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Sunday, September 25, 2011

First Paragraph Review - The Smoke in Death's Eye

I must be mad.  Or have indulged in some bad fish, because I'm at it again.




That's right gang - the first paragraph reviews are back.  For a little while, at least.  I don't think they'll ever be a regular feature again, but if you or someone you know wants to send me one (this time including screenplays!), I'll do it.  Probably not right away, but I'll do it.




Anyhow.  The format will stay the same.  First, the page as I received it (forgiveness for copy/paste directly into email).  Then, the page with commentary.




Without further ado:






The lights, a mixture of yellow and neon blue, splash evil shadows against the walls. I liked that. I lived in those shadows, the hum of the Smoke, a never ending presence.
My target leaned against a scarlet red spinner as he scanned the traffic in the air waiting for his clients. A pusher of the worst kind, he sold 24 hour addiction to the net, the matrix, whatever the mutual illusion we call cyberspace really is, but I watched him because he possessed knowledge I needed. I had to be careful though; he hacked the local cams with his built-in wetware.
Despite the poor lighting I could see him clearly. My TacScreen feed streamed to me by my built-in A.I., Artificial Neurological Analyser, ANA for short, to a chip resting against the back of my retinas. The TacScreen, glowing pale green created the effect of being projected in front of my vision showed he was much bigger than me, at least 6 foot tall, but sickly looking somehow. He wore retro style jeans and a fake denim jacket cut off at the arms with no t-shirt showing off the body art on his torso of a skull and cross bones which glowed fluorescent green in the dark. He wore jump boots fashionably unfastened with his jeans tucked at the front of his boots. His name was Demetrez of mixed race. His dyed blond hair, cut in a Mohican and long at the back, sat atop his face framing pale grey eyes which I assume he was not born with.


And now, the commentary.




The lights, a mixture of yellow and neon blue, splash evil shadows against the walls. I liked that. I lived in those shadows, the hum of the Smoke, a never ending presence.





(Ok, the first sentence bothers me for a specific reason that most people might not catch.  Additive color theory. Yellow light plus blue light equals white light.  Light splashes light, not shadows.  So not only are there no projected shadows, the colors chosen would combine to create pure, white light.  Many people are only familiar with subtractive (pigment based) color theory, so even a sharp editor might miss this one.





I have mixed feelings about the jump from present in the first sentence to past in the next two.  The last sentence feels like it has extra words and unneeded commas.)

My target leaned against a scarlet red spinner as he scanned the traffic in the air waiting for his clients.

(Things I like: the casual use of target, and the offhand comment about the traffic being 'in the air' are great for indicating early and well that we're in science fiction, and our protag may not be the nicest guy.  I stumbled on 'scarlet red'.  Does scarlet come in any other color?)

 A pusher of the worst kind, he sold 24 hour addiction to the net, the matrix, whatever the mutual illusion we call cyberspace really is, but I watched him because he possessed knowledge I needed. I had to be careful though; he hacked the local cams with his built-in wetware.




(Story wise, this works for me so far.  We've got bits of awkwardness with the sentence structure.  My other confusion is 'selling addiction'.  How would selling an addiction, rather than the drug, work?  Were this a hard science or present day/real world story, it would bother me more.  Maybe this universe has a drug that mimics addiction for some reason?  But why?  Or maybe the wording is just off.  Were I paying to read this, I'd need to know very soon.)





Despite the poor lighting I could see him clearly. My TacScreen feed streamed to me by my built-in A.I., Artificial Neurological Analyser, ANA for short, to a chip resting against the back of my retinas. The TacScreen, glowing pale green created the effect of being projected in front of my vision showed he was much bigger than me, at least 6 foot tall, but sickly looking somehow.


(LOVE this.  I've seen way too many lousy stories with the 'even though it was dark, I could see' bit.  The why immediately follows the statement, which is great.  There's more stumbling over the name - the Artificial Intelligence Artificial comes off as a little silly, as if the writer weren't sure of the term.  I'm not sure why a visual aide of this type would need to have it's own consciousness, which is AI.  I'd recommend dropping the AI portion of the description, unless this neural net functions as the wise cracking sidekick projecting snarky comments directly to the protag's brain.  More awkward comma placement - this will need a good edit, but shows a lot of promise.)




 He wore retro style jeans and a fake denim jacket cut off at the arms with no t-shirt showing off the body art on his torso of a skull and cross bones which glowed fluorescent green in the dark. 

(Eeek. Run on sentence, for one.  The second thought is info-dump.  A small one, but how important is this list, and what part is significant to the protagonist?  If this outfit is normal, how much would he notice?  I do like the glowing tattoo.)


He wore jump boots fashionably unfastened with his jeans tucked at the front of his boots. His name was Demetrez of mixed race.

(His name was 'of mixed race'?  Somehow, I think this is more awkwardness.  We've also been told he's wearing jeans twice - not needed.  Personally, I think the second mention works better, and the first should be dumped.  As always, these parenthesis are just my opinion.)

 His dyed blond hair, cut in a Mohican and long at the back, sat atop his face framing pale grey eyes which I assume he was not born with.

(I'm guessing that this is a spelling hiccup, unless there's a new hairstyle.  The Native American tribe that the haircut is named after is Mohawk.  Completely different.  It could sprout on top of his head, but the 'atop his face' makes me think of one wicked unibrow.  This whole bit could use rewriting.  I like the mention of the eye thing, though I'd want an explanation fairly soon.)







Thank you,  Jorge Salgado - Reyes, for offering your first page, and I hope this is helpful to you.

Monday, September 19, 2011

CameraSim simulates a digital SLR camera - SLR Photography Demystified

CameraSim simulates a digital SLR camera - SLR Photography Demystified:

'via Blog this'

This is a brilliant little tool for exploring what all those manual settings on your camera are, and actually DO. Extra points for the 'use a tripod' button. (Generally speaking, it's wise to use a tripod ANY time you're using a longer lens - I often don't when I'm willing to experiment with 30 different shots, and there's no client to worry about. Your mileage may vary.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

BBC News - Severed head of patron saint of genital disease on sale

BBC News - Severed head of patron saint of genital disease on sale:

'via Blog this'

Photobucket

I couldn't come up with a better caption than this. Now my brain is plenty weird, and I come up with strangeness that makes people in the grocery store suddenly remember that they needed to be in a different aisle (am I the only one who's chased my roomates around the store with a genuine, whole cow tongue?), but real life sometimes throws me such a great dose of WTF, that I'm all 'you win, world - I couldn't make this one up if I tried'.

This is such a time. Not only did I not know there WAS such a saint, some lucky person could own this guy's preserved head.

The Significant Other is damn lucky that I'm both broke and that this is already over, or I'd totally greet him at the door with the severed head of the saint of GD. I'm still kinda pissed that I missed this auction. Who needs food? I NEED the preserved head of the saint of genital disease.

And then I'd stand outside the local clinic with it, offering Hail Herpes and cleansing via prayer to the head (and all the dumb jokes that go with it). Donations of a financial nature welcome.


UPDATE: This is the chat conversation I just had with the SO about it -

SO: so, how much did the head go for?

me: expected to go for between six hundred and 1200 dollars
I would have done it.

SO: almost seem worth it
seems even

me: That's the only kind of useless item I would have done it for
SAINT HEAD OMG
I didn't know you could own such things
now I want one
I love you Catholics, making a billion saints so I have the opportunity to own the severed head of one of them.

SO: there was even a dog that was suppose to be a saint

SO: To have a real sanctified alter in a Roman Catholic Church, it needs to have bones from a saint in it. Not all of the bones, sometimes just a piece or a finger joint

me: dog saints? gotta have a saint? You guys are nuts.
PIECES OF SAINTS? Now that's just gross.


(Yes, functionally I'm five. Parts of dead people are gross yet compelling.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011