shadydave: (bad-ass helmet)
So, while I was, uh, diligently alphabetizing all the drop files from the past 10 years at work today, I came across this awesome article about plotting in SFF novels. In conclusion: IT'S FUNNY 'CAUSE IT'S TRUE. All literary criticism should be this hilarious and astute. And also bash The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever if possible.

I especially like that this was written over 20 years ago but is still widely applicable, because there's no reason a trope that had been going strong for AT LEAST 30 years when this was written (dating from the publication of LoTR) shouldn't let another two decades get in the way. For example, replacing "the Force" with "the Plot" works just as well in the Star Wars Prequel trilogy:

MACE WINDU: You refer to the prophecy of The One who will bring balance to the Plot. You believe it's this boy?

COUNT DOOKU: It is obvious that this contest cannot be decided by our knowledge of the Plot... but by our skills with a lightsaber.

PALPATINE: Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith, so powerful and so wise he could use the Plot to influence the midichlorians to create life...


Or take Harry Potter (please! ::ba-dump chh::). The plot of each book is pretty much determined by 1) the space of one year and 2) Harry interacting with the [Noun of Noun] bit of the title. Observe:

1. Harry learns about, finds, and protects the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone
2. Harry learns about, finds, and defeats the monster(s) in the Chamber of Secrets
3. Harry learns about, finds, and (eventually) protects the Prisoner of Azkaban
4. Harry gets attacked by Voldemort's ridiculously overcomplicated plot to destroy him, starting with the Goblet of Fire
5. Harry learns about, imitates, and eventually joins the Order of the Phoenix
6. Harry (and the reader) tries to figure out what's up with the Half-Blood Prince
7. Harry learns about the Deathly Hallows and uses this knowledge to defeat Voldemort

Obviously there's a certain amount of "NO KIDDING" with these summaries (since, you know, titles SHOULD generally reflect what's going on in the book) but my point is that the [noun of noun] bit, particularly in the first three books, is what starts the plot, keeps it going, and then wraps it neatly up in the end, barring the series-long plot threads. Conveniently, the more complicated relation of the [noun of noun] title to the plot also fits the more complicated view of the world Harry develops in the last four books.

However, the presence of these kinds of plotting isn't necessarily BAD (despite all the mentions of crap). After all, it's popular because it WORKS. Readers usually like fiction to wrap up neatly, and Chekhov's gun (or whatever) to be governed by rules, but they also like to be surprised. Plot coupons, plot vouchers, and dei ex machina et al. are ways to deliver the conventions readers expect; they're just more obvious in SFF because it's cooler when they're played by killer robots and magic swords. In the end, they're just a tool, and a good writer can use them well and a bad writer will still be bad even if s/he avoids them.
shadydave: (Default)
Wow, so it's really hard to print off a copy of your transcript (or graduate, for that matter) if you have a hold on your record until DECEMBER 31, 2099 because you didn't fill out your Perkins Exit Loan Survey.

Oops?

WORK FASTER, EMAIL. SOME OF US NEED TO GRADUATE.
shadydave: (Default)
Things that are made of win:
- I actually finished a paper due today at 2:00 LAST NIGHT! I got 8(ish) HOURS OF SLEEP! I can REVIEW IT AT MY LEISURE today!
- I GOT INTO PBK!

Things that are made of fail:
- projectile vomiting
- Kirstin's phone
- My oatmeal, which is more like soup

In conclusion: I need to go tutor small children now.
shadydave: (Default)
Wow, the auto draft saving thing on LJ is HARDCORE. Check out my aborted entry from a couple weeks ago!

Timely updates are for LOSERS )

I've read almost a third of these! I feel special.

This weekend was Family Weekend, so I got to see Mom and Dad and Kirstin. Also, Kurt called me at 2:30 in the morning because he was homesick. Unfortunately, I was asleep, but hopefully my confused mumblings provided some comfort.

Also, I have sesamoiditis. Apparently the treatment is taking lots of ibuprofen, icing my foot, and using a metatarsal pad. I have so far achieved exactly two of these things!

Today's Update

In other news, I have been very busy. (I almost wrote 'busty', which is also technically true.) The weekend before last was fall break, so we went to Myrtle Beach and stayed in Natasha's condo. I did a lot of reading for fun and accomplished no work, but I regret NOTHING! Except a certain lack of sleep.

I took the GREs on Saturday and totally bombed the Qualitative section. It turns out it's hard to do high school math if you haven't actually done any math since high school. Also, I was led astray by my (technically the B&N's) practice book, which had deceptively easy math. So I am probably in the 4th percentile, because math already has ridiculously high percentiles. When combined with my insanely high Verbal score, I appear to be some kind of idiot savant.

Seriously, I did better on the math section on the SAT in 7TH GRADE. I hadn't even LEARNED math at that point.

My parents have failed at buying metatarsal pads for my foot and also transferring money to my bank account, which makes me sad. Also, my foot hurts and I have $5.74 to my name. I'm not actually kidding.

I am going home this weekend! Kirstin is being forced to go to Villa's All-Class Reunion, and is in turn forcing me to go too. Naturally, it is homecoming weekend and everyone is beginning to list all the fun things they will be doing without me. However, it will be nice to go home, especially since I need to do laundry.

In conclusion: This is the most fun and socially conscious vocab quiz ever.
shadydave: (leather coat guy)
I am rather amused that Youtube's advertisements state "Huge stock of Robots at low prices!" Wow! Just what I needed!

Both my dad and his secretary are on vacation today, so I arrived at 7:00 AM (CURSE YOU CARPOOLING!) to find the principal's office locked. This was unfortunate, but not as unfortunate as the back hallway ALSO being locked, because that's where the toaster and microwave are, and I really wanted to eat breakfast. Eventually, Elizabeth the Main Office Secretary arrived and said she might have a key. It turned out she had one for my dad's office and the back hallway, but not for the actual rest of the principal's office. Fortunately, someone had forgotten to lock the door between the main office and the principal's office, so I was able to get into there and thus to my dad's. The principal's office remained shut until Gloria got there with her keys, which was actually kind of awesome, because I was assured of no one bothering me about cell phones or summer school or crap like that while I was eating breakfast. Since Gloria is also on vacation tomorrow, she gave me her key, so I'll be able to get in. Also, maybe I should filch my dad's, since Elizabeth might not be in tomorrow to open his office. Hmmm. He's in Michigan, it's not like he's gonna need them. I can carry around his giant key-ring and feel SUPER COOL. Especially while I stand there trying to figure out which one of the thirty I need.

Anyways, while I was pretending to be a Serious Scholar and work on my Monroe Project, I noticed an interesting phenomenomenon. enomenon. enon.

Perceval: Now with 100% more subtext! )

In conclusion: No Dad + no Maria + nothing to do except sit at a desk = watching MST3K at work! For the win.
shadydave: (Default)
So, I've been sitting here, freaking out about finishing my papers for Celtic Narrative, because the only constraints on the due dates are "sometime before the end of finals", but my professor wants hard copies and I leave this afternoon, and I'm going "WOE IS ME, IF ONLY THERE WERE SOME WAY FOR ME TO WORK ON MY PAPER ON THE TRAIN, YET HAVE IT PRINTED OUT IN WILLIAMSBURG," and then I realize, "Wait, if my only problem is handing in hard copies, I can just email them to Meera, who is here until FRIDAY."

::facepalm::

To think: I could have thought of this last night, and my three hours of sleep would not have been haunted by dreams of failure and doom.
shadydave: (Default)
If I put my hands over my ears, Barnes and Nobles sounds a lot like the ocean.
shadydave: (dean needs more cowbell)
A Word of Advice: Do not attempt to swing arms briskly forward when there is a desk in the way. This only leads to pain and reduced use of your right hand index and middle fingers. Ouchies.

Another Word of Advice: Be really careful about your segueways whilst IMing people.

In which I apparently admitted I have Fal-diddle-i-urum Dysfunction )

In other news, I have not been overwhelmed by homework. Huzzah! My classes are pretty awesome too, as are my professors, so all is well in the academic world. Also, I've come up with a tentative idea for my Monroe Scholar's project that would incorporate a touring the British Isles with Katherine, which is also pretty awesome and a Load Off My Mind. Being pressured to find something to do with $3000 can be stressful, you know.

In the entertainment portion of tonight's program my life, last night we watched Erik the Viking and Kronk's New Groove. Erik the Viking was originally a Monty Python thing, and then it did end up with Monty Python people in it, but alas, it is not up to Monty Python caliber. It was, however, on lots of crack. Percy/Darling from Blackadder was in it as Sven the Berserk, so that was fun. In conclusion: Tim Robbins often looks like a girl. Kronk's New Groove was of course not nearly as good as the original, but it was pretty funny. However, it was also deeply, deeply disturbing. Definitely not required viewing. In conclusion: Pancake Junction!

We also went to the IT (Improv Theater) show, and guess what! They're actually funny again! Huzzah!

Because I am, in fact, too hip for the educational institute, I made another spoon icon:

Carry on, wayward icon )

And, finally, I present to you the Bad Goth Poetry Generator!. If only Natasha were here.
shadydave: (π!)
Last week: I finished researching, formulated a thesis for, and wrote a 13 page research paper in 2.5 days. It might even be good!

Last weekend, my parents, grandmother, and el Kirsitano came down to visit so as to see my spring concert. They also got to see me play handbells on Sunday! It was very exciting. Also, my mom brought down the guitar, which was unearthed in the guest bedroom (they finally gave Kirstin her own room). So now I'm learning to play the guitar! Even more importantly, apparently we have a BANJO that belonged to my uncle. So I think I know what I'm doing this summer. Mwahahahahahaha!

Exam schedule:
Monday 5/1: Abnormal Psych
Wednesday 5/3: Arthurian Lit
Friday 5/5: East Asian Mountain Religions
Tuesday 5/9: Study of Language
Wednesday 5/10: Victorian Novel

By some cruel twist of fate, all but one of my exams is at 8:30, and my dad can't pick me up until the 12th. Alas.

Ok, so Googlefight is like the best ever. Gacked from Marge, a return to the Great Debate:
water ice vs...
...Italian ice
...snow cone
...shaved ice
...Polish ice

I think we can see who is pretty much the winner.

In what is probably my finest moment ever, today I wrote Natasha a paper for her Modern Hinduism class that grossly represents all the major world religions without even trying. This includes Hinduism. This is probably a good example of why you should never ask me to write a paper for you.

PIE, Salty Snacks, and George Harrison: An Overview of Hinduism )
shadydave: (Default)
Merry Christmas everyone! Happy holidays also!

Um. Have to go clean now for the Christmas partay. And decorate the tree. And make some pie crusts. And wrap presents. And stuff.

But at least I don't have to write a paper on how Anchises got carried out of Troy (or blow up 12 planets)! Yes!

Quote o' the Day:
Kirstin on my new coat: Why, you're looking very... Sharpe this evening.
Me: You've been waiting all night to say that, haven't you.
Kirstin: Yeah. It's pretty much the best part of my day.

ETA: It is 2:00 in the morning. My mission to make two (2) loaves of cranberry bread has been exactly fifty percent (50%) success. Note to self: one-half (1/2) cup ≠ one (1) cup
shadydave: (tribe pride)
my right-thinking pennsylvanian comrades will probably wonder why i'm even bothering with this post.

some thoughts on water-ice )

now i am hungry. must study for english exam.
shadydave: (Default)
i would just like to mention that i am going to be paid a thousand dollars to watch bad movies and go see spamalot.

that is all.

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