Saturday, February 18

On Hiatus (and some Recommended Reading)

So I'm taking a break from this blog for a while.

I could tell you it's because I'm so busy with real life stuff, or that I have to focus more on my fiction writing, but that would be both dishonest and predictable of me.

Truth is I'm a damaged and broken human being who's started to genuinely dread the 'pressure' of posting*, and that's not fun for anyone. I'd rather take a break and get my inspiration back than keep forcing myself to post lifeless, mediocre stuff, you know?

I just need to be quiet for a while. Maybe a month. Or less. Or more. We'll see.

In the meantime, here are some amazing blogs to keep you occupied during my silence:

^Wow. Those are just the blogs I really like and keep up with. There's almost thirty of them - no wonder I don't get through many books! I was going to write descriptions of each one, but then I didn't. Suffice to say they range from personal blogs to writing blogs, some comedy, some fashion, some feminism, some by people I know well, some by people I would totally stalk if they lived near me**. If this list doesn't keep your brain occupied while I'm away, I don't know what will.

But anyway, thanks for reading. I have the best, smartest, funniest, kindest, wisest, sweetest, sexiest readers in the world. True story.

* #whitegirlproblems
** I'm a lazy stalker.

Thursday, February 16

Flash Fiction: Psychic Kitty

My entry for The Fairy Ring Writing Contest over at Yearning For Wonderland. Because I could never pass up a chance to write about fairies, right?

Psychic Kitty

“Hey dude, you ever wonder what your cat’s looking at?” asked Amy.

Lil took a sip of wine, “You think my cat’s schizo?”

“Or what if he sees things we don’t? Cats' eyes are always focusing on 'imaginary' stuff. Even chasing it. What if he’s seeing things on another level?”

“What like, ghosts?” Lil looked at her innocent grey tom.

“Nah, a cat wouldn’t chase ghosts around –”

“Maybe the ghosts of mice.”

“Mice don’t get ghosts.”

“Look who’s suddenly an expert on the supernatural,” Lil snorted, “Please, what’s my cat seeing? Bunnies from parallel dimensions?”

“I’m thinking more like fairies.”

“I’m thinking you need to get your head examined.”

“Why not?" said Amy, "Animals have better instincts than humans… what about those goats who know when earthquakes are coming?”

“Well, since you’ve brought up the irrefutable scientific evidence of the goats who know when earthquakes are coming, I guess I have to submit to your premise.”

“You can get all sarcastic, missy!” Amy grinned, “But life’s full of weird shit.”

“The weirdest shit this cat’s ever done is somehow convince himself that I enjoy seeing dead birds on my doorstep in the mornings,” Lil scooped up the tom and looked into his green eyes, “Are you psychic, my fluff? Are you a psychic kitty?”

“Well, obviously he’s not gonna admit to it…” said Amy cheekily. 

The cat had decided he’d had enough of this patronizing cuddle-fest and squirmed out of Lil’s lap.

He strutted outside into the pale light of the new moon, raising himself up on two legs which quickly became straighter, more humanoid, as he effortlessly morphed into his true form: a proud faerie prince with a plush grey fur coat.

Smirking, he decided it was a good night to hex some sparrows. 

(Words: 306. Doh!)
Here are the contest details, and other entries!

Monday, February 13

SHERLOCK VID! The Gay Translation of the Roof Scene [Includes Spoilers]

Guys, remember how in my review of Sherlock season two I wrote out my ever-so-slightly perverted interpretation of the roof scene conversation?


Well I had a great laugh this weekend when I saw my very gay interpration translation come to life in this amazing video, made by my endlessly talented sister who, lucky for me, also happens to have a lot of time on her hands. Thanks Stas!

So now I present to you: the official video, made exclusively for Dasia Has A Blog, of that ridiculously erotic roof scene...



And don't ask why Lady Gaga is playing in the background - I negotiated away from Miley Cyrus! Also, my sister insists, it's a blindingly clever play on words because see Gaga is singing about the edge of glory, and Sherlock and Moriarty are on the EDGE of a ... building.

Here's a transcript for- erm - for shits and giggles!

MORIARTY: So I've been stalking you for fifteen years because I just like watching you DANCE. And we have so much in common - we both know what kind of underwear is reserved exclusively for gays.
SHERLOCK: Oh, you! *blush* I figured out that computer code by the way, because I don't care about the solar system but memorized the precise timing of your every movement when you came over.
MORIARTY: LOL no, I was just messing with you! You're so normal! Your friends are making tea for my snipers! Kill yourself!
SHERLOCK: Aw goddamnit.......... NO WAIT TROLOLOL
MORIARTY: Say what?
SHERLOCK: You can call them off with a secret code or word, so I don't have to die AS LONG AS I'VE GOT YOU.
MORIARTY: You can't make me do what I don't want to do. *sassy face*
SHERLOCK: [some bullshit about angels roughly translated as] But I'm like you, I've got no morals or conscience, I'm WILLING TO DO ANYTHING, I've got no limits or boundaries so you can burn me, humiliate me, own me any way you like... so let's go to your place and test the mattress.
MORIARTY: OMG thank you! Bless you! Let me touch you! But actually I'd rather kill myself. *BANG*

I love that after 26 comments on the original post, nobody's offered me a decent non-perverted interpretation of this scene. That's because this isn't an interpretation so much as a translation!

So that pretty much made my weekend! I'm still grinning. Having a blog is awesome.

Friday, February 10

Review: The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams

 You know what I loved? It was an easy, quick, completely whimsical read with some laugh-out-loud moments. Almost every line delightfully charming, it's easy to see why this is a classic with so many pale imitators.

You know what kind of sucked? Nothing about the book itself, but how my experience of it was altered by the fact that I'm definitely not the first person to think it's awesome. The first time I saw the movie, I don't think I even knew it was based on a book. It's one of those pleasant watch-it-if-it's-on kind of movies that I've ended up seeing a handful of times – the upside of which is that I had Arthur Dent cast firmly as Martin Freeman in my mind, though back in the days before Sherlock Martin Freeman was only in my head as That Guy Who's Very Very Good At Playing Normal Guys.

The massive downside of knowing the movie well is that a lot of stuff was spoiled for me. I even remembered exactly what the bowl of petunias falling onto Magrathea was going to say. Though the ending was quite different, which was a pleasant surprise (remember back in the day when people used to actually adapt stories for screenplays instead of just making sequel after sequel?) and it certainly ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I'm keen to read the rest of the series.

You know what was weird? Theoretically, I shouldn't have enjoyed it. It broke a lot of rules that usually make fiction unbearable for me: there was a ludicrous amount of adverbs, it was sorta sexist*, and the narrative voice had that slightly mocking self-aware tone that usually makes me want to rip my eyes out when amateur writers attempt it. But somehow, through magic or, more likely, mad skills, everything works, because the story remains anchored to an unpretentious style and a fiery, confident imagination.

I gladly give it 4 / 5. Adams got through my stylistic hang-ups by charming my pants off, and I liked it.

*I say sorta sexist because the only woman in the story (and by proxy, in the galaxy) had no agency, no opinions, no impact on the plot whatsoever. Hell, she barely got any lines. It irked me.

Thursday, February 9

Comedikachu, I choose you!

So, genre - what's up with that?

I recently took a lame quiz in order to determine my direction in life. I got this rather ominous result:

You Should Be a Joke Writer

You're totally hilarious, and you can find the humor in any situation.
Whether you're spouting off zingers, comebacks, or jokes about life...
You usually can keep a crowd laughing, and you have plenty of material.
You have the makings of a great comedian - or comedic writer.

So the question is, does a writer choose a genre - or is it the other way round? Could I write bodice-ripping romance stories with gag-inducing sincerity, or hardboiled detective novels without falling asleep at the keyboard?

Some may turn to religion for these big questions. I turn to Stephen King:

Sometimes I speak before groups of people who are interested in writing or literature, and before the question-and-answer period is over, someone always rises and asks the question: Why do you choose to write about such gruesome subjects?

I usually answer this with another question: Why do you assume that I have a choice?

Writing is a catch-as-catch-can sort of occupation. All of us seem to come equipped with filters on the floors of our minds, all the filters having differing sizes and meshes. What catches in my filter may run right through yours. What catches in yours may pass through mine, no sweat. All of us seem to have a built-in obligation to sift through the sludge that gets caught in our respective mind-filters.... The sludge that catches in the mesh of my drain is often the stuff of fear.

- Stephen King, Night Shift (Introduction)

Isn't that a neat thought? That genre is not a choice but rather an obligation, some built-in leaning you have to discover rather than invent. In this ridiculous writerly world of drafting, editing, rewriting, re-editing, agents, queries, self-publishing, indie publishing, small presses, the big six, and fifty gazillion things you have to decide with nothing to guide you but your gut and the bad decisions those around you have made... it's nice to know some things are meant to come naturally.

I have no idea what my genre is. I know I like writing funny things, morbid things, and ludicrously postmodern things. And maybe that's all I need to know. It's not the most popular or maybe even the most sensible combination, but at least I know my brain's filter-meshy things are working.

So, writer friends, what catches in the mesh of your drain? Do you like the idea of having a genre, or reject the whole concept? And, most importantly - doesn't Comedikachu totally sound like a real Pokémon?

Monday, February 6

How To Suck A Little Less At Twitter

Have timeline, will bitch.

I'm hardly a social media expert, but I'm nothing if not a social media addict. There's plenty of advice out there on how to be great at twitter - be funny, be interesting, be a good curator, blah blah blah. But I've got a few pet peeves that I haven't seen mentioned on any of these lists.

Protip. (source)

This is by no means a definitive list on how to behave on twitter. The average user (myself included) probably does a few of these now and then, because we all sorta suck, right?

My mission is a small and achievable one: to suck a little less at twitter. Here are some fun tips to make that happen:

Stop detailing your bodily functions. If all you tweet is I’m so hungry! or I’m so full! then you may as well just name your account after your stomach. Same goes with I’m soooo cold. Following accounts from both hemispheres, I’ve constantly got someone whinging about being cold in my timeline. It’s dull. You’re giving me nothing. I want insight. I want a new perspective. I want frostbitten spirit-fingers!

Quit the TMI app. Specifically, abusing the TMI feature by making every tweet ridiculously long and drawn out. The joy of twitter is that it’s a series of short, readily available, self-contained messages. Usually I only click through if you’ve offered a particularly interesting comment on something you’ve retweeted, and I want to see the whole retweet. But if you start with ‘You know what’s wrong with the world…’ then I am so not clicking through.

Stop tweeting inane decontextualized song lyrics. Maybe you’re listening to this amazing song and it’s bringing your soul to delicious musical orgasm, but twitter is a text-based experience and all I see on my screen is ‘baby baby baby oh baby baby baby no’ - and I just don’t give a duck.

Limit the text speak. Perfectly acceptable for your average tweeter with three bots following them. But what blows my mind is when self-proclaimed writers use text speak when it's not necessary (we've all had to make sacrifices to save that -1 character.) But dude, you’re trying to sell me a book you wrote? You better damn well show me that you know how English works.

Quit being didactic or overly philosophical. Thinking out loud isn't always equivalent to making other people think. Being high-minded now and then is refreshing, but if every tweet is an abstract attempt at being deep, you're probably coming off pretentious (at best.)

For the love of pie, quit with the ever-so-unique nicknames for people in your life. You can’t just say my husband or Dave (if your husband’s name happens to be Dave), oh no! It has to be The Man, The S.O., Mister BetterHalfington, and all that shit. And kids become The Princess or Little Winner. You’re not being cute and creative. You’re being that married person or parent who makes all the other married people or parents look like lame, kitschy dorks.

Now that I've alienated everybody ever, here are some things other people say to stop doing, that I say keep doing on twitter:

Swearing. Apparently not many people like swearing on twitter, but I think if that's part of your personality, don't censor yourself to appeal to the masses. Fuckbuckets.

Drunktweets. Yup, it's an art, and completely depends on what kind of drunk you are. I happen to be a happy and inappropriate drunk, so my drunktweets are by far what gets me the most followers. Unless you're tweeting on behalf of your boss, or your parole officer is following you, I'd say drunktweets are harmless fun.

Oversharing. Twitter is beautiful because it gives you the freedom to post whatever you want. And if you want to post “The thing that bothered me about my ex is that he had really weird junk.” then I am totally gonna follow you and favourite that shit.

Did I miss anything? What would you add to the list, or take off it? Have you ever tweeted about a fire before fully evacuating the building? Share in the comments!

Friday, February 3

Review: A Sudden Bout Of The Plague

Last night I had a tickle in my throat. This morning I felt for a dagger sticking out of my neck. That's right, kids - I have the plague again. And because I don't have the heart to leave you guys without a review two weeks in a row, please enjoy this out-of-ten approximation of my misery.

Suddenness: 8 / 10. Truly impressive, would recommend. If you're looking to get out of a fun weekend or a shotgun wedding quickly, just let me know and I'll email you some of my germs!

Plaguiness:  7 / 10. Quite plaguey, especially seeing as it's just getting started.

Boutiness: 10 / 10. It's a fun word, isn't it, boutiness? I wish it were real.

Reviewability: 6 / 10. Not as reviewable as a book but far more reviewable than a passing phase of existential doubt.

Forethought and Planning in Event of the Plague: 0 / 10. I had planned to casually read a hundred pages of the book I'm busy with, to get a review done today. But I decided to pass out for the majority of the day. If it's any consolation, I had fever-dreams about some water park I was trying to review for you guys. I even had a screen full of text in my dream.

Odds of Survival: 6.6 / 10. I've had bronchitis twice before. So this is either going to be a piece of cake, or the third bout that kills me.

Temperature: 3 / 10. An unimpressive 37.3 C. I'm sure it was higher before the Degoran, but I don't care about my blog enough not to take medicine. Medicine is my favourite.

Achiness: forever / 10. My back, hips and every single joint is radiating unhappiness. This must be what Woody Allen feels like all the time.

Sexy Croaky Voice: 8 / 10. Could totally belt out a verse of Sticky Shoes by Phoebe Buffay.

Overall Rating: I'm Too Tired To Do Maths / 10. I'm all reviewed out. Hope you guys have a good weekend full of rainbows, ponies and strong immune systems!

Wednesday, February 1

Clandestine - Five Sentence Fiction

A tiny story based on this prompt from Lillie McFerrin Writes.

The room was dark. Cold tile pressing into her bare feet, she followed the path she'd memorized long ago. Sweaty palms opened the single door that didn't creak, careful not to leave fingerprints on the aluminum handle. Pupils dilated, ears twitched at the crackle of the foil and then the simple, sweet snap between her teeth. 

The tastiest cookies are the ones you steal.