greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
[personal profile] greygirlbeast
The tree outside my office window is finally greening.

It's Saturday, and I'm locked inside. Please comment.

And this is one of the days when I chafe at the tyranny of my pill bottles and boxes. I'd like to open the window and drop them out. Fuck you, defective brain chemistry. Let the pieces fall where they may, but at least they'd be my pieces. Not a pharmaceutical hybrid always telling me that's my face in the mirror, when I know better.

Fuck you, 47.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,599 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. My plan is to have the first chapter finished by Wednesday, and then set the book aside until September. Which is, I know, a weird way to write a book, but another book needs to be written in between. And maybe when I come back to Blood Oranges at the end of the summer, I'll have figured out everything that happens after Chapter One.

---

I've made it almost all the way through the latest JVP, articles on Cenomanian squamates in France, the skull of the Early Triassic parareptile Sauropareion, saber-toothed cats from the Pleistocene of Venezuela, the therapsid Promoschorynchus, and a new Lower Carboniferous xenacanthiform shark from Australia.

---

Night before last, we watched Tony Scott's Unstoppable (2010), which is the other movie about trouble with trains he made, immediately after having done the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009). Both, of course, star Denzel Washington. Anyway, Unstoppable is good, and Washington is always a joy to watch. But, Chris Pine is dull as engine sludge, and it's a different sort of film than The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. As much as I enjoyed Unstoppable, I found myself wishing for the electricity that had sparked back and forth between that film's antagonist and protagonist. But the presence of Rosario Dawson (who played Abernathy in Death Proof) helped.

Last night, we watched two "horror" movies. The first was an entirely enjoyable and stupendously ridiculous Joel Schumacher film, Blood Creek (2009). Rednecks in Virginia fight a zombie demon Nazi occultist in a big scary house where time has stood still since 1940. And there's a zombie horse that, honest to fuck, is one of the scariest things I've seen in ages. I expected nothing from this film, and liked it a lot. It's much more artful than it has any right to be. See it.

We also watched Kevin Costner in Luis Berdejo's The New Daughter, which is very remotely based on a short story by John Connolly. All that said, it really isn't very good, which should surprise no one, as Kevin Costner hasn't, to my knowledge, been in a good movie since 1993 (A Perfect World, directed by Clint Eastwood). However, the sad thing is, The New Daughter has a lot of isolated effective moments, and it could have been brilliant. But the pacing's off, the film's about half an hour too long, is filled with actors who can't act, and feels like it wants to be a television mini-series. In fact, the uninspired cinematography absolutely screams old-school network TV mini-series. Essentially, it's a fairytale. More specifically, a changeling story and an animal groom story. But it fails to mine the riches of that fictional territory (if, indeed, the film is even that aware of it's fundamental nature). The archetypes and opportunities are left to die on the vine while Kevin Costner flails about and pouts and fails at being a single helicopter parent. A bright spot, however, is Ivana Baquero (Pan's Labyrinth), who makes the best of a bad situation and rocks the fuck out of what little she's given to work with. The film's final shot might have been brilliant, but it gets mucked up by ham-fisted "horror" clichés. See this one if you're bored, or enjoy picking apart bad films that ought to have been better.

---

You know, I really do love Rift. In terms of a fantasy MMORPG, it's the best there's ever been. It's beautiful to look at, usually fun to play, and all that. It's even queer friendly. But the more I play, and the more the shiny wears off, the more I see how much better and smarter it ought to be. Look, here's the thing. I've said it before. Trion, are you listening?

Writer's work cheap.

Especially fantasy writers. We very often do our best work for a few pennies a word. It's obscene, but true. And it's entirely relevant here, Trion, because you didn't have to do this wrong. The plot holes, almost complete lack of internal logical integrity, faulty world-building, and so on and so forth, all that stuff could have been avoided. And you wouldn't have to be posting what is essentially poorly written fan fic to your website, mucking things up even more. You could have done this right, Trion, and either you were ignorant of that fact, or you just didn't give a shit. But it's not about money. Because, like I said (REPEAT AFTER ME), writers work cheap. And even moderately incompetent hacks who never aspired to write anything more ambitious than a twelve-volume epic – following the adventures of a Drow anti-hero with a name that makes me laugh – can do better.

This is my message to the whole goddamn world right now: You can do better. Yes, you can. And if you know this, and you continue on about your sloppy, lazy, half-assed ways, well...people will love you and shower you with riches and you'll win awards. Because this is the way the world works.

But some days it makes me more nauseous than others.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

Venting Spleen,
Aunt Beast

Date: 2011-05-07 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kurtmulgrew.livejournal.com
Damn comment didn't load so here goes again: I turn 27 tomorrow. And bla bla bla. Hope your day gets better! I hate the lazy bastards too.

Date: 2011-05-07 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I turn 27 tomorrow.

Ah, to be a kiddo again.

I hate the lazy bastards too.

Lazy bastards, far too often, get the worm. The early birds are usually out of luck.

Date: 2011-05-07 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mellawyrden.livejournal.com
On your suggestion, I watched the Blook Creek trailer & now I must see this. I think my sister may have already lent it to me...

Date: 2011-05-07 07:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Excellent! I am an evangelist for cheesy, fun horror flicks.

Date: 2011-05-07 07:56 pm (UTC)
ext_18153: (Default)
From: [identity profile] kirby-crow.livejournal.com
It's silly, but I have the same complaint with LOTRonline, which is a rather silly game anyway and certainly not in RIFT class for graphics or rp, tho the PvP isn't too bad. There's a section of Michel Delving where the Hobbit storyline consists of nothing more than the Hobbits whining about pies, along with some ridiculous pseudo-political comment about titled Hobbits and the "privileged few hoarding the best pies".

If it was funny, that would be something, but it's not even comical, it's just... dumb. Most of the Shire is dumb. And I avoid going there because all I can do is snark in my head about it: "An entire Tolkien worldverse, and this is what you came up with for a major section of Ered Luin? Food? Really?"

<--cranky today



Date: 2011-05-07 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

It's silly, but I have the same complaint with LOTRonline,

And with LoTRO, there's truly no excuse. They had superb backstory to begin with.

"An entire Tolkien worldverse, and this is what you came up with for a major section of Ered Luin? Food? Really?"

Exactly!

Date: 2011-05-07 08:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lois2037.livejournal.com
I have continued n with my sloppy, lazy, half-assed ways and have no riches or awards showered on me... *sigh* and it seemed like such a good plan.

I sure know that feeling about throwing all the meds away. I hate them because they help me, which is screwed up, but it's really the dependency that I hate, knowing that, sure, I can quit taking them any time I want, but if I do, I'll have regrets.

Date: 2011-05-07 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whiskeychick.livejournal.com
This feeling comes over me for my son's meds. So just the outside looking in. So frustrating, regardless.

Date: 2011-05-07 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lois2037.livejournal.com
I'm sure its worse looking from the outside in, hoping it's the right stuff and not doing more harm than good. I have a lot less trouble going through something than watching someone I love going through something.

Date: 2011-05-07 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I have continued n with my sloppy, lazy, half-assed ways and have no riches or awards showered on me... *sigh* and it seemed like such a good plan.

Well, someone always slips through the cracks.

I sure know that feeling about throwing all the meds away. I hate them because they help me, which is screwed up, but it's really the dependency that I hate, knowing that, sure, I can quit taking them any time I want, but if I do, I'll have regrets.

Bingo.

There there are all the ways they make me more functional and more pleasant to be around, but also make me less me.

Date: 2011-05-07 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lee-in-limbo.livejournal.com
There there are all the ways they make me more functional and more pleasant to be around, but also make me less me.There there are all the ways they make me more functional and more pleasant to be around, but also make me less me.

THIS.

Date: 2011-05-07 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lois2037.livejournal.com
Mine just keep me breathing, but also mess me up physically a bit. I like breathing, though.
From: [identity profile] whiskeychick.livejournal.com
I came close to writing for Blizzard but the asshats insisted I move to California. Like writers really need to sit in a cubicle only to write. Ha! That was the beginning of the end for me at looking at it truly as an RP potential. It turned into cheap entertainment and a social experience for me at that point.

I have to keep my butt in the chair and write for the next, likely, 10 hours. Looking for good music to help inspire me to not be lazy, ignore the sun outside and stay at the desk and write my fucking ass off and blow the doors off.

Suggestions?
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Like writers really need to sit in a cubicle only to write.

This is gospel to gaming companies, I think. And Disney. And so forth.

I have to keep my butt in the chair and write for the next, likely, 10 hours. Looking for good music to help inspire me to not be lazy, ignore the sun outside and stay at the desk and write my fucking ass off and blow the doors off.

Suggestions?


The music would depend entirely what you're writing.

From: [identity profile] whiskeychick.livejournal.com
I have three projects to finish. One -- a literary criticism paper -- comparing/contrasting Sonny's Blues and Two Kinds (dull as shit). Two -- a short story (weird tale) I owe an editor last week and need to completely rewrite from a new POV. Three -- 7 pages due on the Novel (INTERFACE) Revision since I now have an editor's attention (sci-fi). All this today because tomorrow I have editing to do for Emergency Press and media writing both for school and for freelance.

Starting to feel a bit chained to the desk-- but it beats being in Zombieland Cube Farm. And there is a trip to the ocean tomorrow.

From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I have three projects to finish. One -- a literary criticism paper -- comparing/contrasting Sonny's Blues and Two Kinds (dull as shit). Two -- a short story (weird tale) I owe an editor last week and need to completely rewrite from a new POV. Three -- 7 pages due on the Novel (INTERFACE) Revision since I now have an editor's attention (sci-fi). All this today because tomorrow I have editing to do for Emergency Press and media writing both for school and for freelance.

Still not nearly specific enough to recommend music. Also, there are so many things here, no one band or song or album would ever cover all the bases,
From: [identity profile] whiskeychick.livejournal.com
I hope I'm not distracting you too much...

Okay, how about just this theme: merging of man and computer and the dark and beautiful that comes with that.
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Okay, how about just this theme: merging of man and computer and the dark and beautiful that comes with that.

Radiohead.
From: [identity profile] whiskeychick.livejournal.com
Thanks. I had a /headdesk moment when I read that. Of course.

Fruitful writing to both of us...

Date: 2011-05-07 08:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jessamyg.livejournal.com
I stopped taking my meds about 3 years or so ago now. I couldn't put up with the grey feeling of the world when all of my moods were levelled out. I've had good days and bad days, but I'm not a slave to the chemicals anymore, except for the chemicals my body produces. It might or might not have been a good choice, but I'll live, or die, by the choice, and it will have been MY choice. I may have to go outside and shake my fist at the heavens, but in a thunderstorm that's quite a bad idea. If the rain lessens I'll watch the lightning, that may help my mood.

Date: 2011-05-07 09:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

It might or might not have been a good choice, but I'll live, or die, by the choice, and it will have been MY choice.

That was my choice for a very long time. But then I realized the toll it was taking on people I cared about, and on my work, and I accepted what I believe is probably the lesser of two evils.

Date: 2011-05-07 09:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lee-in-limbo.livejournal.com
Thinking I'm on a similar wavelength to yours today. Curious, that.

Incidentally, wrote a strange bit about interactive storytelling (http://lee-in-limbo.livejournal.com/891053.html), which dovetails nicely with what you're talking about, though you may completely disagree with my assessments.

Date: 2011-05-07 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Incidentally, wrote a strange bit about interactive storytelling, which dovetails nicely with what you're talking about, though you may completely disagree with my assessments.

Though I've heard a lot of people apply it to roleplay, I strongly dislike that term, interactive storytelling. Which gets back to my drawing a distinction between storytelling and rp.

This is nothing personal.

Date: 2011-05-07 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lee-in-limbo.livejournal.com
Between you and me, I don't like the term 'Interactive Storytelling' much, either. It's not the one I started with a few years ago when I first started formulating my ideas about writing for digital media. However, I'm struggling to adopt a term game developers are settling on, in order to spark a debate about what makes the whole concept sink or swim. It's not precisely RP I'm thinking about, but I suppose that's an area to look into.

As much as I used to enjoy RPing, I don't really think you can build a video game around it, at least until you develop voice recognition software that can rate your (improvised?) performance and assign a point value that is relevant to the gameplay at hand. From a writer's point of view, that presents a whole different (though not unrelated) set of problems to tackle.

I've actually given that some thought, too, but it's a topic for another post.

Date: 2011-05-07 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

As much as I used to enjoy RPing, I don't really think you can build a video game around it, at least until you develop voice recognition software that can rate your (improvised?) performance and assign a point value that is relevant to the gameplay at hand.

See...I want a game that isn't a game. I hate the gaming aspects of games. RP should never, ever be subject to rating or scoring. It's the way that MMORPGs might someday transcend being mere games.

Date: 2011-05-07 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lee-in-limbo.livejournal.com
EXACTLY!

See, I want a new medium. Interactive Storytelling doesn't really work if you're always putting the gameplay before the story. But if you don't focus on the gameplay, they can't call it a game... which is what I've been saying for years, with a big old grin on my face. I want the story to BE the 'gameplay'.

Interactive Storytelling (or whatever it finally gets called) isn't supposed to be a game. It's supposed to be its own thing entirely. I'm waiting for developers to figure that out and act accordingly, so I can get down to work.

Date: 2011-05-07 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Problem is...99% of gamers have no real roleplaying skills whatsoever, which kills the "product" before it's born.

Date: 2011-05-07 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lee-in-limbo.livejournal.com
*grins* I'm counting on it, actually. I'm not interested in imposing an Ableist prerequisite on a new medium of expression. I want people to do what all people can do, to one degree or another (with perhaps a bit of help): tell stories.

The thing is, while there is a lot of money in gaming at the moment, the market is tilted severely toward a very small segment of the population (relatively speaking; WoW claims to have something like 11 Million subscribers or higher, but I quit because it wasn't doing it for me anymore, and I know I'm not the only one, so there clearly needs to be something better), compared to that portion of the computer-using public who love a good story and might be intrigued by the idea of 'playing' in their very own story, but can't play action (or puzzle) video games to save their lives.

Let's face it: so long as we're dependent upon hardcore gamers to drive the market for new virtual worlds, there are always going to be score cards (E-Peenage), and the writing will always take a back seat, at best. The most those stories will ever be, so long as killing and fetch quests and leveling are the driving mechanics, is Quite Good; you'll never get Great Fiction.

And yeah, I know the RPing portion of the equation is entirely dependent on some pretty specific skills and 'talents'. But if you create a virtual theater or movie set and make the player 'act' and try to (re)solve the story, they learn to do something completely new that isn't reliant on twitch reflexes or an unhealthy preoccupation with abstract problem substitutions (puzzles).

That's a market that is still waiting to be tapped properly. I'm sure we'll live to see it happen in our lifetime. I just wish it would hurry up, so I can get in while I still feel like I have something to contribute.

(PS: I don't know if I'm irritating you with this discussion, but in case you're concerned that you're breaking my heart, I'm actually enjoying this immensely.)

Date: 2011-05-07 11:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
This deserves a longer response, but:

*grins* I'm counting on it, actually. I'm not interested in imposing an Ableist prerequisite on a new medium of expression. I want people to do what all people can do, to one degree or another (with perhaps a bit of help): tell stories.

You're far more optimistic than I am.

And most people can't tell stories. More importantly, most people can't act, and rp is acting, not storytelling.

Also, I despise the word "Abelist."
Edited Date: 2011-05-07 11:58 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-05-07 10:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com
I have to think that the sad fact of game design, particularly that of online, MMO-game design, is that there's so many plates to keep spinning and so many things which can, and do, go wrong that require a constant flow of work-hours/money that something static and basically stable such as plotting and scripting the fiction are a matter of making it "Good Enough" rather that something exceptional or necessarily art-worthy. Yes, it is the sad tale of commerce-enforced mediocrity, but the other problem is that there's no way to please all players and consumers at once, to worldbuild sufficient to satisfy all the tastes of the (vastly broad) fantasy genre.

Of course, that's probably not what you're complaining about, which is fine, but without being more specific I can't comment further. Also, why the hell am I playing apologist to the writers? Well mostly because I feel bad for the people who did write it under what was probably terrible creative conditions under less-than-ideal editorial observation, and by committee. God knows what was lost in the translation between vision and execution, by way of artistic direction and commercial edicts.

Finally, the shiny was going to come off eventually. It was just a matter of when.

Date: 2011-05-07 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Note: My comments were emphatically not aimed at whatever poor schmuck they burdened with the "writing." It was Trion. They're the ones who could have fixed it, before they broke it.

And really all I'm asking for is something that makes sense. Try, for example, puzzling out the way the Defiant ascendent are created vs. the way the Guardian ascendent are created. That's hard enough to make sense of. But then try to reconcile that into the story of how Kira was "resurrected" as the person she was fifty years before. You can't, because no one at Trion even knows.

And yeah, the shiny always goes. I accept that. Until a game is willing to be more than a game, the shiny will always wear off.

And yeah (again), no one much cares. They're a lot more interested in easter-egg hunts and the fact that the next patch will add a fifth "build" for each character (which is just...stupid).

Date: 2011-05-07 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com
Gamers will care more about the gaming than anything else, they'll overlook a boatload of logical inconsistencies as long as the gaming aspect isn't "broken" (whatever that means to each person at the time). Unfortunately, they are making up the largest percentage of the population, even on this RP server. Which baffles me because there's no shortage of PVE shards to be "Nastygur1337" or "Bloodbuttt" or whatever. Okay, I'm veering off into territory we don't need to go into.

Anyway, yeah, when you put it the way you mention above, you got it right. The observation that might be most apt now is the one where I saw someone mention that we're not actually playing a fully-realized game, but an advanced, open-beta. That probably applies to the storyline and world building too.

Date: 2011-05-07 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
Gamers will care more about the gaming than anything else

And, truthfully, I'm not a gamer.

Which baffles me because there's no shortage of PVE shards to be "Nastygur1337" or "Bloodbuttt" or whatever.

I am likewise baffled.

Anyway, yeah, when you put it the way you mention above, you got it right. The observation that might be most apt now is the one where I saw someone mention that we're not actually playing a fully-realized game, but an advanced, open-beta. That probably applies to the storyline and world building too.

Problem is, they've already laid a shoddy foundation as regards the storyline. There's no fixing that.

And, I say again. It didn't have to be that way. I'll settle for mediocrity, as long as it at least makes an effort at making sense.
Edited Date: 2011-05-07 11:52 pm (UTC)

Kevin Costner

Date: 2011-05-07 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] captaincurt81.livejournal.com
I enjoyed Costner in the largely overlooked 'next door neighbor killer' film, MR. BROOKS (2007). William Hurt and Dane Cook co-star. Did you see this one?

Re: Kevin Costner

Date: 2011-05-07 11:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Did you see this one?

Nope. But I still have trouble imagining him ever redeeming himself after Waterworld and The Postman.

Re: Kevin Costner

Date: 2011-05-08 12:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] captaincurt81.livejournal.com
I hope to never see a film as bad as The Postman again in this life. MR. BROOKS is far above the two you mentioned.

Date: 2011-05-08 03:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corucia.livejournal.com
RE: real RPing versus RPing in gaming worlds

I think that most gamers will never make reasonable RPers, as their main predilections are toward the achievement side of the equation rather than the immersive side. I have no desire to do the achievements; I'd much rather be immersive. An ideal RP situation would be the ability to move beyond the boundaries of my favorite movies or books, and explore the world that the movie/book was set in. No need for achievements or quests, just a chance to explore more. I'd love to wander around Lovecraft's New England of a century ago, for example. If I were designing a virtual world, I'd offer two levels - immersive and ghost. Immersive would be for a single person, or an existing group of people, to use. if the person or group allowed it, then others could follow the evolving storyline using ghost mode, in which they can wander around, both in 'space' and 'time' within the virtual world, and see the ongoing and past roleplaying of the immersed participants, without being seen or affecting the RP in any way. In this manner, the best RP groups could generate money for the group and the company running the virtual world by charging small access fees to the ghosts, and interested viewers could see more of what might have gone on in their favorite books/movies.

Date: 2011-05-08 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] opalblack.livejournal.com

Let the pieces fall where they may, but at least they'd be my pieces
I sometimes wonder what I would really lose if I did just this. Some days the only thing stopping me is the withdrawals--heroin has nothing on sertraline.

You can do better. Yes you can.
Those who aspire to adequacy cultivate mediocrity. Loathsome. If one contains the potential to be exceptional, it is madness not to express it.

Date: 2011-05-08 03:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eluneth.livejournal.com
Essentially, it's a fairytale. More specifically, a changeling story and an animal groom story.
I ended up being bored last night and am a sucker in any situation for these archetypes (and Ivana Baquero), so I watched The New Daughter. I was amused by the heavy-handed womb/rebirth symbolism at the end ("you're going to have to go by yourself now! you're going to have to push!" - which could have been interesting in combination with the struggling single-dad thing), but apart from that attempt at Meaning it was so silly and thoughtless. Sad. They seem to have spent more money ensuring that everyone had improbably good hair throughout the movie than on a non-cheesy soundtrack, or anything else.

Blood Creek, on the other hand, has been added to my zombie-night watching list, and I greatly look forward to it!

I am very excited for this werepire thing to happen - continuing good luck with Chapter 1.

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