Monkey-brained Musings

Sunday, October 23, 2005
County Affairs

There was some good news buried in the Speaker's interim charges to the House committees. The County Affairs Committee has been asked to:

Examine the advisability and probable impacts of creating a system of graduated ordinance-making authorities for counties with populations over one million based on population densities and unique geographic and environmental needs.

While this would current only apply to four counties - Bexar, Dallas, Harris, & Tarrant - by the end of the 2007 session, Travis should be coming up on a million population. The urban counties have long needed this authority. In fact, the counties adjacent to the urban counties need this authority. Certainly, the fast growing counties surrounding Houston would benefit from having additional ordinance-making authorities, particularly relating to land use.


Monday, October 17, 2005
Life's Rich Ironies

Two of the things that President Bush is known for are his cowboy nature and his insistence that climate change is nothing to worry about. Now, it turns out that climate change is driving up the price of cowboy hats:

But good quality beaver and rabbit furs - which are used to make felt for the hats - are increasingly hard to find, making it more expensive to be a well-dressed cowboy.

. . .

The best quality fur comes from the beaver's underbelly, where the fur grows thick to protect the animal in the cold winter months. With winters around the world warmer than they have been in the past, the pelts are not as full as they were decades ago.

"It's a fact that if it's a warmer season, the fur is not as good quality," said Jack Kellogg, a custom hat manufacturer in Wichita, Kan., whose hand-crafted hats under the Hatman Jack's label are worn by a host of Western celebrities.


Saturday, October 15, 2005
Serenity Quiz

An interesting result with a four-way tie for first at 50 percent. I am certainly glad that my 44 percent Mal ranking was there to break the tie. Nearly haviing River as my top ranking is a little disturbing and makes me wonder whether it is time for some therapy. For now, I'll just chalk it up to the quiz having no questions about sleep walking and being subject to subliminal triggers.

You scored as The Operative. You are dedicated to your job and very good at what you do. You've done some very bad things, but they had to be done. You don't expect to go to heaven, but that is a sacrifice you've made for a better future for all.

The Operative


River Tam


Hoban 'Wash' Washburne


Inara Serra


Capt. Mal Reynolds


Kaylee Frye


Zoe Alleyne Washburne


Shepherd Derrial Book


Simon Tam


Jayne Cobb


Which Serenity character are you?
created with


Monday, October 10, 2005
Climate Change & Austin

Think that the thawing of the Arctic Ocean won't mean anything to Austin? Think again. The NY Times reports that the thawing of ice in the Arctic Sea could open a shipping route between Churchill, Manitoba and Murmansk, Russia. Goods that now take 17 days to ship between Murmansk and ports along the Great Lakes will be able to make the trip in 8 days. Churchill is connected to railway networks that extend south through the U.S. as far as Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. Which means that, in the near future, the trains along Mopac may be carrying goods between Mexico and Russia.


Sunday, October 09, 2005
AFF Screenplay Competition

I did not do well in this year's screenplay competition for the Austin Film Festival. I didn't make it to the second round in either the Adult Drama or Science Fiction categories. This is very frustrating, because, after two years as a reader, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what it took to make it to the second round. I certainly thought that I had done that. Still, the lessons that I keep learning is that this is a very subjective business and that what pays is perseverance. I need to give the script another read in the cool, clear light of day to see again what it looks like. I have some additional notes for sharpening the characters and conflicts. There is another competition deadline in November. Then, it is time to move on to a new script.


Writer's Block

One of the interesting things about writer's block is how it propagates through your life. A block in one area or on one project infects other areas and other projects so that the lack of progress and progression permeates all areas of your life. A creative writing block moves out to block progress at work and in other areas until the cumulative frustration is such that nothing is getting done and the dam just bursts. Some projects get done, some projects get downsized, and some just get swept away.

The good news in all of this is that I am getting better at managing these swings. Years ago, the blocks had to get much worse before I could ever get anything done, and it was more common that projects would be swept away, deadlines hopelessly blown, before I began moving forward again. Today, the amplitude of these swings is much less. The other important part of this is in choosing what is important for me. Windows of opportunity open and close all of the time. Choosing when to say no, even to the attractive opportunities, is key.

With that in mind, I have chosen to pass onNaNoWriMo this year. The possibility and promise is attractive, but I have several projects that I want to finish, and participating in NaNoWriMo would take away from them as well as distract me from developing a new screenplay.


Political Test

Let's get this started with an interesting quiz. I found the results to be fairly accurate.

You are a

Social Liberal
(68% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(28% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Courtesy of John


The scattered musings of Jeb Boyt, Austin Texas. A collection of the random bits that scamper through my monkey brain. This blog is my personal record. The opinions expressed here are my own and are in no way associated with any employer, board, commission, organization, or other entity that I may be affiliated with. So there.

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