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An angst-fueled rant about webcomics

A lot has been going on with me lately, not the least of which is the constant worry about finances that has pretty much fucked up my opinions about everything else. RPGs? Pointless. School? Boring. Family? Well, they’re okay when they’re not being annoying. But of course, the worst of it is reacting in irritation to Sean. We had another one of our non-fights last night–they’re fights, but in the end we both start to realize that we’re arguing the exact same position. And so we took some time to recover from that and reaffirm some of our goals, and it was really refreshing to just let the emotions out. The worry is still there, but some of the pent-up frustration has been released, and that’s good, at least. It is important, however, to keep that historical background in mind as I move on to my next topic, which is slackass webcomics.

I went to MegaTokyo today, only to see a DPD. Okay. This I don’t get. The dude loses his job and promptly writes a dissertation about how now he has all the time in the world to devote to the strip, and so he won’t ever miss another one…and what does he do but be late with the first strip after that, and not even have one for the next deadline? Mr. Gallagher seriously has some time management issues. Oh, certainly, he’s not on par with Mr. Fire, but I find the constant promise-breaking extremely annoying. If these people want to make a living doing their comics, they need to get off their asses and actually provide the product. I’m not paying you for your (debatably) pretty site design, or your extremely long-winded rants about your life, and I might not buy your graphic novel, especially if I don’t think there will be any decent content in it. I am willing to subscribe to webcomics I love, and that’s why I pay for Keenspot PREMIUM and Sluggy, but I am getting tired of webcomics whose authors/artists continually bitch and moan about how they want to make money but can’t, and post these whines in lieu of a strip. People who aren’t trying to make a living at it can miss an update. That’s fine. But people who claim that they want to do this for a vocation need to RTFM. The last time I checked, people don’t just go outside and throw cash into the air and then walk back into their houses. We usually like to get something in exchange. Maybe it would be easier for people to understand if I explained that it works like the barter system. You give something, you get something. Is that clear enough for you?

Grah. At least I’m not alone in my frustrations.

On a side note, because of the DPD I decided to go read the MT archives, and I was intrigued to discover that the beginning of the comic is radically different, and far funnier, than the comic is now. Largo also actually seems to be a person instead of two-dimensional comic relief. It really underscores the fact that the comic is now “online manga” and it’s all about Piro and his Love Hina-esque relationships.

I still don’t like Mr. Gallagher’s art.

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o misery

[19:55:22] <COSLeia> o the misery of life

[19:55:28] <COSLeia> now, having thusly heated my dinner

[19:55:36] <COSLeia> yea, now must I wait for it to cool

[19:55:39] <COSLeia> o misery, misery

[19:55:57] <COSLeia> o sweet anticipation

[19:56:09] <COSLeia> o misery, o sweet miserable anticipation

[19:56:10] <COSLeia> yea

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GAMU TEIPU MATCHI!!

ガムテープマッチ!!

I literally had to remind myself to close my mouth during that race. Twice!

拓美はすごい!!

Initial D is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever watched. I can’t believe I deleted the episodes Hai gave me before! このヘザーは馬鹿だよ!

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"It would’ve worked if you hadn’t stopped me."

In writing class yesterday, we workshopped a story by Matt Steele called “The Programmer Goes Back to Work”. It was written in a trance-y, dream-like prose, wherein the programmer shapes his own reality through programming languages, but ultimately fails to build the world he wants to live in. Dotty suggested that Matt delve into this theme more, perhaps having the programmer discover an equation that defines the world. Across the room, Holly and Shelley suddenly began thinking of the movie Pi (although I personally found that idea reminiscent of the end of the novel Contact).

“I just like the part where he drills holes in his head whenever he gets migraines, because that’s really what you feel like doing,” Shelley said.

“I thought that was a dream,” piped up someone else.

“Yeah, he didn’t really do that, that’s impossible,” Shelley responded, “but it’s just such a real image to me.”

I hadn’t seen the movie, but I put in my own two cents anyway. “Egon Spengler tried to drill holes in his head.”

There was a long pause, and finally Shelley started to say, “Who’s that–”

“In Ghostbusters.”

I finally retreated, beaten back by the blank stares of my classmates. Honestly, what is the world coming to when people haven’t seen Ghostbusters?

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Struggles

I’m working on my short story. The revision is due today.

It’s about a girl who struggles with her weight problem. The story really hits too close to home, though writing it has been illuminating and gave me the strength to begin my diet in the first place. Unfortunately, writing it now is just making me hungry :P I’ve had my “shake for breakfast”, and it’ll be awhile before it’s time for my “shake for lunch”, but maybe in an hour or so I can let myself have one of those snack bars. They’re pretty good. I’ll try to eat it slowly. I don’t feel like I’m making any real progress, but I have to keep trying. Maybe it’s just going slow.

Sean remarked to me last night that quoting a huge chat log on my journal doesn’t really do much for him. I suppose that makes sense. I’m just so uncertain about my feelings concerning politics and war that I’d rather people see my stream of consciousness than a well-written essay that might be, well, wrong. But of course, now that I’ve identified this weakness, I’m going to have to face it eventually.

I’m also going to have to face Milla Frank. She, too, is a character with weight problems who hits too close to home, though she has mostly overcome her overeating habit. Lately I’ve had trouble writing for her, or doing anything with her really. Getting inside her head depresses me, but it would be unrealistic to make her suddenly happy. I was reading the text for my writing class and it asked if I was avoiding confrontation: “Did another character conveniently knock on the door?”

I was flabbergasted, and then I started laughing out loud, because that is exactly what I did here to avoid the situation. If any of you out there are writers, you’d do well to pick up Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway, because it is so good at identifying and explaining common problems writers have. Really, I wish I’d had this book when I first started doing writing workshops; I feel like it’s only now that I’m actually starting to learn anything about writing.

Part of that, though, is due to my excellent instructor, Kim Edwards. She’s a published writer, as were the rest of my writing instructors, but she is also a teacher, and I think that makes a difference. Along with her husband, the director of UK’s TESL program (I had his classes last year), she traveled around Asia teaching English as a second language. I think that experience has helped her to deal with lots of problems that my other writing instructors tended to ignore–if they could even see them at all. She’s very good at helping us to understand writing, and that’s important. My other workshops weren’t a challenge for me; this one is. I want to do my best work for her.

And so here I am working on my story revision. Even wanting to do my best hasn’t forced me to completely curb my procrastinator’s soul. The revision, along with a group of exercises and some reader responses, is due in five hours.

このヘザーは頑張りますよ!

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It’s a trap!

Admirable Ackbar

Kevin suggested this awhile back and I just had to make it. I still laugh out loud whenever I look at it. Good ol’ Admiral Ackbar.

Connor spent the night last night, so he was here when I got home from work this morning. He’s dressed in one of my dad’s blue long john tops, and looks absolutely adorable. Pictures cannot accurately portray this, but they can try:

Awwww!

I made a website for Connor once, but it is like two years old now. I really need to get that place updated. Of course, I also need to revamp the GP4 website, so meh. Getting my homework done on time is enough of an achievement for this week, I think.

Speaking of which, I really need to do that. I may take a nap first, since I don’t think I got enough sleep last night.

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Nickpicks

I’m really anal about timestamps, aren’t I?

Some clarifications:

When I said that the characters’ names in the Initial D manga from Tokyopop were “translated wrong“, I didn’t mean “incorrectly”. I meant that Tokyopop purposefully used names that were not the characters’ names. “Translated” was a poor term to use.

And when I said that older students probably need bilingual instruction, I was referring to those students who came to the US during or after puberty and who didn’t speak English fluently when they arrived. Students who arrived as young children can pick up English fairly easily during their formative years, and should need little to no instruction in their native tongue as they grow older–for the purposes of understanding, anyway. I do feel that a person’s native tongue is special and important, and there should be community outreach or some sort of system in place to enable them to keep their fluency in that language. However, this should not be the responsibility of the public school system, which has a hard enough time teaching native speakers of English how to read.

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Politics

A chat log, wherein I prove that I do some of my best thinking “aloud”, and that my political opinions are highly influenced by those of Steven Den Beste:

[05:47:25] <Forte_Gospel> and how are things with you heather?

[05:49:34] <COSLeia> not bad

[05:49:42] <COSLeia> the Republicans have control of Congress again

[05:50:05] <Forte_Gospel> such is the fate of the world I guess

[05:50:36] <COSLeia> lol

[05:50:40] <COSLeia> well, I don’t know what that means

[05:50:49] <COSLeia> I don’t have a problem with Republicans

[05:50:54] <COSLeia> it might be easier for Bush to get things done now

[05:50:55] <Forte_Gospel> ah

[05:51:01] <COSLeia> we’ll see

[05:51:03] <Forte_Gospel> hopefully

[05:51:36] <COSLeia> it’s been said that the balance of power between the two parties is what keeps the nation in a nice middle stance

[05:51:47] <COSLeia> but I don’t know that we should be in a middle stance all the time

[05:51:51] <COSLeia> during peacetime, sure

[05:52:00] <COSLeia> but when there are issues to be resolved we probably need to just go one way or the other

[05:52:09] <COSLeia> but I don’t know a lot about history or politics

[05:52:15] <COSLeia> so I’m leery of making a judgment

[05:52:28] <Forte_Gospel> I don’t think the Democrats have the spine to defend our country

[05:52:41] <COSLeia> http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/KY00senate.html

[05:52:48] <COSLeia> doesn’t McConnell look like Steve Forbes? hehe

[05:53:06] <COSLeia> and yeah, I guess you could put it that way…I think the difference is patriotism

[05:53:25] <COSLeia> I think Democrats try to make everything equal and please everyone, which is impossible

[05:53:27] <Forte_Gospel> excellent point

[05:53:41] <COSLeia> and they end up trying to please Europe, or China, or whoever instead of US interests

[05:53:55] <COSLeia> of course denbeste.nu has some interesting articles on the subject

[05:54:06] <Forte_Gospel> I see

[05:54:18] <COSLeia> some people think patriotism is a dirty word

[05:54:25] <COSLeia> and some people think it’s the only way to be

[05:54:41] <COSLeia> I am patriotic in the sense that I LOVE THE USA and I think it’s fabulous all the things we have and can do

[05:55:08] <Forte_Gospel> The way I see it is that our nation’s needs should come first instead of being placed on the backburner

[05:55:09] <COSLeia> I’m not patriotic in the sense that I think everything we do is right, though, and I think that part of what makes the US great is the fact that the power comes from the people…and we have the right and responsibility to question our government

[05:55:23] * COSLeia nods

[05:55:56] <Forte_Gospel> and it seems George W has that same idea in his head

[05:55:59] <COSLeia> I don’t think we’re responsible to take care of everyone else…we’re just responsible to try not to hurt them, I think

[05:56:00] <snipes> what if you need something you don’t have?

[05:56:27] <COSLeia> well, imperialism is against the law

[05:57:11] <COSLeia> so if you’re implying that we would invade someone else and take it from them, that’s impossible :>

[05:57:20] <snipes> hehe

[05:57:24] <COSLeia> there are other ways to "invade" people though, I guess

[05:58:10] <COSLeia> anyway…

[05:58:12] <Forte_Gospel> Personally i believe war is wrong, but you can’t argue that it doesn’t help the country at least economics wise

[05:58:28] <COSLeia> well, that’s certainly true, but I would hope that isn’t the reason we’re going to war

[05:58:51] <COSLeia> I would also hope that we’re not going to war just to make Bush look good

[05:58:56] <COSLeia> but I don’t think either of those is the case

[05:59:18] <Forte_Gospel> I think George W has more integrity than that

[05:59:51] <Forte_Gospel> but I will admit that it will probablly get him reelected

[05:59:54] <COSLeia> I think ultimately his goal is to ensure that our way of life endures

[05:59:54] <snipes> I know the news down here is swaying towards he’s after the oil to bypass the arabs

[05:59:54] <snipes> but thats just the news

[05:59:55] <snipes> how much do you beleive

[05:59:57] <COSLeia> I know that sounds cheesy

[06:00:13] <COSLeia> hmm

[06:00:15] <COSLeia> after the oil?

[06:00:18] <COSLeia> how exactly would he do that?

[06:00:23] <COSLeia> again, imperialism is illegal

[06:00:30] <snipes> no idea

[06:00:43] <COSLeia> he can’t annex the middle east

[06:00:55] <COSLeia> he could try to put puppet leaders in place and take over the companies

[06:01:03] <COSLeia> but I don’t think the locals would stand for that

[06:01:04] <COSLeia> nor would Europe

[06:01:52] <snipes> I’m just saying what I see in the news

[06:01:53] <snipes> do I beleive it? dunno, jury is still out

[06:01:56] * COSLeia nods

[06:02:00] <COSLeia> anyway, as to the way of life thing

[06:02:24] <COSLeia> the whole people having the power thing is the primary thing that the government is supposed to protect, when it comes to international relations

[06:02:31] <snipes> the world more like it

[06:02:50] <COSLeia> and so anything that infringes upon the people’s rights as delimited in the constitution will be fought against

[06:03:16] <Forte_Gospel> in the end it comes down to justification

[06:03:23] <snipes> hrm

[06:03:59] <COSLeia> I think the government has an easy time justifying to itself, a bit of a harder time justifying to the US citizens, and a hell of a time justifying to the world

[06:04:05] <COSLeia> because our interests are so different than theirs

[06:04:09] <COSLeia> because of the way governments are set up

[06:04:24] <COSLeia> what’s important to us is not important to other governments

[06:04:29] <COSLeia> etc

[06:04:40] <snipes> so what do you do?

[06:04:53] <snipes> I think the UN was designed to help in those situations wasn’t it?

[06:04:54] <COSLeia> come up with other reasons to justify

[06:04:56] <COSLeia> :>

[06:05:02] <snipes> heh

[06:05:09] <COSLeia> if we say "we’re upholding our Constitution" they call it flag-waving

[06:05:19] <COSLeia> even if they are just as vigilant about their own country’s laws

[06:05:42] <COSLeia> so when people "explain" why we are fighting

Iraq

[06:05:47] <COSLeia> I don’t think they are telling the real reasons

[06:05:52] <COSLeia> they are telling good reasons

[06:05:55] <COSLeia> but those aren’t the only reasons

[06:06:20] <snipes> but are they right?

[06:06:57] <Forte_Gospel> being right is just ones interpitation of one’s opinion

[06:07:02] <snipes> true

[06:07:07] <COSLeia> well, as to ‘right’

[06:07:14] <COSLeia> it’s more a matter of balancing interests

[06:07:42] <COSLeia> I consider it a ‘good’ decision if it helps the US or at least keeps the status quo, with minimal to zero harmful effects to the world

[06:07:50] <COSLeia> but that is really hard to do

[06:08:00] <COSLeia> and nobody can predict the future

[06:08:05] <snipes> yeah

[06:08:17] <COSLeia> I mean, back in the first part of the 20th century people were throwing things away without a care

[06:08:23] <COSLeia> there was this great political cartoon

[06:08:26] <COSLeia> "out of sight, out of mind"

[06:08:30] <COSLeia> and then "out of space, out of time"

[06:08:48] <COSLeia> so it’s like "hmm, duh, we should have known that we were destroying the ecosystem"

[06:09:05] <snipes> we’re an arrogant species :)

[06:09:06] <COSLeia> but I think the fact that we didn’t know that shows that we shouldn’t have…if you know what I mean

[06:09:21] <COSLeia> we can’t always know everything, and we shouldn’t think that we can

[06:09:28] <COSLeia> but that shouldn’t cripple our decision-making

[06:09:38] <COSLeia> we just have to do the best we can, and try to fix any mistakes we might make

[06:09:52] <snipes> live life to the fullest ^^

[06:10:02] <COSLeia> there are still things to be done and problems to be solved, and we can’t do that if we sit on our hands, afraid of messing something up

[06:10:06] <COSLeia> :)

[06:10:22] <COSLeia> anyway, that’s about how I feel, I suppose

[06:10:56] <COSLeia> as for the UN…I am really not sure anymore what its function is

[06:11:17] <COSLeia> I think it would be nice if it were able to juggle all nations’ wants and desires and come up with amicable solutions

[06:11:22] <COSLeia> but I’m not sure that actually happens

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I have more opinions on language policy than any other

Turnout was described as unusually heavy in battleground states. Since 1990, the midterm elections have drawn 33 percent, 37 percent and 33 percent of eligible voters.

And I thought voter turnout for presidential elections was low…

So the Republicans have control of Congress now, again. That’s really all I feel comfortable saying right now. Maybe if 1) I was better with politics; 2) I didn’t have a lot on my mind; 3) I had any idea whatsoever what to say, I would write something. It seems silly to even post when I have nothing to say, but heck, Blogger makes it so easy ;P And I figure I should keep writing as much as I want to. It will help me in the long run.

There’s an interesting bit at the end of that article:

Massachusetts voters chose to make English the language of instruction for all students in public schools, effectively ending decades of bilingual instruction programs for immigrants.

I wonder if that means that the bilingual instruction programs were ineffective or inadequte, or if the immigrants weren’t learning English and therefore weren’t fitting into the community very well, or if everyone in Massachusetts is a member of English First. *shrug* Personally, I like English, and it makes sense to have a language that everyone in the country speaks. I think it would be cool if we all spoke more than one language, but picking the second language would be difficult, since there literally are no other languages with the power and prestige of English. I don’t say that to be boastful; I did nothing to be born a speaker of English. It just happens to be true.

Regardless, I’m not sure that ending bilingual education programs is the answer. I think Massachusetts should have evaluated the system they were using and revised it. Younger students don’t need bilingual education. They can pick up the new language much easier than older students. The older kids, though, probably do need bilingual instruction. It’s harder for them to grasp the nuances of English, and so having things explained to them in a language they can actually speak is extremely helpful. Of course, I think a lot of that instruction should be TESL. I am certainly not advocating that we open schools to teach everything in other languages. While that would be really neat, both for immigrants and for Americans who want to learn another language, it’s really unrealistic. Imagine the cost!

I have many more opinions about language policy than I do about general politics, it would appear…or at least, they are more solid than my other opinions. Perhaps this is because I know a hell of a lot more about language than I do about history or international relations.

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PA, hair, and hunger

Monday’s PA reminds me a lot of this one.

So I’m thinking about my hair. It’s quite an achievement to have hair this long. So I’m wondering if I really should cut it. Maybe I should just get some bangs. But not traditional bangs, because those look doofy. Just shorter hair in the front. Or something. Does anyone have hair styling tips?

I know Sean likes my hair long, so it might be nice to leave it that way. But my family all says they liked my hair chin-length better. Decisions, decisions…

In other news, I was running late this morning and didn’t have time to grab a Slim-Fast for breakfast…and I’m hungry :P I’m thinking about just having a regular breakfast after work and then saving the Slim-Fasts for lunch and dinner. It could work. Of course, that raises the question of where to go and what to eat. I was thinking of the Student Center, but that involves moving my car to the parking structure. I could just stop at McDonald’s on my way home, but that’s not as healthy. There isn’t a huge difference, but there’s enough of one. Sigh.

I’ve got some things on my mind; maybe I’ll write about them a little later.

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Good to know

Is it safe?

Absolutely. Astroglide‘s water-based, non-toxic formula is completely safe. In fact, Astroglide has been enjoyed, and we do mean enjoyed, for nearly a decade. But that doesn’t mean we’ll ever stop testing it ourselves.”

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I voted!

I also wanted you all (yes, all three of you) to see how freakishly long my hair is. I’m thinking about getting it cut to chin-length. That will be quite a change, but it looks good that way…so we’ll see. First I need to get paid again. I’m running out of money ;_;

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Art work

I just discovered that Christopher Baldwin quoted me in his update for today’s Bruno. It’s kind of flattering to see that he and I are on the same wavelength about art…although that wavelength is sort of depressing.

For my own records, I’d like to quote my original message, Chris’ response, and my response to his response below. To add some background material for those who don’t read Bruno, the main character in this webcomic is a woman artist who I don’t usually agree with, and yet she is perfectly rendered as a character, as a person. Right now she is working in a strip club. She felt that it was something she had to do, something she had to face. I was responding to this, and the fact that her friends were being overly “understanding”. But then I just went off on a tangent. I know, hard to believe…;)

My Original Post

I wonder if Bruno is going to get tired of her friends being “understanding” about her stripping. They all seem to make the same kind of uncomfortable jokes, e.g., “Oh, you’re dressed to go out [to the strip club], I see”, and they are invariably wrong.

Okay, so it’s only happened twice…but more than once is enough!

I also wonder if she’s going to start making enough money stripping to quit her corporate job. If that happened, I’m not sure she’d be any happier, seeing as how she says she hates her “jobs“.

Whatever happened to that online editing she was doing? Did I miss her quitting or something? (I found that job fascinating because I would love to do that myself, but the only way I could really find to do it would be to start my own business. I couldn’t find any information about joining someone else’s.) Anyway, she seemed much freer when she was doing that–she could travel whenever she wanted to and still have steady work.

I suppose she could always become a “working writer”, but that seems to often cost more than it pays out. Many literary journals have submission fees, and then there’s postage, and often you only get paid $15, if anything. (Really!) I was actually surprised that she wrote a novel first, before establishing herself as a writer through short stories published in literary journals. My writing teachers all tell me that that is the way to go :>

Another option for Bruno might be a newspaper reporter or copy editor, but these positions typically require a degree. I wish she’d find a way to go back to school. Not because it’s what everybody does and therefore she should do it, but because it opens up so many opportunities. I feel bad that she’s 28 and stuck in these dead-end jobs. I mean really, where is she going to go? It seems like she could only move laterally, not up the ladder.

And the reason for wanting to move up the ladder are not so that you can make more money, period. The reason is so that you can have the freedom to do more with yourself…which unfortunately costs money in our society.

I wonder if Bruno’s depression doesn’t partially stem from the knowledge (assumption?) that where she’s at right now is where she’s going to be for the rest of her life, unless 1) her novel is insanely popular; 2) she goes back to school. That may be why she was so afraid to send off the book…that act signaled her entrance into the proving-ground.

I wish she had married Stanley, because then she could just live however she wanted to without worrying about money. Then again, that may be why she didn’t marry Stanley…she wanted to make her own happiness.

Pride, ethics, ideals, and the need to do more for yourself than just put food on the table are all hard things to juggle…

Christopher Baldwin’s Response

As someone posted on the bulletin board about bruno:

I was actually surprised that she wrote a novel first, before establishing herself as a writer through short stories published in literary journals. My writing teachers all tell me that that is the way to go :)

And you know, if you want to make money, that’s the way to go. I mean yeah, I am so frikkin’ poor, and money problems depress me more than probably anything else in life, I worry a lot. But I love art. I love it. And I don’t like short stories. It’s not about being “purist” or some high-brow crap. I love art. And to create it in any way other than from in me, something that i value and cherish, dampens and ruins it for me. I have a job as an illustrator for two years and have done a fair amount (and still do) of freelance. And it’s no good. i really think one of the worst thing that’s happened to art in this country is that the really good artists go into writing movies or television, or the good artists go to marvel comics or disney. I think that only the exceptions, not the rules, have been giving the real breath of life to most of today’s mediums. Yeah, fine, the Sopranos is a good show. But I can turn it off without any remorse. I can’t say that about reading Horricks’ “Hicksville” or watching Miyazaki’s “Totoro”. And every person who tell you that this is “the only way”, means it is the only way they can imagine to reach a certain goal. First, there may be other ways, and second, they may be imagining that everyone’s goal to be the same as their own.

Hell, if any of you have created a body of work which you have pursued out of beauty and love for it, and feel it would be welcomed by not enough people to ever get “seriously” published, feel free to send me a copy, maybe i’ll do it, or maybe help walk you through it and help sell it. I don’t know. Just, if you draw comics, and love it, fuck marvel. fuck disney. Eat rice and beans and give the world something worth reading.

And most of all, don’t listen to a word I’ve said, because I’ve been nothing but discouraged and depressed lately about ever escaping my 9-5 due to creating something “beautiful”. Bruno will never make me a living, and nothing else so far seems to either. There’s a joy I’ve only felt in that freedom of creating something which means SO MUCH to me, but it can also carry a hell of a price. And if life is (among possibly a few other lofty goals) to be happy, when does the misery of poverty and no free time to enjoy life catch up to you?

My Response to His Response

I am very flattered to be quoted…and on the front page no less! Of course, my smile :> isn’t exactly a :), it’s more of a smirk…I thought I’d point that out because I’m not sure I agree with my writing professors that “that is the way to go”.

I truly enjoyed what you wrote this morning, Chris, and I must say that I share your feelings on the subject. I’m currently getting a degree in English with a creative writing focus, and I’ve been focused on the short story–basically because those are all I’ve ever written. I tried to write a science fiction novel once, but I ran out of material in about three chapters. I think either the short form is all there is for me, or I need to grow as a writer more before I can handle a novel.

In any case, in my earlier writing classes we were asked to write one short story per week. These stories could be pretty much any length, but they typically wanted at least six pages. After two semesters of this I grew so frustrated that I wrote a short story about artists who were forced to “manufacture” their art forms in order to make a living. One of them killed himself because no one understood his paintings, and another, a journalist who really wanted to do creative writing, ended up having to chronicle the whole thing for the paper. The story was mediocre, but it was how I felt at the time, and still do, to a certain degree.

I sometimes feel like the people in my writing classes are on the “right track” and I’m just some sort of poser. I write when I want to, and that doesn’t seem to happen often enough for me to “establish myself” through short stories in literary journals. It’s kind of depressing, but at the same time I just can’t bring myself to “do what it takes”. Sometimes I wonder if I have any right at all to feel this way, or if I’m just being lazy.

I’m actually kicking around the idea of an online “coterie” of writers. Coterie, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a word from the Renaissance, and it refers to a group of artists who get together and read and help each other with art. Back then people would often write epic poems or plays together, not worried about who got credit for it. No one got credit, really, because it was underground–unpublished save through manuscripts that were passed around privately. No one got profit, either, which is why this was mainly a phenomenon occurring in the upper class. The lower classes couldn’t afford such leisure.

But I think the Internet can be–and is already, to a certain extent–the great equalizer. Even though the bubble has burst, there are still ways for people to get webspace and share ideas. I was thinking of using my personal website as a jumping-off point for writers (and other artists, eventually) to do the same sorts of thing as people did in coteries. We would all just get together and put up what we were working on at that time, and talk about it and see what we wanted to do with it. There would likely be no profit, unless we ended up putting out a publication, but that wouldn’t be a concern at the beginning. The concern would be the discussion, which I feel is missing from most literary journals. To submit to a journal, your piece pretty much has to be done. They often won’t tell you what’s “wrong” with it when they reject it.

So anyway, that’s just an idea I’ve been mulling over…I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford to upgrade my webserver so that I can do that (currently I can’t run scripts, which I would sort of need for a forum), so it’s all up in the air at the moment.

I think forums like this one sort of serve the same purpose…but not really, because they are generally targeted to a particular, ongoing piece of art. Elfwood is also something like what I’m talking about, but not really. I want to establish a teaching, learning community, where everyone’s voice is important and valid, but where everyone respects each other, too.

Ah, pipe dreams…

In the meantime, I’m wondering how I’m going to finance all this, and what (if anything) my English degree will do for me in the Real World. I think I will be falling back on my Linguistics degree, really…so that’s my Regular Job. It’s a good thing I like linguistics. But I do wish there was some way for artists to produce work that is appreciated by people without having to worry about where their next meal is coming from.

Anyway, Chris, I just want to say that it’s inspiring that you keep doing Bruno and your other projects, even though you feel that you won’t be able to make a living that way. I’m glad you can follow your heart, and respond to things with your gut, and present a new world to us every day. It’s really amazing that you’re able to do that.


So yeah. I have been thinking about that e-coterie, quite a bit. That’s part of the reason this site is set up with nonfunctioning “comments” areas. Someday, when I feel like coughing up more money to pay for cgi, Perl, and whatnot, I will expand my site so that people can comment on my work, and hopefully someday post up their own to be commented on. This is really a dream that I don’t want to die. Hopefully after I graduate and I’m making a decent amount of money, I’ll be able to afford it.

Categories
general

Poor Hai :>

hnphn (5:38:00 AM): how is the collector’s edition of spider-man?

Alindrea (5:38:04 AM): nice :D

Alindrea (5:38:09 AM): oh, check this out: http://brunostrip.com/bruno.html

hnphn (5:38:10 AM): what’s in it?

Alindrea (5:38:14 AM): there’s a comic book

Alindrea (5:38:17 AM): and a lithograph

Alindrea (5:38:26 AM): and a DVD about Stan Lee’s mutants and monsters with Kevin Smith

Alindrea (5:38:37 AM): and it’s all in a nice box :>

Alindrea (5:38:52 AM): btw Bruno is stripping now

Alindrea (5:39:03 AM): she says it was something she felt she had to do…:P

Alindrea (5:39:29 AM): I’ve never really found her all that attractive, but apparently she’s supposed to be

hnphn (5:40:58 AM): ahhh… that explains the comic =P

hnphn (5:41:19 AM): btw, reread what you wrote and pretend that i hadn’t a clue you were talking about spider-man for like a minute or so

Alindrea (5:42:09 AM): I suppose that would be confusing…unfortunately I don’t really see an innuendo

Alindrea (5:42:18 AM): unless you think perhaps everything is crammed up into Bruno’s “box”

Alindrea (5:42:24 AM): but that’s rather crude, not to mention impossible

Alindrea (5:42:26 AM): sure, she’s easy

Alindrea (5:42:31 AM): but I don’t think she’s that loose

hnphn (5:42:35 AM): ummm… not innuendo

hnphn (5:42:43 AM): just confusing and like “what?!?”

Alindrea (5:42:47 AM): hehehe

Alindrea (5:42:50 AM): well, you asked

Alindrea (5:42:51 AM): :>

hnphn (5:42:53 AM): yeah, i know

hnphn (5:42:55 AM): but i mean

hnphn (5:42:59 AM): i open up a comic strip

hnphn (5:43:06 AM): with a naked woman and a half naked one

hnphn (5:43:12 AM): then you talk about lithographs and comics

Alindrea (5:43:15 AM): lol

Alindrea (5:43:17 AM): I forgot

Alindrea (5:43:21 AM): you’re male

hnphn (5:43:26 AM): lol

hnphn (5:43:33 AM): thanks?

Alindrea (5:43:38 AM): hahaha

hnphn (5:43:52 AM): gah

hnphn (5:44:00 AM): it worries me when i get that “you’re an honorary girl, hai”

Alindrea (5:44:05 AM): ROFLMAO

Categories
general

Diet-Mode, and Initial D

I slipped in the garage door–I still sometimes think of it as that, even though technically it’s the office door, and there isn’t a garage door there to speak of at all–to be hit by the scent of cooking bacon. Yum. Dad was cooking, and as I moved through the kitchen to deposit my bags in my room, I saw that he’d not only made bacon, but had fried two eggs over easy and slipped them onto two pieces of toast. Da-yamn. Breakfast food is altogether too good.

Unfortunately, I’m shifting back into diet-mode after a weekend of revelry. I didn’t stray too far from the Holy Path of Slim Fast, but I did end up eating two Not-So-Sensible Meals each day instead of having two shakes and one Sensible Dinner. Well, that, and I ate some cake. But not much! :>

Anyway, no breakfast food for me. I had my breakfast shake already, and right now I’m enjoying my scheduled snack bar–chocolate peanut nougat–and a mug of sugar-free cocoa. This diet is so chocolate-oriented…it’s perfect :> Actually, though, I bought some shakes of different flavors last time: banana cream, strawberry, vanilla…oh, okay, and dark chocolate fudge. I’m not a freaking rock you know!

Right now I’m grooving to Initial D music. I started reading the first manga from TokyoPop last night, and finished it up this morning at work. And yow. This stuff is great!

One of my friends–was it Hai?–sent me the first couple episodes of the Initial D anime one time, and I watched it till about halfway, got bored, and deleted it. Of course, since then, Hai has shipped me the entire series, but I haven’t watched it yet. I’m just saying, the manga is that riveting. I didn’t think I was interested in the subject at all, but I could hardly put it down. And to think, I never imagined that I would be this fascinated by a bunch of boys racing cars around in the mountains of Japan :> (In one section, a character says “Come on, Racer X, show yourself”. I thought that was hilarious :D)

Apparently the names are translated wrong…which sucks. I appear to have the bad translation, since the girl’s name is “Natalie” in my copy, and her name is supposed to be “Natsuki”. Bah. Well, at least the main character’s name isn’t changed, and I can understand the story…but still, I suppose I should be happy I have fansubs of the anime ;P

In other news, “Bunta” is one of the coolest names ever. I’ll have to use it somewhere. Of course, people will think it’s a Star Wars reference…

Well, I have a story revision due on Thursday, as well as other things. I forget what. So I should probably get started.