Monday, June 28, 2004

French Wine

— Matt Harris @ 6:28 pm

A rather short post by the Captain of the USS Clueless on the drop in French wine sales to the U.S.

My opinion…sales of French Wine are down in the U.S. due to the competition from the massive amounts of Whine which is the French are simply giving away.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Tonight’s Succubus Club Chat

— Matt Harris @ 8:17 pm

I have posted the transcript for tonight’s Succubus Club IRC Chat.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Runaway Trains At 3 A.M. & Lines Of Communication

— Matt Harris @ 7:28 pm

Fic Title: Runaway Trains At 3 A.M.
Author: C. L. Kamnikar
Links: Runaway Trains At 3 A.M. on Chaos Horizons, Runaway Trains At 3 A.M. on Fanfiction.net
Content: PG
Status: Complete
Rating: E-Excellent

Fic Title: Lines of Communication
Author: C. L. Kamnikar
Links: Lines of Communication on Chaos Horizons, Lines of Communication on Fanfiction.net
Content: PG
Status: Complete
Rating: E-Excellent

I haven’t found any really good Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Smallville crossovers (I have found quite a few bad ones) except for Runaway Trains At 3 A.M. and its sequel, Lines of Communication. These two fics are wonderful. I don’t want to give away the plot, but the first story starts with Dawn Summers and Clark Kent meeting ny chance in a bus station in Denver.

Both stories are very well written. The interaction between Dawn and Clark seems incredibly natural and their with the other characters in the stories is also totally in character. We don’t see much of the supernatural/out-of the ordinary in the stories, but what there is just seems totally logical – C.L. Kamnikar blends both the Buffeyverse and Smallville universe together really well.

Two excellent fics – I just wish C. L. Kamnikar would write a third in the series.

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Contrite Spirits

— Matt Harris @ 7:02 pm

Fic Title: Contrite Spirits
Author: Lizbeth Marcs
Links: Contrite Spirits On Fanfiction.Net
Content: PG
Status: Completed
Rating: G-Good

Contrite Spirits is set post-season 7 BTVS. Faith and Xander have a religious discussion at a cathedral in Canada. While not incredibly long, at a little over 10,000 words, Contrite Spirits has some heft to it. I found the story quite enjoyable. It is well written, grammatically speaking. The characterizations of Faith and Xander seem spot-on. I definitely like the backstory on Faith…it seems to fit smoothly into what we already know about her.

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Jury Duty

— Matt Harris @ 6:21 pm

I was on jury duty yesterday, in the LA Criminal Court System. It was the first time I had been called since 2001, and there were a few differences. The courthouse where I served has moved to the “1 day/1 jury” system, so if you don’t get put on a jury the first day, your service is over. That was a vast improvement over the last time I was there. In 2001, you kept coming back for 10 days if you didn’t get on a jury or if the jury was dismissed prior to deliberating.

I didn’t serve on a jury, but I noticed a couple of interesting things about the process:

I definitely have mixed feelings about the system. While I feel it is definitely less of a time burden than before, I definitely think it should pay a fair amount more than it does, at least minimum wage.

I know that due to challenges for cause and preemptory challenges it is impossible to estimate precisely what the need for jurors will be, but they can do better than they did yesterday. The system is very inefficient and more effort needs to be put in to accurately gauging the real need for jurors and calling up the correct amount.

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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Baen Free Library

— Matt Harris @ 1:02 pm

One of the things I have been meaning to post is a link to Baen Books’ Free Library. Baen books has made available, for free download or reading online, over 50 of the books that they publish. The books are downloadable from the author’s page in the following formats:

None of the books are copy protected. Like the free CDs Baen includes with some of their books, they are freely distributable (although you may not charge money for them).

I got hooked on David Drake & Eric Flint’s Belisarius series from the free copies of the first three books and have purchased the last two from Baen Webscriptions. The Belisarius books are downloadable from Eric Flint’s Baen Webpage or David Drake’s Baen Webpage. Direct links are here if you wish to read them online:

  1. An Oblique Approach
  2. In The Heart Of Darkness
  3. Destiny’s Shield

Another series by Eric Flint worth reading is the 1632 series. The first two books are available on Eric’s Baen Webpage. Direct links are here if you wish to read them online:

  1. 1632
  2. 1633

The last author I want to plug with books in Baen’s Free Library is David Weber. All of his books are good, but his Honor Harrington books, starting with On Basilisk Station are especially so.

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Saturday, June 19, 2004

Essay on the Wizarding World

— Matt Harris @ 7:12 pm

Pharnabazus has an excellent essay on political and historical makeup of the Harry Potterverse called Expecto Patronus: or How the Wizarding World Really Works. The various comments are also quite interesting.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Latest Succubus Club Chat Transcript

— Matt Harris @ 8:10 pm

I have posted tonight’s chat transcript.

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I Felt A Great Disturbance In The Internet …

— Matt Harris @ 7:54 pm

… as if thousands of bloggers cried out and then were silenced.

Turns out that bloggers who had their websites hosted on weblogs.com for free (about 3000 total) had them shut down today without any notice.

I know very little about Dave “Darth” Winer, apart from his associaton with Radio Userland. I have been to his website on occasion. I do understand that he was providing the service for free and feel that he is completely within his rights legally and morally to stop doing so. I just think his decison to pull the plug without any notice was wrong. I thought of this analogy:

You are looking for a place to store some of your belongings. A fairly well-know person in the neighborhood says that you can store them for free at his place and get them at any time. He does this for quite a few other people. Then one day, you go over to his place to pick up some of your possessions and find out the door is barricaded shut. There is a sign saying that the host has decided not to offer storage anymore. The sign says that you can get your stuff if you leave a note saying you still want your stuff, but you will have to come back in two weeks for them.

While no analogy is perfect, I think this one is pretty close. While the owner is certainly within his rights to ask you to remove your belongings, locking you out from them without any notice is wrong.

Hat Tips:
Jeneane Sessum at Allied

Michelle at A Small Victory

Meryl Yourish at Yourish.com

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Update Plans/Frequency

— Matt Harris @ 7:13 pm

Aristide posted a question in the guestbook about when I will update the website.

Here are my plans, subject to the vagaries of real life:

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