Print Story Suspended Sentence
By TheophileEscargot (Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 10:49:02 PM EST) Reading, Listening, MLP (all tags)
Listening: "Building Great Sentences". Reading: "The Dreaming Void". Coming soon? Web.

What I'm Listening To
Latest TTC course was Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft by Brooks Landon. Pretty specialized: the 24 lectures not only concentrate mainly on sentence construction, but on a particular kind of sentence he calls the cumulative sentence.

Fairly handy, but a bit US-centric. He spends a lot of time trying to un-teach bad, formulaic composition advice that is apparently taught in US colleges; emphasizing short, boring sentences. However, in the unStrunked remainder of the English-speaking world, a lot of that seems pointless.

One thing he pointed out was that Hemingway did make some use of semi-colons (see Wikiquote for examples). He did make judicious use of long sentences, and when he did often used long strings of semi-colon-delimited clauses to put them together.

The course doesn't put much emphasis on formal grammar: he's more interested in creating emotional affect than getting things strictly correct.

Overall, fairly interesting. You'd need to spend time and effort working through the exercises and putting the theories into practice to derive any benefit from it in your own writing, however. Don't really care enough myself.

What I'm Reading
Finished The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton. First volume of the Void Trilogy, set in the same universe as the Commonwealth Saga, but set 1,500 years later with only a few of the same characters.

I enjoyed it a lot, but I think you have to be into SF to read it: the characters and their relationships are painfully badly done, and the writing is pretty clunky with enormous info-dumps of exposition. However, he does seem to have upgraded a bit since the Commonwealth and Night's Dawn trilogies: this time the first volume has more action than set-up, and the females aren't described quite as lubriciously.

What you do get for your money is an enormous slice of good old space opera. With the weak-minded mundanes weeded out we're free to have as much complexity as we like: ultrafast and enormous spaceships from various factions dashing around the galaxy, cyber-augmented James Bond type agents in search of a couple of human McGuffins, several enormous battle fleets and a classic Big Dumb Object. There's also a quite neat fantasy-ish story worked in. Hamilton alternates between multiple viewpoints as usual.

Overall, if you like space opera, this is certainly worth a look. Doesn't really need you to read the Commonwealth Saga first, but since the second and third Void volumes aren't out yet, you might want to read a complete series. There's not a lot of plot resolution here.

Coming Soon
Next TTC is Religions of the Axial Age: An Approach to the World's Religions (Axial age WP). Then either Great Philosophical Debates: Free Will and Determinism or Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations.

Borrowed some books. I'm not sure that I'll finish. Economics of the Public Sector by Sara Connolly and Alistair Munro: may just skim through the later sections. It's meant as a undergraduate textbook: lots of charts, sidebars and differential equations, but suffers a distinct lack of narrative flow.

YouTube: The best and most ridiculous fight ever filmed.

Totem Destroyer Flash game.

Polish movie posters

Anti-gay comic (MeFi).

Wiggly lines illusion

Russian business suffers from Georgia crisis.

Economics: John Lewis-style Shared capitalism works, but why?

Economics of secessionist movements (via MR)

We suggest that the common economic interest of the minority of the population that is rich, as identified by Buchanan and Faith, functions as the vital ingredient in identity politics. That is, secessionist political communities invent themselves when part of the population perceives secession to be economically advantageous.
Before elaborating, it might be useful to give a concrete example of this process at its clearest, namely Scottish nationalism...
< I miss DU's entries | autumn sneaks up on me >
Suspended Sentence | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 hidden)
Yeah Economics does matter by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:17:53 PM EST
In terms of sucession certainly in the UK. Scotland has North Sea oil and has a vigourous movement towards independence. Wales has nothing comparable to the oil and gains economically from being in the union at at least in terms of tax redistribution so funnily enough there's not much talk of independence rather more autonomy even by Plaid. As the Welsh seem even more anti-English than the Scots, it's the economics isn't it?

That's an argument they make by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:26:33 PM EST
But you could argue that natural resource wealth just makes independence seem more practical: that they both want independence, but only the Scots think it's feasible.

What interests me is that if you look at the ex-Soviet states, countries that have had one break up often have further break-ups afterwards. Also if you look at Scotland, there have historically been quite significant economic and religious differences between the Highlands and the Lowlands.

So if the theory is true, what's likely to happen after Scottish independence is that the Highlands declare independence from the Lowlands in order to stop the Lowlanders getting their greedy hands on Highland oil...
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Yeah but by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 01:35:50 AM EST
There is a common sense of Scottishness between the highlands and lowlands. Just as there's a similar sense of shared Englishness between the North and the South of England despite differences in culture and economics. I can hardly understand Geordies, they resent London but they don't deny that they are fellow Englishmen.

The post Soviet states are based around borders drawn up basically under Stalin and are as much natural national states as the countries in post colonial Africa.

[ Parent ]
But they suggest that by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #5 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 02:22:50 AM EST
...a more realistic characterization of secessionist movements is that their sense of political identity is typically a recent contrivance designed to support perceived economic advantage, if the secession is successful, and facilitated by popular ignorance.
So if they're correct, after independence the Highlanders will conveniently start to "re"discover a sense of political identity. Could be a useful test case.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Shetland more likely by herbert (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 02:44:18 AM EST
oil fields map

And they hardly need to redevelop an identity, what with them being islands, a long way away, and formerly belonging to Norway, if I remember correctly.

Looking at the map you can predict a resurgent Kingdom of East Anglia as well.

[ Parent ]
Thanks for that. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #4 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 01:43:45 AM EST
The "Short Circuit 2" poster is wonderful!

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Yep, it pretty much says it all by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #6 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 02:25:04 AM EST
Short Circuit 2
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
It's like an Eighties Oingo-Boingo album cover. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #17 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 07:19:24 PM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
The fight scene by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #8 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 03:04:19 AM EST
itself wasn't that bad, but the ending lines were true awfulness. Even Stallone, in all his cheesiness, had great lines for the end of a fight, no matter how absurd the fight was..

Hey by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #9 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 03:52:08 AM EST
I thought We'll keep an eye out for you was pretty good.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
but the by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #11 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 05:35:04 AM EST
"yeah.. see ya".. I mean, if the film was meant to be a parody of kung pow movies, OK.. But his seemed like the writers coke blitz ran out when it came to that line..

[ Parent ]
I don't know . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #16 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 04:32:57 PM EST
. . . I sorta liked that hook at the end.

[ Parent ]
For a 1994 HK film? by Scrymarch (4.00 / 2) #10 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 05:19:24 AM EST
It's like the entire cast and crew was on valium and methylated spirits.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
Bad writing advice by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #12 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 05:55:02 AM EST
I don't know that it is bad advice so much as advice targeted towards business writing.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
I beg to differ... by atreides (4.00 / 1) #13 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 07:09:22 AM EST
Since I couldn't find it on YouTube, I suggest you go out, rent yourself a copy of Holy Weapon and watch the first fight.  That fight is the most awesome and most ridiculous fight you will ever see on celluloid.  I give you the Atreides guarantee!  It has been at least a decade since the first time I saw it and I have yet to see it's equal!

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

can it be better and worse by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #14 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 12:48:41 PM EST
than the "They live" fight over getting the guy to wear sunglasses ?

[ Parent ]
Can it? Yes. Yes it can. by atreides (4.00 / 1) #15 Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 02:10:27 PM EST
Though, I now see that this is more about realistically ridiculous fights than what I'm talking about.  My entry involves some wuxia...

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

[ Parent ]
I'm not sure about writing courses by nebbish (4.00 / 2) #18 Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:51:10 AM EST
I think the time might be better spent reading widely and writing. It's a very subjective thing as well, and hanging off the opinions of one writer might not be a good thing.

It's political correctness gone mad!

All good writers..... by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 2) #19 Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 03:45:50 PM EST
... seem to have been voracious readers.

Learning by example is the best way to learn I suppose.

[ Parent ]
Suspended Sentence | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 hidden)