Friday, August 30, 2013

Pandas

In trying to avoid the more depressing and/or offensive news stories (Syria/Private Schooling Your Kids Makes You Evil), instead, read this. Which, were pandas not cute and cuddly, may not have caused such vociferous disagreement or been published at all. But, at least it gives me an excuse to link this.

More substantive posting will return once I have a new writing project.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Random People, Random Places: Manicures

Overheard on the way home from work: "Mom, can I get my nails done too? I want Wolverine nails."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

League of Legends Account Information

If you play LoL, check your spam/promotions filter in GMail/your inferior mail service for an important email from them. The future, I think, is going to involve pretty much every gaming account system to require the equivalent of the WoW authenticator.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Christian Nation: The Most Subversive Book in America

So, Ace of Spades has been having a lot of fun knocking around the new book Christian Nation. The book, which apparently reads like a lefty treatise on the horrors of the right, is actually, quite possibly, one of the most subversive books against the current president. However, to get such a thing published, it was required to be disguised, a la Animal Farm. Only, instead of casting pigs and donkeys, the author decided to cast as his villains someone that the target audience already villified.

Let's take some of my thoughts in turn.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lucy Gets Changed

I like how this ends things. If I re-wrote it, I might try to end it differently. Maybe there's a better way to end it (I think there is.) My spoileriffic thoughts are at the end. Table of contents here.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Peter Gets Comeuppance

Did you really think Sam's ploy would work? Table of contents here. I really like some of Sam's analogies/metaphors/what-have-yous at the start. This doesn't give people the come-uppance that everyone wanted Peter to get, I think, since Sam ducks out before it happens. But, then again, Sam has no real desire to get in the middle of this, so I think it makes sense.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sam Gets Emily

I've been doing a few things in my time not writing. First, I've been playing Bastion. So far, I see why people liked it when it came out -- what, five years ago? Yeah. I'm behind. I also finished the series of Cheers and started Wings, because it is by some of the same people. I feel like Wings got the short end of the stick; I think it is nearly as good as Cheers, so kind of a shame it never really picked up. Oh well, Table of Contents here.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sam Gets Honest

My favorite punchline is a retroactive callback within the same couple of pages. It's sort of like one of those joke set ups where someone is going to go talk to someone that makes them nervous. The other characters all suggest different things they could say, but then the character rejects their ideas and supplies a much wittier or smarter comment. Then, when they approach the character, nerves take over, and they spit out something stupid that had been suggested previously. Only, this time, you hear the stupid comment first ("Your hair looks nice,") before getting the call-back to the reason it is especially funny. Also: Any chance to reference Ghostbusters makes the section better. Table of Contents here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lucy Gets an Unexpected Surprise

This is another scene that I think works better if it were physical. The constant rocking, nudging and tossing around of Jon is really a great moment for physical comedy. The last bit, which I'll hold off describing, is really more of a physical/visual scene than a written one. Oh well. Table of Contents here.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Lucy Gets Serious

I have a new term of comedy writing art: Flexible Protagonist Personality Syndrome. In a cast, you tend to have a few primary protagonists (Sam Malone/Diane/Rebecca in Cheers.) Each character has a few things that are written in stone (Malone is a chivalrous pervert, Diane is small name big ego, Rebecca is a gold digger,) so on, so forth. But, within those spheres, we have a lot of wiggle room. Probably the biggest example of this is with Frasier in "Cheers" and Frasier in "Frasier." It is kind of hard to imagine the Frasier in "Frasier" and the Frasier in "Cheers" as the same person; the guy who on-the-fly turned Charles Dickens into a sort of modern day hard boiled crime story for his bar buddies is not really the same guy who throws those lavish dinner parties. But, those are at the extremes. For most of both shows runs, you can find a sort elastic personality that fits the characters that wouldn't be acceptable in a more serious drama.

This flex is because comedy requires some give and take from the audience; Woody (or Coach for the early seasons), for example, is essentially a living cartoon character. But, Woody especially, swings from being one of Sam's biggest boosters in his skirt chasing ways, to being a fairly conservative sort of guy when it comes to sex and marriage.  In a long-running series like Cheers, this can show character growth (the Sam we see at the end is not in anyway the same Sam who hires Diane in episode 1,) so it is often forgivable. In a shorter piece, like this story below (Table of Contents here), it is distracting. Hopefully, I've done a decent job of keeping our protagonists' personalities from flexing too much, or stretching too far, for the sake of a joke.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sam Gets a Clue

See if you can catch what Christine says that is bothering Sam. I feel like this is a good place to tag off to Lucy. I was tempted to instead actually have this scene be Lucy sending the text messages to Sam from her perspective while shooting down Christine and Kenny's wacky plans. Then, I realized that those sort of plans are funnier from an outside perspective. Also, if we did it that way, we'd need to sit through the same jokes a second time for Sam to hear them. Which seemed clunky, and unlike every other instance in this writing project where things have been clunky, I went ahead and excised that entire section and just have us have Sam walk in in the middle. I feel this helps the pacing, which is dragging. Table of Contents here, fiction below the link.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

RPG Maker Game Update

Actually playing and trying to break my own game in RPG Maker is really flexing problem solving skills I had long since let atrophy. It gives me a new sense of respect for the QA big games have to go through to get published. Think, in a fairly minimalistic sprite-based RPG, in the first two real rooms of the dungeon, I had nearly half-a-dozen game breaking bugs (using a certain skill causes a crash, saving/loading breaks event scripts, door won't reopen, etc., etc.) Imagine how much more complicated bug shooting, say, Eden Prime or the Human Noble's origin story must have been.