Bamboo Cyberdream

a panda wanders the electronic landscape

Dialogue Tweaks: GoT ‘Second Sons’

Very frequently when I watch movies or TV shows, I find myself caught up on one particular bit of dialogue. As a writer, I’m more or less a hack, but I do like to think I have an ear for dialogue, particularly in how to make it sound like actual people are saying it. I’ve decided I’m going to try writing up these instances and how I’d improve the dialogue. By that, of course, I mean, I’m doing it this once. Let’s see if I actually make a pattern of it. My history of blogging is not encouraging in this regard.

What caught me in last night’s Game of Thrones episode (“Second Sons”), didn’t have anything to do with feeling natural; obviously the show takes place in a heightened and arkane reality where characters regularly use language that would sound stilted in more realistic or modern setting. Last night I stumbled on a bit that was two missed opportunities at once.

Avoid Comments

(Note: this is hastily slapped together while I’m on the road, not really edited or proofread. Please forgive any awkward turns of phrase, typos, or other grave offenses.)

A few months ago, in response to some Twitter conversations about how universally terrible the comments sections on various websites were, I made a Twitter bot that would, every day at 12:30pm Eastern Time, remind people to not read the comments.

The original plan was for it to simply say the same thing every day, but since (a) that would get boring and (b) part of my day job involves coming up with multiple, hopefully witty, ways of saying the same thing, I figured I’d enjoy the challenge of coming up with different ways of doing it.

Holy crap, this thing blew up, and became way more popular than I ever expected.

Anyway, after 100 tweets and 11,000 followers(!!!), it’s time for @AvoidComments to take a bow. From here on out it will repeat the same 100 things that it has to say, in random order, until they’re exhausted. Then it’ll shuffle the deck again and start over. I may pop in with something new from time to time if it’s timely or I’m inspired, but for the most part, this is it.

Some more quick, scattered thoughts as I’m writing this on an iPad in an airport terminal…

Impressionist Gameplay

Edit: I had a major wire-cross in my brain and originally had this referring to expressionism where I instead meant impressionism. Hilarious. I assure you I am familiar with artistic movements.

You enter the capital city of a province, which is inhabited by less than a hundred people. You walk up to somebody and immediately know their name, as they begin telling you bits of trivia about the city. You’re able to walk from one side to the other in about two minutes, and from its highest point, you can see clear to the other side of the province. It would take about about an hour to walk there at a brisk pace.

You take a hefty-looking book from the shelf and find it contains only about five hundred words spanning a dozen pages.

In the course of a month or so, it’s possible for you to become a world-class expert in various forms of combat, lockpicking, archery, persuasion, and calling forth flames from your hands. In the same timeframe, you can be the simultaneous leader of many separate organizations of highly trained specialists, after joining them in the lowest ranks.

Certain elements of Skyrim strain credulity.

Ten Years

I really want to get back to writing about games soon. I’ve got, like, 5 drafts queued up that I just need to finish and kick out. Next week.

I’ve spent most of my day trying to write this. I tried my usual muse-stimulators of Scotch, ice cream, naps, long showers, cello music, coding. I pushed hard, but was never able to come up with a clever opening, so this will have to suffice. The rest of it was so thoroughly something I had to say that I’m willing to forgive this.

Today is a strange day for me. February 9th is one of those days that kind of crosses my calendar and I’m never quite sure what to do with it. Because ten years ago today, my mother died.

This is long and rambling, just like my last ten years. You’ve been warned.

Cleanup on Aisle Three

This weekend I found some strange files floating around my Dreamhost directories. I was hacked! My web page is pretty simple and non-dynamic, but I have a bunch of other sites that I host for friends and other side projects, and the current guess is that the hackers got in through an outdated version of Wordpress or the super old installation of Mediawiki that was hanging around.

(Worth noting that the folks at Dreamhost gave some top-notch customer service, helping me figure out where the hack came from, what it had done, and cleaning up the damage. Yeah, they’re a budget host, but I’ve always been pretty impressed as what they let you do and how they help you out when you need it.)

On top of updating all of the old web apps and setting them to automatically update in the future, I started looking into making the whole shebang less dynamic so it would be less of a target for hackers.

It was a fun little project to do the conversion, and I’ve detailed it below the cut for anyone who’s interested. Either way, the upside is that this whole thing has me more excited about writing and blogging in general, so hopefully I can ride this enthusiasm to up my posting schedule beyond the meager 2-3 posts/year that it’s become.