Public Speaking for Writers – Slides Now Online

Here are the slides for my recent workshop, “Public Speaking for Writers,” which I told a number of people at Capclave 2014 that I would post online.

So far, I’ve conducted the full workshop at Capclave 2014, and an abbreviated version of the workshop for Ashburn Toastmasters. I anticipate running the full version again here in Northern Virginia at one of Loudoun Country’s libraries, probably in early 2015.

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Operation Eagle: Practically a Military Maneuver

Spy MissionWhen you’re a writer, you get to do unusual things, and it’s all right. Apparently eccentric behavior is expected for writers. A situation arose this weekend which allowed me to exploit this principle.

My sister-in-the-law had to go to Florida on a business trip. Her husband, Steve, my brother, already had a cross country motorcycle race he was scheduled to be in with some of his friends. So there was a twenty-four hour period where they had to do something with their daughter.

They arranged for their daughter, Bailey, to stay overnight and for most of the next day with the family of Bailey’s best friend. Everything was planned in detail, and then the plan fell apart.

Bailey got sick.

The family that was taking care of her was unsure what to do with a sick child that wasn’t their own. Many phone calls ensued between Virginia (where we’re all from), Florida (where Bailey’s mother was) and West Virginia (where Steve was). Operation Eagle was therefore created out of necessity to retrieve Bailey from the family that was taking care of her.

Everybody had a code name. The mission was set in motion by Control, in Florida. Bailey became the Package, located at the Target Site in Ashburn, VA. I was Liberator1, accompanied by Liberator2 (my wife) for backup. We drove over to pick up the Package and take her to the Safe House, otherwise known as our house. Bonehead (Steve) cruised in a few hours later to pick up the Package and take her back to Home Base.

My niece, Bailey, thought it was all pretty amusing, as well as being yet more proof that her uncle was crazy. Being the crazy writer uncle is kinda fun.

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Invasion-Themed Advertisement

I’m one of the founders of RubyNation, a technical conference for the Ruby programming language. Each year we solicit sponsors to help us make the conference happen. Code Sherpas, a local consulting firm, is responsible for creating my favorite advertisement, which appeared in the 2010 Conference Program.

Alien Invasion, compliments of Code Sherpas

The Ruby code that appears in the ad is hilarious in a “We just saw District 9 and we really liked it” way. If the graphic above is too small for you to make out the code, I’ve provided the code below:

   class EarthInvasionPlan
     include StonePath

     stoneplace_workitem do
       owned_by :extraterrestrials
       tasked_through :missions
       initial_state: :hover_over_capitol_cities
       state :awaiting_earths_surrender
       state :warned, :entry_guard => :earth_resisting?
       state :stupid_human_resilience
       state :victory, :entry_guard => :earth_defeated?

   class DemandSurender << Mission
     include StonePath

     stone_path_task do
       initial_state :demand_surrender
       state :ignore_surrender_death_to_all
       state :accepted
       state :rejected

And here's the summary text from the bottom of the ad:

Ruby Developers across the universe are using the StonePath gem to implement workflows. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Apart from futile attempts at planetary invasion, the StonePath workflow engine has been used in applications for the U.S. State Department and local public school systems. How can StonePath help your application streamline business processes, improving standardization and efficiency?

Posted in Conferences, Creativity, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment