Monuments to Nothing – My 2008 Nanowrimo novel

So here is my 2008 Nanowrimo novel, Monuments to Nothing. It is shared here under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. That means you can read it, share it with your friends, write a sequel to it, edit it, write fan fiction about my characters, or ignore it. If it is possible that you are my Christmas secret stocking person, you should not read it yet. You may not present it as your own, share it without giving me credit, share it or derivative works under a more restrictive license, or use it commercially. Unless you ask me and I say it’s okay. The story has a little bit of sex, violence, and profanity. Nothing really crazy, but I feel I should warn people. Enjoy.

Nanowrimo is over for me

Originally uploaded by thetejon

I hit 50,000 words this afternoon. I kind of like the story. It’s not my favorite, but after the last two years of utter garbage, this one is fantastic by comparison. I plan to post it here eventually, but I kind of want to take a break from it, at least until tomorrow, so you’ll have to wait if you want to read it. As you see in the picture, I didn’t get out of all my parent duties this month. The wife went above and beyond in helping me make time for writing, although she complained a bit. I am indebted to her for a while now. I couldn’t have come close to 50,000 if she hadn’t helped, and I am very grateful, even though she doesn’t believe me when I tell her. I wrote a lot today with the kid in either the Moby wrap pictured, or in her Lascal M1 Carrier after we went for a walk when she wouldn’t take a nap this afternoon. I like the M1 better for carrying her for a while because it distributes the weight better, but it’s harder to sit down wearing it, so if I hope to come home from the walk and have her stay asleep, the Moby is better. I should get back to posting regularly now that I don’t have a novel to write.

Wikimetro says, “We’re totally not a scam”

I got an email from Wikimetro last night telling me that they were not a scam. They did nothing to address my concerns, however.

Dear Complaint Hub (we dont know your real name, sorry), We just saw your comment on Complaint Hub and wanted to reply. Wikimetro is not a scam at all, but rather a marketplace that lets ad buyers and bloggers meet. If you are avail to talk, just email us a tel number and time to call, or give us a call using the contact us page on our site. Jeff B

It was nice of them to actually read my blog this time rather than scraping a header tag for a name-like word, but this was never really my concern. It was more a clue that the email was auto-generated by a script. But telling me you’re a “marketplace” is one thing, and listing blogs as available to purchase ads on when these bloggers have never heard of you is quite another. I’m going to start my own “marketplace” here on Complaint Hub. For $500, Jeff B of Wikimetro will tattoo your name on his forehead. No, he doesn’t know it yet. But when you give me the money, I’ll approach him (Through the convenient contact us page on their site) and see if I can work something out. Or maybe I’ll just pocket the money and never even tell Jeff B he was part of the transaction.

That’s a weird place for an ad, Google

Those of you who use Google Finance to track the implosion of your stock portfolio have probably noticed that they’ve moved the graph that tracks the Dow and the S&P; over to make room for a big box of ads. I’m curious why they did that. Not only does it look a little out of place, but do people really go to Google Finance looking to buy something? If they offered a cheap way to buy stock, I could understand that. But the ad it’s showing me now is “Free Grants for Finances”, whatever that means. It doesn’t seem to really fit in with their typical strategy of unobtrusive, targeted ads. I suppose it doesn’t cost them anything, and could bring in plenty of money, but it could also backfire by annoying long-time users like me by taking up a pretty large chunk of prime screen real estate. I hope they don’t make any money off the ads and decide to remove them.

I hate the Cowboys

Originally uploaded by thetejon

What a disappointing game. Fantastic seats, though. The picture from my phone kind of sucks, but I didn’t feel like bringing the cool camera and I forgot to steal the wife’s point and shoot. Have you ever been to FedEx Field to watch the Redskins? It is the worst stadium I’ve ever been to in terms of getting home. There don’t seem to be signs to get back to the Metro (Probably because it’s a mile away) and getting out of the parking lot takes hours. I met my friend at New Carrollton because he was coming from Annapolis, and I rode with him to the parking lot. On the way out, he was going to drop me off at the Metro again, but I had to leave him and walk. When I got to the Morgan Boulevard station, he still hadn’t moved from his spot, and I caught the second to last train of the night. It’s too bad, because I like the stadium, but I’m not sure they could have made it less accessible.

Is Wikimetro a scam?

Recently, I got an email from someone I’d never heard of from wanting to talk about advertising on my site here.

Drupalcon, Who is the contact for discussing advertising on your blog Complaint Hub? We have received 24 requests this week for advertising on Complaint Hub, and the page has been viewed 69 times. Our website,, is the largest online BlogAd marketplace with more than 50,000 blogs in more than 2,300 US cities and towns. Here’s a link to your blog on wikimetro: If you are agreeable to scheduling a time to talk on the phone about this, please tell me a good time by contacting me at this link (choose phone): I’ll cc my assistant to set up a time to talk, if there’s interest. Alex Rawlings Wash DC BlogAd Account Direct Email: Website: Motto: “Everything Local” Frequently Asked Questions: Tel. +1(202) 470-0961

It sounded a bit scammy to me, especially because by addressing me as “Drupalcon”, they clearly didn’t actually look at the site, but just scraped it with some script. A bit of Googling made it sound like Wikimetro was a scam, but nothing really concrete. So I looked at the local blogs they had listed as participants and emailed one I recognized to ask if Off Seventh was actually participating, or just being used to bait others. I got an email back, and it turns out Off Seventh was totally unaware of the deal Wikimetro claimed to have. So, the conclusion I draw from this is that Wikimetro is a scam. If they contact you, I suggest being very cautious. Edit to add: Follow-up from Wikimetro is here.

Shame on you, Columbia Heights

Over the weekend, I noticed that someone stole the Bell’s Beer sticker off the back window of our car. It may have happened over Halloween, I haven’t been paying that much attention to the car. I like to think that the person who did it felt that I was promoting drinking and driving, and stole the sticker as a protest. I wasn’t, for the record, promoting drinking and driving – one of the huge advantages about living somewhere like Columbia Heights is that there are tons of places you can go drink where you never ever ever have to drive home. Wonderland, Marx Cafe, Saint Ex, all fantastic bars that I can walk to easily, not to mention everything on U Street and Adams Morgan. Anyway, if the person felt I was making a statement like that, then I forgive you for your misguided attempt to make the world a better place. If not, however, I hope you got a paper cut from the sticker. It’s not a big deal in either case – those stickers only last a year or so, and I’ll be back in Kalamazoo next month, when I planned to get a new sticker anyway. If anyone who works for Bell’s is listening – how about some inside-window stickers so it’s safe from the elements and from would-be thieves?

What a glorious world we live in

No, not the election yesterday, though that certainly was glorious. I don’t have time to do justice to the election, so I will just say that I have never seen people dancing in the streets over a President, and I’m looking forward to the coming years. The glorious thing I’m talking about is the search box in Firefox 3. I was making a dumb joke in my novel about Keira Knightley. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know how to spell her name. So I went to the search box with its awesome autocomplete. By the time I had typed “kie”, which is not how you spell her name, the first result was her name, spelled correctly. Now, keep in mind, I didn’t actually perform the search, I just looked at the suggestions that Firefox gives for what I might want to search for. Actually, I did do the search, but just to verify that I had the correct spelling. I did. Can you imagine this sort of information so readily available even five years ago? Sure, it wouldn’t have been hard for me to find out how to spell her name. But the only way it would have been easier this time is if the Open Office standard dictionary was hooked up to some online dictionary that was constantly updated. So maybe someone should get on that.