Posing For the Cover of Her First Punk Rock Album


Athena’s reaction to this picture when she saw it, incidentally: “Good one. You should post it.” It’s terrifying how well she knows me.

I think I’ll make a t-shirt out of that picture. Then Athena can wear it to school and give her teachers a heart attack. That would be cool.

For those of you worried that my adorable child has irretrievably gone over to the dark side, here’s a picture of her posing winsomely with my author copy of TAD, in a Photoshopped field of mutton:

Of course, ask her which of the two pictures is her favorite. Yeah, her teenage years are going to be interesting.


The (Hopefully) Endless Cycle

A package arrived today that fairly sums up my creative life: Two finished copies of The Android’s Dream and the copy edit of The Last Colony. Android is done and presumably soon to be winging its way to all y’all in the stores; The Last Colony I need to look over and make sure I agree with all the copy edits and return to Tor in just a little over a week. Not pictured: The book after Last Colony, which is in process. Sometime around May of 2007 this picture will likely be repeated, with The Last Colony in the position of the completed book, the the book after that coming back for a copy edit. And thus for as long as I can manage — and not including the other books and writing projects and what not and so on and etc.

There are worse lives to have.

I’m out of here for the rest of the day — I have some work piled up I need to get to, and now I’m dropping a big ol’ copy edit on top of that. I declare an open thread: you kids have fun. See you tomorrow.


What I’m Up Against

I made a mention a few days ago about the amount of comment spam I get, and I thought you might enjoy some numbers: In the last week, the Whatever received 4,760 pieces of comment spam, as of about 6:20am this morning. I know this because I deleted them all from the junk folder today, because all that crap in the junk folder was slowing down the site refreshes.

For those of you not wishing to do the math, that’s 680 spam messages daily. As a comparison, in the last 24 hours I’ve logged 116 legit comments (i.e., made by real humans), which is pretty much an average day around here. So the spam outpaces the humans by about 6:1.

The vast majority of the spam gets trapped in my moderating and junk queues thanks to my filters, which are updated via a shared blacklist, although from time to time a new purveyor gets through. I woke up this morning and found over 100 spam messages on the site; each had the same keyword. Dropped the keyword into the local junk filter with an instruction to catch all its variants; since I did that 20 more spam comments went right into the junk filter.

I could probably reduce spam comments by entirely closing off comment threads older than a couple of weeks, but some threads are still active by way of real people (the “Writing Tips for Teens” thread is an example of this), and I’m loathe to just seal them off unilaterally. Active spam management is a reasonable compromise at the moment, although if it gets much worse I may have to revisit this idea. I do seal off individual comment threads if I see that the only traffic they get is spam. It’s a continual battle between the forces of good and evil, it is.

The fact I get 4700 spam messages a week is the primary reason why I suspect, should direct brain computer interfaces ever become available, I won’t be getting one. Does anyone doubt that within weeks, the spammers would have found a way in, and your entire visual field would be riddled with spam advertisements for Tramadol, in Cyrillic lettering? And they would never go away. Yeah, I’ll be keeping my brain unwired, I suspect.

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