"your ex-lover is dead" by Stars
Set Yourself on Fire
Stars - “your ex-lover is dead”
when there’s nothing left to burn
- 3 notes
- 12:14 pm
I’ve felt sorry for Amtrak for a long time. Economic pressures and the unique problems of any rail system based inside the US (where automobile travel has too long been the be-all and end-all) have turned it into a faint shadow of the formerly great passenger and freight rail lines that helped define the 19th and early 20th-century history of the US.
But I’m finished feeling sorry for it as of now. It’s no crime to have fallen on hard times. But offering people what seems to be something wonderful and then ripping them off the minute they start trying to take advantage of it? NOT GOOD.
#AmtrakResidency was designed to allow creative professionals who are passionate about train travel and writing to work on their craft in an inspiring environment. Round-trip train travel will be provided on an Amtrak long-distance route. Each resident will be given a private sleeper car, equipped with a desk, a bed and a window to watch the American countryside roll by for inspiration. Routes will be determined based on availability.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by a panel. Up to 24 writers will be selected for the program starting March 17, 2014 through March 31, 2015. A passion for writing and an aspiration to travel with Amtrak for inspiration are the sole criteria for selection. Both emerging and established writers will be considered.
But then you read the terms and conditions, and the alarm bells go off big time. Go read them: I’ll wait. I’m not going to reproduce them here: they give me the pip.
Clause 5 is where the trouble starts. Clause 5 essentially says: “When you turn in your application, gee, anything can happen to your original writing. Who knows? We have a billion PR people working for us whose work yours might be [airquotes] confused with [/airquotes]. By signing this you agree that should this happen, you have no recourse, and we never have to credit you or pay you one thin dime. [But you’re so desperate, you won’t care, will you?] #lol #loser”
Clause 5 by itself ought to be enough to make you walk away, it’s so slimy. But then comes clause 6, in which you assign to Amtrak the irrevocable world rights to all the data in your application including your writing, forever and a day. And the day after that.
I learned the lesson long ago both from other freelance writers and at my agent’s knee, and the lesson is as important now as it ever was — in this day of the effortless digital ripoff, perhaps way more so. The lesson is this: Never give anyone world rights to any of your writing. Ever. Ever. Because who knows if that one piece of writing is the one that would have made you famous worldwide and rich beyond the dreams of avarice? I wouldn’t sell anyone world rights for a million dollars and that necklace of flawless cabochon emeralds I saw in the window at Harry Winston that one time*. But give away world rights to something for a single lousy train ticket? I don’t think so. They could plate the inside of that sleeper with platinum and lay on catering from Dallmayr and I still wouldn’t do it if it meant they got to keep world rights.
Better pay the ticket price yourself and keep the rights to your work in your own pocket than swap those rights for the chance at a single train ride, sleeper or not. (And something else to note here. There is no declaration of who owns the rights to the material you produce on this train trip. There is no way to tell what paperwork you’re going to be required to sign if you actually win. Oh, and did I mention the background checks they want to conduct on you first, to make sure you’re not some kind of crypto-crook who’s going to embarrass them? Clause 9.)
…Now, I hear they’re fixing clause 6 in some way or other (doubtless already having heard the first wave of complaints). That’s all well and good. But I haven’t heard a word about clause 5, which stinks to just as high a heaven. And they tried to get away with clause 6 as it was. That says way too much about their concept of good faith as it applies to writing, and writers.
It’s not worth it. This thing is poison. So please, I beg of you, step away from the very large diesel-powered vehicle. I too am “passionate about train travel and writing”… way more than most people might guess on the first count. But this is not the way to go about it. If they’re willing to try to take this much off you before you even win, what happens when you actually get on board?
*I leaned my forehead against the window right there on Fifth Avenue in the twilight and moaned like a broken thing. Ah God those emeralds. They didn’t have a single inclusion, not one of them. (sigh) …Never mind.
Writing on the train on one’s own nickel: the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise, 2004
- 511 notes
- 9:24 am
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- 5:21 am
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- 7:33 am
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- 3:01 am
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- 7:58 am
The whole TPP business just reminded me of Alanna from the MSPA forums, where the heroine was aware of forum comments and perceived them as benevolent spectral advisors. So there was some back-and-forth between Alanna and the readers, where people got really emotionally invested in her adventure.
It’s a good read and I don’t want to spoil too much, but it does end on a bittersweet note, so I was always sad that nobody ever sang “Happy Birthday” to her.
So with TPP’s conclusion, I’m really, really glad that the last thing Red ever heard from us was cheers and shouts of victory.
- 4 notes
- 5:57 am
Blastoise had ceased to move. Twitching under the electric assault. He recalled Zapdos, what the voices had been referring too as the “Archangel”. His team was in tatters„ but there were enough left standing.
When the Professor clasped his shoulder and lead him into that room, everything seemed so… clear. He stumbled forward. His feet had been moving on their own all this time. And as he stepped into this room, he found that he had - no, not just had, that he could - move his feet forward of his own will. That he wasn’t dashing into a wall, or tripping off a ledge, or checking his items one by one after mashing buttons on his Pokedex.
No.. he felt.. more in control. The voices that had been there since day 1 - a chaotic mass that had willed his movements, edged him towards the PC - where so many friends had been separated from him - but also steered him through great victories.
He put his Pokemon, his friends, into the machine that would register them. Helix, the Lord. Abba, the Savior and Messiah, Fonz, The King, Double-A, the Archangel, Air, the Prince, and ATV, the Dragonslayer.
The voices started to fade. They faded more and more, each step he took away from the Indigo Plateau. They fevered cries that had directed him, that had given him movement… they started to silence, one by one.
Oak helped him home, as he continued to stagger and stumble. He assumed that being the Pokemon Champion had overwhelmed him.
How wrong he was.
He left Red at the door to his home, congratulated him again. Red could actually hear him, for once. Over it all. Over the voices. The voices who, now that he was at the door to his home…were silent.
For a ong moment, he stared at the door. It felt like an eternity, just drinking in the peaceful atmosphere. For the first time since he had started this journey, Red felt something settle within him.
Peace. Peace at last. He was finally free.
- 72 notes
- 5:44 am
Sooo I installed this forever ago but lost track of it after a few moves and computer meltdowns. Now that I’ve found it again, I’m sharing it with you guys.
FaceGen is a program that lets you create a 3D model of a human face and has a pretty decent range of customization. The free version is the same as the paid one, except that you can’t import faces into other modelling software and they all have a watermark on the forehead, which is fine for me, since I’m just using it as a drawing reference.
Only real quibble is that it only features four ethnicities (African, European, East Asian, South Asian), and some of the expression sliders are downright creepy, but it’s a good start if you’re learning how to draw different racial features and face types. There’s sliders for everything,including age and gender. You can apparently also feed in a photograph of yourself and let it generate a picture of you, but I haven’t tried that yet.
Here’s six faces where I just hit the “Generate” button and gave them random skin textures:
(Christ, the watermark really gives off a “cyberpunk androids fresh off the assembly line” feel…)
- 8:57 pm
There is the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant! It takes place several years after the zombie apocalypse, and follows a set of reporters covering the presidential election. It’s one of my favorite series, personally.
Ooo. Newsflesh was on my to-read list, but I didn’t know it was post-zombie, and I’ve definitely enjoyed books from Mira Grant’s mild-mannered alternate identity… Thanks for the heads up :D
- 7:05 pm
Idle thought: Are there any post-zombie zombie stories? Like, after the whole grim survival siege situation and the fighting over food and water and collapse of society and finding out about secret inethical experimentations and governmental coverup and the military being called in and running away to a deserted island. Assuming our heroes live, what happens then?
I mean, yeah, it’d probably be the same as any other postapoc setting, but those are usually just either natural disasters or nuclear war, with a slim chance of aliens. You can’t go anywhere without tripping over a zombie story, so people will be familiar with the set-up.
I suppose the question is, “is there even anything new to say in the genre,” and that’s where I’m falling down…
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- 6:25 pm