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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Here's an FYI. You're all going to die screaming.

They're playing the theme from Star Trek on NPR this morning, as the lead in to an interview with Niklas Hedman, a representative of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

In other news, I rock so much today that I would have to charge you a quarter if you wanted to touch me.

Not only is David Bowie my bitch (and it is one of the reasons for the vast regard in which I hold truepenny that when I sent her that news in email last night, she immediately knew that it meant I'd managed to get all the way through "Seven," chord changes and strum patterns and all, although I did not try to sing it), I also managed to get a Bm chord that rang last night. Um, one. In a half hour of trying. And my left forearm still hurts.

But still.

Also, yesterday eve, I conceived of a need, no, a passion for a croissant. Since it's pretty much impossible to buy good croissants, I pressed my finger to my forehead and said, "How hard can these possibly be to make?"

The answer is, not very. Although they are exceedingly time-consuming. So I started them last night, and just, for breakfast, enjoyed the spoils with butter and hot pepper jelly. I overbaked the first trayful (I think I made them smaller than the recipe assumes) but the second batch were perfect. (I substituted half whole wheat flour in the recipe, because, well, I always run out of white flour. It's traditional.)

Also, I have the first season of Criminal Minds on DVD, and yanno, it's one of the best things I've seen on TV in years. There is the occasional tremendously bad episode (the first season ender being a case in point), but when it's on, it's on. And actually draws an honest emotional reaction (other than irritation) from me more often than not, which is something that I really don't get from television often. (Not since early Buffy, I think, and maybe third-season Farscape. And there were two episodes of the 2005 season of Doctor Who that got me--"The Doctor Dances" and the season ender.)

The cool thing about Criminal Minds--other than, you know, an exceptionally cool cast and scads of geeky characters--is that it's not ashamed of being chock-full of smart characters. And it's not afraid to let them be wrong--and being wrong isn't presented as the End Of The World--and moreover, it's not afraid to present them with impossible moral choices. Or to be compassionate and ruthless simultaneously.

(One of my favorite episodes is "Derailed." The delivery of Reid's line "Can I get an ambulance here?" just kills me. Frustration and resignation and determination all at once.)

Anyway, the show hits all my kinks.

It does suffer from the flaws of the 40-minute format, of course. The plots require a fair amount of contrivance and coincidence, and every so often they have the screenwriter tensioning problem--the thing where the textbook says, "add a deadline! and then shorten it!"

But yeah. A TV show I actually like. Wow.

varianor reviews Carnival, and likes it a great deal.

(A couple of factual clarifications: seven, in New Amazonian terms, is closer to thirteen in Earth years, and they actually have a pretty good idea of how to program House, which I think is demonstrated in a couple of places.)

If anybody else is confused about utility fogs, the Wikipedia article is pretty good.

Oh, and communicator reviews the Rich Horton Year's Best Fantasy, although I have a hard time taking criticism by somebody who doesn't know that The Last Unicorn was a book very seriously.

Did I produce today's Weekend Edition and they didn't tell me? So far we've had Alton Brown, moon colonization, Jonathan Coulton, and a thing on actors playing dead bodies on TV.

See, you knew you would get to the content eventually.  I've discovered something interesting, which is that I write better when I have more alone time, or mostly only hang around with people I don't like very much. (Day job coworkers are good.) If I have too much of a social life (which is defined as seeing people I enjoy more than a coupld of days a week) the people in my head sulk and don't want to talk to me.

How much of a pain in the ass is that?

I also hate it when people IM me or telephone when I'm trying to work. Man. Totally breaks my concentration.

Email, for some reason, does not. And chat rooms are all right, possibly because they are there when I want them, and out of the way the rest of the time.

Scalzi's talking about sex. Yanno, I write a lot of sex. (Actually, I have entire novels with no sex whatsoever. It's true!) and I never seem to run into this problem.

Somebody over in Scalzi's blog opined that sex should always be funny, and I don't agree, literarily speaking. Real sex should usually be funny, but real sex, we hope, is good. Much as we hope that real food is good.

Literary sex? Should probably quite often be bad, awkward, violent, self-destructive, needy, hopeless, despairing, resigned, and so forth. It might be a bargaining chip, or a convenient arrangement, or what have you. It's probably often more interesting if fictional characters are having lousy sex than good sex.

Some of it is funny--there's one scene in the Elizabethan books that mostly consists of the persons in the clinch punning at each other (it also contains a discussion of the etymology of the word "buggery," because, well, it would)--but yanno, I mostly don't write sex scenes that in any way attempt to elicit arousal in the reader. That's not what I'm here for. (I also don't write fight scenes to elicit fear or violent reactions in the reader, or love scenes to elicit love, or long diplomatic dinners to elicit boredom. I do write them all to elicit tension, to illuminate character traits I hope the reader will find fascinating, and so on.)

I always find it a little confusing, actually, when somebody tells me a sex scene is hot. *g* Because I'm always thinking, when I'm writing them, about the narrative tension and catharsis and character and thematic development and so on.

I said over in John's blog that I write fights, sex, and conversation the same way--and it's true. It's all about the flow of energy, the give and take of tension. Action, response, reaction, response.

So why do I write so much sex?

Because people in extremis are interesting. They are revealed. The masks are stripped away--or, if the masks are more firmly in place than ever, that's fascinating too. Perhaps even more fascinaing. A mask can reveal a great deal, in the manner in which one wears it.

I am interesting in writing about people who are at the edge of their resources, physical and emotional and moral and intellectual. That's my kink, right there.

Well, that and gentle, ruthless geeky people.

Well, it's ten o'clock. On to guitar practice and then to get my words for the day.


Thanks for the NPR link. Hoping to listen to that at some point in the next day or two...

I'm just going to bypass the rest of the post and go straight for the sex

I suspect narrative tension and catharis actually create the hotness.

Re: I'm just going to bypass the rest of the post and go straight for the sex


you might? have a point.
For what it's worth... while I'm willing to take Scalzi's word for it that he didn't embarrass himself, and I won't be avoiding his books out of fear of coming across any badly-done sex scenes... after reading your post, I will probably be making a point of picking up more E. Bear specifically for the sex.
*g* Well, yay!

Re: I'm just going to bypass the rest of the post and go straight for the sex

You could even test that theory empirically! By comparing sex scenes taken in and out of context. And while it's much too much trouble to actually set up such an experiment, what with the placebos and controls and double-blind whatsits, I'd be willing to hazard a guess that you'd have no shortage of volunteers.
You're barring that Bm? And the F consistently?

If you're not with the F, you'll want to. Eventually. And the G, too. :P

*refuses to recognize the guitar staring at her backside*

The F is not a problem. I've got that down.

How do you barre a G major chord? And why would you want to? There's three open strings in the middle.
When you switch from F to G in the middle of a song, it's a faster transition if you don't have to move your fingers quite as dramatically. (And since I went to check, it's actually a Gmaj9 that I have used to substitute. All these years... :P But it works!)
Hee. Gmaj7 is right close to there too, and easy to get to from F....
It was/is a pretty geek Weekend Sunday Edition. I loved the Alton Brown segment. Liquid Nitrogen to make Egg Nog!
But yeah. A TV show I actually like. Wow.

You may have already come across it, but I wonder if you might like The State Within? It's just finished here on the BBC. I don't know whether they've shown it in the US yet.

It has political intrigue and corruption, terrorism, a steely eyed ambassador, things blowing up, love, death, betrayal and gay spies.

I want the DVD as soon as it's out.
I might! and no, hadn't heard of it. It will have to wait a good long time for viewing, though...
Yeah, I loved it... including the gay spy. Wouldn't be surprised if one of the writers hadn't come across 'The Sandbaggers' at some point (it's not like it but it has some similarities)
Criminal Minds? Hmm.

Tell me, Bear: have you ever seen The Wire? I'm afraid to recommend this show to you. Why? If anything can slow down your output, this will - and I can't have that. I just can't.

Me = Torn.
Never heard of it. But I'm at my television limit.
What does The Wire have, you ask? Cast of thousands, the failures and inevitabilities of the War on Drugs through the eyes of the politicians, cops and crooks alike, lurching bureaucratic juggernauts, brilliant flawed ordinary magnificent characters, heartbreaking performances and deep deep deep novel-length storylines.
I might give it a try in a few years.

No Fanatic Like a New Convert; Ignore Me, I recently watched the Entire Show.

That ... would be best.

Re: No Fanatic Like a New Convert; Ignore Me, I recently watched the Entire Show.

It actually doesn't sound like my sort of thing at all. *g* But you never know.

I'm actually not much for noir and self-conscious grit, you see. I like balance in my literature, as in my life.
Say lauder about this!
I take it you approve of this message and/or product?
I mean your message it is actual and important. And reasoning from that each man is a part of society he can make this society better and cleaner.. Isn't so?
although I have a hard time taking criticism by somebody who doesn't know that The Last Unicorn was a book very seriously.

In her defense, Beagle has virtually zero presence over here. I've never read any of his books, on the basis of his short fiction never felt any pressing need to, never had anyone try to convince me otherwise, and never even seen any of his books outside of a convention dealers' room.
*g* I shall have to cease taking your criticism with any seriousness either, I'm afraid.
That's probably for the best. :)
Seriously, I think attempting to understand modern fantasy without having read The Last Unicorn is like attempting to understand 1970's fantasy without having read Tolkein and C. L. Moore.
Interesting post. I hope you always will find what you need.