Saturday, December 31, 2011

"She smiles – not because she’s unaware of the alligators – but because she’s aware of them and because she knows how wonderful it feels when they release their jaws from your ankles."

-Wisdom from The Bloggess

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Honey instead of vinegar

David Malki! on dealing with someone who steals your stuff, but useful advice for life in general:
The knee-jerk response is “Cease and desist! Sue! Call a lawyer!” This implies that (a) the issue cannot be solved through more amicable means, and (b) I have a lot of time and money to throw at this kind of problem. The latter is not true, and I like to at least allow for the chance that the former isn’t either. There’s a lot of double negatives in that sequence, so I’ll restate: Being aggressive puts people on the defensive. Being friendly gets people to help you.

Also, always give the party in the wrong the ability to back off gracefully.

Learning this is one of the biggest things that has helped me in life: avoid putting people on the defensive. Sometimes it is necessary to be firm, or to express dissatisfaction, or to press for remedy of a situation. But I have never found yelling and shouting to be the easiest way to that end — at least, not as an opener.

Friday, December 16, 2011

And your problem with that is?

I submit as a law of editorial physics that the author’s desire to include a fact in her narrative is directly proportional to the effort she expended to find it out, not to its relevance.

Editor: Betsy, this paragraph about how the congressman won a Boy Scout merit badge for whittling doesn’t really seem like something we need right here. Or anywhere.

Betsy: But I got that from his old troop leader! The guy wasn’t even in the phone book – I found him living in a mobile home at the end of a dirt road. It was a sweltering day, I interviewed him in Spanish…

-"When Journalists Become Authors"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Damn, I hope he's right

So my second piece of career advice echoes the political advice offered by Benjamin Franklin: whenever you are faced with a choice between liberty and security, choose liberty. Otherwise you will end up with neither. People who sell their souls for the promise of a secure job and a secure salary are spat out as soon as they become dispensable. The more loyal to an institution you are, the more exploitable, and ultimately expendable, you become.

- George Monbiot.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lilly is practicing...

Lilly is practicing...
Originally uploaded by wombatarama

to pick the winner of the book giveaway on my other blog. The more who enter, the more cookies she gets at the end. Go do it!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One of those days

"Some days I'll rapidly thump out an article in a steady daze, scarcely aware of my own breath. Other times it's like slowly dragging individual letters of the alphabet from a mire of cold glue."

-Charlie Brooker

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Remember to wear your hat

Luck matters. It just does. But you can maximize luck. You won’t get struck by lightning if you don’t wander out into the field covered in tinfoil and old TV antennae.

-Chuck Wendig

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why books will not die: a range of opinion

"Underneath everything, underneath the machinations of the industry and the terrible dance of agent-getting and submissions, underneath the despair and joy and wild mood swings, underneath the misery and extraordinary grace of trying to make art--underneath it all, we just want to sit together and tell stories."

-The Rejectionist

"The advantage of the books is you can give them as a gift. Our society hasn’t yet evolved to the point where we can say, “Hey, check out this URL,” and pass that off as a present, so until we reach that point, books it is."

-Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hey look!

Pugs aren't the only dogs that like my book!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A long story

More years ago than I want to count, I decided to write a book and get it published. So I got this Daruma, and if I understand the Japanese custom correctly, you color in one eye when you start a project, and the other when you meet your final goal. So here's how he looked for all those years, his eye, originally filled in with a permanent black Sharpie, gradually fading to gray.

To make a very long story short, well, there it is. So here Daruma is getting his other eye.

And here he is, with the finished book, with the slightly different colors of his eyes representing my years of effort, or something like that.

And here's the whole deal with a pug added because everything is better with a pug.

(There are pugs in the book too! Also zoo animals! In case that makes anyone more inclined to purchase a copy. And you can read a chapter here.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

This is how to do it properly

Now I feel like I've never worked at a zoo that took escaped animal drills seriously enough. (We just got to chase, like, a curator in a reflective vest. Lame.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I'm thinking that my next book is going to be about how stupid dog owners are. Lilly says that she has PLENTY of material to contribute.