Giant Robot Construction Kit

Technological interlude.

I am in the process of constructing a giant fire-breathing robot, which will beat up bullies, and it's taking a lot of time to get the servomotors integrated. It might be slightly longer than 14 days for Ftrain proper to come back. Maybe it'll be 20 days total.

It all depends if I can get my delta nozzle adjustment spanner from Consolidated Undulated Prong, Inc. If anyone in the tri-state area can loan me a delta nozzle adjustment spanner (and can afford the crane hatch tubing to get it into the warehouse, as well as the airborne transport costs) I'd really appreciate it.

If you have any bullies, let me know, and I'll send TOBOR3000I over to your neighborhood to beat the shit out of them.

In the meantime, steady readers will be glad to know that:

1. I will come back, unlike the other times, when I said "I will come back, unlike the other times, when I said, 'I will come back, unlike the other times'" and didn't. You have my word on it, as a churchgoer.

2. I will be doing a collaborative project with a star of the Web journal firmament. That will launch in the next few days. 10 pts if you can tell me what Richard Russo novel features an older woman using the phrase "star of my firmament."

3. I recently read something so badly put together in an online magazine that I really wish I could share it with all of you, because you'd all hoot with laughter. But it would be mean, and you know, I'd get caught, somehow, through the referer logs. So I want to let everyone know: if I ever write anything really embarassing and terrible, feel free to link to me and hoot with laughter. Anyway you can get a laugh, get it, and to fuck with my feelings.

4. Writers: avoid writing lists, one-sentence paragraphs, and self-referential statements.

5. Writers: avoid giving advice about writing.

6. [Deleted]

7. Ftrain is going to split in two, like an amoeba. The technical essays will go into NetSubstance.com, where I'll be collaborating with Jim Esch. The dramatic narrative about Scott, Paul, and a whole cast of others will continue here.

8. I just need to revise the Ftrain software to make it all work. The trouble is, I'm slowwitted.

9. The author of this message will self-destruct in 10 seconds.

The Ftrain is a subway line in New York City, operated by the NYC MTA. It runs from 179th St. in Queens to Coney Island, Brooklyn, via Manhattan. In Manhattan, the Ftrain stops at Radio City Music Hall, Macy's, and in the West and East Village. In Brooklyn, the Ftrain stops at Smith&9th St. Smith&9th is the highest elevated stop in New York City, at 90 feet above the Gowanus Canal. In one direction, it offers a view of Red Hook, below the mouth of the East River, and the Staten Island ferry can be spotted. Looking from the other side, one can see the lower skyline of Manhattan.




Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

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Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

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Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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