|What I'm Watching
| 12/24/08 ||
During 2008, having started "Top TV Shows" lists already and becoming more
interested in knowing my own TV/Movie/Novel interests, I tried to search out
shows that might make the Top 15 list. Also, I went through the lists on
Wikipedia to find show names that seemed familiar: the stuff I watched when I
was in my pre-anime days (mostly cartoons and sitcoms). After all this, I
decided to update the list before the end of the year, here's where I stand:
As usual, this list packed a couple of surprises. Haibane Renmei was the only
new series resulting from my deliberate attempt to find new shows, the others
are actually shows I'd seen before and, in the case of Touched by an Angel,
ones that probably would've been on earlier lists if I'd thought about them.
Here are some bullet-points about this updated list:
- Haibane Renmei was the only new anime to make Top 15, and it's
higher than any anime yet.
- Firefly was unexpected, and it did very well. I always expect the
unexpected from these lists: Paranoia Agent was a surprise when it
appeared back in July.
- Touched by an Angel was among my favorites as a child, but I didn't
make lists back then.
- Outlaw Star has been #15 since I watched it. I always expect it to
get deleted, but it holds on.
- Cowboy Bebop got deleted instead, and that was a surprise. The
number of animes on the list went down for the first time, having also lost Ghost In
The Shell (the only anime on the original 2006 list) but only gaining
- No existing show went up in ranks, but that's kind of hard when three new ones
appear in the upper-7.
Now I'll know what DVDs to buy with my Christmas money. ;-)
Once again, Merry Christmas! (and remember that it's not about DVDs, it's
|Time to take an un-break
| 12/23/08 ||
I'm thrilled to announce that the first draft of my
is complete and in the hands of test-readers... who will tell me why it's
horrible (kidding, I hope). So in the meantime I'm taking a much-needed un-break
from the editing process, which is good for both the book and it's author. Why
an un-break? Because I have a website to work on, of course! I don't even know
how to take a regular break.
The HD campaign on this website is in full swing as of today. I've updated
DTV Answers Page
and have pretty much neutered the
so it doesn't solicit information or encourage people to link there anymore.
I've also designed the version 27 logo. I'm breaking with the original numbering
(2001 = v1, 2008 = v8) and syncing EG's versions with my age, which is itself
synced with the calendar year, so I'll turn 27 at midnight on January 1st
(though I'll still legally be 26 until July 9th). If anyone thinks this
is wierd, you obviously don't know me very well. If anyone is curious as to my
reasons, I suppose I'll be posting those here pretty soon. This will be the
first time my age increments on New Years.
Well, off to the other type of work I go. I gave myself a month off from the
novel and most of it will be going here, for what it's worth. More information
can be found on the
DTV Answers Page
Oh yeah... and have a Merry Christmas!
|One year ago today...
| 10/23/08 ||
It was October 23rd last year when I typed the first words of my novel. To
celebrate (to say nothing of the fact that it's Asphalt Day), here's a progress
I'm past the 40% mark... still trying to hold strong momentum with less time
for the project. I'm planning on a strong enough November to wrap-up the First
Draft by the second week of December. Between that and starting the Second
Draft, I'll do some unrelated work on this website (first time in a long time!).
|Editing: 26.6% complete
| 09/27/08 ||
Hello again. I'm happy to say that the once-too-short chapter 5 has grown
from 3,000 to 5,800 words. With that, I've finished editing the first of the
novel's three sections... 26.6% of the total word count (probably closer to 24%
when I'm done with all the chapters). I'm almost through the sections I flagged
for heavy-editing... the ones that I wrote in my less experienced days (mere
months ago) and that I now decided needed new content. Hopefully, chapters 7 and
up will need less work and I can fly through them.
With luck, I'll be able to beta-test the First Draft by Thanksgiving. Then, I
can really start working on EGrabow HD (for January 1, 2009).
| 08/16/08 ||
This month, I say goodbye to one of my most cherished hobbies: TV DXing. It
started with me as it did for many younger DXers: I was raised without cable. Add to
this a little curiosity about why channels 2-6 are a garbled mess some days in
the summer and why the ABC affiliate 400 miles away came came in crystal clear
last night and -PRESTO!- casual TV DXer. When the casual DXer starts a logbook,
readies his VCR and DX-only tape, and joins a club called the Worldwide TV-FM DX
Association... the 'casual' part is kinda gone.
Okay, so WHY throw in the towel? I didn't expect to so soon, but that's how I
decided it should happen. The (ahem) forced switch to digital
broadcasting next February was a big reason, but hardly the only reason. Yes,
8VSB can be DXed - as many loggings we were never sure we'd see have shown; and
yes, international targets - notably from Latin America - will still be there for
several years. At the beginning of this year, I planned on staying active
through at least the 2009 season, and I wasn't sure how I felt about chasing
only international targets.. truth is: I rarely saw them, even after moving to
Florida. Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean never became part of the hobby for
me; eventually, I guess my mind just became locked in domestic mode. I do
consider the United States to have the best targets: we're an easy
country to ID, since our culture in broadcasting was, for a long time, to use
privately-owned stations with big, unique logos and strong local identities...
e-skip doesn't always cooperate when all you can hope for is small text flashing
on once every twenty-four hours... if the station even offers that much.
Unfortunately recent CBS, FOX, and CW network mandates are trying to make
station-logos as similar to each other as possible. Not very sporting, in this
DXers opinion. Other reasons are personal and less defined. My life has changed
since I lived in Patchogue. Armed with a drivers license, I have the freedom to drive to
cities the signals are coming from (whereas I originally looked to DX as
something of a unique viewing opportunity). I haven't had a yagi since I left New York. Since I'm not living in
a house, one's not very practical, either. That means rabbit ears (rather, a
dipole on a 10' PVC pipe). While I've gotten by with them, I have to rotate by
hand and, in Florida's summer humidity, that makes it quite a chore. The final
(and surprising) discovery was boredom... To sum up
the personal reasons: I may still be able to capture stations, but they don't
seem to capture me as well anymore.
With the peak of e-skip gone and trops in the rear-view mirror, I plan to
finalize my logbook for Fort Myers sometime in September. Past that point,
anything I happen to DX won't count toward my statistics. I'm in the process of
organizing my catches (especially those on tape) from Patchogue, North
Massapequa, and Fort Myers. The old QTHes' logs have been reorganized on this
site. I have a little over ten hours of video recordings, which I will condense
to about 115 minutes and make into a DVD.
- My family moves to a house in Patchogue, NY. It came with a
VU-90XR yagi pointed toward the locals in New York City. We didn't get
cable until 1998.
- "Channel Surfing Rebellion": I discover local channels in the UHF
band (WNYE 25, then-WNYC 31, and then-WLIG 55) that my parents never
- I notice that then-WNJM 50, listed in our local TV Guide, only
comes in some of the time. Curious, I also discover out-of-area
channels going in and out. This is the first year I consider myself to
have been a DXer (at the tender age of 12).
- First written logs, but I forgot to date them! Reception from
Norfolk, Virginia (330 miles) was a big deal. My dad thinks it's low
power stations in NYC.
- First (pocket) TV
- Recordings onto audio cassette
- Only one log with a date from this year: WMPT 22 on 9/7 (no time).
- "Channel Music" tapes record the audio of DXed stations.
- Logs recorded onto small slips of paper... not very organized yet
but it was something.
- First e-skip IDs nearly give me a heart attack (and I thought
Virginia was far!)
- First, scattered recordings onto videotape using clunky VCR that
had to be adjusted for every UHF channel (anybody remember those?).
- I ask for a larger VU-110XR antenna for my birthday, adding a
rotor with my birthday money.
In 1997, I began setting videotapes aside just for recording
DX. Eleven seasons later, five T-120 tapes were filled.
- First DX-only videotape, no more audio-only recording.
- The videotape catalog serves as a type of logbook, I'm slightly
more organized now.
- WTAT 24 catch on 8/27 is my all-time tropo record at 654 miles.
- First time browsing the internet. I discover that all those
distant stations have websites!
- I start calling the phenomenon "Improved Reception."
- First DX-only videotape full; I start a second ;-)
- I use the internet to search for others with my crazy hobby, learn
that it's called "DXing" and find the WTFDA. After receiving a sample
issue of the VHF-UHF Digest, I sign up as a member.
- I finally start a proper logbook. The same red notebook is still
in use today.
- This was among my better years for tropo. Several of my most
common DX targets "premiere" (are recorded as IDed stations) late because I never thought to log them
- KLNE 03 catch on 6/17 is my all-time e-skip/distance record at
- First submission to Eastern TV-DX column in the VHF-UHF
- QSLs received from WPBT 02 and KEMV 06 (both PBS stations via
- I start a third DX-only videotape.
- DXing is an aspect of my new website.
- This was among my better years for e-skip.
- Recovering from ankle surgery gives me ample DXing time in July.
- Simultaneous catches of WMC and WTVF on channel 5, a normally
uneventful channel, inspire me to create the
speed up logo-based IDs.
- Rotor burns out after five years. Antenna is stuck pointing north.
- First college internship reduces free-time in the summer.
- Free-time drops lower as college activities and work hours
- Vermont becomes the last new state logged in Patchogue (I was
hoping I would log that one; unfortunately, still never saw NH or
- A relatively active year between two dead ones. A month-long delay
in the start of my third internship frees up some quality time and
then I'm told we're moving. I commit to squeezing in a few last
catches before my first QTH goes to the history books.
- This was my only full-year in North Massapequa, NY. This was also
my only year without a single logging.
- In an attempt to organize my many personal projects, my DXing
efforts fall under the name "Project Wildwood"... named for WMGM
city of license.
- A chimney-mounted VU-90XR with rotor goes up in November, too late
for much more than local bandscanning.
- As DXing season begins, I decide to move to Florida. All catches
in North Massapequa are made within my last 45 days there, all IDed
stations already having been seen in Patchogue.
- I move to Cape Coral, FL then Fort Myers: only seven miles away.
Cape Coral logs count as Fort Myers.
- In lieu of a yagi, I put a set of rabbit-ears on a 10' PVC pipe
and zip-tie it to my balcony.
- Fourth DX-tape
- This was my best year for tropo in Florida and the only time I saw
- WAPT 16 catch on 4/3 (642-mile Gulf Tropo!) is only 12 miles short
of breaking Patchogue's Tropo Record, a very-secure All-Time second.
WAPT was also the fifth QTH record-breaker within a two-hour period!
- Surprisingly dead year for both trops and Es, in spite of heavy
- I decide that I won't pursue digital DXing, but will remain active
through '09 to see what international targets present themselves. Logo
Gallery maintenance ends w/out a 2008 update.
- Most intense monitoring since '00, since this is the last year
before the analog shutoff. Still, only one decent tropo opening seen.
- Change in plans: I decide that this will be my last season monitoring.
- Fifth DX-tape started.
- Fortunately, my low expectations for e-skip fall through. This was
my best year for e-skip in Florida and the only time I saw Mexico.
- XHY 02 catch on 7/18 is my all-time short-hop record at 625 miles.
- Active monitoring ends in August. Plans to finalize logbook and
dissolve DXing as a personal project in September.
I'm not sure to what degree TV DXing will ever get out of my system, or to
what degree I ever want it to. In a way, I'll always be a DXer. No reason I
can't put up whatever antenna I have and do some bandscanning in the future.
But, like pruning a plant, sometimes I need to take away the old so that the new
can fall into bloom. Though DXing isn't generally considered a childhood hobby,
it certainly was a part of my childhood and I don't mind saying that I'll miss
it. Maybe I'll be back, you never know.
Fort Myers Logs
(linked file is no longer available)
|Progress During... whoa? what?... DIRECTOR!
| 08/15/08 ||
I'm pleased to announce that, on my third anniversary working for Waterman Broadcasting, I have been promoted to the position of Director. It's a answer to my prayers.
The catch: Morningside director. Now a week-long vacation I'd been using on writing is also being used to try to get used to waking up early. Aside from the unfriendly hours, I look forward to seeing where this goes. It seems I can put off this winter's job search.
Oh, right, the novel was finished on Wednesday... coming in at just under 110K words. I have a feeling it will be a little longer by the time I'm done with the first edited draft. Due to the sharp transition in work hours and responsibilities (to say nothing of a potential hurricane bearing down on us), I plan to take a couple of weeks' break before I begin editing the novel. I'm not willing to let that be put off much longer, though.
|Fort Myers Tropo DX Record Broken! (28 months ago)
| 08/11/08 ||
The early morning hours of April 3rd, 2006 were the beginning of a week of
the best tropo I've seen in my three years in Fort Myers. Though my farthest
catch that night didn't break my all-time record, April 3rd was notable for how
many times Fort Myers' record was broken in a short amount of time. The initial
record, WTSP 10 at 124 miles, was a sitting duck for the first serious opening
that year; at 12:30 the first logs were recorded and WESH 02 stole the record at
167 miles; then the opening spread to Panama City and, after only a half-hour,
WMBB 13 leaped over WESH with it's 338 mile distance; this record would also
last 30 minutes, until WFSG 56 nudged the bar up to 360 miles, where it would
stay for, again, only thirty minutes until WUPL 54 became my first out-of-state
tropo at 552 miles. Fort Myers' tropo record was broken four times in only 90
Well, make that five times.
54 has held the QTH record since that night in 2006, but there was also a
tentative logging of WAPT 16 in Jackson, MS twenty minutes after WUPL. After all
was said and done, I reviewed the videotape and noticed a "16" logo popping-up over programming just before
I stopped the recording and I didn't remembering noticing the bug at the time (smack self on
forehead). It bugged me for a long time and I felt I should count it as an ID,
record and all. This being the last season before I bang the gavel and update my
statistics for the last time, I decided to go back to the tape and dismiss any
reasonable doubt that what I saw was WAPT 16. Sure enough, the logo seemed like
the one on the website and there were no other ABC affiliates on channel 16 in
the area, not even a translator, so I "retro premiered" it as Tr#47. My QTH
tropo record now stands at 642 miles, which is only twelve miles short of my
With only a few days left before I pull the plug on monitoring, my reception
of WTAT 24 in Patchogue, NY (654 miles) may well stand as my all-time record
forever. Even if I did take up digital DXing, distances like that are seldom
strong and 8VSB only makes the job of cracking a weak signal harder. Bill Hepburn's tropo maps do predict
some last-second trops over the gulf this week, so you never know. A much more recent
logging of WCIA 03 (via E-skip) was "retro premiered" after I finally managed to
confirm what their off-air "W" bug looks like. Hopefully, I'll be able to seal
the logbook with as few tentatives and, worse, unIDs as possible.
LONG LIVE ANALOG!
|Progress during July
| 07/31/08 ||
Praise the Lord! It looks like the book will be done within two weeks (during my week off).
I just began the final chapter, I expect this to be the last progress report
before the whole novel is typed out. During my week off, I will transition into
the editing process and begin on the First Draft - note that sections in
chapters 1 and 2 aren't considered First Draft anymore. I'm so psyched knowing
that it will be done soon. Reaching the 100K line, this is definitely the
longest writing project I've ever undertaken. More will be posted on the
|What I'm Watching
| 07/23/08 ||
For the last eighteen months, through the initial stages of writing my own
book, I've become increasingly interested in knowing why I like the
fiction I do: not just novels, which I'm still fairly new with, but also my
longtime TV and movie viewing habits.
One of the things that came out of this was "top" lists for TV shows: simply
identifying and ranking my favorites. For television, I made the first list in
2006 and it's been updated since. Here is what I've dubbed the official 2008
list (the first one published outside of my MySpace Page):
Last year, I discovered music videos on
along with some good sources of
With the resulting influx of new and old favorites I found my efforts expanding
into why I like certain kinds of music (favorite genre: alternative
metal). A few months ago I created the first list for music:
|2008 All-Time Top 30 Songs
||I Get It
||2007/ Alt. Metal
||The Diary of Jane
||2006/ Alt. Metal
||Lips of an Angel
||Life is Beautiful
||Payable On Death
||Find My Way
||2004/ Alt. Metal
||Hemorrhage (In My Hands)
||Stone Temple Pilots
||Army of Me
||Jimmy Eat World
||2006/ Hard Rock
||Alice In Chains
||I Stay Away
||Payable On Death
||I And Identify
||2003/ Alt. Metal
||The Color Red
||2000/ Alt. Metal
||Payable On Death
||Three Days Grace
||Never Too Late
||Bleed It Out
||In The End
||2001/ Nu Metal
||Break Me Down
||Send Me An Angel
||1983/ New Wave
||Payable On Death
||2003/ Alt. Metal
||Seventh Day Slumber
||Payable On Death
||Waiting On Today
||Payable On Death
||Payable On Death
||Stone Temple Pilots
||1994/ Hard Rock
My plan for now is to update the TV list every July and the music list every
two years (the latter is a chaotic thing to rank, if I re-did it today I'm sure
there would be several differences). Next year, after I've read more, I plan to
start a list for novels and probably a fourth for films. The 2008 TV list is
very similar to the original '06 one, except revealing the trend toward more
anime (1 in 2006, 4 in 2007, 5 this year). With almost all of my viewing having
switched from off-air/cable to on-demand/online (YouTube,
etc.) since '06, I've started to take a more pro-active approach toward my Top
15 list. I've recently started using what I've learned about my tastes in
fiction to hunt down new series to topple long-standing (and pre-list) favorites
like the Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1, and even Sliders. Just this past week, the
effort led me to a 13-episode anime called
which I liked enough to think that the 2009 list will be very different. Oh
yeah, there are non-anime TV shows, too. I'll consider them, too... I guess.
If enough of these shows get nominated in the next few months, I'll probably do
an early/non-July update later this year.
|Progress during June
| 06/25/08 ||
I can almost see the finish line!
|Some updates postponed until '09
| 06/17/08 ||
|Only 6.5 months from a planned major reworking of egrabow.com, I've been asking myself if I should take a week or two off from writing the novel and finish implimenting EGv8 (from this past January). I've decided now that my energy will stay on the book and whatever I haven't already done for version 8 will instead be considered for version 9. EXIT 9 repaving, something I hoped to do in the spring, will be done in the fall or next year instead.|
| 06/11/08 ||
hobby has come a long way since its '99/'00 peak. Back then, I lived in New
York, was finishing High School, and had a largely-unobtrusive part-time job
(Wendy's)... probably didn't hurt that it was the high point of a sunspot cycle.
I had just joined the
Worldwide TV-FM DX Association and was at my most active point in TV DXing,
my shortwave radio was brand new and I discovered "numbers stations", I just got
my third scanner was even AM DXing enough to count in my logbook, which I
decided to start keeping when I joined the WTFDA. I looked forward to the day
when I would get double-hop e-skip and even entertained the idea that I could
get triple-hop, F2, or trans-Atlantic tropo once in a blue moon.
College, expanding work hours, and the rotator burn-out changed things in
2001. When my family moved out of Patchogue, my first and longest-running QTH,
my time and interest bottomed out. Getting back into DXing would remain on my
To Do list until 2006. Then, I had just moved to Florida, got a new job and
place to live, and was finally becoming re-acquainted with something called
free-time. 2006 was easily the best DXing year for me since 2000, the pent-up
DXing urge in me was finally satisfied.
Now, this is the last summer for which active analog TV targets will be up in
the United States. I decided a few months ago that I wouldn't pursue digital or
international targets, since they were never a big part of the hobby for me, a
hobby for which my interest in is in decline. Last month, I was surprised to
find myself with this year's first good tropo opening, but not feeling like
DXing... it was more of a chore I imposed on myself that night. Difficult as it
was, I decided to stop actively monitoring tropo, reminding myself that it's
supposed to be fun. Fortunately, my heart is still in e-skip and I'll be
monitoring that normally through this summer.
We grow up and we move on. The reasons I associated to my loss of interest
are diverse: internal and external, circumstantial and deep, some effect
non-DXing interests as well. Though the homogenization of local television and
the forced transition to digital may have sped things up, DXing was something I
would find myself giving up anyway. The hobby is something from my childhood
that I'll fondly remember + that I hope gets a good going-out this e-skip
season. Don't get me wrong... I'll always be a DXer in some fashion or other,
and I certainly don't believe in "growing up" for growing-up's sake, but if I'm
not enjoying something as much anymore then I need to be honest with myself
about it and make room for newer interests can come into bloom. (dang, I
promised myself I wouldn't be so poetic)
Today is June 11, the anniversary of my first IDed e-skip catch.
For the last time, Happy Ionosphere Day. 73z
|Progress during May
| 05/24/08 ||
I've picked up some more momentum this past month. Chapter 8 came out longer
than I anticipated, just shy of tying chapter 7's record length. I expect to be
done with the "middle" of the book in two or three weeks.
| 05/09/08 ||
Today marked the four-year anniversary of my graduation from college. I still
remember the odd feeling of not being a student, not going to
classes or internships, not planning what classes I'd take or preparing
for them. In theory at least, the only thing I would have to leave the house for
was work. Heck, I could've stayed and earned a second Bachelors Degree by now!
According to my original (and optimistic, it seems) post-graduation plan: by
mid-2008 I was to have been working in the media in New York for 3 1/2 years,
perhaps at the second job of my career, or promoted at the first... and probably
having moved out of my dad/stepmom's basement into a roommate thing. I'd stay in
New York for another year or two, until the student loans were paid off and I
had decent savings... then continue my career in Florida or California, risking
a pay-cut but taking the better weather. Oh yeah, and I still have my
fifteen-year-old second car.
Well, it's always fun exploring alternate histories (I am a fan of Sliders,
after all), but here's what happened by mid-2008 in reality:
For a long time, nothing at all. September, the latest month by which I
expected to find something, came and went uneventfully. I sold my first car and
put my dad's even-older Supra back on the road, which proved to be a
financially-catastrophic decision. As my wallet grew weaker, my monthly loan
payments grew heavier that first year (I had to start repaying as soon as I
graduated); without so much as a bank teller job, the only thing I could do to
keep up was work full-time plus OT at Wendy's - the cornerstone to my thrilling
multi-dimensional paradox. I hated working at my high-school job while my degree
was collecting dust, the job became depressing and sapped more of the energy I
needed to look for better jobs, but if I didn't work as many hours there as I
could then I couldn't make the payments on the loans for the degree that was
collecting dust. Late 2004 is the only point in my life where I was actually
After eight months of stagnating and spiraling downward, the Lord threw me a
wake up call and I began to consider moving to Florida and starting over in
2005. I lifted myself out of my depression and decided that I would commit every
ounce of energy I could to a job search in and out of New York... if nothing
happened by September, I could choose to leave secure in the knowledge that I
did everything humanly possible. I suspended all my personal projects and
distractions and succeeded in getting more job applications out, but replies
remained rare and by the beginning of June (13 months after graduation), I found
that I couldn't write the cover letters anymore... my emotions had run around my
logic and made the call: I didn't want to work in New York anymore. At this
point, I couldn't help but think that if my career were a computer program, it
would've said "(not responding)"... my career had locked up and needed a reboot.
Oh, well. Too bad, so sad.
I moved the date up to mid-July and didn't regret it... even though my goal
down here was to just get a FT job, then get back to my career, I started
at my first TV station less than a month after the move. There was also the
church, the volunteer camera position was a major factor in my decision... even
if it didn't pay, it was something media-related I could do. John at the church
soon started me on editing and directing. The wounds could finally heal and my
depression be forgotten. In the first six months, thanks to high-turnover and
the need to train the new people at the station, I'd mastered all the Production
Assistant responsibilities. After another six, I began gunning for a promotion.
26 months out of college, my career locked up again. "(not responding)" click
click oh great, now the mouse cursor isn't moving
In the strict career-I-got-the-BA-to-pursue sense, that's where I remain
today. I'm still a PA at my first station and a cameraman/director/editor at the
church. While I still consider myself far better off than I was in NY, all
progress is a trickle at this point and I'm unfortunately having to consider
another reboot to get things moving forward again. Why didn't I get a law
Recently, though, a career I hadn't considered presented itself. In college,
I discovered a love of reading and a motivation to write that I allowed to get
buried under the concerns of the day... that part of me was rediscovered early
last year and with it I established what I pray may become a second career.
Toward the end of this year, when that first book is finished, I'll have to
reassess my future and decide if the career I picked in 1996 is still the one I
want in 2008. I don't like standing still for very long and, if I still want to
go for director somewhere and continue getting my education's-worth, I'll
be searching aggressively very soon. (if not for the book, I would've already
passed this point)
Anyway, four years. This may not be the future I saw myself in, but who ever
really knows the future anyway? It's in God's hands and the best thing I can do
is pray for His blessing and guidance. Though I'm not sitting on mountains of
money, I am happy. Where will I be in another four years? I'm not making any
|Progress during April
| 04/24/08 ||
Chapters 6 and 7 ended up being longer than I anticipated, but now I don't
feel so bad for them taking so long. I've tweaked my technique over the past two
weeks and my writing speed has already shot up. It turns out that the public
library is not only a good place to read, but to write; I've also tried
switching to daytime hours and using break-time at work. I'm focusing on just
getting the story down on paper (the 'RAW' version); there won't be any more
'BETA' versions, since they've already fulfilled their purpose (getting other
people's opinions on whether or not I can write)
and since they require time to go back and 'polish' the RAW draft.
Here's the writing timeline as it stands now:
October '07: Started writing
December: Announced that I'm 'writing something of the science fantasy
persuasion', first BETA release to 1 person
Late January: Second BETA release (of chapters 1-3) to 4 people
February: Read some more 'how to write' stuff and edited the first 2
sections of chapter 1, upgrading them to First Draft... but I decide not to
March: Third BETA release (of chapters 1-5 or 4-5) to 5 people; first
progress report on EG
April: Tweaked my writing technique; Final BETA release w/ new chapters
(1-7 or 6-7) to 5 people
June: Hope to be done with 'middle' of book: through chapter 11
September: Hope to have entire story down on paper (as RAW draft)
Sep - Oct: Hope to have chapters 1-7 upped to First Drafts, new previews
for BETA testers
October: Everything in First Draft; Beginning of Second Draft; BETA
testers get to see how it ends ;-)
December '08: Hope to finish Second Draft and most of my story-secrecy
falls away: more BETA testers, goodies posted on EG, the beginning of the
I hope to have a page set up on EG soon for this
project. Of course, I can only put so much on it for now, but I think it'll be
worth the wait.
|Resistance is futile
| 04/19/08 ||
It's no secret that, over the last century, radio and TV have played a huge role in the
global culture. The United States (insert waving American flag here) pretty much
led the way in developing the technology and bringing it to the world, with
media's enlarging scope making it more democratic. Now... the U.S. is leading the
way into digital television and democracy has nothing to do with it.
Anyone who's been to an electronics store in the last several years has
probably seen the promotions that HDTV has been getting (especially leading up
to the SuperBowls). More recently have we seen the PSAs talking about the
shutoff in February next year. The day is coming! Is your TV DTV,
No. But, during CompUSA's liquidation a couple of months ago, I baught a PC
Tuner so I do technically own one (requires WinXP SP2, so it's not usable until
I upgrade a second computer). I've logged my first TV DX of 2008 and am taking
measures to monitor for ye olde analog DX as much as is practical this year...
the last season for analog DX outside of Cuban tropo and Canadian E-Skip. I'm
eager to make '08 a decent season, hopefully better than '06; unfortunately,
this year has resembled '07 up to this point... and that year was horrible.
I'm not clinging to old technology, I know things must advance and move on;
but, DXing hobby aside, I am upset at how this transition is being
handled. <rant> In democratic and free economies, consumers get to vote
with their wallets: if (digital - ooh, shiny) 8VSB outsells (analog -
politically incorrect) NTSC over a few decades, then broadcasters have little
reason to keep analog on the air and the transition occurs naturally (or, if
8VSB flops, it would have been the will of the people). Here in the United
States, lobbyists swayed the will of the FCC (whose commissioners weren't
elected by you or me) to force the transition to HDTV... to heck with the
American Public. Hard as it is to believe, not everyone can afford to go out and
buy a new plasma screen... and there are still people who use antennas (gasp).
Digital doesn't cope with weak signals as well as analog does, so some people
will lose stations regardless. And what about their emergencies and other public
interests? Ummm... tell it to the Federal Communications Commission of seventy
years ago, when those things meant something. </rant>
I'm getting one of those $40 coupons (my tax money, might as well) for a
converter box. Many in the WTFDA have successfully taken up DXing digital TV and
I've decided to give it a try... though my emphasis will remain on analog for
this year, especially E-Skip since that will never be the same anyway.
So, if your TV isn't DTV, spend your money on one right now... that's
an order from your
elected government officials and
National Assoc. of Broadcasters
Federal Communications Commission
|Progress during March
| 03/28/08 ||
Since writing the novel is taking up a lot of my attention that would be
going to my website (where I'm not letting myself post much about it yet,
unfortunately). I decided to start posting periodic progress reports. At this
point, I'm in the middle of chapter 6 and I've laid out 17 chapters - the blurry
parts of the diagram indicate chapters I haven't determined much about yet.
Everything is still subject to change.
RAW is the story as it comes out of my head: placeholders, misspellings and
BETA (technically, I should still call them 'ALPHA versions') are versions I've
released to a very small group of friends and family. To be finished in August?
FIRST DRAFT, so far just the synopsis and three sections of the novel, have had
their first thorough attempt at editing. To be finished in October?
SECOND DRAFT won't apply to anything for a long time. When the entire book is in
it's second draft, I'll begin the publishing process and finally release more
details on egrabow.com. No guesses on when this is done, since I don't know
much of the process yet.. but I'm hoping to reach this by the end of this year.
Feedback is excellent so far and I'm really confident on the idea the story is built around. May the Lord guide and inspire me through it all.
|Reading is fundamental
| 02/18/08 ||
Happy February, all.
There are still a few loose ends on EG2008 that have been slow in getting
resolved: EG Main, Plaza/Retro Modes, some graphics, EXIT 9 and a new random
feature. "The book," as I'll call it for now, has been taking the lion's share
of my time. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this project turns out,
seeking the Lord's guidance every step of the way. So far, I'm only releasing
this much on the website: it's a novel targeting the philosophical science
fantasy genre and I hope to have it ready for publishing late this year.
I plan to set aside some time for EXIT 9 repaving, AVCA, and other tasks
related to this website during the next few months. BreadMeter and the 25 Years
articles will be taken down and the Logo Gallery/ TV Data pages will no longer
|Et Tu, CompUSA?
| 02/18/08 ||
Just as I was about to lament the closing of CompUSA (the store in Fort Myers
will be among the last to close - the only decent computer store in the area), I
found out that the company got bought out and our store will reopen next month.
So, I still get to but stuff megacheap at their liquidation and the store won't
even go away. I was wondering how a computer store could go bankrupt in this day
Mind you, this isn't doing my credit card any favors. So far, I've picked up
a wireless card for my laptop (old enough to have had built-in as an 'option')
and a HDTV tuner for the EG1000. DVD burners ran out too fast and I doubt I'll
get a monitor cheap enough... but I'm eyeing a wireless keyboard for the new
EG500 (another foot-in-the-grave desktop I just set up for multimedia in the
| 01/08/08 ||
Another year, another set of modifications. Version 8 "EG V8" is, for the
most part, up and running. There aren't many design changes from EG2007, except
for the NAVigation bar at the top of the screen, because I thought things worked
smoothly in version 7. Many of the changes were simple code cleanup and paving
the way for features I want to build into the website early this year:
- Head graphic animations
- "EXIT 9" links
will become dynamic. The page will be re-designed (it's still using the v6.0
layout. Ouch!), a new random link function will be put up, and there might be
some "most clicked" thing added on
"Plaza Mode" and "Retro Mode."
I've decided to keep the
using version 7 until I do a much broader redesign later this year. Also, I'm
still hoping to get some kind of music files integrated into the website... but
I'm not holding my breath.
That's it for now,
keep sending comments and suggestions. Also, in case you haven't noticed, the
whole "V8 Vroom Vroooom" thing is a reference to V8 engines, one of which can be
seen in the V8 logo (on EG Main) if you look hard enough.
|2007: A Year in Review
| 01/04/08 ||
|The final 25 Years of Ryan G article has been published.
(linked file is no longer available)|