28th Annual Midnight Ride

Welcome all, motorcycle riders or no, to the Midnight Ride. A motorcycle ride, rally, and–if you choose to contribute–fundraiser, all rolled into one.
The ride traditionally occurs Friday night, with the rally following up throughout the day on Saturday, the third weekend in August. This year, that means August 15th and 16th.

The Midnight Ride officially began in 1986 by the GoldWing Road Riders Assocation of Michigan, Chapter G in Grand Rapids. That’d be in the United States, for anyone who does a lot of international travel. ;)
It started with 17 bikers who decided to make the trip from Grand Rapids to the Mackinack Bridge one night in August. That first year, the trip finished with 57 riders, and the number has grown over the years to several thousand participants. Continue reading

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Bugging Me: Assorted

Most of these are… minor annoyances. Nothing that I’d go so far as to call pet peeves, or berserk buttons, or anything else worth worrying about. I just thought I’d go and write them up and put them in a list somewhere.

Although they are things that I wish would change.

This list might include a few items that belong on my wishlist posts.

Anyway, to start:

Things that bug me about….

FaceBook

People who upload a bazillion photos from all different events and themes and such on their FaceBook pages… and don’t ever sort them into albums.

Seriously, the only albums that exist on some of these pages are the defaults: timeline photos, profile photos, mobile uploads, videos, and whatever else FaceBook pre-creates for the purpose.

Yes, sorting that many takes time… but sorting them as they’re uploaded would have made it much easier.
And yes, some people rely on sites like Whosay to upload the photos for them… but they can be sorted immediately after they’re uploaded.
And nobody’s saying you have to sort them all at once. ;) Just start with the most recent event and sort those into a themed album. Once that’s done, move on to the next group. And so on.

And in the case of some pages, e.g. certain actor’s or other public figures’ pages, they could always have someone else add it to their list of responsibilities if they can’t afford to spend the time doing it themselves.
The work is more tedious than difficult, and once they’re sorted, it’s kind of a one-time thing; sort the old photos so it’s over and done with, and then all you need worry about is the new photos as they’re uploaded.

Or, people who upload a bazillion photos… and then reupload those photos as a way to get more people to see them.
Then again, “sharing” your own photo multiple times, as some people in this category have started doing, has similar problems, but at least then I can go straight to the photo album if I want to comment on the original… provided it’s easy to find, as per my point about sorted albums.

On the flip side, things that bug me on Twitter:

The inability to create albums. But that’s a wishlist item; it has nothing to do with the people using it.

Things that bug me on….

deviantArt

Or probably any art site.

People who take someone else’s work and reupload it to their own accounts under the assumption that they’re “helping” the original artist get more page views and favorites and such.
And then blocks anyone who tries to tell them why that won’t work, or to add a link to the rules, because they believe that it’s nobody’s business but their own and the original creator’s. Thus killing off their potential viewership (their loss, not mine, especially if their gallery includes decent pieces of their own work) and stubbornly clinging to their ignorance in the process.

DeviantArt is not FaceBook, nor Tumblr, not any other site out there with reblogs and shares and such. Uploading work to your own account doesn’t affect anybody’s stats but your own.
If you reupload work to your account, you’re claiming it as your own work… and if it is not your work and the original creator has not given you permission, that’s theft.
And if you block anyone who tries to explain that, or to remind you of the rules you agreed to when you signed up for the site, you’re either a thief and a liar (lying about why you’re uploading it to begin with), or you’re taking the “ignorance is bliss” idea to extreme levels. Either way, you’re the bad guy.

In fact, there are only three situations that make it acceptable to upload work that is not your own.
The first, fanfiction/fanart, has always been a legal grey area, and probably always will be. e.g. I didn’t create the concept of Doctor Who, but I did put a lot of work into the stories I wrote in the series.
The second is adoptables. If I “adopt” a character from another artist, I’ve paid for the right to own that character. I prefer not to upload the characters until I’ve actually used them in work of my own, but that’s a personal choice; the option is there.
And the third is a commission, or other work that has been created for the uploader’s use. In my case, these are generally images someone else has drawn of characters I’ve created, that I might have paid to use as an illustration in a novel, or preview image on a character bio or some such situation. I typically choose not to upload these images to my own account (except as preview images)… but the work effectively belongs to me, and I could upload them if I wished to do so.

Or the fact that only the original owner of a picture can report it as stolen.
Okay, I get that it’s ultimately up to that person to say whether anyone else can use it, but if a particular picture has been reported a hundred times and the thief is blocking everyone who tries to say anything, you’d think the mods would do something about it. Isn’t that an abuse of the blocking system?
(For the record, I don’t condone flaming anyone, not even an art thief, but it might be amusing to see these people use up their block limits. :D I’d love to be a fly on the wall when they try to convince the mods to let them block more people.)
Or when an account exists for the sole purpose of theft (as admitted in one such thief’s journal)…why does the account still exist?

Or… people whose work has been stolen, but upon being informed of it, don’t say or do anything. Personally, I don’t believe “didn’t respond” means “gave permission,” I believe you have to actually give permission in order to give permission, but a lot of people seem to think the lack of a response means the person doesn’t care. Worse yet is when the person is rarely active, and people assume the lack of response is a lack of interest.
For my part, I’m planning to write a journal spelling out exactly which of my characters or stories can be used and by whom without requiring the person to ask first, which are up for grabs as “stock characters” (with a small fee attached) and which require anyone interested in using them to ask first. And, in the case of those art thieves, maybe a blacklist of who I will never give that permission to.

Things that bug me about….

Having an in-home office

And doing any type of work that doesn’t involve driving someplace for a nine-to-five job.

People that assume that because I’m home, I’m readily available for anything they want me to do.

Or people that assume that because my job doesn’t involve a specific set of hours, I can easily set aside that work to do anything they want me to do.

Or people that assume, or behave as though they assume, that work that requires me to concentrate on what I’m doing, to maintain a train of thought (e.g. writing) is something they can interrupt me at and I can easily get back to it whenever they’re done with me… but something that’s all tedium and no thought (e.g. sorting photos from a past trip) is something that they absolutely must wait until I’m done before they ask me for anything.

And so on.

Things that bug me about

Volunteer work

People that assume that, because I’m not being paid for it, it isn’t very important.
By extension, people that assume that I can just “not show up” for a scheduled event I’ve committed to helping with, simply because it’s volunteer work.

And there are probably others, but that’s all that comes to mind at the moment.

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Places to See: Iverness, Scotland

 

I’ve said, time and again, that I need to create a “places I want to see” list, but it was only after finding this beauty on Karen Gillan’s (whom I’d first seen as Amy Pond on Doctor Who) twitter feed that I finally made up my mind to post that list.

More places in Scotland that I’d like to visit

More places worldwide that I’d like to visit

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Now on Tumblr

Because I felt like it. ;)

You can find me playing around on Tumblr at Pioneers of the Shattered Waters (now why does that name sound familiar? :D )
I created the account for two reasons. One, to explore Tumblr’s options so I could help a friend figure out why her theme isn’t working the way she wants it to.
(So far the theme works as intended for me, but not for her; my current theory is that Tumblr likes to prank its users. On the other hand Continue reading

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Lessons from Comic Con

I have, to date, been able to go to Comic Con… once. And not even for the full weekend. I can easily imagine that there are plenty of people out there who have considerably more experience than me, and can offer better advice.

But I’d like to offer a few tidbits based on my first ever Comic Convention.

One

Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare yourself to leave, but try to be flexible. Last minute changes happen Continue reading

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Doctor Who and Religion

Okay, yes, I’m fully aware that Doctor Who is, for all purposes, science fiction.
I am similarly aware that some, though certainly not all, of the people involved in Doctor Who consider themselves atheists.
But even science fiction can make room for religion, if the concepts are used well. And an atheist is as capable of respecting other beliefs, of acting morally, of following the golden rule to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” as is any religious person. Human nature being what it is, though, they are also as capable of choosing not to do these things.

Anyway:
I have limited knowledge of Classic Who, and I feel that basing this post on episodes I’ve seen will mean much more than writing about episodes I’ve only read about. Therefore, for my purposes, I will focus on New Who… and a bit of Torchwood.


Science fiction, as I see it, has a few options in dealing with religious concepts: Continue reading

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Guard WHAT on Duty?

A random writing prompt.

Most of the signs are normal enough. “No trespassing.” “Trespassers will be prosecuted.” “Private property.”

There’s even some of the weirder ones. “If you can read this, you’re in range.” Or “I can make it to the fence is 1.7 seconds.”

And so on.

But one sign in particular catches your eye. “Guard ____ on duty.”

Here, then, is the prompt: guard what on duty? What is guarding this place? Is it a dog, or something else entirely? What is so unusual about it?
And what, exactly, is it guarding?

 

I’ve got a specific story in mind for this one, so I’ll link to that and/or upload it here once it’s written.
Meanwhile, anyone else want to give it a try? ;)

And since WordPress/Zemanta’s “related posts” focus on the trespassing and have nought to do with writing prompts (naturally, given the post’s content), I’ll leave this little gem for anyone who’s interested:

25 Brutally Honest No Trespassing Signs

 

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Book Review: The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Disappeared, a Retrieval Artist novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
An entertaining blend of science fiction, mystery, and police drama about people on the run from the law, and the police who have to decide between upholding that law and their own moral judgement.

Before I begin this review, let me point that I do have a certain, hmm… prior bias, merely to provide my readers an opportunity to take that bias into account.

While I do enjoy the occasional science fiction novel, I tend to prefer fantasy. Also, the element of crime and mystery present in The Disappeared puts its genre so far outside of my usual reading material that, had I not encountered it via one of Storybundle’s story… er, bundles, I might never have heard of it, and I definitely would never have read it.
And that oversight on my part does the book a serious injustice. Having read this book, I eagerly look forward to continuing the series.

There is another bias, of sorts, but I’ll get to that later. On to the review!


The Earth Alliance has joined together many alien cultures, many strange customs. Among these are the customs of law.

Continue reading

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Dreaming of Doctor Who Times 2

With a… considerably more disturbing “plot” than the last one.

A couple of days ago, my dad and I were watching my Doctor Who DVDs. Specifically, he’d gotten as far as the Shakespeare episode, complete with the Carrionites and their dolls… ‘scuse me, their DNA replication modules.
Later that night, I had a weird dream.
I place part of the blame on that episode, because the dolls played a major role in this dream. The rest of the blame goes to the fact that I just plain have weird dreams, so take the content with a grain of salt, okay?

In this dream, someone Continue reading

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New Site for Doctor Who fanfics

So new it doesn’t have any content yet. ;)
I’m working on it a little, during the occasional break from my paid work, the plot bunny infestation, and whatever else my folks think I should be doing instead, but allow me to explain.

The site: Whovian Crossover Cameos
The tagline: An eclectic collection of Doctor Who crossover fics, focusing on non-Who cameos by Who actors. Mistaken identities abound!

My new site was created specifically to feature Doctor Who (and spin-off) crossover fanfics that feature other characters the Who actors have played. Continue reading

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