Saturday, April 21, 2012

I can turn my fanfiction into gold?

No, I can't. I just read another confirmation that I won't be an easy success because... I don't write erotica!

I found an article today that amused me at my favorite amusing-articles waste of time site: 

Mr. McGinley needs to think seriously about cobbling together all of those fake and purposeful "bad book passages" samples he provides and making them into a book, because people would read it for the So-Bad-It's-Good quality. Now, if those passages are from actual manuscripts he's come across... dude, those books will be totally successful - not as romance but as comedy. 

Despite my penning of original work every once in a while, (stuff I post here) I've been steeped in the fun and free and wild world of fan fiction for a long time. (I post my fanfiction on fanfiction and specific-fandom sites and do not "glut" my blog with it, as I write a lot of it). I have read and skimmed many a fanfiction that was meant in all seriousness that reads just like the "fake-bad" passages in the article!   And not just because I used to go to "snarker" sites. I don't bother with the general meanness of those anymore, but still come across some real comedy cold when looking for fan-things about favorite worlds and characters to read.

My own work is... different... than the stereotypes comedians like to point out.  Is about 80- 90 percent of fanfiction pairings/love/humping-if-the-site-allows-adult-stuff-or-you-can-lie-and-get-past-the-filters? Oh, yeah.  There are also lots of fics of the other variety (the rare species "gen," as rare as the legendary unicorn some would say) all about friendships and adventures and "what if something went wonky in the world?" and the latter broad-category is the variety I'm known for.  And then there's the stuff I pen that people might not know what to do with, like a surreal-imagery-split-dimensions thing I wrote that I feel an urge to make into a wordless fancomic and one story I wrote that's essentially a romance between robots where the whole thing being *completely sexless* makes sense.  It's also kind of one-sided, as it involves one of the partners being in an eternal sleep inside a sword... if you know the fandom, you know instantly what I'm talking about and if you don't, what I said makes no sense.

Er, long story short, my fanfiction, much like my original work... isn't titillating, it's just WEIRD. A friend once compared my writing style to that of Madeline L'Engle, which I took as a great compliment, but I honestly don't know if her style of work would be published/publishable today and that means I'm screwed as far as getting rich off of anything creative that I do, hmm? 

As an asexual / sexually uninterested person, I don't think I can write realistic screwing from the perspective and for the general titillation of normal people.  I could hack at it, certainly, after all, I've never killed anyone and I write scenes of war and murder into my stories... but if I wind up writing "he waggled his sex for her pleasure and they made the sex," I'm going to be *laughing* too damn hard to pound out anything!

Though the article did give me an idea... the love with a monster thing.  I think it would be fun to write a romance between a naive girl and a zombie... whom she UNDERSTANDS! despite his undeath.  It would contain literal boning! Maybe I can even go one step further and have girl meets skeleton!  I could title it Afterlife Affair: Love in the Midnight Cemetery. 

If it is to be a fanfiction-turned-book-proper, hmmm.. It'd start out as a Legend of Zelda something involving a Stalfos, a canon skeleton-enemy and then it would morph... and....

My brain hurts.   

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An Internet Pet Peeve

A quick glance at something reminded me of a pet peeve of mine on the Internet.  I don’t know if it’s a writer’s peeve or just an argument-style peeve. 

I hate it when people seem to think quoting someone and leaving means they’ve won the argument. 

Quotes from famous, admired people are just fine and dandy – when used at the head of an essay or as a *part* of an argument, but when you simply *quote famous dead guy here* and don’t add any of your *own* thoughts to it or explain why this agrees with you or supports what you want to say and use it to say everything, isn’t that what we’d call an Appeal to Authority?

Or at least uncreative. 

The same applies to the quoting of scripture for me – unless you’re answering a question about history or the work itself, if you’re using it to apply to some modern, real world argument, in my opinion, you should back up what you want to say by actually saying something yourself. 

To use a hypothetical example for something that’s not too real-world controversial, say I get into a fandom argument over the Legend of Zelda series.  Maybe it’s a Timeline argument and I’ve decided “I think the current official Timeline is bunk.**”  I could look up one of the many quotes by Nintendo officials about how they consider gameplay more important than story, but if I simply listed a favorable quote, then walked away and didn’t back it up with my own opinions, I’d feel like I’d not made a good argument.  If I use a quote not-from-me as a “You’re stupid!” or “everyone should agree with me right the hell now!” weapon, it’s even worse if I appeal to authority without saying anything of my own.  

Maybe the originator of the quote would see what I was doing and come along and say “You’re out of line, I didn’t mean it that way!” or “Yeah, I did mean it like that, but you’re using it like a club is soooo dull,”   - which, perhaps, is why so many people in serious arguments favor the words of the dead…  

So, if you’re going to whine and moan online about the existence of things, people or ideas you just wish were dead, gone or changed, or you want to call someone stupid, don’t quote some dead guy or some block of literature and think you’ve “won” because you’re so creatively dull or empty-headed that you have nothing of your own to say.

If anyone ever gets into a habit of quoting me after I’m long dead (like that would ever happen), remember, you will be doing a disservice to my memory if you depend solely on me. Use your own words to back yourself up! 

(** Zelda Timeline for those interested in my opinions on it… I kind of do think the above and don’t at the same time.  I’m willing to go with the current canon, and it has inspired some fanwork from me, but I kind of think it was an ass-pull, just because Nintendo never set out to have 16+ games when they made the first few).

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Adventures of Princess Poo-Poo

A bit of humor writing  - a story born from inside jokes between me and my significant other. 

I work part time at a horse farm and that's led to a weird narrative between us that has me as an anime-style magical girl fighting "In the name of the Poo!" and so forth. These little narratives include real life individual animals we know, with their personalities. (There's a clowder of barncats on the farm as well as the horses).  We keep talking about making our stupidity into a series of Flash animations (we'd need to teach ourselves Flash first) or a comic... since I kind of suck at comic-style art and since our little stupid-stories are rather incoherent to begin with, I decided to experiment with a flash-fiction short story.  I may or may not write more of these. It depends upon how destructive this stuff prooves to be toward reader's brains.

The following is very short and very stupid. You've been warned.

The Adventures of Princess Poo-Poo

Tale 1: A Girl and Her Rake

Evil can be found in the most surprising of places.  At an unassuming little farm somewhere in Pennsylvania lives a being of unfathomable power.  The farm raises and keeps horses – the most magnificent of beasts and celebrated poopers.  All of that poop has to go somewhere.  In the case of this little farm, it goes to a big pile on the property. 

What the owner and keepers of the farm do not know is that the pile, having sat a sufficient amount of time, has gained sentience.

A malevolent sentience. 

Its motives are not exactly clear.  It probably wants to take over the world or something cliché like that.  It broods upon the farm, sending out its fumes of pure evil and plotting…plotting…

One keeper of the farm knows of the danger in this smelly pile.  Most people see a mere stablehand who works part-time.  Truly, however, she is a protector – a lady-knight with a rake – and the only thing standing between the world and the forces of reeking darkness.  She is…


“You stupid, disobedient human!” 

A small black cat padded down the main aisle of the barn, her footfalls silent on the neoprene surface of the floor.    

“Not now, Grapple-Kitty!” the Stablehand said, shouldering her plastic-headed pitching-rake.  “I still have work to do.  I’m almost done.” 

“But I want your lap!  Now!” Grapple-Kitty complained loudly.  The Stablehand and her partner-in-life-and-sometimes-crime-fighting, Retail Man, had dubbed the feline “Grapple-Kitty” because of her strong, sharp claws.  She loved nothing more than the soft, warm lap of a seated human, but she could shred a lap in minutes if said human was not wearing many protective layers of clothing.  To cuddle her without military-grade body-armor was to invite tiny pinprick holes in one’s body – and that was the least of injuries she could inflict. 

The Stablehand, when she was Princess Poo-Poo, had taken to using the cat as a part of her toolkit.  She was, naturally, a grappling-hook.  Princess Poo-Poo could swing by the animal’s tail.  Another cat entered the barn, a tortoiseshell female nicknamed Poo-Kitten for her amazing ability to telepathically communicate with poo from any species.  Poo-Kitten kept tabs on all the goings-on around the farm. 

“It looks like a quiet night,” the pudgy, multicolored cat said.  “The horses are happy out in the fields and I’ve seen no sign of Lord Smellypyle’s machinations.”

“Alright,” the Stablehand replied.  “I guess it’s just one more stall to do, then I can sweep and meet Retail Man for dinner.  I wonder if he’s had a hard day protecting people from misplaced merchandise…”

Then, just as the Stablehand put her rake to a spat of somewhat-fresh horse manure, it began to shake and move. 

“What the fork?!” the young woman exclaimed.

“Danger!” Poo-Kitten declared, “That poo has been corrupted!” 

“Corrupted?” the Stablehand asked. 

“You should transform into Princess Poo-Poo right now!” 

Nuggets of manure began to crawl out of the main pile, brown and slow.  Little legs were visible upon them. 

“This must be part of Lord Smellypyle’s latest takeover plan!” Poo-Kitten yelped.

“What is this?” the Stablehand said, shivering, “It’s…It’s…. Spider-Poo!” 

Little road-apples with spider-legs began swarming all over the stable-stall.  They spilled out into the aisle.  The pile they came from was not exhausted. 

The Stablehand concentrated and began a chant:

No stench of turds or dark of night
Can hold back my will to fight
In the name of poo I will punish you!
I am Princess Poo-Poo!

Ribbons swirled around the Stablehand’s form, imbuing her with power and surrounding her with sparkles.  She was left in her normal clothes – jeans, muck-boots, a t-shirt and a flannel over-shirt, but now she had a broad pink bow on her chest.  It was made of the gel-like stuff used in air fresheners.  

She swung her mighty pitch-rake, now glowing with a white aura of power.  Poo-spiders crumbled before her, but they just kept coming.  Grapple-Kitty sunk her claws into Princess Poo-Poo’s left thigh and Poo-Kitten took refuge atop her head. 

As the mighty warrior swung her weapon at a poo-spider that jumped up to attack her face, she heard one of the barn doors open. 

“Retail Man, stay back!” Princess Poo-Poo shouted authoritatively. 

Too late. He’d come through the door in his business-suit and the spider-poo rushed him.  Oh, the carnage! Little poo-balls bounced all over him, shoving themselves into any open space and orifice they could reach, stabbing him with their little spindly spider-legs. 

Princess Poo-Poo roared and rushed to free her dearest partner.  Her rake when snick-a-snack! Poo broke like snow all over the barn.  Everything was lost in a diarrheic haze. 

Retail Man did not move.  “Speak to me!” Princess Poo-Poo pleaded.  The cats dislodged themselves from her person.  Princess Poo-Poo paused, bowed, and then stood, clutching her rake with a white-knuckled fist. 

“I will avenge you, Retail Man.

“I’m not dead.” 

Princess Poo-Poo gasped.  Retail Man stood right beside her, adjusting his now brown-and-green-smeared tie.   “What happened?” he asked. 

“Sp-Spider-poo.”  Princess Poo-Poo choked out. 

“I guess I’ll get the cobweb brush.” 

“The spider-poo has been neutralized, your grace!” exclaimed Poo-Kitten.  “I sense no more malevolent entities.  I think I’ll go bother Mr. Big now.”  With that, she scampered off to meet one of the farm’s other cats, a huge tabby with thumbs named Mr. Big. 

Princess Poo-Poo looked at the colossal mess she now had to clean up. She gripped her rake and roared to the heavens. 



Join us next time for fun and adventure with a whole cast of characters:

Princess Poo-Poo - Defender of the Barn!

Retail Man – Superhero of the Business World!

Poo-Kitten – The cat who talks to poo!

Grapple-Kitty – With her claws of doom!
Mr. Big – Possibly a double-agent?

Dr. Bigaboom – The mysterious mad scientist!

Phoenix – The drunken horse!

The Great Bladder – Upset that he’s an evil bladder in a jar instead of a brain in a jar!

Lord Smellypyle – The evil dung heap!

And many, many more…. Maybe.    

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Don't Love Me in Death...

Don’t Love Me In Death if You Hated Me In Life.

Sooo, I’ve been following the story of the shooting at a small Korean-Christian college in California.  I’ve just been following the online news. Unfortunately, when I do that, I tend to follow the online commentary. 

After which I feel like maybe *I* need to be preemptively, humanely killed before I “inevitably” do something horrible to the world’s quality people because, apparently, I’m a stupid violent animal just waiting to go off because….: 1. I’m a Christian, 2. I have a mental disorder / condition (a known and treated one, but still), 3. I’m an introvert. 4. I enjoy playing video games.

*Rolling eyes.* 

At least I don’t need to die or be deported or detained for my race.  I’m a white person, this means I enjoy a certain amount of privilege, including not being personally targeted when people say “Oh, those Koreans!” or make an oh-so-funny joke about the shooter “being ashamed of the size of his eggroll.”  (Yes, that was a real comment I saw on an online board, it’s probably been lost in the shuffle or found and nixed by a moderator by now, but not before it was seen). 

I feel no need to suddenly fear Korean people now.  I still plan to shop at my local H-Mart, which I love so much I made a happy-rant about it on this blog back in November.

I saw some other commentator whine about how their large community college has all kinds of people who speak all kinds of languages and “no one makes fun of that, it must be a religious thing.” 

I refrained from answering that person, because I learned long ago that such people aren’t worth talking to. The prejudiced don’t want any answer but echoes of their own opinion.  I wanted to say “No, it’s not a religious thing, it’s a jerk-thing” because of my own positive experiences with ethnic diversity in Christian churches.  When I was a teenager, I was really into a small family-like Baptist church. Now, they did hold to some dogma I no longer agree with, including a fairly strict-literalist reading of the Bible, but that didn’t make them killers nor did it even make them bullies.  It’s not like they didn’t have their problems, but diversity in ethnicity and language were *not* among them.  No one made fun of anyone who struggled with English, and for my part, members of our “sister-church” didn’t make fun of me for my odious Spanish.   

Most of the commentary anywhere on articles I read on this news was fighting over gun-control.  Loads of people were calling for tighter gun-control laws and they fought with the people who said “if all the victims were armed/there was one sane person with a gun, this could have been stopped.”  My own opinion on that issue is kind of mixed. I don’t think I should ever own a gun. I am familiar with my ups and downs/instability and worry about a suicide-result, so I’ll voluntarily abstain from my “second amendment right.”  However… when at Otakon (an anime festival) one year, in the seller’s hall, I visited a booth selling swords and other replica medieval weapons.  A sign across the booth read: “If they outlaw guns, can we use swords?”  - It was cheeky and geeky, but… really, the truth, no?  It is harder to kill people with a sword – I mean, you gotta look your victim in the face before lopping his head off and a sword is not a ranged-weapon, then again, as a certain Protagonist* of a favorite book of mine once said “Swords don’t run out of ammo!”

Back to some of the stupid, petty commentary… I guess people on the Internet just let fly because they’re both anonymous and there is the perception that what one says on the Internet is ephemeral. Sure, things that are typed get archived, but after a couple pages down on a message-board or news commentary, nobody reads anymore.  If someone calls you on being a jerk, something in most people’s minds apparently says “It’s just text.” I don’t know if the Internet encourages jerkiness or if it is merely bringing out all of the nastiness that has been brewing beneath the surface the entire time.  I think one of the reasons why I hope there’s a God and/or some kind of spiritual dimension to life is because I don’t have a lot of faith in Humanity. To me, Humanity is like a zit – even in the most civil society, there’s a greasy nastiness beneath the surface just waiting for an opportunity to pop and ooze out.

This story made me recall something that happened in my childhood – not directly to me, just some News of the Century that happened near where I lived when I was right around 10 years old.  Wat Pamakuriam (not sure if I’m spelling that right).  If you’re interested, Google “Arizona Buddhist Temple Massacre” or “Avondale, Arizona Buddhist Temple Massacre.”   In the desert on the outskirts of Phoenix lies a Buddhist temple complex where monks meditate and where nine people were shot dead in 1991.  It was a big media fiasco… some of the criminal investigation was a bit dubious, and people across the state were generally appalled that someone could shoot people in the head as they prayed.  Worst massacre in the state since Old West “Indian Wars” times.  Arizona mourned.  I didn’t know anyone involved, my family wasn’t Buddhist, it really didn’t affect me directly at all, but this story has stayed with me all of my life because… monks praying peacefully were friggin’ shot in the head while being harmless!  

I’m sure we all have violent news stories from our childhoods that have stuck with us.  

This was back in the days when the Internet was unknown as a household thing (it existed then, but was a University and nerd thing, I think, but it wasn’t something everyone had in their home). We relied on television news and newspapers for our stories.  My memory of the whole deal is fuzzy because it happened so long ago, but I don’t recall any newscast or paper proclaiming Buddhists to be inherently violent or any other absolute shit like that.  I don’t recall anyone writing into editorial sections to say “those monks’ prayers didn’t save them, haha!”  Somehow, I think if that story happened today, with the Internet, I’d be seeing that, just as I’m seeing the victim-blaming and making-fun-of-the-victims in online comments.  Then again, it might be different just because of the religions involved. Buddhists in America / the Western world are stereotyped as “peaceful” while Christians who are committed enough to actually *call* themselves “Christian” are “crazy and stupid” and, well, if this had been a mosque or an Islamic college?  Um…. Yeah, I think we’d all be buried under screams of “terrorism!” It doesn’t matter if the victims were the shooter’s “own.” 

This brings me to my ultimate annoyance.  Lots and lots of “Christians are crazy and stupid; this guy was acting like a typical Christian! Of course this happened, the Bible is violent!  -- Oh, but what senseless loss of life and condolences to the families.”  Whut?  This brings me to the title of this rant.  Don’t love me in death if you hated me in life.  If you hate me, either as a person or just because of a category I’m in (“loosely Christian / believes in a God”, “struggles with a mental disorder,” “doesn’t like parties,” “plays video games”) then, by all means, if I am killed in a violent act by “one of my own,” DON’T FAKE MOURN ME OR USE ME AS A DAMN MARTYR.  If what you *really* deep down, politically-incorrectly think is “a rat took out a rat’s nest” or “those people deserved it” DON’T pretend like their loss is a loss to you, because it’s not. 

Go ahead and dance on graves. It’s the Internet, which means no one will punch you in the face.  Stereotyping and prejudice pisses me off, but I think passive-aggressive stuff pisses me off even more. (If you’re only “mourning the dead” because you think they missed out on their chance to live long enough drop their beliefs and become full human beings like you and you think  it’s sad that they died as who they were, you’re a doin’ it wrong)!   

Either MAKE THE LOSS A LOSS to you by realizing that everyone is human, or spit on the graves. If you cannot let a tragic story make you a better person, at least be honest.


*Capitalization intentional.  Hiro Protagonist of Neil Stephenson’s “Snow Crash.”  I think his exercise tool, the “redneck katana” could have done some damage, too, if he’d actually used it as a weapon.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Easter Bunny Mafia

The Easter Bunny Mafia...

Bob and I were on our way home from a dinner-buffet when we had one of those stupid car-conversation sessions we wished we had a recording device for. 

We may just have a really demented children’s book in the works (initial idea-stage). Seeing a sign on the side of the road for some church’s Easter Egg Hunt prompted conversation about Easter and egg-hunting.  I recalled how my extended family would get together for Easter at my parents’ place and how I liked hiding the eggs more than searching for them… one of my favorite hiding spots was the exhaust-pipes of the cars. That led to me proclaiming my youthful knowledge of biology/zoology:  My family raised rabbits for a time when I was a kid. I knew they didn’t lay eggs. They laid… other stuff.   

Then Bob said “Of course the bunnies in the commercials don’t lay eggs, they get them from the chickens.  They force the chickens to give them their young!” 

And somehow, that lead to the idea about bunnies being the mafia, extorting labor and tribute out of chickens.  The Big Cluck will stand up to them, forming their own group. Meanwhile, some young bunny who “goes against the family” gets a pair of comically egg-shaped cement shoes and the Big Cluck hires out cats as assassins to get the bunnies.  (Inspired by one of the cats that lives on the horse-farm I work at… there’s a cat whose expertise is in hunting baby wild rabbits). 

Cat-assassins get paid in fish and sushi.  Chickens get force-fed chocolate by the mafia-bunnies to make them pre-fill their eggs… the rabbits have a racket with chocolate and the human stores that sell it…

I haven’t actually seen “Hop,” but from the reviews/summaries, this would be a far, far darker version of that. Haha.  I said, in illustrating this, I wouldn’t make it “kiddie-friendly,” I’d SHOW stuff like the bunny getting cement shoes, just because something like this *needs* to be totally demented.

So, what do you think?  “Heartwarming” children’s picture book material? 

In all this, I told Bob of the existence of the book “Go the **** to Sleep” and how one can find it on YouTube narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. If that exist, why not The Easter Bunny Mafia?