good, but they can be and often have been, and we shouldn't settle for less.

There are various writers, but it's Brian Cronin's baby, and the main attraction is his long-running column Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed. It's sorta the Snopes of comics, covering a wide range of rumours; the stories behind them are often more interesting than the rumours themselves, and Brian researches them well. There's plenty to interest even the most casual comic fan. For instance, today's rumours include one about Spock (which a Trekkie will probably know is false just by virtue of having heard the real story).
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FiveMinute.net: because stuff is long and life is short

[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction

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Old 11-14-2012, 12:41 PM
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November 13

Bisqwit is an interesting guy. I know him best as the founder of TASvideos.org, home of the tool-assisted speedrun. (I won't go into the difference between tool-assisted speedruns and the regular kind, but ask me sometime and I'll write you a short thesis on the subject.) He's also an expert programmer and general videogame hobbyist. Today's link is to a particularly interesting video of his.

On YouTube, one popular genre of gaming video is the "blind" playthrough, where the player is trying the game for the first time. Bisqwit recently tried a blind playthrough of his own... but a very different kind. He literally played a game with his eyes closed. To have half a chance, he chose the first test chamber of Portal, a very simple level that he knows inside out. He calls the resulting video boring, but I disagree -- with his commentary to explain what he was thinking at each point, it's one of the most interesting gameplay videos I've ever seen. Check it out.

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[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:54 PM
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November 14

(see thread)
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[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:55 PM
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November 15

Smallish but important update today. With the (ahem) long silences this site is prone to, I've been meaning for some time to create an RSS feed people can follow so they know when we have something new. (We used to have something similar, a mailing list, but handling it manually was a nuisance. RSS is basically how mailing lists are done now anyway.)

The other day I realized I don't need to make a feed, because we already have one! A surprisingly obscure feature of LiveJournal is that every account has an RSS feed; it's not linked by default for some reason, but you can find it by adding /data/rss to the URL. I update our LJ studiously with each newspost, so that feed might as well be coming directly from here. I dub it The Five-Minute RSS, and I encourage you all to follow it.

Follow it! Follow it.

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FiveMinute.net: because stuff is long and life is short

[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction

Last edited by Zeke; 11-18-2012 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:35 PM
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November 16

Today, some interesting sci-fi news for those who haven't already heard. A new BSG prequel movie has been made with the impressively generic title of Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome. For some reason, instead of airing on TV, it's first being serialized on YouTube in 12-minute segments. It's set in the first Cylon war and has a character we actually care about (Adama in his Viper pilot days), so there's more reason to watch this one than Caprica. Ron Moore isn't involved, but several other BSG staffers and fellow Trek veterans are, most notably Michael Taylor.

Should be worth checking out. It's nice at least to get something new from one of the big sci-fi franchises. A lot of them are lying fallow at the moment. I still can't believe they didn't capitalize on the success of Abrams' Trek reboot with a TV show -- that should've been a no-brainer.

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[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:44 AM
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November 17

(see thread)
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[03:17] FiveMinZeke: Galactica clearly needs the advanced technology of scissors, which get around the whole "yanking on your follicles" problem.
[03:17] IJD: cylons can hack any blades working in conjunction
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