Monday, November 23, 2009

The Mandelbrot Set

The Mandelbrot set refers to a set of equations that create fractals, the patterns that occur in clouds, coastlines, mountain ranges, brocolli, spiral galaxies.

These two pictures were grabbed from Mandelbulb, a site devoted to three dimensional fractal imagery. These are not images taken from nature, but rather mathematical constructs that closely mimic natural forms. Cool, huh? There are a bunch more at the site I linked to above.

One of the cool things about fractal images is that look pretty much the same no matter what magnification you are looking at. Double the size, triple the size, centuple the size, it all looks similar. Here's a "fly-by" on a three dimensional fractal. I believe the word you are looking for is trippy.

Thanks to the always interesting Bad Astronomy for pointing out the site.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Beginnings and Endings

A good day yesterday.

Got a story accepted by the U of Montana's lit magazine "Camas: The Nature of the West." I haven't had alotta luck getting published in academic circles. Perhaps because I use words like "alotta." So, a nice acceptance to get. It's print, not web, so I can't throw you a link. I think it comes out in January.

Also finished the novel, and rather well. Wrote about 1500 words in the last two days. Some of them words I've had in my head for nearly a year. I'm happy with the last few chapters. Now, of course, I have to go back and rewrite, and likely a third draft after that. Plus, pull down the LMP database, find some agents who might fit the material, compose a query letter and a one paragraph synopsis (which I hate doing). So that's another six months of work staring me in the face.

Still, I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a great deal of satisfaction about it. A year of hard, focused, nearly daily work.

The gravy on my plate: the old house closes next week. All significant deadlines have passed, so nothing other than acts of God can get in the way of it now. After six months of paying two mortgages, several thousand dollars will be dropping into our bank account like freshly fallen snow.

Thanksgiving indeed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


One of the big perks of the new house was that the girls would each have their own bedrooms for the first time. So, when we moved in, they got their own rooms, right across the hall from each other. Large immediately took to hers, arranged the furniture herself, and rearranges it every week or so (she has a strong intuitive understanding of feng shui). Small did not fare quite so well, and hates being by herself in her own room at night. She's used to always having her big sister around. She complains of stomach aches, monsters, ghosts.

Well. They've decided - on their own - to share a bedroom again. Which is odd, as they tend to fight like wolverines during the day. But so be it: both beds are now in one bedroom, and the other has been designated as the play room. It's only been a couple days. But while they still fight during the day, over toys, over territory, over the very air that they breathe, they seem extremely comforted by the idea that at the end of the day, when the lights go out, they won't be alone.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Dog Welcoming His Owner Back From Afghanistan

Taken from Cute Funny Sexy Awful. Though this is simply sweet.

Posting it because I'm on a business trip and in a motel room and homesick, and watching it makes me feel better.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009



Well, we’re gonna try it another way. A whole new way. I’m gonna sit in my chair, and turn my radio up, and have a beer, and maybe a smoke, and lean back and watch the sky go by. Stars and planets and satellites and galaxies. And all the thoughts I think when I sit there I’m gonna send out into the air, and bounce em offa the stars, and a whole bunch of other people are gonna be doing the same thing, bouncing their thoughts offa the stars, and all of our thoughts are gonna kinda mix around together out there. Thoughts and feelings and poems and pictures and equations. Stories and memories, truth and lies, all mixed together. Colors and textures and smells and sounds. And they’re gonna get all jumbled and tumbled and spider-webby, all crazy, and then they’re gonna come back all different, like nothing no one has ever seen before, showering us with a whole new language, new words falling down like cool rain to whoever is willing to listen to them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Last Dollar

Pedro takes the mound against the Evil Empire tonight. Might be the last time he takes the mound, ever. Worth a watch. He's made a career of taunting Yankee fans, so they'll be giving him the serious business tonight. Should be fun. Maybe he'll even push things to a game seven.

Got a flash fiction - Last Dollar - up at Fiction at Work. An early version of it appeared in this very blog, inspired by Mona's sadly departed word of the week.

What else? Broke 78K on the novel last night. Small lost a tooth yesterday, and I even remembered to play tooth fairy (I'm batting about .600 in that regard). The house sale slouches toward completion. They did their inspection, we approved their revisions. Closing is the day before Thanksgiving. Fitting.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sundial Project Update

Met with two representatives from the city, and one from the Parks Dept., last Thursday on the sundial project. They were all very nice, very supportive. Most of the hoops I need to jump through now are reasonable ones: submit a letter of intent; give them a diagram to make sure I'm not digging up electrical lines, sprinkler pipes, etc.; and submit a list of all materials I will need. I'm awaiting a .pdf of the park itself so I can plop the diagram below on top of it, align it, and send it back to them.

I got the layout from a wonderful site in Denmark: Just put in your own longitude and latitude, print the result on graph paper, and you got yourself a blueprint. I love the fact that it's simply two flowing lines: an ellipse and a figure eight. The final product will be about 18 feet by 9 feet. 12 markers along the upper half of the ellipse. A 2 x 6 ft. slab for the figure eight.

Anyone wanna throw me a fancy-pants name a little more colorful than "the sundial project" I'd be delighted to hear it.