Early morning update… itemized, for your protection.
UE03 Updated: I forgot to post about it before going to bed, but yes, UE03 has been updated again! I’m halfway through the Thursday scenes now. I got some good linkage going on with references to past scenes and scenes ahead; I’m happy with the way this episode ties into prior ones and ones yet to come in little, subtle ways.
I’m working on trying to make Mallory more likeable and less of a nebbish, too. Granted that he’s in an alien situation and is desperate to do well, but he needs to start settling down and getting used to things so he can do more than A) panic, B) be excited, and C) embarass himself. I think by the end of Thursday, he’ll be on better footing with Meiko and more able to have a normal conversation with her. It’s fun trying to write romance between two characters who are this uncomfortable together. ^_^
MAME: Also updated is How To Build A MAME Arcade Cabinet (The Half Baked Way). Details on an initial planning meeting between the members of Team Mamed, as well as a thumbnail blueprint of the cabinet.
Workaholic: The Bad Karma I talked about yesterday is coming along better. I stayed online and did extra work, as mentioned; I came into work reeeeally early today and mashed away at the icky DHTML until I was finished. My boss arrived at work right when I completed the project, so the delay ended up quite minimal. Now I need to just stop slacking with the TC’ing and really make an effort to Get Shirt Done around here…
Milk Carton: One of my best friends is MIA. Haven’t seen him online in three weeks, and what’s worse, the last I heard from him is that he was really sick and couldn’t afford a doctor’s visit. These two things put together worry me intensely. That’s one of the pitfalls of the internet… it lets you be close to people, so close you can consider them important to you, but not close enough to really be able to stay in touch with them if the line is cut. Worryworryworry…
Anime: While I’m posting, I’ll mention that I recently have seen the Ah! My Goddess and Cowboy Bebop movies. And both exhibit a trend I’ve been seeing in anime lately: a plot structure known as ‘Philosophy Kombat’. Two philosophies on life, reality, love and/or war go in… ONE COMES OUT. Of course, this implies a great struggle between two people/forces, usually accomplished via gunfights and kickboxing and mecha brawling and so on and so forth…
However, inbetween the more concerete bits of violence and strife, we get LOTS and LOTS of philosophizing. Yammering on at great length in extremely vague ways about what each of the two sides/people stand for, why they feel this way, and eventually which viewpoint is triumphant and why. And here’s where the formula breaks, and the suckage sinks in.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Philosophy Kombat; some really great examples of it that spring to mind are in Se7en, Fight Club, and Memento. Even the Utena movie did well with this, since it was so completely abstract that it somehow all clicked together consistently. All great films. But the AMG and CB movies lay it on thick and goopy, vague monologue after vague monologue, weirdly edited sequence after weirdly edited sequence… to the point where it just hurts your head because there’s no CONCRETE stuff there other than the explosions and fight sequences. Everything else is just half-explained surrealism and vague dialogue that never seems to gel and make, y’know, sense.
Maybe it’s just something lost in the translation to english, but the end result is unsatisfying and confusing. Inscrutible philosophical ramblings juxtaposed against all the very easy to grasp danger sequences ends up feeling awkward as heck.
This is one thing I’ve tried to avoid in my writing. Slayers Trilogy very much was a war of philosophies, as was Slayers Demiurge… but I wanted to make those philosophies VERY clear, well explained, and without leaving the reader lost in a sea of ambiguity. What’s more, even if you take the philosophy away it makes sense on a raw survival level — they have to fight to stay alive against antagonistic forces. The concrete works WITH the abstract.
There’s going to be a bit of Philosophy Kombat in UE, but not nearly as much as in Trilogy and Demiurge. We haven’t even met the main antagonist yet… but we will, in a few episodes. Muwahaha and all.