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Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give



WEEK 449 CRITS

I have a lot of complicated thoughts about this week! Mostly just that I'm not sure most of the pieces here were successful, probably because "write a plausible reddit advice post" and "write a satisfying narrative" are... not entirely congruent goals. A lot of this week was very plausible to me as reddit posts, but common reddit-y elements (lack of interiority, confusing progressions, major details getting glossed over, everyone being shallow and awful) made the stories less satisfying to read as stories for me. So it goes. Weird week.

Chairchucker, "My (33M) partner (69M) of the last 12 months..."

Oh, good, we're starting with that classic r/relationships subgenre, "my relationship is perfect other than this huge nightmare problem!" This is pretty fun, and actually a pretty plausible post, but I feel like this could have used more detail. There are a lot of things you could explore here that could make this more interesting as a story -- what is domestic life with a Reptoid like, anyway? Are there other red flags here that the narrator is glossing over, or is Seth legitimately a good partner? (I'm particularly interested in why and how an alien scout is a good cook; I feel like there's a story there.)

Azza Bamboo, "My sparkle plum fairy is sad..."

I'm gonna be honest: this piece didn't work for me at all. I see what you were going for here, with trying to do an archetypal "order vs. whimsy" sort of story and work from a theme down, but the problem with top-down planning like that is that you have to make the concrete characters and events work along with the theme; if a story is about a big idea, but the actual events are sloppy, it's not going to work, and I think that's what's going on here. There's very little plot (not necessarily a problem for this week, since plenty of r/relationships posts are just people barfing about their troubled relationships without a clear narrative), and the characters don't work; the narrator, in particular, is so dippy and clueless that she's instantly unlikable, and I'm not sure how intentional that was. (TBH, my initial worry was that you were trying to depict her as neurodiverse or cognitively disabled, and... that'd be a whole other crit.) I was really waiting for a twist that would take this out of the realm of "incredibly stupid, childish woman wears down her husband" -- like, I dunno, the fairy stuff she believes in is real, or her husband really did have a passion for picture frames -- but it never came through. (Also, I don't want to hammer on this because I know it wasn't your intent, but this sort of "stupid, childish, wasteful wife exists to spend her tired breadwinner husband's money and make his life a living hell" story is a misogynist archetype, and it makes me uncomfortable to read.) I think that, for this sort of story to work, both these characters need to be more fleshed-out and sympathetic, and there needs to be some glimpse of how this marriage happened in the first place. Maybe that's too much to ask from r/relationships week, but that's how I feel.

Mrenda, "My boyfriend left open jars in all our cupboards..."

This one's all right, but I think it falls prey to a major issue in this week, which is being too on the nose and having too many wacky asides; it feels very self-consciously like comedy writing to me, which weakens the piece. The core concept of "somebody has trouble opening jars and this turns into a running argument about fitness regimens" basically works, and I can sort of see the open-jar retaliation, but the deliberate allergen-adding feels less like a logical progression of the story and more like a reference to something that comes up a lot in these Reddit posts. There are fun parts here, but I'm not sure it all hangs together.

Yoruichi, "I (clitoris, 39) called my neighbour (rear end in a top hat, 39) a dick..."

I feel weird saying this about the story about genitalia, but this is the first one this week where the characters felt like human beings with actual problems, instead of Wacky Comedy Problems. The anatomy jokes are funny, but I think it really helps that there's a grounding here of very relatable pain and anxiety ("does my partner like this sex act specifically because he thinks I don't like it?" is way too goddamn real). I'm kind of curious what the rear end in a top hat thinks about all this, but it's a solid piece as is.

Chili, "My Fiance Will Not Be Attending My Wedding"

This one is pretty charming! It reminds me of the r/AITA post about the couple whose families were giving them poo poo about not calling each other "fiance" after they got engaged, so they started calling each other "dear friend" and "close associate" and other ridiculous things just to piss their families off. The main characters are likable, doing a bizarre thing that seems to work for them, and even the families' concerns don't seem unrealistic -- in a week that is fairly easily focused on terrible people being terrible to each other, it's a real palate cleanser to read about people being nice in weird ways.

Beezus, "My boyfriend lied about not being a dark magician..."

A pretty simple r/relationships riff, competently executed. I think this one is stronger for staying relatively focused on the single throughline of "SO is a dark magician and lying about it poorly, in a world where dark magic is a known thing," with some good gags building off of that; I particularly enjoyed being told what a passive-aggressive mood launching spiders out of your mouth is, and the assertion that old books leaking is common in Moldova. Not a ton to say about this, but I enjoyed it.

a friendly penguin, "AITA for throwing out all of my dragon's gross stuff?"

Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this one, but it didn't work for me. The core riff of "princess starts screwing with dragon's hoard" is solid enough, but I think the religious-relics angle just doesn't work for me; it refocuses the story purely on the princess being oblivious and ignorant, which is less interesting than basing her conflict with the dragon on other grounds (like, say, the classic "it's arranged how I want it"/sentimental-value argument with a being that might be thousands of years old), and the end with the princess being trapped in a box by priests is kind of jarring. Did she actually get turned into a statue by the dragon, or is it just based on her touching all those relics? Not sure I follow this.

Baneling Butts, "How to convince my ex-girlfriend's boyfriend..."

This is a pretty solid piece on the whole, and it feels like one that could actually be a plausible r/relationships post; "my girlfriend's family all sleep together in a big weird nest" certainly isn't any stranger than some things people have posted there in earnest. I think the weak spots to me are the occasional jokier asides (things like meeting someone LARPing and the baby chiropractor) that really feel wink-wink, nudge-nudge; for formats like this, I think it works better if there's total sincerity in the voice, even if that means reducing the joke density some.

brotherly, "My (25M) wife (27F) won’t stop buying CPR dummies..."

OH MY GOD, IT'S NOT COMEDY. Holy poo poo, have you ever had a day when you've been eating junk food the entire day, then you decide to eat some carrots or something and your nervous system lights up like a Christmas tree with approval of your consuming a vitamin? That's what reading this piece was like for me.

Honestly? This is really good. I'm not sure if the voice is perfectly r/relationships, and obviously these events aren't completely plausible as real human behavior, but I think it's solid enough as an actual short story that it doesn't bother me -- it pushes things to extremes, but in a way that works as an effective horror narrative, and enough of the notes are completely reasonable (particularly the "I definitely need to get a divorce, but I don't want a divorce" ending) that it's still reasonably grounded.

Thranguy, "I(26M) have just gotten out of a three year relationship with my future self(30M)..."

This is pretty decent, although it feels like it was generated more around the AITA punchline and the Wikihow flash rule than anything else. The style is extremely authentic, but I feel like I would have liked to see it fleshed out a little more to improve the narrative. I want to know more about this relationship, and particularly about the narrator's feelings about restarting it -- obviously he doesn't want to, but I'd like to know more about his thoughts in retrospect, the things that his "future"/eminent-present self did, maybe some more portents that this was never that happy a relationship for the older version?. I dunno. I feel like there's a lot of room for character work here and we mostly got pickles and Heinlein references.

Rhymes With Clue, "My (38F) husband (34M) is jealous of my brother (38M)..."

Reasonably well-constructed, and completely believable, but I feel like I'm missing something -- that there's some element here that I'm not getting that'll make the story click, or there's a joke I'm missing. I think the idea is that Zeke and the narrator have authentically done some crimes together, up to and including killing Zeke's dad, but it took me a couple of reads to get and is almost too subtle. It's hard to modulate -- this is the kind of thing that could be really hamfisted -- but I think maybe it needs to be emphasized a little more. (Or maybe this just isn't the format to tell this story, although "my husband is irrationally jealous of my stepbrother, for all the wrong reasons" is very r/relationships.)

sparksbloom, "AITA for hiring a hitman to kill my wife's birds?"

This is maybe the best of the wacky pack, with a pretty plausible voice and a cohesive if ridiculous escalation of events, and the ending is really good; it is 100% Reddit-plausible that this dude has watched his marriage turn into a psychosexual horror show and is still, God bless him, going to try a stupid little strategy to right the ship. Pretty good, pretty weird, and not on-the-nose.

crabrock, "I told him it's either me or the car, AITA?"

Oh, Goddammit, this is fanfiction, isn't it? I want to like this, but it's fanfiction.

This is another one where I feel like the format maybe isn't serving the story completely well. It's a good, breezy, plausible r/r post, but I sort of want this to dig into the fundamental personal terror of realizing that the car you and your husband gently caress in is a sapient robot, who knew and understood everything (and seems to have enjoyed it!), and also that your husband uses it as his confidant for your relationship problems. It's a ridiculous scenario, but it's also life-destroying, even in a universe where Transformers are a known quantity! Maybe I just want to read serious works considering the existence of Transformers and their potential effects on interpersonal relationships, I dunno, or at least the extended dead-serious remix of this story. That said, it's good for what it is, and I appreciate that the narrator does take this seriously.

Still, man. Fanfiction. I dunno if I can roll with this in good faith, even as I gave you more goddamn fanfiction prompts. I am large; I contain multitudes.

curlingiron, "Can I sue my employer for injuries..."

First of all, props for using a Reddit post format other than r/relationships or r/AITA. Fun to see.

So this is very short, probably not technically an entry, very dumb, and honestly a piece I enjoyed more than most of the week. It's simultaneously completely stupid and also something I could see happening, with about the appropriate level of elevation. Maybe I'm biased, but there's basically no situation that strikes me as too stupid to happen in a company bathroom. A one-joke piece, but it's a pretty good joke!

toanoradian, "AITA for tricking my mother-in-law into eating dog food?"

I feel like there's something here that I'm missing. We have some classic r/relationships elements here -- complicated family relationships, disagreements escalating into nightmares, loving around with people's food, anime -- but I'm not sure this all fits together into a cohesive whole. It's kind of more a series of events, and even those don't completely hang together.

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Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Sitting Here posted:

Curlingiron gets an honorable mention in spite of not signing up for the week

What the bloody hell is this? I pull this stunt, with panache, I might add, and I get a DQ, and then the very next week Ms Curling-no-sign-up-iron rocks up and gets an HM?? What. The. Actual. gently caress.

Fight me, Curlingiron, you fire hazard of a hair accessory, you.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Yoruichi posted:

What the bloody hell is this? I pull this stunt, with panache, I might add, and I get a DQ, and then the very next week Ms Curling-no-sign-up-iron rocks up and gets an HM?? What. The. Actual. gently caress.

Fight me, Curlingiron, you fire hazard of a hair accessory, you.

The HM was granted per S. Rhino v the people, week 214, (2016) wherein an unsignedup winner was selected

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


:siren: Thunderdome Week 450: Science Blog Dome :siren:




Sometimes when I'm very bored, or when I'm mining for ideas, I'll scroll through ScienceBlog and look at all the neat things that I don't fully understand and will probably never impact me in any meaningful way. The pretty pictures! The science-y jargon! Gorgeous stuff. They also send a daily email roundup of all the very smart people writing neat-o things. Highly recommended.

This prompt is pretty simple: Go to scienceblog.com, pick an article, and write your entry based on that article. Dig deep, because there's a lot of cool stuff past the first page.

Click Here To Get Started!!!


Some guidelines:

1. You DO NOT have to write genre fiction, but you also totally can. There's a lot of different stuff ( smash that topics link ) so don't feel constrained by the "science" and feel like you have to do scifi. Although I like scifi.
2. Please post your article along with your entry. You don't have to, but it's just polite.
3. Ask if you want me to choose at random for you.
4. NO COVID. There's COVID stuff on there, and I'm not interested. I won't automatically DQ you for a COVID article, but unless you write something that blows me away (unlikely), don't bother.

Maximum word limit: 1500 words
Entry deadline: Friday, March 19 at 11:59:59PM PST
Submission deadline: Sunday, March 21 at 11:59:59PM PST

No: poetry, fanfic, erotica, google docs, etc

Judges
Brotherly
a friendly penguin

Bloggers
1. Azza Bamboo - https://scienceblog.com/519240/new-study-finds-that-parasites-can-drain-energy-from-hosts-prior-to-infection/
2. Thranguy - https://scienceblog.com/521229/understanding-how-a-group-of-people-splits/
3. sparksbloom - https://scienceblog.com/519230/haunted-house-researchers-investigate-the-mystery-of-playing-with-fear/
4. flerp - :toxx: - https://scienceblog.com/509812/moisturizers-may-be-turning-your-skin-into-swiss-cheese/
5. Noah - https://scienceblog.com/498094/should-robots-have-rights/
6. Simply Simon - https://scienceblog.com/497997/humans-unlike-monkeys-turn-competitive-situation-cooperative-one/
7. angel opportunity - https://scienceblog.com/521228/last-itch-effort-fighting-the-bacteria-that-exacerbate-eczema-with-bacteria/
8. crabrock - https://scienceblog.com/511510/catalytic-method-upcycles-single-use-plastic-into-high-quality-liquid-products/
9. Rhymes With Clue - https://horizon.scienceblog.com/1663/bottling-the-smell-of-happiness-to-help-treat-depression/
10. chili - https://scienceblog.com/505586/tobacco-use-in-adolescence-is-tied-to-paranoia/
11. SMEGMA_MAIL - https://scienceblog.com/489240/nanobionic-spinach-plants-can-detect-explosives/
12. toanoradian - https://scienceblog.com/71036/facebook-feelings-are-contagious-study-shows/
13. Baneling Butts - https://scienceblog.com/521606/icecube-spots-first-ultra-high-energy-antineutrino-directly-observed-on-earth/
14. Gorka - https://scienceblog.com/521506/someone-to-watch-over-ai-and-keep-it-honest-and-its-not-the-public/
15. Mid-Priced Carp - https://scienceblog.com/71075/simulating-how-the-earth-kick-started-metabolism/

brotherly fucked around with this message at 23:17 on Mar 19, 2021

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


In and I would like a random article, please.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Azza Bamboo posted:

In and I would like a random article, please.

https://scienceblog.com/519240/new-study-finds-that-parasites-can-drain-energy-from-hosts-prior-to-infection/

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Yoruichi posted:

What the bloody hell is this? I pull this stunt, with panache, I might add, and I get a DQ, and then the very next week Ms Curling-no-sign-up-iron rocks up and gets an HM?? What. The. Actual. gently caress.

Fight me, Curlingiron, you fire hazard of a hair accessory, you.

lol okay :toxx:

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




In, random article please

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Throwing out a dibs on judging this brawl. I'll have a prompt when I get home momentarily

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


I’m in and I’ll take an article

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Thranguy posted:

In, random article please

https://scienceblog.com/521229/understanding-how-a-group-of-people-splits/


sparksbloom posted:

I’m in and I’ll take an article

https://scienceblog.com/519230/haunted-house-researchers-investigate-the-mystery-of-playing-with-fear/

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


In. Article please.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

OK curlingiron and yoruichi. You're two of my favorite domers and it just breaks my heart to see you fight like this.

You're both being punished for acting in such a manner.

As such, write me a story in which your protag is dealing with being punished. And not natural consequences, or self-inflicted consequences. Society, in whatever way you would like to conceive it for the story, has deemed your protag to be sent to the pit or something. Got it? Maybe they did the vile thing they've been punished for, maybe not. Your choice!

Take until 4/1 to get this thing done. I don't care what time.
Spend no more than 2,000 words.


Also, each of you must pick one song from this curated list of five as a starting point for your inspiration. I don't really need to see it too intensely in your story.

Act quickly, you can't each claim the same one. Pick your song, post it, then get to typing. See you in a couple weeks, and for the love of the thunder gods, I hope this is the last time.

The Robo Pick : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IN4aFwGy2ck
The Movin' Along Pick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIt8aN01NlY
The Cheeky Pick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frAEmhqdLFs
The Yeah! gently caress it! Pick : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds5rXZVy_dU
The Tough Love Pick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCid8qPWVLU

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!




in article :toxx:

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Oh hi, I heard you needed a walkthrough for the judgement post. Pffffft. Okay I guess I can do that.

-Head to discord, and click on the #Welcome channel. Click on "Say something" and then "Check out the other channels."

-Click on This Is Thunderdome, and then say Hi to TDBot

-Leave TDBot alone and go to the Archives from the Web Browser.

-Click on all of the stories, then look at the Archive page again.

-Click on the new story

-Touch the Chip

-Go back to Discord and talk to TDBot.

-Get railroaded through to the end! Hooray!










THIS WAS THE ORIGINAL POST THAT WENT HERE. IT IS NOT PART OF THE WALKTHROUGH!


This one's mine:


See you in two weeks!

curlingiron fucked around with this message at 06:31 on Apr 13, 2021

Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

scanning for good game design


I'm also in and give me an article, but I'm gonna call a mulligan if I actually understand the contents. Choose wisely

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Simply Simon posted:

I'm also in and give me an article, but I'm gonna call a mulligan if I actually understand the contents. Choose wisely

https://scienceblog.com/497997/humans-unlike-monkeys-turn-competitive-situation-cooperative-one/

no mulligan, this is your article

Noah posted:

In. Article please.

https://scienceblog.com/498094/should-robots-have-rights/


flerp posted:

in article :toxx:

https://scienceblog.com/509812/moisturizers-may-be-turning-your-skin-into-swiss-cheese/

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Hey everyone! Feel free to yell at me or delete this, but I'm going to spam my book in here since Thunderdome is the entire reason I managed to become a professional writer etc. etc. I have a LitRPG (it's mostly fantasy though) that I'm putting up on Royal Road. It's REALLY close to breaking onto the front page of the site and getting way more momentum. If you are at all interested or just want to help me out, give it a read and if you enjoy it, giving me some star ratings (not review, just clicking the star rating thing) will help push the book closer to the front page.

This is my first non-romance thing that I've published that is doing well, and if it does well I can hopefully spend a lot less time writing romance and more time writing more fun stuff!

Here is the link! It's free to read: https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/41003/bronze-sun-the-red-smith-litrpg-crafting

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







angel opportunity posted:

Hey everyone! Feel free to yell at me or delete this, but I'm going to spam my book in here since Thunderdome is the entire reason I managed to become a professional writer etc. etc. I have a LitRPG (it's mostly fantasy though) that I'm putting up on Royal Road. It's REALLY close to breaking onto the front page of the site and getting way more momentum. If you are at all interested or just want to help me out, give it a read and if you enjoy it, giving me some star ratings (not review, just clicking the star rating thing) will help push the book closer to the front page.

This is my first non-romance thing that I've published that is doing well, and if it d oes well I can hopefully spend a lot less time writing romance and more time writing more fun stuff!

Here is the link! It's free to read: https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/41003/bronze-sun-the-red-smith-litrpg-crafting



GODDAMMIT SYSTRAN

Actually that's fine, but! You have to enter this week as punishment for spamming your terrible words at us (also everyone vote, global dome supremacy hooah)

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



Sorry for continuing off topic but - make sure you make an account and are logged in before reading the thing or it won't let you rate it. :argh:

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Yeah, I'm in.

https://scienceblog.com/505586/tobacco-use-in-adolescence-is-tied-to-paranoia/

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Thanks for the review Sebmojo. I appreciate you saying my characters are realistically unsexy.

You guys no no idea how little time I have these days (working full-time with a kid) but I will enter. Give me a random article.

Rhymes With Clue
Nov 18, 2010



In
https://horizon.scienceblog.com/1663/bottling-the-smell-of-happiness-to-help-treat-depression/

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


i feel obligated to enter, plz give me a blog

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


crabrock posted:

i feel obligated to enter, plz give me a blog

https://scienceblog.com/511510/catalytic-method-upcycles-single-use-plastic-into-high-quality-liquid-products/


angel opportunity posted:

Thanks for the review Sebmojo. I appreciate you saying my characters are realistically unsexy.

You guys no no idea how little time I have these days (working full-time with a kid) but I will enter. Give me a random article.

https://scienceblog.com/521228/last-itch-effort-fighting-the-bacteria-that-exacerbate-eczema-with-bacteria/

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish



I will sit on the peer review committee (judge).

SMEGMA_MAIL
May 4, 2018
my avatar is better than my posting

In for the first time! Random article.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


SMEGMA_MAIL posted:

In for the first time! Random article.

https://scienceblog.com/489240/nanobionic-spinach-plants-can-detect-explosives/

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Week 450 Entry
https://scienceblog.com/505586/tobacco-use-in-adolescence-is-tied-to-paranoia/

Burn
1,350 Words

He's the prettiest boy I've ever seen. I notice him when my eyes wander from the graphs on the board in pre-calc. He's in the alley between my building and the one just over next.

He's in a black blazer with sunflower patterned pads sewn into the elbows and artfully tattered jeans that are just torn enough to reveal glimpses of what seems to be a spiderweb tattoo on his caramel-colored skin. The ends of his curled brown hair stick out from underneath a newsboy hat. His left foot rests on the building's brick wall while he leans on it. Between his index and middle finger, he holds a single, burning cigarette.

I want to see him inhale. I want to imagine the feeling of heat entering my lungs as it does his. I want to see him move.

He doesn't. He just stands there, his eyes transfixed on my building.

"Daniel!" The teacher calls. I snap out of my fantasy and don't even have the wherewithal to feel embarrassment. She moves on to her lesson. I peek back out the window.

He's gone.

*****

I don't ask about him; I can't. I keep looking out the window in pre-calc, hoping to catch a glimpse of him again. Weeks pass. I give up. It's when I do that I see him in the halls. No backpack on his back and his newsboy hat is gone to reveal a swirl of a neon color running through his hair. He passes by me. I don't say a thing.

I trail him to a classroom. I recognize some of the people following in after him. They're seniors; he's a senior. Two months left of school, and he'll probably never set foot in this building again.

*****

One week left of school. I have intel. His name is Marc Gonzalez, but he goes by Gonzo. He's a tech theater kid, and he's a wizard with lights. He's already gotten a job offer with the biggest theater in Baltimore, and he's not planning on going to college. He's dated a handful of people in his class, guys and girls, and there's a nagging rumor going around about weekly after-hours meetings he has with the director of the program.

The juicy swirling rumors are intoxicating in their own right and challenge the lukewarm doings discussed at my cozy little yearbook meetings. It's far too easy for me to abandon what my parents have told me are my interests in favor of having lunch by the artistic magnet wing. It's at the other end of the school, and it's explosively alive with challenging artwork adorning the walls and the humming of brass pounding through the doors.

But the best is the black box theater.

I peek through the skinny window on the door during rehearsals and admire the stage. Gonzo is unseen. His work is not. The lights touch everything and everyone, and I want for nothing but to cross through the threshold and feel the lights tickle my skin.

I'm so lost in my fantasy that I don't hear the approaching footfalls on the other side of the door. It flies open and collides into my face in a mist of blood.

I come to in the nurse's office. The injury isn't as bad as all that, but the shock and the sight of blood finished me off. An old friend from the before Gonzo days is there. She puts her arm on my shoulder and says encouraging things. I ask if my accident made a scene, and to my horror, she reveals that everyone saw it.

*****

If I had time, I'd lay low for a month. But there are only a few short days left before school ends. There's too much activity at the black box to miss as the seniors get ready for their last student-directed show.

Classes have ended for the day, and only the theater kids and athletes are left. I sit in the hall on the floor, with an old guitar I found in my dad's closet. Noodling with it hides me pretty effectively.

The doors to the theater fly open, and out he comes. He glances at me, nods, and moves along to the alley exit. The same alley I saw him standing in months ago.

I screw up my courage and set the guitar down on the floor as I exit out the side door leading to the alley where I first saw him months ago. I open the door, and see him there, cigarette in hand. He doesn’t turn toward me, just keeps looking straight ahead.

"You've been following me, haven't you?"

It occurs to me that I have no plan. But he's tipped something: he's noticed me. I stand there and say nothing.

"Yeah," he lifts his cigarette and pulls deeply from it. The light from the end casts an amber light on his face. "You've been following me."

I say nothing back. He's right, and he caught me, but he didn't tell me to leave. Maybe it's that he's a head taller than me and carries with him all of the swagger in the world, but I feel how little of a threat I am to him.

Before I know what I'm doing, I'm leaning up against the wall, right next to him, and I feel a cigarette slide into my fingertips.

"Let me light it for you." It's all I've needed to hear since the moment I saw him, and when he does, I feel the redness swell up in my cheeks. I bring it up to my lips. He pushes my hands down.

"You've never had one before, have you?" he asks.

And in my first successful communication, I shake my head.

"Just hold it. It's still comforting in its own way."

So I do, glancing at him when I can. With perfect timing, he brings the cigarette to his face, artfully lighting it in a warm glow, then darkens it as he lowers his hand. Then he lets just enough suspense build before he reveals it again. He continues like this, never quite establishing a rhythm to the pattern. I'm so busy watching his show that I'm not paying attention to the cigarette I’m holding. Fortunately, Gonzo notices that I'm about to set my fingers on fire, and he reaches out and grabs my hand. He gives it a shake and sends the cigarette to the ground where he carelessly stubs it out with his Clarks.

He lights another and hands it to me.

"Why me?" he asks.

I shrug.

"I just don't get it, man. What the gently caress is it about me?"

I ask myself the question, but it seems like the craziest one I've ever heard. The only thought that comes to mind is 'just look at you.' I don't have time to hold back. So that's what I say to him.

He chuckles as he drags on the cigarette. The orange light bounces on his cheeks as he shakes his head.

"You know. I'm afraid of everything. Whatever you think I am, you're way off."

I can't help but let out a little laugh, and he stops me. "I'm serious, Daniel."

He knows my name, and he is scolding me. My heart has no idea what to do.

"You've got more guts than me. You saw me, wanted me, and here you are. Then there's me. You think I have any interest in running lights for the rest of my life? Staying behind the scenes like that? gently caress it, man."

"What's keeping you in?"

"It's the only safe place left."

He stubs out the last cigarette and pulls me in close by my hip. He kisses me.

"Hope that's enough to make you happy," he says. "If I see you on my tail again, I'll kick your rear end."

He leaves me in the alley, and without him there to look at me, the fire from the cigarette continues up to my fingers and burns me as I drop it down to the ground.

My Shark Waifuu
Dec 9, 2012





In with https://scienceblog.com/521606/icecube-spots-first-ultra-high-energy-antineutrino-directly-observed-on-earth/

toanoradian
May 30, 2011


I'm not feeling motivated, but I realized that I have to write. Please give me an article.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


toanoradian posted:

I'm not feeling motivated, but I realized that I have to write. Please give me an article.

https://scienceblog.com/71036/facebook-feelings-are-contagious-study-shows/

SMEGMA_MAIL
May 4, 2018
my avatar is better than my posting

977 words

“Christ, you’re eating that stuff? I thought you were into healthy food.”
The soon to be Doctor Adams looked up from the sickly petri-dish grown clovers he was poking at. “It’s delicious! And safe to eat, despite that lovely glow. I think. It even has a bit more nutrients than the regular stuff.” Dr. Lee finished chewing up another handful of the sickly deep red glowing raw Spinach leaves.
“Let me remind you that you asked me, genius microbiologist that I am, for help with this ambitious research proposal.” Lee said. Adams sighed.
“Don’t get lost in the woods during your little backpacking trip tomorrow, genius. I’m sure it’ll be fun to digest raw spinach far away from modern plumbing. Hey seriously though, it looks like it triggers the bioluminescence even on the old, expired untagged Semtex”
“Just don’t lose that Semtex over the weekend. I will not, in fact, be answering my phone.” Lee gestured to what looked like colorless playdoh through the window of one of the labs. The array of leaves had just begun to glow minutes after being placed near the lab, with the nearest one glowing surprisingly bright. “Have fun with the data entry tomorrow! You’ve got what, 20 hours of watching plants grow to code?” Lee laughed as the exit door closed behind him.

CS2 Brown unlocked the back door of the Naval Weapons Station China Lake Galley with the usual morning sense of building dread as he started yet another day mass producing mostly boiled food on one of the most desolate military bases still operating in the United States. Brown grabbed a titanic pot and trudged over to the industrial fridge. The interior glowed an unnatural red. “The gently caress! This nasty poo poo again.” The produce supplier the base had decided to contract in its infinite wisdom kept sending them some of the contaminated strains Spinach. Not that it mattered much, it was edible though it had an extra iron-like taste than the regular stuff. When the strange strain that sometimes glowed had infected the food supply, it led to a national panic. People who lived near chemical plants and military bases at first began to notice the strange phenomenon. Eventually, an enterprising journalist traced back to some MIT lab experiment. It had been forgotten about a decade ago as an unique but ultimately impractical idea. Even the most amoral chemical companies and weapons manufacturers had universally adopted chemical scent tagging that was easily identified by electronic sniffer systems. Efforts had been made to eradicate the strain from the food supply, but without any actual health implications the already glacial FDA had dragged its feet. Most higher end growers took it upon themselves, but the military food supply chain is not known for being on the higher end.
Brown pulled out the duty phone and dialed. “Chief. Morning. Yeah, same glowing poo poo.” You think the supplier would be smart enough not to send the cheap stuff to one of the most active bomb and explosive testing ranges in the world, Brown thought. “Serve it anyway? Really….Fine, you better be the one who answers the call when the resident units start bitching this time. Yeah, goooood morning to you too.” Brown let more than his usual bitter tone slip out before he hung up.

Barry’s burner phone rang. He had been waiting for days on the other side of the border. He was mentally prepared for the risk he was about to take but the adrenaline dump still made his hands shake. His cell back in San Diego had bribed a local chemical engineer on the other side of the border with some skeletons in his closet to sneak one of the new infared activated plastic explosives, before the chemical tags could be put in. This also was before some of the safety measures to make sure that only a specific pattern of light frequently could set it off was completed in the manufacturing process. They still weren’t easy to accidentally set off as white light should counteract the chemical process that infrared triggered. Still, Barry was not particularly thrilled about that, but they didn’t exactly have the resources to have the chemical engineer do that outside the facility, plus the fact he was buried somewhere on a hillside in central Baja California. He was very, very careful to only repackage them into swallowable pills with all windows closed under a very bright white light with all the various electronics and remotes in the room inside the microwave.
“It’s time brother.” The voice then rattled off a list of about 20 letters and numbers before hanging up. Barry wrote them down on his one-time pad, converting the code into a safe house address on the other side of the border. He choked down the

A mentally exhausted Barry parked, still being careful to check his surroundings for anything amiss. It had only been a few houses, but he was hungry, tied and exhausted from the adrenaline. He hid it fairly well however, crossing without incident, without tipping off any of the sensors. Looks like that late chemical engineer told the truth, Barry though. Despite his hunger, he hadn’t touched his sandwich he picked up at a 7-Eleven, not wanting to stop and not wanting to distract himself while driving. He allowed himself a bite before getting out of the car. The greens tasted a bit odd, but the bite turned into him scarfing down the entire sandwich. Barry wiped his face, regained his composure and left the car. Carefully looking around the neighborhood, he walked up the driveway as casually as he possibly could. He knocked on the door, the suspicious look of the resident turning to relief. “Good to see you brother!” the man said. Barry felt a slight bit of indigestion as his cell leader patted him on the back.

Gorka
Aug 18, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In with https://scienceblog.com/521506/someone-to-watch-over-ai-and-keep-it-honest-and-its-not-the-public/

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


DON'T FORGET: There's just over ONE WEEK remaining on the magical sword brawl!

Due 27th March at 08:00 GMT

Hawklad posted:

fight me. :toxx:

crabrock posted:

challege accepted. :toxx:

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

I will take all y'all on. :toxx:

Weltlich posted:

I'm jumping into this cage match. :toxx:

Link to the original brawl prompt.

Mid-Priced Carp
Aug 10, 2008


I'm in.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED



You didn't ask but: https://scienceblog.com/71075/simulating-how-the-earth-kick-started-metabolism/

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


:siren: ENTRIES CLOSED :siren:

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.






angel opportunity posted:

Hey everyone! Feel free to yell at me or delete this, but I'm going to spam my book in here since Thunderdome is the entire reason I managed to become a professional writer etc. etc. I have a LitRPG (it's mostly fantasy though) that I'm putting up on Royal Road. It's REALLY close to breaking onto the front page of the site and getting way more momentum. If you are at all interested or just want to help me out, give it a read and if you enjoy it, giving me some star ratings (not review, just clicking the star rating thing) will help push the book closer to the front page.

This is my first non-romance thing that I've published that is doing well, and if it does well I can hopefully spend a lot less time writing romance and more time writing more fun stuff!

Here is the link! It's free to read: https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/41003/bronze-sun-the-red-smith-litrpg-crafting



Systran, you rascally son of a bitch! Hell yea, I'll read your lovely book! :D

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Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


It's Less Effort This Way
1037 words

Michael didn't want to look, in case she was there. It was early morning, and his footsteps pounded the short distance between his truck and his apartment. The front door slammed behind him. Its array of locks, chains, and bolts, all clicked shut. Knowing what was out there, he patted the brushed steel stake at his hip (it was secured to his belt loop with a carabiner and a retractable steel wire). He drew the stake in an icepick grip, raising it in front of his eyes, wire and all.

The stake pointed at the door. His boots retreated backward, eyes darted left and right. Black trousers bedecked with pockets and pouches, and the black polo shirt with SECURITY printed in fat white letters on its back. It rose and fell with his frantic breathing, slowly approaching his bedroom door.

When a lone drunkard needed ejecting from the nightclub, Michael would offer them a smoke: it might just spare him any violence. When the cigarette was a stump on the pavement, those wayward and staggering legs would stamp down, then struggle toward the club doors. They’d walk into the hand of Michael, or one of the other security guards, and never make it back through the door.

Smoke couldn’t get everybody out of the club, though. Even during the fire, when crowds rushed every exit.

“Is that the alarm?”

“Do we have to get out?”

No music, and bright lights illuminating the smoke haze, while flames consumed the bar. “Let me grab my drink first,” they’d say, with breath that smelled like it could ignite. Smoke seeped into Michael’s clothes that night. He took it home with him.

Mirrors crowded Michael’s walls, and bulbs of garlic huddled up in one corner of the kitchen: He knew what was out there. Door-handle in one hand, stake in the other, he breached his bedroom door. A figure stood in the corner of the room: His acoustic guitar.

Ultraviolet strip lighting cast a blue tint over his skin. The sunburn time was long enough to get changed into fresh clothes. He peered out of a window, which, like all of his windows, was sealed totally shut with silicone. She was on the street below: her pale figure, in her striped shirt, squinted at the purple light from Michael’s room. Those clothes must have been a decade old; frayed, faded. Under a horse chestnut tree, sheltered from the amber street lighting, her thumbs danced about the numbered and lettered buttons of her brick style mobile phone.

The smartphone lit Michael’s hand.

“Do you know where I am?” was the text she had sent.
“Stop bothering me. Now,” he replied. Her fanged smile shone in the amber light, before disappearing down the street in a cloud of smoke.

A roll of duct tape creaked in Michael’s hands, sealing the gaps around his bedroom door, over golden brown stains where he’d done this before. He groaned as he stood up, then checked the seals around each of the windows. No smoke, or creatures in the form of smoke, could get in. This was secure enough to rest on his bed and play guitar.

These songs were anthems when he was a partygoer at Club Catalan, long before he worked there (and what happened after). Singing the hypnotic wail at the start of Golden Skans brought him to those nights. Those nights he’d sit on the cold concrete steps, outside the fire exit, noticing the cold on his skin, all too buzzed to actually feel cold. Friends and strangers could light cigarettes there, talk about how much they loved each other, and laugh about anything, as the basslines of these anthems pulsed through the doors. These conversations were important at the time, but who can remember a single word of them now? There’s only the sincere gazes, the warmth of drunken smiles, and how they’d point their chin up to blow smoke.

A thud in the bathroom. Matthew’s palm silenced the guitar strings. The guitar flopped face down in the bed, as though it'd spend the night crying in despair. Michael began skulking again with his stake. He cursed the noise, cursed the UV lights that were burning his skin, and cursed the effort spent on the duct tape seal around his bedroom door. She had never been in the house. The closest she had ever been was standing beneath that tree, texting. They don’t go into the house without invitation, and Matthew never got to invite her. Yet there was a thud in the bathroom.

He didn’t check the bathroom that night. Was it better late than never? Being late could mean she’s in there. The door peeled open. Michael’s burned skin would also be peeling the next day.

Stake in hand, he smiled. ‘She’s in there,’ he thought. The mirrors caught his reflection, the garlic caught his shadow, and the air behind the bathroom door caught the swing of his stake. A bottle of shower gel lay in the bathtub, below its rack, and Michael started laughing. The bottle was nothing, but the conviction in his stab: that was something, and he laughed.

“Do you want to come over?” he texted.
“You’re inviting me?”
“Yes.”

Every lock on his door opened. He waited, stake in hand. Three knocks at the door, and a chime of the doorbell. His eye met the fisheye lens of the peephole. The smell of smoke reintroduced itself to his nostrils. Hers was the sharp smoke of the fire, but also the smooth smoke of those parties, and those conversations whose words were forgotten, and those times he bought his security with a cigarette.

The stake reeled itself beside his hip on its steel wire. Empty handed, he opened the door. They shared their gazes and sincere smiles, among the mirrors that only reflected Michael. There was no UV light from the bedroom, as they talked about important and forgettable things. He peeled open a window, and threw the garlic out of it.

“Just bite me, and get this over with,” he said, offering himself like a cigarette. He bled until he was cold and blue. She turned to smoke, and flew over the cubicle in the Club Catalan.

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