Category: Ben Himself

Ersatz blogrolling

The main side effect of the Penny Arcade bump for Ommatidia has been a notification avalanche–via email or Technorati–of other people who have started (or were already doing) tiny story blogs in a similar vein. I think this is awesome, but honestly I lose track of which site is which, and even I can only read so much blink fiction in a day.

So here’s an offer: if you’re doing tiny stories on some sort of schedule, email me with a link and a little summary and I’ll add you to the directory page I’m putting together now. I am not promising to subscribe to all of them, for the aforementioned reasons, but I will go through once a month to check them all, maybe make a recommendation, and clean out the dead ones. (If you have emailed me about your story blog, and it’s still going, and you want it to be on the list, I would appreciate it if you’d email me again.)

Besides the obvious, I’ll start it off with just such a recommendation: The Two Minutes Project, comprising Two Minutes Less a Third and Chasing Concordia. Very short stories and very short songs! Read The Eternal Question if you need convincing, which you shouldn’t, dammit you have got to start TRUSTING me someday.

Responses to my last post, saved from the feed:

Ben: “All this copyright nonsense gets worse, eventually spiralling into ‘The War on Information’.”

Josh: “Assuming that your parents are baby boomers, your parents’ generation were unique, the only generation in history to have been able to consume without responsibility. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that any future generation will have that opportunity.”

Kevan: “I’m not sure how bad a thing it necessarily is, but the next generation being able to dig through their parents’ online diaries and data shadows is going to be quite big and strange. Reading unguarded entries about what their parents really thought of you when you were young, stocking up on ‘if you did this when you were my age, why can’t I do it now?’ ammunition, and being able to stalk some of your crushes or bullying-targets all the way back to birth.”

Catherine: “Also, the increasing dichotomy between rural and urban cultures. People from, say, Seattle can be a mite uncomfortable in rural Georgia. People from, say, Atlanta are often a mite uncomfortable in rural Georgia.”

All thoughtful, all excellent. Catherine’s response is closest to my own worries: that we will allocate greater bandwidth to strident, divisive, polemical speech than to speech that crosses boundaries. I’m not arguing for censorship of radicalism here–my own brand of radicalism is specifically anti-censorship–but warning against the rapid propagation of our trust networks through people who will tell us only what we want to hear. When you can find a thousand people who agree with you more easily than you can find one dissenter, you are on the road to becoming an instrument.

From a discussion of finding Dracula’s voice in the Anacrusis LJ-feed comments comes this quasifilk gem of Ben’s:

“You know perfectly well the nature of doctor-patient privilege, Vlad,” says Van Helsing. “But–“

“I have her power of attorney since she was declared missing,” says Mina. “Go ahead, doctor.”

Dracula looks at her sharply, then back to Van Helsing. “Dracula Dracula Dracula Dracula Dracula Dracula Dracula Dracula Dracula, Dracula.”

Van Helsing sighs. “It’s Ms. Murray’s discretion. In here, please.”

He gestures them into a file room and rummages through drawers. “Polycythemia vera,” he says, “a chronic condition. Simply put, the young lady produces too many erythrocytes; circulation is slowed, bruises come easily. Treatment of choice is–“

“Dracula,” says Dracula.

My family was pirates again! Brenna had to go to the hospital! But she’s okay! My embarrassingly bare portfolio site went live! Ben wrote another LJ-feed story!

Mario and Tessa sit at the machine.

“What do you think these knobs do?” Tessa asks. Mario responds in the most natural manner possible.

The machine will hum. Tessa will say “Wait, did you hear that?”

Mario will nod. “Yeah. It’s tensokinetic, all right.” He’ll twist another knob.

The machine will have hummed. Mario will have said “Now that’s just weird. Let me try and find another tense.”

Tessa will have said “Yeah, I don’t think we want to get much more esoteric than this.” Mario will have spun another knob…

But the past tense setting [error: tense not found] broken!

You can tell it’s not canon because it’s in the past tense

Spurred by my threat to kill off Marlo and saved from the LJ feed, Ben bends Anacrusis to his will:

Suddenly Millicent started moving again!

“Awwwww” said Cosette, lovingly. She squeezed her sweet adorable fuzzy wuzzy kitten with marble eyes tightly. Millicent purred.

Rob cheered up!

Holly cheered up too!

South settled down!

The Chosen Ones remained awesome!

The Justin finally defeated The Man!

Everyone danced for the next fifty words!

Just Letters: a Flash game that, as Ben said when he linked it, is “like the Internet in microcosm.” It’s difficult to get anything actually spelled out; it’s easiest to find the letters you need to steal in other people’s words, and vice versa. There’s a paper to be written in there about systems and recombinant entropy. Or maybe about memes. I couldn’t finish XORPH DOT COM or NOT ENOUGH VOWELS, but when I started sorting letters by color I had a dozen people helping me within ten seconds.

Neat things!

  • JEDI COPS! I’d join this if I had any writing resources left. Maybe you should join, and tell me how it goes. The diceless RPG system they use, called the Karmic Cycle, sounds suspiciously like the luck-based system Ben came up with for Cosmos, last year.
  • Stephen has started a pending lawsuit. Oh, I meant “advice column.”
  • It’s unfortunate that the comic is apparently updated about as often as Xorph, but Pihakwa is so pretty I want to buy it, all of it, or somehow mark it with my scent. The gallery is sweet, too.

Number of “canon” animated Disney movies: 44

Of those, movies where the protagonist’s mom is not dead:

  • The Lion King
  • 101 Dalmations
  • The Aristocats

  • …?

Update 10.15.2004 0823 hrs: Ben points out that Pinocchio should count too, since his mom (the Blue Fairy) isn’t exactly dead.

Update 10.15.2004 1402 hrs: And Maria makes the case for Fantasia, citing that “in the Greek Myth segment, the Mommy Pegasus is totally still alive.” Okay, guys, but you’re reaching here. Let’s just face up to the fact that Disney hates all moms, including yours, and definitely mine.

“Night fell like Rome: slowly, and with elephants.”

Holly should write for the Bulwer-Lytton awards. (As for the quiz, let’s just say I am not “Nine well read” and leave it at that.)