shadydave: (do not taunt the octopus)
Last night, we went to see my cousin in the MTS production of The Thirteenth Chair. It's not a bad story -- a locked room mystery where the man holding a seance to find out who murdered his friend gets murdered himself while the lights are out, and the medium has to figure out whodunnit to clear her daughter -- but the execution was TERRIBLE. (Err, writing-wise, not acting-wise. Err, well, my COUSIN was good, anyway.)

Some tips for mystery writing:

-- Suspects: you should have more than one. And you can't just TELL us someone is a suspect without any evidence to that end. It's no good having a red herring if they couldn't possibly have done it!

-- Motives: suspects should have them. Also, you should inform the audience that the suspects have them, oh, before they actually confess.

-- Plotting: it's generally nice to let the audience know what's going on -- for example, revealing how a character knew what happened in a scene he wasn't present for, or how the murderer killed someone when they were allegedly unable to move. In fact, revealing information in general at a steady rate, as opposed to having the last two acts devoted to "Youdunnit!" "Nuh uh!" and infodumping at the very end to explain everything IN RETROSPECT.

-- Mystery Science Theater 3000: technically not the playwrite's fault, but The Dead Talk Back is totally ripped off from this play, which didn't really help with the quality control.

-- The butler: he should have done it, dammit. He had access to the locked room, freedom to move at the time of the murder, a motive, AND an ominous scene with a protagonist! This is four times as much evidence as we were provided for the actual murderer.

EXTRA CREDIT: Read The Thirteenth Chair on Project Gutenberg. In how many ways does this play go wrong? What would you do to fix it?

FAIL

Sep. 24th, 2009 11:42 am
shadydave: (poisoning pigeons in the park)
So, I don't have a lot to say about Mackenzie Phillips (apart from "Poor Mackenzie Phillips, that's horrible") but I am kind of enraged at the way CNN's article is written. Comparison:

CNN
The Times

Blame the victim much, CNN? So not cool.
shadydave: (poisoning pigeons in the park)
You know what sucks? Finding out that an author that you like has jumped headlong into writing race FAIL. It's bad enough READING it, but at least in some cases you can MAYBE attribute it to carelessness or ignorance (HAI THAR TOLKIEN) as opposed to active malicious intent. Whereas this is just so shockingly insensitive, if not purposefully offensive, I don't even know what to say. Actually, I do: if ORSON SCOTT CARD can address this "problem" SO CAN YOU. Granted, I think that was pre-radical/CRAZY Orson Scott Card, but STILL.

In conclusion: please don't buy "The Thirteenth Child" by Patricia C. Wrede. I love her other books, but this is unconscionable. (And while we're at it, don't contribute money to The Last Failbender either.)

Dear Entertainment:

YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ENTERTAINING, NOT PERPETUATING HARMFUL SOCIAL PREJUDICES AND INEQUALITIES. STOP THAT RIGHT NOW.

Sincerely,
Dave

ETA: Here's an archive of the discussions.
SON OF ETA: ::headdesk:: ARRRRRRGH WHYYYYYYYY FOR GOODNESS' SAKE LISTEN TO YOURSELF WOMAN ::headdesk:: ::headdesk::
shadydave: (poisoning pigeons in the park)
So, if you haven't encountered RaceFail '09 yet, you should probably go check it out (ETA: here is a good and concise summary of events)-- not because it's particularly fun to watch various pro SFF authors make bigger and bigger racist and/or white-privileged assholes of themselves and the world a more exclusive and difficult place for persons of color, but because there's been a lot of thoughtful and thought-provoking posts about what it means to be a fan of color (not to mention those on racism, white privilege, and how not to behave on the internet), which I think everyone should read as part of our education in becoming decent human beings.

In more positive news, I was very pleased to find Naomi Novik weighing in on the right side of the debate, because it's always encouraging to find out that the author of awesome books is awesome too.

Anyways, this segues nicely into a rec for her books. Specifically, His Majesty's Dragon, which you can now read for FREE, because the only thing more awesome than a FREE BOOK is a FREE BOOK about the Napoleonic War with DRAGONS. It's like you have really awesome historical fiction and really awesome fantasy BUT TOGETHER IN ONE BOOK. THAT'S FREE. Plus the characters are amazing, the plots are exciting and fast-paced, and there are interesting AU historical tidbits that imply, for example, that all of Admiral Nelson is a zombie instead of just his arm. Also, literally every person I have made read these has loved them, all the way from my brother who seems to read only Star Wars EU books to my sister who talks about why books are awesome for a living.

In conclusion: AWESOME FREE BOOK.
shadydave: (It stinks!)
So, casting for the upcoming Avatar movie has basically been a whole load of white-washing racial FAIL headdeskery. Which is why it is SO. AWESOME. that Jessie McCartney (yes, the teenybopper singer, SEE WHAT I MEAN?!) is DROPPING OUT and being replaced by DEV PATEL, most famous for being TOTALLY AWESOME in Slumdog Millionaire.

Of course, now we have the problem that the main antagonist is so far the only person of color in the cast, which is obviously a whole 'nother area of racial FAIL headdeskery.

But it's a tiny bit of progress, and so if M. Night Shyamalan can keep from going more crazy and they stop failing so hard at casting, this movie might possibly have a chance at being awesome. Maybe. A bit, anyway.

BUT YAY DEV PATEL. AT LEAST WE CAN HAVE AWESOME ZUKO.

ETA: MORE FAIL. GOOD GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE.
shadydave: (DEEP HURTING!)
So, I am annoyed at the book I'm reading (Dark North by Gillian Bradshaw). It's been good so far, but when I had to stop reading yesterday, the main character just did something so UTTERLY RETARDED there's no way I can justify it as anything except a way to move the plot along. I feel you can squeak by with a few minor incidents of these while writing, and it's true that some people abuse it way more than others (::coughcough:: TORCHWOOD ::coughcough::), but it turns out plot stupidity is, if possible, EVEN MORE ANNOYING when it occurs in an otherwise quality environment.

Anyways, now I don't really want to keep reading because obviously bad stuff will happen because of the STUPID STUPID STUPID plot twist, but I do want to find out what happens. And thus, I am annoyed.

ETA: Ok, so it turns out it was historically motivated stupidity. However, that kind of makes it worse, because it means that the ENTIRE STORY started because of this one incident in history, but when we actually get to that incident, the way the main character is written makes it unlikely that he would actually do the one thing he actually did.

I liked the ending though, so overall it was pretty good.

In other reading FAIL, Mallory has become addicted to Twilight, despite Marge and I yelling "SPARKLY VAMPIRES IN VOLVOS!" and "JUDGMENT!" and now Marge wants me to read it to ascertain how bad it really is. POR QUE, EVO.
shadydave: (bad-ass helmet)
So, we had exciting adventures of FAIL last night.

First we went to see The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, although we lost Mallory to unknown and possibly sinister events happening to Trevor's car. We got to see the new Harry Potter trailer, which was awesome, especially when Laura and I cracked up at the exact same part, which you can now behold in its full glory because Laura wins at life!



Spoilers will come on swift wings to whosoever clicks on this link )

Anyways, after the movie, we went to the B&N in Main Street to hang out since it was the only place open after 9. Except that apparently, Stephanie Meyer's new Twilight book came out, and there was a release party. The smart thing would have been to call it a loss, but since we willing went to see The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor clearly this solution was not for us, so we hung out with the preteens and housewives and made bloodless origami (?) and charm bracelets and read books that were definitely not Twilight. We did, however, get to stay there extra long, since the store was open past midnight.

In conclusion: We are made of win, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is made of FAIL, and I am highly dubious of a book series whose primary audience is teenage girls and their mothers.
shadydave: (Default)
Happy Birthday, Marge, Dan, and Diana!

I was reading this article which is interesting, but I have several objections:

1) You can't use Nietzsche's brain as an example because of what we like to call a "confounding variable," namely that he was CRAZY FROM SYPHILIS.

2) 2001, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG:
I’m haunted by that scene in 2001. What makes it so poignant, and so weird, is the computer’s emotional response to the disassembly of its mind: its despair as one circuit after another goes dark, its childlike pleading with the astronaut—“I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m afraid”—and its final reversion to what can only be called a state of innocence. HAL’s outpouring of feeling contrasts with the emotionlessness that characterizes the human figures in the film, who go about their business with an almost robotic efficiency. Their thoughts and actions feel scripted, as if they’re following the steps of an algorithm. In the world of 2001, people have become so machinelike that the most human character turns out to be a machine. That’s the essence of Kubrick’s dark prophecy: as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.

First of all, STFU, because Dave is totally awesome, and it's his desire for new knowledge and understanding that allows him to carry on against logic -- because he's totally screwed -- and enables him to achieve enlightenment at the end of the movie (that was the acid trip part, BTW).

Second of all, HAL's tragedy occurs because he's NOT human -- he can't cope with the simultaneous demands of being a fact-based machine while being expected to lie to Dave about the mission's objective. He may be super-intelligent, but he doesn't have the mental flexibility that allows humans to lie, and also be optimistic and creative. So really, the point of the movie is not that AI will be more human than us, it's that we can't EXPECT it to be more human to us, or else we'll get ejected into space. TRY WATCHING THE MOVIE MORE CLOSELY, FOOL.

3) So really, the problem boils down to "our brains are becoming more attuned to the internet at the expense of being less capable of absorbing longer sources of information like books, because we only read the internet"? I think the obvious solution is READ A FUCKING BOOK NOW AND THEN SO YOU CAN DO BOTH. See? You can achieve maximum efficiency IF YOU AREN'T BEING A LAZY DUMBASS.
shadydave: (http://undermine.net/tracy/mirth/icons/)
apparently, our campus was infested by insane anti-abortion activists today, who went around yelling "REPENT! THE END IS NEAR!" and spreading the hate to all homosexuals, atheists, pro-choicers, innocent passersby, etc. to which I only have one thing to say:

way to go.

clearly, a college campus is the most relevant spot to protest pro-life issues. i mean, all the abortion clinics and gay bars and contraceptive dealers just make this place a regular gomorrah, don't they? i've often walked to class and thought, "gee, i wish there were some people here shouting really loudly about this den of iniquity." because as we know, college students are incredibly impressionable and never question the morality imposed on us by a completely depraved society, those heathen bastards, and are all marching jollily down the path of destruction, singing heavy metal songs as we go, so it's pretty fortunate you didn't actually try to make us think about the issues or anything, because i don't know if it could have penetrated our alcohol-steeped and sin-dulled brains. and you know what? yelling at people and telling them they are going to hell is really the best way to win converts. i mean, think of all the people jesus converted because he screamed at them and inspired others to hate and fear! so it's really a good thing that you showed up today in an impressive display of simple-minded, short-sighted, bigoted spew, because otherwise, i think the pro-lifers would have tried to impress people with our devotion to all sorts of life, even the ones that do things we don't approve of, and our desire to calmly and rationally present our views! silly us! of course, it's a shame that i'll be going to hell, since i'm not a born-again christian, but i guess i always knew that accursed popery would get me into trouble. but anyway, thank you, life and liberty ministries, for giving the the pro-life movement such a good reputation and for making our job that much easier. good job, guys. i bet jesus would be proud of you.
shadydave: (Default)
dear denizens of monroe 1st and/or 2nd west,

it has come to my attention that as of saturday, february 26, some serious misconceptions of common courtesy have resulted in flagrant and repulsive abuse of dryer etiquette. now, i am quite aware that monroe is currently only blessed with one working dryer, giving the perpetually sped state of A7 and the new and unfortunate grease-producing track of the dryer with the hole in the side, next to the soda machine. i am also aware of the fact that naturally, one would want to use the dryer in the middle which actually works. however, i feel it is in extremely bad form that, when you have unloaded your first load of laundry from the machine, you refrain from asking any persons lurking around looking hopeful whether they wish to use said machine, especially if they have been so kind as to wait a few minutes for your arrival, rather than dumping your stuff on top and losing your socks. now, it is true that this is not a formal convention, but it seems only fair to those of us who are not such bums in waiting to do laundry that we require 2 loads to dry our things. on a similar note, i would like to register my displeasure at those of you who find it completely unobjectionable to, after drying a relatively small load, then proceed to unload your garments and not only commandeer the dryer for another load, without inquiring whether anyone else wishes to use the contraption, but also devote the entire load to a set of sheets. what the hell. surely you can fit one effing set of sheets in with the rest of your laundry. i do it all the time, including with those awesome really soft sheets that i, too, possess, and which i can assure you are no worse for the wear from including them while drying my other items.

in conclusion, i suggest that it would be advisable to moderate your extreme suckiness in your dryer-monopolistic tendencies, as these are not only entirely unflattering but also perturb me a great deal and, dammit, i have matches and i know where your clothes are.

thank you very much for your time and consideration,
me

Arrgh.

Dec. 19th, 2004 05:11 pm
shadydave: (Default)
explorer is being stupid.

also, i'm feeling lazy today, so have fun clicking.

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