Friday, June 22, 2007

Jane Espenson's Writing Exercise

I'm doing Script Frenzy this month, which means writing a 20,000-word screenplay in 30 days; and the magic words "quantity, not quality" also appeared in Jane's "I Guess He Really Can't Drive" blog post yesterday. So here I am to write some punchlines. Brace yourself.

First, with the set-up "Are you wearing that?":

MAN
Are you wearing that?
WOMAN
No, I just couldn't find another hanger.

MAN
Are you wearing that?
WOMAN
Why, do you want to trade outfits?

MAN
Are you wearing that?
WOMAN
Someone didn't do the laundry yesterday like I asked him to.

(Okay, switch!)

WOMAN
Are you wearing that?
MAN
What? Do these shorts not go with this bow tie?

WOMAN
Are you wearing that?
MAN
Barely.

WOMAN
Are you wearing that?
MAN
Well, I wanted to wear the Klingon costume, but I couldn't find the plastic forehead.

Okay, let's try the other set-up:

MAN
Is this ketchup?
WOMAN
As far as you know.

MAN
Is this ketchup?
WOMAN
No, it's "freedom sauce."

MAN
Is this ketchup?
WOMAN
Do I look like a food critic?

(Switch!)

WOMAN
Is this ketchup?
MAN
I choose to believe that it is.

WOMAN
Is this ketchup?
MAN
Sure, why not.

WOMAN
Is this ketchup?
MAN
We ran out of salsa.

Wow, some of those are really strange without any context. I almost want to continue writing the scene for a few of them.

~CKL

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

US States Renamed For Countries With Similar GDPs


From the strange maps blog: US States Renamed For Countries With Similar GDPs. I find it highly amusing that this particular scheme renames Texas to "Canada" and New Jersey to "Russia." Those darn mobsters!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Meet the World

Art project by 25-year-old Brazilian Icaro Doria: Using national flags as graphics to communicate statistics about that country. For example, instead of a pie chart showing how many 14-year-olds in China are studying instead of working:



In the same vein, check out Gapminder World (requires Flash), which allows you to manipulate and animate statistics collected by the UN over the last 30 years. Pretty sobering stuff.

ObDisclosure: Google acquired Gapminder's "Trendalyzer" team and software in March, 2007.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Ancient Greek Espionage (and Girl Power)

From Cary's translation of Herodotus' The History, Book VII (Polymnia), Chapter 239:
When Xerxes had determined to invade Greece, Demaratus, who was then at Susa, and had heard of his intention, communicated it to the Lacedæmonians; but he was uanble to make it known by any other means, for there was great danger of being detected; he, therefore, had recourse to the following contrivance. Having taken a folding tablet, he scraped off the wax, and then wrote the king's intention on the wood of the tablet; and having done this, he melted the wax again over the writing, in order that the tablet, being carried with nothing written on it, might occasion him no trouble from the guards upon the road. When it arrived at Sparta, the Lacedæmonians were unable to comprehend it, until, as I am informed, Gorgo, daughter of Cleomenes, and wife to Leonidas, made a suggestion, having considered the matter with herself, and bade them scrape off the wax and they would find letters written on the wood. They, having obeyed, found and read the contents, and forwarded them to the rest of the Greeks. These things are reported to have happened in this manner.

I love primary sources. And I have to ask: why wasn't this bit in the movie?

Maybe Zack Snyder just isn't a big Alias fan. But dream with me for a moment: Just imagine, in the next James Bond movie, Daniel Craig's 007 seeking help from Helen Mirren (as Queen Elizabeth II, natch) to decode a mysterious transmission from an ally. I smell a buddy movie!

Anyway. I did enjoy 300, in the same way I enjoyed The Untouchables--knowing that they were both complete fiction coated with a thin veneer of history. Sean Connery's Untouchables character didn't exist in real life, and the Persian king Xerxes was not actually a hairless, effete giant. Just let it go. Even Herodotus has been accused of presenting a biased, pro-Athenian viewpoint in his writings. Facts can't compete with mythology.

~CKL

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Which Movie Reviews Should I Believe?

Which Movie Reviews Should I Believe? Apparently, my peculiar tastes can only be approximated (with 87% accuracy) by Rotten Tomatoes.

That's all.

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