Filed under: Uncategorized | Enter your password to view comments.
It comes up every now and then, and, although all the descriptions get the same result, the rules are more complex than they need to be.
If you are counting objects, use “fewer”. If you are measuring it (by eye, ruler, scale, balance, measuring cup, micrometer…) use “less”.
There is less sand in pile A. We are measuring by eye.
There are fewer grains of sand in pile A. Yes, you are an idiot to count each grain, but you could.
The same goes for time and distance.
There are fewer hours in an Earth day than a day on Titan. There is less time in an Earth day.
It takes less time to drive to the store than to the cottage. There is less distance, but fewer miles.
Last year, I bought one book of 20 tickets for the penny table, and brought home five things, most of which, while I’d enjoy using them, I really don’t expect to get around to. Several people brought home none. This year, I had a plan. Next year, I’ll have a different plan.
This penny table is a series of draws. Each item has a cup, and you put as many tickets as you want into each cup. They then draw a ticket from the cup.
Each book of twenty tickets is only two dollars and it’s for a good cause, so not participating isn’t an option. The room is laid out to funnel you from the ticket table to the penny table, so simply pocketing the ticket book is also not an option. The items are decent enough, and many I would even pay full price for, if I honestly expected to use them.
This year, after winning three of the first ten items, I declined the fourth, fifth, sixth, and yes, seventh. (All the cross-stitch kits were together.) It’s a small enough group that they knew my number by then, so I couldn’t pretend the ticket owner had gone home early. Based on the reaction, though, it was a bad plan. Several people told me later that they often take home large hauls, and others take home none.
Next year’s plan is to put several tickets in just a few cups. Yes, it will over-whelm those few cups, but there’s no chance I’ll win more than those few cups.
For all my (alleged, assumed) writing ability, I’m stumped. I needed to write an article, but the true purpose is to advertise a group’s event (and the group). An advertorial. Articles go in for free (assuming they make it out of the slushpile). Free fits the budget.
I’m pretty good at technical writing. I’ve been praised for my reports on meetings, or at least some meetings.  The quality depends on my mood and alertness at the meeting. I always take notes for myself, and believe group notes are valuable, so often get voluntold for it.
 I don’t call them Minutes. Those are quasi-legal documents that only record decisions. If I miss a meeting, I want more. I want to know what you considered before making the decisions, and what was discussed that didn’t lead to a decision. A note of who volunteered, or was voluntold (especially if absent) to do what is also good.
For fiction, I’ve finished 1/10 of my million words of garbage, and most of the fiction advice I read these days is familiar. The trail is hard to follow and has many false-leads, but at least I know the landmarks.
But this article? Last season, I took the advice of a friend who used to write advertorials. Start with a story. Easy enough. Almost a formula. Character and problem we can identify with. Group solves the problem. Two similar articles, actually, just changing the character. Seemed okay, but didn’t get in. I read them again today. Adequate little pieces, but nothing special. The editor probably saw through it.
This time I tried a different approach. (I’m tired of creating fictional characters.) It started without a character, but with the feeling that most of our lives we create nothing tangible. It’s a crafting group, and one of the big benefits is I get to make pretty little objects. I get to hold the result in my hands, and all my senses are involved. (Pretty soon I’ll get to make more space on the shelves for them.)
Some moody descriptions, a nice rhythm at one point, but nothing cohesive. I brainstormed for other benefits of belonging. Found another half-dozen easily, and nothing fit. Gave up in frustration and did a brief bit describing the variety of objects they’ll see. The editor said it was too much like an advertisement. Sigh.
Walk it off. Rant and fume about how it’s supposed to be easy. Decide I should suck it up and learn. I’ve watched professionals do this on the fly, and they take dozens of runs. Why should I succeed in two?
I went back to the actual paper yet again, to see examples of what works, and realized that I’d only been interested in one of the articles. Given my reaction to the rest, I’m probably sick of the whole thing. Or maybe I just don’t like reading profiles. I’ve rarely enjoyed biographies. Give me a few neat things to think about and enough to know if it would fit my schedule — which is the piece I was happy with.
That’s the key to the solution. Stop beating my head against the brick wall. Rule One of choosing a genre to write in is pick one you enjoy reading. I don’t enjoy reading advertorials or profiles. I rarely enjoy biographies or profiles longer than a paragraph. I also remembered that I’d tried to get others to write them, and they assured me I was better at it than they were.
Today I learned, after being annoyed at myself for most of the day, that it’s okay to give up on this one.
You really want me to endorse her for WordPress? The woman, while wonderful and capable, readily admits she knows only the very basics about checking email and getting lost on the web, and isn’t at all interested in running a site of any kind.
I understand when you want me to endorse a fellow storyteller for his daytime skills. I don’t do it, because I don’t know a thing about him at work. It’s almost alright when you keep putting him first, using up one of the four slots which could be used by something I might actually endorse. But at least I understand it. He says he has that skill, and LinkedIn is kindly helping him prove it, which will increase the chances of him getting a job through LinkedIn.
But endorsing B for WordPress? That’s almost random. She would never in a million years ask to be endorsed for it. Maybe it’s there because she and I have endorsed each other for many things, and, since someone endorsed me for WordPress, I’m a good judge of who else should get that endorsement.
Well, I am a decent judge of it. And you suggesting that anyone should endorse B for a skill she has absolutely no interest in is garbage.
You know what? It used to be interesting to see what my friends wanted endorsements in. It’s not fun any more. I may continue to endorse a bit, but not nearly as often as I used to.
One user, on the verge of being lost.
Not 100% what I was hoping for, but pretty good, especially for the price.
There are several (too many) blogs that I want to read from the start. Currently, I have the index bookmarked on my PlayBook. When I want to read something, I open that bookmark, scan upwards until I see the next entry I haven’t read, and open it. And wait while it opens. Then go back to the index and repeat. Some blogs have “next” tabs, which makes it easier, but many don’t.
Grab My Book is a FireFox addon. It’s a bit clunky, but works.
Open the index and one a typical page. Open the rules editor to make sure it interprets that blog correctly. Move the mouse around until the right parts have the box. Click OK (or something like that) and save the rule.
Then, and this is the painful part, open every tab. Middle-click on each one, in order. (I was hoping to avoid this step, but no luck.)
Grab My Book.
I was hoping for something like a Plucker Distiller, but all the websites for that were from 2006 or older. I liked Plucker. I could tell it how deep to follow the links, give it a few rules, and a few minutes later I had an ebook on my Palm.
I tried Download Them All  and then Calibre to convert to ebook, but unfortunately the links don’t interconnect. It’s theoretically easy enough to create a simple html index page that links to them all, that I could send Calibre, but in reality there’s a lot of typing.
 Download Them All is aFirefox addon that lists all the links from a page, with nice sorting and filtering, then downloads the ones you check).
Now off to read my new books!
I’m doing the Knitting Masters from TKGA. Honest. It’s been almost 2 years since I ordered the instructions. I’ve put in maybe 6 hours of work. (And 20 of … research, including several hours reading the entire blog and YouTube channel of one of the committee co-chairs. Make that of two committee co-chairs, or past-co-chairs.)
I’ve found the bit that scares me. The research projects in levels 2 and 3. I just read the bibliography created by another master. Rough count is over 90 references by the time she finished all three levels.
Relax, just over 10 for level 1. But still in shock at the size of the list and some of the places she found things for the in-depth research into the history of a single style of knitting.
I’m happy following instructions, when the desired results are clearly stated. This includes swatches, calculations, and even the blocking report. That’s comfortable for me, even if it takes several tries. I don’t envy the earlier students who didn’t have all the great advice and pictures from committee members and had to check 3 or 4 books to find a consensus on the best way to do something. I’d be terrified the committee would prefer a different method or they’d use the same name for a different technique.
I also enjoy picking up random books about a subject. I even go in-depth for a few weeks out of interest, just wandering the library and the internet.
But focusing on one sub-topic long enough to do a comprehensive report? Interest books that cover things the author found interesting, not text books that take you through all the ins and outs of a topic? Ensuring most of the references are reliable and traceable, not just thrown up on the internet by someone who took a single class? Ordering book after book through inter-library loan and hoping this one will fill in the holes?
I’d never have thought of some of the places she found references. And it’s not just a matter of reading the same books she did. Yes, use some of them, but I suspect part of what they’re testing is our ability, and enthusiasm, to go off on our own, and our ability to bring back the good stuff.
Doable. Absolutely doable. Also outside my comfort zone. That’s probably a good thing.
I think one of my first steps with any level will be to get my subconscious working on the reports. That way, when I find something by serendipity, I’ll remember to take notes (at the very least “great information about … here”).
For now, though, “a journey of a thousand miles…” An hour of housework. An hour of paperwork. Then gauge swatches with the new yarn. (Didn’t I say something like that yesterday?)
Yesterday I learned that I can mess up a basic homonym in a 63-word post. Today I learned I can’t spell homonym — but WordPress’s spellchecker can.