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Author Topic: Pseudopod 73: Blood, Gridlock and PEZ  (Read 17966 times)

Millenium_King

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Reply #25 on: July 29, 2010, 11:06:57 PM
I f**king loved this one.  Fantastic.  Had me glued to the headphones the entire time.  From the telegraphed ending (so excellently used to keep the first act suspenseful) to the absolutely fabulous conclusion, I loved every moment of it.  Absolutely perfect - and an excellent choice for audio format.

I really liked the inclusion of the weird little love triangle - it added a layer of depth.  I loved the way his friends ditched him - unlike most stories, where everyone is a hero.  I loved the way Pit tried to make up for his cowardice for the rest of his life.

I was a little mixed about the ending (until we got the "diversification" line at the very end) as I thought having the maniac get shot at the last moment was a bit of a cop out (pun intended haha).  But the denoument was handled so well that I totally forgave it.

And I loved the humor.  Great all around.  This one will probably be a top 10.

And I loved the setting.  Only in California.  In reading the comments, I'm actually surprised no one mentioned this: the story would not have been believable had it taken place in flyover country.  Our maniac would have been immediately shot full of holes when every, single person on the freeway pulled the revolver out of their glove compartment (or, in Texas, the shotgun off of their pickup's gunrack).  That's not a meant to be a commentary on gun laws - only mentioning that sort of thing has totally happened before.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 11:14:24 PM by Millenium_King »

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Reply #26 on: August 03, 2010, 01:44:30 PM
In reading the comments, I'm actually surprised no one mentioned this: the story would not have been believable had it taken place in flyover country. 

I've never heard the term "flyover country"--that's an interesting one.  But not everyone in the center of the US is gun-toting.  Though hunting is common, and some people do carry their hunting guns in their car, far from everyone would.  And this may surprise people, but there are actually cities in the Midwest--it's not all gun-toting farmers.



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Reply #27 on: August 03, 2010, 06:05:32 PM
It's a term that covers everything that is between New York and California. This includes the south, even though that portion is less "flown over" as the midwest. It's a beautiful insult that is very illuminating about those who use it.

From my time in the midwest, I'd call the gun analogy appropriate. But not quite as appropriate as in the south. I can't wait until the range opens up down the street.

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Millenium_King

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Reply #28 on: August 03, 2010, 09:44:44 PM
In reading the comments, I'm actually surprised no one mentioned this: the story would not have been believable had it taken place in flyover country. 
I've never heard the term "flyover country"--that's an interesting one.  But not everyone in the center of the US is gun-toting.  Though hunting is common, and some people do carry their hunting guns in their car, far from everyone would.  And this may surprise people, but there are actually cities in the Midwest--it's not all gun-toting farmers.

Fenrix explained the term well.  I use it (as others do) to remind people that there's this big place between New York and Los Angeles called "America" - haha.  I was not, as Fenrix possibly insinuated, using it as an insult.

I was also not implying in any way shape or form that everyone in the midwest is a hick farmer straight out of a Jeff Foxworthy joke, I was only implying that in a crowd of that many people on the freeway, in many states other than CA, there would be at least one person with a gun willing to help.  Again: not everyone, but there would be a couple most likely.  For example: in 1997 in Mississippi a Columbine-styel massacre was stopped by Joel Myrick and his .45, while in the same year in Edinboro, Pennsylvania (not flyovercountry, I know, but not CA either) James Strand convinced a teenage killer to surrender by brandishing his shotgun.

I'm not here to make a gun-control case one way or the other, only pointing out that versimillitude wise, CA was a good choice.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 09:46:44 PM by Millenium_King »

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Reply #29 on: August 04, 2010, 01:29:21 PM
In reading the comments, I'm actually surprised no one mentioned this: the story would not have been believable had it taken place in flyover country. 
I've never heard the term "flyover country"--that's an interesting one.  But not everyone in the center of the US is gun-toting.  Though hunting is common, and some people do carry their hunting guns in their car, far from everyone would.  And this may surprise people, but there are actually cities in the Midwest--it's not all gun-toting farmers.

Fenrix explained the term well.  I use it (as others do) to remind people that there's this big place between New York and Los Angeles called "America" - haha.  I was not, as Fenrix possibly insinuated, using it as an insult.

I was also not implying in any way shape or form that everyone in the midwest is a hick farmer straight out of a Jeff Foxworthy joke, I was only implying that in a crowd of that many people on the freeway, in many states other than CA, there would be at least one person with a gun willing to help.  Again: not everyone, but there would be a couple most likely.  For example: in 1997 in Mississippi a Columbine-styel massacre was stopped by Joel Myrick and his .45, while in the same year in Edinboro, Pennsylvania (not flyovercountry, I know, but not CA either) James Strand convinced a teenage killer to surrender by brandishing his shotgun.

I'm not here to make a gun-control case one way or the other, only pointing out that versimillitude wise, CA was a good choice.

I didn't find "flyover country" confusing or insulting.  It's pretty apt, unless you live here like I do.  In which case I don't so much fly over it, as out of it and then back into it.  :) 

I didn't find the gun comments about the Midwest insulting either, just not very accurate.  If you were in the country you wouldn't have gridlock.  And generally a city freeway in gridlock is going to have mostly people who live in the city commuting, who are not generally carrying guns.  Your average city dweller or suburbanite is not too likely to have a gun in their car.  People who live in the country are more likely to, but they're not as likely to be stuck in gridlock.



Millenium_King

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Reply #30 on: August 04, 2010, 04:41:05 PM
If you were in the country you wouldn't have gridlock.

Good point haha.

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Zorag

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Reply #31 on: August 04, 2010, 08:49:36 PM
I think, gun issue aside, the response to a situation like this would be different in a rural area.  People who live farther away from metro areas generally need to be more selfreliant physically.  Urban survival depends more upon avoiding conflict.

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Fenrix

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Reply #32 on: August 05, 2010, 10:30:32 PM
I'll defend the concept that the term "flyover country" is insulting. It carries an implicit dismissal of everything between the two major media markets. One can wear the term as an ironic badge. Alternately, one can accept that being dismissed by New York and SoCal is just fine, because we don't care much about them either.

I prefer "middle America" as opposed to "flyover country" for a more positive spin. It carries the same geographic implications. It also covers being part of the U.S. without being dismissive. Y'all are writers, you know that carefully chosen words carry power.  ;)

Now to get back on topic, traffic is pretty terrible in most of California that I've visited. But in less densely developed areas, it only takes a jackknifed tractor trailer to achieve the gridlock in the story. Or decent construction. It's amazing the queues you can achieve when you take three lanes to one, even off-peak or on a weekend. Zorag makes an effective point that I generally agree with, but I don't think we can eliminate all the regional anomalies. I may have to agree with MK in that if this gridlock had happened in Atlanta, someone would have turned the crazy guy's head into a canoe.


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Zorag

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Reply #33 on: August 07, 2010, 04:52:09 PM
Fenrix is correct about traffic in less developed areas.  I drive around 150,000 miles per year, across most of the US.  I have seen 20 mile back ups in the middle of nowhere.  In New Mexico, there often are no frontage roads along the interstate.  Should something temporarily close the road, there is no practical way around it.  The term gridlock does, however, make me think more of urban highways.

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Reply #34 on: August 09, 2010, 01:55:21 PM
The term gridlock does, however, make me think more of urban highways.

I'd say it's exclusive to urban highways, because a single interstate in the country is not a "grid".  "gridlock" is the point of traffic in a city when the entire grid of major roads is essentially immobile.



Listener

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Reply #35 on: August 09, 2010, 05:35:17 PM
I'll defend the concept that the term "flyover country" is insulting. It carries an implicit dismissal of everything between the two major media markets. One can wear the term as an ironic badge. Alternately, one can accept that being dismissed by New York and SoCal is just fine, because we don't care much about them either.

I prefer "middle America" as opposed to "flyover country" for a more positive spin. It carries the same geographic implications. It also covers being part of the U.S. without being dismissive. Y'all are writers, you know that carefully chosen words carry power.  ;)


"Middle America" can be magical. See: "American Gods".

"Flyover Country" isn't.

Having worked in media for more than ten years, I understand why it's called flyover country... but it was flyover country (and Florida) that won a couple of elections for George W. Bush, defeating the pundits and powerplayers in NYC and LA and some of the other heavily-populated states. I think the media shot themselves in the foot if they were trying to say "middle Americans are stupid, let them vote for this guy who we don't like", because they did.

Note: I am not a democrat or a republican. I am not passing judgment on Bush 43, Gore, or Kerry. Just on the media.

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Millenium_King

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Reply #36 on: August 09, 2010, 05:57:05 PM
I'll defend the concept that the term "flyover country" is insulting. It carries an implicit dismissal of everything between the two major media markets. One can wear the term as an ironic badge. Alternately, one can accept that being dismissed by New York and SoCal is just fine, because we don't care much about them either.

I prefer "middle America" as opposed to "flyover country" for a more positive spin. It carries the same geographic implications. It also covers being part of the U.S. without being dismissive. Y'all are writers, you know that carefully chosen words carry power.  ;)


"Middle America" can be magical. See: "American Gods".

"Flyover Country" isn't.

Having worked in media for more than ten years, I understand why it's called flyover country... but it was flyover country (and Florida) that won a couple of elections for George W. Bush, defeating the pundits and powerplayers in NYC and LA and some of the other heavily-populated states. I think the media shot themselves in the foot if they were trying to say "middle Americans are stupid, let them vote for this guy who we don't like", because they did.

Note: I am not a democrat or a republican. I am not passing judgment on Bush 43, Gore, or Kerry. Just on the media.

I think a discussion on why the media is filled with a bunch of biased idiots (present company excluded) is far too long for this thread.

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Listener

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Reply #37 on: August 09, 2010, 06:57:18 PM

I think a discussion on why the media is filled with a bunch of biased idiots (present company excluded) is far too long for this thread.

I'm a biased idiot. :) I take pride in it.

But if you start that discussion, I'm going to abstain from it because I've had it too often in the past, usually when I was blogging, back in the day. I've given up on getting angry about it; now I don't watch TV news. Which is weird because I work at CNN Center.

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Millenium_King

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Reply #38 on: August 09, 2010, 07:08:55 PM
But if you start that discussion...

God, no.

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Fenrix

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Reply #39 on: August 09, 2010, 07:47:51 PM
But if you start that discussion...

God, no.

You don't have to step in that to know it'll be hard to scrape off your shoe...

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Zorag

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Reply #40 on: August 11, 2010, 11:33:11 PM
Gridlock is possible in rural areas.  We had a series of accidents on I-70 near Highland, IL on Monday.  It was not pretty.

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Reply #41 on: August 12, 2010, 01:23:59 PM
Gridlock is possible in rural areas.  We had a series of accidents on I-70 near Highland, IL on Monday.  It was not pretty.

I'm not saying that you can't have traffic snarls caused by accidents, but it's not "gridlock" unless you have a "grid" of roads affected by it.  If you have a single interstate affected by an accident, that's a line of traffic, I suppose you could call it a "linelock" but "gridlock" doesn't really make sense.



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Reply #42 on: August 12, 2010, 03:00:05 PM
All the alternate routes were backed up, too.  Your point is taken.

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Fenrix

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Reply #43 on: August 24, 2010, 02:29:49 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38812252/ns/world_news-asiapacific/

MSNBC calls a linear traffic jam Gridlock. Just thought I'd share.  ;)

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Reply #44 on: December 06, 2019, 07:11:41 PM
I suspected that the story would end with the protagonist killing his girlfriend with the ax and blaming it on the psycho. I like the fact that the author took things in an unexpected direction.

El Camino reminds me of the "I am not economically viable!" guy from Falling Down. A movie that, coincidentally, begins with a traffic jam.

I think the ending of the story was excellent, except for the very last line. The last line makes the story feel like the secret origin story of Martin Shkreli or something. I wish he had popped some PEZ at the end so we know he didn't grow up to be Ebenezer Scrooge.