A Song About… Jeans?

Kudos to my friends Victor Labarbera and David Wheaton of VLabar Productions for producing young rapper Tae’s BET premier of Red Monkey Jeans! There’s not much commercially pimped new rap that I find myself listening too. This song’s not likely to change that fact, although I gotta give props to a (commercial) rap artist that shuns profanity, drugs, and the whole “meat marketization” of women.

The song favors concrete imagery over abstract expressionism: Red Monkey Jeans, all white tee with them all white Nikes… You get the picture. It reminds me of country music with its earnest simplicity. And who doesn’t have a favorite pair of jeans? Admit it. This is the song you’ve dreamed about writing. The trouble is finding a phrase that rhymes with Wrangler stretch (besides “neighbors retch”) is too damn difficult. Stop hating. That’s an order.

Vic and Dave keep ’em coming. I’m glad to see other people having fun in this crazy video production game.

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NaNo No Mo’

Final Word Count: 8750

mood: content

Where did the time go? I somehow didn’t make it to 50K, but I’m still stoked. Work was tough enough, but I was unfortunate enough to discover there are situations that can totally take your mind off the Great American Novel you’re writing. However, my characters still call out to me to finish their story, and finish it I will. The Tipsy Teapot gang rocks! And I look forward to keeping in touch with them as I finish my book and prep for next year’s challenge. Any noteworthy news regarding said novel will undoubtedly find its way into the blog.

Meanwhile, it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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We Really Don’t All Look Alike

So I’ve finally begun my search for some interesting black blogs. A brief Google turned up the 2007 winners at The Black Weblog Awards Blog. As usual I’m running a bit behind with my reaction post. Lord knows you can read plenty of dissent in the comments following the announcement of the winners. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my disappointment with the readers’ choice of Young, Black and Fabulous for Best Culture Blog. It’s truly sad when Hollywood and music gossip passes for culture of any shade, but that seems to be the gist of YBF’s content. Perhaps the last line of the “About” page sums it up best:

Filling the black hollywood [sic] gossip and entertainment void all day every day.

It’s a void best left unfilled in my opinion. Thankfully, there were two categories of winners: popular vote and judges’ vote. Some of the judges choices offered stark contrast to the readers’ preferences. One of the judges’ choices that I will be spending more time at is Clutch Magazine. It won Best Blog Design. I have to give them props for interviewing Rissi Palmer, a Country musician I’ve previously blogged about. Now that’s culture!

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to parse other black blogs, and will put a couple on the link list once I find one that hits the spot.

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Casting Your Soy Before Swine

Several inventions have advanced the explosive growth of mass media. The printing press, teletype, radio and TV, and certainly not least, the Internet. Many private industries take advantage of these inventions to further the causes that make them money. PR, entertainment, health; these businesses have all benefited from the Orwellian reach of technology. Consequently, propaganda has become geometrically easier to spread using these media. But it’s much sadder when it’s your own government fertilizing the fields with disinformation.

However, with the invention of the Internet, concerned citizens worldwide have a shot at leveling the playing field. The multi-billion dollar food and health industries have some illustrative examples of people questioning the status quo via alternative media sources. While several instances come to mind, today’s short rant focuses on the “Soy Craze”.

Blessed by the Federal Death Administration (FDA to some), soybeans and their protein isolate derivatives have infiltrated nearly every level of food production. Non-breastfed infants, veggies/vegans, and the lactose intolerant are especially prone to the inevitability and seductive lure of this humble legume. Forget what you know for a moment, or rather what you’ve been told about soy’s high quality protein and cancer preventing qualities.

What if feeding soy to infants and children accelerated the onset of puberty? What if soy consumption depressed thyroid function and could be attributed to increased cases of Alzheimer’s in elderly Japanese-Americans? What if the use of soy protein in human foods was never actually granted the Generally Recognized As Safe designation by the FDA.

Doctors and others who argued for lengthier and better studies of the bean’s effects were overruled. Here’s where the Internet comes to the rescue. Many websites aim to tell the whole truth about soy. Two I’ve recently visited standout.

Dr. Mercola’s site shares a wealth of knowledge about myriad health issues. His page dedicated to the dangers of soy has numerous, in-depth links that unravel the fallacious web of half-truths, lies, and omissions perpetrated by the soybean industry and the FDA. Soy Online Service is a cross-continental affiliation of individuals whose aim is to educate the public about soy-related problems.

If you have any interest in health matters I urge you to visit these two websites. The FDA and the soybean cartel have made damn sure that mainstream media only present the (dubious) benefits of soy. It’s up to the public to research the whole truth and use it to make informed decisions about their health.

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I’m Alive, Vista’s Sweet, and the Writing Plods Along

OK, I admit. I was trying to think of some ultra-clever post to describe how much I’ve missed blogging since I began writing my novel. I was going to set the lyrics to Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”.

Scratch that.

Here’s a quickie (in keeping with the whole Marvin Gaye theme). For the ‘lite crowd who have been running Vista since it’s pre-alpha days, move along; this post will be old news. For the OS conservatives who’ve only recently upgraded, this may be of interest.

One of the more interesting aspects of Vista is ReadyBoost: its ability to use removable drives to speed up the caching of virtual memory files. Succinctly put, ReadyBoost improves Vista’s performance by using flash drives to perform small, random I/O file operations, instead of using the paging file of the (typically) slower harddrive. This is not a substitute for RAM, rather an inexpensive way to improve the speed of your computer without cracking the case and possibly voiding the warranty. There are limits and recommendations to ReadyBoost. They can be found at Tom Archer’s MSDN blog. There, Tom quotes Matt Ayers, a Microsoft Program Manager and owner of the ReadyBoost feature.

Enjoy. Now, back to procrastinating, I mean writing.

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Nano Update 02

Word count: 5677

mood: bit frustrated, bit happy: dealin’ wit’ it

My antagonist told me he’s really not a bad guy, just the fall guy. I reluctantly had to agree. Now, I’m rewriting a bit of his backstory (which wasn’t exactly fleshed out to begin with). Overall, I feel like the writing is better than when I first started. It darn well should be, right? Isn’t this gift like any muscle that you exercise and watch grow stronger? Tough days ahead… but I’m really looking forward to introducing the protagonist’s hacker friend. I’m sorta saving him for a rainy day and slow word count.

peace to all Wrimos

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NaNo Update 01

Word count: 2877

mood: committed, slightly tense

Dialog time… not a happy fun time exactly, but necessary. Had a nasty but urgent matter to deal with Friday, and I had to work Saturday. Falling of pace is no fun, but the good news is the story feels like a story and I talk with my characters all day. That is good news, right?

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Overture, Curtains, Light

With just over an hour to go before the month-long novel writing journey begins, I’m excited and enthused. This will likely be my last post for a few days. I’ll certainly be thinking of the thousands of fellow Wrimos as I labor. And I’ll smile knowing that we are all fulfilling a dream.

Believe in your characters. Believe in their environment. Know that when you stare at a blank screen, the screen is staring back, accusing you. Your only requital is to fill that screen with words. Now, write Wrimos! Write!

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A Successful Wrimo Kickoff

I Attended a Wrimo kickoff party in Greenville Tuesday evening. Hosted at the cozy Tipsy Teapot, it was a great way to relieve some pre-Nano stress and share strategies and plotlines with other participating writers. Elijah, our Municipal Liason, and well-seasoned novelist and screenplay writer Aubry(sp?) made the handful of hopefuls feel at home. A reporter from the Daily Reflector was there as well. The recurring theme was have fun with the process.

Elijah also offered his choice of text processor for writing. Q10 is a free (as in beer), extremely lightweight fullscreen text editor. The lack of pallets and toolbars make for a scarily empty workspace. That is until you fill it with Nobel winning prose. For kicks, you can also download an audio package that gives your keystrokes that manual typing sound. It runs under Vista, opens and closes lightning fast, and handles Mac, Win, and Unix line endings.

The countdown’s on!

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I’ve Committed (Have Me Committed!)

It’s official! The lure of NaNoWriMo has me under its spell. I have my account. I began naming characters and scripting scene cards for my plot outline today. In two days, I will join over 80,000 Wrimos worldwide on the quest to pull a 50,000 word novel out of a hat. The procrastination is nearly over and one keen observation surfaces in the slushy flotsam of my pre-Nano mind:

It’s easier to write about writing than to actually write!

Through the official Nano website, I’ve located some local folk with the same goal. I inspire myself by remembering my favorite quotes from Finding Forrester. My trusty bansuri lays patiently within a frantic grab of my frazzled fingers. Various products from the “ine” food groups are at the ready.

The time draws nigh. More later.

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