Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rant against non-lineral story telling.

1,2,3,7,8,9,3 That's how my daughter counts. Cute? Sure. Informative or useful? Not so much.

Know what hollywood fad cheeses me off, that they SEEM to finally be pretty much done with? Non linear story telling.

Sure, many of them do it simple... start with a massive exciting or interesting scene, then closeup to the protagonist:
"I guess you're wondering how I got in this situation..." Aw man, here we go again.
Rewind 3 weeks, watch from the REAL beginning of the story until you get to the point where the movie started, blah blah. If you can't write an interesting actual starting scene, don't feel the need to jerk me around and pad the movie by 15 min with a replayed sequence. Heck, a lot of books do that too.


Chapter 2
50 years earlier: (and you're lucky if they bother telling you that this isn't just a confusing continuation from chapter 1)
"I was a dirt farmer. Most people think that means I farm for stuff that grows in the dirt, but no, i just farm dirt. Ever try to get dirt to grow? I tell ya, it ain't easy."

Shut up, shut up, shut up! I don't care! I was ready to see a giant cyborg donkey blow up! Screw this, skip ahead, skip ahead. Second last chapter? Aww screw it. Where's my playstation controller?

If you wanna get deliberately confusing, you can keep throwing in unannounced flashbacks, or worse, SOMEONE ELSE'S FLASHBACKS, and while you're at it, don't ever show the flashbacks in the order they happened. These kinds of gimmicks just scream "I NEVER HAD A STORY WORTH TELLING TO BEGIN WITH" Why don't you just write a fanfic of Voyager, or some other unoriginal time travel shlep?
It's late, I'm cranky. My household has one member less today, and my cat won't stop farting. Kthx, bai.

Friday, January 29, 2010

They grow up so fast... then go back home to Germany.

Yes, yet another international student (from Germany) is departing tomorrow, despite attempts to reason with her parents to sell her to us.

Hosting students isn't always easy, but all of em have been a big part of our home while they were here, and most have remained in contact long afterward. Well, alright, not the 'short stay' ones, that stay like 2 or 3 weeks... That's barely enough time to overcome the language barrier, and they tend to become blurry memories in the fog of time.

We WERE supposed to be receiving a new student from China, who was going to stay for a year, but last week we're told she isn't coming to our home now. Why? The student's parents didn't want her to go to a home with any children.

Mrph?? Granted, our 2 and a half year old is a heavy-drinking party monster who will get students into heroin, but... heyyyy, no wait. I stand by my "Mrph??". Someone suggested that maybe they want their daughter to be the sole centre of attention at the host home. Meh. I don't know, maybe they didn't want their daughter to be exposed to experience with a sibling, given China's 'single child' laws. (which are very, very flexible with an allotment of moolah.)

There's some talk of us getting a couple Mexican students as short-stays in March. They would be our first Mexicans. Ironic, since our FIRST students were supposed to be Mexicans before their mother heard another nearby school was better. They could have bussed to it from here, but the mother said no to that... either due to the expense of busing, or the bus experience in Mexico. Hey Mexican parents! In Canada, putting your teenage daughter on a bus ISN'T considered an invitation for kidnapping. Eh... maybe that's just a stereotype.

At any rate, being short term students, we likely won't get to know them worth beans before they have to go. Hopefully we can soon host another long-term student, (Mexican? We haven't had one yet!) so we can learn more about the culture. It's common knowledge that tourism and TV don't compare to talking to a local.

Alas, farewell, German-young-woman-who's-name-is-withheld-for-the-internet, (you pile of pervs!) Your laughter, smile, and talks will be missed sorely by all of us.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Echoes of Erebus 'clip', Also- yay. vamps.

Sarah rolled her eyes. “That's dis-”
“:::I am not discussing that kind of imagery with my daughter,” Jason dryly interrupted, “I didn't see it, you didn't see it, moving on.” Such 'art' seemed like a mild offence after the whole zombie-genocide simulation, but Sarah let it slide.

The fourth door stood at the end of the hall. Most of the hall was made from the same wood that most of the bar seemed to be made of, but the wall at the end was solid concrete. The door was steel.
“:::I'm guessing that's probably not the grill's meat freezer.”
Jason scoffed. “:::I'm guessing they store their meat in the sun.”
Sarah reached out for the handle, and pulled it open. It was a door from a freezer, but inside it was lit even dimmer than the rest of the bar. A diffused warmth and mild scent of tobacco and other burnable things seemed to press out towards her. New sounds also found her. Yelling and cheering mostly. Past the door the hallway continued as concrete, and slowly lead downwards.

“:::Pop the strength to max, Sarah.”
“:::Already did.”


Just the rost recent lil bit from Echoes of Erebus. I wrote that about 15 min ago. Pardon the formatting, but the blog ignores indents, so I used a few double returns to break it up. For those unaware, in my books the ":::" denotes that the following statement was done digitally. In this case, (as with much of the book) the ::: conversations are between Sarah and Jason, who lives in Sarah's brain.

As mentioned, there is a bit of zombie-fun in the coming book. Less than in Lifehack, but more than Yute. The creatures in Echoes will be somewhat more memorable I hope- partly due to my own writing experience, and partly because fewer numbers of creatures allows more time to be spent paying attention to each; both in tactics and in imagery. Oh, there will be a few scenes of the huge mobs, but not as many as in Lifehack, and it won't be solved by ordinance. And they're not necessarily the main issue.

Then again, the zombies in Lifehack weren't the main event anyway. Erebus wasn't playing to win. Zombie outbreaks were just his opening volley, a declaration- not of war, but of "Yeah bitches! What ya gonna do about THAT?" until he got ideas that amused him more.

This isn't a huge spoiler, and you might have figured it out by now anyway, so let's make it official oublic knowledge. Yes, 'Jason' above is indeed Erebus, A.K.A Jonathan Coll. Well.. kind of. If you remember Lifehack's events, you might have a better idea.

Alright, it's way too late. I had planned to do a blog entry about aspartame, (summary: aspartame bad, breaks down into nasty stuff like formaldehyde in your body, and can do nasty stuff to you, so ditch the diet pop!)

-and about the movie Daybreakers which I saw last week. (summary: cool vamp ideas, some poignant moments, but marred by moments of especially cheesy gore, 3 pointless 'surprise bat flying at the screen' shots, and a couple gaping plot holes.

In other news, True Blood rocks.... but "Sookie"? WTF kind of name is that?

I think the recent surge in vamp stuff is due to twilight... not because it was good and people want to jump on the bandwagon, but because it was HORRIBLE, and people want to remind the world how vamps are supposed to be done.

Oh, by the way. Claudia Black. (Did I get ya? You know who you are!)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Se7en, No, wait, just Seven. Sorry miss Paltrow

Before I go off on windows 7, let me tell you about The Day Of Seven.

Seven what? Seven tiny pairs of pants. Seven tiny pairs of panties. (If they're called pairs, and there was 7 of each, maybe I should call it The Day Of Twenty-Eight... but that doesn't have as nice of a ring to it...)

Kiddo's knee deep in potty training. some days she's into it, and runs with a song and a dance to ye potty, whether she's made it in time or not! One day she did it all herself, including wiping herself from a #2!.... badly. Baby wipes also work on walls, FYI. But she tried her best. The listerine on the floor was my bad, although I have others to lay SOME blame on.

The Day Of Seven was not a day of effort on her part, nor enthusiasm. It was a day of denial. "You need to go potty?" I ask many times through the day, if only to put the notion in her head- to help her pay attention to her body a bit. "No." I heard in reply many times on The Day Of Seven. Most of the time, she was right.

A 'yes' would end up in an honest attempt by her on the potty, OCCASIONALLY with results. On The Day Of Seven, she performed admirably in the #2 department. Whether a successful #2, or a false alarm, I praised her efforts. alas, minutes later, she peed her pants. New panties, new pants, and often new socks. (The Day Of Forty Two? Oh my... 42... DON'T PANIC! We have a new washer and dryer!)

Some of these liquid mishaps happened under my care, some under the care of my mother, and the last one was saved for mommy when she got home. By that time, Caitlin and I were barely on speaking terms. We were both equally fed up with changings. I almost put her into a diaper at one point, but I held strong. 'Never fall back' in training once the commitment is made, they say, or you erode what they've learned.


Welcome to Windows 7.

My old laptop, which was far from new when it came into my care, had been showing many signs of giving up the ghost. A smallish hard drive that occasionally liked to slide out the side, a CD drive that no longer read CDs (but read DVDs just fine) and a power cord that, by the end, required a finger held in just the right place, at just the right pressure to work. The most recent injury to the cord was right by the plug that goes into the laptop, making a repair difficult at best.

It was time to retire the old girl. We knew it was coming.

So now, I have a new machine. It's not top-end, but it's pretty dandy for what I need, and beats the crap out of the old one. It's been named "Minmay"

Why name a computer after robotech's vacuous, fickle, not-so-loyal, possibly incestuous idol singer? I honestly don't know. It's certainly not the lessons I want my computer to learn. One of the selling points of this machine was ATA drives, which are going out of style, but make installing windows XP much easier... in case I hated wondows 7... I was going to go in with an open mind. Guess what happened?

Yup. It's OK. My new machine has 3gigs of ram, which might help also., but it feels OK. It has a lot of behaviours that I don't like, but after some tweaking, I think I'm just going to have to adapt a bit. Heck, running windows XP, I always tweaked it until it looked and felt like windows 98, so I guess I just have to take a step forward. It's ****ing microsoft. Conform or die, kill me now.

Shush, linux. Linux and I have come to terms with things. My MS alternatives will have to remain in the browser, email and office arenas. (On that topic, check out FireFox, Thunderbird [if you hate outlook] and Openoffice all of em free and awesome.)

Aside from my old laptop, I also still had my old desktop, Moria, (which was SUPPOSED to be named after the ship on Farscape, which I later learnt was actually 'Moya'.)
My Moria is about 7 years old, and of all the machines that have been in this house, only one has exceeded her speed, by 0.1 Ghz. She's a 3 ghz, with every bell and whistle that was available at the time. She cost a lot. It was my one needless indulgence when the settlement from my injury came around. She also had the bulk to my files... baby photos, music, graphical resources... FIFTEEN DVDs later, I have everything I wanted backed up. To put that in other terms, since a single layer writable DVD holds roughly 5 CDs worth of data, that would be about 75 CDs of data. I didn't load ALL of that onto the new laptop... Much of it I only need now and then, so it remains archived. But this frees up Moria to go live with my mother, who was running a pretty sad machine. She now has the fastest under this roof*, even above my new laptop. Moria just didn't fit in my lap very well.
*my playstation 3 runs more cyles by far than anything else in the house, if I wanna be picky.

And since I bring up Moya, in a related story, Claudia Black is awesome.
Despite that she hasn't returned my calls about playing Regan Grier in the Lifehack movie. Speaking of which, it's time for me to leave another message on Joss Wheadon's answering machine.