Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #436 - Talking Again #9 - Throwback Thursday

Mom and Dad - Turkeyville - 1311.14
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #436 - Talking Again #9 - Throwback Thursday
Mom and Dad - Turkeyville - 1311.14

Hi Mom, Here I am again for these conversations. Not too much of a throwback today, only three years, but this such a good picture. I really feel like I am talking to you when I look at this picture.

I like doing these conversations. They are just a small part of what I am telling you every day, all the time. There's some private stuff that I do not share here. In fact, I have big news, but Liesel asked me not to share it. Normally, I would just share it anyway, but I will respect her wishes. For now.

As always, I promise no organization or structure with this post.

Hey, I got paid today!! And actually, quite a lot. I am pleased. CTU does this horrible thing in which they split my semester pay in two rather than three. I used to count on CTU. It paid me every two weeks. Now, I get two pays in a month, and then go a month between payments. Park has helped this situation a little in that it pays once a month now rather than every eight weeks after the term ends. Park and CTU both paid me today. WMU pays me Friday, but that money has to stay put to make a loan payment. With another CTU payment at the end of the month and a Park two weeks later, I should be all right for this Fall.

I am enjoying my Discrete Mathematics course. I am happy that I am able to have another class with Trenary. I spent close to $150 on the hard cover version of the text book, but then I had to buy the Connect thingie, too, and not I also have access to a web-based, digital book, which is cool but also not something I want to use exclusively. I spend so much time looking at screens per day that I am looking to decrease not increase my screen time. I know Ellis thinks about this issue. Do other people think about this issue? I know was hoping that my math work (both Discrete and Calculus) would be breaks from screen time not additional screen time. But then what did I do yesterday? I read my digital text on my tablet in bed for over an hour. More screen time.
your birthday is coming up soon, Mom

Some times, especially in my office, I have multiple screens going at once. I am not quite geared up to the full on command center mode that Ellis enjoys with his old Kindles and tablets streaming things among his large screens. But I do have my desktop running two screens, and then sometimes, I have my laptop and the TV running at the same time, with the radio in the background and looking at my phone frequently. The other day I had ambient music on low for when the Baseball game was in commercial (which I mute). It all seemed very high tech.

Anyway, this started with enjoying being in a Trenary class again. I am thankful for him. He has been quite an inspiration to me. I am enjoying the class and the examination of mathematics.

Speaking of Trenary, I went in to his office before class and had a nice chat. Colin showed up. I was also pleased to see that Trenary also uses multiple screens.

I SCREWED UP THE QUIZ.  So, I had been doing so many logical equivalency problems before class that when I got the quiz, my brain saw another logical equivalency rather than a tautology. I begged the TA for generosity in his awarding of partial credit. Also, I felt misled as the TA said we could finish in about 5 minutes, so I thought the problem was easy. The take away here is that I need to be more careful and check my work. Had I checked, and re-read the problem, I would have caught my mistake. This is my greatest downfall in math: not checking my work. I need to make a new habit.

DAD WAS HERE YESTERDAY. He brought a piece of plywood for the bed in Piper's room, and we fixed a door. Melanie was here cleaning, too.

I know you miss these kinds of things, Mom. And we miss having you hear for them.

If any reader is still engaged at this point, these are my conversations with you, Mom. They are much like they were when you were alive, right? Sure, mundane. And I would often check because Dad would say that you did not want to hear all that, and I would ask you, and you would always confirm that yes, you did want to hear all that detail and mundane is fine.

STILL THINKING ABOUT WRITING. I am still trying to find the mental space to think about writing let alone to commit to doing any writing. But the re-reading of the book on writing SF by OSC is helping and then there are blog entries, such as the one from Charlie Stross that I am including here.

WORK IS BECOMING MORE MANAGEABLE. I had a tough day yesterday because Liesel surprised me with a request to bring her lunch, which I can hardly refuse. But I am doing a better job of task switching. It definitely helps that I am only taking ONE class. I even find time to do some Calculus.

FOOTBALL PICKS. I did all right with an 8-8 record on NFL picks last week. But I soared to the top of the standings in the college picks game I do with friends Tom introduced me to. I won my NFL picking game last year, but there's no guarantee that I will repeat. In fact, I should not expect it.

I HAVE DELAYED PT. I had PT scheduled for today but re-scheduled because my talk (not PT) therapist had to re-schedule.

CONSUMER'S ENERGY DID A BAIT AND SWITCH, sort of. Consumers called an asked me to sign up for a protection plan for my gas lines, the ones in the house. I agreed, but as it's part of their appliance service plan, an extra feature I have refused annually since they started the damn thing and wish they would stop asking, I changed my mind. An extra $60 a year to protect in house gas lines is not money well spent.

Here's that post by Charlie Stross.

By Charlie Stross
In a discussion elsewhere on the interwebbytubes, the subject of in media res openings came up.

An in media res opening is one where a story starts with a bang, a climactic action sequence -- then cuts away to a slow build-up to how the protagonists got to that point. It's a variant on the hook line, whereby the author sets out to snag the reader's attention right from the get-go (e.g. "It was the day my grandmother exploded." -- Iain Banks, "The Crow Road") but with a whole scene, rather than just a striking opening sentence or paragraph.

One or two commenters (in the discussion elsewhere) objected that IMR openings feel manipulative and increasingly fall flat; the event may be explosive (car chase! space battle!) but we've been given no contextual information about the stakes, no character to identify with, and it's clear that what follows is gradually going to focus down until it converges with the opening, thus undercutting any suspense until we get to see how it plays out at the end of the story.

But I don't think this is inevitable.

Back in the 1950s, cinematic folks were very cautious about how racy the scenes they depicted on screen were allowed to be: even a kiss lasting ten seconds was liable to cause a film to fall foul of the censor. But it is said that a journalist once asked Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, "sir, how long can you hold a screen kiss for?"

Hitchcock mused for a few seconds then said, "mmm, about half an hour. But first, I plant a time bomb under the lovers' sofa!"

My takeaway is that suspense is the key. You can make the most mundane scene gripping if you just provide a context that supplies suspense, by embedding the scene in a high-stakes frame.

For example, take two men playing chess.

The players are: a prisoner, who is a very talented player, and the prison commandant, who is an even better player. That's all.

The frame that supplies the tension is that they're in a Nazi concentration camp in 1944 and for every piece that is taken, a prisoner will either be hanged or spared by the commandant at tomorrow's morning roll-call. And the highest stake of all is that if the prisoner loses, he'll hang alongside his "pieces" ... and if he wins, the commandant will sneak him out of the camp.

(Or so the commandant promises.)

This is the in media res opening, of course: a flashback from the present, circa 1960-1970, where two somewhat older men are playing chess in a public park in New York. Only this time, the roles are reversed: the former camp commandant is a fugitive from justice, while the prisoner is working for an unspecified intelligence agency who require the former war criminal to perform some sort of service for them that requires the cooperation of former Nazis with access to an unspecified middle eastern state's nuclear weapons program.

The game continues, alternating between wartime horror and cold war suspense, as we try to work out in which game the stakes are highest.


IMR is a standard trope in visual media; using it is fundamentally uninteresting, and anyway, I don't do film/TV. If you insist on commenting just to mention another movie I'll start deleting comments. (Updated after about 10 film/TV names came up in a row.)


Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 438 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1609.15 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.
Post a Comment