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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/beholden
Rated: 13+ · Book · Experience · #2223922
A tentative blog to test the temperature.
Ten years ago I was writing several blogs on various subjects - F1 motor racing, Music, Classic Cars, Great Romances and, most crushingly, a personal journal that included my thoughts on America, memories of England and Africa, opinion, humour, writing and anything else that occurred. It all became too much (I was attempting to update the journal every day) and I collapsed, exhausted and thoroughly disillusioned in the end.

So this blog is indeed a Toe in the Water, a place to document my thoughts in and on WdC but with a determination not to get sucked into the blog whirlpool ever again. Here's hoping.

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May 19, 2024 at 6:49am
May 19, 2024 at 6:49am
AI and All That

The palindromic Damon Nomad has put up a Newsfeed post about publishers requiring guarantees from writers that they have not used AI in their submissions. I am amazed that they should think that this constitutes an effective defence against such cheating (which is what it is, after all), since cheats can hardly be expected to tell the truth having already demonstrated their nature in this regard.

What astounds me even more is the number of writers who dabble with this demon called AI. If there is anything that threatens the profession of writing more than AI, I have not had the imagination to conceive of it so far. And, that so many writers play so merrily with the means of their own destruction is incomprehensible to me.

I am stupid enough to have thought that writers, of all people, would have the sense to do nothing whatsoever to assist in the fortunes of AI. If there is one invention that should be uninvented now, while we still can, it is AI.

Word count: 171
May 17, 2024 at 11:09am
May 17, 2024 at 11:09am
Quotation Cogitation

I am sure we would have many more memorable quotes if we were told, "Okay, these are gonna be your last words. Make sure they're good ones."

May 15, 2024 at 5:35pm
May 15, 2024 at 5:35pm
Being Consistently Inconsistent

A while back I came across one of these web things that claim to analyse your writing and tell you who you write like. Naturally, I threw a few things at it and, like most people (judging from today’s experience with the one found by Steven), it came up with a different name every time. I can remember that Conan Doyle was one of its wild stabs. And Stephen King, if my memory serves me correctly. It seemed that it was concerning itself more with genre and subject than style, so I ignored it and went about my business.

When Steven offered an alternative link to a similar contraption today, I watched everyone having a go before trying it myself. This actually produced a surprise in that one person achieved a steady answer every time - Stephen King for Steven. Everyone else was getting a different answer every time. Steven, of course, is published, so maybe this app is displaying something beyond the circus trick we all took it for. Is it possible that what counts is consistency more than anything else?

I thought I’d give the thing a go at some of my stuff. Started with excerpts from a short story hanging around nearby. Got a different author every time, really disparate - Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood and Leo Tolstoy. I knew I was versatile but in one story?

I threw a few more excerpts from elsewhere at it. Once again, a different answer every time. So I tried complete short stories. Same again, authors ranging from Daniel Defoe to James Joyce.

Now, it’s true that I tend to alter my style to fit the type of story I’m writing. So I get wordy when I’m writing something set in Victorian times, steampunk and stuff like that, much more direct and conversational for present times, and often experimental when writing sci-fi or fantasy. But the claim that my style changes all the way through something as limited as a short story, that surely is ridiculous.

So I am forced to the conclusion that the machine is not looking at style at all, but at things like subject, genre, word lengths, language pitch, and suchlike. But what then can we say about Steven? Is he just incredibly lucky and has hit the jackpot three times in a row on the random selection machine? In which case, I suggest he buy a lottery ticket right now. Or is it identifying something really consistent about Steven’s writing?

In the end, it comes down to what some nerd of a programmer thinks the machine should look for in assessing the writing of various authors. And I am rather dubious in accepting his judgement in that case. Although I’m sure he’s a great judge of D&D games authors.

Word count: 463
May 15, 2024 at 8:56am
May 15, 2024 at 8:56am
The Way of the World

When I was young, I was annoyed that the old had all the good jobs and were paid loads for doing them. Now I am old and just as annoyed that the young have all the good jobs and are paid fortunes for doing them. If I’d known then what I know now, I’d have lied about my age. Somehow I don’t think that trick will work now.

Word count: 68
May 5, 2024 at 6:49am
May 5, 2024 at 6:49am
The Problem

What do you do when you think of something to write about in the blog, but then you suspect that you may have written about it before? You could read back through the early years but that’s a substantial task now the blog is as overweight as it’s become, and you don’t want to waste the time. Do you write it anyway and hope that no one remembers the previous iteration, if there is one? Or do you forget it and try to think of something else?

I’ll tell you what I do.

I write a post about the dilemma so that the issue is avoided entirely. And, if it matters to you, the subject I was thinking about was the existence or otherwise of aliens. Yes, little green men. And no, there are none.

Word count: 135
May 3, 2024 at 5:55am
May 3, 2024 at 5:55am
Not So Cheerful

It is a great pity that the bus conductor has disappeared into the fog of history. This was, perhaps, the last profession in which, each and every day, you could tell people where to get off.
May 2, 2024 at 6:46am
May 2, 2024 at 6:46am
A Cheerful Thought

I am very amicable. Lots of people have commented on how easy I am to amic.
May 1, 2024 at 2:43pm
May 1, 2024 at 2:43pm
Andrea Again!

And, talking of Andrea, here's another Andreaism that is just too good to leave withering in the past: There's an article this morning on women who dress too young and women who dress too old. I was trying to decide which category I fall into. I decided it was "women who dress in the dark".
May 1, 2024 at 7:19am
May 1, 2024 at 7:19am
After the Game is Over

"Game of Thrones is over, they tell me. Yet it hangs on grimly in some ways. New habits have necessarily been established and it will be a while before they let go. An instance is that I have done all my required preparations for the day within an hour of booting up. That means collecting any gift points left over from the previous night, checking the stats, writing an answer to Small Talk, quick poem for Express It In Eight, comment or post on the Newsfeed, and review something from Read & Review.

Before GoT, that could take me half the morning. But now I’m in the habit of doing the lot before I’m allowed breakfast. So, this morning, it’s all done (apart from Lilli’s QOTD and that won’t arrive until later) but now with no GoT to consume the remaining hours. What am I to do with all this time?

Sorely tempted to take the day off and do absolutely nothing. But that’s dangerous - I might like it and let it become a habit. And, when you’re old, you can’t let that happen. When we run out of things to do, there’s only one thing left. And I’m not allowed that just yet.

So it looks like I’ll be doing the rounds of the contests today, just like it used to be in the pre-GoT days. And I’m going to begin to think about what I’m going to do about the Contest Challenge. Had to let it go during GoT, so now I need to find a substitute for April.

Right now, however, it’s time for breakfast. Which means I’ll be off in YouTube for the next hour or so. Seeya later, ‘gators.

Word count: 285
May 1, 2024 at 6:18am
May 1, 2024 at 6:18am

I used to wonder about the reason for all those holes in Swiss cheese until I remembered that they have a history of using food for target practice...

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