Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Bagsy bagsy bagsy!

While swimming in the gym yesterday, I was idly contemplating the Bambi stories.  Trying to think of an umbrella name for them.  In Bambi’s world, there are humans as we know them today, humans grown in factories and enhanced with technology, and machines put together in factories and enhanced with organics.  The latter two have, until now, been referred to as ‘post-organics’.   In the pool it struck me--I should call them techno sapiens!  I was over-whelmed with my genius for a good few minutes.  While I was in the shower afterwards, it occurred to me it’s so bloody obvious I’m not going to be the first to think of it.  Turns out I’m not, but there are only a couple of noteworthy hits on Google; mostly Google turns up usernames and record labels and things.  So, I’m claiming it!  It’s mine.  Mine mine mine! 

Actually (and in all seriousness), it’s kind of helpful.  You get post-organics which are sentient, and those which are a bit too simple to be sentient (they’re called bots, like spam bots).  I can use post-organics as an umbrella term for things from the factories, and techno sapiens for those with sentience.  (Sapien coming Latin, meaning ‘wise’, or ‘thinking’.  Thank you, Wikipedia.)

Terribly dull I’m sure, all this ‘writer’s stuff’.  Like the tiny cogs of any craft, fascinating to the maker, dull as Dilbert to the rest of the world.

That said, here’s some more...

I’ve been playing around with a new idea over the past few days.  I thought I’d post something up here about it, because that’s not normally something I do.  I normally scribble everything into a notebook and save it for no one’s eyes but mine.  I won’t go into details, but here’s the basic idea:

I’m calling it Stormy Weather.  I know that name’s taken and I need to look into that.  It’s set in a city--maybe Brighton, because I used to live there--and the main character is Emily Swan, who’s an old roleplay character of mine I’ve been keeping in deep freeze for a while.  She has a deaf dog, and Alsatian called Benito Mussolini, or Beni for sort, and she’s a talented drummer.  The basic idea with the story is that every day or so, at night, it rains heavy and hard.  Thanks to some technobable, the rains wipe everyone’s memories.  So almost every day, the entire population wake up not knowing who they are, why they’re there, what they’re doing.  They have to figure things out the best they can based on where they are, what they’re wearing, who they wake up with.  Sometimes memories linger, but they’re like dreams.  Be interesting to see how people live like that, I think.

If it comes to anything, I’ll see if I can post up some more about it. 

Monday, 24 August 2009

True Confessions

Hm, as apposed to False Confessions.  ‘Father, forgive me, I have sinned.  I had sex with two Swedish twin sisters at the same time, while watching Battlestar Galactica.  And I filmed it.  And then put a link to in on Facebook.’  ‘My son, that is an unforgivable sin.  You will burn in Hell forever.’  ‘Woah, woah, chill out!  I didn’t really.  Just, you know, wouldn’t it be cool...’  Mind you, I suppose I could ask the Guildford Four about that...

I was reading a discussion on Fark about who would win in a fight between Spiderman and the Green Lantern.  (My money’s on Spiderman, just so you know.  I mean, Spidy always beats the odds, and the harder they’re stacked against him the better.  Plus the Green Lantern is a bit of a dick.  I’ve never really read any Green Lantern, but all-American hero with phenomenal cosmic power?  Always turns out to be a dick.  Mind you, in any fight Batman wins.  He’d just have to whack anybody with his giant adamantium balls, and game over.  Apart from Judge Dredd, of course.  Dredd nuked East Meg 1 without blinking an eye.  Dredd not only stared straight into the face of Judge Fear, but delivered an amazing one-liner before putting his fist in Fear’s face.  Different league man, different league.)

I read eight pages of people arguing about Spiderman vs. Green Lantern.  I’ve never read a Green Lantern comic.  Truth be told, I’ve never read a Spiderman comic either (used to love the Saturday morning CGI-enhanced cartoon show, and seen the first two movies... and the other Spiderman movie from the 80s.).  But I was enthralled by all these comic book geeks fighting it out, the trivia becoming more and more obscure.  And then it struck me:

I am not a geek.

I’m not.  I read Penny Arcade almost religiously, but the last time I went to buy a video game I brought a book instead, and didn’t regret it.  I use Linux but the closest I get to programming anything is putting leftovers in the microwave.  I follow Wil Wheaton on Twitter.  I love, love listening to music and talking about guitars and how they sound, but can just about manage to change from a C to a G.  I’ve seen all ten Star Trek movies (the reboot doesn’t count... I’ve seen it, and you can’t make me acknowledge it), TNG, DS9, all six Star Wars films (nothing in the Star Wars EU counts... you can’t make me acknowledge it), at least two different versions of Blade Runner, own the first to seasons of Quantum Leap and watched the whole thing back when it was on TV, can name all ten Doctors both in chronological order and in order of personal preference, can quote extensively from the first six seasons of Red Dwarf (seasons seven and eight... you get the idea) I’ve read some Asimov and love Bradley... But I don’t know enough about any of these things to have really, really geeky discussions about them.  As illustrated by the Spiderman/Green Lantern thing, I know enough to make broad judgements, but not enough to get into the meat of these things.

But I love watching the geeks.  I love watching argue and fight over trivia, digging deep into their reserves to win a point which means nothing to anyone on the outside.  I love watching them take some show they love and has been destroyed by the latest irritation, and twisting and turning, trying desperately to make it all okay again.  I love reading about them doing all their geeky things.

So, I’m not a geek, but I love to watch them.  I’m not really a geek geek, because--again--I don’t have the in-depth personal knowledge about geeks. 

I don’t play football, but I love to watch it (ah, the beautiful game indeed).  So, does that make me a geek fan?  That sounds a bit weird.  It’s also pretty self-explanatory, and we can’t have that.  There should be a degree of esoteric Gnostic cryptography about the pigeon holes we put ourselves in.  We must do something to keep the outsiders out.  So... I’m not a geek, but I love the things that geeks produce.  I consume the geek product.  A geek consumer?  That sounds way too sexual.  And, again, weird.  We should go with something a bit self-referential, I think.  Geek end-user?  Hmm....  Yeah.

I am not a geek.  I am a geek end-user.

(I’m also not a furry, I’m a furri.  But that’s another post.)

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The AR Supermarket Distress Flare

I hate shopping in supermarkets.  I mean, it’s not like I have much chance to compare it to something else, but I quite like window shopping and internet shopping.  Anyway.  The problem I have with supermarkets is that they attack some things which are quintessential to my nature.  They move things around, and I dislike new places and change.  They’re full of people, and I dislike crowds.  And they have lots of shiny things in fascinating looking packets, and I’m easily distracted by shiny things.  Allegra will send me off to get a bag of sugar, and I’ll spend hours wandering the isle in a vague funk of confusion, bewilderment and sense of purpose.  Then she gets angry at me for wandering off for half-an-hour and not even coming back with the sugar.  Which is fair enough.

The other problem I have is finding people in crowds.  You put my nearest and dearest in a crowd, and I’d be lucky to find them.  Even when I’m staring right at them. 

So, we have the Augmented Reality Supermarket Distress Flare.  (What’s AR?  It’s the new Web 2.0.  What happened to the old Web 2.0?  I dunno.  It was only a marketing gimmick anyway.)  I go off to get the sugar, get lost, confused and upset.  So, I take out my AR device, and activate the flare.  Allegra’s AR device is tuned in to mine, so when my flare goes off it rings.  She takes it out, turns on the AR display and starts scanning the tops of the shelves.  My device is giving off a signal which shows up on hers, and so she can easily find me.  And because her device is only tuned into mine, and no one else’s, everyone in the supermarket can have their own flares and only the ones you’re interested in show up when you scan for them.  Wouldn’t that be civilised?

In other news, FFM has crashed and burned.  Back to eating regular food now.  Allegra and I got sick last weekend, and we thought that when you’re body is fighting off infection, it’s a bit silly to go putting that extra pressure on it.  The thing which struck me most about my week on rice, chickpeas, nuts and lentils is just how boring it was.  I mean, really boring.  It felt like my days were one ceaseless procession of grey, rolling on down a bland and featureless motorway.  Do we in the West have such a high standard of living that we need a constantly varying diet to keep us interested in life?  We don’t need to worry about our next meal, about the next famine, about our livestock, about whether we’re going to get shot or blown up by a land mine.  So, we use our vast variety of food to keep those parts of the brain occupied.  Is that it?  Is that what’s going on here?

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

If Only I Had the Patience to Learn Patience

Sewing is a whole new mentality for me. I’m sure it’s the same mentality which accompanies any manual craft, and goes a long way to explaining why I’m so bad at things. See, I lack patience and a certain amount of self-control. When things are hard, I don’t like to do them. When I’m writing, and I come across a bit which I’m not sure how to write or don’t think I can write, I’ll put up a sort of ‘place holder’. I’ll write a scene in which my two main characters lose their tempers with each other and resolve not to speak to each other again. It won’t be the scene I need to be there and they won’t say the things I need them to say, but then the scene is done and I can go back to writing the bits I can write. Maybe the characters will say or do something interesting. Then, when I’ve reached the end of the story, I go back, take out the placeholder and put a proper scene in there, where the right things get said and done. I just want to wave a magic wand and have the hard bit done.

You can’t do that with sewing. If I fudge a seam, then it’s like that forever. I can’t go back and fix it later. My entire jacket will look that bit more tatty and amateur. So, I have to sit there, and fight and fight to get it right first time. I’ll be honest--it’s as hard as quitting smoking (and even now, years later, I still get the occasional craving). Still, I guess it’s a skill I need. Going to be useful in life as well as sewing and crafts. Not going to enjoy getting there, though. You can’t make me.

Anyway, reason why I’m posting instead of sewing is that, after an hour of pinning a seam in place, I was half-way through my first stitch when my needle broke. My needle broke!

You know what the weirdest thing about FFM is? I’m too full the whole time. I’m eating nothing but the bare minimum food to sustain my body, and I’m too full. My stomach is protesting, but I have to shove shovel after shovel of lentils and chickpeas down my throat. The foods we habitually consume in the West must be so full of calories it’s unreal. It’s no wonder obesity is such a problem.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

6 O'clock, Day One

I've eaten nothing but nuts, chickpeas, rice and lentils so far today.  I have more than 2/3rds of my daily dose left, and I'm not at all hungry.  As Allegra just pointed out to me, I need to eat more and keep pace, otherwise I'm going to fall behind and not get enough nutrients. 

The preliminary draft of Bambi VI is now done.  I need to give it a read through and edit before I can put it down, but I have the foundations.  You have no idea what a relief it is.  Although, slightly depressingly, it came out at just over 14,000 words.  I need to get rid of at least 4,000 for it to be 'in budget'.  Maybe I should split it into two stories.  You always get a two-parter at the end of the season, right?  Not such a bad idea...

You Have Taken Your First Steps into a Larger World

Well, today is the start of Fuck Food Month, hereafter refered to as FFM.  My weight on our extremely cheap and unreliable scales was 14st last night, and my last meal was a mushroom pizza.  I woke up this morning thinking about breakfast and found the only thing I could find enthusiasm for was the nuts.  I like nuts.  It’s the first few hours and I mustn’t be hard on myself.

Bambi VI is reaching its dramatic conclusion.  I have no idea how saving Lady Taylor--Bambi’s mother--is going to save the world and heal Bambi’s psychological wounds, but it’s going to be interesting to find out.  I have today set aside for reaching the last sentence, and then writing it.  My actors haven’t been feeling settled and the sooner we all know how it ends, the sooner we can all relax.

SPM #6 has been proof-read, and the corrections sent to our layout guy.  (I’m sure he has a proper title, but I haven’t a clue what it is.)  It’s a bit much to expect him to have it back to us today, given that the corrections were only sent last night, but I’m still going to be a bit disappointed if Allegra doesn’t receive a final copy tonight. 

Now, back to Bambi.  Urgh, I want a cup of peppermint tea to go with my writing.  What do I get?  Water.  It’s okay.  It’s fine.  I’m going to come out the other side a more enlightened, aware, better human being. 

If I don’t achieve Nirvana by the end of the month, I’m going to have some very serious questions for myself.