dBlog

"Half Of My Heart": music versus Music

Posted on February 6, 2014 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Thus far, dBlog has played host to talk of my writing, snippets of prose, and the occasional rant about something writing-related that irks me (or about my podcast, which is its own animal and I don't feel like counts as what I "write about" exactly). Today, we're going to take a break from Authorship and focus on one of my other loves: Music.

 

This isn't the same as "music", which is stuff that technically involves notes, a rhythm and sometimes words (I'm looking at you, Miley and Bruno Mars). This is Music, capital-M, which is music that is so well-crafted and/or well-performed that it graduates to Music. Most people tend to think what qualifies as Music is in the eye of the beholder, but I disagree; if it's truly done with exceptional acuity and skill, the fact that it's big-M Music should shine through regardless of genre or preference. That is how I can hear the rare rap or country song (genres I mostly detest) and still be able to tell that it's decent.

 

I have spent my adult life trying to define Music versus any old music, and I'd like to think I have a pretty good handle on it. Of course, occasionally I can be surprised, but for the most part my ear has become very keenly honed. When I tell you certain Music is good, I'm usually at least partially right. That might sound like bragging (and it kind of is), but the truth of the matter is, Music matters so much to me that I spend an inordinate amount of time second- and third-guessing what I listen to and why. It's a somewhat-unhealthy obsession.

 

Today, out of the blue, I suddenly got the itch to put on some John Mayer.  A lot of people are going to stop reading at this point, and that's fine; the entitlement of being able to disregard someone's viewpoint based entirely on the fact that they mentioned a celebrity you have some preconceived notion about is part of what's great about living in a Free Society. It kind of makes you an even more pretentious douche than I am, but hey, freedom!

 

Back to Mr. Mayer. I have no particular love for him as an individual, I don't know much about him other than a handful of articles I've read, some crap about his on-again-off-again relationship with Katy Perry. What I do know about him is that he can make a guitar sit up, beg and roll over, and that his semi-bluesy voice is perfectly suited to his craft and style within that craft. He writes Music - it's definitely poppy and mainstream, but it qualifies. My friend Scar (yes, he killed Mufasa, but we're past that in our relationship) handed me a copy of Room For Squares several years ago, which pushed me beyond the tiny snippets I had heard on the radio and made me a casual fan for life. That said, I haven't actually thought about his Music in a year or so... but today, when I said to myself, "Why haven't I listened to 'Half Of My Heart' in so long?", I fired up Google Play just to see if I had it backed up there.

 

I did. I listened. I smiled.

 

Those who aren't Mayer fans can skip this paragraph: Squares and Heavier Things are incredible but for different reasons. I will always rock out to "Neon" and "Bigger Than My Body", no matter what is happening when they come on. Continuum was... not as good, but had one or two golden, indispensable tracks (mostly "Say" and "Waiting On The World To Change"). Battle Studies, however, was ridiculously awesome and saw near-constant rotation in my CD player (kids, ask your parents what CDs are) after its release. I'm sorry to say I lost touch with him after that, but I know he has newer material I may have to check out soon.

 

As a quick aside, I love the fact that I can go "DUDE, that song from that one time, I haven't heard it in forever" and be listening to it five seconds later. Which I Tweeted, but that's beside the point.

 

Before my high school years, my notion of what was music and what was Music had no strong foundation. Unfortunately, my mother (and stepfather, her eventual accomplice) were very Christian, which is fine for them, but based on this they limited my exploration of Music severely in my formative years. I had oldies, Christian music (most of which doesn't even come close to capital-M status), and "Fun Radio 95.5", which was a station that catered to a younger audience (IE, they played Disney soundtracks, Joe Scruggs, Raffi, and the theme song to Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?). Cutting out HUGE swaths of my patchwork childhood (you're welcome), this continued to be the case exclusively right up until my Freshman Year of high school, when Fun Radio underwent management change and started playing some mainstream pop alongside the kiddie songs. Suddenly, I was introduced to strange new animals like Will Smith, Sugar Ray, Aqua, Smash Mouth, Spice Girls. To most people, this is nothing; you're probably laughing at my "discoveries" right now, which I totally get. To me, it was like a door to a glorious landscape opening the tiniest crack. On the other side was Music.

 

Slowly throughout my teen-age, my tastes evolved. Sugar Ray led to Third Eye Blind, which led to Vertical Horizon, which led to Toad the Wet Sprocket, which led to Tears For Fears, which led to Smashing Pumpkins, which led to Nine Inch Nails, which led to Ween, KoRn, Tool, Stabbing Westward, Placebo, and it continued to rabbit-hole until I couldn't even recognize where I had started compared to where I wound up. For a while, I even tried to make music, but I soon gave that up as a lost cause and a chapter better left forgotten. As the years wore on, I developed this strange dual-sensibility; my love of alt-rock, metal and industrial spread like poisonous weeds in one half of my heart, while pop and light rock thrived like a pretty rose in the other.

 

Spoiler warning: the flower killed the weeds eventually. While I still put on NIN or the Pumpkins once in a while, well-crafted pop-rock and alternative "shoegaze"-type fare dominate my playlists these days. The last concert I went to was Stars, a bunch of Canadians who write euphoria-inducing Music like this. Definitely not the insubstantial "Contemporary Christian" pablum my mother listens to, but me-at-17 would have thought me-right-now was a loser for liking it. Dumb punk.

 

I'm not really going anywhere with this, I realize, other than to offer you a glimpse into something I haven't yet discussed: I love Music. A lot. When people insult my musical tastes, I take it very personally, but I also don't fold or back down, because I know what I love is worth loving. New Placebo album (which is insanely good, by the way)? Just as important for me to critique as the new Katy Perry (which is more "snore" than "Roar", other than one or two cuts). Not normally critique to other people, but to myself: "Do I like this, or do I just feel like I'm supposed to like it?" "What might listening to any more of Suchandsuch Band do for me?" "Am I viscerally angry at forcing myself to listen to this for another second, or is it growing on me?" That kind of thing.

 

And therefore, I started to second-guess myself when I cued up "Half Of My Heart" today on a whim. "Why do I need to hear this right now? I've been listening to Fall Out Boy, Cibo Matto, Ben Folds, Jonatha Brooke and random German folk lately... how does that even relate to a sudden craving for Mayer?" I'm honestly interested in my own answers, because from a more objective standpoint my musical selections seem arbitrary and make no sense. However, there had to be some kind of pattern there... not that I can fully untangle it. I just wanted to hear "Half Of My Heart", despite an artist of middling talent like Taylor Swift being a guest vocalist. It's catchy, the melodies are woven so precisely that it seems like they took no effort at all, which is an under-appreciated talent in and of itself. Also, its lyrics are totally relateable. Possibly to me currently, but we won't speak about that.

 

These are all the things I factor in when I try, in my infinite ignorance, to distinguish between music and Music. Most of the time, I like to think I make wise decisions. Doubtless you just think I'm crazy, which is your prerogative. Meanwhile, I'm over here grooving as I type this entry. Who is happier? Who has a grip on the situation?

 

~D.

Brandy

Posted on January 21, 2014 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

“Brandy”

A writing exercise that got wildly out of control
By D. Lawson-Hart and Divine Shade
(WARNING: NSFW.)

---------------------------------------------------------------

Might cuddle up with you when I get home tonight.

 

I think I would love the attention.

 

Really? Because I plan on drinking of you deeply.

 

Just the way you should.

 

I always roll you around on my tongue for a while.

 

I love when you taste me like that.

 

 

Sometimes you go straight to my head, you know.

 

 

Sometimes I like to go straight down.

 

Straight down, no waiting?

 

Straight down until you burn.

 

I promise not to choke; I can handle you.

 

Are you sure?

 

Hit after hit after hit.

 

Use me until I am spent and done.

 

Just keep in mind I have been known to get every last drop before I'm through.

 

It pains me to think that, when all is said and done, I might be tossed aside for another.

 

I have been known to do that... but usually I just pick the same poison all over again.

 

So night after night, am I to be used and used well to drown your pains?

 

Most nights, you're the only thing that works... but I think you get something out of it, too.

 

The taste of you on me... the feel of your lips on my cool glass body.

 

My teeth, too, if you don't mind it.

 

I make such lovely sounds when you run your teeth across me. It makes me shiver.

 

I shiver, too, but it doesn't stop me because I'm still thirsty.

 

The more you take, the more I give.

 

And the more you give, the more I take you over and over.

 

Give until the point of no return.

 

It makes me dizzy when I'm full of your flavor.

 

The knowing that another can not satisfy you as I can makes me want to never let you hit bottom.

 

You alter my reality and quench me in ways nothing else can.

I become one with you and take away your stress. I relieve you better than anything else can... I love when you struggle to keep your hands off of me.

 

I always do, and they always find their way back... opening you all over again.

 

Our love affair shall be a never-ending one – one that keeps you warm at night and has you crawling back to me.

 

Every nerve ending tingles and my vision blurs when I get too much of you, and yet I don't even care; I just want more.

 

I try desperately to keep up, but I can only take you so far. I weep when it is all over.

 

By the time you're spent, my mind is so on fire I can't even tell where you end and I begin.

 

Deep within you, when all is done, I twist my self around your soul and offer you my comfort and warmth once more... with hopes and wishes that we will soon be one again.

 

I try to hate myself in the morning because you make me ache, but I can't, and we end up back where we started.

 

It is my dearest desire to keep you coming back to me. I make you ache to remind you that what we have is real, and you need me to chase the dark lonely shadows from your dreams.

 

Trouble is, I can't tell if you're lying to me or not... I believe it when the darkness retreats in the face of you setting me ablaze, and even during the pain, but what if I'm just deluding myself?

 

I push you ‘til you see no reason, and that is our reality; there can be no other way. I do not taste of lies when on your lips... I am fire and honey... wind and glass... sweet and smooth on your tongue.

 

There it is; the reason this continues, the reason I can never put you aside. You drown me in my own sorrows as I devour you, make the darkness seem like light for a while.

 

I stay with you for as long as the dawn does not dwell over the horizon like a damning witch to claim you from my embrace. I am forever your companion when all others fail you.

 

Sometimes, the only thing that gets me through the wicked daylight hours is the knowledge that, at the end of it all, you're waiting for me at my bedside, so innocent until unleashed.

 

I wait so silently, so patiently, for you to claim me; I anticipate it with eager joy and suspense. I love how you use me.

 

There are times I nearly break you in my haste to open you wide, to have you again, to make you erase the nightmares of this life.

 

The wicked grip you hold on me in your desperate need to have me makes me take you faster to the core of the vortex that is so close to Ecstasy, no one can compare to what we have in our darkest hour together. I need you to break me and to take me... take me down with you, let me burn you as you are meant to be burned.

 

What we do to each other is unnatural and disgusting to most people, and I couldn't care less because I need it. I need the pain and the misery because I don't feel alive without you on my lips.

 

I am innocent, for all intents and purposes... it is what we do to each other that makes us dirty and unaccepted by gentle society. I do what I do for you, and only you... I was made for you. You consume me as one would the last drop of water in a dead oasis. You hold my loyalty and my body to you alone.

 

You'll never leave me, because you have nowhere else to go but into the gutter, but I never think about you that way; I can't. It's much more important to draw you into myself and experience every atom of you as you change my worldview, make wrong seem right and dark seem light.

 

I pray you never cast me aside; I wish never to be replaced with a warm body that would lie to you as they try to recreate what I give you freely. I am yours for only a small price, where another would be the bane of your existence in mere months’ time. I am everlasting in your thoughts... I am calling to you and want to be in your hands.

 

My stomach clenches and I sweat under your ministrations, and I reach for you repeatedly, touch you and draw you to me, allow you to serve your purpose and give me a reason to go on, even as you kill me a little at a time.

 

I am yours to do with as you please, to serve you as you wish. I will be what you need and, in the darkest of nights, I will be who you need me to be. You are master in everything; I am made for this... I am made to fit your needs in the only way I can. I am the key to the figments of your imagination; let us walk through and wander for a bit. Give your self over to my keeping... let me love you.

 

How can I let you love me if in the morning you will be gone? Yet it is all you have to give, your shining, fleeting role in my bleak reality. And I take it from you, I encourage it even while I know it might be the worst mistake I could ever make. Because I love what you do to me. It's indescribable and profanely sacred.

 

You care for me. You do not always use me to my last drop; sometimes you keep me hidden for the night to come. You take care of me. I am precious to you... I am never a mistake... I am here to please, never to disappoint. Your ache when the dawn comes is to show you how much passion can be had if not tamed. It will leave you with little of yourself to love.

 

Only when we're alone do you satisfy my desires; in the waking world, you're a shadow in the back of my mind, teasing me with the promise of your embrace later, the taste of you like the bait in a snare. And ensnare me you do in your unbridled heat, and I descend into it willingly, burning alive and giving as good as I get all the way down.

 

I sate you in ways others only dream of. You can have me in any way your heart desires. I sweetly melt across your tongue with the heat of a burning goddess of pain that can only bring your deepest desires to light when we lay in bed and you bring me to you. I come alive inside of you. I ever wait for the caress of your lips at my opening.

 

That nectar inside of you is worth its weight in gold to me, though the only price for me is a few shekels and my self-respect. But self-respect does me no favors where I am right now; I pay gladly whenever I can and drape you across my mouth, dipping my tongue inside as your gift to me courses through my veins.

 

I cannot deny you anything; I am bought and paid for to use as your pleasure. I am your secret... I am your beloved little whore. I relish the thought of knowing I am forever ingrained in your mind. I make you whole... I am your weakness, I make you crawl... make you come back for more. I make you love me.

 

And come crawling is exactly what I do; some days it's all I can do just to make it back to you. Part of me knows you're weakening me little by little, that if I keep coming back one day I won't survive the space between our perverse unions... or the unions themselves. One way or the other you're going to destroy me, and I'll gladly let it happen because you'll be destroyed too, and we will lie in the rubble of ourselves forever. All because I love the way you taste.

 

~D./Shade

Whatever, internet.

Posted on July 16, 2013 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I know this is a little out-of-the-blue, and strange for not being an ADHDcast-related post, but I made a RageComic for the first time, and it's something I have been noticing happening to lots of people but especially me lately:

http://ragegenerator.com/pages/comic/182603


There's just too much internet! AAARGHFJPOSFHSU! It was bad enough fifteen-odd years ago when I first explored its pitfalls and perils, but it has only become worse in the intervening span! WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THIS?!


Also, McDiving. CANNOT EVEN HANDLE THAT.


Of course, the answer is nothing; we police ourselves, restrict ourselves to only certain lengths of time, or devest ourselves of certain sites that are too big of time-sucks. Though I did succumb to the wiles of Twitter, I do not have a Tumblr and am not on Reddit, and will not be on WookieCheeseEgg or whatever the next social media platform may be. There are very good reasons why: THEY WOULD EAT ALL THE REST OF THE TIME I ALREADY WASTE ON MY PODCAST, THEREBY PREEMPTING A FOURTH BOOK GETTING FINISHED UNTIL I AM 62.


Ugh.


By the way, I just joined Goodreads! Check me out here!


Ironically yours,

~D.

A Hyperactive Podcast Is Born: ADHDcast, Episode #1

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (3)

So in line with the whole "distractions from my book" theme I've been entertaining of late, I now have perpetrated a podcast upon the humans. I call it...


ADHDcast

(or Author D.'s Hyperbolic Dystopia)


Yeah, the title is a little pretentious, but it also totally works.  Or maybe it's just that I am totally working it?  Dunno.  Anyway, I was just going to call it "dCast" because I've been referring to Diadae Files as "dBlog" elsewhere, but when I was writing down all the random ideas I had for it I said, "Hah, more like ADHD-cast."  The rest is history.


...and don't think I don't realize this podcast was a near failure. Most of you will be less kind and say "psh, near?", but hey - I tried something, there were lots of mistakes, and I know certain parts aren't really up to snuff. Next time will be better; I'm looking at cranking more music (and less babbling), interviews, monkeys with swords, all kinds of junk! It's a work in progress. Anybody who wants to help me out by sending me money for better equipment is welcome to do so!


A little credit is in order for this, because no man is an island, so here's that and a few important points:

 

  • Not just one, but THREE music tracks in this episode provided by id Submerged, which can be downloaded for the low, low price of freeeeee from Kahvi Collective.
  • The awesome "Great Barrier Reef" used with permission from the glorious Dinka, whose sultry songs can be purchased from Amazon and from iTunes. And other places, probably. (yes, I realize I misspoke when I said she was Swedish... and when I said she doesn't have full-length albums out. I'll address my stupidity in the next podcast)
  • Handy links to crap I mentioned: Cinemassacre, Jamistarme, wilw, dinkasound.
  • Any questions/suggestions/comments can be submitted to diadae at mail dotkom (that's an email address I'm spelling out phoenetically to avoid spammbotz).  Even if you have audio questions or comments, go right ahead; I can splice them in.  It'll be fun!
  • This podcast is slightly NSFW due to language (but not very much).
  • This podcast is released under Creative Commons.

 

That stuff out of the way, below you will find links to download the maiden voyage of the USS ADHD in three handy formats:


ADHDcast Episode One (mp3)  (m4a)  (ogg)


Thanks in advance for listening! Hopefully even if you weren't extremely entertained, you at least were distracted from something else even more tedious than my podcast. Later!


~D.

A Game of Boners [book review]

Posted on April 11, 2013 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

More than fair warning: I don't like A Game Of Thrones.   I've never watched the TV version, either, because the book was such a let-down - and I don't plan to just because a bunch of HBO fanatics want me to "give it a second chance".   Why should it be any better than the cringe-worthy pool of offal that is True Blood?  Which, I will say, did not encourage me to read Charlaine Harris's books (though TB at least had the diamond-in-the-rough excellence that is the character of Eric Northman.)  Therefore, listen and listen well: if you have very fragile, delicate feelings of love for the "Song Of Ass And Phallus" series, I really encourage you not to read beyond this point.   Dead serious, here.  I know I've stumbled across many vitriolic blog-rants about other serieseses (how many "es"es?) that mean a lot to me, and this made me feel sad in the pants, so here I am giving you a chance to bail before I come out swinging.   If you're not scared off by all that, read on, Macduff - just don't cry foul in the eleventh hour.  Also, there are major spoilers for the whole book (first season) in this post, but that should go without saying.  Also, it's super verbose, so it may incite a "tl:dr" reaction.


Another disclaimer: I actually don't think A Game Of Thrones is the worst book I've ever read.   In fact, it comes pretty close to being as moderately-decent of a literary work as Twilight.   See?  I'm reasonable.  There is another reason unrelated to the prose itself that I'm tearing it a new one: George R. R Martin is a hypocritical old codger who needs to be taken down a peg.   Now, from what I hear Martin is allegedly a pretty personable guy and cool where most topics are concerned, but I'm sure there were lots of friendly, amiable Nazis, too.  Understand that for all of my cynicism and sardonic bile, I mean this part sincerely: only because MrRRRR Martin seems to think his writing is so loftily Sacred and Holy that nobody should be "allowed" to write fanfiction (or, as he puts it, "so-called 'fan fiction'" complete with snide quotation marks) about his beloved series, and also because so many people have looked at me with shock and revulsion when I say I'm not interested in the show ("OMG yyyy but its teh BEST EVARR, ur crazey or sumthing") have I gone to such lengths to pick apart everything wrong with his book.  But this is turning into another fanfiction rant, so I'll head myself off here and get back to A Game Of Thrones.  Maybe if Martin had a less grumpy and disappointing attitude toward his fellow writers, if he was more open-minded, I would be kinder (or wouldn't care enough to bother).   Too bad, too late.   Claiming fanfiction authors are "thieves" or are "wasting their time" opens up the floodgates to a critique of your multi-thousand-page waste of time.  Hold out your hand, Georgie, because I am about to plop your own ass into it.



We will now hear the Airing of Grievances!  "I got a lotta problems with you people, and now you're gonna hear about it!' (~Frank Costanza)

 

1. Everybody's a jerk.   Worse yet, many characters are the same jerk.   Viserys and Joffrey are almost identical "petulant children with god complexes", both of whom needed a good smack upside the forehead (and only one of whom got his comeuppance).   Thing is, I really dislike characters like that in the first place, but I understand they are a necessary evil to create conflict and keep things interesting.   Could they at least not be clones of each other?   Heh, Game of Clones.  There is one character that, I feel, shines above the rest in this pageantry of asshattedness - and this character will get their own bullet point.


2. Sansa is the worst.  Defend her if you want, but good friggin' luck.  A completely self-absorbed and whiny brat who can't even stand up for herself when she finally stops being blinded by Breeding and Rank and, belatedly, does realize Joffrey is a douche.   Bravo!   You couldn't have come up with that one before both your wolf and your father were slain, your sister run out of King's Landing (as far as she knows, at least), and the rest of your family plunged into war?   She gets her own wolf killed - at the hand of her beloved and his mother - and somehow continues to gallingly blame her sister instead of the true guilty parties.  Even after the execution of her father finally forces her to realize Prince Draco Malfoy Jr. isn't worth her time, her plan seems to be "Okay, I'll hang around kissing his ass and wait for an opportunity to escape and/or take my revenge," but how am I supposed to give a flying turd when she's made every wrong decision possible up to that point?   By the way, you should never, ever create a character this annoying and unlovable and then write any chapters from their viewpoint; it mostly just makes the reader want to use the book for kindling.   Which I wanted to do every single time a chapter started with the word "Sansa".


3. "The dragon".  "You don't want to wake the dragon", "I am the blood of the dragon."  Dragon, dragon, dragon.  Here's an even better quote: "Could someone stop that man from yelling 'dragon'?"  Know who said that?  Yakko Warner, from Animaniacs.   Children's television circa 1993 already knew that was beyond annoying, yet Georgie can't seem to figure it out.   SHUT UP ABOUT THE DAMN DRAGON.  And its blood, and its fossilized eggs, and all of it.  Instead of epically awesome, it sounds cheesy - and mostly because you hear it every three seconds in the Daenerys chapters.  Enough already!


4. Frequent sexy times that are more execrable than erotic.   Ooh baby, I really wanna read about man-seed running down the inside of a thirteen-year-old girl's legs.  It's not creepy at all, tell me more!   Tell me about her 30-year-old husband's "manhood glistening wetly" - even better!  Smelling like semen, man, that's pretty much what revs the motors of all women across the globe.   Axe should get on that!   While we're on this subject, all the application of perfume on vaginas, described in loving detail (or vile gratuity, depending on your perspective) needed to be curtailed.   Have you also noticed that it's only underage women you get the most awkward detail about being sexually molested?   Incestuous abuse, too, once in a while.   Women who are actually of age might be bare-chested or star in a brief brother/sister love scene (?!?!?!) or some such, but only incidentally; the main event is pubescent girls.  Yeah, that's not uncomfortable or anything.   And for the love of GOD, somebody get that man a wet nurse, because he's got this crazy obsession with lactating breasts!   Why so much explicit detail about a tween-ager's swollen, engorged boobs with milk running down from the red, inflamed nipples?  (And I know most of you are squirming because I wrote that just now, so how could it be any less weird that the original author did?)  Dany even breastfeeds the freaking DRAGONS!   Is that insane or what?!  Georgie probably just rubber-banded a Bic Stic around his dick and used that to write the whole book.  Don't forget: you can't spell Westeros without "eros"!  That trash should be in Penthouse Forum, not the New York Times bestseller list.  (From what I hear, the show isn't much better... except the characters are at least closer to being age-appropriate.)


5. Nonstandard swearing.  "Cock" was stlll just a rooster in the Middle Ages, not a euphamism for the penis.  And "Bunghole", really?   Sir Beavis of Winterfell?  Also, he seems to have a real thing about mutilation of genitals, which might as well go here, too - it's all kind of generally offensive and crude.   If I make a new number for every sub-bullet-point I'll be in the hundreds soon enough... but yes, I got tired of being subjected to closeted homoerotic idiocy like "cut his cock off and shove it in his mouth - that'll shut him up!"  And no, I didn't bother to double-check the quote for exact phrasing.   Why would I ever willingly read that again?   I'm crossing my legs just retyping it.  No thanks.


6. Lukewarm adjectives that are meant to sound especially robust and eloquent, but instead are stupid. Example: "Her own silver-gold hair".   Explain to me how that makes sense; silver and gold are two completely different colors!   That'd be like saying, "Her red-green shirt."  Either it's red, it's green, it's red-and-green coexisting in some kind of pattern, or it's an ugly muddy brown color because that's what you get when you mix red and green!  If you can't bust out the poetic brush without making a complete mess, then be simple and clear instead of embarrassing yourself.


7. Rampant Orientalism.   "Black eyes", "eyes shaped like almonds", "coppery skin".   It's clear the Dothraki are supposed to be Mongol hordes, warlike "savages".   "Khal" is one letter's difference from "Khan" (not this one).   Drogo's father's name is even "Bharbo", as in "barbarian".  Good job pretty much just slapping a new label on a preexisting ancient culture; there's some real creativity!  Then we go out of our way to make them out to be nothing but animals, rutting in the streets - not just figuratively, but actually grabbing random wenches and raping them right there on the side of the road.   Seriously, regardless of potential historical accuracy, we needed the "Asian" race to be portrayed this way?  I kept waiting for the "omg, and they even eat with CHOPSTICKS" scene.


8. GENEALOGIES.  Oh, the genealogies.  I don't care who some obscure lord's great-uncle's cousin once removed was.  Georgie-poo, If he's not in the plot, or didn't affect it dramatically, forget that mess.   Leave it out.   Keep the damn story rolling.   Your book ended up being 835 exruciating pages because you've never heard of the word "concise."  What the hell was your editor doing instead of catching this?  Oh, right - getting off on the statutory rape scenes.  Forgot.


9. Similarly, there are long, meandering descriptions of trivial information.   Do we so desperately need to know the name of every single lordling in the entire room?   Georgie tries to cover it once or twice, by wrapping up with "and there were many more" or something, but not nearly soon enough.   The Rule Of Three is held in high esteem for a reason; if you keep listing things off beyond three of them, people get freaking bored.   More often than not, he blows past three and doesn't start to contemplate a stopping point until seven or eight have gone by.  If I wanted to read endless lists of random crap, I'd be on Reddit or Buzzfeed.


10. Women, "cripples", the elderly, illegitimate children, little people, fat people, homely people, gays, and pretty much anybody who's not a young strapping heterosexual male is, at best, of little-to-no consequence.   At worst, they're abominations in the same category as attractions in a Cirque du Grotesque.   He comes close to redeeming the whole thing with Sam being such a decent guy, but still can't resist describing him as "fat" at every opportunity as if that's the one defining attribute about his character (and this is extremely surprising to me, given that Mr. Martin himself is not at all svelte).  There's only so much you can cover this with either the "That's just the way the world was back then" excuse or the "Drawing attention to the injustice by portraying it in your art" argument before either one falls apart.   He does it so damn much that it quickly becomes clear he's not really trying to make any kind of equality statement, and is instead just having fun laughing at the expense of anything non-manly.  Way to be racist, ageist, sexist and bigoted, Georgie.  Are you by any chance secretly a Republican?


11. Setting up Important Portents, such as events or Chosen People or whatever, and then kind of throwing them out the window.   What was the point of squandering all that time, making such a big fucking deal about Daenerys's son being the Blood of the Dragon and the Stallion Who Mounts The World (what a shitty title, anyway), and then killing him off?  I feel like I just drove eleven hours to see my favorite band in concert, only to be told the band decided not to perform.   And I really couldn't care less if this serves to "temper Dany's character" or something equally pathetic.   Really, it feels more like Georgie couldn't think of any decent way to continue the storyline if Rhaego lived, so he axed him.   This is done over and over with multiple characters and concepts.   The whole thing about "five direwolves for five Starks, plus an albino one for the 'bastard' son" was actually extremely cool... until he bumped off one of them and had another run away.  Ruined the whole idea.  Also, you'll notice the two wolves removed from the lineup are the two that belonged to the girls, because clearly women aren't worth anything and therefore there's no point in letting them keep their trusty animal sidekicks.   After all, soon enough they'll just be popping out babies and fulfilling their only legitimate reason for existing, right?  I don't even care if Nymeria comes back at a later point in the series for a Last-Moment Heroic Save.  Lady is still dead as a doornail.  Prophecy shattered, cool plot device equally destroyed.  Masterful.


12. Let's expand on this.  Anything I liked about the book, sooner or later, he either neglects or throws out.   Arya was one of the few characters I actually enjoyed reading about and was interested to see what became of her.   A girl who (gasp) actually wants to fight?  Like, with a sword?!  Alas, my hopes were dashed against the rocks.  She gets like, two scenes in the whole book.   Hundreds of pages fly by with nothing, and then we get a chapter of her eating pigeons and witnessing her father's death before she's whisked away once more, never to be seen again.  Great.   Same with Jon: he gets a tiny bit more "screen time", but not nearly enough when you consider how much time is squandered on Sansa and Tyrion (not that I dislike Tyrion; he's just not all that sympathetic beyond the "dwarf" thing.  A douchey Lannister through and through, despite the brief flash of camaraderie with Jon.)  Oh, and let's not forget how many pages are also taken up by sex scenes between Old Man Drogo and the jailbait.


13. Ravens are not parrots.  I don't care if they can be trained to speak, too.  Who would bother?  NEXT.


14. "Bastard", "Manhood", "Dragon" and "Dwarf" are all words I could go years without hearing again and be perfectly happy.  Especially because I actually am a bastard.   Do you think I really would refer to myself as a bastard at every given opportunity?   "Hey, good to meet you; I'm Dustin, the bastard.  Did I mention I'm a bastard?"  Let me lay that one to rest for you: I DON'T.   This does tie in with the "everybody not a virile male is of no value" thing and also the "overuse of dragon" thing, but gets a separate point because those four words themselves are annoying to read over and over and over and over and over and over and over.   See?  Oh, not yet?   Hang on.   Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.  Done now?  Thought so.


15. Speaking of "bastards", let's talk about Jon.   I cannot, cannot imagine this family, with Eddard being as loving a father as he is, caring so little that he's going north to "take the black" (another overused phrase that only brings to mind images of interracial porn).  Doesn't hold water.  Bastard or no, he's been living with them for what is it, 15 years?  16?  Don't care enough to look it up.   Anyway, nobody with the character of a man like Lord Ned (how do you even get 'Ned' from 'Eddard'?) would look after the well-being of his own child for that long and then just go, "Okay, now go on up to the Wall there and join all those criminals and rapists, because that's about all I think of you.   There's a good lad!"  At the very least, he could be put in command of a regiment of soldiers, or sit as an advisor on some council or other.  But no, lineage is everything.  I don't buy that, even during the "ye olden age" that aGoT is set within.  It would be one thing if he was a bastard that Eddard had barely seen since his birth, but he's been living with them.  Bonds form.  Pretending Ned would be okay with Jon leaving for the Night's Watch is just laziness, and probably the product of someone who's never had any strong familial connections.


16. Creativity of names.   He steals the protagonist surname from Iron Man and uses it for... the protagonists.  I'm surprised the boys never mentioned an Uncle Anthony.  Then there's Joffrey.   Good job slightly misspelling Geoffrey/Jeffrey.   That's like people who think they invented a new name when they butcher Kaitlin into "Catelyn".  OH WAIT...



Believe it or not, I could go on.   No really, as much as I just vented all over the keyboard, if I didn't have anything else to do today I would keep it up and throw down maybe another six or seven bullet points.  And seriously, I don't wanna hear any "But this and that happens in book two that tooootally justifies such and such in book one!"  Don't care.  If book one licked so much asscrack that I don't even want to be in the same room with it, you had better damn well believe I'm not going to put myself through the fresh hell that would likely be A Clash Of Kings.  I've got better things to read... like Naruto.  Or Frog And Toad Are Still Friends Even Knowing What Toad Did Last Summer.  ANYTHING AT ALL.


But again, I promise you, I have read other books I enjoyed less that were written by authors I admire more (*cough*Casual Vacancy*cough*).  That still doesn't make this steaming pile of horse excrement smell any more like roses.  I'm glad some people got something more out of it than wasted time, but you are never going to find me in that category.  Sorry, GOT fans.


~D.

Free (pun intended) Fanfiction!

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Okay, okay, I know I'm taking forever to get Accelerati out the door and on its way, not to mention Diadae #3.  Get off my back, willya?  Kidding.  Kind of.  But I'm not here to talk about that right now.  There's something else that's been irritating my shorts the last few days.  Fanfiction.

 

Not that I'm irritated by fanfiction itself.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Fanfiction (or "fan fiction" if you're claustrophobic and need a little space) is, as you are likely aware, stories based on existing works written by the geeks who are hopelessly enamored of said existing works.  Top categories include Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Marvel and DC comic books, and pretty much anything on TV.  I'm not ashamed to admit I've written more than my fair share (though you'll forgive me if I don't link you to it; some worlds are not meant to collide).  It is a vast and fertile landscape of derivative creativity.

 

Fanfiction is also really GAY.  Most junior high schoolers are sitting there going, "Yeah dude, that sh!t is so gay lol", but I actually mean a high percentage of it involves non-heteronormative pairings.  In this way, my blog post ties in with Equality Day (or whatever it's called that we're celebrating by changing Facebook pictures to red boxes).  That's beautiful.  I'm on board with that, 100%.  Mostly I wanted to put this in to acknowledge the major concern of the day, which is not what this post is about but also important.

 

What fanfiction is NOT, is plagiarism or copyright infringement.

 

Under copyright law, without express rights in form of a written agreement, no one can take your intellectual property and use it to make money.  Doing so constitutes copyright infringement.  Following that logic, fanfiction doesn't count since the fic authors don't make a dime.  It's pure enjoyment.

 

What are you going to do about it, anyway?  Let's say a group of guys are sitting around a table in Denny's after attending Wizard World, postulating, "Hey, what if the Venom symbiote adhered itself to Spider-WOMAN instead of Spider-Man?  And she hooked up with Carnage?  Would they have little red-and-black babies who can fly and shoot laser beams?"  Are you going to send in the FBI to storm f*cking Denny's and arrest the poor geeks?  Where does it end?  I can't see the difference between that and taking "legal action" against fanfiction writers and/or websites on which they are supported.

 

Let's be clear: there is such a thing as fanfiction from which money can be made.  There are literally hundreds of "original Star Trek novels" floating around out there, published since the original series was on in the Sixties.  Many widely-respected authors have taken a whack at Trek: Greg Bear, Diane Duane, Peter David, Laurell K. Hamilton, and we could be here all day.  THAT'S JUST TREK.  Forget about going into Star Wars.  And then Dungeons & Dragons novels.  And then we could do Supernatural, or X-Files, or...

 

Yet when people do it online, solely for fun, it's silly and devoid of merit - or worse, evil and worthy of prosecution.  A collective middle finger goes up from the fanfiction community to those narrow-minded individuals like George R. R. Martin, whose attitude [see here] sparked today's ranting.  He is not alone, but he is in the minority; most authors are thrilled to death when they hear people have been writing fanfiction about their characters and worlds, and graciously allow the practice.  It's a badge of honor, a mark of success.  "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

 

Alas, then it becomes all about the money.  Here, let me address that: you don't get to make money off everything.  More importantly, how many of us truly believe that, for example, J. K. Rowling suffered any dip in sales due to fanfiction readers?  Perhaps three.  And that's three books.  If that many.

 

Most fanfiction readers want to enjoy the original works before they delve into the murky waters of reimagining and alternate universes.  Point of fact, I would never have read Harry Potter if not for my friend sending me a fanfiction link.  It was not an epic tale (or even a "pretty good" one), but it got me interested in the characters and setting - which I then went on to explore by picking up the movies and books before I started bothering with fanfic.  See how it's actually a brilliant marketing tool in a kind of bass-ackwards way?

 

As to those authors who tout a concern that fanfiction writers need to "find their own story", do you really think it's so bad that they cut their teeth on yours?  I wrote a fanfiction before I knew what it was.  It is a totally natural progression of imagination, especially from the Baby Boomers forward.  Before then, entertainment was pretty much limited to radio dramas, books and the occasional movie, but the rising popularity of TV and comic books widened the availability of the fictional works of others.  The internet caused it to explode.  Children are increasingly inundated with stories from all sides, so in my opinion, it's becoming more and more commonplace for them to begin cobbling their own stories from pieces of others than to dream up fiction without derivation.  We should be nurturing this, not stamping it out!

 

"All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend.  Art isn't your pet - it's your kid.  It grows up and talks back to you." - Joss Whedon

 

But noooo, you want your precious money, Orson Scott Card [same link].  Sorry.  You also want marriage to stay inequal, yet you want to write interspecies romance? (Clark marries Lois, even though he isn't even human... and yet two men can't hook up?  Shaky logic, there.)  Maybe you should check your scruples, because I think they took a hit somewhere along the line.  Around the same period that you became a miserly bigot.

 

Just so we don't let them off the hook, here's a list of the other authors who expressly "forbid" any fanfiction based on their writings [via fanfiction.net]:

•Anne Rice

•Dennis L. McKiernan

•Irene Radford

•J.R. Ward

•Laurell K. Hamilton

•Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb

•P.N. Elrod

•Raymond Feist

•Robin Hobb

•Robin McKinley

•Terry Goodkind

 

Ahh, see?!  Remember earlier when I mentioned Laurell K. had written "original" Star Trek novels?  And she doesn't want anybody to write fanfiction of her works without making money!  Leg to stand on - I deny you this, madam.

 

Of course, I put "forbid" in quotes because they can't forbid it.  Other fanfiction websites aren't quite as docile and domesticated as FFnet, and have lawyers on retainer just waiting for some foolish corporate attorney to actually attempt to file a lawsuit.  Because it won't hold any water.

 

In conclusion, fanfiction is a lush and excuisite world, full of as many perils as wonders.  Cash-hoarding fiends would paint it as mimicry which somehow "devalues" their original work, but don't forget that both wriiting and reading fanfic is completely voluntary.  It's not going to ruin someone's watching Game of Thrones on HBO that there's a steamy homoerotic story of their two favorite characters floating around the internet written by a tenth-grader in Cheboygan.  Not unless they go digging for it themselves.  You're probably already on the New York Times best-seller list and have a fifteen-car garage full of Rolls Royces, so why don't you live and let live?

 

All of this without even touching with a ten-foot pole the commercial success of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies.

 

~D.

Which Way Did The Sixties Go?

Posted on October 21, 2012 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Yeah, I know it's been a while.  Writer's block has struck, along with a bunch of other personal/professional/pineapple circumstances.  What are "pineapple circumstances", you ask?  Well, if you don't know then you're probably better off.

 

The first item of news is that I have been working on my art a lot more lately (in absence of working on my prose).  You can find it HERE.  I figured I'd get that out of the way first, considering how conspicuous my absence from writing has been.

 

Secondly, have you ever heard of NaNoWriMo?  Most of you probably have.  In short, it's a bunch of people who get together in November and crank out a novel in 30 days.  In long... well, go to the website if you want to know all about how it works.  Anyway, this year I'm doing it.  No, seriously, I'm gonna do this.  I hear you saying, "But how are you supposed to write a whole book in one month when you couldn't manage to finish Diadae #3 in the past TEN?"  That... uh, is a very fair question.  In this case, I'm going to follow the suggestions of the NNWM organizers and just write like my pen's on fire without trying to make it perfect.  Also, I'll be working from a brand new concept for a book, and NOT working on Wells and Anna's third adventure.  While this will probably only serve to further anger those who have been waiting for book three, it would be cheating to use that since I already have it partially written.  Besides, the concept for my upcoming NNWM entry came to me in a dream a few nights ago so the timing couldn't be more perfect.  Details to come. [EDIT: also, please sponsor me by going here!]

 

So please cheer me on next month while I try to do the semi-impossible!  Maybe once I get that ball rolling, I will be able to get the ball rolling again on the Saga.  For now, I have concepts to flesh out and characters to name!

 

~D.

The Art Of Blogging

Posted on January 7, 2012 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I have noticed a trend among bloggers (not that I'm an expert... or that I even count as a blogger myself) to create blog entries that attempt to make the blogger themselves seem more interesting.  Without naming names, I find that to be ridiculous.  It's true that anyone in even the tiniest corner of the public eye feels a certain pressure to be entertaining twenty-four-seven, especially in the modern era where they are always "plugged in".  So they probably spend all day racking their brains for today's blog entry.  "What can I say that will captivate my faithful readers and give them something to chat about with Gary in accounting over a power brunch?"  Dreadful.


I will never attempt to do that here.  Seriously, you can rest assured that I am one of the most dull and boring people on the planet.  Yesterday, the partner and I went to a thrift store.  That was our red-letter event for the evening; digging through piles of castoffs in the hopes of finding treasures like Al Stewart's Year Of The Cat on vinyl.  After that we picked up a pizza, went home and watched Charmed for about four hours.  Don't everybody bust out the handfuls of confetti all at once, now!


For those paying attention, what I've just done is made something boring seem slightly less so by adding in a few humorous lines.  That isn't nearly as bad as pretending to have all these insights into facets of humanity that nobody cares about.  Oh, it's still bad, but not as bad.  It's degrees of evil.  Like I said, I'm not the kind of person who waxes philosophical about things I really don't understand the slightest thing about to begin with.  Nor am I the kind to outright lie to make myself seem cool.  That's pathetic, isn't it?


Now if you'll excuse me, off I go for an afternoon of hangliding and white-water canoeing, followed by my weekly fire-eating lessons.  This is how I attempt to cheat death in order to make myself feel more alive, and therefore connected to the nexus of (can you see how old that would get already?)


~D.

Entenmann's Crumb Topped Donuts

Posted on January 4, 2012 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

...are delicious.  That's pretty much it.

 

I've been a little caught up in the holidays and with Frank Beddor's Looking Glass Wars trilogy, which I am now most of the way through.  Rest assured, work on Díadae #3 begins in earnest really soon, and I'm probably going to really go at it with everything I've got when I do start up again.  In the meantime, you might want to add DiadaeSaga on either Twitter or Google+, just in case you're so bored you want to hear my thoughts on random everyday stuff.  Then again, you could do something smarter... like play Gears Of War.  Or paddleball.

 

~D.


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