Author Topic: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake  (Read 35639 times)

Listener

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #40 on: June 01, 2010, 03:38:26 PM »
Quote
"but most of it would never exist, even if the technology was readily available. "

What makes you think that? My personal opinion of marketers is sufficiently low enough to assume they'd go to any lengths to sell their product. :P



Clients also want things they don't need. My job offers an amazing product that will help you get people to click on the ads you run on our site... but the salespeople love it so much they pretty much strongarm everyone into buying it. Then it's up to the people who sit on the other side of the wall from me to figure out how to make the product improve the ad. Usually they can't because -- let's be honest -- how does knowing the weather outside affect your consumption of (for example) snack cakes? "Hey, it's raining outside, eat a Smidgen!"
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CryptoMe

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #41 on: June 01, 2010, 06:48:42 PM »
She "suicided" precisely to exert the only aspect of will and self-determination left to her. The parasitic marketeers in the future the story is set in have so many tools in their box  from the behavioral sciences blended with other technologies that the human beings really don't have "free will" anymore. (If they ever did.). That short, sharp shock was the author's exclamation point to bring the reader/listener back to reality if they  get too caught up in the marketing and behavioral science technologies described.(I know I did.) At least that's how I see anyhow.

I'm pretty sure there are tonnes of hotlines out there that will tell you suicide is never the only option left....
There are plenty of other options (don't eat the cake, flush it down the sink, go out for a walk, etc.). The problem is that these options are harder - because you need to make them every single minute of the day (talk to anyone in AA). But then, that is life, isn't it....

Blaming the evil marketers, scientists, genetics, whatever, for taking away your free will is a cop-out. The choice is *always* yours. Even choosing to cop-out is a choice that only you can make. Marketers, scientists, genetics, etc. can make some choices harder for you, but a hard choice doesn't equal no choice.

jhs

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #42 on: June 02, 2010, 11:43:43 AM »


This story is another look at Don Giovanni.  Smidgen shares the Don's difficulty seeing beyond his lust for seduction, and in the end is dragged off to hell by what I am sure was a rat. 

Clever science/engineering stuff, but I think the point is the seduction, and the destruction of the innocent.

jhs

tpi

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #43 on: June 02, 2010, 01:51:50 PM »
I don't understand why the store AI let the snack food package to get her.
Both the manufacturer profit and  the store markup are probably much higher for dieting products.  ;D
It would have been clearly more profitable to push her to those products.  :)


Listener

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #44 on: June 02, 2010, 02:34:21 PM »
I don't understand why the store AI let the snack food package to get her.
Both the manufacturer profit and  the store markup are probably much higher for dieting products.  ;D
It would have been clearly more profitable to push her to those products.  :)

And it still annoys the ever-living crap out of me that eating healthy costs so much more.

Because Smidgen had a limited AI, he was able to make himself look more attractive and direct Linda to the right aisle, despite the healthy food choices she knew she really wanted. Meanwhile the healthy food didn't have AI or other stuff that Smidgen did because it already cost a lot without it.

That's my guess.
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davedoty

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #45 on: June 02, 2010, 02:56:11 PM »
We know the Sea Sprite snacks have AI, because later in the story some of them try to talk Linda into eating them instead.

My practical guess is "conceit of the story."  If we want to look for in-story explanations anyway, I'd suggest either "they were hoping for a food binge after," or "the snack food company pays the store to have their AI privilege their products."

JackSpellman

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #46 on: June 02, 2010, 03:15:45 PM »
Terrific story about, I think, the hilarity of evil. I mean, the first-person narrator was a sociopathic snack cake. And what does it say that the snack cake had more free will than Linda?

And as funny as it was, it carried not insubstantial messages about marketing, consumer alienation, the pornification of food.

Also: excellent reading. I laughed out loud when the plankton chips attempted to talk Linda out of eating the Smidgen, and were sent down the disposal for their trouble. Made me think of Mr. Bill on Saturday Night Live.

panvega

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seduction, betrayal, etc.
« Reply #47 on: June 02, 2010, 08:05:21 PM »
Wow... Just the typical story of some dude/snack-cake trying to manipulate a vulnerable woman, women constantly struggling against their appetites, women say "no" when they mean "yes," coercion and seduction, etc... Hasn't that story line gotten old already?  :-\

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Re: StePH
« Reply #48 on: June 02, 2010, 08:08:49 PM »
This one's for no.  Lame doesn't begin to cover it. 

The utterly ludicrous concept of a sentient snack cake is made even worse by piling on every stupid cliche of a pickup/seduction story.  I'm up to where she's bought the cake and taken it home, and not even sure I want to continue.


Totally agree. How come no one else is ranting about that? Thanks for putting it out there.

FireTurtle

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #49 on: June 02, 2010, 09:06:12 PM »
I've just got to say, although this was not " Best. EP. Ever" it still made me laugh. And, I think the snack cake's lame attempts at seduction were appropriate for a snack cake. If this was Filet Mignon or expensive cheese I would expect a more "cultured" POV of the food. But honestly, I'd never expect a cheap morsel of sugary cake to have anything but the Worst Pickup Lines.
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Talia

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #50 on: June 02, 2010, 09:21:16 PM »
Its interesting to me that opinions were so sharply divided on this one. I guess its the style, works for some and really, really doesn't work for others.

I really loved this and feel all protective of it :p

eytanz

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #51 on: June 02, 2010, 10:34:19 PM »
Its interesting to me that opinions were so sharply divided on this one. I guess its the style, works for some and really, really doesn't work for others.

I don't think it's the style - I think it's the content. The people who liked it seem to be either those who think of the events it describes as plausible, or who think plausibility doesn't matter for what the story is trying to do. Those who don't are the ones who find the events too hard to believe.

RicV

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #52 on: June 02, 2010, 10:53:08 PM »
I actually think this was very well done for what it was.  Trying to tackle gluttony, but more aptly lust and how it destroys a person is no easy task.  Even Mur commented that there was a thread of love in the story and that is the problem with tackling something as consuming (pardon the pun) as lust.  I thought it was a neat correlation to how interwoven lust and gluttony are and how it destroyed Linda's heart and eventually her soul.  I do like the sub text as well how commercialism taken too far can result in a Rape of the target the same as lust.  There is no doubt in my mind that this piece could have been written in any genre replacing the trappings with say a vacuum cleaner salesman in Salem mass in the 1600s or a Brush salesman in the 1920s and still have gotten the point across.

Now I will say I was displeased with it as an escape pod story.  We tend to not hear too much surface pulpy stuff on EP and this didn't fit for me, but could easily be a piece that could make it in a literary circle if it weren't tied to a sci-fi genre.  Don’t get me wrong I think a lot of sci-fi is overlooked by the ivory towers of education, but that is just the way it goes for genre fiction specifically speculative fiction.  Go to a library or bookstore and wander the literary stacks and there is little speculative fiction even some accepted examples still are not placed there.  Asimov is still firmly set in sci-fi, but Vonnegut is not.  It is a crazy snobbish literary world which makes what is acceptable and what isn't.

Ric

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Equalizer

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #53 on: June 03, 2010, 05:12:27 AM »
Mur, you are doing great and I would like to say I've always liked your stuff I heard here. Keep up the good reputation. Don't change anything, okay. Although, I'm new to the forums, I'm no noob to the escape pod scene at all. I'm too used to Steve's feeling being hidden somewhere in the intro's and outro's no matter who the narrator is that week. So, to sum up: Ever'thing's still nice and shiny cap'n! or if you cringe at the thought of pirates(like me), thank you to all of you for your hard work. Keep it up.
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Gamercow

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #54 on: June 03, 2010, 03:03:35 PM »
Well, I went ahead and finished it, if for no other reason that I've never abandoned an EA story yet, and I've suffered through worse than this.  But it only got worse; the narrative full of lines that could have been dropped seamlessly into a porn story.  Like snack cakes themselves, this story was made of suck.

On an unrelated note, I feel sorry for Gamercow, whose name has been mispronounced twice in the feedback sections now (DKT said "Game-crow" in a recent Podcastle, and now wossname says "Gamer-crow").

LOL, yeah, its actually 3, DKT did it twice, and Bill did it once.  I don't mind much, I'm grateful to be mentioned at all, I was just surprised that two people saw it as "Crow", and had a "THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS" Picard moment. 

As for the story itself, I loved it, once I told my engineer/IT brain to shut up about the technology, the ROI on talking/smart snackcakes, moving shelves, movable stacks, etc.  I totally believe the direct marketing based on past purchases, as that happens already, but the energy and machinery requirements for shelf movement, product movement, etc, would be excessive.  Additionally, if everything was moving around, it would be harder to find items.  Most grocery stores today are laid out very specifically, and any change to that would be scrutinized intensely for effectiveness.  Lastly, the speaking products would a)freak people out, and/or b)get so annoying, people would rebel against them.  You'd have the food equivalent of the Wall Street trading pit. 

All that said, once I ignored the tech, I really liked the story.  Yes, the descriptives could have been ripped out of a porno, but that's the whole idea!  That's what was so funny for me.  I admit, it may have gone on a little long, but overall, thoroughly  enjoyable.  It was definitely a downer when Linda killed herself at the end, and it drove home the point about advertising, but it also did a great job giving a bitter darkness to the sweet chocolatey humor earlier in the story. 

Oh, and I'm totally enjoying Mur as host/editor.  Her voice is smooth Carolina goodness, and her intro/outros are in step with the excellent ones that Steve did so many times.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2010, 08:32:09 PM by Gamercow »
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Wilson Fowlie

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #55 on: June 03, 2010, 09:46:01 PM »
Having finally gotten almost caught up on my podcast listening, I quite enjoyed this story.  Unlike stePH, I found the "lines that could have been dropped seamlessly into a porn story" hilarious.

In the reading, there were a couple of word mispronunciations that pulled me out of the story momentarily (to the point where I had to rewind to listen to the bits my mental voice had 'talked' over), particularly saying "exalted" instead of "exulted".  (I'm be curious to know if that was an author or a narrator issue.)  But on the whole, even though it was a bit AM-radio-DJ-ish, I liked Cmar's reading.

One point about the tech in this story:  I didn't really have a problem believing that we might have the capability to do much of the stuff described here in 70 or 80 years (though I take Gamercow's point about the RIO of actually deploying it as described).

However, did it not occur to anyone else, after a snack cake had adjusted the hue and glow of its frosting, changed the colour of its packaging, and a store had moved shelves and products around, how utterly incongruous it was that Lynda was washing her dishes by hand??  That was the implausible part that made me shout, "Oh, come on!" at my MP3 player.
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Talia

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #56 on: June 03, 2010, 10:04:11 PM »
Nah not really; perhaps because I still wash most of my dishes by hand, and dishwashers have been around how long? :P

Wilson Fowlie

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #57 on: June 03, 2010, 10:12:18 PM »
Nah not really; perhaps because I still wash most of my dishes by hand, and dishwashers have been around how long? :P

You might not, when your dishes can package up leftovers, absorb the remains, dispose of waste materials and finally store themselves by seamlessly forming part of the dining table (which, in turn, shape-shifts itself into an attractive mural or grandfather clock...).

The next day, your dishes are back with new designs and colours and even contours.
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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #58 on: June 04, 2010, 12:06:26 AM »
I'm still in the middle of listening to this, but I can say without a doubt that that is the sexiest snack voice I have ever heard.    I can only assume that Mr. Cmar has experience with seductive pastry voicework.

Seriously though, he's got a good voice.  I hope he's going to narrate more stories.  :)

Father Beast

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Re: EP242: The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake
« Reply #59 on: June 04, 2010, 01:11:34 AM »
Ok, a snack cake that thinks...

Which has a protein based thinking device built into it....

Who else is thinking.. EDIBLE BRAINS!