I don't feel sad, or like something has been taken away from me/us/the world.

I feel like that bit where you have the standing ovation at the end of a magnificent performance.

Arthur C. Clarke lived a good long life and had a positive impact on the world.

I can't think of anything better to have done.

Bon voyage, Mr. Clarke. I'm glad you were here.
E. Gary Gygax has died. For someone so many people (including me) have never heard of before today/yesterday, he was amazingly influential -- one of the founders of modern D&D gaming. This is the best kind of influence to have, I think: profound yet private. (As long as he got cash out of it. ~___^ And, I believe, personal satisfaction.)

In memoriam-ish... I think I love this quiz.

A proper result for a Libra, I think:

What is your d&d alignment?

You are True Neutral.

True Neutral characters generally come in two varieties. The more common are those who are simply undecided. Not dedicated to the weal of the world or personal gain, not swayed by the rigid outlines of order or dedicated to the free reign of independence, they act as the mood moves them or as circumstance demands. Most true neutral characters prefer good to evil, but simply aren't bothered to promote it. Some true neutral characters, however, are truly dedicated to the balance of forces in the universe. They may see good, evil, law and chaos as dangerous extremes. Some true neutral characters find themselves in odd alliances, compelled to side with the loser in any given fight. For these characters, no single path must dominate others. Animals are generally neutral. Many ordinary villagers will be, as well.
Take this quiz!

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I've taken similar before. This one is not perfect, but it's one of the better ones. Only one question where I'm thinking "But none of these choices fits and three of them are essentially the same!"
This one's long and therefore contains LJ cuts for your convenience. Perhaps tabbed browsing would be optimal? *strikes pretentious pose* *looks at you over spectacles* ^__^

I think this is the last thing I'm going to write on the topic of Heath Ledger, because to be quite honest, I'm not nearly as obsessed with this in my real offline life as I'm starting to appear here (and also because y'know, er, I'm not willing to deal with, for example, doing an in-depth analysis of the Gazans who busted into Egypt yesterday morning, into which they should probably have been freely allowed and possibly annexed as a respected province with full rights and citizenship freaking FIVE DECADES ago when Egypt was fully in charge of administrating the place, on LiveJournal, ahem.

I liked being angry better than the melancholy. )

So, Cloverfield, then.

I dunno -- I think it's really strange, and am not quite sure if it's the best idea, for New Yorkers to watch Cloverfield in New York. There are two options: 1) The "oh my god that's my bank!/my job!/my best friend's apartment! Now I'm scared to take the subway home!!!" interpretation, or the 2) "oh for God's sake, you CANNOT get to Columbus Circle on the 6 train, it goes completely to the opposite side of the CITY, like duh!" interpretation. Partially because of discrepancies like this, and partially because the acting was quite bad, frankly, I found myself most often shoved into interpretation 2.

Overall, though, I liked it, more or less -- not least because it didn't scare me at all. (I KNOW! Either this film was utterly wusstastic or I'm finally growing up!) I like the idea of it, anyway.

So, impressions of Cloverfield without spoiling (and dividing the valid movie stuff from the nitpicky New Yorker stuff):

excessively nitpicky New Yorker stuff )

General Stuff )

Very extremely negative and irritating stuff ) ....and while we're on the subject:)

Slusho annoys the crap out of me. (Slusho is a fake product existing only in the JJverse.)

Actually, J.J.Abrams' whole "hinting" schtick annoys the hell out of me. I used to argue that dammit, if you're going to tell a story, tell the damn story, don't send me on a snipe hunt across the Internet to pull up clues and hints you've seeded in a bunch of obviously faked (because they've bloody well got "disney" and "abc" in the URLs) websites, and for god's sake do NOT put in random clues that I have to upgrade to entirely new technology just to know about (certain "important hints" seeded through Lost's second (third?) season were only visible to people with HDTV), just so I can figure out the basic plotline. A good story shouldn't need this kind of outside crutch.

But this argument is seeming really old and fogey and Luddite to me now, especially since I no longer watch "Lost" and am thus far less emotional about it. But... grrr. Case in point: In Cloverfield, one golden young protagonist is seen wearing a Slusho T-shirt.

This is Slusho. It has been mentioned before, although since I'm not a JJ fangirl, I don't know where.


That is a freaking complex website there. Why is this all in place? Because, industry rumor has it, someday, at some point, JJ Abrams might decide to make Slusho a plot point in one of his many projects. Which... GRRRR. He's playing a game, an impressive, far-reaching game, and it's cute and all, but he's not necessarily playing it with me, and in the meantime he is (or his minions are) not turning out excellent products.

In the meantime, there are pages of fansites dedicated to dissecting WHAT IT ALL MIGHT MEAN. Dissecting with mathematical formulas and references to philosophers and running pools on who will turn out to have the right answer -- all the worldbuilding that is the author's job being done level by level by fans. Which sounds like it should be fantastic.

But...it's bland CW level fare (EDIT: because all these hardworking fans aren't really having any input -- they're being teased to guess, but there isn't really anything to guess and they can always be proved wrong, and beyond wrong into totally time-wasting territory, when the creators go "surprise! It was all bullshit we put in to occupy you for a little while like a big damn ad!"), and he's making ME do the work for it. If I had any assurance that the later Slusho tie-in was going to rock my socks, I would feel differently, but the only faith foundation I've had to build on are a collection of numbers on an island near Australia that showed up all over the place, both on the show and on the Internet (and in -- quite obviously -- faked commercials), in every conceivable permutation, combination, and multiple, and which turned out to signify...not a damned thing. "The numbers don't mean anything!" the creators said. The longest-standing and most frequently used trope in the series...MEANINGLESS... just thrown into the soup because "It was cool!" *fanboy snort*

(My argument hasn't changed at all, has it? I guess my point is, I used to be against the game on principle, but now I think I'd deal with the rigamarole just fine if the payoff was worth it.)

It's just cutesy. It's TWEE.

It is not the kind of interactive product I'm ready for or willing to consume. The payoff does not justify the work involved and I'm not confident it will in future. Give me Lily Chou-Chou. Er, except for the whole I-don't-know-Japanese part. Leave me alone with my computer and let me make up my own damn stuff, WITHOUT paying cable prices or losing minutes of my life on pop-up ads for the privilege.

(And what did all that have to do with Cloverfield? Hell, you tell me. All this to say, you need to walk into the film understanding that you won't fully understand -- unless you're ready to come home and surf the net for hours for answers/half-substantiated rumors -- and you need to have the ability to be satisfied with that.)
I never loved Robert Jordan.

There are writers you love, you know?

You don't know then, but you feel like you do, because their work speaks to you on such a deep level you feel that they've revealed something important to you. You feel like you own a part of them -- some people to the point where they forget that the author in question doesn't know you back. But the affection they inspire is a genuine one. You want to know more. Talk to them, dialogue.

I never felt this way towards Robert Jordan. His books were hot stuff for me for a while -- I was nineteen or twenty, I think, when I found him in the library, and wholly into the whole fantasy-with-pointy-ears-and-cool-medieval-outfits shtick.

But I don't recall loving him, ever. There was always distance, be it from his prose or his characters or the calatogish nature of the world he presented -- it was exciting, but I didn't long to live there, I didn't long to know these people, and through that, I never longed to know him.

Then the series began to streeeeeech -- probably what it's most famous for, now -- and I began to get actively mad with the fellow. It reeked of exploitative capitalism, to me, on his part or the part of the pulbishers -- milking an existing title until it was wrung dry of all life and creativity instead of crafting new worlds. Making the product suffer for the cash, selling out like so many have before.

I quit after book five, hoping to pick up again when everything was done. Then the stretching began and hearing about it, I, miffed, lost all desire to finish at all.

Then I learned of his illness. And now I am beginning to rethink. I'm projecting, I know, all kinds of things I have no way of knowing and no real right to believe.

But I wonder. This was his magnum opus, his Best Work, the thing he will be remembered for more than anything else, perhaps.

I don't know how universal this is, but I've heard other writers confess to this, professional and non, and have actually experienced this myself in my own pipsqueak-pseudowriter way -- a moment where you truly and honestly and fully believe that you are about to die, a euphoria almost, where the first thing you think isn't Oh god, my family, or This hurts! or I've never seen the Alps! or Dammit I am too young!

It's "I can't die, I haven't finished my story yet."

(After which comes either a big "AW, SHIT NO!" or more irrationally, a hubristic "Well, I'll be okay, then!")

Because the story isn't you. It has a life of its own, in your head, in your heart. It's a separate entity almost, and oh god, you are FAILING it. So you can't go, not yet. You owe the story its life.

Mad presumptuous, huh?

No less true, though.

So I found my heart softening towards Robert Jordan. In his wheelchair, body failing, still trying to pump it out, to stuff every last detail in his heart and brain onto the blank pages, to fully birth his world, his creation. The annoying endless description, the tangents, the veerings, the off-topic tl:dr -- just trying to get it out of him and into the world and into the hearts and minds of other people. It would be so heartless of me to begrudge him that. Wouldn't it?

I still wonder if maybe he was stretching the books out as a sort of bargain with fate -- I can't die until I've finished my great work. Give me just a little longer. Just a little longer -- I'm not done.

Robert Jordan -- James Rigney, sir -- I am so, so sorry you didn't get more time.



December 2013

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