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All Natural Calming Product Open Thread

This is some dank ass shit
This is some dank ass shit

Get your mind off the news. Post brain bleach and happy thoughts in this open thread. No MRAs, etc. allowed.

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Paradoxical Intention
6 years ago

So we got rain last night here, in the first very serious rainstorm of the year. There was thunder that shook the house and everything! The lightning struck miles away (if the second count before the thunder was to be believed), but our poor dogs and cats were terrified.

Oh, speaking of cats, my cousin and her boyfriend were adopted by an adorable little tabby kitten because they yelled at a pitbull that was barking at it.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

@Orion

I know some hardcore zahmbie fans don’t consider 28 Days Later to be a zombie film but an epidemic film so that’s kinda why I didn’t correct them. I also have other people reading it who describe it has zombiesque. All the feedback I’ve gotten so far are pointing more towards people thinking this is gonna be about zombies and that’s gonna turn people away from the fic since they were expecting vampires but think there’s zombies instead. It’ll also disappoint the people who were like, cool, vampires but also zombies?! Yay!

The bacteria IS important to the plot and helps move it along at two points, at least, and it still needs some of its symptoms to remain highly infectious for as long as I want it to be (and still be extremely horrifying), but it still needs to be retooled.

When you get to Part 3 where I dump a whole bunch of exposition about the bacteria, you’ll understand why they were paranoid about it. Although, like I said, I really should have left the character being upset about the misinformation going around but the bacteria would have been around for eight days at that point and I would like to think that the news wouldn’t report misinformation over a week in. People would still cling to the misinformation, shown briefly in Part 2, but the news wouldn’t be spreading it any more. I’d hope.

And if it’s not clear to the reader, I can make it clear; the first part is only three pages long and will be expanded on in time so I’d like to know what parts needs to be clarified.

For instance, everyone thinks it’s the girl backing away from Melbourne when it’s Melbourne backing away from the girl. Fidel compelling him to do something he wouldn’t have done it a major plot point, as seemingly insignificant as it seems. Melbourne feels extremely guilty about it, which is what Part 2 is all about. If people don’t read it as Melbourne backing away, how are they gonna understand what happens in Part 2 or his motives later on?

It’s crucial I get at least significant plot points to be clear, especially when I can easily rewrite:

The sickly one’s face contorted in anger. “Liar. Liar liar liar—“ it burst into another coughing fit, falling to its knees. The taller one bent down to touch it.

‘No, don’t,’ Fidel commanded, making it stop. ‘Back away.’

It did as it commanded and the sickly one suddenly vomited blood and parts that were never meant to leave the body.

As

The sickly one’s face contorted in anger. “Liar. Liar liar liar—“ it burst into another coughing fit, falling to its knees. The taller one bent down to touch it.

‘No, don’t,’ Fidel commanded, making it stop. ‘Back away.’

The tall one did as it commanded and the sickly one suddenly vomited blood and parts that were never meant to leave the body.

Very easy fix, minimal effort, makes everything clearer.

katz
katz
6 years ago

Hey Pandapool, I read your first chapter and I am going to give you the most annoying possible feedback.

The issue I had with it is that it’s about two different things. Is this a story about a plague or a story about a vampire? And you’re going to say “A story can be about two different things,” and that’s true, but not usually for novellas; novellas are all about focus. If a shortish story has two different things going on, they really need to be closely related, either causally (Vampires caused the plague! The plague created vampires!) or thematically (one is a metaphor for the other). An opening like this leaves me unsure what the story is trying to focus on.

Your prose style could also use work, which is more or less to be expected from something you’re posting as you write it. (I can elaborate if you like.)

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

@katz

I’m using the bacteria as more of a MacGuffin for this particular novella. It will come back again in another story but it’s just a plot coupon in this one. Everyone is affected by it in some way. It’s kinda hard to establish that when you haven’t even been properly introduced to Melbourne, Nina and Phil yet.

The story is in 31 parts, alternates between three perspectives, and centers around death, dehumanization, guilt and depression and I don’t think I can establish all that with just three pages unless I become a way, way better writer.

And elaborate on what you think about my style, please? *gets out notepad*

katz
katz
6 years ago

Style: First off, you need more variation in sentence length. Too many medium-length sentences makes the writing drag. P3, for instance, is 15-22-15-27-7.

Expressions of emotion: “Curiosity overriding his previous mood.” That’s a very dull way to tell us how he’s feeling. I know you want a feeling of emotional distance, but you don’t want us to feel emotional distance from Fidel, because that just makes us disengage from the story. (Speaking of Fidel’s emotions: You want to show that there’s emotional distance between him and the humans, but then he immediately has an emotional connection with the first living human we see.)

And then there are just redundant, fillery, or poorly-phrased sentences: “After just a brief 127 years on earth, life was beginning to be too tedious to him.” “It was much too sickly to do much.”

As aforementioned, this is largely a downside to posting as you write; unless you’re a literary god, prose generally comes out clumsy in the first draft. (That’s one of the reasons I am so loath to let anyone see my first drafts!)

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

@katz

Ah, I see! I’ve had someone say it my writing felt redundant (not in this story), but they didn’t elaborate. I kinda feel a bit oblivious not seeing how “It was much too sickly to do much” isn’t redundant. That’ll be something I’ll have to watch more when I’m writing because I do that a lot.

And I wouldn’t say Fidel is emotionally distant but trying to be emotionally distant. Part 4 (which I’ll be posting soon) actually brings up a minor reason why he tries to be emotionally distant from humans.

In fact, one major point of the story is unhealthy emotional attachment which ties into the dehumanizing theme. It’ll be made clearer soon, with hints of what’s to come in Part 1 and Part 7, but Part 11 is when it really starts, and, oh boy, does it start. And I’ll tell you this, it’s why I have Phil and Nina there, for an outsider’s perspective on this shit. They’re really the only people that has Mel grounded during this.

katz
katz
6 years ago

And I wouldn’t say Fidel is emotionally distant but trying to be emotionally distant.

That’s fair, but you’d communicate that better if, say, he initially leaves and is like “whatever, a coupla humans, who cares” and then later on contrives some reason why he needs to come back and has some pretense about how it’s definitely not because he felt a connection with that human, he just needs to talk to him for some reason. Giving him a better connection to that scene would also help; as is, I’m not sure why he’s bothering to watch.

(You’re trying to hit a tricky emotional target here; there’s a very fine line between coming across as someone who’s trying to be emotionally distant but isn’t really and coming across as someone that you, as the author, want to seem emotionally distant, but isn’t really effectively communicated.)

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

(You’re trying to hit a tricky emotional target here; there’s a very fine line between coming across as someone who’s trying to be emotionally distant but isn’t really and coming across as someone that you, as the author, want to seem emotionally distant, but isn’t really effectively communicated.)

Soliloquoy can be an effective technique to break this one up.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

@katz

Lol, who said anything about talking to humans? It was just something interesting to watch, like coming across two stray dogs fighting. One of the humans just happened to be trying to help their attacker and that was interesting enough for him to follow.

I should probably use a description like that when I rewrite it.

Orion
Orion
6 years ago

Here are some things that struck me as redundant, but it is a subjective judgment. Sometimes you repeat something because you do want to emphasize it; sometimes you say things you don’t strictly need to say for the sake of sound or rhythm, or the tone your narrator wants to hit. I’m not saying that all of these are errors, but they’re things to look at.

A few are basically repetition

“He didn’t have the energy to be in a crowd … they overwhelmed him … and drained him too much.” “After just a brief 127 years.” “Fidel heard … quite easily as he had exceptional hearing.” “quiet, … ghostlike and empty…”

The rest explicitly state things that I would have assumed anyway.

“Curiosity overriding his previous mood” — every mood overrides the previous mood
“Too tedious for him” — if anyone call their own life tedious, it is too tedious for them
“he didn’t know why he continued to watch, but he pitied…” — sounds like he does know why he’s watching
“it ceased to talk and began to cry” — people generally don’t talk while crying.

And so on. Cutting back on this stuff can often make prose feel more vigorous, but if you’re too ruthless you may end up with something that sounds choppier than you want. If your natural voice repeats/explains/emphasizes, then go ahead and leave in the redundancies that you think emphasize something important, add memorable details, smooth out rhythm, or make for poetic language, and only cut the ones you find boring.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

Soliloquoy can be an effective technique to break this one up.

http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/maybe.gif

Cutting back on this stuff can often make prose feel more vigorous, but if you’re too ruthless you may end up with something that sounds choppier than you want.

Yeah. I’m aware of that. Fidel is feeling rather empty and depressed currently so this part is written in a more languid feel, which is why I’m ignoring katz advice on sentence length. (Sorry, katz.) If there’s one thing I have it’s the ability to express emotions through style. *jazz hands*

Her face is soft and round, with lips like rose petals and eyes like diamonds. He’s never seen someone so vibrant.

Very standard description, could apply to anyone in most emotions, mostly happy or content.

Her face is soft, round, lips like rose petals, eyes like diamonds–he’s never seen someone so vibrant.

This is rushed, like they’re trying to drink in the subject’s appearance in a hurry. This could be used for someone who has suddenly bumped in or saw someone across the room. Perhaps they’re anxious?

Her face is soft, round with gentle angles; her lips are like freshly opened rose petals, vibrate and pink; her eyes shine like diamonds, glimmering brilliantly under the bright lights above. He’s never seen anyone as vibrant as she.

This is very poetic; it’s as if times slowed down, crowds parted and a spotlight shined down on the subject like a cheesy romance scene. You don’t want to do this in a part that’s fast paced unless you want to create the aforementioned cheese scene.

Buuut there’s still redundancies I don’t want, so they shall be removed. They weren’t on purpose.

katz
katz
6 years ago

“Lips like rose petals and eyes like diamonds” could apply to anyone in most situations? “I went to the bank. The teller had lips like rose petals and eyes like diamonds.” “The babysitter showed up. She had lips like rose petals and eyes like diamonds.”

Hell, that’d be purple prose even if it were describing a love interest.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
6 years ago

@katz

Emotions, not situations.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

An update for everyone who asked: Shadowrun went really well!

We had a five person party:
– An elf decker, played by an unbelievably enthusiastic and bouncy person.
– An ex-mil sorcerer, played by a very tired Australian who sadly had to bow out early because she was falling asleep.
– A street summoner, played by a somewhat puzzled greybeard.
– An ex-corp rigger, played by a very earnest and very nice real-life corporate type.
– An ork samurai/face, played by a very friendly young gentleman.

It was nice having a heavily female party, although that got equalised later on when the sorcerer bowed out.

They were sent on a very easy mission: to steal a painting (Necronom IV, by H R Giger) from an art exhibition. This would require breaking into a guarded corporate luxury-residential dome in an otherwise bad neighbourhood. I anticipated that they would do some digging around to try to find out why they were hired to do it, and had come up with the rationale that it was actually being done to discredit the security firm guarding the event just ahead of a big contract negotiation. However, they didn’t think to look into this, so it didn’t happen.

The mission was intentionally designed to have many possible solutions, so as to allow creativity and avoid frustration.

Initially, the party magician staked out the front door of the dome and watched vehicles come in and out; most of the foot traffic was by a secure overhead rail line so what they saw was mostly goods vehicles. They debated smuggling themselves in via a goods van, but thought it was too risky.

Further investigation by the decker and summoner showed that the dome was magically warded and wifi-shielded so the operation couldn’t just be done remotely. The decker did discover that all communications from inside were being relayed via a single communication relay on the outside, meaning that the dome could be silenced if they needed to. They couldn’t think of a way of using this successfully.

Next, the sorcerer cast an invisibility spell on the samurai and sent him in to scout around. They found that once they were past the outer doors, security inside was light and mostly electronic. The gallery itself was still “under refurbishment” prior to the event but the paintings were in place. However, there were some fairly serious security personnel around it, evidently worried about possible heists.

(I thought the players might smell a rat here. Fortunately they didn’t.)

The samurai, still invisible, made his way out by swimming through the water outflow pipes into the polluted flooded district. Those anti-toxin implants saw pretty heavy use.

Now knowing the location of the painting within the dome, they asked around their contacts. The rigger knew someone from his old corporate black ops days who offered to help. With said contact’s aid, they fed a wire through the now-explored water pipes to inside the dome, allowing them to command a scouting drone inside it. The rigger got a tiny little microdrone the size of a housefly to go into the gallery, find the painting and hide behind it, behaving like a homing device.

One thing they hadn’t expected was the size of the canvas: the painting is approximately 3m x 4m, too large to easily steal. This required a change of plans.

Several approaches were suggested. These included:

a) Smash and grab, using explosives to penetrate the dome, grab the painting and run away before security response teams arrived.

b) False smash and grab, using explosives to penetrate the dome, and then pretend to be the security response team in order to get in and “take the valuable painting to safety.”

c) Wait until the event was over and then pretend to be the removals people and take the painting away.

(This was also the point at which the sorcerer’s player had to leave.)

Eventually they settled on a plan which was brilliant in its perversity, and absolutely pure Shadowrun.

d) i) Using a false ID and some quick work by the decker, they could get the summoner and samurai in disguised as corporate bigshots.

ii) The decker and rigger then went out into the flooded district in a rubber dinghy, hacked into the dome’s water systems and turned off the filters, so that the water going into the elegant fountains and pools inside got contaminated with the toxic wastewater outside.

iii) Meanwhile, the summoner went up to one of these pools and summoned a water spirit, then gave it the order to cause flooding. He rolled really well, meaning that the spirit had a whole bunch of extra services that it owed him.

iv) The sudden ankle-deep water everywhere, combined with the contamination of the water supply, meant that everyone in the dome had their toxin alarms go off. Dome security scrambled to deal with this, by sending a response team to investigate and by sealing off the area around the flooding pool.

v) The samurai pulled out his monomolecular claws and gruesomely dealt with the security personnel, then stole one of their uniforms from the least blood-splattered person.

vi) Meanwhile, the summoner used up the remaining services from the water spirit by getting it to materialise and punch big holes in the walls, making it impossible to seal off the area.

vii) Meanwhile, the rigger and decker got into position outside the goods entrance as evacuation and emergency response trucks started to arrive. High-threat response teams came in and all the civilians started to be evacuated, along with the valuables inside.

viii) The summoner, in disguise as a rich dome inhabitant, got evacuated with the crowd. The samurai, who was in disguise as a security staffer, got pressed into helping to evacuate the artwork. Said artwork was put into a truck, ready to be driven to a secure site.

ix) With the microdrone acting as a homing device, the rigger could tell which truck it was in. The decker hacked into the truck’s self-driving AI and handed control of it over to the rigger.

x) Unfortunately, the truck wasn’t heading off immediately: instead, the security staff’s plan seemed to be to get everything into trucks outside and then drive them all off in a convoy, guarded by armoured cars. This didn’t suit the party, so the rigger got the truck he was in control of to smash through the fence and drive off at high speed.

xi) As it did so, the samurai leapt onto the side of it like Indiana Jones, and one of the rigger’s other drones (a spider drone) jumped from a nearby building onto it. The decker and summoner sped off on a motorbike, following it.

xii) One of the armoured cars pursued them. The summoner turned around on the back of the bike and summoned a really potent fire spirit. He barely got the thing under control, but only had one service from it. He gasped the command “fill that armoured car with fire” before blacking out. The armoured car did indeed fill with fire and skidded to a halt as the driver died, with rickshaws dodging it and it blocking the road for all further pursuit.

xiii) Once they were outside of eyeshot of their pursuers, the rigger got his spider drone to mimic the homing signal of the truck whilst he jammed the truck’s own signal. The spider drone then jumped off the truck and headed along a major road, while the truck pulled into an alley. To anyone watching on a satellite display and following it via the homing signal, it would look at if the truck was now continuing down the road.

xiv) In the quiet alley, they moved the painting (along with a few others to sell to the Russian mafia) into a van, then ditched the truck and sped off.

xv) They all met up later at the safe house.

Glossary:

Sorcerer: One who casts spells.

Decker: Hacker.

Samurai: A heavily cyberaugmented killer. Often good at sneaking (at least, this one was.)

Face: Con artist.

Rigger: One who uses drones.

Summoner: One who commands magical spirits.

ej
ej
6 years ago

Reviving last month’s open thread for a rant. Apologies in advance for the upcoming TL;DR.

I’m dealing with a “What about the menz” issue on Facebook today. I’m trying to be calm and level in my Facebook responses because I know he has good intentions, but it still makes me angry. I know this guy is trying, but he’s not being a very good ally.

It all started when he posted a video that showed a man and a woman approaching members of the opposite sex on the street. To start with, the video was biased to make the women appear rude. The man approaching them opened with, “I think you’re cute. Can I get your number?” The women, unsurprisingly, walked away or told him to fuck off. When the situation was reversed and a woman was approaching men, she started by introducing herself and they had a bit of an interaction before she dropped the line, “I think you’re cute. Can I get your number?” So, even though they did use the same words the context was different. This friend of mine posted the video with a comment asking why the women were so rude. The bias in the video had to be pointed out by someone else. He didn’t see any differences in the approaches.

Several women, myself included, recounted instances of street harassment. We told him why it was threatening and offered better ways to approach women (in cafes, while waiting in line, etc.). We specifically said that we don’t like being approached on the street. He responded with comments about how men don’t read body language the same way women do and so we’re expecting them to read signals that they just don’t see (*cough*bullshit*cough*).

He also edited the original post. First to say that he didn’t like that the more “emotionally aggressive” comments were receiving more likes. Of course, because it’s text, everyone will read a different amount of aggression into the comments. I read them all and didn’t think any of them were overly aggressive. He also threatened to delete the thread if it became more hateful than productive. I understand that sentiment, but nothing that anyone posted in the thread was hateful. It was mostly personal experiences of street harassment from women. They were tied to anger about the situations, but none of the anger was directed at the OP or anyone else in the thread. We’re being harassed on a regular basis. I think we have the right to be a bit angry about it, but being angry about a situation is very different from being angry and hateful to other people around you.

The second edit to the post is what really got me riled up. He said that both men and women need to assume the people have good intentions, instead of bad. He posted this after receiving many messages from women telling him about how they were harassed after giving someone the benefit of the doubt. He is asking us to ignore our lived experience without realizing that we’ve already tried that tactic. Most of us have tried being nice and it didn’t end well, so we’ve stopped being nice. I did point out that asking us to give men the benefit of the doubt is asking us to ignore our lived experiences, but have yet to receive a response from the OP.

The third edit was asking for solutions and better options for approaching women (even though some had already been suggested). Sorry, dude. I’m much more concerned about the women being harassed than I am about the fact that you can’t get a date. There’s also just a lot of entitlement coming from him in the whole thread. He wants women to respond to his approaches because he’s ‘nice,’ but he doesn’t seem to realize that we’ve heard that one before (and it was a lie). I mean, he’s a decent guy, but he seems to think that he should get the response he wants no matter what past experiences the woman in question has had.

I know he has good intentions, but it really irks me when someone who claims to be an ally tries to talk over and diminish women’s experiences. Despite the number of women recounting their experiences of being harassed after being ‘nice,’ he still insists that we shouldn’t assume the worst. I know he’s trying to learn, but he needs to figure that the best way to that is to listen to us and not assume that he has the magical solution. He just seems to be missing the part where we all share stories of what happens when we’re ‘nice’ and just keeps insisting that is the answer. Part of me just wants to scream at him, “DON’T YOU THINK WE’VE TRIED THAT ALREADY?” I know that wouldn’t be productive in this situation, but how many stories do you need to hear before you will believe us when we say that being nice doesn’t work?

Also, just a side note, he has thanked several MEN for contributing to the conversation. Yup, women discussing their experiences with sexism are “emotionally aggressive.” Men addressing sexism all deserve cookies.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-t1RRT4k7q08/TzCwhtuinkI/AAAAAAAAAac/fA4PyIkyadc/s1600/Cookie.jpg

Rant over. I just needed to get the anger out somewhere. I know it won’t be productive in the Facebook discussion, but that thread is starting to feel like I’m beating my head against the wall.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

This friend of mine posted the video with a comment asking why the women were so rude.

He also edited the original post. First to say that he didn’t like that the more “emotionally aggressive” comments were receiving more likes… He also threatened to delete the thread if it became more hateful than productive.

The second edit to the post is what really got me riled up. He said that both men and women need to assume the people have good intentions, instead of bad. He posted this after receiving many messages from women telling him about how they were harassed after giving someone the benefit of the doubt.

The third edit was asking for solutions and better options for approaching women (even though some had already been suggested)… He wants women to respond to his approaches because he’s ‘nice,’ but he doesn’t seem to realize that we’ve heard that one before (and it was a lie).

“I know he has good intentions”. Nope, he has selfish intentions. Like many of the trolls who’ve come and gone here, he’s pretending to discuss broad gender issues while fixating on his own dating woes. Seriously, the streets could be filled with chaos and blood, he’d still going to only want to discuss how attractive women he doesn’t know are unavailable to him.

Hit the eject button. This guy will shove aside any women who try to discuss their own negative experiences because it’s all about his self-pity and resentment. He’s likely to start whining about his lack of dating in high school and/or college next, if he hasn’t already. He’s a milder form of the incel trolls that pop up here. They cast their personal relationship misfortunes as a social issue; it’s genuinely unfair that attractive women walking the streets won’t give them the attention they want and therefore real social change is needed to get that to happen.

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