For the less socially extroverted and networking averse, who shun happy hours, don't carry business cards with them to the grocery store and just don't have time, connecting and reconnecting with people can be difficult. For someone with writerly ambitions, it's even worse. Read, write or gab: guess which one loses out?

And then came the online social networking sites. While some might use them to socialize, for the rest of us, it's a great way of finding people who you have lost touch with. I have joined Facebook and found a lot of people that I know. There's some fun stuff on there and like-minded groups to join.

Yes, it was originally for the college (Harvard) set, but aren't most techy things? It's now expanded to more people (and so has Myspace and others). Even people older than Trackball are signing on in droves. The best part is you can stay within your circle or expand out. No awkward hems and haws or anything.

Who knows what the long term effect of this will be? Equality in networking? Face2face connections resulting from, say a common affinity for Firefly? Maybe an even playing field for this networking-fueled world we live in.

So come one, come all, and join the Trackball's circle of friends.

Another human has read the novel

Thought I ought to report that a volunteer reader of my novel The Crashpoint Cascade has finished it and has started feedbacking. And he is the reader that I knew would be the most detailed and picky and critical, which means I'm happy he finished first.

To all you others out there with a copy, you will no longer be first, but I eagerly await giving you second place. I need contrasting comments - that's always fun! What if First Reader leads me astray? Scifi can be a hard genre because it is a ton of subgenres with very loyal and picky fans. One genre failing is another's shining point (like long breathless dissertations on astrophysics - retch). Let's mix those comments up.

As usual, the comments coming in highlight many things that were nagging me in very quiet voices but I wasn't sure were legitimate. Now I know. So some fixing is underway.

In the meanwhile, there has been one short story and part of another novel (not a sequel) drafted. That may make the ToT sound like a writing machine, but keep in mind that 0 items have been submitted to anyone for publication, 0 things have been sold, and 0 have been published. And so it goes.

Math, for real

Minnie Trackball is now deep into the math groove. So far the number of days of math this school year stands at n-8, that is, every day of school except the first 8.

And it's real math, they're grading it, and progress is underway. Same is true for reading, spelling and a handful of other subjects. Won't be long now until report cards and teacher confabs come up.