Friend zoning.

Before I begin, naughty language alert. If that’s not your thing, no worries, but this may not be the post for you. Now, onward. Go here first. Visit Chez Wendig for some Miriam-truthing and then come back here. Thanks. So I’ve been struggling recently with the friend-zone topic because there’s one person I know who is not a dick-weasel but succumbs a bit too much to the attractive pity-hooks of the Friend Zone. He wants to understand why making friendly overtures can result in hostile responses; he wants to know why reasonable pleasantries are suddenly A Bad Thing. He wants to not be in the mine field. This is the sum total of the problem: ENTITLEMENT. Wrapped up in entitlement are codified layers of expectation as inculcated by social norms and customs. Like this:Like Loading…

Sorry, been busy

I know, I know, I owe posts. My research has changed, I’m in the middle of revising a master document, and I was diagnosed with freaking diabetes so my brain hasn’t been firing on all cylinders. However, I have plans and things. I’ll enumerate those in a further post, but suffice to say I’m going to try to stick with a weekly schedule (so regular updates from here out, yay!) and definitely talk more about the work I’m doing toward my doctorate. In the meantime, however, there’s a rant that’s been building over the past week and I’ll be posting that shortly. Naughty language alert for that one. You’ve been warned. Like this:Like Loading…

On discomfort: loneliness

One of the worst manifestations of discomfort, for me, is loneliness. When I’m all right with myself, when I don’t feel like a fraud and things are okay, then I’m perfectly fine with my own company. But when I’m unstable, whether that instability is internal or external, then my own company is just not enough. I regress to the age of eight, with those little self-pity fantasies building up into a world where I’ve been unjustly left alone by my friends, who have realised I’m not that interesting at all and are off doing their own thing. It’s a circular pattern, this loneliness: it feeds off that impostor syndrome — soon people will realise I’m nothing like they thought I was — and in some awful way it becomes a self-truth and I can’t stand my own company, and I’m just an awful person. Is this a manifestation of anxiety? … Read on!

Year in review

For a few days now, I’ve tried to write some kind of retrospective on the year. The truth is I’ve never been all that good at reflection. I can do it in the immediate timeframe, or at least a small one — say, a few days or even a couple of weeks. I’m very good at replaying an event and agonizing over it, but often I’ll get something useful from it. But longer timeframes and it’s another story. I can’t remember January. I mean, I can; I was in the US — I try to come here for a month every year to be with my parents — but I don’t have anything solid. No big event, no milestone thing. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, or out of the ordinary, but I get that slippery feeling my mind has when confronted with something it doesn’t want to do and … Read on!

Academic writing

Is it me, or is it like some perverse wrestling sculpture event? It’s like cooking, or carpentry. There’s heavy lifting and assembly and then disassembly when you inevitably get a joist wrong. And there’s a lot of staring. And pressure. And waiting. Scripts for me can grind, sure, but the grind is different, spooling too far too fast in a direction that I later realize doesn’t work. Lots of spooling. Tire smoke. But this theory thinky stuff is a different thing, like trying to walk through gel. Pushing through. Stopping for a breather. Is it always like this? Does it loosen up the more you get used to it? Or is it easier for some people? I can completely understand if it’s not the kind of thing I’ve got a knack for. I dunno. Like this:Like Loading…

Meanwhile, back in academia

One 24 hour plane trip and my white blood cells are all offended. I have come and gone to a fantastic conference (Rethinking Intermediality in the Digital Age), left with my head bursting with ideas and a notebook full of unbelievably smart and astonishing new contacts, and after landing in Brisbane one evening, heading to work the following morning, and then attending fellow DCI cohort presentations the day after that, I am fallen. Stupid cold. It’s not as bad as the lurgi before, but not for lack of trying. On the plus side, reading. On the minus side, poor reading comprehension. In early December I present a progress report of sorts for my research. There’s even a panel evaluation, so, like, no pressure or nothing. Really, I’m not terribly worried about talking. I can talk. Talking is fine. It’s putting this stuff down on paper that feels intimidating. That’s a funny … Read on!

GenreCon, or the smartest impulse buy I ever made

Okay, so, I’ve been gaming since, like, forever. And my family wasn’t the kind to get an Atari or a Nintendo or whatever. No, my gaming was pen and paper and the kinds of stigma you expect when not being whatever’s popular that week in high school (I actually started earlier, but hey). I’m not here to talk about that, I’m here to talk about why I made my impulse buy. Which was a weekend pass to GenreCon here in Brisbane. I’ve know about Chuck Wendig since my White Wolf days, and then somehow, years ago, I stumbled onto his blog. If you haven’t read it, you should quit my site right now and go do so. I even linked for you just above. There’s a bit of a naughty word warning, but whatever, he’s a George Carlin variety of profanity-slinger. Trust me on this. Anyway. He was coming to … Read on!

Spoiled for choice

It’s funny, seeing as how the work I’m doing is all about choice, that I’m critical of it. I just saw an ad for RSVP, an online dating service, and the theme of the ad was winnowing down preferences. “Must like dogs. Loves to cook.” Blah blah blah. We’re spoiled for choice, and by choice. Before we could move across great distances at will or chat with strangers on the other side of the world, we had who we had, and that was about it. You grew up in your family, your town, your neighborhood, and you took the things you disliked with the things you liked. And because you didn’t have an option to get away, surround yourself with the safe and adored things of your heart’s desires — physical, political, imaginary, whatever — you had to learn how to cope. I am forgetting how to cope. I am … Read on!

Progress! Though it might not look like it.

I’ve managed a bit of a breakthrough, tightening the pacing on the story (improving the first episode significantly) and getting a much livelier sense of the characters, which is immeasurably valuable. I did it by eliminating/consolidating three characters. Reminds me of a phrase used when it comes to modern media technology: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Polyphonic stories require ensemble casts: it is the nature of the tale. But too many characters and you muddy and confuse everything, and no one remembers who anyone else is. Too few, and you have no tension at all. I’ve had to be mercenary about this story, looking at every scene from a screenwriting perspective: no wasted airtime. No wasted words, no wasted sound, no pointless scenes. But the difference here is that in a three-act film, every scene pushes the story forward on the shoulders of the main character (even though … Read on!

Wendig on how we talk about pop culture

He says it much better than I can get my thoughts to string together. Also, do take time to check out the link he includes in his post. That’s also well worth the read:

…You’re also allowed — encouraged, even! — to not like stuff. While I don’t know that “hating” something is valuable, at least in the sense that, say, That New TV Show is worth the hot irons of your internal furnace, but hey, you feel what you feel. Once again, unless you’re a paid critic, you’re allowed to dislike something without any rational or cogent reason presented. You can just be like, “Man, that show Homeland just, it just, gnaaaarghle vvvzzzzz ahhhhhh. You know?”  And then you flounce about and angrily eat a churro. CRUNCH CRUNCH FROWN.

Here’s the thing.

When it comes to pop culture –

Someone is going to dislike the things you dig.

Someone is going to adore the things you don’t.

And that has to be okay….

From The way we talk about pop culture.