July 17th, 2012


Ball-Jointed Dolls

Here's an interesting article about ball-jointed dolls.  I don't collect them.  I do, however, admire people who use these things as models for photos or art.  They're like tiny actors you don't have to pay, and yes, some people get amazing results with them.  I don't understand why some other folks seem to think there is something wrong with collecting dolls or playing with them or using them for creative output.  They're toys, or use.  You can do what you want with them.  It doesn't make you any weirder than any other hobby or artistic medium.

Monday Update 7-16-12

These are some posts from the later part of last week in case you missed them:
Rhysling Award Winners
Moment of Silence: "Falling Stars"
Bonus Perk: "The Classical Elements"
Poetry for the Masses
Torn Tongue: Verbs Beginning with "C"
Defining Steampunk
Why People Hate Female Characters
What Is the Future of Publishing?
Poem: "Brought to Bed"
Plantation America
Hard Things
Read "Dolls in the Empire"
Income Inequality
Arguing with Teachers

Poetry in Microfunding:
"An Amazing Carriage of Amber and Jade" belongs to the Steamsmith series.  Maryam experiments with combining two important alchemical materials.  "The Lost and Found Legion" belongs to The Silk Road Allies.  It is being funded in installments by marina_bonomi, and describes how China and Italy came to form an alliance.

Torn World writing update:
Approved as canon: "Squiggles: Excerpts from Nleimen's Journal," (fiction).  Back to me for edits: "Breaking the Ice," (fiction), "Patterns in the Grass" (poetry), "Half-Leg," (nonfiction). Currently in front of the canon board: "Nomess Mithoirarv" (fiction), "Imalye Fotolyi" "The Girl Who Wanted Too Much" (poetry), "Ghost Bat" "A Dryland Ecosystem" "An Avian Ecosystem" (nonfiction).  Drafted: "Cutting Cords and Clasping Hands," "Like Ash Before the Wind," "From Dark to Bright," "Beached Fish," "The Inappropriate But Useful Disposal of Lettuce" "A Thin Red Trail" "The Museum of Mortality" (fiction), "Packing for the Long Haul" "Birds of War" "A Gift of Time" "Changes in the Wind" (poetry).  In revision at home: "Water Dance," "When the Wind's Teeth Sing," "The Bones of Need" "Raining Kittens," (fiction), "Breeding the Perfect Fighter," "The Smallest Invaders" (poetry).  Currently writing: "Catch of the Day," "Reaching for the Moons" "Winterheart" "A Cold Clear Night" (fiction).

Weather is hot and sticky.  We had a few drops of rain here, but not enough to do any good.  Parts of Illinois have been declared a disaster area.  Yeesh.

Cybernetic Hate Crime

 A man was attacked in a restaurant for wearing cybernetic equipment.  This is not the first such incident I've heard of.  You pretty much can't travel safely in America if you have computer gear attached to your person.  Even medical devices have been used to bar people from airplanes in some cases, let alone other types of adaptive equipment or personal choices.  It's not supposed to happen to handicapped people, but it does; and there don't seem to be protections for anyone else.  Being visibly different is always at least a small risk, but people seem particularly hostile to obviously technological devices.

Story Size Does Matter

Deborah J. Ross delivers a thoughtful analysis of two books that failed because they were the wrong size.  Most stories have a natural size, and if the author can't sense that or is pressured away from it, the results tend to be unsatisfying.  I've watched book sizes grow; novels used to be around 40-50,000 words and now publishers want 80-100,000 words or more.  But most stories don't work at those larger sizes, and the padding shows.

I think the rise of weblit is helping, though.  With electronic files, length matters much less.  People will just read what they like.  It can be anything from microfic of 50 words through short stories and what used to be the gutter lengths, short novels and long novels, to open-ended serials.  The long stuff may get divided into smaller sections, but it's still a continuous story.

Texting in Theaters

So there's a debate about whether texting should be allowed in theaters.  Here are arguments against that.  I couldn't really find a good list of arguments in favor.  Texting seems to be something people just do, and rarely bother justifying.  It's annoying when there's a debate going on, but not a concise presentation of both sides.

Some of my thoughts ...

1) If people don't like your parameters, they won't buy your service.  So if people hate texting in theaters, you'll lose them if you introduce that; whereas if people aren't comfortable unplugging for the duration of a movie, you'll lose them if you don't allow it.  When there's a sharp division, offering both options may be prudent to maximize service.

2) Dear movie dudes, you don't have a captive audience.  Even in a movie theater, people will walk out if you bore or annoy them enough.  If you don't think your movie can hold someone's attention, maybe you should worry about making movies that are more interesting than "hi wat r u up 2?"

3) I wouldn't want to watch a movie with people texting or phoning or otherwise using equipment around me.  I don't want people do that around me in general.  But my preference is in the minority, so I use my rules in my home, and out in public I just walk away.  I'm perfectly capable of putting my folding vote in my pocket and choosing a book over a movie, if the theater annoys me.  In fact I have greatly reduced my movie viewing not just for financial reasons, but because I find the experience increasingly aggravating as parameters shift.  I'd rather people with different tastes have a place to indulge theirs so they aren't bugging me in my space, and so I'm also not bothered by enforcers traipsing around looking for naughty people.

Read "Changes in the Wind"

If you are a Torn World supporter, you can now read my poem "Changes in the Wind."
When barriers fall, that can affect the weather.

If you like this poem and want to see more like it, please consider sending me credits or karma through Torn World's crowdfunding options.  Not a Torn World member, but still want to support the work? I have a permanent PayPal button on my LJ profile page.
gold star

Rotten Tomatoes Done Right

Here is a brilliant essay Matt Atchity, Editor in Chief of Rotten Tomatoes, about moderating reviews online.  As a reviewer, I think the position is very aptly framed:  Make arguments, not attacks.  Stand by your opinions.  Don't be a dick.  And when you're in charge of an online venue, it's your responsibility to boot trolls out of it so they don't ruin it for everyone else.  After all, there are plenty of dicks in the world, so you need to be prepared for them.

I'm thrilled to see someone sticking up for this.  Despite the title "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" -- actually, this explains how we can.  We make rules for the kind of interaction we want, and then we stick to those rules.  People who want that kind of interaction will therefore be attracted and protected there.  The trolls, well, there are venues devoted to them too.  Let them go roughhouse with people who enjoy that sort of thing.

So here's a round of applause to the organizers at Rotten Tomatoes.  Reviews: you're doing it right.