The not-entirely-random thoughts of Chris Brecheen about writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Minor Characters

The Gamers- Peeps I don't see enough of these days. We roll icosahedrons to determine the results of simulated combat against our shared delusions.

The Ex Wife- Not much to say. I was married. It ended. All very sad and tragic and filled with bad feelz, like a proper divorce ought to be. She ended up with custody of a lot of our friends–friends I didn't even expect would be taking sides (certainly not without ever even talking to me). Very tragic. I wouldn't much appreciate the deluge of cranky e-mails I'd get if I shared details. Somewhere around here there's some creative non-fiction with some that story. The important thing she did for my writing was being wonderfully enabling of my addiction, and even took on a sideline cleaning gig so that I could quit waiting tables and instead take a year off to write. That's when I found out I wasn't actually very good at writing, and decided to go to college. She's mostly a character because she knocked over the first domino that led to so many good things. Going to college was the beginning of a lot of wonderful chapters.

Ratontheroad- Trolly question poser and philosophical sniper.  He might show up here or there in cyberspace, make one comment about how philosophically sophist you are in your totally-wrong face, and then disappear again....like a ghost. Never even replying to follow up questions. But he's always there.... Waiting....  Watching.... Ready to take down your layman argument from 5000 yards. And if you try to simply "not move" he'll draw you out with a trolly question. Still, he looks like Daniel Craig and flies really big planes that could drop a tank division on someone's head, so we don't call bullshit very often.

Thatblondmom- My first serial commenter!  She knew me back when I was a wee lad writing in yellow legal pads about Bunnyrats that took over small towns by reproducing insanely fast and eating people or drowning them in their...you know actually the less said about that, the better. She undoubtedly spends her every waking moment wondering what her life would be like if she'd said that she would totally go out with me on that fateful February day in our sophomore year of high school--even though she will deny it vociferously.

The Librarian- No matter what I'm reading, it isn't good enough for The Librarian.

Mother Juxtapose- Raising a psychic superhero is no easy task. M.J. tags in from time to time to help me when Uberdude and The Brain are on extended patrols.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Excuse of Damocles

Hi everyone,

Chris here.

The Excuse of Damocles that hangs perpetually over everything I do here at Writing About Writing has fallen this morning. After a week of The Brain attempting to upload into a new patrol region in order to give access to her awesomeness to all new people*–meaning I've been doing LOTS of extra hours with The Contrarian and I'm already behind on writing–Uber Dude came into my junk room/office this morning, literally within seconds of my sitting down to write, and told me that he has to install new supervillian/misdemeanor detection and discrimination software into the TK-4000s that patrol the Temescal. They have been blasting jay walkers with rail guns, and could I please go with The Contrarian to his pediatric appointment?

*underprivileged children as it turns out–The Brain is like a superhero INSIDE a superhero

Of course I said yes. Turning jay walkers into fine red mist is not what we're about here at The Hall of Rectitude, and that shit cannot go on without attention for another eight and a half months.

There is LOTS of good stuff coming. (I'm serious. I'm entering one of those "amaze even myself" periods of creativity and productivity.) But I don't want to half-ass fire out my ideas in the fifteen minutes between The Contrarian falling asleep and the Fed Ex guy pounding on the door with a package (that totally would have fit in the slot) for which "no signature is necessary." (Fuck that guy!) And I don't want to slap my post up at 6PM on a Friday when the east coast has already left their computers for the day to do jello shots and make questionable life choices.

So I must invoke the baby excuse....

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Dangerous Intersection

There's a really dangerous intersection near my house. I have to be careful when I'm walking with The Contrarian. It's a one way turn from a freeway offramp, so drivers often only look left to see if there's oncoming traffic before turning. If I'm coming from my house (coming from their left), they usually see me without any problem, but if I'm walking towards home (from the right) they often don't bother looking–they glance to see if there's oncoming traffic and then dart out, never thinking that there could be a pedestrian coming from the other direction. Every couple of days, drivers whip out without even seeing me and if I'd kept walking, I would have been hit. I try to make sure I have eye contact before proceeding. There was a near miss yesterday as a driver–

DRA: Not all drivers are like that. I'm not like that.

Where did you come from? I'm in the middle of a Writing About Writing post. Excuse me. Anyway, I have to keep vigilant for these drivers because they don't look both ways–

DRA: Not all drivers do that. You can't just make sweeping generalizations like that.

Okay, I don't know what you're doing here, but you're kind of derailing my point. Enough drivers are like that to make being a pedestrian very dangerous–especially when they don't think to look out for our safety.

DRA: What you are saying impugns all drivers, and we need to stop painting them all with the same brush. Not all drivers are so careless.

Yes, but all pedestrians are in danger and have to be careful of drivers who aren't.

DRA: But what you said was about all drivers. ALL drivers are not dangerous drivers, this is about drivers. Because you are generalizing in a way that hurts me.

Actually this is about me almost getting hit.

DRA: By ONE driver. ONE bad apple.

Yes, but this happens all the time. I am constantly being endangered by drivers. I don't know which drivers are going to be the safe ones and which ones are going to not pay attention at a one way turn.

DRA: Not me though. This is about all the good drivers out there you're hurting and offending with your generalizations. I take umbrage with you painting "drivers" with the same brush.

This is not about drivers. This is about how dangerous it is to be a pedestrian. I'm sure there are great drivers, but enough of them are dangerous that my safety becomes an issue almost daily.

DRA: You know drivers probably wouldn't almost hit you if you wore something more visible. Maybe you should carry a whistle to let them know you're there. Maybe if you walked in pairs you would be easier to spot.

Or maybe they should look both ways because that's like the first thing you learn in driving school.

DRA: I do look both ways.

Great. Then this is not about you.

DRA: It is about me because I'm a driver. You said "DRIVERS" don't look both ways. Not all of us are like that. Most of us look both ways. Whoever allegedly almost hit you is probably a good driver too. They spend their whole lives making safe turns and now you want to assassinate their character because they didn't think one turn all the way through?

I'm not assassinating anything. They almost hit a baby. And it happens EVERY FUCKING DAY.

DRA: So you say. I'm sorry, but I can't really even listen to this without getting the other side of the story. Well meaning drivers who (maybe) make an innocent mistake deserve my rational impartiality.

The other side of the story? What other side of the story?

DRA: How do I know you didn't make one of those "go ahead" gestures, and then regretted it after the fact.

What? Are you out of your mind? I'm telling you I was almost hit and that it happens a lot.

DRA: But you're fine. Be thankful it wasn't worse. If you really don't want to get hit, you'll dodge the cars. When a legitimate hit is coming towards you, the reflexes have ways of shutting that down.

That's completely absurd. Pedestrians get killed all the time.

DRA: Look, I'm not saying you just want attention, but there are a lot of people who fraudulently report accidents–maybe for the insurance money, or maybe just for sympathy. How do I even know you're not one of those?

Why would I do that?

DRA: How should I know? You pedestrians have your reasons. Did you report this "terrible crime"?

The cops wouldn't care.

DRA: Convenient. Did anybody else see it happen?

Lots of people saw it. Nobody did anything. I don't know who any of them are, and they didn't stop to do anything about it.

DRA: Wow. The convenient hits just keep on coming. Pedestrians have been making up stories about dangerous drivers for a long time.

Pedestrians get killed by drivers all the time! How is that making anything up?

DRA: Sure, but those pedestrians... I mean they're near the road, wearing clothes that don't scream "get away." They're kind of asking for it. I mean sometimes drivers can't control their vehicles. Drivers will be drivers. Have you even bothered to think about how traumatized the driver might be? 

Are you completely out of your mind?

DRA: Changing drivers is too hard. You should focus on how to make sure pedestrians DON'T GET HIT. You can't just go around generalizing that all drivers are bad because you didn't bother to undergo a few basic safety precautions.

Yes, I fucking can! Get out of my post. Go away!

DRA: I don't see why you can't be reasonable about this. Pedestrians are always so hysterical about everything. I already can't drive my monster truck on their sidewalks without consequence, but they sure can come into my streets any time they want. You Pedestrian Safety Warriors and your anti-driver rhetoric are just trying to destroy good and decent drivers with your Pedestradry. I'm tired of your anti-driver, anti-car bigotry.


DRA: And why aren't we talking about how often people on foot hurt cars. I mean they can key them or break their windows. Do you think it's another driver who steals a stereo systems. No. It's a person on foot. The struggle is real.

That has nothing to do with–

DRA: Wait you said this happens a lot? Why do you keep putting yourself in that position day after day.

What? You mean walking down the street?

DRA: Honestly, you probably wanted to get hit. I mean, look at how much attention you're getting.

You need to leave.

DRA: Sounds like you could use a good collision honestly. I hope you get run over!

Get the fuck out of my post.

DRA: Look I'm sorry that you're misunderstanding me. See how emotional pedestrians are? And they're anti-driver bigots. 



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Whipping Up Some Grounded Parents

Today my blogging ju-ju is going towards writing a long overdue post for Grounded Parents about polyamory and skepticism. If you want to see that post the instant it is done, be sure to follow me on one of the social media where I post everything I write (not just Writing About Writing posts).

In the meantime, I give you The Ideology of Skepticisma post I wrote for G.P. a few months ago about the dangers of treating issues within skepticism with ideological tools instead of a gritty self-questioning quest for truth.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Best Heroine (SEMIfinal 1)

Who is the best fiction heroine?  

The results of your votes in the quarterfinal polls are in and the survivors are on to the semifinals. Come vote to see who will end up in the final round.

I'll run the semifinal polls for two weeks each. I will take the top five names from each on to the final round.

Everyone will get three votes (3). Before you simply vote for your favorite three, consider that, as there is no ranking of those three votes; each vote beyond one dilutes the power of your choices a little more. So if you have a genuine favorite--or pair of favorites--it's better to use as few votes as possible.

The poll itself is on the left side at the bottom of the side menus. 

Don't forget that the Polldaddy program tracks the ISP you vote from for only a week. Since I can't stop people from voting twice, I might as well work it into the system. Vote early! Vote often!