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Flash Fiction Challenge: 5 words

15 Apr

So I felt like actually posting something writerly today, so here’s a Flash Fiction challenge I undertook from Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds website. The prompt was to use 5 random words in a story that was less than 1000 words. The words were ‘figure’, ‘dusk’, ‘flirt’, ‘mobile phone’ and ‘wig’.

Here’s my little exercise, complete with all 5 words (and in order too, just for the fuck of it). If you feel inclined to give it a try, you have until next Friday to go for it, just click the link above.

**

Of All the Gin Joints

The figure in the shadows in unimpressed. I can tell by the way he or she has remained seated and kept his eyes fixed on the ashtray in front of him while the rest of the bar is at attention, eyes locked on the girl standing in the door way.

She’s tall, near inhuman in height, her blonde head brushing the ceiling of the low tavern room. Her face is shadowed, much like the darkened sky behind her through the open door, dusk having just fallen. A hint of a smile plays at her full lips as she scans the room with dark eyes, eyes that would smoulder if one were interested in dipping into clichés.

Another femme fatale. Just what I needed.

I return to rinsing glasses behind the bar as the woman moves slowly, high heels clicking with militant thumps across the wooden floor. The eyes of two dozen men follow her path, and more than one of them gets a well-deserved thump on the head from a jealous wife or girlfriend seated beside them. Rolling my eyes, I notice that the figure in the corner, still shadowed and silent, has put out his cigarette and is finally paying attention.

The woman leans over the bar, seductive and exposing a cleavage line in a dress that would make Jessica Rabbit jealous.

“Hey there handsome,” her voice is smooth, chocolatey, and it melts the hearts of the men around her. “What can a girl get to drink in this place?”

Her eyes and posture indicate that she’s attempting to flirt with me. I keep my eyes neutral and out of contact with hers and gesture behind me. “We have a full bar ma’am,” I say. “I’ll make whatever strikes your fancy.”

She ponders for a second, pouting slightly. She’s gotten the hint, and isn’t happy about it. “Dirty martini,” she says, still sultry despite my disappointing her.

I turn to gather my tools and concoct her beverage, ignoring the clamors of the men along the bartop, throwing themselves and their dollars in her direction.

A phone rings behind me, and I glance around to see the shadowed figure has answered his cell. I can’t hear his voice, but I recognize his posture and know what is about to transpire.

I place the woman’s drink in front of her and rapidly duck down behind the bar. The sharp crack of gunfire echoes through the bar, punctuated by yells and one high-pitched shriek. There’s a thump above me and I hear shattered glass. I release the breath I’ve been holding and then watch as something blonde and shapeless tumbles to the floor in front of me.

I can’t help but laugh. The dame went for a wig.

I stand up and survey the damage. The menfolk are shellshocked, the women trying not to be pleased. The dark figure vanished into the night, door of the tavern swinging from his departure. The woman is strewn across the bar, drink broken in her hand next to her, wig on the floor and natural hair color exposed and distinctly brunette.

I pick up the glass and sigh. Another night, another mess to clean up. At least this one was predictable.

I head for the back room to get the broom, and as I leave I address the room at large:

“Somebody’d better call 9-1-1. I’ve gotta start mopping the blood up or it’s gonna leave a stain.”


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Dear Benjamin Franklin,

14 Mar

Daylight Savings Time was a shit-fuck balls-ass HORRIBLE idea. THis morning I woke up and felt like I was being freshly dragged out of a grave thanks to it feeling like 7 o’clock in the morning instead of 8 o’clock.

I want my hour back.

*Shakes tiny fist*

In other news, I’ve started a side project called Not Your Gamer Girlfriend, a website about girls and videogame culture. You can find it here. I promise Uncomfort Zone will continue to update as closely as possible to daily as my exhaustion and madness will allow.

Woo! 50 Posts! And a Meme!

18 Feb

Because I’m too tired and achy to come up with anything better to say on this milestone of a post (because I am tired from two job interviews in one day plus having a headache of doom), I’m just going to throw my hands up and say ‘woo!’ I’ve been posting on this here blogthing enough to actually hit milestones and junk. So yay and hooray for me!

And thank you all for reading.

Here is something amusing for you, to express my gratitude and to share some meme love:

(More of this amusing meme can be found here)

Lora’s 8 Stages of Fandom

11 Feb

I know I’m not the only member of my friend-pod who suffers from chronic Fandom. Be it a webcomic, movie, TV series, mythos, culture, you name it, there are Fandoms everywhere, and I admit, I’m decidedly a part of them. To name a few, I’m an avid member of the following fandoms:

– Harry Potter
– Buffy/Angel
– Firefly/Serenity
– Doctor Who
– Torchwood
– Chuck
– Repo! The Genetic Opera
– Questionable Content
– Lord of the Rings
– My Chemical Romance
– Star Wars
– Star Trek
– Homestuck

Some of these, Homestuck for example, are recent fandom discoveries, and others like Star Wars have been part of my Fandom life since I was in the single digits of my life-age. While pondering this, I also pondered the steps I seem to repeatedly go through during my discovery and acceptance of a new Fandom into the squidgy hole where my heart used to be. After some more pondering, and eating some cheese, I compiled a rough list of my personal 8 stages of Fandom.

DISCLAIMER: Fandom is not the same for everyone. My coming to love a Fandom is different from many other folks’ journeys. A lot of the principles, however, are the same. So here it goes:

Stage 1: Discovery

“Hey, have you tried reading this comic? It’s really good!”

Discovery comes in many forms for a Fandom. Sometimes that Fandom comes to you through a close friendship or relationship (personal examples: Firefly, Chuck), sometimes through family (Star Wars, Angel) and other times through independent discovery (Doctor Who). Whatever the method, this is where Fandom begins, where the seed is planted and roots are put down.

Stage 2: Casual Perusal

“Hm, I’ll give the first chapter a try…”

This is the stage where the Fandom is explored. For Harry Potter fandom, for example, Perusal involves reading the original books written by JK Rowling. For TV shows, it’s watching an episode or two. For comics, it’s reading a page or three of the archives, and so on. My Perusal of Star Wars occurred when I was ten years old and watched the Special Edition of Star Wars: A New Hope with my parents. I remember little of the encounter, except that the seat I was given was too low and that it was really loud.

Stage 3: Abandonment

“Meh, I’m gonna go watch re-runs instead…”

Not a common stage, but a pattern I’ve recognized in my fandom journeys is that it takes a few tries for me to get truly invested in a Fandom. Examples of these ‘false start fandoms’ for me have included Harry Potter, Homestuck, Lord of the Rings and Chuck. It says nothing of their quality, just of my attention span. I can be facing the most amazing Fandom in existence, but if I’m distracted by something shiny, forget it.

Stage 4: Re-Occurrence

“Hm, this actually gets good once you get past the early exposition…”

This happens in a variety of ways. Perhaps a friend drags me to watch a movie I previously felt reluctant about. Perhaps I’m bored and my mind wanders back to a long-forgotten story that bears new discovery. Maybe I just didn’t get far enough into it. Whatever the reason, reaching true Fandom requires returning to that first discovery in some manner over a short (or long) span of time.

Stage 5: Devouring

“It’s 4AM and I have to be up in 3 hours but OH GOG I CAN’T STOP READING hlaghlasdghlghlgh”

A melodramatic term perhaps, but it’s the best way to describe the method one uses to absorb the items of Fandom. When a new Harry Potter book emerged, I absconded with it to my room and stayed there for hours, reading and ignoring all distractions. Webcomics kept me up until the sun came up with their storylines and drama. I systematically swallowed up whole seasons of TV shows in less than a week. This is where the build of the material is experienced, where the source becomes realized.

Stage 6: Obsession

“Wow, people actually write Buffy/Torchwood crossover fic?”

Once the material has been devoured, the signs of Fandom become abundantly clear. Perhaps it simply begins with a google search, or a conversation with friends, but before you know it you’re trolling Deviantart and Fanfiction.net to experience MORE of these characters and stories, to interact with others who share your passion. You integrate inside jokes into your vocabulary in the hopes others will notice and engage in conversation with you about your Fandom. The Obsession grows and leads you to new levels of nerdery you’d never consider. Like Shipping. And writing fanfiction. Or even drawing smutty slash art for friends.

Yes, in case you were wondering. I have done all of these.

Stage 7: Petering

“Maybe I’ll read this new book later, after I investigate something shiny.”

Similar to Stage 3. Sometimes the obsession comfortably dies, leaving naught but fond memories of times gone by. Other times they don’t and aspects of the Fandom become permanently integrated into your life, be it through cosplay, purchasing merchandise, or if you’re weird like me and have characters that run around in your head chattering at you constantly.

(Lemme tell you, it’s getting crowded in here with all the trolls).

Stage 8: Lasting Love

“Vriska, you’ve wedged your way into my heart and there you will stay. Even if you are shithive maggots.” *

The final stage demonstrates the staying power of a Fandom. Some are flash in the pan, brief infatuations that fade into the past, but others stay for years, decades even, and remain in your heart to inspire your actions, thoughts and dreams.

*Homestuck reference

So that’s my take on my experience with fandom. Others do it different, some have similar experiences. Whatever fills the gaps in your blood-pumping unit, I’m sure Fandom has helped you the way it’s helped me. Be a huge nerd. >.>

And Now, Your Daily Dose of WTF

2 Feb

Things have been nuts lately. Locally, nationally, internationally, you name it, things are going off the rails here and there. I have for you a few examples that make me shake my head at the world and think to myself ‘what the WHAT?’

Georgia Republican Says nobody should NEED a driver’s license

According to this website, Georgia State legislator Bobby Franklin thinks that requiring licenses for driving cars is imposing restrictions on a citizen’s right to travel. Therefore, they shouldn’t be required. I’m inclined to agree with the posters on this message board, and wonder if Franklin has the same thing to say about, say, licenses to practice medicine or fly airplanes. Franklin’s nutty ideas also apparently extend to abolishing mandatory vaccinations, using gold and silver as tender in payments of debt to and from the state, and the restoration of religious and family values to America. Watch out guys, Big Brother is watching us. Drive our cars.

Bill seeks to ban ‘Power Hour’

This article is a little closer to home for me (and by that, I mean the first source comes direct from my Alma Mater. There’s another article here.). A new bill proposed by Russ Karpisek aims to prevent 21-year-olds celebrating their birthdays to engage in ‘power hour’, that is, the engaging in drinking at midnight on their 21st birthday. The bill, which would prevent 21-year-olds from buying alcohol until 6AM on their birthdays, is not being received well by Nebraska students. Or by me. Because I think it’s dumb. Pure and simple. Yes, a kid doing 21 shots at midnight on their birthday is dangerous, but a new law isn’t going to change that. If they don’t do it at a bar on their birthday at midnight, they’ll do it the next night, or at home. And no, Mister Karpisek, spreading that out over the course of the night will not lower the risks. 21 shots is still 21 shots, whether you do them over five hours or one. Sure, one’ll kill you faster, but that just shows that what 21-year-olds need is EDUCATION, not more legal restrictions that are basically pointless. Teach people not to drink in excess and carry their own responsibility for their drinking and you won’t need to make dumb laws that mean basically nothing.

Sex Ring a Hoax, Planned Parenthood Messed With By Pro-Life Group

So Live Action’s a little nutty. I say this as a woman firmly pro-choice (not necessarily pro-abortion, but definitely supporting a woman’s right to choose), but even for a lifer group these guys are stooping to interesting levels of low for their cause. This video went up recently, Live Action’s documentation of Planned Parenthood supposedly covering up an underage sex ring. The video, which is heavily edited, is now reported to be documenting a hoax: no sex ring existed, and the people involved were trying to catch Planned Parenthood doing nothing about young girls being used in sex-trafficking rings. Planned Parenthood, instantly suspicious when a man showed up to eight different PP locations in five states within five days, called the FBI, suspecting a hoax trying to catch employees saying damning things on tape. They were right. This isn’t the first time Lifer groups have tried to catch PP and other clinics using hoax situations, and, in the words of Randal Milholland via his twitter on February 1st, creator of Something Positive, ‘if you have to stoop to this for your cause, you deserve to fail’. Classy, Live Action. Classy.

There you go. A few WTF’s for you. Feel free to send some more my way via the comments or my twitter.

I am a Geek

25 Jan

How do I know that going into Intellectual Property Law is something I can really get passionate about?

I just read through all of this. As found on this blog (which is awesome. I wanna be that guy when I grow up).

For fun.

Though when you really get down to it, it’s a fascinating study of what constitutes a violent game, and the idea of video games as art and cultural touchstones. It covers specific games, including Bioshock, which is one of my favourites. This is the future of free speech law folks.

Hm. Maybe I should go into Constitutional Law too. Or instead.

Guess we’ll see.

I’ll be over here, being a nerd and looking up more legal briefs concerning the gaming industry.

Dear MTV,

16 Jan

A letter to MTV, media conglomerate and television programming station.

To whom it may concern at MTV:

I am a 23-year-old female living in 21st century America, and though I am currently too poor to have a cable service provider, I have been aware of your programming for quite some time.

I’ve given you chances MTV. I remember the days of yore when you, and your counterpart VH1, actually lived up to your purpose.

See that ‘M’ in your name, MTV? The one that’s the first letter of your acronym? It stands for MUSIC. You know, music? That thing people often make videos for? Those videos that you used to show on your channel, before The Real World?

MTV, you disappoint me often. It’s sad but true. I’ve all but given up on your ability to provide me with quality entertainment, especially after Jersey Shore.

And then I found out about Skins.

I watched the UK version of Skins this summer on Netflix. As far as teenage comedy dramas went, I found it to be extremely original, witty and intelligent, especially for a show about teenagers who like to get high and blow off school.

Then I found out you were taking this show and creating an ‘American’ version.

I knew you were lacking in originality MTV, but upon some research I discovered that was just the tip of the iceberg.

See, not only are you remaking Skins using the exact same plot, but you’re using virtually identical character names and advertising campaigns:

Promo for Skins, UK version

Promo for Skins, US version.

But that’s not my biggest beef with you, MTV, and it’s a beef that goes above and beyond unoriginality.

It’s the fact that you took this character from the original Skins:

Maxxie, known for being openly gay and an incredible dancer

And turned him into this:

Tea, hard-partying out and proud lesbian.

Now, I don’t really understand what you’re trying to do here MTV. You’ve taken an openly gay male character and changed him into an openly gay female character.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing I guess. I mean, at least you aren’t completely removing these themes of homosexuality in your show, right? You’re demonstrating a roughly accurate depiction of American youth by including a lesbian character, right?

So why make a gay guy into a gay chick? That homosexual population quotient is already perfectly represented by Skin’s UK’s character of Maxxie. You haven’t been afraid to keep other characters virtually identical down to name and appearance :

Tony from Skins UK vs. Tony from Skins US. See the resemblance?

So what’s the deal MTV? Are you telling us that Lesbians are more acceptable in American society? Are you adhering to a comfortable double-standard?

And should I really be surprised.

The sad fact of the matter is that to some extent, this aspect of culture in America is true. While the homosexual population is out and proud on both ends of the gender spectrum, there’s a certain higher amount of acceptance for Lesbian girls over gay men.

Am I pulling facts out of my ass here? Sure. But go ask a straight dude how he feels about two girls making out. Then ask him how he feels about two guys making out. It’s that mentality that’s driving your adjustment here MTV, and it’s further evidence that even though America is slowly squeaking forward in the gay rights movement, we still have a long way to go.

I’m not saying Lesbians have an easier time of it, or that their relationships are accepted in society overall. I’m saying that you’re promoting this idea that being a gay male is so unacceptable in American culture that you had the need to replace him with a lesbian female in mainstream television.

Can you explain this to me MTV? Because none of this makes any sense to me, and it thoroughly depresses me.

Congratulations on assisting in the decline of American creativity MTV. I’ll probably watch the new Skins and complain about it, because that’s the way of the internet (I mean, come on, I’m ranting about this on my blog. How’s that for mature reaction?). Thanks for nothing.

With love and small amounts of bile,

Lora.

 

2010: A Review

31 Dec

So here’s the run-down of my 2010, complete with the occasional picture:

JANUARY:

Started the year with new friends, a new boyfriend, an old boyfriend crashing on my couch and a kitten who liked to attack my feet in the mornings. New semester started, which included my second semester of Latin and a lot of English classes. Joined another D&D group. Started going to karaoke regularly.Met Jeff at a party.  Got my first hangover. Got unceremoniously dumped by said new boyfriend. Picked up smoking briefly. Finished my NaNo 2009 novel. Skipped a lot of class.

Me in early January.

FEBRUARY:

Awkwardness ensued with the recent ex at various D&D games. School continued to be slack-filled, but I started going to class again. Survived Valentine’s day by going out dancing. Got my hair cut and dyed:

Yeah, there’s a little blue in there, just for fun.

Stopped smoking as it was too expensive. Continue going to karaoke. Finally fixed my crappy old laptop and played as many games as I could find, including Starcraft. Things became slightly less awkward with the ex, but only slightly. Such drama, really, I swear.

MARCH:

Started hanging out with Jeff more. Signed a lease with current roommate for a new apartment. Went on a date with the ex to see if we wanted to try things again (I wanted to hold off for a while). Played Halo for the first time and sucked at it.  Spent spring break with family in Oregon. Returned to the ex pulling a complete 180 and deciding we would never work out. There was drama. Got my tattoo. Got my car. Started going to class more.

APRIL:

Started dating Jeff. Moved into new apartment. Got in a huge fight with a close friend. One D&D group disbanded. Studied for impending finals. Panicked and flailed a lot. Still more drama. Discovered Netflix.

MAY:

Finished the semester with straight A’s. Started driving up to Omaha on weekends to visit Jeff. Got Morbo the hamster as a gift. Worked 30 plus hours a week at the campus Library. Saw Motion City Soundtrack in concert.

JUNE:

Started working on a new novel. Watched a lot of TV on Netflix. Visited Jeff a lot. Played through Portal for the first time. Didn’t sleep enough. Decided I liked being a blonde and that was how I was going to stay. Continued being fairly hermity. Played less D&D.

JULY:

Jeff moved to Lincoln. Starcraft II came out. Everything else kinda fell by the wayside due to starcraft II. Discovered my laptop was dying. Attempted and failed JulNoWriMo. Watched even more TV.

AUGUST:

Spent an inordinate amount of time at Jeff’s place. Close friend got married. Went a little crazy waiting for the semester to start. Went out drinking with coworkers. Visited my parents on the other side of town a lot. Started scheming for NaNoWriMo. Semester started, immediately became consumed by school. New D&D campaign started. Ex unfriended me on facebook and began fleeing the room every time I showed up, which was amusing.

SEPTEMBER:

Sister left for study abroad in England. School escalated. Made amends with some friends, grew apart from others. played some D&D. Hated my writing class with the fire of a thousand fires. Applied to graduate. Continued to be a hermit.

OCTOBER:

Continued planning for NaNoWriMo. Celebrated six months of dating Jeff. Got eaten alive by school and studying. Drove to Kansas City over fall break for a weekend away. Helped recently married friend with her husband issues. Helped friend with a painful breakup. Had my 23rd birthday. Started playing thr0ugh Bioshock.

NOVEMBER:

NaNoWriMo. Plus school. Got sick with the flu OF DOOM and didn’t write as much as I would have liked. Realized my Nano novel would work better as a graphic novel. Started working on creative final projects for classes. Had a weird Thanksgiving with my sister absent from the country. Started applying for post-college jobs. A lot of friends got engaged.

DECEMBER:

Finished finals and got straight A’s. Started drawing more. Helped friend begin the process of divorcing her abusive husband. Graduated college with a BA in English. Sister returned from England in the midst of an ice storm. Started new job as a cook. Ended the year with a few good friends, a new boyfriend, and a mostly stable view towards the future.

So that was 2010. I wonder what’s in store for 2011?

Wasting Time on the Internet

15 Dec

I’m no stranger to procrastination. Something tells me you aren’t either, reader dearest, as you are lurking around this pathetic excuse for a blog waiting for me to entertain you or give you reasons to put off whatever unpleasant obligations you have cause to avoid.

So here’s the first, possibly weekly installment of Wasting Time on the Internet, a pile of interesting and amusing links to keep you occupied in your search for procrastination:

TVTropes.org: This website might be god. I say this with honest seriousness to all of you, because this website will take all of your time and make it it’s bitch. Go to this page, type in your favourite movie or TV show and follow the links. To the end of time. Prepare to lose six hours of your life. You’re welcome.

Bubble Shooter: The game that’s even simpler than tetris. Shoot bubbles at other bubbles to make groups of three bubbles or more. get rid of all the bubbles. Sounds easy, yes? Think again. This has been my go-to time-waster since my Freshman year of college. Four years of procrastination can’t be wrong!

Reasoning With Vampires: Not a fan of Twilight? Like a good laugh? A bit of a grammar Nazi? Welcome, for ye are among friends.

High Expectations Asian Father: A little bit of harmless racism combined with image macros. Prepare to laugh, and feel bad about your laughter

Wanna know the best way to waste time on the internet? Start a blog. It’ll take at least half an hour to think of a username, a website name, to set up all your little widgets and things. Not to mention coming up with stuff to write every few days. Do it. You won’t regret it. Even if all you do is post pictures of your pets, you won’t regret it.

That’s all for now, kids and cats. I’m off to enjoy some Mandatory Family Fun Time as my relatives all get into town for my impending graduation today. And then go home and take out all my bile on splicers.

Because I’m playing through Bioshock 2, that’s why.

What This Is (And What It Isn’t)

6 Dec

This blog is:

  • A home for me, the blogger, in her post-graduate state. Here I will spill forth my bile on the danger that is leaving the warm security blanket of college and detail my exploits into that more horrific of things: reality
  • A place for funny stories, embarrassing admissions and rants
  • A spot for random acts of artistry, be they written or drawn
  • About stepping out of one’s comfort zone and into places of dis or un comfort, such as receiving a diploma, paying for your own car insurance and going to job interviews
  • A zone for developing my writing skills, as this is my trade and my passion. More bile-spilling occurs here, it is just theoretically literary
  • Kittens. Also unicorns and other theoretical animalia

What this blog is not:

  • Porn
  • Horse Porn
  • Anything to do with furries
  • A soapbox (if anything it’s a tiny crate full of deodorant instead)
  • A place to wax emo (that’s what Livejournal is for)
  • A good place to find material to stalk me. If stalking is your game, again, check out my Livejournal
  • Me begging agents to look at my Shiny New Manuscript ™. For one thing, this would require me to have a manuscript that isn’t just a pile of unfortunate misery best used for kindling on a cold night
  • A place for me to reminisce. Believe me, no one’s happier college is over than I.

Right. Now that that’s out of the way, welcome to the Uncomfort Zone, a place for the dreamers of dreams, the sufferers of nightmares, the cathartic, the inappropriate, the storytellers, the folk who do not go gently into this cold and disturbing Real World. Prepare for tales of woe, of joy, of strangeness and sorrow. For odd pictures, funny faces, drabbles of fiction and hack cartoons. Buckle up kiddos, because I like to drive off the edge of the map, and you know there are gonna be monsters because Cthulhu is your frakking co-pilot, and he’s hogging the damn cheetos.

Welcome to my world. Enjoy your stay.