Thursday, July 24, 2014

Love at First Sight

13 Year Old Me: "Do you believe in love at first sight?"
My 40-Something Mom: "I believe in lust at first sight..."
Let's face it: "love at first sight" is pretty absurd.  You see someone new and BAM! you've found your life partner.  You know what kind of person falls in love based on looks?  The shallow kind.  What someone looks like is the least important thing about a person.

Well, that's what I used to think.  Then I hired a personal trainer.

Have you ever tried working out?  No, you haven't.  Sure, you've been sweaty.  You've had to stop exercising because you felt you couldn't go on.  You've had cramps the next day.  That's not working out.  That's exercising once.  Imagine working yourself until you thought you would die: slipping on sweaty hands, feeling muscles tear, thinking you'll have a heart attack, gasping for breath.

Then your trainer says "Five more."  Trainers are funny.  They have their own language.

Trainer to English Dictionary
What the Trainer Says
What the Trainer Means
Five more
I've/you've lost count OR that didn't kill you, so let's keep going.
Good work today
I'm impressed you survived what I put you through.
Have fun last week/weekend?
You've gained weight.
You can do it
I'll get the defibrillator.
Use your core
Use that thing under all the fat.
Bend your knees
That snap you heard was your spine breaking.
Looking good!
You look like a sweaty, red, asthmatic pig.
That flabby part of your body.
That flabby part of your body.
That flabby part of your body.
Nice to see you again
Can't believe you're not in the hospital.

Imagine you've got to work yourself past what feels right, past pain and exhaustion to endangering your own health for several days a week.  That's what I've been trying to do.  I had severe back cramps from sitting in front of a computer all day and was gaining weight.  A girlfriend in college used to tease me about having a "concave chest."  So, I decided to pull myself out of it through fitness and diet.

Now I'm hungry and sore all the time.  I work myself as hard as I think I can a couple times a week (plus running other days and seeing my trainer).  I'm still 27% fat.  I still have a curved space over my sternum.
I used to look at movie stars and snort with derision.  Think they were born with a physical advantage.  They were dumb jocks.  They were half-starved jerks, cranky from eating salad and grilled chicken breast their whole lives.  As you can guess, I don't know any stars.
Except Arcturus; we go way back.
Now that I have a glimpse of how hard reaching model/actor level-fitness is, I realize what insane, mind-blowing discipline it takes.  I simply can't do what they do; I can't push myself to my limits and keep going.  After years of working out as hard as I can with free weights and eating a sensible diet that leaves me hungry several times a day, a quarter of my body is fat and can't do a single pull up without some aid.

So, you know what?  Go ahead and love people for their looks.  If they're fit, really fit, that means they have a degree of self-control that borders on inhuman.  They're disciplined, driven, powerful.  Heck, there's nothing wrong with loving someone for that.  It's a good sign.

We chubby people are good to fall in love with, too.  We're warm at night.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

How to Read a News Article

This is how most people read news articles:

How I read a news article.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dr. Horrible 2?


Okay, so I got this strange email.  I mentioned it in the last two blog posts and hoping someone would say "Hey, I sent that!  Just kidding, sucker!" but it didn't happen.  So, I decided, what the heck, I'm going to post it.

It's a synopsis for Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.  Part two.

If you haven't seen Dr. Horrible, you've missed out on a phenomenon.  It was created by Joss Whedon and Friends during the writer's strike of aught eight and chronicles the life of a humorous (eponymous) supervillain and his attempts to join a supervillain group and woo the woman of his dreams.

If you haven't seen it, you should.  It's free.  Watch it now.  Seriously.  I'll wait.

Dr. Horrible is (except for one badly directed song) kinda perfect  in a Greek tragedy kind of way.  It really doesn't need a sequel, but I'd love to see one anyway.  I figured I never would because, although Whedon and Friends keep dropping hints about making it, it's been eight years.

Eight years.  That's "never going to happen" territory.

So I get this email from one of those fake email addresses that's made up of all the consonants in the alphabet strung together with a .com at the end.  I've tried to email back, but just get bounce messages.
Legally, I don't know if this is something I can post.  Is it stolen work?  Is it fan fiction.

Ah heck with it.  Here's what I was sent.

Note: It seems NPH = Neil Patrick Harris, DH1 = Doctor Horrible 1, CH = Captain Hammer, ELE = Evil League of Evil, and BH = Bad Horse.
Open: CH sitting in a couch by a therapist.  He wails into the camera reminiscent of NPH's opening laugh from DH1.
The Hero I Used To Be - Backstory montage from DH1 in CH's skewed perspective. 
Explains to therapist he's been in hiding because NPH has been trying to kill him.  Therapist pulls off mask, revealing NPH.  As NPH charges up weapon (Prop: sword with lights, NOT like lighsaber!), CH jumps out of window. 
NPH turns to camera and explains to audience he didn't think CH would jump twenty stories.  Shot of CH face down in destroyed pavement below.  Gets call from Moist on cell phone. 
Moist (Prop: Moist needs an absurd costume) leads the ELE now.  ELE is down to Fake TJ, Dead Bowie, and any of the others who are free during shooting). 
Moister Than You - Exposition of NPH defeating BH and taking over ELE, before leaving Moist in charge. 
NPH explains he still needs to "get Hammer."  Looks at picture of Penny he carries around (Prop: high tech locket, alternate: SFX).  Runs downstairs to find CH is gone. 
NPH working on figure in his lab under a sheet (ala Bride of Frankenstein).  Gets text from BH.
Gunfight at the BadHorse Corral - BH Singers read letter of challenge to NPH for control of ELE.  Song ends with them asking if he's brave enough to reply. 
NPH uses gun to shoot one of the BH Singers in mid song.  Others run away. 
I'm Gonna Nail You Next - NPH recounts several attempts to catch CH. 
NPH grabs Death Ray and goes to fight BH.  Pull back to reveal CH is watching the blog video gleefully. 
Challenge in the Park - Reporters recount fight between BH and NPH. 
BH stomps NPH.  NPH is revealed to be Moist in disguise.  NPH catches CH who is watching from the crowd. 
CH with NPH in lab next to experiment. CH is wired to various devices.  Pleads for life.
I'm Gonna Nail You Now - Reprise.  NPH pulls lever. 
Bride of Frankenstein revealed to be Penny, who wakes up. 
Laundry Day Forever - NPH takes a shaky Penny out for a walk.  Reveals he's a villain.  She's entranced, but stumbles in front of oncoming truck.
Penny is fine.  NPH has been chasing CH to get a sample of his invulnerability DNA.  Now she's alive again, strong, and can't die.  Takes Penny to a restaurant where they are treated as royalty because of NPH.  She notices a homeless man (Can we get our "hero bum" back?  Call his agent.) tries to enter the restaurant and is forced out. 
I'm Not Evil Like You - Penny leaves restaurant with homeless guy. 
At homeless shelter, Penny finds CH.  Finally connects with him.  He persuades her to team up with him. 
Hammer and Tongs - Montage of CH and Penny defeating the ELE, and NPH! 
NPH sitting in front of camera doing blog.  He has a black eye, missing teeth.  Suddenly smiles. 
"She's alive." 

My reaction?  It's kinda bad, isn't it?  I don't know what the Whedon and Friends process is, but this would have to be a waaaaaay early draft.  Or it is, as I said earlier, a fake.  However, let's face it, if you were sending someone fanfic, why send it to my blog.  I literally have like six readers!

What do you both think?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Games without Combat

As a professional deadbeat, I don't usually apply for jobs.  However, one listing caught my eye last year.  It was an attempt to recruit writers for a game company.  The application process involved writing about a game story that could be told without combat.  It also (quite sternly) warned applicants not to reference Journey or The Walking Dead.

After a few minutes, I realized I'd love to spend a few minutes applying for the job.  Here's what I wrote:

I don't normally apply for work in the games industry, as my writing career (my latest novel: and teaching game design keeps me fulfilled, but your posting was intriguing.

What stories could I tell without combat? All of them! Action is fun but it completely destroys a plot (except for the "who kills whom part"). Here's six I came up with just sitting here filling out this form:

1. The player must dig out people trapped in a burning building while dealing with the collapsing superstructure and his or her own claustrophobia.

2. The player's planet is being consumed by a plague and has to develop a virus to combat the plague. Meanwhile, the player's spouse and children are being held hostage by an extremist group to ensure the cure is never found.

3. The player has fifteen minutes to live (or however long a play-session is) and must discover who poisoned his or her food.

4. The player is a spirit and wants to be reincarnated, but must cause the death of someone else to be reborn.

5. The player applied for a cool job. Just after he sends his resume and cover letter, he realizes he has forgotten to remove all references to Journey or the Walking Dead. He now has to break into the offices of his recruiter and change the file before it is sent on.

6. The player is a sentient pile of goop with only vague memories of being human. As he or she masters forming different shapes, more bits of memories come back (and they're different memories, depending on what shapes are made).

See, much more fun than making a combat-based story:
1. Player must kill bad guy.
2. Player must kill good guy.
3. Player must kill aliens.
4. Player must kill zombies.
5. Player must kill demons.
6. Player must kill ghosts.

Hey, this was fun! Thanks for the diversion. 
They responded saying that they liked my submission, but were hoping for someone with more experience.  Then they stole all my ideas and didn't give me credit.

Ha ha!  Just kidding.  That was Oni (no seriously, I submitted a weapon called a Van DeGraff as part of interviewing).

Sorry about the strange reference to an email I got last week.  After some thought, I decided I'll post it next week.