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Alicia Goranson
Plenty and Paucity
Plenty and Paucity


In the spirit of the holidays, and "Half Life: Full Life Consequences", I present to you the Christmas/Die Hard crossover you've all been begging for....


One night on Xmas, John McLane was with family. Presents were on tree and snow was in ornament and family was in eggnog.  John McLane's family said, "Where did the presents come from?" And John McLane said, "It was Santa. Because we have been good and I have kicked the bad guiyz asses so we have presents. You can open the presents but only the presents that Santa has given to you."
Just then Santa burst thru the roov, with slay crashing in living room. "No time!" Santa said. "I need you, John McLane, to help me save Chrisdmas."
"What is wrong?" John McLane said.
"I have given a present to Gargamel Gruber," Santa said. "I thought he was good but he played trick on me and switched my lists and so he is bad."
"That is a bad thing," John McLane said and took off his shoes and socks because that is what he did when kicked the bad guiyz asses and was a hero.
"Quick! Get in slay," Santa said. And John McLane got in the slay and he got out the gun present from Santa's bag so he would have a gun.
Santa backed up the slay and then he drove very far to the South Pole where there was a hole in the ground.
"Why are we at South Pole?" John McLane said.
"Because Gargamel Gruber is bad man and I need to get my other reindeer to face him," Santa said.
Santa drove his slay into the hole and they went to hell. The devil was there torchuring bad man. "I have coal for you," the devil said because it was deep underground and that's were coal was.
"It is not for me," Santa said. "I need to give that coal to Gargamel instead of the present."
And so Santa put the coal in box instead of his sack because that is how he told diference and made sure not to give good children coal. Then he went to see Krumpus who was feeding sticks and oil to the Black Reindeer who were not wussy like Donner and Rudolph and Sparkles the Reindeer. The Black Reindeer were all metal and had spikes and KISS faec paint and bazookas on shoulder and macehine guns on shoes. And they had computers and could call orbital laser strikes like you can that time in Call of Duty. And they had names like Bomber and Wizzen and Batman and Big Joe. And Big Joe was the biggest reindeer who had eated the most tar and bullets and nuclear wepons. And he had eated all the bombs in Die Hard with Vengenace in the schools so that the children would not be blown up and it would have maed the movie sad.
And the Krumpus put the Black Reindeer on slay and said, "Do you need me Santa" and Santa said, "No because I have John McLane."
Then Santa took his slay and the Black Reindeer and they went to Gargamel Gruber. And then NORAD threw bombs at Santa while he was flying slay because they thoght he was missile. And John McLane got on horn to them. He said, "We are not missile. You have been taken over by Nazi zombie and they told you we were missile. But we are Santa's slay and we are going to kick Gruber's ass."
And so NORAD saw they had been taken over by Nazi zombie and so they threw bombs at it and it did not get up again. And John McLane made sure to shoot its brane because that is only way to kill zombie. And the brane parts went flying and John McLane said, "That is what I will do to Gargamel Gruber when I find him if he does not give back the present which he does not deserve."
Gargamel Gruber lived in Castle Space Station which was in space and had cannon. "I know your weakness" he called to Santa when he saw slay coming for him into space. And he fired cannon and out came Mrs. Clauz tied to space shuttle. "Oh no!" Santa said "I have to save Mrs. Clauz You need to stop Gargamel Gruber because that is I brought you because you are hero and I am Santa."
And so John McLane got on Big Joe the Black Reindeer who was chewing on AK-47s and he said "Big Joe you must take me into space. Don't worry about me. I wil hold breath."
And so Big Joe fired rockets and jumped between asteroids until he got to Castle Space Station. but Gargamel Gruber had Sirberuss on chain and it said with its three heads "You cannot come in here John McLane because I will bite you and you cannot live with three bites at once."
And John McLane said, "I am sorry Big Joe but I need your steaks" and Big Joe said "I am tough Reindeer and can grow mnay steaks you may take them." And John McLane cut out steaks from Big Joe and threw them at Sirberuss who ate them and let them by.
Then John McLane beat up all the men who were guarding Gargamel Gruber and he smashed their heads together and they were knocked out. They called out that they were ready for him and put down poyzin oak for his bare feet but John McLane was sneaky and got behind them and knocked them out anyway. And they say, "How did you knock us out with itchy feet?" And John McLane said, "It is because I am John McLane and nothing will stop me until bad men go away and there is justice in world."
And John McLane burst into room with Gargamel Gruber who was seventy feet tall because he took all drugs and was not a winner. And he said, "Gargamel Gruber you must give back the present that is not yours." And he saw the present was still wrapped. So John McLane said, "You are bad man so why have you not opened present yet?"
"Because it is not Christmas," Gargamel Gruber said. And John McLane felt sorry for him because Gargamel Gruber was good man inside a bad man. So he ripped open the bad man and pulled out the good man who was trapped inside the bad body.
"Thank you!" Gargamel Gruber said. "I did not want to do bad things. Now I will only do good."
"Then you get present!" John McLane said. And Santa came in with Mrs. Clauz and they had mistletoe and they kissed under mistletoe.
And Gargamel Gruber opened present and it was a unicorn like he had always wanted but he bad brothers would not let him have.
"It is Chirstmas miracle! This is best day evar!" Gargamel Gruber said.
"It is the season!" John McLane said. "Yippie Ki Yay Merry Chirstmas!"
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It looks like my work here is done. Thanks, William :)
This has been an interesting listen...
...reminiscent of a Mythos tale.

All these people are so insane... X-D
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Poemblog 07/02/13 - Minority Report Revisited

Today's poemblog is about a great new software to give you the edge in proving the legality of illegal actions to corrupt officials!

Audio player at the link below. I perform every poemblog with music!

In land of Mother Russia
Where each second is recorded
On cameras in every car
that catch the details sordid
We're pleased to offer beta tests
for our new application
Available on iOS
And every other station
It monitors your video
And prepares it for Court
We're pleased to give our software's name
"Minority Report."
It's 3d engine and AI
have got the smarts we gave it.
It tweaks your camera's video
Before it tries to save it.
A fruit cart here, a small box there
Changes enough in time.
Your car's recorded video
Absolves you of all crime.
We want to give a little help
For those who need the clout
It's purpose in the courts
Is to spread questioning and doubt.
To qualify for our beta
funds must be of no object
And then you're free to go off
And find some naive suspect
And run them down or shoot them
And in court you'll have a ball
Saying, "Oh no, judge and jury
It was not like that at all."
They'll show what's on the cameras
From the street and suspect too
And then they'll show yours, which doesn't
Match, what else is there to do?
Plus we will discreetly transfer
Funds through backdoors, bonds, and wavers
To the case's judges to ensure
They'll find it in your favor.
We humbly serve the con-artists
and those who master lies.
Soon, none will trust recordings.
They'll be left with just their eyes.
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A Child's First Conspiracy

Mother is not here to stop you from reaching the cookie jar on top of the refrigerator. You know you can get it when you pull the chair over to it and stack the flour tin on it. Reaching up on your tippie-tip toes, your fingers inch back the cookie jar until it falls. You clutch it to your chest. Today it is filled with Pepperidge Farm cookies, each as wide as your hand, with big chunks of chocolate on top. These are Mother's - you're only supposed to have the Chips Ahoy. Today you will have the Adult's Cookies.
A foot shuffles. Your little brother Tim is staring at you. Now that you are staring at him, he has to say something. "I'm telling Mother."
Tim has always been very good, the little brown-noser.

You can:
A) Put the cookies back and plead to the good nature of his heart.
B) Know that if this be grand theft cookie, make the most of it. Enjoy your cookies now and await your punishment.

The answer, of course, is C) hop down from the tin and chair, the impact showing Tim who's boss, and thrust a cookie at him. He knows enough not to take it and shakes his head. You thrust the cookie at his tight-closed lips and wipe some of the big chunks of chocolate on his shirt.
"If you tell, I'm saying you had one too," you inform him. You break yours in half and hold out the piece for him to take.
Tim starts to cry because you've messed his shirt.
"No, no, it's okay," you say, and put both halves on the table. You bring Tim to the sink and scrub the chocolate from his shirt with a sponge. The soap removes most of the brown stain, but leaves a dark wet spot that makes him cry even harder.
You sit him down at the table and wait for him to simmer down.
"Mother doesn't have to find out," you say. "Just put on a new shirt. Put that one in the hamper. I won't tell."
You slide his cookie over to him. You take another for yourself and hold it. "We'll eat together, okay?" you say. "I won't start first."
Tim has mourning the passing of his innocence, but he isn't ready to go into full-on punk opposition against the system. He mostly stares at his shirt, glancing up at his half and back down. As with everything, you have to break the stalemate.

You can:
A) Take a bite of your half and show off the delectable softness and enormous chocolate chunks contained in Adult Snacks.
B) Get your 3DS from the table and record video of Tim as he is now with the cookie half in close proximity.

The answer, of course, is C) fabricate a story about the time Mother Was Wrong And Tim Knew It. "You remember when the dog knocked over Mother's magazines but she thought it was you? And she made you go to your room?" you say.
Tim purses his lips, remembering the time Mother sent him to his room last, but not why.
"I told Mother it was the dog but she didn't believe me," you say. "Well, you get a cookie for it now."
Tim lets the idea creep into his mind. You watch as the dark side takes hold of him. He reaches for a bit of crumb and chews it slow.
You are now free to munch on your half.
Then the doorbell rings. Tim hops down and runs to get it. He is expecting company.
At the door, Jenny, Tim's best friend from nearby, is there. She has more Pokémon than Tim does and she's here to trade.
Tim swings the door open for her because he is a gentleman and has been well-trained. "Come on in," he says. "Do you want a cookie?"
The little scamp is more of a suck-up than the avatar of moral fiber in the community. Your disgust shows through. Pepperidge Farm cookies are substantially larger than your regular cookies, and thus Mother would be more likely to notice the evaporation of two.
"We only have half of one," you say. "But we have some crackers too."
Jenny doesn't want half a cookie. She'll have the whole one or nothing.
"I'll get one," Tim says and darts for the kitchen.
You hurry after him, out of earshot of Jenny. "Mother's going to see if there's two missing," you say. You show him the jar, in which the cookies are stacked one on top of the other. With two gone, there is a significant distance between the top of the jar and the first cookie.
"Jenny wants a cookie and she's a guest," Tim says.

You can:
A) Remind him that Jenny isn't allowed to have one, knowing full well his brain will not connect that with you and him not being allowed to have one.
B) Give him your half and watch him in his many failed up-coming attempts to put the two halves together.

Of course, the answer is C) to carry the cookie jar up the chair to the top of the flour tin, and slide it back onto the top of the fridge. Tim says your name repeatedly, with all the subtlety of a conductor pleading to a runaway locomotive, as you put the flour tin back on the counter.
"Tell her she can have a cookie if she gets it herself," you say.
The gears in Tim's brain jam with a paralysis known only by 1960's computers given a paradox. You take another bite of your half, which is god-fucking delicious, and go out to see Jenny in the living room. She is taller than you and surely would not need a flour tin for extra height.
"Come on," you say and lead her to the fridge. "The cookies are up there. You can have one."
Jenny's household must have a more lenient attitude towards cookie acquisition, or possibly a stricter one, as it is hard to tell by her matter-of-fact climb onto the chair and her pull of the cookie jar into her hands. This isn't her house, after all, and only good things come from other people's houses, particularly grandparents'.
Tim's cookie half still lies on the table. You glance at him as Jenny sinks her teeth into her own. "I love these," she says between chews.
Having two people enjoying ill-gotten gains in front of him is enough to convince Tim to swipe up and chew another crumb from his half.
Jenny begins talking about the business of trading. Now is the time to prepare. with two big cookies gone, the chances of Mother finding out are higher than originally anticipated. And Tim is going to blab something to Mother.

You can:
A) Wait until Jenny leaves and show him how much of his cookie he nibbled, revealing him complicity but promising never to say a word if he doesn't.
B) Convince Jenny to trade him a rare shiny Pokémon with really high EV values on the promise that he'll keep quiet about you-know-what.

Of course, the answer is C) go and dump one of Mother's flower pots in his room. He's always been fascinated with the dirt in them and now he has something bigger to worry about from Mother.
You go off to your room to read. You finish your cookie and seethe about Jenny who got a whole one and totally didn't deserve it. One day you will get her back. But not today. Today, you will have half of Adult's Cookies, and by God, it is ten times better than the handful of brown sugar you ate last week.
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Hey folks,
I want to give a shout-out to +Kevin McCarthy who is working on a documentary on transgender geeks, and geeks who play with gender. He interviewed me, +Jennifer Pelland , +Susan Wolf, Gina Kamentsky and other folks back in October. You should check his blog out.
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Back in 2008 when I was still a member of the National Writer's Union (NWU), they gathered several of us authors in a locally produced documentary to discuss our First Books (mine was Supervillainz, as you can see in the preview below) - how they were made, who published them, and what we learned from the experience.

I just found that this documentary was uploaded in March 2012. It's about half an hour and my portion of the interview is scattered throughout, from the beginning to the end.
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How to Make a Bad Film

Okay, makers of intentionally bad media? The Asylum? Most exclusive shows on Raven Banner and your "Manborg"? I feel like you're missing the point of enjoyable bad cinema. Of course, there's the cheese, and the audacity, and the fact that it's a miracle to pull off any movie at all. But I'd like to propose a method for getting at the heart of creating bad cinema and keeping it compelling to the audience.

Start by inventing the creator of this film.

To make a bad film, start by creating the character of someone who will make a bad film while trying to make something great. (Look to the failures of Birdemic and Manos - each the focus of one creator.) Figure out what character flaws this person has (extreme ego, hand fetish, inability to tell when people are acting), what their obsessions are, and then plan about how such a person would write and shoot the film. They could be trying to replicate a feeling they have (like a suburban white man driving through a poor neighborhood once) which has a real effect on them. They could be trying to recreate another film they saw which have a profound effect on them. They could have a latex inflation fetish and believe that under prolonged exposure they could warp into another world. Give them things they want to strive for and things they couldn't give two shits about. Determine how horribly this could come across when done without the cinematic vocabulary to express this feeling.

For example, Danny Hoovron is scared that when he dies, his version of Heaven only lets you experience places you've already been to on Earth. So whenever he goes to a building, he has to explore every room and get behind every door, fearing that when he dies, he'll be trapped in an afterlife in which he'll never get to find out what was behind a door if he doesn't find out about it now. He decides to make a horror film about this fear, about monsters eating away the world. (He's seen the Langoliers but he's forgotten that he has and would never admit to it.) Due to the budget, it involves scenes in which include a camera turning away, and then turning back, only to see a blanket painted the color of a green screen has been dropped down, obscuring a part of the room. They'll fix that in post, right? Well, not quite...

Think about how they'd cast their actors. Would they go to a specific theater company, something like Stagesource, or use their friends/relatives? What kind of direction would they give? Act it out. What bad habits do they have? Don't even give them the skills of Roger Corman - have this be their first or second film project they've ever been on.

Think about - are they a conspiracy theorist? Do they have a particular religious, political, or economic agenda behind their work? How badly can you have them screw up the metaphors they are using to express this feeling?

Like they'd keep a copy the source text on the Lord of the Rings set, if there is a question on the set of this film, run it through the "What Would Our Creator Do?" filter. Figure out moments on set when the creator would say, "Screw it! Good enough!" What corners are this creator cutting? What scenes would they absolutely be putting all their energy into (see any CGI scenes in the Star Wars prequels vs. the live-action stuff)?

Plan a few failures, such as when they fail to run the credits in Manos over the beginning driving footage. Maybe a prominent actor quits and has to be replaced halfway through shooting and they have to hide the fact.

Don't plan the film around the film itself - make the true story of the film about its creator. The film is only the by-product of their failure. What's enthralling about bad films is the peek they give behind the curtain of their production - that which is left unspoken - you know, the real meat of all great cinema.
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The Mask of Inanna has won the 2012 Parsec Award in the Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form) category at Dragon*Con.

This is the acceptance speech I had written up beforehand (in case I won):

Back in 2008, a friend of a friend, Neil Marsh of The Post-Meridian Radio Players, approached me about doing a show idea he had. I spent a year and a half writing scripts. At the end though, he said he wasn't sure we'd find someone to do the vast amount of post-production such a show would require. I asked him to teach me.

The Mask of Inanna has been a learning process for us all. For our amazing cast, including Andy Lebrun, Nellie Farrington, Doug Miller, and Katherine Bryant, all traditional theater actors, it involved learning to speed up their deliveries, eliminate their affectation and end their sentences on an up beat.

For our incredible support team, Emma Lathan, Lisa Sturgeon and Paul Dworkin, it involved learning to arrive at the church early Saturday mornings to clear out the Sunday School and put up the sound dampening blankets.

And for me, in this, my first jaunt into the auditory medium, it involving learning to slice through dialog in Audition on weekends and vacations, through hurricanes and blackouts. And for y'all, it involved learning to wait two months for the next episode. I know it's not traditional, but deep down, there isn't anything traditional about The Mask of Inanna.

From everyone at The Post-Meridian Radio Players, Theater at First and myself, thank you to hearing us learn. And rock out. And bedazzle. Thank you, Parsec judges and honored listeners, for this award. Thanks for listening. Let's do it again sometime.
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The Mask of Inanna and Second Shift, both troupes who share some actors, are finalists for the 2012 Parsec Awards - Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form) category.
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