MLM No “Q” – Randomly Spam

Published September 25, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So, I have nothing to talk about today because the book report I was going to write today has the forbidden letter right there in the freakin’ title (despite that it’s one of the least-used letters in the English language!) so I thought I’d talk about a weird trend I’ve been seeing in spam comments in the last, I dunno, six months or so?

Formerly, all spam generally fell into two categories:  spam that was pretending to be random comments and spam that was directly trying to sell me on their advertising services for the products they for some reason think I’m selling.  (Seriously, if they’re trying to target businesses, why are they sending their spambots to blogs?  Most blogs are not advertising products for sale.)  Well, that and the more direct lists of links, but the spam filter trashes those right away without bothering to send them to the spam folder, so they don’t really count.

Now, I have never really understood the point of the random comment ones.  They don’t contain links, and even the e-mails, fake user IDs, and URLs don’t always contain any indication of trying to move a product or get people to go to some site where they’ll pick up a virus, or whatever it is that the people behind spambots usually want.  But usually one of those three factors would have something obvious, like they’d put the name of a product as their user name, or the URL would be to a store page.  (There have always been make-me-laugh things about those random comment ones, of course.  Like the ones talking about “great paragraph” or “so much informative” on a post on my dolly blog that consists exclusively of a photograph and zero words.  Or the one today that was talking about “I passed this on to a colleague who is doing some research on this” on not a post (despite that it started with “nice post”) but a page which listed some of the dolls I would someday love to add to my collection.)

This new trend, though, it’s really weird.

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Book Report: A History of Blood and Glitter

Published September 21, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Wow.  This is…I have no words for what this is.  No single words, that is.  I should be able to string together a lot of them to give some vague idea of what this is.

One thing I can say simply, though, is that I sure picked a doozy to finish up the challenge with!  This was my pick for the last remaining challenge, #14, “Read a book about war.”

So, let’s start with a simple idea of what this book is about.  It’s about a war in the fairy city of Ferrum, though the fairies aren’t fighting it:  the gnomes and the tightropers are.  Now, before I get to answering the question you’re undoubtedly asking yourself (i.e. “what the heck is a tightroper?”) let me first dispel a few misconceptions you’re undoubtedly harboring.  First off, that image you’ve got in your mind right now of Tinkerbell?  Wipe it out.  These fairies have no wings, naturally grow glitter in their skin (which flakes off like dandruff), and they’re immortal.  So immortal, in fact, that they can never really die, and are fully capable of feeling any bits of them that become detached from their bodies (including that oft-falling glitter!) and even controlling those bits, if they’re large enough.  So at the start of the book, the heroine Beckan takes her father with her everywhere, because he’s just an eye and an ear in a jar.  And as to those gnomes, if you’re thinking of saccharine little garden statues with pointy hats and long beards, forget them.  Forever.  These gnomes are more like a cross between Tolkienian dwarves and Gollum, only with pointier teeth and long mole-claws for digging.  And they love to eat fairy; nothing is more nourishing to a gnome than fairies, and even a small mouthful will support them for weeks.  As to the tightropers…we never get a very clear description (because our very unreliable narrator already knows what they are and what they look like) but they seem to be very spindly people with a spider-like ability to produce “ropes” out of their mouths.  (And yes, I know that’s not where the webbing comes out of a spider.)

As you may guess from that description, this book is set in a very unusual and rather disturbing world.

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MLM No “P” – This is getting old.

Published September 11, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Really, this whole Missing Letter Monday thing is getting old and asinine.  What use does it serve?  Well, aside from giving me some slight semblance of actually being around.  Most of the time, it’s either old material dredged back out, or it’s just dumb rambling (like this) to fill a few words and make believe I’ve said something.

So on the one hand, I totally want to cancel this feature.

On the other hand, if I do that, who knows how long it’ll be before the next time I say anything; the blog might go quiet until October 4th.  (Or, more likely, until I finish the book I’m currently reading.  Or until the thing I ordered from Etsy last night arrives, ’cause I wanted to do a Doctor Who rant, ’cause some folks who don’t know the original show really tick me off sometimes.  And yes, that will make sense when I fill in the blanks.)

The thing is, of course, that I’ve been doing this for two years now.  I’d originally wanted to see others join in (and at first a few did) but it never became a thing across even a small fragment of the blogging world.  And that’s okay.  But it does bring to mind the question of if there’s actually any reason to continue going.

Aside from the fact that MLM has been the majority of what’s gone out from this blog of late.

*sigh*

I don’t have any answers and haven’t decided what I want to do.  But I know I’m frustrated with things as they stand right now.  And I don’t feel like I have the time or the creativity to use as much energy for these as I did in the beginning.


 

IWSG – A Day Late (Again)

Published September 7, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

*sigh*  I suck.  This is the second time (though thankfully not the second time in a row) that I’ve only remembered my Insecure Writer’s Support Group post the day after it was supposed to go up.  I could make a lot of excuses (things are hectic at work, I had my first assignment (of sorts) due this semester, I’m generally a stressed-out wreck) but ultimately this is just me being my usual idiotic self.

The bitter part is that I actually had stuff to talk about.

I’ve got two things going on with my writing right now.  My super-massive fanfic (155k!) is finally getting a rewrite, more than a year after I wrote it, thanks to someone from AO3 volunteering to beta it.  I’ve never actually worked with a beta before (not in a proper sense; I’ve had a few people read things and then give me a few hasty notes with no accompanying back-and-forth) so it’s a little nerve-wracking, but so far it’s been really awesome.  She’s been giving me very helpful notes about places I needed to flesh out and follow-through on earlier plot threads.  (With so much text, it’s not surprising that things got forgotten!  Especially considering I wrote it in a month.)

The other thing is that I’m trying to get myself ready for this year’s NaNo.  I’ve had this idea kicking around for a while now, but wanted to get the fanfic urge out of my system before I started devoting any serious attention to it.  Only then I discovered Sparkler, an online magazine that would be the absolute perfect place to try to publish this project if it turns out good enough to try to publish it (which is, admittedly, highly unlikely), and so now I’m totally motivated to try and get this puppy written.

I did finally work out a really good solution to a backstory issue that had been plaguing me — which had the additional benefit of making one of the main characters already a wanted man before the story started, so he can’t possibly blame the other main character for dragging him into danger —  but I’m painfully aware of how little actual world-building I’ve done so far.  I want each country in this fictional world to be partially based on real cultures, but I have this distressing tendency to use that as a crutch, thinking of it so totally blatantly as a transported version of the country that my (chaotic) plot-development word processor file has placeholder names like notFrance and notJapan.  (And my dependence on their history was going to be even more ludicrously similar, to the point that they were going to arrive in France during the Reign of Terror and then (despite that they’re a century apart) end up in Japan during the Meiji Restoration.  Uh, not in the same book.  This is the start of a series.)

Trying to figure out the right way to handle that aspect of the world-building is challenging.  Though perhaps some of it can be left for rewrites?  I dunno, though, that sounds dangerous.

I need to focus more time and attention on the world-building before November (fortunately, it’s only September, lol!), but I don’t know how much time I have to do so.  I’m working more days than I used to, and my responsibilities have increased (which I’m not complaining about in the least; getting to design exhibits was something I really wanted to do!), plus my class this semester is what’s officially called “directed readings,” which basically means I’m self-directed and just check in with the professor every so often to make sure I’m on the right track…which means I really have to dedicate a lot of time to the research, since no one else is going to do any of it for me.  (I mean, I like that, but it’s also a lot more stressful when you stop to think about it.)

So, yeah, I’ve got a lot to be insecure about right now, and yet I’m also kind of in a hopeful place.

Book Report: Sorcerer of the Wildeeps

Published August 29, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

One more down, this time for Challenge #24 “Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color.”  I know I saw this book suggested somewhere for that challenge, but in a way it kind of doesn’t fit, because there’s only one POV character.  (Though in between chapters there are messages and sections of histories, but the identity and ethnicity of their ‘authors’ are unknown.)  However, I’m counting it anyway, because.

It’s really, really hard to know what to make of this book.  There are a lot of conflicting aspects about it, and from looking at reviews on Goodreads (and I had, in fact, looked at some reviews before buying the book) it’s definitely a book on which there is little consensus amongst readers.  But let’s look at the three major aspects in summary first. Read the rest of this entry →

MLM No “N” Repost – “Jugurtha”

Published August 28, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

“Jugurtha”

He ruled from Africa, circa 118-104 BC.
We have to go by what his foes wrote about him,
Much later, after he was dead.
(Mostly, we have Sallust’s word to take.)
He fought Rome, but why?
We have guesses, mostly.
(What else is there?)
Too bad his real story is lost.

Metellus tried to defeat him
By bribery or the suggested treachery of allies.
Marius built forts.
Lots of forts.
Marius also brought troops.
Lots of troops.
Lots of fresh troops, poor troops.
Too excessive to be fought well.

But it was treachery after all.
Bocchus (whoever that was) betrayed
Jugurtha to Sulla.
Sulla got a triumph;
Rome would fear the loom of dictatorship.
Jugurtha’s last laugh?


MLM banner init MLM N


How desperate am I to repost this awful piece?

Also, was that supposed to say “taught” well or “fought” well?  Seems hard to make that mistake, but…ugh.  I forgot much over the last two years it would seem.

First posted 08/31/15

MLM No “M” – Ack

Published August 21, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Every single thing I was going to post today (fairy tale-like story or just silly nonsense) has been self-sabotaged.

‘Cause I thought I’d tie in to today’s eclipse, because, you know, there isn’t enough on the Internet about it yet; there are still a few pages that don’t even broach the subject!  (In all fairness, of course, I have a right to be excited, ’cause where I live is right in the path of the totality.)

Only how could I write any of those stories when I can’t use the first letter of a word of such great necessity to discussing an eclipse?

So…..yeah.  Self-sabotage, and general lack of brain-power this early in the day, have led to this nothing of a post.  Apologies all around.


 

Groop, I implore thee!

Published August 19, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

EDIT — Ack, I posted this the day after.  I suck.

Did you know that today is Bad Poetry Day?

(Neither did I until I saw it on the calendar at work earlier this month.)

Now, while my “bad poetry” tag is fair to bursting, I thought it more appropriate to go to the experts, and post some samples of the worst poets in the universe.  You may (or may not) recognize the title of this post as being a quote from the poetry of Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, but there are even worse poets out there than the Vogons.

Let’s have a look at a few brief snippets of the work of the two worst poets in existence.

The second worst is Grunthos (the Flatulent), Poet Master of the Azgoths of Kria.

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