Book Meme tagged!

I’ve just been tagged (if you could call being a few days late ‘just’), and I’m as excited as a bunny in a carrot farm. Dear pal Ell has sent me a comment that I only got to while I was housekeeping my spam comments (all good comments get slushed up in the spam queue, while the bad ones keep showing up in my normal queue here in rambleville).
Not too late! It is a book meme tag, and here were my instructions:

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fourth sentence.
  4. Post the next three sentences along with these instructions.
  5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.
  6. State the book title and author

So, here it is:

In many areas only weak values are available and you have to work with these. It is no use hoping for strong values or even sound values if these are hard to come by. A weak value on its own is weak.

The book is Edward de Bono’s The Six Value Medals. It’s on the bed here right next to me.
Not having read the book yet (my wife was reading it and left it here), reading those 3 sentences really doesn’t make any sense.
I’m fascinated with the work that de Bono has done with what I call meta-thinking – his thinking about thinking. He pretty much made thinking into as close a science as you can get, with tools such as Lateral Thinking and the 6 Thinking Hats (the training which I went to for the 6 Thinking Hats was pretty damn cool, and is extremely useful for categorically organizing your thinking).
Lateral Thinking is a method that is used to stimulate the brain to be creative consistently. Think about that for a minute – consistently generating creative ideas!
The Value Medals I know nothing about, but given the usefulness of 6 Thinking Hats and Lateral Thinking, learning up the Medals shouldn’t be any less interesting.
I’ll probably write something about thinking tools someday.
Ell, thanks for the tag! 😀

GRRM Answers! (but don’t expect to be satisfied)

George RR Martin has a penchant for making his fans want to rip their hair off. His procrastination and tendency to be distracted with other things is not new, definitely human, and something we all can subscribe to.
In this interview by EW, he gets a chance to reply some of the more pressing questions from his fanbase, and covers a fair bit of ground.
I’ve written about this before on two separate occasions, but one year on, nothing seems to have changed as far as I can tell.
So read on for his excuses, and don’t expect to be happy about them either. Between his miniatures, American football, comics, conventions, editing Wild Cards, collaborations with other authors on other books, RRRetrospective/Dreamsongs, and his role-playing publishing shenanigans, fans should start to count their blessings that A Dance of Dragons is still in his radar at all.
The more popular an author becomes, the avenues of expansion stretches further into the skyline, the more temptations made available, and ever more distractions present themselves. I hope, as I always do, that the quality of the books do not suffer.
As an aside, it has been a while since I posted, but it’s not because I didn’t have anything to write about. The general feeling right now is there is simply not enough time in a day to do all the things I definitely want to, and these past couple of weeks haven’t helped much.
Here’s hoping I’m back with some semblance of consistency.

Don’t reprint my paragraph!

Recently Le Guin made a huge fuss over the reproduction of a piece she originally wrote in Ansible on Boingboing. The bust-up with Cory Doctorow wasn’t pretty, and I was about to write a piece about how she didn’t ‘get it.’ How she doesn’t understand that in this day and age, publicity such as what Boingboing can give gets more than a few eyeballs your way, and generally translating that to attention and fans (and sales).
No, I don’t care if she wrote the singular piece of fiction that got me hooked on reading in the first place. No, I don’t care if she’s one of my favourite authors. It was only a paragraph, for goodnesssakes!
As I sat down to write, I re-read the whole saga carefully. Then things weren’t so straightforward anymore. If you are at all interested in the story, I fully advise you to read the whole story (by following the links) and evaluate the situation yourself.
A very brief summary is as follows: It started with Doctorow posting on Boingboing about Le Guin’s piece on Ansible. Le Guin’s piece was a response to a statement by a Slate reviewer about how Michael Chabon “spent considerable energy trying to drag the decaying corpse of genre fiction out of the shallow grave where writers of serious literature abandoned it.” The piece was funny and tongue-in-cheek. Doctorow thought it was cleverly done, came up a great blog title and posted it.
Le Guin found out, and wasn’t happy. She had proxies contact Doctorow to take it down, which he did, eventually, but not before attempting to laboriously explain his intentions, why it was in Fair Use, and in his opinion wasn’t wrong, etc, etc. Le Guin explained on her site why she was unimpressed. Doctorow followed-up with an apology almost immediately after.
What made it interesting is Jerry Pournelle’s unimpressed stance on Doctorow’s explanations. I followed the links to understand further, and found this.
Refreshing to hear from both sides of the story on a single issue. I have tremendous respect for Doctorow, but having heard Pournelle’s point of view, there does seem to be a little bit of irony in Doctorow’s case. My initial assessment definitely changed, and I have a little more sympathy now for Le Guin, regardless of whether it was a paragraph or not.
Having said that, I think all Le Guin had to do was to prod Doctorow, and he’d have taken it down with a minimum of fuss. In his apology, he made it very clear he wasn’t out to cause problems, merely to point people to her work.
So I share the concluding sentiment she expressed in her followup on 14 October 2007. As the dust settles, it simply goes on to prove that copyright is definitely not an easy problem to solve, and is getting harder than ever. Whatever it is that solves it (or as close as it gets) and makes everyone happy, it sure as hell won’t be DRM, I’m sure of that much.
As an aside, I once had someone comment that she’ll boycott Le Guin’s work after reading Le Guin’s Ansible piece because she feels Le Guin is jealous of Cormac McCarthy’s success, saying there ‘not a word out of place’ in The Road. I thought it was interesting reaction to a disagreement in opinions.
The other day John Mayer said Heroes sucked because it didn’t feature people with skin-tight costumes. I therefore boycott all his music because although his music’s good, I resent that he holds the opinion costumes were required in a show like Heroes. Clearly, anything skin-tight, costumes or not, was sufficient.