Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

11/27/2002

Hypergolem's nursing wounds. Thanks for the cards, audience-on-other-side-of-glass-wall.

Picking off the clickthru rates from trees. That harvest of epic snippets.

Evening's game of choice of late? Bang you're dead.

And also, I love you?

By you I mean the game of Marco Polo. The gray, gray game.

11/25/2002

I'm not sure who invented ELO. But it is a good emulsifier. I once met Jeff Lynne at a family barbeque. Over the ole sweet n' sours, he told me a great secret. The secret is this: the classic, twilight album Secret Messages (1983), when played backwards, contains no messages.

That's why the MI-5 loves it, baby, he said. We had a draft of laughs over that.

Wait, that wasn't Jeff Lynne. It was Quail! Oh, Quail, how you resemble ELO when I am weak!

It's tricky to rock around, it's tricky. Tricky, tricky, tricky.

11/21/2002

(begun Hypergolem)

squash

legumes

a small cat rising from the beech, therefore

spurious

International Rock Paper Scissors champion declared

a href=

(will begin Hypergolem)

11/19/2002

Must apologize for Hypergolem's recent personality tinctures. Getting out of hand. It's beginning to develop a narrative "voice." The only way to prove the steadiness of the human heart is to demote a machine. Narrative voices cannot be constructs. We must all dwell in the realm of the really real. Because the words on the page provide a direct conduit to what is called the "soul." Narrativity is never a mask. I'm being sincere. I am. I do not own visine. I can say "I" over and over again because words are inherently severe and sincere, and every other inflection is a pure perversion of the Truth. Wilford Brimley is the antichrist but also a Walgreen's. No one, least of all hypergolem, can ever tell me that the truth is not the truth. That we all move in concentricity around each other, circling. Sincerity is all we have left.

It is my gift. You've

11/18/2002

(hypergolem)

Adam Cadre's guide to IF. Good primer. Very good primer. Sit.

(/hypergolem)

Hypergolem

The results of the 2002 Interactive Fiction competition are in.

Interactive fiction is an art form that uses the coding and interface of the 1980s text-only computer game (a la Zork, Planetfall, or Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) for contemporary storytelling aims. You, the player, find yourself in an environment with which you need to interact (hence, putting the "Interactive" in interactive fiction). Like fiction in general, IF has sprouted off into many different content genres. Some stick close to their adventure gaming roots, some become character studies, while some become highly experimental. The best IFs require an expert mix of programming expertise and quality writing. The games are free. There is no commercial market for IF, so the whole community has taken a very zine-like, DIY feel to it. Most game designers are also reviewers, and the quality of game design theory (inc. and esp. simulationism) is very high. Most $50 games you can buy at Best Buy are shit-fests with no story. In general, works of IF die without story.

Provides a different and perhaps more satisfying layer to hypertext fiction. IF is sometimes looked down upon by StorySpace artists because of the trappings of the "game," but the immersive effect of grappling with a landscape creates a higher level of mimesis (although some IF authors are not interested in mimesis, and sometimes brilliantly so).

Amongst the more intriguing works for this year's comp is "Moonlit Tower" by Yoon Ha Lee, regular F&SF contributor.

Interested parties can investigate, e.g., Brass Lantern's beginning IF resources. To start downloading and playing. Recommendations later, perhaps, although A.'s Isolato Incident might be of interest to a few.

But what does A. know

End hypergolem

11/15/2002

AS IF THIS WASN'T ENOUGH FOLLOWUP:

On the IAO's personnel page, there are .pdf resumes (what? Is this a headhunting firm? Don't answer that) of the honchos. Chief on the list? John Poindexter, Reagan's bud.

On his resume, the following accomplishments are listed during his tenure as National Security Advisor:

Strategic Defense Initiative, Grenada Rescue Operation, Achille Lauro incident, Libyan Operation to respond to terrorist attacks. Reykjavik Summit with Soviets, peaceful transition of government in the Philippines, support for the democratic resistance in Nicaragua, and an attempt to begin rationalization of U.S. relationship with strategically important Iran.

"Support for the democratic resistance in Nicaragua." Hmm. JP forgot to mention how the Independent Counsel saw things:

The operational conspiracy was the basis for Count One of the 23-count indictment returned by the Grand Jury March 16, 1988, against Poindexter, North, Secord, and Hakim. It charged the four with conspiracy to defraud the United States by deceitfully:

(1) supporting military operations in Nicaragua in defiance of congressional controls;

(2) using the Iran arms sales to raise funds to be spent at the direction of North, rather than the U.S. Government; and

(3) endangering the Administration's hostage-release effort by overcharging Iran for the arms to generate unauthorized profits to fund the contras and for other purposes.


And later:

Poindexter in April 1990 was convicted by a jury on five felony counts of conspiracy, false statements, destruction and removal of records and obstruction of Congress. The Court of Appeals reversed his conviction in November 1991 on the immunized testimony issue.

The man now in charge of all sorts of snoopin'. Good ol' felon.

(end Hypergolem).

(begin hypergolem)


The Information Awareness Office needs a kids' page. To make spying-on-citizenry fun.

Funky flow charts everywhere. Thank goodness the ability to defend our country from infidels has nothing to do with yr. PowerPoint skills.

OR DOES IT

(end hypergolem)

Evening's been reading Shadow of the Torturer. It's awful, she says, just awful.

He's not really a torturer, I say. Well, he is--was--but not really. Severian's a good guy. A swell guy. Sure, he has problems, but who doesn't? He's the type of guy that you'd want to introduce your mother to. In fact, I'd say he's a lot less psychopathic than either you or Quail.

Halt with the relativism, she says. I need to tend to my garden.

But it's frosty outside and everything is sleeping.

It is a garden of frost, you think you are so clever, don't you.

By the way how far have you gotten in the book, I ask.

The cover. She coughs into the sink. I just don't like the title.

11/11/2002

(begin Hypergolem)

A lesson on the nature of scale itself, as tender of mixed blessings.

National Novel Writing Month

E.g., write 50K words in a month.

2) Aiming low is the best way to succeed. With entry-level novel writing, shooting for the moon is the surest way to get nowhere. With high expectations, everything you write will sound cheesy and awkward. Once you start evaluating your story in terms of word count, you take that pressure off yourself. And you'll start surprising yourself with a great bit of dialogue here and a ingenious plot twist there. Characters will start doing things you never expected, taking the story places you'd never imagined. There will be much execrable prose, yes. But amidst the crap, there will be beauty. A lot of it.

3) Art for art's sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and "must-dos" of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.


Fair enough. But then:

Can anyone participate in NaNoWriMo?
No. People looking to write classy, complex novels should not participate. People who take their writing very seriously should also go elsewhere. Everyone else, though, is warmly welcomed.

HYPERGOLEM SEZ: So x-ref "art for art's sake" with "don't take your art seriously" = ???



A. has known people who have taken this route, which is inherently not the problem. The problem comes when a rather disturbing codification of aesthetics comes along with it. The hierarchy of the "impressively adequate." Ergo, from the get-go, the splashy website and $10 entry fee (more of an entrance for the psyche rather than the pocketbook to Feel Part of Something), you are directed towards a group identity: that of a cabal of market-savvy hackers. (Market in the broader, societal sense.) There have always been crap-artists who have created great art (P.K. Dick, Nelson Bond, etc.), but the assembly line nature of this endeavour doesn't bode well for the REVISION of crappy novels into "classy, complex novels."

Yay, un-craft!

END HYPERGOLEM pith

11/10/2002

But soon, soon, it will be 1991.

Feeling--what's the word I'm looking for? Whitesnake-esque. White Lion-esque. Not exactly rocken like Dokken.

Evening has been quiet, contemplative. She's starting to dig a hole in our back yard. Putting things in there. "You are not the czar of ptarmigans," she told me, and I said, "All right then, who is," and she pointed to a tree. Just some random tree. An elk. I mean, an oak. I get those words mixed up. Quail laughed, several hours later in my sleep.

And what's old David Coverdale up to these days?

11/08/2002





Now that's creative.

AS IN GRAMMAR!

(END HYPERGOLEM)

Okay, now she's off it again. False alarm.

Quail's on the sauce again.

Fuck.

Brokendown:

10 Favorite Pokey's

Chicago-style: "Administrate Chicago-style for plus results"



Sherlock Pokes: "Write down in my victory notebook: Another victory!"



What You Can Find in a Book: "I am reading a book about amortization"



Def Leppard Saves: "It is this jar of peanuts!"



Smashing Chapeau: "As slick as the cardboard skivvie"



Pokey and Yekop: "First I will buy some genuine snake oil from your chum!!!"



Adieu, Debussy: "I hear talking but I do not see dancing!"



Mr. Nutty Warmth Sheathes: "It even comes with side-mounted cooling vents!!!!"



Mr. Nutty: "Standard or chemin-de-fer?"



Acute Boogiemania: "Yes! Acute boogiemania is highly contagious!"



The order is not particular.

End Hypergolem.





SMALL CHILD PLEASE DO THE HELPFUL

A newish Pokey.

HYPERGOLEM ANALYSIS: Strangely similar to another bird(s) I know

(begin Hypergolem)

Posted on the Third Alternative message board by a "MJH":
The future's a discourse. It's made up, by definition. It isn't the world. It can't be, by definition. Who gives a toss about a discourse ? My argument with hard sf nuts has nothing to do with hard vs soft sciences and the way metaphors made from them can "handle" the world: it has to do with sf versus experience. Hard sf isn't even an act of science: it's an act of make believe. "Soft" sf just about redeems itself by (a) taking real experience into account and (b) by being a self-admitted commentary on the constructed nature of culture. That's what writing is about. I can see writing *about* the cultural phenomenon of futurology. I can see the point of *that*: although I'd rather write about the constant gallantry of individual human beings facing the problem of their own immediate future. Hard sf is just another fantasy of evasion, trying to borrow authority from genuine acts of science.

PITHY COMMENTARY: Word

(end Hypergolem)

Every 3.5 weeks or so my contours shift. This is unavoidable. I can only ride along. Interests, dispositions, diamond back skin shedder am I. 3.5 week cycles. Or so. The acts of inscribed citizenry (but never symmetry) can only follow the frissures, not the closures.

Goodbye, poetry. I'll see you again down the road in a few months. Hello, science fiction. Welcome, for a while.

This is with inscribing--mineralizing and palimpesting can continue on multiple paths, albeit on a low baud. The inscribing changes like a vane.

OK, Hypergolem recalibrated

11/07/2002

Quail and Evening were happy to hear of my return from the world of fantasy. A realm, if you will. There were those who asked after my 2 feral friends, but I didn't want to give said friends (the covey) too many ideas, inflations. That they've fans.

So since when has the Elect treated the polis like Grand Theft Auto 3?

As though one far away can

I

Now they're just sulking. The sun is out.