This is one of the funniest videos I’ve seen in I don’t know how long.
see more funny videos
This is one of the funniest videos I’ve seen in I don’t know how long.
see more funny videos
This is going to be really short, ’cause I have two pressing deadlines and I’m actually late on one of them. [flail]
First, this is a great video of Ian McKellan talking to a film festival audience about filming the balrog sequence in Rings. It’s very short — a minute and a bit — and funny. Check it out.
Second, NaNo pretty much fizzled halfway through, but I got almost 20K words on the book, which is a great jumpstart. The Goodreads M/M Romance group is doing a holiday promo where writers write a story based on a photo and a request posted by a reader. One of the photos spawned a plot-bunny, so I volunteered. It’s taking a lot longer than I thought to write it (so what else is new?) but I like the story, and it’ll eventually be a stand-alone free read for my web site, which I’ve needed for a while. Also, for doing this I get a book-of-the-month promo slot in the group later in 2011, for a book of my choice, which I’ll admit was attractive. I decided it was worth setting Emerging Magic aside for a bit to do this. I’ll post here with a link when the story goes up.
Oh, I had a new story released and didn’t even post about it! Gotta love the holidays…. [facepalm] Hell Is in the Details is a funny short story (okay, it’s kind of long for a short, but it’s a short on a technicality) about Benioth, the Demon of Laziness, who hasn’t read his memos for a while — like, decades. He’s missed a few changes in policy and is in trouble with his boss.
Writing 21,562 words — 9 pts.
Editing 17,106 words — 3 pts.
Wrote 1 synopsis — 1 pt.
TOTAL = 13 pts, woot!
How I Met My Wife — This is today’s Jumbo Joke, but it’s not really a joke per se. It’s a wonderful play on language, originally published in the New Yorker, according to a note on the site. It begins:
It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.
I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.
Definitely read the rest.
I have to share this ’cause it’s too much fun to keep to myself. Chris Dolley blogs at the Book View Cafe — a collective of SF/F authors both blogging and publishing together, worth reading — and for the last month has been relating the story of how he, as a university student, conspired with a number of his fellows to stage a revolution to free Cornwall from the shackles of the English. No, really!
It was a prank to raise money for charity, but it’s something that never would’ve gone over in the hyper-paranoid atmosphere today. It’s a great story, though, and well worth reading. Check it out. The link goes to Part Five, but Parts One through Four are linked in the first paragraph.
Today he posted about what they did the following year, which was bury a body in a flowerbed for charity. It’s not quite as giggle-worthy as the Cornish Revolution, but it’s short and fun and definitely worth reading.
You’d think that by now people — especially people involved with publishing — would know better than to razz on writers. We can razz back with a vengeance, and we have a significant audience to do it for, or we know people who have significant audiences.
Arlene Harris started using iUniverse’s services back when they were actually kind of reasonable. Their prices have gone up considerably, however, with no significant increase in services, so she’s decided to take her business elsewhere. She wrote to them to terminate their business relationship, and got a snarky reply from some self-righteous marketing weasel, which begins, “Hello Ms. Harris, I wish there was something I could say to pacify your hurt feelings,” and goes downhill from there.
Arlene happens to be friends with Colleen Doran, a very successful comic artist and writer. Colleen has been successful both through large publishing houses and on the self-publishing side. As she puts it herself: Unlike most of the people reading this, I have been a successful self publisher and have sold over 300,000 copies of my works via self publishing, not to mention all the books my name is on that I didn’t self publish. So Colleen knows whereof she speaks. Colleen has a huge blog audience, and decided to point out to iUniverse, line-item by line-item, exactly why any writer with a brain in his or her head would decide to forego their services. It’s great — read it here.
From the Department of Wasn’t This SF a Few Years Ago? — a Chinese company has plans for a humongous kind of bus, two lanes wide, that runs on tracks and is hollow on the bottom so cars can run under it. It’s kind of like a big mobile tunnel with a passenger cabin on top. Check it out. Thanks to Tobias Buckell for the link.
It’s worth watching the video, even if most of it is just some guy speaking Mandarin. (Of course, if you understand Mandarin, I’m assuming it’s geometrically cooler.) There are bits in the video-within-a-video, though, showing how cars go under the bus, how the bus goes over stationary cars, how people get on and off, how they prevent trucks and cetera that are too big from running in the bus lanes, and what they’ll do to get the passengers off in case there’s some kind of wreck anyway. The last bit is almost at the end of the video. Cool stuff — definitely a good idea for adding really big busses to city streets without adding to traffic congestion. From an SF writer’s POV, though, it’s necessary to keep up with this sort of thing. It’ll let your near-future Chinese story sound a bit more realistic, and will prevent you from having your 24th century civil engineer dramatically unveil his Brand New and Original Mobile Tunnel-Bus idea. [wry smile]
Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Freelancer’s Survival Guide is done. If anyone was waiting for the whole thing before reading, the whole thing is now there. She’s working on getting both an e-book and POD print version up and ready to go. I’m getting the paperback, myself. I’ve been reading along and there’s a ton of excellent info here — more than most publishers would be willing to stuff into one volume, so rather than let the publisher decide what to cut, she’s putting it out herself, complete and entire. This is a great resource, whether you’re a writer or any other kind of freelancer, which includes anyone who owns a business or otherwise works for themself. Highly recommended.
One experiment has shown that snails might have a homing instinct. Ruth Brooks had snails in her garden, as many of us do, and since she’d rather not hurt them, she tried collecting them and taking them over to (waste land? sounds like a vacant lot, maybe?) and leaving them there. But they kept coming back, which was rather boggling, since scientists had thought the snails didn’t have enough brain to manage something like a homing instinct.
This was only based on Ruth’s own findings, though, which really isn’t enough data. So Ruth is organizing a larger-scale experiment. They’re in England, and they’re only looking for a particular kind of snail, but it looks interesting anyway; I hope they get a lot of participants.
Speaking for myself, back when I did a lot of gardening, there was an alley behind our back yard, and on the other side of the alley were a bunch of front yards of houses facing the alley. I’d go out at night hunting snails and slugs; I’d pick up the snails and pitch them over the back fence. Every now and then I’d pick up a snail with a crunchy shell; he apparently hadn’t learned his lesson and had come back. I’d pitch him again. The thing is, I had a decent arm, and after the snail landed, there would’ve usually been plant life (on the other side of the alley) closer than our back yard. But a lot of the snails came back anyway. Which is all completely unscientific, but I’m tending toward agreement on the whole snail-homing thing. Also, on the belief that snails are really stupid.
This is another data point for SF writers, though. You might well not need to invent a creature with a brain the size of a pigeon’s to have something that’ll find its way home.
Although I still think butterflies are the most amazing homers. I got this from a thing the spousal unit and I saw on TV (Life? Planet Earth? something like that) so I don’t have any links, but butterflies — Monarchs, IIRC — actually migrate in three generations. They start out at one end of the migration path, fly to a waypoint and reproduce, then die. The next generation is born, pupates, flies on to the next waypoint and reproduces, then dies. The third generation is born, pupates, flies back to the starting point, reproduces, then dies. The thing is, none of the butterflies who are migrating have ever been where they’re going before. Migratory yak and whales and swallows and salmon are born, then migrate somewhere else, then go back to where they were born, so they’ve been there before. Most of them will even have older members of their herd/pod/flock to show them the way. But butterflies keep flying between the same waypoints when none of them have ever been there before. That’s freaky, in a pretty neat way.
The Fourth Vine over on Dreamwidth gave several Good Reasons for a Professional Fiction Writer to Fear Fan Fiction. This is an issue which pops up periodically and gets completely rehashed, with the usual griping, snarking, whining, and hystrionics. Fourth Vine summarizes the logical arguments neatly, and lets you know which arguments are not at all logical and will get you mocked. My favorite is the last one, but they’re all excellent, as is the accompanying commentary. This isn’t a brand new post, but it’ll be a fresh issue soon enough, and then again, and again after that; classics are always relevant.
I’m up in Reno visiting my mom and my brother this week. The third was my birthday, although we’re going to dinner tonight; this is my brother’s first day off. I’m spending a lot of time on the laptop, as usual, but if I take a while to get around to various blogs, or don’t comment as often as I usually do, that’s why. [wave]
Federal judge says you can break DRM if you’re not doing so to infringe copyright — this is excellent news, in my opinion. DRM is a pointless annoyance anyway, and courts ruled many years ago that someone who bought a piece of software was allowed to make backup copies for personal use, so it only makes sense that we should be allowed to break the DRM on a movie, and e-book, a game, or whatever that we’ve legally purchased if it’s become a pain in the butt, or if we want to make a backup of that for our own personal use. Of course, some of the publishers would love to force us to re-purchase our entire electronic libraries every time a hard drive crashes or a book reader is stolen, but it seems there’s a judge who disagrees. Good to know at least one circuit court is on the consumer’s side.
Funny, smart commentary about burqa bans — the idea of a government body dictating what people can wear, short of the really riciculous exception examples cited in this piece, is ludicrous. If Moslem women want to wear a burqa then they should be able to. Anyone who wants to wear a burqua, or a veil, or a T-shirt saying “Our Government Is Full of Idiots!” should be able to do so. Banning a traditional item of clothing which causes no harm to anyone is an outrageous infringement of freedom, and racist to boot.
Period Speech — this xkcd comic pretty much says it all about various writers’ attempts at period speech. (It also applies to various kinds of accents and dialects used by writers who apparently have never been exposed to same.) It’s easy to see how silly it looks when our era is one of the ones being mangled, but plenty of writers trying to write “medieval” or “Southern” or whatever sound pretty much like this.
Jane Austen’s Fight Club — this is a really wonderful video. I’m not usually one for videos, but my husband e-mailed me this one and I was LOLing. Watch and enjoy.
I have to admit I recognize far too much of this. [wry smile] The tangled loops of overthinking, for example. And I wish there were a handly station for filling up on motivation and ambition. I think I have enough pride, thanks anyway; the trick is producing enough output to be proud of. [laugh/flail]
Where do you get stuck along the route…?
I don’t even own a cell phone, so I have no horse in this derby. Heck, I’ve never even heard of the other phone in this cartoon. But my husband found the video and I was LOLing through most of it, ’cause yeah, I’ve known people who were like this about whatever the must-have product was way before iPhones came out. Watch and laugh — it just keeps getting funnier.
I just have to share this. Thanks to Zoe Nichols on LJ for linking.
Provenance: this was originally posted to Craigslist in Lansing, MI. Some people didn’t like it, for no specific reason, and flagged it for removal; it’s gone now, and I don’t know who originally wrote it. Truth Wins Out reposted it in its entirety, because it’s just that awesome and needs to be preserved and shared. I agree.
Read it and laugh.
New animals discovered in Borneo, an economist’s analysis of digital content as a public good, a professor of digital media’s thoughts about avatars for characters of color in computer games, and a really hilarious journal post.
New Animals Discovered in Borneo — I think my favorite is the stick insect, like a walking stick only a bit over half a meter long, pictured walking up the side of a guy’s head. Oh, and props to the guy, too, for having guts. The flame-colored snake is gorgeous, and the lungless frog makes me think about aliens for an SF story.
Why Content Is a Public Good — this is a guest post by Milena Popova on Charlie Stross’s blog. She talks about public and private goods, and rival and excludable goods, and the various combinations and how the market works (or doesn’t) to distribute or control the distribution of the various types. I’ve never seen the subject (primarily e-books and music, but also applies to movies and such) discussed from this point of view before. She starts at the beginning and explains the vocabulary for people who don’t have econ degrees. Definitely worth a read.
Chimerical Avatars and Other Identity Experiments from Prof. Fox Harrell — Prof. Harrell talks about avatars in computer games and the lack of variety available in avatar types, particularly for players of color who’d like their avatar to represent them as they are, particularly if they want a decent range of options beyond skin color. This is a familiar issue in gaming, but it also applies to books.
How often can a reader of color find a character who’s like them in mainstream genre fiction? Or a female reader in an adventure-oriented genre? Sure, we can appreciate and empathize with characters who aren’t like us, but white readers don’t have to do that very often, and never at all if they don’t want to. A series of characters who are all basically alike can give readers who are different the impression that this author or series or genre isn’t for them, and can give a writer who is different the impression that a genre doesn’t welcome their viewpoint. It benefits all of us to encourage a variety of character types in the media we consume, which (for those of us who are creators) means including a variety of character types in the media we create.
I Has a Sweet Potato by Littera-Abactor on LJ — I’m pretty sure I haven’t linked this here before, but it’s hilarious so even if I have, there’s no harm done.
Dog: I am starving.
Me: Actually, no. You aren’t starving. You get two very good meals a day. And treats. And Best Beloved fed you extra food while I was gone.
Me: I saw you get fed not four hours ago! You are not starving.
Dog: Pity me, a sad and tragic creature, for I can barely walk, I am so starving. WOE.
Me: I am now ignoring you.
Dog: Did you hear me? I am starving.
Dog: Are you seriously ignoring me? Fine.
[There is a pause, during which the dog exits the room in a pointed manner.]
[From the kitchen, there comes a noise like someone is eating a baseball bat.]
Me, yelling: What the hell are you doing?
Me: *makes haste for the kitchen and finds dog there*
Dog: *picks up entire raw sweet potato, which is what was causing the baseball bat noise, and flees for the bedroom*
Me: *chases dog, retrieves most of sweet potato, less the portion which has disappeared into dog’s gullet*
Dog: See? STARVING.
Me: …That can’t be good for you. It’s a RAW SWEET POTATO.
Dog: I had to do it. I haven’t been fed. Ever.
Me: You realize you aren’t normal. Normal dogs don’t steal raw sweet potatoes.
Dog, sadly: I was badly brought up.
Me: Yes. Yes, you were.
Dog: By people who starved me.
Me: Oh, no. I am not doing this again.
Me: *exits the room, bearing sweet potato*
There’s more. Definitely more. Click through and read the whole thing.
Oh, and I got an acceptance on a story called “Unfinished Business,” which is a sequel to A Hidden Magic, yay! It’s short and funny and is basically erotica, picking up on something a couple of supporting characters were doing about two-thirds of the way through the book. It’s scheduled for release on 26 June, just a month after HM, which is great timing.