Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Archive for March, 2003


Posted by shannonclark on March 29, 2003

In which some editing is done

of my novel no less

Well, I am not sure I like it as it currently stands, but I don’t hate it either, just am not completely satisfied. But, last night, I managed to edit my novel for the first time in months.

To start, I have now, finally, broken it into some chapters and put some structure to it, though it needs much, much more.

Most of my time was spent on the first 50 pages or so, which I edited with the goal of getting something reasonable for the Wiscon writer’s respite. I have selected the first chapter, which is about 6000 words, currently on about 27 pages (Courier 12 point, double spaced). So while it does not feel like a lot of words, I do worry that it may be too much for the respite even so.

Additionally, I am not sure that I like all aspects of the current story and plot, there are some hints that I have left in that I am considering taking out, and some elements that I think I need to refine/extend/change.

Even more, I worry that my writing style will not be up to the standards of the others at Wiscon, in The Third Coast (my current working title), I am writing in a style that I am not sure I quite recognize, but I don’t think it is typical either – probably too driven by old radio plays, lots of dialogue, some of which may be more than a bit stilted (need to keep working on it).

And I worry that though I have toned it down, there is still too much explication, too much “deus ex machima” (though some of that is the nature of the plot, revolving in part around time travel).

But on the other hand, I am not really on some level writing “science” fiction, in that though there is some time travel it is just a plot device, not what I am writing about – i.e. I try to glide over the “science” and want to focus more on the history and the people, I want to write about the shadows of history, times of chaos, and the small acts and actions of people, even people whom we love and think we know, that might not be what we expect.

My plot, as such, is on two levels – the first is the main character, Francis, on a bit of journey of discovery about his family (and himself) across time.

The second, is the story of a group of other people affected by Francis’s family throughout history, but who also have their own stories and histories which are changed by his family (and which go on in directions sideways to the Hatterfords (Francis’s family).

Anyway, later today I will probably just make the decision to send it off and hope for the best…

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America’s Biggest Readers?

Posted by shannonclark on March 29, 2003

America’s Biggest Readers

1 book a week makes you a big reader? 2 books a week?

Heck, most years that would be a weekend for me, though the past three years as I have been working on starting JigZaw I have slowed down, probably to about 1-2 books a week average now (plus 5 magazines, 4-5 newspapers, 100+ pages of emails/day, and countless articles and websites… so perhaps not all that slowed down.

Most years of my life, however, I have read at a very rapid pace, usually reading some each day, but when I have blocks of time I tend to read multiple books, two or three books (or more) in a day is not uncommon for me.

And though I read quickly, I don’t “speed read” but I do average about 80 pages an hour or so.

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Posted by shannonclark on March 28, 2003

lgf: The Pentagon’s New Map

Comments on the Pentagon’s New Map article on lgf (Little Green Footballs) where the link was posted almost 20 days ago.

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Posted by shannonclark on March 28, 2003

The Pentagon’s New Map from Esquire Magazine, March 2003 issue by Thomas P.M. Barnett.

This is vital reading by everyone on both sides of the debate about the current war.

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Posted by shannonclark on March 25, 2003

Home–Berkman Center for Internet and Society

Okay, were I to be in Boston, and were I to ever be accepted by Harvard (Harvard Law more specifically), this seems very much like the group I would want to be a part of.

In any case, I plan on looking at their projects in depth, and participating in some of them to the degree that I can.

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Posted by shannonclark on March 25, 2003

Article (linked to by Larry Lessig’s blog) by Jon Zittrain about his open source web based courseware software, Rotisserie.

I think well worth looking at in more detail, and I plan on looking into how to use this for some of the groups I have worked with in the past.

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Posted by shannonclark on March 25, 2003

RatcliffeBlog: Business, Technology & Investing – entry on identity business

Interesting idea (thanks Doc Searls for the link).

I need to think about this more, read over it and see if it applies potentially to some of the networking that I am currently involved in. Perhaps there is a role for sites such as Ryze or Ecademy to play around this idea?

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Posted by shannonclark on March 25, 2003

Transit Users Called Creeps & Weirdos : Vancouver Indymedia

Sad. If I had ever even briefly considered buying a GM car, this would put a stop to that thought.

I’m a very big supporter of public transit – indeed I really should not own a car at all.

And, I find the thought implied by this ad that public transit riders are “creeps and weirdos” not just insulting but also likely more than a bit racist (or at least elitist/classist)

I will freely confess that I am an urban creature – I believe that you should live someplace where you can get your basic needs ON FOOT, where you have access to public spaces, and where a car is optional, not required. All of which are traits of a “good” city landscape in my view, though certainly many developers disagree with me – seemingly thinking that people want to live isolated from their neighbors and away from neighborhood businesses and resources – suburbs in the city basically.

Public Transit plays a critical and vital role in the urban landscape. More than just getting people from one point to another, it serves to bring people together and humanize the city. Rather than being isolated in our steel (well now mostly plastic) cages, public transit means that you have to BE with others, and that everyone is equal. It is also a space for random conversations, meetings, encounters – all vital to being a part of a city.

With repetition, you begin to see the same people, people who share a route in common with you, and over time this humanizes the vastness of the urban environment.

In a similar manner, walking to shopping and local resources is another means whereby the “village” can develop in the midst of the city.

In the part of Chicago where I live, I know a lot of my neighbors and fellow residents of the city. We see each other in the shops and cafes, we talk to each other while sitting on the sidewalk on a summer’s day watching the world go by. I know my local beat cop, indeed have eaten dinner with him and other mutual friends.

This is what makes the urban environment so manificent and wonderful. Beyond the many casual interactions and friendships, it is the diversity of those connections. My friends are of all races, all ages, all genders, all sexualities. Some are out of work cabdrivers, some are investment bankers. We all share a common urban environment.

Were I to be a “car” person, I would have rarely, if ever, met these friends. Instead of walking home each evening (when I leave the office at a reasonable time), I would have been driving from one parking lot to another – avoiding meeting anyone.

Indeed, in the summertime especially, it is a very rare evening that on my one mile walk home that I do not encounter at least one (and usually many more than that) friend or group of friends. Often, we end up at least talking, and not uncommonly eating dinner or at least sitting at a local cafe and catching up, talking about our lives, the weather, the news of the day.

When I have a family, I plan on raising my children in a city, I want them to grow up in a highly diverse environment. Rather than isolating them in our own private large yard, I want them to grow up celebrating the many parks and public grounds of the city. As the grow up, I want them to grow comfortable and independant in navigating the city (on foot, on bike, on public transit), I want them exposed to diversity.

Diverse foods, diverse races and religions, diversity of economic status.

Whether when the time comes I am rich and successful, or poor and successful (I plan on being successful as I count it, whether that means rich or not is yet to be determined), I want my future children to grow up judging people on the basis of who they are and how they interact, rather than how much (or how little) they may have finacially at the moment.

Last night, I had a nice conversation and interaction with a man selling Streetwise (Chicago’s homeless newspaper, so he is probably homeless) – we were both buying our dinner from the same chinese fast food joint. He asked, politely, if I would like to buy one of his newspapers. I declined (because I cannot afford it at the moment), but we talked instead about the food. Importantly, he smiled as we talked, we communicated briefly, but that’s the essense of the city – diverse people can engage each other in friendly conversation around shared common experiences.

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Posted by shannonclark on March 24, 2003 | Judgment day

Okay, a day for me linking to Salon. Another article in Salon which is close to my own position – especially with respect to how many in the “antiwar” movement seem to ignore the positives of our actions, namely the liberation and freedom that we are potentially bringing.

I am deeply encouraged that we are, it appears, fighting this war with a great deal of respect and care for the people on whose behalf we are fighting it, namely the people of Iraq.

However, unlike the author of this piece, I do not oppose this war.

And yes, I realize that this may cost me friendships, as most of my friends (and indeed family) are apt to be in the “No War” movement, in the “Peace” movement. And do not mistake me, I am not, by any means, a supporter or fan of George Bush.

But I am a supporter of America acting with strength to free oppressed people and of America acting to oppose Tyrants and dictators and supporters of Terrorism.

And though Saddam Hussain is by no means the only one in the world, he occupies a small and unusual group. And Iraq is an unusual situation.

For one, I have confidence in Iraq’s ability to proper as a free society. It will not be easy, but there is much to draw upon which can help a free Iraq grow. Not just oil, but the return of refugees and exiles, millions strong and many very well educated. The restoration of some of the most devastatingly hit environmental disasters (The marshlands of the Marsh Arabs in the South of Iraq are apparently almost 90% gone, the date trees of Basra as well).

Iraq is an ancient land, a crossroads of trade and culture. It is a land I have studied in history, albiet for the most part with a bit of remove. My focus was on the history of many of countries around and near Iraq – what is now modern Turkey (Byzantine and then Ottoman history) as well as the history of the Armenians. In the course of this I studied a great deal of the history of Persia, and then of the Muslim expansion and Arab culture.

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Posted by shannonclark on March 24, 2003

Yahoo! Groups : newenglewoodterrace

Group I just created for a project I am helping with. Should be useful, and also a practice run for me in creating and managing a new group.

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