Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

Easily create a native webapp for your operating system for ANY web page

While looking for something else, I stumbled upon Nativefier today. It promises to wrap up "any" web page as a native application for your operating system, and so far, it seems to fit the bill.
 I used it here to make applications for Blogger (what I'm writing this on now), Out of Milk (the shopping list app I use), and Remember The Milk (which has the things I'm supposed to be doing instead of this).

In terms of technology, it's simply an Electron wrapper around the site, but what's pretty cool about it is that it does allow you to have each site in it's own sandbox... but does two important things.  First, you can see that each application has its own icon (in some cases, that I've defined myself) in my taskbar.

 This is something you're not going to get if you're running, say, web versions of all your messaging apps in a different browser.

Second, unlike running a separate browser (or browser window), it's trivial to open links from one of these created Electron apps in my normal browser where I do the heavy-duty work.

It's also super easy to install Nativefier (and then super easy to install anything else) if you've already got Node/NPM installed.  Highly recommended and available on GitHub.

Trump's Legacy: Dishonoring the Troops

I'm having a hard time formulating my thoughts about the Trump Administration and the way that it is currently treating immigrants who signed up for the Armed Forces.

(Yes, it's real.  See the LexisNexis Legal Newsroom post as well as the DoD memo.)

I am having a hard time formulating my thoughts because I am so shocked and ashamed of this administration.

I am having a hard time formulating my thoughts because I remember being in AIT.

I remember my classmate at Ft. Sam Houston, an immigrant who came from Italy, and chose to serve in the armed forces though she was not yet a citizen  because she loved America so much.

She has loomed large in my memory.

When I read Starship Troopers, with its central thesis that the best measure of citizenship is the willingness to put the good of the citizenry and the country above one's own well-being, I thought of her.

Because for all Starship Trooper's flaws - and it does have flaws - that central thesis is still powerful. That central thesis is why people keep telling me "thank you for your service" even though I only served in MEDDACs and troop medical centers. Because though I was not a combat arms MOS, though I never served in a combat zone, I was willing to fight and, if needed, die. I signed up knowing that. Every recruit signs up knowing that, and knowing it's a very real possibility.

Especially now.

I spent a lot of time while I was in the military around new recruits. Some of them were the stereotypical Steve Rogers type. Far more were like me, wanting to pay off student loans or support a family.


Regardless of our reason for signing up, we were all soldiers. That is what was important. I was continually impressed by those who signed up for the most banal and mundane of reasons who were still willing and ready to do what was necessary for their country.

And none impressed me more than those who were not yet citizens but who were willing to place their lives on the line to defend a country they believed in.

And with this action, this Administration dishonors them all.

This action is disturbing because it harkens to the paranoia of the Japanese internment camps and Korematsu v. United States. This action is disturbing because it harkens to the nationalism and jingoism of the pro Nazi rallies (dressed up as pro-American ones) by the American Bund that we have largely forgotten.

But what makes this action shameful, what makes this action deplorable, is the gross disservice and dishonour that it does to those who want to defend our country, though they are not yet citizens here. 

This is a decision that does not support the troops.

This is a decision that dishonors them all.

Ignore stupid "scary" music. More creepy stuff for this season.

Were there not enough spoopy sounds for you last time? Very well; let's continue with more creepy-ass music for your amusement.

First, let's start with some game soundtracks that I've mentioned previously that are go-to tracks for me when writing creepy stuff: No More Room in Hell and Project Zomboid.  Both take different (and nicely creepy) takes on the zombie theme, and feature gorgeous soundtracks well worth a listen (and purchase).

And can we somehow forget the master of creeptastic: Trent Reznor? The Quake OST is delightfully dark (though not able to be purchased outside of the game, AFAIK) and definitely points the way to the atmospheric sounds later developed in the soundtracks for films like The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  This is nowhere as evident as his (along with Atticus Ross) cover of the Halloween theme:

And that brings us to Cristobal Tapia de Veer, who did the soundtracks for both Humans and The Girl With All The Gifts, both delightfully understated and creeptastic scores that raise gooseflesh and will serve you well for your macabre feasting.

I believe you when you say "me too"

For all the things I've done (and I'm sure that I've done something) - consciously or not - to contribute directly or indirectly to anyone feeling harassed or taken advantage of, I apologise unreservedly.

If you feel comfortable doing so, please call me out on any such behavior so that I may change it and help others change their behavior.

To all those saying "me too": I believe you.

And Woody Allen, Oliver Stone, and all the rest doubling down on victim-shaming: screw you.

It's time to write this weekend, folks! Join us!

Take just an hour to write with us this weekend! 
Several of us have started our own, self-hosted, flash fiction challenge over at a website we're calling Obsidian Flash.  It's on a forum behind a password, so that anything you write and submit is considered unpublished.  Registration is quick, free, and pretty painless.

Seriously, this thing is the perfect thing for you to do if you think writing is hard (or finding time for writing is hard), and especially if you haven't been writing for a while.  It's also great if you have problems with getting past ideas that "you suck" (every first draft sucks, face it) or self-doubt.  Here's why:

1. Challenges like this are great for stimulating creativity.
2. You're supposed to write for an hour (ish); you can make that time.
3. You don't have the time to critique yourself.
4. You'll get helpful feedback from published authors and editors like myself, Donna Munro, Anton Cancre, and more.
5. We are friendly, despite all appearances to the contrary.  :)

The next challenge is scheduled for THIS weekend.  The prompt will go up this Friday (THAT'S TODAY, FOLKS) at 8pm EST.  Donna is our flashmaster!

Go sign up now at and we'll see you writing this weekend!

Here are the rules:

1. All stories should be complete, written and posted within 24 hours of the prompt being posted, and can be anywhere from one sentence to 1,000 words in length.  Typically the prompt is posted by 8pm EST on Friday, and stories are posted by 8pm EST on Saturday.

2. You may choose to write your story in any genre.

3. Your story must be built around the restrictions—words, themes, photo prompts, word limits, etc.—provided by the Flashmaster at the beginning of the challenge.

4. Once the participants’ work is posted, the voting and comment session begins and continues until all votes are in. Time limit for voting will be determined on the spot, depending on how many people finish the challenge.  Typically this is within 24 hours of the end of the writing portion, or 8pm EST on Sunday.

5. The winner becomes Flashmaster and chooses the prompt(s) for the next contest.  Also, you get all the Internet Bragging Points you think you can get away with.

Don't wait - get going and register at right now and join us!