FootballOpinion

Silly Forest

Nottingham Forest Football Club, one of the bigger teams in England’s second tier and former double European Champions, have been underachieving for a long time. Bought out by rich Middle-East businessmen in the summer, they made what I’d consider to be a smart appointment, by naming Sean O’Driscoll as manager. O’Driscoll had put together successful, entertaining teams at Bournemouth and Doncaster, but this was his first job at a ‘big’ club.

On December 27th, O’Driscoll was sacked.

Are those Christmas trees by the City Ground? Let's assume they are. Merry Christmas Sean!
Are those Christmas trees by the City Ground? Let’s assume they are. Merry Christmas Sean!

Over at BornOffside, I’ve written about my feelings on the sacking.

Film & Television Opinion

Christmas in Albert Square

This Christmas Day, British screens have been filled with scenes of people suffering.
TV Tropes calls this ‘Soapland Christmas’, which is a pretty generic term that perfectly describes how generic the attempts to outdo each other’s misery have become.
The trend famously began with Den and Angie Watts on Christmas Day 1986.
I’ve never been a big Eastenders fan, and I wasn’t old enough to properly follow the show at the time. But my understanding of how the story progressed is that the pair, who had an aggressive and wild on-off relationship which drove a lot of the drama on the show at the time, were on the verge of reconciliation. But Den, having discovered that his wife’s cancer was a lie to keep them together, suddenly and surprisingly hands over divorce papers to his wife.
That’s how drama should work – keeping the audience on tenterhooks, unsure of what will happen, before revealing a twist that’s both shocking, emotionally powerful, and true to the characters.
Film & Television Opinion, Storytelling Geekery

Beyond the Bechdel Test

You may be aware of the Bechdel test. If you’re not, it’s a pretty straight forward idea – it’s a form of criticism, primarily of movies but which can be applied to any other form of fiction. To pass the test, the story must

Include at least two women,
Who have at least one conversation,
About something other than a man or men.

The Bechdel Test isn’t an in depth test of how feminist or misogynist a piece of fiction is. But it’s a simple way to measure if female characters are seen, and have their own problems and personalities, rather than just being defined through their relationships to the male characters.
I bring this up, as I’ve recently come across two similar tests.

The head the idea first came out of
Alison Bechdel, writer of Dykes to Watch Out For

Continue reading “Beyond the Bechdel Test”

Comedy

Strangest Search Terms 2: May – December

Back in April, I took a look at some of the stranger search terms to lead to my blog.
I’ve decided to do the same again…

jordan rhodes yorkshireman

I think everyone from Yorkshire introduces themselves in that way.

chinless will

I get a few hits for ‘chinless’ because of a Walking Dead still I yoinked from somewhere, but I’m still surprised at the number of people who search for the word ‘chinless’.

lego evacuation of dunkirk

I don’t think we really did enough to get all the lego pieces out of occupied France. God rest their souls.

michael bay is awful

I’m pleased to see that this seems to be getting a few hits.

chinless person

As I’ve said, this is a fairly common search term.

do you like my crits yes they’re natural

Less so.

hulk share lyriks bruno mars iwanna be biilion

Hulk no more smash, Hulk reformed man. Hulk share lyrics to amusing songs!

robot asimov

There’s nothing strange about this term, given how much he wrote about robots (and invented a fairly ingenious Three Laws of Robotics). But it gave me the idea of Isaac Asimov living on in a robot body, which I think is pretty cool.

bruno mars wealth says he’s a billionaire

And if he’s not, he’s a dirty liar. Everyone should be held accountable for the things they say in songs. Bob Marley died without serving his life sentence, but there’s still time to lock up Tom Jones.

bride prostitute

Is this intended as a feminist statement, marriage, is like prostitution, that kind of thing?

travie mccoy write his own music!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That depends what you mean by ‘write’. I’m fairly sure he’ll have transcribed his music at some point.

warwick davis seems nice

Glad I’m not the only one to think so. Despite some noticeably artificial and predictable plot twists, and a few characters who don’t act like any humans, a worrying number of people seem to have thought Life’s Too Short was a documentary.

gilf

Think about that.

pauos porno

Earlier in the year, I got hits for ‘smokink pauos lesbies kom’, which I noted sounded a bit like mis-spelt dirty words. Is this more of the same?

mel brooks on how i met your mother

I’ve got tags for both of these, and I’ve had a few hits for the pair combined – I really liked the episode of Mad About You he guest starred in, and his film work is genius.
I really want to see him guest star on HIMYM, and I’m sad that this doesn’t exist yet.

baseball square

I used this as a joke in a review of Moneyball – glad to see I wasn’t accidentally being original.

lego man doing coke

The idea amused me, so I did an image search, but couldn’t find anything. Disturbingly, one of the suggestions was ‘lego man doing a poo’.
I didn’t click on that.

who does matthew briggs talk to on twitter

I talk to him occasionally. Apparently he’s either got a stalker, or an overprotective mother.

samuel johnson quote “no manbut a blockhead ever wrotebut formoney.”

Unlike me you’ve got the quote right. You may want to put a few spaces in though.

cleveland show zombie

Is that because it lurches on when by all logic it should have been dead long ago?

fc blog women in boyfriend google search

I’m trying to figure out if ‘women in boyfriend’ is meant to be dirty.
But it’s not necessary to type ‘google search’ into the google search bar.

events 2012 mk dons jehovah’s witnesses

Well, crowds at MK Dons FC are only growing gradually, so going door to door could be the next option.

rev adam smallbone fanfiction

Rev. is absolutely fantastic, probably the best downbeat ‘Office’ style realist comedy in the past few years. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s inspired a bit of fanfiction.

citizen khan fanfiction

Oh, please God, no.

lifes too short to fall out meaning

Well…it means that life is relatively short, so it’s a waste to spend it mad at people you like.
Though if you didn’t find it self-explanatory, I’m not sure that my explanation will be all that helpful…

episode of how i met your mother where ross kisses rachel

There’s a few searches that seem to be riffs on ‘Friends and How I met your Mother are the same show’ but this is probably my favourite.

don’t tell me to be quiet

Wow – that might actually be someone specifically searching for my writing! I’m probably more flattered by that than I should be…

denofgeek.com the batman offside

If Batman does play football, I doubt he’d be caught offside. He probably has something on his utility belt to prevent it.

sitcom slippers

Is that slippers to be worn while watching a sitcom?
Or has someone tried to search for something they saw on TV, and tried to narrow it down by adding that they saw it on a sitcom?

4 person sack race

Is that a sack race between four people, or four people in the same sack trying to jump forward at the same time? If it’s the latter, it’s something I’d like to see.

messi was stalked by fabio capello

I quite like the mental image of Fabio Capello sneaking round the bushes after little Leo Messi. He’ll have to hope Messi doesn’t have a sudden burst of pace.

analyze friends epidsodes

I’ve analysed one in the past and intend to analyse more Friends epidsodes at some point soon.

the real billie bean

I’m not sure who this is, but she’s not my lover.

“used her beauty to”my pet” “beg me”

??

how much is graham westley money worth

I’m not quite sure on this, but his family had a pretty successful business, which he built up further in a break between being a footballer and a football manager. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s worth a few million.

followup to afrika reich by guy saville?

There’s a few searches along this line – Guy Saville is writing a sequel, though I’ve tried to steer clear of specific details. If you want them, he seems to update his facebook page pretty regularly.

citizen khan funny

We’ll have to agree to disagree there.

snyder’s beat sheet does it work for tv

I can’t see why not, but I’ve not looked at any specific episodes yet. The difference would be that, with TV, you already know the characters and the basic set-up at the beginning, so there’s no need to go through all the steps.

what dose a real devil

The devil would use the wrong dose, either so it does nothing, or does too much. Satan’s a meanie like that.

difference between all is lost and dark knight of the soul beat sheet

In ‘All is lost’, the hero realises something really bad has happened, the ground has been whipped out from under them. In the latter section, the hero is moping, lost, unsure how to recover from what’s just happened.
Though I do love the idea of ‘dark knight’ of the soul.

anthemion storylines software review

I’ve not written a review for this, and I don’t know where there is one. But Anthemion Storylines (which I got as part of Writer’s Cafe) basically runs on the idea of arranging plot points in a story you’re writing, with each plot point on a post-it note. But with Storylines being a computer programme, you can put things away safely, rearrange the order of ideas to see what works better, safe in the knowledge you can easily change it back. I find it useful.

does edgar david play for tranmere rovers

No, but Eugene Dadi, a muscular and dreadlocked forward who looks fairly similar, did… a lot longer ago than I remembered, actually.
Edgar Davids plays, and manages, Barnet – the Football League’s bottom side.

is asimov’s story eyes do more than see in public domain

I wouldn’t have thought so – in Britain rights stay with the author’s estate until 70 years after death, and I’d assume there’s something similar in America.

episode of men behaving badly when the blender

When the blender does what? I need to know!

dan snyder beat sheet

It’s actually Blake Snyder’s beat sheet – Dan Snyder is the director.
My main point of reference to Dan Snyder is Mark Kermode’s impression of him, so that idea amused me a bit. Also, I realised when I was searching for the video that Dan Snyder is actually called Zack Snyder, and Dan Snyder owns the Washington Redskins. They’re a talented family, the Snyders.

ross and rachel take a break opinions

I’m entirely on Rachel’s side. And not just because she’s pretty.

i am gulliver who has landed in the strange india of lilliput write a diary entry expressing feelings

The original opening to Gulliver’s Travels was perhaps a little too literal.

barnet fc+debt

Equals relegation, probably.

jonathan swift flows have little flows

This sounds almost like a zen riddle.

warick davis is a dick!

He always seems really decent in interviews, and has a similar reputation. Still, his character in Life’s Too Short is very punchable.

 

That’ll do for now, I think.

FootballOpinion

If You Beat Arsenal, Does It Really Count As An Upset?

My latest round-up of the events in football’s League One and Two went up at Born Offside this morning.

If you even vaguely follow English football, you’ll probably be aware that Arsenal were knocked out of the League Cup by Bradford City – a team three divisions lower than them. You can read about the Bradford side of the story, and the rest of their eventful week.

The_Sunwin_Stand_-_Bradford_City,_Valley_Parade by Betty Longbottom                             Taken from Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, Coventry have been in negotiations over rent for their ground, Portsmouth fans are trying to enforce the sale of theirs, Southend and Bury have struggled to pay their wages, a Carlisle director inadvertendly put his manager under more pressure, and you can hear tales of an amusing own goal and an impressive double save.

Click here for The Lower League Week – Keeping Calm and Going to Penalties

FootballOpinion

Catching Cup Fever

My latest Lower League Week is up at Bornoffside.net, though it is a little late in the week.

With last weekend being the FA Cup Second round, that’s dominated the column. In particular the MK Dons – Wimbledon match, a hectic last ten minutes between Accrington and Oxford, and the Micky Adams vengeance match between Sheffield United and Port Vale. (Though I’m not entirely sure if that’s Adams seeking revenge for his sacking, or Sheffield United seeking revenge for him not being a very good manager.)

On the flip side, he does have very sexy legs.
On the flip side, he does have very sexy legs.

There were some big non-cup related news, such as Fleetwood sacking Micky Mellon and the sad and premature passing of Mitchell Cole.

All of that is covered in this week’s Lower League Week – Next Best to Christmas Day

Egotism

Finishing What I Start

This is intended to serve as my introduction to the Insecure Writers’ Support Group – a group ran by Alex J. Cavanaugh over on Blogspot, to give other writers and would-be writers the support we need to get past our debilitating and often idiotic insecurities.
I’ve written a few times in the past few weeks about my often irrational insecurities, so it’s something that definitely makes sense to me.

InsecureWritersSupportGroupI’ve wanted to write fiction as long as I can remember, and even started writing a few scifi epics when I was a kid. Even back then, I don’t think I was great at keeping my focus all the way to the end. Though it may be because back then my plans had the habit of expanding much faster than I could write – as a writer’s hint, the other way round works better.

Somewhere along the line, I’ve gotten into the habit of beating myself up when the quality of my writing doesn’t meet the standards I want.
The characters don’t ring true. I’ve not set the scene properly. The plot doesn’t make sense.
While all  of these are valid problems that need to be fixed (or compensated for with other strengths) for a long time I’ve allowed them to paralyse me. For instance, I’ve had an idea for a series of space opera short stories that I keep abandoning, and a sitcom pilot script that I’ve returned to again and again but never finished.

I’ve written a few short things of course. There’s a couple of thousand-ish word short stories here on my blog (under Read My Fiction); flash fiction; and short things for various competitions. There’s even been a couple of times I’ve started to write a novel chapter by chapter. My hope was that, by not being weighed down by the theoretical potential of the stories I’ve invested a lot of time and emotional effort into, I’d feel freer to write what came to mind.
Unfortunately, this idea didn’t really work out.

I’m much better at plotting than I am at actually writing, using formats like Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet and the like, and a piece of software called Anthemion Storylines to plot out a fairly detailed story structure. (If you’ve ever seen stories plotted using a series of post-it notes, or little pieces of paper attached to string, that’s basically what Storylines is. But it has the added benefit that the notes don’t fall off the wall.)
I’d even been using a character building idea to put together a detailed picture of each of my main characters.
So by November, I had a detailed story arc to follow, and I knew a lot about my characters, ready to use NaNoWriMo to get this thing finished.
Though the plan was in place, I actually waited until November 4th before starting. Because, as I’ve detailed above, I’m an idiot.

However, I take exception to this. My backside is pretty intelligent.
However, I take exception to this. My backside is fairly intelligent.

But, I got underway, finding the time to write, sometimes as much as 3,000 words in a single sitting. For those with more consistent writing habits that may not seem like a big deal, but to me it is.
I got close to the end of the first draft, over 20,000 words, after three weeks, but left it another week before going back to finish it off. That instinct inside of me, that says all my cool ideas should be left alone in case I ruin them,  just wasn’t giving up.
But, at the weekend, I returned, adding the few more details needed to the end. I then went through, rewriting what I’d done, and finding myself pleasantly surprised at the quality of what I’d written.

I now have a 28,000 word short-story, and I think it’s pretty decent. There’s a central mystery-action story, character conflicts, betrayal and deceit, enemies being forced to work together, moral dilemmas, a dramatic confrontation at the end.
I don’t want to get big-headed, but I think this story’s pretty decent.
It’s something that infringes on a number of copyrights, so it won’t be publishable, but it’s good to at least have written a coherent story from start to finish.
However, I actually think that this may be the longest piece of fiction I’ve written from start to finish for over a decade, so I’m pretty chuffed about that.

Once I find the time, I’m pretty upbeat about the next story.

 

 

PS  To anyone from the Insecure Writers’ Support Group who’s found their way here – I may be away from my desk for a large part of Wednesday. Apologies if I don’t get round to reading many other posts on the day, but I promise I’ll read and comment on the blogs of anyone who posts here!