09/22/18

Emotion, Senses in Writing

So, the Big Red Car is a writer, published no less. As a writer, I attend writers’ groups in which you read others work, besmirch them with red ink, write indecipherable comments, drink extra large lattes, and your work gets read and savaged.

Haha, it doesn’t get savaged. Sometimes, it just sucks. Sorry.

But, sometimes, some little piece will be written with some standards or you do a little exercise.

Image result for image feedlot

Feedlots, wherein cows are fattened for market, are a nasty piece of business. Do not hang out down wind from a feedlot. When I think of Lubbock, I think of feedlots and a westerly wind. Ugh! The Feed Lot is a story of war, lost youth, the stench of Vietnam, a feedlot, and Lubbock.

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09/21/18

Decisionmaking – Quick Decisionmaking

Big Red Car here on a glorious Friday. Well, actually, it’s rainy, but it is still Friday.

So, I was in conversation with a fellow graduate of Virginia Military Institute and we were discussing, of all things, the purpose of the VMI Rat Line.

Your first year at VMI, you are systemically challenged (akin to waterboarding, but who’s quibbling about technique) to learn how to be a cadet, absorb the military regimen, and study something like civil engineering. It is a hard row to hoe.

This is called the VMI Rat Line. Other places call it “torture.” It is a system which VMI has used since 1839 and they are not even considering changing it. About 2/3s of your class will survive it. Sometimes, only half. It makes Airborne and Ranger Schools seem a little tamer.

VMI Professor of Artillery and Philosophy Stonewall Jackson standing guard over Matthew, Mark, Luke, John combat veterans of the Mexican and Civil Wars. Keeping an eye on things down range.

To which, my classmate posed the question: “Why?”

To which I answered, “To prepare novitiate Army officers to be able to make a multitude of decisions under pressure.”

He graded my answer at B+. I protested and he upped my grade to an A-.

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09/20/18

Austin By God Texas for the Win

When you live in Austin, Texas it is impossible to be humble. I will not pretend.

Austin was named as the #1 city where Americans are flocking because of plentiful jobs, rising salaries, and booming business.

If you have been out and about, this is no surprise. [They are all driving with reckless abandon on MoPac starting every afternoon at 2:30 PM.] If not, read about it here.

Austin By God Texas CNBC

There is another lesson to the story.

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09/20/18

The Great Debate – Texas Senate Race

Big Red Car here on a gloomy Thursday morning in the ATX. Texas politics is fun in a roller derby kind of way. The race for the Texas Senate will be a barn burner though recent polling suggests Cruz is looking at a ten point victory.

For the Senate we have a faux Hispanic running against a real Hispanic who doesn’t seem Hispanic.

[At this point, please allow me to make a preemptive apology for all the offenses I have committed against good order and decency thus far and for the rest of the blog post. I am sorry.]

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso (left), and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Robert Francis O’Rourke, the Dem challenger, faces off with Teddy Cruz, the incumbent in three debates.

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09/17/18

Diversity in Tech

Big Red Car here on a lovely, sunny, mild Texas day. Ahhh, on Earth as it is in Texas.

So, the tech world loves the word “diversity.” Diversity is the inclusion in a community of individuals representing multiple viewpoints based on gender, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, politics, and philosophy. Whew! [There may be more. I didn’t mention pets. There is a world of tension between cat people and dog people. I will ignore that for now.]

The tech world has done a good job of “talking the talk” as it relates to gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity/national origin. This is the self-congratulatory view of tech when they get to hold the mirror up to themselves.

Much of what tech applauds itself for is very much a work in progress. On the issue of gender, as an example, there are still VC firms which have a single female partner who has been there for half an hour. One of my pet peeves is the VC firm who preaches diversity, virtue signals its wholesale support, and who has not a single woman in its partners pic. Come on. Stop being such hypocrites.

Some would say that tech has failed miserably embracing diversity amongst age, religion, politics, and philosophy. God, they are like a gulag when it comes to age discrimination. The old folks are sent to Siberia.

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09/14/18

UBER

Big Red Car here – I don’t qualify for Uber because I’m too damn cute. Sorry, Uber. Doesn’t mean I can’t love Uber from afar. [Been cheating on my Uber-affaire with Lyft. Don’t tell anybody.]

The Bevo loves Uber and the Big Red Car. Big Red Car poses for a selfie with the Bevo on the occasion of beating the crap out of Tulsa. OK, squeaking past Tulsa, thanks, place kicker.

So, what’s going on over at Uber?

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09/13/18

First Draft

Big Red Car here on an early Thursday. Hope you are well. God help the Carolinas.

Much of life is about getting beyond its first draft. A writer develops a first draft subject to a lot of self-editing and then sends it to a professional editor.

That editor will undertake the following Stations of the Cross:

 1. Three developmental edits focused on ensuring the story is really a story and that it contains a theme, a plot, a story arc, interesting characters good and bad, tons of conflict, a conflict resolution and a denouement.

Each time the editor finishes their edit, the writer will revise the piece. It looks like this: “BRC REV after DE 1” meaning this is the BRC’s revision of the editor’s first developmental edit.

 2. When the developmental edits are finished, then the editor will go through a copy edit looking for grammar changes. This is going from a rake to a comb.

 3. When the CE is finished, the editor will make a final proofread.

 4. Happy with the final story, the writer will mark it “FINAL” and send it out to be considered by publishers.

 5. The publisher will likely repeat the entire process — publishers’ editors can be extraordinarily good.

In this manner, the story goes from a lump of wet, unformed clay to a bit of fine, elegant china by iterative edits.

Business planning and running a business can benefit from this mindset.

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