MLM No “D” – “It May Be Too Late For Me”

Published June 19, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

It May Be Too Late For Me

So I went to see the Rifftrax Live Show last week.

It was a collection of summer shorts.

(Okay, actually, just the skits in between were summery.  The shorts weren’t at all.)

It was a fun show.

But…but…but…

The name of one of the shorts was “Rhythmic Ball Manipulation.”

OMG…the perverse thoughts that ran through my brain!

I am apparently sick.

If there is an illness where all the symptoms are not-safe-for-work thoughts.

It can’t be contagious.

Probably.

(Maybe you better run.)

(Just in case.)


 

MLM No “C” – Oops

Published June 12, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Delayed post again, another six hours and I’d be a day late.

I’ve been forgetful lately.

Thinking about everything but what I should be.

Sleepy, too.

So now you get this post full of ex– er — laughable attempts at explanation.

*sigh*

Why am I still doing this, anyway?


 

The Trojan Horse

Published June 9, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So, you may have noticed it’s been quite some time since my last Book Report.  That’s because I’m working on the challenge to read a book set more than 5000 miles from your location, and it’s been slow going for various reasons.  The book is The Story of Egypt, by Joann Fletcher, and I’ll talk about the book at length when I finish it.  (Obviously.)  But right now I want to quote you a passage I read about a week ago:

Having learned that the prince of Joppa wished to see ‘the great mace of King Tuthmosis’, Djehuti [Overseer of the Northern Foreign Lands] had invited him to his camp outside the town [which Djehuti had been besieging for some time], where he suddenly pulled out the mace, shouting ‘Look at me, Prince of Joppa!  This is the mace of King Tuthmosis the fierce lion, son of Sekhmet, and Amen his father has given him strength to wield it’.  Then he used it himself, to ‘smite the forehead of the Prince of Joppa, and he fell stretched out before him’.  Djehuti then put the rest of his plan into action.  He hid 200 of his soldiers, Ali-Baba-style, inside baskets, which he sent into Joppa on donkey-back with the claim that they contained tribute. The folk of Joppa, clearly as gullible as their prince, took in the baskets, from which the Egyptian troops emerged to capture their town, anticipating the Greek tale of the Trojan Horse by several centuries. [187-7]

Tuthmosis III reigned from 1479 BC to 1425 BC, so that didn’t just pre-date the story of the Trojan Horse:  it pre-dated any historical conflict that might have given rise to the myth of the Trojan War in the first place!  Now, I am, personally, disposed to think that the myth was, in fact, loosely inspired by a Mycenaean invasion of Troy that was in some way particularly noteworthy (if only for being the last major military undertaking before the end of the palatial era), which has always made me wonder where such a fanciful finale came from.

Despite the occasional divine intervention, most of the events of the Trojan War are very down-to-earth and realistic.  There are no monsters, and even most of the divine interventions took on the form of things we would now call “acts of God” like plagues and floods.  Well, that and wrapping people in a mist to spirit them away from danger, but…point is, the gods are much more subtle during the Trojan War than they are in the other myths.  But that just makes the giant wooden horse story all the weirder.

I’ve often (well, maybe not often, but certainly many times) sat around pondering the idea of just where the myth of the Trojan Horse comes from.  I came up with all sorts of possible explanations, from Odysseus-like clinging to the underside of horses to outright lying by returning warriors.  I think a gate marked with a horse has been a common device to explain away the myth, too.  (That one I’m pretty sure isn’t one of mine, though.  I don’t usually think that way.)

But so now let’s look at this Egyptian story from about two hundred years before the Trojan War’s likely date.  (Possibly three hundred years, depending on when you think it took place.  The traditional date of 1154 seems a bit late to me, personally.)  Unfortunately, the book doesn’t tell us where modern scholars learned the story from; the notes direct one to a 1925 article in a journal my university library doesn’t have access to, so I can’t find out the source, but the title of the article does specifically refer to it as a “legend,” so it probably is something that was passed down through oral culture for centuries, rather than something painted on the walls of Djehuti’s tomb.  (Okay, just looked around online, and it seems to come from a papyrus.  So it’s unclear just how well the story had spread in antiquity, but it sounds like the papyrus was a literary text so probably it had spread pretty well.)

First things first, is it possible this could have happened?  Well, actually, yes, I think it is.  It doesn’t seem improbable to me that a prince going to the enemy camp after a long siege could result in a peace treaty, and in the case of such treaties, the trading of goods wouldn’t be uncommon, particularly if the siege had been cutting off the flow of food into the city.  Take out the word “tribute” and replace it with “trade” or “provisions” and it becomes quite believable.  This would have been in the days of guest-friendship all throughout the Mediterranean region, so a peace treaty would surely have included quite an exchange of goods, so it’s not inconceivable that the people of Joppa would have let those baskets into the town.  200 warriors taking a fortified city by themselves doesn’t seem terribly probable, but they could have opened the gates to let in the rest of the army.

So, let’s just suppose that it did happen as told in the quote above.  It probably would have become quite the famous maneuver, at least for a while.  And the book has mentioned repeatedly that the Egyptians not only traded with the Mycenaeans (and one pharaoh had claimed Mycenaean Greece as tributary to him), but also that they hired Mycenaean mercenaries to serve in their armies.  That being the case, it would be very likely that the story of the siege of Joppa would spread to Mycenaean Greece.

Of course, that doesn’t tell us much.  The real question is how and when that affected the Trojan War.  Did it have an impact on the real conflict between Mycenaean Greeks and the people of Troy; did they attempt to emulate the tactic?  Or was it just brought in when the war was being mythologized, to give it a spectacular climax, perhaps because the actual war ended in a lackluster treaty in which the city never fell?  And either way, where did the giant wooden horse idea come from?

That last part is the one I can’t provide a decent answer for, of course.

It does seem like Troy was strongly associated with horses:  many of the epithets applied to Hector and the other Trojan warriors involved horse-taming and related skills, and of course there were the fabulous horses given to the King of Troy by Zeus in apology for carrying off his son Ganymede.  I don’t recall reading anything about any particularly significant horse-related objects being found in the excavations at Troy, though, so it’s unclear how much of that actually dated back to the Bronze Age, and how much of it was after the fact.

I feel like there’s a logical answer that’s dancing around just outside my reach.  Very frustrating.

There’s one other thing about this Egyptian tale that I feel like could be significant, though I’m not sure exactly how.  And that’d the fact that the city which fell was Joppa.  Joppa, as you may recall, was a Phoenician city, and the homeland of Andromeda, wife of Perseus.  And Perseus was the mythical founder of Mycenae.

I don’t know.  Maybe that’s totally irrelevant/coincidental.

But what if it isn’t, and I’m just too dumb to see what the connection is?

(This particular fall of Joppa would have been about two hundred years after Perseus and Andromeda’s time, btw.  In case anyone was wondering.)

IWSG – Quitting time?

Published June 7, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So, I have nothing in particular to say about writing this month (aside from the general fact that writing my bad fiction has kept me from writing any blog posts…or doing just about anything else) and therefore I shall fall back upon the question provided on the IWSG Sign-Up page.  This month’s question is

Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

It’s a kind of odd question for me.  I’ve been writing in one way or another since grade school (and considering I’ll be turning 42 later this year, that’s quite a long time!) so it’s an ingrained habit.  No, more like it’s part of the way my brain’s become hard-wired.  When I was a little kid and had trouble sleeping, my mother told me that I should replay my favorite movies in my head to lull myself to sleep.  Nice idea, but I didn’t know any movies well enough for that.  (Well, no, I probably knew Star Wars well enough, but that was hardly going to lull me to sleep!)  Instead, I made up stories to entertain myself until I got too tired to remain conscious.

It didn’t take long before I was doing that every time I got bored.  I must have been really little when I got that advice, because the entire process was a firm part of the way my mind functioned by the time my personality started solidifying.  And since none of the other kids ever wanted to play with me, I spent a lot of time telling myself stories.  (I have, at this point, gotten to the point where I literally have to be doing it while I’m doing almost everything else, unless it’s something I have to concentrate on really hard.  I can’t even watch a (brand new!) movie without imagining two or three of my favorite characters are watching it, so I’m both watching the movie and imagining how they’re reacting to it.  The only exception to that is a dialog-heavy foreign language picture, because I’m already multitasking pretty heavily in watching, listening and reading subtitles.  But even then I still tend to have characters pop in during the dialog lulls.)

Anyway, writing to me is nothing more than setting down on paper (or, far more often, on computer screen) the stories I tell myself in my head, which is often the only way to get a “rerun” to go away and be replaced by something new, as it’s  never as much fun to tell to myself after it’s solidified.  So I could never quit writing without ceasing to function.

But I’ve gone back and forth on the idea of ever trying to publish anything.

There was a time when I was convinced I was going to be a great, best-selling novelist.  Then I thought I was going to be a major screenwriter.  Then I realized I sucked and went into exclusively writing fanfic, which I wasn’t even sharing with anyone, for the most part.  Then something changed, and I stopped writing fanfic, and tried to turn myself into a (self-)published author.  And then I remembered that I sucked, and decided that I’d never try to publish anything, but I was still going to keep writing original fiction, because that was somehow “better.”  And then I got obsessed with Velvet Goldmine and started writing fanfiction again.  I’ve got a new really good original fiction idea on the back burner, waiting for me to flesh out its world and write it, but we’ll see if I return to trying to self-pub, too.  Not like the quality of my writing’s improved any, after all.

…hmm.  That didn’t really answer the question, did it?

Well, it’s just a guideline, so that’s okay, right?

Movie Reaction: Wonder Woman

Published June 6, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Yes, “reaction,” not “review.”  I wouldn’t know how to give the movie a proper review.  However, I will admit that — despite an opening that disgusted me (which will be the focus of this post) — I was really digging it until a scene that had me muttering under my breath “No, no, no, no, no!” and “Don’t do it!  Don’t you dare do it!”  (At which point my brother leaned over and told me he agreed with me 100%.)  Unfortunately, they didn’t listen to me about that scene, and it pretty much wrecked the entire movie for me.  Aside from that, it’s the first movie in this new wave of connected DC movies that is actually, you know, a well made, competent movie with a script that actually plays like a single, proper draft, and features a cast of characters you can actually like, as opposed to a few likable characters surrounded by a sea of “meh.”  And it strikes me as hilariously ironic that they shifted the time period from WWII to WWI in order to avoid comparisons to Captain America, and yet they still had a Captain named Steve (played by a guy named Chris) who gathered together a small crew of interesting and multi-cultural buddies to help him fight the Germans, and I don’t want to go into spoilers, but there was an aspect of the climax that was rolling out the red carpet for the comparisons they wanted so much to avoid.

But none of that is what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about is the astonishingly awful mutilation of Greek mythology.  (So, yes, feel free to dismiss this post as the whining of a mythology geek.  I really don’t care what anyone else thinks of me.)

Now, it’s not that I went in expecting the mythology to be handled with anything resembling accuracy.  I’ve seen a lot of episodes of the animated Justice League show that was on Cartoon Network…uh…whenever that was (I’m thinking early 2000s?), and my brother and father are both hugely into comic books, so I’ve heard a lot on the subject from them.  So I knew already that Ares was Wonder Woman’s biggest foe (and always had been), and that the reboot changed her very cool origin of a statue brought to life to the hyper-boring origin of being a daughter of Zeus.  So I knew what I was going to see was not going to be anything even remotely accurate to the myths or the personalities of the gods described therein.  But I wasn’t expecting anything this mutilated.

Very early in the picture (definitely in the first ten minutes), the child Diana is told a bedtime story about the gods and the duty of the Amazons by her mother, Hippolyte.  Given that it was so early in the picture, I feel like I can discuss it at great length without it being considered a spoiler, but just in case anyone feels differently, I’ll put it on the other side of the “Read More” tag.

Read the rest of this entry →

MLM No “B” – Dialog Tags

Published June 5, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

A post I read recently covered the notion of the way writers use dialog tags in their fiction.  Mostly, it was advice.  And it set me to thinking, regarding how I use them.

The advice in the post was pretty much the standard advice I’d heard everywhere.  “Said” and “asked” slip under the reader’s radar, identifying without intruding.  Some writers avoid them since they’re dull, yet this is supposed to drag down the finished product.

And perhaps it does.  Doesn’t change the fact that it’s dead dull actually writing “said” over and over and over again with no use of alternate tags.  No matter what it does for the eventual reader, not using “said” all the time makes the actual act of writing more fun.

Anyway, when I was writing over the weekend, so soon after seeing that post, I paid attention to what I was doing.  (And my writing is mostly dialog, so there was a lot to pay attention to!)  I try to put in a plain “said” at least every third or fourth tag.  (I’m not counting “asked” at all, since there aren’t too many other words you can use that actually make sense in its place.  Most of the alternatives just come off as ludicrous.)  The rest of the tags are usually words that give a little more information, though I pretty much never follow up those other tags with adver– uh, that has the letter I can’t use today, so let’s just call them “-ly” words.  Anyway, I almost never use those with anything other than “said” or “asked,” and I try to go easy on “-ly” words anyway, since everyone’s always saying not to use them.

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MLM No “A” – “One Month Behind”

Published May 29, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

try to follow everyone’s blogs.  (Well, not everyone, but…y’know…lots of folks.)

But then I got sick.  Didn’t feel up to keeping up with it.  Plus I’d gotten in the custom of checking out blogs during lunch at work.

Only when I got better, I got my work week cut down, too.  Now I’m pretty much just there on weekends.

Consequently, I’m one full month behind.

I suck.

(So does this post.)


 

MLM No “Z” Repost – “Peril-Led Princess, Part 5”

Published May 22, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4


“Peril-led Princess”
Part 5

It seemed like a very long time before Trang’s soldiers of fortune were ready to set off to rescue Cloxlan from the sub-elves, and Princess Spiderweb felt sure that Mr. Tiktox was just as agitated by the delay as she was.  He kept fidgeting with his jeweled egg, turning it over in his hands restlessly, and passing it pointlessly between one set of hands and another.  (She sometimes envied him for having six arms!)

As soon as the mercenary army was finally ready, Trang came to speak to Mr. Tiktox, though he kept casting uncomfortable glances up at Princess Spiderweb’s horse as he did so, as if he thought it was going to breathe fire on him and burn him up to a crisp, just because it could.

“Look, metal man,” Trang said, scowling at Mr. Tiktox, “when we show up in Cloxlan, are your people going to rise up and help us fight the sub-elves?  We don’t have enough men here to fight them all by ourselves.”

“The tiktox will do nothing without the executive function,” Mr. Tiktox told him, shaking his head.  “I am only capable of independent function in this manner because that is part of my function.  I am a servant of the court; I must be capable of acting when there is no executive function.”

‘”Like talking to a bloody wall,” Trang sighed.  “What do we gotta do to make your people rise up and defend themselves?”

“Once the executive function is restored, then the tiktox will rise against their oppressors,” Mr. Tiktox assured him.

Princess Spiderweb didn’t think Trang was entirely convinced, but at least he didn’t keep arguing.  Instead, he returned to the mercenary army, and told them to prepare to march.

An army on the march was a very boring thing, and Princess Spiderweb didn’t like being part of one.  She suggested to Mr. Tiktox that maybe they could fly ahead and work on ‘restoring the executive function’ (whatever that meant) of the tiktox, but he insisted that their arrival would attract too much attention, without the army to distract the enemy.  The princess knew he was probably right, but she didn’t much like the fact.

She thought it would be a great relief when they finally arrived in Cloxlan.

She was wrong.

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MLM No “Y” Repost – “Lunch with I, I and Me”

Published May 15, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Lunch with I, I, and Me

Mmm, this grilled cheese is fantastic, isn’t it?
Oh, have some of the chips!
No, no, the chicken is just divine!
What kind of spice is it?  Oregano?  Sage?
The spaghetti is delightful, too.
So much to eat, so little time!

Some dessert might be nice.
Just a little slice of pie,
Or some cake,
Or those macarons look scrumptious!
Ice cream is forever good, too.

What?
I talk too much?

Never!


MLM icon init MLM Y


Original post:  11/15/2015

MLM No “X” Repost – “Charybdis”

Published May 8, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Charybdis

Trapped in a spiral,
Spinning downwards,
Rushing, gushing,
Drowning.

Boats floating,
Sinking,
Crushing.

Sailors frenzying,
Rowing,
Screaming,
Dying.

Scylla’s laughter,
Scylla’s feast,
Blood everywhere,
Turning the waters red.

It’s very salty,
But salt festooned with copper.
I don’t like it.
Blood doesn’t taste good.

That lying old man,
Quick-tongued,
Like his great-grandfather.
He convinced a lot of people.
Made them think they could get away.

There’s no getting away.
There’s no escape from this doom.
There’s no tree branch above my pool.

Odysseus passed this way but once,
Before his crew marooned him
On that island they thought was deserted.
(If they’d known about Calypso,
They would have stayed,
And forced him to sail on!)

I don’t like that he blames their deaths on me.
If he ever comes this way again,
I’ll eat him.

I don’t like the taste of old man flesh,
But if it’s his,
I’ll enjoy it.

Athene won’t like it,
But I don’t care.

Hermes probably won’t like it, either,
But I still don’t care.

Poseidon will love it.
I’m fine with that.
Maybe he’ll start hanging out here more often.
(Goodness knows, he’s not picky
When it comes to mistresses…
I might not mind
A little light adultery
And giving birth
To the child of a god…)

Scylla thinks she’s all that.
But she’s not as good as me.
She can only kill seven men at a time.
I can kill thousands,
If they sail close enough.

Though I’d rather they didn’t.
I’d rather they just stayed out of our strait.
Wood doesn’t taste too good,
And blood tastes worse.

Drinking half the sea
Is bad enough by itself.
Why do men have to get in the way?

Dying,
Screaming,
Panicking,
Rowing,
Chomped by Scylla,
Amid screams and laughter.

Life should be better than this.


MLM icon init MLM X

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