Category Archives: General

PIP (Post ICon Post)

So, ICon. I heard four talks worth of the very witty and charming Neil Gaiman. I saw two movies – Renaissance, French Noir/Cyberpunk with lovely black and white CGI, and the modern silent movie version of Call of Cthulhu. I encountered fornicating teens (at 2PM!) in the gaming rooms. I waited around for a disappointing closing ceremony show (the Endless song was OK). I dashed to the Cinematheque with K and co to buy tickets to a “Templar ritual reenactment” which must have sounded like a good idea on paper sometime to someone (batshit masonic silliness meets lame LARP production values). I sat through the low-key and sad ISFSF&F general assembly and the Geffen/”Decade of ISFSF&F” show, which had Gaiman and some amusing skits but had too big a venue for an oddly small and intimate event. I spent a lot of time with Bo. I exchanged greetings with lots of people and had some of those brief conversations you have with at cons with infrequently-met acquaintances, the ones that get cut off when one of you sees someone else, or just gets too antsy from talking for more than two minutes with a person.

I also ran three games, none of which was a complete disaster. Even the game on the morning of the third day, where I was completely unprepared and struggling to explain ill-defined and tricky metaphysics to some very weary people, ended up as being rather satisfying (well, for me at least), and closer to my idea of what The Shadow of my Desire is supposed to be like than my first attempt at the game. I actually think that I may have got more satisfaction from running my games then they gave the players, because I got to experiment with my ideas but didn’t deliver anything awesome. I don’t know. I suspect that while I can pretty consistently make a game work, I can’t manage to make it great.

And I should stop running mission games. “Break into this house and shoot people” is a trivial way to generate a session’s entertainment, but it’s cheap and only mediocre fun.

Scriptwriter Porn

I stumbled across a passle of scriptwriter’s blogs recently (because, obviously they link one to another, just like web-tech geeks and roleplayers and comics pontificators), and had a lot of fun reading them. This is probably in part because I like writer-porn (you know, writing about writing, Writer’s Digest and all that crap), in part because they talk about stuff I find interesting (Veronica Mars keeps getting mentioned), and in part because they, umm, write.

John Rogers was my entry point, coming through from Warren Ellis’ blog (John Rogers wrote and directed the unreleased, unoptioned Global Frequency pilot, available now on BitTorrent). His blog is oddly enough the first place I encountered the useful habit of posting an article index.

From Rogers, I found Josh Friedman, who doesn’t post a lot, but whose entire blog is worth reading for pleasure. You’re stereotypes of the neurotic Jewish screenwriter will not only be confirmed many times over, but also used as springboards for some very funny stuff. No, I have no idea what that means. Oh look, here’s one bit I’m going to quote, but go read all the rest:

Now out of both loyalty to the sacred bond between studio and screenwriter and also a serious desire to keep getting hired in this town, I will not give away any of the plot details of SNAKES ON A PLANE. But know this. As the great Sam Jackson would say: There are motherfucking snakes on the motherfucking plane.

Snakes on a Motherfucking Plane

Now, Friedman is caviar, i.e, rarely posting, and more into the funny anecdote than the writer porn. For the hard stuff, I’ve found Alex Epstein’s nicely-titled Complications Ensue. He’s written a book about screenwriting, so screenwriter porn galore (technical discussion, to those whose eyes glaze over at the mention of scritps and outlines). Here’s a handy index post). I’ve also got The Artful Writer, who writes good writing-porn, with stuff about pitches (there seems to be round of stuff about pitches) and the like, and Dead Things on Sticks, which has opinions and such. Here’s a post from there excerpting the funny bit from a NYT article about a script that is doing the rounds called The Cell, which is a sitcom about four wacky terrorists that get seduced by the joys of American life; The Dead Things on Sticks guy explains that although it’s unproducable, it’s such a memorable idea that it works by getting the writers other work.

Nanotechnology and sticky fingered nanobots

exchange of letters between Eric “molecular assemblers” Drexler and Richard “Buckyballs” Smalley, from Chemical and Engineering News. See handwaving and chemistry slug it out…
Link from Evan Goer. Goer summarizes a talk by Drexler like this:

Now, let’s review the structure of Drexler’s argument:

  1. Molecular operations are millions of times faster than the mechanical operations of a robotic arm in a factory.
  2. Here is a molecular robotic arm.
  3. Here is a set of useful-looking molecular structures.
  4. Profit!