29 February 2012

Matrix Revolutions - Story Critique

I was disappointed in this movie.  Too much of the dialogue kept shifting back to the ole "remember when" type thing.  The original Matrix was an awesome movie, no reminders needed!  I'm going to review this story by picking on some of the characters I think were either over done or under played.

Agent Smith - I think I'll puke if I ever hear "Mr. Anderson" again.  This is THE worst character in the whole entire movie.  He's like a freaking virus, duplicating himself and becoming more powerful in number...not within himself.  That's ridiculous that all his duplicates sit there and watch while he basically kicked Neo's ass all by himself.  How can this be?  Neo kicked thousands of Agent Smiths in Reloaded and now they have ONE, one Agent Smith kick his ass.  It doesn't make any sense to me. Visit The No Resolution Resolution.

The twins - I was expecting to see them again.  The morphing twins are a far better breed of cool than 50 million Agent Smiths.  God, I never thought they'd continue with that one.  I guess bringing in the morphing twins wasn't possible though.  It would have taken away face time for the powerful, growing in number Agent Smiths that for some God awful reason they thought would be even more cool than the 25 million Agent Smiths previously in Reloaded.

Niobe (that her name?) - Trinity is supposed to be the cool chick.  What were they thinking?  It's like they were attempting to downplay all the heros/heroines and insert new ones.  If they wanted new heros/heroines they should have made a different movie.  I went to see Neo, Trinity and Morpheus kick some ass, not get put on the back-burner to let this no-name lady take all the credit for doing the impossible.  The two muscular looking women who took out the main machine were more impressive than this chick.

The Frenchman - He punked out too quick.  They really could have done without the overload of testosterone in Trinity's "give me Neo or we all die" routine.  It was too early in the movie for that kind of thing and it left an abrupt end to this awesome character, The Frenchman.  I would have liked to have seen more of his character.  He was very pompous, but I really liked him.

The Trainman - He was really tough.  One kick put Neo down.  That was it, what was his purpose though?  I was expecting to see him again, not just sitting next to the Frenchman when he punked out, but in a fight scene somewhere.  Did they just want to put some ugly dude in the movie so that he could kick Neo into a concrete wall? Whatever they were going for, it didn't translate well.

This is what I think happened in the transition from Matrix to Matrix Revolutions:

Neo and Trinity fell in love in the first movie and consummated their relationship in the second.  End of story.  No more cool stuff, only mushy stuff, new faces and someone trying desperately to piggyback off an original storyline while trying to keep the on-going technological symbolisms. They probably didn't realize how cool the morphing twins were because there wasn't any time between movies to get any feedback or they would have had an opportunity to see where they should go with Revolution.  For that reason, I think it was a bad idea to shoot the films back to back like that.

My exact words when leaving the theatre:  I don't know...it just didn't have that bad ass feel to it. If you don't agree with me, leave a comment. Well, leave a comment even if you DO! I always like to read your opinions.

25 February 2012

Why Do You Write?

I get this question a lot and I know you do as well. People want to know why I write and when I started. Why does a Computer Programmer spend as much of her time as she can, away from work, writing fiction and updating a themed blog about making progress?

There is this one thing in life that I experienced that I never thought I would be able to share with anyone much less the world. But it’s at the root of the answer to this question.

Many years ago, I was hospitalized for a week, diagnosed with Paranoid Psychosis. This was triggered by stress brought on by my repressive personality, which led to an extreme case of insomnia. Sounds like a lot, but it was a simple turn of events.

Let me tell you this; there are many things to observe in a mental ward of a hospital. One of which was the fact I didn't belong there. It's funny to me now because people say the craziest in the world think everyone else is crazy. Seriously, everyone belonged in there with the exception of me.

Forget that only three hours prior to being admitted I was having a delusional conversation with my pet rabbit about a conspiracy to end my life, the main conspirators being my husband and two children, ages nine and four. 

As the medication and sleep brought my thoughts back into balance, I realized (still) how many fruitcakes there were in that hospital. Knowing I was involuntarily admitted to spend my time in the company of these emotional lunatics was embarrassing. Though not a fruitcake then and still today, very mentally stable, I do have a minor case of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

It’s not an affliction that keeps me from functioning properly. Though, it keeps my mind constantly cluttered with images and thoughts that I don't want to think about but can't avoid, like what it would sound like cracking a skull with a brick or popping someone’s eyeball. Is it liquid inside? Would there be a noise? I’m too lazy to do the research, so I just think about it.

I think the reason I have thoughts about things like that is because I might want to write a story and those things might happen in my story. In fiction writing, we’re taught to use sensory description; show the reader the horror of your scene, don’t just tell them about it. You want them to experience it, so therefore, it must be convincing.

What does it feel like to choke someone? Do your eyes burn if blood splatters into them? By the way, the answer to that one is NO. I got that from my sister who was in a car accident. Blood dripped down her forehead and into her eyes. She did say I was accurate in that it makes everything look red. Sorry for the digression.

So when I write, it's almost like I can express these things that are in my mind and when it's out there I'm no longer responsible for thinking them because I've shared it now, through whatever outlet. I think that for me fiction writing or creative writing is like a validation of some sort. It’s a way for me to say that it's okay that I thought those things. It's like casting out demons at an exorcism.

After reading about individuality and voice in my last class, I thought about the things in myself that might contribute to my writings in a unique way (afflictions). I’ve sort of gotten used to sharing even the not so flowery parts of my life and who I am and those things I think about no matter how sordid. I feel like I can write about anything, with a great deal of honesty and without inhibition.

So tell me why you write and where it all started for you. Leave a brief comment if you like. But, if you decide to write a longer piece on your own blog/site, I’m providing this form so you can link your post here and we can make it a blog hop! Thanks for sharing.

Here's the code to insert participants on your blog (I couldn't figure out how to place it in here as text).

20 February 2012

February Blog Chain - Second Chances

by Diane Carlisle

The February prompt for the AbsoluteWrite.com blog chain is about second chances. My story is a true one and I thank God every day that I’m here to tell it because in the beginning, before I was even born, I was given a second chance. I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, and the fact that I write this with a light heart is proof enough that I hold no ill feelings toward anyone, including my mom. I love you, mom!

What's a girl to do when told she was almost aborted? I think it was mom’s way of telling me that

17 February 2012

My First Guest Blog Experience - The Epistolary Form

by Diane Carlisle

I have to say, I'd never been asked to guest post on another site in the entire three years I've authored my own blog. The one time I'm approached, I get a topic that completely throws me off. Not only am I presented with a writing topic I had to really think about, but one I'd never entertained in my own pursuits, the epistolary form.

I was happy to provide an opinion on where it works and where I find it less appealing for my own tastes. Read the post here.

I hope you visit Fish and Frivolity and leave your comments on what I wrote about this topic. Also, give Julz a big holler for being a great host!

Visit my Alphabet Links:
A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

15 February 2012

I Met My 30 Year Old Self

by Diane Carlisle

I accepted a challenge at Florida Writer's Association Conference Blog, a blog I visit on a regular basis. I'm always shocked at how much the authors there inspire me to write things that bring out my personality, that thing they call "voice" in the writer world.

"What if the you of 30 years ago could suddenly spring forward in time and meet the current you? Or, what if the 30-years-younger version of a character could spring forward and meet the current version? Once the technology shock wore off, what would they talk about? How would they feel? Would the younger version be inspired by what he or she saw or depressed? Would the current version long for that youth, or be glad it was gone?"

Take the challenge and I think you will find your voice. Here's mine:

"This is trash, look at this."

The girl places the garment to her chest and spans the sleeve across the length of her arm.

"It's not you," her friend takes the fringed, waist-length blouse.

"I know!"

"Here, try this one on with the black chic jeans. It's cute." Her friend hands her a suede vest with laced sleeves.

"Excuse me," I say.

The girl looks at me and her friend fades into the background.

"Do I know you?" The girl looks at me and immediately gasps.

"I know, I know," I laugh at her because I know what she's thinking.

"Wow, how old are you?"

"I'm forty five," I say.

"Well, you don't have any gray hairs."

"That’s because I get it colored every six to eight weeks."

"Oh, well I guess you're allowed to do that since you're all grown up." She makes air quotes at that. "I’m not even allowed to get highlights."

"Well, when you can afford to cover up the roots every six weeks so you don't get that skunk streak down the middle, do it then."

"Whatever. It's like ten bucks."

"Try a hundred and seventy-five with tip and all."

Her jaw drops.

"You must be rich," she says.

"No, just vain." We laugh together.

Her hair is almost jet black and feathered back away from her face and plastered down with hairspray. I can't remember when I stopped using hairspray and just let my long strands drip dry out of pure laziness.

We stand for a moment and she notices my smile. "What happened to my teeth?"

I touch my mouth, "Oh, the canine?" I knew which tooth she meant. I always hated that tooth, but mom and dad insisted it was cute, way too cute to fix. I look at her smile and decide they were right.

"It's not as cute when you get older, so I had it fixed."

"Cool, I bet that was expensive, huh?"

"Thirty years ago, maybe."

"So what do you do as in a job and all?"

"I'm a Systems Analyst. I make software that runs on computers." I blush and realize the closest thing she has experienced with software so far is Pong, the game where two vertical bars are maneuvered up and down on opposite sides of the screen and a small digital ball is passed back and forth between them.

She's not impressed. Well, she has this blank look on her face, so I assume she's not impressed.

"So, you're a nerd?"

I blink back my surprise. "What? No, I'm not a nerd."

She laughs, "Yes you are!"

I look at her friend, now several feet away, browsing the racks. "Okay," I say. "Miss Honor Society. Miss J.E.T.S. Club. Miss Student Council."

She looks back at her friend. They are both similarly dressed in the latest fashion trends. A bit cartoonish for today's standards.

She studies me for a moment, then says, "Yea, well, I thought I would out-grow it."

Please join the fun and participate by adding to the list.

13 February 2012

Story Settings From My Childhood

by Diane Carlisle

Here is a fun writing assignment. Think about some of the more interesting places you’ve experienced during your childhood. How would you describe those places today?

Here are three of mine:

Bamboo Hill was a small wooded lot about two blocks away from where we lived. We only climbed about one third of the hill, and nobody ever went past a certain, well-known log. It was 6 feet long and hollowed out from years of decay and rot.

Every tree throughout this lot was a bamboo tree, so we never really knew from where the log came, it was just there, and sort of as a reminder we didn't belong and probably shouldn't climb any further up the hill.

09 February 2012

My 100 Word Response

by Diane Carlisle

I've enjoyed responding to the fun challenges from Florida Writer's Conference Blog! Here's their latest challenge and my response.

To all the guys (and some of the women) reading this, let’s pretend this picture isn’t about the first thing you thought when you saw it. After all, not everything revolves around that.

Pretending then, that the woman in this picture isn’t in the throes of connubial bliss, in 100 words or fewer, what’s happening in this picture. One thing that might make it more interesting is what could be a foot and a pantleg in the background. So what’s happening here?

Figure it out. One hundred words or less in 20 minutes.

My response:

The holy water strikes her and slits an open wound across her thighs.

“He commands you exit.” The priest hovers the crucifix above her belly.

“It burns!” she screams, but her voice is muffled with a low growl, then laughter.

“He commands you exit the body, He commands it!”

The holy water boils and spills over the top of the bottle and onto the woman’s stomach.

Father Crest is thrust into the desk and his crucifix plunges deep into his right eye.

He falls to the floor, dead.

The woman is fully consumed. The demon gets up and walks away.

06 February 2012

5 Annoying Features On Your Blog

by Diane Carlisle

I’m begging you! Please, please do these things to make your blog more user friendly with the more interactive crowd. I follow many blogs and my commenting and responsiveness relies upon very easy access and quick feedback.

1. Please turn off the captchas. I understand there's spam out there, but if you haven't monetized your blog or posted it up in some of the sites that broadcast to mass marketers, then you really shouldn't need captchas. Only use them when you've discovered spam abuse in your comments. Chances are you will never run across abuse in comments on your personal blogs. You may even discover an increase in the number of responses to your articles. It would be nice if blogging software would allow you to pose a test question to be answered rather than use of the captchas. At least that would make your blog ADA compliant.

2. Please don't change your blog theme as often as the weather changes in Florida. Think about Microsoft and Google and how long they've been around. They still look the same, right? On occasion, Google will change their Logo to accommodate our holidays, whether it's Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, or Valentine's Day. However, they always revert back to what looks familiar to us. Come up with your theme and stick to it. It’s the concept behind branding.

3. Please be sensitive to your audience when selecting font size and color. I've seen font colors that are so difficult to read it may as well be white text on a white background. Also, since I'm getting older and my eyes are getting weaker, I don't want to struggle to read what may otherwise be a very clever and entertaining article. I hate it that I have to by-pass an article because the font isn't big enough for me to read. I'm not going to change the zoom on my screen for one article with small font when I can simply go to the next blog.

4. Please turn off comment moderation. If you want, there's an option that will keep anonymous visitors from posting comments to your blog. Seriously, I'm an instant gratification type person. That means I like to experience things in real time. I want to see my comment published as soon as I click the "post comment" button. It gives me a warm fuzzy to see my posted words on your site, in your theme and all it's beautiful colors and fonts!

5. Please use the spelling and grammar checking tools bundled with your word processing software. There have been a ton of blogs that I've visited and re-visited where I'd find the occasional typo and/or misplaced word (I've done it myself). The fewer there are, the more likely I will visit your site again just to give you kudos and leave comments because I like what I'm seeing.

If I’m coming back and commenting on your blog and you have these dreaded features enabled, then you have an awesome blog because I feel compelled to visit despite them!

So, tell me. What features out there in the blog-o-sphere have you flustered? Share them here. I do make subtle changes on mine, all coming as suggestions by readers who visit. The one thing I refuse to change is my white text on a dark background (...and never say never. Oops!). I was raised on the internet playing MUDs and it is an absolute must for me.

02 February 2012

My Guy Mitt

by Diane Carlisle

My fellow blogger, Under Cover Waitress, posted about paying taxes on tips and because I am thoroughly entertained by her posts, I pay particular attention to every word. So, you can imagine my angst when she calls out my guy, Mitt Romney, for only paying 15% in taxes as revealed by the release of his tax return. You know I have to defend my guy. After all, I voted for him! Go Florida! By the way, I'm so happy to have been a part of the republican primaries, and the volunteers had an awesome display of goodies to feed us voters.

Back to my rival blogger. She is correct; Romney only paid 15% of his income. He is not currently employed though, so his only income comes in as capital gains, and 15% is the going rate. He invests his money. Why...that BASTARD!

Listen, if all these rich guys didn't invest their money and instead put it all in a safe in their houses, where do you think we'd be in this economy now? Sure, they wouldn't make any money on it, but they wouldn't be risking the "loss" of it either, especially with the economy as volatile as it is these days.

When rich people invest money, they earn money. Isn't earning money a good thing? Or has America become a country that doesn't believe that people should earn money? Besides, he was already taxed on the money he earned, which he now invests. The more you invest, the more you earn, and therefore, the more you pay taxes. Who's getting screwed here? And the guy still paid millions of dollars to charities and 10% of his income to his church.

Earning money is something we all strive to do. Some of us do it smarter and some of us don't. The person who sits at home collecting unemployment because the pay is more than he'd get busting his ass making minimum wage is smart. Sure, he's pissing me off, because my tax dollar provided the program which allows this to happen. Now, my guy Mitt, he's making money off the money he already earned. Nobody's tax dollar is contributing to his ability to do that.

I'm no Mitt Romney, but I think he understands the consequences if he chooses not to work his assets as best for him and his family as he can. That means no wasted opportunities for growth. Don't you want someone like that looking out for America as a whole? Or would you rather the government take risks and gamble with our tax dollars and leave the mess behind for our kids to cleanup?

We need to stop electing people who want to spend our tax dollars "unwisely" and we need to stop worrying about "fair" distribution. Nothing is ever fair. It's not fair that someone in my family got back more taxes than they paid in. It's not fair that we have people going hungry every day, who have to go to soup kitchens that operate off charitable contributions made by people who earn money and pay taxes.

Middle class
$150,000.00 x 35% = $52,500.00 (thousands in taxes)

Wealthy class
$21,000,000.00 x 15% = $3,150,000.00 (millions in taxes)

How is that fair? But, he paid it, right? At least he didn't "forget to pay" his taxes like some politicians.

Let's discuss. Do you believe that top wage earners should be taxed a higher percentage rate? If so, why?

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