1. Member Since 3rd Jun, 2012
  2. offline for 1w, 3d

I've been writing online for thirty years.  One of these days I might actually get good at it.

More Blog Posts187

  • 19w, 15h
    A night at the beer garden

    I mean, I'm not allowed beer anymore, at least not until I get off some of these damnable medications,  but our little table had massive fun discussing Jenga, photography, classic and modern weaponry, beer (of course) -- and ponies.  Apparently they'd read my stuff.   Who knew?

    23 comments · 86 views
  • 30w, 3d
    Newer avatar

    Regular visitors will remember that I'd asked the estimable LeekFish to knock out a sketch for my, um, OC.  I posted it here, and it was well received; our own Twifight Sparkill came up with an idea, and heck, there's no reason you shouldn't see it here, especially since she's revised it to give me a more, um, scholarly look.   (The LeekFish original is still in the sidebar at DustySage.org.)

    2 comments · 51 views
  • 33w, 2d
    Back in the Real World

    I think I would rather spend two weeks in the Everfree, trying to avoid everything that can kill me, and in the Everfree I assume everything can kill me, than one more minute in a hospital room.  

    That said, their definition of "on the mend" doesn't quite coincide with mine.

    7 comments · 99 views
  • 36w, 5d
    Nearly flat on my back

    Two weeks in hospital; maybe half a week more.  It's an uncertain future I face, but doesn't everyone?

    8 comments · 53 views
  • 40w, 4d
    In contemplation of deeper things

    Of late, the depth seems to be about six feet (1.83 meters).  I am currently battling some health issues which, if I'm fortunate, may leave me in a wheelchair.  (If I'm not so fortunate -- well, let's not go there just yet.)  

    Surprised?  Heck, no.  The warranty's been up on this body for a long, long time.  In the meantime, there are specialists to see and expenses to (barely) meet.  

    15 comments · 160 views
  • 50w, 3d
    Apparent attrition

    As of a couple months ago, I had 1,005 stories on the Favourites shelf.

    Today, it's down to 1,000 -- not because I removed any, but because they've disappeared.  Oh, I'm still showing five unread chapters from somewhere, but there's apparently no way to know where "somewhere" is.

    0 comments · 74 views
  • 51w, 6d
    I, wizard

    I am, of course, not really a wizard.  So I felt a certain kinship with Sunburst, who, like me, turned out to be something of an underachiever in later life, at least in comparison to what was expected of him (or of me).  And like me, he eventually figured out that keeping up a front was more trouble than it was worth.

    Not at all like me, though, he did become reacquainted with a brilliant, beautiful female friend.  (I knew girls meeting that description, yes; but they never gave me so much as a passing glance.)  

    0 comments · 38 views
  • 64w, 2d
    So much for that year

    I didn't get as much accomplished as I hoped to during these past twelve months, but I've had rather a lot of years like that in a lifetime that's gone on far longer than I expected it to.  (I have a habit of predicting my imminent demise; so far, I've been wrong every time.)  

    Still, I get to start another one, and there's not a thing in the world wrong with that.

    0 comments · 45 views
  • 68w, 6d
    Not an alternate future I'd like

    Two days ago, the result of an ice storm of Windigovian proportion, a third of a mature mulberry tree crashed into my driveway.  (Another five meters and I'd have lost the garage.)  Then the power went out, and stayed out.  I suppose it's a good thing I live near several hotels.  And I'm holed up in one until the lights -- and the heat -- come back on.   Could be a long time.

    3 comments · 54 views
  • 69w, 3d
    Creakiness intensifies

    This is what happens when you're darn near as old as Desert Brush.

    For those of you in what Borat called the U. S. and A., have a glorious Thanksgiving, and remember: calories don't count before 6 pm (5 Central).   Meanwhile, I will contemplate what awaits me as I start my 63rd trip around the sun.  

    3 comments · 55 views
  • 72w, 18h
    After long silence

    Well, really, I haven't had much to say of late: things in what I laughingly call Real Life have gotten the better of me of late, and I'm still not entirely sure I've regained control yet.

    That said, I'm not ready to go on the cart just now.  Whatever that may mean.

    0 comments · 47 views
  • 87w, 6d
    I've seen better trolls

    This anguished bit of agitprop showed up in, of all places, Yahoo! Answers:

    It's a tad hard for me to fathom that such an innocent magical show actually took a political position that insults the notion of equality or collective responsibility. I am referring to a set of episodes in the Season 5 called "The Cutie map" where the Mane 6 visit a village that is essentially Ayn Rand's "Anthem" turned into ponies. Everyone is equal, everything looks the same, they sing triumphant choirs of how they are but mere cells to the community, food tastes bland, and those who don't follow the status quo are forced to by fear tactics.

    As a leftist myself, I'm of course offended by these totalitarian stereotypes of democratic socialism. But beyond that I'm just surprised that instead of some dumb *** Fox News documentary, this is MLP propagating this BS.

    (Source here.)

    Of course, the hilarious aspect of this is that "democratic socialism" works only to the extent that it is totalitarian: the moment someone steps off the page, the entire illusion starts to unravel.   It was always thus, and thus shall it always be.  

    Q. "What's the difference between Utopia and Tartarus?"

    A: "Tartarus readily admits to what it really is."

    4 comments · 93 views
  • 93w, 17h
    And the scenery tilts

    For five years, I've had to make like Sisyphus pushing that damned un-Tom-like boulder up the steepest slope I could imagine, in an effort to get out from under the heaviest -- well, the most expensive, anyway -- burden I've ever been stupid enough to inflict upon myself.

    And it's all over except for the last bang of the gavel.   Life still costs too much; but at least I can afford it again.

    8 comments · 94 views
  • 98w, 17h
    They're trying to wash us away

    Okay, things are not as critical in my neck of the woods as they were in Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927" ("Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline"), but they're close: we have had more rain this week than in the entire year up to this week.  It isn't enough to relieve a long-standing drought, but some of the area reservoirs have recovered from Alarmingly Low to merely Low.   I need hardly point out that flood-control measures are occupying most of my sparse free time; in fact, nearly a quarter of an inch of rain fell in the time it took me to get halfway to the grocery store and then turn back for lack of forward visibility.   I commented elsewhere that this was the sort of thing that happens when you put Rarity on the Weather Patrol, and got this response:   "Rarity wouldn't screw it up this bad, and the clouds would be more artistically arranged. I suspect Sombra."

    At least it's not cold enough for any of this stuff to, um, crystallize.

    0 comments · 76 views
  • 101w, 1d
    The careful analyst

    One interesting occurrence this week: a reader came through, slogged through all four of the TwiBrush Tales, upthumbed the lot, and left a comment on the first of them to the effect that the purely arbitrary calendar which I had conjured up didn't make a great deal of sense to him.

    Which is only fair, since it didn't make a great deal of sense to me, and I'm the one (so far) failing to justify it.  There are, I suspect, rather a lot of things in these tales, and perhaps in some other ones, that perhaps don't ring entirely true.  I would blame this on my tendency to operate as a self-contained unit: I have genuine, recognizable copy-editor skills, but tweaking somepony else's words inhabits a wholly different world from trying to tame one's own.   (No rational editor would have permitted that last sentence.)

    0 comments · 99 views
  • 104w, 14h
    Meanwhile at a desk not so far away

    "So what's been keeping you away?" Twilight Sparkle demanded.

    "This," I said, holding up a halfway-completed Form 1040.

    A burst of magic snatched the paper from my hand, turned it over, returned it to me upside down.  "It takes seventy-nine lines for a simple income-tax return?"

    "You haven't seen Schedule A yet," I retorted.  "And I can't finish this form until I do that one."

    "And I thought Equestrian taxes were absurd," said Twilight.

    "Which they are," piped up Applejack from the corner.  "Canterlot takes darn near fifteen percent of all the bits we make."

    "I would dearly love to get away with paying just fifteen percent," I said.

    "What's the rate here?" Twilight asked.

    "It varies with how much you make.  Starts at ten, finishes at thirty-nine point six."

    Rarity shook her head.  "I suppose the care and feeding of nobles is expensive in any universe."

    "So is clothing 'em," snapped Applejack, drawing a scowl from Rarity.

    I sighed the sigh of a man suspecting he's about to write a large check.  "Anyway, I do thank you all for dropping by, but I really have to get to work on this thing.  Next weekend, maybe?"

    "Works for me," said Twilight, and three ponies shimmered away into the night.

    The fourth one, however, was still here.  "Pinkie?"

    "Well," the pink pony said, "I thought that if this was a really terrible problem for you I could help you finish this thing and you won't be so grumpy anymore."  She pointed a hoof at line 61.  "Did you have health insurance all year?"

    It figures, I thought.  Only Pinkie Pie can understand the Internal Revenue Service.

    0 comments · 166 views
  • 105w, 5d
    Slow and steady

    Just wanted to thank whatever kind soul wandered over here last night and gave me my 7000th story view.  

    0 comments · 94 views
  • 106w, 1d
    Not even dead yet

    Two words: "cancer screening."

    Test results: negative.

    For the moment, anyway.  I still feel like crud warmed over, and not especially warm at that, but hey, I'll take it.

    6 comments · 102 views
  • 108w, 6d
    The expected ending

    Since I started The Life That Late He Led, I've always had one thing in mind: he lives that life, and then it ends, and Twilight resumes her life as best she can.  The trick was finding a good reason for that life to end, other than, well, that's what life does, most of the time.

    And so it shall, though obviously not right away.  There will be no fifth story to the trilogy.   (Having a fourth was questionable; I have neither the style nor the imagination of the late Douglas Adams, and besides "tetralogy" sounds funny.)  

    0 comments · 134 views
  • 111w, 6d
    So it shouldn't be a total loss

    If I seem to be resting on my laurels, it's mostly due to surprise that I have laurels in the first place.

    That said, The way she used to be and Somepony New have both reached 50 likes recently, and The way she used to be now has over 800 views, which I find gratifying.

    3 comments · 101 views

Counting words · 4:27pm

I am becoming persuaded that every editor in existence counts them differently.  Google is full of people who have found discrepancies between how many words they think they wrote and how many words Microsoft Word thinks they wrote.

I didn't pay any attention to this phenomenon, of course, until I landed here.  I wrote The Sparkle Chronicles in the WordPress editor, since it's the one I use most often these days.  The three chapters published here so far are listed at 3278 + 2830 + 3886 = 9994 words.  WordPress says 3186 + 2727 + 3720 = 9633.

None of this presents any particular problem -- I mean, it's not like I get paid by the word for anything I write, and I'm not going to sit here all day and count words myself -- but it is the sort of thing I agonize over for No Good Reason At All.

Report Dusty Sage · 316 views ·
#1 · 242w, 1d ago · · ·

Well, that's an interesting glitch. Does it count non-word characters like punctuation?

#2 · 242w, 1d ago · · ·

I'm really not sure where the discrepancies fall.  I know WordPress doesn't count anything inside an anchor link, but since there aren't any in the story, that can't account for it.

Perhaps it's in how compound words are figured.  ("Two-hooved drinkers" might be two words in one editor, three in another.)  I don't really consider this a "glitch," which implies that something is doing something other than what it's intended to do.  And really, I wouldn't blame the FF crew for using a broad definition of "words," inasmuch as you have to have at least a thousand of them in your opening chapter.

#3 · 241w, 6d ago · · ·

And just to indulge my OCD: I put back in 51 (per WordPress) or 52 (per FIMFiction) words I'd struck from Chapter 3.  (They're at the bottom.)  Counting by hand (or hoof, I suppose), I get 52, so maybe it's that WP is undercounting by a shade.

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