ccfinlay

Blogito Ergo Sum

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Jun. 6th, 2007 | 12:14 pm

During the past week and a half, I haven't blogged, but it's not because there aren't things to blog about. Here are four blog posts from the past ten days that I will never have the time to make.

1. I, Hunchback

I finally went to see Frank Miller's war-porn epic "300." OI want to make a case that the author's surrogate in the film is Ephialtes. The deformed hunchback, whose own parents are ashamed of him, craves the acceptance of the handsome, masculine, heterosexual soldiers: when he doesn't get it, he betrays them for cheap thrills with prostitutes, some of whom appear to have penises to go along with their breasts. Later, during the big battle, the warrior guy who rejected offers him some form of forgiveness.

Can you say "issues"? Sometimes, I wonder if writers can create great art without blind spots to their own giant issues.

2. Caribbean Threequel

Saw Pirates of the Caribbean 3 with the kids and was pleasantly surprised. We had prepared for it by watching the dvds of 1 and 2 the two days before. After the campiness and set-piece excess of 2, the third movie had more story in it than I expected -- too much, to be honest -- and not enough time to explore everything that should have been done. (You have two giant navies and all those colorful pirates and you don't have the big battle between them? What the heck.) But some of the small things were done well. I liked how the running gag of the ill-fitting fake eye was turned into a plot point for example. It was hours well spent with my kids, especially given the amount of conversation it continues to give us about what makes for interesting characters and good stories.

This movie also reinforced my conviction that Hollywood is run by men obsessed with absent fathers. Jack's only real character revelation moment comes when he meets his father, Will's character arc is defined by his relationship with his father, and Elizabeth's arc by losing hers. All of them have lost mothers -- Jack's loss is played for a gag -- but none of it matters to the story, because, apparently, we can take mothers for granted.

3. On not attending Wiscon...

...and how raecarson came back thinking that Chris Barzak is hotter than I am.

We won't even talk about what she thinks about his dancing compared to mine. But imagine me emitting a heavy sigh.

4. I am a Mutant

Anyone who's ever looked at my hands will have noticed the curved pinky fingers. They bend inward in a way that makes them useful for cleaning my freakishly deep navel when I indulge in navel-gazing. In researching something for a story, I discovered that this is a condition called clinodactyly, which appears in something like 26 different syndromes of varying severity as a result of genetic mutation causing one of the finger bones to be wedge-shaped instead of rectangular. It can also appear in isolation, without the other syndromes, but, because the main side effect appears to be a certain awkwardness in typing, it hasn't been extensively studied. Since my mother's pinkies are similarly curved, I suspect it's a trait that is often passed on.

Why couldn't I get a cool teleporting power instead? It would be worth living with the blue fur and the tail if I could bampf.

Okay, enough non-blogging for now. I'm headed back to the pixel mines. Wish me luck.

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Comments {42}

Danny Adams

Mutation

from: madwriter
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
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Yes, but has it helped you in the Darwinian sense? Better typing, for instance? Or perhaps to form a good claw if attacked by snollygosters or raving publishing house marketing associates?

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Danny Adams

Re: Mutation

from: madwriter
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
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(P.S. This is said by an awkward typer, though my awkwardness seems to have increased me speed for some unknown reason.)

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C. C. Finlay

Re: Mutation

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
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Aside from the whole navel cleaning thing, it's never been that useful. But who knows: it may turn out to be just the thing I need when we get to the last chapter.

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Rae Carson

(no subject)

from: raecarson
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
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WAY hotter. And we *did* talk about the dancing. Why aren't you sharing about that, hmmm?

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Cath Emery

(no subject)

from: cathemery
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
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Does that mean Charlie is way cooler than Chris?

Sometimes it's very difficult to keep these things straight.

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barbarienne

(no subject)

from: barbarienne
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
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And if Chris is a better dancer than Charlie, this I gotta see! Charlie's not Patrick Swayze, but he's not doing the white man's overbite, either.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
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Are you saying I'm not straight? Cause if you're saying I'm not straight...

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Cath Emery

(no subject)

from: cathemery
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC)
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You may be a little bent out of shape right now, but I hope you're not crooked. It would set such a bad example for the boys.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
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Because then someone might expect me to dance...

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shhhh it's a secrit

(no subject)

from: secritcrush
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
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I could make a poll about who's hotter you or Barzak if that would make you feel better.

(I won't bother with the dancing because, well, I've seen you dance.)

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barbarienne

(no subject)

from: barbarienne
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
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i think you need to throw Toby Buckell into that poll. Embarass all of them!

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
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No! No polls!

although I have been waiting for somebody to ticky my radio button

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asatomuraki

(no subject)

from: asatomuraki
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
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My pinkies are like that, too. I already knew I was a mutant, but now I can prove it. Oddly enough, this makes me happy. :)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:04 pm (UTC)
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My cousin!

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(no subject)

from: ellameena
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
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Hey, join the club! I have a genetic syndrome called brachydactyly D. It makes my thumbs short and fat, almost like little toes. There are other forms of the syndrome that come with Problems, but mine seems to be mainly just cuteness. My sister, however, has one mutant thumb and one regular one. She is not pleased.

You and I should never have children together. I'm going to make a quick note of that in my planner. Sorry.

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C. C. Finlay

Never Having Children Together

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
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I am crushed.

But I think Barzak has straight pinkies. And he's way hotter than me.

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Re: Never Having Children Together

from: ellameena
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
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What a relief. I already have a volunteer, but it's good to have backup options. And to think this never even occurred to me back in the days when Chris was living in Michigan and we were workshopping together. What a multitasking timesaver that would have been!

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Heather

(no subject)

from: rambleflower
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 05:45 pm (UTC)
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Dude. I don't know personally know anybody who dances better, socially, than Chris Barzak. He's *amazing* on the dance floor, and you could be a great dancer and he'd still be better.

As far as the hotter goes, well, I've yet to meet you in person, but I will say that Barzak had some shiny shiny aura around him at Wiscon this year and I think even the straight guys were drooling over him. And I did overhear someone telling Rae about how she scored a hottie with you, so I wouldn't take it too hard if I were you :-)

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Rae Carson

(no subject)

from: raecarson
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
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And I did overhear someone telling Rae about how she scored a hottie with you...

I couldn't agree more.

(Also: YayBlueHeavenSqueee!!!)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, but I really don't need the reassurance. I am totally comfortable with Chris (and fifty bajillion other guys) being hotter than me and better dancers.

I've got my own thing going on. And I've totally snookered raecarson so it's all good.

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shaolingrrl

(no subject)

from: shaolingrrl
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
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You should not-blog more often. You're very cute when you not-blog.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
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Thanks. I plan to be not-blogging all the time for the next couple months.

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czakbar

(no subject)

from: czakbar
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
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This is such news to me! Why didn't I know people were drooling over me?!?

Thank you for not-blogging this. I'm glad someone didn't tell me. ;-)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
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It's a public service. I'm glad I was here for you.

Also! If you're in Ohio this Saturday and can make it to Columbus to the cookout, that'd be awesome. A lot of Wiscon folks will be there. If you come, we may do karaoke...

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czakbar

(no subject)

from: czakbar
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC)
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Paul emailed and told me, and I'm thoroughly annoyed that it's also on the same day that I'll be starting Sycamore Hill, so I can't come. :(

I'll try to make it down some other time this summer though. Maybe we can have another cookout just because, and hey, karaoke! Name the date and I'll save it! ;)

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Jodi Davis

(no subject)

from: jodi_davis
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 08:59 pm (UTC)
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I think the warrior king guy telling the hunchback dude that he hopes he lives forever was the most crushing curse. I mean - don't they long for the beautiful death in battle?

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melinda_goodin

(no subject)

from: melinda_goodin
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)
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That was my take on it too.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:18 pm (UTC)
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I know that's how we were supposed to take it, but all of the other values the Spartans were spouting (esp. their take on freedom and their homophobia) were clearly modern values and had nothing to do with the time period. The phrase used as a curse against the hunchback is often used as a modern blessing for the artist, or as an expression of the highest aspiration for the writer or creative person. If the other values were clearly ahistorical and modern, it occurred to me to wonder about the modern meaning and context of that one as well.

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barbarienne

(no subject)

from: barbarienne
date: Jun. 6th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
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I have my cautions about interpreting a writer's mindset in what they've written. Just sayin'.

As to Rae and her opinion of Chris B vs You in the hotness realm, I will say, as a disinterested third party, that you win by a hair. But hey, I prefer older fellows in general. While my fellow teenagers were lusting after the boys in Teen Beat, I was drooling over David Bowie.

I will take this moment to note that you and Rae (and everyone else I know) are required to attend Readercon next year, because it will take place on the same weekend that I reach a birthday with 0 as the second digit. Just sayin'.

I liked Pirates 3 better than 2 as well, for exactly the same reasons! I loved the thing with the eye. I kept waiting for Jack's thing to be his hat, and was a little disappointed it wasn't.

I didn't think about the father thing! I noticed the same propensity in my own work (and then took steps to correct that omission). Funny thing, isn't it, these weird internal biases people have. I think the inclusion of Jack's father was mainly just an excuse to have Keith Richards do a cameo; otherwise I belive thhey would have left the characters "parentless" in the sense of they don't figure in the story at all. Elizabeth being without a mother was a bit of a plot/characterization point in the first movie (when her father comes home from England at the very beginning). For neither her nor Will to have known their mothers isn't an sooo usual a thing for the period, when death during or shortly after childbirth wasn't as rare as it is today, yes?

And taking mothers for granted... well, most people can be fairly certain who their mothers are. Absent a striking resemblance or a DNA test, most of us take it on faith who our fathers are.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
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I don't think it's about interpreting the writer's mindset as much as it is about finding interesting ways to interpret the meaning of the film, exploring why it resonates and is so successful. Part of the reason it's successful is that the Spartans spout modern values, not historical ones -- like all spec fic, it's really about us, the present, not the past and not someplace else. In that context, I think it's useful to see what other modern values are being expressed and what they mean in relationship to the structure of the narrative being told.

As for taking mothers for granted, I wasn't thinking about knowing who you're mother is as much as I was thinking about unresolved issues with them as a character motivation in film narrative. Why don't we see as much of that? Is it that nobody has issues with their mothers in real life? Or is it that the people who make adventure fiction don't focus on them?

The Readercon date is noted.

And I'm not commenting on the rest of it!

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barbarienne

(no subject)

from: barbarienne
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
Link

Re: the mother thing

I meant only that perhaps people have fewer Big Issues with their mothers because of the higher degree of certainty. Also, in this modern era, single moms are much more common than single dads. I'm not sure that was so true in the past, or if there weren't single dads, there might have been a higher number of stepmothers. The "evil stepmother" and her various literary sisters is a recurring theme in stuff written more than 100 years ago.

I'm not saying mothers should be taken for granted; I'm only brainflitting to potential reasons why they are, in modern storytelling.

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(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 04:31 am (UTC)
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Yeah Charlie, Barzak is way hotter. You didn't know? You should have been there.

John Klima

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(no subject)

from: battle_of_one
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 08:23 am (UTC)
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I haven't seen either of those movies yet. I can't believe it myself. I did see Spidey 3 and it was decent enough, like the first two.

One day I'll make it to Wiscon, I swear.

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loquacious_lad

(no subject)

from: loquacious_lad
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 10:56 am (UTC)
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That's me, the next time we meet, looking at my shoes and muttering 'don't think about an elepahant, don't think about an elepahant"

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
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OMG! It's an elephant!

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Re: I, Hunchback

from: merebrillante
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)
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I know exactly what you mean. Hannah and Her Sisters used to be one of my favorite movies. Now that Woody Allen is married to his then wife's daughter, it feels ickily roman à clef.

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C. C. Finlay

Re: I, Hunchback

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:25 pm (UTC)
Link

That's what I'm saying. I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets that feeling sometimes.

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S.K.S. Perry

(no subject)

from: sksperry
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC)
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My pinkie finger on my right hand curves in, but that's only because I broke it. You know, trying to fit in? *g*

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barbarienne

(no subject)

from: barbarienne
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 02:54 pm (UTC)
Link

Sure, but you're hotter than Charlie. ;-)

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
Link

Let's break the other one so they match.

(And I am NOT going to ask what you were trying to fit it in.)

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S.K.S. Perry

(no subject)

from: sksperry
date: Jun. 7th, 2007 06:39 pm (UTC)
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Let's break the other one so they match.

Well, okay. But only cause you're my hero.

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Deanna Hoak

(no subject)

from: deannahoak
date: Jun. 11th, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
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I have that pinky thing too! It's a genetic mutation. It does make typing difficult.

I've written you a few times with no response, btw, just so you know in case your e-mail is relegating me to the spam bin. :-)

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