Working on Research: Practical Idea

by Dr Davis on July 30, 2014

When you’ve been working on a topic for a while, over time and across multiple stops and starts for teaching and service and life in general, you can lose the focus of your topic. If you’re like me, you may find that you have already done the work you have started to re-do. Sometimes you will find them too late; you have finished the project and sent it off and then discover that you had more/better/more complete information that did not end up in the submitted project.

Now, when I am working on a project, I go through relevant and related folders and look at what is in them so that I’m not repeating work that I have already done or missing work that I should have repeated.

It’s a habit I hope to cultivate and would like to encourage in others.

Last week I sent off a project that I think is fairly well done and I hope that it will be accepted or at least receive an R&R in a few months time. And this morning, working on my next project, I discovered information that I intended to put in that particular project. So now I have a new file, in the folder where the final copy sent out as a submission rests, that reads “Use on XX if R&Red.”


Poetry Section

by Dr Davis on July 29, 2014

Beyond Gilgamesh
Fen Con 10 Notes

talked about happy words, like snickerdoodle
concentrated hoards
–said poetry and information want to be free (? economic belief?)

They read poetry and played corpse (poem with one line per person). There was no discussion of genre.

power to choose to remain silent
power to not sing in pubs
Is that person Welsh?

glamour of the ordinary

piexies play
riches are but fairy gold
ethereal tunes to tease your ear

poetry = tombstone of words

angels must be solemn to stay friends with God


Doctorow on Computers

by Dr Davis on July 28, 2014

Cory Doctorow –Harmful
FenCon10 notes

Every problem in modern life involves computers.

Running and experiment on mandates for regulating computers.
1980s software duplicated, so tried to make a bad sector on the floppy disk.

DRM digital rights management (copy prevention)
“wishful thinking” This is sending the keys and asking person to forget the keys.

infinitely fecund/fertile

computer and glasses1996 WICO Internet treaties
zone in international law to protect copyright
would require hosts to censor
$250K fine
spread around the world.
Canada only passed in 2012. Canada knew better. That was felony stupidity.
Eu-Canadian Free Trade, US-Australia Trade

US treaties are not overseen by Congress.
Not that having that happen would make them better.

Created unforeseen limits on reverse engineering.

The heart and soul of modern industry is inter-operability.

inter-operability is essential

1996 DVDs came out
Tower Records
$1000s on CDs and $1000s on DVDs
CDs—no drm on CDs. CDs have grown in value.
You can share, read, rip, etc.
Not one new feature had been added to DVDs, because DVDs have drm.
Companies “pick pockets” on drm—not any growth or change.

Amazing in a RenFair way that our DVDs are made like those of our forefathers.

Allows for unskippable ads.
Allows for checking for countries of origin.

DVD is hostile to users.

Most robust software that exists is open source.
“that shoulders of giants be stood upon”

–companies miss the boat on features
–features without the economic factor; disabled interoperability

w/ open source disabled, folks create interoperability

greatest consequence of drm = transparency is an anti-feature
stops user from doing something they want to do
So okay if user wants to shoot someone with gun? This argument should apply to other fields.

Turing complete computer, can run every program.
Turing Complete seems to be universal.
No basis in the universe for Turing Complete -1. (You don’t want it.)

Programs/things are interdicting you on your computer.

Computer has to obfuscate or hide the program.
2005 Sony BGM sent 51x to change anything on your computer that began with $ESE$–kill your processor.
Installed a root kit.
2005 300K military and government computers infected.
Virus writers began beginning their viruses with the invisibility cloak.

rocket ships are really built with self-destructs? Why?

typingComputer should not be designed to tell you lies.

NAS and Britain weakened security systems by required “hidden” back doors. Weakened air transportation, nuclear power systems, power grids, etc.
Secrecy about secrecy is bad.
Legal requirement against transparency and for weakened systems.

Miss USA called in by the FBI for a post on Facebook.
A Minor child in Ireland—Ratters Called slavers.

Champion for digital inclusion in UK
block of folks with free internet access for 2 years versus other block
These folks were better off, ate better, were more civically and politically engaged.

Rent-to-own 7 companies computer
FCA did not fine them. Just told them to stop or put it in fine print.

4-5 years governments began buying security issues and not patching them.
Keeping vulnerabilities secret to create weapons.

Barnaby Jack, 1 year ago, Australian implanted defibrillator
Doctors wanted to be able to re-program defibrillators
Wireless interfaces were created.
Found a way to send to and reprogram defibrillators.
6 months ago died under suspicious circumstances.
(See for instance, this article on safety issues with wireless attacks.)

Build software and root kits?
Turns petty dictators into world-wide monsters.

Free and fair society…
There is no way to fight for justice with untrustworthy computers.

Folks are cyber-optimists.

Systemic changes—poor network safety is bi-partisan


Tenure and Promotion Portfolio

by Dr Davis on July 27, 2014

You know you are a perfectionist when:
you have finished a section of your portfolio, moved on to the next, and then decide that something would be better done a different way and end up revising the entire (longest) section.

You know you are a perfectionist when:
you are seriously considering rewriting retrospectives for all your courses over the last three years because you didn’t do them all the same way.

You know you are a perfectionist when:
you have spent 21 hours on a weekend working on the portfolio–and this is not the first time.

You know you are a perfectionist when:
you seriously consider investing in more iStock photos for design considerations.

Don’t ask me how I know this…



by Dr Davis on July 27, 2014

It’s not about Teaching College English, but it is about what I learned at a conference (convention) that was fun.

Basic Care and Feeding of Hats
J. Barrett on Facebook and

constructed felt hats on wooden block or metal block

Resistol is made at the same place as Stetson.

Crown constructed on crown block.
Brim constructed on brim block.

Look at YouTube. Felicia Day makes a top hat.

Piece of felt called a hood. Steamed, then put on crown and brim blocks and sewn together.

DSC_2874Cloche, hat from 20s, is one piece.

Straw hats made of braided straw. Steamed.

Wooden sweaters can be used to make hats. First “felt” them.

To clean hats:
remove trimming, bands
Hair dryer will cool off the hot glue.
Hat brushes (2—light and dark) or can use shoe brushes (but do not also use on shoes).

Brush crown first.
Natural felt has a nap. Brush counter-clockwise on the crown.
Brim brush from crown to outside, also counter-clockwise.
On the underside go clockwise.

Used cornstarch and flour to stay on hat.
Put cornstarch in bag with hat, shake and leave on for several hours.
Then brush out.

To repair fine moth holes, use emery board on the inside of the hat and glue the pieces to the moth hole.

Clean a straw hat with a stiff brush, and mild soap and water.
Straw and felt hats can be steamed and reshaped.

Clean velvet with a velvet pad or scrap velvet.
Steaming will loosen dirt.
If filthy= brush, steam, cornstarch, brush

curled feathers—put in a different box to keep in good shape
revive trimmings with steam
steam ?half way full tea kettle boil and turn down to medium, takes about 20 minutes

feathers can be washed, laid on paper towel
use curling iron to curl

Hancock and bridal stores have veiling.
Judith M online.

Stetson designed hats to be re-used.
Hats were used to get water out of the creak.

Cowboy hat
bring the sweatband out and dry it.

Do NOT hang your hat on a rack
Get a wig stand. $3.00 at Sally Beauty Supply.
Use cedar blocks IN CHEESECLOTH to prevent moths and larvae.

Bowler hat: brim down, NOT crown, on something that holds it up off the table/ dresser or lay it on its side at dinner.

Cowboy and fedora, store it laying on crown, the brims are shaped, so upside down.
Take hat off using the brim, not the crown.

Felt stiffener can be found in Western wear stores (for rain or really bad shape)

DSC_2878Leather hats: care for like leather couch
leather lotion and soft, damp cloth

Pinch front crown and then push top down to look like Dr. Who’s Stetson.

Hat boxes:
Can buy half moon suitcases.
Samsonite used to make hard-sided hatbox.

Can use big cake boxes with handles.

Cedar will stain a hat so wrap the cedar with muslin or cheesecloth.

Stuff crown with tissue paper OR roll poster board into shape for the hat.

hat block is $90+
hat spinner = paper towel holder with cork part to top)

Use a hat block to create hats. Always cover with plastic or foil.

Reshape the hat:
steam really well
Wear it for an hour.

Too big a hat:
fix with weather stripping or craft felt

too small a hat:
steam and wear
Hats will shrink up if they get wet.

Buying a hat (add finger or 2).
Your head changes sizes. (Same for fingers and bowling ball)


Panel on Conventions and Publishing

by Dr Davis on July 26, 2014

FenCon10 Notes on different Cons in the area.

Different conventions:
Sooner Con in OKC was revitalized 10 years ago.
18,000 people SFF
Writers’ workshop with CJ. Cherryh, June 27-29, 2014.

Norman, OK. Steampunk…
2013 in November.
2014 in October.
There is mummy wrapping.
NaNoWriMo group.

ConDFW February 21-24, 2014
This is a literary con.
That means less costuming and more book stuff.

AllCon (big media) March in Crowne Plaza, DFW area

ACon (June) 25,000 people
most 12-20 years old
anime Con

Texas Frightmare Weekend–independent horror films

Ben Stephens is running the Star Wars Con (same weekend as FenCon).
Dallas Comic Con–hundreds of guests. Folks dress up.

Flavor of a con is kind of a convention.

Other comments:

Thomas Cogdell photoDoes stained glass for a living.
Push art shows.
This is what you do. This is how we help you do it.

Worst part of being a magician?
pigeon poop in your pockets
Once there was a drug dog on the train. I was worried he’d eat my pigeons.

What’s the one thing that would guarantee people think I’ve been there/done that?
Have to know a whole lot. Ask questions.

computer and glasses closerOn writing:
Where do you start your world building?
In the kitchens.
Most authors are encouraging, but “Go back. It’s a trap!”

Get into writer’s workshops with authors and editors.
Learn the tricks of the trade.
They can help you figure out stuff.

Never hand a manuscript to an editor.
Go through channels.
Ted Daugherty (a Tor editor) was asked about marketing. He talked about marketing for an hour.

Editors and predators:
Writer Beware. Some places will take your book, but not give you a contract.

Agent. Ask authors who to use. Check with other people on agents.

Real agents don’t charge reading fees.
Agents take 10-15% for shopping the manuscript.

SFWA Handbook has model contract and discussion.

Must read your contract. Know what you are giving away.
Nothing really exists until the contract is signed.
Stupid Contract is ALWAYS the first contract. Ask politely for changes.
Does not matter what someone (anyone) says. It HAS to be in the contract.

Average amount for first contract is $3,000 over 1.5 years.
“It’s in the accounting cycle.” = 4 months.

How do you market your book so people will buy it? How do you create a following?
Go to conventions.
Hear authors.
Go to workshops.
Hear the panels.
Be polite.
Be professional.
Don’t hand them your manuscript.

compare contrast media con versus fan-run con
media con = Star Wars Con, Dallas Comic Con, hundreds of guests (stars)
Folks dress up (costumes), but it is a business. See people you don’t normally see, but autographs cost money.



YA Books 2

by Dr Davis on July 25, 2014

Young Adult Books (part 2)
FenCon10 Notes

Part of YA job is inspirational.
Show a world you would want to be in…
Heroine… Girl who gets to say it’s “not okay to pressure me”
Didn’t let folks say their value was conditional.

When folks choose to do something, they shouldn’t be shamed.

Have someone stand up for what’s right, so the readers understand you can say no.

All write fantastic fiction.
We get to deal with big decisions of good and bad…
Love the quote from Harry Potter about choosing between the good and the easy.

Evil will triumph if folks do nothing.

Power has consequences.
I want consequences in YA.

Part of middle grade and YA fiction–Do we need to have a moral?
Character has to have a moral compass.
Moralizing versus what-if world that might exist.
Sometimes the choices are bad or worse.

Tell an entertaining story.
Someone having to make choices.
You need to be aware of conflict.
Conflict is the point.

Males as want to be… are boys really boys?
SF for years created women as men because their characterization sucked.
Let’s not do this the other way.

YA v non-YA
Did you approach the writing differently?
No. Writing process is the same.

Compare middle grade to YA.
Sex none, but hormones working in middle grade.

Don’t talk down to the readers.
Editor made me take out some things. For example, the grounds keeper wasn’t allowed to smoke on the school grounds, because the kids would see that as permission for them to smoke.
Have to be more mindful.
I wanted to inspire with science not fight about a pipe. So I took it out.

YA = one big genre, except at Barnes and Noble.

Where’s the teen erotica? In New Adult.


YA Books

by Dr Davis on July 24, 2014

Young Adult Books
FenCon10 notes

Must haves? Different from general? Do, don’t, why not?

“Do not moderate me.”

YA and why we write.

Michelle Bardsley—one YA series
Rosemary Clement-Moore—YA supernatural mysteries (latest is a psychic girl detective)
Rachel Caine—vampire series for YA, being made into webx Prince of Shadows (Feb 2014)
Amber Benson—actor, writer, Death’s Daughter series “Normal girls went to Barney’s and looked at $60 socks. That’s not normal.”
Beth Hale—YA author, YA scifi novel, Cookbook of Indian food

How much sex is too much in YA?
Nobody knows. The line continually is redrawn.

New Adult (18-22) with all the sex you want.

Depends on the publisher.

Sex in YA was realistically awkward, a big plot point, about decision and consequences—now can be a thing that happens and can be over-romanticized.
Sex a part, but not talked about much, still like society. So now having sex at a younger age and this is evident in their reading. (Really? Younger? Younger than middle school? 35 years ago inner-city middle school/junior high had 75% or more sexually active students.)
Rule (2006) What can I not do? Everything except sex. I had to send the 6th book to 10 self-identified conservative parents for review, because I wanted to have sex in the 6th book.

What drives YA censorship is library and protests.

Do I want to fight that battle?
YA author wanted to have message in book and lots of language. Was asked, do you want to be challenged because of the message or the language? So changed the language because the message was more important.

Beth Hale doesn’t put sex in books because she can’t read it outloud.

What can you not do in YA?
bestiality and boring
… Except now we have werewolves/bestiality…

What needs to be done?
Don’t write as if you are writing a book for young people.

Now have a lot more tech.
Bullying has always existed.
Themes are universal: growing and becoming an adult.

Must remember embarrassment and show that in YA.
Really too mature = me as a teenager
How much are you pulling from life? Much, lots, most
Let yourself go back and remember how you dealt with others, with your younger sibling(s).

Violence? How much gore can you get away with?
Dea Reeves, Slice of Cherry, 2 sisters, daughter of serial killer, the sisters torture someone in the basement, got less flack from violence…

Kids are drawn to violence. Kid deals with violence as an object they haven’t dealt with.

Europe—hungry for places to publish. They don’t like violence, but sex is okay.
Europeans want to know why Americans are so repressed about sex.
European authors, violence is difficult/not done
“all the gun violence”
Violence accepted in US; sex is not.
“Why does Texas kill people?”

How much to put in books?
Characters are American.
Before you decide on violence and sex, what story are you wanting to tell?
“You know how picky I am about my shoes—and those are just going on my feet.” Cher in Clueless about sex.

Children want the truth.
I read all the time. The books gave me a way to figure out how to act.

Discrimination against sex is from adults.
Jr high girls know to give blow jobs to avoid sexual pressure.
What? Giving blow jobs is how to AVOID sexual pressure? What kind of people are these? Don’t they see that the blow jobs are sexual pressure?

More to come.


Poetry Section

by Dr Davis on July 23, 2014

Fen Con 10 Notes
Beyond Gilgamesh section

talked about happy words, like snickerdoodle
concentrated hoards
–said poetry and information want to be free (? economic belief?)

They read poetry and played corpse (poem with one line per person).

Good lines today:
power to choose to remain silent
power to not sing in pubs
Is that person Welsh?

glamour of the ordinary

pixies play
riches are but fairy gold
ethereal tunes to tease your ear

poetry = tombstone of words

angels must be solemn to stay friends with God


Intersection of Genres

by Dr Davis on July 22, 2014

Intersections of Genres: Genre-lizing
FenCon10 notes

bisect codes (paranormal werewolf)

gothic romance
science fiction
noir mystery
dark fantasy
urban fantasy
detective mystery
science fantasy
historical romance

iconic covers?
mainstream and genre
Star Wars poster re-dos
George R. Martin cover
single object in a landscape

Goblin Fruit is an online fantastical magazine with mythological elements.
–muse immigrating to Australia
daughter of the muse of poetry attempting to produce art