Thursday, July 31, 2008

Journalism Gig! No Pay! Sign Up Now!

Writers in Los Angeles were [unnecessarily] excited about the Craigslist ad for a NEW MAJOR NEWSPAPER in Los Angeles. Wow! First clue that it was not the answer to your employment woes was that all the attempts to contact the Craigslist address bounced. Oops.

But now they have a website! Nice, professional. . . anticipating a circulation of between 200,000 and 500,000. Wow. And they need writers, web developers, editors. . . and they're not going to pay them.

"You will not be paid for this time now but, you may be considered for what will likely be the most coveted media jobs in the country. "

I'm sure that will entice the many professionals looking to support their families. After all, what do little things like food and shelter mean when weighed against the opportunity to help some starry-eyed cheapskate put out a real newspaper?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Booker Dozen and Free Pictures

For those novelists aspiring to prizes and recognition, and heavily into visualization, the "Booker Dozen" finalists were just announced. So go to the link and picture your name alphabetized between Aravind Adiga and Steve Toltz. The short list for the Man Booker prize will be announced in September.

Between the first and second sentences, if anyone's interested, a 5.8 earthquake shook Los Angeles.

Also of note, PicApp is online! Free pictures!

I haven't quite figured it out, but go here and set yourself up with an account. Then you can search for royalty-free pictures to embed in your own blog. Rather than copying the picture, you get lines of html text to copy into the blog--as I just did with the image of Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre.

Initially, certain lines of the text printed over the picture, extending the margin. Once deleted, the margin snapped back into place, so my advice is to delete with impunity--you can always recopy and paste.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Writing Quotes

I collect writing quotes. I firmly believe every lover of words should collect good quotes, but I have sub-collections dealing with writing and history.

Here's my favorite, from a History Channel interview with David MuCullough: "To write well is to think clearly."

Here's one that was posted on FreelanceWritingGigs yesterday, by Deb--who clearly loves to collect quotes too, since she posted a whole batch of them:

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write. From the great Terry Pratchett

And digging into my own collection once more, here's one from Norman Mailer:

Writing is wonderful when you talk about it. . . But writing as a daily physical activity is not agreeable. You put on weight, you strain your gut, you get gout and chilblains. You’re alone, and every day you have to face a blank piece of paper.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Craigslist Ads that make you go . . . mmmmm

Yes, they do. How to take this freelance writing ad found in the Los Angeles Craiglist today?

Looking for talented writer for only 3 hrs=$300!!!! (Santa Monica)

The successful candidate must have:
- Creative mind
- Excellent verbal and article written skills
- Would prefer BA in english, , or similar degree, but not required.
- Must be Asian, Female, age around 22-28 years old
- Payment will be cash upon work completion
If you recognize yourself through this description, please contact me ASAP.

(email address deleted.)

It all sounded so normal and promising until "Must be Asian, Female, age around 22-28. . . "

Surprised the poster didn't add "HOT!" to the qualifications.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Awards for Gall!

Two things jump out of the news at me (well, more than two, but I grabbed my handy cudgel and beat the rest back into the fiery pit from whence they came). One good, one bad.

The good--and puzzling--gallish thing is my two favorite ballers, Steve Nash of the Suns and Baron Davis of (be still my heart) THE CLIPPERS, riding tandem on a bicycle built for two. If you're wondering which one is Daisy, check out Nash's shirt. Oops--those are hibiscuses, sorry.

There's a short-short-short video of this on BallHype. Don't know who to credit this picture to; most sites say a reader of Barstool Sports submitted it--presumably with no strings, since everyone--even Yahoo!--is using it.

The second, bad gallish thing has to do with archaeology.

Apparently one Tommy Bow, who owns both a construction company and a big piece of property in Illinois, subscribes to the philosophy that "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission." After signing agreements with agencies that promised to protect a rare, thousand-year-old archaeological site on his new parcel of land, Bow went ahead and bulldozed it into oblivion.

Read about it in the local paper. Bow says the site's not destroyed and claims that everyone's exaggerating his teensy little mistake, but somehow, I just don't believe him.

The site, btw, included a hundred homes of a nomadic group that may have been the builders, or the immediate ancestors of the builders, of Cahokia. The site on Bow's property had been partially excavated; now it's gone.

Here's a photo of Cahokia from I'd like to know who built that and I hope Illinois and the Federal government hits Tommy Bow with everything it can. "Philistine asshole" is about the most polite phrase that comes to mind. But I'm still in a good mood over the Davis-Nash picture, so surely someone else could do better.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Greatest Birthday Party Ever

For a 9-year-old. It takes gall to do this:

Or to hold a tarantula or a scorpion:

More gall than I had, anyway. You'll note that no middle-aged females are in these shots!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Who Owns Witch World?

Andre (ne Alice) Norton is in the news, three years after her death. Seems that her will left past royalties to her nurse and caretaker, and future royalties (of posthumously published works) to a fan who became a great friend.

It's all sad and sordid; read about it at CNN or any of the other outlets that printed the AP story. The Tennessee Court of Appeals will have to decide who's right; the caretaker feels that all was to be left to her and has a video with Norton stating as much. The fan/friend, though, disputes.

I'm just surprised that Andre Norton lived in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Nothing wrong with it; I've never been there. But like most people, I build up a picture of what kind of person an author is from their books. I knew Andre Norton was a woman, and I pictured her living in Europe, probably Paris. Either that, or New England.

She was born in Cleveland and died in Murfreesboro. Clearly, telepathy isn't one of my gifts.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Les Huitres

Like other areas, France is suffering an oyster blight. But that's like saying, oh, "like Temecula, France has vineyards."

In coastal beds along the north and west coasts, baby oysters have died. Boom. Just like that. Since the babies would have been harvested in 3-4 years, expect the death of romance and mass starvation in France in 2011.

The Los Angeles Times reports this as a side item, almost, to their front page story about similar oyster die-offs along the Pacific Coast: California, Oregon, and Washington. There, the culprit has been found: an insidious bacteria that swept in with warmer water, which can also live quite well in the growing "dead zones" (unoxygenated waters) near the northwest coast.

And our illustrious president stands ready with his veto pen to stop any bills that address climate change. Does he want oysters to go the way of the dodo bird, or is he simply a dodo bird himself?

They were rather slow.

Specialty Bookstores on 3rd

On a walking/eating tour of Third Street in Los Angeles (a real tour, btw, not just lollygagging) . . . (not that there's anything wrong with lollygagging) . . . (and the tour was given by Melting Pot Tours, if you're going to be in Los Angeles and want to stuff yourself, shop, and pick up local history at the same time) . . .I visited two side-by-side specialty bookstores that are now on the internet:
  • The Cook's Library, which has books on everything to do with cooking. Everything! And book signings, events, and always a plate of treats out for customers to sample. Of course, on the website you can't taste any treats, but if there's a cooking book you want to locate, these are the people to call.
  • Traveler's Bookcase, with every guidebook for every country, as well as sections on adventure travel, traveling with kids, etc. Again, if a tour book has eluded you, they'll hunt it down.

I don't know how they divvy up the books that combine travel AND cooking, but since the store owners and clerks are all best friends, they've come up with something.

As for the picture. . . it's the handle of a doorway across the street. One of those "only in L.A." shots.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Beware of Freeloading Employers!

Writers Weekly has a compact, neat little piece titled "Red Flags in Freelance Help Wanted Ads." Just in case you would like to be alerted to the kind of companies that DON'T pay. I would add one more pet peeve of my own: Beware of projects that will pay on publication, but can't give you a publication date. They mean well, but there's a good chance you'll never see the money.

If we all lived in a perfect world, and were all so wealthy that we didn't have to worry over the rent. . . not paying writers would still be wrong.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Tour de France

It's worth about 22 seconds on the evening news or CNN, but the Tour de France has spent the last three days in my favorite part of the country, Brittany. Brest, the Morbihan Bay, St. Malo, Nantes. Not that anyone--even ESPN--covers it.

However--here is a site that has hour-long highlight videos of each day: Justin.TV

Yay! Another site with pictures and video is And of course, there is the official Tour website, en francais.

Hommes in tight pants. . . Yes, I am a sports fan. Vive la France!

Orkney Orksplorations

Never been to the Orkneys but no adolescent who fell in love with The Once and Future King can hear "Orkney" without thinking of Morgan le Fay and that poor parboiled cat (Morgan never did find the right bone to make her invisible, did she?)

The BBC reports that a month-long archaeological exploration will commence at the Ring of Brodgar in Orkney. It's the third-largest stone circle in Britain but its age and purpose--even the exact number of original stones--is unknown.

So the archaeologists will dig up trenches from the 1970s, when the last attempt took place, and also do some geophysical surveys.

According to a Historic Scotland report (where this picture comes from), the Ring of Brodgar is included in a World Heritage Site and:

"is one of the best-preserved and largest known henges in the British Isles. It is almost a perfect circle and 36 out of c. 60 original stones survive. The stone circle is surrounded by a substantial rock-cut ditch with two opposing causeways. The monument is surrounded by other standing stones and at least 13 Neolithic and Bronze Age burial mounds."

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Nap Article

Freelancers have the luxury (usually) of sleeping and rising when we wish, and that includes taking naps. So here's a great piece from the Boston Globe about the art and joy of napping. It includes a blow-by-blow of the benefits of different nap lengths: which are most refreshing, which make up for lost nighttime sleep, etc.

For a relatively short piece, it had tons of info that I didn't know--such as the fact that caffeine takes 20 to 30 minutes to kick in. Nice, quick graphics, too.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

100 Agents?

According to Kriste Matrisch from Writers Relief Inc, ". . . on average, your query needs to be seen by at least 100+ agents before deciding to revise or abandon the project. Securing agent representation is a tough task. "

100? Seriously?

Does this make us happy or sad?

Querying 100 agents is a daunting task--but at least I don't feel so downhearted now. After all, only six have rejected me. Peanuts!

Ms. Matrisch was quoted in Writers-World, btw, in a "here's what our readers say" piece published in issue 8:07 of their emailed newsletter.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

After a week away (you noticed, right?) I'm back to trolling for jobs. Here's a sample of the opportunities:
  • Specialized blog writer who "possesses excellent writing skills" and can devote 10 hours per week "to quickly turn around time-sensitive projects while also handling long-term assignments." Wow, I can do that! But. . . "Though the internship is unpaid, it will allow candidates to work in a real-world online publishing environment while improving their writing skills and building a portfolio of work." Well, once I figure out how to pay my gas bill with a portfolio, I'll apply.
  • Interior design/home furnishings daily or weekly feature writer. "If you are looking for a venue to get your design concepts out there, always on to the hottest thing, and have unrivaled taste we’d love to hear from you. " Well, that doesn't describe me. But listen to this: "Please note that this is a start up site and compesation [sic] is currently unavailable. "
  • Up and coming funny video blogger: "The exposure you would get (3.5MM visitors) could jumpstart your career."

Now I must admit that intersperse with these gems were full-time jobs paying up to $80,000 per year for experienced copywriters, etc. That just makes it more shameless that these flim-flam bozos pose as legitimate employers!