Archive for April, 2012

I finished “Cassandra” just five minutes ago.

The length of the rough draft is 16,867 words. It’s the longest thing I’ve completed for… a while now.

I’m feeling very pleased with myself at the moment.

But also tired.

And slightly hungry.

Yours,

~ Ian

post-season wrapup

Posted: April 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

So the ski season is over.

I know. I am ensaddened.

One of the strangest things about this season has been the lack of snow. I mean, if you remember that post I made in January, it had a picture in a parking lot at Kirkwood where there was no snow.

Observe:

MY RAGE IT IS PALPABLE

In any case, the snow wasn’t great this season. Yesterday, it was a bit like skiing on Slurpees. It wasn’t even flavored Slurpee, either: it was just plain.

My goal for the season was to get good at skiing again– good enough to go on black diamond runs. Well, I didn’t make my goal. I know, I know: slightly disappointing. But hey– I had fun sliding down the hill, both on my feet and my ass, and so I qualify that as a success.

Am I going to keep skiing next year? Hell yes.

But all good things must end eventually, and since it’s almost May, then I guess that I will have to bid the ski season of 2011/2012 farewell.

Depressedly yours,

~ Ian

  • Ask if Batman is going to be in The Avengers.
  • If they invite you to see Blade Runner, say, “No thanks. I’m not really into horror movies.”
  • When Felicia Day is referred to, say, “Oh! Wasn’t she the redhead from American Pie?”
  • Claim that having read all seven Harry Potter books means that you have “major geek cred”.
  • Send invitations on Facebook to join you in playing FarmVille.
  • When hearing a geek ranting about DRM, say, “But ‘The One I Love’ is such a good song!”
  • Ask if they are on Team Edward.
  • Declare yourself to be on Team Edward.
  • Say that your favorite aliens from Star Wars are the Ewoks.
  • Refer to FTL travel in the Star Trek universe as “Hyperspace”.
  • Alternatively, refer to FTL travel in Star Wars as “Warp Speed”.
  • When asked your favorite anime, reply Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • Alternatively, constantly mix up the James Cameron movie and the Nickelodeon cartoon that go by the same title.
  • Ask them their plans for Super Bowl Sunday.
  • Insist on believing that Firefly is an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
  • Say that Battle Royale ripped off The Hunger Games.
  • Chastise a person whose T-shirt says “All Your Base Are Belong To Us” or “Somebody Set Up Us The Bomb” for wearing improperly grammatical clothing.
  • Claim that your favorite actress is Megan Fox.
  • Buy all your consumer electronics based on how “cute” they are.
  • Refer to Monty Python as a “he”.
  • Only play video games that are “good” for you, like Brain Age or WiiFit.
  • Say that 3D is the greatest technical innovation ever in the history of cinema.
  • Try to get them to dance.

And I will point out: NEARLY HALF OF THE THINGS ON THIS LIST HAVE BEEN SAID IN MY PRESENCE AND MADE ME DIE A LITTLE INSIDE.

I DO NOT KNOW HOW MUCH MORE DYING I CAN TAKE.

THE DYING IT BURNS ME.

~ Ian

So in the first draft of “Down and Out in the Mushroom Kingdom”, I had little humorous ads that went between the four main sections of the story, as a way of indicating chapter breaks. I guess I got the idea from Gaiman’s story “A Study in Emerald”, which has some hilarious fake Victorian advertisements in between the main sections of the story (my favorite one is about V. Tepes– Professional Exsanguinator!!). In any case, I tried doing something similar to that while I was writing DaOitMK.

Then I decided that I didn’t like the ads, that they interrupted the flow of the story. So I took them out.

BUT NO MATTER! Because I’ve been meaning to put these up on Axolotl Ceviche for three whole months, here they are. They don’t add to the story at all, but they do have some terrible video game jokes in them. See if you can spot them all!

Think of these ads as “DVD Extras”. They don’t add that much, but they may give you a bit of a smile.

~ Ian

 

“Down and Out in the Mushroom Kingdom”: Deleted Scenes

 

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One thing that I’m continually surprised at when I’m writing is how much I put myself into the story.

It’s kind of scary, actually. Let me give you an example:

In the story, “Cassandra”, there is a character called Cassandra*. Now, Cassandra shows up several times in the story, in various guises. And the main character is in love with her (it’s not exactly a love story, but romantic relationships play an important role in the story). Now, when I’m writing about Cassandra from the perspective of the main character, I’m in love with her. Totally. Passionately. I’ve been in love before; I know what it feels like. So when I’m writing about Cassandra, from the main character’s perspective, I can feel that exact same rush of chemicals in my brain that cause the sensation that makes falling in love so damn good. It isn’t like empathy at all: I am in love with Cassandra, and the main character is the puppet through which I give my love to her.

When I’m not writing, though? It’s kind of scary. I think about Cassandra and I don’t feel anything. I mean, she’s fictional. She’s not even committed to paper. I haven’t printed out “Cassandra”, so until then she just exists as characters in a .pages file.

And I look at Cassandra, and I think, WHAT THE FUCK, GIRLFRIEND? WHY DO I FALL IN LOVE WITH YOU WHEN I WRITE ABOUT YOU? I AM YOUR CREATOR! YOU ARE NOT REAL! YOU ARE A FIGMENT OF MY OWN IMAGINATION! I AM NOT IN LOVE WITH YOU– I CONTROL YOU! YOU ARE MY PUPPET, DANCING ON MY STRINGS! DANCE FOR ME, PUPPET! DANCE FOR ME!

But when I’m writing “Cassandra”, and at the same time writing Cassandra, I go into the main character’s brain. I become the main character. And the main character is in love with Cassandra. So, logically, I’m in love with her too.

cannot emphasize how batshit gorram loco this is.

But it’s what happens.

Take heed, novice writers: You don’t control the story. All you can do is hang on.

~ Ian

*The character Cassandra is not why the story is called “Cassandra”. The reason why the story and the character are both called Cassandra is the same reason, though.

There was a sudden short burst of blogging activity earlier this month, when it seemed like I had something new to say every couple of hours. Well, this week, that well has run dry. I haven’t got too much to say, really. Maybe working on “Cassandra” has made my writing gears kick into overdrive, and this means that my cup runneth over with creative fluid (ew) when I’m working on “Cassandra”. But I’ve reached a point in “Cassandra” where I’ve gotten stuck. I know how the story ends, and I know the basic path that I’m going to use to get there. But I’ve hit all the big scenes that I wanted to hit when I made a basic mental outline of the story in my head: the mud wrestling scene, and the underwater Westside Story dance fight scene,* and all the other important ones that I wanted to do. So I’m kind of at a point where the clear path is lost. And because of that, I haven’t been updating my lame blog as much. I’m sorry, to all my followers (all nine of you!).

But I’ve had a good week. So I think I’ll tell you some vignettes from the week that I’ve had:

1

After I finish with “Cassandra”, and work some on Dance of the Dragon: The Erotic Cyberpunk Re-imagining of A Song of Ice and Fire**, I’m considering working on a superhero-related story. Maybe watching some of the Avengers-related stuff online has made me want to do this. I dunno. Whatever the reason, my mind is in a superheroic place.

But there are really only two ways you can go with a superhero story and not make it suck: you can write a dark, postmodern deconstruction of the superhero genre, or you can go so far as to making the story really damn stupid– so stupid that it goes beyond parody, and becomes something brilliant. I’m talking about having a story with a superhero whose power is fart-propelled flight.

The problem with writing the first kind of superhero story is… well… it’s already been written. Alan Moore wrote it in 1985. So you can’t have two stories like that around, because the second is superfluous. You can’t write Watchmen again. It done been wrote.

So I may take the story in a ridiculous direction.

If I ever actually write it.

We’ll see.

2

I have been watching a LOT of LoadingReadyRun lately.

A LOT.

So I’ve found that I have gained a slight Canadian accent as a result.

Not enough to be completely noticeable by others. But I notice it.

So that’s a little weird.

7

It is incredibly hot outside.

I have been forced to don shorts.

never wear shorts. You know those people who wear shorts ALL THE TIME, no matter how cold out it is? Well, I’m the opposite. I love jeans. I’m a jean-loving man. So I am annoyed at the fact that I have been forced to let my hairy pale legs be exposed to the elements.

For a picture of me wearing goddamn stupid shorts, look below:

So that my existential rage at having to wear shorts can be appropriately conveyed, I have created the below picture:

And, solely for my own amusement, here I am making my Mythbuster bobbleheads make out:

Where was I…?

…Oh yeah. Vignettes.

Pickles!

I watched Serenity last night.

Now, here’s the thing about Serenity: I don’t usually cry at movies. I understand why people do, but I tend to be emotionally detached from the whole process: I don’t see the characters as people so much as storytelling elements. Or the movie is so bad that I just laugh at their misery. (Witness my reaction to most romantic comedies.)

Whenever I watch Serenity, I cry like a tiny child.

So much so that this shameful scene once occurred (last year, when I had a roommate):

INT: Room 203 in Stevenson House 1.

ROOMMATE enters as IAN is watching Serenity on his computer.

ROOMMATE: What’re you watching?

IAN: Serenity.

KAYLEE (on-screen): Wait– Wash! Where’s Wash? 

ZOE (on-screen): He didn’t make it.

IAN: *sniff*

ROOMMATE: …Are you crying?

IAN: …yes.

Anyway, I think that’s enough self-humiliation for one night. Have a wonderful evening, wherever you are, and if you’re in one of those time zones where it’s morning already, then… well…

…damn you. You messed up my outro.

~ Ian

* Note: there are no mud wrestling scenes OR underwater dance fights in “Cassandra”. But I don’t feel ready to talk about what happens in the story yet, so I am lying to you. NEVER TRUST A WORD I SAY.

** Not the project’s actual title. But I don’t want to tell you what the project’s actual title is yet. So there.

I completely forgot that it was Creative Writing Wednesday.

Because I am an idiot.

Anyway, because I didn’t prepare anything, and there’s only an hour of Wednesday left today, then I decided to pull out the opening to a story that I wrote back in the summer. It’s about plants.

Maybe I’ll post the full story sometime. For now, this is just a fragment.

Hope you enjoy.

~ Ian

 

Apartment 29

Lyndsi Salvatore kept plants in her apartment.

It began as a hobby, a way to keep herself sane while she job-hunted. She’d been fired from her job as a salesperson at Agilix Software, so she had a lot of free time. At first she job hunted, but as time wore on, she found herself going out less and less, sitting around in her apartment in her pajamas, watching crappy TV and eating junk food.

One day, when she was out on a routine grocery run, she passed a gardening store on Bascom Avenue. She thought, hey, what the hell, she’d go in and have a look; she had nothing but time on her hands. So she went in and came out with a snake plant (Sansivieria trifasciata), because she liked how it looked.

The next day, she stopped at the same store to get fertilizer. The man behind the counter talked her into buying an African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha pendula), an Umbrella Plant (Schefflera arboricola), and a rubber plant (Ficus elastica).

The weeks turned into months and she was still jobless, living off her savings account and her parents’ money. Her apartment slowly filled with plants. First the main room was filled, then the bedroom and bathroom. Harsh California light filtered into her bedroom through the winding leaves of an English Ivy (Hedera helix), becoming soft and green. Her apartment was humid and full of the smell of plants. Sometimes she felt like she was breathing through a thick soup. Apartment 29 was filled with green, velvety-soft shadows.

To be honest, even though her savings account was rapidly shrinking, she liked having plants in her apartment. When she was eleven, Lyndsi’s parents took her and her two sisters on a vacation to Costa Rica, and they’d walked in the high cloud forests. The light and humidity in her apartment reminded her of that Costa Rican jungle, and her apartment was transfigured into a treasured childhood memory.

Even so, she was occasionally aware tha she had a problem.

“I feel like I’m turning into the neighborhood cat lady,” said Lyndsi to Yu-mei, her last friend from Agilix Software, as they ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Campbell. “Except that I’m not a cat lady. I’m a plant lady. My apartment is overrun with plants.”

Yu-mei was originally from Taiwan, and refused to eat Mexican food despite the fact that she had lived in California since childhood. Even so, she humored Lyndsi by nibbling tortilla chips and sipping a Mexican coke while Lyndsi ploughed through her chicken-and-nopales enchilada. “You know, having plants isn’t necessarily not a bad thing,” she said. “I mean, plants’ll never shit on your floor or puke on your furniture.”

Lyndsi took a sip of her draft Negro Modelo and licked the beer mustache off her upper lip. “I know. It still doesn’t make me feel any better.”

“Hey, did you hear about that case in Santa Cruz County where there was some mountain man who kept, like, thousands of cats in his trailer?” asked Yu-mei. “They were starving, ‘cause the guy who owned them fed them next to nothing. So they started eating each other. Eventually there were corpses all over the place, and the SPCA had to be sent in to clear away the bodies. The guy got serious jail time. I heard that one of the workers described it as a ‘feline mass grave’.”

“Wow,” said Lyndsi. “How could somebody live with so many cats?”

“Beats me. People do weird shit over the hill.”

Lyndsi cut a piece of enchilada with the side of her fork and spooned it into her mouth. “Well, I’m not that bad. You would never need to call plant protective services for my apartment.”

“Do they even have plant protective services?”

“I have no idea.”

Yu-mei took another sip of her Mexican coke. “So, what are you going to be doing later this week? Any job interviews lined up?”

“You know I don’t have any interviews, Yu-mei.”

“That’s too bad.”

“Yeah. Getting fired from Agilix was the worst thing that ever happened to me. By the way– can you pay for lunch?”

“What? I thought we were going to go dutch!”

“Yeah, well, I’m almost broke. I’ve got about two hundred dollars left in my savings, and I’m pretty sure my parents are going to stop just letting me use them as an interest-free indefinite loan.”

“Oh. Well, if you insist, I can pay–”

“Plus I want to stop at that gardening store on Bascom on the way home. I want to get some fertilizer, and–”

“Oh my God, Lyndsi! You’re broke, and you’re thinking about buying plants?”

“Not plants. Plant-related parapharnalia.”

Yu-mei looked Lyndsi in the eye, and sighed. “Lyndsi, I was wrong: you have a serious problem. You’re broke and jobless. Stop buying plants, and plant-related parapharnalia, and anything other than what you need to survive. Do you understand me?”

Lyndsi sighed. “Fine. If you really want me to, I won’t go to the gardening store.”

“You have to promise me, Lyndsi.”

“Yeah. Okay. I promise.”

“Okay,” said Yu-mei. She smiled. “Don’t worry. I’ll get the bill. As a favor.”

But as she hugged Yu-mei goodbye, Lyndsi realized that she wasn’t going to keep her promise. She really needed fertilizer, and maybe a plant or two…

That gardening store on Bascom was great. They made their own special blend of fertilizer.

THE END…?*
*Of course it’s not the end. I still have the rest of the story to put out here. Eventually. ~ Ian

1. Be a woman.

Seriously, assholes: just because you have a vagina doesn’t mean that your opinion isn’t valid.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am compelled to stab something.

~ Ian

P.S. It doesn’t hurt to be attractive, either. Because as we all know, pretty women can’t be smart.

…sigh…

So I was looking through the spam filters here at Axolotl Ceviche, and I found a particularly enlightening post from a commenter named “free tv shows on internet”, which was on my Hugo Award thoughts post:

“Someone essentially assist to make seriously articles I’d state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I amazed with the analysis you made to create this actual put up extraordinary. Excellent task!”

Well, Free, thank you so much. Here at Axolotl Ceviche, I eternally strive to essentially assist to make seriously articles. And I’m so glad you amazed with my analysis. In fact, your the fact that you called my actual put up extraordinary touches me. Deeply.

Very.

Deeply.

Excellent task,

~ Ian

There’s no Creative Writing Wednesday today.

I’m busy and tired. So yeah. I’m not posting any of my writings.

~ Ian