strange_aeons: (SUBMIT TO MY LOVE)
2009-06-08 04:57 pm

Money Well Stapling Machine

I suspected at the time that I was creating this tag more or less entirely for [personal profile] brooksmoses. It's good to be right.

[personal profile] strange_aeons says, "I rule."
[personal profile] brooksmoses says, "Not that non-sequitors are odd here, but why are you commenting that you produce straight even lines?"
[personal profile] strange_aeons says, "Brooks. Punning is a sin."
[personal profile] strange_aeons says, "Also, I'll choke you."
[personal profile] brooksmoses says, "Oh, dear."
[personal profile] brooksmoses says, "You do know I'm not into that, yes?"
[personal profile] strange_aeons says, "That's why it's a threat and not a reassurance."
[personal profile] brooksmoses says, "Right. I was afraid of that."
[personal profile] strange_aeons says, "Note to self: get into situation in which it is appropriate to say in soothing tones, 'Relax, I'll choke you'. Award self points."
[personal profile] brooksmoses says, "I'm also not into chocolate cake. A delicious chocolate cake delivered to my door would terrify and distress me greatly, and I would be very upset about it. --Hah!"
[personal profile] strange_aeons says, "I don't really bake, so we're going to have to go with asphyxia, which I am quite good at."
[personal profile] brooksmoses says, "Darn."
[personal profile] brooksmoses says, "Also, now I want cake. Double darn."
[personal profile] strange_aeons says, "You see where punning gets you."
strange_aeons: (fuck you alien)
2008-12-16 06:39 pm

(no subject)

If anyone is wondering how the washing machine repairman thing played out, it played out with soapy water all over the basement floor the first time I (being apparently the first to the punch) did a load of laundry. So I called maintenance, and had this conversation:

Phone Drone: May I have a number where you can be reached?
Squid: Sure. Five five five....
(interminable pause)
Squid: ... got that?
Phone Drone: I'm sorry, what?
Squid: Five five five.
Phone Drone: All I'm hearing is 'five five five'.
Squid: Sorry, I was waiting for you to acknowledge that you had that before I continued.
(interminable pause)
Squid: ... the rest is five five five, five five five five.¹
Phone Drone: Okay!


Initially I thought this must be some kind of weird culture clash thing, but on further consideration, fuck that. I have been reciting long numbers and other, frequently arbitrary lists of things to an enormous roster of professional phone-answerers every day of my work week for two years now, and nothing like this has ever happened to me. This person is either new and stupid, or experienced and extraordinarily stupid, and deserves to be mocked via the internet, forever.

¹ Don't interpret this as permission to phone me.
strange_aeons: (follow the leader)
2008-12-15 04:44 pm

The Sex Lives of Home Appliances

Admit it: you were wondering.

(I have removed the digressions for the sake of clarity and length, though I left in the one with [livejournal.com profile] lstone because it contributes to the atmosphere; I also moved a couple of lines around for the same reason.)

[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "FINALLY someone is here to FIX THE FUCKING WASHING MACHINE."
[livejournal.com profile] lilairen looks for the obvious agitation joke but fails to find it with good timing.
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut laughs anyway.
[livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses says, "There's the other obvious joke, about how if it's fucking, it probably is a good idea to get it fixed before you've got a litter of baby washing machines on your hands."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "Then I'd never have to share. ... breed faster, home appliance!"
[livejournal.com profile] lilairen says, "Depends on whether it's fucking in a procreative fashion, too."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "Well, the only other appliance convenient to it is the dryer. Does it belong to a different species, or are they members of the same extremely sexually dimorphic species?"
[livejournal.com profile] lilairen says, "That's a good question, really. I can see arguments made either way."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "If it's the latter, that raises questions about toilets and bidets."
[livejournal.com profile] lilairen says, "And then there are those washer-dryer-single-unit-closet-things, which suggest either a speciation point, a mule-type hybrid, or, uh, a third thing that fell out of my head when I got this far into the sentence."
[livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses says, "Hermaphrodite."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "Or a hermaphrodite, or something like the supermales you get in some species of fish."
[livejournal.com profile] lilairen says, "Thank you."
[livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses says, "[livejournal.com profile] tiger_spot says that she thinks they're probably cooperative species, like humans and wolves, or whatnot. The fact that they are often seen in washer-dryer pairs but don't appear to breed argues against sexually-dimorphic members of the same species."
[livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses says, "I am wondering if maybe they're symbiotes of a sort where occasionally one gets a parasitic form where the dryer gets fused into the washer."
First taste is free, now you have to click. )
strange_aeons: (what I get up to in the bathroom)
2008-12-08 06:27 pm

It's Not Food Anymore, It's Darwinism

"Supernatural is an occasionally genuinely creepy show," thinks I. "Good thing it will never have grey aliens in it; then we might have a problem."

What do I see, in the very next episode?

A grey alien, slow-dancing with an Archetypal Frat Boy twice its size, under a disco ball, to Chris de Burg's Lady in Red.

FUCK YOU, ERIC KRIPKE. FUCK YOU RIGHT IN THE EAR.
strange_aeons: (meh)
2008-12-07 08:39 pm
Entry tags:

I Said, Take Off Your Shoes

536 words sometime between Friday evening and Saturday evening, for a total of 1038 because I had not touched the WIP in a while. I feel like I may have finally cracked this thing, but I keep feeling that way and then discovering I'm wrong, so we'll see. I have no momentum yet, and that's bad. I also can't write while making scarves, so I may not get any until after Christmas.

I keep worrying about how much more trouble the beginning of this thing is giving me than the beginning of Life did, and having to remind myself that -- well, (a) I think I had to rewrite the first scene of Life at least once; it was just so long ago I don't remember. (b) Even if I didn't have to blank-screen Life itself at any point, the first scene was originally an isolated vignette, and even the characters who weren't in that vignette had been around in some form for a while. Of course I'm having trouble hearing these people's voices: I've never met any of them before. Also, almost everyone in this scene is a nonverbal tentacle monster.

There's a vibrancy I'm missing, and it took me a while to figure out what it is: Wakefield is not as fun a perspective character as Rook was, because Wakefield is not cranky. Rook was a cranky, cranky man, and his crankiness manifested itself as narration that crackled with jokes and sarcastic observations; Wakefield, on the other hand, has numbed himself to almost everything but his job, so what I get is mostly 'neutral speculation'. I suspect that the problem is not that the resulting narration is actually boring, but that I'm not comfortable when I'm not cracking jokes. Between that and the fact that the early stages of the plot are driven mostly by the actions of Nishimura and Taste of Copper, I spent some time recently in nail-biting anxiety about Wakefield having no opinions and no agency. I've been thinking about passive protagonists a lot lately, between devoting entirely too much of my brainpower to analysis of Twilight and then reading this; I get paranoid. Then I remembered that basically the first thing Wakefield does is save someone who just nearly shot him from death by falling while he's in the process of bleeding to death because he has strong opinions about whether it is appropriate to leave people to die. And then he goes to her husband's funeral because that's what you do, you honor the motherfucking dead. Okay, point taken. You have a personality.

Also, I have word of a scene much later in which Nishimura is going to accuse Wakefield of taking sexual advantage of a pair of innocent tentacle monsters. So there's that to look forward to. Actually, some of the shit that Wakefield is going to do later is so weird that I wonder if it will become difficult to keep him sympathetic. He never actually has sex with a tentacle monster, though, as far as I know. He still seems quite asexual.
strange_aeons: (steamy)
2008-11-30 09:50 pm

(no subject)

For some reason, [livejournal.com profile] lstone is reading Twilight. This makes me unspeakably happy.

[livejournal.com profile] lstone says, "...I can't believe I'm only halfway through this book."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "This is the greatest thing ever."
[livejournal.com profile] lstone says, "You suck."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "I'm too entertained to care."
[livejournal.com profile] lstone says, "I'm not even giving you details about my saga and you're enjoying it."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "I know just enough about the book to build in my mind an elaborate fantasy of your suffering."
[livejournal.com profile] lstone says, "Here, let me type out an example for you."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "How will you get through it without your keyboard shorting out from your quiet but continuous weeping?"
[livejournal.com profile] lstone says, "'He turned then, with a mocking smile, and I stifled a gasp. His white shirt was sleeveless, and he wore it unbuttoned, so that the smooth white skin of his throat flowed uninterrupted over the marble contours of his chest, his perfect musculature no longer merely hinted at behind concealing clothes. He was too perfect, I realized with a piercing stab of despair. There was no way this godlike creature could be meant for me.' If that's less objectionable than you expected, realize that this is page 250 of basically nothing but this."
Vinci the Magnificent says, "That's...amazing."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "Either I've seen that passage before, or I've seen another passage just like it. These possibilities seem equally likely."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "This is going on my livejournal so hard."
[livejournal.com profile] lstone says, "You suck so hard."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "Your point?"
[livejournal.com profile] lstone says, "I'm going to mail you this book. I'm certain that having it in your home will cause you to read at least some of it."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "I'm strong!"
Vinci the Magnificent says, "The book's patient."
strange_aeons: (to say nothing of cephalopods)
2008-11-29 10:57 pm

I Can't Listen to Politicians No More, I Get a Siezure

I didn't start hearing about Twilight until just before the fourth book came out, and it still took me several weeks to even figure out what medium it was in: I knew there were actors attached to it, so I figured it was a show. I may have been mixing it up with Moonlight, which was some recent vampire detective show that I don't think lasted a full season. What I'm trying to evoke here is that my finger is right on the pulse of the media. There are going to be spoilers for Twilight and sequels in this post. If you're on my friendslist, odds are you don't care.

I ignored Twilight for a long time because I'm not interested in vampire fiction. Twilight is actually great for me to use as a prop when I discuss why, because it is every vampire romance trope, turned to eleven. For those of you coming in late, it is the story of an unabashed Mary Sue with a random quality that makes her arbitrarily irresistable to vampires, who of course acquires an overbearing, stalkery vampire boyfriend who spends a lot of time fighting, and talking about fighting, his visceral desire to kill and eat her. Along the way there's some business with a more boy-next-door type werewolf who oscillates from friend to boyfriend, a tiny amount of plot, and a half-vampire chestburster baby that may be the single funniest thing in all of Western literature.

In which I go off the rails explaining my disinterest. )

Anyway, into my life of blissful indifference to the whole Twilight phenomenon comes [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda with Twilight in Fifteen Minutes, which is of unusually high quality even for a Movie in Fifteen Minutes, and contains a bunch of links to [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda's recaps of the Twilight books. And I find myself shoving these things through my eye-holes as fast as I can, and something changes in my brain. Through [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda I have realized that, while this is not the most fantastically horrible fiction ever written by any means, it is certainly the most fantastically horrible to ever become this kind of enormous media phenomenon, and I have become some kind of freakish, shambling fanboy fanboy.

I still have no interest in reading the Twilight books, because I'm obviously not going to enjoy them. There's a good chance I'll never bother to see the movie. But I cannot get enough of secondary media about them. Parodies, commentaries, lolpires,³ anything I can get my hands on. When I saw Roger Ebert's review of the film was up, it was like Christmas in my brain. I hardly recognize myself. Oh my god, I can't wait for the fourth movie. How are they going to do the chestburster scene? Can't wait. To tide myself over I have this frame from the trailer, which is good for an unsuppressable spasm of laughter every time I think about it. Perhaps the greatest things to come out of this phenomenon are a couple of interviews with Robert Pattinson4 (on the left there, playing Edward) in which he apparently forgets he's talking to the press, suddenly becomes extremely focused and begins to talk about his hatred for his character and his horror and bemusement at the source material.

So ... in related news, I just pulled a True Blood marathon. Wait! It's not as ironic as it sounds!

This is [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda's fault also. She is ruining my life. After I finished the Twilight recaps I wandered over to the True Blood ones. Unlike Twilight, True Blood comes off very well in her recaps, and I have two scarves to finish before Christmas, which means consuming a lot of audiovisual media. There are things about it that are not as good as the recaps made me hope they would be, but it's still a pretty damn good show. While I was reading the Twilight recaps I kept thinking that the world needed some fiction in which the woman in that stupid love triangle with the distant, mysterious vampire and nice-guy werewolf refuses to play along with their bullshit, because my creative impulse is fuelled mostly by resentment and spite. This is that fiction. Which is great, because it means I don't have to do it.

True Blood was created by Alan Ball, based on some books I've never heard of and don't intend to read, though if the show represents them accurately they may have been conceived as a direct poke in the eyes of Stephanie Mayer, Laurell K. Hamilton et al. Ball's other show of note is Six Feet Under, which was well-written, well-acted, beautifully shot and totally fucking unwatchable: I cannot tolerate shows that are about nothing but loathsome people being horrible to each other under the guise of affection. True Blood is less of a visual feast, unless you really, really like Anna Paquin's legs, but the first- and second-tier characters all range from acceptable to show-stoppingly awesome.5

I think I am not entirely the intended demographic here either, because every time Bill the Vampire goes all Sinister Vampire I begin laughing and cannot stop until he desists. Some of the vampire stuff seems so self-parodic -- like the protagonist, Sookie, running barefoot in a filmy empire-waisted nightgown to Bill the Vampire's house to bang him in front of the fire in summer in Louisiana: are you shitting me? -- that I wonder if it's not the correct reaction after all, if probably still the minority reaction. In the context of this genre the actor who plays him reads strongly as a werewolf to me -- I don't know, maybe it's the stubble -- which just makes everything weirder.

I had intended to analyze Sookie's refusal to go in the damsel box no matter how hard half the other characters on the show are trying to shove her in there, but on further consideration, I'm going to let the season one finale speak for me. Spoiler cut. ) Fuck, yes.

I leave you with one last observation. Halfway through the season, Stephen Root shows up as a nebbishy gay vampire. Jimmy James. The man so nice they named him twice. Gay vampire. I just ... okay. Sure. He's a good actor and he sells the role, but ... Jimmy James.

¹ It took me ages to understand this dynamic, because I don't grok blood families at all. Mommy/daddy play is apparently commonest among people who had poor or nonexistent relationships with their parents because it fills a need that was never satisfied; I had poor-to-nonexistent relationships with both of my parents, and what it did to me was cauterize the need so entirely that I can't understand it except in the most distant, intellectual way. (I have good relationships with my father and sister now, but my familial relation to them is a weird complication of my affection, not a foundation.) You can see this in my writing. I think of families as machines for creating children with conflicting combinations of traits. Biracial much? I am so transparent sometimes it embarrasses me.

² Not that I wouldn't advise actual men in the audience against having sex with Bella also. Her last name is Swan. Keep an eye out, and don't go there.

³ To my knowledge, I just made this word up. Which is why I should not be in charge of making up fandom jargon.

4 Who, like a lot of male actors that age, started off kind of unearthly but, now that he's matured a bit, is just starting to look really peculiar. My obsession means I've seen a lot of images of him recently and I have the same 'what, really?' reaction every time.

5 He takes off his earrings. Oh, Lafayette. Please don't be dead.
strange_aeons: (follow the leader)
2008-11-17 08:44 pm

Gay Code for Something I Cannot Say Without Incurring Significant Fines

A thought experiment, for members of Mass Effect fandom who maintain that the optional female Shepard/Liara T'Soni romantic subplot is totally not gay because the latter party belongs to a species of parthenogenetic aliens and anyway what they have may not technically be sex:

Okay, so you and your Y chromosome are in space. You rescue an alien creature that looks amazingly like a human being aside from being a funny color and having tentacles in one, maybe two places. It has all the secondary sexual characteristics of a male human, specifically an athletically built male human a little over six feet tall (for some reason, every guy you know is built like that and has the same body language), but so does every member of its species; they reproduce by budding or something. Everyone else calls it 'he' and you find yourself doing this too, because the resemblance is so strong.

He spends some time poking around in your nervous system for reasons having to do with the mission you're on. He is keenly interested in you and tells you this often, compliments you frequently on your willpower, and after he fiddles with your brain the first time begins to talk about a powerful but confusing sense of connection he feels with you.

Eventually you and he and the rest of your posse go somewhere hugely dangerous to do something cataclysmically important. While you're in transit, your friend the tentacle alien approaches you in your cabin to talk about the fact that you might both die soon, and proposes to do something with you called melding. This is going to involve your nervous system again, and turns out to also entail kissing, taking off your clothes, and rubbing your naked male body against his nearly identical naked male body while purple sparks float around you and throbby romantic music plays. Afterwards, naked, on your bed, he praises your performance.

Does this seem Very Not Gay to you? Or is it oddly different when I put it these terms? Why do you think that might be, you asses?
strange_aeons: (Default)
2008-11-16 09:20 am

More on This Turmoil as I Make It Up

One of the challenges the WIP presents me with is living up to the potential of the setting's central conceit without getting catastrophically sidetracked. I could write stories in even the setting as it is as the WIP opens for the rest of my life without exhausting its potential, though this is unlikely to happen because, as usual, what I'm most interested in doing is taking a good hard look at said central conceit and then breaking it. What I really need is a thriving fanfic community to do the work for me. Sign up in the comments.

For those of you just tuning in, of which I am pretty sure there are none, this conceit is that periodically stuff falls from the sky that any untrained sophont¹ can cause to turn into more or less any noun -- objects, creatures, and abstract things like 'my ability to fly' or 'the fourth primary color' or 'Beethoven's Fifth'. Most of this stuff is not around any more because some idiot made a type of creature that can replicate itself (given access to more stuff from the sky) and, once it's replicated enough, has both the ability and the inclination to establish a hegemony over all or most of humanity, whittle down the numbers of or outright exterminate other sorts of creatures, and track down most of the objects and the more annoying abstract concepts and destroy or repurpose them.

Aside from the rings of the gas giant it orbits being partly made out of magic stuff, the physics of this world are mostly as you'd expect, and the only ways to break the laws of physics are to be made of magic stuff or have the assistance of it (q.v. 'my ability to fly'). However, that leaves a tremendous amount of room for things that could not come about without supernatural assistance but which are not themselves supernatural, and the tone of the setting demands that these things be fairly bizarre. The second type of weird creature introduced in the first five hundred words of the WIP is a kind of semi-sentient biological aerostat that looks roughly like a ctenophore, which is a category so diverse that this comparison is actually, technically, accurate. I had assumed initially that they were magic, but outside of my prejudices about creatures that no sensible evolutionary process would give rise to, there's no reason for them to be. It's quite possible to turn magic stuff into creatures that can produce mundane offspring, or to turn it into a factory for producing such things -- I've mentioned cornucopia machines before.

This becomes a problem because there's no reason for the setting not to be seething with weird shit of varieties that I don't want to deal with. What's the first thing you'd do if you had a machine you could configure to produce any one thing? I'd start making sex toys, because that's where the money is and, well, because my interests are fairly narrow. But I don't want to have to deal with a self-reproducing race of robot girlfriends. There's a whole book in that, for one thing, and for another thing, a dozen people have already written that book.² More importantly, I want to write this book, which does not have room in it for me to deal with the implications of robot girlfriends; yet I can't ignore those implications if I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror.

Some of it I can handwave. Robot girlfriends that you can breed in your backyard are ... extraordinarily disgusting, I realize now that I've written that phrase, but they're also bad for business. Things that can reproduce are probably more along the lines of weird A Wizard Did It-style biological experiments. The cultures that had robot girlfriends, and I'm sure some cultures did, have been dead or subjugated for between twenty and a hundred years; most of those things are probably out of commission now, because planned obsolescence. I can deal with one or two robot girlfriends, just not one in every driveway.

Hmm. I may have just talked myself into feeling better about this.

Now that I'm thinking about it, this raises questions about Nishimura's friend the revolting monster. He is designed to have some specifically conditioned magic stuff plugged into himself; he can function without it, but it's as basic a drive for him as eating. It's also fantastically illegal, and he could care less about that, but it makes it damn difficult to get ahold of the magic stuff he needs. He is probably my primary villain, though there is another contender for the job. I had assumed he belonged to some race of magic-stuff creature that is given just enough stuff not to go extinct³, of which there are several, but he may actully be some kind of weird android. I'm not sure I like that, though. It makes his appalling physical appearance seem improbable somehow -- which is an arbitrary, irrational judgement, but, well, it's my party.

On the other side of the coin from all this I have the problem of making sure there's enough weird shit in the world for the conceit of the setting to feel sufficiently explored. Nothing drives me crazier than an interesting premise that the author never goes anywhere with. I don't have enough thoughts about this to make a full paragraph, it turns out. There it is. This irritates me, because my brain usually spits this stuff out in something very close to essay format; I feel like I've tried to step up onto a stair that isn't there. Good thing I'm not getting paid for this.

Nor do I have any closing remarks!

¹ But training helps, if you want consistent or precise results.

² I'm sure a couple of people have already written this one, but I have yet to encounter their versions of it, and until such time as I do, I don't care.

³ He needs more stuff plugged into him because he is supposed to be, more or less, a human being with magic powers of some kind I haven't devised yet, and it's impossible to make anything that complex from a single unit of magic stuff. You can make a full-featured human being (or other sophont with a biology), but as soon as you start adding supernatural abilities you have to compensate by taking away other types of complexity, like the personality, or the fingers. And that's if you have a really good unit; it would actually take about one and a half of an average one to make a human being. This is all relevant to the plot.

4 Who I don't even like. I was so disappointed. I was halfway into Perdido Street Station before I felt like the plot had started, and to get there I had to wade through piles of dialogue that is frequently horrible. Aspects of the setting are delicious, but none of them are central enough to Perdido Street Station to keep me reading. Are his later books better? Did he ever, say, figure out that nobody fucking talks like that?
strange_aeons: (steamy)
2008-11-13 02:51 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

An anonymous sign taped to a stack of catering boxes in my dry storage area:

If you so much as consider moving these boxes and stealing the cart they’re on, I will hunt you down. No matter where you go, I will find you, and when I find you, you will be know such suffering as English does not have words to express. You will have to convey your anguish via crude drawings and interpretive dance. Which will be its own suffering. This plan works on several levels, all of them diabolical.

… where was I?

Oh yeah. Hands off my cart.
strange_aeons: (what I get up to in the bathroom)
2008-11-07 02:58 pm

No, That's What Being a Magical Elf is All About

The events described herein took place some Friday a couple of weeks ago, maybe 3 October. I've been telling this story a lot recently because it tends to go over pretty well, and I had a dream about telling it last night -- though for some reason I said 'keta salmon' instead of 'Arctic char' in the dream; I instantly knew that was wrong but couldn't find the right term -- so now I'm telling you lot, because I haven't met my quota for this week. I don't think this is the right medium for it, or anyway, I haven't figured out how to make it work in this medium: this is droll, but, for example, when I told this story to my sister in person, she laughed so hard I was afraid she was going to drive us off the road.

We catered a large event recently, a funeral with some three hundred attendees. Among other things, they had ordered two poached salmon platters. These platters call for one whole salmon each, head, tail and all. I ordered them a couple of days early to give myself some contingency time, and to my not very great surprise the salmon arrived without heads or tails. Apparently the seafood warehouse was out of head-on salmon altogether. As a compromise, they offered to send us two head-off, tail-on salmon, and four fish-heads: two grouper and two arctic char.

Groupers have wide, fleshy, almost froglike heads, totally unlike the hard silvery heads of salmon. Arctic char are closely related to salmon and very similar in appearance and even flavor -- but for the purposes of the food industry, they run about half the size. So, our options were to court the anger of God with hideous mismatched Frankenfish, or to present the customer with fish visibly having only half the intelligence of normal salmon.

The actual solution to this problem was to send Underboss #1 down to the local fish market to buy a couple of salmon heads; we can't technically sell product from there, but no one was going to be actually eating the damn things, and we were backed into a corner. Meanwhile, my suggestions that we attach both bodies to a pig's head with an apple in the mouth, or put both char heads on a single body and tell the customer it was a good omen, went unacknowledged.
strange_aeons: (what I get up to in the bathroom)
2008-10-26 11:05 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Squid's Boss (from phone): Who's handling audits tonight?
Squid: I don't know.
Boss: Why do I even keep you around?
Squid: I have an extremely dextrous tongue.
Boss: What? I -- you're sick! Don't say that kind of thing to me at work, you freaky bastard! (hangs up)

Underboss #2: Do you know where I can find a pencil sharpener?
Squid: No idea. Isn't that why we have pens?
Underboss #2: Are you any use at all?
Squid: ... funny, Boss asked me about that earlier too, but when I told him, he hung up on me.
Underboss #2: I'll use a pen. (hurries out of the room)
strange_aeons: (fuck you alien)
2008-10-06 08:53 pm

(no subject)

The front hall of my building has an unpleasant smell lately, a bit like rotting vegetation and a bit like dog anal glands. It's not very intense, and it stops at the door of my apartment (probably due to air circulation; I have the windows open all the time in autumn but there's no circulation in the hall), so I don't care. I think it's from the trash cans in the basement, which have been pretty rank recently.

Some pair of giggling idiots who go up and down the stairs once or twice a day -- I assume one or more of them lives on one of the upper floors and not that, say, they just come here to exercise -- has taken to speculating as they pass my door that the smell is coming from here. I don't know why this is; maybe the smell stops when you take the next flight of stairs up. Maybe because I have a dog. Regardless, this drives me insane. Barring a set of unlikely circumstances, they know that the doors in this building stop sound only slightly better than tissue paper and that, if I'm home, I can hear them. The obvious solution to this problem is to wait silently on the landing and kick the door open when they pass, but my door opens inwards, so I may have to settle for taping a sharp note to it.
strange_aeons: (snow)
2008-10-05 12:09 pm

(no subject)

I have written -450 words since my last update on the subject. At this point a blank screen rewrite is incredibly dangerous, because if I'm not careful I'll wind up rewriting the same five hundred words until I'm too senile to remember where I was planning to go anyway, but I'm orders of magnitude happier with what I have now than with what I had then. I'm not sure even I would have kept reading. I have a better handle now on everything -- universe, characters, mechanics of what's happening in this scene -- and have figured out how to open with a scene in which, while what is going on is bizarre, the perspective character has done it a million times and finds it fairly boring, without instantly crashing and burning. (He'll start to find it more interesting when literal people with guns literally jump in through the window and shoot the place up. I'm concerned I'll create a delete-your-first-chapter problem, but this is only going to go on for another thousand words or so, and it contains a lot of information that would be impossible to deliver in an action scene and which the action scene would be uninterpretable without. And the delete-your-first-chapter problem is not one of my issues, in general. And I'm not defensive, so stop looking at me like that.)

The upshot is that the 502 words I have now -- squeezed out in fits and starts since last Saturday; I don't think the daily update thing is going to work for me anymore, given the state of my life -- are impossible to read. There's too much worldbuilding in too small a space, mostly delivered in the form of parenthetic phrases, such that by the time the end of the sentence arrives the reader has forgotten what the beginning was about. Also, the adjectives and adverbs are packed too closely together, and on my workaday prose, that doesn't feel lush, it feels purple. This bit will probably grow 50%-100% in revision. Terrifying. Still, much better.

Also, I have written possibly my most confusing-out-of-context sentence ever.

Scent of Water was approaching Wakefield, trailed by the other four members of its menage in ascending order of their ability to quickly disentangle themselves from its personality; Fiveness had hardly budged, but Nostalgia was practically on Water's heels.


Put that in your brain and smoke it.

The way the character dynamics are working out in this thing, it may very well fail the Bechdel Test, the Ledhceb Test and what I just named the Bedlech test via a completely random and innocent scrambling of letters, success conditions for which are:

  1. It must contain at least two male and/or female characters

  2. Who talk to each other

  3. About something other than a nongendered or genderqueer entity


I'm cheating, of course. As someone points out in the thread I linked to, the Bechdel test ceases to function in the presence of such characters. Nishimura seems to be the only one with a romantic subplot coupon -- Wakefield appears pretty much asexual and may be a virgin -- and is probably going to redeem it with the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter, which would mean passing the Bedchel Test at least, but at this point I don't think the Mad Scientist or Nishimura's friend the male-identified revolting monster have anything to say to either each other or Wakefield that isn't about one of aforesaid women or one of several sexless creatures.


In other news, I am not to be trifled with while I'm recovering from a Ren Faire drunk:

[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "Hmm. Cladistically speaking, birds are reptiles. I've never eaten one of your conventional scaly reptiles as far as I can recall, but when people talk about reptile meat I always get the impression that it's somehow different from mammal meat. Yet your grouse, a reptile, tastes like venison."
[livejournal.com profile] oneironaut says, "Conclusion: deer are reptiles."
Vinci the Magnificent says, "You're distracting me from my horrible movie, and making the roommate choke on her ice cream."
strange_aeons: (follow the leader)
2008-07-17 11:21 pm

I Think I Swallowed Some Elder God

Have changed the (tongue-in-cheek) scathing pop culture commentary tag to belated reviews because that's the only kind of review you should expect to see here: It's not unheard-of for me to see movies opening weekend, but I have to think about them for a long time before I'm ready to review them, and I operate well behind the curve on nearly all other sorts of media.

Mass Effect, Ex Machina, Midnighter )
strange_aeons: (snow)
2008-06-14 05:44 am

IF I'D KNOWN IT WAS HARMLESS I WOULD HAVE KILLED IT MYSELF

The Incredible Hulk opened today, so I did the obvious thing and went to see Iron Man again. There are problems with this film. It is still awesome; I begin to suspect, on the basis of the acting, that it has supplanted Spider-Man as the best of the recent crop of comic book films, and while X-Men will probably always be my favorite (as distinguished from the best), this one is a close second.

Read more... )

On the way out of the theater we passed a standing advertisement for another Downey film in which he is billed as 'Downey Jr.' and because I've been deeply immersed in the linguistiblagosphere recently this is fascinating to me. In my dialect, obviously, the Jr. is not part of his surname anymore than a Ph.D. would be (or is. I know essentially nothing about him), and does not fit next to the bare surnames of two other actors. Anyone have a dialect that disagrees with mine?

Tomorrow: Hulk. The run-up to this film has been surreal. I'm two or three Bacon degrees removed from Tim Roth, depending on how you count, in a way that occasionally results in me being forwarded little bottom-quoted notes from him with Deodato sketches attached. Above that is my father's girlfriend's friend's (I believe that's how it goes) clueless note about how my father might be interested, and above that is my father's keyboard-pounding fangasm, because he and I are very alike.
strange_aeons: (what I get up to in the bathroom)
2008-05-22 10:12 pm
Entry tags:

Once I Came up with the Country-Wide Monster Orgy Everything Fell into Place

Today I had the pleasure of struggling to write the first sentence because it's hard to put words together, instead of struggling to write the first sentence because I have no idea what the fuck is going on. Then I finished struggling with the sentence and wrote another 401 words, for a total today of 413.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, [livejournal.com profile] lilairen!

This is my strangest setting ever. I knew it was pretty weird, but only now that I'm trying to render parts of it in a format that is at least first-draft levels of accessible do I realize how very bizarre it actually is, in much the way that my habits seem only mildly awful and socially unacceptable until I try to explain them to someone else. This thing feels weird and foreign even to me, which is intriguing; usually things out of my own brain feel prosaic to me. It makes me worry that it's full of darlings, or possibly that I have a tumor.
strange_aeons: (Default)
2008-05-20 08:40 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

I'm in the market for a(n English) term for the petals of a flower, collectively. I'm aware of corolla, but there are obvious problems with that; I'm hoping there's a term I've missed that bears a clear resemblance to foliage, plumage and pelage. I could just make one up by analogy, but what I'm coming up with is mostly appalling -- petallage is technically fine, but, well, I have my self-respect. Bractage is possibly acceptable,¹ but most people don't know bract. (Interestingly, it and petal are both from Latin words referring to metal plates. See also foliage. Anyone know how that happened?)

¹ Bracts are not petals, but neither are the things I need the term for. They're more like tentacles than they are like anything else, but no one calls them that; they also resemble leaves, feathers and, very slightly, fur, but the terms for all of those things give the wrong impression. Foliage, for example, says very strongly to me that I am dealing with something plantlike, which is not the case here.
strange_aeons: (what I get up to in the bathroom)
2008-05-20 09:41 am
Entry tags:

That's What She Said

My hobby: handing heavy boxes that don't look heavy when I'm carrying them to macho yet feeble coworkers who never learn.