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Wes B

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About Wes B

  • Birthday 05/12/1952

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  1. If, by science building, he meant one that had a quantity of research labs in it, there was a fairly common student prank that might happen when the dry ice storage got inadvertently left unlocked. See, if they could shovel out a bucket or two of flushable chips & small pieces, a team could get the whole bunch flushed in less than a minute. Those toilets with the fast, lever-driven power-flush can keep a constant rush of water running, if one student holds the lever down constantly, while a couple more gradually get the chips down the drain. They produce a lot of gas, and can cause quite a "robust" backup in the system... There was also a material called Calcium Carbide, used in miner's lamps that was also used by people who explored caves. If any cavers were around, they might have pointed them to a supply. When that gets wet, it releases a very flammable gas. They'd have probably had to work much faster to flush that, though. I've not done either, but don't ask me how i know this.
  2. There are lots of kids who just wanna make sparks (I won't describe some of the things we did in college, but we were engineering students, and both a little more creative, and a little more conscious of potential consequences...) Nowadays, in many places the kids can't even buy sparklers, so instead of giving them the opportunity to burn their fingies, they'll find ways to burn down entire buildings...
  3. "Come here, Sergeant Schultz." "Come here, sergeant." Most book publishers will adhere to CMOS, whereas most periodicals adhere to the AP style guide. Check with the individual publisher's style guidelines to be sure though, but give priority to their own style exceptions that they specify. From CMOS, 16th Ed:
  4. Titles, military or not, are capitalized when they precede a personal name, and are lowercase when used in place of the name, e.g., General Washington, or, the general. These would also apply to the professor, cardinal, senator, etc.
  5. If Real Life just came with an eraser, we'd all be doing so much better... With your characters, the eraser is there. Revise! Figure out what they shoulda done, or what special circumstances shoulda been there., and put it in there. Better yet, make that "shoulda" to be something the reader will have forgotten about; then your previous mistake becomes brilliant plotting, when they unexpectedly escape from an "impossible" situation...
  6. God bless America, land that I love, Stand beside her, and guide her, Through the night with a light from a bulb
  7. We have much in common!!! I actually switched jobs & joined IBM less than a year before they announced their first PC. I had purchased & built the ZX-81 kit prior to this, so i straddled between the IBM PC world at work & the Sinclair world at home. When Timex left the business, i bought 2 of their TS-2068's at fire-sale-prices, and was part of a very active community that built & programmed all sorts of goodies to keep the things running. It was all pre-internet & communication was between clubs worldwide that swapped newsletters. Great fun & great people. Do you know you can get free software emulators to run all the old software (also now available for free) on most modern computer systems? If you miss the "old days," you can now relive them for the cost of the time to download & set up...
  8. Absolutely remarkable... I was really disappointed when those beefy old keyboards went away. I notice on the manufacturer's web page, they include "Handmade" as one of the spec items, and that they sell special custom keycaps for special purposes. I always wanted a keyboard with a "Do What I Meant" key. Wonder if they'd consider making one...
  9. If you really need to give the impression of a non-native-English speaking narrator, you might try to look mostly at grammar, rather than pronunciation, with an occasional Spanish word thrown in. Since foreign words are italicized, you can pick the occasional place where the word is either so commonly used that it's used without thinking, or not commonly used so the narrator doesn't know it, but we infer it from the context, si? As far as grammar usage goes, people learning our convoluted language "were sleeping," or "were eating," or "were going," instead of slept, ate, or went, because most all of our commonly used verbs have irregular forms in the past tense, and they were not trying to remember them all. They often don't bother with contractions, so they're all worded-out the long way. One common form of future tense in Spanish is to make a present-tense statement with additional words that place it in the future. Examples: We write it this way from now on. Tomorrow, we write all future statements in present tense. In English, we can use a single word to describe a topic, like writing, love, or politics. In Spanish, it's the writing, the love, or the politics. This sounds more awkward in English than the other examples, so find sentences where you can use the form in a less awkward manner. Questions are spoken as statements, but in a questioning tone. You have been noticing this? And, as i mentioned with the occasional Spanish word, you can insert a word where the narrator forgot the English, but the reader can infer from context. One especially easy place to mine Spanish words are most any English word that ends in -sion or -tion. In Spanish, the word will simply end in -cion. (There's an accent mark in there, too) The only three exceptions I'm aware of are vacation, translation, and explanation. Use these, and your narracion will be a sensacion.
  10. You are too kind. After spending decades working with engineers & programmers, you do pick up a few things. Un-asked-for but interesting factiod: the Dilbert cartoons are more real than you can imagine...
  11. In Windows, you can also capture an image of any open window by first typing ALT-PrtScrn, which copies an image of the entire window, and then pasting the program into the program Paint, which comes bundled into every installation of Windows. You can crop, resize, and save it from there.
  12. Thanks, Lynn. For those who may be seeing this individual for the first time, she has a huge set of presentations on building websites, audiences, and online businesses. I have seen portions but have not purchased them. She has a crazy/energetic/playful presentation style that many may find very motivating.
  13. Hey, SW... Happy New Year!! Not sure what Z is using to make the letters, but there's a free PhotoShop-like program called GIMP that lets you do all sorts of wonderful artwork & photo effects. A warning... the learning curve is not small; in fact, the thing has enough controls to frighten a jet pilot. If you're working on a website, then it's a great skill to have, and you only have to climb the learning curve once (take lots of notes). Google will get you to lots of tutorials (each will just be a small fragment of all you can do) and you can google the word GIMP and whatever technique you're looking for, and there are tons of examples there.
  14. Our language is rich, wonderful, and insane. I love it, but I also have the deepest respect for those who've learned English as a second language, and view with awe those who've learned it well.
  15. You might not need as much material as you think. I've seen writers deal with accents by using them prominently for just a paragraph or two, and then turning it way down with just an occasional usage. That way, the reader is shown the accent at the start, they're occasionally reminded that it's still there, but the actual dialogue is far more readable, with much less effort. This actually seems to work well, and to implement one, you'll just need a handful of examples at the start, and then something you can regularly insert, as the story goes on. I find that people from foreign lands appear much more realistic if I see an occasional cultural difference, rather than linguistic ones. It gives them depth, and shows that they may think as well as I do, but not like I do. These would involve researching the culture, rather than using broadly-known stereotypes, which don't come across any better than overusing accents. So for example, if they make reference to the game loteria, it's far more interesting than to turn them into a cartoon by showing they need to wrap some food common to us in a taco shell. You might also toss in an occasional Spanish word when the character gets emotional. Also, in some languages, a question is asked by making a statement in a questioning tone. (You can see what I mean?) This is optional in French, and pretty much mandatory in Spanish...
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