Bad at Tumblr

When I set up I didn’t realize it was a subblog to my main tumblr, fuckyeahhummingbirds. Subblogs are limited and I kept logging into the wrong blog. So, I deleted tonemilazzo and renamed fuckyeahhummingbirds. I don’t know how that might have affected those of you who followed the original tonemilazzo so here’s the link again.
Computers are hard… let’s go shopping!

On the plus side, this version looks a lot better.

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Since I’m staying with the same basic layout and color scheme, most of the newness is under the hood. Can you believe I’ve been using that same grainy, gray background image since 2003? What can I say? It matches my business card.

The new theme is written in HTML5 and CSS3 with Bootstrap. I like Bootstrap for the same reason I used to pump CSS through jQuery. It handles the different browsers nicely without thinking about it too much. Now that we have to think about mobile devices it takes a lot of the weight off that development. Go ahead and call up the page on your phone. The layout changes. The sidebar becomes a footer and the posts and header expand to take up the full screen.

I also did what I could for Search Engine Optimization. I’ve had the SEO for “tone milazzo” locked down for 15 years, but a little more traffic can’t hurt. Google’s made mobile friendliness a ranking priority. I also added schema to make the site more machine readable. Because machines buy lots of books, mostly digital. That’s what I heard.

Next, I have to get the SSL certification straightened out. So I can use WordPress’ Jetpack plugin. For those of you who subscribe to this blog by email, that’s going to be a change. Hopefully, a small one.

What does all this computer stuff have to do with writing? Now that The Faith Machine is moving into its third draft, I’m hoping to barter web development for editorial or even publicity. I’ve seen editors’ web pages, there’s a market for this exchange.

Now that the blog’s all pretty-like I should use it more. 9 posts in the last year? That’s pathetic.

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The Stack, 2015

Another year and another instance of San Diego’s primary contribution to culture, Comic Con.
A respectable 11 inches of books for under $500. That’s counting money spent on food and drink, and not including the statue of Krypto because that’s cheating. I’ve read all of this except the two novels and two of the graphic novels. Expect a future post on the best of the Stack.

I’ll also have a future post on pitching; the act of selling a publisher or other investor on a story. I learned a lot about pitching that weekend, that was my main takeaway beyond the books. Excellent timing too, since I’ll be doing just that at the SoCal Writers’ Conference in September.


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Schedule Sausage

It took a lot of raw meat and a lot of grinding but the San Diego Comic Fest schedule is finished. As much as a schedule can be finished. No plan of attack survives the battle.

As Programming Coordinator for San Diego Comic Fest I saw an opportunity to bring the process into the 21st century. A lot of conventions are still relying on email and MS Word:

  1. Collect availability and panel ideas via email
  2. Create a list of programs
  3. Send this list in a Word doc to all the panelists with a pair of square brackets, [], by each item
  4. Spend days processing these docs by hand, figuring who’s interested in what programming and juggling the availability of over a hundred people

The bulk of the time is spent manipulating clusters of guests and their schedules, trying to avoid conflicts, and keeping it all in your head. But me, I like to crowdsource and I use computers to make my life easier. Here’s my process:

  1. Collect availability and panel ideas via Google Forms
  2. Schedule the panels
  3. Release the schedule on a second Google Form to the guests. They manage their own availability. This is the step that saves the most time
  4. Upload to which handles future communications and all presentation.

That’s saves a whole lot of data entry. But there’s a lot of transitioning between mediums. From Google forms, to post-it notes, to Excel, to Sched, and email, email, email. Sched is good for presentation, but not for inception, and it could be a whole lot better at conflict recognition. I think there’s room here for a better tool. One tool to take the convention from conception through presentation with support for print.

I know what I’ll be working on this year.

But this year I’ll be Moderating How We Write on Friday at 2pm and Pop Culture Professionals: Writers Sunday at 3pm. The main upside to scheduling a con; putting yourself on whatever panel you want.

Hopefully I’ll see you there!

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Boom! Luck.

This week I won a course in Contract Management in a raffle. My biographers will pinpoint this as the moment the thug life chose me.


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Nano Nano Nevermore

Man, I thought it’d be cool to live in a loft and swing down on a rope.

At 7 or 8 I was all about Mork & Mindy. My first non-fiction book was a cheesy, 80 page, paperback biography of Robin Williams. There wasn’t much to it. What was there to say at that point in his career? “Robin grew up, went to school, performed stand up, and landed on a hit TV show.” But I still carry the memory of that book. Robin’s been there my whole life.

From Mork to the movies and TV stand up specials. I never had to follow Robin’s career, he was always there. A ubiquity that I should have worn its welcome. The rapid fire pop culture references in Aladdin should have played out after a single viewing, but I still pop in that DVD at least twice a year.

Like most stand ups he was public with his troubles. The manic performer had a depressive private side. Recently, there’s been money problems, then there was the Parkinson’s disease which comes with it’s own bag of depression. Darkness on all sides.

It’s right there when Mork & Mindy met Robin Williams..

Robin: "I guess I want people to like me, I hate myself for that." 
Mindy: "If you learned to say no you'd have a lot more time to yourself."
Robin: "Maybe that's the last thing I want."

Entertaining people was how he felt loved and valued. With the onset of Parkinson’s he must have felt those days were coming to an end. If he couldn’t entertain us anymore he’d lose us and have only himself. He’d always been giving; USO tours, Comic Relief and stories of him stepping into people’s lives, just to make them happy, make them like him.

It’s tragic that he drowned in a pool of depression so deep he couldn’t see we’d never abandon him.

Goodbye, Robin.

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Comic Con 2014


It was an amazing Con. I learned a lot and got to see Con friends. Spike’s brain was ripe for the picking on Tumblr techniques. Accidentally wandered into the Grant Morrison Multiversity panel, scored a Map of the Multiverse, and turned it into Reddit Karma. Bore witness to a recording of Pop Culture Happy Hour. Possibly broke a toe on Saturday morning. Did that stop me from walking the Con floor for the weekend, fuck no it didn’t. Of course the one TV panel I wanted to get into left me standing outside, typical Venture Bros.

The Pro Lounge used to be a barren wasteland of free coffee and empty tables, but this year I met someone every time I stopped for a rest. I’m going to spend more time there next year.

The high point, what really recharged my battery: I asked Geoffrey Thorne about leveraging my novel work into comic and TV mediums. His said not worry about that, keep producing quality content and the work will find you.

I’d better get back to writing.

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I just discovered Facebook messages have a spam folder:

“Dear Milazzo, l am barrister Richard Edewor the personal adviser to Late Mrs.Zinaida Milazzo(a nationality of your country who has same last name with you) ”

Is ‘Milazzotopia’ really that hard to spell?

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Da’ Fest

Da' Fest

San Diego Comic Fest 2013 is over and I have my life back. Let me tell you, after being on the inside of a convention at Assistant Programing Director I’m never complaining about a convention ever again, either as an attendee or panelist. I’ve seen how the sausage is made.

I landed on four panels overall:

Comics You Should Be Reading I did a similar panel last year and now I’m out of current comics to recommend. If I try again next year it’ll be “Comics You Should Have Read but can’t because the came out years ago and haven’t been collected in trade.”

The Implications of Supermen and Superwomen in the Real World was fun, but ultimately as futile an exercise as being a superhero comics fan. Steve Barnes is a very smart guy.

How Do I Draw This Which I was in no way qualified to be on, but none of the artists wanted to moderate and I knew enough about how comics work to keep the conversation going. Russ Heath’s hearing aid was dying so he’d answer whatever question he thought I asked, the guy is hilarious.

And then I filled in on Writing in Someone Else’s Universe where I asked Marv Wolfman and Nancy Holder about specific problems of writing freelance and their answers were almost always “You suck it up and you do it.”

And now, a weekend of sleep.

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I still get people favoriting it.

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