Good Poetry/Bad Poetry

April 15, 2010 at 8:09 pm (Smáskitligr) (, , , )

What is generally considered the worst poem written in the English language:

A Tragedy
by Theophilus Marzials

Death!
Plop.

The barges down in the river flop.

Flop, plop.

Above, beneath.

From the slimy branches the grey drips drop,
As they scraggle black on the thin grey sky,
Where the black cloud rack-hackles drizzle and fly
To the oozy waters, that lounge and flop
On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop,
As the raw wind whines in the thin tree-top.

Plop, plop.

And scudding by

The boatmen call out hoy! and hey!
All is running water and sky,

And my head shrieks — “Stop,”
And my heart shrieks — “Die.”

* * * * *
My thought is running out of my head;
My love is running out of my heart,
My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead,
For my life runs after to catch them — and fled
They all are every one! — and I stand, and start,
At the water that oozes up, plop and plop,
On the barges that flop
And dizzy me dead.
I might reel and drop.
Plop.
Dead.

And the shrill wind whines in the thin tree-top
Flop, plop.
* * * * *
A curse on him.
Ugh! yet I knew — I knew —
If a woman is false can a friend be true?
It was only a lie from beginning to end —

My Devil — My “Friend”

I had trusted the whole of my living to!

Ugh; and I knew!

Ugh!

So what do I care,

And my head is empty as air —

I can do,
I can dare,

(Plop, plop
The barges flop
Drip drop.)

I can dare! I can dare!

And let myself all run away with my head
And stop.

Drop.
Dead.

Plop, flop.

Plop.

Now let’s read my favourite poem, by my favourite poet:

WHEN I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.

– John Keats

I am certain this has been said before, but the only tragedy present in Marzials’ poem is the poem and possibly – on a different, transcendental plane – the poet.

As an interesting side-note, Marzials was also a musician:

Pan Pipes - Theo Marzials

Pan Pipes - Theo Marzials

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Son of “The YouTube Mindfuck Game”

March 30, 2010 at 7:12 pm (Smáskitligr) (, , , )

Band: Origa

Rules (modified from beta):

1. Find any and all videos with passable sound, that accurately represent the songs you want to share.

2. Select the most disturbing of those.

3. Post.

Aaaaauughhhh

Many poor choices were made, not least of all a fisheye lens

Actual Knowledge of Russian Optional, also Brains

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Finding real people in Europe

May 5, 2008 at 10:29 am (Fróðleikr, Smáskitligr) (, , , , )

The French are perfect. They swan around in interesting yet subtle clothes, choosing each word as though they were selecting chocolates. The women are all perched on a line between gorgeous and plain, one you only find at fashion shows and in France; you can’t stop looking at them, if only to decide on which side they fall. They have brilliant white teeth and fluid voices. They are impervious to tobacco, which they all consume incessantly. The men manage to look brooding and intelligent even when there isn’t anything going on upstairs.

The English are addicted to drudgery. Of course they have to get away from it sometimes, and there are days when they long for sunshine and cheap goods, but take an Englishman away from his country permanently and he’ll begin to pine for something to be sarcastic about. A big mug of tea is just inappropriate when one always gets to work on time, there aren’t any forms to fill out, the birds are chirping merrily and one’s children come home from school tanned and well-nourished. Foreigners, to an Englishman, are always braggarts, allowed to appear self-serving and proud, allowed to have faults rather than gripe about imaginary ones to appear modest.

The only real people in Europe are Spaniards. They’ve all got problems, which are all out in the open, but it’s okay, because everyone has the exact same problems. The prices in Galicia are about right; they’re far too expensive for Galicians, but at least they’re reasonable for everyone else. There are still real cafeterias, run by real people, where the food is made for you when you order it, or at least every morning before opening time. You can expect Spaniards to be self-serving, and they’re usually honest about it, but even when they try to pretend that they’re not it’s painfully obvious. They’re unabashedly proud of themselves. Just because you have more money and a better education and are better looking than they are does not make you better, what, do you think you’re better than me? Huh? You think I’m not worth talking to? Huh? Say it to my face. Gilipollas.

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Computers made me indecisive

April 15, 2008 at 12:31 pm (Fróðleikr, Ríta, Smáskitligr) (, , , )

When it asks me if I’m certain, I’m thrown into anxiety. Should I delete this folder? I have space, I have plenty of space, but I’m not using the contents. They’re old e-tickets from Ryanair. It’s not like I’ll ever need them again. I keep the folder. It’s a sore on the inside of my mouth that I can’t stop tonguing; I go through the motions of deleting it over and over, never going through. I eventually take it off my Desktop, hide it in some systems folder I never go into, where a makeshift wastebasket of old documents is piling up.

It starts happening in daily life. I can’t order coffee. I’m torn between vanilla caramel lattes and black no sugar drip coffee that melts tooth enamel. I buy Chex mix and trail mix and mix them together. I wear goth hippie dress casual clothes to work. I change channels obsessively so I can watch all of them at once. That goddamned systems folder is taking up a fifth of my hard drive space. My dog gets sick because I feed him five brands of multivitamin a day “just to make sure”.

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The evolution of the raccoon

March 30, 2008 at 1:23 pm (Fróðleikr, Smáskitligr) (, , , , )

These funny shuffling creatures that steal your garbage have mastered the art of nonchalance. Not a cat’s apathy, which only looks intelligent, but is really a quirk of misinterpretation, a blank face that reveals only an idle brain. Cats affect nonchalance when affronted, a fragile mood; their resolve weakens at a passing ankle; they cannot help but show their ire.

Nonchalance in the face of danger brings rewards. It is not blind courage, blundering forward with only the vaguest qualms. It knows the danger only too well; it just doesn’t feel particularly threatened by it. While courage avoids fear like the plague, nonchalance feels only so much fear as is necessary to achieve its aims.

The surest sign of emotional intelligence in a being is habitual nonchalance. ‘Ware the raccoon! Its stooping gait reveals gradual adoption of a two-legged stance; its tiny hands are too dextrous to be paws. It habitually outwits us and our pets in search of scraps. It retains its sharp teeth and warm fur, while adopting well to suburban habitation.

We can only fight the gradual rise of the raccoon to dominance with our superior intellect, but our grasp is slipping; the leaders of the free world have no capacity for nonchalance. Take heed, America.

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And One (and introducing “The YouTube Mindfuck Game”)

March 17, 2008 at 7:55 pm (Smáskitligr) (, , , )

Real, high-quality videos for the German band “And One” are not very easy to find on YouTube.

Thus “The YouTube Mindfuck Game” is born.

Rules

1. Discover that a band you like is obscure because YouTube only coughs up the dark hairballs of live performances, and some assorted flotsam.

2. Find any and all videos with passable sound, that accurately represent the songs you want to share.

3. Select the most disturbing of those.

4. Post.

“I Love Your Earflaps”

“Some School in Germany is So Fucked Right Now”

“lol wut”

“Get Away From my Toddler”

I have to say, this band gets some good results.

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My week

March 13, 2008 at 3:01 pm (Smáskitligr)

coff1.jpg

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This is how I roll

March 12, 2008 at 2:46 pm (Leikr, Smáskitligr) (, , , , )

The time has come to wax lyrical on my pet subject since I got my PS2:

Christ, do I love this game. Irrationally, I suppose, because there’s no gore, no scares, no zombies, no special powers, no big swords, no intricate plot, no crowbar, no secret rooms or passages, no puzzles, none of the things I thought I required in a game.

The thing is, the Katamari series only contain game elements that are found in the Katamari series. There is just no overlap between other games, none at all. Remember that point in your life when you accepted that monsters carried around gigantic swords, grenades, and lots of money in humongous invisible pockets? And that things like “wreath of daisies” plus “pretty stone” plus “iron spear” could be made into “Death Lance of Hades”? Ordinary items were not just ordinary items, they were extremely hard to find and had weird powers. Why, you plead with your character, can’t you just bend down and pick the bloody daisies yourself?

The Katamari series is resplendent with everyday objects. Its charm comes from mixing things (and here I refer to “We Love Katamari”) like flying cowbears with vending machines, tires, pancakes, bushes, ramen bowls: the flotsam and jetsam of modern life.

What’s even better is that objects you never thought you could pick up can be picked up, like islands and streets and buildings – what was just scenery five minutes ago. I guess the concept taps into some primordial hoarding instinct in my case, but I get so much glee from sweeping down a street and leaving nothing behind, and then coming back a few minutes later for the street.

There are no health bars, and no enemies, and there’s never any urgency in the music, so while doing well at each level is actually really difficult, playing the game is never very stressful. Even though Katamari is guaranteed to be a novel experience if you’ve never played it before, the interface and game physics are instinctive, so people looking to casually play don’t have to put up with a learning curve or memorize button combos, but the game is designed to pull you in; just passing the levels isn’t good enough.

These are games you can beat in a day, but as the plotline is not even the icing on the cake but more like the decorative edible flowers on the icing on the cake, beating them isn’t a big deal. I still haven’t finished doing everything in “We Love Katamari” yet, because that requires knowing all the maps pretty much by heart, which would take weeks and weeks of obsessive playing.

9.8/10

The character design is perfect, the music is perfect, the concept is perfect, the challenges are imaginative, and really the only complaint I have is that the games never have enough levels.

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Final Fantasy X : gaming for deaf and lazy people

March 9, 2008 at 8:32 pm (Leikr, Smáskitligr) (, , , )

gaming for deaf and lazy people

The visual quality, it has to be said, is bloody marvellous – a good move on Squaresoft’s part, considering just how many hours you spend watching clips in this game, a game that doesn’t have “levels” so much as “bits between clips”. There are two sorts: realtime rendered clips, and videos-proper that must have taken inordinate and frustrating amounts of time to make. The latter, I have to admit, are impressively detailed (considering the game’s release date), but really have almost nothing to do visually with the in-game characters. Nevermind that Yuna looks almost sweet in the realtime clips: in the videos she’s a squinty-eyed pig who looks like someone bashed her face in with a board. Tidus looks disturbingly like an ex-boyfriend of mine, and also like a girl, but in realtime he’s a white middle-class surfer kid.

Unfortunately, my favourite part of the visuals, and probably the game, has nothing to do with the endless popcorn breaks; the monsters, when waiting their turn to fight, do weirdly realistic and well-choreographed little dances. Really, the amount of fighting and side-questing in this Final Fantasy is roughly the same as the amount required to beat “Advent Children”, if you count “ordering a pizza” and “quarrelling over the last buffalo wing” the same as “side-questing” and “fighting”.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy playing this game, when I can actually play (besides enduring the videos, I have to contend for the right to be P1, because my Pepto-Bismol pink PS2 is co-owned) – unless of course the characters are speaking. Sadly, they spend a lot of the game nattering, and even have to spout “witty” one-liners in the midst of battle. I suppose it wouldn’t be as terrible in Japanese, but I’m currently playing a French version with English voices. Instead of dubbing different versions for each language, or just keeping it all in Japanese for everybody, or even making an English language version for the pesky American market and letting everyone else hear the original under their subtitles, they decided that for some reason the French would be happy with a twice-translated game.

The dubbing, by the way, is awful. None of the characters’ lips conform to any known laws of articulatory phonetics. About twenty percent of spoken Japanese consists of expressive and meaningful noises that are not words, and can really only be translated into English by using words, but the game carries on the industry’s annoying tradition of forcing American voice actors to imitate those noises, which sound out of place and unfamiliar in their throats; the effect is rather similar to an obsessive white anime fan making the “V” symbol in a photograph.

Let’s move smoothly over the script and pass on to more pleasant things. The music, for example, is just marvellous, so I suppose if you’re after the most enjoyment from this game, you don’t actually have to be deaf, just quick on the “Mute” button. The costume design isn’t too ridiculous (high praise for an RPG), and neither is the hair, unless you count Seymour, but counting Seymour is like that old maths joke where a rat in the middle of 9 cats makes each cat one-tenth rat on average; I’m not going to touch Seymour’s hair design with a ten foot pole (not that I would ever need a ten foot pole to touch that hair from anywhere else in the known universe). Yes, Tidus’ right trouser leg is made of egg crates and wrought-iron, and Lulu seems to be aiming for Romantic Goth Rastafarian Beachcomber with that whole ivory lace, skirt-of-belts and beaded cornrow combo, but whatever.

I swear, I enjoy playing this game. I’m not horribly bothered by the weird character management; I prefer the classic approach, but it’s refreshing not to have to obsessively change armours for once. I love the frustrating temples. The chocobos and cactuars are adorable. The scenery is unobtrusive, but pretty. The weapons have really cool power-ups. There is not a single thing wrong with Rikku (unless you actually want to use her). Tidus’ dad angst doesn’t take over the entire game, Auron doesn’t go all softie at any point, Wakka eventually stops whining, and best of all, Kimhari belongs to a race of gigantic mountain cats all voiced by Arnold Schwartzenegger.

7/10

(6/10 without the music)

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Edith (a snippet of unused dialogue)

March 7, 2008 at 1:04 am (Skrifa, Smáskitligr) (, )

I am behind. I have caught the flu. In cases such as these, unloved and lonely paragraphs have their chance to shine – or at least fill the void.

[We open on Edith and Amy, drinking coffee.]
Edith: So I met this guy, when I was out, you know, at the club.
Amy: Oh yeah right, at the club, okay, I told you that it would be better if you got out of the house.
[While Amy is talking, we see a club, dancers flailing, and a man zooms into view. He’s handsome; his dark-brown hair is slicked back. He looks like a 1950’s clothing model. He smiles at the camera, and puts a dark wooden pipe in his mouth. He’s wearing a dark sports jacket and pants, and a white button-down shirt, and nice shiny shoes. There’s a shuddering, as Amy changes her obviously socially-conditioned and outdated image for a more modern one. The man grows tight jeans, a stylish printed t-shirt, long wavy hair, some metrosexual shoes. He’s now holding an ipod. His smile wavers for a minute, as Amy, on second thought, removes the ipod. The entire tableau vanishes jarringly when Edith speaks again.]
Edith: Yeah well, he cheated on me.
Amy: He what?
Edith: Did you hear me? He cheated?
Amy: I heard, I heard. He what?
Edith: He cheated on me.
Amy: Yeah okay, okay, he cheated on you. With who?
Edith: It’s not with who, it’s with whom, and it was with his dog-walker.
Amy: His what?
Edith: His –
Amy: Yeah I heard you. He has to be gay.
Edith: She was rubbing down his bulldog.
Amy: That’s a disgusting image, Edith, jesus I can’t believe you’d tell me the details of the – oh.
Edith (begins speaking during the word “jesus”): He has a dog, okay, a bulldog, she’s a dog-walker, okay, she gets extra money for grooming the dogs, and they started going at it while she was rubbing down his bulldog.
Amy: So, tell me the details…
Edith: Oh for crying out, I don’t know, their eyes met over the tufts of dander gently swirling in the air.
Amy: So how long were you together?
Edith: Together?
Amy: An item.
Edith: Uh…
Amy: You weren’t, were you. You just had sex with him and that’s it, right?
Edith: Well, we…
Amy: Am I right?
Edith: No. Actually. We were an item, at least, until I told him we weren’t. You know that problem I have?
Amy: With the…?
Edith: Yeah.
Amy: (pause) You really have to see a shrink for that.
Edith: How do I even know I’m doing it? I don’t know I’m doing it, how am I supposed to fix it?
Amy: How many boyfriends, Edith?
Edith: I don’t know, I don’t remember.
Amy: How many, Edith?
Edith: Five.
Amy: Five boyfriends since Mark and a lot of things that would be at least pocket change if not a steady income and every single one you have to tell them that they’re badly equipped when you orgasm, for god’s sake you have serious problems.
Edith: He couldn’t accept it, so I had to break up with him and then he cheated on me with the dog walker. The dog walker.
Amy: What kind of floozie gets a job as a dog walker, anyway?
Edith: Well, she’s…
Amy: Blonde and big busted, and wears frosted pink lipstick and… [As Amy speaks, an image of the woman quickly forms, and flirts with the camera.]
Edith: …a Yale graduate. [The image disappears with the visual equivalent of a “poof”.] She’s all porky and frizzy-haired, but he said she talks to him about Thomas Mann.
Amy: You did your thesis on Thomas Mann.
Edith: I know, I know, but she has some sort of “real-life insight”.
Amy: On Thomas Mann. What is she, seventy years old and German?
Edith: I guess it’s the pederasty, Amy.
Amy: Hang on, I’m getting more sugar for this. It’s so bitter. [She gets up and begins to walk away, and we hear the rest of the line from off-screen.]They probably never wash out the machine and there are years of coffee swirling around in my cup.
[As soon is Amy is out of her visual range, whatever that may be, Edith’s phone rings. She places it on the table, and stirs her coffee, watching it dance around and buzz annoyingly.]

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