Friday, February 26, 2016

Snippets of conversation, stripped of context

Otherwise known as, random shit I've said and tidbits from random conversations I've been in:

Windmills are ravaging the country side, someone has to take a stand.
- 2/25/15, 7:16 PM Eastern Standard Time

* * *

Try caesurae ("//") I don't use them myself but I'm convinced we need them even more than the snark mark.
-Not actually said anywhere
because I decided that it was unnecessary
in the conversation it would have been in

* * *

Towing is something you do to wagons, boats to be tugged, broken down cars, and people whose consent and self determination you don't give a damn about.

I'm also wary of people who talk about "the greater good" because you don't have to talk about the greater good if you're doing the "lesser" good.

No one was ever asked, "Why are you doing these good things that justify themselves because they're so damn good?" and responded, "Well... I don't want to, but the greater good requires it."
- Said over the phone

* * *

Scientists do epic science which saves the world in epicly epic ways.  I mean Dactylic Hexameter levels of epic here.
- 8/25/13

* * *

If World War I taught us nothing else it should have taught us that soldiers are fully capable of being better people than they're ordered to be. (I point you to Christmas 1914.) You'd think it would have taught us that important people shouldn't drive around in convertibles but (I point you to November 22, 1963) it didn't, so the fact that soldiers are fully capable of being better people than they are ordered to be is what we're left with.

It's like saying someone has dog colored hair. It sort of sounds like a description until you realize that it tells you nothing at all.

It's like I say, when you ask "What would Jesus do?" if you don't at least consider, "Make a whip, drive finance industry people from their place of business, and cause material losses to their liquid assests," you're not really trying to answer the question.
-January 21st 2005

* * *

Ideally Hattie being "drop-dead gorgeous" should tell us both about Hattie's physical appearance and the viewpoint character's preferences because unless Hattie is a Vorlon she isn't that way to everyone.

Supposedly human fiction is overflowing with Vorlons, and I can see the problem in that. Because if Hattie really does appear different to everyone as Will suggests then we must ask ourselves some serious questions like why the hell she didn't just kick Nicolae's ass. Was he protected by the Shadows or something? Even if he were, we know that she would eventually be willing to die to stop Nicolae, so why didn't she pull a Kosh and do something?

You're talking about giving the character, if not the power of God, at least power akin to one of the gods, and that demands explanation beyond three words two of them hyphenated together.

Mind you, depending on the monsters it might be the case that the long time resident has won them over with donations beef jerky and games of fetch, so it's kind of hit or miss when you're trying to initiate doomsday.

Exact words forgotten, but hopefully it at least captures the idea of the exchange:
"I can write scenes."

"You mean, like, descriptions?"

"No. No no no. I can't... *looks around* *points at chair across the room* I couldn't even describe that chair. I had one once. *looks at matching couch I'm sitting on* and a couch like this. They're gone now. Though... the couch might still be in my basement."

The chair, for the record, was fairly chair like in a chairy kind of way. The couch was rather couch like. And they matched in that way that matching sets do.

Anyone remember Where Antichrists Come From? Lucifer in that looks like Alison from The Breakfast Club. I examined still pictures, I put a lot of thought into it, I asked for advice, I still couldn't describe her well enough for anyone to get an "Alison from The Breakfast Club" vibe out of her. I suck at physical description.

Rule of thumb, yes. But it's not a set law of the universe. There's been a lot of navel gazing on the subject, but all that it's really produced is the knowledge that we have navels.

The common refrain that intent isn't magic is quite true, but it still matters. I think one of the places where we see it mattering is in how one responds at the crossroads.

Someone who had only the best intent is going to tend toward being good Jackie, someone who didn't is going to tend toward bad Jackie, and so while the earlier actions are the same, the intent drives later actions to diverge and it is by those actions that we come to know intent. (Unless we're psychic, in which case we can learn earlier.)

Oh, random note on symbolism: The right side up cross is a symbol that means "I am (with) Spartacus" while the upside down cross means, "I'm totally a Saint Peter fan."
No word on what the sideways cross means.

Well an ICBM is an arm(ament), and (a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state) the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

So if anyone attacks us I'll just attack them right back with my nuclear weapons and smallpox stockpiles.

[Note to all authorities: I have neither nuclear weapons nor smallpox, stockpiled or otherwise. Even if I did, which (again) I do not, I wouldn't be able to do anything with such things as I am lacking in both intercontinental ballistic missiles and ... actually I do have blankets. Even so, my blanket supply should in no way be taken to being indicative of me having, or having access to, biological weapons, as I have no such weapons and neither do I have the means to access them.]

* * *

Less dropping dead and Spanish Inquisition, more reaching of the unreachable star.

In response to meme:
Why I'd be kicked out of the Scooby Gang:
Shaggy: Zoinks
Scooby: Ruh-roh
Daphne: Jeepers
Velma: Jinkies
Me: Well fuck
Five person band:
Person 1: Crap
Person 2: Damn
Person 3: Shit
Person 4: Fuck
Person 5: ShitFuck

* * *

Actually, words fail me a lot in general, and yet I want to be an author.

One of the students is trying to make this class be about what it says it's about.  Discussion of patriarchy and how even people who try to be good allies [internalize and participate in it] because of cultural milieu.  If we start saying how it took until Frozen (2013) for the Disney damsel to save herself and how that art shapes our world I'll feel like we achieved, however briefly, what might have been.
Spirited away
That girl was awesome.
And it was technically Disney
Though still reinforcing some stereotypes because she's saving via compassion (feminine virtue) not punching in face (masculine thing.)
How is Elsa saved?
Yeah, but Anna still got to punch Hans in the face.
True I'd bring up nausicca of the valley of the wind as well
And this is where one could bring up that they are both from Japan rather than Europe or America
Which is still a very patriarchal culture
I don't know nausicca, I'll have to look it up.
It is great
It is a tale of a world where humans made it uninhabitable by themselves
Nature just adapted around them

* * *

I sometimes remind myself that he might have been pro-the gods by noting that Jerry Jenkins did a similar (if far less talented) portrayal of harsh eldritch gods of carnage and he was totally rooting for them.

Ceres will rise again!

Reading over Twilight I do occasionally see things that I would have done. For example I have long imagined Ben holding one of Edith's hands in both of his own so that the warmth might bleed through, because it seems like something one might do for someone in a perpetual state of having lost their body heat. I saw that Bella did that for Edward. It's just that when I see something I would have done it always seems surrounded by stuff that is painful to read.

Also, Jabberwocky is a poem, the Jabberwock is the beast described therein.

More than that, there's responsibility enough to go around, it isn't a zero sum game where pointing out that Hitler is responsible for every evil thing he ordered suddenly absolves everyone else.
chris the cynicMonday, November 9, 2015 1:32 PM
No, note the comma. It's a noun in apposition. I should know about the meaning of commas. My blog is Stealing Commas.
Michael MockTuesday, November 10, 2015 3:06 PM
...And I'd always assumed that you were forced into that line of work when the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham began forcing his subjects to pay such high syntaxes that they could no longer afford their own commas. Otherwise, you'd just ask nicely. Though I do admit that Accepting Donations Of New And Gently Used Commas For The Good Of The Common People wouldn't have quite the same ring to it.
chris the cynicTuesday, November 10, 2015 7:18 PM
If I ever get around to saying where the name actually comes from, it will be nowhere near that epic. I may be forced to adopt your version as true and mine as a mere apocryphal tale.
* * *

It's a reference to one of the few episodes of Gravity Falls I've seen:

“It's time we stop trying to be perfect and be who we really are. We're crazed, angry, sweaty animals! We're not unicorns! We're women, and we take what we want!”

* * *

I'm never going to find where it was written down, so from memory:

Me: Whenever one of your kids is on a pogo stick I feel like graboids [underground creatures from Tremors] are going to show up

Lonespark: Not Shai-Hulud, may his passing cleanse the world?

*I think for a bit*

Me: No.  They don't really have rhythm.

* * *

More to the point, evil isn't measured in units. ("Well Good God Man! This looks like a 27 Manson Crime." "Really? I was thinking more 26 and a half.") It's not really possible to compare the evil of giving an order to the evil of doing something to someone. And even if it were, how would it compare? How many ordered deaths equal one long extended torture? Does it matter if betrayal is involved or if it is done to strangers? Are there bonus points if you kill the people one at a time so that the last one has to watch all those that go before? Does adding in cruelty to animals allow for a multiplier?
chris the cynicMonday, November 9, 2015 1:36 PM
I have two memories of how I broke one of my arms. As it turns out, I happen to know which one is true, but I remember the other one more vividly.
* * *

mattmcirvin - Sunday, November 22, 2015 9:57 PM"
He's the kind of God who for some reason needs your starship.
chris the cynic - Sunday, November 22, 2015 10:33 PM
He would have gotten away with it if he hadn't insisted that he was the tri-omni God. Plenty of other gods could have perfectly legitimate needs for starships.
themunck - Monday, November 23, 2015 3:24 AM
I now have an amusing mental image of Loki playing poker with River, Jayne and Mal onboard Serenity.
Jared James - Monday, November 23, 2015 11:30 AM
(and cheating)
themunck - Monday, November 23, 2015 11:36 AM
You say cheating, I say playing fair against the damn mind reader.

* * *

Yes, Edward, Bella's pain makes you happy, I get it. Shut up.

So I just put on my mod hat for the first time in a long time because you know what I don't like about Ross Geller? That his defenders apparently need to use the word "bitch" to make their point.

This is not the land of exclusively gendered language, and if some asshole is telling you that you need to use a slur specifically targeted at women in order to speak eloquently on the subject of the representation of characters in fiction as discussed in a three year seventeen day old post, you should respond to said asshole with, "Fuck that shit."

English is full of wonderfully egalitarian profanity. Consider, "Fuck the fucking fuckers who do these fucked up fucking things; fuck!" Yes: semicolon "fuck" exclamation point. Note what is not in the hypothetical sentence? Misogynistic slurs.

We can all be assholes. Bastards too. Anyone can have shit for brains, and there is no gender test to determine whether or not you're eligible for being a stain on the sphincter of humanity, so please, when throwing insults, remember to use inclusive insults.

If you have to resort to some form of bigotry to throw your insults, I submit that your insult throwing imagination may not be up to the task.

* * *

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, 2005 English dub. It's awesome. Completely awesome. Presumably the original Japanese is too, but I don't know Japanese so I went with the dub (I wasn't up for reading subtitles at the time.)

If you can only experience one Nausicaä, as much as I'm probably not supposed to say this as a classicist, choose this one over that part of Homer's Odyssey.

* * *

I'm sick of chosen ones, give me a choosing one. Someone who could walk away because destiny doesn't care about them but chooses to make a difference because it's the right thing to do.

chris the cynicTuesday, December 1, 2015 12:20 PM
"It's ok, you can say, 'Merry Christmas'."

"It's fucking ADVENT!"

Betwixt-and-Between in reply to chris the cynicTuesday, December 1, 2015 12:35 PM
I am SO replacing "Happy Holidays" with "Fucking Advent" now.

"You have a Fucking Advent now, ya hear?"

Jessica Harmon in reply to chris the cynicTuesday, December 1, 2015 2:14 PM
And then when I say "Merry Christmas" on December 28, they will look at me like I'm the crazy one.
* * *

tires locked and squealing against the brakes

The tires are locked and squealing against the breaks? If they're locked shouldn't they and the breaks be on the same page? The breaks don't want the tires to move, the tires are not moving, it seems to me that break-tire relations should be at an all time high. I'm not sure where the squealing animosity is coming from.
Monday, September 5, 2011 8:47 AM

* *
* * *
* * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * *

One might note that these concentrate on a certain time period, basically when I had this post open as a draft, with things outside of that period as exceptions rather than the rule.  As much as I might want to pull fun quotations from all of the portion of time and space that I've occupied, it's not easy.

I'm pretty sure I got the pogo stick/Shai-Hulud thing wrong.  It was mentioned on facebook not too long after it was said, and therefore was probably a reasonably good record of the actual event.  I couldn't find the damned facebook mention.


  1. First they came for the lances, and I said nothing because why would I ever want a lance, and anyway all those new windmills looked really nice…

    (First they came for the guys with the backyard ICBMs, and I said nothing because I was too terrified of those guys to speak. Three days later I emitted a tentative "yay?".)

  2. "If World War I taught us nothing else it should have taught us that soldiers are fully capable of being better people than they're ordered to be. (I point you to Christmas 1914.)"

    On that theme - by explicitly humanizing a Stormtrooper, the new Star Wars movie risks making its heroes look less heroely. One wonders how many of those soldiers are brainwashed orphans, deluded by propaganda and lack of access to information, who would be good people if only given a chance? A chance they will never have because Han wanted to play with Chewie's crossbow?

    1. I think of it as a genre clash. In your classic film serials on which Star Wars is unabashedly based, the villain's faceless minions are faceless minions (even if they have faces): they're basically obstacles in the path of the hero rather than people, and questions about morality are shoved to one side. But if you treat them as human, those questions about morality jump right back into the foreground. (There's a little of this even in Star Wars, when Kenobi sneaks past the guards on the tractor beam while they're having a chat.) It seems a very fundamental error of storytelling.

    2. Well, canonically they're clones, right? And they do get person-ized some in The Clone Wars, and the Jedi don't come off looking that great, and there's more grey... I do think it's wonderful that they had some greyish hats in the originals movies. (Lando is my favorite character, and Leia is awesome but kinda ruthless in her own awesome way, and I like what they did with the romance offscreen pre-TFA...)

    3. The Dark Forces series started to have the genre clash problem in Jedi Outcast and continuing into Jedi Academy.

      In Dark Forces, Jedi Knight, and Mysteries of the Sith the enemies weren't people. They were people shaped, but they were just things you shoot so that they don't shoot you.

      Then you get to Jedi Outcast and the stormtroopers are having conversations, pretty normal humanizing ones, as you approach and/or sneak passed them which is fine if you can sneak passed them. But you could only do that in some parts. More often than not the only option was to kill everything in sight.

      So you're killing hundreds of these things that have stopped being obstacles and started being people.

      Serious dissonance.

    4. Lonespark: Hath not a clone eyes? Hath not a clone hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer, as a natural-born is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

      (Don't get me started on AI rights.)

  3. I was mentioning Lando and then a friend of mine went to a con and got her picture taken, wearing an awesome cosmic dress... WITH BILLY DEE WILLIAMS! (That makes me cooler than all of you by association...)

  4. Can fleas count as a biological weapon? Maybe you can distrubute those in your blankets if you ever get another infestation.

    (not that I wish that on you, of course)

  5. AAAAAAAGHH NO NOT FLEAS. (not lice either!!!)

  6. You are correct, Chihiro in Spirited Away is awesome. I like how it's her inherent decency to other "people" that gets her through. The movie overall is wonderful. Beautiful landscapes, interesting spirits. I love the baby when he's transformed to a mouse. I love the clueless dad.

  7. On topic of vivid, incorrect memories like your broken arm scenario...

    Lots of people really don't understand how fickle and unreliable memory can be. e.g. Spouse thinks he has an excellent memory, which he does, but he overrates his abilities. We once had a screaming fight about something we both remembered differently.

    In my memory, he had changed something from A to B a few years ago. I remembered it clearly, because I vaugely disagreed with the decision to change A to B instead of leaving things the same and we had a prolonged discussion about it.

    In his memory, it has always been A, it was never anything different from A.

    The fight was not about A versus B, but about whether I should be questioning his version of the facts. After all, he should know; he is in control of the A/B state of things and also his memory is excellent. Given that my contradictory memory was also very strong, I was not able to concede that he was correct.

    After digging through the paperwork, I learned that we were both right and both wrong. He did change things, but he changed them from B to A. My memory was giving the most weight to the social interaction we had around A/B, with less weight to the actual facts of the decision. He was remembering correctly that things are A and forgot that they used to be B.

    1. ...huh. Yeah, memories; fun for storytelling, not good for facts. Documentation or it didn't happen.