Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sign of the times: Pulitzer will accept online work

I know, I found it hard to believe too, but the Pulitzer Prizes -- probably the most prestigious awards for American newspaper reporting and commentary -- will begin immediately accepting submissions from online-only publications.

Yup, internet newspapers and news organizations that publish online will be considered for all 14 of the journalism awards. No doubt, some blogs that mainly report on news may be eligible. This is definitely a sign things are changing in our world.

With print newspapers going out of business at a rapid pace -- Tribune just filed for Chapter 11 the other day -- there's not even a question of the increasing importance and influence of online media. Print newspaper may disappear at some point. Gosh, I haven't read a print paper in probably eight years.

For writers, though, this is very meaningful. If anyone still had doubts about the "legitimacy" of internet work and online writing, they're living in the past.

As for fiction and novels, Well, I have way too much to say and it will have to wait for another post.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

About word counts (oh, and ze blog)

I know I've deviated lately from the main topic of this blog -- writing. At least, that's what the topic used to be once upon a time, about two years ago, when it was still an active blog.

Then the war happened and I was outed and I had a hard time returning to blogging. Seems lately, though, I've been back blogging a little after all. Only I don't feel like blogging just about writing all the time. So I won't. My blog, my say.

But this post is about writing.

I participated in NaNoWriMo this year. I knew I'd likely fail, but I knew it would give me an extra incentive to write anyways. So I joined, and yes, I "failed" but I don't count it as failing. I wrote over 12,000 words during November. I think that's not too shabby at all.

You know I'm also an editor at BloggingStocks, right? So I have a running word count on the system there. To date, I wrote 991,557 words over two years and half. That's nearly ten standard size novels. In two and half years. If you do the math, that's just over 1,000 words a day. Every day.

Since no one is expecting anyone to write 10 novels in two and half years -- that's about seven and half novels too many -- then do the new math and you get that by writing only 274 words a day you get 100,000 words a year. A novel.

Point: Anyone discounting any amount of words written is doing injustice to herself. Anyone thinking a goal of just 200 words a day would get him nowhere is dead wrong. It adds up. Don't argue with the math!

Or, in the words of one Insane Writer: Writing: It’s All About the Numbers.

I know I get discouraged sometimes when all I can manage is a measly 150 words, so I guess I'm writing this more for myself following my undisputed, gynormous failure in NaNo...

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Guns for food -- at least one good thing may come out of this recession

So it's like this: Seems Americans have devised a plan, Gifts for Guns, starting in 2005 where around this time of year they can actually exchange their guns for gift cards.

While in previous years the chosen gift cards were for Best Buy and Target, this year, because of the recession, it's for food stores.

Anyone who just could never fathom this American mantra of "right to bear arms" protected by that second amendment, probably also shakes his head when reading about this program.

Sure, in essence it's a good thing to get guns off the street, but somehow there's something fundamentally off about this program that really bothers me. Maybe it's that little thing called dignity, I don't know.

So while I definitely applaud such goals as aiming to have less weapons in private hands, and even appreciate that this program actually proves to get results, I can't help but hope for a much more fundamental change in views and concepts one day.

For now, it seems, the recession and the need for food -- I wonder if the right to eat is protected by any amendment -- has brought in a record number of guns. At least that.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

I knew I lived in a monarchy, but I never thought I lived in a monarchy ...

Believe it or not, but it is exciting Canadian politics that actually got me back to this blog.

While the world in general and USA more specifically had their full attention on the American presidential election, Canada also held a federal election. Unfortunately, those hoity-toity Conservatives strengthened their hold in the parliament. They didn't get a majority, though, thank goodness.

Harper, the Conservative party leader and the current Canadian prime minister, AKA slimeball, started losing ground some time before the election because he somehow got it in his thick head that Canada is immune to the global economic crisis. He did nothing.

After the election, White Chocolate continued to do nothing. His budgetary proposals are a joke and an insult to Canadians. He squandered the lag time Canada had (still has a bit) before recession hits full force. Instead of acting NOW he chose not to do anything before he proposes a budget at the end of Jan 09.

So the opposition parties formed a coalition. This is what happens in parliamentary systems. It's a common occurrence in many countries with such systems. We don't elect a prime minister. So if parties can create majorities and overthrow the current government through a non-confidence vote to either call an election or form their own government, that's allowed. By law. That's the way our democratic system works. You may think it's flawed, but what system isn't.

Unable to look at Harper without hurling, I was happy that opposition leaders decided to form a coalition and act to stimulate the Canadian economy NOW. I actually felt warm and fuzzy inside to see avowed rivals acting together in an attempt to save us. They put aside more than differences, they put aside hatred, and decided it was important to act.

Harper wasn't that happy. He asked the Queen's representative in Canada -- yes, you read right -- Canada's head of state is actually the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, and she has a vice-regal here, the Governor General. Back to slimey, he asked the GG to prorogue -- that is, suspend -- the parliament!!! until the end of Jan when he presents his budget. This way he can avoid the non-confidence vote scheduled in the House of Commons next week.

He asked, she agreed.

So, I always knew I live in a constitutional monarchy, Canada being part of the Commonwealth realm. As an immigrant, I even swore an oath to Queen and Country when I became Canadian. But I always imagined this was just a cutsey role, that nothing improtant ever really materialized out of it. That it was some lingering romantical attachement and nothing more.

I know, I know. It seems I'm hiding behind "it's the law" when it suits me and condemning it when it doesn't. But I strongly believe this monarchial / dictatorial rule is a remnant that was left in place because no one ever thought it would be used. Like declaring martial law only in the most extreme of circumstances (I know, I lived through one). This is the most dangerous of precedences that would allow future prime ministers to avoid non-confidence and be overthrown in a democratic process. It allows Harper to stay in power even though he doesn't have the support of the parliament. Now, this is unconstitutional in nature, and it is undemocratic!

Meanwhile, the leaders of Canada keep squandering the lag time it had to try and keep the recession away, or at least keep it short and shallow. Canada was holding its own for a while as Canadian banks were the strongest among the G8. But, despite what Harper kept saying, Canada cannot exist -- well -- apart from the US, its biggest trading partner. The Canadian auto industry is the US auto industry. And the saving grace that was high commodity prices has all but disappeared.

I believe Canada can still avert the worst of it, but not if Harper keeps on wasting time. He's inept and his inactivity will cost us. He's got to go! As for the monarchy, I'd rather it stayed in the ceremonial realm.

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