Month: April 2007 Page 2 of 3

Chocolate Review.

Cote d’Or Lait Intense, nuance de noir, Belgian Milk Chocolate Confection with a Dark Chocolate Filling

Note: This is milk chocolate, which I usually don’t go for.

Yummy. I really didn’t notice the dark chocolate, though. Very creamy, smooth, soothing…very much a comfort food. Nothing grainy or oversweet about it. However…not dark chocolate. To me, this straddled the line between chocolate and candy, trying to partake of both but not committing to either. Maybe I’m just never going to be a milk chocolate fan…say four out of five stars, with a confusion detractor.

Green & Black’s Organic Espresso

Being on the decaf side of the cup, I couldn’t eat more than a few bites of this. It’s like eating chocolate-covered espresso beans without the unappealing aspect of actually eating a coffee bean covered in waxy, low-quality chocolate. Waaaaaaah! Two bites of the perfect chocolate-espresso mix, and I was up two hours past my bedtime. Five stars out of five, with a tiny tear to the side.

FLCL

Here‘s a video of FLCL stuff set to “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” which sums it up nicely, I think. And here‘s one set to “Everlong.” Completely different, also as true. It’s a like a fruit, you slice it one way, you get apples, you slice it another way, you get tomatoes, you slice it a third way, you get a stapler. Not that you get to slice it.

It’s about a kid who wants to skip adolescence and go straight to normal adulthood. Things should be ordinary…but they aren’t. His dad’s a perverted underground journalist, his brother’s girlfriend wants hang out with him when she’s not setting fires, his teacher is obsessed with chopsticks, and an intergalactic fugitive looking for the power of Atomsk has decided the kid should make a good portal for powers beyond his ken…also the guy chasing down the alien has nori for eyebrows. Really. No, really.

“Who are you, and what do you want?”
“I’m just a wandering housekeeper.”
“Tell me the truth.”
“I’m an alien.”
“Yeah, and this afternoon, you were a nurse.”

“Look at this. It’s empty. There’s no brain. Did you lose it somewhere?”

“Who is this? Your brother?”
“No, no relation. I’m from planet Earth.”

“You are a million years under-evolved, primitive monkey!”
“That’s discriminatory language used against underdeveloped planets.”

Dur…

Nothing to make you feel stupid than a mind-bending Antiriddle. I’m trying to figure out the “Time Flies” clue. I tried Rome.php and Istanbul.php, but nothing. Hints welcome.

(via Neatorama.)

Kurt Vonnegut is dead.

My name is Yon Yonson
I come from Wisconsin
I work as a lumberjack there
They ask me my name and I say…

Word of the Day.

vomitorium (vom-i-TOR-ee-uhm) noun, plural vomitoria

A passageway to the rows of seats in a theater.

[From Latin vomitorium, from vomere (to discharge).]

Vomitoria in ancient amphitheaters helped the audience to reach their seats quickly and then, at the end of the performance, leave at an equal speed (hence the name). Thousands of seats could be filled in minutes. The suggestion that a vomitorium was the place for the ancient Romans to vomit during a feast has no basis.

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

“If I had a brain…I wouldn’t be stupid!”

We’re watching The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz. It’s great. All three of us are giggling in a most undignified way.

“Hi! My name is DOROTHY.”

“Trust no one. It could be a sign.”
“Yeah, there’s another sign. Danger, high voltage.”

“…So I could marry the love of my life. Camilla.”
“A chicken. Wierdo.”

Gonzo (Tin Man) attaches a cell phone (his nose.)
Prawn (Toto) says, “Is that a cell phone? What are these?”
[Honk, honk!]
“Those are my nipples.”
PRAWN OF HORROR!!!

Kermit: “I’m not so smart.”
Gonzo: “I’m so empty inside I hurt inside.”
Prawn: “And I’m so gosh-darn sexy I could cry.”

Death, taxes, and Cadbury cream eggs.

Not being dead, and just having finished the taxes, I need a sugar rush.

Cadbury eggs. Are they smaller than they used to be? Let’s find out.

Dance of the Mandlebrot.

Music video of the mandlebrot set, zooming in and out. Zooooom!

Writerly Ramble.

Couple of ideas on how plots work. Just messing around.

1. When you’re telling someone about a story you heard — about someone you know, maybe — it goes like this:

You know…? Yeah, the one who… well, something happened one day… no, wait, it gets better/worse… but in the end it was all okay/it was too late.

I’ve used the “no, wait, it gets better” thing in conversation without even thinking about it.

Plot: You know Janet? Yeah, the really boring kid from our class who does nothing but take care of her grandmother now. Well, she was offered a deal one day by the devil–beauty, success, money, attractiveness–only she couldn’t eat chocolate any more. No, wait, it gets better. The devil gave her everything she asked for, but he blocked her from getting the things she thought that stuff would get her, like a husband who loved her, or even any real pleasure out of life. And then he tempted her with that one guy from the class above her, the nut who was always threatening to bring a gun to class and kill anybody, who it turned out she had this horrible crush on, and guess what? Yeah, he worked at a chocolate shop…. [Ending cut; suffice it to say it both turned out OK and was too late. I think this is my next large project, which started out as novelette a few years ago. I still come back to the idea.]

2. Mental writing exercise. There’s a conflict in the story, but what is it that makes conflict hang together? If you know tarot*, pick a card, and figure out what the meaning of the card and its reverse mean to you.

Say, Strength. The upright meaning is “Courage. Self control. The virtue of Fortitude. The power of love. Control of passion against one’s baser instincts. Determination. Generosity. Strength and power under control. Energy. Optimism. Generosity, resolve and reconciliation.” The reverse meaning is “Power wrongly used. Defeat. Lack of willpower. Feelings of inadequacy. Pessimism. Surrender to unworthy impulses. Tyranny. Concession. Inability to act.”

Then decide whether you want a character who starts out more as the “upright” version and fights external, “reverse” issues, or who starts out as the “reverse” version and resolves internal conflicts, inspired to become the “upright” version. (Or both, if you’re feeling particularly snappy — starts out as “reverse” and fights “reverse”-type issues, only resolving them when the internal change to “upright” comes about, e.g., Schindler’s List.)

Make characters to fit that pattern. The main character is “upright”: A woman with energy and optimism. (How do we prove she has energy and optimism? Let’s say…she has ten foster kids, whom she raises well, and she’s in the process of adopting three of them.)

However, she is beset by the “reverse”: the real father of those three kids comes back into their lives. He’s a real scumbag, a guy with a lot of power who always gets what he wants, and he wants to get these three kids back. (Why does he want to get the kids back? Because the media has found out that he abandoned the kids years ago, and they’ve exposed him as a heartless bastard, unable to behave responsibly toward the people he should love…make him a politician, maybe? Or a corporate exec, which tends to come to the same thing these days.)

Then you throw the two together. In order to prevent the adoption from going through–ever–and because he hates this woman, he makes it seem like the woman can’t control herself: she’s having an affair with an abusive alcoholic, and the kids have been taking care of each other while she’s with him. (We could throw in a fire, I guess.)

Finally, decide how to resolve the issues between the two aspects of the card — the “upright” version survives everything the “reverse” can throw at her; the “reverse” has a change of heart; the “upright” version falls to pieces (with or without a change of heart by the “reverse”); you could even move the characters to the next card in the series — in this case, the Hermit.

The woman loses the three kids (being an incurable romantic, I say because the man decided to become a better father; he also fell in love with the woman), but comes through the situation wiser, calmer, less likely to give too much of herself, less likely to fall in love. A sadder-but-wiser ending.

Not a great idea, but a workable idea. For me, the main thing is that the conflict revolve around something — that the characters be tied irrevocably to the conflict — that the characters and the conflict come out of the same breath. I read something yesterday about how The Fugitive is about justice: Dr. Kimble is justice; Officer Gerard is blind justice; the villains are injustice. The writer wasn’t talking about the tarot deck, but it made me think about it.

*Yeah, the brief Mortal Coil game with the tarot cards put me in mind of this, too.

More Music

More songs that have been stuck in my head the last few days. Again, keep in mind that I really don’t figure out what the lyrics are until I look them up. Aren’t the internets wonderful?

Wailin’ Jennys “Devil’s Paintbrush Road” and “Beautiful Dawn

Live and die and gone
Live and die and gone
The devil paints a double life
Live and die and gone

Which has a nice harmonicai.

Teach me how to see when I close my eyes
Teach me to forgive and to apologize
Show me how to love in the darkest dark
There’s only one way to mend a broken heart

Foo Fighters “Skin and Bones.” Dave Grohl headbangs, acoustic-style.

All worn out and nothing fits
Brennivin and cigarettes
The more I give the less I get
But I’m all set
I’m all set

Skin and bones
Skin and bones
Skin and bones don’t you know?

I’m just skin and bones

And Portishead.

After time the bitter taste,
Of innocence decent or race,
Scattered seed, buried lives,
Mysteries of our disguise revolve,
Circumstance will decide.

‘Cause nobody loves me,
It’s true,
Not like you do

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